Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Soul Brothers

When I read this article I responded as follows:

Bobby, a really engaging and interesting article if you are interested in the subject (and I know you are).

Anyone else interested? I'm going to post a link to my blog for further discussion.

The discussion of Roko’s Basilisk is very amusing, while still frightening in potenia.

I must agree with a key point of the article, which is that from an outsider's view, there are surprising levels of similarity between the "religionist" and "transhumanist" positions. I see the both of them as different sides of the same coin. To put that in extreme focus terms, think of the Hitler versus Stalin situation in the 30s. Every Communist and every Nazi would declare with utter passion that they were the exact opposite of each other, eternal enemies with totally different visions of the future. Yet outsiders saw little difference between the societies they created -- secret police, torture, mass murder, propaganda, ad infinitum.

As regards this article I see both sides as deeply emotionalist and anti-rationalist. Each believes that their cause so profoundly that any criticism is seen as beyond the pale. In short, even the supposedly rational side is deeply faith based.

I find the whole concept of uploading oneself quite interesting. I also find it deeply flawed. Here are a few of the issues:

What exactly is meant by "consciousness"? The way it's described by transhumanists is identical to the soul. From a strictly rational view, whatever consciousness may exist, it must arise within the structure of the brain itself. There is no ghost in the machine, the two are inseparable, indeed identical. And yet transhumanists refer to their consciousness exactly in the same way that the religious refer to the soul. It is an awareness, and existence, a state of being entirely separate from physical reality.

This could be referred to as the Star Trek transporter problem. The transporter disassembles you, copying your patterns in the process and then sends the information in a datastream to a receiving transporter which rebuilds "you". But you have destroyed your brain. Your consciousness is gone. What you have created is a copy of yourself which, because it has your memories, thinks it is you. Even in the Star Trek universe this problem was acknowledged because occasionally there is a transporter accident in which multiple copies of a person are made. Starfleet regards all those copies as the original person even though we now have multiple "original persons".

The same issue arises with a copy of your intelligence. Once it's copied into machine form, into a computer state of zeros and ones, it could be copied indefinitely. So if we destroy your brain to copy it and then upload it into 1 million computer systems, there are now 1 million original yous. Each one will insist that it is in fact the actual real you and the others are the false ones. But in fact the real you will have been destroyed along with your brain, unless you accept the concept of a separate consciousness, a separate soul which is not depend upon the physical brain.

And then there's the problem of reprogramming. What if somebody hacks the new you? A teenage kid is bored and hacks the system decides to turn you into a… Who knows what? When she changes your data programming, it will change you. You can be turned into a monster, or a maniac, a saintly prophet; anything the hacker programs in, that will be the new you.

So the question quickly becomes, is that you at all? Was it ever you?

And let's never forget Roko’s Basilisk. The transhumanist view here is one of a perfect world which everybody is nice and everybody is good and no one will ever do anything bad or wrong. I find that unlikely.

Once you have become a computer program you would be helpless. Anyone who has retained their body (or perhaps become a cyborg) and is outside the system and can hack into it and do whatever they want to you. Imagine a Hitler, Stalin, or even any number of average personalities having complete control over not only you but the entire universe you inhabit.

I'm going to refer to the Heechee series again. All these issues are dealt with in novel form, including that emergency services may "save" your life by uploading you into a computer program if a disaster renders you unconscious and unable to continue to live in your body. If you have good health insurance you will now live wonderful life. If you don't, they make you pay back the debt by enslaving your program and selling it to whoever cares to bid on it.

As scary as the future is, and I'm certain it will have its horrors, I believe it will be better than things are now. However, I am forced to admit that that is a matter of faith.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter Eggs


Good Saturday

Long day hard day
Not so very good day

Strained and tired
Anxious and wounded

Heart skipping beats day
Want to run away day

Bulgy bear
Don't know why

Still alive day
Struggle on day

Grubbing hope
Seeking peace

Colored chalk and grandkids day
Easter eggs and glitter day

Small delights
Vast rewards

Swirling colors in the sink day
Dear memories remembered day

Retreating from battle
Seeking home

Please God make it stop day
Dear God thank you for this day

Joyful heart
Family strong

Good Saturday

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Easter Poem For The Judges


At the center of the orchard
The old tree stands
Rejected beloved

Walls have grown
Deep down and tall
Cutting off both root and branch

Some still stand united, whole
Sharing soil and water
Separately together

The bitter selfish
Neither give nor take
But know they are the best of all

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Mess Of Politics

>In a shocking reversal, white evangelicals have gone from being the least likely to the most likely group to agree that a candidate’s personal immorality has no bearing on his performance in public office. Today, in fact, they are more likely than Americans who claim no religious affiliation at all to say such a moral bifurcation is possible.<

This is why so many Americans are turning away from all organized religion. The evangelicals have so corrupted their formally Christian faith into a crass political organization that young people all over America are thinking, "If that's religion, I don't want any!"

Genesis 25:34
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

For a mess of pottage, right wing "Christians" have sold their birthright.

Hail To The Loser

Donald Trump does not like "hail to the chief" as the presidential theme song. It's time to help him choose the replacement. He is now down to the two following selections. Click like for number one. Click share for number two.

1. (To the tune of Cathy's Clown)
🎶I want your loving more and more
I want your kisses that's for sure
I die each time
I hear the sound
They're saying here he comes
He's Putin's Clown

You know you've got to stand tall
You know a man can't crawl
And when you let Vlad tell you lies
And you let em pass you by
You're not a man at all

He don't want your loving anymore
He don't want your kisses that's for sure
Why do you let them put you down
And let em call you Putin's Clown

When you see me shed a tear
Then you know that I'm sincere
I just think it's kinda sad
That Vlad's treating you so bad
And I'm the one who cares

I want your loving more and more
I want your kisses that's for sure
I die each time
I hear the sound
They're saying here he comes
He's Putin's Clown

You're Putin's Clown
You're Putin's Clown🎶

2. (To the tune of I'm Your Puppet)
🎶Pull the string and I'll wink at you, I'm your puppet
I'll do funny things if you want me to, I'm your puppet
I'm yours to have and to hold
Putin, you've got full control of your puppet
Pull another string and I'll kiss your lips, I'm your puppet
Snap your finger and I'll turn you some flips, I'm your puppet
Listen, your every wish is my command
All you gotta do is wiggle your little hand
I'm your puppet, I'm your puppet
I'm just a toy, just a funny boy
That makes you laugh when you're blue
I'll be wonderful, do just what I'm told
I'll do anything for you
I'm your puppet, I'm your puppet

Hitler Is Hitler!

In response to a post criticizing Trump's desire to publish a weekly report on crimes by illegals, at which point out that the Nazis did this any special publication called "the criminal jew" I responded:

The point is valid, this is a disgusting act. However, we should always remember that comparing Trump to Hitler is a big mistake. Remember those old SAT questions? "Hitler is to Trump as Himmler is to __________."

The answer is Chief Wiggum. Himmler was the nerdy looking, but extremely effective , commander of the SS and the Gestapo, two of the most feared organizations in the history of the world.
Chief Wiggum is… Chief Wiggum.

Point to Hitler for hate, but laugh at the Trumpsters.

At Least They Didn't Call It A Hairball

One of the great scientific mysteries that fascinated me throughout childhood and early adulthood was the endless attempts to determine what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. It was utterly fascinating and I followed the efforts and the new theories eagerly. Today I find the problem with black holes almost as fascinating. If you press an astrophysicist on the subject, he will admit that any time we start talking about infinities such as infinitely dense, infinitely hot, infinitely small it's an admission we don't know what we're talking about and that physics has broken down. (Note: this also applies to the big bang theory.)

Here's the new theory (new to me anyway) which solves a great many of the black hole problems, and it's based on string theory! Which in my book, makes it a double winner.
I am really stuck, though, on this issue of; if Alice reaches the black hole her strings are reproduced. I don't get it.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Light Poetry From A Loving Heart

My Katie
The girl of the bird
With the beautiful eye
Black glossy wings
A flashing of blue
Rushing of joy
For me and for you

My Drew
My little boy blue
The cow's in the meadow
The sheep's in the corn
My love still here
And never foresworn

My Becca
My Beccachan you
For your precious art
Your sketched and you drew
Mine was my family
It's all that I do

My Josh
Player of horns
Come break down the walls
Tear down the thorns
Be what you say

Sauce For The Goose...

In response to an article in which liberals defended their mildly violent protest in which they prevented a Trump supporter from speaking at their university lead me to respond:
The problem with freedom of speech is that it means freedom of speech for the people whose speech you despise. I support freedom of speech, not its suppression.

My friend M toughtfully responded:
Me too Jim. But this is indeed a tough call... and I believe it's the second time he's cancelled a speech because of protestors; if not him it was someone like him. So who's in the right? He had the right of free speech, but so did the protestors...
So trump threatens to pull federal funding from the school?! It certainly was not the school's fault! trump is all powerful, or so he thinks...

I agreed with her point, but added:
Let me go to extreme focus, meaning let's look at it much more extreme but somewhat similar case so as to throw light on this one. It is reported that at one point after a meeting with "Bomber" Harris, who planned the terror bombings of German cities in retaliation for similar attacks by the Nazis, Churchill asked him, "Are we beasts?"

My answer is, yes, you were beasts. It was wrong for the Nazis to do it and it was wrong for us to do it.

There was actually a plan pushed by some in Washington that after World War II Germans be limited to a smaller number of calories than required for human health. The point being that half starved Germans can't start another world war. Decency ruled the day, so the Germans are among our best allies today. The horrific war crime committed by the French and British after World War I in which they deliberately continued to starve Germans after the Armistice is little known now, but was one of the most important bases for the rise of Hitler and the start of World War II.

We are in not in a fake culture war but a real war for fact, science, reality, and common decency. I don't want us to use that as an excuse to abandon the moral high ground.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Greatest Story Ever Screwed

I finally overcame my anticipatory revulsion and watched the new version of Disney's The Jungle Book. I have concluded that while the movie is not the hideous train wreck that the animated version was, it's still pretty bad. It is obvious that no one connected with either movie has ever actually read even a single one of the original Mowgli stories.They just gave the general concept the Disney treatment. If you are a work of literature and receive the Disney treatment, you can expect to follow a process similar to ancient Egyptian mummification. First they gut you. Then they scoop your brains out through your nose. Then they wrap you up in bandages and soak you in a bath of ooey gooey, sugar sweet clichés, throw in a few wild chase scenes, add a couple of adorable but mischievous animals, and you're done.

How bad do I find it? Well let's say Disney decided to do a New Testament spectacular. It would go something like this:

Walt Disney presents The Greatest Story Ever Told:

God the Father falls in love with that hot babe, the Holy Spirit. She's bad, but she has a heart of gold. She gives birth to a son, whom they call Jesus. Unfortunately, there's a war in Heaven at the moment and, what with heaven being bombed, all the children have to be evacuated to the countryside, that is, Earth.

Jesus gets sent to the Virgin Mary, wife of Joseph because he's too old to have kids and this lets them have a family.

But the great prophet, John the Baptist, is jealous. He fears this new Jesus will take over the number one spot. He can't let that happen. This is especially sad because John the Baptist is a follower of Moses. Moses set all the Jews in Egypt free and now wanders around the desert singing "The Bear Necessities" and teaching the people of Israel that they don't need to be slaves to material things, they can just be free and wander around eating bugs, honey, and manna. He especially likes locusts and wild honey. His greatest student, John the Baptist, still likes locusts and wild honey, but now he also craves power. (Moses, happily wandering the desert while eating bugs between two slices of mana coated with honey sandwiches, plays no further part in the movie.)

Hearing about Jesus, John decides to "baptize" the infant "accidentally" drowning him and making himself safe.

This is made easy for him because he is married to Salome, daughter of kindly King Herod. Evil John the Baptist convinces kindly king Herod that Jesus is trying to replace Herod, not John.

Hearing that Harod is out to get their child (they now our regard Jesus as their own son) The Holy Family leaves his birthplace in a manger, taking along that adorable but mischievous little lamb and the dove up in the rafters, which is also very adorable.

They settle in Egypt for a while, which is ruled by the mighty pharaoh who uses his Royal cartouche to surf the waters of the Nile. He's a really laid-back dude and sounds like a Californian surfer.

I think you get the picture now. This is what Disney does to great literature. I know I'm very much in the minority, but most Disney movies really stink.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Kellyanne Conway: "Do you always want to go by what comes out of his mouth rather than look at what's in his heart?"

Jesus (Mark 17): "18But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man. 19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. 20These are what defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile him.”

Obviously fundamentalist evangelical right wing Christians will listen to the Prophetess rather than that other guy, who is apparently a member of the mainstream media.