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Everything posted by themadkat

  1. I think you raised an excellent point here. Why would we ever want to override or, perhaps more accurately, subvert the pleasure/pain mechanism? Speaking for myself, I can think of many reasons. A very straightforward example is, I am an athlete, and there have been many times during the course of either training or competition that I have been in fairly intense pain, but if I were to stop training right then, how would I ever become strong? Just today I was training down in the company gym on my break and the bench presses I was attempting hurt quite a bit. This is because I have chronic
  2. I would remind the librarians that their professional forebears died to try and save the library at Alexandria from destruction by mindless barbarians. How can they dishonor that proud legacy by making any excuse for that very behavior?
  3. I don't know about statistics being good or bad but I do know that on my campus it was a huge problem and many women were assaulted. I do not agree that it is wise to minimize the dangers to women on a college campus. I personally know a few women who were either outright raped or assaulted in some other way (ie something less than intercourse). I know that within the first term I was on campus one of my rugby teammates was drugged at a party and had to go to the hospital because she nearly stopped breathing. I know that there are incredible obstacles to reporting and pursuing action again
  4. I don't see why masochism should be particularly maligned as a sexual practice. I think it's a little sketch when someone makes masochism a whole lifestyle, as I find it hard to believe that they value themselves, but as far as leaving it in the bedroom, where's the bad? I personally happen to enjoy it, and I like dishing it out too. I'd like to hear people's understanding of why it is, to use one of Rand's favorite words, "depraved". Disclaimer: Some BDSM practices are DANGEROUS. I do not consider these to be a good idea, for obvious reasons. So there's no point writing that practices
  5. Aww, all he needs is a heroic, aggressive woman, dat's all.
  6. I can has cheezburger on Caturday? Also, all your base are belong to us.
  7. I have to confess I've never understood this. I've read Barbara Branden's book in its entirety and I have no idea why so many Objectivists say it painted her in a bad light. I thought it was a very affectionate portrait and that it was obvious from reading it that even after all the things which transpired between them that Barbara still displays an obvious love of Rand. Also, what is the evidence for saying that the majority of the biography is a lie? I'm certain there are some inaccuracies in it, for example I know that Ms. Rand's name has nothing to do with a typewriter, but don't you t
  8. I think something interesting has popped up out of this discussion, at least in my mind. It's about the nature of social judgment. In a court of law, we have objective standards (in theory) to determine guilt or innocence. For a criminal case, if there is reasonable doubt that he may not have committed the crime for which he is accused, a responsible juror must vote to acquit. In the court of public opinion, however, there is no such bar set. For the average person (not necessarily the average Objectivist, but perhaps even many Objectivists) even the SUSPICION that someone has done someth
  9. I think it does. If it's obvious he did it, if there's a video tape of him killing his wife and tons of other physical evidence, etc. then you should not be loyal to him any longer. But until then, if he tells you he didn't do it and there is any reasonable possibility that he didn't, you should believe him and help him. That's my position anyway.
  10. I want to address the topic of loyalty to people specifically. I think that loyalty is tremendously important and want to befriend people who are loyal vs. those who are not. To me, loyalty, like friendship, is a response to values in the other person, but it's not of quite the same nature as friendship. In fact, I think you can be loyal to someone who is not your friend or have a friend to whom you do not feel particular loyalty. I take loyalty to be related to valuing consistently. It means giving your friend the benefit of the doubt, and it also means not falling into the "what have
  11. Interestingly enough I too preferred Andrei to Leo. I also greatly enjoyed Irina and was sorry to see her storyline end so sadly. I know We the Living is an earlier work but in some respects I actually prefer it to Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged simply from a literary standpoint because it is more raw and passionate.
  12. Favorite TV show of all time: Xena, Warrior Princess Dramatizes, for better and for worse, the warrior's life, of nobility, honor, and purpose. I especially like when Xena relies on strategy to overcome her foes as well as the more ridiculous acrobatic stuff. I also find the friendship between Xena and Gabrielle beautiful. Other great shows: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Firefly Law and Order: SVU The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. ER (some seasons) Just about anything on the History Channel Special category just for cartoons: Ren and Stimpy Rocko's Modern Life Family Guy Fu
  13. I remember taking a course on nanotechnology through the engineering dept. a couple years ago and loving it. It was a course designed for non-science folk but I think I still had an easier time in the class than the government majors. Nano stuff is exciting and I can't wait to see this field advance.
  14. Because if you withdraw medical intervention, the disease kills the child. If you euthanize it, YOU kill the child. Now, if the child is already past the point of no return and in its last moments and it's in terrible pain, then I think you could make the argument for euthanasia, but only then.
  15. I know this was already said by another poster, but yes, you are thinking of Flex Spending Accounts. With an HSA, it's a bank account (mine is serviced by Chase, for example) that you own. It's your money and it gains interest and rolls over from year to year. In fact, if you build enough of a balance of unused funds, you can begin an investment portfolio with the money (serviced by Chase, of course).
  16. I don't believe the baby should be euthanized, but I think it is moral to make the decision to withdraw any further medical intervention once the child can no longer make any sense of its surroundings. If the parents decide to just take the baby home and make it as comfortable as possible while its final months play out, that would be an acceptable and understandable decision.
  17. I have a HSA through work, so I can at least provide some facts about it. Firstly I think it's not a bad thing to have, but that's mostly because my company makes a (tax-free) contribution to it for the year which is considerable. It's also nice because it decreases my taxable income by the amount I choose to contribute. And, to top it all off, it's interest-bearing. Now some problems. By choosing to put money in my HSA I'm "earmarking" it for medical expenses. I could have just as easily invested that money, even in my humble online savings account, gotten more interest on it, kept it
  18. Notice that the students themselves spoke of feeling more "content" than happy. Notice also that they described freedom acontextually. I think these are some of the key differences. Will these guys all have decent lives? Probably. But they do not have the opportunity to live an extraordinary life (or, conversely, crash and burn spectacularly) like perhaps someone like me would.
  19. I've been following this story on the terrible shooting at Northern Illinois University. It sounds like the shooter is a schizo who stopped taking his meds. From all available information it sounds like as long as he stayed on his medication he would never hurt anybody. But then, once he's off, well...bang. What are the ethics of this? Can people who are convicted of a crime but placed in a health facility instead of prison due to reasons of mental defect be forced to take their medication as a condition of their release? Please note that I am restricting this question to a very specif
  20. I do acknowledge the biological component, however, the body's biological response is in an ongoing feedback loop with its environment beginning at conception. In other words, it is not "set": your biology will quite literally be different depending on your physical experiences over the course of your lifetime. I also want to maintain the importance of keeping context, comparing the differences between men and women as respective groups with the differences among men and among women. Given the tremendous room for variance there, I think it greatly diminishes the significance of whatever dif
  21. I'm not so sure about that. I read several parts of that book, both for class and out of interest, and as an evolutionary biologist I find severe flaws with it. For example, he often relies on studies that had sample sizes which were way too small or had unreliable methodologies. Other times he takes a legitimate study but draws a conclusion way beyond what is justified by the evidence. So I would use The Red Queen as an example of what has gone wrong in the field of evolutionary psychology, not as a reliable scholarly work. I still disagree that there are any necessary personality diff
  22. I have to disagree on this score too. I believe there is no metaphysically necessary difference in the nature of "man" vs. "woman". I deny that there is man and woman, only individual men and women. If someone wants to behave according to a more traditional gender role that's fine, that's their choice to make. If someone rejects their traditional gender role that's also their choice. I believe that people will act according to their individual personalities and that so long as people behave rationally and in their own best interests, gender is really irrelevant to the discussion. I doubt
  23. I have to admit, I've certainly never understood Rand's view of men and women, and I couldn't disagree more. This is one of the few major divergences I have from Rand's philosophy (if in fact this was part of Objectivism and not just a separate personal opinion of hers). I don't see anything in particular to worship about masculinity (if there even is such a thing) any more than I do about femininity. I'm certainly a big fan of the male PHYSIQUE, but that's because I'm a straight female, not because I have some kind of value for broad shoulders, tapered hips, and body fur beyond their aesth
  24. My college had "distributive requirements", where you had to take courses from a certain area but not any specific choice from that area (ie pick a history course but it doesn't have to be History 2). I thought this worked better. It's a shame you're actually mandated to take certain classes. My best advice is to find what excites you as best you can and try to find value in the subject matter, even if you don't like the way it's being taught. It's too bad the message you're getting is that your achievements are worthy of shame. I had a friend in a class one time where the professor liter
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