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Posts posted by punk

  1. Specifically, it's to help the bottom 1/3 or so teams of the payroll list. And if you look at the results of those teams since the revenue sharing system began in MLB in 1997, you'll see that almost none of them made it to the postseason(exceptions being Oakland A's and Minnesota Twins, who had no problem competing even before the R.S. system).

    Right after the R.S. system was created in 1997, the Yankees made it to the World Series 6 of 8 years. There are streaks like this that can't and shouldn't be avoided because it's due to great scouting, great management, dedication from the owner, etc., and plenty of teams that haven't had the highest payrolls get streaks like this too.

    With a R.S. system in place, I don't think it would generate enough revenue to compensate the owners who have to pay for it. The owners who pay for R.S. must end up losing a lot of money from it.

    A better solution to competitive imbalance is to eliminate a select few teams who generate little revenue and are consistently losing. I'm not sure if those teams are making a profit though. So if anything needs to be done, taking away some of the small market teams should be considered.

    If you eliminate teams then you are just going to end up with a handful of teams. There's just something less interesting about a sport that consisted of say 6 teams playing each other.

    Starting up a whole new team isn't exactly easy, and is liable to just end up using the players from the eliminated teams.

    On the other hand, now that I think about it, the problem could well just be poor management. So yes, a lack of profit sharing would force changes in management and ownership.

    Profit sharing could just be allowing poor owners to allow bad managers to produce crap teams.

  2. Well, the only way the US could refrain from "provoking terrorism" would be to convert to Islam en masse. Are you suggesting that had the US should never have gotten involved in the Middle East?

    I'm honestly not exactly seeing how the benefits have outweighed the costs.

  3. I think your distinction is valid but it does not address the fundamental issue. With regards to your hypothetical example, the important question is not if the assailant had motivation for committing assault; the important question is if the assailant was morally justified. In the case of Islamic terror, there is no justification.

    Well moral justification doesn't change reality.

    If the US engages in policies that are likely to provoke terrorism, then it should at least take that into account in planning and make a good risk assessment.

    If I see a rabid dog on the street and walk up to it and it bites me, sure it had no business biting me. But what was I doing walking up to it in the first place?

    When you build a building you don't deny gravity, it is just a fact of nature.

    When you formulate a policy you should anticipate things like terrorism, it is a fact of the way the world works.

  4. It sounds to me like the goal of this is to make sure the other teams are competitive.

    This is good for all the teams in the league, since presumably fan interest is higher if the sport isn't dominated by a couple teams. In that case it generates more revenue for the wealthier teams than if they didn't distribute the money.

    The same reasoning applies to the bottom teams getting the first shots at new players.

  5. I think you "load" this in a particular way. If by "paint" you mean unthinkingly support the idea that all US policies are good, then you are correct. When you say "at least entertain" you imply that someone give some thougthful consideration to the idea. It very well may be that some people have "entertained" the notion that they have legitimate grievances and come to the conclusion that it is hogwash. So it would be proper then to say, "One should entertain the possibility that all US policies are good" rather than imply that one is "painting" a false picture when they actually may have thoughtfully come to a positive conclusion about all US policies.

    So regardless of what the subject is, "painting" is typically a bad thing whereas "entertaining" is a good thing. The way you appear to load these statements implies that the later (some policies may be bad) should be a foregone conclusion. With that in mind, do you think anyone here (in this forum) is "painting"?

    The portion of the post I quoted looked (at least to me) as if it was a foregone conclusion that this all started with "Islamic aggression" and the US is simply responding to it.

    That is like the US was standing on a street corner minding its own business and some stranger it had never met before punched it in the face.

    I was simply saying that it could well be that the Islamic aggression might have been partly motivated by some legitimate grievances with the US.

    That is like the US was standing on a street corner minding its own business and someone it knows that it had some bad dealings with in the past punched it in the face.

    The punch in the face might be out of proportion to the past issues, but it wasn't totally out of the blue either.

  6. I've been recently looking into the papers of people trying to show that quantum mechanics is nothing more than a probabilistic approximation over some chaotic dynamical theory.

    The idea is roughly this:

    When we look at a coin flip we are watching a deterministic process, we just pretend it is probabilistic because the system is sufficiently complex (i.e. chaotic in the technical sense) that for practical purposes we aren't really able to know enough about the system to predict the outcome.

    The idea then is quantum theory is like probability theory for the coin flip, except that the underlying dynamics are substantially more chaotic than those for the coin, so the higher order of magnitude of the "chaos" is such that instead of it looking like a standard probability theory it looks like quantum mechanics.

    It is all still very rough and in an early stage, but you can show that chaotic systems exhibit a natural "quantization" in that if you have a system with multiple attractors you can think of orbits around an attractor as representing the "quantum state" associated with the attractor.

    They have other arguments for similar structures of the above sort, that is just the one I remember.

    The point though is that a chaotic system is deterministic in the conventional sense and obeys conventional notions of logic while at the same time being (for practical purposes) probabilistic.

  7. I can see some legitimacy to the argument that the United States has become more of a target of Islamic terrorism because of its involvement in the Middle East. However, I again see this as analogous to how the authority who confronts an aggressor usually incurs the hatred of that aggressor. Standing up to Islamic Totalitarianism will make them vindictive towards the United States, but the actions of challenging Islamic terror are nevertheless just.

    The left is certainly wrong in painting all US policies as evil, but it is just as wrong to paint all US policies as good.

    We should at least entertain the notion that people in the Middle East might have a couple legitimate grievances against the US.

  8. However, acts of Islamic terrorism are not executed by lone psychopaths but splinter cells of large terrorism networks. Does this mean, according to this idea, that acts of Islamic terrorism can largely be explained by blowback? If not, then what is the explanation?

    Yes, the idea is that Islamic terrorism is a reaction to Western foreign policies.

    This seems to amount to the beliefs that foreign policies have causes and effects. This characterization does not distinguish this theory from essentially any other descriptive theory on foreign policy. This could mean that there is not really a "theory" in itself.

    I've never heard it referred to as a "theory" before you called it that. "Blowback" is originally the term people in the intelligence community to refer to attacks on the US coming as retribution for US policies elsewhere.

    If it is a school of thought, then could you please provide some real-world examples that are probably "blowback" and some examples that are probably not. In addition, can you please provide some names of adherents to this theory?

    Again, its not really a school of thought as a label for something no reasonable person can deny happens:

    Sometimes people do violent things as a reaction to something you did to them, which (furthermore) they would not have done otherwise.

  9. To my understanding, the blowback theory asserts that all terrorist attacks and violent uprisings are largely caused by previous misdeeds by an "unwelcome" foreign presence in a perceived homeland.

    This is far far too strong a statement, and borders on turning an interesting topic into a strawman.

    Any proponent of "blowback" would really make the weaker claim that some terrorist events can be ascribed to "blowback" (you can't rule out the possibility of a genuine psychopath).

    They would also claim that a resonable foreign policy by any nation should take into account the possibility of blowback, and the likely costs associated with it (i.e. there might be perfectly good reasons to throw rocks at a hornets' nest, but you have to account for the possibility of getting stung in the process).

    Essentially this all becomes the geopolitical equivalent of risk management so common in business and finance.

    The criticism is that governments have tended to plan as though blowback would never happen, and so engage in policies which seem unreasonable when a reasonable calculation of blowback and its cost are factored in.

    Once a government starts assuming blowback never happens, and then it suddenly does, it has to find itself trying to explain away blowback as the actions of lone psychopaths who couldn't be planned for.

    In effect any "theory" of blowback is simply stating two things:

    1. Events/actions have precedents (i.e. if something happens there is probably a reason for it, so if terrorists blow something up, they probably are acting based on past events)

    2. Events/actions of consequences (i.e. if you do something things will happen whether you like them or not, and if your nation follows certain policies, then terrorism might follow suit)

  10. Descartes uses the "evil genius" to say not only that we are deceived about reality, but that we could even be deceived about "mathematic" and "logical" truths, like 2+2=4.

    The "evil genius" is a way of asserting the primacy of consciousness; Descartes concludes from the evil genius example that all we can know indubitably is that we are thinking beings, and then tries to deduce from the fact that we have consciousness facts about reality, inverting the proper hierarchical relationship between existence and consciousness.

    Descartes is probably a little strong about "2 + 2 = 4", I'd contend while he might be able to make it so that if I have two rocks and get two more rocks that I always find I have five rocks, I can still prove "2 + 2 = 4" in a purely mathematical sense.

    Well Descartes is concerned with the "what if we are being systematically mislead", the question then is whether there are things even an omnipotent and omniscient misleader cannot mislead us about.

    Descartes reaches a conclusion, and it may well be one we dislike.

    I think, though, that an Objectivist should be able to start with the Cartesian scenario and affirm the axioms of Objectivism in the end. That would be profoundly more interesting than simply saying "Descartes conclusions are wrong, therefore the whole chain of reasoning is wrong".

    Let's try it.

    Suppose we are in the Cartesian dilemma of being systematically mislead by an omniscient and omnipotent misleader (but suppose he can only effect our sense data, and not the inner workings of our mind directly).

    Just play along and don't take the easy way out and say "there is no such thing as omniscience and omnipotence, therefore, no problem".

    Can we demonstrate the Evil Genius cannot violate the axioms of Objectivism?

    Of course, on further reflection, one could argue that if the Genius plays with the sense data too much that rational thought and consciousness are rendered impossible, and that a certain modicum order in the world is necessary to consciousness. In that case we could posit the Genius wants its victim to be conscious and so doesn't go "too far"....

  11. What do objectivist make of Decarte's "Evil Genuis"? Can this idea be invalidated?

    You aren't supposed to take it literally. Descartes' point isn't 'gee we can never know if there isn't an Evil Genius'.

    It is intended as essentially a 'worst case' scenario to bring out whatever remains as 'indubitably' true.

    Descartes point is basically:

    'Look, even in the worst situation I can imagine, the following things are indubitably true. I can rely on them. So I can conclude they are fundamental truths.'

    It doesn't take much to start from a Cartesian position, and conclude that the axioms of Objectivism still must be true even in this horrific case. The Evil Genius cannot make A not equal A, or Existence not Exist, and so on.

    Descartes is never asserting there could be an Evil Genius out there, at most he is saying 'Look even if he was, and we were indeed this screwed, we can still rely on certain truths'.

  12. Does anyone around here play it? I just started a couple days ago and haven't put it online yet, but have been enjoying the strategic game play and great visual arts. I might endorse in my Total War games soon enough.

    I picked it up a couple of weeks ago. I've found it rather addicting with a great mix of real-time and turn-based strategy.

    My only complaint (which I have with most of these games) is that I find most of the units available unnecessary, and never bother to use them. I have the feeling the designers wanted variety, but didn't work to really give units strengths and weaknesses that force the player to come up with good working combinations.

  13. Orson Welles once did an all-black version of "Macbeth" with the setting changed to Haiti, and the witches to voodoo witch-doctors (the production was in Harlem I think). I understand it was quite highly regarded.

    But Orson Welles was a friggin' genius.

    As someone who has been to the Ashland Festival many many times, I can say that changing up the plays is a good thing.

    You can only see the same plays in Elizabethan garb so many times before it gets a little old.

  14. What does that mean? Does the guy's proposition deserve praise, then? Or, can you make no judgement about his proposition?
    No. A person with class would simply ignore it and move on.There is no point to the ridicule.
    Wow, the irony. Aren't you doing the same thing?
    There is always that problem.I tried in my post to treat it as a peer to peer issue.If the OP considered their comments to be peer to peer, then I humbly apologize.
  15. I've only ever seen "valid" used rigorously with respect to logical arguments, and then it is merely a formal condition

    An argument is valid just in case false conclusion cannot follow from true conclusions, so:

    A,A->B therefore B

    is a valid argument since A is assumed true and B is deduced true while,

    A,A->B therefore ~B

    is invalid.

    As I said this is a purely formal condition and takes no account of the actual content of the arguments:

    "George Bush is president","If George Bush is president then the sky is pink" therefore "the sky is pink" is perfectly valid as an argument, though in the sense of content (particularly the assumptio that "If GB is president then the sky is pink") might be questionable.

    But these sorts of questions go beyond mere validity.

  16. I think the remarks about "whim-worshipping" and "false reality" ignore the data that would indicate that the patient's beliefs and state-of-mind do have an effect on their probability of survival.

    I think the issue is that telling them they are fine makes it more likely that they will pull through, all other things being equal. Telling them they are not fine lowers the chances of pulling through.

    The remarks about "whim-worshipping" assume that patient survival is totally independent of the patient's state of mind.

    In cases like this, as I understand things, the patient's whims do in fact effect the outcome.

  17. This is a very interesting question.

    My first reaction was to simply say: "Okay if you lie to them their chance of survival increases."

    Simple decision.

    On the other hand this encourages an attitude that "I know better than you do what is good for you," which is immoral, as well as the kind of thinking that encourages big government.

    My second reaction was to say: "Everyone should have the right to make their own autonomous decisions, and have no one else secretly making decision for them."

    So you should tell them.

    Now my third reaction is to say: "Okay, this is first aid. On a purely physical level we expect the provider of first aid to do things for wounds and so on without consulting the patient, and asking for their input. The first aid provider does what is necessary to promote the survival of the patient. If it is necessary to lie to them, then that is fitting with the other medical help they provide."

    So lying would seem legitimate within the context of the emergency situation.

  18. I’ve read the first. In fact, I recommended it in my first post on this page. The point is that unless you have Wagner’s own words outlining an anti-capitalist thesis for the Ring, your claim is nothing more than a subjective interpretation.

    Furthermore, whether Wagner was a Christian or not is irrelevant to your allegation that there is something objectionable about his libretti. Let’s see some evidence for that assertion.

    You seem to be not understanding a simple set of facts:

    Everyone has an opinion

    Many of these opinions may differ from yours

    I gave my interpretation of Wagner. You have yours.

    I left out the other part of my opinion (namely that his music is over-written, bombastic, teutonic crap) since it didn't contribute much.

    I do however have enough respect for Wagner to hold that there is more to what he had to write than pleasant flights of romantic and mythological fancy. I do believe that, like most serious artists, he was actually trying to say something. And I think you are demeaning his work by holding the content in such low regard.

  19. Consider Wagner's context- one of his main beefs with opera in his early period was that it had become singularly focused on profit, at least in his eyes. Composers were no longer writing works that were meaningful to them or to others, but simply chasing after an easy buck.

    Hmmm, this from a man who spent his life living beyond his means on borrowed money.

  20. Wagner had it in mind, you say? Would you care to present notes, diaries, letters to that effect?

    Parsifal and Tannhauser put both faith over self, but they are no different in that regard than countless other Christian heroes in Western literature. Yes, Parsifal is slow witted, but that is his handicap not his strength. By comparison, are we to suppose that Victor Hugo’s inarticulate hunchback is the heroic ideal?

    As for the Nazis. it was Wagner’s celebration of pagan legends that they admired, not his Christian opera. If you want to get into guilt by association, why not observe that Hitler and Ayn Rand both praised Fritz Lang’s Siegfried, which is a non-operatic rendering of Wagner’s source material?

    Check out the three volume set from Time Life containing the titles:

    The Perfect Wagnerite

    Ring Resounding

    Richard Wagner

    Its in one of them (I think the first actually).

    Also, Wagner was never a Christian, he was a Schopenhauerian. He was adapting a world-denying Christian legend ("Parsifal") to the world-denying Schopenhauerian philosophy.

  21. If Christian themes are offensive to you, then the bulk of Western art and literature must be a major turn off -- from the Sistine Chapel to Les Miserables. Even Rand’s favorite composer, Sergey Rachmaninoff, wrote “Come, Let Us Bow Before The Lord.”

    And trying to read anti-capitalist messages into ancient Nordic sagas is just silly.

    Wagner composed "Das Rheingold", and "Die Walkuere" with the anti-capitalist message in mind as something of an allegory. He still had something of the spirit of 1848 in him at the time. Wagner chose to read it into the story. This is part of the reason he wasn't sure where to go with the whole thing after "Die Walkuere".

    As for "Parsifal", the point isn't whether Christian themes exist in Western art. The point is whether offering up a chaste, faith-driven, imbecile (albeit also a perfect physical specimen) as a heroic ideal has much to offer.

    Anyway, I'd say the ideal in 'Parsifal' is rather more Schopenhauerian than Christian.

    It is interesting to note as well that the heroic ideal offered in "Parsifal" is also the heroic ideal advocated by the Nazis.

  22. Which libretti and what offending passages did you have in mind?

    Well there's "Parsifal" where the hero is a hero precisely because he is chaste, a man of faith, and stupid (i.e. the Christian crusader ideal).

    Also the first two operas of the "Ring of the Nibelungen" had a strong anti-capitalist bent where the dwarf is a stand-in for the exploitative business classes, and is characterized by greed (and traditionally he is played up as a Jewish stereotype), and the hero represents a liberating of the common folk from the thrall.

    The first two operas of the Ring we conceived in the climate of the 1848 revolutions. He apparently didn't know where to go from their and the last two are more straightforward fantasy.

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