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Comment by captain_obvious on Is Humanism A Religion-Substitute? · 2008-03-27T18:17:02.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Space shuttles weren't present in our era of evolutionary adaptedness, neither was science.

OK, but neither was anything like our modern forms of religion. Just because you don't have something to fit a given hole doesn't mean the hole couldn't exist (and of course I'm kidding about the specifics of the shuttle-launch-shaped-hole)

Besides, while "modern" science wasn't present, the overall goal (trying to understand the world we find ourselves in) certainly was. Lacking anything like modern science, people had to "fill in the hole" (in their understanding of their world) with religion.

Regardless of whether that's actually true or not (and I'm certainly no anthropoligist!), my real point is that it's incredibly presumptuous of the religionists to assume that just because thing A causes person 1 to feel similar to how thing B causes person 2 to feel, that person 1 is obviously trying to fill an B-shaped hole with A, which is merely a pale substitute for B, whereas B is "clearly" the genuine article. They don't even consider for a second that person 2 might be filling an A-shaped hole with B!

Comment by captain_obvious on Is Humanism A Religion-Substitute? · 2008-03-27T16:05:49.000Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

How do we know that the religionists don't have a "space-shuttle-launch"-shaped hole in /their/ heads?

Geez, it almost makes you wonder if maybe religion might be a substitute for science...

Comment by captain_obvious on Beautiful Math · 2008-01-10T23:38:00.000Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Back in high school I discovered this by accident (yes, I was really bored!). I suppose it's nothing new, but it turns out that this works for more than simple squares and cubes:

Given any sequence of numbers, keep finding differences of differences until you hit a constant; the number of iterations needed is the maximum exponent in the formula that produced the numbers. That is, this works even if there are other terms, regardless of whether any or all terms have coefficients other than 1.