Paleophyte and Brownshirt play Q & A
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08-01-2015, 02:43 AM
RE: Paleophyte and Brownshirt play Q & A
I don't really speculate on this to be honest it's not something I've considered. But thinking about it now if (that's a big if) a god exists then I would be more inclined to put it outside of our realm, but shit there would be no real reason why. Hobo

Do you think that science is a replacement for religion for some people?

I.e it provides a sense of certainty where there is none (imo).
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08-01-2015, 09:05 AM
RE: Paleophyte and Brownshirt play Q & A
(08-01-2015 02:43 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  Do you think that science is a replacement for religion for some people?

I.e it provides a sense of certainty where there is none (imo).

Absolutely, though that's going to require a bit of qualification.

Some people will use pretty much anything as a replacement for pretty much anything else. Right now there's likely somebody bouncing up and down on a pogo stick with their underwear on their head because it gives them a certainty that religion didn't. That a small minority will substitute science for religion in an extremely unhealthy manner is a certainty. It's what Scientology tries to be after all.

More interestingly would be how much do people use science as a replacement for religion and why? Everybody in the industrialized world does that to a greater or lesser degree.

Once, and more recently than you'd like to think, we'd have offered human sacrifices to ensure good crops. As you can well imagine, watering and fertilizing with human blood wasn't exactly sustainable. With the advent of organized religion you prayed, tithed and begged the priest to intervene with The AllMighty on your behalf. And much of the time you snuck out at night and gave offerings of food and such to the old gods too. Now we sow GM seeds and shower them with NPK fertilizers and a variety of pesticides. Those have their own costs and perils but they get the job done.

Science has made substantial inroads to just about every facet of modern life, so yes, some people are going to take that to the extreme and try and use science for everything. That's pretty self-limiting though because that sense of security you mention isn't what you're getting. Science is good at the straight facts but that's rarely what people want. The bare facts are rarely terribly comforting.

Q11: Do you see anything odd in this video? It's short. 3:35. 2:40 if you skip the credits but you'll miss the Easter eggs if you do.

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Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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09-01-2015, 07:31 PM
RE: Paleophyte and Brownshirt play Q & A
No idea, clouds and the sunset, the rate at which the balloon dropped?

The facts from science demonstrate the facts of what has been found, I really don't understand how people manage to interpret more beyond what has not been "falsified".

Do you find it strange that an agnostic is so critical of the atheist position?
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09-01-2015, 11:04 PM
RE: Paleophyte and Brownshirt play Q & A
(09-01-2015 07:31 PM)Brownshirt Wrote:  Do you find it strange that an agnostic is so critical of the atheist position?

I think it's a little odd. The 'I don't know and neither can you!' attitude is a perplexing especially since my stance is simply, "I don't know and don't believe." I've met many a non-believer who simply didn't care, but your fervent agnosticism is the exact opposite of that.

Q13: Do you believe that you are open-minded compared to a) the "average" person b) theists and c) atheists? By what standard?

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Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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10-01-2015, 02:51 AM
RE: Paleophyte and Brownshirt play Q & A
(09-01-2015 11:04 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  
(09-01-2015 07:31 PM)Brownshirt Wrote:  Do you find it strange that an agnostic is so critical of the atheist position?

I think it's a little odd. The 'I don't know and neither can you!' attitude is a perplexing especially since my stance is simply, "I don't know and don't believe." I've met many a non-believer who simply didn't care, but your fervent agnosticism is the exact opposite of that.

Q13: Do you believe that you are open-minded compared to a) the "average" person b) theists and c) atheists? By what standard?

I don't see many atheists as holding that position. I'm not a fan of hypocrisy and the irony for many atheists is that they're become what they supposedly despise.

On some things I'm open minded, on some things I'm not. You'll need to ask me specifics. With regards to addressing existence, I'm very close minded to thinking we can answer it. If there's something which suggests otherwise my position will chance and I'll admit I was wrong.
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10-01-2015, 04:33 AM
RE: Paleophyte and Brownshirt play Q & A
That's a reasonable answer. Your question.

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11-01-2015, 03:33 AM
RE: Paleophyte and Brownshirt play Q & A
If a god existed, would you expect evidence to be available to us?
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11-01-2015, 02:29 PM
RE: Paleophyte and Brownshirt play Q & A
(11-01-2015 03:33 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  If a god existed, would you expect evidence to be available to us?

Probably.
  • Of all the gods ever suggested by humans, certainly. The excuse that god performed miracles back in the age of superstition but doesn't anymore really just highlights what god is.
  • Of all the possible gods that have ever been posited (known unknowns), probably. I'm having a hard time figuring out why god would actively hide itself from us.
  • There are conceivably a whole lot more gods that we've never dream of (unknown unknowns) and I obviously can't speak to them.
  • Human reasoning may be insufficient to deal with the motives and behaviors of deities.

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I'm guessing that you've never heard of Langton's ant. If you have, skip to the end.

The "ant" is a fascinating little simulation that follows two simple rules that can be implemented with a single IF-THEN-ELSE statement.
  • If the "ant" is on a white square, it inverts the color, turns left 90 degrees and advances to the square in front of it.
  • If the "ant" is on a black square, it inverts the color, turns right 90 degrees and advances to the square in front of it.
The simulation typically begins on an all-white board, though more elaborate starting conditions are possible.

Here's a Langton's Ant simulator. Don't run it yet. On that page click the link "Run This Example". If your Javascript runs properly a new window should open with an ant simulator. There's a slider on the controls at the lower right. Set it all the way up to "Fast" and this'll take about 20 seconds.

If the Ant simulator won't run then here's an image of the final result. It shows the end result but not the ant in action so it's less informative. Also less fun to watch.

Q15: Before you run the simulator, what would you predict the "ant's" behavior to be based on these very simple rules? Having run the simulator, did you notice any behaviors that you did not anticipate?

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Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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12-01-2015, 01:33 AM (This post was last modified: 12-01-2015 01:38 AM by Brownshirt.)
RE: Paleophyte and Brownshirt play Q & A
The diagonal line at the end. I'm trying to see how this particular example is of benefit to you.

What are your 5 favourite bands?
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12-01-2015, 10:26 AM
RE: Paleophyte and Brownshirt play Q & A
(12-01-2015 01:33 AM)Brownshirt Wrote:  What are your 5 favourite bands?

My musical tastes are a little eclectic. I don't have favorite bands exactly.

Classical: Beethoven's 9th (Ode to Joy), Holst (The Planets), Strauss (Also Sprach Zarathustra) amongst others

Christmas: I'm fond of many of the old religious carols despite the religion. O Come All Ye Faithful is a favorite. Silent Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem (I love those minor keys), Hark the Herald Angels Sing... It's hard to find the right versions though. There's a way those carols are meant to be sung and not many people seem to get that. In O Holy Night too many singers just try to glide through the verse "Fall on your knees..." when you really have to put power into it.

Contemporary: Most of my musical taste fossilized in the '80s. The list is topped by Leonard Cohen and Vanessa May but Billy Joel, Chris deBurgh, Enya, Great Big Sea, Heart and U2 feature prominently.

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Langton's Ant is a beautiful example of a fascinating property known as Emergent Behavior. Put very simply, if you take some very simple rules and repeat the over and over again you often find that new behaviors that are not specified in any of the rules emerge. In the case of the Ant, it begins to build "highways" even though that behavior is not coded for anywhere in the simulation.

Here's the really nifty thing though. Emergent Behaviors cannot be predicted. Let me go back to the ant to explain. The ant always builds exactly the same pattern every time. It has as little choice as any series of nested If-Then-Else statements. None. Yet if we take that all-white starting board and put a single black pixel somewhere in the ant's path then the entire pattern changes. The Ant will still build its "highway", this much we are certain of, but we no longer know where, when, in what direction, or even what shape the "highway" will be. There is no equation by which we can determine this. The only way to find out what the Ant will do is to run the Ant.

Q17: Does this peculiar unpredictability of Emergent Behaviors remind you of anything we hear of in theology?

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Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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