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Everything posted by Christopher

  1. I've always found it an absurd reduction to say that "kill kill kill" is a path towards valuing life. By that justification, we have a right to nuke New York if a criminal in New York would threaten our life as we walked out on the street. If there's no such thing as limits and no issues with collateral damage, we would be justified in nuking countries to kill individuals. And given that those who live "collaterally" in these countries would know we have this trait, they would be justified in pre-emptively nuking us. Stupid stupid stupid.
  2. Perhaps virtual property should not be considered similar to real-estate property, but it certainly can be exchanged just as any good can be. That exchange means that a price can be attributed to the product, and therefore the product has a market value for those interested. Thus, we're talking ownership of something that does exist. It exists within a system of shared meaning. A plot of virtual land, just like a brand name, is not valued based on objective characteristics - bits and letters are not the source of value, nor do they accurately capture the product's meaning in an exchange economy. Therefore, the question here seems to be whether Linden Lab guaranteed that virtual "property" is linked to the account and not borrowed by the account; and whether Linden Lab guaranteed or insinuated that Linden would retain responsibility for keeping the system active. My personal take given the nature of virtual accounts is that symbolic ownership is attached to the active account, but that the provider can cancel the entire system and be at most responsible only for terminating the costs of continued account renewal. Christopher
  3. Is this for real? I can't imagine any government official being so stupid and narrow-minded as to try to nationalize personal accounts in an effort to gain more liquidity for central government.
  4. Could be simply a matter of time in the evolution of dolphins. It was a matter of time with primates. Using one datum in such a complex system is reductionistic, and we should absolutely be including potentials. That, and I'm using my evolved imagination to picture other species, so my primate evolution contributes directly to the possibility of other developments. Take that!
  5. Well, I think the dolphin example suggests brains can get bigger even with relatively limb-less bodies. I could also imagine a snake beginning to use its body to achieve tasks by wrapping and squeezing things. Now, whether on another planet there are cold climates and it is necessary to hunt animals... that itself implies a system similar to Earth, and you cannot make that assumption. Perhaps just nosing things would be sufficient to release heat from plants that exist in the wild. And then we could even go further and ask whether the use of tools and fine motor skills is the primary contributor to brains, or if it is a socializing/cultural aspect that allows teamwork and carry-over of environmental knowledge. If teamwork, similar to dolphins and other primates, is a focal point for cognitive growth, then brains could evolve in just about anything. It is a tough pickle. But on other planets, they don't know what a pickle is. The question is, is it still tough for them without the pickle?
  6. The problem with assuming thumbs is that it assumes hands, and hands assume limbs, and limbs assume a full other development path that includes mammals and reptiles, etc. Counter that with dolphins being considered "relatively smart" compared to the rest of the animal kingdom but vastly different from humans, and I think we find a lot of space for variation in the evolution of cognition. That's not to say that opposable thumbs aren't a good way to approach the problem. I like the idea. I mean, we'd have to invent a whole new way of playing Nintendo if we didn't have thumbs!
  7. Are you neglecting the importance of the middle finger in human communication? Hrrmmmmmmm... ok, more seriously: the suggestion is that brain evolution follows the ability to use tools, so an alien blob which could operate stuff in an environment would also develop likewise. Therefore, it seems that thumbs are not the issue so-much as opportunity for utility-based interaction with the environment. That could come with anything (physical, etc.) that has high-resolution control.
  8. I've met a few other people who are intertwined with Branden's works, but I don't know that we ever got around to the topic of Objectivism. From my perspective, Objectivism is a complement to Branden's work. How did you come by Rand's non-fiction? Was it academic, intellectual, personal philosophy development..?
  9. I have never really had to question whether Objectivism applies to daily life. I may be the only one here, but I was introduced to Rand's work through NBranden's writings. My whole goal in learning Objectivism was to complement my self-development. I'm here to live fully, and my thinking is geared to that goal.
  10. Hi Todd, I joined this website without ever having met any group of Objectivists beforehand. What an open crowd this is! It gives me pleasure to be able to talk about ideas, to relate those ideas to life, and to be free from concern for "mainstream" Objectivist culture etiquette (which I didn't even know existed until I caught a few sniffs of it here and there being a member on OL for awhile). This is a place of ideas rather than Objectivism per se, and you may enjoy it.
  11. I just wanted to say that I really liked this post. I read it as achieving freedom from the guilt one feels for having power in the world. In the words of the comic strip: I am a shark, that's my nature, and I'm going embrace it! The title is what does it for me
  12. Yes, this was the quote I was referring to. Beautiful, isn't it.
  13. You bring up a very good point here. Literature offers a plethora of possibilities for extraterrestrial life; yet, those stories themselves are created from the human psyche and may symbolize aspects of the psyche that are totally unreasonable (e.g. warlike cultures, which incidently is similar to tribalism). Since we have never observed sentient life outside of humans (and evidence from a few human predecessors), it's difficult to imagine what we'll find. Figure out everything we can change about humans, then change it, and we're still limited by our ability to observe what could possibly be changed. For example, change the psychological disposition of humans to imagine another race, and that still assumes basic cognitive processes function similar but with different motives. In truth, we can't even imagine how another sentient creature might think, much less what its personality will be like. But of course, when taken to such an extreme, we can't have as fun conversations with our imaginations... or can we?
  14. Compared to what? It seems to me that human traits run the gamut here. You're assuming humans and all the traits unique to the environment and evolution of humans, including those seemingly-unrelated to cognitive development, should still be considered universal traits of all sentient creatures? That's a stretch
  15. Anyone who used their minds were certain about their behavior in those areas where they used them. Guilt caused some people to stop their minds in certain situations though, like Reardan with his family
  16. Mainly the whole reason I brought up the Native American thing was that I read a different article on the same subject perhaps different than intended, and it was my understanding that Hawking was talking about the cultural differences and not the tribal differences between societies that would be bad for humans. I just read the article you posted, and it suggests that Hawking's views are more along the lines of colonize/conquer. ... now the whole idea of tribalism and fearing/conquering outsiders itself is a very human trait. There's a reason humans don't have close intellectual relatives today (though humans co-existed with such species in the past)- they were likely wiped out by us. So I wonder what evidence there is to support the idea that any species which evolves to technologically-advanced degrees would be necessarily hostile.
  17. It sounds like this struck a nerve for you. Whatever the case, it is undeniable that in the last hundred years (in the last 50 years even), our civilization's ability on the whole to tolerate and adapt to multiculturalism is far beyond anything seen in the days of the Native Americans.
  18. It depends. True, technology doesn't follow ethical advancement on Earth at a high correlation, but there absolutely appears to be some correlation between advancements in one field and advancements in another. Additionally, to compare modern day humans to native American tribes is not really that accurate. The processes of thought by American Indians to culture and reasoning was not generalized to incorporate knowledge outside their belief structure (it was mono-cultural), whereas today we have emphasized cognitive development in science more than simple beliefs, and so there is an increased ability to adapt to foreign things. Whatever the case, he's just being dramatic.
  19. Equally awesome is Jon Stewart's 10-minute bashing of the Muslim fundamentalists who made the threat, and his concern for the network's actions to censor the SP episde.
  20. Thanks for posting the pronounciation. Sounds like a fencing parasite found in levees.
  21. This type of discipline is considered one of the most effective and healthy for a child. You are not actually introducing any negative stimuli into the discipline, so there are no explicit negative or damaging effects, but the removal of positive stimuli (e.g. videogames) is a very strong motivator for children to change their behavior.
  22. Now the question is, can you pronounce it properly? I wish I could read dictionary pronounciation terms. But actually, most people tell me when I pronounce a word wrong that I must be "well read" since it means I know the word well but I'm not familiar speaking it. Always a way to turn the situation to a win, I suppose.
  23. Is there a specific age-range that this starts, and is effective? This question is geared towards the achievement motive, but I'm sure that applied insufficiently, the power motive takes over? ~ Shane The only data I have is the following regarding achievement: At around potty-training age, kids begin to learn the achievement motive A child's achievement motivation at age six correlates to their achievement motivation in all later years through adulthood. At ages younger than six, their is no stable correlation. I know there is a lot of research that shows very early years of parent-child attachment significantly influences the child's later relational functioning, so I'm sure aggression at even the earliest ages leaves a lasting effect.
  24. Let's play with this for a moment. In societies/cultures, there are a number of societal roles, positions, pressures, and contraints. Various outlets within the society are therefore required to alleviate some of the stresses that individual members have. For example, drug and alcohol use exist precisely because they offer culturally-endowed means of escape despite their illegality. People naturally accept the use of alcohol as a means of alleviating stress. If a society has jails "bulging at the seems," this suggests that socio-cultural pressures result in individual members seeking relief from those pressures, and the relief itself is being heavily regulated so that people are almost forced into jails by the nature of the system. This is what we might have observed in Communist countries. So if the U.S. is having this problem, it suggests that U.S. culture is not sufficient for the general health of its members, yet laws are not situated to take this fact into account. For example, the U.S. has a very individualistic historically-unrooted culture, leaving many people with questions about their identity. Unfortunately, perhaps the U.S. does not provide sufficient freedoms to uphold its assertion of individualism. "You are all individuals, you are who you make yourself to be today, you don't need a culture.... Oh yeah, and by the way, we have a number of laws against sex and alcohol and drugs and marriage that derive from Catholicism and have nothing to do with individualism. Anyway, good luck!"