Questions you want answered (P&C Edition)

Shouldn't you guys pick a *type* of free will to debate, first? There are several different types implied here already...

Don't we have some people who believe in the omniscience of God? They are necessarily determinist. Others are arguing biological determinism, based on a being's history of stimulus responses to their environment (external and internal). Malor seems to favor psychological determinism as an indicator of free will, while Rukh uses it to argue for the *illusion* of free will. Others are making other arguments.

It's easier to discuss if we're all talking about the same thing.

Well, from another angle, even if everything is deterministic, we can't know what the outcome will be ahead of time; like running a simulation of Conway's Life, the only way to find out the answer is to run the simulation. The Universe can be viewed a gigantic computational engine, and the only way to discover future states is to compute them.

But there's nothing that appears as random as reality at the quantum level, and it seems to me that thinking that you'd get anything deterministic out of that soup is not terribly viable. As far as we can tell, the universe is not a giant, well-ordered machine, it's an immense number of tiny dice, constantly spinning.

Remember, though, most quantum effects don't survive to the macro level. Otherwise, matter would simply be randomly flickering in and out of existence. Put another way, that randomness does not affect the physical laws that are used as the basis for determinism. You'll need to come at the problem from another angle, or at least a larger frame.

Also, even if quantum effects caused a measure of randomness in the brain, that doesn't get you any closer to free will. If a decision you're making is not purely determined by your past experiences/neural architecture/etc., but also takes into account a roll of the dice, well, so what? You don't control the outcome of that roll.

I'm really interested in Sam Harris' books as well, they're on my list.

Next question.

Why aren't the ideas of fiduciary responsibility and health insurance mutually exclusive? It seems to me that a publicly-traded health insurance company is legally obligated to screw over as many customers as possible without losing so many other customers through bad PR that they keep making profit. I realize that the concept of fiduciary responsibility is kind of a moral hazard in lots of lines of business, but it seems particularly egregious in the realm of health care, where people may literally die if you make a profit-motivated calculation to refuse to decline coverage.

Tanglebones wrote:

1) Maher's always been a Libertarian, not a Liberal

2) He's a douchebag

3) He's been frequently, and disgustingly misogynist for his entire career

If there's one thing Maher is not, it's a libertarian, though he shares some libertarian positions. Yes, he's against the drug war. He also supports the legalization of gambling and prostitution, and was against the Iraq war. However, he also favors government action on the environment, government-run healthcare, supports the death penalty, and supported the GM bailout (despite supposedly being opposed to crony capitalism). He's simply an authoritarian progressive, as well as being a misogynistic douchebag. Like the rest of the progressives, he has a specific set of ideas he believes will "fix things" and no qualms about using force to achieve those goals. He's not opposed to the drug war or solicitation laws because he believes they are wrong, he's opposed to them because he simply doesn't believe they work - and his ideas will.

Aetius wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:

1) Maher's always been a Libertarian, not a Liberal

2) He's a douchebag

3) He's been frequently, and disgustingly misogynist for his entire career

If there's one thing Maher is not, it's a libertarian, though he shares some libertarian positions. Yes, he's against the drug war. He also supports the legalization of gambling and prostitution, and was against the Iraq war. However, he also favors government action on the environment, government-run healthcare, supports the death penalty, and supported the GM bailout (despite supposedly being opposed to crony capitalism). He's simply an authoritarian progressive, as well as being a misogynistic douchebag. Like the rest of the progressives, he has a specific set of ideas he believes will "fix things" and no qualms about using force to achieve those goals. He's not opposed to the drug war or solicitation laws because he believes they are wrong, he's opposed to them because he simply doesn't believe they work - and his ideas will.

OTOH, he self-describes as a Libertarian, which makes him about as libertarian as the last few LP Presidential candidates

Help me logic out this statement I heard earlier in an argument between a friend of mine and some co-worker. "It's not the government's place to legislate morality!... (2 seconds later)... We must ban all abortions because it's murder!"

Kehama wrote:

Help me logic out this statement I heard earlier in an argument between a friend of mine and some co-worker. "It's not the government's place to legislate morality!... (2 seconds later)... We must ban all abortions because it's murder!"

IMAGE(http://0.tqn.com/d/politicalhumor/1/0/n/U/moran.jpg)

Is murder purely a moral issue?

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Is murder purely a moral issue?

Based on the number of people who are prosecuted and jailed for it, I would have assumed that would be a legal/penal issue.

What people mean when they say "we shouldn't try to legislate morality" is simply "I wish the government would stop making laws against things I support and/or stop legalizing things I disapprove of." It's like saying "I don't mean to sound (racist/sexist/like a homophobe/like I'm trying to cause offense, but..." is always followed by a sentence that will make them sound exactly like that. They just want to exempt themselves from the consequences of their own words.

Edit: I remember can't order words of....

Kehama wrote:

Help me logic out this statement I heard earlier in an argument between a friend of mine and some co-worker. "It's not the government's place to legislate morality! muttered under breath Unless I agree with it, because full voice We must ban all abortions because it's murder!"

Fixed.

Kehama wrote:

Help me logic out this statement I heard earlier in an argument between a friend of mine and some co-worker. "It's not the government's place to legislate morality!... (2 seconds later)... We must ban all abortions because it's murder!"

I'm guessing they meant personal morality, like riding a motorbike with a structurally unsound frame while high and not wearing a helmet in the privacy of your own home. Now, put your five-year old in a rickety child seat on the back of that bike, and it's no longer personal morality. The issue here is when the privacy is not your home, but your own body; also, when we're not talking about a five-year old and instead are talking about a...'living organism' (most neutral term I can come up with on the spot) less than nine months from conception.

Tanglebones wrote:

OTOH, he self-describes as a Libertarian, which makes him about as libertarian as the last few LP Presidential candidates

Well, No True Libertarian would agree with him.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Well, No True Libertarian would agree with him.

ruhk wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:

Well, No True Libertarian would agree with him.

;)

You got it.

Sorry for the derail, but I really wish MyBrainHz would use this as his avatar.

IMAGE(http://img259.imageshack.us/img259/1926/moran.jpg)

ClockworkHouse wrote:
ruhk wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:

Well, No True Libertarian would agree with him.

;)

You got it.

Going by that link, when dealing with someone who understands Libertarianism as basically the Non-Agression Principle, it wouldn't be modifying the subject of the assertion to exclude Bill Maher by rhetoric without reference to any specific objective rule. "he has a specific set of ideas he believes will 'fix things' and no qualms about using force to achieve those goals" would be denying the counterexample by reference to a specific objective rule, i.e., 'Libertarians are people who are guided by the Non-Agression Principle'.

That's a question I got answered for me in P&C without even asking it.

Assuming another one is ever ratified, what do you think the next Constitutional amendment will be? The most obvious (to me) would be one affirming two consenting adults the right to marry one another, but I could see something like a campaign finance or healthcare amendment coming first.

I do not see any new amendments on the horizon.

Anything to do with marriage equality is more than covered by amending the Civil Rights Act, and the present content of the constitution. Campaign Finance could be covered by a bill as well. And I do not see the requisite states passing that legislation, given a number of them profit mightily from over-spending like Iowa.

My bet? Patent law changes, but not within the next decade or so. Might be the only way to slice through the tangle and sleaze.

Yeah. I just think that Congress is not exactly capable of incremental change right now. But it expresses my feeling that a Big Hammer will be needed to fix things.

Robear wrote:

My bet? Patent law changes, but not within the next decade or so. Might be the only way to slice through the tangle and sleaze.

That is my thing. The changes people talk about putting in an amendment can be better served in a normal bill. Copyright, Trademark, Patent needs revising, but I do not think a constitutional amendment is necessary to achieve that. I would prefer Congress take Patents and Marks back from the executive.

A balanced budget amendment is idiotic. You need to have a fundamentally retarded concept of national and global economics to want that.

And when it comes to gay rights. With the civil rights act in the 60's, there was no amending the constitution, it was a clarification of constitutional protections. Homosexuals lack a constitutional prejudice that slaves and native americans did have, as bashed as they are.

Allowing a foreign-born individual to run for President.

In a period of anti-immigrant sensibilities? Pfeh. Good luck with that one.

Robear wrote:

In a period of anti-immigrant sensibilities? Pfeh. Good luck with that one. :-)

Sure, it has some down-sides... but it's the only way to get Jesus on the ticket.

Jesus? Which one? The city is full of them. Most of them are pretty hard-working, though, I could get behind a Jesus.

Jesus Espiranza. District five? He owns an irrigation business and a handful of vineyards there. Most people just know him as Jesus Jr.'s dad.
Jesus Jr. could eventually run since he was born American. But unless that pesky age requirement gets removed our best hope for the immediate future is his father.

Jesus 2012
Turning Water into Wine.

Rezzy wrote:

Allowing a foreign-born individual to run for President.

If I had to put money on a prediction, it would be this. A hero Republican will come along to create the need for this.

As deeply divided as this country is, careening toward fiscal failure, I don't think any more amendments will be passed before this government ceases to exist as the same fiscal entity.

There will be something calling itself the United States, but it won't be the same government.