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Comment: Re:Just wondering... (Score 1) 416

by alexgieg (#48583985) Attached to: MIT Removes Online Physics Lectures and Courses By Walter Lewin

[quote]It is pretty unlikely that sexual harassment will ever be considered okay in the future.[/quote]

I've once read a piece of fiction in which a future society had "non-consensual sex" as a standard part of their culture. Hundreds-of-years-old still living (thanks to advances in medical research) 21st century-born citizens shook their head at this, but when they told the youngsters they thought it absurd, they all looked at the oldsters with uncomprehending expressions. That's because thanks to advances in technology it was a non-issue. No resulting psychological traumas, no physical injuries, no pain, no unwanted pregnancies, at most a small inconvenience, and even so only if one's in a hurry. Hence, not a crime, not even a misdemeanor, but mere bad manners.

Rule of thumb: don't try to predict the future. If a current author can already imagine such a scenario, the actual social reality a few centuries down the line might be radically weirder than even his most hallucinating dreams. As ours would be to any 17th century surviver were one still around.

Comment: Re:Google doesn't have a monopoly on ANYTHING. (Score 1) 334

by alexgieg (#48474175) Attached to: The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

You have to make up your mind. Either central banks are fundamentalist free market advocates, or they aren't. In this post you seem to be agreeing with my point that they aren't. So, which is it?

The problem with FREE free markets is, that they don't work.

True, which is why I'm actually a distributist, not a libertarian. That however has no bearing on the original argument about what central banks are or aren't.

Comment: Re:Google doesn't have a monopoly on ANYTHING. (Score 1) 334

by alexgieg (#48459745) Attached to: The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

Thanks, I liked that article. It expresses many of the same criticisms I have to Rothbard, better than I myself could.

However, that has no bearing on the issue at hand. Central banks are state monopolies that prevent the free market of private currencies. If one's a fundamentalist free-market advocate, then currencies are just a good among others, and monopolizing on their production is anything but being free. Hence, any central bank cannot by definition be a fundamentalist free-market advocate, else they'd advocate for their own monopolies over their respective national currencies to end.

That's why, incidentally, no huge company is ever truly libertarian. Libertarianism is always the position defended by those neither at the bottom nor at the top of the economic pyramid. It's a purely middle-class ideology.

Comment: Re:writer doesn't get jeopardy, or much of anythin (Score 1) 455

Whether smarter things than us can exist is an unknown.

It's highly probable though. We can do a lot of pretty awesome stuff running in basically fixed hardware, and hardware full of bugs at that. Build a brain without cognitive biases and it'll be smarter by that alone. Build an intelligence that can dynamically alter its own source code and hardware to optimize for specific tasks and it'll be even more so. There's probably a limit on how much such optimizations can achieve, but in any case we're hardly there, wherever "there" is.

Comment: Re:Pressure from the *West* (Score 1) 128

So what you're saying is that governments in the world used to be coerced into behaving differently. Now, governments in those countries now have a greater say over their own future.

FTFY. People rarely, if ever, have a say over anything. They are coerced by their own governments, which in turn can be or not coerced by other governments. In any case however, they are and remain coerced.

Comment: Re:No thank you (Score 1) 267

by alexgieg (#48341835) Attached to: 'Star Wars: Episode VII' Gets a Name

Yes, a reboot. Each generation is a complete new story, reworking from the ground up characters, replacing several and adding new ones, changing the setting etc. Except for character names a new generation has no relation storywise with previous ones.

1983's Generation 1 is good but at (a very distant) second place compared to G4, with three TV seasons, a few TV specials and a movie.

1997's G2 didn't have a TV series.

2003's G3 and 2009's G3.5 didn't have TV series proper, but had a few kinda boring direct-to-video releases.

2010's G4, the current version, is so good it has four TV seasons, two limited theatrical releases movies, is about to enter its 5th season (with at least four more planned) and to spawn the first season of a spin-off series, has a feature film planned for 2017, and something between 5 and 12 million adult fans worldwide. ;-)

Comment: Re:Logically only God could have created.. (Score 2) 429

by alexgieg (#48334603) Attached to: Mathematical Proof That the Universe Could Come From Nothing

Of course there is: Everything appears due to interdependent coorigination. There's no beginning, and no end. All supreme gods are, like us, interdependent cooriginated beings who mistakenly believe themselves eternal and infinite and creators, but who will, in due time, also cease existing like everything, giving thus origin to other causal sequences. Behind it all the only constant is Vacuity, which we can access and become one with by following the eightfold path (right action, right thinking etc.), thus achieving the positive extinction of the self (nirvana).

Also, relying on a god, even a supreme one, is a fools' errand. No matter how many eternities you get to live in bliss in that god's paradise (or in torment in that god's hell), once he himself ceases to exist you're back at the starting point, still bound by causation. The only real escape is nirvana. Everything else is suffering either now, or in future, even if it's a very, very distant future.

That's Buddhism 101 for you. :-)

Comment: Re:Haleluja ... (Score 1) 669

by alexgieg (#48266237) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

Not really. Aristotle assumed this philosophical god of his had some form of "knowledge", yes. However, he concluded it had only knowledge about itself, not about anything else, and particularly not about the stuff over which it caused change to happen. The universe and us existing would be unknown and utterly indifferent to it.

Besides, Aristotle doesn't limit the concept of a first mover to be unique. You can have several first movers, each one completely indifferent to anything but itself, they all causing stuff other than themselves to move, and their different moving abilities interacting with each other to cause, among other things, us. And they'd be ignorant of each other too, since they, being first movers, aren't moved by anything, including other first movers, so there's no way for them to detect other first movers.

For an analogy, think of this like different physical laws interacting while they (the laws themselves) don't change in any way due to such "external" interactions. That basically covers it, except for the fact that first movers are way more "general", so to speak, than "mere" physical laws.

Comment: Re:Haleluja ... (Score 1) 669

by alexgieg (#48266187) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

Why not?

Try it with any discipline. Do like a children and ask from any established knowledge "why?". Then to that answer ask "why?" Proceed a few cycles and you'll reach a point in which you start looping. That's the analogue of the first mover in that knowledge set. If the set you're looking at is "all knowledge about everything", the same will apply: you reach a base point that loops over itself. That's an actual first mover. (And there can be many such.)

Doing this however yields very little information, something like this (using jargon): "a first mover is simple being in pure actuality acting over pure potentiality". And that's it, everyone goes back home happy as there's nothing else to say on the subject. Which is indeed what Aristotle himself did. He spent a few pages on the subject and then moved on to more interesting stuff as there wasn't much else to do with this other than thinking "Neat, that's solved! So, what's next in my todo list?"

This is also why Christians trying to generalize from this Aristotelian "god" to their tribal one makes no sense really.

Why must there have been a base? If that base could be uncaused, why couldn't the universe just be uncaused?

Ah, that's easy! Because the universe is composed of changing stuff, and we're trying to thing that which causes changes but doesn't suffer any change. For example, math fits. All the in-universe changes happen under mathematical laws that don't change no matter how much the stuff "under" them goes around crashing all over itself.

See also my reply to the person who commented above your comment.

Comment: Re:Haleluja ... (Score 1) 669

by alexgieg (#48266105) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

The Greeks were more subtle that you give them credit. It isn't "any form", it's one specific form: the totality of everything. You can have several infinite regresses within it, but not for the whole of it. For example, nothing prevents the universe having infinite causality and thus no beginning in time, so much so that's exactly what Aristotle thought was the case. However, the totality of the universe's set of causes and effects themselves is located "within" the finite set of formal causation extending from Physical laws down to the the basic axioms of logic, and stopping there. In other words, the "first mover" isn't physical, it's at least meta (beyond, outside) physical, and probably beyond even that.

Always draw your curves, then plot your reading.

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