Monday, July 26, 2010

Beyond a certain minimum, wealth doesn't bring happiness. That people are driven by an irrational belief that it will, and persist in spite of all contrary evidence, is a form of madness. The definition of happiness is sometimes transposed to equal domination, power, or success. (for example Dick Cheney got a new tin heart in the belief that he would eventually find contentment) The same can be said for knowledge: it's just not possible to read all scientific papers that are produced in even one day. In Newton's time that was possible, but now, w/ hundreds per week, software does that job and also sorts for relevancy, draws conclusions, forms hypotheses, and publishes results. Eventually puny humans will become obsolete and waste away from irrelevancy.

A common denominator of these 2 disciplines (acquisition of wealth and acquisition of knowledge) is OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). The belief that contentment or safety or a desired outcome will be produced w/ enough repetition. Human brains are good at organizing repetitive tasks to produce complex results, like assembly line production. Two somewhat comparable biological corollaries are the Limbic nervous system(controls fight or flight,) vs Autonomic nervous system (breathing and heart functions) which are repetitive tasks. With luck, our new robot overlords will not confuse the 2 systems.

Anyone who reads this blog hoping for a conclusive thought should be aware that the writer gets substantial kicks from simple plausibilities, (they give almost the same hormonal sense of gratification w/ a lot less work). As an avid conspiracy theorist, I'm often satisfied w/ implications as much as proven conclusions. So I offer this warning to others: this is not a survival trait, and one must constantly guard against becoming a slave to Republicans and religious cannibals because they prey upon this common weakness to gain our confidence before they eat our babies.

Confirmation Bias

in other news:
UK government acts to prevent arrest of Pope, petitions ensue.

Joe's flash for the day: Greater or lesser versions of Obsessive compulsive disorder as a survival trait are selected for by reward for community group efforts. Obsessive people as leaders are only valuable in politics where some kind of program or process has to be driven by popular mandate. Otherwise they're given jobs that are repetitive and boring, requiring detailed attention and conscientious responsibility. When robots rule the world, these people will either be their proponents or they will become obsolete. As a general rule, people don't value the trait in mates, it's something employers might look for though.

I can see a scenario where society crumbles with out them because of poor interface w/ the machines, another possibility is OCD will become the only game in town as a necessity for dealing w/ the machines. I more expect the latter because without OCD, there would be no machines and they would probably program their keepers to look out for their own.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

God Comics ( My apologies to people who feel strongly about ridicule of religion. I expect if god made the known universe he probably has a broad enough mind to allow self ridicule, so any reflection would be on the limited experience of the believer. If objections stem from the perceived damage to the belief system, then the believer must admit the beliefs are vulnerable, so why "defend" those beliefs in the name of god. (shakes head) Alas, it comes from ignorance.

The Just World Phenomenon

Fundamentalist Christian Evangelism in the US Military, it's still there.

“Read other people's myths, not those of your own religion, because you tend to interpret your own religion in terms of facts - but if you read the other ones, you begin to get the message.” ~Joseph Campbell

Saturday, July 03, 2010

How is it that possible pathways work out? A person imagines something like space wars with ray guns and fantastic aliens. Then somehow these things work on their imagination to come about. (I think Niels Bohr said that but I can't find the quote) No they don't always come about, but that part that captures the imagination often does.

Satellite relay for transcontinental communication was first a si-fi story by Arthur C. Clarke, and the shape of the needle for the original singer sewing machine was taken from a dream. There seems to be a capacity of the mind that selects for possibility, of putting 2 & 2 together till e=mc2. For example NPR has Car Talk w/ Click & Clack the Tappet Bros. who are pretty good (genius) at identifying mechanical problems on practically any car, from call-in descriptions of symptoms. They do it down to which wire of which part is loose, on which year of which model of which car, what caused it, & how it was missed by the mechanics at the shop.

How does that work? The internal adversary, that's used to bench test hypothesis is Assigned Symmetry (IMHO), & can usually be trusted not to go rogue because it has the same survival priorities as the protagonist. Real world adversaries (like the Wolf Man) draw on a broader source of negative responses (he rips peoples heads off), whereas the internal adversary is learned from someone who advocates your survival. The survival benefit of taking the side of the protagonist is low stress, better sleep, & an overall more agreeable disposition, so that you get social perks like getting laid instead of living in a dumpster. In other words, the internal protagonist may be subjective, but the internal antagonist must be purely objective in order to be reliable.

For that to occur, the native needs to be Descartes or learn that skill set from someone else (like maybe Science 101), because it won't happen by itself if you get lies.

Sapolsky on Religion (
Reason & Un-welcom Evidence (The Guardian)
Carl Sagan & the Garden of Eden (youtube)
Platos code Cracked Religions supression of science didn't begin w/ Gallileo.