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Re: Objectivity [was Re: [hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?]

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  • Nadav Har'El
    ... So, you claim that objective equals true? So what, in your view, is subjective (i.e., not objective)? Only lies? -- Nadav Har El |
    Message 1 of 28 , Mar 26, 2007
      On Mon, Mar 26, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Objectivity [was Re: [hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?]":
      > They are not the same. For example, if I say "Genghis Khan performed many Evil
      > acts", this is a biased statement. But it is objective because it is true.

      So, you claim that objective equals true? So what, in your view, is subjective
      (i.e., not objective)? Only lies?

      --
      Nadav Har'El | Monday, Mar 26 2007, 7 Nisan 5767
      nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
      Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |If a million Shakespeares tried to write
      http://nadav.harel.org.il |together, they would write like a monkey.
    • ik_5
      ... Sorry Arik, my bad. ... view. ... Actually that s wrong :) We have (in Israel) group of people that does not know how to code, but still contribute. They
      Message 2 of 28 , Mar 26, 2007
        --- In hackers-il@yahoogroups.com, "Arik Baratz" <yahoo@...> wrote:
        >
        > On 3/25/07, ik_5 <idokan@...> wrote:
        > > Hello Araik,
        >
        > It's Arik, Ido.

        Sorry Arik, my bad.

        >
        > > As far as I know from your "CV" (I didn't really saw it), you where
        > > head of computer science at the Technion, or something close.
        > > Now I really respect what you are saying, but because Nir used some
        > > quoting, I have the need to use it as well:
        >
        > I wasn't even close. I was an undergraduate student, I did work in the
        > Technion Computer Center as a student, which is not the same as the
        > Computer Science faculty. I did not have any role in this faculty
        > other than that of a student.
        >
        > > Personally (I always write about myself or on people I know from first
        > > hand), I'm not very objective in my perspective, and I think that non
        > > of the answers on this subject can arrive from objective point of
        view.
        >
        > That's fine, objectivism is highly overrated. We cannot be objective
        > merely because we live in a subjective world, the one we created for
        > ourselves. I can go on and on about that, though.
        >
        > > Personally, I believe that the open source world gave us something
        > > great: The ability to show the rest of the world our code, and the
        > > ability to learn from others without the need to be part of an "elite"
        > > group.
        >
        > Ou Contraire, mon ami. Open source coders ARE an elite group. People
        > who can code. The credentials you need to join the group: Be able to
        > code and have free time. You know how many people have that
        > combination? A minute percentage of the population. People who are
        > well fed, well clothed, well educated (not necessarily formal
        > education here) and don't have to worry about what they will do
        > tomorrow for the essentials of life.

        Actually that's wrong :) We have (in Israel) group of people that does
        not know how to code, but still contribute. They translate, they write
        documents and guides, they report bugs, and they help people to use
        open source software.

        The thing is, that university is for rich people, that can invest all
        of their time into having some sort of diploma. And the higher you go,
        the harder for you is to find a job, and places such as the Technion
        will also prohibit people from working while making a degree higher
        then the BA (or BS etc..)

        >
        > > Personally I do not believe that things such as exams can point on
        > > someone knowledge in a subject other then taking exams.
        >
        > That's not entirely accurate, it depends on the exam, and the
        > examiner. And yes there are techniques for taking exams. I believe
        > that you're also missing an important subtext, an important
        > meta-program that stems from going to school (again, not just higher
        > education): The ability to get an assigned task, do it, get feedback,
        > learn from the feedback and do better next time.
        >
        > This meta-program is, IMHO, an extremely important part in the ability
        > to cope with life as it is today and be successful. It's a basis to
        > basically everything you do. If you have a job - you're handed a task,
        > you perform it, and get feedback. If you're self-employed - you decide
        > on a task, perform it, and the success of your business is your
        > feedback. If you're an inventor, you create something, you realize it,
        > and acceptance in the market is your feedback. If you're an artist...
        > I can go on and on about this, you get the point.

        So why does “spill all your knowledge without interruption, at a
        giving time” is the right way ? How about “Arik, please write me a
        program that calculates the sum of all the digits of PI, oh and please
        submit it by tomorrow” is not such a good checking to see your
        knowledge, and if you can handle giving tasks on time etc.. ?

        >
        > > I do not believe that learning at a university can point something on
        > > a person.
        >
        > Are we talking about what other people think? Because I'm talking
        > about what's important to you as a person, for your personal
        > development. When I went to the Technion I went there because I wanted
        > to learn, definitely not because I wanted a diploma. In fact, I was an
        > Atudai (עתו×"אי) and when asked for the faculty, my first choice was
        > computer science. I was asked to specify a second choice which I have
        > left blank to the dismay of the officer who filled this form. I knew
        > what I wanted to learn, I couldn't care less about the diploma. (BTW
        > in retrospect Atuda for me was a bad thing and I don't recommend it
        > without careful consideration).

        So why is it so hard for you and many other people that did go the the
        university that some people like to learn, but they can learn only by
        doing it on their own, with trail and error ?

        For example, at high-school, I found out that numbers are not
        integers, but actually only wish to become integers, but they are not.
        You know what caused me to understand that ?
        I did not understand a subject in Algebra, and the teacher was unable
        to explain to me the subject. So I started looking at the result of
        things that was made using that subject, but when I tried to solve it,
        I always got close answer, but not the same answer. That is if the
        book written “1”, I always got something like 0.9333431 or 1.01 etc..
        while the way I solved things, where the same as they thought us, but
        the result was “almost” but not closed, so I concluded (after that few
        other people checked my formulas, that found thing wrong), that you
        can not have an integer value with out rounding things up.

        It took me 7 years to discover that there is such actual mathematical
        theories ...
        So who learned better from that experience, a person that learn the
        subject at university, or a person that found out about it while
        trying to understand different things ? !

        >
        > Regardless of that, when I interview someone I do take into account
        > their university degree, because I think it DOES say something about
        > the person. It says "the person in front of you can take up a
        > long-term task that lasts 3-4 years, a task which is made up from many
        > different challenges, some are boring and some are interesting. All in
        > all, that person took the challenge and completed it to a certain
        > degree of success". Although not having a degree does not imply that
        > the person is incapable of such feats, having a degree indicates that
        > the person has done it at least once.

        So the fact that I'm at the same open source project for more then 4
        years (give or take, by the time I have to give something), and the
        fact that I had 3 full years of service, and if tomorrow I'll raise
        kids, or marry a woman, and live with them for years, it will say the
        same thing ...
        So I do not understand this filter, because you have so many ways to
        prove the same thing.
        If you need to find a filter, please look at how the person using his
        or her occupation. For example, does that person go to a computer at
        home after 12-14 hours of work and continue doing something on the
        computer ?
        Does that person try to learn and be better, even when that is done on
        that person “free” time ?
        Does that person have more interests then just working in specific
        subject.
        And I can continue giving you filters for people ... the thing is,
        that the above filters are much better then having a diploma. I know
        a person that have a BS degree, but he only knows things that giving
        to him by educational places, such as schools and universities, but
        nothing further then that. So why would you prefer someone like this,
        over someone that does not have any degree but does have good
        answerers to my filters ?

        >
        > > I know (from first hand) a person that have taken curses in order to
        > > have an academic degree in one subject, after two years, he moved to
        > > computer science, with points on many subjects that gave him "ptor"
        > > for a lot of harder classes, and now he learns CS in order to be a
        > > software engineer.
        >
        > Yep, I think most of the first semesters - math, physics, etc. - it's
        > quite a lot. It doesn't let you waive the requirement for any core CS
        > courses though.

        I don't trust people that can't handle their choices ...
        What will promise you that tomorrow, that person will have a twinkle
        in his eyes, and will use your place, and resources to have something
        completely different then what he was needed for, and instead of doing
        his job, he will do something else.

        >
        > > I also know from first hand, few people that dropped out of
        > > university, and returned to finish their degree.
        > > And last but not least I know people that have so many diplomas, but
        > > they don't understand anything.
        >
        > Of course they do. They understand how to get diplomas. I'm not being
        > cynical, but if that is all you gained from your academic studies, I
        > don't think going there was such a good idea.

        Then it means that having a diploma does not mean you know something
        on the subjects you have learned, it means only that you know how to
        get a diploma (what about buying them, or something similar ?)

        >
        > > So I can't trust that someone can be good or excellent just because he
        > > or she learned at the university.
        >
        > Obvious.
        >
        > > I also believe that no one is perfect (I know that I'm far from being
        > > perfect).
        >
        > Obvious.
        >
        > > But why do you believe that only someone that learned from university
        > > can have good tools and paradigms, while others can not ?
        >
        > I'm going to read what I wrote to see how you got that impression.
        > Nope, I didn't say that. All I said is that it can help.
        >
        > > Why did the studding at university became like religion, that only the
        > > ones that part of that "cult" can have access to things, while people
        > > that do wish to know, but can't handle this religion, are not
        deserve it ?
        >
        > I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to unpack this question. You're
        > mentioning a lot of terms I am not sure I get the way you get.
        > 'deserve' is a very loaded word. It means that you have the right to
        > something because of who you are or the work you did. So which one is
        > it? What are the "things" that one would deserve being a part of the
        > cult?

        Most of this argument, is does a person that learned at the
        university, is better then a person that did not, hench, he or she
        gives you better filters to accept such person to work for you, or
        with you.
        So I still can't find an answer (that is not questionable) to why
        people that learned at the university have better resources, and
        acceptance, then people that have the same knowledge but got it
        elsewhere ?
        The only way I can understand it, is that they are part of a cult or a
        religion ... because any other answer I was given until today is
        highly questionable for me, and still doesn't really answer the question.

        >
        > > "Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always
        > > glorify the hunter."
        > > African Proverb
        >
        > I like that one. Can you please explain its relevance to the topic? I
        > hope you don't mean what I think you mean.

        What do you think I meant ?

        Sometimes it takes years to understand a meaning of something, so
        please do not take any shortcuts, because then you will not learn to
        think, you will learn only to ask for an answer.

        >
        > -- Arik
        >

        Ido
      • Nadav Har'El
        ... If your statement is true (and I have strong objections to it), it is doubly true for free software activity. Writing free software requires either being
        Message 3 of 28 , Mar 26, 2007
          On Mon, Mar 26, 2007, ik_5 wrote about "[hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?":
          > The thing is, that university is for rich people, that can invest all
          > of their time into having some sort of diploma. And the higher you go,
          > the harder for you is to find a job, and places such as the Technion
          > will also prohibit people from working while making a degree higher
          > then the BA (or BS etc..)

          If your statement is true (and I have strong objections to it), it is doubly
          true for free software activity. Writing free software requires either
          being paid for it (which means being relatively well-off) or a lot of free
          time. A poor person working his *** off and spending whatever time is left
          to care for his N children, has absolutely zero chance of succeeding in the
          world of free software.

          > So why does “spill all your knowledge without interruption, at a
          > giving time” is the right way ? How about “Arik, please write me a
          > program that calculates the sum of all the digits of PI, oh and please
          > submit it by tomorrow” is not such a good checking to see your
          > knowledge, and if you can handle giving tasks on time etc.. ?

          Of course it does, and many courses have such longer exercises in addition
          to, or completely replacing, the exams. In fact, at least half of the courses
          I took in my masters degree (in the Technion, Mathematics) were like this -
          with no test at all. But exercises have their problems too - they take up
          a lot of time (so again we're back to students needing to be supported by
          some rich person :-)), they are often much harder than tests (because
          teachers assume the students have all the time in the world, and have access
          to books, so they can't just give an easy exercise). And of course, if the
          student group is large (not the 15 people in my math courses, it becomes
          almost impossible to make sure that people don't copy the exercises from
          each other, so a teacher basing 100% of the grade on them needs to be
          extraordinarily naive...

          > So why is it so hard for you and many other people that did go the the
          > university that some people like to learn, but they can learn only by
          > doing it on their own, with trail and error ?

          Because the saying goes, "Learn from other people's mistakes - you won't
          live long enough to make them all on your own"... Studying in the university
          is one way to learn from other people's decades (or even centuries) of
          mistakes and successes. Of course there are other ways to do it - you can
          just read books. Most of the CS I know (as opposed to the Math I know), I
          read from books, not from frontal lectures. But how am I supposed to prove
          to a skeptic that I really read all those books? This is what a degree does
          for you - it's a *proof* that you studied the material, with some sort of
          measure on how well the professors thought you understood the material.
          Surely you could have learnt the same material other ways - but then you'll
          need to figure out other ways to prove that, to a skeptical employer.

          The book "Freakonomics" has an interesting section about a similar issue -
          of the value people place on confirmed information (in this case, a "degree"
          is just confirmation that a person learned something). As an example, he
          gives the fact that a 1 day old car is sold at a price much lower than a
          new car. Why? Because the buyer can't be sure why the seller is selling
          the car; If he was sure that the reason is that the buyer has to suddenly
          move abroad like he claimed, even a 1000 shekel saving would have been enough;
          But maybe the seller is lying? Maybe there's something wrong in the car?
          Not being able to confirm this information, the buyer places a lower value
          on the car. Similarly, an employer often places a lower value on a applicant
          without a degree - just because he cannot really confirm that the applicant
          knows what he's claiming. If there are other ways to confirm this (e.g.,
          previous work experience), the applicant's value goes back up.

          > And I can continue giving you filters for people ... the thing is,
          > that the above filters are much better then having a diploma. I know

          Except, none of the filters you suggest are verifiable. If word got around
          that employers liked people who program at home, every applicant will start
          saying, "yes, I program 3 hours a day at home", and nobody will ever be caught
          lying. You need verifiable claims (even if the employer usually won't try
          to verify them). One such claim is a degree. Another is experience at
          previous work. A third is experience at free software (which is "out there"
          and can be looked at). I know several people who were hired for highly
          lucrative and desired jobs because they had an excellent record on just one
          of the three - one person with an excellent degree but no experience, a
          second person with no degree and no free-software but work experience from
          previous high-tech companies, and a third person with no degree and no work
          experience, but a lot of free-software experience. The problem is that if
          you have only one of these qualifications, you may find yourself competing
          against someone with more than one. For example, if you just have free
          software experience, you'll have a hard time competing with someone who has
          free software experience *and* work experience *and* a degree.

          > a person that have a BS degree, but he only knows things that giving
          > to him by educational places, such as schools and universities, but
          > nothing further then that. So why would you prefer someone like this,
          > over someone that does not have any degree but does have good
          > answerers to my filters ?

          Of course not. In my previous job, I interviewed people, and I interviewed
          many people like this, who could recite useless facts from the course they
          studied the last semester, but had no interest or knowledge of what's
          happening outside these courses. Obviously, we didn't pick these people.

          > Then it means that having a diploma does not mean you know something
          > on the subjects you have learned, it means only that you know how to
          > get a diploma (what about buying them, or something similar ?)

          The hallmark of a high-reputation university is that the only way to
          "get a diploma" is to learn the material. In the Technion (at least when
          I studied there, over a decade ago) you couldn't get a diploma (with high
          grades) by becoming a better slacker, by bribing the teachers, by cheating,
          or anything of this sort. Your only way to "learn to get a diploma" is to
          learn the material the professors wanted you to learn - which in my case
          was a whole lot of Mathematical knowledge which the professors decided every
          Mathematician needs to know. The whole process more-or-less guarantees that
          anyone that finished the Mathematics degree with a high grade has to be
          good at math - there's simply no other way to come across these grades.

          Of course, in other universities or departments, the situation might be
          different. In some fake universities, your money means more than your
          studies. This is why employers don't look as highly at a graduate of
          Latvia (or whatever was that fake university which was recently in the news)
          as they do at a graduate of the technion.

          --
          Nadav Har'El | Monday, Mar 26 2007, 7 Nisan 5767
          nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
          Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |We are Microsoft. You will be
          http://nadav.harel.org.il |assimilated. Resistance is futile.
        • Arik Baratz
          ... I never read Rand. I meant the indulgence in objectivity as if it is a real thing or even possible. ... How is that exactly objective? If you were a Mongol
          Message 4 of 28 , Mar 26, 2007
            On 25 Mar 2007 23:42:52 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
            > > That's fine, objectivism is highly overrated. We cannot be objective
            > > merely because we live in a subjective world, the one we created for
            > > ourselves. I can go on and on about that, though.
            >
            > Just a note. You claim that "objectivism" is highly over-rated. Do you mean
            > the philosophy of Ayn Rand (also referred to as "Randianism")? Or do you mean
            > plain-old "objectivity"?

            I never read Rand. I meant the indulgence in objectivity as if it is a
            real thing or even possible.

            > In any case, I have a problem with this. As you may realise there are three
            > similar but non-identical terms:
            >
            > 1. Unbiased.
            >
            > 2. Objective.
            >
            > 3. Neutral. Or as it is known on the Wikipedia - Neutral Point of View or
            > NPOV.
            >
            > They are not the same. For example, if I say "Genghis Khan performed many Evil
            > acts", this is a biased statement. But it is objective because it is true.

            How is that exactly objective? If you were a Mongol living in the 13th
            century, you'd think that Genghis was a great and worthy Khan. Go read
            the [1] wikipedia entry.

            I believe that there is nothing objective, and there are no
            universals. Even 'one and one is two' is true only if you accept the
            two mathematical axioms regd. natural numbers. In some reference
            systems one and one is three... like in a family.

            > While we are inherentely subjective to some extent, we can and should always
            > try to be as objective as possible. I'm not saying we should be unbiased,
            > just that we try to perceive and conceive reality as if we were not
            > associated with anyone, and could always judge things objectively.

            IMHO, since you perceive reality through your senses alone, which are
            fallible, and you further filter what you sense through your
            unconscious filters, which are individual and subjective, the attempt
            at objectivity is doomed to fail.

            > Aside from objective/subjective, there are also matters of taste, which are
            > not subject to such judgement. I can consider a painting as good and another
            > person may dislike it, and arguing about it is pointless.

            Taste is subjectivity to a personal extreme. For example, killing is
            bad because the society we live in dictates it as a moral rule (and
            morality is subjective but relatively uniform in a single society in a
            point in time). Your painting sux because I personally think so. It's
            a matter of scope.

            -- Arik
          • Shlomi Fish
            ... Well, not exactly. For example, I talked with someone on the IRC the other day, who said that ESR should be shot, because he supports the war on Iraq and
            Message 5 of 28 , Mar 26, 2007
              On Monday 26 March 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
              > On Mon, Mar 26, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Objectivity [was Re:
              [hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?]":
              > > They are not the same. For example, if I say "Genghis Khan performed many
              > > Evil acts", this is a biased statement. But it is objective because it is
              > > true.
              >
              > So, you claim that objective equals true? So what, in your view, is
              > subjective (i.e., not objective)? Only lies?

              Well, not exactly. For example, I talked with someone on the IRC the other
              day, who said that ESR should be shot, because he supports the war on Iraq
              and other stuff. Well, this is subjective because ESR has done a lot for the
              community from writing the Cathedral and the Bazaar and other important
              documents, to actually writing some useful code (whose quality is not
              withstanding). And he hasn't harmed anyone in his life.

              I agree that ESR does not precisely qualify as sane, or that his code may not
              be of good quality, but he is still doing important work. I'd rather have a
              lot of ugly code that works and that I can refactor and clean up later, than
              a small amount of beautiful code that only prints "Hello World".

              Further, he said that Linus Torvalds was a "F**king Capitalist". Again, that
              is subjective. I think Linus Torvalds did a lot for FOSS and for the world in
              general, and should be admired and respected rather than be labeled. This was
              probably said out of some Socialist-induced resentment, or even due to
              (non-sexual) jealousy or envy.

              If you and I know a girl called Sophie, and I say "I hate Sophie", then this
              is also a subjective statement. It expresses my general feeling rather than
              anything wrong with her. However, if I say "Sophie is a Liar", then this
              statement may be factual or it may be false, dependening on its truthhood.

              Saying that "Communism is good for you" is both subjective and false, because
              I'm speaking out of my general feeling, and we all know the destruction and
              badness Communism brought onto the world.

              Regards,

              Shlomi Fish

              ---------------------------------------------------------------------
              Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
              Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

              If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
              one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
              -- An Israeli Linuxer
            • Arik Baratz
              ... Heh. My first job ever (after graduating, I had a lot of odd jobs before), a friend of a friend told them to call me because of a particular interest I
              Message 6 of 28 , Mar 26, 2007
                On 26 Mar 2007 02:12:08 -0700, Nadav Har'El <nyh@...> wrote:

                > Of course, in other universities or departments, the situation might be
                > different. In some fake universities, your money means more than your
                > studies. This is why employers don't look as highly at a graduate of
                > Latvia (or whatever was that fake university which was recently in the news)
                > as they do at a graduate of the technion.

                Heh. My first job ever (after graduating, I had a lot of odd jobs
                before), a friend of a friend told them to call me because of a
                particular interest I have shown in the Compilation and Compilers
                course in the Technion. My interview was very short, it was a team
                leader in a start-up. He asked me if I've studied in the Technion, and
                when I answered in the affirmative he hired me.

                I hope it doesn't infuriate people here. I can only say that I am more
                discriminating when it comes to hiring people. Also, my job was to
                write a compiler, something very few people like to do apparently, and
                my interest in compilers was a factor in the decision.

                -- Arik
              • Shlomi Fish
                ... OK. :-) ... It is objective because it is an accurate description of the factual data. Genghis Khan did kill many innocent people, not because he had to,
                Message 7 of 28 , Mar 27, 2007
                  On Monday 26 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                  > On 25 Mar 2007 23:42:52 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                  > > > That's fine, objectivism is highly overrated. We cannot be objective
                  > > > merely because we live in a subjective world, the one we created for
                  > > > ourselves. I can go on and on about that, though.
                  > >
                  > > Just a note. You claim that "objectivism" is highly over-rated. Do you
                  > > mean the philosophy of Ayn Rand (also referred to as "Randianism")? Or do
                  > > you mean plain-old "objectivity"?
                  >
                  > I never read Rand. I meant the indulgence in objectivity as if it is a
                  > real thing or even possible.
                  >

                  OK. :-)

                  > > In any case, I have a problem with this. As you may realise there are
                  > > three similar but non-identical terms:
                  > >
                  > > 1. Unbiased.
                  > >
                  > > 2. Objective.
                  > >
                  > > 3. Neutral. Or as it is known on the Wikipedia - Neutral Point of View or
                  > > NPOV.
                  > >
                  > > They are not the same. For example, if I say "Genghis Khan performed many
                  > > Evil acts", this is a biased statement. But it is objective because it is
                  > > true.
                  >
                  > How is that exactly objective? If you were a Mongol living in the 13th
                  > century, you'd think that Genghis was a great and worthy Khan. Go read
                  > the [1] wikipedia entry.

                  It is objective because it is an accurate description of the factual data.
                  Genghis Khan did kill many innocent people, not because he had to, but
                  because he wanted to. Maybe it seemed right to his present day Mongols, but
                  it wasn't. Some mainland Chinese I talked to did not know Mao was a
                  mass-murderer, but we all know he was an Evil man who killed at least 40
                  million people of his own people.

                  To quote Neo-Tech ( http://www.neo-tech.com/orientation/ ):

                  <<<<<<<<<<<<<
                  The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is consciously
                  done to help fill human biological needs is good and moral (e.g., the
                  productive actions of honest people). Whatever is consciously done to harm or
                  prevent the filling of human biological needs is bad and immoral (e.g., the
                  destructive actions of mystics and neocheaters).

                  Honestly using one's reasoning nature is always beneficial and moral;
                  dishonestly using one's reasoning nature is always harmful and
                  immoral. ...Volitionally harmful acts always arise from mysticism -- from
                  dishonesty, rationalizations, evasions, defaults.

                  Yet, acting on fully integrated honesty (Neo-Tech), not reason itself, is the
                  basic moral act. When Genghis Khan, for example, chose to use reasoning for a
                  specific military move, then in an out-of-context sense, he chose to act
                  morally by protecting himself and his troops (thus filling human biological
                  needs). But in the larger sense of fully integrated honesty, Khan's total
                  actions were grossly immoral in choosing to use aggressive force in becoming
                  a mass murderer (thus negating human biological needs). The highly
                  destructive, irrational immorality of Genghis Khan's overall dictatorial
                  military actions far outweighed any narrow, out-of-context "moral"
                  actions. ...Genghis Khan was enormously evil as were Stalin, Hitler, Mao,
                  Castro, Pol Pot.
                  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                  (I hope I'm not invoking Godwin's Law here - see
                  http://www.killfile.org/~tskirvin/faqs/godwin.html for why it may not be the
                  case)

                  Objective is not what has a full consensus. It is what can be universally
                  agreed upon by most or any sensible person (or alternatively a different
                  intelligent life form similar to humans) who has all the relevant data and is
                  capable of thought. If I told a tribesman in Africa about Mao, he'll probably
                  agree that he's Evil.

                  >
                  > I believe that there is nothing objective, and there are no
                  > universals.

                  If nothing is objective neither is this statement. Thus, it is a subjective
                  (or mystical or whatever) statement, that I'd rather ignore coming from you.
                  If everything is subjective any argument is pointless:

                  <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                  Interviewer: let's do a discusssion about drug legalisation.

                  A: I support it.

                  B: I oppose.

                  Interviewer: well, everyone is entitled to their opinion, so let's end it
                  here. Thanks for watching
                  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                  (Based on the Zehu-Zeh's episode about Cable-TV).

                  If a parent, sibling, child or SO of mine tells me about his feelings, this is
                  a subjective statement of importance to me. But the statement "The distance
                  between Tel Aviv and Haifa is 100 km" is either objective/factual or simply
                  false. It cannot be subjective.

                  > Even 'one and one is two' is true only if you accept the
                  > two mathematical axioms regd. natural numbers. In some reference
                  > systems one and one is three... like in a family.

                  2 + 2 == 5 for very large values of 2.

                  More seriously now, yes, I can define my own math:

                  http://search.cpan.org/dist/Acme-NewMath/lib/acme/newmath.pm

                  ^^^^ Read it - it's hilarious.

                  And even more seriously now, 2 is commonly understood as the number following
                  1 in standard arithmetics. All modern languages can express such arithmetics
                  (see the large numbers mentioned in the Old Testament for example), and it
                  can be written very succinctly by using Arabic numerals and the Algebraic
                  notation. If I mean a different algebraic system, I should explicitly mention
                  it. Otherwise, in the standard system 1+1==2, and objectively.

                  If I define a system such that 1+1==3, then this is the case in its context,
                  and objectively.

                  There's a difference between subjectivism and contextualism.

                  >
                  > > While we are inherentely subjective to some extent, we can and should
                  > > always try to be as objective as possible. I'm not saying we should be
                  > > unbiased, just that we try to perceive and conceive reality as if we were
                  > > not associated with anyone, and could always judge things objectively.
                  >
                  > IMHO, since you perceive reality through your senses alone, which are
                  > fallible, and you further filter what you sense through your
                  > unconscious filters, which are individual and subjective, the attempt
                  > at objectivity is doomed to fail.

                  "I'd rather be a tail for the lions, than the head of tha jackals."

                  I'd rather be as close to be objective as possible, then be almost completely
                  subjective. Objectivity is an ideal, which can never be entirely reached.
                  However, honesty is also an ideal, which can never be fully attained. And so
                  is self-esteem, and happiness.

                  Do you claim that I should ditch honesty, self-esteem and happiness too, and
                  be dishonest, feel lousy about myself, and miserable?

                  >
                  > > Aside from objective/subjective, there are also matters of taste, which
                  > > are not subject to such judgement. I can consider a painting as good and
                  > > another person may dislike it, and arguing about it is pointless.
                  >
                  > Taste is subjectivity to a personal extreme. For example, killing is
                  > bad because the society we live in dictates it as a moral rule (and
                  > morality is subjective but relatively uniform in a single society in a
                  > point in time). Your painting sux because I personally think so. It's
                  > a matter of scope.

                  Right. However, the fact that killing is bad can be easily deduced from the
                  Golden Rule:

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

                  Which is very logical, and commonly accepted. If you want to go against logic,
                  and devise a system of ethics that is not based on the Golden rule, I suppose
                  you can. But you might as well say that A may be not-A, and get over with it,
                  as you will be able to immediately deduce any claim and its opposite.

                  Regards,

                  Shlomi Fish

                  ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                  Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                  If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                  one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                  -- An Israeli Linuxer
                • Tal Kelrich
                  On Tue, 27 Mar 2007 09:48:29 +0200 ... Define Evil ? -- Tal Kelrich PGP fingerprint: 3EDF FCC5 60BB 4729 AB2F CAE6 FEC1 9AAC 12B9 AA69 Key Available at:
                  Message 8 of 28 , Mar 27, 2007
                    On Tue, 27 Mar 2007 09:48:29 +0200
                    Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:

                    > On Monday 26 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                    > > On 25 Mar 2007 23:42:52 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...>
                    > > wrote:
                    > > > > That's fine, objectivism is highly overrated. We cannot be
                    > > > > objective merely because we live in a subjective world, the one
                    > > > > we created for ourselves. I can go on and on about that, though.
                    > > >
                    > > > Just a note. You claim that "objectivism" is highly over-rated.
                    > > > Do you mean the philosophy of Ayn Rand (also referred to as
                    > > > "Randianism")? Or do you mean plain-old "objectivity"?
                    > >
                    > > I never read Rand. I meant the indulgence in objectivity as if it
                    > > is a real thing or even possible.
                    > >
                    >
                    > OK. :-)
                    >
                    > > > In any case, I have a problem with this. As you may realise there
                    > > > are three similar but non-identical terms:
                    > > >
                    > > > 1. Unbiased.
                    > > >
                    > > > 2. Objective.
                    > > >
                    > > > 3. Neutral. Or as it is known on the Wikipedia - Neutral Point of
                    > > > View or NPOV.
                    > > >
                    > > > They are not the same. For example, if I say "Genghis Khan
                    > > > performed many Evil acts", this is a biased statement. But it is
                    > > > objective because it is true.
                    > >
                    > > How is that exactly objective? If you were a Mongol living in the
                    > > 13th century, you'd think that Genghis was a great and worthy Khan.
                    > > Go read the [1] wikipedia entry.
                    >
                    > It is objective because it is an accurate description of the factual
                    > data. Genghis Khan did kill many innocent people, not because he had
                    > to, but because he wanted to. Maybe it seemed right to his present
                    > day Mongols, but it wasn't. Some mainland Chinese I talked to did not
                    > know Mao was a mass-murderer, but we all know he was an Evil man who
                    > killed at least 40 million people of his own people.
                    >

                    Define "Evil"?

                    --
                    Tal Kelrich
                    PGP fingerprint: 3EDF FCC5 60BB 4729 AB2F CAE6 FEC1 9AAC 12B9 AA69
                    Key Available at: http://www.hasturkun.com/pub.txt
                    ----
                    With a gentleman I try to be a gentleman and a half, and with a fraud I
                    try to be a fraud and a half.
                    -- Otto von Bismark
                    ----
                  • ik
                    OK, I will not answer most of what you have written (Even the one that you took out of context), I dissagree with you, and I guess we will not agree on the
                    Message 9 of 28 , Mar 27, 2007
                      OK, I will not answer most of what you have written (Even the one that you took out of context), I dissagree with you, and I guess we will not agree on the subject.
                      BTW on the "finding" of the "math" issue (and the "language" -> the fact that I do not remember the name, does not mean that I do not know how it called, and I only gave it an example, I do not look for a pat in the back or something... it's just was a pure example).

                      Now,  I'll only answer my usage of the last quote:

                      In a different argument I was giving an answer such as "but the statics shows that people that have learned at universities can learn better" (or something like this, I'm using my memory). So Unlike you, I do not see things as winners and losers (although the lion always loose, because it is not a human), but the fact that you use University based information (statistic) that does not really check the other side, but you keep on using it... So I placed (actually more then one) mind for you to remove :)

                      So because I see that you are like myself (love quotes), here is a cool quote for you to end up with:

                      "The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create."
                          Leonard I. Sweet


                      So I hope you take the right people with you to create your idea as a feature,

                      Ido

                      On 3/27/07, Arik Baratz < yahoo@...> wrote:

                      On 26 Mar 2007 02:12:08 -0700, Nadav Har'El <nyh@... > wrote:

                      > Of course, in other universities or departments, the situation might be
                      > different. In some fake universities, your money means more than your
                      > studies. This is why employers don't look as highly at a graduate of
                      > Latvia (or whatever was that fake university which was recently in the news)
                      > as they do at a graduate of the technion.

                      Heh. My first job ever (after graduating, I had a lot of odd jobs
                      before), a friend of a friend told them to call me because of a
                      particular interest I have shown in the Compilation and Compilers
                      course in the Technion. My interview was very short, it was a team
                      leader in a start-up. He asked me if I've studied in the Technion, and
                      when I answered in the affirmative he hired me.

                      I hope it doesn't infuriate people here. I can only say that I am more
                      discriminating when it comes to hiring people. Also, my job was to
                      write a compiler, something very few people like to do apparently, and
                      my interest in compilers was a factor in the decision.

                      -- Arik




                      --
                      http://ik.homelinux.org/
                    • Tzahi Fadida
                      I don t understand why you (plural) insist on associating studying in the university and work. While it is the most practical reason, many (and me) studied for
                      Message 10 of 28 , Mar 27, 2007
                        I don't understand why you (plural) insist on associating studying in the
                        university and work. While it is the most practical reason, many (and me)
                        studied for personal enrichment. I believe that any person that desires study
                        should do so if he can.

                        --
                        Regards,
                                Tzahi.
                        --
                        Tzahi Fadida
                        Blog: http://tzahi.blogsite.org | Home Site: http://tzahi.webhop.info
                        WARNING TO SPAMMERS:  see at
                        http://members.lycos.co.uk/my2nis/spamwarning.html
                      • Arik Baratz
                        ... I just latched on to it because I wanted to make a point, meant no disrespect. ... Is statistics a university based information? It s scientific, and it s
                        Message 11 of 28 , Mar 27, 2007
                          On 3/27/07, ik <idokan@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > OK, I will not answer most of what you have written (Even the one that you took out of context), I dissagree with you, and I guess we will not agree on the subject.
                          > BTW on the "finding" of the "math" issue (and the "language" -> the fact that I do not remember the name, does not mean that I do not know how it called, and I only gave it an example, I do not look for a pat in the back or something... it's just was a pure example).

                          I just latched on to it because I wanted to make a point, meant no disrespect.


                          >
                          > In a different argument I was giving an answer such as "but the statics shows that people that have learned at universities can learn better" (or something like this, I'm using my memory). So Unlike you, I do not see things as winners and losers (although the lion always loose, because it is not a human), but the fact that you use University based information (statistic) that does not really check the other side, but you keep on using it... So I placed (actually more then one) mind for you to remove :)


                          Is statistics a university based information? It's scientific, and
                          it's taught at universities, but is it something inherent to
                          universities? I don't think so.

                          >
                          > So because I see that you are like myself (love quotes), here is a cool quote for you to end up with:
                          >
                          > "The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create."
                          > Leonard I. Sweet

                          I agree.

                          >
                          > So I hope you take the right people with you to create your idea as a feature,

                          Me too.

                          -- Arik
                        • Shlomi Fish
                          Hi Tal! ... Quoting my previous message:
                          Message 12 of 28 , Mar 30, 2007
                            Hi Tal!

                            On Tuesday 27 March 2007, Tal Kelrich wrote:
                            > On Tue, 27 Mar 2007 09:48:29 +0200
                            >
                            > Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                            > > On Monday 26 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                            > > > On 25 Mar 2007 23:42:52 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...>
                            > > >
                            > > > wrote:
                            > > > > > That's fine, objectivism is highly overrated. We cannot be
                            > > > > > objective merely because we live in a subjective world, the one
                            > > > > > we created for ourselves. I can go on and on about that, though.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > Just a note. You claim that "objectivism" is highly over-rated.
                            > > > > Do you mean the philosophy of Ayn Rand (also referred to as
                            > > > > "Randianism")? Or do you mean plain-old "objectivity"?
                            > > >
                            > > > I never read Rand. I meant the indulgence in objectivity as if it
                            > > > is a real thing or even possible.
                            > >
                            > > OK. :-)
                            > >
                            > > > > In any case, I have a problem with this. As you may realise there
                            > > > > are three similar but non-identical terms:
                            > > > >
                            > > > > 1. Unbiased.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > 2. Objective.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > 3. Neutral. Or as it is known on the Wikipedia - Neutral Point of
                            > > > > View or NPOV.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > They are not the same. For example, if I say "Genghis Khan
                            > > > > performed many Evil acts", this is a biased statement. But it is
                            > > > > objective because it is true.
                            > > >
                            > > > How is that exactly objective? If you were a Mongol living in the
                            > > > 13th century, you'd think that Genghis was a great and worthy Khan.
                            > > > Go read the [1] wikipedia entry.
                            > >
                            > > It is objective because it is an accurate description of the factual
                            > > data. Genghis Khan did kill many innocent people, not because he had
                            > > to, but because he wanted to. Maybe it seemed right to his present
                            > > day Mongols, but it wasn't. Some mainland Chinese I talked to did not
                            > > know Mao was a mass-murderer, but we all know he was an Evil man who
                            > > killed at least 40 million people of his own people.
                            >
                            > Define "Evil"?

                            Quoting my previous message:

                            <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                            The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is consciously
                            done to help fill human biological needs is good and moral (e.g., the
                            productive actions of honest people). Whatever is consciously done to harm or
                            prevent the filling of human biological needs is bad and immoral (e.g., the
                            destructive actions of mystics and neocheaters).
                            >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                            As you can see it's even a scientific definition. In this context "evil"
                            == "bad".

                            Regards,

                            Shlomi Fish

                            ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                            Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                            If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                            one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                            -- An Israeli Linuxer
                          • Nadav Har'El
                            ... This definition is far from scientific... In fact, it looks completely broken to me... Is rape filling your own biological needs (and therefore good) or
                            Message 13 of 28 , Mar 30, 2007
                              On Fri, Mar 30, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: Objectivity [was Re: [hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?]":
                              > <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                              > The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is consciously
                              > done to help fill human biological needs is good and moral (e.g., the
                              > productive actions of honest people). Whatever is consciously done to harm or
                              > prevent the filling of human biological needs is bad and immoral (e.g., the
                              > destructive actions of mystics and neocheaters).
                              > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
                              >
                              > As you can see it's even a scientific definition. In this context "evil"
                              > == "bad".

                              This definition is far from scientific... In fact, it looks completely broken
                              to me...

                              Is rape filling your own "biological needs" (and therefore good) or harming
                              someone else (and therefore bad)? What about stealing food (which fills your
                              own biological needs, and does not "biologically" harm the store you stole
                              from)? If Gingis Khan's campaign is bad in this definition (he harmed others
                              more than he benefited himself), what about Churchill's and Roosvelt's
                              campaign in WWII - after all they didn't fill their biological needs, and
                              millions of Germans lost theirs?

                              --
                              Nadav Har'El | Friday, Mar 30 2007, 11 Nisan 5767
                              nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                              Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |How's he gonna read that magazine rolled
                              http://nadav.harel.org.il |up like that? What the ... - a fly.
                            • Shlomi Fish
                              ... Hi Nadav! Please see the rest of my quote. Please be readink, understandink and integratink what I m writing. kthx, bye. Regards, Shlomi Fish ... Shlomi
                              Message 14 of 28 , Mar 30, 2007
                                On Friday 30 March 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
                                > On Fri, Mar 30, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: Objectivity [was Re:
                                [hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?]":
                                > > <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                                > > The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is
                                > > consciously done to help fill human biological needs is good and moral
                                > > (e.g., the productive actions of honest people). Whatever is consciously
                                > > done to harm or prevent the filling of human biological needs is bad and
                                > > immoral (e.g., the destructive actions of mystics and neocheaters).
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > As you can see it's even a scientific definition. In this context "evil"
                                > > == "bad".
                                >
                                > This definition is far from scientific... In fact, it looks completely
                                > broken to me...
                                >
                                > Is rape filling your own "biological needs" (and therefore good) or harming
                                > someone else (and therefore bad)? What about stealing food (which fills
                                > your own biological needs, and does not "biologically" harm the store you
                                > stole from)? If Gingis Khan's campaign is bad in this definition (he harmed
                                > others more than he benefited himself), what about Churchill's and
                                > Roosvelt's campaign in WWII - after all they didn't fill their biological
                                > needs, and millions of Germans lost theirs?

                                Hi Nadav!

                                Please see the rest of my quote. Please be readink, understandink and
                                integratink what I'm writing.

                                kthx, bye.

                                Regards,

                                Shlomi Fish

                                ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                                Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                                If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                                one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                                -- An Israeli Linuxer
                              • Arik Baratz
                                ... Bah. This definition sucks. Neo-Tech might think it s okay and you might agree. I don t. It s using subjective terms in a scientific definition. Nope, I
                                Message 15 of 28 , Mar 30, 2007
                                  On 30 Mar 2007 00:39:48 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                                  > > Define "Evil"?
                                  >
                                  > Quoting my previous message:
                                  >
                                  > <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                                  > The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is consciously
                                  > done to help fill human biological needs is good and moral (e.g., the
                                  > productive actions of honest people). Whatever is consciously done to harm or
                                  > prevent the filling of human biological needs is bad and immoral (e.g., the
                                  > destructive actions of mystics and neocheaters).
                                  > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
                                  >
                                  > As you can see it's even a scientific definition. In this context "evil"
                                  > == "bad".

                                  Bah. This definition sucks. Neo-Tech might think it's okay and you
                                  might agree. I don't. It's using subjective terms in a "scientific"
                                  definition. Nope, I don't buy it.

                                  -- Arik
                                • Shlomi Fish
                                  ... Why? Show me the Proof!!! The burden of proof is on you. Regards, Shlomi Fish ... Shlomi Fish shlomif@iglu.org.il Homepage:
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Apr 18, 2007
                                    On Friday 30 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                                    > On 30 Mar 2007 00:39:48 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                                    > > > Define "Evil"?
                                    > >
                                    > > Quoting my previous message:
                                    > >
                                    > > <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                                    > > The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is
                                    > > consciously done to help fill human biological needs is good and moral
                                    > > (e.g., the productive actions of honest people). Whatever is consciously
                                    > > done to harm or prevent the filling of human biological needs is bad and
                                    > > immoral (e.g., the destructive actions of mystics and neocheaters).
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > As you can see it's even a scientific definition. In this context "evil"
                                    > > == "bad".
                                    >
                                    > Bah. This definition sucks. Neo-Tech might think it's okay and you
                                    > might agree. I don't. It's using subjective terms in a "scientific"
                                    > definition. Nope, I don't buy it.
                                    >

                                    Why?

                                    Show me the Proof!!!

                                    The burden of proof is on you.

                                    Regards,

                                    Shlomi Fish

                                    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                                    Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                                    If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                                    one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                                    -- An Israeli Linuxer
                                  • Nadav Har'El
                                    ... There are several problems with this definition, and I ll mention one below, but I have to admit it s not very fair that I disprove a definition based on
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Apr 19, 2007
                                      On Thu, Apr 19, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: Objectivity [was Re: [hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?]":
                                      > On Friday 30 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                                      > > On 30 Mar 2007 00:39:48 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                                      > > > The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is
                                      > > > consciously done to help fill human biological needs is good and moral
                                      > > > (e.g., the productive actions of honest people). Whatever is consciously
                                      > > > done to harm or prevent the filling of human biological needs is bad and
                                      > > > immoral (e.g., the destructive actions of mystics and neocheaters).
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > > As you can see it's even a scientific definition. In this context "evil"
                                      > > > == "bad".
                                      > >
                                      > > Bah. This definition sucks. Neo-Tech might think it's okay and you
                                      > > might agree. I don't. It's using subjective terms in a "scientific"
                                      > > definition. Nope, I don't buy it.
                                      > >
                                      >
                                      > Why?
                                      >
                                      > Show me the Proof!!!
                                      >
                                      > The burden of proof is on you.

                                      There are several problems with this definition, and I'll mention one below,
                                      but I have to admit it's not very fair that I "disprove" a definition based
                                      on your very short and probably not entirely accurate explanation of it - I
                                      didn't like it when you did that to Kant and Kirkegaard after my explanations,
                                      and I probably shouldn't be doing this to Neo-Tech. I have to admit that I
                                      never read anything about "Neo-Tech" except what you said on this list.

                                      I think Arik's point was, though, that there's nothing "scientific" about
                                      this definition. What makes this definition more "scientific" than a dozen
                                      other definitions of ethics? For example, how is this definition of ethics
                                      based on intention, better than a definition based on actual consequences
                                      (aka "utilitarian" ethics)?

                                      Anyway, the biggest flaw I see with this definition is that it relies on
                                      a person's intentions, which are very subjective, rather than the actual
                                      consequences of his actions, which is more objective (because everyone
                                      sees the consequences of an action, but only the person knows his intentions).
                                      The problem is that except in the extreme case of psychopaths (who are unable
                                      to understand the concept of other human beings having their own lives and
                                      wishes), most "bad" actions are somehow justified in the eyes of its doer.

                                      If you asked a white slave-owner whether he's conciously harming his negro
                                      slave's biological needs, he would say no: he would say that he took care of
                                      their basic needs (minimal amount of food, clothing, shelter, etc.) and would
                                      claim (wrongly of course, but he thought this was true) that negros are so
                                      privitive that left to their own devices they would be far worse off. He
                                      would add that furthermore, without the slaves the slave-owners would go
                                      bankrupt and starve, so that it is *freeing* the slaves which is immoral
                                      because it would bring "biological" harm to the slave-owners.

                                      A second problem, possibly in your short explanation and not in neo-tech
                                      itself, is the definition of "biological needs". What are these, and why
                                      discuss them and not the "wishes" or "will" of the person instead? A few
                                      obvious examples: a person has the biological need to have sex. Does this make
                                      resisting being raped an immoral act? Is stealing food moral because a
                                      person needs to eat? Is selling real-estate for money an immoral act,
                                      because people need to sleep somewhere and you're prevented them a place
                                      to sleep by charging money? And what about people's non-biological needs,
                                      like the need to be free, the need to be happy, the need not to be bored,
                                      etc. - is it moral to violate these needs? For example, is it moral according
                                      to your definition to keep a human in a large cage while catering for his
                                      biological needs (giving him food, water, air, sex, etc.)? Can this defintion
                                      explain why (or whether) it is moral to do this to a convict, but not to
                                      "ordinary" people?


                                      --
                                      Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Apr 19 2007, 1 Iyyar 5767
                                      nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                                      Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is
                                      http://nadav.harel.org.il |a fine for doing well.
                                    • Arik Baratz
                                      ... No it is not. In my reality this definition sucks. You may buy into this definition, because you subscribe to some absolute truth. I don t. We don t have
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Apr 20, 2007
                                        On 19 Apr 2007 00:47:19 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                                        > On Friday 30 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:

                                        > > Bah. This definition sucks. Neo-Tech might think it's okay and you
                                        > > might agree. I don't. It's using subjective terms in a "scientific"
                                        > > definition. Nope, I don't buy it.
                                        >
                                        > Why?
                                        >
                                        > Show me the Proof!!!
                                        >
                                        > The burden of proof is on you.

                                        No it is not. In my reality this definition sucks. You may buy into
                                        this definition, because you subscribe to some absolute truth. I
                                        don't. We don't have to agree, and our world view is therefore
                                        different. No proof necessary or even possible.

                                        -- Arik
                                      • Shlomi Fish
                                        ... OK. ... Actually no. Most evil people are well-aware that their actions are destructive. They never admit it, but they know it. When Mao killed 60 million
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Apr 20, 2007
                                          On Thursday 19 April 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
                                          > On Thu, Apr 19, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: Objectivity [was Re:
                                          [hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?]":
                                          > > On Friday 30 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                                          > > > On 30 Mar 2007 00:39:48 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                                          > > > > The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is
                                          > > > > consciously done to help fill human biological needs is good and
                                          > > > > moral (e.g., the productive actions of honest people). Whatever is
                                          > > > > consciously done to harm or prevent the filling of human biological
                                          > > > > needs is bad and immoral (e.g., the destructive actions of mystics
                                          > > > > and neocheaters).
                                          > > > >
                                          > > > >
                                          > > > > As you can see it's even a scientific definition. In this context
                                          > > > > "evil" == "bad".
                                          > > >
                                          > > > Bah. This definition sucks. Neo-Tech might think it's okay and you
                                          > > > might agree. I don't. It's using subjective terms in a "scientific"
                                          > > > definition. Nope, I don't buy it.
                                          > >
                                          > > Why?
                                          > >
                                          > > Show me the Proof!!!
                                          > >
                                          > > The burden of proof is on you.
                                          >
                                          > There are several problems with this definition, and I'll mention one
                                          > below, but I have to admit it's not very fair that I "disprove" a
                                          > definition based on your very short and probably not entirely accurate
                                          > explanation of it - I didn't like it when you did that to Kant and
                                          > Kirkegaard after my explanations, and I probably shouldn't be doing this to
                                          > Neo-Tech. I have to admit that I never read anything about "Neo-Tech"
                                          > except what you said on this list.
                                          >

                                          OK.

                                          > I think Arik's point was, though, that there's nothing "scientific" about
                                          > this definition. What makes this definition more "scientific" than a dozen
                                          > other definitions of ethics? For example, how is this definition of ethics
                                          > based on intention, better than a definition based on actual consequences
                                          > (aka "utilitarian" ethics)?
                                          >
                                          > Anyway, the biggest flaw I see with this definition is that it relies on
                                          > a person's intentions, which are very subjective, rather than the actual
                                          > consequences of his actions, which is more objective (because everyone
                                          > sees the consequences of an action, but only the person knows his
                                          > intentions). The problem is that except in the extreme case of psychopaths
                                          > (who are unable to understand the concept of other human beings having
                                          > their own lives and wishes), most "bad" actions are somehow justified in
                                          > the eyes of its doer.

                                          Actually no. Most evil people are well-aware that their actions are
                                          destructive. They never admit it, but they know it. When Mao killed 60
                                          million of his own people, it was not for survival.

                                          In any case, there are several ways to look at this definition. One way is to
                                          say that the intention is irrelevant, and that any action that ends up as
                                          fullfilling human biological needs is good and moral, while any action that
                                          ends up detracting from human biological needs is bad and immoral.

                                          >
                                          > If you asked a white slave-owner whether he's conciously harming his negro
                                          > slave's biological needs, he would say no: he would say that he took care
                                          > of their basic needs (minimal amount of food, clothing, shelter, etc.) and
                                          > would claim (wrongly of course, but he thought this was true) that negros
                                          > are so privitive that left to their own devices they would be far worse
                                          > off. He would add that furthermore, without the slaves the slave-owners
                                          > would go bankrupt and starve, so that it is *freeing* the slaves which is
                                          > immoral because it would bring "biological" harm to the slave-owners.
                                          >
                                          > A second problem, possibly in your short explanation and not in neo-tech
                                          > itself, is the definition of "biological needs". What are these, and why
                                          > discuss them and not the "wishes" or "will" of the person instead? A few
                                          > obvious examples: a person has the biological need to have sex.

                                          I don't think so. A person has a biological desire to have sex, but it's not a
                                          need. A person can go on not having sex for decades on end.

                                          > Does this
                                          > make resisting being raped an immoral act?

                                          No, because a person has a need for the completeness of his body. As such, he
                                          or she has a right to resist being raped.

                                          > Is stealing food moral because a
                                          > person needs to eat?

                                          It depends. By stealing you detract from the food owned by the other. However,
                                          you might need to do that if you are being exploited (e.g: Robin Hood who
                                          stole from the exploiters and gave to the exploited.).

                                          > Is selling real-estate for money an immoral act,
                                          > because people need to sleep somewhere and you're prevented them a place to
                                          > sleep by charging money?



                                          > And what about people's non-biological needs, like
                                          > the need to be free, the need to be happy, the need not to be bored, etc. -
                                          > is it moral to violate these needs?

                                          These all descend from the biological needs or otherwise are ammoral action.
                                          If I insulted a person by accident, and made him unhappy, then I may have
                                          caused him to be able to less focus on work, and thus detract from his
                                          biological needs. However, this action is not unethical, and as such should
                                          be legal:

                                          http://www.neo-tech.com/neotech/advantages/advantage83.html

                                          > For example, is it moral according to
                                          > your definition to keep a human in a large cage while catering for his
                                          > biological needs (giving him food, water, air, sex, etc.)?

                                          Well, that in turn will cause other people to have to support this (benevolent
                                          I assume) person, instead of this person being able to support himself. So
                                          it's immoral.

                                          > Can this
                                          > defintion explain why (or whether) it is moral to do this to a convict, but
                                          > not to "ordinary" people?

                                          Actually, according to Neo-Tech, prisons are not a good way of punishment, as
                                          it is a huge strain on society to maintain all the prisoners.

                                          Regards,

                                          Shlomi Fish

                                          ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                                          Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                                          If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                                          one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                                          -- An Israeli Linuxer
                                        • Shlomi Fish
                                          Hi Arik! ... If no proof is possible, then I cannot accept your claim, because it lacks any reasoning. So you might have well not said it. Thanks for playing!
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Apr 20, 2007
                                            Hi Arik!

                                            On Friday 20 April 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                                            > On 19 Apr 2007 00:47:19 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                                            > > On Friday 30 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                                            > > > Bah. This definition sucks. Neo-Tech might think it's okay and you
                                            > > > might agree. I don't. It's using subjective terms in a "scientific"
                                            > > > definition. Nope, I don't buy it.
                                            > >
                                            > > Why?
                                            > >
                                            > > Show me the Proof!!!
                                            > >
                                            > > The burden of proof is on you.
                                            >
                                            > No it is not. In my reality this definition sucks. You may buy into
                                            > this definition, because you subscribe to some absolute truth. I
                                            > don't. We don't have to agree, and our world view is therefore
                                            > different. No proof necessary or even possible.

                                            If no proof is possible, then I cannot accept your claim, because it lacks any
                                            reasoning. So you might have well not said it.

                                            Thanks for playing!

                                            Regards,

                                            Shlomi Fish

                                            ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                                            Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                                            If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                                            one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                                            -- An Israeli Linuxer
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