Thursday, December 16, 2010

Philosophy to Ponder

If you divided your brain in two, placed one half each in two separate heads and then filled in the other half of each head with other people's brain halves, which one of the two is you? The answer must be either one of them, Both of them or Neither of them. But how are ANY of these possibilities consistent with the fact that you are your brain? If only one of them is you, why that one and not the other? Experiments have demonstrated that people maintain their selfhood and consciousness after one of their entire brain hemispheres is removed. So what if both of them are you? But the key and defining property of a self is surely unity and singularity; but how is this even possible if you are two people at the same time? Are you somehow conscious of being in two places at once even though this seems clearly impossible as there is no physical link left between the hemispheres? So that must mean neither of them are you... but why not? Surely if your mind is your brain you should still be somewhere as your entire original brain is still operational! It seems to be that this thought experiment demonstrates the necessity of some unitary principle that exists apart from physical matter.

If you had a Star Trek transporter, which disassembled every atom of your body and reassembled it somewhere else, is that person still you? After all you have been destroyed and a completely new material version has been constructed. Again, both possibilities seem to demonstrate the falsity of materialism. If that person is still you, under materialism it really shouldn't be, because the entire physical constituents of your original body has been removed, at that point under materialism you should have ceased to exist. If that person isn't still you, however materialism suggests it should be, because the new version is in all respects identical to the first. So materialism is left in the precarious position of seeming to make paradoxical predictions. And an idea that contradicts itself cant really be true can it? It's like the concept of a married bachelor, which is clearly impossible.

Finally, strict forms of materialism (excluding things like epiphenomenalism, which holds that the mind is not strictly matter but is a useless, causally ineffectual byproduct of matter. Epiphenomenalism is wrong for a whole host of OTHER reasons ;)) hold that the mind and the brain are identical. However, applying Leibniz's law of identicalities to this issue leads to utter ridiculousness. Leibniz's law (which is a philosophically complicates way of saying 'common sense' it seems) states that if two things are identical then if one thing has a certain property, the other must have the same property. This seems obvious. Now apply this to the materialist statement 'Your consciousness is your brain'. Your brain is a physical object that exists inside your skull, it has mass, location in space and objective properties. Does your consciousness have WEIGHT?? Uh... WRONG. Saying your thoughts and awareness have weight seems obviously absurd. Plus, your consciousness has SUBJECTIVE properties when it seems your brain is purely objective. Oh this ain't looking good for materialism. Now let's apply things the other way. Your consciousness has CONTENT. For example, your belief that there is a tree in your backyard is ABOUT the tree. Now how exactly can a set of neurons be ABOUT something? How can physical objects such as neurons contain references to things outside of themselves? I've yet to hear any good reason why they can or should. So there's another point of difference. It seems obvious that this proposition monumentally fails the test. Maybe if you disagree you can weigh your consciousness for me.

Alright I am done. Go here for a refutation of epiphenomenalism: http://www.emergentmind.org/rivas-vandongen.htm

Yes, obviously I have been moving away from the levity and humour of senseless topics lately, but have no fear... I shall be returning to them soon when I present the next entry: Scott's list of his greatest Mancrushes. Keep it real, and dont be a materialist. ;)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Who is Insane?? Me or The World?

Welcome to a momentous event. There comes a time in every person like me's life, when they look out at the world and says "Wow... me and the average Joe Schmo Society Bot are pretty much complete opposites." Obviously this would imply that I am a freak because there are a whole fuckload more of them then there are of me. This would be true. BUT. If me and the world are opposites, then that would imply that one of us is sane, and one of us is insane. Which begs the question, who is sane... me or the world??

Obviously I would be an improper and biased judge of such a question. Thus I shall call upon the wisdom of the eternal ipod, imbued with knowledge and truth. There are different categories and issues which I shall be presenting the views of myself and The World, and then I will fire up the ipod's shuffle function and the first song title that comes up will decide whose point of view is sane and whose is insane. Whichever point of view is best supported in the song title wins. So let's get to it.

ISSUE ONE (Desires in Life)

Me: What do I want?? To love others unconditionally.

The World: What do I want?? Oh my gosh dude! A squillion dollars for one thing!! Flat screen tv... yacht... private jet, maybe a helicopter. A bevvy of hot chicks/guys or maybe just one who will do everything I say. They had better damn well shut up too, I don't want no jip. A mansion. Hells yeah. Maybe some bling. Maybe we can sum it all up by saying that I want STUFF STUFF STUFF!! WHOO! SHORT SIGHTEDNESS!

THE DECISION: 'Everlasting' by Dark the Suns

Since nothing that the World has listed is everlasting, obviously the ipod is favouring my sanity in this one.

Scott: 1, The World: 0

ISSUE TWO (The best part about being human)

Scott: The greatest human invention is music. I will also accept literature, films or art as a correct and worthy answer to this question.

The World: The greatest human invention is whatever helps make my existence that little bit more easy. As long as I don't have to think, I'm all good! Cellphones baby. Fucking auto text function FOR THE WIN! Typing out full words is so passee! Now the phone tells me what I want to say and condenses it to some abomination of a contraction. Now if only they'd invent something that did my housework for me, and peed for me, and got my mail for me. Oh, I forgot money. I love money!!

THE DECISION: 'Soul Society' by Kamelot.

Well this is a difficult one to determine. My perspective certainly has more soul... but the world is definitely the Society. Call it a draw!

Scott: 2, The World: 1


ISSUE THREE (The Purpose of Life)

Me: Philosophically speaking, the issue of the purpose of life depends upon both the existence of God and the existence of some form of afterlife. Don't fucking argue with me because I can demonstrate this fact. If life is not eternal then it is TEMPORAL, ie: limited in time. If life is TEMPORAL, then all possible purpose attached to it is also TEMPORAL. A temporal life can not have lasting purpose. Let's say you discover something historic that changes the face of human existence. That would be a lasting purpose to your life right, even if you're not around forever to witness it? Uh, no. Because eventually the sun will burn out, humanity will either perish or move on and eventually and inevitably will die out. At this point any purpose attached to your life is moot and redundant. This point is fairly unanimous amongst philosophers. Good thing that there is bountiful evidence for survival of consciousness after death and solid rigorous arguments in favour of God, plus, materialistic atheism collapses under its only self contradictions. Why haven't you heard of this? Because you were too busy worrying about your hair extensions or that turbo engine you want to buy. Anyway, I take the purpose of life, if indeed there is one to be a progression towards a state of pure love, a learning experience in the school of Earthly hard knocks, because if you can actually achieve pure love here, you can probably make it anywhere.

The World: Probably some worthless bilge along the lines of "The purpose of life is to have FUN!". As I have already demonstrated, attributing such things to be an actual purpose of life is spurious at best. On your useless presumed materialist worldview (I have noticed most people are de facto materialists, in that they are materialists but dont know it, and tend to be shocked when you point out how ridiculous materialism actually is) in 200 years nobody will care that you had fun, least of all your extinct ass. Really The World here has two choices, deny all purpose and embrace existential despair or do some homework and open your mind to possibilities. OF course, The World will do neither and continue to meander along in fantasy land proclaiming the purpose of life to be to enjoy oneself, or to make as much money as possible or any other useless badly thought out contrivance.

THE DECISION: 'Dancing with Eternal Glory' by Transatlantic.

No shit!! That really just came up first go! Perfect! Obviously there is something to be said for divine intervention after all.

Scott: 3 The World: 1

ISSUE FOUR (Human relationships)

Me: Should be based on love and freedom. Restrictions are only limitations of self and expressions of fear. You will never have true security, even in marriage so stop pretending its possible and take it as it comes. Respect differences, do not punish them. Be honest. Don't conceal things.

The World: Apparently should be based on fear and restriction. Restrictions are safety nets to protect you from getting hurt! Security is POSSIBLE as long as you keep your partner under the gun on a regular basis and threaten them with losing half their possessions if they transgress! Punish differences, do not respect them. Lie to keep the peace. Conceal pretty much everything. Out of fear.

THE DECISION: 'Fearless' by Sylvan. Divinity appears once again, thank you Mr. Ipod ;)


FINAL SCORE: Scott 4, The World 1

There you have it, the world is nutso crazy. I feel vindicated. :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I have no qualifications... so believe this guy instead

This is a follow up to the previous post. This is what a group of real scientists have to say on the matter of positing randomness and chance as an explanation for the origin of life.

"It seems to us that the frozen-accident theory of life's origin is at best unsatisfying, and may be unworthy of the scientific way of approaching the world. To say that a natural process is random is, in effect, an act of surrender, something that should be done only as a last resort. If you read the frozen-accident literature carefully, you often get the feeling that what is really being said is: "My friends and I can't figure out why things happened this way, so it must have been random."

- Harold Morowitz, Robert Hazan, and James Trefil, Chronicle of Higher Education (September 2, 2005),

Chance and Randomness Can Get Fucked

This is a strange one from me, but it is necessary. Today I am going to rant about the FUCKING BONEHEADED bilge that has infiltrated nearly every mainstream academic publication that I read that the explanation of pretty much fucking everything is 'Time, Chance and Randomness'. Why life originated on earth? Chance. Why organisms evolved? Randomness and time. Why there's a universe in the fucking first place? Randomness. Chance.

Get fucked. Seriously, get fucked and die. CHANCE IS AN EXPLANATION OF NOTHING. STOP PRETENDING IT IS. It is an intellectual copout and a way of fucking appearing intelligent when in fact by postulating fucking chance and randomness all you're saying is "Yeah we have no fucking idea of the causes involved here. But still, give us our research money, tomorrow we're going to allocate something else fundamental to our existence to random happenstance!! Yay Science!!"

I must apologise for getting technical with some maths... but it is unavoidable. Physicist Roger Penrose estimates the chances of us lucking randomly into the universe we have, with its parameters set the way they are (funnily enough to allow complex life to prosper and consciousness to express itself, hey how lucky!!) is... wait for it... First you take 10 then add 10 zeroes at the end of it, giving 100,000,000,000... then you kinda take that number and multiply it by itself ONE HUNDRED AND THREE FUCKING TIMES. After you have done this, you are left with a number so fucking large that the amount of zeroes it has actually outnumbers every particle in the entire universe. So you have one chance in that fucking incomprehensible number of producing a universe that supports life by chance. How lucky we are!! Whoo! Party!! Fuck off. Chance can suck a fat one. That number is so large, 'mathematically impossible' covers it quite nicely.

Oh but we cant stop there! So right now we've got a one in a number with a universe of zeroes after it that we get a universe like this one that can support complex life. Now we have to have the origin of life on this planet arise through... yup, random chance!! So what chance do we have for that? Well zero. But we'll humor the chance bots on this one. The chances of getting a functional protein required for the simplest known living cellular organism is estimated at 10 to the power of 70. That's one in 10 with 70 zeroes after it. Oh but oops... the simplest living organism needs 200 OF THESE PROTEINS TO FORM, ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!! THAT'S 10 WITH 70 ZEROES AFTER IT MULTIPLIED BY ITSELF 200 TIMES!!! THEN IT NEEDS THEM TO MIRACULOUSLY SORT THEMSELVES INTO THE CORRECT FUNCTIONING ORDER WITH THE CORRECT CHEMICAL BONDS BETWEEN THEM AND NONE OF THE PROTEINS CAN BE RIGHT ALIGNED AT ALL. I'm sorry, your materialistic assumptions have long since crushed my credulity under the sheer weight of bullshit you are expecting me to swallow here.

GET ME A REAL FUCKING EXPLANATION OR GET FUCKED. And people think accepting the existence of God is somehow intellectually vacuous?? No, it is sensible, when faced with such tenditious bullshit. Chance can go suck on a dick, oh wait... no it can't, chance isn't even a causal fucking agent. It can't DO anything. Randomness can never even be established, so stop defending it and then pretending you're objective and not a faith driven ideologue.

Materialism. Banking on odds so long it is comparable to winning the Powerball jackpot 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 weeks in a row yet still claiming to be sensible. Obviously if materialism was a human being, it would be the guy in the mental ward claiming that he is a fifty six tentacled squid monster from the planet Rygil 87 with powers to transform Purple Jelly Beans into coal. But only purple ones.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Human nature moments on Survivor

I'm sure I have professed my love for Survivor on this blog many a time, but it really is the best reality show of all time and lapses easily into the best tv ideas ever. Put strangers on an island or in the wild, get them to survive together all the while jostling for positioning in a strategic game of socialising, politics and group dynamics. It's like a window into our collective psyche sometimes... and sometimes through the window you see weird ass shit that reminds you just how eclectic the human race can be. Here are some.

1. Courtney vs Bruce, the Zen garden incident from Exile Island.

Bruce the old asian man decides that work around camp can be put on the back burner in favour of building a zen rock garden on the beach for purposes of relaxation and meditation. This pisses off the entire rest of the tribe. Then Courtney, the crazy girl everyone hates decides to use Bruce's zen garden to do her yoga, thus pissing off Bruce. Yes, they are on a deserted island trying to survive and the biggest issue is the construction of a rock garden and other people using it for yoga. Humanity.

2. Erinn gets pissy about Coach suffering more than her in Tocantins.

Erinn, a young 20 something girl fresh off a bad break up comes on Survivor and does fairly well. She is sent by her alliance of J.T and Stephen to the exile island because she is the only one they trust to tell them if there is another immunity idol hidden there or not. There isn't, and she suffers in the storm with meagre food for 48 hours. A few episodes later Coach, the outdoorsman, renaissance man and adventurer (aka the greatest man alive) gets sent to exile and vows he will do it the monastic way. He's going to go out there for 48 hours, not eat or drink a single thing and try to reach spiritual enlightenment through suffering. Remarkably this pisses off Erinn for some stupid reason who thinks he is trying to downplay her suffering on Exile when really I'm sure he's thinking "What bitch?! You think I'm going to go out there and starve myself for 48 hours just to make a 20 year old brat look weak? Get off it woman!". So basically in a nutshell you have a girl getting pissed off because someone else is suffering and she wanted to be the one who suffered most. Sense. This makes it. Humanity.

3. Shambo has a bad dream in Samoa.

Shambo is a 45 year old former military woman with a mullet. Yeah I know, that might be all you need to know right there. But she also has SCARY PRECOGNITIVE DREAMS. So scary in fact, that they cause her to vote out her own allies!! One night, Shambo wakes up after having a nightmare regarding her teammate 'Danger' Dave Ball, a guy who has spent nearly 22 days attempting to placate Shambo, play down her eccentricities and keep her in the game as a loyal ally. Without a moment's reflection this is all she needs to decide that Dave is evil and needs to go home. She goes and tells the diabolical Russell Hantz, who only wants to use her as a pawn to get himself to the end (and had burned his own tribe's socks just to make them suffer more in the rain, class act really). Russell plays into her delusions and tells her that it must be 'a sign from God' that Dave has some bad intentions. She flips it up and Dave goes home. All because she had a bad dream. So I guess in her real life if she had a bad dream about a friend, and there is no game of Survivor to stop her, she's going to butcher him in his sleep. Humanity.

4. Shane Powers threatens to murder Courtney, Courtney more concerned with her apartment in Panama.

Shane Powers (who is AWESOME) on day 5 of the game swears on his son's life that he will be loyal to Courtney, Aras and Danielle for the rest of the game. Only problem is... Courtney is a nutball and he grows to DESPISE her. But he cant vote her out, because he promised on his son's life who is the only thing that matters to Shane. So hilariously he is forced to live with her for the remaining 34 days. One day tensions come to a head between the odd couple and Shane when discussing the next vote points his finger in her face and proclaims "If you stab me in the back, I will come to your shitty little apartment and fucking kill you." Courtney reels back slightly and comes back with an absolute gem. "My apartment isn't little!" Humanity.