Tag Archives: Property

Every day in America law-abiding citizens use legally-owned guns to stop crimes

Gun ownership up, gun violence down
Gun ownership up, gun violence down (Source: Congressional Research Service)

I have some European friends on Facebook, and they cannot understand why Americans like to own guns as much as we do. Many of them are influenced by Hollywood movies that glamorize gun use. They perceive guns in a way that is different than the people who actually own them. So why do law-abiding Americans own firearms? It’s a very simple and obvious reason, really. We own guns because we don’t like criminals robbing us, raping us, murdering us, and damaging the property we bought with our own earned incomes.

Here are a couple of examples from earlier this week that illustrate this concept.

First one from Virginia, reported by local news:

Neighbors are praising a Henrico man who took matters into his own hands when he noticed something wrong in his neighborhood. When the man saw another man looking into vehicles parked along Viking Lane, near Woodman Road, at about 8:30 Tuesday night — he confronted the individual, police said.

“When the resident approached the suspect, the suspect drove a pickup truck right in the path of the resident until the resident drew a handgun, forcing the suspect to stop,” Henrico Police spokesman Sgt. Colin Rooney said.

Neighbor Theresa Strickland witnessed the tense situation.

“I saw him demand that he get out of the truck and was standing in the path of the truck and I thought how in the world is he going to make this guy stop his vehicle,” she said. “Apparently he did and I’m thankful he did.”

In Europe, Canada, or other pro-criminal countries where the law-abiding populations are disarmed, this would never happen. Liberals run those countries, and they just don’t see the point of allowing taxpayers to prevent “redistribution of wealth” by criminals. After all, if criminals are poor, they should be allowed to take the property of their law-abiding neighbors. It’s always the poorer law-abiding people who are the ones most threatened by crime… but liberals don’t care about them – they care about the criminals.

Here’s another from Ohio, reported by local news:

Trotwood Police were called to a home at the dead end of Atlas Road around 6:00 Monday morning.

Police tell FOX 45 three masked men armed with firearms forcibly entered and attempted to rob the homeowner.

[…]”I got my gun and I started shooting and they ran,” the female caller told dispatchers. “They all three had guns, I’m confused … they must not have had bullets because after I pulled the trigger they just took off, instead of firing back. I don’t know if I hit one or not, I don’t see blood anywhere.”

The three suspects were caught on home surveillance outside the residence, before they kicked their way inside.

Police say two kids were asleep inside the home in the room where the invaders kicked their way in.

[…]Trotwood Police said two of the suspects tried to steal a safe, while the third held the victim and two kids at gunpoint. They say the homeowner was able to get away and grab a gun she had hidden in the room, then started firing shots at the suspects.

Now, the response of most liberals, criminals and terrorists, and other predators to this story will be to say “she should just let the criminals assault her and the kids, steal her property, rape them all, and murder them all.” That’s the liberal view, after all – let the criminals do as they please while you wait for the police to arrive. In fact, in the UK, people who defend themselves with any weapon are usually arrested by the police, for example in this case or in this case. This makes sense to liberals – they want to arrest people who scare criminals off by defending themselves.

Learn about the issue

To find the about guns and self-defense, look in the academic literature. Here are two books I really like for that.

Both of those books make the case that permitting law-abiding citizens to own firearms for self-defense reduces the rate of violent crime.

Some arguments for substance dualism, and one objection

Philosophy of mind is not something I’ve studied very much, but I do know about the different views like physicalism, epiphenomenalism, property dualism and substance dualism. I also know some of the basic arguments for and against each view.

In this post, I just wanted to show people a little bit about how you argue for substance dualism, using philosophical and scientific arguments. I find this topic to be really really dry, and I can barely stay awake when J.P. Moreland talks about it in lectures. But I hope a little bit of exposure won’t put you all to sleep.

Philosophical arguments

Let’s start with this old paper by John Depoe.

He writes about the persistent identity argument:

Another argument supporting substance dualism is that one maintains personal identity through change. Even though one is continuously going through physical changes and experiencing different mental states, a person continues to be the same person. If persons were identical with their physical parts or mental states, they would cease to be the same persons as these changes occurred. Therefore, it is necessary to postulate an immaterial, substantial self that endures through change.

Suppose that someone believes that people do not maintain identity through change and concludes that the previous argument for substance dualism fails. This denial of personal identity through change, I contend, presents untenable difficulties. First, there is one’s own awareness of being the same person through change. Moreover, if one is not literally the same person through these changes, how can a person maintain long-term goals and desires?

If you are your body, and your body is always changing, then you aren’t the same person now as 5 minutes ago.

There are more arguments for substance dualism here, from J.P. Moreland.

Experimental evidence

Doug Groothuis talks about some experimental evidence in this paper.

Excerpt:

Dr. Wilder Penfield was known for his ground-breaking work with epilepsy. His work involved stimulating brain tissue in conscious patients in order to find the causes of epilepsy. During these sessions Penfield found that the prodding of certain areas of the brain triggered vivid memories of past events. The patients reported remembering clearly such things as the taste of coffee. One patient, while on an operating table in Montreal, Canada, remembered laughing with cousins on a farm in South Africa. What amazed Penfield was that his patients, who were not under anesthetic, were simultaneously conscious of the re-experienced memories and of being prodded by an electrode in an operating room. Penfield called this a “double consciousness” wherein a memory was stimulated physically but was attended to and recognized as a memory by a conscious patient. Penfield likened this to the patient watching a television program while remaining aware that it wasn’t now happening.

Penfield repeated these results on hundreds of epileptic patients and concluded that a separable mind was able to track what the brain was doing as a result of the artificial stimulation. One’s mind in a sense could transcend the operations of the brain, monitoring memories without actually placing oneself in the situation remembered. Penfield noted that “The mind of the patient was as independent of the reflex action as was the mind of the surgeon who listened and strove to understand. Thus, my argument favours independence of mind-action.” Penfield also stated that if we liken the brain to a computer, it is not that we are a computer, but that we have a computer.

Penfield, who began his research as a materialist, switched to dualism after extensive research with epileptic patients. He said, “Something else finds its dwelling place between the sensory complex and the motor mechanism. . . . There is a switchboard operator as well as a switchboard.”

Although nonepileptic patients do not respond similarly to brain stimulation, other researchers, such as Sir John Eccles, a neurobiologist, have similarly concluded that the brain alone cannot account for a many phenomena. Eccles’ hypothesis is that the self-conscious mind is an independent entity that is actively engaged in reading from the multitude of active centres in the modules of the liaison areas of the dominant cerebral hemisphere. The self-conscious mind selects from these centres in accord with its attention and its interests and integrates its selection to give unity of conscious experience from moment to moment.

Thus, Eccles’ conclusions agree with Penfield’s, and his areas of research extend farther than that of epileptic patients. Eccles deems the “monist materialist” hope for an eventual physical explanation for mental events as wrongheaded in principle because mental events are not “simply derivative of aspects of nerve endings. There is no evidence for this whatever.” Further, Eccles argues that his “strong dualist-interactionist hypothesis . . . has the recommendation of its great explanatory power. It gives in principle at least explanations of the whole range of problems relating to brain-mind interaction.”Eccles notes that it has been impossible to develop a materialist explanation of “how a diversity of brain events come to be synthesized so that there is a unified conscious experience of a global or gestalt character.” Given this impasse, Eccles proposed that “the self-conscious mind” serve to integrate the apparently disparate brain processes into a unified consciousness.

I think that Alvin Plantinga, Keith Yandell, J.P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, Stephen Davis, John Depoe, Douglas Groothuis and Charles Taliaferro all defend substance dualism. I’m a substance dualist, myself.

What’s the objection to substance dualism?

The big objection to substance-dualism is the problem of how you get the non-physical substance to interact with the physical substance. It’s like how people put forward the grounding objection when talking about middle knowledge and where God’s knowledge of counterfactuals of creaturely freedom comes from. I wonder if anyone can post a comment for me to point me to a resource on answering the interaction problem in the comments.

UPDATE: One of my elite special forces ninja commenters writes:

Here’s Ed Feser on the Interaction Problem:

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2008/10/interaction-problem.html

and

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2009/04/interaction-problem-part-ii.html

The thrust of his argument is that, if the soul is the extension of the body’s “form” without matter, then it interacts with the more material parts of us in the same way that forms in general interact with matter- this approach involves rethinking our metaphysical understanding of matter, rather than coming up with a clever idea of the soul, and it does get rather involved in Thomistic metaphysics, but I think it’s pretty interesting.

Government charges man who shot a grizzly bear on his own property

From the Spokesman-Review. (H/T Michelle Malkin)

Excerpt:

A Boundary County man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to unlawfully killing a female grizzly bear in his yard.

So many friends and family members showed up to support Jeremy M. Hill at his arraignment that the hearing was forced to move into a larger room at the U.S. Courthouse in Coeur d’Alene. Hill, 33, faces one charge of killing a grizzly – a federally protected species.

Supporters said that Hill, a father of six, acted responsibly in shooting the female grizzly on May 8, which appeared with two cubs in the yard of his home near Porthill, Idaho, while his children were playing outside.

“It seems unjust to me that someone would be charged when they were protecting their family,” state Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, said after the hearing. “I’m at a loss to understand why the U.S. government is pursuing this in the manner they are.”

After shooting the grizzly with a bolt-action rifle, Hill contacted the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

“Jeremy did the right thing, he called Fish and Game,” Keough said. “I think that prosecuting this case really sets back the grizzly bear recovery effort. … People are saying, ‘Boy, if that happened to me, there’s no way that I’d report it.’ That’s a human reaction.”

Hill’s wife and six children – the oldest is 14 and the youngest is an infant – attended the arraignment. The family declined to comment.

It seems as though this is just another one of the ways that government tries to take over the role of husbands/fathers to protect their family by criminalizing the use of firearms to perform that role. What man wants to get married when he cannot protect his family?

New collection of essays published to defend mind-body dualism

Here’s the new book on J.P. Moreland’s web site.

Full text:

In the Soul Hypothesis: Investigations into the Existence of the Soul (Continuum), co-editors Mark C. Baker and Stewart Goetz have assembled an impressive interdisciplinary team of scholars to address questions about the existence and nature of the soul.

“The Soul of the Matter” – Charles Taliaferro
“Minds, Brains and Brains in Vats” – Daniel N. Robinson
“Brains and Souls; Grammar and Speaking” – Mark Baker
“Making Things Happen: Souls in Action” – Stewart Goetz
“Energy of the Soul” – Robin Collins
“The Measure of All Things: Quantum Mechanics and the Soul” – Dean Zimmerman
“From Seeing to Seer” – Hans Halvorson
“Souls Beastly and Human” – William Hasker
“A Scientific Case for the Soul” – Robin Collins

You can preview the book here.

The book is unique is combining philosophical and scientific arguments for dualism, and the result is a rigorous, exciting, persuasive presentation of the issues and a stimulating challenge to so much of the reductionism that reigns in the sciences. As was noted in a recent review of the book in the WSJ,

Sooner or later, the contributors to “The Soul Hypothesis” warn, scientists will pinpoint the exact three neurons whose firing accompanies the thought of our deciding to make a phone call or, if you prefer, deciding to get up and get a beer from the refrigerator. As ever more such micro-couplings are observed, we will—so scientists tell us with unseemly glee— gradually come to see that our cherished conscious life is nothing but a long series of electrical impulses, not an autonomous realm of free will and free thought. Co-editor Mark C. Baker cites the psychologist Steven Pinker, who finds it plausible to say that neural “activity in the brain” simply “is the mind.”

The book’s contributors set out this scientific challenge fully and engagingly, but they also expose its fallacies. They note, for instance, that even if two things differ in their essential nature, as do mental thoughts and physical actions—or legislatures and laws—there is no reason why the one can’t cause the other. As David Hume argued, what establishes our idea of cause and effect is the regular “conjunction” of two events. That a physical act regularly follows a mental decision suggests, as co-editor Stewart Goetz writes, that the one is “causing” the other and that voluntary human action exists.

The Soul Hypothesis is an excellent text that is sure to provoke a vigorous dialog about its content. I highly recommend it.

I really would like to be able to use this argument more – I just need a good book. I’m a big admirer of Charles Taliaferro. I even met him once at a conference!

Average Canadian family spends 42% of its income on taxes

Story here from the libertarian Fraser Institute.

Excerpt:

The total tax bill for the average Canadian family has increased at a much faster rate since 1961 than any other single household expenditure, according to a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think tank. The Canadian Consumer Tax Index 2010, which calculates the total tax bill of the average Canadian family, found that taxes have increased by a whopping 1,624% since 1961. In contrast, expenditures on housing increased by 1,198%, food by 559%, and clothing by 526% from 1961 to 2009. “Taxes have grown much more rapidly than any other single expenditure item for Canadian families to the point where taxes from all levels of government take a greater part of a family’s income than basic necessities such as food, clothing, and housing,” said Niels Veldhuis, the study’s co-author and the Institute’s senior economist.

How much do Canadians pay in taxes?

The Canadian Consumer Tax Index calculates the total tax bill of the typical Canadian family by adding up the various taxes that the family pays to federal, provincial, and local governments. These include direct taxes such as income taxes, sales taxes, Employment Insurance and Canadian Pension Plan contributions, as well as “hidden” taxes such as import duties, excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol, amusement taxes, and gas taxes.

This year’s index shows that even though family incomes have increased significantly since 1961, the total tax bill has increased at a much higher rate.

  • In 2009, the average Canadian family earned an income of $69,175 and paid total taxes equaling $28,878-41.7 per cent of its income.
  • In 1961, the average Canadian family earned an income of $5,000 and paid $1,675 in total taxes-33.5 per cent of its income.

Taxes have become the most significant item that Canadian consumers now face in their budgets,” Veldhuis said.

So the typical Canadian family, pays 42% of their family income in taxes. FORTY-TWO PERCENT. Remember, Canada has a VAT tax, which is what Obama is apparently considering to pay for all his spending on bailouts for his rich Democrat buddies.

The Fraser Institute is the equivalent of our Cato Institute. I don’t agree with either of them on many things, (e.g. – Darwinism), but on the topic of taxes being too high, I agree with them both.