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Posts posted by cliveandrews

  1. You do need to understand the relationship between the person downloading the material and the crime to know about that.

    The people accepting/purchasing those materials are encouraging/facilitating the crimes, by doing that. He is a participant in the crime, the same way someone who orders a murder is, or someone who is a fence for stolen goods is.

    What if there is no exchange of money? How do you facilitate the crime just by downloading the material if you don't pay for it?

  2. (though the myth that all child related offenders are is false-most prisons do a good job at protecting them)

    Rape is extremely common in prisons whether you're a child related offender or not. Anybody who can't defend himself against a rape will get raped. The prisons generally turn a blind eye to the problem. As the prisons get more crowded it gets harder and harder to get placed in protective custody.

    A hard-drive full of child porn (as opposed to a few clicks in his browsing history, which might be accidental-though I never in my life have come across child porn on the Internet) is clear proof that he is a sexual predator of children

    uhhhhhhh I don't know about that...

  3. There is a certain individual in my life who is a totally worthless parasite, literally worse than worthless in terms of human value, who is very dangerous and who I hate with a raging passion. Suppose, hypotehtically, that I just found out that said invidual has a hard drive full of kiddie porn. Should I notify the authorities in this hypothetical situation? My main reservations are the facts that it's not really any of my business and that I would just be ratting him out, and that if he gets thrown into prison, it will probably be a death sentence for him. I would love to see him incarcerated, but not raped/killed, which would be the likely result of incarceration. Thoughts?

  4. My apologies. I assumed people would recognize the quote. It's from The Virtue of Selfishness: "A man who chooses a helpless, irresponsible scatterbrain because her weakness makes him feel masculine reveals one kind of soul." This statement is a piercingly accurate description of my parents' relationship. So I'm wondering how exactly Rand would describe such a man. The person who says he lacks self-respect seems to be correct.

  5. Today I had to do a drug and alcohol assessment for a DUI arrest that occurred last June. The woman who administered the assessment was utterly batshit insane. Among other things, she babbled at length about how she does not believe that there is a right or wrong, said that she never judges anyone, and insisted that it is not possible for me to determine for myself whether I have an alcohol problem (even though I haven't had a drink in 10 months) because I do not have a college degree in psychology. When I politely stated that I do not accept the beliefs of mental health professionals, she accused me of being "aggressive" and said that she thinks I'm "pretty damn arrogant." She was totally scatterbrained in general and almost nothing she said made any sense whatsoever. It was truly a frightening experience.

  6. I'm very criticial of psychiatry too, but to be fair it's not traditionally recommended to have drugs without the therapy, is it?

    The point of enhancing mood artificially is to feel well enough to be able to sort things out rationally. Then you should have someone with a good philosophy of life to spot your thinking mistakes. Ultimately it's up to your introspection, but it might not help you to do it on your own because your subconscious (automated knowledge) is against you when you are depressed.

    Most "therapists" are the blind leading the blind. There are about as many rational people in mental health as there are in social welfare.

    I've often wondered whether it is cause or effect: that is, does the study of mental health attract lunatics or produce them?

  7. I reject the model of depression as an organic disease state originating from a "chemical imbalance" in the brain. It is nothing more than a flimsy conjecture propogated as fact by the pharmaceutical industry and psychiatric establishment.

    I also think the conventional drug treatments for depression are dangerous and should be avoided by all but the most extremely depressed individuals. Just short of actually attempting suicide, about the most dangerous thing you can do is to go through life with an artificially elevated mood produced by psychiatric drugs. The drugs simply anesthatize your emotions, sheilding you from the psychological consequences of your actions and thereby preserving the ideological problems which caused you to mismange your life and become depressed in the first place.

    I took SSRI drugs from the ages of 15 to 22 and consider it the single biggest regret of my life. Of course, it's impossible to know how things would have happend differently if I hadn't taken the drugs, but I now believe they were extremely damaging for precisely the reason I previously believed that they were helpful- because they made me feel better under circumstances which rightfully should have caused me to feel depressed. The course that my life took as a result eventually ended calamitously several years ago. I've been off the drugs for three years now and I have far more clarity than I ever had while I was medicated.

    Based on my experiences, I consider it unsafe to talk to most so-called mental health professionals. They see everything in terms of mental illness. They have a label and a pill for everything and whatever bullshit psychiatric label they diagnose you with will stick with you for the rest of your life. Just stay away from them. They have nothing of value to offer.

  8. The FDA has been the single most destructive force in the history of modern medicine. It is a massive entanglement of government and industry which cartelizes the large pharmaceutical firms and insulates them from market discipline. Data manipulation is standard proceedure. The agency totally prevents the emergence of treatments that cannot be patented by making it unaffordable for companies to put them through the approval process. Perhaps worst of all, regulation has devastating psychological effects on the medical community, causing doctors to forfeit scientific rigor as they capitulate to the regulatory authorities. In a free medical system, doctors would exercise extreme caution and restraint in their prescribing practices and monitor their patients carefully for signs of adverse effects. Under the current system, doctors blindly accept the FDA's rubber stamp of approval as incontrovertible proof of drug safety and proceed to hand drugs out like candy, and anybody who questions the reliability of FDA data is ridiculed as a conspiracy theorist and labeled a quack.

    Psychiatry is a good example of what happens under a corrupt regulatory system. The survival of most of the current paradigm of psychiatric medicine depends on the existence of an authoritative regulatory body to suppress the medical community's scientific instincts and prevent people from questioning the philosophic merit of using drugs to artificially elevate a person's mood. The widespread use of SSRIs would never have occurred in an unregulated system. Bullshit labels such as "ADHD" and "oppositional defiant disorder" would also have been shot down quickly without the FDA in place to insist that such diseases exist.

    A good test for whether a doctor is competent is simply to ask him whether he is guided by the FDA. If he answers in the affirmative, he is basically unfit to practice as far as I'm concerned.

  9. What are your thoughts on the Miranda v. Arizona decision?

    For those of you who don't know, Miranda v. Arizona is the 1966 Supreme Court decision which resulted in the requirement for police to read suspects their rights prior to custodial interrogation.

    It appears to me that the majority judges were primarily concerned with upholding a suspect's constitutional rights. They felt that custodial interrogation was inherently coercive due to the psychological effects on the suspect and the ability of police to abuse their authority to extract confessions.

    The dissenting opinion was that the decision was unconstitutional, or at least extra-constitutional; that is, nothing in the constitution indicates that police must do anything to ensure than suspects are aware of their rights.

    What would be the Objectivist position on this.

  10. You have mispercieved the events in your life. Your apititude for math did not improve as a result of practice; instead, you merely improved your skill level within the boundaries of your aptitude. A more naturally gifted person could have finished the same amount of work in half the time that it took you, and a less gifted person could have taken twice as long. Furthermore, mathematics is not merely about rational thought. Mathetmatical ability depends on the ability to understand relationships and handle many relationships in your head at the same time. These abilities are genetic. I once took a college math class with a 14 year old kid who was a child prodigy. He could solve problems in his head that would take me all day to work out on paper. Only genetic superiority can explain such ability.

  11. You believe that we have a fixed intelligence?

    I believe that we have fixed aptitude. For example, we can clearly improve our mathematical ability through practice, but some people clearly progress much faster than others given the same amount of practice. This is genetic supreriority.

  12. Unfortunately you are the one in error, my previously cited example of the young climbing girl clearly demonstrates that, for instance, skeletal proportions are not *entirely* genetically predisposed. Not only are they influenced by nutritional factors during growth, but also stresses during growth and development. I suggest you actually examine such claims before you so confidently assert their validity when you are utterly wrong. The young girl in question has an arm and finger length that exceeds all but the smallest minority of humans, neither of these did she inherit from her parents or anyone in her lineage, but instead came directly from the stresses of climbing while she was growing as a young girl applied to her body. Muscle length is similarly effected, and muscle fiber composition (fast twitch vs slow twitch) is still hotly debated, current evidence suggests that the ultimate configuration is predetermined, but a large portion of muscle fibers in any individual can change from one to the other depending on the type of exercises applied to them. Science does not back up your claim which is apparently born of a very cursory knowledge of physiology.

    A few minutes in google scholar can do wonders

    On muscle fiber types:

    A calcineurin-dependent transcriptional pathway controls skeletal muscle fiber type


    Slow- and fast-twitch myofibers of adult skeletal muscles express unique sets of muscle-specific genes, and these distinctive programs of gene expression
    are controlled by variations in motor neuron activity
    . It is well established that, as a consequence of more frequent neural stimulation, slow fibers maintain higher levels of intracellular free calcium than fast fibers, but the mechanisms by which calcium may function as a messenger linking nerve activity to changes in gene expression in skeletal muscle have been unknown. Here, fiber-type-specific gene expression in skeletal muscles is shown to be controlled by a signaling pathway that involves calcineurin, a cyclosporin-sensitive, calcium-regulated serine/threonine phosphatase.
    Activation of calcineurin in skeletal myocytes selectively up-regulates slow-fiber-specific gene promoters
    . Conversely, inhibition of calcineurin activity by administration of cyclosporin A to intact animals
    promotes slow-to-fast fiber transformation
    . Transcriptional activation of slow-fiber-specific transcription appears to be mediated by a combinatorial mechanism involving proteins of the NFAT and MEF2 families.
    These results identify a molecular mechanism by which different patterns of motor nerve activity promote selective changes in gene expression to establish the specialized characteristics of slow and fast myofibers

    On skeletal development

    Growth and development: hereditary and mechanical modulations


    Growth and development is the net result of environmental modulation of genetic inheritance
    . Mesenchymal cells differentiate into chondrogenic, osteogenic, and fibrogenic cells: the first 2 are chiefly responsible for endochondral ossification, and the last 2 for sutural growth. Cells are influenced by genes and environmental cues to migrate, proliferate, differentiate, and synthesize extracellular matrix in specific directions and magnitudes, ultimately resulting in macroscopic shapes such as the nose and the chin.
    Mechanical forces, the most studied environmental cues, readily modulate bone and cartilage growth
    . Recent experimental evidence demonstrates that cyclic forces evoke greater anabolic responses of not only craniofacial sutures, but also cranial base cartilage.
    Mechanical forces are transmitted as tissue-borne and cell-borne mechanical strain that in turn regulates gene expression, cell proliferation, differentiation, maturation, and matrix synthesis, the totality of which is growth and development.
    Thus, hereditary and mechanical modulations of growth and development share a common pathway via genes. Combined approaches using genetics, bioengineering, and quantitative biology are expected to bring new insight into growth and development, and might lead to innovative therapies for craniofacial skeletal dysplasia including malocclusion, dentofacial deformities, and craniofacial anomalies such as cleft palate and craniosynostosis, as well as disorders associated with the temporomandibular joint.

    Since you asserted none of these changes 'such as muscle fiber composition' are subject to change, and are "utterly determined by genetics" and I have easily shown otherwise, I hope this is enough for you to realize your assessment is incorrect and to re-examine your stance. Unless by 'determined by genetics' you simple mean we have bones and muscles made up of particular material, the stresses applied to bones and muscles during growth and development do have a significant effect, and stresses applied even after that period still have major effects.

    She had a gene for liking to climb trees? uh huh. I suppose she had a genetic predisposition to liking spider monkeys as well, and not, say, sloths. The more likely explanation is that you are incorrect and unable to admit it.

    Ah, I see now, you single anecdotal story completely disproves legions of studies. It also conveniently excuses you of failure. Perhaps those other runners ran more as younger children. Perhaps they practiced smarter than you (and not just more) perhaps the way you trained was wrong and actually made it worse for you. You error is that upon observing differences in ability, and upon being unable to with a few minutes of thought identify an explicit cause for that difference, you automatically attribute it to genetic pre-determinism. And yet, our genome differs very little across individuals, the vast majority of beneficial mutations would have permeated the vast majority of humans during the 200,000 years which we were subjected to immense selective pressures, and not the last 200 year where we have not been.

    I believe you would find it impossible to prove that exercise during childhood can affect the final limb length to the degree that your argument implies. It is true that a certain amount of mechanical stress is required for normal skeletal development, and that the absence of such stress can result in arrested growth or atrophy, but exercise cannot actually lengthen the bones as to cause just any child to develop extremely long limbs. Such unusual characteristics can only be attibutable to genetics. Futhermore, exercise primarily effects bone mineral density rather than longitudinal growth, so the entire discussion is almost moot.

    The statement that "she has a gene for liking to climb trees" is actually a rather serious misuse of language, and those words would never come out of my mouth, but I stand by the claim that the girl's affinity for climbing was the result of genetic disposition. She liked climbing because she was good at the activity, and she was good at it because she was born with favorable genetics.

    Your discussion of muscle fibers neither proves your thesis nor disproves mine. The research you cite does not actually demonstrate that physical training of any kind can cause the conversion of muscle fiber types. Instead, it shows that conversion is possible through molecular manipulation under laboratory conditions, a fact which I became aware of 10 years ago as a teenager when I was so desperate to succeed at track that I would have engineered myself into a world-class sprinter if it was possible. The fact that scientists have to resort to such heroic measures to manipulate fiber types is actually a compelling argument that, for practical purposes, fiber type is primarily determined by genetics.

    I correctly attribute my failure in track to genetics because I am objective and honest enough to admit that I simply don't have much ability in that deparment despite the fact that it's a very painful admission for me to make. Now, the suggestion that other athletes simply trained smarter than me is simply laughtable; track and field training is still utterly in the stone ages, and most successful track athletes succeed in spite of their training rather than because of it. Usain Bolt ate a meal of chicken mcnuggets a few minutes before he obliterated the 100m world record at the Olympics. And while I'm on the subject of world-class sprinting, it's interesting to note that athletes of west African descent dominate sprinting events, and that the fastest sprinters from EVERY continent are black. This would suggest that blacks possess unique physical characteristics which make them well-suited for sprinting; traits which can only be attributable to genetics. If you believe in Darwinian evolution, you should believe that certain environments favor faster runners, and that such environments will therefore produce organisms with genetics that are favorable for running. It should therefore follow that one's potential to run fast is primarily determined by genetics rather than training. And once you make that intellectual breakthough, you will be well on your way toward understanding why virtually all human apitudes are determined by genetics.

  13. I regret to inform you that your dissertation constitutes an outright molestation of exercise physiology. Reading that post was like watching Hillary Clinton talk about the economy. It is so bad that I am now considering giving up on the idea of man as a heroic being.

  14. Running is the athletic activity with the least possible amount of actual skill involved. Great example you've got there. :rolleyes:

    Or the most amount of skill, depending on how you define the term.

    Running is one of the purest forms of physicality. That is precisely why it so beautifully illustrates the importance of genetics.

  15. The best speed rock climber in the world today did not become so because she was genetically gifted, but because as a young girl she played with spider monkeys in trees in Africa, altering her physiological structure because of choices she made, for the rest of her life.

    You are in error. The most important anatomic and physiologic characteristics influencing athletic ability are not subject to change through training of any kind. Skeletal proprtions, muscle length, insertion points, muscle fiber composition and neurological efficiency are all utterly determined by genetics. We know this because athletes, coaches and scientists have observed for years that such traits do not respond to training. The more likely scenario is that your climber was attracted to related activities from a young age due to genetic predisposition. Her childhood activities did not alter her physiology because that is simply impossible.

    I spent half my life on a track. As a teenager I was totally committed to the goal of becoming a professional runner. I was far more dedicated than anyone else I knew, and I even became more knowledgable about training than my coach who had been coaching for 30 years. Yet, my ability was mediocre, and I regularly lost to kids who were more concerned with smoking pot and drinking beer than training. The most successful sprinters were the ones who were the least committed and had the worst attitudes in general; they were accustomed to getting success without working hard because they were genetically gifted. The whole time I was intellectually aware that sprinting ability is determined by genetics, and that I did not posses the correct genetics, but I refused to accept the fact and kept trying anyway in the desperate hope that I would somehow be miraculously rewarderded for my commitment. That reward never came, and I pissed away a good chunk of my life trying to accomplish the impossible. Looking back, I regret it very much, beause if I had put the same energy that I put into running into something else, something that I had the genetic ability to succeed at, like working and making money, then I might have created a much better life for myself by now.

  16. In other words, you've decided that you are persuaded and that you no longer to consider the question? If you mean that you just don't care, that it's not worth your time to use your mind on this question because it won't benefit you an a material way, I suppose I can understand that. On the other hand, if your interest is understanding reality -- existence as it actually is -- and not in maintaining a comfortable facade or supposed knowledge, your refusal to actually look at the facts does not indicate that you believe that man's knowledge should be ever-expanding; that you should maintain an active mind.

    This kind of argument from baseless assertion is the antithesis of Objectivist reasoning. A rational man with present the actually perceptually axiomatic and his logic. You should never expect Objectivists to consider an arbitrary claim to be above challenge, and your assertion is arbitrary. It is your responsibility to prove your claim, and if you cannot in fact prove it, you should not make the claim.

    I neither consider the claim above challenge nor expect Objectivists to accept is as such. What I reject is the idea that firm scientific evidence is prerequisite to making such a claim. I think the answer can be derived with near certainty from existing physiological knowledge combined with logical inference. I have not submitted a detailed argument yet because it will take a long time to type and I am supposed to be studying right now.

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