Automotive Deals Best Books of the Month Shop Women's Clothing Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc $5 Albums Fire TV Stick Sun Care Handmade school supplies Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer harmonquest_s1 harmonquest_s1 harmonquest_s1  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 All-New Kindle Oasis STEM Water Sports
Customer Discussions > Science forum

Why are people here so scientifically illiterate

This discussion has reached the maximum length permitted, and cannot accept new replies. Start a new discussion


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 9701-9725 of 1000 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 8:56:43 AM PDT
Re seraphimblade, 5-10 7:45 AM: "Atlas Shrugged [is] a work of fiction, and not a particularly good one." Agreed. But it makes an important point: a society which depends on beggar-thy-neighbor cannot flourish, or even survive. If one does not have the right to the proceeds of one's work, one cannot live.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 9:24:52 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 10, 2013 3:08:37 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 9:36:59 AM PDT
Robert A. Saunders said:

"Agreed. But it makes an important point: a society which depends on beggar-thy-neighbor cannot flourish, or even survive. If one does not have the right to the proceeds of one's work, one cannot live."

Of course they can. Many tribes, for example, are purely communal, and many lived for millennia that way. Of course, that is difficult, if not impossible, to scale up to the size of a modern society. But even if there is a size restriction after which it won't work as well or at all, communal societies can exist and thrive, as demonstrated by the fact that they have.

I would argue that an every-man-for-himself society cannot flourish or survive, either. Indeed, one could question whether one could even call such an arrangement a society.

We all know that pure communism has repeatedly failed. What most fail to realize is that pure libertarianism has, too. The Gilded Age was not a pleasant time in which to live, nor was pre-revolution France, unless you were part of a very lucky few. Such inequality inevitably leads to violent revolt, and that is bad for everyone in the society.

The solution is a hybrid society-like most things, the ideal does not lie at either extreme, but with using each tool in the toolbox where it is most appropriate. In such a society, everyone has a right to a portion of his or her proceeds, as you put it, and another portion goes as tax for the upkeep of society as a whole. Things are left whenever possible to the discretion of the individual, and many rights such as free speech, expression, religion (or lack thereof), etc., are absolute, but some things (pollution, etc.), are curbed for the benefit of society at large. Such societies already exist, and have some of the highest standards of living in the world.

The real world is not black or white, but complex and grey, with many different interdependent scenarios and situations. A good society acknowledges and accounts for the existence of that complexity, rather than trying to make the world something it is not. That is why pure laissez-faire/libertarian capitalism and pure communism both always fail. The real world is not generally open to simplistic solutions that try to use a hammer not only to put in nails but also screws. Reality requires both a hammer and a screwdriver, and the knowledge of when the use of each is appropriate.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 12:06:55 PM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012 6:42:02 PM PDT
seraphimblade says:
Robert A. Saunders said:

"What is your opinion on the appropriateness of paying for some stranger's health care?"

The same as my opinion as the appropriateness of paying for the education of other people's children --- part of a civilized society.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 12:51:11 PM PDT
Re Janis, above: Interesting point. seraphimblade's post, preceding, is also much on point. The devil is in the details, as usual: how should it be decided what an individual's obligations to society should be? What checks exist, or should exist, to keep from going overboard in one direction or the other? The European debt fiasco is graphic evidence that this question needs satisfactory answers -- and they haven't yet been found.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 12:57:01 PM PDT
Omnireader says:
Thank you!

That is what is so intellectually dishonest about Libertarians.

They want police, fire, paved roads, sewage, trash pickup, pure food and drugs, an educational system that results in the creation of new technology that they can use. They want all this but don't want to pay the taxes for it.

If you have the brain of a 5 year old who is on the dole and has no conception or personal responsibility you are a perfect Libertarian.

What I laugh over is Ron Paul's embracing of open borders with Mexico and no drug laws. That guy is either a major drug dealer or a hippie gone wild.

Remember that Paul is from Texas, and would immediately benefit from no borders and large scale drug activity!

The other major drug czar was (is?) Rush Limbough. Oxycontin is rush.

Republicans seem to like large scale drug activity. I suppose if you want to be a millionaire it doesn't matter to them how you do it.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 1:15:35 PM PDT
Re Omnireader, above: You raise a number of points which merit discussion.

About drugs: The present situation is similar to Prohibition, which did not work well and was eventually repealed. Some of the illegal drugs are more innocuous than alcohol (e.g., pot), and some are considerably more dangerous (e.g., methamphetamine). Personally, I would like the presently illegal drugs to be legalized and taxed (just like cigarettes, which are quite an analogous issue); this impresses me as being a better solution than trying to deal with drug wars and gangs.

That it is beneficial to have police, fire, and trash collection handled on a municipal basis should hardly be subject to debate. We pay property taxes and user fees to support these.

Education: It has been considered advisable for some time for there to be a public educational system, and I concur: many have pointed out that an informed public is necessary for a democracy (or, indeed, any other sort of state) to function well.

Borders: There has been acrimonious debate between people who want more strict border controls, and those who don't. Those who do claim that the unlawful immigrants take employment that would otherwise be available to US citizens. I consider this argument to be weak; I see them as contributing to the overall economy. Nor is it practical to round up and deport the estimated 12 million people who are here illegally. I advocate a path to citizenship for anyone who has been here long enough and has made an overall contribution to the society.

I consider that Rand Paul is something of a fruitcake. There isn't really space here to go into details.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 2:27:42 PM PDT
Love it. John

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 2:31:36 PM PDT
Student says:
And smells worse from the inside.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 2:51:08 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 10, 2013 3:08:44 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 6:09:36 PM PDT
Omnireader says:
ROFLMAO!

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 6:57:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 10, 2012 7:01:12 PM PDT
Robert A. Saunders wrote:
"What is your opinion on the appropriateness of paying for some stranger's health care?"
=====================

Christine M. Janis replied:
"The same as my opinion as the appropriateness of paying for the education of other people's children --- part of a civilized society. "
======================

Doesn't that sound like a dialogue between a deaf person and a blind person?

Somehow, Saunders defines an entity for "stranger" towards which he questioned the reasoning for being altruistic.

If Brian Curtis asked that question, I would have quickly attributed such mindset to the southern tradition of consanguineous mating. Ashkenazi Jews paid terrible price for such tradition. Also many parts of the remote villages of the third world do not marry strangers.

Darwin's evolution was not the first that pointed out to the ills of consanguineous mating. In Islam, a man cannot get married to seven classes of relatives.

As such, the rule of mating with strangers was the dominant rule soon after Adam and Eve finished their first shift of operation. I should have said; generation.

But, Christine's reply was more interesting as it equated health care to Saunders' strangers to educating other people's kids. That makes the folks who smoke three packs of cigarettes per day, topped with 6 cans of beer to become entitled to the goodwill of free heath care, in the same ranks with helpless kids who have no means to support themselves, no means to weigh the role of education on their future, and no choice of being born to impoverished families.
...............

Let us play with Saunders' ingenious question a bit to get a different feel:
............................................
"What is your opinion on the appropriateness of paying for some extraterrestrial's health care?"
............................................
Let us then tweak Christine's ingenious reply another bit to read:
............................................
"The same as my opinion as the appropriateness of paying for getting the baby monkeys to become baby deer."
............................................

That should bring the discussion to better focus.

Mohamed F. El-Hewie

In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2012 7:40:15 AM PDT
A customer says:
Robert A. Saunders - "Answer: because there is no competition."

Thanks for that direct answer. But I would say that this only describes one model, the National Health Service. And even that coexists with insurance schemes. Many European countries - again, I'm thinking of Germany and Switzerland based on my own experience - have a national-level policy entailing free choice of compulsory private schemes.

Posted on May 12, 2012 2:55:14 AM PDT
A customer says:
Apposite article dealing tangentially with people's response to financial gain here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/may/11/too-rich-to-queue

"For years, Switzerland had been trying to find a place to store radioactive nuclear waste. Although the country relies heavily on nuclear energy, few communities wanted nuclear waste to reside in their midst. One location designated as a potential nuclear waste site was the small mountain village of Wolfenschiessen, in central Switzerland. In 1993, shortly before a referendum on the issue, some economists surveyed the residents of the village, asking whether they would vote to accept a nuclear waste repository in their community, if the Swiss parliament decided to build it there. Although the facility was widely viewed as an undesirable addition to the neighbourhood, a slim majority (51%) of residents said they would accept it. Apparently their sense of civic duty outweighed their concern about the risks. Then the economists added a sweetener: suppose parliament proposed building the nuclear waste facility in your community and offered to compensate each resident with an annual monetary payment. Then would you favour it?

"The result: support went down, not up. Adding the financial inducement cut the rate of acceptance in half, from 51 to 25%. What's more, upping the ante didn't help. When the economists increased the monetary offer, the result was unchanged. The residents stood firm even when offered yearly cash payments as high as £5,300 a person, well in excess of the median monthly income. Similar if less dramatic reactions to monetary offers have been found in other places where communities have resisted radioactive waste repositories. So what was going on in the Swiss village? Why would more people accept nuclear waste for free than for pay?"

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 5:53:52 AM PDT
Omnireader says:
Maybe it was because when money was offered they woke up and realized it was a very dangerous 'gift'.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 6:36:17 AM PDT
A customer says:
Maybe! Whatever, it seems to defy rational agent theory.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 8:13:02 AM PDT
The effects of money upon community is an interesting one.

I have been fascinated by the developing science of neuroeconomics, which looks at real decision making for economic situations. In mainstream economics, expected utility (EU), and the concept of rational agents, are still being used, and is the basis of the assumption that market based decisions are superior to collective decisions made by governments.

For example, if people have a choice between gaining an extra $5 or losing an extra $5, people are less motivated by the possibility of the former and much more motivated to avoid the latter, whereas rational market economics currently says a rational consumer would be almost equally motivated by both. Instead the cost of losing a specific amount of money is higher than the value of gaining the same amount of money, and losses are actually experienced more negatively than equivalent gains. There is also a tendency to overweight small probabilities and underweight large ones. There is also the problem of inter-temporal choice. The dominant free market model in economics explains it as discounted utility (DU). DU assumes that humans have consistent time preference and will assign value to events regardless of when they occur. In actual fact while most people who would choose 1 candy bar now over 2 candy bars tomorrow, would, in fact, choose 2 candy bars received after 101 days rather than the 1 candy bar received after 100. Also An individual can choose to either cooperate with his partner or defect against the partner. Over the course of a typical win-lose or win-win game, individuals tend to prefer mutual cooperation even though defection would lead to a higher overall payout.

There is evidence that this behaviour has different effects on different parts of the brain. Rich tend to be more likely to defect and not cooperate than the poor, who also tend to be more generous of others adversities. Gift giving tends to be more regular and more generous amongst the poor than amongst the rich. Generosity also seems to be inversely related to depression. The less generous you are the more likely you are to suffer chronic depression, and in fact depression can be cured through fostering generosity and gift giving, as it is found that giving the gift produces as much pleasure as receiving one. It is as if the poor are more prone to invest in social capital than are the rich.

It is as if we are not the rational economic consumers free market economists assume but are much more social in our attitudes seeking ways of building trust.

Regards

John

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 8:38:39 AM PDT
"...is heading for..." should be replaced by "...has arrived at...". Start learning mandarin, they might hire white folks to broom the corridors of their moon base.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 2:01:34 PM PDT
Bubba says:
Even people who are well off would be bankrupted by many sorts of medical problems if they did not have medical insurance.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 2:03:17 PM PDT
Bubba says:
I have sleep apnea and when I last looked, I was unable to get insurance due to that.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 2:47:15 PM PDT
Bubba says:
I don't see that the Japanese buyers were victims, corporations and people who make bad business decisions are not victims.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 7:37:00 PM PDT
Re Bubba, 5-12 2:02 PM, on sleep apnea: You can no more properly get insurance against a pre-existing condition than you can get fire insurance after your house burns down. To mandate that health insurers ignore pre-existing conditions is simply a welfare scheme.

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, and though there was no effect on me that I could observe, it discomfited anyone who heard me, and physicians strongly advised doing something about it. The "something" was throat surgery, which alleviated the condition -- and had utterly no effect on me that I could detect. (I tried a CPAP machine, and decided that it was utterly unacceptable.)

Posted on May 12, 2012 7:46:20 PM PDT
"To mandate that health insurers ignore pre-existing conditions is simply a welfare scheme."

And you say that as if it were a bad thing.

Posted on May 12, 2012 7:53:22 PM PDT
I don't mean to start a fight with Robert, whose scientific contributions here I greatly respect, and I understand that we have different political views. Nevertheless, I'm unable to resist posting something here that actually got published in the Providence Journal letters a couple of years ago.

All this talk about the dangers to freedom posed by socialist medicine (e.g., "Obamacare sells slavery as freedom" Commentry, Oct 1st, and a number of ensuing letters) has got me thinking about other socialist dangers. What about our highway system? The government has taken money from decent, responsible folks like you and me to build roads that anyone can use, even those without their own vehicles. And these socialist roads limit our freedom --- they take us only where the government wants us to go! Remember that Hitler and Che Guevara also promoted such highway fascism. Fellow citizens, let us unite and throw off our shackles from the tyranny of the tarmac, and forge our own paths to go where we choose to go!

P.S. A parody. Just in case you hadn't noticed.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 8:01:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 15, 2012 9:25:51 AM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]
Discussion locked

Recent discussions in the Science forum

  Discussion Replies Latest Post
Global warming is the most serious problem of our generation, part 4 (reboot) 6376 3 minutes ago
Archaeology Plus Other Fohrbidden Sciences. 743 16 minutes ago
The Science Behind Fetal Pain-related Abortion Legislation 835 19 minutes ago
spherical earth vs. flat earth 3544 28 minutes ago
The New Truth 29 49 minutes ago
Climate Change and Rising Sea Levels....Why do you guys deny the Science? 84 3 hours ago
Since no contact is possible, does it make sense to keep trying? 318 20 hours ago
Tesla deliveries, and lost money on every one! 422 23 hours ago
Wouldn't Cloning Reduce Sexual Crimes? 2 1 day ago
Relativistic Effects on Particle Spin 7 1 day ago
Did the Head Honchos know about Volkswagen cheating? 17 1 day ago
If Dark Matter were everywhere all celestial motion calculations would be different? 27 1 day ago
 

This discussion

Discussion in:  Science forum
Participants:  463
Total posts:  10000
Initial post:  Oct 13, 2009
Latest post:  May 19, 2012

New! Receive e-mail when new posts are made.
Tracked by 19 customers

Search Customer Discussions