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Everything posted by KipIngram

  1. Yeah, I think swansont has made it very clear we are not discussing any sort of consciousness other than that which potentially emerges from physical structure. Destroy the structure - you've destroyed the consciousness. And in that context if you argue for the existent of duplicate structures, I don't think there's any way to claim that the two (separate) structures house the same consciousness. You'd be talking about two consciousnesses that behaved in very similar ways, but they'd still be distinct.
  2. And yet, there is no way to thoroughly rule out an omnipotent deity. Such a deity could have created any universe, including the one we observe. I'm not claiming that's what happened, but you just can't be 100% sure that it's not. "Strongly likely to be right" isn't the same thing as "guaranteed to be right."
  3. I like that. I actually figure I'm going to do ok after my kids are grown - I make a pretty decent salary, but things can still seem tight because we've tried to give the kids every opportunity. So when they're grown and on their own it should seem easy enough to maintain the "me" lifestyle I've tended to live.
  4. Yeah, it's hard to see how that could happen. Casinos are supposed to be automatic money machines, given how probability and statistics work. But I guess they're still in competition with other casinos, and competition tends to drive profit margins down. Even though your games are sure money makers, you still have to pay for the facilities and the perks that make people want to pick your casino over others.
  5. That's a common perspective - the "Given that evil exists then God must be either evil or non-existent." The counter-argument you hear from "believers" is that God gave us free will and does not interfere with how we use it (at least these days). Both of those are pretty much non-falsifiable arguments, so there's not a whole lot of point to arguing over it. I think the tendency to compete over resources (whether they're scarce or not) is just part of human nature. It's really hard for me to understand how even for the very wealthy "there's just never enough" - I feel like I'd get to a point where I sat back and thought "I've got plenty - no need to hustle for more." But then again I've never been tested on that front, so who knows? For all I know I'd fall victim to the greed disease just like the rest of 'em.
  6. Yes, I agree. Being smart and well-educated raises the chances that you'll have some of that luck. One place I think luck really factors in is stock market investing. In fact, I've have strong doubts that there even is such a thing as a "stock market guru." When you have enough people attempting to succeed at an endeavor, a few of them are going to succeed through blind luck. Then they look like geniuses, and start publishing books and holding seminars and so on. I think that there are things that you can analyze that can help you gain some insight into how successful a particular company will be, but now that everyone and his brother plays the stock market I think those "rational" things may be totally buried by all the speculative gyrations that go on in the market.
  7. Today I learned about the "read disturb" phenomenon associated with NAND flash storage devices. https://www.flashmemorysummit.com/English/Collaterals/Proceedings/2015/20150812_FE22_Tressler.pdf It was interesting to see Tressler's name pop up - he's a colleague of mine. I haven't worked "strongly" with him, but I've been in meetings with him from time to time.
  8. If you expect your life to suck, it probably will. If you have an optimistic outlook, though, you can find a lot about life to enjoy. You get out what you put in. I'm curious - how do you figure we should be inhabiting the galaxy now? We're only 150 years or so into what you could call "real" industrialization, and only developed the technology to reach space at all in the last century. Given the severe limits placed on travel speed by special relativity, exactly what could we have done differently such that we'd be spreading out over the galaxy at this point? I do admit that we could be further along than we are - some Presidential administrations chose to have NASA turn rather strongly away from its "outward facing" mission. If we'd maintained the aggressive mission laid out during the Kennedy administration we could have made more progress.
  9. I feel sure he's referring to emergent consciousness - that's what makes the "infinite number of atoms" significant here, since if you have an infinite number of atoms and you have some pattern of them "here" we'll call X (say it's me), then somewhere you'll have an identical pattern X' (which would be a copy of 'me'). Under the premise of emergent consciousness both of those patterns would be conscious, and would have the same memories, and so on. It's hard to see how the two copies could wind up with exactly the same memories when one of them is "here" and one of them is "there," but I guess you could invoke the "identical patterns of atoms" on a larger scale (the environments of X and X') such that they'd have identical memories. Anyway, I don't think the consciousness of X is the same as the consciousness of X'. I think that's two identical but entirely separate conscious entities. So the continued existence of X' doesn't give X "life after death." Seems like you'd run into a boundary problem here. In order for X and X' to have identical memories, then a huge environment around them would have to be identical as well (both X and X' would have to see the constellation Orion, for example, and every other thing of that sort). Both would have memories of the same Presidents, the same coworkers, etc. etc. etc. If the environments are that identical, how do you wind up having one of X or X' die without the other one dying too? You've more or less got two copies of our universe, so you'd expect them to behave the same, wouldn't you?
  10. I've decided over the years that rich people are far more likely to be underhanded and unethical than "smart." I think only a small fraction of the wealthy get that way by playing 100% within the rules.
  11. Well, that's a very good point. I fell right into the trap of equating the middle to the ends. Hopefully it won't be nearly half. I didn't jump for joy when Obama was elected, but I did knuckle down and acknowledge that he was our President. It's how the system works. And though I didn't agree with a lot of his policies, he in no way made the buffoon out of himself that we're seeing now.
  12. And sooner or later he'll be gone, and about half of us will be slamming whoever's in the White House next. We just don't know which half yet.
  13. Well, I think he was joking, but it was a good joke.
  14. I think the traditional approach works just fine. The stuff you do prior to an exam is supposed to be a review, not the totality of your studying. My typical courses in college had either two 1.5 hour or three 1 hour lectures a week, and I had a syllabus that specified what we'd be covering, so I'd read in the textbook on that topic prior to the lecture. The most significant part of the whole learning process, in my opinion, is almost daily reading of the subject matter and working out of practice problems (some of which is official homework and some of which is just me working problems from the book). But your statement that cramming before exams isn't the best way to learn is of course true - learning should be spread out over time and done gradually. You're supposed to do that yourself - not rely on an imminent examination to trigger your studying.
  15. Do you mean because somewhere, in that infinite sea of atoms, would be another configuration of atoms just like you? I don't see that that matters - if you're a set of atoms and is consciousness arises from that, then great - you're conscious. But if somewhere across the universe was another set of atoms just like your set, then it would be conscious but those would be two different consciousnesses, right? So if one of them dies now the other is still around, but the consciousness associated with the atoms that died is gone now.
  16. I don't see how that can be answered - whether it's relevant or not is a deeply personal question. Also, I think "faith" in a concept or idea has nothing to do with whether the concept or idea is factually true or not - it has only to do with whether the person in questions believes it's true or not. If that person believes the concept is true, and if that belief affects his or her behavior / actions, then that faith is relevant to them. So to tie Phi for All's comment in, the question "Why is faith relevant" presumes an answer of "Yes" to the prior question "Is faith relevant (to you)?" Anyone for whom faith is not relevant can't give you an answer to your question. I can't answer your question, myself. I don't know for sure that anything divine exists. I also don't know for sure that it doesn't. And I really don't sit around wracking my brain over it, either - I just go about my business and try to be a decent person. If it turns out that that the Christian God does exist and takes the hard line that some people say he will, then I'm sort of hosed. :-|
  17. Because all of those things have also become standard fare amongst elite politicians. Lie, lie, lie. Ultimately they all feel they are "above the people," so anything they need to do to get the people off their backs is fine, just fine. I've harped on our polarization being a huge problem, but this is another one: high government officials just don't think of themselves as our servants. They think of themselves as elite and special.
  18. Yes, excellent point. I just generally don't believe in having any single group wield so much power.
  19. And you consider currently sitting university administrations politically unbiased?
  20. Well, if there's anything I believe in it's that all "rules" have exceptions. I didn't mean any of the stuff I wrote as an absolute. I in no way think that scientific knowledge precludes religious faith. An omnipotent God could make any darn universe He wished to, including the one we see around us. I don't think the "need for explanation" is the only reason people have religious faith.
  21. Yes, I'm not watching it - I can just do without that.
  22. Yes, I tend to agree. I used to be very proud of the American 2-party system when I'd read news stories about the collapse of this or that coalition government in various countries across the pond. But these days that 2-party system is really just not working very well. That's a pretty neat idea. I don't have any idea how to make it work either, but one of the problems we have is that we only get to choose between two "packages." And neither package has all the right stuff in it.
  23. You know, a briefcase with a light that comes on when you open it is a pretty clever idea. Neat.
  24. KipIngram


    It is not curable by those means. You might argue that it's preventable. But you can't argue that "being straight" necessarily prevents AIDS. I don't know what the stats are these days, but the most you could argue (if supported by the real-world data) is that being straight lowers your likelihood of contracting AIDS. "Living correctly" doesn't even have a well-defined meaning. So overall, pretty empty post.
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