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About donnywithana

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  1. I'm the dude playing the guitar. The girl getting eaten is my girlfriend Sara. And because it's hilarious, there's one of my friend Jamael playing cricket and one of my friend Matt basking in the glory of a 120 cup beer pong game.
  2. I'm not talking about man, I'm talking about the universe. Now reevaluate your stance. No, I can't, because they don't. They presuppose cognitive capacity and curiosity, which are not associated with volition. When a computer requires the input of parameters in order to proceed with a process, does that presuppose that its actions aren't automatic? Proof is nothing more than enough information to make a new concept fit into the hierarchy of one's knowledge without creating a contradiction that is immediately obvious the the reciever. A computer can give a null value when a
  3. A mouse can learn where a piece of cheese is in a maze, and will remember the correct way to get there. Self programming. Consciousness provides a wildly complex interface for making choices, but I still don't think it's divorced from the physical processes being undergone in your brain. Because those processes must be caused, then either there is no free will, or some external agent that is not bound to physical law is acting upon the brain to influence it. To bring order to the apparent chaos of my argument: Free Will Hypothesis: A given closed system starting from a specific beg
  4. Mice are self programming, but not volitional. Mice can make choices between alternative actions as well. These are not volitional processes (unless you want to change the meaning of volition and give animals rights). That which is unique to humans concerns the complex cognitive interface that manifests itself as a consciousness. This interface allows humans to integrate sensory information into their stores of knowledge in ways that are much more advanced than ever before. Looking at the way that life comes about, it seems difficult to imagine that DNA instructions for cellular arran
  5. The log hemispheres example shows that specific attributes of inputs can be utilized by a system in exactly the way that the system was designed. Neurons can not decide whether or not they want to fire. The logs can not decide whether or not they want to roll. Brains function in exactly the way they are designed to in every situation. Can we all agree whether or not the mind is a symptom of neurological activity? If you don't accept that your thought processes are the results of cerebral action, then I recommend that you review your knowledge of the human mind before trying to cont
  6. Computers can do that. Are you sure that the brain doesn't function the same way? Is your brain capable of absolute imagination? If so, can you tell me what radio light looks like? How about spacetime? Can you see that for what it actually is without resorting to inadequate approximations? Can you imagine infinity? How does he choose to do these things? Is the mind seperate from the brain? Does the brain follow solely cause-effect relationships (Newton's second law: an actor can only produce one specific consequence)? Is the "volitional" process a cerebral action itself
  7. Ok, well it's pretty clear when you have people saying that it would be possible for a computer to possess free will, it's an argument of semantics. A computer must react to a given input in one specific way. Thus, it does not have free will. If you agree that the brain operates as a computer does, then you are agreeing that humans also don't possess free will. I don't know how to put it any simpler than that. As for the purpose of life, why does life have to have a purpose? The only thing that happens when you claim that life has a purpose is that you feel empowered. Great, enjoy it.
  8. The sighs are from people continually using the "if we don't have free will, how can I act?" argument no matter how many times I say that actions have nothing to do with it. Hal raised a good point though, in critiquing the use of the word "choice." I will define: Choice: Electing to pursue a course of action. Humans clearly possess the ability to choose. Place a cup in front of an ant. It will observe the obstruction, and then attempt to determine the best way to get around it. When the ant chooses a course of action, it will not be an act of free will. It will be an act of neuro
  9. Ouch, you're making me refer to Kant, and I hate doing that. Kant said that reason must assume freedom as a condition of its existence in order to act, even if freedom was not actually a fact of its existence. An ape does not have free will, but it also does not know that it does not have free will and could not conceive of not having it, no matter what level of intelligence it attained. Namely, man.
  10. I lent out my copy of The Virtue of Selfishness to one of my friends. I'll see if I can find the exact part, but I think it was in the first chapter, called The Objectivist Ethics. If anyone else knows the part I'm talking about, that would be swell. Just to clarify in case I was unclear, I'm pretty sure she was saying that humans are the only species that can willfully act towards their own species' destruction. Does that make more sense?
  11. I believe Rand herself talked about how humans are the only creatures that can act in a self destructive manner, or in other words, only humans are capable of doing "bad." If an animal dies for a "good" reason, it's not a sacrifice according to my definition of the word. That's a much better definition, thanks! It now reads:  “Good” is whatever helps an organism ensure the propagation of its genome Does that make better sense? Yea, I was struggling with that. The thing is, my purpose in doing this is to question the ideas of world policing and national authority. If I
  12. A working thesis: Groups are created by individuals to create and protect freedoms and rights through agreements. I was curious to see if the viewpoints I put forth would lead to objections from this forum, because the opinions expressed are somewhat at odds with Rand's derivation of rights and government, although I don't disagree with her logic. I just think that rights and governments are social constructs. This relates to anarchy in the sense that I'm pointing out an absense of an absolute authority. Also, I'm insisting that the implicit group of "all humans" is a product of empat
  13. This is an outline to an essay I'm working on. I'd appreciate any discussion that you all could provide, because I know a lot of you are going to have some problems with the terms I use, and I want to make sure that everything is adequately defined. Apparently a • is a first level bullet, a o is a second level bullet, a  is a third level bullet, and then they all repeat. I know that's going to be very confusing, but hopefully it'll be intelligible. Thanks to anyone willing to take the time to look through all of it! --------------------------------- Introduction • Definition an
  14. Yup. Free Will empowers people, and that's why no one wants to question it. If there's no free will, then life is pointless, right? But the thing that no one wants to admit is that life IS pointless. Look around! Life is a phenomenon! That's not to say that you should kill yourself, but it's really just the way things are! Now, that's depressing, yes, so if you want to not believe in it, you can say that, but don't act like I'm an idiot for pointing out the simple fact of determinism in nature. However, to address the idea of external forces playing with us: they don't have free will
  15. Hmm... I'll give it a shot... Effects have causes: Objects at rest stay at rest unless acted upon by an unbalanced force (Newton's First Law). Effects are determined by the cause: An object will move in the direction the unbalanced force pushed it (Newton's Second Law). The human brain is a part of the nervous system, and is very complex. Here's a basic summary of how it works.. Nervous systems are composed of neurons, which react to stimuli. Neural networks are programmed to react to specific stimuli in specific ways. A human nervous system is not magical, it can be synthesiz
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