Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Myriad Amazements...

I’ve fallen behind sharing neat stuff, so here’s the beginning of a multi-part datadump. Lots of cool stuff! The following items come from many sources, including the Arlington Institute and The Globalist and from Ray Kurzweil... plus members like you.

Newly Forming Solar System Has Planets Running Backwards -- (NASA -- February 13, 2006)  Call it the biggest beltway ever seen. Astronomers have discovered a newly forming solar system with the inner part orbiting in one direction and the outer part orbiting the other way.

More of my extemporaneous blather is up in another interview that’s been posted at:
www.TheFutureAndYou.com

Go see a live and real-life example of how desperately we need tools of transparency: (thanks for sending this in Dave Mackie) This is why I wrote The Transparent Society. This kind of bullying takes place at all levels. We need accountability!

New Fund Aims Venture Capital at Emerging Public Health Risks -- (The Washington Post -- February 16, 2006) A Silicon Valley venture capital firm with a 30-year reputation for seeing the next new thing, said yesterday that it had raised a $200 million fund to invest in companies battling the next new virus. The pandemic fund calls attention to innovators who are needed to fight emerging health threats.

Let me surprise you with this one: “Influence for fashion has long been sought from the most remote corners of the world. But where might this process be leading us in the era of globalization?”

The End of the Internet? -- (The Nation -- February 1, 2006) The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online. Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency

Oxford Seeks PC Users to Help Map Climate Change -- (Reuters -- February 14, 2006)
Scientists have set out to harness the power of home computers to predict climate change more accurately than ever before. Using the reach of the mass media and the forecasting techniques of Britain's Meteorological Office, they hope to persuade thousands of people to take part. "If 10,000 people join in, you are already bigger than the world's biggest supercomputer," said one scientist.

Methane Release from Melting Permafrost -- (Magnetic Power Inc -- February 21, 2006)

Videogames Integral to U.S. Military -- (NewsDaily -- February 14, 2006)
Using videogames to train today's U.S. military recruits, who grew up with XBoxes and PlayStations, is necessary and natural says a new report. With videogame shooting experience before and after entering the military, today's recruits are expected to feel less inhibited pointing their weapons at somebody. That "provides a better foundation for us to work with," said Marine Lt. Col. Scott Sutton.

Future blogging software will focus on more select and filtered readership, allowing people to read certain posts, and making it easier for people to incorporate more media and mobile...


Huh! If only this would take us PAST the crazed opinion-fest that is blogging, to a true era of disputation arenas and other new tools, when “opinion-solving” will be credible phrase on peoples’ lips and ears. In a society that is free, open, accountable, diverse... and starting to grow up.

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29 comments:

palliard said...

I love how that article on the Florida cop complaints thing starts. "Most police officers are a credit to the badge, blah blah blah." Like cops somehow needed justifying. Then it goes on to show cops being... well... cops. Really, everything you need to know about cop psychology is covered in the famous Zimbardo and Milgram experiments. It amazes me that after forty years (since the experiments, not since the invention of cops) this sort of behavior still comes as a shock to anyone.

I found that fashion article more interesting. As much as people fuss over how much Western (American) culture is exported, very little attention tends to be paid as to how often it works the other way; that we are consumers of ideas as much as we are propagators of them, even ideas about what shoes go with what belt.

Then it goes to talk about nationalizing one's fashion sense. I think that's already regionalized better than most people think. There are a lot of people you can make an educated guess about where they're from based on how they're dressed, and nobody complains about how people in Lagos are wearing cowboy hats and belt buckles that wrap around their waists.

Don Quijote said...

The End of the Internet? -- (The Nation -- February 1, 2006)
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060213/chester
The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online.


Iit ain't free! it's costing me $49.95 a month. Those lightly regulated monopolies aren't quite making enough money, their executives are all living in the poor house.

Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency.

Got to do something to prevent those leftist from being able to propogate their dirty filthy lies. Rush, Shaun & Bill will tell you the truth. Big brother on the loose, without even the minimal restraints of Democracy.

Another great success to be brought to you by Pragmatist Modernists.

Hawker Hurricane said...

David...
On the subject of 'dealing with criticism', one of the local city councils was so annoyed by a citizen comment, they threatened a lawsuit...

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20060218-9999-1n18tanner.html

Rob Perkins said...

Thanks for the links, David. I finally got to hear the sound of your voice. Now I have a voice to connect to the blogging! :-)

Mark said...

With videogame shooting experience before and after entering the military, today's recruits are expected to feel less inhibited pointing their weapons at somebody.

I've often wondered which desensitizes one from killing humans more: 1) the common modern act killing virtual humans in a computer simulation or 2) the common pre-modern act of killing real animals while hunting and farming.

Human, but not real.
Real, but not human.

Which desensitized the act of killing real humans more?

My personal guess is killing real, living animals desensitizes more, but I honestly don't know.

Stefan Jones said...

My blogger cousin waxes snarky on three screenshots from Fox News:

http://jmhm.livejournal.com/1580587.html

Anonymous said...

Those shoot-'em-up video games of today are probably just commercial products. However, the military has been using computer simulations to train troops for decades. None of my programs were for weaponry, but others may have been. Isn't it peculiar that the private sector in search of private profit has created the tools -- Mortal Kombat, Grand Theft Auto, whatever -- that do the training for the military? Hey, what did happen to all those programmers who were laid off from military projects when the bases were closed and the troop strength was downsized?

David Brin said...

Will someone please feed Quijote a statistical analysis of the ratio of my postings that are aimed at his enemies, vs those that also point out dippy, self-destructive luniness on the left?

Or, um, the hilarity of the other position he just expressed. We're discussing (outraged) a threat to pragmatic-modernism's second greatest achievement - the Internet. And he points to the THREAT as being a manifestation of pragmatic modernism. Hilarious.

Continue. Keep illustrating what I'm talking about.

Stefan Jones said...

DAMN!

Budget Cuts Back Much- Promoted NASA Missions
By DENNIS OVERBYE

"Among the casualties in the budget, released last month, are efforts to look for habitable planets and perhaps life elsewhere in the galaxy, an investigation of the dark energy that seems to be ripping the universe apart, bringing a sample of Mars back to Earth and exploring for life under the ice of Jupiter's moon Europa — as well as numerous smaller programs and individual research projects that astronomers say are the wellsprings of new science and new scientists.

The agency's administrator, Michael D. Griffin, says NASA needs the money to keep the space shuttle fleet aloft, complete the International Space Station and build a new crew exploration vehicle to replace the shuttle."

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/02/science/space/02nasa.html

#@$%@%$^#^!!!!!

Mark said...

NASA needs the money to keep the space shuttle fleet aloft, complete the International Space Station and build a new crew exploration vehicle to replace the shuttle.

In virtually every debate pitting Science versus Not-Science I side strongly with Science... except space exploration. Here, I'm still a strong supporter of Science but I'm also a strong supporter of manned exploration. When the two are at odds with each other I often find myself on the side of manned exploration; the Not-Science side.

I once got into an argument with a physics professor* about this. There is so much more to space exploration than pure science: the exploration, adventure, a sense of accomplishment of getting a man on the moon or Mars all have value of their own. And the sense of wonder these achievements can induce in our children helps produce our next generation of scientists and engineers.

That isn't to say I agree with these exact choices, just that I don't believe the correct allocations are quite as obvious as most science-minded types believe.


* Ironically, we were about a half mile underground at the time.

Rob said...

A Renewed Spirit of Discovery:

The fundamental goal of this vision is to advance U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests through a robust space exploration program. In support of this goal, the United States will:

* Implement a sustained and affordable human and robotic program to explore the solar system and beyond;
* Extend human presence across the solar system, starting with a human return to the Moon by the year 2020, in preparation for human exploration of Mars and other destinations;
* Develop the innovative technologies, knowledge, and infrastructures both to explore and to support decisions about the destinations for human exploration; and
* Promote international and commercial participation in exploration to further U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests.

I guess the best way to accomplish this renewal of spirit is to slash the NASA budget.

Our President must be a big Sledge Hammer fan, because he always says "trust me; I know what I'm doing."

Tony Fisk said...

Stefan,
"Among the casualties in the budget, released last month, are efforts to look for habitable planets and perhaps life elsewhere in the galaxy,..."

Now how do you think the recently departed Mr. Schwarz and his patrons would view the prospect of life elsewhere, and what do you'd think they'd do about it?

palliard, the Zimbardo and Milgram experiments are as famous as the "Stanford Prison Experiment" which was recently reenacted at Abu Ghraib.
(ie not very: I've never heard of them. Care to give a reference?)
While on the topic of police attitudes, bear in mind that, while perhaps 1% of the population are thugs and criminals, the blue folk are having to deal with them continuously, which sorta skews their perceptions of the population as a whole, and can lead to a certain level of 'defensiveness'. No, the behaviour displayed in that report was inexcusable, but understand what drives it, and meanwhile, download your complaint forms from the internet while its still free...

On the end of the internet: most of what's being discussed there is white paper speculation. What *is* being proposed is a premium email service. A 'penny post' toll that will supposedly kill off spam (and maybe non-premium emails). Sounds reasonable (who likes spam?) but, personally, I have my doubts... What I think will happen is that the captives ...er subscribers to AOL and Yahoo, or any ISP that brings this 'service' in will a) complain about the number of emails that aren't getting through, and b) vote with their feet.

This sort of thing is perennially cropping up, and just as perennially getting shot down.. so far. So stay serene...and stay alert.
By way of illustration, here's this article on Yahoo Music's take on DRM:
"... Lay off the DRM."
(yes, Yahoo Music doesn't like DRM! Link courtesy of Groklaw)

David, also courtesy of Groklaw, this article might find a place in your addiction theory (at a corporate level, at least):
"From psychopaths to behaving responsibly: Waking up the inner sleeping beauty of companies"

Kagehi said...

The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online.

So.. Lets get this straight, now that there are things like Wifi, which could make networks ubiquitous *within* a city and its no long impossible for a lot of pissed off people to get together, tell the telecos screw you and build a new one, "now" they are going to try to screw everyone? This is like an old ferryman raising his rates to cross a lake, right after someone starts planning to build a bloody bridge across it. And I can guarrentee that in the short term *and* long term they will only screw themselves by doing it.

palliard said...

@ tony

Philip Zimbardo was the lead psychiatrist in the actual Stanford Prison Experiment. He still does research on mind control, and has served as the President of the American Psychiatric Assn.:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Zimbardo
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

Stanley Milgram is famous for his "behavioral study of obedience", in which people were demonstrated to be willing to do all sorts of things they would otherwise consider reprehensible when commanded to do so by someone in authority.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Milgram
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

I guess they're famous among the people I usually communicate with. I don't buy the "cops hang out with bad people" explanation that is generally bandied about as an excuse for why cops are bad people... there's a personality type and role at play there, quite well documented in the psychiatric literature.

Rob Perkins said...

Premium-grade network facilities are hardly a new thing. Whereever a largish telephone company exists, they can usually offer it, especially the ones with long lines and leasing agreements nationwide.

The common customers for such a thing are largish business with far-flung offices, say the likes of FedEx or Gannett (note, please, that I know nothing about the IT departments of such companies, just throwing out the names of two largish ones)

For years, companies that size have "saved money" by contracting to route all their internal telephone calls via the network of one specific phone company, for example, MCI or AT&T could come along and offer peering long distance services between offices, along with being able to track who originated and terminated various calls. This would manifest itself as codes an employee would have to dial prior to or just after dialing the phone number, or as five and six digit internal extensions.

That idea had definitely extended itself to the "intranets" of largish companies by as early as 1996. You save money that way by guaranteeing that the only traffic on the wires you're using is traffic your employees generate. And the auditing around those things was already tremendously detailed.

The selfishness around it is appalling, of course, with execs openly bragging about how much they want to shut out Vonage et al. (I use and like Vonage, but it's no land line, let me tell you. I still prefer the quality of a POTS line over it.) Language like that leads to the death of egg-laying geese. The whole *reason* for my going to Comcast and putting up with the $54/month fee is to provide me an alternative to the local telco monopoly which I can stomach.

It's really too bad Comcast still considers phone service to be such a golden premium thing, or I'd have bought into their VoIP offering as well. With Comcast, the possibility of same-quality-as-POTS using VoIP is realizable, using the kinds of technical approaches I just decried.

Then again, it is *their* network. But I'll bail if they filter Vonage.

TC said...

Mark asked, I've often wondered which desensitizes one from killing humans more: 1) the common modern act killing virtual humans in a computer simulation or 2) the common pre-modern act of killing real animals while hunting and farming.

In my experience, I think you're conclusion is right. Killing real animals is more desensitizing. I'd go so far as to say it's the only one of the two options that desensitizes at all in a mentally healthy individual.

When I was growing up, I used to trap muskrat (yeah, I'm that old). I had to shoot one once because it didn't drown in the trap.

That was the last time I ever went hunting. But there's a decision point that, had I had a different temprament or been raised differently, could have gone either way. When you see a real animal die because of your conscious choice, it forces you to reevaluate who you are.

Or maybe I was just a little drama king.

Shooting folks in a video game? Like I said, a healthy person knows the different. In fact, I've used FPSes to teach my daughter confidence and tactical awareness.

YMMV!

Don Quijote said...

So.. Lets get this straight, now that there are things like Wifi, which could make networks ubiquitous *within* a city

Mac World
- Law may snag Philadelphia Wi-Fi rollout


O-reilly - Will Congress Ban Municipal WiFi?

Municipal wireless took another hit recently when Senator John Ensign (R-Nevada) introduced the Broadband Investment and Consumer Choice Act of 2005. The 74-page bill, which is generally regarded as a rewrite of the broad Telecommunications Act of 1996, includes a section that specifically limits local governments' abilities to deploy public broadband systems.
BEA dev2dev Days 2006 CPU

The bill says local governments that want to build a public network must issue a Request for Proposal--through a third-party agency--and that in the case of competing bids between private and public sector parties, the neutral agency shall give preference to private sector companies. In addition, if the government wins the bid, private companies will have the "ability" to use the publicly built conduits and trenches. Governments that are already delivering network services would be allowed to continue but could not add new features or expand the service area.
...
his bill is a culmination of a series of state and federal actions stemming from intense lobbying from Verizon and other internet providers:



And that's how you deal with problems like WIFI. Republicans will vote for that bill when given half a chance and there will be enough DLC'ers (Pragmatist Realists) who will join in so that the telco's get more powerful.

Or, um, the hilarity of the other position he just expressed. We're discussing (outraged) a threat to pragmatic-modernism's second greatest achievement - the Internet.

And the greatest would be?

And he points to the THREAT as being a manifestation of pragmatic modernism. Hilarious.

As I understand it, from reading you, pragmatic modernism, is a belief in the Free ( unregulated or lightly regulated ) Market, Technology, a love of unregulated Capitalism and Pax Americana.

Well there are the results, an oligolopoly using it's Market Power to shaft it's customers.

TC said...

I seem to be quoting Mark alot tonight. He said, I once got into an argument with a physics professor* about this. There is so much more to space exploration than pure science: the exploration, adventure, a sense of accomplishment of getting a man on the moon or Mars all have value of their own. And the sense of wonder these achievements can induce in our children helps produce our next generation of scientists and engineers.

I'd argue that the sense of adventure and other underlying motivations are indeed scientific. The psychology of being a human, the "thing" that drives us to explore, is part of our nature. That's either the science of psychology or philosophy. It might border on theology.

This is where Mr. Brin's treatment of theology would come in handy. Why hasn't philosophy or theology advanced at the pace of the empirical sciences? How have we gotten to the point where the science of rationally studying the essense of who we are (philosophy) isn't considered a sufficient scientific basis for experimentation (spaceflight)?

Was it Gus Grissom who said something along the lines of humans cannot fully appreciate something unless they've been there?

Rob Perkins said...

"Why hasn't philosophy or theology advanced at the pace of the empirical sciences?"

I think it has, and I'm reminded of the beginnings of one of Douglas Adams' books, where he quips about a woman who advanced it, only to be killed when the Vogons came the next day....

Oh, unless you mean "general acceptance" of a new and beneficial philosophy? In that case, I'd have to put forth that general acceptcance of *scientific method* and *democracy* is the philosophical shift which had to precede the technological ones.

David Brin said...

Quoth Quijote: Or, um, the ilarity of the other position he just expressed. We're discussing (outraged) a threat to pragmatic-modernism's second greatest achievement - the Internet.

And the greatest would be?

The modern university, of course. Created in successive waves by the John Dewey era reformers and later the post GI Bill explosion -- who expanded first primary and then secondary education then passed bills lavishly endowing "land grant universities" in every state, which evolved into the University of- plu State University plus community college systems you see in all states today (in CA numbering 14, 24 and 150 campuses each.)

No greater accomplishment has ever been made by humanity. Of course, Karl Rove wants to close all the grad schools because once you get more than a bachelors (or if you keep reading) you tend to become a democrat!

And he points to the THREAT as being a manifestation of pragmatic modernism. Hilarious.

As I understand it, from reading you, pragmatic modernism, is a belief in the Free ( unregulated or lightly regulated ) Market, Technology, a love of unregulated Capitalism and Pax Americana.

Everybody! Look at what quijote has just done at two levels.

One: he just attempted to paraphrase me! This is PRECISELY what a mature person does in argumentation. (See my disputation article) and we must find a way to make it the habit online.

Two: he paraphrased me utterly and blatantly WRONG. Any of you could step in now and show him a myriad times in which my discussions of the left-right axis etc run contrary to his caricature of my views.

In fact, pragmatic modernists do love the miraculous and fecund creativity of markets. But they are also tinkerers who see those markets as human-made machines, not mystical manifestations of libertarian natural law. It is - in fact - "natural" for monopolists and oligarchs to take over these machines and ruin them for their own benefit. Hence, while it is (libertarianly) politically incorrect to praise regulation, the modernist impulse has ALWAYS been to regulate markets so that they resist oligarchy, and so that market rules reflect values in addition to immediate scarcity and profit.

Values like protecting the health property and tort interests of future generations not yet born, who will inherit an Earth stripped of assets.

But note, this process does not always entail ADDING rules! For example, ALL SERIOUS DEREGULATION that has occurred in the last 30 years has been promoted by democrats, not republicans... save only the savings and loan industry and energy... and we know how THOSE "deregulations" went! (Oligarchy-whoring in every way.)

Otherwise, banking, trucking, airlines, telecom, internet, parcel post... you name it. Every time regulation was reduced EFFECTIVELY to enhance market performance, it was democrats who did it. Why?

Because lefties who hate markets have never taken over that party, though they keep trying. Instead, pragmatists who WANT MARKETS TO SERVE THE PEOPLE have retained slim control.

Likewise, unregulated Pax Americana is simply insane. History shows where that will go. But ZERO Pax Americana? Ask the people of south korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Hungary and so on how they would like to live in a world where that had been the case.



Rob Perkins said... "Why hasn't philosophy or theology advanced at the pace of the empirical sciences?"

Doug S. said...

Theology, almost by definition, cannot advance, because it is based on faith in revealed wisdom (sacred texts). The only way it can "advance" is through the creation of new religions or new "interpretations" of existing ones.

I could say that religion is a social construct with no basis in objective reality, but that would not be productive. When someone asserts "My religion says X, therefore X is true," the only counterarguments that can be raised are "Your religion doesn't say X" and "Your religion is false." You don't persuade many people by telling them their religion is factually incorrect (for example, by saying that Joseph Smith never received a divine revelation). Arguing interpretations of a religion ("No, it really is okay to eat pork") is only slightly more likely to be persuasive, and requires you to accept their chosen sacred text as true.

David Brin said...

Rob Perkins said... "Why hasn't philosophy or theology advanced at the pace of the empirical sciences?"


What Rob may be talking about is something more general: "Too bad that human ethics and wisdom have not kept pace with technology."

Yes, it is obviously true that we desperately need rapid progress in "wisdom" during the immediate future, or technology will empower the unwise to destroy us all.

And yet, I abhor this cliche. I remember seeing "Coloreds Only" drinking fountains in Virginia. I remember a thousand inanities that suppressed the ambitions of girls and women and minorities and even males, according to classification rather than character and accomplishment.

These problems have not been "solved"... but only complete jibbering loons refuse to admit that we've addressed them more seriously and effectively than any other generation or culture across the whole span of human history.

Indeed, these steps in incremental improvement of human CHARACTER have been so effective that even the enemies of the modernist self-improvement campaign have to give lip service to its values. Creationists have to call it "science" and use "just an other religion" as a slur against evolution. Republicans who fought Martin Luther King, tooth and nail, now display pictures of him on their office walls.

Can this be taken farther? I feel that the most powerful force that might make a huge difference would be FEMINISM, a movement that is currently facing the most difficult crisis of all... a crisis of success.

Judging by my daughter and her friends, the 1st 2nd and 3rd waves of feminism have accomplished just about everything the founders ever desired. (Ari gets her black belt on sunday, at age 11.)

So why aren't campus feminists happy? Because SR indignation is the life blood of every movement, making it impossible to ever declare victory and move on to the next thing. There ARE desperately important issues that a "4th Wave" of feminism could start addressing. Issues that could affect (for example) the way that we choose leaders in this world.

But instead, the movement is clutching onto the class-liberation model that served it well across the seventies and eighties. A model that is now utterly rejected by most modern women, who see their problems as far more complex and even detached from whether or not they are treated as grownups.

Pity. All that energy and focus and intelligence could be applied to solving the next "wisdom issues." But it won't happen. Indignation is just too strong a drug.

Rob Perkins said...

I quoted TC and made a comment about it, but you springboarded nicely off of both his question and my comment, which dovetails with yours.

Francis said...

David Brin said...

Rob Perkins said... "Why hasn't philosophy or theology advanced at the pace of the empirical sciences?"


What Rob may be talking about is something more general: "Too bad that human ethics and wisdom have not kept pace with technology."

Yes, it is obviously true that we desperately need rapid progress in "wisdom" during the immediate future, or technology will empower the unwise to destroy us all.

And yet, I abhor this cliche. I remember seeing "Coloreds Only" drinking fountains in Virginia. I remember a thousand inanities that suppressed the ambitions of girls and women and minorities and even males, according to classification rather than character and accomplishment.


I agree with your rebuttal almost entirely - we have come a very long way in the past x years for most values of x < 350 (taking the 30 years war as a cutoff - and even then I'm not sure) - but you come off here (as in a wide range of other places) as being White, Male, and Middle-Upper Middle Class - the single group for which such discrimination and problems are both at their lowest level and at their most noticable.

(Quick question - I don't want an answer but it's always worth thinking about for the middle classes (and in particular for the worst Leftie Socialists) - how many of your friends don't have degrees?)

Rob Perkins said...

Let me point out again that I'm not the one who raised the cliche.

Speaking for myself, I don't have a degree in anything, though I've spent about three years at a major university, mostly building up debt and learning exactly what I wanted to learn.

In other words, even though I never finished a bachelor's degree, supposedly the gatekey to good upper middle class employment, I still garnered the benefits of an open university system, and was admitted for study to one of the better in the country!

And David is right: Today's access to high literacy in any form at all, let alone a form which exposes one to leftist or rightist loonies, is unprecedented in all of human history.

Which dovetails back to the comment I made, that we *did* have the shift in ethics and morality that made possible an entire nation of hundreds of millions, all with the historical privileges of kings and priests. Think about that...

Francis said...

My apologies for the misattribution, Rob.

Don Quijote said...

Everybody! Look at what quijote has just done at two levels.

One: he just attempted to paraphrase me! This is PRECISELY what a mature person does in argumentation. (See my disputation article) and we must find a way to make it the habit online.


Just a tad condescending...

Two: he paraphrased me utterly and blatantly WRONG. Any of you could step in now and show him a myriad times in which my discussions of the left-right axis etc run contrary to his caricature of my views.
really?

In fact, pragmatic modernists do love the miraculous and fecund creativity of markets. But they are also tinkerers who see those markets as human-made machines, not mystical manifestations of libertarian natural law.
Supports free markets...

It is - in fact - "natural" for monopolists and oligarchs to take over these machines and ruin them for their own benefit. Hence, while it is (libertarianly) politically incorrect to praise regulation, the modernist impulse has ALWAYS been to regulate markets so that they resist oligarchy, and so that market rules reflect values in addition to immediate scarcity and profit.
may support some regulation..

Values like protecting the health property and tort interests of future generations not yet born, who will inherit an Earth stripped of assets.
may be an environmentalist...



But note, this process does not always entail ADDING rules! For example, ALL SERIOUS DEREGULATION that has occurred in the last 30 years has been promoted by democrats, not republicans... save only the savings and loan industry and energy... and we know how THOSE "deregulations" went! (Oligarchy-whoring in every way.)

Otherwise, banking, trucking, airlines, telecom, internet, parcel post... you name it. Every time regulation was reduced EFFECTIVELY to enhance market performance, it was democrats who did it. Why?

supports Deregulation...

You forgot Cable Deregulation, Radio Deregulation, or you can look at consumer reports review of all those deregulations.

And I'll quote
The oft-repeated claim that deregulation cut consumer prices while regulation kept prices artificially bloated is a myth. The inflation-adjusted cost of airfares, telephone service, and electricity were falling for decades before deregulation. Cable-television costs, which had decreased when the industry was regulated, rose sharply after deregulation.

The marketplace has become more adversarial toward consumers. Absence of strict rules has inspired aggressive tactics, which have led competitors to respond in kind. Sellers have gained disproportionate power over buyers through widespread use of hidden charges, fine-print loopholes, ever-changing prices, and unauthorized switching of service.

When Congress deregulated industries, it didn't just untie the hands of business. In many cases, it straitjacketed consumers. For example, the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 quietly exempted airlines from states' basic deceptive-practices laws that prohibit such things as bait-and-switch advertising. The Supreme Court in 1992 upheld the airlines' immunity.



Because lefties who hate markets have never taken over that party, though they keep trying. Instead, pragmatists who WANT MARKETS TO SERVE THE PEOPLE have retained slim control.
Capitalist, blames lefties for all that is wrong, well not really... :)


Likewise, unregulated Pax Americana is simply insane. History shows where that will go. But ZERO Pax Americana?
Supports Pax Americana. Who is going to regulated it?

Going over your list, I 'd say that my caricature was pretty damn accurate, I'll give you the unregulated in the "unregulated capitalism", so here is my correction.

As I understand it, from reading you, pragmatic modernism, is a belief in the Free ( unregulated or lightly regulated ) Market, Technology, a love of Capitalism and Pax Americana.

TC said...

Doug S. said, Theology, almost by definition, cannot advance, because it is based on faith in revealed wisdom (sacred texts). The only way it can "advance" is through the creation of new religions or new "interpretations" of existing ones.

I’m sorry, but I can’t agree with that. I agree with you to the point of theology being based on revealed wisdom (I’d call it Revelation). But advancement has nothing to do with new religions (systems of belief). It may have to do with new interpretations, but advancement really needs to come from seeking a deeper understanding of new events or facts in light of Revelation.

Take Karl Rahner, for example. He did some spectacular work by applying theology to cosmology. He didn’t come up with a new interpretation. He brought a Revelatory understanding to concepts like the Big Bang that were unknown in the early years of Christianity, and hence has no prior interpretation to work with.

The central idea I’m not successfully getting across is that I don’t think we have enjoyed the same tremendous leaps in philosophy and theology that we’ve enjoyed in the “hard” sciences. Please note that I agree with both Mr. Brin and Rob Perkins when they say that we’ve made progress. I’m hope I’m no “jibbering loon!” But I come back to some basic questions, like why don’t we consider a philosophical endeavor to be on par with the other sciences? Why do most scientists go so far as to say theology isn’t a science at all? By excluding serious discussion on those topics, I wonder if we cut ourselves off from greater social and personal progress.

David Brin said...

Quijote has just proved my point. When dogmatists are addicted to caricatures of their opponents, no amount of subtlety will penetrate. The caricature is vastly more important to them than any attempt to understand the person they are talking to.

This is, of course romantic. And very, very unpragmatic, since the hostility that it engenders causes enmity to grow among other people and a subsequent ejection from any access to power.

Exactly what has happened to the American left.