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Jake_Ellison last won the day on November 5 2011

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About Jake_Ellison

  • Birthday 10/26/1981

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  1. Saw you're in the "banned" group...hope that's not a permanent thing. I've found your input very helpful on several occasions

  2. You just quoted it. Allowing some religions to be considered in Court, while banning others, is an obvious violation of the Establishment Clause.
  3. The existence of this law would not make it any less impossible for a judge to rule the same exact way. And even if it did (which it doesn't), that would not justify a law that singles out a religion over others, in violation of the Constitution.
  4. So an overthrown decision in Jersey is proof that Muslims in Oklahoma are going to start beating their wives undisturbed from now on? Brilliant.
  5. It's not true that throwing this referendum out would mean men will get to beat their wives or daughters without being punished, in Oklahoma. What are you basing that claim on?
  6. If farmers were allowed to just use any seeds that resulted from any accidental contamination, in any way they see fit, that would effectively remove the control Monsanto has of their intellectual property. They can't stop the wind and the bees, that is a naturally occurring phenomenon. The role of the Courts is to prevent both sides from exploiting it. Having the farmers keep the harvest, but not allowing them to further use the strain for free, is an acceptable solution. It's not true that this means farmers have something stolen from them by Monsanto, or that they are forced to buy the seeds from them. They can simply sell the Monsanto crops they harvested, and use the money to buy non-Monsanto seeds from a neighbor. It's an inevitable inconvenience for the farmers (and for Monsanto too), but it's not initiation of force by either side. As for the legal costs, once the precedents have been set, there is no reason for farmers who can't afford to pay for their own lawyers to challenge them. They can just respect the precedent, and not re-seed the Monsanto crops.
  7. I don't know what "international law" they're referring to. They most certainly can't outlaw treaties and agreements the federal government commits to. As per Article Six of the Const., those supersede local legislation. As for the Sharia thing, they're most definitely not allowed to single out a single religion, in their legislation. That's an obvious violation of the First Amendment. They could of course ban all religions from consideration, but that would for instance also involve banning the Christian definition of marriage, and giving the "activist" judges they so dread another excellent tool in support of gay marriage.
  8. Luck exists, but that's not an example of it. Like OCSL said, the fact that our parents had us was their decision, not luck. Luck is having an event that you knew had only a certain probability of occurring, happen, and benefit you. I think its role in our lives is overblown though (partly because people assign events that aren't lucky at all, to luck). The chances of someone being consistently lucky are very small. More often than not, successful people are not actually lucky, they just have better knowledge of the probabilities of future events, and therefor their choices seem lucky to those who don't have that knowledge, but in fact aren't. Take for instance a card counter at a blackjack table: he's not winning because of luck, but everyone thinks he is. And, unless you know how to count cards yourself, you'll never be able to tell if any player is winning out of luck or if he's a really good card counter, except based on the results. That's how they get caught: not because the casino security went to MIT, but because they know that even though the odds of winning a single hand are very close to 50% (between 49 and 50) no one is lucky enough to come out on top over a long period of time, by playing those odds.
  9. That's what you got out of that ruling? Really? Because it says the exact opposite.
  10. They were either more curious about Politics and Economics than you were, or they were more avid readers, to the point that they were willing to read a thousand page novel just because it came highly recommended. Either way, I don't see what luck has to do with discovering and reading a great, widely published bestseller (Atlas Shrugged), or learning about a prominent figure of the American Right (Ayn Rand). She's probably been mentioned on every political talk show that ever existed, in the past five decades. Of course, if we were talking about some obscure book or author almost no one heard of, then those who stumble across it are not just smart and hard working, they are also lucky. But to find a book constantly near the top of bestseller lists and in the public eye, all you need is curiosity and rationality. You can have the worst luck in the world, and still end up coming across it, if you search for answers hard enough, and are smart enough to recognize its value from other people's reviews (even from certain people's insults).
  11. I think I see where you're coming from here. If a man, when realizing his life, lived by his own values, is over anyway, decides to end it on his own terms rather than prolong it in a way that isn't his chosen life anymore, that is a life affirming choice, based on one's values, aimed at capping off an entire existence by making the last few minutes noble. He chooses this instead of the alternative: making the last few years painful and worthless at the expense of those last few minutes spent pursuing his values, and at the expense of having spent his entire life (shortened as it is) in accordance with rational principles. That death is also chosen based on one's values (his love of freedom), just like dying for the sake of a loved one. It's just different values, but the issue is the same. I've now turned around and accepted that they are both moral choices, though.
  12. You shouldn't be using 'predict the future' and 'determine probabilities' interchangeably. No, Statistics doesn't predict the future. And I wasn't predicting your future either, I was giving you your odds of dying because of your habit. Predicting the future would mean telling you that you are going to die from it. That is what you did, by the way (you predicted that smoking will take 5-10 years off the end of your life), and that's what started this discussion. It is wrong to assume cures for ailments caused by smoking are more likely to be developed than cures for other ailments. So that possibility doesn't affect the odds of you dying because of smoking in any way. Sure, it could happen. But there is a very significant chance that it won't. That's not a prediction, it is a factual statement about our current knowledge. All (mathematically sound) estimates of the probabilities of future events are. That's not context, that's a false analogy.
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