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Date: 2006/01/05 11:49:49, Link
Author: JimB

Thank you very much for the economics lessons, keep up the good work.

Despite possing a technical graduate degree, I've never taken a course in economics!  Although I consider myself well educated and well read and feel I have a good grasp of the basics of economics, I am very much enjoying your posts.

Consider this a sign of support!

Date: 2006/01/06 09:07:05, Link
Author: JimB
It's not an easily tractible issue.

The problem is the more you study evolution, the more it makes sense.

Conversely, the less you know about evolution or ID, the more plausible ID sounds.

Unfortunately most people *just don't care*.  Therefore, they're never likely to study either unless it's something that's required.

IMO, it's also not really necessary for the vast majority of people to understand either, at all!

So our best weapon against ID (education) is a non-starter in this battle.

So in my uncreative mind, that basically leaves PR.  Unfortunately scientists (and I) find raw PR to be ... distasteful.

Besides if we do run a PR compaign, how does that work?  Do we just tell them what a dispicable lot the IDC camp is?  Do we include information about their funding sources?  Do we include information about their goals?

You see, 90%+ of the population just doesn't care about science.

Date: 2006/01/06 18:12:49, Link
Author: JimB

I used to be apathetic but now I just don't care anymore.


Date: 2006/01/07 18:57:29, Link
Author: JimB

So how about we tackle the economics of healthcare?

We've got two good examples close to home: Canada (a very nearly communist approach to medicine) and the US (a very capitalist approach to medicine).

Both approaches appear fairly broken.

In Canada it can take MONTHS to get diagnostic tests and treatment for cancer patients no matter how much money you might have.  I might add that this is months that those patients cannot afford to lose.

In the US it can take excessive amounts of money to get necessary treatments.  But if you have the cash you can get in to the a Dr. on the day you make the appointment.

Interestingly, there was an evening news program (can't remember which it was) that discussed this issue recently.  Their conclusion about the US problems were that
1) Newer (and more effective) treatments are more costly than old ones
2) When it comes to people's health nearly everyone is unwilling to skimp on getting the best healthcare.
3) As insurance prices go up, those unlikely to need insurance drop their coverage.  Meaning only those with needs (healthcare costs) are left, making the cost for insurance higher, which entices other healthy members to drop out.
4) The US is the only industrialize western country without nationalized healthcare.  This means our businesses incur costs that competing foreign companies do not have to pay (directly).  They estimated that GM paid more in healthcare costs last year than they did for the steel used in their products.
5) In general insurance and healthcare companies are NOT getting wealthy off of the steep rise in health care costs.
6) The major component of the steep rise in costs was expensive treatments like those for cancer (see issue #1).

I think all of this boils down to (as Flint would say) supply and demand.

In both cases, the behavior of the govenments has essentially artificially reduced the "costs" associated with getting healthcare.  In Canada's case, this is obvious: everyone pays into the system via taxes but incur no additional charge at the time of service.  This strongly stimulates demand for those services because there's no additional cost of getting them.

In the US's case, this is partially due to the US law requiring healthcare workers to provide services regardless of the patients ability to pay.  I think it is also partially due to how the healthcare insurance works.  It does not provide enough feedback back to the insurance holders.

So what this boils down to is rationing healthcare.  What standards do we use (money)?  Who will be left out in the cold (the poor)?  Or do we switch to Canada's standard in which those that need prompt treatment are left in the cold?

Date: 2006/01/07 19:01:05, Link
Author: JimB
Oops, I didn't put in the additional text that in the US healthcare workers are required to provide services in life threatening situations regardless of the patients ability to pay.

Date: 2006/01/09 06:27:46, Link
Author: JimB

Re: You don't like how Walmart affects local communities and you therefore wish to change the rules...

I think that Flint would agree with you that if you don't like Walmart and wish to curtail it's expansion, you should change the rules.

Clearly the communities into which Walmart expands have the capacity to understand what affects it'll have.  And yet, they ask Walmart to come in.

The citizens of those communities complain about the decline in the local businesses, the low wages that Walmart pays, but still go to Walmart to shop.

My small community has a Walmart.  Although I do not refuse to shop there, I generally take my business elsewhere (for multiple reasons).  Interestingly as I drive by the Walmart, it's parking lot is almost always full.  Clearly the citizens of my community do not share my opinion.

Date: 2006/01/09 06:41:28, Link
Author: JimB

I don't consider either health care insurance or lottery tickets and "investment".

I picked healthcare as an interesting economic issue because it is exceedingly difficult to divorce our emotions from logic for this type of problem.

It's all well and good to define coverage, costs, rationing, etc. for something like healthcare; but as soon as it's MY (or heaven forbid my CHILDREN's) health, my emotions will kick in and I'll want the best of everything!  Furthermore it's easy to say in those situations that it's not *fair* for me to have to bear the entire cost.

The show that I saw on healthcare indicated that the majority of the cost increases were caused by the cost of treatment for certain difficult problems (e.g. cancer).  If it wasn't for the new and exceedingly expensive (albeit effective) treatments for these diseases, then the increases would have been much lower.

Here in the US, I've noticed that the healthcare insurance, now has a lifetime benefits cap.  I don't recall seeing these 10 years ago (of course I might not have been paying attention).  I think these caps are designed to limit the insurers total liability in cases of cancer or other high costs health issues.

Regarding preventative care.  I'm certain some of it provides a net cost reduction.  The question is how much?  I would add though that the preventative care is typically not prohibitively expensive.  Most middle income families can afford it without too much problem.

Interestingly, I know couples that refuse to get their children vaccinated.  They don't want their kids to suffer from the potential side effects of vaccinations.  They also assume that since every other parent is getting their kids vaccinated that theirs will be OK.  The problem is that this has become a trend with greater and greater percentages not vaccinating their kids.  Once a critical threshold of non-vaccinated kids is reached, the population will be ripe for an "epidemic" of disease for which there is a viable vaccine (measels, mumps, rubella, etc.).  I'm sure these couples will be the first to complain when their kids suffer long term problems or death from their own short sightedness.

Date: 2006/01/09 06:45:06, Link
Author: JimB
These critters make a very strong argument against evolution.  I wonder how long it'll be before we see and IDC book with pictures of some of these in it.

Date: 2006/01/09 11:13:03, Link
Author: JimB
My personal perception of theft, is that it is the economic equivalent of biological parasitism.  The host is perfectly capable of surviving without parasites/theft.  Furthermore, it damages the host and only benefits the parasite/criminal.  If the host is too overburdened by parasitism/theft, then it dies/collapses - taking the parasites with it.

The toil economy works more like a biological organism in which cells/individuals cooperate for mutual benefit.

Date: 2006/01/09 11:43:43, Link
Author: JimB

When I was a teen I read about socialism.  At that time, I thought it sounded like a utopian society, "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need".

It sounded like how people *should* treat each other.

Then my father pointed out that in every case it's been tried in large scale societies, everyone quit working.  Why work when you could not work and still get what you need from others.  And some of these societies died out from it!

Now I still think it *sounds* utopian but extremely impractical.  Plus, I'm now enjoying the capitalistic fruits of my own "from each according to his ability" (education et al).  I'm now firmly ensconced in my capitalist home :) !

Date: 2006/01/10 09:26:11, Link
Author: JimB
I for one, plan to download the Ken Miller video and have my kids watch it.  They enjoy the PBS show Nova so I'm hoping this is at least as interesting as that.

If I like it a lot I'll also try to get some friends to watch it with me.

Although my wife agrees with my position (I don't know if this is for marital tranquility or true feelings  :0 ), she does not get her boxers in a bunch.  Perhaps she feels I have enough vehemence for both of us  :D .

Date: 2006/01/10 12:00:53, Link
Author: JimB

That is an interesting reaction.

My basically feeling throughout my life was that the ACLU often represented issues to which I was (mildly) opposed.  However, when they represented issues that I supported it was for issues about which I felt very strongly.

So even though I would often be irritated by them, I felt that were extremely worth while.

So how much of our individual rights do we owe our society?  Society definitely provides us with benefits so I assume that we should owe it some.  The question is where should that divide be drawn?

It's not surprising that fundamentalists feel that all rights should be abandoned in favor of society.  That is arguably one way you could describe fundamentalism.  In fundamentalism, when an individual takes a position (on *any* issue) opposed to the group, they are immediately ejected from the fundamentalist group (ala Dave Scot at UC).

Date: 2006/01/11 04:21:46, Link
Author: JimB
This fits in nicely with the "Evolution publicity" thread.

This might be great publicity BUT in order to win the publicity we'd need to keep our responses relatively short.

In fact short "sound bite" type responses would be best.  The should contain a kernel of truth, some cleverness, and make ID look stupid.  Each response should contain links to more material where the truly curious could get a real education on matters.  You just have to assume that 90% of the readers won't follow the links.

Since we've already got the TalkOrigins list of creationist claims, we've got a great handle on the likely arguments.

Date: 2006/01/11 08:01:18, Link
Author: JimB
The TalkOrigins:
index to creationist claims?
definition of evolution
evidence for evolution?

There's a fair bit more of interesting and highly useful stuff there.  Way too much for a single CD or even to expect anyone to read.  However, you should scan through the site looking for anything that looks especially pertinent to your particular situation.

Date: 2006/01/13 09:27:29, Link
Author: JimB
"Every legit science group that opposes ID" is a bit redundant.

If it's a legit science group,it opposes ID.  Many of these also have a publically released document explaining their position too.

Date: 2006/01/13 09:31:19, Link
Author: JimB
Here's a link to some of the Science Groups:

NCSE Resources: Science Groups Opposed to creationism/ID

Here's the list:
Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada
Alabama Academy of Science
American Anthropological Association
American Anthropological Association
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association of Physical Anthropologists
American Astronomical Society
American Geophysical Union
American Geophysical Union
American Institute of Biological Sciences
American Astronomical Society
American Society of Biological Chemists
American Chemical Society
American Geological Institute
American Psychological Association
American Physical Society
American Society of Parasitologists
Association for Women Geoscientists
Australian Academy of Science
Botanical Society of America
California Academy of Sciences
Ecological Society of America
Genetics Society of America
Geological Society of America
Geological Society of America
Geological Society of Australia
Georgia Academy of Science
Georgia Academy of Science
History of Science Society
Iowa Academy of Science
Statement of the Position of the Iowa Academy of Science on Pseudoscience
Iowa Academy of Science
Kentucky Academy of Science
Kentucky Academy of Science
Kentucky Paleontological Society Statement on the Teaching of Evolution
Louisiana Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Sciences
North American Benthological Society
North Carolina Academy of Science
North Carolina Academy of Science
New Orleans Geological Society
New York Academy of Sciences
Ohio Academy of Science
Ohio Academy of Science
Ohio Math and Science Coalition
Oklahoma Academy of Sciences
The Paleontological Society
Sigma Xi, Louisiana State University Chapter, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Society for Amateur Scientists
Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
Society for Organic Petrology
Society for the Study of Evolution
Society of Physics Students
Society of Systematic Biologists
Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
Southern Anthropological Society
Virginia Academy of Science
West Virginia Academy of Science