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Talek

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About Talek

  • Rank
    Member - Wise One
  • Birthday 10/17/1988

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male

Additional Information

  • Location
    Brisbane, Australia
  • Denomination
    agnostic atheist
  1. Talek

    What foreign religion interests you most?

    I just said paganism, but what I mean by paganism is ancient greek/roman/norse/egyptian religion/gods. Granted, the vast majority of my exposure to these things is through the lens of western entertainment, and as such my understanding of them is probably not all that accurate, but they all seem so cool. I particularly favour the idea of the gods walking among humans, having various human characteristics and siring demigod heroes and such. Their propensity to be involved in awesome stories and grant powers and magical artefacts to mortals makes them incredibly intriguing to me.
  2. Personally I'm just ashamed that the US beat Australia to the punch on this. I know that several US states have been dragged kicking and screaming into this arrangement, but even so I always thought that we'd get there first. Nevertheless, I was happy to wake up to this news this morning.
  3. Talek

    Christian poll

    I am proudly heathen, though I used to be quite fond of Jesus until about four years ago. My interactions with others on CTF actually played a role in my de-conversion.
  4. Talek

    The Jenner Question

    What? I agree with you? Weird. Why are we agreeing? Have you been replaced by a body snatcher? *wince* Perversion's a strong word, but I've seen you attempt to defend it before as meaning aberration from the norm rather than something objectionable, so I guess we're still on the same page... Fair enough. Ahhh, there it is! I knew you were in there somewhere, JAG, m'old buddy! Yeah, let's ostracise people by telling them that they aren't normal, 'cos that's so great for their mental health... So are you claiming that all people who don't fit into a typical gender or sexuality category are either mentally ill or from a broken home? That's demonstrably false. All that the impact of media and culture has done is make it less acceptable for childish homophobes to mistreat and discriminate against LGBT people. It's not like anyone's ever just seen an episode of glee and gone, "yeah, I reckon I'll become gay now!". Doesn't happen, mate. Ahh yes, sin, well I'm not going to get anywhere arguing about that on CTF...
  5. Talek

    What kind of life would you choose?

    Ya know what, Chris was right. Making the question more specific has really improved it. I guess I'll just move along now. Yeah, I pretty much agree with this based on what the question now seems to imply. Except for the religious bit, obviously...
  6. Talek

    The Jenner Question

    "...six to ten thousand years ago in the Garden of Eden." Seems like an accurate and factual account of events, so of course it must encompass every piece of nuance about the human condition. As a disclaimer: everything I say here is simply based on my own perception, and isn't necessarily scientifically accurate, but I'm not here to debate the scientific understanding of the psychology, physiology, and genetics of sexual tendencies and gender identities, merely my perception of them. I understand gender to be a social construct that enables people to easily categorise each other into clearly defined groups. It is also a concept of self-identity that enables someone to place a preferred label upon themselves by which others can more easily relate to them. I think that as a social construct in the eye of the general public gender is generally tied to a person's outward biological appearance and is static, however an individual's perception of themselves may shift over time and be completely fluid, so I guess my answer is both. Sure. I mean I'm sure that biological males and biological females typically have brains that function in different ways and exhibit some biological differences as evidenced in the typical behavioural variance between males and females. As with all things that are typical though, there will be examples of atypical variations i.e. there will be men whose brain structures and activity more closely resemble those of the typical female brain, and vice-versa. Sure, why not. I don't think so. One is about identity and the other is about sexual preference which can exist independent of one's identity. I'm a fairly typical man, I guess. I haven't really given it much thought and there's quite a range of "manly" stereotypes that aspects of my personality could fall into, along with some "feminine" ones. I definitely identify myself as a man, though.
  7. Talek

    What kind of life would you choose?

    You're misconstruing my point. I am well aware that there are various different versions of particular thought experiments, and that people can create and alter these to their heart's content. What I'm saying is that a responder, when given a specific scenario, cannot alter the rules of the scenario to suit themselves. If someone posed the version of that scenario where the actor has to choose between pushing a fat man into the path of the trolley or not, they cannot change the scenario by asking questions about his character to try and ease the burden that the decision places upon them; they simply have to work within the constraints they've been given and make a choice. In any event, the comparison between a moral dilemma like the trolley scenario and the question asked in the OP only extends to their presentation of a binary choice, and was only used as a basic example to illustrate a point. The comparison is irrelevant now, since it doesn't really scale well. The question assumes that people will take it at face value and insert their own personal views into it, giving it all the detail it requires for their specific case. In my case I guess a short exciting life would consist of making lots of money, using that money on a regular basis to enjoy myself however I saw fit (cars, games, travel, assorted debauchery), and then dying at a relatively young age. Conversely, a long boring life, in my mind, would consist of being stuck in a boring, thankless job that barely covers my living expenses while soaking up all of my free time, and never being able to do anything I enjoyed; essentially just existing, but doing so until I hit the age of about 90 and keeled over. Both of these examples are extreme and unrealistic, but it didn't take much thought on my part to come up with them and make a decision, which is all that this question requires. Your interpretation, or anyone else's may be different, h-e-double-hockey-sticks, I could even alter my own scenario in n different ways, but the point is that the interpretation is entirely up to the interpreter, which is why I would argue that the vagueness of the question has merit. I agree that the question is not a very interesting or deep one, but why should it be?
  8. Talek

    What kind of life would you choose?

    My point wasn't that the mechanics of the train matter, but rather that in making a value judgement when presented with a binary choice, one cannot ask for more detail about the situation, and is required to simply make a judgement call. And I would contend that individuality makes positing such a question, while factoring in all of the potential variables, impossible. Essentially: each person will have their own preferences that determine what constitutes a life of boredom and a life of excitement, and as such, the kind of question that encompasses enough detail to cater to each individual's tastes is so complex as to be tedious and generally useless.
  9. Talek

    What kind of life would you choose?

    It's not a "real" choice, just a hypothetical one. I think that everyone sitting here insisting that the question should be more nuanced is taking it too seriously. It's like when someone gives you one of those moral conundrums like pushing a button to make an unstoppable train kill one person instead of six. You can't just say, "Can you elaborate on the condition of the train?" you have two options and you have to choose, so just choose the more preferable option. Assume that the question means whatever your initial impression of it means, i.e. boring means whatever you find boring, and exciting means whatever you find exciting. Anyway, that was a lot of text to make a minor point, but I picked short and exciting. You only have one life, and I want to enjoy the limited time I have as much as I can. I really hope that cybernetics advances to the point of granting significantly extended life-spans before I cark it, but otherwise, c'est la vie.
  10. Talek

    Evolution

    Well it's off topic and I don't want to anger the mods by "bashing god", but to put it simply: I think the god described in the bible is self-contradictory and evil. I don't know if Jakob feels the same way, but I imagine his answer would be similar.
  11. Talek

    Evolution

    [modedit] I was in the middle of writing my reply to this and had to do other things, so I left it for a while only to come back here and see that you actually have expertise, and have done a way better job than I could ever hope to. My reply is below, but it's clear to me that I'm way less knowledgeable about this topic than Ananas is, so take the things I say with a grain of salt, since there are likely to be errors. OK, well while I am by no means an expert and am liable to make errors in my explanations, I feel that I've got a sufficient understanding of the processes involved to give a decent explanation. As I understand it new information is added all the time when the copying of DNA is performed imperfectly, which can be due to any number of reasons, such as environmental factors like radiation, or a difference in the chemical environment in which an organism exists. It is true that the overwhelming majority of these changes are passive, leaving only a small minority that are either detrimental or positive. Natural selection doesn't just favour positive changes, it also doesn't necessarily punish neutral ones, and may not even punish negative ones to the point of the disappearance of that mutation. All that matters for natural selection to take effect on specific genes is that the organism carrying those genes survives to the point that it can reproduce and pass on those genes to its offspring. It is at this point that the multi-generational time-scale of evolution becomes important, since all of the mutations experienced by a genetic line will stack over time, and dependant upon the environmental conditions of an organism, may switch from being neutral or positive to being detrimental, or vice-versa. Sometimes, two independent detrimental mutations can exhibit a combined positive effect that completely eclipses the negative impact of either one on its own, and when this leads to increased reproductive fitness, both mutations are passed on to successive generations. Here's an article that discusses the creation of new genes, and here are a couple of videos that discus the evolution of the eye, which I believe constitutes the kind of "addition" you're referring to. Gaps aren't really a problem for evolutionary biology, because even without the fossil record the evidence of genetics tells us all that we need to know about the precise relationships between all living organisms. Here's a link that talks briefly about the misconception that a complete fossil record is necessary for evolution to be true. I know that there is such a thing as co-evolution where two species, usually plants and insects, evolve together and depend on each other for survival, but I don't know of any examples of codependent relationships that are supposed to have evolved at different times. As Ananas said, it sounds suspect, but perhaps if you had an example of such an occurrence we could talk about it further. The insistence that a gap should always be filled is a misconception promulgated by YECs as if it's a nail in the coffin of evolutionary theory, but as I've said above, and as Ananas has said better than I can, the fossil record is not a necessary piece of evidence for evolution, it's just the icing on the cake. Another point of Ananas' that I want to reiterate is that every fossil ever is a transitional form. Think of evolution as a flick-book style animation where each still image represents a single generation of a species. Every image, from the second page to the second last page, represents a transitional form between the first and last frame of reference available. If the animation was to be extended then those first and last frames would also obviously be transitional forms between the new first and last frames of reference, however, because they look like the beginning and the end it can be easy to think that the last frame of reference represents the final form of that species.
  12. Talek

    Evolution

    It's pretty straightforward really, if evolution is the cause of the diversity of life then things such as a first individual of a species don't exist. There was no first human, there was no first chicken, there was no first dog. Every individual organism from every species that exists is a member of the same species as its parent organism, however it is not an exact copy. It is the slight variance between parent organisms and their offspring that, over millions of years, leads to perceptibly different species. It's more complex than that, but the point is that there was no first human, and there was no last individual of some species distinct from homo sapiens that gave birth to the first human. This essentially means that Adam and Eve never existed, and there is no such thing as original sin, at least if original sin is taken to be the disobedience to God's commands by Adam and Eve. Unfortunately it puts you in a bit of a catch 22, because on the one hand you have something that you hold at the core of your beliefs about the world, but on the other hand you have overwhelming evidence for a process whose implications completely contradict some of the bases for those beliefs. It's not an enviable position to be in. Out of interest, what do you believe original sin to be, and also, if you don't mind, what are some of the things that cause you to doubt the accuracy of evolutionary theory?
  13. Talek

    Evolution

    Ahh, the confidence of ignorance. Please, for your own sake, don't choose to be uneducated, especially not in the age of the internet. Learn everything you can about evolution and prove that it's nonsense instead of just asserting it. Imagine how well you could promote your interpretation of the Bible to "the world" if you could pull that off. Humans are not monkeys, we are great apes. If that idea offends you then it's clear that you simply lack the sophistication to properly understand it. You have the power to change this by learning, so please don't just cling to your presuppositions because they feel good. You could also simply ignore this and carry on. Either way it's no skin off my nose.
  14. Why it is a pleasure to see you about again x Hope all has been well on your end!

    1. Talek

      Talek

      Good to see you too. It's been quite a while hasn't it. I just lurk here every now and then these days. I'm doing very well, thanks. I hope you are too :)

  15. Talek

    Evolution

    None of the above. I don't know if the framing of the question is born out of a misunderstanding of what evolution is, but people who understand evolution don't say that it's how life "happened". Evolution is the reaction of self-replicating organisms to external pressures, so for evolution to take place life already has to exist. If the question was intended to mean, "how did life attain such a diversity of forms?" then carry on. Also, creationism and intelligent design are the same thing, unless you're saying the intelligent agent isn't some monotheistic god... If someone disagrees could they please explain the difference to me?
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