Thursday, November 20, 2008

Morning Reads: Twilight, and Free Will


Twilight hits the Box office this weekend.

For good reason, I always take the chatter from Hollywood with a modicum of salinity but this quote is informative:
It is fascinating that author Meyer, who is a Latter-day Saint and has never tried alcohol or seen an R-rated movie, will be the toast of Hollywood this weekend. Twilight is “squeaky clean,” promoting pre-marital abstinence as opposed to teenage fumbling in the back seats of cars. Parents who shake their heads at the crassness of Gossip Girl and the new version of Beverly Hills 90210 may find the romantic restraint and chivalry-before-all-else mentality of Twilight both refreshing and morally sound.

Thomas Sowell has an interesting article about the "Right to Win." Why the left is always one step away from Fascism: no restraint at all.

Example #1:
Blacks who just happened to be driving through Westwood, near UCLA, were accosted in their cars and, in addition to being denounced, were warned, "You better watch your back."

Example #2:
In their midst was a San Francisco Supervisor who said "The Mormon church has had to rely on our tolerance in the past, to be able to express their beliefs." He added, "This is a huge mistake for them. It looks like they've forgotten some lessons."

Perhaps the two most historically persecuted minorities in the United States (Blacks who suffered injustice in the bonds of slavery and Mormons who had to flee the U.S. from government sanctioned and institutionalized genocide), have forgotten to be submissive.

When the majority of the people become like sheep, who will tolerate intolerance rather than make a fuss, then there is no limit to how far any group will go.

Over in the scientific corner, Nature (probably the most respected scientific journal) has just published an article on the neurobiology of human volition (or 'will' if you please), and on the importance of sleep in neurobiology.

The former artice brings my mind back to the day when I had a discussion on the neurobiology of free will with another family member (who is now a faculty member at a major University). I may have seemed to support the mechanistic naturalism inference of will (that it's not free per se), and certainly nothing in Nature will be published that hints towards ‘free will’ as any non-materialistic mechanism (it's science after all); but I may have been overly enthusiastic about criticizing psychotherapy in arguing the affirmative of pharmaceuticals as a good way to manage things like PTSD or MDD (major depressive disorder). Certainly I think there is more to individual agency than absolutely predetermined sets of billiard balls running into each other in the brain.

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