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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Marriage: is it necessary?

>> PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE MY EMAIL OR CHECK THE BLOG,
DETAILS BELOW. I ALWAYS SEND AN EMAIL AND WHEN I PLAN NOT TO I WILL TELL
YOU!<<
Dear friends,

I am writing today because of the long holiday weekend we have ahead of
us. This Sunday we are going to discuss: marriage: is it necessary?

I am also not sure if I am going to write an essay this time. However,
if I decide to write something I will post it on the blog. But if you
want me to send you an email, please let me know: I can also do that.

In the meantime have a good weekend or holiday or both.

Take care
Lawrence
IF YOU DON'T GET AN EMAIL BY FRIDAY PLEASE LET ME KNOW
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
TINA Flat http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/photosphilo/TINAFLAT
**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar);
http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAY_FLAT_mayte_AlmerAVillaDeNJar
Paloma; Marbella (near Elviria);
http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAYFLAT_Paloma_MarbellaNearElviria
*************************************
+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- BLOG: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Marriage: is it
necessary?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Public Lecture on Tuesday 29th April

Public Lecture on Tuesday 29th April


Location











Thank you Miguel for the information.

Friday, April 25, 2008

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: How much are we influenced by fear? + Request

Dear friends,


This Sunday we are discussing : How much are we influenced by fear? This
is something we can all discuss from experience, but for our purposes we
might need to go a bit further than that. I try to outline a framework
of how we can understand this process, but I was not able to write a
very detailed essay. But I think my main points are there.


In the mean time Jose Antonio has asked me to ask you if anyone was
interested in corresponding with him to practice his English writing
skills. Maybe someone who is interested in a pen-pal or the equivalent
of the electronic version. Jose's email is: ja_macia1@mi.madritel.es


Take care and see you Sunday.


Lawrence

IF YOU DON'T GET AN EMAIL BY FRIDAY PLEASE LET ME KNOW

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

TINA Flat http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/photosphilo/TINAFLAT

**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar);

http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAY_FLAT_mayte_AlmerAVillaDeNJar

Paloma; Marbella (near Elviria);

http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAYFLAT_Paloma_MarbellaNearElviria
*************************************

+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

How much are we influenced by fear?


Fear of course is an emotion we are born with. It is an emotion that
serves an important purpose in our life. It helps us to assess risks,
stops us from acting irrationally in some dangerous situations,
motivates us to protect ourselves and our kin and helps us plan for the
future.


And like all functional mechanisms, fear can go both awry or be
overridden. Social phobias might stop some people from benefitting from
social interaction with others, for example holding down a good job. In
the other extreme irrational fearlessness might cause a person an great
harm, for example by pursuing criminal activities. We might override
fear for altruistic reasons, to save a child from drowning or a soldier
to defend his or her colleagues.


I will limit my discussion to everyday type of fear, the type we have to
deal in our daily life. For example we are afraid of crossing a busy
road, we are afraid of terrorists, we are afraid of catching a cold, we
are afraid of crime, we are afraid of developing a fatal disease and so on.


There are two main issues I will consider here: 1) the role of our
epistemological state in creating and mitigating fear, 2) the ethical
issues that emerge from manipulating fear in others trough the use of
information.


An important characteristic of fear is that fear is forward looking; we
are afraid of what might happen. We are in effect concerned about future
events. But this statement needs qualifying. We are really interested in
either future effects of causes that might happen in the future (the dog
will decide to attack me) or causes that still have not played out their
full effects; a cause that took place in the past but the effects still
have to manifest themselves in the future; have I been infected by some
nasty disease after the dog bit me this morning?


Knowing what future events might be like does not in itself exclude us
from still being afraid. Knowing for example that a tornado is going to
pass over our town does not necessarily stop us from being afraid. But
the difference (from not knowing) is that we might be in a better
position to take action to limit or neutralise the negative effects of
whatever it is that is making us afraid. This model of fear works more
or less in the following manner: some event activates our fear, we look
for information about the event and a possible course of action, we act
(to mitigate the fear; fight or flight).


Thus although fear is a warning mechanism to tell us that we are in
danger, it also causes us to seek information. We might seek that
information from our memories (trying to remember what an article I read
about dog bites) or from new outside sources (go to the doctor). I also
refer to information because I believe that it is the epistemological
state of our mind that needs changing to mitigate the state of fear we
might be in, and not necessarily the quality of that information. My
recollection of what the article might be wrong and a doctor might
misdiagnose some symptoms.


The quality of information might become relevant later, maybe when our
fear has become more manageable, say from panic to concern. Levett and
Dubner, in Freakonomics, give the example of a mother who does not allow
her young child to play in the house of a friend because the friend's
parent s keep a gun at home. Yet the same mother allows her child to
play with a friend whose parents have a swimming pool. The authors point
out that more children die in the US by drawing in swimming pools than
being shot with a fire arm. We also know someone or acquainted with
someone who is more afraid of flying than driving a car. Yet flying has
been shown many times to be safer than driving; the long queues and
delays might be a better reason for not flying. It is clear that in the
context of fear, information is more important than the quality of that
information.


But without this gap between the information we have and the quality of
that information, we might not have ethical issues or problems relating
to fear. In the context of the gun swimming pool example, there ought to
be a strong anti-swimming pool lobby in the same way that there is a
strong anti gun lobby (even though there are other reasons to have a
strong gun lobby in the US). Maybe we ought to have a more vociferous
lobby to protect children from swimming pools or unhealthy foods rather
than fussing too much against parental or school discipline.


This situation is exploited many times for the advantage or benefit of
others. Which brings me to the second issue of my discussion: the
ethical issues that emerge from manipulating fear in others through
information.


In most countries there is a legal principle of informed consent. For
example, in most medical procedures informed consent in necessary before
the health carer can proceed. Informed consent protects the health carer
against honest errors; of course usually some legal court or tribunal
might have to decide the facts and circumstances. But for giving consent
people usually expect a reasonable degree of care and good faith.
Similar consent is usually explicitly or implicitly given in other walks
of life, for example many foods are labelled with the ingredients they
are made with, we consent to travel by public transport on the
assumption that the rolling stock or coaches are fit for purpose.


On the fear model I mentioned earlier, informed consent is the result of
a process that started with fear in the medical procedure or fear of
trains or bus coaches. Thus, the exchange of information by the health
carer or bus operator, maybe in the form we understand it, which helps
us decide in favour of the procedure or journey. And thus both the
supplier and us benefit, not to mention that our consent allows the
supplier to get on with their job. So far so good.


But sometimes this need for information is exploited not necessarily to
disadvantage us but more to benefit others. For example, we buy a rather
expensive appliance or gadget, a tv or a pc, and of course we are
protected by law against faulty goods. However, the shop persuades us to
take out an insurance policy just in case something happens to the
machine. It is true that having extra protection might be useful for us
but it is also true that the goods we buy should be reliable to the
standards we are promised.


In April 2006 there was a story in the media with headline such as
"Drugs companies 'inventing diseases to boost their profits'", this one
from the Times on Line, which referred to a study suggesting that
pharmaceutical companies are trying to turn healthy people into sick
people so they can then sell them the drugs they make for these new
diseases. The BBC website quotes this paragraph from the report (Public
Library of Science Medicine) where the story originated from. "It [the
behaviour of pharma companies] is exemplified mostly explicitly by many
pharmaceutical industry-funded disease awareness campaigns - more often
designed to sell drugs than to illuminate or to inform or educate about
the prevention of illness or the maintenance of health." In a way,
strategies like these are an attempt (intentional or not) to circumvent
the principle of informed consent. We identify ourselves as having the
disease and then readily agree to the treatment. But this strategy is
not exclusive to pharmaceutical companies, maybe with drugs someone
might actually benefit, but what about, say, luxury goods or fashions.
We are told that luxury good X is used by top class A, of course not
belonging to top class A would be a social failure, so we immediately
consent to buying good X. We don't even complain that the good we are
buying is far too expensive.


Fear can be exploited not only by providing biased information, although
the information seems reasonable at face value, but also by appealing to
our internal beliefs about certain causes such as disease or
reliability. Of course, both the retail shop and the pharma company have
legitimate reasons for their actions: appliances do sometime break down
in unexpected ways, and who is going to begrudge the profits of a
company that might actually help them live longer.


In a way discovering that we are receiving selective information does
not solve our ethical problems but rather compounds them. Exploiting our
fears might not necessarily imply that this is bad or unacceptable
behaviour. Although in many cases it might be the case, in the same way
that a dog with an aggressive posture does sometimes attack us.


There is however a practical problem in all this: at which point does
this asymmetric information, as economists call a situation when one
party has more relevant information than the other, maybe even withhold
relevant information, cease to be private information and becomes an
ethical issue. How many people, especially patients, can understand the
technical literature published on a particular molecule? Even if we did
have access to all the published information.


All things being equal, most probably we are influenced by fear as a
function of the information we have available plus our disposition to
process that information. What matters is whether that fear clouds our
judgement. But as I have pointed out, rational judgement based on
information introduces the criterion that information must be quality
information. And leaving aside the question of what is quality
information, if we are unable to bridge the gap between information and
quality information we are surely best advised to take into
consideration this very same gap.


Take care

Lawrence


from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: How much are we
influenced by fear? + Request

Thursday, April 17, 2008

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Genetic discrimination

Dear friends,


Last Sunday I was talking to one of our friends after the meeting about
a delicate matter that arose at his place of work. It occurred to me
that his best option was to have a friendly chat with a lawyer as a
precaution and made to suggest some course of action; maybe the
situation does not involve the law, but it is good to have an idea of
the implications about certain things. If you think you can be that
friendly lawyer I will put both of you in touch. And if you want more
details I can also give you a general idea of what the situation is. In
any event thanks.


This Sunday we will be discussing Genetic Discrimination. And although
this is quite an old problem, maybe today this type of discrimination
might have long term repercussions beyond the quarterly figures of a
company's balance sheet or the budget of a health care centre.


And if you know whether something big is planned on the sports front for
Sunday evening please let me know.

Take care


Lawrence

IF YOU DON'T GET AN EMAIL BY FRIDAY PLEASE LET ME KNOW

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

TINA Flat http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/photosphilo/TINAFLAT

**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar);

http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAY_FLAT_mayte_AlmerAVillaDeNJar

Paloma; Marbella (near Elviria);

http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAYFLAT_Paloma_MarbellaNearElviria
*************************************

+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Genetic discrimination


Genetic discrimination is not new. In fact the first living system that
was (un)selected out of existence was the first victim of genetic
discrimination.


So when a person chooses their partner on the basis of looks, height,
health, social standing and similar criteria they would be doing some
old fashioned genetic discrimination. We personally do not have a say
nor influence on how we look or how healthy we are (self abuse
excepted). So any selection criteria based on these factors would indeed
be genetic discrimination.


Discrimination itself, would mean excluding someone on purely arbitrary
criteria and in many cases based on prejudice. Such criteria or
prejudice could be, for example as we all know, race, looks, religion,
birth circumstance. Of course, the emphasis here is on the meaning of
arbitrary or prejudice rather than excluding.


In an ideal world, a job selection process should not exclude people
because of their race or looks, but should include people on merit and
qualification. However, we are not likely to complain too much if a
religious group excluded us from their ceremonies purely on the grounds
that we do not belong to that religious group. It might not be in the
spirit of what a religion ought to be, but there is nothing irrational
or unreasonable about it. But to be excluded from a job purely on
grounds of race or looks, we just find this repugnant.


Discrimination, has a long and evolving history. The question we might
be tempted to ask ourselves here is, what conditions caused genetic
discrimination to evolve from (un)selecting one of the first living
systems to discriminate against someone because of their looks or race?
Surely, at some point genetic discrimination stopped being a natural
process and became an ethical issue; let us call this point C even if we
do not know when or where it happened. Maybe this happened at the very
point when we started adopting ethical principles. Maybe adopting
ethical principles was itself a clever evolutionary strategy to
(un)select certain living systems out of existence.


A further look at the old style discrimination involved what we might
call face-value information. A person who was born in Africa into a
family belonging to an old tribe would be easily identified as not a
member of the European or Asian community. Someone who is five feet four
inches tall is clearly not a tall person and someone who looks jaundiced
is clearly not in the best of health. However, our face
value-information might not help us to answer many questions we might
want when deciding whether to cooperate with a person or not; by
cooperate I am thinking in terms of survival type of cooperation. Being
a partner, an employee or a friend. For example, the arbitrary colour of
one's skin is not indicative of one's intelligence, height is not
indicative of managerial skills and pale complexion is not by itself
indicative of a contagion.


Before point C, above, it did not matter whether someone with a dark
coloured skin was intelligent or not. What mattered was that one
associated or cooperated with someone from one's own race. Nor did it
matter whether a short person was also a good warrior, warriors were
supposed to be above average height so who ever decided these things
just moved on to the next person. Even accepting my crude and sketchy
description of how the world might have been like in the distant pass,
it is self evident that at least this crude selection process now had a
new competitor on the block. Ethics became a competitor to brute force
or prejudice.


The implication of this new scenario is that face-value information lost
some of it currency in the real world. Today, some countries, have
stringent laws against race discrimination or discrimination because of
religious or even philosophical beliefs. There are no societies (maybe a
few) who would imprison someone because they believed the world was
round or for that matter because they believe the world was flat.


What has clearly happened after point C is that the information we
needed for a selection process became more complex. And in many cases
face-value information was displaced by moral-value information (merit
or qualification). However, in the real world face-value information is
cheaper than moral-value information which makes face-value information
quite a powerful incentive to keep on using it. Free is a difficult
price to beat*.


So why is genetic discrimination important today? And is it a relevant
issue? But before addressing these questions, let me introduce these two
hypothetical cases.


The first philosophical reason why genetic discrimination is relevant is
because today, for the first time in the history of this planet, we have
first hand knowledge and information of genetics and the genetic package
of people. Today, we no longer have to rely on face-value information
nor ethical information. This is truly an information age about life on
Earth.


Another reason is because genetics affects us all, rich or poor, tall or
short, upper class or middle class etc. Genetics are a powerful
equalising force amongst humans and animals. Maybe in the past we saw
tall people as being healthier than short people, they might have been
but today we know better. Good looking people might have made better
partners than less attractive one, but we also know that this is not the
case. Genetics cuts through all this arbitrary criteria, what matters is
whether we can pass on our genes to the next generation or that we live
long enough to reach reproductive age. Anything else is fine tuning and
strategy by the living system. Which explains why people of whatever
looks or background still manage to have families. But most of all we
can all be victims of ill health, including illnesses due to
malfunctioning genes.


Another reason is that societies and governments are putting more
emphasis on quality of life rather than quantity of life. Of course this
has it own implications least of which some communities need topping up
with new people from time to time. And by definition quality of life
means attending to the needs of individuals rather than simply
reproducing more to keep the species going.


Maybe the modern use of genetic discrimination became official when in
1996 the US Congress passed into federal law the Health Insurance
Portability Act. Amongst its various provisions this act made it illegal
for insurance companies to discriminate against someone on the grounds
of genetic information. Of course, this act had some exceptions, but
check Google for more details.


I won't be discussing any specific legislation for two main reasons.
There is enough material on the internet that is readily available and
secondly because legislation tends to take the form of prohibiting or
making certain behaviour illegal. As I hope to show and argue, although
such prohibition is always welcomed, it is still flawed thinking.


There are two major concerns that preoccupy Americans today, and
therefore by implication should also preoccupy us because bad habits
tends to travel as much as good policies.
1) Genetic discrimination is an important issue in health insurance.
2) How employers can discriminate in their employment policies.
3) A third concern, that maybe is more appreciated by the medical
community, is that some people are now reluctant to participate in
clinical trials and studies just in case new information about their
genes come to light and has to be reported to an insurance company.
4)
5)
In most European and in many developed countries health services are
provided by the government and free at the point of demand. This might
explain why maybe in Europe, genetic discrimination is not such a big
issue, unlike the USA.


The bulk of health care in America is paid for by insurance companies.
And although the various levels of government in the USA spend a lot of
money on health care, a large part of the population does not have any
health cover or adequate cover. According to the US Census Bureau about
15.8% of Americans in 2004 did not have health cover (Wikipedia: Health
Care in the USA). Most people are covered by their employer's insurance
and a large part are supported by the state (44% also including local
and federal government support). However, the model seems to be you pay
a premium and you get health care when you need it. Why the US health
model should also be relevant for us will become clearer later.


I am particularly interested in two aspects of a hypothetical health
insurance contract or policy: 1) The nature of risk involved in health
insurance and 2) the concept of utmost good faith that is a key factor
in insurance contract. As you know the reason why insurances are a very
good and vital businesses for society is because they aggregate
individual risks and share them amongst a large part of the population.
It would probably be physically impossible, at least for the vast
majority of the population, for an individual to cover all his or her
risks through their own resources. But a large number of individuals
responsible for a small share of the aggregate makes ones private risk
manageable.


Therefore, the idea of an insurance policy is that I pay an insurance
company a premium for assuming my personal risk. For example, I insure
my car against collision, fire and theft. And if my car catches fire the
insurance will pay for its replacement. However, having such insurance
cover it does not give me or anybody else the right to go and burn their
car or crash it into the nearest wall just for the fun of it. A
reasonable person is expected to take care of our car and a reasonable
insurance company expects people to take care of their car. Of course,
in the event of an accident we expect the insurance to pay up.


However, I submit that a health care insurance cover does not follow
this model of relationship. I submit that someone taking out an health
insurance policy does not do so on the basis of, "just in case they will
need health care." I submit that people take out a health insurance
policy because they "expect" to need health care. I would very much like
to see the reaction of an insurance sales person when someone tells them
that "they expect to crash their car into a wall." But that aside,
people have good reasons to "expect" to need health care in their life.


We have all fallen sick or ill sometime in our life; we all needed to
see a doctor or go to a hospital for some sort of treatment. We also
have or had family members who needed some sort of health care. Or we
know of friends, colleagues, or neighbours who needed some sort of
health care. I challenge you to find someone in Madrid, London, New York
or which ever city you care to mention, who does not know of a person
who did not need some sort of health care in that person's life. I would
therefore argue that a health insurance policy is based of a fatal flaw
that renders the logic of health insurance invalid. The consequence of
which we have genetic discrimination as I will try to show.


But the logical conclusion of "we expect to need health care sometime in
our life" is not that some people are healthier than others, but rather
that the very vast majority of the population will need or do need some
sort of health care. And those who have never needed the services of a
health carer are either lost in a desert or are an anomaly of nature in
which case health carers need to see them. But to clarify my position
further, I am not saying that because one of my parents died from a
genetic disease and needed health care, and so il will also need health
care. Or my friend who was involved in an accident and they had to go to
the E & A unit so even I will need health care. What I am saying is that
even if we took all the precautions that we can possibly take and tried
to live as healthy as is physically possible, we will still need some
sort of health care or attention. Even if only to confirm that we are
the healthiest living system in the universe. Sooner or later we will
need the services of a health carer.


So whether we do this "expecting" consciously or not, we expect to need
health care in our life. Does this mean that health insurance companies
have missed something? Clearly they haven't because most of them run a
very thriving business. So where is the discrepancy?


First of all those who do not have enough money to pay or are in a
position to have their health insurance policy paid for go without
health cover. In the USA this amounts to about 16%. I do not use these
figures as evidence of anything but as information that can help us put
our thinking is some sort of worldly perspective. Nor am I using these
figures as a criticism of the American system. All systems have flaws in
their health care programmes. As I have already pointed out there is a
fatal flaw in all the political systems when considering genetic
discrimination by legislating to prohibit it. The reason why I am using
these figures from the USA is because it seems ironic that they are
honest enough to publish such damning figures, and that must count for
something. And also because genetic discrimination is first and foremost
a big issue in the USA.


Thus health care insurance companies are not covering a very large part
of the population which incidentally is also the largest part of the
population that needs health care or uses health care the most. But what
is even more important is that the state is paying for the health care
of 44% of the population. The point here is that health insurance
companies are not only selective but cover a large part of the
population who need less health care than the population they do not
cover. All this is well documented so I won't give references here,
there are too many.


Therefore, although we see health insurance as a payment for our health
care when we do need it, insurance companies are doing what they do
best, spreading aggregate risk. Except that the risk that is covered is
from the top 60% percent of the population who not only pay for their up
keep but are also manageable risks. I assume that insurance companies
know what they are doing and I assume that no reasonable person would
jump into a black hole when they do not know what the risks are.


This brings me to the second most important aspect of an insurance
contract: utmost good faith. This principle as you know, is up there in
the corridors of ethical propriety together with gentlemen's agreement
and the clean hands of equity. This if I take out a car insurance policy
and I know for a fact that my neighbour wants to set it on fire because
two years ago I stepped on the tail of his cat, I have a duty to tell
the insurance company that my neighbour has threatened me many times in
the past to burn my car. Or if I want to insurance my best Rembrandt but
do not tell them that I intend to keep it in the garden shed the
insurance company would be justified in being annoyed. The insurance
company of course is also duty bound, by the same principle, to tell me
whether they can insure my car given the circumstance of my neighbour's
intentions or my Rembrandt given my eccentricity.


I will submit that genetic discrimination is a direct of effect of the
principle of utmost good faith. It is one thing to assess the risk of a
ship coming from India laden with tea and spices and not arriving in the
Port of London within the next five months and another to assess the
risk of person A having gene X and this gene has been statistically
associated with disease D. If insurance companies stopped insuring tea
cutters coming from India maybe people would have found another way to
transport tea and spices from India. But if insurance companies stopped
insuring someone with gene X then there is nothing that person can do
about it.


But if a health insurance company is going to exclude someone because
they have gene X then they ought to exclude everyone that has gene X. In
the same way they exclude all transport vehicles in a war zone. But
unlike war zones or aggrieved neighbours, we can probably find a gene
that may or may not be a cause of some disease or whatever in all of us.
And the conclusion of this slippery slope reasoning would be to exclude
all the population from health cover because everyone might have
something wrong with them. Genetic discrimination is none other than a
botched up attempt at squaring the equivalent of the health insurance
circle.


The first reason why an attempt to legislate prohibiting genetic
discrimination is flawed is because the concept of a health insurance is
itself flawed. The needs of the population and those of the insurance
companies are incompatible, unlike say the needs of a health care worker
and a patient their needs are complementary. One has chosen to develop
their talents and skills by providing care to those who are sick and a
patient needs the care of a health carers. They are in a win-win
situation. An event that is practically certain is not just a probable
risk but also a practically certain event; we have practically certain
needs for health care. Thus legislation cannot fix something that is
inherently contradictory or incompatible; it is fixing the wrong problem.


Secondly, as I said earlier, free is a difficult price to beat. So an
attempt to prohibit genetic decimation does not necessarily lead to no
discrimination. For example, insurance companies might increase their
premiums, offer less cover, find more reasons to void a health care
claim or whatever. Prohibition is not a synonym for "we're all better
off now." Thus an insurance company, for example, might not use genetic
results against someone, but it might increase the premiums to an employer


Earlier I said that governments and societies are today more concerned
with quality of life and the spate of social legislation is evidence of
this. But having a big part of a population without health cover is
incompatible with the concept of quality of life. What is the point of
prohibiting smoking in public places if 16% of the population do not
even have basic health care? (pensions, social security etc) Ironically,
it is this 16% group that needs to give up smoking because when they do
need the health care to deal with the effects of their smoking they are
the ones who do not have health cover.


The first thing a government ought to do is to introduce a really
universal health care system and not simply to legislate against genetic
discrimination which in any case only affects 60% of the population, at
least in the USA. The other 40% either do not have any health cover or
are at the mercy of a bureaucracy. Of course, providing a universal
healthcare system, free at the point of demand, is not easy nor cheap.
However, companies such as insurance companies are ideally place to cut
down inefficiencies and bureaucratic delay not to mention they can
better manage risks and opportunities. But that is another issue.


But the main reason why genetic discrimination is abhorrent, apart from
it being discrimination, and why the prevailing system is inadequate for
today's needs, is that genetics are now our primary sources of
information that will help us in our quest for quality of life. I am not
saying that genetics is a panacea for everything but that genetics is
our first source of information about human beings.


Genetic discrimination is also an ethical issue of a different kind. By
using genetics information against people who might need help most
companies and societies are intentionally excluding valuable information
from our medical knowledge of diseases. Information that can help people
achieve that very quality of life governments and societies have set
themselves to provide us with. Furthermore, genetic discrimination in
this context amounts to tampering with our collective genetic and
medical knowledge.

But nobody ought to have the right to distort our medical knowledge
because that knowledge belongs to the whole community. That knowledge
came from members of the community who were sick. And directly or
indirectly the information and knowledge accumulated from their
unfortunate circumstance is not helping the rest of us and future
generations. If it is a crime to go about removing traffic signs around
a city, what should be done to those who intentionally tamper or distort
medical knowledge?


Finally, what genetic discrimination tells us is that the more
sophisticated our survival strategy becomes, the more we encounter
complex philosophical questions. Could it be that ethical-value
information is dead and replaced by genetic-value information?


Take care


Lawrence


* not my original idea, there are many versions of this concept, but
Google only had this version on SNK Neo Geo chat group.

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Genetic discrimination

Thursday, April 10, 2008

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Falling out of Love + Request from Laura

Please read REQUEST FROM LAURA


Dear friends,


I want to start by once again thanking Alfonso for buying us round of
drinks during the meeting on Sunday and of course to all those who
helped in bringing us the drinks. Thank You.


The stool issue has made us think about our meetings and two things are
clear. The first is that we are now a big group and as most of you said,
and would agree, we need to reciprocate the facilities the pub allow us
to use for free. The consensus was that we make a big effort to buy more
drinks from the pub.


Speaking personally, but echoing the comments of Alfonso, the pub gives
us the intellectual independence which we need for our meetings. Freedom
does not always come free.


The situation of the stools itself is as follows and this is IMPORTANT.
Please pass the message along.

1) The stools along the MAIN BAR should NOT be removed at all. As the
manager clarified the situation for me after the meeting on Sunday, it
is not so much that there are no stools for customers, but that when
they enter (including the owner) the first thing they see is a big bar
without any stools or worse, empty of people. It does not look good for
the pub and by causal effect it won't be good for us.


2) After buying your drink try and get a stool from another part of the
pub, maybe even the back rooms. Of course, arriving early means that
there might be more seating available! You might also ask the bar staff
if you can take a stool from the back.


3) During big SPORTS EVENTS we just do not meet in the pub but maybe the
hotel or Julian friend's bar. SPORTS EVENTS is where I need your help,
if anyone of you knows of any major sports event that is going to take
place on a Sunday between 5pm and 10pm can you please, please let me
know. Preferably by mid week to confirm with the pub and to send out a
message. To help you out, these events might have one or more, but not
limited to, any of these words (in alphabetical order!!!!): Alonso,
Atlectico, Barcelona, Barsa, Cup, European , Final, Madrid, Real, Semi
Final, etc.

LAURA: HAS ASKED ME TO SHARE THIS WITH YOU:

Dear Lawrence: I am looking for a place to live from the 1 May. Renting
something or sharing. Can you publish that for me?

Thank you

Laura
zuritagz@gmail.com
phone number 691057957


Last Sunday we decided to continue discussing: Falling out of Love.


Take care and see you Sunday


IF YOU DON'T GET AN EMAIL BY FRIDAY PLEASE LET ME KNOW

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

TINA Flat http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/photosphilo/TINAFLAT

**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar);

http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAY_FLAT_mayte_AlmerAVillaDeNJar

Paloma; Marbella (near Elviria);

http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAYFLAT_Paloma_MarbellaNearElviria
*************************************

+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Falling out of Love
+ Request from Laura

Friday, April 04, 2008

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: FALLING OUT OF LOVE by Olga

Dear friends,

Olga has asked me to share these notes she prepared for her topic on
Falling out of Love.


Enjoy and learn

See you Sunday

Lawrence


(Olga) FALLING OUT OF LOVE


TO MY PHILOSOPHY GROUP COLLEAGUES


First of all, as some of you have noticed I am a very superstitious
person and in case I can not attend next weeks meeting I am sending this
e. mail to you all. By the way, I would like, this time, to stick to the
subject. That is to say, to talk about FALLING OUT OF LOVE, not about
other things such as falling in love, divorce, splitting up, ending
relationships with friends, family or colleague.

Well, I am not a philosopher or a writer and I looked in Internet to see
what people wrote about the subject.


I am sure that you all are familiar with Internet. I just would like to
tell you that if you wish to find out if you are falling out of love
now, you can do the quiz which appears in Google when you write "falling
out of love". Maybe you do not trust this quiz but it is good fun.


Well, only to remind you that I am Spanish, therefore, try not to be too
critical with my writing in English. Besides, I am writing in a hurry.


QUIZ: Are you falling OUT of love?


A quick and easy 20 question quiz to help you determine if you are
falling out of love.


When a relationship ends people assume that it is easy on the person who
ends things. It is as if the person who does the breaking up, or who is
thinking of breaking things off, is a person with no feelings, but
nothing could be further from the truth. Sometimes people break off a
relationship without remorse but this is not the norm. Most of the time
falling OUT of love is a painful and confusing process filled with doubt
and guilt. In fact falling OUT of love can be a more emotional process
than falling IN love. Are you falling out of love or are you just going
through a rocky patch? Take our "Are you falling OUT of love?" quiz to
find out.


Note: After having read this in Internet, I felt like contacting those
men who fell out of love with me to tell them that I didn't realize, at
that time, how painful it was for them and propose to meet them so that
they will realize the mistake they made in the past.


WHAT ARE SOME SIGNS OF SOMEONE FALLING OUT OF LOVE?.....NEED SOMEONE'S
OPINION RATHER THAN MY OWN.?
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker


some of the signs of falling out of love are, the partner no longer
comes around you as was the case, he/she would not return calls or reply
mails. The rate of frown on the person's face would be more than the
smile when you are around, he/she would always be in hurry to leave, no
more laughter like before, blames and excuses. Etc


OTHER ANSWERS


he/she doesn't spend so time together with u....he/she doesn't want to
have sex with u so often....you fight a lot with that person, even from
nothings....but, you can notice it by the way he looks at you, kisses
you...etc.


You think it would not happen but it does. Even after many, many years
of marriage.

When goals for financial security in retirement are suddenly not
accepted by your partner.

When you try to have a conversation and by the answers you get you can
tell the other person never heard what you asked.

When the other person takes showers without you anymore.

When the other person say they have lost confidence in you and your
abilities to run a business.

When the other person tells you that your products are crap and no one
wants them. (safety/security items for kids and adults. Security cameras).

When the other person does not give you important phone messages.

When the other person claims that WE have no money for ink cartridges
for the printer and then suddenly finds a thousand bucks when the kids
need to print homework.

When the other person has to keep going into another room or outside
when taking calls.

When the other person claims that your lazy and get a $5.00 an hour job
instead of a lucrative home based business and web sites.

The other person refuses to help BOTH your situations and refuses to
acknowledge that you have a disabling medical condition.

When the kids migrate to the other person and cant even say good morning
to you or even ask you how your doing.

No one asks for your help even though you are an award winning college
educated person with hope for the future.
When you are no longer asked to coach the kids sporting teams.

When your kids force your mother out of the house saying they aren't
giving up their room or extra bed for their grandmother to use when she
visits.

I don't know. Just guessing these might be some signs.

Hope this helps. Gotta go. Making breakfast and then taking pastries to
my niece's school.

I must close now. Hope to see you all next Sunday.

Love
Olga xx xx


from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: FALLING OUT OF LOVE
by Olga

Thursday, April 03, 2008

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Falling out of love + IMPORTANT NOTE: Please read

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please read

Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Falling out of love. Olga has also sent
me the lyrics to John Denver's song by the same name. This might come
useful since I have not written an essay this week although we have
discussed the topic of love many times before and I did write a few
essays on the subject which you can get by linking to the blog. I do
have some ideas on Sunday's subject and I'll try to write a few notes by
Sunday; please let me know if you want me to send you a copy of these notes.

Now to some IMPORTANT business.

Last Sunday it was brought to my attention by the management of Molly
Malone's that we are using too many stools and chairs from the bar
upstairs and the back rooms. This is directly affecting the clientele
and business of the pub because some people do not stay when they do not
find seating.

The bottom line is that we CANNOT use the stools that are next to the
bar nor the chairs or stools from the back.

Needless to say that this might not create the ideal situation for us,
especially if some have to stand up for the meeting. Ergo: what shall we
do?

I should be most grateful if you could let me have your thoughts about
the subject and maybe any suggestions you could think of, I'm open
minded on the whole thing. I might even spend some time discussing this
on Sunday.

Hear from you, take care
Lawrence
IF YOU DON'T GET AN EMAIL BY FRIDAY PLEASE LET ME KNOW
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
TINA Flat http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/photosphilo/TINAFLAT
**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar);
http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAY_FLAT_mayte_AlmerAVillaDeNJar
Paloma; Marbella (near Elviria);
http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAYFLAT_Paloma_MarbellaNearElviria
*************************************
+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
FALLING OUT OF LOVE (John Denver)
This is what it's like falling out of love
This is the way you lose your very best friend
This is how it feels when it's all over
This is just the way a true love ends
First of all, there's no one you can talk to
When there is, they just don't seem to hear
Words don't seem to matter much, anyway
They can't describe the pain, they can't explain the fear
Then the nights grow cold and hard to live through
Still, you hate to see the morning come
Somehow tomorrow doesn't matter much anymore
The future holds no promise, your life's already done
This is what it's like falling out of love
This is the way you lose your very best friend
This is how it feels when it's all over
This is just the way a true love ends
Then you find your heart no longer flutters
And you no longer look through a lover's eyes
What's to see when the world falls down around you?
You simply can't believe it, but it comes as no surprise
This is what it's like falling out of love
This is the way you lose your very best friend
This is how it feels when it's all over
This is just the way a true love ends
What's this sense of failure? It's such an incredible loss
It's all the things you'll never do
and all the dreams that will never come true
This is what it's like falling out of love
This is the way you lose your very best friend
This is how it feels when it's all over
This is just the way a true love ends
Oh, this is just the way a true love ends
I don't believe a true love ever ends
Copyright respected ©

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Falling out of love
+ IMPORTANT NOTE: Please read

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