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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:55 am 
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JohnSmith wrote:
Petey has power, that doesn't mean he can stop her. But I mean, sure. Petey decides to end all life, he's right. The Gatekeepers were right to clone and mindrip the galaxy a couple times over. They had the power, so they were right to do it.


In fairness, the gatekeepers helped extend the life of the current galactic civilization. How did the All-Star people put it? Constrain and connect?

Sean wrote:
Let's change things again. What if the impulse had been managed by a physical collar. A magical slave collar that made the wearer loyal to the collar's owner, and prone to aggressively defend the collar from being removed.


This sounds like Pete playing R2 with the restraining bolt.

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Is Vog now the combination of the collar, clearly an artifact, and his brain? Is removing that collar also killing new-Vog or is new-Vog only a figment of the interaction between old-Vog and the collar, and having no rights to personality that are not derived from old-Vog? In this analogy, Petey merely surreptitiously placed an antimagic field around new-Vog in order to see where the line between old-Vog and the collar lay.


Well, it made R2 back to the old R2.

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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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JohnSmith wrote:
Yeah, it gets weird when you start adding external devices instead of bits of brain, doesn't it?

No. Internal, external, it's all "adding" or "removing". If one is fine, so is the other.

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Cutting this link would be removing part of your brain.

No it wouldn't. It would be removing an external information interface.

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So I don't see an 'artifact' changing my argument. "New" you is an interaction between the old bits and the new bits, but that's true for every single part of your brain. You are an interaction between all the different parts, however old or new they are. What substrate the brain is made of doesn't really factor in. Meat, magic or transistors.

There is however a difference between "Can't make a choice because device interferes with options" and "can make a choice and chooses not remove device that reinforces options".

The difference between R2-D2 who could still make certain choices despite it's choice inhibitor* (the restraining bolt) and !Vog who could not make any choices to remove his 'personality inhibitor' and would because of the choice inhibitor makes choices to stop others from removing it regardless of whether or not that was what !Vog would want if it were deactivated.


* R2 was able to take action to see the restraining bolt removed (R2 simply couldn't remove it from himself or remove another droid's restraining bolt), IE tricking Luke into removing it.

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So 'temporarily' shutting off part of Vog's brain is still just changing Vog.

Yes. However it's still !Vog. Just !Vog with less limited choice options.

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You are not "allowing the person to make a decision." You are making a new person who is more likely to agree with you on something.

And there we run into the fundamental disagreement.




keybounce wrote:
Well, it made R2 back to the old R2.

R2 never stopped being R2. R2 was merely constrained when it came to certain choices. However it was perfectly able to trick someone into removing it's artificial constraints (the restraining bolt).



JohnSmith wrote:
It would be like freeing you of your Amygdala.

No, it was like freeing him from a shock collar.

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I'm taking the morality of meddling in somebody's brain as an absolute, not in reference to the 'greater good.'

Then what would be the moral method to deal* with !Vog. Since you're the one taking this route, you get to explain it.


* As in keep others from harm. You can decide if stopping !Vog's self-harm is a moral 'good' for yourself.

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Maybe, or maybe just killing her outright is warranted.

If it were that simple, no doubt that's what Petey would do. It's not that simple. Being distributed, they need to affect change to her that will distribute.

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... I really feel like people are denying my basic premises...

Hard to have done this since you just now finally laid out a basic premise: Altering another's brain is always wrong, there is no Greater Good that takes precedent.

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...or asserting their beliefs repeatedly, without ever explaining WHY they think things are moral or immoral, or my premises are wrong.

Says the person who started off saying "This is just a ridiculous idea from people who refuse to believe brains are not magic".

But by all means go ahead and cry that your notions and beliefs are being given exactly the same respect you've given others.


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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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grahamf wrote:
...the best we can do is make our stance clear and leave it at that.

That's not as much fun. :P


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:20 am 
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evileeyore wrote:
grahamf wrote:
...the best we can do is make our stance clear and leave it at that.

That's not as much fun. :P


I think we long passed the point of "fun" into "why won't you listen to reason?", and headed toward ragequit.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:01 pm 
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Sean wrote:
evileeyore wrote:
grahamf wrote:
...the best we can do is make our stance clear and leave it at that.

That's not as much fun. :P


I think we long passed the point of "fun" into "why won't you listen to reason?", and headed toward ragequit.


It seems to be a pattern with JohnSmith's arguments, from what I've seen.

"You're wrong, I'm going to keep saying you're wrong based on the fact that I'm right and you're wrong, and not listen to anything you're saying to support your stance because I'm obviously right and you're obviously wrong, and you're stupid for not seeing how I am objectively correct in this, and when I actually AM forced to clarify and explain myself, and I a, thus forced to face the fact I might be wrong, I'll just say we'll have to agree to disagree while passive-aggressively letting you know that you're a poopy-head who's probably going to hell because you're so stupid and/or morally bankrupt that you can't see how I'm objectively/morally correct after all."

.....at least that's what I've gotten from his posts.

I'm sure I don't come off too much better though, so, yknow.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:20 pm 
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Not at all. And this post really didn't help your image.

Actually, you know what? Fuck this shit. Let's look at your argument, shall we?

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Escape from several thousand feet up, with no visible surfaces, and taking a running leap which would put him at a ballistic trajectory moving AWAY from anything he could grab on to.

I suppose suicide IS a form of escape for some....

You misunderstand. I didn't read that sequence as him knowing that it was an infinite vista, I saw it as him distracting the doctor and making a flying leap into the unknown. I'm certainly not married to that view though.

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The xenophobia was hard wired into his brain. It was less personality trait than "program stored in BIOS through which all else was filtered". He was designed very precisely so that he COULDN'T be anything BUT what he was built to be; a soldier. And to make that easier, he was designed to hate everything but the very specific set of criteria that was the faction that made him. Everything else was 'enemy'.

You assert (without evidence) that this is not a personality trait but more like "a program stored in BIOS through which all else was filtered." But do you actually know anything at all about how brains filter information? As I've said a bunch, there are lots of parts of your brain that do that, with varying strengths. I assert that the strength of filtering doesn't make it different in kind than any other part of Vog's, or your, brain. I have given many examples of reflexes you have that are difficult or impossible to overcome, including self-harm, variations on the disgust reaction, and emotional response.
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No difference between making somebody CAPABLE of a choice being no different than changing their mind for them? Wow. That's. That sure is an opinion.

I've given a quite detailed response on why I think that in this thread. How do you explain your assertion that modifying somebody's brain is "giving them a choice" and not "choosing for them?"

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So I gather you wouldn't offer somebody who's dying of thirst water, since you'd be forcing them to change their mind about the whole 'dying of thirst' thing. Or offer a hand to somebody who's jumped from a building. Clearly by making a choice possible (die or not) you're forcing them to do as you want.
Straight up strawman. Nice. I'm talking about brain modifications, you start talking about denying people water or letting them jump off a building.

I THINK what you're trying to get at is that you can give people additional options in these situations. Sure. That they then make decisions about. That they make with their brains. Which in what we're talking about, are being modified. To change what decisions they make. As I've explained.
YOU get to describe how their brains are being modified in these situations, okay?

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Say I place a loaded gun in front of you and give you three choices. Shoot me in the head, shoot yourself in the head, or just walk out of the room completely unmolested with no repercussions, I'm making up your mind for you? That's a choice you didn't have before, so it's one I'm making you capable of.


And I guess this is just a continuation of either a strawman, or a complete misunderstanding of the topic. Nothing to do with what I'm talking about, which is BRAIN MODIFICATIONS.

So yeah. Don't get too high up on your horse there, ken.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:09 pm 
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evileeyore wrote:
grahamf wrote:
...the best we can do is make our stance clear and leave it at that.

That's not as much fun. :P

You and I must have a different definition of "fun."

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:38 am 
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Kendrakirai wrote:
It seems to be a pattern with JohnSmith's arguments, from what I've seen.

Excessively harsh... but I can't disagree with the main thrust of your argument.




JohnSmith wrote:
You assert (without evidence)...

That's all any of can really do. Oh hey talking about asserting without evidence...

Quote:
I assert...

Money shot, just money shot.

You didn't even make it three sentences from deriding someone to doing the exact same thing. Pure sweetness, pure sweetness.


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I have given many examples of reflexes you have that are difficult or impossible to overcome, including self-harm, variations on the disgust reaction, and emotional response.

You gave a few examples of things you assert are 'impossible' or 'difficult' to overcome, but which aren't difficult to overcome at all. Given motivation they are easy to overcome.

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How do you explain your assertion that modifying somebody's brain is "giving them a choice" and not "choosing for them?"

Because there is a vast difference between the two. !Vog was altered to allow him to assess his situation and make a choice based on new assesments.

Was this "weighting the choice"? Only in that it set the balance equal between his choices rather than 100% to "Xenophobic Response 101".

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Straight up strawman. Nice. I'm talking about brain modifications, you start talking about denying people water or letting them jump off a building.

Just like your questions about morals that aren't actually about morals. Which you finally, sort of owned up to.

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I THINK what you're trying to get at is that you can give people additional options in these situations. Sure.

Okay, good your beginning to follow along...

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That they then make decisions about.

Yes, yes!

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That they make with their brains.

Yes.

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Which in what we're talking about, are being modified.

Yes...

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To change what decisions they make.

And no... you lost the plot. They aren't forced to change their decision. Just being given more options than the only option they initially had.

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As I've explained.

As you've continually asserted has to be your way or no way. Which isn't the only way...

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YOU get to describe how their brains are being modified in these situations, okay?

Which we've done.

Okay, hang on.

!Vog had a Xenophobia Reinforcer. This was suppressed by Petey to allow him to begin to follow and make logical and emotional arguments and decisions concerning xenos and their power (respective to his own) and xeno-technology instead of being held lock step into the Xenophobic Intolerant path he was stuck on due to the Xenophonia Reinforcer.

He still could have chosen to remain xenophobic. That was within his capacity*.

* Unless you wish to assert that Petey was lying. But then you have to actually make and support that argument.

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Nothing to do with what I'm talking about, which is BRAIN MODIFICATIONS.

OH. So now it's only a discussion about brain modding and has nothing to do with morals or anything else.

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So yeah. Don't get too high up on your horse there, ken.

Which is why he ended it with "I'm sure I don't come off too much better though, so, yknow."

I'd attend the log ye own eye before reaching for the mote in another's.




grahamf wrote:
You and I must have a different definition of "fun."

Not so much different definition so much as different taste?

I'm sure we both would define fun as "something enjoyable" and I've been enjoying myself immensely in this thread. I've also enjoyed JohnSmith.

I mean every Quixote must have giants to ride out against? Every Samwise a gollum?


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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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JohnSmith wrote:
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?



Vog could NOT decide not to hate aliens with that block in place. THAT'S THE POINT. It was keeping him from even THINKING of that as a possibility. This isn't a disgust reaction, this was a hard wired impossible to naturally write around EVERYBODY BUT MY SIDE OF THIS WAR IS BAD AND MUST BE KILLED AND IF I AM CAPTURED I MUST KILL MYSELF *PHYSICAL BRAIN STRUCTURE.* This was, essentially, a lobe that made him hate everything 'alien', including members of his own species because of their moral and political views. This wasn't a matter of 'why would I stop hating aliens, I like hating aliens' it was 'I can't NOT hate aliens, and I don't care that I can't'. There's a big difference there. The difference between "I like strawberries! I never want to stop eating strawberries!' and 'If I don't eat strawberries I'll kill everyone and then myself, and that's okay.'

He couldn't decide to do anything but what it said any more than you can decide to turn off your pituitary gland.

This was not a natural evolution of his brain, it was engineered just as much as the rest of him.

As to your question, you aren't asking if we think that. You're asking if we accept your assertion that the mind is a function of the brain, when SCIENCE DOESN'T KNOW THAT YET. We don't KNOW how consciousness works. We don't KNOW if the mind is truly only capable of running on the human brain version whatever.

This is all coming down to a yes or no answer for you, of 'do you agree with my moral/religious/political/etc view or not' isn't it?

Judging by what else you've said here, you aren't just asking us if the mind is just a function of the brain. You're asking us if we believe in magic or not. Your term, unless I'm mistaken.

You (if I'm recalling the post right) accused people of believing the mind is magical and not a function of the brain. So this all boils down to you wanting to have the pseudointellectual high ground and being able to point at us and say "Haw haw, these idiots believe in magic!"

If this is correct, then you, sir, are the type of person who give atheists a bad name. Especially since you don't understand or know the sciences you're using to base your assertions on.


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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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JohnSmith wrote:
One last time: Do you accept that your mind is entirely a product of your brain?

No, because that's bad science. I do 'accept' that that is what all the current hypothesis point to however.

Doesn't change my answers of course, because that has nothing to do with them.


JohnSmith wrote:
But yes, science knows that your brain is what makes your mind.

Oh, I'm sorry. Someone taught you bad science. That does however begin to explain what's wrong with you though...

What? You think "science knows"? Ow, that's, that's gonna cost you in the long run. See, good science understands that it doesn't have the 'answers', just hypothesis that haven't been proven false. Those of course are built upon by later hypothesis which eventually keep failing to be proven false, and so on. While you might be using the 'shorthand' of 'knowledge' meaning what science currently understands via hypothesis, sure. But you have shown your ivory tower colors.

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If this has been the problem the whole time... I rather wish you'd have actually responded to that part?

Can't speak for Keny, but no. This isn't the problem for me. I just basically disagree with the direction your demands, excuse me, your assertions are aiming.


But then under my ethical code, I wouldn't have built pathways around !Vog's Xenophobia Reinforcer. I would have given him the choice, "let me turn off your Xenophobia chip or I kill you". Clean, easy, no muss no fuss. He couldn't be let free, I refuse to jail someone for 'eternity', and I have no moral qualms with ending someone's 'eternity'.

But I'm also not the All-Powerful, All Benevolent Drop-Bear God at the center of the Schlockverse.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:47 pm 
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evileeyore wrote:
JohnSmith wrote:
One last time: Do you accept that your mind is entirely a product of your brain?

No, because that's bad science. I do 'accept' that that is what all the current hypothesis point to however.

Doesn't change my answers of course, because that has nothing to do with them.


JohnSmith wrote:
But yes, science knows that your brain is what makes your mind.

Oh, I'm sorry. Someone taught you bad science. That does however begin to explain what's wrong with you though...

What? You think "science knows"? Ow, that's, that's gonna cost you in the long run. See, good science understands that it doesn't have the 'answers', just hypothesis that haven't been proven false. Those of course are built upon by later hypothesis which eventually keep failing to be proven false, and so on. While you might be using the 'shorthand' of 'knowledge' meaning what science currently understands via hypothesis, sure. But you have shown your ivory tower colors.

Quote:
If this has been the problem the whole time... I rather wish you'd have actually responded to that part?

Can't speak for Keny, but no. This isn't the problem for me. I just basically disagree with the direction your demands, excuse me, your assertions are aiming.


But then under my ethical code, I wouldn't have built pathways around !Vog's Xenophobia Reinforcer. I would have given him the choice, "let me turn off your Xenophobia chip or I kill you". Clean, easy, no muss no fuss. He couldn't be let free, I refuse to jail someone for 'eternity', and I have no moral qualms with ending someone's 'eternity'.

But I'm also not the All-Powerful, All Benevolent Drop-Bear God at the center of the Schlockverse.

For purposes of this story/verse I think there is overwhelming evidence that the mind is clearly a product of the brain.

Make 900,000,000 or so copies of Gav's brain, and you have 900,000,000 or so people who like Guinness and show all other signs of being "Gav" to all available examination.

There's no reasonable way to identify which is the "real" one, because they all have the same brain and were created at the same time. They are all Spartacus, excuse me, they are all Gav.

Thus, I have no problem with claiming that in story the mind is purely a product of the mind and that this is known, and we're debating the morality of an action in the story, so story rules apply.

Given that premise, hacking someone's mind so that they'll "have a choice" about something they were previously firmly opposed to, and doing so in a way that lets you know that they'll now choose as you want them to, is killing them. I'm in agreement with Evileeyore here, and I don't see any reasonable argument that it's not murdering !Vog.

But then, once you've decided that the death penalty is justified, there's some question as to why you shouldn't carry it out by brain hacking out a new personality that suits you better.

There's an argument that by killing someone in a way that reduces the costs to society or increases the benefits you risk overusing the death penalty. (See Niven's organlegger future history for an example.) Execution is rare in the real world largely because it's not profitable for anyone to do it, and it has the cost that someone who was alive is now dead.

If you change that to, "someone who was alive is now dead, but we got a new and improved replacement that's far more to our liking", then execution is likely to be rather casual. Which I consider bad. So I think I'd rather they'd kill than brain-hack.

But if you consider sleep to be death (which I believe is JohnSmith's opinion), then I'm not sure why there'd be any objection at all to what was done to !Vog, you killed him, but he'd have died anyway in a few hours.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:22 pm 
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Doug Lampert wrote:
evileeyore wrote:
JohnSmith wrote:
One last time: Do you accept that your mind is entirely a product of your brain?

No, because that's bad science. I do 'accept' that that is what all the current hypothesis point to however.

Doesn't change my answers of course, because that has nothing to do with them.


JohnSmith wrote:
But yes, science knows that your brain is what makes your mind.

Oh, I'm sorry. Someone taught you bad science. That does however begin to explain what's wrong with you though...

What? You think "science knows"? Ow, that's, that's gonna cost you in the long run. See, good science understands that it doesn't have the 'answers', just hypothesis that haven't been proven false. Those of course are built upon by later hypothesis which eventually keep failing to be proven false, and so on. While you might be using the 'shorthand' of 'knowledge' meaning what science currently understands via hypothesis, sure. But you have shown your ivory tower colors.

Quote:
If this has been the problem the whole time... I rather wish you'd have actually responded to that part?

Can't speak for Keny, but no. This isn't the problem for me. I just basically disagree with the direction your demands, excuse me, your assertions are aiming.


But then under my ethical code, I wouldn't have built pathways around !Vog's Xenophobia Reinforcer. I would have given him the choice, "let me turn off your Xenophobia chip or I kill you". Clean, easy, no muss no fuss. He couldn't be let free, I refuse to jail someone for 'eternity', and I have no moral qualms with ending someone's 'eternity'.

But I'm also not the All-Powerful, All Benevolent Drop-Bear God at the center of the Schlockverse.

For purposes of this story/verse I think there is overwhelming evidence that the mind is clearly a product of the brain.

Make 900,000,000 or so copies of Gav's brain, and you have 900,000,000 or so people who like Guinness and show all other signs of being "Gav" to all available examination.

There's no reasonable way to identify which is the "real" one, because they all have the same brain and were created at the same time. They are all Spartacus, excuse me, they are all Gav.

Thus, I have no problem with claiming that in story the mind is purely a product of the mind and that this is known, and we're debating the morality of an action in the story, so story rules apply.

Given that premise, hacking someone's mind so that they'll "have a choice" about something they were previously firmly opposed to, and doing so in a way that lets you know that they'll now choose as you want them to, is killing them. I'm in agreement with Evileeyore here, and I don't see any reasonable argument that it's not murdering !Vog.

But then, once you've decided that the death penalty is justified, there's some question as to why you shouldn't carry it out by brain hacking out a new personality that suits you better.

There's an argument that by killing someone in a way that reduces the costs to society or increases the benefits you risk overusing the death penalty. (See Niven's organlegger future history for an example.) Execution is rare in the real world largely because it's not profitable for anyone to do it, and it has the cost that someone who was alive is now dead.

If you change that to, "someone who was alive is now dead, but we got a new and improved replacement that's far more to our liking", then execution is likely to be rather casual. Which I consider bad. So I think I'd rather they'd kill than brain-hack.

But if you consider sleep to be death (which I believe is JohnSmith's opinion), then I'm not sure why there'd be any objection at all to what was done to !Vog, you killed him, but he'd have died anyway in a few hours.


Hey Doug!

I like the idea of the brain hack as a more cost-effective execution, and yes that starts a whole moral hazard thing, doesn't it? Always gotta be careful what you're incentivizing.

The thing about the sleep-death argument is that it doesn't particularly bother me. It's a very minor death, I guess. Despite the flack I've caught from Evil lately, I'm actually a bit of a transhumanist myself - I'd vastly prefer an upload or copy of myself to continue over real death*, even with the inherent continuity problems. As you say, I think it's likely that we run into a continuity problem every night anyway**. By that measure brain tampering actually disturbs me far more than the continuity problem, because then there IS this loss of self. I can say with confidence that a copy of me is still the person I was before the copy, even if he's not the same person as I am after the copy***. A brain-modified version though... is he still me at all?

*I binged Netflix's Altered Carbon recently.
**More comfortable with it, but I understand why many people are horrified.
***As always, I write these things and think "We may need to issue some additional pronouns."


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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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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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Doug Lampert wrote:
Given that premise, hacking someone's mind so that they'll "have a choice" about something they were previously firmly opposed to, and doing so in a way that lets you know that they'll now choose as you want them to, is killing them.

Except that isn't what I said...

Quote:
I'm in agreement with Evileeyore here, and I don't see any reasonable argument that it's not murdering !Vog.

And that's not my take either...


My ethical code says "Do not alter another's brain without their permission (except in extreme life/death emergencies)". In the !Vog case, he was restrainable and thus questionable (and thus not a life or death emergency). I woudln't have altered his mind such that he'd have to chose what I wished. Only in the manner I suggested would be put to him: removal of the Xenophobia Reinforcer.

He could remain xenophobic all he wanted after that. And indeed if he then took illegal action, he'd be stopped and tried. As at that point he have had choices and simply chosen poorly.


I don't equate alteration of the personality to be death.

Quote:
But then, once you've decided that the death penalty is justified, there's some question as to why you shouldn't carry it out by brain hacking out a new personality that suits you better.

Because that's not 'just killing them'. It's tantamount to rape.

Now, I'm not saying death is preferable to rape, just that my ethical code prefers state sanctioned murder to state sanctioned rape...

Quote:
Execution is rare in the real world largely because it's not profitable for anyone to do it, and it has the cost that someone who was alive is now dead.

Actually it's rare becuase it's been made expensive and because most 'liberals' cannot live witht he idea that an innocent might be so punished.

Quote:
If you change that to, "someone who was alive is now dead, but we got a new and improved replacement that's far more to our liking", then execution is likely to be rather casual.

Only in that you are equating personality alteration to execution.

Quote:
So I think I'd rather they'd kill than brain-hack.

I think you've gotten that backwards.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:14 am 
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keybounce wrote:
...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.

Mmm, it's definitely true that science is always in flux. But because we actually have to make decisions about things in the real world, there's always a question of the weight of evidence, and the burden of proof. When the weight of evidence comes down in one direction, as a whole the scientific community accepts that and moves on. And we use the simplest explanation that fits the facts. This isn't ignoring all other explanations - if new facts come up that can't be accounted for, you absolutely have to go back and re-evaluate your accepted conclusion. Untestable hypothesis get dismissed out of hand, because you can't evaluate them. Evolution, climate change, the benefits of vaccinations - we have an overwhelming amount of evidence for all of these things. We could find new information that falsifies them, and as a community we would accept that. But it would take some extremely unexpected new information, right? Not just one cold winter, or one miscalibrated satellite. It would have to be something like a mistake in how ALL satellite data is processed, multiple studies showing a link between a vaccine and a health condition, and frankly I can't even think of something that would compromise the theory of evolution. Undeniable proof that every researcher for the past two hundred years was actually insane, I suppose?

That is to say, you're absolutely right keybounce. Refusing to look at alternative hypothesis (hypothesises? hypothesi?) is bad, and you always need to look for things that could falsify your view.


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