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Everything posted by dan2100

  1. Dan, It's not the disagreement that is irritating to me. I welcome disagreement, as is proven all over the forum. It's the total lack of addressing the point I am making, then cherry-picking some detail and going off into tangents of all sorts with questions that often lead nowhere, all with the presumption that I am wrong. For example, I mention an idea, elaborate on it, and give you a bunch of examples. I just don't call them that. Then you make a question like, "Have you thought of... [something I already thought of and clearly addressed], and that it might be different?" and you ask if I can give you an example. Often you block quote my entire post as you do that. That's talking past me, it's affecting an unwarranted presumption, and it's irritating. It's not even trying to understand what I am getting at. All it does is fill the forum with one more post that goes nowhere. It's almost like you are talking on the phone to one person and I think I am talking to you on some other end. What you say in response doesn't really fit with what I say. And I don't know how to reach you so that you address my remarks in a coherent manner. But to answer your question, I don't think my irritation with this behavior of yours "poisons the discussion." In my understanding of what a discussion of ideas is, there is no discussion. There is only the pretense of a discussion. Form without content. Actually, although it is true that my irritation does not poison the discussion (as there is none), it possibly poisons the pretense of a discussion. And that's not good, even if it is only a pretense. I just have to stop taking your seriously idea-wise and I will probably lighten up. You show glimmers of intelligence and that makes me want to interact with you, but I have been incompetent at channeling those glimmers into any resemblance of a discussion of the ideas that I address. You are in your own little world and the communication-of-idea interlink with me is too sporadic, too often wrong in terms of representing what I said, with too many questions that have already been answered or are essentially rhetorical, and too presumptuous to be valuable to me. So I give up. I have only had this problem with Xray so far (but she is on an anti-Rand crusade, and with respect to misrepresenting what I write, barrages of useless questions, and misguided presumptions, she is in a class all by herself--to your credit, you do not even come close to her level). As with her, I'm just going to stop reading your posts. But do carry on. You are a nice polite person. I hope one day we can communicate. EDIT: No and no. SECOND EDIT JUST IN CASE YOU ARE INTERESTED: Here is a very good example of what I am talking about. My point in mentioning those works was not to change your mind, but instead to show where I am looking for the kinds of ideas I am engaged with. All you did was name-drop the works, dismiss them in a kind of snooty manner, and did not discuss the ideas. A secondary purpose I had (later in the thread) was to provide you with a list of experiments (in the bibliographies) that serve perfectly for the examples you asked for, and you have yet to acknowledge that or look even though you asked for this. I am not interested in the name-dropping game and I don't mind you disagree. I am going to think what I think, irrespective of what you are convinced of or not. Frankly, status-wise, I really don't care who is right or wrong. It means nothing. I am more interested in understanding these ideas and using them. That's my focus. The kind of comment you made above does nothing to further understanding. All it does is talk past any attempt at understanding. So it is useless to me. And it is irritating, since you presume weird things like I want to change your mind. Hell, I don't even know what is in your mind to begin with, much less what I would ever want to change. Anyway, over and out... Michael Will the farrago of condescension ever stop? I warn you now -- not out of politeless, but merely because these are the rules all of us must live by -- do not come within five meters of my person.
  2. Do you believe your interlocutors don't think for themselves? Do you believe you have a monopoly here on this?
  3. Climate science is a steaming pile of crap put over on the world by scam artists in lab coats. Heh-Heh One must remember phrenology and polywater as once considered by some fairly intelligent people to be scientific. Calling something science should never mean critical thinking about it stops.
  4. It'd be nice if you aimed for the same level of civility I try to give to you here. It seems to me that everytime I disagree with you -- here on your views regarding marketing and human behavior; elsewhere regarding anarchism and whether Beck is a salvitic figure for libertarians -- you resort to condenscension and insults. Don't you think this only poisons the discussion? Or consider Matthew 7:3: "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" (King James Version) Dan, I suggest you read Post 78. The answer to your question is there. Basically, the answer is that a vulnerability is not a total lack. If you don't understand that, I'll just leave it. I suggest you read my parenthetic comment again. If such predictability is vulnerable to error, and to the degree it is, one should at least have some doubts about it. Thus far, too, I know of know predictions in the fields of marketing or human behavior (at least, on the latter, in behaviors beyond things like blinking eyes or stuff that happens in highly controlled lab situations) that will give you the kinds of predictive cabilities you seem to think exist now. You could start with the bibliographies in the works I mentioned in Post 61. That's more than one source. I thought you noticed, seeing has how you even quoted that post, links and all, in your Post 63. Sorry, but this is just a little too much erudition and effort on your part for me. I bow to your superior intelligence and zeal... Michael I actually have read Predictably Irrational, though I believe it was the first edition. I put it, at the time, along with titles like The Tipping Point (overrated and a former friend of mine tried to put the ideas in it into practice; notably, he didn't suddenly experience an uptick in his wealth), Why We Buy (a bit dated, but that this stuff dates should give pause that the latest and greatest will soon join the ranks of the obsolete), Freakonomics (ho-hum, another overrated book), and Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind (a book I actually recommend, but that's not to say I don't recommend the other three I just mentioned). None of them made me change my mind on my basic view here. Why is that? You and Jeff can toss back accusations about who is more religious than thou here, but my basic view is skepticism here. Why? Let's leave aside the axioms for a moment -- which is not to deny their importance. Anyone familiar with the history of psychology and cognitive science or of the history of marketing and who also just has common sense should recognize that grand unified theories abound, especially on the popular level (it's often not the researchers in a field, but their popularizers, who overgeneralize and fail to see that history is generally a record of failed attempts here) and further that, as both Jeff and I have pointed out, marketing and political campaigns often fail. (Anyone familiar with such history should be partial to the saying, "This too shall pass" rather than "We now have the final theory in sight and whoever doubts this is so much less well read than me!") Also, let me adopt your tactics. This is akin to arguing with a technician about buying stocks. The fan of that brand of numerology known as technical analysis will point to the raft of titles and studies on the subject. But the fact is, if the market really worked that way, why would there be any technicians who lost money? Yes, one might point to successes, but this is what's known as survivorship bias. Let me borrow from a witty writer in the field -- Nicolas Nassim Taleb. If we were to look at lottery winners only and try to divine how they won, we might come up with a list of traits they all have, such as, most likely, that they bought tickets. But by not looking at the losers -- who also share this and many other traits -- we'd end up with a theory of predicting the lottery that would really be hokum. And, wouldn't you expect, were someone to come up with some truly workable predictive theory in this area, he or she wouldn't be trying to sell books and seminars about it. He or she would be filthy rich and trying, as adept poker players do, pass off the success as due to luck rather than letting the rubes in on the secret?
  5. http://mises.org/daily/4577 For those who haven't read any Peake and want to start with something a bit shorter, I recommend Boy in Darkness and Other Stories.
  6. Thanks! I've gotten it and am now enjoying it, though I need to get back to other projects...
  7. Dan, Gimme a break. You're faking it and you know it. Read the damn stuff--or not, I don't care... Obviously, you care enough to bring it up. But if you can't have a reasonable discussion on this matter, fine. I noticed you left out my parenthetic comment: "(Don't you think, too, were these sorts of things correct, no company or political that invested in and used such methods diligently would ever fail?)" Why? Again, if these methods work so well, I'd expect we'd all believe everything the political and corporate ruling class tells us. Ad campaigns, politically and otherwise, would never or rarely fail. How come this has not come to pass? Tell me, how well do banner ads, product placement, upselling, etc. work on you? All the time. In Internet marketing it is called "split testing." There are oodles of programs and scripts to help you. Hell, even Google provides split testing resources in Adwords. That's how you improve your results. Given your unwillingness to look at some very basic material, I see no reason to go into any further details. Michael Again, what basic material? Surely, you could lower yourself to cite one source here that adds credence to your case.
  8. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/books/review/1st-chapter-insanity-defense.html
  9. http://mises.org/store/Nullification-How-to-Resist-Federal-Tyranny-in-the-21st-Century-P10393.aspx I raised this topic here once before. Now there's a book length treatment of it. It's not bad and I recommend it both for the person currently unaware of the topic and those who while well read lack George H. Smith's erudition.
  10. This is akin to saying the DEA (or the IRS or the BML or BATF or pick a government agency) is not in and of itself coercive. It merely can be used coercively. The military is both an arm of government coercion -- that's its reason for being in the first place, no? -- and is funded coercive -- i.e., it wouldn't really exist were it not for taxation. Saying that it's coercive doesn't mean that the military does whatever it pleases or is not subordinate to the state. But your argument here is kind of like saying a policeman is not coercive when he's enforcing laws that clearly are coercive merely because he has to answer to his chief who answers to his mayor or some other civilian official. Dan, Brant, and Mike... Point taken The military is used as a coercive tool when diplomacy fails. Seems we're used an awful lot since I've enlisted. ~ Shane Whatever rationalizations or pretexts those who command, man, or willingly support the military provide aren't really germane to whether it's coercive. And while many are forced to pay for it, at present, to my knowledge, no one is forced to join the US military. Why join if you're afraid you might be part of operations you won't approve of?
  11. Dan, If you are truly interested in this, please consult the bibliographies of the works I cited. Lots and lots and lots of peer-reviewed experiments all over the world by scientists. And yes, the results in many of them are measurable and repeatable. Why not look at them? Michael Which ones? Have you looked at them? (Don't you think, too, were these sorts of things correct, no company or political that invested in and used such methods diligently would ever fail?) And you didn't answer my question... Let me ask it again: Have you tested the "measurable, repeatable results" against other hypotheses?
  12. Dan, If you are truly interested in this, please consult the bibliographies of the works I cited. Lots and lots and lots of peer-reviewed experiments all over the world by scientists. And yes, the results in many of them are measurable and repeatable. Why not look at them? Michael What a pity so many Objectivists seem unable to grasp the elementary truth that, since human beings possess freedom of will and are not interchangeable units, statistical information about what particular individuals and particular groups of individuals have done under particular circumstances can prove nothing about what will happen when other, different individuals are placed in similar circumstances - even if the individuals trying to prove such propositions call themselves "scientists" and maintain a straight face while doing so. JR I wonder if there's a study that focuses on how some segment of the population seems to unthinkingly accept studies.
  13. This is akin to saying the DEA (or the IRS or the BML or BATF or pick a government agency) is not in and of itself coercive. It merely can be used coercively. The military is both an arm of government coercion -- that's its reason for being in the first place, no? -- and is funded coercive -- i.e., it wouldn't really exist were it not for taxation. Saying that it's coercive doesn't mean that the military does whatever it pleases or is not subordinate to the state. But your argument here is kind of like saying a policeman is not coercive when he's enforcing laws that clearly are coercive merely because he has to answer to his chief who answers to his mayor or some other civilian official.
  14. I figured that you were throwing out the soviet union reference just to attach my idea to the soviet union and all that weight that that comes with, as it's something I've witnessed from objectivist in the past. My intention here was, thinking you might see the similarity between your view and central economic planning -- the Soviet Union being the chief example of that in history, though it abounds today (think of what the Fed in the US does: overall central planning of the banking and credit systems) -- that you might either alter your view or show why the analogy didn't apply. So far, it seems to me you've only cried foul over the analogy. Right. Someone else is almost always calling the shots, and unless it's your school, your probably not calling the shots. I figure we're talking about a choice that's not much of a choice. My point was to dismantle the current system so that individual could make choices -- in education and elsewhere. Thus, others wouldn't be calling the shots -- at least, not in any meaningful way. You might disagree, but imagine you have a school and you can't fund it coercive and you can't force people to attend. You might decide on the curriculum and decor, but if you don't attract funding and students, none of this will matter, no? Another analogy -- hopefully, one that won't meet with your disapproval. Imagine a local restaurateur tells me he calls the shots in his eatery. Certainly, in some sense he does, but he can't force me to eat there. I, ultimately, call the shots on where and what I'll eat. Why not the same for education? Or put another way: why should freedom of choice be the rule in eating -- surely, one of the most important things in life -- and not in education? Children should all learn when the American revolution occurred, or The Civil war was fought between the North and the South? or that in math 2+2=4? If these are true things, then yes I hope that they are forcibly and coercively taught to those who, by choice, choose to go to public schooling institutions. Then you admit your contradiction and ammend your statement: you do want to forcibly teach the truth? Again, how does this make you different than the Soviets or any other group of coercers? Didn't they believe they knew the truth. And, furthermore, didn't they believe it was right to compell people? The educational system and the federal takeover of education is not something that just happened for no reason. I'm not sure where you think I maintain it just happened. The trend has been, for a long time, for there to be ever more regulation of life. This trend is uneven and, happily, freedom has expanded in some areas (think of, e.g., how laws against homosexuality are mostly dead today), but there's still a growing trend elsewhere -- especially in many areas of so called economic activities and in education. The last is not a good sign since people who are educated by the state or via state mandated curricula and standards are likely to be educated for the state. This means, educated if not to be obedient servants at least educated to be ignorant of any tools to use against the state. The trend is usually reversed either via state avoidance (as in black markets) or when states fall. A recent example combining both seems to be the collapse of the Soviet Empire. State avoidance increased and the imperial state actually collapsed. History is not just a linear progression of statism from less to more. Your basic assumption appears to be that it's okay to initiate force. Am I wrong here? My view on standards remains: as long as they're not coerced, they're okay. If people can freely adopt or disregard them, I have no problem. I also believe this would work best in the long run -- as people who have a chance to adopt those standards they felt worked for them. I see no reason why this wouldn't work in education and see the current focus on national standards as a panacea (for education, for the asset markets, and for a host of other areas) as merely another example of how many people prefer coercive fixes to problems. I also find it laughable when I think of the federal government being involved in this. Look at Amtrak, the Post Office, the FRS, and the federally-backed mortgage corporations. These are examples of how the federal government operates and yet well meaning people (or so it seems; maybe they really don't mean well, which would explain much) appear to believe that the federal government will somehow behave otherwise when it comes to education. Ho-hum.
  15. Is the illiteracy part of your act as "Herb Sewell"? Of do you actually not know how to spell "there"? Just curious. JR Wouldn't this be a usage and not a spelling error? Their isn't any their their. Their! --Brant actually THEIR is Know, they're isn't.
  16. Dan, I just looked him up and, frankly, I have been more interested in stuff based on cognitive neuroscience or social experiments in my research. I'm in a career change. I'm migrating to Internet marketing and I don't have much interest in things that don't result in sales or won elections or things like that at this point. The forum already sucks up enough of my time. From a quick scan of of the Wikipedia article on Neil Postman, my preliminary impression is that his life work's theme is "bitching about information technology." My opinion might change if and when I read his stuff, but for now, he doesn't look like he can teach me anything to make my Internet marketing business more successful. In other words, I'm working on figuring out what works in the actual market I have to deal with before I start putting in a lot of time investigating why I don't like it. The books I mentioned work in terms of mass audience--with measurable, repeatable results. By results, I mean sales and won elections and things like that. Even when I want to combat this (like with the politics thing), I am focusing on what makes mass persuasion tick--and learning it from the people who make the ticking methods and their sources--so I know what to target. Michael This should probably be another thread, but have you tested the "measurable, repeatable results" against other hypotheses? What is meant by this is trying to avoid hypotheses like Hallam did X and got Y and Filicia did X and got Y, therefore, X causes Y when, in fact, some other factor(s) might be involved and actually have had a more decisive impact? (This is not criticism of any specific work you've cited.)
  17. Is the illiteracy part of your act as "Herb Sewell"? Of do you actually not know how to spell "there"? Just curious. JR Wouldn't this be a usage and not a spelling error?
  18. http://www.thefreemanonline.org/in-brief/money-induces-states-to-embrace-national-school-standards Also, see the link to http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/in-praise-of-educational-pluralism/
  19. Yes, well put. In Rand's and other individualists' terms, autonomy is about where the locus of control is: in the individual or not. It's not about, say, being able to farm your land, bake your bread, make your clothes, and living on a rocky island off Scotland without relying on anyone else for anything. Often the "hermit" image is raised to bash individualism as if the choice were living like the hermit or living in society and, thereby, giving up any claims to autonomy.
  20. Right. And living in society implies you're not "autonomous" in the sense of being completely alone and not involved in any interaction with others. It seems to me Herb is accepting the caricature of autonomy and of individualism that's accepted by most sophomoric thinkers. That is, that one can't be an autonomous individual unless one is completely cut off from everyone else -- if not everything else. But individualism is really about how people in society can and should get along; the problem of individual autonomy à la individualism (as in Rand's views or in those of other individualists) doesn't arise unless it's in society. (This is akin to how one need bring up or worry about property rights if there are no conflicts over material things.)
  21. Brant, The 50's is only a small part of it. Actually this stuff goes back to WWI and developed from there up to today. This documentary series, The Century of the Self, was produced in 2002 for BBC and won a butt-load of awards. It covers before WWI and goes up through the Clinton years. There are some recent books that I have been studying that take the concepts of appealing to consumer emotions and the consumer subconscious that are even more sophisticated--many based on cognitive neuroscience. And there are oodles of repeatable experiments that back this stuff up (other than massive sales and won elections). Here are a few such books. Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by Martin Lindstrom Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do by Clotaire Rapaille Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition) by Robert B. Cialdini Who am I? The 16 Basic Desires that Motivate Our Actions and Define Our Personalities by Steven Reiss 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman That's not all, of course. There are works on hypnosis and NLP, copywriting, etc. I just finished the following book and, although it has not yet been incorporated by the marketing gurus, I have no doubt it will be. It's a hell of a good book (by a Yale professor), albeit I had some reservations about some of Bloom's interpretations of the experiments and about some omissions. How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like by Paul Bloom On this last, you can even see him in a video interview with an ex-Objectivist Will Wilkinson <snip> I could go on, but that's enough name dropping. (I really have studied all that stuff recently, though, and you should see what's on my To Do list.) This stuff works and fuels the modern market, politics, media and just about anywhere else public influence is used. Michael Have you read any of Neil Postman's books on the subject? I'd still be careful of seeing this as too simple -- as if someone can merely apply these methods and obtain whatever she or he wants.
  22. Is this just your way of telling me I'm wasting my efforts?
  23. I didn't focus on the Soviet system of torture and murder, but merely that of central planning. But if it bothers you so much, let's leave it aside. Fine, like the US military. (NIKE, if you mean the clothes maker, is not a coercive entity -- to my knowledge: it doesn't use coercion to get or keep customers. The military, however, essentially relies on coercion for its funding and continuance -- and is, in fact, an instrument of coercion for the US government.) Correct me if I'm wrong: you were advocating against local control of schools and for continuance of the public school system -- just one with your preferred curriculum. If so, then the essential similarity with your view and those of, say, the US military is coercive enforced of a given plan. What did you divine my intentions as? Merely curious... Perceived choice? How does that differ from choice? If someone else calls the shots, then you have no choice, no? But the thing you fear -- that some religious group might takeover and force feed kids their version of history, biology, etc. -- is easy under the current system: they have merely to capture the state (i.e., get control of the state). The thing you fear is partly caused by the present system. I have no problem arguing for "an imagined future where there is no state control of education." (And there was a real past with no state control of education, so it's not societies have always had states that have always had their hands in education. Even the US didn't have government control of education for a large chunk of its history.) I see the issue a bit different than you. I don't start out thinking that freedom is optional and then look at the problem. Granted, I can entertain that idea, but when I look at the world I see that it's actual control that hasn't worked. And I see, as Rand and others did long before me, that those who see some problem rarely question that the problem might be caused by the controls and not by the remaining freedom. Surely, you see this in economic controls where some problem, real or imagined, is used to justify controls (think of, e.g., rent control, minimum wage laws, or calls for equal pay) and then when these controls create new problems ever more controls are advocated. (A fine example of this is the current recession: caused by meddling in the housing and credit markets, few are advocating getting rid of regulations and most are calling for (and have partly gotten) merely more regulations -- as if the problem were no regulation and as if the new regulations will somehow give regulators to foresee and forestall the next economic crisis.) Those options do exist now, but take homeschooling. That exists today because people "imagined [a] future" where parents could take more control over their child's education. This is almost the complete opposite of the model you advocate. It's one of rampant choice -- albeit the government still sets standards and tries to minimize the impact. (And, notably, the government still taxes homeschooling parents to pay for public education.) And the world is not standing still. While you might think these choices will always remain, it's possible that the government might clamp down on homeschooling (and even private schools) reducing the amount of choices available. I'm of a different opinion. I think the problem is that public mandatory schooling is the problem. As long as it exists, there will be a political football for different special interest groups to fight over for control of standards, curricula, and school monies (don't think those teachers unions and administrators are not motivated by financial considerations to a large degree). As for standards, as I said before, if they're not coerced, I'm fine with them. But any government system is going to involve coercive standards. Surely, you can see that? There are huge disagreements on any topic, including history. The problem is likely to be, as public educators might try to avoid these, they will present fairly bland "politically correct" versions of each topic. This will educate anyone, but make people think they understand a subject when, at best, they've memorized some facts, dates, and names. (As an aside, I always find it funny when some kid is presented on TV as intelligent because he's memorized all the presidents. This is no small feat, but it doesn't evince intelligence so much as a good memory and, maybe, an obsession with trivia.) As for teachers doing as they want in the classroom, wouldn't this go against standards? I'm not a teacher, but were I teaching, say, American history what would this amount to? If I have a standard set by you to follow, then either I follow or I don't. If I don't, and you don't mind, why all the hullabaloo about standards if they can so easily be set aside? And if a teacher can set them aside, why not a student or a school? Haven't you clearly contradicted yourself? You want standards and those standards will be coercively enforced, no? If so, then you are for forcibly teaching people what you believe to be true, no? I'm also afraid of millions of kids being taught exactly the same thing by the same institution. What do you think that will result in? Creative, independent thinkers? Or stunted, dependent subjects? Talking to people I run into daily, I see, sadly, many more of the latter and few of the former. Certainly, some of this might be due to factors other than public schooling, but I can't help but think that public schooling hasn't made things better. "God is silent. Now if only we could get Man to shut up." -- Woody Allen
  24. Sorry to hear and hope you make it through what must be a very difficult time.
  25. The important thing, for me, is the essentials. Your views on how education should be run are like how the Soviets felt the economy should be run: top-down with one general plan. That's how I deployed the analogy. I'd hoped with such a comparison, you wouldn't so much bicker about the comparison but either agree that it's valid or show me why your views here are really not so centralized and authoritarian. I don't know if it's correct or incorrect. (And this is not from a general ignorance. I've read a few books on education in America and its history.) I also seriously doubt you do or most people weighing in on this issue do. I think many people just uncritically assume public education worked or worked well at one time and then it broke. Further, they seem to believe that if public education just went back to being like it was before it broke that all would be fine. There seem to be several assumptions packed in there. First is that we'd all be better off if everyone were taught the same version of history. Second, that somehow competing voices will survive despite this approved version being taught. Third, I'm just guessing is that history is already settled -- that it's merely a matter of teaching the correct history rather than that it might be the case that it's unsettled. Do you see the danger of everyone being taught by the same institution (viz., public schools), the same history -- even if alternative voices aren't suppressed? (Just how alternatives are to be treated is going to be a big problem. I can just imagine an official list of approved alternative views being allowed and mainly ridiculed. I recall my high school American History class, where I voiced the alternative view that the central bank, perhaps, caused the Great Depression and the New Deal only made things worse. How would that view compete with the official view being taught -- which, I presume, almost everyone taught in US public schools today is taught?) Finally, even were there a correct version of history, there's no reason to coerce everyone into being taught it. Don't you agree? Or are you one of those people who believes it's okay to forcibly teach people the truth? (If so, don't you think everyone who wants to force others to do something -- whether be taught a version of history, follow a production plan, not look at porn, or not smoke pot -- believes they know the truth or what's best for others and that this justifies their coercion? Why are you different than any of them?)