Archive for the category “blog rants”

Rationally Speaking podcast: The ‘isms’ Episode

More of my blathering, today, where else, but in a reply to a blog post!!

The fundamental behaviors are what science can deal with, but the fundamental nature – the why and how – may easily be unkowable. I completely agree with you, Hector M., and that knowing is subject to our ability to mentally configure the objective observations, and our subjective knowledge is severely constrained by our experience of living in a purely cause and effect, macroscopic, environment.

I now see myself as a subjective awareness, and my sensory input and movements as interfaces to objective reality. My reality exists solely in my head, and my understanding of what is going on is what is ‘real’. How well my thoughts and understandings, and abstract creating and planning, can only be tested against ‘objective’, or ‘outside of self’, reality subject to my subjective values being satisfied. I strongly believe that our understanding is fundamentally limited to the nature, or level of nature, of our local macroscopic physical ‘laws’ of nature that shaped us, and we can affect in reverse. We are a product of a fundamentally limited slice of the over-all nature of our universe.

I can’t remember, maybe it was von Neuman, who replied, when asked by one of his students Felix T. Smith, “I’m afraid I don’t understand the method of characteristics.” Yes, it was, and he replied, “Young man, in mathematics you don’t understand things. You just get used to them.” Now that I read John von Neumann’s quotations, math seems to be a beautiful analogy to our attempts and knowing reality.

We seem to be limited to Bayesion modelling and selection (Bayesian Classification and Regression with High Dimensional Features ) in order to approximated the behavior of reality, one that is almost entirely probabilistic in nature, and thus, our knowledge of objective reality can never be any greater than probabilistic. 


I have to start recording my thoughts I post elsewhere

I seem to be coming up with all sorts of thinking and ways of expressing my disagreement with the philosophical idea that free will is highly unlikely, if not impossible, and is only a self perceived illusion.
At the Mind Hacks blog, one such discussion is taking place. I responded to a particularly dogmatic ‘free will denialist’ thus:

Posted January Posted January 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

Mason Kelsey said:

Once again, any first year philosophy undergraduate knows you cannot prove a negative, that is you cannot prove something doesn’t exist, if it doesn’t exist.

Wrong. Fail. You’re saying that I cannot prove that, for instance, that our eyes don’t emit light if they don’t emit light? Or because you can’t prove our thoughts don’t exist, therefore they don’t exist?

You are nothing but a fallacy. You equate generalities with specifics. You are saying that if something doesn’t exist, it can’t be proved so.

Some negatives are unprovable, and from that you get all negatives are unprovable.

Mason Kelsey also said:

Requiring a complete understanding of consciousness in order to debunk free will is like requiring a chemist to have a complete understanding of molecular orbital theory in order to debunk phlogiston.

But you do need and understanding of the chemistry – These are often divided into bonding orbitals, anti-bonding orbitals, and non-bonding orbitals. A molecular orbital is merely a Schrödinger orbital that includes several, but often only two nuclei. If this orbital is of type in which the electron(s) in the orbital have a higher probability of being between nuclei than elsewhere, the orbital will be a bonding orbita – to show how burning occurs, and you do indeed need quantum mechanics to calculate why these reactions are exothermic.

To restate your analogy correctly, you actually do have to understand the intermediary process between air + fuel, and combustion. You have to have precise measurements of the originating constituents, then the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat and conversion of chemical species, and then a minutely detailed analysis of the products.

All you have, Brian, as a starting principle, is a general macroscopic approximation of the brain, and you have zero measurement or even an wild guess as to the resulting product, cognition.

Our mind is completely beyond explanation given your general parameters, yet you are 100% confident that an apparent property(free will) of the product(mind) is inconsistent.

I got news for you: the product itself(mind) is inconsistent with your starting conditions, so unless you have the slightest idea, or even then wildest and most capricious guess, as to what our mind is, then you can hardly claim to know that part of the product(mind) is an invalid illusion(e.g. that free will is false).

Tell me where this illusion is, what is its functionality and purpose?

Why is it necessary? I mean, your whole process of step by step transformation, from physically describable system(brain) -> unknown phenomenal manifestation(mind), breaks down/fails. You don’t know what our mind is, let alone if it is an artifact or not.

You are assuming an entirely presumptuous position by positing a direct cause-effect relationship when you don’t know what the effect is, certainly not in the same manner as your causative agent.

Your theory is inconsistent because you cannot equivalently describe both sides of the equation.

You see, this is a proper analogy: 1 + 1(brain) = մեկ գումարած մեկ(mind). The product is gibberish in terms of the initial statement – a mathematical relationship.

If your complete understanding of reality can be described with just english and math (and that’s not far from the truth), then you don’t know if ‘մեկ գումարած մեկ’ makes sense, let alone if it is true or not.

I leave it you to find out if it is true, but keep in mind you know that both sides of the equations are similar in ways that our physical brains and our awareness of cognition are not. Basically, if instead of using ‘մեկ գումարած մեկ’ for the answer, and instead tried to explain what I am seeing inside my head for an answer(the color reddish ultraviolet, combined with a strange smell), that would be more completely analogous with your physics leading to phenomena description of the cause and effect relationship between our brains and our cognitive process.

Here’s a thought: What if there is no Higgs particle? That would mean that the Standard Model(key word: model) of reality/nature is at least badly incorrect, if not completely wrong.
And then we’ll revisit the ‘brain/illusion of will’ duality you expound.

I don’t have the patience to go through every incongruency you express, so let’s just stick with one simple question: what are qualia composed of?

Everything else is a red herring, a false equivalence, bullshit

>Continuing saga of sick fuck propaganda


At Huffington Post:
Al Qaeda Releases 9/11 Anniversary Video: “You Gave Us Every Legitimacy And Every Opportunity To Continue Fighting You”…

Osama bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, urged Muslims to intensify their resistance against the U.S. and warned of new terror strikes in a video aired by CNN early Monday on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Al-Zawahri said the Persian Gulf and Israel would be al-Qaida’s next targets.

The film was the latest in a flurry of al-Qaida videos released ahead of the anniversary. But unlike the others, it appeared to be new with references to Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon this summer and the capture of Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

You are only as good as your last performance.
Perhaps the point was made, successful beyond all wildest fantasy, and further acts inside the U.S. would just be trivial and redundant?

People can only be held hostage by fear so much. Maybe an adequate level has been reached?

I mean, can the reaction by the US: violating constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of its citizens,
violating internationally guaranteed rights of others,
and more importantly, abject humiliation in most of the rest of the worlds eyes at BushCo’s pathetic behaviors and transparent lying.

US neo-con, WHIG, GOP, christian fundamentalists, etc., have been exposed as impotent and laughable.

Once you’ve said “Gotcha, motherfuckers” to some motherfucker you’ve humiliated, well, now what?

Bankrupt your ass by getting you to waste your bank account tossing multi-million dollar buckshot around like confetti?

No, a significantly bigger payoff could not be had, the humiliation and fear more complete, by random attacks.

You trolls so sure that the ‘terrists’ can’t perform when the time comes? (LOL, impotence, perform, comes)

I mean, I’m not in the least convinced this is what’s going on, but there is no reliable way to tell otherwise, is there?

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