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Profile: intelfam
User Name: intelfam
Forum Rank: Advanced Member
Gender: Male
Joined: Monday, January 18, 2010
Last Visit: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 5:54:18 PM
Number of Posts: 1,190
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: Does God knows our future?
Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 12:32:50 PM
Thanks for all the good wishes folks - much appreciated even if they were predestined and you had no choice but to post (joke). My health continues to be a problem but I intend drop in occasionally to see what is going on - I miss the old debating crew but just don't have the energy at the moment to get really stuck in...
Topic: Does God knows our future?
Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 7:18:14 AM
I don't drop in here very often but I couldn't help rising to this one. FWIW what if (I assume you are speaking of the Abrahamic variety) god really is omniscient? Surely then, she would be able to know everything - without controlling anything. Put aside our anthropomorphic model of God for a moment and regard her as a huge SuperKray computer. Surely it is possible that she would be able to observe every decision branch we each arrive at, and would be able to see all possible futures without, at any one time, necessarily knowing which of the ultimate futures will actually arrive. It could be said that she does then know the future because among all the possible outcomes of which she is aware, there is THE one which will actaully come about. Sorry, wandering again.....
Topic: inner/internal
Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 5:45:19 AM
thar wrote:

you have an internal combusion engine (I think an external combustion engine is a fire!)

FWIW,you are pretty much right there. An example of an external combustion engine would be a steam engine. All heat engines use thermal energy to expand a gas which moves the piston or rotor. In an internal combustion engine that expansion is caused by the explosion of the fuel inside the cylinder - but a steam engine, inefficiently, heats the gas outside the cylinder and then pipes it to the piston/turbine rotor. Of course, a nuclear power station does not burn anything, so the steam turbine in that case would not be described as an external combustion process, unlike coal or oil fired power stations.

Sorry, couldn't resist pontificating a bit....
Topic: verb construction: Hundreds of people are feared dead
Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2012 5:37:59 AM
I am no language expert - just a speaker. As you say, this passive construction is common when reports are written about events.
"John is thought to be in Germany"
It is a way of describing events without being specific about the subject of the verb. The journalist in your case has probably found that a variety of people are concerned about the deaths but, for example, doesn't want to make a list. "The rescue authorities fear hundreds may be dead, so does the UN, the government of the country, the parents of children, the wives and husbands of the lost...." - you can collect together all the "fearers" by using the passive voice.

As you say, journalists use it but so do others when writing descriptions. I've seen it in reports to courts, I have even used it myself when writing home about a holiday: "The place is crowded, the weather hot, several children are said to be ill, the temperature here is reckoned to be the highest for several years". In the last clause, I am reporting the temperature - but couldn't remember who, specifically, told me, so I used the passive construction. Hope that helps..
Topic: Meditation and health
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 5:24:52 PM

Thank you all for your input and recommendations. I am currently using the work of Dr Kabat Zinn who started the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Clinic at Massachusetts Hospital. He ran (runs) the course over 8 weeks of an afternoon per week. I came across him through reading his book Full Catastrophe Living which read well - but me, being me, researched him and his ideas in the peer reviewed medical journals. I have recently bought his CD set on mindfulness and pain relief. I find it a fascinating idea. He has divorced its medical use from its Buddhist roots in order to get acceptance in the medical world but when one listens to his recordings he is clearly introducing some very clear links. There have been some interesting fMRI studies which appear to show that mindfulness meditation uses neural plasticity or should I say causes structural changes in parts of the brain.
Topic: Meditation and health
Posted: Monday, November 14, 2011 6:56:09 AM
Seems a lot of stuff in the journals about research into meditation and, more particularly, its use in specific illnesses/conditions (rather than the "older" stuff around relaxation etc.) I took up mindfulness meditation some months ago (to help me keep my head together while trying to reduce my oxycodone intake) and have just got a set of CDs to help me apply this to pain management.

Wondered if anybody has used meditation for health, particularly if it has been at the recommendation of a physician and for a particular condition, physical or mental - rather than general well-being?

Topic: "The Origin of Consciousness..." A Stuctured Book Discussion
Posted: Monday, November 14, 2011 6:49:32 AM
Epiphileon wrote:
leonAzul wrote:
Epiphileon wrote:
leonAzul wrote:

For the moment I am merely suggesting the single word "Hypervisor" as a token for "the helpless spectator" that oversees and integrates neurological activity, no more, no less.

Well okay but just to clarify, it seems to me that "oversees and integrates" implies action whereas, the helpless spectator is more like consciousness rides on top of all other functions and makes up nice stories for us about, why we do the things we do.

Yet "makes up nice stories for us about, why we do the things we do" implies action as well, no? Think

Yes, but non-directive, and after the directive action has taken place, while "oversees and integrates" seems to me to indicate real-time involvement. But like I said I don't really understand what you mean by this hypervisor, I'll wait and see.

Just been reading "The Blank Slate" by Stephen Pinker. He refers to this idea, quoting Freud as the mind merely being something that makes up stories to explain post hoc, our actions. Pinker talks about those who have had their corpus collosum cut, presumably for epilepsy, and refers to the experiments when one eye is shown a picture and can match up items in that visual field, but cannot do so between them - yet rationalises actions which are taken on the basis of one picture and the mismatch. If it is relevant I can give the examples he quotes. But essentially, he seems to think this story-telling is related to our attempt to support our subjective sense of (need for) continuity and integration over time.

Topic: Less than 50%?
Posted: Friday, November 11, 2011 7:18:54 AM
Romany wrote:
OK - so I expect I should be far too embarrassed to ask this: - but what on this good green earth are those small animals? The one facing the camera has almost porcine features; they both have kinda Panda eyes; one looks like a rather large lap-dog wearing another animals head; they appear to be the young of some species but look far too wise...are they perhaps the mutant product of prolonged volcanic ash?

Seriously now. I have no idea what they are?

Do you mean the ones in thar's pic? Two humans lifting little furries? They are lambs, if that's the ones you mean?

Topic: Stupidity Personified; Pox Parties & Diseases by Mail
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 7:44:58 AM
Romany wrote:
Look, I'm not saying coming down on one side or the other in this debate. But don't you think we should give these people the benefit of the doubt. OK, mailing the stuff is just bloody stupid. But the pox parties etc.?

Anyone who has had kids in the past decade can't help but get caught up in the whole inoculate/don't inoculate debate. I've read and watched both sides of the question and I have to admit it does pose a conundrum. It's undeniable that the cases of autism in otherwise healthy children have been linked to inoculation. At first this was just put down to freak occurances, but with the facts and figures in front of modern parents, it's really difficult for many to know what to do. Some of the before/after footage is heartbreaking.

Many of my friends and I have sat up nights talking about this and its very real to them. Those who belong to the "get them exposed and get them over it as children" are doing so because they are firmly convinced they are doing the right thing.

I've friends on both side of the debate and all of them are sincerely convinced that the choice they make is in the very best interests of their children.

One of the teachers here has just come down with chicken pox and we have two pregnant staff members - it's all been brought to the fore once again.

Hmm Romany you do point up the dilemma that all of us with kids went through, and when I got german measles, we suddenly became popular with all my daughter's (aged 6 friends) - this still seems reasonable behaviour on their parents' part. But I thought all that MMR vaccine = increased risk of autism stuff had been put to bed - or have I missed some recent stuff?

Topic: The Brain in a Vat
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 7:02:28 AM

To add to the convolution it's worth a look at the external link to 'Where am I?' by Daniel Dennett,