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  1. As a related question, which of the three gold standards is the best and why? viz, the gold specie standard, the gold exchange standard or the gold bullion standard?
  2. Thomas, what you are saying therefore means that when we want to "divide" the currency, larger notes have to be widthrawn from circulation and replaced with smaller note denominations. For example, a thousand Dollar note can represent an ounce and when it needs to be divided, it can be burned and a thousand one Dollar notes printed. All this sounds alright so far but then why for example was there a shortage of Silver coinage in the 1790s in England, since they could have easily just melted the available coins and minted smaller ones? Indeed many times in history, gold was abandoned as soon as the govt went broke during a war. So I guess a gold standard in itself severely limits the ability of govt to wage unnecessary wars. Is it possible to maintain a gold standard while other countries do not have it? How would this work in practice? softwareNerd, you are the one who said "Demand is based on supply... My demand has increased because my supply has increased". So maybe you need to clarify what you meant.
  3. Thomas, thanks for that explanation although I still have a problem. In my scenario, people are not using much of the gold itself for transactions in form of coins. Rather, they are using paper currency equal to the amount of gold (or electronic debit cards if you wish). If for example they fixed the currency as $100 per ounce, the total amount of the currency is only $1 million, equivalent to the 10,000 ounces of gold which is locked in a mini Fort Knox. So when demand for money increases beyond the $1 million cash in circulation, what happens to the currency? softwareNerd, increasing supply does not necessarily translate into increased demand. For example, when people began abandoning the typewriter, no amount of increased production would have driven up demand. Prices can fall when supply increases, demand drops, there is a price war, more efficient methods of production come in, etc. It is possible for demand to increase over time and for supply to match it. Prices will not drop in such a case. But even assuming prices are dropping over time, it does not follow that there will be enough gold to cover all transactions on the island. The economy may overall grow much faster than the decline in prices. Besides, if your argument is correct, then for money purposes, we do not need to ever mine more gold. Steve, you make a valid point though in the long run, there comes a point when the amount of transactions in a single day becomes greater than the total money available. My question remains. What do we do about the currency with respect to gold since a gold standard demands a fixed ratio of currency to gold?
  4. Thomas, I do not disagree with a gold standard. I am just seeking clarification on the "finite quantity problem". Your assumption that prices fall with more production is only true if demand does not increase correspondingly. Which is why I introduced the thought experiment above to take things to the extreme and see how well the gold standard holds up. So far, your explanation does not address my island situation in which demand and supply have increased almost equally, thereby increasing demand for money to transact (unless I am missing something). agrippa1, your explanation sort of makes sense but even if I accept that the purchasing power of gold increases over time in my island scenario above, what about the fact that the paper currency backed by gold has a fixed quantity? ie there is only $1 million of paper currency at a fixed rate to the gold and since the gold quantity cannot increase, there will be a severe shortage of money supply, making new transactions impossible. Would this therefore not mean that the ratio between gold and currency would need to be changing every day, thereby going back to an earlier point I made?
  5. Imagine there is only $1 million worth of gold in a small island community and all transactions are covered with $50,000 left over in the bank. Productivity and consumption goes up 100% across the board due to a baby boom. The total value of all the productivity is now worth more than the $1 million but there is no new gold being added. How can it possibly be true that "Money supply does not have to necessarily increase as an economy grows"? The Deflation argument assumes that demand for goods/services has dropped, necessitating a reduction in prices. But in the scenario above, demand has actually increased so how does a limited supply of gold lead to deflation and thereby solve the problem I raised?
  6. Someone needs to explain how a gold standard can cover all the transactions in the economy since the quantity of gold in the world is finite but money supply has to necessarily increase as the economy grows.
  7. I am aware that Dollar Bills originally were representations of the gold and silver you have in the bank, but under the current system where the Dollar has been divorced from gold by Richard Nixon, it may not be easy to go back just like that, short of introducing a new currency since there are more Dollars than gold. It is possible to have Dollars printed and used as money without necessarily being tied to gold as long as it is left to private banks. Dollars can compete against and work alongside gold. Currently, about 165,000 metric tons of gold have ever been mined, valued at US$9.2 trillion (at US$1900/oz). Unless I am mistaken, there is more money in circulation just in the USA alone. Even if we mined all the gold in the world to add to the current stock, there is simply no way it can cover all transactions in the entire world without drastically increasing its purchasing power. Even if it is true there is enough now, what about 50 years from now? Its value would therefore keep endlessly increasing since people would need it to do any transactions. What is more practical is to allow many other things to be used for money such as platinum, diamonds or emeralds.
  8. Having spent the last two years further studying this issue, I have come back to give an update on my conclusions so far. 1. Every paranormal activity can be rationally explained without recourse to the supernatural. The magician James Randi was instrumental in helping me finally realize this. 2. Whether God exists or not is probably impossible to answer because of the fundamental problem of defining who or what exactly God is. Every religion has a different definition and every faction within every religion has its own ideas what or who God is. For example, The Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in the Trinity which is foundational to Evangelical Christians. 3. There is an uncanny resemblance of modern day faiths with ancient mythology. Indeed, many books in the Old Testament freely borrow from Sumerian mythology. eg the Biblical Noah's Flood story appears to have been taken from The Epic of Gilgamesh. The account of creation also seems to draw from the Enuma Elish. All other religious texts such as the Koran or Book of Mormon likewise are full of invented stories. 4. I am not sure whether science will ever fully explain how life or the universe began. It seems the more we know, the more we realize just how little we know. Just in the last 50 years, we have discovered dozens of new sub atomic particles and produced so many new theories on Dark Matter, Dark Energy, String Theory, M Theory, Infinite Parallel Universes Theory, Big Bang Inflation Theory, etc. and every answer produces a hundred new questions. However, science and philosophy are certainly on the right track. I wish to heartily thank everyone who participated in this important discussion and gave me some serious food for thought that helped clarify things that were hitherto very muddy. Peace.
  9. Wrong. Having a gold standard does not necessarily mean that the price of gold against a currency should be fixed as it was in America at one time at $35 per ounce. The price of gold in Dollar terms should be allowed to freely fluctuate since there is not enough gold in the world to match all economic activity. Currency is NOT money. Gold and silver is the real money. Currency is just worthless pieces of paper. Any govt that over prints its currency will be put in check because it will lose value and people will stop accepting it and insist on gold/silver. The govt will then be forced to also pay its bills using gold/silver. But in any case, printing currency should be given back to the banks and not left to a govt monopoly (Fed). Banks will never cause inflation by overprinting because of the risk of depositors pulling out their money. Real money has three functions. A medium of exchange, a unit of account and a store of value. Fiat currency satisfies the first two but fails on the third function because govts have power to just print, thereby indirectly taxing citizens, most of whom are too dumb to know what is happening. The price of most commodities in gold/silver terms has been more or less constant (if not reducing) for hundreds of years whereas I cannot think of any fiat currency that maintains its purchasing power over 50 years (today's Dollar is worth less than four cents what it was in 1913 when the Fed was created). Thomas makes excellent points I fully agree with.
  10. Govt intervention in the economy is ALWAYS a very bad idea as history endlessly shows. Professor Walter Block in his book "Defending the Undefendable" in Chapter 21 put it eloquently. "... all government involvement in the economy has been marked by inefficiency, venality, and corruption, and the evidence suggests that this is not merely accidental.... A government “enterprise” can be expected to be inefficient because it is immune to the selective process of the marketplace.... This continual process of the selection of the fittest ensures the efficiency of entrepreneurs. Since the government is immune to it, it fails to regulate governmental economic activity. The venality and corruption of the government is... even easier to see. What is difficult... is to realize that corruption is a necessary part of governmental operation of business.... We readily concede that people enter business in order to gain money, prestige, or power.... But when it comes to government, we lose contact with this basic insight. We feel that those who enter government service are “above the fray.” They are “neutral” and “objective.” We may acknowledge that some government officials are venal, corrupt, and profit seeking, but these are considered exceptions to the rule. The basic motive of those in government is, we insist, selfless service to others. It is time to challenge this erroneous concept. Individuals who enter government are no different from any other group. They are heir to all the temptations that flesh is heir to. We know we can assume self-seeking on the part of businessmen, unionists, and others. It can be assumed just as clearly to be operative in government officials. Not in some of them, but in all of them." -- Walter Block I agree with the first part. The second part is based on the wrong assumption that governments are better at regulating markets than private businessmen. Only the free market can do it, not regulations from politicians that can easily be bought and lobbied.
  11. I agree that the govt is ultimately to blame almost 100%. Every bubble, depression and severe recession is always WITHOUT EXCEPTION due to govt interference in the economy at some level, which is why I agree with Ayn Rand that there should be separation of State and Economy. The specifics are varied and complex but there are some basics which in my view account for the bulk: 1. Cheap credit from Chinese money courted by govt 2. Artificially low Fed interest rates (in 2000 Greenspan reduced to 1%, less than inflation and Ron Paul predicted the very following year that the bubble would collapse in due course) 3. Monetary mischief from the Fed by printing money due to lack of a gold standard. The Fed should be abolished as Paul says. 4. Govt-driven home ownership promotions 5. As stated by others, govt backing of mortgages and legislation that fosters lower lending standards One curious fact that the official report on the causes of the 2008 crisis reported was that mortgages that resulted from the CRA accounted for only about 6%. A friend and I argued this point. He said that the laxity that followed from the lowering of standards on the 6% ultimately affected the 94%.
  12. Let me clarify my actual position on God before I carefully read the new posts. I am at the moment neutral (Agnostic). If the arguments against God are irrefutable, I shall be the first to acknowledge that god does not exist. I am not trying to convince anyone about this, only debating it with people who are on one side of the issue. I have also debated against religious people by the way. I shall research more on the evolution and other issues and respond as I have been accused of evasion.
  13. PROOF OF GOD'S EXISTENCE? Is it impossible for you to imagine an entity (God) existing in some dimension in "empty space"? I do not have any DIRECT evidence for the existence of God but there seems to be INDIRECT evidence like the DNA and Entropy arguments which you are yet to answer. There are many things in life that have no direct evidence (e.g. black holes) but we still can argue for their existence using indirect evidence. If God created the universe, it does NOT follow logically that this means there is no existence. Maybe God was existence until the universe was created as an extension of his existence. Of course his origins is the next question and one theory is that he has no beginning (which raise more questions than answers). If this is true then he either must have within him an infinite source of energy or he exists in a dimension where space, time, matter and energy are of no consequence but can be created at will in the physical dimension. And God is not necessarily unknown or unknowable. This statement assumes that God does not exist and therefore cannot cause life or the universe. If you claim life began using natural processes, you should mention them. Processes that produce "intelligent order" out of chaos are already known. They are originated by rational intelligent beings. Refer to the "DNA argument" mentioned earlier. THE SUPERNATURAL "God is supernatural by definition. Since the supernatural is that beyond nature, i.e. beyond reality no thing said to be supernatural can exist. Therefore either a "God" is not supernatural and thus not a God or God does not exist. If God did exist, violating this fundamental law of reality, all basis for reality and reason would be rendered useless. Since that makes our existence impossible God does not exist and the belief in a supernatural God undermines our ability to live when that belief's nature is understood." - fountainhead777 I already raised a question on this which no one has responded to. What is "nature" or "natural"? Is "nature" exactly equal to "reality" or "existence" or is existence a combination of nature and other things? If nature is anything that is physical (matter and energy) to the exclusion of everything else, then I agree that it is nonsensical to believe in God. However, if nature encompasses non-physical entities (that may not be directly tangible or observable), then God could rationally be part of existence under that definition. I have already mentioned things that point to a world beyond atoms and heat (such as the paranormal) but there are other examples. Thoughts, imagination and dreams are part of reality but are they physical? Scientists have found evidence for "dark matter" and "dark energy". They cannot directly observe them but they deduce their existence from other observations. In the same way, it can be argued that there are indirect proofs of God's existence. MORE ON EVOLUTION themadkat, whichever way you explain the transitions in species, at every point in the long chain, animals died and their fossils are preserved. Therefore, what constitutes proof of evolution would be a reasonable fossil record showing most if not all the specific intermediate points in between. For example, if I wanted to prove evolution from reptiles to mammals, I would need to find fossils showing reptiles that have mammal-like features at various stages such as longer more upright legs, shorter mouths, teeth that are closer to mammals, etc. Do these fossils exist and could you point me to the literature on this? Finding a skull of an ape and naming it "Australopithecus" does not prove that the ape is an ancestor of modern man. It could just as well have existed as an ape parallel to fully formed homosapiens. Archaeopteryx is classified as a bird but I will read up more on it and other similar creatures. As a related matter, if man came from apes due to natural selection, why do apes still exist since they are presumably "inferior" animals to man and should therefore have died out? Why do amoeba still exist at all considering how "primitive" they are? PARANORMAL I will read the link you posted and respond. You have not answered the points I raised about magic and you seem to claim that all magicians use camera tricks on TV. Have you never attended a live magic show in your entire life? If David Blaine uses mere camera tricks, why has he not been discredited by now? Have you not read about the "impossible" stuff he has done? I shall do some more research about people that have made money from their "paranormal talents". QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS Do you realize that you are effectively saying that we should not bother finding answers to many things in life? The details of the origins of life and the universe is part of Metaphysics and science. Why does Metaphysics even exist, even though some things in it are not necessarily relevant to everyday life? Does everything that you think about, discuss with others or investigate in your own life necessarily lead to some "concrete action"? It is not your place to appoint yourself a judge over my questions. If you think I am talking out of my bottom, you can simply demonstrate that so that I am wiser, rather than being condescendingly dismissive, which detracts from the debate. Part of the reason I even joined this forum was to discuss and get answers to some of these complex questions we are debating. It has nothing to do with me trying to believe any particular explanation by protracted "harping on". For you to be essentially telling me to not bring this discussion on this forum is not exactly good debate etiquette. The trouble with you atheists is that you always tie belief in God with service to God which does not follow logically. BTW I do necessarily believe in God. I am just open to the possibility of God. I am an Agnostic if you like. As for your question "If those questions were answered next week..., how would your life be any different?", I can ask you the same question concerning things you have investigated that appear to be of no consequence to your life. You are not omniscient to know that the knowledge of the origins of the universe is useless knowledge. Another huge problem I have with your line of argument is that you are effectively saying "We have no direct evidence to prove God exists. Therefore God is a fairytale that unthinking people bring up to explain the unexplainable". I already answered this before. The fact that something has not been proven at this point in time does not mean it will never be proven. I am amazed at how super confident you are about theories in science that are not yet proven but which you to take for fact and use in your arguments. Did you not read what nanite1018 said? He said "If you read all those and still think that intelligent design is a valuable theory, or that science is inept at explaining the origin of the universe, then there is nothing I (or anyone I think) can do." I agree but in your arguments, you are implicitly assuming God does not exist which is what this debate is all about in the first place. You then construct arguments against the existence of God using that premise which is circular logic. Science and God are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Religion and Science are. But God is not the same thing as religion, because religion can be belief in worshipping the sun for example, which is not the concept of God. If it can be proved by logical argument and scientific laws that life is so complex that it must have come from some "greater being" who engaged in "intelligent manipulation" of nature, would you have a problem with that? If it makes you feel better to call God a "space alien" that's fine. The label you put on this entity is not relevant. The essence of this whole debate is whether the universe and life was originated by some super smart being whom for the purposes of this debate I call God.
  14. It is rather interesting how a lot of you in this forum seem to have have an affinity for claiming ignorance on my part without understanding fully what I am saying nor showing where the ignorance lies. In any case, there is nothing wrong with ignorance which is why we even have these discussions in the first place. Your initial response to the "fish to elephants issue" is a classic case of focussing on the example rather than the essence of the argument. I clearly stated "Which is why I talked about fish (or if you wish, some other water based ancestor) turning into elephants." Did you actually read the part in the brackets? Sea based creatures, in whatever form, came first according to evolution. Does that sound like ignorance to you or am I misrepresenting the Evolution theory? If Evolution is correct, there should be at the very least fossil evidence showing a transition between those water based ancestors and terrestrial animals. I even earlier gave the example of a giraffe. Have you ever read about a fossil of a water based creature that is very similar in structure to an antelope? Is there any set of fossils showing the transition between mammals and birds? You are so confident about Evolution as if it is an establised set of irrefutable laws when the truth is that there are so many variations of it and so many arguments about it. While certain components of it may be fact, the part about transition from one species to other completely different ones is still a theory with no clear proof. You ignore the important facts I mentioned about Entropy, the precision of DNA plus the repair capability it (DNA) has. Can you just try to imagine the kind of changes required to be made to DNA for a species to move from the sea to land, never mind the air? All these changes are being opposed by Entropy and the other two factors. Does a million years make any difference to entropy? You then make the astonishing statement that "There is no connection between mammals and birds" and you use this to claim I am ignorant. How do you know this for a FACT? If evolution works the way you say it does, what would stop mammals changing to birds? Don't you know that for example penguins have more in common with mammals than with reptiles? You further say "Birds arose directly from reptiles, most likely from raptor-type dinosaurs. In fact, many scientists now theorize that feathers were a feature of certain dinosaurs." Does this sound very definitive to you? Sorry to say but I don't find it very rational for you to claim I am ignorant based on conjectures, which is the best way I would describe your presentation of Evolution. So do you therefore believe the universe had no beginning and no cause? That is a false characterisation of my position. I believe in thinking and man is very capable of finding answers. All I am saying is that God MIGHT be one of those answers. The nature of God, his origins, etc is another debate altogether. ------- P/S - I shall be back tomorrow to answer the other points raised.
  15. Now we are getting somewhere with this debate! BIG BANG The Wrath said "the Big Bang emerged from a singularity that existed for a tiny fraction of a second." No matter how small this time was, it still was time elapsing. In any case, there is still the problem of how the singularity came to exist. If there was no "before" the singularity, does it mean there was no universe until the singularity "manifested"? There is a book (a collection of seven lectures) by Stephen Hawking called "The Theory Of Everything: The Origin And Fate Of The Universe". In the fifth lecture on pages 84-85, he says something very interesting: "... why did the universe start out with so nearly the critical rate of expansion to just avoid recollapse? If the rate of expansion one second after the big bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have recollapsed before it ever reached its present size. On the other hand, if the expansion rate at one second had been larger by the same amount, the universe would have expanded so much that it would be effectively empty now." The immense precision of the Big Bang is food for serious thought. A mere coincidence or an act of God? Incidentally, Hawking proposed a theory that has time having no boundary (like a sphere) but he had to use what he called "imaginary time" for this theory to work. He even suggests that perhaps imaginary time is the real time and what we think is real time is just an invention. EVOLUTION According to this theory, more complex life forms emerge from simpler ones over long periods of time. It is believed by Evolutionists that life began in the oceans as single cell organisms that evolved into more complex life forms which finally ended up as terrestrial animals and then birds with insects somewhere. Life beginning in water necessarily implies that fish, whales, sharks etc., came first before lions or eagles. Which is why I talked about fish (or if you wish, some other water based ancestor) turning into elephants. In order for life forms to become more complex over time, there has to be an alteration of genetic structures in very significant ways. All examples that people give of evolution in progress are simple minor changes within species. Transformation from one species to a different one has never been proved. I would like anyone to please give me any information that shows intermediate fossils in the evolution process. For example, I would like to read about fossils showing the transition from reptiles to mammals or mammals to birds. DNA This is an extreeeeeeeemely complex molecule made up of elements such as Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon, etc. in exact sequences of atoms (hence the term "genetic sequencing"). DNA polymers contain millions of molecules and according to Wikipedia, "the human genome has approximately 3 billion base pairs of DNA arranged into 46 chromosomes". No scientist has successfuly synthesized DNA in a lab and created life. And all this with extremely carefully controlled conditions of temparature, pressure, quantity of base elements, etc. (as opposed to the more chaotic natural conditions). All life comes ONLY from existing life. EARTH HISTORY The beginning of the Earth was initially some hot ball of gases that cooled down to molten liquid and finally soil on its fringes (the center is still molten). An atmosphere and water were formed and at some point the planet was habitable. In nature, elements necessary for life such as carbon, nitrogen and oxygen tend to be stable molecules like O2 and H2 or combined with other elements to make other compounds. THE ARGUMENT I would like to invite any of you to explain or theorise how life could have started without some kind of "intelligent manipulation" of natural base elements. Please explain how something as enormously complex and precise as DNA can be created in the earth from any natural processes you care to name. Bear in mind that even the simplest one-celled organisms have enormously complex and very precisely sequenced genetic structures. GOD & THE "SUPERNATURAL" Accepting the existence of God does not mean you sign over your life to him or obey any religious crap thrown at you by self-proclaimed spokepersons. For me, the existence of God is merely to answer the questions of the origins of the universe and life on Earth (or any other planet that has life). So it matters whether he exists or not for the same reasons the causes of anything are. As to whether God is an alien, can we communicate with him, can we observe him directly, etc., those are secondary issues. Bluey said "the universe is the location of the set of things which exist". I have no problem with this idea and the idea of God existing within the universe, even in some other possibly non-physical dimension. However, what if the universe existed as infinite "empty space" with God in it? And then God created matter and energy and life? Removing infinities from God does not mean he is therefore impotent to create. Omnipotence is NOT a necessary prerequisite for the ability to create atoms or life. As for me being challenged to demonstrate my theories or else they won't be given serious consideration on this forum, that is simply ridiculous. Does everything have to be empirically observed for it to be taken seriously? Did Einstein do any tests to prove Relativity? Does every hypothesis have to be proved in a lab before it can be discussed? Are all the theories discussed on this forum (e.g. oscillating universe) provable and if not therefore not worth discussing? And who says no one has ever done serious research into the paranormal? Speaking of this aspect, I would like an explanation for magic. I have personally observed it live and also watched shows of magicians like David Blaine and David Copperfield who have done some rather physically impossible things like leviation in full view of audiences, and live shows on TV. Blaine even does "street magic" which cannot easily be rehearsed or set up in advance. I have watched documentaries on TV of people with "special abilities". e.g. a certain man (can't remember his name) was able to say what someone would write on a piece of paper in another room without any special equipment. He did many other (documented) amazing things and was so successful at his craft even oil companies hired him and paid him tons of money. He apparently had a gift of finding oil reserves as he flew over land in a helicopter. Don't tell me all those greedy oil companies that paid him are just a bunch of crackpots with money to waste on stupid things that don't work. TIME I asked some very important questions about the nature of time which have not been adequately addressed by any of you. For example, the "time is the same as distance" hypothesis. Lack of change does not mean there is no time as Seeker suggested. Imagine a vaccum sealed spaceship that is stationary in space. Can anyone rationally claim that time is not elapsing inside the spaceship since we cannot see any changes taking place? Time may be forever but I am not sure about change. Moreover, if time is just an invention of humans and does not exist, then it does not matter anyway. THE UNIVERSE For anyone to claim it is not a closed system is to deny the obvious and to throw out all our scientific knowledge on this issue. In Thermodynamics, anything that is not a closed system necessarily has what is called "surroundings". i.e. anything OUTSIDE that system constitutes surroundings. So, does anything exist outside the universe?. If String Theory claims that, then it is absolute balderdash. TickledPink claims that if rulers are varying in length or differently shaped, then it renders distance meaningless which is false because a ruler is not what determines distance nor the units of measurement. Distance, although an invented concept can be measured by many tools. ENERGY AND MATTER TickledPink further says "energy can neither be created nor destroyed, and yet you insist upon a beginning and an ending". This is true of the current state of the universe but it does not mean that this was always true. Suppose God created energy and put it into the singularity and left nature to take its course. If you say energy had no beginning since it cannot be created by God, you are back to the Entropy problem. Moreover, the First Law of Thermodynamics states that "The change in the internal energy of a closed thermodynamic system is equal to the sum of the amount of heat energy supplied to the system and the work done on the system". We already know the total mass-energy in the universe is finite but it has not yet been exhausted. The internal energy of the universe continues to change with work still being done up to now, despite infinite time passing which is a consequence of the "no beginning theory". OCCAM'S RAZOR This principle is not a scientific law nor is it an axiom. Violating it is not the end of the world. An explanation that has more entities may actually be the correct one. Show me why this is impossible in reality. MISC To claim that science has answered the questions of the origins of the universe in a satisfactory way, to the exclusion of the possibility of a creator is absolute nonsense. Why do eminent Physicists like Hawking still spend so much time grappling with these questions if the answers are so simple? Indeed why are there so many theories and counter theories in Cosmology with books written everyday about it? There are probably as many String Theories as there are scientists discussing them.
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