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deziner's Profile

deziner's Avatar Joined about 4 years ago
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Go to: Global warming 'confirmed' by independent study

deziner's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by deziner

Have to agree with JuJu here: the media will avoid reporting on this at all costs because it contradicts their story. Can’t let people have ALL the facts now, can we?

Sat, 22 Oct 2011 00:34:17 UTC | #883054

Go to: People I Love Who Invented Things I Love: Steve Jobs

deziner's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by deziner

So he was a genius marketer? Is this why I am supposed to think that he was a great man?

You’re not supposed to think anything. Think whatever the hell you want. But that doesn’t mean other people can’t lament on the life (and now death) of a man who turned technology from something only geeks knew how to use to something of which the masses could finally realise the potential.

If you’re sick of people talking bout Steve Jobs favourably, I’m sure the internet will not miss you for a few days. Give it a couple of weeks and then people can shit on his grave all they want. Just because you don’t want to follow the crowd doesn’t mean you have to actively work against it. You could just step outside for a bit, let people walk past, then rejoin us when you’re ready.

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 20:45:24 UTC | #878542

Go to: You do not choose what you choose

deziner's Avatar Jump to comment 92 by deziner

Thats exactly what I did in my post above, define it. I pointed to a choice of 2 records and said "the act of choosing between them is free will".

But in your example you said:

I don't like it, so I am not going to buy it. What other outcome were you expecting?

If you adhere to the expected outcome, then how is that really "free will"? If something is predictable then it's almost certainly not "free" in the sense that it is unaffected by external pressures.

Of course this depends on your definition of free will. From what I gather, what you mean by it is ability to make a choice. That's it, nothing about how informed that choice might be by external pressures, only that there was a choice, and you picked one of them. The end.

But that's not what is commonly thought of as free will in the religious crowd. They believe in dualism, that the "soul" is capable of making decisions that are unaffected by the world. It's about trying to justify objective, god-given morality. Without a soul that somehow has knowledge unknowable to soulless creature, objective morality falls flat on its face. And without that unknowable knowledge, free will is an illusion—everything we do is informed by our experiences up to this point, and what might have been is irrelevant.

Schrodinger's Cat above makes a very valid point in this whole debate: for the rest of us, the idea of free will is about retrospective thought. You do something, then look at the alternatives you could have done, and convince yourself you could easily have done that if you wanted to. But you didn't do that and you didn't want to, and therefore you (a soulless creature) weren't really free to do anything.

The whole notion of free will without a soul or god is a non-sequitur.

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 02:54:09 UTC | #637762

Go to: Why I’d Rather Not Speak About Torture

deziner's Avatar Jump to comment 73 by deziner

'give them an opportunity and encouragement and they will talk to you. Given enough time ' I thought the scenario included time having run out?

This. When time is of the essence, sometimes we must do things that would otherwise be immoral.

People who argue that morality is somehow set in stone, that all actions are either good or bad at all times, are really arguing from the religious side of the argument. But what we know about morality, and what Harris is arguing, is that it's not so simple.

I think the scenarios about nuclear war and terrorism are apt to a point, especially given recent history, but I think the opponents to torture "under all circumstances, regardless" need thought experiment that hits a little closer to home.

Imagine you're on holidays with your spouse or child, and you're walking down a road near a beach several kilometres from the nearest town. Suddenly, a van pulls up beside you and two men jump out, grabbing your spouse/child and dragging them into the van. In the struggle you manage to pull one of the assailants out of the vehicle, but it drives off anyway with your spouse/child inside.

Now, you're several kms from town. You have a car but it's about a kilometre down the road, by the time you get to it you will have lost site of the van. There is no other traffic. But you have one of the assailants. He knows who the other person is. He knows where they're going. Every minute you waste means your spouse or child is closer to being raped or tortured themselves.

Would you support beating him, causing physical pain, possibly broken bones, until they told you where the van was going? What if this beating had a high chance of resulting in this person's death?

There's a puddle in a pothole nearby. Would you dunk his head in it, simulating drowning, causing no physical injury but mostly emotional distress?

You know that even if the police were nearby, they couldn't use physical means to extract information, and emotional ones take time. Would that make you more likely to beat or dunk them, or less?

You might think that this supposed hypothetical situation would never happen to you, but ones very much like it happen to people all the time all over the world. It's also why we have caveats in our laws that specify necessity, e.g. self defence, or the defence of others. I think the U.S. calls it "justifiable homicide" (though I could have just seen too many U.S. cop/lawyer shows).

This isn't an attempt to justify the sort of torture that the U.S. government was/is perpetrating, but it is an argument against moral absolutism and dismissing an action out of hand under all circumstances. Yes, what the U.S. military did, and what the administration allowed, is abhorrent. But that doesn't mean all torture is wrong all the time.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 00:33:13 UTC | #620905

Go to: Lord Patten attacks 'intolerant' secularists

deziner's Avatar Jump to comment 42 by deziner

His comments come amid a deepening battle over the freedom of religious belief, which last week saw a Christian electrician threatened with the sack for displaying a cross in his van.

I wonder what these hypocritical Christians would say if the business owner was a Catholic and the worker wanted to display a gay pride flag on his dashboard. Actually, I know exactly what they would say if forced to allow it: "poor me!"

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 22:45:05 UTC | #618990

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