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Everything posted by CrowEpistemologist

  1. I thought I answered that about 5 times, but here's #6: you don't. Terrorists with guns should be hunted down and killed. Duh. As for the other 999,990,000 Muslims on the planet, we need to figure something out, don't we? Insofar as we're not engaged in an all-out world war right now, I would conclude that we are figuring something out and virtually all Muslims do in fact live in peace with non-Muslims.
  2. For what it's worth, I've found Ayn Rand's philosophy-centric view of history to be largely unhelpful. While philosophy has a role in everything, a better framework is to look to power and practicality as the central driving forces of history. There are certainly lots of examples where religions have been benign--the Founding Fathers come to mind. There are of course lots of examples of the opposite. I personally divide up the world between personalities who are after power and those who are not. I bet the Indians in the above example had a cottage industry built up around their stupid statue, and wanted to put away the one who sought to kill the golden goose. I bet the head priest in the area was living large and building up power. Etc. This area of India, I would imagine, is not exactly Manhattan. Any tiny bit of notoriety is a gift from, well, God. There are no atheists in shit holes I guess...
  3. I think you are naive if you think Christianity is any different than Islam. Liberty is incompatible, theoretically, with the Bible every bit as much as the Qur'an. That said, all of the Muslims I've ever spoken to (have you ever spoken to even one?) aren't "proud" of terrorists or even support their actions in any way. They are even proud to live in a country where people have the right to insult their religion. Try to back up your broad generalizations with facts rather than feelings or Fox News commentators. You aren't going to persuade anybody to accept objective reality if you cannot even practice it yourself.
  4. In this case, the violent dudes with guns aren't anybody's audience save our guys with guns. I do think Muslims, Christians, and other religious people can be persuaded to live in relative harmony with their society, and I think most of them want that. Hence common ground can be found. For instance, they need to condemn this violence, and also make sure they don't financially support anything that supports anything that supports terrorism. You can convince a Muslim to do this a lot easier than you can convince them that God doesn't exist. But yeah, I agree with all of those things above...
  5. Again, context. I said in the "social-political context". In other words, what you publish in a blog, what you put in the headlines of the editorial, etc. And I said if your goal is to make things safer for the world, etc. That's not everybody's or even most people's goals in publications like this. The Hebdo publication was entertainment and nothing else, and to that end they probably did great, just as Daffy Duck beat Bugs Bunny by swallowing TNT. He "won" too.
  6. I think there's a vastly different context between human interactions between a place like here, among a few individuals, and mass-communicated political speech ala Hebdo. The same action has a vastly different meaning in the respective contexts. A publication like Hebdo gathered an audience based on its shock value to a curious audience. I daresay that their appeal is somewhat parallel to that of a car race, where people watch because of the crashes (the crashes in this case being terrorists coming to kill them). It had nothing to do with persuading anybody of anything. That was not their goal. In the social-political context, persuasion absolutely should be your goal. That is, if your goal is to make the world safer...
  7. Declaring 1 billion people to be terrorists or terrorist supporters won't get you anywhere and won't solve anything. Those 1 billion people are not terrorists and they don't support it, regardless of what we might have noticed about the implications of their basic premises. They haven't noticed and they probably won't ever. Now, why would some really violent, pissed off people who love to shoot guns at people align themselves religious beliefs held by 1 billion people? Gosh, why?
  8. Hebdo can't spend those proceeds in heaven. Hebdo was a real person, as were the others who were killed. Anyhow, recall that the purpose of truth is the enjoyment and fulfillment of your life. Its not an end in itself. We're not monks.
  9. While I'd love to see the R's actually face down the cronyites, I'll believe it when I see it. The only thing that rivals Obama's rampant cronyism is the Republican's rampant cronyism. As for pulling one of the three legs out of the system--the individual mandate--you should only expect a lot of huffery and puffery, but there will be no action because there cannot be action there as it will instantly stop the entire system from working, and effectively repeal it, which the R's definitely cannot do. They can't do this because they don't challenge the basic premise of socialized health care, so they'd be left with creating another system of socialized health care--and remember that this one was actually conceived by a Conservative think tank and enacted by a conservative republican governor. So while you're going to hear lots of populist bullishit coming from the Republicans ("stop the individual mandate!"), they know all they are doing is blaming math on the Democrats, which is just a political parlor trick and not actionable policy.
  10. Since we're talking about communication--and presumably about interfacing with the world in general--I should like to point out that the Founding Fathers of the USA were, by all accounts, very good Christians. Yet Christianity, taken to its logical conclusions, is incompatible with Liberty. How did this happen? Aquinus's Angel. The FF did not do the work to take their own premises out to their logical conclusions. They went on to found an entire country that's lasted over 200 years and counting, so I hardly think there's anything temporary or tenuous about this state. One can imagine it lasting forever, given this evidence. In the context of communication, therefore, it's not valid to ascribe specific beliefs to people that they do not have. It's not even valid to predict that they will have them. Not all Muslims are for Sharia Law--and I daresay only a tiny minority of them are for that. It's also quite plausible that a Muslim population (just as a Christian population here had) can, with blissful ignorance of their premises, create a roughly free society. For instance. Therefore, in the course of communication, it's an instance of the "two tennis courts" problem when you have the following conversation: S1: "I am a good Christian". S2: "But that means you are in favor of Socialism, which you are in favor of Stalin, which means you are in favor of Siberian Death Camps". S1: "WTF are you talking about? ..." This sort of pattern happens all of the time, and it gets nowhere. It might be useful and fun occasionally for a purely academic discussion, but when talking about current events, and responses to them, then the context is present-day reality and immediately usable knowledge.
  11. So they take a single data point and call it a "blatant" pattern. Have the terrorists attacked other newspapers who don't attack their religion but nonetheless practice free speech? Are they trying to stop the entire Internet from happening? Are they bombing telephone companies and threatening ISP executives who publish anything, or are they going after a specific subset of people? What subset is that? What does that subset have in common? That's how you scientifically analyze this situation. The above quoted story is religion nonsense. Does Islam cause terrorism? Does high-fat food cause heart attacks? Sorta. Sometimes. Not all of the time. Sometimes it's fine. Sometimes its even helpful. Sometimes it can kill you. You have to dive into the specific context. You have to focus on the details of every situation. Soundbites are for idiots who have no interest in solving real-world problems.
  12. Um, in this case, the terrorists won. Hebdo is dead. It's not that the world is too complex for the principles in Ayn Rand's books, it's that the world is not specifically Ayn Rand's books. You cannot describe, in the necessary detail to live, even the tiniest corner of our civilization in 1000 pages. In other news, if a burglar demanded a silver teaspoon of mine lest he kill me, then he's getting the stupid teaspoon. I can buy another silverware set. In reality I do not, for instance, keep extremely expensive things in my home lest my home's security be reduced and the risk of violence to our persons be increased. Its a trade-off I make--and it's not the end of the world. I live in the real world, not in an Ayn Rand novel.
  13. I'll drag some epistemology and metaphysics in here for fun. As for epistemology, recall that all knowledge is contextual, and the "context" of any given bit of knowledge ultimately connects to its purpose (and there's a whole hierarchy of purposes, etc.). Often (most of the time?) the disagreement among arguers is about them being in two different contexts. There are different ultimate goals between the parties. Recently a comedian described the resultant situation as, "Two excellent tennis players making brilliant shots against their opponent--on two different tennis courts". One very common problem among objectivists is that they forget that the stories in Ayn Rand's books were fiction and that they were necessarily a stark, simplified view of a world (as all fiction must be). Ayn Rand did not convey they incredible complexity of the real world we live in. She wrote about the "good guys" and the "bad guys" to be used as signposts for helping us understand the real world. But the real world is complicated--when your goal is to solve problems in it. But that's not everybody's goal. Some people's goal is to reinforce what they read in Ayn Rand's fiction books, or in some cases their goal is just to win the argument they happen to be in, apropos of nothing else. My goal is a relatively safe and lower-taxed world in which I can carry out my life. I observe the world we currently, really live in, and advocate for the actions which will further my goal. In the real world we know there are a billion Muslims, for instance. Needlessly pissing them off will not further my goal. Neither will needlessly pissing off religious people of all stripes, for that matter, will not further my goal. Rather, it will detract from it. I also know that a lot of people--no matter what their religious beliefs--share my goal. Also, I know from a rather complex life I've lead (for instance, I haven't been a book author cooped up in an apartment all my life) that people are not "Aquinus's Angel"--that they don't automatically apply the logical implications of their basic premises. In other words, most religious people I know are more or less "rational" about most things, as most people are. Hence when you attack their religion as such (and out of a clearly defined, detailed context), they honestly don't even know what you are talking about. They just think you are an asshole.
  14. I've argued pretty extensively that technology in general--part of which is a cashless society--will do exactly that. Another thread though... The tl;dr on that thread is that, there might be inflation in the future, but technology will remove its ability to hurt anybody (which itself will reduce its advantages to governments who try it, which in turn will probably make it go away only because there's no reason to do it).
  15. I think the advent of smart phones replacing credit cards is going to be the nail in the coffin for physical pieces of paper and little bits of metal as a temporary store of wealth. A fully-computerized financial society means every citizen can enjoy the knowledge of smart financial people who were never hurt significantly by inflation because they knew how to trade around it. This has vast implications for domestic policy. Whatever will the right-wing conspiracy theorists do without the boogieman of "inflation"?
  16. I wasn't talking about where charity came from, I was talking about its net aggregate effects. If lots of people are nice, and give people free health care when they need it, then nobody has any physical reason to buy health insurance. That effect, in the context of socialized care, is what Obamacare (and its predecessors) tried to address: that millions of people don't buy any sort of insurance because they know they will always be taken care of regardless. If the solution is some sort of different future world where people consistently (nay, perfectly) have a strong moral compass, we can debate how to get there, but the present-day world has lots of assholes in it, and they ruin it for everybody.
  17. I'm saying that in a free country, shit happens. Cruel things happen. There are bad outcomes--and even potentially a lot of them. Ayn Rand didn't advocate a "perfectly safe" world, she advocated a just world where everybody gets what they deserve--and she went to lengths to show that some don't deserve anything at all. I know that people--lots of people--will attempt to game any system presented to them. If there is "benevolence" in society that allows people to get stuff for free, then lots of people are going to try to get that. Whether the source of the free stuff is compelled taxes or non-compelled charity is irrelevant in this context. Insofar as charity is systematic, then we are... right back to where we started with socialism. The only logical solution is to not have benevolence in any systemic way, and at lots of cases must be made an example of e.g. people need to die on the steps of hospitals in order for the looters to see what happens when they don't work to sustain their own lives.
  18. I don't know what the solution is, but the first step is clearly stating the problem...
  19. Why wouldn't it happen? Magic? (By the way, this is what I meant above when I said, "evasion").
  20. The blog posting links to an article which links to various articles talking about the evils of Obamacare, all the while (overtly) accepting the premises behind Obamacare (which is to say, you are your brother's keeper). In other words, these Fox Newsers need to come right out and say, "yes, if you don't have money and/or you don't have insurance, then too bad, you get no care and you will be left to die". Oh, and saying, "our caring society will always take care of you" breaks the entire system because people will inevitably rely on this "kindness" as a matter of fact. Freeloaders need to be told to pound sand, or they will freeload. That's indisputable human nature. Of course they cannot come out and say this because it would sound funny (and surely many who do say don't understand the implications of their own premises), so their work-around is to launch a war on reason and reality, and/or they are unwittingly, be caught up in said war. I wasn't really following the above thread about homeless shelters...
  21. I guess that's a good point (if this was the point you were making): that people seem to be okay with relegating homeless people to their deaths? I guess if they can be made to live with this, they can be made to turn away the dying from a hospital. We'll see. Regardless, as an EpistemologistTM, I cannot stand articles like the above and the ones that it links to: it perpetuates a lie, an evasion. In doing so, it links liberty to unreason and corruption, not reality and reason.
  22. Yep, they haven't in the USA for at least half century. We have socialized medicine here in the USA (I use that term broadly). If we want to abolish it, we need to come to terms with what it really means and stop sugar-coating it, and stop evading it. If you don't have money (directly or indirectly) you don't get free heath care. Period. Any other system is "socialized medicine" in one form or another.
  23. The entire health care debate can be boiled down to this: either we let somebody who hasn't the money or insurance die at the steps of a hospital or we don't. Insofar as we don't, then the most efficient system of socialized medicine makes sense. I don't think writers like Paul Hsieh fully understand (or choose to illuminate) the implications or their premises--while they debate those who do both. This leads, I am sure, to much frustration on either side of the debate...
  24. I suspect we'll see "robot-only zones" where cars don't have to predict what humans will do. That will allow the technology to adopt gradually. Then these zones will get more common, until practically all roads are this way, etc. etc. And yes, self-driven cars won't go away entirely, just like horses haven't. I just hope there's still good places to ride in the future...
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