4 of 5
4
Michael Shermer - Science, Skepticism and Libertarianism
Posted: 08 July 2009 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  189
Joined  2009-01-01

Apparently political parties are much like organized religion in that they have a corruption half-life of approximately 3.7 years.

 Signature 

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful. - Seneca (ca. 4 BC –AD 65)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 July 2009 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  262
Joined  2008-06-13
josh_karpf - 08 July 2009 06:22 AM

And to encourage the notion of a uselessly fragmented skeptical community.

I don’t necessarily agree with that.
What is required of one to be a member of the skeptical community?  The more that definition narrows, the smaller you shrink your group.  Republicans are finding out now that ideological purity can make it very difficult to accomplish anything.
Another point that this podcast reinforces for me is my position on political ideology.  There is no objective standard that one system is the best.  While I find that I don’t agree with this expression of libertarianism, I can’t say it’s “wrong” as there are no agreed upon rules of what is “right”.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 July 2009 04:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4576
Joined  2008-08-14
Hawkfan - 08 July 2009 04:15 PM
josh_karpf - 08 July 2009 06:22 AM

And to encourage the notion of a uselessly fragmented skeptical community.

I don’t necessarily agree with that.
What is required of one to be a member of the skeptical community?  The more that definition narrows, the smaller you shrink your group.  Republicans are finding out now that ideological purity can make it very difficult to accomplish anything.
Another point that this podcast reinforces for me is my position on political ideology.  There is no objective standard that one system is the best.  While I find that I don’t agree with this expression of libertarianism, I can’t say it’s “wrong” as there are no agreed upon rules of what is “right”.

Yeah, I got a little of that too- concerning ideology(libertarianism,specifically). I do appreciate Josh’s point though, and I know where he is coming from.

 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 July 2009 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2009-07-13

I am coming a bit late to this discussion, but I mist say that I found this episode extremely disquieting.

My primary problem with libertarianism is an issue that this episode of PoI did not even touch on- the absolute impossibility of a truly libertarian philosophy to provide adequate protection for the environment. Of course, there are many other problems with libertarianism as well, most of which have already been discussed here. However, to me, the obvious incompatibility between truly laissez-faire markets plus entirely privatized land ownership versus preservation of endangered animals and habitats makes libertarianism an untenable philosophy. What land developer is going to hold back the bulldozers to protect an endangered rat? What sheep herder is going to pull the lambs off the range to preserve sage grouse habitat? Nor is there any evidence that resource-extractive industries will ever curb themselves just to forward the common good…if we could trust them to do so, then the environmental laws we now have would never have been necessary!

I have presented this dilemma to many a libertarian, and no one yet has given a satisfactory answer. Many have said “You’re right; I’ll have to think about that…” withut offering any solution. Others have basically taken positions that “humans come first” and environmental issues take a back seat to any human desires and ability to turn a profit.

I am not willing to sacrifice old-growth forests, endangered species, clean water and clean air to anyone who can profit from them. And, to me, this means that libertarianism is a failure.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2009 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  3
Joined  2009-07-03

I haven’t checked this thread since I posted, and just now saw the note about my arithmetic error in the tax information I had provided for the two Euro countries.  Quite right and thanks for pointing it out.  Below please find the original information which is corrected below:

Samantha Clemens - 03 July 2009 09:03 AM

United States: 
USD 82,000 - 28%
USD 171,000 - 33%
USD 372,000 - 35%

United Kingdom
GBP 37,000 / 1.62 = USD 61,111 - 40%

Australia
AUD 80,000 / 1.24 = USD 64,516 - 38%
AUD 180,000 / 1.24 = USD 145,161 - 45%

France
EUR 69,505 / 1.40 = USD 45,360 - 40%

Germany
EUR 52,000 / 1.40 = USD 37,142 - 42%
EUR 250,000 / 1.40 = USD 178,571 - 45%

France
EUR 69,505 / 1.40 = USD 45,360 - 40%
should be:
EUR 69,505 / .714 = USD 97,345 - 40%

Germany
EUR 52,000 / 1.40 = USD 37,142 - 42%
EUR 250,000 / 1.40 = USD 178,571 - 45%
should be:
EUR 52,000 .714 = USD 72,829 - 42%
EUR 250,000 / .714 = USD 350,140 - 45%

I do not believe that my mistake in arithmetic changes the point I was making about the income level at which point marginal tax rates kick in - they are still much higher in the US than in other countries.  If I add in the social security taxes (referred to as payroll taxes) the effect is even greater since Social Security maxes out in the US at lower incomes than in other locations (not so for Medicare, but it’s a much smaller percentage).  VAT’s exist in many of these countries which are often as high or higher than sales tax in the US. 

It’s a pity that the sharp-eyed individual who caught the error simply brushed of any commentary about the actual substance of the post.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2009 08:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4576
Joined  2008-08-14

Probably because everyone knows that tables, graphs and charts can be used to show that an elephant can be suspended over a cliff with it’s tail tied to a dandelion.
Also there was direct comments concerning the rest of the post. They were right at the end.

 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2009 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  3
Joined  2009-07-03
VYAZMA - 24 July 2009 08:28 AM

Probably because everyone knows that tables, graphs and charts can be used to show that an elephant can be suspended over a cliff with it’s tail tied to a dandelion.
Also there was direct comments concerning the rest of the post. They were right at the end.

I would be grateful if you could indicate the number of the comment where you have direct comments, as I’ve read through a couple of times and as far as I can tell, you simply dismissed the content.

Regarding the potential misuse of tables, graphs and charts; while it is true this this certainly occurs, they can also be helpful to illustrate a point with precision.  The key is, once again, to indicate what is erroneous about the information presented.  My goal here is to present correct information as well as present the conclusions I draw from the facts.  If we disagree about the conclusions, so be it.  If I am wrong about the facts, by all means, correct me (as you did with the arithmetic on the France and German examples). 

Thank you.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2009 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4576
Joined  2008-08-14
Samantha Clemens - 24 July 2009 10:29 AM
VYAZMA - 24 July 2009 08:28 AM

Probably because everyone knows that tables, graphs and charts can be used to show that an elephant can be suspended over a cliff with it’s tail tied to a dandelion.
Also there was direct comments concerning the rest of the post. They were right at the end.

I would be grateful if you could indicate the number of the comment where you have direct comments, as I’ve read through a couple of times and as far as I can tell, you simply dismissed the content.

Regarding the potential misuse of tables, graphs and charts; while it is true this this certainly occurs, they can also be helpful to illustrate a point with precision.  The key is, once again, to indicate what is erroneous about the information presented.  My goal here is to present correct information as well as present the conclusions I draw from the facts.  If we disagree about the conclusions, so be it.  If I am wrong about the facts, by all means, correct me (as you did with the arithmetic on the France and German examples). 

Thank you.

I wasn’t the one who disputed your math(see#39). The charts you provided are in no way related to the original issue that Tom Morris brought up. His issue being a general comment on what one gets from his government, in relation to the taxes he pays.
Although you brought up figures showing that Tom was wrong about the Taxes he pays in his own country, due to adjustments, and various income brackets, and a reference to possible sales tax figures, your charts still didn’t even come close to showing what someone gets from their government in relation to the taxes they pay. Your charts only showed that Tom MIGHT have been mistaken in quoting what he pays in taxes.
Of course, who knows Tom’s personal story and exactly what taxes he pays? The point he brought up concerning a cost/benefit analysis of his taxes could very well(and probably is.) be true. Even making any adjustments with your figures, which are hard to compare against the US’s anyways. Here’s one reason why: In doing a cost benefit analysis of taxes paid by different nationalities, we would also have to figure in Energy expended, or man/hours worked in order to achieve a given income. This could vary widely from country to country. Another murky area we would have to dive into is discerning what exactly people consider to be benefits from their Governments regarding taxes.(HealthCare, Schools, Universities, good roads, Armies, Air Forces, sanitation, etc.)
But your charts did show that Tom may have been wrong in citing what The British Taxes are, compared to ours. Depending on what data, and figures one puts into the charts.

[ Edited: 24 July 2009 11:28 AM by VYAZMA ]
 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2009 11:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6195
Joined  2006-12-20

I don’t necessarily have anything against libertarianism and Governments and central banks medalling in markets can certainly lead to bad results. I’m sure we haven’t seen the worst of those yet.

But the brand of libertarianism put forward by Michael Shermer is based on belief that people have Libertarian free will, that they get what they deserve.

There is no evidence for libertarian free will and we can’t even concieve of a way for it to be possible. So it’s likely impossible.

To believe in libertarian free will and be a skeptic is an oxymoron.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 July 2009 04:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4576
Joined  2008-08-14

To believe in libertarian free will and be a skeptic is an oxymoron.

Stephen

Don’t you mean “....and be a Humanist…”!  That’s what I would have meant!

 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 July 2009 05:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  17
Joined  2009-06-24
crisw - 13 July 2009 05:18 PM

I am coming a bit late to this discussion, but I mist say that I found this episode extremely disquieting.

My primary problem with libertarianism is an issue that this episode of PoI did not even touch on- the absolute impossibility of a truly libertarian philosophy to provide adequate protection for the environment. Of course, there are many other problems with libertarianism as well, most of which have already been discussed here. However, to me, the obvious incompatibility between truly laissez-faire markets plus entirely privatized land ownership versus preservation of endangered animals and habitats makes libertarianism an untenable philosophy. What land developer is going to hold back the bulldozers to protect an endangered rat? What sheep herder is going to pull the lambs off the range to preserve sage grouse habitat? Nor is there any evidence that resource-extractive industries will ever curb themselves just to forward the common good…if we could trust them to do so, then the environmental laws we now have would never have been necessary!

I have presented this dilemma to many a libertarian, and no one yet has given a satisfactory answer. Many have said “You’re right; I’ll have to think about that…” withut offering any solution. Others have basically taken positions that “humans come first” and environmental issues take a back seat to any human desires and ability to turn a profit.

I am not willing to sacrifice old-growth forests, endangered species, clean water and clean air to anyone who can profit from them. And, to me, this means that libertarianism is a failure.

 

I wanted to reply to this post in particular because it focuses on a very important aspect of libertarianism: the environment.  First of all, I would like to say that you bring up some very good points and questions about how libertarianism deals with the issue of environment (clean air, clean water etc. etc.)  You claim to have hit a “dead end” when confronting libertarians on this topic.  First of all, are you familiar with Nobel-prize winner and economist, Milton Friedman?  If not, there are numerous videos on youtube in which he explains libertarianism very precisely.  One of which, he confronts the issue of dealing with the environment.  I believe all your questions will be answered by Milton Friedman himself.  Here is the link of part 1 of 4…..you can easily find the other 3 links from there.  Enjoy.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PaN9M4WwHw

 Signature 

Homeostasis, balance, and equilibrium ............

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 July 2009 06:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  17
Joined  2009-06-24

I wanted to touch up quickly on the subject of ‘endangered species’.  99% of all species that have ever lived are no longer around.  They are extinct.  This is a part of nature.  Nature dictates when animals come and go.  Isn’t it arrogant of us humans, to meddle and interfere with mother nature’s plans by attempting to save endangered animals from extinction? How do we expect to save the whales, koalas, polar bears and thousands of other plants & animals when we can’t even take care of ourselves?  I don’t think it is even possible for us to save every single endangered species from extinction.  For those who claim that these species are endangered because of human interference, isn’t human interference an essential part of nature’s plan itself? Isn’t this a part of the Darwinian’s ‘survival of the fittest?’  Regardless of human activity, there is an average of 25 plant/animal species that become extinct every day.  This is the course of nature.  Let nature take its course.  There is nothing wrong with the earth, nature, and the way it operates.  Our planet is a wonderful, self-sustaining ecosystem and if it decides that a certain species has to go, it has to go.  Nature will dictate the formation of new species, how long they will thrive and when they will become extinct.  Although we like to think very highly of ourselves, there will come a time when nature calls for our final demise.  When we look at history, I think everyone knows the ultimate outcome to the man vs. nature battle.

 Signature 

Homeostasis, balance, and equilibrium ............

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 July 2009 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  189
Joined  2009-01-01

Mankind represents a species having a glorious history of attempting to make itself extinct.  I find it difficult to rationalize the distruction of so many of this planet’s species and habitats in the interest of someone’s “profit”.  The same arguement saying that so many animials go extinct every day anyway (so why bother)  predicts that we should be happy to look forward to ultimately becoming nothing but ashes floating over a concrete jungle. 

On the far side of dillusions, however, old growth forests are not protected by trendies who make their statements by boycotting paper (which actually comes from tree farming) or simply yelling “global warming” over the continuing cutting down of rain forests (since sugar cane also captures carbon).  It’s the continuing loss of genetic diversity much of which hasn’t even been recognized yet that means the ultimate death of this planet.  Potato famine, anyone?

 Signature 

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful. - Seneca (ca. 4 BC –AD 65)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 July 2009 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  189
Joined  2009-01-01

Dr. Michael Shermer is also cited here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_of_the_fittest

 Signature 

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful. - Seneca (ca. 4 BC –AD 65)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 July 2009 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  17
Joined  2009-06-24

I clicked on your link and have found the definition,” What Darwin meant was “better adapted for immediate, local environment” by differential preservation of organisms that are better adapted to live in changing environments. The concept is not tautological as it contains an independent criterion of fitness.[4]” 

I strongly agree with both your points that: 1. mankind has a history of self-destruction 2. you find it difficult to rationalize the destruction of species for the purpose of profit.  I do not condone nor do I condemn the latter, but I guess that has something to do with my ‘passive-observer’ mentality. 

I liked the ironic comparisons you made.  Definitely true as well.

 Signature 

Homeostasis, balance, and equilibrium ............

Profile
 
 
   
4 of 5
4