Nothing = Everything

Wow, I went a whole month with no post. Though, in my defense (who am I arguing with?), I didn't have internet access this last week or two or so. Anyway, on with the pasting!

Wait, that isn't true. Okay, sort of. Why does the last post say "6·27·09", but include notes from July? I suppose I must have started it in June?

No matter:

I'm happy to be the root of the problem, but it would be awfully nice to be the flower of the problem too.
"How's your wife?" — "Compared to what?"
My computer, it's not learning from it's mistakes. ...yet.
Scoundrel, I like the sound of that too.

one more such victory would utterly undo him

Denis Diderot said "the god of the christians is a father who makes much of his apples, and very little of his children", in 1746, and I would like to modernize it with some recent events. Like, the pope of the catholics is a psychotic delusional who makes much of his crackers and very little of his fellow humankind.

On the Unscientific America matter, I'd like to make two points. First, is the large degree of intolerance in our society, much of which can be attributed to religious dogma (intolerance for gays in america, intolerance for science in america, intolerance for any violation of orthodox belief in israel, as we've heard lately, intolerance for anything non-orthdox in many more orthodox islamic societies), and the immense pain and suffering this intolerance has caused throughout time, and continues to cause. Now, you might be thinking, "but the New Atheists are just intolerant of the religiously devout!" And that is true, but as the philosopher of science Karl Popper pointed out, an open society must reserve the right to be intolerant of the intolerant. In his words, from volume 1 of The Open Society and Its Enemies:
The so-called paradox of freedom is the argument that freedom in the sense of absence of any constraining control must lead to very great restraint, since it makes the bully free to enslave the meek. The idea is, in a slightly different form, and with very different tendency, clearly expressed in Plato.
Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.
[Notes to the Chapters: Ch.7, Note 4]

"Science is interesting, and if you don't agree you can fuck off."

"Also, I'm given to understand your mother is overweight."

Ha ha ha ha ha:
Posted by: Matt Penfold | July 15, 2009 1:24 PM
Brilliant Stu.
Do you reckon M & K have to buy cucumbers pre-sliced ? Only if they saw a whole they might be reminded of male genitalia and go all faint and giddy. And if they both did it, who would be around to loosen their corsets ?

Secret secretion.

Something less personal.
"Your uncle Floyd died." "What happened?!" "His heart stopped beating."
"Your unwillingness to accept empirical evidence suggests an attempt at flattery."

Caught between a rock and a crazy place.

When I, as a New Atheist, describe religions as viruses, I am not referring so much to the parasitic nature of a virus but more the pattern of propagation throughout a population, and the detrimental effects it has on the infected, and the aftereffects. Like many viruses that run their course without killing the inflicted, those who recover from religious infection often bear scars of the struggle, scars which they will typically carry for the rest of their lives.

Deftly daft.

Is this my weakness? I need someone there?

"Come on baby, don't say maybe. I gotta know if you're sweet love is gonna save me."
(Should I have attempted to replicate the duration?)

Honestly, just getting "christians" discussing their beliefs with one another would go a long way to dismantling the institution(s).

Who the hell hit the chicken switch?
Between the click of the light, and the start of the dream.

Wait a minute, is the water mark of Benjamin Franklin on a one hundred dollar bill supposed to be grinning? Is it normally showing teeth?

Objective: to understand the relationship between the physical world & computability, with emphasis on the physical world.

"I wanna give you the world if you stay with me tonight.
I wanna give you the world if you just hold me tight."

You know, if I were god, I'd make the world a lot less shitty for a lot of people. And maybe slightly more shitty for a few people too.

Why is it that some people find strength in hardship, while others find only despair? And how dependent on the type of hardship is the type of emotion invoked?

"I like you so much better when you're naked. I like me so much better when you're naked."
"And my career came down to operating this impossible device, while people were judging me."

Living in infamy.

On my drive home from work on Wednesday, I got very tired, and so I pulled over and took a nap, shortly before reaching route 2. This is fairly normal for me, I've stopped many times over the last few weeks, both on my way to and from work (in fact, one day this week on the way to work I was woken up and told by a young woman that I could not take a nap in that parking space, I think she worked at a cafe or something nearby). A few weeks ago while napping on the way home with my windows completely down, I got bitten a lot by mosquitos, so on Wednesday, I was sure to not leave my windows very far down (it was also drizzling kind of, and a very wooded area). So since it was very humid outside, it was even more humid in the parked car, and sleeping was fairly uncomfortable, I probably got 20 or 30 minutes of rest, (oddly, twice I started to snore and woke myself, as it was uncomfortable). Oh, another note, someone called me while I was falling asleep, but I answered too late, calling back I got a busy signal (later that night I called back again and it turned out to be Movie Scene in Derry! Which I do not have an account with! So apparently it was just a random misdial? Because they looked my number up and didn't find anything (I was a little worried that for whatever reason there was an account for my number, and expecting fees to dispute!) Also, I think the day before I locked myself out of my car I got stung by a bee on the way home, and just a few seconds after pulling over an unmarked state trooper was pulled over behind me, which is weird cause I speed a lot on route 2, and so do the cops, but I didn't see him at all, so I'm not sure if he was catching up to me or just behind me or what. Anyway, after telling him I'd been stung he asked if I wanted an ambulance or if I were allergic, and I said no, I'd be fine, "it'll just suck", and he said okay and left.

I do not understand people's fears of enemy nations getting nuclear weapons. Notice, for instance, that America is not... I should finish this, but instead, do your own damn research! America isn't on the list of countries with a no first strike policy, apparently because we openly reserve the right to use nuclear weapons in retaliation for certain offensives against us (and maybe even our allies?). Which is pretty ridiculous, when you consider that China has specified that they will not use them unless as an equal response.

Dammit! John Bolton, while on The Daily Show, said, "there's not that much difference between me and the people who want a world where no government has nuclear weapons. There's not much difference, I only want one government to have nuclear weapons." ...WHAT?!?! Does he not understand there is an ENORMOUS difference between someone who wants the governments of the world to interact as a global democracy, and someone who wants the governments of the world to interact as a global monarchy? He is endorsing a holier-than-thou position for the United States? Who the fuck are we? Seeing as how we are the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons against an enemy (and we did it twice), on what authority do we claim to deserve such a unique position of responsibility? And on what evidence do we justify denying everyone else such a responsibility? And if you want to defend our actions, I need an acceptable answer to why we couldn't have demonstrated the weapon to the Japanese in a non-populated area, such as the ocean, instead of killing more than 220,000 people (mostly citizens, including 3,200 Japanese American citizens). Sorry, that was a bit of a rant. Bill Kristol was on two nights before, and Stewart got him in quite a bind, when Kristol affirmed that the government provides the best healthcare money can buy to our troops, and yet (along normal conservative lines) remain steadfast in his opinion that government should not be involved in health care because it cannot be efficient. Granted, I am not certain that the military healthcare plan is really what Kristol seems to think it is, and more generally, I think healthcare is far too complicated to... eh, I never finish these thoughts. Maybe if I thought anyone were reading, or more cared, or if these things seemed important in the least bit, I would, but otherwise no.
(as if reiterating his support for Sarah Palin wasn't enough)


Not even a little.

You cannot stop what you did not start.

You'd have to be completely out of your mind to give either america or russia any excuse to use nuclear weapons. You'd have to be far more crazy than a typical suicidal person, or even a suicide bomber; such little regard for your citizens' well being would run opposed to most public service motivations for political power, and suicidal tendencies would run opposite to those seeking power (since it would rapidly quench any power, by killing large numbers of citizens and government officials).

Antitheism, anti-dogmatism, post-theism, maltheism, misotheism; wait, is Richard Dawkins intolerant of religious people? Am I? Is the fact that I am willing to criticize other's belief vocally, is that intolerance?

If you're suggesting that the type of pencil I practice doing the work with has no influence whatsoever on my ability to use the prescribed pencil during the actual test, you're absolutely right. But are you also suggesting I risk it?

"If you can find it in your heart to forgive me, your tiny little heart, would you consider a scientific collaboration?"

With the invention of the equals sign it was realized that everything was equal to nothing.

"If there's one thing Nixon is known for, it's class. Let's cut this turd loose!" —President Richard Nixon

I just watched an episode of 30 days, in which Morgan Spurlock (host) lives on a Navajo reservation for a month, and I can't help but think that their extreme poverty is in part due to their strong respect for tradition. In fact, they even mention in the show that Americans in general do not have much in the way of traditions, and I can't help but wonder if America's success is in part due to our more progressive nature, which was the direct result of being a country almost entirely of immigrants, which certainly destroyed much of the tradition that would exist in a culture that remains in one place over a very long period of time. I'm not saying people can't or shouldn't have a strong sense of culture or preserve tradition, but it might just be that you cannot simultaneously preserve your traditions and succeed in an ever more rapidly evolving world of technology and information.

"If someone figures out what you're up to they can sacrifice, and hold onto a heart." — "And then you lose."

Wow, in India, night shifts at call centers are considered better than day shifts, since night shifts correspond to American daytime, and they've begun taking christmas break, since their demographic (Americans)

You can read my mind if you'd like. (It isn't that hard really.)

Besides, isn't it more exciting when you don't have permission?

"Genocidal stupidity", is how Sam Harris described the effect of the vatican AIDS riddled villages in sub-Saharan African. When the atheist-agnostic community, such as the National Academy of Science, takes an apologist point of view and says something equivalent to "science and religion study different things", they are viewing religion in a much more reasonable way than many people do, or, they are assuming that most people will eventually buy the spirituality view of religion and trash the ridiculous, inane ancient dogmas.

Sam Harris says it is possible for someone to be so well educated that they can build a nuclear bomb, and yet still believe they will get the 72 virgins in paradise, which I have in the past assumed to be not possible. In fact, for many years I've thought specifically that those intelligent enough to create a nuclear weapon are not crazy enough to do so in a rogue manner, and those crazy enough to do so are not intelligent enough to do it. It is a somewhat scary thought that he may be correct.

So needlessly horrible.

Harris mentioned that scientists tend to say "I don't know", and can be hard pressed to give an answer on something they are not expert about. I can identify with that to a degree, and I know many people will say, "but cody, you tend to act like a know-it-all", and I can agree with that statement wholeheartedly, but on the other hand, those who know me well will recall I am very fond of saying, "I don't know", "I'm not sure", and most recognizably, "it's mixed", all of which are simple methods of avoiding actual answers, on my part. Though I wonder if my language is too subtle for most people to realize I am simply dodging their questions.

All so sweet.
Also sweet.
I need to find a new problem.

There are a group of people who hypothesize that the human brain has a functional foundation in quantum processes, and it seems to me that the only reason for claiming so is the mysteriousness generally attributed to consciousness, and a corresponding mysteriousness (as well as a very specific increase in computational power) of quantum mechanics. This appears very unnecessary to me, in part because I do not find consciousness to be very mysterious, and in part because the brain is an incomprehensibly complex structure, our largest super computers only recently rivaling the vast complexity of the structure that every developed human carries atop their head. There also seem to be many objections regarding free will and determinism, suggesting that the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics could resolve the dilemma between a strictly mechanistic (classical computer) model of our brain and the seemingly "free" will we all (or most) would like to believe we have. But an obvious resolution to the problem requires nothing more than noting that reality is a very large, complex set of data, and that the human brain, no matter how mechanistic, has extremely limited access to that data set. Furthermore, the software (and likely much of the hardware) is in constant development; none of it was created out of infallible theory (or intelligence), it was all developed through approximation techniques, heuristics, and "good enough" solutions can certainly be more valuable than global optimums if they can be calculated in shorter time. For a concrete example, a brain capable of calculating the most efficient path through rough and uneven terrain while fleeing a predator (or pursuing prey), is useless if it takes a few hundredths of a second longer to do so than a brain that accepts an approximate solution and begins fleeing a few hundredths of a second later. I've ranted often enough about consciousness that I probably needn't bother doing so again now. I should probably split this into separate criticisms of the quantum mechanics-abled brains and determinism/free will arguments.

Dammit, I took a few hundred photos of the sky tonight, each 5 seconds long, with ~7 seconds between them, and yet only two or three even have lightning lighting up the clouds, not a single one has an actual bolt in it. Such a disappointment. I ought to move west where I can see summer lightning for months. Though I suppose I could just visit instead probably...

Ha ha ha, I just saw a cab crash into the newspaper stands. It wasn't all out, like you'd seen in a movie, just a slight brushing, but still entertaining for 12·41 am.

Ooo, and now the moon is peaking out between the clouds. Maybe I should download all these wasted photos so I can capture that, though it doesn't look like it will last.

When patience ferments (stagnates? no, that'd be incorrect), the virtue sours into complacency.


Atheist Confessions said...

I'm reading, and caring. What you discuss seems important to me, but then I'm a known oddball.

cody said...

It's nice to meet you... I read the things you wrote and I can identify with both hippy-ism and atheism, (though I tend to identify myself more with antitheism). How did you find me?

And I'm sorry that I said that no one cares, I just tend to record certain thoughts and then get distracted while recording them, then when I return later I'm not quite in the mood to finish them, so they often end mid-sentence. I was just frustrated with the fact that I couldn't take the time or concentrate on finishing an idea that I had had previously. To briefly expand:

I didn't really expect anyone to pay much attention to this.