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User Journal

Journal Journal: Thoughts on thinking.... circular much?

On an earlier post, tqft (619476) kindly left an informative reply. That and some random articles on strong AI have had me thinking. It's Sunday, the coffee is hot, and I feel like jotting down a few thoughts.

A summarization of some other's thinking goes kind of like this: The mind is too complex to be implemented in silicon or by digital computers. Digital computers are deterministic, and thus could not be used to implement strong AI or intelligence.

That all sounds good, if you lived 500 years ago IMO, but when you consider information like that passed on by tqft (link above) you have to think more about it.

Yes, a simplistic linear program cannot imitate intelligence. Even a complex multi-threaded linear program cannot do so. This is easy enough to agree to. If it was not true we'd already have Strong AI among us.

What I see is that seemingly every day another discovery is made about the human brain, human physiology, and the body in general. Recently there was a discovery about a new enzyme in the human and rat brains. Yes, that changes how we need to study the brain with regard to genetically managed functions. We as a race have mapped various areas of the brain that are involved with specified functions. If you think of not a single computer but a group of them working in concert, each has only a small number of 'tasks' to work on. I don't mean try imitating the human mind on an IBM super computer but on a huge cluster of them.

Why so much HPC power? Simple: we are only now finding out the many ways in which neurons pass information and form data sets. Think of how we remember things, associate things, process information, process geophysical location, and many other things that most of us take for granted since it has been part of our lives since day one. Each of those processes needs to be managed, to be parsed and fed to various other processes. Nothing linear about it.

We know that memories act on each of us. The smell of burning weed will cause each of us to have a different memory brought immediately to mind. Why? It's not something we are programmed to do, so where does it come from? It comes from our total previous experiences and what we personally have marked as important among them. This puts subjectivity in our minds rather than objectivity or programmed response.

Strong AI researchers should be working on imitating parts of the brain by function, not by form. Imitating 10 billion neurons is not going to do it, imitating the function of that group of neurons one function at a time is... IMO.

Vast amounts of information must be processed in different ways at the same time. A quick example is that of a person seeing a picture of a plastic duck, one of those pull toy things with wheels on it.

Even as you read that, you had things come to mind. What were they? Some of us who surf the less wholesome parts of the Internet will think of /b/. Others will think of many other things. It is personal experience, not programming alone that create our existence as different, unique, and that of an intelligent being.

Today's computers do not have the ready ability to store and process that volume of data. Even we humans cannot store all of the experiences of humanity, thus we have different reactions to any stimulus. Social functions help us to have the same memories and reference points. This is a problem for which there is relatively no simple ready answer. Memories.

Some who argue that getting the intelligence of a dog or cat into silicon is a good start, but that still has the problem of storing and processing memories. Even that seems a distant goal. Memory that last no longer than 'power down' just won't do it. Creating software that can put together memories even for simple things, like the experience of being in the living room and moving to the kitchen, and understanding what 'outside' means will be difficult without a functioning brain.

I think we need to work on putting supercomputers in very small spaces. Maybe the size of a USB memory stick so you can plug many of them into a system to work together.

Seems a long way off

User Journal

Journal Journal: Math is important - and intriguing 3

I've always wondered about things. What goes on in my head is far more strange than anything you are likely to find on the Internet most days. Things like how mammals came to have 5 digits for the most part. Yes, I know evolution explains it fairly simply but that does not explain how we almost all stuck with 5 digits and the body symmetry.

How math seems to evidence itself everywhere in nature. Perhaps it's just that math seems that way in explaining how nature is. I still wonder if there is a relationship here that has a cause elsewhere that we should be looking at.

Today I read an article about Moby Dick or rather, FTFA:

The following challenge was made by Michael Drosnin:

When my critics find a message about the assassination of a prime minister encrypted in Moby Dick, I'll believe them.
(Newsweek, Jun 9, 1997)

Note that English with the vowels included is far less flexible than Hebrew when it comes to making letters into words. Nevertheless, without further ado, we present our answer to Mr Drosnin's challenge.

Relate this to MD5 hash collisions - which now seem inevitable, if rare, and it feels like I'm seeing a pattern. We used to think a trillion dollars was a lot, no longer. Large numbers like PI seemed huge, but perhaps they should not be thought of like that anymore.

I am not a statistician by any means, and advanced math hurts my head for the most part. Hopefully someone out there will point to a URL that explains more. As we analyze nature further we find ways to make materials that mimic nature and coincidentally include more math in their structure. Other advances are based on nature and math that could revolutionize how we as a species live on this planet.

I'm not linking to any of the stories describing things I've mentioned - sorry.

I was thinking the other night about AI. We attempt to mimic the human mind mostly and I don't think it's a perfect example of the 'I' part. Seems we have 2 brains with large connectivity between them. We have 5 senses and can do approximately 7 things at once. So 1,2,3,5, and 7 seem to be important numbers. Fibonacci excelled at the stuff that makes my brain hurt so I'm not going to analyze this much right now, but can you see any similarity to his math and these seemingly important numbers I've mentioned? It could be pure coincidence. It might be something else.

Does anyone have any URLs that explain more of this? Something that might stop me feeling a bit like Neo? I'd like to understand more and explore it more.

Thanks for any help anyone can direct my way.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Trust me.... 1

Stra(i)nger: So, what church do you go to?
Me: I don't.
Stra(i)nger: What church did you go to as a kid? Your parents?
Me: This is not a conversation I want to have with you.
Stra(i)nger: No, seriously, what church do you go to? You have gone to church, right?
Me: I tried... sigh... I go to the church of [insert my name here].
Stra(i)nger: What church is that? What kind of church is that?
Me: A church you've never heard of, and one that won't let you join easily.
Stra(i)nger: It's a christian church, right? You believe in god don't you?
Me: Trust me, there is no god.
Stra(i)nger: what? Why should I just trust you that there is no god, of course there is a god.
Me: Trust me, you might as well, you trusted some other puck you don't even know to reliably inform you that there is a god. At least you have met me.
Stra(i)nger: Not true, I know there is a god.
Me: How so? Did you talk to him in person? Did he revive you from the dead with his own two hands? Did he personally perform some miraculous suspension of the laws of the universe for you to witness?
Stra(i)nger: Well, not exactly, but I'm born again, and the bible tells us there is a god.
Me: You don't know the people that wrote the bible or why they did, nor the people who translated it or what their motivations were, or if they were honest people or not. "Born again" is just a figure of speech. I like to think I woke up from the dream you're having now, and now I *FEEL* reborn, or that I have a new life. I can even remember the moment it happened.
Stra(i)nger: Really? When was that?
Me: The instant that I realized I'm an atheist; that there is no god; and that you, like I was, are living in a fantasy world.

... depending on the Stra(i)nger the conversation ends there or very shortly after. Sometimes with swearing at me and curses of damnation and such.

Some religious people are just not sane. They insist on talking about it, and then tell you that they are right and you are wrong. They will even damn you for thinking they are wrong.

And people want to know why atheists are getting vocal. Trust me, it's not because religious people left us alone and allowed us to participate in life without needing their consent; without having to listen to their lunatic rantings; without having to put up with them trying to subvert the government into a branch of the church.

Trust me..... or read this if you want to see what I'm talking about. This story is absolutely priceless. Here is more food for thought for you.

Proof of the existence of the Abrahamic god is nearly 2000 years old, and still not working. The evidence for disbelief in any god at all is growing every day. How much blood do you have to lose before you believe the people telling you that hitting yourself in the face with a baseball bat is not healthy? Apparently a lot of it if you believe that the blood is merely the imagination of the unbelievers. Mirror, mirror, on the wall.... who in the land is the sanest of them all?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Pirating songs v/s pirating DVDs

Recently, I purchased seasons 1 thru 4 of House MD through a second party seller on Amazon. I paid $117.00 for these DVDs. The first season of disks were no problem. However the eighth disk of the second season was a Chinese counterfeit. It was recorded off of a Fox station on Direct TV. It says so during each of the episodes. The episodes contain no Universal Studios banner, no FBI warning and menu is bright red with no graphics and the menu choices are in English and Chinese. However the graphics printed on the physical disk are perfect. I buy what I watch and I do not condone pirating. I sent a message to Universal studios telling them about this problem and got the following reply: Dear Mr. XXXXXXX, Thank you for taking the time to contact Universal Studios Home Entertainment. It appears that the "House," Season 2, DVDs that you purchased are illegal copies. The information you provided has been forwarded to our Internet Anti-piracy group for their immediate attention. Should they require further information, they will be in touch with you directly. We suggest that you contact Amazon's Customer Service group for resolution to this issue. Amazon has a strict policy regarding bootleg DVDs and it is important that they know about such illegal activities. We appreciate your concern and your patronage, and we hope that you will continue to enjoy our products. Sincerely, Consumer Relations UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT That is all I ever heard from Universal. As they suggested I contacted Amazon and related the same story. They sent me this email: Thank you for writing to with your concern. Please let me apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced as a result of this particular order. I've checked your order #XXX-XXXXXXX-XXXXXXX and found that you purchased "House: Seasons 1 - 4 Collection" from XXXXXXXXX, one of our registered third-party sellers on Amazon Merchant. Amazon (sic)Merchat listings are created by sellers other than When you buy an item at Amazon Marketplace, the individual seller processes and ships your order. I'm sorry to learn that the item you received was not as described for order #XXX-XXXXXXX-XXXXXXX. In a case like this, we do ask that you first contact the seller to explain the situation so they can resolve the issue. To contact the seller: 1. Click the "Your Account" link at the top of our web site. 2. Click "Go!" next to "open and recently shipped orders." 3. Sign in with your e-mail address and password. 4. Click "View order" next to the relevant order. 5. Click "Problem with this order?" On the next page, you'll see a button marked "Contact seller." For your convenience here's your seller contact information: Seller Name: XXXXXXX XXXXXX Email: We do want to assist you; however, please give your seller a chance to respond and resolve this first. Please be assured that, if a transaction with a third-party seller is unsuccessful and you are unable to resolve the dispute with your seller, you can contact again and also note, we will reimburse you the order cost from Amazon payment under A-Z guarantee. If you don't receive a satisfactory resolution from your seller within 3 business days, please let us know so we can help. Please visit the following link to provide the information we requested: When we receive a report from you using the link above, we will investigate your order and do what we can to resolve the problem. We can indeed understand that it is a bit frustrating to wait till that length of time. However, please understand our system does not allow us to issue a refund or take any action on any third party order until 3 business days have passed since you tried to contact the seller. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience these restrictions may cause. However, please understand that our A-Z Guarantee file system will not let us to process the refund until these three business days have passed. I am sure you will co-operate with us. If your seller has not help you to resolve the issue, I suggest you to submit the A-to-Z guarantee online for full reimbursement of your order cost, including shipping. Our guarantee is located online at: We want everyone who visits Marketplace to have a safe, enjoyable experience. Not only do participants in transactions review one another, but also provides oversight and will suspend participants who violate our terms of use. Credit card information is held on's secure server, and is not shared with Marketplace sellers, ever. Furthermore, if a transaction with a third-party seller is unsuccessful and you are unable to resolve the dispute with your seller, you may be eligible for the A-to-z Guarantee. Subject to certain guidelines, may reimburse the complete price up to $2,500.00. Again, I am sorry that this experience has been a disappointment. Even though your purchase was made from one of our third-party sellers, we realize that it may influence your decision to visit our stores again. I hope that this issue is resolved to your satisfaction soon. Thanks for shopping at We look forward assisting you. Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question: If yes, click here: If not, click here: Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site. Best regards, XXXX XXXXXX Customer Service ============================== Check your order and more: While waiting for a reply, from the seller to reply, I watched the rest of the DVDs. All of season 4 is counterfeit. Each disk is compressed to fit on a 4.3 GB DVD and the Universal banner and FBI warning have been removed. The compression causes each disk to stutter constantly. However the graphic printed on each disk looks professional. I sent a second email to Universal about the 4th season disks and Universal bounced the email back to me. The email to Universal was entered on Universal's web site and accepted when entered. My only conclusion is that they don't want to hear about it. My question is: Why is it OK to counterfeit DVDs and sell them for $117.00 but it is a terrible crime for a student to download a $1.00 song. The downloaded song isn't being used to defraud someone but I was defrauded out of $117.00 for these DVDs on Why does the studio not care from whom I bought these DVDs and where the seller obtained them. However they will try to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from a kid for downloading a few dollars worth of songs. What am I missing here? I did as Amazon requested and the seller took two weeks to reply. He said he will refund my money. I'll return the disks tomorrow. gmanterry
User Journal

Journal Journal: WTF does religion have to do with it? 1

I just found this site:

The video has people talking about religion, civility, and common sense morality. I say common sense morality because morality is derived from common sense, not religion.

They are talking about getting the world to realize that some moral teachings within religions are the same morality that is among us even without religion. That is to say that it is not borne of religion, but of common sense. The golden rule? Come on now. You do not have to be religious to see the common sense of that.

I'm thinking even Bonobo primates understand this. I won't steal your bananas if you don't steal mine. I won't hit you with a stick if you don't pick on those in my group. It's common sense. No religion required.

Lets think about this for a moment. Yes, there are somewhat militant defenders of atheism, the four horsemen and all that, but they are hardly a physical match for the millions of people who go out to 'witness' to others. They are undefeated warriors of logic in the public arena, but they cannot stop the indoctrination of young children. They cannot stop the spread of hatred that is xenophobia. While religions pretend to be compassionate, accepting, and loving, they seldom manage to be viewed that way. It does not take an atheist to judge them. All other sects judge them already. We have been trying to teach morality via religion for how long now? oh yeah, 2000+ years. It seems that the religious among us are the most intolerant. I think it's about time that we tried something different. This current plan is not and has not been working out very well.

Those Christians among us, ask yourself this: if your god is so loving and powerful, why are there still wars? If your message of love is so important and powerful, why are there still starving children in the world. Why is there still hate? Is your message failing? or is it your theistic beliefs that fail? Yes, of course, everyone has to believe in your god as strongly as you do before change will happen. Why can't we apply common sense to matters of man without bringing in some invisible alien to tell us what to do?

The religious among us want people to accept their beliefs so that the world will be just. I care not for religions, and I still want the world to be just. I want people to do what is fucking common sense.

If you Christians were sitting in front of a wall, bashing your head against it with blood running down your face, I'd try to help you. As things are now, you turn and tell me I'm wrong because I don't bash my head too. I'd be willing to let you bleed out on your own, but you keep coming to my house to invite me to come to your church and bash my head on a wall.

If you are reading this and are somehow offended, you have no reason to be. You didn't have to come here.

Is common sense and critical thinking a substitute for religion? NO. I say that because religion was forced on people, replacing the former. That is to say that real coke is not a substitute for a substitute coke. When you get the real thing, substitutes are not needed any longer. Religion was the substitute.

********** Update/addendum *************

There is a reason that atheists are becoming militant-like. That reason is simple: if atheists do not fight for their rights, they will be washed away in a great movement to create a christian country that destroys anything not in agreement with it.

A story about how American Atheists Inc. sued the state of Kentucky in state court over a 2002 law that stresses God's role in Kentucky's homeland security alongside the military, police agencies and health departments. The group claims the law violates both the state and U.S. constitutions.

Edwin F. Kagin, national legal director of Parsippany, New Jersey-based American Atheists Inc. says "It is one of the most egregiously and breathtakingly unconstitutional actions by a state legislature that I've ever seen."

Words like this are fantastic as they leave no doubt as to just how wrong this is. I won't quote all the evidence to support separation of church and state as many have already done this. What I want to do is bring to your attention this group, and their work to help atheists everywhere. Not only are they helping atheists, but they are helping Jews, Muslims, agnostics, Buddhists, GLBT groups, and basically anyone who is not accepted by the fundamentalist christian sects. Should the government of any state or all of them become dominated by christian views we are all in trouble. Our only hope then would be god himself, and we know how that will work out.... especially if you are adjudged to be in cahoots with the devil. I'm sure there is some precedence we can draw from the Spanish inquisition, or perhaps the witch trials in this country.

Of particular concern is a 2006 clause requiring the Office of Homeland Security to post a plaque that says the safety and security of the state "cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon almighty God" and to stress that fact through training and educational materials.

How in the hell is this NOT as bad as Jehovah's Witnesses knocking on your door and teaching you about their religion? Not only that, but can you show me a state who managed safety and security WITH the help of some almighty god? The Jew's (god's chosen people) never managed it. Currently they use nazi tactics to secure 'safety and security' of their state. Just ask the U.N.

The plaque, posted at the Kentucky Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort, includes the Bible verse: "Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."

Personally, I'd rather have a quote from Heinlein if we are going to put fiction quotes in public buildings, such as this one:

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

There are lots of other quotes too.

And here is a pretty good quote FTA:

"Kentucky isn't the only state dealing with religious issues, but Ed Buckner, president of American Atheists, said it's alone in officially enlisting God in homeland security. "I'm not aware of any other state or commonwealth that is attempting to dump their clear responsibility for protecting their citizens onto God or any other mythological creature," Buckner said.

Like I said, not even the Jews are trusting god to make it 'all okay' in their state.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Global Warming - Myth? or Hysteria? 3

Disclosure: I am not a scientist. Hell, I'm not even a college graduate ... yet. I am however what I think of as a reasonable and thinking man. Please, if you are a climate scientist do speak up here. Even if you are a non-climate scientist, please speak up.

I have presented poorly my beliefs on global warming and climate change on several occasions in the past. I have finally found someone that seems to speak in accord with my understandings of the matter. Despite the fact that this has a particular Australian slant, the reasoning behind it applies to any country.

In this article Robert M. Carter addresses the politics and rumor that permeate almost every discussion of climate change, and of ALL discussions of global warming.

His is a reasoned voice of calm analysis, taking time to note the politics and history of the current 'out of control' debate. He does not delve into the science as I like to, but he does calmly discuss the politics of the discussion. When politics are in the way, science can make no progress as he notes:

The basic flaw that was incorporated into IPCC methodology from the beginning was the assumption that matters of science can be decided on authority or consensus; in fact, and as Galileo early showed, science as a method of investigating the world is the very antithesis of authority. A scientific truth is so not because the IPCC or an Academy of Science blesses it, or because most people believe it, but because it is formulated as a rigorous hypothesis that has survived testing by many different scientists.

emphasis is mine.

The big problem with self confessed experts on climate change that I have is this: If you can tell me when and why of global warming, why can't you tell me the when and why of global cooling? Surely if you understand the Earth's climate mechanism(s) you should be able to tell me both, and consequently why and how much carbon dioxide will affect that balance. (if we choose to call it a balance of warming and cooling)

Clearly, since we have not been able to disprove gravity, the law of gravity stands as has been stated... even if we suspect there are subtle differences between reality and that law due to new information. Clearly, many other scientific laws and theorems have withstood much criticism and testing, and they remain the best explanation that we have. I have yet to see anything that even intimates that it is as strong a proof of global warming as these other things have. That is to say, if there were inarguable proof in abundance about this global warming, we would not still be discussing it. Do you argue with coworkers about whether gravity exists or not? Whether the world is flat or not? We don't yet have that kind of proof, so I think that alarmist attitudes are unnecessary and cause discordant and counterproductive discussion and activities.

I have searched for some time now and have yet to find cogent argument for or against global warming. There is some for climate change, but it is incomplete and often hijacked by global warming alarmists for their own purposes. The ONLY critical thinking that I've seen to date is that of people like Robert M. Carter who advocates a more calm, scientific approach to determining exactly how the Earth's climate mechanisms work before deciding that we are in dire need of making drastic and exorbitantly expensive changes to save the planet. More specifically, he concludes in part with:

Natural climate change being an important human hazard, research funding for climate change issues should be maintained at a healthy level. But the focus of the spending needs to be shifted from its present overemphasis on "greenhouse" alarmism and computer modelling research to a balance of: (i) documentation and analysis of modern weather patterns (earth observing systems), and patterns of past climate change (stratigraphic study); and (ii) deepening our understanding of all mechanisms of climate change, not just radiation theory .

emphasis is again mine

Can anyone out there, who happens to have enough spare time to read this journal, explain to me why it is that we should vary from this conclusion and move directly to alarmist reactionary wasteful efforts to change something we have very little real understanding of? While you are explaining things, please also explain how and why what you think we must do today to save this planet from global warming will not cause greater harm in 10 years or some other future date.

Please feel free to agree or disagree, but if you wish to state your belief that global warming is man made or not, please provide some links or cogent argument as to why. I'd rather see something that takes me hours of reading to understand than someone simply telling me that I'm stupid because I don't want to buy into the alarmist ideals of CO2 obviously causing harm because of SUVs etc.

I truly want to understand the global climate mechanism(s), not just your argument of why we need to drive smaller cars or use nuclear power. I'm actively seeking help in understanding the Earth's climate mechanisms.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why Free Speech Is Important

Sometimes you see an opinion piece and it just seems to right to let it settle alone on a blog site. Below is such an opinion, and it is taken from

It is important to understand that only individuals should be afforded rights. Ideas, thoughts and religions should not be protected from criticism. There is no such thing as defamation of religion. To the degree that it is concocted, the rights of ideas and religions will stand in direct opposition to the rights and freedoms of humans. The right of free speech is, in part, designed to offend others. The Founding Fathers of the United States Constitution erected the First Amendment for the purpose of fostering cantankerous political speech. They believed that the way to counter offensive speech and bad ideas is to engage in more speech, espousing good ideas. In this case, however, it is the OIC that clearly has the bad ideas, and not the alleged defamers. Perhaps the reason the OIC seeks to prohibit free speech rather than to rebut it, is because it too knows that free speech works.

While the US Constitution does not apply to all people on this planet, this does a nice job of stating why the right of free speech SHOULD apply to all peoples.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Obama Will Be The Next President!

I don't really want to make any political comments per se' but I'd like to drop a few quotes down to think about. I don't think there is anything I can add that is more appropriate than what a few figures from our past have already said about politics. I think that NOW is the right time to reflect on the sage words of wise men from the past.

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."
-- Mark Twain

"Sometimes we have to choose between what is right and what is easy.
--Albus Dumbledore"
-- J.K. Rowling

"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."
-- Douglas Adams (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe)

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."
-- Robert Frost

"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by frost."
-- J.R.R. Tolkien

"Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it."
-- Mark Twain

"The major problem- one of the major problems, for there are several- one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of whom manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."
-- Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

"Politicians are like diapers. They should be changed frequently and for the same reasons."
-- Robin Williams

"Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. " -- George Orwell

"Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxicabs and cutting hair." -- George Burns

"I don't believe in a government that protects us from ourselves."
-- Ronald Reagan

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top."
-- Edward Abbey

"You have to remember one thing about the will of the people: it wasn't that long ago that we were swept away by the Macarena."
-- Jon Stewart

"A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?" -- George Washington

"One thing is clear: The Founding Fathers never intended a nation where citizens would pay nearly half of everything they earn to the government."
-- Ron Paul

"Under the United States Constitution, the federal government has no authority to hold states "accountable" for their education performance...In the free society envisioned by the founders, schools are held accountable to parents, not federal bureaucrats."
-- Ron Paul

"I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. ... These two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death."
-- George Carlin

"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you. "
-- Pericles

"I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine. (12 May 1780)" -- John Adams

"Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Civilization, in fact, grows more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. Wars are no longer waged by the will of superior men, capable of judging dispassionately and intelligently the causes behind them and the effects flowing out of them. The are now begun by first throwing a mob into a panic; they are ended only when it has spent its ferine fury. " -- H.L. Mencken

User Journal

Journal Journal: Consciousness In the Human Species 9

I have to say, I just read something that nearly ruined a night of good beer drinking. It can be found at: If the link itself is not enough to warn you, let me: coughbullcoughshitcoughcoughfuckcough

However, one should ask the following question: Where did the results of atheistic science lead to? It seems that into a blind alley. Various theories exist within physics as the most prestigious science, being independent on each other. Some of them are contradictory from the point of view of classical logic or even one theory eliminates the other. Despite of this, each of them is considered to be valid, at least under strongly defined conditions.

First, science does not contradict. When a theory seems to contradict, it is merely indication that more works needs to be done to explain why this seems so. It is NOT a failure. It is simply reason to analyze more and study more to find why. The author continues on to almost prove that science is about reconciling known knowledge, even when it seems to contradict itself in places

The most visible example is the contradicton between two great theories of 20th century - the theory of relativity, which is mostly applied in macro-world and, the quantum mechanics, the manifestation of which becomes obvious at the extremely small values of physical quantities (micro-world, if we are talking about dimensions, but in general, the quantum phenomena can be observed in macro-world too, e.g. at the extremely small temperatures). The problem arises everywhere we are forced to apply both these theories under special conditions like in the world of particle physics or theory of black holes. Although it seems that the superstring theory is on the right way to comply with those two theories, looking in details it appears that satisfactory solution requires the modification of at least one of them - the most probably, the hottest candidate is the theory of relativity.

Okay, he's laid out some questions, basic high level analysis (someone else's obviously) but did nothing to persuade the reader that he is leading somewhere. Why exactly did the author mention all this? read on.

Thus I wanted to show the fact that different valid theories and systems exist, in spite of their contradiction in terms of classical logic. We should tolerate another systems and theories!

In all probability, boundaries of physics in terms it is known today are where begins the physics of consciousness. Let us mention namely Professor Jahn Robert, who is physicist and his affiliation is the research in the field of psychotronics (bio-communication).

Ahh, there we have it. Tolerance/acceptance of someone else's ideals simply because we do not yet have all the facts on the ideas we are working on. Yes, that makes sense. Right? Now, lets move on to allegory. If there is doubts in one science, it means that all other science fields have wiggle room to apply faith, or unsubstantiated beliefs.

The research of human counsciousness finds itself in a similary conflicting situation. As in theoretical physics we have here many different schools and philosophically based theories. While the one field discusses the doctrine of the free will of ego and the whole spectrum of schools of psychology based on the Freudian school and the classical philosophy, the other field deals with the conception of unconsiousness following the esotheric tradition of C.G.Jung, oriental philosophy (the hypnotic regress, holotropic breathing, transpersonal psychology) and biological mechanisms of personality.

There are also known arguments that genetics can provide us with all the answers to the philosophical questions.

The author then follows on with simple statement of belief, not anything scientifically factual, so you can dismiss any previous discussion of scientific value. Though, on this one topic, there may be wiggle room. Not because other science fields have some unsolved riddles, but because this particular scientific field is ... well, VERY open for interpretation.

He continues:

I disagree with this opinion and would like to emphasize the fact that genetics and unconsciousness are essentialy not oposing each other rather they are compatible like hardware (organism) and software (unconsiousness) naturally interacting and complimenting each other.

Consciousness as a subset of unconsciousness can not be defined by neurological processes only, which is a statment approved by many reputable experts in this field.

According to certain theories counsiousness is a link between idea and matter, from a point of view of quantum physics it is actually a kind of matter, and it is exceeds to the higher levels of the time space continuum.

Now, sit back tight in your seat. Here comes the kicker. I'm sure that I'll offend some, but meh.. this is MY journal. Here is a presumption with NO factual basis:

Few years ago I read a book "The Essence of Budhism" from already deceased theravadan Budhist monk Nyanasatta Thera (Martin Novosad) who lived his all life in a monastery in Sri Lanka. In this book he points out a fact that if we would approach the research of reincarnation with the same importance as given to the research in other fields of modern sience, the potential and credibility given to reincarnation would not be regarded so much as a "religion" but sientific fact.

If that part about reincarnation being science was not enough, he continues...

Of course it is natural that in order for Western science to accept the proof of reincarnation we have to base our project on the experimental and statistic methods native to this science.

Right back to the beginning of the argument? Without those 'native' investigative methods of validating a theory, it's not science. Uhmmmm Some Hindu's claim that the concept of zero was invented by their civilization. If so, kudos. Having had all this time, why has no-one yet applied 'real' science to it and proved reincarnation? Oh yeah, that's right, it can't be proved. Nobody comes back from the dead. The one person that claims to have done so isn't Hindu and doesn't believe in reincarnation. Go figure.

Okay, preliminaries out of the way, lets move on to why this perturbs me. First, consciousness is the one thing that confounds all religions. If it were not for our ability to ask existential questions, we'd not be having a philosophical discussion/argument at all. So there is the rub. When you are discussing the cause of your discussion, deep regression becomes an issue. Why do we think? Well, so far, what we know is that one school says 'god' made us that way. The other school says hey, evolution gave us this little twist of fate, a mutation that was very beneficial. Possible several such mutations. Walking upright and the thumb .. it turns out... are really fucking handy. So, here we are.. some tens of thousands of years ago... most believe in some sun god or similar. Eventually, this belief system 'evolves' into a good vs evil belief system, and that beats everything else available so spreads like wildfire across the globe (more or less). Turns out that the really strong and militant and warlike of our species really like this good/evil thing... That's something I'd change if I could.

Back on point. Now we have this thinking thing going on. Hmm how did that happen.. well, must have been god, right? Well, what does this god want us to do with life, what is our purpose? This is where man's new found creativity has shown its brightest. Long before scientific methods were discovered, men decided that the one who had the best story usually ended up with the most glory... writing and reading not needed. So, today we have a blogger who despite thousands of years of time to prove reincarnation is factual, decides that it only seems like 'religion' because nobody has devoted time to studying it.

Well, I'm here to do one of two things. My next post will be proof of the outcome. If there is any real god, Hindu or Abrahamic or any other.. .let them strike me dead right now, as I write this for doubting their existence. Let me not come back as anything, never mind something vile. Just obliterate me from existence. Go on? I'm waiting....... sigh

I guess you will have to endure a few more posts from me. You cannot prove a negative, so don't ask me to prove that reincarnation is not true. I can firmly and happily rely on the fact that wild claims need wild proof, and since there is no proof, I need not start worrying about becoming Hindu.

For some really nice quotes about religion and science and atheism, try this link:

Yes, I know that is an .asp site... sorry about that :-)

It was just pointed out to me that any idea can be good, might even save the human race from itself. The problem is that without proof, evidence, and repeatability it is ONLY an idea, and will eventually be shoved off to the realm of religion.

Flying cars and personal jet packs as well as reincarnation are cool ideas. Trouble is that of the three, only two have facts, evidence, and repeatability. Even if very few of us will ever experience first-hand the two that are real, they remain real. The third remains religion without proof. While there is not much in the way of flying cars right now, people are working on the problem, and it is one of engineering, not proving religion. Further note: the guy that used a jet pack to fly over the English Channel is a fucking hero. THAT was and will remain very cool, even if I never get to do anything like it. It's no longer just an idea.

For some further reading by people that seem much more educated than I:

And, of course, let us not forget real wisdom:

User Journal

Journal Journal: Separation of Church and State 1

To prove that the USA has actual and real separation of church and state, the USA should take democracy to Israel. If that upsets you, read the subject line again. If it still upsets you I have only one piece of advice: pills are subtle but a bullet to the brain proves you are a real man. Don't leave this life with everyone thinking you're a girly-man.

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Journal Journal: The Election

I didn't really want to write about politics... it's just not a subject proper folk should talk about in public, and it tends to upset a lot of people. The trouble is that this election is upsetting me. It's not that there are the typical political shenanigans going on, it is that we are calling Americans names like terrorist, Islamic, and other names that on their own mean nothing, yet taken in context of the last eight years of complete disregard for the Constitution mean something. It makes me sad, very sad.

The religious among us and the ignorant have not missed an opportunity to decry who the bad guys is, or who we should believe the bad guy is. Despite all the negative and vile things said and done, very few are actually saying, "hey, look ,these are the real issues, lets see how these people line up on the issues." Instead what we are getting from the political parties and the MSM is stories about who the bad guys are.

I'm pretty tired of this bs, and it is bullshit. On the one hand, someone says "look how bad the other guy is, so you have to vote for me because there are only two choices" and on the other hand I'm thinking "who the fuck let you people out of the zoo?" Given a choice and unconditional indemnity, I'd execute them all. Of course, that's just anger at how this is turning out. Apparently American politics can't be completed with out most participants either looking like assholes or pretending the other guys are.

America and Americans are facing real issues. Issues of such import that history might actually show them as more important than either world war, or even the revolutionary war. Because of America's place in the world, the world is facing issues like it has not faced since WWII, and all we can do here in the "homeland" is argue about which of the two main candidates is the most evil. Holy fuck!!

We're not talking to each other about which is the 'best' candidate, we're arguing who is the most evil in order to get the vote out for people to choose the lesser of two evils. That is so wrong that words fail me on all but the best of occasions. There are christians praying that god sees the election through to a right decision. Gays hoping that christians are as fucked up as they sound. Finance people hoping for more handouts. Osama bin Laden is probably near death from laughing.

My dear grandmother used to say "if you have nothing good to say, keep your fucking mouth shut, asshole"... and I'd like to pass that on the the general populace tonight.

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Journal Journal: I got a phone call today.....

Well, to be fair, my wife got the phone call. She is from the balmy area known as the west coast of Canada. The call was from a cousin in that area to the north of New York. All the details of the phone call are not important... just one sentence: "Please, Please, for the love of god and all that is good, spend all your free time convincing family, friends, and neighbors to NOT vote for McCain/Palin... please please please, we beg you"

It was stated from the bottom of her cousin's heart. Deeply felt, as though fear had driven it out of their mouth. These are not Americans begging us, they are world citizens who have no influence over the choice of the two people that have more control over their lives than we like to give the Whitehouse credit for. The world is asking us to NOT elect McCain/Palin... not just this election, but ever!

I'm doing just that right now. See this page

I grew up in that same denomination church. Trust me, we don't want her having access to nuclear codes and the world's largest military might.

Also see this

While I normally expect Matt to be a bit more eloquent, but his concerns are the concerns that you and I should be thinking about very hard right now.

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Journal Journal: Liberty? What's it to you, bub?

"Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban ... At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question... Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals ... If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear,"

- George Orwell, from his proposed preface to "Animal Farm."


Journal Journal: WTF is wrong with Arizonans? 1

I'm sure there are good people in Arizona, as there are anywhere, but lately I find myself wondering what the hell is wrong with so many people in Arizona that they keep electing McCain to office.

Do they believe the lies?

or is there something in the water?

I ask this because we all know they don't smoke weed or do drugs

and of course Arizona is not full of angry criminals who don't give a damn

So, can someone please explain how this senile man keeps getting re-elected?

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Logic doesn't apply to the real world. -- Marvin Minsky