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Everything posted by lemur

  1. I think it is also important to realize that republicanism was feared for years in the democrat-dominated south because it was the party of Abraham Lincoln and anti-slavery. At some point the democrat party started losing working class whites who didn't want to support government support programs that that stereotyped as being for poor blacks. So a certain amount of fear and prejudice migrated to the right for that reason, which would explain the Islamophobia and ridiculing Obama for racial reasons such as nationality, etc. You should realize, though, that the republican party started as the party that didn't fear ending slavery, either for economic or racial reasons.
  2. My impression is that the ideologies of the left are inherently more fear-laden in that they treat social-political problems as facts of nature that are inevitable and can only be addressed using government protection. The problem is that, although the left is wrong that such problems can't be mitigated without government intervention, in practice they become right when self-governance ends up failing. Now, the question is who is responsible for spreading the ideologies that discourage people from solving their problems through self-governance? Ultimately it is these ideologies, i.e. that individuals are inherently weak and vulnerable, that promote left-type governance strategies; but it would be conspiracy theory to say that it was part of left politics to spread these ideologies just to garner support for left governance, wouldn't it?
  3. Insanity is best hidden by conformity. Truly sane people can be confident in independent thought and action.
  4. Internet discussion forums are basically a medium with unlimited bandwidth. Therefore there is ample room for all possible forms of language-use and expression. Why exterminate the robust use of grammar, vocabulary, and conceptual sophistication to imitate writing that you could use in another discussion forum where it's popular? I have no problem with people using abbreviations, etc. in any forum, but it becomes a problem when you start suggesting that other writing styles should be curtailed.
  5. Pioneer, I don't know if your analogy ultimately applies "in practice" but I found it very insightful and plausible. Typically any time better safety features are added to a technology, it's usage becomes more reckless. More cars have been hit by trains since the introduction of the flashing lights and automatic barriers. People drive faster and get in more accidents since the introduction of seat belts, air-bags, etc. Why wouldn't the same be true of abortion? There were always techniques for aborting pregnancies before it was legal and medicalized, but legalization and medicalization has added some safety that wasn't there before, I think. So why wouldn't you expect that at least some people would behave more recklessly because of an enhanced sense of security in doing so? On the other hand, would it really be worth it to drive it underground again to make people more cautious with their sexual risk-taking? The part that is impractical and very sad, imo, is that the fact that so many people fight for abortion rights must give some young people the idea that abortion is not a potentially traumatic experience (I know I never thought it was when I was young). So I think some young people almost long to go through an abortion thinking that it will prove that they are really adults, but then once they actually have to deal with the emotions of it they realize that it's not ever something you would do if you could avoid it - but by then it's too late. I don't know if this is the case for everyone, since I have heard some people say that abortion can be totally non-traumatic but I know at least some people go through a lot of (post traumatic) stress and feelings of guilt,etc. and it would just be nice for those people if they had some forewarning.
  6. Are people getting that the problem with tautology is that internal consistence/coherence is mistaken for truth? A lie can be internally consistent, which is why it works as a lie. Does internal inconsistency necessarily mean that something isn't true? I don't think so. It could just mean that the truth appears strange within the interpretive framework that is being used to make sense of it. If gravity was defined as the force the causes things to fall to the ground, and the moon's orbit was questioned, it would seem inconsistent that the moon was in fact affected by Earth's gravity. So inconsistence need not indicate falsity. It could just be that the theory hasn't progressed into a form that results in internal consistency among observables.
  7. At the time I read Karl Popper's critique of Marxist analysis for being tautological, it bothered me because I found Marxian social-economic analysis very useful. However, I did work to understand what tautology means and why it is unscientific. Popper said that if one would understand Marx's theory of class conflict as the cause of social problems, any news item could be explained in terms of class-conflict. Therefore, Popper came up with falsificationism as the measure of good scientific theories. Einstein's theory, for example he claimed, was good because he provided a clear test that would falsify the theory if it didn't pass the test. Since Marx provides no means of falsifying his theory of class conflict, Popper considered it unfalsifiable and therefore unscientific. This doesn't mean that Marx's ideas are completely worthless; just that they are not scientific in the sense of being testable.
  8. The idea of scientists splitting their time between science and other productive activities is something that I've thought about a lot. After all, what are professors and students really doing with their hands when they're sitting in classes, seminars, and meetings? The problem with this, however, is that there are many scientists who so abhor the idea of performing productive labor in addition to their scientific work that they will expand the practical aspects of their science to unnecessary proportions to avoid losing their science-based status to a professional one in another field. The problem with putting the creative-type scientists to work and letting them do science in their free-time is ONLY that many people will stop listening to them because they will think that if they aren't a distinguished faculty member at a prestigious university that their ideas are worthless. Then, science turns into the blind leading the blind, or rather policy-makers and funding-controllers leading technicians without true critical theoretical oversight in their work. I'm most familiar with this in social science, where well-funded research tends to answer fairly theoretically naive questions using elaborate quantitative methods/models. That way, the scientists don't have to tell policy-makers they are theoretically naive and the policy-makers get to feel very secure in knowing that the simple answer to their simple question is backed by 20 pages of statistical quantification. So, while I agree that creative/theoretical science can be done in addition to other professional activities, I still think the problem is getting people to pay attention to it and learn from it. What's more, I don't think other scientists should be shielded from reducing their research activities to the minimum level necessary, even though doing so may put them in the same position as the creative/theoretical types. Science should not be about who is the best wizard of oz. But then politics and economy should also not be about eliminating science in order to get more corporate employees. Ultimately it is not only science that should be wrung out for excesses but corporate industry as well. The problem is that if every organization ran as efficiently as it possibly could, unemployment would reach extremely high percentages. In fact, industrial efficiency is the main reason science, management, and service sectors have grown so much in the first place. So, yes you can cut and restructure everything to maximize efficiency but by doing so you just end up in the same situation as before, with lots of people looking for work and not enough work to be done. That's just post-industrial economy. This should be obvious at this point now that the government has stepped into the role of financially backing the corporations so that they can avoid layoffs. All economy is at this point is a system for corporately managing people and distributing the means of consumption to them. You could dissolve the corporations, universities, government, and other organizations for managing resources and labor - and I would actually be quite interested in what the resulting freedom would produce. However, it makes no sense to expose the inefficiency of one institution without acknowledging a master plan to dissolve them all. Otherwise it's just people taking turns getting the blame for the economy as a whole being a people-management machine instead of a true productivity machine.
  9. That would explain both why Einstein's work was refreshingly unorthodox and why there would have been good reason to hide her contribution to them. After all, nothing is more damaging to the reception of an unorthodox theory than it coming from an institutionally delegitimized source. After all, as neutral and value-free as many credentialled scientists would like to believe they are, many still look at everything through the filtering lenses of peer-review. If they estimate that their peers would scoff at a physicist who pedals the work of someone who failed at the undergraduate level, they will refuse to pay serious attention to it. As I understand it, Einstein became rather isolated within the scientific community in his later years and I'm actually surprised he didn't get written off as a crackpot earlier too. I say this not because I doubt the strengths of his work but because I doubt the ability of academic institutions to allow good work to pass through the filter when it appears crackpottish. In other words, I think academia is more prone to convict the innocent when they look guilty than to recognize true merit in work of dubious appearance.
  10. First, to those who have explained why carbon is the most likely basis for life and why certain conditions are more hostile or favorable to protecting the chemical bonds, thanks. Sure, "they" might have discovered the same physical laws, etc. but the question is how they manage culture and divide labor. If they are security-conscious, they may keep their scientists separate from others in their populations and promote other kinds of culture to help other factions of the population specialize in other kinds of work. If they sent being to Earth, these being might be specialized in accomplishing a mission and lack any capacity for ethical restraint or open communication and philosophical reflection. In that case, they might just be totally instrumental in getting whatever it was that they came for and doing so with as little contact as possible. If they are into the power of covert operations, like so many humans are, I doubt their presence would even be noticed. That would be nice, but what if they were very ethnocentric, to the point of measuring terrestrial life in terms of deviation from their own planetary ecology, which they revered as being perfect? If they were intelligent photosynths, they might consider animal life barbaric and frightening and prefer to replace it with fungus and bacteria for its consumption and composting functions. They might want to genetically engineer terrestrial plants and trees with their own brain-type structures and communication mechanisms so that plant-life on both planets could exist in interactive harmony.
  11. Once hydrogen fusion is online as a source of power, it would generate helium, I think. I don't know how much helium, though. Now I've been reading that there are different methods of fusion that vary in energy output per unit fuel. I don't get how that's possible since I would think converting hydrogen to helium would always release a fixed amount of energy.
  12. How will I disguise my voice now when I call in fake pizza delivery orders?
  13. Olfactory communication would be so inefficient. Not only is smell slower than sound, it is even debatable whether the message will reach the receiver. I think the alien life forms would probably be some kinds of advanced bacterial colony with combined photosynthetic and digestive functioning.
  14. Freudianism is popular because people worship the ego and make everything about it. However, there are other approaches that question the ego and emphasize other forms of consciousness over egoism. Marx, for example, wrote about "species being," which is the ability for a worker to become completely immersed in their labor, to the point that they are not really conscious of themselves outside of their labor function. This is an enormously pleasurable state because self-consciousness is utterly transcended and replaced with total engrossment in one's creative labor. Many religions actually pathologize the ego. Buddhism, for example, sees it as a form of attachment. In Judeo-Christian mythology, it is the sin of pride which caused Lucifer to become opposed to God out of become enamored with his own beauty as God's best angel. By that logic, ego is the thing that seduces people out of faith in God to elevate their own selfishness to the primary importance. Why has the ego become so important in modern culture and freudian psychology? Imo, it is because a well-formed, well-defined ego facilitates many forms of social-control. Consider the use of resume's and personal references in business. Basically, this cultural practice encourages people to view everything they do professionally in terms of how it makes them look to potential employers. In other words, it's all about defining themselves as a worker instead of what they actually produced with their labor. While these dependent social disorder people sound like they have problems insofar as they refuse to exercise independent judgment and exercise their own will, I think it is false to claim they don't have an ego or that not elevating their own ego is pathological. For one, they probably have such an excessive ego that they refuse to risk criticism of it by making choices that they aren't sure about. Choosing one's own clothes, for example, carries with it the risk that people will criticize your clothing choices. So someone who refused to take this risk may very well be doing so to protect the sensitivity of their ego. This may be arguably pathological, but it is certainly not a lack of ego. I think it is hard to say what is pathological psychological because varying degrees of pathology are normal and even institutionalized in so many ways. Most people, for example, seem to organize all life decisions around managing their egos - to the point that they are not able to consider interests and needs outside themselves. That is certainly pathological, yet someone who has discovered this power to empathize with others, see things from their pov, and overweigh numerous interests in addition to their own, may be labeled pathological just because such is so uncommon in ego society.
  15. At first I was disappointed to hear this book had to do with the role of God or not in creating the universe. There are more interesting approaches to theology than that. However, when I realized the press release contained the statement that gravity alone was enough to result in the big bang, I began to wonder if the book actually addresses how gravitational force alone could result in the generation of matter and energy. I don't know if I'm interpreting the press releases right, but if that issue is addressed in the book, I would find it very interesting.
  16. Causation is a form of modeling. It is neither inherently existent nor non-existent in nature. In nature each event does what it does and leaves it open what will occur as a result of the consequences. Humans can analytically establish causal linkage as an abstraction. Animals can only do so as a practical consideration, e.g. when the dog knows not to pee on the rug or he'll get spanked. I don't think animals and most humans can differentiate between consequences that result from voluntary response and those that result from nature. For example, a dog can't distinguish between punishment and natural peril. If it gets very sick from eating something poisonous or just gets spanked for it, it just registers the pain. That is the basis for behaviorism. Only a sentient being can decipher causation as occurring naturally, I think.
  17. Not really. Some science is designed with a level of complexity that insulates it against critique except in its own terms. Then, by assenting to those terms the critic automatically must accept the paradigmatic basis of the theory. I'm afraid that most large scale systems approaches like evolution, global climate, macro-history, etc. work like that. We can argue until we're both blue in the face about the overall validity of any of these "sciences" but that's exactly the problem. They explain a scale that is too large to ever be directly observed so the discussions go on endlessly. Believe me, I wish they would. And eventually they probably will as a result of necessity. But in the mean time they don't have to and most surely they don't. I distinguish between authoritarian and democratic approaches to science. Democratic approaches plead their case on appeals to reason. Authoritarian science insists on its bases and conclusions with regard to the prestige and numbers of references and concurrence. In authoritarian science, the reviewers, leading experts, and/or disciplinary norms are sufficient cause to accept the validity of a theory or research. By this logic, there is nothing that is not natural selection. If nothing isn't natural selection, then everything is natural selection and you have a tautology. No, resource limitations could certainly create impetuses for various kinds of change. However, I don't see humanity or nature as a unified whole. Therefore, I don't think that any central top-down control of any of this is warranted, let alone possible. Ultimately, however, factions will compete for resources and it will most likely be those with the power not to evolve that restrict access to resources for those that want to. Eventually, however, even those with the power to avoid adapting will encounter resource scarcity and have to adapt or further decimate. As cynical as this makes me, I maintain hope that foresight will result in conservation and technological developments that will prevent the need for repressive population interventions. Maybe, but it's a very old game. People multiply and then fight over territory. Technologists and social engineers try to make the progress happen less violently, but it's always an uphill battle. Personally, I prefer to criticize waste and destruction and hope for efficiency of resource utilization that allows as much room for individual reproductive choices as possible. Obviously there are always moments when the 'surplus' population conflicts and destroys itself. This could be through killing or reproductive control. Still, I hope for advances that prevent the necessity of either.
  18. He sounds like a total social relativist. He needs to develop a personal sense of values and tastes and choose personality traits and culture for himself based on what HE wants and likes instead of on the desire to cater to the person/people he is with.
  19. There is authoritarian science, in which people submit to the authority of others as to what is true/false, valid/invalid. There is democratic science in which people subject knowledge to their own tests of reason and validity. Not only does politics fall outside of the regulatory frameworks of authoritarian science, it even falls outside of democratic science because people don't ultimately HAVE TO assent to reason. If they did, free market capitalism would look a lot different than it has evolved. I believe what you are advocating is called technocracy, but it's been a while since I've heard or used that term so I may be off with its meaning. I explained to you how humans use technology, wealth, and other social organization to insulate some people against tests of nature while exposing others. Those who are insulated may reproduce, and thus their traits may be carried forth and evolve, along with their culture, but that is not because they survived trials. It is because they protected themselves against having to endure such trials in the first place. What's more, they recruit others into their cultures of insulation causing those people to lose cultural skills that allow them to survive directly from nature, because such culture is considered 'primitive.' What are you talking about here?
  20. This whole debate hinges on defining what is meant by "bear no relation." Realities and their representations are indeed radically distinct from one another at the material level. This is the meaning of Rene' Magritte's famous painting, "ceci n'est pas une pipe." I.e. a picture of a pipe is not a pipe. Similarly words are not the things they name and, likewise, scientific models are not the realities they model. However, this does not mean that a one model's explanatory or predictive power can't be stronger than another's. The issue is whether you equate the representational power of a model with the model "bearing a relation to what reality is." Modeling takes place in the realm of theory, reality in the realm of practice. A simulation may resemble what it is supposed to simulate, but that doesn't mean it functions in any way like what it simulates.
  21. I am wondering if the inertia of particles with mass could be due to the motion of the electrons. Specifically, I wonder if an atom resists motion because the electrons are already orbiting at relativistic speeds and so when the atom has to move, the speed of the atom is added to the electrons at the point in their orbit where they go in the same direction as the atom is moving. In this sense, the electrons might resist acceleration in the direction of motion when moved. Because the amount of energy needed to increase the electron speed in the direction of motion is greater than that used while the electron is going in the opposite direction, the atom as a whole requires energy to accelerate. Is this a plausible link between relativism and the inertia of particles of matter generally? If not, why not? edit: could this also explain length-contraction if the electron orbits shorten in the direction of motion due to higher energy required than when they are moving perpendicular to the direction of motion? i.e. it is almost as if the electrons are encountering friction in the part of their orbit that goes in the same direction as the atom's motion. Also, why would the electrons require more energy to accelerate at relativistic speeds? Because of blue-shifting of their EM wake, which could resist compression due to the fixed propagation speed of the waves/photons?
  22. He was just trying to explain a concept with an analogy that you could picture fairly easily. Concepts are part of reality and you influenced this one negatively by eschewing it only because it was explained in the form of an analogy. Analogies are also part of reality, btw, unless you've narrowed your reality to a subset of the universal set of everything that exists.
  23. Oh, a statistical correlation? Well why didn't you just say so? Analogies involving flying pigs are right up there with unexplained statistical correlations on my list of convincing arguments, but both are still far below comprehensible reason. Why wouldn't you think that self-sufficient small-scale environments and/or cities are possible?
  24. The problem with trying to control population on a per -nation or other per-group basis is that not everyone wants to submit to authoritarian control of their reproductive choices. The other problem is that when people do identify with a nation or other ethnic group, they often feel concern that their group will shrink while others grow. This causes people to reproduce in the interest of bolstering their group/national population vis-a-vis that of others. Then, they preach reproductive control to reduce population to try to get others to curtail their growth to maintain current demographic proportions. However, this benefits larger populations more than smaller ones. Anyway, it's all nonsense because it shouldn't matter whose ethnic group is bigger or smaller, but of course tell that to people who are getting systematically excluded from resources and wealth because they have the 'wrong' ethnic identity.
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