Mike Renzulli

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Everything posted by Mike Renzulli

  1. Okay but, in terms of IP, do you have any specific things to replace it? I tend to agree with your premise but the biggest hole in your argument is a lack of ideas which could be used as an alternative to the current IP method. If not, then don't look for IP to go away anytime soon since your writings could be useful as critiques but will not help to achieve the overall goal you seek to achive.
  2. Well then I guess then your definition of property rights needs a little work since resources are not scarce. They are in controlled economies where governments interfere but in terms of free economies (like the U.S. and other western countries) resources are unlimited and can best be used since people are, for the most part, able to use their minds freely to come up with alternatives in order to not waste other resources (such as those found in nature). As long as human beings can use their capacity to think, resource scarity is not a problem.
  3. Okay fine then how would you propose to do so? I have not seen anything from opponents of IP such as yourself outlining specific reforms or methods in which to do so. If you do have ideas, I would be interested in reading about them. What would help is one actually used and works better than in place now. I am not against abolition if it is in terms of certain policies and procedures. However, I am not sold on scraping it and starting over again. Like I said if you have any systems in place that are used in real life that work better I am all ears.
  4. I am sure in George Smith and every other ancap libertarian's society there would be rules against such activity. However, hypothetically speaking, there would be little redress against a member of Marxist commune whose community would do their utmost to protect a member of their collective from such an activity since under Marxism no one would be allowed to keep the fruits of their labor and actions a libertarian society would deem as theft would not be deemed immoral in a Marxist one. Hence, in a society without government a Marxist commune would, essentially, have license to endorse the theft of another's property even outside their realm of influence and control. This would also include a not only a Marxist stealing IP but also a computer hacker or thief whose line of work is theft for profit and who has the latest technology and resources at their disposal (up to and including accomplices) to avoid capture and incarceration. Thus the fact that activities deemed illegal today (i.e. theft, fraud, etc.) would not be illegal in a state/government-less society makes the creation and usage of government a necessity if not by need certainly by default. The fact that hefty legal penalties and police agencies to enforce such statutes exist is reason enough for people to think twice about doing them.
  5. Excellent posts by Ted critiquing Attorney Kinsella's point of view regarding intellectual property (IP). I would like to add that while he asks what system Objectivists and supporters of IP would enact since he uses his critique of the U.S.'s IP system as the standard to point out that it doesn't work, that (if he has not done so already) the onus is on Kinsella to draw up or outline a method or system (if you will) of how to protect intellectual property. I might be opening a can of worms but I will take a stab at this none the less. I think Kinsella's view (anarchist libertarianism) is indicative of a much large problem with his overall philosophy. The main problem with his conclusions seems to be grounded in Kantian skepticism which is really what anarchocapitalism is based on to begin with. Ancap starts or is based on the premise on the denial of objective reality. A case in point is an anarchocapitalist's claim that all governments are evil and anyone who works for, takes money from them or votes in their elections is participating in an illegitimate system and participating in evil in and of itself. By taking the method ancaps point out as their alternative if taken to its logical conclusions it becomes no different than the Marxist point of view about property overall which is that that a person's mind (in this case ideas) is a part of the collective, the property of one is the property of all and cannot be individual owned or used. Under ancap there would be private, voluntary institutions erected to preserve and protect a person's ideas. This sounds good in theory but falls flat on its face since, under the ancap method of IP protection (if any) there would be little redress to halt a hacker from hacking into an IP company or institution's computer to steal ideas and the hacker to use them himself. In terms of the system the U.S. has that is presently in place to protect IP I think Mr. Kinsella should use the criticisms as a means of influencing IP policy so it can change from within.
  6. I think the term from The Little Rascals best sums this up: You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can't fool mom.
  7. AHEM! As far as the Civil War is concerned, its looking more like to me that the Civil War was the result of the philosophical debate about slavery and not necessarily state's rights. Unfortunately, it also looks like the war then degenerated into a conflict as to who controlled the country's finances. It just so happens the Union won. In terms of Tom DiLorenzo and the accuracy of his books and research, all I can say is, libertarians don't let libertarians (or anyone else) read Tom DiLorenzo. Here is why: http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?a=79 Despite its provocative insights and obvious rhetorical skill, however, The Real Lincoln is seriously compromised by careless errors of fact, misuse of sources, and faulty documentation. Although individually these flaws may seem trivial and inconsequential, taken together they constitute a near-fatal threat to DiLorenzo’s credibility as a historian. Ah, yes. I much prefer those legal civil wars. Well it wasn't really a civil war--the south did not want control of the whole country. it was just an invasion of the CSA. Actually I am not sure it was illegal, though maybe you could argue it was unconstitutional, or perhaps a breach of international law (if only pacta sunt servanda based on the implicit internationalized promise not to attack, based on the clear constitutional right to secede)--but in any case, it was murderous and aggression, and Lincoln violated the Constitution innumerable times. Tom DiLorenzo is good on this.
  8. No one is saying you aren't or shouldn't be in charge of the way you form concepts. The devil is in the details as to how you do it. Besides, the manner in which you do doesn't mean you will be correct. So if you do form concepts based on your own method don't be surprised if your technique mirror's Ms. Rand's. If not, I would like to know what your method is once you come up with it (if you have not done so already). Also, if you follow your skepticism to its complete conclusions in developing your tecnique(s) be prepared to be mirred in empiricism.
  9. What your last statement is is just that: an opinion. Remember, epistemology is the theory of acquiring knowledge. Unlike science which uses testable hypothesis and studies to determine actual outcomes, epistemology requires that for something to be knowledge or be known, it has to be true in every way. Having a limitation on what you know is not the same as knowing nothing. When people become convinced that they cannot decide what is and is not the truth they go out and do their best using evidence grounded in reality to find out. The correct way to do this is to trust their minds and senses as well as other sources of knowledge and then come to a conclusion. If someone discovers more evidence that proves their initial conclusion incorrect then they change their minds. As you may know this is what Objectivist, if not philosophical, Epistemology is all about. Subscribing to anything else, such as the skepticism you seem to be communicating, can affect a person's ability to live. Including one's ability to think and reason which is essential for a person's means of survival. The most essential skill that is acquired by learning about epistemology is to empower people to distinguish illusion from truth. This includes preventing oneself from being conned or lied to while being able to determine who is and is not telling the truth. Your post and responses to replies seems to imply a larger message that people can't really know the truth (i.e. no one can really know anything about anything). So, I will leave it to you to explain how it is that your point of view enables you to know that no one can't really know anything about anything.
  10. Indeed! I have also heard that POET may also be released as a book like what has happened with Nathaniel Branden's Basic Principles of Objectivism series. I hope this happens too as listening and reading the lectures is a great way to learn the philosophy.
  11. I can understand why Phillip is responding the way he is. I did find this lecture policy for the Summer Seminar as lectures at them last longer many times. I know this since my Objectivist club listens to TAS lectures frequently bs they can last a good 90 minutes or more including Q&A. Could the reason for the new polciy be due to budget constraints?
  12. The New York Times just did a write up on David's passing. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/us/23nolan.html
  13. One other thing. Prior to his passing David had requested that people donate any money they could spare to The Advocates for Self Government. Please consider donating in his name to honor his life and work by clicking here: http://birthdays.causes.com/wishes/106925?bws=fb_event_description or at the Advocates' website: https://www.theadvocates.org/donate.
  14. I have some bad news. Libertarian Party founder David Nolan died yesterday at the age of 66. Details are sketchy but apparently David suffered a stroke while driving alone, swerved off the road and struck something which may have contributed to his death. Had he lived David would have been 67 as his birthday was this Tuesday. In Libertarian circles he is also known for having developed what became known as the Nolan Chart and helped form the L.P. during a meeting with eight others in the living room in his Colorado home in 1971. He just finished running against John McCain for his Senate seat in Arizona having received over 80,000 votes in a four way race in which he handled himself throughout the campaign in a demeanor and with admiral robust candor that would make any libertarian proud. While he and I had our disagreements he was always kind and thoughtful in his responses. David would take the time to talk to you if you had any concerns. He will sorely be missed.
  15. I will respond by quoting what I said above your last post: Because our observations may not be correct viewing certain images does not change their fundamental nature. In the case of this optical illusion, the one cited by sjw and at the Wikipedia article is done purposely to decieve. In the case of putting a pencil in a glass of water the eye sees the pencil broken into 2 parts but in reality this is due to the light giving one the impression that it is bent/broken. Yet when you take the pencil out of the water the pencil is not broken or bent at all. If we were to see a dancer conducting the same action as in the illusion in the first post on a stage during a ballet it would not change the fundamental nature of the dancer nor our observation which is that the dancer is spinning in a certain direction on one leg with the other elevated. However, said dancer would be unable to elevate off the ground while conducting her action. What a weird interpretation. I never said reality shifted. Of course it doesn't. I think this is an example of the Objectivist foolishness I was talking about -- something occurred to you as being the case at first glance, and without a second thought you proceed to further reasonings, carrying on as if your initial assumption is an unquestionable given. Check your premises. You seem to be using a wrong (and not even Objectivist) definition of "perception" to be coming to the conclusions you are. No, I'm not advocating subjectivism, though I may be advocating skepticism, depending on one's meaning of the word. I am not advocating Objectivism's meaning of that word, which says that we can't know anything. I am advocating that we know through effort, not by "just knowing." This is skepticism in the original sense, just as liberalism meant liberty in its original sense. Your defense mechanism is clearly on high alert. As with the defense mechanism of the religious zealot, it's only defending you from knowing the truth. There is no "right" way to see the woman spinning. It's an ambiguous image. Here is a more clearly ambiguous image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/Two_silhouette_profile_or_a_white_vase.jpg Shayne
  16. The post seems to confirm my initial post unless Kimmler is posting this in response to mine in order to disagree with my comments. Like the Wikipedia article Kimmler cites states at the beginning: An optical illusion (also called a visual illusion) is characterized by visually perceived images that differ from objective reality. The information gathered by the eye is processed in the brain to give a percept that does not tally with a physical measurement of the stimulus source. There are three main types: literal optical illusions that create images that are different from the objects that make them, physiological ones that are the effects on the eyes and brain of excessive stimulation of a specific type (brightness, tilt, color, movement), and cognitive illusions where the eye and brain make unconscious inferences. I think this is something similar to what I said in my response and David Kelley pointed out in The Evidence of the Senses. Because our observations may not be correct viewing certain images does not change their fundamental nature. In the case of this optical illusion, the one cited by sjw and at the Wikipedia article is done purposely to decieve. In the case of putting a pencil in a glass of water the eye sees the pencil broken into 2 parts but in reality this is due to the light giving one the impression that it is bent/broken. Yet when you take the pencil out of the water the pencil is not broken or bent at all. If we were to see a dancer conducting the same action as in the illusion in the first post on a stage during a ballet it would not change the fundamental nature of the dancer nor our observation which is that the dancer is spinning in a certain direction on one leg with the other elevated. However, said dancer would be unable to elevate off the ground while conducting her action.
  17. I disagree. Optical illusions (so called) aren't shifts of reality. They are usually a person's misinterpretation of a certain event that may involve shifts in light or viewing a certain event from a point of view that may or may not allow them to see said event in its entirety. The below quoted part of your statement (if not taken in its entirety) seems to imply some sort of whim worshiping or then vieled skepticism on your part. If I am wrong, please clarify. People can change the course of the spinning woman in their minds, but cannot alter the fact that she is spinning one way with one of her legs up nor change the fundamental nature of what is on display. In other words people can try to bend reality or ignore it but reality will not ignore them.
  18. Hm! By this statement is the author implying that he agrees with the so-called consensus as articulated by Al Gore on anthropogenic global warming?
  19. I have read Daniel Pipes and I find him to be very good as well. However, for the record, I am not anti-Muslim but anti-Jihadist. I agree that Bernard Lewis is an excellent source as he is the foremost authority about Islam and I respect and look to Spencer as a source because he is well versed on Islamic theology yet seems to be more blunt in his assertions than Lewis. However, according to an interview of Bernard Lewis, there are very few times he and Spencer disagree with one another. My whole point is to understand and educate people about the enemy the U.S., if not western civilization faces, and the best way to do that is by looking at Islam as a whole. I saw the film Agora the other night. It is an excellent movie and I do not want to see the West to become the kind of society jihadists envision. If they are successful it would be just like what happened when ancient Christians sacked the Serapeum library. History would repeat itself all over again in which mankind would experience another Dark Ages.
  20. I discovered something interesting regarding the investigation of statistician Dr. Edward Wegman. For those of you who did not know, Dr. Edward Wegman is a statistician with George Mason University. He became well known after the committee he chaired debunked Dr. Michael Mann's infamous hockeystick chart which climatologists and scientists used as evidence that global warming is anthropogenic (i.e. human induced). Wegman is one of the scientists profiled in Lawrence Solomon's best selling book The Deniers which was published in 2007. In early October, USA Today reported (link below) that Wegman is now being investigated by GMU due to a complaint made against him by someone for having plagiarized comments from a study that was used to invalidate Mann's chart. The accuser is none other than Raymond S. Bradley. Mr. Bradley co-authored of one of the papers Wegman attacked in his report, and he is also one of the people Wegman allegedly plagiarized. All I can say is I smell a rat. If Wegman plagiarized papers in order to rebutt Mann's chart then a pox on him. However, I cannot help but note the irony of this and would not be surprised if the complaint made against Wegman is really an act of revenge and is lacking in any merit. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/10/wegman-plagiarism-investigation-/1
  21. What I hope to accomplish with my criticism is to continue the dialogue and education about Islam itself as well as the threat jihadists pose to the west. It does not help any when you have high profile media personalities (like Fareed Zakaria) claiming that the U.S. overreacted on 9/11, others stating that that the threat of terrorism is not as bad as it is being made out to be or is limited to a few radical Muslims. Yet you had Muslims who lead mostly secular lives becoming radicalized. Faisal Shahzad is a prime example. In terms of men like Rauf, you would think a Sufi would be a bit more secular or open to criticizing Muslims who conduct acts of terror or are involved in jihad. Yet, in Rauf's case, he will not even condemn them. It seems neither will Adonis.
  22. It is not a matter of what I can do to help make things better but what the Muslims themselves will do. I can critize the religion all I want but (ultimately) it is those inside Islam themselves who must work to stop the radicalism that is growing inside their faith or they should leave if they are unsuccessful in doing so. Perhaps if I am to do anything it is to continue to criticize Islam as much as I criticize Christianity and Judaism while continuing to educate people about the religion and why we need to know about it. However, Islam will be the one religion I will critize more because it is Islamic terrorism and the states that support their jihad that the U.S. and western countries are at war with. I realize talking to them about things one can agree on is a good way to open a dialogue and I might do so in the manner you do myself. Yet, I am sure you are aware, to them people like you and I (in the strictest sense of the religion) are infidels and, according to the Quran, should be put to death. In terms of your question about Mosque/state seperation it will be very difficult to accomplish this since, in Islam, the state and religion are certainly to be intertwined if not by design certainly by default. As near as I can tell Islam has no concept of the secular view of religion/state seperation. Even in Malaysia which (as you point out) is westernized, the Monarchy and religion are one despite the country having secular courts for non-Muslims. Yet you notice there are Sharia courts in the country only for Muslims and they are not allowed to use Malaysian secular courts. As far as the Sufis are concerned, it should also be noted that Imam Rauf who is the spokesperson for the group behing the Ground Zero Mosque has also been identified as a Sufi yet he refuses to denounce Hamas as a terrorist group. I also posed this same question of denouncing Hamas to Libertarian Muslim on another thread on these same boards and he also would not condemn the group either.
  23. Yes I saw your review, Ted. Thanks very much! This book will be put on my short list of ones to buy and read. Despite some problems, Harriman does a good job overall. If I were to review the book on Amazon, I would rate it four out of five stars. The weakest part is probably Chapter One, which (as I understand it) is essentially a transcript of Peikoff's lectures on induction. In my judgment, the effort to link induction in science to Rand's theory of concept formation is unnecessary and (largely) unconvincing. Harriman has a number of other things to say about induction and the history of science later in the book. Whether all of this is also a rehash of Peikoff I cannot say, but some of it is very interesting and suggestive. Ghs I agree with George. The book is interesting and well written. He presents the methods of similarity and difference well. His histories seem accurate enough to me. While McCaskey's objections seem plausible (I can't judge, not having the detailed background or sources available) they are hardly fatal to Harriman and also hardly out of bounds per Peikoff. I agree that the beginning is shaky. Harriman basically declares in one sentence that "generalization" parallels concept formation and declares the problem solved. He seems to me to have presented the problem weakly and to have provided a facile solution. But I don't happen to think the problem is all that problematic anyway, since all "refutations" of induction depend upon premises that have at some point been induced. (I myself hold that concept formation simply is induction in the widest sense, with induction of scientific laws as a special case.) The book is not a must read, but if you have any interest at all I recommend it if just for the stimulation. I gave it 4/5 on amazon.
  24. Okay great, thanks! What about the problems pointed out by McCaskey about the history Harriman outlines? Based on your reading of the reviews by McCaskey and Travis Norsen and your knowledge of science, philosophy and Objectivism do you agree with their criticism? Despite some problems, Harriman does a good job overall. If I were to review the book on Amazon, I would rate it four out of five stars. The weakest part is probably Chapter One, which (as I understand it) is essentially a transcript of Peikoff's lectures on induction. In my judgment, the effort to link induction in science to Rand's theory of concept formation is unnecessary and (largely) unconvincing. Harriman has a number of other things to say about induction and the history of science later in the book. Whether all of this is also a rehash of Peikoff I cannot say, but some of it is very interesting and suggestive. Ghs
  25. Hi Mike, I have done more research with regards to this. While I have no doubt in my mind the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, tolerant people unfortunately there are these striking things outlined in the Quran, Hadith and Sunnah that cannot be ignored. More specifically I have also read Bernard Lewis and Robert Spencer about Islam as and while I hold out some hope that the religion can be reformed to where it becomes more secular, unfortunately, in the Islam's presnt culture it doesn't look like it will happen. The reason for this is that the Islamic jihadists (as I call them) have (as Robert Spencer points out) a stronger theological basis than moderates or secularists if you will. The only difference between Christianity and Judaism is that if a fellow Muslim openly dissents and criticizes another's actions in the context of conducting jihad the result is ostracization or excommunication from the community or even death. There is a gentleman here locally named Dr. Zudhi Jasser who considers himself a devout Muslim however he is literally considered an outcast because he has been openly critical of the actions of groups like Al-Quaeda and other jihadists groups. As a result of his outspokeness it has lead to him being considered an outcast in the Muslim community where I live and possibly elsewhere.