Search found 1036 matches

by tomandlu
Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:21 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: The Argument from Contingency
Replies: 43
Views: 5288

Re: The Argument from Contingency

Grr. Argh. Just to add a recommended read to those who don't think philosophy has much of interest to say. My son gave me Russell's "The Problems of Philosophy" from 1912 to take on holiday. It's a fairly straight-forward (and short) but intriguing read. Adding the wikipedia entry, as it h...
by tomandlu
Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:51 am UTC
Forum: Fictional Science
Topic: What if there was a Zombie Apocalypse?
Replies: 23
Views: 2042

Re: What if there was a Zombie Apocalypse?

I believe some modeling was done on 'classic' slow zombies, and the results were pretty much the same for any highly-infectious deadly disease - if you catch the outbreak quickly enough, containment is relatively easy; if you don't, you're fucked. I think this might be the study(ies) I'm thinking of...
by tomandlu
Mon May 22, 2017 4:42 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Why haven't any animals evolved wheels?
Replies: 22
Views: 3624

Re: Why haven't any animals evolved wheels?

It's around the Late Devonian that Tetrapoda arise out of the various body-plans that got experimented with throughout the likes of the Cambrian Explosion. And once the workability (or sheer luck) of that bodyplan was proven and more complexities (like joint-geometries., though pentadactylity was a...
by tomandlu
Mon May 22, 2017 1:49 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Why haven't any animals evolved wheels?
Replies: 22
Views: 3624

Re: Why haven't any animals evolved wheels?

HES wrote:Why go to all the effort of growing an extra pair of limbs when you can just learn to stand on two legs instead?


Speed.
by tomandlu
Mon May 22, 2017 12:28 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Why haven't any animals evolved wheels?
Replies: 22
Views: 3624

Re: Why haven't any animals evolved wheels?

Sorry to tack this onto the end of this thread, but it seems a similar enough question to warrant it. Why have no large land animals ever evolved a more centaur-like body layout? i.e. 4 or more 'legs' and two 'arms'? I mean, if you look at, say, big cats hunting, the ability to claw at your prey wit...
by tomandlu
Sat May 20, 2017 9:09 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

Sorry if I was unnecessarily snippy. I'm finding the tone of this thread somewhat hard to track with. I don't think there's a tone - more of a speculative meandering, and I've rather confused things by diverting a thread on free will into a general discussion on consciousness, so apologies for that...
by tomandlu
Sat May 20, 2017 4:39 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

I don't think it's fair to say it's a bad test on the basis that it's testing for something so unlikely. A test with 99.9% specificity and sensitivity seems like it would be a pretty good test, even if we used it to test something with such low prior probability that most positive results are still...
by tomandlu
Fri May 19, 2017 10:07 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

If the Turing Test can neither prove that something is a person when it passes nor that something isn't a person when it fails, then it's not a great test. And I would be skeptical that the evidence is "very strong." Alexa can have a conversation on a wide range of topics, but Alexa is no...
by tomandlu
Fri May 19, 2017 9:57 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

Because it's not true. Even granting the religious aspects, those only enter in "the next world". We can thus preserve our smugness while remaining humble. Jose Oh, I don't know. Prior to the NT, there was no afterlife that one might look forward to, and God was forever rubbing our nose i...
by tomandlu
Fri May 19, 2017 8:18 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

However, had we evolved as the second most intellectual creatures on earth, perhaps as pets to some higher life form, and thus already used to the idea that we aren't the only ones that can {whatever}, this question might not even come up. Jose OT, but worth pointing out that mankind has spent an i...
by tomandlu
Fri May 19, 2017 11:22 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

Latest thoughts and musings: ⋅ The Turing test cannot distinguish between a conscious AI and a p-Zombie ⋅ However, there is a very good case to make that a genuine p-Zombie would be harder to create than an actual AI Moving on, I'm wondering if some of the debate is bogged down b...
by tomandlu
Thu May 18, 2017 4:21 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

Is anyone else here of the opinion that clearly von Neumann is at least of the same level, and that Fermi is only arguably a step back if you're a disagreeable jackass? Or is it just me? I wouldn't take that as a comment on their abilities or even their contribution; more on general awareness of th...
by tomandlu
Thu May 18, 2017 3:35 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

doogly wrote:I like this post here, and the parts about Turing's moral heroism give me goosebumps. This is greatness.
http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=63


Thanks for that - an excellent read. I have to admit, I laughed out loud at the "Jews cheat" anecdote.
by tomandlu
Thu May 18, 2017 2:23 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

So, you think a genuine consciousness arises? And not just something that behaves identically to a conscious mind but might have no self-awareness? Well, I certainly do. And what do you mean "behaves identically but is different"? That's rubbish. Is it? I thought it was one of the classic...
by tomandlu
Thu May 18, 2017 1:46 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

The Chinese Room is the dumbest shit. Of course that room is conscious. If you think "Things that perform computations aren't real, like me, I'm real, I'm the best and most authentic," you need to not choose examples that beg the question so egregiously and transparently, and you need to ...
by tomandlu
Wed May 17, 2017 10:38 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

Sure, it may not be possible to reliably transfer a particular consciousness from one thing (brain, computer, whatever) to another. But that says nothing about whether consciousness is purely physical or whether it could happen on a computer, and thus doesn't really say anything about free will. I ...
by tomandlu
Wed May 17, 2017 5:30 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

Mandelbrot was probably a bad choice - I'm more thinking along the lines of "extremely sensitive to initial conditions".

e.g. we can model weather systems, but we can't model our weather system, and there is no inherent contradiction in that.
by tomandlu
Wed May 17, 2017 4:32 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

doogly wrote:Why wouldn't that be conceivable?


I find it conceivable that one might be able to transfer the sensation of pain, but not the person's reaction, their conscious response. By all means disagree; I'm not sure I agree with myself either...
by tomandlu
Wed May 17, 2017 4:13 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

I've been musing on this and various related discussions, at least as they related to consciousness, and I thought I'd tack them on here (although it's a bit OT in some ways). One of the problems of consciousness is that, if we accept that it arises from a purely physical process, then that implies ...
by tomandlu
Thu May 11, 2017 2:58 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

I think there's a lot of value in making fine distinctions and unpacking intended and unintended meanings. It's possible I simply had a terrible philosophy professor. We spent a lot of time with Kant. From my conversations with my son, philosophy raises lots of interesting questions and then answer...
by tomandlu
Thu May 11, 2017 2:07 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

Morally right (as opposed to unjust? and in relative or absolute sense?) Logically right (as opposed to incorrect?) Justifiable (as opposed to unsupportable?). The question is more one of the hearer's mindset than of any kind of objective evaluation of an external circumstance. "Who's 'im, Bil...
by tomandlu
Thu May 11, 2017 11:35 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

"Screw those guys" is definitely my general feeling there. My philosophy minor in undergrad taught me that philosophy is the study of malformed questions. Figure out what you're actually doing, whether that be art theory, history, literary criticism, semiotics, sociology, or theoretical p...
by tomandlu
Thu May 11, 2017 10:02 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

Except that I think we can definitively say that neither beauty nor free will can be reduced to a particular physical property. They're both subjectively experienced, emergent things made up of many complex parts that are not themselves. There's no one part that's irreducibly the thing we're talkin...
by tomandlu
Thu May 11, 2017 9:10 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Free Will
Replies: 161
Views: 14310

Re: Free Will

"Unask the question." Or ask a different one - "Is it right that I should feel responsible for the choices I make?" Assuming your answer is 'yes', then it would appear that we 'know' free-will exists without having to establish it empirically. We are aware that we have choices, w...
by tomandlu
Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:30 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Is All Evidence Statistical?
Replies: 23
Views: 3816

Re: Is All Evidence Statistical?

BTW does anyone recall, or have a reference for, the old-time quote about it being hard to draw the absolute line between night and day, and yet it being tolerably easy to tell the two apart in general?

The Google has failed me so far, but I'm sure I'm not making it up.
by tomandlu
Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:27 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Is All Evidence Statistical?
Replies: 23
Views: 3816

Re: Is All Evidence Statistical?

But then really, what reason do you have for using statistics? At the root, all evidence is aesthetic. Tomandlu, I promise your kid isn't too young for Feyerabend. Ah, we've moved on now to Panpsychism (fwiw we both think it's reasonable). [EDIT] That aside, I shall pass on the reference. He's jugg...
by tomandlu
Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:17 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Is All Evidence Statistical?
Replies: 23
Views: 3816

Re: Is All Evidence Statistical?

gmalivuk wrote:Badly formulated theories, such as the "theory" that Russel's teapot exists, are provable with one example but only disprovable statistically.


Would you define (or consider it reasonable to define) that one example as a statistic?
by tomandlu
Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:46 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Is All Evidence Statistical?
Replies: 23
Views: 3816

Re: Is All Evidence Statistical?

I don't know if the term "statistical evidence" is a thing. Ideally, all theories would be supported by empirical (i.e. measured) evidence. In many cases we'd want to perform statistical analysis to see if the results we have are statistically significant. Wouldn't something like smoking ...
by tomandlu
Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:28 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Is All Evidence Statistical?
Replies: 23
Views: 3816

Is All Evidence Statistical?

My son and I were having a (friendly) dispute over whether all evidence for a theory is essentially statistical. He maintains that it is, even if the sample-size required is only 1 (e.g. the 1919 eclipse proving Einstein was correct). Whilst I concede that he has a point, this strikes me as making t...
by tomandlu
Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:41 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Pubmed - was Wakefield right?
Replies: 2
Views: 1347

Re: Pubmed - was Wakefield right?

Phew, ta (no humble pie today!).
by tomandlu
Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:08 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Pubmed - was Wakefield right?
Replies: 2
Views: 1347

Pubmed - was Wakefield right?

Does this make a good case that Wakefield may have been right about vaccinations and autism? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24354891 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28031551 This study reveals that the risk of autism during from the late1990s to early 2000s in the US significantly decreased...
by tomandlu
Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:59 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: V=IR - bad science or am I being thick?
Replies: 15
Views: 3428

Re: V=IR - bad science or am I being thick?

Okay, so in relation to a (smartphone) battery, is the quote right, wrong or ambiguous?

My sort-of understanding of a battery is that voltage is the potential, current is how quickly that potential is being consumed, and resistance is how you control the flow of current.
by tomandlu
Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:28 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: V=IR - bad science or am I being thick?
Replies: 15
Views: 3428

V=IR - bad science or am I being thick?

In this article: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/10/samsung-how-batteries-work-smartphones-explode there is the following statement: The higher the resistance the harder the battery has to work to maintain a usable voltage and so the amount of power it can produce per charge decrease...
by tomandlu
Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:51 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Paleolithic Hide-Clothing
Replies: 3
Views: 1432

Re: Paleolithic Hide-Clothing

This seems like a good place to start. Also, in the book Hatchet , which is really accurate to real life, the protagonist figures out how to make garments out of animals he kills. I forget exactly how he did it; I can go look it up in my copy if you want. Heh - the taxidermy net link was fun, but m...
by tomandlu
Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:31 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Paleolithic Hide-Clothing
Replies: 3
Views: 1432

Paleolithic Hide-Clothing

Does anyone have any idea what the basic skill-set would be to make animal hides durable and adaptable? I'm thinking specifically of four requirements: ⋅ Is it enough to just scrape a skin or is more necessary to preserve it? ⋅ How would you soften a skin? (clothing) ⋅ ...
by tomandlu
Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:33 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Tonic Water
Replies: 17
Views: 4955

Re: Tonic Water

Angua wrote:<snip>


For topic/username synergy, you should drop the 'n'.
by tomandlu
Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:05 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Tonic Water
Replies: 17
Views: 4955

Re: Tonic Water

Just jumping in with the fact that you can only taste bubbles if your body can turn the CO2 into acid. You don't actually taste the bubbles! Some medications have this as a side-effect. Ah! Which might imply that warmer tonic does taste more fizzy, since smaller bubbles = greater surface area for r...
by tomandlu
Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:49 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Tonic Water
Replies: 17
Views: 4955

Re: Tonic Water

The best way to decrease CO2 loss is to increase the partial pressure of the CO2 in the atmosphere the carbonated beverage is in. Pouring it into a smaller container and securely sealing the top on is an easy way to do this. Squeezing the (plastic) bottle so that there's a much smaller air space be...
by tomandlu
Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:00 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Apologies, but can someone check this translation (English to French)
Replies: 1
Views: 2324

Apologies, but can someone check this translation (English to French)

I need to send an email in French to try and recover a phone and ipod from a Parisian garage. Can someone confirm that Google has given me a reasonable translation (and that it doesn't sound rude?): English: Hello, You are very kindly looking after a small, blue 'Centre Parcs' bag that I left behind...
by tomandlu
Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:36 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1718: "Backups"
Replies: 45
Views: 6143

Re: 1718: "Backups"

Hah! This sort-of happened at a client's site, and it took us a few hours to figure out what they'd done. Basically, they called in to say that a whole bunch of Word documents generated by our application had gone awol, which didn't make any sense, given the trail in the application, but, yes, they ...

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