Monday, June 2, 2008

Stream of Radmul Consciousness

Will head north again after casting my vote in the election tomorrow. I plan to get an early start and will be out for about eight days. From the look of it. WiFi is limited so I do not know how many updates I can post from the road but I will do what I can. The plan is to push hard for distance each day with the Oregon border or bust the theme of this adventure. Not sure what bust would be lets hope I don’t find out. In the meantime here is a little stream of nonsense for your perusal, the type of things that run through my head as I search for answers in the world of Ideas. I will try to figure out what happens to our friend Mr. Dunbar along the way. Feel free to send any questions or even better any answers you might have my way. or comment below. Enjoy your week I know I will enjoy mine.
Does my pessimism derive from my deterministic view of the world? Why do people think they have a choice? The empirical evidence all points against it. Why do people not realize that the choices made are generally not the result of a freely made choice. How do we decide whom to hold responsible for something and whom to absolve from guilt. Group evolution how does this play into holding people responsible? Deciding which norms are valid based on how getting rid of them effects the norm is that a valid argument for discrimination? I would argue no. Justifying the oppression of the one for the favor of the many must be based on the premise of the burden of proof being on the discriminator. You should be required to show that my wanting to do something you don’t like harms you in some way before you get to arbitrarily prohibit it even if now allowing it may damage the existing norm. Even if you could demonstrate some harm to marriage between a man and a woman deriving from the legalizing of gay marriage it still does not justify the discrimination. Why is your life more valuable than another’s that is the crux of the argument. If you take the position that the societal benefit outweighs the harm done to the minority how can you argue against extending that principle to everything. Is this just an academic argument with no value as we have no choice in the matter? Did the big bang produce homophobia? I would contend that the belief in an afterlife leads the discriminators to self justify their bigoted behavior. The mistaken concept that in the next life the underdog will get his happiness allows them to deny the victim their full pursuit of happiness. In the here and now. This destructive meme must be abolished.
The concept of an idea being viral in nature I find intriguing. The idea that language is a reproducing entity that an idea works to ensure its own survival for good or ill. These questions need further investigation. Some thoughts in support of memes, like genes that change over time due to minor modification, descent with modification is the actual term for evolution, language is passed down with minor changes over time some good some ill. The lower brain and higher brain operate differently to some extent independently of each other. Did the cerebral cortex evolve in conjunction with memes, is our higher brain simply a meme machine? This concept is harder to falsify the it appears on the surface, try to prove that fire is not alive. It is self replicating, it uses energy consuming oxygen and giving off CO2 much as we do and so on. Makes for an interesting thought experiment. In Darwinian terms what is the survival advantage to being able to engage in abstract thought like philosophy in the first place? The history of everything is such a tough nut to crack. We have the basics but the details are still as mysterious in some ways as they were to the first being that was capable of asking itself , “Why am I here?”.
Even in that there are more questions than answers, or so it would seem. There is research being done with bonobos, a form of ape, that indicates that they are self aware. They take care of their dead to some extent or at least they seem to feel the loss at the death of their young. They use tools, learn from and teach each other and use sex as a social instrument. Bonobos are the only animal other than us that has been observed enjoying sex in the 69 position, both hetero and homo. The harder one looks the less unique the human animal turns out to be.

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