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psiji

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Everything posted by psiji

  1. psiji

    Infinity

    Good stuff - thank you.
  2. psiji

    Infinity

    Thanks for the clarification on this. This definetely straightens out alot of questions I've had about the concept of infinity. So apparently I'm just confusing infinity with other similar concepts.
  3. psiji

    Science City

    This reminds me of that South Park episode where Richard Dawkins and "miss" Garrison eliminate religion; science controls the future, and everyone is killing each other over whose version of science is correct... Anyhow, I love the idea, I just can't imagine how well it would work. I imagine nonstop arguments about what's the most logical way to do things (i.e. what's the most logical way to drink coffee). Everything would be set up for practical value, rather than aesthetic value, which could be quite boring. It would be interesting though. The average IQ would probably be in the 120s, and over time due to select breeding of individuals with higher IQs, I can see the average peaking in the 140-160s.
  4. holy shit that's gotta be one of the coolest animals I've ever seen. Looks like a lemur x mogwai (fictional animal from gremlins) cross breed
  5. Sea or Galapagos Turtle = my favorite animals
  6. psiji

    Infinity

    This is a concept that has bothered the hell out of me for years. How can anything be infinite? It seems that everything should logically have an end, yet so many of the concepts used in math and science involve thinking that there are certain things which will never end. Zeno's paradox is a prime example. I'm sure everyone is familiar with Zeno's paradox and the many forms it has taken, but I'll give a brief summary of it if anyone is unfamiliar with it. You start walking towards a wall, and stop at the halfway point. From that point you walk halfway to the wall again, and stop. From that point you walk halfway to the wall and stop again...I think you can see where I'm going with this. You end up with a division of space that goes on ad infinitum. You can of course reverse this to extend in the opposite direction, since it's generally assumed by the lay-person (I don't currently know physicists point of view on this) that space goes on ad infinitum as well. This creates a new set of logical paradoxes, such as; if space goes on for infinity, will there be an infinite number of earths existing simultaneously? This has always troubled me, because it it was true, it seems every event that can happen, will happen, and will happen an infinite number of times...I'm sure you've all spent time banging your head on a philosophical wall with these kinds of problems as well. So is the concept of infinity actually a real concept? Or do we use infinity to take the place of hidden variables we can't yet calculate?
  7. Where are these two books? I can't find any references to them anywhere on the internet... If no one here understands what you are talking about than the fault probably doesn't lie in readers, but in your writing style. Using irrelevant jargon does not help convey ideas (something we've probably all learned here as we've developed larger than normal vocabularies filled with scientific terminology). This has been a problem for many philosophers and scientists alike (i.e. Try reading Heidegger's Being and Time, or Godel, Escher, and Bach by Douglas Hofstader to see what I'm getting at). You want to be able to convey your ideas to a large general audience (especially if you are both a poet and a writer). By using sentence structures and phrasing that we can barely make sense of we can't really understand what you are getting at. Simple. Concise. To the point.
  8. Wow, great post and thanks for the clarifications. I do have a couple comments and questions now... I remember learning something similiar to this called disruptive evolution, whereby a species becomes partitioned into two groups (i.e. such as the species forming two seperate samples, either by geography or lifestyle). The concepts of speciation by allopatric or sympatric speciation are completely new to me. I found a good primer for myself here. Thanks for bringing these new ideas to my attention! This is a topic that has long bothered me and I have yet to find a suitable explanation for. At what point does speciation occur? If you have a species-population that is partitioned into two groups, and breeds exclusively within those new groups, then at what point do the two species become incapable of reproducing with the original population? It almost seems like a logical paradox, in that I'm assuming that at some point one generation becomes a new species from the previous generation. Am I missing a variable in my understanding of this concept? True, but is it the case that we know of no species have arisen through hybridization? Are there any species you know of that may have arisen through hybridization? Everything I can find in various internet searches speculates it's possible, but extremely unlikely. However, I can't find any cases of species that are thought to have evolved through hybridization. Has non-fertility been shown to be a consistent trait in all animal hybrids known (I imagine in plants, however, you can create fertile hybrids). Studying the traits that would arise in a human-chimp cross breed seems like an interesting concept in itself regardless of if it has weak (or no) implications for our views of evolution. Also, even though it might not advance our knowledge of evolution (assuming we definetely aren't the byproducts of hybridization) it would most certainately have implications the behavioral sciences. Are you aware of any hybridization studies with other primates? Four years ago when I started college I would have told you that what other people think doesn't matter. If I feel it would further science, then despite any backlash of ignoring ethical implications it is a worthwhile endeavor. In my training in psychology and preperation for medical school my views on ethics have drastically changed and I'm leaning much closer to what your getting at here. The problem with society, however, is that what the majority chooses is not always right. Democracy should not generally be applied towards scientific discovery. Allowing society as a whole to decide what is true has historically been a great impediment to science. It leaves room open for society to establish truth in complete disregard for objectivity through science. For example, most people's views on stem cell research are still driven by religious ideologies and a complete lack of regard for truth as established by science. The fact is, stem cell research will create technology that will revolutionize medicine, but as usual, the general populations grasp on this issue is derived from misguided ideas of right and wrong. However, the idea of creating a chimp-human hybrid might not provide much novel scientific knowledge, and therefore I don't have a desire to push my thoughts on this over the public whom will make a big fuss over how wrong, and unethical such an experiment would be. Since we are on the topic, I definetely don't think democracy should block what I feel to be more important science like stem-cell research. If we as scientists went along with the flow of what the public believes is right or wrong we'd probably still be in the stone ages. Nearly all major earth shattering scientific discoveries that have lead to life-promoting paradigm shifts have been met with the resistance of the majority (as we will see when genetic engineering in humans becomes fully realized). With that, I definetely don't agree that democracy should be utlized as a tool to undermine any scientific discovery, but in the human-chimp hybrid case, you have an excellent point: there are certain legal and moral issues that need to discussed before such an experiment takes place. Sorry for all the questions. I'm quite curious and you seem to know your shit quite while (to put it bluntly).
  9. psiji

    MCAT

    I'll be taking mine early next year. I still haven't completed all the premed courses, and won't by the time I take the MCATs, but I've been teaching myself with several practice books and borrowed textbooks in the courses I have yet to take - can't wait to get it over with. Good luck to everyone else taking them as well!
  10. I suppose my reasons for seeing this are similar to anyone's interest in in experimental evolution, that is, to see the effects of the cross breed as the organism matures. Even if the organism is terminated in the blastocyst stage, we still wouldn't know the effects of the cross-breed in maturity (or would we? I'm sure you'd know more about this than I). The concept raises many interesting questions. For instance, perhaps we can use the information (or the mere acknowledgement) to trace our own evolution to a cross-breeding between primitive ape like (or even our prosimian ancestors) species. If anything, we could at least analyze the feasibility of creating hybrids between primate species that are not sterile, and don't carry genetic loads of maladaptive traits that would have made the hybrid animal selected against in the EEA. If a human-chimp crossbreed is feasible, I'd be very interested in seeing it mature. From a strictly ethical standpoint (well, my ethical standpoint), I really don't see anything wrong with this.
  11. Interestingly, psychoanalysis is still taught to many Med students in residency for psychiatry training. Seems a bit counterproductive to teach out dated methods of psychotherapy when much better options exist (i.e. cognitive-behavioral therapies, which I'm sure are taught as well).
  12. I'm not holding anything against you. We are all of inquisitive minds here and naturally we won't agree on everything. If we did we'd have nothing to learn from each other, and it would make everyone's time here a complete waste! On a side (albeit related) note, I was diagnosed as being cyclothymiac (rapid cycling bipolar) at about 14. Being that I tend to consume every last bit of knowledge I can find on anything that interests me, I allowed this stigma to completely **** up my academic record and act as an excuse for my perceived social inadequacies. It was only a couple years ago I learned the root of all my pain: I was doing everything wrong. I was blaming all my problems on some mental illness someone else diagnosed me with according to some DSM definition with physical roots psychologists still can't agree on. Thus I realized one of the greatest pitfalls to the realization of a completely successful field of psychology from the following flaw: How do you know how to define something you don't even understand? Think about the implications of that and the clear impediment it poses for traditional psychology... There is nothing wrong with me - I only used that label as an excuse that held me back from become a fully functioning and thriving individual. I realized I had developed a system of behaviors that was not conducive to becoming the person I wanted to be and the only way I could solve those problems was to stop blaming my "illness" and take on life head on. I became more social despite the awkardness of it all, when I wanted to stay in and do nothing I forced myself to go out or study - in a sense I put all my negative behaviors on extinction and started developing newer, more adaptive behaviors. In a sense, most depressive illnesses really seem to be a sign that something is wrong (I can post data if you want, but check out some more information on evolutionary psychology and you will find allot of data that supports this claim, albeit it correlational, but I'm still thinking of ways to draw a causal connection). I mean, really when you have ever seen someone depressed who didn't feel they were doing something wrong in their life? Have you ever heard of a depressed patient who was 100% happy with their lives? NO! By definition they would, then, not be depressed. As students of the behavioral sciences it is our duty (and to me, the most thrilling part of this journey) to revise the sciences we have been indoctrinated into with the most updated and valid knowledge that exists, and that we will create in our studies. I absolutely agree with you here, cool thoughts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolaas_Tinbergen The following primer is an excellent starting point for learning the premises that evolutionary psychology is based on. Also, note: anything you find on evolutionary psychology will more than likely reference Tinbergen. Chances are, in 100 years he will be considered the William James, or Freud, of evolutionary psychology... http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/research/cep/primer.html
  13. This is a concept I've been having a bit of a hard time with, as it seems there are several examples of traits that should have been selected against a long time ago. There are an abundance of traits that seem to be selectively maladaptive, yet have maintained an existence in species-populations (i.e. microcephaly, achondroplasia, hemophilia, color-blindness would have been devasting in the environment of evolutionary adaptiveness in humans, etc.). I suppose you could argue that many of these traits are neutral, or the onsent of nearly all genetic disorders could occur past the point of conception, meaning the carrier could reproduce before the gene is expressed in the phenotype. However, some diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, should have been immediately selected against; primarily because the majority of individuals with the disease are infertile. Also, some genetic disorders could be adaptive (i.e. bipolar disorders - the manic stages could provide more energy for a hunter-gatherer to hunt and horde, and then rest while in the depressive stages. Also, sickle-cell anemia carries who reproduce with a mate with a healthy version of the gene could produce children more resistant to malaria), and thus even though they are viewed through a maladaptive lens in society today, they could have served an adaptive purpose in our past. Considering the vast body of hereditary diseases, and different causal factors expressing these genes, I must ask: do you know of any explicit genetic diseases (or class of genetic diseases) that don't fit well with our modern conception of evolution?
  14. Dr. Gallup at my university was on a show called Humanzee on Discovery channel, where he claimed that while he was doing his dissertation he met a scientist who told him this had been done. I, of course, don't know the validity of this claim. I'd personally fit in the perveted section of the poll, in that I would absolutely love to see a cross breed between a human and a chimpanzee.
  15. Very interesting...there are so many directions this research will probably go. I'll definetely be keeping an ear out for more in the future.
  16. Murder is a concept that has always intrigued me. I've spent allot of time pondering when murder is justified or worth the cost it necessarily entails. Let's begin with a definition. A murder is any act in which a human being, or group of humans beings, kill another human (or group of humans) regardless of their own reasons (the pre-emptive killing your opponent, or killing someone in war is still murder in this case). Despite your ideas of what murder entails (i.e. unlawful, premeditated, etc.) we will use this definition throughout this thread since it provides a consistent account of the behavior actually occurring (Stimulus X --> Response murder). Now, an organism will generally behave in ways that increase its fitness. Today (in the U.S.A. at least) the potential cost of murdering someone seems to nearly always entail costs that greatly exceed any apparent benefits. For example, a 22 year old SUNY student from the Bronx was recently charged with stabbing a bouncer to death over a dispute regarding a female (remember, most instances of murder involve some form of male jealousy. This is well-documented). This student was considered a great student by the school and his peers, was reasonable intelligent, extraverted, and good looking. So why would he take the risk of throwing away his whole life for a single female when he is in a position to find other (and probably better) lovers? This is only one example, but others are abound. We have yet to come up with a good reason for why this behavior still occurs. Perhaps its roots lie in a vestigial behavior that dates back to a time murder would often go unpunished, or where the dominant male could easily murder a rival without backlash. Yet why does this behavior continue to occur when the cost nearly always greatly exceeds the benefit? Also, when is murder justifiable? In the case of an opponent who is on an imminent offensive I'm sure we can all agree a defensive pre-emptive death-blow is well justified. However, in most cases murder probably does not occur under such circumstance. In most cases (I'm speaking anecdotally, however, if you can find relevant statistics please share), it seems male jealousy, pride, robbery (the acquisition of another's resources for personal gain) or revenge are the primary causal factors - none of which provide justifiable rationales for murder. So I ask, why do we continue to kill each other?
  17. As most people here probably will suggest: take something that interests you. Med schools will care more about your GPA, MCAT, and personal interview more than your major per say. English majors routinely get into medical school. Just make sure you do very well in the premed classes (well, make sure you do well in everything), since you need that knowledge for the MCATs. Also, join the premed honor society at your school if they have one - Alpha Epsilon Delta. If your school doesn't have a chapter you are in great luck...start one yourself, as it will look excellent on your part when you apply to graduate school. I'm a psychology major doing premed and alot of undergraduate research. Fortunately I'm almost done. I'm trying to get into an M.D./ PhD program to do neurology, neuropsychiatry, or behavior neurology. I'm not really sure yet, but I'm going to do some shadowing next semester. Anyways, good luck with everything.
  18. Do you know what a straw man is? A straw man occurs when the opponent in an argument chooses to attack a position the arguer never took (or an exaggeration or silly version of the argument) most likely due (in my experience) to an inability to comprehend or objectively analyze the oppositions viewpoint. My exact point of reference in my first point (which I still don't understand why you would attack considering it was the case referred to in the posting topic of this thread) was on complete isolation. I even put it in italics to prevent such a confusion from occuring. Hence, you posted a straw man in your first post in regards to my original argument. Why did I come to this conclusion? How about from this obvious statement in this first post, "When I say human isolation, I mean a complete isolation from humans, rite after birth till death" Reading between the lines in this case involves a thought experiment that requires complete abstraction since there are no cases of humans being raised in complete isolation due to the logical absurdity of such a claim. Thus I used a logical account of what I've learned in the past four years of research and study where I've learned and applied these concepts to the development of language, memory, semantic priming, and information retrieval/encoding, to pose a question of "what-ifs" to an interesting question (albeit a logical aburdity). When you say, "I believe this is the only correct thing you thing you've said in this entire thread." I realize you really don't know shit, to put it bluntly. I'm here to learn and you have nothing for me, so get the last word in if it will somehow make you feel you have one-up on me. Oh, and if you really do have asperger's (and aren't using it as something novel you can identify with that fits well in your image as yourself as a unique intellectual - I don't know how asperger's became the trendy personality disorder of the year. I'm absolutely fascinated how it was barely unkown last year, and nowadays I run into an overabundance of pseudo intellectuals claiming they have asperger's, but that's another rant...) I suggest you practice your critical thinking skills, or all the facts, knowledge, and skills you acquire will be absolutely useless when you can't convey, understand, or take into consideration another person's (in this case, correct) viewpoint. Peace.
  19. So let me pose a question for all: is there a way to manipulate our scientific positions around this clear methodological roadblock? How can we achieve a greater degree of confidence in evolutionary explanations of behavior when we are clearly limited by the fact that evolutionary psychology necessarily entails it's body of knowledge to rely on a great deal of correlational research? Could we use genetics, or selective breeding experiments to realize knowledge we can currently only (usually) assume from correlations?
  20. Absolutely excellent point. The field of psychology is advancing with tremendous momentum due to the abundance of tools and information available to the field of science as a whole. For a theory of behavior X to occur, there needs to be a parsimonious account of the behavior using chemical, physical, and biological mechanisms. This is occuring across the boards as psychology's levels of analyses becomes increasingly molecular. Theories of evolution can function as a bridge connecting psychological theories with theories posed by other sciences. We can start explaining behavior in terms of mathematical and physical functions that should work on every level of analysis - whether it's biological, physical, or chemical - since all the sciences must necessarily work as a whole. This poses an even greater question: can theories of evolution explain the most fundamental patterns of life that manipulate matter in such a way as to build orderly, reproducing, and intelligent forms of matter a la life?
  21. This is exactly what I find so interesting about evolutionary psychology. Traditionally psychology has been used to examine the negatively abnormal. However, according to evolutionary theory, what we consider abnormal must have had some adaptive significance in the environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA). This provides a very interesting lens for analysing modern treatments, and the potential for creating better treatments using evolutionary theory.
  22. There are well established theories for the proximate mechanisms of depression, however, the ultimate (evolved, basically) mechanisms are not yet well established. Traits generally don't evolve without purpose, and hence to better understand depression it would serve psychologists a great benefit to understand the reasons for why depression might have developed in humans. Your analysis of depression provides excellent examples of the proximate mechanisms that are involved in depression, yet the analysis begs the question posed by an evolutionary perspective on depression: why would we evolve depression when it seems to be a highly maladaptive trait that should have been selected against in previous generations. From an evolutionary perspective their should have been an adaptive function of such a common trait to occur in a population. Modern psychology is obviously heavily based on statistical data, but it is also based on proximate explanations of behaviors. These two concepts are not mutually exclusive. Thus I don't understand what you are trying to get at. Again, see Tinbergen's excellent discussions on applying theories of evolution in the behavioral sciences (he won a Nobel Prize for his work in evolution after all, and his theories are widely used in evolutionary psychology). Are you familiar with evolutionary psychology at all? My post makes a clear distinction in the differences between evolutionary psychology and traditional psychology. Depression was used as an example of an evolutionary perspective on a "disease" frequently discussed in traditional psychology. What I posted was a brief discussion of using theories of evolution in psychology for anyone who wasn't familar with the field of evolutionary psychology (you obviously).
  23. The introduction of evolutionary theory in psychology over the past several decades must essentially revolutionize the fields of psychology and psychiatry. It proposes a system of ultimate explanations (Why questions...see Tinbergen's levels of analyses) to take the place of the previous ascientific explanations given by the more traditional psychoanalytic explanations of behavior (I find it interesting these theories are still being taught to graduate and medical students when the existence of Freudian forms of egos has no physiological basis). The historical dilemma posed by psychology is the failure to explain why behaviors occur. Psychology has traditionally explained behavior in terms of proximate questions (how) - yet that's only half the equation. To fully understand a system it takes more than knowing how it works; one should make attempts to understand why it works. Depression has nothing to do with a suffering ego. Depression is most likely a sensitivity-based response to our enviroment that alerts us when we are doing something wrong. In most cases of depression you can immediately observe something out-of-place in the depressed patients life (or the patient merely assumes something is wrong in their life via attitudes). This has clear adaptive significance since those who are able to learn from depression by fixing whatever it is that is making them depressed will obviously leave more descendents then those who don't know they are doing something wrong (i.e. living with an abusive husband, partaking in too much self-destructive drug use, not having a home or resources, etc. - all this things would put the organism in clear danger). Depression could thus serve an adaptive function in that it our mind's way of telling us we are doing something wrong. The obvious pit-fall of using evolutionary theory here is that experimentation in human-evolution must be correlational. This poises an obvious problem of inferring causation, since we can't assume the existence of a correlation implies causation. However, there are methods of acheiving a higher degree of confidence in these theories by utilizing animal models (i.e. selective breeding), and statistical techniques that allow you to eliminate some variables from being factors in causation. This allows a much greater precision in analysis than allowed by most traditional explanations of why behavior occurs. I'm interested in hearing other people's thoughts on the implications of evolution in the practice of behavioral medicine...Please discuss.
  24. Do you know the name of this experiment by any chance?
  25. What? None of these studies you point on take place with children raised in complete isolation. The logical absurdity of your claim suggests you didn't understand the clear message I was pointing out. There is always some form of human contact (except in the case of feral children, which brings up a completely seperate set of questions). Someone has to feed the children (even Anna). As I said, there isn't complete isolation. If you are claiming a child can grow into an adult with complete isolation I suggest you take a basic biology or child development class. Not complete isolation. "...with almost no human contact." Do you make a point of contradicting yourself when you attempt to make a point? Human contact does not equal complete isolation. And your ability to waste everyone's time posting irrelevant and off-topic information with complete disregard for logical consistency some how revokes the pseudo-intellectual posts you attempt to make with references and verbatim quotes that have nothing to do with my post. It's a little beyond basic psychology when you argue that personality is formed by a series of s-r laws created within the individual as a response of their genetic predispositions to their environment (= basically what I've come to find as a pretty good operation definition of personality = genes should get primacy at the most fundamental level since the existence of an environment necessarily entails the existence of genes to respond to the environment). Did you pay attention to anything I posted? I highly doubt it because this post is completely irrelevant and most likely plagairized. I bet you're the type of person that finds a single sentence you don't agree with in a person's post, and without even attempting to understand the point brought up by that person you will respond with a diatribe on some irrelevant topic in hopes that quotes without a bibliography will impress those that read it to the point they assume you are correct. News break: this doesn't fly, as I'm sure you'll find this out when you get to college. Once again...isolation does not equal complete isolation. I was arguing for a thought experiment in the unfeasibility of a child being raised in complete isolation. What remenants of a personality that develop in a child of some isolation (there have been no cases of complete isolation) is the byproduct from some experience with other people. Future hint: attempt to understand something before you criticize it. If you had utilized this ability you'd see that all this bickering argued over the semantics that leads up to the following thesis we both agree upon (reread my post): social experience is necessary for personality to form.
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