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  #31  
Unread June 4th, 2006, 07:28 PM
Carey N Carey N is offline
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Default Re: Emergent Networks and Fine Art

Quote:
Originally Posted by - Margaret
It's interesting that my ideas violate different core beliefs in each of you and so you each try to attack me and my ideas from different positions - although you do gang up occasionally.
First - I don't intend to insult you . . . my attacks, if that's really the appropriate word, are always aimed at your ideas, not you personally. But, given the blurry distinction between a person and the ideas he or she possesses, it's easy to see why you perceive counter-arguments as personal insults.

Second - I find your general argument to be frustrating for the following reason. You say that Jimb's, Fred's, and my "attacks" are born of defensiveness with regard to our core beliefs. This makes sense at first glance and I accept that it may be relevant. However, the general idea that our thoughts are motivated primarily by emotional processes doesn't make any sense to me in a large number of cases - for example, how can the mathematical theory of physics, chemistry, population genetics, etc. be produced by non-intellectual means?

Moving beyond that point - consider your argument suggesting that my responses to your posts are motivated by a perceived threat to my core beliefs, and are therefore, in a sense, automatically invalid. This just seems to be a mechanism by which any objection to your idea is inherently flawed because it's not based on logic, but on emotional response. It's hard to put this sentiment into words precisely, but your argument seems effectively designed to put an invincible bubble around the somatic behavior choice hypothesis, which provides an avenue whereby every example of behavior (including our responses to your posts) can be explained post-hoc. How can such a hypothesis be productive?

Last edited by Carey N; June 4th, 2006 at 10:00 PM.
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  #32  
Unread June 5th, 2006, 12:07 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Emergent Networks and Fine Art

Quote:
[Carey to MM:] Moving beyond that point - consider your argument suggesting that my responses to your posts are motivated by a perceived threat to my core beliefs, and are therefore, in a sense, automatically invalid. This just seems to be a mechanism by which any objection to your idea is inherently flawed because it's not based on logic, but on emotional response. It's hard to put this sentiment into words precisely, but your argument seems effectively designed to put an invincible bubble around the somatic behavior choice hypothesis, which provides an avenue whereby every example of behavior (including our responses to your posts) can be explained post-hoc. How can such a hypothesis be productive?
I’m inclined to agree with much of what you say here Carey, although I’d say that MM has not knowingly, at least not consciously, “designed” her arguments to, as you say, “put an invincible bubble around” her “hypothesis,” although that certainly is, as you indicate, the effect.

It seems that she doesn’t truly comprehend the circularity, that her premise assumes her conclusion is true, and the resulting uselessness, of her “axiom of human nature”—
“People believe what feels good to them,” and “use their brains to justify it,” which proves (at least to MM) that you, Carey (as the rest of us), do indeed use your brains to justify whatever feels good to you b/c you believe what feels good to you, and b/c if it didn’t feel good to you, you wouldn’t believe it, and therefore you obviously wouldn’t justify it . . . and also, since what you’ve justified may not feel good to MM, then MM obviously wouldn't believe it, and so her brain obviously wouldn’t justify it, which provides still more proof that the only reason your brain justified it was only b/c it felt good only to you, which is the only reason you believed it, and which is the only reason that you justified it with your brain b/c, after all, MM’s brain certainly wouldn’t have justified it.
Hell Carey, it’s a slam-dunk, at least for MM, although you yourself may find the circularity somewhat painful . . . and trust me when I tell you that I feel your pain.
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  #33  
Unread June 5th, 2006, 12:48 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Emergent Networks and Fine Art

Carey, Thanks for the thoughtful response. I see your general point and I see the problem. You said,
Quote:
Moving beyond that point - consider your argument suggesting that my responses to your posts are motivated by a perceived threat to my core beliefs, and are therefore, in a sense, automatically invalid.
a) I was describing your response to Fred's posts in this exchange, not to mine - which I generally agree with.

b) I didn't say they were invalid. In fact, I agreed with your assertions and said that you are well equipped to make them with your scientific background. Just because someone makes an argument to support their identity beliefs neither means that their beliefs are irrational nor that their arguments are.

I made a poor choice to use your argument with Fred as an example of my hypothesis at work. It was bound to create confusion - and even opposition. I'll try to use third-party examples in the future such as the one I posted at:

One Stark Implication of SBC: Death

You ask a good question when you say,
Quote:
It's hard to put this sentiment into words precisely, but your argument seems effectively designed to put an invincible bubble around the somatic behavior choice hypothesis, which provides an avenue whereby every example of behavior (including our responses to your posts) can be explained post-hoc. How can such a hypothesis be productive?
Well, I certainly didn't design the hypothesis so it would have a bubble around itself. I was trying to find a better way to explain a lot of perplexing human behavior - that existing theories seemed unable to do. As for an answer - I'm not sure I have one. In a sense, everything exists because alternative forms do not. As JB points out, mathematics, Fred's favorite example of objective reality and truth in the universe, is the ultimate tautology. It is certainly true that species exist - because they haven't become extinct.

But that doesn't mean that there is no value to trying to find more useful ways to describe how things like evolution or human behavior choice work.

Thanks for making me examine my ideas very carefully,

Margaret
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  #34  
Unread June 5th, 2006, 04:22 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default Re: Emergent Networks and Fine Art

"We all want so desperately to wrap our left brains around the mystery of life and the human mind. But, it's really a fools errand. You are much closer to reaching this goal by doing art than analysing it. We all so easily resort to our preferred means of coping with such a dangerous world, our wonderful logical western European brain-computer."

Maggie:

1) I started as an art major and eventually carried a heavy minor in sculpture while working 3rd shift and guarding suicides at Colorado Psychopathic and keeping my As going in the honors program. I still paint abstract expressionism stuff, do some sculpture (in wood or in human lives), and have held two photo shows.

2) You need to read before you spout. Again, Wilson's "Consilience" has a magnificent chapter on the creative arts and you will find provocative material in "The Adapted Mind." AND please read each of these sources a half-dozen times before you deny their import.

Otherwise, you validate Pinker's conclusion that your verbal apparatus is a "spin doctor"...

JB
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  #35  
Unread June 5th, 2006, 04:49 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Emergent Networks and Fine Art

Quote:
[MM to Carey:] . . . mathematics, Fred's favorite example of objective reality and truth in the universe, is the ultimate tautology.
Using MM’s “axiom of human nature,” I suppose MM might say that she “used her brains to justify” that belief of hers—that mathematics is the ultimate tautology—apparently b/c that’s what she believes b/c that’s what feels good to her b/c, as her “axiom” asserts, “people believe what feels good to them,” and then “use their brains to justify it.”

Marvelous, except that mathematics isn’t a tautology.

As noted in Wicki, a tautology is a statement containing more than one sub-statement, that is true regardless of the truth values of its parts—e.g., the statement "Either all crows are black, or not all of them are," is a tautology, because it is true no matter what color crows are.

Objective mathematical truths, OTOH, are timeless objective truths for which there are unassailable proofs—examples include the fact that there are infinitely many primes and that they are irregularly spaced; and the “four-square theorem” where every positive integer can be expressed as the sum of four squares of integers (e.g.: 31 = 5^2 + 2^2 + 1^2 + 1^2); and pi, the ratio of diameter to circumference, which is a transcendent irrational number, which exists, apart from time and our physical world.

It is objective mathematical truth, not tautologies (and certainly not “what feels good”), that makes real science possible. Newton’s laws of motion & gravity and/or Einstein’s general relativity equations are not tautologies, but rather provide us with equations and utilize objective mathematical truths to give us a noncircular view of how things actually work.

Hello?
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  #36  
Unread June 5th, 2006, 05:34 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Emergent Networks and Fine Art

Fred, First, my statement was . . .
Quote:
As JB points out, mathematics, Fred's favorite example of objective reality and truth in the universe, is the ultimate tautology.
I was going from memory of what JB said. I should have quoted him more accurately as,
Quote:
Anyhow, science often thrives on such things and "logic," the mother of mathematics, rests on tautologies.
I apologize to all for not quoting more accurately - although I did not use quotes which should give me some wiggle room. I stated what seemed to me a conclusion that could be drawn from his sentence - that if his statement was true, then, it seems that mathematics, the daughter of logic, would be the ultimate tautology.

That may or may not be an accurate conclusion to be drawn. But, the important thing is that I was not making an assertion of personal belief - the one you have gone to some trouble to ridicule. I was referencing a statement that JB made. I was using an authority - the one you most often appeal to - to point out an error in your thinking.

I'm not arguing against your use of scientific scripture at all. I just think it's interesting that you use such pronouncements to try to validate your unscientific beliefs about atheists and morality. It seems such a stretch to me but you are really good at it. (No sarcasm intended. I think you are a bright guy.)

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; June 5th, 2006 at 06:17 PM.
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  #37  
Unread June 5th, 2006, 06:11 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Emergent Networks and Fine Art

JB, You certainly do despise me. I probably spend more time composing and editing my posts - and being as honest as I possibly can about my motivations and assertions than anyone else here, except perhaps Todd.

Yet, you repeatedly insult me. I'd say I also put a lot of effort into not responding to insults in kind (those mostly from you and Fred) - although admittedly, sometimes I'm not so successful at that. Your insults started almost with my first posts here when you had me pegged for some kind of a socialist / feminist / whatever.

I know what beliefs I have that make Fred so angry - I'm an atheist and I don't put up with his Godly rants. It's not so clear to me whichever of your identity beliefs I have violated as you've held them pretty close to your chest - probably my liberalism.

You've chosen instead to attack me personally instead of going after my ideas. Granted, you have told me my ideas suck in so many words - but that's not much of an argument - which would be more interesting for me. Whenever I have tried to engage you on that level and have asked for a clarification of some cryptic assertion you have made - you have blown me off with more insults.

I don't really care, but if you don't want me to post here, just say so and I'm gone. But, if I stay, then please don't refer to me (however obliquely) or address me in your posts unless you can do so without insulting me. I don't mind the insults on a personal level - it's just that they are so distracting when I'm trying to focus on an idea.

I don't think you really care about this, but my comments about art were rhetorical - even somewhat complimentary in that I would assume that any artist could be plugged into levels of knowing that are unavailable to most non-artists. But, like Fred (and sometimes Carey) there's nothing I can say that you won't construe in the worst possible way. That's a sure sign that you have identified me as an ideological enemy - who could not possibly have anything reasonable to say about anything. Que lastima!

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; June 5th, 2006 at 06:51 PM.
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  #38  
Unread June 5th, 2006, 08:18 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Emergent Networks and Fine Art

Quote:
MM: That may or may not be an accurate conclusion to be drawn. But, the important thing is that I was not making an assertion of personal belief - the one you have gone to some trouble to ridicule. I was referencing a statement that JB made.
So then you’re saying that you’ve “used your brain to justify” something that you don’t “believe” and doesn’t “feels good to you?” Congratulation MM, you’ve just disproved your “axiom of human nature.”

Be that as it may, the actual point is that mathematics isn’t a tautology. I love JimB, he knows a lot, I’ve learned a lot from him and his forum, but frankly, between you and me, he’s less than perfect, and, believe it or not, occasionally gets things wrong, although not necessarily the things that you, Margaret, think he gets wrong; and fortunately, for me anyway, he doesn’t turn into a thin-skinned bitch whenever I decide to splain things.

BTW, Margaret, regarding your rant against JimB above, remember the advice Carey once provided you—that if you can’t take the heat, get back in the kitchen, or something like that? Really MM, get over yourself.

For anyone interested, here’s a little excerpt from something I found somewhere (somewhat paraphrased I think)—
Quote:
Mathematicians/philosophers Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) and Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) cofounded a school of thought known as Logicism (around the beginning of the 20th century), which claimed that mathematics is a vast tautology, and that all of mathematics is derivable from principles of logic. Among other things, the Logicists attempted a logical construction of the real number system. Logicism also uses mathematical sets in its logical development.

However, Logicism, despite many attempts, could not successfully resolve paradoxes that arose in set theory, and Godel's Incompleteness Theorem (ca. 1930) was a deathblow to the "math is a tautology" philosophy expounded in Principia Mathematica, (ca. 1910), a work constructed by Russell and Whitehead.
OK my EP friends, repeat after me: Mathematics is not a tautology.
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  #39  
Unread June 5th, 2006, 09:04 PM
Carey N Carey N is offline
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Default Re: Emergent Networks and Fine Art

Margaret:

I think that, without intending or realizing it, you talk down to people. Your previous post paints you as primarily the victim of verbal attacks, when in fact I think you contribute equally to the occassionally hostile environment that is created in here. My purpose in this post is to illustrate how this has happened, so that you can accept your share of the responsibility.



Example 1:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Margaret
Your insults started almost with my first posts here when you had me pegged for some kind of a socialist / feminist / whatever.
I'm not convinced that JimB pegged you as a socialist/faminist. Even if he did, there's nothing inherently bad with those labels, anyway (although I think everyone can agree that socialized medicine sucks - just look at the NHS) . . . But you then proceeded to tag Jim as a KKK wizard, which is clearly a very bad thing.



Example 2:
In the thread on brains and internal conflict, you wrote that you had a criticism of the paper I'd highlighted, without really substantiating it. I asked you to provide more justification, to which you provided this comment:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Margaret
Hmmm. Did we read the same paper?

BTW - The title of the paper was not "Best brains composed of conflicting modules."

It was - An optimal brain can be composed of conflicting agents
Your response was highly condescending, even insulting . . . implying essentially that I can't read very well (to accompany your calling me a fawning wannabe). I had done nothing to provoke this, other than to ask for more detail on points for which you had provided bones, but no flesh and blood. This example highlights that you are just as defensive as the rest of us, and are willing to be nasty in response to an argumentative challenge. It also demonstrates that you occassionally write statements for aesthetic, rather than conceptual, effect. In this case, you wrote that you had a criticism of Livnat and Pippenger (2006) - but when pressed as to what your criticism really was, you backed out and admitted that you didn't really have one. I am NOT writing this to belittle you, and I know that most of what you write is intended for conceptual, not aesthetic, effect . . . but when you do the latter, it's really annoying.



Example 3:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Margaret
We all want so desperately to wrap our left brains around the mystery of life and the human mind. But, it's really a fools errand. You are much closer to reaching this goal by doing art than analysing it.
You have here claimed that all of our scientific attempts to explain the mysteries of life are essentially fruitless - that the phenomena are just too complex to grasp with our relatively frail tool sets. The wording is insulting to anyone who has invested (or plans to invest) a lifetime of effort and creative output into these so-called mysteries. If you plan to make a sweeping statement along the lines of "you're all just grasping in the dark" (even if you include yourself within "all"), you've gotta provide us with more than bones.

Best (really),
Carey
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  #40  
Unread June 6th, 2006, 01:21 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Emergent Networks and Fine Art

I spent some time composing a reply to this - but after thinking about it overnight it now just seems like a really pointless exercise. Again, I make the mistake of grossly overestimating others' motives. My bad.
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