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Comment Re: Republicans vote against safety... (Score 2) 94

Maybe you misread the summary? A similar measure passed the house unanimously last year, but was blocked in the senate "amid opposition by a handful of Republican lawmakers." They could easily have overridden a veto. But they never let it get that far, and it was Republicans who blocked it.

I won't draw any partisan conclusions from that. It clearly had strong support in both parties, and most Republicans supported it. But trying to blame Obama doesn't fit the facts.

Comment Re:Knowledge (Score 1) 197

Let's face it, now one is going to give out trade secrets in those things.

Not trade secrets, but non-public information is possible. Apple's WWDC is famous for working like that. Most of the sessions are under NDA, and it's when they present all the new technologies that will be coming in future OS updates. If you want to find out about those technologies in advance, going to the conference is really useful.

Comment Not all at once (Score 1) 311

Maybe it will take 30-50 years to make most human labor obsolete, or maybe even longer. But that doesn't mean everything will go along as usual until one day all workers suddenly become unneeded. Workers will steadily get replaced, and we need to deal with that as it happens. Automation is progressing really quickly, and it's doing it right now. We can't wait until the process is all done and then say, "Ok, now it's time to deal with it."

Comment Re:ridiculous (Score 1) 350

Again, you are making an elementary logic error. The theory says "If P then Q" (P="CRA helped", Q="gap shrinking"). You reason "Q is true therefore P", but that's a logical fallacy.

No, I didn't say anything of the sort. What I said is that the evidence is consistent with the predictions of the theory. Evidence and logic are two very different things. Science is about accumulating evidence to gradually build up a case. Math is about using logic to prove theorems. If the evidence agrees with the theory, that indicates the theory may be correct, but isn't at all conclusive. That's why you need to accumulate as much evidence as possible. But here's the essential point: it cannot in any possible way be interpreted as evidence against the theory. To be that, it would have to disagree with the predictions.

The theory also says "If P then Q" (P="CRA helped", Q="high school graduate rates improve faster after CRA").

No it doesn't. You're just making that up so you can keep believing what you want to believe. The only prediction it makes is that they should improve relative to the people who didn't face discrimination to begin with. Anything beyond that requires making lots of other assumptions that there's no justification for.

(1) you had linked to pages that made claims about graduation rates

Graduation rates and many, many other things. I also linked to two other articles on completely different subjects. And I can easily dig up many more if it would make a difference.

I'd point you to Thomas Sowell's analysis of the (lack of) effects of the CRA again

I'm sure you would. I gather he's your favorite economist? (I just looked him up, and I see he's at the Hoover Institution. What a surprise!) But many other economists have reached exactly the opposite conclusion. So you pick an economist who agrees with what you want to believe and say, "See, I'm being rational! He says so!" Sorry, that isn't evidence and it isn't rational. It's just rationalization. If you simply picked a different economist, you could say exactly the same thing to argue a totally different position.

Comment Re:ridiculous (Score 1) 350

There is no significant change in the rate of improvement of black high school graduation rates until the late 80's, when improvements slow down. That is, the Civil Rights Act obviously didn't help improve black graduation rates.

I think you misunderstand what the word "evidence" means. Evidence is data that either agrees or disagrees with the predictions of a theory.

Let's say you observe that high school graduation rates are much higher for white students than black ones. That has been true for years, and there's no sign of the gap shrinking. You're pretty sure it's caused by discrimination, so you pass a law outlawing discrimination based on race.

You did that based on a theory that says anti-discrimination laws work. That theory leads to a prediction: once the law is passed, the gap should start to shrink. So you wait a while and sure enough, it does. The data agrees with the prediction of the theory, so it is evidence supporting the theory.

Of course, one piece of evidence isn't conclusive. The real world is a complicated place. Maybe the gap shrank for some other reason. Maybe it would have happened even without the law. So you need to look at lots of data. You can look at other measures of academic success, like earning college degrees and scores on standardized tests. The theory predicts you'll see improvement on multiple measures, not just one. (You do.) Even better, look at other kinds of discrimination. Don't just ban discrimination based on race, but also gender, age, disability status, etc. That gives you several different groups to look at. The theory predicts you'll see shrinking achievement gaps for all of them. (You do.)

This adds up to a lot of evidence, all supporting the theory. That still isn't conclusive. You can always try to argue some other factor might have caused the changes. But still, all the data matches the predictions of the theory. There's a lot of evidence supporting the theory, and very little contradicting it.

Hopefully it's now obvious what's wrong with the argument you tried to make? You were trying to evaluate a theory by comparing it to predictions it didn't make! Graduation rates are constantly changing based on lots of factors other than discrimination: economic changes, social trends like urbanization, changing levels of government spending on education, etc. You can't just make a linear extrapolation from the last five years and assume they'll continue on that same line indefinitely. No sensible theory makes that prediction.

Suppose I say to you, "20 years from now, there will be less discrimination than there is today. Based on that, tell me what the high school graduation rate will be in 20 years." You can't answer that. You don't have enough information. The answer depends on lots of other things that will happen over the next 20 years. Just knowing what will happen with discrimination isn't enough to make a prediction.

But you can still predict that the gap should shrink. Whatever happens to the economy or government spending, the people who previously faced discrimination should improve relative to the ones who didn't. Discrimination means treating people differently. Unequal treatment leads to unequal outcomes. If the treatment becomes more uniform, the outcomes should too. You can only evaluate a theory based on the predictions it makes, not the ones it doesn't make.

And, again, even if the Civil Rights Act had helped improve black graduation rates, it would have done so through the elimination of government racial discrimination, not any laws related to private businesses, since private businesses have little influence on high school graduation rates.

You're the one who cited that graph, not me! In this whole conversation, you have only given two links to anything resembling concrete data on the effects of anti-discrimination laws. One of them was to that graph, which you're now saying is irrelevant to the discussion. So why did you cite it in the first place???

Comment Re:Not technically reasonable (Score 1) 140

Ignore the picture. Notice it has the tag line "Image Credit: Shutterstock"? That picture didn't come from Airbus. It's just a stock picture the author pulled off the net. The article says almost nothing about how the actual vehicles will work, except that one concept they're considering is "a helicopter-style vehicle".

I think it's safe to assume Airbus knows how to make things that can fly.

Comment Re:ridiculous (Score 1) 350

Just look at the graph you yourself linked to. No, really. Click on it right now. Just look at the shape of the two lines.

At the start, there's a large gap between the two lines. And they're moving exactly in parallel. There's no sign of the gap shrinking. Then in the early 70s, less than a decade after the Civil Rights Act was passed, it does start to shrink. And it continues shrinking steadily, so by the right side of the graph, the gap is only a tiny fraction what it was at the start.

That is exactly what you would expect to see if the law were working. Yet somehow, you try to cite it as evidence that it isn't working.

Comment Re:ridiculous (Score 1) 350

I'm going to ignore everything you said except for the one question that I care about: evidence on the effect of anti-discrimination laws. On that you made the bizarre claim

You have already cited the evidence yourself, you just refuse to see it.

Obviously you didn't read the links I cited or you would never have said that. (Even the graph you linked to yourself shows the opposite of what you claimed it shows: that the gap between black and white students has narrowed dramatically.) Therefore I'll simply quote the relevant portion from one of those links to save you the trouble of having to click on it. This is the section about racial barriers. It also has sections on gender, disability, and age.

Dropout rate of African American students (age 16 to 24) declined from 20.5 percent in 1976 to 13.0 percent in 1996. [Dropout Rates in the United States: 1996, table A23, page 58.]

        High school graduation rates among African Americans have increased substantially in the past 20 years and drawn much closer to the high school graduation rate of whites. [Bureau of the Census, Educational Attainment in the United States: March 1997 (unpublished), table A-2, page A-9.]

        In 1990, 66.2 percent of African Americans age 25 and over had completed high school. In 1997, 74.9 percent of African Americans age 25 and over had completed high school. [Ibid.]

        Overall student participation in advanced placement (AP) classes has increased dramatically since 1982, rising from 140,000 to 400,000 in 1997 high school graduates. Especially impressive is the growth in participation of minority students. In 1997, the percent of AP candidates who were minority students was 29 percent, compared to 11 percent in 1982. [Secretary Richard Riley: Second Annual State of American Education Address, February 1, 1995; and News from the College Board, August 26, 1997, page 7.]

        Student performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has increased in science, math, and reading, recovering most of the ground lost in the 1970s. The gap in performance between white and African American students has narrowed substantially since the 1970s. [NAEP 1996 Trends in Academic Progress, pages V, XIV, and XV.]

        Minority participation on the Scholastic Assessment Test (formerly the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT) has increased. In 1998, minority students were 33 percent of all graduating seniors who took the SAT, compared to 23 percent in 1988. [News from the College Board, September 20, 1988, and September 1, 1998.]

        Math and verbal SAT scores increased across almost all race/ethnic groups from 1987 to 1998. For example, the average SAT score of Asian American students increased 19 points on the verbal section and 21 points on the mathematics section. The average score for American Indian students increased 9 points on the verbal section and 20 points on the mathematics section. The average score for African American students increased 6 points on the verbal section and 15 points on the mathematics section. All of these increases exceeded those achieved by white students. [News from The College Board, August 26, 1997; and 1998 College-Bound Seniors, National Report.]

        Total minority enrollment at colleges and universities increased 61 percent between fall 1986 and fall 1996. [Enrollment in Higher Education: Fall 1986 Through Fall 1994, table 2, page 5; and unpublished data.]

        Since 1990, the number of Latino students enrolled in higher education increased by 47 percent; the number of African American students increased by 20 percent; and the number of American Indian students increased by 30 percent. [Ibid.]

        60 percent of African American high school graduates (class of 1997) enrolled in college (2-year and 4-year colleges) immediately after their high school graduation. A decade earlier, only 52 percent of African American high school graduates went on to college without a break in their education. [Digest of Education Statistics, 1997 edition, table 183, page 194; and news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 1, 1998, page 4.]

        65 percent of Latino high school graduates (class of 1997) enrolled in college (2-year and 4-year colleges) immediately after their high school graduation. A decade earlier, about 45 percent of Latino high school graduates went on to college without a break in their education. [Ibid.]

        10.5 percent of all college students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional education) were African American in fall 1996. Four years earlier, only 9.6 percent of all college students were African American. [unpublished data from the survey of Fall Enrollment in Postsecondary Education, 1996.]

        8.1 percent of all college students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional education) were Latino in Fall 1996. Four years earlier, only 6.6 percent of all college students were Latino. [Ibid.]

        The percentage of African Americans age 25 and over who held bachelor's degrees increased from 11.3 percent in 1990 to 13.3 percent in 1997. [Bureau of the Census, Educational Attainment in the United States: March 1997 (unpublished), table A-2, page A-9.]

        The number of bachelor's degrees in engineering awarded to African Americans increased 75 percent from 1981 to 1996, while total bachelor's degrees awarded in engineering only increased by 3.1 percent. [Digest of Education Statistics, 1985-86 edition, table 116, page 134; and Degrees and Other Awards Conferred by Degree-Granting Institutions: 1995-96, table 4b, page 15.]

        African American students were awarded 1,563 doctorates in 1996. This represents a 48 percent increase since 1987. [Digest, 1997 edition, table 271, page 301; and Degrees and Other Awards, table 4d, page 21.]

Comment Re:ridiculous (Score 1) 350

I hardly know how to respond to that: you made so many blatantly false assertions. And whereas I always provide links to back up my claims, you have yet to provide a single source or single piece of evidence to back up anything you have said.

Ok, let's try to go through those methodically.

Jim Crow laws were not the work of progressives. The whole point of them was to thwart the progressive agenda and preserve the status quo. They were about as regressive as you could possibly get.

Nazism were not in any way shape or form based on the progressive tradition. In fact, it was as diametrically opposed to it as you could possibly get. Don't take my word for it: here's a list of the core characteristics of fascism. Just go down the list: powerful and continuing nationalism, disdain for the recognition of human rights, identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause, supremacy of the military, rampant sexism, etc. Every one of those is the exact opposite of what progressives advocate.

No one is ever required to disclose their race, religion, or sexual orientation. While various questionnaires may ask about them, you are always permitted to leave them blank. The government collects statistics about people's answers to those questionnaires, but only those people who chose to answer them. Also, it's illegal to even ask about them in a job interview, specifically because that would make it too easy to discriminate against people who chose not to answer.

Finally, all of this is just a tangent. You still are totally avoiding the main subject of this conversation: your claim that anti-discrimination laws are harmful to peace, prosperity, equality, and liberty. I have asked you again and again to provide evidence of that, and you have yet to offer a single shred of evidence. Let me quote what I said in my very first post:

I distrust all views based on personal philosophy, because it's completely subjective. There's no way to say whose philosophy is "right" or "wrong". I'd rather base decisions on how things work out in practice. What happens if you have anti-discrimination laws? What happens if you don't? Taking all the consequence into account, both good and bad, which one produces better results overall?

In every post since then I have returned to that question. And in every one of your posts you have tried to deflect attention away from it. So let me be really blunt: I don't care about your philosophy of negative rights, or your fantasies about Nazis, or any of the rest of that. The only thing I care about is evidence on the effects of anti-discrimination laws. If you're prepared to offer concrete evidence, I want to hear it. Otherwise, I'm not interested.

Comment Re:ridiculous (Score 1) 350

I have been saying consistently that these laws are wrong

You've been asserting that they're wrong, and I've been asking you to justify that they're wrong, and you've been stubbornly refusing to do that in any objective way. Instead you just keep falling back on yet more unjustified assertions. Here was your first attempt:

I want to live in a peaceful, prosperous society in which everybody has equal rights and that doesn't degenerate into tyranny.

So I asked you for evidence that anti-discrimination laws make society less peaceful, or less prosperous, or causes them to degenerate into tyranny. I've asked you this repeatedly. You've repeatedly declined to offer any. You seem to take it for granted that they do, yet you're totally unable to point to concrete evidence to back up the claim. These are not questions for philosophical debate. They're factual questions to be answered through data. Do anti-discrimination laws increase the level of violence, decrease the level of prosperity, etc.? Any claims that aren't based on concrete data are worthless.

Then you tried to equate anti-discrimination laws with Nazism, thus demonstrating that you've never heard of Godwin's Law. But when I pointed out this was ridiculous, you responded with an even wilder absurdity:

Second, we're not talking about "anyone", we're talking about the same movement, the progressive movement. The progressive movement has consistently advocated categorizing people by race and make racial distinctions in government policies for more than a century.

So you just equated all progressives with Nazis. Double Godwin! But aside from that, you've just completely rewritten history. Laws have made distinctions based on race for far more than a century. That isn't something the progressive movement invented, it's one of the main evils the progressive movement fought against. Discrimination existed on a massive scale through large parts of the U.S. That's what the Civil Rights Act tried to eliminate. And contrary to your claim that "anti-discrimination laws don't work", it was actually very effective.

But no. Enforcing anti-discrimination laws involves checking to see if people are discriminating. And to check, you need to collect data. And collecting data about race is evil! Therefore, those laws are evil, and we should go back to the pre-Nazi era when black people were forbidden to live in white neighborhoods, attend white schools, use the same restrooms as white people, or sit in the front of the bus. They had so much more freedom back then, before those evil progressives started sending them off to concentration camps.

Comment But I thought it was STABLE! (Score 2) 43

Wow, didn't Slashdot run a story just a few days ago boasting that Bitcoin is now "more stable than many of the world's top currencies?" Darn! How could I have been so silly as to believe them? If only I hadn't immediately moved all my assets into Bitcoin! Oh, that's right, I didn't. Well that's a relief.

Comment Cheap = bad (for U.S.) (Score 1) 113

The U.S. military's single greatest asset is its ability/willingness to outspend every other military on earth by a huge margin. Any weapon that's cheap to produce is bad for them. It's a weapon their enemies can get too. Democratizing warfare is not good for them.

Of course, it's not good for anyone else either. Just wait for the first terror attack where a swarm of drones flies through a city killing people.

Comment Re:ridiculous (Score 1) 350

I believe everybody has negative rights, and nobody has positive rights.

Fine, but most people disagree with you. Which again is my point from the beginning. This is a democracy, and the majority has decided they want anti-discrimination laws. You're welcome to disagree with them, but it's the government's job to enforce the actual laws, not the laws you wish we had. Don't blame the government for doing its job.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with having "a peaceful, prosperous society in which everybody has equal rights and that doesn't degenerate into tyranny," as you put it. You're welcome to your philosophical attitudes about different types of rights, but don't pretend you're talking about something totally different. Do countries with anti-discrimination laws tend to be less prosperous than ones without? That's an objective question we can answer with evidence. Do they tend to be more tyrannical? That again is something to answer with evidence, not a philosophical declaration that you don't believe in positive rights.

I told you: you need to read up on "the history of progressivism, eugenics and scientific racism in the US and about how racism and government racial categorizations were used in Nazi Germany." There is lots of excellent literature on it; I am not going to repeat the arguments here.

Wow, there's so many things wrong with that answer. 1) You have no clue how much I know about those subjects. For all you know, I may be an expert on them. 2) I didn't ask for arguments, I asked for evidence. Links to some relevant studies, for example. 3) You're intentionally giving a non-answer that can't be evaluated, responded to, or even understood. "If you knew all about this subject, you would agree with me. Since you disagree with me, you obviously know nothing about it, so I'm not going to try to justify anything." That's not a response, it's a cop-out. 4) Many historians and social scientists disagree with your conclusions. Therefore, being knowledgeable about the subject clearly does not always lead to agreeing with you. 5) Your attempt to equate anti-discrimination laws with Naziism is completely absurd. "Some really evil people collected data on race, so anyone who collects data on race is evil." 6) If you actually knew of solid evidence supporting your claims, you would have cited it. Since you have repeatedly declined to do that, it's pretty clear you don't actually have that evidence.

Comment Re:ridiculous (Score 1) 350

And I'm not going to provide the justification.

That doesn't surprise me. I've had conversations similar to this far too often, and the response is always the same. People first say, "I have lots of evidence," and then when I ask to see it, they invariably say, "I can't be bothered to show it to you." Very convincing. Surely it wouldn't take you that much time to dig up links to a few of the relevant studies, would it?

which of those powers justifies interfering in who I choose to hire?

Article I, section 8, clauses 3 (the commerce clause) and 18 (the necessary and proper clause). If you choose to interpret them differently you have that right, but the Supreme Court says otherwise.

Given that anti-discrimination laws for private employers clearly do infringe on liberty

It's not clear at all to me. Please explain.

Actually, I have a pretty good idea why you think that, so you only need to explain if I'm misinterpreting you. I think you have a particular definition of "liberty" which says it can only be taken away by the government, not by anyone else. You have the freedom to do anything you want, even if it restricts someone else's freedom, yes? As long as it's not the government doing the restricting then by definition, liberty has not been restricted. So a law saying you can't deny rights to other people (such as the right to work where they want, live where they want, etc.) is by definition an infringement on liberty. It restricts your right to restrict other people's rights.

Of course, by the same logic we shouldn't restrict murderers' right to kill whoever they want.

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