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Politics, Science, and Language
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
A Different Take on God
Topic: Metaphysics

I am a committed Atheist. No doubt about it. I don't believe in a God or Gods or an theistic notions. With that said, I now must tell you that some recent ideas about the subject intrigue me.

 Lets assume I'm right and there is no God. Question then becomes...well can there come to be a God? Furthermore, if there can be an actualization of a God, can we create this God?

 This is what some physicists have proposed. Frank Tipler being one of the most prominent. He argues that computer technology can eventually bring about a self-aware, all-powerful, all-knowing-everywhere-at-once being in the far future. And WE would facilitate it, by what we're doing now. Namely, advancing the age of computer technology, like the one I'm using now to writing this blog. We in effect become the phenotype that gives rise the genotype that is God. What? Wait a minute? right? It reminds of the verse from Simon and Garfunkel: And the people bowed and prayed to the neon God they'd made.  Its not a new idea in form. It is new in content. See what they are proposing is not that we, like mad scientist, make a God, but by our actions, deterministically a Supreme Intelligence will emerge. 

What Tipler, Wheeler and other physicists like them propose is actually anti-entropic. It implies as storage space on virtual machines and their ability to be in computational states (computer power) grows, that something like intelligence will emerge. But statistical mechanics teaches us in any closed system that has constituent parts, increases its entropy over time.  Example: if you have a frozen block of ice in a chamber and heat it, the water will melt and the application of heat will release them from the molecular bonds and they will become a gaseous mixture, randomly colliding atoms that are in a statistical state that is much less organized than they were in the state of being frozen. Their entropy will have increased. It will have increased due to the application of heat. We could reverse this process by an expenditure of energy to freeze them again. But, the 3rd law of thermodynamics expounds that in any closed system (like our universe), as time flows, entropy (disorganization) increases. 

Now, with that said, what these guys are saying is anti-entropic, and I like it!

We can create a state of matter, whereby knowledge increases. We can make an artificial realm in which there is processing power and storage space that increases to near infinity and thus make a being that  is what we might call a God.  We would have to use energy to do this no doubt. We would have to constrain the closed system from the effects Thermo-3 for sure. But, if we could create an intelligence that is what I call OOO (Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient) would be possible.  And we would be its progenitors.  What better place to do this than in a computer.

If this is possible we really make our own God. Beautiful right? Uh, beautiful maybe no?

 I mean if we make this God, then it would be like the one in religious myth too right? It would know we made it, right? It might become an evil God and want to punish us  with fire or a flood or just wipe us out and start again and all that shit..... Ahh man...

Wait! Lets bring a little Hindu philosophy in.  In Hinduism, Brahman is the univeral life spirit that is distributed amongst all existence.  Lets say our new super-intelligence is not an OOO that we made and must be, by logic  subjugated to, but we are all a part of it!!!!  Yes, we are all a part of the OOO. We would lose our individual states of being and hook-up with so speak, with the infinite intelligent being. And moreso, the infinite would be just as much in need of our existence as we are of it?  It would not be a logical contradiction either, since remember we brought it about.  The OOO would only be such if it comprised its constituencies in its manifestation. 

 Of course, there would some jerk saying: well if you pay $19.95 now you can have all the pleasure of OOO...don't wait! Act now!!!!

 


Posted by Robleh at 9:27 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 4 November 2010 8:15 AM EDT
Friday, 23 January 2009
Are Laws really made to be broken?
Topic: Science/Jurisprudence

The title above poses a question that is more profound than it appears.

This well-known adage seems to be a trite statement about human social society.  If we get right down to it, it would appear there is some truth to this statement. If laws were not created to be ultimately broken, then why assign penalties for infractions? The fact that the law-making authority, assesses a penalty for violating the law it establishes, is implicative that this authority expects it to be violated. To take it to a more fundamental plane, if there was no expectation of infraction of a law, it wouldn't need to be made. You see a sign that reads: No destruction or defilement of this property. Violators will be prosecuted. Including 5 years imprisonment and/or $10,000 fine. Now, here is a law that is just begging you to violate it. It tells you what'll happen and in its tone it kinda threatens you. A reader will almost certainly be given the impression, that before this law was promulgated, this property was defiled. We can generalize from this idea, to see that most if not all social laws are born to restrict previously engaged behavior. If this is the case, then it is probable that law or no law this behavior will happen again.  Stated differently, attempts to curb behavior through defined rules, will invariably lead to cases where some persons will not abide by the rule. Thus, the promulgation of a law eventually will bring violations. In other words laws are made to be broken. Of course, the intent of this statement is not to say laws are made to cause people to break them.  But, that is what happens. A clearer statement of this adage would be: If Laws are made, they will be at some time broken. In the original statement it sounds like one is saying: Yeah, I made a Law now go 'head break it! Break it, so I can penalize your law-breaking ass! Doesn't it sound like that? Like it's egging you on to break a law? And even this interpretation has a ring of truth.  The very promulgation of a Law, any Law will evoke in some a desire to violate it. Also, such promulgations will be violated from negligence in some, or an honest mistake in others, still this amounts to a verification of the adage. Any law made will eventually be broken.  The Hegelian dialectic is further proof that this is the case. In his system if we pose P, then there will most certainly come a not-P, and eventually a resolution P1.

What of the laws of science. Take the three laws of thermodynamics. Are they made to be broken? Well, you might assume:No! These are laws that have been arrived at by inductive study in physics, they apply continuously and are never broken.  I must disagree. The laws of physics have been modified in the past when new data made them invalid.  Thus, we are taken right back to the same aphorism. Though, the reason for a scientific law's violation doesn't spring from some recalcitrant deciding to not obey it. If a law like the three laws of thermodynamics are broken, it's a result of our imperfect knowledge.  They were not really broken, but had to be modified. Still, the result is the same.  A law established has been violated.  And it was the very establishment of the law that gave rise to its change. Perhaps, it was the research of a brilliant mind, that was able to controvert it, or it was found to not apply in all instances of space and time, or it was stated imprecisely, etc. Again, a law was made, only to be broken. 

Thus, Laws are made to be broken.

 


Posted by Robleh at 10:31 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 26 January 2009 7:11 AM EST
Thursday, 22 January 2009
Notes on the English Language
Topic: Language


 

I have found certain combinations of English words difficult to enunciate properly.  One that I believe is severely hard for any English speaker is the past tense of EDIT. When this word is followed by the impersonal pronoun IT, the combination becomes a tongue twister for me at least.  Here is an example.  See if it makes you choke. 

 

Oh, he’s the editor of the film.

Yeah, well what did he do?

He edited it.

 

When I say: He edited it aloud I feel like I’m stuttering. The repetition of the morpheme it in the first word and last causes this sensation.  In addition to this, the past tense of edit is voiced, that is the stress falls on the ed syllable. Thus, we get the sound ed and it in succession and it makes me feel like I’m stuttering. I can say it alright, it's just a funny little feeling I get when I say it. Try saying it 5 times fast, and I think you see what I mean. You get a pattern that begins to sound like duh-dit-duh-dit-duh-dit. I know the word follows the English rule for simple past tense formation. But, accidentally in this case we've come upon an awkard enunciation scheme. I think the past tense of edit should be irregularized to something like editen (Ed-DIE-Ten). Then a phrase like he editen it, wouldn't be so uncomfortable to spit out, don't you agree? Now, how do I go about getting this done. Write to the Oxford English dictionary lexicographer's office? Even if I did, and they agreed, how would anybody go about the business of announcing (let alone enforcing) to 600 million + English speakers in this world, that one little word is now gonna...oh forget it.... which brings up another thing, there ought to be a way to do this kinda thing... Yes, there ought to a service like the phone recorded messages. It should come on TVs before  programs, and on radios, and the NET and would say something like this (on the model of the phone recorded number change): English speakers everywhere: the word EDITED, past tense pronounciation has been changed, the new way to say it is EDITEN, please make a note of it. Good-bye. That might work! 

Let's look at the word practice, it is used to mean something we repeatedly do to acquire a skill.  But it is used in business literature to mean a skilled person offers their services.  For instance a physician is said to have a practice, the same for lawyers, and other professionals.  But, if we take the meaning of practice as we usually understand it, this means those self-same professionals are honing their skills in a business venture.  Disconcerting thought don’t you think?  A doctor that is practicing to be a doctor?  On you, no less, he is!

 

How ‘bout a practicing soldier. 

Imagine that!!!!!

 

Damn I really screwed that mining operation, blew up my own men. Ah well I’m just a practicing soldier you know. 

 

Or what about a plumber with a practice.  He comes to fix your toilet and it blows up, and he says:

 

well look I’m a practicing plumber you know.

 

You stand there with your mouth hung open. He says:

 

hmmmm it stinks in this bathroom, I must’ve hit a sewer line. Oh well, let me go somewhere else and practice my profession.  Bye.  

 

Oh boy, and get this a practicing priest.  He’s giving a sermon: In the beginning there was Elroy…nooo no I mean uh, uh who is that guy—God yeah him and God’s cousin…Mr. Williams from down the street….NOOO… I gotta get this straight, lemme see where is my practice text..oh here it is…Religion made easy.

 

 Uh .parishioners you know I’m a practicing priest don’t ya?

 

I say readers there is something profoundly wrong about using the word practice in such a context.

 

The word better

 

The word better is a noun that usually signifies a comparison of nouns.  It is used to show one thing is in a class beyond the referenced class.  It can also signify an increment degree of the original noun good. Here is a common example:

 

Gold is better than silver, when traded as a commodity.

 

But, this word is used frequently to mean something else.  And it is misused, I should say.  It is used to indicate caution or negatively to mean declination of an action.  In this sense, it is severely misused.  Here are some examples:

 

You better not do that, if the Governor finds out, you’ll be fired for sure.

 

I better think about this proposal before I decide.

 

You better listen to me! I’m not kidding you better listen to me.  Remember what Cammie did!

 

In none of the above examples is the word better used as a comparative noun.  It is used to express caution to a perceived action.  Now, we could actually make this usage correct with some additional phrases.  Let me demonstrate:

 

It would be better if you did not do that, if the Governor finds out, you’ll be fired for sure.

 

It would be better if I think about this proposal, before I decide.

 

I won’t reform the last sentence; I think you get the picture.  If we put those sentences in subjunctive form, then the comparative nature of better emerges.  You can clearly see, that if we speak of what would be then we are comparing two things.  Take the second sentence—It would be better to think about a proposal as opposed to not thinking about it before deciding.  This sentence points out the misuse that has been made of this word.

Better the comparative noun has been taken out of the subjunctive mood, where it is clearly a comparative noun, and used to mean declination or caution of an action.  In this sense, it has been verbalized.  That is to say, speakers saying the sentences I listed above are using better as verb expressing an action.  If we substitute the verb shall in its conjugated form should, we can see that the sentences above would be correct.

 

You shouldn’t do that, if the Governor finds out, you’ll be fired for sure.

 

The verb to get

 

This verb is misused like better.  And like that word, it has become so common to English colloquial speech it is not considered grammatically incorrect.  It is used and variously employed, instead of the verbs become and to be.  There are other misusages, but I excuse those on the basis of slang usage.  For instance: You get it, man, see what I’m saying.  That’s just a slang way of saying you understand.  But when we hear people saying (as I did today in a supermarket) the following:

 

I’m getting my wisdom teeth pulled this weekend.

 

Now we have real misuse.  Any listener should see how wrong this usage is immediately because the verb to get is a transitive verb.  It must have an object.  You can say: Will you go get me that report I left on the chair in the other room?  In which the report is the object of the verb get.  But in the example above the speaker is passively referring to herself (it was a woman saying this) as having her wisdom teeth pulled.  But we use transitive verbs to express action by the subject, not action being done to the subject. So, she should have said something like this:

I'm having my wisdom teeth pulled this weekend.

 

Of course this happens all the time, doesn’t it?  This sort of speech is so common we don’t think of it as being incorrect, but it is.  A better example of this misuse can be seen in the following very common colloquial use.

 

Now look, don’t go and get yourself killed, try to be smart about this okay!

 

You’ve heard that kind of statement in movies, I'm sure.  Again, the focus is on the phrase within this statement: get yourself killed.  Action happening to the subject of a sentence can NEVER be expressed with the transitive verb get.  We get things, we get going, we, even get home via the freeway.  We vow to get even, but never should we get  See what I’m saying here?  It’s even worst than I first thought, because  get is not meant to be a reflexive verb as some verbs can be, like …well like for instance..see.  

 

I can’t see myself anymore; I’m confused about the person I see.

 

The pronoun myself is referring to the subject I with the intransitive verb see.  This is called by the grandiloquent name of pronominal construction, which simply means it refers to its pronoun.  This isn’t passive voice.  But, I’m getting digressive now, so I'll stop.

 One final note on English language usage. In the first sentence of the above paragraph I used the phrase, is referring to. I didn't write is referring back to.  That would have been an example of redundancy. The worst case of this, which makes me want to actually strike those I hear using it is the following:

 Find out what happened and report back to me would you?

If you report to someone you are returning information, you don't need to add back, but you hear all the time. I've heard radio and TV news readers using it. 

 

 


 


Posted by Robleh at 7:55 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 12 October 2009 6:32 AM EDT
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Why Barak Obama Won The Election
Topic: Politics

I've just listened to an eloquent speech by President Obama, and I am moved to give a tongue-in-cheek view of why I think this man has become the Chief Executive of America.

He's relatively young, handsome, suave and well-spoken. Ironically, it's my birthday today, and I feel my own youth fading, which lends poignancy to why I feel strongly he could not have but win this election.

Obama won because the tide of history was on his side. This nation and its people wanted so much to show the world in this new century how it had changed. And the world outside was clamoring for a president that was NOT white.  He had great allies on his side too. An adoring mix of all races in this country and others. But, you know this not the principal reason he won. No, no not at all. You know what sealed it for Obama? It was his opponent! Yes McCain. He is principally why Obama won.  Just look at it. Here is an aged, inarticulate, tight-mouthed man, whom speaks like he's got a wad of tobacco in his gibe, going head to head with a 21st century version of John Kennedy, and he's got a glamorous wife to invoke the memory of Jackie Kennedy too!  He could've lost. Just imagine, if say a former actor, that was the heart throb of every white woman in America like uh lemme see... uh...maybe Clint Eastwood..no not him...uh ...oh yeah: Harrison Ford (I know a democrat, so what). Now if he'd gotten the nomination, well, well well, then the outcome could well have gone the other way.  But noooooooooo, the Republicans had to pick of all people, this broken-down,  stooped, old man that couldn't make a retarded roach vote for 'em.  Is it any wonder Oba' won?  You see, these election things are as much pageantry as serious expressions of the nation's political will.

McCain could still  have made it into the White House. If he had just played the one card that would've given Barak Obama a hurdle to climb. If he had thought of the right vice-presidential running mate. If had named a Black woman as his running mate, he could've divided the American electorate deeply. In fact, I believe McCain chose that jerk Sarah Palin to respond to Obama. He figured well if the black guy's who they want, then why not try the female card? Specifically the female-white-woman card. I can hear him saying: That oughta win'em back. He thought: I can stop the momentum that's  going Obama's way with a chick VP! Right?  But, he chose the WRONG WOMAN. What a jackass move in the extreme! If he had gotten Condi Rice on his ticket, we might very well be watching a John McCain giving an inaugural speech today. Thank the non-existent God that didn't happen.

Then, Oba' gets Hilary on his side, that was the nail  in Mac' Kay's coffin.  All of her doting, loving white suburban moms in places like Centerville, IN (I made that up) are now on his side. 

As an aside, I was so happy to hear him include people like me in his speech, he actually mentioned 'non-believers' in his speech! I almost went into orbit hearing that.That ol' booger Bush would've never said that now would he?

So Barak Obama won in large part because the other side MADE him win with their poorly chosen representative and all those other things I've described. Every time I think about....who would ever have thought an old man and a jackass chick from God---where? Alaska--ever have an election?

 

 

 


Posted by Robleh at 12:26 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 16 February 2009 8:09 AM EST
Monday, 19 January 2009
Naturalism
Topic: Metaphysics

Environmentalists, ecologists, activists for saving the planet, and many of that ilk have a banner idea that unites them. We are affecting the natural world around us destructively with our economies and technology. And I will concur that is true. And yes we can do much to stop the destruction of this planet. But, I want to chide those whom espouse this rhetoric. What we are doing is not in distinction to the natural world. It is quite natural that we are consuming the planet's resources and polluting its landscape. You see, I believe all that happens in reality is natural. We are a part of the natural world and everything we do is a part of that reality. Our destructive effects are no worse than those processes that this planet left untouched would develop. Think of the destructive forest fires in the world every year, or the meteor impact that destroyed ancient life millions of years in the past. Or the fact that volcanic eruptions can possiblly extinguish life in the future. Life will thrive here for as long as the environment supports it, but even w/o intervention that time is limited. This means we can't always identify natural processes as life sustaining. Nor, should we frame our affects upon our Earthly reality as somehow unnatural. If Darwinism is right (and it is) and evolutionary development is tinged with a competitive jockeying to survive and establishing hegemony over our environments to ensure our genetic progeny, then everything we do from making contact lenses to jet planes are natural adaptations.  It may be hard to accept this kind of reasoning prima facie.

Yes, of course what we do quickens the pace of planetary destruction. So what of that. It was bound to happen. Even if we remained societies that slowly consumed the planetary resources (so-called primitive societies) and maintained an ecological balance with other mammalian creatures, our ever growing number would eventually hasten the planet's destruction. I will use a sexual metaphor that may offend some to describe it. Modern technologically advanced peoples are like a guy that is making love to Mother Earth too fast and shoots his shot in oh about 200 years, while good ol' primtive man really takes a longer screw--I mean intercourse-- taking 1000s of years with Mother Earth. In either case our intercourse doesn't give birth to a new resplendent Earth baby to carry the metaphor to an extreme. No, it brings our own destruction.

Because we impose ourselves on the environment, doesn't make it unnatural. We dam rivers, dig canals, redirect water flows, mine the Earth's crust, fill the skies with satellites, etc.  All of these acts are natural and part of the developing reality that is this planet. it's impermanent for sure, but not artificial.

 It's a greater misconception to associate the natural with the eternal. No geological process we know of now is eternal. Nor is the planet, or the galaxy or the universe for that matter. Yet, we have a bias to see long finite durations like epochs of geological time, or time measured in light-years as more real than our period of existence. For example, because we contrived the Pyramids of Egypt and the Himalayan mountain range was made by a gradual process of subduction going on inside the Earth, we feel the Himalayan mountains to be more 'natural'. It's clear the process going on in the Himalayan mountains will long surpass the standing of the Pyramids in Egypt. In fact, they are crumbling year to year. Yet both are natural processes: our construction of the Pyramids and the subduction of the Himalayas.  The fact that we constructed the Pyramids doesn't make it any less natural than the Himalayan mountains that were made by a non-conscious source. I repeat all that happens in reality is natural! We as beings that evolved from the natural world, creating things in that world is itself a natural process. Though, we insist on see our affects on our natural world as artifice.

Okay, made my point I think. Next time you turn on your DVD player don't think of it as a man-made product, but a natural outgrowth of evolutionary development of a living organism in a deterministic world. Would ya think that for me, wouldja?

 


Posted by Robleh at 7:09 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 1 October 2009 11:49 AM EDT
Saturday, 17 January 2009
Who really runs America?
Mood:  sharp

I hear about Obama's inauguration and think to myself. Is this new black president going to be any different than the last puppets?

 You see, I believe that the executive branch of this nation is not really as powerful as it's cracked up to be. 

 Where really does the ruler of this country lie? Or is there a ruler? Any modern would retort: of course not, we got over the the King and Queen thing centuries ago. At least that's how I imagine the answer would go. But, I am cynical about offices within the American government that are NOT elected and the holders of these offices that control them for life or until they step down.  One most important office is the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank. 

Now, here we have a provost that is appointed by a President and is given license to control virtually the entire monetary end of our economy. He wields power beyond that of any sitting President. Simply put, this guy is the King of America.  If he decides with his companions (the Fed Rev Board of Governors) to fiddle with interests rates, great consequences ensue. This is common knowledge, and  is often reported in the mass media of this country.  But, how 'bout if he deems a change in the ratio or M1, M2, and M3 to be changed, greater consequences result.  M1 is the money supply-currency and bank deposits, M2 is M1 + time deposits (savings accts), and finally M3 is M1 + M2 + any financial instruments outsides those, like bonds, securities, foreign exchange, etc. Now if you play around with these variables, you can change our economy, and by the mulitipler effect those of foreign nations tremendously.  And that's only one of the powers ceded to the Fed Reseve Prez. He can change the reserve requirement on commercial banks. That is, how much they are required to hold in cash to what they lend. And the list goes on and on.

 So, you tell me is he not the real head of the American Government? I think, surely so.--1/17/09


Posted by Robleh at 12:02 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 19 January 2009 4:34 PM EST

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