MrLovingKindness

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Dangers of steelmanning / principle of charity

"The dole was there because it made the emperor more popular" and that is the same reason it exists today. Charitable social policies exist primarily to buy votes. Take Head Start as one of many, many examples of failed programs: http://nypost.com/2010/01/28/head-start-a-tragic-waste-of-money/. $166 billion wasted on a program that is demonstrably no help. It seems to be a dismal failure, but continues to exist, because it sounds good and gets votes. The reason why there are so many seemingly failed government programs, is because those programs that are still around are "successful" in the sense that they bought votes for their political proponents. It is like evolutionary biology. Programs that buy votes for politicians "survive", because politicians who support those programs get voted into office. Programs that don't buy votes for politicians don't survive, because there is no one in office to support them.

Zombies! Zombies?

The following paragraph from the article is not a sound argument against epiphenomenalism.

If you can close your eyes, and sense yourself sensing—if you can be aware of yourself being aware, and think "I am aware that I am aware"—and say out loud, "I am aware that I am aware"—then your consciousness is not without effect on your internal narrative, or your moving lips.

The above argument is conflating a you, some kind of agent which can cause thinking, moving lips, etc. with consciousness which does not necessarily have any agency. As I understand it, modern neurological research has some pretty convincing evidence that there is no you controlling the show.

If consciousness has no agency, then that is consistent with epiphenomenalism. Perhaps, substituting “consciousness” for “you” where you” is either stated or implied will make it clearer.

If consciousness can close eyes, and consciousness can sense consciousness sensing—if consciousness can be aware of consciousness being aware, and conscious can think "I am aware that I am aware"—and consciousness can say out loud, "I am aware that I am aware"—then consciousness is not without effect on internal narrative, or moving lips.

The above argument simply asserts if consciousness can cause thinking or saying, then it affects the physical world, which is a tautology, because thinking and saying are physical phenomena. In order to provide argue against epiphenomenalism, you would have to show that consciousness can cause thinking or saying.