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Everything posted by Tanaka

  1. Never saw a final word with chapters in it before. And I still haven't read one.
  2. It's not abuse, but it's neglect. Neglect can be just as harmful as abuse.
  3. I'm not talking about domestic incidents, but I might be talking about domestic threats, depending on the definition. If 9/11 qualifies as a domestic incident, then I'm talking about domestic threats. If it doesn't, then never mind. My ultimate point though is that if you're gonna place your faith in Al Qaeda's mercy, you might as well add Pat Robertson's prayers to the list. They're equally likely to keep us safe.
  4. The fundamental disagreement is on whether a democratic structure or a hierarchy is better suited to combine the knowledge of a number of people working together. I don't think a democracy does a good job at combining everyone's knowledge. The majority voting don't have the capacity to understand and apply the knowledge of the few who are the smartest and most experienced. So, when the votes are tallied, the knowledge of the smartest employees will be completely ignored. In a hierarchy, the smartest, most experienced person gets the final vote (on the important issues). He can apply not only his own knowledge, but he can understand and apply the knowledge of everyone working for him. If you're running an oil company, and I am looking for someone to run my 100 employee upstart, I'm not gonna get you to do it. You already have a better job. I will however be able to pick one of my 100 employees to do it. If I pick the most skilled leader and qualified professional out of the group, to make the top level decisions, then that's the best I could do. He will then be able to figure out how to use the knowledge of each of his 99 subordinates, to make the best decisions their combined knowledge has the potential to facilitate.
  5. That's not a fact, that's more of an opinion. A fact would define what constitutes a legitimate threat objectively, and then name the exact number of them. I don't have that number available, but I do have some other facts. There's the fact that Muslims commit thousands of terror attacks every year. And then there's the fact that the groups behind those thousands of attacks (which result in many thousands of casualties) are all on the record saying that America is their main enemy. Does it not follow, from those two facts, that there is an actual threat to Americans' safety?
  6. One question: Why are you searching out smart people in particular, to opine? Do you believe that smart people will give you better answers? Then why not also use this criteria when selecting decision makers for this business? I don't know what your democratic process will come up with, so I can't offer specific critiques. But odds are, your process will come up with less competitive ideas and decision making than that of a business which appoints its leadership based on competence rather than willingness to participate.
  7. Tanaka


    You don't see anything wrong with this argument? Here's a diverse basket of useful goods for which that statement isn't true: oil, silver and Tibetan medicinal plants. You're welcome to research that, I'm confident you'll find that gold is much less volatile than the dollar, compared to those. With a little looking into I could also name a diverse basket for which lettuce is the most stable currency on the planet. Hand picked baskets, no matter how diverse, don't make for valid arguments. [ I'm not sure what he's saying (although I know that the statement "gold is just gold" does not mean all those things you're saying it means), but I here's what I'm saying: In a free economy, the market value of gold is less volatile and more predictable than most things, because both the supply and the demand of it are quite stable and predictable. With state issued currency, supply can (and is being) manipulated, and with most other goods (like oil, iron, etc.) demand can change quickly with technological advancements or just changes in consumers' preferences. If you believe that supply and demand dictate the market value of goods, then this simple inference should be pretty difficult to not understand. In an economy that's subject to the whims of fiscal policy makers, gold does tend to shift its value somewhat, because it is used as a safe haven from inflation, etc. Any time the policy makers screw up, the value of gold goes up. But a quick math (the kind you learn when you study supply and demand in Economics) will tell you that, as long as this practice doesn't become more widespread than it is now, gold should still remain more stable that the inflated currencies which are driving people to it.
  8. Don't care for Starcraft 2, but I love the Starcraft Brood War scene (Lee Jae-Dong rules). I got into it after I hit a dead end playing chess, actually. I like the strategy aspect of it (I could discuss Brood War strategy for hours), but there's no point in trying to implement fine-tuned strategies without the actual skills. So I mostly just watch Korean Starcraft on youtube, and play stupid Call of Duty instead. I think I watch more Starcraft than baseball at this point. And that's saying something, 'cause I watch a lot of baseball. Here's a quick illustration of how big this actually is in Korea:
  9. I would agree with calling what she did "giving Christianity the benefit of the doubt" instead of "wishful thinking", which is too harsh. I do not agree that it's a benevolent view of Christianity. That would imply that she was correct, and Christianity is in fact, fundamentally, egoistic (she would be benevolent then, for seeing that fundamental good in spite of the bad that might draw the attention of a malevolent observer). I don't think it's controversial to say that's not true, Christianity isn't fundamentally good. She herself changed her mind on that, by the time she wrote AS.
  10. The thing is, Jesus followed this up with sacrificing himself for our sins. And the Apostle Paul did take that extra step in his 1st letter to the Corinthians: "Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor." Sounds like wishful thinking. Good thing she thought better of it by the time she wrote AS.
  11. Emotions do dictate how I will treat a sadist who abuses animals though. I won't violate his rights, of course, but the reason why I would shun him isn't just that he is being self-destructive: it's that his actions disgust me. The reason why his actions disgust me is somewhat complex. It's not purely or mainly the animal's suffering. Animals suffer in the wild. I don't hate lions, even though they sometimes eat their prey while still alive. The reason why I am repulsed by the torturer is a combination of his irrational values and empathy for his victim (empathy caused by a sense of injustice, I should add). Obviously, the question is: Does my empathy for a tortured animal have a rational basis? You could say animals don't make conscious decisions, therefor justice doesn't come into how they're treated. But punishing an animal (looking for emotional satisfaction by punishing someone or something for an imagined wrong is what motivates sadists to act) is still a perversion of justice. And animals do suffer from it, they're not senseless objects. Not to mention that a sadist's perversion of justice when abusing an animal is just a sign of things to come. It's not like he will differentiate between the morality of punishing an animal and punishing a defenseless child for instance. His rationalization for the abuse isn't the rationalization people around here tend to come up with ("It's just an animal, and I get pleasure out of torturing it, so why not?"). That line of reasoning would not ordinarily cause someone to abuse an animal, because it just assumes there's pleasure, it doesn't address where that pleasure comes from to begin with. The sadist's rationalization is "The animal wronged me, and I will punish it.". The pleasure comes from satisfying his ego by accomplishing that goal. The only thing that would stop him, temporarily, from also harming a human for the same reason, is cowardice. So I don't think my general revulsion is misplaced at all.
  12. The Objectivist (philosophical) answer to that is that sadism (developing a taste for torture, or maintaining and satisfying one), is not selfish. The reason why it isn't selfish isn't a purely philosophical one though. There are aspects of the human mind which are objectively beneficial to a person's life, and aspects which are objectively harmful. Determining which is which falls to the science of Psychology, not to Philosophy. I'm not a Psychologist, but still I am confident that getting pleasure out of torture falls into the latter category. There are plenty of arguments, by experts, on why that is, what the consequences of nurturing such a sickness can be, etc. But, just because I know enough enough to say that, doesn't mean I'm also qualified to start teaching Psychology. (similarly, just because I know enough Physics to say Einstein made some good points, doesn't mean I should teach, or even try to explain, Einstein's work to you. It would be an embarrassing attempt to say the least.) So I'm not gonna go into the Psychology of sadists, but maybe there's someone who actually studied it, who will. Or at least someone who has a good link on this.
  13. One of the negative votes is mine. The gist of the reason is that you are adopting the class warfare paradigm when it suits your argument, but expecting the Tea Party to ignore it and only think in terms of individuals. The fact is, class warfare is real. And it isn't initiated by the rich, they are being victimized by excessive taxation. And they are victimized not by some authoritative king, but by the vast majority of the electorate. In the situation the Tea Party caucus is in (in which eliminating the welfare state is impossible for them -fact which you are also ignoring), limiting the liability of the minority the majority are intending to force to pay for all the excessive spending is the right thing to do. If that means spreading the pain around, so be it.
  14. There isn't any "reason" behind it, in the sense that nature has some kind of a plan, and that is a part of it. But there is a cause for it. And just like with anything, causes and effects can be understood. It isn't like playing dice, because a die is designed by humans with the specific purpose to be too difficult to figure out. If someone figures out how to understand the physics of a set of dice, he will knows ahead of time how they will fall, and it ruins the game. This is different. Aside from the cure I mentioned, we could also try and figure out the causes for specific children getting cancer, and taking preventive measures in high risk cases. There is already some research going on, with scientists trying to look at people's genetic makeup to make predictions. That could be extended to looking at fetuses, and possibly even to just the potential parents, before conception. But, just like with the search for a cure, irrational savages are throwing up roadblocks. It's both socialist health-care laws which strip private companies of the incentives to invest in research, and the religiously motivated ban on crucial research. P.S. If you think my refusal to consider the possibility of a conscious plan behind nature makes my answer simplistic, it's on you to offer evidence of a conscious plan. Until you do, there isn't one. Your idea of karma is just a made up concept, just like the Christian God.
  15. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is about the payroll tax cuts they are refusing to renew, right? As long as abolishing SS isn't a viable option (and it isn't right now, because almost everyone is against it), the options are to collect money from the people who are the intended beneficiaries, or from people who aren't (allocate money from the general budget to bail it out). Clearly, the first option is the more reasonable one.
  16. Justice is a fact of reality. But that's not saying much, at least not until one properly understands reality, and how it affects us. And that's gonna take more than a few paragraphs by a single person. The fact is, reality is very complex. Ridiculously complex. And it doesn't conform to anyone's simplifications. It's certainly not as simple as "farmer John will always get a plentiful harvest just because he tended to his crops properly". It's not even as simple as "Karma", unless you define it very broadly as "that aspect of reality which causes people's choices to have consequences" (a synonym of justice). But it (justice, Karma, whichever you want to call it) does exist. Not only does it exist, it permeates every aspect of human existence. Including children getting cancer. Specific children get cancer because of bad luck, and others don't because of good luck. But that has nothing to do with justice. That's just plain reality, before we make any choices to affect it. Justice comes in when you ask "Why do children still suffer from cancer (or why does child cancer still exist as a debilitating and life threatening illness)?. The answer to that is indeed human choices, and "justice". Children still get cancer because we all failed to cure cancer. Over the years, enough people have chosen irrationality (be it by refusing to think themselves, or even worse by crushing those who would have been willing to think) that it's still not cured. And that is "justice": because of those bad decisions, children get cancer. You may be revolted by it, but if you set your emotions aside, it should be obvious that a cure is what's required to live in a world where children don't suffer from cancer, and Reason is what is required to find that cure. No Reason, no cancer free world. Wanna invent a morality by which children "shouldn't get cancer", because that's just wrong? It won't help, your morality is made up. Wanna pray to God to "spare" them? It won't help, the closes thing to God is reality, and it doesn't respond to prayers. Wanna look at reality objectively, analyze the cold hard facts without letting your emotions dictate your conclusions, and make decisions to adapt to that cold reality? That's called Reason, and it's the only thing that will help. Reason brings great Karma .
  17. Of course not. That guy may have been wrong on abortion, but he was courteous, coherent, and determined to defend his position with considered arguments.
  18. Tanaka


    Great thread. I agree with your reasoning, and I also think it's a point that should be made more often. But I think the word you are looking for (for "the active version of humor, the art of making people laugh") is comedy. It already exists as a separate, thriving art form. It's probably more popular than most art. I guess there are snobs who don't recognize it as art, but that doesn't really affect me, or it for that matter. P.S. I guess it affects us when they try to censor it before other forms of arts, which these days happens a lot.
  19. It was an essay. In a private journal. Imagine that. Where did I (or anyone else in this thread) claim or imply that she was perfect? What was the evaluation, and how was it wrong? Be specific. Give facts, not opinions, both about Ayn Rand's (now public) essay, and Hickman.
  20. To the best of my knowledge, every single claim you made about Ayn Rand's position on Hickman and psychopaths in this thread is dead wrong. And I'm pretty confident in my knowledge, especially of her views on Hickman (I read the only essay in which she talks about him).
  21. I have a couple of separate points: 1. There are two branches of Objectivism which relate to homosexuality: One is Politics. In Capitalism, the state has no right to interfere with any kind of sex, or any kind of personal relationships, between consenting adults. End of story. The other is Ethics. First off, there's the question of sexual orientation. Since it is very clear that homosexuality is not consciously chosen (but is determined from birth or during early childhood), it falls outside of the realm of Ethics. Beyond that, the morality of homosexuality depends on the particulars, just like in the case of straight sex and relationships. Sex and relationships based in people sharing the right values are good. 2. As for the opinions of self-proclaimed Objectivists, they shouldn't matter. Objectivism isn't a cult (or even a single "community"). At most, it's comprised of circles of friends, loosely connected or independent of each other. There is no reason why some self-proclaimed Objectivists' opinions should ever interfere with your life, or your choice of a philosophy, unless you expressly invite them to do so. In my experience, most Objectivists are not anti-gay in any way. In fact there is an unusually high percentage of Objectivists who actually are gay. And if someone insults gay people, he is quickly refuted in Objectivist circles, just like any other bigot would be. You shouldn't have any problem finding Objectivists who don't mind your sexuality to hang out with. So being gay should not keep you from seeking out Objectivism as a philosophy, or Objectivists to associate with.
  22. Starting with false premises and reaching worthless conclusions is rational? Why? What is being accomplished?
  23. Nope. Politics is an extension of Ethics. Socialism is rooted in altruism. Altruism is rooted in religion and blind acceptance. You might be honestly mistaken about socialism being efficient, at least in a world that never experienced socialism before. Someone in the 19th century might make that honest mistake. But not even he could be honestly mistaken about socialism being moral. Unless he has accepted, unquestioningly and entirely without the use of his rational capacity, that altruism is the good. But then you can't say his decisions are based on the full use of his rational capacity, can you?
  24. If Congress cuts taxes, I get to keep more of my money. That's extra freedom I'm getting, to spend what I earn as I see fit. And power the IRS loses, to take that money. Not sure how you can rationalize your way around something that concrete and obvious. On a more abstract scale, all the current government's power is built on taxation. Including their borrowing power. Without the power to tax, they would have no undue powers.
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