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Everything posted by simonsays

  1. I am not anti-American. For example, I would support the UK becoming a 51st state over remaining in the EU. Americans do have a stereotype and that stereotype is one of a fat stupid nation. And for the record I do not like it when Americans live up to the stereotype. I agree that there is a debate to be had over whether releasing video is good for the military. What needs to be balanced is the security and integrity of the military, with the need for justice for the sake of the widow of the soldier killed. I think releasing the video, jailing the pilot (or whoever was responsible) for a short amount of time, and apologising to the family would be the right thing to do. The small loss of credibility that the military would suffer would be a small price to pay in the interests of justice. This isn't even an issue since the whole credibility of the war is under question because of faulty intelligence. What I am saying is that the Americans don't need this video to shoot themselves in the foot, they already do that perfectly well already. To be clear, when I refer to "the Americans", I am talking about mainly the Bush administration and elements of the military and intelligence agencies - basically the people in power. This is how the situation should be, but sadly, in reality this is not how the situation is. Allies should help eachother out and in this case it is not happening, because of a desire (on both sides of the Atlantic) to not admit mistakes. Surely we have not watched the same video. This defence analyst has watched the same video I have. To repeat my main point in this post, the Americans don't need this video to embarass themselves, they embarass themselves anyway and should have released it to their allies.
  2. Correct. Correct. Poorly trained pilots have no bearing on the success of the war? This is not about just this one incident. This is about the use of immoral actions and/or stupid actions since the war began. From going to war on false intelligence (completely undermining the case for future wars) and now to poorly trained pilots and then not releasing a video when allied governments are trying to investigate. Listen, I am no pacifist I believe actions should be taken to defeat threats to the West - I believe Iran's government should be removed for example. So don't think only pacifists can think George Bush and certain pilots in the US military are orangutans. Did you watch the full 15 minute video? How many times did the pilot express doubts over whether the target was friendly? How many times damn it!? This is simply a reporting of the news. The facts are that a poorly trained pilot opened fire on an ally when there was absolutely no pressure to do so and when doubts were expressed many times over whether the target was friendly. These are the facts! Who is a peacemongering hippie? Of course friendly fire is going to happen in a war. That is missing the point. The point is that the accident was caused by an extremely stupid and/or badly trained pilot who repeatedly expressed doubt over the nature of the target. He knew the nature of his stupidity as soon as it was done saying "We are going to jail." And so he should be going to jail. If this were a case of confusion on the battlefield with decisions having to be made quickly with no time to check whether a target has a big orange panel on it (ie if there is a risk that you yourself will be fired at, at any moment) then fine, that could be an unpreventable accident. This accident was entirely preventable. Friendly fire is unavoidable; so are road traffic accidents involving high speed police chases. When a pilot has doubts about the target and fires when under no pressure to make a decision and kills a friendly soldier then that is criminal; when a police officer uses unnessecary speed when under no pressure and causes an accident then that is also criminal. No, in this case (and normally I have very little respect for the media), they have done a good job. The Sun obtained and reported the video which the Americans were keeping rapt up. Why wouldn't they release the video? To repeat: Why wouldn't they release the video? Because in the video there contains the truth, and the truth makes them look like fools. And now I'm pissed off at this forum to boot. Correct.
  3. A better version of the video, direct from the source: http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,11021-2...ID=1347_SUN1439
  4. Great Britain and America are meant to be in war together but when an American pilot fired on British soldiers in a most unfortunate incident (killing one soldier and injuring others), the Americans were most uncooperative in the ensuing investigation. For example, no US witnesses were allowed to go to the UK. The Americans refused to release the cockpit video until it was leaked the Sun, a tabloid newspaper in the UK. The American government is only interested in saving its own skin and keeping themselves in power and will not admit any mistakes. What a f*cking mess this war is. Video: http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/avdb/news/vide...638_16x9_bb.asx Full transcript of video: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/6334231.stm My favourite parts from the transcript: Orange panels? Never mind them, fire away! No you are not in jail. Although the British have ruled that the pilots should go to jail (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6449227.stm), the Americans have said they did nothing wrong (!). This was clearly gross negligence or a complete lack of training. If it truly was an unpreventable accident then why have the Americans been so uncooperative in the investigation - because they know they are in the wrong. This war makes me sick.
  5. OK I'm from the UK, here's what I think. Recently Channel 4 produced a show called "The Great Global Warming Swindle". I am yet to watch it but was pleased to hear when a friend of mine told me he was now beginning to doubt global warming being man-made. Even the people who say they support green measures are only just talking; hardly anyone actually puts into practise their green morality. That leaves politicians. They will certainly pass this climate change bill, no doubt about it. But - woe betide any politician who harms the economy. If the climate change bill starts to harm the economy then as soon as voters link the pain of the falling economy with green policies, then voters will dispose of the politicians. The skillful politician will be the one who can satisfy voters green morality by appearing to be green, while not actually doing anything that will majorly harm the economy. I could be wrong. The economy could easily be devastated by this bill and Great Britain could be about to head into deindustrialisation again for the second time in 50 years. But I have to say that I wouldn't put my money on it. For example look at Live Eight. I went to the concert and you had 200,000 people (plus the rest of the country) all feeling moral and good about themselves for helping Africa. What was achieved? Absolutely F all. For Americans to get a feeling for Live 8 I have to spend a few more sentences on it. Literally for about 3 weeks straight, there was a media frenzy. Every single newspaper was cover to cover about it. Every famous person was there from Brad Pitt to Bill Gates. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4645869.stm Then 7/7 happened and everyone forgot about saving Africa and concentrated on improving security. A similar thing will happen with global warming.
  6. Not at all. I was seriously wondering how one can generate an intelligence from dust without the hand of God. I can accept the theory of evolution for physical things, eg for an eye or for a hand, even for a brain, but to say that reason is a product of evolution..... hmmm. For example, a lot of evolutionary theories explain emotions in women such as cheating on their partner during maximum fertility, depression after a baby is born, etc. The same for men. These things are explained by evolution as survival mechanisms that have evolved, and I would say that just because a decision has survival value (for your genes), does not mean it is the rational thing to do. When someone tells me that reason has evolved, is it not self refuting? Is that very statement not a product of evolution also? If so, the statement is meaningless because a product of evolution has only survival value and not necessarily truth value. This is still a hypothetical argument, I do not necessarily believe it, but I'm still not satisfied with rejecting it.
  7. Continuing my hypothetical argument: It is a product of the environment. Variations that are successful in dealing with the current environment propagate. The current environment is entirely random. Therefore variations that contained the genes for a reasonable brain occurred randomly. Precisely. Evolution as a theory about reason's origin is unreasonable, not reason itself. So what we are really discussing is whether intelligence spawning from random processes is really intelligent. Or, more fundamentally, whether evolution is random. I say it is random because of random mutations, and also because of a random environment which determines which mutations survive. This is self refuting because it asserts that reason is a result of purely random forces. In other words that reason is not reasonable. Therefore evolution is an unreasonable theory. This is fine for an entity such as a river. One could say that the water cycle, with the ocean, evaporation, precipitation, rivers, etc, are created by natural process as a result of random forces. Thats fine. But if you then say that the process of figuring out this natural process of the water cycle, is itself a natural process, then you have condemned reason as being a random natural process. This is because it is a result of random mutations and random environmental factors. I have read “The God Delusion”. I have to be honest that I found many of his arguments to be weak. I might start a new thread on some specific issues.
  8. Hypothetical argument: Objectivism asserts that in order to make a rational argument you must assume free will, existence, etc. ie, it would be invalid to argue against free will because you are using it in the act of arguing against it. Therefore any arguments against free will, reason, etc are self refuting. Now similarly, it is stupid to believe evolution. To believe that our faculty of reason is composed of chance survival events spanning millions of years (ie it evolved), is to argue that our reason is a function of chance (ie that it is not reasonable), that our actions and behavior help our genes survive and are not necessarily reasonable. For instance, altruistic urges could be successful in helping our genes survive (in others) but not in helping ourselves and making ourselves happy. As with all arguments that attack reason itself, the argument for evolution is self refuting. If our brain evolved from chance events it will not be perfectly reasonable, rather it will be perfectly designed to propagate genes. By upholding evolution, you attack reason, and any attacks on reason are self refuting.
  9. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6408391.stm What a horrible women. She is "not used to" companies not obeying her orders! How dare they! I seriously wonder what would happen if Microsoft released the following statement. "We do not recognise the European Commission. We are not going to pay further fines." I think the Commission would seek to prosecute Microsoft management. Their only choice is to further drag their feet for which they are doing an admirable job. I think they should stay in Europe so long as the profits made are greater than the fines imposed. Good luck to Microsoft!
  10. This isn't independent, nor is it a long term study but its all we have right now: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/downloads/pdf/co...c-6monthson.pdf Basically it is behaving exactly the way economic theory would predict. I also think that this is a perfect example of what has to happen with all public services as we transition into a free society (which I believe is inevitable, the good always wins in the long run). People are not going to wake up one day and think to themselves "I know lets have an O'ist constitution and defend individual rights and outlaw taxation!" Rather, people's views will change slowly over time and policies such as road pricing are an indication of these changing views. One day our grandchildren will wake up and they will be living in a free society and then all that will remain is to codify the implicit principles of society into an explicit form of government.
  11. Microsoft has an enormous potential for spying on people. If it wanted to it could incorporate into its operating system hidden software that spies on you. It can already access and read all of your email stored on Hotmail. Why doesn't it? This brings up a question: are privacy laws, such as the DPA, moral? Could these laws be applyed to the road pricing system for example? I would say that in their current form they are not moral. However as long as companies sign up to privacy laws voluntarily then they are moral, in which case they wouldn't really be laws but voluntary regulation. If a company signed up but violated its stated policy, then it could be prosecuted for fraud.
  12. I support road pricing. All of the tax collected using this method would be offset by scrapping existing road taxes. This makes the tax system more fair. It is a step in the right direction towards full privatisation of roads. Eg. once certain sections of road produce enough revenue, you can imagine private companies bidding with eachother to buy that section. Privacy issues to do with the satelite tracking technology can be solved by having a strict privacy policy that would mean noone but a computer could access your car location. A summary of the road pricing policy: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4610877.stm I hope this gets through but I have a feeling that it won't considering public opinion is opposed to it: http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6381153.stm
  13. I was reading this thread and thought it was strange that the guy found it hard to get hold of Rand. I've seen it in every bookstore here in England. Anyway I came across these books which have new cover illustrations on Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fountainhead-Pengu.../dp/0141188626/ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Atlas-Shrugged-Pen...s/dp/0141188936 I absolutely love these illustrations! The first one must be of Dominique. She looks cold and a there is a look of hurt in her eyes but it may just be disinterest. You can see her blonde hair has been covered up (some of it escapes next to her left eye). I think this fits in her not wanting to let the evil world have her beauty. The second one I am thinking is John Galt? He is well built and well dressed with a disinterested face. I haven't read AS in a while so I can't remember the character descriptions. I think the artist has captured Rand's fiction writing in which she describes her characters faces like laws of nature. I would love to be next to these two characters when they laugh! What do you guys think of the illustrations?
  14. Damn, I lost £200 and I'm in jail – thats harsh. I am totally stuck. I've got 3 turns to roll a double though so give me some time. As far as I'm seeing it terrorists are mostly Muslim who are mostly not white. Therefore in an airport it makes sense to have more bag searches for non-whites. With the black crime example this means that police officers should stop more black drivers than white drivers. Perhaps this is an absurd conclusion but to me I only vaguely feel that it is absurd. I want some hard reasons why this is wrong. By the way I am pretty sure I am not racist. I've dated a stunning and smart black girl before so I do judge an individual on their merits. If the above airport policy or police policy was applied to her I would be extremely pissed off as would she. But I'm still not sure why this would be wrong other than I feel that it is wrong? Lives would be saved if the above policies were enacted?
  15. .... all not white. The same for 9/11 and Madrid. Therefore at airport security does it make sense to actively target non-white people? However, since this terrorist example doesn't have any stats whereas the black crime example does, we should focus on that. So blacks commit 37% of murders but make up only 12% of the population. Whites commit 32% of the murders but make up 75% of the population. Therefore police efforts should be diverted away from whites towards blacks? And similarly, as in your example, away from females and towards males? And away from older people towards younger people?
  16. As KendallJ says in point 4, most Islamic fundamentalists are Arab. To prove that terrorists are mostly Arab Muslims are you asking me to actually do a statistical analysis? I would point to the fact that 9/11, London bombings, and the Madrid bombings were all perpetrated by Arab Muslims. OK but lets look at an issue for which lots of statistics are available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_crime On the basis of these statistics do you think it is valid for police officers to actively spend more of their time and resources focusing on black people? If life is the standard of value and the police are there to protect our lives, every method available should be used (short of violating black peoples rights) to save more lives? Are you saying that while it may be legal to target black people, it is not moral because of the injustices involved?
  17. 1. Are generalisations based on statistics valid concepts? For example, if I say that most terrorists are Arabs, is this a valid concept? 2. Is it rational to act on these kind of concepts? For example, if most terrorists are Arabs then does it makes sense for airport security to actively focus their attention on Arabs in order to save lives? My thoughts on these questions so far is as follows: If there is a strong correlation between two factors, while it may not be a causation, it certainly makes sense to relate the two into a concept. For example, if I hear someone with an American accent, it is safe to assume that this person believes in a God, until I gain evidence to the contrary. Similarly, if you were to blindfold me and put any terrorist in front of me, it would be safe for me to assume that this person is an Arab until given evidence to the contrary. Forgive me if any of this sounds racist, but I am honestly trying to integrate whether statistical correlation is a form of knowledge and whether it should be acted upon.
  18. It is 5am in the morning right now where I live and I am wide awake. This is partly to do with reading OPAR which I finished about an hour ago. It has had a tremendous impact on my life within the few short days that I have been reading it. Perhaps the biggest identification that I made is that I hold a false dichotomy between the moral and the practical. I have held this contradiction since as long as I can remember and I think it has manifested itself in many ways. To the extent that I eliminate this one contradiction, my life will be enriched. I am so glad I bought this book.
  19. I posted it in the website leadership section based on the description "Discuss the ideas for new features, activism, campaigns, and manage of ObjectivismOnline here." I have spoken to a few Objectivists on Skype now and it was fun. This idea should definitely be taken on by the mods and owner of this forum.
  20. I'm saying that an advanced alien civilisation wouldn't care about a lump of rock that we call Earth, just as we don't care about an ant hill. Yes a child may destroy an ant hill on purpose. But if you put an ant hill in a box that requires one to solve a complex equation to open the box, then the ant hill remains safe from irrational children. The distance between Earth and an alien civilisation ensures that we are in a child proof box, with our complex equation being the problem of how to get here. If aliens figure that out then they have already proved themselves rational enough to not destroy us. Also, the fact that they have figured this out also ensures that anything on Earth would be useless to them as a resource. Would they want our oil in order to power their interstellar ships? No.
  21. Lets say there is a sinking ship. There is space left for one more person on a lifeboat, yet two people need the seat. In this emergency situation a fight ensues in which person A wins the seat and B is left on the sinking ship to die. Twist: B then finds a small lifeboat that had been hidden behind a piece of wrecked decking and therefore also gets saved. Later, A and B accidently bump into eachother at the mall. Before the ship incident A and B were strangers. If I have a correct understanding of Objectivism, B is not meant to feel pissed off at A in any way since morality did not apply in the emergency situation. Both of them are meant to laugh off the incident, perhaps campaigning to put more lifeboats on ships so that such a situation never happens again. Yet I contend that A and B would not even be able to look at eachother without extremely strong negative emotions between the two. If emotions come from reason, how do we reconcile the negative emotions between A and B with the fact that noone did anything wrong? Or, would A and B not feel pissed off at eachother? If not, why not?
  22. If aliens came to Earth they would not want to colonise Earth! This is because they have already discovered an amazing fuel supply and an extremely fast transportation technology that would be required to get here from their distant star. What use would Earth be to them if they have already figured out so much?
  23. I got OPAR yesterday and read the back cover: Awesome is an understatement here. This is beyond awesome. I am completely overwhelmed by the lucid explanations of metaphysics and epistemology. I am speechless. I am up to chapter 3 and the biggest reaction that I notice in myself is "Wow - I have a lot to learn!" Up until an hour ago I thought epistemology was something that was not necessary to study in my life and I found myself skimming some of the paragraphs to get to the juicy bits about capitalism. For the first time in my life I found myself interested in metaphysics and epistemology and instead of getting to the juicy capitalism bit, I slowed down in order to fully understand what was being said. This happened after reading the following: I am loving this book. I will post again with more updates from this awesome intellectual experience.
  24. Does this mean that Ayn Rand can never be made fun of by an Objectivist without being immoral? Or is this just your personal opinion; that it was not funny but others could rationally and morally think it funny depending on their context?
  25. Hey can someone post the link to THE FORUM, they are trying to find the file on this thread: http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/index.php?s...ic=5633&hl= I can't be bothered to sign up just to post a link. With regards to the clip I think it was hilarious! I mean, even a fully integrated Objectivist could make fun of Objectivism, right? It was funny because sleeping is automatic and they were saying it was in the childs rational self interest to sleep. Also the tone of voice made it funny. And the "I'm Howard Roark!" was funny because it mocks people who take Objectivism too far and want to become and architect and dye their hair orange (someone actually did this if I'm not mistaken?). Of course those guys disagree with Objectivism and are trying to mock the whole thing, but all of the things they mocked are plausible possible mistakes. eg the sleeping not being automatic but being under ones free will (a fallacy made if you take free will too far) eg the not sharing joke = an oist not being benevolent because they think its altruism. Perhaps a common mistake? eg The Oist sleepover party joke = in 50 years time when Oism is more popular, some parents indoctrinate their child with Objectivist philosophy like fundamental Christians do now, rather than waiting until the child is old enough to understand philosophy. Another plausible mistake. Therefore it was funny because they took Objectivism, exagerated it but kept it almost plausible, and made fun of the exageration. This is what good comedy does in my opinion. Whether or not they realised themselves that this is what they had done is another matter, but their intentions change not the fact that it was an exagerated version of Objectivism they were making fun of, and therefore it was funny.
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