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Michael McMahon

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Michael McMahon last won the day on October 4 2020

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  1. Civilians in war time might join the army of the aggressor to engage in evil actions. Yet during peacetime there'll only be a minuscule fraction of the population that will engage in criminal violence. So there must a small segment of the population in the average country who'll ordinarily be cooperative and law-abiding despite being a slightly amoral. However if they felt they'd get away with it as they might during a victorious war then they might be tempted to engage in evil. I think this shows that people good and bad are guided by the same evolutionary instincts to avoid doing wrong in case of punishment. Even if someone has an immoral mindset and wanted to commit a crime they still might think it's not worth the risk. This example is doesn't support general deterrence because that's about warning other criminals rather than the individual who actually perpetrated whatever crime is in question. It may however show that some slight element of punishment can ward off malevolent intentions from apathetic individuals. Our subconscious human psychology evolved over millennia and so we're hardwired to be wary of retaliation. If we removed punishment altogether as an option for criminal rehabilitation then it might not change our evolved cost-benefit analysis of committing crime immediately but after a long period of time it might eventually lead to sinister individuals being habituated into thinking they can afford to commit crimes. For instance if I were to hypothetically think about carrying out a random assault on the street then I'd simply automatically assume there'd be repercussions in jail time even if I knew nothing about the current jail time statistics for assault. Contrastingly if I somehow felt there'd be no real consequences and for whatever reason I wanted to hit a particular somebody then it might result in people actually accepting the risk to act cunningly and selfishly. Just as some people are truly immoral and deliberately evil, other people will be truly amoral in not being bothered at all whether they do good or bad. Individual deterrence is compatible with rehabilitation because amoral people can be deterred from committing crime due not only to negative incentives like confinement but also to positive incentives such as the gratefulness a criminal might feel from being forgiven, opportunities in both their career and personal growth achieved from education, or finding spiritual and familial well-being in doing good. Individual deterrence might not always prevent immorality since people might evade capture but it might reduce lazy amorality to a relatively greater extent. "If you call someone immoral, you are saying that person knows better. If you call him amoral, you are saying that person does wrong but doesn't understand that it is wrong. It can be a fine line, other times it's clear: If a giant wave turns your boat over, that wave isn't being mean, it's amoral. If another boat rams into you and does the same thing, that is an immoral act, especially if the immoral captain laughs instead of helping you out of the water." (vocabulary) Wiki: "Individual deterrence is the aim of punishment to discourage the offender from criminal acts in the future. The belief is that when punished, offenders recognise the unpleasant consequences of their actions on themselves and will change their behaviour accordingly. General deterrence is the intention to deter the general public from committing crime by punishing those who do offend. When an offender is punished by, for example, being sent to prison, a clear message is sent to the rest of society that behaviour of this sort will result in an unpleasant response from the criminal justice system. Most people do not want to end up in prison and so they are deterred from committing crimes that might be punished that way." Habituation: "the diminishing of an innate response to a frequently repeated stimulus."
  2. https://news.sky.com/story/kate-handles-tarantula-and-bird-as-she-and-prince-william-meet-student-nurses-who-stepped-up-during-pandemic-in-northern-ireland-12421340 This puts us in an awkward position. If Kate Middleton can do it then we'll all have to do it! I suppose if there's an initial fear as you go to pick up the spider then the your stress will spiral upwards due to cognitive dissonance and you won't feel up to following it through. If your trepidation level is below a certain threshold then you might be able to withstand the anxiety even if it increases as you pick it up. I remember kayaking with my cousin and we were about to dive off a pier into the water in the harbour. I felt hesitant and told him that evolution didn't favour people who like to jump off high things. Anyway I jumped in but he was laughing about my statement for a long time afterwards. Likewise maybe our instinctive impulse is telling us to be slightly wary of weird, unexpected creatures and to habitually, passively avoid them without actually forcing us to do so. That is to say we can overcome a mild, natural disinclination whenever we need to. In my diving analogy our ancestors probably didn't need to do much risky diving but of course it'd sometimes have been evolutionarily advantageous such as when they needed to escape from a threat or manoeuvre across territory in order to migrate. So evolution is full of competing demands that could contradict our natural emotional state. When we come back to the topic of spiders we can say that being fearless against insects and discerning towards which ones were and weren't poisonous would've been a helpful trait if you needed to camp outside for example. Thus you wouldn't have to waste energy fretting about an innocuous species of spider close by.
  3. "Interestingly, almost all (95.3 percent) of the participants stated that men were more likely to be creepy than women. Participants rated the following as the most likely characteristics of a creepy person: The person had unkempt hair. The person had very pale skin. The person was dressed oddly." - ideas ted com I've acquired a slight sun tan so I think I'm in the clear and hopefully no one will notice any other of these characteristics in me.
  4. Yes that's fine and I won't post about it again. (Just to backtrack a little I didn't mean atheism or theism were sources of depression as both groups are perfectly happy; merely that being confused might add to someone's uncertainty.) Yes I wasn't trying to imply there weren't depressed atheists; just that there are also many happy atheists. (I'm not extending the debate on theism/atheism and am only clarifying a misunderstanding in a previous post. I didn't add any new information.)
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=be7MVQ0uaWs Father Ted - Shaft - Radiohead Atheists might try to counteract death anxiety by always engaging in mindfulness so as to concentrate on the present moment and not long-term death. Atheists aren't depressed in the way that they're able to view death as a meaningful incentive to live their life to the fullest. Some theists believe in heaven while others believe in reincarnation or else a combination of both heaven and reincarnation. Others adopt a myriad of tactics such as surrounding yourself with friends, fulfilling life ambitions or material pursuits in order to concentrate fully on them and distract their attention away from worrying about death. Yet another method is to decide to think about death only when your death is imminent where you'll be at your most attentive stage. One more approach is to passively accept whatever happens in a wait-and-see manner which might be used by agnostics. But if you spent too long contemplating eternal oblivion without having any personal strategy to overcome it then that might also lead to fear or depression. What happens after death is beyond our control and we're powerless to to stop or alter the outcome. Therefore spiralling death anxiety that gets worse and worse could ironically lead suicidal ideation if you approach death pessimistically. If you view death as meaningless then unfortunately it might lead you to think that life is meaningless. Although there are lots of other unrelated sources of depression.
  6. I agree that a person who has a terminal condition isn't delusional if they're suicidal. But I'm not sure in such circumstances should we label their specific suicidal ideation as depression seeing as the primary source of their pain is physical deterioration. Or else should we use the term depression to simply describe all people's suicidal ideation irrespective of other unique factors? For example its possible for someone with a debilitating condition to be suicidal out of extreme body aches rather than finding their life meaningless. That is to say if their physical condition improved they'd no longer be suicidal in this hypothetical example. Maybe it's most accurate to say that such a person's suicidal ideation arises from a combination of different reasons. Perhaps the confusion is that despair (such as a poor prognosis of a progressive disease) and depression (as in finding your existential purpose absurd) are closely related but non-identical adjectives that frequently co-occur in certain patients. I'd concur with that assessment. I think depression doesn't have to be related to a person's particular faith or the strength of their belief in God. Nor does depression have to be related to atheism or other metaphysical issues. Maybe sometimes it is and other times not. It might occur solely out of the unpredictability of our emotions as caused by the reasons mentioned: It may even be caused by relationship or work issues rather than spiritual concerns: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/france-chef-michelin-withdrawal-scli-intl/index.html Just like paranoia it might be possible to think that God is against you in terms of the problem of evil and the theodicy of victimisation or else that the impersonal universe is uncaring and unhelpful towards you: "Dystheists may themselves be theists or atheists, and in the case of either, concerning the nature of the Abrahamic God, will assert that God is not good, and is possibly, although not necessarily, malevolent." (Wiki)
  7. One way to build up your resistance to arachnophobia might be to start small and habituate yourself to more innocuous looking insects beforehand. Indeed the attached images makes me look somewhat timid compared to those who can handle spiders and snakes in their hands! If you can touch a snail's shell then you can try increasing your confidence by touching their slimy body. A ladybird looks endearing even though they're a real insect when they open their stylish wings.
  8. https://www.google.ie/amp/s/ancailinrua.com/2014/01/03/donal-walsh-and-suicide-whats-missing-from-the-debate-and-where-do-we-go-from-here/amp/ Maybe if you’ve a personal relationship with the patient where you know the advice will be well-received then it might not be a bad attitude. Expressing a cheerfully optimistic and mischievously stoic sentiment to overcome your difficulties could help if it was in a very friendly context. But in my opinion the risk is that it depends on the tone of the statement. It might be misunderstood in a busy environment with innumerable interactions between staff and patients. Remember there are countless psychiatric hospitals and patients in any country. Adopting this confident mindset as official policy could create an unnecessarily tense or awkward atmosphere in certain situations.
  9. Yes that’s true. That species looks mysterious and intriguing. Although if I met one of them dancing on the footpath where there was pulsating trance vibes in the background, then I might find the brainwashing music creepy but not the spider!
  10. Wow that’s inspiring how you recovered from encountering such a huge species of spider. I’d almost be tempted to avoid countries like Brazil and Australia in case I meet their ginormous insects! But if I’d a free ticket I’d still go for the sun and scenery! Maybe there are traces of critical periods where being familiar with such insects from a young age can lessen fear.
  11. That’s interesting. Maybe seeing other people being unafraid of spiders can be reassuring. Although the image below unsettles me. It’s ironic given that the big spiders are sometimes harmless compared to the poisonous bites of smaller ones. Yet the fact it’s bigger than a hamster immediately and subconsciously makes me compare the spider to a small mammal. I’m accustomed to viewing pets like hamsters as marginally sensory though in a non-rational, pain-free and non-memorising way. Increasing the scales of an average spider by a few dozen is disconcerting because it’s no longer fly-like and I’ve to momentarily reassess the insect. The weirdness of the insect compared to the shape of a little mammal potentially creates cognitive dissonance. Maybe I could view a hamster as thoroughly insentient to minimise my aversion to similar sized insects! Although then it’d be difficult to understand a spectrum of awareness from a hamster to a rabbit and so forth. I’ve seen mice and even rats on forest trails without them bothering me. Rats may have dangerous micro-organisms as seen during medieval times in the bubonic plague. Perhaps that could be another factor of our hesitation towards spiders and snakes where our evolved immune system might unconsciously bias us against unusual creatures. Personally I’m not creeped out much by rats. But I can understand how the contrast within a rat’s morphology is strange. Some of the rat resembles a harmless hamster while the elongated tail is like a worm or a little snake. The problem is there’s quite a gulf between our interpretation of whatever life is in a hamster and a worm.
  12. Some criticism of suicide is generalised. It includes other confusing issues that aren't directly relevant towards voluntary self-initiated suicide itself. Therefore we've to disentangle each topic. Firstly there's the allegation that vulnerable people could be pressured by ill-intentioned people into suicide. The trouble I have with this argument is that mental health services extend beyond those with severe mental illnesses. Therefore any disabled or elderly person that was hypothetically being bullied into suicide would be equally entitled to attend counselling services. Psychologists can obviously work with mental health difficulties arising in both able-bodied and disabled people. Secondly assisted-suicide and euthanasia are separate to the debate on suicide itself. What I will say is that assisted suicide actually reminds me of self-defence policy more than euthanasia. For example, knives and guns are banned in hospitals for security reasons rather than solely suicide prevention. Therefore providing someone with a weapon for suicide which is legal to own at home isn't the same as euthanasia. After all the person is always free not to use the weapon on themselves. Therefore the difference between assisted suicide and self-suicide appears to be just the availability of lethal instruments. One might argue that taking lethal medication is quicker and less intimidating than other forms of suicide. Although all death is equally painful and really the different methods of suicide are just variations on the spectrum of pain intensity and duration. I can only guess that a quick death will be momentarily excruciating while a slow death is less severe but more prolonged. The only possible risk I can think of with assisted suicide is one of tone where a person wasn't sufficiently encouraged to live. However this is subjective and dependent on the patient's specific personal situation and of those around them. I don't see a slippery slope with assisted suicide because the patient is free not to use the weapon as I've said previously. I'm not necessarily advocating assisted suicide and my initial post was about suicide prevention. Perhaps a caveat I might have with euthanasia is that the mind and subconscious might have ways to slowly adapt to extreme physical impairment. So in my opinion a baby born with severe disability or a non-verbal patient can't really automatically be said to be in unbearable pain. Besides that point I'm a bit unsure at the moment and am neither advocating euthanasia nor particularly opposed to voluntary forms of euthanasia. https://www.government.nl/topics/euthanasia/euthanasia-and-newborn-infants Just to mention that the assisted suicide debate might be germane to patients who are fully decided on suicide while euthanasia is often discussed in the context of paralysis where the person has physical difficulty with the action of suicide.
  13. Supposedly it would be harder to move with 8 legs than 4. They’re moving chaotically while arachnophobes might misinterpret their motion as if they were moving intentionally. We mistakenly think it takes more conscious willpower for a spider to move than a quadruped when in reality they’re moving deterministically and automatically. That mismatch might create a creepy vibe.
  14. I’m not disputing a functional fear of venomous insects. Humans originated in Africa and then migrated around the globe. Spiders are poisonous in southern Africa. The Sahara has dangerous vipers and cobras. So perhaps a fear of them is ingrained through primordial human evolution. Yet spiders and snakes have been harmless for millennia in temperate climate zones like Ireland where there are no snakes. So over time the initial physical, defensive fear has morphed into a creepy vibe. We can get angry if a pet dog bites and hit back in deterrence yet we don’t have the same frustrated sensation with insects. Hence a survivable insect bite could still induce a disproportionate amount of stress.
  15. “Overall, schizophrenia is about 3.6 times as common among people with autism as it is in controls, the researchers found.” https://www.spectrumnews.org/news/schizophrenia-prevalence-may-threefold-higher-people-autism/ Some symptoms of schizophrenia: “Delusions. Hallucinations. Disorganized thinking (speech). Extremely disorganized or abnormal motor behavior. Negative symptoms.” Some symptoms of autism: Abnormal Tone of Voice Avoidance of Eye Contact or Poor Eye Contact Behavioral Disturbances Deficits in Language Comprehension Inappropriate Social Interaction Intense Focus on One Topic Lack of Empathy Problems With Two-Way Conversation Repeating Words or Phrases I notice that the symptoms of schizophrenia are superficially the opposite of autism; as if they were at opposing ends of a spectrum. For example the disorganised thinking style in schizophrenia contrasts with the obsessive and intense focus in autism. A complex word salad is wholly different to repeating simple words and phrases. I’m wondering if autism has a lowered understanding of mental empathy then is it like schizophrenia has an excess of that empathy? It might be as if a schizophrenic patient can project their mind too easily on their environment and attach themselves to strange beliefs. So then it’d be understandable that variations in that spectrum would result in hybrid symptoms like the link above. I’m not an expert so I don’t know. I understand empathy in this medical sense is all about a self-aware theory of mind and not the usual sense of the word concerning the morality of someone’s behaviour.
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