• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by styg50

  1. As an issue of individual rights (property specifically), no one, especially government, should be allowed to take your DNA since it is your property. I think that should be the baseline for law in these kinds of cases. However, I think the issue should be looked at more closely on the state level as it pertains to "emergency ethics" where apparently rational action in the face of an unsolved murder or abduction or disaster may run headlong into apparently effective action in preserving additional lives or property. And while I think states should reserve the right to take this closer look, I do not think they should be allowed to legislate the problem at the state level, except to determine at what level it will be legislated. Instead I think that guidelines for implementation of emergency rules and laws should be issued at the state level, and that the state should be supportive (perhaps with state resources) when those guidelines are followed. As to the granularity of the implementation, that could be county by county, or borough, or district, or city or whatever the state population agrees upon, and the best granularity would probably change for a particular state over the years. It would probably be a confusing and relatively useless effort if it was too granular (say on a school by school basis). I would also say that the nature of these emergency rules shouldn't be of a forced compliance variety, but rather a voluntary compliance. For example, in your case for the school murder, with the subsequent (illegal IMO) DNA testing, a state whose legislation specified that cities were to implement laws regarding emergency ethics could issue guidelines that say they support the authorities being able to quickly and decisively act to acquire relevant data (it would be MUCH more specific than that, but I hope you get the idea). At the city level, a town may implement laws along those guidelines, to specifically say that in the event of an emergency on a public campus, that a very limited DNA sampling could take place, for anyone present on the campus. The voluntary compliance means that long before there is any emergency situation, parents whose children attend that campus would sign a waiver saying they would allow that. In no way should they be REQUIRED to sign said waiver. It is the parents' responsibility, and the child's to assure that when an emergency does occur that they make it known they are exempt from compliance with the law. In the event that NO ONE signs the waiver, that is just an indication that the law was too overreaching for that community. Assuming that the legislation was adopted properly in the first place (with public representation) it would never get that far anyways... As to framing it as a take on conservative philosophy or psychology, I don't personally know anyone who would call themselves a conservative who would support either of the examples you illustrated, so I don't know how commonplace it is. I also don't know anyone who is very religious though, which may be closer to the phenomenon you are witnessing. Someone more tuned to a philosophy of self-sacrifice in the name of the greater good might be tickled pink at the opportunity to give up an essential right in the name of fighting evil. And of course, any liberals I know would love to implement those kinds of laws with forced compliance, as long as they felt it didn't apply to them. They are all for sacrifice in the name of the greater good..when they get to choose the victims.
  2. Happy Birthday to styg50

    Thank you, Betsy!
  3. I don't know anything about Popper except what you have described in your threads, so perhaps I am missing some context, but like Betsy, I am unsure how your statement indicates induction is invalid... It doesn't matter. In Betsy's inductive statement above, "Men are mortal," mortality is what has been observed, along with myriad other abstractions. That this specific abstraction has been isolated, reduced to sensory or axiomatic data and integrated into the full context of what we have already sensed about man is irrelevant to the process of doing so, and choosing to focus on it doesn't invalidate the process. Our certainty about the knowledge gained through this inductive process is always contextual: more context, more inductions, more integrations, more reductions to axioms equals more certainty, not less validity. If this isn't the inductive process being refuted by Popper, please clarify.
  4. Objectivity

    The "popular" usage of 'objective' tends toward a description of the metaphysical, in my experience. In other words, the general usage of it is used to describe existents and their degree of adherence to reality, or in the case of 'subjective,' adherence to consciousness. In a way this is a philosophical use of the term, though wrong. But Ayn Rand made it clear that 'objectivity' is actually a prime component of epistemology, not metaphysics. Existents aren't objective or subjective, they just are. It is our means and methodology of grasping them which could be objective or subjective. By reference to the requirement of logic above, if a concept has been determined objectively, than that is, indeed, 'the end of the story,' as far as being true is concerned. The method of logic rules out any contradictions, and thus the concept will be an accurate description of reality. It might not be utterly comprehensive, but it would still be true.
  5. Practicing math

    Can I suggest grabbing the Cliffnotes for each subject in math that will be covered? The books are cheap, quick, to the point, and 99% of the time convey just the fundamental information you need to solve problems, which makes you a better solver over time. I'm a mechanical engineer, and I keep a stack from algebra to calculus AB on my bookshelf. When I tutor in math, I use the BasicMath Cliffnotes to prime the pump (highschools students usually) and they are always surprised by how much math they "remember" after one half hour session. They are the most effective math 'texts' I have ever run across. They are available on the clifnotes website for free, though a quick comparison indicates that the book I am holding is slightly more detailed, and it may be easier to scan a book than a website, personal preference....
  6. Are Professional Athletes Economically Productive?

    Based on the phrasing of the question, which lumps all professional athletes together, I would say yes, professional athletes can be economically productive, in an Objectivist sense, i.e. they could provide the material value of the spectacle of various types of athleticism (productive) in a manner that abides by the private property requirements of Capitalism (economically). But if you were to apply the question to a specific group of athletes, that won't necessarily be true, primarily the 'economically' part of the equation. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if it were universally not true, at least here in the US, as all the instances I can speak to are non-Capitalist (NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA). It is worth noting that the professional sports I am unsure of also happen to be the ones that are more individualistic (tennis, Nascar, golf), so maybe there is hope... To look at one specific case, professional athletes in the NFL, the basic economy tends to the following pattern: At best an Objectivist fan (productive Capitalist, so as not to question where he got his money from) buys a ticket to see his favorite team, some stadium merchandise while he is there and maybe some overpriced stadium beers, and then in fit of fanatical inspiration after the game orders some embroidered team swag from the online NFL shop and signs up for the Sunday Ticket package on satellite so he won't miss a minute more of the athletic, strategic and tactical phenomenon he enjoys, oh, so much. That money then gets distributed to the teams themselves in different ways, based on a thoroughly non-Objectivist rules framework attained through collective bargaining. It should be noted that this CBA was possible due to an anti-trust 'exemption' which amounts to little more than expedient political favoritism to a select group of crony-capitalists, to protect them from other capitalists, crony- and otherwise. The fan's stadium expenses go straight to the owner of the team, via concession stand fees, minus a percentage of the 'gate' which goes to the owner of the visiting team. His online expenses go to a revenue sharing pool, along with a cut of the television programming bill he now pays. This revenue pool is designed to support the lowest earning franchises at the expense of the higher earning franchises, despite whatever management gambles and foibles the one might care to perpetrate against the others. From this revenue pool, a percentage of it has been earmarked to go to a compensation pool, and some has been earmarked to finance an illegal bubble-financing arm of the NFL New York office which has the innocuous duty of financing new stadium construction, but which actually engages in a tactical, strategic and dare I say athletic securing of publicly held debt (local stadium taxes) that rivals their on-field product. These publicly funded stadiums are built on Keynesian principles and function as corporate bailouts and handouts. The money that found its way around the groping hands of the team owners and into the compensation pool is then divided up according to tenure in the league, based on veteran minimum salaries, regardless of personal production levels. A lucky few have the talent and opportunity to command their own price once their arbitrarily pegged rookie contracts run out...contracts which payout based on where the player ended up slotted in the annual draft process which guarantees that the worst of the franchises get first dibs. Any rookie who disagrees with this process has very little leverage with which to protect their blossoming career, and more than one has been ruined, almost preemptively in the process. While not everyone of these factors is at play at all times (some stadiums have more or less public financing, for example) the principles behind them (crony-capitalism) are. Like I said, one can readily see that there is potential for some of the individual sports like golf or tennis to buck these trends, if one looked into it, but I would bet that in any case where large physical facilities (re. monuments) are in play, the dangers to a truly Capitalist economics are also present. Can a conscientious Objectivist honestly, then, value the product as it is presented to them (as a weekend stadium experience, a double-header at the park, a house party during the Super Bowl?) If they partake of it in a thoughtful manner, I would say that, yes, they can. But that is another subject, entirely.
  7. Happy Birthday to styg50

    thank you everyone! Wonderful words Brian! I appreciate them very much.
  8. Retributive justice and revenge

    I think a good conceptual help would be to think of justice as "preservation of the good." I have often found that when looking at revenge, it has helped to clarify its inappropriateness by addressing in what way it actually helps preserve the good, as opposed to punish the evil. IF the good isn't being preserved, justice isn't properly being carried out. That is its whole purpose. An example might be the main character in the novel "Eye for an Eye," by Erica Holzer. The character loses a daughter and the criminal responsible is released on a technicality. When the main cahracter turns to vigilantiism to avenge her daughter, she ends up placing her own life and freedom in jeapordy, highlighting the inappropriateness of revenge as a true means of exacting justice. More good down the tubes just to punish a bad guy? That can't be justice.
  9. My Standup Comedy Debut

    You're awesome Betsy!
  10. Taken (2008)

    Maybe you are thinking of 'stoic?'
  11. I agree with what the others have said here. This early in your education be willing to think quite broadly about your field. As an electrical engineering major, there is a very good chance that you will eventually pursue a highly specialized niche in that field. This summer internship sounds like a great source for personal growth, and there will also be opportunities to find out how your major intersects with the medical field. Think of it as integration.
  12. A Dissection of Mr. Obama's "Salute" to Islam

    From Cline's column:
  13. Inflation

    I am very impressed by the price of gas. I have had the privelege of seeing some of the work being done on the north slope, and there are certainly some productive men and women at work in the rank and file of the oil sites. The top personalities in Alaska oil ownership isn't impressive to me, but I see very little actual information about them, and am confident in even less when it comes to the popular opinion of them. I think there are a number of Dagnys in the field, and a significant number of James as well.
  14. Personal Activism

    I mentioned before that I am tutoring (on occassion) local highschool students in the Fountainhead contests. I had the most ever applicants this year, and I have taken Betsy's advice and hope to work with ARI to increase Ayn Rand's exposure here in Alaska. Working with young minds is utterly rewarding. I also posted the following article on a (american) football website that I am an editor on. Familiarity with the circumstances surrounding the tumultuous offseason of NFL's Denver Broncos helps to know the who's who and what's what of the post. From Whence Character The post deals with the ideas of "character," "focus," and "evasion" and isn't anything new to Objectivists. What is of interest is the response from the fan community. This is a beer and pretzels crowd, but their "sense of life" is still very strong, and the feedback was inspiring, with a record number of "rec's" for the site, and 130 positive responses, including a short discussion of Ayn Rand that led to someone purchasing her novels. Most if not all of them recognized the value of the ideas in their own lives, and some even commented that they felt the ideas would help make them better people. Unfortunately the attribution feature of the built in story editor (as well as the autotagger and other distribution goodies) have been unreliable, so two quotes in the story didn't get proper attribution. The attribution is in the code, but it won't show up on the page itself, and we haven't found a way to fix it yet. One attribution is Merriam-webster online, and the other is the Ayn Rand Lexicon. the latter was fixed in the commenting section, but would look more professional if it showed up within the quote itself. Since going up the article has been picked up by Yahoo! Sports news feed and has appeared in the feature section of, and both places' readership received it warmly. A football website might seem like the last place where Ayn Rand's ideas could have an impact, but it just goes to show that where there are Objectivists, there is hope.
  15. The Art of Selecting a Title

    In my experience, my "working titles" all deal specifically with a critical plot element, since my main guideline when writing a first draft is the plot outline. When it comes time to edit, my theme is front and center for a while, helping me excise unnecessary burdens from the story, and usually the first run-through with theme in hand dredges up a few good "Final Title" prospects. To me, a good title should go straight to the theme of the work. Simplicity is nice, and I strive for concision usually, but I don't let it limit the initial title search...
  16. Book recommendation on property rights?

    A quick historical read is Richard Pipe's Property and Freedom.
  17. Global Warming Ads Banned In Ireland

    Does anyone think it matters that they were "government ads" that were banned? I don't really know what that means, except that the article indicates they were assembled, distributed and paid for by government, but should government be able to limit its own "freedoms", or in this case, what other governments are allowed to do within its borders (Ireland has some autonomy, but is considered part of the UK)? I don't think the issue is a simple one of censorship... The government agency here charged with distributing the ads and the stations that are being paid to air them aren't exactly laissez-faire--the government is robbing its people to pay for these advertisements, including the Irish, whose representation is refusing to let their citizenry be further attacked. Even if the TV station agreed with and wanted to air the propaganda, what right do they have to accept government subsidies to support their views? I am not sure of the motives of the Irish politicians (the article mentions that they believe the earth is cooling, not warming, but not whether they believe it is manmade or natural), but it seems to me that the end result was the proper thing to do.
  18. Howdy

    Welcome to THE FORUM Cabbie! The Texans are my favorite professional team behind Denver, mostly because of the hiring of Kubes. If you don't already now about it, a good place to keep track of the Texans going ons and communicate with some real die-hards is Battle Red Blog.
  19. Feeling guilt after giving severe criticism

    I had trouble with this to, especially when the bad feelings would hamper my productivity. I got over the hump by thinking about the concept of justice and recognizing the priority of "preservation of the good" over "punishment of the bad." Critiscism is destructive, in that it is meant to break down someone's conception of what they are doing, and get them to re-evaluate it, hopefully to change it. But I think that critics should be charged with additionally supplying the correct answers (which, if they don't have any answers, the criticism should be less severe and more open-minded to errors in its own consistency). Criticism without answers seems to be a mis-prioritization of applying justice, even when the entire exchange happens within our own minds. It doesn't make me feel good to think about what is bad about someone, without also thinking about what it would look like if it were better. When the exchange is actually with other persons, supplying answers and solutions along with your criticisms is essential to preserving a benevolent view, and the lack of doing this could possibly erode your benevolence, as a way of keeping you psychologically healthy: you might stop valuing your benevolent view to stop the bad feelings you get when your not contributing to preserving the good. Remember that criticism alone doesn't preserve the good, but it puts the onus on someone to preserve the good. It is a necessary step, but you have no control over what happens if it is the only step. As to providing the solutions and answers along with the criticisms, I found that I could make mistakes in that area and still feel bad, since the result was the same: the good wasn't preserved. One mistake I made was to confuse concise identification with solutions. Sometimes a criticism can be profound, especially for someone who has studied and understands Objectivist metaphysics and their implications. I would make the mistake of thinking that the implicit solution present in an accurate identification of the problem was an actual solution, but providing an explicit solution should be held in higher regard, because it has a better chance of working out. In the example you give, I read it as saying that you want this underwhelming course you are taking to be as enjoyable as some of the others you have taken in the program, which you identify as meaning that you want the underperforming professor to care about giving the class as much as the terriffic professor did. This is primarily an identification of the problem with an implicit solution. But I think you would feel better if you focused more on HOW they could make that happen. In my experience it is more rewarding to go straight to the source, the underperforming professor. Part of the reason why this might be more appropriate is that if you care what happens to the man, it would provide transparency for your motives, and if he needs to make a best case argument for his position, perhaps to a review board later, he will be able to prepare to do that. It is also a solution that takes into account that the school may generally determine that he is doing his job, and that they have other concerns to worry about, or any other number of resons why the school may not take action. If I did talk to the underperforming professor, it would probably go down as a fact gathering expedition. Why doesn't he care about the subject he is teaching? Maybe he does, and the correct solution to the problem involves turning him on better teaching ideas. Maybe he really doesn't care, in which case you might wonder why, is it the subject or just him, or the types of students he thinks he's teaching, etc. There is so much more information you could have in the pursuit to render justice, if you care about that more than you value the time such a pursuit would require. If you would rather have your free time, and get on with the classes that do interest you that is a valid value judgment. A non-severe critique of the class would be an asset that you could supply to the provider of the service, for them to address if they wish, but a severe criticism, where you call into question deeper issues with the program or the professor should be an opening salvo, something you are willing to put more time and effort into. It isn't surprising for someone to feel bad for shaking someone's foundations, the source of their livelihood, maybe the source of their life. Someone who makes a habit of doing that is a destroyer, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, since they may just be destroyiing things that can objectively be called bad. But they are still just a destroyer, and as Scott said at the beginning, being a destroyer probably doesn't suit you, and what you know you are capable of. I may be reading this differently than you meant, though. These are just the scenarios that popped into my head when you mentioned how you felt about the criticisms, since I think I have gone through something similar.
  20. Happy Birthday to bborg

    Happy birthday! I enjoy reading your posts and comments here on the forum!
  21. Be a part of something bigger than yourself

    Good analysis. This is how I have always viewed working with a good team, with "good" meaning that we share the same values and golas and are productive. I think your last sentence is really the essence of what Paul is asking for, as it applies both to healthy psychologies and second-handed ones. Our self-esteem and confidence are abstract, but they seem (to me at any rate) like they "have my back." That is, even if I fail to reach my goals, I know that I still have the potential for success, and reasons to strive for success. I think a good group can concretize that confidence and self-esteem, in the form of another human body, or many human bodies who all "have your back." You only have to see them, and your confidence in yourself stays strong. As an aside, it seems like this kind of group endeavor crops up most where failure is highly likely and/or frequent, which may be a symptom of the moral support that such a group provides. The reverse, of course, holds true for second-handed groups. They too see a reflection of their values in the group, though I think a better description might be if a mirror were looking at itself in another mirror... But their motivation can't be productivity, even if they stumble across success. Their motivation is plugging into some variant of the idea that the group is holy or sacred, and that they, as an individual, are not. The goal, and the true measure of their success, is the degree to which they enhance their confidence in the belief that their consciousness can control reality, accomplished by using force to control the producers.
  22. The Theory of Elementary Waves

    Thank you for the update, Betsy! I have been looking forward to this for so long that I almost forgot I was looking forward to it...
  23. Marathon

    Slightly off topic, but I spent the evening discovering Rush. Wow.
  24. Cloaking device

    Very cool. Can anyone guess what the first thing I thought of was?