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Everything posted by softwareNerd

  1. Merriam Webster 1. skill acquired by experience, study, or observation the art of making friends 2. a branch of learning: (1) : one of the humanities (2) arts plural : liberal arts 3. an occupation requiring knowledge or skill the art of organ building 4. the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects the art of painting landscapes; also work so produced 5. (archaic) a skillful plan 6. decorative or illustrative elements in printed matter
  2. Apart from nominating a person to make decisions for you, you can also list criteria, considerations and preferences. Of course, someone still has to interpret those, in a given context, but it can help making your own views clearer to the decision-maker. Possibly, such instructions could make certain decisions illegal (with a judge/jury deciding intent). There'll always be situations when there are no instructions and no person nominated. It becomes a tough situation. One might think that close family -- a spouse or parent -- know the person's will the best, and have their best interests at heart. In reality, there are all sorts of situations where that is not true.
  3. The word "art" is used in different senses. For me, the top Google prompts, for instance... "the art of...war", "the art of...shaving", "the art of manliness", "the art of the deal"
  4. You cannot analyse Trump's language in this way. I doubt he has a very informed view about the various phases of American history. He detects the emotion of his audience and knows how to reflect the right attitude back. He's reflecting a feeling, among a large number of voters, that things are not right. If they aren't right, but they used to be...that means we must "make America great again". Similarly, the typical Trump voter does not have a precise view about the best period in America, or even something like "three best phases". They think of it more generically: that things aren't going the way I thought they would; things are worse than I thought they would be; therefore... they should be better. Since the voter based earlier expectations on something, they want that back. The essential fact is: post-Great Recession has seen middle and lower class stagnation. "Make America Great Again" just means "stop this stagnation". Mexicans, Muslims and Indian programmers are convenient scapegoats, but the essential issue is an underlying feeling of dejection because they were living a lie and the lie is revealed, and the Democrats are telling them that the answer is more of the same, while Trump is pointing out specific scapegoats and saying he'll make America great again.
  5. If photographers asked whether parents want photos, for price $ XYZ, they would get less revenue. That's the basic assumption under which they operate. Photographers used to do this at certain tourist destinations too -- though, for the past many years they have not needed to print them out. So, they send them home, assuming that parents will go mushy seeing their kid's photo, and will buy. Very often, the school -- usually the P.T.A. has a motivation too. Since many photographers would like to get this business, the P.T.A. will sometimes do a deal with one of them, and get something from the photographer in exchange. I think a lot of parents buy them because it's a tradition that they had when they were kids. We never bought these for our kid -- maybe the first time, and not after that (memory fades). I think our school asked parents to sign releases, and (presumably, because I always gave permission) kids photos would not appear -even in the year-book as part of a group -- if permission was not granted.
  6. If I remember right, our school would usually send a note beforehand, telling parents that a certain day was picture day. The idea being that the kids should dress accordingly. The main thing you're going to address here is your son's embarrassment at not doing what his classmates are doing,.
  7. From anecdotal evidence there seem to be just as many homosexual Objectivists as any other random cohort. In fact, years ago I found it curious that there was such a high proportion of Objectivists who are homosexual, but I then realized that my interactions with Objectivists are online and I am probably underestimating the number of non-Objectivist homosexual folk I interact with everyday. Can't comment on female homosexual Objectivists, because the sample-size is pretty low. Though, I can;t imagine why that would be any different. Not a topic I've read much about, but it think there's a degree of fluidity in sexuality/sexual-preference. However, that doesn't imply that one should change what comes "naturally". I don't see whether it matters much whether "naturally" means "I'm born that way" or if it means "I made early-life preferences that are deeply ingrained". Nor does fluidity imply that other options will give one the same value as what comes "naturally". Introspecting, I don't know if I would want to change my sexuality so that I can target a cohort that has better political views; but, it's hard to put oneself in someone else's shoes. Seems to be a a tough decision, even if it turns out to be possible in the first place. BTW: There are flags in your post that say "troll". Just thought I'd mention that.
  8. Formally, it is redundant to ask "why be rational", since the question assumes it is.
  9. No, of course it does not. Given your posts, I find it implausible that you would think it does have a clear meaning. Sounds like you're into polemic. If so, it's hardly likely to get answers; though, it might well confirm your suspicions, lol!
  10. Do you mean you believe in the existence of God, but not necessarily the Christian etc. description of such a God? Not sure what you mean by "mad at God". Yes, there's no contradiction there. The essence of Capitalism is the high degree freedom to do things you want (aka, "pursue your happiness"). Stuff can help make one's life comfortable, but stuff is a means to an end; and stuff won't buy one happiness -- not in your typical case of middle-class (or above) living.
  11. Welcome to the forum. I'm curious: if you have not read anything of Rand's yet, what got you interested in the first place?
  12. The key lesson Objectivism gives me is that I should prioritize creating a better life for myself much higher than creating a better world. And, creating a better world is a priority only to the extent that it creates a better life for myself. The "mystics and collectivists" create the laws and culture. So, of course it has an impact on us. Nevertheless, certain aspects impact certain people. A law denying a person access to try a new drug (the topic of the OP) impacts that person, but does not impact many others in the same, direct way. I should be concerned too, because I could need some such medicine tomorrow; but, I cannot be concerned in the same way as someone who is actually suffering from some illness. The impact on their life is way more than it is on mine. One needs a hierarchy of concerns. Of all the bad cultural and legal things in our world, some are more direct concerns while others are more remote. Of the direct ones, some may be annoyances, while others may be major. Some may cost you a bit of extra time and money, others may cost you a lot. How do you live in a irrational world? You start by understanding that hierarchy of concerns and figuring out what's really important to you. Then, you come up with plans to manage around the high impact ones. Sometimes, that's not possible. For example, if you're thrown in jail under some bad law, you may not have any good solution. Or if, like the OP, you are denied an important treatment, you may have to spend a lot of time and money flying abroad to get it. So, yes: sometimes the bad culture or laws will be a huge barrier. There are so many girls in Saudi Arabia who would love to be free to get out of the situation they find themselves in: about to be married to a cousin who is a strict Muslim, while they themselves are not; to someone who will not allow them to work or drive -- and the law won't give them recourse. Where they will be stopped at the airport if they try to leave and other countries won;t accept them if they manage to get out anyway. A whole lot of people, all over the world, face huge constraints on their freedom of action. Still, if one lives in any of the relatively modern countries in Europe or Asia, one has a lot of freedom of action, unless one hits a specific situation like the OP did.
  13. I'm sorry to hear about your father. There's a lot that's wrong with the healthcare system. Firstly, there's the fact that a whole lot is still unknown in medicine. Within this context of the unknown, there are some prevailing theories, and physicians are taught these, and generally follow these. In George Washington's time, a well-meaning physician might bleed a patient, thinking it will work. We're better today, but in many instances doctors will put a patient on one therapy. If that does not work, they will try another. We've come a long way from placing leeches on various spots of the body, but we still have a long way to go. It is a good bet that some current medical theories are fundamentally wrong, and a few generations later people will view them with horror. Secondly, for terminal illnesses, and for other late-in-life debilitating illnesses, the philosophy in the U.S. medical establishment is to prolong life. Real world example: a 75 year old has a heart problem that is causing them to be bedridden and unable to do much even in bed, A surgeon says that open heart surgery -- at that age -- has a 20% chance of improving things where they will be able to hobble around the house and be more alert. Also, without the surgery, they may die around 77, but with it, they have that 20% chance of living to 80. There's also a 20% chance things will go badly and they might die within months. An d, 60% chance nothing will change. In this kind of situation, we have the problem mentioned first: the estimates themselves are suspect, because of the state of medicine. However, people around the world are given that type of estimate. In some poor countries, most people faced with that decision figure that it is not worth spending the money to prolong life. In a country like Japan, UK or Canada, the government would have figured out how they will act in the face of such estimates and costs. They will either do the procedure for free, or refuse to do it: deciding for you, that it is not worth the money. (This is the "death panel" criticism of Obamacare.) The person who has to pay has to make that decision. In the U.S., the bias is toward spending the money. Medicaid, Medicare or private health insurance pick up the tab. For folk over 65, its almost always Medicaid or Medicare so its a bit like UK's NHS, with Medicare being a little more liberal with its spending, but Medicaid being quite generous as well. People who do not fit into the system have a huge problem in the U.S. The system is extremely unfair to these people. The typical retiree is covered by Medicare. I'm not sure why your father's care was not paid by Medicare. In my judgement, it is true that healthcare is more expensive in the U.S.. The quality of care is excellent by contemporary standards, but there is a huge amount of administrative overhead in the way the system is run. It is not about the rate/per hour. Doctors are rich, but 10x times some other senior professional is a lot. The typical physician does not earn that much. You got to be a pretty advanced specialist to be near that. (Pediatric neuro surgeons earn below $1,000,000/year, at the median). And 1000x times: nope, it just does not happen even if it appears to be that way. When you pay $100,000 for a hospital stay that ends with surgery, a lot of that money goes to a whole train of people. There are multiple people in the operation, and running the ward; there are people running the hospital; there are cost of running the hospital; there are computer systems; there are admin people processing claims; there are insurance folk checking up on the claims; there are software programmers writing health-analysis software to analyse what treatments are cost-effective; there are drivers delivering medicines, equipment, blood to the hospital; there are electrical companies sending electricity; there are medical equipment companies making scanners, monitors...it goes on. When you swing away from discussing the health care system, to the more general conspiracy theories, then it's wild. You should not do that, even if you want to blame someone...
  14. I'll leave it to others to argue whether Objectivism has anything to say one way or the other on this topic... and if it does, whether it is right or wrong. As for what biology and other such sciences tell us... Let me ask you two questions: You say you have studied the evidence. So, you're probably aware that this is a controversial topic. You're also probably aware that there are ideologues on both sides of the debate: some want to push racist ideas, and cling to some studies to do so. Others want to argue that there are no differences and cling to studies that show the opposite. Meanwhile, there are also studies that cannot be accused of such bias, but yet point to evidence either for or against. So, with that background context, my first question is: have you spent as much time on such unbiased studies that argue against race being a big driver of things like IQ? Second, let's say there are two factors A and B which both seem to correlate with IQ. And, suppose reliable studies, which have tried their best to normalize and control of other factors, have found that, when isolated, Factor-A has a low positive correlation with IQ while Factor-B has a high positive correlation with IQ. That's the background. With that background, would you try think it reasonable to argue that Factor-B is more important -- as a causal factor -- for IQ. (That would a false argument, but it is one that many people -- including "scientists" make.)
  15. Fair enough, if that's your preference. I think it just creates confusion if you're trying to discuss two very different questions within the same thread: "what does the science tell us" and "what does the philosophy of Objectivism assume -- if anything at all -- about what science tells us" Your other two questions were: "What evidence? I have seen evidence of the contrary. " "As for changing genes you're gonna have to provide me with some studies because this is the first time I've heard of it." Both these are about what science tells us.
  16. I think it will be distracting to discuss Gio's question about whether we should call this Objectivism or not. Reality and truth are paramount. If Objectivism is defined as something contrary to that, we should just admit that Objectivism is wrong on some point, and move on. I suggest keeping the focus on the actual issue, and leave "is this Objectivism?" for a different thread. Recent studies have shown that Darwin's model is a bit Newtonian, and that another source of genetic change can come from individuals actually changing their genes in response to cultural and physical environment. While it is far-fetched to say that "Man is a being of self-made genes" is is no longer kooky. It is plausible to say that a person who is given different cultural and physical inputs from those available to his genetic relatives will actually experience a change in his genes, which will also be passed to his kids.
  17. So, the starting point is: how important are genetics when it comes to .... <IQ, moral-character, fill-in-the-blanks> Evidence indicates that the two are fairly correlated, but that genetics is of little importance.
  18. As a general rule, sex has a psychological component, not just a physical one. For instance, while having sex, one's partner may be saying something, or moaning, or showing a certain enthusiasm in their eyes ... various things that do not directly physically impact the other person's body. And, this changes the pleasure of sex. This explains why prostitutes have a thing called "the girlfriend experience", with a premium price-tag. Consider also various sexual acts that are considered kinky, conventionally. It could be role-playing, or more. These have little to do with the physical aspects of how the two (or more) human bodies interact. It is more about the fantasy that is made a little more concrete by acting it out. And it does not have to be loving; violent sex has the same quality of enacting some theme. So, that's just a general fact about sex... without considering specific contexts. That's why, when a partner is performing sex not because he/she wants to, but rather as a purely physical act, it is more like being masturbated by someone else. It's qualitatively different. That's why having sex for a reason other than wanting to have sex changes the nature of the act. Human beings evaluate things within broader contexts than the one act itself., weighing long-term versus short term consequences. If sex between two partners is routinely reduced to something less than even a paid-for "girlfriend experience", there's a good chance that it will qualitatively effect the sex between the couple more widely. With all that said... there may be nothing wrong with the conversation you you describe... if one adds certain specific context and tweak the language to be less clinical and more loving.
  19. Well, a few answers that you feel are cringe-worthy will lead you to prepare for better future ones. Not too important really. Be proud that you're questioning yourself about it. You know that a fair number of people would have felt positive about his cause, while knowing they did not intend to vote, but yet they would have happily lied and said they'd definitely come out. Since you take ideas seriously, and since you consider your word your bond, so to speak, it makes you uncomfortable that you lied. Good for you. There are so many possible answers. It depends how much of debate you want to get into with strangers. With door-to-door people, you can simply say you don't plan to, and say you don't intend to discuss it further. No need for any animosity. You can even compliment them personally while rebuking them: "I admire you going door to door for a cause you believe in, but our home-owners association should not be allowing people to be disturbed." With someone who is an acquaintance, you've got to figure out how deep a discussion is warranted. "I never vote for local bonds"... or something like that may be all you need. And, a more polite way to say you won't discuss it further.
  20. Do you know how do the state-level "Right-to-Try" laws (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-to-try_law) interact with existing Federal law? I'm curious about this question: If one is in a state that has pass such a law, would the Federal law have provided more freedom?
  21. Raul Castro is going to given part of his job to someone about 30 years younger. Though Castro retains power for now, let's hope -- for the sake of Cubans -- that this is a good thing. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-11/a-cuban-president-not-named-castro-will-inherit-troubled-economy
  22. I'm not convinced. Allow me to react to each sentence above: "Using a gun instead of an argument requires to force others to act irrationally. " I agree. These are our two options: reason or force. "One only uses force when they can no longer reason." This the statement you're attempting to prove below. So, let's see... "This is because if they were using reason their arguments would win and not need to be forced." This is a re-statement of the first sentence: i.e. if reason worked, you would not need to use force. But, it does not say why one is better or worse than the other, or why we cannot use some combination. "And since reason is where all morality is derived from in objectivism the only situation where you can initiate violence is when acting immorally." With respect, this sounds very much like "begging the question". The reason to use reason is.... Objectivism says so? Objectivism derives morality from it? But why is the correct? I don't get it. Take a concrete example: Let's say you are a frail old woman who needs her walking stick to hobble around and I an a big, burly male high-schooler in his prime And you have an apple and I do not. I love apples. I'm hungry. I would love to eat that apple I use my reason and it tells me I could reason with you about why you should give it to me. I might be able to convince you to part with it I have some money, but I reason that I may be able to get the apple for free So, I speak to you and tell you I'm hungry and that I have nothing to trade, but I'd like to have the apple. Let's say I'm good at this, and I build up via a conversation that builds empathy for me. And, it goes on for a while, and you're friendly, but you insist that you are hungry too. You say you're willing to cut out a quarter and give it to me, to help me out I really want the whole apple, so I contemplate offering money. (Maybe I search through my pockets and act as though.... Hallelujah! I do have a dollar after all; God be praised!! He did it with fishes, and he's doing it with dollars now ) But, my reason tells me that if I can keep my money, I can trade it for even more stuff So, I "reason" with you by saying: "Give me your apple or I will take it from you, and you will get hurt" (Yes, I recognize this is actually a threat, and therefore force) You say "No" So, I grab it and run away In that story, I fully recognized that reason and force are the alternatives. I even used reason to figure out how I might try to convince the old lady to part with her apple. When that failed, I used reason to threaten her before actually acting, because I cannot gain anything from injuring her, as such (and she was sweet enough to offer me a quarter of the apple for nothing). But, when that did not work either. I recognized it was either-or, and chose the next logical option: force. What's wrong with that? The only answer I see in the propositions you listed is "Objectivism derives all morality from reason". Well, I used reason all along. But, if that means Objectivism also wants me to use reasoning in all my interactions with others, maybe Objectivism got that part wrong.
  23. Why is it illogical to have to use force? The reason specified is "because the thing receiving force is capable of reason", but so what? What's the capability of the recipient got to to with the requirement for the other -- the person taking the action -- not to use force. In other words, why is an argument more logical than a gun?
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