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Everything posted by watson

  1. Stronach had a choice to go to the US. Just as in the US insurance companies will refuse to pay for some procedures, tests, etc. And I hardly see Stronach as a government official. She went into politics on a whim from a billionaire lifestyle. She was in politics for about two years. Insurance in the private sector does use the premiums used from the collective (clients) to pay for the pool of individuals who do use the health care system. I'm sure your argument would be that there is a "choice" whether or not to purchase health care insurance, not "forced" by the government at gun point to pony up. It is not your "responsibility" to pay for my health care, but it is definitely in your best interest to understand that a healthy society is a more productive society, economically, intellectually, etc. Part of the problem is the cost of emergency care. It will always be cheaper to have ongoing care than emergency care. Treating heart disease throughout someone's life will always be cheaper than an emergency by-pass operation. I would like to hear from objectivist individuals who have been bankrupt by health care expenses, even if they had chosen a health insurance policy they thought covered them. The cost of health insurance policies, deductibles, co-pays, etc., in the US for a family probably negates much of the tax differential between individuals in the two countries. I guess noone can force anyone to treat a sick individual, but i do believe that it is a right, in the north american society, to have access to someone (doctor or otherwise) that has been trained using tax dollars to treat a taxpayer. What happens when the "few" who need economic help for health care are not so few that it exhausts the funds put into such pools of financial resources? The economies of scale work just fine. What happens when individuals with Swine flu/SARS don't seek medical attention because they can't afford to go to their doctor, ER, thus putting the entire population of a community at risk for infection? Don't get me wrong, I think there is a good balance of a canadian system and some other system, where there is some onus put on the individual to foot the bill for some of their health care choices, to limit the costs by making people in a country like canada think before using or abusing the system.
  2. Have a sick child. Pick the medicine you feel most comfortable with using your high school education.
  3. There are so many issues not addressed in arguments against some form of public funds being put toward a national health care programme that proponents of a privatized proponent just doesnt take into account. I live in Canada, not a perfect system by any stretch of the means, but I'd much prefer to pay an extra few dollars a year in tax dollars to know I will never go bankrupt from health crises, thus allowing me to get back to work and continue to be a contributing producer. I have a surgery planned for later this month, I have two pre-op appointments, a day surgery, and I won't be out of pocket on top of what I pay in taxes, which is not that much more than individuals who live in California or New York pay. Plus, in economic times like today, no one in Canada is losing a step, having to find an insurer - regardless of pre-existing condition(s). Plus, I actually feel somewhat good to know that our individuals here in Canada do have access to world class health care, even if they can't afford it. There are many individuals who would never receive proper treatment, therapy, etc., without the nationalized programme. Again, no system is perfect, but, for those that will protest what I say, I happen to also believe that access to health care is a right, in the current light for some of the following reasons: 1. Tax dollars pay for hospital infrastructure, in a completely privatized system those without enough dollars couldn't even get in to see a doctor, i suppose. 2. Tax dollars are used to educate doctors, etc. that work in the hospitals 3. Tax dollars pay for research that result in better treatment, equipment and therapy 4. Without proper health care provided to some individuals, the safety of some of the community would be in question (pandemics, mental health, etc) 5. Although points 1- 4 are not moral issues, from a moral perspective, I lie more on the side of valuing life as a whole. In the system now, in the US or other privatized system, it will always be more expensive to treat someone once a disease appears, rather than to have preemptive and ongoing care. Go ahead, rip apart my points....
  4. Jus an FYI, founder effect doesnt have to be negative. Population of French Canadians have a variant in their HDL gene that is protective against heart disease. In a simliar manner, the French Paradox (some attribute to red wine consumption), is the characteristic of low LDL levels in populations of individuals who eat high fat content diet. I also think that North American average age that women have their first child will result in a darwinian move toward selection or preservation of fewer chromosomally abnormal ova in late maternal age.
  5. I got into a bit of a debate the other night. Enless we were part of the society during the Nazi regime, we can't understand the psychology of individuals affected by it. One of the terrible things the Nazis did do was to ask non-jews if they knew of any jews nearby or if any of their neighbors were jewish, or hiding any jews. The consequences of lying to the Nazi's could have been death to the parents, children, etc, imprisonment, etc. If the soldiers at the door threatened death to you and your family to turn over the jews/gypsies/homosexuals next door that they knew you were aware about, and you refused based on morality of valuing human life, knowing that death was imminent for refusing to help, would this be an "altruistic" act or a moral stance? Or would this be a martyr if you chose not to reveal your knowledge? Human nature to survive, protecting one's children, would that not trump the morality of "valuing human life" and remaining strong to your values? I'm confused a bit. My fellow debater suggested she would die before turning in her neighbor, even sacrificing herself and children before turning in those wanted by the Nazis. In the heat of the moment, I find it hard to believe that one's brain would have much room for a moral argument between self-survival (including offspring) and saving someone you don't know that well. Thoughts?
  6. I see what you're saying here, but what you are spelling out is the growth of particular branches of "government" - which is exactly what transpired - albeit not effectively or efficiently, where experts in each individual area would be responsible for things like CDC, etc. Okay, so they're part of the military, but not for civil defense. Unfortunately, there are individuals in our society that have noone else to rely on. There are many of these types, more than you think, probably. The government may the lesser of two evils, sometimes. The "ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure" expression pops into mind. At somepoint, individuals unable to care for themselves, and left to themselves can't and won't just throw themselves into the river, or go peacefully into the good night. They will do anything they can to survive (innate). We are not lions or other primitive animals that just leave the wounded to die in the fields to be eaten by scavangers. I would love to hear your example of the harm to the disabled that you speak of (don't mention Obama's "special olympics" comment from last night ) Hmm. I don't agree with you here. Knowledge can trickle down from curiousity to answer the unknown. Im not sure how our knowledge of neuronal functioning trickles down from philosophy. Or how deciphering or furthering our understanding of lipid metabolism is based in a philosophical tenet. The search for the truth - perhaps that is a philosophy - but I would say there are many things driving our understanding of medicine and science, including profit, quality of life, and a true scientist (like myself) would say that a basic curiousity of advancing scientific knowldege would drive many to scientific and medical discoveries. Octomom? Abortion of genetically mutated fetuses diagnosed through amniocentesis? Well, I live in a community, i share the roads, shopping malls, police force, utilities, etc. with my neighbour. Sharing resources (water/electricity/natural gas/etc). Enless you have your own wind turbine and exist completely "off the grid", you will require to share some limited resources or resources that are difficult to acquire without significant investment that individuals just don't have. I respect and understand the "stealing money from one and giving to another" philosophy, I don't have the time, resources (financial or otherwise) to put toward maintaining myself as an island. I guess my view is that the cost of entry into a civilized, compassionate and productive society is "give and take". Plus, at this point in history, the complex integration of a variety of global cultures, economies and societies it is imparative that we have representation by elected officials to manage things that impact us either directly or indirectly. Even without taxation uncle johnny could NOT affort to help out jimmy, as uncle johnny would have to build his own way to pay for his own health care, house, car, water, electricity (economies of scale come in to play here) - trickle down economics perhaps? Now that we are where we are in history and industrialization, how would you envision getting to a place where we could exist as individuals, without the governments role in some areas? Are you going to be able to make enough money at your job to raise your kids, source your own water/energy/food safety/etc at a unit price, where as a community (county/city/state/nation) can make it affordable by buying large amounts of services and products from the private sector for you to focus on raising your family? Perfect? No!! Logical? Perhaps!! Executed efficiently and effectively in today's world? No way!!! If I chose to live in an area serviced by government services, yes, I should expect to pay for the services I use today, or perhaps in the future. I don't have kids, but am willing to pay for the education system because without an educated society we'd be in even bigger trouble. I'm in Canada, am I willing to pay taxes for a health care system that will allow me to not worry about going bankrupt if I get sick, yes. Sure, there are problems here in the health care system, but to be honest, I bet the cost of your monthly health insurance plus on top of your taxes is not that far off what I simply pay in taxes - plus there's no real worry about what is or is not covered by my health coverage - i can chose the doctor I go to, and there is no government offical monitoring my care or making decisions for the doctor - contrary to what i think is presented in the US press. I digress, this isn't a thread about health care - so lets not go there. I get both sides of the tax thing. And when there is something that offends me to the point of disgust, I am the first either on the phone or writing a letter to my representative at the local/city/provincial/federal level. Alas, it appears noone is listening!
  7. Nacirema - by the big 3 - can you clarify what you mean? If someone can explain the merging of regional communities within each country for the maintenance of a cohesive national function, I'd love to hear it. Not in utopia, but using an evolutionary model starting with today. I get the Oism view, but I need a path, including the complicated social, financial, community infrastructure in place, or that could be evolved from where we are. Now, things such as the following, in my opinion, should rely on being run by representatives of a population/community (government) of a region/country in a regional or global context: -Passport/citizenship documentation -Currency (not banking) -Public Health and safety (disease tracking/isolation/quarantine/vaccination) -Water distribution and safety -standardization of essential electical/scarce resource management -management/care of the abandoned mentally/physically Since Rand evolved her philosophy (note the word evolved), the world has evolved across many areas including our understanding of medicine, ethics, etc. To think that her philosophy wouldn't evolve may be as narrow minded to think we won't continue to understand human conciousness with the furthering our understanding of brain function. Our understanding and application of such will continue to grow, mature, evolve and be applied. As individuals we live within a functioning, civil society, with scarce resources, including limited time. We need officials to manage our community interests. It aint nice, but a necessary evil. Are you willing to take in someone that is abandoned and so mentally or physically ill that they are wreaking havoc or consuming resources from your community? What is your suggestion to care for these individuals that cannot care for themselves - perhaps the approach may be similar to the inuit of the north, or other primitive societies that simply leave those unable to care for themselves out to die? Compassion - it's not a biological attribute, but an innate level of emotional response that without it would make us, well, unhuman. Perhaps some may say charities, well, I say, with guys like madoff out there, the level of philanthropy may be on the decline - as the level of trust we put in others to manage our resources may be diminishing. And you're misunderstood, there's no theory to gravity, it's a law - it doesn't change - it is a physical result of the way the planet earth is positioned within the solar system. On earth, objects travel at 9.8 m/s/s - external forces affect that speed (friction/wind/lift/etc) - but gravity is always functioning, on earth, at 9.8 m/s/s - your body is held on the ground by gravity, rotational force, etc. Not a theory, a law. The theory of evolution is a gross explanation of the molecular mechanisms resulting from millions of years of the accumulation of mutations in DNA resulting in new organisms, adaptations, etc. The starting point is up for (scientific) debate, not the process of evolution - the best understanding of evolution comes from single cell organisms live bacteria and viruses - as small changes in their nucleic acid sequence have big changes in their resultant functioning, virulence, etc. The theory of "human evolution" will always be that, unlike the law of gravity (see Newton).
  8. The government is not as effective as possible, i think we all agree on that. However, I have racked my brain around this question My thoughts have been the following... If i live in a community where me and my neighbours decide to be responsible for local services (garbage/roads/utilities/etc), it would make effiicient sense to have an individual responsible to manage such things in a cost effective, time efficient manner. Agreed? Lets call this person "an elected official", etc. The economies of scale and capitalism would eventually lead to a larger and larger community pooling their resources (by choice) for such services. And those who chose not to contribute - what would happen to them? These "moochers" would become such a financial, judicial, and time responsibility, a social network would have to be established to manage these moochers, in order for the others to remain productive, etc. Basically, the evolution of a culture and society are way more complex than the simplistic view that the government play those three roles in society. The complex social, intellectual, medical, educational, family, etc., resources just are not feasible in countries/cities/communities that have developed since the advent. I think using some of Rand's philosophies, coupled with other reasonable approaches to living in a peaceful, productive capitalistic society may evolve. Human beings evolved to the point they are at today, and they will continue to evolve, as will philosophies in conjunction with further understanding and appreciation of the forces driving that evolution. If there was no follow-up or critical analysis on Darwin's theory of evolution (and it is still a theory), or further understanding of other scientific findings, no progress in our understanding would be occurring. We can't live in a vaccuum. It's fine and correct to say that the government should play those three roles, but the consequences of ignoring the importance of other elements could lead to other unimaginable issues. I could come up with probably 5-10 other things that a community (city/country/etc) would benefit from having a centralized system in place run by "elected officials", but I think I'll leave that alone.....
  9. Sorry to chime in so late on this thread but here you go: but our molecular biologist friend above, is vague and not quite accurate in his explanations. If you're interested in genetic predisposition, i would be happy to explain further, if you want.
  10. I was actually responding to a post. My question then turned to ask how others you can conclude that there is just one type of rock on the moon, or that the DNA of chimps are similar to humans. How are you interpreting scientific findings without being able to, yourself, view the data emperically? We can use reason as to why the streets are wet, you can touch it, cause it. You can prove matematical and geometrical equations, and apply it to build a building, bridge, etc.
  11. Madkat, you're partially right. Ethidium Bromide is an intercallating agent, but what it does is cause double stranded DNA brakes, and the EtBr then fits into the DNA helix, straightens it out, then, under UV light you can see the DNA on a gel because EtBr absorbs light at the same frequencey as DNA (260nm). There are "hotspots" for mutations for a variety of reasons, and it relates to things such as the way DNA is organized in the nucleus, or the surrounding DNA sequence. DNA sequence is highly repetitive, and for a number of reasons, when a cell divides more errors can be made. I could go on, if one is really that interested. It's a complex process a result of a multitude of proteins and mechanisms responsible for DNA replication and cell division.
  12. I'm saying to be open minded about what you read, and use your ability to find the truth within. Do you believe the US landed a man on the moon, or was there a conspiracy? Do you believe that DNA is the blueprint of life? How have you drawn those conclusions in your mind? I don't think you were around the Apollo space crafts, or are involved with molecular genetic research. Although, if you are, I'll have to come up with other examples.
  13. As crazy as some people's belief in god is, i think we should not discount that everything that comes out of religion's teachings is all that nuts, or those that study religion. I am a PhD geneticist. An atheist. Pragmatic, but not dogmatic. If someone could prove a god exists, I'm all ears (and brain). I was reminded this evening that Gregor Mendle was a priest. Sure, some of his data has been questioned (not in the results, but in the actual sample size), but the findings remain valid and reliable. Perhaps much of the time spent learning about the world by religious zealots could unearth something not noticed by practicing scientists, and be able to stand up to the scientific tests. If "wiki" can be considered gospel (haha), there is a long list of religous individuals who made significant scientific contributions and established foundations for modern day science and understanding. This is why I feel I want to read a plethora of material and objectively think if it makes sense or requires further investigation. But to dismiss anything coming out of a church's writings may mean i may miss the discovery of cold fusion one day, no? Heck, I'll read some of yaron brooke's stuff, like it, until there is either no real solution provided, or preaching of objectivists views are written out. I don't personally like the ending of some of the literature that goes down the path that the "only" way to approach an issue is to use objectivist or Rand philosophy. I guess this is the case because, I don't consider myself an Oist. I like the readings though. I feel I want to put things through my filter, not directed down a path that stipulates that the "Rand Philosophy" is the best. It comes across a bit preachy to me - For example, with respect to religion, I was reading how to help someone through a life altering situation, the list of 10 had 9 things I thought were pretty rational, reasonable and applicable to the situation, number 10, however, was something along the lines of Pray, or give money to the catholic church for salvation. I kind of see a bit of parallel sometimes. Plus, on the ayrand.org website, there is an article on the "Morality of Money Lending".... It is a nice historical essay on how money lending in today's economy got to where it is, the problems through history as influenced by religious groups, etc. At the end of the article, Brooke goes on to say that the morality lies in the philosophy of Rand. I don't mean to sound anti-Oism, but I would have walked away from the essay feeling a lot more enriched without the Rand promotion.
  14. Scientific understanding has refuted many reasons for god to be excluded, and will continue to do so for the religious ideologues. As far as I'm concerned, in many cases, gods were created, as alluded to above, to explain the unexplainable at the time. As our scientific knowledge continues to expand our understanding of the universe, i'm confident more and more atheists will emerge.
  15. Although I agree with you, Ralph, there are different shades of colour, like royal blue, navy blue, or fire engine red, or cherry red, it is important to realize that the words religion or fundamentalist have valid and true definitions that don't necessarily have to include god or mysticism. To throw out those definitions to satisfy one's own purpose may be perceived as self-serving. Blue may be blue, and red may be red, but there's no debating the shades of colour exist. To hold Oism or any system close to yourself, one has to be able to be comfortable with how both yourself and the world sees it. Or not care one iota what the world thinks, and then just say "thanks", and move on, being comfortable with your own view of the world. I can see how someone could refer to Oism as a religion, with fundamentalism atheism. I'm not saying it's accurate, I'm just seeing how others can see it. Additionally, keep in mind the origins of any argument - I believe that in order to critique or debate anything, one should always know more about their combatant than their advesary. Just as there are people who call themselves Jewish, yet neither practice praying nor believe in god, it would be unfair to call them religious, but the majority of people would still label them as part of a religion.
  16. i didn't realize they were links. I apologize. Basically looks like there is a variety of stats to analyse, but on the whole, a decrease did occur with some regional blips. i am interested to see the results from this year, as things are getting worse each and everyday. Hopefully, the trend will continue down, regardless of economic hardship.
  17. Not a joke. The graph you showed demonstrates a correlation between murder and execution rates, not property crime. And, if you are comparing property crime to free speech crime or labelling an attack against a specific group different than assault, you've missed my point entirely. Write your politician and complain about their waste of time and energy on useless laws and projects. Of course, there is a waste of time and energy by the government passing laws like txting while driving, although some would argue it is to protect the safety of others on the road, and i think doing as much as possible to make me safe in my community is partly shouldered by the government. If you are making a comment on what is on point to what I was saying, you could come up with direct examples. By just saying a sweeping statement to blame the government lacks substance. Examples, facts, what are the real laws you're talking about that address your point. I agree, I didn't put any facts down, or actual stats, but your murder and execution relationship is hardly a measure of property crime. I digress, my question really is "in economically challenging times, how can we encourage people to act morally so they don't steal to feed their family when they are hungry and need to survive"
  18. I personally believe if you go out and try to "sell Oism", people may perceive it as no different than any other "ism" like catholicism, judiasm, etc. The more an infrastructure that Oism resembles that of god grounded religions, the more there will be an ongoing debate and discussions as to the parallels between Oism and other religions. Objectively, pardon the use of the word, if one dissects how churches/relgious movements are organized, philosophies promoted, meetings attended, the collective involved in promoting the movement, the more I think some will see a similarity, not to mention that the books of the new and old testament are fictional, where much of the judeochristian philosophies (aside from god) are rooted, is not dissimilar to some of the Oism philosophies drawn from the fictional writings of Rand. Be open for discussion about it. The fictional stories in the bibles and bible like writings were put together by "scholars" of the time. Note that there is much good, without the god aspect of god-religion, that people find a way to live their lives. There is a lot of crap to sift through to find good things, but not all the writings of the scholars is bad. Example, in judiaism, it is considered a good thing to donate money (charity), in fact, per capita, the jewish communities around the world are the most generous of any group of individuals. This isn't done by the majority of people to get in "gods good books", but a philosophy based on some of the teachings and writings. Extracting the good, being reasonable and rational about how to and what to extract makes good sense.
  19. What is considered "more and more regulation and laws". What kind of things are you thinking about. If we live in the here and now, i don't forsee more and more laws being instated, do you specfically?
  20. Is theft more restricted than before? Is assault and battery more restricted? Maybe I don't see your point. How about property crime? I'm not going to blame the government for putting a safety net (laws) out there to protect my property and personal safety of my family. I think if we look at things in meaning to theft, property crimes, fraud, perhaps we might agree that looking at murder rates in comparison to execution rates isn't really what i was trying to ask about. I can't sell a dead guy to feed my hungry kids, but i can steal a china set i steal from the house down the street. Although, i suppose I could kill someone for money that would feed my family, however, it's really a stopgap solution, cuz once I get caught and executed i could never feed my family again. I probably wouldn't go to jail for very long for petty theft, thouogh, meaning i could get back out there and steal again. I guess it comes down to opportunity cost.
  21. All depends on one's flexibility to accept a variety of definitions of the word religion. Slippery slope.
  22. Interesting reply. You also did point out that morality does trump the lower levels, which what I think Maslow was trying to get across. I think that you're right to some degree, however, i disagree that having the fundamentals of survival (food, shelter, etc) are based in a rational place, they are basic survival needs. Even irrational and unreasonable people survive, but not without the basic necessities of life. Evolution is also a theory, although it makes scientific and rational sense, we have to base our understanding of our world on something, unlike newton's laws where there is no questioning input vs. output, in evolution there are variants and interpretations of the phylogenetic tree. So, to take Maslow's theory and apply it to human behaviour is just as qualified as applying darwin's theory to evolution. I understand that there are physical and scientific proofs for evolution, however, no definitive missing link has been agreed upon by all geneticists and anthropologists. To provide a rudimentary framework to understand how people behave as individuals and as part of a functioning society, is what I think Maslow was trying to express. To discount them by just stamping reason and rationality, in my opinion, doesn't account for all individuals. That is like saying that the understanding of evolution came just from Darwin's finches in the galapagos islands. I guess my question has now evolved into - how does society promote reason and morality to individuals that are functioning on a need to survive basis, especially if it becomes more rampant than before in these tough economic times?
  23. Interestingly, I just read an aritcle that stated crime is on the rise in the USA. This brought to my mind the way that rational people behave given a change in economic turmoil. Part of the problem in the article is that it didn't say if crime is up because the same criminals are doing more crime, or out of "need" to survive more criminals are now out there. Regardless, this stirred my mind up again about one being able to function in a rational manner, regardless of fiscal issues. In another post, I mentioned "maslow's heirarchy of needs", and I thought I would bring this up again, to see if anyone out there thinks that socioeconomic conditions, personal psychology and survival may start to trump rational, legal and logical behaviour. Will people be able to achieve the top of the "needs pyramid" without the foundations ascribed within? Perhaps we may be getting back to the addage "is it wrong to steal to feed your family" in the US. It's not as bad here in Canada, yet, but I have to be honest, from watching TV, the USA seems like a bit of a economic mess, with foreclosures, bankruptcies, etc. all at record levels.
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