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Ninth Doctor

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Everything posted by Ninth Doctor

  1. Arbitrary litigation? What if cancer rates skyrocket among people in that area? We wouldn’t know yet, would we? But even with subsidized start up costs, various guarantees, and tax incentives the cost per kilowatt hour comes out higher. A lot higher. Do you have references to more careful research that you could share? Otherwise you may as well be arguing that socialized (or, ahem, “single payer”) health care is the “most efficient means” of running that industry. Except now, because we’re not yet doing it right. I’m biased in favor of nuclear too, but as Aristotle might have said, I love nuclear, but I love facts more.
  2. http://reason.com/archives/2011/03/25/the-truth-about-nuclear-power I guarantee you this will be litigated for decades. Every case of cancer in that area will be chalked up to radiation from the plant, so we may never even have reliable data. In any event, it’s much too soon to declare a final score.
  3. I read one of the Illuminatus! novels, started another a few years later, got bored and didn’t finish it. In my opinion, Foucault’s Pendulum (Umberto Eco) and Gravity’s Rainbow (Thomas Pynchon) are far superior novels dealing with conspiracy theories. I’ve also dipped into some Alan Watts and have read most of Joseph Campbell’s stuff (I’m thinking here of the Eastern mysticism connection). I watched the quantum physics video you posted and it strikes me as just the sort of thing that has certain Objectivists saying quantum physics is a fraud. Which it isn’t, it’s just that when you analogize (or generalize) aspects of it to epistemology you end up with skepticism, relativism, and the hurling of epithets like “naïve realism”, like he used in the video. RAW was a libertarian, so you will find some good overlap between his political positions and Rand’s, but generally I don’t think you’ll find he has much appeal hereabouts.
  4. He’s being described as anti-Marxist, if so it’s no wonder he’d find a quote or two from Rand that would strike his fancy.
  5. If you read authors like Mark Steyn you may feel inspired in this way. Leonard Peikoff declared, in a podcast within the last year, that he agreed that Europe is hopeless, they will be taken over by Islam, Sharia etc. It all reminds me of the predictions in Oswald Spengler’s The Hour of Decision from 1933, where he predicted Europe would soon be taken over by the “colored races”, the birth rate data guaranteed it! Oddly, the book was banned by the Nazis for failing to vilify the Jews.
  6. This Op-Ed is currently showing up, prominently, on the Foxnews.com site. I wish the author had acknowledged that nuclear power in the US is, currently, not economical and is in fact subsidized. This is the case not with new plants (there aren’t any new ones), but with the ones already in operation. So why does it work so well in France but not here? Are French plants less safe? Also, wasn't it unwise to build a nuclear plant in a location that is subject to earthquakes and tsunamis, like Fukushima?
  7. What would you say to someone looking to go into business putting a mortgage on their (previously unencumbered) home to raise the funds, instead of taking out a business loan with a higher interest rate? Or, what if no bank will even give you a business loan, since you’re proposing a risky venture like developing personal computer software in the early 1970’s? A home is just like any another asset that can be leveraged.
  8. It's from the money speech in Atlas Shrugged: [W]hen you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed.
  9. A newspaper in Ecuador, recently charged with libel for criticizing the country’s president, ran an empty front page. Empty, except for a quote from Ayn Rand. http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/americas/07/21/ecuador.libel.lawsuit/
  10. Indeed, you link the Harriman talk that I was referring to here: Do you take your understanding of Kant from Harriman (and/or Peikoff), or have you arrived at the same view firsthand?
  11. 4 minutes in. That might be a defensible interpretation of Descartes, but not Kant. Not even close. BTW, I only watched the part posted above, I gather the whole thing is on YouTube. I love how they make it seem like this is something sponsored by the University of Maryland, like it’s a serious academic conference. With a little money one can easily rent space at a prestigious University to discuss Vril, the hollow earth theory, or the latest proofs of Lysenkoism.
  12. I wouldn’t say that. The trouble starts when one of these types starts quoting Ayn Rand alongside the likes of Velikovsky. I didn’t hear him do that, though, he only quoted Harriman and an absurd misrepresentation of Kant that no doubt came from the same source. Obviously the Silly Walks bit is exaggerated, it serves to mock anyone going to Government to fund their research. Now, if Cleese and Palin were wearing tin foil hats in the bit, then it would have gone too far and I wouldn’t have posted it.
  13. Great. You’re busy raising the profile of Objectivism among crackpots. To the extent anyone pays attention to them, the electric universe and plasma cosmology crowd are a laughingstock. You must know that. No one’s stopping them. Or do you feel they deserve a place at the public funding trough?
  14. Velikovsky was a crackpot. This bodes ill. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immanuel_Velikovsky
  15. Here’s a relevant clip, I think it’s one of Peikoff’s best moments. I think there’s a presumption here that if too many people were Objectivists, orphanages would disappear and unwanted babies would be exposed, as they were in Ancient Rome and Greece, and reportedly in Communist China to this day. But there isn’t much about parenthood in the Objectivist literature, so this is unjustified speculation. One may as well claim that egoistic ethics leads inexorably to the closing of libraries and the hoarding of knowledge by a technocratic elite, instead of leading to the creation of Wikipedia. I’ve heard many bizarre claims about the horrors egoism leads to, and I recall reading somewhere that Ayn Rand said, jokingly, that the Lexicon should include an entry for babies, so people could see that she didn’t advocate eating babies for breakfast.
  16. In the 2nd preface to the Critique of Pure Reason? No, at least not the line "limit knowledge to make room for faith", it doesn't say God. He wrote about God and religion of course, and probably was a Deist, so he wasn't very different from Paine, Jefferson, or Franklin. You couldn't openly be an atheist in his time and place, that meant unemployment.
  17. But until the coin lands, or, more precisely, until you look at it, that is what the equations say. Both heads and tails, all bases are covered. If you can make it more exact, your Nobel Prize awaits.
  18. It doesn’t predict a contradiction, it subsumes the probabilities of mutually exclusive events. Here’s a cruder analogy: someone flips a coin, and while it’s in the air you call it “heads or tails”. It comes up heads, and you win a Nobel Prize for your amazingly accurate prediction.
  19. For goodness sakes, assume only one draw. I’m trying to point out that just because a mathematical formula encompasses the occurrence of mutually exclusive events, doesn’t mean that mutually exclusive events happen. I’m doubting the card analogy communicates the concept.
  20. Again, no one thinks the cat is alive and dead at the same time, that’s the point of the metaphor. This is about the prediction of events at the quantum level. Here’s a very crude analogy: imagine an equation to unfailingly predict what card will be randomly drawn from a 52 card deck, and the equation reads 1/52+1/52 etc. 52 times. Can’t miss, right? In this case not very useful, either. But is the genius mathematician who comes up with this equation saying that all 52 cards are really being drawn at the same time? Thus violating the laws of identity, excluded middle etc? Sez you. You brought up Schrodinger’s Cat, and persist in displaying your utter ignorance of its meaning and context. Carry on running your victory laps, though, I think they’re cute.
  21. Schrodinger’s Cat is a thought experiment, it illustrates that in predicting quantum phenomena, the equations may show, for example, a single electron spinning in one direction and another at the same time. Or going through two slits at the same time. No one thinks the cat is both alive and dead, that’s the point of the metaphor. These equations have great accuracy and predictive power, you wouldn’t have a working computer otherwise. I feel that I can say with confidence that EVERYONE understands your argument, and the only one buying into it is you. http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html#dogged
  22. I saw this quite a while back, I recall Ehrman utterly destroying William Lane Craig. I recommend Ehrman's books, his latest, Forged, concerns authorship of much of the New Testament. His earlier one, Misquoting Jesus, made a bigger impression on me, probably because I read it first. He's a bible scholar and former fundamentalist who now refers to himself as an agnostic, though I heard an interview with him where he said point blank that he does not believe in God.
  23. I have a friend, not very close but still a friend, who's an atheist Rand-fan, and did AA. He needed something like AA, he couldn't stay sober on his own (though his real problems are coke and women, if you ask me). He told me one of the things they were doing was referencing the Lord of the Rings films. Apparently Frodo carrying the ring serves as a good metaphor for staying on the wagon.
  24. I suggest you also look up Fred Seddon’s article on faith in Kant. Just google “Seddon Kant faith” and it’ll come up. He claims that the line “deny knowledge to make room for faith” is mistranslated, which my German-English dictionary (Cassel’s) doesn’t entirely agree with, it lists faith as one of the English equivalents for the word Kant uses. Kant had censorship issues following the death of Frederick the Great, who was replaced by the 18th century equivalent of a fundamentalist Christian crusader, I’ve long been interested in whether Kant changed his tune to be something more pleasing to the devil’s ear. Remember that this was the era of Voltaire, Rousseau, and Helvetius being hounded by the authorities in France, facing book burnings, fines and exile. It’s worth remembering that Kant’s goal was to defend Newton from the skepticism of Hume. I can’t help thinking that he succeeded primarily by means of giving all subsequent philosophers massive headaches.
  25. Sure thing. It jibes with all the first hand reading of Kant that I've managed, anyone who's tried knows that he's very tough going. George Walsh was participant "F" in the epistemology workshops printed in the expanded edition of ITOE (e.g. Leonard Peikoff was "E") and took part in TJS etc. before the Kelley split. I have it on good authority that Peikoff once publicly praised him with the words: on the subject of religious history, Walsh is "omniscient". I think I misunderstood this sentence earlier, I see that you're evoking hierarchy. I still disagree, but I'd have to know what you think Kant's metaphysics consists of to discuss it further.
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