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About amagi

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    University of Illinois at Chicago
  1. The only possibility is that the deterministic neurons are physically organized in some way such that they compose a system--the output of which is nondeterministic. The component cells are deterministic but the system as a whole is nondeterministic--this is an emergent property. Rather than speculate on how, technically, this is possible, I'll just point out that this is not a feature of only my view of consciousness. It is also an absolutely necessary feature of the view I'm arguing against--the view, advocated by some on this forum, that volitional thought has no physical basis, occurs
  2. Well, I suppose you'd have to read Ayn Rand to see if she gave any sense to the words "man is an indivisible entity." I'm claiming something more specific about the brain, but it follows from her meaning in conjunction with current knowledge of the brain. If you accept the premise of my argument--that thought must have some underlying physical process in the brain to account for it's existence, function, and ability to effect changes in the brain--than the "supervenience" problem can be seen more clearly. Is it the thought causing a change in the brain, or is it the physical expressio
  3. This problem has been described as the "supervenience argument," and it is generally taken to be a major obstacle to the view that volitional mental acts, while having causal efficacy on the brain, are nonetheless in existence themselves only because of corresponding brain processes. However, this problem only arises if one accepts the view of dualism--the view that the mental is metaphysically severed from and outside of the rest of reality. Ayn Rand rejected this view: From The Journals of Ayn Rand The existence of consciousness is a primary, and it cannot be reduced to matter. Howev
  4. The above reply is bizarre in light of the fact that the theory I proposed involves a directly observable physical brain mechanism corresponding to conscious thought processes. The whole point of my argument is that there must be physical process in the brain allowing any particular thought to occur at all. The alternate theory, which I reject, is that thought can occur with no action by the brain to account for it, and that this thought can then affect a subsequent change in the brain by some unexplainable means. It is supremely obvious that it is this theory that is not open to scientif
  5. Yes, it does seem to be a contradiction. However, it is also accurate. The seeming contradition is only superficial. The alternative, advocated by some on this forum and described somewhat in this thread, is that the brain has no function beyond that of a deterministic machine--a piece of matter with actions every bit as mechanistic and determined-in-advance as a muscle. In this view, consciousness, while somehow needing the brain to exist, nevertheless is capable of action that is not necessitated by any prior or concurrent action of the brain (which would make it deterministic) and tha
  6. And of course the "fair and balanced" comment was almost certainly a not-so-subtle stab at Fox News. The "best-selling novelist" bit might have any number of meanings, but I'd bet they had Michael Crichton in mind. And if that were true, would it be a stretch if I were to speculate that the editorial's author was displaying a bit of psychological projection--that perhaps in mounting his attack on the religionists, some dark, unexamined recess of his conscience drove him to lash out in defense of his own faith against an author that dares to name environmentalist mythology as the religion t
  7. True, and this is some consolation to someone who has already had children with a religious spouse before discovering a rational philosophy. However, if anyone still entering into such a relationship were to use this as a justification for allowing a child to be raised in the church then they would be, in almost every conceivable context, despicable and evil. For anyone who takes ideas and reason seriously, this would be an enormous betrayal, not to mention a hideous example of child abuse. Also remember that even though some independent individuals reject their childhood indoctrination en
  8. Wow, I've never heard that line before...... Well at least he's consistent. He certainly compromised when it came to his film. This explains the movie perfectly in fact. The film's basically good and heroic message was corrupted by several irrationalist ideas. That the director is roughly familiar with Objectivism but failed to grasp it fully makes sense. I take it as another sign that Objectivism is spreading. This movie failed to reach its potential, both cinematically and philosophically, but I still enjoyed it a great deal.
  9. It's been too long since I watched this film to comment on it. I will say that I have seen most or all of Miyazaki's films and on the whole they are easily the most artistically valuable anime I've found. His explicit philosophy, however, has clear environmentalist leanings. Several of his films are meant to be ecological morality fables about the conflict between man and nature. This should not prevent people from seeing these films however, as they are artistically wonderful, both from a cinematic standpoint and in terms of animation. The one truly bad film in this regard is Pom Pok
  10. Having just ended a three-year relationship with the daughter of a pastor, I feel that I understand Moose's situation very well. Virtually everything he has said to describe his girlfriend applies exactly to this girl. She is also a Christian of the apathetic variety. She goes to church only because her parents expect it, and she has very little serious interest in philosophy, politics, or any other intellectual endeavor. For a long time we very rarely discussed her ideas, and not for my lack of trying. Whenever I attempted to discuss such things with her she became closed-off and d
  11. It is relevant here to note that some of the individuals responsible for the "research" described in the above article have been guests on the "Coast to Coast" program. For those who are unfamiliar with the show, it is a popular nationwide US radio show that deals with, among other things, aliens, bigfoot, ghosts, psychics, the occult, prophesy, vampires, angels and demons, alternate dimensions, consiousness expansion, government conspiracies, alternative medicine, and whatever other mystical insanity you can think of. The hosts of the show, formerly Art Bell and now George Noory, believe in
  12. I agree. I have some knowledge of the transhumanist movement and of similar futurist groups, and some of their views, especially those on the so-called singularity, are pure mysticism. An example is the view that humans will be able to "upload" their consciousness into digital computers within a matter of decades. As someone else suggested, these views are no different than religious eschatology. This is unfortunate, because despite their inclusion of a number of such irrational ideas, these groups do attract individuals who are genuine enthusiasts of legitimate scientific eventualities
  13. I'd like to know what the truth is concerning the issue of Thomas Edison's alleged theft of French director Georges Melies' short film, Le Voyage Dans La Lune. I've heard it said that Edison bribed someone to obtain a copy of the film and then distributed it widely for profit. The first I'd heard of this story was from the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon. It can also be found on several internet sites. Can anyone comment on the truth or context of this claim?
  14. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of the worst movies I've seen. The main characters are neurotic anti-heroes who have no reason to be in their disfunctional relationship. The movie is naturalism crossed with surrealism. Spoilers follow: All the characters I can remember are morally depraved, like the medical assistants who smoke pot and dance on the bed where a patient lies undergoing complicated brain surgery, the philandering doctor who has an affair with his assistant, wipes her memory and then tries to have an affair with her again, or the guy who tries to date another girl
  15. You never started. You made an personal accusation in a public forum which you have now declared needs no justification whatsoever, no evidence to support it at all, not even a pretense at an explanation on your part of any kind. You never gave any such justification and clearly you never will. So I agree--this is a waste of time.
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