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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
 
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
  • posted a message on Some final thoughts
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say, but the aphorism is not usually understood as it ought to be: how miraculous must be this eye of the beholder, to serve as source for all the beauty in the universe! Beauty is not a physical phenomenon. No "beauty particle" flies through space to strike the retina. A goldfish or a GoPro could look up at the stars, process the visual image just as well as we, and yet remain unmoved by the sight. Only human beings wonder what they are -- and that wonder is such a deep part of our nature that our youngest children sing about it in nursery rhymes. Immeasurably tiny as we are beneath the cosmos, we have the ultimate power over it, that of appreciation. The laws of physics wrought the stars as blind, dead things hanging in emptiness; it is only in our eyes that they become sublime.

    And it gets better. We are not merely beholders of stars. When we turn to behold each other, then the magic really begins. Every single human being has their own vision of the universe reflected in their eyes. We all see the same universe, but we all see it differently. Seven billion universes, each one similar enough to our own that communication is possible between them, but utterly unique in its majesty. As if one cosmos were not vast enough to give us endless marvels, we will never run out of new ones to explore. With friends!

    We have got to be the luckiest damn creatures in existence.

    So don't waste these opportunities. Don't waste this power of appreciation. If you don't see the beauty in stars and rocks and beetles and humans, then nothing else in the universe will.

    Don't be so proud as to think that you have nothing to gain from listening to other perspectives. You're missing out on entire universes. And the craziest ones are often the most fascinating.

    And don't be so humble as to think that you have nothing to offer others in your perspective. You, too, contain an entire universe, and nobody else can see it unless you let them.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Debate is Closing 05/05/17
    Quote from Jay13x »
    Quote from Kryptnyt »
    Was this a decision made by the Debate moderators then?
    The ultimate decision was made by senior staff (Globals and Admins) on the site, which includes me.
    I should stress, though, that the Debate moderators were a part of the discussion and support the final decision.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on North Korea
    Quote from Firevine »
    ^ Precisely that.

    The missile barrage on the empty airfield in Syria occurred while Xi Jinping was here in the states. Trumps moves are showing that he's not going to play these games, and it's making China step up and say "Maybe we should stop playing too then". 80% of North Koreas trade is with China, so when China says "enough is enough", this little dog and pony show is over.
    China's been making grumpy noises about North Korea for a while. It's been a very long time since they actually liked the Kim regime; they just want to see a pro-Western unified Korea on their border even less. Stopping coal imports is a new and positive development, but it represents a step-up in China's existing frustration, not a dramatic about-face in their attitude, and does not signal that they can be relied upon to support, e.g., pressure to liberalize. As long as North Korea doesn't embarrass them by trying to obliterate South Korea, they don't mind it being a dysfunctional hermit state prone to horrific human rights abuses.

    So I'd be cautious in my optimism here.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on North Korea
    Quote from Highroller »
    Is maintaining the status quo truly the most beneficial stance?

    Would an escalation of conflict truly result in nuclear armageddon?
    The problem is that, as in Russian roulette, the only way to find out is to pull that trigger.

    If Trump escalates and North Korea starts shooting, clearly Trump is a reckless and irresponsible leader.
    But if Trump escalates and North Korea backs down, does that make Trump a foreign policy genius, or just a reckless and irresponsible leader who got lucky this time?
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on North Korea
    North Korea's antics are North Korea's fault. Always.

    But it's the responsibility of the US President and other world leaders to respond to those antics and keep them from boiling over into a shooting war. Trump is very capable of screwing that part up.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Is philosophy only good for misery?
    We cannot keep circling back around to the topic of suicide. We have already seen how these discussions quickly move from the philosophical to the personal. That is the kind of talk you need to have with family, friends, and doctors, not the internet.

    If you are thinking about harming yourself or attempting suicide, tell someone who can help right away.

    • Call your doctor’s office.
    • Call 911 for emergency services.
    • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
    • In the US, call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.
    • To find a suicide helpline outside the U.S., visit IASP and Suicide.org

    It is not unreasonable to ask a family member or friend to help you make these calls or take you to the hospital.

    If you have a family member or friend who is suicidal, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get the person to seek help immediately from an emergency room, physician, or mental health professional. Take seriously any comments about suicide or wishing to die. Even if you do not believe your family member or friend will actually attempt suicide, the person is clearly in distress and can benefit from your help in receiving mental health treatment.
    Posted in: Philosophy
  • posted a message on US Missile Strike on Syria
    Quote from knto »
    ISIS, Al Qaeda and ISIS have both used them in the past.
    Citation needed. Chemical weapons are difficult to produce and deploy. It's a safe bet that if they're used, it's by a state actor.

    Quote from knto »
    To address "military intervention might be what's necessary if done well." This is a poisonous meme. Not only has every military intervention I can think of made life worse for people in the area It also requires an extreme amount of arrogance to suppose that you know whats best for the people of that country and is just a mirror of Britain's use of spreading "civilization" to justify their imperialism a centry ago.
    Oh, is that what the Allies did to Germany and Japan in World War II?

    Quote from knto »
    And to address this one "I'm not sure that's true. What are your sources on this?" While I won't argue that one had killed more than the other I think it is evident that ISIS waged war on Syria an Iraq so they are the source of the conflict (I won't go into how us interventionist policies set the stage for ISIS).
    You might want to double-check your timeline on that. The Syrian Civil War broke out in mid-2011. The al-Nusra Front formed in the chaos in early 2012, and merged with al-Qaeda in Iraq to create ISIS in the spring of 2013. ISIS is an effect, not a cause, of the Syrian Civil War (and Exhibit A in the case for Why the West Should Have Intervened Immediately).
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Is radical skepticism good to follow?
    Quote from AzureDuality »
    Your probability doesn't speak to those small chances though. Sure you could conclude that it's an unfair coin but you cannot really do that. You could be caught in the rare chance that it's all heads. There is no reason to treat it as unfair, you have no confidence to treat it so because you are stuck in that small probability event.
    If you think this is the case, I would like to invite you to come gambling with me. We can bet on coin flips. I'll provide the coin. And I'll always bet on heads. But I'll let you go double or nothing for as long as you like. Hell, not even double or nothing -- I will wager my entire winnings on every flip no matter what you put up on your side. If you think there's no reason to treat the coin we flip as unfair, if you think there's always a chance you might win all your money back, surely this must sound like a great deal, right?

    But if, over the course of this little game, you begin to feel a growing suspicion that you are being cheated -- that's your confidence in the coin's fairness falling. That's the result of all the empirical evidence you're observing. And it's a good thing. It's the rational thing. Nobody is going to look at a guy who lost all his money betting against a two-headed coin and think, "Oh, this is a wise fellow, I should listen to what he has to say concerning the deepest mysteries of life and existence."
    Posted in: Philosophy
  • posted a message on Supreme Court Justice Nominees Gorsuch and Garland
    Quote from joandeMRA »
    Like the Revolutionary War...
    The leaders of the American Revolution wrote the Supreme Court appointment process. They had an outright fetish for governmental procedure and the rule of law. The election of 1800 was the first time in modern history an elected head of state had been voted out of office, and despite the bitter partisan rivalry between Adams and Jefferson it went off without a hitch. So don't try to tell me that they'd be down with hijacking a Court seat.

    Quote from joandeMRA »
    ...or the Democrats refusing to impeach Bill Clinton despite his guilt and their constitutional responsibility.
    ...what? Whatever you think about that, it had nothing to do with an acquisition of political office. Are you just throwing out random grievances?

    Quote from joandeMRA »
    No, I wouldn't support that. It's more complicated then this and I have no interest in purity pissing contests.
    The name of the forum is "Debate". If you're not willing to explain your reasoning, what are you doing here?

    Quote from joandeMRA »
    OK, I'm curious what you would have to say about sanctuary cities and the rule of law then.
    It's not the job of local police officers to enforce federal laws.

    Quote from joandeMRA »
    Impeach him for what, it's not something stupid like "being a facist" is it?
    If being a left-wing judge is bad enough to violate the Constitution over, why shouldn't being fascist be bad enough to impeach over? You were the one who introduced this notion that political ideology is a valid test for holding an office.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Supreme Court Justice Nominees Gorsuch and Garland
    Quote from Mockingbird »
    Are you sure a nominee must have the consent of the Senate?
    Yes.

    Quote from Mockingbird »
    If I remember correctly though, there was pressure on Garland and Obama to use the fact that the Constitution was just vague enough that to interpret inaction as relinquishing consent to put Garland on the court and then roll the dice in Court when a challenge arose.
    Yeah, there's a reason Constitutional Law Professor Obama didn't do that.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Supreme Court Justice Nominees Gorsuch and Garland
    Quote from joandeMRA »
    The constitution is an incredible safeguard against tyranny but it requires people who will fight government tyranny and that's not who the left nominates, they nominate political activists who view government tyranny as an acceptable means to an end in their never ending march to transform America into anything other then America.
    If the Constitution "requires people who will fight government tyranny", then you're disqualified. You are clearly stating here that you yourself "view government tyranny as an acceptable means to an end". Tyranny is the unlawful seizure of political power. That's exactly what the GOP did. How bad does it have to be before you draw the line? If Trump lost in 2020 to a left-wing candidate but then staged a coup and declared himself King, would that be a "necessary evil" too?
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Supreme Court Justice Nominees Gorsuch and Garland
    Quote from zoboso »
    in sum the republican senators were not stealing the nomination, the senate controls the nomination.
    The Senate's constitutional duty is to provide "advice and consent" for presidential appointments. In not holding hearings or a vote for Garland the Senate failed to do this, and left one of the most important offices in the federal government empty for a year. This is unconscionable.

    Quote from zoboso »
    They did their job for their constituents, If the democrats were in the same position they'ds do the same thing
    Even if this is true, that doesn't make it right.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on US Election Day and results thread 2016
    Quote from Kahedron »
    More at link

    Oh boy this is going to get interesting.
    Maybe. Russian hackers also commit a lot of non-election-related crimes.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on US Missile Strike on Syria
    Quote from FearDReaper »
    As for my Syrian friends you may be correct. There is a lot of antagonistic views of America over there.
    And I'm not saying that attitude is totally unjustified. An awful lot of the mess in the Middle East can be laid at the feet of American screwups. But it does tend to lead to a thought pattern of "Whenever anything bad happens, America is directly responsible", which is inaccurate (and plays into the interests of many other parties who are also busily ruining the region).

    Quote from FearDReaper »
    Blinking Spirit, you have earned my respect in the past and I value your opinion quote highly. If you don't mind I'd love to hear your opinion on this article that my Syrian friends showed me. It's done by TYT Network and I usually value their reports highly as well. https://youtu.be/NjOr2YzrZDY According to my friends this is how most Syrians view this war.
    I watched a few minutes of it, and I could dig into the details, but the fundamental problem is that it's from October of 2016, and is not talking about the Trump Administration at all.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Is radical skepticism good to follow?
    Quote from AzureDuality »
    You haven't proven the belief that you aren't dreaming is true. You have no evidence to support it. It's quite frankly a guess based on nothing. You can believe whatever you want but don't know if it's true, you just think so.
    The evidence is that my waking experience exhibits continuity and consistency. Today I have been awake for hours and I have clear memories of all that time in which events follow logically one after the other. Furthermore, the events of today follow logically from the events of yesterday, and so on all the way back for years. Every day, every hour, every minute I experience that is continuous and consistent with the past constitutes evidence that I am experiencing something real and external to me. The probability that I am simply hallucinating things that happen to be consistent gets lower and lower, and the probability that the consistency is the result of reality grows higher and higher. This is how evidence works. This is what evidence is.

    If you're flipping a coin over and over again, and you keep getting heads, this constitutes evidence that the coin you're flipping is double-headed or otherwise non-random. It is always possible that you're flipping a fair coin and you just happen to get heads every time. You can never prove that the coin is double-headed (assuming this is your only method of testing it). But the probability of the coin being fair drops by half with every flip. The probability of a fair coin getting heads is 1/2 on the first flip. The probability of it getting two heads on the first two flips is 1/4. The probability of it getting three heads on the first three flips is 1/8. And so on and so forth. It does not take very many flips before the probability of the coin being fair is extremely low, and you can say with a pretty high degree of confidence that the coin is double-headed. After a hundred heads, the probability of it being fair is about the same as the probability of being struck by lightning this year... on five separate occasions. At that point, it would be pretty asinine to say, "But you have no proof the coin is double-headed. You can't know it is. You're just guessing it is based on nothing." Yes, you can; yes, you do; and no, you're not.

    Quote from AzureDuality »
    As for what radica skepticism has done it talks of what it can do. Bringing someone a sense of tranquility by doubting everything and not passing judgment on anything. Saying that the problems in the world are the result of beliefs and opinions and the solution is to extinguish them. It's quite similar to Buddhism in some regards. Also states that we suffer by labeling things good and bad and suffer in their pursuit and absence.
    Nothing you're saying constitutes a valid argument for radical skepticism. You are recommending the theory on the basis of incidental effects it may have on our mental state. Theists sometimes similarly recommend belief in God on the basis that it might make you feel better about yourself and the world. This is called the appeal to consequences, and it has no bearing on whether or not radical skepticism or theism is justified. Maybe believing that there's pirate gold buried in my backyard would make me feel better, but if in fact there isn't, I ought not to believe that there is. Maybe believing in God would make me feel better, but if in fact God does not exist, I ought not to believe that he does. Maybe disbelieving reality would make me feel better, but if in fact reality does exist, I ought to believe that it does.

    I might also bring up a second problem with this recommendation, that severing attachments is more likely to lead to or exacerbate depression than bring contentment. But that's more a matter of psychology than philosophy.

    Quote from AzureDuality »
    But like I said before, the Gettier problem has rendered JTB a poor definition of knowledge. BAsed on your replies you havent been sufficient to overturn that.
    The concept of intensional statements renders the Gettier problem a poor objection to JTB.

    No, I'm not going to tell you why. I'm just going to state that your failure to respond adequately to this claim demonstrates that it is correct.

    See the problem here?

    Quote from AzureDuality »
    Not to mention the other problems with epistemology.
    Such as...?

    Quote from AzureDuality »
    And in regard to science, bare in mind that it has also achieved a great deal of problems in addition to the gifts (maybe even more than the good). That seems to be what uncertainty brings
    You're missing the point -- and unwittingly conceding it. The point is that science has achieved. If empirical reasoning and the knowledge it generates were useless, then science could no more develop nuclear weapons than it could smallpox vaccines.
    Posted in: Philosophy
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