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Messages - Fenring

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1
General Comments / Re: Guns
« on: September 24, 2022, 07:10:00 PM »
Certainly, the UK had better places to go be imperialist than the US and bigger fish to fry on the continent. Also, while it taking the whole of the US would be prohibitively difficult, taking some portion of it would have been much easier. I recall the Ohio Valley may been a plausible concession at some point and if they hadn't been business in 1812, the war might not have ended with the status quo.

Speaking of the War of 1812, I was in Niagara Falls a few weeks ago, and went to the park where they have a GIGANTIC General Brock memorial statue. It towers over the vicinity, standing majestically in triumph over the historic defeat of the Americans just across the way. The information posted suggests that he died in battle, winning the victory over an American incursion into what is now the edge of Ontario's border. In driving around the area, familiarizing myself with the local roads and highways, I noticed that one of the customs bridges from the U.S. into Ontario opens up onto the General Brock highway, so that the first experience of an American entering Canada through that crossing is to drive on the "we kicked your *** highway". I wonder whether that's a coincidence.

2
General Comments / Re: Joke, not a joke
« on: September 24, 2022, 06:30:57 PM »
Can anyone believe there would be any legal basis for only wanting dullard police?

Yes.

3
General Comments / Re: Joke, not a joke
« on: September 24, 2022, 04:43:07 PM »
Technically, the sun is an ongoing fusion detonation that is both constrained and sustained by the force of gravity due to its huge mass.  ;D

That's why the threat of altering the gravitational constant of the universe is far more menacing.

4
General Comments / Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« on: September 23, 2022, 10:24:03 PM »
Even if they were arguing that you and your family, specifically, should be slaves? Or murdered by the state? Or forced to give birth to the children of their rapist?

There may be value in attempting to understand why people have certain beliefs but that doesn't mean we shouldn't dismiss those beliefs out of hand.

Being unable to distinguish between rational and irrational positions is part of it. Hence why understand first, judge second. And underlying worldview matters too. For instance someone whose worldview is "I own everyone, no one else matters but me", then in a sense it would be 'rational' to try to enslave everyone. But that's not what I mean by rationality; I mean rather the use of truth in reasoning, and I personally hold that it is not true that everyone else can belong to one person. But then how could I accept any argument about slavery? It would have to go something along the lines of it being objectively bad but forestalling something worse. So to use your example, if someone presented to me a legitimate concern wherein the enslavement of my family would be the best option to avoid some horrible evil, I might consider that argument to be rational, if unfortunate. There is, after all, such a thing as intentional self-sacrifice for a greater good. Killing your own people is bad, but frame it as them choosing to die for their country and suddenly it might be acceptable. I don't want to call even that a good, per se, but it might well be better than the alternative (e.g. the enemy winning). That's why the context and the underlying moral framework matters. And I can assure both you and TheDrake that there is a bone fide underlying moral framework wherein an anti-abortion position is rational. The trick is to understand that it's possible for two, antagonistic, rational positions to be put forward at the same time. This type of tension is quite difficult to unravel: are they disagreeing because one is right and the other wrong? How else could they disagree? But those are not the only options when confronting a dynamic tension in the development of understanding. Just keep aware that we are basically infants in our level of understanding; I doubt either side of any modern debate actually really knows what they're talking about.

5
General Comments / Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« on: September 23, 2022, 05:58:23 PM »
I have a problem with that. There are some things that are just wrong, and people on the other side are not deserving of respect. Like the folks that thought slavery wasn't a crime against humanity.

You know what? If someone proposed a serious and genuine reason in favor of slavery, I'd listen to the argument. For instance context matters: if we were situated in 500 B.C. I might very well be inclined to agree that slavery is necessary if the reasoning was solid. At this point in history, not, but that's for ancillary reasons to morality, such as technology level. I'm not actually advocating for relative morality, but rather discussing whether to dismiss someone for a view I disagree with. For instance I've been giving more thought lately to the warhawk view of reality. I am trying to see through their eyes more, even though that type of mentality is alien to me.

6
General Comments / Re: Joke, not a joke
« on: September 23, 2022, 05:55:12 PM »
If a threat is impossible, then I'm sure its going to be different. I don't see that the student has been charged with anything as of yet. Just arrested. I mean this is far out there as opposed to "I'm going to stab the quarterback."

"I'm going to blow up the cold fusion lab, I swear!"

Well the journalist - right or wrong - says that the law doesn't care whether the threat is possible or not.

7
General Comments / Re: Joke, not a joke
« on: September 23, 2022, 02:53:41 PM »
It seems to me there didn't have to be a binary here. What's to stop them from taking such a person in for questioning, verifying what the situation is, and if it was a stupid joke requiring the person to recant online, as well as maybe doing a little community service to make up for perhaps spooking some folks? Charging someone for a clear dumb joke doesn't teach terrorists that they have zero tolerance. But perhaps the student's problem was being too realistic. For instance if the message had been "If we don't win today, I'll have to go ahead and detonate the sun" would a person be arrested for that? How about "I'll change the gravitational constant of the universe?" How out there does a 'threat' have to be before we can say, ok, this is just silliness? Maybe "nuclear reactor" is a little too close to some TV shows to feel like goofy hyperbole.

8
General Comments / Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« on: September 23, 2022, 12:07:45 AM »
As Fenring points out, all of this hinges on the intractable question of personhood. If the fetus has an equal right to life as the mother, then its difficult to allow any abortion except one where the viability of the pregnancy is 0%. You might just have to strap the Mom in restraints for the duration of her suicidal thoughts. She needs to be committed involuntarily to protect the child.

This is at least a correct way of inspecting the question from both sides, and I agree with this type of process. A detailed investigation of possible solutions might involve quite a number of solutions, but this is how to begin to look at it.

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Now, I personally think it is absolute nonsense to consider an entity without brain and therefore without thought as a person, but if I can't convince people on that front, very few of these tragic cases hold up as morally wrong according to their deduction from that premise. Would we allow one conjoined twin to deliberately kill the other in order to be separated?

That's totally ok, and I think the important thing is to remember that good people believe the other side of it. Maybe it's hard to respect hypocrites, but one should try to find respect for people who act decently within their own premises. If we all did that we'd have a much better environment, no matter how much we disagree on stuff. I do actually disagree that very few cases hold up as morally wrong if you accept their premises, though. Or at least, I'd agree with WS's sentiment in a fair number of cases that the way people act is often quite disreputable. You can claim to believe XYZ but if you're a jerk you're a jerk. I find jerkiness of every stripe highly aggravating. I think it would still be possible for completely decent people to still disagree about abortion, but as things stand there is no real journalism or public discourse about it since the entire thing is about narrative control and clicks.

9
General Comments / Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« on: September 22, 2022, 07:51:16 PM »
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As a general principle "I'll kill myself unless X" is not a particularly good reason to do X. In fact it seems to be becoming a more prevalent type of threat as far as I can see. Now there are people with personality disorders (like BPD) who may be more prone to such sentiments, and if that's so then the solution to this needs to also be more nuanced than just "do what they want". Temporary insanity is probably a loose term, but in cases where a person is at risk to harm themselves and others, I'm not sure an abortion is the most obvious answer as you do. That's sort of like saying if someone poses a risk to someone else we should eliminate that someone else preemptively to remove the threat of harm, like in Speed (shoot the hostage).

You are not understanding the situation.  You seem to keep thinking that the suicidal thoughts and tendencies are coming from some other source, such as personality disorders.  But that is not the case.

In some cases (perhaps many), the cause of the suicidal thoughts is the pregnancy.  There is no doubt about it.  When you have a person who has had no such thoughts in the past, and suddenly becomes very serious about it when she becomes pregnant, there is good reason to believe the correlation is causation when it happens again and again and again.

That's just a truism: the bad thing caused in circumstance X occurs during circumstance X. It says nothing about causation, merely about timing. You can take a packed up box of dynamite, and when a gorilla sits on it you may have circumstantial reason to suggest that gorillas may be the cause of major explosions. But I trust you can see that this really tells us nothing about gorillas, but rather than there's a system in play that was not previously acknowledged.

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If there was a drug that people were taking, and the leading cause of death of those taking it was suicide, wouldn't you consider it a strong possibility that the drug was causing at least some of those suicides?

Are you likening a natural biological process to taking experimental drugs? Granted the body is a drug factory of sorts, but this seems like an otherwise tenuous analogy.

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This is not to say that all women who feel suicidal should automatically be allowed to have an abortion.  But it does pretty well dispel the idea that the pregnancy has nothing to do with those suicidal feelings and ideas.  So it cannot be dismissed as being from other causes.

You can quote me above where I said pregnancy had no relation to suicidal ideation. What I said was that a person threatening (or wanting) suicide is not ipso facto a reason to accede to a request. It is, however, a cause for real concern that should be taken seriously.

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And if the pregnancy is causing serious intentions of suicide, then that affects the intrinsic right of the fetus to live.  If the fetus' presence is causing a dangerous situation, the fetus' life may become secondary.

You are torturing the word "causing" here, to understate the point. There may be many factors, not the least of which are the mother's preconceptions about pregnancy, the society and its narratives, and the physical conditions the mother expects to encounter. None of these exists in a vacuum, and they are totally unrelated to the physical fact of the pregnancy itself. You would have to argue that the suicidal ideation is 100% biochemical (good luck with that argument, we won't have this kind of science for 500 years), and even if we granted this you still have no credible basis for the premise that someone's life becomes secondary even if their presence causes danger for someone else. For instance take a famine situation, or some other zero-sum environment: would you argue that the presence of an extra person in a famine, which necessarily constitutes a mortal danger for others who may starve if this person eats, therefore establishes that the value of this 'extra' person's life becomes 'secondary'? I'd also like to parenthetically note that the term 'secondary' may make the matter sound cold and dry but recall we're talking (according to the argument) about a person. Not that you need to pepper your clauses with terms like "unfortunately" and "with bitter regret", but it would be nice if at least you thought them before choosing brevity.

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It's like a castaway in a boat that is found by a passenger ship.  The castaway has typhus, which would infect most of the passengers and crew of the ship.  Is the ship obligated to rescue the sick castaway, with the almost certain knowledge that his presence will kill many of the passengers and crew?  I suspect that maritime law would say no, and certainly not call it murder.

You have your analogy backward. The proper framing in this example would be that there's a castaway in the boat, and their presence makes someone else sick. Now this framing (and thus the analogy) would be mired by the fact that typically you make someone else sick because you are sick, which is not in evidence in the fetus case. So let's tweek it to be that a castaway is in the boat, and someone else present is fatally allergic to them. Do you think it would be reasonable in this case for the person with the allergy to have the right to declare the castaway's life as of 'secondary' importance? We might well imagine this extreme scenario could degenerate into a "me or you" choice, but luckily IRL there are other options.

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Yet if the presence of a fetus is causing the mother to become mentally sick, these laws deem it murder if the mother tries to get rid of the cause of her illness. :(  Certainly it is not the fetus' fault that he/she is making the mother ill.  But the fetus is the cause.

No, a single thing cannot cause someone to become mentally sick. We don't have this kind of analysis available. You can cite the pregnancy as triggering it, perhaps, but that is not causation. The pregnancy could have catalyzed something else already in play, etc etc. I'm surprised I have to point this out to you.

I'm reminded a legal case a lawyer friend told me about, where the presence of a fly in someone's water allegedly caused him such mental distress that he lost total control of his life, couldn't work, and was in therapy. Naturally he was suing for damages. While one could perhaps believe the plaintiff really did have these symptoms and wasn't malingering, it is obviously farcical to posit as the primary theory that the fly caused this man's life to spiral out of control.

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When a doctor determines it is the fetus that is causing severe mental illness to the point of suicide, then abortion should be an option.  To deny it is to condemn mothers, and often their fetuses, to death.  And that would be putting the life of the fetus above that of the mother.

I'm not really sure why you are intent on framing this as a fetus causing a (presumably) biochemical problem, and yet insistent that it would require a surgical solution. Why not a biochemical one, if it's just a question of hormones? Unless you're willing to admit into evidence that the mother's ideas can be contributory, in which case your argument falls into a world of trouble.

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General Comments / Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« on: September 22, 2022, 05:44:18 PM »
The suicide point also perhaps requires more nuance since we'd have to look on a case by case basis. As a general principle "I'll kill myself unless X" is not a particularly good reason to do X. In fact it seems to be becoming a more prevalent type of threat as far as I can see. Now there are people with personality disorders (like BPD) who may be more prone to such sentiments, and if that's so then the solution to this needs to also be more nuanced than just "do what they want". Temporary insanity is probably a loose term, but in cases where a person is at risk to harm themselves and others, I'm not sure an abortion is the most obvious answer as you do. That's sort of like saying if someone poses a risk to someone else we should eliminate that someone else preemptively to remove the threat of harm, like in Speed (shoot the hostage). As for extreme nausea, I've know a few women who had this, it sucks. That doesn't seem to me that relevant other than as a particular example of really really wanting an abortion. Other reasons can include poverty, mental health issues, lack of family support, and other issues, all of which will be very unpleasant. For all of this you'd have to ask how much unpleasantness a person should be going through before we finally say it's ok to kill a baby - note this would be the necessary argument if a fetus is a person as mentioned above. The most apparent fact in the debate is that people who cite many reasons to grant abortions typically are not going to grant that premise, in which case there's not really much of a debate other than about what a fetus is. The details you mention become ancillary if that issue is up in the air, hence why abortion is an impossible topic. A good start would be to at least recognize what the other side of the coin would be if your starting premise was different, and to respect how others enact that belief. In some cases they honorably pursue that belief (even if you disagree with them), in others naturally many people will be scumbags. YMMV

11
General Comments / Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« on: September 22, 2022, 04:47:12 PM »
As we know, lack of amniotic fluid means that the fetus' lungs will not properly develop and so will not function.

I am sympathetic to outrage over stupidities in lawmaking, including denying medical aid for mothers when it might harm the baby, and other extreme cases where a non-viable pregnancy is forced to go to term (this last one requires more nuance, but there are cases I can sympathize with). But the link above seems to be all over the place, including in its evidence mothers who threaten suicide, and those who feel very sick while pregnant. One must be clear about what one means and not play both sides of the argument: if a fetus is a human being with rights (innate rights, I don't mean legal rights) then it seems irrelevant to cite mothers who really, really want to abort the fetus for various personal reasons. The level of discomfort a mother has would seem to me immaterial in regards to killing someone else. However as I mentioned there are other cases where I have no doubt the laws bypass reason and end up being some kind of moral trumpet, or even vindictive punishment, rather than an attempt to maximally protect all involved parties. Journalism sucks.

12
General Comments / Re: Guns
« on: September 22, 2022, 10:27:51 AM »
Do you have evidence that they weren't worried about foreign invasion? It seems reasonable for them to be concerned that the British might try and get their colony back. Or that other colonial powers would try and take advantage of poorly defended real estate.

The War of 1812 showed the British could invade if they chose, so it was more historical accident that the US was mostly left alone rather than being attacked.

My suggestion was that the Founders would have been a little foolish if they thought that they needed state militias to defend against foreign invasion. I didn't actually say whether or not they did think it.

13
General Comments / Re: Guns
« on: September 22, 2022, 12:30:04 AM »
Why are we ignoring the war of 1812? They literally walked into Washington DC and burned down the White House.

Mainly because it didn't consist of Canada trying to conquer the United States, and because it was a war the U.S. declared to push the U.K. out of their waters. No one was coming to mainland USA to topple the government. I am assuming through this that the contention is that the state militias were deemed necessary to defend against mainland invasion by a foreign power. I've not heard anyone say yet that there was some expectation that state militias would be used aggressively outside of U.S. borders.

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General Comments / Re: Guns
« on: September 21, 2022, 10:55:03 PM »
Obviously the militia was very important to the framers.  Otherwise, why give the duty to the federal government in arming and training them?  But again, the purpose of this was to strengthen the militia in it's primary mission of defending against foreign aggression, not domestic tyranny.

If this is true, do you really think the Founders expected foreign aggression to come to U.S. soil such that these militias would be necessary? History has shown that approximately zero powers have ever attacked the U.S. on its own soil outright with the idea of full invasion (we can put aside skirmishes with Canada in the War of 1812). Was this a misjudgment on their part? I know the U.S. originally had no navy, so I guess they could have been paranoid that a seafaring power could land on their shores. But realistically this would be very difficult, for logistics reasons and many others. It doesn't seem to me the Founders would have confused the Revolutionary War with being a war of aggression by a distant kingdom; England was all around them in their own territory, since it was an English colony.

15
General Comments / Re: Guns
« on: September 20, 2022, 04:49:23 PM »
Do you understand the mistake you made there?  An observed correlation (i.e., a "statistical point") does not demonstrate that there is causation.  In other words, when you claim that "increasing the number of police...." has a specific result, you've actually made an unproven and potentially false claim. 

There are way too many factors influencing these statistics to make that kind of specific conclusion without a completely different kind of analysis.  There's a reason they don't run that kind of analysis (it's simple really, it doesn't support the claim they want to make).

I'm not studied in the research on police effectiveness in relation to funding, positioning, etc, but I'd like to point out, Seriati, that based on your criteria here it sounds like it would actually be impossible to produce a study on police effectiveness. If you eliminate correlations based on factors (for instance funding, reported crime per capita, etc) as implying causation then you will never be able to establish soft causation. I use that made-up term because hard causation is obviously impossible to show: the equivalent of observing one large ball knocking another and producing a kinetic result cannot ever be established in chaotic and complex systems. So soft causation would mean something like "this seems to be causing this" which is still a stronger claim than citing a correlation but must obviously leave open the possibility that it's a potentially false claim. You actually cannot do better than that in any human affairs. What you would need if you were being precise would be a probability distribution (if such thing existed) of the likelihood of a given claim being accurate, and create a matrix of the various correlates against the probabilities to see how likely it is that all correlations are disconnected in a soft causal sense. In other words, "this doesn't show causation" isn't really the appropriate refutation to the type of hypothesis Tom is making, but rather a re-casting of the various probabilities, presumably to lower values.

Sorry to be a bit dry about this, but it just seems that sweeping Tom's claims aside as if his data shows nothing is...exceedingly premature as a conclusion. Intuitively Tom's claims make sense: it would be bizarre if the police were really good at de-escalation, for instance, given what we know about the training methods used in the last 20 years involving military tactics, foreign agencies being brought in to train police forces, and the purchasing and deployment of military-type arsenal. Even the prevalence of SWAT-type units would seem to suggest that de-escalation is not a top priority. How reasonable it is to suppose that police are both trained to see citizens as being "the enemy" (a term they are trained to use) versus being good people that need to be given the benefit of doubt at all times? All I'm saying is that your claim seems to be the one that's counter-intuitive, if we're just using common sense. Although you could be right, maybe.

By the way none of this needs to be seen as conclusively anti-police (although one may detect that opinion in Tom's observations). For instance if you sympathetically view police work as being scary, the training insufficient, and the environment consisting of many dangerous surprises, we can suppose that individual police officers may be naturally prone to be looking everywhere for 'the enemy' even if they got into the job with good and pure intentions. This type of analysis doesn't necessarily have to fall into an anti-police camp.

ETA - Tom posted the post just above after I began my post, so possibly a bit of what I'm saying overlaps with that.

16
General Comments / Re: Guns
« on: September 16, 2022, 01:05:26 PM »
He helped build the modern partisan/faction system of American politics.  He destroyed Adams and Hamilton politically.  He became President and in many ways kept some of the policies that Adams and Hamilton devised.  He was a bit of a sensitive soul who didn't trust other people easily unless they were "his" people and he was clearly in charge. 

What little I have read did seem to indicate that he was vehemently against having political parties in the first place, believing they would be the demise of democracy, but that others (like Hamilton I think?) cautioned him that he was living in a dream land if he thought he could avoid joining or forming a party. And he eventually relented. Maybe this point isn't so clear historically and I was reading a decided opinion of one scholar.

17
General Comments / Re: Guns
« on: September 15, 2022, 11:37:21 PM »
The entire Constitution was built around several basic concepts, but foremost were the ideas of controlling tyranny and factionalism, through the construction of a government.  Not by arming citizens  ::)  The idea was to combat tyranny through checks and balances and the separation of powers.  The way to combat tyranny wasn't with armed mobs, but with laws, and the rule of law.  The way to combat domestic tyranny was with things like impeachment and the courts system.  Not using an AR-15.

I am really not well read on the thoughts of the founders and their printed material on the matter (a matter I hope to correct someday), but I have to believe they weren't naive enough to think that "legitimately" elected governments would always de facto be the preferred method of rule of law. There's Jefferson's quote about periodic blood in the streets, and I don't think he meant it regarding rando rebels. I think he was thinking more of entrenched oligarchs acting on their own behalf at the expense of the country - but like I said I'm not as well-versed as I'd like to be. But if he didn't mean that then he should have, since it's obviously more of a long-term danger than fools trying to take up arms against the Federal government.

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General Comments / Re: Guns
« on: September 15, 2022, 11:34:00 PM »
The idea that police protect law-abiding citizens is actually one of those pervasive but easily disproven myths. Literally all you have to do is look at the statistics...

...The police don't bother to protect people, but that doesn't mean that you get to own a tank and a grenade launcher to protect yourself and your family. It just means that you have to acknowledge that your safety is never and can never be wholly guaranteed.

Correct, except for police "not bothering" to protect people. The response time after a call for help to the police is too long for immediate security. The most general response is for the police to arrive after the crimes are committed, and interview the victims to find redress. The most frequent response is to use a clipboard and call in forensic teams when they can be useful, to chase down the perpetrators and recover stolen property. The recommendation has always been for people to be armed and protect themselves. There are many training classes used to teach people what they can and what they should do. The biggest advice people always remember are to drag a deceased parp over the threshold, so he's in your home, and not outside - and not to try to hold a gun on a perp while you wait for the police to come. (There may be an unknown assailant one doesn't know about who can sneak up from behind.)

Maybe I'm hallucinating but it looks like you're actually agreeing with Tom's point that the police can't realistically help people in most cases, other than filing some paperwork. Now maybe the quibble is that it's not so much that they don't bother as they just couldn't even if they wanted to? That seems like a bit of a fine point, especially since that point would hinge on the police trying very hard in good faith to do everything they can for citizens, and just not quite being able to help as much as they would like. Real life would seem to indicate another interpretation.

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General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: September 15, 2022, 11:30:03 PM »
I fondly remember working 60 hours a week as a consultant in 1998 and 1999, rewriting legacy code and redesigning logic trees so that the millennial changeover would not affect multiple critical systems for our clients.

I less fondly remember a bunch of idiots saying, a year later, "We told you everyone was overreacting and there wasn't really a problem" after planes failed to fall out of the sky and banks managed to calculate interest properly.

Well. You might have viewed the 60 hour weeks less fondly if, instead of having the 60 hours, they had instead closed the business due to being 'part of the problem'. It's really an apples to oranges situation, which only appears as apples to apples if the premise is that taking steps to dramatically reduce carbon emissions would be the equivalent of hiring a few IT people as a precaution.

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General Comments / Re: GOP nutbag of the week
« on: September 13, 2022, 08:27:17 PM »
Because that guy's fear's are as realistic as the guy who thinks lizard people have taken over the Democrats.  ;D

Well, just to make use of the analogy, if some groups of people elsewhere in the world had already been taken over by lizard people, just not the Democrats yet, it would be reasonably rational to fear that the Democrats had been taken over too, even if they hadn't (yet). In our case some systemic elements have already been taken over by surveillance, and things that are 'yours' (such as motherboards) are infiltrated. Other systemic elements have not yet been infiltrated (biochemistry) but that seems to be less an issue of type and rather an issue of capability.

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General Comments / Re: GOP nutbag of the week
« on: September 13, 2022, 07:00:57 PM »
I realize this is going in a different direction than vaccine paranoia, but to the extent that people are worried about being tracked via implants, they probably should be.

These the same people who are on truth social all day long on their iphones?  I got bad news for them.

Right, I'm not saying their fears will do anything to stop what's coming (i.e. increasing amounts of your choices being catalogued). Just that the fears are realistic.

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General Comments / Re: GOP nutbag of the week
« on: September 13, 2022, 07:00:07 PM »
When implants actually become feasible, people will gladly pay to have implants put into their own bodies that tell corporations where they are.

Haha, in many cases probably so. In fact if I was very transparently offered a chip that would contain all my info, my accounts, give me direct access to emergency authorities, be quantum encrypted, and avoid me needing to bring my wallet around, but would track all of my movements and purchases with impunity, I would probably gladly sign up for this service.

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General Comments / Re: GOP nutbag of the week
« on: September 13, 2022, 06:53:49 PM »
But when you are talking about imaginary technology, and when it keeps people from doing something for their health and the health of society in general, you've gone into nutbag territory. When you realize that these politicians are making things up to scare people, which results in harm to those people and others, there is no need to sympathize too much.  Yes, the basis of their lies have some merit; but they have moved far beyond reasonable human beings into pure nutbagery. :)

If it's just a question of fearing that a vaccine is really a secret chip implant (nanotech, I suppose) then I agree with you. But I don't think it will be long before actual chip implantation becomes not only available but quite convenient. Eventually (like in Babylon 5) it may become mandatory in order to have access to the general system control credit and bank accounts, ID, etc. It will probably become embedded in a central chip system where everything's stored in one place. I realize this is going in a different direction than vaccine paranoia, but to the extent that people are worried about being tracked via implants, they probably should be. What's really at issue is the average person (and Congressperson) isn't going to be up on the tech scene enough to be able to judge whether 'that time' has finally come where getting bio-tracking will be a legitimate concern. To them it's already that time. That may not be accurate, but the concern should probably be addressed in advance (it won't be).

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General Comments / Re: GOP nutbag of the week
« on: September 13, 2022, 05:56:15 PM »
I actually sympathize with the concern about planting tracking devices in Americans. This is not only a believable thing to happen, but it's consistent with actions practically on that level that have been going on for 20 years, including 'illegal' NSA mass data collection, planting backdoor access in devices going back quite a ways, even to the point of the backdoors involving physical mechanisms in PC components and not being limited to software backdoors. This is not a new thing. Any method of tracking people, their habits, and monetizing it, you bet someone's trying to do it. And I don't personally buy the billionaire 'just trying to help people' routine. Although Gates being part of the Giving Pledge does somewhat soften my suspicion about him, but not eliminate it. Some people are fully able to take high-handed controlling actions over others "for their own good", and yet not directly mean harm. They're just victims of a God complex that comes with having too much power.

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I can't confirm this yet.  It seems discontent is indeed growing in Russia.  Some people are actually speaking against Pooter on national television now.

I would like to suggest that this is probably less to do with incremental increases in discontent, and more to do with an incremental perception of a lack of deadly repercussions for saying so out loud. Once you feel the dictator won't come directly for you, because there are too many vocal dissidents, it probably means the dictator is losing the power to maintain total control of the narrative. This in turn probably means a reduction in the likelihood that random orders he issues will in fact be followed.

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General Comments / Re: Guns
« on: September 11, 2022, 11:17:12 AM »
Where it diverges from Textualism, it attempts to divine authorial intent (and, as a former English teacher, I'm perfectly willing to explain why that's so problematic) -- and what's interesting about the Constitution as a living document of law and not an artifact is that authorial intent does not particularly matter. It doesn't particularly add clarity to a conversation, and when it's being asserted as a final authority it's far too malleable.

I also do text analysis as part of my job, mostly plays and screenplays, but the principle may be the same as in literature save that the presentation is done communally rather than in a reader's mind. My comment isn't about legal interpretation but just about text in general: I have found it to be very helpful to inspect authorial intent in order to find rosetta stones into word choice and meta-meaning. Sometimes this isn't necessary, either because the text lacks depth, or because its meaning is extremely straightforward. But in many cases it's not just a matter (in acting text) of understanding the semantics but also to understand there's a human intention beneath the text which can alter to purpose of saying the sentence, even if the sentence in plain English doesn't sound ambiguous. And I think even legal text may have a purposefulness to its expression, beyond the plain English meaning in a given society. Let's take a simple example of how purpose could change the interpretation:

Thou shalt not kill

At first glance pretty unambiguous: don't do a thing. But what are we supposed to understand about the context, or perhaps meta-text, of this interdiction? Let's put aside that this is an English translation of ancient Hebrew and assume it was written in English as-is. Given this literal text it could be an imperative: don't do this. In which case you are hearing an instruction for you to comply, but not exactly an ontological statement. But now let's say it's understood as being part of a list of behaviors you would do if you were good (or abstain from if you were good): in this case it defines a contour or parameter for remaining within that category (goodness). These two cases may not have the same content, i.e. they may not be isomorphic.

But now let's go further and think of author rather than text floating in limbo. Instead of seeing the phrase as an abstract descriptor of something, imagine that someone was saying to you. Now you have all sorts of factors going into it, including tone, their relationship to you, their personality, their culture, and so forth. If a policeman says "thou shalt not kill" we might imagine it coming as a threat, 'don't go against what I say or I'll mess you up.' We could perhaps re-phrase the edict as "don't make me kick your butt." But maybe it could be anything ranging from a tyrannical power trip to a paladin-like preaching of right and wrong. But now let's imagine it's your best friend saying it; suddenly we might conceive of the statement as being a desire to help you, or give you good advice. We could maybe re-imagine a meta-rephrasing as being "I want to help you stay well", or even just "I like you." To make any sense of semantics as intention we'd really have to know something about the speaker, why they're saying this, and maybe even why they aren't saying something else. Now take the words: "thou" in an Elizabethan context is a term in reference to a social inferior, so now even the social or official strata found within the statement can be inspected. This can be a large rabbit hole, but I think postmodernism has pretty definitely shown that we can't presume that meaning can be located intrinsically in a string of text. And a 'personality' or 'intention' is essentially an authorial intent, even if the speaker/writer isn't present as you read it.

Now I can't insist that no text can ever be applied without going through this type of rigorous research. Sometimes it feels like a piece of text is easy to understand, and so you move on. Although this can perhaps be a subtle trap, since typically we'll only start thinking of creative interpretation when we're stuck on a meaning. I have certainly found certain works (like Hamlet for instance) impenetrable without using analytical tools beyond just taking everything literally. One might even have to know details about Shakespeare's IRL friends and background in order to glean what some line in a play means. When reading Nietzsche even, one might need to know something about his family life and Protestant cultural context to know what the word "Christianity" might mean when he uses it. I ran a text analysis course a couple of years ago and the group found it very challenging to glean any meaning behind the few texts I selected until we started to dig into various minutiae in them and even perform them. How this would translate into legal analysis I really don't know. But it seems to me that since law consists of text one can't get away from the interpretation problem. Many directors (in theatre and film/tv) do insist that we make our own interpretation and there is no 'authentic' interpretation that exists. To an extent this must be true: part of an acting text is the person of the actor, which makes a line of text a joint expression of author and performer. But then again maybe this is true of law in a society as well: a law isn't just something that should be done, but something that specific people will have to do, and perhaps do differently depending on the social context, technology, etc. But at the same time the authorial aspect is part of that; it's just not all of it.

As I said, I don't know anything about legal analysis, but I have to imagine that simply adopting one narrow 'policy' regarding it is probably a mistake. It's sort of like saying you only do one kind of integration in calculus. You'll need all kinds of tricks to solve the various problems.

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General Comments / Re: Endemic
« on: September 11, 2022, 01:51:06 AM »
I guess get a better health care system.

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General Comments / Re: Whose cell/womb is it anyways?
« on: September 09, 2022, 06:01:42 PM »
That AP article seems badly written, since the ordering makes it appear that the "miscommunicating with God" quote is about the exceptions for rape or incest. But the actual quote says it's about forcing mothers to bring babies home to bury them, which would be regarding the issue of (I assume) disallowing abortions even when pregnancies are non-viable. Although I can see why that scenario concerns many people, it doesn't seem to be mentioned as the reason why the 5 Republicans won't support the bill as is. Also messy is that the article seems to flipflop on whether there are in fact exceptions for rape and incest, as finding clarity on this point requires double-checking with a linked article in the article suggests that they finally decided on the exception for rape and incest being reduced from 20 to 12 weeks. So in the end it does look like there are exceptions? The reporting just isn't very good.

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General Comments / Re: The Trump Papers
« on: August 31, 2022, 01:01:41 AM »
Clinton got into trouble for allowing electronic documents to be moved off of governmental servers and for not ensuring that all documents she received in her official capacity were archived, but the deletion of those documents from her personal possession was actually appropriate.

Sorry for the sidetrack, but the issue wasn't that Clinton deleted electronic files. The issue on this point is that she did so as a reaction to a legal order to hand over her electronic documents. Now if she'd been told to dispose of them correctly and chose that method, that would be one thing. Although even then I assume she'd have required the use of someone with clearance to do so, not just anyone of her choice. But having been told to submit these documents for search, destroying them mostly seems like shredding the books to me.

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General Comments / Re: Musk and Twitter
« on: August 24, 2022, 10:26:08 PM »
Musk likely didn't know much of this - since his filings to date don't address most of the issues raised. I'm unclear if he can make filings on these in the current case, or must do a separate case - I'd be shocked if they can't be raised at all.

Since it appears to be Twitter suing Musk, rather than the other way around, wouldn't the likeliest outcome be that they'd just drop the case rather than expose themselves to discovery and records being subpoenaed? A second case wouldn't be required if they just let Musk walk away quietly in order to quiet the blowback on this.

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General Comments / Re: What are some things that Biden gets right?
« on: August 08, 2022, 10:08:44 PM »
The early church supported pacifism and wealth sharing that is not overtly supported by the current biblical narrative.  I have always wondered what changes were made to the texts when the Roman Empire decided to claim Christianity as it's religion.

I'm not an expert on Church history vis a vis its iterant interpretations of scripture, but the current Catholic teachings may well be consistent with the pacifism and wealth sharing found in the gospels. The problem is that pursuit of one's duty has become a completely decentralized matter up to each person to do, with no community or central planning. So a given person could consult a series of priests and realize that they are, in fact, called to give up all of their things to the poor (which is the broader community), but this would require their own spiritual investigation and then choice. It wouldn't be done as a result of a rule the community has established such as existed during the gospels and Acts. But the lack of top-down direction to give up your things doesn't actually mean you're not supposed to. Part of what's changed is that many more walks of life exist now, so more variety of duties exist. For instance if you take a community that believes the world's end is near, they are not going to be very concerned with long-term goals that will affect married couples and the next generation; but once you are past that and have generations of marriage, etc, then you have different moral duties. For example it is probably immoral (if we're being strict) to hoard wealth for oneself as a single person who doesn't want to marry, whereas it is likewise probably a moral requirement for parents with babies to accumulate enough to ensure their well-being and future education, with some set aside for emergencies and unexpected problems. But this isn't inconsistent with scripture, so much as a different thing than their community was concerned with.

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General Comments / Re: What are some things that Biden gets right?
« on: August 04, 2022, 04:50:10 PM »
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The law of God, as seen in the Bible, is clear about what is moral and immoral. And since even people who have never encountered the law know generally what is moral and immoral, we can assume that the Bible is simply describing a law that exists already in the human heart...
Man, this is literally Jordan Peterson-level reasoning. Do better, man.

To be fair it's more or less an Aquinas argument about our connection with the eternal law.

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General Comments / Re: What are some things that Biden gets right?
« on: August 03, 2022, 09:29:26 PM »
The  Kobayashi Maru was a trick set up by Spock to show the impotency of always winning. I think Trump and Kirk enjoyed the same mindset. You should put winning ahead of easy.

No, no, Trek 2009 isn't canonical! (Not if I have anything to say about it)

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General Comments / Re: Climate alarmists are wrong.
« on: August 03, 2022, 12:07:57 PM »
And why is it that there are vineyards in England now producing high-quality wines, something that has never happened before because the temperatures in England are too cold for high-quality wines?

This is a more complex issue than you'd see in a climate article. Wine can be made in less than ideal conditions using various technology, although you do still need a growing season of a minimal length. Over the years the Niagara region, for instance, has grown in skill to the point where they are producing excellent whites and some very good reds as well, depending on your price point. They don't, however, have the economy to produce a good red at a low price, so reds there tend to be pricier compared with a Spanish equivalent of similar quality. But that is improving as well. And Ontario, generally speaking, is going to be a far colder climate than most (or all?) of England. I did check one article about this and it referred to a team of economists making projections based on climate data. That is a far cry from making some kind of statement about the potential for the wine industry in England to take off due to becoming more like France. Maybe it would make it easier for large production industry to be more successful, since huge production requires an economy of scale that does get helped with optimal conditions. But even sub-optimal conditions can be overcome with experience. For instance regions of Spain that are hotter than what Italian and the French growers are used to developed the ability to make lots of great wine in that climate. So it's also about how 'climatized' the geographical area is to what their capabilities are and maximizing those.

Sorry if this was a side track...

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General Comments / Re: Climate alarmists are wrong.
« on: August 02, 2022, 12:55:25 PM »
Some people just won't be happy until we've turned our world into Arrakis or Giedi Prime.

But the spice must flow...

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General Comments / Re: conspiracy detector
« on: July 28, 2022, 11:58:29 AM »
The deal is: all men will be disenfranchised. Men can serve in elected office, but they cannot vote. Women will elect who they want to elect.

I think you will find that corruption runs equally along the whole species...just in different ways.

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General Comments / Re: OAN Network being cancelled
« on: July 28, 2022, 11:18:12 AM »
No - you are being disingenuous. Soros has publicly stated he hates the USA and wants to destroy it. Dis you miss that? He hates Free Enterprise and wants a change.

I think Tom's point is that there are probably all manner of powerful people out there with agendas that would make you raise an eyebrow. You can take right-wing types like David Rockefeller who has stated openly he wants usher in a new world order, whatever that means. If you want to be bipartisan you can look into him too :)

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General Comments / Re: Trump looses again
« on: July 26, 2022, 01:41:06 PM »
Galileo studied pendulum's leading to the development of the pendulum clock and did research with inclined planes that showed that the distance an object fell was proportional to time squared and didn't depend on the mass of the object. These are some of the first important experiments of the scientific revolution. He did other interesting things too in engineering and pre-Newtonian physics that weren't just Astronomy.

I know Galileo did other stuff, but he wasn't the only one doing mechanics and astronomy. I guess my point was that he uniquely invented the technology to revolutionize astronomy, so I count that as a big win in practical science. But I never saw him particularly as an originator of experimental methods. I'll keep in mind to check up on this next time I'm spelunking through the history.

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General Comments / Re: Trump looses again
« on: July 26, 2022, 01:05:57 PM »
The church almost executed Galileo for advocating for the Heliocentric model of the solar system. Hard to give them credit for that advance in science.

This isn't really an accurate way of describing it. The Galileo situation is typically misunderstood when people trot it out. There are two things he was in trouble for, one of which (arguably the main thing) was insulting the Pope in his book on two new sciences. He asked for permission to write it, they gave him constraints, and he twisted their constraints on purpose in a way that was basically giving them the finger. I can give you more detail if you like, but the long and short of it was they said it was ok for him to present his new theory so long as he didn't present it as uncontested fact, and showed the current theory alongside it. Instead of doing that he presented the 'alternate viewpoint' as an idiot named Simplicio, who was a stand-in for the Pope, and only said ridiculous things. That's kind of funny, but you have to keep in mind what kind of 'publisher' the Church was at the time (a very cautious one). The other problem was he wanted to trumpet his theory too quickly as fact rather than waiting for others to eventually vet his conclusions. This bears some similarity to the situation for Giordano Bruno, and in terms of the reasons they were in trouble largely having to do with things other than their science (e.g. their behavior, their disobedience, etc).

The main thing to keep in mind is there's a difference between resistance to change and refusal to change. The Church's tendency is and was to be very slow to accept modifications to its received worldview, and did not want any old crackpot teaching people all kinds of stuff as fact which hadn't yet had a chance to (slowly) make its rounds about the community in a satisfactory manner. This process could potentially take decades or centuries, and this slow-moving change is a bug and a feature depending on how you look at it, but overall is probably more of a feature. It becomes more of a bug when it's slow to change terrible, destructive goings-on in the present tense. It's a very modern conceit to think that a guy has a new scientific model, and they're oppressing him when they don't immediately allow him to begin teaching it as fact. But think of a comparison to, say, a medical guild or association, which doesn't allow new medications or techniques being used until they've gone through testing and been vetted. This is done to protect people, and to protect the reputation of all doctors in the association. Contrast with the proliferation of 'quack doctors' in the early 20th century, where you could not innately trust a doctor to use accredited techniques. So on its face this is reasonable, but what a contemporary person isn't primed to understand is that in the past this vetting process was much slower than such processes are today. But they did have half-way houses for such theory, and it was typically not banned outright. For instance, the Copernican theory was not exactly banned as such, but it was required that it be portrayed as a mathematical model rather than as a physical reality. And good thing too, since it was an inaccurate representation of the solar system.

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Galileo and Descartes are the originators of the modern scientific method.

This is the first time I've heard this claim, actually. I've heard it ascribed to Francis Bacon, to various enlightenment people. What did Galileo do that was so revolutionary? I mean, he did invent a tool enabling telescope-based astronomy, improving the field of naked eye astronomy greatly, but there was already astronomy as such. I'm more versed in Descartes' philosophical work than any field work he may have done in science, so I can't be as sure with him, but I don't have any recollection in reading history and philosophy of science books that he's given some special status.

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Both came from a Christian society. Descartes claimed to be divinely inspired. But neither was an agent of the church.

I think you're correct in disputing a blithe that anything any scientist said in the past was "the Church" saying it. However it's a complex subject, since you'd have to understand how the vetting process worked for not only doctrine but also issues related to doctrine but subject to potential changes. It's not really accurate either, though, to say that people who lived under the Church weren't agents of it; that would be to incorrectly separate out their faith life from their work life, which is a fairly recent concept. This is especially so since "the Church" can mean the administrative and ecclesiastical authority in the Church, but also just refers to all the people in it. It's not a monolithic voice, even though the authorities did reserve the right to limit what could be taught as facts.

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General Comments / Re: Trump looses again
« on: July 26, 2022, 12:44:47 PM »
Actually you confuse me, too. Heliocentrism is usually compared against geocentrism - not a flat earth. All in all, it was the Church that sought out the science. It was the church that decreed the earth revolves around the sun, not placing the Earth at the center.

I believe he was saying that most laymen are ignorant enough about the history of science that they would confuse the Church's slow move away from heliocentrism with it advocating for a flat Earth. As you may know, many people in the last 50 years have been taught in school that in Columbus' time everyone thought the Earth was flat (which is flatly incorrect).

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General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 25, 2022, 04:21:59 PM »
You should spend time thinking about the Principle of Sufficient Reason and whether you believe it holds true. If you don't, you should spend time with the consequnces of that belief. If you ultimately conclude that it holds true, then we can talk about any other place you think the argument on page one fails.

I think I've addressed this point at length by this point. One of the chief problems with a priori arguments is that they rely heavily on their self-declared statements, which in turn require the word choice in the statements to make sense. Like a house of cards, if the slightest thing is out of place in an a priori argument there simply is no argument - it's not even a question of disagreement with its conclusions. But hey, I can keep listing things I find wrong with PSR if you like...I didn't want to go totally bananas on it. I'll even list an objection that covers a hidden premise you've been using, namely that PSR is the only possible proposition allowing for causal logic in the universe. Here's an alternative:

There are reasons for all things, and these reasons may include connections and causes that are beyond our ability to understand. So while we can posit that they exist, we cannot form causal conclusions about them since our conception of cause may not align with how they really are.

So this variation might be called Agnostic-PSR, wherein we take it on faith that everything has a reason, but do not take it on faith that we can make positive statements about this.

And there's Tom's variation, where the farting goat creates reality and imbues it with the property wherein persistence is baked in without further input. That the farting goat vanishes subsequently was probably an unnecessary addition on Tom's part for the point to be made. This is the 'God setting everything in motion permanently' scenario which is oft mentioned. So here there would also be reasons for everything, but our ability to backtrace them would be cut off since there would not be any active connectivity between the original reason and the current setup.

Quote from: Fenring
If you want to say that a philosophical statement should be accepted by someone else, which is literally the only reason to put forward a proof, then your #1, #2, and #3 priorities should be to establish common language and communication standards with your audience or interlocutor.

I disagree.[/quote]

You disagree that the primary objective in communication should be to communicate?

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I have no interest in inventing a new vocabulary with each person I meet, creating my own little version of the tower of babel. If I meet a quantum physicist, I don't expect him to make up an entire new vocabulary to meet me half way. If I want to understand his ideas, I'll learn his vocabulary.

And if you think his vocabulary containts internal inconsistencies, you'll use his vocabulary anyhow without objection? It doesn't matter who in fact makes up the vocabulary; this isn't a question of who has the burden of coming up with the word choice. This is about the words being used having the same meaning in the minds of both participants, however that should come to pass.

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Quote from: Fenring
If someone is saying there's a disagreement about word meaning, and you insist there isn't, there is already a disagreement about word meaning!

What? I'm not insisting that you and I don't disagree. I'm just saying you're wrong and I'm right.

It doesn't matter who's wrong and right. What matters is that if we're stuck on a word's connotations then we can't proceed with things built upon the word until we agree the word's meaning is both coherent and consistent.

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I have used the word cause in this thread as a synonym for the word reason, in the context of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. If there is a particular time I used it that you find confusing (i.e. you don't understand my meaning) ping it, and I'll be glad to clarify.

Yes but PSR does certain things within its parameters, and not other things. And in fact you have never really defined whether your use of it is entirely a priori, or employs a posteriori elements. I'm not sure if there's an authoritative understanding of this, but I suspect that historic uses of PSR were entirely a priori, meaning PSR was posited as a justification for making an a priori argument about first causes and such. Why can I say I know that God must be behind all things? The answer is I posit that my intellect and its logic are sufficient to think about it and come to a conclusion that is truth. So PSR ends up standing in as a permission (or an excuse) to posit these thought experiments (like first mover, like argument by necessity, etc) and say that they must make sense. I do not believe these uses of it would have claimed to have induced or derived PSR based on empirical results being consistent over time and therefore suggesting we can rely on our intellects for thought experiments. In fact the one would probably not imply the other anyhow. Your argument on pg 1, however, seems to be to use a posteriori information in its structure, and (as I've argued) unintentionally employs chronology. But realistically, would you agree that your argument is essentially completely a priori?

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If I ask the question "Why does my keyboard not fall to the floor?" a fine answer is "because of the desk". be-cause. For the reason that.  The desk is the cause of my keyboard staying aloft. The desk is the reason for my keyboard staying aloft.

I like Aristotle's four causes and I think it's a fine thing, but I'm not really invoking it here. It's a really simple thing to say: My desk is the reason my keyboard doesn't fall to the ground.

It's a fine answer if you're being informal, and it also employs physical laws which operate in time. I already said you didn't bring up Aristotle; what I could have added is that you should, because the reason he divided things up into four causes was precisely to avoid mixing up what one means with a word like "cause". I don't like his divisions, but at least they acknowledge that you can't just lump reasons from different categories all together and use the word interchangeably.

-The desk is the cause of the keyboard staying above the floor.
-The atoms in my body cause me to exist.
-Matter persists because God causes it to persist.

The only thing these have in common is that you are offering explanations of things. But an explanation is an idea or a model, not a thing or an event. An explanation can be about an identity, for instance: 1+1=2. That's an explanation, but it's not something that exists and causes effects in anything. Now you could use an awkward phrase like "1+1=2 is the cause of number theory" but that would be beyond awkward; it would not only fail to communicate anything but essentially puts us backward in understanding anything since we have to untangle a bad first step. It might be ok to say "1+1=2 is a necessary element of number theory" (let's say), but the word choice matters a lot in what you're saying. If the only commonality to "cause" in your usage is you're offering explanatory logic to something, it can mean basically anything, even made up things. And like I said it's such an awkward use of the word that it would better to employ an extant set of language (Aristotle's, just as an example) than to re-write English and use a word in a way where defining to your audience how you're using it requires a larger explanation than the proof you're presenting with it in the first place!

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If you are confused by my words, ask me what I mean. It's simple friend.

That's my point, it's not simple. What you call a simple answer to a question of word meaning is actually an enormous rabbit hole where you are actually asserting all sorts of unannounced axioms to support that definition.

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It looks perfectly coherent to me. Why does it look incoherent to you?

As I've mentioned, phrases such as "we can see that there are reasons for why things exists", "external cause", and "the nature of the thing itself" are deeply problematic for multiple reasons. Language clarity is one such reason. Another is terms that are made to sound self-evident but which I think are not; in fact as I've mentioned I suspect their content is not coherent. Another is the fact of making an essentially a priori argument but using obervational data as support for it.

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Now exists. I'm here, right now. I'm typing these words, right now. If you'd like to say otherwise, say it with some conviction and with clear arguments, not a vague appeal to who knows what. Give me a concrete reason to entertain your idea and I'll do so. Saying "probably" doesn't mean anything at all.

Lack of ability to say "probably" about complex topics is...probably a serious problem. That being said, I'm 100% sure you didn't understand why I wrote that, based on this response. Obviously you feel like there's a 'now'. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about whether there is in fact[ such a thing as "now" in the formal sense, in the sense that you can freeze time and describe some kind of hierarchical structure in a moment without any reference to before or after. You think you can do that, exemplified by your description of the keyboard and desk, but I think you are missing what I said earlier about EM repulsion happening in time only. It is not an instantaneous or static effect. There's no such thing as "EM repulsion right now", there is only EM repulsion measured over time. This isn't just an artifact of inefficient measurement, any more than relativity is a reflection of bad time-measurement instrumentation. It's your insistance that you are not talking about chronology that I'm after here (which by the way is part of why I'm pretty sure this is a purely a priori argument). I'm saying the way you keep conceptualizing cause is in fact chronological, which is by the way ok, I think that is also how the original prime mover type arguments were also understood (i.e. to involve causes in time, not instananeous hierarchical structure).

Sorry for any typos, I don't have time to edit, gotta run!

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General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 25, 2022, 12:53:15 PM »
Full disclosure for me, then: I actually think that both the present and the past are not objectively fixed on an absolute scale (some parts are, some are not), and the the future has very open-ended possibilities that depend on 'un-anchored' elements in the present and past. I have my reasons for thinking this, not easy to go into here. But that would make the 'present' some kind of bridge between unselected reality in both past and future. Sort of like a clearinghouse for parts of the puzzle getting solved or set in place. I'm sort of riffing a bit off Frank Herbert in where I started thinking on these lines, but my current guess would be something like that the 'present' is a past-present-future meeting place where the three are tied together and interrelated, and where you can't disentangle 'now' from 'just now' and 'just then'. I expect that the uncertainty principle would have to figure into this somehow. Anyhow this is all conjecture, I wouldn't try to persuade someone of it.

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General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 25, 2022, 12:24:05 PM »
To be fair, it's possible that Joshua is positing something like an "existence beam" made up of, say, existitrons, which radiates out from God (or all discrete points, if God is omnipresent), and only those things recently struck by existitrons can be said to exist.

I won't speak for him, but existence as divine emanation is more of a Gnostic idea.

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General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 25, 2022, 12:13:09 PM »
Nope. You keep saying this, but you're wrong. If a room is dark, that is because there are no visible electrons bouncing around the room. That happens for a reason, in much the same way that when a room is not dark, there's a reason electrons are bouncing around a room.

This is the problem with analogies, and largely a problem with ancient argumentation: they don't tend to apply because things rarely map 1:1. The difference between non-existence and existence isn't equivocal to that between light and darkness, and therefore conclusions drawn about a dark room won't apply to a non-existent universe. As Tom points out, a room can be dark because there are obstructions not allowing light in. It's what we might call an open system masquerading as a closed system. The light is outside, let's say, and walls that block EM radiation stop it entering. There's a structure in play. What's more, the room is not totally dark vis a vis EM radiation, just to visible light. There is still background radiation, excitation in the molecules, etc etc. But in the case of non-existence, whatever that might be, we cannot posit an 'outside' to this, or an obstruction blocking existence from 'getting in'. There is just nothing. And we can't even ask in what the nothing is contained; in fact we can't even really conceive of nothing or what it's like (or not like!). So the analogy fails on so many levels that all it will do is confuse. That's not a slam on this particular analogy, but more on the difficulty of generating an analogy that works.

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General Comments / Re: Addiction rehab
« on: July 24, 2022, 08:44:44 PM »
Okay. I'll restate.

How does a benevolent dictator progressively and continuously reduce the amount of misery?

Probably construct an economic system where people don't feel that money is worth more than they are?

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General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 24, 2022, 12:00:58 AM »
Hahaha, by total coincidence (I hope) the top suggested video for me on Youtube just now was this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwzN5YwMzv0&ab_channel=SabineHossenfelder

Check it out if you want to see how mired in difficulty the word "now" is, purely on a mechanical level. But it's worse! Assuming you've watched the video before reading on, you may find a few issues with Einstein's assumptions in how he defines "now", one of which should be obvious given what I just mentioned above: how can you establish "now" using mirrors and photons without making observations about the activity of those photons...in time? Einstein describes the thought experiment in such a way as to act as a zero-time-lag moment where the impact and calculation are instantaneous, but since by definition of relativity nothing is instantaneous he actually presupposes assumption #5, that there is a such thing as a a 'moment' (see where I'm going with this?) where you can determine "now" to be. And I'll remind you that it's theoretically difficult enough to define "now" even on a freeze-framed graph in a thought experiment, no less to assert that it in fact exists and can be examined as being a 'frame' in which something like electromagnetism (e.g. that force which keeps the laptop on the table) can be 'in operation'. Another problem with the thought experiment, just to name one more, is that Einstein is defining "now" in a manner that is not entirely useful philosophically speaking. It ends up being a sort of reference point establishing a nexus point between separate locations, which treats time more like a physical dimension that can be bisected than as a moment in which 'the present' occurs, phenomenologically speaking. That's in keeping with relativity, but it ends up being a mathematical treatment rather than an answer about whether we can ever speak of anything other than past or future from our vantage point.

Just so I don't sound dismissive about all this, I think "is there such a thing as now" would be a cool paper topic, either in philosophy or physics. But it's a really non-trivial matter, which is why we must be cautious about throwing supposedly self-evident statements about reality around.

47
General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 23, 2022, 11:24:21 PM »
Err, that's a bad typo (Ornerymod can edit it and delete this post if that's simpler). I'm *NOT* trying to gang up on you.

48
General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 23, 2022, 09:42:50 PM »
I just wanted to throw in once more than I'm trying to gang up on you, Joshua, if it may appear to be the case. I'm not joining up with Tom to oppose arguments for God, or anything like that. As you know I agree with some of your views on the cause of all things, and so all of my objections above need to be understood as me going after a particular line of argument, not against your core beliefs. I hope that distinction is clear :)

49
General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 23, 2022, 05:15:59 PM »
Joshua,

I'll make sure I'm being clear by saying this again: your problem thoughout the argument, and in these recent rebuttals, is always the language. You keep saying I am too (I guess) modern to understand the ideas you're putting forward. But you are way too far ahead of where we're at for that to be a concern. If you want to say that a philosophical statement should be accepted by someone else, which is literally the only reason to put forward a proof, then your #1, #2, and #3 priorities should be to establish common language and communication standards with your audience or interlocutor. If someone is saying there's a disagreement about word meaning, and you insist there isn't, there is already a disagreement about word meaning! If I tell you that you are using the letters C-A-U-S-E to point in all sorts of different directions, and you tell me I just don't know what you're talking about, we have already established what the particular arena of the debate should be: to nail down the meanings of the words so that we can finally move on to discussing whether the concepts you want to outline are in fact true. But we can't even establish truth-function in non-propositions that don't even have clear semantic meanings. I pointed out in a detailed way the ways in which "cause" were used in Aristotle (which is historically the only context I'm aware of in which that word can connote definitions of structure [e.g. 'I am made up of cells therefore my cells are the cause of me']) but you seem to have ignored the specifics, re: material cause, formal cause, etc. Without such restriction on what the word "cause" means, then, yes, it's a constant equivocation scenario.

This is just one example, of which there are may here, of where language disagreement makes it difficult to get to the point where we can discuss the truth merits of a proposition. You asked me why I have a problem with PSR, and I mentioned a few issues, but perhaps primarily that I'm not even sure it's a coherent proposition. So far I have not seen any evidence that you have understood what I mean by that, because you seem to be very quick to dismiss my concern and to still insist that I should be able to pick a side and say whether I agree with it or not. But you can neither agree nor disagree with a non-proposition, something that is just a jumble of sounds with no real meaning.

I will submit, though, that in addition to the fact that we have discrepancies in word usage amongst us, there is also the issue which you did allude to earlier, that we are inevitably jumping around. For instance it's admittedly hard to keep every single point in its proper place, such as this one for instance:

Quote
Quote
Just so I'm clear, are you citing these theological propositions as being the basis of your statement in clause #2 that science and philosophy do function? Note again, my objection is that your statement that we can trust science and philosophy is meant to support the proposition that God props up existence in this moment, which doesn't seem to make sense unless one or both fields have provided for us solid evidence that we can make strong statements like this. So are you limiting this solid evidence to the theological propositions you just named (about the attributes of God), or are there other domains of philosophy that have shown us success that should give us confidence in making statements about how existence is propped up?

No. I was clear how I used those philosophical (not theological) arguments; each one points to a different property of God that we can know through reason.

It may not have been as evident as it ideally would that this comment of mine, which you replied to, was directly and solely a matter of investigating your claim on pg 1 that since science and philosophy do work that we can trust remarks made about how creation is kept afloat moment to moment. Your only defense of that claim so far was citing the different aspects of God, and I was asking whether there was more backup or whether that's it. Putting aside any further answer to this question, you thought (it would seem) that I was accusing the theological/philosophical aspects of God of being in the wrong category for our discuss (theology, rather than philosophy). But that's not actually what I asked. Again, this can perhaps be hard to track if we're dealing with different line items in random order.

I 've got to run out now, but one last word for now:

Quote
The past doesn't exist. The past cannot be the reason why my keyboard doesn't fall. Something here in this moment must be the cause.

This may be language-related, or perhaps it's a philosophical point to debate, but my point about your resorting to chronology without intending to (I would argue you actually cannot get away from it no matter what you would try) is that even your phrase "in this moment" is most likely an incoherent phrase that doesn't point to a real thing. Nothing I'm aware of gives us the right to assert that there is a such thing as a "moment" (a slice in time that's neither future nor past), nor that we can specify something can be immediate without being a part of the past. Just by thinking something you are already referencing something already behind you. There is no 'now' now, to coin a phrase. I guess that would put Dark Helmet in a difficult position. And nothing I'm aware of in physics permits for talking about zero-time moments. Everything in nature seems to operate on finite lag. I hope you can see why this makes it a problem to claim that any scenario can be divorced from chronology.

50
General Comments / Re: The Biden Economy
« on: July 22, 2022, 09:02:08 PM »
But, we know it's Biden energy policies that is driving inflation in the country, because there is no inflation problem in any other country in the world. So it has to be something we are doing domestically.

Oh, wait...  ;)

Well, it's entirely possible Biden's admin (or any sitting president) did in fact make matters worse in the oil price itself. If producers were told to slow down production then this would obviously create a problem in the case of an uptick in demand. But again that wouldn't do jack to explain inflation in other commodities, stocks, real estate, etc.

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