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Posts posted by BaalChatzaf

  1. 1 hour ago, Brant Gaede said:

    Decent Article, but nothing in it or elsewhere establishes Rand as ever being an observant Jew. Observant here implies a strong, conscious commitment. Now, she might have once been, but if so she got rid of the memory to create a myth about herself. Culturally she was Jewish, but only in the sense I am a WASP. In the same vein I am not a Catholic, being strictly Protestant. The commonality--a commonality--with Rand is the eschewing of religious worshiping. If you don't worship God you are not in any important sense "observant."


    I said she was brought up Jewish.  I never said she was observant.  Judaism is as much a culture as it is a religion.


  2. 1 hour ago, Brant Gaede said:

    What are your references?


    check out Rand's biography.  She was raised in a Jewish family.  The first generation objs   Branden (Jewish), LP (Jewish), The former had of the Federal Reserve Greenspan (Jewish). etc.  Jewish means brought Jewish,  not necessarily observant at the time.  Here is an article in the Jerusalem Post which discusses some of the connections between Ayn Rand, Objectivism and Jewish intellectuals  ---


  3. 5 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:


    Ironically, Rand's opposition doesn't quite have a deadly effect on Judeo-Christian culture because--in spirit--I believe she was far more religious than her surface words convey. Her goal of portraying the perfect man was an attempt at transcendence, even as she put it on earth.


    Rand had a Jewish moral and ethical sense.  Which is no surprise, since she was brought up Jewish. In her mature years she was no longer observant of Jewish ritual and custom  but her grasp of ethics was Jewish down to the "sub-atomic level".  One of these days I will write an essay on just how thorough Jewish ideological and ethical conditioning is,  even for Jews (like myself)  become atheists in their mature years.  The ethical "take"  that Jewish cultural upbringing produces in virtually indelible.  Even today if someone asks me "what are you?"  I respond , Jewish,  without hesitation or embarrassment, because I am, and I am Jewish because of how I was brought up.  Jewish in the cultural, ethical and philosophical sense.  So it was with Rand  and the most of the first generation Objectivists.  Check out her earliest followers.  Most of them were brought of Jewish and later in life ceased to be observant. 

  4. 23 hours ago, 9thdoctor said:

    Neil, have you looked into the work of Richard Carrier?  I find it stimulating and valuable.  I wrote about it a little here:

    Even if you end up disagreeing with him, I think you'll find the bible scholarship worth your time.

    This is an unusual and excellent book.  It introduces Bayes Theorem (a theorem in probability theory) and Carrier shows how Bayesian Statistical Inference can be used to update hypotheses based on partial knowledge  to produce update hypotheses  on the basis of additional evidence.  Bayesian inference is the logic  of inductive reasoning.  In 2012  the Higgs Boson was revealed at CERN. Bayesian statistical inference was absolutely essential to identifying the experimental indicators which showed that the Higgs Boson exist.  Carrier in his book deals with methods of making probable  hypothesis on evidence of historical events.  Carrier uses Bayesian inference  to pretty well demolish the underlying assumptions on which Christianity is  based.  It is not an easy read, but it is probably one of the few books that teach Bayesian inference with very little mathematics.  That means someone who is not heavy in mathematics and formal probability theory can learn Bayesian Inference.

  5. 1 minute ago, Peter said:

    Ba’al wrote: As to the existence of an intelligent sender, I believe there would be little doubt. end quote



    Little doubt about who they are, . . . that they exist . . . or that they exist at all, Ba’al? You want me to believe you know something I don’t know?



    "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that." --- 2001: A Space Odyssey.



    Because ‘til now in 2018 this is a hypothetical or fictional scenario. It would be more exciting to put yourself into the drama. Wing it, Ba’al! And everyone else reading this emergency broadcast consider the following scenario.



    We receive (or send) a message from (or to the) beyond, containing a string of numbers. But how would intelligent beings far, far away know any sentient beings who will receive their message would understand?



    Backtrack. Scene one. A broadcast is received containing a string of numbers, perhaps tapped out. One. One two. One two three. One two three four. And along with the taps, what would be instantly recognizable to humans? Sentient aliens don’t know us (or we them) though they might have picked up errant radio and TV broadcasts from earth. Or they may have noticed the result of nuclear tests or scientific experiments. Would accompanying MUSIC be a good, added feature of their (or our) message? Would our added human speech cinch the deal with the aliens?



    Of course if “they” would just come here a lot more would be revealed as in the movie, “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” which starred Michael Rennie, (fans of Rand favorite) Patricia Neal, Sam Jaffe, and Frances Bavier, who played Aunt Bea on “Mayberry RFD.”



    IF we did hear . . . something . . . would it mean panic in the streets? I remember a previous thread suggested we should never advertise our presence or answer any alien enquiries. But wouldn’t you have to?  




    quote me correctly please.  I said if we received a long stream of prime numbers from no place in the Solar System there would be little doubt that it was transmitted by an intelligent source.  No known natural process puts out prime numbers and nothing else. 


  6. 3 hours ago, Peter said:

    “Contact” is one of my favorites. After the prime numbers establish in the ET” minds, sentience and learning, what information would you send them? I would want to know everything about them. And I would not divulge anything about global wars, politics or philosophy other than to say I abide by the non-initiation of force theory.






    These are question of policy, not of existence.  If I received a long string of primes  from no source in the solar system, I would conclude that something intelligent sent them.  How to react to that?  That would be for governments and science organizations to decide.  As to the existence of an intelligent sender, I believe there would be little doubt.


  7. 17 hours ago, Peter said:

    Remember the Movie with a capital M called "On the Beach"? After nuclear destruction the last remaining humans investigate a signal coming over the air and it turns out to be a coke bottle caught in a window shade, and the wind is moving the bottle which is tapping out a nonsensical message. If we hear something from space how will we know it makes sense?

    A long series of prime numbers.  No known natural process can produce this and a long series of primes is very highly improbable as a random sequence.   See the movie  "Contact"  with Jodie Foster.


  8. On 5/8/2016 at 2:05 PM, Mikee said:

    My god Bob.  You are obsessed with the world of lifeless physical phenomenon which obey the laws of motion only and ignore the world of the living.  Perhaps because you are too close to a lifeless state yourself?

    Christopher Reeves, so long as he was alive, retained the will to live and had the means to direct others to move his limbs on a daily basis in physical therapy, hoping for an eventual cure for his paralysis.  He probably got more exercise in a day than most people do.

    Did it ever occur to you to wonder what purpose the original poster of this thread had in starting it?  Do you imagine it was so he could get a lesson in Physics 101 and the impotence of philosophy?

    Lifeless????  Life is a physical process,,  every last little bit of it.  You, I and everyone else is an ATP  fueled   organic machine.

  9. On 7/13/2016 at 1:43 PM, SteveWolfer said:

    What gives that statement a kind of religious, dogmatic quality, is not just that one can ask how can you say YOU are thinking, YOU are choosing how to reply to a post, and not your substrate, but it the adamant, unyielding assertion that there is no volition which is like saying, "there is no mouse in the house... prove me wrong!"

    There is no physical evidence to the contrary.  No supernatural entity has ever been found in a human body.  It is all energy and entropy.


  10. On 7/13/2016 at 1:43 PM, SteveWolfer said:

    What gives that statement a kind of religious, dogmatic quality, is not just that one can ask how can you say YOU are thinking, YOU are choosing how to reply to a post, and not your substrate, but it the adamant, unyielding assertion that there is no volition which is like saying, "there is no mouse in the house... prove me wrong!"

    All there is is matter and energy existing in space-time.  Every last thing about  the universe is physical.


  11. 14 hours ago, Robert_Bumbalough said:

    Hi Pete. Yeah. I voted for Trump for two reasons. I thought he was the lesser evil by virtue of his seeming incompetence and because Hillary is a crook guilty of thousands of counts of the espionage law that BTW disqualifies an offender from holding elected office.   Surprisingly, Trump is doing pretty well despite the silly rhetoric and speech snafus. Love the tax cut, the deregulatory  regime, the wall, a strong military, cancelling the Paris Accord and the Iran Nuke Deal. Love the hard line on the Norks. Don't like the kow towing to religious mystics, but I do love the booming economy. Jesus H Christ, I'm busier than an one legged man in a sack hopping race. Love how Trump backs the Blue. Cops need help crushing violent felons, but I wish he'd stay off Twitter. 

    Time to mow the lawn. Chat ya later.

    I voted for Trump to use him as my very own personal  political I.E.D.  I think of our Donald as a Stink Bomb  which I helped to toss into the midst of government.


  12. 8 hours ago, Peter said:

    The Times of Israel May 14, 2018.
    As US embassy opens, Netanyahu declares: Trump, you have made history.



    With dozens dead in Palestinian riots on Gaza border, American mission is dedicated in Jerusalem in presence of top US, Israeli. Officials protests 10min ago Arab League blasts ‘shameful’ countries celebrating US embassy move By Raoul Wootliff and Marissa Newman Today, 12:31 pm 5



    Who cares what the Arab League thinks?


  13. On 8/12/2017 at 10:59 AM, BaalChatzaf said:

    An intellectual  itch that cannot be scratched away. 

    On further thought, not quite right.  What I said above is more of an obsession than an inspiration.


  14. John Harrison  (1683-1776)  invented the first chronometer  accurate enough to determine longitude.  His best chronometer  would loose a second a month, which for its time was fantastically  accurate.  

    Latitude had been known and accurately measured  in ancient  China, ancient Egypt  and ancient Greece.   The tilt of the earth as a function of time  could be determined by measuring the length of the shadow produced by a vertical rod on the day of Spring or Autumn.  On the day of the equinox  the Sun is directly over the equator at noon.  Latitude could also be measured at night in the Northern Hemisphere by measuring the angle  to the North Star.   For daytime measurement  the angle to the Sun at noon is measured  and the measurement is adjusted by looking up the tilt of the Earth in a table, for that day of the year.  So latitude was fairly easy to measure and compute.  It is a matter of geometry and trigonometry.   Magellan might not have known exactly where he was at all times  but one he got  hias latitude eventually he could work has way back to Spain.  Magellan himself died mid voyage but his navigators  brought his ship home after circumnavigating the Earth (1519 - 1522 ce).  That was about 30  after Columbus. 

    The ability to measure one's  position on the vast oceans of the world  gave Britain a major advantage in domination of the seas and in exploration.  

    BTW the fact that latitude was well known around 1000 bce buries the the canard  that the spherical shape of the earth was not known in ancient times.  It was and around 250 bce Eratosthenes, the director of the Library at Alexandria,   determined the circumference of the Earth  to within 5 percent of its modern value.  All he needed was a stick, some paper and writing instrument  and his very fine brain.  The idea that the spherical shape of the earth was not known in the time of Columbus was a literary fiction  produced by Washington Irving as part of his highly inaccurate biography of Christopher Columbus.  Every educated person, in those days (the 15 th century) knew the Earth was an oblate spheroid to within a very small error. 

  15. Once of the earliest books on persuasion techniques  was written by Aristotle.  He called it rhetoric.  The earliest practitioners of persuasion techniques  were the Greek Sophists.  The  made a living teaching  young men of means   the art of swaying  public opinion in places where democracy existed.   The Sophists flourished in Athens  and were not welcomed in Sparta. 

  16. 10 hours ago, Peter said:

    Ba’al wrote: For example when the cosmic ray bombardment is maximus there may be more cases of cancer due to the DNA damage that cosmic rays cause. end quote

    You are just like George Burns setting up Gracie Allen’s joke.  Should I wear my Yankees’ baseball cap or my tin foil Amish farmer’s hat on that day? Should the faithful pray for rain? And now, this is Ted Baxter with today’s weather: Cloudy with a chance of boils. I know when they give an ozone alert I try to NEVER venture into the great outdoors. Good night Twin Cities.

    Ba’al wrote: We can expect more of such woe in the future as the polar flip progresses. end quote

    I remember bad transistor radio reception in the early sixties during a solar storm and when we had satellite TV we were affected by every anomaly including snow storms.  I suppose cable will still be of good quality during a sun storm, but please “Big Guy in the Sky,” no more east coast blackouts OR Lil Kim setting off an electro - magnetic pulse.

    When we got home tonight I could smell the chicken manure that had just been spread on the field situated on the eastern side of our house. The next burning question is: Cough. Cough. Will we have soybeans or corn growing next to us this year?   

    I am just stating the facts.  The more that cosmic rays reach the ground the higher the cancer rate from cosmic radiation will be.  Statistically it will a very small increment in the probability of getting cancer from radiation.  There are plenty of other causes of cancer which will not be affected by increased cosmic ray influx.  Cosmic rays are part and parcel of of existence on earth. It is almost certain that cosmic rays have caused genetic mutations so cosmic radiation is one of the drivers of evolution.  Basically nature  is not our friend.  The physical universe is full of hazards and impediments to living beings.  That is just the way it is.  The raw forces of nature  make life a bit of a crap-shoot.  We evolved in such a way to blunt some of these forces  but not all.  Life is hazardous.  And no matter how successful we are at "dodging the bullets"   we will eventually die.  Entropy will have its way with us.  In the long run the Cosmos itself will become cold and dark, all life anywhere will cease.  But soft!.  That will happen very long from now and our species  will be dead and gone long before that. 

  17. 20 hours ago, Peter said:

    From the referenced article: New Study Shows How Rapidly Earth's Magnetic Field Is Changing. The North Pole is shifting. By FIONA MACDONALD 11 MAY 2016.

    . . . . One of the most likely explanations for what we're seeing is that our magnetic poles are getting ready to flip - something that happens once every 100,000 years or so, and that sounds a lot scarier than it really is. There's no evidence that life on Earth suffered when this happened in the past - the most likely impact is that our compasses would eventually point south instead of north . . . .

    . . . . The research could also help us finally understand why our planet's magnetic field is weakening overall, and how that's going to affect us in future. Because a pole flip probably won't be a big deal, but it's nice to make sure - if our magnetic sphere is about to go the way of Mars's, that's something we need to know about . . . . end quote

    Wow. Even after I changed the font to be uniform, some of the letters in the quote are still big. And that isn’t scary? Until the author mentioned Mars (will this have an effect on our atmosphere?) I was simply thinking east and west would remain the same, and north and south would remain the same on a map, but a compass would point south where the N used to be . . . . uh, let me start over. We would still call them the north and south poles, but our GPS systems would take us in the wrong direction . . . but, that could be easily corrected. We could say, “Siri, which way is North Dakota?” instead of, “Siri, which way is north?” No, that can’t be right either.

    What if we just put an N over the S on a compass? No. That doesn’t make any sense. Will we need to point television antennas in the opposite direction to receive a good signal? Which way would Mars be in relation to us, anyway? Would they rename that nerdy TV show “The Big Wang Theory?” since after the shift, scientists would always point further south when they pee? Would toilets flush upwards?    

    We are just about due for a polar flip.  The process is not instantaneous.  It could take centuries.  However we shall start to see aurora  over unlikely places  such as central America and Hawaii and the magnetic compass deviations will increase much more rapidly than they have in the past.  The magnet field will never really go to zero, but there will be a period when more cosmic rays reach the ground. That could have some agricultural and medical consequences. For example when the cosmic ray bombardment is maximus there may be more cases of cancer do to the DNA damage that cosmic ray cause.  

    The polar flip will have little or no influence on our orbit around the Sun. Mars will still be going as it has for the past billions of years as will the Earth.  Cosmic rays have no influence on gravitation.  However cosmic rays and charge particle infusion from the sun will  affect our over the air transmission of signals. It will also play hob with our satellites.  Many of them may be fried. This will affect the quality of GPS  reckoning.  It may also mean more Carrington type events.  In 1859  we got hit by the Mother of Solar Storms.  The Carrington Event burned out telegraph lines and caused some of the batteries that powered the telegraph to explode.  There were reports of telegraphers being shocked and burned by their telegraph keys.  Had we been dependent on electric power networks at the time, we would have been in deep kimchi.  We did not have AC and transformers then but if we had transformers would have been exploding and burning all over the world and there would have been major power failures.  We can expect more of such woe in the future as the polar flip progresses.



  18. 19 hours ago, Peter said:

    Still sizzling like a string of firecrackers, with no big bang yet, but the minor victories are adding up. He is in good health so we are fairly assured of two more years of the same direction, towards more liberty, more safety, and more wealth. Isn't that Kim Jun un conference coming up soon? That should be a hoot.   

    There has not been a dull moment since Our Donald took the helm.


  19. 17 minutes ago, Peter said:

    I clearly remember the sense of elation I felt on the night of the election when I realized Trump might win.

    The night before I expected the Donald to lose.  When I found out he won, the next morning,  I was surprise, but pleased.  I did vote for him. Not for the usual reasons.  I  regarded Trump as my personal Political I.E.D., an explosive device planted in the middle of government.