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Doug Morris

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Everything posted by Doug Morris

  1. Doug Morris

    On Tesla and Direct Sales

    Left-wingers foist that bromide too.
  2. Doug Morris

    Do we have a "primitive mind"?

    If I feel a prompting to eat more sweets when I've already had as much as I should, or a prompting to make a pass at a sexy looking stranger, I need to let my reason be the final arbiter of what I actually do I should be able to make a good decision without spending a long time thinking about it. This is true whether the prompting is a natural reaction to the physical pleasure available from eating sweets and having sex, or the result of some past irrationality of which I have been guilty, or a product of some primitive remnant in my brain. On the other hand, if a primitive remnant in my brain enhances my pleasure from eating what I should or from the sex in a good romantic relationship, I can enjoy the benefit, and don't necessarily have to know exactly where each part of the pleasure is coming from. As far as the blank slate metaphor goes, would it help any to think of a slate that changes color, and that sometimes is harder to write on than others?
  3. Doug Morris


    Can you elaborate? For example, to what extent is this based on what happened during the French and Indian war?
  4. Doug Morris

    The Transporter Problem

    A science fiction story with a take on making a copy of a person is James H. Schmitz's The Telzey Toy, also published under the title Ti's Toys. (It is included in an anthology titled The Telzey Toy.)
  5. Boydstun, It doesn't have to be all humans, it just has to be enough to get all governments working properly.
  6. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    I'm getting tired of this. I see at least some repetition in it.
  7. In a free market this applies to families, not whole societies.
  8. Doug Morris

    The Transporter Problem

    The 1995 science fiction story Think Like a Dinosaur by James Patrick Kelly describes a different process of transporting (called migration). The original body remains intact when the signal is sent. If something goes wrong, the process can be repeated. Once it is clear that the new body has been successfully created, it is time to "balance the equation" by destroying the old body. A flunky presses a button to send "a killing pulse of ionizing radiation through the cerebral cortex of the migrator's duplicated, and therefore unnecessary, body. No brain, no pain; death followed within seconds." The migrator is fully aware that this will happen and can back out at any time, right up until the moment the signal is created.
  9. Doug Morris

    The Transporter Problem

    Another (classic this time) Star Trek episode that might provide food for thought for this discussion: Kirk and some other crew members are on a planet. Kirk is beamed back, but there's an issue with the transporter, so they hold off on beaming back the rest. After everyone's left the transporter room, another Kirk materializes, with a strange look on his face. It turns out that Kirk's personality and character have been divided into two parts, one in each copy. (Whether this actually makes sense, and whether the parts as presented in the episode make sense, might be a subject for a separate thread.) The first Kirk to materialize turns out to be weak and indecisive. The second one is aggressive and out of control. He assaults a female crew member, who fortunately escapes without serious harm. Eventually they get both Kirks to the transporter and use it to reintegrate the two into the original Kirk. It is quickly clear that it worked; the difference between him and either partial one is plain from their behavior. His first act is to order them to beam up the other crew members (now that the problem is fixed).
  10. Boydstun, Do we have to be so pessimistic about nuclear war? When Ayn Rand's ideas are understood, accepted, and implemented worldwide, won't that make it extremely unlikely that any nation will make and use nuclear weapons? Would nuclear war completely wipe out the human race, or would it completely wipe out a majority of its individual members at the time and be a terrible setback for the human race, but leave some people alive to find a way to survive and then start rebuilding?
  11. Doug Morris

    The Transporter Problem

    FWIW, this happened on Star Trek, the Next Generation, and the time span was considerably more than a single year. They found a place where two people had been stranded long ago and had put themselves into the transporter, in effect being indefinitely in the middle of being transported. Presumably the hope was that someone would come along to complete the transportation and rescue them. One of the signals had deteriorated over time and the person could not be brought back. The other could be. It was Scotty from classic Star Trek.
  12. Doug Morris

    The Transporter Problem

    Perhaps we will be better able to address these questions once we have a better understanding of exactly how the brain works and exactly how it gives rise to the mind and the FPE.
  13. Doug Morris

    The Transporter Problem

    Suppose you had the opportunity to have a complete backup copy of your mind and memory stored on a computer, with the understanding that when you died, the backup would be activated in a computerized body . It would have everything you had mentally, emotionally, and morally and would remember being you. Would you consider this worth doing or would you consider it pointless?
  14. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Most people who are led by emotions not reason still have free will; they just don't make proper use of it. If a low IQ, low empathy person thinks rape is OK, it is still very wrong. If there are so many such people that it becomes impossible to enforce laws against rape, we have a very serious problem, and a lot of bad things will happen. It might not be possible to have a viable society in that case, especially if they think other aggressions are OK too. I understand there are some pathological circles in which a guy gains prestige and status by raping. I'm sure this is more cultural than anything else. Such a person still has the power to think things through and realize it's wrong. Such people do not dominate society. Fortunately men with similar attitudes and practices who have achieved positions of power are now being weeded out. Is any data available on the IQ's of such men? Some of them have been very economically productive, but weeding them out does not seem to be endangering our society. How many people are there anywhere who consider rape to be OK? Letting reason have the final say in what we do does not mean abstaining from sexual intercourse. It does not mean treating any sex or race as less than human. It probably does not even mean totally abstaining from fast food. It certainly does not mean forcing anyone else to do any of these things. The reason Ayn Rand's solution has yet to materialize is that it can only do so when a lot of people make fundamental changes to their thinking, and that takes a lot of time.
  15. Doug Morris

    Metaphysical status of First Person Experience

    Here is a question for those worried about the transporter: If you go to sleep, or lose consciousness some other way, and then regain consciousness, is that the same consciousness? Or did the previous consciousness end and a new one arise using the same wherewithal?
  16. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    If there are "non-minor differences in characteristics that aren't just superficial" among races in some statistical sense, there is still even greater individual variation, and it is still essential to think of people and treat them as individuals. None of this shakes the moral foundation of Objectivism as it applies to people with free will. People without free will are insane or severely mentally retarded and are a rare special case. People have natural incentives to do things like eating, drinking water, staying warm, and having sex. As long as we have free will, we can give reason the final word on what we do, although a lot of people fail to do this. If there are any natural incentives to be tribal, the same applies.
  17. The light hitting your eyes gives you an image that looks like a 3D object. That is on the level of perception and is true. Whether it really is a 3D object is on the level of interpretation, and there it is possible to make errors. This is not really different from other cases that have been used to attack the senses, such as a stick partially in water looking bent.
  18. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Reidy sent me a message saying he thought it was Foundations of Morality by Henry Hazlitt. My best guess is he's right. I apologize for any confusion.
  19. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    I once looked at, but did not read, a book on philosophy (by Friedrich Hayek, I think - there are at least two such books). I looked up what he said about Ayn Rand. He mentioned her once, as the only exception he knew of to a general statement he was making about philosophers, that egoists are psychological egoists and altruists are ethical altruists.
  20. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    The April, 2018 issue of National Geographic has articles on race that may be helpful. In particular, the genetic differences within sub-Saharan Africa are greater than the genetic differences within a group that includes some people in eastern Africa and all of the people that left sub-Saharan Africa.
  21. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Ayn Rand did not claim the opposite. She said that human consciousness is volitional and that reason is not automatic and requires effort. Anyone who does not put forth much mental effort will be guided by emotions and/or the path of least resistance. I'm skeptical of the notion that there is anyone who is truly unable to do this except for the mentally retarded, or at least some of them. As I said, I'm skeptical. If it's true that the average person is unable to engage in abstract thought to the extent required to form and sustain a truly free society., we'd better hope that they'll at least be willing to go along when there is enough of a consensus among the more able thinkers. If even that isn't true, we may be screwed, but I'm not worried. To what extent were they pandering to the masses, and to what extent did they truly believe in some sort of God? My understanding is that at least some of them were deists, which is a halfway house on the road from traditional religion to unbelief. This is vague. It reminds me of someone I saw posting on a liberal blog who said we are not "totally free" because we are not free to rape, rob, and murder. Can you clarify?
  22. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    What, exactly, do you mean by individual liberties being absolutes and who is saying that they necessarily are in every instance? If I possess a nuclear weapon, there might be a mistake or accident involving it, or vandals might break in and mess with it without knowing what they are doing, or someone sick, malicious, and suicidal might break in and get at it. If it were an ordinary gun, the potential for harm from these possibilities would not be enough to make me guilty of a physical aggression. With a nuke, the potential for harm would be much greater. Your hypothetical rich person might not be committing a physical aggression, depending on how big the nuke was, how far his property extended from it in all directions, and how well he warned people that his property was dangerous.
  23. Doug Morris

    What is the relationship between Christianity and altruism?

    I took a peek at the Wikipedia article on the Sermon on the Mount, and one thing that struck me was "Together, the Beatitudes present a new set of ideals that focus on love and humility rather than force and exaction; ". So not relying on force would be a point in common between this sermon and Objectivism. Of course the alternative presented is omitting reason and trade, and in that respect is severely lacking. If we want to analyze the relationship between Christianity and altruism in depth, we probably need to distinguish among what's actually in the Bible, what interpretations have been added to it, and what altruism from other sources has been passed down.
  24. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    If I acquire a nuclear weapon I am seriously endangering my neighbors and their property, to such an extent that I don't really have a right to do it. It makes no difference if I paid good money for the nuke and am keeping it on my own property. For further clarification, if I own a gun, this does not give me the right to use it in any way I see fit. If I do something on my land that causes, or is likely to cause, harm on adjoining property, I am violating the rights of the owner of that property.
  25. Doug Morris

    What are the basic emotions?

    A long time ago I was seeing an Objectivist psychotherapist. He was talking about how, in introspecting for psychotherapeutic purposes, you need to be specific about what you are feeling. It is certainly not enough to say you are upset. It is not even enough to say you are mad, because that could mean either anger or hostility. He called hostility a neurotic counterpart to anger and said it is a combination of emotions. I don't recall him listing them.