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  #26  
theapportioner theapportioner is offline
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Old Jun 20th, 2003, 05:08 PM       
You can spontaneously decide to do something entirely unpredictable whenever you wish.

No. You have the phenomenal experience of spontaneous decision making (and it's important), but underneath that experience are the causal brain mechanisms that are not in your "control". The short of it is -- the experience of will comes with your actions sometimes, but you do not will your actions.
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  #27  
Raven Raven is offline
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Old Jun 21st, 2003, 01:08 AM       
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Originally Posted by theapportioner
All this just illustrates my point. You cannot have a neat and tidy definition of what is human -- because "humanness" in ordinary language is much more than what biology can describe. You have different perspectives from which one can describe what is human, and all of them contribute to some degree in our understanding of the concept. The perspectives are distinct however, and blindly mixing them up creates confusion. By interpreting a scientific event in a moral or metaphysical context you are always going to have contradiction and untidiness. Why this is so unobvious to so many of you is beyond me. To say, "science tells you that humanness begins here" is utterly wrong because it is nonsensical.
But discovering the humanness of something doesn't actually tell you if its human. As humanness is nothing more than the state of being human. Of which is completely and utterly relative to the observor. Of which is no basis to produce laws. As such it creates far to many flexible boundries.
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  #28  
FS FS is offline
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Old Jun 21st, 2003, 07:04 AM       
You'll have to pick here. If "humanness" were a strict set of points to determine whether or not something was human (which, of course, is impossible), then OF COURSE it would be human. Simple as that. Bar none.

But since that is not the case, the term "humanness" bears no definition and is therefore useless.
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  #29  
Preechr Preechr is offline
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Old Jun 21st, 2003, 11:28 AM       
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Originally Posted by theapportioner
You can spontaneously decide to do something entirely unpredictable whenever you wish.

No. You have the phenomenal experience of spontaneous decision making (and it's important), but underneath that experience are the causal brain mechanisms that are not in your "control". The short of it is -- the experience of will comes with your actions sometimes, but you do not will your actions.

You seem to be working very hard toward absolving us of fault for ill-considered actions. If you would take your head out of that book for long enough, you'd see that its pretty obvious that making well-considered choices throughout one's life produces a better life than not ever thinking things through.
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mburbank~ Yes, okay, fine, I do know what you meant, but why is it not possible for you to get through a paragraph without making all the words cry?

How can someone who obviously thinks so much of their ideas have so little respect for expressing them? How can someone who so yearns to be taken seriously make so little effort?!
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  #30  
Raven Raven is offline
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Old Jun 21st, 2003, 11:46 AM       
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Originally Posted by FS
You'll have to pick here. If "humanness" were a strict set of points to determine whether or not something was human (which, of course, is impossible), then OF COURSE it would be human. Simple as that. Bar none.

But since that is not the case, the term "humanness" bears no definition and is therefore useless.
Was that directed at me?
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  #31  
Helm Helm is offline
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Old Jun 21st, 2003, 12:37 PM       
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"metaphysical" over "moral"
Methaphysical? Why choose this already established philosophical term, when it has little to do with the case at hand? Why do you use this narrow definition of morality?

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Anyway, point is, one can define "humanness" in terms of what occurs when a sperm and an egg meet, the onset of consciousness, the onset of self awareness, intrinsic genetic differences between homo sapiens and other species, the ability to reason, the ability to create language and skyscrapers, the ability to do evil... Whatever. There cannot be a "correct" explanation of what is human because the contexts in which these definitions operate are distinct. The meaning of the word human depends on the context. And for many of us, most if not all of these explanations are relevant in our super-definition of "humanness".
This is a very good point which I've never considered in the past. However, if any, which context would be the applicable one in the case of abortion, seeing how the latter is mostly a moral issue?

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BTW, you may notice that I seem to be contradicting stuff I said a few months before. My thoughts are always changing, but more on that later.
I could say the same thing. I've taken a somewhat steep turn towards some aspects of determinism. The thread about free will played a part in broadening my understanding on a lot of subjects. At some point, I'd like to discuss the nature of emotion with you.


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Should we bring up the ability to be self aware as well to include if something can be human? Humans are one of the few beings that can understand the whole concept of "me" and "I". We look in a mirror, we know we are seeing ourselves. The only animals I know that can do that are monkeys and dolphins. Should that be a measuring stick as well?
In a philosophical context, my point was that yes, to be human you must be self-aware.
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  #32  
kellychaos kellychaos is offline
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Old Jun 21st, 2003, 12:48 PM       
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Originally Posted by theapportioner
All this just illustrates my point. You cannot have a neat and tidy definition of what is human -- because "humanness" in ordinary language is much more than what biology can describe. You have different perspectives from which one can describe what is human, and all of them contribute to some degree in our understanding of the concept.
What a paradox! Were not intelligence enough to figure out our own complexities ... or even to decide which arena in which we want to duke it out. A touch of Godel, methinks.

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Originally Posted by theapportioner
By interpreting a scientific event in a moral or metaphysical context you are always going to have contradiction and untidiness. Why this is so unobvious to so many of you is beyond me. To say, "science tells you that humanness begins here" is utterly wrong because it is nonsensical.
Or vice versa. Brings to mind the problems computer scientists are having in developing artificial intelligence. Yeah, they can get the logic parts down but are missing the "ghost in the machine". It's like they're working "top down" and haven't even figured out the heart of the problem yet.
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  #33  
Helm Helm is offline
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Old Jun 21st, 2003, 01:05 PM       
Too much anime there, Kelly. Artificial Intelligence is really just a catch-phrase for self-altering database. There's yet been no public experiment at duplicating human intelligence, to the best of my knowledge. And if there was, it wouldn't so much be a problem of the technical aspects as much as figuring out the interactivity of the various logical nodes. I'm thinking you pulled this out of your ass, but if I'm wrong I'd like some links.
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  #34  
kellychaos kellychaos is offline
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Old Jun 21st, 2003, 01:31 PM       
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Originally Posted by Helm
Too much anime there, Kelly. Artificial Intelligence is really just a catch-phrase for self-altering database. There's yet been no public experiment at duplicating human intelligence, to the best of my knowledge.
Perhaps I mispoke. I agree that all we have at this point are logic programs that work, recursively, to "learn" from their mistakes and adjust accordingly ... which is what I think you said.

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Originally Posted by theapportioner
And if there was, it wouldn't so much be a problem of the technical aspects as much as figuring out the interactivity of the various logical nodes. I'm thinking you pulled this out of your ass, but if I'm wrong I'd like some links.
We have to figure out oursleves before we can figure out how to duplicate ourselves ... it's like the machine looking in on itself in order to fix itself. We hardly gotten past the point where psychiatry is considered more than a "soft science". I think that when we start figuring out this "interactivity of nodes" that our brain patterns are not going to conform to some logical or linear algorithm so much as to a variant of patterns seen in chaos theory. What I will say is interesting development is the intermingling of such sciences as psychiatry, neuroscience and pharmacology in not only mapping the brain through MRI but also in testing the brain chemically to see what affects what. There are some pretty informing articles on www.newscientist.com about the subject.
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  #35  
Vibecrewangel Vibecrewangel is offline
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Old Jun 23rd, 2003, 04:11 PM        Life
I know this will get some grumbles......

I don't believe that human life is any more valuable than any other form of life. Now, I'm not a bleeding heart, three hugging, animal loving hippy. I eat meat. I wear leather. I work in a med lab that does animal testing. (I don't do it personally, but I understand the need) Humans tend to go from self-aware to self-centered. And I believe that is primarally a learned behavior.



Next.....



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Time is a constant, and your self-centered, snap-shot criteria completely ignore that.
Time as movement does not actually exist. All that exists is now. The concept of time is how we as a species perceive the flow of events from one to the next. And that perception is relative to the one who is experiencing the events.
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  #36  
VinceZeb VinceZeb is offline
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Old Jun 23rd, 2003, 04:15 PM       


Acid tabs should be given out before reading this thread...
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  #37  
mburbank mburbank is offline
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Old Jun 23rd, 2003, 04:31 PM       
Antacid tabs should be given out for stomaching you, you big runaway, crybaby, submarine letter in pants.
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  #38  
kellychaos kellychaos is offline
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Old Jun 24th, 2003, 12:38 PM        Re: Life
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Originally Posted by Vibecrewangel

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Time is a constant, and your self-centered, snap-shot criteria completely ignore that.
Time as movement does not actually exist. All that exists is now. The concept of time is how we as a species perceive the flow of events from one to the next. And that perception is relative to the one who is experiencing the events.
The fact that the speed of light is constant and, as implied by the famous Einstein equation in his Theory General Relativity, time is relative to the observer has been proven proven time and again since it's publication @ 1919. It doesn't require acid to see that ... just some fancy schmancy scientific calibration techniques. Please try to keep up with the rest of the class, Vinth.
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