03-05-06 3:11  •  Anti-Christian

Skywalker: Hey, all you anti-christian folks out there... to all those professing to paganism and agnosticism and atheism and what not...

You are the most anti-christian person here because you claim to be a christian, but you do not follow christ.

Instead of peace you seek to sow the seeds of dissent.

Instead of accepting god's infinite variety in how he chooses to reveal himself, you promote only your interpretation of the truth.

Begone tool of satan! I shake the dust of your words from my sandles.

Sensei: Amen!

03-03-06 3:06  •  Lotto

Randall: Hey Swarm - can I get tomorrows llotto numbers pleeease?


The rest is left as an exercise for the student.

03-01-06 9:01  •  Tobacco Addiction

Stephen: My uncle Buddys life was cut short because he smoked and got lung Cancer because of it. He took it upon HIMSELF to cut his OWN life short and he is a SELFISH COWARD because of it!!!!

Tobacco is more addictive than heroin, crack or meth. And it is legal. And it is marketed like crazy. Particularly when he was a kid, children were targeted by tobacco advertisers, knowing that if you catch a kid before they are mature it is next to impossible for them to ever quit.

Addiction is a very complex subject, one which we still do not really understand. Some people can extricate themselves, some people can't and we have no clue as to why. One thing we do know is that it is not a matter of lack of courage.

Whether he was brave or not I don't know, but he was not a coward because of his addiction any more than you are a coward because of your rage.

03-01-06 9:01  •  Burqas

Chef: Why do Muslims women wear these burqa, hijab and other clothing?

Same reason why must you always gird your loin and American women must cover loin and breasts.

Same reason you can't do any drug that is enjoyable or engage in unapproved sexual acts.

We are enslaved to the prudes.

We have our burqas too, they are just smaller.
03-01-06 3:01  •  In Summation (Reality)

To the rationalist's denial that objective reality can be known or spiritual monist's denial that objective reality exists, the empirical reply...

By using reality as you do, you demonstrate that you know it exists empirically despite your suposed doubts. Actions literally speak louder than words in this case. You cannot deny objective reality to an empiricist without invoking it directly and obviously, negating your denials as empty and meaningless.

Thus, using reality means you know it exists at least that much and that is all I need to deny your claims you don't know it at all.

Further, you are a real object or we wouldn't be having this discussion and it is absurd for a real object to claim it can deny objective reality.

Either poof yourself out of existence to prove your point or let's get on with using objective reality to make better toys.

02-28-06 9:26  •  Reality, get it?

Mystylplx: You keep confusing awareness with reality.

You wish.

Mystylplx: You might "really" be aware, but that doesn't mean that any of the objects of your awareness are objectively real. And action does indeed imply existence, which is exactly why it cannot prove existence--it's circular, the proof is assumed by the premise.

You rationalists and your equivocating "mights." I am aware, and that encompasses both subjective awarenes and objective awareness, but that has nothing to do with reality since reality exists outside the effect of my awareness, unlike my subjective "reality" which lies inside my awareness. I am only aware of objective reality and it is independent of that awareness and independent of my needing to prove anything.

Prove, prove, prove... Reality proves itself. We only observe it.

Mystylplx: What do you know which doesn't trace back to awareness?

What, and stop short? My awareness doesn't spring fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus. It is awareness of reality.

Mystylplx: Being aware of something doesn't mean that it exists.

No, but that it exists at some level is required to be aware of it. Even your subjective musings are only private. They have actual existence as patterns in your brain.

Mystylplx: Seeing is not necessarily believing.

I don't care about believing.

Seeing is seeing something. Even if you are mistaken or deceived as to what that something is, it is still something. Determining what that something is, is the purpose of verification. But you never see nothing.

Mystylplx: This is what Loki has been saying all along.

I'm well aware of this and what he has been saying all along is wrong, as it still is.

But what you both ignore is that I am not presenting anything as proof of objective reality. Proving objective reality is superfluous. Objective reality already is and that is stronger than any proof and fully sufficient for my needs. All I'm doing is pointing it out.

Mystylplx: As you pointed out, empiricism is based on observation/experience, so the test is experience and the proof is also experience--it says nothing about "objective reality".

Au contraire, "experience" is "experience of." Shared "experience of" is "experience of" objective reality since that is the only thing we all share an "experience of" and it is the only thing we can share an "experience of."

Mystylplx: "good enough" but objective? Nah, not hardly.

You knock it, but "good enough" literally is good enough and it allows for getting better. All of our technology started as good enough and then we made it better. Every one seems to not believe me when I say I'm an empiricist. I don't need absolute Certainty or Knowledge or Proof or Objective Reality or any of those weird useless rationalist concepts. If objective reality is there when I observe it and I can learn to make beer better, I'm happy and satisfied. You may wonder if your navel is "really" attached to your belly or if you are just hallucinating to your heart's content. I find that unpersuasive as a reason to doubt mine.

Mystylplx: Eh, no... theories are tested empirically, experientially, they are not tested against "objective reality."

No, they are tested empirically against reality and the effect of that test is noted experiencially; and just in case some one experienced it incorrectly, it is verified until every one is satisfied that it's good enough.

Mystylplx: You say objective reality is actual, not theoretical, yet the only proof you can point to is experience, which only proves itself.

I don't just say objective reality is actual, reality is actual. The proof is not my experience. My experience is just the finger I have to point at what I have experience of.

You are looking at my finger instead of what my finger points to.

Mystylplx: All experience is subjective, yet there well might be an objective reality out there... and if so there's no 'relativity' about it... but we never see that cuz all we can see is our own subjective realities. See?

You tear into objectivity like gangbusters, but fold like a house of cards on subjectivity? What a crock.

If "all experience is subjective" you have no means of knowing that because subjective only has meaning against objective. All you have really said is "all experience is experience," "all we can see is our sight of what we see." Trivial and boring. But since you do notice diferences, you are back to experiencing subjectively and objectively and seeing them how ever dimly.

Nor can you be any more sure of the quality of your subjective experience, in fact if anything you are less sure of it. Thoughts and imaginings are even less stable than objective reality and becoming aware of them alters them. What a mess. Spent some time in a sensory dep tank and see how reliable those subjective imaginings are.

So you are back to doubting everything. What a tedious bore. Or you can accept awareness has limitations and doubt has limitations, learn to work with them, notice the qualities of your various perceptions and take up working understandings of objective and subjective. The nice thing about a working understanding is it need not be perfect or absolute. It just has to be good enough and then refined as short comings become apperant.

Oops that would lead you to becoming pragmatic, utilitarian, even empirical.

Better to dance in your unverifide subjectivity while throwing stones at objectivity.

02-27-06 8:13  •  It's all a simulation

Mystylplx: What if reality is all just a simulation, have you thought of that?

I thought you might enjoy my critique of the simulation argument:

The actual claims: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “post human” stage; (2) any post human civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.

I have found some failings in these which you might want to consider.

I actually enjoy such simulations and I have noticed that I enjoy playing them to the gory end and I am typical in this behavior. This would presumably apply to any one interested in advancing this technology to post human levels. Thus even if the simulation is going for absolute realism, it is likely that it will proceed to its full conclusion because seeing where it ends up is fun. Therefore, 1) is no more or less likely than it would be if we were real because of how simulations are played by those who play them and in cases where realism is not the goal, tweeking them to succeed is part of the equation.

Simulations are fun and therefore 2) is false. A post human civilization interested in simulations will run as many as they have the capacity for out of simple enjoyment.

3) is irrelevant. In actual simulations the illusion of sentience is created for the player and not for the simulations. This makes our self awareness a potent argument against being a simulation. But if we assume a post human civilization is interested in creating self aware "simulations" then 3) doesn't matter as we are as real as they are. "You" actually are a simulation being run by your brain in a simulated reality it basis on its perceptions. Adding extra layers of simulation doesn't alter this significantly.

Finally, the only realistic reason to run a simulation of self aware simulants would be to create post humans which could then be "uploaded" as valued members of the society, another hit against the first point. Premature termination would be both capricious and cruel since it would serve no purpose and self aware beings would be killed. I would presume both of those possibilities abhorrent to anything equal to the term "post human."

Mystylplx: So what if we're a simulation being run by a species which are themselves a simulation? And what if there's an infinite regress and there's just never any "objective reality" to be found?

Then you either have an impossibilty given what "simulation" means or you have to posit a god to shift the burden of kicking it all off to.

Also there is the problem of degradation. A simulation is a degraded version of what it simulates. Simulations of simulations would be further degraded, etc. Eventually the degradation would prevent further simulations by simulants so there cannot be an infinate regress.

Mystylplx: Either way, empiricism still fails as a test for "objective reality."

Empiricism doesn't test for reality, reality is already there and therefore there is no need to test for it. Empiricism looks at reality and reality reveals its workings to that scrutiny.

Stuart: What about online multi-player role playing games?

This is back to the simulation argument. Online RPGs exist on real computers. They create the illusion, or simulation, of "else where" but it only takes one crash or bug to show where they actually are. It is the same with any fantasy, books, rpg, or just day dreaming. It all happens in the real world no matter how swept up you get in it and one mom can set you straight in a heartbeat.

Stuart: This nearly begs the question 'if I believe in a thing does a thing exist?'

If you believe in a thing, as in blind faith aka unsubstanciated faith, then like the fantasy the belief exists (and we can watch your brain doing it) but the object of your belief is not known to exist (hence the "unsubstanciated" bit).

If you have a substanciated believe then you are saying there is actual evidence which exists to support your belief, like particle trails in a cloud chamber, even though you can't directly observe the particles themselves.

Certain belief, or knowledge, is when you have the object and can verify your belief against it. I'm certain I have a rock because I do have it and can verify my belief by picking it up.

Its all very straight forward based on observation supported by instramentation and measurement.

With any illusion just ask yourself, where is the actual reality needed to create this effect?

02-27-06 8:12  •  More of What is Real

Loki: I'm just saying that Consciousness=Reality. I'm not arguing for truth.

Now there is the understatement of the year.

And so the question is begged, what exactly are you arguing for?

And since your arguments have nothing of truth about them, why should anyone be pursuaded by them?

You say "consciousness = reality" but since you don't allow truth it is a bald assertion devoid of supporting valid reasons. It is in fact just something you imagine because you have abandoned reality as well. Blind faith of the worst kind. You would be better off going back to god.

What you are really saying is "I imagine I'm conscious and I don't care about anything else other than that."

You pretend you are rational, but without truth, there is no reason. Adherence to the truth is the cornerstone of reason.

You are just another narsisic solopsistic spiritual/consciousness monist staring raptly into the mirror of your own mind. Oh surely Swarm has never seen anything this clever. I'll just tease him with it, dismiss everything he says and be smug.

However you don't yet truly carry the true convition of your claims. If reality is so ancillary why not give it up altogether?

What point is there in trying to convince this figment of your imagination of anything?

Your purpose in these dialogs only makes sense if I'm real. Every single letter you type decries your position and supports mine.

Of course you could just be insane and babbling to yourself in a sea of conscious choas. Or maybe you are right, but are mistaken as to where the actual seat of consciousness lies. Or perhaps the buddhists are right and the consciousness you covet is no less illusion than everything else you decry. You are suspiciously selective about what you choose to doubt.

I'm sorry Loki, but what you advocate is at least as old as recorded buddhism and I have examined arguments far more pursuasive and erudite that what you have offered and rejected them as unpersuasive. Form precedes essence and the evidence lies in every direction, even within your own experience of growing up.

What I have found pursuasive is the zen critique of all three positions: material monism, spiritual monism, and hard dualism. *All is not one.* Neither of the monist extremes are correct. *All is not two.* The hard dualist position is also not correct. The arguements each of them has, for why they should be considered and why they others are not correct, are valid arguments. The arguments as to why the others should be excluded are not valid arguments. All three of them must be considered. None of them is the sole correct answer. None of them are complete alone.

The traditional cure for the narsisic solopsistic trap is a good empirical smack, but you aren't here. Words and arguments you ignore, but reality is not composed of your imaginings and there are real and meaner smacks out there if you blunder around just focused inward and thinking your consciousness is all that matters the way you do.

Consciousness = your perception and understanding of reality and the impetus to act within reality. And unlike you, I am arguing using the truth and reality.

02-27-06 8:11  •  What they seem

Chaz: Things are not what they seem.

How would you know that if you had no access to things as they are?

Chaz: You say, "Reality is right in front of you" but a blind man would not be able to validate this proof.

Actually that is not entirely correct. A blind man can verify it via other senses or via intramentation to translate the data and make it accessable to a different sense, he just can't verify it via his sense of sight since he lacks one. That object reality is manifestly evident as being existent is not just a matter of sight.

Also, these other sensory apparatus can be used to reduce error via cross-correlation. Thus there is a means of knowing what isn't what it seems and then finding out what exactly it is.

Chaz: Perception is all there is.. Awareness

Various perceptions are our means of accessing all there is, but they are not all there is.

Chaz: "Objective" means outside, out side of what?

Outside the limits of you consciousness. A rock for example is not subject to direct manipulation consciously. All interactions wih it must be mediated via the body and perceptions of it are steady.

Chaz: When you say inner or subjective (inside) inside of what? do you see?

Within the limits of your consciousness. An imaginary rock is subject to direct manipulation consciously. Interaction is not mediated via the body as it is internal and lacks physical extention. It also requires being thought about for its continuation where as a rock has duration outside of your thinking about it.

There is more, but this should do for the moment.

Chaz: Your philosophy is incapable of dealing with absolutes.

I'm not dealing with "absolutes" or "Truth."

Chaz: Science can't deal with "facts" because if something is a "fact" you can't form an experiment to "prove" it.

Facts are a bread and butter of science. If something is a fact, it doesn't need to be proven. What is needed is to verify that the language used is correct.

Chaz: Ben Franklin said, “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.”

Don't bother believing at all. Find out.

Chaz: You’re confusing knowledge with truth.

No, you are trying to interject some religious notion of "Truth" which has nothing to do with ordinary truth, which is what I'm discussing. Chaz: Take a guy who just had 5 hits of acid...

What about him. If you dink around with the hardware of your computer it won't function as it should either.

Read more in the Archives.