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Old 30 Nov 2017, 10:10 PM   #681555 / #51
Michel
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Yes. You're special.
Actually, many of my friends say that I am naive, Hermit!
I agree with you, I would also think that I can, safely, drive faster. And I might even do so, if I am not concentrating on the road signs. But I would slow down as soon as I realize I drive faster than the limit.
It has nothing to do with being a perfect citizen but rather, that I accept the rules that govern us all. It even goes further, I tell people that I am proud to pay taxes. Then some think that I am joking but I am not. Even my wife gets irritated when I talk that way.

Anyway, to get back to the subject I started, I understand now why my debunking of Intelligent Design with those teenagers didn't work as I was not understood. But it was very pleasant to discuss with you all. I need now to explore this forum and ... you will certainly meet me in other discussions!
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Old 30 Nov 2017, 11:35 PM   #681561 / #52
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I mentioned it early in the thread, but the ultimate (IMO) debunking of ID came at the Kitzmiller vs Dover trial.

You should read the transcripts. Take your time, they are quite lengthy, but also very entertaining.
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Old 01 Dec 2017, 11:46 AM   #681585 / #53
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I mentioned it early in the thread, but the ultimate (IMO) debunking of ID came at the Kitzmiller vs Dover trial.
Oh yes, Worldtravelller, I remember that one. But it only states that the USA Constitution forbids teaching a particular religion and, the court concluded that Intelligent Design is only a disguised Creationism idea based on an old text we call, the Old Testament. Indeed, the ID supporters hide that by saying that their school of thoughts is non religious and the "intelligent" part of the creation could even be extraterrestrial.

I will try to rephrase my idea, using a metaphor:

"I don't understand this! Each time I watch this movie, the hero dies at the end! One would think that, after the first time, he would learn to avoid his killer!"

Likewise, if life is designed in every aspect (the human eye is a favourite argument for iD supporters) then ... me writing those words, today, from my computer, in Norway, is also ... designed, right? Just like the end of the movie!

"Ah no," say the ID supporters, "it was designed until humans appeared on earth. After than, it is ... free-will!"

And that is what I object to! If anyone starts telling me the intentions, the plans, and the effects of an imaginary friend, it ... doesn't make sense at all!

... Do I have a point?
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Old 01 Dec 2017, 12:51 PM   #681588 / #54
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I mentioned it early in the thread, but the ultimate (IMO) debunking of ID came at the Kitzmiller vs Dover trial.

You should read the transcripts. Take your time, they are quite lengthy, but also very entertaining.
That's not true. I think it was 1871 that the British Royal Society issued a statement that all their naturalist members agreed on the theory of evolution. That was the world's most prestigious scientific fellowship with all the biggest names. Any residual controversy died with that.

After that the only controversy has been among the laypeople who don't understand it. Apart from the odd oddball (like Behe). And in 1871 we only had a fraction of the evidence we have today. The theory has only grown stronger.

That's why "teach the controversy" is so amusing. The obvious retort is, "what controversy?".
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Old 01 Dec 2017, 08:22 PM   #681617 / #55
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Originally Posted by Worldtraveller View Post
I mentioned it early in the thread, but the ultimate (IMO) debunking of ID came at the Kitzmiller vs Dover trial.

You should read the transcripts. Take your time, they are quite lengthy, but also very entertaining.
That's not true. I think it was 1871 that the British Royal Society issued a statement that all their naturalist members agreed on the theory of evolution. That was the world's most prestigious scientific fellowship with all the biggest names. Any residual controversy died with that.

After that the only controversy has been among the laypeople who don't understand it. Apart from the odd oddball (like Behe). And in 1871 we only had a fraction of the evidence we have today. The theory has only grown stronger.

That's why "teach the controversy" is so amusing. The obvious retort is, "what controversy?".
You're right - creationism got the axe by the British Royal Society in 1871, but Worldtraveller is talking about Intelligent Design. Its advocates tried to sneak creationism back into various US curricula disguised as a new scientific theory. The Kitzmiller vs Dover trial put paid to that by debunking the idea that it is different to creationism.

There is actually a smoking gun, a document in which one (or several) advocates of ID explicitly express the intention to disguise creationism as ID and fraudulently palm it off as something new and scientific. Not wanting to sift through the transcripts in the hope of finding it recorded there, I wonder if someone can furnish a link to it.
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Old 01 Dec 2017, 10:49 PM   #681627 / #56
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I mentioned it early in the thread, but the ultimate (IMO) debunking of ID came at the Kitzmiller vs Dover trial.

You should read the transcripts. Take your time, they are quite lengthy, but also very entertaining.
That's not true. I think it was 1871 that the British Royal Society issued a statement that all their naturalist members agreed on the theory of evolution. That was the world's most prestigious scientific fellowship with all the biggest names. Any residual controversy died with that.

After that the only controversy has been among the laypeople who don't understand it. Apart from the odd oddball (like Behe). And in 1871 we only had a fraction of the evidence we have today. The theory has only grown stronger.

That's why "teach the controversy" is so amusing. The obvious retort is, "what controversy?".
You're right - creationism got the axe by the British Royal Society in 1871, but Worldtraveller is talking about Intelligent Design. Its advocates tried to sneak creationism back into various US curricula disguised as a new scientific theory. The Kitzmiller vs Dover trial put paid to that by debunking the idea that it is different to creationism.

There is actually a smoking gun, a document in which one (or several) advocates of ID explicitly express the intention to disguise creationism as ID and fraudulently palm it off as something new and scientific. Not wanting to sift through the transcripts in the hope of finding it recorded there, I wonder if someone can furnish a link to it.
Nonsense. ID and creationism are the same thing. And only in America. Not in the rest of the world. I don't know anywhere else where ID (as if it was a separate thing) has gotten traction
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Old 01 Dec 2017, 11:03 PM   #681629 / #57
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ID and creationism are the same thing.
Exactly. And the Kitzmiller vs Dover trial debunked the notion that it is not.
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Old 01 Dec 2017, 11:30 PM   #681631 / #58
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Thank you for your answer, Ozymandias. You then confirm why, when explaining this, all my interlocutors look like question marks!

But, from what I understand, Intelligent Design is not objecting the 13.8 billion years of the universe. Only the so-called Young Earth Creationists do. And that is why I find ID dangerous.

Actually, last year, as a Humanist-Ethic Confirmation leader (an alternative we give to the Lutheran Confirmation) I used the ID argument with those 14/15 years old kids under the subject: "Critical thinking." But none got my point.

The thing is, from what I read, ID supporters don't even use the theist argument. That is what I react to. They only say: The universe can't be a coincidence, and let you come to the theist conclusion by yourself. Furthermore, the use the scientific "fine-tuned universe" argument in their favour.

For me, the "fine-tuned universe" is simply a conclusion of the Anthropic Principle: we observe the universe as we do simply because it is possible!

My objection to ID is simply that, if designed then me writing these words is also designed. To what ID supporters object: Ah no, God stopped designing when Adam and Eve were created. Now we are on our own! ... and that is where I answer: "okay, you then make your own story and leave the domain of science."

Does it make sense?
You lost me entirely at the point at which you claimed to be teaching critical thinking and you are worried they didn't get your argument. Critical thinking is about teaching children how to think not what to think. You shouldn't be worrying about them 'getting' your argument.

As for the idea that a designed, or indeed evolved artefact isn't capable of independent creative action. That doesn't even need an argument, merely a passing acquaintance with modern machine learning. There are rather a lot of very designed machines out there doing things their designers can neither predict or indeed do themselves. You last insurance quote or bank loan was almost certainly informed by an AI system doing multiple soft constraint satisfaction on a few hundred data points. It was designed to learn independently and is now infinitely more accurate than the best human operator.
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Old 02 Dec 2017, 09:11 AM   #681654 / #59
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You lost me entirely at the point at which you claimed to be teaching critical thinking and you are worried they didn't get your argument. Critical thinking is about teaching children how to think not what to think. You shouldn't be worrying about them 'getting' your argument.
Touché! We are given an "evening subject" and that evening, it was "critical thinking." I had four groups of 15 teenagers, a total of 60 kids. I exposed to them the "fine tuned universe" of the Intelligent Design then asked them, in groups of three of four, to think of a counter-argument. None of them managed to come with something else than "it just silly" or something like that.

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As for the idea that a designed, or indeed evolved artefact isn't capable of independent creative action. That doesn't even need an argument, merely a passing acquaintance with modern machine learning. There are rather a lot of very designed machines out there doing things their designers can neither predict or indeed do themselves. You last insurance quote or bank loan was almost certainly informed by an AI system doing multiple soft constraint satisfaction on a few hundred data points. It was designed to learn independently and is now infinitely more accurate than the best human operator.
Ah, Artificial Intelligence! I love that discussion too! If I build a computer as complex as a human brain, let it pick up ideas on the internet, then ask it: "Are you conscious?" and it answers: "Yes, of course!" do I have a mean of proving or disproving it?

... as a newcomer to this forum, I look forward to learn more about it and find my way in the many threads.
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Old 02 Dec 2017, 11:04 PM   #681689 / #60
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Touché! We are given an "evening subject" and that evening, it was "critical thinking." I had four groups of 15 teenagers, a total of 60 kids. I exposed to them the "fine tuned universe" of the Intelligent Design then asked them, in groups of three of four, to think of a counter-argument. None of them managed to come with something else than "it just silly" or something like that.

But that's a bit like claiming to be teaching them music by playing them something bad and asking them to play something better. At least show them a good argument and ask them to analyse it. You know, ask what the author was trying to achieve, how they tried to achieve it and how successful they were.


As for AI, the question simply isn't about consciousness. it's about doing things that we simply can't do in ways that we never considered doing it. That's pretty easy to demonstrate. For example, when Google used an AI system to translate the entirety of wikipedia from English to German in a tenth of a second. No one worried if the system was conscious. The fact is that worrying if a computer can think is a bit like worrying if a submarine can swim.
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Old 03 Dec 2017, 10:50 AM   #681704 / #61
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But that's a bit like claiming to be teaching them music by playing them something bad and asking them to play something better.
Yes, it is, Subsymbolic. I did some backtracking and found what I used a year ago, as an argument. Please check this YouTube video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy6kaDaeDT8

I asked them to debunk this "scientific" statement. I did it because, as a humanist and a grand-father, I have no problem if people believe in angels, Santa Claus and the like. But trying to use pseudo-science to prove that a God exists and that we must submit our will to a priest, an "interpreter" of God ... no, thank you!
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Old 03 Dec 2017, 11:49 AM   #681705 / #62
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The much-cited fine tuning of the cosmological constant is the ratio of its observed value to the value that one would expect from quantum gravity: the Planck density. That ratio is 10-120, giving a dark-energy field value of around 0.01 eV. This is much smaller than the masses of all massive Standard-Model particles other than neutrinos. Neutrinos themselves have masses somewhere around 0.01 - 0.1 eV.
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Old 03 Dec 2017, 12:09 PM   #681706 / #63
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Ah, Artificial Intelligence! I love that discussion too! If I build a computer as complex as a human brain, let it pick up ideas on the internet, then ask it: "Are you conscious?" and it answers: "Yes, of course!" do I have a mean of proving or disproving it?
I have a degree in computer science and have done courses in machine learning. That BTW, is how you spot the difference between an expert and a pop science aficionado. No expert ever uses the term "artificial intelligence" when talking to other people who also actually knows stuff.

First you need to define consciousness. If consciousness is a higher order analytic engine that analysis the lower order decisions, then yes... that's damn easy to build. We almost always do.

If we define consciousness as if, let's say, Pinker would, then consciousness is that little bit that creates some sort of simplified order and narrative story, to facilitate communication... also.. dam easy. Every computer game does this.

It all means what you mean by "intelligence" and "consciousness".

Can a robot feel pain? If we define pain as a signal response system intended to motivate the person to avoid being in danger then it's fairly simple.

if pain receptor signal > 10
then
pain
else
not pain

Answer is yes.

The most common critique against any AI system is, "does it think exactly like a human?" If the answer is "no" then it's "just a dumb machine". But that's a cop out, since we still don't know how the brain works. We don't even know what we don't know about it.

It's just the wrong question to ask. A better question, does the machine learning system learn and get better? Does it do the job satisfactorily? It doesn't even need to be better than a human. I just needs to do something some way, that's dependable somehow, and that is useful... and it's very likely worth it.

People who work with AI just don't think in these ways. It doesn't matter if an AI really is conscious. All that matters is that it does what we expect it to or do it in such a way that was better than what we expected. If it doesn't, we scrap it and start over.

When people like Elon Musk worries about AI taking over and killing us. He's not worried about an AI that is more intelligent than us and will take over. He's more worried about some autonomous self replicating unit being released into the wild and just being really good at what it does. Eventually it'll gobble up all available resources and make human extinct that way. What Kurzweil calls, "grey goo". I'm not worried about it, because we're not good enough at building durable things yet. We tend to fuck up too much, to make this something we need to worry about.
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Old 03 Dec 2017, 01:45 PM   #681708 / #64
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Please check this YouTube video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy6kaDaeDT8

I asked them to debunk this "scientific" statement.
Excuse me for reiterating my question: How can we tell where, when and why the improbable becomes the impossible? I mean, no matter how much improbability increases, it only ever approaches impossibility. So add as many zeros to one in a number of chances for the universe to be in such a way that life can exist, as you like; you will not arrive at the point where design becomes a necessity. Infinity? Fine. Let me know when you get there.

Isn't this a better prompt to challenge people to think things through on their own?
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Old 03 Dec 2017, 03:13 PM   #681713 / #65
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I have a degree in computer science and have done courses in machine learning.
I understand what you mean, DrZoidberg. In 1979, I bought a Commodore PET and started programming Basic, then Assembler and, when I retired two years ago, I had finished programming a vessel simulator using Unity3D.

I like very much the simple logic of evolutions: we started as simple "brains" putting observations in boxes labelled "good" and "bad," pretty much as a logic "IF-THEN-ELSE" operation. In my mind, we are nothing more than organic computers. Yet we feel we have a "soul," a "consciousness." Do we? Are we only "intelligent biologic computers" or ... something else? And if a computer is asked if it is conscious, do we have the tools to prove or disprove it?

I simply think that the field if computer intelligence is fascinating but I have no special idea. Like Socrates, I irritate people by asking questions!

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When people like Elon Musk worries about AI taking over and killing us.
... and this is what really worries me, as a grand-father, after asking last year to 60 teenagers, what they think the world will be in the year 3000.

The came with exactly that answer: "Robots have taken over and we are their slaves." Shocked, I asked them, for the next week, to come with, at least, one optimist view of the future. Next week, they came with lame answers like ... "Microsoft has release an even better operating system!"

What can we do to give hope to the teenagers? They will inherit this world and ... should do better than we did ... but I digress, sorry.
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Old 03 Dec 2017, 03:17 PM   #681714 / #66
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Isn't this a better prompt to challenge people to think things through on their own?
Of course, Hermit, but how would you have done it? IMHO, Intelligent Design is a real danger as it pretends to use science. Since they didn't come with a response, I gave them my own opinion: That of the Anthropic Principle and the "interrupt ID" nonsense idea of mine.
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Old 04 Dec 2017, 12:59 AM   #681744 / #67
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It must be pointed out that the Standard Model of particle physics has a rather baroque structure.

Here is the low-energy SM (all masses in GeV -- protons are 0.9383 GeV, neutrons 0.9396 GeV, 1 atomic mass unit 0.931 GeV). Quantum numbers are (QCD multiplet, electric charge):
  • Gauge: gluon (8,0) 0 GeV, photon (1, 0) 0 GeV, W (1,+-1) 80 GeV, Z (1,0) 91 GeV
  • Higgs: (1,0) 125 GeV
  • Up, charm, top quarks (3, 2/3): 0.0023, 1.275, 173 GeV
  • Down, strange, bottom quarks (3, -1/3): 0.0048, 0.95, 4.18 GeV
  • Neutrinos (1, 0): around 10^(-11) - 10^(-10) GeV
  • Electron, muon, tau (1, -1): 0.000511, 0.106, 1.777 GeV

Here is with unbroken electroweak symmetry. The quantum numbers are now (QCD multiplet, weak-isospin multiplet, weak-hypercharge value). I won't be giving masses here, since only the Higgs particle has an intrinsic mass here, and it's rather odd.
  • Gauge: gluon (8,1,0), W (1,3,0), B (1,1,0)
  • Higgs (SUSY pair of doublets): Hu (1,2,1/2), Hd (1,2,-1/2)
  • Quarks: left-handed up and down together Q (3,2,1/6), right-handed up U (3,1,2/3), right-handed down D (3,1,-1/3)
  • Leptons: left-handed neutrino and electron together L (1,2,-1/2), right-handed neutrino (if it exists) N (1,1,0), right-handed electron E (1,1,-1)

I'll summarize some GUT hypotheses:
  • SU(5): 1 gauge multiplet, 1 (plain) or 2 (SUSY) Higgs multiplets, 2 (plain) or 3 (with right-handed neutrinos) multiplets per elementary-fermion generation
  • SO(10): 1 gauge multiplet, 1 Higgs multiplet, 1 elementary-fermion multiplet per generation
  • E6: 1 gauge multiplet, Higgs and EF multiplets in the same kind of multiplet
GUT's require symmetry breaking to get to the Standard Model.

There are some known effects that don't fit into the Standard Model very well.
  • Gravity
  • Dark matter
  • Dark energy
  • Cosmic inflation

Turning to Martin Rees's six numbers, ε, the mass fraction of He4's binding energy, is essentially a numerical constant, though it is pushed down a bit by the light quarks' masses. A more serious consequence of a weakened nucleon-nucleon interaction may be deuterium being unstable. That would get in the way of hydrogen burning in the cores of stars. Stronger may make dineutrons and diprotons bound, and that would have consequences of their own.

N, the ratio of two protons' electromagnetic and gravitational interactions, is very large. The quantum-gravity mass scale or Planck mass is about 10^(19) GeV, much larger than Standard-Model masses, but close to GUT masses of around 10^(16) GeV. So why the 10^(14) GUT-to-SM gap?

The next two are about inflation.

The Universe's curvature, Ω, is very close to 1. From inflation, it takes about 60 e-foldings of expansion to produce such flatness. But with only a few more e-foldings, Ω becomes too close to 1 to measure.

The fluctuation amplitude, Q, is around 10^(-5). It is roughly ( (inflation energy scale) / (Planck mass) )^2, giving an inflation energy scale of roughly 10^(16) GeV -- close to expected GUT energies. So we have three effects pointing to GUT energy scales:
  • Gauge unification
  • Neutrino-mass seesaw model
  • Inflation

Turning to Λ, the cosmological constant or dark-energy value, I have seen some speculations as to why it is so prominent at this time. Speculations like "tracking", where the dark-energy density somehow tracks the overall mass/energy density.

Finally, D, the number of space dimensions: 3. There is also one time dimension. Looking at string theory, we find a hint of a solution. Supersymmetric strings or superstrings prefer to live in 10 space-time dimensions, but if six of them are "compactified" into a supersmall ball, that lives four "large" ones, the ones of our Universe. But why six and not some other number?
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Old 04 Dec 2017, 09:47 AM   #681751 / #68
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When people like Elon Musk worries about AI taking over and killing us.
... and this is what really worries me, as a grand-father, after asking last year to 60 teenagers, what they think the world will be in the year 3000.

The came with exactly that answer: "Robots have taken over and we are their slaves." Shocked, I asked them, for the next week, to come with, at least, one optimist view of the future. Next week, they came with lame answers like ... "Microsoft has release an even better operating system!"

What can we do to give hope to the teenagers? They will inherit this world and ... should do better than we did ... but I digress, sorry.
Species go extinct all the time. There's no reason to think humans are special in this regard. We seem to have a knack for fucking up everything in our vicinity. That's not a good trait if you plan on sticking around.

My hopes for humanity surviving to 3000 AD are not good. I mean.. Trump got elected president by members of this species. That's not any sign of intelligence. If the robots would take over, I doubt we'd be worse off.
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Old 04 Dec 2017, 11:01 AM   #681752 / #69
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My hopes for humanity surviving to 3000 AD are not good. I mean.. Trump got elected president by members of this species. That's not any sign of intelligence. If the robots would take over, I doubt we'd be worse off.
My dear DrZoidberg, do you remember the 1950s? America and Europe were doing so well! ... at least, according to the news. We were building factories, inventing new gadgets, looking forward to a future that smiles at us!

Then came the 1960s, a war in Vietnam, and the young people got revolted. I remember, I was 15 during the Cuban Crisis and our teacher told us that there was no point in studying because we'll get soon a nuclear war. (I won't tell here what my mother went to say to that teacher but he felt very sorry after!)

Today, the word, out there, is: "Good News is No News." The internet offers scandalous news based on the "clickbait" principle of increasing the viewers of the ads.

Why do we love scary movies, monsters and zombies? Even children love to get scared with fairy tales and ogres. I think it is because, by evolution, we are selected to prepare for the worst and aim for the best.

That is very sensible but the drawback is that we tend to focus on anything that can go wrong ... and there is nothing wrong with that but, after my "Cuba Crisis doomsday" time, I became a hippie and narrowly escaped the danger of drugs. And that is what we want our kids to avoid, right? What do you think?
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Old 04 Dec 2017, 12:16 PM   #681753 / #70
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My hopes for humanity surviving to 3000 AD are not good. I mean.. Trump got elected president by members of this species. That's not any sign of intelligence. If the robots would take over, I doubt we'd be worse off.
My dear DrZoidberg, do you remember the 1950s? America and Europe were doing so well! ... at least, according to the news. We were building factories, inventing new gadgets, looking forward to a future that smiles at us!

Then came the 1960s, a war in Vietnam, and the young people got revolted. I remember, I was 15 during the Cuban Crisis and our teacher told us that there was no point in studying because we'll get soon a nuclear war. (I won't tell here what my mother went to say to that teacher but he felt very sorry after!)

Today, the word, out there, is: "Good News is No News." The internet offers scandalous news based on the "clickbait" principle of increasing the viewers of the ads.

Why do we love scary movies, monsters and zombies? Even children love to get scared with fairy tales and ogres. I think it is because, by evolution, we are selected to prepare for the worst and aim for the best.

That is very sensible but the drawback is that we tend to focus on anything that can go wrong ... and there is nothing wrong with that but, after my "Cuba Crisis doomsday" time, I became a hippie and narrowly escaped the danger of drugs. And that is what we want our kids to avoid, right? What do you think?
That's not what I'm thinking about. Any species that end up completely dominating every ecological niche tends to self destruct. Stromatolites, trilobites, dinosaurs and so on. There's loads of these. Over time they become so specialized that any major shift in the environment kills them.

Stromatolites for example. They were first to develop photosynthesis. Which gave them an evolutionary edge. The problem was that oxygen was poisonous to them. Not just them. But poisonous to all life on Earth at that time. It reached a tipping point at which point all life on Earth suddenly collapsed. Except one little creature, resembling a crappy toupé, had figured out how to use oxygen to it's benefit. That's the story of life on Earth. It'll continue doing this.

We've simply got statistics against us. And we're now reaching a point where humans are causing environmental changes. Historically, that's always been the beginning of the end of a species. So far we're following the plan nicely.
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Old 04 Dec 2017, 02:05 PM   #681756 / #71
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We've simply got statistics against us.
I understand. But when the Titanic sank, in 1912, the Christians were looking at the sky, praying God to save them. The UFOlogists were also looking at the sky, trying to spot the flying saucer that would come and rescue them. While we, humanists, were trying to bind together some benches, in order to make a makeshift raft, knowing that we had only ourselves to count on.
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Old 04 Dec 2017, 07:53 PM   #681764 / #72
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We've simply got statistics against us.
I understand. But when the Titanic sank, in 1912, the Christians were looking at the sky, praying God to save them. The UFOlogists were also looking at the sky, trying to spot the flying saucer that would come and rescue them. While we, humanists, were trying to bind together some benches, in order to make a makeshift raft, knowing that we had only ourselves to count on.
Well... That's nice. But you're still basically talking about mostly middle-class westerners. I hate to rain on your parade, but we don't matter that much. I see humanists as the people pointing as the ship goes down saying "I told you so. You should have listened"
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Old 05 Dec 2017, 09:21 AM   #681783 / #73
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Well... That's nice. But you're still basically talking about mostly middle-class westerners. I hate to rain on your parade, but we don't matter that much. I see humanists as the people pointing as the ship goes down saying "I told you so. You should have listened"
Gosh, don't worry about my "parade," DrZoidberg, but I wonder: how do you understand the word: humanism? Perhaps I use it wrongly.
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Old 05 Dec 2017, 09:43 AM   #681785 / #74
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Well... That's nice. But you're still basically talking about mostly middle-class westerners. I hate to rain on your parade, but we don't matter that much. I see humanists as the people pointing as the ship goes down saying "I told you so. You should have listened"
Gosh, don't worry about my "parade," DrZoidberg, but I wonder: how do you understand the word: humanism? Perhaps I use it wrongly.
He he... well.. I'm not a humanist. To me humanism is the first wave of post Christian secularists. They had their peak in the 1950'ies. It was basically just Christianity, but they replaced God with humans. Within humanism, humans are upheld as a special category and sacred somehow. I've never understood that.

Secular humanism is a product of the Enlightenment, and as such it sees a progression of the "human spirit". We used to be ignorant and superstitious, but now we're rising from this, through education and advocacy. It's total nonsense. Anybody raised by loving and intelligent parents who protect them from all evil, will be the dumbest creature this planet has ever produced. No, shit secular humanism peaked right after the collapse of Fascism and Nazism. People then had to earn their enlightenment back then. Not so much today. Hello Donald Trump and Brexit. Civilization is an incredibly thin varnish upon society. It doesn't take a lot to rub it off, and then we descend into anarchy and Libyan slave markets.

My biggest problem with it is that I think it's just more Christianity. I don't like theism. And dislike secular humanism for the same reason.

I googled to see if I found more to mention, and I found this little gem. This article says it even better than I could:

https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...nism-forgotten
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Old 05 Dec 2017, 12:46 PM   #681791 / #75
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He he... well.. I'm not a humanist. To me humanism is the first wave of post Christian secularists.
okay... thank you for the link, talking about both Nietzsche and Marx, two people I try to understand. But then, it was a friend who called me first, a humanist. Since he is a French doctor in medicine, I thought he knew what he was talking about. I am only an old senile grand-father. I "think" I am humanist but ... I am no longer sure.

Here is my story: born from a middle-class Belgian bourgeoisie, I became a typical hippie, complaining about everything, disliking everything, without having to worry about a thing because I could do what I wanted, I had a loving mother who gave me money when I needed it.
Then, in 1971, I was in Marrakesh, Morocco when I saw a boy of my age, begging in the street. He had no legs, was in a box with four wheels and moved by pushing with his hands. He had a big smile! He smiled all the time. I gave him some money and the day after, he was there, again, with the same smile. And I was bitter, I did't smile. I felt everything was wrong. People were stupid. then ... I understood!

I understood what happiness is: to have an occupation and be appreciated for it. Then I became interested to find out how we, humans, work. My wife is a retired social worker and we have had interesting discussions about the society and what can be done.

You focus on President Trump and Brexit. I have a photo that I can share (if I knew how to attach it to this message) but you have seen it before: It is President Obama who congratulates Trump at the inauguration. The photo is a symbol of democracy: the peaceful passage of power from one to the other. Isn't it wonderful? Isn't it ... incredible?

And my bottom line will be this: When I am on the ground, my aircraft tank is half full. Once in the air, it is half empty. But it is only in my head and I can (and try) to control that.
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