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Messages - Mike Barskey

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1
The Show / Re: FTL 2.0 Beta
« on: August 14, 2009, 06:54:38 PM »
I don't understand the rules to voting. I can vote on 2 or 3 items, but then no more. Am I limited to a number of votes per day? Per session? Only so many "up" votes?

"Everything you are doing is bad.... I want you to know this."

Ghostbusters II.

2
The Polling Pit / Re: Other Forums
« on: December 15, 2007, 12:41:47 PM »
I do a lot more reading that posting, but I participate in these forums:
Liberating Minds
The Austrian Network
NH Underground
NH Tea Party

3
The Polling Pit / Re: If we had open borders ...
« on: July 09, 2007, 07:15:53 PM »
A burden on society...  Okay, watch this...


Well, wouldn't you suppose the number crunchers expect their calculations to rise gradualy?

Spikes in any scenario throw everything off.  Inflation is based upon population, as is every calculation the government uses to suck your taxes out of your pocket. 

A rapid influx of lower strata population is definately gonna raise your taxes.  Cant deny that. 

Look man, I'm paying mega-taxes.  There will be no sudden shift in my salary/tax bracket to the lower side.  Never. 

<gloves off>  I do not wanna pay for these motherfuckers.

Okay?
...
That is simple debate on economics and theory, Mike Barsky, nothing more.  I have no problem with individual people of any ethnicity.  Just for the record. 

I completely agree about paying for them. I don't want to pay for anyone other than me or any program for which I don't benefit or give explicit consent (i.e., voluntarily spend my own money on). But I just don't understand your argument that illegal immigrants affect your wallet (or mine) any more than legal population. If the legal population increases, taxes will increase (with our current government). If the illegal population increases, taxes will increase. There are poor among legal and illegal populations and over 50 years they will both grow proportionally the same (all else being equal), hence taxes will increase.

The whole thing sounds like an argument against welfare because as population (legal or illegal) grows, so does taxation in order to support the greater welfare load. I just don't understand how illegal immigrants worsen this scenario more than the legal population.

But thanks for trying to explain it.

4
The Polling Pit / Re: If we had open borders ...
« on: July 08, 2007, 06:53:22 PM »
No, you've got it now.  Thats basically correct.  The point is, it's a shitload of people.  The ramifications of that influx would be huge.

The point I was making with reverse engineering the data is that it's easily visible after a few moments consideration that fifteen or 30 million cannot sprout into 750M, no way in hell.  Not in fifty years, at least. 

So, I got a little aggrivated to have to go over it a second time, more thoroughly, when all I was suggesting is a huge influx of people will cause a big strain on the legal citizens already here who are feeling the pinch of a steadily declining economy.  The gymnastics reference was to cast an unfavorable light on people who will bend their arguments into ridiculous shapes to try to show their support for an embryonic theory of "Open borders=good/bad/maybe/love it"  Its not actually against you, it was just a comment that fit the moment. 

Personally, I would like to streamline the process and grant legal citizenship to anyone who requests it.  But thats not open borders, thats closed borders.  Open borders suggests to me that there would be no oversight whatsoever and people could just come and go with absolutely no process at all, like an open highway, just zoom right through.

That would be catastrophic. 

Thanks for explaining everything. I'm still confused, though, how the 150M illegal immigrants in 50 years would be more of a burden on society proportionally then the 15M illegal immigrants now. I'm assuming that the legal population will grow at the same rate as the illegal population, to if 15M illegal immigrants now is ~5% of the total population, then in 50 years 150M will be ~5% of the total population. Are you saying that a greater population in general is more of a burden on society (i.e., on itself)?

5
The Polling Pit / Re: If we had open borders ...
« on: July 08, 2007, 04:37:36 PM »
It makes perfect sense.  Two people have children, take the cliche of 2.5 kids per family.  Those 2 people now equal  4 or 5.  So, those 2 or 3 children, 25 years after birth, each have 2 kids.  That is eight to ten children and grandchildren plus the original immigrants.  Given some benefit of the doubt, it is simple to have fifteen million people turn into 75 million within fifty years, if thats too hard to understand, just go to a family reunion some time. 

Now.  If theres fifteen million here now, I think its safe to assume the influx of immigrants would double the current number of illegals...  or "un-illegals" if the borders are open.  So, fifteen million doubles, and so do the number of siblings in fifty years, which would total 150,000,000 as opposed to the 75,000,000 in my scenario. 

Its really not that difficult. 

And if you would bother to reverse engineer the results of my hypotheses, you'd easily see the 300,000,000 is factored into the total.  Fifteen to 30 million cannot suddenly become 750,000,000 without the help of the segment of the 300mil that are of the child bearing age, which I figured at about 25 to 30%.  Old people dont reproduce, neither do children. 

So, before you go into all sorts of contorted gymnastics in defense of your little pet projects, you should consider that these were obviously rubbery numbers to begin with, but they are certainly sizeable no matter how close they are to the truth, and I'm sure its not TOO far afield. 

The end result is a huge population shift, period.  So, better start saving your pennies, because you're gonna be paying some pretty steep taxes over the next few decades, as well as not having the social security returned to you that you've paid into for five decades. 

I'm sorry, I misunderstood your example's position on opening or closing the border. You said "This means ... the fifteen million (or more) illegals will equal approximately 75 million by the year 2057, if they completely sealed the borders right now. ... You could easily double that if you allowed the open borders, which means ..." and I just confused whether you meant that the borderes were completely sealed right now or if the borders were allowed open. I now understand that your example creates 75M out of 15M with closed borders, but opening the border could double that to 150M.

However, in that same sentence ("You could easily double that if you allowed the open borders, which means half the current population as it stands now, half of the entire population of this country, will put a nice big strain on the entire infrastructure as it currently stands."), you are comparing the 150M population after 50 years of growth to the current population of America, claiming that 150M is half of the 300M population, even though 150M is in the future and 300M is in the present and hasn't been given the same 50 years to grow. Or maybe I'm still misunderstanding your example.

Also, why are you condescending to me? You said "...if you would bother to reverse engineer the results of my hypotheses..." and "...before you go into all sorts of contorted gymnastics in defense of your little pet projects..." How does it benefit you (or me, or anyone) to act superior when I am merely pointing out a what I think is a mistake in your hypothesis? If I am wrong, please explain how.

Thanks.

6
The Polling Pit / Re: If we had open borders ...
« on: July 08, 2007, 01:43:48 PM »
Well, just remember this:  For every pair who arrive here and are capable of producing offspring, they will equal ten or so within fifty years. 

This means - by a factor of five - the fifteen million (or more) illegals will equal approximately 75 million by the year 2057, if they completely sealed the borders right now. 

You could easily double that if you allowed the open borders, which means half the current population as it stands now, half of the entire population of this country, will put a nice big strain on the entire infrastructure as it currently stands.  Traffic, hospitals, welfare/social security, the school systems, the utility network into metro areas, all would be maxed out, and that doesnt include the other 300,000,000 who will be breeding the whole time. 

I'd like to see some progression tables of population.  I'll bet we're looking at a total population of around 3/4 of a BILLION people by around 2060, maybe 2070 - and thats not taking into account longevity due to scientific breakthroughs.

Sounds like a hoot.  I'm glad I'll be dead by then. 

This doesn't make any sense. You're suggesting that if we close the borders right now, the current illegal immigrant population would grow five-fold in 50 years, and then you double this figure for some reason, and then you compare that to the rest of the population as it is now, without the same growth of 50 years. Are you suggesting that every pair of illegal immigrants who arrive here and are capable of producing offspring will equal ten or so within fifty years, but every pair of legal American citizens who are capable of producing offspring will not equal ten or so within fifty years? And if you double the illegal population, why don't you at least double the current legal population (let alone what the legal population would have grown to in the same 50 years)? If you closed the border right now, the illegal population as a percentage of the entire population would remain approximately the same (or lessen considerably if you consider current rules of naturalization by birth).

7
The Polling Pit / Re: If we had open borders ...
« on: July 08, 2007, 12:54:06 AM »
Freedom is not for everybody, it must be earned. 

Freedom is a natural right, the right of every rational being by the nature of its existence. If it is something that must be earned, that presupposes that you are earning it from someone, that someone is giving it to you, which makes it no longer a right but, but a privilege. This line of thought is not libertarian or even freedom-oriented.

... there are a handful of policy questions for which all American citizens are in the same boat, and immigration is one of them. ... It's definitely in our interest to let in a million or so immigrants per year, a pretty significant number.  We might even be extremely generous and limit it at 3 million (that's 1% growth per year from immigration - 130,000,000 legal newcomers by 2050), but there must be a limit.

It is definitely not in *my* interest to restrict immigration to a million or so per year, or even a generous 3 million. You may be right in regards to limiting immigration is better planning for the massive influx, but even if I'm wrong about the free market being able to accommodate it (those immigrants being *part of* the free market itself!), you suggest that your idea is the only idea - that my "interest" is not the same as yours so it is to be overruled. Again, this is not liberty-oriented thinking.

8
The Polling Pit / Re: What is your Myers-Briggs personality type?
« on: May 28, 2007, 12:33:26 AM »
Your Type is
INTJ
Introverted   Intuitive   Thinking   Judging
Strength of the preferences %
33   75   88   33

Qualitative analysis of your type formula
 You are:
moderately expressed introvert
distinctively expressed intuitive personality
very expressed thinking personality
moderately expressed judging personality

9
The Polling Pit / Re: Have you ever called into the show?
« on: March 31, 2007, 02:54:52 AM »
<--- Mike in California (well, one of them)

- Mike

10
The Polling Pit / Re: Of Man and Machine...
« on: March 16, 2007, 02:38:19 PM »
This is probably the dumbest intelligent thread I've ever seen. Evar.

Uhhhhh... Thanks? No, wait!

- Mike

11
The Polling Pit / Re: Of Man and Machine...
« on: March 16, 2007, 10:43:48 AM »
I don't agree that "it implies that certain principles of logic are not invariant." I'm claiming that the definition of "human" is invariant, bound by the contents of all curent human knowledge. I'm saying that new knowledge (the extsitence of rational alien beings) would require a new definition or a new word. What principle of logic does this make variant? I'm saying that if you extend the definition of the word "human" to include rational alieng beings as well as rational human beings, why can't you just change the definition of the word "atom" to include everything, since that would still be "consistent across the largest set of all possibles." The key for a definition is the essential characteristics (the Conceptual Common Denominator).
According to whom? Lets take the word atom, it's been around for about three thousand years. The ancient Greeks used it to be mean that which is indivisible. Today, atoms are indeed divisible, so we stop calling modern atoms their namesake? So, by your logic atoms are not atoms, yet they are. Paradox/Contradiction! Whoops!

So, that pretty much proves my point. Just because a word was once attributed to a single definition does not imply it is that way forever, nor that knowledge modifies, condenses, and expands the lexicon. In short, words too are subject to the CCD, in that when a word becomes to mean another thing it gets changed over and the older definition is depreciated.

I think your atom example convinced me. At least, for now. :) Ancient greeks used all human knowledge at the time to define the an "atom" as "that which is indivisible." Their mistake was incorrectly choosing essential characteristics. Today we still call it an "atom" but the definition has changed since we know it consists of still smaller parts. So you're saying that if I'm currently defining the word "person" to be "a rational human agent," I'm mistakenly adding "human" as an essential characteristic of "person." This makes sense to me.

Another mistake I've made in this discussion is mixing the words "person" and "human." I understand that "person" can be defined as "a rational agent," which would include humans as well as other rational agents, but I still think that an essential characteristic of "human" is "homo sapien" (but I see now that that definition could be changed in the future - but if it does change in the future, shouldn't there be a new word to define "rational homo sapien?").

I never responded to this:
Quote
How is an extremely retarded person rational when they also don't make rockets, GM foods, or dildos?
Because many retarded persons will reference themselves, what belongs to them, and what they really feel, even if it's very basic. The same for toddlers and such. Dogs don't have a sense of self in that if you put a dog in front of a mirror it will not recognize its own image as its own.

-- Bridget

While a dog does not recognize its own image as its own, elephants and some primates do, and possibly some other animals as well. Are these animals rational?

- Mike


12
The Polling Pit / Re: Of Man and Machine...
« on: March 15, 2007, 11:06:22 PM »
Sorry for such a long delay before my response.

Why is it "not how it works?" Why does the word "person" include future knowledge, currently unknown "knowledge?" Once we discovered/encountered an intelligent alien, you're saying that we'd look at the current definition of "person" (which is "rational human being") and change it to accommodate our new knowledge ("rational being")? Why would we do this, since we already have knowledge/definitions that encompass this (while we don't know about intelligent aliens, we can theorize, as we're doing now): We have the words "rational," "human," and "alien" - and we have "person" ("a rational human"), so why wouldn't we create "alientelligent" ("a rational alien") and "neopeep" ("rational beings")? Actually, I may be questioning myself onto your side of the argument. Does it really make a difference which word we redefine to fit our new knowledge? We could redefine "person" to include aliens and humans, or we could create a new word "neopeep" to encompass both entities. Hmmm...
Because the definition of person works the same in both instances. The truth values for person is fulfilled. Plus this plead that it's future knowledge is a bit skiddish when you look at it. First it implies that no current can be extended to consider or to integrate new knowledge. Second it implies that certain principles of logic are not invariant and should change even if they are consistent across the largest set of all possibles. And that's my stickler to you. How do you handle those hanging facts?

I don't agree that "it implies that certain principles of logic are not invariant." I'm claiming that the definition of "human" is invariant, bound by the contents of all curent human knowledge. I'm saying that new knowledge (the extsitence of rational alien beings) would require a new definition or a new word. What principle of logic does this make variant? I'm saying that if you extend the definition of the word "human" to include rational alieng beings as well as rational human beings, why can't you just change the definition of the word "atom" to include everything, since that would still be "consistent across the largest set of all possibles." The key for a definition is the essential characteristics (the Conceptual Common Denominator).

New Oxford American Dictionary defines "human being" as:
Quote
a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.

... and "human" as:
Quote
a human being, esp. a person as distinguished from an animal or (in science fiction) an alien.

I think their definition of "human being" is not quite right, because an upright stance and articulate speech are not a distinguishing feature of humans ("upright" is subjective and surely other animals could be considered to have an upright stance; and some animals communicate within their breed via articulate speech, like dolphins) and because it suggests that humans' ability to reason is merely a faculty that any animal has and can develop (like if a dog developed mentally to a point at which we considered them "superior" then it would be human). But I agree that a distinguishing and essential characteristic of human beings is that they must be "a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens." This would simply not include aliens.

I quoted their definition of "human" because I thought it funny that it specifically defines humans "as distinguished from...an alien," but their definition is rediculous. Their definition of "person" is "a human being regarded as an individual," yet their definition of "human" is "...a person..."

Quote
Rand may not have contended that rational agents were not "persons," but I don't think she contended that all rational agents would be called "persons." I'd love to read about this if you can reference it. I vaguely remember a reference to intelligent aliens, but I don't remember Peikoff saying they'd be called humans. I want to find that. I'll go search my Objectivist Research CD, but it doesn't have every writing of course.
ITOE, second edition on the definition of human.

ITOE 2nd Ed. is included in the Objectivist Research CD, so I have the ability to search its contents. No hits for "person," "people," "human," and "alien" reveal or suggest any definition of those specific words. It's likely that Rand's definition of one of those words is in the book, but I am not going to reread it now; I have a list of others I want to complete first.

My stance is unchanged; I think the word "human" would not include rational aliens or robots should we discover/invent them; instead, I think that a new word would be coined to define the new creature, as well as another new word to encompass both (or all rational beings, even unknown ones).

- Mike

13
The Polling Pit / Re: most annoying GCN commercial
« on: February 28, 2007, 09:02:46 PM »
I hate most the "30 days to retire" (or something like that - I try to not pay attention) commercial. There are a few commercials for get-rich-quick-dot-com schemes, which all annoy me, but this one is so *horribly* acted I have a brain hemorrhage (OK, not, but I hate it!).

- Mike

14
The Polling Pit / Re: Of Man and Machine...
« on: February 16, 2007, 12:22:41 AM »
Yet that's not how it works. Person applies now to possible AI just as it now applies to female humans today due to rationality being the defining property of the definition of person. In fact, you could call rationality the 'return type' of person if you think of person as a function in programming terms.

Why is it "not how it works?" Why does the word "person" include future knowledge, currently unknown "knowledge?" Once we discovered/encountered an intelligent alien, you're saying that we'd look at the current definition of "person" (which is "rational human being") and change it to accommodate our new knowledge ("rational being")? Why would we do this, since we already have knowledge/definitions that encompass this (while we don't know about intelligent aliens, we can theorize, as we're doing now): We have the words "rational," "human," and "alien" - and we have "person" ("a rational human"), so why wouldn't we create "alientelligent" ("a rational alien") and "neopeep" ("rational beings")? Actually, I may be questioning myself onto your side of the argument. Does it really make a difference which word we redefine to fit our new knowledge? We could redefine "person" to include aliens and humans, or we could create a new word "neopeep" to encompass both entities. Hmmm...

Yet Rand never contended that non-human rational agents were not persons. In fact I believe even Peikoff acknowledges that if hypothetically space aliens were to come down to Earth he would call them persons as well because for any race to learn how to integrate knowledge to the level of traveling across spacetime automatically gets inducted. The same would follow for AI.

Rand may not have contended that rational agents were not "persons," but I don't think she contended that all rational agents would be called "persons." I'd love to read about this if you can reference it. I vaguely remember a reference to intelligent aliens, but I don't remember Peikoff saying they'd be called humans. I want to find that. I'll go search my Objectivist Research CD, but it doesn't have every writing of course.

- Mike

Edit:
The only reference I can find in all Rand's fiction and most non-fiction, and in Peikoff's ITOE and OPAR to an alien is:
Quote
Analytic truths are necessary; no matter what region of space or what period of time one considers, such propositions must hold true. Indeed, they are said to be true not only throughout the universe which actually exists, but in "all possible worlds"—to use Leibniz's famous phrase. Since its denial is self-contradictory, the opposite of any analytic truth is unimaginable and inconceivable. A visitor from an alien planet might relate many unexpected marvels, but his claims would be rejected out-of-hand if he announced that, in his world, ice was a gas, man was a postage stamp, and 2 plus 2 equaled 7.3.

This has nothing to do with the definition of the word "person" or "alien." I hope you can find it for me!

15
The Polling Pit / Re: Of Man and Machine...
« on: February 16, 2007, 12:02:49 AM »
Bridget, I understand and agree with your first point about fundamental properties being a mandatory part of a defniition. In fact I agree with most of what you just said, but I simply think the word "person" in the English language is not appropriate for a robot or an alien or any non-human, regardless of their intelligence (of course, language evolves and should we discover such intelligent beings and people commonly refer to them as "people" then the term itself would change). However, I disagree with what you said regarding equality: "So, if you don't consider it a person, it implies it is not equal to you." That's not correct: Just because I consider something as a "non-person" does not mean that I consider it equal or inequal to me (or to other "persons"), it just means I consider it different.
Yet you have not qualified why the definition should follow as you imply because remember, a non-person according to law has no rights. According to all ethical theories a non-person has no moral considerations nor obligations. And so forth. I think the fact that you dwell on what a dictionary says instead of what a logician or a philosopher says proves my point. Words are not static, they evolve. Women use to be considered non-persons not only in law, but also in philosophical theory until other people recognized this division, this claim to difference to be a farce. I call what you say to be difference a farce as well, nothing personal on your part, but it is what it is in that regard. To make a special category for humanness apart from non-humanness by calling us people and others non-people is not only erroneous in the construct of personhood, it is also erroneous in the nature of all rational agents. A rational agent in philosophy is a person, period and end of story and for the reasons I've stated. From the Utilitarians to the Objectivists, this is a universally agreed upon definition, you seem to be the only one in the whole world of philosophical giants, of scientific paragons that holds out. You need to substantiate why, beyond the dictionary.


-- Bridget

I think we're saying the same thing, but coming from different angles. I think you're saying that a foreign intelligent being, currently unknown to us, becomes a "person" once we determine that it is intelligent/rational. I am saying that once we determine the a foreign intelligent being is intelligent/rational, we need to create a new word to properly define the new being and humans as a group. Indeed we will have common traits - common fundamental traits, such as rationality and intelligence - but we also have differing traits such as our biology, our anatomy, our moral goals as living beings, our lifespans. We could logically be grouped and called "neopeeps," the definition of which might be "rational beings" (and "neopeeps" would consist of human "persons" and aliens), but I still contend that a "person" is defined as a "rational human being."

If we define something properly, integrating it with all of our other knowledge, appropriately identifying its essential characteristics (Rand's Conceptual Common Denominator), then when we gain more knowledge (e.g. learn of a new type of intelligent being) our previous definition is not incorrect (it does not cease to be correct in the context of our knowldge at the time, before we knew of intelligent aliens), it just needs to be refined to fit our new knowledge. In the example of women being considered "non-persons" legally until society evolved and realized they are "persons" and therefore are equal (legally in that case, not morally), the word "person" was appropriately applied to them, since "person" meant "human being" - it's just that before that time, society misused the word "person" to refer only to males (rather, the law did).

As for being the only one in the whole world of philosophical giants who is holding out, I'm not sure how to take this. As a compliment, since you're placing me with philosophical giants ( :D ) or as stupid for not conforming to a universally agreed upon definition (which isn't universally agreed upon since at least one person disagrees: me).

- Mike

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