# Re: sacred geometry

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (sentience@pobox.com)
Mon, 22 Sep 1997 21:18:46 -0500

CALYK@aol.com wrote:
>
> Well it is true, I read it in Robert Anton Wilson, and he's not lying. Why
> did you say it was untrue? Just because you didnt find the proof to validate
> it you're going to say its false? The dogon story is very popular, I've
> heard it in more than one place.

You know, R.A.W. isn't on my "Top 10" list of trustworthy sources.
Robert "Mord the Malignant" Anton Wilson makes the "Bottom 10" list, maybe.

Have you ever read the Principia Discordia? It is against this man's
*religion* to impose order on the Universe by walking around recklessly
telling the truth. Of course, telling the truth is often a great way to cause
chaos. But that's just the dodge we use to make our lies believable. Or
maybe it was other way around. Anyhow, I couldn't fail to disagree with you less.

```--

Anyway, here's the answers.  The false ones are 1, 3, and 4.  The sky really
is purple at night, within the tolerance of the term "purple" as meant by the
listener.  Ruling that "the sky" refers to night sky, as well as day sky,
despite the intentions of the asker, is within the standard rules for trick questions.

> 1)  Sun is yellow.  Sky is blue.  Yellow + blue = green.
The Sun emits many spectra of light.  The blue components are scattered by
the atmosphere and becomes the blue sky.  The remainder looks yellow.  If you
added the blue and the yellow, you'd get the original color of the Sun, which
is NOT green.

> 3)  The stars are polka-dots.  Some of them are red giants.
No difference.  If the red light doesn't make it into the atmosphere, they're
not red polka-dots.  If the dots are blue-white but the suns are red, it
doesn't make a difference.  The sun object is distinct from the dot object.
The two properties cannot be mixed at random.

> 4)  There are many planets in the Universe.  Some of them will have skies of
> any given color.
Switching the term "the sky" to all skies in the Universe is outside the
tolerance of the question.  While the sky at day is the same object as the sky
at night, the sky of Jupiter is completely different.  Moreover, since the
term "a sky" exists in contrast to the term "the sky", the alteration cannot
be ruled to lie within the semantic sphere of the latter term.  Finally, there
may exist objects which are ambiguously considered "skies" on foreign objects.
Is the atmosphere of the Sun a sky?  This additional question demonstrates a
semantic expansion of the term, another difference which does not lie within
asker's tolerance.  Finally, the perceived semantic distance between "the sky"
and "Jupiter's sky" is enough to cause hesitation, rather than laughter, as is
the case with "the sky" and "night sky".
Some listeners may find the answer valid after the expansion and priming of
the three previous answers, and particularly to the question "Prove that the
sky is all colors", but it would not be valid as an answer to any particular
request to prove that the sky is a particular color, particularly as a
standalone response.

--

"Slim Brooks was just an ordinary merchant seaman dwelling in the New Orleans
French Quarter until he read Principia Discordia. Then he became the
mysterious Keeper of the Submarine Keys, and would never tell anyone what
submarine or why it was locked."

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky,
Member, Benevolent Mutants of the Apocalypse, Local 1040.
--
sentience@pobox.com      Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
http://tezcat.com/~eliezer/singularity.html
http://tezcat.com/~eliezer/algernon.html
Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.

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