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Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds 
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Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
Quote:
2) even if intelligent life exists and travels in space how are we to assume that they would save humans as opposed to serving them ala
To Serve Mankind


Yep. The assumption is that aliens would be benevolent. Almost, angelic, if you will.
Why? Why should we assume that, all while supporting METI?
There is zero basis for that assumption. It's unscientific.



Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:04 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
stahrwe wrote:
I have no rational explanation for what happened to the keys. To me that qualifies as a metaphysical experience.

So the Triune Christian God is a Prankster? What a bizarre use of "The Force". To quote Spock, "Fascinating!"

Oh and strictly for fun:

Image


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Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:03 am
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Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
Thank you Ant.

LaDroid I suspect you are indulging in the potent potable shown in your post.


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Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
Interbane wrote:
ant wrote:
If we directed that money to international aid programs like clean water or doctors without borders instead of trying to ease drop on ET, how many lives could be saved each year?

Public funding SETI is no longer an issue. But you get my point. Because an enterprise is fascinating, it doesn't automatically mean it's a justified expense.


Just to play devil's advocate, what if overpopulation is what dooms mankind? In hindsight, the best way to spend money isn't necessarily on saving lives, but preventing pregnancies. Perhaps there is a solution to some of these issues in the knowledge pool of ET. Just because something appears to be a justified expense doesn't mean it's a justified expense. How do you prove justification?



Do you think there's a moral obligation to save lives that could be saved if we redirected resources that go to stuff like extracurricular scientific ventures?

What's the phrase.., "expanding our moral circle" ?
Is it expanding it too much by doing what I suggested?



Sat Mar 14, 2015 10:38 am
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Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
Quote:
If we directed that money to international aid programs like clean water or doctors without borders instead of trying to ease drop on ET, how many lives could be saved each year?


The poor you will have with you always.

Or something like that?



Sat Mar 14, 2015 10:51 am
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Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
DB Roy wrote:
Quote:
If we directed that money to international aid programs like clean water or doctors without borders instead of trying to ease drop on ET, how many lives could be saved each year?


The poor you will have with you always.

Or something like that?



From what ethical/moral system did you pluck that quote from?



Last edited by ant on Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:02 am
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Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
ant wrote:
Do you think there's a moral obligation to save lives that could be saved if we redirected resources that go to stuff like extracurricular scientific ventures?

What's the phrase.., "expanding our moral circle" ?


I remember Peter Ustinov explaining the good that could be done for the price of one stealth bomber.

I remember Rumsfeld talking about 2.3 Trillion that the pentagon couldn't account for.

(Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

Let's expand our moral circle by all means :yes:



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Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
Interbane,

Just in case you missed it. Here is my latest to you in this post:

Quote:
Do you think there's a moral obligation to save lives that could be saved if we redirected resources that go to stuff like extracurricular scientific ventures? 

What's the phrase.., "expanding our moral circle" ?
Is it expanding it too much by doing what I suggested?




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Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:41 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
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Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:41 am
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Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
ant wrote:
Do you think there's a moral obligation to save lives that could be saved if we redirected resources that go to stuff like extracurricular scientific ventures?

What's the phrase.., "expanding our moral circle" ?
Is it expanding it too much by doing what I suggested?


This is a great question because it's tough to answer. Most times, these sorts of idealized moral questions don't really match up to reality. What we need are specific instances. But I'm sure we can both think of a few to use. NASA money VS money to starving African children, for example.

First off, I don't know where the moral obligation rests. It's not so simple as redirecting money to save lives.

One reason is that the money we put into NASA might ultimately be the deciding factor in the survival of the human species. We don't know if that's true or not, so we can't bank on it. But it's a real possibility. This is true of many scientific ventures that seem to be miscellany. Who knows, the money we put into nanotechnology research may save more lives than an equal amount of money given to African children. There's no way to know this.

Another reason is due to what are called "moral hazards". The wisdom can be seen in other areas of life, such as gardening. When you fertilize your garden with Miracle Gro, or other synthetic fertilizers, you're making the plant grow hyper-fast. So fast that it leaves it vulnerable. The cell walls are weaker, the stems are weaker, etc. The plant flourishes, but is not hardy; the whole plant ends up far more susceptible to disease and pests. We also see this in welfare. When you give money to poor people who don't work, you incentivize not working. After a while, you're left with welfare queens who are leeches to society. Regarding African children, what would be the moral culpability if we gave them aid to feed everyone for a few decades, then had catastrophe at home. After the catastrophe, we can't aid them anymore and the food aid suddenly stops. With all the extra mouths to feed, starvation becomes orders of magnitude larger than it was before, and more people die. This is a moral hazard, where we think we're doing good but the unintended consequence is actually worse than the original problem.

So, I don't know where the obligation rests. To know this, we'd need to be much smarter than we are. But what I do know is that it's not as simple as saving lives=good.


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Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
no need to cut science funding to help out the needy

behold

(Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

we can have science funding AND help the needy if we just stop killing people.

it's a win win

we get to stop being murderers AND help people

hmmm maybe it's a win win win

President Ike wrote:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.


ooh dear, you fail to take good advice and then fall asleep, when you wake up you've not only been screwed you are held responsible for the fact that most of the world has been raped in your name.



Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:42 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
I never suggested cutting science funding, broadly.



Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:41 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
So just how much do we cut? Who gets to make that call? How much the money saved will actually go to Doctors Without Borders or whoever? How long are we to keep doing it and how many should we be helping because we can't help everyone? There doesn't seem to be much of a return on our investment. Doctors Without Borders should be raising their own money. We can fund medical care for war-torn regions until we are blue in the face and in the end there will only be more of them. We can feed 10 million starving people for the rest of their lives but in another decade there will be 10 million more. I can donate money to charities when I have that money but I am not going to dump significant amounts of money that I could be putting away for retirement or home improvements on charities because there will never be a shortage of people in need. Likewise, we should not be cutting funding of something that has at least a chance of a return for our investment in order to dump it down a bottomless sluice-hole. You want to throw your money away like that then do it. But it's not for you to be telling the rest of us to do it. Screw you.



Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:14 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
So anyway, here's a list (fact check it) of what some might consider wasteful spending. A few involve the National Science Foundation:

Quote:
Teaching Mountain Lions to Ride a Treadmill: $856,000

The National Science Foundation shelled out nearly a million taxpayer dollars to determine if captive mountain lions could be trained to ride a treadmill. The University of California-Santa Cruz researcher even boasted about receiving the grant saying, “People just didn’t believe you could get a mountain lion on a treadmill, and it took me three years to find a facility that was willing to try.” If anyone was wondering, it took the lions all of eight months to learn.



Quote:
Studying how many times “hangry” people stab a voodoo doll: $331,000

After teaching mountain lions about treadmills, the National Science Foundation also funded a study to come up with the self evident conclusion that hungry people tend to be more angry and aggressive. They tested this theory by allowing spouses to poke pins into voodoo dolls as their “hanger” grew


“Over the course of twenty-one consecutive evenings, 107 couples were given a chance to stick up to 51 pins into a voodoo doll representing their spouse. The pin-pushing happened in secret, away from the other partner. Participants then recorded the number of pins they poked into the dolls. Those tests revealed what may already be obvious to many couples: a spouse with low blood sugar was an angrier one, and stuck more pins in the doll.”



Quote:
Studying the gambling habits of monkeys: $171,000

Another NSF grant funded the study of gambling monkeys. Under the guise of studying the “hot-hand bias” in human gamblers, the University of Rochester devised a computer game, taught monkeys to play it, and studied how they responded to winning and losing. A doctoral candidate who worked on the study seemed pleased to learn, “Luckily, monkeys love to gamble.” Taxpayers, on the other hand, will not be pleased to find out this study is set to continue through May of 2018.




Quote:
Developing a real-life Iron Man Suit: $80 million

It seems the DoD is attempting to capitalize on the popularity of the Iron Man movies in order to develop its very own real-life replica. Dubbed TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit), the Pentagon will spend the next four years trying to build a suit made “of military super-armor to withstand bullets and carry hundreds of pounds, all powered by [a] futuristic energy source.” But, there’s one slight problem, it doesn’t work:


“And while a promotional video for the TALOS program shows bullets ricocheting off a cartoon soldier dressed in the suit, field tests have so far found soldiers struggling to run, dive, and shoot when using the real thing.”



Quote:
Predicting the End of Humanity: $30,000

As opposed to finding new ways to explore the solar system, NASA is instead spending its budget on a study to predict how the world will end. Researchers from the University of Maryland and Minnesota came back with an intriguing and politically advantageous answer: Income inequality. They warned that an “unequal distribution of wealth” has “led to civilizational collapse.”



http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/curtis-ka ... ax-dollars


So, if you're a gambling monkey, want to know how the world will end, wish to have your very own Iron Man costume, or own a voodoo doll, someone else might think how the costs to fund scientific studies like these might have gone to save some lives.

Throwing up your arms and screaming who decides what, where and when, no one should, therefore, screw it, there will always be poor people is really a lame excuse, in my opinion.



Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:30 am
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Post Re: Chapter 23: Maxwell and the nerds
Is that the same cnsnews run by L. Brent Bozell III who also runs the Media Research Center who work to get ultra-conservatives elected to office? The same Bozell who said Obama looked like a skinny ghetto crackhead? The same Bozell who goes after other conservatives who dare to criticize the tea party and who couldn't intelligently refute Keith Olbermann's criticisms of him and instead called it "hate speech"? Just thought people should know just what kind of Christian you really are.

And whether any of your above examples of govt funding are true--which is doubtful considering the source--I'd still rather spend it on that than to waste it trying to save people from themselves. There's a far better chance of getting a decent return with the former and no chance at all with the latter.



Last edited by DB Roy on Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:51 pm
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