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Comment: Re:The only good thing (Score 1) 511

You're still not approaching it from the RISK MITIGATION angle, which is the only thing that matters in this discussion.

Really? The only thing? Well, I'm glad you're hear to hand down some more 'sensibleness' like that.

To continue to argue against this point is to say people should take drugs if the statistics say it's mostly harmless.

Where have I said that? This is the second time you have made that assertion of me and I state, again, that I am not making a recommendation either for or against. I am pointing out the fallacies that you cling to. If an activity of any sort is misunderstood, misrepresented or poorly researched then you cannot make an informed decision about it. You are poorly informed. Clearly you find me saying that offensive.

Let me be plain. I do not think people _should_ do anything. I think that it is reasonable to let people make their own decisions and to assist them in making the best decisions by making sure they have accurate information and are capable of informed consent. That includes driving in traffic, using caffeine, taking antibiotics or using recreational drugs.

They test the materials for their tolerances. Then they build as far away from the thresholds as is physically and financially and ethically/legally possible.

So you are saying that first they thoroughly understand the materials they are working with, research the matter and then decide whether something is too risky to proceed, or whether it is safe enough? That sounds sensible. Why do you object so much when I suggest that this might be a good model for assessing drug use?

In the case of recreational drugs, NOT DOING IT is a completely REASONABLE decision regardless of the statistics because it DOESN'T COST YOU ANYTHING.

Friend, you drink tea. Therefore you use a recreational drug (caffeine). It has very few side effects and most people can use it sensibly and without addiction. A few do not. Clearly you have made the cost/benefit and risk/reward analysis and decided that, for you, tea is an acceptable recreational drug. In fact, you probably don't even consider it a drug because it is so socially acceptable and you are clearly incapable of objectivity (on this matter at least).

Fearmongering is not reasonable, no matter how you capitalise it. You have seen some examples of people who have used drugs and who have had their lives 'ruined'. You have chosen to blame drugs, even though most evidence shows that people who do struggle with drug addiction do so because they have deeper problems in their lives. By blaming the drug and asserting that "NOT DOING IT" "DOESN"T COST YOU ANYTHING" you get to ignore whether they are struggling with mental illnesses, whether their lives are so bleak and hollow that the temporary respite of narcotics is worth the escape, regardless of the price. You get to sit in lofty judgement and continue to deliver your homilies on how easy choosing not to use is. You refuse to accept the possibility that you may be wrong on a topic that you continue to demonstrate you have next to no experience in or with, and yet cling to your ignorance as a defence against having to consider that life might not be so black and white as you'd like.
 

Fucking hell drug users have the most inane justifications for their failures.

And you have the most self-righteous justification for your success. I get that you worked hard to get where you are, and I truly am happy that your life is going well. Being the child of poor migrants cannot have been easy, and it is to your credit that you have succeeded as well as you have. But hard work alone is not enough. Whether you realise it or not, your success is also dependent on a large number of factors over which you had no control. I know many people who have worked hard and continue to work hard who have not had your success. Difficult as your life may have been, others face greater difficulties. Perhaps they aren't as smart as you, perhaps they didn't have access to the education that you had. It sounds like your parents encouraged and taught you the value of saving and working hard. Not everyone has parents that can or will do that. Some have parents that abused them. Some have worked hard and then had chance take that from them. An accident. An illness.
By seeing drug abuse (not drug use - you continue to conflate the two) as the _cause_ of the problem and not a symptom, you get to maintain your moral superiority and to assert that their problems would go away if they just didn't take drugs. How simple. Why don't they just do it? Other people have tried to tell you how smug, self-congratulatory and unsympathetic that sounds. I'll go further. Your position is childish, selfish and ill-educated. Grow up. Seriously.
 

Teaching kids to not do something that is ENTIRELY VOLUNTARY is not "incomplete" or "incorrect".

Teaching them that 10% of drug users ruin their lives is. That's a statistic you just made up. Go on, back it up. Educate yourself. Try and find some real statistics on drug use vs drug abuse.

You realise that alcohol is a drug, right? That in small doses it is pleasant and even has some positive health benefits. Too much, too often and it is harmful. Dependency is harmful and addiction is harmful. It is responsible to teach people the facts and then to assist them in making informed decisions. You have chosen not to drink alcohol. That's your decision - but it's not the only 'correct' decision. Banning alcohol didn't work in the US. In fact, it caused more problems than it solved. Countries like Portugal have legalised and decriminalised a number of drugs and have seen a drop in usage as well as the associated problems of creating a black market for drugs (like crime).

Prohibition, scare tactics, misinformation and teaching people to 'just say no' have been shown again and again not to work. Accurate information, support for people who are struggling with substance abuse and a destigmatisation including decriminalisation have been shown to be far more effective.

Most people can handle caffeine. Most people can handle alcohol. Most people can handle a wide range of substances because their lives are generally good. The people who struggle with dependence and addiction do so not (entirely) because of the substance but because of the other factors in their lives.

I do not advocate taking drugs. I advocate making an informed choice based on accurate information. In all things. Like whether I drink tea or not, whether I drive in heavy traffic or not, whether a cider or two at the end of the week is acceptable or not.

I've seen people ruin their lives with alcohol. I've seen people ruin their lives with gambling. I've seen people ruin their lives chasing sex. Addiction and addictive behaviours are destructive. Alcohol isn't. Gambling isn't. Sex isn't.

Driving is "ENTIRELY VOLUNTARY" and has a higher death rate, per year, than all illegal drugs combined, so clearly teaching kids to "NOT DO IT" is entirely "REASONABLE" and "DOESN'T COST YOU ANYTHING". I mean, that's "RISK MITIGATION" and teaching anything else is "BULLSHIT" reasoning. Or, perhaps, you have made the assessment that given your knowledge of yourself, the benefits of driving outweigh the risks and that you can take steps to minimise or manage the risks that do exist and so driving is a reasonable choice for you to make. Not, perhaps, for someone who doesn't know how to drive (like me), but reasonable for you. Recreational drugs range from those that enhance certain faculties (like focus and attention), mitigate negatives (pain for the opiates, sleep for amphetamines) or provide profound new insights (like hallucinogens). Some are toxic in high doses. Some will rapidly reduce in effect if taken too frequently. Some will impair functions. Some will cause dependence if used to frequently. These are all risks that can be managed and minimised by people who are well informed and acting reasonably. Clearly you have chosen that the benefits do not outweigh the risks. That's perfectly reasonable. What is not reasonable is to insist that there are no benefits to anyone else and to claim that any risk is too much. _Everything_ has a risk of harm associated with it. Standing up (you might fall down), eating food (it might be tainted), breathing (you might catch something). You have an exaggerated estimation of both the risk and the harm of drug use because you fail to distinguish between 'sensible' us and abuse. My attempts to highlight this have been met with hostility and now swearing. We are no longer having a meaningful or useful conversation.

Be well.

Comment: Re:The only good thing (Score 1) 511

Teachers have a responsibility to impart sensibleness to their students

Teachers have a responsibility to educate. Ideally that includes the ability to reason, which is what I really hope you mean when you say 'impart sensibleness'. To the extent that they are imparting incorrect (by way of being incomplete) information they are failing as educators.
 

It shouldn't even matter about the actual statistics

Are you seriously arguing that the facts don't matter, so long as the message gets through? I'm sorry but the actual statistics most certainly matter. You claim that drug use is bad because some people who use drugs have terrible lives. I am trying to show you that until you know the actual population of drug users, their usage patterns and a host of other 'statistics' then you can't possibly make reasoned and informed decisions about whether 'drugs' are 'bad', whether they are causative or co-symptomatic, or any of the other positions you so blindly assert.
 

As long a sizeable percentage of drug users ruin their lives

You don't know that it is a "sizeable percentage" (whatever that means). You have your opinions based on what you have seen/read/found-out and from what you are saying, I am becoming more and more convinced that for all you 'love' of science, you actually have a fairly poor understanding of the scientific method. What you have is anecdotal. At best it is horribly biased.
 

Yes, because there is a physical reality that is true regardless of the statistics. Driving involves small humans and huge metal machines. Anyone with a sensible ability to use logic and reason about physics should be able to make a safe decision.

The reality of road conditions? Of other drivers' abilities? Of traffic conditions? All of these (should) go into making decisions about driving. you know about these because they are reported on accurately and in depth. You can, therefore, make an informed decision about the risk of driving. I am learning to drive. Consequently, assessing my own abilities and the state of Parramatta Rd at peak hour, I choose not to drive there. That's an informed choice based on (reasonably) accurate information. Now assume that you don't know the state of the roads, that the only reports you have of traffic conditions are sensational reports of traffic accidents and the only information you have about other drivers is that a "sizeable percentage" ruin their lives by having traffic accidents. Regardless of my self-assessment, in the light of such poor information about "physical reality" I am not able to make an informed assessment of risk.
 

It shouldn't take statistics to reason that messing about with your brain chemistry is not a good thing to do

Woah there, that's a very different argument. You have gone from asserting that drugs are bad because "most", I mean "a sizeable percentage", I mean 'the statistics don't matter' people end up ruining their lives to now asserting that drugs are bad because they mess with your brain chemistry and that they are a waste of money.

Given your ... cavalier attitude towards the importance of fair sampling and statistics, I'm not certain that you're qualified to be talking about brain chemistry. Would you like to dignify your position with an argument, rather than an assertion? Many drugs have very well known and studied effects - it's hardly 'messing around' and while you assert that this is 'not a good thing to do', you don't say why.

Some people are moved by the music they listen to. They weep over tragic arias, beam with happiness over something upbeat and catchy. Their mood is altered by music, they are, therefore "messing ... with [their] brain chemistry". Is this "not a good thing to do"?

Some people seek out excitement - thrill seekers. Anything from extreme sports to simply going on a roller-coaster. The adrenaline from the thrill alters their brain chemistry, alters their mood, is literally mind-altering. Some people are addicted to thrill seeking. Some of these people die from seeking ever greater thrills. Is thrill seeking bad, or is the addiction bad?

Throughout the course of human history humans have used alcohol, sometimes for entirely recreational purposes. A very, very small percentage of these people end up addicted and with their lives ruined. Is this the fault of the alcohol, or the addiction?

As to your 'waste of money' - I'm sure that the hobbies and/or interests that you enjoy would seem a complete waste of money to me, if I were condescending and completely lacking in empathy. People value different things to you. They spend money differently to you.

Not all drug users end up with ruined lives. Not all ruined lives are caused by drugs. Not all drug users are addicts. Not all addicts use drugs. You keep conflating these and refusing to accept that you are doing so based on faulty reasoning.

Comment: Re:The only good thing (Score 1) 511

So you think I should take drugs if it doesn't present a danger to a statistically significant majority of people?

Not at all. I am challenging your assertion that teachers should demonise marijuana because "most" of those who use it do "nothing with their lives ...".

A "great many people" die in traffic accidents every year. Yet I dare say you still travel by road (whether you drive, cycle or use public transport). You have assessed the risk and take steps (I presume) to maximise your safety. Now imagine if driving were forbidden. Illegal. Unreported. If the newspapers only every reported on the sordid death of another person in a road fatality. Would you be as able to properly assess the personal risk of driving under such (ridiculous, I know, but I'm trying to make a point) circumstances?

I am not advocating for or against drug use. I'm pointing out that your position that the majority of drug use leads to "doing nothing with their lives" or other problems is drawn from a very biased set of data.

Your personal decision to use or not use drugs is entirely your own. Your assumptions about the use of others are flawed.

Comment: Re:The only good thing (Score 1) 511

I see people on marijuana who can't think coherently

Given your obvious opinion on the topic, the only people who don't keep their drug use hidden from you are those who are completely incoherent.

For someone who claims to 'love science' you certainly don't seem to understand the problem with things like confirmation bias and drawing conclusions from non-random sampling.

It's very difficult to properly estimate drug usage due to its illegality and the social stigma surrounding it. Without knowing how many people are using (and to what degree) then any conclusions you draw based on those who _are_ visible are going to be grossly inaccurate. You clearly have strong opinions on the matter and have made several assertions - can you cite reputable studies to back up those claims, or are you relying on (very fallible) personal experience?

Comment: Re:Gun nuts (Score 1) 1374

by another_twilight (#46895601) Attached to: "Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

The 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees that each citizen has the right to keep and bear arms

That seems to be the gist of it

for self-defense

... and that's one (perhaps even the most common) interpretation. Argument about the intent seems lively.

 

there are people in the US who fear the things so much, they want to restrict who can and cannot have a firearm

and

There are only a very few obvious prohibitions, namely against convicted felons

is an interesting juxtaposition - at least to an outside observer (caveat, I'm not from the US). They did their time, served their sentence, why should they be denied a right granted them in the Constitution? If you can justify why one group should be denied such a right, then it simply becomes a game of 'norming' where the line between the haves and have-nots gets drawn. Either it's a right or it's not. Either it applies to all or you end up negotiating who does and does not get that right.

There is a route by which this can be accomplished, but it would require amending the US Constitution,

Or working around it, such as the restrictions that apply to felons.

Comment: Re:Did this really happen? (Score 1) 109

by another_twilight (#46752241) Attached to: Inside the Stolen Smartphone Black Market In London

So the BBC showed that a call center worker would record the cc numbers of callers if they were paid (and were told it was for the BBC?). How is that not a problem? What's to stop me, for example, calling that worker and paying for some cc numbers - even if I have to claim i work for the BBC?

Comment: Re:Don't forget Ananias (Score 2) 537

And Zeus lives in Olympus, Odin in Valhalla (when he's not wandering amongst us), Horus is in the sky (at least we can see His presence) and Russell's teapot is in orbit. We have as much evidence for each of these as we do for Yahweh, Jehovah, Jesus etc. Why do you believe in the version of God you do? Is it just a matter of needing to believe in something and that Christianity is 'good enough'?

You are correct, I cannot disprove the existence of your god. Or of Lugh, Coyote or Quetzalcoatl. You do believe in them, too, right?

Comment: Re:Hysteria! (Score 1) 274

by another_twilight (#45032417) Attached to: Asian Giant Hornets Kill 42 People In China, Injure Over 1,500

And you believe your *inset nation* will handle things any differently ...?

Australia. Poisonous insect, you say? That'll make a change from the poisonous spiders, reptiles and monotremes. Oh, and jellyfish. And octopus. And toads (although they are an import and more dangerous to pets than humans) ...

Comment: Re:God says... (Score 1, Interesting) 157

by another_twilight (#44569635) Attached to: MIT Research: Encryption Less Secure Than We Thought

Which god? Zeus? Odin? Quetzacoatl? Given the differences between some people's definitions of what 'god' is, I am unconvinced of the 'all aspects of the one divinity' argument, so before we start playing 'what if' let's establish what you mean when you say 'God' and why we should accord that definition primacy over another.

The thought exercise you pose is little different to any one of the form that posits a state of being where your senses are fooled so that you cannot perceive the true reality - brain-in-a-jar, plugged-into-the-Matrix, figment-of-a-dreaming-god. The answer is the same in all cases - if the environment I perceive is consistent, if the illusion is complete, then the difference that makes no difference is no difference. The 'glitches in the Matrix', the 'glimpses of the divine' are less likely to be cracks in the slightly-less-than-perfect-illusion and more likely a figment of our imperfect perception and/or cognition.

If we are figments of a gods imagination, then it is either indifferent or malicious. The mental gymnastics required to claim that a beinn who keeps us in ignorance whilst imbuing us with reason and curiosity is benign are ridiculous.

Comment: Re:Ubermensch (Score 1) 3

by another_twilight (#44183649) Attached to: 130701 (La Jolla, CA, 92037, war v7.034)

Ah, yes. your current obsession. Accusing and imagining the people around you engaged in perverse sex acts. You attribute to others behaviour that lets you dehumanise them and feel superior to them. Given that, socially speaking, you are about as close to zero as it is possible to be, the 'crimes' that you must invent for _you_ to feel superior need to be heinous. It's telling that most of what you project is sexual in nature.

I mean, no accusations of cannibalism? That's a classic, historical crime with which to paint your enemies prior to whipping yourself into a frenzy of moral outrage. There's the odd half-hearted claim that 'they'/'we' worship false gods - I guess devil-worship has just fallen out of style these days.

Several times a week, sometimes every day you have another rage-filled rant filled with lascivious details about the perversions of the people you see. So while neither of us engages in sex with animals, one of us spends most of his day thinking about it. Writing about it. Describing, out loud, what he thinks is happening when two people walk past. Oh, I know, it's not your fault. I mean, you wouldn't have all those thoughts or get so hot and flustered if there weren't so many dogs being paraded past you, to tease and haunt you - right?

Comment: Re:Hmm... (Score 1) 101

by another_twilight (#43145239) Attached to: The Manti Te'o of Physics

You can't have a meaningful dialogue with someone who is lying.

It's not money you are spending, it's your time. This is the classic Gambler's Fallacy with, I dare say, a touch of the "I'm not going to find anything/anyone else". Without knowing more I'm going to take a punt and suggest it's not her you like or care for but an idealisation that you have built. Perhaps a 'potential her' or 'she as she might be'. While you are pouring your life into this you are missing opportunities that might actually bear fruit.

If you are talking about it, that's fantastic. Keep at it. Talk to people you can trust. Part of you is concerned. Nurture that part.

In any event, may I suggest you take a break. Find another escort and see her regularly enough to get over the 'strange and new'. See if and how that changes your perspective and how your current companion reacts.

Comment: Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (Score 1) 202

by another_twilight (#42343413) Attached to: Google Brings the Dead Sea Scrolls To the Digital Age
Thanks for your reasoned and informative reply.

I've read the bible. Several versions (raised Christian). I've read parts of the Quran - not the whole thing. I've a nodding familiarity with most of the major faiths, a fair chunk of various sects and 'heresies' and various philosophies.
I've seen suggestions that god is the system. That god is the universe. That god is the indefinable 'something' that arises out of the complexity of sufficiently advanced systems. It's not new. It's not particularly radical. It may be new to you and if so I wish you well exploring the idea and the implications. The quest for knowledge is more important than the answers you find, IMHO, just don't get too attached - the Dao you can see is not the true Dao, don't you know.

I am not asking for citations expressing these ideas or sentiments. I am asking, specifically, for something to back up the claim that 'Science' has identified something akin to a hive mind and that this is god.

To your implication - you can skim religions looking for common elements. You'll find rules of communal behaviour, standards of ethics and morality and the like and from them you can try to extract a kind of unified meta religion. What you end up with says more about the basic necessities of humans living with each other in groups larger than tribe or small village than about any underlying universal truth.

You can also try and find the minimal definition for 'god' that doesn't contradict any of the big monotheisms which isn't too hard as they have all influenced each other and/or absorbed traits of the others. But even that fairly broad sketch has to be made very vague before you get to the point where you can say that a modern version of the 'universal unconscious' is the 'god' that the major religions describe.

Want to get a buzz contemplating your part in a system that may already be exhibiting signs of order at a level beyond the one at which you are personally aware? Go for it. Try to claim that 'science' has 'identified god' and I'm going to suggest that your need for 'proof' to bolster your own lack of faith is manifesting as aggression when questioned or challenged.

Or maybe you're just an Internet Tough Guy. Who knows?

Comment: Re:Are we any smarter than we were 2000 years ago? (Score 4, Informative) 202

by another_twilight (#42333033) Attached to: Google Brings the Dead Sea Scrolls To the Digital Age

completely incorrect

Science

fact

These words do not mean what you think they mean.

I love systems that give rise to emergent behaviour at sufficient levels of complexity. I have no problem seeing the interactions of people as giving rise (having already started to give rise?) to something like this. I'm not sure if that's what you mean by a 'spirit of consciousness', but it's the most ... generous interpretation I can come up with.

In any event calling that 'god' is ignoring the very different definition of that word that most people have and comes across as dishonest. I would be interested in a citation or link to what you are claiming as 'fact'.

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