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Should California Have Banned Checking Smartphone Maps While Driving?

isilrion Re:Bad Ruling (433 comments)

The law is out of date, but the judge is correct in his interpretation.

Honest question: isn't this the point of having a judge interpret the law? I think it is pretty clear that laws don't adapt quickly enough with society/technology and that part of the "interpretation" was to adapt what is written to the circumstances where they are applied. (IANAL, I know nothing of this. In my home country, laws are prefixed with a long list of "because..." clauses, and I was always disappointed that the laws were still upheld even when none of the "because" was relevant any more... and I envied the judge-interpretation thing in the US).

1 year,9 days
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Judge Rules That Resale of MP3s Violates Copyright Law

isilrion Re:I don't see how you can prove uniqueness (294 comments)

Personally, I think a fair price for mp3's is under 10 cents these days.

Emphasised that for you. Why would you accuse him of a "sense of entitlement" or demand any other explanation for his thoughts? Do you think that every item that is being sold, is sold at a fair price? If you have ever seen the price of an item and thought "that's more expensive that it should be" (which, if I understand correctly, is one of the basis of capitalism, "vote with your wallet" and the like), you should ask your question to yourself first.

1 year,15 days
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Study Finds Universe Is 100 Million Years Older Than Previously Thought

isilrion Re: The difference between science and religion (245 comments)

Trying to defend the bible on the back of newton is a little insulting.

I don't think he was trying to defend the bible:

The bible has to be interpreted differently than the plain meaning of the words because otherwise it's immoral, self-contradictory, bigoted and doesn't fit with modern understanding, morality or facts.

1 year,27 days
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Cubans Evade Censorship By Exchanging Flash Drives

isilrion Re:TrueCrypt? (171 comments)

/me laughs

You'll probably not like it. TCP over Hard Disks has a very high latency!

1 year,28 days
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Cubans Evade Censorship By Exchanging Flash Drives

isilrion Re:TrueCrypt? (171 comments)

Cuban here (though I'm no longer in Cuba).

Be aware that Yoani is not real. Yes, the person exists, but her "opinions" are all paid for (or at least seeking a reward). She does not represent the views or the reality of the Cubans. She is not interested in giving Cubans access to information, she - just like the Cuban government - is at most interested in giving them access to propaganda. It is very hard to get access to information, because everyone wants to pick and chose what to give you. If you read her blog, you will probably notice this... almost poetic posts full of half truths in which any "good" thing is left unsaid.

This is one of the examples. It is true that sneakernet is a major way of exchanging data. It is even encouraged. One time, a government official, in a sickening display of ignorance, stated something along the lines of "everyone can access the internet, they just have to go to a library, ask what they want to know, and the librarian will download the webpage to a floppy". I used to carry not only usb drives, sometimes even up to 3 hard disks, in my pockets. Bringing a hard disk to a university, looking for an IT person and getting him to open one of the computers to insert the hard disk and copy everything they had was a regular occurrence. I was one of those IT persons... my desktop computer was permanently open, until we got an external enclosure just for that purpose. I tried once to set up a couple of "sneakernet stations" so people could come in, explore the ftp servers and download everything they wanted. You don't need encryption, unless what you are transporting is really illegal (a foreign news article is not illegal, child porn is) and you are high profile enough that the police may want to go through the effort of checking your data (unlikely, most don't even know what "data" is).

That said, encryption is illegal[1]. So one could argue that using encryption is more risky than not using it: a news article critical of the government is not illegal, the same news article encrypted is. This is moot, however... it is very unlikely that your data will be checked either way. I carried some data encrypted, mostly password lists or ssh private keys - it would have been highly irresponsible to carry my employer's data in plaintext. Of course, if you are carrying around your accounting book detailing how the CIA is paying you... you probably want to encrypt that, or even better, don't carry it around.

Regarding the export controls: probably the only area in which they are completely ineffective is in software and data. No one in Cuba cares about that. Copyright is ignored to the point that movies and TV shows shown in national television were torrented + "sneakerneted" to the TV station[2]. Same happens with software (to the despair of f/oss advocates). This is the main content of the underground networks: software, music, music videos, movies and tv shows. My hard disks used to contain a mirror of Debian and Ubuntu... and a copy of 1984 and Animal Farm that I was reading at the time, downloaded from the university's ftp server.

(I'm not defending the illegality of encryption, or the export controls, or that the police and the prosecution have too much power and that they can use their ignorance against you... Nor am I saying that it is ok because some of it is also a problem in the US. I am also not defending censorship. I'm just pointing out how deceitful Yoani is, and using the post to explain that the reasons encryption is not wildly used have nothing to do with the US export ban.)

[1] In very silly ways. For instance, to renew the "networking license" for the university, I had to state that no encryption was used, even though using https and ssh instead of telnet was mandatory to get that license. I know, I once stated "Yes, we use encryption, e.g: ssh, https,..." and the license was denied until I submitted the same form without that sentence.

[2] Funny anecdote, when The Fellowship of the Ring first arrived at the university network about 2 weeks after the release, I added a tiny mark during the opening credits, just to check how far it would spread... When it was shown on TV, I looked for that mark... and there it was.

1 year,28 days
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What You Can Do About the Phone Unlocking Fiasco

isilrion Re:How America has withered ... (416 comments)

Yes, because immigration reform and equal rights for homosexuals are stupid, trivial issues that are a waste of time that common men shouldn't be bothered with or care about. *sigh*

No, those are not stupid. What is stupid is to spend time on them, get the people excited, and actually argue about it. Specially homosexual rights (I'm not USAian, so I don't even know what immigration reform is all about). I have yet to see an argument against homosexual rights,yet it is argued, when there is no data to support the opossing position. (No, "I don't wanna" is not an argument. An argument is "this is how this group of people will be harm by they having the same rights as I have", preferably with a study supporting that the harm is real). I'm sure there are plenty of topics that are not or cannot be scientifically settled - those are the ones they should spend their times on.

about a year ago
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This Is What Happens When You Deep Fry a Frozen Turkey

isilrion Re:Archimedes would be proud (164 comments)

Ah, "stuck together" was the important part. I missed that. Thank you for the clarification.

about a year ago
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This Is What Happens When You Deep Fry a Frozen Turkey

isilrion Re:Archimedes would be proud (164 comments)

ice = more water stuck together

FYI, ice is less dense than water. That's why it floats.

about a year ago
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Jail Looms For Man Who Revealed AT&T Leaked iPad User E-Mails

isilrion Re:Weev is not an online activist. (124 comments)

Better analogy is if you left confidential info clearly visible and readable in your car, and someone came along and saw it through the window, then told a nearby reporter about it, etc.

An even better analogy: you left confidential info *about me* clearly visible and readable in your car. I had trusted you to keep it secure and I had not noticed that you were failing to do that. He saw it, and let me know in the only way he could.

I really can't understand all those "hacking victim" apologists (note the quotes). Currently it is illegal for me to accidentally discover that my bank/phone company/isp is leaking my information or allowing transactions in my name. Without that knowledge, I can't even "vote with my wallet" and choose a more secure venue. Yet the "hacking victim" apologists only focus on how wrong the "hacker" was, instead of that his actions were the only way to learn about the "victim"'s gross negligence.

Obviously your post is already receiving comments from apologists, "he had to poke", "he copied the information" (both of which are obvious, specially the copying, which is automatic, and required if you want to give warning). Those replies - people speaking against their own interests in defence of a negligent mega-corporation - sadden me.

about a year ago
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The First Amendment and Software Speech

isilrion Re:So... another attack on free speech. (194 comments)

I agree with you in principle, but:

There is no difference between asking google to retrive information and provide a report than it is to request a secretary to find all references to a contract and provide a report.

There is one, very important, difference: asking google to retrieve information is much more efficient than requesting a secretary to do so. That's pretty much the point of asking google. There are people in this forum who will claim that the difference is essential. I find that position nonsensical, but by ignoring it, you leave open a point of attack. So I would make your conclusion more explicit:

The "report" in both cases should be considered free speech, regardless of how efficient were the means used to obtain it.

(I would also go beyond free speech here and include those actions that are considered correct or legal to do by yourself but become illegal if you ask someone else for assistance, free or not. But extending on this idea would probably be offtopic)

about a year and a half ago
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JPL Employee's Firing Wasn't Due To Intelligent Design Advocacy, Says Judge

isilrion Re:Expect to see more of this sort of thing. (477 comments)

Seriously, I'll be truly amazed if the existence of a God is ever disproved

Re-read his post. He didn't say that the existence of a God was disproved. He said that Christianity was. Christianity makes some very specific statements about their god, some of which are nonsensical (like torturing itself to death so it could forgive "us" for a grievance committed by our supposed ancestors, which we inherit only because he made it so in the first place), some are contradictory (like being benevolent and ... well, all his cruelty in the bible). Regardless of the (in)ability to rule out the concept of a "general" creator, specific statements of christianity can be disproved.

about a year and a half ago
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Dr. Richard Dawkins On Education, 'Innocence of Muslims,' and Rep. Paul Broun

isilrion Re:The difference between an atheist and a believe (862 comments)

Since the people who most vocally support evolution almost always conflate the concepts of "evolution" (small-e, adaptation of a species over time) with "Evolution" (capital-e, origin of life)

What? As the GP told you, "Evolution", regardless of how you chose to capitalize it, says nothing about the origin of life. It explains the origin of *species*, not *life*, i.e, the observation that the biosphere today is wildly different than the biosphere several million years ago, giving an explanation of how it happens that is accurate enough to make predictions based on them ("if we do this, we should see speciacion... oh, look, speciacion!"). There is no "origin of life evolution". There is "abiogenesis", but claiming that abiogenesis is science stepping into religion demonstrates a severe lack of knowledge of what "science" and "abiogenesis" are (hint: the evidence for abiogenesis is more than "this self-contradictory book says so". The Miller-Urey experiment was a confirmation of a prediction based on the primordial soup theory -- that's science at its finest).

about a year and a half ago
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Bill "The Science Guy" Nye Says Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children

isilrion Re:prove your memory (1774 comments)

Read "sufficiently reliable", if you really want, in the sense that you have to assume that your memory is sufficiently reliable to reason.

Crap. And you are unable to infer from my position from the rest of the posts that that is precisely what I was saying all along. Come on, honestly, cant you figure out that given the context, "if I assume that all my memories are wrong" doesn't mean anything more than "extremely unreliable"? Otherwise the statement wouldn't make any sense.

My OP asked for a proof of some aspect of the real world. That's a question seeking truth, not utility.

Holy shit. You are really good at this [trolling thing]. No, your question asked for proof. That's seeking proof, not truth nor utility. Just proof. Even assuming that you asked for truth (I'll grant you that if you want), your question was malformed, and so was your answer: you can't prove anything through faith. I stated that before. I merely answer the next question that comes to mind, which is how to behave, and that is a question of utility, not truth. My bad for giving a useful answer.

Really, my bad. I think there is only one way of dealing with you. Reboot. Ask the question again with a precise definitions of all your terms, and I shall answer that and only that, so that you don't get "confused" (clearly on purpose) about what we are talking about. At this point, I have no idea of what you are asking. Proceed under that assumption.

about a year and a half ago
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Bill "The Science Guy" Nye Says Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children

isilrion Re:prove your memory (1774 comments)

Given that you are not going to read, replying would be a waste of time.

The alternative is not that your memory is always wrong but that it is unreliable. Geeks and their false binaries!

*sigh*. I don't know how to classify this. You just changed the argument right there. We know that memory is unreliable! (If we assume that it is, of course it is. If you assume that it isn't absolutely unreliable, once you get to neuroscience, you conclude that it is unreliable, eliminating contradictions even). I stated this already. So I guess I don't have "faith" in my memory being reliable because, well, I don't claim that it is.

What are we discussing, if not truth?

Moving the goalposts much? Your original question wasn't about truth.

about a year and a half ago
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Bill "The Science Guy" Nye Says Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children

isilrion Re:prove your memory (1774 comments)

That was not my question. I asked why do you place higher certainty on your perception than your memory, not which one is more useful.

No. You questioned the difference. I don't place so much certainty on my perception. It's quite irrelevant anyway.

No, these were my exact words: "Why do you place a higher certainty on your perception than on your memory? Why would you make a distinction?" And now I have to ask why questioning your perception is irrelevant but questioning your memory isn't.

What rot. Faith of all sorts is tested and rejected all the time. I think you're trying to build a strawman to fit what I assume are preconceptions about religion.

No, I'm not building a strawman. Before embarking on the reply, as a non-english speaker, I did a "define:faith" in google, just to be sure of the meaning. First meaning I got: "Complete trust or confidence in someone or something". If that's not the same, I apologize. But that's irrelevant. You are extending the definition of "faith" to cover each of the contradictory hypotheses that I assumed. Did I have "faith" in that memory is completely unreliable when I made that assumption, and then changed my "faith" when I assumed the contrary? If you answer "yes": well, great, I had "faith" then, but only after you twisted the meaning beyond recognition.

If I assume that my senses and memory are worth anything, I arrive to a set of conclusions. If I assume the contrary, I arrive to another set of conclusions.

Even to argue like this requires a faith ("assumption" about some aspect of reality without evidence) in your memory.

Let me get this straight. Assuming that something is true in order to advance an argument requires "faith" in that something?. Ok. Twisted meaning of faith. I also have faith in the axioms of euclidean geometry, and sometimes I even have faith in the axioms of non-euclidean geometries, because I assume them to be true when I do geometry.

It just happens that one of those sets of conclusions is empty.

It's not empty. It just means that you perhaps can't define life and reason and science in the way you may want.

"in the way I may want"? No, it means that if I assume that memory is absolutely unreliable, I'm not even able to think, because by the time I finish a thought, the previous one is already in the past, i.e, a memory. Even the assumption that memories are wrong are just a memory by the time that you start thinking about the consequences. "I'm assuming that all my memories are wrong. Given that... oh, wait, I remember that all my memories are wrong. Including this one. So I'll assume that all my memories are wrong. What I was doing? Oh, yes, trying to get to any conclusion under the assumption that all my memories are wrong. But that is a memory. So it is wrong. Why is it wrong? Ah, because I assumed that memory is wrong. Gah, I just remembered that. Invalid. Why?...".

and now I'm considering the other assumption, which I haven't finished exploring.

Recalling that you must assume that your memory is reliable in order to be able to rationally consider whether it is reliable.

Recalling that when? While I'm doing my reasoning? Well, yes, I recall "I'm assuming that my memory is reliable". But that's just my assumption, so there is no contradiction there. To think about the consequences of the assumption that memory is reliable I must assume that memory is reliable. Duh. To think derive any arithmetic result, I must assume the axioms. There is no circular thinking there. I'm not concluding my assumptions in either case.

What's more, I'm betting you're going to spend the majority of your life assuming it despite a total lack of evidence - i.e. faith.

That's ridiculous. Do you spend your whole life asking you this question (every time you access one of your memories), having the discussion in your mind, and concluding that you have faith? I doubt it, you wouldn't be able to do anything else. You just don't ask the question with every recall. Me neither. When for some reason I ask the question, I get my answer (or non-answer) and that's it. Just like I don't ask "am I really seeing this, or is this just an illusion?" every time light enters my eyes.

Usefulness is not a measure of truth.

When did I say it was?

"decision... on the basis of which one is more useful."

Why so arbitrary?

What does it matter if is arbitrary or not to whether I said if is true or not? I didn't say is a measure of truth. Even if I was arbitrary, I still didn't say that is a measure of truth. Why change the question?

Feel free to construct an scenario in which the competing answers to your question lead to observably different results.

I don't see why one has to be in the position of constructing an experiment in order to usefully ask a question. It's a stupid argument which could have been used (and, indeed, has been used) to defeat all sorts of hypotheses which later experimentation has revealed to be true.

Nope. I said that the question was irrelevant because the answers lead to any observable difference. You replied that given enough time, all questions are irrelevant under my definition ("Given enough time, whatever humans do, I don't think the universe will be observably different."). Well, construct any scenario, in any time scale, in which there is an observable difference. If there is no scenario in which there is a difference, then the question is irrelevant. I just made things easier for you.

Let me simplify this for you. I "observe" (for some definition of "observe") my memory (whatever that is),

Not good enough. How do you observe it? What is it exactly that you're observing?

The figment of my imagination that claims to be a memory. The little devil whispering in my ear, "I am a memory". Whatever you want to define memory. Your question never was whether memory exists or not, it was whether you can trust it or not. Your question pre-supposes that there is something that we call memory /and/ that we can access it. If you are now changing the question, then... I'm not playing any more. Be honest.

and perceive it to be (sufficiently) accurate.

How do you perceive that without relying on your memory? If you mean that right this moment you see no inconsistencies, that could just be because you've forgotten them.

Thus perceiving it as sufficiently accurate.

But if it doesn't have an answer, it is not worth answering... because, you know, doesn't have an answer.

Imagine that some high school student asks you:

How can I find out whether a general algorithm halts?

What do you tell them?

I don't know, what do you tell him? And what does that question has to do with this discussion? You seem to be confusing a question with indistinguishable answers, with an insufficiently specified question. The first ones are useless. For the second ones, you just have to specify them better.

Your position, instead, is that you have to ask it, give it an arbitrary answer ("memory is reliable"), and claim that answering it is an act of "faith".

You're not very good at reading. Firstly, I didn't say that it had to be asked - I merely asked it.

Right... I think that's called "nit picking". You asked, but the answer that the question itself is flawed made you keep demanding an answer, that has to match yours. Right.

Secondly, I merely indicated that, if you were to assume your memory is reliable (which I do - but you are welcome not to) then you do so as an act of faith.

I've been through this many times now. No more. If you claim that assumption is 100% synonymous with faith, go ahead.

I know it's true. You know it's true but you don't want to come out and acknowledge it, which is why you presented me with a No True Scotsman fallacy in which you attached conditions to distinguish faith from True Faith.

Oh, please, tell me where I used the No True Scotsman, or how I even spoke of "True Faith", whatever that is. It is you who is twisting the meaning of words at this point. The only way you make sense is if you claim that assumption and faith absolute synonymous.

I was giving you the benefit of doubt, given a few other posts in other threads, but now I have little doubt.

Most of my posts today have been somewhat tongue-in-cheek - barely "trolling", as they're too obviously cheeky - but not the ones to you.

I was giving you the benefit of doubt /because/ I liked some of your other posts (in other threads). In this one, you've been trolling.

The next question could be related, like "what are the implications of not knowing the answer?", or "how do I behave, given that I don't know the answer?". But you linger on the first question, answering as a matter of faith (??!), seemingly unable to accept the answer "I cannot do that, and here is why" and move on.

You are correct that "I cannot do that, and here is why" is the answer. And the answer to "how do I behave, given that I don't know the answer?" is "I nevertheless have faith in my memory". I think part of your problem is an aversion to the word "faith" - the acceptance of a belief without evidence.

If assumption == faith, then I'll let you say that I have... "faith in my assumptions", whatever that means. If assumption != faith, then what you just said is nonsensical. Up to you. In my native language, and I believe than in english as well, faith and assumption are wildly different. The key different is that I analysed *both* assumptions. But if you want to say that they are the same just to "win" an argument in slashdot, be my guest.

It was supposed to be an illustration of the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic analysis. I am seeing you as you might see the Alzheimer's sufferer.

(Ignoring this, because the only interpretation that I see is you saying I have dementia, so I'll assume the meaning was lost in translation)

That's nonsense. You are trying to find a physical process that allows you to disconnect your mind from your brain (or your thoughts from your mind?), by thinking about an unanswerable question in your own head and answering it by faith. I suspect you are not going to find it that way.

No, but maybe you misinterpreted in your keen urge to close my mind rather than open yours, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Close your mind? Not at all. It is you who claims that making an assumption is equivalent to having faith. Ok. But I disagree.

Consider in one hundred years' time that we have a fairly solid understanding of how memory works. Consider that we then establish that certain sorts of inconsistencies, when identified by humans, are immediately forgotten.

Acknowledging faith is, as noted above, simply a necessity.

And some inconsistencies aren't forgotten. But what does that has to do with "prove to me that your memory is reliable, i.e. show me how I can rely on my memory other than through faith."? You could have argued, "consider when we find FTL. Acknowledging faith is, as noted above, simply a necessity".

But I think that you pretty much agree with me, and just want to twist the definition of "faith" because you think faith=religion. And, like so many boys, you have an angry fear of religion.

I'm afraid that you are the one twisting the definition ("assumption == faith").

And you are also the one who thinks "faith" = "religion". For that, I have proof: you posted this in this thread. Unless you admit that you were just trolling the thread by posting an offtopic and inflamatory message.

about a year and a half ago
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Bill "The Science Guy" Nye Says Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children

isilrion Re:prove your memory (1774 comments)

I am touched that you are so keen to want me to respond ;-).

Oh, please, don't be condescending. That's ridiculous. Either respond honestly, or don't do it at all.

I'm out of productive concentration today, so here goes...

I believe you. 28 Slashdot posts so far today. It doesn't seem that you are even trying to concentrate.

Why do you place a higher certainty on your perception than on your memory?

Memory is required to reason, while perception is only required to observe. We can do mathematics in our mind's eye (per Plato) but only because we possess memory. In particular, without memory we could identify neither contradiction nor perform philosophical induction. Memory is something more fundamental than any perception we have of the external world.

That was not my question. I asked why do you place higher certainty on your perception than your memory, not which one is more useful.

Why would you use a loaded word like "faith", instead of, let's say, "assumption"?

Faith is a type of assumption. Consider: 1) An applied assumption about an imagined world - an axiom; 2) An applied assumption about the real world based on observation but lacking theory - a working hypothesis; 3) An applied assumption about the real world lacking any evidence - faith.

No, it isn't, unless you stretch the word "faith" to mean that. An assumption is just that, an assumption. "Faith" is an unquestionable belief, an assumption isn't. If I assume that my senses and memory are worth anything, I arrive to a set of conclusions. If I assume the contrary, I arrive to another set of conclusions. It just happens that one of those sets of conclusions is empty. You are free to linger on that set. I'm not claiming the truthfulness of either assumption. I'm just claiming that I considered one assumption, got the empty set, and now I'm considering the other assumption, which I haven't finished exploring.

I'm making a cold, calculated decision between the two assumptions, on the basis of which one is more useful.

Usefulness is not a measure of truth.

When did I say it was?

To prove that the question is not pointless, you need to show that the answers lead to [observably] different results.

OK, you're proposing a definition for what makes a question "not pointless". Various responses:

1) Given enough time, whatever humans do, I don't think the universe will be observably different.

I didn't say "given enough time". I didn't say the set of results "X time into the future, for some value of X". I also didn't say that it was a sufficient condition for usefulness, merely a necessary condition. But you are right, after the extinction of the human race, the question of whether I am blowing my nose right now, will be unanswerable and pointless, even though it is not pointless now. Feel free to construct an scenario in which the competing answers to your question lead to observably different results.

Any two alternatives only make a fleeting difference, just as a constantly tricked mind may be repeatedly remembering an inconsistency then forgetting that it has ever identified that consistency. Your little "observably" is implicitly considered below, though it may be that we're just not yet sufficiently advanced to devise an experiment to identify inconsistencies;

Let me simplify this for you. I "observe" (for some definition of "observe") my memory (whatever that is), and perceive it to be (sufficiently) accurate. Even if my memory is not accurate and my perception of it is just an illusion, I still perceive it to be (sufficiently) accurate. That is what makes your question unanswerable, and that is precisely what makes it meaningless.

2) A question doesn't have to admit an answer to be worth asking.

Sure, you can ask anything you want. But if it doesn't have an answer, it is not worth answering... because, you know, doesn't have an answer. Your position, instead, is that you have to ask it, give it an arbitrary answer ("memory is reliable"), and claim that answering it is an act of "faith". Well, I refuse to answer the question with any answer besides "it doesn't have an answer, so it is not worth lying to myself".

I expect that sort of whining from engineers,

Whining? Really? You, sir, are a troll. I was giving you the benefit of doubt, given a few other posts in other threads, but now I have little doubt. So, an argument that disagrees with you is "whining". And I thought that insulting people to further your point was beneath you.

but as a mathematician, you should know better - hopefully you are right now thinking of a list of "prove xyz" requests which cannot be answered except with "I cannot do that, and here is why...". You could argue that the request is then badly formed, but sometimes you only know that after thinking about the question, and it's more stimulating and less limiting to phrase the matter in terms of a possibly unanswerable question than it is to simply say "oh btw here is an unattainable goal";

Ok, well, you did that. You asked the question. You found out it was unanswerable. You know *why* it is unanswerable (because the answer that you give it in your head has no influence in what you perceive). A reasonable person would say "next question?". The next question could be related, like "what are the implications of not knowing the answer?", or "how do I behave, given that I don't know the answer?". But you linger on the first question, answering as a matter of faith (??!), seemingly unable to accept the answer "I cannot do that, and here is why" and move on.

3) I want to know my own nature.

Good for you!

It makes a difference to me. If I can be somehow taken out of my body and be shown that my mind is being occasionally tricked, I want to know this.

Ahh, but you know this. You don't need to be taken out of your body for that. If your mind is not accurate, then it is being tricked constantly. If your mind is accurate, then you can start reasoning on top of that assumption, and once that reasoning leads you to trust science, and in particular the parts of science dealing with memory, you'll conclude that even your mind is being occasionally tricked. Centuries ago, you could claim not to know. Today, not so much.

Perhaps there's a way I can identify fight the trickery, if only I train my mind - and this brings me on to...

A lot of alzheimer patients, and schizophrenics, and those countless humans afflicted by mind issues, would like to know the answer too (at least while it is not too late). But I doubt that starting with an answer "I trust my memory because of faith" will get you any closer to that.

a) The fact that, indeed, our mind does often create false memories - this is good motivation;

b) To someone in the latter stages of dementia, there may be little difference between reality and nonsense created by the mind. To the sufferer, the effect may be unobservable - he is in exactly the position you describe as "pointless" to consider. But to the external observer, the effect is not only obvious but usually thoroughly distressing. Is it inconceivable to take one more step back - to consider a position extrinsic to the normal mind as normal minds can find one wrt/ Alzheimer's patient?

Ok, you lost me. An Alzheimer's patient is the perfect example of one who may assume that his memory works even when it clearly doesn't. That is a precise example of why you can't trust your memory "by faith": your faith may very well be misplaced. It also illustrates the uselessness of the question. I don't think that all this training will help you a lot if you get Alzheimer. Probably most alzheimer's patients ask themselves similar questions after diagnosis.

And maybe there are physical processes which could allow us to admit the existence of such a position.

That's nonsense. You are trying to find a physical process that allows you to disconnect your mind from your brain (or your thoughts from your mind?), by thinking about an unanswerable question in your own head and answering it by faith. I suspect you are not going to find it that way.

To be honest, even if I just called it nonsense, this single line was what I found most interesting of the whole thread. If you really think that a faith based answer to your unanswerable question is the first step towards finding this physical process, I would love to read your reasoning. I'll probably still think that is nonsense, but you may just prove me wrong, and frankly, it would be much more interesting than the rest of the discussion, not to mention that it could actually show (at this level, there is no "proof") your point.

about a year and a half ago
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Bill "The Science Guy" Nye Says Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children

isilrion Re:prove your memory (1774 comments)

Dropping the F word again doesn't answer the AC's post.

Please address the AC's point, or go away. I'm not planning on "stealing" the AC's thread. I just want to keep you honest, or to uncover your dishonesty. Address the AC's point and you may deserve a further thought; drop another "you need to have faith" and you'll prove that you are trolling.

Really. It does not matter if the entire universe is nothing but a figment of my imagination and nothing and nobody else is real. If I can still use science to observe and predict, then science is useful for that. And that is how it is different from faith.

Hint: he stated that the question is pointless. You have received enough replies to have an idea of what that means, including mine, which you decided not to address. Hint #2: To prove that the question is not pointless, you need to show that the answers lead to [observably] different results. Go.

about a year and a half ago
top

Bill "The Science Guy" Nye Says Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children

isilrion Re:prove your memory (1774 comments)

You really didn't address the GP's point:

Really. It does not matter if the entire universe is nothing but a figment of my imagination and nothing and nobody else is real. If I can still use science to observe and predict, then science is useful for that. And that is how it is different from faith.

Please have the intellectual honesty to address the point before being condescending:

That's OK, though. Once you've accepted it, all science is good and proper.

about a year and a half ago
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Bill "The Science Guy" Nye Says Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children

isilrion Re:prove your memory (1774 comments)

Well said. It does interest me that a simple question provokes so much emotion, though.

That's easy. It provokes so much emotion because you intentionally chose the wording to provoke that emotion ("prove... other than through faith", in an anti-faith thread). You can't prove/show anything through "faith", the question itself is ill formed. However, had you posted the question in another forum (say, a philosophy class, or even another thread on slashdot), or had used less inflammatory words, the result would most likely have been different.

Try this: "Tell me why you think that your memory is reliable."

"Tell me", instead of "prove" (or just drop the first half of the question), because you know well that if you reduce any question to "but it all may just be an illusion", which was your goal, then nothing can be proven. "Think that", instead of "show through faith", because faith, specially in the context of this thread, implies a suspension of reasoning.

Your use of "prove" and "faith" was to provoke a reaction, which is perfectly acceptable if your goal is to stir a discussion (a technique used often in philosophy classes). But wondering afterwards why the "simple question" provokes the reaction, when you worded it precisely with that goal, is hypocritical.

about a year and a half ago
top

Bill "The Science Guy" Nye Says Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children

isilrion Re:prove your memory (1774 comments)

And I don't care whether what I am seeing right now exists - all that matters is that I perceive its existence. But I can't be so sure about one second ago. This is why I have to have faith in my memory, i.e. trust it without proof.

Why do you place a higher certainty on your perception than on your memory? Why would you make a distinction? If there is no distinction and trusting your senses is a matter of faith, why do you need to ask the (then) superfluous question about the accuracy of memory? If trusting your senses is not a matter of faith, why then trusting your memory is?

You do as well, of course. Embrace your faith.

And what's your point? Why would you use a loaded word like "faith", instead of, let's say, "assumption"? What's your agenda behind the use of that word? I do embrace my assumption that both my memory and perception are somewhat reliable. No, I don't have faith in it. I assume it to be true. I could assume it is false (and probably some people do), but the assumption that memory and/or perception are absolutely unreliable is less useful than the assumption that they are reliable, *even* if they turn out to be absolutely unreliable. That is, even if all my memories and perceptions are false and my thoughts *right now* where the only truth (side question: why would my thoughts *right now* be spared, as implied by "I think therefore I am"?), the assumption of unreliability is still no more useful than the assumption of reliability. So, right now, I'm not having "faith" that I read your message a few minutes ago. I'm making a cold, calculated decision between the two assumptions, on the basis of which one is more useful.

Engineers never reduce enough. Otherwise they would be mathematicians, and not be so laughably angered by philosophy.

Well, I am a mathematician... I am not angered by philosophy, but I'm angered by crappy philosophy. I'm curious, though: as a mathematician, do you take your axioms as "faith" as well? (If "yes": really!? If "no": why not?)

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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ISO announces radical reforms

isilrion isilrion writes  |  about 6 years ago

isilrion writes "Geneva, 1 April 2007. The International Organization for Standardization announced at a press conference that its processes are "broken" and "need radical reform". ISO president Håkan Murby told journalists that "the Microsoft OOXML process was a near-disaster and we want to make sure such a thing never happens again."

Murby outlined three major reforms that he promised would prevent the "near failure of the process" as he described it. First, all national technical committees are to be fully outsourced to Microsoft. Second, new ISO standards would be kept secret until published. Third, all countries that voted "NO" on OOXML would be banned from future participation.

(Just a small contribution for your april's fools day)"

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