Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2013 November 2

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November 2[edit]

Are there any atheists that loves religion[edit]

Are there any atheists that loves religion. I said "loves religion" not "believe in religion". Like for example loves the rituals, the structure, the politics but not actually believes in it. 220.239.51.150 (talk) 00:34, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

This chap (one Sanderson Jones - no article as yet) from today's BBC website seems to fit the definition, and I'm sure he's not alone. Tevildo (talk) 00:52, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans created The Sunday Assembly, for which we do have an article. Mitch Ames (talk) 08:14, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Redirect has been created. Pippa Evans already has an article. Tevildo (talk) 13:22, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, me...Roman Catholic...love the link to the Roman Empire...they still wear the costumes on Sunday and my Parents were still speaking Latin in the 1960s, incense, Gregorian Chant, Confession...can't help thinking that the prods have thrown out all they good stuff, while keeping the stupid stuff like the Bible and God. Tommy Pinball (talk) 01:16, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
How can you be a Roman Catholic and also an atheist? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 01:20, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Hello....they baptize you at birth, You don't have a choice. I am Roman Catholic....but have Pagan beliefs. It is the same with atheists. You don't have to believe even if you are technically a part of the church from birth.--Mark Miller (talk) 01:53, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
You get baptized, have first communion, and confirmed while a kid...and discriminated against by WASPs while an adult. Tommy Pinball (talk) 01:27, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
I am sure I have made it clear before I am Catholic, if not Roman, as well as an atheist. I enjoy taking my elder nephew to mass, and pretty much agree totally with Tommy. Here's a minute of the Ukranian Catholic liturgy--I can't find one in the Ruthenian recension, but they are pretty much indistinguishable. Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchukμηδείς (talk) 02:21, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Well, I was raised Catholic too, but at age 18 I decided it wasn't what I believed in anymore. I have never since described myself as Catholic, because as far as I'm concerned, I'm not. The RCC may continue to count me as a member, that's their business. But my position is that I long ago ceased to be a member, and that's all that matters to me. So, no, I strongly disagree with Mark Miller's "you don't have a choice". Individuals always have a choice about such matters. To me, a Catholic atheist is a contradiction in terms. Mind you, I'm certainly not an atheist; but I'm not a Catholic either. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 08:24, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
They should probably make up a word for people like you Jack, something like...Protestant. μηδείς (talk) 02:11, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
Not at all. That word denotes (broadly) a member of a Christian church other than the Catholic church. I am not a member of any Christian denomination. I am not a Christian at all in any formal sense, and nobody can gainsay that. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 02:24, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
I suppose it depends on how many theses you have. Someone who rejects Catholicism doesn't usually become an Orthodox Christian thereby. Unless what you are saying is you have defaulted to Judaism? (I have always thought I would be a lapsed Jew if I weren't a lapsed Catholic.) μηδείς (talk) 02:58, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't how many different ways I can say it, but I'll try again: I am not a member of ANY organised religion (or any unorganised or disorganised one, come to that). I am not anti-religious, but I am just not personally involved in any of them. I am happy being a keen observer of religious organisations and their doings, but I draw the line at personal membership. Catholics would no doubt consider me a lapsed Catholic, or a renegade Catholic. Their view seems to be that "once a Catholic, always a Catholic", as if it's the Hotel California of religions ("You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave"). Well, I completely dissociate myself from such a notion. The RCC itself teaches that humans have free will and free choice about everything; I never heard they made an exception in the case of whether one can voluntarily cease to be a member. But too bad if they did. Bottom line: I and I alone decide whether I am a member, and I say I'm not. Please stop trying to put me into boxes of your own devising when I keep telling you that no religious box you could possibly name applies to me. Understood? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 06:14, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
I think one box you could qualify for in your NSA file would be one saying "Last known religious affiliation". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 06:23, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
Given the current unusual situation within the Church, there's an excellent opportunity for Jack to inquire as to his own definitive status with the Church to the respected scholar and retired head of the former Roman Inquisition, Joseph Ratzinger. His address:
His Holiness Benedict XVI, Supreme Pontiff Emeritus
c/o His Holiness, Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City
μηδείς (talk) 22:06, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
Now you're definitely trolling. Or maybe you're insane. Take your pick. I don't give a fuck what my status is according to them. I'm not one of them. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 03:26, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
It's funny to imagine, though: Francis is going through his fan mail and says, "Yo! Benny! This one's for you!" ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:38, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
First, I really hope no editor is taking any of the above too personally and let's please keep in mind that for every contributor here there are hundreds who just read this and may misconstrue some back story or history with the editing team here. That said, this was better hilarity then I've witnessed at Comedy Central Roasts, classic SNL skits (Chris Farley/Gilda Radner/Phil Harman eras), UKs Spittin Image and the best of the DailyShow/ColbertReport, that's not to lessen editors' important points nor editor contributions, just saying we may want to consider a RefDesk meetup and sell tickets as an 'intelligent-satire' team, I can see youtube viral video #1 :-). Market St.⧏ ⧐ Diamond Way 00:23, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
Nobody expects the Roman Inquisition, eh? Least of all Jack--"Making people feel guilty is my supreme ambition in life"--ofOz. μηδείς (talk) 04:00, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
Tommy Pinball needs a catechism refresher course. By Roman Catholic doctrine, he wasn't baptized a "Roman Catholic", he was baptized a Christian. (And by that same dogma, like all Christians, he is subject to the leadership of the pope :). )- Nunh-huh 19:50, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
If I understand correctly what you're saying, the Catholic Church would theoretically divide all of Christendom into two categories: Practicing Catholics, and Lapsed Catholics. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 06:26, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
Me too! I was raised Catholic too and although I don't believe in it, I can appreciate it in the same way as any other religion I don't believe in. It's also difficult to be a medieval historian without having a bit of reverence for religion...well, difficult for me anyway. Adam Bishop (talk) 02:45, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
I suspect that many televangelists don't really believe in God themselves. This would explain how they can do things so at odds with what their religion says God expects of them. They apparently aren't worried about going to Hell, making me think they don't believe in any of it. StuRat (talk) 01:35, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
That's called fraud, not love. μηδείς (talk) 02:21, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Don't be too sure. Televangelists are a lot like salesmen... and the old adage about salesmen is that they not only have to be willing to lie, they have to be willing to believe the lie themselves. Part of that is convincing themselves that whatever they're doing on or off camera is somehow OK. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:40, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
  • If you are interested in a professional writer, check out the works of A. N. Wilson, who's ambiguous over time as to his faith, but very passionate. His books on Paul and Jesus are fascinating. μηδείς (talk) 02:23, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
See http://atheism.about.com/b/2012/12/22/celebrating-a-secular-christmas.htm.
Wavelength (talk) 04:57, 2 November 2013 (UTC)


On the other side of the coin, I suppose, are believers who aren't that fond of religion. That's the attitude I more approve of. Bill Maher once said something very close to "I believe in God. Religion is the bureaucracy between God and Man." (I don't want to mislead anyone about Maher's views; I have some doubts that he'd still say that; but at least he did once.) A more fire-and-brimstoney sort of anti-religionist believer would be Jack Chick, so there are decidedly different approaches that would fit the description, with no way to agree with all of them. --Trovatore (talk) 06:01, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
But there are some sects which do away with all the "bureaucracy". You won't find a Quaker pope or an Amish cathedral, for example. StuRat (talk) 06:05, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, just mix faiths til you get the consistency you want Stu. [I have no doubt the faiths do this too] Shadowjams (talk) 10:26, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Hence the term Mulligan Stu. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:40, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
If you mess up making it the first time, do you get to try again, with no penalty ? StuRat (talk) 04:40, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
Sure, you get any number of Mulligans. You keep trying until you get it right. Unless you croak first. Then you might have to be Born Again. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:58, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
With all the Washington R******s stuff going on, must be careful how one uses the term per 'ethnic slur'. Market St.⧏ ⧐ Diamond Way 00:07, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
What swear word is that ? The best I can come up with is Wikt:ruckus, which isn't exactly something to censor. StuRat (talk) 18:03, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Buddhists are by definition atheists - there is no deity in Buddhism. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 10:40, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Is Buddhism considered a religion? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:36, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
I am quite, quite certain that there are vast numbers of Buddhists who are not atheists, Roger. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 11:45, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
The Buddhism article suggests that Buddhism, or at least some aspects of it, accept or have accepted the notion of supernatural beings, i.e. gods. Also, the countless images of Buddha around the world suggest that Buddha himself has become a de facto god. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:51, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Not really. There are vast numbers of images of the Queen, the US President, Mother Teresa, statues of Robert Burns, Joan of Arc, the list is endless. Just because an image exists does not mean that people regard the person as a god or the subject of worship, and Buddhists do not worship Buddha (nor do Muslims worship Muhammed). This is one of the oft-repeated erroneous claims about Catholics and their holy statues in churches etc. Critics say this breaches the commandment about worshipping graven images. Well, there is no worship going on, period. If people pray to someone, it's not to the statue itself but to the person represented in the statue, who is said to be in Heaven and can intercede on behalf of the faithful. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 19:43, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
The Taliban clearly thought otherwise, when they blasted away those two ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:13, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
We accept the Taliban definition? Itsmejudith (talk) 23:09, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the Taliban view of the world has proven to be especially enlightened and life-affirming, as we have seen. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 00:45, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
Some forms of Buddhism do have beings which appear to be deities: see Dainichi Nyorai. --TammyMoet (talk) 20:10, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
I think there are two different aspects, or two different kinds of "like". On the one hand, there are Cultural Christians like e.g. Richard Dawkins. Dawkins likes the Anglican liturgy, but seems to have limited interest in religion otherwise. On the other hand, there are people who are not religious, but have a deep interest in religion. One example might be Bart D. Ehrman. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 12:00, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
In some nations there must be quite a few people who, while not religious believers themselves, appreciate the role of their national church in their national/ethnic identity and culture. In many Eastern Orthodox (or Oriental Orthodox) nations - from Russia to Armenia to Greece to Serbia - the local Christian church is thought as an important institution that helped preserve national identity and culture (in particular, literacy in the national language) through the periods of Mongol or Ottoman domination. Lots of Poles, too, loved Pope John Paul II and were proud of him (especially in the context of Poland being within the Communist Bloc ambit), even if they may not have been believers themselves. The Jews - if defined in secular terms, simply as "the descendants of the ancient Hebrew-speaking people of Palestine" - would not likely to have been existing today as an identifiable group if not for the continuous existence of the religion of Judaism, and some secular Zionists surely appreciate that. -- Vmenkov (talk) 17:04, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
There is a tradition in England that the person who plays the organ in church is an atheist. There is a reference in a novel by Penelope Lively. Aficionados of church architecture could also be atheist. And as for experts in stained glass windows.... Itsmejudith (talk) 23:03, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
That's bizarre. What do they do if they run out of atheists who know how to play the organ? Hire Christian organists as temporary fill-ins? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 06:28, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

@The OP: Can I use myself as an example? Personally, I am an agnostic (not an atheist), but I like some "Christian music". Futurist110 (talk) 00:27, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

I'd say there are legions of people who are atheists, agnostics, whatever, who are attracted to the lore of religions: their history, their rituals, their panoply. The Catholic Church seems to have a particularly good grasp of what makes a good spectacle (very fitting for a "Roman" organisation). The Papacy in all its aspects is endlessly fascinating for all manner of people, not just Catholics and not even just believers. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 02:20, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, to hear Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum; habemus Papam: Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum Georgium Marium Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Bergoglio qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum live, in Latin (!), on my computer, from Italy, along with much of the civilized world, was the most exciting thing I have witnessed since the birth of my niece. μηδείς (talk) 04:11, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

The Queen and security clearance[edit]

Does the Queen, or any British monarch, have to gain security clearance before they're able to perform their duties as the sovereign. Or is it just assumed that because they're royalty they can be trusted? --82.46.142.98 (talk) 12:53, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

I doubt it, but your thesis of if they assume the queen can be trusted misses the point of a monarchy (constitutional as it may be), the queen would be the embodiment of the nation, in the UK members of the government and military swear to protect (or some similar oath) the queen (or king). Market St.⧏ ⧐ Diamond Way 16:21, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
So the Queen swearing to protect the Queen would seem a bit redundant. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:27, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
'Government' as it were, not all that rule so to speak. Market St.⧏ ⧐ Diamond Way 08:33, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
The Queen swore "to govern the Peoples of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, The Union of South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon, and of (her) Possessions and the other Territories to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to their respective laws and customs". So she would be breaking her Coronation oath if she contravened the Official Secrets Act, but she couldn't be prosecuted because the Queen can't bring a charge against herself. In the event of such a thing occurring, I imagine that either Parliament could decide to curb her right to be informed of government decisions, or that officials would quietly stop sharing secrets with her and otherwise carry on as if nothing had happened in a very British sort of way. Alansplodge (talk) 17:03, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
May she defend our laws. Itsmejudith (talk) 22:55, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
There's also a process issue. People being assessed for clearances are subject to various types of checking, some known to them, some not. The not group can include interviews with people closely connected to the subject. Is anyone closely connected to the Queen going to be spilling their guts to the security people about her (hypothetical) peccadillos? Or about things that, while not being of her own doing, may somehow compromise her security standing? I very much doubt it. The people employed by the royals enjoy an unparalleled degree of trust, and to have them questioned about such matters in the realistic expectation of getting candid responses would be pointless. Hence a process failure. No, they have to wait until such people voluntarily break their trust and publish tell-all books about what really goes on behind closed doors at the Palace. There has been a long string of such disgraceful exposés, starting with her childhood nanny Marion Crawford. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 19:31, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

Might I ask a follow-up question (both to this, and to the "The Queen Is Dead" question we had a few days ago)? Is there anything a new monarch can't do until she (or he) has taken the coronation oath? I'm thinking of the appointment of bishops, and possibly the State Opening of Parliament. Or do all the powers and duties of the office devolve immediately onto the new monarch? Tevildo (talk) 21:43, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

That question isn't as esoteric as it might seem... it's been raised at times in U.S. jurisprudence. For instance, does the president become president on the appropriate date if the oath is delayed? This has happened in some instances for executive and judicial officials. I regret that I can't point to any examples offhand, but I've read about this happening, so I know there's discussion of it. These issues are usually dealt with pragmatically in an intellectually unsatisfying way, which is to say, common sense usually works. But I wouldn't be at all surprised if there's some spirited debates on this topic, some of which might have actually meant something. But that is a very specific question, one that I doubt (no slight intended) the ref desk is equipped to handle. Shadowjams (talk) 22:01, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
We've discussed here before how the winner of the US presidential election becomes president at noon on the following 20 January. Why? Because the US Constitution says so. That happens automatically. The oath is necessary for the president to be able to undertake the office of president. That is, in whatever time gap there may be between noon and whenever he/she swears the oath (normally only a couple of minutes, but it could be longer), he/she IS president but may not carry out any of the functions of president. A null president, if you like. The UK monarchy is not analogous. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 00:39, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
I could not agree more Jack. I would only say that the Constitution requires the president takes the oath, so whether acts taken before the oath but after the inauguration (which has included the Chief Justice administering the oath for a long while) is an unresolved question. Shadowjams (talk) 00:43, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure I follow that last bit. Can you say more about it, Shadowjams? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 02:13, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
I imagine a case where an executive official takes office but for some circumstance delays the oath of office, and then enacts official duties [before taking the oath]. There's a question about whether actions taken before the oath is taken are legitimate. I'm probably simplifying the actual cases somewhat, but that's the general idea of what I was getting at. The oath of office is a Constitutional requirement for some positions, so while it feels like a formality, it has real impact. Shadowjams (talk) 04:25, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
The normal functions of government can go on without anyone holding that office for a few minutes. Technically, they go on that way every time the president sleeps. The importance of the swearing-in ritual is seen in cases where the president dies in office. Typically the VP gets notified and sworn in as soon as possible. In 1963 it was easy, as LBJ was along on the trip. On past occasions, including the deaths of FDR, Harding, McKinley and probably some others, they had to send out a VP search party. But during those time gaps, the government somehow went on without its president. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 05:49, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

Complexity of creation and creator[edit]

Does the creator have to be more complex than the creation? Everything humans have created pales in comparison to the complexity of the human brain. Can we completely understand the functioning of our brains, let alone create something more complex? --119.155.10.191 (talk) 17:48, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

Teleological argument is the most relevant article on this subject. That being said, it's certainly not (logically) necessary for the Creator to be more complex than the creation - Plato's demiurge doesn't have this characteristic. On a purely factual point, the Itanium 9500 processor has 3.2 billion transistors, compared to the human brain's 89 billion neurons - only one order of magnitude away, and, if Moore's Law continues to hold, microprocessors will beat the brain for complexity in about ten years. This doesn't, of course, mean that they'll be capable of the same behaviourial complexity. Tevildo (talk) 18:34, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
We know that very simple rules can result in very complex behaviour - see e.g. Conway's Game of Life and other Cellular Automata, or Fractals. From an information-theoretical point of view, complexity is maximised for completely random sequences. So for reasonable definitions of "complexity", it can grow without a "creator" with a perceived complexity. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 18:54, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
The working of a single transistor is quite simple compared to that of a neuron, and with increasing numbers, the complexity of the interaction between neurons increases with greater magnitude than that of transistors. So complexity doesn't necessarily depend on quantity, correct? Also, wouldn't the LHC be a more complex structure than a microprocessor? --119.155.10.191 (talk) 18:57, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) One should note of course (and I believe Tevildo does) that a single neuron is considerably more complex than a single transistor (which effectively operates as a switch, an amplifier or both), and capable of more sophisticated logical operations. A single neuron can possess both many inputs and many outputs and can dynamically rearrange both of these based on the signals it receives, it can carry out analog computation (to a limited extent) and different neurons can respond in different ways to the same neurotransmitter. I don't believe that a one-to-one correspondence between transistors and neurones operates here. I quote this from a very interesting looking book review from 2000 entitled "How smart is a neuron?"

"From the perspective of Christof Koch’s Biophysics of Computation the situation is quite different. A neuron can no longer be viewed as a single switch; it is more or less analogous to an integrated circuit chip. I write ‘more or less’ because much of a neuron’s behaviour remains under a shroud, making it difficult to discern what a system of 10 to 100 billion real neurons, as described in this book, might or might not be able to do."

Equisetum (talk | contributions) 19:03, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, yes. I would be reluctant to define a quantative metric of "complexity", and I accept that the human brain is capable of more - advanced? meaningful? - operations than a microprocessor. However, the number of components in the human brain is comparable with the number of components in a modern microprocessor, and I wanted to make that point to address the OP's "pales in comparison". Tevildo (talk) 21:03, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
The number of synapses in the human brain is on the order of 1014, several orders of magnitude larger than the number of transistors in any existing computer. However, computers operate millions of times faster than synapses, so the total computational power is more nearly equivalent. Looie496 (talk) 14:50, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
How do you measure the computational power of the brain? And since a neuron has a greater number of possible states than a transistor, despite being slower, is its computational power greater than a transistor's? --175.110.221.163 (talk) 19:00, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
Who created the concepts of "complexity" and "not"? Wnt (talk) 19:19, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
We're getting ahead of ourselves. As Sir Arthur Eddington reminded us, We used to think that if we knew one, we knew two, because one and one are two. We are finding that we must learn a great deal more about 'and'. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 19:49, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

The limits come from the Second law of thermodynamics. The complex system that you want to create has a certain formal description. If you already know this description, then there is no problem with creating it, as the information is already exists in your brain or in the memory of your PC in a classical way. This means that in a quantum mechanical description, the information is copied a large number of times in the environment, the act of creating the system amounts to shifting information around that was already there.

In contrast, if you don't know the description of the system and you only know some of its desired properties, then creating the system using e.g. a genetic algorithm will result in a local entropy drop. This requires out of equilibrium conditions where the entropy of the environment can rise by a larger amount. At the microscopic level, no information is created out of nothing (this follows from unitary time evolution). The genetic algorithm will have to test a large number of designs and it will have to select one that works well. If you consider the information generated inside the computer, then you'll see that the computer will have to dump a large number of information about the designs that are not good enough that were replaced by better designs.

Throwing away information from your computer memory results in an entropy rise. Suppose you have one bit that can be 0 or 1 and you have a process that resets it to zero regardless of whether it was 0 or 1, then that bit of information will have to end up in the environment (because at the microscopic level information does not get lost; the laws of physics forbid you from being able to evolve two different initial states to the same final state). Being able to operate a computer thus requires it to be in a universe that is not in thermal equilibrium as the entropy has to increase during its operations. The information about the design ultimately comes from the universe itself, its entropy was increased by an extra amount due to the computations that led to the design being generated. Count Iblis (talk) 20:36, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

Plato's politics[edit]

I've read that Plato was no friend of democracy and admired the Spartan system of government. What exactly were his politics about? — Melab±1 00:13, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

"The Republic" is Plato's main work on the subject. He regarded enlightened dictatorship as the best form of government, assuming that the dictator was perfectly acquainted with the Form of Good, and (specifically) regarded the government of Sparta (timocracy) as superior to the Athenian democracy which he lived under. See also Philosopher king. Tevildo (talk) 00:21, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
Karl Popper claims that Plato was actually more aristocratically inclined and distrustful of democracy than Socrates (see The Open Society and Its Enemies)... AnonMoos (talk) 00:27, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
The Republic denies the vast majority of citizens any political power; the reason for this is clear: Expertise in political matters is like any other expertise in it that it only comes through development of knowledge. You shouldn't go to a cobbler when you need medical care, and you shouldn't go to a physician when you need your shoes fixed. Just so, you shouldn't go to a politician when you need crops farmed, and you shouldn't go to a farmer when you need political work done. An expert in any field requires specialist training in that field (or some rare virtuosity), and politics is no different, according to Plato. The Laws is a later and larger work. There's not much consensus on exactly how to interpret many aspects of The Laws (and most believe that it is incomplete). It is clear however that political power is to be based to some extent on expertise. But it's also clear that Plato allows some democratic institutions, and that this change from the Republic is connected to Plato's view stated in the Laws that the constitution of state will have to make compromises due to practical necessities.
Four articles:
  • Kraut, Richard, "Socrates and Democracy" in Fine, Gail (ed.), Plato 2: Ethics, Politics, Religion and the Soul (Oxford University Press, 1999).
  • Bobonich, Christopher, "Plato's Politics" in Fine, Gail (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Plato (Oxford University Press, 2010).
  • Meyer, Susan, "Plato on the Law" in Benson, Hugh (ed.), "A Companion to Plato" (Blackwell Publishing, 2006).
  • Saunders, Trevor, "Plato's Later Political Thought" in Kraut, Richard (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Plato (Cambridge University Press, 1992).
A book:
  • Klosko, George, The Development of Plato's Political Theory, Second Edition (Oxford University Press, 2006).
You might be most interested in reading C.C.W. Taylor's "Plato's Totalitarianism" however. This is in Polis volume 5 (1986), 4–29, and also in the Fine 1999 collection. This is just about Plato's Republic and whether and in what way Plato's ideal state is a totalitarian one. Taylor's conclusion: Plato's ideal state is totalitarian, but a paternalist one, not an "extreme totalitarianism" (as Popper says) that seeks only to bolster the state's (or the rulers') power, but rather is one that resorts to totalitarianism as a form of humanitarianism, because the masses are so ignorant of virtue that without rulers to direct their lives they become slaves to their own base desires. --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 08:35, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

the longest walk in Keds[edit]

Resolved

Tried to but can't find who the woman was who walked a huge distance along a trail or across the country in America in the early 1900s possibly? She is a role model for light weight travel & wore Keds. Came across the article ages ago but can't find it & forget her name. Manytexts (talk) 01:16, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

PS after describing light weight travel to you, I entered "ultra light" & found her here: Grandma Gatewood a pioneer in ultra light hiking. Manytexts (talk) 01:19, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

Identification in Simultaenous Equation Models[edit]

I realise this question is Mathsy, but Economics is more of a Humanities and I didn't get a very good answer there so asking it here.

Let's say we have a SEM written in the form , where Y is a row vector of endogenous variables (M x 1), is a MxM matrix of coefficients, X is a row vector of exogenous variables (K x 1) and is a K x K matrix of coefficients ( and are normalized so that the diagonal is 1 and both are subject to exclusion restrictions) and is a row vector of errors which is M x 1. How do you rewrite this form of the equation to make use of the rank and order conditions? 211.31.25.66 (talk) 01:21, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

Y is a row vector (1 x M) and X is a row vector (1 x K). (M x 1) is a column vector or a M by 1 matrix.
Sleigh (talk) 10:35, 4 November 2013 (UTC)