Musings

Sometimes I muse.

December 06, 2004

Survey results

A couple of days ago I posted a short survey. This was to use as some anecdotal evidence in a paper for my class on the Doctrine of Revelation. The paper is focused around skeptic David Hume's arguments against miracles occurring, based on the probability of the miracle occuring and the probability that the testimonies given are false. Lots of people have argued about it and the arguments often get into logic and math debates. I argued that people don't think like that at all, so it doesn't matter. This was well-supported by the survey responses I got; mathematical incoherence, misunderstood questions, and difficulty in assigning probabilities were exactly what I wanted :-) If anyone's interested in this more, feel free to email me for a copy of my paper, or whatever. Hume's Abject Failure by Earman was one of my main sources.

Posted by Dave at 10:56 PM | TrackBack

December 01, 2004

An odd request...

I need some participants in an informal survery. Please send me an email with answers to these questions (consider each one seperately):

  • Suppose someone came up to you and said their name was Al Plackman. What percent probablity would you believe that to be true? (you know nothing else about this person).
  • What is the probability that this person's name is actually Al Plackman?
  • What is the probability that he is lying to you about his name?
  • Do you believe Christ was resurrected from the dead?
  • In your own words, why do you believe that?
  • What is the probability of this miracle occurring?
  • What is the probability that the witnesses to the resurrection are decieved or are decieving?

Thanks!!! I'll follow this up later with an explanation of what I'm trying to achieve.

Posted by Dave at 09:06 PM | TrackBack

An odd request...

I need some participants in an informal survery. Please send me an email with answers to these questions (consider each one seperately):

  • Suppose someone came up to you and said their name was Al Plackman. What percent probablity would you believe that to be true? (you know nothing else about this person).
  • What is the probability that this person's name is actually Al Plackman?
  • What is the probability that he is lying to you about his name?
  • Do you believe Christ was resurrected from the dead?
  • In your own words, why do you believe that?
  • What is the probability of this miracle occurring?
  • What is the probability that the witnesses to the resurrection are decieved or are decieving?

Thanks!!! I'll follow this up later with an explanation of what I'm trying to achieve.

Posted by Dave at 09:06 PM | TrackBack

October 04, 2004

nader

A vote for nader is a vote for a multi-party political system, which is quite possibly more valuable than any difference between Bush & Kerry. Why isn't there free competition in politics like there is in business? Can we sue the republican and democratic parties for monopolistic practices?

Posted by Dave at 08:23 PM | TrackBack

August 23, 2004

?

Is it it actually funny when you nearly plow into somebody or do you just laugh to easy the tension?

Posted by Dave at 04:19 PM | TrackBack

April 11, 2004

Happy Easter

Happy Easter, everybody!

Make Satan hate you.

Posted by Dave at 11:51 AM | TrackBack

February 12, 2004

wrapping your head around it

I've almost got my head wrapped all the way around struts. And it hasn't been as painful as it sounds :-)

I've been implementing a webapp in struts for forrestbot (getting paid to work on open source!) and it hasn't always been too straightforward. Learning the big picture of a library or paradigm or pattern can be tough. Everywhere you look there are API references and snippets of code to do specific things, but there's nothing like that for organizing an entire application. Even looking at existing applications doesn't work because few apps are "normal"; they frequently have some oddity which requires a variation from a standard design pattern. And other sample apps (often used in "getting started" articles) are too simplistic. They don't show how you start organizing your files when you have multiple forms and actions, for example.

One way to learn this would be to have a concise but complete overview of the "black box" you are trying to learn. For example we'll continue using struts. It's a library that provides lots of neat stuff beyond the servlet container's capabilites. We'll assume we know how servlet containers work (I don't completely yet, but enough). We have struts-config.xml, tlds, tiles definitions, jsp layouts, resources, classes (actions, forms, models) and jsps using jstl & struts tags. That's a lot. Especially looking at the struts-config it can be confusing to understand what names and references correspond to what other things. There's lots of "connections" that go on behind the scenes (meanging: in the struts library) that are unseen and thus not understood. The overview would literally give you all the different type of inputs and tell you the outputs (how the app works). A simple example (I can't remember the specifics for the rest, like tiles or resources) would be saying that struts-config.xml is specified as the config file in web.xml which is read by the servlet. This is how struts knows how this app is configured. Or another: In struts-config, group several elements that specify what form classes you have. Here you specify various things, like if it is a dynaform or not, and what form fields it will handle. You must specify the form fields or they will not be accessable in your java action and form classes. They're also used for validation (I think).

This is a big form of documentation lacking in current software, libraries, languages, etc.

Posted by Dave at 02:54 PM | TrackBack

January 14, 2004

perspectives on homosexuality and divorce

The Christian perspectives on homosexuality and divorce are not in alignment with scripture. This was inspired by a few sentences in today's January Series about Protestant leadership in America.

Everyone, Christian and not, is up in arms about homosexuality. We've gotten to the point where it has to be accepted in some ways. The debates rage over what those ways are. In the Christian community these include, among others, membership and leadership in a church, and if the homosexuality is accepted as-is or if the homosexual is working to change his life.

Nobody talks about divorce. The public finds it okay, but does value non-divorced families. The church is not much different. Perhaps the community is more dissappointed in that it is happening, but that's about it.

This should not be.

I haven't taken the time to find references, so I will draw from my recollections of the Bible and the brief mentionings of this issue in the talk today. Feel free to dissent with specific examples.

The Bible is not explicitly clear how homosexuals should be treated. Christ says nothing on the topic. No need to delve into various interpretations for this musing.

The Bible gives explicit instructions about divorce.

"I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel (Malachi 2:16a)
In Matthew 5:31-32, Christ says any form of divorce and remarriage (hmm.. what about just divorce), except in the case of marital unfaithfulness is adultery.

We should be ten times more upset about divorces than we are. We know what God thinks about it. We should preach sermons on divorce. We should educate high schoolers about it. Pre-marital counseling with a heavy emphasis on it should be mandatory (I think some churches and/or pastors require this). Those who consider divorce should be counseled (by friends or Christian professionals). Those who do get divorced should be thought of like those who have sex before marriage.

It's adultery.

Posted by Dave at 10:17 PM | TrackBack

January 06, 2004

dodge the bullet

dodge the bullet
time to kill it
wake up and smell the roses
roses are red
from bullet-blood
violets are blue
where are you?
some voice proposes
we both are dead
now drag me through the mud
rinse

Posted by Dave at 09:45 AM | TrackBack

December 17, 2003

perfection

A musing on the failures of perfection. Ah, the irony.

Some things should not be kept perfect. Things that have problems and troubles are improved and made better. If something keeps moving along perfectly, it gets weak and meaningless and when something does go awry it blows up big time and is irrecoverable. Of course sometimes when something goes wrong, you can't work through it and it's ruined. But when you do work through it, you're better and it's better. It's a good thing.

So what do you do when everything's seemingly perfect? Do you create some small problems, to keep everthing in balance, to make sure the whole is working all right and can handle a few problems? That would seem dumb wouldn't it. But if you're confident it can handle a few problems, it would be good to "stress-test" it wouldn't it? Factories do it for products, why shouldn't we do it for less tangible parts of our lives? So we'll do it.

How do we do it? Well most real-life stress tests keep bending one thing until it breaks. Do they have ones that push and prod all sides at once? Perhaps, but the former seems much more common. And certainly more useful as it can be used to measure the durability of the one part. So let's apply this to life. We have to pick one aspect of this "thing" we're testing. I dunno how we'd do that. I guess something not vital, so that when things break, nobody dies or gets permanently damaged. It's gotta be something that'll in the end make the whole better. So then we try to break it. This is the weird part. I would suppose it shouldn't be obvious, otherwise others involved will get suspicious and things might blow up then. (maybe that would be good, though :-)) But if we're not obvious about the problem we're creating, we're being manipulative and secretive. That alone could give us a problem to deal with, but I'm afraid it could be too drastic.

Thus... thus, thus. A bit of a dead end. Taking this into our own hands is far too dangerous. What shall we do then? Pray for a problem? Plant a problem seed and let it do the work? Sit idly by and let this "thing" become a routine, invisibly fragile, unimportant part of us? Maybe so.

Posted by Dave at 08:44 PM | TrackBack