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Everything posted by Peterkin

  1. I watch people in public places. It's a long-standing habit. I'm interested in how they dress, what they do with hair and tattoos, how they interact. In the last 60 years, not one single person I was observing reacted in any way.
  2. It wouldn't matter either way: if he's elected by some means or another, he'll cancel the constitution anyway.
  3. Religiosity may be divided into two parts: internal and external. The internal aspect, what one believes is unlikely to have any effect on evolution. Doctrines can be both advantageous to a society and detrimental at the same time. The external is practice. Ritual, shared activities, the fraternity of common belief binds a community and gives it a huge advantage over a less cohesive community.
  4. I don't use wiki as a reference very often. I use it as starting point for research. The relevant names, dates, events and places are there, and some connections I might not otherwise have made, and usually pretty accurate numbers. From there, I can decide how to follow up those leads on more authoritative sites.
  5. It's a normal side-effect of being social beings. We generally wish for the approval and respect of our fellow humans - especially our superiors, peers and potential mates. Parents want their children to be successful in work, social situations and love, so they train their children in the niceties of their culture - its mores, manners, public demeanour, polite discourse, courtesy and protocol. People who can't or choose not to behave 'properly' are not well liked; other people don't want to marry them, be their friend, work with them, help them or support their ambitions. If you fail in or reject the major protocols, you become an outcast. In the more trivial aspects of public demeanour, people just laugh at you or frown at you. Farting in company is embarrassing. Dribbling sauce on your shirt when you're on a date is embarrassing. Showing up in a lumberjack shirt for a wedding reception is embarrassing. Simply because these things show you as incompetent or ignorant or just plain rude, and we don't like to be seen as those things. As for one's preference in clothing, we're a lot more liberal than we used to be. There have been times when the way a person presented himself - or worse, herself - in public could be viewed as a crime or breach of religious tenets. Wearing clothing intended for another gender can be considered in some segments of society a breach of decency. Wearing something outdated or inappropriate to the venue is not a breach of anything but aesthetic taste or fashion. Wearing something that doesn't suit you is nothing more that a disservice to your own attractiveness. Other people may look, may even snicker, but they don't condemn you.
  6. Okay by me, but you're going the wrong way around. You have to know the land and its economic potential, the population, its culture and its needs before you can design a government that will work in the long term. You've seen enough conquering nations try to foist their own idea of governance on other countries and it doesn't take. The successful countries have had a stable population for centuries and longer, and they hammered out their present system slowly, over time. If that's the way you intend to go, read their history first. Or any history.
  7. Before you can tax anyone, the money must first exist. There has to be an economy in place. First, you have an territory with a particular location, climate and geography. Next, you have in your territory a specific number of people of a particular ethnicity, demographic and culture. Start with the basics. Google Earth can help locate your fictional country. Once you have the place, you'll know the resources, settlement, energy and transportation options. Then, you have to invent or borrow a history for that nation. Was it always a sovereign nation, or is it and emancipated colony - if the latter, by what means was independence gained? Or is it uninhabited and you're leading a diaspora to settle it? Have you considered the form of government? You need a constitution to lay out the principles on which the country is governed. If you really want to do this thought-project, think like a world-builder.
  8. Look at it piece by piece. You buy hydro from the utility at $10/kw/hr whenever you need it. Your neighbour buys hydro from the same utility at $10/kw/hr whenever he needs it. You sell excess electricity to the utility at $7.50. Your neighbour may or may not sell excess electricity to the utility for $7.50. All separate transactions. The utility company has overhead costs for infrastructure, maintenance and repair, vehicles, personnel, administration and billing, taxes etc. So a 75% share for the supplier sound like a good deal. You have very little overhead, once the infrastructure is in place, but you may have to pay income tax on the money you receive from the utility. But then the charges can get a little whiffy: They may tack onto your bill a 'delivery charge', a surcharge, equipment rental, retirement of their debt or whatever extras. I don't know where you are, but in Ontario, the extras are considerably more than what we pay for the electricity we use. (Our solar array doesn't generate excess; it's just enough for our needs, except in winter and bad weather, when we fall back on the grid.)
  9. I don't know where you get the $5.00. They're giving you $7.50 for generating the power and keeping $2.50 to cover the cost of delivery and maintenance of the infrastructure. Doesn't sound like a particularly bad deal, if this is surplus power you're selling. If you sold eggs or basketware or jam to a wholesaler, your cut of the retail price would probably be less.
  10. I said nothing about what I believe. I responded to your OP title and your posts. But I'm stopping now.
  11. He's the village idiot in your story? Okay. The bible isn't nonsense: it's a collection of historical records, ancient legal codes, anecdotes, family sagas, scraps of mythology, rants by prophets, morality tales, the narrative of a people the way they wished to depict themselves, and added on as an afterthought, the story of a character who may have been an individual reformer or a composite of many. It includes examples of excellent literature, as well as numbingly tedious census lists. Those who don't believe the supernatural nonsense can still be aware of the value religions have for believers. Obviously. But that wasn't the issue here. My objection is not to your beliefs but to your projecting them onto Nietzsche.
  12. No. I simply disagree with it. (I don't give negative points) I don't need your permission to feel sorry for someone. We don't. You do. Repeatedly, and I don't need your permission to find that characterization annoying. And he was entirely irrelevant to the topis. If intellectually challenged people are happy believing nonsense or making useless gestures, nobody's trying to stop them. But that doesn't change the fact that Nietzsche didn't predict a second coming and was hostile to religion generally. It's not hard to believe whatever your father says when you're 4 years old. Most people don't get disillusioned with their parents' religion until age 10 or 12. Some just keep waving at cars till they die, and that's all right too.
  13. Things don't necessarily only become true when you say them. Nietzsche suffered from poor physical and mental health, was lonely and misunderstood all his life, unloved and far too intelligent for his environment. I can feel sorry for him if i want to. By all means, he should keep waving. Why is this troubling your mind in connection to either Nietzsche or the putative second coming of a putative Jesus?
  14. Please leave the poor man alone! He had no use for religion and he still has no use for religion, and you will not succeed in making him religious. He was trying to give people a meaning for life, a goal to strive for, rather than the despair he expected them to fall into when their gods are proved illusory.
  15. Where? From whom? On what platform? What, exactly, is being claimed by these unnamed persons? It sounds as if the availability of an oral contraceptive has changed how all women (most women? a statistical majority of women?) respond to men. What does this entail? Was there one particular type of man that women in general found attractive for 6000 years? May we know that that type was? Is it then the case, that from 1960 to the present, women in general ceased to be attracted to that archetype and selected a different one? What is the new preference? I think you may.
  16. A superior form of man; a perfect self-consistent being whose vitality and creativity are not bound by petty limitations; a man in no need of psychological crutches, illusions or delusions (like the supernatural); whose intellect and will are beyond common moral constraints or common human concerns. The superman doesn't need saving; he has no sins to repent and no gods to answer to. Transcendence of the 19th century human specimen does not require redemption; it just mean moving beyond, to the next phase.
  17. Sure. Whatever. I should have known we're not in Basel anymore. I dunno. Certainly not Nietzsche. When somebody doesn't have an argument, they usually trot out the H card, often apropos of nothing previously mentioned.
  18. According to Nietzsche (cripes, he had a difficult name!) yes, it does. Almost no-one is capable of greatness, but we should strive to improve the human race so that some day, great men could exist. And I still don't believe he said that a great man has to tell people they're not equal - I think he knew they already knew this. *sigh!!!*
  19. You never know! All kinds of people come up with all kinds of wonderfully unique descriptive words - either because the context is or at some time was significant in their culture, or because one of their poets or jesters coined one that everybody considered worth repeating. There is a Hungarian two-word phrase for spilling food down the front of one's clothes. There is no way anyone could ever have thought that was important to note, but somebody said it and it's funny, so people keep using it. I've heard there is a word in Japanese for the urge old people get to pinch a baby's cheek. It's not that significant, but somebody noticed it and named it. People talk about feelings in many ways, but we share the feelings pretty much all around the world.
  20. Not bleed so much as shade and commingle. Only the very urgent, overpowering emotions are ever pure and simple - fear, rage, grief. Hate is made of several identifiable emotions, plus some personal over/under tones. That feeling of glut when eating more than you really want is accompanied by other things. Childhood guilt over wasting food [undertone] - yes, even the unenjoyment itself produces some guilt: You should appreciate what you have. Rue: Why did I leave this stupid potato till the end? A tinge of shame: Why did I take more than I needed? and embarrassment: "Is anyone looking?" A touch of anxiety: am I becoming a compulsive eater? Will I put on weight? A little bit of anger at the adult who made you feel guilty and at yourself for being unable to resist their influence. I'm not aware that there is an English word for it, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Japanese or Icelanders or somebody had one. For just about everything people can feel, somebody, somewhere has invented an expression. Almost certainly. I know I've had it. I'll respect that, but it's a good one! Now I'll go analyze this feeling I have of wishing I could steal it, even though I have nothing to stick the title on, and resisting the temptation to do something that wouldn't benefit me.
  21. Did he? Where? I can't for a second imagine him saying man/person; it's man or nothing. Not sure he was such a big fan of the kind of 'greatness' that tells others they are inferior. But he did go on with considerable heat about how we ought to strive toward producing true greatness. I don't think Dawkins is opposed to that idea.
  22. Which discussion? It's relevant to the discussion of some things - like the prevalence of bigotry in human cultures. It's relevant to the psychology of mass manipulation and self-esteem. "Science", whoever she is, might not give a shit, and it shouldn't matter to physicists and chemists, but no scientist in the fields of medicine, psychology or anthropology can ignore it.
  23. I have no argument with that. He was not nearly as hyperbolic as Hitchens, and far more personable in the screen.
  24. Hence "connotes" rather than "means". When people talk about delusions, they're not usually talking about religious faith. I do think Dawkins generally overstated the harmful effect of faith - but maybe not by much. It's not simple lack of proof of the existence of god(s): it's a preponderance of evidence contradictory to each particular claim of each particular religion; it's the implausibility of the stories in holy scriptures; it's the whiff of self-interest from the beneficiaries of religious observance. Yes, it can be considered reasonable to cling to illusions when reality is grim, and religion is not the only illusion we cling to.
  25. I think he overstates the diagnosis. Delusion connotes mental illness. Belief in the supernatural, or in some Greater Good, or Higher Purpose or Ultimate Truth is quite normal in humans; they can be perfectly functional, even rational, in all aspects of life that do not impinge on their faith. I'm with Freud, that it's a response to distress over one's lack of power over the world: gods and magic give us the illusion of control.
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