Christopher

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Everything posted by Christopher

  1. I don't like this approach. If time is the measure of motion, then space is the measure of an object's position. But the problem with either of these definitions is that the object itself becomes the standard from which both time and space are dependent. Meaning, we're taking an object in a system and using that object to justify the existence of the wider system. I'd rather start from some axiom about the time-space system in which objects exist and function. Chris
  2. Unfortunately I recognize I am talking to a very biased perspective, but healthy environmentalism is protection of the ecosystem in pursuit of a richer and healthier human life. Humans evolved to live very well in collaboration with the ecosystem. We weren't born to die in nature, we were born to live and thrive in it. Millions of years of evolution ensures this. So the belief that somehow man must "protect" or "separate" himself from nature in a web of self-constructions to better survive is a bogus belief. In fact man's life depends on the natural ecosystem, it does not depend on a man-made "ecosystem". Man is about adaption to and not control over the environment... does Objectivism want to contradict our scientific observations supporting this point? We might argue that protection of nature per se can become divorced from human life. But I wonder about that too. A perspective on protecting the natural ecosystem might be implicitly demonstrating the proper way to live in relationship to nature so-as to survive. Protect that which protects life. For example, in India it's immoral to hurt or kill cows. Seems absurd. Then you look at the history of this code, and you find that cows were necessary to ensure survival of human life. So a set of ethics arose that on the surface seem divorced from human life but in which the very existence of those ethics in fact arose precisely because they support human life. The same seems plausible, perhaps even inescapably obvious, with nature. Anyway, I think we need some deeper consideration of these issues than simple Rand-like biased statements.
  3. Thanks Adam. I'm open to trusting him, but I need to understand him first. I noted that he claims the crowd size in D.C. was 500k, whereas news reports put it at roughly 87k. He's definitely an entertainer with the objective of persuasion. But to trust him, I keep trying to figure out how deep his methods of persuasion go before we hit the "real" stuff that represents himself.
  4. Can anyone tell me if Glenn Beck is authentically (personally) religious? He used some Christian terminology in his speech in D.C. It sounds like the typical redneck/retiree rhetoric used in the Republican party to generate support. It's also not a Libertarian position if I understand Libertarianism correctly. I keep asking myself when he states his opinions: is this guy real?
  5. Happy Birthday as well! Your humor and insight is missed
  6. A recent article in the LA Times showed research on educating 5th-grade school children, and the results were the following: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-teachers-value-20100815,0,2695044.story Response to this data has varied. Both U.S. Secretary and State Secretary of Education have endorsed the release of this data. However, http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/16/local/la-me-0817-teachers-react-20100817 Interesting. Gotta love the unions! But to the union's credit, use of standardized tests as measurement does have significant flaws, particularly in cross-cultural evaluations of performance.
  7. Ken Wilber does a great argument against the idea that we can use observation of empirical reality as a foundation for faith-oriented issues. I might be misapplying it here, but basically Aquinas was arguing that the spiritual realm was responsible for the material world; determinists can argue the reverse - that the material world is responsible for the spiritual world. Wilber argues that they co-arise and neither can be explained by the other (and does a very handy job at it)
  8. Basically there are two ways to address this problem: Legal & Cultural. The legal ramifications of marriage exist, and it is appropriate that either they exist for both hetero & homosexuals or such laws do not exist at all. As pointed out, government benefits that are available to only one group of people are discriminatory against other groups, particularly when such laws are in recognition of human relationships & not sexual-organs. (children are not the issue, otherwise sterile adults would be exempt as well from marriage) This statement: is overly emotional against gays. Already those insurance companies spoken of have "a gun pointed at them" by straight couples. It is Objectively inaccurate to say that it's ok for some people to receive benefits and not others, and I think we see that. So equality is not "gun pointing" by the group requesting equality; there is a bias when presented as such. Addendum: An analogy to marriage benefits would be like this - if union workers received government-subsidized unemployment payments, but no one else received such benefits, Ted would prefer to have the union workers continue to receive benefits than "equalize" benefits across the population. I don't agree with this perspective. However, we both agree that no benefits should be given in the first place. Regarding the cultural issue, which is truly what proponents of prop 8 are fighting for, that is the topic I addressed in my post.
  9. A federal judge recently struck down Proposition 8 in California as unconstitutional, a proposition which prevented gays from marrying. The proposition had been previously voter-approved in a popular election. http://www.insidebayarea.com/trivalleyherald/localnews/ci_15770593?source=rss The judge ruled that while the proposition did harm gays, the absence of the proposition did not harm those against same-sex marriage. However, the defendants' argued that proposition 8 is necessary "to avoid confusion and irreparable injury that would flow from the creation of a class of purported same-sex marriages." I think this is a beautiful example of why constitutional law and Objectivism are so important when determining whether laws should be enacted. Although the marriage law does not influence the defendants directly, it influences the institution from which they derive the meaning of marriage, and therefore causes dis-ease within their psychology. This argument is perhaps the most vicious of all arguments, for it requires that the behavior of others be regulated in order to appease a sense of "rightness" within the actors. It is inline with all historical religious and ideological arguments that have been used to subjugate or enslave a people under an institutional body. Two cultures will not share the same meaning structures. Therefore, the options are either to have both meaning structures co-exist (traditional marriage and love-focused marriage), or to eliminate one culture in order to protect the "purity" of the other culture. What's your choice?
  10. I thought this was an interesting article that I was inspired to read after the "Authoritarian Science" post: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/25/wikileaks-war-logs-back-story I'm quite critical of any news regarding the government supposed "leaks" or otherwise, since the government has a PR team that rivals Apple. However, in the case of this article, I actually see a bright side to internet news and a bit of honesty in the mix. As I commented on an earlier topic yesterday, the more people with access to government secrets, the better for citizens. Transparency is the only vehicle by which our limited democracy can survive.
  11. I didn't get the chance to watch the video since I'm downloading a gig of info in the background (too slow to load anything else), but I can say that I'd rather many people know secrets than a few people know. The government should have a minimum number of secrets, that's the key to transparency. Now as for the bureaucracy behind so many people knowing, well... the statistics argue that roughly 25% of all employed Americans work for the government. They have great job security, pensions, etc. That means for every three of us on this forum not working for the government, we are supporting through taxes a 4th worker in government. And when he retires, well... we have to keep on paying taxes to support his retirement.
  12. I like Joel's assertion - that it is questionable whether hard-core Muslim Terrorists are actually motivated by "Islam" rather than some other factor - an emotion of anger at poor living conditions, for example. Any and every terrorist will attempt to justify his/her actions according to some virtuous doctrine (nobody claims to be a murderer per se), but it's not uncommon to find a simple motivation such as despair or a sense of injustice fueling the fire behind the words. After all, it takes a lot of energy and integrity to actually adhere to a value system rather than simple emotions, and from what I've seen of terrorists, there is very little foundation for value-behavior. Since we are talking about ideas (I agree that there can be no war on Islam, the thought is absurd especially in a free country), perhaps Muslims living in the US represent good examples of the religion at its best, and the Muslims I know here are awesome people. But all that aside, I once spoke to a bunch of Objectivists who felt collateral damage was ok in killing terrorists, but they wouldn't accept the idea that it's ok to take out an apartment complex in New York where a murderer is hiding. Silly inconsistency.
  13. Awesome. Poor Kant, he's right in his own way, but wrong for things outside philosophy.
  14. Herb, He basically said that if you have guns on board a ship, you can shoot pirates when they attack you. If you don't have guns on board, you can't shoot pirates when they attack you. Michael Why not pay security guards and stimulate the economy? Depends. Aside from the decrease in freedom and increase in government regulation, there is another reason. It costs the boat money to hire the security guards, so the money spent on security now can't spent on a new suit, tie, or car for the crew. In this way, spending on security doesn't stimulate the economy, it just changes the direction of cash flow from crew goods to crew security. If instead the money is saved in banks, then it gets re-invested into the economy and is used to produce new goods and jobs, which in turn does stimulate the economy.
  15. Ken Wilber called the democratic party an "unhealthy green" and the republican party a "healthy blue" in reference to his categories of human development. Green is hierarchically above blue and represents allowance for freedom of perspectives among people. Blue is based on having stable organizations (like Catholicism, which is considered structurally "blue"). I think his point was that democrats want to treat everyone equally, but they do so in a neurotic manner of trying to equalize income, benefits, etc. that end up cheating a lot people. Conversely, republicans actually want a solid state, an organization in which one participates and is patriotic towards. But as MSK put it: cat shit, dog shit.
  16. That's quite a nice post. I was especially caught by the observation of Rand's control on everything. Yes, I did the same when I started reading her philosophy. Twist out the humanity in order to fit with some imagined ideal. Seems almost military-esque in the need for self-discipline. When can you laugh, play, and let go? Maybe children aren't born human, they need to be trained and disciplined to be perfect. And when the adult arises, the child must die. (ok, I'm going too far here, but it fits)
  17. One of the most disturbing reports mentioned on the web is that Obama supported the Jones Act to prevent foreign aid from assisting in oil spill cleanup efforts and protect maritime unions. Link 1 , Link 2 ... Unfortunately, not a single source reporting seems to have any popular or official legitimacy. Conspiracy? Unlikely. These unofficial sources seem to even confuse themselves. For example, the Daily Caller wrote about Obama supporting the Jones Act here, but then wrote another article here, suggesting that the Jones Act may not be having a significant impact on the whole issue. If you follow the citations from article to article, you see that the sources are circular, citing each other. So did Obama significantly hinder the oil spill cleanup efforts in order to protect unions? The evidence is definitely not strong enough yet to support this assertion. If anyone has more solid evidence, I'd be interested to read it. Otherwise, wow, internet gossip.
  18. Wow, a personal attack. A clear example that when you press someone's buttons, they lose their basic civility.
  19. How many suicide bombers do the Israelis send over to the other side? While the Israelis are not "angels" they are not insane religious fanatics, by and large. The gung ho Orthodox types are in a tiny minority and they are kept under strong control by the Israeli government. Let me know when you hear about Jews hijacking airplanes and flying them into tall buildings filled with non-combatants. Or when Jewish crazies strap on bombs and blow themselves up in supermarkets and pizza parlors. Ba'al Chatzaf Right, and likewise I've heard of Israeli soldiers bulldozing homes and shooting citizens in Gaza. No doubt there have been heinous crimes by fanatics on both sides that deserve no sympathy, whether through terrorism or state-condoned behavior. Ultimately though, structuring our vision into the dualism good/evil is about the most useless perspective someone can take towards resolving the conflict. I'm not saying I don't have a preference, but at least I don't have the imagination that one side is angelic while the other demonic.
  20. There are no angels in that clusterf*** in the Middle East. I'd like to know which side is being conned worse.
  21. Thank you for the feedback, I did not realize I was being so obtuse. In fact, I had in mind a previous thread, but I'm failing to find it. Assertion: we label psychological experiences based on their "feel," but the feel does not necessarily describe the objectivity of experience. Example (all my examples pertain to dyadic relationships): 1. A man experiences what he labels as "feeling emotional dependent" on a woman. The woman opens him to a set of experiences that he would otherwise not have... I assert that this "dependency" may not be in conflict with autonomy. 2. A man cheats on a woman, the woman is left feeling helpless, hurt, anxious, and loss. These experiences make her feel like the bottom of a shoe, like "less-than" the man. I propose that these feelings are not necessarily indicators that the woman lacks independence or self-esteem; rather, these experiences can be healthy and normal in response to the loss of intimacy and connection. 3. A lover sacrifices her own needs to help her partner. She does not do this because she wants to continue the relationship, she does not do this because she might need her partner to do something for her in the future. She does this merely out of a sense of empathy. Driving off the 3rd example, we come to the experience of "sacrifice." What we might label as feeling like a "sacrifice" (e.g. I sacrificed my happiness to help people I don't know) may not be a sacrifice as it is defined objectively (choosing a lesser value for a higher value). In other words, even if something feels like a sacrifice and therefore an Objectivist would not be motivated to take such action, I assert that the feeling is not necessarily an indicator of whether the action is an objective sacrifice.
  22. No matter the degree of our conviction regarding a belief about the universe, our belief may be correct or incorrect. This is fairly simple to understand as it applies to the external world, yet I see this idea consistently misunderstood as it applies to our own psychology. No matter the degree our conviction regarding beliefs about our own psychology, our beliefs may be correct or incorrect. In application, this means that even when we apprehend a psychological state as independent and healthy, it may in fact be reactive and unhealthy. Or, what I observe is the ultimate struggle for Objectivists, we may experience a state of consciousness and related behavior as "selfless" (e.g. empathy), yet in absolute terms this selfless-experienced may be objectively selfish. The internal identification of an experience is not the truth of what that experience necessarily represents. So don't feel scared to feel helpless or selfless, that may be the most healthy and independent experience you can have in the moment!
  23. You're responding to the post out of context to the thread. I merely expanded on the suggestion that Rand had her ideas before she had her logic, which suggests that her ideas motivated the logic that support her premises. There is nothing unusual about this and I don't want to make it a big discussion. Sometimes people post comments as comments, not as the beginning of dissertations