Starving Child in the Wilderness Revisited


Michael Stuart Kelly

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If the "model" does not respect what is then it is-not a model of it.

It's real easy for people to simply claim to have modeled reality by claiming that man was created by some kind of intelligent designer. But if that claim is not in accordance with what actually exists in reality then it cannot actually be a model of it.

Yes it is, that's why I said some methods of modeling, like religion, are highly speculative. But no field is immune from speculation, but some try to minimize it. People have been arguing for thousands of years about 'what is' so this is a dead end, as became apparent with advances in quantum mechanics. Getting people to agree about "what is" is impossible, the best we can do is make models and compare them to our experience. Even our most exact sciences have to make assumptions.

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I did not meant to say there are not many definitions for individual words floating around. I did mean to say there is only one rational definition for each word.

Well that is manifestly false. Just look at your use of the word "individual" here, which means "a distinct thing". This is one rational definition, and compare to "individual" as "a human being"--another rational definition.

Shayne

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If the "model" does not respect what is then it is-not a model of it.

You're trying to ascribe a rational definition to the term "model", however, the coiners of that term have nothing rational in mind when they use it. It's a pure Kantian construct meant to convey a dichotomy between the alleged noumenal and phenomenal realms.

It's real easy for people to simply claim to have modeled reality by claiming that man was created by some kind of intelligent designer. But if that claim is not in accordance with what actually exists in reality then it cannot actually be a model of it.

This is a very healthy reality-oriented reaction but it will get you nowhere in an argument with the "modeler" mentality.

Shayne

Why be concerned about what Kant has to say?

Under Objectivism if someone says they have "modeled" reality that claim needs to be supported by what reality actually is; otherwise the claim is false.

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If the "model" does not respect what is then it is-not a model of it.

It's real easy for people to simply claim to have modeled reality by claiming that man was created by some kind of intelligent designer. But if that claim is not in accordance with what actually exists in reality then it cannot actually be a model of it.

Yes it is, that's why I said some methods of modeling, like religion, are highly speculative. But no field is immune from speculation, but some try to minimize it. People have been arguing for thousands of years about 'what is' so this is a dead end, as became apparent with advances in quantum mechanics. Getting people to agree about "what is" is impossible, the best we can do is make models and compare them to our experience. Even our most exact sciences have to make assumptions.

OK! But what religion does in this regard is to begin with nothing. Then it tries to advance ideas from that perspective. And they end up with absurdity. Since Religious "modeling" is based on the existence of nothing; that is what it produces - nothing. When nothing is modeled - no model exists. To model reality from a religious perspective is a contradiction in terms - it cannot be done.

At least science begins with something and then advances ideas from that perspective. When science "models" reality the resultant is theoretically rational.

A scientific model is called a theory where a religious model is called absurdity.

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I did not meant to say there are not many definitions for individual words floating around. I did mean to say there is only one rational definition for each word.

Well that is manifestly false. Just look at your use of the word "individual" here, which means "a distinct thing". This is one rational definition, and compare to "individual" as "a human being"--another rational definition.

Shayne

So what is your point?

You don't agree that individual words exist or is it that you don't agree that individual humans exist?

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So what is your point?

You don't agree that individual words exist or is it that you don't agree that individual humans exist?

Well quite clearly the answer is both. Neither words exists nor humans nor Kant nor models nor any chance of ever communicating with you on anything.

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Why be concerned about what Kant has to say?

Why be concerned when my point goes over your head?

Are you Kant?

OMFG

Are you praying to God for guidance? That's not very objective!

You made a reference to Kant. I simply asked why you are concerned about what Kant might say. As an Objectivist your only interest ought to be what reality is and how you relate to it.

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So what is your point?

You don't agree that individual words exist or is it that you don't agree that individual humans exist?

Well quite clearly the answer is both. Neither words exists nor humans nor Kant nor models nor any chance of ever communicating with you on anything.

Why are you becoming upset? I can only respond to what you're actually saying.

You tried to prove "individual" has more that one rational meaning by trying to show it applies differently to words than it does to humans. If you can do that - go ahead.

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A scientific model is called a theory where a religious model is called absurdity.

That may seem true nowadays but at one time religious scholars were the most knowledgeable people around. I find the best way to look at this is that religion may be thought of as primitive science and science as modern religion.

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A scientific model is called a theory where a religious model is called absurdity.

That may seem true nowadays but at one time religious scholars were the most knowledgeable people around. I find the best way to look at this is that religion may be thought of as primitive science and science as modern religion.

Which is why religion jailed Galileo...

Religion is only about one thing: mass control of sheep.

Shayne

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Which is why religion jailed Galileo...

Religion is only about one thing: mass control of sheep.

Science seeks to control as well. Eat healthy and exercise! Why? Because science says so. Objectivism says embrace rational self-interest, etc. All of our systems seek to change behaviour, that is nothing new.

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A scientific model is called a theory where a religious model is called absurdity.

That may seem true nowadays but at one time religious scholars were the most knowledgeable people around. I find the best way to look at this is that religion may be thought of as primitive science and science as modern religion.

You can choose to look at it that way if you wish to but I don't see the value in doing that. This is because religion is not based in knowledge, its based in belief.

Notice how its possible to believe anything. To possess knowledge requires a sensual stimulation. Believers cannot physically reference what they are talking about so they simply ask others to believe they can.

However I agree that some science is beginning to look more like religion than science.

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A scientific model is called a theory where a religious model is called absurdity.

That may seem true nowadays but at one time religious scholars were the most knowledgeable people around. I find the best way to look at this is that religion may be thought of as primitive science and science as modern religion.

Which is why religion jailed Galileo...

Religion is only about one thing: mass control of sheep.

Shayne

And if you would rather not believe what religions is telling you the religious will gladly force you to act as if you do.

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Which is why religion jailed Galileo...

Religion is only about one thing: mass control of sheep.

Science seeks to control as well. Eat healthy and exercise! Why? Because science says so. Objectivism says embrace rational self-interest, etc. All of our systems seek to change behaviour, that is nothing new.

That's simply not true. Science discovers how ones diet impacts ones health and then lets one decide what to do with that information.

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That's simply not true. Science discovers how ones diet impacts ones health and then lets one decide what to do with that information.

We need to be careful here. 'Science' doesn't tell people how to behave, scientists do. Same with religion, the theory that God exists is one thing, the attempts of religious leaders to use this theory to influence people is another thing.

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That's simply not true. Science discovers how ones diet impacts ones health and then lets one decide what to do with that information.

We need to be careful here. 'Science' doesn't tell people how to behave, scientists do. Same with religion, the theory that God exists is one thing, the attempts of religious leaders to use this theory to influence people is another thing.

But notice how religious leaders MUST tell people how they ought to be acting. This is because the basis of their ideas cannot be known. For example: I have no way to determine how you think I ought to be acting other than you telling me. When I place my actions under your perspective as to how I ought to act; then, you MUST tell me how to act.

Science does not do that. Science simply presents information about what can be know. It is my responsibility to verify whether what they are presenting is information or is fancy (if I have the tools). If I don't have the tools then I am left with belief. Meaning I can believe the scientist is telling me the truth and then act in accordance with it - or not. But that is my choice. Science does not tell people how to act. The only purpose of science is to uncover information about what is known to exist and present that information for consideration by others.

When a person says "smoking is bad for your health" this is scientific fact.

When a person says "stop smoking because its bad for your health" this is not science - and it matters not if that person is a scientist.

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  • 13 years later...

I was looking up something about a place I lived, called Halsey Circle and I found this old gem. Peter

From: Ellen Stuttle To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Re: abortion EM, LFL, PinkCrash, Morg Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 01:13:02 -0400. Roger says: >... the state, government, private agencies -- these are all ~people~.

Debbie replies by repeating her image of the agencies designed to protect children as being "accountable to no one and operat[ing] according to no established rules at all."  "They do as they please," Debbie says, "and it often comes down to a raw struggle for power -- the state against the parents and the facts of the case be damned."

I think that Debbie has had some experience in her own past with such agencies which leaves her negatively inclined toward all of them.  I also think that there's considerable variability from place to place in what child-welfare agencies are like. But I want to interject here a word of personal experience with one such agency.

When I first moved to Connecticut in the mid-80s, I had an office-temp job for a while working for the State Department of Child Welfare.  I went to the job with both curiosity and trepidation:  I was rather expecting to find that the social workers were similar to Catherine Halsey in *The Fountainhead.* That isn't what I found.  Instead, with one exception in a department of some twenty-five social workers, plus support staff, every person there genuinely cared about children and was genuinely concerned to help children.  The terrific frustration which was experienced was that often legal mechanisms were too slow; there were cases where it was well known by the social workers that a child was being abused, but it could be very difficult to remove the child from parental custody.

One such case was comparable to the one Barbara described: an infant boy who was being beaten and starved by a half-senile grandmother.  I won't describe the details.  The situation was a race against time, trying to get a court-order fast enough. The race was lost; the boy died.  And the grief felt by those who had been trying to save him was deep.

I tell this story to illustrate the truth of Roger's observation: the people employed by child-welfare agencies are people.  They aren't THE STATE, faceless and monolithic.  Although I'm sure that there's variability from locale to locale in the quality of those employed by such agencies, it's stereotyping to think that all of them are the monsters whom Debbie paints them as being. Ellen S.

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