* Posts by Trevor_Pott

6180 posts • joined 31 May 2010

Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then

Trevor_Pott
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Re: yeah..

Last time I checked, Bing was deeply integrated into Windows, Azure Active Directory was being baked into Windows 10 and Azure Replica was being baked into Windows Server's Hyper-V.

I didn't ask for any of those. Seems "deeply integrated" to me.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Free webmail

Suspect that

A) the majors don't feel the need to advertise with Google for rankings

B) Google's internal teams don't feel like allocating the budget for advertising with the search team either for the exact same reasons.

Why advertise when everyone knows you name? People don't search for "cloud storage" they search for "Dropbox". They don't search for "free webmail" they search for "Gmail". When you're Kleenex you don't advertise against the keyword "tissue".

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: (un)fair advantage

"Should Google be giving its products prominence over others, just because they belong to Google?"

Yes. Just like every other fucking company on earth is allowed to do.

"Is that a misuse of their position in search. "

No. Because decent alternatives exist, and you are not forced to use Google. In fact, you must go out of your way to do so. Regardless of the past, today good alternatives exist. At least "god enough" for the average punter. People use Google because they want to. Why should it be hobbled artificially with restrictions that don't apply to it's competitors when it isn't locking anyone in to anything?

This is very different from an actual monopoly abusing it's dominant position.

What is perhaps the most important element here is that the consumer is not harmed by Google's actions. They are getting the superior service for the lowest possible price available and are not prevented or even discouraged from looking for alternative services. The only people who face any difficulties are A) Google's competitors who must actually pay for advertising and B) Politicos who cannot control the people if they cannot control the message.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: "suggest they break up the European union first"

"fifty-year farrago of lies and deceit, bribery and political bullying"

Which, of course, is naturally worse than 1000 years of the same, plus murder, rape, incest, pedophilia, war, more war, pointless war, religious war, the burning of witches, crusades, and hounding homosexuals to suicide. Oh, and the publicly stated desire to not be bound by the "shackles" of human rights.

Yeah, I can really see why the alternative is so attractive you.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @ plrndl

"You didn't address my point, which was that there is a conflict of interest between the best search results for the user (ie. most relevant) and for google (ie. promotes their other products). Care to engage on that?"

Google run the fucking website. Search is not a public service. It's not pay for by any government or tax dollars. There are many alternatives to Google. Search costs money; without it, you can't run a search engine of any kind, let alone at Google's scale. People acutally want Google services. The majority of searches for relevant services are predicated with "Google": for example, "Google Maps".

There's no reason Google shouldn't be able to promote it's own services on it's own website. You aren't forced to use it. Two out of the three top browsers (Firefox and Internet Explorer) which are responsible for 75% of the browser market between them default to Yahoo and Bing (respectively).

With the exception of Chromebooks, Google Chorme is not shipped by default with the operating system. (It doesn't ship by default on Samsung Android devices, which make up the overwhelming majority of Android, and it isn't on iOS devices either.)

Users are making a conscious choice to choose Google. They are choosing Google willingly. They like Google as it is, and they don't want it changed. They prefer Google services to those of others because they are legitimately superior.

Why should WalMart not be allowed to sell own-branded goods in it's own stores? Should Amazon not be allowed to sell/promote it's video or cloud computing services on it's main website? Why is Microsoft allowed to build in support for Azure Active Directory to Windows 10 or Azure Hyper-V Replica into Windows Server? Why should Apple be allowed to build iCloud into their phones instead of offering a choice that includes Dropbox?

There is no reason. Like Google, none of those examples are monopolies. In fact, some of them are defaults; something Google emphatically is not.

This isn't "Microsoft bundling IE." People must make an actual choice</I. to use Google's services here, and there are umpteen alternatives. In fact, there are alternatives enabled <i>by default that they must bypass to get to Google.

Does that address your bullshit?

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Trevor_Pott
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Re: How are they bundled?

"Google pretending to do just a search "

When did Google say it was just a search?

How does "just a search" make any money?

If it can't make money, how does it stay open?

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The SILO SPRAWL: So just how much virtualising software lipstick does it need?

Trevor_Pott
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Re: The more hybrid and heterogeneous data storage silos we have

For the record, you should replace "generation X" with "Millennials". Gen Xers are positively ancient.

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DataCore lifts baton, strikes up the 64th SANsymphony

Trevor_Pott
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Re: one hundred million!!!

Give me 64 nodes and I will get you 100M IOPS with at plenty of room to spare. If you honestly think that's difficult to achieve you have not been playing with good gear. As the other chap said: Micron p420m PCI-E SSDs will get you there with room to spare. That's before we look into Diablo MCS or start lashing things together with A3Cube.

100M IOPS per cluster is so "done". The new push is to get 250M sustainable. And I can point you at at least three groups who claim to have hit that in lab. I'm told we're to see 500M IOPS in a single cluster by VMworld.

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Azure has put new life into Active Directory

Trevor_Pott
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Nah, that one's long dead. The new Microsoft seems to be getting it right on the second try lately. I'd be scared of that, but I ran and hid in my bunker after four horsemen spooked the cattle, and it's really quite lovely down here with all these spiders...

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Trevor_Pott
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Kzert

You sound like the reason I get 6am phone calls involving rampant stupidity, "I didn't go to that website, I swear" and rootkits.

*sound of cattle prod charging*

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Trevor_Pott
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Azure AD, done properly, jacks in to your onsite AD. So outages really don't hurt too much. (Except for roaming users...and they do cache creds until the next beacon.)

Azure AD was crap. Then it was mostly not crap. Now it's Microsoft Official Version 3 Working Edition. So we kinda can't ignore it any more.

This one, we just gotta learn to use..

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: on premise AD has one advantage..

Azure AD hooks into your on-premesis AD. So you can continue on if the net goes out. Though anyone outside the corporate firewall without net might be a little hooped. Until they turn their mobile into a hotspot. Or go to a cafe, or...

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor

What passion? Do I strike you as a Microsoft champion? Hmm?

No mate, Metro was a wobble about who is in charge of how a computer looks at feels: the customer or Microsoft. Microsoft lost.

Azure Active Directory is about making computers work no matter where they are in the world. This is something enterprises are screaming for, and Microsoft delivered. What they've got works, it works well and there is huge demand for it.

Hate on it all you want, it's already the de facto standard, and it ain't going anywhere. We're stuck with it.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: I beg to differ ;)

'tisn't about what's good for whom, mate. 'tis about what's going to happen. Like it or not, Azure AD's the future, and it'll ****ing crush anything else out there. It's already got a damned good head start. It's time we all learned to use it.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Call me a sceptic

Cheers, mate!

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AT&T to FTC: I'd like to see YOU install 1Gbps fiber across the US. Which we're still doing

Trevor_Pott
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Sure it is. Whomever pays the most wins. This isn't rocket surgery. America has the best government (and judiciary) that money can buy.

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Trevor_Pott
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"It would be curious to see how a court would decide on the matter."

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ --> Judge > $$$$$$$$$ --> Judge.

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Wireless Power standards are like Highlanders: There can be only ONE

Trevor_Pott
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Re: I'm living in a future world

Ah, I see your mistake, good sir. No, no, we're combusting aluminium powder. That's right, nothing to see here. Sorry to bother you...

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: I'm living in a future world

Yeah, induction cooking. It sounds like a great plan. Until they change the standard and you need to throw out all your frying pans when you get a new stove or vice versa. I'll stick with stuff that can be cooked over an open flame. Monopolies can't patent away my ability to make fucking fire.

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Docker: Sorry, you're just going to have to learn about it. Today we begin

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Differences from virtualisation?

There are three more parts to the series I penned. One of those parts is "containers versus hypervisors." It got rather long to be all one article, sorry mate. It'll be in the followup pieces!

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AWS CloudFront wobbles at worst possible time

Trevor_Pott
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Mushroom

Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!

But I can't play Kerbal Space Program on a tablet!

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: This confirms my theory

Who needs more than 99% uptime? The cloud is the future! You wouldn't be running a website that competes with one of the American Public Cloud providers, would you? That's naughty. You should go out of business.

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Trevor_Pott
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American Public Cloud providers don't need redundancy. They simply provide! There are no issues. Ever.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Azure too

Because it didn't happen. Azure is the perfect expression of the American Public Cloud. You can move your workloads from your local systems onto Azure and forget about them. They'll run perfectly, forever, with no load issues, never go down, never need backups and be cheaper than running on your own site!

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Trevor_Pott
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That's a lie. The American public cloud doesn't have load issues. You use it and all those issues go away. You're a lying liar that is trying to destroy the future of IT!

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Hacker dodges FOUR HUNDRED YEARS in cooler for SCANNING sites

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Too subtle for me.

Whereas in Canada the use of force must be proportionate by law. By law, unless you have legitimate reason to believe your life (or the lives of your family) are in immediate danger, there is no legitimate reason to engage in activity that may harm - let alone kill - a potential or actual intruder in your home.

The presence of an intruder in your home is not enough to qualify as reason to believe you life (or the lives of your family) are in danger. If you have the capability and/or training to disarm, disable or subdue an intruder without harming them then you are not allowed to use more force than that. If the intruder can be sent on his merry with a few trinkets and no harm to either party, then that is the option you must choose.

It is up to the police to capture the intruder, not you. And possessions are not worth lives; yours or theirs.

The concept that you can shoot someone dead for trying to get in to your house, and where they've made no threat to your (or your family's) life is...bizarre. At least to this Canadian. Possessions are not worth lives.

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Guess which US tech giant was just hit with a $137m tax bill in China?

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Microsoft lied about something? !GASP!

It's a fair question. The longer Microsoft can delay payment the better the chances that the amount of money in question will be less meaningful. Microsoft will grow as a company (in theory, anyways) and inflation will make tomorrow's billion worth less than today's. As long as the interest charged is less than inflation, litigation is a good bet in these situations.

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NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online

Trevor_Pott
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Re: A proverb comes to mind ..

I only use it for medicinal purposes!

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Five-eyes partners dilute UN resolution criticising metadata collection

Trevor_Pott
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On behalf of all Canadians, I apologise for my nation's role in this. It is shameful and we are ashamed.

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EU-Canada airline passenger data-sharing is not a done deal

Trevor_Pott
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Re: You can't help those...

It wouldn't. And where did I say I thought I did? For that matter, where did I say I supported giving our complete passenger information to the EU? Or vice versa?

I do support telling the nation you are going to finally land in who all is on a given a plane, because you'll have to go through their customs and immigration anyways, and it helps if they can tell if they've missed someone. But they really don't need more than name and maybe passport number for that.

Where/how did you get the silly idea that I supported the complete shenanigans of this treaty?

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: You can't help those...

You don't know the first thing regarding the topics you're spouting off on. Where did I say anything about "snitch on your neighbours"? Or anything even remotely similar? I said we failed someone who was quite obviously mentally ill.

In this case, here is someone who told the police that he needed to be locked up and that he was not well. He was assessed as dangerously mentally ill on at least one occasion - though nothing was done about it - and he was clearly disturbed (and disturbing) while in various shelters.

We are not talking here about minor domestic disputes or "grassing up someone for being an aspie". We're talking about someone who was very clearly disturbed, had violent tendencies and even warned us about them himself! He had a record, he had a clear pattern of dangerous behavior his whole life.

...and because of pompus arrogant asshats just like you, we don't have a system that could actually help this man. And people died. That's on your head, asshole. You, and people like you.

None of the changes I want to see implemented would create a "police state". But, you know, if you beat your wife regularly and have a history of school violence, maybe child protective services would intervene a little more often, and maybe - just maybe - you'd be caught out and sent to a shrink before you slit their throats.

Not because a neighbour tattled on you, but because of major incidents that hit the system. Like crimes, self-reporting dangerous thoughts/behaviors or family members turning up in hospital with what looks like domestic abuse.

One incident is bad luck. Two is coincidence. Three or more are a pattern. If we looked into those just a little - and worked with experts in various fields to define what patterns are important - we might very well be able to help a lot of mentally ill people who would otherwise go untreated.

That's a reasonable balance between the needs of the many and privacy of the few.

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Trevor_Pott
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Especially since the fellow in question was severely mentally disturbed. We. as a nation. failed him by not detecting this and helping him. In the process, we failed ourselves and lives were lost.

A sick and angry man was taken advantage of by some very bad people. He was twisted into a weapon and set loose to do indiscriminate damage. The best way to prevent future such incidents not to clamp down on the message of terror - which virtually all of us reject - but to help identify those who are sick and help them get well.

I hope we'll learn from this and do better by our people in the future.

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Mysterious BEAM outside London Googleplex ZAPPED

Trevor_Pott
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Thetans

Thetans everywhere

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Shaking that AAS: It's time for vendors to stop selling storage

Trevor_Pott
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Man, I've been saying this for years. But it's almost impossible to get through to them. Even new startups won't hear what's said here. They are all started by people who come from big storage vendors and, damn them all, they'll run them just like those large storage vendors.

The storage industry honestly believes the existing model works. More fool them; they won't comprehend their end until it's upon them.

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New job in 2015? The Reg guide to getting out and moving on

Trevor_Pott
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Re: CV filters

"Evidence of a sense of humour >>> Worth a second look"

For the record, depending on the job, evidence of a complete lack of a sense of humour is good too. Experience has taught me that aspies make absolutely amazing DB admins, and even better financial app admins. They take a little bit of care and feeding, but if you can find a role for them that is strictly defined, and where the expectations aren't prone to rapid changes, they make one hell of a dedicated employee.

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US taxmen won't say WHY they're probing Microsoft. So Redmond is suing the IRS

Trevor_Pott
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Microsoft and the IRS

Never did two organizations so royally deserve eachother.

May they both suffer an eternity of the agony Microsoft Licensing inflicts upon all, even the innocent and well meaning. Bastards both.

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Europe may ask Herr Google: Would you, er, snap off your search engine? Pretty please

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Excellent idea!

"... instant proof of Google's monopoly! The damage to business and commerce should easily be enough to invoke all the anticompetitive laws under the sun and ensure Google go the same way as Microsoft when they tried to bundle IE with Windows..."

Then stop all work in Europe, period. It'll take the Europeans 10 years to develop a search engine as efficient, accurate and effective as Google. 25 if the various governments insist on putting thier fingers in the creation of ht "new European search superpower". Meanwhile, Europe can limp along at a massive disadvantage to the rest of the world.

What they can't do is force Google to give up any of their technologies, or to cut off the part of their business that actually makes them money and then water it down into uselessness.

Google is American. And, like it or not, if they simply decide to abandon the European market, there's fuck all Europe can do about that. But they will fell the effects of the loss, if that's what they drive Google to do.

And, if I'm Google, I am going to be markedly disinclined to bow to European pressure to destroy my own business just because they're idiots. There are alternatives to Google. They're shit...but they're there. If the Europeans want to see Google's dominance ended the means to this is not to attempt to drive Google out of business, but instead to help Microsoft - who is the real force behind all of this anyways - do the research and development necessary to suck less.

Google is not a monopoly like "my local cableco is a monopoly". Users have choice. But they overwhelmingly choose Google because Google is massively superior to the alternatives. There is absolutely nothing preventing people from choosing Bing, or $spam_site, excepting that these users want a service that will enhance their internet usage and not degrade it.

The European solution is fucking batshit insane. Rather than work to raise all competitors to the level of Google so that we have multiple excellent choices, they are adamant that they must degrade Google until it is as shit as everyone else. That's the exact fucking wrong way to go about this.

I am normally a supporter of the EU. But in this case, I say to Google: pull your services out and knock the arrogant peckerheads into their next depression. Maybe they'll learn that excellence in industry is more important than political grandstanding or little brown envelopes.

Maybe.

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DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS

Trevor_Pott
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Security through obscurity is only a valid approach when it is one layer amongst many. It is a part of good defense in depth. It is emphatically not acceptable as a primary means of security. In this case, I honestly believe that the benefits of the larger community outweigh the dubious benefits of obscurity. (Things like fuzzers exist. Your code isn't as safe as you think.)

Besides, you can do things like "change the administrative page of your CMS" via plugins with any of the majors. You can achieve security through obscurity as one layer amongst many with the majors. With a roll-your-own, you're basically betting on it and it alone to save your ASCII.

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Trevor_Pott
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I've heard of both, but so far as I know they are fairly underadopted when compared to the "big three". While I accept that I could be wrong about their uptake, my understand wast that neither Plone nor Bricolage were "major". The last time I checked their adoption was more akin to "Linux on the desktop" versus the "Windows" of Drupal/Joomla/Wordpress.

Admittedly that was some time ago, so is I am incorrect in my information, I'm more than happy to be updated.

Also - and again, please correct me if I am wrong - Plone (and especially Bricolage) are designed for companies with development teams to sustain the installs. Unlike Drupal/Joomla/Wordpress which rely on a vibrant plugin ecosystem, Plone/Bricolage are far more of a "barebones" CMS that expect to form a skeleton of framework around which you will wrap your own site.

To me, that serves a different market than Drupal/Joomla/Wordpress. That's a market more where "the website is the product you are selling, or absolutely key to the product you are selling." Totally different from a personal blog, or a "you are here" for a business, or even a "here's our company/our corporate blog/a basic site to buy a few things/download whitepapers."

Plone/Bricolage, IIRC, simply require more commitment to ongoing development and maintenance than Drupal/Joomla/Wordpress. Plone/Bricolage require - at a minimum - a Developer and an Ops guy (or a hell of a DevOps guy. Drupal/Joomla/Wordpress only require an Ops guy...and he can be a consultant that sets up hundreds or thousands of the things for a living.

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Trevor_Pott
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"There are lots of CMSes and even ones that take security seriously and run their own pen-testing."

Please do list the free ones of which you are aware that are not Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla and which can reasonably described as "major".

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Trevor_Pott
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You know, if you take the time to do wordpress right, it's a hell of a lot safer than rolling your own, unless "your own site" is so basic in functionality it doesn't need scripting or a DB.

Most businesses don't have the resources to perpetually pen test and patch their home-rolled CMSes. Every single red cent they can allocate to development goes into new features development.

So the three major free CMSes: Joomla, Drupal, and Wordpress have flaws. So does your code, even if your ego won't allow you to admit it. The difference is that the communities behind these free CMSes are far bigger than the core development teams...or their egos.

The net result is a lot of quality work into third party security options for these sites. These come in many forms. There are plug-ins of various types. There are filters for Apache, nginx, etc that will add a layer of sanity checking over anything coming and going from your sites and there are ALGs that are designed to stand in front of the three big CMSes and defend them.

This is the beauty of using such widely adopted software. Yes, you are a target because higher adoption makes it commercially more viable to attack. But the flip side is that there is a lot of money and community effort into defending what amounts to a known quantity.

Backups, disaster recovery, even the ability to spin up "known clean" copies from backups...it's all just plug-ins. There are even paid solutions I use which will scan my database and files looking for things that shouldn't be there, and ones that will actively filter things coming out of backups and being injected into a fresh restore.

It would take years - and hundreds of thousands, if not millions - of dollars to build all of that to defend a custom CMS. Especially any of the custom CMSes I've written.

And...how would I ever know if I'd been pwned? With the big three there are any number of things that can tell me when something's out of whack. But how can I be sure of that on my custom CMS? I mean, if I wrote a bug into my own software, isn't there a reasonable chance that a similar issue would work it's way into any of oversight code?

So how do I code oversight code for my CMS? Hire another dev? How much does that cost? How long to get them up to speed? And how could I afford that for my personal blog or small business? And what about feature enhancement? If I blow all my budget on hardening my custom CMS, I where do I get money to keep up with the Jonses?

Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla still need you to know what you're doing to defend them. You need a good ops guy. You need to press the button for major version updates, install and configure security, etc. But in terms of creating and maintaining over the long term a defensible website, they offer a lot of advantages over rolling your own.

At least, that is, unless and until your website is your business. (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) Then you need to iterate faster than you could with a major CMS. For the rest of us, I seriously doubt we'd do any better on our own.

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Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault

Trevor_Pott
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Re: I've been sayin' it!

I can think of at least three Microsoft shills and a dozen or so generic cloudy acolytes that have repeatedly made these sorts of drain bramaged claims of cloud ubersuitability. Especially that clouds were the solution for virtually every workload: workloads that didn't fit into the cloud were the exception. And boy, were they emphatic about it.

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Trevor_Pott
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I've been sayin' it!

For nearly five damned years, I've been saying exactly this about "cloud computing" on these here Register pages. Oh, no, Trevor, you're mad! The cloud doesn't need backups! The cloud doesn't need DR to another cloud or locally! The cloud provides! The cloud is immeasurably cheaper! The cloud, the cloud, the cloud!

Well, dear "on message" sycophants: I told you so. And, immature as it is, it do feel good. That goes double for the Microsoft ones that keep banging on about Azure. I doubly hate the lot of you because Microsoft's obsession with Azure is kicking the shit out of the channel as they try to drive all their partners out of business.

And why? So that we can put everything into the cloud and provide our clients with worse service than they had when they ran in a "local + backed up to the MSP's datacenter" setup?

Roar! Microsoft's "CloudOS" crap is a fucking lie. Their desperate attempt to kill off the "third pillar" of that marketing malarkey - the third party service provider - will result in more companies getting bitten by this single-source cloud failure garbage.

Anyone who thinks "the cloud" is the be-all and end-all solution to IT is doing everyone they advise a disservice. The public cloud is just one tool in the toolbox. One tool amongst many. And you need to know how to use them all before you can advise people on using them wisely.

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Crypto protocols held back by legacy, says ENISA

Trevor_Pott
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I don't understand. A major political body just released this information to the world? Doesn't that make them terrorists? At least according to the FBI, NSA, GCHQ, etc who believe that strong crypto is something that plebians should not have access to...

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Androids in celluloid – which machine deserves the ULTIMATE MOVIE ROBOT title?

Trevor_Pott
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If you're going to throw in Lore, you probably have to add B4 and Data's mom (Juliana Tainer). Or just say "Soong Type Androids."

Also...what abotu the Exocomps?" Or M-5? V'Ger? The Robotic Repair Space Station from Enterprise? Automate Personnel Units? Flint, Mudd and Sargon Type Androids? The various nanites? Hell, the ship's computer?

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Wot, no Data?

The Doctor deserves to be in there too. Okay, he's a photonic, not an android, but he's still AI...

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LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Panspermia

"Having said this, I'd be REALLY interested in your ideas for a hypotheseis to test how a caterpillar could evolve the DNA necessary to turn into a butterfly, through small mutations and natural selection. A lot of what purports to be science is really just 'faith' based guesswork, and would be called such if it were not for the big names spouting it."

Here is a great place to start: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/insect-metamorphosis-evolution/

Short answer: we don't have all the pieces of that puzzle yet. That doesn't mean we won't get there. It just means you are pointing to a current area in which our knowledge is incomplete and saying "hah, god must exist, because you don't understand this fully!"

There's nothing rational about that. If I pour a half-filled wide-brimmed cup of water into a tall, short-brimmed cup and it fills the cup, a young enough child will think it magic. They don't understand the conservation of volume.

I could tell the child that it is god that does this, and that he should accept that it is god because he doesn't understand how it is possible for such a thing to occur.

Alternately, I could set up some experiments by which the child could play with moving a volume of liquid around different containers for himself and allow him to understand the concept of conservation of volume through experimentation.

In the first instance, the child's understanding stops at the moment faith is injected. God is the answer and thus no further questioning is required. In the second instance, the child learns something about the world, god is not required and the child is one step closer to being able to formulate his own questions, craft his own hypotheses and experimentally test to see what may or may not be the reason behind something.

"What force started the big bang?"

Ultimately, we don't know. String theory has some neat ideas, but they are as yet something we cannot prove. Why should I believe this "proves" god, rather than is simply evidence of a gap in our knowledge?

Where is the evidence that a gap in our understanding of the universe means god exists?

"How did chemicals gather to create life?"

Interesting you should ask. Please read all my other posts in this particular comment section for the answers. I've covered it many times. There are also links to lab-created artificial metabolisms. To be perfectly honest, I am absolutely convinced that - given the progress we've made thus far - we will have recreated the early mechanisms for life creation and created fully artificial life in the lab within my lifetime. This is no longer a question of "if", but of "when".

"How did a single cell organism become a multi-cell organism?"

You can start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multicellular_organism#Evolutionary_history

But I'll do you a favor and summarize it for you. The long story short is that single-celled organisms have a long history of living together, frequently in what are typically referred to as "mats". The short version is that "mats" of single-celled organisms are far more efficient at using their environmental resources - and responding to dangerous events, like toxins - than cells are on their own.

Bacteria also evolved the ability to exchange DNA long before multicellularity evolved. In large part, this was an evolutionary adaptation to cope with viruses. They also evolved the ability to create bacteriophages: essentially viruses that seek out and destroy bacteria that the originating bacterium doesn't like.

Over time, cells accumulated enough DNA from their "chosen" companions that they could theoretically perform the functions of any of a number of different types of cell. This doesn't mean they would, but merely that their DNA contained the information.

Eventually, a freak of evolution occurred: cells gained the ability to alter their functionality based on environmental/epigenetic factors. A cell in the middle of the mat would perform one set of functions. A cell on the outside would perform another.

Once cells had reached this point, they had no need of other species. So, to put it midly, they killed them off. Life is about the propagation of your own genetics, after all.

One cell, with one set of DNA could perform multiple functions in the mat. It could reproduce it's own lineage and that lineage could do everything required to take advantage of the environment. It didn't need to devote any resources to helping another species - or another individual - survive.

Some time after this, these single-species mats began rapid specialization, and things like "an outer protective layer that encloses all of the organism's cells" were developed. This helped separate the organism from it's environment more completely, and helped prevent other organisms from invading the mat and stealing resources. Thus a multicellular organism is born.

I am aware of at least 15 different instances in our evolutionary record in which multicellular life evolved independently. There are probably more.

"What is the origin of Sexual reproduction?"

Well that is an operation in semantics. Do you mean the evolution of modern genetalia? There's a fish responsible for that one; in fact, it's genital claspers eventually evolved into our legs.

Do you mean simply the combination of two gametes to form an offspring? That's more complicated. I'm a little rusty, but here's my understanding:

Sexual reproduction had to have evolved at least 1.2 billion years ago. All sexually reproducing creatures share a common ancestor, and that ancestor developed sexual reproduction before it developed multicellularity.

The theory goes that while other groups of single-celled organisms were developing into bacterial mats - and eventually multicellular (typically multicellular + symbiont) life - our ancestor solved the same set of evolutionary circumstances in a completely novel way.

Instead of inducing horizontal gene transfer with another bacterial species, it "unzipped" it's DNA during mitosis, and didn't "zip" it back together. That's one hell of a mutation: it basically turned DNA back into RNA!

Now, single stranded DNA is highly unstable. It's not remotely as conducive to life as double-stranded DNA. It is, however, possible for cells to live - and eventually to divide - using RNA instead of DNA. The mitochondria is a great example of a cell that did this (before it invaded us!)

But DNA is better. Eventually, two of those RNA-only cells recombined and merged their genetic structures. The result was a randomization of genetics, or...sex.

So this strand of life solved the need to rapidly respond to environmental changes by evolving the ability to unzip itself, split in two, then re-merge, randomizing genetics. We have no hard data on how long that went on before it also underwent the evolution to multicellularity, but it was probably quite a while.

The long story short is that when multicellular organisms arose from that particular branch of "unzipping" single-celled organisms, they took with them the concept of sex. It was rather a long time before that evolved into what we think of as genitalia, but the progression was fairly straightforward.

"You say: What's more, why you[r] god, and not someone else's? Why your interpretation of how god works, and not mine? Why one god and not many?" Again, that's a theological question, not a scientific one. I have many reasons why I am trusting in God, I'm happy to elaborate based on logic and my experiences to anyone who wants to hear."

No, it's a scientific question. Science needs to know what it's testing for if it is to look for it. You don't just say "I am looking for a new particle". You do the legwork to figure out what the particle should look like, it's mass, behaviour, composition and decay vectors. Then you have something to look for and go look for it.

There are many different gods described. They're all different. Evidence to support their existence would therefor reasonably be different. Don't dodge the question just because it's uncomfortable, or try to make this about "science versus god" when you aren't presenting scientific evidence for both the existence of your deity and why your deity is the "correct" one.

Facts, not faith.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Panspermia

"When you say there is "no evidence" for a god (creator) that is absurd. All the evidence is open to interpretation."

No, evidence isn't open to interpretation. If there are multiple possible hypotheses that evidence could support, then you create new experiments at you attempt to eliminate possibilities. You don't resort to faith.

"What hypothesis have you applied to your "Gaia" type philosophy? Eh?"

Absolutely none. Which is why I hold it up as a possibility that requires a proper testable hypothesis, experimental design, and then evidence before it could be accepted. It isn't a faith. Or a belief. It is a possibility. One that I arrived at by examining the complex interactions of neurons, and the emergent properties of conscious that are given rise by those interactions.

The question that emerged from that study was "could there be other complex interactions which give rise to similar emergent properties that would be reasonably termed consciousness." The followup was "at what scale could these interactions exist that would cause that." The next question was "would time be a factor? Human consciousness is given rise by sub-second electrochemical interactions...would a "larger" interactive system be capable of a form of emergent consciousness operating at geologic timescales?"

None of that is requires faith. I have questions derived from experimental observation. I am hoping to one day create a testable hypothesis. Until that point, I maintain that there exists the possibility of a "Gaia"-type meta-consciousness. Because I have before me at least the rudiments of a hypothesis that explains how that consciousness might exist. I am driven towards these questions - and the possibilities inherent in them - through evidence.

If it turns out that I am wrong, my views on the world, my ego and my understanding of the universe are not altered. There was no faith involved, and no personal commitment to the idea.

"BTW, why is it that you guys, whenever there are two POSSIBLE explanations for a phenomenon, (a) naturalistic and (b) "God did it", why assume always that the naturalistic answer is the correct one? "

A) "You guys"? Lumping people who disagree with you together much?

B) I assume that the universe arose without a creator because currently we have no need of a creator to explain the universe. There is no need of a creator to explain life, evolution, stellar formation...any of it. It's called Occam's razor. Given a set of diverse possible explanations for an event, the simplest one tends to be true.

I don't believe in a creator because I have yet to encounter something for which a creator is necessary.

I also don't believe in a creator because every single time that someone has pointed to a gap in our scientific knowledge and said "aha! You can't explain that, thus god" we ended up explaining it. Sometimes hundreds of years later, but we got there.

So: given the evidence why would I assume a creator? It's the least likely of the available possibilities. What's far more likely is that our understanding of the universe, as individuals and as a species, is simply incomplete.

"Is that not your BIAS? Of course you BELIEVE there is NO evidence for a god, so therefore the answer HAS to be naturalistic."

That fact that you might, for example, look at the structure of an eye and believe that it has to be evidence of intelligent design doesn't make it so. You are simply choosing to confirm your own faith by ceasing to investigate. I, and people like me, choose instead to continue to investigate.

Lo and behold, testable hypotheses for the evolution of the eye emerged.

Now, Jesus-botherers proclaimed the complexity of the eye to be conclusive evidence of their god. Scientists continued to investigate and found that there was no need for a god to exist in order for the eye to arise. So please, tell me why any other thing, ever, should be a point in my understanding of the universe in which I simply choose to stop learning and start believing?

Faith doesn't have a good track record of being right about anything.

"Trevor, you say: "I do not exclude the possibility that there may be a creator." But in reality you do. You are only saying this in the hope you appear thoughtful and reasonable. Be honest with yourself."

No, I don't have a problem with the possibility of a creator...if and when evidence emerges that one is required. A gap in our knowledge is not evidence that a god exists. "God did it" is not the default answer to everything.

I accept that there could be a creator that created the superstrings which then extruded our universe. Maybe branes were the work of a creator. But the possibility that one might exist doesn't mean one does, that I should believe one does, and certainly not that I should ascribe mere gaps in understanding to the work of a mysterious creator.

For me to believe in god there needs to be actual evidence both of a requirement for god in order for our universe to function and that there is such a thing as a god, and that they created and/or direct all things.

Until then, god doesn't exist. The afterlife doesn't exist. There's no evidence of it. There's no need for it.

What is, however, likely is that religion evolved out of a combination of a need of individuals to believe there was something beyond death and enterprising sociopaths seeing that there is a vector to controlling large groups of people by manipulating both a fear of death and controlling the cultural moores that govern the right/method/individuals with whom people may reproduce.

So I ask myself what's more likely:

1) There is a creator of all things for whom there is no evidence and no scientific requirement, but somehow certain people "chosen" over time have been told by this creator what is truth and what is not, and we should do what they say.

2) Some folks figure out how to manipulate others en masse, wrote (or had written) the basis of their social control and then viciously went after anyone who threatened their power.

I have zero evidence to support 1). I have lots of evidence to support 2).

Scientology is a great example of a modern religion having been created, with all the same keystones as, for example, the Abrahamic religions (like Christianity, Judaism, etc). Why should I believe 1) instead of 2) when there are multiple documented examples of 2)?

What evidence is there for god, beyond pathetic attempts to point to gaps in scientific knowledge and claim god should be the default answer? The scribblings of a sociopath or desert madman? Why are they more valid than the scribblings of anyone else? Or the actual evidence science has gathered?

I can accept that a creator of some variety may exist, even thought there is no evidence for one. I am open to that possibility.

I can, however, say with near absolute certainty that your particular god doesn't. You worship the rules of a man set forth to control other men and earnestly believe it describes all that is in the universe.

I, on the other hand, question everything. Evidence put forth by a man can be compelling, and better inform future questions, but they are only actually relevant as answers if they can be experimentally verified.

That's the difference between science and faith.

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Trevor_Pott
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Mars and Venus are Earth like. For all the very many reasons I've stated. Sadly, Venus likely doesn't have any life currently. (Which is not to say it never did.) Mars may have some life, it almost certainly did in the past.

The fact that you mistakenly believe that for life to arise everything must occur exactly as it did on Earth is not my problem. There is no rational basis for your belief. It doesn't agree with basic chemistry or with distribution statistics.

You espouse nothing more than faith - and a "god of the gaps" argument which boils down to "anything we haven't directly observed yet can't exist/means we're special/god did it" sytle bullshit - and demand it be accepted as fact.

I espouse an examination of the totality of our scientific knowledge to draw reasonable inferences from the data.

1) The basic chemistry that gave rise to life is fairly simple.

2) Lab reproductions of artificial metabolism indicate that there could actually be quite a variation in the conditions required for life to start.

3) Life didn't start on an Earth that looks anything like it does now.

4) The geochemical conditions of a primitive Earth can occur in a broad range of planet sizes and in a fairly wide-banded habitable zone.

5) Planets are the rule, not the exception

6) There are trillions of stars which could give rise to planets with relevant geochemistry.

7) "Comet catcher" planets like Jupiter are everywhere.

8) There is no actual evidence a large moon is required for life to start, and the hypothesis behind that bit of unique-earther "wisdom" is shaky, at best.

I could go on and on.

Short version: the only thing even remotely interesting about Earth is that it happens to currently be the only place where we know of life existing in large enough quantities to have altered the environment of the planet. Otherwise, there is absolutely nothing remarkable about this dump at all.

Earth is as "special" as you, personally are. I.E: not at all. One amongst many. Interchangeable. Disposable. Irrelevant.

Arguing that is must be special based on nothing more than that we haven't yet detected something identical is no different than arguing god must exist because science cannot yet explain everything. It's the "god of the gaps" argument and it proceeds from nothing more than vanity and fear of mortality. You aren't important and when you die, you decompose. That's it.

Get the fuck over it.

Statistically, there will be other planets out there which support life. We have no evidence, and not even any promising hypotheses to explain why life would be so rare and difficult to form that it wouldn't form wherever the basic conditions for it were met. We have no evidence, and not even any promising hypotheses that demonstrate why the basic conditions for life would be rare...let alone restricted to this one planet.

On the contrary, all our evidence - and the majority of our scientific hypotheses - point to the fact that life is hardy, adaptable, can arise in a range of conditions, and that those conditions are likely to be widespread throughout the universe.

Now, the conditions for advanced (read:multicellular) life to develop, thrive, and last more than a few billion years...

...that's another story entirely. But even then, there is absolutely zero rational reason to assume that those conditions only exist here.

Nothing except one individual's overwhelming desire to believe they're relevant. They're not.

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