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Everything posted by Alone

  1. +1 Have read and do recommend.
  2. I wasn't able to find that particular audio book, when you get some free time I would really appreciate a link.
  3. What is the term for people who attempt to reduce philosophical concepts to disconnected granular facts? Is there a term? ...oh yea! Scientists! Sam treats morality like a scientific theory, and exposes it to a range of facts in an attempt to fine tune it / falsify / strengthen it. He feels that the broader the range of facts his theory becomes exposed to the stronger it becomes. The various "peaks and valleys" he discussed in the video were all "facts" that he's exposed to his theory in an attempt to revise / falsify / strengthen it. He isn't seeking a principle or an irreducible primary, he's just looking for something to "work." "Why don't we feel X toward Rocks?" This is where he attempts to establish the fundamental basis upon which he builds the rest of his thesis, emotion. This is his starting point, and from there he doesn't work backwards in search of anything more fundamental, doesn't attempt to revise the question or offer any analysis on the validity of this being the correct question (in any of the material I've watched or read from him). He moves forward from that point offering a perspective on a broader range of topics about societies, and always groups of people or in consideration of others. If someone else weren't suffering then you couldn't feel sympathy for them could you? So for him morality is entirely about your relationship to others. Steve was right, and this kind of approach is pretty popular among "New Atheists." That being said, I think The End of Faith was a really good book, and I admire the clarity with which he both speaks and writes. His position is unique I think, in that he's heavily influenced by the practices of eastern religions (such as meditation for the purpose of shedding "the self") but insists that he detaches any mysticism from the practice. He is also a humanist, so really its as though he walked into a shopping center of ideas and just whimsically tossed whatever he felt was good in a cart and checked out.
  4. Any evidence to the contrary would be helpful in refuting the "assumption."
  5. Objectivists aren't eco-careless, we're just not eco-worshipers or climate alarmists... and the arguments used by climate alarmists and eco-worshipers run along the lines of "What?? you're not on board with our alarmism and planet-worship!?? You must be careless then! or worse you MUST be Anti-Environment!" There are a tons of legitimate reasons to care about the environment. The problem is that these legitimate concerns are lumped together with the eco-worship and alarmist nonsense as though the are of equal value, or one in the same with no differentiation. I, for example, live on top of the largest cave system in the world... there are "sink holes" (big ditches) where cave ceilings collapse all throughout the Karst landscape. These cave systems capture much of the local ground water used for drinking water, and dictate where one can and cannot safely build. Cool thing about Alaska is that at some points in the year it stays dark for close to 30 days straight... and cities always look really pretty (I think) when they're lit up at night!
  6. True but "Progressive" is a really common political term and its intellectual roots are clearly derived from communism.
  7. Speaking with someone for a few minutes would be a pretty easy way to find out.
  8. I don't disagree with anything you wrote, and you share that kind of "just get it out there" position I'm in... I would hate for an Atlas Shrugged movie to be release that doesn't do the book justice, but I think getting it out there along with all of the other forms of "creativity" you mentioned is what needs to happen. The only state that makes sense is Alaska, its geographically cut off which would make for an easier split, once the rest of the country goes under.
  9. Media is the answer. If you want ideas to spread then you have to sell ideas in the right way. ARI does a lot of great and valuable promotion, but look at it in terms of dollars... and consider how insignificant the chirp over at ARI is compared to the kind of distorted world views being spewed from the nightly news out to hundreds of millions of people... 7 days a week, every day of the year. These entities have long ago stopped telling people "what" and have established an accepted role of telling people "what to think." Chirps the size of what ARI does will never amount to anything in the drowning pool of dis-information people are absolutely flooded with. Occasionally they're cast a life saver, but these sharks are reactive... any time the mere mention Rand or Objectivism comes up its a complete foaming-at-the-mouth shit storm until everyone involved in the conversation is just completely exhausted from being involved and ready to move on. For a perspective look at it this way, in 2009 ARI boasted an all time high in Atlas Shrugged annual book sales... at over 500,000 copies in one year (which is fantastic because book sales keep increasing). Do you know how many people bought the latest Harry Potter book when it was released? Over 9 million copies in the first 24 hours. It's the value of commercialism, and having the media in the right format. Those book sales were boosted by alternative forms of the same media, mainly Theater, DVDs, Video Games... Modern forms of Media that are more palatable for more people. Art, such as Ayn Rand's novels, has undeniably been the biggest influence on the general population for promoting Objectivism... these books are what capture our minds in the beginning and what inspire us to continue when things get shitty. We absolutely ~need~ an Atlas Shrugged movie, and corresponding DVDs, More Informative Documentaries (I've seen all the ones that currently exist). If these shitty trilogies like Lord of the Rings have shown us anything it is that the attention span of people isn't quite as short as commonly thought... so break Atlas Shrugged up into a 9 hour Trilogy and do the same for The Fountainhead. Fuck a TV series, we need something with staying power... a Blockbuster. Consider, as it stands the main exposure most people have to Objectivism is the kind of shit BioShock tells them, what idiotic college professors tell them, or when Fox News invites Yaron Brook on momentarily to promote an isolated idea about the free market (which in that context the average viewer doesn't even recognize as Objectivism). I hear so many bull shit accusations about "what Objectivists believe" and "what Ayn Rand believes" that it really is simply a matter of the dominance of dis-info. It drowns us out. I think that an Atlas Shrugged movie should be the #1 focus for ARI until its done, period. I would donate money to the project, maybe others would as well. It's 2010! Why is there no Atlas Shrugged movie? The movie is already a blockbuster considering the shit-storm of criticism it would receive from all sides, and the publicity of Objectivism (including authoritative answers to everyones questions) is inevitably going to spike tremendously... This needs to get done... Another issue is an outlet for Objectivist Media, a news station or a talk show somewhere online... something small that can grow. Something where discussion of current issues can take place outside of a forum, like a podcast or something... but it needs to be Audible and Portable. Nobody talks about sweet new thing is out there on an internet forum. The perspective needs to be out there, not funneled through trash stations like Fox, it needs to be an authentic and pure presentation of the Objectivist perspective in todays world. All of this "I'm moving away" garbage is funny. Mobilize! There are no other fronts on which to fight! America is it!
  10. There is a degree of uniqueness in the way this bill was passed, with misinterpretations pertaining to reconciliation and misinterpretations of the commerce clause, that might expose this bill to a beating in the courts. There might not be any historical comparisons. I'm not a law student so I couldn't tell you. They will look at past case law first though, so it would be good if anyone had any input on that.
  11. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/HealthCare/...ory?id=10178015 As of yesterday (3/23) 14 states have already filed papers in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the newly signed health care bill. Too bad skirting the constitution when its convenient comes back to bite politicians in the ass when they try to use the constitution to do whats its there for. I don't see the lawsuits doing much but getting laughed at. Power does what it wants.
  12. A Perfect Circle - Lyrics - Lyrics
  13. The point of "fixing it" (obviously) is to expose just how broken it is, not to really fix it. Its strategically a good move, because without a lot of bad publicity the FED isn't going anywhere any time soon. You see, the machinations of the FED are not common knowledge. Most people have no idea what the FED is or why it is there, or how it operates. They vaguely classify it as some kind of bank or an arm of the US Treasury. They could tell you that it has something to do with economics, but they couldn't tell you much else. The car analogy isn't correct. For that analogy to work the car would need to be breaking down, and the people riding in it would need to be ignorantly blaming a "good working engine" (capitalism) for making the car break down. When its plainly obvious that the car doesn't have a good working engine, but the people in the car just won't raise the hood to find a baseless FIAT printing press engine breaking them down.
  14. Of course, all of these yes voters who claim to be on the fence are quite obviously asking to be bought off with future additions to the bill. When they say, "the bill still needs work but we should debate about it" what they are actually saying is, "my demands haven't been met yet, and ill use the senate debate as a platform to plea so that my special interests are met or else I won't vote for it." The bill was originally over 1900 pages, now its closer to 2200 after buying a few senators, these debates have no potential to shrink this bill. The only two outcomes that are possible is that the bill will further swell to buy off the needed votes, or it won't pass at all. The administration has shown that they are willing to play with language and make additions to the bill so that it can get passed in the short term (the vote on saturday was just testing the waters so they would know how close they are to being able to get it passed). Once it is passed (and I think it will be) the government will change it in any way it sees fit to further expand its power. Power does what it wants. Healthcare in America will be ruined.
  15. It was the opposite of an honest reply, because it was sarcasm. You said the equivalent of "oh yea smarty pants, tell us all more since you're so smart." Your intention was mockery, while your post mimicked that of someone asking for more information. It isn't like hitchens masks what he believes and, being a journalist, there is plenty of print as well as interviews to draw definite conclusions from. You are replying as though I'm claiming to have some special knowledge about him.
  16. That reply seemed sarcastic, do you not believe this mans contradictions are much more numerous?
  17. They're way ahead of you... (or so they think) ...remember, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord Thy God." This insulation shields the theist from ever having to prove that his god directly intervenes in reality. This amounts to the following: Theist: Assertion of divine revelation Atheist: "Prove it" Theist: "God told me not to prove it."
  18. Much more subtle and complex, but really quite obvious... once one understands the purpose of money. Over the course of human history, as life expectancy extended and division of physical and cognitive labor became more complex, and leisure became more accessible, a demand for a safe store of value gradually evolved. The longer the life expectancy, and as human beings were enabled to plan further and further into the future, the more durable currencies needed to be. Keep in mind that even as recently as the mid 19th century life expectancies were in the mid 20's. So... rewinding, currencies competed with one another, and since no government existed to enforce a standard... many currencies existed. This was bartering. Each commodity was its own currency, with its own exchange rate interconnected between hundreds of other commodity-currencies. Gold, precious metals, stones, etc... win out in the currency competion because of their durability, their value, and because we are unable to simply produce them out of nothing... whether highly coveted jewelry or something used as components in computer systems... they are valuable, unlike a piece of paper which can arbitrarily have a number inscribed on it to dictate its "value." For a paper dollar, it takes virtually no more ink to print a 100$ than it does to print a 1$. There is some value in the commodity itself other than its use as money, this does not diminish the value of other more perishable commodities, but makes them less ideal to use as money. Sometimes its more convenient to use non-monetary commodities as money, like when trading cars or baseball cards. That a commodity can be considered "money" doesn't make it more valuable or bestow it any special significance, the same exchange rate would exist between gold and say, bushels of corn no matter if you regarded gold as money or not... no matter if you referred to the value of gold in terms of dollars or bushels of corn. The important distinction to make is between Value, and which units of measurement one chooses to use in describing that value. Currency simply enables us to objectively (if allowed the requisite calculations free of market distortions) assign an objective quantitative value to a given spread of goods and services. Its too difficult, given our enormous range of options now, to describe each good or service in terms of a different currency or commodity. For example consider price comparisons. You look at burgers across food chains, McDonalds sells a burger for 1$, Wendy's sells one for 2$, Steak'n'Shake sells one for 5$ dollars. We can see a range of value because of the common unit of measurement. If we described the value of a McDonalds burger in terms of chicken eggs, a burger at Wendy's in terms of silver shavings, and a Steak'n'shake burger in terms of Shoe Laces... decision making in the market becomes impossible. On the reverse end, with our current system of Fiat paper monopoly money, an individual is disabled from making rational market decisions because of distortions in the value of the dollar. The value of a dollar today is higher than it will be tomorrow, so how is one to project and take into account the actions and influences on the dollar to adequately save for retirement... or even for something as short ranged as next years vacation? Considering none of those metals or commodities are the "most popular medium of exchange" its impossible for anything to replace them except other forms of fraudulent monopoly money. Because those metals are valuable for other reasons than just being (at one time) considered money, and they are scarce resources. Its not about which commodity money will replace which commodity anymore. It will be many years before Fiat fails and we return to commodity money, if you're looking to play around with exchange rates for currencies watch the exchange rates between the currencies, their relationships to commodities, and metrics like the CPI and the GDP (although these "official" metrics are riddled with accounting tricks that fudge the numbers of operate on presuppositions which are false, its better than being blind). As for where to begin, Begin with understanding economic philosophy as this will serve to provide the framework in which to integrate all you will learn when studying all of the historical market trends, economic theories, like the ones from Keynes vs Mises vs Rothbard. If you begin anywhere else you will end up having to undo damage caused by misintegrated understanding of simple concepts like "money"
  19. He, like most Conservative Christians, draw a false association between Atheism (not Objectivism) and and things like Liberalism and Socialism, Abortion, and general "immorality". I don't see anything implicitly directed at Objectivism in the video, the closest he came to referencing it was when talking about how Atheists fill the void of religion with "stuff." Christianity remains the philosophical inverse of Objectivism on every front, so you are probably right about his hatred for Objectivism... although I doubt even he himself understands why his hatred exists. Really he hates godlessness, and feels that this is the cause of a lot of things he regards as evil... and since atheism is a shard of Objectivism, he would hate it by association. The reason he can have Dr. Brook on the show and have a decent conversation with him is because Objectivism can deliver the argument FOR capitalism in a way that no other philosophy can, and since Glenn Beck wants to promote Capitalism they find plenty to agree about. Glenn Beck simply engages in the same compartmentalizing that all Christians must in order to hold contradictory views about ethics (altruism) and economics (capitalism). I watch his show regularly, and find that I am becoming less and less capable of stomaching it. The struggle that Conservative Christians engage in on a daily basis is trying to mash together (instead of genuinely integrate) capitalism and god-belief (including the beliefs about the origins of rights). This is the intellectual equivalent of trying to shove a square block into a round hole. The attempt to encapsulate capitalism within a christian framework will never work because the ethics that capitalism depends on is the opposite of christian Altruism, and this will absolutely sabotage any ideological movements (such as the tea-parties) from being anything beneficial in the long term. I do believe that it is positive that he is generating a resistance to the absurd policies coming out of the Obama white house, specifically on issues concerning environmentalism (cap'n'trade) and healthcare. These bills (if passed) I believe would be the tipping point that spirals the country into a very bloody era of American history.
  20. Christopher Hitchens is an incredibly intelligent, well spoken journalist. I underline journalist because his opinions and viewpoints come primarily from being well read, and not from engaging in or committing to the rooting out of contradictions in his own philosophy, or even being particularly concerned with understanding philosophy. As a result, tragically as is most often the case, his viewpoints are a contradictory cobbling together of exposures to various intellectuals and their ideas with only a surface level of consistency. I absolutely love to hear the man speak, because he quite obviously thinks highly of himself and can deliver a point with such precision that I hold him as a role model simply to become as good at speaking as he is. Criticisms are necessary, but I want to point out an ideological alignment that I feel is important. [*] Atheism - His Book "god is not Great" is an important component in the shifting American culture right now because of the growing movements of Atheism, secularism, anti-religious fundamentalism, pro-science and reason, etc... If there is ever to be a revolution of ideas in America, religious stigmas and dogmas will have to be removed first. Now, of course flaws abound because of the aforementioned lack of integration in his belief structure. [*] He believes himself to be a "Libertarian Marxist," and believes that Das Kapital predicted many of the recent failures in the U.S. economy. This, while confessing a horrible understanding of economics also exposes a horrible understanding of the philosophical roots of Marxism and its logical end, and its necessary conflict with individual liberty. [*] As mentioned before he is a hard critic of religious dogma, but takes a pro-life position and insists that a fetus be regarded as an "unborn child." [*] Believes in an interventionist foreign policy (labeling himself a neoconservative), but criticizes the United States for employing torture techniques like water-boarding to extract life saving information from potential, or known, terrorists. The list can go on and on for his contradictions.
  21. Confront (in a non-violent fashion) and interrogate the individual. Their motives/reasoning/psychological state/etc... would all be relevent to how I would proceed. Its pretty complex, so generating some IF-Then scenarios would be tough. Probably... but not absolutely. This is probably one of the least relevent questions I would be asking myself. To me, trust is one of the most important aspects of a relationship. Cultivation of that trust takes time, and infidelity instantly erases all of it. My interrogation would primarily be an attempt to make a judgment about whether or not the person was worthy of risking any further trust and emotional investments on, or whether we were finished.
  22. Kittie - In Winter For me, this song captures the tragedy of how individualism often comes at the price of loneliness.
  23. Again, "property" on this topic is being defined in the same way as when you "own" a Car or some object, and because of the nature of what the internet is that conception of property doesn't apply. Property and Intellectual Property are not the same and cannot be treated the same Morally. The only thing they can rationally "own" when uploading something to the internet or through the creation of any digital media is the intellectual property... i.e., I couldn't reproduce a song and claim I was the original artist. I'll say again that the prerequisite for participation on the internet (because of the nature of what the internet is) is to conceed that what you upload will be copied and shared endlessly (instantly), and that a preview from Amazon is no different than a preview from Isohunt. Sharing/copying are the premises upon which the internet exists. Everything from information, news, video, music, etc... everything on the internet is instantly copied a million times over and shared over a million different networks. That is why it's there. Is it? This is like saying... "Sure you can borrow the car, but don't drive it because its my choice to make." "Sure, you can borrow my Mp3 player, but you can't listen to songs on it because its my choice to make." "Sure, I gave you free will but if you choose incorrectly you're going to hell because its my choice to make." "We'll upload this song to the internet to promote our band, but no one can copy it or share it because its our choice to make." It's complete unintelligible nonesense. Irrational expectations/demands are caused by misformed conceptions of reality. The correct conception of the reality of the internet is that it exists as an information replicator and everything on it is shared with or without your permission... you have no control over it. Any expectation that exists based on a misformed concept of the reality of the internet is dismissable as irrational because only rational expections can come from valid conceptions of reality. ...and the reason they are now is because the corrective mechanism of reality as absolute is altering their originally flawed conception of what the reality of the internet is. Their previous conceptions of the reality of the internet were irrational, and could not be maintained because it is what it is. I am, I preview an album... buy it if I like it... delete it if I don't. They freely offer the previews over the internet, I choose the form in which I preview it.
  24. Alone

    Climate Change

    ...because no one has mentioned it yet. Google... "The Great Global Warming Swindle" 1) There is no "concensus of the scientific community" 2) Introduces Global Warming as "big business" 3) Introduces Global Warming as "a vehicle for Governmental Power Grabs" 4) Exposes viewer to alternative theories about how the Sun drives climate change. 5) Puts Co2 in perspective both, as a small portion of the atmosphere, and puts our contribution in perspective against things like livestock, volcanoes, decomposing plant matter, etc... 6) Criticizes the "Hockey Stick" graph used by Al Gore, and exposes his dishonesty. ...and more! It doesn't cover any of the moral or philosophical aspects of the debate. It's a good general intro video, if you were looking for directions to move in order to investigate/learn more about the debate. My opinion is that while Co2 probably does contribute to climate change but it is ultimately an after-effect, and not the root cause. The culture surrounding the debate is tunnel visioned and unwilling to accept that other factors are present. No willingness exists to acknowledge other factors like the Sun, or Oceans, and no effort has been made to attempt to measure the relative amounts each factor contributes to the overall change. The circumstances of the present are such that increasing Solar activity is driving the temperatures of the oceans up slowly, and as oceans get warmer they release more Co2 than they absorb. Also, I want to add that the Global Warming debate will not be won through a moral defense of the proper role of government. It will be won by uncovering the facts of how our environment works and leading an information campaign against the misinformation of political figures like Al Gore.
  25. You've still not given any valid distinction which doesn't crumble under an ounce of scrutiny... "Fair Use" - If this covers "letting friends borrow" then what difference does it make what relationship you have to the person you let borrow an album? Why is it different if you let a stranger "borrow" an album over the internet? If you consider it theft, then you would have to view the question like "What difference does it make if I split the loot with a stranger (theft) or split the loot with a friend (fair use)." What difference does it make which version of the media you allow them to borrow? Suppose you keep the backup you made and allow them to borrow the original, or visa versa. Suppose you keep the original and rip them a set of Mp3 files for them to borrow. Different types of digital media are still just digital media, the particular form is immaterial. "Fair Use" is completely vague, ill-defined, and makes arbitrary meaningless distinctions. After all, since this is what I'm doing, "borrowing" the album for a preview... then some rational understanding of how you're asserting this distinction must exist. I'm still waiting for you to explain it, rather than simply asserting it. Perhaps you should read the posts of those you're responding to before you make remarks like this. Is reading the thread too much to ask? I think not. Now, I stated earlier that reviews are of no value to me. The judgments of others hold no value, even people I have more in common with than I have differences here on this forum. The only review that has any meaning to me is my review, because music is a personal experience and there is no possibility for another reviewer to walk into experiencing an album with my identity.
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