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Cynical types view all politicians as power-hungry morally bankrupt two-faced sociopaths, while more optimistic types see them as generally good people who try their best in difficult jobs. Partisans often believe the best about their own party and the worst about the other. Others try to sidestep the question by suggesting that politicians be judged purely on their results, while others believe that good leadership requires good character. Others blame the system rather than the people.
For those who lie on the extreme ends of the capitalist/socialist spectrum, the answer is black and white. For those who favor a balance between the two ideals, there is a threshold at which redistributing wealth from the rich to do the poor may be unfair (assuming the rich deserve their wealth), or may actually hurt poor people (assuming the rich skillfully manage the job-creating businesses and investments they own). Has that threshold been crossed?
It's common to believe one can and should "change the world", and certainly leaders commonly espouse such an attitude, reminding us of how "each little drop counts". However, some pragmatists argue such idealism is futile, and that blind optimism only makes life more difficult for oneself. The pragmatists tend to view the matter quantitatively, reasoning that the negative effect on oneself far outweighs the positive effect on others, if indeed one is having a positive effect at all.
Anders Breivik is responsible for the 2011 Norway Attacks, killing 76 people. The knee-jerk assessment of his personality is that he's insane, but is this actually the case? Is evil possible without insanity?
Debate in Australia rages over whether the current Labor Government plan to spend $37 billion on a National Broadband Network (NBN) is the best use of the Government resources. The ruling Labor party on the advice of their experts won the 2010 election under the mantra: Do it once, do it right, do it with fibre. The NBN will roll fibre to the home (FTTH) to 93% of Australian homes, and all towns with more than 1,000 premises, and supply wireless or satellite to the rest.
Hypnosis is a psychological procedure for entering an altered state of consciousness, most notably one that is unusually open to suggestion. Hypnotherapy is used for psychotherapy or performance enhancement, while stage hypnosis is used for entertainment. The theatrical nature of stage hypnosis - whereby a member of an audience will believe and do anything - such as walking around clucking like a chicken - has caused some skeptics to doubt whether hypnosis is a real phenomenon at all.
Religious people and even scientists sometimes claim that science is ultimately just a matter of faith, based on unproven assumptions. The argument is used to cast doubt on all scientific beliefs, as well as demonstrating that scientific attacks on religion are ultimately not only impotent but furthermore hypocritical.
Critics of feminism suggest that the movement that once gave birth to positive changes such as emancipation has since soured. The goal of equal rights has allegedly now become simply a desire to dominate men, often under the guise of victimhood. Many feminists vehemently deny such allegations, often citing evidence of the continued suppression of women, such as inequality in wages.
Popularized by movies such as the Matrix, the simulation argument states that the physical world as we know it is actually running on a simulation. Is this argument science or science-fiction?
Michio Kaku
Is free will an illusion? Mostly Disagree
... Einstein was wrong. God does play dice. Every time we look at an electron it moves. There is uncertainty with regards to the position of the electron. So what does that mean for free will? It means in some sense we do have some kind of free will. No one can determine your future events given your past history. There is always the wildcard. There is always the possibility of uncertainty in whatever we do.
Bill Maher
(Larry King interview) Maher: the defense against disease is to have a strong immune system. A flu shot just compromises your immune system. King: So you don't take any western medicine, don’t take an aspirin? Maher: Never, an aspirin no. Thousands of people die from aspirin every year.
James Randi
I accuse the Christian god of murder by allowing the Holocaust to take place — not to mention the “ethnic cleansing” presently being performed by Christians in our world — and I condemn and vilify this mythical deity for encouraging racial prejudice and commanding the degradation of women.
The Catholic Church
The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God
Steven Novella
Does God exist? Disagree
First, to be clear I don’t believe in God or any supernatural being …
Kenneth Miller
Miller proposes that God set the world in motion and nature is evolving just as planned. "We cannot think of God as a part of nature. God is the reason for nature," he explained.
John Stewart Bell
So I believe that the many‐universes interpretation is a kind of heuristic, simplified theory, which people have done on the backs of envelopes but haven’t really thought through. When you do try to think it through it is not coherent
David Keith
… And so I guess my view on this is not that I want to do it, I do not, but that we should move this out of the shadows and talk about it seriously, because sooner or later we’ll be confronted with decisions about this, and it’s better if we think hard about it, even if we want to think hard about reasons why we should never do it.
Mitt Romney
Well, yes. I'm going to want to see a marriage limited to a man and a woman. I don't want to see civil union either. Of course, if we find ourselves in a setting where the only choice is between civil union and marriage, I will prefer civil union. But I would prefer neither.
Benjamin Franklin
In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.
Massimo Pigliucci
The new ad says: “You KNOW they’re all SCAMS,” and it’s signed “American Atheists — Telling the truth since 1963.” “They” are at least five of the major religious traditions, as is made clear by a set of symbols accompanying the poster. … it is a really bad PR move, even if the target audience is in fact limited to closet atheists and agnostics. … it is an even worse PR move when it comes to the public perception of atheists considered more broadly.

New Comments

0 Points       maryathomes       02 Oct 2017     Are politicians generally good people? General Comment
I am Marya Thomes. Thanks for this post.


0 Points       dionisos       23 Aug 2016     Are women misleading when expressing what they want from a man? Mostly Agree
People fall in love, when they are in love, they often love almost the person as a whole, and not a particular part.
After they can try to use induction on the sample of person they fall in love with, but there are too much properties and the sample is very small.

It is better if you replace "love" by "attracted by", but it is still not very good.
It is also easier to know the general rules if you fall in love easily or are attracted by a lot of people.(because the sample is then bigger, and the rules are simpler)

Introspection work, but only partially, and there are social and self-image problems which reduce the efficiency of introspection.

Add potential lies and communication problems to that.

But only empirical studies, with good protocols, and without ideological agenda, can really answer to this.

0 Points       dionisos       23 Aug 2016     Is suicide morally acceptable? Agree
Suicide can reduce suffering a lot.

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Is "ought" derived from "is"? Disagree
The same than blacktrance.

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Should atheists directly challenge religious beliefs? Agree
Beliefs have consequences, they doesn’t live outside reality.
False beliefs have generally bad consequences.

We can, if done well, reduce false beliefs by challenging them.

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Could a computer ever be conscious? Agree
Yes, we are one example.

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Is capitalism good? Disagree
It can’t be good nor bad in itself.
It could be better or worse than another economical system, given a particular ethical system.

I think there is a lot of better economical systems than capitalist. (given most consequentialist ethics).

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Should Julian Assange be considered a criminal for Wikileaks? Disagree
No, states should strive to almost complete transparency, they are way too much corruptible without it.

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Is trying to "change the world" foolish? Disagree
If you have goals which doesn’t only concern yourself (any consequentialist ethics), then it is logical to try to change the world.
(In fact any goal is about changing the world, but here i assume you are speaking about changing a lot of the world, not just very local things)

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Are pickup artist strategies misogynistic? Mostly Disagree
The same thing than Nutz. (it is not mean to be a useful comment, sorry, it is only that i am forced to comment if i want enough data to see who agree which me)

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Is the unconscious philosophical zombie possible? Agree
It could seem strange to some, to imagine philosophical zombies talking about consciousness, the important thing to understand, is that they wouldn’t really be speaking about consciousness.
It is only us, seeing the thing with a external conscious view, that put concepts on the words they use.

Their brain would contain the exact same model of themselves that our brain, with the same self-referential structures, they would speak about consciousness (in the exact same way i did) because of these self-referential structures, but without any conscious understanding of it.

I am not speaking of consciousness because i have consciousness, i am speaking of consciousness because of the self-referential structures in my brain.
So, how am i able to speak differently of my consciousness and of my brain self-referential structures ?

I am NOT capable of it, i am only going one level up in the self-referential structures.

Without the self-referential structures, i would not be able to speak at all about consciousness, but it would not mean i am less conscious, i would still have a subjective reality, but i would not be able to understand that, because there would be no self-referential structure in this subjectivity.
When you correctly understand the first level : being conscious without any understanding of it, without any way to speak about it, you can understand the level up, when there is self-referential structures, which create a understanding in the subjective reality, but is still not equal to the self-referential structures.

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Can science prove or disprove the existence of God? Agree
Most definitions of god are incoherent, so we can dismiss them by pure logic.
Some other definitions of god, are testable in theory.
Maybe some are coherent and untestable, but i wait to see one of them which is conceptually useful, and not just a poetical way to say something almost tautological.