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Re: [atheists-59] Rand and free will - In response to Dan Caless(responding to Roy) "Computers can't see that they have a choice about which alternative they pursue - they aren't conscious" This is a baseless assertion. The only way "you" can Alexander F. Jun 27, 2008 9:19 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Rand and free will - There is no You, only the brain. The You is a construct used by the brain to interact with the environment. --- On Fri, 6/27/08, steve & Will Jun 27, 2008 8:27 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Rand and free will - bingo! On Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 10:43 AM, Roy < [address removed] > wrote: steve Jun 27, 2008 6:17 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Rand and free will - Gee Zach I have to disagree about the attention to Rand - my understanding is that virtually nothing was written about her ideas during say, the 80s. You are saved if you can find 10, nay even 5 philosophical journal articles about her ideas during t Dan C. Jun 26, 2008 6:32 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Film festival!, cont'd - the god who wasn't there saved hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy life of brian On Thu, Jun 26, 2008 at 1:13 AM, Sarah Trachtenberg < [address removed] &g steve Jun 25, 2008 6:25 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Film festival!, cont'd - Laurie Jun 25, 2008 1:47 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Film festival!, cont'd - Preview not available Raja Jun 25, 2008 1:27 PM
Film festival!, cont'd - .hmmessage P { margin:0px; padding:0px } body.hmmessage { FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY:Tahoma } Hey Infidels, In putting together the film festival, can you send me your id Sarah T. Jun 25, 2008 1:03 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - i meant to say, i think quantum mechanics is irrelevant, because adding a degree of randomness steve Jun 25, 2008 12:44 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - i think quantum mechanics is irrelevant, because adding a degree of randomness put you more in control of your behavior; it puts you less in control (you would be acting randomly). -steve On Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 10 steve Jun 25, 2008 12:44 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - Hi Mark, welcome to the group! I won't be there myself tonight, but I'm sure you will find very interesting conversations. I think it's a great forum to work our brains, to define what we ought to do as "atheists", and wh Roy Jun 25, 2008 12:22 PM
QM in the brain - Zachary B. Jun 25, 2008 12:00 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - Hi, I'm new, look forward to meeting folks tonight at Harvard Sq. I agree with a lot of the thoughts people are posting and it's exciting. Also, in addition to dispelling religious notions of phenomena extending beyond observed reality, Mark N Jun 25, 2008 11:36 AM
Two papers on Morality and Free Will in the Brain - Preview not available Raja Jun 25, 2008 11:35 AM
Re: [atheists-59] A plea for Darwin- all Darwin, all the time - Roy, I think the Catholics have accepted evolution. --- On Wed, 6/25/08, Roy <[address removed]> wrote: Will Jun 25, 2008 11:30 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - Dear Zachary, Actually, from what I've seen & read, the quantum effect does exists even in Newtonian (macro-level) physics, however its effect is so minuscule, it's unlikely to affect the interactions of bodies greatly. Also, t Roy Jun 25, 2008 11:28 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - Zachary B. Jun 25, 2008 11:02 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - If anybody wants to study relativity, I know a bunch of the math, but none of the physics. Alex On Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 10:42 AM, Roy < [address removed] > wrote: Alexander F. Jun 25, 2008 10:43 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - Raja, I don't think we're avoiding the discussion, but rather the reasons are 1) honestly we don't know enough to discuss further in detail in quantum physics (myself included), and 2) no need to dive into further as the point of all th Roy Jun 25, 2008 10:38 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - Preview not available Raja Jun 25, 2008 10:17 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - Republicans probably doesn't realize that the next White House administration will use this on them to put Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove and their friends into jail for a long long time... Roy Jun 25, 2008 9:59 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - Alex, The current thinking suggests that acquiring such information is not possible, mainly because the attempt to acquire the information itself can affect the observation, thus there's no way to know what the "true state" was (says Roy Jun 25, 2008 9:55 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - Oh, and in terms of important political issues, what do people think about this: http://politics.slashdot.org/p­olitics/08/06/25/1238218.shtml­ O Alexander F. Jun 25, 2008 9:44 AM
Re: [atheists-59] A plea for Darwin- all Darwin, all the time - Will, You are correct on religions adapting to new facts, however they have made a critical mistake in not accommodating Evolution as one of "God's work". Having seen that inflexibility, I have little doubt that any reasonable p Roy Jun 25, 2008 9:23 AM
Re: [atheists-59] A plea for Darwin- all Darwin, all the time - user 5. Jun 25, 2008 9:23 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - Right, but say that rather than building a computer in the way we do, you built a computer in the way we are built. That is to say, you took a bunch of self replicating units which initially differentiate themselves by a very subtle sensitivity to g Alexander F. Jun 25, 2008 9:21 AM
Re: [atheists-59] A plea for Darwin- all Darwin, all the time - Roy, I think you underestimate the ability of the religious to contort their views to fit a new set of facts. Will --- Will Jun 25, 2008 8:20 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Rand and free will - Steve, The determinism would also include your very thought process in thinking that you have an alternate way to respond, however that decision has already been made in the future. So, whatever the choice you thi Roy Jun 24, 2008 9:28 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - Dan, Suppose we have created an artificial intelligence in our computer... and let's say it thinks it's alive, and it thinks has its own opnions (perhaps when it comes to religion) - i.e. free will. Roy Jun 24, 2008 9:19 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Rand and free will - to my thinking, the more we realize how determined we are, the more free we become. it's an extra piece of valuable information to carry around in one's head throughout the day, for example, on wednesdays so-and-so comes in the office; steve Jun 24, 2008 8:46 PM
Re: [atheists-59] A plea for Darwin- all Darwin, all the time - Robert, As you may be already aware, we will be able to synthesize new living organisms from scratch (see http://www.ted.com/index.php/t­alks/view/id/227 ).&nbs Roy Jun 24, 2008 8:15 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - Oh just that if one is determined by previous factors than can one be held responsibl;e for one's actions, and punished/rewarded accordingly. Just like one doesn't punish a computer that goes arwy. If one has choice then presumably one can be held a Dan C. Jun 24, 2008 6:23 PM
Rand and free will - Dear Dan: There has been consistent and thorough attention to Ayn Rand's philosophical writings, such as they, since the time of their publication... the consensus is that there is not a seminal idea in them, much to the chagrin of her 'apologist Zachary B. Jun 24, 2008 5:59 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - Arrg I just noticed buried in the 'component parts' discussion below - I meant to say that the *combination* of parts can have free will even if the individual parts do not. I don't want to start a whole new thread! :) Dan --- Dan Caless Dan C. Jun 24, 2008 5:53 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - Hey - OK let me retract and rephrase on academic interest in Rand and say that only recently (last 5-10 years) has there been much interest and work on Ayn Rand's ideas. Fair enough? :) I'd rather get to the point of deciding whether determinism o Dan C. Jun 24, 2008 5:45 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Re: More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheis - Precisely! On 6/24/08, Alexander Fairley < [address removed] > wrote: Roy Jun 24, 2008 4:23 PM
Re: [atheists-59] News media on George Carlin - If I had known that harmless little comment would have generated so much heat, I never would have written it. Christopher totally misconstrued my comments. I already made one attempt to clarify it. It was just an observation about the media. I was Michael Jun 24, 2008 4:17 PM
Re: [atheists-59] "Free Will" - I believe quantum mechanical processes are also deterministic. (!) Okay, so I'm not a physicist, and I would welcome a lesson here. But I do think I have some understanding as to why we're being told that quantum universe is non-determ Roy Jun 24, 2008 4:00 PM
Re: [atheists-59] "Free Will" - The purpose of life is to live; to thrive if we can. --- On Tue, 6/24/08, Roy <[address removed]> wrote: Will Jun 24, 2008 3:38 PM
Re: [atheists-59] A plea for Darwin- all Darwin, all the time - Hi Robert, Thanks for taking your time and explaining the thought behind the organization of philosophies. Honestly, I am pretty ignorant when it comes to philosophy, and half (most?) of the time I don't understand what hell "-ism&qu Roy Jun 24, 2008 3:22 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Re: More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheis - Except that some things are random (or at least they are random according to our current understanding). Atomic decay of a single atom, for example, is random. Only when one observes a large number of atomic decay events can a probability function for the Justin Jun 24, 2008 3:19 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Re: More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheis - Well, so what do you mean by random? An un-compressible pattern? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K­olmogorov_Complexity On Tue, Jun 24, 2008 at 2:54 PM, Roy < Alexander F. Jun 24, 2008 3:07 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Re: More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheis - Or strings :) But I don't think it matters on the macro level. Atoms, molecules and chains of molecules do have distinct properties. --- On Will Jun 24, 2008 3:05 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Re: More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheis - I don't understand - are you asking why hydrogen is hydrogen and helium is helium?? I think what quantum physics is trying to establish, is that there is one neat law of physics that determines (okay, may be a small set of) why H is H and He is Roy Jun 24, 2008 2:51 PM
Re: [atheists-59] "Free Will" - Quantum mechanical processes are nondeterministic. Are our brain functions the result of any quantum effects? Some make that (controversial) argument ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q­uantum_mind ) altho Justin Jun 24, 2008 2:25 PM
Re: [atheists-59] "Free Will" - Psychological experiments indicate that there is more variability within the behavior of individual people at different times than there is across people. On Tue, Jun 24, 2008 at 2:06 PM, Roy < Alexander F. Jun 24, 2008 2:20 PM
Re: [atheists-59] "Free Will" - I am in agreement with Will. Free Will suggests a metaphysical process outside the physical neurological processes. Steve - human brain is _exactly_ like a computer. Of course, it's made of different materials and wired rather diff Roy Jun 24, 2008 2:01 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Re: More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheis - Well, so the devil's advocate question, would be, what causes a property to inhere in one physical object and not in another? Why does hydrogen have one set of properties, and helium another. Physical reductionism will chase this down to quarks or wha Alexander F. Jun 24, 2008 1:50 PM
An annual $1 Atheists Membership Fee: still cheaper than tithing - Dear Atheists, Just a quick note to let you know that I made a change to the Meetup Group. An annual membership fee of $1.00 is now required; this fee covers the monthly cost of organizing our program activities through Meetup.com, as well as h Zachary B. Jun 24, 2008 1:44 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Re: More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism - Alex, Phenomeonon are caused by their physical parts and by the properties of their physical parts. I think that the ways that physical parts Will Jun 24, 2008 1:35 PM
Re: [atheists-59] News media on George Carlin - Hear Hear!(he says while gazing intently at his navel) 2008/6/24 Christopher < [address removed] >: Alexander F. Jun 24, 2008 1:10 PM
Re: [atheists-59] News media on George Carlin - "The tone of superiority is becoming a little bothersome to myself and I would like to submit a warning to this group..." Yeah I totally hate when people tell me how to act. Josiah Jun 24, 2008 12:01 PM
RE: [atheists-59] News media on George Carlin - Preview not available B. J. Jun 24, 2008 11:49 AM
Another $0.02 on the cause-effect antigod argument - Zachary B. Jun 24, 2008 11:00 AM
Responding to Alex's mechanism talk, and, ta-da, "God Doesn't Exist" - Zachary B. Jun 24, 2008 10:04 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Re: More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism - Well, say you have some sort of complicated physical mechanism, like some sort of sophisticated pulley system for transferring a force, or maybe the transmission of a car. One could certainly argue that the "cause" of the pulley system working i Alexander F. Jun 24, 2008 9:38 AM
Re: [atheists-59] News media on George Carlin - I'd say that bitching incessantly at each other about trivial things over email is good for us. Getting things out helps one to get over them. Cheers, Alex On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 10:43 PM, Christopher < Alexander F. Jun 24, 2008 9:29 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Re: More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism) - I concur. --- On Mon, 6/23/08, Josiah <[address removed]> wrote: Will Jun 24, 2008 9:25 AM
Re: [atheists-59] More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism) - Consciousness is not a thing. It is word we employ to encompass many perceived and unperceived cognitive processes. Consciousness has no existence separ Will Jun 24, 2008 9:24 AM
"Free Will" - Humans are different in that they can delay action that is based on there initial emotional or instinctual response in order to employ a schem Will Jun 24, 2008 9:15 AM
Re: [atheists-59] News media on George Carlin - My Reply: 1. Being an atheist was very much part of George Carlin's career as a comedian, and some obituaries did mention it. 2. I wasn't complaining about being offended. I was complaining about media bias, something which I've observed on a larg Michael Jun 23, 2008 10:24 PM
Re: FW: Re: Re: [atheists-59] Re: More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism) - [this is one of the hardest for me to understand. it keeps coming up with naturalisms, ple steve Jun 23, 2008 9:18 PM
Philosophy on Rand; getting to the point - Dear Dan: You're mistaken -- it's hardly accurate to say that philosophy has ignored Rand's work (personally, I've read half a dozen detailed analyses of various aspects of Rand's work by academic philosophers in the past year). However, it would Zachary B. Jun 23, 2008 8:04 PM
Re: [atheists-59] More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism - ...our consciousness can make it's own choices - it's 'self-causal& steve Jun 23, 2008 7:53 PM
FW: Re: Re: [atheists-59] Re: More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism) - hi Steve, thanks for commenting on my email, [RG>] sorry I have hard time understanding yours but will try a blow by blow below [RG>] I put my stuff in [roys stuff] Roy Gat Given this astronomical complexity, It is irrelevant if the roy Jun 23, 2008 7:50 PM
Re: [atheists-59] News media on George Carlin - Dear Michael: It is my understanding that the religious beliefs of the deceased are generally not listed in an obituary, except as they relate to professional involvement. For example, few outlets reported on Tim Russert's Catholicism. Is it tha Zachary B. Jun 23, 2008 6:48 PM
News media on George Carlin - I was just listening to a very unreliable news source, NPR. In their praise of the late George Carlin, they touched on the subject of religion, mentioned his ridiculing it, mentioned his parochial school education, but never came out and said that h Michael Jun 23, 2008 6:30 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Re: More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism) - Great debates lately, thanks. Zeroth of all, the following is very short and ripe for misinterpretation, so I would ask that you read it with a generous eye. These assertions really need a small novel of back up but I figure we're all friends here. Josiah Jun 23, 2008 6:18 PM
Re: [atheists-59] More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism) - Zach I completely disagree with your comments about Ayn Rand, philosophers have hardly touched her ideas, they've mostly just ignored them. Have you read her works? There's an enormous number of serious ideas in her works. A lexicon of her ideas an Dan C. Jun 23, 2008 6:12 PM
Re: [atheists-59] More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism - In the few related posts here I did not see any evidence or proof that we're jus steve Jun 23, 2008 5:55 PM
Re: [atheists-59] More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism) - Dear Dan: Alright, let's set aside the discussion of free will for a bit. Rand won't be a helpful guide either there, or in any discussion of epistemology; her work has been assessed rather thoroughly by some patient philosophers, and the final d Zachary B. Jun 23, 2008 5:43 PM
Re: [atheists-59] More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism) - Hi Zack - Well first let me back track from two points. The whole 'determinism is causing a decline in imposing criminal justice' line was meant to be a example of how determinism abnegates moral responsibility. It was meant to be anecdotal, I think Dan C. Jun 23, 2008 5:27 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Re: More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism) - Given this astronomical complexity, I steve Jun 22, 2008 2:30 PM
Re: More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism) - roy Jun 22, 2008 12:49 PM
RE: [atheists-59] Re%3A%20holy%20****%20you%20wo­n%27t%20believe%20this - Preview not available Sarah T. Jun 21, 2008 10:11 PM
Re: Re: [atheists-59] Will's definition of the supernatural, and next week's Meetup - roy Jun 21, 2008 1:00 PM
A Naturalist System of Virtues - I have posted at my online magazine a Naturalist System of Virtues that I have been working on. Here is the link: http://apexnaturalism.org/2008­/06/21 Will Jun 21, 2008 12:10 PM
Re: [atheists-59] More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism) - The Universe is deterministic period. But unfortunately the way our minds are structured we generally misinterpret what the effects of determinism are. Mo Will Jun 21, 2008 12:08 PM
More reason & determinism (& the obligations of Atheism) - Dear Dan: The example you give is worth considering. What is it, actually, that is being done by the brain when "choosing to think or not, or to focus or not?" You're essentially restating the question -- "free will is the faculty we use when we Zachary B. Jun 21, 2008 11:04 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Reason and Determinism - On Sat, Jun 21, 2008 at 9:35 PM, Dan Caless < [address removed] > wrote: steve Jun 21, 2008 9:53 AM
Our Favorite Philosphers - .hmmessage P { margin:0px; padding:0px } body.hmmessage { FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY:Tahoma } I think it might be fun to do a meet-up event where each of us disc Tommy Jun 21, 2008 9:45 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Reason and Determinism - Hey Zach - "Free will is your mind's freedom to think or not" to quote Rand. It's your basic choice to 'pay attention' or not. A good example I like is when you're sitting in some god-awful boring class at school. You can tell that you've drifted o Dan C. Jun 21, 2008 9:35 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Breast Cancer walk - Yeah the American Cancer Society engages in politics such as lobbying for hikes in cigarette taxes, I could not support them. I understand the Jimmy Fuind only does research, they're 'clean'. Dan --- Michael wrote: > A B Dan C. Jun 21, 2008 8:59 AM
Re%3A%20holy%20****%20you%20wo­n%27t%20believe%20this - I don't know what to say. It is amazing that he is "only qualified to teach s I J. Jun 21, 2008 6:32 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Community service ideas? - We atheists are generally more educated than average. Why not volunteer to do some tutoring. Help some kids pass the MCAS test, or for kids who'll pass easily, help them learn even more. I tried to do this once before, but all of the agencies wanted Michael Jun 21, 2008 1:16 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Breast Cancer walk - A Bout of Skepticism It's nice to give to charity, but not all charities are equal. Make sure your donations go as far as they can. There are too many questions about the American Cancer Society. I first became wary of them a number of years ago b Michael Jun 21, 2008 1:04 AM
holy **** you won't believe this - .hmmessage P { margin:0px; padding:0px } body.hmmessage { FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY:Tahoma } Sweet merciful Darwin. http://www.comcast.net/article­s/news-general/20080620 Sarah T. Jun 20, 2008 6:16 PM
The ADF is coercing religious leaders to break the law! - This is true (from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State) You can see the actual Alliance Defense Fund initiative http://allian India Jun 20, 2008 5:03 PM
Breast Cancer walk - There is a walk Oct 5th. Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is the American Cancer Society���s premier event to raise awareness and dollars to fight breast cance India Jun 20, 2008 4:46 PM
Relay for Life - Amer Cance Society - These seem to happen frequently - one in Boston and one in Arlington today, others scheduled are out of town - would be something we would have to watch Also these look like smallish events India Jun 20, 2008 4:30 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Community service ideas? - I could get behind that - especially cancer, most people have someone in their life who have dealt with cancer. Should I do some research and report back? BTW: here are some great t-shirts India Jun 20, 2008 4:13 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Community service ideas? - There are always cancer/AIDS/diabetes/etc. walks that we could participate in. While I'm generally against fundraising walks, they are a good way to be seen. Raise enough money and they might even mention you in their newsletters. J Justin Jun 20, 2008 4:06 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Community service ideas? - There you go! Red A t-shirts (Cafepress), signs listing all the famous atheists, a Ms. Atheists contest (or, if that's too sexist, a Mr. Atheists contest) - what else? Could it be an Atheist-Agnostic Pride parade? I identif India Jun 20, 2008 4:04 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Community service ideas? - We could just have an Atheist Pride parade. On Fri, Jun 20, 2008 at 3:06 PM, India < [address removed] > wrote: Alexander F. Jun 20, 2008 3:36 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Community service ideas? - It should be something both worthwhile and public. We may as well get some publicity out of it. Also, it would be good if we could all attend. I too, live outside of Boston. Maybe a big one-day event - I would come in for a river cleanup o India Jun 20, 2008 3:06 PM
Re: [atheists-59] Community service ideas? - I'm totally behind this idea. I have often thought of starting an atheist charity. I remember watching an atheist debate a christian on Donohue once and the christian mentioned the absence of atheist charities. I remember thinking that the atheis McCoy Jun 20, 2008 1:39 PM
Re: [atheists-59] The Basis of Capitalism! - Agree. Have there been any controlled, double-blind studies on the personality changes of recipients of cells/organs linking them to the donor? If the recipient knew the donor, then it could be a matter of suggestion. If they di India Jun 20, 2008 11:54 AM
Re: [atheists-59] The Basis of Capitalism! - Zachary B. Jun 20, 2008 11:54 AM
Re: [atheists-59] The Basis of Capitalism! - Hi Bonnie, I think it's important to recognize that the functions of our sensory organs and the cognitive functions are still governed by the same mechanisms. There is no scientific ev Roy Jun 20, 2008 11:45 AM
Re: [atheists-59] Will's definition of the supernatural, and next week's Meetup - I'm not sure if there will be enough room for all of us, or if they take reservations, but I ate at "the Mission" at Brigham Circle last week, and it was phenomenal. On Fri, Jun 20, 2008 at 8:38 AM, Wi Alexander F. Jun 20, 2008 9:22 AM

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