User talk:HelpJazz

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Guidelines for my talk page
  • Please, no "ping-pong" conversations: if I leave a message on your talk page, please respond there; I'm watching it. If you start a conversation here, I'll reply here, so please watch this page
  • Sign your posts with four tildes, like this: ~~~~
  • At the beginning of each month I will archive all conversations which are at least 1 month and 1 day from the most recent reply.
  • Please, only one picture of Putin at a time. He scares me in large doses.
  • If you have been blocked by me: please do not create a sock and complain on this page! Instead, email me and we can work it out. (You will need a valid, verified e-mail address for this to work).

The system is supposed to send me an email when my talk page is changed... but I don't think it's working. The regular email is working, though, so if for some reason I don't respond to a notice on my talk page, click here

Archives: >> Sep '07 >> Oct '07 >> Nov '07 >> Dec '07 >> Jan '08 >> Feb-Apr '08

Is this the end?

Is HelpJazz no more? HenryS 19:44, 1 May 2008 (EDT)

You man of little Faith. --TomB 17:40, 3 September 2008 (EDT)

Welcome back!

You were sorely missed! --TomB 17:39, 3 September 2008 (EDT)

Congratulations on your graduation. I hope you still have an itching to help the project. You have been missed. ;-) Learn together 17:53, 3 September 2008 (EDT)

Hey there, Mr. Jazz. (May I call you Help?) Word to the wise, which you definitely are - tread softly 'til you get the lay of the land. Believe it or not, it's even more treacherous than before. Aziraphale 23:30, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
HelpJazz has friends all over the site and is well respected. If he posts again that can only be positive. Learn together 23:36, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
Thanks for the illustration. Aziraphale 17:18, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

Are you actually back? HenryS 23:33, 3 September 2008 (EDT)

Congratulations on graduating! That's a challenging major also, chemical engineering.--Aschlafly 14:23, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

Thanks all, for the congratulations and welcome (including the one I got in my email). To answer your questions: I'm not "back", inasmuch as I never really "left", I just didn't post for a while. In the immediate future I won't be editing much, because I've been having a lot of carpal tunnel problems, but we'll see what happens. HelpJazz 12:42, 6 September 2008 (EDT)

How can we be sure your account hasn't been hacked, and this isn't just some vandal/imposter posting here? HenryS 22:50, 7 September 2008 (EDT)
Well, the question comes to mind of why someone would want to hack my account. It's not like I have sysop powers or anything. Taking aside motive, let's get existential about this: what if someone hacked my account, and that was the HelpJazz that you knew and now this is the real HelpJazz? Then there'd be no way to prove I was hacked, because the hacker would know every way to prove he was "real", and the real me wouldn't have any way to prove that he wasn't the hacker! Trippy, eh?
Or you could just trust I'm not an imposter and scrutinize the few edits I will be making (which is probably happening already). HelpJazz 13:08, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
You do know that that was just a joke right? Not paranoia as some humourless fools would think. Its good to see you back. 494523500 43294 96-079 94482! HenryS 19:35, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
Yeah, I figured as much :) HelpJazz 19:41, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
From one recent graduate, to another - congratulations! (or as we say omedetou gozaimasu!) --KotomiTHajimemashite! 15:55, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
Thanks HelpJazz 19:41, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

Do you have any interest in writing Danish related content for this encyclopedia? If so, you might want to join the Danish Writers Group (DWG). Let me know if you're interested... HenryS 20:01, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

Um... the only Danishes I know about are the kind with cream cheese filling. Mmmmmmm cream cheese. HelpJazz 12:25, 9 September 2008 (EDT)
I'll take that as a "yes". HenryS 19:00, 9 September 2008 (EDT)
Woot! HelpJazz 19:56, 9 September 2008 (EDT)


You have accused me on my talk page of being an "obvious sock". I invite you to retract this, as it is completely false. Bugler 04:16, 10 September 2008 (EDT)

Sorry, I didn't mean you, I meant User:Rp6, who made this reference to something written by user:Roopilots6 HelpJazz 12:55, 10 September 2008 (EDT)

You called?

What is the matter? HenryS 15:58, 10 September 2008 (EDT)

Dearest Bohdan Hank, could you please a look at the block log over the last hour or two and let me know what you think? Thanks, HelpJazz 16:00, 10 September 2008 (EDT)
What is there to think? Looks like a normal block log to me. HenryS 16:02, 10 September 2008 (EDT)
Well, I was talking mostly about DrHubertJNugz and SamuelHTD. The orchestra were likely going to be trouble as well, though none of them were allowed to make an edit. HelpJazz 16:09, 10 September 2008 (EDT)
I'll take a look at those two users. Don't worry about being blocked. I won't allow it! HenryS 16:19, 10 September 2008 (EDT)
Thanks :) HelpJazz 16:20, 10 September 2008 (EDT)
DrHubertJNugz was probably a sockpuppet. HenryS 16:27, 10 September 2008 (EDT)

Vandals, trolls and socks

Since you think I block the undeserving, perhaps you would like to consider what to to with the two most recent signings, the brothers Nick and Mark. Coincidence, non? Bugler 16:33, 10 September 2008 (EDT)

Very likely vandals. Of course, they could also turn out to be two of the best editors we've ever had, so there's a risk vs. reward to think about.
I don't want to give away my whole strategy, lest a future vandal reads but I can tell you this: I like to let them make an edit or two before I block users. 98% of vandals reveal themselves within the first 10 edits (90% within the first 2 edits). Or if you want, you could ask them directly, but they will probably just tell you they are related or something. HelpJazz 16:38, 10 September 2008 (EDT)
Fair enough, but getting them quick (ie even before an edit) does, I think, help to discourage the others. It would seem you distrust your own nose almost as much as you do mine... Bugler 16:40, 10 September 2008 (EDT)
Possibly your approach may be the more judicious one here, but time will tell. Bugler 16:53, 10 September 2008 (EDT)
Having been blocked without cause before, I know that you will discourage more innocents by being too vigilant than you scare away vandals. Plus, if you wait until they have actually done something banworthy, then you don't have to worry about the email crying "but I haven't done anything!" (Which I have gotten). I still feel bad about some guy who had Mudkipz in his name (or however you spell it), and I blocked him before he made any edits. He sent me an e-mail saying that his son came up with the name, but when I unblocked him and apologized, he never came back. HelpJazz 19:46, 10 September 2008 (EDT)

Sex Ed

Does teaching children that boys have a penis and girls have a vagina really constitute sex education? If not then you may want to rethink your sourcing on the Liberal Myths article. I would have thought real sex ed involved teaching what to do with those organs, which is not taught in kindergartens (we - as in almost all recently schooled Australians - have been there). NormanS 16:41, 10 September 2008 (EDT)

Unfortunately, the determination of how early to teach kids different levels of sex education isn't a "yes" or "no" answer. If you can find something better, please be my guest to put it into the article. I don't particularly like the one I found, but it was good enough for the time. Also, something like this belongs on the talk page of the article in question, so that people can follow it easier. HelpJazz 19:51, 10 September 2008 (EDT)


Are you under the impression that User:Bugler is a sockpuppet? HenryS 19:42, 10 September 2008 (EDT)

No sir. HelpJazz 19:46, 10 September 2008 (EDT)
A parodist? HenryS 19:53, 10 September 2008 (EDT)
I find it extremely difficult to say with certainty if someone believes what they say or are pretending to believe what they say. I can say that Bugler is very forceful in his convictions. You've known him longer than I have though. HelpJazz 20:00, 10 September 2008 (EDT)
Oh, I think he is a parodist. HenryS 20:02, 10 September 2008 (EDT)

Hi, I am sorry to interject if this is a private conversation (as private as can be on a wiki!) but I would like to state something as I have been following this discussion. I have watched this site for awhile before creating an account and I find Bugler quick to block, impossible to reason with and the sort of person to drive people away from this site. I don't know if he is a parodist but I think its irrelevant. I have seen him block for a month over very minor details that should only earn a warning. I have only had to deal with him once and I felt I was to be blocked for simply asking a question of him. He got quite aggresive with me for merely making a suggestion. I expect he will block me for this comment but I wanted to add my two cents as a concerned editor. Thanks guys. ClarkeD 20:11, 10 September 2008 (EDT)

Removal of worshipping environmentalists link

Hi - just curious as to why you removed my addition of the link to the photograph of "worshipping" environmentalists. That photo is even linked to from the main page right now, so why not put it in the article? --DRamon 22:53, 15 September 2008 (EDT)

Because it's not encyclopedic, and it's not a valid reference. It's on the main page as news. HelpJazz 22:57, 15 September 2008 (EDT)
Ok, makes sense - you're right: news!=encyclopedia. Thanks, --DRamon 23:02, 15 September 2008 (EDT)

Jpatt's censorship line

Moved to Talk:Censorship#Jpatt's censorship line, so that Jpatt can see it

Al Franken

Thank you very much for your help on the Al Franken page.... However, I don't see myself getting stuck in that mess. I have looked through the history, and it seems anyone who doesn't toe the line gets banned pretty quickly. However, I would ask that you also check out the Lies and the Lying Liars who tell them page. Thank you again for all your help. NateE Let Us Communicate 14:41, 16 September 2008 (EDT)

Sure I'll take a look at it. HelpJazz 14:46, 16 September 2008 (EDT)
Learntogether just readded the bit about rudeness, vulgarity and whatnot... I really don't think anything is going to change, it's just sad that we can't provide insight and information without partisan mud slinging. Anyway, thanks for trying. NateE Let Us Communicate 13:30, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
Relax Nate. Anyone listening to Al Franken is aware of his style and it's not exactly Bill Cosby. He's had a history of being rude and vulgar and so, shockingly, we're actually going to call it rude and vulgar. Most of the changes desired were allowed to stick (which you don't acknowledge), so what are you complaining about? You didn't get every single word that you wanted? You're coming across as a whiner. Learn together 13:45, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
Well, he is pretty rude and vulgar. HelpJazz 13:55, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
A, I don't see how this conversation is in anyway pertinent to you, and B, I don't have a problem with you saying that you find him rude and vulgar, that's a perfectly acceptable opinion to take. However, when you're writing something as a fact, you need to be aware of legal definitions and the possiblity of libel. NateE Let Us Communicate 13:33, 18 September 2008 (EDT)
Nate, the name you mentioned above is mine. What you're really saying is, "How dare you comment while I'm talking behind your back." And it would really help if you would accept that we can call a spade a spade. You may feel that there's no such thing as rude behavior, but that won't fly here. And somehow I don't think Andy is worried about being sued by Al Franken because he's really not rude. It would be interesting to see him defend that in court and, as a master of drumming up free publicity for himself through controversies, Franken would hardly want to give that same standing to us -- although I'm sure Andy would welcome it. ;-) Learn together 15:18, 18 September 2008 (EDT)
It has nothing to do with talking "behind your back." HelpJazz was editing that page and I let him know what was going on. I also thanked him for his help. As for the rest, I'd be happy to continue this discussion, but I don't think HelpJazz's user page is the place for it. If you'd like to continue on my page, I'd be happy to keep this going. NateE Let Us Communicate 12:21, 19 September 2008 (EDT)

Bipolar disorder

Moved to talk:Bipolar disorder#Moved from User talk: HelpJazz

I know I'm late, but...

"Now there's a blank space on the right side." Literally LOL, my co-workers were starting. AWESOME. Aziraphale 17:57, 16 September 2008 (EDT) <-I wish I had your stamina for the fight...

Hee hee, thanks. HelpJazz 17:59, 16 September 2008 (EDT)

Big Science

Keep your Liberal tanks off my lawn. Bugler 05:14, 18 September 2008 (EDT)

I'm not sure I know what that means, but aren't you the one who's always complaining that I'm insinuating threats? HelpJazz 11:23, 18 September 2008 (EDT)
You threaten, you add deceit, you infect with your Liberal viruses, spreading disease, lies and deceit. If you were a man, you would leave this site and propagate your poison elsewhere. Since, in my opinion, you are a maggot, you attempt to spread it her. You are not wanted here, nor are your acolytes. Begone. Bugler 16:51, 18 September 2008 (EDT)

What a clever little chap you are (not really) Bugler 17:12, 18 September 2008 (EDT)

You should probably calm down a little bit. Seeing as how I never said anything personal against you, and you called ma a maggot, I think the wrong person was blocked. HelpJazz 17:13, 18 September 2008 (EDT)
Wait, or didn't you know that I could unblock myself? You weren't around when I was last active, so it makes sense that you wouldn't know. HelpJazz 17:14, 18 September 2008 (EDT)
Oh, I knew, but I was giving you the cahnce to behave decently and return to your appropriate place beneath your cesspit rock, Jazzman. Plot and plan CP's decline to your heart's content there, but don't expect to snigger and sneer in the cesspit and then feel you have free rein to cause subcversion and damage here, matey. Bugler 17:17, 18 September 2008 (EDT) Bugler 17:17, 18 September 2008 (EDT)
You should be careful. If your veins are bulging as much as they sound like they are, something's ready to burst. HelpJazz 17:18, 18 September 2008 (EDT)
Your card is marked. Bugler 17:21, 18 September 2008 (EDT)


I see you're reverting more factual edits now. You really want to watch yourself. Bugler 17:24, 18 September 2008 (EDT)

My bad, you lucked out on that one. Apologies? HelpJazz 17:25, 18 September 2008 (EDT)
Ah, the argot of the cesspit. So smile-making. Bugler 17:27, 18 September 2008 (EDT)


I don't know how you've upset Bugler (or vice versa) but I suggest that you both take some time out and calm down. This is a wiki and it relies in collaboration, not antagonism. I've given you both a block and hope you both respect it. BrianCo 17:48, 18 September 2008 (EDT)

Champagne Socialists

You don't seem to have much of importance to do, so perhaps you could chip in with some more CSs. Pip-pip. Bugler 16:31, 20 September 2008 (EDT)

I don't know what that means. HelpJazz 16:33, 20 September 2008 (EDT)
The definition was pretty clear, I thought. Bugler 16:34, 20 September 2008 (EDT)
Well, it isn't. You apparently can see through my computer screen and see the importance of what I'm doing, so why not use your powers to just tell me what CS means instead of making me guess? HelpJazz 16:35, 20 September 2008 (EDT)
==Champagne Socialists== Bugler 16:37, 20 September 2008 (EDT)
Oh man, I totally just saw the title of this section. Now it makes a little more sense. HelpJazz 17:51, 20 September 2008 (EDT)
Ah yeah, well, listing them doesn't actually prove "common". Of course, if I didn't have more important things to do and I really wanted to make a list of rich liberals, I would at least use a reference or two. HelpJazz 16:50, 20 September 2008 (EDT)
The 'more important things' being following me round and inserting Liberal values into my articles, presumably. It's flattering, in a way, but terribly, terribly sad at the same time. Bugler 16:52, 20 September 2008 (EDT)
Actually, you followed me around. I edited them first, and later you came back through. And I didn't see any liberal values? I don't find it flattering though. HelpJazz 16:53, 20 September 2008 (EDT)
Bugler: stop following HelpJazz around. Thanks! HenryS 17:11, 20 September 2008 (EDT)
Actually, Henry, it's the other way round, despite Jazzman's denials. He has been looking up articles that I have written and making subtle, undermining changes. There are too many for it to be a coincidence. I have no wish to follow him around whatsoever. Bugler 17:13, 20 September 2008 (EDT)
And now he's at it again! Bugler 17:15, 20 September 2008 (EDT)
...says the guy who keeps harassing HelpJazz on his talk page, calling him such things as "cesspit". --transResident Transfanform! 18:23, 20 September 2008 (EDT)


As you stated on your user page, I'm asking you about your political views! Some have referred to me as a Libertarian, although I find myself to be a free-market independent. If you could, please give me your views on economics, foreign policy, abortion, gun control, and anything else that you view as valid! I haven't had a good political discussion in a long time, and you seem to be a very rational and intelligent person. Whenever you get a chance, Jazz; I have this page on my watch list. Jeffrey W. LauttamusDiscussion 18:34, 21 September 2008 (EDT)

Woo! I'll give you a short overview for now, and I can expand later if you see fit:
  • Economics: I think we should have as little government regulation as possible, which includes privatizing such agencies as the FDA. I used to be a cold hard liner on welfare (a la Ayn Rand), but now I think that there should be a minimum safety net (a la Milton Friedman). I like the idea of a negative income tax, but I don't know enough economic theory to be able to accurately guage the effect.
  • Foreign policy: I would probably be what you call a realist. The idea of the EU scares me a little bit in a 1930's distopia novel sort of way. I think I'm an isolationist (I believe that a lot of our terrorist problems stem from, at least in part, our meddling in other people's business), but there are likely circumstances where isolationism doesn't make sense. Now when I say isolationism, I don't mean a complete cutoff from the outside world (which is what Ron Paul detractors seemed to think he meant), I mean keeping our military out of places it doesn't belong.
  • Abortion: unlike many people, abortion is not an issue that will make or break a political race for me. Constitutionally, I think it should be a state's decision, not the federal government's. I think pragmatically it should be legalized, but I won't be donating money to any pro-abortion causes any time soon, and if a friend came to me for advice, abortion would be last on the list.
  • Gun control: I believe that guns don't kill people, bullets kill people. Except sometimes pistol whipping. In all seriousness I think large-scale freedom to carry firearms lowers crime rates, but for me that's a pretty minor issue. What scares me more is the militarization of our police force. The founding fathers wrote the second amendment because they had just fought a war against their government. While I don't see it happening any time soon, if it ever comes down to a choice between an Orwellian future or an armed revolt, I'd be on the side of the revolt any day. (As you can probably tell by now, I read a little too much as a kid!)
  • Other: the War on Drugs is probably my pet issue right now. Prohibition has never worked, and the War on Drugs is being used as an excuse for a lot of things that people would otherwise find inexcusable. Last summer a Swat team (see "gun control" above) raided a house in which there were 4 or 5 children, one an infant, in search for a man wanted on drug crimes. The man's wife was killed, a dog was killed, and one of the children was injured; the man they were looking for wasn't even there. I saw another story of a mother of two who was arrested and convicted based on the word of a known junkie trying to reduce his sentence. Her daughters had to raise themselves. A man was pulled over by the police and found out that he had something like $29,000 cash in his car. They (legally) confiscated his money, the premise being that he was buying drugs (the man claimed he was going to buy cell phones to resell). He was never brought up on charges, but he never got his money back.

    Then there are the increase of crime rates: when drugs are illegal anyways it lowers the rational barrier towards using violence in relation to drugs. Especially when you rachet up the penalties and have mandatory sentencing. Then there's the fact that drug money goes to fund things like gangs and terrorist organizations. If Pfizer sold marijuana, the profits would be used to research a cure for cancer. And safety: if Pfizer sold <insert drug here>, and it had a "bad batch" it would be sued. It could be better regulated to keep it away from kids; it could be taxed so it would put money into government coffers instead of taking money away. It would lower the "stigma", and people would better be able to deal with addiction (now to deal with addiction the 0th step of the 12 step program is addmitting you regularly break the law).

    Oh yeah, and then there's the whole argument that if you want to slowly kill yourself, who the heck am I to stop you. Lastly, there may or may not be medical benefits to drugs; so long as they are illegal, we can never really know the truth. The FDA poo-poos any study on marijuana regardless of merit, and all studying has to be done with government-grown marijuana. Sorry if you've heard all these arguments before, I had to get it off my chest :)
I guess that's about it. I think prostitution should be legalized, for many the same reasons as drugs. It should be noted that I've never been to so much as a strip club, and I don't do drugs, and never plan on doing either. Just in case someone decides to use the "you're just for legalization because you do it yourself" argument. :) HelpJazz 21:25, 21 September 2008 (EDT)
Okay, I just have a few things for you. I agree with you on the majority of those issues, but here goes.
  • Economics: I agree with privatization of most businesses, though I think we see that in the current American economic system. I don't think it's a great example of the privatizing the FDA for the simple fact that I don't see a potential for profit. The only scenario I can think of off the top of my head is something like a certification, i.e. drug companies being required to pay for a certification of a certain drug in the hopes of maximizing profits, though I don't think that would be feasible. Capital tends to suck the morality out of a person, and I wouldn't want a new pharmaceutical fast-tracked into the market (Vioxx rings a bell) because some big-wig for the FDA got a few extra bucks. A few other examples of government agencies unable to be privatized would be the CDC and IRS. Same rationale as above.
As far as the negative income tax is concerned, I don't see a desire to raise one's financial situation. Sure, nobody wants to live at poverty level, but if you're guaranteed a stipend check to keep you at a certain income level, what's the motivation? I live in West Virginia, and currently our welfare system requires one to have a job while receiving assistance, plus you only receive it for a certain period of time except in special circumstances such as HUD and ...I can't think of the acronym, but it's for kids (you get milk, cheese, stuff like that ... WICC I think—that's why people here keep on popping out kids to keep their welfare).
  • Foreign policy :Nothing here. I agree with you on every point. However, our military actions in the middle east (against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, not so much in Iraq) are justified. They didn't attack us because we were "meddling," they attacked us because they despise our way of life in regards to capitalism and world trade.
  • Abortion: I wouldn't say that this would "make or break" an election for me, though I think how a person feels regarding abortion shows a lot about his character. The only time I think abortion is justified is when a choice must be made between the life of the mother and the fetus, in which case the decision should be left to the affected parties (mother and father). This is actually the main reason I'm not voting for Obama: his views on the "borderline baby act" (I think that's the name of the legislation). If a baby, who is supposed to be aborted, is born alive, that doctor should be required to do everything possible to make sure that baby survives. Obama feels like this "undermines the decision of the mother," which is morally despicable. I would have no problem with a federal referendum against abortion.
  • Gun Control: This is a real hot-button topic for me. I'm not too sure what you mean by militarization of our police force, though. In a country that allows for open ownership of firearms, our police officers have to make sure they are properly armed to deal with the most severe threats. I do not see a reason why an everyday American citizen needs to own a semi-automatic assault rifle. Handguns, hunting rifles, sporting guns ... all okay in my book. Assault rifles should be banned.
  • War on Drugs: So what? Legalize all of them? Sure, you show me a few select instances where drug raids went bad, but this is plaguing our country. It's not just the illegality of the drugs that causes crime, it's the fact that these low-life junkies spend all of the their money on drugs and therefore don't have money for anything else. That causes them to steal money for basic human necessities. Even if drugs were legalized, regulated, and taxed, we would still have this problem unless some sort of "quota" was instituted. However, with privatized business, who would institute and enforce the quota? Then we have an entirely different can of worms, and all that capital that came from stopping the war on drugs now goes to medical assistance to junkies who have no job and no health insurance. I know one of the main arguments against drugs is all the "money it would save," but in my opinion it's really revenue-neutral.
As far as Pfizer marketing drugs, I know where you're coming from, but chew on this. A guy synthesizing heroin makes a bad batch and a few dozen people die from it. If that same drug was regulated by Pfizer and they release a bad batch and was purchased legally in mass quantities, how many people would die? This isn't lead-laced tylenol, this is the most addictive drug known to man being sold in mass quantities. So you sue Pfizer ... after 1,000 people have died. Doesn't seem to rectify the situation.
I think that's about all I have for now. I'm anxiously awaiting your reply! Sorry I wasn't as articulate as I was at the beginning, but I'm getting really tired and this is really long.
Jeffrey W. LauttamusDiscussion 22:07, 21 September 2008 (EDT)
A little caveat I should have started with: I'm not very hard lined on most things and I'm willing to hear reasonable discussion. So just because I sound wishy-washy, it doesn't mean I'm changing up my story on ya' ;-)
  • Economics: the idea of privatizing goes along the lines of UL (united laboratories, which certifies hundreds of products after rigorous testing), EnergyStar, and that insurance rating company that rates cars (yeah, I'm using technical terms here). There are currently, right now, organizations which exsist simply to make sure that other companies are making good products. These companies make money because they charge to perform the rating service; other companies use the rating service so that they can put the logo on their product, thus increasing their sales. Now I fully admit that these companies are open to payoffs, but to my knowledge the companies that are out there already are scandal-free. I don't know why they are scandal-free, so that would certainly be something to research and discover, but at least we know it can be done. I also don't think *everything* should be privatized; I used to teeter on anarchocapitalism until I realized that it was just plain looney! Obviously certain government functions, like the IRS can't be run by private business, because it just opens up the door for too much corruption, and there's no good check and balance to keep it from happening. Other agencies (such as the CDC) could have their functions privatized, but there's no way to make money off of it. I don't think I would be opposed to subcontracting the CDC; so the government pays, but the company has to keep costs down and performance up.

    For me it's mostly about incentives: what incentive does the CDC have to do it's job properly or efficiently? Arguably Congress should be keeping check, but then again if CDC offices are located in a Congressman's district, he might very well want them to work inefficiently to increase revenue to his home town. I think any solution, private or public, that does not address the issue of incetives will ultimately not be the ideal solution.

    The negative income was easily the least-sure idea on that whole list. Theoretically it incentivizes working better than welfare, because you always earn more money for each dollar more you earn. As far as I know there has only been one real study, and it was just of one town in New Jersey. Another problem with it is that it would have to be nationwide, otherwise people on welfare in Kentucky might travel to Ohio to get a better deal, thus draining the system. Perhaps instead of a strict negative tax, there should be a flat tax (of this I am a lot more certain) with a proper welfare system in tact. I think the problem with any welfare system is that you either have to take into account that some people will forever live on it, or you have to allow people to be kicked onto the streets. Clearly the latter isn't good government policy. Of course charity and labor laws and the minimum wage also factor in to this in various ways.
  • Foreign policy: I didn't pay attention enough to the news at the begining of the Afghan or Iraq wars (don't shoot me; I wasn't old enough to vote :p) so I can't say whether or not we should have ever gone. I do feel, however, that now that we are there, we can't leave them worse off than when we started. As for "they hate us for our values", that really hasn't ever been shown to be true. Plus the terrorists themselves said that they attacked us so that we would leave their lands. We put al Queda in power to fight the Russians. I'm not saying that 9/11 wouldn't have happened if we never fought the Cold War (though I think you could make the argument that it's true), and I'm definitely NOT saying that we were "asking for it", since terrorism is never a way to get your point across.
  • Abortion: The reason people get worked up about abortion is, except for a few debatable facts and logical inferences, it largely is based on what you think or feel, not on what logically makes sense. This goes for pro-choicers just as much as it goes for pro-lifers, and the fact is, in many ways, both of them are right.
  • Gun control: Sometimes when I see real life Swat teams on tv it scares me a bit. You are right that unlimited access to guns could cause an arms race between cops and criminals, but more and more police carrying automatic weapons as standard issue. I realize my argument against gun control is a little... esoteric (is that the word I want?). I don't think that there is any reason for a citizen to practically own an automatic weapon, but at the same time I don't think they should be banned, because there may be a time in the future when there is a practical reason for an ordinary citizen to own an assault rifle, and by that point it will be too late to relax the rules. Again, I read too much Orwell as a child.
  • War on Drugs: I dunno, to be honest. Obviously I don't think it would be wise to legalize all of them immediately. At a minimum marijuana should be legalized; nobody has ever died from it and it's less addictive than nicotine. I can't answer about junkies -- for now. Let me sleep on it and see what comes to me in the morning :)

    The isolated examples weren't meant for their literal description, but for the rights they represent. There have been numerous infringments on basic human rights which would have never happened had not the justification of "we are fighting drugs" been made. I can list them more specifically, but I'd have to do some research.

    I think you missed the point of the Pfizer example; let me state it more clearly. For starters, companies have quality control departments, and companies can be sued if something goes wrong. Let's say a dealer is making drugs (and I'm going to sound ignorant here, so bare with me) and he decides to add fertilizer to the mix because it gives you a better high, even though he knows it's very dangerous. He's going to make a ton of money at first because it's better than the drug he's currently selling. People will start dying, but his customer base won't be affected that much because there are always new druggies to take the place of the old ones. After a while, people will figure out that it's a bad drug and eventually word of mouth will spread enough that it doesn't sell any more. The dealer has made loads of cash, but likely won't lose any customers, because he can just sell them a different drug instead. Even if he does lose customers, he can just move somewhere else where nobody's heard of him and start again. Now let's say that Pfizer intentionally puts fertilizer into their drugs: it won't get past initial testing. Let's say, for sake of argument, that it does get past initial testing, because someone has greased the wheels. Once people start dying the media will immediately grab hold. Since they intentionally put a dangerous product into their drug, they will get huge fines, lose most of their customers and respect, and likely will be completely shut down. Pfizer is too big a company to just take the money and run. There's also another angle: the drug dealer has a choice between risking arrest for dealing drugs, or risking an arrest for dealing lethal drugs. The law doesn't make much distinction, so he will do whichever one makes him the most money the fastest. Pfizer has a choice between selling drugs or risking punishment for selling lethal drugs. In this case the distiction is much greater, and they will be much more likely to avoid intentional harm to their customer.

    One last point about the safety of drugs: I'm not against heavily regulating them. Alcohol can be dangerous and addictive, but there are many rules and regulations concerning the distribution of alcohol. During prohibition if someone was poised by an illegal beer that had grown a bad yeast it was tough luck for them, they shouldn't have been breaking the law. If Coors poisons people because they are below legal standards, tough luck for them they are getting a big penalty. (I don't know if this actually happened during prohibition, but hopefully you can see my point that by legalizing, you can enforce quality standards that you wouldn't otherwise be able to control).
And with that whopper, I think I'm done for the night :) HelpJazz 23:41, 21 September 2008 (EDT)

Yeah, I think we waited until a bit too late to get this ball rolling. Just a few things, because I think we've both stated our positions relatively clearly.

Economics: I think we agree on the majority of these points. Welfare is just a slippery slope, and as long as there is a program implemented, you're going to have problems with it. There's no such thing as a perfect welfare system. The certification system is what I was talking about regarding paying a company to increase sales. It could work, but for some reason unbeknownst to me, I would trust government regulation more when it comes to my drugs and food.
Foreign policy: Of course we didn't ask for it, and you're right to an extent: it was actually the Taliban that we put into power after the Soviet Union left. Agreed that we have to finish what we started. Our mistake was just throwing the Taliban in there without staying and making sure that everything was hunky-dorey (yeah, we're both using technical terms). We're doing that in Iraq now; we're making sure the current government can fend for themselves.
Abortion: I think I'm done talking about this because you're exactly right. Both sides have excellent points, and there's no right and wrong in this discussion.
Gun control: Esoteric works fine here ;-). Automatic weapons are, for the most part, already banned. I'm not for banning anything, just for more checks before someone purchases a firearm. The Brady Bill was a good idea in theory: an automatic waiting period and background check for purchasing a firearm. I went to a lot of gun shows as a kid, and I know that it's all to easy to purchase a firearm. I just don't want every Tom, Dick, and Harry buying a gun like they're going out buying a power tool.
War on Drugs: Yeah, I've gone over this one a lot too. Heroin was probably a bad example, and I'm not sure how I feel about marijuana. I disagree with Bugler's statement below that it causes mental disorders; well, maybe not disagree with, but alcoholics suffer from late-stage psychosis after a few years. If anything, that's what should be outlawed. Marijuana is non-addictive and non-fatal, so I wouldn't see a problem with legalizing. I went through a really bad time in my early years at college, and seeing what pot did to me ... I don't know, man. I really don't. I feel so much better now that I don't do any drugs (I barely even drink). I don't like the idea of having any drugs legalized, I guess. You're for it because you've never done, I'm against it because I have.  :-)
My apologies on the Pfizer thing. Like I said, it was really late, and I was searching. I think the lack of regulation and the danger of drugs is also a good deterrent for kids who are thinking about trying them. Smoking a joint is one thing, but cocaine and heroin are a completely different story. Those things can take a budding young mind and turn it to mush.

This is all extremely sensitive material, and I think we agree on the basis of all of these issues, just specifics. I'm really glad we got this all out in the open, though! You definitely kept your word on your user page. Jeffrey W. LauttamusDiscussion 11:14, 22 September 2008 (EDT)

Keeping my word is what I do :) And duh on my part about al Queda / Taliban. I totally knew that. HelpJazz 17:48, 22 September 2008 (EDT)

I hope you don't mind if I join in? Reading this, I have a few things I'd like to add.

  • Foreign policy: One of the ways that slavery was abolished was by Britain acting as the "world's policeman". That is, they declared slave-trading ships to be considered pirate ships, and therefore made slave traders subject to their navy. Saying that a country should keep out of things that are not its business may be okay up to a point, but when its righting a wrong, it is their business. Looking the other way when injustice is being done is to be part of that injustice. It's probably not that simple, admittedly, but allowing injustice to continue just because it's not your business is wrong. Not interfering for other reasons may be valid, but that would depend on those reasons.
  • Abortion: Abortion is murder (killing of an innocent human), pure and simple. The unborn child is unquestionably human, unquestionably alive, and unquestionably not part of his mother's body. That's solid facts and logic, not just what I "think and feel".
  • Drugs: I disagree that prohibition has never worked. From my reading many years ago (the books were borrowed, so I don't have them now), prohibition in the United States was a roaring success, even to the extent that prisons were being closed for lack of prisoners, as (alcohol-fuelled) crime was down.
    Regulating drugs rather than banning them is little more than playing with words. If you regulate drugs, you are really doing things like banning them to people under 18 years old, banning stronger versions in favour of weaker "safer" versions, banning them above a certain quantity per month, banning their sale without sales tax, or whatever. Every such "regulation" (partial ban) is potential black market. Although smoking (tobacco) is strongly discouraged here in Oz these days (and use is way down), it is still legal, yet black market trade in cigarettes has still been known to happen. And remember that such drugs (marijuana, heroin, etc.) are banned for a reason, that being that they are inherently dangerous (some more than others). So by legalising and regulating them, you're basically encouraging people to take stuff that's dangerous! How is that in any way the responsible thing to do?

Philip J. Rayment 06:11, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

Jumping in...

  • Abortion: Is murder... I don't see how anyone can deny the fact that the baby is alive. As for exceptions for the health of the mother, They are also wrong. It is wrong to kill one person because it might help save another person's life. You say "there's no right and wrong in this discussion", I guess you believe that the baby is not a human life until it is born? Can you support that belief? --Tim (CPAdmin1)talk Vote in my NEW polls 07:13, 23 September 2008 (EDT)
Since the water is warm... I don't feel that the evidence is conclusive about when, exactly, life begins. Is the "morning after" pill murder? I don't know. And yes, I know that "life begins at conception" to some, but I have no reason to know that it's true. As for no exceptions for the life of the mother - we make plenty of decisions without absolute certainty. If the medical expert "on the scene" says that a pregnancy is jeopardizing the life of the mother, I think you have to respect that. How many other medical diagnoses do we overrule because there exists a possibility that the doctor is wrong?
Note that I'm no fan of abortion, HelpJazz's position is very similar to mine (re: last option, not counseled, etc...).
On drugs (Hi, Philip!), I'd suggest that you refresh yourself on the Prohibition material you read. Alcohol-fueled crime wasn't much reduced, it just became other kinds of crime (theft, murder, "white collar" crimes involving illegal trafficking) because of the burgeoning bootlegging. On the plus side (ahem), we got the Kennedys.
And, I disagree that legalizing and regulating something is the same as encouraging it, except in the most arcane of definitions. If encouragement is only binary in an encouragement-discouragement model (you must either do one or the other), then I suppose it's true, but it leaves out so many gray areas. Does the government actively encourage everything that isn't illegal, then? I like you too much to use ridiculous illustrations, but I think we can both think of things that aren't smiled upon but are nevertheless not illegal.
Lastly, somewhere else Bugler says something about mental illness and marijuana. It may be well-documented, but it's not well-documented as being any more significant than a host of other activities that are considered perfectly legal. If we're going to embrace conservative ideals here let's start with allowing people real freedom; if the argument against marijuana is self harm, as opposed to harm to others, that's their tough luck if they want to smoke it. Aziraphale 16:58, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

First, responses to Philip:

  • Foreign policy: I agree, in today's world you can't have strict isolationism. However, I think the utmost care must be taken when deciding to take action; far too often, it seems, actions are only taken if they have an immediate, personal benefit, and long term consequences are shoved under the rug. Though I would like to point out with your example that it was partially due to British expansionism that there was a slave trade anyway.
  • Drugs: I can't say I've ever read anything about prisons being closed. I do know that prohibition helped cement organized crime organizations, though, and they did their fair share of filling up the prisons. The "banning" vs "regulating" argument is really semantics. Banning isn't the same thing as regulating and doesn't have the same effects. I'm not against banning for banning's sake, I'm against it for the many reasons I've stated before. Also I don't agree that (a) drugs were necessarily banned because they were dangerous and (b) that something being dangerous is reason enough to ban something. As Az said, if someone wants to harm themselves, more power to them.

Then Aziraphale: as usual, if I didn't know that you couldn't be me, I would accuse you of being me :)

And now to Philip and Tim: this is probably going to end badly, so I hope you can agree to disagree on this point here. By "no right or wrong answer" I mean that the lines in the sand are drawn by where you believe "human life" starts. If person A says that human life begins at conception, and person A says that human life begins at the time at which the fetus could support itself outside of the womb, how can you prove who is right? "What is human life" is a philosophical or religious question, not a scientific one.

Compare to free trade: you can argue "free trade works because of the invisible hand" and someone else can argue "free trade doesn't work because of the greed of comanies". Then you can go and look at examples of free trade and determine through study "did the invisible hand work?" It either did or didn't work.

I agree with both of you that sometime between conception and birth it is considered murder, but I don't know where to draw the line. As such, I don't have a strong conviction either way, certainly not strong enough to impose my desires on others through coercive force (in this case, the law). HelpJazz 17:56, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

If you are not sure when life begins, and we are talking about human life here, isn't the safest approach to keep alive what might be human life rather than kill what might be human life?
I put "alcohol-fuelled" in brackets because I wasn't talking about just alcohol-fuelled crime. Crime overall was reduced; the reference to "alcohol-fuelled" was to explain that it would have been the alcohol-fuelled component that made the main difference. Bootlegging, although it existed, was not that widespread so as to wipe out all the gains. And by the way, this was despite prohibition being very poorly enforced. Prohibition laws were made under the taxation laws, so it was up to the taxation agents, not the police, to enforce!
No, the government doesn't actively encourage everything that it doesn't ban, but something being legal gives it de-facto legitimacy, especially when it was banned then becomes legal.
As for people being allowed to harm themselves if they want to, there are two problems with this. First, advocates of such usually will draw a line between harm of self and harm of others. That is, if it affects others, it's not okay, but if it only affects the person doing it, that's his business. However, self-harm (suicide or other serious self-harm) almost always affects others, who are at the very least saddened, and more likely distraught, perhaps suffer hardship, and may follow the example. Second, self-harm assumes that a person has the right to harm themselves. But if we belong to God (and as a Christian I believe that He made us, so we all belong to Him), and if He hasn't given us the right to harm ourselves (as I believe to be the case), then we have no right to self-harm. The "right" to self-harm presumes an atheistic viewpoint. Laws that therefore recognise the right to self-harm (e.g. euthanasia laws, allowing people to take dangerous drugs if they wish) are laws that impose the views of an atheistic religion on society.
As far as banning not having the same affects as regulating is concerned, I pointed out why they are similar, but in response all I got was denial, not an argument.
"What is a human life" may be partly a philosophical or religious question, but it is also a scientific question. New Scientist, which is pro-abortion, was forced to admit:
The task force finds that the new recombinant DNA technologies indisputably prove that the unborn child is a whole human being from the moment of fertilization, that all abortions terminate the life of a human being, and that the unborn child is a separate human patient under the care of modern medicine. [1]
Philip J. Rayment 23:29, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

Hi, Philip

(giving a sub-heading for navigation purposes if nothing else)

"If you are not sure when life begins, and we are talking about human life here, isn't the safest approach to keep alive what might be human life rather than kill what might be human life?"

Indeed, that might be the safest choice, and it's one that I'm inclined to make; see my (and HJ's) comments above about what we would personally counsel. Given that I believe that there's uncertainty, however, I think it's inappropriate for the State to intervene. I'm technically only speaking for myself now, although from this and other conversations I think HJ will broadly agree with me: this conversation is far less about what is right and wrong and far more about what I believe the State should be involved in. From intervention v. isolation, prohibition v. free-ish access to drugs, abortion, and on down the line, I believe there should be a much more stringent threshold to cross than is currently accepted before the State gets in the game. For example, I agree with you that British intervention helped stifle the slave trade; I also think that "stopping the slave trade" is far more important (and thus worthy, and thus appropriate) than, say, making sure a particular political leader is, or is not, in power. There may be an exception here and there (yes, yes, Mr. Hitler, sit down, we see you) but they are exactly that - exceptions.

A minor point about bootlegging, more as a fun aside than any serious debate: don't forget, when assessing the crime spike from Prohibition, to include alcohol production / consumption for personal use that never made it into the movies. There's a reason that there's a stereotype of rural folk with their stills out in the woods. Aziraphale 11:13, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

Yes, we are again in agreement. Philip, that quote sounds interesting, but unfortunately the original article from which it is pulled is unavailable without a subscription. I would really like to see the whole context before I change my whole worldview, you know? I'll try to see if I can find it through school, but I'm not sure what kind of alumni access I have. HelpJazz 12:32, 24 September 2008 (EDT)
Well that's the last time I take a few days off. I failed to see what broke loose when we started this, Jazz! Seriously though, I'm glad to see this sparked a great discussion. It's really interesting to see how different people view these issues just because there are so many different schools of thought. I think all 5 of the parties involved here agree that in personal counsel, abortion is wrong.
On a side note, should we move this to a debate space, maybe? Perhaps some other editors would get involved! Jeffrey W. LauttamusDiscussion 16:40, 24 September 2008 (EDT)
It's your page, HelpJazz, so obviously you can do what you want with it, but if you're soliciting opinions can I vote "no?" I'm enjoying the relatively excellent signal-to-noise ratio you've got going at the moment. Put this on a debate page and the screeds will start pouring in. Aziraphale 16:46, 24 September 2008 (EDT) <-My 2 cents... oh, and hi Bohdan! They're back. :)
I dunno. If it's on a debate page I likely won't really pay attention to it. HelpJazz 18:50, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

Regarding government involvement, I do tend to lean toward what you are saying Arizaphale. However, there are two different situations here. If something is not illegal (e.g. taking a particular drug, or an abortion), then perhaps the government ought to be slow to get involved by restricting or banning it. The government not restricting or banning does not really provide any sort of endorsement of it either. Although this may not always be true if they are implicitly supporting it already by, for example, taxing it. The other situation is where the government has already restricted or banned it. In this case, decriminalising/unbanning/unrestricting it is sending a strong message that the thing (drug, abortion, etc.) is acceptable; that there's nothing wrong with it. Now there may be some way that a government can remove itself from being involved without providing tacit endorsement, but it's difficult to think of a way. Just by way of example, one way would be to decriminalise it but not tell anyone that they'd done so! But of course, both because government actions like this are not done in secret, and because there are always interested parties watching, it won't take long until this decriminalisation done on the quiet becomes very public, so that idea doesn't really work.

But then there's the question of the harm that it does. I mean, if it's accepted that murder is something very wrong, then surely it's proper for a government to take the safe course. I recall reading (many years ago now) about a medicinal drug that the government banned simply because test on mice had shown that it could cause problems at times. The drug was already being used (by humans) and was proving beneficial. Yet the government banned this beneficial medicinal drug because of the small possibility of bad side effects. Was that a case of the government getting too involved? Perhaps. But if that's any sort of precedent, then all abortions should be banned just on the possibility (and I believe it's more than a possibility; I'm just being hypothetical) that the fetus is actually a living human being. (And just in case anyone reads too much into what I'm saying, I agree with Tim above that the one acceptable circumstance in which an abortion is okay is when it really gets down to a choice between the baby's life and the mother's life. That is, if one or the other is going to die anyway, there's nothing wrong with choosing that it will be the baby and not the mother that dies.)

Philip J. Rayment 03:02, 25 September 2008 (EDT)

Hi Philip,
First, allow me to break my arm patting myself on my back - I just *knew* that was going to be your response re: deregulating/banning things that were once regulated or banned. It is the one reasonable argument for keeping the things regulated/banned, I agree. Now we're getting into "real" politics vs. political theory, I think. The high-minded Aziraphale says "if you take that stance then government can never correct a mistaken over-regulation, which is negative and self-limiting," but the realist Aziraphale has to concede that you have a point. I do think the "we're legalizing it but still thinks its a bad idea" message isn't that hard to get out in the specific situation we're discussing, though; after all these years, and with all the talk it would generate, it's hard for me to fathom someone NOT realizing the government's position, should it legalize marijuana.
Re: the mouse-drug point above, I think that was a bad precedent, and wouldn't want to see it applied to other situations, abortion-related or otherwise. But that's just me.
One point of clarification, on Tim's behalf - I don't think he does accept the "health of the mother" stipulation to allowing abortions, as I read his comments. I still take your meaning, of course.
I think this conversation over the last few days illustrates HelpJazz's abortion statement better than his simply saying it. After all, I'm pretty comfortable in saying that none of the people currently participating in this conversation are witless or unreasonable, or stupid for that matter, and yet - one or more of us simply has to be wrong on the abortion issue. Tim believes that it's a life from the absolute beginning, and any abortion, for any reason, is morally wrong. You believe mostly the same thing, although you allow for the "health of the mother" stipulation. HelpJazz and I are both against abortion in our own minds, but don't agree that a human life has been created from the first division of cells in the womb. I think that's the climate of the debate in microcosm. Aziraphale 11:19, 25 September 2008 (EDT)
If that's your (and Jazz's) stance, then shouldn't you clarify when life begins? It's been a while since my OB classes, but I'm pretty sure the fetus's heart begins beating between 5-6 weeks gestation. At 6 weeks, the brain starts to develop and so on and so forth. Is your stance that life begins at the end of the first trimester? Second? Third? Birth? Adolescence? I'm not trying to be snarky (well, with adolescence I was) or presumptuous, but I do think that clarification is necessary if you're taking that stance. Jeffrey W. LauttamusDiscussion 12:15, 25 September 2008 (EDT)
Ok, first - I'm absolutely *not* speaking for HelpJazz now because this is not something I can infer from any previous conversation with him. My own answer is: no, I absolutely shouldn't clarify when life begins. Why would I know the first thing about it? You say it's been awhile since your OB classes; well, I've never had any OB classes. So, I'm more than willing to be led by experts like yourself.
The problem, to me, quickly becomes: on many subjects I feel like I've found experts I can be led by. On abortion (and it's not only abortion, but that's what we're talking about) I've found MANY experts who seem reasonable and who present evidence that, to my untrained eye, seems acceptable, and yet they all want to lead me in different directions. This is similar to what I said above, about reasonable people holding different opinions; reasonable experts have come to different conclusions.
I'm going to back up, again, and point out that my only contention is a political one - the vagueness in the issue (which, yes of course I concede, not everyone believes exists) doesn't offer up a clear, unmitigated call for State intervention. I will continue to counsel against abortion; that's not empty rhetoric, I've shepherded a friend in the last decade through a very difficult pregnancy that led to an adoption. But, I don't think the State belongs in this discussion. Aziraphale 12:47, 25 September 2008 (EDT)
Very far from an expert. I wasn't asking about your opinion on state intervention; I'm asking your opinion on where life begins. Sure, we all follow experts to a certain extent, but I feel that in the long run, experts are merely there to give us all of the evidence they've worked so hard and for so long to obtain. They gather that evidence to make an argument for one side or the next, sure, but in the end we have to take that evidence and turn it into a well-thought out conclusion of our own and support it with rational arguments.
Everyone comes to different conclusions based on the evidence we obtain, and I'm thankful every day for that. Quite frankly, if we didn't have disagreements, I can't think of a many people that are really worth talking to! If you're not comfortable disclosing your opinion, I accept that as well. As I said, I have no intentions of offending you. We can keep the State out of the discussion for as long as you'd like. Jeffrey W. LauttamusDiscussion 13:01, 25 September 2008 (EDT)
Hi Jeffrey,
I'm sorry, we've apparently bumped into a mis-communication. You aren't bothering me by bringing up the State intervention issue; it is, in fact, the only part of this issue that I have strong feelings about. (This was a politics discussion, right?) I have not "take[n] that evidence and turn[ed] it into a well-thought out conclusion." I do not have, nor do I expect to have, a conclusion as to when life begins. I have absolutely no training on the issue, and I won't ever get it - there are only so many hours in the day and I have other things that matter more to me. Further, my own partner and I have settled our reproductive affairs to our own satisfaction, so I don't have any personal investment in the issue. The best I can do is intuit which answers I discard as being extreme or unreasonable. I think a fetus is actually a soggy baby well before birth, but I don't think it's a soggy baby when it's 2 cells that just split from 1 cell.
I appreciate that you want to discuss the issue, not berate someone who disagrees with you. :) However, I've actually worked very hard in my life to get to a place where I'm comfortable with uncertainty. (By "comfortable," I partly mean "not paralyzed to inaction.") I accept the possibility of being wrong, but I think it's a good thing when a person says "I don't know" rather than stand on an under-formed opinion. Aziraphale 13:57, 25 September 2008 (EDT)


At a minimum marijuana should be legalized; nobody has ever died from it

It is well documented that marijuana use can lead to mental disorder, and it is highly likely that it is a contributing factor to suicide. A useful point to add to Mystery:Do Liberal Teachings Cause Mental Illness?, so thanks for that. Bugler 05:08, 22 September 2008 (EDT)

It's an interesting article, and I'd like to read the study for myself so I can properly digest it. However it doesn't change my stance. HelpJazz 17:46, 22 September 2008 (EDT)
Also I should point out, since you used this example in the essay, that many liberals don't support the legalization of drugs since they are dangerous and everyone should live in a bubble so that they don't die earlier. These same liberals want to ban trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. It's definitely more of an issue with libertarians and advocacy groups (such as LEAP: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition).
Oh which reminded me of a whole bunch more reasons against the WoD Jeffrey, but I won't bore you with them :) HelpJazz 18:14, 22 September 2008 (EDT)

Capitalisation of 'intelligent design'

I see that you've been changing "Intelligent Design" to "intelligent design". I'm not sure that this is necessarily the best thing to do, but then I don't know what is the best thing to do. Granted "intelligent design" is not a proper noun, but it is the name of a concept and movement, so leaving it as just two ordinary words doesn't seem right either. There is difference between saying that "a plant exhibits characteristics of intelligent design" and "Dembski is a proponent of intelligent design". The former is fine. The latter makes it sound like Dembski favours things being intelligently designed, rather than what it really means, that he favours the idea that living things have been intelligently designed. As I see it, there's three possible ways to distinguish the different uses of the term. One is to capitalise it, as the "name" of a concept and movement. Two is to italicise it, as a special use of the words. Three is to put it in quotes, also as a special use of the words. The quotes option, to me, seems a bit too close to "scare quotes". Italicising it to me seems to be stressing or emphasising it, which is not the desire either. Also, its use is quite common in many places, which means that italicising it or putting it in quotes on the basis of it being a special use of the words hardly seems appropriate. Which leaves capitalisation, which is the one that I've tended to go for, although I'm not totally comfortable with that either, probably simply because it's not a proper noun. Perhaps there's some other approach that I've not thought of?


Philip J. Rayment 06:22, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

Well, the reason that I did it is that I saw the page on the article renaming project page. I don't think we can capitalize it, because then it looks like we are trying to make it more superior to things like evolutionism and creationism, which are rarely capitalized. Italicising is probably ok (like one would do for a word in another language). In my opinion, if you wikilink the first instance of the word, then it lets the reader know that it is a special term, but without giving it any special meaning. Similar to how certain legal terms (I can't think of any off the top of my head) are wikilinked; you might not otherwise know that the seeminly simple phrase was actually a legal doctrine, but once you see the wikilink you realize it is special.
I'm open to whatever you think is best. I will say that, maybe you were consistent in the way that you capitalized "intelligent design" depending on the usage, but the community as a whole just sort of capitalized it willy-nilly. Many times I would even see only the first word capitalized, as if it were starting a new sentence! HelpJazz 11:42, 23 September 2008 (EDT)
It's about time I replied to this! I don't accept that capitalising it means that we consider it superior to evolutionism or creationism, but I see you point that it might appear that way. And I hadn't thought about your point that wikilinking the first use indicates that you are using it in a special way; that's a good point. Anyway, although I'm not totally convinced that having it lower case is the best way to go, at the moment no other way seems to be better, so I'll leave the matter there. Philip J. Rayment 03:41, 25 September 2008 (EDT)


I noticed your edit to Fish and chips. DessipF isn't just a "suspicious editor", but a banned editor. See the block log. -Foxtrot 20:08, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

Yeah I know. The repitition just made for a more poetic edit comment. HelpJazz 12:21, 24 September 2008 (EDT)