• Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by BaalChatzaf

  1. tom kuhn wrote that the ingredients for a 'paradigm shift' were 2: when the current idea is widely understood to be bankrupt and at the same time there is an alternative idea that is widely understood to be adequate. as i watch the mystics rush headlong to their private Jonestown or literally bankrupt themselves trying to cover up their ugly nature- i also read that Atlas Shrugged may come out as a movie this year starring brad pitt and angelina jolie. does anyone have a presentiment about this?


    The story is too much for a motion picture of reasonable length to bear.

    Look at what Peter Jackson had to do with -Lord of the Rings-. He mucked up the story line and left out a lot of important material. Is this what you want to see happen to -Atlas Shrugged-?

    One of two outcomes:

    a. the movie is not made

    b. the movie is made, but it is dreadful. Admirers of the book will gnash their teeth.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  2. Well lets be honest... Atlas Shugged was basically a fantasy. It simply couldn't occur as a single mass movement. Could it occur in small doses? Certainly. For example, a small European nation's brain drain. A large scale movement? No (well, in principle it is possible, it is just extremely extremely extremely unlikely).

    I would classify AS more as alternative history or possible future history than fantasy. There were no magical elements in the story. All events occurred within the realm of physical law with the possible exception of running motors on static electricity. The atmosphere acts as a capacitor, but there is not enough current available to run motors or electronic circuits on a steady basis. Some form of generator which transforms heat into motion or the kinetics of photovoltaic generation is required. TANSTAAFL, especially in the realm of physical processes.

    So with the exception of Galt's generator as a plot McGuffin(gimmick), the novel was not a fantasy at all.

    Ba'al Chatzaf


    power and plunged the Western world into the Dark Ages. Aristotle's ideas of an objective reality perceivable by our senses and of happiness as "the good" helped the West to rise out of the Dark Ages and into the Renaissance.

    Aristotle's errors and even more so the refusal of Aristotle's intellectual heirs to see his errors held back physics science for over a thousand years. Aristotle's basic error was his failure to check his conclusions experimentally or by observation. You can see his mistakes in his -Physics- and -On the Heavens-. Here are some of his better known errors

    1. The general statement that heavier bodies achieve a terminal velocity in proportion to their weight (actually their mass). Dead wrong. This may be true where fluid resistance (air or water or oil) impedes the falling of a body because of friction and viscosity. However were bodies are so heavy that resistance or viscosity is negligible all masses fall at the same rate. It was well within Aristotle's means to test this out. Tossing two similarly shaped heavy objects but with greatly differing from a rooftop or a cliff would have easily shown the error. No major technology is required.

    2. Motion of all sorts requires a force. Aristotle missed on inertia and momentum completely. To abduct from experiments that uniform motion requires no force. According to Aristotle's principle an arrow would fall down immediately as soon as it clears the bow. In fact an arrow or any ballistic object will continue to climb for a bit because of momentum. Galileo correctly deducted that a body will follow a parabolic path exactly in the absence of air resistance. The Greeks had ballistae and would have easily observed this. Aristotle chose to ignore observable fact.

    3. Aristotle claimed the earth did not move -on principle-. It neither rotated about the Sun (rather; the Sun went about the earth) nor did the earth rotate about an axis. In order to account for the circular motion of all the stars by assuming the stars were affixed to a rigid frame (the crystal spheres) which rotated about the earth. Aristarchus was able to account for the apparent motion of the stars, the planets, and the sun with a heliocentric hypothesis, and this two thousand years before Copernicus. Aristotle was not alone in this error. Yet Kepler, -without a telescope- was able to use the careful observations of Tycho Brahe to determine that the earth rotated about the sun, as did the other planets. The means of doing this were available in Aristotle's time (Tycho did not use lenses, for example). Again, Aristotle's reluctance to check and recheck his conclusions maintained his erroneous views both for him and his followers.

    4. Aristotle considered the Cosmos to be alive. He attributed purposes and ends to insensate matter. One of the Aristotelian causes is Final Cause. This can only apply where sentient beings make plans. In Nature there are no Final Causes. Nature is as dumb and insensate as a bag of rocks. It is mostly non-alive. In modern times we recognize only one kind of cause - efficient cause-. The functions of material cause and formal cause have been absorbed into the actions of hypothetical entities (atoms for example) and the descriptions of the actions by means of mathematically expressed theories. In modern times theories are checked and rechecked empirically.

    Flash forward about one hundred years to Alexandria in Egypt. There existed a nascent empirical/deductive mode in dealing with the material world. Eritosthanes was able to work out (by both empirical and geometric means) the circumference of the earth to within five percent of the modern value. Heron, an Alexandrian inventor produced a steam turbine and even invented the coin vending machine! This highly empirical approach to the material nature of the world simply did not happen with Aristotle. While Aristotle did do a creditable job of studying animals and plants (he was a physicians son and was so inclined) he did not do nearly so well with forces and motions.

    Aristotle's followers tended to be a priorists and Aristotle's errors went uncorrected for a long period of time.

    I have speculated that if Archimedes, who was the most brilliant thinker of the Ancient World (he invented calculus two thousand years before Newton and Leibniz) had established a school, we would be traveling in Star Ships, rather than Jet Airplanes. Archimedes work on statics and hydraulic forces still stand today even in the context of modern mechanics. Unfortunately Archimedes was a "one of" and his methodology was not propagated. It was not until the time of Copernicus and later Galileo and Kepler than Aristotle's errors were finally purged from astronomy and the science of motion.

    Aristotle's main failing --- he didn't check his work thoroughly. He did not carry the experimental method sufficiently far, not even as far as did the Ionians. The Enlightenment did not happen until Aristotle's errors were purged. Give Aristotle an A for logic and a C minus for checking out his scientific conclusions. In the matter of physical processes he was not sufficiently empirical.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  4. [i wonder where else they replace women with camels...

    It kinda adds a new spin on the old cigarette commercial: "I'd walk a mile for a camel."



    Now, now. In the U.S. and England they have dog shows, cat shows and horse shows. The horses have to -do- something to earn their prizes like jump or race. In the dog and cat shows all the animals need do is be beautiful according to the aesthetics of their breed.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  5. Electro-Sensitivity and Rights

    This needs a lot of thought because, despite the present small size of the problem, I see it as an issue that will impact mankind far more than fundamentalist environmentalism ever will. (Fundamentalist environmentalism will eventually go away after the science becomes simplified enough for laypeople to easily grasp.) Here, with the growing body of studies, cause and effect will be very hard to ignore and that will be used as a banner for those against modern technology.


    Solution: Live inside a Faraday cage. That will stop electromagnetic fields cold.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  6. What exactly does it mean to claim that induction is not valid?


    A finite or limited set of instances for which a general proposition holds, does not imply the general proposition is true over the entire domain of applicable entities. Example: I show you a billion black crows. This is not sufficient to prove that all crows which, were or every will be are black. It could be I have not yet found the exceptional crow, say a crow with the gene for albinism.

    So induction cannot prove the truth of a universally quantified proposition -unless- the applicable domain of the proposition happens to be finite and the inducer has exhausted this domain. For example I can prove that all the coins in my pocket are quarters by emptying my pockets and showing each and ever coin from my pockets were quarters

    On the other hand induction can prove that a universally quantified proposition is false. All one needs is a single instance for which the general proposition does not hold.

    One can also establish an existentially quantified proposition by producing an instance for which it holds.

    Bob Kolker

  7. More likely it would take a movement the likes of which may never have been known to occur in the civilized world. The Protestant Reformation comes to mind or better still the Renaissance.

    The Renaissance was not a movement. It was a period of time and events in Europe in which many things, some beneficial things were happening. The western hemisphere was being explored and exploited. New questions were being asked. Old beliefs were being challenged some overthrown.

    During the Renaissance Galileo was tried for heresy. On the other hand Father Clavius of the Catholic Church was using a Galileo type telescope to explore the heavens. They even named a crater for him.

    I do wonder what might happen if the movie Atlas Shrugged were done right it might become a kind of classic which might be sufficiently inspiring among the younger generation, meaning those who had not yet been subjected to a college indoctrination, to lead to an ongoing struggle sustained for long enough to encompass several generations of young folks who would grow up to produce leaders with a growing popular support thoughout the country.

    Don't hold your breath.

    Ba'al Chatzaf.

  8. Mark; I've noticed you haven't been posting but I'm glad to see you're back.

    Some years ago Arthur Hailey wrote a novel about the power industry called Overload. One of his point was the damage done by environmentalist "wackos". He had some very good chapters on the effects of not be able to produce all the power necessary. I recommend the book highly although I'm afraid it maybe out of print.

    Dangerous but not as violent. In addition, the eco-phreaks are here and any overt activity such as vandalism and sabotage can be handled by normal law enforcement. The Islamic threat is mostly of foreign origin and is not as controllable as a domestic threat. So far PETA and other "friends of the earth" have not hijacked any commercial flights to crash into tall buildings. The closest we had to that was the unabomber, Ted Kazcinsky. He was an aberrant individual, not a jihad knight from a Movement.

    My personal inclination is to append any ecofreak to a tree trunk by his own spikes if he is caught putting spikes into tree trunks to break saw blades at the sawmill. The rule should be: As ye do unto to us, so it shall be done unto you.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  9. Michael; Well said! Jefferson as late as 1820 was still warning about slavery.

    And he still retained his "property". His slaves were manumitted upon his decease. Do you see a problem with this? I sure do. His sin is magnified precisely because he knew better.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  10. I love watching sci-fi, but have only read a few novels. I'd really appreciate learning of great sci-fi novels that have happy endings - the happy ending bit is particularly important.

    Curious to know what Isaac Asimov's works are like - are they 'people are wonderful' type books, or do they tend to paint people in a less inspiring light?

    Does 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' by Robert Heinlein have a happy ending?



    Read -The Dispossessed- by Ursula LaGuin. It has a ending you will probably like.

    -The Dispossessed- is to anarchism what -Atlas Shrugged- is to capitalism. Plus Ursula LaGuin is a better writer than Ayn Rand.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  11. She provided a charming touch of information on Jefferson I did not know:
    Life requires productive work and effort to sustain it, a fact that Jefferson considered to be our glory. When his Monticello farm fell on hard times, he began producing nails, and did so proudly because "every honest employment is deemed honorable [in America]…. My new trade of nail-making is to me in this country what an additional title of nobility … [is] in Europe."


    You can be sure Jefferson's slaves did the heavy lifting. I am equally sure he never flogged them.

    All men are created equal except Sally Hemming and her brother.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  12. In the 80th there was a movie made about the life of the actress Francis Farmer. Ms Farmer was a movie actress in 30ths and 40ths who had many problem. She fought with her mother who would commit to the Washington state mental hospital. She had lobotomy there which made her almost a dead person even before she died. Lobotomies were thought of as the cure all for almost all mental problems during the 40ths and 50ths.

    My Aunt Miriam (alahavah shalom), suffered from schizophrenia in the early 1940's. She had to be institutionalized and there were no treatments at all except restraint. No medicine, no drugs. The only 'treatment' was prefrontal lobotomy. After it was done, Aunt Miriam was quiet alright, very quiet. She had virtually no initiative. Whatever was suggested she did. I remember playing gin rummy with her both before and after the operation. She could still beat me right and proper but she was not the same person. It was very weird and disturbing. She still remained institutionalized until her death in 1968. I and my sister were here only living relatives at that time. She had no one else. My brother-in-law and I filled in the grave (per custom). Very weird, very sad. Under the circumstances and conditions that existed it was either lobotomy, constraint in a straight-jacket (quite literally as she tore at her own flesh) or permanent sedation which would have killed her for sure much sooner than she died of natural causes. A tough situation, but that was the way it was.

    Ba'ak Chatzaf

  13. Boris Yeltsin just passed on. What a great man! Gorbachev gets all the credit, but it was Yeltsin who ushered in, briefly, democracy and freedom and oversaw the breakup of the former Soviet Union. He had a lot of guts when the Politburo fell and he did not relent, even though his life was in danger. I hope that when he gets past the pearly gates, he meets up with Ronnie Reagan, Alexander Dubcek and Pope John Paul II, and that they give a great homecoming to Dame Margaret Thatcher and Lech Walesa when its their turn to leave this world (not for a long time, I hope).

    God bless ye, Boris! If you only loved Russia as much as you loved wodka, you'd still be among us, and be running the nation as a bastion of democracy, and that rat Putin would be on the outside, looking in.

    This man was a Commie Thug for 9/10 of his adult life. His final act, when he became Boris the Populist is a very small redemption in the scheme of things. How much blood did he have on his hands?

    I think that you forgive too readily but that is just an opinion.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  14. And "energy" would be a problem for a similar reason. It is a reference to either physical/chemical energy (a capacity to do biomechanical work) or to motivational energy. "Mr. Jones, please describe to the court how many calories of your energy you agreed to provide Mr. Smith." Like the issue of our time, our energy is not available to others because we own the right to act in anyway that doesn't violate the rights of others.

    Easy. Your basal metabolism rate (determinable by measurement) X time your are selling your work = the number of calories of energy you are selling. And when you do a job for someone you surely are selling the energy necessary to do it.

    Next question?

    Ba'al Chatzaf


    Interesting thing to say about not being pro abortion but not being anti abortion either. Just because you don't consider abortion immoral doesn't mean that you want every prego to go get one. :lol:

    Not at all. As a generality I would not advocate abortion. However in some circumstances it may be the best thing to do. It depends on the circumstances and conditions surrounding each case. I would not advocate that every pregnant woman get an abortion. If such were done, the human race would soon cease to exist.

    Most people take reproduction seriously and the decision to abort should not be arrived out without careful thought.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  16. I am not anti-abortion. I am not pro-abortion either. Aborting a fetus is a rather serious decision that the woman carrying the fetus must make.

    I can think of only two grounds on which abortion can be justified.

    1. Self defense. The woman's life/health are in danger if the pregnancy is continued.

    2. Disposal of property. I consider fetuses as property, since they are not yet persons.

    Other folks have different opinions and judgments on the issue.

    Lay on McDuff and whoever else wishes to.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  17. Bob,

    For instance, if I hire the services of someone and that someone does not produce what I want or defaults on it, I can usually take something from him as damages. There is no such provision for me defaulting on me when hiring myself out. I did not produce what I myself contracted so I did not receive the wages. So what am I going to do with myself as compensation?

    Your failure to produce the desired service or good implies an opportunity cost on the buyer. Not only did he not receive what you promised, he lost time and opportunity to get what he needed somewhere else. So you will probably be sued for compensation. The compensation will most likely be monetary. So what you will do with yourself, is work to earn money with which you will pay the compensation.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  18. Moral perfection

    by Michael Stuart Kelly

    One of the silliest notions promoted by orthodox Objectivists is that a person can become morally perfect. This statement is a complete inversion of values.

    The English language has a strong limitation with the all inclusive verb "to be." I never really understood this until I had to learn Portuguese. In that language, there are two verbs for "to be": "estar" and "ser." Estar denotes a temporary state of being and ser means a permanent one.

    Thus a person is a man or woman (ser) and he is at the movies (estar). This took some getting used to, but after I did, many things became much easier to identify and categorize.

    An important distinction! It is the difference between what is necessary and what is contingent. Our current state is contextually dependent on happenings and choices and it has a specific history. It is contingent.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  19. Basic question: do each and every one of us own ourselves. That means, do we own our time, our energy and our bodies?

    My position:

    1. We own our time. We can use our time as we see fit. We can sell it, we can rent it and we can even give it away. This is of course subject to contractual constraints. If we sell our time (meaning our labor) for a price or in a trade we are obliged to do what we were paid to do, else compensate the payer for goods and labor not delivered as promised.

    2. We own our energy. We can determine what we do with out time. Our labor is the manifestation of our energy expended in the time we have alloted for it.

    3. We own our bodies. If we own our time and energy (labor) we surely own that which makes our labor possible in the time alloted, to wit, our bodies. We can sell parts of our bodies or donate parts. People donate/sell blood and organs. We can even bequeath our parts after our death.

    4. We dispose of our lives as we see fit, subject to the constraints that we do not violate the rights of others or fail to deliver what we contracted to deliver, without compensation for default. In particular, we have the right to suicide, provided the manner of the suicided does not impose an unreasonable hazard on others or abridging or denying the rights of others.

    5. We not only own our bodies, we own everything in them. That includes food, implants, or fetuses (in the case of women).

    This is my position. By all means discuss and even contend.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  20. this issue. I don't even think we agree here on what property is. Man is an end in himself, not the property of anyone, even himself. Mixing property rights and people is a perfect rationalization for slavery.

    I you do not accept self ownership (I do) then you cannot justify a right to suicide. If we own our time and energy we surely own our bodies. We can even donate or sell pieces of them. If we do not own our time and energy (and our bodies too) then we are ready to be sold on the block.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  21. Bob,

    Boy do we disagree.


    Yes we do. You (perhaps) think fetuses are people; I do not. You think newborn infants are people; I do not. If permitted a newborn infant will very likely become a person in a fairly short time. In much the same way that an acorn becomes an oak tree or a caterpillar become a butterfly. My position is based on neurophysiology. What is your position based on? What is the difference between a fetus one second before the umbilical is cut and one second after and it is breathing on its own. If the breathing newborn infant is a person then so is the fetus a second before separation from the placenta.

    I think you have a logical problem in supporting a woman's right to abort. I don't.

    Mike, I am not going to continue this debate under this topic heading. I will move it to a new stand alone topic, if that is alright with you. The thread is drifting.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  22. What movies have you all see recently? The last time I visited the theater, I saw this one:

    Kinda controversial but still rather good. It has a positvie message within.

    So what is good out there? :)

    -Serenity-, the movie sequel to the short lived T.V. series -Firefly-.

    The movie and t.v. series were created by Joss Whedon who created -Buffy the Vampire Slayer- for t.v.

    The series is kickass libertarian disdain for a tyrannical superstate told from the point of view of those who fought a civil war against it and (alas) lost.

    The main character is Malcolm (Mal) Reynolds, master of the freighter -Serenity- a firefly class space freighter. Think of Mal Reynolds as Ragnar Danesgold in a bad mood, but without the guns mounted on his ship. For the Objectivists here, note that Reynolds is totally upright and righteous man who is an atheist. One of his passengers is Shepherd Book, an itinerant preacher with a Very Interesting Past. When Shepherd Book starts to say grace at the table prior to the crew's meal Reynolds tells him that he is welcome aboard the ship but God isn't.

    His crew and passengers are an interesting collection of characters to say the least.

    Here is the IMDB page for the movie

    and here is the page for the t.v. series:

    Here are the words to the opening song:

    Take my love, take my land / Take me where I cannot stand / I don't care, I'm still free / You can't take the sky from me / Take me out to the black / Tell 'em I ain't comin' back / Burn the land and boil the sea / You can't take the sky from me / There's no place I can be / Since I found serenity / But you can't take the sky from me

    This is kickass stuff and I am surprised it ever made it to either the theater or t.v..

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  23. What movies have you all see recently? The last time I visited the theater, I saw this one:

    So what is good out there? :)

    The 1947 Looney-Tunes cartoon send up of Richard Wagner. Starring Elmer Fudd as Siegfreid and Bug Bunny as Brunhilde. This is pee in your pants funny. They do not make them like this any more.

    Kill the waaahbit, kill the waaahbit (sung to to the tune of -The Ride of the Valkaries-).

    Ba'al Chatzaf