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Luddee: Welcome back! This is Luddee and Nadhi, and today’s guest is Ms.Dominatrix. She is here to talk about issues of the modern feminist, as she recently did with NPR. She used to be a sex worker, playing out sexual fantasies where she domineered over men.

Nadhi: But she quit that job citing conflicts with her feminist philosophy. Ms.Dominatrix, please tell us what conflicts those were.

Ms.Dominatrix: Thank you for the kind introduction. You see, when I first started as a dominatrix, I felt that it was the ultimate feminist ideal; I was doing the kinds of things to men that they liked doing to my kind and what’s more, I felt sexy while being in charge. But then I realized I was humiliating myself more than I was humiliating them. I was, in the end, doing what they wanted me to do. It was still their fantasy.

Luddee: I suppose from that perspective, it was their fantasy. But from your own perspective, it was your fantasy as well. Why abandon your own perspective and adopt theirs? Isn’t that looking at the situation from their perspective, thereby making them the dominant one?

Ms.Dominatrix: No no no… I figured them out. They don’t want me to stop playing a part in their fantasy, and I was able to figure this out using my innate female insight that we are all blessed with!

Luddee: And using what makes you uniquely female, you deprived men of their satisfaction?

Ms.Dominatrix: Precisely!

Nadhi: YAYYYY victory for feminism! In fact, that reminds me of this one time when I was driving and I hit this man trying to cross the road. At first, I was so upset but then I used my female insight just like you and figured out that the man just wanted me to be upset… so I stopped being his slave too!


Deconstructing intelligence through science

The deconstructivist’s view of intelligence gets scientific data added to its repertoire!

An oil drop – an inanimate material – exhibits “intelligence”.

DYED pink and doped with acid, the small, inanimate drop of oil is deposited at the entrance to the maze – and immediately sets off towards the exit. A few minutes later, it emerges at the other end. No one would equate this apparently astonishing problem-solving with intelligence. But new theories on human intelligence and the brain suggest the simple molecular processes governing the oil droplet’s apparently smart behavior may be fundamentally similar to those that govern how we act.

A decade ago Toshiyuki Nakagaki, now at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, reported that the slime mould Physarum polycephalumNature: “this implies that cellular materials can show a primitive intelligence”. could negotiate a maze to reach food at the exit. Boldly, his team wrote in

Bartosz Grzybowski, a chemist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, has shown that a simple oil droplet floating on top of an aqueous solution can also navigate a complex maze – in this case to reach an acid-soaked lump of gel at the exit (see ‘Intelligent’ oil droplet navigates chemical mazeMovie Camera).The droplet moves because the gel sets up a pH gradient within the maze. The acid changes the surface tension of the oil droplet, but because of the pH gradient, it affects opposite sides of the droplet unequally. The surface tension is different at the slightly more acidic “front” of the droplet than at the back. This difference is what is ultimately responsible for moving the droplet towards the maze’s exit (Journal of the American Chemical Society, DOI: 10.1021/ja9076793).

Nakagaki is unwilling to extend the notion of intelligence to the oil droplet. “It is nonsense for me to consider intelligence in non-living systems,” he says. But Andy Clark, a philosopher at the University of Edinburgh, UK, suggests that this does not do Grzybowski’s set-up justice. Much of biology boils down to chemistry, Clark points out. “The mere fact that it’s just physical stuff doing what it does can’t be a strike against the droplets,” he says. “Whatever intelligence is, it can’t be intelligent all the way down. It’s just dumb stuff at the bottom.”

Everyone “knows” that we’re made of inanimate material at the chemical level. Yet man’s egotism continues to bar it from making the connection between itself and “material” – living and non-living are psychological constructs, with the only empirical difference being the ability to procreate… which is still only inanimate material exhibiting chemically induced interaction… and so it can be said we’re only more complex materials than the materials we identify as inanimate. All other differences that separate our selves from the “external” world are delusions of our psyche… and the purpose of these delusions? To aid in how we interact with the “external” world so that we may procreate efficiently.

But why procreation? I suppose it may be as fundamental a fact of nature as gravity or inertia. So we don’t really know why… we do know how. In fact to ask beyond “how” is insanity or in other words, answering the why is an impossibility because we have shown no evidence of the kind of ability needed to truly satisfy a “why” question – all pretending answers are blatant fantasies such as religion… or in the case of a measured, calculated, empirical and testable response, is a “how” answer! 😛


Luddee: Mr.Anthony Randsonhauss, you are a Nobel prize winning traffic manager and you have earned the recognition of 37 governments around the world as the best of the best. Could you share your philosophy with us so that we may all benefit from your genius?

Mr.Randsonhauss: Certainly! First let me tell you that my “philosophy” is rooted in realism and is hence it is more appropriate to call it “applicable thinking”-  in a very direct sense, if you will. For example let’s take my favorite subject, traffic. Certain domineering powers have created gray colored, ugly looking, limiting pathways that direct – no, CONTROL – our travel.

Luddee: You mean roads?

Mr.Randsonhauss: YES! Precisely my dear, precisely! Now you are getting it. Do you notice how you are forced to travel along these cruel pathways like lab rats in a maze? They are controlling you my dear! CONTROLLING!

Luddee: Uhm… but they are a path to where I need to go. How is this control?

Mr.Randsonhauss: Oh my, how naive you are! When you need to get to work, what kind of a route do you take? You have to make left turns and right turns and stop when they tell you to and go only when they say it’s okay. This is neither morally justifiable – this… coercion – nor is it an efficient traffic system. If these domineering powers let us live our lives freely as is our natural born human right, we could go STRAIGHT to our destination without wasting our time and money. That is the efficiency I’m talking about, my dear! In fact by my calculation the world can cut its energy usage in HALF over night if these malicious and coercive regulations are eradicated!

Luddee: You’re talking about people driving in all kinds of directions at the same time, without roads or traffic lights!!! Won’t that cause accidents!?

Mr.Randsonhauss: Oh ho ho ho… my dear, please try not to be so naive. Would you drive straight in to a bus if you saw it in front of you?

Luddee: No…

Mr.Randsonhauss: Of course not! You’re a rational person. Rational people don’t cause themselves harm. In fact, everyone will be more careful since they don’t want to get in to accidents. Therefore we won’t need any regulations! Rationality will inherently regulate how we drive! Rationality will drive our driving! *snort*

Luddee: But not everyone can cope in such a system!

Mr.Randsonhauss: Yes, the invisible hand of the traffic will take care of those who can not deal with it. Which means only the best will remain, thus dramatically reducing the chances of accidents and even insurance costs over time. Think about it, this is a self regulating, automagically self-improving system. That is the height of efficiency!

Luddee: I’m not buying this.

Mr.Randsonhauss: Don’t be such a reactionary. What gives you the right to infringe on MY right of way? I want to make a bee-line to my work and save money and time… why should I BE STUCK IN TRAFFIC EVERY MORNING!?

Luddee: Because that… uhm… I really don’t have an argument except to say that the worst of our drivers deserve the ability to travel just like the more skilled.

Mr.Randsonhauss: But you know that brings everyone else down. If someone has the skill to survive in a free-traffic system, why should their ability be restricted because of poor drivers? And anyways, charitable people like yourself can do a better job teaching them when to stop or go instead of invasive traffic lights.

Luddee: You’re a moron.

Mr.Randsonhauss: No, YOU! You may not agree with me but we have started teaching this system in universities across the nation and institutions like Car And Traffic Organization (CATO) are working hard to bring this change. We also have our themed novels and student organizations opening young people’s eyes every day. Listen to me, free your mind!

Finding Eid via the moon

The Bedouin tribes used stars to navigate through the featureless landscape of the desert in the distant past. But despite man’s conquest of the moon and ability to look back at time via the Hubble telescope, Muslims still have great difficulty locating the moon. – Zafar M Khan

The difference between lawyers and philosophers

“There is a major distinction between the ‘lawyer’ and the ‘philosopher.’ The lawyer participates in an argument: takes a side and fights for it. A philosopher, however, should attempt to undermine the debate itself; to show where both sides are wrong. In other words, the philosopher must show that not only are there bad arguments in a debate, but sometimes the debate itself is a false one: it should not be a conversation we are having.” – Sean Murray

Trends: Resurgency of evolution in multiple fields

There I was, slightly sulking at the fact that memetic theory was dead even before I adopted its world view, feeling a little embarrassed to be behind the intellectual trends of science… when I discovered and adopted evolutionary psychology. It was all the rage and I could see why. But now I’m pleased to know I’m on the cutting edge because this trend (evolutionary theory) is undergoing a “new wave” – a big push in several scientific fields.

May of Darwinian Wave: Darwinian chemistry, Darwinian biophysics and Darwinian fossil

Just in one month three papers, all of them exploring implications of Darwinian evolution in different areas. Suddenly there is a big blow of Darwinian fundamentalism and not to mention even Darwinian fundamentalist are suprised with this very latest development.


On a side note: I’m not sure how he’s using the word “fundamentalist” here – is it an adjective type inflection, made to project its pop-culture connotations on to those who believe in it,  or is it a literal descriptor, which implies adherence or even advocacy of the premises of the theory of evolution?

The latter would be a redundant and even absurd “accusation” to make since there are no proponents of the theory of evolution who do not accept its premises! So why the redundant descriptor? I suspect the author of the above post implied the former… and I’m left wondering what he/she has against the theory of evolution or its proponents? Has the prevailing “Christian culture” and its discourse created a linguistic or even psychological bias in the author?

Opposition to the theory of evolution is illogical, at least to my knowledge, so the author could not have a reasonable argument against it. Therefore I am left to conclude that the author is biased.

Analyzing my analysis: I immediately formed this opinion of the author, upon reading his post. But to logically derive the same conclusion took a long time (waste of my time, really), but that offers fascinating insight into the human mind, doesn’t it? I don’t really know how I came to that conclusion automatically, until I articulated it. That means my subconscience is able to process and provide “opinions” in the blink of an eye… and that also means my opinion may not be based on logic at all, because for all I know, I could have arrived at that opinion due to my own bias and perhaps self-identification as a proponent of the theory of evolution. It could just be as petty as that… or the human brain could be as brilliant and fast as performing all those logical operations in less than the blink of an eye.

I’m still a jahil and I have a suspicion I am one in more ways than I know.

Morality evolved

Professor Frans de Waal, a primate behaviourist at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, said: “I don’t believe animals are moral in the sense we humans are – with well developed and reasoned sense of right and wrong – rather that human morality incorporates a set of psychological tendencies and capacities such as empathy, reciprocity, a desire for co-operation and harmony that are older than our species.

“Human morality was not formed from scratch, but grew out of our primate psychology. Primate psychology has ancient roots, and I agree that other animals show many of the same tendencies and have an intense sociality.”