Some fun with Java programming

Hey people, this is something different from the usual. I’ve been working on a new chessboard writing program in Java that is text based. That is it works with an int array where each element is either 0 or 1. This symbolizes black and white. The thing that makes it difficult is that I had to do it entirely from scratch just with math alone. I’m showing some screenshots here of what it can do so far.

Here are links to zip files containing the source and screenshots. This came in stage 1 and stage 2. Stage 2 is more advanced and can do more but stage one was the first example that took a lot less code.

Does disbelief in free will make people cheat?

Why Evolution Is True

I’ve posted before about Greg Caruso, a philosophy professor who writes about the down side of believing in free will, including its support of a “just world” view in which people deserve what they get, and so shouldn’t get government help. (Many Republicans hold such a view.) Caruso’s also the author of Free Will and Consciousness: A Determinist Account of the Illusion of Free Will, as well as Science and Religion: 5 Questionsbooks that are on my on my reading list.

Caruso continues his exploration of the social consequences of believing in free will in a new article in Psychology Today, “Does Disbelief in Free Will Increase Anti-Social Behavior?”  The answer has long been “yes,” but that was based on a single article by Vohs and Schooler (reference below), showing that if you “primed” students with readings that either reinforced or denigrated free will, they were more likely to cheat…

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What’s going on with my lack of self

Hey guys, I’m really excited about Paul Singh’s new book: “The Great Illusion: The Myth of Free Will, Consciousness, and the Self”

I added it to the list of books on George’s site:

It’s very big and much more in depth than Sam Harris’s book because it tries to take on three different illusions in one book! I see it becoming very popular in the future.

Also, I’ve been into the whole self illusion topic lately and have been investigating Liberation Unleashed ever since Simeon Dawkins told me about it on Facebook. I have a thread on the forum under the username pony1987

My thought is that the idea of self/soul/spirit is just as essential to many unquestioned belief systems as is free will. Indeed, we need a “self” in order to even claim free will.

For me, self is of course the material body. Even the use of words such as “I” or “me” is a convention and a vast simplification given that we are composed of uncountable atoms. Still, language has a tendency to preserve false beliefs just as the word choice seems to imply free will. I’m still in the first chapter of Paul Singh’s book but he has already cleared up that simply choosing is not free will.

The concept of the self is also required for any belief in an afterlife. This is another major reason that I want to talk more about it in future podcasts.

What I Find Beautiful

While other people are talking about how beautiful or handsome a certain human is, I am thinking of entirely different things that I find beautiful. I have three examples of the supreme type of things I find beautiful. Ironically, only one of these is alive.

1. Geometric Art

I was extremely into creating art with vector graphics in Inkscape. I once thought maybe my art would be good enough to sell.

I am fascinated with regular polygons and chessboards. Any tessellation of regular polygons in general will get me excited though the chessboard is the most common example that humans see. Below are some links to some of my favorites.

2. My Little Pony

The show My Little Pony is absolutely my favorite of all cartoons. If we were to consider all TV shows it would have to compete with Big Bang Theory. In any case, the reasons for liking My Little Pony have a lot to do with it’s focus on friendship between the ponies which is completely separate from any form of sexuality. It’s hard to find a good cartoon these days which isn’t loaded with kissing and/or sexual jokes. I was disappointed in Sailor Moon and Dragonball Z because of their focus on romantic and/or sexual relationships. Also the violence in them was rather disturbing.

In My Little Pony, the violence is kept to a minimum. At most some villain is getting zapped by Twighlight Sparkle or perhaps hit with a rainbow of friendship. The show is so full of rainbows that some people have made the claim that anyone who watches it is at risk of becoming gay. Sure, I know the rainbow has been used as a symbol by the whole Gay Rights Movement, but anyone can enjoy rainbows as long as they are not colorblind or completely blind.

Overall, I think the world needs to be full of friendship, rainbows, and ponies.

3. Real Horses

It should come as no surprised that I like real horses too. Sadly, I haven’t had much experience with real horses in my life, but the few moments that I have been around them, they were very friendly. Unlike the dogs who bite me or bark at me, horses seem very calm and nonthreatening. This is surprising since given their massive size, they could hurt me if they wanted to, but it seems that it would take a very frightened horse to attack someone in self defense.

They are also very cute and funny the way they play. Every horse needs a giant ball to play with like in this video.

Another reason horses are great is because they are herbivores. They eat mostly grass in the wild and are commonly fed other grains by humans too. If only this were the case for all animals. I can’t stand the idea of animals killing other animals. That’s one of my top complains about dogs, cats, and most humans. Horses therefore seem safe because I can trust them not to eat me.

Those are the things I find beautiful. I like art, cartoons, and especially anything that involves horses whether they are real or imaginary. This goes for unicorns obviously which are just horses with a horn on the forehead.

What I think of the American Democracy

One of my Facebook friends told me about The Venus Project. I googled and found their website. They had a link to a documentary called: “The Choice is Ours”.

I love the example at 30:55 of comparing our democracy to the democracy of cheeseburgers and fried chicken. It accurately represents how stupid that system is. Additionally, a vegetarian or vegan will get the point even better because they don’t want either.

The point is that yes, under a democratic system, you get the “choice” over who you vote for, but you will never really get what you want. Aside from the whole fact that the idea of a free choice is an illusion, the choices we are offered are none of the ones we want.

I like food comparisons. A vegan like me wants bananas, apples, oranges, watermelon, kale, broccoli, or any other plant food. Instead, if offered only a choice between a cheeseburger and fried chicken, it’s a completely worthless choice.

It’s the equivalent of being asked if you would rather be burnt or frozen to death. Naturally, you don’t want to die in the first place, but at least you were given a “choice” in which way you are to be killed.

Jesus Camp Review

My mom and I watched the documentary “Jesus Camp”. We talked a lot about the messages that these children are being taught. The basic message is that children are taught that God can do anything and is in control but somehow it’s the responsibility of these children to fix the world. My mom and I both see the conflict in this.

Looking at it now, I see that it was partially this type of message growing up that made me think that somehow it was my job to fix the world. As much as it would be nice, it’s not something I can do.
It is true that what children are taught when very young often sticks with them for the rest of their lives. This however can be used for either good or bad.

Children can be taught to copy anything no matter how ridiculous it is. This is the whole point. We cannot hold them responsible for what they do when young or old.

There is no freedom of choice in this. We are shaped by our environment and each experience affects what we choose. It all makes sense even more now that I understand determinism.

I feel sorry for these kids when I see them crying because they are taught they are such evil sinners. I know it all too well.

The worst part is, there is nothing children can do to get out of such a system until they are adults. By then it is usually too late. They infect their children with the same virus of the mind.

Valentine’s Day (by Judena Klebs)

I have a theory about Valentine’s Day. No one really knows what to do with that day because hardly any one has a spouse or a date that they’re not mad at most of the time but they know that if they don’t pretend to love them at Valentine’s Day that person will be even more mad and stuff candy hearts down their throat until they choke. They also feel the pressure to spend hundreds of dollars on fresh flowers so that they will not be smashed over the head with the large vase that was positioned in plain view as a hint. There are naked babies with bow and arrows decorating every building. Anything you order from a restaurant is heart-shaped. If you are single, people look at you at parties as though you poked your head out of a casket at your own funeral. You see lips kissing and then realize it is just a decoration on a glass window or door. Where is the rest of the person? One must try not to think about what this holiday must have been about when the first mushy person tried to celebrate it. Why did it become traditional to give chocolate candies to the woman you just fought with because you insulted her about being overweight? Who started the tradition of checking couple’s memories about what kind of sausage they had for breakfast the morning before they first met? I don’t know about you, but Valentine’s Day strikes me as a very mysterious holiday. The only one that seems more useless is Groundhog Day!