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Lou FCD



Posts: 5378
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,17:39   

I'm chewing on your OP, Louis, but honestly, given the current trend in US politics, I'm drifting into the apathetic camp.

If people in the country with the most powerful nukes in the world are stupid enough to keep voting in the nutbags (and the evidence indicates they are), there'll be a nuclear holocaust shortly and none of it will matter.

I'll keep chewing and perhaps come up with a less depressing answer at some point.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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fnxtr



Posts: 2119
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,18:34   

Quote (MichaelJ @ Mar. 11 2011,14:34)
The problem with the eat local things is that in the end you have more people driving smaller trucks making more total stops so it may not be greener. For instance you might have an orchard 50 miles away that used to get visited once a day by a large more efficient truck. It now gets visited 10 times a day by smaller less efficient trucks.

It might in fact be greener visiting a Walmart.

So I've heard. I haven't investigated so can't really comment one way or the other.

There are a couple of local farms here that get busy on the weekends, and a market that's now open year-round thanks to a local hall.

Meanwhile, our grocer is of a small chain and tends to get stuff close by when they can anyway.

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"But it's disturbing to think someone actually thinks creationism -- having put it's hand on the hot stove every day for the last 400 years -- will get a different result tomorrow." -- midwifetoad

  
khan



Posts: 1482
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,18:46   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Mar. 11 2011,18:39)
I'm chewing on your OP, Louis, but honestly, given the current trend in US politics, I'm drifting into the apathetic camp.

If people in the country with the most powerful nukes in the world are stupid enough to keep voting in the nutbags (and the evidence indicates they are), there'll be a nuclear holocaust shortly and none of it will matter.

I'll keep chewing and perhaps come up with a less depressing answer at some point.

No shit, Sherlock.
I despair of the willfully stupid.

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"It's as if all those words, in their hurry to escape from the loony, have fallen over each other, forming scrambled heaps of meaninglessness." -damitall

That's so fucking stupid it merits a wing in the museum of stupid. -midwifetoad

  
fnxtr



Posts: 2119
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,18:54   

One more thing, Louis:

Remember to return your empties (burp!).

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"But it's disturbing to think someone actually thinks creationism -- having put it's hand on the hot stove every day for the last 400 years -- will get a different result tomorrow." -- midwifetoad

  
Seversky



Posts: 415
Joined: June 2010

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,20:23   

Just a few thoughts.

For me, personal morality reduces largely to the Golden Rule, personal behavior to "In peace, there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility" and the rights and responsibilities of the individual in society were summed up nicely by Mill in On Liberty.

Most if not all of which is anathema to a substantial portion of the US population.

On governance, there are times when I almost find myself sympathizing with a line from the movie Cromwell which has King Charles I saying "Democracy, Mr Cromwell, was a Greek drollery based on the foolish notion that there are extraordinary possibilities in very ordinary people.”  But, on balance, like others here, I go along with Churchill's assessment.

In economic terms, it seems that industrial revolutions, going all the way back to the English one, have been - and still are - based on exploiting a pool of very cheap labor.  The workers earn incomes that are markedly better than they got before - not difficult given that before it was often next to nothing - but it is the few owners who grew obscenely rich on the back of those workers.  On the other hand, the trickle-down effect could be said to work.  The average Brit, for example, is far better off in material terms than his or her counterpart of 150 years ago.  How much of that is due to workers organizing themselves into unions to fight for better wages and benefits that they would not have got otherwise is hard to say.

The industrial revolutions going on in China and India to day are again based on the exploitation of pools of cheap labor but if that ultimately means that those people will become better off, who are we to complain?

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4482
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,21:58   

As someone who would have been dead at any of about seven points in my life without modern medicine (including newborn respiratory support), it is tough for me to pretend that I might have a spot in a simpler non-technological lifestyle. Only an affluent society could afford to have me around. This kind of notion is developed in science fiction in Larry Niven's "Rammer" short story and follow-on novelization concerning the "corpsicle" concept of having oneself frozen to await rejuvenation when society advances. In Niven's story, the society that follows has no interest in restoring sickly bodies at the end of life, but has figured out how to decoct the chemistry that delivers a personality and insert that into a body that has been "mindwiped". A re-constituted personality gets one chance to dance to the state's tune, or they'll use the body to try out another personality that may be more pliable. Fortunately (for me, anyway), our society hasn't become quite so utilitarian yet.

Given that this may be a rare moment in the history of our species, I figure that my role is to use the capabilities and opportunities I do have to advance knowledge a bit, or at least pitch in to limit the damage done by the modern luddites. I can't claim to be doing anything that amounts to a positive outcome concerning carbon footprints and the like, but hopefully what we know about wildlife, what we know about artificial life, and what we actually pass on in education is just a bit better for my having been around. I don't think of myself as deserving what I've gotten, but I'm not continually bashing myself for an incredibly lucky draw in life's lottery, either.

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 12 2011,05:42   

Wes,

I think you've hit a large number of nails right on the head. Ones I think echoed in a lot of the comments here.

Maybe the examples I gave were poor ones, or unpopular ones, or merely limited ones, but you make a very good point. Regardless of precisely which of the many problems one turns one focus to, being more a part of the solution than the problem is the crux of the matter.

For you it seems that combating neo-luddism and advancing our understanding of our world is the problem to which you have set yourself. I'd say that was a problem worth tackling, but then I might be a teensy bit biased! ;-)

Also, like I said in the OP, I'm not interested in the classic liberal hair shirt (or its polar opposite). I equally don't deserve my place and privilege, in fact focusing on whether or not I deserve it is (to me at least) a red herring. I have both to some extent regardless of my deserving nature. What matters to me is what I do with them. The narrow path between paralysing self flagellation and equally paralysing self assurance is a tough one to walk.

Louis

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Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 12 2011,05:44   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Mar. 11 2011,23:39)
I'm chewing on your OP, Louis, but honestly, given the current trend in US politics, I'm drifting into the apathetic camp.

If people in the country with the most powerful nukes in the world are stupid enough to keep voting in the nutbags (and the evidence indicates they are), there'll be a nuclear holocaust shortly and none of it will matter.

I'll keep chewing and perhaps come up with a less depressing answer at some point.

The problem I have is I agree.

Mind you, when one considers inevitable heat death of the universe, we might as well go down the pub. People hate us big picture people! ;-)

Louis

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Bye.

  
OgreMkV



Posts: 3304
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 12 2011,07:31   

Quote (khan @ Mar. 11 2011,18:46)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Mar. 11 2011,18:39)
I'm chewing on your OP, Louis, but honestly, given the current trend in US politics, I'm drifting into the apathetic camp.

If people in the country with the most powerful nukes in the world are stupid enough to keep voting in the nutbags (and the evidence indicates they are), there'll be a nuclear holocaust shortly and none of it will matter.

I'll keep chewing and perhaps come up with a less depressing answer at some point.

No shit, Sherlock.
I despair of the willfully stupid.

I agree to, but you know... that's what they want.

They want us thinking people so frustrated and upset that the system doesn't work that we won't participate, giving people like Scott Walker power.

I try very hard to maintain my enthusiasm for fighting these types of people.  It's difficult, but ultimately worth it.

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Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.

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OgreMkV



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(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 14 2011,08:18   

Robin, I have a question for you.

Other areas in my life have basically come together aaround this central point for me lately.  Coincidence, but a somewhat disturbing one.

Please correct if I'm wrong, but you think that the imposition of one's standards or right and wrong on others is wrong.  Is that a fair summation?  I do not want to misinterpret you.

So my question is (and this is difficult to put into words as I'm still wrapping my head around it) what is the point?

Am I morally, ethically, or otherwise wrong for demanding that slaves be set free?  Am I morally, ethically or otherwise wrong for requiring that my elected officials follow the law?  Am I morally, ethically or otherwise wrong for defending the rights of people who don't even know they should have rights?

Honestly, it would be easier, I could go hide in a cave and ignore the world around me.  It's a sucky place right now.

But, how can I live with myself knowing that I allow this stuff to continue when I can at least speak out against it?

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Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.

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Henry J



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(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 14 2011,11:54   

Just to put my two cents in, I think that holding people to legislated (or otherwise already agreed-to) standards is different than holding them to ones own standards.

  
Robin



Posts: 1430
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 14 2011,12:10   

[quote=OgreMkV,Mar. 14 2011,08:18][/quote]
Quote
Robin, I have a question for you.

Other areas in my life have basically come together aaround this central point for me lately.  Coincidence, but a somewhat disturbing one.

Please correct if I'm wrong, but you think that the imposition of one's standards or right and wrong on others is wrong.  Is that a fair summation?  I do not want to misinterpret you.


It's fair, but overly simplistic.

The reason I see intervention on another person's standards as 'wrong' is that it requires two assumptions I see as being logically unsupportable. 1) the assumption that the person's standards and/or actions are wrong in some absolute sense, and 2) that your standards are somehow superior and will necessarily lead a 'correct' or 'right' outcome. How can anyone possibly know this?

I look at it this way - I can't come up with a way to honestly assess that my strong feelings against someone causing suffering come from anywhere different than Khadafi's strong feelings regarding how to treat his people. As such, I can't say that my feelings are more valid than his.

So to really answer your question, I believe that the imposition of one's standards of right and wrong on others is short-sighted and is usually the product of reaction to emotions rather than fully considering the possible outcomes of intervention and whether such removes the root problem or creates more problems.

Quote
So my question is (and this is difficult to put into words as I'm still wrapping my head around it) what is the point?

Am I morally, ethically, or otherwise wrong for demanding that slaves be set free? Am I morally, ethically or otherwise wrong for requiring that my elected officials follow the law?  Am I morally, ethically or otherwise wrong for defending the rights of people who don't even know they should have rights?



No, or at least my opinion is no. But I'm not an authority on morality, ethics or otherwise concepts of 'wrongness'.

Keep in mind, what I put forth is an explanation of my own standard and my thoughts on the intervention and judgment of others. It isn't a declaration on 'right' and 'wrong', or at least I didn't intend it that way. I put it forth to give folks something to consider. I really feel that all actions and judgments should be seriously pondered before being made, not that taking certain actions are always 'right' or always 'wrong'.

Here's another example of my thinking on this: A man witnesses another man beating his child across her back with a belt. The first man - we'll call him "John" - feels very strongly that what the other man - we'll call him "Bill" - is doing is wrong. John runs up and grabs Bill's arm and says, "how dare you strike this girl so brutally!". As he says this, the girl runs away. Bill turns to John and says in return, "This is how my family and people were taught to deal with someone who disobeys and traditional rule! Who are you to say that the traditions of hundreds of generations of my people are wrong!"

To me, the actions of both John and Bill are 'wrong' in the sense that neither is using logic to address a problem and both are just reacting to feelings and traditions.  I then use this example to try to remind myself to think about a situation before I react to my feelings concerning the situation.

So, the bottom line for me is that reacting to a given situation isn't necessarily right or wrong, but rather that not thinking and just reacting to a visceral response leads to more problems than the original issue.

So now let's look at your questions. Are you morally, ethically, or otherwise wrong for demanding that slaves get set free? It depends - do you really thinking you are morally, ethically, or otherwise responsible for the slaves? Have they asked for help? What are parameters surrounding the particular slavery? What are the likely outcome scenarios of the slaves being set free? Etc...

If none of the above questions matter to you and you think that all slavery is wrong no matter what and that stopping slavery at all costs is the only solution, then I think you will find significantly more problems in the long run.

From that I bet you can figure out what my answers to your other questions are.

Quote
Honestly, it would be easier, I could go hide in a cave and ignore the world around me.  It's a sucky place right now.

But, how can I live with myself knowing that I allow this stuff to continue when I can at least speak out against it?


What do you mean you allow this stuff to continue? How influential are you really? I think you're being too hard on yourself and taking on more responsibility for the way things are than your domain of control actually covers. That's just my opinion of course, but I don't see anyone having the responsibility, authority, or for that matter individual power to craft the world in his or her image.

Be that as it may, I'll offer that you can only live with yourself if you can determine to extent of your domain of control and determine what power and resources you have to effect those things within it. Truly I believe that's all anyone can do to enjoy this life.

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we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
OgreMkV



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(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 14 2011,12:35   

Quote (Robin @ Mar. 14 2011,12:10)
Be that as it may, I'll offer that you can only live with yourself if you can determine to extent of your domain of control and determine what power and resources you have to effect those things within it. Truly I believe that's all anyone can do to enjoy this life.

But how can I enjoy life knowing that there are people out there that are perfectly happy to take away my (and my family's) ability to enjoy life?

No, I know that I don't have any influence, which is even more frustrating because we life in a democracy.  I should have a say, but I don't because my vote either doesn't mean anything or the effect of my vote is taken away by people with bigger bankrolls.

As far as the rest, it bears thinking on.  I don't like the implications though.  However, I will endeavor to come up with something that has some thought behind it.

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Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.

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Robin



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(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 14 2011,14:09   

Quote (OgreMkV @ Mar. 14 2011,12:35)
Quote (Robin @ Mar. 14 2011,12:10)
Be that as it may, I'll offer that you can only live with yourself if you can determine to the extent of your domain of control and determine what power and resources you have to effect those things within it. Truly I believe that's all anyone can do to enjoy this life.


But how can I enjoy life knowing that there are people out there that are perfectly happy to take away my (and my family's) ability to enjoy life?


Are the people who are trying to take away your ability to enjoy life specific people or general concepts of people? If the former, where do they fall within your domain of control? If outside they are outside your domain of control, why worry about them until they fall within it? If they are within it, how, specifically, are their actions effecting your ability to enjoy life and what options do you see available to you specifically for dealing with the problem? Of these available options, which one(s) can you foresee having the fewest associated problems.

Quote
No, I know that I don't have any influence, which is even more frustrating because we life in a democracy.  I should have a say, but I don't because my vote either doesn't mean anything or the effect of my vote is taken away by people with bigger bankrolls.


Uhh...hmmm...do you realize you just offered a contradiction? On the one hand you claim you don't have a say, but then on the other hand you claim that your say just doesn't carry enough weight. You seem to imply that because we live in a democracy, your say should have more impact, but then I have to wonder what you think democracy means since it should follow that if your say has more impact, so does everyone else's say.So what are you really trying to get at here?

Quote
As far as the rest, it bears thinking on.  I don't like the implications though.  However, I will endeavor to come up with something that has some thought behind it.


I'll ponder more in the mean time.  :)

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we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
Robin



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Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 14 2011,14:21   

Just for complete disclosure, btw, I will note that just because I believe that people shouldn't interfere with other peoples' actions we feel are wrong doesn't mean I follow my own thinking 100% of the time. My belief on the subject is a guideline only; it's a tool I use to try to get me to think about my actions. But I'm not perfect and I am sometimes (far too frequently imho) ruled by my beliefs and feelings at the expense of my sense and logic. I'm quite human.  And clearly if I had this all figured out I wouldn't spend so much time contemplating such things.

I'm just offering the ideas my contemplations have lead to, not my discovery of The Answer, as it were.

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we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
OgreMkV



Posts: 3304
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 14 2011,14:39   

Quote (Robin @ Mar. 14 2011,14:09)
Uhh...hmmm...do you realize you just offered a contradiction? On the one hand you claim you don't have a say, but then on the other hand you claim that your say just doesn't carry enough weight. You seem to imply that because we live in a democracy, your say should have more impact, but then I have to wonder what you think democracy means since it should follow that if your say has more impact, so does everyone else's say.So what are you really trying to get at here?

I'll just comment on this bit... still pondering, but I have  a meeting in a bit.

Let's say I vote for x.  Now, based on my pre-voting research, I think x thinks the way I do about things.  When, he's elected though x turns out to not think any of that and has succesfully lied to me.  Once in that position, then he has no requirement to do anything he said or act in any way that he said he would.

Further, x does not respond to my letters.  He does not respond to the majority.  That's what a representative is supposed to do, reflect the majority of his constituents.  Of course, either he does whatever he wants to do (in which case no one likes him) or he supports the 51% of the majority of his constituents and 49% of the people hate him.

What makes things even worse is that I am fully conservative.  I think we need a big bloody fence across the Mexico border.  I think we need to get rid of the majority of welfare.  Unfortunately, that means republican and I wouldn't for them if it was a choice between them and a wall safe.  

That is what I mean by not having a say and my opinion has no impact.  It's majority rule, even if the majority is 35% (split between 3 parties).  

Personally, I think we ought to vote for concepts rather than representatives, but that's another issue entirely.

I also know that there is a great deal of fraudulent voting going on.  Maybe not everywhere, but certainly in a few of the places I've lived.  There are no checks, especially with voting machines.  The data in the voting machine is assumed correct, there is no paper trail.  Every vote in that mcahine could be 100% opposite of what the voter intended and no one could ever catch it.

Does it happen?  Probably, anything that has that much money available will be manipulated somehow.

But again, we get screwed because we are moral, ethical people.

I can't fix it, which is another source of frustration.  I don't necessarily want MY way every time.  What I do want is some assurance that my opinions are considered.  I want some assurance that everything is fair and correct.  And I want illegal activity and corruption in high places to be punished, if not stopped outright.  (See the Arizona senator who got out of being arrested on a domestic abuse case because he said that senators can't be arrested.  Right or wrong, it worked.)

That kind of thing offends me greatly... and there's not a blessed thing I can do about any of it.  The only people who can do something about it... won't.

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Kristine



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(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 15 2011,23:10   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 11 2011,21:58)
As someone who would have been dead at any of about seven points in my life without modern medicine (including newborn respiratory support), it is tough for me to pretend that I might have a spot in a simpler non-technological lifestyle.

Ditto. At best I would have been blind in one eye without modern medicine.

I don't spend much because I simply never made that much $$$. I lived a Bohemian life that involved hanging out at the free museum, going to discounted movies at said museum or the American Swedish Institute, writing and reading in coffee shops, and taking the bus. I suppose that my carbon footprint has been larger than it could have been, had I been more of a hard-ass about bicycling like other people in my life...

In a moral/social sense, what (largely) keeps me out of trouble is 1) my being an introvert, and 2) being quite sensitive to loud noises, too much stimuli, and the pain of others. I'm really quite sensitive and loathe violence or disturbing scenes. I don't gossip with other women and hate the whole backstabbing crap. I think people are out of their minds seeing The Passion of the Christ - my pastor described how one died when crucified, and that did it for me! I'm too empathetic to take such stuff: the first Lethal Weapon movie gave me nightmares.

I guess for me the question is not how I manage to live a nondestructive life so much as how others can lash out at each other as they do. (Excepting my sharp tongue in defense of teaching evolution, that is.)

I'm a rock; I just sit there, happy by myself. I was so still and quiet as a kid that people worried about me.  :) The Buddhist in me, as Lenny would say, I guess.

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Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
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