This is Misha's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Misha's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Misha
Recent Activity
You act as if I'd theorized that your momma wore combat boots, Jimmy Blue. I laid out a perfectly rational set of drawbacks to energy independence for comment. Thanks for replying. One thing I'd like to mention is that the idea that "God" refers only to some kind of supernatural, omnipotent, sky-entity, is simplistic. Some religious people envision this, but many don't. I think most religions have a much more meaningful concept of God. I don't know if religion is simply a framework with which to understand our reality or if there is one or many truths that religious people have understood. Even if it is a framework, I don't think that is a negative thing necessarily. Perhaps a religious framework is not required, and a similar framework may be created with a non-religious ideology; but this does not mean that religion would not be an equally helpful framework. Douglas Adams talks about astrology in one of his books as a bunch of bullshit but a bunch of bullshit that, because it is a framework, allows for the discussion of some interesting things. I'm not saying that religion is only a framework, however if it is, it does have value. Not to get into a religious discussion as we are already on a side-track. But just as an alternative conception of religion.
Toggle Commented Jul 24, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
Pelger, you say that a theocracy is a scam, essentially, for people to abuse power; or maybe you think that this kind of power is too great for any human. However you sort of rule out the idea that there is a morality that humans may be privy to that can guide us. You also assume that all gods are sky-beings that rule over us. That is one view. It is not the view of all religious people. Now, can a small group of humans handle ruling over a people with divine or superior moral authority? I don't know. I think so. And there is a possibility of it. So there is nothing inherently wrong about a theocracy. Why would a theocracy not allow other religious thought? Why would they have explicitly religious laws? What if the religion welcomed all religions? What if the religious idea of morality was a broad, universal morality? I think a theocracy just means leadership of a country by some superior authority, such as God. They can make whatever rules they like. The idea that the Middle East has not evolved or has stopped evolving is troubling. On what do you base that? And even if a society remains at a tribal level, like the Native Americans, does that mean they don't evolve morally, intellectually, emotionally? Maybe evolving is maintaining a balance with nature as a small tribe. But this is not really the point for the Middle East. I don't know much about it, but it is not in the middle ages; there are modern cities, intellectuals, scientists, artists, etc. Our image of them is terrible because we have so little contact with them.
Toggle Commented Jul 24, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
Jeez Jimmy Blue, you manage to post a million quotes and actually answer few of my actual questions. Me: I really haven't heard how these countries might make up for the oil that the USA currently buys. Jimmy Blue: Then you still are not paying any attention to what we have actually written. Such as? China and India will buy the oil that we buy? I talked about this already. I appreciate the answer. I am further responding to it by asking how that will make up for our oil. Me: I haven't heard any ideas on what might happen to us if these countries destabilize or resent us for any problems. Jimmy Blue: Almost certainly what is already happening, only now the wealthy rulers won't be able to secretly support the terrorists. So nothing different will happen? I find that hard to believe. Also, not all oil-producing nations are "evil dictators" or "terrorist supporters". Me: We currently do have some influence on them with boycott. Jimmy Blue: What, you mean like, for instance, not buying their oil? Yes. Boycott only works if you will at some point start it up again. Me: So perhaps our need for oil has negatively affected some of these countries. Jimmy Blue: Replace 'some of these' with 'all of these' and you might be starting to understand. I simply don't know if our actions have affected all these countries negatively. Kuwait, for example. I am not an expert, just a layman. Jimmy Blue: Where's your proof [of our influencing these countries positively]? ... It is the evidence that counts.... Well I think that Western democracy has certainly influenced these countries. There are protests in Iran over their presidential election. There are women working towards more equality. I assume this is modeled on an ideal that is existing in the West. How much of this is influence from trade? I have no idea. I bet that in addition to hobnobbing with emirs in Saudi Arabia we are able to slip in some influence to their politics. I have no proof but this is logical. I have the feeling that any contact we have with people in the Middle East will expose them to our way of life. And my question is how many contacts do we have with these countries? Is oil our biggest one? Bootlegging media may be another, but I don't know how that occurs. Jimmy Blue: Why [is it logical]? Because we need to talk to each other to trade with each other. This means partnerships and maybe friendships. It means wining and dining. Me: Trade ties us together as a stabilizing factor. Jimmy Blue: Prove it - the facts of the current reality appear to disagree with you. First, do you actually disagree that trade ties us together as a stabilizing factor? And the question would be why do you think that it doesn't? Or are you just putting me through the hoops here as an exercise? What facts disagree? Throw me a bone. Do you mean our invasion of Iraq? Yes this is a big one. But it is really a first in the last 60 years. For the most part few trading partners have declared war on each other. Of course I can't prove that trade decreases likelihood of violent conflict but it is logical. I do know there are political philosophies supporting this. Is it even a part of game theory? If you can benefit without any risk, why take a risk to possibly benefit more? Me: If we don't need anything from these countries, then will that affect the peace of the region or the peace in our country. Jimmy Blue: Yes. So, how do you think it will affect the peace of the region and in our country? Me: It makes sense that since [a culture's] been around so long it probably does [have something to offer]. Jimmy Blue: Why does it? Do you disagree? Do you not think that the older a culture is the more likely it is to have collected some useful information. Me: I really have to comment on the idea that a theocracy is inherently wrong, or that people who enjoy a Muslim society are wrong: This is ignorant stuff, I think. Jimmy Blue: Why? Just saying so isn't good enough. Who said people who enjoy a muslim society are wrong? Perhaps some theocracies that we have known so far are bad, but there is nothing wrong, inherently, with deciding as a community that you want to be ruled from a moral authority derived from "God." The idea that people who are not of this religion will be persecuted is interesting, but that is not a necessity. You could have freedom of religion in a theocracy. And you don't have to have religious laws in a theocracy. I had made a point that some Muslim women like wearing religious clothing and going to the well to chat with other women, and asked what you do with that? TechSkeptic said that this was ignorant. So I assumed he was saying that this Muslim culture was wrong. So, not to push this, but does anyone have any comments on the idea that ending major trade with the Middle East will isolate us from this region?
Toggle Commented Jul 24, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
First of all I don't intend to ruffle any feathers here, only to present a side of the issue of "energy independence" that I haven't heard much, if anywhere. My original idea was in two parts: 1. The Middle East depends on our buying oil to some degree for its livelihood. If we stop buying oil there what will that do to their economies? And how will that, in turn, affect our country? I heard several comments along the line of it would be a good thing if these countries failed economically so that maybe things would change there in regards to how these people live. I heard comments that the current system is not doing much for the people of these countries as is. I also heard a comment that these countries would probably be able to adapt because China and India would still buy oil from them and they are not totally dependent on oil as income. These are all answers to what you think about the first part of my question. In response, I don't happen to think that it is an acceptable outcome if these countries fail, for the sake of the people. I really haven't heard how these countries might make up for the oil that the USA currently buys. And mostly, I haven't heard any ideas on what might happen to us if these countries destabilize or resent us for any problems. Of course if destabilization is minor, then this isn't a problem. 2. The second part of my point was, what will ending major trade with the Middle East do to our relations with these countries? We currently do have some influence on them with boycott. It's true that our influence has sometimes been negative as we have done not-so-moral things to ensure our oil supply. So perhaps our need for oil has negatively affected some of these countries. But, aside from this macro mutual-influence, does this tie allow us to learn from each other and influence each other in smaller ways also? Are there many other ties we share now as nations? If there has been any influence from the West in inspiring democracy, equality, maybe a less strict judicial system (and I think there has been), then how much of this is because of our link due to oil trade? I don't know; it seems like it is a factor, logically. As I have mentioned, trade ties us together as a stabilizing factor. Perhaps our oil trade has prevented more conflict in the region. If we don't need anything from these countries, then will that affect the peace of the region or the peace in our country. I haven't yet heard many ideas about this part of my concern. Sorry I can't respond to every part of your posts, everyone, especially Jimmy Blue. This section of the comments is getting too dense. Hopefully I represented your ideas in this post. Pelger, yes I was referring to that statement. Just because a culture does some bad things does not mean they have nothing to teach us. I was also responding to this quote: King of Ferrets: Just because the culture is old doesn't mean it actually has something to teach us. Just because a culture is old doesn't mean it has something to teach us, I agree, but it makes sense that since it's been around so long it probably does. And I really have to comment on the idea that a theocracy is inherently wrong, or that people who enjoy a Muslim society are wrong: This is ignorant stuff, I think. TechSkeptic: Is it right to let people live in ignorance? Is happiness of the indvidual a more lofty goal the reducing ignorance of a population? Jimmy Blue: The popularity of an idea doesn't make it right - basing a political system on supernatural sky people is still wrong and irrational. Theocracies are inherently wrong, no matter how many people believe in one.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
I will take a look at it, but I do see this, with a quick search NIH website for complimentary and alternative medicine. The knee arthritis section looks, for example, as if there is benefit to acupuncture. But of course this is all an aside. The idea that other cultures have nothing to teach us is stupid.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
Hmm not quite sure why I think 10,000 years. It's more like 2,500.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
On what do you base your statement that TCM is BS? For one it worked for 10,000 years as medicine in China. For two, acupuncture works in a way that our science has not figured out yet. And yes, he did kinda answer the question. I hope that other people give it a little more thought.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
Oops "probably in a similar way that our culture is distorted to those countries."
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
Pelger, I think that our knowledge of the Middle East and of Muslims in general is terribly distorted, probably in a similar way that our culture is distorted. These are old cultures and most likely have lots of wisdom to share with us. Just like the US is not only fundamentalist Christians, so too the Middle East is not only fundamentalist Muslims. We need more contact with these countries, not less. It may not be in trade but getting a realistic picture of these places on Earth is easy nowadays, and crucial. Just as a little personal info, I took a class on Muhammad and Islam in college, taught by a young, Pakistani (I don't know if she was Muslim) woman. One thing she said that stuck with me was, "What happens if you have these woman who wear their religious garments and spend their days at the well washing clothes, and they like it? What if it's their choice to live that way? Do we tell these people that it's a bad way to live? The fact is, these people do exist." This is not to discount womens' movements in the Middle East and Asia, but it's a good point if you were not aware of it.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
Wow you keep dancing. I hope you understand that I don't think you have answered my question. I am wondering, again, what will happen to these countries if they lose their primary source of income. And how will that affect us. Also, won't it be better for the world if we are all interconnected by mutual interest rather than holed up in our own part of the planet? Interaction, even just with commerce, at least lets us experience what is happening in other countries to some extent. It's not the end, but it may be a beginning. It is very easy to demonize another country as "Other" if you are isolated. That is it. Oh, by the way theocracy does not only mean "sky being." Tibet was a theocracy. Also, "God" does not mean "sky being" to all believers in "God." Tone matters in that it determines whether something is a discussion or an attack.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
Wow you keep dancing. I hope you understand that I don't think you have answered my question. I am wondering, again, what will happen to these countries if they lose their primary source of income. And how will that affect us. Also, won't it be better for the world if we are all interconnected by mutual interest rather than holed up in our own part of the planet? Interaction, even just with commerce, at least lets us experience what is happening in other countries to some extent. It's not the end, but it may be a beginning. It is very easy to demonize another country as "Other" if you are isolated. That is it. Oh, by the way theocracy does not only mean "sky being." Tibet was a theocracy. Also, "God" does not mean "sky being" to all believers in "God." Tone matters in that it determines whether something is a discussion or an attack.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
Tone does matter. You can support or find problems with ideas. I'm not wed to them so if you can show some new information I'm not aware of, great. Imagine what could happen. That is what I am attempting to do. You have danced around my point. What do you think will happen if the US buys no more oil from the Middle East? These countries will have major problems. I haven't analyzed it but I can imagine the income and jobs these people have in the oil business will dry up. I don't know if there is anything else these people can export. Their primary export is oil in many cases. You imply that maybe these poor people will rise up against their government and create a democratic nation. If that happens, then what? What are they going to export? These are serious questions that need to be considered along with the more obvious desire to stop supporting dictatorships or theocracies with whom we disagree. (This is not to bring up the idea that there is nothing inherently wrong with a theocracy if that's what the people desire.)
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
What's up with the tone Jimmy Blue? It seems as if you're attacking me. If the current state of the Middle East is poor, imagine it without their oil revenue. I did research on this at one point and many of the countries in the Middle East have a large percentage of their GDP coming from oil exports. Am I condoning the image of the dictator in luxurious palaces with the people in dirt? No. But I don't think you can change this by cutting off your major trade with those countries. It is possible, when you trade with other countries, and especially if you have an intimate relationship creating something, where individual people connect and learn from each other, that people learn by example. Maybe equality for women rubs off on them. And who knows, maybe there is something these cultures can offer us. Our consumerism is one thing some religious leaders in the Middle East (Iran?) are not happy about. They feel it will have a negative impact on their culture. Maybe we can learn from this different emphasis. And it seems clear that interdependence increases stability, as each party has something to lose if they threaten the other. Of course this doesn't always work, as in our invasion of Iraq. And, if we were to become energy independent we would not lose anything, on the surface if we stopped trading with the Middle East. However, if these countries lost a big part of their income and resent us for it, that might be a problem down the road. Not to mention a potential humanitarian problem. So yes, I'm suggesting we maintain an interdependence and increase our relations with the Middle East through sustainable energy. If you think that insulation (i.e. becoming insular) will help the USA, I think if it becomes us vs. the world, we will lose.
Toggle Commented Jul 21, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
"how can no longer being reliant on the Middle East be a bad thing?" -- Jimmy Blue One major problem with becoming energy independent is that those unstable countries in the Middle East rely on oil income to survive. If you take away 80% of their income their people will become very poor. And poverty creates desperation, resentment, and maybe violence. Another big problem I can foresee is that interdependence keeps our minds and borders, as well as eyes and ears, open to each other far more than if we were both independent. One benefit of trade is it forces you to deal with people you don't understand. And apparently it can promote peace. Each of our countries benefits from the other. I think a better solution would be to involve these countries in green energy. This way we can maybe influence their politics or their cultures' negative aspects (and maybe they can influence ours) due to a closer, amicable relationship where we share scientists and information. Their deserts seem like a great place for wind or solar. If we can create a good battery system, then we can import that energy from them.
Toggle Commented Jul 21, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
Well I think the (or probably one)argument is (although I'm not a guru on this issue) that there is global warming now, but it's a natural warming cycle as we have had in the past millions of years. Also, over the past thousand years (I don't remember this number actually) there is an overall cooling trend; the current warming is just an erratic, but natural blip in this cooling trend. However I haven't actually seen a scientist argue this point anywhere. Anyone know of any journal articles or experiments that reveal this? I think that is probably the point; there are none yet. I think it is pretty obvious that while it is possible this current warming trend is natural, it is also possible (and "very likely" -- says the IPCC) that THIS warming is caused by humans. And, I don't have a problem with the long cooling trend (I don't know if this is scientifically sound, but I'll assume it is). If the sea level rises it will kill (or displace) millions of people who live in low-elevations. That is a bad regardless of the net effect. Also, tinkering with our climate seems pretty stupid. It's hard enough dealing with unavoidable climate changes. Also, there is no short-term limit to global warming. If we keep up putting CO2 into the atmosphere the temperature will keep climbing. It may be balmy on the mountains in 100 years, with increased plantlife, but in 200 years it may be parched.
Toggle Commented Jul 20, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
And of course this whole Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works Minority Report, backed enthusiastically by a US Senator, Inhofe, is deeply, deeply disturbing. Oddly, a search for "US Senate Minority Report" only results in 5,000 links. Most of which do not discuss its content. Where, actually, is the main stream on this one?
Toggle Commented Jul 18, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply
I'm a little late on this post, but it seems that you miss a really big aspect to the debate here. You call it an Ad Hominem attack to say that much of the research that has challenged AGW is funded by energy companies. But I think that following the money is key here, not crucial to the debate at all, but really the primary reason for the debate. Energy companies don't want AGW to exist. It will force them to stop their profitable business and spend a lot of money to change to a different energy source. So they fund scientists whose research casts doubt on AGW (or global warming). Then they use this research to convince legislators that this is strong evidence. And they contribute lots of money to the legislators' campaigns. And then they propagandize this stuff, posting on Energy-company friendly news sites, blogs, etc. And there they inform the base of skeptics, who really do want the truth but are torn between government and scientists on the one hand and their news channel and radio station on the other hand.
Toggle Commented Jul 18, 2009 on Global Warming Denial at Skeptico
1 reply