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Everything posted by stevo247

  1. Recently, I had taken a look at some of the works of the Presocratic Philosophers, particularly Parmenides and Heraclitus. Basically, Parmenides thinks that the "One" is immobile and unchanging and that motion is an illusion. His student Zeno gives the following as a proof: Can Achilles with his winged feet reach the boundary stone of the stadium? He needs a lapse of time to travel half the distance, and still another lapse of time to travel half the remaining distance, and so on and so forth. Hence he needs infinitely many time intervals to reach the stone; but that is an infinite amount of time. Hence, Zeno stopped Achilles in his tracks. In a book called Quantum Philosophy, I read "we are no longer troubled by this paradox, because we know that the sum of an infinite number of (unequal) time intervals may be finite. This example is nevertheless interesting, because it reminds us of the extent to which the the logical treatment of infinity is subtle." "The sum of an infinite number of (unequal) time intervals may be finite". Can anyone help me get a handle on that?
  2. I think that a womans attraction to the “bad boys” has to do with her own rebellion against having to be a “good girl”.
  3. stevo247


    Recently I have been reading a book titled “MIND in LIFE. Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind.” By Evan Thompson. The book explores the so called explanatory gap between biological life and consciousness. Thompson argues that life and mind share common principles of self-organization, and that the self-organizing features of mind are an enriched version of the self-organizing features of life. Thompson states “The idea that all life evolved from a common ancestor and hence that there is an underlying unity to the widespread diversity of life is central to modern biology. We are taught in school that the unity of life is based on three things: (1) all living things are made of cells; (2) the life cycle of all cells—their formation, growth, development, reproduction, and so on—are based on chemical reactions among similar sorts of molecules; and (3) the way that amino acids are put together to form proteins is specified by DNA and RNA according to a precise and nearly universal scheme. To these points we can add a fourth, following theorists who address the question 'what is life?' by searching for principles of biological organization. There is a basic formal organization of life, and it's paradigm is to be found in the single cell. A single cell organism is a self-making or self-producing being. Self-production is different from reproduction: In reproduction, a cell divides in two; in self-production, a cell continuously produces itself as a spatially bounded system, distinct from it's medium or milieu. What is remarkable about self-production is that every molecular reaction in the system is generated by the very same system that those molecular reactions produce. Some years ago the neurobiologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela drew attention to this circular, self-producing organization and called it autopoiesis (Maturana and Varela 1973, 1980; Varela, Maturana, and Uribe 1974).” Thompson continues, “The concept of the autopoietic organization arose from an attempt to abstract from the molecular processes of the cell the basic form or pattern that remains invariant through any kind of structural change, as long as the cell holds together as a distinct entity.” “A cell is spatially formed by a semipermeable membrane, which establishes a boundary between the inside of the cell and the outside environment, but also permits the exchange of matter and energy across the boundary. Within this boundary, the cell comprises a metabolic network. Based in part on nutrients entering from outside, the cell sustains itself by a network of chemical transformations. But—and this is the first key point—the metabolic network is able to regenerate its own components, including the components that make up the membrane boundary. Furthermore—and this is the second key point—without the boundary containment provided by the membrane, the chemical network would be dispersed and drowned in the surrounding medium. Thus the cell embodies a circular process of self-generation: thanks to its metabolic network, it continually replaces the components that are being destroyed, including the membrane, and thus continually re-creates the difference between itself and everything else.” I am just a curious layman and I have never heard of autopoiesis before. I find the concept to be very interesting, especially as it may contribute to an understanding of cognition and consciousness. Could someone well versed in biology give me some idea on the status of this concept of autopoiesis? Since it has been around for over 30 years, is it common knowledge in biology circles, is it mostly ignored, or is it a concept that is slowly gaining traction?
  4. After smoking for over 30 years, I haven't had a cigarette since this past September 14. Here is how I got away from them. I think it started when I went to the dentist, and the hygienist (during one of those ultra-vigorous cleaning sessions) stated that she found it to be very curious that smokers gums rarely bleed during these cleanings. For some reason that got me thinking about smoking and my health. I found that the more I convinced myself that I needed to quit, the more I smoked. Crazy. In desperation, I just slapped a 21mg. Nicotine patch on my upper arm. I told myself that I could smoke if I wanted, but I was going to keep the patch on. A couple of hours later I smoked a cigarette. I realized that I really didn't need it. A few hours later I tried another. As I was smoking it, I realized that the patch was giving me the nicotine that I desired, and I really didn't need the cigarette. That was my last cigarette. For four weeks I used the 21mg. patch. For 2 weeks I used the 14 mg. patch. For another 2 weeks I used the 7 mg. patch. I also used the 4mg. Nicorette gum during the bumpy transition periods. I also went to a weekly Nicotine Anonymous meeting for additional support. After 2 months of using the patch and gum, I stopped all nicotine. After decreasing to the lowest patch, I expected the transition to “nicotine free” to be rather gentle. It wasn't. After about 24 hours, every cell in my body started screaming. It seemed like an eternity. It went on for about 10 days. I had a lot of trouble concentrating and focusing. People would talk and their words would just bounce off my head. I was irritable. Nasty. But it finally calmed down. Looking back, I would recommend using the nicotine replacement products for longer than I did. What's interesting is that it's not about smoking. It's all about nicotine. I've quit smoking a few times in the past. This time I don't refer to it as quiting. I'm finished. I'm finished smoking. I'm done. I've had enough. It really is amazing how quickly you can regain your health. I am jogging 5 miles now. When you stop smoking, you will look noticeably younger, and you will feel a whole lot better. It is such a relief to know that I no longer need to feel shame about doing something that clearly was destroying my health. Just yesterday we went to a funeral for a friends mother. She was 62, and a smoker. Four weeks ago she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Her family and friends are just shocked and devastated. It ain't no joke. Stopping cigarettes is a big thing. Especially if you've been smoking for a long time. Nicotine addiction is an all day long affair. It becomes a part of so many activities. But if you can break away, it seems like you gain something important. A certain presence. A consistency of will. A confidence. It's worth it.
  5. Clearly, many of you firmly believe that the practice of spanking is not a bad thing. In fact, you think it is a very good thing. Maybe even close to 90% of parents in the U.S. would agree with you. With a resounding “yes” you all agree that spanking is a very good thing. Some even think it's a God given right. So everyone goes along on their merry way, all agreeing with each other that spanking is a very good thing. What happens though, when you look a little closer? This group over here, believing that spanking is a good thing, spanks and hits infants. That group over there, spanks on average 3x/week, every week throughout the infant/toddler/childhood years, believing of course, that spanking is a good thing. That group over there, they smack a kid in the head and face and consider it the same as spanking, which of course, everyone knows to be a good thing. This group over here, the atmosphere is full of slapping, smacking and spanking, because everybody knows that spanking is a good thing. And that group over there, they like to use implements (belts, paddles, spoons, etc.). And they all feel totally justified and vindicated, because as we all know, spanking is a very good thing. If you go to one group, “Hey, do you know what there doing over there? They're spanking 6 month old babies on regular basis.” “Oh, that's not spanking, it's child abuse”, says the group that spanks their teenagers with sticks. Expert proponents of spanking say that appropriate spanking is 1-2 swats on the bottom, between the ages of 2 and 12, used sparingly and judiciously. Is this the policy that you guys are defending so vigorously. Personally, I would think that a couple of swats on a child over toddler age to be rather meaningless, and even before the age of 12 to be downright laughable. As I'm sure you are aware, I don't think that children should be spanked or hit, ever. The only time I can picture myself laying a hand on a child, is if I was to suddenly see them engaged in a dangerous activity. The swat could be characterized as “alarm”. There would be little or no redness. Anyone care to discuss their particular spanking policy (and what you consider harmless) in regards to severity, frequency, and the age range that you find it appropriate? I assume you have given it some thought, since spanking is such a very good thing.
  6. For those who are concerned that an official ban on spanking would put 90% of parents behind bars, from what I understand, in the countries where spanking is banned, it is under civil law not criminal law. No one has ever gone to jail for the two-swat spank as far as I can tell. It amounts to an official condemnation of the practice of spanking in all of it's various forms. It is a social recognition of it's potential harmful effects. Education is the cornerstone of the policy. "Most of these countries do not carry criminal penalties for spanking. For example, the law in Sweden carries no penalty. However, in many cases, those who are caught spanking must attend parenting classes." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-spanking From the Netherlands: “(1) Parental authority includes the duty and the right of the parent to care for and raise his or her minor child. (2) Caring for and raising one’s child includes the care and the responsibility for the emotional and physical wellbeing of the child and for his or her safety as well as for the promotion of the development of his or her personality. In the care and upbringing of the child the parents will not use emotional or physical violence or any other humiliating treatment.” http://nospank.net/nl.htm If the use of pain (spanking, hitting) is considered to be a justified and acceptable method of child rearing, doesn't that open the door for those parents who feel justified ,and find it acceptable, to use emotional pain and extreme spanking/hitting practices? "Psychological maltreatment is a repeated pattern of damaging interactions between parent(s) and child that becomes typical of the relationship.1–3 In some situations, the pattern is chronic and pervasive; in others, the pattern occurs only when triggered by alcohol or other potentiating factors. Occasionally, a very painful singular incident, such as an unusually contentious divorce, can initiate psychological maltreatment.4 Psychological maltreatment of children occurs when a person conveys to a child that he or she is worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted, endangered, or only of value in meeting another’s needs.5 The perpetrator may spurn, terrorize, isolate, or ignore or impair the child’s socialization. If severe and/or repetitious, the following behaviors may constitute psychological maltreatment6: 1.Spurning (belittling, degrading, shaming, or ridiculing a child; singling out a child to criticize or punish; and humiliating a child in public). 2.Terrorizing (committing life-threatening acts; making a child feel unsafe; setting unrealistic expectations with threat of loss, harm, or danger if they are not met; and threatening or perpetrating violence against a child or child’s loved ones or objects). 3.Exploiting or corrupting that encourages a child to develop inappropriate behaviors (modeling, permitting, or encouraging antisocial or developmentally inappropriate behavior; encouraging or coercing abandonment of developmentally appropriate autonomy; restricting or interfering with cognitive development). 4.Denying emotional responsiveness (ignoring a child or failing to express affection, caring, and love for a child). 5.Rejecting (avoiding or pushing away). 6.Isolating (confining, placing unreasonable limitations on freedom of movement or social interactions). 7.Unreliable or inconsistent parenting (contradictory and ambivalent demands). 8.Neglecting mental health, medical, and educational needs (ignoring, preventing, or failing to provide treatments or services for emotional, behavioral, physical, or educational needs or problems). 9.Witnessing intimate partner violence (domestic violence)." http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/109/4/e68?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=spanking&andorexactfulltext=and&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=70&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT#SEC2 I think that the social acceptance of spanking provides cover for a multitude of cruelties directed at children. It's a stumbling block for being able to accurately shine a spotlight on parental behaviors that clearly are harmful to a childs well-being, excessive spanking being only one of them. Using intentional pain as a method of child rearing, in my mind, is just plain wrong. Society should condemn the practice in its physical and emotional form. Is it really essential to have spanking/hitting as a tool for successful child rearing? Every day care center in the country seems to manage without it.
  7. So the rod comes into play to clean up the (spoiled) mess created by the parents themselves?
  8. How did they learn that, if they weren't taught it? Wouldn't it be better to not reward the behavior in the first place? You sound like a grandfather.
  9. spoil: 1) to damage or injure in such a way as to make useless, valueless, etc.; destroy. 2). to impair the enjoyment, quality, or functioning of 3). to overindulge so as to cause to demand or expect too much If a parent thinks they may be over-indulging, over-protecting or over-involved, they could just cut back. However, especially for the very young, I think that more harm can done by under-indulging, under-protecting, and being under-involved. I work with the severely mentally ill (schizophrenia, bi-polar, psychosis, major depression etc.). By far, the most difficult and challenging clients are those which have an axis 2 (personality disorder) diagnosis in addition to an axis 1(clinical disorder) diagnosis. Borderline, narcissistic, histrionic, and anti-social, are considered Cluster B personality disorders. The behaviors that one would consider to be indicative of a “spoiled child”, namely, selfishness, immaturity, manipulative, lying, being self-centered, failure to recognize boundaries, feelings of entitlement, etc, are all behaviors clearly associated with the personality disordered. Since they have such issues with respecting boundaries and limits, not to mention how they can so easily stimulate the urge to want to ..... send them to the moon, it's easy to think that they simply lacked discipline. But I think the problem is a lot deeper and more difficult than that. From what I understand, it's rooted in a failure to bond (or attach) emotionally with the primary caregivers during critical early developmental stages. At a fundamental level, they are out of emotional contact with others. They can exhibit behaviors that would seem to indicate that they are operating without a conscience or any sense of empathy; having no regard for the feelings of others and lacking a clear sense of right and wrong. However, I don't think it is due to a lack of being hit, most have been hit plenty. Nor do I think their problems are necessarily caused by hitting, though being hit may exacerbate the underlying issue of feeling worthless, empty, abandoned and disconnected from the world around them. In my opinion, their extreme selfishness, self-centeredness, and feelings of entitlement are all related to the early thwarting of a fundamental need, namely, the need to feel secure and loved. http://wapedia.mobi/en/Attachment_Theory
  10. Though I thought that Skeptic Lance made a good observation of other mammals in regards to mild physical admonishment: ....................................................................................
  11. My best moment today, was when I convinced the dentist that from now on, nitrous oxide is to be used at all times. The best I can recall, is that the great mystery of life has something to do with Self and Other.
  12. I don't think that spanking and beating are necessarily clear and distinct separate entities. If you were to hire a babysitter and informed her that she could use “spanking” but not beating, could you be sure that you were both on the same page? There could be an awful lot of slapping, smacking, belts, spoons and what not that can come into play under the umbrella of “spanking”. Clearly the issues of severity, context, and frequency need to be addressed to determine whether a particular form of spanking behavior is harmful or not. I can understand how it may be considered appropriate to instinctively swat at a child in response to a dangerous situation. For example, if they suddenly start to run out into the road, or sticking a fork into an electrical outlet etc.. The jolt of such a rare parental response may in fact convey the utmost seriousness of a particular dangerous behavior. It's interesting that the seemingly instinctive physical response to a dangerous situation by a parent (possibly even agreeable to conscience), is the particular situational response that is used to justify the right to “spank” in a multitude of contexts , under a wide spectrum of severity, with a highly variable rate of frequency. Proponents of spanking define it as one or two swats with an open hand on a childs bottom. Is that the scope of what we are talking about in terms of severity?
  13. That's an interesting observation. Not too long ago, I turned to see our youngest cat chewing through the power cord of my wifes computer. Instinctively, I swatted her and yelled No! That's one of the few times I can recall ever hitting one of our pets. I'm not sure if she learned not to chew through the $80 replacement cord, but she did avoid me for quite a while. In regards to child rearing, I wonder what type of parenting would correspond to a “cuff with the paw or even a bite” and under what circumstances would it be considered appropriate. For example, I could see a child suddenly start to run out into the street, and a mother instinctively grab and swat him with a firm “No! Don't ever do that again! “ But the issue of a child rearing practice that utilizes corporal punishment and “spanking” surely takes this to another level. Is a mother acting instinctively when she slaps her two year old when he throws food on the floor. Don't most people eventually learn not to throw food on the floor through other methods like imitation? What about the high percentage of parents (63% in one study) that spank their children before the age of one. I can't imagine that they're driven by instinct. More than likely, frustration. I also wonder about the fact that humans can utilize language to convey a message, where animals are limited to their use of behavior. Using language to convey disapproval, actually seems more akin to “mild admonishment”. “The word "spanking" itself for many people suggests particular virtues (e.g., mildness, judiciousness, caring intent)--and certainly not inherent to the act of slapping somebody on the buttocks, that are not actually contained in its literal meaning.” http://nospank.net/johnson2.htm There is a great variability in the severity of spanking, as well as the context in which it is administered, and how often it is done. I think you would agree that when you start adding belts and paddles, you've moved beyond anything that resembles “mild admonishment” of the young in the animal kingdom.
  14. I agree. Yelling can cause psychological problems. So can critisizing, belitttling, demeaning, etc. etc. None of which would put anyone in the adult world behind bars. But assault is not tolerated. That protection should be extended to children. My personal experience, and what I have observed in families that utilize assault, is that it becomes a handy tool that is wielded regularly. My father started with the spanking, then smacking, and then as we got older, full blown beatings. The beatings involved being pinned to the ground and punched with a closed fist, full force, repeatedly, on the shoulder and the thigh. My mother used slaps, belts and wooden spoons. When considering assault as a child rearing technique, you should know that there is one guaranteed result. As the child becomes an adult, beneath the facade will be a seething rage. And beneath the rage will be a deep sorrow. I know. I went through a few years of very intense therapy where these emotions just exploded and poured out. Not just once, but over and over until it just stopped. What if you were to discover that raising a child in an assaultive environment actually contributed to a propensity towards drug abuse? That's the little voice to which I would pay very close attention.
  15. To be honest, I have trouble accepting the fact that this issue needs to be debated at all. Hitting a child, in any way, shape or form, is assault. Try any of those “educational assaults” on anyone other than your own child, and you might find yourself in jail. And rightfully so. A child should be given the same protection from physical assault. Many, many children are raised without being hit, and no, they are not all running around like wild animals. People need to figure out how that's accomplished. It should be considered a basic and fundamental parenting skill. Is it really necessary to have scientific studies to determine that assaulting children is wrong and harmful? Isn't it screamingly obvious?
  16. Recently, I was hiking in the woods of Vermont and I got poison something. My ankle got a rash that developed very slowly over a few days and then it started to itch. And man o' man did it itch. I was like a drug addict with the scratching. It felt so.. damn... goood. When I stopped scratching, and swore off it for life, my willpower lasted about 10 seconds before I started scratching again. I very easily could have sat in the corner and scratched myself silly for eternity. It felt that good! My question has to do with the sensation of pleasure associated with this scratching of the itch. Normally, the nerves in my ankle don't provide much along the lines of pleasurable stimuli. What is it about the repeated scratching of a rash or an itch that causes a nerve ending to suddenly transmit such an intense pleasurable sensation?
  17. I can't remember how I came upon this question, but I thought it was interesting enough to write it down. Is there a simple way to explain this: How is it that orbit speeds of planets orbiting the sun decrease steadily with distance from the sun, yet orbit speeds of stars circling the center of the Milky Way galaxy remain nearly constant?
  18. Would it be possible to use some sort of magnification lens to determine if the dots were outside of the eye? If they became magnified, wouldn't that imply that they were outside?
  19. Perhaps there is some ambiguity in what constitutes genuine self-esteem. http://www.objectivistcenter.org/showcontent.aspx?ct=670&h=53 Branden makes a sharp distinction between genuine self-esteem and pseudo-self-esteem. Pseudo-self-esteem relies on "external" sources, such as being admired or approved by others, social status, or physical appearance. People tend to put their reliance on external sources to the extent that they are lacking in the self-directed psychological processes that constitute internal sources of self-esteem. Because external sources are not under our direct control, they cannot realistically enhance our feelings of competence. Self-esteem that depends on them is therefore insecure and under constant threat. Moderate positive correlations exist between scores on self-reported self-esteem and scores on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI). (A narcissistic person harbors grossly inflated opinions of his competence and his worth, regarding himself as superior to others.) Because the NPI involves self-reporting, it is subject to some of the criticisms that have been raised against the Rosenberg Scale. Researchers who sharply distinguish self-esteem from narcissism worry about the correlation between the two tests and seek better theoretical models and better measurement procedures for both phenomena. Carolyn Morf and Frederick Rhodewalt have put forward a new model of narcissism that supports the effort to distinguish high self-esteem from vanity, self-absorption, and ego-inflation. Morf and Rhodewalt suggest that a defining characteristic of the narcissist is overdependence on social sources to affirm a grandiose sense of self. The narcissist needs other people, but only because of their instrumental value in bolstering his sense of self. Under the narcissist's grandiose exterior, therefore, is a vulnerable sense of self that is easily threatened and must be constantly supplied with affirmation.
  20. My understanding of “small man syndrome” is based on a consideration of the factors involved that may cause a person to feel “less than”. A person that is made to feel “less than” may be driven by a need to feel “better than”, “greater than”, “more powerful than”. A healthy self esteem is not driven by such considerations. There are many factors that can cause an individual to chronically feel “less than”, and most of us are not immune from them. Child rearing practices, for at least the last few thousand years, are rooted in the dominance and control of children. Alice Miller wrote a great book called “For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-rearing and the Roots of Violence” that explores the hidden cruelty in accepted child rearing practices and its disasterous effects on a childs self esteem. Don't we all harbor some rage at “bigness”? Don't we "respect" it and admire it, or else? Wouldn't we like to have it?
  21. Sisyphus, Thanks for clearing that up for me. I think I'm finally getting the general picture, approximately. If the galaxy is like a large disc, and our solar system is like a fried egg, it's not like the fried egg is oriented flat on the disc, but rather it's tipped towards perpendicular at 60 degrees as it orbits the center of the galaxy, with the planets having a helical orbit relative to the center of the galaxy. I wonder, does the motion of the sun during it's orbit move up or down at all or does it move closer or further away at all? Is there any “waviness” in it's orbit? Also, is the velocity constant or does it slow down or speed up at all?
  22. Is the shape of the Suns orbit around the center of the galaxy elliptical, with the planets having the shape of a helix? Also, what is the orientation of the ecliptic plane of our solar system in relation to the galactic plane?
  23. So, what frame of reference "sees" the Earths orbit as a spiral rather than a closed ellipse?
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