Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: R U A Cylon?
The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > The Monkey Hole > The Newgate Calendar
Pages: 1, 2
Donnie Darko
I kind of hate resurrecting this section of the forum, it had been pleasantly deceased for almost 2 months, but I learned about something that I thought was interesting enough to see what everyone else's opinion was on the matter.

I recently attended a lecture that was part of the World Science Festival which involved 3 Cybernetic scientists and 2 cast members from Battlestar Galactica (Michael Hogan and Mary McDonnell), and the discussion was about advances in AI technology and human/computer interface and the ethical and social implications of such advances. Some of the advances the scientists presented were downright astonishing, in particular from this one researcher named Kenneth Warwick from the University of Reading, who has been dubbed the "first cyborg". He had a chip surgically implanted in his wrist that connected with his nervous system, and it actually allowed him to remotely control a hand at Reading while he himself was at Columbia University, merely by thinking about it. And the "holy shit" factor doesn't stop there, as the robotic hand at Reading also had sensory feedback capability which actually allowed him to "feel" what the remote hand was doing.

Another researcher there by the name of Hod Lipson from Cornell showed footage of robots he had built that are not only completely self-directed, but that also evolve. His team created simple robots that were in pieces and programmed them only with natural selection rules as they apply to biological organisms, and the pieces actually joined together and developed into a 4 legged walking machine (it looks like a drunk starfish). His team then removed one of the legs, which I guess would introduce an external selective pressure, and the robot actually taught itself how to walk on 3 legs.

This leads me to conclude that the Cylons on Battlestar are not merely a figment of the imagination of TV writers, but are actually a very real possibility. Of course we can't predict where the technology will go, but it's much closer to becoming a very powerful reality than I think people realize. One of the scientists urged caution, pointing out that we can't really turn off the internet (as the recent events in Iran are demonstrating quite nicely), so we should be careful with our new found god-like powers of creating technology that may actually turn us into machines and turn machines into the most sophisticated evolutionary "organism" of anything on the planet, as we won't be able to turn that off either.

Is this a really wonderful amazing development, or is this the road to hell? I personally think it's mostly the former with a little bit of the latter since the military obviously has quite a bit of interest in this (they hope to get rid of body bags by 2025).
Absomphe
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 18 2009, 07:10 AM) *

Is this a really wonderful amazing development, or is this the road to hell?


Probably the latter.

Which is why I'm so comforted that the world, as we know it, is coming to an end on December 21st of 2012.
G&C
If you've seen it on TV,
it's already happening in real life.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Absomphe @ Jun 18 2009, 10:19 AM) *

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 18 2009, 07:10 AM) *

Is this a really wonderful amazing development, or is this the road to hell?


Probably the latter.


That's coming from a relatively healthy person who presumably isn't in the midst of any dramatic decline in health/quality of life yet, though. I think once someone becomes seriously ill or handicapped they'd jump at the opportunity to merge with any machine that could improve their situation. More than anything I think it's simply due to survival mechanisms taking over.
Tibro
Is it just my juvenile take on things or are you making veiled references to the possibility and availability of well lubricated working machinery in lieu of viagara?
Jaded Prole
I could use some extra memory and a system restore.

Technology is not a bad thing. It's application may be depending on the values and agendas that guide its implementation. I think it is part of our evolutionary process that organic and nonorganic, ie, "cyber" technology be united but how that plays out remains to be seen. It may be what we need to survive what we've done to the planet.















Resistance is futile.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Jaded Prole @ Jun 18 2009, 03:40 PM) *

I think it is part of our evolutionary process that organic and nonorganic, ie, "cyber" technology be united but how that plays out remains to be seen.


The problem is evolution is much too slow. Mutations being selected for or against which result in the changing of species takes time in the extreme. With the trans-human technologies we're coming up with, we've actually moved beyond evolution and into the realm of design (whether or not it is intelligent design remains to be seen), where selection is intentional and rapid as opposed to natural and slow. The thing that blows me away is that because selection can now be simulated and run at computer speeds, the chance of a self-aware artificial and intelligent being evolving is pretty high. Is it frightening? I guess so, but the best we can do is program into the selection algorithms of the being the un-alterable command against harming any human.

Otherwise we're probably going to find an Arnold Schwarzenegger looking machine coming to kill us in order to save the other life-forms on earth which greatly outnumber ourselves…
Jaded Prole
Too late . . .
Tibro
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 18 2009, 09:52 PM) *

intelligent design remains to be seen

There are those that find it in every stalk of grass bending in the wind.

Then there's the watch repairman I knew who told me, "If it doesn't fit, force it. If it breaks it was meant to be replaced."

Are we really up to the task?
Kirk
If you break it , you weren't gaining permission from the piece .
They are just tools , like any other tool .
Never met a machine I couldn't break .
Absomphe
QUOTE(G&C @ Jun 18 2009, 07:56 AM) *

If you've seen it on TV,
it's already happening in real life.


Eugene Tombs is out there?

That's just creepy.

And what about that "Home" episode?


Oh, wait, nevermind.

dakini_painter
QUOTE
The problem is evolution is much too slow.


This kind of thinking is the problem, no?

Remember that we used to have a banking system that moved at the same pace as evolution. Certain people thought that was a problem, and we needed a banking system that would go VROOOOOMMM! So they unchained it, and within 30 years we've had multiple banking crises that kept getting worse. The latest one brought us almost 10% official unemployment (forget counting the homeless, or the chronically unemployed), etc etc.

I'd like to point out that the case of the robot learning to "walk" with only three legs instead of four, did not evolve, it merely adapted.

Since we don't see computers that have feelings, I see no reason why the cyborgs you envision wouldn't do exactly as portrayed in the movies and simply think it's better to exterminate us. After all, it's more logical.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Jun 18 2009, 07:51 PM) *

QUOTE
The problem is evolution is much too slow.


This kind of thinking is the problem, no?


How come?

I think it's possible to have a non-hyper anti-Vroom lifestyle and still have the option of trans-human enhancement, I don't see how they would be mutually exclusive.

Also, before the robot adapted, it did evolve from a machine that knew nothing about how to operate into a walking machine. Not to mention the other robots that self-replicated without being given any instructions to do so…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMkHYE9-R0A
speedle
QUOTE(Absomphe @ Jun 18 2009, 10:19 AM) *

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 18 2009, 07:10 AM) *

Is this a really wonderful amazing development, or is this the road to hell?


Probably the latter.

Which is why I'm so comforted that the world, as we know it, is coming to an end on December 21st of 2012.


I knew my 50th birthday was going to be stressful, but not that stressful.
OCvertDe
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 18 2009, 03:52 PM) *
(whether or not it is intelligent design remains to be seen)

I think the intelligence is incontrovertible; what is called into question may be the wisdom.
dakini_painter
QUOTE
Also, before the robot adapted, it did evolve from a machine that knew nothing about how to operate into a walking machine. Not to mention the other robots that self-replicated without being given any instructions to do so…


Yes, but it took parts that people had already made. And to live, it has to find energy to recharge their batteries, energy that people "made".

It's easy to mistake adaptive software, or genetic programming, or algorithms for "intelligence" or "evolution". There were numerous simulations created back when I was working in the software biz (say the 90's) that had very realistic representations of ant colonies for example. A simple set of instructions (eg a genetic program) like "move forward", "bump into something, pick a random direction", "find food, return to nest". If you add instructions for laying down a scent trail with instructions for following it, you get "ant trails".

These kinds of simulations, that are relatively easy to program, are perfect for dispelling all the foolishness of "intelligent design". Amazing complexity does arise from combining simple things.

There's a robot at a university now that's able to open doors (not ones with knobs), find electrical outlets and recharge itself. Major move forward in robotics. The mechanics of getting them to move around and understand their environment has been much harder than expected.
dakini_painter
QUOTE(speedle @ Jun 18 2009, 10:03 PM) *

QUOTE(Absomphe @ Jun 18 2009, 10:19 AM) *

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 18 2009, 07:10 AM) *

Is this a really wonderful amazing development, or is this the road to hell?


Probably the latter.

Which is why I'm so comforted that the world, as we know it, is coming to an end on December 21st of 2012.


I knew my 50th birthday was going to be stressful, but not that stressful.


QUOTE
The date December 21st, 2012 A.D. (13.0.0.0.0 in the Long Count), represents an extremely close conjunction of the Winter Solstice Sun with the crossing point of the Galactic Equator (Equator of the Milky Way) and the Ecliptic (path of the Sun), what that ancient Maya recognized as the Sacred Tree. This is an event that has been coming to resonance very slowly over thousands and thousands of years. It will come to resolution at exactly 11:11 am GMT.


From http://www.greatdreams.com/2012.htm.

btw, the Long Count is like an odometer.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Jun 19 2009, 07:28 AM) *

QUOTE
Also, before the robot adapted, it did evolve from a machine that knew nothing about how to operate into a walking machine. Not to mention the other robots that self-replicated without being given any instructions to do so…


Yes, but it took parts that people had already made. And to live, it has to find energy to recharge their batteries, energy that people "made".


That's a good point. We're a long ways off from a self-replicating cybernetic organism that manages to give itself an independent energy source.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Jun 19 2009, 07:43 AM) *


From http://www.greatdreams.com/2012.htm.

btw, the Long Count is like an odometer.


Brilliant. I love the crop circle analysis.

I have a crop circle for them too, which I made using my flying Myan saucer:
IPB Image
dakini_painter
Yes the crop circle stuff is funny, because the people making them have admitted they are "hoaxes". It's people on earth making them. GPS technology is wonderful, but it's quite a feat to make them.

Of course, in olden times people wanted to believe in special positions of the stars. It helped tell them when to plant crops and the like and was much more regular than the weather itself.

I'm not saying that some of this technology is bad, I'm sure we can think of many wonderful uses for it, helping the disabled being one. But what happens when other countries that don't like the US (or whatever foe their government chooses to conjure) start using that technology against us? What happens when the RBN uses this technology to steal money from your bank, or empty your bank account? Most computer security experts say we're already on the road to losing the war on cybercrime.

I hate to think what happens when these new technologies aren't used for good (as we all imagine) but for evil.
Kirk
People are basically good .
Absomphe
Indeed.

With fava beans, and a good Chianti.
dakini_painter
I totally agree with Kirk, but sadly so often the bad people are in charge. Not here of course.

Look at what's going on in Iran. A big chunk of the populace says we really don't want a repressive regime, think perhaps dialogue with the US is good, and still we sing praises to the Prophet Mohammed and his family. What would happen if the regime had cyber-Basiji (their plainclothes vigilantes) to rough up demonstrators?
Jaded Prole
Iran heck, what would have happened here if our own people had such massive protests in response to the stolen election of 2000 (or 2004)? As much as I am not a fan of religious fundamentalism or repressive governments, I don't think we in the US are in a position to criticize Iran's system when our own is at least as corrupt and brutal -- not to mention far more aggressive internationally. At least the Persians have the commitment and tenacity to protest rotten elections.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Jun 19 2009, 02:11 PM) *

I totally agree with Kirk, but sadly so often the bad people are in charge.


The bad people can't seem to wrangle something as trivial and obnoxious as Twitter, so while they may be in charge, their "power" is only substantiated by how much consent they can ultimately manufacture. If anything, what's cool about Iran right now is that there seem to be a lot of people saying to the regime "we're not afraid of you". Sure, the opposition candidate is about as inspiring and likely to influence things as a used Toyota with 150,000 miles on it, but it's pretty clear that a foment had been building among the populace for quite some time and that so far this has been the vehicle they needed to assert more independence from the charlatans in power.
dakini_painter
I don't think we in the US are in a position to criticize Iran's system when our own is at least as corrupt and brutal

I must be doing something wrong.

I wonder what will happen tomorrow (Saturday, June 20th, 2009) now that the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has declared the vote not rigged and told the protesters to go home and not go into the streets to protest.

I don't know if I would be as brave as those who choose to go into the streets of Tehran tomorrow.
Wild Bill Turkey
QUOTE(Jaded Prole @ Jun 19 2009, 12:08 PM) *

Iran heck, what would have happened here if our own people had such massive protests in response to the stolen election of 2000 (or 2004)?…At least the Persians have the commitment and tenacity to protest rotten elections.

While it became fashionable to assume that those elections were "stolen" by means of actual criminal actions, I think that the lack of massive groundswells of protest indicates that not enough people actually believed that foul play was involved, rather than that people were too afraid or too complacent to protest elections that they honestly believed were rigged.

Massive political protests happen here all the time, and frequently with results like recall elections or ballot issues brought to high courts to be re-examined. I doubt very strongly that if vast numbers of Americans genuinely thought that a presidential election had been criminally rigged by the incumbent party, they would have bit their tongues and stayed at home out of fear of reprisal for protesting.

I think that most of us realize that the biggest factor in deciding close election results, when there is no obvious landslide, is really the absurdly complex electoral system itself. Few if any Americans adequately understand the process, and there are far too many ways for results to be muddied by the finer points of electoral college rules, super-delegates, absentee ballots, etc., without even getting into the different balloting technologies of the various states (to bring the discussion back to the theme of technology offering a weak point whereby we might be attacked).

What astonishes me is that no serious effort seems to be made after a difficult election to change the system during the off years. One would have thought, after the 2000 election, that a redesign of our electoral system would have become a national priority. But no, 2004 saw exactly the same problems, and everyone stood dumbfounded, wondering why it was happening again. Luckily we had a landslide this time, but the problem is still there, festering, waiting to happen again in 2012, just in time for the world to end, proving the Mayans right.
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 19 2009, 08:39 PM) *
but it's pretty clear that a foment had been building among the populace for quite some time and that so far this has been the vehicle they needed to assert more independence from the charlatans in power.


But realistically what good will it do? Any uprising will be brutally crushed and there will be no support for any such uprising from the West. George Bush senior encouraged the Shi-ites in Iraq to rise up only to stand by and let Sadam Hussein brutally crush them. I would think the Iranian people will be mindful of that.
Jaded Prole
It may be that these protests are being brutally crushed but that brutality itself creates a movement. Many of these protesters initially were there because of a suspicious election. Now they are protesting against a government that has lost legitimacy in their eyes.
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Jaded Prole @ Jun 21 2009, 11:32 AM) *

It may be that these protests are being brutally crushed but that brutality itself creates a movement. Many of these protesters initially were there because of a suspicious election. Now they are protesting against a government that has lost legitimacy in their eyes.


Possibly, but it takes a lot more than public protest and mass demonstration to overthrow a brutal dictator. In the West where our politicians do actually need us (or at least some of us anyway) to elect them, I think our view of 'people power' is a bit biased. If a dictator does not rely on public support to maintain his position of power he can, if he wishes, turn his guns, tanks (and even airforce if need be) to slaughter any protesters without it affected his hold on power. Look how the protests in Tiananmen Square ended. Iran is a pariah anyway so what real difference would it make to its international standing if it ran its tanks over protestors?

Dictators like that can only be overthrown by force, either directly from outside, or from forces within that have the backing of a strong power (such as the US). But only a couple of years ago the US handed over Hussien and Majid Kavoussi-Far to the UAE authorities who promptly passed them on to Iran where they were publically hung from cranes for assasinating, Judge Hassan Moqaddas, a particularly nasty judge in the Islamic Republic. So much for any prospect of Western support for any internal uprising.

If the people of Iran try to overthrow their evil dictator by themselves they'll be brutally slaughtered, he will still be in power, and all the protestors lives will have been shed for nothing.

The cynic in me thinks that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power is good business for the world arms and weapons industry.
Donnie Darko
The real important factor in this is not who ends up becoming president in Iran, but the fact that it appears a large amount of the public there is no longer willing to put up with Iran's theocracy. The protests are not targeted at Ahmadenijad but towards the very power structure or Iran's government. Khameini said God declared Ahmadenijad the victor, and half of Iran doesn't believe him.

I think the fact that half the Iranian public is doing this all on their own without the US becoming heavily involved is pretty damned cool. Would the people of Iran be so aggressively protesting vote fraud if we had elected as president the guy who wanted to "Bomb Iran"? I think the mere symbolism of Americans rebuking 8 years of pre-emptive military escalation in favor of a very different candidate encouraged the Iranians to be willing to stand up and demand something different also. Obviously there's a lot more too it than that, but I doubt if John McCain had won the US election we'd be seeing Iranians engaging in civil disobedience and rallying behind a candidate who wants better relations with the West.
Kirk
QUOTE
Massive political protests happen here all the time,

Every time Los Angeles burns down .
There are bergs in this country bigger than some countries .
hobgoblin
Donnie,

Do you really think that the holders of power in Iran will simply say "Oh dear, the people don't like us anymore, we'd better relinquish power and let the people have their way"? Dictators aren't exactly know for respecting the wishes of the public. The Tianamen Square protests looked pretty cool too, until the tanks started driving over the protestors, at which point it looked decidedly uncool. The only way the regime will change in Iran is by use of force, either from within, or from outside. Since the regime has all the power, any internal uprising is doomed to failure unless it has the serious backing of a State stronger than the State of Iran.

Leave it purely to the people of Iran to sort out and things will not change, you'll get a few protests, politicians and press in the West will wax lyrical about 'people power' etc., then tanks and guns will go in slaughter a fair few protestors, they will crack down on 'instigators', hang more people, the protests will go away, the Western media will lose interest, and it will be business as usual for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Jaded Prole
No Iranian dictator was more powerful than the Shah with his savak minions and the backing of the most powerful empire in history. While the Iranian government will not simply cave in to the will of a vocal minority much less majority opinion, any government that loses the consent and good will of its citizenry is doomed to failure. To maintain that consent and it's power, certain reforms may result. Ultimately, it is up to the Persians tp struggle for the government and policies they want
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(hobgoblin @ Jun 21 2009, 10:04 AM) *

Do you really think that the holders of power in Iran will simply say "Oh dear, the people don't like us anymore, we'd better relinquish power and let the people have their way"?


Oh, absolutely not. Now that the public isn't consenting to the government sham, the anachronisms that run that country have no choice but to use brutal violent force if they wish to cling to power. I have no idea what will come of it, I tend to think it will end in the cynical matter you described with lots of dead Iranians who ended up dead merely because they bravely disagreed with totalitarian theocrats, while the world will go back to business as usual.

But up until this point, have we seen the Iranian public ever resist their powerful theocrats in such a determined way? Have we seen the Iranian public be so staunchly in favor of a candidate who wants better relations with the west prior to this moment? These are all positive developments that will sow the seeds of progress in the future. I agree that without heavy duty force on the part of the protesters or external military intervention, the monsters who run that country will stay in power, but their power appears to be less stable than it was a few years ago. I think we should be happy and supportive of that before we pronounce the Iranian protest movement dead and declare the Ayatollah's iron fisted tactics a success, don't you?
eric
QUOTE
Have we seen the Iranian public be so staunchly in favor of a candidate who wants better relations with the west prior to this moment?


You make better relations with west sound like a good thing.

The Shah was solidly backed by western interests.

Pick your poison… Carefully.



I happen to think that it is pretty fucking arrogant for any of us to decide what is best for the Iranian people.



sixela
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 21 2009, 11:07 PM) *

But up until this point, have we seen the Iranian public ever resist their powerful theocrats in such a determined way? Have we seen the Iranian public


A large number of people from *Tehran*. All of Iran is like Tehran as much as Spoon is representative of all midwestern farmers in the US.

I'm not that sure that Mussavi would actually have won even if they had counted the votes properly (especially given the amount of media control for the incumbent that would make even Berlusconi jealous).

Democracy allows people to actually vote for the wrong people for the wrong reasons - and make them win. Face it: Bush was soundly re-elected for a second term in the US, after having fucked up things royally for the better part of an entire term.

Shabba53
Don't remind me.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(eric @ Jun 21 2009, 08:14 PM) *

QUOTE
Have we seen the Iranian public be so staunchly in favor of a candidate who wants better relations with the west prior to this moment?


You make better relations with west sound like a good thing.


Would it be worse than the isolationist and hostile approach they've got going on currently? In the West we don't execute people for being homosexual, imprison people for writing or speaking an opinion, make anti-semitism the core of our foreign policy or throw women in jail for smoking. Boy, we suck.

QUOTE
The Shah was solidly backed by western interests.


Do our actions from the 1950s mean that the prospect of present-day Iran becoming friendlier towards an obviously more receptive West is a horrible idea? Obama has struck quite the conciliatory tone with Iran compared to Bush's labeling them as "terrorists". Obama practically apologized for the Shah. Should Iran just snap that olive branch in half because of our past misdeeds?

QUOTE
I happen to think that it is pretty fucking arrogant for any of us to decide what is best for the Iranian people.


Nobody in here is doing that. I don't know what's best for them. All I'm doing is pointing out that a large number of people in Iran think giving the middle finger to Khameini is what's best for them at this moment. The attitude in here that we should instead focus on how horrible America has been to Iran and how all these protests are just pissing into the wind is pretty disappointing. Next time a large group of people aggressively protest what they feel to be an injustice, perhaps we should reward their bravery with indifference and words of discouragement? While I don't think you personally are doing that, that does seem to be the general attitude in here.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(sixela @ Jun 22 2009, 03:15 AM) *


I'm not that sure that Mussavi would actually have won even if they had counted the votes properly


Iran has admitted that in at least 50 cities there were more votes than there were people! That's in spite of the fact that they also claimed the turnout to be 80%. That means at least 20% of the votes are phony, probably way more than that. That's Tammany Hall style voting, and the Iranian people, whether it is only in Tehran or not, deserve every right to protest such an obvious crime and I think it's fantastic that they are doing so. That isn't just an issue of hanging chads and dumb old people in Florida voting for Pat Buchanan, it's obviously and irrefutably election fraud and the results of the entire election should be nullified. Even a 1st grader could tell you that having more votes than there are people means somebody cheated.

QUOTE
Democracy allows people to actually vote for the wrong people for the wrong reasons - and make them win.


Maybe I'm being presumptuous, but I think everyone in here knows that. You jumping on the cynicism bandwagon is pretty disheartening. Surely you realize that Democracy also allows people to vote for the right people for the right reasons and make them win too, don't you? I'd say that is about a squidzillion times better than Iran's situation, where totalitarian theocrats have a phony election and stuff the ballots with more votes than there are people just to make sure their boy wins.

But yeah, go ahead and point out how much America sucks, how much democracy sucks, how Ahmadenijad probably won even though he cheated, and how these wankers who are risking their lives by holding up peace signs in the streets of Iran are just wasting their time.

I think if there were any more warm and fuzzy optimism in here I'd have to start singing zip-a-dee-doo-dah. If the attitude in here of defeatism and apathy towards Iran's election fraud is really the prevalent attitude in the West, then perhaps Eric is right and Iran would do well to stay the hell away from us.
sixela
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 22 2009, 03:10 PM) *

You jumping on the cynicism bandwagon is pretty disheartening.


I'm not on the cynicism bandwagon. It's a statement of fact, and I'm just pointing out that your thinly veiled assumption that the Iranian election was stolen is unsupported by known evidence (which doesn't mean it's not true). Ahmadinejad is one cunning fellah and he's got lots of baskets in which he laid his eggs. It'd be a grave error in judgement to think that he's universally unpopular.

I do think the Iranians used cooked numbers for the election results. Which doesn't necessarily mean that the uncooked numbers would have delivered a different victor; I actually don't think they would have, but that's only an opinion (and unverifiable because of the lack of uncooked numbers.)
Shabba53
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 22 2009, 09:53 AM) *

Should Iran just snap that olive branch in half because of our past misdeeds?

That type of action seems to take place in many situations.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(sixela @ Jun 22 2009, 10:47 AM) *

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 22 2009, 03:10 PM) *

You jumping on the cynicism bandwagon is pretty disheartening.


I'm not on the cynicism bandwagon.


Your portrayal of only one side of the democracy coin sounds pretty cynical to me. Sounds like an argument favoring apathy far more than an argument that would encourage action. People in countries run by totalitarians who are given a vote, even if that vote is just a placebo, seem to be pretty enthusiastic about their vote. They are not just shrugging and saying "oh well, Ahmadenijad probably won anyway because the nature of democracy means that wrong people get elected for the wrong reasons all the time, and America in 2004 is a great example of that". Maybe Ahmadenijad won, maybe he didn't, but there is certainly no way to tell who won now given that the ballot boxes were stuffed, and Iranians have every right to be mad as hell about it and to protest it vehemently.

Yeah, America sucks, democracy has its problems, the West has a lot to apologize for. But that line of reasoning is akin to what Ahmadenijad has been saying in order to stir up anti-Western attitudes since he's been president, and as far as I can tell doesn't represent the attitude of the people in Iran who are demanding their vote matter.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Shabba53 @ Jun 22 2009, 10:51 AM) *

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 22 2009, 09:53 AM) *

Should Iran just snap that olive branch in half because of our past misdeeds?

That type of action seems to take place in many situations.


You're right. Recrimination is no path to progress. That attitude is far more the attitude of Ahmadenijad than Moussavi (though obviously Moussavi has his own problems and is more of an opportunist than a legit reformer). Do people in here think it's better for a soon-to-be-nuclear-armed Iran to have an isolationist anti-semite in power, or do they think it's better to have Moussavi, who in spite of many very big flaws, is none-the-less not nearly as anti-West as Ahmadenijad? Yes, I know the Iranian president is only in charge of domestic policy while the clerics determine foreign policy, but at bare minimum it would be quite an improvement for someone other than a holocaust-denying "little dictator" who says such brilliant things as "we don't have any homosexuals in Iran" to be the public face of Iran. The fact that quite a lot of people (though it's impossible to know just how many thanks to ballot stuffing) in Iran don't want him to be the public face of Iran either is a good thing.

Maybe that's arrogant of me to say somebody other than Ahmadenijad should be president, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.
eric
Here is an interesting article.

http://www.rezapahlavi.org/articles/?english&id=362



Maybe I am a bit too pessimistic. But from what I can gather, even if a pro western leader were elected in Iran, the Muslim Clerics who really control the power would not be cooperative. The resulting violence would make what is happening now look like a tea party.

sixela
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 22 2009, 04:26 PM) *

Your portrayal of only one side of the democracy coin sounds pretty cynical to me.


<rolls his eyes>

No. I'm just bitchslapping you for sloppy thinking; I'm not having a secret conspiracy with the ayatollahs to sound one-sided. Nor do I think that Ahmadinejad is a force for the better in this world. He's not. That simply doesn't mean nobody voted for him.


QUOTE

Yeah, America sucks, democracy has its problems, the West has a lot to apologize for.

And where exactly did I say this in this thread, and what does it have to do with my comments?
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 21 2009, 11:07 PM) *
I think we should be happy and supportive of that before we pronounce the Iranian protest movement dead and declare the Ayatollah's iron fisted tactics a success, don't you?


Yes, you're probably right there. I guess given the track record of the lack of success of public protest against dictators its easy to be cynical and pronounce defeat beforehand. We should certainly be supportive, admire their courage, and hope that they achieve success.

I also do think that Obama did gain the upper hand with his consiliatory speech addressing the Arab world and Islam. That caught the Ayatollah's on hop, and helped weaken their position a little.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(sixela @ Jun 22 2009, 01:03 PM) *

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 22 2009, 04:26 PM) *

Your portrayal of only one side of the democracy coin sounds pretty cynical to me.


<rolls his eyes>

No. I'm just bitchslapping you for sloppy thinking;


I see your point, and you are right. Iran knows you are right too, as they did elect that fuckwit Ahmadenijad in the first place. But this time around somebody fabricated at least 3 million votes, so the fact that people sometimes elect assholes for bad reasons isn't really the matter at hand this time.

QUOTE
And where exactly did I say this in this thread, and what does it have to do with my comments?


Sorry, didn't mean to imply you said that, as I know you didn't. I was referring to what I perceived as a general attitude in the thread, presented more by Prol/Eric/Hobgoblin than yourself. But maybe I'm misreading that too, and don't mean to sound like I'm pointing any fingers.

I'm just surprised that the issues of primary interest on this subject thus far seemed to be more about what's wrong with America, what we've done wrong to Iran in the past, and how futile the protesters' actions are, rather than amazement that a big group of people in Iran are actually risking their own safety to stand up against what is a blatantly obvious injustice.
Donnie Darko
So, now that we solved the Iran problem (I'm sure the Iranian people are particularly appreciative of our advocacy here at Feeverte), anybody care about Cylons?

G&C
We are the Cylons.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2018 Invision Power Services, Inc.