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Everything posted by NewYorkRoark

  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.
  16. Fountainhead Cafe On a side note, I just wrote Objectivitis instead of Objectivists in the topic description thanks to a typing error - thought I'd share that small amount of humor. Anyway, this place looks fantastic. I plan on attending it after work a few times a month. It doesn't seem to be exclusively catered to Objectivists, but anyone who admires Ayn Rand (me, for instance), which is alright by me. Anyway, thought I'd share.
  17. "Imagine a Better Society: Imagine a society free of attitude, materialism and vanity. Imagine a society of individuals, all of whom have characteristics and traits distinct to themselves and themselves only. Imagine a Long Island free of attitude, where one day you can walk into a bar at night for a few drinks with your friends and not lose hope in the progress of human civilization. This can be our Long Island if we unite, work together, and support the resistance." "The playing field is being leveled, and America is slowly losing its technological edge. Americans have become “fat, happy, and dumb” as one anonymous CEO puts it. While Douchebag #1 & Douchebag #2 are putting pictures of themselves on the internet, buying up the entire fall collection of “ITALIA” muscle shirts, and spending the greater part of the day in front of a mirror, their foreign counterparts already on their fourth book. Humble and talented individuals from other nations who have never had our prosperity are jumping at the new opportunities that their parents never even dreamed of. They are driven to succeed beyond belief as they are more than willing to work, stay up late to study, & put the time in to give themselves & their families a better life. Translation: They are hungrier than we are. And American businesses are more and more seeking to employ more talented individuals oversees. Currently 54% of Engineering and Science PHD’s granted within the United States go to foreign born students. This was not an issue a decade back as the talent from oversees would come to American schools to get their PHD, get a tech job in the U.S. and send their hard earned money home to their families. Now, with globalization & growing job opportunities outside of America, these talented foreigners no longer need to leave their home countries and families for a better life. To make matters worse America has hunkered down on allowing foreigners into the country to attend school in this post 9-11 world."
  18. Very funny / rational website. I didn't really know where to put this - but there is a thoughtful plea for moral integrity - so I put it here.
  19. Carrying and giving birth to a child is the ultimate expression of femininity. If a woman choses not to bear children, I cannot comprehend how she would be able to live with the shame of such an unnatural, masculine decision... But Ayn Rand chose not to have children... There seem to be a lot of Judeo-Christian value-bias floating around this discussion. You can't box the psychological characteristics of gender into one concrete definition - just like you can't box the physical characterisitcs of gender into one concrete definition. For instance, the statement "all men are naturally stronger than all women" is false. I can think of several women that I know or have seen that are stronger than several other men that I've known / seen. It is true that men [in general] are stronger than women [in general] but you cannot express those statements as gender-specific absolutes - because there ARE exceptions. I know we don't like to discuss any limitations to volition on this forum, but the brain is very much like the body - and they both have objective limitations. A man who is 5'2 and has no muscle mass can't miraculously grow to be 6'2" and ripped. Similarly, a man who developed sexually in a feminine environment (adolescent neural plasticity) can't miraculously grow to be more sexually dominant / more socially masculine. The point is maximizing your natural, individual potential and every INDIVIDUAL should try as hard as possible to maximize their own INDIVIDUALIZED human nature. Perhaps the 5'2" guy can't grow in height but can in muscle mass (thus reaching his maximum physical potential). Similarly, perhaps the sexually/socially feminine man might not be able to maximize his sexually masculinity but is able to maximize his social masculinity... We are too quick to assume that "human nature" can apply universally to all humans and that we are all the same, when in fact we are most certainly individualized (physically, pyschologically, chemically, etc.). That is not to say that we can't make generalizations, but we always have to keep in mind that they ARE generalizations. Most humans are heterosexual, most men are sexually dominant, most women are sexually submissive, but there are exceptions and the best thing the exceptions can do is maximize their individualized human nature. Being a man is an objective definition (a penis). Being masculine is a generalized description of men. Individual men aren't always masculine and some concepts of masculinity are, in fact, non-objective, social creations. The color blue, for instance, is not naturally masculine. I've actually found that most ultra-masculine men are actually pretty feminine ( For Instance ).
  20. Wildboyz, Seinfeld and anything on INHD to the Max are by far my favorite television shows.
  21. Because that's what he wants. He's made it clear that he wishes to die a Martyr. I'd rather see him slowly lose his sanity in a concrete cell. That would seem to be the greater punishment.
  22. I am for the death penalty, but I beleive this was the right decision. I'd rather have him rot in jail than die a Martyr.
  23. I wasn't talking about the U.S. left wing in particular, I was talking about the left in general - specifically environmentalism vs. capitalism. There'd by less demand if nobody tried to artificially deflate the price of crude and we'd be forced to find alternative (perhaps cleaner) energy sources. Or perhaps we'd walk start utilizing mass transport more often.
  24. I can't wait to see this building. Trump International Hotel & Tower
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