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Welcome to /townhall/! This is an anonymous-only board for debates, dialectics, and discussions of a serious nature.

As the topics discussed on this board may deal with sensitive or controversial subject matter, we expect a higher standard of conduct than elsewhere on the site, and will enforce the board's rules with a greater degree of strictness. Inability or unwillingness to follow the rules will result in a /townhall/-only ban.


1) All posts in a given thread must contribute constructively to the conversation, whether agreeing or disagreeing. Off-topic, contentless, inflammatory, or hostile posts will be deleted and result in a ban.

1a) Derails that occur as a natural result of discussion progressing from the original subject will generally not be interfered with; however, if these hinder discussion of the original topic, making a new thread is preferred.

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1c) Be as willing to "lose" as you are to "win", and above all else, be willing to learn and understand. You will not get the most out of this board if your only goal is to persuade, and you will not even be effective at that unless you understand what you are arguing against.

2) Ad hominems and other uncivil behavior will not be tolerated. You may have a significant personal stake in some subjects discussed here, and it is normal to be frustrated when someone cannot relate; however, lashing out is not an effective way to engender sympathy for your position, and will not advance the conversation in a constructive way. Even if you find someone's argument morally abhorrent, there are constructive ways to express this.

2a) Attempting to deliberately provoke an uncivil reaction is prohibited, even if it is done within the letter of the law.

2b) Snark and other forms of mockery are strongly discouraged and may result in warnings or bans.

2c) "Strawmanning" an "opponent" deliberately will be regarded as uncivil conduct and will be dealt with accordingly. This will not apply to genuine misunderstandings.

3) While we do not claim to be arbiters of absolute moral or empirical truth and aim to moderate this board in a fair and even-handed, politically agnostic manner, the following extreme positions are considered "off-limits" regardless of how they are put forward, including attempts to "hint" or dogwhistle:

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Is this the fundamental turning point? "One man, one vote, once"?
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> It's a question of whether or not Trump and the Republicans are being honest that the next election will be the last one ever should they win.

I'm hoping you feel that it is a bad thing.


The fact that half of Americans or so refuse to live, work, shop, etc with people of other religions and races has tempered my faith in whether or not U.S. democracy is worth trying to save or not.

Nonetheless, I still root for a Trump loss and will work personally towards that even in a small way since I think he can be stopped from establishing himself as dictator should he clearly fail to get the vote.


>half of Americans or so refuse to live, work, shop, etc with people of other religions and races
[Citation needed]


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This can be evaluated scientifically.


The short answer is "no". That's because of the vague nature of the "we" being asked about. The situation very, very drastically varies based on country.

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I kinda don't feel like reading a paper on intelligence from the guy writing "papers" on the IQ of Rick Sanchez or the scientific justification for incels. Certainly not on a eugenicist's personal slush fund posing as a "think tank".

Someone wanna give me the bullet points?


>Most phenotypic traits can't be traced to just one gene
Yes, but how does that relate to my post?


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I don't get what you're saying. Literally all you have to do is scroll down to the "in conclusion" tab and read four sentences. And that's it. That's really it.

I'm not being sarcastic. That's all.

As far as the political organization supporting the author does, I would care if the article had some obvious agenda in its findings like "clearly socialists and the general left have destroyed IQ progress". However, the study has the exact, black-and-white opposite result. As in, "nah, we're fine".


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Currently, about 2% of babies in the US are conceived via IVF.  IVF offers some advantages over traditional fertilization, including polygenic embryo selection (PES).  In the near future, gene editing tech might be used to correct multiple undesirable mutations, such as mutations that increase risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Do you expect the percent of babies conceived via IVF to rise significantly this century to take advantage of this beneficial technology?  I predict that it will be used for a majority of babies within 100 years, assuming we don't get paperclipped by AI or suffer civilizational collapse.
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But, seriously.

Is this one of the "smarter" reasons why people are getting on board the ban IVF train so much lately?


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>That is to say that a "deliterious" gene can be adaptive in the right ecosystem or even be both adaptive and deleterious.
In some cases that's true, but other mutations are simply bad.  E.g., having two copies (homozygous) of the allele responsible for Tay-Sachs is definitely bad; it almost certainly results in a painful death during childhood.  But having exactly one copy of the allele (heterozygous) isn't harmful and some speculate that it is actually helpful and might be partially responsible for the higher average IQ of the Ashkenazim.  So polygenic embryo selection against homozygous Tay-Sachs alleles is definitely desirable.

As another example, BRCA mutations are very bad in expectation and are autosomal dominant.  Having one mutated allele greatly increase risk of certain cancers, and having two mutated alleles leads to death of the embryo in a majority of cases.   Polygenic embryo selection to avoid BRCA mutations are most likely a good thing.

That paper is from before Roe v. Wade was overturned.  I suspect the dysgenic effects of banning abortion might invalidate the paper's conclusions.


A fundamental issue here too is that biological traits related to genetics vary dramatically from clearly positive things to clearly negative things to things with ludicrously ambiguous and complex things.

For example, being bisexual is regarded in modern Western countries for the most part as a bad thing even though in objective scientific terms there's absolutely no negative aspect of it whatsoever. A bi man or woman can have children and live life without any problems should culture and society allow them. There are also other aspects of personal identity such as hair color, skin color, breast size, eye color, and so on that for the most part appear to mean nothing in the sense of scientific value, even if men and women spend literal millions to enlarge chests as much as possible year by year and very obviously would shell out the same to kill off 'the A-Cup genes' if they ever get found.

It's such a metaphorical can of worms.


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Do you ever think we're going to see a time where birth control will be banned?

I have to wonder how many people are currently in favor of it, together with porn lately there seems to be a vocal push to get rid of both.

(also divorce)

(twitter source for OP https://twitter.com/LizzieMarbach/status/1775882953790230666)
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Most polling data I've seen in recent years is that banning of any sort of birth control is very unpopular amongst most Americans. But you're not going to see that reflected on X/Twitter, it's not even a representative slice of America anymore, nor was it ever. What's going on is a process by the far right to try and use the Supreme Court to legislate from the bench by passing stated laws practically designed to be challenged as unconstitutional and heard before the supreme court.


The point, though, is not just whether it's popular with the masses, but whether action would be taken in spite of the "will" of the masses.


I'm not sure, despite my clear pessimism and previous comments, whether or not the current move to far right social and culture beliefs is sustainable or not.

This all could burst dramatically in a balloon type fashion. Like the end of the housing bubble. Or the end of the Cold War shaping the U.S. with the Soviets suddenly disappearing.

The more people are bluntly subject to simple questions about whether or not the government should literally throw women into prison if they're suspected of having abortions... I think the more people understand the consequences of Big Brother government the less they like it.


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The tech companies Reddit and YouTube must face a lawsuit filed by the survivors of a mass shooting in Buffalo inside of New York State given that the online organizations hosted media that the murder engaged with in order to pick out both the best firearms for the attack and also the best body armor to wear during it.

In general terms, I'm basically a free speech absolutist. However, explicitly giving somebody who says that he or she is going to commit real acts of violence your own best advice to help them do just that, particularly when it comes to something like buying the right pieces of body armor, appears to me personally to be so immoral that it ought to be clearly illegal. Similarly, I would think that somebody giving out tips about filming child pornography and how best to host it online has crossed an ethical line and should also get in trouble.

There's more at: https://www.npr.org/2024/03/19/1239478067/buffalo-shooting-reddit-youtube-lawsuit

Am I making a mistake? Could increased legal scrutiny of those two platforms have negative side-effects? It's almost goes without saying that increased online censorship causes unintended consequences.
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>The online platforms deliberately chose to organize themselves so that their framework hosts content that actively incites violence,
Did they, though?
Or did they just make a platform built to allow people, generally, to organize themselves, host content for whomever wishes to use it?

You're prescribing a motive that I do not believe exists. Especially considering this is Google of all things.
Nothing I've seen suggests that this system is inherently only good for one purpose, violence, as you seem to suggest with the pen analogy.

Google is not handing out grenades, here.
Platforms for content and means to organize are not grenades.
In fact, it falls under an umbrella the government can't regulate, as I understand it, thanks to freedom of association.


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>content that actively incites violence
Do you have an example of that?  The incitement exception of the First Amendment is pretty narrow.  In particular, it only applies to incitement of imminent lawless action.  See Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969).
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg_v._Ohio :
Clarence Brandenburg, a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) leader in rural Ohio, contacted a reporter at a Cincinnati television station and invited him to cover a KKK rally that would take place in Hamilton County in the summer of 1964.[9] Portions of the rally were filmed, showing several men in robes and hoods, some carrying firearms, first burning a cross and then making speeches. One of the speeches made reference to the possibility of "revengeance" against "Niggers", "Jews", and those who supported them and also claimed that "our President, our Congress, our Supreme Court, continues to suppress the white, Caucasian race", and announced plans for a march on Congress to take place on the Fourth of July.[10] Another speech advocated for the forced expulsion of African Americans to Africa and Jewish Americans to Israel.[11]
The U.S. Supreme Court reversed Brandenburg's conviction, holding that government cannot constitutionally punish abstract advocacy of force or law violation.

>recommending what body armor to wear when undertaking a mass shooting
That sounds more like crime-facilitating speech than incitement.

Huh?  Lots of inherently dangerous products are legal to sell (and should be, IMHO).  Firearms, ammo, circular saws, angle grinders, etc.
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Interesting. It looks like the lawsuit is saying that the algorithms and such have become so advanced that they ought to be treated as a defective product. Unfortunately, while I am quite free speech, such companies may need to be held liable somehow, due to the amount of psychological manipulation involved in marketing nowadays. When you co-opt the English language, which is common heritage, for marketing purposes, isn't it sort-of a crime against humanity at that point? We already know YouTube is an echo-chamber and finding new, original, interesting content is near-impossible anymore.

I think the world would be better off if the lawsuit led to the result of something like such algorithms being banned and opt-in only with full disclosure of the risks and limitations of the product.


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Why did Muslim terrorists attack *Russia* of all places?
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Then die.

This defeatist notion that humanity is irredeemable is part of the problem.


>the temptation to dehumanize
That's absolutely a fair point. Feelings are an extremely powerful motivation. And while they can blind, at the same time they can bring about the sensations of being able to "revel in" something happy. As you put it.

I suppose I'm still idealistic and optimistic about humanity even though I don't really know how the human condition as such can be changed as much as it needs to be.

I suppose it can be compared how to, say, smoking cigarettes and drinking dangerous mixed alcohols are hard to argue against from a broad social viewpoint. As an individual, you want to just feel happy. It's difficult to condemn positive feelings.


Arigato, it seems I was rather ignorant of tensions between Muslims and Russia.


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Has AI gone too far?
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Yes. The exact word "craving" is important here. Generally speaking, having a "craving" is understandable but can work out pretty badly in the long-run, such as somebody constantly eating fatty fast food meals due to their personal habits. What instead should happen is a more complex and nuanced form of healing.


No. Because I've been turning to AI as well


Not like its actually hurting you. There isn't a cooperate agent waiting outside of your door.


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Isn't the US Navy supposed to be the best navy in the world?  Shouldn't it be very easy to deny entry to boats attempting to illegally enter US waters?  Is Biden just refusing to use force to protect the US?  Despite disliking Trump, I think he'd be doing much better here.  And I think there is a pattern of the political left abandoning the responsibility of the government to use force to protect ordinary middle-class folks from the depredations of the underclass.  Anyone else have thoughts on this?
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>Look at the disaster that migration from Middle East countries has been for Europe.
Yeah, no
Far right fearmongering.
But even on the so called worse places where you supposedly get murdered for being native, you just see some dude sitting outside in his shorts and that's it.


Do you want a discussion on this screenshot? Or are you just posting it randomly without context?


>far right fearmongering
So to be clear, you believe that the mass migration into Europe has not had any problems for those nations?


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Do you have any thoughts on crypto politics?  A crypto super PAC campaigned against Katie Porter and claims that her defeat was due in part to her opposition to crypto.

Personally, I'd like to get rid of AML/KYC regulations (both for crypto and for traditional fiat banks) and slap down the SEC from claiming that basically every new crypto token is a security.  Also there should be a better way of doing capital gains tax.  People who get rich from buying low and selling high should still pay their fair share of capital gains tax, but requiring ordinary folks to itemize each transaction where they buy a product/service with crypto is unwieldy.
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The reason is: Base rates, combined with lack of any evidence that she knows anything about crypto.


Suppose 0.8% of women who get mammograms have breast cancer. In 90% of women with breast cancer, the mammogram will correctly detect it. However, among women without breast cancer, 7% will get a false positive reading on the mammogram. If you randomly pick a woman who gets a mammogram, and she gets a positive mammogram result, what is the probability that she has breast cancer?


>it is my assumption that someone who understood it wouldn't want to restrict it in the same way as other traditional forms of finance
But why? What if experts agree?
I'm not anywhere near knowledgable about it either, but why trust the blockchain association over her?

Okay, then you probably know just as little about crypto as she does. Probabilistically speaking.


I'm a software engineer, not a politician.  Very different base rates.


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What should be done to secure America's borders against illegal immigration?
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The problem is that I didn't know the right keywords to Google.  ChatGPT is a lot more forgiving in that aspect.  If there is concern about the accuracy of the LLM's output, then it would be relatively easy to Google it for more information to confirm or refute it.


This is honestly the most damning thing I've ever read about AI.


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Madman though he seemed, Thanos was right about the universe. It had grown overpopulated. There were starving people on every inhabited planet. Crime was becoming rampant. The galactic empire was struggling to keep the peace. There was pain everywhere, but only distributed amongst the poorest people. The rich and wealthy enjoyed a life of luxury on their plush and sparkling towers, glaring down with disgust on those simply less fortunate.

And after he defeated those who failed to see his vision, what did Thanos leave in his wake? Pain, oh yes. Wide spread pain, like the sting of an open wound which has been doused in disinfectant. Like the aches of a cut off gangrenous limb.

But it was fair. Thanos's purge was indiscriminate. The pain was spread and felt evenly across the galaxy, the universe. Everyone lost someone. Everyone became the same. And everyone helped each other. The people galvanized about the pain of their loss, and they grew together, rebuilding their world, now full of abundance.

Like the atomic bomb saved the people of WWII Japan, Thanos and the Infinity Stones saved the universe.
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It was fair, it was indiscriminate.
Now describe one way in which it helped...?


Thing is, deer don't have FTL, and also their populations aren't fixed job done by one single action besides.


I think that was supposed to be facetious.


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Do you drive an electric car or some other type of vehicle regarded as advanced and cutting-edge in today's automobile markets?

Do you follow the business and science of automobiles enough to have any opinions given the chaotic environment happening now?
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I don't understand why human beings consider vehicles such as (particularly the the one in the OP) these to be emotionally attractive such that owning one makes people more likely to date you and have sex with you, but this appears to be the case.

{This is probably related to me being on the autism spectrum and simply not understanding how most people emotionally feel desire in a lot of ways, if I'm really honest.}



I think it first has to do with the vehicle being aesthetically-pleasing, which is a natural human attraction. In our culture, lower and even moderately-priced items won't be particularly aesthetically-pleasing, with quality and functionality being the most important. As you go up in price, aesthetics gradually become more important, while quality and functionality become less so. There is a medium to medium-high price-point where something is both good quality with good aesthetics. But even then, aesthetic choice is limited due to the market not particularly valuing aesthetics to begin with. Only at the highest price points can the aesthetic of something be truly customized for a person. If you own an object such as this, you implicitly have a lot of money. Many people think money gives status. The emotional component comes in, due to people's greed, anger, and delusion, thinking that money and status are important and need to be attained. Sexual appeal intermingles with this, as a means to strengthen and promote the illusion.

[See: MLP razzle dazzle glitz and glam episode]

(In addition, the rust aspect is funny because it reveals the superficiality of it all, as a lack of regard for quality (and possibly functionality) is apparent almost directly within the aesthetic (just give it a few days) (i.e.: rust ruins quality, functionality (over time - most believe rust leads to holes), and aesthetic all at once.)


I'm already bitter enough about effectively having no choice but own a car in an un-walkable city, why would I waste money on an industry that has a long history of suppressing public transportation and which has led America into this ponzi scheme where we pay for the upkeep of older suburban housing developments with new suburban housing development revenues while increasing future cost of upkeeping an increasingly inefficient infrastructure?

Obviously cars and trucks and such are very useful for people in certain areas (like rural communities) but not necessary everywhere (like a city), yet are still effectively forced on everyone by the very design of the infrastructure.


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What's the argument to be made that it was ethically justified for the Russian government to arrest anti-corruption and anti-war activist Alexei Navalny?

What's the argument to be made that it was morally correct to have him killed?

I'm interested in stepping out of my subconscious desire to be in a personal bubble, one in which his killing is seen as obviously terrible, and see what the general populace of America and Europe think, to be honest, given the extremely positive views held of the Chinese state, the Russian state, and so on held by half or so of regular peoples out there as well as the widespread popularity of Chinese and Russian efforts to crush dissident activists.

I realize that there are a lot of online locations in which I can see random comments on Navalny, but I'd much rather take in the attitudes here than out on 4chan, Facebook, Reddit, et cetera since trying to communicate on those platforms is kind of like trying to pick up melted ice cream with a fork.
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I don't watch the news anymore or heard of this guy, but based on the situation as described, I would apply the following rules:

1. Killing is wrong.
2. Killing may be justified (as in, mostly (at least), I think - one may choose to justify it) but it is still wrong.
3. Justification is the worldly method of attempted atonement for wrong. Instead of seeking forgiveness (as in Western traditions) or Wisdom/Understanding (Eastern), justification is given in order to maintain one's position.
4. Justification may be given to either oneself or to others.
5. Justification does not make a wrong a right.


I don't imagine the average European will defend this.
Granted, aside from a group of pro Russian folks.

Now US Republicans, they probably think it was Russia's perogative to do.
Or I hear there's a call to not let Asange be the next Navalny for Americans.
Or Trump tweeting he's just like Navalny and the government is trying to murder him for speaking the truth.


These are solid points.

Yeah, I'd say that the average European wouldn't defend this assassination. It's more that it feels shocking that any European would. Let alone some small yet incredibly public faction of activists.

It seems almost like people marching in support of the seasonal flu or in support of car accidents plus bad breath in terms of "bad things are bad" as a clear moral rule being ignored.


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What do you think about the Roswell crash?  The US Gov't now claims it was the top-secret Project Mogul Flight #4, but the records indicate that Flight #4 was cancelled due to weather conditions.



If we're willing to believe a government organization is lying, which I think is neither farfetched nor particularly conspiratorial, then I don't think it's too crazy to say that they were lying about the flight being cancelled due to weather conditions.


Does intelligent life exist on other Milky Way planets? This appears to be the case, logically, given the nature of evolution and the extremely large number of locations that scientifically support life extremely well.

Have they visited Earth before? This is far more tricky given that, yes, on the one hand a large number of credible witnesses from American commercial pilots to Navy personnel in the U.S. have not just seen strange craft but engaged with them (such as have had unusual objects jam our radar systems). I'm inclined to see this as credible evidence although so much more research is needed.

Did this one really specific incident in Roswell involve aliens? That's a far more spurious claim. The lack of eyewitness evidence either way makes me think both that the U.S. government is lying and also that extraterrestrial escapes cannot be at all proven.

This interview is neat in that, while, yes, Rogan is always a goofball as a literal stand-up comedian, his guest is extremely credible to me:




I think that if extraterrestrials wanted to visit an uncivilized and technologically-primitive planet like Earth for whatever reason, they could do so easily without us knowing, and UFO conspiracy theories are more a product of our species, rather than reality. Furthermore, if extraterrestrials could visit Earth without anyone knowing, it must follow that they are good because for technology to advance that far in a society would require the perfection of compassion.

...and if extraterrestrials were present, then the proof would be indisputable by now, given nearly everyone on Earth has a cellphone with a high-quality camera now, yet no troves of pictures are coming in. Lastly, the military can't keep secrets, either. So, in conclusion, there are either no aliens visiting Earth, or there are and we don't need to concern ourselves with it.

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