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Messages - reasonable

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Interzone / Re: Your Morals: A Quiz!
« on: October 06, 2013, 08:15:09 PM »

Metal / Re: Best metal releases of 2011
« on: December 27, 2011, 06:58:44 PM »

I don't know how often I can throw on the noodly bullshit of Obsequiae or the power chord chromatic exercises of Apocalypse Command before I throw in the towel and seek out some Mozart.

I don't know how often I can throw on the generic, uninspired bullshit of Cianide before I throw in the towel and seek out audio recordings of Downies humping each other.

I seriously think you have some kind of ideological aversion to talent.

Interzone / Re: Nothingness after death - As uncertain as afterlife
« on: December 25, 2011, 05:08:33 PM »
We know for certain there's no such thing as an omnipotent god, too bad Christians don't listen to me on that one, lol... omnipotence would by definition include the freedom of will to totally transcend the very identity which would wield the omnipotence in the first place, thus cancelling it out.

What do you mean by "totally transcend the very identity which would wield the omnipotence in the first place"? There are basically two ways you could think of an omipotent being transcending its own identity in such a way that it "cancels out" its omnipotence: (1) Such a being becomes more than maximally powerful; (2) Such a being becomes less than maximally powerful.

(1) is a logical impossibility. I don't see why one would have to conceive of omnipotence in such a way that "x is omnipotent" entails that "x can do things that are logically impossible." Lots of Christians conceive of God's omnipotence as the power to do absolutely anything that's not logically impossible.

(2) does nothing to undermine God's omnipotence. How would being able to become less than omnipotent undermine an omnipotent being's omnipotence? If I'm ignorant but am able to become less ignorant, that does not show that I'm not now ignorant.

If you don't have either (1) or (2) in mind, then what do you have in mind?

Interzone / Re: Human rights
« on: December 25, 2011, 04:58:15 PM »
One way to take on a human rights activist is by asking him the definition of human behavior. Any society will have some consensus of how to treat each other, most commonly a human rights activist will insist on equality. Then point out the inequality between people. If you have the nerves then you could ask him if he considers the rights of his children as important as the rights of the pedophile who would molest them. If he thinks the pedophile has equal rights then ask him why the pedophile should be locked up then. If he's hardcore humanist he will say the pedophile needs to be cured so he can return to society (in other cases he will say the pedophile needs punishment, if he says that then you've basically won alread

The idea of equal rights doesn't entail that people can't forfeit certain rights by violating the rights of others, so I don't really see your point here.

Interzone / Re: John Stuart Mill
« on: December 21, 2011, 07:20:55 PM »
Mill's politics are basically radical libertarianism - someone should be able to do anything and everything they want as long as they don't hurt anybody.


Interzone / Re: Nothingness after death - As uncertain as afterlife
« on: December 19, 2011, 07:44:02 PM »
I have talked to Christians who said that if there is only decomposition after death, if this is 100% proven without a doubt then they would kill themselves to get the hell out of this genetic rat race.

Then they are fatalists, and it doesn't bother me in the least if they commit suicide. Society could do without fatalists; their apathy is cancerous.

I find this reply to be kind of odd. It seems like these Christians take the view that matters of transcendence beyond the physical (afterlife, the soul, God) have certain very important implications for axiological and, by implication (I suppose), normative matters. Their idea seems to be that the lack of, e.g., a spiritual afterlife, would entail the falsity of positive value and normative claims. It seems that your reply here relies heavily on some presupposition to the effect that "fatalism bad, non-fatalism good." But in this context that seems question-begging. It's like the non-Christian's reply in the following hypothetical exchange:

Christian: "If the whole of existence is ultimately nothing more than matter impinging on other matter, then nothing ultimately has any intrinsic value, so I'm just going to go kick people in the face for fun.'

Non-Christian: "But if you did that, you would be an asshole. You shouldn't be an asshole."

Of course, maybe you're just making some statement about your preferences and are not trying to adduce some kind of argument. If that's the case, then, well, whatev...

Metal / Re: A-list metal
« on: October 08, 2011, 01:07:33 AM »
Also Power Metal:
*Blind Guardian
*Crimson Glory
*Hammers of Misfortune
*Iced Earth
*Cirith Ungol
*Fates Warning
*Lost Horizon
*Pagan's mind
*Running wild
These bands are all good, but I'd shorten the list to Iced Earth, Helloween, Fates Warning, Lost Horizon.  maybe Blind Guardian.

Hmmm, not sure I can agree with that. If you think it's fine to leave Lost Horizon on the list, then I don't see any particularly good reason for not leaving Angra, Pagan's Mind, Hammers of Misfortune, and Running Wild on the list. I haven't listened to Lost Horizon in a couple of years, but I remember that the only things about them that stood out were their very talented singer and their goofy sci fi concept. As songwriters they didn't particularly stand out to me. I think those other bands I mentioned are all better in that sense. I don't see how they're better overall than those other bands (I also love Running Wild, but that's my personal idiosyncrasy; I make no judgment concerning whether they're A-list or not.)

Interzone / Re: False Enlightenment via Academia
« on: September 24, 2011, 07:39:57 AM »
are the tools for the study of life really available in a classroom?

Is that how you define philosophy? That seems either too vague or too restrictive (I mean for that disjunction to be inclusive, by the way.)

You can study philosophers and their terminology, but even this not philosophy itself.

Right, but you can actually do or learn how to do philosophy, which is what actually goes on at philosophy departments.

I'm not saying that it isn't possible, but there's far greater tendency for subjectivity to distort the truth when your object of study is so abstract.

Even if subjectivity is a problem here (and you'd have to explain this notion further, because this "problem" is not entirely obvious to me), how would that be mitigated by separating philosophy from the university setting, where peer review, professional qualifications, and actual standards of scholarship generally apply? How would the alternative (whatever the hell it's supposed to be) be better?

Interzone / Re: Americans secede
« on: August 27, 2011, 07:28:21 PM »
For liberals, it is about what ought to exist. For conservatives, it is about (intolerance/hate) what exists and (reactionary) indicating what will likely come to exist if the present course is taken.

Let me get this straight: You are implying that conservatism is not a normative doctrine, right? That would certainly be a strange thing to say, since it looks pretty clear to me that the various types of conservatism have quite a bit to say about how things ought to be.

This really does not seem like a helpful way of contrasting the two views. It's not as though one doctrine is preoccupied with normativity and the other isn't. The fact is that they are both preoccupied with it, though they obviously differ in their specific normative claims. The contrast you've set up seems to imply that "what exists" and "what will likely come to exist if the present course is taken" are irrelevant within the ideology/theory of liberalism. But I think what you're doing is taking your points of disagreement with liberals on empirical matters and using that to define what the theory is. That's not a question of definition, though; that's a further question about whose empirical claims are true. There's nothing in fundamental liberal commitments, so far as I can tell, that supports the contrast you've set up. I don't even think it's clear that the contrast is generally true of liberal versus conservative behavior. How do you get from "these people disagree with me on certain empirical matters" to "what the world is like and what it's likely to be like given factors x, y, and z are irrelevant to these people"?

Interzone / Re: Americans secede
« on: August 25, 2011, 06:14:19 PM »
Are you Dave? Your lack of intuitive reasoning suggests that you are.


No, I'm not Dave.

What exactly do you mean by "intuitive reasoning"? If you say something that seems unsupported, or unclear in its meaning or intent, or irrelevant, I'm going to point that out. How does that constitute a lack of "intuitive reasoning"?

Interzone / Re: Americans secede
« on: August 23, 2011, 02:43:22 PM »
It's best to steer clear of "rights" and "liberties" babble. Such talk is devoid of constructive goals, as it focuses on the self.

First of all, I don't know why you're saying this. The discussion concerned what liberals' values actually are, not what they ought to be. So thanks for the info, but it's basically irrelevant. Second of all, I'm okay with "focusing on the self" as I care about actual people and securing their well-being. I'm okay with things that secure individuals against all the would-be Hitlers, Stalins, and other assorted arrogant social planners of the world.

Too vague to address.

Sort of like what you just said right there. How exactly is it too vague to address? Clearly Conservationist thinks it's the goal of liberal policies to promote flaky irresponsibility. I'm challenging him to actually establish that that is the case. What's vague about that?

How can you call high school finger painting culture? The artistic requirements are shit, and they require everyone to participate.

Precisely what on God's green Earth are you on about here? Why exactly are you talking about high school finger painting?

Promoting tangible talent is the only true way to establish culture. Talent does not spawn simply because the state tells it to do so.

How the heck did you get from "Liberals support state assistance for the arts" to "Liberals think talent arises because the state tells it to"? Do you seriously think that the position involves claims like "Talent wouldn't exist if not for state support of various arts and cultural projects"?  

Why is there constantly the tendency on this site to erect the crudest caricatures of opposing viewpoints?

Interzone / Re: Americans secede
« on: August 22, 2011, 09:29:52 PM »

On the surface, they support the state.

Which is a pretty damn relevant consideration. They don't just support the state, but a certain kind of state which curtails all sorts of liberties. And they think this entirely right and just. So a straightforward construal of the statement "liberals believe in a right to unrestricted liberty" is demonstrably false.

In reality, the only reason the state is needed is to defend the flaky irresponsibility of individuals.

They would probably say something like "this kind of state/these kinds of policies are needed in order to allow individuals to be self-directed and to flourish, and to prevent/mitigate harms." Sounds a lot nicer when you say it like that. Tell me, why is your understanding of their values more correct than mine?

They certainly don't want culture.

Do you have evidence for this? Why, then, are liberals some of the strongest supporters of state funding for the arts? Maybe you really mean to say "They certainly don't want the sort of culture that I would approve of."

you're beginning to sound like Dave.

That's fine with me.

Interzone / Re: Americans secede
« on: August 22, 2011, 07:28:20 PM »
Is that article meant to persuade or merely to preach to the choir?

Quote from: Brett Stevens
Liberals endorse versions of the same idea on a spectrum from anarchy to communism: the individual has the unrestricted right to do whatever he or she wants to.

Nonsense. Is this person even familiar with liberals and what they stand for? On the face of it, it's absurd. Why are most liberals basically the foremost mainstream defenders of the regulatory/paternalist state if they believe in the individual's unrestricted right to do whatever he or she wants? Why do they support a coercive state in the first place? Well, part of the answer here is that they simply don't hold the belief that the author is attributing to them. So much for that convenient delusion.

Quote from: Brett Stevens
Liberals want to focus on the individual and ignore consequences

Really? Why do pretty much all liberals support economic regulation, environmental regulation, enforced safety standards in a whole plethora of areas, coercive methods of combating negative externalities and market failures, and so and so forth? Could it perhaps be that they maybe kind of sort of have an interest in the positive consequences that such policies are presumed to have?

Quote from: Brett Stevens
conservatives want to pay attention to consequences and make the individual fit into that as a means to an end.

Let me see if I can play the anus/amerika rhetorical game: Oh I see, so conservatives are proposing to treat their fellow human beings like cattle.

Am I doing it right?

Quote from: Brett Stevens
The proles of the world love liberalism because it tells them it’s not their fault that they have failings in life; someone else (presumably the rich, fascists, white people or aliens) did it to them.

The proles of the world love conservatism because it tells them it's not their fault that they have failings in life; someone else (presumably fags and their faggot agenda, Mexicans, Muslims, labor unions, affirmative action, people with an IQ under 120, academia, liberals, atheists, african-americans, Hollywood, degenerates, etc.) did it to them.

Interzone / Re: Reading-up on Egalitarianism
« on: August 20, 2011, 02:52:53 PM »
I think I can help here, although egalitarianism is not really my area (I am more engaged in issues about property rights and liberty.) The three biggest names in academic philosophy associated with egalitarianism are probably John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, and G.A. Cohen (Cohen was a full-blown socialist if I'm not mistaken.) Rawls's magnum opus, A Theory of Justice, is widely regarded as the most important and thoroughgoing philosophical defense of modern liberalism. It's definitely not a short read, though. You might want to begin with a shorter introduction to his philosophical thinking. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is your friend.

I can't really recommend anything specific by Dworkin or Cohen simply because I am not familiar enough with their work. I have read only certain articles by Cohen which were not really about egalitarianism. Your best bet is probably to just look up their names on Amazon, read the synopses for their books, and see which ones interest you. For a broad overview of egalitarianism in philosophy, see this article. The bibliography is a good resource for further reading, although if you want to access some of the articles that are listed, you'll probably have to be affiliated with a university.

Now, as far as objections to egalitarianism go, the situation is a bit more difficult. I think most academic philosophers are egalitarians of one sort or another (even right-libertarians are; they think people have equal rights of a certain kind, but not rights to equal shares of resources or anything like that.) Opposition to egalitarianism in philosophy usually comes from libertarian and classical liberal perspectives. The biggest name in this area is Robert Nozick whose best-known work, Anarchy, State and Utopia, deals a bit with egalitarianism in its objections to patterned and end-state distributive schemes. I don't think Nozick's arguments are ultimately successful (actually, I think the foundations of libertarian political philosophy are a big mess of conceptual confusions) but it's an extremely influential work and probably should count as essential reading if you're interested in political philosophy.

Another libertarian writer who has written a bit about egalitarianism is Jan Narveson. He has an article called "Egalitarianism: Partial, Counterproductive, and Baseless", and although I have never gotten around to reading it, Narveson is a pretty sharp guy and an entertaining writer, so it's probably a decent read at least. His magnum opus is The Libertarian Idea, but there's not much in there that directly addresses egalitarian arguments if my memory serves me correctly. And that brings me to a larger point: a lot of the opposition to egalitarianism in philosophy seems to me to be indirect. That is to say, anti-egalitarian writers will argue for an alternative view (libertarianism, classical liberalism) the implications of which supposedly entail the falsity of egalitarian normative claims. I don't know of a whole lot of direct challenges to specific arguments for egalitarianism. I don't even know if there really are many particularly rigorous arguments for egalitarianism broadly construed. Again, it's not really my area.

Well, there you go. I hope that helps somewhat.


I don't really care about the guy behind the shootings.  90 odd people were killed - 90 fewer for the world to deal with.  Of those 90, maybe one or two would have been worth having around in the future (though, given this was a ]i]Socialist Gathering[/i], that's even less likely).  I certainly won't miss them.  Well done, mass murderers.

Yeah, I can't understand why people disagree with me either. That's why I think it's cool when they get shot, including kids. I spent approximately five seconds formulating this opinion.

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