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Alice

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Should the US radically increase spending on Voice of America
It's complicated. People seem to believe that things in other countries work exactly as in theirs. So the vast majority of people in Russia honestly believe that e.g. all American media is a puppet of the state department, and a propaganda arm ... read more

Finland wants to give every adult a basic income of 800 euros a month
That's an interesting idea. Would be interesting to see how it works out. I think this may work well if the threshold for basic income is chosen carefully (I don't know if 800 euros is the right number). It should be enough to provide for the ... read more

Integration of Muslim Immigrants: US vs. Europe
All of these probably factor in. Maybe (1) also influences self-selection: immigrants looking for opportunities to build careers and succeed are more likely to think about the US, while immigrants who are looking for stronger safety net/welfare ... read more

Is there a scientific way to prove or disprove discrimination in the academy?
This is crazy, though one may hope that career earnings and goals factor into say parents' ... read more

Is there a scientific way to prove or disprove discrimination in the academy?
Sure, one can consider other examples. I think the question is more important to understand in cases where the gap is bigger. In some areas of STEM we are not talking about just 10% difference, but way higher numbers (see for example here). It ... read more

Should efforts by made to stump out Halloween?
OK - I didn't know about this. Good to know. ... read more

Five explanations of political divide in the academy
Would you count climatology as a STEM subject? If so, it would be interesting to see what's the divide ... read more

Should efforts by made to stump out Halloween?
Do you think that everybody who gives out gifts when a request happens wants to give out them and doesn't feel like he's forced to do so?
I don't understand this. Just don't open the door. Also where I live, unless you put a lit-up ... read more

Should Saudi Arabia be added to the list of state sponsors of terrorism?
I hope so. But when this kind of stuff happens, don't they usually just restrict oil production to drive the prices back ... read more

Should efforts by made to stump out Halloween?
Many of today's holidays and traditions have originated from things we cannot celebrate today. The passover seder explicitly mentions the killing of the first-born Egyptian children as one of the 10 plagues. I'm sure one can find more ... read more

Should Saudi Arabia be added to the list of state sponsors of terrorism?
Tax-cut to the fracking industry is a great idea. ... read more

Should Saudi Arabia be added to the list of state sponsors of terrorism?
Saudi Arabia definitely has its hand in supporting terror (like many other countries unfortunately). But it is also one of the worst states on the planet with regard to human rights. It effectively exercises apartheid against half the population ... read more

Should the public trust climatologists in the global warming debate?
I have no idea. I would be apprehensive about major changes to the Earth's atmosphere over relatively short time period, because sometimes we only find out things are harmful much later, after harm has been done (I remember that Marie Curie has ... read more

Should the public trust climatologists in the global warming debate?
I can totally imagine a scenario where there is much more incentive to publish papers supporting the theory, and whoever does not support it gets ostracized by the academic community. We have seen many examples of this kind of thing happen, for ... read more

Should atheists support teaching both evolution and creationism in schools?
There is a problem with doing this. If you teach this in a reasonably constructive way, this may lead people to believe that it is a scientifically legitimate theory. Then if you teach it in a negative way, this comes dangerously close to saying ... read more

How far (if at all) should the West go to prevent Iran from getting the nuclear bomb?
And you know what Mossad thinks how? because of one article published in the Guardian? Seriously? All the other noises we've been hearing from Israel's intelligence community are in the opposite direction - and mostly they have been silent, ... read more

How far (if at all) should the West go to prevent Iran from getting the nuclear bomb?
There are two issues here. 1. Are the Iranians trying to build the bomb? - I think the answer to this is pretty clear. 2. If (1) is true, should Israelis be worried? In my opinion, the answer to (2) is also pretty clear. Even if the chance ... read more

How far (if at all) should the West go to prevent Iran from getting the nuclear bomb?
So in your opinion, Iran pursuing a nuclear bomb is not a serious threat to Israel? Or is it that you believe Iran is not pursuing one? Also FYI in spite of the otherwise bitter political rivalry, practically all Israeli political parties rally ... read more

How far (if at all) should the West go to prevent Iran from getting the nuclear bomb?
Hesbollah is not an existential threat to Israel. They are of course unpleasant, they inflict some pain from time to time, but Israel can deal with them. Israel has the military ability to finish Hesbollah in a matter of a few days. They don't ... read more

How far (if at all) should the West go to prevent Iran from getting the nuclear bomb?
Politically it's just not possible to appear to lose to the West and simply allow everything to be investigated without getting something in return.
The thing is in totalitarian regimes, such as Iran, public opinion is often formed by the ... read more

How far (if at all) should the West go to prevent Iran from getting the nuclear bomb?
So you seem to imply that "military installations"="nuclear sites"? Also Iran getting a nuclear bomb is by far the greatest concern of Israel and Saudi Arabia. They want sanctions to stay in place first and foremost to prevent this. If you ... read more

How far (if at all) should the West go to prevent Iran from getting the nuclear bomb?
I think what the individual politicians are thinking is not important - the supreme leader calls all the shots. The fact on the ground is that Iran has preferred to suffer under crippling sanctions, rather than let the West verify that its ... read more

How far (if at all) should the West go to prevent Iran from getting the nuclear bomb?
I think the fact that Iran is trying to get the bomb is pretty clear. They went to great lengths to protect their nuclear program, even at the expense of crippling sanctions, and if their intentions were peaceful nuclear research, it would have ... read more

The cultural explanation of the difficulty of development
A very corrupt country, with no freedom of speech, 24/7 propaganda on government-owned TV (and there is no other), and de-facto dictatorship. Oil-based economy, that is going to be in big trouble now that the oil prices are going down. Doesn't ... read more

The cultural explanation of the difficulty of development
In a way it's a chicken-and-egg problem. It's true that progress and modernization seem to be closely tied with ideology that places the rule of law, equality, and individualism as biggest values, while lack of modernization is often ... read more

What is the True Islam?
Yes - but I suspect that such young Muslims get most of their information directly from radical sources. They are much less likely to believe to what the BBC says. My worry is that the Westerners whose countries are fighting this must understand ... read more

What is the True Islam?
The question is this: do you believe that ISIS are motivated by (some interpretation of) Islam? And if so, isn't recognizing and acknowledging this important in order to be able to defeat ... read more

Artificial Intelligence, Morality and ... the End of the Human Race?
It seems ironic that many companies and scientists funded by government or industry are working hard, some dedicating their whole careers to what seems will likely lead to the end of the human race, and no one seems too concerned about it. Of ... read more

Preventive Military Strikes
The easiest thing to do would be to say it's never justified, but I don't believe this is the case. It's like attacking people physically is almost never justified, but if you are surrounded and outnumbered by armed people with hostile ... read more

What is the True Islam?
... on the other hand, if you put your head in the sand and refuse to honestly understand and spell out what motivates states like ISIS, domestic terrorists, etc, how can you possibly fight them? What happened to "know your enemy"? ... read more

What is the True Islam?
My understanding is that, like with other religious text, Koran contains a number of contradictory rules. It is probably part of the success of these religions, and their survival through so many years, that you can cherry-pick and adapt to your ... read more

What is the True Islam?
I think saying "to me this is not true Islam, and a person doing x is not a true muslim, because these don't concur with the way I interpret the religion" makes sense, even if you don't believe in the religion. But of course no one gets to ... read more

What is the True Islam?
How is this related? "The earth is flat" is a sentence that only has 1 interpretation. Do you mean an that we should just take a completely literal reading of everything that's in the Koran, and this and only this can be called "true Islam"? In ... read more

Is international law a meaningful concept?
How is it different from saying that the best way of governing a country is to have small subset of its population - the "enlightened ones" dictate the rules? Is it moral to have a small subset of countries decide what's moral for ... read more

Resolving Territorial Disputes - General Principles
I'm curious how you came to the conclusion that Palestine is reasonably contiguous, unless you include Israel in your definition of Palestine. You realize that there is no physical (land) connection between Gaza strip and West Bank, right? Also, ... read more

Is international law a meaningful concept?
I meant international law as law governing relations between different nations, not within one nation. For example, there are repeated claims that Israel violates some international laws due to occupation of the West Bank and naval blockade of Gaza ... read more

Is international law a meaningful concept?
So a group of powerful and like-minded nations could say "We declare the following things illegal, and since we have the guns and the money, what we say goes." This is essentially the League of Democracies proposal.
So this is basically the law ... read more

Is international law a meaningful concept?
I was mostly talking about something different: we hear all the time that this country or that violates the international law. I don't believe this has to do with any agreements or treaties these countries signed. In this case, what does this ... read more

What is the True Islam?
Speaking as an outsider, there can be no "true' or "false" in any religion. Everyone is free to pursue whatever interpretation of whatever religion they choose, and no one has the monopoly on the "true" version of the religion, or on the ... read more

Resolving Territorial Disputes - General Principles
I don't know. For Crimea, even though the referendum was obviously fake, it seems plausible that the majority would prefer to join Russia, for the simple reasons that the standard of living (including pensions, social security payments etc) are ... read more

Political Evolution and the Future of Democracy
This is a somewhat cynical view, that seems to suggest that morality is usually dictated by convenience. However we see today many well-educated and/or rich people, who support socialist causes and parties, from which they are unlikely to benefit ... read more

The firing of Tim Hunt - right or wrong?
So does that imply teachers must have false beliefs about how good a typical black/woman is at say physics? Because that's what you were saying up thread.
Following your logic, teachers with such beliefs are much more likely to discriminate ... read more

The firing of Tim Hunt - right or wrong?
If an individual is bad at physics it's OK to discourage him to pursue a career in physics. If a (potentially bright and motivated) individual merely belongs to a large group of people that on average performs worse in physics than some other ... read more

The firing of Tim Hunt - right or wrong?
All I'm saying is that regardless of what are the current average achievements of various minorities, every person should be viewed, valued and assessed as an individual, regardless of what group that person belongs to. Even if we assume that ... read more

The firing of Tim Hunt - right or wrong?
The question is whether your views translate into how you treat your students. Anti-theist/anti-creationist views usually don't, because these are views about ideas, not about people. Views about abilities of different races/genders often do. ... read more

The firing of Tim Hunt - right or wrong?
The ultimate question is whether they treat students of different races/genders etc differently. This is what I mean by bigots. I believe that this does include telling black/female students things like "people of your race/gender are usually bad ... read more

The firing of Tim Hunt - right or wrong?
I want to give you an example. When I was a kid, we studied "house work" at school. Girls studied cooking, sewing, knitting, and boys studied carpentry, some electronics and so on. But for one quarter every year we switched: girls got the male ... read more

The firing of Tim Hunt - right or wrong?
No, it doesn't matter. Each student should be viewed, evaluated, and encouraged as an individual, regardless what group the student belongs to. The fact that the group this student belongs to may on average perform worse than other groups should ... read more

Is pay discrimination possible in a laissez faire economy?
This study does't really give an indication how a real hiring process would work, because (1) hiring of tenure-track faculty always involves an on-site interview; without such an interview this experiment is incomplete; and (2) people who ... read more

The firing of Tim Hunt - right or wrong?
One problem with this is this will probably mean firing on the basis of what the person says and using mob justice will be easier. Another problem is that in universities, research and education go hand in hand. I believe that we need to have ... read more

The firing of Tim Hunt - right or wrong?
Interesting. I think the key variable is the person's actions: does this person in practice discriminate or harm students in any other ways. Unfortunately, these things are subtle, and are often hard to prove or figure out. But when the person ... read more

Resolving Territorial Disputes - General Principles
If there are 2 opposing principles to define legitimacy - territorial integrity vs national self-determination, and every side is free to choose whichever principle it likes - it is meaningless, to a large degree. I think that propaganda campaigns ... read more

Should government encourage human genetic engineering?
I would say when this is intended to avoid serious health problems, such as when the parents are known to carry some harmful gene mutations that can result in severe health consequences for their children, this makes sense, and it is in the ... read more

The firing of Tim Hunt - right or wrong?
I agree with (1), but there are exceptions, and they are not necessarily ideological ones. One such example is people working in education. Their views can make them unsuitable for a job. A teacher who believes that blacks/women/whatever other ... read more

Resolving Territorial Disputes - General Principles
I think the state of Israel didn't need a war to establish borders where already existing nations were present.
Which war is it that Israel started but didn't need to in order to establish some sort of ... read more

Resolving Territorial Disputes - General Principles
By strength I don't mean just military strength. Strength has many components to it. Being willing to sacrifice many people for the cause, is unfortunately one of them. Having the international community on your side, being able to generate ... read more

Resolving Territorial Disputes - General Principles
Now, as always, there is only one rule for resolving territorial disputes: the party who is stronger dictates the solution. Sometimes this party is a party of the dispute, sometimes it's the international community or its part, whenever it ... read more

The firing of Tim Hunt - right or wrong?
I'm curious: from what you say here against thought crimes, do you believe that there is nothing a professor can say that should be grounds for firing? What if a professor expresses clearly anti-semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-black or anti-white ... read more

The firing of Tim Hunt - right or wrong?
It's not just hiring decisions. A professor can influence the careers of his students in many ways. In many cases, he can make or break their careers. For example, the recommendation letters he writes for graduating students can make a huge ... read more

Every TV news report on the economy in one
That's hilarious! ... read more

Is pay discrimination possible in a laissez faire economy?
That's not so simple. Let's assume for example that 80% of companies have pay discrimination against women. If women knew about this, and knew what companies they were - then of course things would work out the way you suggest, the ... read more

The firing of Tim Hunt - right or wrong?
I completely agree that decisions shouldn't be made by online mobs - though it's not 100% clear to me if this was the case here. I personally feel very bad for Tim Hunt, and feel that he was treated horribly. I don't want to see people ... read more

The firing of Tim Hunt - right or wrong?
Several other examples of similar situations: -Prof. Steven Salaita was fired from UIUC after anti-Israeli (and some say anti-semitic) tweets. This was before his appointment was officially approved though. -Larry Summers was famously forced to ... read more