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  1. Today
  2. Blog Roundup 1. At Tracking Zebra, Amesh Adalja reviews a medical thriller featuring a battle against drug-resistant bacteria: Image by Adenosine, via Wikipedia, license.The events detailed in The Perfect Predator: A Scientist's Race to Save Her Husband From a Deadly Superbug center on [Thomas] Patterson's acquisition of a life-threatening multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter infection overseas and the Herculean efforts [Steffanie] Strathdee expends in order to save his life. The book exquisitely details the daily ups and down of Patterson's critical illness as he is continually swallowed in the throws of septic shock. Had this happened to anyone other than Patterson and Strathdee, that would be the end of the story but Strathdee excelled at finding a non-traditional cure for what would in 99 out of 100 instances a terminal infection.Adalja is quick to point out that the manner in which Strathdee cured her husband's illness offers us hope against the menace of multidrug-resistant bacteria. 2. Democrat politicians are quick to use the phrase existential threat regarding climate change in hopes of obtaining a panicked acceptance of their anti-capitalist economic programs. But, at the Center for Industrial Progress, Alex Epstein cautions that the phrase applies instead to the Green New Deal: The core idea of the Green New Deal, endorsed by virtually every Democratic Presidential candidate, is that the government should rapidly outlaw fossil fuel power and rapidly replace it with renewable power, mostly from solar and wind. This would be the most radical change in the history of the American economy -- and, as many commentators have pointed out, would have disastrous consequences given a) the unreliability of solar and wind and b) the destructiveness of the government taking over any segment of the economy.Epstein quotes several of these demagogues before noting that, were their claim true, we'd already have suffered ruinous consequences. I recommend reading the whole thing. 3. At How to Be Profitable and Moral, Jaana Woicheshyn discusses a book the University of Calgary foisted on its students one year, No Impact Man: To have no impact means to produce nothing -- which, by human standards, means death. Without production there is no consumption, the fact No Impact Man conveniently ignores. Beavan and his family can only survive because someone used energy and raw materials to build the apartment building in which they live, to produce their furniture and other household goods, their books, their clothing, and their food. [bold added]It is almost a shame that this occurred in 2013: The ready example of Venezuela, which is rapidly becoming a "no impact nation," would have offered an excellent concretization of the implications of this foolishness. 4. At Thinking Directions, Jean Moroney discusses "How to Warm Up Your Mental Circuits on Demand:" ometimes, you are starting from zero. There is nothing to read, or it doesn't do the job. Then, I simply brainstorm a list of 10 things I know about the topic. I say "brainstorm," because it's important to accept every idea that occurs to you, even if it seems lame or barely relevant. This easy technique can help with a problem I had recently: Not feeling like doing something during the time slot scheduled for it. And it works because it reminds of one's knowledge of the topic as well as why it is of interest. -- CAVLink to Original
  3. He cites examples in the Old Testament of unrelated people joining the Jews by adopting their customs and God. In other news, a recent genetic analysis of a sample of thousands of Jews found something near 49% admixture of European genes. It is unknown what portion of the remaining 51% that is not European is actually Jewish. Jewishness as an inheritance is definitely a minority fraction of the genotype of Jews. To make a deliberately shocking and provocative statement, in the present time Jewishness as race is approximately as real as Aryanness as race: there is something to it but not much (yes Aryans existed thousands of years ago but no one in anthropology calls them Aryans anymore because Hitler so Yamnaya or "Battle Axe Culture").
  4. Yesterday
  5. Not sure what a *BIO* ethicist can bring to the subject. All the relevant biological facts have been known for thousands of years.
  6. One opinion. https://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/books/chapters/the-ethical-brain.html "Bioethicists continue to wrestle with the question. The implications of determining moral status are far-reaching, affecting abortion, in vitro fertilization, biomedical cloning, and stem cell research. The rational world is waiting for resolution of this debate".
  7. My action? I'm stuck on a train that will kill 1 person or 5 people no matter what I do. I can only minimize the casualties.
  8. To the extent that liberty is established and protected, something resembling "social order" is a by product. That's as far as I will go with it.
  9. . Early Philosophical Interpretations of General Relativity
  10. Among many other thought-provoking questions that are going unasked these days, we have the following concerning recent proposals for reparations for slavery in America: She supports reparations. Image via Wikipedia, public domain.[W]hich white Americans owe which black Americans how much? Reparations advocates don't want that question asked, but let's you and I ask it. Are the millions of European, Asian and Latin Americans who immigrated to the U.S. in the 20th century responsible for slavery? What about descendants of Northern whites who fought and died in the War of 1861 in the name of freeing slaves? Should they cough up money for black Americans? What about non-slave-owning Southern whites, who were a majority of Southern whites -- should their descendants be made to pay reparations?The rest of the column is worth a full read. Probably what is most remarkable to me about the questions Williams asks concerning reparations is that, is that almost any of them alone demolish the very idea, at least in the eyes of anyone with a modicum of concern for the virtue of justice or the political fundamental of individual rights. That speaks to both the enormous evil of the idea and the parlous state of our electorate. As Williams also notes, proponents are working overtime to worsen the second of these. -- CAVLink to Original
  11. This author was on The Rubin Report today. There is a problem with his belief that nationalism began with the Jews in the Bible. Their nation was based on genealogy, not tradition or religion. Besides, most of their religious laws and customs were dictated and enforced by God/Moses after they left Egypt and invaded Canaan. That's not tradition, that's dictatorship. Hazony also has a weird justification for genital mutilation, saying it is part of Jewish tradition. This is the problem when you use a manual for tyrants as your philosophical guidebook.
  12. Last week
  13. This idea of irrationality comes about as follows: we start by thinking of abortion as a post-event contraception. therefore, there appears to be no rational reason to wait; meanwhile, the fetus is growing from a clump of cells to something more substantial and integrated With this mental model, it is easy to think that the line from pre-sex-contraception to late-term abortion is a line of increasing irrationality The problem is that this mental model has little to do with facts and reality of why people have abortions at different points in time. What we would find, if we examine actual women having actual late-term abortions, is tat the later ones actually appear more, rather than less, justifiable...to an outsider.
  14. This probably depends on what you mean by "invalid." But it reminds me of the discussion about experience and logic. It's impossible to separate the two. Logic is our method of experiencing the world. So whenever we gain some knowledge, we already have the "why" it's true, even if we can't fully explain it in words. Usually, even a child can give you the basic reason: "because it is." That's the first attempt at explaining the law of identity. Sometimes you'll hear, "because I said so." Then you know you have a problem on your hands.
  15. Perhaps we could do a new thread on this, because it's an interesting question on its own. My initial thought is that Rand's Razor is a tool of cognition while the arbitrary is an absence of cognition. We use the razor to identify mistakes in concept-formation, but the arbitrary is not a mistake, it's not even trying. It's just barfing up words without knowing their meanings. So how would you use the razor on that? At least with an anti-concept it is supposed to mean something, which makes it particularly destructive to the real concept it's replacing. The idea of a "flat planet" is no threat to cognition, until you apply it to the shape of the Earth.
  16. True enough that the onus is on he who asserts the positive ... and that the concept of Gravity Threads as real, although consistent with the math, is an arbitrary concept which also is an unnecessary and superfluous concept. What are your thoughts about the relationship between Rand's Razor and Arbitrary concepts (and anti-concepts)?
  17. If a figurative or metaphorical explanation is presented as literal truth, I think that can be disastrous, on par with religious myths that people faithfully believe. But metaphor presented as such can be useful in understanding difficult concepts. Also, I considered arguing that "gravity thread" is an anti-concept, until I realized what you were doing and that there was no real epistemological issue to fix. Even if there were, it is risky to begin by accusing someone of rationalism. I prefer addressing the cause of the conceptual error, which is the original misidentification of the existent in question.
  18. Classic glass and steel skyscrapers ... have no place in our city or our Earth anymore. -- Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City *** If the recent blackout in Caracas, Venezuela reminds one of New York's blackout in Atlas Shrugged, the latter city's mayor just gave us all reason to ponder another of Ayn Rand's works, Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution. How? On Earth Day, Bill de Blasio declared war on the skyscraper, the very same symbol of human achievement a different tribe of savages attacked in his city nearly two decades ago: Image by mpewny, via Pixabay, license."We are going to introduce legislation to ban the classic glass and steel skyscrapers that have contributed so much to global warming," de Blasio said. "They have no place in our city or our Earth anymore." Despite Hizzoner's insistence on repeatedly using the word "ban," he later admitted his legislation would actually just tighten the city's energy code to make it prohibitively expensive to develop glassy high-rises.I submit that such a proposal will more surely and thoroughly, albeit not as dramatically (at first) accomplish what the atrocities of September 11, 2001 accomplished, and on a wider scale than any Islamist could ever hope for, if enacted and enforced. I have already expressed my moral opposition to the nationwide version of this proposal, rooted as it is in the unquestioned and savage morality of altruism. But Rand always expresses such sentiments and unites ideas and their consequences so thoroughly that I will quote her on the matter. The following is not from the book I just mentioned, but it is in the same vein: Americans have known how to erect a superlative material achievement in the midst of an untouched wilderness, against the resistance of savage tribes. What we need today is to erect a corresponding philosophical structure, without which the material greatness cannot survive. A skyscraper cannot stand on crackerbarrels, nor on wall mottoes, nor on full-page ads, nor on prayers, nor on meta-language. The new wilderness to reclaim is philosophy, now all but deserted, with the weeds of prehistoric doctrines rising again to swallow the ruins. To support a culture, nothing less than a new philosophical foundation will do.Without that philosophical structure, we are seeing a large segment of our population morphing into a savage tribe hostile to industrial civilization. Don't believe me? Just consider the fact that even if the entire (national) "Green New Deal" supported by so many Democrats were enacted, it would have zero effect on the emerging economies around the world rushing to catch up with our standard of living by building coal plants. I do not endorse holding the world to the same irrational standard; rather, I point this out to underscore the fact that something other than concern for the earth or American lives is behind these efforts. As morally bankrupt as environmentalism is, capitalism will not survive unless we, its beneficiaries, make a positive stand for it; it will lose by default, as it is even now. It is incredible that the mayor of one of the world's greatest cities could say something like this in all seriousness, but he has indeed. -- CAVLink to Original
  19. Oh, I see!!! Your „gravity threads theory“ wasn’t for real, you intended it as an exercise in philosophical detection! Possibly in the context of the discussion in the thread “Fundamentally, is there only ‘spacetime’?", which I did not follow...
  20. Is there anything actually wrong about an infinite regress? It seems only to apply to monism, and I don't think Oism posits a monist conception of reality. Things can be divided infinitely. Or at least, there's no reason to say things can't be divided infinitely in principle. If there were an absolute end, I think that would be evidence for reality being a simulation, or the existence of God.
  21. Also, the idea that some entity must play the role to mediate the interaction between the object and the Earth, inevitably leads to an infinite regress, as by the same logic some mechanism (read entity) must be required for the interactions between the Thread and the object ...eg attaching means of some kind... and between the Thread and the Earth ... eg spool causing the emergence of the Thread... at some point one should accept and be happy with an action-interaction-relationship simply being directly between two things without any further invocation of extra entities.
  22. Excellent. Between the lot of you we have at least touched on: 1. Reification of abstraction i.e. rationalism in the form of conflating mathematics with reality. 2. Distinction between unnecessary pure speculation armchair physics and observation based theorizing to resolve a necessary problem. 3. related to 2 that theory with no evidence nor any possibility of verification is problematic and arbitrary. I really would have loved to see Rand’s razor mentioned as it is invaluable as an inoculation against rationalism run rampant. To close this out I would like to invite some further comment in the abstract answering the following: Is superfluous explanation valid, although absent evidence, absent any independently verifiable prediction, if it helps a person to grasp what’s going on? Is reification of math or relationships between entities ever justifiable on the basis that it is easier to “see it that way”? IF true Gravity Threads would seem as valid as the reified space-time we hear of so often.
  23. 1. I’ll begin with the most serious mistake and continue with the less serious ones. The premise of your “theory” is that the possible trajectories an object can take in free fall are in fact real. You call them “gravity threads”. In your view, an object follows a path by “attaching” itself to the “thread” corresponding to the object’s velocity. Until and unless the reality of the gravity threads is established, any speculations about details, e.g. how it would work in different circumstances, are absolutely useless. In the absence of a solid justification of your premise, your “theory” is neither true nor false, it is simply arbitrary. This essential objection was already made by MisterSwing - but you failed to comment on it, which is unfortunate... Besides, yours is not a theory, it is a hypothesis - at most ! 2. You did not justify the necessity of revising the classical Newtonian theory of as applied to free fall: non-concordance with observations, possible gaps in the theory and so on. In the classical theory the various trajectories are potentialities, only one will be taken in reality, depending on the initial velocity (value and direction) and the strength of the gravitational field. 3. You say nothing about how it would be possible to prove the reality of the “gravity threads”. 4. If the trajectories/“gravity threads” are real, it should be possible to observe them. For this they should interact with our senses or instruments, and thus they probably have to possess some energy. Because you postulate an infinity of such “gravity threads”, you have an obvious problem: one will need an infinite energy to create them (at least a continuum infinity of the 6-th order!!) 5. I will also mention one of the least important mistakes. You write that “in space above the Earth and within the Earth's influence, Threads all follow parabolic arcs”. This is false: even in the absence of any other force beside the Earth gravity (such as air resistance), the parabolic arcs (y=Ax+Bx2) are only approximations - namely second order approximations. Even in the ideal case, the true trajectories are (almost) never parabolas. Details – on demand. PS: wrong is also your question addressed to the audience: “What’s wrong with the theory?”. This question is wrong from the point of view of the onus of proof rule.
  24. The Foundation for Economic Education recently published an article about millionaire Bernie Sanders with the title, "Bernie Is a Capitalist, Whether He Likes It or Not." Although this may be true of the first of the following dictionary definitions of the term, it is patently false about the second: 1. a person who has capital, especially extensive capital, invested in business enterprises. 2. an advocate of capitalism. 3. a very wealthy person. I would emphatically add that it's debatable, to say the very least, that "he deserves that money." It is his property, under capitalism, and he did gain it by trade. To that extent, it is proper that he has the money. But he did so while advocating an immoral and impractical -- a vile and deadly -- ideology. In that sense, he "deserves" that money in the same sense that a chiropractor or a fortune teller deserve whatever they receive from others, and he should thank his lucky stars for the remnants of capitalism that are allowing him to get away with it. I do, believe it or not, for reasons analogous to criminals sometimes walking free in our justice system: It's the price we pay for the protection of the rights of the individual being the default in our government. Or which, like private property ought to be default, but which Sanders and his ilk want to finish turning into "51 percent of people choos[ing] something, and the other 49 percent have to go along." This article, sadly and tellingly, does not convey outrage or even alarm that this is an increasingly accurate description. The piece does contain other interesting information -- such as a link to the instructions Sanders could follow to volunteer for income equality, were he sincere about his advocacy of the same; and it does indicate that socialism calls for government coercion. But it misses a big opportunity to make a case against Sanders that would really hurt: a moral one. As Ayn Rand once pointed out to FEE founder Leonard Read: Image via Wikipedia, public domain.The mistake is in the very name of the organization. You call it The Foundation for Economic Education. You state that economic education is to be your sole purpose. You imply that the cause of the world's troubles lies solely in people's ignorance of economics and that the way to cure the world is to teach it the proper economic knowledge. This is not true -- therefore your program will not work. You cannot hope to effect a cure by starting with a wrong diagnosis. The root of the whole modern disaster is philosophical and moral. People are not embracing collectivism because they have accepted bad economics. They are accepting bad economics because they have embraced collectivism. You cannot reverse cause and effect. And you cannot destroy the cause by fighting the effect. That is as futile as trying to eliminate the symptoms of a disease without attacking its germs. [bold added] (Letters of Ayn Rand, pp. 256-257)FEE would have done better to point out that Sanders, like many others who have become the first kind of capitalist -- including many who truly deserved their fortunes, like Bill Gates -- are far from being the second kind. More broadly, they could have noted that unless more of us become the second kind of capitalist, there won't be any of the first kind for much longer. -- CAVLink to Original
  25. The Innovators #1 Bernie Sanders lies about Amazon income taxes Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All #2
  26. For clarity the purpose, and the only purpose, of my questions was to get a clear idea of what it was that you meant.
  27. Falls short of any modern physics. I don't think a thin theory is valid. Thin implies minimal explanatory power. But my focus was on thinness, because I think that is the bigger issue than simply being invalid. The only reason to throw out a theory is if the theory does not sufficiently describe and predict reality. You would offer a new theory if the old one contradicted reality in some way, or if there literally was no other theory about the topic. Another option is to improve the old theory, by taking its weaknesses, and then improving upon those. But if you are improving a theory, you would be able to cite what you are improving. I mean, isn't the stuff pretty straightforward? I imagine if you have 2 degrees in physics, one of them would be a masters.
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