Michael Stuart Kelly

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Michael Stuart Kelly last won the day on August 24

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About Michael Stuart Kelly

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    Michael Stuart Kelly
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    Initial Understanding of Islam on Fundamental Intellectual Issues Thoughts on the 12 Steps and Self-Forgiveness Why the Tolerance and Support? Atlantis in the Wilderness A Hunting Story Moral Perfection Like a Lamb to the Slaughter Letter to Madalena ... An Homage to the Value of Valuing Going Home... A Few Thoughts on Family Values Where Principles and Rights Break Down The Stigma of Addiction Book Review on an Addiction Fraud - A Million Little Pieces Charmed on a Raw Night The Nature of Private Written Correspondence – The Sciabarra Smear Online Objectivist Mediocrity The Ayn Rand Love/Hate Myth The Ayn Rand Love/Hate Myth - Part 2 - Moral Ambivalence The Ayn Rand Love/Hate Myth - Part 3 - Brotherhood of Hate The Ayn Rand Love/Hate Myth - Part 4 - Rand's True Value The Virtue of Silliness (w/Kat)
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  1. TG, This is a rabbit hole to nowhere with no way out except to back out. I know it's all in the jargon and punchy one-liners, but look a little deeper. There is no integration of words and deeds in Objectivism without context. And context is not controlled by the agent. It is "the given" to be identified and taken into account or ignored. For example, Rand was on board--morally on board--with the idea of lying to a thief. Without context, this would be wrong. It would be faking reality, which is a big no-no in Objectivism. A typically argued extension from that premise would be, "If it's OK to lie to a thief, then it's OK to lie to everyone, including yourself." (Rand actually argued several issues in this manner, like when discussing altruism in a few places, or reason or different freedoms. You can even see vestiges of it when she gushed about the conquest of the Wild West against the Indians--don't forget, that was mostly pure unprovoked initiation of force, too. ) Within context, however, it makes perfect sense to lie to a thief. This is typically argued in O-Land that a thief does not come with honest intent, so he does not deserve honesty in response, i.e. the trader principle. But that means words do not integrate with deeds when they become a principle. They are up for trade. I fully agree with the general idea, though, for logic. But not for dealing with cognitive biases. This last is what rhetoric is for (even if you have to use the rhetoric on yourself). People use rhetoric because nobody can manage to have their words and deeds align consistently. Note that one does not use rhetoric with reality. It doesn't work. But logic wedded to observation does. One only uses rhetoric with other people--people who are not fully consistent by default. The very modularity of their brains prevents absolute consistency. Although Rand most likely would not have liked this way of saying it, she often made reference to the fact that the brain has components that enter into conflict with each other at times, like, for instance, in her writing instruction. See her discussion on The Squirms, or how to work with the subconscious for examples off the top of my head. As to the Objectivists who place great emphasis on integration of words and deeds as if they were co-equals, then use this to condemn others, I, myself, do not hang around them much. These are primacy of words over deeds people. The more reality oriented people use observation as the basis for their words, not just syllogisms (i.e., they don't deduce reality from principles, instead, they observe reality and induce principles from that). At root, the only practical thing "primacy of deeds over words" means is that when there is a conflict between a person's words and deeds, what the person does is a far better indicator of his intent and future actions than what he says. The "primacy of words over over deeds" people get freaked out by this for some reason. Maybe it's this. I think people are a total mystery to them and if they can't control people with words, they feel totally lost and insecure. Incidentally, that's the way I used to feel when I was young--I was clueless about why people did what they did and I felt there was no way, no way for me at least, to find out. This was one of the reasons I adopted Objectivism as quickly as I did after exposure to it. Michael
  2. Ellen, I am aware you haven't watched the video from the way you write. That's why I kept suggesting it. Skelter's views actually are rather novel. We will have to see about earth-shattering, but, for as disappointing as it may be to some people , I don't think that was his intent. I see it as presenting extreme and simple clarity for a more rational frame than what people use when they normally discuss religion. His way of constructing a conceptual chain reminds me a lot of how Rand did it. Except he relies a lot more on evolution than Rand did. One might call his approach evolutionary epistemology. No biggie, though. If you're not interested, you're not interested. That's your right and privilege. Michael
  3. Ellen, I honestly have no idea what you mean. I was referring to your words that I quoted and saying I agreed with you. Michael
  4. TG, To add a thought, you will be hard pressed to see the frame below by Mark Levin from modern Objectivist intellectuals. But I can easily see it from Rand--almost word for word--if she were around. (As an aside, Levin used to hate Trump. He didn't like Trump's words. Then he started looking at Trump's deeds as time went on... ) Michael
  5. TG, To refer this to a Randian quote, she said (I'm going on memory, so this might not be exact), "Never examine a folly. Merely ask what it accomplishes." That, to me, is the priority of word versus deed thing. Look within the Objectivist community and see how many follies are floating about. TDS is not just the only one. Follies that divide the community are a hallmark going back to Rand's break with the Brandens. I believe this occurs because some people prioritize words over deeds and others prioritize deeds over words. I'm talking about epistemology, how one uses the volitional part of his or her mind by default. When one encounters a paradox, what does one look at as the best guide to make sense of it? Does one look at the words used or at the deeds performed? We all look at both, but which one carries the most weight metaphysically? In O-Land, many, many top folks go the "words as most important" route. That's not me. Nor, it seems, is it you. Michael
  6. Ellen, You're talking to the converted. This point is also quite clear in the video. Michael
  7. Jonathan, For me, I say it's entirely possible scientific stupidity is part of the mix, but definitely religiousness is. So let's look at scientific stupidity. As I've posted a lot over the years, I've begun to notice how other people post. I've noticed a pattern in William's posting habits when he copy/pastes. He is prone to dumping a lot of copy/paste content (with pretty pictures ) and then makes long (or short) comments in between the items. But when you look at the comments and think about them, they are almost never about explaining what's in the copy/pastes. Anything relating to what's in them is merely brought up to be used as a barb against someone. When he addresses actual substance, his comments tend to be boilerplate liberal/progressive talking points goosed up with a colorful style. But he mostly deals with his opinion of the shortcomings of others (also goosed up with a colorful style). That's where I detect the most enthusiasm from him. It's like he, William, is not present when ideas and facts are discussed--only others are through his efforts. And he has been quite prolific in presenting stuff about and from others. To use a football metaphor, he's not on the playing field. He's more like a cheerleader or mascot, but with a trickster style. In other words, he does't just want to inspire his side with cheerleading, he wants to sabotage the other side with distractions. But you will not find him running with the football against a defense. So don't look for William on the playing field unless it's during the halftime show. You simply won't find him. To give a comparison, you will never find him presenting a real case like, say, Tony does (like in the Aristotle wheel thread). One can agree or disagree with Tony, but one cannot accuse him of staying on the sidelines. He gets in the middle of it, faces an argument squarely, and does his best according to what he believes. And, until and unless he is convinced otherwise, he keeps on going. I have total respect for this. I notice this stuff because when I want to present a link, unless I'm bantering, I feel guilty as a writer if I don't say something substantive about what's in it. That's why you will find me at times saying I don't have time to say anything. It's to scratch the guilt and try to be honest with readers--to let them know I found the link relevant and interesting and want to share it, but, discussion-wise, I'm half-assing it. When the ideas are important, I want to be read for my own thoughts. And when I do present my own thoughts, that's always a lot of work. Which, I admit, makes half-assing it mighty tempting. Getting back to William, does his pattern indicate scientific stupidity? I say "maybe" because I have not been able to detect what he actually knows except he seems to have read a lot, or at least can copy/paste from many different sources. He can namedrop. And he identifies with a side well enough to present its talking points. But knowing what he really knows science-wise is tough if his posts are all one goes by. Does this lack of handling substance first-hand indicate stupidity about the substance? To me it's a toss-up. Avoiding talking about substance while replacing it with stuff that looks like he knows the substance, could be seen as faking it until you make it. That would indicate stupidity and ignorance. And I can see this possibility clearly. But if a person is not interested in discussing the substance with an inferior species because they are oh so stupid and he will waste a lot of time and effort to explain the oh so obvious to the oh so clueless, to use one possible frame, he will use this sub-species for entertainment and play games because it gives him a hit of dopamine and serotonin. I see a strong possibility of that being true, also. In that case, he might not be scientifically stupid, but merely playing games like one plays fetch with a dog. Now religiosity. The pattern of posting I described above most definitely indicates faith in certain sacred beliefs--starting with the belief of the superiority of the tribes William identifies with. And faith-based beliefs merely need to be presented by a believer for him to feel he has made his case. They are never proven or analyzed. In fact, if one tries to discuss proof or analysis of a sacred belief (like showing proof of how a preeminent member of his tribe has hopelessly botched something or outright cheated), this is often seen by the believer as insulting or batshit crazy. This goes for topic-related sacred beliefs, also. For believers who don't like direct confrontations, mockery works well as a response. But never substance. In fact, substantive discussions by them about their sacred beliefs--other than statements that, at root, need to be accepted on faith to be considered valid--will never be present. Does that sound like William? Based on what I've seen, it does to me. Michael
  8. Peter, Here's a different question for you. What causes the perception of a recession--when there isn't one? (Psssst... I'll give you a hint... the initials are "f" and "n" .) Michael
  9. TG, There's something in O-Land that keeps people from pegging words to deeds. I'm not saying this is your case, but some of the people you talk about obviously have this handicap (as do many I have interacted with, especially those who hate Trump). So, in the spirit of trying to get across what I see, and maybe open a window into a part of reality that is constantly obfuscated and hidden by the hysteria in our culture, let my push back a bit on your revulsion, even momentary. Controlling idea The controlling idea when judging President Trump's words is sequence. Or sequence of frames. Or steps in a negotiation. Or even process. However one wants to call it. This is because Trump is a producer for real. He builds things so he thinks in a process frame by default. And he knows you cannot install toilets in the bathrooms on the seventh floor of a building before you lay the foundation. Everything is done in sequence. And each step in the sequence has its own context, its own frame. What is proper to pouring cement and driving massive piles is not proper to choosing the decor of toilets. The jargon changes, the number of people involved changes, the tools change, even standards of precision change if you compare an inch too much of cement with an inch too far left or right in installing a bathroom fixture. Funnel So keep this in mind and let me add on an abstract analogy. Try to imagine a funnel. There is a wide end and a narrow end with a gradual decrease along the way. Then segment this funnel into 4 or 5 slices from wide to narrow. Each slice will be one context. Now imagine that the funnel represents cognitive precision of language. At the wide end of the funnel, not much cognitive precision of language is needed, but emotional impact is paramount. And the narrow end, precision is paramount while the need for emotional impact is negligible. This is how President Trump uses the language for negotiating, closing and implementing deals. The wide end is the start of the process where people are introduced into the funnel, and the narrow end is where the entire process turns into something tangible and real. If you want to know what Trump really means, you have to take into account the context along these funnel segments. Once you see it, you see this pattern over and over and over in his dealings. You can see countless examples in the less than three years of his term of office alone. Examples Here are some examples. Trump called Kim Jung-un rocket man and so on. That was at the wide end. At the narrow end, his language is totally different, always respectful and almost fatherly. Trump, at the wide end, told Senator Feinstein that he was going to work closely with her to her liking on immigration reform. How did that work out at the narrow end? At the wide end, he said he was going to do climate change restrictions, free trade agreements, gun control, and on and on and on. But how does it always look once things get to the narrow end? Hmmmm? Oh... once in a while he has to swallow a frog like the massive amount of pork he agreed to with the Dems to get his military budget, but these cases are few. When the entire process gets finished, I doubt pork-loving Dems are going to be happy. Trump always stakes a position at the wide end he can later back off from. He's setting a boundary for negotiation at that juncture, not setting a policy. So--to him--it doesn't matter what he says cognitively so long as he gets people's attention and gets them wound up emotionally (either excited or outraged), that is, thrown off balance. He already knows what he wants and it is never what he says up front. The fun part And the fun part. Every time he does a new wide end statement, even though he's done the same pattern a gazillion times before, people have a cow. Oh no! Trump's caving. Oh no! Trump's abandoning all principles! Oh no! Trump's a dictator! Oh no! Trump's a madman! Oh no! Trump's going to kill us all with a nuclear war! And on and on. Yet the outcome is always productive and in the direction of freedom for all. Another way to put this is that reality is unchanging for Trump, but words are flexible. He structured his processes--all his chosen processes--that way. This is the exact opposite of the people who hate him. To them, words are unchanging and reality is flexible. That's how they can accept a phrase like "free trade agreement" and pretend it has something to do with the free market as construed by libertarian and Objectivist principles. What does reality matter if words like free and trade are involved? And, of course, the elites get paid. It says free goddamit. That's principle. (Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Chinese--and others--are grinning and hauling out everything they can get their hands on. ) So before you get too nauseous when Trump says something that sounds outrageous, first try to see where he is in the negotiating sequence. If you start detecting his use of language using this standard, you will see that he is one of the most disciplined people out there in the use of words. Think of it this way. The wide beginning of the sequence is for entertainment, i.e., for herding people emotionally into the funnel. The narrow end is for implementation, i.e., making something new in reality. Trump's use of the language follows this sequence consistently. In fact, when it gets to to the implementing contracts stage, Trump is consistently boring, but dead on precise. From that perspective, go on and admit it. Look at all those O-Land and libertarian people--the ones who are more than content to enrich themselves with crony games and pose as sanctimonious moralists--having a cow over "I hereby order..." It's fun. We know a dictatorship will never come to pass for real with President Trump. But they don't. They're too caught up in their own lives trying to hide their own morally compromised deeds from everyone by words with static contextless meanings that they try to shove down everyone's throats. And man do they go round and round and round... Meanwhile, Trump and his peeps are building a better world for all of us irrespective of what anyone says at any particular time. And he and they keep doing it over and over, one thing after another. His enemies can't keep up. So who has a better handle on reality in terms that mean real actual reality? The ones who accept the primacy of reality and build while being colorful and sometimes inconsistent with words along the way? Or the ones who constantly take recourse to the primacy of words, give birth to countless cows over their demand for unchanging words, and almost always seek to destroy others? As a suggestion, if you haven't read The Art of the Deal, read it. You will not be sorry. If you have read it, then reread it. You will not be sorry, either. Michael
  10. David Koch - RIP David Koch has passed away. Here is a pretty good list of facts from Heavy: David Koch Dead: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know I have differences with both Koch brothers, but they did put their money where their mouths were--and they funded a lot of good in the world (both product-wise and charity-wise). I won't go into it in this thread, I have mixed feelings and views about their influence (good and bad) on America. I have no mixed feelings about David Koch's passing. I grieve the loss of a great man. As always, the left is disgusting. Here are three tweets that tell the whole story of how they are reacting to this news. Bill Maher wasted no time in proving this to get some audience exposure from the trending news. This tweet mentioned guns. Discussing guns in this context was not my intention, but since it's there in the tweet, for continuity, here is a third view in response to Dana Loesch (an NRA lady). All this speaks for itself. David Koch and his influence on America and the world will go down in history. Not so much these lefties. Michael
  11. Here's a thought about President Trump's escalation of economic rhetoric against China. How many people want to see a literal massacre (blood and dead people) in Hong Kong? President Trump has negotiating skills other people do not. Remember President Obama's way of handling his own differences with Qaddafi in Libya? Obama overused and poorly used the military and turned the country into a shithole where slavery--selling slaves out in the open--has made a comeback. I think Hong Kongers should thank their lucky stars their current troubles did not escalate under President Obama. President Trump stands a great chance of resolving this amicably by leveraging money. That's what he does. Michael
  12. This one is funny on several levels. I want to add to it, but I can't think of anything to write that tops it. LOL... Michael
  13. I agree 100% with everything Corbett said in this video. The Ghislaine Maxwell hamburger joint story was red meat meant to distract the public and hog the news channels. The poor Photoshop alterations were thrown in and kept changing in an amateurish way on purpose as red herrings to distract the conspiracy people, who ended up causing such a stink about it all, they distracted the major (fake news) outlets. They did this to bury attention on Epstein's so-called suicide. Pure misdirection, although it only did a little bit of damage control, not a lot. And it certainly didn't change the narrative about Epstein. Most people believe he was murdered to protect the powerful guilty against exposure (for pedophilia and other illegal activities) and that isn't changing. Corbett has an entire propaganda watch series. I need to include this stuff in the Story Wars thread. From the videos of his I've seen on dissecting how propaganda works with current examples, he's damn good. Michael
  14. Get Woke, Go Broke - Selling Authoritarianism This could also be called "The Virtue of Slavery." Different companies have flirted with selling social justice because they believe the millennial demographic is mostly made up of social justice warriors. Sjw's are the loudest, but not the majority. And some major corporations are learning this the hard way. Remember those gawdawful Gillette ads about how men were nasty to women, but could "do better"? How does an eight billion dollar loss sound? Gillette is 'shifting the spotlight from social issues' after series of woke ads — and losses Gillette ‘Shifting Spotlight from Social Issues’ After Anti-Masculinity Ad Disaster Gillette learned one cannot guilt customers into buying razor blades. That's a mistake for newbies, not companies the size of Gillette. But here we are. The real problem is not selling a product with an underdog story, not even a social class underdog story, i.e., social justice story, so long as the customer feels empowered, not demeaned. Ads that do this tend to work. The problem comes from selling authoritarianism. Power in the message must go to the individual, not to the tribe. Individuals buy retail products. Tribes rarely do. When power goes to the tribe in an ad message, that's propaganda. That's selling authoritarianism. And propaganda doesn't sell razor blades. This is pretty simple, but the dorks in some major companies seem to have difficulty understanding it. I could mention not using their own customers as the villains in the ad stories, too, but one thing at a time. These people need one to go sloooooooooooww... This problem has become so pervasive these days, there is now a popular saying: Get woke, go broke. It's almost like the free market is telling them: Social justice authoritarianism is poison and if you sell it, you deserve to lose your money. But a corrective is happening and another popular saying illustrates it well: Money talks, bullshit walks. Michael
  15. Ellen, Give the video a shot. I know it's a half-hour, but give it a shot. Using Skelter's way of explaining the epistemology of belief, you might, like Jonathan, see that he's on to something that is relevant to the climate change mess. Religionism is not either-or in this. It's causal. Religionism causes the denying the obvious and the scientific stupidity. The human mind literally gives more weight to its survival strategy (belief) than it does to reason--and it does so with absolute certainty. (Note that it works that way with traditional religions. The pattern is identical in all cases.) I consider William highly intelligent, not stupid. So I get curious about why highly intelligent people believe dumb things to the point of denying the obvious and serving up rationalizations as they wander about in self-congratulations mode with clear display of virtue signals to their tribe. A believer will not change his mind because of contradictions, proof, etc. That's the error people who try to convince them consistently make. The try to convince with reasoned arguments while ignoring the believer's beliefs (or in some cases, validating those beliefs by using the same jargon). A believer will only change his mind when he concludes that a sacred belief is no longer sacred and it's profane counterpart is no longer profane. If that certainty cracks, he will sheepishly start looking at what he's been blanking out all along and wonder what got into him. A very easy-to-see example is what happens to people--highly intelligent and productive people--who come out of Scientology. There are books, TV shows, online videos, etc. galore, all telling this same story, which is why I mention it. Their intelligence didn't go anywhere when they were believers, nor was it hidden. Their certainty about specific beliefs had nothing to do with intelligence or stupidity. Once that certainty got destroyed, the sheepishness came out and they, without exception among those I have seen, developed an enormous hunger to use their intelligence on what they missed, maybe figure out why they were so blind before. In what I've seen, this climate change thing is identical. It's good to fight for logic, reason, etc., within this issue, but reason will not prevail so long as the believers are well-funded and massive political power is an attainable prize for their tribe. The only way to convince them to let reason prevail about climate science is to lead them to conclude (as opposed to tell them or lecture them) that their beliefs are not the standard of reason. That entails a specific skill set that I don't see much in the climate debates. Frankly, I'm trying to figure out how and what to do, myself. Ayn Rand did it beautifully in presenting capitalism as a virtue instead of an evil with Atlas Shrugged. Many, many people who grew up hearing about the evils of capitalism do not, today, hold hatred for it because of that book. The word "capitalism" is not profane to them as the people who taught them hatred would have them believe. Rand destroyed that indoctrination for most people. Thus they are free to use their own reason when the issue comes up, which they do (with varying results). She did not achieve that by arguing about statistics. She made a set of other beliefs, ones more aligned with reality, attractive to parts of the human brain that do not grok reason. And she did it in a way each person could use his or her independent reason to think those beliefs through rather than follow the dictates of a tribe. That, to me, is the path for fighting manmade climate change and winning. (Oddly enough, I think President Trump is partially doing that without even realizing how he's doing it. He's provided a vision of good people, fairness in transactions, and pride in country, as a core set of beliefs instead of the virtue of technocratic elites homogeneously ruling one world and taking care of their inferiors, meaning most of humanity). So, if you get the time, give the video a shot. Even if you don't agree with everything in it, it certainly comes up with big important relevant questions that nobody is asking. Those questions, to me, are at the root of why William can be so smart and dumb at the same time in discussing manmade climate change. Michael