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Bob G

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  1. In 1905 Albert Einstein published three papers. For one he received a Nobel prize in physics. Another was the introduction of Special Relativity. The third is often ignored or at least treated as minor. This view actually ignores the historical progression of ideas, for the paper often ignored did have a significant impact.

    My multi-part question regarding Einstein regards this ignored paper. What was the subject of this paper? Who did it influence? And, why was it important?

  2. What about stuff you bought 40 years ago? Is there a point when you can sell something that has been out of print for decades? Or the stuff has been rereleased cheaply because the copyright has expired and you still own the original?

  3. Our meeting planning for 2010 had some good moments. Its didn’t achieve much. We did learn of some really interesting stuff happening in March.

    The good moments consisted in the range of comments from the nine people who attended. There were old timers and new people at the meeting. Each was helpful in their perspective and suggestions.

    This wasn’t a committee meeting. It was a get together of interested people. Only a couple people had a place to meet or the willingness to lead, host, or moderate.

    We are very fortunate to have as a recent new member Lin Zinser. Lin’s leadership and experience in Colorado is providing us with invaluable assistance. One person, Fred Seiler, will start a reading group patterned on Lin’s advise. Because of Lin’s broader responsibilities, we do not expect her to do anything locally. We appreciate and enjoy her attendance at our meetings.

    I am not going to steal her thunder, but Lin told us of some really wonderful things happening in DC in March. Watch for it

  4. I'm sorry, but would you like to re-tract that before I go quoting mad and show you that is wrong? My position has been misstated numerous times in this very thread.

    If there is only one alternative, there are still alternatives in relation to each other. Two differetnt choices. Tell me where I was wrong again?

    Of course not. If no alternatives are truly available to you but you don't know it, and you come to a conlcusion, you have still come to a conclusion.

    Thinking and coming to conclusions are in no way contradictory to a lcak of existence of free will.

    Your arguments are weak. You say I must have free will because I come to conclusions and think, that is ridiculous. One can think of the of consequences of impossible actions.

    You say sense perceptions can give us objective knowledge, despite the fact they can never give us absolute knowledge about even the simplest thing. This is ridiculous.

    In every point in your reply you demonstrate that you actually did not read the point, let alone attempt to understand it. I am not talking about minor stuff, but a complete non-connections.


    When I say the only free choice in Ayn Rand's philosophy, you say

    If there is only one alternative, there are still alternatives in relation to each other.
    which doesn't make any sense at all. You also say
    Your arguments are weak. You say I must have free will because I come to conclusions and think, that is ridiculous.
    meaning that you actually do not know Ayn Rand's position at all, and are swinging wildly.

    When I say that you created a straw man of us, you say

    I'm sorry, but would you like to re-tract that before I go quoting mad and show you that is wrong? My position has been misstated numerous times in this very thread.
    which is quite a different thing. In restating a person's position in our own words helps clarify. It is asking for clarification.

    When we say that the senses operate sufficiently to give us knowledge upon which we can build, you say

    You say sense perceptions can give us objective knowledge, despite the fact they can never give us absolute knowledge about even the simplest thing. This is ridiculous.
    even though none of those points are ones we have made. You use "objective knowledge" out of context, in a way never used by AR or us. "Absolute knowledge" is Mr. Kant, and not anything Ayn Rand or any of us have said.

    And finally (in my list) you say

    Thinking and coming to conclusions are in no way contradictory to a lcak of existence of free will.
    They are in the philosophy we are discussing. They are in reality. In this statement you demonstrate a lack of knowledge of Ayn Rand's philosophy, and you have ignored our attempt to point that out to you. If you think, somehow, that this is wrong, fine. Most other agree with you. We don't care.
  5. CJM,

    Just so you know, you whole argument is wrong because your senses and ability to perceive reality are not perfect and your argument relies on both to be right. Sadly, you are also doomed to continue to believe your subjective reality because you have no ability to think for yourself (free will) either.

    There's nothing anyone here can do for that.

    Is no one else catching on to the HUGE concept stealing going on?

    Hey! I used that several times!! I like your argument. I also saw him unable to break out of his subjective hell, being mute, deft, and sitting on a little chair somewhere. He doesn't seem willing to actually listen to what we are saying. I wonder why.....

  6. Yes I would. Unless you are suggesting that postions that are difficult to hold are untenable?

    No, I am saying explicitly that it is wrong, wrong on all points, needs free will to be made at all, and would lead you, CJM, to shutting down of all your facilities if you took it seriously, which you don't.

    It is called hyperbole. You should try it.

    It is called completely misstating your opponents' argument. It is called setting up a straw man. We are familiar with it. It is what our opponents do all the time. We do not do that.

    This is the essence of free will, the idea than man has a choice between alternatives, and that he is free to follow either.

    If you wish to use words outside of their regular meaning, you should be more careful and give greater advance warning.

    There is only one alternative, since we are discussing AR's philosophy. The only alternative involved in free will is to think or not. We supposed that you were talking about Ayn Rand. If not, then we can stop this discussion.

    Thinking and coming to conclusions are not contradictory to a lack of belief in free will either. You are trying to pigeon hole me into beliefs I do not hold, which you also seem to not understand very well.

    No, it is not contradictory to the lack of belief in free will, but who cares. It is contradictory to the lack of the existence of free will. You can come to conclusions only because you have free will. Without free will, you are controlled by your bowel movements.

  7. Volition is not contradictory to a lack of believe in free will.

    No, nolition does not result in rationality. But, thinking, which is volitional, does allow you to think that you are not capable of thinking. This is the root of the stolen concept. You must have the ability to think and reach conclusions on evidence. This is in conflict with determinism. You are saying that your conclusions are caused by outside forces, or your genetics, or something other than your own judgment.

  8. Strangely enough, I don't base my beliefs based on what makes me feel good. So I won't be adopting the beliefs that my sense organs are infallible super machines or that I somehow hold free will despite being nothing more than a collection of my genetics and past experiences anytime soon(not to mention the insane idea free will entails that the same person in the same circumstances could make two different choices with no changing variables.) just because they seem nice.

    The fact that you attempt this appeal to emotion is not a good sign for someone who considers themselves an Objectivist.

    I am laughing. You consider that an appeal to emotion? lol. No, it was showing that your position is not tenable. I don't think that I have seen anyone using anything but their best effort to talk to you. But now I do question yours, since no one has suggested that the senses are "supermachines" or that freewill is consistent with "insane idea free will entails that the same person in the same circumstances could make two difference choices with no changing variables". The last part of that is nonsensical. That really is has little to do with AR's view on free will. She says that free will is lodged only in the choice to think. Certainly, if one does not think one feels in the grip of forces outside one's control. One feels determined.

  9. And your sense organs may not be accurate aswell? If not, why not?

    How do you get from A to B. Something being your standard of value does not entail that it must be your ultimate value.

    If volition is possible and controlled by our brain, a casually determined physical object, then how is it free?

    CMJ, come on. Slow down and look at this stuff. "Made possible" is not the same as "controlled" (your word). We are trying to make sense of your comments. AR taught us that we have to know what some one is saying exactly, try to understand their meaning, before we can make any kind of evaluation of their position. It is a mental technique worth learning. Of course, since you do not have volition, you can't choose to do that.

  10. CJM, although you talk about reality, you have all of these beliefs and suppositions. These are not knowledge. Yet, you are hanging on to them for all your might. I am not suggesting that you replace them with another person's judgment, even Ayn Rand's. I am saying that as long as beliefs not anchored to reality and "logical suppositions" hold sway, you aren't going to learn anything, not from us or reality.

    But even deeper, you are in a world of hurt. Your senses don't work and you can't think. Your conclusions are determined by the cosmos, not you. Your statements have causes outside yourself, they aren't yours.

  11. This has nothing to do with Kant and Hume.

    The defense of free will in objectivism, from my reading is that volition is causation. Where does this volition come from, eh? Is it subject to causality? If it is then seemingly it is not free. Is it a causa sui? That is a ridiculous concept antithetical to reason.

    You have made no true defense of free will, or denial of determinism (or Kantian/whatever other generalization you wish to lump me in with).

    For now we will ignore Kant and Hume, but you are their intellectual offspring.

    Okay, what is causation? Where does any causal source come from?

    AR held that the source is the nature of a thing, its characteristics.

    Where are you saying any causation comes from?

  12. Above is an example for you. Our sensory organs cannot perceive the whole of what we focus on.

    Our eyes cannot see things if they are too far away. They cannot perceive objects in reality if the lighting is wrong.

    If we are to gain objective knowledge, true objective knowledge, through our senses they would have to work perfectly in perceiving reality. They do not, they are limited physically.

    Working "in their nature" means nothing in terms of gaining objective knowledge through our senses.

    How do they either connect us to reality or not? Either they work perfectly or not at all?

    As for perfectly, I am using it to say that we are perceiving, without fault(hence perfection) objective reality, as it is. Sorry if that was unclear.

    Throw out your use of "objective reality". There is only reality.

    There is no possible way for any sensory organ to provide "the whole picture". The very idea that you could see quarks and distance galaxies with the same apparatus at the same time is just silly. It is silly to think that you would want a scientific apparatus to do that. Yet, CJM, that you know that there are sub-atomic particles and distant galaxies is because of your senses. All you referred to is known by way of our senses. If they were "imperfect" we couldn't know anything. But we have learned about the "big picture" because of our senses. You are going in circles. Your reasoning is circular. Further, you are using the stolen concept in this argument. You know what we are saying by using your senses. If they were imperfect, you couldn't. You would have no knowledge at all.

    And finally, as the example you cited demonstrated, we perceiving the world, reality, without fault. So our perceptions are, in fact, perfect.

  13. Yes. [freewill is an illusion]

    An illusion is a term that only has meaning in comparison with something, in this case, reality. If you know reality, then something can be an illusion. It is known to be an illusion because of the comparison to reality. If you don’t know reality, then you can’t know it’s an illusion.

    At root, CJM, you are just making this up. There is no connection that you can make to reality to support it. In your first post, you said that it violated cause and effect. At this point, you need to review your concept of cause.

    Many thinkers and scientists view causality as a set of laws and treat them as if they are some sort of Platonic existents. In Objectivism, laws are conceptual. They are creations of man based upon his sense experiences. To know that they are true, man must be able to retrace them back to reality.

    The only existents are things. They act according to their nature, their characteristics. The characteristics of an entity react with other entities, and we can learn to distinguish one thing from another. If we attempt to ignore a characteristic because we decide in advance that the characteristic does not exist, we automatically fail to have valid concepts, valid laws, valid understanding of the world.

    By declaring that man cannot have free will, because of a concept of cause, brought over form the irrational world of Kant and Hume, you are closing off the very thing that you need to clearly deal with the world. You have then had to force yourself to think that the actions of your mind are in fact an illusion. Use your freewill and think about that.

  14. Yes, this is my problem. If what our senses tell us about reality IS objective reality, then our senses must work perfectly. We must be physiologically incapable of error in sense perception. Logically this seems ridiculous.

    I don't "know". It seems a logical supposition that peoples senses do not work with perfection, that what we percieve is subjective. My sensory organs do not work exactly the same as another persons. Imperfect in relation to objective knowledge.

    Working very well is not the same as working perfectly. What I mean by act imperfectly is that, if our senses are to give us objective knowledge about the world, e.g. I am perceiving my laptop screen as it is, in objective reality, then they must act perfectly and be infallible. If they act imperfectly, the knowledge is subjective. I am under the impression that Ayn Rand holds that we gain objective knowledge about the universe through sense perception, correct?

    I did not say they were unreliable.

    So Rand does not hold that we can gain objective knowledge about reality through sense perception?

    They don't have to lie, they merely have to work imperfectly. Our sensory organs aren't magical, they are just organs, parts of our physical being. Why should they work perfectly?

    AR is not making a distinction between knowledge and objective knowledge. It is to distinguish her view from that of others. It use regarding concepts is more important, not percepts.

    Again, you are not specifying what you mean by “perfectly”. The potential problem that perception could offer is if it worked inconsistently. If it were, you go to a doctor and he finds out the problem and he fixes it if he can. Most examples of “imperfections” of perception turn out to be examples of its functioning consistently with reality, e.g., light bending in water.

    When I said, “working very well”, I meant that my senses were working as they should, connecting me with reality, and thus working “perfectly” within the context of their nature. Even more, if they are reliable, they are appropriate to provide the bases for knowledge. Whatever this idea of perfection is that you have, you need to work it out clearly to yourself. I think that you will find that it has some Platonic elements that are not appropriate to living beings in the real world.

    It seems a logical supposition that peoples senses do not work with perfection, that what we percieve is subjective. My sensory organs do not work exactly the same as another persons. Imperfect in relation to objective knowledge.

    Logical suppositions are not valid arguments. Any argument must be grounded in reality. To merely pop something out of your head is not the same as truth. It could be, but until you connect it to reality you cannot consider the idea to have any reality. This set of connections, perfection, perception, and subjective, actually do not connect. Senses either connect you to reality or they do not, perfection is not an issue. Subjective means there is no essential connection to reality. I say essential because, just like many good lies, there may be a little truth in a person’s subjective world.

    Again, clear thinking and more examples will get us further.

  15. There were lots of criticisms leveled at Newton after Principia was published. The ones that I will mention are ones that I think have some import, either by way of science or history. Also, I am sorry to say, we are limited in this discussion by the limits of my memory. The classes I took in graduate school were many years ago and my texts and notes are lost.


    Newton has given us numbers and mathematics, not a description of what gravity is.

    Newton has produced a new phenomena not used before, action at a distance that is

    attractive. This is unexplained.

    Newton has not given us a good explanation because god intervenes.


    People during that era wanted and expected descriptions. I do not think that they were unreasonable. Yet, they did miss an important point. The math that Newton offered was important and useful. The lack of a description of gravity was a failing because man didn’t actually know what gravity was. That, I think, was an advance that Einstein did offer mankind.

    To have a new type of force was very upsetting to many. Newton basically ignored these complaints. As I said before, to have the math was important. But a mysterious force that attracts at a distance is not very helpful in the long run.

    After Newton, the “Newtonians” worked for over a century to remove god from physics. Newton, as I hope you know, actually wrote (but did not publish) more on god than he did on physics or science. So he wasn’t hesitant to bring god into his physics. He used him frequently. If I remember correctly, there were four important points that Newton injected god into the Principia. I haven’t been able to remember all of them.

    One important spot that Newton used god was in the grand scheme of things. At this point in time remember, the universe consisted of our solar system. Newton’s computations resulted in the planets being all out of position after a period of time. My memory is that the period was 17,000 years. When the solar system ran amok, god would step in and put everything back where it should be, and off it would go again. God was good to have around.

    Hope to hear from some people.

    I have two more little history questions that I think are interesting. Neither has such an extensive impact as this one on Newton. I will start a new thread next week with a question on Einstein.

  16. On Objectivist Epistemology

    The validity of the senses, this is one I can't get my head around. Rand seems to hold that our perception of reality is objective reality. Is this so? This makes no sense to me, as it seems to suggest physiological infallibility on mans part. What we perceive is not objective reality, since our sensory systems act imperfectly.

    CJM, I’m sorry, but the first answer that comes to mind in response to your last comments is, speak for yourself. My senses work just fine. I’d also want to know how you came to realize that your senses were imperfect, if not through your senses.

    More seriously, what Ayn Rand meant in objective reality is that it is reality that you perceive, only reality. She is also saying that you perceive in a certain manner, by a certain means, which is part of your nature as a human being. As with the rest of reality, you will want to learn what your senses are and how they function. I think that they work very well, considering the means by which you and I are communicating, CJM.

    Unfortunately, you did not specify what you meant by “act imperfectly”. However, they don’t, what ever you meant. Our senses give us information from which we can know the world and continue to expand our knowledge. Give us the specifics you were thinking about and we will show you that the specifics are not examples of imperfection.

    On Objectivist Ethics

    Objectivism seems to hold that a persons life should be their highest value. I see no reason why a rational person could not hold something else, e.g. their child's life to be of greater value than their own.

    A human who does not regard his own life as his highest value will more toward self-destruction. It is unavoidable.

    In you statement, you show that you have not yet realized the full meaning of “rational” and that you give too much importance to “I see no reason” (as a logical form it provides no justification or support for any statement). I am not criticizing you. Everyone’s beginning point is the current culture and it takes a lot of effort to understand that AR’s approach is considerably different. A rational person, by way of being rational would not choose someone’s life as a higher value. It is not rational.

    Now with a child, a rational person will know that they have accepted the obligation to see to the child’s welfare. They will be willing to do certain things that they would not for another’s child, or another adult, even their own offspring. That is not placing the child as a higher value, but it is accepting the consequences of their obligation.

    On Objectivist Metaphysics

    The problem of free will and causality. This is the biggest stumbling block for me, as one who holds no belief in free will. The arguments I have found against this problem have seemed very weak to me. Free will is held to be self evident in Objectivism, but an argument brought for it seems to be that choice and free will are not contradictory to the law of causality, but a part of it, that volition is causality. Seemingly volition is a causa sui?

    I am only going to deal with the “stolen concept” aspect of your statement. You say “the arguments seem very weak to me”. Implicitly in that statement is that you have consciously evaluated the arguments and decided that they do not sufficiently support the intended conclusion, right? Yet, your argument is that you do not have that capacity. Your actions, mental and otherwise, are determined by “causes” in the world. Your conclusions are merely the result of electrons, or muscle movement or something other than your own, independent actions. If your conclusions are to have any weight, they must be based upon your own judgment, not some other, causal force. You couldn’t speak, or write without that outside force.

    All the evidence for your free will is within the actions and functions of your own mind. This is an appeal to reality. You can perceive your own mental activities. Do so. Realize that in considering the truth or falsehood of a matter is the exercise of free will.

  17. See DCOS for Joining

    The location of the meeting is at Panera Bread, 8191 Strawberry Ln, Merrifield VA 22042.

    10 AM Sunday, this Sunday, Oct. 25th.

    This is a good group. For example, included in the people who say they will attend include a person who knew Ayn Rand personally and a person who is high up in the ARI leadership. The others I know are good people. If you live in the area try to attend.


  18. I know of no book or article that mentions or even notices the connection between Descartes and Popper. I take full credit for the observation (that was by way of a HaHa). I am going to be even more disappointing because I do not remember the book in which Descartes discusses his views. I lost my much of my philosophy and history and philosophy of science library several years ago. Descartes was unequivocal about his views, though. I just looked at Wikipedia. I would suggest looking at The World and Discourse on the Method.

    Grames, you are correct in singling out Leibniz. He is a fascinating person. His philosophy is interesting if you do not take it seriously. I will do another post to talk about his criticisms of Newton's theory of gravity, but I will cover some of the other stuff here.

    Both Newton and Leibniz invented calculus at about the same time. They and their supporters argued about who should get credit for a long time. I suppose that they both should. Today, I think that if they know anything, most people think Newton invented it. Yet, it is Leibniz’s version that we use. Newton's approach was very cumbersome, from what I understand. It was sort of like doing multiplication with Roman Numerals.

    But then along came Voltaire. He was a supporter of Newton and didn't like the German Leibniz. He wrote Candide. The hero wonders the world getting into one disaster after another, natural and human. After these events he tends to say that it's okay because we live in the best of all possible worlds. This statement, "the best of all possible worlds", is Leibniz explaining that God created this one as the best. Leibniz’s solution to the problem of evil was inventive, I've always thought, even though it is such nonsense.

  19. Well that didn’t go well. Was this not interesting? Boring? Or was it that nobody had any connection to the subject. I’m not complaining. I had hoped that this might be entertaining.

    For anyone interested, here is the answer.

    The person that Newton was interested in was Rene Descartes. At least when I went to school, most graduate students were reading only what you might call Descartes’ “philosophical” writings. However, Descartes wrote a considerable amount about what was called natural philosophy. He had developed an extensive physics and world view. He wrote about the scientific method. His influence was immense. By Newton’s time, textbooks based upon Descartes’ physics were being used in many schools throughout Europe and Great Briton. Newton saw that if he was going to displace Descartes he would have to not only present his views but also show that Descartes’ view was untenable.

    Descartes’ world began as a solid block of stuff. He did not hold with vacuum, following Aristotle. This solid block was created by God, who sort of hit this block, like with a tuning fork or something, and the block fractured and went into motion. The primary motion of stuff was a vortex. Thus Newton, in Principia, demonstrated that vortex motion could not explain the effects of gravity.

    Descartes’ scientific method is interesting in a historical sense. His view was that proposed scientific theories could be disproved by the discovery of evidence that conflicted with the theory. But, Descartes says, such evidence could be found anytime in the future, therefore no theory could be considered true. Evidence could support a theory. A theory could be considered useful, but it could never be called true.

    Does Descartes’ scientific method sound familiar? It might. I think that it is nearly identical to Karl Popper’s brand of falsification. I never saw that Popper ever gave credit for this idea.

    So Newton published his great treatise and the world did change, for the good, I think. However, there were critics, mostly on the continent. The foremost critic was a near genius with weird ideas whom we seldom hear of today. I have heard it suggested that he has been influential in physics, especially on the Continent.

    I think that some of the criticisms leveled against Newton’s version of gravity are worth considering.

    Which brings me to another series of questions.

    Anyone know what the criticisms were? Anyone interested? Also, who was this opponent and critic? This man also vied with Newton over the authorship of a major mathematical creation, and in a sense prevailed over Newton. In addition, this man was ridiculed by a major figure in the French Enlightenment in a well-known book. What was the book? Who wrote it?

  20. I have collected three little historical points about well known historical figures that few people know. I think that they are interesting because these little points also tell us something about the time and events. I’m not saying that they are hugely insightful, only interesting if you’re already into the history.

    Certainly, some of you know the answers to these questions. Let me ask anyone who is a professional historian or academic to let others try their hand before you come in and give the answer. Of course, most if not all of this is on the internet somewhere.

    I will do these one at a time. I will begin with the question that has the most parts and widest impact. Actually, it will have several sections.

    This is a question about Isaac Newton. His most famous work, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, was published in 1687.

    The question is: Newton included an extensive section on vortexes. Why was that subject included by Newton in his magnus opus?

    To be complete, your answer should include why that subject, the person Newton had in mind, and, in specific terms, why Newton thought that he needed this subject connected with the other two books.

    I had to edit the question. I should have double checked my memory before posting! Sorry.

  21. Let me tell you pessimistic. In the 80's, after his Ford Hall Forum talk, I heard Leonard Peikoff say that he was looking into printing AS in acid free paper and placing copies in the deepest caves he could find around the world. That is pessimistic. I don't know if he's changed his outlook much since.

    It is never a good idea to attempt to predict what Ayn Rand would think of anything. Yet, I would expect that she would be pleased with the number of Objectivists and their activities today.

    Sorry, but I just remembered another story form years ago. Apparently Ayn Rand did not think that the idea to produce lectures about Objectivism would be very useful. However, after the first live lectures in NYC had gone through several weeks, she said that she did see some benefit. She felt that even the most irrational people in the audience had benefited. In this case, even she was surprised at the power of reason and her philosophy.

  22. I just got home from a Health Care Forum sponsored by a local news station (Denver, 9news). The governor and six of Colorado's U.S. congresspeople and senators answered questions. I plan on blogging about it once I organize my notes. But there is one very specific topic I would like to hear your opinions on.

    As I striving/budding Objectivist I understand that health care is not a right. One man in the audience talked about his daughter being born with issues requiring 27 surgeries, and Ed Perlmutter (Colorado Congressman) mentioned his epileptic daughter in his response. The citizen complained of not being able to get insurance for his daughter's pre-existing condition.

    Here are my questions - please understand I'm not arguing for these positions, I'm asking how the Objectivist explains rights and values regarding these situations.

    First, is it necessary for all couples who plan on having a child to be financially able to deal with all possible birth defects before giving birth to that child? I would think the answer is no, so then those unlucky parents who don't have the means are just that - unlucky, and they just have to do the best they can? For a modern civilization like ours, with the knowledge and means to repair many birth defects, does society have a duty to heal those children? If no, why not? I can see part of the problem is defining which parents can and cannot afford that care. But I need much help on this issue.

    Secondly, one of my favorite charities is Operation Smile. Doctors and nurses donate their time and materials to travel around the world, mostly to quite impoverished areas, and perform cleft lip and cleft palate surgery on children whose parents have no possible means to get that service. Now, my first solution to that problem is rights protected by rule of law and free-market capitalism to empower those people. But until that happens how do you justify not helping such a child left behind after Operation Smile has spent all their donations and has to return home. I assume part of the explanation is how do you define who needs what, and where does the definition of "need" end? And I can accept that. But repairing a birth defect like a cleft palate is a simple operation and many of these kids suffer unnecessarily for years. Surely that does fall under any definition of "need" that could be defined? Is it really enough to say, well they are a third world country and the rest of the world just can't fix everyone else's problems?


    I first looked into your thread because of the title "Pre-existing Conditions", which I expect few really understand. However, your thread is not about that. I suggest that you change it something about children. First let me make a brief comment about pre-existing conditions. All this term means, in insurance speak, is that the person is already sick or injured. Someone complaining about not having insurance because of a pre-existing condition is like someone whose house is on fire complaining that he can't now get fire insurance.

    You are conflating two different ideas, and your opponents are doing their best to maintain that confusion. No one with any benevolence at all wants a child to be hurt, impaired, or mistreated. They will wish that they could do what they could or what needs to be done. But this desire is always considered within the context of a person's own context, their own values.

    What your opponents want is to use this desire as a justification to force everyone to finance that and much more. They are saying that since you want to help a child we will enslave you. After these bills are passed, you will see some people’s children get wonderful care and other's get almost nothing, depending on time, luck, who they know. The priority of helping your own children or your brother's children, your own values will be undercut.

    So they are using your own benevolence to undercut your resistance to force.

    They do this all the time. When they forced through the various acts giving the disabled special privileges some Senator or Congressman always had a sob story about their close relative. Everyone cried and voted to force U.S. citizens to submit. Sad, sob stories are always attempts to blur the issue.

    Steadfastness and clear answers are always the best response. Answers must always clearly identify the morality involved.

    What issues a couple should consider before having a baby is very contextual. I think that it would be tough to be thinking that their child would have manor medical problems. Nonetheless, they do need to have thought about their financial situation and how they will take care of their baby.

    Your last question needs to be stated more broadly, in that there are lots of situations that need to be fixed. It certainly is the case that a any particular time there is only a certain amount of assets. Only a limited amount can be done. Our ability to do anything is being limited by the effects of government on our productive ability. This is all within the context of our own values, too. So, yes, we can't do everything. But the real problem in your last paragraph is that it is a thrid world country. It can't do anything for itself because it remains a thrid world country. Really, the best thing that can be done for them is to teach them in some manner how to be a productive country. Then they can save their own children.

  23. Is anyone familiar with the works of Anthony Flew? Especially with his book "There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind" (2007).

    My friend, D, after my relentless reasoning, almost converted to Atheism. But this afternoon, D paid an unfortunate visit to his cousin.

    His cousin's husband is an academic theologian. And he completely turned D around and my friend is now brimming with religious furor and was quick to blast me for being un-objective because I do not consider both sides of the God argument.

    I read a bit about Flew and the interviews he gave and articles written about him and his argument for God, and it doesn't make much sense.

    But I'm not very familiar with his work.

    Can anyone with a better knowledge of him clarify his work?

    I had a book by Flew in which he destroys all of the attempts to logically argue for the existence of God. It is a good reference.

    However, Flew was an Linguistic Analysist. One of those people who said that the phrase "a material thing cannot be in two places at the same time" is merely the way we choose to use those words. You couldn’t conclude that he ever thought the logical exercises he undertook had anything to do with belief or feeling or morality. He held atheism as someone held a belief in reincarnation. No big deal either way. I mean he is no big deal either way.

  24. It sounds like a bug in the software.

    There is a restriction on the number of PMs that can actually be sent in 1 day. This limit is particularly tight for folks who are labelled "Members" (the default membership on the forum). This limit is in place because we were getting spammers who were sending out PMs.

    I'm guessing that you might have edited and saved the message a few times and that the software mistakenly counted each save as if it was being sent.

    Anyhow, I've changed some settings and it should work for you now.

    Thank you for your help. Actually, I only saved it once. I didn't get to edit it at all.

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