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Topics - Karsk

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Martial Arts Topics / Chessboxing?!
« on: February 08, 2009, 12:40:02 AM »
I came across this recently

Apparently it is a genuine sport with pros.   It combines 4 minute rounds of chess with boxing rounds in 11 round fights.  You can win by checkmate or knockout!


Politics & Religion / Significant beyond ideologies
« on: November 04, 2008, 01:58:54 PM »
I found this article on MSNBC:

The gist of this article is that the Obama campaign itself  has forever changed the way that campaigns will be run. The effort was a grass roots effort.  It was funded primarily by individual citizens.  It made use of the internet in ways heretofore unimagined. 

It started me thinking about ways that the world is changing.  We argue so much about the ideological differences that people have and yet at a larger scale things can change in ways that almost remove the need to argue.

What if the power of lobbying organizations is forever diminished by the technological advancements that allow individuals working together to have a truly democratic say in how things go?


Politics & Religion / Logic and political argument
« on: September 04, 2008, 12:26:57 AM »
When I was in high school, I had the good fortune to have an English teacher that also taught a course in logic.  At grade 10, I had my first exposure to both formal and informal logic.  One of the things that has stuck with me over the years has been an appreciation for the informal fallacies of logic.  This does not mean that my arguments are necessarily more logical, only that I was exposed to the concepts of a course in logic.

From the above site:

"The Misuse of Appeal to Laughter: Diverts attention from the central issues and stifles serious thought and analysis.   "Anyone who accepts the conclusions of my opponent would also be forced to accept the view that the tail wags the dog."

The Appeal to Pity (Argumentum Ad Misericordiam): Replaces relevant evidence for a conclusion with a bid for the sympathy of an audience.   "John deserves a 'C' in this class since his parents have sacrificed to send him to college and he will not graduate if he receives a lower grade."

The Appeal to Reverence: Replaces relevant evidence for a conclusion with a bid for respect for traditions.   "We must beware of foreign entangling alliances since Washington, the founder of our nation, warned us against taking such a course of action."

The Bandwagon Fallacy: Appeals to an interest in following the crowd and doing as they do rather than to adequate evidence justifying a conclusion.   "You ought to buy a small European sports car as all members of the smart crowd now own one of these cars."

The Common-Folks Appeal: Appeals to attempts to secure acceptance of a conclusion by the speaker's identification with the everyday concerns and feelings of an audience rather than on the basis of adequate evidence.   "I'm sure that you will recognize that I am more competent than my opponent. When I was in high school I had to get up at four-thirty every morning to deliver papers. In college I was barely able to make C's and had to do janitorial work in order to make ends meet to put myself through school. Therefore, I would make a better Congressman."

Appeal to the Gallery (Argumentum Ad Populum): Seeks acceptance of a point of view by an emotional reaffirmation of a speaker's support of values, traditions, interests, prejudices, or provincial concerns shared widely by members of an audience.   "As you union members know, I am a champion of the labor movement, and seek to eliminate exploitation of the common worker by big business. Therefore, you know you can trust my judgment when I say that this agricultural legislation will be good for the country."

Much of political rhetoric makes use of arguments that are based on informal fallacies.  For example, to nullify an argument by placing it in a disreputable larger category is one example the informal fallacy of logic called "Name Tagging"

"Name-Tagging: Assumes the attachment of labels to persons or things constitute evidence for conclusions about the objects to which the labels are applied."  How many of the above short  list of fallacies can you identify from the recent conventions?

Its amusing to listen to political speeches with an ear tuned to pick up informal fallacies of logic.  Quite frankly that includes some of the arguments put forth on these boards.

Do you think that it is reasonable to purposefully recognize when informal fallacies are being used and to point them out as a means of furthering a discussion?  In other words, if someone is making an argument based on such premises is it a requirement of reasoned discourse to point it out?

Perhaps this is a bit of a rhetorical question.

So I will broach another topic...what constitutes proof?  How do you know when something is true?  How do you distinguish between opinion and fact?  What is a fact?

This kind of "thinking about thinking" is important.  For example, highly persuasive, emotional argument (name calling for example) is not about the truth yet much political rhetoric and even argument that occurs between colleagues is filled with this and other fallacious arguments.  If the average person is not educated in fundamentals of argument then it is harder to find the truth is it not?

When you listen to politics is it possible to identify people who are trying to find the truth versus people who are trying to win?  Is winning what matters?  Do the ends justify the means?  If political speeches become so bent on persuasion that they freely invoke informal fallacies and this is considered to be acceptable, is this not an example of the ends justifying the means?

Perhaps I have been watching too much CNN!  As usual, I offer my thoughts in the interest of open discourse.



Politics & Religion / Ecological Economics
« on: January 31, 2008, 09:53:02 AM »
Hi all,

This pod cast popped up on one of my professional newsgroups.   

"Beyond Economic Growth
April 14, 2007      Total time: 57:03
Speaker: Joshua Farley, Assistant Professor, Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont and Fellow with the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics.

Here, Farley challenges the view that continuous economic growth on a planet with finite resources is possible or even desirable, particularly in the wealthy countries. He asks the question, "Is it the magic of the market or the magic of fossil fuels (which we're rapidly depleting) that has driven economic growth and consumption?" He discusses why the market economy has failed to account for declining ecosystem services, the life support services of the planet, suggesting that economic growth actually has the opportunity costs of eliminating or severely degrading the ecosystem services that belong to the commons. He goes on to suggest that the scale of the economy and just distribution have to take precedence over the neoclassical economic focus of allocation of scarce resources and offers some solutions to replace the conventional economic paradigm with a sustainable economy based on ecological economics."

I thought I would offer this to see what you think about it.


Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Boys Project
« on: September 12, 2007, 01:22:21 PM »

The mission of The Boys Project is to help young males develop their capabilities and reach the potential that their families and teachers know they have. The Boys Project seeks to accomplish for young men what the Girls Project so successfully accomplished for young women--- to increase academic skills, to increase college success, and to develop the confidence, drive, and determination to contribute to American society.


Since the late 1970's, young women have soared in college attendance while young men have stagnated. Young men's literacy is declining. Many young men are disengaging from school. Young men are less likely to be valedictorians, to be on the honor roll, and to be active in organizations like student government. Young men are more likely to get D's and F's, to be suspended or expelled from school, to drop out of school, and to commit suicide.

We are losing young boys to a sense of failure that comes from schooling poorly adapted to their needs. We are losing adolescent males to the depression that comes from feeling neither needed nor respected. We are losing young men to life tracks that include neither college nor any other energetic endeavor.

A large, sullen, poorly educated group of men will not keep the nation vital in the twenty-first century. The nation needs the energy, initiative, and ambition of its young men as well as its young women. "

Martial Arts Topics / The Older Warrior
« on: August 29, 2007, 04:26:03 PM »
Hi All,

First off,  I wanted to belatedly say that I went to the gathering as a spectator in June.  It was a cool experience to watch it and I enjoyed seeing the camaraderie as well as the battles.  Thanks Fighters for that.   As I watched I paid attention to the several older fighters there. 

Secondly, I watched Randy Couture face Gonzaga over the weekend.  This fight was particularly interesting to me because of Couture's age.  I think that there is a thread about MMA to more fully discuss that fight so I will only mention it here because iit may serve as discussion material for this topic.

I am interested in discussing what it is like to practice as we get older.  I am 54 years old.   I have been practicing a variety of things since I was in my 20s.  When I started practicing the oldest senior person that I knew was in his 40s.  In some places in the world where people live in close proximity to their seniors their whole lives there is perhaps a continuum from old to young.  This exists now in North America, but as martial arts migrated here I think the first people that began practicing here have not had as many older people to learn how to practice as we get older.

So to start this thread off, what do you think changes with age?  How does the experience of practicing change? 

Another question that I think will be interesting to pursue is: How do you think you should practice as you get older?  What should you emphasize?  What is important to you now compared to when you were younger? 

What matters when you become an older warrior?


Science, Culture, & Humanities / Nature and the nature of man.
« on: February 23, 2007, 09:09:06 AM »
I originally posted this under the topic "Are there Knights"

A bit of a preface,  I work as a wildlife biologist.  Every once in a while I will hear comments about how male lions are useless.  This is often in the context of a social commentary.  I like to show this video that I found some time ago.  Its kinda fun.

I posted this in the topic heading  "Are there Knights?"  because there is something about the energy of this video that reaches way down inside.  It validates something that matters to me. 


Martial Arts Topics / Are there Knights?
« on: February 15, 2007, 03:11:51 PM »
Upon request of Crafty Dog, I am reposting my question to him as a new thread.  You may find the context of this question in the Euro Martial Arts topic.

I am a father of sons.  I have two good men for sons and I have raised up and taught a lot of young fellows (and women too but I see some things with us guys that needs attention these days).  I used martial arts training as a means to teach them some things about being men and about being good people.   To me, martial arts has been about learning to fight but also about learning when to fight and why.  Embedded in the history of martial arts in many places world wide there are traditions of  developing character through the martial practice.  One of the reasons that I became interested in European Martial Arts was because I wanted to search out traditions from my own culture about the development of character and nobility. I wanted to find something that resonated deeply in my own psyche in this.

Stories of nobility are always colored by the mores and political nature of the times that they exist in.  The actual behavior that people present as being noble may vary as a result.  And people are always growing and so do not always act according to their ideals. We struggle.   But I have been amazed at the nearly universal recognition of noble virtues through the martial traditions and among individuals that I have met.

The Dog Brothers is about as real as I think practice in the martial arts can get and that is admittedly based on an uninformed position of watching a few videos and reading things here on the forums.  So you have captured something essential in your practice that I think a lot of people are missing.  How do you approach the idea of character development?  Is there responsibility in teaching to build character purposefully?  Does it happen to each of us incidentally as we endeavor in martial practice?  How do we distinguish from merely being tough guys of varying degrees and flavors of morality and something more?  In short, are their Knights?


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