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stonebuddha

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Everything posted by stonebuddha

  1. The "evidence" about Iran & nukes is flimsy: http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2011/11/08/iran-five-minutes-to-zero-hour/
  2. The TSA's assertions that images cannot be saved by the machine are already proven false. Besides, nowadays everyone has a cell phone camera. It's quite easy for TSA goons to snap pics of the screen.
  3. Will the Dragon Wake From the article: "To put the issue in proper perspective: Imagine if Texas governor Rick Perry carried out his half-serious suggestion that Texas secede from the Union, and China opted to sell the Republic of Texas $6 billion worth of Patriot missiles, Blackhawk helicopters, and sophisticated detection systems – for "defensive" purposes only, of course. Washington would rightly consider this very close to an act of war."
  4. If you've followed the thread so far, you must read this. It's a very, very short work of fiction talking about this very subject.
  5. One of the best articles on the matter is here. Though written in 1969 it is very timely and explains in clear, simple terms the cause & cure for the boom/bust cycle.
  6. I think you've misunderstood the context - all these possibilities assumes that you are already an atheist - as he clearly states.
  7. The best answer I've seen to all forms of Pascal's wager is the following excerpt from a speech given by George Smith at a gathering of atheist. It's quite good, quote: What if it turns out that there is a Christian god and He's up there and He's going to punish you for eternity for disbelieving in Him. Here's where my wager comes in. Let's suppose you're an atheist. What are the possibilities? The first possibility is there is no god, in that case, you'll die, that'll be it, you've lost nothing, and you've lived a happy life with the correct position. Secondly, a god may exist but he may not be concerned with human affairs. He may be the god of traditional Deism. He may have started the universe going and left it to its traditional devices, in which case you will simply die, that is all there is to it, again, and you've lost nothing. Let's suppose that God exists and He is concerned with human affairs -- He's a personal god -- but that He is a just god. He's concerned with justice. If you have a just god, he could not possibly punish an honest error of belief where there is no moral turpitude or no wrongdoing involved. If this god is a creator god and He gave us reason as the basic means of understanding our world, then He would take pride in the conscientious and scrupulous use of reason on the part of His creatures, even if they committed errors from time to time, in the same way a benevolent father would take pride in the accomplishments of his son, even if the son committed errors from time to time. Therefore, if there exists a just god, we have absolutely nothing to fear from such a god. Such a god could not conceivably punish us for an honest error of belief. Now we come to the last possibility. Suppose there exists an unjust god, specifically the god of Christianity, who doesn't give a damn about justice and who will burn us in Hell, regardless of whether we made honest mistakes or not. Such a god is necessarily unjust, for there is no more heinous injustice we could conceive of, than to punish a person for an honest error of belief, when he has tried to the best of his ability to ascertain the truth. The Christian thinks he's in a better position in case this kind of god exists. I wish to point out that he's not in any better position than we are. The earmark of injustice is unprincipled behavior, behavior that's not predictable. If there's an unjust god and He really gets all this glee out of burning sinners and disbelievers, then what could give him more glee than to tell Christians they would be saved, only to turn around and burn them anyway, for the Hell of it, just because he enjoys it? If you've got an unjust god, what worst injustice could there be than that? It's not that far-fetched. If a god is willing to punish you simply for an honest error of belief, you can't believe He's going to keep his word when He tells you He won't punish you if you believe in Him - because He's got to have a sadistic streak to begin with. Certainly He would get quite a bit of glee out of this behavior. Even if there exists this unjust god, then admittedly we live in a nightmarish universe, but we're in no worse position than the Christian is. Again, if you're going to make the wager, you might as well wager on what your reason tells you, that atheism is correct, and go that route because you won't be able to do anything about an unjust god anyway, even if you accept Christianity. My wager says that you should in all cases wager on reason and accept the logical consequence, which in this case is atheism. If there's no god, you're correct; if there's an indifferent god, you won't suffer; if there's a just god, you have nothing to fear from the honest use of your reason; and if there's an unjust god, you have much to fear but so does the Christian.
  8. While this may be true, it does not make a good argument (after the fact) for the justification of dropping the A bomb. It's like saying "the use of gas chambers showcased to the world its full horror and contributed to the fact that gas chambers never regained its popularity. Therefore, however horrible it was, it did serve a purpose." Think of it another way, if a nuclear weapon were detonated in a war, let's say in 2010, are you going to say "Hiroshima & Nagasaki established the horrors of nuclear weapons and contributed to the fact that they haven't been used between 1945 - 2009. But after 2009 the Hiroshima effect had worn off!" Here are a couple of short articles to mull over.... The Hiroshima Myth Whitewashing Hiroshima Some of the main points in the articles were: 1. The three day interval between Hiroshima & Nagasaki was unconscionably inadequate – Japan being in shambles in its communications and transportation capabilities – and besides, no one, not even the Japanese high command, fully understood what had happened at Hiroshima. 2. The Russians had proclaimed their intent to enter the war with Japan 90 days after V- Day, which would have been Aug. 8, two days after Hiroshima. Indeed, Russia did declare war on August 8 and was marching across Manchuria when Nagasaki was incinerated. The US didn't want Japan surrendering to anybody else, especially a future enemy, so the first nuclear "messages" of the Cold War were sent. 3. The popular notion that dropping the A bomb saved the lives of up to 1 million US serviceman because it prevented a full scale invasion of Japan was a myth created by then Secretary of War Henry Stimson.
  9. One of the reasons the green movement is influential is because politicians know that it gives them a justification for more power & control. As Mencken said, "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and hence clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary"...
  10. stonebuddha

    Rob Dougan

    I think the best video set to another version of Clubbed to Death is the Lincoln LS commercial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vknwHj2VXoQ.
  11. This question is another variant of Pascal's wager. The best answer I've seen to all forms of Pascal's wager is the following excerpt from a speech given by George Smith at a gathering of atheist. It's quite good, quote: What if it turns out that there is a Christian god and He's up there and He's going to punish you for eternity for disbelieving in Him. Here's where my wager comes in. Let's suppose you're an atheist. What are the possibilities? The first possibility is there is no god, in that case, you'll die, that'll be it, you've lost nothing, and you've lived a happy life with the correct position. Secondly, a god may exist but he may not be concerned with human affairs. He may be the god of traditional Deism. He may have started the universe going and left it to its traditional devices, in which case you will simply die, that is all there is to it, again, and you've lost nothing. Let's suppose that God exists and He is concerned with human affairs -- He's a personal god -- but that He is a just god. He's concerned with justice. If you have a just god, he could not possibly punish an honest error of belief where there is no moral turpitude or no wrongdoing involved. If this god is a creator god and He gave us reason as the basic means of understanding our world, then He would take pride in the conscientious and scrupulous use of reason on the part of His creatures, even if they committed errors from time to time, in the same way a benevolent father would take pride in the accomplishments of his son, even if the son committed errors from time to time. Therefore, if there exists a just god, we have absolutely nothing to fear from such a god. Such a god could not conceivably punish us for an honest error of belief. Now we come to the last possibility. Suppose there exists an unjust god, specifically the god of Christianity, who doesn't give a damn about justice and who will burn us in Hell, regardless of whether we made honest mistakes or not. Such a god is necessarily unjust, for there is no more heinous injustice we could conceive of, than to punish a person for an honest error of belief, when he has tried to the best of his ability to ascertain the truth. The Christian thinks he's in a better position in case this kind of god exists. I wish to point out that he's not in any better position than we are. The earmark of injustice is unprincipled behavior, behavior that's not predictable. If there's an unjust god and He really gets all this glee out of burning sinners and disbelievers, then what could give him more glee than to tell Christians they would be saved, only to turn around and burn them anyway, for the Hell of it, just because he enjoys it? If you've got an unjust god, what worst injustice could there be than that? It's not that far-fetched. If a god is willing to punish you simply for an honest error of belief, you can't believe He's going to keep his word when He tells you He won't punish you if you believe in Him - because He's got to have a sadistic streak to begin with. Certainly He would get quite a bit of glee out of this behavior. Even if there exists this unjust god, then admittedly we live in a nightmarish universe, but we're in no worse position than the Christian is. Again, if you're going to make the wager, you might as well wager on what your reason tells you, that atheism is correct, and go that route because you won't be able to do anything about an unjust god anyway, even if you accept Christianity. My wager says that you should in all cases wager on reason and accept the logical consequence, which in this case is atheism. If there's no god, you're correct; if there's an indifferent god, you won't suffer; if there's a just god, you have nothing to fear from the honest use of your reason; and if there's an unjust god, you have much to fear but so does the Christian.
  12. When I originally stated that situations like these should be determined on a case by case basis, I am not advocating a "fundamentally offensive view of ethics -- the idea that there are no principles and that everything should be decided on a subjective or anarchistic whim." I don't believe these two kids violated the underlying spirit of the original law - which is to protect against adult/child sex. My point is that when you accept the premise that the state should be involved in matters that can be resolved peacefully between private individuals, you are opening the door to tyranny & abuse. We still don't know how or why this situation came to be known by the "authorities". Did one set of parents have a grudge against the other and saw no other way than to seek the blunt instrument of the state to settle the score? Some of you are saying that if these 2 kids can somehow prove consent by demonstrating that they both understood the consequences of their actions, then no crime is committed and hence no punishment. What if instead you had two mentally retarded 30 year olds having sex - both of whom had less intellectual faculties than the two kids in the story? Would you say that it was still the proper role of the state to bring them up on charges & determine if there existed consent by having them somehow demonstrate that they understood the sexual act? Should the state round up sexually active teenagers under 18 to see if they meet the "exceptional legal adult status"? I think the "bad guys" in the story are the agents of the state who at every step decided that this needed to be taken to the next level. Everyone from the social worker, to the arresting officer, to the district attorney, to the judges, all the way to the chief justices who saw fit to punish two innocent individuals who harmed no one.
  13. First of all, from a biological point of view - a person who has reached puberty is by definition ready for sex. For most of human history, when life spans were considerably shorter, people were having sex at what we would now consider "too young". None of us would be here if our distant ancestors waited until 18 years old to have sex. I think it is foolish to pass laws which attempt to go against human biology. Situations like these should be considered on a case by case basis, instead of blindly following the letter of the law. After all, there is nothing magical about turning 18 years old which automatically confers some sort of "responsible adult" threshold. In this particular instance, what is not mentioned in the article is how this case came about in the first place. Who discovered that these 2 were having sex? Who filed the complaint with the authorities? Since it seems that these 2 had consensual sex, the bigger issue is why is this a matter for the state? By bringing up charges against them, far more harm will be done than if the parents had simply admonished or kept them from doing it again. I suspect that this is a grand standing political act by some overzealous bureaucrat (be it a cop, prosecutor, judge, or someone from child protective services, or possibly all of them). The BIG question is: who was harmed by the original act of consensual sex? (Answer: no one). Who is harming them now? (Answer: the state).
  14. Most earthquakes of the world occur along the boundaries of crustal plates. Hong Kong lies within the Eurasian Plate and is located far away, about 600 km, from the nearest boundary with the Pacific Plate on the Circum-Pacific Seismic Belt that runs through Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines. Therefore, the chance of a major local tremor is very small.
  15. Without a doubt it's Hong Kong. The drive to build ever taller skyscrapers represents a triumph of engineering, industry, finance, & human will. For me, the sight of a metropolitan skyline is far more impressive than any "natural" wonder. For example, the Grand Canyon is shaped by the forces of water, wind, & other geological phenomena. It maybe beautiful to behold, but there was no intelligence, no purposeful behavior behind it. In contrast, a skyscraper during its lifetime - from conception to completion and beyond, represents the life of man. It involves years of planning, labor, and cooperation. It employs thousands of people who live, work, & sometimes die in its service. One of the best Hong Kong galleries can be found here. If you want to see a 4.5 minute time lapse video of Hong Kong (68 MB, right click and "save as" instead of streaming), here.
  16. It's available for sale in the original link I provided.
  17. Was Atlas Shrugged inspired by The Driver? Click here This book came out in 1922. I did a search on this forum don't see any discussions on this. Did Rand or Peikoff ever mention it?
  18. There's a movie called Sound & Fury which deals with the same philosophical issue, but for the deaf: Click here I have not seen the movie, but I hear it's good.
  19. I'm glad to hear that MisterSwig does not have the "woe is me" attitude. I'll take his word that he's enlightened and in this case he would be wasting his time reading zen books. There's actually an old zen story about how one should abandon the raft after getting to the other side of the river. The raft being the method of enlightenment and the river is the obstacle one passes through. Meditation, emptying the mind (whatever that means), and various other popular methods are just optional window dressing. There is no one right path to enlightenment, whether you get there by reading the Fountainhead or practicing yoga, the important thing is that you get there. Zen has been greatly misunderstood, just like Ayn Rand has been misquoted, misinterpreted, & taken out of context. How many times have you tried to defend the concept of selfishness? Even within Objectivists, there's an ongoing feud between different factions as to what is or isn't part of the canon. As to "inventing whatever absurdity he wishes and claim it to be enlightenment", the only thing I claim was that it was mainly about getting rid of the woe is me attitude. I don't see how that's absurd. Now if I were to claim that Zen gave me supernatural powers, that would be silly. And yes MisterSwig is right again when he says that "he who argues against enlightenment is not enlightened." It's like saying he who argues against the concept of love doesn't understand the first thing about it. He said it with a cynical, condescending tone as if by simply anticipating my response he would render my point moot. But perhaps he didn't realize how right he was and that I'm not his enemy.
  20. Zen which is a mixture of Buddhism & Taoism has been greatly misunderstood - especially by those who seek to understand it by renouncing worldly pleasures and desires. One need not live a life of asceticism in order to gain enlightenment. When I say enlightenment, I don't mean some holier than thou notion that one is above it all – immune to suffering, completely detached from the travails & the mundane of the everyday. Bad things can still happen to a true man of Zen, but the difference is how he deals with it. Enlightenment is not about gaining a particular set of knowledge, but rather about getting rid of the "woe is me" attitude – hence lightening one's mental burden. I don't see any conflict between true Zen understanding & objectivism. Unfortunately people on both sides are tripped up over semantic issues and completely miss the point. It's as if I'm talking about & pointing at the moon while you're looking solely at my finger instead. If you really want to read the best, most concise book on Zen – it is Alan Watt's The Wisdom of Insecurity.
  21. The claim that "There are no atheist in a foxhole" actually supports the atheist viewpoint! Religious people who advocate this line of thought are hoist by their own petard. Notice that this argument does not address whether God exist, it merely states that in extremely stressfull situations, people have a need or tendency to believe in a "comforting" scenario - in this case a benevolent God that will eventually make everything all right. Put in another way, people will more easily entertain fantasy in order to feel relief - this hardly proves that God exist, if anything it argues for the opposite.
  22. It's no coincidence that religious people believe that without GOD, life would be meaningless and/or our society would soon descend into barbarism. People who embrace paternalism, big gov't, and socialism also believe that without the STATE our society would soon devolve into chaos. For thousands of years the KING was considered at least symbolically to be the embodiment of THE ALMIGHTY. It's the same myth in many incarnation. If we can get rid of this one myth, the whole thing may fall down like a house of cards...
  23. The Jungle was a work of fiction. Its fallacious claims dubunked here: Of Meat and Myth
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