Archive for the ‘ Science ’ Category

The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics

NY Review of Books

My poor brain is so stuffed with information, from all my reading, it can hardly function. Our world is indeed the best of all worlds, and the worst of all worlds. It’s no wonder we have gone crazy.

This article is not a review of a book, but an independent article it thinks everyone should know about. Or at least everyone who reads – maybe one percent of the population.

Someone Has to be Running the World

People are religious beings, but science has not taken this into account. And this has resulted in a basic conflict that must be resolved.

Nietzsche enjoyed considerable notoriety when he said “God is Dead!” But this did him little good when he lost his mind – as religious people like to point out.

And no one, as far as I know, has tried to elucidate this problem – which has gotten worse. People will have their supernatural beings, no matter what – but they also want the material comforts (and health benefits) that Science has brought them. And they don’t know how to have both.

This problem has been a long time coming. And has reached a complete bottleneck, because people do not want to think about it – or much of anything at all. For many practical purposes – they are dead! Denying God has deadened people, because they don’t know how to function without Him.

“This only applies to some people!” You may say – but these people are the vast majority, who now have political control – as the latest election has shown. They want easy answers to everything – the kind of answers that religion can provide.

Allow me to state the problem again – people must have supernatural beings in control of everything. And access to these beings must be easy. And some would add: easy and certain. This is not an easy requirement to meet – because we know next to nothing about the human mind – that makes these requirements.

There is no lack of people who think they know how it works – but You and Me: The Neuroscience of Identity shows they are wrong – on multiple counts.

Allow me to state again – the human mind makes religious requirements – and these must be met. But since these requirements have been shoved into the Collective Unconscious – they cannot even be considered.

And people are destroying their world, as a result.

For Them, 100 Years From Now – Does Not Exist

I’m sure cognitive psychologists have demonstrated this conclusively with some clever experiments. And have probably showed a much shorter timescale is in operation. People cannot see very far in the future at all – and don’t want to, because what they see out there is too disturbing.

The NY Times says we must convince the Republicans, now that they control the government – of the importance of Global Warming. But they will ask something like “How long will it take before Florida is underwater?” If the answer is “Maybe 100 years.” They will say “Not my problem!”

When, without much analysis, we can see what they are really saying is “That far away does not exist, so don’t talk to me about it!” No doubt the two variables interact – the scarier the future looks – the shorter they can look into it.

The same applies to Science – they no longer believe in it – partly because it uses a time scale, and a space scale, that extends logarithmically in all directions. Something they cannot comprehend.

This was the big discovery of the Modern World – that they want to abandon.

The World Cannot be Understood – and For This Reason, Must be Destroyed

Humans are thinking beings – but some of our thinking is rather strange. As our many varieties of mental illness attest.

I cannot explain our latest destructive conclusion – that reasoning is buried somewhere in the human mind, where it is inaccessible.

But we can start with something undeniable – that we are religious beings, and have to believe in something. It doesn’t seem to matter what it is – but this belief has to be certain – or we go crazy.

We can add something else, that came along recently – the Enlightenment belief in Reason. That yielded the many Scientific advances (including health benefits) that our contemporary society was built on. And – economic affluence!

Overlooked in all this was our religious beliefs. That have taken a beating! People are asking themselves “What can I believe in?”

The usual answer “You do not have to believe in anything!” Is profoundly unsatisfying. And prompts the destruction of the society that proposes it. The believers are destroying the nonbelievers – in their temple of reasonableness.

They do not know what they believe in – but that is not necessary – they are simply destroying everything they can get their hands on!

They think they are the best people possible – when they are the worst!

The Importance of Being Important

For my father,  being important was everything – and I have to say, he was a success at it, as far as he was concerned. As far as I was concerned – he didn’t exist at all.

The most important fact of his life was his church – the RLDS church, which for him was everything. This, however, also ceased to exist not long after his death, in 1970, when he was 60. The passing of the church was such a shock to his children, they have never gotten over it.

If they had any sense of history, they could see their church originated in the 1860s, attracted converts later in that century, and then ended in second half of the 20th Century. It didn’t last very long – about 100 years – and preoccupied their grandparents and their parents. But for their children, it is past history – something they are not interested in at all.

Why was the church so important? Because it made its believers important. And it absorbed this importance directly from the America of its time – the boom economy right after WWII. When that economy ended, the church ended.

Let me summarize – anyone’s importance is derived from their culture – when that fades, their importance fades. And when that happens, people go crazy – and will do almost anything, to get it back.

We are now going through a transition from an Industrial culture to a Computer culture. A very painful transition that involves our self-importance. The people who have been left out of this – the majority of the population – have gone crazy. And are demanding a return to the past – something that cannot be done.

I am doing my best to understand our new culture – the social impact of the Computer – and would like to explain this to everyone else. But this is impossible! They were shaped by another culture, and they cannot change.

I even have trouble talking to computer people – and explaining to them how they are affecting everyone else. But they are living in their own world, and are not much interested in anything else. The people who do not understand them can drop dead – as far as they are concerned.This split goes back a long way – to Plato, in fact, and his belief in the ideal world and the real world. The ideal world of mathematics and the real world of physical matter.

Data Science (the latest fashion in Software) involves both of them. And that is why it is so important.

Read that last sentence again – it ends with one word: important. The Computer has redefined what is important! Its people are only interested in what really is. This isn’t hard, you take a stick, and poke it – and if it is real, it will let you know, easily enough.

However, the inherent dualism still exists – the stick you are using is expressed in mathematics (and some fairly exotic mathematics, at that) and algorithms (which do the same thing). The ideal world is judging the real world!

The Computer Can Make People Smarter

Facebook, Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft Come Together To Create Historic Partnership On AI

The new organization really seems to be about promoting change by example. Rather than preach to the tech world, it wants to use a standard open license to publish research on topics including ethics, inclusivity, and privacy.

There have been rumbles about this for some time. These companies were checking to see if they could get away with such audacious behavior. It’s one thing to talk about ethical behavior – but actually doing it can raise some hackles.

I worked in Southern California in high-tech (this is what we called it then) from 1980-1990. And then from 1990 to 2000 in Silicon Valley in computers, mostly software. To use an analogy from WWI – I spent time in the trenches, and I suffered from shell-shock.

I saw some glimmers of hope – Java made its appearance, for example. But I also saw how the industry didn’t understand it – even as it shot them down in flames. I could relate to the brave bomber crews in WWII – who went to their deaths learning nothing.

It wasn’t as messy in the Nineties – there weren’t dead bodies lying around, stinking up the place. But anyone with any imagination – could see blood flowing between the cubicles.

The world was a bad as ever – but this was not as obvious. The numbers for the economy were better than ever. Money was everywhere – but not a person was in sight. People had become superhuman – Nietzsche’s übermensche – and were no longer interested in being human.

Boom! Along came the Computer – and turned everything on its head. Artificial Intelligence made ordinary intelligence necessary again.

It made me remember how, when I was first learning about the Computer – I quickly realized that it was the perfect tool for writing. It let you push around text as you liked – trash text you didn’t want, and replace it – instantly!

Now, every day, I set down in front of my computer – and write to my heart’s content. I accepts whatever I write – and stores in in the Cloud – which is getting too full of my stuff.

Looking at Linguistics – Two Points of View

Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle

At the Birth of Language

Linguistics is interesting – and here are two ways of looking at it. I prefer the first, which proceeds by induction – looking at an actual language, and deducing from it how language works. The second works by deduction – deciding on abstract linguistic principles, and then building theories based on those.

The second link, which is a review of a book in the New York Review, also goes in the history of how language must have evolved – in quite satisfactory detail.

Try both of them.