Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
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28-01-2012, 02:13 PM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
(27-01-2012 08:21 PM)Zat Wrote:  
(27-01-2012 08:03 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Let me know when you're done with the simplistic blame game, and get on with the solutions.

It's right above your head, one line up, in blue! Big Grin

Zat, I guess I DO owe you an apology. I really didn't see your (new), contract. It's not bad. I disagree with the "greed being the basis of capitlism" part tho. In my opionion, economic activity, goods and services, really DO have a real value, and can be provided (to others), at a reasonable price. THAT is not greed. If I can give better service, or make a better, more effective mouse trap, THAT really is worth something additional, (value added). If the "leveraging" of that, or the stifling of competition eventually gets society in trouble, then there is room for regulation. Also to me, the business of some wealthy people who say, "well I earned it", may not reflect the fact that if it were not for the entire system in place, in the first place, (fire, police, water, stop signs, etc), they could never have become wealthy. They, (I guess accurately..I), maybe should be paying a premium for having "made it". The infrastructure in place was not my doing. Tongue

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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28-01-2012, 02:17 PM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
(28-01-2012 02:13 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Zat, I guess I DO owe you an apology. I really didn't see your (new), contract. It's not bad.

BB, I am pleased that you took the trouble of reading the proposed new social contract thread. Did you read the whole thread, or just the OP? The discussion after was VERY intelligent and clarified a lot more of the proposed contract. DO so if you have not done it yet. Smile
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28-01-2012, 02:20 PM (This post was last modified: 28-01-2012 02:23 PM by Chas.)
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
(28-01-2012 01:49 PM)Zat Wrote:  
(28-01-2012 01:35 PM)Chas Wrote:  As I said, I find your argument shallow in the extreme.

Ditto! Big Grin

Wow, that must have taken some effort.

You have made claims and the onus is on you to support them. You have not done so.
(28-01-2012 01:36 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  
(28-01-2012 12:42 PM)Chas Wrote:  It is much like blaming all of the soldiers who ever were for all of the wars that ever were.

No, just the volunteers.

Not according to Zat. He says they can just say no.

Quote:
Quote:There would be no war if they were just moral enough to say "Hell no, we won't go." While true, it is not a very useful truism. Usually, the penalty for this is death or imprisonment.

How many reluctant conscripts can a nation imprison? Who, but other volunteers can be trusted to do the imprisoning and shooting?

Not just volunteers. People can be, are are, coerced.

Quote:
Quote: We can blame the politicians for there moral turpitude as well. They should just say no to using the technology that the amoral scientists came up with.

Sure. But politicians are nothing without citizen approval, and impotent without willing executioners.

Hahahahahahaha!Big Grin Citizen approval? Like in North Korea? Executioners do not have to be willing, just coerced.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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28-01-2012, 02:25 PM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
(28-01-2012 02:20 PM)Chas Wrote:  Wow, that must have taken some effort.

Chas, no effort was required at all.

But thanks for the concern! Big Grin
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30-01-2012, 05:58 PM (This post was last modified: 30-01-2012 06:06 PM by Zat.)
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
(28-01-2012 11:27 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  Oh, Zat! When will you learn? You can't go around telling true believers that their sci- version of Gwinnies has a wart on her nose. You're asking for a Rep-rimand.

Peterkin, I almost missed this beauty -- true believers, indeed! Big Grin

Maybe we can get back on track and forget about attacking (who? when? where?) science and you guys try to make up your own lists of top-of-the-cause-and-effect-chain candidates for the mess we are in.

I have, I believe, adequately defined 'mess' in the point-form summary in post #67 above.

So let's forget about scientists and look for other low-lives! Big Grin

PS. Make sure you remember how I used the word 'blame' -- not as an exercise in scape-goating but as an investigation of cause-and-effect relationships, so we can come up with a diagnosis before attempting a treatment.
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30-01-2012, 06:49 PM (This post was last modified: 30-01-2012 06:57 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
Okay, here is the group i'm prepared to hold responsible for a good deal of what's wrong, and what has always been wrong, in human societies: the thugs.
Every bad leader has his loyal troops of strong men who care about nothing but power and violence. They will follow a madman, a charlatan, an evil genius, a fool - anybody who gives them weapons and permission to brutalize others.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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31-01-2012, 03:28 AM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
There are doctors who work for the sake of money, and there are doctors who work for the sake of humanity.

There are religious people who utilise their religion as a facade to promote injustice and violence, and there are religious people who utilise their religion to bring solace and comfort to those who need them.

There are various groups of people in society, each contributing to a facet of our life, in a good way or a bad way. Some cause harm, either directly or indirectly, while others bring good.

In the fields of science, ethical issues are important, especially in the new fields of science. For some fields, we can only predict the outcome of our research and experimentation. For instance, the effects of merging man with machine, the abolishment of religion for a secular society, the creation of life from laboratories.

Let's take the creation of artificial life as an example. The first steps have already been complete, synthesising an artificial bacterial genome. Who knows what true potential such a technology can bring? For the better, a utopia where everyone can enjoy a healthy lifestyle, or for the worse, a dystopia where the world is ravaged by new dangerous artificial lifeforms, probably dinosaurs with machine-guns as arms.

Now, who is to blame? It all depends. It may not be the researchers' fault, as it may be a person in power who forces the researchers to do his bidding. It may be indeed the fault of a mad scientist, who thought that having a gorilla with octopus limbs was a good idea.

There are unethical researchers who endanger the masses for profit and fame, and there are ethical researchers who fix global problems for the good of all of us.

Maybe I view the world with child-like optimism, not yet wounded by the evils of society Sad

Welcome to science. You're gonna like it here - Phil Plait

Have you ever tried taking a comfort blanket away from a small child? - DLJ
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31-01-2012, 06:57 AM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
robotworld, very intelligent, well balanced post.

When a car breaks down, it can be any of the systems and the components -- all of which may be good or bad, functioning well, partly or failing. It is the mechanic's job to nail it down to the actual part that is responsible for the current problems. It wouldn't do if the mechanic told us that: "any of the components could be at fault" and leave it at that. We need to understand the mechanism of failure if we want to fix it.

The 'mess' I documented before is caused by many factors, some of which contribute more than others, some of which have deadlier consequences than others. The reason I put scientists on top of my list is because the consequences of their failing can destroy the planet. No other group has that power. That is why teaching and attempting to enforce the ethics of science (like doctors do) is so fundamentally important.

However, it is only my own opinion and I am really curious how others see the priority of factors contributing to the 'mess' we are in.

Peterkin mentioned the 'thugs' and it is an excellent point: without the unconscionable enforcers, our rulers would be as powerless as they would be without the scientists who give them their tools of terror and domination. Unfortunately, there seems to be an unlimited supply of thugs who want the job and it is difficult to imagine an ethical code for the robocops who are used for crowd control both in the US and in Canada.
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31-01-2012, 09:16 AM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
Put the thugs - Praetorian Guard, Pinkertons, SS, robocops, CICS, KGB, Blackwater - alongside organized religion. These are the two main props of oppression: the enforcers and the seducers. The reason oppression is necessary is to serve the purposes of the the group that benefits most, but is smallest in numbers: the takers - people who crave power and wealth at any cost to others.

A balanced society that functions well organizes itself on clearly understood principles that take these human traits into consideration and deals with them.
Know that there are sociopaths and psychopaths among us; make provision to neutralize their destructive tendencies.
Know that we are prone to violence and conflict: make provision to discipline, channel and harness those urges.
Know that we are fanciful, imaginative, given to poetic and metaphorical descriptions of the world: imbue the stories with moral content and confine them to the role of instruction, not coercion.

When societies grow beyond a certain size (the actual number depends on several factors, but in general i'd say, too many for an individual citizen to follow the machinations of his government), balance becomes increasingly difficult to maintain. Once the sociopaths sneak into leadership positions, they skew everything - legal and electoral process, economy, social policy, communication, education - in their own favour. The ready availability of preachers, sages and thugs to the service of sociopaths has always unbalanced civilized societies. Sociopaths, once in firm control, never stop. Cannot stop. Nothing is enough for them; no deed too evil, no threat of extinction is effective.
Unbalance, carried on for millennia, becomes mass psychosis and leads to ultimate destruction.

How to re-establish balance?
I'm not sure it's possible. Stripping the bad rulers of popular support would be a start. The depletion and exhaustion of easy sources of energy will help, i suppose. The collapse of economies will change some relationships. Mainly, i think, the breakdown of empires and federations is what's going to make a new start possible. I'm not optimistic, though.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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31-01-2012, 04:48 PM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
Just as an example of the power scientists wield over the whole planet, here is a really scary report about geo-engineering, first time out in the real world, to combat climate change.

Just try to imagine what would happen if one of the engineers, under corporate pressure/blackmail/bribe decided to minimize the danger in an experiment:

Quote:This is the first time that a geo-engineering idea has moved out of the lab and into the real world, and it is bound to attract some very hostile attention. You still hear the argument that we should not even discuss geo-engineering techniques, for the knowledge that they might exist will lessen the pressure to cut carbon dioxide emissions quickly. But the cat is out of the bag, and the best we can do is to figure out whether they are really a viable option.

Whole article here.
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