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Re: [bafuture] Netscape is helping to spread longevity memes

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  • Kennita Watson
    ... Then what we are you talking about? ... You have clearly not been reading the news I ve been reading. The Medscape Neurology Medpulse sends out
    Message 1 of 21 , Mar 11, 2004
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      On Thursday, Mar 11, 2004, at 12:34 US/Pacific, Joschka Fisher wrote:

      > Well, yea..Kennita...we all want to live forever
      > but...
      ...
      > I'd prefer a short life!

      Then what "we" are you talking about?

      > there are those things like Senility ( Churchill
      > )Nursing homes since you can't afford the medical care
      > you need anymore..and of course Cancer, which now
      > Doctors are
      > beginning to think..."We can't cure cancer...we can
      > only manage it, as you live longer."

      You have clearly not been reading the news I've been reading.
      The Medscape Neurology Medpulse sends out information
      weekly on advances towards curing/preventing Alzheimer's
      Disease (that is, senility) and doing other kinds of
      neuroprotection and neuroenhancement. The Nanogirl News
      includes information on advances in biomedical engineering,
      including targeting cancer (what kind of Luddite pessimist
      "Doctors" are you listening to -- yeesh?!). And when your
      mind stays sharp and your body stays healthy, the medical
      care won't be a problem -- at least if you don't piss away
      all your money.

      http://www.medscape.com
      http://www.medscape.com/neurologyhome
      http://www.nanogirl.com/
      http://www.nanoindustries.com/emaillist.html

      It's only 2004! The 21st Century has just begun! The 20th
      Century saw the birth of flight, the birth of spaceflight,
      the elimination of smallpox, a cure for polio, the first
      heart transplant, the transistor, a computer that beat a
      grand master at chess... I could go on and on. And progress
      is accelerating. The only sensible response to "It's not
      possible ..." is "... yet!"

      Live long and prosper,
      Kennita
      --
      Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
      none but ourselves can free our minds.
      -- Bob Marley, "Redemption Song"
    • Joschka Fisher
      Joschka Fischer: Hmmm The Angst of Kenita Did I hit a nerve? Obviously not a cancer cell, eh? This is the short response...I ve got to dig up some articles.
      Message 2 of 21 , Mar 11, 2004
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        Joschka Fischer:

        Hmmm "The Angst of Kenita" Did I hit a nerve?
        Obviously not a cancer cell, eh?

        This is the short response...I've got to dig up some
        articles.

        a) The "irresponsible luddite" that didn't suggest but
        said that "physicians are now viewing cancer as
        something that has to be managed vs cured." was the
        New York Times about 1-2 months ago reagarding
        Mammography, I think.

        The understanding that with longer life is the
        inevitable cancers. Moreover they were talking about
        the device that detects cancers that you body might
        well over come but since they're detected it starts an
        immediate alarm. You're getting cancer cells right
        now but your body is excising them. It's when this
        "balance" unhinges that things get deadly.


        Cancer is no luddite either. It evolves!!!
        Note the author forthwith doesn't talk about curing
        but prevention:
        http://www.medicine-book.com/Cancer_The_Evolutionary_Legacy_0192628348.html

        Now I have to fish for these since NYT charges for
        +30days in the archive but you might look into the
        following cancer strategy Angiogenesis:
        http://www.radio.cbc.ca/programs/quirks/archives/97-98/apr498.htm


        ...as for nanotech and cancer? Well I'll look at your
        sources and see but "Don't hold-out on the
        chemotherapy", Skepticism on nanotech
        http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/technology/AP-Nanotech-Boosters.html



        As for "pissing away your loot"...well you don't even
        have to do that and still you can't afford the
        treatment. It works it way up the hierarchy as medical
        costs rise. 1st Medicare, and since less and less
        people are working in the US and less and less
        companies can afford medical coverage...you may be on
        this link's list with the rest of us.
        http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/11/business/11cancer.html

        Bon Appetite (That was to you..not the cancer cells"

        Joschka Fischer

        --- Kennita Watson <kennita@...> a écrit : >
        > On Thursday, Mar 11, 2004, at 12:34 US/Pacific,
        > Joschka Fisher wrote:
        >
        > > Well, yea..Kennita...we all want to live forever
        > > but...
        > ...
        > > I'd prefer a short life!
        >
        > Then what "we" are you talking about?
        >
        > > there are those things like Senility ( Churchill
        > > )Nursing homes since you can't afford the medical
        > care
        > > you need anymore..and of course Cancer, which now
        > > Doctors are
        > > beginning to think..."We can't cure cancer...we
        > can
        > > only manage it, as you live longer."
        >
        > You have clearly not been reading the news I've been
        > reading.
        > The Medscape Neurology Medpulse sends out
        > information
        > weekly on advances towards curing/preventing
        > Alzheimer's
        > Disease (that is, senility) and doing other kinds of
        > neuroprotection and neuroenhancement. The Nanogirl
        > News
        > includes information on advances in biomedical
        > engineering,
        > including targeting cancer (what kind of Luddite
        > pessimist
        > "Doctors" are you listening to -- yeesh?!). And
        > when your
        > mind stays sharp and your body stays healthy, the
        > medical
        > care won't be a problem -- at least if you don't
        > piss away
        > all your money.
        >
        > http://www.medscape.com
        > http://www.medscape.com/neurologyhome
        > http://www.nanogirl.com/
        > http://www.nanoindustries.com/emaillist.html
        >
        > It's only 2004! The 21st Century has just begun!
        > The 20th
        > Century saw the birth of flight, the birth of
        > spaceflight,
        > the elimination of smallpox, a cure for polio, the
        > first
        > heart transplant, the transistor, a computer that
        > beat a
        > grand master at chess... I could go on and on. And
        > progress
        > is accelerating. The only sensible response to
        > "It's not
        > possible ..." is "... yet!"
        >
        > Live long and prosper,
        > Kennita
        > --
        > Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
        > none but ourselves can free our minds.
        > -- Bob Marley, "Redemption Song"
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        > bafuture-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >
        >






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      • Mark
        ... I somehow recently surf-stumbled onto my local library s www page, (in my case: http://www.burlingame.org/library/links.htm ) and noticed they had a: Full
        Message 3 of 21 , Mar 12, 2004
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          At 6:53 AM +0100 3/12/04, Joschka Fisher wrote:
          >Now I have to fish for these since NYT charges for
          >+30days in the archive but you might look into the
          >following cancer strategy Angiogenesis:
          ><http://www.radio.cbc.ca/programs/quirks/archives/97-98/apr498.htm>http://www.radio.cbc.ca/programs/quirks/archives/97-98/apr498.htm

          I somehow recently surf-stumbled onto my local library's www page,
          (in my case: http://www.burlingame.org/library/links.htm )
          and noticed they had a:
          "Full Text Newspapers: Full text newspaper articles including the
          New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner and
          others."
          link. They do mention:
          "You will need your library card number to access these databases."

          So, for you fellow info junkies hunting for old article text, this
          might be a quick and dirty and cheap (compared to the lexus/nexus
          blackmail) way to get old articles, other than hunting for copyright
          violations via google.

          (Ever absolutely know that something you want to find exists on the
          WWW somewhere, but no matter how hard you try, you can't seem to get
          the right keyword/search engine combo to dig it up? Maddening, isn't
          it?)


          Mark L.

          ps - I've been on this list for about a month now, and I must say I
          am very happy to have discovered it. I didn't know I was a
          'futurist' - or rather, I didn't know there was a term to one of my
          addictions... I mean, passions - and a enabling/support group - I
          mean, organized cyber-community.

          It takes me back - I first perused an online text newsgroup in 1989 -
          if you can imagine. The superinfo highway was a dusty, academic dirt
          path back then. It was a bit to disorganized for my tastes at the
          time, so I didn't bother with newgroups again until around 1992.
          Watching the web evolve from academic playground to pop culture has
          been a mindtrip.

          And if I ever want to torture myself with regret - imagine if you
          will, around that time, about 94-95ish, after mosaic was getting big,
          I knew the web was the next Big Thing - so I wanted to start
          registering a bunch of domain names, but being a penniless post
          graduated starving-ex-student working part time doing neuroscience
          research while trying to incubate a couple of infant high-tech
          corporate start-ups -(brain breath here)- made it difficult,
          especially since the propaganda I was told back then was: 'If you
          don't quickly, actively, practically, and visibly -use- the domain
          you register, we'll take it back from you.' This was probably not
          entirely true, but I never found out. But that, along with not
          having easy, cheap access to non-academic name and www servers was
          enough to stymie me.

          But I digress - this group has the best noise-to-signal ratio I've
          read since joining a few newsgroups in the early nineties, when it
          was all academicians and programmers. Both fool-spam and
          commerce-spam free. A wondrous thing, that is. Hope it stays that
          way 'till Singularity - knock on fractal wood desktop pic.




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Joschka Fisher
          ... Also...senility ( Physiological senility ) and Alzheimers are NOT the same thing!! http://www.csa.com/hottopics/alzheimers/97biblio11.html What s
          Message 4 of 21 , Mar 12, 2004
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            --- Kennita Watson <kennita@...> a écrit : >

            Also...senility ( Physiological senility ) and
            Alzheimers are NOT the same thing!!

            http://www.csa.com/hottopics/alzheimers/97biblio11.html



            What's more...some of the best neuroprotective,
            neuroenhancements were non-drug, practical and
            outlined in the book " The 7 Sins of Memory" along
            with Mark Finnern's posting about "Juggling and the
            Brain"
            ...of course, like any exercise...'if practiced
            regularly!' Hell after a good 3 months you might
            remember what some politician just lied about: chapter
            and verse!

            ...or haven't you ever wondered why a certain black
            right-handed homeless guy eats with chopsticks, with
            his left hand? :)

            (Hint...that's one of the techniques outlined by
            Chairman of Harvard Med School Psychology Dept in one
            of his earlier books".

            He was interested why some nursing home residents like
            a Chief Nurse, a former judge and a fighter pilot -
            people of active mental lives - developed Senility (
            not Alzheimers )?

            I'll dig that book up ( 10 years ago ) as well.


            Also note: Araliacea root (Ginseng) has been used with
            RNA to reverse senility in old patients by the
            Russians ( paper cited 1988 ) and if you can handle or
            translate Japanese (perhaps google browser): has been
            used in a very effective regimen ( non drug ) against
            Tuberculosis ( granted not a mental disease!) at U of
            Tokyo.(Circa 1988-9.

            In the mean time...try looking at and reversing all
            the letters in a sentence in your mind... No paper
            please! It gets to be fun after a while!

            ..or speaking to 2 or more people in two or more
            different languages on 2 or more different subjects;
            simultaneously.

            ..or instead of that Chromosome-breaking and cancer
            suspect known as a cup of coffee..just count backwards
            from 1000 subtracting odd and uncomfortable numbers!
            Wakes ya right up!

            joschka fischer
            -----------------

            Everything
            Everything gives you cancer
            Everything
            Everything gives you cancer
            There’s no cure, there’s no answer
            Everything gives you cancer

            Don’t touch that dial
            Don’t try to smile
            Just take this pill
            It’s in your file

            Don’t work hard
            Don’t play hard
            Don’t plan for the graveyard
            Remember -

            Everything
            Everything gives you cancer
            Everything
            Everything gives you cancer
            There’s no cure, there’s no answer
            Everything gives you cancer

            Don’t work by night
            Don’t sleep by day
            You’ll feel all right
            But you will pay

            No caffeine
            No protein
            No booze or
            Nicotine
            Remember
            "HEY! DON'T PLAY THAT PIANO!!

            Joe Jackson: Night & Day Album
            Cancer
            =======================================
            > You have clearly not been reading the news I've been
            > reading.
            > The Medscape Neurology Medpulse sends out
            > information
            > weekly on advances towards curing/preventing
            > Alzheimer's
            > Disease (that is, senility) and doing other kinds of
            > neuroprotection and neuroenhancement. The Nanogirl
            > News
            > includes information on advances in biomedical
            > engineering,
            > including targeting cancer (what kind of Luddite
            > pessimist
            > "Doctors" are you listening to -- yeesh?!). And
            > when your
            > mind stays sharp and your body stays healthy, the
            > medical
            > care won't be a problem -- at least if you don't
            > piss away
            > all your money.







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          • Mark
            Someone brought up longevity recently. And someone always brings up the Singularity - which I would think qualifies as the ultimate point of this e-group...
            Message 5 of 21 , Mar 17, 2004
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              Someone brought up longevity recently. And someone always brings up
              the Singularity - which I would think qualifies as the ultimate
              'point' of this e-group... However, no one's brought up religion
              recently - I would imagine a few here aren't that fond of the
              subject. Mostly because the organized kind has a bad habit of raging
              against the technological progress of post-modernity - trying thought
              psychologically, sociologically, or in the worst case, physically
              violent ways to slow progress and maintain it's own fading authority.

              Putting that aside, there are two big Q's of Religion that I find
              myself pondering that relate to our path to Singularity. First - the
              socio-political power of the American and world Conservatives. I
              have read suggestions that Religion is essentially powerless against
              the oncoming Singularity, based on historical analysis of
              technological progress to date since Fire and pre-history. Yet I
              can't imagine religion won't strongly shape future events, when it
              will no doubt attempt to outlaw or regulate many of the emerging
              major technological advances that it dislikes - driving all or many
              of the various species of Post-Humans underground. Many an essay and
              sci-fi page speculate on how the genetically super-enhanced, the
              clone or stem-cell immortalized (starting with the Old-Money
              Oligarchs?!), the heavily cyber-upgraded, are in battle with the
              original human base.

              Personally I imagine that Singularity won't be as likely (at least
              initially) to face Religious and Luddite backlash. Thus I feel the
              competition between the emerging Singularity Mind/Culture and the
              Post-Humanist Mind/culture will be impacted by Religion - with the
              edge given to Singularity. (Mostly because I postulate that the
              Singularity will result in such a rush of productivity, health,
              technological, cultural, etc., advances, society will be too
              euphorically seduced by Singularity induced mega-Renaissance 2.0 to
              see or plan for the potential Fall of our new Rome to our second Dark
              Ages. Icarus lives.)

              The other inherently fascinating question about the nature of the
              newborn and/or emi-mature Singularity Mind/Culture is whether it will
              have an endogenous Religious philosophy, or what proclivities it will
              naturally retain from whatever we initially Religiously inculcate.
              And, concurrently, whether it will have an endogenous sense of
              ethics. I would argue, impossible experiment it may be to perform,
              that if you isolated a group of human infants on an island
              equivalent, with some automated means of ensuring their survival to
              teen-dom, but without -any- religious or ethical teachings - they
              would still naturally have both a Religious sense and an Ethic sense.
              What it might be, I wouldn't venture. But even Atheism is defined as
              a Faith in comparison to it's opposite. In this case, though, the
              Singularity question has two parts - Singularity 1.0, which we birth,
              and it's children, which it will birth, and which will, if not in
              that generation, then the next, be utterly beyond our analysis,
              and/or comprehension.

              In any event, please forgive, as the prior prolixity was but a
              preface to the actual motivation for this post: I happen to be
              heavily researching Zen - both for personal Satorification and for a
              script/book involving the Japanese, the Samurai class/ethic, and the
              secret societies and military missions of WWII - and I came across
              the following paragraphs from two different books that I thought
              would be of interest to fellow Futurist and Singulitarians:

              From: Alan Watts: "The Essence of Alan Watts", 1973

              On the Truth = True Religious Faith of Scientists:

              Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is like when
              you trust yourself to the water. You don't grab hold of the water
              when you swim, if you go stiff and tight in the water you sink. You
              have to relax. Thusly, the attitude of faith is the very opposite of
              clinging, of holding on. In other words, a person who is a fanatic
              in religion, one who simply has to believe in certain propositions
              about the nature of God and of the universe is a person who has no
              faith at all - he's holding on tight.

              Although Martin Luther made such a thing about faith, he wrote a hymn
              - in German, Ein fest Burg ist unser Gott, "A Mighty Fortress is our
              God." That's not a hymn of faith! A person of faith doesn't need a
              fortress; he's not on the defensive.

              In the same way, many churches are designed like the royal court of
              kings. In the church design called the basilica, which means the
              court of a basileus or king, the bishop sits at the back in his
              throne and all his attendant clergy stand around him like his guards
              in a court. Why is this? A king stands with his back to the wall
              because he rules by force. And when his subjects and his courtiers
              approach him they prostrate themselves, they kneel down. Why?
              Because that's a difficult position from which to start a fight. Are
              we projecting the image of a frightened king as being the godhead?

              The usual Protestant church, on the other hand, looks like a
              courthouse. The minister wears a black gown as is worn by a judge,
              and there are pews and pulpits and all the familiar wooden boxes of
              court furniture. And the minister, like the judge, throws the book
              at you! He preaches the law laid down in that other idol of God, the
              Bible. But does God need all that? Is God somebody who takes this
              aggressive attitude either of the king in court where all the
              subjects must prostrate, or of the judge who bangs the gavel and
              interprets the law? This is ridiculous! And a God so conceived is an
              idol and manifests the absence of faith of all those who worship him
              because they demonstrate no attitude of trust. They cling to these
              rules, to these conceptions, and have no fundamental adaptability to
              life.

              You might say that a good scientist has more faith than a religious
              person, because a good scientist says, "My mind is open to the truth,
              whatever the truth may turn out to be. I have no preconceptions, but
              I do have some hypothesis in my mind as to what the truth might be,
              and I'm going to test them." And the test is to open all the senses
              to reality and find out what that reality is. But then again, the
              scientists runs into a problem because he knows that whatever comes
              to him as reality depends on the structure of his instruments and his
              senses, and ultimately the structure of his brain. So he has to have
              faith in his own brain, faith in himself, faith that his physical
              organism including his mind is indeed reliable and will determine
              reality, truth - what is.
              [p 37-38]
              ___________________

              On God-like Singularity powers as tortuously boring:

              Many of us have an ambition, especially in an age of technological
              competence, to have everything under our control. This is a false
              ambition because you've only got to think for one moment what it
              would be like to really know and control everything. Supposing we
              had a supercolossal technology which could go to our wildest dreams
              of technological competence so that everything that is going to
              happen would be foreknown, predicted, and everything would be under
              our control Why, it would be like making love to a plastic woman!
              There would be no surprise in it, no sudden answering touch as when
              we touch another human being. There comes out a response, something
              unexpected, and that's what we really want.

              You can't experience the feeling you call self unless it's in
              contrast with the feeling of other. It's like known and unknown,
              light and dark, positive and negative. Other is necessary in order
              for you to feel self. Isn't that the arrangement you want? And, in
              the same way, couldn't you say the arrangement you want is not to
              remember? Memory is always, remember, a form of control: I've got
              it in mind, I know your number, you're under control. Eventually you
              want to release that control.

              Now if you go on remembering and remembering and remembering, it's
              like writing on a piece of paper and going on writing and writing
              until there is no space left on the paper. Your memory is filled up
              and you need to wipe it clean so you can begin to write on it once
              more.

              That's what death does for us: It wipes the slate clean and also,
              for looking at it from the point of view of population and the human
              organism on the planet, it keeps cleaning us out! A technology which
              would enable each one of us to be immortal would progressively crowd
              the planet with people having hopelessly crowded memories. They
              would be like people living in a house where they had accumulated so
              much property, so many books, so many vases, so many sets of knives
              and forks, so many tables and chairs, so many newspapers that there
              wouldn't be any room to move around.

              To live we need space, and space is a kind of nothingness, and death
              is a kind of nothingness - it's all the same principle. And by
              putting blocks or spaces of nothingness, spaces of space in between
              spaces of something, we get life properly spaced out. The German
              word lebensraum means room for living, and that's what space gives
              us, and that's what death gives us.
              [p. 107-108]
              ___________________

              On the Ultimate Virtual Reality Game:the Dream of Life and Death:

              Now, let's go into a more mythological kind of imagery. Suppose
              you're God. Suppose you have all time, eternity, and all power at
              your disposal. What would you do? I believe you would say to
              yourself after awhile, "Man, get lost." It's like asking another
              question which amounts to supposing you were given the power to dream
              any dream you wanted to dream every night. Naturally, you could
              dream any span of time - you could dream seventy-five years of time
              in one night, a hundred years of time in one night, a thousand years
              of time in one night - and it could be anything you wanted - because
              you make up your mind before you go to sleep, "Tonight I'm going to
              dream of so-and-so." Naturally, you would start out by fulfilling
              all your wishes. You would have all the pleasures you could imagine,
              the most marvelous meals, and most entrancing love affairs, the most
              romantic journeys, you could listen to music such as no mortal has
              heard, and see landscapes beyond your wildest dreams.

              And for several nights, oh maybe for a whole month of nights, you
              would go on that way, having a wonderful time. But then, after a
              while, you would begin to think, "Well, I've seen quite a bit, let's
              spice it up, let's have a little adventure." And you would dream of
              yourself being threatened by all sorts of dangers. You would rescue
              princesses from dragons, you would perhaps engage in notable battles,
              you would be a hero. And then as time went on, you would dare
              yourself to do more and more outrageous things, and at some point in
              the game you would say, "Tonight I am going to dream in such a way
              that I don't know that I'm dreaming," and by so doing you would take
              the experience of the drama for complete reality. What a shock when
              you woke up! You could really scare yourself!

              And then on successive nights you might dare yourself to experience
              even more extraordinary things just for the contrast when you woke
              up. You could, for example, dream yourself in situations of extreme
              poverty, disease, agony. You could, as it were, live the essence of
              suffering to its most intense point, and then, suddenly, wake up and
              find it was after all nothing but a dream and everything's perfectly
              O.K.

              Well, how do you know that's not what you're doing already. You,
              reading, sitting there with all your problems, with all your whole
              complicated life situations, it may just be the very dream you
              decided to get into. If you don't like it, what fun it'll be when
              you wake up!
              [p. 177-178]

              ___________________

              Suzuki: Hiku about Systematized Knowledge = Self Annihilation :

              Daisetz T. Suzuki, "Zen and Japanese Culture", 1959, p. 233

              The Octopus in a jar:

              Tako tsubo ni The octopuses in the jars:
              Hakanaki yme wo Transient dreams,
              Natsu no tsuki. The summer moon.

              I understand the fisherman sinks a jar into the sea, and the octopus,
              thinking it a fine shelter, gets into it. While it is sleeping there
              and perhaps enjoying an innocent dream, the crafty fisherman pulls up
              the jar together with it's occupant or occupants, as the case may be.
              This is what we call human intelligence, by which we not only keep
              ourselves alive but to a greater or lesser extent destroy one another
              as intelligence grows up to "systematized knowledge." As to the poor
              octopuses entrapped, we think, they go on dreaming a transient dream"
              under the summer moon. But who would not say that men are of
              superior intelligence when they go on devising all sorts of
              "wonderful" weapons of mutual annihilation? Who would not call this
              "dreaming a transient dream under the summer moon," or in fact
              anywhere? "Haka naki" means not only "transient," but "vain,"
              "inane," "futile," "useless," and it is not only the octopus snugly
              dreaming in the fisherman's jar, but but every one of us including
              the fisherman himself keeps on dreaming idle vain dreams. If not for
              the moon of suchness, of any season, summer or winter, our existence
              here on earth could not be anything but "vanity of vanities." As
              Ecclesiastes cries, "What profit hath a man of all his labor which he
              taketh under the sun?"

              _____________________


              Mark L.


              ps - Anybody know how a Buddhist would consol a grieving parent?

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Kevin Keck
              ... Actually, no, that s not what really hits a nerve with a lot of technologists. (For one thing, this association with Luddism is actually pretty weak, but
              Message 6 of 21 , Mar 17, 2004
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                --- Mark <emdls@...> wrote:
                > Someone brought up longevity recently. And someone
                > always brings up
                > the Singularity - which I would think qualifies as
                > the ultimate
                > 'point' of this e-group... However, no one's
                > brought up religion
                > recently - I would imagine a few here aren't that
                > fond of the
                > subject. Mostly because the organized kind has a
                > bad habit of raging
                > against the technological progress of post-modernity
                > - trying thought
                > psychologically, sociologically, or in the worst
                > case, physically
                > violent ways to slow progress and maintain it's own
                > fading authority.

                Actually, no, that's not what really hits a nerve with
                a lot of technologists. (For one thing, this
                association with Luddism is actually pretty weak, but
                let's come back to this.) The biggest offense to many
                technologists or scientists is to deny the objectivity
                of truth, i.e., to claim that science is just another
                belief system and that all reality is ultimately
                socially and/or personally constructed. Yes, a typical
                trans-humanist will be somewhat frustrated by people
                who cling to traditonal concepts and prejudices, but
                the far more disturbing behavior is to furthermore
                "not even be willing to listen to reason," e.g. to
                refuse to defend clearly drawn contradictions in their
                position(s). While this is often the *only* thing a
                trans-humanist will not tolerate, such "obstinacy" is
                considered tantamount to lunacy or idiocy, and is
                essentially the worst accusation you could possibly
                make--the ultimate heresy.

                Obviously this differs rather dramatically from most
                religious traditions (excepting perhaps Judaism and
                some branches of Protestantism in some respects, and
                Buddhism in certain others), and so there is often a
                tension that arises. But from what I've observed, that
                tension is firmly rooted in the metaphysical, not the
                mundane.

                > Putting that aside, there are two big Q's of
                > Religion that I find
                > myself pondering that relate to our path to
                > Singularity. First - the
                > socio-political power of the American and world
                > Conservatives. I
                > have read suggestions that Religion is essentially
                > powerless against
                > the oncoming Singularity, based on historical
                > analysis of
                > technological progress to date since Fire and
                > pre-history. Yet I
                > can't imagine religion won't strongly shape future
                > events, when it
                > will no doubt attempt to outlaw or regulate many of
                > the emerging
                > major technological advances that it dislikes -
                > driving all or many
                > of the various species of Post-Humans underground.
                > Many an essay and
                > sci-fi page speculate on how the genetically
                > super-enhanced, the
                > clone or stem-cell immortalized (starting with the
                > Old-Money
                > Oligarchs?!), the heavily cyber-upgraded, are in
                > battle with the
                > original human base.

                Respectfully, while I agree that religions will have
                quite an influence, I do not believe that it will be
                primarily exerted through legislation or social
                pressure. Infinitely more significant, in the grand
                sweep of history, will be the memes they either
                co-produce or compete against. Many a sci-fi story
                also speculate on war with extra-terrestrial invaders,
                despite the obvious point that any such encounter
                would be far more likely to be so unevenly matched as
                to not provide any basis for a meaningful resistance.
                Obviously, sci-fi follows these plots because they
                provide an interesting story line, not because they're
                particularly plausible.

                > Personally I imagine that Singularity won't be as
                > likely (at least
                > initially) to face Religious and Luddite backlash.
                > Thus I feel the
                > competition between the emerging Singularity
                > Mind/Culture and the
                > Post-Humanist Mind/culture will be impacted by
                > Religion - with the
                > edge given to Singularity. (Mostly because I
                > postulate that the
                > Singularity will result in such a rush of
                > productivity, health,
                > technological, cultural, etc., advances, society
                > will be too
                > euphorically seduced by Singularity induced
                > mega-Renaissance 2.0 to
                > see or plan for the potential Fall of our new Rome
                > to our second Dark
                > Ages. Icarus lives.)

                Funny, I never thought they were in particular
                competition...

                > The other inherently fascinating question about the
                > nature of the
                > newborn and/or emi-mature Singularity Mind/Culture
                > is whether it will
                > have an endogenous Religious philosophy, or what
                > proclivities it will
                > naturally retain from whatever we initially
                > Religiously inculcate.
                > And, concurrently, whether it will have an
                > endogenous sense of
                > ethics. I would argue, impossible experiment it may
                > be to perform,
                > that if you isolated a group of human infants on an
                > island
                > equivalent, with some automated means of ensuring
                > their survival to
                > teen-dom, but without -any- religious or ethical
                > teachings - they
                > would still naturally have both a Religious sense
                > and an Ethic sense.

                I don't follow this line of thought. What do
                (hypothetical) culturally isolated infants have to do
                with the singularity? Daniel Dennett makes a pretty
                intuitive argument (in his latest book, Freedom
                Evolves) that the most obvious initial religion for
                people to create is precisely the anthropomorphic
                animism we see in so many pre-literate societies. But
                why should anything like the same be true of the most
                learned, literate society ever built?


                [I'll respond tothe second part in a seperate post]
              • Kevin D. Keck
                ... Actually, even in their extreme, omnipotence and omniscience are not the same thing (again see Dennett, Freedom Evolves). But let s move on... ... It
                Message 7 of 21 , Mar 17, 2004
                • 0 Attachment
                  --- In bafuture@yahoogroups.com, Mark <emdls@p...> wrote:
                  > On God-like Singularity powers as tortuously boring:
                  >
                  > Many of us have an ambition, especially in an age of technological
                  > competence, to have everything under our control. This is a false
                  > ambition because you've only got to think for one moment what it
                  > would be like to really know and control everything. Supposing we
                  > had a supercolossal technology which could go to our wildest dreams
                  > of technological competence so that everything that is going to
                  > happen would be foreknown, predicted, and everything would be under
                  > our control Why, it would be like making love to a plastic woman!
                  > There would be no surprise in it, no sudden answering touch as when
                  > we touch another human being. There comes out a response, something
                  > unexpected, and that's what we really want.

                  Actually, even in their extreme, omnipotence and omniscience are not the same thing (again see Dennett, Freedom Evolves). But let's move on...

                  > You can't experience the feeling you call self unless it's in
                  > contrast with the feeling of other. It's like known and unknown,
                  > light and dark, positive and negative. Other is necessary in order
                  > for you to feel self.

                  It sounds like you still have quite a bit of zen studying ahead of you ("self" is an illusion).

                  > Isn't that the arrangement you want? And, in
                  > the same way, couldn't you say the arrangement you want is not to
                  > remember? Memory is always, remember, a form of control: I've got
                  > it in mind, I know your number, you're under control. Eventually you
                  > want to release that control.
                  >
                  > Now if you go on remembering and remembering and remembering, it's
                  > like writing on a piece of paper and going on writing and writing
                  > until there is no space left on the paper. Your memory is filled up
                  > and you need to wipe it clean so you can begin to write on it once
                  > more.

                  The analogy is clear enough, but I don't buy it. Why is memory not more like a great tapestry which we continue to weave, always longer and longer but never "running out"?

                  > That's what death does for us: It wipes the slate clean and also,
                  > for looking at it from the point of view of population and the human
                  > organism on the planet, it keeps cleaning us out! A technology which
                  > would enable each one of us to be immortal would progressively crowd
                  > the planet with people having hopelessly crowded memories. They
                  > would be like people living in a house where they had accumulated so
                  > much property, so many books, so many vases, so many sets of knives
                  > and forks, so many tables and chairs, so many newspapers that there
                  > wouldn't be any room to move around.

                  Which is one reason so many futurists are so fervent about colonizing space, ASAP. Do you have any idea how *big* space is?

                  > To live we need space, and space is a kind of nothingness, and death
                  > is a kind of nothingness - it's all the same principle. And by
                  > putting blocks or spaces of nothingness, spaces of space in between
                  > spaces of something, we get life properly spaced out. The German
                  > word lebensraum means room for living, and that's what space gives
                  > us, and that's what death gives us.
                  > [p. 107-108]

                  Heh, "...lebensraum means room for living, and that's what *space* gives us."

                  Exactly. ; )

                  > [...]
                  > Mark L.
                  >
                  >
                  > ps - Anybody know how a Buddhist would consol a grieving parent?

                  Console, no. You can help by relieving them of other burdens, so they can feel free to confront all of their grief as soon as they're ready, without having to worry about responsibilities they would otherwise want to be fulfilling instead. But beyond that, and a shoulder to cry on, I don't think there's any more you can provide. Nor, at the same time, is there anything they will be more grateful for.
                  --
                  Kevin Keck
                • Mark L.
                  ... It s weak historically - I d agree - after all, it was the Christian monks who carried on Democritus debate about the atomic nature of the universe in
                  Message 8 of 21 , Mar 20, 2004
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                    >--- Mark <emdls@...> wrote:
                    > > violent ways to slow progress and maintain its own fading authority.

                    At 7:39 AM +0000 3/18/04, Kevin D. Keck wrote:
                    >Actually, no, that's not what really hits a nerve with
                    >a lot of technologists. (For one thing, this
                    >association with Luddism is actually pretty weak, but
                    >let's come back to this.)
                    It's weak historically - I'd agree - after all, it was the Christian
                    monks who carried on Democritus' debate about the atomic nature of
                    the universe in coded debates about dancing angels and nano-sized pin
                    heads. With Mendel also a famous example of the light of science
                    shining in the darker alcoves of religious power structures.

                    >The biggest offense to many
                    >technologists or scientists is to deny the objectivity
                    >of truth, i.e., to claim that science is just another
                    >belief system and that all reality is ultimately
                    >socially and/or personally constructed.
                    Interesting... This is Aristotle vs. Socrates and the Sophists. I
                    encountered this in college when, after debating students from the
                    Humanities (myself a student of Molec./Cell. Bio/Neurobiology and
                    Psych), I realized that the Arts/Humanities Colleges actually
                    -taught- the Rhetorical tradition that Truth is subjective, and
                    limited ultimately by rhetoric and existential solipsism. I was
                    shocked at the time.

                    Lets see - Faith, as Webster defines it, is "belief that does not
                    rest on logical proof or material evidence". So is or isn't Science
                    itself a belief system? Interesting question. I would think it is.
                    I would think it could be described as a belief in the pursuit of the
                    unattainably perfect Truth through a consensus of opinion built on
                    shared empirically derived experimental evidence. Science doesn't
                    claim to ever know the Truth, does it? Doesn't it only claim to
                    strive for the best guess or best description of the truth/Truth
                    based on the shared empirical experimental evidence so far? Isn't
                    this Science's 'belief' and/or faith?

                    Or, to quote someone more authoritatively learned than I: "science -
                    'a religion liberated and writ large' that elevates 'a search for
                    objective reality over revelation' and makes the unification of
                    knowledge its 'central tenet'." Daniel J Kevles, N.Y. Times Book
                    Review, April 26,1998, reviewing Edmund O. Wilson's "Consilience"

                    >trans-humanist will not tolerate, such "obstinacy" is
                    >considered tantamount to lunacy or idiocy, and is
                    >essentially the worst accusation you could possibly
                    >make--the ultimate heresy.
                    Yes... but there are those, not to be discounted, that think the
                    penchant of trans-humanists to pursue the technological enhancement
                    of their humanity to -any- extent possible is just as lunatic. See:
                    Charles Rubin, "Man or Machine",
                    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/archive/4/rubin.htm

                    >tension that arises. But from what I've observed, that
                    >tension is firmly rooted in the metaphysical, not the mundane.
                    Or the tension caused by the confusion of metaphysical and
                    metaphorical for mundane and factual. It is really to bad that
                    Christianity doesn't have the same inherent teaching away from Dogma
                    = Fact as does Buddhism. Imagine the world today if the editors of
                    the final versions of the bible hadn't suppressed the Gnostic
                    teachings but encouraged the metaphysical and philosophical Truths,
                    and discouraged the reading of Myths as literal Facts. We might have
                    even avoided the dark ages. Of course, we may have not avoided
                    nuclear annihilation - so the Dark Ages may have been worth it!

                    >Many a sci-fi story
                    >also speculate on war with extra-terrestrial invaders,
                    Actually - before I learned and speculated about the inborn/inherent
                    ethics/religious views of the Super-AI of the Singularity, I wondered
                    about the infinite possible roads to technology and ethical awareness
                    in extra-terrestrials. There seem to be two main sci-fi schools:
                    insect-like amorality and (sometimes super) human-like morality (with
                    both bad and good guys). Nature doesn't seem to have an inherent
                    morality, other than the one born in/with us (and perhaps a few
                    animals, such as dolphins, elephants, bonobos...) So could a
                    technologically advanced intelligence evolve without a moral ethic -
                    say if ants had evolved to become conscious first and retained
                    natural amorality, or are morals/ethics/religious views inherent in
                    awareness/consciousness. An old debate I know - but more interesting
                    because we are more likely to encounter part of the answer from the
                    Singularity in our lifetimes, than we are from any alien vacationers.

                    (And of course, in the past, humans with advanced technology, like
                    the English, Spanish, and even us, have acted with almost perfect
                    amorality in dealings with lesser technologically (and culturally?)
                    advanced peoples. Lets hope we don't experience the irony of an
                    'ethical' ET or Singularity that considers us so technologically and
                    psychologically backwards that we are below its moral concerns.;)

                    > > Thus I feel the competition between the emerging Singularity
                    >> Mind/Culture and the Post-Humanist Mind/culture will be impacted by
                    >> Religion - with the edge given to Singularity. .... Icarus lives.)
                    >Funny, I never thought they were in particular competition...
                    Well - the future laughs at our attempts to divine it, and I claim no
                    clearer a crystal ball than the next pre-trans-person, (long ago, I
                    figured AOL would go extinct in the face of the Net!)... But what
                    I'm prognosticating is that the Singularity will empower the
                    trans-humanist movement in many ways. First - technologically - it
                    will unleash a great deal of breakthroughs necessary to make
                    machine/human interfaces and genetic enhancements a reality. Second,
                    in order to -try- to keep up with the machinations and manipulations
                    of the Singularity (which I imagine will become our new Mother) I
                    figure the last anti-trans-human Luddites will fall silent against
                    the idea that there are no longer any actual flesh and bloods who
                    have any grasp of what the Singularity is up to.

                    (Before the Internet, and the Singularity, I fantasized about an iPod
                    like hard drive with an updatable digital encyclopedia hooked
                    directly into our brains, which were educated from childhood to only
                    need to store the directory, and some requisite basic knowledge -
                    freeing up the rest of our minds for creativity and thinking!)

                    >I don't follow this line of thought. What do
                    >(hypothetical) culturally isolated infants have to do
                    >with the singularity?
                    It's a gestalt as to the nature of ethical and moral rules absent any
                    cultural influence. Starting from scratch, what is subtly coded into
                    our genes - or rather, coded into our brains and emergent from our
                    minds. And will the Singularity 2.0, being born not of a human (or
                    trans-human) programmed core kernel, but its own, have an inherent
                    ethic? Or, more simply, is an Ethic inherent in
                    Awareness/Consciousness, or just an artifact of our human
                    consciousness as evolved from competitively/cooperatively living ape
                    tribes?)

                    >Daniel Dennett makes a pretty
                    >intuitive argument (in his latest book, Freedom
                    >Evolves) that the most obvious initial religion for
                    >people to create is precisely the anthropomorphic
                    >animism we see in so many pre-literate societies. But
                    >why should anything like the same be true of the most
                    >learned, literate society ever built?
                    Dennett is a fine author, but ever since he failed to fully explain
                    consciousness in his "Consciousness Explained" book, I have my
                    doubts. Seriously, though - does he speculate on the Super-AI? And
                    does learning and literacy translate to ethics? I grew up with some
                    college educated people that seemed to be utterly amoral by nature
                    (and thus from birth?). The only thing that kept them from becoming
                    monsters seemed to be the fear of the law and it's consequences.
                    When we lose control of the Super-AI, and it births its own
                    replacement AI's, are they digitopomorphic animists (or silicist)?
                    What is the immaterial force they see as animating the universe they
                    experience? And what do they see as the golden rule for dealing with
                    us, their old, doting not-so-great non-silicon grand parents?
                    Asimov's "Laws of Robotics" safeguards, now downgraded to quaint
                    historical principles for all we know, seems to fail us at this point.

                    > > You can't experience the feeling you call self unless it's in
                    > > contrast with the feeling of other. It's like known and unknown,
                    >> light and dark, positive and negative. Other is necessary in order
                    >> for you to feel self.
                    >It sounds like you still have quite a bit of zen studying ahead of
                    >you ("self" is an illusion).
                    Well... I do. I've only studied Zen for about 10 years and maybe a
                    dozen books. Mostly via J. Campbell, A. Watts and D. Suzuki.
                    Anybody care to recommend anyone else who you think is an enlightened
                    Zen writer, please e me. However, this quote is not mine. Its Alan
                    Watt's. And he, though a foremost authority of Zen, would also
                    laughingly and lovingly agree, he being so very Zen-y. He'd also say
                    that studying is all good and fine, but it won't take you to that
                    Nirvanic place, and will even likely prevent you from the Satori you
                    seek. But just because "Self" is an illusion, doesn't disqualify the
                    suggestion you need an other to get the most out of it. (An orgasm
                    is an 'illusion' as well for that matter, but...;)

                    > > until there is no space left on the paper. Your memory is filled up
                    > > and you need to wipe it clean so you can begin to write on it once more.
                    >The analogy is clear enough, but I don't buy it. Why is memory not
                    >more like a great tapestry which we continue to weave, always longer
                    >and longer but never "running out"?
                    Well - true. This is a possibility, especially in a trans-human
                    enhanced cognitively empowered memory. Though in the cases where
                    people remember everything, such as the famous Russian patient 'S',
                    they are crippled by their 'gift', unable to deal with life with the
                    memory overload.

                    Me personally - I've tend to find that the more I learn and read, the
                    more repetitive it is. I mean, have you ever subscribed to trade
                    magazines and noticed that after a few years, the articles are all
                    the same, and the only truly new things are the latest scientific
                    breakthroughs? Wouldn't we suffer that fate? Wouldn't the jading
                    nature of wisdom infect us to our very core? After enough time
                    wouldn't we realize learning will forever go in circles? I.e., the
                    curse of a Methuselah:
                    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/archive/4/schaub.htm
                    (Note I don't by any means agree with her all her or other URL views,
                    just posting an interestingly related article!)

                    > > would enable each one of us to be immortal would progressively crowd
                    > > the planet with people having hopelessly crowded memories. They
                    >Which is one reason so many futurists are so fervent about
                    >colonizing space, ASAP. Do you have any idea how *big* space is?
                    Big, but not everybody agrees our Salvation lies there: "Space: Not
                    the Final Frontier - Our destiny isn't outer space but inner space-if
                    we can avoid extinction"
                    http://www.betterhumans.com/Print/article.aspx?articleID=2004-01-20-1

                    Though I'll share a worthy secret for those who have suffered through
                    this long rant and counter rant: One of my all time favorite
                    futurist books. Published in -1929-!! by J.D. Bernal: "The World,
                    the Flesh & the Devil - An Enquiry into the Future of the Three
                    Enemies of the Rational Soul" There's a copy posted at:
                    http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/Bernal/

                    In this amazing book, Bernal posits, -long- before Vannevar Bush,
                    (note:
                    http://www.betterhumans.com/Features/Columns/Change_Surfing/column.aspx?articleID=2004-03-09-1
                    )
                    the future emergence of a post-human virtual-reality
                    super-internet-intellect. I.e.:

                    "... Sooner or later some eminent physiologist will have his neck
                    broken in a super-civilized accident or find his body cells worn
                    beyond capacity for repair. He will then be forced to decide whether
                    to abandon his body or his life. After all it is brain that counts,
                    and to have a brain suffused by fresh and correctly prescribed blood
                    is to be alive - to think. The experiment is not impossible; it has
                    already been performed on a dog and that is three-quarters of the way
                    towards achieving it with a human subject. But only a Brahmin
                    philosopher would care to exist as an isolated brain, perpetually
                    centered on its own meditations. Permanently to break off all
                    communications with the world is as good as to be dead. However, the
                    channels of communication are ready to hand. Already we know the
                    essential electrical nature of nerve impulses; it is a matter of
                    delicate surgery to attach nerves permanently to apparatus which will
                    either send messages to the nerves or receive them. And the brain
                    thus connected up continues an existence, purely mental and with very
                    different delights from those of the body, but even now perhaps
                    preferable to complete extinction. ... <text deleted> Whether this
                    should ever be so for the whole of the population we will discuss
                    later, but for the moment we may attempt to picture what would at
                    this period be the course of existence for a transformable human
                    being.

                    Starting, as Mr. J. B. S. Haldane so convincingly predicts, in an
                    ectogenetic factory, man will have anything from sixty to a hundred
                    and twenty years of larval, unspecialized existence - surely enough
                    to satisfy the advocates of a natural life. In this stage he need not
                    be cursed by the age of science and mechanism, but can occupy his
                    time (without the conscience of wasting it) in dancing, poetry and
                    love-making, and perhaps incidentally take part in the reproductive
                    activity. Then he will leave the body whose potentialities he should
                    have sufficiently explored.

                    The next stage might be compared to that of a chrysalis, a
                    complicated and rather unpleasant process of transforming the already
                    existing organs and grafting on all the new sensory and motor
                    mechanisms. There would follow a period of re-education in which he
                    would grow to understand the functioning of his new sensory organs
                    and practise the manipulation of his new motor mechanism. ... <text
                    deleted>

                    It is much more difficult to form a picture of the final state,
                    partly because this final state would be so fluid and so liable to
                    improve, and partly because there would be no reason whatever why all
                    people should transform in the same way. ... <text deleted>

                    Instead of the present body structure we should have the whole
                    framework of some very rigid material, probably not metal but one of
                    the new fibrous substances. In shape it might well be rather a short
                    cylinder. Inside the cylinder, and supported very carefully to
                    prevent shock, is the brain with its nerve connections, immersed in a
                    liquid of the nature of cerebro-spinal fluid, kept circulating over
                    it at a uniform temperature. The brain and nerve cells are kept
                    supplied with fresh oxygenated blood and drained of de-oxygenated
                    blood through their arteries and veins which connect outside the
                    cylinder to the artificial heart-lung digestive system - an
                    elaborate, automatic contrivance. ... <text deleted>

                    The new man must appear to those who have not contemplated him
                    before as a strange, monstrous and inhuman creature, but he is only
                    the logical outcome of the type of humanity that exists at present.
                    ...<text deleted> Normal man is an evolutionary dead end; mechanical
                    man, apparently a break in organic evolution, is actually more in the
                    true tradition of a further evolution.

                    A much more fundamental break is implicit in the means of his
                    development. If a method has been found of connecting a nerve ending
                    in a brain directly with an electrical reactor, then the way is open
                    for connecting it with a brain-cell of another person. Such a
                    connection being, of course, essentially electrical, could be
                    effected just as well through the ether as along wires. At first this
                    would limit itself to the more perfect and economic transference of
                    thought which would be necessary in the co-operative thinking of the
                    future. But it cannot stop here. Connections between two or more
                    minds would tend to become a more and more permanent condition until
                    they functioned as a dual or multiple organism. ... <text deleted>

                    This is perhaps far enough; beyond that the future must direct
                    itself. Yet why should we stop until our imaginations are exhausted.
                    Even beyond this there are foreseeable possibilities. Undoubtedly the
                    nature of life processes themselves will be far more intensively
                    studied. To make life itself will be only a preliminary stage,
                    because in its simplest phases life can differ very little from the
                    inorganic world. But the mere making of life would only be important
                    if we intended to allow it to evolve of itself anew. This, as Mr.
                    Whyte suggests in Archimedes, is necessarily a lengthy process, but
                    there is no need to wait for it. Instead, artificial life would
                    undoubtedly be used as ancillary to human activity and not allowed to
                    evolve freely except for experimental purposes. Men will not be
                    content to manufacture life: they will want to improve on it. <text
                    deleted> Every part would not be accessible for replacing or
                    repairing and this would in itself ensure a practical eternity of
                    existence, for even the replacement of a previously organic
                    brain-cell by a synthetic apparatus would not destroy the continuity
                    of consciousness.

                    The new life would be more plastic, more directly controllable and
                    at the same time more variable and more permanent than that produced
                    by the triumphant opportunism of nature. Bit by bit the heritage of
                    the direct line of mankind - the heritage of the original life
                    emerging on the face of the world - would dwindle, and in the end
                    disappear effectively, being preserved perhaps as some curious relic,
                    while the new life which conserves none of the substance and all of
                    the spirit of the old would take its place and continue its
                    development. Such a change would be as important as that in which
                    life first appeared on the earth's surface and might be as gradual
                    and imperceptible. Finally, consciousness itself may end or vanish in
                    a humanity that has become completely etherealized, losing the
                    close-knit organism, becoming masses of atoms in space communicating
                    by radiation, and ultimately perhaps resolving itself entirely into
                    light. That may be an end or a beginning, but from here it is out of
                    sight."
                    __________________

                    Are you still with me? If so, then here's is Bernal's most beautiful
                    posit on space:
                    __________________

                    "... At first space navigators, and then scientists whose
                    observations would be best conductedoutside the earth, and then
                    finally those who for any reason were dissatisfied with earthly
                    conditions would come to inhabit these bases and found permanent
                    spatial colonies. Even with our present primitive knowledge we can
                    plan out such a celestial station in considerable detail.

                    Imagine a spherical shell ten miles or so in diameter, made of the
                    lightest materials and mostly hollow; for this purpose the new
                    molecular materials would be admirably suited. Owing to the absence
                    of gravitation its construction would not be an engineering feat of
                    any magnitude. The source of the material out of which this would be
                    made would only be in small part drawn from the earth; for the great
                    bulk of the structure would be made out of the substance of one or
                    more smaller asteroids, rings of Saturn or other planetary detritus.
                    The initial stages of construction are the most difficult to imagine.
                    They will probably consist of attaching an asteroid of some hundred
                    years or so diameter to a space vessel, hollowing it out and using
                    the removed material to build the first protective shell. Afterwards
                    the shell could be re-worked, bit by bit, using elaborated and more
                    suitable substances and at the same time increasing its size by
                    diminishing its thickness. The globe would fulfill all the functions
                    by which our earth manages to support life. In default of a
                    gravitational field it has, perforce, to keep its atmosphere and the
                    greater portion of its life inside; but as all its nourishment comes
                    in the form of energy through its outer surface it would be forced to
                    resemble on the whole an enormously complicated single-celled plant.

                    <paragraph deleted>

                    The outer shell would be hard, transparent and thin. Its chief
                    function would be to prevent the escape of gases from the interior,
                    to preserve the rigidity of the structure, and to allow the free
                    access of radiant energy. Immediately underneath this epidermis would
                    be the apparatus for utilizing this energy either in the form of a
                    network carrying a chlorophyll-like fluid capable of re-synthesizing
                    carbohydrate bodies from carbon dioxide,. or some purely electrical
                    contrivance for the absorption of radiant energy. In the latter case
                    the globe would almost certainly be supplied with vast, tenuous,
                    membranous wings which would increase its area of utilization of
                    sunlight. ...<text deleted>

                    <paragraph deleted>

                    This three-dimensional, gravitationless way of living is very
                    difficult for us to imagine, but there is no reason to suppose that
                    we would not ultimately adjust ourselves to it. We should be released
                    from the way we are dragged down on the surface of the earth all our
                    lives: the slightest push against a relatively rigid object would
                    send us yards away; a good jump - and we should be spinning across
                    from one side of the globe to the other. Resistance to the air would,
                    of course, come in, as it does on earth; but this could be turned to
                    advantage by the use of short wings. Objects would become endowed
                    with a peculiar levity. We should have to devise ways of holding them
                    in place other than by putting them down; liquids and powders would
                    at first cause great complications. An attempt to put down a cup of
                    tea would result in the cup descending and the tea remaining as a
                    vibrating globule in the air. Dust would be an unbearable nuisance
                    and would have to be suppressed, because even wetting it would never
                    make it settle. We should find in the end that all these things were
                    great conveniences, but at first they would be extremely awkward. The
                    possibilities of three-dimensional life would make the globes much
                    roomier than their size would suggest. A globe interior eight miles
                    across would contain as much effective space as a countryside one
                    hundred and fifty miles square even if one gave a liberal allowance
                    of air, say fifty feet above the ground."


                    Ok - sorry for the over lengthy post. back to reality...



                    Mark L.

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Joschka Fisher
                    Joschka Fischer a écrit (wrote). ... Interesting...I m still sifting through this entire email, but I have a MAJOR objection to citing Professor Daniel
                    Message 9 of 21 , Mar 21, 2004
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                      Joschka Fischer a écrit (wrote).

                      Regarding the following paragraph excised from below:
                      > Or, to quote someone more authoritatively learned
                      > than I: "science -
                      > 'a religion liberated and writ large' that elevates
                      > 'a search for
                      > objective reality over revelation' and makes the
                      > unification of
                      > knowledge its 'central tenet'." Daniel J Kevles,
                      > N.Y. Times Book
                      > Review, April 26,1998, reviewing Edmund O. Wilson's
                      > "Consilience"

                      "Interesting...I'm still sifting through this entire
                      email, but I have a MAJOR objection to citing
                      Professor Daniel Kevles on "Objectivity", "Ethics" and
                      Science as voiced by Yale colleague Sergei Lange:

                      http://www.yaleherald.com/archive/xxix/2000.02.11/news/p6lang.html

                      End commentary:
                      Joschka Fischer====>

                      Original email below.
                      --- "Mark L." <emdls@...> a écrit : > >---
                      Mark <emdls@...> wrote:
                      > > > violent ways to slow progress and maintain its
                      > own fading authority.
                      >
                      > At 7:39 AM +0000 3/18/04, Kevin D. Keck wrote:
                      > >Actually, no, that's not what really hits a nerve
                      > with
                      > >a lot of technologists. (For one thing, this
                      > >association with Luddism is actually pretty weak,
                      > but
                      > >let's come back to this.)
                      > It's weak historically - I'd agree - after all, it
                      > was the Christian
                      > monks who carried on Democritus' debate about the
                      > atomic nature of
                      > the universe in coded debates about dancing angels
                      > and nano-sized pin
                      > heads. With Mendel also a famous example of the
                      > light of science
                      > shining in the darker alcoves of religious power
                      > structures.
                      >
                      > >The biggest offense to many
                      > >technologists or scientists is to deny the
                      > objectivity
                      > >of truth, i.e., to claim that science is just
                      > another
                      > >belief system and that all reality is ultimately
                      > >socially and/or personally constructed.
                      > Interesting... This is Aristotle vs. Socrates and
                      > the Sophists. I
                      > encountered this in college when, after debating
                      > students from the
                      > Humanities (myself a student of Molec./Cell.
                      > Bio/Neurobiology and
                      > Psych), I realized that the Arts/Humanities Colleges
                      > actually
                      > -taught- the Rhetorical tradition that Truth is
                      > subjective, and
                      > limited ultimately by rhetoric and existential
                      > solipsism. I was
                      > shocked at the time.
                      >
                      > Lets see - Faith, as Webster defines it, is "belief
                      > that does not
                      > rest on logical proof or material evidence". So is
                      > or isn't Science
                      > itself a belief system? Interesting question. I
                      > would think it is.
                      > I would think it could be described as a belief in
                      > the pursuit of the
                      > unattainably perfect Truth through a consensus of
                      > opinion built on
                      > shared empirically derived experimental evidence.
                      > Science doesn't
                      > claim to ever know the Truth, does it? Doesn't it
                      > only claim to
                      > strive for the best guess or best description of the
                      > truth/Truth
                      > based on the shared empirical experimental evidence
                      > so far? Isn't
                      > this Science's 'belief' and/or faith?
                      >
                      > Or, to quote someone more authoritatively learned
                      > than I: "science -
                      > 'a religion liberated and writ large' that elevates
                      > 'a search for
                      > objective reality over revelation' and makes the
                      > unification of
                      > knowledge its 'central tenet'." Daniel J Kevles,
                      > N.Y. Times Book
                      > Review, April 26,1998, reviewing Edmund O. Wilson's
                      > "Consilience"
                      >
                      > >trans-humanist will not tolerate, such "obstinacy"
                      > is
                      > >considered tantamount to lunacy or idiocy, and is
                      > >essentially the worst accusation you could possibly
                      > >make--the ultimate heresy.
                      > Yes... but there are those, not to be discounted,
                      > that think the
                      > penchant of trans-humanists to pursue the
                      > technological enhancement
                      > of their humanity to -any- extent possible is just
                      > as lunatic. See:
                      > Charles Rubin, "Man or Machine",
                      > http://www.thenewatlantis.com/archive/4/rubin.htm
                      >
                      > >tension that arises. But from what I've observed,
                      > that
                      > >tension is firmly rooted in the metaphysical, not
                      > the mundane.
                      > Or the tension caused by the confusion of
                      > metaphysical and
                      > metaphorical for mundane and factual. It is really
                      > to bad that
                      > Christianity doesn't have the same inherent teaching
                      > away from Dogma
                      > = Fact as does Buddhism. Imagine the world today if
                      > the editors of
                      > the final versions of the bible hadn't suppressed
                      > the Gnostic
                      > teachings but encouraged the metaphysical and
                      > philosophical Truths,
                      > and discouraged the reading of Myths as literal
                      > Facts. We might have
                      > even avoided the dark ages. Of course, we may have
                      > not avoided
                      > nuclear annihilation - so the Dark Ages may have
                      > been worth it!
                      >
                      > >Many a sci-fi story
                      > >also speculate on war with extra-terrestrial
                      > invaders,
                      > Actually - before I learned and speculated about the
                      > inborn/inherent
                      > ethics/religious views of the Super-AI of the
                      > Singularity, I wondered
                      > about the infinite possible roads to technology and
                      > ethical awareness
                      > in extra-terrestrials. There seem to be two main
                      > sci-fi schools:
                      > insect-like amorality and (sometimes super)
                      > human-like morality (with
                      > both bad and good guys). Nature doesn't seem to
                      > have an inherent
                      > morality, other than the one born in/with us (and
                      > perhaps a few
                      > animals, such as dolphins, elephants, bonobos...)
                      > So could a
                      > technologically advanced intelligence evolve without
                      > a moral ethic -
                      > say if ants had evolved to become conscious first
                      > and retained
                      > natural amorality, or are morals/ethics/religious
                      > views inherent in
                      > awareness/consciousness. An old debate I know - but
                      > more interesting
                      > because we are more likely to encounter part of the
                      > answer from the
                      > Singularity in our lifetimes, than we are from any
                      > alien vacationers.
                      >
                      > (And of course, in the past, humans with advanced
                      > technology, like
                      > the English, Spanish, and even us, have acted with
                      > almost perfect
                      > amorality in dealings with lesser technologically
                      > (and culturally?)
                      > advanced peoples. Lets hope we don't experience the
                      > irony of an
                      > 'ethical' ET or Singularity that considers us so
                      > technologically and
                      > psychologically backwards that we are below its
                      > moral concerns.;)
                      >
                      > > > Thus I feel the competition between the
                      > emerging Singularity
                      > >> Mind/Culture and the Post-Humanist Mind/culture
                      > will be impacted by
                      > >> Religion - with the edge given to Singularity.
                      > .... Icarus lives.)
                      > >Funny, I never thought they were in particular
                      > competition...
                      > Well - the future laughs at our attempts to divine
                      > it, and I claim no
                      > clearer a crystal ball than the next
                      > pre-trans-person, (long ago, I
                      > figured AOL would go extinct in the face of the
                      > Net!)... But what
                      > I'm prognosticating is that the Singularity will
                      > empower the
                      > trans-humanist movement in many ways. First -
                      > technologically - it
                      > will unleash a great deal of breakthroughs necessary
                      > to make
                      > machine/human interfaces and genetic enhancements a
                      > reality. Second,
                      > in order to -try- to keep up with the machinations
                      > and manipulations
                      > of the Singularity (which I imagine will become our
                      > new Mother) I
                      > figure the last anti-trans-human Luddites will fall
                      > silent against
                      > the idea that there are no longer any actual flesh
                      > and bloods who
                      > have any grasp of what the Singularity is up to.
                      >
                      > (Before the Internet, and the Singularity, I
                      > fantasized about an iPod
                      > like hard drive with an updatable digital
                      > encyclopedia hooked
                      > directly into our brains, which were educated from
                      > childhood to only
                      > need to store the directory, and some requisite
                      > basic knowledge -
                      > freeing up the rest of our minds for creativity and
                      > thinking!)
                      >
                      > >I don't follow this line of thought. What do
                      > >(hypothetical) culturally isolated infants have to
                      > do
                      >
                      === message truncated ===






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                    • Chris Phoenix
                      ... I have been frustrated and offended by this viewpoint myself, and have defended science against it. But the more I learn about the history of science, the
                      Message 10 of 21 , Mar 22, 2004
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                        Kevin Keck wrote:

                        > The biggest offense to many
                        > technologists or scientists is to deny the objectivity
                        > of truth, i.e., to claim that science is just another
                        > belief system and that all reality is ultimately
                        > socially and/or personally constructed.


                        I have been frustrated and offended by this viewpoint myself, and have
                        defended science against it. But the more I learn about the history of
                        science, the more I think it's like the law: if you're going to maintain
                        respect for it, you don't want to watch it being made.

                        Science, unlike many institutions, has the ability to self-correct. That
                        does not mean that it's infallible! And it has the ability to check
                        itself against experiment. That makes it accurate to some degree.

                        The trouble is that scientists think they're checking against nature.
                        But they're not: they're checking against experiment. And it's the
                        scientists who choose the experiments and do the interpretation. A
                        misconception can persist for a long time before someone finally notices
                        the problem. And then, that person has to work for decades to convince
                        everyone else--and there are some influential diehards/blowhards who
                        never believe it. If the innovator is not politically savvy, it takes
                        even longer.

                        Childbed fever took nearly a full century from when Alexander Gordon
                        proposed that it was iatrogenic, through Holmes who was discounted, and
                        Semmelweiss who was ignored and opposed, to Lister who finally (after
                        twenty years of his own work) got the idea accepted. And this was a
                        problem that *everyone* wanted desperately to solve!

                        From the point of view of an individual capitalist, capitalism is a
                        process of channeled greed. Democracy, from one person's point of view,
                        is channeled self-centeredness. Likewise, from the point of view of an
                        individual scientist, I think we have to say that science is a process
                        of channeled opinion and preconception. In all cases, the valuable
                        institution emerges from the interactions of many such people. It's the
                        structure of the interactions--private property, voting, and peer
                        review, respectively--that allows something worthwhile to emerge from
                        human foibles.

                        > Yes, a typical
                        > trans-humanist will be somewhat frustrated by people
                        > who cling to traditonal concepts and prejudices, but
                        > the far more disturbing behavior is to furthermore
                        > "not even be willing to listen to reason," e.g. to
                        > refuse to defend clearly drawn contradictions in their
                        > position(s).


                        Um, you mean like Smalley and Whitesides with respect to molecular
                        manufacturing? We can't pretend that scientists are not prone to this
                        kind of thing. We can call them unscientific, but that's fighting
                        words, not productive dialog.


                        Science can blind itself far too easily in certain areas. A credulous
                        friend once showed me "photographic evidence of spirit guides": A
                        glowing filamented blob in an otherwise ordinary photo of a meeting of
                        psychics. I wrote it off as a Photoshop job. A few days later, I was
                        playing with a new digital camera, and took a picture that included a
                        "spirit guide"! It took me only a few minutes of thought to duplicate
                        the phenomenon by throwing a pinch of flour in the air near the flash
                        and lens. (In a film camera with a mechanical iris, the blob would
                        probably have been hexagonal and no one would have thought twice about it.)

                        My point is that, although the blob had a mundane explanation, I would
                        never have realized it if I hadn't seen for myself that the phenomenon
                        existed. Why? Because it was labeled as psychic, and therefore
                        imaginary. That is a serious problem. How much is science missing
                        simply by refusing to look?

                        If we put together a physicist, a neurologist, and a cell biologist, and
                        hypnotized them into believing that (e.g.) dowsing was both mundane and
                        demonstrable, would they be able to come up with a mundane and workable
                        explanation? It wouldn't surprise me much if at least one of the
                        "psychic" phenomena turned out to be as mundane as my dust-mote spirit
                        guides. But if so, today's science will have a very hard time seeing
                        it--not because it's too mysterious for science, but simply because
                        science has mislabeled it. (It makes matters worse that today's science
                        is reluctant to catalog anything it can't categorize.)


                        At any given point, science focuses on some things and ignores others.
                        These sets are socially constructed, both by what society is interested
                        in, and by the lineage of scientific ideas. I could tell you stories
                        about dyslexia...

                        The theories of science are also influenced by society. No incorrect
                        theory can stand forever (we hope--though without evidence). But a
                        theory that is blind in a certain area can last a long time, if science
                        is also blind in that area.

                        The utility or applicability of a scientific theory in solving a problem
                        depends, at least in part, on the formulation of the theory. That
                        formulation is influenced by scientific culture and by the broader
                        society. Think of the difference between the crow (Feynman) and the
                        mole (?) in the fable of quantum field theory.


                        This is something I've been thinking about for a while, and I'd really
                        appreciate feedback.

                        Chris

                        --
                        Chris Phoenix cphoenix@...
                        Director of Research
                        Center for Responsible Nanotechnology http://CRNano.org
                      • Ooo0001@aol.com
                        In a message dated 3/22/2004 11:55:20 AM Pacific Standard Time, cphoenix@best.com writes: This is something I ve been thinking about for a while, and I d
                        Message 11 of 21 , Mar 22, 2004
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                          In a message dated 3/22/2004 11:55:20 AM Pacific Standard Time,
                          cphoenix@... writes:
                          This is something I've been thinking about for a while, and I'd really
                          appreciate feedback.
                          Just some idle thoughts here....

                          One consideration you might use for comparison is technology, the close
                          companion to science. Just as science usually only studies what scientists
                          deliberately study (not always, but usually), technology only produces what engineers
                          deliberately construct (not always, but usually). Not everything is invented
                          that can be invented, but that doesn't stop technology from advancing at a
                          tremendous rate. Likewise, science doesn't study everything that can be studied,
                          but that doesn't stop science from advancing at a tremendous rate.

                          I don't think it's reasonable to expect science to study everything, just as
                          it's not reasonable to expect technology to develop everything (why bother
                          with a laser-guided, hydraulically-activated, carbon fiber buggy whip?). Sure,
                          some things take time for science to figure out, but as far as I know it's the
                          only self-correcting system for knowing the universe, and considering that it
                          does this using only fallible humans and a simple few rules, that's pretty
                          impressive.

                          Another rough comparison I like to use for science is evolution. Nature
                          blindly optimizes a species for a particular environment using a few simple rules.
                          You'll eventually end up with a species that is optimally evolved for a
                          specific niche, but that doesn't mean there couldn't have been another way to go
                          about it, or that another species might have been a better starting point...it's
                          just that nature has to work with what it has. Similarly, individual
                          scientists may be limited in their course of study and available tools, but given time
                          they succeed well enough.

                          Derek


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Troy Gardner
                          ... Also in any sufficently complex experiment, both the data and the experiment itself is subject to interpretation. ... Actually it can exist indefinately as
                          Message 12 of 21 , Mar 22, 2004
                          • 0 Attachment
                            > The trouble is that scientists think they're checking against nature.
                            > But they're not: they're checking against experiment.

                            Also in any sufficently complex experiment, both the data and the experiment
                            itself is subject to interpretation.

                            > misconception can persist for a long time before someone finally notices
                            > the problem.

                            Actually it can exist indefinately as long as the missing problem -isn't a
                            problem. it's a game of good enough (successive) approximations to 'reality' in
                            the form of algorithms which inherently human processable/grokable -though this
                            is changing with better technology within a degree, especially in the domains
                            of large scale simulation of many elements governed by simple rules.

                            People being lazy will opt for occams razor to the point they assume the
                            definition of the territory IS the territory. i.e.

                            Newtonian physics is a more compact but less prescise model/scale to model the
                            behavior we see normally. Paradigm shifts (missing the novel behavior) are
                            often hard for people as like a newtonian physicist, unless they are trying to
                            solve (which implies understanding) the interaction of things close to the
                            speed of light, they have no reason and will not expend teh effort to
                            understand.



                            > of channeled opinion and preconception. In all cases, the valuable
                            > institution emerges from the interactions of many such people. It's the
                            > structure of the interactions--private property, voting, and peer
                            > review, respectively--that allows something worthwhile to emerge from
                            > human foibles.

                            It's a resonant filter network which can pass a limited type/size of idea,
                            which based on the input frequency and the current resonant freqency of the
                            network will eitehr propgate or be filtered or occasionally return out of
                            phase.

                            The bad thing about human social networks as a propogation/filtering mechanism
                            is that humans aren't as flexible as say a genetic algorithm, if at the very
                            minimum a human will expend significant effort to get in a position in the
                            network of greatist influence/power and being physical and wanting to survive
                            has to persist even when what they have to say is outdated but typically beyond
                            the ability for the crystallized brain to change with.

                            ie. a scientist spends decades of his life researching and pursuing, writing,
                            getting financing, building a department around about a certain untested theory
                            of science. A jr scientist with a fresh perspective discoves that the Sr.
                            Scientist is wrong. In a genetic algorithm system, the jr scientist and the sr
                            scientist are both tested and the jr scientist wins. Not quite so in reality,
                            as both have to pursue a life past that, say supporting their own
                            lifestyle/status/influence. e.g. an inventor (James Dyson) www.dyson.com who
                            developed a vaccuum cleaner that doesn't require bags was almost put out of
                            business-sucked dry in court from lawsuits for/against, because he was going
                            against a system that thrived on the flaws (selling bags is good money) and
                            then tried to copy him. He was fortunate to have enough money and not enough
                            opposition to make it through the gauntlet.

                            > > Yes, a typical
                            > > trans-humanist will be somewhat frustrated by people
                            > > who cling to traditonal concepts and prejudices, but
                            > > the far more disturbing behavior is to furthermore
                            > > "not even be willing to listen to reason," e.g. to
                            > > refuse to defend clearly drawn contradictions in their
                            > > position(s).

                            Actually it's worse, people who are in power assert those concepts and
                            prejudices on me when I don't want them, and will actively thwart attempts for
                            me to validate/broadcast the ideas I have. E.g. the precautionary principal
                            discussed at the extropian summit meeting -are the people proposing this
                            legislature really qualified to even being talking on the subject let alone
                            proposing action? This is beyond a purely technological problem and requies
                            social engineering, memetic warfare/infecting, which takes time (introducing
                            ideas to generations without preconceptions).

                            > At any given point, science focuses on some things and ignores others.

                            This is a cognitive constraint. Right now focusing on this text your not aware
                            of hot the temperature of your neck is slightly cooler than your chest until I
                            draw focus onto it. Science is no different that we can only process limited
                            amounts of possibilities thus have to make premises/compromises, which can be
                            valid in some cases and not in others depending on stuff that's not visible to
                            us. So in your example I can easily (often without hypnotism) create social
                            pressures so people don't question and accept certain premises that *NEVER* get
                            into the parts of the brain which question/decompose and lead to statements
                            which sound great when your standing blind right in front of it and don't
                            evaluate it in a larger context. ie.. if your 'attention span' were only three
                            words, you'd never be able to cognitively grasp the problem of:

                            "This statement is true,
                            the previous statement is false."

                            you'd spend forever 'paging' the sentences into memory. we still have the same
                            constraints it just that it's on larger problems.

                            What's focused on also takes repititoin, sales and marketing all rely upon
                            this. E.g. if you only see the word 'scion' once you might easily dismiss it.
                            See it 3 times in 15 minutes, it might pop into 'what's that?'




                            =====
                            Troy Gardner -"How you live your seconds, is how you live your days, is how you live your life..."

                            http://www.troygardner.com -my world, philosophy, music, writings.
                            http://www.troyworks.com -consulting & training in Flash, Java, and C#
                            http://www.intrio.com -helping bridge the gap between the humans and machines. Home of the Flickey�
                          • wayne radinsky
                            Another point worth mentioning on this thread is that in recent years, science experiments have become very expensive, and because of that, they are often not
                            Message 13 of 21 , Mar 24, 2004
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                              Another point worth mentioning on this thread is that in
                              recent years, science experiments have become very
                              expensive, and because of that, they are often not
                              repeated.

                              I remember reading about this in the Hendrik Sch�n case,
                              they said he published fraudulent experimental results for
                              years and wasn't caught because nobody repeated his
                              experiments. Eventually people trying to build new
                              experiments based on his results ran into problems. So the
                              good news is that, although it was slow, the fraud was
                              discovered and the system was self-correcting.


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                            • Kevin D. Keck
                              I haven t gotten back to this religion thread because I ve been swamped, no= t because I didn t have anything else to add.If you go back and look, some of
                              Message 14 of 21 , Apr 23 4:42 PM
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                                I haven't gotten back to this religion thread because I've been swamped, no=
                                t because I
                                didn't have anything else to add.

                                If you go back and look, some of you might be surprised to realize that I d=
                                id not in fact
                                profess to be on either side of the "science is just another religion" deba=
                                te, because in fact
                                I'm not on either side. I do appreciate Chris Phoenix's exuberant confirmat=
                                ion of my up to
                                that point thinly supported assertions about one of the common stances, and=
                                I hope he
                                won't attribute too malicious an intent to my deliberately delayed confessi=
                                on of sympathy
                                for both viewpoints.

                                The problem, as it is so often, is that the sides are talking right past ea=
                                chother. Of course
                                it's not really true that science is just another belief system, and it is =
                                true that some of the
                                people on the other side of academia mean to flatly deny this. But there is=
                                another
                                contingent which will concede that science is in fact a more sophisticated =
                                and theoretically
                                distinguished belief system, while still insisting that this distinction is=
                                not very significant.
                                And their point is much more than just that scientific "knowledge" is alway=
                                s by definition
                                both contingent and incomplete—the much bigger point is that much of our "r=
                                eality",
                                including particularly most of the morally and politically important aspect=
                                s of it, are
                                socially constructed, and thus in a much more profound sense our reality re=
                                ally is _not_
                                objective.

                                Ironically, in fact, the more advanced our scientific and technological kno=
                                wledge become,
                                the less and less relevant it becomes to moral and political issues. While =
                                on the one hand
                                technology often seems to take issues out of the hands of legislators, by d=
                                istributing
                                capabilities to such an extent as to make them beyond governmental control,=
                                and on the
                                other hand it produces issues the political system and culture are ill-prep=
                                ared to deal
                                with, both of these are merely the immediate, incremental effects. The over=
                                arching
                                broader effect is to successively remove scientific and technological const=
                                raints on the
                                range of feasible political, economic, cultural systems people can adopt, t=
                                hereby putting a
                                progressively greater demand on our collective capacity for imagination, co=
                                urage, and
                                discretion in order to successfully determine and follow wise paths, rather=
                                than go down
                                very dystopian ones.

                                Stewart Brand made a similar observation in his book, "How Buildings Learn"=
                                —the most
                                successfully adaptable buildings turn out to be those with constraints, suc=
                                h as support
                                columns, which greatly reduce the "design space" which can be considered wh=
                                en
                                contemplating modifications. (Perhaps professional architects could do more=
                                with less
                                constraints, but most building dwellers are not architects themselves, so a=
                                pparently less
                                quite often turns out to be more.) I think many video game critics (and som=
                                e movie critics)
                                have also similarly suggested that games (or movies) were better back when =
                                designers (or
                                directors) couldn't fall back on eye-popping graphics (or stunts & f/x, or =
                                sex and violence)
                                to keep players (audiences) entertained. And Jaron Lanier is one among seve=
                                ral who's
                                voiced the opinion that while the capabilities of software have in fact gon=
                                e up as hardware
                                has improved, it has not maintained the same pace of improvement, largely b=
                                ecause the
                                quality of the _code_ has at the same time gone very much downhill.

                                This doesn't bode well for our ability to "cope", as it were, with the cont=
                                inually expanding
                                possibilities that accelerating scientific and technological progress will =
                                continue to bring
                                us. JFK observed that we had the power to eliminate hunger in the world bac=
                                k in the '60s,
                                and yet it still hasn't happened. Instead our politicians spend their time,=
                                for example,
                                facilitating ever greater abuse of increasingly counter-productive IP laws =
                                to hinder all
                                kinds of things from online music sharing to the provision of patented drug=
                                s to third
                                world patients. Both are due not to technological constraints but rather to=
                                political ones. I
                                don't want to preach to the choir so I'll stop there, but I'm sure all of y=
                                ou have at least a
                                couple of other widely-recognized problems which come to your mind, which s=
                                ociety is
                                either failing to address or is continuing to itself cause because of "poli=
                                tical constraints".

                                On a related theme, "Mark L."'s musings on the likely nature of a native or=
                                innate
                                philosophy in AIs actually made something click for me though, in a moment =
                                of tiredness
                                when I let my guard down enough to truly consider it. One of the memes Jaro=
                                n Lanier puts
                                forward in his Half a Manifesto is "cybernetic totalism", which is basicall=
                                y the digerati
                                version of George Soros's "market fundamentalism" schtick. It's also a fair=
                                definition of the
                                philosophy that could I think fairly be considered the obvious pre-disposit=
                                ion, if there is
                                any, of any A.I. system. It is essentially a perfection of the reductionist=
                                hypothesis, holding
                                that not only is reductionism valid, but that perception _is_ reality, and =
                                that recognizing
                                this "fact" is essential to true understanding and sound moral judgment. Th=
                                e problem, of
                                course, is it's exactly the same type of ends-trump-means philosophy which =
                                produced the
                                devastating seduction of much of the world by nazism, fascism, and despotic=
                                communism
                                last century. This philosophy _is_ dangerous, to an even greater extent tha=
                                n Lanier tried to
                                explain.

                                Fortunately (for my own sanity), I'm still in the John Holland camp (as he =
                                articulated it at
                                the 2000 Stanford "Spiritual Robots" debate, shortly after the publication =
                                of Bill Joy's
                                infamous Wired article), and don't believe the emergence of A.I. will be ne=
                                arly as
                                automatic, inevitable, nor early as Kurzweil an company expect, so I'm not =
                                terribly worried
                                about it. Barring, of course, the frightening possibility of Lanier's inver=
                                sion hypothesis
                                being validated, and producing a perceived success by moving the goalposts.=
                                If we let this
                                happen, then we will in fact create our own dystopia, but only by (at least=
                                implicit) choice,
                                not due to any force of technological determinism.



                                I'll try to elaborate my thoughts on Zen and the self-other dichotomy soon =
                                as well.
                                --
                                Kevin D. Keck
                              • Kevin Keck
                                @#$%&! That wasn t how it appeared in the so-called preview . (One guess how soon I ll use the Yahoo! Groups web posting form again.) This one should come out
                                Message 15 of 21 , Apr 24 3:19 AM
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  @#$%&! That wasn't how it appeared in the so-called
                                  "preview". (One guess how soon I'll use the Yahoo!
                                  Groups web posting form again.)

                                  This one should come out properly:


                                  I haven't gotten back to this religion thread because
                                  I've been swamped, not because I didn't have anything
                                  else to add.

                                  If you go back and look, some of you might be
                                  surprised to realize that I did not in fact profess to
                                  be on either side of the "science is just another
                                  religion" debate, because in fact I'm not on either
                                  side. I do appreciate Chris Phoenix's exuberant
                                  confirmation of my up to that point thinly supported
                                  assertions about one of the common stances, and I hope
                                  he won't attribute too malicious an intent to my
                                  deliberately delayed confession of sympathy for both
                                  viewpoints.

                                  The problem, as it is so often, is that the sides are
                                  talking right past eachother. Of course it's not
                                  really true that science is just another belief
                                  system, and it is true that some of the people on the
                                  other side of academia mean to flatly deny this. But
                                  there is another contingent which will concede that
                                  science is in fact a more sophisticated and
                                  theoretically distinguished belief system, while still
                                  insisting that this distinction is not very
                                  significant. And their point is much more than just
                                  that scientific "knowledge" is always by definition
                                  both contingent and incomplete�the much bigger point
                                  is that much of our "reality", including particularly
                                  most of the morally and politically important aspects
                                  of it, are socially constructed, and thus in a much
                                  more profound sense our reality really is _not_
                                  objective.

                                  Ironically, in fact, the more advanced our scientific
                                  and technological knowledge become, the less and less
                                  relevant it becomes to moral and political issues.
                                  While on the one hand technology often seems to take
                                  issues out of the hands of legislators, by
                                  distributing capabilities to such an extent as to make
                                  them beyond governmental control, and on the other
                                  hand it produces issues the political system and
                                  culture are ill-prepared to deal with, both of these
                                  are merely the immediate, incremental effects. The
                                  overarching broader effect is to successively remove
                                  scientific and technological constraints on the range
                                  of feasible political, economic, cultural systems
                                  people can adopt, thereby putting a progressively
                                  greater demand on our collective capacity for
                                  imagination, courage, and discretion in order to
                                  successfully determine and follow wise paths, rather
                                  than go down very dystopian ones.

                                  Stewart Brand made a similar observation in his book,
                                  "How Buildings Learn"�the most successfully adaptable
                                  buildings turn out to be those with constraints, such
                                  as support columns, which greatly reduce the "design
                                  space" which can be considered when contemplating
                                  modifications. (Perhaps professional architects could
                                  do more with less constraints, but most building
                                  dwellers are not architects themselves, so apparently
                                  less quite often turns out to be more.) I think many
                                  video game critics (and some movie critics) have also
                                  similarly suggested that games (or movies) were better
                                  back when designers (or directors) couldn't fall back
                                  on eye-popping graphics (or stunts & f/x, or sex and
                                  violence) to keep players (audiences) entertained. And
                                  Jaron Lanier is one among several who's voiced the
                                  opinion that while the capabilities of software have
                                  in fact gone up as hardware has improved, it has not
                                  maintained the same pace of improvement, largely
                                  because the quality of the _code_ has at the same time
                                  gone very much downhill.

                                  This doesn't bode well for our ability to "cope", as
                                  it were, with the continually expanding possibilities
                                  that accelerating scientific and technological
                                  progress will continue to bring us. JFK observed that
                                  we had the power to eliminate hunger in the world back
                                  in the '60s, and yet it still hasn't happened. Instead
                                  our politicians spend their time, for example,
                                  facilitating ever greater abuse of increasingly
                                  counter-productive IP laws to hinder all kinds of
                                  things from online music sharing to the provision of
                                  patented drugs to third world patients. Both are due
                                  not to technological constraints but rather to
                                  political ones. I don't want to preach to the choir so
                                  I'll stop there, but I'm sure all of you have at least
                                  a couple of other widely-recognized problems which
                                  come to your mind, which society is either failing to
                                  address or is continuing to itself cause because of
                                  "political constraints".

                                  On a related theme, "Mark L."'s musings on the likely
                                  nature of a native or innate philosophy in AIs
                                  actually made something click for me though, in a
                                  moment of tiredness when I let my guard down enough to
                                  truly consider it. One of the memes Jaron Lanier puts
                                  forward in his Half a Manifesto is "cybernetic
                                  totalism", which is basically the digerati version of
                                  George Soros's "market fundamentalism" schtick. It's
                                  also a fair definition of the philosophy that could I
                                  think fairly be considered the obvious
                                  pre-disposition, if there is any, of any A.I. system.
                                  It is essentially a perfection of the reductionist
                                  hypothesis, holding that not only is reductionism
                                  valid, but that perception _is_ reality, and that
                                  recognizing this "fact" is essential to true
                                  understanding and sound moral judgment. The problem,
                                  of course, is it's exactly the same type of
                                  ends-trump-means philosophy which produced the
                                  devastating seduction of much of the world by nazism,
                                  fascism, and despotic communism last century. This
                                  philosophy _is_ dangerous, to an even greater extent
                                  than Lanier tried to explain.

                                  Fortunately (for my own sanity), I'm still in the John
                                  Holland camp (as he articulated it at the 2000
                                  Stanford "Spiritual Robots" debate, shortly after the
                                  publication of Bill Joy's infamous Wired article), and
                                  don't believe the emergence of A.I. will be nearly as
                                  automatic, inevitable, nor early as Kurzweil an
                                  company expect, so I'm not terribly worried about it.
                                  Barring, of course, the frightening possibility of
                                  Lanier's inversion hypothesis being validated, and
                                  producing a perceived success by moving the goalposts.
                                  If we let this happen, then we will in fact create our
                                  own dystopia, but only by (at least implicit) choice,
                                  not due to any force of technological determinism.



                                  I'll try to elaborate my thoughts on Zen and the
                                  self-other dichotomy soon as well.
                                  --
                                  Kevin D. Keck
                                • Chris Phoenix
                                  For another approach to the problem of science, rationality, and the real world, I encourage anyone following this discussion to read my recent Extropy-chat
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Apr 24 12:41 PM
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    For another approach to the problem of science, rationality, and the
                                    real world, I encourage anyone following this discussion to read my
                                    recent Extropy-chat post:
                                    http://www.lucifer.com/pipermail/extropy-chat/2004-April/005790.html

                                    I begin by talking about rationality, building a case that the validity
                                    of thoughts must be considered within their particular context. Usually,
                                    the context is only within our heads, but we have the cognitive error of
                                    believing that it extends much farther. If someone else's thought makes
                                    no sense, it's probably because their context is different. Likewise,
                                    your thoughts, however rational, are generally unlikely to be
                                    trustworthy if applied too widely.

                                    Then I discuss the consistent real world, and how it exists but we have
                                    trouble addressing it even with science. I'll quote myself rather than
                                    trying to restate:

                                    "It's tempting to think that the world is a single context that
                                    everything can be compared to. But this is equivalent to reductionism.
                                    There are lots of things in the world that can be understood far more
                                    completely by approximation than by first principles. For example,
                                    human psychology has some really weird phenomena (phobias, optical
                                    illusions, passive-aggressive behavior, etc) that a study of physics
                                    will not help you understand. To a psychoanalyst or a politician, or
                                    even a medical doctor, a study of shamanism will have more concrete
                                    utility than a study of electromagnetism.

                                    In fact, when dealing with people, not studying at all--not trying to
                                    form postulates and practice formal thought, but just going on instinct,
                                    intuition, and experience--may be more effective. This is because
                                    people are incredibly complex, and we have a strong evolved non-rational
                                    toolset to help us deal with them. In addition to people, things like
                                    ecology may still be too complex for rational thought to improve on
                                    accumulated heuristics, because we simply don't yet know the postulates
                                    and methods. And then there are things like immunology and cosmology
                                    where none of our tools really work yet, so the only way to approach
                                    them is by study and rationality. Eventually, we can expect that study
                                    and rationality will encompass psychology (including religion and
                                    parapsychology) and ecology and everything else as well.

                                    You mentioned the undesirability of chaos. The alternative to chaos is
                                    the belief that a self-consistent real-world context exists. But even
                                    though it exists, we can't access it directly. Science is motivated by
                                    the desire to build conceptual contexts that map to the real-world one.
                                    Its methods include cataloging (an underrated skill these days),
                                    categorization, experiment, creativity, criticism, and more. In some
                                    sub-contexts like electromagnetism, scientists have been very
                                    successful; the mapping is very close. In protein folding, the end is
                                    in sight. Pedagogy, psychology, and oncology are quagmires, though
                                    oncology may be ready for a synthesis.

                                    But back to the practice of science: the trouble is that scientists,
                                    like everyone else, are prone to the illusion that their chosen context
                                    extends everywhere. Let's be clear: I don't mean that scientists should
                                    leave room for the paranormal or magical. They should not. I mean that
                                    chemists should leave room for physics, and physicists should leave room
                                    for psychology, and psychologists should leave room for chemistry.
                                    Otherwise you get absurdities like chemists declaring that Drexler's
                                    physics and mechanics work is worthless, when it's obvious they don't
                                    even understand it.

                                    One thing I never see addressed in discussions of rationality: How does
                                    a rational thinker know when to keep their ears open and their mouth
                                    shut? Obviously, the belief that a rational thinker will be an expert
                                    in everything is irrational. But it's far too common. Scientists are
                                    slowly learning enough to be rational in certain limited contexts. And
                                    in a few glorious areas, those contexts have spread enough to merge.
                                    But anyone who aspires to rationality should learn from the
                                    overconfidence of scientists who, secure in their rationality, talk
                                    nonsense outside their field. That's as big a mistake--I would argue
                                    that it's the same mistake--as religious people talking nonsense while
                                    feeling secure in their irrationality. The mistake is assuming that
                                    their mental context extends farther than it actually does.

                                    And scientists and rationalists have even less excuse than
                                    irrationalists. If as great a scientist as Lord Kelvin could be wrong
                                    about something as mundane and technical as heavier-than-air flight,
                                    surely the rest of us should be extremely cautious when talking outside
                                    our field of study--or even inside it, for many fields. But no, we keep
                                    making the same mistake: our context defines our universe, and
                                    everything we see must be made to conform. Appeals to rational thought,
                                    in the end, are usually just another way to rationalize this process."

                                    Chris

                                    Ps. Note the very awkward formatting of your post; please correct that.

                                    Pps. I should have cited a source in the Extropy-chat article: the
                                    mundane explanation for the "loaves and fishes miracle" comes from a
                                    book called "The Robe."

                                    Kevin D. Keck wrote:

                                    > I haven't gotten back to this religion thread because I've been
                                    swamped, no=
                                    >
                                    > t because I didn't have anything else to add.
                                    >
                                    > If you go back and look, some of you might be surprised to realize
                                    that I d=
                                    >
                                    > id not in fact profess to be on either side of the "science is just
                                    another religion" deba=


                                    --
                                    Chris Phoenix cphoenix@...
                                    Director of Research
                                    Center for Responsible Nanotechnology http://CRNano.org
                                  • J. Andrew Rogers
                                    ... It is probably worth pointing out that one can prove this mathematically for algorithmically finite systems (which includes a subset of non-finite state
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Apr 24 2:28 PM
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      On Apr 24, 2004, at 12:41 PM, Chris Phoenix wrote:
                                      > I begin by talking about rationality, building a case that the validity
                                      > of thoughts must be considered within their particular context.
                                      > Usually,
                                      > the context is only within our heads, but we have the cognitive error
                                      > of
                                      > believing that it extends much farther. If someone else's thought
                                      > makes
                                      > no sense, it's probably because their context is different. Likewise,
                                      > your thoughts, however rational, are generally unlikely to be
                                      > trustworthy if applied too widely.


                                      It is probably worth pointing out that one can prove this
                                      mathematically for algorithmically finite systems (which includes a
                                      subset of non-finite state machines in addition to all finite state
                                      machines). In fact, the mathematical expression of this is one of the
                                      more useful theorems of algorithmic information theory. An interesting
                                      theoretical direction of this is that one can compute the limits of
                                      correctness for a particular model in a particular context (the
                                      "predictive limit" of a finite model).

                                      Or to put it in simpler terms: In any finite subcontext, rationality
                                      does not imply correctness, and correctness does not imply rationality.
                                      But it is theoretically possible to compute the maximum probability
                                      that a rational model is also a correct model. For some arbitrary
                                      brain/machine, the actual probability will be of the form:

                                      0 < x < predictive limit < 1

                                      where "x" is the actual probability that some rational model is correct
                                      in some context, and the predictive limit is the maximum theoretical
                                      probability that a model might be correct in that context. Why there
                                      is often a significant difference between "x" and the predictive limit
                                      for intelligent systems is a complex topic that I'll simply avoid.

                                      Humans have an extremely poor grasp of the predictive limits of the
                                      model of the universe that they build in their brains. Not only are
                                      many (most?) people unaware that rationality does not imply
                                      correctness, just about everyone is oblivious to the predictive limits
                                      of their rationality with respect to correctness. There are many
                                      things in the universe that can only be modeled to such low predictive
                                      limits in the human brain that one would have to be skeptical of any
                                      claim as to the correctness of those models.

                                      j. andrew rogers
                                    • Chris Phoenix
                                      You mean there s theoretical justification for what I said? Cool! Is it thought to extend to systems that are not algorithmically finite as well? What about
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Apr 24 2:44 PM
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        You mean there's theoretical justification for what I said? Cool! Is
                                        it thought to extend to systems that are not algorithmically finite as
                                        well? What about algorithmic approximations to non-A.F. systems? Can
                                        you give me a reference or two for this?

                                        Chris

                                        J. Andrew Rogers wrote:

                                        > On Apr 24, 2004, at 12:41 PM, Chris Phoenix wrote:
                                        >
                                        >>I begin by talking about rationality, building a case that the validity
                                        >>of thoughts must be considered within their particular context.
                                        >>Usually,
                                        >>the context is only within our heads, but we have the cognitive error
                                        >>of
                                        >>believing that it extends much farther. If someone else's thought
                                        >>makes
                                        >>no sense, it's probably because their context is different. Likewise,
                                        >>your thoughts, however rational, are generally unlikely to be
                                        >>trustworthy if applied too widely.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > It is probably worth pointing out that one can prove this
                                        > mathematically for algorithmically finite systems (which includes a
                                        > subset of non-finite state machines in addition to all finite state
                                        > machines). In fact, the mathematical expression of this is one of the
                                        > more useful theorems of algorithmic information theory. An interesting
                                        > theoretical direction of this is that one can compute the limits of
                                        > correctness for a particular model in a particular context (the
                                        > "predictive limit" of a finite model).
                                        >
                                        > Or to put it in simpler terms: In any finite subcontext, rationality
                                        > does not imply correctness, and correctness does not imply rationality.
                                        > But it is theoretically possible to compute the maximum probability
                                        > that a rational model is also a correct model. For some arbitrary
                                        > brain/machine, the actual probability will be of the form:
                                        >
                                        > 0 < x < predictive limit < 1
                                        >
                                        > where "x" is the actual probability that some rational model is correct
                                        > in some context, and the predictive limit is the maximum theoretical
                                        > probability that a model might be correct in that context. Why there
                                        > is often a significant difference between "x" and the predictive limit
                                        > for intelligent systems is a complex topic that I'll simply avoid.
                                        >
                                        > Humans have an extremely poor grasp of the predictive limits of the
                                        > model of the universe that they build in their brains. Not only are
                                        > many (most?) people unaware that rationality does not imply
                                        > correctness, just about everyone is oblivious to the predictive limits
                                        > of their rationality with respect to correctness. There are many
                                        > things in the universe that can only be modeled to such low predictive
                                        > limits in the human brain that one would have to be skeptical of any
                                        > claim as to the correctness of those models.
                                        >
                                        > j. andrew rogers
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >

                                        --
                                        Chris Phoenix cphoenix@...
                                        Director of Research
                                        Center for Responsible Nanotechnology http://CRNano.org
                                      • J. Andrew Rogers
                                        ... It is only true for algorithmically finite cases, but since this seems to cover all likely real spaces, you get a lot of bang for that buck as a
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Apr 25 11:19 PM
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          On Apr 24, 2004, at 2:44 PM, Chris Phoenix wrote:
                                          > You mean there's theoretical justification for what I said? Cool! Is
                                          > it thought to extend to systems that are not algorithmically finite as
                                          > well? What about algorithmic approximations to non-A.F. systems? Can
                                          > you give me a reference or two for this?


                                          It is only true for algorithmically finite cases, but since this seems
                                          to cover all likely "real" spaces, you get a lot of bang for that buck
                                          as a pragmatic matter. In terms of references, they are sparse but
                                          what you are looking for is probably "non-axiomatic reasoning systems",
                                          and Pei Wang's work in this area is probably the best and most
                                          accessible on the Internet. There has been an interesting bit of
                                          activity over the last year or two toward the unification of the fields
                                          of probability theory, information theory, computational theory,
                                          reasoning/logics, and a couple other bits and pieces as different
                                          facets of a single elegant universal conceptual model for
                                          algorithmically finite systems. My theoretical point comes from some
                                          of the bridgework that is unifying reasoning logics and algorithmic
                                          information theory. There isn't a lot out there; the first mentions of
                                          this general result is implied in some papers from the early '90s on
                                          universal predictors and Pei Wang's stuff, but we've really only worked
                                          it all out in the last couple years (and is still a work in progress).

                                          Finite versus Infinite mathematics:

                                          Algorithmically infinite systems are actually the standard assumption
                                          for classic theory in these areas, and it is of limited utility. That
                                          is how you end up with things like standard first-order logics. The
                                          problem is that we missed a lot because of this. Some very interesting
                                          things emerge when you restrict the mathematics purely to the finite
                                          case, often in areas that were considered mathematically "undefined" in
                                          the general case (mostly because the inclusion of infinite parameters
                                          force an undefined value for theorems and functions that have rich,
                                          interesting, and definable properties when restricted to purely finite
                                          parameters).

                                          As for what "algorithmically finite" means:

                                          The classic "finite state" is an inadequate system descriptor for the
                                          above area of mathematics, and the term "algorithmically finite"
                                          denotes something distinct from "finite state", though there are
                                          conceptual similarities. I actually coined the distinction a couple
                                          years ago. I used to regularly argue with a math-savvy retired
                                          Christian lady about the nature of religion and God in a mathematical
                                          context -- I've developed a lot of good pure theory angles in the
                                          course of trying to prove mathematical points to her, best exercise of
                                          theory I ever got. She made the poignant observation that the apparent
                                          algorithmic finiteness of the universe did not seem to have any obvious
                                          dependency on the universe actually being a finite state machine in the
                                          classical sense. And she seemed to have a point after I thought about
                                          it for a bit, which I later formalized.


                                          "Algorithmically finite" means (very roughly) a system that can only
                                          express finite intrinsic Kolmogorov complexity in finite time. A
                                          properly rigorous definition is fairly difficult to express well, and
                                          tonight is not that night. Interesting things that fall out of this
                                          are:

                                          1.) This is inclusive of all finite state systems.
                                          2.) The effective Kolmogorov complexity of these systems can vary in
                                          time.
                                          3.) This is inclusive of some infinite state systems.

                                          The second property looks mundane, but is actually relatively
                                          interesting. This essentially replaces an important given constant in
                                          classic computational theory with a function. Since expressible
                                          intelligence also varies with Kolmogorov complexity, this has
                                          interesting implications. It is worth noting that this can also break
                                          the assumptions of some theorems from classic theory.

                                          The third property is interesting in that you can have infinite state
                                          systems that are mathematically bound to express the computational
                                          properties of finite systems over any finite span of time. An example
                                          of such a system would be a system with a countably infinite state
                                          fabric (say, at the resolution of the Planck length) and a finite bound
                                          on information propagation (say, the speed of light), resulting in a
                                          system which would be mathematically required to do things like express
                                          an analog of the Laws of Thermodynamics that falls out of algorithmic
                                          information theory. While such a system is nominally infinite state,
                                          it is theoretically limited to the expression of finite algorithms with
                                          a Kolmogorov complexity limit that varies in finite time.

                                          From a functional standpoint, I would say that the AF model is more
                                          general than the classic finite state machine model.

                                          Okay, its past my bedtime,

                                          j. andrew rogers
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