Re: [atheists-27] Use of Meetup Email List

From: Chad
Sent on: Sunday, March 17, 2013 10:46 AM
Zach,
Your fixation on a self-based society is almost an oxymoron is it not?
Is society not based on association with one's fellows with a shared interest in prosperity, equal justice, and the rule of law?
Chad Albus








Mathew Goldstein <[address removed]> wrote:

It is called evidence. If the evidences show that walls are hard, that hard objects with a velocity harm us when they strike us, then we decide not to walk into walls. If we add the experience of gravity then we don't walk past cliffs.  We generalize this concept and follow the evidences wherever they take us. We experience grievous harms in history, and to prevent those harms we create rights from the bottom up, working from instances of recognized injustices.  Again, we generalize this approach for all our goals, including health, safety, and prosperity.  If it works we do it, if it fails we don't do it.  That is the bottom line, that is the primary "ideology".

On Mar 17, 2013, at 9:57 AM, Zach Moore <[address removed]> wrote:

Out of respect for everyone else on this email list, I'm not going to list all the inefficiencies and unintended consequences of government.  regulation. I'm not going to cite the examples of policies protecting a select few at the expense of others. I'm not going to give examples proving the point that a good practice always beats a bad practice in the long run win people are free for coercion. And I'm not going to show the similarities between a secular use of force to imprison dissenters and the religious use of force to burn heretics. Instead I'm going to use a logical question. If you are an atheist, just who decides what is good for you? Can you give me a name? Can you point to this person?

On Mar 17,[masked]:43 AM, "Mathew Goldstein" <[address removed]> wrote:
A combination of safety feature mandates for vehicles sold in the US, crash testing and tire rating mandates, driver licensing testing, vehicle owner insurance mandates, driver mandates, vehicle inspection mandates, police and courts who enforce fines, license revocations, and other penalties for violators, have almost certainly contributed to a significant decline in vehicle related fatalities since 1979. Similar benefits for the environment, particularly air quality, appear to have resulted from coercive government environmental related mandates on vehicles sold and operated in the US.  Without coercive enforcement of best practices to protect safety and the environment via government mandates on the manufacturers of vehicles the outcomes on these measures today would most likely be substantially worse.

Limited government is very important for human rights, and government tends to be inefficient because it isn't held accountable for inefficiency by continuous, local competition.  But a perspective that optimal public policy is all about minimizing coercion on citizens from government is too one dimensional.  We want multiple comforts, including prosperity, safety, health, justice, etc.  

Nor is government the only potential enemy of individual liberty.  Sometimes we have turned to government to defend individual liberty (as with anti-discrimination laws) from non-government actors (in this case business owners) who unjustly seek to limit the opportunities of a subset other citizens to contribute to the overall economy (the employees). 

Most people seek to strike a balance between competing goals which requires compromising.  "Balance" is a concept that has a major role in achieving good public policy.  So, for example, the anti-discrimination laws are mostly inapplicable to small businesses because policy-makers understood that there is a cost-benefit trade-off and they decided that the compliance costs would be too high for small businesses (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act only applies to businesses with at least 15 employees).

On Mar 16, 2013, at 11:25 PM, Zach Moore <[address removed]> wrote:

Joseph, religious people are a tax on society, not for the reasons of their prohibitions, but because they prohibit. I'll be honest, I'd prefer a society that allowed everyone to discriminate including customers and allowed car owners to.design cars for.consumers (with or without the seatbelt).

Sorry if this is troubling for.you but you can't control people who don't want to be control.

On Mar 15,[masked]:28 PM, "Joseph B" <[address removed]> wrote:
Zach, I'm assuming out of the numerous positions outlined by Don, these two are the most pertinent to your argument:  

Solar Energy in DC
Germans install solar energy systems on residential roofs for about $2 per peak watt. In DC multiple vendors are able to do it for $4 per peak watt or slightly less. A major difference is that in Germany there are no required permits and inspections reducing costs by about $2,000 on average. There is a web based form that needs to be filled in no more than two hours. A German installation is typically done in two weeks or less. The complexity of the American process can requires much more time and higher profit margins. What would you advocate to bring DC costs down to something closer to the average in Germany?

 Net Zero Buildings
Mayor Grey has released an impressive Sustainable DC plan. It says that almost 75% of the energy in DC is consumed by buildings(p 58) primarily for heating, lighting and air conditioning. There is a goal of requiring all new building to be netzero by 2025. That means that the building produces as much or more energy than it consumes. There is the further goal of retrofitting all existing and multi-family buildings to be netzero by 2032. The plan notes DC's first passive house in Deanwood which meets a very high standard of energy efficiency. What policies would you recommend for DC to address energy efficient buildings?

Of those two, the top portion asking for less regulation should be amenable with your position. I'm assuming "requiring" all new net zero buildings by 2025 is the one you disagree with according to the principle "Controlling people is much worse for the "environment" than any of the consequences of those people's actions."

Unfortunately, what you've failed to realize is you're essentially taking popular narratives and asking us to accept their truth precisely because they're "self-evident". Other examples of this type of thinking includes: 

- Kids today are total morons compared to their predecessors. 

- professors know nothing useful but theories. 

- All politicians are corrupt and greedy.  

There is no further need to examine data. There's no need to look at evidence. it is always the case because it's a popular narrative and it must be true. 
So "forcing" car makers for example, to create every new car with a seatbelt has now made everyone worse off... 

"Forcing" a racist employer who only wants to hire white people has now made society worse off.  

In these two specific instances I suppose you'd prefer if the government took an "advisory" role... as in we advice you to create seatbelts. We advice you not to marry 7 year old girls. We advice you not to discriminate.  

At some point Zach, seriously examine the truth of your narratives. This either/or all or nothing thinking that fails to see nuance and understand gray areas is precisely the type of thinking that religious folks tend to have..... 


Let the flame wars begin :) 

Joe. 



On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 5:10 PM, Zach Moore <[address removed]> wrote:

Let's just make something clear. Controlling people is much worse for the "environment" than any of the consequences of those people's actions. As long as you remit yourself to the position of advice giver and not slave master of the public good, then y'all should feel free to rhapsodize all you want about the environment and your own personal initiatives. 

On Mar 15,[masked]:53 PM, "Don Wharton" <[address removed]> wrote:
Yes, we do need to start thinking more deeply about how we live together. I think most of us are only slightly unhappy with the rise in food prices. Not all of us connect the dots and see that much of the rise is linked to the droughts we had last year and those droughts are what is expected with global warming AND that future impacts will be much more severe. There seems to be a consensus that agriculture in the American southwest will be in trouble. It is not as clear that the breadbasket of our nation will eventually turn into a scrub desert destroying a much bigger part of our agricultural productivity.
 
Sub-Sahara Africa has been subjected to waves of starvation in the past. Those are very likely to become worse. The IPCC reports do not project mass starvation from weather changes. The actual magnitude of precipitation will increase because a warmer atmosphere will contain more water. They do know that the water will come in bigger chunks, causing flooding. They also know that a hotter atmosphere will suck more of the moisture out of the ground which will make droughts worse. They have not put the dots together to see that our farmers will have a very tough time dealing with the changes. To some extent the efficiency of agriculture is dependent on having the expertise and investment in a given agricultural area tuned to what can be expected. When the expectations change there is no guarantee that adjustments can be made. Our Midwestern farmers can start growing cactus crops and we can import wheat from Siberia. I somehow doubt that we will find that satisfactory.
 
The IPCC reports have consistently been off the mark in their projections. Reality seems to have tracked the absolutely worst aspects of every projection that they have made. Obviously they are leaning over backwards to be careful in what they say. That carefulness has meant that the scientific consensus does not really capture the reality of how bad things will be. The instincts to be cautious and careful in the scientific reporting is, in my opinion, resulting in a systematic distortion in the magnitude of our understanding of what can be expected.
 
Don

From: Chad <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Thursday, March 14,[masked]:34 AM
Subject: Re: [atheists-27] Use of Meetup Email List




Chad Albus <[address removed]> wrote:


Ultimately, in spite of my hostility towards religion in general, I think it may be critical to start pushing a sustainable / green energy / pro-depopulation agenda across the god fearing and godless spectrum.  If we cannot form a majority within the human community that seeks to find alternatives to the production and consumption of food, population, new construction techniques, and manufacturing then we humans living today may quickly run our course and deservedly so.  People who understands nature and mankind's  good stewardship thereof more than make up for their short comings in religious belief.  A solid environmentalist, who thinks magic underwear will expedite their journey to heaven, trumps the typical SUV driving - mcmansion dwelling - plastic water bottle consuming - secularist any day.  I have never once referred a fundamentalist christian to the Origin of Species with any hope of conversion.  However, preventing human extinction through environmentalism can cut across all walks of life and mystical beliefs... I hope.

Chad Albus


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