James Heaps-Nelson

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About James Heaps-Nelson

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    In transition
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    Psychology, Cognitive Science, subatomic physics, intellectual property, semiconductors, traditional Irish music, biotechnology

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    James Heaps-Nelson

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  1. LOL, Jonathan. Objectivism, even in the open form has lost its innovation. People keep huddling around the dying embers of things done in the 50's, 60's, 80's and 90's. Time to pour cold water on the campfire and start off in new directions. Jim
  2. From the great Atlantic Ocean to the wide Pacific shore... Jim
  3. jts, If it looks like a duck, it probably talks like a duck. It's a quack. Jim
  4. Thanks Bob, much better. Why is it that so many people want to avoid mathematical formalism? It makes things easier. Even if the subject is hard, there's no way to get around it. Jim
  5. Death Wish, Just use tensorial calculus and talk about what you are trying to do. It's not like it's only used in General Relativity. Tensor Matrices are extensively used in Materials Engineering and other technical disciplines. Trust me, plenty of people here can handle that kind of math more easily than a presentation of functional topology from first principles or maybe I'm not "highly advanced" enough, LOL. Jim
  6. He wrote a 140 PAGE document. Are you kidding me?? The video is just bizarre. There he is, in one of the nicest areas of the country, in a nice car. Instead of this, he could have done just about anything else. Some people are just wired wrong. Jim
  7. Brant, I don't think the problem for either Rand or Branden would be finding someone smarter, the problem would have been finding someone smarter in their work domains. Rand was contemporary with Einstein. Branden was contemporary with double Nobel Prize winner Frederick Sanger (developer of synthetic insulin and chain termination DNA sequencing). Almost everyone can find someone smarter. Einstein was a contemporary of J.W. Gibbs and John Von Neumann and was actually quite collaborative with the brilliant German mathematician David Hilbert. Jim
  8. Many more words than facts to go with them. Interesting enough, though. --Brant where's his laboratory? He's a professor at the University of Calgary and originally did a bunch of biochemistry work at the university of Pennsylvania.
  9. Brant, You might find this site interesting. Stuart Kauffman argues that autocatalytic activity led to the development of nucleic acids. Not a mainstream view, but Kauffman is a well-respected gadfly associated with the Santa Fe Institute. His book At Home in the Universe was interesting. I haven't yet had time to read Origins of Order. http://edge.org/conversation/the-adjacent-possible Jim
  10. Thanks for the links, Stephen. Interesting! Jim
  11. Ellen, I don't feel that way about David and this isn't a letdown for me. I think this is an opportunity. For induction we have to go back to Rand's basic question in IOE: what is cognition? Rand concerned herself with universals of cognition: concept formation, recognizing similarity and difference, measurement omission and abstraction. Induction involves some of these universal processes, but it also involves very individual processes such as visualization, pattern recognition and synthesis. All humans do these things to some degree, but the rich tapestries of induction by individuals are not merely the formalism of Mill's Methods or the validation of some particular inductive framework. I like Damasio's framework that thinking is a narrative of mental images. Induction involves manipulating and constructing these these mental images, combining them with existing concepts and coming up with new syntheses. It can't be captured in philosophy cleanly the way Rand captured deduction, abstraction and concept formation. The power of Rand's epistemological approach was that it captured aspects of what humans actually do cognitively. We need to do the same thing with induction, but it is a multidisciplinary process and differs widely from domain to domain. Jim
  12. The ironic thing is that a large majority of the environmental disasters have happened under socialism. Poverty beyond the stage of cave-dwelling is the ultimate cause for environmental damage. People that have money do something about air and water pollution and take safety safeguards that avoid Chernobyls. There are accidents in capitalist societies but they are not a permanent feature of the economic system. People that want to make a difference in the environment and not just talk about it will take their activism to China and India where the problems are. Jim
  13. I couldn't resist making a comment about the scientific controversy about which I know the least. Serves me right. One thing I do know is that is that if environmentalists are serious about reducing atmospheric CO2 levels, they would be pro-nuclear, pro-natural gas development and pro-GM crops. The cheap availability of natural gas means that there really shouldn't be a very big difference between the technologies championed by people on either side of the AGW debate. Jim
  14. Ellen, I probably should have worded it differently. McCaskey provided constructive feedback for the book in as mild a manner as possible. If that betrayed a fundamental disagreement with Peikoff, well that was because Peikoff is wrong :-). In any case, if you invite book criticism, you should be prepared that it might not be in line with what you expect. Jim