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The Nightstar Zoo • View topic - Feb 9 He can read he can write and with speed he can fight

The Nightstar Zoo

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:55 am 
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I hope Para never plays with Tenzy. The result would be terrifying.
Para and Petey need to have some dialog together. Just because.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:28 am 
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Just to be clear here John; are you arguing about the morality of what was done to Vog, or just the facts of it? 'Cause I think a lot of other people may be arguing morality, specifically the morality of changing someone's brain to make them better fit into the society and culture they live in.

A potential slippery slope to be sure; once you have the knowledge and techniques/technology down, it may be all to easy to go from "fixing" the brain of someone whose lack of impulse control makes them prone to violent behavior towards others, to "fixing" the brain of someone who's say, mildly autistic (or whatever the term may be for such a person nowadays) or even just a little bit "off". A line must be drawn somewhere, right?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:12 pm 
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A little bit of both, macnut. A lot of people think Petey's "Let him choose" thing is freeing Vog of something. I disagree - everything I know about the mind and brain says that's just part of the person known as Vog. Your mind, your person, the "you" is the sum of your brain's regulation and activity. It would be like freeing you of your Amygdala. You'd be "free" of fear and happiness (and a bunch of other stuff). Would you be okay with somebody "freeing" you from making an emotional decision? Well, maybe sometimes, but most of the time no. Against your will? Can't imagine you'd be happy about it, ever. Or, well, a prefrontal lobotomy. People who had THAT procedure were... well, they didn't express happiness, but they also didn't express any unhappiness over it either. And man, was their behaviour so much more in line with social norms! :? It even prevented violent behaviour. They were freed from the whims and regulation of their prefrontal cortex.

People also seem to think Petey's actions were perfectly moral - but I see it as morally equivalent to simply changing him to not hate aliens in the first place without asking the question. Because in the end, it IS changing his brain, and by the end of it Petey had to know which way his adjustment would make the new Vog-mind fall. Just because the trait being adjusted is something we view negatively, doesn't mean it's not immoral to change it against Vog's will. I'm taking the morality of meddling in somebody's brain as an absolute, not in reference to the 'greater good.'

Now, obviously practical concerns jump in. Chinook wants to start a war that will end life as we know it. Is a bit of brain surgery warranted? Maybe, or maybe just killing her outright is warranted. It's the whole "murder is wrong, but sometimes war is necessary" thing.

And I want to be clear, I'm perfectly happy if people have different moral opinions than me. But I really feel like people are denying my basic premises or asserting their beliefs repeatedly, without ever explaining WHY they think things are moral or immoral, or my premises are wrong.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:31 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:47 pm 
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Evil, I've said my bit to you. We're done.

Anybody else, I'd love to discuss things. Hell, use the donkey's talking points - just keep an open mind.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:17 pm 
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tbh you guys kinda went overboard a bit. This level of detail you throw out simply becomes fuel for counterarguments. We will all have a different opinion on what is morally write and wrong, and so will the author and his characters will have their own. Arguing on the internet is not going to change that, the best we can do is make our stance clear and leave it at that.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:30 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:20 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:01 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:20 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:09 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:38 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:09 am 
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Indeed regarding the compulsions. The brain naturally forms, reinforces, or even 'prunes' structures on its own to 'compel' you to do something. It's how habits and addictions form, how compulsions and OCD happens.

But those are manageable and in fact can even be rewritten on our own.

NotVog couldn't do this. It was hard wired, just as Petey's loyalty circuits were. He couldn't NOT be hostile and xenophobic. It was built in and hardwired just as much as breathing, or making your heart pump blood. You can make yourself stop for a short time, but sooner or later, your central nervous system is going to override you.

This isn't a 'learned behavior' it was literally written into his brain in a manner that he was completely incapable of working around on his own.

He had LITERALLY no choice but to be xenophobic and hostile. Petey built a patch around that hardwired block.

Here we go. NotVog's brain had a single route in or out. And everything had to go through this one customs agent. Who only let in or out the crazies with guns and obvious bombs strapped to them with twitchy faces.

Petey opened up another route which allowed a lot more people in and out. People with ideas besides 'KILL EVERYTHING THAT ISN'T US AND IF WE CAN'T DO THAT ANY MORE KILL OURSELVES'

This does, as you say, involve changing their mind for them TO AN EXTENT. It makes them capable of weighing options. It removes the hand on the scale.

Did Petey tweak other things to make him more likely to choose his side? Perhaps, we'll probably never know, but Petey is all about giving people choices. Now perhaps he'll give choices that are MEANINGLESS and no matter what it falls into his plans anyway, but he does let them CHOOSE.

And yes, it does make them more likely to choose your side, because you've made it POSSIBLE for them to choose your side. That DOESN'T mean you've MADE THEM CHOOSE YOUR SIDE.

All you've done is introduce the option for them to choose AT ALL. For NotVog there WAS no choice before his xenophobic block was bypassed.

My analogies were, in fact, right on the money. Introducing choice where there was previously none.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:12 pm 
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This is getting seriously bad for my health.


Kendrakirai, you keep jumping over the point I make every single time I post. You, your mind, the person you think you are is just your brain, whatever it's doing, however it's doing it. You say you could choose to cut your own throat? I'm sure Vog would say he COULD decide to not hate aliens. But he hates aliens, so why would he? You like living, so why would you cut your throat? You keep separating the regulation from "What you decide to do," when what you decide to do is literally the product of the regulation.

I asked before, and everybody refused to answer. One last time: Do you accept that your mind is entirely a product of your brain? Is this where our understanding of this diverges?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:32 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:18 pm 
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Okay! Finally an answer.

Ken, I'm going to repeat literally the first line of my first real university level neuroscience course to you.

"If you believe in some kind of mind beyond the brain, you're in the wrong program."

You can believe what you like, of course. I can't stop you. But yes, science knows that your brain is what makes your mind. We can modify your behaviour in many weird and wonderful (to a neuroscientist - most other people would be horrified) ways, just by ablating bits here and there.

Would you like to hear what I spent the last two days studying? How emotions work, including what happens when you remove the cerebral hemispheres. (Spoiler - the subject goes berserk*.) Then if you ablate the hypothalamus, they are calm again. To simplify**, the hypothalamus is trying to make you rage all the time. The cortex suppresses it. What you feel is the balance between these parts. This is a repeated theme in neuroscience - one group of cells excites, another inhibits***. Behaviour results from the balance of inputs.

So yeah. If this has been the problem the whole time... I rather wish you'd have actually responded to that part? It would have saved us all a lot of headache.

* Technically, displays untargeted rage behaviour
** There's also a distinction between rage motor response, and rage affective response. It's a bit much to get into in a forum, but the linked chapter section is a start.
*** Also very simplified. Generally it's a mind-boggling number of contributions, from various brain areas. This is a forum post, not a thesis dissertation.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:17 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:47 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:22 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:37 am 
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Part of me wants to give a serious response the whole question of mind versus brain, what is a scientific hypothesis, the problems with the "this is settled science" view, etc.

Instead, I'll just say that "fun" is watching dwarves ignore a plot of land that has been designated as a farm for mushrooms, and go hunting for food on their own.

(If you have not read Harry Potter and the methods of rationality, this is the 2-4-6 game problem. Hermione came up with something that explained everything seen, and refused to look for alternatives that falsified her idea. It does no good to come up with something that explains what you see if you can not also say what should be false so you have something to test for. Now maybe those theories do cover that, but I have never seen it discussed, explained, etc.; only "this explains what we see, therefore it must be true".)

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I hope Para never plays with Tenzy. The result would be terrifying.
Para and Petey need to have some dialog together. Just because.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:54 am 
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Your mind is composed of multiple parts that are react to different stimuli. Your memory can be copied to any form and stay intact, but your personality is pretty dependant on your body and how you see yourself. A soldier can become a completely different person if both his legs are crushed, and a fat docile person can become a bold asshole if he ever loses his weight and starts working out. Traumatic memories can completely alter the personality, and even knowledge that you are only a 1:1 reproduction of your original self could make you see yourself as a godless demon.

I'd argue that the mind doesn't even exist, and merely is a byproduct of the various parts of our body working in concert.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:48 am 
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:14 am 
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