10.20.2010

Some Philosophy Worth Considering

Can thought exist outside of time?
Is the second law of thermodynamics a requirement for memory?

NO LURKING! Share your thoughts.

68 comments:

Michael Lockridge said...

I have kind of wondered about this. I have come to consider time as the informal (and sometimes formal) measurement of change. Thermodynamics certainly describes observed change. In an environment unchanging, can there be time? Can there be thought?

How does this reflect on the mind of God, a (supposedly) timeless being? How does it reflect on popular ideas of eternal life and eternity in general?

In as much as I am only able to contemplate the idea with a thermodynamically time constrained brain, I could only speculate and strive to stretch my imagination to address these ideas.

I keep coming back to the image of a pendulum swinging, each arc a perfect reflection of the last. Everything outside of that arc is the unknown and the unknowable.

pboyfloyd said...

Well, I for one am amazed that a religious person even gave any thought at all to this Mike.

Seems to me that your stuck imagining some kind of supernatural time-frame, but since time is just events happening, for example 'thinking', it kind of drains back to being, you know, just time passing again, no?

I think the movies use the 'time is like pages of a book' idea to create the drama, on the one hand, but religious people don't really want to go near this 'grandfather paradox' type proof that there cannot be a way to go back in time, as much as the good old infinite regress paradox, which they can use in their favour.

Isn't it as least as paradoxical that, if one went back in time we'd be changing the past therefore it cannot be done, as we can't follow a trail of causes back infinitely??

I'm guessing that the latter is plugged a lot more because it is one of the mainstays of 'logic helping religion's case', while the former questions whether anything could be 'done' "outside of time", which of course is a giant "NOT".

Jared said...

Well, the second law of thermodynamics only applies to closed systems and sense memory (nor thought) is not a closed system, I fail to see how it would apply at all.

As far as the first one is concerned, the answer is no, unless you are talking about the instantaneous neuronal state at which the thought "exists," then that would mean yes. However, my trivial background in neurology (compared to you; the lay person, well, that's another story) indicates that thoughts are drawn out by the procedural firing of neurons and not "accessed" as a state.

Since thoughts are procedurally derived, I don't even see how a thought outside of time is possible since a procedure necessitates the passage of time.

As far as the pendulum is concerned, it only stays in motion because energy is constantly added to it, why else would a clock have to be wound? (Clocks are also not closed systems)

pboy, it is at least possible to OBSERVE the past without ever being IN the past.

Harvey said...

It seems to me that "thought" (at least in the sense that we usually mean by the word) can only exist in real time and requires a "thinker". If this is true, some being capable of thought will be necessary and, therefore, the second law of thermodynamics must apply. On the other hand, if we wish to posit a prime force that is responsible for our Universe and all of reality and which somehow exists/ed outside of time, we can equally well imagine that this entity is/was capable of "thought". However, in such a circumstance the term "thought" would obviously have characteristics that might differ considerably from what we usually mean by that term.
As a result, I think that the question is begged unless we can agree on the meaning of the term.
In other words, this is an entirely philosophical question, which, according to some "philosophers" cuts any and all scientific issues out of the discussion.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Great comments as as per usual. I worded this badly but I didn't want to pollute the thread any more than necessary. These two issues are at the crux of my own feelings about deism and are at the heart of the research I conduct.

Thought to me, being the mechanistic person I am, is inextricably linked to definable processes. In animals it is some manner of electrochemical process. However memories are exactly stored (an ongoing pursuit) in a brain we are certain of at least two things: 1) their creation involves a biochemical process and 2) their retention requires ongoing energy supplies. I'll come back to thought later after some more responses come in (if they do) and stick to the second question. My research has some interesting relevance to some of Jared's comments on thought.

The brain (fortunately) isn't a closed system other than in a political sense and can rob from the ecosystem to dump its excess heat and metabolites and get away with it. Nor is our ecosystem closed. If it was evolution couldn't have occurred. But we have that wonderful energy source 93 million miles away to keep pumping the energy we need to retain and build all this wonderful structure. It pays a heavy price for all that but fortunately it has a lot of reserves. So to a large degree with must as always thank the Sun for making us all possible.
The point is that the second law still holds sway. That the debt reverberates to the core of the sun and the space surrounding doesn't change that.

SO let me rephrase my original question: does the creation and organization of memory violate the second law of thermodynamics? If no, could it ever?

If a perfect form of memory transfer and creation existed, would it not have to exist outside of time (a measure of progressive states of entropy) and therefore have to be stateless, i.e., not be associated with procedural memory?

Yes this is a trick...

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

I suppose I should define 'state' a bit for the purpose of this discussion. Here state refers to a unique configuration of information in a program or machine - borrowed from computer science.

'Stateless' is used for a configuration that does not depend upon a preceding configurations (ie, memory).

Using these definitions a thought could potentially occur in a stateless system, however a stateless mind would be unable to create and use accessible memory. It is the ultimate form of amnesia.

In our work we deliberately created a stateless AI engine (to overcome a large number of human cognitive biases) but the engine doesn't work without inputs some of which can be thought of as a form of memories. Being stateless it cannot operate in a closed system as it must have external inputs to drive it. (there are physiological analogs in our own brains).

This work suggests that a stateless mind would not work n a closed system. It would require something beyond it to provide inputs and unless some manner of memory could be created that could feed it the past, I have a hard time imagining such a mind being able to 'grow' or even cognate in any meaningful fashion.

pboyfloyd said...

"..pboy, it is at least possible to OBSERVE the past without ever being IN the past."

Not sure if you're talking about looking far enough away to see a star as it was(as it is to us), or documentary footage of the Second World War maybe?

Jared said...

pboy: both; also through fossils, remains, potsherds, etc.

Pliny, I see where you're going with this, but I'm still not sure what you mean by "their retention requires ongoing energy supplies." Are you referring to the survival of cells and the biochemical maintenance of signaling pathways or the repeated activation of the pathway (because I think the later isn't necessary for a particular state to be considered a "memory").

As for the question, the answers are "no" and "no." The second LAW of thermodynamics is termed as such for a very, very good reason.

As far as the "stateless mind" is concerned, the only possible way for this to exist would entail traveling through a different dimension instead of time as a separate form of chronological movement. In such a case, it would be isolated at one region of three-dimensional space, as well as time, but could freely move within all four while "temporal" linearity would exist in a separate dimension. Such a mind would still be moving through a "temporal-like" dimension and would be changing states in this additional dimension, just not necessarily in our temporal one.

Fantasies aside, stateless memory (i.e. computer memory) can be defined as a specific arrangement of matter or energy, I'm not sure organic memory necessarily exists until the input triggers the process which recalls said memory (because of fidelity loss), but I am certain that computer memory exists without being recalled.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

"Pliny, I see where you're going with this, but I'm still not sure what you mean by "their retention requires ongoing energy supplies." Are you referring to the survival of cells and the biochemical maintenance of signaling pathways or the repeated activation of the pathway (because I think the later isn't necessary for a particular state to be considered a "memory")."
=------------------------------
I'm not sure I know where I'm going with this ;)

The former is more what I was pointing at. I agree with the comment on the 2nd law - it was the basis for the straw man in the first place. With useful cognition by any measure we have requiring energy and memory it stands to reason that cognition, as a procedure or process, involves time and must be bound by the second law.
-----------------------------
As far as the "stateless mind" is concerned, the only possible way for this to exist would entail traveling through a different dimension instead of time as a separate form of chronological movement. In such a case, it would be isolated at one region of three-dimensional space, as well as time, but could freely move within all four while "temporal" linearity would exist in a separate dimension. Such a mind would still be moving through a "temporal-like" dimension and would be changing states in this additional dimension, just not necessarily in our temporal one.
------------------------------
Interesting and useful illustration.
Although separate from our chronology, you illustrate that some frame of time is required within the overall construct of the multidimensional thinker. And that requirement for thought - that it takes time - returns the first mover to having to conform to some frame of reference with respect to time, which carries with it all the complications of creating, sequencing and maintaining states (memory).

Interesting conversation

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Also Mike - Meant to comment - you are a deep well aren't you my friend.
You always bring an interesting perspective to the table

GearHedEd said...

a "stateless mind" would have to re-learn literally everything from moment to moment, and could not ever produce a thought.

Jared said...

Tangent: the idea of transistors that behave similarly to neurons could potentially make this discussion more fun; what's interesting is that the "memory" of the "memristor" (which HP is developing) is a product of the strength of connections rather than of stored binary data.

pboyfloyd said...

I have to admit that I'm not sure what the 'stateless' part of the stateless mind would be. Is it like Brian's Big Brain, by any chance?

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

GHE - pretty much!

Jared - Not so tangential a thought at all since that is similar to the biological model. strength and number of connections is key. Still needs energy to maintain but thought and memory in that model isn't strictly a separate construct.

pboy - no, although I think B's BB suffers from the same limits as my last post for deity's. Stateless in this narrow definition is really a procedure that is temporally flat - ie it exists only in the moment neither using data or results from previous procedures nor strengthening any relationships (learning) or storing any artifacts for future procedures (memory).

The stateless procedure exists only in the now with no sense of past or future.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Major geek moment warning! Stateless procedures are a great help to a decision system - any thoughts as to why?

pboyfloyd said...

I don't mean to seem totally obtuse here(not hard for me, I know), but, okay, I'm thinking of a procedure, like a Pascal routine and a stateless procedure, maybe an orphan procedure, would be cut of in it's own little loop, or just never called by the main program.

Or are you meaning like a program written to the ram which operates as long as the computer is on, then gone when the computer is restarted?

I WAS thinking that a stateless procedure would be paradoxical 'til your last comment.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

pboy - not obtuse at all. We are after all trying to discuss really complex procedures and structures in a couple of sentences which is not my strong suit.

Stateless in this usage is similar to your last statement though the program remains. In this type of stateless design the program does not conduct any kind of sequenced operations - ones that build on prior data, knowledge or memory. (a great many if not most programs fall into this category.) It assesses only data presented to it at a given instant. Time is not a factor since only 'now' data is entered and there is no sense of before or after data. The operation is conducted, generates a result, and if repeated a millisecond later is an entirely new and distinct event unaffected by the preceding one(s).

But what is obvious here is that such a stateless procedure MUST be partnered with some type input stream that does have a state. Otherwise a procedure with no sense of time will not initialize in the first place. It has to be commanded by something with a state (in a program, a user interface, or some automated procedure with state).

Otherwise the stateless program would be a paradox. It would have no way of 'knowing' when it needs to run.

This, I believe, points to the fatal flaw in the notion of any being existing outside of time. Although it is possible to generate thought independent of time (similar to what we do in the lab) such a procedure requires a command structure that exists within a time framework that can feed the stateless mind relevant data upon which to act. What would be the time independent being's framework or control layer?

Jared said...

I think the crux of the issue here is the input of new data which is where "stateless" (processors or memory) becomes "stated."

For this reason, it seems the gaining, utilization, or modification of input information necessitates an alteration the state of one parameter. If no input is necessary (even if such inputs are from feedback mechanisms) for a process, it would seem this would be the ultimate in impotent processors.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Jared I agree. Stateless procedures absent a means of acquiring stated data inputs would be impotent. Since many people posit the existence of beings or a being outside of time, I can't see how such a thing could think in any progressive sense of the word. If it can't exist outside of time then it has limits and must obey natural laws. I don't see how such a thing could, be, just come into being, or evolve.

It's why I think that the notion of a being existing outside of time really can be a question answerable with science.

Jared said...

Well, the notion of existence beyond the constraints of time is something testable, but because of the moving goalposts which religion typically posits and the incredible lengths to which theologians will go to evade the conclusions of methodologically naturalistic tests of their statements, I doubt any such empirically verifiable results will sway any of the religious.

Harry C Pharisee said...

Pliny pliny pliny,

You worded this much better later, and I agree whole-heartedly with Jared's answer.

Pliny: "So let me rephrase my original question: does the creation and organization of memory violate the second law of thermodynamics? If no, could it ever?"

Jared: "As for the question, the answers are "no" and "no." The second LAW of thermodynamics is termed as such for a very, very good reason."

-----

Your stateless machine paradox, however clever, doesn't reasonably disprove the existence of a creator being. Or more to the point isn't a proposition one can use to claim that science can/will be able to prove a negative.

Which you basically state, here...

"It's why I think that the notion of a being existing outside of time really can be a question answerable with science."

I'm not too off base when I interpret this as you meaning that the possibility of a being existing outside of time can be disproven, am I?

pboyfloyd said...

"..a being existing outside of time.."

Is a fantasy. Where would this 'outside of time' BE?

What would this 'being' be made of?

What would one even MEAN by 'existing outside of time'???

Surely we can't say, this is what we dreamed up, circumventing science as fast as we could, by fair means and foul, and we've been boxed into this, this ridiculous scenario, where beings 'live' outside of time.

What a joke.

Seems to me that religion evolves faster than transport at times to stay one ludricous step ahead of a little thing we call reality.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Thanks Harry, I'm not trying to prove a negative, merely to demonstrate that the positive stance (a being existing outside of any framework of time) can be reasonably demonstrated by what we know of science to be extremely, extremely, extremely unlikely ;). I'm not trying to split hairs semantically here as it is very hard to prove a negative as we all know. But I do disagree that such a paradox as described does not create a reasonable level of incredulity to the possibility of such a being. The deist must demonstrate how cognition without time is possible let alone how such an entity could either just 'be', be created, or evolve. Which puts the onus back on them to account for the origin of such a thing other than the 'just has always been', nonstarter.

By invoking philosophical appeals to beings existing out of time, I contend that the deist has crossed the the Epistemological rubicon into areas that are approachable scientifically and therefore which must be scientifically explainable.

I've yet to hear a reasonable explanation of cognition outside of time.

This of course does not disprove the existence of a super being but it does establish limits for it that leave fewer philosophical hiding places for it. And you know how I love philosophy...

Jared said...

Harry, you're mistaken a bit here, this would not be proving "god doesn't exist" but would instead be disproving "thoughtful beings can exist without interaction with a temporal reference frame." It would not disprove the existence of a deity, but it certainly puts a limit on the potency of said deity.

Science cannot prove a negative, but can disprove a positive, the positive in this case is that "a consciousness can exist outside of time."

Whatever logical, theological, or philosophical consequences this may have are not relevant, it's still disproving a positive claim.

Jared said...

Pliny, I think I just said the same thing as you; your post was not there before, but feel free to delete mine now

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Naw, Jared - I won't ever delete what is a far more succinct explanation - as always!

Harry C Pharisee said...

"Science cannot prove a negative, but can disprove a positive, the positive in this case is that "a consciousness can exist outside of time."


Jared,

Thank you. I knew I was missing something, but I gave it a sincere undergrad, overly tired shot :)

Best thing about being wrong... is the opportunity to learn.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Ok let me try a different tack on this approach. Take the example of a perpetual motion machine. Anyone with a basic knowledge of physics knows this is impossible because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. But some people would philosophically counter that we can't say that - all we could say (according to them) is that we haven't found one yet which doesn't disprove that one exists somewhere (forget the math for a second and just play along...).

But there is another way to refute this assertion. Most concentrate on the obvious issue of how one goes about constructing such a thing. And they can argue about it forever. But what if you ask another question instead. Ask, 'how do you stop a perpetual motion machine?'. How do you extract work from a PPM? You can't, in fact a PPM isn't a machine at all - it cannot do work, because work requires energy transfer, which is impossible under the definition of a perpetual motion machine. If work is performed, energy is transferred and therefore lost from the machine. To offset that, the machine would have to have a mechanism to gain additional power to make up for the losses due to work or eventually slow down. Therefore it isn't a PPM in the first place. Since there cannot be a meaningful definition of work without transfer of energy there cannot be a PPM.

And if a PPM could exist, it could not function as a machine and do anything.

The deist encounters a similar problem; how do you imagine a perpetual method of thought that doesn't require time, and energy?

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Sorry Harry, I was blathering while you slipped in a response

pboyfloyd said...

I believe some philosophers are even willing to argue about whether the Sun will come up tomorrow morning.

Maybe they're too involved with the process of learning everyone else's blather about perfect forms, essences, dialectic (what the fuck?) etc.

Theologists just try to imagine that it is ludicrous to make the statement, "God does not exist!", on account of some bullshit wordplay, but I think it was ludricous of Nietche(or whatever) to say, "God is dead."(might as well say, 'Santa is dead'.)

If he was really insinuating that religion was dead, a)never underestimate the gullibility human beings, and b)why not just go right ahead and SAY what he actually was trying to say?

Michael Lockridge said...

This has been interesting and informative. I haven't lurked on purpose, but rather for having nothing to contribute to the argument. Better stated, the direction of the argument has been providing me information, and any contribution I might make could alter the course and I would not become better informed.

As to the value of the information, that is a different matter all together. Believers believe what they believe because they choose to believe it. Why they choose to believe is another matter, a matter most complex.

Religious belief is seldom reached as a consequence of the pursuit of science. More often it would proceed in a scientific individual as a consequence of their life before science, or in spite of science.

Not a lot of deists would attempt to satisfy science with regard to deity. Few deists have or feel compelled to acquire facility in the sciences. Even fewer who might have that facility are interested in "proving God."

For a majority of humans, Science remains a present but little understood monolith, standing near other monoliths such as Politics, History and Religion. The acolytes of the various monoliths might be attended to in a cursory manor, but most just live their little lives taking things as they find them.

Of course, most of them fail to understand even the few fruits they have received from their monolithic sources. Each might well consider their own little collection of fruits as defining reality. I suspect that such is the case all too often.

The points presented here, as I have understood them from my limited perspective, shall give me some very interesting challenges as I contemplate the nature of God and His relationship with His creation.

If I can figure out how to phrase the necessary questions, I shall put the matter before some of the thinking religionists I know. That should prove interesting.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Mike, thanks for your comments.
In my heart I suppose I can be accused of being an accommodationist: I really don't care what someone chooses to believe as long as its personal and doesn't encroach on politics ;). I actually agree with you on religion - it's what people choose to believe. What frosts my glass are those who attempt to use pseudoscience or unsubstantiated logic as a crutch to discount science. That's deceitful and we all know examples of that kind of behavior. Hopefully this exercise shows that science is fundamentally different from other human pursuits and has different expectations.

That you peer into the heavens and see the face of God and I see a magnificent accident doesn't hurt either of us as long as we (as we do here) never feel compelled to force the other to change. I can live with the rest.

Jared said...

Pliny, I don't think that's an accommodationist; as far as I understand it, accommodationism is trying to assure people that science does not conflict with their religion, twisting both religion and science to fit into a hodge-podge bastardization of both. Perhaps the best examples are Mooney, Nisbet, and Olsen. They will generally claim how wonderful at communication they are because they aren't antagonizing towards believers, then turn around and be condescending and antagonistic towards those that take a less fluffy approach. In short, accommodationism is about being a hypocrite. I don't think you're a hypocrite.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Well, thanks Jared. I try not to be. I guess I am too much of a materialist to be very accommodating. And I obviously do feel that science has a lot to tell us about religious claims.

Michael Lockridge said...

Unfortunately, the arena of politics is littered with junk science. It is also littered with junk religion. Just about any form of authority can be called on to sway the vote. Special interests will buy influence for narrow and short term gains. Some will abuse anyone or anything to gain and retain power.

None of us can approach the arena of politics except from the starting point of our own perspective. Hence, scientists or religionists, the background establishing that perspective will be expressed in political actions.

It is unfortunate that political processes cannot overcome fundamental conflicts. Unsatisfactory compromises or outright suppression and oppression seem to be the inevitable outcome.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Littered with junk science...

It is but that is not hard to identify really. Who sponsored the studies, who pays their bills and who stands to gain.

Take the Disco Institute for example. All of their science was an offshoot of the wedge plan. A sinister plan to use marketing to discredit the truth because they didn't like what it implied. Nothing could be more dishonest. That its supporters are 'religious' harms the reputation of the sincere. All of the Disco junk science has been overturned and yet Disco still circulates it and profits from it.

So I don't agree that believers are staying out of science. Many religion-based organizations are deliberately misinforming people using lies and marketing. Believers go to those sites to 'learn' about how science is corrupt and in turmoil, etc. But it's largely lies. These lies affect their perspectives on real science. That is criminal in my opinion.

That's mobilizing people like myself to actively address these despicable tactics. It's taking people who basically say 'live and let live' and making us active enemies since we see only the negative influences of religion on science, politics, and education.

Sad to say, but right now Mike, you are one of a handful of positive role models for spirituality that I encounter.

pboyfloyd said...

"For a majority of humans, Science remains a present but little understood monolith, standing near other monoliths such as Politics, History and Religion. The acolytes of the various monoliths might be attended to in a cursory manor, but most just live their little lives taking things as they find them."

I think that you are absolutely right that people think that.

I also think that the majority of people are wrong.

Science, politics, religion and history, all monolithic pillars of 'knowledge'? Pfft.

Politics, religion and history may all stand against science as 'The social sciences' in some folks minds, but I think that it's a joke to imagine they're not just blather in comparison.

For example, we might elect people, under the mistaken principle that there are Four Pillars of Knowledge(is it?), and they may try to change what teachers teach in science class, taking into account historical, religious and political perspectives, but that is NEVER going to turn out well, is it?

pboyfloyd said...

If scientists start working on the 'principle' of 'it's it wonderful, it's God's will, you know.', or that there's on point in searching for facts because 'God might intervene any time, at any level or on any scale he desires', there'd be no point in searching for cures or new drugs and such, it'd be back to 'it's all in God's hands' kind of thing.

I think that scientists are better off working on the principle that 'God never fucks with us, for good or bad.'.

You might counter with, 'Deism, why not?', but where Deists make headway, that's just encouraging the Theists, isn't it?

Harry C Pharisee said...

"I believe some philosophers are even willing to argue about whether the Sun will come up tomorrow morning."

And how do you know it will? Hmmm? Hmmm?

;-)

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

And how do you know it will? Hmmm? Hmmm?
--------------------------
I constantly review neutrino emissions from the sun and compare it to tables of all the universe's records on stars that are about to go off main sequence.

Jared said...

And how do you know it will? Hmmm? Hmmm?
--------------------------

Angular momentum (Earth will keep rotating) and solar composition (means the nuclear fusion will keep running)

No need to monitor neutrinos when already established laws of physics pretty much guarantee it.

pboyfloyd said...

I know the Sun will come up tomorrow for two reasons.

The first being that if the Sun doesn't NOT rise tomorrow, it's not tomorrow.

The second being the it's ALWAYS rising 'somewhere' all the time, on account of the 'rising' is just phenomenological for the Earth rotating us in that direction and all that angular momentum is NOT going to dissipate overnight under any circumstance whatsoever. (a black hole is not about to affect us as quickly as 'overnight', they don't appear out of CrackerJack boxes you know)

For similar reasons, the Sun is not about to blink out, even if it did, it'd still 'rise in the sky' due to the angular momentum of the Earth.

pboyfloyd said...

Sorry, didn't intend to put that double negative. Changed it to a STRONG negative and forgot to remove the diminutive negative.

Michael Lockridge said...

Hmmm. A black hole as a Cracker Jack prize. That is an interesting story idea. I think I will add that to my bag of story seeds. I wonder what will sprout?

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Jared, I know the earth will continue to rotate but the neutrinos help me decide whether my sunscreen needs to be SPF 45 or SPF 1,000,000 ;)

pboyfloyd said...

Quick! Looks like this thread is going into cardiac arrest!

Gimme an I.V. of D5W, STAT!

Defribulator charging.

CLEAR! (whoomph! Body of post convulses as if defribulation was, in fact, electro-shock therapy!)

Pulse is normal, pressure is 140 over 80.

Phew!

Another comment, to save a potentially great post from an untimely demise.

Thanks for all your prayers, and 'yes yes', God did it, God did it.

(A marine is seen marching up in the background intent on kicking the Emergency Technician in the face to demonstrate God's ire at the ERTs' sarcasm as we realize that we've slipped into a Chick Tract scene ... fade to black)

pboyfloyd said...

"Can you bring this post back from almost certain death, Bones?"

"I'm a doctor, not a slot machine.", Bones whines, a little too enigmatically.

"Yee hafta gi' it a go!", Scotty interjects, as Scotty is wont to do.

"I'll do my best!", Bones parrots, he's almost tired of this line, "But I can't promise anything."

As everyone rolls their eyes at this, Bones proceeds to point a squeeze toy at the comment and tweek it mercilessly.

"Squeeky, squeeky, squeeky.", Scotty absently mindedly mocks. It's becoming obvious to all that he's three sheets to the wind.

"There's that's done it!", Bones solenmly declares, "I've SAVED it, this post is saved, for another day, by our inane banter and bad acting!"

No one but the camera notices the United States Marine marching up to kick Bones in the head for neglecting to give GOD credit, as we slip quietly and pointlessly into a Chick Tract scenario..

.. fade to black.

pboyfloyd said...

"Can you bring this post back from almost certain death, Bones?"

"I'm a doctor, not a slot machine.", Bones whines, a little too enigmatically.

"Yee hafta gi' it a go!", Scotty interjects, as Scotty is wont to do.

"I'll do my best!", Bones parrots, he's almost tired of this line, "But I can't promise anything."

As everyone rolls their eyes at this, Bones proceeds to point a squeeze toy at the comment and tweek it mercilessly.

"Squeeky, squeeky, squeeky.", Scotty absently mindedly mocks. It's becoming obvious to all that he's three sheets to the wind.

"There's that's done it!", Bones solenmly declares, "I've SAVED it, this post is saved, for another day, by our inane banter and bad acting!"

No one but the camera notices the United States Marine marching up to kick Bones in the head for neglecting to give GOD credit, as we slip quietly and pointlessly into a Chick Tract scenario..

.. fade to black.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Well pboy after getting two examples of this entry all I can do is quote good Mr Scott - "Cap'n, I dunno if she can take much more..."

pboyfloyd said...

Well, it 'would' have filled ur post up with comments if I'd simply kept pasting that last one into this comment area.


LOL, 150 copies of Capn. Kirk, Chief Engineer Scott and Dr. McCoy, all determined add just the one more comment to this post.

It's BRILLIANT! (not)

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

at least on this thread we aren't told that argument and semantics are compelling proofs and disbelief in evolution isn't irrational ;)

Harvey said...

It seems unlikely that Eric (the major perpetrator of "argument and semantics are compelling proofs and disbelief in evolution isn't irrational") will take notice of this thread, inasmuch as many of the posters here seem more than able to joust with him without falling for his obfuscations. I notice that on Brian's blog, he seems to fade in and out whenever he sees that most of us aren't buying his overwhelming and brilliant logic.

Jared said...

Evolution denial is a rather strange condition. It often is seen associated with religiosity and a complete lack of biological knowledge. It is spread by intentionally exposing the youth to misinformation BEFORE they have the tools to see through the deception.

Hypothesis: the people that deny evolution are the same people that want to decrease funding for public schools; knowing this, the hypothesis is that it is a conscious attempt to deprive the youth of the tools necessary to discover that they are being lied to.

Sorry if the wording is a bit choppy, I'm on my phone.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Harvey, I have to admit that I have stopped commenting on those discussions because there seems to be no point. Accepting the validity of simple argument strings and feelings as opposed to scientific lines of inquiry is too far afield for me to find common ground.

Jared - I absolutely agree with what you said. Just look at the Disco Institute. They are a classic example of deliberately misrepresenting science in order to control the public debate. It's why the comment on Ste B's blog about rejecting evolution not being irrational really frosted me. Of all of our science one would be hard pressed to find something so wonderfully supported by so much evidence from so many fields (some not existing in Darwin' time)and so accurately predictive as the theory of evolution. The weight of evidence is so much greater than the semantic arguments that I see on that blog, that I feel like I must belong to another species.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Also Jared, when you come up for posting air I have a request! My last post had a dismally superficial and rambling drop of discussion about abiogenesis merely to help people understand that it isn't crazy talk to speak of such things and that science can point to reasonable hypotheses about how it could happen. You would do it proper justice and help us all learn about a fascinating subject. Just a thought.

Michael Lockridge said...

It sounds like this Discovery Institute is functioning from a framework of thinking that is more political/legal in nature than scientific. I know nothing about them, really, but your description sounds like a political/legal entity arguing from a religious perspective. Or, in some cases religionists using a political/legal framework of argument to support their beliefs.

Essentially, it looks like you are not even playing the same game, even though some game terms are seemingly similar. Additionally, the goal in the separate games is not the same.

Obviously, if everyone is not playing the same game, a win cannot truly be achieved.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Right about that Mike, Disco Institute is but one of many of these new PAC entities that pump money and disinformation into the political and public arena. It's getting worse now with the recent Supreme Court ruling that basically deregulated political contributions under the guise of free speech. It frosts me that a number of our State initiatives are being opposed by out of state money using these Committee for this or concerned citizens for that, that is nothing but a smoke screen for influence peddling. Same with a lot of the out of state groups that fought California's measure 8 in the last election. Everyone touts state's rights right up the moment they don't like what their neighbors are considering.

We need a new word other than hypocrisy. That one just works for individuals.

Jared said...

Haha, I have a number of posts in gestation that just aren't ready for life outside of the womb that is "draft." That happens to be one of them. I'll bump it up in the priorities list a bit.

What's fascinating about abiogenesis is that the very conditions necessary for it to occur are precisely the conditions we do not have on this planet anymore. I rather like the RNA world and Gold's hypotheses, however, there are quite a number of very plausible mechanisms. The very interesting thing is that multiple "origin events" may have occurred, but only one (probably?) remains to this day. Viruses are potentially an remnant if the RNA world hypothesis is correct (Gold's and the RNA world could both be correct, since they are not mutually exclusive).

Anyway, enough rambling, I'll spoil my later post.

As far as the current deregulation of PACs is concerned, I think it should be illegal to spend money from corporations on advertisements three months before any election, in addition to that, any entity which has donated over $20,000 to a particular organization must be disclosed on any advertisements that organization buys.
Just my two pence.

This message sent via semaphore.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Jared, I think one of the points you made is one that many people do not realize. DNA world as we know it today is probably just the victor through selection of a host of separate origin events that lost out in the first 500 million to a billion years of life on earth. Some of the elements of the losers may not have been totally lost but merely co-opted. It is amazing stuff.

Jared said...

I would argue it's still an RNA world for the following reasons:

viruses: mostly RNA
proteins: synthesized from RNAs
snRNP: involved in splicing
rRNA: production of proteins
RNAi: regulation of protein synthesis
snRNA: another regulatory mechanism
snoRNA: yet another type of regulation
and the list goes on and on and on and...

It is very much still an RNA world, It's just that the component important for evolution of macroscopic life is the hereditary components in these organisms: DNA.

This takes me all the way back to the idea of time and procedural development:
DNA just exists, it can be modified by RNA and proteins to exist in a different state, but itself acts as nothing more than memory [short term (epigenetic modification) and long term (mutation)]. "Life" is the procedural existence of this memory and is influenced by the interaction of inputs with this memory.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

well that's true. DNA sits in its high castle while RNA does all the work.

The link back to the time and process loop is a nice closure.

pboyfloyd said...

Don't know if our token Christian, Mike, is still with us here, but I was wondering if he had put any thought into the idea that TRUE BELIEF is clouding his judgement when it comes to questions such as, "Can God live outside of time?"

You must have noticed the 'split' in the GOP, between the politicians and the TRUE BELIEVERS?

Isn't it obvious that the only thing different between the usual GOPer and the Tea Partier, is that the Tea Partier is a TRUE BELIEVER?

Karl Rove, games player extraordinaire, Rush baby, games player, Beck, games player.

But Sarah Palin, TRUE BELIEVER! Sharon Angle, TRUE BELIEVER! Rand Paul, TRUE BELIEVER!

I could be wrong here, of course. It could well be that I've got someone in the wrong camp.

If you, Mike are a TRUE BELIEVER, you'll notice how disappointed you are that abortion is STILL legal after all these election cycles. You'll notice that taxes are STILL TOO HIGH! You'll notice that gays are STILL inching towards acceptance by society etc. etc.

If you're a gamesplayer(not in a bad way, in the sense that politics IS one of the lifegames that we play), you'll be feeling a little queasy about how this is turning out!

What do you say Mike, which are you, gamesplayer or TRUE BELIEVER???

Michael Lockridge said...

I am not exactly sure what you are talking about, Pboy. True believer? What might that actually be? I don't associate true belief with the GOP, Tea Party or any other political association.

My political party is Libertarian. I generally vote a Libertarian ticket. In the last election I voted for Obama in the hope that he would more quickly end these stupid wars. That hope was frustrated, unfortunately. I will return to a straight Libertarian vote in the future.

Not that I have hope for Libertarians gaining much actual power and influence. It simply gives me a way to thumb my nose at a broken system. That is my game, for now.

I don't think prohibition works in any way. That would include abortion. Though I would counsel alternatives to abortions, to prohibit them is to simply move the practice underground.

Prohibition builds criminal empires, and places the relative safety of people at risk. Better to return the freedom of choice to the individual. Also, the responsibility for all consequences of choice.

I don't think taxes are all that high, really. I think the money is largely mismanaged and poorly utilized, and the hidden taxation is dishonest and wrong. I have some thoughts on reform, but I have no idea if my reform ideas could possibly be viable.

As to gays, it is not a lifestyle I would choose or recommend. The degree to which it is a choice, of course, is in constant contention. I believe that all of our actions, and most of our thoughts, are the consequences of our choices. Therefore, I hold that gay is a choice.

I do not really understand the prejudice against gays. An argument can be made for homosexuality being a sin. Why that particular sin is singled out for such hatred I do not really understand. Disobedience to parents is more clearly delineated as a sin, and I don't see similar hatred directed toward rebellious youths.

Since I don't think marriage should be managed by government, gay marriage would be moot as a political issue. Get the government out of the marriage business. Allow people to form the associations they choose without interference.

For the most part, I don't see how someone else's sexuality is of any importance to me. I have established my own sexual alliance, which is exclusive in nature. Therefore, the sexuality of other people just doesn't matter.

I believe in individuals, individuality and freedom. Ultimately, we each meet God individually. We stand before God naked and alone. Our affiliations, associations and what other people might have said or thought will count for nothing at that time.

Yes, it will be a moment of judgement. My only declaration will not be a defense. I have no defense. My declaration will be that I accept God's gift of grace through His son, Jesus Christ.

In my life I hope to display that grace wherever I can.

If that makes me a TRUE BELIEVER, then that is what I am.

Michael Lockridge said...

I am not exactly sure what you are talking about, Pboy. True believer? What might that actually be? I don't associate true belief with the GOP, Tea Party or any other political association.

My political party is Libertarian. I generally vote a Libertarian ticket. In the last election I voted for Obama in the hope that he would more quickly end these stupid wars. That hope was frustrated, unfortunately. I will return to a straight Libertarian vote in the future.

Not that I have hope for Libertarians gaining much actual power and influence. It simply gives me a way to thumb my nose at a broken system. That is my game, for now.

I don't think prohibition works in any way. That would include abortion. Though I would counsel alternatives to abortions, to prohibit them is to simply move the practice underground.

Prohibition builds criminal empires, and places the relative safety of people at risk. Better to return the freedom of choice to the individual. Also, the responsibility for all consequences of choice.

I don't think taxes are all that high, really. I think the money is largely mismanaged and poorly utilized, and the hidden taxation is dishonest and wrong. I have some thoughts on reform, but I have no idea if my reform ideas could possibly be viable.

As to gays, it is not a lifestyle I would choose or recommend. The degree to which it is a choice, of course, is in constant contention. I believe that all of our actions, and most of our thoughts, are the consequences of our choices. Therefore, I hold that gay is a choice.

Michael Lockridge said...

I do not really understand the prejudice against gays. An argument can be made for homosexuality being a sin. Why that particular sin is singled out for such hatred I do not really understand. Disobedience to parents is more clearly delineated as a sin, and I don't see similar hatred directed toward rebellious youths.

Since I don't think marriage should be managed by government, gay marriage would be moot as a political issue. Get the government out of the marriage business. Allow people to form the associations they choose without interference.

For the most part, I don't see how someone else's sexuality is of any importance to me. I have established my own sexual alliance, which is exclusive in nature. Therefore, the sexuality of other people just doesn't matter.

I believe in individuals, individuality and freedom. Ultimately, we each meet God individually. We stand before God naked and alone. Our affiliations, associations and what other people might have said or thought will count for nothing at that time.

Yes, it will be a moment of judgement. My only declaration will not be a defense. I have no defense. My declaration will be that I accept God's gift of grace through His son, Jesus Christ.

In my life I hope to display that grace wherever I can.

If that makes me a TRUE BELIEVER, then that is what I am.

pboyfloyd said...

I'm sorry Mike. I didn't mean to have you list your opinions on the Tea Party's platform, if that's what that is.

I was pointing out the difference between regular GOP and the Tea Party.

I'm saying that GOP candidates have used these issues to gain power and back-burnered them A.S.A.P. as part of the hopefully general trend towards the right.

Up 'til now, the right have been content to strip government of the power to interfere with corporations and back-pedal on the tax issue when called for.

But Bush went with the ideology all the way down the line, to the point where the country was going in the toilet and all he could truthfully say was that he, personally, wasn't an economist.

Bush was a TRUE believer, while Reagan, or at least Reagan's Administration, were willing to back-pedal, you see??


But this is politics, that I was simply using for purposes of demonstrating the difference between TRUE believer and gamesplayer to show the sense in which I was using them.

I don't even care if you think you're a gamesplayer or a TRUE believer anymore, it doesn't matter.

Of course you're a libertarian, of course you are. You simply want the USA to follow in the footsteps of all the great libertarian societies and governments(or lack thereof).

I'll give you an extensive list of them here:-

1) there aren't any.
2) see 1)

Michael Lockridge said...

I recognize that Libertarianism is largely a pipe dream, at best. However, the existing parties of power are no dream at all. It is my hope that the idea of individual liberty can be kept alive in spite of the nature of government.

People who are by nature regulators seek to regulate everything. People who are by nature enforcers love the regulators, for with increasing regulation they have more to enforce.

The timid like the illusion of security the regulators and enforcers create to gain compliance. Opportunists like the complexity of over-regulation because complexity provides lots of places to hide nefarious activities.

Those who value their liberty over the illusion of security chafe at over-regulation. I just don't want to see helmet laws expanded to cover such activities as showering and walking.

I am probably delusional, but I still tend to believe that an environment of freedom is good for humans. There may be no examples of viable libertarian cultures, but examples of repression are abundant.

pboyfloyd said...

I see.

We really need more folk, who look at the system as it is and imagine it's all wrong, and to prove it, vote for the very people who epitomize EXACTLY what they see is wrong with it.

This 'lesser of two evils' crap, the one that seems to be wanting to impose the least control, seems to me to be the one which is willing to impose the most control ON the individual, unless, by 'individual', you simply mean, 'man of means' and discard the poor, old and sick as 'the herd'.

Your freedom stops where it interferes with someone elses, so there's no way that an individual can be totally free to do anything they want, but it seems to me that the right really do imagine that a wealthy person ought to be allowed to be able to get away with, you know, one or two murders, if it's just of some nobody or other.