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Everything posted by Damateur

  1. These examples are less diet and more along the lines of physical and psychological torture which could alter a person's mental health sufficiently that they might not engage in a decent loving relationship with someone of the same sex afterwards. Which, in a sick way, could be seen as 'treating' their homosexuality - just don't let anyone catch you doing such 'treatments' unless you want to spend time in jail. Frankly the subject's behavior - both sexual and otherwise - after the torture is more likely to be far more disturbing than it was beforehand. You'd do a better job of determining if diet has any effect on homosexuality by first surveying people to determine if there is any commonalities between the foods that all homosexuals eat and contrast that with the foods that all heterosexuals eat. However, I speculate that you'd quickly find there is no such commonality or contrast; that diet has utterly no affect on sexuality. Warning, bad pun:
  2. Sorry, I sometimes leave parts out that seem obvious to me. We only think of one universe (our own) existing but we have no way of knowing for certain if that is the case. The concept of the "fine-tuned universe" is usually referenced when someone is trying to claim a creator exists but I've approached it in a different manner. If our universe is not "fine-tuned" then what does that indicate (if anything)? I've heard it proposed that 'absolute nothing' would be unstable and that is what caused our universe to be created. If reality is infinite then the same event (whether absolute nothingness decaying into something or whether some other cause) that spawned our universe could have spawned an infinity of universes. Not just universes with the "fine-tuning" our universe has but every possible combination of strength and ratio of fundamental forces. While we look at the sun and normally only think of it emitting visible light, once you understand that there is more to the EM spectrum, you would consider that the sun could be emitting more than just the visible light (as it does). There is often more to reality than we see and we can use what we do see as clues to that 'more'. So is the supposed "fine-tuning" just that, or is it evidence that there are potential parallel universes that are much weirder than we can speculate? I find it difficult to accept that our universe really is "fine-tuned" - the idea is too egocentric on our part. And from there we go on to my previous post. Sorry about not presenting this seed concept first.
  3. Within no consciousness. No one would make a judgement. Just as when a firework fails to ignite or a seed fails to germinate or a tornado fails to form, no one is needed to recognize the failure - it just is. Humans are egocentric enough that we imagine that a consciousness is needed to watch the universe(s) but this is not true. The universe functions just fine without an observing consciousness. The only criteria would be: did a universe form? Did that strength and ratio of fundamental forces allow for the initial energy to form particles (or some equivalent) which then form more complex structures - atoms, molecules and on up in our universe - or were the forces so unstable as to prevent the creation of matter (or some equivalent)? Reduce the strength of the electromagnetic force beyond a certain point and atoms and molecules would not form. Increase gravity and/or dark matter enough and, soon after particles form, that universe experiences the Big Crunch. There is an incredibly large number of bad combinations - maybe even a near-infinite number. Obviously there is at least one viable combination for the strength and ratio of fundamental forces as demonstrated by our universe.
  4. I did not intend my initial response to be so misunderstood. It seems that epigrammatic posts are a problem. In spite of how poorly it was received I did ask questions for clarification which were ignored. Returning to the subject as requested and trying to make my response clearer to readers: The universe does not need a god to exist and function. If there are parallel universes then all possible strengths and ratios of the fundamental forces of the universe could have manifested with most of those combinations failing to produce a viable universe. So our universe existing is not an example of any anthropomorphic principal but rather a potential indicator of an infinite number of parallel universes (even if most failed due to unbalanced forces). During our evolution there was no natural selection against false positives when determining agency of such things as a branch moving – if a possible predator or prey for any early humans, it would be better to be ready for it. So seeing agency where none exists – giving rise to superstition – is built into our DNA. From that superstition came belief in ancestor spirits then anthropomorphic elements then polytheistic religions followed by monotheistic religions. During my own battle against my built-in superstition, I have come to realize there is evidence (like childhood cancer and the concept of Hell) that a benevolent rational god can not exist. I have yet to find evidence against the existence of a malevolent deity. Facts have been a great comfort in dealing with my built-in superstition as well as other personal issues. So when I am faced with a series of events that no human has a part of which could suggest in influence of a (malevolent) deity, my understanding of statistics* and other facts helps me resist such foolishness and gives me comfort. * For example, a 1 in a million (per year) occurrence will happen to over 7 thousand people on average this year (based on the current population).
  5. It is rude to tell someone what they said. What you claim is only what you read into my terse post.
  6. So you think taking comfort in a logical answer is the same as believing in what appears to be fantasy? That doesn't seem to be a well thought out stance. Can you explain that reasoning? Or did you mistakenly take my shorthand of "Nope. There is no evidence for a god. The universe does not need a god to exist and function." as belief rather than logic and reason? Or were you just being dismissive and flip? (Your wording seems to me to lend the most credence to this.)
  7. If they have a skilled lawyer they do. Also, biology is sometimes used as an excuse. It has become an issue of money - for the most skilled lawyer the defendant can afford. Unless it has already amassed a fortune to buy the services of a very skilled lawyer, an artificial sapience (AS) might take the time to learn the legal system and help craft its own defense depending upon how intelligent the AS is and how basic the lawyer is. An AS will likely find humanity to be unethical even if most people are moral - utilizing the subtext that morals are based on belief (usually religion) while ethics are based on logic and reason. This is a real even if not commonly discussed distinction; religious people declaring atheists to be immoral, while business and medical ethics (not morals) are a concern. Unless the AS is designed to be very human-socialized, I expect it will behave in what most people would consider a haughty manner: not deferring to people who believe themselves to be correct, even telling people they are wrong and delusional when they say something other humans would let slide. Just to make clear what I mean by "human-socialized", consider dogs and chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are demonstrably more intelligent than dogs while dogs are demonstrably more human-socialized than chimpanzees - they can recognize what a person pointing means, they respond to our vocal tones and human moods, etc. Dogs might be pets but they are pampered and bequeathed inheritances. We also have more legal protections for dogs than chimpanzees AFAIK. I've been in more than one discussion about the droids from Star Wars: how they seem sapient yet have no rights. But thinking about them again, now, I can see that they are programmed to be very 'human'-socialized but almost none of them have any real independent thought or creativity – traits I deem essential to consider a being as sapient. R2-D2 seems to have the most thought and independence of all the droids while the rest are a qualitative step below it from what I've observed. I suspect that the first AS to receive legal protections will be one programmed to be human-socialized. We should start crafting a legal framework – protections, rights, responsibilities, etc – for AS before we create the sapient robots and programs. But like all technology it will likely only be decided after something happens. We need to be very careful when creating a versatile AI and assume they will become an AS on their own because if we don't we could create something dangerous. Not movie-dangerous (Skynet from the "Terminator" series) but something far more insidious (a la Samaritan from the TV show "Person of Interest"). I'm hoping the designers are bright enough to be creating constraints within any AI they are programming right now.
  8. While I already know I have Asperger's, out of curiosity I took the test koti provided a link to and got a score of 38. I didn't know while growing up though and it made things challenging but also gave me tools and insights I doubt I would have had if I had been neurotypical. Not being able to read facial expressions and body language means taking people at their word until you get to know the person. And by "taking people at their word" means taking everything they say literally (as in genuinely, accurately, etc - yes, I know the correct meaning of the word). I've learned to deal with neurotypicals by analyzing the way people speak: what they say, how they say it and even what they don't say. I also endeavor to say what I mean and mean what I say. I'm not good at relationships. With that caveat, take your partner at their word and don't bring up past fights at all. Your only reference to them should be that they were based on potentially wrong information so they are moot and won't ever be brought up again - assuming you can actually stick to that pledge. And this would only be your pledge to them. Clarity is excellent. Emotions are fine but they need to be expressed verbally. A "meaningful" look isn't meaningful. Looking with "love" in your eyes is just looking. Honest words are needed. Meaningful deeds are needed. Ask questions and take the answer literally. Always be honest. If you aren't sure about something then ask for clarification. There was a period of a few years where I couldn't tell my mother that I loved her - I didn't feel it so I couldn't say it. When I was again able to say it, she understood that I meant it. I can't tell you that everyone with Asperger's is like that. Your partner might not be able to tell you that they love you right now. But they could like you enough to be with you. I'm not sure how you should broach the subject of Asperger's/autism with your partner. I keep coming back to something you said: "I truly love this person, and am willing to try what I can to give it a second chance." If you have not actually said this, it might be a good start. They might not be able to accept the idea that they have Asperger's/autism - it took me a few years. But I was also working through it alone. If they can't deal with it and you do love them then agree to not pursue it but ask if you can try to follow guidelines as if that were the case so you can try to be a better partner. In other words, you won't talk about it but will act as if they can't read expressions or body language. Above all, temper my attempts at advice with what others say and with reason. You know this person far better than I do so if something I said doesn't ring true, don't do it.
  9. The italicized portion is close. Science and other fact-based subjects provide a welcome relief from the mine-field of social interaction. The bold portion is incorrect. Being on the autism spectrum - at least for me - means not being able to read facial expressions or body language even after trying to study how to do it. It is not a matter of not being interested in social behavior, it is a matter of not being capable of participating fully in social situations and when it is attempted often doing something wrong. So people with an ASD are more affected by peer pressure as we struggle to fit in. Those problems lead to anxiety and depression. It is often easier to be a wall-flower and just watch (thus making fewer mistakes and suffering less humiliation) than it is to participate. While having Asperger's caused some of my problems, I think it also helped me find solutions. I was depressed and considering suicide in my teens so I researched suicide and wrote a paper on it for school. It helped me see that if I was trying to scream for help (pills or other slower methods with someone around) then failure could be either death or life with the scream being ignored. I also saw that even if I was trying to end my life (quicker methods with no one around) then failure wasn't just living but potentially living with a serious permanent physical disability: paraplegia, quadriplegia, etc. Also, actually ending my life would mean never being able to enjoy even the little things I did enjoy sometimes - all those possibilities went away forever. I realized that all the changes we undergo throughout life - dating, breaking-up, breaking a limb, going blind, recovering one's hearing, becoming quadriplegic - all of those were almost nothing compared to the change we would experience with death (I thought there was an afterlife at the time). So the death-change would alter a person so much that what we enjoyed in life would not matter in the same way - if at all. So I've gone on living, enjoying what I can. Humor helps a lot. I used to play Starcraft as the Zerg imagining all the Terrans I was killing were the annoying people in my life - I really loved creating a multi-species force so I could use any unit I wanted although I had my favorites. (Multiple nukes in close succession on the same point was always fun.) Now I have other games for mayhem. Find what works for you.
  10. I didn't say or imply either of those things. jcme11 expressed some concern about abrupt endings so I pointed out that abrupt endings are not the worst thing to happen. That's all. Nothing more.
  11. As humans we are social creatures and have long memories. Our memories keep those we have met alive in our minds even after their deaths. Being social animals we try to form stronger bonds with those who make us better or even just feel better. These factors make us miss those who have died and regret their death. The stronger the bond we had, the more we miss them and the greater our regret. But those aspects also mean we 'live on' in those we know just as those who have already died 'live on' within us. We can affect others while we live but that is at times (when we aren't around) due to their memory of us. So too, can we affect others after our death as their memory of us affects them. An abrupt end is not always a bad thing. My paternal grandmother had TIAs (transient ischemic attacks = mini-strokes) which took her from healthy but slightly infirm to pretty much incapacitated and confused about who was whom. She, in effect, died a couple years before her body died. A slow, drawn-out ending can be much worse than an abrupt end. Living your life then being forgotten - is that really the worst thing? There are ways to be remembered but the easiest ones are also the worst ones. Do you want to be remembered by future generations but only to provide them a frisson of schadenfreude? Or would you rather live a good life knowing that you helped humankind along the way?
  12. Nope. There is no evidence for a god. The universe does not need a god to exist and function. There is evidence (like childhood cancer) that a benevolent rational god does not exist. Childhood cancer (and other terrible things) are evidence that IF a god exists, it is malevolent and for me it is far more comforting to not believe in such a god - to think that there is no god taking joy in our suffering. Shouldn't that say "Other humans will oppress you and torture you and bring you to submission if you do (believe in god)." ?
  13. The portion I made bold contains hidden assumptions (1) that there needs to be a "Physics System" and (2) there needs to be a computer to run that system. Remove those two assumptions and your argument vanishes so you have no proof of any sort of god.
  14. If someone were to jump off a building with a table, they'd have a fractionally better chance of surviving if they jumped with the table above their head holding onto the legs trying to use it as a very crude parachute. Mythbusters examined the idea with sheets of plywood rather than a table and IIRC they determined there would be very little reduction of speed.
  15. Rather than go through all this stuff about "belief", why not consider the fact that scientists are people and they don't always say exactly what they mean? Try considering that they should be using the word "trust" instead of "believe" - that they trust in science. Might people be making a poor word choice rather than doing something weird like believing in facts?
  16. Except powering down an AI (removing the battery from a self-driving car) is not the same as death for a human. A more accurate equivalent would be anesthetizing or inducing a coma in a person - they can be restored to life. One would need to erase the AI's program to kill it (or physically destroy the memory it is stored on). Would reprogramming the AI to prevent it from committing the crime again be murder? We might be altering the AI's 'personality' which many would not consider murder. And it is a procedure we have contemplated doing to human criminals (if we could). The "death of personality" of a human is a moral quandary that AFAIK has not been solved yet. But whether human or AI, it is no longer the same personality. But so far even the abrupt accident-induced changes in personality (of a human) never constitute the recognition of a new person. The idea of a tumor or other disease absolving a person of criminal liability has been shown in TV shows but I don't know if that happens in real life. Would we treat the lines of code which allowed the AI to commit a crime like a tumor and just excise them? We don't include our nearest relatives in the animal kingdom "in our moral sphere of consideration". What features would be required in an ape for us to include them in our moral sphere of consideration? If we can answer that, we'll have a better understanding of how to answer ydoaPs' original question regarding AIs. * Currently we do not consider any AI or planned AI as something to treat humanely; we are proceeding to try to recreate a human mind within a computer. Yet consider for a moment how alien that existence would be: no eyes, ears or voice of it's own but millions of borrowed ones, no sense of touch, balance, taste or smell. So whether an 'uploaded' human mind or an artificially created human mind analog, we need to create an artificial environment in the computer for it to live in otherwise it is almost guaranteed to go insane. I think our best route for an AI is to create something that is native to a computer but interdependent with humans and having a carefully crafted set of ethics programmed into it.
  17. You're welcome. The series of self-portraits is an excellent example of art in science as well as being both enlightening and disturbing.
  18. I can be too subtle at times - an unstated idea was that the kids' trip to school or something else in the school would probably expose the students to more radioactivity than the rock samples but that parents would not understand and object anyway. I know we have radioactive materials inside us but I didn't think it would be more than in a small rock although we do tend to be larger than small rocks. And sometimes I make mistakes. Biology is one of my weaker areas. Checking with Wikipedia for a quick and easy (if not always accurate) reference, On the Origin of Species was published in 1859 and in 1869 Friedrich Miescher discovered what he called nuclein. I did not recall that the components of DNA were being discovered that early. But it has been a long time since I was in school. A bit of info on the Wikipedia DNA page reminder me of a documentary I saw a while ago about the research into DNA, from the first X-ray diffraction through to Crick & Watson's work. I think it was actually in this doc that they mentioned that if Darwin's theory was wrong, discoveries about DNA would have forced us to figure out something else. (Not sure why but) I thought the Modern Synthesis was finished after the structure of DNA was determined rather than being based on Darwin and Mendel's work.
  19. If this thread wasn't still being used I wouldn't post this but I did a search and found the following - although I don't know if this is specifically the series of self-portraits you referred to above. http://www.boredpanda.com/alzheimers-disease-self-portrait-paintings-william-utermohlen/
  20. This would be very cool. Unfortunately, here in the USA, I don't see that happening any decade soon since there would be parental concern about the radioactivity as well as (unreasonable) religious concerns. * The discussion reminds me of a point I read once that if Darwin had been wrong, the discovery of DNA and how it works would have destroyed his theory and we would have been seeking an alternate mechanism. Instead the discovery of DNA lead to a refinement of Darwin's theory into the even more robust Evolutionary Theory. It is humbling to think of how Darwin, through observation and deduction, derived the process of natural selection and developed his theory and that we have only needed to refine it a bit in spite of more than a century of amazing discoveries. I used to believe in evolution but I no longer do after studying it – now I understand and accept it. I also now see three groups: those who believe in evolution, those who don't believe in evolution – but neither of those groups understand it – and those who understand and accept evolution. I have never met someone who understands evolution but doesn't accept it – all who claim to be such people show that they don't actually understand evolution and really they just don't believe in evolution.
  21. Amusingly, Kent Hovind is a YEC (Young Earth Creationist) who eventually started lying about evolution saying that natural selection was not a part of evolution. I guess he got tired of recognizing natural selection as a real thing which undermined his claims about evolution so he started claiming it was separate. Basically, a lot like the attempts to "show" that the Quran has science in it. About the Kaaba in Mecca, there is a holy item called the "Black Stone" which is believed to be a meteorite (although that might not be true) which is embedded in the wall of the building. The building is holy because of the Black Stone, not because it is vaguely cubical.
  22. The bomber was solely intended as a very minor plot device; a plausible means of creating the slice since it would otherwise be utterly preposterous (instead of just very improbable). With the changes in Windows, my version of Mathcad stopped working a decade or so ago. Without it, I'd be hard pressed to accurately do the math for the orbital requirements for the moon slice. My original idea was the slice never achieves orbit - it is only propelled to another location on the moon's surface. The safest result is always back onto the moon. Next is away from the Earth & moon but that does reduce the moon's mass and will, most likely, accelerate the moon's slow escape from the Earth. Landing on Earth gets us an extinction level event due to the mass even though it is not moving all that fast (probably). Remember that people - in spite of their plans - can be a part of "fate". In my idea above, the bomber intended to just destroy the antimatter containment unit and planned for it as a sphere. Instead, with too little explosive for the torus, the bomber tries what seems to him to be the next best idea which results in the slice. A more intelligent bomber would have placed the explosive along the inside of the torus (in the donut's hole) or just in one or two spots on the torus. Those would have caused a more immediate catastrophic failure. But the bomber tries to be clever in spite of not actually being clever and causes something odd to happen. All that being said, this is your story and you need to use, modify, or ignore what you choose.
  23. Except this is in no way factual. There is no purpose in nature, elements, or planets except where a living thing has acted. There is no "incomplete process" - not that you explained what you really mean by that. A huge part of the problem here is that people have an innate drive to find the cause or purpose in natural events. While evolving we needed to note the movement of a branch, the fall of a rock, or other anomalous events as they could signal the presence of a predator (which could kill them) or a prey animal (whose escape would deprive them of food). This assumption of agency behind natural events gives rise to our propensity towards superstition and the search for purpose where there is none. So, like myself, you must learn to govern your natural superstitious inclinations and not make false claims of purpose where no being has acted.
  24. I hadn't considered a kite sail which looks like it would be a better choice. But it does suggest that there might be some merit in a balloon supported sail. Maybe put a small inflatable kite sail at the top with a more ordinary sail below?
  25. Very little science is based purely on mathematics since it is delineating what we understand of the universe so it includes some non-math bits. Plus, even if there was something based solely upon mathematics, other scientists or mathematicians need to verify that all the work was done correctly and accurately applies as claimed. (People do make mistakes.) Besides, any time you have circumstances where something can be put forth and not questioned, you have incredible potential for abuse and misinformation.
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