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volycz

Member Since 28 Jul 2005
Offline Last Active Feb 15 2007 06:44 AM

Topics I've Started

Anti Terrorism and Interrogation

18 August 2006 - 06:04 AM

This is a 2 question poll.

1> If a terrorist organization attacks somewhere and kills several innocents, should the government respond by
a) petition the government where the terrorists originated from to launch an investigation and arrest the terrorists?

b) send in special elite troops (Such as the British SAS, Israeli Sayeret Matkal, US Delta Force, German GSG9) secretly and brutaly using what ever means necessary assassinate the terrorists and their leaders?


2> If a terrorist was captured alive, should the government use any means necessary to interrogate the terrorist because the information he has in his head could lead to the elimination of the terrorist organization and save lives in the future. (interrogation techniques include physical torture such as crushing the knuckles with pliers, ducking his head under water, use of chemicals and electro shock therepy, etc till the terrorist talks)

Or should they let the terrorist have his 'god given' rights?

quotes not workin?

18 May 2006 - 11:34 PM

Just replied in a thread and tried to quote but it's not working?

Do You Think You Have Freewill?

17 May 2006 - 04:26 AM

Do you think you have freewill?

We know that humans behavior is controlled by 2 main factors, genetic and environment.

The problem is you as a person have no control over either. You can't control what genes you have, nor can you control what upbringing you receive. A man grows up to be a criminal because his parents didn't teach him morals, is it his fault then? Or some people are genetically less able to control their aggression....

In fact, even if you are a good citizen, there is nothing praiseworthy either. You were just lucky to have the right genes, the right upbringing etc. Your success was predetermined, it has nothing to do with you.

Also Science has shown that everything in the universe, is a result of causes. How your brain works, which neurons fire, how your brain developed the way it did, all result from a long casual chain that dates back *before* you were born. Causes over which you have no control have controlled you.

You might feel free when you make a decision but that is an illusion. Everything you do or decide to do has already being pre-determined in advance by events going back way before your birth. In theory a powerful compuer would be able to predict what you will do, before you even decide to do so, just by analysing the parts that make you , you.

How can you really be said to have free will, when you have no real choice? You might think that you have a real choice deciding whether to go home or go to school, but in fact, what choice you will make is determined in advance, given what you are feeling, your attitudes towards school, etc.

You are no more than a complicated computer, machine, bound to the laws of physics, with no more free will then any other object in the universe.

Do you say a computer has free will, if all it does is that it merely follows the software programming and hardware built in? Of course not.

Similarly humans are no more than hardware (our genes) with software on top (our brains/mind developed by education). The problem is neither of these are in our control. When you are a baby can you choose your own upbringing? Of course not.

Some people put faith in the discoveries of Quantum mechanics that show that at micro levels, true CHANCE exists. I'm not talking about the chaotic chance of rolling a dice, that's in theory deterministic. Computers have being devised that can actually predict with a high probability of success what a 'random dice roll' will turn up by taking in factors like the speed of the dice roll, the angle of rotation, the materials etc.

To normal mortals, a dice roll is random of course, but it's not really so, it's just very very complicated to calculate it's final trajectory compared to say a single billard ball hitting another that we might as well say it's *practically* random.

QM holds out the possibility for TRUE RANDOMNESS, in other words there is no way even in principle with a computer with infinite computing resources to figure out what is going to happen.

Such random effects have being observed only in the micro level, but at the macrolevel where our brains work, such effects are averaged out. But suppose our brains have this magical power of being truly random.

If so, what we truly do at time T is impossible to predict even in theory by a super infinitely powerful computer. Does that give us free will then? In a sense yes, because as at time X, you could have done either A or B, either choice is open and is not predetermined. Nobody knows until the 'dice falls'.

But here's a problem.

The reason why we want free will is so that we can be responsible for our acts. If you do not really have a choice to not commit that murder, we cannot blame or praise you for your acts, you can't help doing what you do.

But if free will is simply randomness, are you truly responsible? Say you have two choices either give you give in to anger on punch the guy, or you resist your impulse and walk away.

Imagine if the choice between the 2 is random, 50-50.

In one sense, it is good, because until the actual decision is made, nobody can predict what you will do, you could choose to do either, you could have done otherwise. Compared to your deterministic friend who will always do one thing that can be predicted in advance.

But think about it, if your acts are random, are you truly responsible? It's just chance! You have no control , no free will this way either.

Coin flips or random chance don't give you free will either!

Conclusion: Free will is impossible.

What would you do?

17 May 2006 - 04:22 AM

A being, who you believe to have superior predictive powers (say God or some super intelligent computer), makes you an offer. Before you are two boxes, identical in appearance. Within one box, let us call it 'Box A', there is either one million dollars or nothing. Within the other box, 'Box B', there is definitely one thousand dollars.

The being, whom in deference to tradition we will call the Newcomb Being, will allow you to either take both boxes, or just Box A.

Twenty-four hours ago, the Newcomb being made a prediction about what you would choose. At this point, it placed the money in the boxes. If the Newcomb Being predicted that you would take both boxes, it left nothing for you in Box A and the $1000 in Box B. If the Newcomb Being predicted that you would only take Box A, it would leave the million dollars in it, as well as the thousand dollars in Box B. If the being predicts you will base your choice on a random event (like flipping a coin), it will leave Box A empty.

Now you have grounds to believe that in such matters, the Newcomb Being is always 100% correct in predicting your actions.

Will you pick (a) both boxes or (b) Just Box A


This is the problem known as the Newcomb paradox.

Argument (I) - 'Two boxer' argument
Some people are dead sure that the best choice is to pick both boxes. According to them, no matter what choice you make now, it cannot change the contents of what is in the box A now (Remember The entity filled the contents of the boxes BEFORE you made the choice). Since you can't change what is in the box A, you might as well take both boxes to maximise your gains.

Argument (II) - 'One boxer' argument.

Others argue that the rational choice is to pick just Box A and win the million. They argue, that because the entity knows you will argue as in argument (I) above and pick both boxes, he will put nothing in the Box A because he can predict your reactions with 100% accuracy. So picking both boxes will get you only 1,000.

So you should just choose to take box A and win the million.

They also argue that if you carry out the experiment, those who choose only Box A always win the million and those who choose both, get only 1,000. So obviously the best choice is to pick box A only.

Who is right? What would you do?

PS : One variation of the problem, says that instead of the Newcomb Being being 100% accurate in prediction it is only 95% accurate. It does not really change the problem, since the expected gain of picking only Box A (=95%*1,000,000 + 5%*0) is still higher if you go for the 'one boxer' argument (=95%*1,000 + 5%*(1,000+1,000,000).

PSS : No one knows what the right answer is, both arguments seem to be equally rational, but they can't be both right! it is interesting to see what your intuitions tell you.

Hanging out with your mates

23 April 2006 - 02:53 AM

do you hang out with your friends more than your cousins or at home with family?
I feel its more fun hanging out with your friends etc at town than being looked awkward at when you shoppoing with your parents/ grandparents or little siblings.