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Posts posted by BaalChatzaf

  1. 1 hour ago, jts said:

    It is often said the health effects of smoking were not known in Ayn Rand's time. Here is a book published before Ayn Rand was born.

    The Use and Abuse of Tobacco 
    by John Lizars, M.D. (Edinburgh: 1856, 1857, 1859, reprinted, 
    Philadelphia: P. Blakiston, Son & Co, 1883)

    In those years,  manufactured rolled in paper cigarettes were not widely available.  Most people who smoked, smoked pipes and some smoked cigars.  In this form the tobacco smoke was not inhaled deeply so it probably did less damage. 

    L.L.A.P.  \ \ / /


  2. 2 hours ago, Peter said:

    If aliens have electro emissions like our TV would we detect them at our level of scientific sophistication? If aliens are also derived from their “primordial soup” on their home planets and have DNA what fictional race would they resemble? Humans or the Vulcans or something else? So far, only primates have reached our exalted level of brainpower on earth, so could any other species unlike us become as smart as us? Without more data can we ever know? We have gone almost 70 years without a world wide war. Can we go a hundred years? 200 years? Is human evolution continuing upwards?  




    All we have is speculation.  We have not yet completely understood life on our own planet where we can know the physical conditions that affect life and how it can evolve.  Life can be extremely varied, yet all life is governed by the laws of physics.  So while living beings can be many things in many forms,  they cannot be any old thing. The following book addresses the questions you raised very well:  "The Equations of Life: How physics shapes evolution"  by Charles  S. Corkell.   This book is not for specialist  but it is not an easy read either.  If you read it prepare to wear your thinking cap.

    L.L.A.P.  \ \ / / 

  3.  Throwing dissenters and politically  "inconvenient"  folks into the looney bin was a standard operating procedure in the late and unlamented Soviet Union.  If a dissenter had a potential future use, he was incarcerated in the asylum or sent to the gulags,  rather than killed. 

  4. On 9/25/2018 at 5:50 PM, Jules Troy said:

    Well I knowwww that I did quantify the theoretical with “IF”

    This is my favorite If     אויב מיין באָבע האט בייצים זי וואָלט זיין מיין זיידע

    translated.  If my grandma had balls she would be my grandpa.   I learned this counterfactual definite when I was four years old.

    L.L.A.P.  \\// (My homage to Spock the Son of Sarek, who is the patron saint of people with Aspberger's Syndrome).


  5. 7 hours ago, Jules Troy said:

    If you could heat the head of a pin to the same temperature as the core of the sun (15000 Kelvin) it would kill everyone within 1000 miles.

    The pin would vaporize well before such a temperature can be reached.   The strangest metals will vaporize  under 3000 deg C.  The Sun surface temp.  is  5800 deg C (approx).

  6. 22 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:


    So, basically, the Kavanaugh theater is win-win for Trump. If Kavanaugh is confirmed, it's a win. If the voting on Kavanaugh is delayed until after the midterms, it's a win.


    Interesting conclusion.  You are far more optimistic than I am concerning Judge K.   

  7. On 9/19/2018 at 9:53 PM, studiodekadent said:

    INTRODUCTORY NOTE: Wow, I haven't posted here in a long time. Unfortunately I've been preoccupied with working on my PhD. Another point I want to make is that, unfortunately, I've been finding that many conversations in the Objecto-sphere have become rather monotonous and rarely are new ideas or new topics being addressed, and thus the discussion has become less interesting for me in recent years. I'm still an Objectivist, I just haven't seen too much novelty in the Objectivist world, which is another reason I've been less than present on this forum.

    However, I am back with an article I wrote. I couldn't get it published at more general libertarian-outreach-activism places so I thought here would be a good choice. All comments are appreciated!

    Criticism of Duke University history professor Nancy MacLean has become a cottage industry ever since she published her demented smear job against Public Choice Theory "Democracy In Chains." Indeed, MacLean's work is full of absurd distortions, misrepresentative quoting, and obvious untruths. Her entire thesis is that Public Choice Theory is racist; frankly I wonder if Nancy is attempting to continue Duke University's proud tradition of racially charged false accusations. Public choice scholars and economists like Michael Munger (see ) and Steven Horwitz (see ) have done an admirable job in effectively shredding MacLean's thesis, but MacLean knew, just like Mike Nifong and Crystal Mangum, that women's tears are almost always believed and as such she decided to play victim ( It is no surprise Oprah shilled her book; I'm sure that soon enough Lifetime will be producing a telemovie about the trauma she suffered at being critiqued.

    But the point of this article isn't to channel my inner Christopher Hitchens and say nasty things about MacLean's screed. Plenty of far better commentators have done this. Rather, I am going to make a qualified defense of something she did say whilst criticizing what she seemed to be attempting to imply with what she said. 

    We all know how utterly frustrating it is when people deal with their political enemies through the use of diagnosis as a substitute for dialectic. The Soviet Union took this to its logical extreme through claiming that political dissidents were mentally ill, because clearly no sane person could disagree with Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism; more recent entries in this category include the so-called "Republican Brain Hypothesis" (see ) that was proposed during the culture wars against the Religious Right during the George W. Bush administration. MacLean decided to add to this genre of political pseudoargument through arguing that there is indeed a libertarian brain, and that libertarian brain is characterized by being on the autism spectrum (see ).

    Katherine Timpf at National Review fumed ( Like several other critics pointed out (see and ), MacLean's understanding of autism primarily in terms of lacking empathy and not feeling solidarity with others is based on an outdated portrait of being on the autistic spectrum rooted primarily in the "Mind Blindness" concept of Simon Baron-Cohen; more recent research has greatly questioned whether "Mind Blindness" is a correct portrait in the first place.

    But so far, the responses to MacLean have focused on the fact she equates libertarianism with a lack of empathy and solidarity with others, and the fact that she equates being on the autistic spectrum with lacking said empathy and solidarity. These are all valid critiques to make of her position, but so far there has been little attempt to wrestle with the question of whether or not MacLean is correct that there might be a link between libertarianism and being on the autistic spectrum. Not only that, but no one to my knowledge has questioned the unstated premise of MacLean's argument, which is that libertarian economics (and Public Choice in particular) is wrong because the brains which formulated these economics are arguably on the autistic spectrum. MacLean's argument is simply not an argument unless one accepts that having autism or Asperger's Syndrome introduces systematic error into one's economic reasoning. Indeed, for MacLean to be correct, having a brain that is positively drenched in "empathy" and "solidarity with others" is necessary to be a good economist.

    My argument is simple; yes, it is in fact likely that libertarians are disproportionately likely to be either on the austistic spectrum or have subclinical levels of symptoms typically thought of as indicating Asperger's Syndrome. Libertarian thought and philosophy often is characterized by the kind of cognitive style which, in its extreme form, is characteristic of austists and in particular the high-functioning autists commonly described as having Asperger's Syndrome. This is where MacLean is right. However, the implication that this kind of cognitive style makes you bad at doing economics is precisely the opposite of the truth. Indeed, having a degree of autistic symptoms can plausibly be thought of as an advantage for an economist, and that it is the caring-feeling-empathy-solidarity normie-brain which could represent a disadvantage for someone trying to perform economic analysis.

     On a personal note, I am not just a libertarian with Bachelors and Masters degrees in economics (and in the process of working on a Doctorate in the field), but I also have Asperger's Syndrome. Nancy MacLean's statements therefore constitute an allegation that my very brain is less capable at economic reasoning than it would be if I were neurotypical (i.e. not someone with Asperger's Syndrome). Of course, one must wonder why I would develop an interest in and devote substantial amounts of time and effort to the field of economics if I were mentally impaired at comprehending it!

    1. Libertarians: More 'spergy Than Average
    How someone thinks, their "cognitive style" or what Ayn Rand called their "psycho-epistemology," is partially determined by biology. Of course anyone of any neurology can grasp that 2 + 2 = 4, but research has shown that the biology of the brain influences how people think. Dr. Helen Fisher, for example, researches how brain chemistry impacts things like people's love life and people's politics (see ). Neurobiology has political correlates, as Fisher points out; she characterizes libertarians as having brains highly influenced by natal testosterone. Jonathan Haidt and several co-researchers also, in a study of libertarian morality, point out that biological factors can predispose one (albeit often indirectly) to different political ideologies (see ). An interesting thing which Haidt et al. point out is that libertarians rely on reason more, and emotion less, than leftists or conservatives; this is tested using Simon Baron-Cohen's Empathizer-Systemizer scale (see p12-13). This scale is interesting in that it is linked both to being on the autism spectrum and also gender; "libertarians score the lowest of any group on empathizing, and the highest on systemizing. In fact, libertarians are the only group that scored higher on systemizing than empathizing... relatively high systemizing and low empathizing scores are characteristic of the male brain, with very extreme scores indicating autism. We might say that liberals have the most 'feminine' cognitive style, and libertarians the most 'masculine'" (p13). 

    In spite of Baron-Cohen's contested contention that people on the autism spectrum are less capable of empathy, the point remains that there is clearly correspondence between Haidt, Fisher and Baron-Cohen here; persons whom are on the autism spectrum can be described as having an atypically "masculinized" (i.e. shaped by prenatal testosterone) brain. Libertarians (on average) have brains which are more testosterone-influenced than the general population. It stands to reason, therefore, that brains-predisposed-to-libertarianism are more likely to also either be on the autistic spectrum or at least have more autistic-spectrum-traits than the average brain. This also provides a theoretical explanation for why libertarian communities are disproportionately male; strongly masculinized brain development is more likely to happen to natally male individuals. 

    This "systemizer-brain" orientation is evidenced all over libertarian culture, as evidenced by the emphasis we tend to place on logical consistency and reason in general (to the point where our biggest magazine is literally named Reason). As Ayn Rand made clear, she was not primarily an advocate of markets, liberty and egoism, but rather of reason, and if one embraced reason all the rest would follow; agree or disagree with Rand as much as you like, but she serves as evidence of how libertarianism has deep cognitive roots. The fact that libertarian advocacy is ultimately rooted in the Enlightenment, which championed human reason, is further evidence of this. Whilst the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has fallen out of favor with academic psychology research, I distinctly remember discussions in libertarian communities about how libertarians are about 80% xNTx (it is even more extreme amongst Randians/Objectivists, whom are about 85% xNTx and particularly biased towards INTx individuals; indeed MBTI enthusiasts often characterize Howard Roark as an INTP, and Rand herself as an INTJ); this is massively disproportionate relative to the general population, which is about 12% xNTx. The xNTx style of cognition is the "rational temperament" focused on thinking rather than feeling, and high level abstractions over immediate sensory information. 

    To the extent that cognitive style is biological, the implications are depressing for libertarians. The libertarian mindset is strongly correlated with a brain that is heavily influenced by prenatal testosterone, moreso than the average brain. Libertarianism appeals to an atypical style of mind, one that is likely to exhibit more characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome or the autism spectrum generally; libertarianism appeals to a mind which is more emotionally detached, more introverted, more abstract, and less invested in social relationships than the norm (Haidt et al.'s paper substantiates this; libertarians are less likely to define or describe themselves in terms of their relationships to other people). This is consistent with the fact that libertarianism is not a mass movement, and implies that most people will find libertarianism counterintuitive at least initially. 

    2. Good Economics Is Counterintuitive Too
    It has been noticed by many that even very mainstream economics requires thinking that goes "against the grain." As Bryan Caplan demonstrated in The Myth of the Rational Voter, the average American diverges substantially from the economic beliefs of the average economist, and diverges in systematic and predictable ways (in particular, the average American is less pro-market than the average economist). The economists in the survey are a general cross-section of economists, and not "just the staff of the Cato Institute," so it cannot be claimed that there is bias in the selection of experts; the experts are consistently to the economic 'right' (if by 'right wing' one means pro-market) of the average American citizen. Even economists generally associated with the left, such as Paul Krugman, are surprisingly pro-market relative to the average (Krugman, for example, is more pro-free-trade than Steve Bannon). 

    Not all libertarians are economists and not all economists are libertarians, but the presence of libertarians within economics is unquestionably disproportionate relative to the general population. The point to emphasize, however, is that according to the experts, average people are (on average) systematically wrong about the benefits of markets.

    Caplan notices that even first year economics students come into the classroom bearing the imprints of multiple economic errors which need to be eliminated from their thought. In other words, even non-controversial neoclassical economics goes against the intellectual grain for many, many people. 

    This should not be a surprise. After all, economics is the field that suggests (and this is anything but a controversial argument in economics) people who act selfishly in the commercial realm will make life better for other people alongside themselves; this is hardly the first thing that comes to the mind of most people when they're asked to picture a "selfish" person. Rather, they imagine some bloodsucking brute, not the local shopkeeper. Many people who run various local governments believe that rent control is still a good policy, even if it is literally textbook bad economics. Many people believe that cheap goods from overseas somehow are "exploitation." Many people don't grasp the fundamental insight that voluntary trade where parties have all the relevant information will always make both parties better off by definition. Even non-controversial, non-extreme, standard-issue economic reasoning does not come naturally to most people. Economists in general, not merely libertarian economists, don't think typically. This does not mean all economists have Asperger's Syndrome (economic reasoning can be taught, after all); it means that economic reasoning has to fight an uphill battle against the conventional mindset.

    3. Neurology And Systematic Error
    What I have shown is that libertarians are defined by a cognitive style which overlaps neurologically with certain symptoms of being on the autism spectrum. This is what Nancy McLean is correct about. I have also shown that economists in general (across the political spectrum) are more pro-market than average people, so the "norm" (which presumably includes and is defined by the majority of neurotypical persons) is systematically wrong. What I have not shown yet is that the characteristics of the neurotypical cognitive style (higher levels of empathizing than systemizing, "solidarity with other people" as MacLean claims, that kind of thing) can systematically bias someone towards incorrect economic conclusions. This is what I will now attempt to do. I should clarify that I do not intend to claim someone must have Asperger's Syndrome or substantial levels of autistic-spectrum-traits in order to be a good economist; economic reasoning is a skill which can be taught. All I am claiming is that having at least some level of autistic-spectrum-traits helps avoid systematic error. 

    The first argument that needs to be made is that economics, as a field, is focused entirely on systemizing and has literally no room for empathizing. In economics, society and individuals are dealt with impersonally, as either collections of logical rules or utility functions or value-scales. Every person is merely one item in a far larger picture. Economists think in terms of optimizing systems, not caring for particular individuals (this does not mean they do not care, merely that this isn't the focus of economics). Standard-issue general equilibrium economics is built from mathematical models borrowed from field theory in physics. Individual happiness is just a matter of "utility" - a simple quantity of pleasure/satisfaction. The economy is invariably conceptualized as a system... be it a physical system, a biological system, a network, a machine, but it is still a system. Not only that, but economists are addressing one of the most painful and difficult facets of the human condition - specifically poverty - and how to ameliorate it. We have to deal with difficult tradeoffs that may sacrifice ten lives to save twenty five other lives. This simply is not a field suited to mindsets that focus on things like "feelings" and "empathy" and "solidarity" and "caretaking" and the other things which Nancy MacLean associates with the neurotypical mindset; it is a field which requires cold calculation, and often literal calculation since at times economics is like physics or mathematics. In this situation, a systemizing-oriented brain is exactly what one wants to have solving the problems. It is easier to speak of temporary frictional unemployment than to be confronted with the day-to-day minutiae of someone without any marketable skills trying to secure a job interview. 

    A second, and in my opinion stronger, argument could be made however. Let us look at several "textbook bad economics" policies. How are these policies sold to the polity? How are they justified?

    Rent control is a fantastic example: "to ensure affordable housing for the poor." The motive here is compassion, solidarity, empathy, a concern for the plight of the poor. And it isn't controversial to say it doesn't work. 

    Welfare states are consistently justified in terms of compassion for the suffering and solidarity between human beings. But, pray tell, why are these welfare states almost always full of massive bureaucracies rather than policies which handle welfare through simple income transfers (for example via a negative income tax or basic income guarantee)? Given the many problems and flaws that bureaucracy and its associated incentives have, one would think that a genuine motive of compassion doesn't necessarily mean one will pick the least costly, most effective means of being compassionate. 

    Of course some environmental protections are easily defensible on the basis of economic reasoning. But what about environmentalist attacks on genetically modified organisms (a proven-safe technology) or nuclear power (which is incredibly safe and efficient if modern technology is used)? Environmentalists consistently appeal to the emotions, to empathizing, to feelings and fluffiness in their campaigns to cast GMOs as "impure" and all nuclear power plants as Chernobyls-In-Waiting. Nordhaus and Schellenberger, both economists, campaign (through their think-tank the Breakthrough Institute, see ) for technological solutions to environmental problems, yet the environmental establishment still demands wind, solar, organic and biodynamic (the latter of which is based on a semi-spiritual framework rather than a purely scientific one). Environmentalism appeals to compassion, feelings, oneness with the earth and all of that emotionalistic illogical bilge, yet consistently avoids the policy proposals actual economists can demonstrate would be effective means to environmentalists' declared ends. 

    Let us also look at the monster example: socialism. Socialism was motivated in many cases by compassion for the poor, by the desire to reduce poverty, by the desire to spread prosperity as widely as possible. Every attempt to try it failed miserably, and to the extent that any socialist system worked it only worked to the extent it preserved property rights and market incentives (for example Titoism, which avoided famine, yet did so through preserving property rights over farmland). It strikes some as counterintuitive to suggest that letting people keep things for themselves (i.e. property rights) can result in a larger and broader distribution of goods than forcibly taking those goods and collectivizing ownership, but the historical record makes it clear that property rights and markets are essential conditions to wide-scale prosperity. Again, not even left-leaning economists contest this; the Economic Calculation Problem is a fact, which is why contemporary economists on the left are Social Democrats rather than old-school Socialists. 

    There is a systematic pattern; advocacy of bad economics is constantly rooted in the same motives Nancy MacLean accuses libertarians and persons on the autistic spectrum as lacking. Compassion and solidarity and empathy are certainly positive traits, yet they seem to be the driving force behind some atrociously bad policy preferences. This certainly doesn't mean that good intentions always result in bad policy, but it suggests a possible theory that I will summarize as follows:

    "Neurotypical drives towards compassion, empathy, solidarity and other associated feelsy-niceness override rational consideration of what means are actually effective at generating the desired positive outcomes. Because people with at least some level of austistic-spectrum-traits can detach themselves from the compulsive cries of 'feelings' more easily, they may be better judges of what is practically effective."

    Nancy MacLean's book on Public Choice is frankly so bad the only use I can see for it is toilet paper, even though I generally prefer pages of Abrahamic religious texts for that particular purpose. However, she isn't wrong to suggest libertarians may be more likely to have Asperger's Syndrome or at least an atypically high level of autistic-spectrum-traits relative to the general population. 

    But that doesn't make us wrong about the economics. Indeed, the opposite is likely to be true.

    Highly empathizing brains without much systemizing capability are not the brains you want to have evaluating different economic policies. Frankly awful economics is typically justified on the basis of empathetic, caring, emotionalistic rationales. The more people feel and the less people think (i.e. the more they empathize and the less they systemize), the worse their economic reasoning gets. Even by the relatively moderate (compared to libertarians) standards of the economics profession, the general population is deeply misguided about economic fact. Neurotypical cognitive biases towards "solidarity" and "empathy" can lead away from economic truth, not towards it. Even non-libertarian economists use cold, impersonal reasoning to justify intervention rather than appeals to emotion and fluffy-wuffy-snuggliness. 

    Good economics goes against every instinct of the neurotypical brain, which is why it is so counterintuitive and so many prejudices need to be weeded out. Libertarians, on the other hand, are disproportionately likely to have the kind of brain able to overcome these cognitive biases and see where the policy which appeals to "empathy" and "solidarity" will be counterproductive to these ends. This overlaps (although is not identical) with the kind of brain that is often described as "on the autism spectrum" and in particular the higher functioning regions thereof. Whilst MacLean is justified in suspecting a lot of us are "on the spectrum" at least to some degree, her implication that this is a reason to dismiss libertarian economics is arguably the opposite of the truth. 


    Having Aspberger's Syndrome is a definite advantage in the computer and software related trades.  Also in physical science.  P.A.M.Dirac was almost a textbook  case of Aspberger's Syndrome.   Spock, the son of a Sarek,  is the patron saint of the Aspies.

    Live Long and Prosper  \\//

    • Thanks 1
  8. On 9/15/2018 at 6:32 PM, jts said:

    A game of chess played by Karl Marx.

    I don't have the foggiest clue what this proves or what this has to do with the topic of this thread. 

    What kind of non-Aristotlean logic did he use to play chess?


    It is partially inductive reasoning.  It is literally impossible for a human to workout the tree diagram (directed graph) of all possible moves of a chess game. There are just too many possible legal games. So one assumes the most likely moves a player and opponent will make.  This is inductive, not deductive, but the simplification makes it possible for the human player to work out 10-20 moves in advance.  Chess playing computer programs can work hundreds of moves in advance, these days.  This is why computers are beating humans  in Chess and Go (chinese/japanese board game).   The '"reasoning"  is a combination of classical logic constrained by  the rules of the game + a Bayesian estimate of the likelihood of moves based on prior experience.  NB: Bayesian estimation and inference is the closest thing there is  to a formal logic  of induction.  Please see:      and


  9. 5 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

    And it wasn't invented by that fellow either. Maybe the formulation was but it probably came out of his social/intellectual context. It actually comes out of human biology and necessity. The formulation is akin to the identification of a law of physics albeit without Newtonian rigor.


    All of Hillel's  commentaries were made in an ethical and religious context.  I suspect R. Hillel accepted the Genesis count of the beginnings of things  as correct.  R. Hillel lived, thought and wrote in a pre-scientific time.


  10. On 5/5/2018 at 10:58 AM, Ed Hudgins said:

    Karl Marx at 200: His Lethal Legacy Lingers
    By Edward Hudgins

    In his name, over 100 million people were murdered.  May 5, 2018 marks Karl Marx's 200th birthday, and his profound errors still smolder and threaten new conflagrations.

    Marx was born into a Europe transforming into a modern, industrial society.  Individuals were leaving ancestral villages and farms for growing cities and their seemingly dehumanizing factories.  Incredible wealth was being created, but would the factory workers benefit from their labors?  What did the future of this emerging new world hold?

    History as class conflict

    Marx posed as a "scientific socialist," explaining the past and prophesying the future.

    Marx was a radical materialist.  He asserted that history is a class conflict based on economic forces.  People's ideas, what Marx called "phantoms of their brains," are not the drivers of our destinies.  We are simply the pawns of the factors of production and distribution of wealth.  We don't make our tools so much as our tools make us.

    Marx rejected the notion that the rational capacity we all share can discover objective truth.  Rather, he asserted that the structure of our minds is determined by our economic class.  Thus, there is the "proletarian logic" of the workers and the "bourgeois logic" of the middle class and capitalists.  The bourgeoisie are incapable of understanding the workers.  It's futile for proletarians to try to explain their circumstances to the bourgeoisie.  The truth of the one isn't the truth of the other.

    But how could Marx downplay the influence of ideas even as he offered his own, those phantoms in his brain?  How could Marx, from a solid bourgeois background, transcend his class and understand "proletarian logic"?  Was this just his deceitful way of silencing critics?  If you ask, Marx might reply that your bourgeois brain and old-fashioned logic are incapable of grasping how contradictions can be truth.

    The few rich and the many poor

    Marx asserted that the capitalist owners of factories would use new equipment and efficient organization to create more and more wealth – a thousand teapots a day rather than a hundred; ten thousand shirts a day rather than one thousand.  As production and efficiency rose, capitalist owners could fire many employees and reduce the wages of the remaining ones.  The rich would get richer, and the poor would get poorer, and the latter's ranks would swell.  You might ask Marx, who will buy those thousand teapots and ten thousand shirts if everyone is impoverished?  He might answer that your limited bourgeois mind simply can't understand.

    Marx asserted a convoluted "labor theory of value" to demonstrate that most wealth created in factories was produced by the workers and expropriated as profits by the capitalists... (Continue reading here.)

    I wonder if Marx  ever wondered who was going to buy all of these mass produced products.  If the worker is reduced to subsistence he could buy little.  The owning-class being small could never  clear the market of the goods produce by workers running the the machines owned by the owning-class.  There is a contradiction here. 

    Henry Ford  found a piece of the solution to this conundrum.  He paid his workers enough money so that in the aggregate they could  purchase their subsistence AND  the product they made from their wages.  Why did Ford do this   1. Obviously to help him self the product which his factories made   2.  He hated labor unions like poison.  He paid his workers enough so they would not likely go out on strike against him.  In a word, rational self interest motivated him to pay his workers a fair and good wage.  This was contrary the Marx supposition that the owning class  was not motivated by reason, but only by "class interests". 


  11. 16 hours ago, william.scherk said:

    BBC blurb and MP3 file ...


    the priority of rational and reasonable self interest  was not invented by Rand. 2300 years ago R. Hillel  said  If I am not for myself then who is for me?  If I am only  for myself  what am I?  If not now,  then when?  (Of course he said  it in Hebrew.  

    אִם אֵין אֲנִי לִי, מִי לִי. וּכְשֶׁאֲנִי לְעַצְמִי, מָה אֲנִי. וְאִם לֹא

    עַכְשָׁיו, אֵימָתַי

    Of all the Abrahamic religions, Judaism is the most rational (as religions go)  and the least altruistic.



    Live long and Prosper \\//

  12. 22 hours ago, Jules Troy said:

    The Europeans have deemed the burning of trees to be carbon neutral, encouraging people in essence to burn firewood instead of natural gas or oil which they would pay a carbon tax on.

    Fucking morons.

    A tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can sequester 1 ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old. 



    Dead and burned tree sequester no carbon.  Trees do more for us than we do for them.

  13. 56 minutes ago, atlashead said:

    that is, knowledge based.  if you have aristotlean knowledge it's simply up to your reason to tease out symbols.  so even if an artist, you have to be educated or your art will be anti-life.  Your will then is the egotistic part

    If I had "aristotelian knowledge"  I would believe 1. a ten pound weight falls twice as fast as a five pound weight  2. women have fewer teeth than men  3. The earth does not move and is in the center of the universe and 4.  there is no inertia. That is what "aristotelian knowledge"   would  bring to me.   No thanks.

  14. On 9/18/2014 at 8:31 PM, Derek McGowan said:


    Pensive 1999

    vs My

    Fine Arts 2008

    (the contrast of his photograph definitely is better)


    Excellent! Also the one before it which does not show here.


  15. On 4/10/2015 at 1:49 PM, Brant Gaede said:

    Try following the Seventh Day Adventist type diet which de-emphasizes meat and eschew coffee, tea, alcohol and tobacco like the Mormons do.

    In college a Mormon told me, "We don't drink, we don't smoke and we don't chew--and that's all we don't do!"


    I think he was trying to be funny

    Coffee in non-excessive amounts actually enhances health.  Please see

    It turns out that the health benefits of coffee do not depend on caffeine.  Decaf  and strong coffee apparently produce the same kind of benefits. 


  16. 10 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

    John McCain is Gone

    He passed away earlier today.

    I noticed.

    I don't have much else to say.


    As politicians go,  he was a decent fellow.  I disagreed with some of his proposals,  but disagreement is a normal and beneficial thing.  He seemed like a human being to me, not a synthetic plastic political entity (such as her Horrorship,  Hillary Clinton). 

  17. Reply to item 490  Even in climate "science"  the  climate modelers  sponsored by the IPCC put their models  before accurate hard data.  The result: models that don't predict climate outcomes well.  In science there is a technical term for models and hypotheses  that turn out predictions that are at odds with carefully observed reality. That technical term?   "Just plain wrong"