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Comment Re:Cool (Score 3, Interesting) 152

From what I've seen so far:

You control the box. You are trying (among other things?) to kill the things moving around. This seems to be largely done by forcing them into striking bombs (the empty squares). You can use a "puck"--the round circle that bounces back toward the box--to tunnel through the walls, and you can drop "chevrons" that force the enemies to move in the indicated direction. This is especially useful for forcing them to hit a bomb or get trapped in a tunnel.

It's not /that/ arcane. You just have to watch it for a couple minutes.

Comment Re:Who is really hurt by such services? (Score 1) 208

If your studies are directed toward entering a particular profession or vocation, then they are almost by definition NOT part of the liberal arts.

Psychology, in particular, is a social science. The social sciences are somewhat distinct from the liberal arts, though often closely related. If you're being forced to stick closely to the textbooks, it's likely because of the attempts in the last couple decades to make psychology more like the hard sciences--in which personal experience likewise lacks standing.

Comment Re:Who is really hurt by such services? (Score 1) 208

I should hope they were turned down for tenure. Only writing about what other people think about Aristotelian ethics is--if you'll pardon my Anglo-Saxon--fucking pointless.

History is a different bag than philosophy, though. Using plenty of citations makes sense there. Though given the various ways historical methods can and have been used, there's still plenty of room for critical thought and analysis.

Comment Re:Who is really hurt by such services? (Score 2, Insightful) 208

I have no idea how any halfway decent program in the liberal arts could possibly match Causality's description. My own professors definitely encouraged critical thinking and (at least attempts at) original analysis. It was, in fact, essential to understanding the material. One intended benefit was that students become better rounded, broader-minded people. A liberal arts education that attempts to create obedient, submissive students is not going to successfully teach the subject.

Comment Re:Yeah... (Score 1) 348

Yes, he said that. He continued the thought to the effect of "I mean, it was a perfectly good word for what I needed it to do at the time, and the underlying ideas are quite sound, but using it has resulted in an unclear understanding of the point I was making."

Recognizing that a particular use of language may not have been, in the long run, ideal, is not the same as repudiating one's life's work.

Comment Re:Yeah... (Score 0) 348

But the theory that two masses always attract hasn't necessarily been disproved.

Just from the scenario outlined, there are a number of possible resolutions to the problem that might preserve the theory of gravity inviolate. Perhaps the object that is repelled does not in fact have mass, but has what we might call anti-mass. Perhaps there is some bizarre warping of spacetime around or between the masses causing attraction to behave as if it were repulsion. A creative thinker sufficiently familiar with physics could postulate a number of such resolutions

Each potential solution, of course, would eventually have to accumulate theoretical and experimental justification. But one implication of the Quine-Duhem thesis is that it is perfectly possible that, given sufficient brainpower, one could come up with a solution that preserves gravitation given nearly any experimental results. Which is the theoretical problem with falsifiabilism; one can, if one really tries, cling to nearly any theory if one adopts other postulations that are sufficiently convoluted. Think of the way that geocentrists responded to greater astronomic information by adding more and more epicycles to their model.

Though both have problems in their work, Thomas Kuhn comes closer to describing the way science actually works than Karl Popper.

Comment Re:Yeah... (Score 4, Interesting) 348

However you can disprove a theory quite easily just by finding one case that doesn't fit with the theoretical predictions.

I'd recommend taking a class or two on the philosophy of science. As it turns out, this just isn't true.

A theory is not, generally speaking, a single predictive proposition. It is a set of propositions which, when taken together, imply a single prediction. Discovering that the prediction fails does not tell you which of the propositions is incorrect. It is almost certainly impossible to isolate the incorrect proposition experimentally.

This principle is known in the philosophy of science as the Quine-Duhem thesis. The underlying logic has been found to be quite sound.

And it coheres well with our normal intuitions about how science is to be done. If, for instance, we were to find a heavier-than-air object that falls up from a state of rest, we would not scrap the entire theory of gravity. We would realize that this is a special case and try to figure out what the correct way to modify it would be.

Comment Re:We can't know that it's consciousness... (Score 3, Informative) 291

Hmm, we routinely "shut down" beings that we are pretty sure are conscious, if not very intelligent. Been to McDonald lately?

Eating meat is not necessarily as ethically unproblematic as most of us would like. Ethical objections to consuming animals go back as far as Pythagoras in the West, and possibly much further in the East. The arguments for minimizing, if not eliminating, meat consumption have not gotten weaker with time. If anything, the biological discoveries showing the profound similarities between humans and other animals provide a great of justification for ethical vegetarianism.

Furthermore, we usually don't treat all animals alike. More intelligent animals, like the great apes, dolphins, and elephants, tend to garner much more respect. Should such a creature through a fluke gain human-level intelligence, I don't think the ethical implications are at all obscure; we should treat them with the same respect we give to other humans. We would at least have to set out guidelines as to how intelligent or sentient an artificial consciousness would have to be to deserve better treatment.

Comment We can't know that it's consciousness... (Score 3, Insightful) 291

...until we figure out the hard problem.

To know whether we have artificial consciousness on our hands, we have to get clear on what consciousness is, and that's a tremendously difficult philosophical problem.

Furthermore, there are serious ethical considerations that must be addressed if indeed we believe we are close to creating an artificial consciousness in a computer. Might we not have ethical obligations to an artificially conscious creature? Would it be murder to shut end the program or delete the creature's data? To what extent and at what cost might we be obligated to supply the supporting computers with adequate power?

Comment Re:Or they're terrified (Score 1) 921

I believe I already addressed that. If it were merely just that we're mathematical beings, then there's no reason to expect that physics would be anything but geometry. Our observations confirm that mathematical law-like behavior in the universe goes well beyond this. There's no particular reason that, for instance, 19th century non-Euclidean mathematics should have been so effective for modeling 20th century relativity.

Of course, one should not jump to the "God" conclusion only on the mathematics argument. But I didn't say that I had.

Comment Re:Or they're terrified (Score 4, Insightful) 921

Most of the atheists I've run into, in contrast, have considered the question.

I don't think it's fair to characterize the "parallel universes" response as "blind faith." I've only run into one or two (rather stupid, sadly) atheists who really did have a firm faith in the existence of parallel universes. Generally speaking, this hypothesis is brought up to counter the notion that one should immediately leap to the conclusion that there is a personal Creator. There are too many options to settle on one.

To my mind, the really interesting question is why the universe is so damn mathematical. It's not just that we can measure things, but that things follow mathematical laws so exactly. It's no wonder that no one twigged to this fact for so long; it's such an astoundingly strange notion, from the perspective of pre-scientific peoples. For this reason (along with others), I find myself compelled to admit that a mind-like Higher Power is somehow the ultimate cause of things as we know them.

However, I don't think that there is any compelling reason to think that something like the Christian or Muslim God exists.

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