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dstebbins

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Everything posted by dstebbins

  1. I recently came across a theory from neurologists that the human brain is basically a computer. Basically, the techniques currently used by computer scientists to develop pattern-recognition artificial intelligence like on the game show contestant computer "Watson" just happen to be the same structure that evolution naturally gravitated towards when making the human brain. But something still bugs me. If our brains are just computers, shouldn't we naturally favor numbers in our everyday lives? And yes, sometimes we do prefer numbers ... when it's easy. For example, when we're trying to tell time, we usually assign a time based on a certain number of minutes and hours, and whether it's AM or PM. We also use a number to state what year it is because its easier to do that than to try and assign a unique name to each year. But if we're just computers, shouldn't we favor numbers in many more aspects of our daily lives? For example, continuing the example of dates & times, we prefer to assign names to our days of the week and our months. We don't go to school/work on Days 2-6 of the week; we go to school & work on Monday through Friday. We are not currently in "Month #3;" we are currently in "March." This is in stark contrast to computers, which are only saying things like "March" and "Tuesday" because it is translated the numbers for our convenience. Every day, it adds +1 to the "day counter," until it reaches 7, and then loops back to 1, and then spits out whatever word it is told to spit out corresponding to that day. On Day 4, if you tell the computer to translate it as "Banana," rather than "Wednesday," it will do so without a second thought. Then there's the art of navigation. GPS navigation tools prefer to use post office-esque numbers. Even the people working the post office will prefer the use of their numerical addresses. However, that's because they're servicing the whole city, in a systematic manner. For everyday people, we usually prefer to navigate based on "turn left when I reach the yellow house with the blue slanted roof." When navigating based on landmarks, we usually group them according to shape, size, and color. These traits can usually be precisely quantified if we try hard enough. The size can be measured in meters across three dimensions; the shape can be measured by how many degrees the angles are; the color corresponds to a particular wavelength/frequency combination on the electromagnetic spectrum. Yes, those traits can be quantified, but we almost never do. We aren't thinking about any of that when we're driving! Keeping track of how fast we're going is all the numbers we tend to care about when we're navigating! This is in stark contrast with GPS technology, which prefers the use of numbers, calculating exactly how many feet we've traveled forward and at what lattitude-longitude coordinates you should make either a +90 degree or -90 degree turn, and simply tells us to turn left or right at designated spots. Again, it's being translated (or, in this case, simplified) for our benefit, whereas we tend to think of them in non-quantitative terms in the first instance. So if our brains are just computers, shouldn't our brains naturally function like computers?
  2. I'm having the strangest problem with my kitchen sink ... one that seems to defy the laws of physics! My pipes are clogged. Normally, I can take the pipes apart by unscrewing them and simply scooping out the crud in the pipes with a spoon. But this time, the clog seems to be so far down that I can't reach it. I've tried liquid clog remover, but that doesn't work. But here's the weirdest part: If I put water in my sink, it will take about 10 minutes to go down the drain. That's slow, but at least it gets the job done. But when I took the pipes apart to attempt (in vein) to scoop out the crud, I noticed that the water in the bottom pipe (the only pipe I can't unscrew) just doesn't want to go down. At all. I can leave it there overnight, and the water in the bottom pipe is still there! Now that's the part I don't get! If the clog is so strong that the water doesn't drain at all, then how can the top water still drain? If anything, shouldn't the weight of the top water press down on the bottom water and push it through? After all, that's how water towers work! http://mentalfloss.com/article/64577/how-do-water-towers-work But the water in the top pipe still drains ... slowly, but still drains ... while the bottom pipe is totally clogged! If anything, shouldn't it be the other way around?! The top water still has to go through the bottom pipe, and if there's a veeeeery small opening in the clog, then shouldn't the bottom water also slowly seep down too? Or is this just magical flying water? I'm about to call my landlord for help. But this is weird! Does anyone have an explanation as to how this could possibly be happening?
  3. No, that's when you hold someone to a different standard than you hold yourself, and/or when you try to criticize someone of having a flaw that you have yourself without realizing that you have it (like in the Bible verse Matthew 7:5 "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye"). Like a father holding a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other telling his kid not to drink and smoke. The fallacy I'm thinking of is when the father, met with an accusation that he's an alcoholic, decides he's going to prove you wrong by getting royally plastered. I'm not talking about drinking out of depression over being met with this accusation; I'm talking about drinking alcohol with the specific purpose of refuting the accusation that he's a drunkard.
  4. I'm currently thinking of a fallacy where a person - usually angered by an accusation they believe is false - attempt to retaliate against their accuser by engaging in the very acts which prove the accusations true. To fit this criteria, the accused person cannot merely act in a dishonorable way. Rather, he must engage in the very specific actions which landed this accusation in the first place. For example, suppose a man is accused of being violent. Enraged at this accusation, he then proceeds to beat the crap out of his accuser until that accuser withdraws his statement. Alternatively, suppose a man who believes he is being persecuted by corrupt government goes to a local government office who specializes in providing vocational rehabilitation. They fear he might be impossible to work with due to his "delusional" beliefs of persecution, and so they refuse him any aid, effectively giving him even more ammunition. Or how about this example? One that's actually happening in the real world! http://thefreethoughtproject.com/judicial-retaliation-news-publisher/ This judge is met with accusations of corruption. She believes these accusations to be false and completely libelous. So, she reacts by ... shutting down freedom of the press! Or how about this story, which is almost identical, except replace "freedom of the press" with "freedom of speech?" http://www.wnd.com/2015/07/protest-judicial-corruption-go-to-jail/ You could also suggest that those who support the death penalty are guilty of this fallacy. "Wait a minute ... you're saying we should teach people not to kill by ... killing?" Of all the variations of this logical fallacy, there's always an extra, unspoken bit of irony about these fallacies: The people subject to them (the accused, not the accusers who are victimized by the fallacy) usually don't even realize that they're engaging in this fallacy! I mean ... newspapers can't be allowed to say just whatever they want about anybody they want! Libel has always been illegal! The First Amendment was never intended to be absolute, right? So, it only makes sense that the reporter should be punished, if indeed he were pulling these accusations entirely out of his butt, right? So, what is this fallacy called? Where you A) attempt to refute accusations B) by engaging in the very conduct that proves these accusations true, and C) often (though not necessarily) don't even realize the fallacious nature of their logic your until it's spelled out for you.
  5. I'm taking a summer class right now. It's English Composition II, and I just today got an assignment to do a 900-1000 word explication on the poem "Conversation" by Florence Anthony (pen name: AI). Here is an exact copy of the poem that appears in my textbook: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/42541 However, I should point out that, in my textbook, there is a double-space between the lines "and just by accident," and "so inconsequential you barely notice it," suggesting that there are two stanzas. This is important because noticing the stanza breaks is important to my explication. This is the only stanza break in the textbook. We aren't going to class on Friday, and it's due on Monday. This means that I won't have an opportunity to ask my instructor for advice. Besides, she has previously refused to advise me on previous homework assignments, saying that it would be "unfair" to the other students. So, I was hoping you guys could take a look at the explication I've drafted, and see if you could offer any suggestions for improvements. I am only including the Title and Body, so I don't give away personal information. Just trust me when I say that I'll have all the names, dates, etc. when I turn it in. Please be general in your suggestions. If you made specific corrections, and I took them, then I'd be plagiarizing your work. It is imperative that you let me do the elbow grease on this assignment and only offer me basic tips. Quite frankly, the only reason I'm asking is because ... I'm not certain if I even understand the difference between "explication" and "analysis." I might be giving an analysis and not knowing it. Explication Body.doc
  6. Back in grade school, I remember learning about some property substances have that requires a certain amount of kinetic energy to increase that object's temperature by a certain number of degrees. For example, a tire iron that's been baking in the sun all day will probably be too hot to pick up with your bear hands. However, an object that has rubber or wood as a handle (such as a shovel) can still be picked up, even though it's been absorbing just as much sunlight as the tire iron. This is because iron has a much smaller _____________________ than wood does: It takes a less kinetic energy to increase iron's temperature than wood. What is this property called? Can someone fill in the blank for me, and also provide me the equation for how I can calculate this quality?
  7. Well, couldn't the same be said about soldiers in the army? Most of them accept war as a necessary evil if they want to protect the nation, but they still get PTSD from killing. PTSD is rooted in the sub-conscious. Telling your conscious self that it has to be done doesn't help.
  8. Do they really need to speak openly about it? Therapists are trained to notice the symptoms of anxiety and trauma. Criminals can often hide evidence and feign ignorance, but unlike criminals, trauma patients are rarely A) aware of their disorder, B) want to hide it, C) know the signs, and D) are good enough at acting that they can supress traumatic outbursts without even so much as an eyebrow twitch. Therapists are really good at giving verbal and visual stimuli to patients in order to involuntarily and subconsciously trigger symptoms in suffering patients. It's a lot harder for you to hide evidence of trauma from a doctor than it is to hide evidence of murder from cops.
  9. I know a lot of "necessary evil" occupations have high rates of depression, anxiety, and various other forms of trauma. Solder in the military is, hands down, the most common example. Firefighters are also at very high risk for anxiety, as are cops. Therapists and lawyers often suffer from "compassion fatigue." I just saw a WhatCulture video about strange last meal requests, and that prompted me to go and watch some death row documentaries on Youtube. I tried to picture myself as an executioner. It's my job to hold one of those five rifles and pull the trigger. It's my job to flip the switch to pump the poison gas into the chamber. I wonder how I would feel if that's what I had to do to put food on the table. It was a scary feeling. Do executioners often suffer similar anxiety or other forms of trauma that are common in the justice/medical fields?
  10. Ok, now you're just talking circles, trying to confuse me. I even gave you a concrete, real-world example. One that actually happened irl. And you STILL can't answer my question!
  11. In my hypothetical scenario, there is no doubt, in the therapist's head, that the patient's beliefs are true. For example, take a look at this news article: Josh Lawson and Christopher Franklyn both believe they're being persecuted by police. But ... their beliefs of persecution are absolutely, 100% true. No no impartial person could possibly listen to that video and draw any other conclusion. Would they nevertheless be diagnosed with delusion, since they hold these beliefs? Or would they test negative for delusion, since their beliefs are clearly true?
  12. Again, that's not part of what I read. I read that a patient with delusional disorder might in fact be rational about most other aspects of life except this one belief. The article in my OP says ... "The delusions do not interfere with general logical reasoning (although within the delusional system the logic is perverted) and there is usually no general disturbance of behavior." Of course he does! If he can't prove that his beliefs are true, he would be diagnosed! That's like saying "If he killed in self-defense, there's no murder conviction to avoid." Of course there is! He's going to be charged, and then he brings up self-defense. Also ... No no no! I'm not talking about suing the doctor for medical malpractice. I'm talking about suing the cops and/or witnesses for false arrest/malicious prosecution, like in this case right here ... https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?q=White+v.+McKinley&hl=en&as_sdt=1006&case=1962708307400106012&scilh=0 https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?q=White+v.+McKinley&hl=en&as_sdt=1006&case=6238393862503356077&scilh=0 ... and claiming that these illegal acts caused such injuries as ... incarceration, loss of work, loss of reputation, depression, and ... in addition to that ... caused you to be diagnosed with delusion. I'm proposing that the delusion might be properly diagnosed, just like the depression, but the cops/witnesses would be liable to you for it. In the case I showed you, I don't know if delusion was one of the plaintiff's injuries; all it says was that he got a million dollars in damages. But would he have been properly diagnosed with delusion, even if his beliefs were true?
  13. So ... they avoid diagnosis? No no no! I'm not talking about suing the doctor for medical malpractice. I'm talking about suing the cops and/or witnesses for false arrest/malicious prosecution, like in this case right here ... https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?q=White+v.+McKinley&hl=en&as_sdt=1006&case=1962708307400106012&scilh=0 https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?q=White+v.+McKinley&hl=en&as_sdt=1006&case=6238393862503356077&scilh=0 ... and claiming that these illegal acts caused such injuries as ... incarceration, loss of work, loss of reputation, depression, and ... in addition to that ... caused you to be diagnosed with delusion. I'm proposing that the delusion might be properly diagnosed, just like the depression, but the cops/witnesses would be liable to you for it. In the case I showed you, I don't know if delusion was one of the plaintiff's injuries; all it says was that he got a million dollars in damages. But would he have been properly diagnosed with delusion, even if his beliefs were true?
  14. That wasn't in the list of symptoms I noticed. And besides ... my original query has yet to be given a straight answer! Do ... you ... escape ... diagnosis ... if ... the ... belief ... is ... proven ... to ... be ... TRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUE! Or, alternatively, would truth be completely immaterial to delusional disorder, in much the same way that fault is irrelevant to the diagnosis of a broken leg? For example, if a person is diagnosed with persecutory delusion, could he add that diagnosis to the list of injuries he can sue over, without nullifying his claim of liability? For god's sakes, why is this such a difficult question to answer?!
  15. That doesn't answer the question, though. What if the patient shows irrefutable evidence that his beliefs - unlikely as they are - are indeed true, despite their likelihood? Would you escape diagnosis? What if you really are being hunted down, and it's this "secret society" who has the delusions that you're supernatural, not you with the delusions of being hunted down? From what I've read, delusional disorder specifically rules out physical hallucinations. So ... if you have memories of about five people running at you with shotguns, screaming "Kill the alien! Kill the alien!" then you're either hallucinating the memory of being chased ... or you really are being chased! But one way or another, you aren't delusional, right? Or are you?
  16. I've been reading this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delusional_disorder And it says that the symptoms of delusional disorder include ... But you know what I DON'T see in this list of symptoms? That their belief has to be grossly dispraportionate to the evidence they have to support the claims; that they believe these things ... when those things are clearly untrue. I see a symptom that says that their belief has to be unlikely, but sometimes, unlikely things really do happen! And yet ... I would imagine that would be an essential prerequisite to labeling them a lunatic. For example ... would Barack Obama be suffering from gradiose delusional disorder? I mean ... he probably feels like he's a very improtant person. And you know why he thinks that? Because he's the freakin' PRESIDENT! But of course ... he isn't delusional about thinking that he's the president, is he? No ... he really is President! And therefore, his belief in his own self-worth is 100% justified on the evidence. But what about persecutory delusions? Well ... what if the guy really is being persecuted? How do we know he's not? Are we going to label him a lunatic even if he might have some justification or evidence to support it? So ... shouldn't a person be able to escape a diagnosis of this disorder if he proves the belief to be warranted on the evidence?
  17. I already told you that's NOT what I'm thinking of!
  18. The disorder I'm thinking of causes its patient to believe something to be true because he says it. I believe this disorder to be similar to, but distinguishable from, the God Complex. It may even be compatible with the God Complex. With GC, a person refuses to accept that he was in error, or had failed something, despite overwhelming, irrefutable evidence. However, how he ever came to that belief in the first place is irrelevant to GC; what matters, as far as GC is concerned, is your dogged refusal to abandon the claim once you've reached it. The disorder I'm thinking of, however, focuses more on how you come to accept a factoid as truth, rather than how you handle rebuttal evidence. Something wasn't true five minutes ago. You claim it. Then, your claim, alone, without more, automatically and instantly makes it suddenly become absolute, irrefutable, scientific fact, in the complete absense of extrinsic evidence. Your claim IS the evidence. This mental disorder was exhibited by the bad guys in George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four." If somebody had this belief abut themselves in the real world, what would it be called?
  19. Electrons are negatively charged. Protons are positively charged. Opposite charges are supposed to attract, like a salt molecule. However, even the densest of atoms - such as lead - are still >99% empty space. It's theorized that if the the entire human race - all 7 billion of us - eliminated all the space in our atoms, the entire human race would be less than a cubic inch in volume. So why don't the electrons get attracted to the positively-charged nucleus, plowing into the nucleus like meteors? When I was in 6th grade, I was told that it was their orbital speed ... like how an object on a string being swung in circles will keep the string tight and straight, which is called "centrivical force." But that doesn't make any sense. How do the electrons keep their energy? When I'm swinging around an object on a string, my arm muscles are constantly feeding it energy. As soon as my muscles stop feeding it energy, it will either A) fly off in whatever direction it was pointing at the moment I released it, or B) slow to a stop as my arm muscles no longer cancel out the forces of gravity and air drag. So that analogue, obviously, doesn't apply to elections. So, how do electrons stay away from the nucleus and avoid creating atoms of sufficient density to form a black hole? If it really is their speed, then what keeps them energized?
  20. Yeah, but are actually convinced, themselves, that the government is perfect? Or, do they have some sinking feeling, that they don't know how to put into words (but we do, because it's a free country), that their life sucks because of their totalitarian state? Even if they don't know that the word to use is "totalitarian." I'm not talking about the controlled use of access to information, in order to prevent the instillation of unwanted ideas in the first instance. I'm talking about, once the citizens have actually gotten those ideas, they are tortured, not just into not voicing those ideas, but actually physically abandoning the ideas! They had the rebellious thoughts, but they don't have them anymoer. Kind of like a character in a sci-fi movie getting his memory wiped.
  21. In George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four," the main villain, O'Brien, tortures protagonist Winston Smith, not just until he started acting the way the Ingsoc Party wanted him to act, but until he thought the way they wanted him to think. Two sections of that book that stick in my head, verbatim, years after reading the book is ... and (while being electrotortured) This ultimately worked. Winston was eventually "cured," and he actually believed - he didn't just act, he actually believed - that the Ingsoc Party was perfect, that there is no reality outside what the Party recognizes, and that he was getting the execution he deserved. He loved Big Brother. What's even weirder is that the villain claimed that their tactics were 100% successful. He said that no one who entered the Ministry of Love ever came out uncurred. I wonder ... have totalitarian states in the real world ever devised any means of using torture to control thoughts? Not just actions, but thoughts, to the point where, once discharged from the "prison/hospital," these former drug dealers or thugs became champions of helping the police catch criminals, because they were actually tortured into thinking that crime was bad and they wanted to become good guys? Not just to avoid future torture, but because they genuinely wanted to? Because this totalitarian government forcibly instilled those thoughts into the criminal's mind? For example, I remember a short clip from a short-lived TV show called "My Name is Earl." One guy that Earl framed for a theft had a flashback of him sitting in prison, reading the Bible. He found God in prison! In this flashback, everyone was about to escape, but this friend refused to go with them, even though he knew he had been wrongly convicted (the whole point of Earl visiting that friend was to confess that he framed him and apologized), but rather, solely because it was wrong to try to and escape. Because he found God, and he didn't want to break the law, even if that meant he suffered. Any examples in real life of totalitarian states doing that, through torture, like in 1984?
  22. Huh?! We don't need to spend the money on mock trials. We just need to get in touch with court reporters and ask them to take note of which re-trials expose the second jury to the fact that there was a previous conviction. The Court Reporters don't need to tell the attorneys (or even the judges, for that matter) that they're doing that, since disclosing this information does not, by itself, prejudice the rights of either party. And besides, it's going to be public record anyway! Then, we compare those stats to the second-conviction rates. It would only cost us about $250 per month, per court reporter, to have those reporters compile those stats for us. That's a lot cheaper than staging mock trials and summoning jurors for the express purpose of making some data points, wouldn't it?
  23. This is the best board I can think of to place this in, since it concerns how the human brain operates, so I'm placing it in the "neuroscience" boar. Suppose Mr. Defendant gets convicted of X Crime. However, as it turns out, the prosecutor did not disclose some potentially expulpatory evidence to the Defense, and as a result, his conviction gets overturned. So, Mr. Defendant goes into a new trial. During the second trial, the parties never attempt to hide that the Defendant was convicted before, and that this was his second trial. The jury is fully aware that he has been convicted before, but they don't know the reason it was overturned. Would the jury - assuming the jury were all average people - be more inclined to re-convict the Defendant if they were aware of the previous conviction? The reason I think an average person might be subconsciously swayed in that direction is because, as far as they are concerned, the Defendant is already considered guilty. The status quo is "guilty," and thus, they are simply being asked to re-affirm what has already been decided. Therefore, even if they may not be aware of it themselves, they may sub-consciously hold the Defendant to the burden of proof. If my hypothesis is correct, that might be grounds for having prior convictions be blanketly inadmissible, if those convictions had been overturned, seeing as how they were overturned for a reason, and thus, evidence that it even existed would carry no probative value, thus making them "more prejudicial than probative." Remember that, in order for my hypothesis to be true, the statistics must show, not just that Defendants have a higher chance of conviction on a second trial, but rather, that their odds of conviction go up if the jury knows about the prior conviction! For example, I read a study that says that Defendants face an 88% conviction rate, regardless of whether they are represented by private attorneys or Public Defenders (in fact, quelling that particular rumor - that public defenders were worse than private attorneys - was the whole point of that article). Now take those Defendants who, for whatever reason, have had their convictions overturned. Those who are now facing their second trial. Seperate them into cases in which the jury was aware of the previous, overturned conviction, and where there was no evidence, on the record, indicating that the jury was any the wiser that this wasn't his first trial. Measure the conviction rates then. Are the Defendants in the second category convicted significantly less often than those in the first category?
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