Re: Debunk All Religiosity Equally (D.A.R.E.) ---> inloading

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Sat Jul 07 2001 - 16:02:57 MDT

Harv wrote,
> Phogiston is obvious. Consciousness, philosophy and mind, I think mean
> different things to different people.

Exactly! One of the attributes that makes these terms useless is that no one
can pin discrete definitions on them. To function in a useful way, words need
to mean specific things. When no one can agree what they mean, they lose their
utility. The English language (and especially scientific language) can get
along just fine without meaningless words like these.

Perhaps you read the article Max More posted about the phlogiston and
consciousness hypotheses?

> Why is analog computing on there?

IIRC, it was John Clark who posted the definitive analysis of this oxymoronic
hypothetical dead end. In short, if it's analog, it can't be computed, and if
it's computable, the analog label doesn't apply. IOW, there's no such thing as
an analog computer, because information is digital. For example, a slide rule
is digital: See those little marks on the slider? Those represent digits. Look
closely enough at any apparently continuous surface and you'll find it's
composed of little bits of matter (and not-matter).

> What does that mean? Do you simply mean that digital is better, and can
> accomplish everything analog so that we don't need it?

No, I mean that truly analog computers do not in fact exist. Sufficiently
magnified, every vernier control becomes coarse and granular, hence digital.
Reality itself is atomistic and consequently digital. Some folks contend that
time is seamless and continuous. I say that time is an idea, a convenient way
to measure and track the way matter moves in space. In this respect, time is
the same kind of nonentity as the idea of a perfect circle or the numeral
three, because it exists only in relation to other facets of the real world,
and has no substance in and of itself. The so-called "analog" clock is really
digital because it divides the duration of an event (usually a day, the
frequency of a vibrating crystal, etc.) into specified segments: seconds,
milliseconds, nanoseconds, and so on.

> What about
> cultural
> relativism? Do you list it, because like communism, it doesn't seem to
> work?

I list cultural relativism on the advice of Eliezer S. Yudkowsky, who pointed
out to me that this particular term owes its invention to ideologues who deny
evolutionary psychology.

> What about ELIZA? Isn't that the stupid little program that
> talks
> back? What outrageous claims have been made for it that you would list
> it
> as useless? As an amusing entertainment program, it does need much
> uselessness.

Ah, yes! We do need our uselessnesses, don't we? τΏτ
Ultimately, existence itself is useless and without purpose. A
non-teleological approach to life yields the profoundest poetry, because it
appears to transcend human effort and intent (NB: "appears"). We enjoy those
silly things most which provide a break from the tedium of taking care of
business. ELIZA doesn't "talk back" it retrieves scripts as prompted by
distinct keystrokes -- just the opposite of talking back -- it obeys explicit
commands. The illusion is amusing... an entertaining diversion. I call it
useless because it masquerades as "AI" See:
<<Eliza is the best known Artificial Intelligence program in the world. It is
also one of the oldest. Created in the early 1960's by MIT scientist Joseph
Weizenbaum and named after Eliza Doolittle, its mission was to attempt to
replicate the conversation between a psychoanalyst and a patient.>>

> Just curious about your list. You should have a web page to explain
> your
> list in more detail. It would be interesting. If you do have a web
> page,
> you should include it in your sig.

Thank you for the suggestion (really). I wonder if the usefulness of such a
web page could justify the time and resources required to produce and maintain

Web pages infected by J. R.'s useless hypotheses meme:">

On Ignoring Useless Hypotheses
In the light of this, and since it is easier to ignore useless hypotheses than
to reconstruct useful ones, we now add them in when we generate the
elimination rule, which now looks like this:
  R_elim : {C_R:T1->..->Tn->UNIV} (* C_R does not depend on proofs of R *)
              ({x1:t1}..{xk:tk}S1->..->Sn-> (* rule1 case *)
               (R p1 .. pn)->..->(R p'1 .. p'n)->
               (C_R p1 .. pn)->..->(C_R p'1 .. p'n)->C_R c1 .. cn)->
              (* more cases *)
                   {a1:T1}..{an:Tn}(R a1 .. an)->C_R a1 .. an



Stay hungry,

--J. R.

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, CYC, and ELIZA

     Everything that can happen has already happened, not just once,
     but an infinite number of times, and will continue to do so forever.
     (Everything that can happen = more than anyone can imagine.)

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