CalvinSays t1_jefvpph wrote

Generally, school prestige is a holdover from way back then. A little bit of private school elitism. A little bit of education not being as standardized. Harvard, Yale, etc cemented their reputation as Hugh class institutions long before college became widely available.

At a practical level, the math you learn at your state university is the same as at Harvard. The value of a high class institution is not necessarily in the actual education.

As prestigious universities, their degrees carry weight and they also have lots of connections. As the adage goes, it's not just what you know, it's who you know. So prestigious universities open more doors simply because they have better connections.

In terms of education, it is true that prestigious universities intentionally try to draw some of the top scholars who are doing cutting edge research. However, most of the time they're doing research and even if they do teach it is rarely undergrad classes. Top scholars usually only matter for people doing postgraduate study as they will join in their research.

So while there are some academic advantages, the real difference between prestigious universities and Podunk State down the street is social.


CalvinSays t1_jef75e9 wrote

My family has been ranching for four generations.

Food and agriculture is filled is myths, half truths, and deceptive marketing. For example, the vast majority of foods labeled as "GMO free" don't even have GMO variants. Here is the list of available bioengineered foods in America:

When it comes to steers, every steer is grass fed. The majority of a steer's life is spent grazing on grass or munching on hay (grass) during the winter months. The difference is how they are finished. Normally, steers are sent to a feedlot for the last portion of their lives and are fed grain of some sort along with hay and things like beets. The high energy concentration in grain allows them to both pack on the pounds and marble their meat. Marbling is what makes a steak taste good.

Generally the difference is going to be: grain finished beef will taste milder while grass finished beef will taste gamier due to how they marble.

Often, the supposed draw of grass finished beef is it avoids feedlots and "factory" farming. But this is not true. A feedlot can feed steers grass pellets and voila the beef is labeled "grass fed". Here is a helpful source that details the various kinds of beef and the processes behind the labels:

There are mild nutritional differences but it's not right to say one is "healthier" than the other. Ironically enough, grain finished cattle have a lower environmental impact. So, as I said, the only real, meaningful difference for the consumer is the taste.


CalvinSays t1_iz78r0e wrote

An important thing to realize is that similarity does not establish dependence. You have to show that one tradition is in fact dependant on another. Otherwise, you fall prey to same kind of reasoning that leads people to believe aliens taught us how to build the pyramids because so many independent cultures built them.

One also needs to be critical of sources. Where do we get the information regarding Odin? Often, when supposed pagan Origins to Christimas traditions are stated, they are given without any source. Be sure to locate the sources these traditions supposedly come from. When were they recorded?

As for the Odin claim specifically, I will point you to Jackson Crawford. He is an excellent scholar with a PhD in Old Norse. He is certainly better qualified than I to dig into the specifics:

As for Easter, Michael Jones at InspiringPhilosophy put together a good video on the topic:


CalvinSays t1_iz6pek8 wrote

Not at all. Christianity was very much syncretism, at least early on. By the time possible syncretism does happen, it was already the culturally favored religion so this wouldn't explain the spread. As for the supposed syncretism like Easter and Christmas this simply wasn't the case. It was ironically propaganda started by Protestants in the 19th century against the Roman Catholic Church. Secularists ran with it to condemn the whole Christian tradition.

The most important work in this regard is Alexander Hislop's the Two Babylons.


CalvinSays t1_iz6p146 wrote

Not exactly right. Christianity became tolerated with the Edict of Milan in 313 and certainly became the politically favored religion with the conversion of Constantine but it did not become the official religion of the Roman Empire until Theodosius I declared it it in 380.


CalvinSays t1_iz6on2z wrote

As a Christian theologian (in training), my answer is that the expansion of Christianity was guided by the Holy Spirit. But that probably wouldn't be a proper answer for the subreddit.

However, there are many little things that helped Christianity. The first is the inherent urge to evangelize. It is at the core of the religion and expressed clearly in the religious texts (like Matt. 28:18-20). Other religions in the Roman Empire didn't usually have this same urge.

Second, as is noted elsewhere on this subreddit, the Christian religion was not ethnically limited. While this turned some people off, it also allowed the religion to not be limited in who they would accept among the ranks.

Third, perhaps most importantly, was Christianity's mercy within a hostile culture. Children were often left to die of exposure, especially women. Christians would often come and rescue these babies, raising them as their own. Contrary to what people believe today, Christianity was also comparatively very egalitarian both among the classes and among the sexes. The early church was largely composed of slaves, lower class, and women. This appeal to a massive audience within the Roman Empire helped the spread.


CalvinSays t1_ivuaq09 wrote

The objection was not that antibiotics are used in animal agriculture (to treat infections). The objection was that we supposedly give it to animals every day.

Animals deserve medical care too. Doctors over prescribed antibiotics which is a huge issue for antibiotic resistance but agriculturalists are always the scapegoat.