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Everything posted by Tsiklon

  1. That's true. However, given what we know about astrophysics and cosmology if the Universe has a Euclidean geometry(and topology)then an infinite Universe is the most reasonable conclusion even though one cannot prove it.
  2. One infinity, two infinity, three infinity, four..... five infinity, six infinite, seven infinity, more!
  3. Some infinite sets are bigger than others. That is, there is not a 1-to-1 mapping between them. The smaller set can be mapped bijectively into a proper subset of the larger one; with the complement of the smaller sets image being the same cardinality as the larger set. I certainly have heard people say that infinity is not a number, it is a concept. Well not quite true mathematically, it is somewhat accurate physically. Now it turns out that recent discoveries in Astronomy suggest that the Universe may very well be Infinite. And by that I mean that it if you travel in 1 direction you will never return to where you started from nor run into any sort of spacetime boundary. This is due to the fact that based on data collected from the WMAP satellite, the Cosmos has as flat(Euclidean)geometry and with no signs of any actual boundaries, the appropriate conclusion is that it is Infinite spatially and has no end and no beginning.
  4. The climate is indeed changing, and by now there really is no stopping it. What I find interesting is that global warming isn't entirely global as temperatures in the Souther Ocean are dropping....And causing the Antarctic ice cap to grow larger.
  5. IDK about the mind but yes, the brain is a biological computer. Man creates machines in his own image.
  6. A mans ideas often come to him when his brain is analyzing or calculating something and an idea sneaks of up on him and he's like.........EUREKA! The same is often true when it comes to creative ideas for art, music, and writing. That being said, ideas can come from a deterministic process in the brain but they also arise chaotically without deliberate intent. Now if there actually is a higher power that governs us and the rest of the Cosmos, I would wager that this higher power has not bestowed us with true free will but would like us to think we are in control of our thoughts and actions. But one thing is clear: Free will does not apply to emotions. *Feelings* cannot be turned on and off by conscious intent, but they can be manipulated indirectly.
  7. It DOESN'T. A computer can have knowledge in the form of encoded information and modern computers are absolutely deterministic. Furthermore, determinism does not imply predictability nor does it imply chaos. That is a false dichotomy. Nonlinear deterministic systems are not 100% predictable even though they are not truly random. Uncertainy exists due to nonlinearity; and particularly due to heavily nested feedback loops. Determinism means that there are no hidden variables. A good example of non-determinism is radioactive decay which is is totally random because radioactive nuclei cannot exchange information with each other. Uncertainty in a nonlinear system is bounded and its occurence, though not predictable, has measurable constraints.
  8. Bad anology, ruveyn. The stomach shows no signs of sentience nor does it have any ability to use the nervous system to control other parts of the body(like the heart for example). Now if there is indeed downward causation when it comes to decision making in the brain(And the mind of course), then what that suggests is that there is something else going on in our heads, something very profound, to which current neurology-electrical signals and synaptic chemical mediation-cannot account for and perhaps modern science has yet to discover.
  9. What I've always wondered is why many of those who approve the use of torture to extract information from enemy combatants and terrorists think that it's wrong to use torture as a punishment against domestic criminals who have committed heinous, violent crimes.
  10. Sometimes the only way to make actual progress is to go ahead with something if you have the money and the power to do it even when the general public is opposed to it due to their irrational beliefs. But its too bad that no corporation is trying to pursue nuclear rocket propulsion since corporations are not accountable to public opinion so long as they generate a profit.
  11. I am talking about spacecraft specifically and exclusively, but you're on a birdwalk. This is not about the Russian space program, it's about NASA.
  12. With regards to pedophiles, I honestly think that many pedophiles cannot help themselves. This does not meant they should have legal or social permission to molest children. What it means is they need to be removed from society and subjected to compulsory treatment(if that is possible).
  13. Not true. Russia has produced the cheapest and safest device for putting men into space and brining them back alive and has been doing so on a routine basis for the past 62 years.
  14. NASA's biggest barrier to progress in spaceflight and space exploration is its refusal to actively engage in R&D for nuclear propulsion. And keep in mind that this does include the use of nuclear driven engines to lift payloads into orbit as well as travel around in interplanetary space(and eventually interstellar space). Nuclear rockets, particularly VASIMIR thrusters powered by gascore nuclear reactors(which use magnetic containment and operate at temperatures up to 20,000 degrees Fahrenheit)can produce much larger specific impulses than any chemical reaction and would allow very large payloads to be lifted into orbit while leaving some propellant left over! There is a proposal for an unmanned spaceship called Prometheus which uses a solid core reactor to generate electricity for ion propulsion but this thing will be built entirely in space because of the hysteria surrounding anything and everything nuclear which was whipped up by the greenies some 40 years ago. They have enormous influence on policy and have killed the nuclear industry in the US; preventing the construction of new reactors and effectively outlawing nuclear propulsion R&D. Russia doesn't have this kind of problem and is already pursuing R&D in nuclear space propulsion. Why the hell should the US do the same thing??? I would go so far as to suggest that the United States withdraw from Partial Test Ban Treaty to completely open the door to nuclear propulsion. Any thoughts? Any takers?
  15. What is remarkable is that the brain, or shall I say certain peoples brains(the brains of many schizophrenics) can create a multiplicity of agents, some of which the person is only partially aware of. There are schizophrenics who speak of some sort of phantom agent that takes over their decision making process and compels them to do things. I will say that physics does indeed govern the CNS because it is made of matter and uses energy to which physical law applies. The real mystery is what is responsible for consciousness/self-awareness. I will admit that I do approach this issue from a scientific rather than philosophical angle since science now has the tools to investigate this whereas in time of Leibniz and Aristotle, those tools where entirely unavailable. Too bad Ayn Rand didn't live longer to witness these developments. Now here is what the Atlas Society says about free will: With regards to eating I would argue that for me at least, what causes me to eat is the feeling of hunger. And to curb overeating in people would best be done by making substances which suppress apetite(and raise metabolic rate) to be readily available. If you wish to get people to control their impulses then you must provide an incentive which is immediate for them to do so rather than simply telling them to control themselves. So yes, I am arguing in favor of determinism. Particularly neurological determinism. We think we have volitional thought and the ability to think whatever we damn well please, but our behavior and the physical causes of it suggests otherwise. And that is why I personally am not a libertarian nor an anarchist: If you give people freedom to do whatever they want then they WILL do things that benefit them at others expense and the chances that this will happen to each of us sooner or later is 100%.
  16. Actually it does. Because it has been shown experimentally that the process of volition(conscious choice) has a neurological basis and the fact that drugs can alter and/or suppress consciousness by affecting the physical nervous system. Free will has been a philosophical question for thousands of years because science had yet to be developed and even with its advent, to tools needed weren't available until recently(the last 40 years). So it is no longer a philosophical matter but a scientific one. That is my point.
  17. Unfortunately, I am unable to edit my initial post and remove that strawman quote. But the rest of my post was not a rebuttal to that guy as much as it was an argument as to why free will is very much an illusion and there is compelling scientific evidence against it.
  18. I beg your pardon sir, but here are some quotes by Rand herself about volition: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/free_will.html But if I am wrong, and Ayn Rand did not believe in free will, please inform me of evidence to the contrary(and no I'm not being sarcastic).
  19. So I saw a thread about free will over here (http://forums.4aynra...showtopic=13394) about free will and a user on the first page of that thread had this to say and since I cannot post on that forum I thought I'd address his points and then make mine he says: First premise: The mind is not physical. (I'll assume initially that this statement is true) Fact: The mind is affected by physical things! Most notably, by chemical compounds that cross the blood brain barrier[i.e. drugs]. There are certain hallucinogens powerful enough to create delusions and illusions indistinguishable from reality. The notorious drug PCP can mimic the effects of schizophrenic psychosis in high enough doses where a person becomes compelled unto action by these delusions. And for millions of people, certain drugs are addictive enough to compel users to continue to consume the drug even though they are aware of its harmful effects(alcohol addiction requires medical intervention because its withdrawal symptoms are potentially fatal). Since Ayn Rands death 30 years ago, a myriad of new discoveries about how the human brain thinks have further narrowed the gap between the mind and brain. Rand was WRONG about her theory that we can observer reality directly! In fact, what neuroscientists like David Hubel have shown is that with senses like vision, the light striking the retina is encoded into an electrical signal which the brain processes and constructs a model based on the patterns of light. This may explain how hallucinations works: Feedback from another part of the brain into the visual cortex that the brain interprets(and the mind perceives) as being an object that one is looking at even though it isn't actually there. And then there is something that was discovered in the 1960s by 2 German scientists which they called the bereitschiftspotential (http://en.wikipedia....chaftspotential) which as Dr Mark Hallet is the driving force behind the thing we perceive as agency (http://www.ncbi.nlm....les/PMC1950571/) While the mechanism of what we think of as volition have not been completely elucidated, the scientific evidence clearly is telling us that BRAINS MAKE MINDS AND THE ABILITY TO MAKE DECISIONS FREE FROM ANY CONSTRAINTS IS IMPOSSIBLE. Conclusion: free will is an illusion that does not actually exist.
  20. With regard to Objectivist music, I would say the ultimate objectivist band is Oingo Boingo, hands down.
  21. When I say vaporize in the context of nukes I mean that it transformed solid matter into plasma by knocking EVERY little one of those electrons out of their orbit and sent them flying off into space. Plasma is a gaseous state of matter consisting of atomic nuclei stripped of their electrons.
  22. Reediculous Nonsense! A nuke in the megaton range could do it in a *flash*. The 15 Megaton IVY MIKE test vaporized an entire islet several thousand feet long. A nuclear explosion on Earth(including an airburst) is mainly a fluid dynamics problem, a nuclear explosion in space is governed by radiation/plasma physics. Keep in mind D'kian that explosion generated shock waves are compressional waves, and so they require a medium to propagate of which outer space is decidedly lacking.
  23. Good point. But if the yield were large enough in proportion to the size of the asteroid, there would still be enough energy to vaporize it into a cloud of plasma. For instance, the IVY MIKE device, which was 15 Megatons and detonated on the ground, burned through enough earth to create a crater 1.8 miles wide and 200 feet deep. Its true that the momentum of the asteroid would result in a jet of fire. But the cool thing(no pun intended) about plasma is that since it's electrically charged and if the asteroid were vaporized within the Earth's magnetosheath the plasma cloud would be pulled towards the Earth and rain down on the Ionosphere making for a very pretty Aurora display! If the asteroid were hit far enough out in space that it was outside of the magnetosheath it would be swept away by the solar wind.
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