On 14 Jan 2001, at 22:33, Emlyn wrote:
> > **Yeah; some interesting stuff going on right now. But
> > of course, WE intelligently PROGRAMMED the computers
> > to do this within parameters established by us.
> Only partially are the parameters established by us. Mostly we are mimicking
> a "natural" process, where by "natural" I mean it came about and continues
> without/despite us (probly shudda useda diffrent word).
**Okay--but the whole thing takes place inside a computer designed,
built, and powered by us. That is their universe; we are their "God."
We created them.
> The stuff we change is usually either because we are working on something
> not naturally occuring (xor table, for example), or because the "natural"
> process is hideously complicated; too damned hard.
> I'll just throw in an unrelated argument against design (as opposed to
> natural selection) - what you see around you is all kludges. The much
> vaunted eye, far from being the miracle of creation, is quite flawed and
> dodgy. DNA itself seems to be a fairly klunky thing in whole, likewise
> neurons and a bazillion other biological mechanisms. There's no wheel, no
> gears/levers, all kinds of stuff missing from the "natural" world. If it's
> hand designed, it's done pretty poorly.
**Possible that's necessary for some reason--to maintain
flexibility/adaptability, for example. Could just be accumulated
oddities, of course.
> If it doesn't affect us at all, then by Occam's razor we cannot consider it,
> because it is of no useful purpose.
**Ah--but Man's reach SHOULD exceed his grasp...
The intangible is pure conjecture, by
**Of course. (Most would call emotions intangible--yet they affect us
> If it does affect us, we must at some point be able to detect it. Yet again,
> whilst we can find no reasonable purpose to presuppose a "supernatural"
> meddler, we must presume there is not one. If we can detect it, then we have
> another ball game. This is not currently the case.
**I claim nothing to be supernatural. The supernatural, by
definition, cannot exist.I also claim no meddler.
> I know it sounds terribly banal of me to be so utilitarian. But consider; to
> what purpose do we assume an interfering external entity, when we have no
What can we do if we allow this? Nothing. If we cannot predict
> it's actions, we cannot predict the universe. People can make wild claims of
> regarding its actions, and we cannot refute them. Kind of dumb, if there is
> no evidence.
**Yes. I'm not TRYING to make wild claims. I don't even recall how I
got onto this tack. I see design; others don't. As you say, largely
irrelevant to our current endeavors.
> > > Do you
> > mean
> > that the physical laws of the universe somehow embody
> > an intelligence,
> > that
> > there is some extra thing which guides their
> > (assumedly capricious)
> > application?
> > **I believe (note use of word "believe") that at the
> > very least, something consciously determined the rules
> > by which the game would be played, and then set it
> > into motion. Whether that something is still
> > around..(?) Why not?
> Fair enough. That question about whether or not something consciously kicked
> the whole thing off does not have a clear answer, or maybe any credible
> answer at this point. It might even be the wrong question. So pick your
> The conscious directing entity is also a victim of William of Occam's
**This I love. William would be quite pleased at his importance.
We have been able to show that the laws of physics model
> reality to a useful degree; coming back to the case in point, the utility of
> the theory of natural selection in many areas, amongst them biological
> evolution, is not in doubt. So we either assume those laws (plus stuff we
> don't know yet) on their own, or we assume them + CDE. There is no way as
> yet to say which way is "true", but CDE has not shown it's utility. So it's
**Believe it or not, I do understand all of this, really. (Very
nicely put, though--much better than the texts I've read.) I simply--
very unscientifically and very instinctively--state that it is not
enough. When I'm talking nanotech, find--hard science alll the way;
no room for anything else.
> > >Well, we came from somewhere. A fairly mainstream
> > view is that it is
> > massively unlikely, in fact; however, there's a big
> > universe out there,
> > and
> > a long, long time; on that scale, it becomes more
> > probable that
> > somewhere,
> > somewhen, this kind of improbable event could occur.
> > **AACCKKK!!!
> That's not up to par. I assume you mean "that doesn't suit me
> aesthetically". You have to explain why (your specific objection), and what
> your alternative is.
**It's the Big Dodge again. But I think we've beaten this issue about
to death here.
> > >On the other hand, the probability does not come into
> > play. By the
> > anthropic
> > principle, we are going to be us, intelligent life,
> > because what else
> > can we
> > be? If we had never existed, that might say something
> > about the
> > probability
> > of us existing. Our existence, however, does not say
> > anything other
> > than
> > that we are possible. It is not possible to estimate a
> > probability; in
> > turn,
> > our origin does not have to be probable. Only
> > possible.
> > **Double AAACCKKK!!!
> Again, explain yourself. That's a cogent argument, which you have not
> > >
> > This doesn't really explain anything; there is a whiff
> > of trolldom in
> > the
> > air.
> > **No; you know what it is, really? I've been spending
> > too much time around idiots, and then I tuned in to
> > this place. Perhaps I'm overcompensating.
> It's a tough crowd, I'll give you that.
**Hey but it's a BRIGHT crowd...
This is a pet topic too; the burden
> of argument lies on you, however unfair that might seem.
**Again, this particular issue is, for the moment, philosophy. An AI
would have no problem with a purely mechanistic view of creation and
development. As a human, transhuman, whatever--I have a problem with
it. I suspect many do--many scientists included--but they keep their
mouths shut for obvious reasons.
> > **We must become more than we are to find out. That is
> > what this is about, yes?
> Maybe. More than we are will be fun... that's my motivation; basically quite
> ego-driven. Quite possibly we could find out everything without changing at
> all, eventually. But we keep finding out very cool things on the way; things
> that cry out to be applied. I think I'm a transhumanist because I'm
> programmed to be, because a long time ago it turned out to be useful to
> think and make tools, so I was programmed (by natural selection) to get a
> kick out of these things.
**To future fun.
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:19 MDT