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Objectivism Online Forum


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    New York City (Manhattan)
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    Geology (science), music, philosophy, soccer.

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    Colgate University

NewYorkRoark's Achievements


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  1. As I was never satisfied with Objectivism's explanation of consciousness and free will, I've been looking at a bunch of alternative explanations. One that I've found quite intriguing is re-entrant mapping as an explanation for consciousness and the perception of free will. Re-entrant mapping is the existence of neurons that function as observers of other neurons firing. Essentially, these neurons just watch other neurons work and are responsible for the perception of self-awareness - so the theory goes. If you pick up the most recent issue of The Economist, there is a "Survey of the Brain" that I think is really interesting. I can't recall everything in the article, but one interesting observation is that awareness of our own actions (like moving a finger) occurs something like 3 mili-seconds after the brain tells the finger to move, which has pretty far-reaching implications. Anyways, I'm clearly not an expert on this, but try and pick up a copy and read it, I'd be interested in your thoughts.
  2. Are there growth stages / development or are we born absolutely volitional?
  3. This may already be covered in another topic, but I conducted a search and found none... so... I have some questions: Are children volitional? I'd like to see your answers and ask more questions based on those answers. I am particularly interested in neural plasticity as it relates to development, responsibility and future success.
  4. This company may have some promising technology: Wentworth Energy. I'm pretty sure they're trying to raise a bunch of capital right now.
  5. I'm currently in Springdale, Utah visiting Zion Canyon (which I highly recommend) and I attempted the Angel's Landing hike which is built upon a quarter-mile knife's edge. All of a sudden I looked down and I felt myself starting to lose control of my physical movement - so I turned around. I was wondering: 1. Is a fear of heights a rational fear? I usually have this fear that I will either slip or lose my balance and the worse the fear becomes, the more probable a loss of balance feels. 2. If it is irrational, how do you overcome it? Thanks.
  6. I feel the same way - I guess I incorrectly addressed my question. My point is that the military should hold itself to far better standards than terrorists and the manner in which they released the images of Zarqawi to the press, in my opinion, lacked tact. It's not a big deal, but our international reputation has been damaged enough.
  7. Do you object to televised beheadings or video footage of soldiers bodies being dragged through the streets of Fallujah?
  8. I don't think enough is known about the personalities of potential Zarqawi replacements to make any kind of judgment as to the benefit (or lack thereof) of his death. However, one minor detail that I found irresponsible was the manner in which images of his body were presented to the media. The U.S. government has strongly objected to images of dead U.S. soldiers and yet we present an enlarged image of Zarqawi's head sitting in his own blood, outlined in a thick, brass picture frame. I realize the soldiers deserve more respect than Zarqawi (who may deserve no respect at all) and that proving his death occured was completely necessary, but I wish we could have done it with a little more tact.
  9. Chimps use tools to accomplish complicated tasks and have been documented murdering other chimpanzees for the sake of social revenge. If you get a chance, it's actually amazing footage. For some reason or another, one of the chimps was cast out of the social group and one day, the other chimps got together and coordinated an ambush against the outcast - they destroyed him - it was simply murder. Likewise, dolphins have shown that they recognize individuals within the pod and may have the ability to communicate on a much more evolved basis. I'm not saying that you shouldn't eat meat. I'm saying that there is a hierarchy of intelligence within the animal kingdom (we are on top) and that it is probably less moral to eat dolphin meat than it is to eat cattle meat. Regarding communication, just because you can't understand the language of an animal, doesn't mean it doesn't have the ability to communicate nor does it mean it lacks the proper facilities to posess rights. By that logic, you can eat a Mandarin-speaking Chinese man and it would be morally sound - because he would have a problem communicating that fact to you. If you're going to say he would be able to move in a way that would make it apparent that he was objecting - so could any animal. I never said anything about not eating cattle. I just asked whether or not animals had different degrees of intelligence / reasoning ability. I assert that they do (and I can provide scientific evidence (although I know you don't trust scientific evidence if it conflicts with your philosophical conclusions)) and that those degrees (depending on what the degrees measure) imply some kind of moral spectrum.
  10. Inspector, Has it been proven that there is no animal besides a human being that - to a degree - can reason / feel emotion / feel pain? Is it just humans that have such qualities? I'm just curious because from what studies I have read, there ARE animals that have certain degrees of these "human" qualities. If that's not the case, I'd like to see the evidence.
  11. Hey Steven, I'm not an Objectivist and I'm not a Christian. What I would tell you is to make sure you procede with caution. Faith in God doesn't necessarily have to mean the death of reason. If you do abandon reason, it may come back to bite you in the ass. There are certainly things we have no control over in life (this is where I can sympathize with those who have found God (determinism)), but there also things that we certainly do have control over. However, if it helps you live a happier life, if you're better off now than you were then, and if your current philosophy works (on Earth) and enables you to function as you wish, all the power too you. I have no problem with that as long as you aren't trying to push your ideas upon me (your original post is borderline...) and as long as you realize that your faith belongs to you and you alone (an individual and not a collective - ie. as long as you don't team up with like-minded individuals and declare a Christian "Jihad" on non-Christians).
  12. My friend is the singer and I sing in the background. We've got a lot of drafts / little projects that we worked on, but they're mostly just ideas - not really songs. A lot of 1-minute / 2-minute pieces. We both work a lot and don't have much time to sit down and hammer out all the details.
  13. Just wanted to let anyone in NYC know that my friend and I ( Birch Electric ) will be playing a few concerts this summer within the independent music circuit in NYC. So far we've got three shows scheduled: June 14th, 9:00 PM @ Fat Baby July 20th, 9:00 PM @ Lit July 30th, 7:00 PM @ Arlene's Grocery "You Are So So Disappointing" is probably the most accessible song, but my personal favorite is that the last minute or so of "Stick To Me" (if you have the patience). Anyways, they're all mid-production-recorded-in-my-bedroom-rough-drafts and I wish I could send a link to a polished, finished product but we don't have the means at the moment. It'll help if you listen to them with headphones. Hope to see you there.
  14. I agree. There's a reason why we have referees in soccer games. If you've played soccer, you know how honest people tend to be about a ball going out of bounds, for instance.
  15. That's why I say it's not exclusively catered to Objectivists. It may be what he sees as an issue of health (somewhat like the no alcohol policy), but I'm not sure.
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