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  1. J

    The True Meaning of Genius

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/unicorn Now you're just being silly. There is no physical test one can do on the brain to determine with any accuracy whether one will be considered a genius by society. Einstein worked tremendously hard. Edison is quoted as saying, "Genius is one per cent...
  2. J

    The True Meaning of Genius

    Mugaliens, there is no such thing as a genius. There is nothing special which could separate an ordinary person from a "genius". Their brains are not more powerful. The only thing that the people whom we call "geniuses" have in common is working hard. The idea of a "genius" only does our...
  3. J

    Why does tenure exist again?

    Universities have tenure because they are based on community. The fundamental idea of a university is not to produce results, but to provide an environment in which people can study and advance their own knowledge, as well as that of humanity. A university is not a machine. Having a...
  4. J

    Are atoms real?

    Yes, but if you call any flower a rose, then a rose also smells like rotting flesh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafflesia Precisely! And that is what the OP's professor was trying to get across: we're working with a model. If you forget the fact that what you're working with is just a...
  5. J

    Are atoms real?

    No, I am making a point about physics. If I ask you: (i) "What is force?", you might say: (ii) "It is a quantity which measures the relationship between acceleration and mass, described by the equation F = ma." Then a similar question to that of the OP's is, (iii) "Can we say that force...
  6. J

    Eternal life

    I like to think about this in terms of the idea of an "ancestor". Think for a minute about your ancestors, about the people who came before you, who looked like you, who passed down knowledge to you across thousands of years. Think of how fire, tools, language all were passed down. Also...
  7. J

    Are atoms real?

    OK, I see what you're getting at. I assume you are making this argument: "If you doubt so much the existence of atoms, shouldn't you also hold the same level of doubt in the existence of your mother, or of the Earth, or of any macroscopic object? Haven't we observed atoms just as much as we...
  8. J

    Are atoms real?

    Well, I'm going to throw in my two cents anyway: Imagine we replace "atoms" with "Newton's Laws". Does that change how you feel about the situation? We know for a fact that Newton's Laws do NOT hold. They are experimentally verified to be false (albeit only very slightly for most practical...
  9. J

    Does random truly exist?

    I like this definition of random: "a behavior for which we cannot determine the cause". In mathematics, the study of probability is the study of a function without knowing anything about the domain.
  10. J

    Is there such a thing as non-action ?

    Is it not one's own responsibility to make choices such that they never find themselves in a position such that they are unable to make choices? If someone is literally born into a world where they have no ability, at any point, to make choices, then they may as well be a rock. Most people...
  11. J

    Is there such a thing as non-action ?

    Pythagorean, I propose that "choice" has very little to do with the matter. We ought to apply the same standard to ourselves as we do to an appliance. People are complicated objects. Like a television. A person's value is derived only from their function (the actions they take - whether they...
  12. J

    Is there such a thing as non-action ?

    Here's an example of a scenario: You skim the newspaper, failing to notice an advertisement for a job. You end up unemployed. You ACTED against your own best interest. And another: You are a shy person, so you stay inside a lot. This leads you to be unhappy. Your ACTIONS did not serve...
  13. J

    Is there such a thing as non-action ?

    Is there such a thing as "non-action"? I'm sure you've all heard this hypothetical scenario: A train is barreling towards a junction where (unless you intervene) it will go down one path and kill two people who are tied down. However, there is a switch you can toggle that will send the train...
  14. J

    Free will Compatibilists? Help!

    imiyakawa, you are going about things the wrong way. Here's where most people would agree you are correct: (1) The brain is a physical object and thus obeys certain laws. (2) The brain is "responsible" for all our choices (i.e., no other forces/spirits/etc. act to create our conscious...
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