Friday, July 28, 2006

The Dream Example: Domain-Specific Knowledge

Skepticism for long has been accused to suggest that knowledge is unattainable; While this might seem like a reasonable conclusion, it isn't particularly so.... Denying knowledge is equivalent to denying all rationality, which isnt particularly the purpose Skepticism is aiming at.... On the other hand, Skepticism thrives to enlighten our rational choices by admitting the limits of our knowledge and perception of the world: Which is what is about to be presented.

To help better understand the arguments, lets consider the dream example: PersonX dreams of having been to Italy. Now, If they say: "Yesterday, In my dream, I was in Italy", they are justified! But if they say: "Yesterday, I went to Italy", then they are not justified!! This simple scenario illustrates how the domain affects the accuracy of claims.

Now, lets say that PersonX claims that: "Yesterday, In my dream, I went to France", this is a false claim just as much as "Yesterday, I went to Italy" is... So although dreams are merely non-actual worlds truth values still holds at least within that domain... Somehow, things that never actually happened are like facts in the realm of fantasy!

Within scenarios like the Matrix it becomes necessary to make a distinction between the realm of our consciousness (the "Common World") and the "Actual World"... This means, while we may have absolutely no knowledge at all about the Actual World, we still have functionally useful knowledge about the Common World - the world that our senses percieve!!....

The relation of the Dream World to our Common World is similar to the relation of the Common World to the Actual World!! Practically, the Actual World may have no real significance as opposed to the Common World; The argument here, assuming your current consciousness leads you to believe that you are pursuing GoalX, then you will want to fulfill this goal regardless of wether your consciousness is within the Dream World, Common World, or the Actual World... In all cases you fulfill the goal according to the "physics" of the world your consciousness lives within!!

PS: Inspired by this entry [recommended-read]

Transsexuals And Gender Stereotypes

What drives a person to change their gender? This could be a mysterious question to ponder, and to search one's inner thoughts and feelings towards sex and genders.... Many people at one point or another fantasize about being part of the other sex, but what makes such fantasy so strong that one has to undergo a sex reassignment operation?

A classical scenario would go like: "I feel like a man trapped in a woman's body?" - Many people reason that they dont look on the outside that way they feel on the inside.... How far could this argument go? Could we really say that there is a direct relation between how one looks and what they are on the inside? Could one actually modify themselves to look superficially the same way they feel inside their own heads?

The way i see it, such claims emphasize stereotyped correlations that societies form through ruthless and unsubstantiated prejudice... Lets look at the claim again: "I feel like a man trapped in a woman's body?" - How exactly does a man feel? What a woman is not supposed to feel? How do you know that you are not from one gender but the other? Such claims assumes a clear line between whats masculine and whats feminine.... Could such segregation be unprejudiced and not stereotyped? My point is, while some think that transsexualism eliminates grounds for gender stereotypes I think in one way or another it's serving making the distinction more profound....

Gender transformation could be justified and motivated diversely among many people, but I wandered around one of the largely used arguments in that field and showed my discontent for the kind of reasoning behind it... This is not to claim that all of the justifications are necessarily flawed - and obviously the transformation remains a personal judgment call!!

PS: Partly inspired by South Park S9-Ep01

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Is Science Justified?

Following the tracks of radical Skepticism one has to wonder if science or anyother empirical line of thought can be justifiable within that philosophical stance... Many (including philosophers) have accused Skepticism to be in contradiction with Rationalism, the greatest concern was that Skepticism suggests that knowledge is unattainable - which is a false accusation (as demonstrated in this post)!!

The argument goes like this: Skepticism implies that perception is an unreliable source for information, that all information collected through perception is deteriorated and misleading to the truth of things... Skepticism holds that one cannot be certain of anything, and that empirical observation doesn't lead to factualness... Skepticism also holds the position that all scientific observations might have systematic errors and that all science is prone to error, no matter how solid it might seem (consider how Einstein redefined Newtonian physics)....

Most of these arguments are more or less true, BUT NOT the conclusion: Some have concluded that if Skepticism was true then all science has to be abandoned, and no-one would ever be justified to seek knowledge... I object to anyone who claims that Skepticism advocates abandoning science or rationality!

I think the Newtonian physics example is a good one: We all know that ( Force = Mass * Acceleration ), this formula was constructed by Newton, and proved to be wrong by Einstein! This is an example of scientific fallibilism which demonstrates that even scientific propositions cannot be held as certain... But lets consider the functional view: This formula has been a great assist in numerous sciences and inventions including but not limited to sky rockets, cars, projectiles,...etc. So at the functional level, although this formula has NOT been absolutely true it has made our life easier and got us to technological advances that would have been otherwise unattainable!!

So while Skepticism questions the factualness of science and empirical observation, it does NOT imply that they are not justified based on functional and practical grounds... Therefore it is justified and need not be abandoned - because its serving its purpose!

Literally SHIT: Challenge Your Stomach

Disclaimer: Repulsive Content

Coprophilia is the paraphilia involving sexual pleasure through human feces, or rather to its excretion.

Coprophilia is the attraction to the smell, taste or sight of the act of defecation as a primary means of sexual arousal and gratification. Erotic fulfilment with excrement may be practiced alone or with a sexual partner. A common slang term for this is "scat sex", other less common ones may exist.

Some coprophiliacs engage in coprophagia, the eating of feces. (source)

Coprophilia -commonly known as "scat"- is truely a stomach challenge, for those who think they are not easily disgusted I suggest you take a look at some coprophilia, and if you'r still not convinced try to download a small clip!!!

Check out those screenshots:
Start easy: Classy Dinner - Yet another Dinner - Playing with Dirt - Brownies
More disgusting: Swallowing Included - Yummy - Yummy2

In case you are not challenged yet try to download an actual scat movie (puretna.com has plenty)... If you werent moved then immediately visit the nearest asylum demanding your "steel stomach" certificate!!

I think those people take Korn's words in "Make me bad" way too literally:
I need to feel the sickness in you (Full lyrics)


PS: Repulsive material included
PS: Some links contain explicit and repulsive photographic content

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Organic Life-Forms: A Closer Look

Consciousness: what is the definition of consciousness? Living being: what is the definition of a living being? what is the definition of a being? The actual answers to these questions are merely CONVENTIONS! What might be living by your judgement can be dead by others. The question of consciousness has came by a long time for people in the computer industry, specifically artificial intelligence. Lets take a closer look there: scientists are aiming at building up robots with intelligent reactions - robots with consciousness! Consciousness is defined as simply having the ability to respond to changing factors in the surrounding environment. Robots achieve that through sensors and intelligent algorithms. Humans have been able to do that with their senses (seeing, hearing, touching). So here is my challenge question: if computers (robots) where developed with the ability to move around, think, respond, and have consciousness - even more advanced algorithms that enable it to feel, judge, invent, and perform other human-like actions... In what ways are they less alive than us? ..... "Well, for GOD's sake, they're just metal and electricity!", someone might scream... My question now to that guy is: why do u consider an intelligent action from a being made up of organic material like C,S,N,...etc, more living than another being that can come up with other intelligent actions but with a small difference of being made up of iron and silicon??

A similar pitfall arises: humans have long been searching for life on other planets. But do they have a clue for what they are searching for? Should we expect extraterrestrial life-forms to be made up of organic material like carbon? Does organic material as defined by our chemistry stand for the only substance of life? Or better say, why is carbon considered more living than say iron? In our world we say that we are made of organic material, and us together with creatures having same characteristics being classified as living (eg. animals, plants, bacteria ... etc.), yet things made up of iron are not living (eg. robots). [This view is rejected by Alternative biochemistry where the classical carbon-based biochemistry is called "Carbon chauvinism"]

Looking at the picture from a lower level we can see that humans are no more living than a robot.... Ohh heck, we are no more living than the keyboard i am typing on! Our consciousness is nothing more than electrical signals going through our heads, combined with our analytical and creativity capabilities have been doing stuff. The concept is simple yet tricky for those who never thought that way. This explains why i disregard biology: it gives existance to things of null reality.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Servitude Of Truth

Truth is a mean, rather than a goal: A mean to make rational decisions and well-informed choices to enhance our experiences and favor those pleasant ones... Lets consider the basic definition of Satanism: It aims at understanding the mechanics of life so we can get through it, so we can make best use of things in our hands.

Knowledge is power: This is the main claim... But we dont sacrifice the end for a mean, do we? Its stupid if we do, but sometimes one gets too carried away with the mean that they forget the end!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Functional Analysis Of The Matrix

Trinity: The Matrix isnt real!
Cypher: I disagree Trinity: I think the Matrix could be more real than this world... (source)

Lets first define what "functional" means: Any system can be described in terms of inputs, outputs, and internal states only! Thats the full definition... But what does that mean? This means that we strip intermediate states and processes and focus only on what some call a "black-box" that defines the system as the output relating to input! Within this view we can define a human in terms of senses (inputs) and feelings, emotions, actions, moods, and other mental states (outputs)...

Our nervous system transmits neurological signal to the brain which induces our consciousness, and after analyzing incoming signal produces an intelligent reaction that may consitutes emotional states... These neurologcal signals are actually electrical signals, but once our initial senses have been converted into electrical signals the real source of this signal cannot be verified nor reproduced... If we imagine our brains as a system where both inputs and outputs are electrical signals then we can understand that if identical inputs are provided within equivalent internal states then it is only logical to guess that identical output will follow!!

The Matrix does exactly what the above system aims at... The Matrix consitutes of internal states that are translated into electrical pulses identical to those if the internally described state was actual, then it feeds this input to the brain, which in turns modifies its own internal state as well as providing output that is used to update the internal state of the Matrix!!

Based on this view we can see that as long as the brain is concerned the input regardless of its actual source is what it constitutes as "reality"... Additionally humans are concerned with emotions, and whether you are actually fucking a gorgeous guy\girl or just stimulated to believe so doesnt matter as long as you are feeling ecstatic!!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

What Is The Matrix

Morpheus: Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.

Neo: We are now inside a computer program!
Neo: This..... This isnt real!
Morpheus: What is 'real'? How do you define 'real'? If you're talking about what you can feel, smell, taste, and see then 'real' is simply electrical signal interpreted by your brain!

Morpheus: What is the Matrix? Control.
Morpheus: The Matrix is a computer-generated dreamworld built to keep us under control to change a human being into this\(a battery)...
Neo: No! I dont believe it! Its impossible!

(A boy bends a spoon without even touching it)
(The boy hands the spoon to Neo)
Boy: Dont try to bend the spoon, thats impossible! Instead only try to realize the truth!
Neo: What truth?!
Boy: There is no spoon!

Trinity: The Matrix isnt real!
Cypher: I disagree Trinity: I think the Matrix could be more real than this world... (source)

The Matrix presents a version of an old philosophical fable: the brains in a vat (with some spice to make a cool film). Since its not easy to explain all aspects here, read more in the given link!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Debating Theistic Views {Stub}

The comments that follow pose debates about the validity of theistic views... This post is a place holder for those debates!

Skepticism Is True - by Abraham Meidan

Skepticism is true, is the name of a book and a position argumented for by Abraham Meidan... The introduction of this book has been provided to enlight readers of the different aspects to skepticism as a philosophical hypothesis! Its a light read if you get acquainted by few terms used in that section... I'd say its a must read!

I am a supporter of skepticism, and soon there will be quite a few posts in this regard dealing with the topic from various points of view....
The main theses of the book are:
1. All statements are neither certain nor plausible. In other words: skepticism is true.
2. Skepticism, as formulated above, does not imply any absurd conclusions (in contrast to the view commonly held by philosophers).
3. People do not choose their beliefs. What we believe is determined by psychological processes.
4. People believe in statements that minimize the extent of the unexpected events of which they are aware. (source)

Click here to read the introduction (PDF)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Defining Right And Wrong

The right\wrong value of an action is defined as when consequences of an action coincides the purpose of that action, or more simply said: when an action serves its purpose....

Within this definition we find that the rightness of an action is determined by its consequences as well as its purpose... Consider a simple cheating example: PersonX wants a higher mark in a certain multiple-choice exam, he may choose to cheat. One possible scenario is that he copies the correct answer from his neighbor and thus obtain an extra mark. Another scenario is that he is caught and is given a ZERO mark! The two scenarios when considered in isolation connotates that cheating in the first scenario is right, while in the second it is wrong...

This subjective view of what is wrong should not be confused with my previous -objective- allegation that nothing can go wrong which defines rightness as factualness! To elaborate, everything that actually happens serves its natural purpose - whatever that is!

PS: This post does NOT necessarily represent a worldwide view