Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 8th Jun 2012 23:07 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems Two weeks ago, my grandmother passed away - the last grandparent I had left. As those of you with experience in dealing with deceased family members know, the funeral is only the start; the next part is taking care of the deceased's affairs, which includes going through all their belongings to determine what to do with them. I took care of my grandmother's extensive book collection, and while doing so, I hit something that fascinated me to no end: a six-volume Christian Encyclopaedia from 1956. In it, I found something I just had to share with OSNews.
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Beautiful story!
by Modafinil on Fri 8th Jun 2012 23:32 UTC
Modafinil
Member since:
2012-04-28

Thank you for this wonderful insight into history, it truly is an amazing story.

Please also accept my condolences on the loss of your Grandmother. I myself have only one Grandparent left alive and she is 85 in a couple of weeks.

I hope you don't mind me bringing my religion into this comment when I say inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi wa rajioon (To God alone do we belong and to Him shall we surely return).

May your Grandma forever rest in eternal peace.

Edited 2012-06-08 23:32 UTC

Reply Score: 6

interesting look back
by jessesmith on Sat 9th Jun 2012 01:25 UTC
jessesmith
Member since:
2010-03-11

I am very sorry for your loss.

This is an article I enjoyed a lot for the history in it. I too used to have a copy of Encyclopedias from about that time (my father's set). It was interesting to look through them and see things which had changed (space race, computers, maps) and things which had remained largely the same biology, chemistry, older history.

If I may, I found the comments on science vs religion interesting, though I think I'm less surprised about the books having accurate scientific information. From what I'm seen fundamentalist dogma seems to be more wide spread and more aggressive now than it was 50 or 100 years ago. Back then I don't think there was nearly the perceived divide between faith and science that we have now.

Thanks for an interesting and personal article.

Reply Score: 3

RE: interesting look back
by ARUmar on Sat 9th Jun 2012 18:53 UTC in reply to "interesting look back"
ARUmar Member since:
2009-10-08

I concur , i think its more of a matter of the writers of the encyclopedia having the notion of `belief through knowledge` as opposed to `knowledge through belief` its fine and all to have faith in religion as long as its based on knowledge (facts and proof rather than superstition)

Reply Score: 1

Very fascinating
by jweinraub on Sat 9th Jun 2012 02:46 UTC
jweinraub
Member since:
2009-06-22

First, I send you my condolences. While I still have two grandmothers, my mom's father passed when she was only 6, so alas, I never met him. So my first death in family happened recently when my dad's father passed. It was difficult, and still difficult my dad's mother, and it has been over seven years (though they were married for 60 years).

But I digress, I am very surprised how opened minded a 1950s religious encyclopedia would had been. I assume this was a Dutch original (opposed to a translation from somewhere else)? Perhaps the 50s for all their backwards thinking with gender roles, at least in the States, I wonder how different it would had been elsewhere. I daresay, the 1960s counter culture was completely and perhaps non existent in a lot of areas in the world.

Thank you for sharing.

Reply Score: 1

Requiescat in pace, Dr. van Riesen
by gus3 on Sat 9th Jun 2012 03:09 UTC
gus3
Member since:
2010-09-02

Thom, he may have had children, and perhaps even grandchildren. It wouldn't be out of the ordinary to contact them and find out how dr. van Riesen found harmony between his faith and his long-range views on technology, and how well he communicated that harmony to his family.

(And if you do find them, and they agree to talk to you about their father/grandfather, a follow-up here would be aces!)

Reply Score: 4

Interesting
by error32 on Sat 9th Jun 2012 03:45 UTC
error32
Member since:
2008-12-10

First of all, my sincere condolances.

Second, is it possible for you to scan this and put it online somewhere? I am interested to read it in Dutch.

Reply Score: 1

Sorry for the religious discussion
by 3rdalbum on Sat 9th Jun 2012 04:40 UTC
3rdalbum
Member since:
2008-05-26

A quick disclaimer: I'm an ex-Christian, with a partner who is Christian.

Mostly in America, but partly in other countries, are groups of people who I call "New Jews". They claim to be Catholics or Baptists or other sorts of Christians but they seem to completely miss the message.

There's a passage in the New Testament where the character of Jesus basically says that he's wiping away all the laws and teachings of the past, and replacing them with one: "Love one another as the Lord loves you".

All through the New Testament are references to God loving everybody, and being an object of love rather than an object of fear.

The New Jews miss this entirely. They use God as an excuse to say "We're loved, and you are hated". They miss the sentiment that "Love one another" is the only rule, and instead they backtrack to the Old Testament's laws that no longer matter in the Christian world.

That's why I call them New Jews - they believe in the existence of Christ, and call themselves Christians, but prefer to ignore his teachings in favour of the old Jewish teachings and rules. New Jews "fear God", Christians love God. New Jews say "God hates you because you are X", Christians say "God loves you no matter who you are".

It's little surprise to me that your Christian Encyclopedia from 1950s Europe is so accepting of evolution. Christianity says that the Old Testament isn't necessarily the truth, or relevant, or important anymore. After the start of more enlightened times, but before the New Jews came along with their firebrand of extremism, Christians were quite accepting of science.

Just to reiterate, though, I'm no longer a Christian (so don't start calling me that!) but I do have a Christian partner who I take to church. I see practical Christianity at work every week, basically.

Reply Score: 4

Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

There's a passage in the New Testament where the character of Jesus basically says that he's wiping away all the laws and teachings of the past, and replacing them with one: "Love one another as the Lord loves you".

There is also a passage where Jesus says he didn't come to abolish any of the rules of the old testament.

You can get anything from the bible if you want to. You should view it as an interesting book that shows a lot of how people throughout the ages thought about things. You should not treat it as an encyclopedia.

Reply Score: 3

3rdalbum Member since:
2008-05-26

You should view it as an interesting book that shows a lot of how people throughout the ages thought about things. You should not treat it as an encyclopedia.


I assume when you say "you", you mean "people". I wanted to clarify yet again that I'm not a Christian, and therefore treat the Bible's contents as being an order of magnitude less reliable than Wikipedia :-)

I don't remember the passage about "I haven't come to abolish the laws of the Old Testament". A bible reference would be handy for me if you have one available.

And again sorry for starting a bit of a religious discussion on OSnews.

To bring things back toward their correct topic, this encyclopedia entry has come at just the right time. I've been re-reading Steven Levy's book "Hackers", the opening part of which is set only a few years after that encyclopedia entry. In the book Hackers there is discussion about chess-playing programs, so it's really quite telling that Chess was singled-out as a very computer-solvable problem, even as some people were claiming that computers would never be able to beat adults.

Reply Score: 3

dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Everything, even code, must be periodically rewritten -reworded- in order to preserve its purpose.

Reply Score: 1

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Jesus said he "came not to abolish the law, but to fulfil it" (Mat5:17); in a sense the old law lead up to the new law. The purpose of the old law was to prepare the Jews for Christ, whom they rejected. No, the old law no longer _applies_ to us, because the Jews at the time had taken the law so far away from it's meaning ("you make the law a burden upon the people") by following the letters and not the meaning. Jesus did away with the law by returning it to it's spirit meaning Mat22:37-40 "...On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets"

The old testament and new testament run in parallels. The first half of the Bible is about the physical, the second half is spiritual. The first half is about what happened to provide examples, the second half is about what sort of person you should be.

Reply Score: 5

skeezix Member since:
2006-02-06

Good response; I like how you framed and the issue.

From a person who tries to be a Christian but often finds himself feeling like he should be a New Jew instead -- not by desire, but by some sort of misplaced sense of obligation.

Reply Score: 1

spudley99 Member since:
2009-03-25

"There's a passage in the New Testament where the character of Jesus basically says that he's wiping away all the laws and teachings of the past, and replacing them with one: "Love one another as the Lord loves you".

There is also a passage where Jesus says he didn't come to abolish any of the rules of the old testament.

You can get anything from the bible if you want to. You should view it as an interesting book that shows a lot of how people throughout the ages thought about things. You should not treat it as an encyclopedia.
"

Uh, the encyclopedia we're talking about is a separate book.

But re the passage you mention: Jesus actually says "I have not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it." This is a very key point for Christians, and basically says what @3rdalbum said which you replied to. You got it wrong because you only quoted half of the sentence.

In these things, context is everything; most of the wacky sects and cults out there start this way by taking a quote from the bible (or wherever) out of context, and making a big thing of it.

Reply Score: 2

neutralTTY Member since:
2012-01-12

Hi (excuse for my poor english).

When you (and people) say "The Christians" or "The New Jews", and after you say things like "They use God as an excuse to say "We're loved, and you are hated". " it's not a problem about the religion or about the faith, but it's a problem about the people (as individual human).

It's like talking about killers (there are christians, muslims, atheists). Or talking about scientifics or inteligents.

There are a film from Bollywood called "My name is Khan" that provides for this situation.

The mother of Khan say him: "There are no *** and no muslims, there only have good people and bad people" (it's not the best film but it's a good one, you can saw that).

So the problem with the human race is when we confuse between honestity (good/bad) with our beliefs (beliefs I'm not refering to religion, like atehists are believers to their belief: no gods) and then we create perjudice to some groups of people.

With religion is the same, you can interpret or misinterpret the same way a mathematician or scientifics interpret or misinterpret theirs formulas. But the misinterpretation don't made us bad or good ones. It's only an individual problem. It's why there can be people that hate other people that don't are like us, because they have a problem perhaps of education, but I think it's not a problem about religion. The same way that a governor (independent about their religion) can make the war to other people even with fake proofs only for personal interests, There can be group of religious people doing the same.




A liked the entry because is talking about the history of the computers with a personal point of view, it was very interesting, and about the 50's!! I don't have anything as old as that to check about computers.

My condolance to yours.

Edited 2012-06-09 08:01 UTC

Reply Score: 1

tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

I think they're sort of the religious equivalent of hipsters - most actual Jewish folks, like my family, moved on from the hateful stuff years ago. What the "New Jews" as you call them don't get, is that the "we are loved and you are hated" message was designed to lift the spirits of a people that was collectively fucked over for millenia. It was never meant to apply to a ruling class.

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

the character of Jesus basically says that he's wiping away all the laws and teachings of the past, and replacing them with one: "Love one another as the Lord loves you".
All through the New Testament are references to God loving everybody, and being an object of love rather than an object of fear. [...] "Love one another" is the only rule [...] "God loves you no matter who you are"

And the very same New Testament introduces hell (where you're sent also for quite petty reasons) - that worst, most terrifying monstrosity ever imagined by humans. Such a nice, loving guy...
(at most it just shows more how hypocritical that particular deity is, on top of being generally evil
http://groups.google.com/group/net.religion/msg/30925fd2c9a20cbd?
http://groups.google.com/group/net.origins/msg/ca73e0fd518a23f8
what kind of deity wouldn't even mention anything about proper hygiene, boiling of water, microscopic pathogens and their implications? NVM no mention of microorganisms in general - the dominating form of life on this planet, by biomass; human body containing an order of magnitude more bacterial cells than human ones)

Christianity says that the Old Testament isn't necessarily the truth, or relevant, or important anymore.

Yet, somehow, large part of weekly church homilies is focused around Old Testament myths, letting them stand on their own...


But overall, yeah, only minority (when counted by the number of adherents, not by group listing no matter how small each is) of Christian sects have some silly prejudices against science (which, BTW, seems to be essentially... blasphemous - since it accuses their deity of lying in holy texts; while via the world, nature around us, it says something quite different)


For example... the Catholic Church (which, while ridiculous in many ways - standing behind BS mythologies not even being nearly the worst - did also greatly contribute to preservation and progress of science; even if with some hiccups along the way), the largest Christian sect (close to half), is quite accommodating to evolution:

http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_jp02tc.htm Truth Cannot Contradict Truth (in context, one of those truths are the conclusions reached by evolutionary theory) Address of Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (quite worthwhile read - though, with 6., they're in for a surprise WRT to modern neuroscience, its tools like fMRI, exploring what "free" will and such mean)

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_document... by International Theological Commission, the body advising the pope - particularly "Adam is the symbol" and whole point 63.

Or the Vatican astronomer, Jesuit George Coyne: "Intelligent design isn't science even though it pretends to be. If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science"


PS. Really, coining such poor taste neologisms like in your post, 3rdalbum, doesn't serve anything.

Edited 2012-06-10 11:57 UTC

Reply Score: 1

3rdalbum Member since:
2008-05-26

PS. Really, coining such poor taste neologisms like in your post, 3rdalbum, doesn't serve anything.


Merely using the word "Jew" is racist, even though I'm using it to describe a set of people whose beliefs seem to be similar to those of Jewish people, except probably a bit more extreme? Wow. I guess I've learnt my lesson.

Otherwise, your post seems a little difficult to follow.

Also, I'll just point out that the concept of "hell" in the Bible is obviously apocryphal and really describes what happened to an infected corpse during one of the Dark Ages or Middle Ages epidemics (was taken outside the city, placed in a large hole and burnt). Any references to hell were added in subsequent centuries. Obviously. As an earlier poster said, you can't treat the Bible as an encyclopedia; that's another difference between reasonable Christians and the New Jews.

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I called it poor taste, not racist - you did the latter. You brought to the forefront what kind of baggage "Jew" has; creating possibly derogatory terms on top of it would be passé by now, I'd think.

It's a matter of one's levels of intercultural sensitivity and intelligence.

Also, I'll just point out that the concept of "hell" in the Bible is obviously apocryphal and really describes what happened to an infected corpse during one of the Dark Ages or Middle Ages epidemics (was taken outside the city, placed in a large hole and burnt). Any references to hell were added in subsequent centuries. Obviously.

Utter nonsense (did you even read the links I threw in?)

New Testament, the times of "loving" Jesus, is when this ultimate threat of violence was introduced; and understood very directly (but then, it's just all silly myths - it's quite clear the early Christians thought the second coming will be during their lives)

Reply Score: 2

saimon69 Member since:
2008-10-26

Maybe you mean "New Pharisees", that might be more appropriate?

Reply Score: 1

David Member since:
1997-10-01

You might want to consider the term "New Parisees."

Reply Score: 1

Dankjewel!
by Lava_Croft on Sat 9th Jun 2012 04:48 UTC
Lava_Croft
Member since:
2006-12-24

Een fijne lees, zo op de zaterdagmorgen. Deze encyclopedie klinkt als mijn grootmoeder!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Dankjewel!
by zima on Sat 9th Jun 2012 06:11 UTC in reply to "Dankjewel!"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

"This encyclopedia sounds like my grandmother!"? Yup, machine (Google) translation still has some room for improvement... ;p (I guess)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Dankjewel!
by MOS6510 on Sat 9th Jun 2012 09:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Dankjewel!"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Well, Google got it right though!

En ik kan het weten.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Dankjewel!
by Neolander on Sat 9th Jun 2012 11:33 UTC in reply to "Dankjewel!"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I wonder, are all Germans able to guess what a Dutch text means and vice versa ? The vocabulary of the two languages looks very similar from a foreigner's point of view...

Edited 2012-06-09 11:38 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Dankjewel!
by reez on Sat 9th Jun 2012 17:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Dankjewel!"
reez Member since:
2006-06-28

I wonder, are all Germans able to guess what a Dutch text means and vice versa ? The vocabulary of the two languages looks very similar from a foreigner's point of view...


German is my native language and while I can indeed understand what most texts mean it is not like I could do that with single words.

A lot of words simply look too similar, but that's also true for most other languages (not in that extend though). A short example. I could also guess the English word hound, because in German it is Hund, but dog doesn't come close to anything I know. Fish and Fisch is another example, where both words are even pronounced in the same way. I think for German speaking people that never learned English Old English (think of Shakespeare) would even be easier to understand, because it's closer to German (English is part of the German language family) and Dutch is even closer.

I can guess a lot of stuff, when I have a longer text and it's a topic that's not too complex, but it's still kinda far from understanding.

Try to read German or Dutch stuff. If you spend a while on a text as an English speaking person you most likely also get a lot of stuff (on the front Page of German Wikipedia for example), even if it's harder than German and Dutch.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Dankjewel!
by Moredhas on Sat 9th Jun 2012 21:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Dankjewel!"
Moredhas Member since:
2008-04-10

As an English speaker, I can get the gist of nearly any European language as I read it (even Greek and Russian, albeit slowly because I have to read different alphabets). I wouldn't be able to construct anything remotely intelligible in any language other than English (or Japanese, but my fluency in that is irrelevant to this), but I can usually, at least, make sense of my Swedish and Dutch friends' statuses on Facebook.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Dankjewel!
by steve_s on Sat 9th Jun 2012 18:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Dankjewel!"
steve_s Member since:
2006-01-16

It's not really too surprising that Dutch and German look similar. Back in the not too distant past there was Low German and High German. These languages changed and evolved and are now known as Dutch and German respectively. There's been sufficient drift now that they are distinct and different languages, but the root is common and there's great similarities.

I don't speak either language, but I studied German for a year at school, and was a founder at an Anglo-Dutch company so, for a few years, I'd regularly visit Amsterdam. (As a Brit, it's really hard to learn any Dutch, since the locals would all reply to any Dutch I spoke in English. I got about as far as ordering beers and food, and counting to ten.) Dutch sounds like a very laid back version of German - about exactly what you'd expect, given the people. :-)

Several of my Dutch colleagues had learnt German, and all said it was very easy for them to learn. A lot of it is just a matter of speaking in a different accent.

Reply Score: 2

Sincerity
by arsa on Sat 9th Jun 2012 07:56 UTC
arsa
Member since:
2009-10-26

Thom, thank you for this article - for being so honest and sincere towards yourself and others. You haven't been like that in some of your previous articles, but noone should blame or condemn anyone. So, I'd say you have gievn a great example here on how one should deal with his/her own being. You've also touched some of your readers and made them move in a similar manner. And finally, this article of yours shows that even when we talk about computers, we're still dealing with human souls :-)

Reply Score: 1

Dictionary entry
by Toonie on Sat 9th Jun 2012 08:58 UTC
Toonie
Member since:
2007-11-19

Ha.. I have an old dictionary at home, and the entry for 'Computer' reads: "One who computes" ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Dictionary entry
by olefiver on Mon 11th Jun 2012 22:16 UTC in reply to "Dictionary entry"
olefiver Member since:
2008-04-04

The word computer has been in use since the 17th or early 18th century, as a word for a person performing mathematical calculations. Mainly used in astronomy, I think.
From the 19th century the role of computer, in astronomy, was often given women, though they (of course, given the time) was paid and credited less than their male scientist counterparts.

above from memory from a Bill Bryson book

Reply Score: 1

You know Thom
by allanregistos on Sat 9th Jun 2012 09:04 UTC
allanregistos
Member since:
2011-02-10

As I was going through her books, I discovered this six-volume set of books, titled 'Christian Encyclopaedia', from 1956. Considering its title and year of publication, my prejudice took over and I assumed it'd just be lots of talk about Christianity's history, with science taking a back seat as soon as it contradicted with religion.


You know Thom, I just want you to have a quick lesson on theology and try to read historical proof how Christianity contributed to Science, instead of stereotyping them all because you've heard a priest raping a child, or Creationists tried to demolish evolution in schools. Christianity is more complex than that, you know, religion is not really the cause of all these conflicts, but basically the "HUMAN" behavior, and please do check your behaviour when talking to Christians.

It is very unfortunate that these days most of the anti-Christianity talks happened to be from uninformed people who knew nothing of Christian history whatsoever and judge Christians based on their prejudices. Christianity is more complex than that, and it takes a serious heart for anyone to know exactly "WHAT HAPPENED" in the past with regards to religion, conflict, sexuality etc.

Edited 2012-06-09 09:09 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: You know Thom
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 9th Jun 2012 09:34 UTC in reply to "You know Thom"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Being wary of the *scientific* validity of a Reformed Christian Encyclopaedia from 1956 is a very sane approach.

Please do not take me for some anti-religion fool. In fact, I have no issues with religion at all - if people find aide and support with religion, then more power to them. I honestly don't care. In fact, I dislike being called an atheist because atheism has become quite militant and poisonous since the rise of the web.

I have spent a considerable amount of time studying the world's religions, and I probably know more about each of them than many of their followers do, so please don't get so defense just because I displayed a proper and healthy dose of skepticism - skepticism that I was taught to display by my *Christian* university, I might add.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: You know Thom
by M.Onty on Sat 9th Jun 2012 12:34 UTC in reply to "RE: You know Thom"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

In fact, I dislike being called an atheist because atheism has become quite militant and poisonous since the rise of the web.


There's a handy neologism to distinguish plain old atheism from that newer, more aggressive strain of atheism; New Atheism. The New Atheists (Dawkins, the late Hitchens &c.) consider religion as something virulent which needs to be combated whereever it is observed to exist; in someone else's mind, for example. An exact parallel is conservative and Neo-Con. The former is essentially personal, the latter is essentially aggressive.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: You know Thom
by zima on Fri 15th Jun 2012 23:38 UTC in reply to "RE: You know Thom"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

In fact, I have no issues with religion at all - if people find aide and support with religion, then more power to them. I honestly don't care.

Too bad it often goes beyond "internal" - maybe not in the NL, you probably didn't experience it much. Might be not so in a place considerably less irreligious (say, in one of the few staunch EU holdouts), with considerably less respect for what's different. Might destroy lives, and more or less in the name of "good"...

In fact, I dislike being called an atheist because atheism has become quite militant and poisonous since the rise of the web.

"Post-theism" seems a rather nice, accurate, and not loaded term (at least for now). Also including post-Christian, which we undoubtedly are (cultural heritage, and all). Appears to be quite popular approach in Czech Republic or former East Germany - ~"we just don't care about this stuff much any longer".
Of course, as every post-smth, it sounds a bit silly, so whatever.


As for "Christian" in publications, there's also Christian Science Monitor (and that's "even" US-based ;p ) - from what little contact I had with it (its webpage), seems quite fine and dependable. WRT to some article bits...

My father (it was his mother who passed away) remembered how he used to browse through this encyclopaedia for hours on end

Uh, a victim of analogue Wiki effect ...like me with A-Z Encyclopaedia that I mentioned nearby (well, plus it was quite useful in school)

Human language, on the other hand, has an infinite number of "nuances", and as such, a "translation computer will never be able to give a sufficiently satisfying solution". Since I make my living translating texts, I can certainly attest to this very fact.

Though "never" seems a bit too strong word there (as you say, "the other remains highly elusive to this very day, and most likely will remain so for a long time to come") - but then, to how advanced machines we would still apply the "computer" description?
Also, I must note how misunderstandings between people are quite common... (BTW I think that Turing test should involve people in situations where they don't know they are being tested)
And maybe it's worth trying to contact some close academic descendants, proteges of the author.

I hope your grandmother had a good life ...and death. I think she will live on more than most, for example via this OSNews article (I wonder if she knew about the site, what was she thinking of it)

Reply Score: 2

RE: You know Thom
by zima on Fri 15th Jun 2012 23:59 UTC in reply to "You know Thom"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

religion is not really the cause of all these conflicts, but basically the "HUMAN" behavior

And of course, not surprising to see this one...

It's really hilarious-sad-telling-scary that you are able to see ~"religion good, bad is from human nature" as a remotely valid argument ...while your own mythology says that the omniscient deity made us that way.

And, silly mythologies aside, religions are at least among most (if not the most) long-lasting and influential social structures, it's ridiculous to claim they didn't greatly influence us in all ways and directions - not only "they bring out the good in us - the rest is just human nature"

Edited 2012-06-16 00:01 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Beautiful posting
by sydbarrett74 on Sat 9th Jun 2012 09:41 UTC
sydbarrett74
Member since:
2007-07-24

Thom,

That was a beautiful and touching eulogy and benediction for your grandmother. My condolences and thoughts are with you (I also have lost all four of my grandparents). Thank you for posting something so personal, yet at the same time universally applicable.

Reply Score: 1

HarmHilvers
Member since:
2010-12-29

Thom, although Van Riesen may have been dead for some years now, Reformational Philosophy and its critical thinking about technology did not stop when he died. For example, if you look up the book "Denken, ontwerpen, maken" ("Thinking, designing, creating") by Verkerk, Van der Stoep, Hoogland and De Vries you will find that his thinking is still fresh and – even better – still being renewed.

And of course, my sincere condoleances to you and your family.

Reply Score: 2

Thank you all
by Sodki on Sat 9th Jun 2012 12:23 UTC
Sodki
Member since:
2005-11-10

I must make a few comments:

1) Thank you Thom, for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I feel for your loss, since all my grandparents are also gone, but on the other hand I still have some of my wife's grandparents to talk to. I like to know how things came to be and so talking with someone who has been there before can be a great experience.

2) Thank you OSNews readers. Even when talking about religion the discussion is still civilized. This is still my favourite tech-related website by a long shot.

Reply Score: 6

Comment by Anonymous Penguin
by Anonymous Penguin on Sat 9th Jun 2012 14:45 UTC
Anonymous Penguin
Member since:
2005-07-06

Very nice article Thom ;)
My mother has a more recent and large encyclopaedia, probably printed in sixties or in the early seventies. Tonight when I go for dinner with her I'll have a look.

Edited 2012-06-09 14:54 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Great Article
by weebnuts on Sat 9th Jun 2012 15:55 UTC
weebnuts
Member since:
2011-05-11

Thanks for sharing.

Reply Score: 1

Comment on Religion and Evolution
by reez on Sat 9th Jun 2012 17:13 UTC
reez
Member since:
2006-06-28

I looked up "Evolution", and to my surprise, I was completely and utterly wrong - the topic was described in great scientific detail, explaining how evolution works, who contributed to the subject, and some of the aspects of it that still required further study because scientists didn't yet understand them fully (we're talking 1956, after all). No dogmas, no ridicule, no disparaging words or other forms of negativity. In fact, it could've come from any strictly secular science book and it'd be perfectly acceptable.


Well all this science vs religion nonsense is a new thing. Gregor Mendel for example was monk and even though we Charles Darwin is the father of the evolution theory Mendel discovered how inheritance works and described it in great detail.

People somehow started to mix up science with believe. There are a lot of scientists that are theist, the Vatican even has their own observatory and they add a lot to science.

One also shouldn't mix up Christianity with Creationism. There are a lot things that go wrong with church and I don't believe in a god either, but saying that someone who does isn't able to do science is just completely wrong.

It even goes further than that. Saying there is no god without proving it is from a scientific point of view just as wrong as stating their is one without proving it.

Also people, scientist, priest or both are in general wrong about most of the stuff they find out, even if they consider them proven.

Basing your moral decision on any of these, at least for me doesn't sound rational (if moral decisions can be rational at all).


Nevertheless. Great article!
(and sorry about your loss)

Reply Score: 3

Modafinil Member since:
2012-04-28

Well all this science vs religion nonsense is a new thing. Gregor Mendel for example was monk and even though we Charles Darwin is the father of the evolution theory Mendel discovered how inheritance works and described it in great detail.


~700 years prior to Mendel: http://www.osnews.com/thread?521459

Reply Score: 1

reez Member since:
2006-06-28

"Well all this science vs religion nonsense is a new thing. Gregor Mendel for example was monk and even though we Charles Darwin is the father of the evolution theory Mendel discovered how inheritance works and described it in great detail.


~700 years prior to Mendel: http://www.osnews.com/thread?521459
"
Nice example. Thanks!

And also think that for most of the time monks were the scientists. They were the ones able to read, the ones that cared about books, had libraries and even did math.

Philosophy and I am not talking about the "moral of the bible" (if you can call it like that) is also something that's heavily related to religious people in past time. There were witch burnings and book burnings (even though they cared for libraries) and lots of bad things, but these were things that usually have been done by people that had a grief for power and not by monks for example. One simply has to distinguish between believers and people that are like (or even are) populist and corrupt politicians. Acting like every priest is a rapist, hates women/homosexuals and just is out for the money is like saying every German is a Nazi, every mathematician is a pale, emotionless, asocial outsider, every American is gun fanatic, arch conservative, war loving capitalist with tons of American flags or every black person is a drug dealer. It's simply far from true.

What's really bad, no matter what is when people blindly follow someone. That does never work out in a good way, but happens everywhere. Religion caused people to do the right thing just like it caused people to do the exact opposite. I mean there are people questioning the church (which also isn't that big evil thing), because they actually read the bible and thought about their religion. People did a lot of stupid things in the name of freedom, democracy and many other things, but hey that's what people sometimes to. Doing shit and learning from it is what brought us this far and it's what scientific research is mostly based on.

Oh and if someone is wrong it doesn't mean you are right. Maybe it's also just becoming aware of being wrong most of the time. At least I am, so please folks don't burn me if I am again. ;)

Reply Score: 2

Sodki Member since:
2005-11-10

I liked your post, but have two comments to make:

Well all this science vs religion nonsense is a new thing.


The truth is it's all about power and depends on who's in charge at the time. The catholic church, for example, has fought science many times in the past, but has supported it many times as well. Like you said, many scientists were people of the church. Most of the problems arise when science claims that something that the church has been telling for centuries is wrong. The aftermath depends on those in power.

It even goes further than that. Saying there is no god without proving it is from a scientific point of view just as wrong as stating their is one without proving it.


Not really. The burden of proof lies with those that claim that god exists. Non believers don't really have to prove anything since, by default, god doesn't exist, just like the flying spaghetti monster.

Reply Score: 2

tanishaj Member since:
2010-12-22


Not really. The burden of proof lies with those that claim that god exists. Non believers don't really have to prove anything since, by default, god doesn't exist, just like the flying spaghetti monster.


I find this argument very counter-scientific.

If you say God exists but provide no supporting evidence, I am scientifically entitled to be unconvinced.

If you say God does not exist, but provide no evidence, I am scientifically entitled to ignore you.

The burden of proof lies with anyone claiming specific knowledge. The default position should be neutrality (ie. we do not know).

Think of the world before the discovery of the Americas. Were the people who said there was nothing west of Europe correct by default? No. The only sensible scientific position was that it was not something that had been demonstrated either way through direct experience. In that case, it turns out that the people that believed that nothing was out there were wrong. But neither position was "correct" scientifically speaking.

Now, many people probably "believed" something about what was out there. My own feeling is that this is fine until science has something to say about it.

The history of science is full of scientistists that strongly believed things later shown to be false. Einstein for example believed that the universe was static (not expanding) and that quantum theory was wrong (God does not play dice with the universe). These were philosophical positions which were perfectly fine, right up until science proved him wrong.

Science dictates what you should believe AFTER the evidence has been presented. It provides no real guidance before then.

Reply Score: 2

rr7.num7 Member since:
2010-04-30

I find this argument very counter-scientific.

If you say God exists but provide no supporting evidence, I am scientifically entitled to be unconvinced.

If you say God does not exist, but provide no evidence, I am scientifically entitled to ignore you.


It is not. Science works that way. You may find that unconvincing, but that doesn't make it counter-scientific. Would you say that pink unicorns exist? If not, can you demonstrate that they do not exist? I doubt it, but still, the only valid (from a scientific point of view) stance would be to assume they don't exist, because there's no evidence supporting their existence. I think you would find it very, very hard to find a scientist who thinks otherwise.

Edit: typos.

Edited 2012-06-10 05:32 UTC

Reply Score: 1

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

"
Not really. The burden of proof lies with those that claim that god exists. Non believers don't really have to prove anything since, by default, god doesn't exist, just like the flying spaghetti monster.


I find this argument very counter-scientific.

If you say God exists but provide no supporting evidence, I am scientifically entitled to be unconvinced.

If you say God does not exist, but provide no evidence, I am scientifically entitled to ignore you.

The burden of proof lies with anyone claiming specific knowledge. The default position should be neutrality (ie. we do not know).
"

While I agree with your points, they don't really contradict what Sodki wrote. "Non believer" doesn't automatically mean someone who holds a positive belief that God (or gods) doesn't exist; an active belief that something does/doesn't exist is not the same as an absence of belief that something does exist.

My impression is that Sodki was referring to the latter position - which would also be a position consistent with the null hypothesis: claims unaccompanied by evidence are assumed to be false.

Reply Score: 2

frajo Member since:
2007-06-29

Not really. The burden of proof lies with those that claim that god exists. Non believers don't really have to prove anything since, by default, god doesn't exist, just like the flying spaghetti monster.

Communicable knowledge has been found to come in two flavours: One flavour is knowledge that is not falsifiable and the other one is falsifiable. The latter one is called science.

The statement "god exists" is not falsifiable.
The statement "god doesn't exist" is not falsifiable.

We call people who are aware of these facts "agnostics". It's a matter of knowing the limits of one's knowledge.

Reply Score: 1

Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

So, are you "agnostic" on the existence of the flying spaghetti monster?

Are you "agnostic" on the invisible pink unicorn?

Are you "agnostic" on the presence or absence of a teapot orbiting between Earth and Mars, too small to be seen by the most powerful telescope?

Are you "agnostic" on the tooth fairy and Santa Claus?

Do you really believe those are open questions, and if you encountered somebody who would genuinely believe any of those thing, you would just say "yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man".

Reply Score: 2

frajo Member since:
2007-06-29

So, are you "agnostic" on the existence of the flying spaghetti monster?
...

Yes, of course. I cannot prove or disprove its existence. Moreover, I don't care as it has no significance for me.
However, I don't believe in its physical existence. That's my belief and I'm entitled to it.
Otoh, I believe in its psychical existence. It's certainly somewhere in your head.

Do you really believe those are open questions, and if you encountered somebody who would genuinely believe any of those thing, you would just say "yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man".

Of course. Everybody is entitled to create unfalsifiable knowledge in his head.
As long as he's not trying to impose his fiction on me it's ok.

Reply Score: 1

james_parker Member since:
2005-06-29


The statement "god exists" is not falsifiable.
The statement "god doesn't exist" is not falsifiable.


These statements strike me as too strong; rather I would suggest, "I do not know the statement 'god exists' to be falsifiable", and "I do not know the statement 'god doesn't exist' to be falsifiable".

Reply Score: 2

frajo Member since:
2007-06-29

"
The statement "god exists" is not falsifiable.
The statement "god doesn't exist" is not falsifiable.


These statements strike me as too strong; rather I would suggest, "I do not know the statement 'god exists' to be falsifiable", and "I do not know the statement 'god doesn't exist' to be falsifiable".
"

But the statement
A: "God exists"
is not of the same quality as the statement
A': "The statement 'God exists' is not falsifiable".

This is so because A' is certainly falsifiable.
You just have to prove that A is falsifiable in order to falsify A'.

The same holds true for the statements
B: "God doesn't exist"
and
B': "The statement 'God doesn't exist' is not falsifiable".
B' is certainly falsifiable as it suffices to show that B is falsifiable.

Therefore, my statements (A' and B') are of scientific nature (as they are falsifiable)
while the statements A and B have to be regarded unfalsifiable, i.e. unscientific, until the day someone shows their falsifiability.

Reply Score: 1

james_parker Member since:
2005-06-29

"[q]
The statement "god exists" is not falsifiable.
The statement "god doesn't exist" is not falsifiable.


These statements strike me as too strong; rather I would suggest, "I do not know the statement 'god exists' to be falsifiable", and "I do not know the statement 'god doesn't exist' to be falsifiable".
"

But the statement
A: "God exists"
is not of the same quality as the statement
A': "The statement 'God exists' is not falsifiable".

This is so because A' is certainly falsifiable.
You just have to prove that A is falsifiable in order to falsify A'.
[/q]

I see no convincing evidence that A' is falsifiable; please demonstrate this.

Reply Score: 2

Evolution
by Modafinil on Sat 9th Jun 2012 17:31 UTC
Modafinil
Member since:
2012-04-28

I looked up "Evolution", and to my surprise, I was completely and utterly wrong - the topic was described in great scientific detail, explaining how evolution works, who contributed to the subject, and some of the aspects of it that still required further study because scientists didn't yet understand them fully (we're talking 1956, after all). No dogmas, no ridicule, no disparaging words or other forms of negativity. In fact, it could've come from any strictly secular science book and it'd be perfectly acceptable.


Evolution was first documented by the great Shia Muslim scholar Nasir al-Din al-Tusi in his book "Akhlaq-e Nasri" 700 years before Darwin "discovered" it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasir_al-Din_al-Tusi#Biology

Reply Score: 1

RE: Evolution
by rr7.num7 on Sun 10th Jun 2012 06:08 UTC in reply to "Evolution"
rr7.num7 Member since:
2010-04-30

But who ever said Darwin "discovered" evolution? What he did is, he proposed a scientific theory of evolution, which is a very different thing.

Reply Score: 2

Thanks for sharing, Tom. :)
by dionicio on Sat 9th Jun 2012 18:02 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

My first computing marvel was an Olivetti adding machine..

http://www.flickr.com/photos/anachrocomputer/2185540870/

Reply Score: 1

Religion
by twitterfire on Sat 9th Jun 2012 18:46 UTC
twitterfire
Member since:
2008-09-11

Thom, I want to offer my sincere condolences on your recent loss. However you can hardly consider someone orthodox unless he or she isn't orthodox.

Reformed is reformed. By stretching your imagination you can consider the Catholic Church as being somehow orthodox.

But as any informed man knows, only the Orthodox Church is orthodox, hence the name.

You can't be "reformed" or "protestant" and orthodox same time.

It's the same in all religions, there are orthodox christians and reformed christians, there are orthodox jews and reformed jews, there are orthodox buddhists and reformed buddhists, there are reformed muslims and orthodox muslims.

Again, I'm deeply sorry for your loss and I'm sorry to bring this issue up.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Religion
by Radio on Mon 11th Jun 2012 12:58 UTC in reply to "Religion"
Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

Of course you can be an "orthodox reformist". Just stick to one strain of reformism.

Or it is just one of those funny, wasted-irony examples of two antagonists concepts mixed together, like the "Institutional Revolutionary Party" of Mexico.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Religion
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 11th Jun 2012 13:01 UTC in reply to "Religion"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Orthodox means you hold very steadfast to a set of rules and regulations and do no waiver from them, even in the light of a changing world. There's a clear difference between the Orthodox Church and an orthodox church.

Reply Score: 1

Thanks
by steve_s on Sat 9th Jun 2012 19:06 UTC
steve_s
Member since:
2006-01-16

Thanks for the article Thom.

For me it was a tangential reminder of a time when I was frequently visiting the head office of a former company I'd co-founded in Amsterdam. A reminder of the Dutch people and spirit.

You, sir, are a credit to your grandparents.

Reply Score: 2

Ha ha
by twitterfire on Sat 9th Jun 2012 19:20 UTC
twitterfire
Member since:
2008-09-11

I wonder: if God wrote us and out Universe as some programs or some software simulations to run on some computer, how does the hardware looks like and what programming language did he use? I hope for our good that he used some compiled language like C/C++. Maybe he implemented some garbage collection like in C#/Java and called it Hell ? Heaven being some double linked lists kept in memory. ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Ha ha
by Sodki on Sat 9th Jun 2012 19:45 UTC in reply to "Ha ha"
Sodki Member since:
2005-11-10

I wonder: if God wrote us and out Universe as some programs or some software simulations to run on some computer, how does the hardware looks like and what programming language did he use? I hope for our good that he used some compiled language like C/C++. Maybe he implemented some garbage collection like in C#/Java and called it Hell ? Heaven being some double linked lists kept in memory. ;)


Of course everyone knows he wrote is all in Lisp: http://www.gnu.org/fun/jokes/eternal-flame.html

Reply Score: 4

Actually making computing safer
by Christenson on Sun 10th Jun 2012 02:46 UTC
Christenson
Member since:
2012-06-10

Wonderful article, I got here from groklaw.net. I'm in the agnostic camp (the answer is unknown, no good way to create evidence in either direction). The question of God seems orthogonal to science, especially since under the virtualisation layer, anything can happen to the hosted OS/world.

I'm looking at Stuxnet, Flame, etc, and thinking about some new and not so new ways to secure an OS, and make programs running on it safe in the sense you would want a personal secretary to be safe -- you have a high level understanding of the boundaries and meaningful enforcement.

To me, the crux of the problem is that even with open source software, there are simply too many lines to inspect for lots of problems.

I need to find a spot where lots of people are interested in this sort of thing, as I work in this cave where my co-worker did not recognise something wrong when a minimum was smaller than a maximum, making it very difficult to find the energy to program outside of work.

Reply Score: 1

Such..
by gonzo on Sun 10th Jun 2012 03:19 UTC
gonzo
Member since:
2005-11-10

..a good story. Sorry to hear about your grandmother.

Reply Score: 2

...
by moondevil on Sun 10th Jun 2012 07:31 UTC
moondevil
Member since:
2005-07-08

My condolences Tom.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Antithesis
by Antithesis on Sun 10th Jun 2012 08:08 UTC
Antithesis
Member since:
2012-06-10

Ik wist niet dat het eerst 'rekenautomaat' heette. Overigens interessant: de Bond Tegen Leenwoorden wil het woord 'computer' vervangen met 'rekentuig'.

Reply Score: 1

Communist perspective ;>
by zima on Sun 10th Jun 2012 08:52 UTC
zima
Member since:
2005-07-06

So, I dug out my A-Z Popular Encyclopaedia PWN ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Scientific_Publishers_PWN ), published in 1966 in People's Republic of Poland (almost identical to 1964 edition, just update of world affairs, then-current political history, biographies; supposedly also very close to 1962 edition) - since Thom's article gave some attention to the ideological background of his Christian Encyclopaedia, I thought it might be curious to compare a publication from supposedly opposite side.

Though note they're not directly comparable - mine is a rather small book. Not exactly pocketable, but - being only slightly larger than A6, ~26000 entries at ~1250 pages of fine paper - definitely portable. Its foreword says it's basically an "encyclopaedic dictionary" - concise information, for stuff you might stumble in magazines, daily newspapers, books. Quite practical - for example, I stumbled on a table of recommended contents in household first aid kit, quantities and usages ...though perhaps that's also risky: http://kyon.pl/img/3899,strip,lol,wikipedia,.html ;P
(I do have larger, four tome PWN encyclopaedia - but 80s edition, so too many years apart)


Looking up entry for "computer" ...nothing. "Calculating machine" (the nearest translation of a bit general, a bit archaic Polish term - I will be doing so further on, even if something doesn't sound quite right in EN) - no.
"Calculator"? ...no. "Adder"? (the drums stuff, with hand crank - I have one, BTW) ...no.

Maybe some early and widely known specific machine, then? ENIAC - yes!

ENIAC name abbreviation of one of electron ->mat. apparatuses of USA; execution time of two 10-digit numbers multiplication is few thousandths of a second

(that's right, it uses adjective which comes more directly from "electron" than from "electronic" - while the field of "electronics" does have its entry)

So... "mathematical apparatus" - wonderfully quaint:

mathematical apparatuses, popularly called electron brains, complicated electron devices to perform various arithmetic operations, and also to solve many special mathematical problems; perform from few to dozen thous. operations per s; one of first m.a. was ->ENIAC (USA, 1945), among newer UNIVAC (USA), Ferranti (G. Britain), BESM (USSR)

(preserving shortened forms to give you an idea about length limits)


And that's pretty much it. No entry for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odra_(computer) ...it doesn't even have "Enigma" (no early "zero gen" computers of sorts such as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bomba_(cryptography) - but I think they, and the breaking of Enigma itself, were still classified in those times, so that surplus Enigmas could be sold to many smaller countries under the guise of unbreakability, with their messages subsequently routinely decrypted by the seller; NVM Z3 of Konrad Zuse - which probably wouldn't be mentioned, even if known, just for being German)


WRT to the other topic addressed: "evolution" - a fine (if short, as is typical in this encyclopaedia) entry. No "Lysenkoism" - there is just entry for Lysenko ...deficient one, only a basic biography (at least this charlatanry was put to rest already by then, if not yet openly criticised; maybe shamefully omitted). "Creationism" - factual outline, though maybe slightly too optimistic with "prevailed until the emergence of evolutionary theories".


And now, the "fun" part of entries likely really embroiled in that opposite side Cold War thing.

"NATO" - history and its role essentially neutral ("central link in the system of military blocs organised by western powers after WW II, aimed against socialist states" was kinda the idea, right?) - but then a curious focus on West Germany: "with the increase of FRG armed forces her position is strengthened, and aspirations increase in NATO high command" (yeah... IIRC there was back then a talk about ex-Nazis taking over FRG and NATO in general)
"EURATOM", "European Free Trade Association", "European Coal and Steel Community" - neutral.
"European Council" - would be factual, if not for "NATO's outhouse" ;p
"European Economic Community" - "separatist economic organization" ...WTH?!

"Stalin" - neutral historical outline and a short critique of personality cult, its negative effects, "breaking of socialist law and order"; well, just the official Party line.
"Lyndon Johnson" (then US president) - neutral very short entry.
"Kennedy" - seems... sympathetic: "supporter of peaceful solutions to contentious internat. issues, opponent of racial discrimination of Negroes; murdered" (probably closest EN word to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murzyn racial description)

"Capitalism" - well, no surprises here, it quotes Karl Marx more or less, within the confines of very limited space.

"censorship" - 100% neutral ...too neutral ;p
"Orwell" ...no entry.
"Gulag" - no. "KGB" - nope. "NKVD" - just ~historical notes.

Too bad I don't know Russian, the Great Soviet Encyclopaedia could be... curious, and at least the main library in my city certainly still has one (basically compulsory back then; I saw it recently, hidden on a back shelf of one very small library). One volume for each letter.
There is an EN translation, but searching in it for "computer" in Google Books seems to give poor results. But I found two applicable entries in 3rd edition, 1969–1978 (found nothing really in 2nd, 50-58, you can give it a go: http://bse2.ru/index.jsp ):
http://bse.sci-lib.com/article063608.html
http://bse.sci-lib.com/article007582.html
...still relatively large portion dedicated to analogue computers.

Edited 2012-06-10 09:00 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Your best homage
by isaba on Sun 10th Jun 2012 10:04 UTC
isaba
Member since:
2006-12-30

It is a fascinating article, both historical and personally. In style and perspective.

Congratulations for having had a grandmother like her. My sincere condolences to the whole family.

Edited 2012-06-10 10:05 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Condolences
by siraf72 on Sun 10th Jun 2012 11:58 UTC
siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

My condolences to you and your family. May she rest in peace.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by drcouzelis
by drcouzelis on Mon 11th Jun 2012 12:52 UTC
drcouzelis
Member since:
2010-01-11

I will now refer to a computer as a "wreckin' machine", and if anyone gives me a strange look I'll tell them it's Dutch for "computer".

Reply Score: 2