Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Finally! This is good policy (Score 1) 628

Yeah, the responder to you is clueless. In large enterprise situations (such as where I work) lots of people bring in their own laptops for presentations.
Popups and forced updates are extremely disruptive.

Updates should be in the background, seamless, and not hijack your computer for 10-15 minutes at a time when they install, inevitably right before a student is in front of their PhD committee or the admin staff is about to unveil their latest strategy.

Comment Re:Undo and autosave (Score 1) 628

Yeah, as a person who works in a school, not only do I agree with your points but I find the rest of the argument moot: the average person doesn't know anything about this stuff, and they're the ones we're going to be supporting.
I just can't wait for the next time a high profile presentation is interrupted by updates *sigh*

Comment Re:Who makes these decisions? (Score 1) 628

I wish could tell that to the people I support in post secondary education, whose presentations and thesis defenses are disrupted by update popups, or wait, they accidentally shut down and now their class or presentation is on hold for 10 minutes while the updates install.
Microsoft updates are incredibly disruptive to user experience.

Comment Re:you've got male (Score 1) 315

Sure, and conversely, saying men and women 'should' behave a certain way 'because' biology might be a naturalistic fallacy, if it contained no other premise.

Not to mention that the poster ranting about 'tabula rasa' doesn't seem to grasp that he's cherry picking and making a straw man, and the argument is far from over. Wake me up in a few hundred years when we have a sizable amount of human brains fully mapped and modeled from both genders. At the present all we have is some very interesting correlations, and outside of the brain we can't even agree on how sex hormones affect human behavior, let alone how biology fully interacts with socialization. We're in uncharted territory all around, and egalitarian behavior on this widespread a scale is a very, very NEW thing. Give that a couple hundred years as well and see what happens.

Comment Re:Thank you Kemeny and Kurtz. (Score 4, Interesting) 224

I agree, but this is actually an old tongue in cheek essay, in context it makes more sense perhaps:

"FORTRAN --"the infantile disorder"--, by now nearly 20 years old, is hopelessly inadequate for whatever computer application you have in mind today: it is now too clumsy, too risky, and too expensive to use.
PL/I --"the fatal disease"-- belongs more to the problem set than to the solution set.
It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.
The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offence.
APL is a mistake, carried through to perfection. It is the language of the future for the programming techniques of the past: it creates a new generation of coding bums."

Comment Re:Thank you Kemeny and Kurtz. (Score 2) 224

Yes, and then from there it's really easy to understand how to calculate things like velocity and gravity, and understand vectors. If I ever have a kid, I'd totally want to get them learning some form of basic coding at an early age. Nowadays it doesn't have to be BASIC, it could just as easily be LUA There's so many useful/abstract concepts you pick up naturally while figuring out these things even outside of basic computing.

Comment Re:Thank you Kemeny and Kurtz. (Score 4, Insightful) 224

I wouldn't contend for an instant that the kids I grew up around were 'retards'. 8-year-olds can't magically know things without experience.

How many kids have the chance to sit down in front of a computer and learn that the reason a ball goes across the screen comes down to something as simple as x=x+1? Schools won't teach them that until the end of primary.

BASIC does probably teach some bad programming habits but at the same time it's accessible to an 8-year-old, and you're learning concepts that are applicable for life: file management, how to store and retrieve data, syntax, etc etc. If the goal is to introduce kids to ehmm.. basic computing concepts, it worked admirably.

Compare to someone with no knowledge of programming concepts at all whatsoever trying to grasp how to call a function for the first time in their life.

Comment Thank you Kemeny and Kurtz. (Score 5, Funny) 224

I grew up with a little TRS-80 on which you had to learn BASIC to so much as load a file. In Grade Three I was learning things like coordinate geometry and algebra, while my peers were struggling with their multiplication tables. I remember when my peers were introduced to algebra for the first time, some of them had difficulty understanding how x could be a number, while I was busy making adventure games at home.
Thanks to this head start in life, I now have a job in IT. BASIC gave me a great head start in computer literacy!

Comment Lowest Bidder (Score 3, Insightful) 338

Subject says it all really. A major issue at least where I live is that private contracts with the government must go to the lowest bidder. This kind of short-term thinking is the perfect way to assure one has a crumbling infrastructure that costs more money in the long run.

Comment Re:If you make this a proof of God... (Score 1) 612

I'll borrow your format.. out of temporal sequential order. (dry j/k)

>Not really, the rebuttal is "the term creation is undefined in the domain of the hypothetical god", "who created god" does not make sense. We can only define god, by exclusion. By attributing any property to the concept we already stepped out of the domain of logic.

Hmm... well my difficulty with that is that creation means that the universe above exists in a nested state in relation to God. Nesting and being nested is a property that is attributable to both God and universe, and it implies neither space nor time. An existential value is also very definitely a property. Defining existence by negation/exclusion.. I'll think on that.

>Anyway you derived an argument from an example, the argument in your opinion would be "if the universe is an abstraction itself...". And that is indeed an assumption, a supposition.

Perhaps, my argument would be 'if the universe is a simulation then forms of existence that -think they exist- are capable of being simulated. How does one place limits on it, address what existence even is, because if you can't ultimately define what it is, you can't define what it is not, either? How do you then arrive at that negation leading to what God is? If existence is capable of being simulated, for example, Descartes' dream argument where reality is ultimately unknowable, except that now Descartes' reply itself is called into question if a being may be real or simulated, does the simulation think it thinks or does it actually think? With all odds being equal what does this imply universally?' One can provide an example amongst endless examples, without any yardstick for measuring success. Is there such a yardstick?

There were very little ground rules layed down in the intro posts in this thread.. And hence this exchange clarifies things because now there are less assumptions or suppositions to go around as there were ten posts up. Implication however =/= supposition rather it may indicate presupposition. Which is fine, everything presupposes something else, which is partially why one analyses implications.

>If I had an argument it would rather be something like "the way the universe is formed might be in the future discovered as one without external intervention, beyond all doubts, and logically proven as the only possible one, or even proven as the only conceivable one. But that's empty circular reasoning, because the proofs have modeled the universe in terms of concepts which we have derived from our understanding of it. So all we have proved is that the universe is a closed system"

Yes I completely agree in that nobody is going to ever have the ultimate answer, because such is beyond the capability of empiricism.. the age old problem is how one can arrive at any knowledge of what possibly exists outside that knowledge through reason and observation.. I wonder about the Wittgenstein quote 'what we cannot speak of, we must pass over in silence' ..which doesn't mean the effort isn't worthwhile, after all, I doubt we'll ever run out of things to learn about

>But that's outside the topic.

Hmm, this might be the root of our discussion. Can one by a process of negation from what exists arrive at what doesn't, from 'the inside'?

>More than a convenience, it follows from being the creator: the time of an abstraction is never the same time of the plane where the abstraction is thought up in our universe, after all.

>Time, in a game of life can be defined as the discrete sequence of generations. How long it take to compute them is not relevant to the abstraction.
Time in a game of chess can be defined as the sequence of moves: even if the rules refer to timeouts, time annotations are just metadata.

>The fact that creation IN OUR UNIVERSE is impossible without unidirectional time is just a proof of the link between the concept "creation" and "time" in our universe, so that any attempt of redefining it in the dimension of a hypothetical god must define the equivalent of an unidirectional time axis in which he operates. Of course such definitions are equivalent to all the assertions made about objects outside this universe AKA religions.

Not necessarily, God is antecedent to time by our temporal standards if God creates what we think of as time. God still is responsible for its being, why otherwise say god 'creates' the universe? I see you wish to define God as existing outside of a unidirectional time axis but with the example I'm unsure. I have plenty of data files on my hard drive that contain sequences of moving images existing all at once, arrays and data matrices can store temporal data as well, and there's only one reason a sequence of states should be 'successive'. Outside the 'game'.. humans just so happen to experience time in the direction of increasing entropy, for whatever reason. Calculations of such events also occur in the direction of increasing entropy.

What I'm getting at is that I have an image from your analogy as God being like a programmer looking at a data file that contains all the temporal data as an abstraction.. hence what did you say.. 'the act of creating the universe coincides with knowing everything about it'.. except this occurs whether or not 'the guy' is bound by time. But that temporal data exists only by virtue of the conditions of the programmer's very existence in the first place: it is computed sequentially in that universe to begin with, which implies creator time, and secondly, perception of time as a sequential thing. I see you reaching (not in a bad way at all) with the idea of time as a data abstraction that can be represented spatially or via information, but I don't think the analogy is close enough to a God that exists independent of time yet in a relationship with it.

Second, once again the issue here is speaking about the substance of reality (say your simulated universe) as opposed to the conditions that make it possible for reality (the simulation) to exist, and how does one account for God in that relationship. The world's religions disagree quite a lot about God and whether or not concepts of God are restricted to certain conditions of existence to begin with. Nobody seems to even agree.. is God 'bound' to create the best of all possible worlds or not..? If 'creation' as we think of it doesn't exist in God's reality then why say God created the universe? God has to make existence possible before putting things in it (if God even does that).. God has to define time itself unless God is bound by time, or e.g. the a priori condition that time is the best arrangement of things, and God must do things the 'best way' etc. And a relationship between creator and creation doesn't necessarily imply time, or limits to that relationship or other relationships.

>This is why I prefer staying in the universe and talk about abstractions we create, instead of the hypothetical domain in respect to which we are the abstraction.

Well, the hypothetical domain and what exists in it is already being defined.

>Well, it is yours, you called it an ontological argument. To me it is an example that proves the OP claim as inconclusive.

The example kind of does utilize the ontological argument not just in conceiving God a priori but God as the 'first cause' in which God also exists outside of what humans call time.

Comment Re:If you make this a proof of God... (Score 1) 612

So God creates the game of life. God has the convenience of being free of time. Time itself is, by simple subtraction from the argument, irrelevant to creation, as God's act of creation is not bound by time. Time only operates within the simulation itself, and God does not create the existence of the -simulation itself- from -inside the simulation- anymore than the programmer creates the computer running -conway's game of life- from inside the simulation of conway's game of life. Time is irrelevant to the status of something as created. (As I understand it, the universe and time itself may be a projection by some models).

The presupposition however in the "who created god" rebuttal above is 'creation requires an antecedent'. However claiming that creation implies an antecedent makes no sense if God is 'free' from time. It is therefore self-contradictory and we exclude it and move on.. to your ontological argument. To get there the first implication: immediately 'infinite assumptions' requiring a 'unidirectional time axis' is not a rebuttal--if creation doesn't rely on time, neither does existence.

To be free of assumptions one must concede of every possibility all at once for or against, whether it be singular or infinite--and the outside of the simulation remains the infinite possibilities of the unknown. Now of course old-skool rationalism and the argument from ontology says 'Hey there, I've an answer to that... if humans can conceive of perfection, surely it must exist" which brings us to the analogy:

A "prime number" is a mathematical proposition that is agreed upon. Since God as a metaphysical Western construct is not a definition that all agree on even within Western metaphysics, what falls outside of it is open to debate and cannot be presupposed.

Let's assume we sit down and agree on a definition of God. Say we perhaps decide that God is a label we'll use to contain ALL those infinite possibilities of the unknown. That's about as close as we can get.

Your argument makes an example of a universe where your definition of God is possible and if you read carefully you will see that never did I contest the analogy itself, I demonstrate that it exists in an infinite sea of possibilities. Let's wind it back to another one of your analogies..

"I've a hundred dollars. What should I buy? This pair of shoes costs one hundred dollars. Because of that, I can buy shoes. Yes, I will buy shoes."

"You decided so quickly! You can buy a lot more things than shoes if you wish."

"Like what?"

The moral of the story being, other possibilities have nothing to do with inventing assumptions out of thin air. They are quite simply, either accounted for, or not. I can declare there's only one way to go to the store on the other side of the city, I can draw a map to get there, call that the model, the 'definition', and when others find fifty other routes, I can say they're just 'making assumptions' because they aren't following my map. Rather than say, building on what's there from other perspectives. Fortunately for the most part, philosophy does the latter.

"We shall reach greater and greater platitudes of achievement." -- Richard J. Daley