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Everything posted by DavidV

  1. I think that attempts to defend volition as purely physical are just as misguided and erroneous as attempts to defend it by quantum randomness. The “mind-body problem” is actually a false dichotomy, as is any attempt to define the mind as either purely physical or entirely non-physical. Consciousness and volition is probably the hardest aspect of philosophy to understand, and the analogy I use to help me understand it is hardware vs. software. Hardware is the framework that the software runs on, and it places certain limits on the speed and complexity of the computation. Software is the conceptual description of the physical process that occurs during computation. Take the simplest example: a light switch. The hardware is the physical on/off switch and the software is our concept of on or off. The brand of switch may vary, but the concept remains the same. The makeup of a computer program is logical commands and raw data, and the makeup of a mind is concepts and sense impressions. We don’t say that software is physical or not-physical, because it is in fact a description of relationships between physical components – and so is the mind. Consciousness is an emergent entity that can’t be reduced to any single idea or brain cell, and is not dependent on any particular “platform” – but it nevertheless defined and limited by the brain it runs on. Thus, computers are limited to a certain operating speed and memory capacity as defined by their hardware, and humans are limited to a certain thinking speed and limited focus defined by their brain.
  2. DavidV

    How does reproduction benefit one's life?

    I find it interesting that perhaps half of the people who believe in an objective morality not based on religion arbitrarily decide that it must be based on the "instinct" to reproduce. The other half (excluding Objectivists, of course) arbitrarly decide that it has to be based on some sort of altruism.
  3. DavidV

    Hey, NeoRand4774

    The deleted posts are not gone forever: http://www.rationalmind.net:666/forum/ contains the lost posts, but you will have to move them over to this board manually. A request: please limit this forum ("Introductions") to...introductions, and discuss philosophy at the "Debate and Discussion" forum. Thanks, The Management
  4. (Blatant self-promotion:) If you want a blog/website at incredibly low rates, check out my hosting company: Collectrix.com If you don't have a domain name already, you can get yourname.objectivismonline.net or yourname.rationalmind.net for no extra charge. Edit: I'm no longer involved with Collectrix.com. However, since I still own the domains, I'll offer the same deal as before.
  5. DavidV

    Hello Objectivists

    We're getting there :-)
  6. DavidV


    Hi Mike, nice to meet ya. What did Yaron Brook say to make you pick up and read a 1000 page book?
  7. DavidV

    Software: Databases

    I just had a test on them. Let's see if I still remember: 1NF: Atomic 2NF: No partial dependencies 3NF: No transitive dependencies BCNF: All candidate attributes are key 4: No multiline correlations 5NF: No lossy joins DKNF: Everythign else * opens book* BNCF = Boyce-Codd Normal Form: Every determinant is a candidate key. 4NF: No multi-valued dependencies occuring in logicaly unrelated atttributes. No unrelates attributes exit. 5NF: All join dependencies are preserved. DKNG: Domain Key Normal Form: Every contraint of the relation is a logical consequences of the defintion of the keys and domains close, but no cigar :-/
  8. DavidV

    Board default of topics shown

    Thank you! :-)
  9. DavidV

    Objectivist Summer Conference 2003

    I'll be there :-) I know one other person going (Gena from OAC) -- she's leaving for an month-long internship at ARI this week -- how's that for a summer?
  10. DavidV

    Board default of topics shown

    Invision is very simple to use and configure -which is why I picked it. I've made you an admin, so you can browse and change the settings yourself. This forum kind of died out for a while, so anyone who is willing to participate and promote the site is welcome to do so. Complete backups are made 3x a week, so don't worry about messing something up.
  11. DavidV

    Software: Databases

    I just took a test in my database design class. I certainly know what you're talking about, but right now I don't feel like thinking about normalization forms and many-many relations :-)
  12. DavidV

    Board default of topics shown

    I can do that. If you want, I can give you full admin access, since I am always looking for voluneers to help with the site.
  13. DavidV

    Features Updates

    The Gallery is back. I'll work on moving the postnuke site to a better server soon.
  14. DavidV

    TIPS -- A good idea?

    When I first heard of it, I was as opposed to TIPS as anyone else, but this article changed my mind. IF we can get rid of the bloated FBI/CIA/Defense Dept bureacracy and replace it with a decentralized, part-citizen watchguard program, I think we would have a much cheaper and more effective security agency. What do you think?
  15. DavidV


    Hi Sir Llama What's ICS? And if I may ask, how did you find out about this forum?
  16. It seems like every single blogger on the internet has an ode of some sort to the downed space shuttle. Not all are positive -- my friend Laurel (http://www.rationalmind.net/economistress) things that it's time to privatize (i.e. close) NASA because it's a waste of taxpayer's money. I think it's important not to confuse the spirit of discovery that allowed man to go to space, and the particular method by which that is being done today. The International Space Station, (whose massive cost overruns may well have caused maintenance failures that caused Columbia to blow up) is a perfect example of the wrong approach to take to space exploration. The ISS is a typical result of multinational bureaucracies trying to make a political statement (under a scientific cover) and I could have told you with near certainty when this plan was just an idea that the true cost of the ISS was wildly underestimated. In an age when space tourism has become practical (as the Russians have shown) and commercial satellites are launched on a regular basis, a government-run space agency should stick to military applications, and leave the space exploration to businessmen. Skeptics will complain that there is not enough research money for a private version of the ISS, but I bet if the government allowed private enterprise to decide which areas research should go to I am sure that the results would be much better, even if a private ISS takes longer to build.
  17. DavidV


    Hi Adrian! Check out the position's I've outlined here. I don't urgently need any more features (unless you want suggest some) -- but the website certainly needs more people, so I'm looking with all the help I can get with promoting it. In case you have any ideas, I'm not satisfied with the hosting solution . The website is running on my own desktop, which seems to be fine as far as acces is concerned, but it's running on port 8080 in apache because WinXP IIS will only support up to 10 people at a time. This means that the website has to run withing a frame to prevent people from seeing "http://www.rationalmind.net:8080/forum/index.php?act=Post&CODE=02&f=9&t=23" as the real URL. I would get rid of IIS, but I also host several sites in ASP and my homepage in .Net, so I can't really switch everything to Apache. Ideas? Or do you think it's fine the way it is?
  18. DavidV

    Living Among the Dead

    I've been meaing to read more Mises myself. I got into his "Human Action" a bit and it's great.
  19. (this is in reply to http://bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=15206) Greetings, Far be it from me to attack an argument for a war with Iraq, but your piece did not use the terms "theory," “evidence," and most importantly, "belief" properly. The proper approach to determining facts, whether it is the theory of evolution or Saddam's possession of WMD’s is to apply the scientific process in order to reach conclusions -- not relying on "faith" or "refusing to believe" something. In general, the proper method of reaching conclusions is by induction -- making observations about a large number of instances (concrete examples) and then forming a hypothesis (abstract idea) based on those observations. Based on the hypothesis, we make predictions about what the concretes should be, and once again apply that hypothesis to numerous concretes. If the predictions hold, one formulates a theory, if not, one tries another hypothesis. Given enough correct hypotheses, one forms a scientific model, and if the model is supported by a significant body of evidence, one forms a scientific theory. Why do I bring this up? Well, the fact is that the great majority of people do not understand how this process works, and do not apply it to the various junk-science out there today. Take the common phrase regarding evolution: "it's only a theory." Well, so are the facts that the earth is round, revolves around the sun, and that volcanoes are not caused by angry gods. Like all knowledge, these facts are conclusions reached by forming conclusions (theories) based on observations. The distinction between facts and theories is important to recognize. As Stephen J. Gould explains: "facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them." This fact has important implications for some of the "pseudo-sciences" out there, like creationism and environmentalism. The difference between these pseudo-scientists and real scientists is that they pervert the scientific method by rejecting the need for evidence. No argument will sway their position because their beliefs rest on faith, not evidence. For creationists, the Bible is the absolute authority, and all scientific evidence to contrary is rejected or ignored. For environmentalists, their interpretation of what is bad for man (technology) is an absolute -- ignoring that it is in fact often the lack thereof that causes more suffering. Because no amount of evidence will convince someone who holds his beliefs on faith, we can reject their claims as soundly (and on the same basis) as the flat-earthers. Please consider this next time you say “It’s only a theory!” Sincerely, --David Veksler
  20. DavidV

    Features Updates

    The forum's URL is: http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/
  21. DavidV

    Debate on Iraq

    The Aggie Objectivist club organized a debate on Iraq last week, and the news story on the front page of the school paper the next day was somewhat interesting:
  22. DavidV

    Features Updates

    I'm working on setting up caching using jpcache to speed up the page load. I installed it at http://ObjectivismOnline.com/index2.php though I'm not sure how well it works yet. This would probably be useful when the site is under heavy load even if I don't run it by default.
  23. DavidV

    Features Updates

    Feb 03: Added 70 quotes to the homepage. For full list of 300 go here.
  24. Since I started an Objectivism Club at my university a year ago with some fellow students, our club has been very active in promoting Ayn Rand's ideas in campus and off. In the process of hosting speakers, coming up with "lesson plans" for meetings, writing presentations and designing many, many fliers, I¡¦ve found it a challenge to effectively communicate with like-minded individual and other Objectivist campus clubs. The Ayn Rand Institute has been very helpful with material support, speakers, and literature, but without a peer-based website, it cannot really form an online community for college students like me. I believe that a new a new site oriented specifically towards university students and campus Objectivist clubs could be very helpful in increasing communication among rational students, sharing materials, encouraging writing, sharing strategies and success stories, and facilitating active discussion in philosophy to increase student¡¦s interest in Objectivism. The website will be dynamic and multi-user, allowing members, rather than a single webmaster to manage the site, so that each day will bring new content. There are a number of primary features that I have in mind: A discussion forum with a variety of categories of interest to casual and in-depth students of Objectivist. A section to allow the submission of essays and editorials for constructive criticism by peers. I believe that writing about your ideas is the most effective way to learn to communicate them effectively, and this website will provide a forum for beginning writers to present their work while they build up their skill and confidence. A "propaganda" section to share fliers, lesson plans, meeting agendas and ideas, and other promotional materials. Photo albums of meetings, speeches, debates, etc (general and per club) A "swap" section, for buying and selling used books, tapes, videos and other materials that may be hard to find or expensive to get new. A live chat, perhaps featuring scheduled chats with prominent Objectivists, or just pre-arranged topics. Hosted websites¡V free hosting of club pages with templates provided for keeping documents, calendars, and membership lists and generally making professional-looking sites. An "objectivists near you" section to find whether other like-minded students go to your university (and perhaps a personals section at some later date.) The website will be designed with one of the popular open-source content-management systems, probably written in php/mysql. The name is still in the air -- newintellectual.net is just a working title. I believe that there will definitely arise a need for such a site as Objectivism grows in popularity (if we intent to change direction of academia 180%), and I¡¦d rather create this website too early rather than too late.