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Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 5, Insightful) 832

by mkoenecke (#48160147) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right
That's right: for example, cost of goods sold is a deduction from gross income. So is business rent and utilities. Eliminating Schedule A itemized deductions (i.e., deductions from *net income*) is a relatively trivial simplification of the process. Sure, a flat tax may be somewhat simpler for most people who can file, say, a 1040-EZ or 1040A, but the vast, vast majority of tax issues and audits relate to what exactly constitutes net income. Can or should I deduct business-related meals? To what extent? Promotional expense? Sure, most would agree that office rent is a proper deduction, but who decides if a suite at the local ballpark for the purpose of marketing to clients is a legitimate, deductible business expense? What is the most effective way to amortize/depreciate capital assets and equipment? How about compensation? What's "reasonable?" That is indeed 99% of the complexity of the tax code, and would not be touched by a "flat tax."

Comment: Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (Score 1) 1152

by mkoenecke (#41817079) Attached to: Dr. Richard Dawkins On Why Disagreeing With Religion Isn't Insulting
Mea culpa: I now acknowledge that is not what Dawkins said in the interview. (As is practically accepted practice on Slashdot, I did not originally view the interview.) I was responding more to Dawkins's history and to what many antitheists commonly post on Slashdot. My point was, and is, that if the goal is to convince of the truth his approach is irrational. And that deploying irrational strategies to further reason is particularly ironic.

Comment: Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (Score 1) 1152

by mkoenecke (#41817007) Attached to: Dr. Richard Dawkins On Why Disagreeing With Religion Isn't Insulting
I assume the "load of rubbish" you are referring to is my statement that a true atheist should not characterize theists as ignorant hillbillies. My point is that is an irrational response to the issue: attitudes like yours do nothing to convince, but rather alienate. If your goal is to convince people of the truth, insulting them is counterproductive. And if you are not interested in convincing people of the truth, why are you bothering to engage with them at all?

Comment: Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (Score 1) 1152

by mkoenecke (#41816949) Attached to: Dr. Richard Dawkins On Why Disagreeing With Religion Isn't Insulting
It depends on what you are being accused of being ignorant of. Sure, I am profoundly ignorant of the things you are, and many, many more subjects; I have no problem admitting that. But if someone accuses me of being ignorant of basic scientific principles *because I am a theist*, that is insulting. Now, I acknowledge that is not what Dawkins said in the interview. Mea culpa: I was responding more to Dawkins's history and to what many antitheists commonly post on Slashdot.

Comment: Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (Score 2) 1152

by mkoenecke (#41806613) Attached to: Dr. Richard Dawkins On Why Disagreeing With Religion Isn't Insulting
Sorry, I should have clarified: I personally do not feel insulted. I'm well aware that many, if not most, participants on Slashdot think all theists are stupid and ignorant; that is their problem, not mine. I was commenting on how Dawkins's approach is, from a rational point of view, preaching to the choir, and utterly ineffectual in its stated purpose.

Comment: Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (Score 4, Insightful) 1152

by mkoenecke (#41805855) Attached to: Dr. Richard Dawkins On Why Disagreeing With Religion Isn't Insulting

Don't have any current mod points, so I'll just comment: quite so. Disagreeing with someone is not insulting; *insulting* someone is insulting. Dawkins does plenty of the latter. Calling theists "ignorant" is indeed insulting when said theists are well-educated (even in evolution, which I learned as an accepted fact - in Catholic school), and quite well aware of your arguments. For what it's worth, I did read "The God Delusion," and found it trite: his arguments have been answered many times over. Certainly, to an atheist, the answers are not persuasive, but it is foolish to act as though theists are ignorant of the questions posed.

I'm quite sympathetic to the atheistic worldview, but it seems to me that a true atheist would accept the "God Delusion" as as much a product of evolution as tribal instincts, and focus on the advantages of moving past such a delusion, as opposed to characterizing those subject to the "delusion" as ignorant hillbillies. Rationally speaking, that mode of argument only appeals to those who agree with you already. Dawkins is more of an antitheist, or perhaps a "theophobe."

Comment: Re:Kill XP? (Score 1) 405

by mkoenecke (#41415349) Attached to: Maybe With Help From Google and Adobe, Microsoft Can Kill Windows XP

Yes, it's the X64 version. I have that on my laptop; I have XP on my desktop. Sure, I only have about a year left of MS tech support, but I've always been my own tech support anyway and have never relied on MS. I already have a migration path mostly set for what is necessary, and am preparing for the day my desktop croaks. But I'm not in a screaming rush to replace it, either.

Comment: Re:Kill XP? (Score 1) 405

by mkoenecke (#41386297) Attached to: Maybe With Help From Google and Adobe, Microsoft Can Kill Windows XP

I still use XP on my business desktop because I have a few very old 16-bit programs (e.g., Corel InfoCentral) that I find very useful. Under Windows 7, these have to be run under a Windows XP virtual machine (either using VMWare of Windows 7 Pro's native facility). Although the virtual machine can work fairly seamlessly, it (1) is much slower to access these programs and (2) the does not integrate well with other programs. I do have 7 on my laptop, and it runs quite well, but my desktop machine, customized as it is with Windows PowerPro and Everything search, works just fine as is.

Comment: Re:Nothing to surprising (Score 1) 1271

by mkoenecke (#37327504) Attached to: Marx May Have Had a Point

"Greed" is defined as "excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions." Personally, I would define it as "wanting more than one deserves or is entitled to."

The trouble with this: who defines what is "excessive," or what a person "deserves" or "is entitled to?" Under professedly Communist regimes, that has always wound up being the government.

In reality, "greed" is simply the flip side of envy: a person who is "greedy" is someone who has a lot more stuff than I do, which is perceived as unfair. It is not an objective standard by any means.

Communism is fundamentally flawed not because people are "greedy," but because they naturally act in their own self interest,

The relative importance of files depends on their cost in terms of the human effort needed to regenerate them. -- T.A. Dolotta

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