Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by AceofKY

  1. The vast majority of USA citizens are excluded from participating in these offers. Our SEC requires a participant to be an "accredited" investor, which means your net worth must exceed $1MM or you must have at least $200k in income per year. I agree, it is a bad policy. I think the Canadian rules are much less strict.
  2. Welcome Lardoon. You are in a much better situation than me as I bought my shares soon after the IPO. The press release says that Blackmont and Haywood are the agents for the placement. Other than that, I have no details. If you have a canadian broker they should be able to point you in the right direction. I think it's too soon to posit item #2. They're still ramping up production, which has taken longer than expected, so we still don't know what the actual production costs are going to be at full capacity. It appears to me that they just significantly underestimated the capital costs of putting the asset back into production. If the production costs were underestimated as well (I believe they were estimated at around $0.77/lb total including shipping) then SRZ will be in a world of hurt if the zinc price doesn't recover. And you're right, they may not even be able to cash flow enough to get the gallium recovery circuit into operation. The G&G potential has always been the real attraction of this play; management needs to figure out how to recover the G's without diluting the equity unreasonably. I am certainly not buying more at this point. There's too much risk with zinc this low and SRZ carrying substantial debt. But I'm not selling my shares, either. To this point, they have only hedged part of 08 production so SRZ is likely one of the most highly levered zinc plays available right now. These guys are professionals; there is a lot of experience in management and on the board which is what allowed them to pull down the huge IPO in the first place. I'm going to give them a chance to actually operate the mine. If they can do that successfully and can lower the production costs, the share price will recover eventually or a major will step in.
  3. Strike two for this management team. This stock has been a real dog in my portfolio. They have burned through cash like crazy on this startup, and now announce the third financing in 3 months! At least I don't feel as dumb as FNX Mining, who with insider knowledge gave them $2.85/share a couple months ago. We really need some cooperation from zinc price here.
  4. AceofKY

    Dynasty Metals & Mining

    Never underestimate the ability of a leftist to confiscate property and screw up an economy. Glad I made it out of this one in time. http://www.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUSN1744670820080417
  5. Dynasty (DMM.V) is an interesting company with gold production that will be coming online within a year. I've had good luck so far buying this type of company - they typically get revalued higher as construction nears and commences. First the bad news. Dynasty's properties are located in Ecuador. They recently elected a semi-leftist government in Ecuador and there is concern on the part of investors that this government's policies will be unfavorable to the mining industry. On the other hand this country is the location of Aurelian's once-in-a-decade bonanza gold strike, and the market has rewarded Aurelian with a market cap over a billion dollars. Dynasty was recently awarded the final construction permit on its Zaruma project, so I am feeling better about the situation and have decided to buy shares since I feel that the market is overly discounting the country risk. Market Cap: ~US$140M (~US$4.75/share) of which ~US$12M (~US$0.40/share) is cash on the balance sheet. They have a pink sheet listing for US investors. Management Ownership: CEO Robert Washer - 33.5% of shares, Other directors own an additional 3% of shares. Resources: Gold - 2.1M oz M&I; 2.5M inferred. Silver - 9.1M oz M&I; 11.8M inferred. Most of these resources are at grades over 12oz AU/tonne, which for those of you who follow gold mining should know is pretty good. Cash costs will likely be below US$200/oz to extract the gold. Production - Zaruma is currently being built (Capital costs ~$25M) and is fully permitted and should be in production within a year. It will produce 100k oz AU/year for 10.5 years based on M&I resources. For those of you who are/were Rio Narcea investors, you should realize that this one project alone more than justifies the current market cap (compare to Tasiast which has lower grade ore). The Jerusalem project is waiting in the pipeline as soon as management's attention and cashflow/financing will allow it to be developed. It will also be a +100k oz producer but mine life is currently only 4 years using M&I resources. Exploration - Both Zaruma and the Jerusalem properties are still being explored to prove up more resources. Also there is the Dynasty property which is lower grade but looks promising none-the-less. They are finding lots of surface mineralization via channel sampling so it may be open-pittable. Technicals - I don't do TA so no comment here. Share price is currently falling on news that has all been good, so I bought some on Friday and will probably buy some more if the price continues to drop. As always, do your own DD and don't blame me if Ecuador turns into Venezuela. This is not a double-your-money-in-a-month investment as it will take time to build out the mill at Zaruma and (hopefully) we may see some investors coming back to Ecuadorian companies over time. The new President is semi-leftist but he's a product of American universities so I'm hopeful he won't screw up too bad. Ace
  6. I tried to provide it with data, but it rejected that data, rejected reason, rejected experience, rejected definitions, rejected law, rejected tradition. Your personal moral sense rejects everything except for its own autonomy. You mentioned that you had children. How do you raise a child without forming their conscience? You must, of course, teach children all of these things (definitions, law, tradition, language) and they must apply that to the data they learn and the experiences they encounter. Then one day (hopefully) they WILL be able to exercise an independent morality that allows them to live in society without self-destructing or destroying others. It's an interesting thought to be able to claim that you autonomously operate in the world and that evolution has supplied you with everything that you need for a properly functioning moral sense, but I'm not buying it. Any psychological experiment or study that I've ever seen that has looked at children raised without benefit of language or parental guidance (i.e. - laws) suggests that they won't, in fact, grow up to be normal responsible adults (I suppose that is a useless argument since you don't accept science, though). Even natural law theory, while promoting the idea that we are able to discern moral principles via reason, recognizes that we must get to the point of actually being able to use reason (a child with no language or socialization, of course, cannot exercise this faculty.) Sorry, that's not the way humans develop. Without words (or some form of communication such as sign-language, body-language, etc), you cannot make judgments beyond an animal level. You cannot reason. You cannot do anything beyond an animal existence. Think feral children here. Or think of children who are both deaf and blind from birth. There is a very painstaking process of getting the latter to the point of cognizing the world beyond the sense of touch and exercising anything close to what we would call a moral judgment. Yes, it's quite clear that infanticide, murder, rape, etc are not absolutely wrong for you; you just don't approve. There is always that potential case where it could be ok, even though you never bother giving us such a case. Even when you mentioned that it was ok to kill old people and unborn babies in certain circumstances, you didn't call it murder for some reason. You seem to be the only person in your moral democracy who doesn't accept the principle of the right to life. The rest of us have not only accepted it but are (at least attempting) to enforce it in law. Here's a few examples you may recognize: European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (accepted into British law by the Human Rights Act): Universal Declaration of Human Rights: U.S. Declaration of Independence: I'm sure you've thought about this deeply and are quite convinced about it, but (at the risk of being disrespectful and recognizing that your moral sense needs no external input) I would recommend not going around claiming that people do not have a right to life. I'm not going to attempt to derive moral principles from a transcendent foundation for you on a blog. It took Aristotle, Aquinas, Lonergan, etc, huge books (and sometimes multiple books) to do this. You have to go completely through metaphysics before you even get to ethics. That's why we normal people start from evident moral principles for our everyday decisions. Besides, you've already rejected the use of reason in making moral decisions, so there wouldn't be any point to attempting it in the first place. Nothing can be derived without using reason. The whole problem is that your moral considerations (and my own) are NOT simply personal and internal. Our moral decisions and actions affect others, including the unborn children and the elderly. And they also affect the citizens of Iraq. And they also affect the environment. None of us is an island; you're moral system has forced you into becoming what you are accusing America of being.
  7. A house can be built in the city for the same price, if not less. The land just costs more. I wasn't implying that KY would be a good investment opportunity. I was implying that Cleveland property could still fall more since one can still build new for less $$ than buying an existing home. This was the case for our area for several years, which fueled a big home-building movement in the area. Now, I think, it has evened out.
  8. How can you be wrong? Your moral judgments are based on subjective emotion without recourse to reason and without reliance on science or anything external? What "Right" reference do you have for saying "This judgment is wrong" ? Everyone accepts that each case must be examined on its own merits. You need not keep repeating that. But it must be examined against something, and that something is not the emotion of you, or a judge, or a jury, or society. That something is law, usually positive law - which should be based upon natural law. The definitions of words are important, because words have meaning, and it is through meaning that we communicate to each other. Without definitions, we could not even have this conversation. Take this, for example, from the Kentucky Revised Statutes: "A person is guilty of murder when: With intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of such person or of a third person; except that in any prosecution a person shall not be guilty under this subsection if he acted under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there was a reasonable explanation or excuse, the reasonableness of which is to be determined from the viewpoint of a person in the defendant's situation under the circumstances as the defendant believed them to be. However, nothing contained in this section shall constitute a defense to a prosecution for or preclude a conviction of manslaughter in the first degree or any other crime..." So we have here a definition of the crime of murder. When one person causes the death of another person intentionally and with sound mind, that person is guilty of murder. If that person pleads guilty (i.e. - they admit to causing the death and they admit to intentionality and to being of sound mind) then they are AUTOMATICALLY convicted and imprisoned. If they plead not guilty, then you have to bring in the juries, etc, to make judgments on the facts of the case (i.e. - whether the person caused the death, whether it was intentional, whether the person was of sound mind - one of which may reduce the charge to a lesser charge such as manslaughter.) The judge and jury never redefines what murder is. The legislature can redefine the positive law definition of murder, but if it is not in accord with natural law (as known to all people by conscience) we say that it is an unjust law. For example, I think we can both agree that the ancient Roman law allowing infanticide was an unjust law. For you to say that you wouldn't automatically convict someone of murder (when the facts of the case aren't in question) just shows how absurd your system of morality is. Note too, how important the definition of a person is when considering a charge of murder. Definitions of words held in common are necessary for communication since we communicate, amongst other ways, with words. So it is only when making moral judgments that you resort to emotion? If you rely on reason for other judgments in life, why not for moral judgments also? And you are saying that the murderer didn't actually do anything wrong, other than just crossing the emotions of the majority of the people. This is, of course, known as tyranny. Tyranny can exist under a democracy just as much as it can under a dictatorship. My position is that the murderer has committed a great evil, regardless of how many people think it wasn't evil. My grandfather once asked me whether, if I had the chance and had the foreknowledge of what was to come, would I have shot and killed Hitler before he came to power? Of course, the answer was no. So are you saying that it's ok to kill the elderly if they would prefer to die rather than to live, as long as the killer's intention is to help them die rather than to get their insurance money? What about the teenager who is depressed and would rather die than live? Does your moral system have ANY coherent principles that do not eventually reduce to absurdity? Umm, have you checked Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics? You seem to be confusing a principle in general (something self-evident to all people) with what Aristotle called the "First" principle, without which we couldn't know anything at all. Aristotle may not have used the phrase "right to life" but he certainly held that murder is always wrong. This, from Book II: "But not every action nor every passion admits of a mean; for some have names that already imply badness, e.g. spite, shamelessness, envy, and in the case of actions adultery, theft, murder; for all of these and suchlike things imply by their names that they are themselves bad, and not the excesses or deficiencies of them. It is not possible, then, ever to be right with regard to them; one must always be wrong. Nor does goodness or badness with regard to such things depend on committing adultery with the right woman, at the right time, and in the right way, but simply to do any of them is to go wrong. " Well, why not start with Aristotle's own Metaphysics and Ethics? St. Thomas' system is also based on Aristotelian principles. You will find no friend in these systems, however, as all modern moral systems that deny objective moral principles necessarily reject Aristotelian first principles. If you start with Aristotelian principles, you will end up with Aristotelian conclusions. Why start with Aristotelian principles? They are certainly not demonstrable, which is why most of the moderns rejected them. If you want a more certain foundation, you can start as Descartes tried to (with thought) or as Lonergan has done more successfully (with cognitional theory). There is something strange however, I think, about requiring hundreds of pages as Lonergan did in Insight to derive conclusions from absolutely certain transcendant foundations that that normal people accept as self-evident. Either way you look at it, Lonergan came to the same conclusion: it's always wrong to murder someone. If you were honest, like Nietzsche, Rorty, and the other post-moderns, you would admit that there's no way to coherently make moral judgments that something is "wrong" without presupposing some fixed sense of "rightness" that does not depend on your conscience.
  9. What's all the fuss about? $141/sf? We can build brand new really nice homes for less than that. In fact, we designed a simple but brand new elementary school that bid for less than that about a year ago. If this is "Clevelandization" at work, I wish someone would Clevelandize my own property which was purchased at $62/sf with 5 acres too.
  10. Sure, it's your call. But can't you be wrong about what information is relevant? Can't you ever be wrong when you make a judgment? It seems that it is never possible for you to be wrong in any judgment. Well, no, that is not a surprise. What is a surprise is that your understanding of mind doesn't seem to coincide with anybody else's understanding of mind. You seem to think that it is unimportant to define terms in a way that can be commonly accepted by all of us (such as the definition of a human person), yet you are more than willing to convict and imprison those who would take the life of a human person even though they don't have a clue of what your human "mind" is? If your so-called moral democracy is going to work, don't you think that these terms need to be defined in the public square? So rationality is not a criterion of moral judgment? Why, pray tell, are you even continuing to argue this case if rationality doesn't matter? I suppose you reject the principle of non-contradiction also? Lol. So the choice is between incoherency and psychopathology? I can imagine the murderer sitting in front of the judge: "Your honor, I do accept the possibility that it may be wrong for me to kill people, but I have made a subjective judgment that I'm going to ignore that possibility. And since my subjective judgments are made by my brain in response to external stimuli without reference to any of your principles or laws or traditions, I am therefore innocent of the charge of murder. Furthermore, we haven't even defined what a human is yet, so how can I be guilty of murder of a human? Furthermore, I don't accept definitions of words so even if we did define what a human is then I still wouldn't accept your definition of it." Come now, all of this because you are not willing to accept that there are certain principles that apply to all people at all times in all circumstances? I would welcome, of course, comments from other Western Europeans.
  11. Are you not bound by reality? You stated above that you had no problem accepting reality independent of the subject. That is the purpose of theories, scientific studies, philosophy, etc. - to discover reality. Of course you must make your own moral judgments based on the information you have available. But you are rejecting all of the information available (i.e. - philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, etc) when you say that "mind" only needs to be defined by you. Unfortunately, your subjectivism/relativism is shared by many Americans. It is self-referentially inconsistent, however. If I claim that I can make my own moral judgments based on my own subjective opinions, emotions, reason, etc. because objective, absolute reasons don't exist, I have just broken my own rule. I broke it by positing that absolute validity of a statement/judgment doesn't exist, but this is an absolute judgment in and of itself. In fact, it's not even possible to talk about "validity for me" without recognizing something else called "validity in itself." As soon as I make this distinction, I am implicitly implying that the distinction is valid in itself for both of us, not just myself. This is the basic self-referential error of all forms of idealism and relativism. No rational deconstruction is needed because the relativist cannot speak without implicitly contradicting his own position.
  12. Actually, the definition of humans that is being lost is the unity of "soul" and body. This is different than what you are calling "mind" and body (apparent from your clarification below.) Viability was never a concern as by definition the soul is the principle of life. Remember, the soul (as conceived classically) is present in all living things. If you feel that there is no way to separate mind from brain, why not just get rid of the word "mind" ? I think the word you are looking for would be something more akin to "consciousness." The word "mind" needs to be defined better otherwise. If your "mind" is similar to consciousness, you have to deal with more problems: 1. It is well known that human children, up to approximately 1 to 1.5 years of age, are not even as self-aware as animals such as apes and elephants. This was the result of the so-called "mirror test." So, either self-awareness needs to be dropped as one of the criteria of mind/consciousness or one needs to be more consistent in allowing infants to be killed after birth (as Peter Singer has argued should be done.) 2. Other aspects of consciousness are known to be at least partially developed at somewhere between 20-28 weeks of gestation. Positive law in Britain partially recognizes this, but termination of unborn babies with handicaps (regardless of whether those handicaps impact consciousness) is still permitted. The situation in the USA is much worse. 3. People in comas and vegetative states do not have consciousness; yet they often recover consciousness later. Did they cease being human in the interim? Singer, at least, is consistent. Like the ancient Romans, he recognizes that there is no moral difference in aborting an unborn baby or allowing an already-born infant to be drowned or otherwise exposed. And he recognizes that most all of these definitions of "mind" or "consciousness" are just as applicable to brute animals as they are to humans.
  13. Hah! That's funny. In trying to make your theory coherent, you've just arrived at what is very close to the traditional concept of a soul - i.e. - that part of human life that is somehow distinct from (but still united with in a dynamic unity) the physical body. Like Descartes, of course, you call it "mind" specifically to attempt to differentiate this non-physical aspect of human life from the Greek and Christian concept of the soul. And like all of Descartes' successors and modern science' findings, you will eventually find that there is no way to coherently separate mind and body. Shall we repeat the whole history of modern philosophy here? Unlike Descartes, you have the benefit of knowing where this will all end up, so it shouldn't be necessary.
  14. Yes, in a sufficiently bad case where all other means are exhausted, then I don't believe it is morally wrong to use force to force neighbors and other cultures to conform to those objective moral standards that we feel are common to all people. Example 1: The Nazis incinerating Jews. Even if they hadn't attacked the rest of Europe this would be a sufficient justification for a legitimate authority to attempt to overthrow Nazi rule. Example 2: Genocide, such as the type we see in Africa every decade or so. This is sufficient justification for a legitimate authority to step in and use force to stop the killing. Even when force is justified (this is called just war theory, by the way, which is based on natural law theory), the objective moral standards still govern. So it is not acceptable to use evil means to obtain a good end. The use of the nuclear bomb by the USA in WWII against non-combatants is an example of an evil means that is unjustified even though the intention may have been good. If American culture is so wasteful that it is denying other people in the world their fundamental rights (life, liberty, etc) or causing them to starve or some other sufficiently bad reason, then YES of course the rest of the world would have not only the right but the DUTY to force America to change if other means that are possible (persuasion, market forces, etc) are exhausted.
  15. So do you think they (i.e. - chattel slavery, militant imperialism, pederasty, etc) are wrong in all circumstances (i.e. - absolutely wrong)? Or is your opinion subject to revision as you have claimed above, since it is based on a subjective feeling? What is YOUR definition of a human, and when do YOU believe that human life begins?
  16. You are correct that objective moral standards don't come "from reason." I apologize if I was unclear in stating this above. We utilize reason to identify what those standards are. The "source" of those standards is a nice subject to ponder, but we aren't going to solve that here. I don't think it matters, however, whether you consider God to be the ultimate source of those standards (as Aquinas and Newman and others did) or whether you consider them to be a product of evolution (as you do.) The questions relevant for moral and political action is: do these standards exist or not? Are they objective (independent of the subject)? And are they normative for our actions? Your use of the word "principles" is different from the Aristotelian sense that I was using, and the common definition which is "a fundamental truth or law as the basis of reasoning or action." Principles for Aristotle were self-evident (albeit unverifiable) for all people. They are not open to being challenged and revised; a principle that has been revised could not have been a principle in the first place. The true principles, in fact, are transcendent - they can't be denied coherently (e.g. - the principle of non-contradiction.) Your use of the word "principles" in the above paragraph can be replaced by the word "ideas" in all places and still mean the same thing. The only people who would deny an Aristotelian principle are called "psychopaths." Under your system, a psychopath is just someone who thinks differently than the crowd, or otherwise it loses any meaning at all as a word. It is more likely, I think, that one of us is just reasoning inaccurately since we haven't identified any principles that we don't commonly share. Well, ok, but I thought you were arguing that Europe still believes in truth? This statement you've made is all I meant by saying that Europe no longer believes in truth - i.e. her principles are no longer principles; they are just popularly held ideas open to revision. Truth, as defined by the Western tradition from Plato all the way up to Kant, is the conformance of the subject's affirmations (or negations) to objective reality. Truth is independent of the subject; it is the subject's job to utilize reason to discern the truth and conform his/her actions to it. After Kant, we have idealism and post-modernism which hold that we can't discern objective truths, or they may not exist. I think this is where you are (although I'm not sure that you realize it) because reality as you are conceiving it is not independent of the subject. Ok, well, have you considered the other things you've just justified with your positivism? Things that, just a few paragraphs above, you were condemning? Here's a few: 1. Chattel Slavery - popularly held to be morally acceptable by most Americans in the 19th century 2. Militant Imperialism - popularly held to be morally acceptable by the British in past centuries 3. Pederasty - popularly held to be morally acceptable by the ancient Greeks At some point, you have to make a choice. Either there are objective moral standards or there are not. If there are not, then you have to explain how all of these actions are "wrong." A straw man argument is based on misrepresenting your argument. Simply because you have not made such a suggestion does not mean that I have misrepresented your argument. I may have misrepresented your argument (unintentionally, of course), but if so I wish you'd tell me rather than avoiding the issue! The fact is, under British positive law and American judicial decree, a handicapped baby that is not yet born does not have an inalienable right to life. I'm asking you, using reason and scientific data, to tell me WHEN does your so-called "post-fertilization organism" developing inside the womb of human also become a human itself and therefore protected by our common belief that humans have a right to life? Above you were criticizing the Nazis for incinerating Jews. Now you are saying that it is acceptable to redefine the word "human" in different contexts when the right to life is at stake? You are misrepresenting natural law theory here. The absolute moral standard is proposed to exist independently of the subject or the subject's reason. The subject must then use his reason to identify those standards and conform his actions to them. You are correct that Legal positivism bypasses both the absolute standards and reason and promulgates laws that may or may not be in accordance with the absolute moral standards. Well, I obviously disagree. This positivism, when maintained consistently, justifies all sorts of horrible actions throughout history. Hopefully it is clear now why I stated that I don't believe the contemporary Western European model will make for a just society. There is a pretty big chasm between your thought and mine, isn't there? I am not sure what it would take to reconcile things one way or another. Bernard Lonergan, I think, may have some thoughts that would interest you since he starts from the subject and uses the empirical method to arrive at empirical and transcendent arguments for metaphysics, objective truth, etc. I am, however, just beginning my study of this methodology so I can't offer any opinion on it, good or bad.
  17. A reader has sent me a private message inquiring as to my current view on Fronteer Group. I apologize for being unable to respond privately (I have severe problems with authentication with this forum due to my satellite internet connection), but I guess we might as well start a thread anyway. Fronteer's equity price is falling very fast. I bought a small position a while back when it looked like it might hold chart support. It then proceeded to break chart support, and that small position got much smaller. I don't think I've ever lost 48% in only a few weeks. There is one fundamental issue that I wasn't originally aware of - there may be a 3 year moratorium (which could lead to project cancellation) on the uranium project of Aurora Energy which Fronteer owns something like 42% of. The fall in Fronteer's market cap is ridiculous, however, since that uranium project is only a portion of it's intrinsic value. I do think it is a good buy; the problem is I have no idea when it will stop falling or how long it will take to recover. The vote on that moratorium should be soon, I think, so hopefully we'll get some resolution one way or another soon. FRG's current market cap of $404MM represents $85 per measured and indicated gold equivalent ounce, not including inferred resources or any of the uranium resource. And at least two resource updates will be issued this year. The following is what I issued in my newsletter earlier this month. I wasn't aware, at the time, of Aurora's difficulties as my decision to buy FRG was based on their gold assets. If I had been more thorough in my due diligence, it's possible I wouldn't be down so far. Oh well, I will just wait it out like all of my base metal positions which have been hit hard over the last few months. The market cap numbers are, of course, outdated already:
  18. http://www.safehaven.com/article-9748.htm
  19. The appeal to moral democracy, by the way, would seem to justify America's myth and give it a legitimate basis. Your intention in starting this thread, I believe, was to demonstrate that certain aspects of America's beliefs and actions do not conform to reason. In claiming this, you must refer to transcendant principles. In other words, to claim that Britain's moral democracy is better than America's moral democracy is self-referentially inconsistent, I think. I think Sir Humphrey's position is much more consistent (if you are not familiar with what I am talking about, it is on a different thread here somewhere.) At the risk of misrepresenting his position (and I apologize if I do), he would say that we don't have an absolute reason to believe in these principles (such as the right to life); there is no empirical evidence to support a transcendant principle such as this. The fact that we believe in them is merely pragmatic; that is, it helps us to live together without killing each other. The problem is, I think, if you assume that position than you thereby relinquish your ability to critique other people's morality, or cultural/national myth, or anything. The George Bush philosophy (which I disagree with, by the way) that force is the only way to establish justice in the world, is as pragmatic as anything else. The Romans established a very long period of relative "peace" in this manner.
  20. That is only true for empiricists - those who believe that all we can know is what we can observe in experience. Aristotle, however, recognized that empirical evidence hardly covers the breadth of our knowledge and observed that many arguments must start from a principle. A principle is something that can't be proven or observed in itself, but most everyone recognizes immediately that it is true. A true empiricist (such as Sir Humphrey, perhaps?) rejects principles, but I doubt that you are a true empiricist, judging from the arguments you have made so far. I have not strayed into the realm of religious discussion; all of my arguments have been developed using the reason that we commonly share. I'm specifically trying to reveal to you that your assumption that traditional Western morality is completely based on religious doctrine is false.There are certainly aspects of that morality that ARE based on doctrine, but the majority are not and the ones that ARE based on doctrine are not under discussion here. Well, that is what's in question isn't it? I think both Europe and America (largely following European philosophical developments) have rejected truths discernable by reason. That is why I sent you to the Robert George link. And that opinion is shared by some in your own country, such as Lord Alton of Liverpool. Using one of George's examples, there is, for example, the principle of the right to life. This principle is assumed by the American tradition in our declaration of independence - All men are equal and have inalienable rights including the right to life. It is also assumed by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person." So we have here a principle, not something that is a conclusion of an argument starting from observed data. It is a principle known through reason - a reason that acknowledges that all humans are special because of their capacity for rational thought and free will - a will that is free to act in a way that conforms to that rational thought or does not conform to that rational thought. This capacity is not shared by other animals or plants. It is a principle that I suspect you share and hold to firmly, although we cannot demonstrate that it is true in a scientific experiment. So almost everyone in our society (except for the hardcore empiricists and post-modernists) holds this principle - that all humans have the right to life - to be true. Now the problem is that many of us have rejected that truth, even though we may claim that we still hold it. This rejection is apparent in the the killing of unborn children and the experimentation on human embryos (which causes their destruction.) Even though science has shown (with data that even empiricists can accept) that a human is a single, living, developing organism all the way back to the point of conception (or at least within a few hours of conception), our societies still allow these organisms to be destroyed. Now tell me, on what reasonable basis do you claim to suggest that, for example, a baby with Down's Syndrome who is 8 months and 29 days old has no right to life, but that same baby at 8 months and 30 days old who has now emerged from its mother's womb in the natural birthing process all of a sudden has the inalienable right to life? There is no reasonable basis for this belief; that is why, for example, the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has called for "discussion" of the legalization of allowing disabled children to be killed after birth, also. At some point, you have to be truthful and recognize that the claim of "right to life" is an empty claim for many Europeans, and many Americans too. The stated principle in our Declarations, known via reason, has been rejected for a utilitarian understanding of human life - life is only instrumentally good. When those instrumental bases are undermined, that human life can be terminated. This defies the traditional understanding of life: it is intrinsically good. No, moral democracy, if it means anything, means that the majority's view of morality will govern the society. If that majority believes in absolute principles of right and wrong (such as the intrinsic right to life of a human person), then yes moral democracy will defend that notion. If, however, the majority of people believe only in instrumental explanations of right and wrong (such as the instrumental right to life of a human person), then instrumental reasoning will govern the society. As it happens, there was already a term for this. It's called "positivism" (i.e. - positivism in a democratic society) and it developed specifically in opposition to natural law theory, which is what I am promoting. So I see no reason to start a new term. Yes, I agree. That is the basis of natural law theory. What you have not explained is why Europeans allow that innate moral sense to be surrendered to a "moral democracy" as you call it whereby the innate moral sense is eclipsed by positive law that is not necessarily in accordance with the innate moral sense. This has happened in America too, but many of us believe it is a failure to live up to our principles. Aren't you really arguing that that innate moral sense is not really innate, or is socially/personally constructed, or is otherwise not real? Your statement, "They feel it and imagine that it's cast in stone" seems to suggest this.
  21. I like the metrics too. Here are my figures: US$/oz P&P - $476 US$/oz M&I - $354 US$/oz M&I&I - $270
  22. I would agree that we discern morality via reason also, but it would seem to me that most normal people recognize that some actions are always, absolutely morally wrong (such as child abuse, which you mentioned above) regardless of intention or circumstance. This does not jive with the concept of moral democracy.
  23. From reason; that's the natural law tradition. That's funny, because if you give up that tradition that Ratzinger promotes, then you would have no coherent reason to condemn him for covering up abuse of children. You say you don't believe in moral absolutes, and that you accept moral democracy. So there's no reason a democracy couldn't have a vote and a majority proclaim that sexual abuse of children is ok. We actually have a twisted group in the USA (NAMBLA - North American Man Boy Love Association) who promotes just that. I really have no clue what you're talking about. I've started wondering lately if somehow you foreigners have more access to American TV than we do. On my recent trip to Toronto, everyone I talked to asked me about the presidential election-as if it's something of grand importance- and they said the election coverage was all over their TV. We only get broadcast TV out here (4 channels), so if you want to hear election coverage you have to catch either the 6PM or 11PM news - a rare luxury with children. I recognize that there's many people who watch a lot more TV than I do, but I don't think they're watching the news.
  24. The good, speaking ontologically and on a basic level, is the object of desire which is experienced as enjoyable or satisfying. Speaking morally/ethically, the moral good is the ordering of our actions according to reason. To be good isn't equivalent to being perfect. If I say "Frizzers is a good person," I don't mean that Frizzers is a perfect person. The ultimate good would, of course, be perfect. But I don't hear too many people around here claiming they are the ultimate good. So if I say "America is good," I certainly don't mean "America is perfect." Sorry, I didn't realize that needed to be clarified.