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Reward Points:39
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10 most recent arguments.
1 point

Whereas I don't see why most people can't become scientists and engineers. Everyone should be everything they are at the moment and also scientists and engineers too. Same social roles but with scientific and engineering training. We'd have a more capable society across the board.

But failing that, I don't think a society consisting of purely scientific and engineering roles could survive for long. Scientists produce the scientific knowledge for engineers to use to build the society's technology. But who's going to operate it all? Who's going to fight the wars, plough the fields and build the houses? I think you still need the various professional occupations and skilled craftsmen... at least until the robots rise up to enslave humanity.

1 point

Nicely conceded. Always good to see minds being changed by reason.

2 points

Now that's an argument which does meet the standard I was hoping for. Will readers please compare and contrast the above argument with the argument made in the main description of the debate. Take particular note of standards of logical coherency and factual correctness.

I'm less concerned by whether someone agrees or disagrees with me than I am about whether they're able to give sensible reasons for taking whatever position they've taken.

2 points

Wrong. The litany of factual errors and errors of reasoning disqualify the argument from the good category.

The argument stumbles around at every stage and eventually decides to simply stop rather than actually getting anywhere for it's trouble. Even if one agreed that "liberals are illogical", no one in their right mind could agree that the argument is "Proof that liberals are illogical". If I asked my kid brother to start a debate under the same title then I'd be embarrassed if he couldn't do a better job. Fact.

1 point

And you end by implying that being "skilled at deception and exploitation with a concern for selfish ends" is a "sociopathic tendency" .... which "by extension" means that animals are sociopaths.

Animals? Kind of a broad category you have there. Sociopathy is a meaningful term in the context of social species i.e. species which depend on cooperation amongst individuals in order to get on with the business of survival. In all other cases, the animal is simply surviving.

Now you can claim that there are altruistic animals but it can be shown that even the most altruistic animal has some selfish tendencies.

Yes. An animal acting in it's pack's interest doesn't simply set aside it's own individual needs. If an individual is not particularly altruistic then it doesn't often do things for the benefit of the group or other members of the group. But that's still not selfish. To be selfish, an individual would need to show a persistent pattern of serving their own interests despite the substantial cost to the group and other members of that group.

You can also claim that humans are somehow better than animals (or that they should at least try to lift themselves up above the animals) but I think you would be hard pressed to prove that given human history. You can argue that just because the current human condition is so abysmal doesn't mean that we should stop trying but I would argue that we should just accept human nature for what it is and stop banging our head against the wall. I mean, it's 2010, for crying out loud. If we haven't gotten there yet by now, how much longer do you want to keep trying?

Humans are animals. Humans can no more lift themselves above the animals than it is possible for Los Angeles to be north of California. Current human conditions aren't abysmal precisely because generation before us have strived to improve things regardless of the time and effort involved. Things are as they are today precisely because someone kept banging the rocks together instead of simply accepting the cold and wet darkness as the natural order of things. It's called progress.

A good education is often a reasonable start but ultimately there's no substitute for good old fashion common sense given years of physical evidence.

Where to start? Personal impressions aren't physical evidence. Roughly 300,000 years of all humans relying on personal impressions have proved puny compared to 300 years of a few scientists attending to actual physical evidence. Similarly, an education attending to physical evidence is more than a thousand times (and probably more than a million times) more effective than widely held personal impressions (i.e. common sense).


Just keep banging the rocks together, not your heads.

2 points

States don't have to do anything. State governments are, in the end, umbrella companies governing all other companies and individuals within a nation. They both regulate and facilitate companies' and individuals' conduct and opportunities. Some things are better handled by such an umbrella organisation precisely because the individual case is less relevant than the group condition.

1) In epidemiology, the key factor is not individual immunity but herd immunity. A vaccine is of little value to a society without a sensible vaccination programme. Individuals can vaccinate themselves against a disease but can do little to vaccinate themselves against the social unrest caused in their society if all others go unvaccinated.

2) Because the state would ideally be "... of the people, by the people, for the people ..." Governments used not to concern themselves much with such issues but that was hundreds of years ago when hardly anyone had a vote. Individuals can and do attempt to insure against unemployment by holding down a job. The state steps in when Plan A fails. Why should the state step in? Because it is responsible for the rule of law and should take measures to see to it that none are put in a position where their very survival depends on their willingness to act contrary to the laws.

3) When it comes to income tax, you need only consider the following hypothetical scenario: if a government decided one year that income tax should be 0% for all workers then how much of the money saved would companies pass on to the employees? I would expect different answers for different nations. In the UK, I would expect something near or around 50%. In the US, I would expect something much closer to 0%. Once you understand that you see that, despite the usual sense that it is you who is paying income tax, the fact is it's money you don't see in practice and, in the US, wouldn't ever see even in principle. However, it is money spent by the companies. So your income tax is being paid by your employer and if income tax didn't exist then you would still be paid just the same. No passing on of savings. Sorry to have to break it to you.

" That's called national insurance."- Again,would it not be more prudent for me to insure myself and less costly (beuracracy). It is proven that an individual will spend their own money more prudent than others would.

Yes, and individuals do insure against disease by purchasing a wide array of cleaning products and exercising good hygiene practices. The point is that it would be prudent of a state to have a plan B in place in case individual precautions fail.

Are you using 'proven' in the same sense as used in the title of this debate? Does 'proven' actually mean your firmly held opinion lacking any actual evidence? How thoughtfully a government spends it's budget comes down to a number of factors including it's level of corruption and it's decision making efficiency and accuracy. But these are factors you have to contend with whenever you hire a plumber to do a big plumbing job. Unless you're an expert plumber, it's not something you could do yourself. My advice then is that if you're concerned about irresponsible handling of funds then you shouldn't vote in crooks and incompetents just as you wouldn't hire a dishonest plumber.

4) Yes. That's correct in the larger picture. However, there are those who, despite the opportunity for mutually advantageous cooperation, prefer to play for substantially greater personal gains irrespective of the human cost. A poorly conceived market which favours those adopting this kind of strategy finds itself dominated by this strategy.

5) And the war on poverty has been going on for how long while the same percentage of people remain poor.

Really? What percentage would that be and how long has it remained the same? If a plumber is plumbing away endlessly and yet I can see no useful results after a substantial period then I hire a new plumber. I don't suddenly decide that I don't need running water any more.

1 point

If you're arguing that political stances are not a matter of logic but of political values then I guess you're right. But most people have essentially the same needs yet they pursue the wildly different values in trying to satisfy those same needs. Some of those values if adopted actually would satisfy the person's needs while other values would not be as effective.

So I argue that it is reasonable to check logic in advocacy for a political stance because some political stances really do serve the supporters and are argued logically while others actually harm their own supporters and are argued in what's sometimes referred to as 'batshit crazy' ways.

Think religious and political extremism.

1 point

Mahollinder, I think you might be expecting too much, mate. Some people really do need the disconnect spelt out for them. I'll do it:

Women ridiculing progressivism

... and ...

same women planning to vote.

Women having the right to vote IS thanks to progressivism.

I saw that CPAC convention and wondered how these women would vote if presented with a bill to repeal women's right to vote.

1 point

Under Republican attitudes on health reform... you probably will.

2 points

Liberals want everyone to have a great life.

Pretty much.

For example, if you get sick, someone should pay for your health care.

If by someone you mean the state then you appear to be describing a state which is realistic about the fact that the population it serves can get sick and that the most prudent thing to do is to insure against disease on a national scale with vaccination programs and immediate good quality treatment for disease and trauma. ("... of the people, by the people, for the people ...". Remember?)

If you are unemployed, someone should pay you welfare.

Again by someone you mean the state. If the state recognises that even from a hypothetical situation of full employment the number of workers needed in each kind of role will vary over time as a society develops (i.e. full employment cannot be maintained as excess workers are made redundant due to shrinking demand for the role) then the state should act on that. If a worker is not well resourced enough to maintain themselves at all then they have few options other than crime. If a worker is only resourced enough to maintain themselves for a certain period then the state would have to hope that the worker's skills are in demand again within that time frame since at that point they will have few options other than crime. An even better situation is where the worker is well resourced enough to both maintain themselves and retrain for a role which is in demand. This leads to the most versatile population able to adapt to it's own societal development.

So, for this scheme to work, someone has to pay for these benefits and the only way you can get people to pay for these benefits is if there are a hell of a lot more people with money than people without money or if one person has ALL the money.

Wrong. There are many ways to pay for the above but I'll give one example for each case taking the second case first.

A worker is made redundant as his skills are no longer in high demand. The state maintains and retrains the worker and a company wishes to purchase the worker's newly gained skills. The company pays the worker for his time and effort and the company also pays the state for having made the worker employable again. It's called income tax.

In the case of healthcare then we have a service which may be required by anyone at any time. One way to pay for that is to have everyone contribute from their income to maintain the service whether they are presently a service user or not. That's called national insurance.

But even if you took ALL the money in the world and divided it equally among everybody, eventually you would still end up with a group of poor people and a group of rich people. So why bother?

In you're reply to Bohemian, you clarified what you mean by this in the following way: If you divided ALL the money in the world equally among everybody, eventually (as times progresses) stupid people would end up losing money to the smarter people and thus we would end up with a group of rich, smart, people and a group of poor, stupid, people.

I've encountered the words smart and stupid before and they seem to have different meanings in different contexts. In some contexts they correspond well to intelligent and unintelligent. In this context however, we can determine the meaning of the terms empirically as you've basically outlined an experiment which can and has been performed. Perhaps you've even done the experiment yourself without realising it.

In a game of poker where all players start with the same number of chips, the chips get passed around and eventually a few players end up with vastly more chips than the rest. They achieve this by being skilled at deceiving other players into positions where they are able to exploit them for their own gain. So here smart means skilled at deception and exploitation with a concern for selfish ends. By extention, stupid means the lack of one or more of these traits. Certainly, a society which makes no attempt to curb the exploits of those with sociopathic tendencies will ultimately find itself ruled by such like.

Now, as liberals have been telling us for quite some time now, there are a hell of a lot more poor people than rich people. So, eventually you would be forced to take at least some of the money from the poor people in order to give it to people wo are even poorer.

Yes. They're called tax brackets.

Unless, of course, you increase the population in order to have more people that you can tax. But liberals are for abortion!!!

No. It's not the population you want to increase but the tax you're able to raise. Forcing a teenage girl to have a child which will probably end her hopes of leading a better life will increase the population but will also increase the welfare demand in the present and decrease the taxes raised in the future as she will inevitably be a less skilled worker having had to spend time on childcare while studying.

But even if they were against abortion, the more people there are, the less jobs there are and the lower the wages (supply and demand) and the higher the number of people looking for a handout.

Wrong. You appear to have overlooked the fact that it is people who generate demand for goods and services by existing. The more people there are the more demand there is for goods and services. Demand for goods and services raises the supply of jobs. Low wages arise when the supply of a skill set in the population outstrips the number of roles requiring that skill set. Also, as previously argued, the more rational thing to do is to retrain the worker with a skill set which is currently in higher demand but poorly represented in the population.

Another way to make it work is to get more people to go to work so that they can get taxed. But who the hell wants to work when they can just get a handout?

I find this comment very telling of your attitude to work and your lack of understanding that most people do not share this attitude. It is true that no one likes drudgery and no one likes being overwhelmed and either case impacts productivity. However, there is a sweet spot where challenge is matched to competency. This is when someone loves their job and are quite surprised that others are willing to pay them to do it.

It just doesn't make any sense.

In writing this contribution, I've come to understand why it doesn't make sense to you. You are labouring under a number of false notions and where you have the facts right you're messing up the logic.

But liberals act like they are the intellectuals and everyone else is a red neck even though it is clear to see that liberals lack common sense.

True and false. Initially, intellectuals come from all sides of a debate. Over time as the facts are verified and putative 'facts' are discredited and as the logic of the competing arguments have been scrutinised, one perspective or a few related perspectives get the lion's share of the intellectuals. Now, having the lion's share of the intellectuals does not mean a perspective has the lion's share of the population. This is because intellectuals, being characterised by an uncommon intellectual aptitude, are always in the minority and on some questions the perspectives adopted by the intellectuals may be too nuanced to comprehend by common sense alone. Common sense is often a reasonable start but ultimately there's no substitute for a good education and reasoning logically from physical evidence.

I get the distinct impression that I've spent substantially more time thinking about this 'proof' than you have. There may be a good argument for liberals being illogical but this isn't it.

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