Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Smith says in the first film and the Architect and Oracle later confirm that the original intent of the Matrix was to be a perfect world, free from suffering, discomfort, and unhappiness. This failed because human beings "define their existence through suffering and misery" which sounds a lot like Buddhism but to me says too much.
It is impossible to elevate humans to a state of infinite euphoria because human brains adapt to become used to any environment eventually. You "reset" your "baseline" gradually and adjust to new conditions, and your desires and complaints adjust as well. This is why the greedy, the powerful, and the vengeful are not easily satisfied.
But anyway, the Matrix simulated reality as it was known to human beings, effectively allowing people to live their lives normally - the only way apparently possible. The only way possible to allow them to live. But of course, the machines only want us to live to use us as a power source, right? Morpheus asserts that human beings are batteries to the machines, and this is generally accepted by the humans, but this contradicts the behaviours of the machine-world programs and the laws of physics.
The first and second laws of thermodynamics disallow the machines from gaining any net energy from a system that "liquef[ies] the dead and feed[s] them to feed the living," as no net energy is entering the system, and heat is (as observed directly by Neo) being lost from the towers.
But Morpheus adds that this is "combined with a form of fusion." If they have fusion power, why the hell would they need to keep humans alive, which necessarily results in a net loss of energy for the machines? I can see no reason other than a) to keep the humans alive for moral reasons, b) at least to keep them around to play with, or c) to do research. If b or c, then why attempt a utopia first?
Everything the machines did was in the interest of the survival and well-being of the human race. I mean, what were the humans going to do if they got out anyway? The sun was blotted out, what exaclty would they eat? Where would they grow it?
This hypothesis is a bit easier to explain in light of the Animatrix:
The machines chose to keep 6 billion humans alive, and this after a nuclear war. A nuclear war which the humans definitely started (in the Animatrix and in common sense). We rejected the inhabitants of the uncanny valley, we denied their rights, we kicked them out of our society, and rejecting capitalism, we decided to eliminate the more successful competition, even though 01's technological innovations improved human life immensely. We brought it upon ourselves and the machines did everything they could to keep us alive and well while we did everything we could to kill everything.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The explanation seems obvious on the face of it - it's rude to try to get ahead of someone. People don't like being passed.
We all know it's not a race. We all understand that we'll all get to our destinations faster if we cooperate. We all know that letting someone pass you doesn't slow you down at all. We all know Wal-Mart will probably still be there when you get there, and you're going to spend 5 minutes comparing brands of socks, anyway. So why the hell don't we all act like we know these things we clearly all know? Why are we willing to speed up and greatly increase our chances of dying horribly just to stop this stupid douche in his lame-ass Camaro from passing me before his lane ends?
Think about it this way - why in our ancestral past, and in fact, why anywhere in nature, would one animal overtake another, running? I can think of two scenarios right off the bat - they're a) going after some food or b) evading some predator. If you recognize that this is happening, what's a [read: the only] reasonable course of action for your limbic system to take in competitive situations that may mean life or death, especially where you may want a sudden burst of muscle strength? Rage circuitry, activate! Adrenaline++. Gaaah, you motherfucker! A mechanism that did this simply in response to any situation where another animal is trying to run past you would be an easy, effective response, and in nature, it would almost always be appropriate.
So what is the use of this information, supposing I'm even remotely correct?
This is an example of why I think Evolutionary psychology, while admittedly sort of ad hoc, can be useful. If you think this way habitually, you may catch yourself thinking irrationally in response to some vestigial mechanism in your brain that you or someone else has been able to point out and hopefully back up with some evidence or at least sound reasoning. If it's true (if its use always produces good results, then it probably is), you may learn to set aside emotions that might otherwise lead you to waste time and effort or risk harm, ultimately over nothing. Your brain makes mistakes, but other parts of your brain can correct those mistakes. Reason is our mind's tool for correcting them. Of course, you first have to recognize that they're mistakes. Evo-psych is one way of going about it, as I hope this helps to demonstrate.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Why does God allow evil to exist?
Friday, April 8, 2011
I think the best objection to Divine Command Theory, however, is to ask whether any moral behavior, as supposedly determined by God, ever increases suffering and decreases human well-being and happiness, or whether any action can be considered immoral that increases well-being and happiness and reduces suffering. EVEN IF you accept Divine Command because Might Makes Right, the threat of Hell and the opportunity of Heaven are still merely appeals to happiness and suffering. It's inescapable. Morality cannot depend on any gods.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Just to be clear: you're not stupid, your religion is.
I'm really condescending when I'm high, you pissants.
Attention Indiana Drivers:
SIGNAL and make sure the other lane is clear BEFORE you start to change lanes
Attention Retail Managers:
Don't train your employees to be upbeat and enthusiastic, spewing off with a stupid grin every single sale or promotion you're doing. I AVOID THOSE STORES.
Not everyone is motivated solely by the acquisition of wealth. We are not Ferengi.
It's over. Shut the fuck up.
I think the movie War Games contains the most accurate representation of hacking in cinema. Therefore I approve of this film.
Love is a strange game. The only winning move is not to play.
Man, I get a lot of references.
Please nobody like or comment on this status.
If you're not my Facebook friend, you're not really my friend.
Good band name: Shopping Cart Avalanche
Tequila is Spanish for "you don't get to decide when you fall asleep"
Thursday, March 10, 2011
There are no churches, and there is no Republican party.
In fact, there are no political parties at all - such an idea would be absurd in Pretendistan. It'd be like having scientific parties.
Pretendistanis understand that morality is the mortar that holds a society together and makes it strong.
Their actions are guided by this understanding.
There are no keys or locks in Pretendistan. Nobody is enough of an asshole to go around stealing other people's shit.
Schools teach critical thinking and fiscal responsibility there.
All drugs are legal. Their addiction rates are half ours.
Traffic laws are unnecessary. Pretendistanis pay attention to what they're doing.
Pretendistan combines elements of socialism, capitalism, and communism - the government controls oil transparently - nobody profits from its sale.
Advertisements actually inform you.
Science is valued beyond its potential to create new avenues of profit.
Pretendistanis are aware that the world will exist beyond the next year or two and plan accordingly.
Pretendistanis know they're human. They know their fundamental nature and subsequently their limitations.
No Pretendistani elevates himself/herself or his/her group(s) above any other.
The world could very easily be a much better place. With the exception of that first detail (although it would help with the others), every difference between Pretendistan and the US depends entirely on individual choices made by individual people. We have the capacity within us right now to become like Pretendistan.
I really wish I could move to Pretendistan right now, but unfortunately, nobody knows where it is. The closest I can get right now is Canada. Fortunately, I believe the world has been moving in the right direction, slowly, for the past 400 years or so. It might take a few more revolutions but we'll get there.
Take care, sir.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
The Iron Chariots Wiki puts it, I would say, mildly:
Nothing even approaches an eyewitness account. There is no other real evidence beyond written accounts. Even the name "Jesus" is contrived. Elements of Christianity existed centuries before the alleged birth of Christ.Today, there exists little in the way of historical documentation for Jesus' life beyond the Biblical Gospel, and it is likely that these accounts were not written by eyewitnesses. This lack of evidence makes it very difficult to discern actual historical facts behind the Christian stories that describe him. This, however, has not stopped scholars from defending the existence of a historical Jesus, as well as specific views of who Jesus was.Some atheists consider discussion of a historical Jesus to be a red herring and argue that, while a person named Jesus may or may not have existed, there is clearly no reason to believe that he had special powers, was the son of God, or performed miracles. Even if it could be firmly established that Jesus, the man, existed, this would not be evidence for the extraordinary claims that make up the foundation of the Christian religion.
Authors Richard Carrier [blog] [wiki] [YT], Robert M. Price [blag] [wiki] [YT], David Fitzgerald [YT] [book], Bart Ehrman [blag] [wiki] [YT] make the case clear in their books, lectures, debates, etc. READ THEIR SHIT and THEN talk to me about the arguments (or at least watch the YT links - they're entertaining, I swear).
Anyway, the analogy I like to use regards the Roman invasion of Gaul by Caesar's 13th legion. Imagine for a moment that archaeologists stumbled upon a collection of letters signed by identifiable members of the Roman military at the time of the battle of Alesia. They are eyewitness accounts, written in first person (you may argue that the fact that the original gospels were reproduced is in fact evidence of their truth value, since apologists like to have it both ways). They consistently describe an event in the midst of the battle wherein the goddess Athena descended and gave the general a magic wand, which he used to turn various Gallic warriors into frogs. We would not expect much other evidence (beyond reproductions of this account in other places - assume there are if you want), as the remains of the frogs would have long since disappeared. We know the battle really took place, already. We already know that Caesar was a real man, too. Would this alone convince you that the goddess Athena really exists, and that magic wands exist? For some of you, it may be. If so, I may have to talk to you about an amazing investment opportunity.
But this evidence is FAR better than the evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ. There are no eyewitness accounts, let alone signed, let alone by identifiable figures referenced in other sources, let alone originals, etc. It's special pleading to accept the Gospels as accurate. It's about as justifiable as accepting any other religious text, for that matter.
There is one good argument for an actual historical Jesus (hence the qualifier "probably"). Cults spring up based on charismatic leaders who are merely human but are attributed supernatural aspects all the time. David Koresh is still worshiped as a messiah. Sathya Sai Baba is considered by millions to be God right now. True divine nature does not seem to be a prerequisite for widespread belief/adherence. But at the core of each cult/religion (the only difference is size, really) is a real person. The only difference is that the antiquity of Christianity naturally makes its history murky. I think, however, the answer lies in the similarity between early Christianities and other cults at the time, most of which were probably fabricated wholecloth as a metaphor for the sun and the zodiac signs etc. anyway, like Mithras. Much of the Gospel story seems contrived [read the Incredible Shrinking Son of Man] anyway.
The most interesting theistic argument I've heard to account for the success of other cults similar to Christianity at the time (suggesting there was a need for such an argument) is that the miracles performed by members of pagan cults were in fact real, but the work of the devil [read Not the Impossible Faith by Richard Carrier]. Anyone willing to entertain this kind of theology has lost the argument, in my mind, based on the nature of the devil in such a theology. That's another discussion.
More on the topic
Take care, sir.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
I've found another interesting candidate. Harry Glicken was a volcanologist. He was supposed to watch Mount St. Helens erupt, but missed it for an interview. His replacement, David A Johnston, died watching the eruption (along with 56 other people). Apparently, they failed to learn from Pliny the Younger, who documented the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD from a safe distance quite adequately without dying. His uncle, Pliny the Elder, wanted a closer look and wound up in Hades (ok, he actually had the noble intention of attempting to rescue survivors and suffered a massive asthma attack in the noxious clouds of smoke and ash).
In defiance of all sense, Glicken again decided to get a closer look at an impending volcanic eruption - Mt. Unzen, in 1991. Guess what the fuck happened. FORTY-THREE scientists died, including Glicken. This may qualify him, despite being a scientist, for a Darwin Award too.
Take care, sir.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
That's how I hope it happens, anyway.