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952949 Posts in 62842 Topics- by 15308 Members - Latest Member: TolgaAkman
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1  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion - good or bad? on: Aug 13, 2013, 08:59AM
This Ars Technica article is much better than the Yahoo article.

It is an interesting sociological correlation study, with some potential areas for further investigation.  It is unfortunately being presented as if all atheists are more intelligent that all religious people, despite the more specific language present in small amounts in the Yahoo article.

I like that the researchers examine distinctions between religious practice and religious belief in these correlations, and I like that they look at intelligence, not just education.  Their speculations, more clearly spelled out as such in the Ars Technica article, certainly seem like relevant questions to investigate.  And I like that there is some evaluation of the work in the Ars Technica article, rather than just somewhat sensationalist reporting.
2  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: Alto Clef on: Aug 09, 2013, 02:57PM
Some online places to practice note identification (customize the exercises to suit your needs):
http://www.musictheory.net/exercises/note
http://www.teoria.com/exercises/read.php
3  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion - good or bad? on: Jul 30, 2013, 07:12PM
A couple of pieces from people not impressed by the new pope.

Pope Francis: a skilled abuser of rhetoric
Pope Francis Didnít Say Anything Radical About Homosexuality, So Stop Pretending He Did
4  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion - good or bad? on: Jul 16, 2013, 07:57PM
I know what you're trying to say here man, and that you're just responding to pure belligerence, but hope for what, exactly?
I think your comment about people being "hope-less" is the direction I was going.  Atheists are not in despair.  We are as optimistic about our lives as anybody else.  We have ambitions and goals and plans like anybody else.

It is possible you are correct that the statement to which I was responding was malicious in intent, but I think it mostly ignorant, this silly idea that implies one needs to have religious beliefs to be optimistic about the future, that atheists are morose and pessimistic.
5  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion - good or bad? on: Jul 16, 2013, 08:00AM
I have no faith, but I have plenty of hope, and I suspect Byron does as well.
6  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion - good or bad? on: Jun 18, 2013, 07:49AM
There definitely is anti-Catholic discrimination in various quarters in the US.  There are those, for instance, who do not consider Catholics to be Christians.  It's bad enough that some Catholics hide the fact that they are Catholic from casual acquaintances.  Some of the discrimination comes from a presumed slavish devotion to the Pope and to the dictates of the church hierarchy, a presumption that is particularly untrue among US Catholics.  We need only look at the concerns voiced when John Kennedy was running for president to see a crystal clear example of this discrimination.  We can also look at the anti-Irish discrimination that was largely anti-Catholic.

There are also actions that are seen by the Catholic Church (and by some Catholics) as discrimination against Catholics, when they are more of a rejection of Catholics' attempts to impose their religious views on others.  Such things as so-called "conscience clauses", forbidding various reproductive health services in Catholic hospitals, and refusing to consider same-sex couples as potential adoptive parents, are not issues unique to Catholicism, but the church makes very visible complaints, and administrations often try to placate the Catholics, making those pressing the other side appear to be engaging in anti-Catholic behavior.

And of course there is simply criticism of Catholic doctrines and practices that is also seen as anti-Catholic discrimination.  This is nonsense, unless the Catholics are actually being singled out and other churches that have similar doctrines are not also criticized.

So, some of Billy's complaints I think are quite legitimate.  The rest are perhaps based on a church used to getting its way, including engaging in religion-based discrimination on the public dime, that is decreasingly able to do so.
7  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion - good or bad? on: Apr 20, 2013, 06:47AM
There is no "the atheists".  The Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy asked to be present in some official way without necessarily speaking.  One of their staffers and her daughter were badly injured.  Some other atheist/humanist groups did not think it appropriate.  It is important not to assume that the motivations and goals of one atheist group are identical to those of another group.
8  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion - good or bad? on: Apr 19, 2013, 02:40PM
Atheists, like anybody else, mourn.  Atheists, like anybody else, find solace in sharing grief.  Atheists, like anybody else, find comfort in community.

On the other hand, the fact that is is called an "interfaith service" has rankled some.  Tom Flynn of Center for Inquiry thinks it's inappropriate for the government to hold something so specifically prayer-oriented, and he suggests it's inappropriate for atheists to take part as if Humanism is "another religion".  A memorial service can be inclusive, allowing the religious parties to say prayers and the non-religious parties to offer other words of solace.
9  Creation and Performance / Musical Miscellany / Re: Playing cornetto on: Jun 02, 2012, 05:54PM
Three years later, the instrument came in.  I got it maybe a month ago, and have started trying to learn to play it.  I have a couple of other friends, trumpet players (professionals) who also have cornetti and who are interested in getting something going here in Montgomery, so we're planning to get together and learn to play these things.  I'm surprised I've been able to do as much as I have; maybe I can get enough facility to be useful.  Holding the instrument, and covering the holes, is indeed a huge problem, but practice is helping.

Every time I contemplate starting up a new or semi-new instrument, like cornetto, or alto trombone, or bass sackbut, I think of Norm Rowe.  You were an inspiration, Norm.  Ave Atque Vale.
10  Teaching & Learning / Schools, Colleges and Conservatories / Re: Gordon College? on: May 26, 2012, 05:03PM
I used to work with a member of the faculty there (chorus/voice), and I've sung in a joint concert with their chorus.  They do have a good music program.  Do be aware that it is a Christian college, with a strong religious focus that I believe also pervades their music program.

Undergrad music program description:
Quote
The Department of Music at Gordon College develops your ability to understand Western art music within a cultural, historical and Christian context, and to perform this music with artistry and aesthetic judgment. Our approach prepares graduates for careers as performers, teachers, conductors, and composers throughout the United States and around the world.

Whether you aspire to the concert hall or the classroom, the studio or theatre, the Gordon College Department of Music is equipped to train you for a life in professional music. While you are receiving conservatory-level training in music, you will also study with highly qualified faculty in biblical studies, science, English and foreign languages, and other liberal arts offerings, moving you toward academic and musical excellence.

So, if that's what you want, great.
11  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Bunker 2012 on: Jan 19, 2012, 02:43PM
Heather, send him a PM and tell him to get his ass back over here! Good!

She did so.  Sorry, I haven't been around much.
12  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion - good or bad? on: Jan 18, 2012, 07:55AM
Atheism 6.2
13  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Atheism; Good or Bad on: Dec 20, 2011, 11:54AM
Atheism/lawsuit threat/anti Christmas?
I see no mention of atheists or lawsuits in this article.
14  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Religion - good or bad? on: Dec 12, 2011, 09:40AM
The myth that religion is more about practice than belief

Quote
...
So what is the headline finding? It is that whatever some might say about religion being more about practice than belief, more praxis than dogma, more about the moral insight of mythos than the factual claims of logos, the vast majority of churchgoing Christians appear to believe orthodox doctrine at pretty much face value. They believe that Jesus is divine, not simply an exceptional human being; that his resurrection was a real, bodily one; that he performed miracles no human being ever could; that he needed to die on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven; and that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. On many of these issues, a significant minority are uncertain but in all cases it is only a small minority who actively disagree, or even just tend to disagree. As for the main reason they go to church, it is not for reflection, spiritual guidance or to be part of a community, but overwhelmingly in order to worship God.

This is, I think, a firm riposte to those who dismiss atheists, especially the "new" variety, as being fixated on the literal beliefs associated with religion rather than ethos or practice. It suggests that they are not attacking straw men when they criticise religion for promoting superstitious and supernatural beliefs. Yes, I know you can define "supernatural" in such a way that turning water into wine isn't supernatural after all, but when atheists use this word, their argument is not based on an unjustified linguistic or metaphysical stipulation. They are simply pointing out that religions maintain that things happen which cannot be explained simply in terms of physical laws and human agency, and on this it appears most churchgoers agree.
...
15  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: How to learn tuba? on: Nov 14, 2011, 09:52AM
BBb requires no transposition skills
If you play euphonium or another Bb valved instrument and read concert pitch parts.  Or if you have absolute pitch and would find it confusing for something other than Bb to come out of the instrument with no valves depressed.

For someone who plays trumpet, for whom written C = open, it seems to me that a C tuba would be a good choice, so as to avoid the need to learn an entirely new set of fingerings.

My son, who has absolute pitch, found it a smooth transition from Bb trumpet (with transposed parts) to Bb euphonium (with concert pitch parts), because the "right" notes came out of the horn for each fingering; he had to re-label them mentally to deal with the notation, but he didn't need to learn a new set of fingering/sound associations.  I don't have absolute pitch, so I don't have any fingering/sound associations, but I used to play trumpet, so I have fingering/note-name associations.  I can play my Eb tuba and pretend an Eb is a C without any cognitive confusion, but I need to learn a new set of fingerings to play Eb as Eb, and I would also need to learn a new set of fingerings if I were playing a Bb instrument.
16  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Acronyms on: Nov 04, 2011, 06:38PM
My favorite acronyms are recursive ones.

There are also embedded acronyms.  The old DEC User's Society had Local User Groups (LUGs) and a coordinating organization called the NLO (National LUG Organization).
17  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Acronyms on: Nov 04, 2011, 07:57AM
There are the brass practice aids, BERP (Buzz Extension Resistance Piece) and FART (Forced Air Resistance Tube).

One of my favorites was the Alpha processor simulator MANNEQUIN (Microcode-Assisted Nearly Nebula Evax QUickly Implemented on Nautilus; half of those words probably only make sense to DECcies).
18  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Bunker 2011 on: Oct 16, 2011, 07:57AM
I have an authentic picture of Adam and Eve.  It's hanging in my living room.  It's a signed, numbered print, so I know it's authentic.  It was made by my cousin, a professional artist.
19  Practice Break / Polls / Re: if you had to give up one on: Oct 05, 2011, 03:14PM
I could very easily give up bacon.  I often reject a restaurant sandwich selection because it has bacon in it.  I like bacon, but only sometimes.
20  Town Hall / Comments and Suggestions / Re: Classifieds server compromised on: Sep 22, 2011, 08:48AM
If I block the classifieds, I'd have to log out and log in again as a guest to browse them.
Or you could unblock the section for a while.
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