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MonDie last won the day on June 6 2013

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About MonDie

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    Formerly "Mondays Assignment: Die"

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  1. I think I just experienced anti-Bent prejudice. Do not listen to Bent in public. As for me, maybe I will move to Australia since this place seems to be opposite land and getting worse. both long, long-time favorites
  2. This is all very speculative, but here it goes. Incidentally, religious people tend to have more offspring. I suspect that this is the work of oxytocin, which has an important role in reproductive behavior and has been suggested to have a role in religious behavior. As it turns out, administering oxytocin improves the ability to read faces, and oxytocin may treat the social deficits that are present in autism and may be largely responsible for their diminished religious behavior (see, Mentalizing Deficits Constrain Belief in a Personal God). There are two competing brain networks, the Default Mode Network (DMN) and the Executive Attention Network (EAN) that have been implicated by research showing that social problem-solving actually activates the DMN rather than the EAN (see, Social and Menchanical Reasoning Inhibit Eachother, PsychologyToday). This could explain, for example, why atheists have a higher average IQ even though their social skills are probably less. .. and their children fewer.
  3. ^ The humpback whales and killer whales are both members of Order Artiodactyla, infraorder Cetacea whereas pinnipeds (seals) are members of order Carnivora. The humpback stole a perfectly good meal from his Cetacean friends... err, niche stealing competitors.
  4. I am looking for a quantification of my knowledge of college subjects that I could put on a resume, and preferably something that is free. It could supplement my course grades, and especially so if I continued to maintain that knowledge or never took that particular course. Thank you for your help! There are the CLEP exams on Collegeboard, but they cost $80. Regarding computer science, I would think that the Linux community, being open-source, would have plenty of people willing to create free Linux tests.
  5. Indeed, I was/am on "blowout" and the albums were on loop because of insufficient funds. Run, run, ru-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-un!
  6. The music is dead. "Let the good times end tonight," she coughed out as the stereo returned to whence it came . She has a mind of her own, this steely-eyed ship of mine.
  7. The researchers mention "mental openness", which could refer to the Openness To Experience factor of the widely validated Five-factor Model of human personality. Openness has a mixed relationship with religiosity. That is, many studies have found a relationship, but the relationship can go either way depending on your sample. This table provides further information for each "facet". Table 2 of Five-Factor Model Personality Traits, Spirituality/Religiousness, and Mental health Among People Living With HIV Interestingly enough, the religious scored lowest for the values and actions facets of Openness rather than the ideas facet. I thought this suggested that religiously closed people are actually resistant to changes in their values rather than changes in their ideas about reality.
  8. Can you explain this? We do not perceive the boundary between our own minds and other minds (call it the mind-gap), and yet a boundary clearly exists otherwise we could experience eachother's mental states. Imagine Comey, who is blind and deaf and sees only hallucinations. Comey still see colors and hears sounds, but they appear random to him. The hallucinations are actually caused by external phenomena, but Comey will likely never realize this. Despite possessing all the basic qualia, Comey has no reason to think there is a mind-gap nor even that anything else exists other than his own mind. This is the case because the mind-gap is not something we experience directly; the mind-gap is inferred in the same way that your laptop and the room around you are inferred from the more basic experiences of color and visual field, pitch and timbre, time, etc. This means that the mind-gap is not mental/intuitive, like colors and sounds, but physical/inferred, like your laptop and the room around you. Even though it clearly exists, the mind-gap is not experience by anyone and therefore is not a mental phenomenon, and the implication is that something other than mind causes it, or more concisely, causes there to be both mental things and non-mental things (instead of only one and not the other). Therefore mind is not emergent, but caused.
  9. The posts about Christian intelligence are difficult to follow and not exactly on-topic. There are many of us who fall somewhere inbetween those who are dogmatically, exclusively, either/or religious and those who dismiss anything remotely spiritual-like as if current science = current knowledge = knowledge of everything.
  10. I was not defining metaethics. Metaethics includes but is not limited to rational reasons for favoring impartial motives over self-serving motives, for such contemplations are one possible origin of ethical thought among other possible origins such as the self-serving usefulness of conforming within and benefiting from a cooperating society. I suppose that these two origins would result in separate ethical theories that would conflict at times, leaving the word "ethical" ambiguous in a way that will only become apparent from certain special cases. For the purposes of the opening post, being ethical means having a universal preference for impartial behavior rooted in the rational superiority of impartial decision-making to selfish or instinctual decision-making.
  11. I never studied much philosophy, but I have thought about metaethics and religion quite a bit. Evaluating theism seems to require a predictive model of the behavior of the god, and such a model is difficult to fathom since a god is a mind and we tend to consider minds more whimsical than natural forces. This is where metaethics comes in. Ethics is concerned with what is ethical whereas metaethics seems more concerned with why one ought to be ethical. Some metaethicists argue that ethical behavior is rational, that the ethical choice is the objectively better choice in a way that we can grasp rationally. This presents a problem for theism if the god has to be ethical too, for this might imply a different kind of world than ours, e.g. a world without suffering. This argument is particularly easy to mount when the god is assumed to be all-powerful and all-knowing, but it is similarly relevant to others scenarios such as the simulation hypothesis. Incidentally, the ethicist's situation is especially apt for addressing the purported function of theism: to regulate the ethical behavior of humans. This argument does not just bind the god to particular actions, it binds us humans to particular actions too. If ethical behavior is rational, then we can only be unethical through weakness of will or stupidity. If Ethan decides that sadism is rational after all, then he has to acknowledge that there might be a god after all, a sadistic god who knows that sadism is no better or worse than benevolence. As a believer, Ethan may or may not believe that the god will punish his sadism, but Ethan can only return to atheism by rejecting sadism as irrational and striving to overcome his sadistic urges. A rejection of sadism would certainly be implied by any form of ethical hedonism such as the sort of utilitarianism endorsed by Peter Singer. As it turns out, this metaethical theory can be defended as rationally superior to rational egosim, or self-serving behavior, by criticizing the distinction of self vs others. Not having read the book, I am nonetheless aware that Sam Harris describes something similar in his book The Moral Landscape.
  12. The simulation argument assumes that logic still applies in the world of our creators. I can see a problem insofar as our creators might not be conscious, for my reasoning is psychological: the only impetus for doing anything, including running simulations, is that it is the "better" decision, with "better" referring to the quality of the resultant state of mind. Our creators might function according to natural principles too, but there is no apparent contradiction there. Perhaps the bigger problem is that our creators might be operating solely according to natural principles and without consciousness. We can fathom a simulation without consciousness, so why not a creator without consciousness? Without consciousness of the creator guaranteed, we have two additional questions. How frequent is consciousness among the simulation-creators, and what is the average number of creators, or layers, since there may be simulations within simulations. Somebody please correct me if this is not appropriate discussion for a thread in the Physics subforum.
  13. Are you sure you mean emergence and not causation? Emergence does not involve lower order phenomena causing higher order phenomena: the lower and higher order phenomena exist simultaneously and inextricably. This is not causation! A change in the micro does not cause a change in the macro; the micro and macro are different ways of describing on the same change. There is clearly something more fundamental causing there to be mind or else there could not be multiple, isolated minds. So how is this a question of emergence? In fact, we see emergence within our own minds. Our minds experience numbers and words that emerge from colors, and ideas that emerge from simpler ideas. To have something mindless, you need something else other than mind, and that something is causing mind.
  14. ^ That is where I think you are dead wrong. I do not want to chop up Stanford's Encyclopedia too much, but the SFN etiquette guide says that everyone should be able to participate without following links. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Egoism "Psychological egoism claims that each person has but one ultimate aim: her own welfare. This allows for action that fails to maximize perceived self-interest, but rules out the sort of behavior psychological egoists like to target — such as altruistic behavior or motivation by thoughts of duty alone. It allows for weakness of will, since in weakness of will cases I am still aiming at my own welfare; I am weak in that I do not act as I aim. And it allows for aiming at things other than one's welfare, such as helping others, where these things are a means to one's welfare." "[...] Say a soldier throws himself on a grenade to prevent others from being killed. It does not seem that the soldier is pursuing his perceived self-interest. It is plausible that, if asked, the soldier would have said that he threw himself on the grenade because he wanted to save the lives of others or because it was his duty. He would deny as ridiculous the claim that he acted in his self-interest. The psychological egoist might reply that the soldier is lying or self-deceived. Perhaps he threw himself on the grenade because he could not bear to live with himself afterwards if he did not do so. He has a better life, in terms of welfare, by avoiding years of guilt. The main problem here is that while this is a possible account of some cases, there is no reason to think it covers all cases. Another problem is that guilt may presuppose that the soldier has a non-self-regarding desire for doing what he takes to be right." "[...] Empathy might cause an unpleasant experience that subjects believe they can stop by helping; or subjects might think failing to help in cases of high empathy is more likely to lead to punishment by others, or that helping here is more likely to be rewarded by others; or subjects might think this about self-administered punishment or reward. In an ingenious series of experiments, Batson compared the egoistic hypotheses, one by one, against the altruistic hypothesis. He found that the altruistic hypothesis always made superior predictions. [...]" "Rational egoism claims that it is necessary and sufficient for an action to be rational that it maximize one's self-interest. [...] "In a much-quoted passage, Sidgwick claimed that rational egoism is not arbitrary: "It would be contrary to Common Sense to deny that the distinction between any one individual and any other is real and fundamental, and that consequently 'I' am concerned with the quality of my existence as an individual in a sense, fundamentally important, in which I am not concerned with the quality of the existence of other individuals: and this being so, I do not see how it can be proved that this distinction is not to be taken as fundamental in determining the ultimate end of rational action for an individual” (Sidgwick 1907, 498). This can be interpreted in various ways (Shaver 1999, 82–98)." "Finally, Sidgwick might be claiming that my point of view, like an impartial point of view, is non-arbitrary. But there are other points of view, such as that of my species, family or country. [...] And if my being an individual is important, this cuts against the importance of taking up an impartial point of view just as it cuts against the importance of taking up the point of view of various groups. Similarly, if the impartial point of view is defended as non-arbitrary because it makes no distinctions, both the point of view of various groups and my individual point of view are suspect." "[...] Suppose also that, looking back from the end of my life, I will have maximized my welfare by contributing now to the pension. Rational egoism requires that I contribute now. The present-aim theory does not. It claims that my reasons are relative not only to who has a desire — me rather than someone else — but also to when the desire is held — now rather than in the past or future. The obvious justification an egoist could offer for not caring about time — that one should care only about the amount of good produced — is suicidal, since that should lead one not to care about who receives the good. [...]" "Second, rational egoism might be challenged by some views of personal identity. Say half of my brain will be transplanted to another body A. My old body will be destroyed. A will have my memories, traits, and goals. It seems reasonable for me to care specially about A, and indeed to say that A is identical to me. Now say half of my brain will go in B and half in C. Again B and C will have my memories, traits, and goals. It seems reasonable for me to care specially about B and C. But B and C cannot be identical to me, since they are not identical to one another (they go on to live different lives). So the ground of my care is not identity, but rather the psychological connections through memories, etc. Even in the case of A, what grounds my care are these connections, not identity: my relation to A is the same as my relation to B (or C), so what grounds my care about A grounds my care about B (or C) — and that cannot be identity. (To make the point in a different way — I would not take steps to ensure that only one of B and C come about.) If so, I need not care specially about some of my future selves, since they will not have these connections to me. And I do have reason to care specially about other people who bear these connections to me now."
  15. We could propose our best candidates for both negative effects and positive effects, then debate which effects, the positives or negatives, are easier to establish or longer reaching.