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Post 0

Monday, May 13 - 12:32amSanction this postReply
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Take the Aspirin(coated to help avoid ulcers). Both thin your blood but with warfarin(Coumadin ) if you bruise or cut yourself you run the risk of bleeding out completely! Which is probably why they use it to kill rats!
And yes, aspirin is a hell if a lot cheaper! Something the doctors overlook and definately Pharma does not like!



Post 1

Monday, May 13 - 6:50pmSanction this postReply
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You're right, Jules.

Millions of unnecessarily-early deaths could have been prevented over the past several decades had the FDA allowed Bayer to label their aspirin as something that might be able to help thin out someone's blood.

It was known to be a blood thinner for several decades before the FDA allowed it to be labeled as one.

Ed



Post 2

Wednesday, May 15 - 5:49pmSanction this postReply
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Here's another, much-more-wacky, example -- drawing from Bentham and interjecting Mill:

Decision Node = Whether to work toward bringing about Global Thermonuclear War

Status Quo vs. the Change
------------------------------------------------
1. Intensity: How strong is the pleasure (of Global Thermonuclear War)?

A select few individuals might get strong pleasure (10; on a scale from 1-10) from nuking the planet, but very many people would get pretty strong pleasure (7 or 8) from maintaining the status quo (i.e., from refraining from nuking the planet). Also, it is said that cockroaches would survive nuclear war, and cockroaches might like it (6-10) if the entire planet were nuked, because then there wouldn't be any humans to stomp on them or to hit them with rolled-up newspapers.
------------------------------------------------
2. Duration: How long will the pleasure last?

About 5 seconds, as the glowing ball of atmospheric fire is seen from a distance approaching and then quickly overwhelming you. For cockroaches, however, the pleasure -- after some initial pain followed by a period of uncomfortably-high temperatures and chromosome-bending, DNA-warping radiation -- would be indefinite.
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3. Certainty or uncertainty: How likely or unlikely is it that the pleasure will occur?

It is certain that the pleasure will occur for the select few nihilist-fatalist schadenfraudeans. However, you can only be about 75% certain that the cockroaches will like it, because they are a different species with a different psycho-phenomenal experience (e.g., they may enjoy being a nuisance to us, and would lose the potential of being able to continue in that endeavor).
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4. Propinquity or remoteness: How soon will the pleasure occur?

A couple hours (perhaps 2-4 hours) after the big red button is pushed.
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5. Fecundity: The probability that the action will be followed by sensations of the same kind.

Zero.
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6. Purity: The probability that it will not be followed by sensations of the opposite kind.

Zero.
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7. Extent: How many people will be affected?

About 7 billion people, but perhaps an infinite number of cockroaches.
-------------------------------------------------
8. [Mill] Is it intellectual pleasure (-0%) or base/bestial pleasure (-25%)?

In either case, whether it be cockroaches or nihilists, it would be base/bestial pleasure -- so the actual intensity of pleasure is 7.5 for nihilists and 4.5-7.5 for the cockroaches. Here is the final moral equation:

Schadenfraudeans (n ~7000):

For a few seconds (~5 sec.) duration, there is certainty (100%) of intense (albeit "base") pleasure (7.5) in about 2-4 hours after the big red button is pushed with a 0% chance of fecundity and a 0% chance of purity -- for about 7000 (1 in a million) of the humans walking the planet.

Cockroaches (n [range] = [millions] to [trillions]):

For eternity, there is good probability (75%) of moderate-to-highly intense (albeit "base") pleasure (4.5-7.5) about 2-4 hours after the big red button is pushed with a really good chance (say 90%) of fecundity and a reasonably good chance (~70%) of purity. Regarding the extent, perhaps 75% of the existing cockroaches would immediately lose their lives (pleasure = 0), but the remaining 25% would grow to dominate the world very shortly after that.

Normal humans (n ~ 6.5 billion):

For a few seconds, life would suck, because it would be realized that some subhuman jack-holes got together and pissed in the punch bowl while good people -- outnumbering the bad by a million-to-one -- stood around and let it happen.

:-)

What this example shows is that, while theoretically possible, Bentham's calculus is a practical impossibility; failing in even the most straight-forward decision which humans could ever face at any time, either now or in the future.

For instance, if you take the standpoint of the cockroaches -- and there is nothing in utilitarianism which would preclude you from taking the standpoint of the cockroaches -- then there is some mongrol notion of "value" in a burnt world. The same with the jack-holes. Even if you divvy up the numbers (comparing and contrasting the amount of creatures who benefit with those who lose out), there is a chance that the good humans of planet earth would lose everything.

This is because utilitarianism purports to be a moral calculus which is "value-neutral" between affected life forms (i.e., it doesn't "judge" results, it only tabulates them). For example, if the amount of surviving cockroaches grows almost indefinitely, then whatever small value we place on their pleasure would eventually overwhelm the much larger value placed on that of the good humans -- which is nonsense from the perspective of an objective morality for mankind (i.e., from an Objectivist's perspective).

Ed
(Edited by Ed Thompson on 5/15, 5:54pm)




Post 3

Wednesday, May 15 - 11:34pmSanction this postReply
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Are you sh&$$ing me?? People think this up??!!

Is there a study for how the cockroaches would feel if we carpet bombed the entire world with DDT? Just kidding.

People actually ran this study? Lol that's pretty twisted!



Post 4

Wednesday, May 15 - 11:50pmSanction this postReply
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Ed,

I once had an argument on Facebook on whether human life or life (in general) should be the end goal of human effort.

I took the position that human life (that is, the individual) should be the ultimate beneficiary of all human (read: individual) action. My opponent held the position that humans should seek to further the life of life itself (all living organisms), not just their own lives.

Is their any explaining my opponent's position? How in the hell did he arrive at this position?

At one point he began to argue the "value" of earthworms to all life! (If anyone is wondering why I was shocked, keep this in mind: he was arguing about which species (earthworms or humans) was of greater "value" to life in general. Where exactly does this leave humans? Hopefully above earthworms in his hierarchy! No one hand this man a gun; he just might begin to enforce his ideology!)

Anyway, his argument concerning earthworms is consistent with his position, but it still shocks me. I don't think I've ever met someone with such a dangerous standard (dangerous to human life), though I likely have.

My first (and only) mistake was having an argument on Facebook.

Anyway, what little I grasped of your post 2 reminded me of that argument.

P.S. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate the edit tags below this sentence.

(Edited by Kyle Jacob Biodrowski on 5/15, 11:59pm)




Post 5

Thursday, May 16 - 5:46pmSanction this postReply
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Jules,

No, this wasn't a psyche study or anything -- it's just me calling the bluff on utilitarians. Utilitarians say you can have a grand moral equation and use it as an organizing principle for your life. But here is the rub: they never provide the equation.

Isn't that curious?

Imagine if I told you that there was a big guy in the sky looking out for you, and that a life of humble selflessness would put him firmly in your corner and -- when I have got you, hook, line, and sinker -- and you ask me about details of the big guy ... I go quiet.

Wouldn't that tip you off that maybe something is up?

Whether you are a full-blown mystic or a dignified consequentialist, there are some things that should be explained. If, upon enquiry, you cannot explain the things that you insinuate that you know and understand so well, then 2 courses follow:

1) You can renounce your initial claims and seek out the honest trust of others (i.e., the foundation for all human friendship and love)

2) You can remain stubborn, shout at your interlocutor "Well, if you don't know it already then I can't teach it to you! I guess I am just on an explicable higher moral plane than you are!"

Note how if you choose #2, you will be in deep doo-doo (because people will learn that it is not a good thing to trust you; and you will die friendless and loveless, clinging to your pet notion).

Ed
(Edited by Ed Thompson on 5/16, 5:47pm)




Post 6

Thursday, May 16 - 6:08pmSanction this postReply
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Kyle,

That dude's argument has a fundamental flaw. You can discover this flaw on your own by visiting aynrandlexicon.com and looking up things like "life" "man" "value" "ultimate value." If you'd rather hear it from me, then read on ...

A key thing Rand uncovered is that values aren't intrinsic to the fabric of reality -- that, instead, they get generated in response to something. There is a genesis of all values. It turns out that there has to be some life in order for there to be some value. It also turns out that all values aren't equal; that there is an objective hierarchy of values.

To get all biblical on you now, there is a parable somewhere in the 'good book' saying that you do not use a hatchet to remove a fly from your friend's forehead. Sure, you get the fly off his face, but your friend doesn't survive the ordeal. You lose a higher value while chasing after a lower one.

All values everywhere are subject to such hierarch-ification. Humans get bonus points, because of the potentiality we all have for lasting, integrated joy (i.e., for happiness). Animals and plants cannot achieve such a thing -- though they can feel very good, and for a very long time. Animals don't self-actualize, in Maslow's sense of the term.

And the kicker is that the volition we have makes the issue of values not only a life-death issue, but a lasting/integrated vs. short-lived/contradictory joy -- 2 reasons that human values are more important than animal values. Animals automatically chase certain values, humans have to take it upon themselves to study and implement them -- not only for life itself, but for fulfillment and actualization. It goes beyond mere pleasure and pain.

1) A being capable of feeling pain should act so as to minimize pain.
2) A being capable of feeling pleasure should act so as to maximize it.
3) A being capable of more than those 2 things -- i.e., a human being -- should act so as to achieve more than that.

Ed



Post 7

Saturday, May 18 - 11:19amSanction this postReply
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More on Moral (e.g., hedonic) Calculus

I would like to take the time and spend the energy required to run a moral calculus on the decision node of whether to stay in collectivist North Korea or not.

------------------------------------------------------------
Impetus for Making a Decision
------------------------------------------------------------
Life inside of a severely-collectivized society has measurable merit, but this is restricted to plundering/pilfering tyrants along with their friends and family (i.e., to "cronies"). Humans might be better off elsewhere. A moral calculus can determine whether that is the case.

------------------------------------------------------------
Rival Strategies
------------------------------------------------------------

1. "Business-as-usual" [assumption of a 1% chance of being either the dictator or a crony (which provides hope, but not dignity); and a 99% chance of losing one's dignity as an individual, and also of losing one's ability to dream of a better future for yourself and/or for your children]
------------------------------------------------------------
a) No Hope, No Dignity
probability = .99, utility = 0.0001, outcome value = 0.000099
b) Hope, No Dignity
probability = 0.01, utility = 0.2, outcome value = 0.002
c) No Hope, Dignity
probability = 0.00, utility = 0.1, outcome value = 0.0
d) Hope and Dignity
probability = 0.00, utility = 1.0, outcome value = 0.0
------------------------------------------------------------
Relative value of "Business-as-usual" strategy = 0.000099 + 0.002 + 0.0 + 0.0 = 0.002099. Of peculiar note is that there is no chance of dignity inside of a severely-collectivized society, which could have been predicted by a mere analysis of terms.
------------------------------------------------------------

2. "Get the hell out of there" [assumption of a 20% chance of hope and a 30% chance of dignity (against a backdrop 50% chance of being caught in the process but, if one were NOT caught, or even capable of being caught, it would mean a default 70% chance of hope and an 80% chance of dignity; as is readily estimated from the dutiful observation of free-living humans)]
------------------------------------------------------------
a) No Hope, No Dignity
probability = .56, utility = 0.0001, outcome value = 0.000056
b) Hope, No Dignity
probability = 0.14, utility = 0.2, outcome value = 0.028
c) No Hope, Dignity
probability = 0.24, utility = 0.1, outcome value = 0.024
d) Hope and Dignity
probability = 0.06, utility = 1.0, outcome value = 0.06
------------------------------------------------------------
Relative value of "Get the hell out of there" strategy = 0.000056 + 0.028 + 0.024 + 0.06 = 0.112056
------------------------------------------------------------

As you can conclude from the moral calculus above, it behooves the North Koreans to get themselves out of there. With conservative estimates for the prospects of being captured in the process, and/or for achieving a fulfilling life thereafter, the decision to leave (relative value = 0.112056) is 53 times more moral than is the decision to stay (relative value = 0.002099). Under circumstances such as this, no further deliberation is advised.

Now that the more weighty decisions are out of the way, next I am going to run a moral calculus regarding whether you should be parting your hair down the middle or over to the side, and about whether the TV show "Honey Boo Boo" is of net benefit to mankind. Or, alternatively, I could take suggestions for topics to be considered ...

:-)

Ed

p.s., Critics who would say I shouldn't joke while people across the world are suffering from collectivist-overreach really need to listen to themselves.
(Edited by Ed Thompson on 5/19, 9:23am)




Post 8

Saturday, May 18 - 8:11pmSanction this postReply
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Argh!! I'm fuxored! My whole HEAD is one big part! I mean how does one go about parting his hair down the middle or the side when he is completely bald!! Damn..almost sounds like a zen question!



Post 9

Monday, May 20 - 6:31pmSanction this postReply
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:-)



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