Amazing Things

"The less fortunate get all the breaks!"

Not that any of this is true, it is mere conjecture by me, off the top of my head:
The selected advantage of consciousness is the ability to learn without experience. To evolve the "best choice algorithms" inherent in all organisms without having to wait around for something new to happen to you (the way most creatures capable of learning, learn). In order to simulate something it must be abstracted, a symbolic representation must be established. Qualia are those symbols. They range from simple (like the color red, which merely represents a specific energy photon hitting a specific kind of receptor in our eyeball), to very complicated, (like all the wonderful physical sensations accompanied by falling in love). What are those sensations we experience? Surely they are nothing more than the chemicals and electrical signals passing through our bodies, right? Sever your spinal cord and see what feelings remain. And you might say you would still be capable of imagining the sensation, after the injury, like a person would remember the color red, even if their eyes completely failed them. But what you'd then be experiencing is the symbolic representation of the color red.

No one asks, "what does the moon mean?" or, "what does the Local Group mean?", right? So why do we continue asking what life means? Why is everyone so afraid of the obvious answer, that it means nothing!? Is it really so terrible that we have to make life mean what we want it to, to ourselves? (Instead of being handed some assignment. I know people often avoid making decisions.) Did lunch taste better when you thought you were put on earth with some grand purpose by some mysterious force? Or can't it taste just as good knowing that we find ourselves in this physical reality that appears to have very strict rules governing it's behavior? The tragedy here is that with such a large portion of society seeking solace in religious, mystical, supernatural, and other unfounded beliefs, distracts us from seeking solace in one another. People say they feel sorry for me, for not believing in some kind of god. They say they can't imagine feeling so alone. But it's not as if I can just choose to believe in a god, anymore than a normal adult could choose to believe in Santa Claus again. Or the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy, or any childhood fantasy. And learning that humanity as an species, is alone, is not frightening. We have seem to have limitless potential to please one another, and ourselves. We find ourselves in a rich environment, too vast to explore even a small fraction of it in our limited lifespans. We are magnificent bodies, capable of experiencing an enormous range of physical and emotional sensations. And to find out that there is no cosmic parent showing us the ropes should only remind us how important we are to one another.

So this is incredibly speculative, but if it's possible for an organism to be completely insusceptible to viruses, would that become a selection disadvantage? Due to lateral gene transfer, wouldn't it be at a disadvantage in the rate of evolution department? I've had similar ideas before with other aspects of life... that was how I first thought you could resolve our limited lifespans, though I think later I read a more interesting explanation, supported by both good evidence, and I believe a calculation. Very simply, an organism that lives forever would no longer evolve, so it simply can't happen. I think it was Randolph Nesse's interview with Dawkins that had that... I should maybe look it up and put it here. Six minutes in. Actually, you have to watch to the end, because the important stuff comes near the end. Really the whole 5-part interview has a lot of beautiful information, but for my purposes the bit on aging was all that was relevant.

Apply GP to NN! (Do you think I'll remember what this meant? GP = genetic programming, NN = Neural Networks.)

I just noticed something in Dr. Strangelove that reminded me of something in Grosse Pointe Blank, which makes me think there must be some reference, but I'll have to go back and check again—almost immediately I forgot what it was. Though it was during the Air Force guy's earlier scenes in the war room. It was about jumping to conclusions before all the facts are in.

Peace on Earth
Purity of Essence
The Commie Conspiracy to steal our precious bodily fluids.


Would you buy T-shirts that say, "Too stupid to breed"?

You know, even without all the child-rape and other abuse the catholic church is now being revealed for, it would still be a despicable organization, deserving of absolutely no respect.

"Locality is just an approximation." I want to learn more about this...

Ha ha ha:
"I could make a good argument based on the statutes and case law where I live that what my spouse does to me regularly with my consent is a felony." Beautiful.

"The victim of theft by deception is still a victim of theft, whether she realizes it or not."

I don't really buy the Fermi paradox as an argument against E.T., but I do find it a powerful argument against E.T. having developed A.I. and a von Neumann probe (a self-replicating machine), at least not long enough ago for us to have detected it. This is also what I consider the best argument in a finitely old universe. My opinion will change if I can be convinced that von Neumann probes (as a concept) have some real-world limitation that would prevent us from seeing them, even over very long periods of time. This could be as simple as: organisms capable of building A.I./"Universal Assemblers", may be exceedingly rare and spread out. I suppose it is even possible that we may be the only organism capable of such a feat of engineering. I suppose it could be that even we are incapable of constructing such devices, though I consider that very unlikely.


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