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  1. Storytelling is always a must for me. If that's not good, then don't even bother for me. I like the open ended ones, where you can choose several different paths and it feels highly tailored to your choices specifically, but I've seen osme good ones that don't let you have as much freedom in that respect. What I'd like to see tried with an rpg would be instead of spells your character has, it would be telepathy and or telekinetics, but then elementals or other beings that you could form psychic bonds with to give you different kinds of magic specializations based on their strengths. Anyway, it would be something not overdone and a new direction.
  2. I liked the atmosphere of the first one a lot. I've never finished it though. I really should find the first one and see how it ends.
  3. Not to mention that it might be rationed a bit until resources can catch the infrastructure up with the demand too. I'm sure that they'll take precautions to prevent total failure of the internet in the meantime though.
  4. How much power does it take to beat oneself at any feat of strength? I don't just accuse it of being a silly question, but state that it's a meaningless one.
  5. I rather liked that. It was pretty funny thanks.
  6. H.A.L. was cool though. Where have you heard of cannibalism for recreation?
  7. Actually no matter how you look at it, it's a question that doesn't make a lot of sense.
  8. Samuel: B. F. Skinner was the father/founder of modern behaviorism. And though his hypotheses and conclusions were mostly based on evidence, some of them went a little beyond the evidence. He did say that it is not necessary to understand how the mind works in order to understand how people actually behave. That led to an almost quantum leap in our understandings of human and animal behaviors. I'd say that of most of psychology, his branch has more concrete data than most other forms, because it doesn't depend on surveys or self report, but direct observation by impartial observers only, hence the name, Behaviorism. At times, he and his most ardent followers went a little bit further and advocated that behavior was all there was, and that the mind was irrelevant. In that claim is where I'd say he went beyond the evidence. On the minus side, you can still find a lot of behaviorists who will argue vehemently that animals do not have the capacity for thoughts or feelings because such things can't be observed, and have been responsible to a degree for other fields of science mistreating animals out of the belief that it really doesn't matter to the animals. (You might read Jane Goodall's in the Shadow of Man or Sue Savage Rumbaugh's books if you're interested in people that have been negatively affected by this attitude from large parts of the scientific community. Politically, most behaviorists tend to be against punishment as a means of social engineering, saying that it's not effective, and governments should work on encouraging positive behaviors. Most acknowledge privately that different things can serve to reinforce positive behaviors for different people, but there are still a lot of them that advocate one size fits all reinforcement as though everyone found the same things equally pleasant or unpleasant. From what I've seen, it's effective on an individual level as long as it's applied consistently and that you not discount that other sciences that came after have contributed to human understandings. Some of the more dogmatic behaviorists would argue to this day that what they discovered is all there is to understand about human behavior and that understanding the mind is utterly pointless because it's not something that has a real existence. Behaviorism laid a foundation technologically in which the social sciences started in the US could exist. Social psychology puts that in a context of how an individual acts in society. Personality psychology studies how individuals differ. True, both of them use methods that are less often empirical, but both have a high degree of predictive value depending on your purpose, and some of the studies in both areas of science were emperical (the prison experiment Achilles mentioned earlier for example, or the Milgram experiment is one that shows how people respond to authority, where Bandura's studied both violence and belief using empirical methods). Achilles: Do you have enough power to beat yourself armwrestling? It's a circular question. Ditto to the one you posed.
  9. No. Emperor Devon was basing his arguement on the idea of determinism being due only to God being aware of the basis for human behavior and actions for every specific person. This idea presupposes human behavior is lawful, and God understands the laws under which each individual operates. It's why Skinner's rejection of the higher power taught to him in the presbyterianism of his youth didn't lead to his rejection of the idea of determinism. He still believed human and animal behavior was lawful, and merely set out finding out what those laws might be. And his success in finding those laws that guide human behavior was so complete that the understanding of the way people actually behave advanced enough that the cognitive, social, and personality psychologists of the 1960s actually were able to found whole new fields of knowledge that gave further predictions of how people's thoughts actuallly affected how they behaved. Before Skinner there was little scientific merit to considering how internal process affected actions when we had no basis for predicting what those actions might be. Skinner put it into context by showing that the actions could be predicted, and giving a context for the debate about internal processes. Now I would argue that he went too far in saying that the internal processes weren't important, but there is value in focusing on the part of a problem you can solve and coming back to the rest of it later, perhaps with new tools and understandings once the solvable part is taken care of. If there weren't a good bit of truth to what he argued, then the descriptions that came out of later sciences that attempted to build on his work wouldn't have had any relevance to the way people actually thought or acted. Now whether he went too far with his arguments, by saying that the mind doesn't matter is a different matter. But he was a determinist, and I'd argue that he and his followers were and are not so different from theists who believe in determinism at least on this issue.
  10. JCarter: I'd like to think that if he'd lived longer we might have seen him tie it all together with the Gain's having found some artifact of the time travelers or Nemisis, and learning that all human history in space was engineered from before the Robots. Samuel: For OSC, most of what I read was his standalone books, and I really haven't looked since 1991 other than picking back up on the Alvin Maker series when I saw than new sequels had come out. You can get Blind Alley and Mother Earth (the story about the build up to the original war between earth and the spacers) in an anthology called The Early Asimov. I got it from Amazon a few years ago. I really liked Blind Alley, but he's done a lot better writing than Mother Earth and that wasn't nearly as compelling as usual for him. Not in the same universe at all, but did you ever read "The Gods Themselves?" Terry Pratchett tends to get funnier the longer he writes, but some characters tend to be funnier P.O.V. characters than others. I used to give out Terry Pratchett books to friends every now and again. And some really loved his writing. Most of those that didn't couldn't get beyond that some of the characters do some very ridiculous things. As for Vonnegut, I read Slaughterhouse 5 and Hocus Pocus. I've meant to get a look as some others, but really hadn't. But those are the two I've heard most reccomended and they were pretty good. Actually, Vonnegut was in Dresden when the Allies bombed it. Slaughterhouse 5 is largely told from the point of view of a survivor of Dresden who's gone a little crazy and hallucinates a good bit. It's kind of pitiful, but there are some pretty funny parts. Hocus Pocus is about a Prison Break across the lake from an all boy's school. I don't think Vonnegut put as much of his own life into that one. I liked the first two of the space trilogy when I was growing up. I've never actually got beyond page 60 on the 3rd. The dark tower did borrow the main character Ransom from the first two of the space trilogy, but was more travel between alternate universes than space travel as its focus. Actually the 1st 2 in the space trilogy I liked to read back to back with Edgar Rice Burrough's John Carter of Mars series. I liked the premise of Till we Have Faces. Take a myth where someone is said to have been lying about something they saw for one second in the corner of her eye, and tell the point of veiw as though they really believed what they were saying they saw.
  11. TBH, I really see it as a matter of whatever it takes to end a threat. It's not really about making someone pay enough, or being too merciful, or not showing enough mercy in our legal system. But will it end the threat without becoming a new threat to other innocents (by false accusations, presumptions of guilt, and the like)? Should punishment be humane? In that context, absolutely to the extent that it doesn't interfere with protecting the people, and sending the message that this type of predatory behavior on children will not be tolerated. If people really are genetically predispositioned to pedophilia we're not doing any children they might have any favors by allowing people sexually attracted to underage children to breed and to raise people they can abuse with government sanction because they are their own children. Further, if they are predispositioned to become predators because of a cycle of abuse, that also should make them ineligable to raise families. And if being humane to predators is shown not to be effective, we shouldn't hesitate to execute them for the same reason. We should keep looking until we find something that works. And no avenue should remain unexplored if it offers a possible solution. A government's first priority has to be to protect its people who are not looking to harm its other citizens. Otherwise there is no rule of law, nor point to observing the rules of society for a vast majority of those who live in any society.
  12. I'd agree that that society sholdn't have the right to treat them less humanely if it's just a matter of revenge. I'd disagree with the premise that society has no right to treat them inhumanely under all circumstances. Bill Clinton once said that if you keep trying the same things that don't work to solve your problems, and never learn to try something new, it's a sign of insanity. When I was 11 in 1984, a drunk driver smashed into our car, killing half my family. The driver of the other car was sentenced for manslaughter, a crime that has a 30 year sentence under Florida law, where I grew up. About 7 years later, I heard that he was resentenced for the same crime. About 5 years ago, I was going through my dad's attic since he gave me permission to get what I wanted, and got his deposition of the events. In it, my dad said that the guy that ran into our car had already been sentenced for the same crime before he ran into our car as well. This was in 1984, before there was a wide concensus in our society that our prison's have major systemic flaws. Things have worsened, and it's not just a minority that see a problem any more. In the 1980's and 1990's the U.S. had more people locked away than any other nation but the Soviet Union. I kind of think the answer is not simply to build bigger prisons, nor is it to simply have the law forgiving murderers over the heads of their victims' families. Our justice system is broken. It's not protecting our citizens and hasn't for a long time. What that means should be done, I'm not sure either. But maybe throwing the pedos in with the other criminals is a step in the right direction. We wouldn't be responding to monsterous acts by becoming monsters that way, and they wouldnt' be doing that again soon even with our prisons' revolving doors.
  13. No. I don't agree with mob justice for the very reason of sometimes getting the wrong guy. It's stupid to not care whether it's the innocent or guilty that have reason to fear law or retribution. On the other hand though, I don't see why you put so much effort into defending the guilty in with those who are mistakenly accused. If they are guilty, punish them to the fullest extent of the law. Christ preached personal forgiveness. That has nothing to do with a government's duties. A government's job first and foremost is to make sure that their citizens are kept safe and able to live their lives. When other people threaten their lives, its' a government's job to intervene to protect those that can't protect themselves. If those individuals who want to harm others dont' take warning by being separated from those they want to harm, and still seek to do more harm, then what? You've pretty much ruled out their being able to act effectively to deal with a continuing threat.
  14. And what happens when that's not enough to protect the innocent? Every couple of years in the US, a story gets printed in the paper about some sexual predator who got out of prison then went on a raping and murdering spree. This is usually after society is supposed to have guarantees that the innocent are protected from them by them being locked away, and often committed for mental problems that make them a serious danger to all society. Don't get me wrong. I don't want to see unnecessicary cruelty done to criminals. But I'd happily sacrifice 100 pedophiles to save 1 child, or 1 million to save my own. And maybe that's not the best way to be, but it beats ignoring the problem too.
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