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Everything posted by themadkat

  1. Hi liberal, Your understanding of biology and animal behavior is deeply flawed. There is no "for the good of the species". To the extent that social animals come together (in the so-called "higher" groupings at least, such as mammals), they only do so insofar as it is in their individual interests. The old idea of group selection, where individuals sacrifice to keep the species going, has been dead since the sixties. There may be some group selectionary forces at work in certain instances, but they happen under very specific conditions that we can model - there's nothing magic about it.
  2. I'm not trying to pick on you here, but isn't this pretty much the DEFINITION of evasion? Isn't it exactly the responsibility of every citizen to understand, at least on a broad level, what their government is doing, ESPECIALLY if they intend to lend their support to that action? Because at the end of the day, all of us are responsible for the actions of our government. Isn't that our justification for killing people overseas who have never attacked us - that they are responsible for the government they have allowed to be in power? What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Whether
  3. It's probably true that insane amounts of cardio is not good for you, but cross-country races are not really comparable to marathons. 3.1 <<< 26.
  4. Curiouser and curiouser... So my mother and sister just flew out to San Diego and back and did NOT have to go through either the full-body scanners or the invasive pat-down. They each just went through the normal metal detector and had their hands swabbed (presumably for explosives). Apparently at certain airports they are NOT making everyone go through the enhanced screening, only certain people at random. This is, to me, definitive proof of security theater. I am glad my mom and sister were spared the humiliation.
  5. Hm...I am glad to see that story, but he already flew and already went through security in his country of origin. I don't know if one could get away with doing that if it was BEFORE the flight. But yes, this whole thing is a blatant violation of the fourth amendment.
  6. I will be flying next month. I refuse to go through the scanners. Guess that means I'm going to be groped. I am really, REALLY wishing I was not about to fly, because I get freaked out by strangers touching me. On the other hand, I have to be damn careful not to get myself on a no-fly list somehow which basically gives government the arbitrary power to destroy certain types of careers which depend on travel by air. This completely sucks.
  7. Are you equating "understanding property" with territoriality?
  8. Actually, animals most emphatically do NOT understand private property. In certain macaque groups (a kind of monkey), dominant individuals will take food or other resources away from submissive individuals by force. This actually discourages the discovery of extra food, because the submissive individuals have anything they "produce" (by procuring it from the environment, sometimes at considerable effort) stolen from them, and the dominant individuals don't need to do that extra work when they can just take whatever they want. I think it's an extremely good natural example of what happens
  9. themadkat

    Food Stamps?

    I don't agree with JeffS, but I do want to point out that this is not what he is arguing. He is not implying that C is initiating force against A and B in recovering her property, he is saying that C is initiating force against D in recovering her property even though D didn't do anything or take any money from C at all. That is the argument here. He is offering no defense of A or B's mooching. He's saying that to go on benefits from the government is initiating force against victimized producers, not the leeches. All are agreed that their actions are wrong.
  10. I'm only going to reiterate this one more time: we DO know the direct causal mechanisms in many cases. Some very well-documented causal processes still act probabilistically. You virtually ignored my half-life example. We KNOW that carbon 14 has a half-life of 5730 years. Are you implying that could change at some future date? It won't. When carbon 14 acts according to its nature it decays at a rate of half gone every 5730 years, period, end of story. I agree with you that medicine needs to be more individualized. However, in some respects people are people, and poison is poison. If
  11. You are missing the point. In the particular case of cigarettes (and by no means ONLY in this particular case), we DO understand why the statistics come out as they do. We can identify the particular chemicals involved, and we know what they do. Do you deny that particular chemicals act according to their natures? Just because a particular phenomenon behaves probabilistically does not mean it isn't predictable. I agree that correlation is not a substitute for causation but in this case we DO know causal mechanisms. Radioactive decay occurs probabilistically. Does that mean we can't
  12. I feel compelled to point out that you're coming very close to denying the validity of induction here. It was Hume's argument that induction was not reliable unless you "assume" the future is like the past. As to cigarettes, cigarettes contain many chemicals, the effects of which are known and intimately quantified, with LD50s and everything. So we're not "merely" talking statistics here. If you didn't believe cigarettes had an effect on your body, you wouldn't use them. Why are you accepting the causality of certain effects of cigarettes but not others? Also it's ridiculous to say t
  13. Clearly only downers and hallucinogens are immoral...stimulants are just dandy! Whew! <chugs some tea and energy drinks while puffing a cigar>
  14. Say, that's really something. It's intense, but I think I like it.
  15. I think you would have more of a point if the anti-(gay) rights people were making these arguments. But this is never what I hear them railing about. It's always about religion and "protecting the cheeldren" from those horrible queers. You do make an excellent point generally about the shitty situation that all small businesses find themselves in and how government policies actually end up promoting discrimination based on nonessential characteristics. I also think this points to a problem with policies regarding marriage generally. Why should a husband or wife automatically be along fo
  16. I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous. The costs of defending yourself in court are huge. This is one reason that even the threat of legal action allows large organizations with tons of resources at their disposal to intimidate people who haven't necessarily done anything wrong; the big guys can drag proceedings out forever. Of course, if you WIN your court case, then you can hold the plaintiff liable for your fees, but that could take years, and in the meanwhile you are being bled dry by lawyer and court costs and might even go bankrupt in the process. So yes, being sued is a nightmare even i
  17. "Give it All" by Rise Against: " Break through the undertow, your hands I can't seem to find, Pollution burns my tongue, cough words I can't speak so I Stop my struggling, then I float to the surface, Fill my lungs with air, then let it out I give it all, now there's a reason why I sing, So give it all, and it's these reasons that belong to me Rock bottoms where we live, and still we dig these trenches, To bury ourselves in them, backs breaking under tension For far too long these voices, muffled by distances, It's time to come to our senses, up from the dirt We give it
  18. You're putting the cart before the horse. The ruling serves the interest of individual rights and liberty on principle, not pragmatically. Preserving "the structure" of a society whether it respects individual rights or not is true pragmatism. Remember that the system is good ONLY insofar as it serves individual interests qua each person, not some aggregate of the majority of individuals' whims.
  19. Hi Brian. I'm glad you brought that up. I actually have already seen that e-mail but it's good to put it in the post to give context. That really doesn't change my opinion on the thickness of Harriman's skin one way or the other...I still don't have an opinion. The only thing it makes me wonder about is why he feels the need to trace the purported source of McCaskey's argument back to "academic philosophers" like Paul Feyerabend (who, by the way, whatever his other faults may be had some great criticisms of the logical positivists). It makes it seem as if he is trying to discredit McCaske
  20. I don't post terribly much and I ought to know better than to post in a topic like this, but if I get flamed for this, so be it. This sort of feuding going on is exactly the sort of reason why Objectivism hasn't been and by all indications won't be widely accepted in academia any time soon. I am seeing entirely too many posts that seem to endorse what Harriman is saying simply because it is Harriman and he is endorsed by Peikoff. All that should be important is the merits of the work itself, regardless of who wrote it or who likes it. If you like The Logical Leap because you think it is
  21. I should start by saying that I am an anthropologist, and anthropology and sociology are traditionally antagonistic fields for some bizarre reason (even though they have a lot in common). My office-mate once described sociology as "the science of handing white people surveys", and it is certainly the case that much sociology is done this way. That said, although I have many problems with the way sociology is practiced and structured, to say it is an illegitimate field of study is going way too far. You might as well say that all of the social sciences are illegitimate (I know some Objecti
  22. I don't think this is necessarily true. You can't put having sex in the same category as doing the laundry. If sex is truly not a value to you (and especially in a woman where it's really important your body be somewhat ready for it), it could actually be very uncomfortable and/or painful to engage in it. I mean hell, sex can be uncomfortable even in the BEST of circumstances. I currently am nursing some injuries right now which can make sex downright painful, but I go through it anyway not only because I love my partner but more importantly because, let's just say my sex drive is the exac
  23. Congratulations on your 25 years of honorable service and I hope you enjoy the next step. It may not be as boring as you think.
  24. Generally speaking, maintaining your values requires effort. Sometimes depending on what is going on it requires more effort and focus than others. How does wanting to retain a high value indicate desperation? Also, as far as changing the focus, we're not just talking about "other people"...we're talking about someone you've already decided is important to you, presumptively for rational reasons. Clearly it should not matter what "people" think of you, but what about a trusted friend, a teacher, a partner? If you respect their judgment it's one of the things you take into account when you
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