A discussion on TFES forum

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teo123
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Re: A discussion on TFES forum

Post by teo123 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:32 am

Red wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:24 am
teo123 wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:20 am
If you don't have anything that makes more sense than "If the Earth is round, how come the horizon rises with you as you climb?", please don't respond.
I assume you're saying this to poke at @brimstoneSalad so you can get a response outta them.

Are you sure you're not a troll?
I mean, I think I get the point. BrimstoneSalad is afraid that the vegan movement (whatever that actually meant) is being poisoned by pseudoscientific fringe theories, and that I am contributing to that. Admittedly, I have a track record of supporting pseudoscientific fringe theories, but to me it seems now that not only is he wrongly judging me about supporting pseudoscience, but that he is one doing that.

My alternative interpretation of the Croatian toponyms is not very far from mainstream linguistics, and it doesn't sound crazy to others. Here is how people actually respond to it:
https://www.quora.com/What-do-you-think ... n-toponyms
Maja Burazin wrote: Your interpretations are very insightful, and you put a lot of effort in it.
Since I don't speak Proto-Slavic or Pre-Indo-European :), and don't have cca 6 months or more to check all the names, I'll have to trust your alternative interpretations. Actually, there is probably no way to find out how all of these places got their names.
But, it makes sense that many places were named after the verb “to flow”, or “fertile ground”, “river” or “spring”.
Thanks for asking, Teo.
If anything, when I mention it, it makes people give me MORE credibility, rather than less.

Radical anarchism sounds strange and perhaps even insulting to people who aren't anarchists, but so does atheism to religious people.
Political beliefs are, in essence, no different from religious beliefs or conspiracy theory beliefs. They are unfalsifiable in principle.
What would convince a socialist that he is wrong? Probably nothing. Socialism caused violence and economic failures in Angola, Benin, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, Laos, Mongolia, Mozambique, North Korea, Poland, Somalia, the Soviet Union, Vietnam and Venezuela… Yet many people still believe in it.
Fascism killed around 17 million people in Germany alone in less than four years, that's a fifth of the German population… Yet some people still believe in it, they even deny that the mass murders occurred.

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Post by teo123 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:03 pm

teo, you need to figure this one out for yourself.
Why exactly should I spend time on that? The claim that government prevents violence appears to be an unfalsifiable claim that's very far from, well, science.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:32 pm

teo123 wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:32 am
Radical anarchism sounds strange and perhaps even insulting to people who aren't anarchists, but so does atheism to religious people.
Political beliefs are, in essence, no different from religious beliefs or conspiracy theory beliefs. They are unfalsifiable in principle.
Then why are you holding political beliefs?

Radical anarchism IS a political belief. Just be an agnostic if you think politics is unfalsifiable. Admit you don't know if anarchism or government is better. That isn't such an unreasonable position, since we've never really had an anarchy to compare to (take away states and you have tribes, which are still governments).

The reason to be an atheist rather than agnostic with respect to religion is not simply a lack of evidence or falsifiability (in that case we SHOULD just be agnostic), but a logical impossibility in the definition of god. E.g. omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, etc.

When we talk about politics, we're not talking about logically impossible definitions (typically), we're talking about human psychology and the empirical facts about what would happen in different situations.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:32 am
What would convince a socialist that he is wrong? Probably nothing.
What would convince a radical anarchist he's wrong?
That's what you need to figure out.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:03 pm
teo, you need to figure this one out for yourself.
Why exactly should I spend time on that? The claim that government prevents violence appears to be an unfalsifiable claim that's very far from, well, science.
You can feel free to be agnostic to that claim without going insane and advocating for the opposite claim.
You don't have to be an anarchist to be skeptical of the need for government. You could just be purely agnostic on the issue until you have actual evidence.

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Post by teo123 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:26 pm

What would convince a radical anarchist he's wrong?
This is kind of like asking what would it take to convince you that the God is real.
I would be convinced that anarchism was wrong if the scientists find a way to test the claim that government prevents violence and then agree that it actually does that. So far, it appears that scientists in the relevant fields neither agree on those things (Marija Gimbutas, for instance, claimed that warfare in Europe started only with the introduction of new technologies by the Indo-European speaking people, and that is obviously contradictory to what Pinker claims) nor have a way to test it.
You could just be purely agnostic on the issue until you have actual evidence.
I don't think it's that simple. Think of it this way: the government steals (takes away without your consent) a significant amount of money you earn (the tax rate here in Croatia is 25%, in other places it's even higher), promises you that it will keep you safe, and whether it actually does that is questionable. And, with that money, it does some things that are evidently wrong, like subsidizing the meat industry or enforcing the minimum wage. It's hard to argue that it's ethical.
If your neighbor stole some of your money and promised to keep you safe, and you had no good reason to believe he would actually keep you safe, would you say you didn't know if what he was doing was wrong?

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:18 pm

teo123 wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:26 pm
This is kind of like asking what would it take to convince you that the God is real.
Not remotely.

In order to convince me to be agnostic to a particular god, all you need to do is show me a definition that isn't in contradiction with logic or known science.
Tell me about Zorcon who is an alien god from another planet with super technology powers, and whose qualities aren't logically impossible, and I'll tell you I think it's unlikely but that I have to be agnostic to it. Then show me some physical evidence and my belief will shift.

The notion of anarchism being worse than government isn't in any way at odds with logic; it's an empirical question of human nature.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:26 pm
I would be convinced that anarchism was wrong if the scientists find a way to test the claim that government prevents violence and then agree that it actually does that.
https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/burden-of-proof

Your assertion is that anarchism is right and government is wrong; you don't have any proof of that, can't have any, because they can't be compared.
There is no true anarchy, never has been. There's always a tribal government or leadership structure of some kind in a society.

For all you know, if true anarchy did happen everybody's brains would explode because as social animals we aren't wired to exist in such a world. It's unlikely, but you don't know that wouldn't happen.

You can no more make assertive claims about anarchy among humans than you can about unicorns, because neither exist.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:26 pm
So far, it appears that scientists in the relevant fields neither agree on those things (Marija Gimbutas, for instance, claimed that warfare in Europe started only with the introduction of new technologies by the Indo-European speaking people, and that is obviously contradictory to what Pinker claims) nor have a way to test it.
Again you chase the eccentrics with fringe theories:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marija_Gimbutas#Reception

You're just cherry picking what you want to believe and pretending they're equal. Stop that.

And AGAIN, if you don't know then don't claim to know. Don't promote anarchism as the default assumption and pretend that government has some burden of proof to meet. Be agnostic if you want to, but if you promote anarchism you're no better than a Christian laughing at how silly Islamic beliefs are; you're still promoting some unfalsifiable faith.

The mainstream position is that government does some bad things, but also does a lot of good things (more now than in the past) and in a power vacuum much worse takes over (various tribal or organized crime type governments). If you found a way to somehow STOP those governments from taking over then anarchism might be better, but the only thing that stops one government from forming (historically) is another government.
If you don't think there's enough evidence for that for you, then be agnostic if you want to. You have no place to shift the burden of proof and call that WRONG and anarchism RIGHT, since you have no evidence.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:26 pm
I don't think it's that simple. Think of it this way: the government steals (takes away without your consent) a significant amount of money you earn (the tax rate here in Croatia is 25%, in other places it's even higher), promises you that it will keep you safe, and whether it actually does that is questionable.
And if it does, then for most people that may be worth it.
If it's questionable, it's an empirical question. Unless you can prove it doesn't, then you're taking an unfalsifiable position and turning it into just another faith in radical anarchism.

Right now all we can do is compare different kinds of government and government policies; we know some are better than others. What makes sense is to promote those policies we have EVIDENCE for as superior to what exists now, not to promote some magical faith based reasoning that taking away all of the government would be better without evidence.

We have evidence that things like basic income are good and improve the social and economic welfare of a society vs. what we do now. It makes sense to promote more research on that and trial adoption. We don't have evidence that abolishing government does anything good.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:26 pm
And, with that money, it does some things that are evidently wrong, like subsidizing the meat industry or enforcing the minimum wage. It's hard to argue that it's ethical.
Yes, so then we should get them to stop doing bad things and start spending money where it makes a positive difference based on the evidence.
If there's evidence that cutting taxes makes more of a positive difference than social programs (there isn't) then that's what we should do.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:26 pm
If your neighbor stole some of your money and promised to keep you safe, and you had no good reason to believe he would actually keep you safe, would you say you didn't know if what he was doing was wrong?
That's not what's happening. If we had no modern or historical example of anybody ever being safe without a neighbor taking money and making that promise, and in fact never even had an example of that not happening, then it would be reasonable to err on the side of caution.

If we had evidence that people who gave money to neighbor X instead of neighbor Y were safer, then it makes sense to promote X over Y.
We have no evidence of not giving money period. Nothing, ever. It's an unreasonable position.

A few hundred years ago some enlightenment era thinkers were worried that if everybody became atheist then society would collapse. Today that seems silly, but we had never known a really secular society and we weren't sure if people would just go nuts without an invisible man watching them. We learned by comparing more and less secular areas that it wasn't a problem, and in fact the educational correlation does a lot more good than atheism does bad (if any at all), and that secularism results in less fighting between religions and prejudice, etc.
But we didn't know that before, so to argue a few hundred years ago for suddenly abolishing religion was a dangerous prospect; launching some totally untested thing upon a society. The church also did a lot more charity than it does now (which government has mostly taken over for), so it was a complex proposition. That kind of thing is why communism has again and again failed: speculation is fine and interesting, but practice and small scale tests tell you a lot more.

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Post by teo123 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:24 am

In order to convince me to be agnostic to a particular god, all you need to do is show me a definition that isn't in contradiction with logic or known science.
And how can you know if God is actually in contradiction with logic and known science, or if it only appears to be? Rockets appear to contradict the basic physics, yet they don't actually do that.
It's an empirical question of human nature.
But when has discussing the human nature ever lead to the right conclusion? Less than two centuries ago, almost everybody believed that slavery was a part of the human nature. Less than a century ago, almost everybody believed man supremacy was a part of the human nature. As far as I am aware, there is no evidence that "human nature" is anything more than a social construct, and a rhetoric used to justify bad policies.
Again you chase the eccentrics with fringe theories.
Now, Marija Gimbutas is considered to be one of the most important figures in the archaeology and linguistics of the 20th century. She did make some claims that were later proven to be wrong (like that Tyrrhenian and Iberian languages were related), but she was certainly more influential than Pinker and probably more informed about the relevant things than Pinker is.
A few hundred years ago some enlightenment era thinkers were worried that if everybody became atheist then society would collapse.
Isn't that way of thinking exactly the Pascal's Wager, just applied to politics rather than the existence of God?

So, you think that saying "Look, I know how social sciences work. I've studied quite a bit of linguistics, and I've even made my own interpretation of the Croatian toponyms." doesn't give me more credibility when discussing atheism or, to a lesser extent, veganism?

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:16 pm

teo123 wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:24 am
In order to convince me to be agnostic to a particular god, all you need to do is show me a definition that isn't in contradiction with logic or known science.
And how can you know if God is actually in contradiction with logic and known science, or if it only appears to be? Rockets appear to contradict the basic physics, yet they don't actually do that.
Rockets don't appear to contradict basic physics in any way. You'd have to be a moron to think that, or have been taught incorrect laws of physics.

I know because of years of study. However, it's very easy to redefine a god as something that's possible by tweaking a few qualities; I'm agnostic to those god concepts, I just don't think those fit well with usage (a semantic question).

Kind of like you can make unicorns possible or even evident by taking out the "magic" part of the definition, or by saying they're rhinoceroses.
teo123 wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:24 am
But when has discussing the human nature ever lead to the right conclusion?
Discussing it doesn't, it's like figuring out what's inside a box by talking about it. No, you open the box. You do social experiments to see how people respond to different policies and situations.

We do NOT know which government is perfect, and we know NOTHING about what true anarchism would be or look like/result in.

What we do know is that some social policies are better than others, so it makes sense to advocate the better policies, and wait on research for the rest.

teo123 wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:24 am
Now, Marija Gimbutas is considered to be one of the most important figures in the archaeology and linguistics of the 20th century.
Linus Pauling was a very influential Chemist, doesn't mean he was right about vitamin C being a miracle supplement.
Newton had crazy beliefs too. A lot of scientists have reach that exceeds their grasps, particularly at the fringes or outside their immediate specialties, but rarely even in their areas, and that is why we look to the community as a whole and not a single voice.

The thing you cited her on was one of her quacky and plainly wrong beliefs.
Simple as that. That doesn't require an academic dick measuring contest to settle. She was wrong, and that's pretty well established.
teo123 wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:24 am
Isn't that way of thinking exactly the Pascal's Wager, just applied to politics rather than the existence of God?
No, it's just being conservative and applying the precautionary principle.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precautionary_principle

If there's is a plausible risk based on our limited or lack of understanding, you proceed cautiously and collect more information.
Anybody advocating against atheism or homosexuality on that basis today is obviously just an asshole (we have plenty of evidence that society doesn't collapse and isn't harmed by those things), but Anarchism is totally untested, and there's not even a consistent theory for how it would be put into place.
teo123 wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:24 am
So, you think that saying "Look, I know how social sciences work. I've studied quite a bit of linguistics, and I've even made my own interpretation of the Croatian toponyms." doesn't give me more credibility when discussing atheism or, to a lesser extent, veganism?
I don't know what you're asking.

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Post by teo123 » Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:44 am

I know because of years of study.
Well, I had been taking physics classes for around four years when I thought that rockets contradicted basic physics. How do you know if you have studied it enough? Is that even a sensical question to ask? No matter how hard you study, you can never know a decent percentage of physics (or, for that sake, any other science). What's important is to have a method to produce reasonably certain conclusions based on the little knowledge you actually have. Deducing from the fact that you think you can construct a formal mathematical proof that rockets are impossible because of basic physics that rockets don't really exist obviously isn't a valid conclusion.
She was wrong, and that's pretty well established.
How is it pretty well established? Why do you think most of the scientists in the relevant fields agree with Steven Pinker, and not with Marija Gimbutas?
As far as I see, the numerous authors of my textbooks appear to agree with Marija Gimbutas, rather than Steven Pinker.
I distinctly remember that my 5th-grade history textbook taught us that stone-age societies were matriarchal, and that patriarchy is to be blamed for many of the problems of later societies (as Marija Gimbutas claimed). I think it included wars, though I am not sure if that was said explicitly or implicitly.
The same thing was written in my 9th-grade history textbook, but this time patriarchy was explicitly blamed for the wars.
In my 11th-grade psychology textbook, it was written that we know that human beings aren't violent by nature, because of there being many primitive tribes that don't engage in wars.
In my 11th-grade history textbook, it was written that the oppression of American Indians was justified by a myth (I distinctly remember they used that word) that those tribes were violent.
In my 12th-grade history textbook, it was written that the Italian invasion of Ethiopia was justified by a myth that the tribes there were in constant warfare.
There you go, at least 5 experts in psychology and history agreed with Marija Gimbutas and disagreed with Steven Pinker. Admittedly, neither psychologists nor historians are really qualified to make such assertions. But who is? Maybe the linguists who study the Amerind languages and the linguists who study Australian Aboriginal languages?
Can you link me to some kind of poll of the scientists in the relevant fields showing that the majority of them agree with Steven Pinker?
No, it's just being conservative and applying the precautionary principle.
So, what is the difference between the precautionary principle and the Pascal's Wager?
I don't know what you're asking.
I mean, if somebody on an Internet forum tells me something like "You have no bright idea how science works, nor how history works or archaeology works!" (which has happened to me quite often), do you think that linking him to my interpretation of the Croatian toponyms (to show him that I understand how linguistics works) will increase my credibility?

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Post by teo123 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:40 am

So, aren't you advocating that everyone should become a vegan? Why don't you apply your so-called "precautionary principle" to that also? What if those nonsense fear-mongerings that our genes would somehow make us more prone to heart-disease or cancer or that the soil would become less fertile are true?

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:00 pm

teo123 wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:40 am
So, aren't you advocating that everyone should become a vegan? Why don't you apply your so-called "precautionary principle" to that also? What if those nonsense fear-mongerings that our genes would somehow make us more prone to heart-disease or cancer or that the soil would become less fertile are true?
I knew you'd ask that, and you should be able to answer that too. :roll: You're just being very very lazy.

The genetic arguments are asinine, and we know the mechanisms: that was for people eating very low fat (low arachidonic acid) vegetarian diets, where they had to produce more of it, and then the switch to modern diets rich in ALA became a problem. It was not the vegetarianism that caused a problem, it was the switch in diets to overloading something.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/arti ... rt-disease

It's also not relevant to modern vegan diets which are higher in ALA already due to vegetable oil, so wouldn't promote such mutations.

As to the second point, we already grow plant crops so we know that's not true, and we know the mechanisms by which these things work; animals are not magical sources of fixed nitrogen. People can and HAVE done the math on that, looking at potential productivity, and vegan diets clearly win over current diets.

You literally have no source of information for anarchism to extrapolate from.

But you could just look at mainstream consensus; dietetic organizations overwhelmingly agree that a properly planned vegan diet is OK. The degree to which nutrition professionals agree veganism is fine, professionals in government and economics recognize the importance of regulation (IOW anarchism is not a good idea).

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