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Protestants, at least, have the idea of the "priesthood of all believers", meaning roughly that each person can have authority in doctrinal matters. So you should listen to your priest, but you don't have to accept that he's correct if God is telling you something different. Thus the billion different protestant denominations.

Protestants if you go back to their roots actually expected you to become an expert in scripture in order to recognize when your "priest" is wrong. But they didn't promote anything goes. It's more that you should learn and be able to apply scripture correctly. This didn't prevent the proliferation of denominations because of course different people would interpret a piece of scripture differently and get really worked up about it.

This is in contrast with Catholicism, where pretty much everything was conducted in Latin rather than local languages; the emphasis on layperson understanding of theology was a direct response to the trend of most followers having zero understanding or ability to understand the scriptures and sermons they were expected to follow.

Of course, this also resulted in the more decentralized power structure relative to Catholicism's. Quite a bit of Protestant philosophy and tendency stems from immediate responses to a perceived-to-be corrupt and exclusive Catholic Church.


The standard keyboard preferences have this option under "modifier keys..." Is this missing some functionality I haven't noticed?

I tried, but that smiling Republican refuses to budge and is creeping me out.

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Rental cars have their own weird tax structure. Lots of areas tax rental cars and hotels because out-of-towners bear the burden. Rental cars in the UK were startlingly cheap when I was there, like 1/3 the price I would expect in the US. And you could rent one with a stick.

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For the really egregious cases, students can, and do, go to the department head or the dean. This usually this results in some sort of review.

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The quote is about a pair of university courses.

Students, and probably just people in general, are really bad at knowing what they have learned.

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Frustratingly, Donald Knuth still uses the bitmap versions; see any of the TAOCP fascicles. I don't mind the appearance that much, but OS X does a terrible job handling files with bitmap fonts.

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This is likely heresy, but the virgin birth is not really central to Christianity. It ties the events of the NT with certain readings of the OT as prophecy. It's part of the Nicene creed, although not the original version. OTOH, short of a Pastwatch type invention, there's absolutely no way to resolve it to anyone's satisfaction.

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There's a nice intro to this type of problem for kids (maybe 2nd grade and up) called "Anno's Hat Tricks".

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Not a robot, but Persi Diaconis (mathematician and magician) built a coin-flipping machine.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1697475

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