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Comment: Re:If you make this a proof of God... (Score 1) 606

They are different things: stochastic processes are probabilistic, so yes, random, but not without limits rather applied in specific frameworks.. relevance: In a simulation, were one to model artificial intelligence, one could apply stochastic processes (eg stochastic neural networks).

Indeterminacy can also mean incompleteness or 'unknown' (aka an indeterminate model is one where some thing remain unknown, therefore the model is.. duh, indeterminate). I am therefore making it clear that a simulation need not be deterministic, but by indeterminate and random I mean organized stochastic processes.

The other reason I brought up indeterminacy was the classic 'free will problem' that says that if the universe is determinate, there is no such thing as free will, because you can predict everything in advance. If a simulation is determinate, there can be no free will in the simulation. So I bring up 'indeterminacy' not just in the above context, but also to indicate that the simulation can be all those things, and we still have a free will problem. Lastly the 'being' in the simulation does not know whether or not he is in a simulation. In a roundabout way the poster a step up from the one I am responding to almost brings up Descartes' dream argument... sans the cogito ergo sum, of course the simulation throws the whole cogito ergo sum in doubt anyway, perhaps... but I digress.

Anyway I don't assume that the other poster knows what the word stochastic means either (you yourself think it just means 'random'), so between using those three descriptors, maybe something will be communicated, assuming the other poster isn't looking for quick and easy ways to be snide aka 'did you think it would be more convincing?'

Comment: Re:If you make this a proof of God... (Score 1) 606

Ironically the only person here who keeps bringing up the word 'proof' is you, as well as initiating the use of the word 'disprove' because of course, disproving is completely different from proving.

A counterexample points out implications in a previous argument and it is not exempt from being or having a premise. An argument has premises and a conclusion and therefore implications, otherwise you are communicating nothing. "Conway's game of life creatures became sentient." is a premise. "The universe is a simulation" is a stated premise with implications. It is still an argument with a premise and a conclusion, which you illustrate above. It is not magically exempt from relying on inherent assumptions more than any other form of human communication. If you think you are immune from assumptions, while others are making 'infinite assumptions' when they provide a counterexample, then we are at an impasse, because that is called 'typing left-handed'. And at that point continuing forward is 'beating' a dead horse, while typing left handed. Grandiose droning about 'believers' vs 'atheists' (which also contain assumptions and dichotomies) also fit nicely into that category.

There's nothing wrong with typing left handed of course, other than that it is boring to watch. And not knowing some of the better religious philosophers from the last century who understand these problems better indicates that it's time to move on, watching dead horses getting beaten isn't my thing.

Comment: Re:If you make this a proof of God... (Score 1) 606

There's no alternate scenario disproving anything because nothing falsifiable or assumable has been given other than a premise (eg: a simulated universe) with only the implications that make you happy cherry picked out, the rest excluded. The other assumption is as to what you think this person believes.

In your own words "If you make implementation details about the initial condition of an universe proof that such an universe has no superior level.." and then you decide to break this rule as soon as it suits your fantasies. I was hoping for consistency--thank you for wasting my time with gobbledeygook and a genuinely terrible analogy that would have much better religious philosophers like Whitehead and Copleston hanging their heads in shame. At least Copleston attempted to defend the ontological argument on rational grounds rather than ludicrously comparing it to wanting to buy a more expensive meal at a restaurant.

Comment: Re:If you make this a proof of God... (Score 1) 606

The atheist is pointing out that there are plenty of assumptions happening either way. You can't auto-magically assume that if one can exist in a simulation, the simulation stops where you want it to either. There's no basis to assume anything.

Sounds to me like this is just recreating the ontological argument with a guy outside a simulation in place of a first cause, and well, I don't accept the ontological argument as vaild either.

Comment: Re:If you make this a proof of God... (Score 1) 606

A simulation can employ stochastic, random, indeterminate processes, it doesn't have to be deterministic. However, indeterminate, random processes hardly equate with free will either. Actually, I think the simulation argument is far more effective for questioning concepts of free will than it is a metaphor or proof of god. (Especially when it is liable to infinite recursion, simulation within simulation, who really is god, is 'god' inside a simulation and bound to its rules?).

Comment: Re:If you make this a proof of God... (Score 1) 606

If we can be living in a simulation then there's no reason a supposed god can't be in a simulation either, with no basis for knowing where 'reality' begins. It's still turtles all the way down with the simulation argument.

Actually this seems somewhat reminiscent of the ontological argument but with a 20th century vibe.

Comment: Re:Level of public funding ? (Score 1) 292

I wrote a short science fiction story once. In the Renaissance, you could be a polymath by age 30, because there wasn't nearly as much information to learn as there is now. Discovering paradigm-shifting physical laws of friction or gravity or planetary motion is far more obvious than say, specializing your career in the behavior of certain genes, which nowadays can take up until your mid-thirties to acquire competency in.

Story premise: in order to contribute to a scientific field, you have to know the relevant research. In the far future, humans have amassed so much information that for a newcomer to even catch up to all the latest relevant information in a field starts taking upwards of forty to fifty years, by which time the scientist is well, past her prime. In other words, we discover there's not only say energy/computing limitations but hard neurological and biological roadblocks to our scientific progress (and we have to find ways to work around it).

I haven't come up with an ending.

Comment: Re:Sex discrimination. (Score 1) 673

by DiscountBorg(TM) (#46721333) Attached to: Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

Ok, so we've moved the goalpost from *women can't perform as well as men at math* at least to *women can, but only men have that wider range that leads to true exceptional genius*.. that's a start...

Which is an interesting proposition with a very short historical sample size to draw from, given that up until the mid 20th century it was difficult for women to enter the sciences. And even in time periods when women were discouraged from doing so we still find women who are exceptional such as Emmy Noether. Computer science is also interesting given that women were quite active in the early days, and we've Grace Hopper responsible for developing the first compiler.

I think it ironic to mention 'not admitting sex-based difference' when at best sex-based difference in studies gives us -overlapping distributions- not -separate tidy boxes- and really only for certain kinds of thinking that are difficult to disentangle from nurture/environment. Neuroscientists have only begun to map the human brain, and both men and women are affected by hormones with conflicting studies saying what hormone does what. There is little clear evidence as to what sex-based biological capabilities/differences actually are and they don't affect math skills in tests accounting for cultural bias. Second, perhaps that one in a few thousand men had the qualities of 'future leaders' speaks volumes about traditional thinking, presupposing that only certain men with certain fetishized qualities are chosen as leaders based on old paradigms. There is certainly no historical basis for such a claim given that even despite the limits placed on women throughout history you still find women breaking the rules taking leadership positions, sneaking into battles, writing novels under pseudonyms, being renowned as philosophers and mathematicians, being fully capable of insanity, capable of a lot of things, really, rather. Oh, and being ignored from history due to plenty of men who think women belong in the home (see balzac).

It all comes down once again to turning descriptive statements into prescriptive roles. For example, confusing descriptions of cultural habits with biological differences, and then making prescriptive statements about gender based on that combo.

We are capable of dealing with suicide, homeless men, autism (whatever autism turns out to be) AND sexism. We are also capable of dealing with viral epidemics, PTSD in soldiers, so forth, AND sexism. Humans are capable of separating different problems into different boxes and tackling them. There's no need to conflate separate problems.

Comment: Re:Sex discrimination. (Score 3, Interesting) 673

by DiscountBorg(TM) (#46716309) Attached to: Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

I found a related study linked below, and it goes hand in hand with the other common sexist/racist position you see floating around this thread: confusing descriptive statements with prescriptive statements. It's an age-old pattern that goes like this:

1. discourage minority from participating in an activity.
2. look around and point out descriptively: "Gee, minority x isn't good at this activity!"
3. make prescriptive statement: "Therefore, minority x isn't good at this activity!" which in fact, discourages minority x from the activity, thereby repeating step 1. It's sort of like how if your parent or teacher told you you sucked at something, you'd be less likely to perform well at it because you'd be convinced you were a failure. Except in this case, it's applied against an entire group.

This certainly worked with racism, but it applies equally to sexism.

This is why women perform equally with men in mathematics in parts of the world where gender discrimination doesn't exist like it does here ( But in this thread, looking around, some guys are claiming that women aren't good at math. As proof of this, they reinforce the old tropes that women aren't as good at math. They thereby discourage women from math/comp sci, then take the lack of women in the field as 'evidence' of what it is that 'women' really want, when women as a whole never had a fair shot to begin with.

They may say that 'leveling the playing field' is hurting the cause, but really, I see no evidence of this at all. The cause is moving forward because society as a whole has seen through the little ruse, and that's why change is happening. Tackling workplace problems facing men is not contradictory (and is often complimentary) to the cause of eliminating sexism, it's too bad they conflate the two issues.

Comment: Extinction. (Score 3, Insightful) 878

China won't be able to pick up the pieces because a large-scale nuclear war means a decade of nuclear winter, the end of the ozone layer, and the possible annihilation of our entire species.

With our last breath, we 'won!' because it was better to go extinct than to look 'weak.'

I'll vote for cooler heads.

Comment: What's really new here? (Score 2) 347

by DiscountBorg(TM) (#46335765) Attached to: NSA and GHCQ Employing Shills To Poison Web Forum Discourse

Infiltration, astroturfing and reputation destruction are as old as the hills. Such as this not really amusing story of a Muslim organization turning in a member who was hyping terrorism, only to discover he was an FBI infiltrant:

I think such things are to be expected. It sucks, but if you've a security vulnerability in any system, you can expect it to be exploited. The question we should be asking is, can online groups adapt to account for such possibilities, and how?

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy