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Everything posted by kenstauffer

  1. Halting Problem and Free Will

    My saying "finite nature of consciousness" was nothing more than saying "finite nature of beach balls". It sounds deep and profound, but is really just an application of the law of identity to consciousness. I mentioned it because my view that the mind is a large turning machine with a finite number of states. And this addresses your first question, what do I mean by materialism? I view consciousness as an emergent phenomenon from matter, where matter has strict cause/effect billard-ball like properties. But this view is not Objectivism, because you cannot derive consciousness from non-consciousness. It was my hope that I could keep my materialistic tendencies and the axiomatic nature of consciousness, and while we are at it, explain free will. (and all in a short 100 word post on an internet forum!) By the way, this points out two of my errors (mentioned by Dr. Binswanger in his lecture 'The Metaphysics of Consciousness': 1. equating volition with consciousness. 2. trying to derive consciousness from non-consciousness.
  2. Consciousness and the Brain

    This article describes one of the first emphirical studies comparing the benefits of sexual versus asexual reproduction:
  3. Why is Free will an axiom?

    I won't be happy until tax season is over and football season starts! But you're right, it is so amazing to be conscious. What a wonderful world and how great it is that mankind has aquired the knowledge it has. It's a wonderful age we live in (post Ayn Rand).
  4. Why is Free will an axiom?

    Thanks for the clarification Betsy. It was very sloppy thinking on my part. I don't want this to detract from my original argument, so I should have written something like "free will is a personal experience like color perception, ..."
  5. Why is Free will an axiom?

    (Sorry, I accidentally hit POST instead of PREVIEW. Here is the completed post) Is free will an axiom? Or is it just my free will that is an axiom? I understand the argument in OPAR that I have free will and why this must be an axiom. Because any attempt to refute my own possession of free will leads to contradictions etc... But when I conclude that somebody else has free will, do I not have to [1] identifty the person as human, [2] identify myself as human, [3] know that organisms of the same species share all basic capacities, therefore other people have free will just like me. Thus, other people's free will is not an axiom TO ME. It is a inference I make based on a long complex chain of reasoning. What I am getting at, isn't free will a subective experience, like pain, the color red, etc.. Does this not partially eleminate the quest for a new force of nature to explain the existence of free will? Let me elaborate... Imagine a consciousness that is far advanced from my own (advanced means it has a capacity to understand every atom and connection in my brain). This consciousness could observe me and predict my actions, and from its perspective I do not violate any laws of physics. From this god-like consciousness perspective everything I do is fully in accordance with the physical laws and no "free will" force of nature is needed to explain my behavior. Could free will be an axiom only because oneself does not have a capacity to "get outside" of ones awareness and thus see the determinism that is really taking place? That ends the best way I can express this idea. Below is an elaboration using the Halting problem..... Halting Problem and Free Will: (Since I have already messed up this post I will place this in a new topic shortly, thank you)
  6. Narcissists and Gifts

    Could you add some more examples to this. I find it hard to connect the theory in your post to real life examples. By the way I find this subject very fascinating and relevent. I recently became interested in N's because I was trying to figure out if somebody I knew was one. It was a painful relationship and I forget how I ended up choosing to investigate the person as a 'narcissist'. I had heard the term before but had a very poor understanding what it really means to be one. From my reading, to be a nascissist is a serious flaw and I cannot see how the person I was trying to analyse could be that way. For a few weeks I was seeing narcissism in everybody (myself included). If you look hard enough you can find such traits in all of us. In my case, the person in question never gave gifts. His wife did. His wife did all the shoping, letter writting, wrapping, mailing. With any card or letter he would add a short one sentence "PS." to the end of what his wife wrote and sign next to her name. Does your theory mean that you can use somebodys gift giving behavior to diagnose narcissism? Also, the narcissist, should have importance to Objectivists (something I did not appreciate until I did my amature psycho-analaysis of this person). I can now appreciate how people incorrectly call Howard Roark a narcissist. Thus, Objectivists should be interested in this personality type and have good arguments why it does not apply to the person with a self-sufficient ego. (See... it's all about me and my interests! Ha! My psychologist said I was the best narcissist he has ever encountered!!! So there!!!! Take that!!!! )
  7. Perceptual Concretes

    I think you are correct to say that the specific color is the omitted measurement for the concept 'color'. But I believe it is incorrect to say that 'color' is directly perceivable. Color isn't a percept, but Blue, Green, and Red (etc..) are perceptually given. In other words, I would say 'color' is a first level concept and 'green' is a directly perceivable, perceptual concrete.
  8. Anybody going? The last conference I attended was the Lake Tahoe conference in 1998 (or 1999) and I had a great time. I am suprised (and annoyed) at how boring the locations for the objectivist conferences have been since then. Although I haven't been paying close attention to pricing over the years, it seems that the cost is really expensive this year. Except for students... boo hoo woe is me.
  9. Objectvist Summer Conference (OCON)

    Any San Diego residents have any cost savings tips on places to stay?
  10. Second Law Thermo. & Evolution

    Welcome to the internet.
  11. Second Law Thermo. & Evolution

    I like Dr. Binswanger's description of entropy. To paraphrase him, "Entropy denotes the metaphysical fact that that which has a higher probability of happening, happens more often." When people use the word "order" when describing entropy that only muddies the issue more. The term "order" is not a metaphysical concept. No state of existence is any more or less orderly than any other (as far as the universe is conserned). The unique arrangements of matter that we consider 'orderly' are very rare. So it is not suprising that when a tornado goes through a junk yard the result is not a 747 airplane. It is my opinion that evolution is a perfect expression of the law of entropy. Unlike the quoted biologist who believes evolution is a localalized exception to it. Evolution *IS* a form of entropy. The replicators that are best at replicating are more numerous. Given a primordial soup with many competing molecular replicators the replicators that will be most populous in the pond will be those replicators that copy themselves better. What could be more in harmony with the notion of entropy than that?
  12. Penn & Teller: Bulls#*t!

    In my opinion, their shows are as good (in terms of quaility of research) as any of the supposedly serious, "60 minutes" broadcasts.
  13. Penn & Teller: Bulls#*t!

    PIZ - THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! This is something I would have normally passed over in Blockbuster. Thanks to your recommendation I rented all 3 discs of the 2nd season. I enjoyed it tremendously! Thanks for the suggestion. Now I am search of the 1st season to buy/rent. This forum has paid for itself already!!
  14. The so-called "infinity" in mathematics

    I'm replying to the thread as a whole. In particular the notion of infinity as not a valid concept of method. I understand Dr. Binswanger's argument that no matter what symbolism is employed you will at some point reach a limit in the ability to represent a (large enough) quantity. I believe that this argument does not depend on the universe consisting of an unlimited number of particles. I think it can be made just by the fact that our minds are limited. Proceeding from this I am left wondering about the use of diagonalization as a inductive proof technique. The classic use of diagonalization is to prove that there are more real numbers than natural numbers. My question is, if we banish infinity as a concept of method then is diagonalization still a valid inductive method? My answer is that the diagonalization method is valid, but does not show that one infinite set is larger than another infinite set, but rather shows that one set is countable verus not countable. Countable means an algorithm can be specified to enumerate over the set. Integers and natural numbers have this property, but real numbers do not. I think a big problem with modern mathematics today is the reification of "mental sets of objects". As a result of this sloppy thinking, infinity gets used when another terminology can better be used to express the idea. PROOF THAT THERE ARE MORE REALS THAN INTEGERS: (See Roger Penrose, The Emperor's New Mind) Assume that every real number can be counted by an integer. Then every real number between 0 and 1 can also be mapped to an integer. Such a mapping would look something like this: 1 = 0.12345 ... 2 = 0.89567 ... 3 = 0.45256 ... 4 = 0.72515 ... 5 = 0.80204 ... etc... Consider the diagonal digits from the list: 1, 9, 2, 1, 4, ... The diagonal digits from our list can be used to form various wierd and wonderful real numbers. The first obvious one is this: 0.19214 ... But a contradiction arises if we define a real from our list such as: 0.21121 ... How was this real number generated from the diagonal digits? Using the following rule: if the diagonal digit is '1' then place a '2' in the corresponding spot in the derived real number. If the diagonal digit not '1' (2 through 9 and 0), then place a '1' in the corresponding spot. This gives, 0.21121... Does this number exist in our mapping? No it does not. And cannot exist in the list and yet it is a real number and we assumed all real numbers between 0 and 1 could be expressed by an integer. So our assumption is wrong. Real numbers cannot be counted by integers. Why is 0.21121... not in the list? Because it cannot match any of the numbers in the list by definition. It has at least one digit different. No matter what countable procedure you invent to map real numbers to integers, somebody can always invent another procedure that generates a real numeber that won't be in the mapping. The conclusion is that the set of real numbers is greater than the set of integers. This is an example of sloppy thinking in my opinion. It is worded so that one thinks that there is a set of numbers sitting somewhere that you could look at. The set of integers is really an algorithm for churning out symbols in an ordered way from the previous symbol. Real numbers don't have this kind of countability.
  15. A Dramatic Concretization

    I can see my house Thanks for the awsome picture!
  16. Your Avatar

    I assumed Andrew was humoroursly referring to Dr. Peikoff's disdain of pictures used as am argument. (but you know what they say about assuming things)
  17. Vitamins, what is needed and why

    I repsectfully have to disagree with you. The late Dr. Atkins' theory makes more sense to me than your post. He also manages to explain the obesity trends in our culture (not to mention the epedemic of diabetes). I am not trashing your theory, but as a non-doctor and non-dietary expert I must choose from competing theories that: [a] sound plausable, work, [c] don't kill me, [d] come recomended from trusted friends The Atkins diet provids this for me. I needed to lose a lot of weight (50 lbs) and low-carb helped me cut out. I also permanetely removed a lot of superflous sugar consumption from my diet (like 6 cans of coke per day, etc...). I don't have time to pull out my 6th grade chemistry set and figure out what the proper diet is for man. Maybe scientists should have worked on this problem before sending a man to the moon. In any case, you ask 10 different experts on the proper diet for man and you will get 10 different answers. So, I find it difficult to share your confidence in your theory on how the human body works. You may very well be right, but to insinuate that the Atkins diet is dangerous and "may do this" or "might cause that" sounds a lot like how the media trashed the John Galt Line bridge. I'm not convinced atkins is harmful. I need more proof.
  18. Your Avatar

    My avatar is a pic of me taken in 1976. I choose this picture because it was the last time I was at my ideal weight It's a cute pic of me, even though my sisters always said I had a "football head". Here's the full image, showing my sisters and I in our sunday clothes:
  19. Vitamins, what is needed and why

    Good job!!! Any good low carb meals you like to eat??
  20. The Incredibles

    It takes all kinds. Here's an equally tragic story from my own life: My Dad introduced me to Ayn Rand's fiction. He loved The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. He permanently kept the quote "Who is John Galt?" written on his white board at work. Two years later, after I returned from my first Objectivist conference, he gave me a copy of Herman Hesse's 'Steppenwolf' and told me it was also one of the most important books that shaped his view of the world. I learned that some people's minds are very bizzare and just admiring Ayn Rand doesn't tell you as much about them as you would expect or hope. I'm don't believe this incident has made me overly discouraged or disillusioned about people, just cautiously skeptical about first impressions.
  21. Making a better drive-thru

    I worked at Burger King from '86 through '88 and it paid my first year of college! I learned a lot about the industry and still think fondly of the experience. I probably worked harder (physically) at that job than any since then. I was on the late night shift and after we closed at 2am we had to tear down all equipment in the kitchen and totally clean the place from top to bottom. If the official procedures are followed the result is a very sanitary store and quaility food. I gained a lot of respect for the quality that can be achieved when procedures are followed. I would say that a well run fast food joint can surpass the quality/cleanliness of a mom & pop resteraunt. (key word in that statement is "well run"). I don't think adjusting the robo-kitchen to fluctuations demand would pose a problem to this plan. In fact, this is one are where the computer has revolutionized manufacturing. Others have pointed out examples of this. I would say the hardest roadblock is a business problem. To develop an automatic kitchen as outlined in my "fantasy" would be extremely expensive and wouldn't pay for itself with only a handful of stores. You would need to have hundreds of stores that use this auto-kitchen before you could pay for the R&D and constructions of the robotic hardware. Profit margins in the fast food industry is very miniscule compared to other industries. Highschoolers make for very cheap labor, which your robitic kitchen must compete against. Compare this to the skilled labor (and unionized) in an auto plant, here the robots can quickly pay for themselves, as they compete against fairly expensive human workers. I think today's technology is more than up to the task for implementing this robo-kitchen with all the advantages stated earlier, but it just costs too much compared to the current fast food labor force. It would also need to be scaled to hundreds of stores before it could cover the R&D costs, etc... And on top of all these issues is the speculative nature of the business plan. If you invest a billion dollars to implement this idea, and nobody wants to eat at your place, then you are looking at a huge loss. The trick is to develop a business plan that has lots of cheap incremental milestones.
  22. Environmentalists announced today that they have found mercury orbiting the sun. They are not worried, as no endangered species live there.
  23. Making a better drive-thru

    It looks like this story is getting lots of headlines. From a division of labor point of view it makes perfect sense. Also, I cannot tell you how many times my order is taken incorrectly, and this has the potential to fix that. On a related note, here's my fantasy of the ultimate in fast food technology: Develop a totally robotic factory-like kitchen in which all food is prepared by robot arms etc.. Patrons can watch the food being prepared through glass viewing windows (like Krispy Kreme). The only people employed would be the cashiers and people to clean the eating area of the patrons. Every night the entire food preparation area and robot devices are cleaned like the inside of a giant dishwasher (or car wash). This would ensure superior cleanliness and ensure consistency in the quality of the food (and cops etc.. wouldn't have to worry about nasties in their burgers) Point of sale could be through a human cashier or alternatively several ATM like terminals in which you enter your order using a touch screen. Ultimately in my fast food fantasy store there would no interaction with humans at all!!!
  24. Singles?

    pomo means post modernism, although I thought it was a typo and she meant porno instead of pomo, but in a certain sense the two are equivilent.
  25. I already know the answer to this, but it did perplex me for a long time. It's an interesting question to test your skills in applying physics to a particular problem. So.... What causes a match to go out when you blow on it? (NOTE: The reason I was long perplexed by this simple case was that oxygen is what drives combustion for all chemical reactions which we normally call "fire". So my dilemma was how could blowing oxygen on a combusting material ever cause it to go out.)