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Sunday, January 28, 2018

On "a perfect self-aware digital copy of you"

An exchange on Facebook:
Person A: "Black Mirror is a cool series, but at this point I think I can safely say that it is over-reliant on the "What if they could make a perfect self-aware digital copy of you?" plot device."

Person B: "I agree but history will probably see it as a cautionary tale."

Person Me: "How can the impossible be a cautionary tale?"

Person B: "1984 was also thought to be impossible."
And my further response --

There is nothing logically impossible about '1984' -- and, in fact, it was happening under leftist regimes even as the story was being composed. So, if it was "thought impossible", it was thought so only by those who declined to think logically and reasonably about human beings.

On the other hand, it is logically impossible for a computer program to be self-aware, to be a *self* in the first place (*). Further, even if that weren't logically impossible, it would be a further impossibility for such a program to be a self-aware digital copy of a person/self (**). So, if a computer-program-as-a-self is thought to be possible, it is thought so only by those who decline to think logically and reasonably about persons and about computers.

(*) A computer, I mean the physical machine distinct from its programming, is no more capable of "hosting" a self than an abacus is; for, a computer *is* an abacus, very complex to be sure, but an abacus nonetheless, and nothing more. Meanwhile, a computer program is just a physical *representation* of *one* possible set of deterministic cause-and-effect transformations upon some possible data set or sets. If no data input is given to a program, no data output can be generated by the program.

(**) The so-called "perfect self-aware digital copy of you" would merely be *data* for such a program to read and perform operations/transformations upon; that is, it would be mere *representations* of certain facts about your and your history (and not any actual facts at all), used as input to such a program. That program, executing on that computer, reading *your* data, would no more be you (nor a copy of you) than a minute later that some program, executing on that same computer, reading *my* data, would be me (or a copy of me). Put another way, printing that data into a book does not cause the book to be a person (much less to be you). no matter how quickly someone flips the pages.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

On "Racial Reconciliation Services"

Rev Sam Murrell of Little Rock, AR: Why I No Longer Participate in Racial Reconciliation Services

Rev Murrell makes a very important point, a very Christian point; it is well worth one's time to read the piece.

However, he's just wrong when he says that 'races' -- in the sense that that word has been commonly used since the 18th or 19th century to refer to the broad geographical/continental origins of human lineages -- don't exist. If this common claim were true, then he couldn't use the terms 'blacks' and 'American blacks', as he does, and expect to be understood.

Despite that this is the way it is most frequently used anymore, the English word 'race' does not refer primarily to the broad geographical/continental origins of human lineages; often referred to as "skin color", despite that skin tone is but one of the characteristics in the set which distinguishes this 'race' from that 'race'. Rather, 'race' refers to the many and various ways that one may use sets of common characteristics to group entities into groups distinguishable from other similar groups so distinguished. You will notice that I said 'entities' and not 'organisms'; this is because the word 'race', strictly speaking, is not about biology.

Thus, once upon a time (i.e. before race-mongering was "a thing"), people might at times speak of "the race of fish-mongers". The term, "the race of fish-mongers", refers to all those persons (generally girls and women in times past) who sold seafood (generally caught by their own husbands, brothers and sons) to other persons. For the most part, the persons who comprise "the race of fish-mongers" are biologically related to one another only in the broad sense that they are all members of the larger and all-encompassing race of the "human race".

Similarly, when Darwin named his unreadable tome, "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life", while he certainly had biological organisms in mind, he was not speaking of the "skin color" of human beings. That was a different of Darwin's books, "The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex", which, incidentally, gave the "scientific" imprimatur to what we now denote as ‘racism’.

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Just like the last 17 times

Sultan Knish: Government Shuts Down, Nation Descends into Riots, Looting and Cannibalism

What these "government shutdowns" that the Democrats periodically cause demonstrate is that the only *need* we Americans have for the federal government is that it do the things the Constitutions requires it to do and for which it was created in the first place. You, know, the very things that the Democrats sabotage at every opportunity.

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Sinfonity -- Guitar as Classical Orchestra

YouTube video: Johann Sebastian Bach; Toccata & Fugue in Dm, by Sinfonity

It doesn't always work so well as this. For instance, while their rendition of Vivaldi's Four Seasons is perhaps unique, and certainly interesting, it's not quite the same as a performance by an orchestra. At the same time, if I were familiar with this Bach piece, perhaps I'd also think that their rendition sounds a bit ... hollow(?), as the Vivaldi performance does to me.

By way of comparison, here is Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor performed on the organ.

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Friday, January 19, 2018

The Road to Hell ...

Or, to be more precise, the road to *your* hell is paved with leftists' intentions.

One 'Yuri Dieujuste' in this Facebook thread --
It gets into the fun question of wether the Anglo settler colonies that became the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand* are extensions of their former motherland and should only be open to those people, or places that once they opened their doors to other people became settler colonies for the entire world to create a new culture from what was left of the aboriginal people, the original settlers, and those that followed.

*You can even open this to say, South American countries that played a similar role such as Chile, Argentina, and Brazil...
Mr Dieujuste is incensed that anyone would describe his ancestral country, Haiti, as a 'shithole', whether or not anyone actually did, and even though it is quite literally that. It's clear to me from exchanges with him over the past few days that whether he was born in America, and whether he holds US citizenship, he is not actually an American, for his loyalty is not to America. And, he subscribes at least to the leftist lie that America is racist and oppressive to "people of color".

He is an ingrate.

On the plus side, he hasn't so far resorted to the spittal-flecked rage that typifies white leftists.

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

There is *always* a god of the system

Douglas Wilson: A Primer on Theocracies
First, theocracy is inescapable. Every society is theocratic, every society has a god of the system. The ethical expectations governing the members of that society are generated by the god of the system, and dissenters are clubbed in accordance with the divine will. In Islamic republics, this god is Allah, in secular democracies it is Demos, in Alabama it is Football. There is no such thing as a society with the great god Vacuum at the top. Any society that had no arche to hold it together would—for that reason—not hold together. Every society has an ultimate point of cohesion, and that point of cohesion, whatever it is, necessarily has religious value.

Second, working the other way, every social value has to be grounded (or not), justified (or not), in a worldview. If Christians commend a certain course of action to the larger society, and that larger society stares back at us and asks why, what do we say in response? All the ultimate ethical answers to questions that a society faces are answers that have to answer the two basic worldview questions—why? and who says? Societies don’t get to say, “just because.”

Third, we certainly have to deal with the popular connotations of the word theocracy, the sense of the word that Moore assumes throughout his article. By theocracy he means evil theocracies, with everything being made worse because it is being done in the name of God. ...

And fourth, we must carefully distinguish theocracy, which is inescapable, from ecclesiocracy, rule by clerics, which is entirely escapable, and which should be escaped. In a Christian republic, the church would be a separate and distinct institution from the state. But the separation of church and state (an honored Christian position) is not the same thing as separating God and state, or morality and state, or ultimate questions from state. When you do that, for the sake of combating evil ecclesiocracies, you create a situation where we can no longer ban abortion mills on the basis of something that God said to Moses. This is because Agnosticism is now the official religion, and who’s to say? So when we remove a word from God, we are on our own. And when we go out on our own . . . well, fifty million and counting.
"Agnosticism is now the official religion ..." and the god of Agnosticism appears to be the great god O, and the sacrifice demanded by O is babies.

Edit 2018/01/16 --
Douglas Wilson: Like a Dog Chasing a Firetruck

Edit 2018/01/18 --
Douglas Wilson: Theocracy and the Tijuana Brass

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The made-up pronoun game

All the recent made-up pronouns, just like all the recent made-up "genders" -- and the on-going efforts to criminalize the refusal of sane persons to go along with it -- are leftist passive-aggressive assertions, heavy on the aggression, of power over the language, thoughts, and minds of others.

In a recent post, Who needs truth?, Vox Day quotes from a Washington Post article, including this snippet
To Haidt’s point, a scandal erupted in the fall in Canada when Lindsay Shepherd, a graduate teaching assistant for an introductory communications course at Wilfrid Laurier University, played a video clip in which Jordan Peterson, a controversial professor, declared his refusal to address trans students by their preferred gender-neutral pronouns.
The thing to which I wish to draw Gentle Reader's attention is the fact that even if one insanely agrees to go along with the leftist power-play scam, one does not *address* another person by any of these made-up pronouns. In English, the pronouns by which one *addresses* other persons are either the second person singular ('you') or the second person plural ('you') ... both or which are, as one can clearly see, already and intrinsically "gender-neutral pronouns".

Even centuries ago, when English did still have multiple second person pronouns, those pronouns were already "gender-neutral"; the distinctions they drew were not between sex, but between number on the one hand, and social status -- formality vs familiarity -- on the other.

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

The struggle is real

Wilbur Hassenfus observes at Dalrock's blog:
[UMC] Bishop [sic] Oliveto deserves a lot of credit. In the old days, bishops used to struggle to be more like Christ, but now Christ is apparently struggling — with, to His credit, some qualified success — to be more like her.

These are the kind of improvements you see when you put women in charge of your institution. Very impressive!

The observation is a comment about this -- PJMedia: Lesbian Bishop [sic] Calls Jesus a Bigot
United Methodist Church bishop [sic] Dr. Karen Oliveto is not only a lesbian, she also believes (and publicly teaches) that Jesus was a bigot filled with prejudices. She does say that Jesus grew and changed, and that’s her point. Bishop [sic] Oliveto admonishes, “If Jesus can change, if he can give up his bigotries and prejudices, if he can realize that he had made his life too small, and if, in this realization, he grew closer to others and closer to God, than so can we.”

The struggle which is real is, of course, the same old one it has always been -- to plant one's own ass on God's throne.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Living In A Madhouse

K T Cat: Living In A Madhouse

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