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Will National Review post my refutation of its understanding of economics?

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David Roemer posted on Wed, Apr 6 2011 9:35 AM

 

National Review Online has the policy of monitoring the comments posted by readers. One of its senior editors (Ramesh Ponnuru) wrote a long article about the economy that was published on April 6. This was my comment:   

I told the following true story to Murray Rothbard, a famous economist, who expressed no surprise at what I told him: In the late 1960s I audited a course in economics at New York University given by Israel Kirzner. Some years later, I took a course titled “Macroeconomics” at Pace University given by a Ph.D. in economics, whose name I forget. His thesis advisor was Kirzner. He was proud that Kirzner was his advisor because Kirzner had a big reputation in economics. It is relevant to this story that both Kirzner and the Pace teacher were Orthodox Jewish guys.

One day in class, I told the Pace teacher that macroeconomics was a lot of hogwash. He replied that all economists believed in macroeconomics. I said that Kirzner didn’t. The professor replied that Kirzner just didn’t do research in macroeconomics. His field was microeconomics, said the admirer and friend of Kirzner.  

This is my way of saying this article is a lot of hogwash, and that Kirzner, Rothbard, and Ludwig von Mises would agree with me. 

David Roemer

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"My evidence is this:

1) Liberals are irrational about evolution, as my essay "Why Are Liberals Liberals?" argues. 

2) Liberals don't know or pretend they don't know the cosmological proof of God's existence. 

3) Liberals think macroeconomics makes sense."

I think liberals are more interested in being part of the "liberal club", so to speak, than having any specific understanding of those topics. I say that because the conversations I've had with liberals end up with them conceding a few points, only to rearticulate them exactly the same way the next time we talk. They're playing a part, the lines to which they've rehearsed for years. They won't change their script for me, or for logical consistency's sake.

That's not to say, for example, that I don't accept evolution to be scientifically valid. Rather that many non-scientists who believe in evolution do so for unscientific reasons.

Edit: "But thinking that humans evolved from animals..."

How would you define "animal" so as to exclude humans from the definition?

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I think liberals are more interested in being part of the "liberal club", so to speak, than having any specific understanding of those topics. I say that because the conversations I've had with liberals end up with them conceding a few points, only to rearticulate them exactly the same way the next time we talk. They're playing a part, the lines to which they've rehearsed for years. They won't change their script for me, or for logical consistency's sake.

That's not to say, for example, that I don't accept evolution to be scientifically valid. Rather that many non-scientists who believe in evolution do so for unscientific reasons.

Agreed. It's all about social signaling. Which makes a lot of sense...from an evolutionary perspective.

I will break in the doors of hell and smash the bolts; there will be confusion of people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall bring up the dead to eat food like the living; and the hosts of dead will outnumber the living.
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Humans are rational animals. Rationality includes free will and conscious knowledge, which are not scientific concepts. We can comprehend free will, but we can't define it. Humans are embodied spirits. 

True science is that the bodies of human beings evolved from animals. Their souls were created by God. My Youtube video (The Truth About Evolution and Religion)  has a quote from Stephen Jay Gould admitting this.

David Roemer

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David Roemer:

Humans are rational animals. Rationality includes free will and conscious knowledge, which are not scientific concepts.

Please define "rational" how you are using it here.  Your usage of the word does not align with my definition so in order to further the conversation I need to better understand how you are using this word.

David Roemer:

We can comprehend free will, but we can't define it. Humans are embodied spirits.

Define "free will".  Your usage doesn't match my definition.

David Roemer:

True science is that the bodies of human beings evolved from animals. Their souls were created by God.

This assumes that humans have souls.  Please provide your premises for this conclusion.

David Roemer:

My Youtube video (The Truth About Evolution and Religion)  has a quote from Stephen Jay Gould admitting this.

This is an appeal to authority (Stephen Jay Gould).  Please provide an argument for why the quote is true rather than just stating it's author.

NOTE: To anyone else following this thread I am about to embark in a discussion with David on this topic that some of you will likely not enjoy reading.  I recommend the "Stop Following" link to the right rather than derailing the discussion with appeals to ridicule.

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Humans are rational animals.

Most vertebrates are rational and intentional. They're not as developed, specialized or powerful as humans in many areas but they certain do form plans, have ideas, think about things and engage in purposeful action. As John Searle has said, it is exacltly the same thing for my dog to think someone is at a door as it is for me to think someone is at the door. The fact that I have more complicated and specialized additional concepts tied into someone being at the door is because I am smarter and evolved for human society, but that is a difference of degree and not of kind.

Blue Jays can do math, for Christ's sake. What an ignorant, pre-critical mythology you ascribe to.

Rationality includes free will and conscious knowledge, which are not scientific concepts.

Rationality does not entail 'free will' (whatever the Hell that is supposed to mean) any more than it entails squared circles. In fact these are contradictions. Rationality includes awareness of environment, which is at least partly a product of recursive pattern systems in the brain and is, in any case, a causal product of the material structure of our bodies. Conscious knowledge is a perfectly scientific concept, both in the ontic and logical senses; try reading up on Doxastic logic some time. All 'knowledge' is is integrated pattern consistency in our brains.

We can comprehend free will, but we can't define it.

You can't define it because it doesn't exist. You've basically just admitted you literally do not know what you are talking about. Not that such an admission was necessary, since it is patent.

Humans are embodied spirits. 

You may as well have said that humans are embodied Fnords. The word 'spirit' makes no sense in the magical sense which Christians use it, and 'embodied' is just an empty term you use to circumvent the obviously physical nature of awareness.

True science is that the bodies of human beings evolved from animals. Their souls were created by God. My Youtube video (The Truth About Evolution and Religion)  has a quote from Stephen Jay Gould admitting this.

True science is not using magic as an explanation, because it's not. You are almost certainly misquoting Gould, but in any case this is an appeal to authority and a lame authority at that. Gould has admitted that he lets his ideology steer what scientific views he will even consider. Congratulations, you're following in his foot steps.

 

 

I will break in the doors of hell and smash the bolts; there will be confusion of people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall bring up the dead to eat food like the living; and the hosts of dead will outnumber the living.
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"Humans are rational animals. Rationality includes free will and conscious knowledge, which are not scientific concepts. We can comprehend free will, but we can't define it. Humans are embodied spirits."

While I think that rationality does require the ability to imagine possible futures and select among them, the brain relies on deterministic processes to do so. That's why if we damage specific areas in the brain, we can lead to specific operational deficiencies. I know you say free will is undefinable, but to me that just means "unfalsifiable".

"True science is that the bodies of human beings evolved from animals. Their souls were created by God. My Youtube video (The Truth About Evolution and Religion)  has a quote from Stephen Jay Gould admitting this."

Are you also saying that true science includes researching whether souls exist and are created by a deity? I could see philosophers tackling the question, but I don't know what experiment a scientist would run for either point.

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This is the quote from Stephan Jay Gould, who describes himself as an agnostic, but who I call a liberal or atheist or humanist:

“Catholics could believe whatever science determined about the evolution of the human body, so long as they accepted that, at some time of his choosing, God had infused the soul into such a creature. I also knew that I had no problem with this statement, for whatever my private beliefs about souls, science cannot touch such a subject and therefore cannot be threatened by any theological position on such a legitimately and intrinsically religious issue. “(Stephen Jay Gould, “Nonoverlapping Magisteria,” Natural History, March 1997, 13th paragraph)

Gould is talking out of both sides of his mouth. This is typical of liberals. For example, they deny that humans have free will. Yet, they live their lives as if they had free will: they feel guilty when they do something wrong, they apologize, and they promise not to do it again. Just as if they were responsible for their actions. Only in metaphysical debates, when someone is proving that God exists, do liberals say free will is an illusion or demand a definition of free will.

Body and soul are the metaphysical concepts of form and matter applied to humans. The soul is the principle that makes humans equal to each other, andthe body is the principle that makes humans different from one another. The human soul is spiritual because what put us in the same category of being is our free will and conscious knowledge. Since free will can’t be defined, it is absurd to say “free will evolved” or “human beings evolved.”

 

David Roemer

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1. There is no definable way to seperate man from animal, other than as a matter of degree.  So, idk what's so iirational about it.

2. I know the cosmological proof (sic) and I think it is nonsense based on nonsensical terms.

3. I don't think any economics makes sense.

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

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Laotzu de Zinn claims to know the cosmological proof of God's existence. We can take him at his word because he doesn't say the proof has a logical flaw. He is only saying that the proof is based on concepts which can't be defined. 

It is quite true that there is no definable way to distinguish animals from humans. Humans are a different class of being than animals because of nondefinable and nonscientific concepts. Man is an indefinability that becomes conscious of its own existence. Another way of putting it is that humans are embodied spirits. 

 

David Roemer

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Ricky James Moore II:
I prefer the modern English Shakespeare. I can read Milton and Shakespeare, and even Chaucer, but it's not worth it. The sentential structure and elements of the words are just too different to make it fun; especially because I don't really like fiction that much to begin with.

For me, reading classic western fiction is like reading non-fiction, because I'm mostly interested in the historical and ethnographic insights that can be gleaned from it.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
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Daniel James Sanchez:

Ricky James Moore II:
I prefer the modern English Shakespeare. I can read Milton and Shakespeare, and even Chaucer, but it's not worth it. The sentential structure and elements of the words are just too different to make it fun; especially because I don't really like fiction that much to begin with.

For me, reading classic western fiction is like reading non-fiction, because I'm mostly interested in the historical and ethnographic insights that can be gleaned from it.

That is somewhat true for me of the classical stuff like Euripides, but that has been translated into modern English. I really wish people would stop translating the Bible and Aristotle, etc. into a kind of English no one has spoken in three hundred years. It's bizarre.
I will break in the doors of hell and smash the bolts; there will be confusion of people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall bring up the dead to eat food like the living; and the hosts of dead will outnumber the living.
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I really wish people would stop translating the Bible and Aristotle, etc. into a kind of English no one has spoken in three hundred years. It's bizarre.

*Puts down his copy of the 1611 King James Bible*

You're right especially about Aristotle. It's a disservice to couch his rhetoric in obscurant terms that people are liable to misinterpret. I see this happening all the time. But what annoys me more is when people approach Aristotle from just the perspective of political science and analyze him in terms of his political thought.

News flash: You can't separate his metaphysics and ethics from his politics, and so of course if you read him purely for his politics and ignore the foundations on which they are built, then it'll sail over your head; and you'll end up erecting a crude strawman that can be burned to the ground in two seconds flat. That being said, while Aristotle provides valuable insights, I really don't care for his oh-so-Greek view of the community. (Again a metaphysical issue of particulars versus universals)

“Remove justice,” St. Augustine asks, “and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a large scale? What are criminal gangs but petty kingdoms?”
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MrSchnapps:

I really wish people would stop translating the Bible and Aristotle, etc. into a kind of English no one has spoken in three hundred years. It's bizarre.

*Puts down his copy of the 1611 King James Bible*

You're right especially about Aristotle. It's a disservice to couch his rhetoric in obscurant terms that people are liable to misinterpret. I see this happening all the time. But what annoys me more is when people approach Aristotle from just the perspective of political science and analyze him in terms of his political thought.

News flash: You can't separate his metaphysics and ethics from his politics, and so of course if you read him purely for his politics and ignore the foundations on which they are built, then it'll sail over your head; and you'll end up erecting a crude strawman that can be burned to the ground in two seconds flat. That being said, while Aristotle provides valuable insights, I really don't care for his oh-so-Greek view of the community. (Again a metaphysical issue of particulars versus universals)

Agree agree agree.
I will break in the doors of hell and smash the bolts; there will be confusion of people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall bring up the dead to eat food like the living; and the hosts of dead will outnumber the living.
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You're right especially about Aristotle. It's a disservice to couch his rhetoric in obscurant terms that people are liable to misinterpret. I see this happening all the time. But what annoys me more is when people approach Aristotle from just the perspective of political science and analyze him in terms of his political thought.

News flash: You can't separate his metaphysics and ethics from his politics, and so of course if you read him purely for his politics and ignore the foundations on which they are built, then it'll sail over your head; and you'll end up erecting a crude strawman that can be burned to the ground in two seconds flat. That being said, while Aristotle provides valuable insights, I really don't care for his oh-so-Greek view of the community. (Again a metaphysical issue of particulars versus universals)

Correct

"I am not an ego along with other egos, but the sole ego: I am unique. Hence my wants too are unique, and my deeds; in short, everything about me is unique" Max Stirner
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