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Doug Morris

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Posts posted by Doug Morris

  1. 18 hours ago, whYNOT said:

    DM, you mean Russia could suffer "a lot of defeat" in Ukraine, and yet enter other countries and ... go on suffering "a lot of defeat"?

    Please tell me how lots of defeats could be sustainable.

    Not sustainable indefinitely, of course.

    But probably sustainable enough for at least one more destructive war.

    Does anyone really know what's in Putin's mind?


  2. 46 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

    The news reports tell that on the one hand the Russian Army is too ineffectual and demoralized to defeat Kyiv and there was driven back (the capital possibly a tactical diversion from its main objective, an eastern corridor) - on the other, that its poses a threat to Poland, Finland, Sweden, the Baltic States.

    Russia may have suffered a lot of defeat in Ukraine, but it has also killed a lot of Ukrainians and otherwise done heavy harm to Ukraine.  It has enough power to do the same to other countries.


  3. 22 hours ago, EC said:

    For instance a full preemptive strike on places like N. Korea, Iran, Russia, or China would be justified, moral, and the proper thing that should happen but likely won't unfortunately.

    Such a strike would not violate the rights of those governments because they don't have any.  But it would kill a lot of innocent people and otherwise wreak great destruction, especially if the target government got off any nukes.


  4. 4 hours ago, Lone Cypress said:

    Speaking of ‘twisted’ those that have no compunction to killing mice or even lower life forms like insects, without reason or need, are something less than human. Animals and plants are alive and deserve respect for their lives as they exist. They may not have rights in the same sense that we do, but laws exist for many of them, both plant and animal, that makes it an actual ‘crime’ to exterminate them which seems to disagree with much of your premise. If we just dismiss what we don’t like or agree with, we are simply irrationally self-interested individuals of little consequence.

    I was trying to clarify the concept of "twisted" in the sense being used in this discussion.  I agree that animals and plants are alive and deserve respect for their lives as they exist.

    What should be illegal and what is immoral are two different questions.  Since I am talking about what the law should do, this distinction is important for understanding what I am saying.


  5. 4 hours ago, Lone Cypress said:

    If I may, I believe my point was that Rand believes many things to be ‘objective’ when they are not. The truly objective are more rare than she wishes or presents. I don’t believe that human nature can be codified to any great degree. Agreement does not signify objectivity. As with science, things become considered factual when any random individual that does an experiment will come up with the same results. I fail to see something similar with objectivity. It remains highly subjective.

    This does not mean that I do not strive for objectivity in my own deliberations, but acknowledge that since little of the mind can truly be defined and demonstrated we have to live with approximations and reasoned conclusions.

    People may be guilty of a lot of subjectivity, but this does not mean they have to.  Aristotle and Ayn Rand have given us a good start on understanding objectivity; we need to carry this work forward and to teach it to others.


  6. 3 hours ago, Lone Cypress said:

    We need to determine at what point an individual is alive and considered human. That was ‘my’ interpretation of the OP.

    There are two kinds of questions here.  One is the question of what government should have to say about abortion; the other has to do with the complexity of moral, medical, and psychological issues a woman needs to consider when deciding about abortion.  I do not claim to have a good understanding of the latter and am not trying to address it.  I am trying to address the former.  Not only is this a "hot" current issue, but it is a very important issue, because government, by trying to control abortion, has a big impact on people's lives, and because it relates to fundamental issues about rights and government.  Also, it is the issue Ayn Rand was trying to address when she said life begins at birth.  It is in connection with this issue that the question becomes, at what point does an individual acquire rights.

    3 hours ago, Lone Cypress said:

    Rights in the way I see them being portrayed here are arbitrary, subjective and legal, unless we speak of natural or intrinsic rights which would be something more organic, fundamentally philosophical and morally based, which indeed is again somewhat personally arbitrary and subjective, with whatever objectivity we may derive from our abilities and whatever data is available to us.

    The question I am trying to address requires us to determine what people's rights are in the sense relevant to what the law should say.  Ayn Rand has given us a basic approach to determining this objectively.  We need to carry this further and to teach it to others.

    3 hours ago, Lone Cypress said:

    the human in a vegetative state, those with dementia, those in the womb and even those below the age of let’s say five to seven are not using their ‘faculty’ of reason to any significant extent

    Children who are using concepts like "food" and "chair" are using their faculty of reason to a sufficient extent to qualify as humans with rights.  This is true even if they are not speaking.  Once people acquire rights, they retain them even if they lose their faculty of reason.

    3 hours ago, Lone Cypress said:

    Some people drown kittens and puppies in bags because they are inconvenient to them.

    They are within their political rights to do this.  Whether it is rational is an entirely different question.

    3 hours ago, Lone Cypress said:

    You state that some ‘legal line’ needs to be drawn at some point but you neglect to explain why.

    Because of the way the law works, it must involve the drawing of lines.

    3 hours ago, Lone Cypress said:

    I see no attempt at persuasion, only an attempt to create a paradigm with no foundation.

    I am stating my position and giving some indication of my reasons for it, in order to indicate some of the breadth of issues that must be considered in order to have a sound approach to the issue of what the government should have to say about abortion.  I realize that further discussion may be necessary for persuasion.


    4 hours ago, Lone Cypress said:

    I still don’t understand why we are speaking of rights in some legal sense when it is the right of existence that needs to be addressed. Whether an individual has the right to terminate something with life is another matter and each needs to accept responsibility for the decision, whether it be to terminate the life of an unborn human individual or the eating of animal flesh, which I do and struggle with continually. I think that the unnecessary taking of a life is debatable and complex. Legal rights are a human construct and prone to corruption, ideology and irrational self-interest.

    I addressed this in the second part of my answer.


  7. e)  Numbering the elements of the sequence 1, 2, 3, etc, the following works for 1 thru 6, but I don't know how to tweak it to include 7.

    Pick a random permutation of the integers 1 through n.  What is the probability that you will get a permutation that includes a 3-cycle that either does not include 5 or 6, or includes 4, 5, and 6.  (It's OK to have two 3-cycles.)


  8. 1 minute ago, tadmjones said:

    By “people out there” are referring to ‘non’ oists?


    2 minutes ago, tadmjones said:

    I think most people have at least the implicit idea that the nature of government is force.

    Explicit premises win out over implicit ones   Implicit premises are of limited value in achieving understanding.


  9. There are two kinds of issues relating to abortion.  One is the question of what government should have to do with it; this reduces to the question of rights.  The other has to do with all the other moral and psychological issues relating to abortion; this is more complicated.  (People out there who do not understand the nature of government will tend not to understand this distinction.)


  10. 1 hour ago, Lone Cypress said:

    I find this comment tremendously interesting. If what you say is true, than Rand does in fact believe that she is omnipotent or infallible, since she would have to have intimate and irrefutable information to make the determination that this ‘other’ objectivity, which you infer indeed exists, is ‘beyond or transcends’ the human mind itself.

    As I understand the point, it is not that this other objectivity exists, but that it does not exist, and that it is twisted to think that it does.

    It is twisted to think that mice have rights, or that plants have consciousness, or that rocks have life; they do not.


  11. 1 hour ago, Lone Cypress said:

    The issue of abortion revolves around coming to these conclusions before it can even be considered or determined. If it is not just an amalgam of random cells, then the decision has much greater consequences than many seem to conclude.

    Al of these other considerations are valuable in speaking of the development of a human being, but if the fetus is not human or alive, then there has to be a specific ‘and’ demonstrable point in time when these things are introduced, and this has not been made evident. We actually develop from 50 to 70, even if many of these developments are deterioration. We change as well from 30 to 50 and from 10 to 30. I find this irrefutable.

    There is a tremendous amount of development from birth to 10, and incredible amount of new and, if I may say, miraculous changes and abilities come into play, but that time in the womb, from -9 months to that birth, are simply another stage of development, nothing more, nothing less, and the life and humanity that exists is simply another ‘stage’ of growth, not matter how fundamental and primitive it is at that time.

    We need to determine at what point an individual acquires rights.

    We have rights, not because we are alive, as plants and bacteria are, and not because we are conscious, as cats and mice are, and not even because we possess the faculty of reason, but because we use our faculty of reason to live and flourish.  To me, this indicates that an individual must be using their faculty of reason to possess rights.  It is not enough to be conscious and perceiving, like the cats and mice.  Admittedly, this criterion would be difficult to implement in law; we might have to draw the legal line a fixed short period of time after birth.


  12. 11 hours ago, tadmjones said:

    The discrimination they want to practice isn’t health related

    Each individual property owner is entitled to decide this for himself or herself.

    11 hours ago, tadmjones said:

    political and therefore a ‘civil rights’ violation carried out in the public ‘market place’.

    Property owners are entitled to do this too.  Anyone who disapproves is entitled to condemn them and/or boycott them, but not to sic the government on them.


  13. 5 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

    You really believe a guy who stayed in his basement during most of the campaign phase, and made a few public appearances in which a dozen or so people showed up, each one sitting compliantly with a face mask, and separated by one another by six feet, sitting in a chair with a circle drawn around it -- that he got 80 million votes? The most popular POTUS in history? Even more popular than Obama? When Trump would speak at rallies in various cities, each filled with capacity crowds, e.g., when he spoke in Butler, PA, there are almost 60,000 people who showed up. And yet Biden won in a "secure, fair, and honest election"? I don't think so.

    How many people attend a candidate's rallies does not necessarily correlate well with how many vote for that candidate, especially if candidates are using different strategies, and especially if their followers tend to differ in attitudes and motivations.


  14. 20 hours ago, EC said:

    to create a free rational world in our lifetimes

    How realistic is this goal?  Especially for those of us who are getting on in years.

    20 hours ago, EC said:


    What degree of soonness is possible?

    20 hours ago, EC said:

    And you change it by publicly talking about these types of things that are important to every man, women, and child on the face of the Earth.

    You change it by spreading Ayn Rand's ideas.  You are describing one way to do this.  Another way is to discuss the ideas with individuals or small groups who are willing to listen.  Another way is to encourage people to read Objectivist books.  Each has its advantages and disadvantages.


  15. 2 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

    It's called "statistical mechanics" and it provides a compelling illustrating of how things break down over time when left by themselves without intelligent intervention to maintain their low-probability arrangements, as well as illustrating how things cannot go from high probability (high entropy) arrangements to low probability arrangements (low entropy) without intelligent intervention. I.e., without purposeful, goal-directed, teleological action.

    The entropy of the entire system always increases, even when the entropy of parts of it decreases.  This is true whether the decrease of entropy in part of the system is due to purposeful, goal-directed, teleological action or to some other cause.

    Natural selection does not operate at random in the long run.  It is capable of producing low-entropy results in parts of a system whose total entropy is always increasing.  It is not purposeful and does not need to be.

    We do not yet know exactly how life began.  The appropriate reaction to this situation is to investigate and to find out as much as we can, not to arbitrarily say a purposeful being had to do it.



  16. On 5/7/2022 at 7:06 PM, Doug Morris said:

    You are defining "senses" narrowly to include only the workings of the sense organs, and maybe not even all of that.  Epistemologically, the senses include the entire process, some of which probably takes place in the brain, by which perceptions are presented to consciousness.

    In this post I made clear that I was talking about consciousness.  I stand by the entire post as true and valid.

    Some of the other posts used the word "mind".  Perhaps the reason we have had trouble with this is that people are using the word "mind" in different senses.  Some have used it to mean consciousness, but EF may have been using it in a sense that includes non-conscious processes.


  17. 8 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

    "Atlas Shrugged" came into being by means of purposeful choices. Please explain why that is not just a form of mysticism.

    We have direct evidence that Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged.

    There is no evidence of any sort of purposeful being guiding evolution.  There is no need to suppose such a being, since genetic mutation and natural selection are enough to account for evolution.

    On 5/7/2022 at 6:21 PM, Economic Freedom said:

    Recent data that Darwin couldn't have known regarding how living organisms at the cellular level contribute to their own evolution, rather than being simply passive objects of random forces causing the extremely rare, beneficial mutation. 

    The process of genetic change may be complicated and involve action by living cells, but this does not make any of it purposeful.

    On 5/7/2022 at 6:21 PM, Economic Freedom said:

    these data undercut any attempts to attribute the appearance of life and its speciation given Darwinian assumptions of slow, incremental changes over long periods of time.

    So some changes were sudden, at least on a geological time scale.  This does not make any of it purposeful.

    On 5/7/2022 at 6:21 PM, Economic Freedom said:

    Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life

    Here is an abstract of that book from PhilArchive:


    Information Theory, Evolution and The Origin ofLife: The Origin and Evolution of Life as a Digital Message: How Life Resembles a Computer, Second Edition. Hu- bert P. Yockey, 2005, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 400 pages, index; hardcover, US $60.00; ISBN: 0-521-80293-8. The reason that there are principles of biology that cannot be derived from the laws of physics and chemistry lies simply in the fact that the genetic information content of the genome for constructing even the simplest organisms is much larger than the information content of these laws. Yockey in his previous book (1992, 335) In this new book, Information Theory, Evolution and The Origin ofLife, Hubert Yockey points out that the digital, segregated, and linear character of the genetic information system has a fundamental significance. If inheritance would blend and not segregate, Darwinian evolution would not occur. If inheritance would be analog, instead of digital, evolution would be also impossible, because it would be impossible to remove the effect of noise. In this way, life is guided by information, and so information is a central concept in molecular biology. The author presents a picture of how the main concepts of the genetic code were developed. He was able to show that despite Francis Crick's belief that the Central Dogma is only a hypothesis, the Central Dogma of Francis Crick is a mathematical consequence of the redundant nature of the genetic code. The redundancy arises from the fact that the DNA and mRNA alphabet is formed by triplets of 4 nucleotides, and so the number of letters (triplets) is 64, whereas the proteome alphabet has only 20 letters (20 amino acids), and so the translation from the larger alphabet to the smaller one is necessarily redundant. Except for Tryptohan and Methionine, all amino acids are coded by more than one triplet, therefore, it is undecidable which source code letter was actually sent from mRNA. This proof has a corollary telling that there are no such mathematical constraints for protein-protein communication. With this clarification, Yockey contributes to diminishing the widespread confusion related to such a central concept like the Central Dogma. Thus the Central Dogma prohibits the origin of life "proteins first." Proteins can not be generated by "self-organization." Understanding this property of the Central Dogma will have a serious impact on research on the origin of life.
    This sounds very different from what you said.

     From the Wikipedia article on the Central Dogma:

    The central dogma of molecular biology is an explanation of the flow of genetic information within a biological system. It is often stated as "DNA makes RNA, and RNA makes protein",[1] although this is not its original meaning. It was first stated by Francis Crick in 1957,[2][3] then published in 1958:[4][5]

    The Central Dogma. This states that once "information" has passed into protein it cannot get out again. In more detail, the transfer of information from nucleic acid to nucleic acid, or from nucleic acid to protein may be possible, but transfer from protein to protein, or from protein to nucleic acid is impossible. Information means here the precise determination of sequence, either of bases in the nucleic acid or of amino acid residues in the protein.

    He re-stated it in a Nature paper published in 1970: "The central dogma of molecular biology deals with the detailed residue-by-residue transfer of sequential information. It states that such information cannot be transferred back from protein to either protein or nucleic acid."[6]

    Information flow in biological systems

    A second version of the central dogma is popular but incorrect. This is the simplistic DNA → RNA → protein pathway published by James Watson in the first edition of The Molecular Biology of the Gene (1965). Watson's version differs from Crick's because Watson describes a two-step (DNA → RNA and RNA → protein) process as the central dogma.[7] While the dogma, as originally stated by Crick, remains valid today,[6] Watson's version does not.[2]

    Again, this sounds very different from what you said.


  18. 1 hour ago, Economic Freedom said:

    For Darwin, evolution is a process of pure-dumb-luck plus determinism taking place very slowly over long periods of time.

    He was wrong, of course, but his hypothesis has sure gotten a lot of intellectual mileage, especially in academia.

    If you are saying that genetics is complicated enough that some changes can happen quickly, or that Darwin knew nothing of genetics, you probably have a point, but this is irrelevant to the question whether reason evolved.

    If you are saying evolution is guided by purposeful choices, please explain why this is not just a form of mysticism. 

     If you are saying something else, please clarify.


  19. The discussion about evolution started when, as LB, you stated

    On 5/6/2022 at 10:05 AM, The Laws of Biology said:

    Darwin and Freud viewed human nature as essentially and irredeemably irrational, injust, unethical, and aggressive.

    You did not give any reason why this statement about human nature should be taken seriously in philosophical inquiry.

    I asked you to back up your claim about Darwin and, as EF, you said

    On 5/6/2022 at 1:48 PM, Economic Freedom said:

    n "Descent of Man", Darwin claimed that human morality evolved in the same way that biological organisms presumably evolved: by the two-pronged mechanism of 1) random mutation, sifted by means of 2) natural selection. It's a strictly non-rational viewpoint: random mutation = stochastic event (i.e., chance); natural selection = deterministic event. Teleology – goal-oriented approach – has no part in Darwin's view of human morality. It should be pointed out that this view was also held and extended by later adherents of Darwin's.

    It would be more precise to say "Teleology – goal-oriented approach – has no part in Darwin's view of how human morality came to exist."

    I then indicated the distinction between acquiring reason and acquiring morality by saying

    On 5/6/2022 at 5:41 PM, Doug Morris said:

    Evolution in this way is how we acquired the faculty of reason.  Once we had reason, we used it to acquire morality.

    You then blew this off by crudely and imprecisely restating my point and comparing it to

    On 5/6/2022 at 5:48 PM, Economic Freedom said:

    those "Just So" stories by Rudyard Kipling (how the giraffe "acquired" its long neck; how the leopard "acquired" its spots; etc. Highly recommended fiction reading.

    I think much of the rest of the debate about evolution in this thread has been a smokescreen generated by you to cover up how weak your argument is philosophically.

    Obviously, we could not have acquired the faculty of reason by means of reason.  We acquired it by biological evolution.  This is not relevant to a discussion of what we did once we acquired the faculty of reason, which includes arriving at morality.


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