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Everything posted by RobC

  1. Mirror Neurons

    Quick addendum: It is my understanding that the lack of functioning mirror neurons in autistics just impairs the persons ability to learn empathy in the neurotypical sense of the word. They are still capable of developing that aspect of consciousness. They are just incapable of doing it subconsciously or in the standard manner. It must be an intelligent and rational reaction or they have naught at all.
  2. Mirror Neurons

    Don't know if anyone would find this interesting but it does address the empathy side of things... a link to the summary of an article in Scientific American: Mind.
  3. Conformity and Social Pressure

    lol, that was great. Just finished reading an article on "mirror neurons" too. Weak will and little sense of self go a long way.
  4. Well, I for one can declare I am happy at the outcome of this situation. Views like Mikko's have no place existing on a hosting service paid for by a rational human being.
  5. Fundamental too me is the thing that makes a man a man. A pygmy is still a human because he retains his cognitive aparatus and is able to exercise it to the capacity allowed to him. What makes a person a person is his brain. Not is height or skin colour. THAT is why I say there is only a superficial difference between a pygmy and a Yao Ming or Shaquille O'Neil. It isn't the size that makes them the same, but their capacity for rational thought. All other considerations are superficial.
  6. There is no fundamental difference between men. But there certainly is a wide gamut of superficial differences. It is the superficial differences that you address here, and so I can't see it as racism. Mikko, on the other hand, implied that there was a fundamental difference between men of different races. Which there is not.
  7. Microsoft Surface

    Having read and seen what I can see of "The Surface" I can't see it being ideal. Unless you had "arm rest" areas you could program in. There are a reason keyboards come with wrist rests. And I noticed a LOT of hand and arm movements in the demonstration videos. It may seem like a bit of a pathetic gripe, but if you're using the computer a lot those arms will very quickly become tired. The old test: hold your arm out at shoulder height and see how long you can carry a 50c coin (for the aussies) on the back of your hand, or whatever coin is largest in the US for those of the American continent. That said... HOW AWESOME DOES THAT LOOK!
  8. 'Atlas': Still Radical

    I love reading articles like that Betsy... thanks for the heads up. When I read Atlas Shrugged it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Ever since then, after a period of philosophical reflection and investigation, my entire life has been the best thing that has ever happened to me (ambiguous phraseology aside.)
  9. The "blowback" theory

    Apologies. I am still grappling with the original question and how you, others, and I are responding. I have not moved onto the use of strategy. Selection of methodology is the last link in a long chain of pseudo-cognitive processes. I am still dealing with: "What motivates Militant Islamics?"
  10. The First IT Consultant

    and to think... you couldn't even tell the guy to RTFM.
  11. Competition Without Freedom

    *laughs at appropriate place* All I can say after reading all that is: Thank god for Romantic Art. Because reality doesn't always do it for me. In seriousness though, are there any linkages attached to your post. Search engines are throwing up some wildly differing sites when throwing some appropriate keywords at it. What I find even more disturbing is how far back some of the sites I am being directed to go. I hit one from 2000 and a few from 2005. As a local I am hoping you could hit me up with some more appropriate sources. Good luck in getting some rational policies in regard to Energy in your state.
  12. The continued failure of the Airbus

    As a, relatively frequent, 6'5" commuter from LA to Perth (West Australia) [and back again] I must say I love Airbus in economy. The Exit Aisle rows are far better in Boeing however, but ceteris paribus for legroom the Singapore Airlines configuration for their Airbus' are far superior to Boeing. After getting off a plane after 17hours non-stop then getting on a 6 hour connection and ending up with swollen feet and chronic leg cramps I can attest that it's ALMOST enough to make one fall in love with the collectivist manufacturing/design process. Though I must claim a special bias. I slept for a few hours on a Boeing during the crossing once (LA to Tokyo) and woke up with a broken pinky toe. It also marked the last time I took my shoes off on a flight and wedged my feet awkwardly under the seat in front of me in order to get comfy to go to sleep. NB: All on Singapore Airlines.
  13. Happy Birthday to RobC

    Thanks Betsy, thanks Ray. Its nice to see my age catching up with all the gray hair I have. That is something to be happy about
  14. The "blowback" theory

    A belief in god is irrational. When you talk about motivations for belief in god it still boils down to the fact that that particular person has defaulted in that instance on rationality and applying it to observable reality. I do not wish to go down the path of "yeah, but they are irrational." As you have pointed out, you can solve ANY problem via that method. However, when discussing this particular thread we must concern ourselves with it. Because the defining characteristic of Jihadists is their irrationality. Now to go back to the original analogy, a belief in god can be caused, or motivated, by any number of things; lack of a rational philosophy, there are no non-emotionalists in foxholes, trouble dealing with overwhelming grief, etc... No matter what the "motivation" is for a belief in god/religion, in the end it is a form of irrationality. Or the suspension of rationality for certain aspects. Which, all things considered, is just a step along the path. So when you talk about "motivations" for jihad, there can be an infinite number of motivations for the actions of terrorists. Including (but not exhaustive) hatred of the good for being good, revenge, establishment of Islamic Hegemony, anti-Capitalism, rejection of Western Values, the destruction of the 'Evil Empire', etc... In the end, as almost every reply on this thread has hinted, it is just some rationalisation of an irrational philosophical system. When one pursues irrational goals, one must pretend to oneself that they are not evil. (Read: Cult of Moral Grayness - THE OBJECTIVIST NEWSLETTER, June, 1964 & Chapter 9: Virtue of Selfishness) Hence all the different stated motivations of terrorists and Jihadists. In the end, one simply observes that they are irrational, and whim driven. It is the hypothesis that best fits the facts. For if it was a principled driven goal achieving philosophy behind the actions there would be a lot worse going on than 2,974 deaths in a single attack. So while it is not "convenient" to account for the actions going on, and it is not an exhaustive analysis, of the psychological motivations of the perpetrators, I must promote that hypothesis of "yeah, but they are irrational." Not because it is convenient, but because it is the cause of whatever motivations each individual uses when they are going about whatever it is they are going about. As a movement certain different groups may be identified as having specific motivations. But as a broad whole, no one but they and they're psychiatrists can truly know the cause. So as far as philosophy is concerned, I think a broad stroke of "irrationality" might be warranted in this situation. I have tried to nail it down further, and perhaps someone can help me out. The however is the current step in my thinking.
  15. Assault on Reason

    Surprising he didn't call it "A critique of pure reason" There is no way I am going to reward Gore by purchasing this book, so I wonder if anyone can tell me if he credits Kant for the foundation of his idiotic views. Maybe the assault on rationality is so brazen that there is no longer a need to switch it out by calling it "PURE" reason.
  16. The "blowback" theory

    "Hatred of the good for being the good." I wonder though if they recognise good as good, and if that statement is not giving militant Islamics FAR too much credit. At best though I wouldn't attribute them any "positive" goals. Much like the current socialist/environmentalist movement. The goal is not the establishment of a utopia, but the destruction of capitalist/human society.
  17. Progressive Exercise

    Congratulations RayK! I love milestones. The signposts along your way that alert you to your success in consistently practicing your virtues. May your next 7 years bring you as much pride as your last 7.
  18. Animation of American Civil War

    I thought it was amazing. Being an Australian I have only really "heard" about the American Civil War and knew that it was quote: BIG. Looking at the ticker of casualties I was staggered by how many gave their lives to the cause, and by how long the war lasted.
  19. My comment was more directed towards the Prodos/Mikko topic of this thread, and not that of holocaust denial. Of course, that does not reduce it's relevance. I say this comment only, to make sure that it is taken in the proper context. I have not been following the holocaust denial part of this thread. (I have been reading it, but not thinking about it much.)
  20. You can disagree with an idea, and still defend the right to free speech.
  21. "You moral cannibals, I know that you've always known what it was that you wanted. But your game is up, because now we know it, too." -from Galt's Speech, Atlas Shrugged, pp 925 In every other piece of writing by Ayn Rand that I have read, her conception of people who follow a non-absolutist creed was that the only absolute is to never name what it is you want or even to think about it (too closely.) So my questions: 1) Is my understanding right? If not, how not? 2) What, then, is the exact meaning of this sentence? I have the feeling I am missing something, but no idea what.
  22. Thank you for those replys Paul's Here, oldsalt, and alann. It is clear to me now that my mistake was on the different levels of "knowledge" held by the parties involved. Looks like I got some thinking to do.
  23. My question centers around the first sentence of that quote. "...I know that you've always known what it was that you wanted." -GS, AS. (925) I thought the point of most of her other writings around the ideas of non-objective ethics was that the perpetrators never knew what they wanted, or the methods by which they went about getting it. I'm having trouble "validating" that sentence. As an example, take Jim Taggart, to keep with the same novel. They were many passages describing how he avoided knowledge of his philosophical/ethical aims. The board of Taggart Transcontinental provided other examples, as did every other second-hander in that novel. To my understanding, that sentence goes against every other characterisation of "moral cannibals" demonstrated in her works. The only three characters I can think of that "know" would be Elsworth Toohey, Fred Kinan, and Lillian Rearden. Is it clearer now, my misunderstanding?
  24. A long racist diatribe tends to lead one to conclude the source is racist. His errors in thinking are plain, and the fact of whether he is open to persuasion to views more consistent with reality or not is largely beside the point. One may indeed take cognizance of that fact when concluding and finalising ones judgment based on the evidence at hand, but not forgo such judgment because of it. It seems the difference of opinion may be the weight we put on the possibility that Mikko is open to such persuasion. I ascribe it little importance. When such persuasion happens, and such persuasion is successful... Mikko may possibly make a future public rectification of his views. At such a time I will reevaluate such judgments as I have made of him. As far as justice goes: To label the blog post of Mikko Ellila/Ellilän as racist does indeed take thought to fully understand his stance and arguments (or lack thereof) and the definition of racism, and the forms it may take. I for one found it more consistent with Tribalism and not strictly racism. But as its the same error, I left it be. And indeed I did not ascribe him the same moral equivalence of the head of the KKK, or a Neo-Nazi (or even the past ones). What I took exception to was the understating of the blog post as "containing 'some' racist notions" when the entire post was almost nothing but a long rant against Asians, Africans, and Arabs and for Europeans and Americans, with no indication of the differentiation of individuals within that geographical area/racial trait. What a number of people who share an insignificant trait like skin colour, or a geographical area of birth, have done proves and indicates nothing about what the NEXT one will do. And that is the background to my thinking on the topic, and why I made the original post. It was somewhat flippant, and in context should have consisted of a full outlining of my views on the topic. My attempt to rectify that error is this post. As far as anything else goes, my best wishes to you and Mikko in your defense of Free Speech.
  25. Hot Fuzz (2007)

    Having been a big fan of 'Shaun of the Dead' I went into this movie with pretty high expectations. And I was NOT disappointed. Knowing what to expect I was a bit befuddled during the set up of the plot... constantly thinking to myself... "Is this it?" But once it hits its straps and the scene is set I was rolling in my seat laughing. One of the few comedies I've seen recently where the whole cinema laughed and groaned together. Timothy Dalton was a highlight for me. Being amongst a minority in my circle of friends thinking he was a great James Bond.