Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
The Next Big Paradigm Shift

By localroger in Op-Ed
Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 11:22:44 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

For at least 30,000 years (and probably a lot longer) human beings have lived under a set of assumptions about the origin of the Universe and the place humans occupy within it. Those assumptions subtly inform many seemingly unrelated thoughts, whether we as individuals believe or disbelieve in the dominant paradigm. And in the path that led to modern technological society, that paradigm has radically shifted three times.

It's due to shift again, and when it does it will affect everything.


At some point in the distant past, the first ancestor of ours conceived of the abstract idea of the entire world as a thing. Thus encapsulated and made portable through the tool of language, it became possible for humans to wonder and discuss the possibility that this entire world thing had itself had an origin and might have an end, as nearly everything within it did.

These very early humans did not have much technology and their speculations reflected this fact. They had fire and stone tools and possibly the ability to tan skins into leather. Everything in their experience either came from a living thing (which in turn came from another living thing) or came from the rock of the Earth itself, not modified much to make it useful. This made it very natural to think of the world as having been born and having a life expectancy; the creatrix would of course be a female who would need a consort to impregnate her. This ultimate being would itself go through the stages of female life, roughly divided into youth, motherhood, and old age. This tripartite Goddess is the oldest known concrete human religious figure, and she reigned supreme in human consciousness for tens of thousands of years.

Between ten and six thousand years ago humans invented farming. This led to a lot of other developments. There were technologies for improved livestock handling; there were new forms of livestock bred for docility and productivity; there was a lot of wealth to be protected from increasingly organized raids, which led to the first human arms races. It was increasingly impossible for a single individual to know all or most of what was necessary for humans to survive; human occupations began to branch out like Darwin's finches, so that instead of being a man (hunter) or woman (gatherer) one might be a seamstress, planter, warrior, accountant, metalworker, carpenter, or potter. And as these divisions became prominent in the popular consciousness, they caused the religious paradigm to shift.

The Goddess was no longer central, though she was still there; now instead of giving birth to the world, though, she had given birth to a host of lesser entities, still divine, who fulfilled necessary but partial functions with regard to running the world. Many of these gods were male and these gradually became ascendant in the pantheons of polytheistic religions, as male humans were becoming ascendant in the new world of technology and war. (The Greeks and Romans gave lip service to the mother goddess in the form of the Fates, their echo of the tripartite virgin/mother/crone goddess. But even though the Fates determined the fates of gods, they were considered distant and unknowable instead of close and immanent, and were not objects of worship in the same sense as the more familiar gods.)

As human technology became even more complex, it increasingly revealed an ability to transform raw materials from one form to another. Most metals simply do not exist in nature, and neither does fired pottery. The skill of the craftsman was as important, if not more important, than the quality of the raw materials. These observations were to lead to the second paradigm shift.

Beginning around 4,000 years ago the ancient Hebrews conceived of a covenant between themselves and their particular god, originally conceived as one among many though their covenant required them to refrain from worshipping any others. Eventually their concentration on the single god caused them to ditch the mother goddess and all the other gods completely, and they formed the idea that the universe had been made rather than born through the action of their male craftsman-god. This had widespread implications. Unlike a mother, who until very recently didn't even know the sex of her child until after birth, a craftsman went into the creative process with a definite idea of what he was trying to produce. The universe, with its complexity and intricacy and deep mysteries implied a very knowledgeable and powerful creator. One would not expect a mother-goddess who birthed the universe to be omniscient or omnipotent -- what human mother can claim such traits? -- but any fool knew that an unskilled potter will produce a crooked pot. This idea took on a lot of baggage on its way to ascendancy but it fit the evolving technological metaphor so well that its adoption, in some form or another, was inevitable once it had been given form.

Human technology did not change much, at least in fundamental ways, for more than a thousand years after the craftsman-god paradigm had established itself. Then, about 500 years ago, in a movement that was ironically begun by Christian monks who wanted better timepieces, humans began building clockwork automata of increasingly intricate complexity. The striking thing about these early robots, to medieval observers, is that they would perform the most wonderful and complex maneuvers without any human being doing anything after the mechanism was set up.

It's hard to realize from our modern vantage point what a shock this was. The medieval view of religion was informed by carpentry and pottery, and buildings and pots don't do anything unless a human pushes them around. It was thought that literally nothing would move in the world without God's finger to push it around; God would have to know "every sparrow that falls" because no sparrow could fly or even breathe without God to put that spark in, continuously. Remember, this was an intensely religious world by modern standards where people went to church 4 or 5 times a day and otherwise intelligent men thought that the edict of even an obviously corrupt Pope could doom them to eternal Hell. But if humans could build things that functioned without constant intervention, then couldn't God (who was after all omniscient and omnipotent) do the same thing?

This third paradigm shift more or less directly created the Renaissance. Clearly this disconnected watchmaker-god could not be too concerned with the activities of individual humans (much less sparrows). The danger of the idea was well understood by the Christian church; several countries actually passed laws banning the construction of clockwork automata. But by placing God at a distance and suggesting that His work could take care of itself to a certain degree, the new paradigm was directly responsible for acts of innovation and rebellion which would have been unthinkable as late as the 14th century. Even the intensely religious Kepler and Newton could not help but think of the universe in clockwork terms -- let alone radicals like Galileo, da Vinci, or the men who started the American and French revolutions.

The watchmaker god is still with us, even though many of us profess atheism and replace him with the blind hands of the market or evolution. The assumption is still there that the world is a definite mechanism, which works in a clear orderly way so that one can know what it will do in the future if one understands the gears and levers sufficiently well. Educated people no longer believe that a conscious deliberate god built the gears and levers with intent, but they have only replaced consciousness with a blandly invoked "billions of years." Their error informs many important errors in seemingly unrelated fields.

To give one of many, many examples, in the argument over deviant human behavior there are basically two sides both of which are wrong. One side believes that "problems" like homosexuality, and sociopathy are genetically determined and can therefore be "solved" through eugenics. The other side believes these "problems" are the result of what might be called educational errors which can be "solved" through psychotherapy or by keeping the fags and the pervs away from our impressionable kids.

The trigger for the fourth paradigm shift will be chaos theory. It's only been in existence since the early 1980's, and even though it explains everything it hasn't penetrated the public consicousness yet.

In my example, it's obvious that humans are chaotic in the precise mathematical definition. These "problems" result because we imprint on inappropriate patterns at critical trigger points in our development. These trigger points in turn are the real tool evolution uses to make sure we mate with members of our own species -- and like most things done by evolution, they don't have to work right all the time, just often enough to keep the species going. So we can't "solve" the "problem" through eugenics, because it's not heritable. (Anyone conversant with information theory and the size of the genetic code could have figured that out, but chaos theory explains how this inadequate code results in such fabulously complicated beings as ourselves.) We can't "solve" the "problem" through psychotherapy because the imprints are permanent once formed. And we can't "solve" it by micro-managing our kids' development because one never can tell what stray random thought or impression at a critical moment will stick with one for a lifetime. One might as well try to tweak one whorl of the Mandelbrot Fractal by making a small change in the algorithm that generates it.

To me, all this is obvious. Yet it's highly unpopular, especially since it suggests that an emotionally loaded "problem" can't be "solved" at all. But there were a lot of emotionally loaded problems within Christianity which simply evaporated once the watchmaker-god was introduced, the most significant of which was the so-called Problem of Evil. (e.g. if God is omniscient and omnipotent and omnibenevolent, why do bad things happen?) Ever since the days of Jeshua ben Miriam himself some folks have answered the Problem of Evil by making the obvious connection -- God himself is either crazy or evil. The most persistent form of this heresy was Gnosticism, and some of the most evil and horrific excesses of the Christian church have been directed toward Gnostics. Yet, since the introduction of clockwork automata, there hasn't been a single major recurrence of Gnosticism. It isn't necessary. Evil exists because God is distant, and not paying close attention. Even the most fervent fundamentalists of our day don't realize how far they are from the Christians of the first millennium in their casual dismissal of this paradox. They are as much creatures of the third paradigm shift as we are, though they aren't as well equipped to realize it.

One might wonder what the chaos-theory equivalent of the village clock might be. After all, most people don't bother to download Fractint and play with chaos. But we have already put chaotic systems into a lot of homes, in the form of computers. Early computers weren't chaotic, but modern ones are; no one understands them completely and even though they were entirely built by humans they are prone to behave in unpredictable and unfixable ways. This will only become more obvious as computers become more powerful and their internal functioning becomes more distant and arcane.

I think most hackers have already formed a vision of the fourth paradigm shift, one in which god (if such a being does exist) did not so much create the universe as discover it, perhaps by trying different values for the fundamental physical constants. He might now be munching the divine equivalent of Doritos and calling up his divine buddies to tell them what parameters result in some really cool output. When that vision becomes universal it will change every human institution in ways that are most difficult to predict. Perhaps that itself is the final irony, that the acceptance of chaos will itself have chaotic effects on our society.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o Also by localroger


Display: Sort:
The Next Big Paradigm Shift | 92 comments (69 topical, 23 editorial, 1 hidden)
Quite good (or at least interesting), except... (3.50 / 12) (#1)
by elenchos on Thu Jun 21, 2001 at 09:58:55 PM EST

...where you toss in this claim about hackers at the end. I suppose you can define hacker any way you like, but most computer guys I know have a hyper-inflated amount of expertise in a very narrow area, and very little global knowledge to balance it. And even less ability to acquire general insight into the big picture. Like a hammer that sees everthing as a nail, computer guys tend to see the solution to every problem as being computer-related.

So without a lot of support from you, I have a hard time accepting the assertion at the end that hackers will somehow have a better grasp of what it is all about than the rest of humanity. They are usually the last ones to catch on.

So unless you have something convincing to add, I think the whole essay would do just as well without that bit at the end boosting geek ego.

But overall, pretty good stuff.

(If it makes you feel better, pretend ther is a red border around the box. I'm in no mood to quibble.)

Everyone wants to be a poet, even the coroner
scribbling in his note pad at the crime scene
a drowned man is judged only by his piers.
--Po

he SAID hacker... not geek ! (2.28 / 7) (#13)
by neuneu2K on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 01:39:23 AM EST

He says hacker, and you hear "computer guys"... So of course it seems pretty stupid.
He says hacker and I hear -well- hacker, wich was supposed to have a very different meaning...(someone who tinkers with complex systems... as good a definition as another, certainly better then "computer guy"

On the other hand, I agree that is is not really useful to the article...
- "And machine code, which lies beneath systems ? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic..." - Umberto Eco
[ Parent ]
If you want a radical paradigm shift... (3.33 / 6) (#2)
by lucius on Thu Jun 21, 2001 at 10:08:00 PM EST

If you want a radical paradigm shift, why go with chaos theory? Why not quantum mechanics?

And since the genome is discrete in its information storage, how can you apply he term `chaotic' to it? Chaotic behaviour is (AFAIK) only defined for systems with continuous degrees of freedom. How would you define `exponential divergence over time' for a genomic entity? Are babies born mathematically identical and diverge from each other over time exponentially? If so, how does one calculate this?

I think you've confused a combinatoric problem (number of possible genomes) with a continuous one (exponential divergence of 'close' starting points).

Dave

About continuous problems (3.75 / 4) (#14)
by cunt on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 02:52:54 AM EST

It is interesting that you bring up quantum mechanics, since under certain interpretations it implies that all problems are fundamentally discrete. It is certainly the case, however, that many problems are practically continuous, since they are quantified to a degree that we cannot measure. Thus, your distinction may merely be one of human convenience.

[ Parent ]
QM -- discrete vs. Continuous (2.50 / 2) (#41)
by rasilon on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 09:51:43 AM EST

I'd be interested in seeing how you spin that particular point of view. I haven't come across any QM that hasn't more conveniently been expressed as the opposite -- all problems are fundamentally continuous but can often be considered discrete.

[ Parent ]
Re: About continuous problems (4.00 / 1) (#71)
by lucius on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 01:56:34 AM EST

...since under certain interpretations it implies that all problems are fundamentally discrete...

I think I know what you mean, but what if you're finding the fourier transform of the wavefunction of a free electron (say you want a probability distribution of the electron having a certain momentum)? I believe you have to integrate to find that, which implies a continouous problem.

I haven't studied much really low level QM, so I guess at some point you might get to a (discrete) fast fourier transform at very small distances. So I have to claim ignorance on this point.

But, I have the feeling that amplitudes of different quantum states, say spin states for example, are inherently continuous. Which is to say, they are not enumerable like the integers.

If anyone could help with this I'd really like to know, BTW.

dave

[ Parent ]

Ironic? (2.22 / 9) (#3)
by xriso on Thu Jun 21, 2001 at 10:36:51 PM EST

You said:
a movement that was ironically begun by Christian monks who wanted better timepieces

What's so ironic about the movement starting from clockmaking? Clocks are the perfect starting point for machines.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

Damn and I thought *I* was arrogant (2.05 / 18) (#6)
by DranoK on Thu Jun 21, 2001 at 11:42:37 PM EST

Jesus christ. You assume because it seems obvious to you that you know the future; sure you disclaim it by declaring you cannot know the results, but you make the far more arrogant claim that you know the reason.

So we're in the 'third paradigm' right now? And it's about to shift? Congratulations! You've discovered a philisophical theory thousands of years old. If you had even read a few chapters of any philosophy written over the past two thousand years you'd see how basic and simplistic your ideas really are.

Do you actually think you can simply be dramatic and put yourself in a holy light delighting in your delusional thinking that you see things as they really are? That you see the truth? Does it make you feel superior?

And why? Simple, really. Because for some reason people like you believe that their particular outlook on life is more real and more true than the other 5 billion souls on the planet. You talk about final ironies, future paradigm shifts, and all sorts of other shit you seem to have read in a book and thought was kinda neat. And then, since your puny little mind is too juvenile to comprehend the higher paradoxes and intricicies of human behavior, human thought, and most especially human philosophy, you simply talk about what makes sense to you; you are your own ancient being speaking of Vulcan knowing full well in your mind that it is he responsible for volcanic eruptions soley because you cannot even grasp at the notion that you might be wrong.

Pitiful. -1 without hesitation.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence
--DranoK



Quick to attack (3.53 / 13) (#10)
by Mad Hughagi on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 12:38:07 AM EST

Man, why be so negative about this?

This person has an idea about something, and has decided to spend their time making it known to the rest of us. Sure, it is limited in scope, and I agree with what you have said, but at the same time I'm sure you could approach these concerns without having to bring the Inquisition down on this poor guy.

If you don't like the article fundamentally, vote your -1 and be done with it. In taking the time to reply and show this person what you think perhaps he will learn something. You don't have to make him feel like an idiot for it. If everyone thought like you then no-one would post stories, it would be a priviledge reserved for the most knowledgable, and I hardly think we're a community of all-encompassing mental juggernauts.

I didn't agree with his hypothesis, yet I thought he touched on a few interesting ideas that could lead to some good discussion.

Flawed with good intentions. +1 Section, after thinking.
HUGHAGI INDUSTRIES

We don't make the products you like, we make you like the products we make.
[ Parent ]

My Jebuz save us from idiots and fools... (1.16 / 6) (#51)
by DranoK on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 01:30:17 PM EST

And hail all those who respect others beliefs because it's how we were taught when we were young. Because everything stated is valid. Because no question is stupid. Because, if time is spent in the creation of something, it has inherant worth.

Pitiful. I will not abide by primitive moral code and be polite. I will not be respectful. This article was shit. I simply mean to state that. If the author's feelings were hurt by my comments he is even more pathetic than I thought.

This article pisses me off becuase the author goes off bloviating about how he's figured something Oh So Mighty out. The hubris this article screams of almost makes me sick.

Cheers

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence
--DranoK



[ Parent ]
How to approach it? (3.00 / 1) (#58)
by Mad Hughagi on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 03:15:07 PM EST

I know what you're saying, but how should we approach discussing these kinds of things?

The only people who can truly write an article about a certain academic topic and not succumb to being fundamentally incorrect in their opinion are the people who are at the forefront. I guess it doesn't lend itself well to a "community" kind of approach...
HUGHAGI INDUSTRIES

We don't make the products you like, we make you like the products we make.
[ Parent ]

Simple (1.25 / 4) (#59)
by DranoK on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 03:57:58 PM EST

Some concepts have just been beaten to death before. Most articles like this are pointless. Discussion solves nothing.

Or, contrastly, if k5 is a place for 'discussion' to happen, then flame is by all means discussion =p. Frankly I believe a lot of my comments, although always rated low, cause more people to think than a million 'Me toos!' or 'Good, buts...'. *sigh* I belong to an inferior species.

There is no art in civility. There is no poetry. Everything is dull PC gobble-gobble shit. There is no spark of life here.

Ah, but now that's where I'm going, isn't it? Flame entices anger. Anger entices true feelings. And then, then maybe, just maybe, a small flicker of life will appear.

But hell, prolly not. People will simply continue to be dumbasses so content in their illusion of reality that nothing else matters.

Kinda like Christians, in a sense... ;)

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence
--DranoK



[ Parent ]
I'd have to disagree on one thing... (3.00 / 1) (#60)
by Mad Hughagi on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 05:26:59 PM EST

Most articles like this are pointless. Discussion solves nothing

I agree that discussion does not solve anything, but I do think these articles are worthwhile.

Maybe most people on k5 are not out to enlighten the world, maybe they simply come here to read about things that they have never thought of before. k5 is a lot more than an idea-engine, it's also a learning place. I enjoy hearing what peoples opinions are and why they believe the things they do.


HUGHAGI INDUSTRIES

We don't make the products you like, we make you like the products we make.
[ Parent ]

*shrug* (1.25 / 4) (#66)
by DranoK on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 07:24:33 PM EST

You are of course missing your biggest argument which would shut me up right away. Oh well, I'm a nice guy so I'll give it to you:

If these articles are so worthless why do I spend my time reading them and posting about them? If they are pointless, why bother?

So in my little fucked up version of reality I would propose that this discussion can be deemed worthwile solely on the inexplicitly simple ability for flame to occur. *shrug*

Oh, and what you said about most people aren't out to change the world; I wish you were right. I wish people's primary purpose for posting articles wasn't self-gratification. Stories aren't submitted in hopes that their ideas will change anything or mean anything or accomplish anything at all. Well, you have the rare exception. The average K5 poster (Electric Angst, I'm glaring at you here) is pathetic because [s]he posts from pure selfishness. K5 isn't an idea-engine 90% of the time; it isn't a learning place. It's a place where people can pretend to be more intellectual/more artistic/more gooder than they actually are. this article was posted from a 'see-my-article-see-my-philosophy-druel-over-it-I-am-God-'cause-I-thought-of-it' mindset.

They day people post real content about things they actually care about and not just some fantasy of selfish world-changing attitudes is the day I'll stop flaming.

But no, K5ers need to be too damn epic. Nobody can post a story about the taste of ink, or discuss completely impossible things, or anything else where actual learning or expanding might come out.

People here just parrot what they read and offer redundant moral orders and visions of life. People here simply reduce the world around them to terms their own pitiful minds can understand.

I am a worm. I am content to be a worm. I am no better than a worm.

But I am no worse than one, either. And I just happen to be rather good at pissing other worms off.

In fact, there's only one way you can outwit me: to recognize that you're no more than a worm either.

Except for a few people K5 simply thinks it is too important.

*shrug*

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence
--DranoK



[ Parent ]
see-my-article-etc (3.00 / 2) (#70)
by localroger on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 08:46:14 PM EST

I didn't notice this before posting my reply to your other comment...

It's a place where people can pretend to be more intellectual/more artistic/more gooder than they actually are. this article was posted from a 'see-my-article-see-my-philosophy-druel-over-it-I-am-God-'cause-I-thought-of-it' mindset.

You misspelled "see-my-article-see-my-philosophy-does-it-fly-with-this-group-of-relatively-intelligent-people."

It was a valuable exercise for me; I learned several weaknesses in my presentation. It was a valuable exercise for some K5'ers who obviously liked the article. It was a valuable exercise for you, since it gave you something to flame.

I wish everything I did were half so successful.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Splashy flashy bashy (1.00 / 6) (#73)
by DranoK on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 02:50:00 AM EST

spelling is bad grammar is bad DranoK is bad<BE>
me cry at critique of inferior worm. me cry at delusional sense of accomplishment

me laugh at you inability to see DranoK give significance and value to what DranoK want and you no more insightful than mold on dead tree! me laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh

me grunt now and read what DranoK consider valuable

no me laugh more first

laugh laugh laugh!

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence
--DranoK



[ Parent ]
Then you'll be glad to know... (3.00 / 3) (#64)
by localroger on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 07:05:42 PM EST

...that I'm not put out of countenance by your reply. I'm frankly surprised at how few comments like yours my little speculation attracted.

You are reading a great deal of attitude into the article that isn't there, and I have to suspect that this is a textbook case of projection.

Pitiful. I will not abide by primitive moral code and be polite. I will not be respectful.

Congratulations, you have reinvented the ethical philosophy generally called egotism, because the word sadism had already been used for something else. Before you are so quick to adopt the stance of a libertine and free yourself from the shackles of niceness, you might want to actually read something by Donatien Alphonse Francoise de Sade. While he shared your contempt for artificially imposed moral norms, he was no fool, and as Colin Wilson points out his stories are littered with the dead bodies of characters who practice his philosophy.

I'd bid you have a nice day, except I doubt if you've ever had one in your life.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

LOL (1.14 / 7) (#65)
by DranoK on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 07:13:56 PM EST

You are reading a great deal of attitude into the article that isn't there, and I have to suspect that this is a textbook case of projection.

Are you honestly this stupid? I was already having a great day, now I get to engage in a flame war with a vastly inferior being! What could be better?! Orgies with bananas I guess, but...*shudder*

Before you are so quick to adopt the stance of a libertine and free yourself from the shackles of niceness, you might want to actually read something by Donatien Alphonse Francoise de Sade. While he shared your contempt for artificially imposed moral norms, he was no fool, and as Colin Wilson points out his stories are littered with the dead bodies of characters who practice his philosophy.

Oh yeah! Ring around the posy! Pocket full of books! Bring them out! Learn the Gospel! Practice what you Preach!

You wanna know why you're an inferior little gnat splashed against the dash of a philisophical canine (which, arguably, is somewhere between 9x and 10x closer to enlightenment than you -- not that enlightenment exists) clammouring hopelessly for his spittle-stained bone, grasping desperately for truth in fluridation? Why? 'Cause you cannot have a thought unless you read it somewhere, or heard it somewhere. Because you stick up for your beliefs solely on the basis of how many intelligent people agree with you. You *are* pathetic.

*grin* Yeah, I'm really enjoying myself here. I'd respond more, but need to finish a couple work-related things. *sigh* Flame me back and I'll try to post a response by Saturday afternoon.

Cheers!

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence
--DranoK



[ Parent ]
No flames here (3.33 / 3) (#69)
by localroger on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 08:39:05 PM EST

? I was already having a great day, now I get to engage in a flame war with a vastly inferior being!

Sorry to disappoint you -- not about the inferior being jab, but about the flame war. Maybe when you grow up you'll understand that some of us care about things other than making points in a war of words.

If I make a comment to you, it's not because I have figured out that it will get a rise out of you, it's because I believe it to be true. I can certainly be wrong; I was obviously wrong on the projection call. I never have gotten used to the idea that some people can get such a charge out of conflict and insults regardless of the content that they are pretending to argue about.

You really should read something by de Sade; and that isn't a flame, but a legitimate suggestion. Sade knew how to write stuff that still pisses people off after more than two centuries. You might learn something. I suggest starting with Yet Another Effort, Frenchmen, If You Would Become Republicans, a bit of prose in your own style but much further over the top.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Ah local ranger (1.00 / 5) (#72)
by DranoK on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 02:44:44 AM EST

You have succombed to me. And it feels quite good ;)

Maybe when you graduate from puppy dog school you'll learn that some of us enjoy laughing at stupidity. ;)

Rule #1: Never try to be nice to me. You only entice more flame. Unless, of course, you enjoy reading my flame as much as I enjoy writing it, in which case please spam on ;) You contaminate your pathetic little obtuse points with disclaimers and appologizes. *sigh*

And you would be so presumptuous to suppose that my archetypal purpose is to piss people off. Again you suffer immensely from your own ingorant hubris, if you'll forgive the redundancy. No, no, I'm far more insidious than that. However, everyone *must* enjoy what they do, so I try to piss poeple off. I'm in my own reality, remember? No, your mind is too small to grasp such a concept.

You can't win against me worm. If you reply with flame I get what I want. If you reply with any kind of respect or manners I prove my point of your spineless inferiority. If you simply do not reply, well, I guess I got to you. ;) Oh of course you'll deny it. And critique the very substance of my superiority trip.

You who think you have something to contribute to society. You who is pitiful. The worm who had no mirror.

Cheers!

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence
--DranoK



[ Parent ]
Interesting (4.00 / 1) (#75)
by localroger on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 09:59:00 AM EST

some of us enjoy laughing at stupidity

Then you would love my job. Other peoples' stupidity stopped being funny for me about the time I had to redesign a user interface to accommodate truck drivers who cannot read messages like PULL UP and GO TO CUSTOMER SERVICE. That was ten years ago. You obviously aren't getting enough of what you enjoy to be sick of it yet.

Rule #1: Never try to be nice to me.

You also haven't gotten enough of being yelled at by irate customers over things that are out of your control. I came to value niceness and grew flame-proof armor when I still found stupidity funny.

And you would be so presumptuous to suppose that my archetypal purpose is to piss people off.

You misread: I said that Sade was still pissing people off after two centuries, not that that was his (or your) primary purpose. I think your primary purpose is to make time pass. Sade's primary purpose was social commentary. But what you both really excel at is pissing people off.

If you reply with flame I get what I want. If you reply with any kind of respect or manners I prove my point of your spineless inferiority. If you simply do not reply, well, I guess I got to you.

Nicely constructed triple-bind there, except that the middle sentence only follows within your self-constructed worldview; it does not necessarily describe my perception, or that of an arbitrary outsider. How many people would agree with you that my continued pleasantness in the face of your flame is proof of inferiority? Which stance is the more difficult to maintain?

You who think you have something to contribute to society. You who is pitiful. The worm who had no mirror.

You're breaking up there. Maybe you should try reposting that last paragraph when you get close to a different cell tower.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Try harder next time (1.00 / 5) (#76)
by DranoK on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 09:24:08 PM EST

This time you absolutely failed.

You obviously aren't getting enough of what you enjoy to be sick of it yet.

Again you make assumptions about what I do/what I have or have not had enough of. Sheesh. Sounds like somehow you know both my personal AND professional life pretty good. You're pretty all-knowing there.

Nicely constructed triple-bind there, except that the middle sentence only follows within your self-constructed worldview; it does not necessarily describe my perception, or that of an arbitrary outsider.

Um...duh? Pathetic. You can't even understand what I write. Jesus you're stupid.

You're breaking up there. Maybe you should try reposting that last paragraph when you get close to a different cell tower.

Maybe you should either, (if sarcastic) Try finding something with more substance to attack me on. There must be something more interesting you could bite; or (if not sarcastic) Try first grade over again. It's called 'basic comprehension'. I only offer this insulting option due to your lack of intellegence.

Cheers

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence
--DranoK



[ Parent ]
DranoK implodes in self-contradiction (2.00 / 2) (#77)
by localroger on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 10:42:18 PM EST

You said, in Ah, local ranger:

some of us enjoy laughing at stupidity

So I said, in Interesting:

Then you would love my job. And some other stuff about stupidity, including You obviously aren't getting enough of what you enjoy to be sick of it yet.

You said you enjoyed laughing at stupidity. It's there in black and white pixels; look it up. I assumed nothing, took only what you said at face value. You really are much more of an amateur at this than I first thought. A pro would have kept this going for four or five more posts, at least.

But this time you are the weakest link. Goodbye.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Hmm...this smacks of Sandman (3.00 / 4) (#7)
by LilDebbie on Thu Jun 21, 2001 at 11:58:27 PM EST

This all might be true if, of course, our histories were correct. Do you remember windmills and waterwheels and whatnot? They are an example of "automata" that are very, very old. Furthermore, the idea of a blind, insane creator, or a creator of chaos if you will, goes back all the way to Sumer with good 'ol Zoroaster. Maybe he was just really foresighted like yourself. Oh well, you get +1 for decent writing and the fact that the Front page should update more often.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

Paradigm Shifts and Chaos Theory (4.61 / 13) (#8)
by Mad Hughagi on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 12:26:33 AM EST

One thing about paradigm shifts is that most people concieve them based upon a desire for some kind of mentality to be embraced by the general public. I don't think chaos theory is even the beginning of it. Take someone like Fritjof Capra (Tao of Physics) who believes that the paradigm shift will come about through an embracement of holistic concepts. Take someone like David Bohm (Wholeness and the Implicate Order), who essentially believes that an understanding of the wholeness of reality will lead to a vast shift in the way humans think.

I read a lot of physics, therefor I spend more time thinking about the possible paradigm shifts from a physical point of view. You may see an understanding of chaos to be a critical turning point in human civilization, someone else may think it will come about by the Gaia Hypothesis.

When it comes down to it, I think the words of my very wise quantum mechanics professor sum it up: "never marry yourself to an idea"

There are always more things involved than we would like to think and often we make oversimplifications about things.

Why assume that chaos theory will open up a new way of thinking? It is a mathematical consequence, and as far as mathematics being influential on humanity, I think it will be a long time before the general public can even accept an idea like differential geometry, let alone chaos theory.

Early computers weren't chaotic, but modern ones are; no one understands them completely and even though they were entirely built by humans they are prone to behave in unpredictable and unfixable ways

I have a strong sense that you do not truly grasp the mathematical defination of a chaotic system. Chaos is a consequence of a system that has an extreme dependance on initial conditions - it does not simply mean that there is no order to it. To say that modern computers are chaotic in a mathematical sense is a fallacy. I think there are quite a few people who understand them for the most part very well. While they behave in unpredictable and unfixable ways (I'm not too sure about the latter as being true, but anyway...) this is not a consequence of their complexity really, it more has to do with our ability to be able to observe them for what they are. It's not a magic box. Electrons flow from here to there, guided by various potentials, and depending on how things are set up a photon will hit my eye a certain way. There is no mystery to the modern computer, it is just complex to the level where we cannot readily deal with all of it's aspects in an instant.

It's interesting that you assume the acceptance of chaos will radically shift our perspective of god. Most physicists are aware of chaos and understand it's role in our physical universe, but I don't think they are betting on it changing much of how we view anything else than weather or non-linear systems in general.
HUGHAGI INDUSTRIES

We don't make the products you like, we make you like the products we make.

Chaos theory? (2.80 / 5) (#47)
by MicroBerto on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 11:37:54 AM EST

Any good links for reading up about Chaos Theory? I know nothing about it (obviously this conversation has gone way over my head), but it sounds interesting. Thanks!

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]
Religion (3.71 / 7) (#11)
by Nyarlathotep on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 12:39:34 AM EST

Yes, Religion will try to adapt the many scietific ideas into it's theology, but we do not live in the Dark Ages today. Our scientists and engeneres do not give a damn about religion. Yes, there are religious people who do wonderful work in these fields and these individuals may be inspired by their religion, but this has no real effect on the content of their work, so religion has no real cultural importence within the community.

Now, religion still dose play a role in public policy making. I think one of the biggest shifts we could experence over the next hundred years would be to remove religion from the public policy sector. Specifically, the social sciences are not currently sciences because they lack real methodology, but if the social sciences can become science then religion will rapidly become out dated.

Psychology is a good example of a social science which has become science. Scientific psychology is very young, but it is rapidly developping to the point where societies who lissen to the advice of psychologists instead of priests will have serious advantages (i.e. no drug war).

I would not dare to guess at how long it would take the remaining social sciences to discover the methodologies they need to become scientific.. methodology is not an easy thing to develope. Luckily, many social problems can be treated with the psychology methodology today (since they are directly ties to the state of individuals and not groups).

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
heh. (3.20 / 5) (#12)
by _Quinn on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 12:54:32 AM EST

   Your explicit mention of gender differences followed by repeated references to 'solving problems' reminded my of another (gross) generalization: men trying to help you try to solve your problems; women trying to help you try to help you cope with them. I wonder if there's a paradigm shift coming there, too, as women become more prominent in society, and problems become increasingly intractable.

-_Quinn
Reality Maintenance Group, Silver City Construction Co., Ltd.
About chaos (3.57 / 7) (#16)
by cunt on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 03:05:05 AM EST

Chaotic systems are roughly defined by three characteristics. They are:
  • Complex. They must be composed of discrete interactive elements.
  • Iterative. Their state at time n must be dependent on their state at time n - 1.
  • Nonlinear. The relationship that governs the interaction between elements must not be expressible by a linear equation.
Given this, you are going to have trouble arguing that computers are truly chaotic, since they are merely complex digital logic devices. The only real chaos introduced into a computer is through such things as disk drive fluctuations and cosmic rays striking the CPU.

Regarding human beings, it is not clear to me that they are divergent systems and do not have a "correcting" element. Even though the genetic code cannot fully qualify and individual, it nonetheless provides a corrective baseline that an organism tends toward as cells are destroyed and recreated.

Underestimating chaos of a machine (2.50 / 2) (#20)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 07:06:29 AM EST

The only real chaos introduced into a computer is through such things as disk drive fluctuations and cosmic rays striking the CPU.
I believe that computers make little sense outside their interaction with humans. Therefore, while I would say that computers may not be chaotic (except with all the hardware optimizations that make timing issues very chaotic-seeming), humans definitely introduce an important element of chaos into computers.

Most of the books written about computers are not about computers themselves, but in how a person can interact with them. Therefore it is reasonable semantically and realistically to say that computers are chaotic systems, because they do not function without inputs, which introduce chaos.

I believe that "emergent properties" are factors and behaviors which are not easily deduced from initial models. Therefore, I think a main criterion in finding a chaotic system is to look at its emergent properties.

[ Parent ]
what the hell? (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 07:07:18 AM EST

perhaps in your world digital functions are linear, but if so, I doubt that it has many other points of commonality with ours.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Er (4.50 / 4) (#48)
by trhurler on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 12:13:49 PM EST

While you are probably correct(depending on precisely what you mean by "digital,") I'm not certain that this actually applies to any real computer, and more importantly, even if it did, computers are not well represented by chaos models.

First of all, if they were, they'd be useless. If running Word and Excel at the same time caused the outputs of your spreadsheet equations to change in unpredictable ways, nobody would ever use a computer. The whole original purpose of operating systems and a large part of the purpose of programming languages is/was to isolate activities such that their impact on other parts of the system is as minimal as possible, or, if that impact is desirable, so that at least it is predictable. (Ignore Windows when thinking about this; Windows was designed to let morons use computers, and all traditional OS wisdom was pretty much thrown out the proverbial "window" in pursuit of that goal. The result sucks ass, but we knew that already.) Hardware has the potential to contain chaotic systems, and we can write them, but unless we're trying, in general, we don't do that.

Second, the only chaotic systems that are really interesting are the ones we cannot predict. For any existing computer and any existing program for that computer(or combination of such programs,) I can produce at finite expense a complete and well instrumented simulation of what it will do - in exacting detail. This is not the mark of something well suited to explanation via chaos theory.

Third, while most people do not understand software systems of any size well if at all, some of us do. Granted, this is by a process of abstraction, in which we only occasionally visit a given piece in detail, and usually regard it as a box that takes this and puts out that and so on, but the same is true of any human endeavor; we generally think of long division as an operation, rather than a series of operations - would you care to say that long division is chaotic?:)

Basically, I think the whole "chaos theory explains everything" idea that has been popular in recent years is bullshit. Nothing explains everything. People need to fucking get over the pathetic need for grand explanations of everything, because they don't exist.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
not sure (3.00 / 1) (#50)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 12:33:54 PM EST

By digital, I meant discrete, but there you go.

I'm not sure you're right. There are chaotic systems whose attractors have high fractal dimension and ones whose attractors have low fractal dimension (in case you hadn't noticed, the bum-talking began about twelve words ago). Importantly, there can be complicated systems which display "chaotic" (deterministic, unpredictable) behaviour, but *only some of the time*.

Consider the failure of a large chunk of the Californian (?memory) telecoms network a few years ago, when the engineers concluded that the system actually had nothing wrong with it; it just happened that it happened to be in a state which was followed by a state in which that happened. After all, by saying that you could make a model of a system just means that it's deterministic. What's interesting is whether or not your predictions are robust to small initial errors, and whether your model requires disproportionate amounts of calculation.

On the other hand, I can't remember what the point of this thread, or indeed this article was, and it's Friday evening, so thank you and goodnight.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

halting problem? (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by speek on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 01:38:39 PM EST

For any existing computer and any existing program for that computer(or combination of such programs,) I can produce at finite expense a complete and well instrumented simulation of what it will do - in exacting detail

I don't mean to be a pain, and maybe I'm misinterpreting, but are you saying you cansolve the halting problem?

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

No (3.50 / 2) (#56)
by trhurler on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 02:52:58 PM EST

I cannot solve the halting problem. However, the halting problem relates to an algorithm in general. A given machine, with given values in every register and memory location, will produce a predictable series of successive states every time. Computers are humongous finite state machines - given initial state, you can figure out where they're going. Of course, this basically involves simulating them, but you can skip a lot of details and still get precisely correct answers, assuming all you want is the nth or final state of the machine(or some demonstration that it has no final state, which basically comes down to empirical verification, since it cannot be achieved theoretically.)

Computers are chaotic in one sense: if you change certain aspects of their program in small ways, big changes can result. However, those changes are typically deliberately made impossible during normal operation; computers as we use them are not chaotic. Well, save for 'doze, which apparently was designed to make people think otherwise, and most X based programs, which were apparently all written by weenies living in their mothers' basements who learned C from a "learn to program in 21 days" book. (Yes, that means Rasterman:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
I'll take you up on that. (4.00 / 2) (#54)
by ghjm on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 01:43:11 PM EST

Second, the only chaotic systems that are really interesting are the ones we cannot predict. For any existing computer and any existing program for that computer(or combination of such programs,) I can produce at finite expense a complete and well instrumented simulation of what it will do - in exacting detail.

For the computer, you may have your choice of any normal PC-compatible. For the software, a combination of fractint and a pseudo-random number generator to set initial parameters, making use of all reasonably convenient sources of entropy. Please describe the nature of your simulation in this case.

Should you complete this assignment with time to spare, there are extra credit problems available. Given a typically loaded PC with Windows, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, what are the total number of theoretically possible states? What are the number that are actually possible - in other words, that can be arrived at from the known initial state, given correct operation of the computer? Given small variations in the initial state, to what extent is this number affected? Are there certain groups of states towards which the system shows a tendency to cluster around? If so, how do these "strange attractors" vary with the initial conditions? Are there recursively enumerable sets which are not recursive? Does an algorithm exist to determine, in finite time, whether an arbitrary Turing machine will halt?

I agree with you that "computers are chaotic" is an unacceptable excuse for poor programming or sloppy systems administration, but I think there are problems to be found within your desktop PC that bear more of a resemblance to chaos theory than you seem to believe...

[ Parent ]

Ah (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by trhurler on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 02:59:12 PM EST

The only trick here is that you've randomized the inputs and don't want me to know what they were. There is no system which can be simulated if the simulator is only given half the relevant information about that system, be it a computer or not.

(And as for fractals and so on in general, I did say quite specifically that we can program computers to behave in chaotic ways - but that in general, we do not, and that "computers" as people generally think of them are not chaotic systems. For all their flaws, if they weren't fairly predictable and at least superficially comprehensible without detailed analysis, nobody would be using them.)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
No I haven't. (5.00 / 2) (#62)
by ghjm on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 06:14:54 PM EST

I quite intentionally specified a pseudo-random number generator. The system is still fully deterministic, given any initial state. It just happens to be extremely sensitive to small changes in that initial state - specifically, that portion used to provide entropy to the PRNG.

The net result is a system exhibiting chaos, by any definition of the term. I'd like to hear how you plan to use your "simulator" to show that the PC in this situation isn't chaotic - but still retain sufficient definitional power that the Mandelbrot set, Julia sets, etc. are still considered chaotic.

As to your broader point, this characteristic of computers is a similarity, not a difference, from other chaotic systems. The Mandelbrot and Julia sets are fairly predictable and at least superficially comprehensible without detailed analysis. I think you're confusing chaotic with nondeterministic. Certainly, anyone claiming that a PC is nondeterministic is out to lunch - except, of course, for cosmic ray bitrot, instability due to overclocking or marginal components, race conditions, timing errors, outright hardware failure, or any of a dozen other (effectively) nondeterministic behaviors a PC might exhibit.

So let me put forward a definition: chaotic systems are fully deterministic mathematical models which display complex and interesting behavior in a manner highly sensitive to small variances in an initial state. Both PCs and Mandelbrot sets fit this definition. It seems that you want to say that Mandelbrot sets are chaotic, but PCs are not. To do this you will need a different definition. I look forward to seeing it.

-Graham

[ Parent ]

Evil (3.14 / 7) (#18)
by Tim C on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 05:28:31 AM EST

[Standard disclaimer: I do not believe in God]

Evil doesn't happen because God is insane, or evil, or just too busy with other matters, or anything of the sort.
Evil happens because we have free will. Given that we have free will, we are free to act in any way that we please, including being horrible to each other.

It's that simple. You'd have thought that you hadn't even read Paradise Lost... :)


Cheers,

Tim

that argument is just a bad excuse (3.20 / 5) (#30)
by boxed on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 08:33:33 AM EST

God could, being all leet and stuff, easily create a world where evil was mathematically impossible. Then free will would just be different levels of good. God created evil by creating the possibility for evil.

[ Parent ]
Interesting from a spiritual level (4.00 / 1) (#92)
by Steeltoe on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 04:00:31 PM EST

God could, being all leet and stuff, easily create a world where evil was mathematically impossible. Then free will would just be different levels of good. God created evil by creating the possibility for evil.

I voted it a 5, although others didn't see the spiritual beauty in your logic: It made me realize that we cannot have free will without also having the capacity of being God or God-like. Not to confuse "we" or "me" with our frail bodies that will soon wither and die though.

So why aren't we allowed to do mean and evil things toward the ENTIRE universe? Basically, it could be because that would be a disaster! ;-) Therefore, the more God-like we become (or closer to God/Supreme being/Everything), the less "free will" we will have. We learn through pain and suffering how to become/identify ourselves with God.

Also, keep in mind that evilness is only a construct of our minds. Sometimes an individual construct, other times a shared social construct, etc. From Gods perspective everything just is as it is. It's we that put so much seriousness and value in our lives, when it could be made much more effortless and happy.

Of course, everything I just said could be untrue. Who knows what truth really is? Just a thought anyway.

- Steeltoe
Explore the Art of Living

[ Parent ]
The problem of evil (2.00 / 1) (#83)
by mrBlond on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 12:05:35 PM EST

I'm also a secular humanist; and an agnostic atheist, and a green, and a red. I simply don't understand freethinkers' want.

input: god, ASB, Santa...
omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent: pick 2
evil, incompetent, stupid: _

I'll choose "none of the above". Are you gonna eat that?


--
Inoshiro for cabal leader.
[ Parent ]
Gnostics and pantheism (4.37 / 8) (#21)
by scorchio on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 07:06:51 AM EST

God would have to know "every sparrow that falls" because no sparrow could fly or even breathe without God to put that spark in, continuously. Remember, this was an intensely religious world by modern standards where people went to church 4 or 5 times a day and otherwise intelligent men thought that the edict of even an obviously corrupt Pope could doom them to eternal Hell.

I don't think this belief was too widely held. In fact, it could be considered a heresy, since Medieval Christianity was hostile to pantheism, the notion that God infuses every part of the world with life. The world becomes indistinguishable from God, and therefore creation becomes a form of divine self-exploration.

As to the medievals going to church four or five times a day -- in the middle ages the literate class were the clerics, who had a vested interest in sanctity. I wouldn't take their testimony too seriously. Take a look a Chaucer (or the French fabliaux, which make modern attempts at ribaldry look nunnish) for many counter-examples.

The most persistent form of this heresy was Gnosticism, and some of the most evil and horrific excesses of the Christian church have been directed toward Gnostics. Yet, since the introduction of clockwork automata, there hasn't been a single major recurrence of Gnosticism. It isn't necessary. Evil exists because God is distant, and not paying close attention.

Herewith a short account of Gnosticism, which Harold Bloom believed formed the core of the uncodified modern American religion (not that I agree with him...):

The creator was always present and always perfect. He was lonely, however, and created thirty divine beings to keep him company. The last to be created was Sophia, or wisdom. She succumbed to lust (with whom we are not told), and bore a child, the Demiurge. Expelled from heaven, the Demiurge became lonely, and created the world as his plaything. Because he was tainted by lust, his world was imperfect, full of evil. However, since his mother was divine, all of his creations carried a divine spark. The spark is wisdom, or gnosis (knowledge). To escape the evil of the world, Gnostics believed in cultivating a divine wisdom, a series of keys that would allow the believer to pass through the solar system (giving a password to an angel at each sphere), and unite with the perfect Creator and his social club.

Not far from many modern beliefs about cultivation and civilisation, and near enough to Jewish beliefs about the Law as a shield against the darkness.

Joyce explored a similar theme in Finnegans Wake where he has an imperfect world created by a stuttering creator. The hundred-letter word at the beginning of the book (which combines the words for thunder in many languages) was the botched attempt of a demiurge to make the world. It was also the moment of the fall. This shares the view of gnosticism that original sin was God's fault, not humanity's.

Perhaps an equivalent of a fatally inserted space in a command issued as root in a UNIX system.

Fascinating article. I hope it makes it to the front page.

Anurag Sagar (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by snowlion on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 03:49:45 PM EST

You might be interested in reading Kabir's Anurag Sagar (The Ocean of Love).

It describes how Kal Niranjan (The lord of Time, the demiurge) pesters Anami (nameless, the lord of Eternity, God), for a kingdom to call his own. God says, "Sure, we've got this void space out there, you can go there." Kal Niranjan gets out there in the void, and he's having fun making thoughts and playing with them out there, but he'd really like to make a world, and he'd like to put people into his world. Anami sends over Maya, if I recall correctly, in order to give him the power to incarnate his world. Kal (time) takes Maya, pierces her, has sex with her, and builds the worlds. He starts eating souls which then appear in his worlds.

The souls are trapped, until they discover the Word, by which they can return to the Anami (nameless). The Word is a light and sound, and seen and heard by the repetition of the Name. The remainder of the book is an account of how Kabir saves souls, reconnects them with the Name, and brings them thus to the Anami.

I found it rather interesting, and seems to check out rather well with the Gnostics, and the Silmarilian.

Look for the Anurag Sagar, by Kabir.


--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
Skepticism (4.00 / 8) (#24)
by Simon Kinahan on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 07:52:43 AM EST

It is interesting the article talks about the Gnostics, because its very similar in style to gnostic or prophetic writings. A lot of wild claims to knowledge of how things were, or where they are going, with nothing to back them up. I appreciate that you're speculating about things that are basically anthropological, but some references to examples of the conceptual shift would make it more credible. The middle part - about a craftsman, then a watchmaker god - is the most credible bit. A good case can probably be made that peoples create their creation myths to resemble the processes of creation they participate in.

Unfortunately, the first part of the article - speculating that early cultures had creatrix (probably genetrix is a better word) gods, is less sound. A lot of early cultures had male creator gods who made the world from their semen. Interestingly, that may well correspond to a primitive understanding of sex, in which the man's semen becomes the child, rather than feritilising an egg.

The last - speculative - part is the least credible. Chaos theory is very much not a paradim shift in the way we see the world, or in the way society works, as the previous shifts in cosmogony were. While chaotic phenomena are fascinating to people, they don't in themselves add much to the model of the world. They just point to the limits of mathematical modelling, something we'd be coming to understand since Godel and Turing.

What is, I suspect, more likely, is a computer-programmer god, and a view of the world as a software system. You already see this in the geeky fringes of culture (Greg Egan's "Permutation City", etc), but its permeating the mainstream ("The Matrix", for instance).

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
Oddly enough (3.00 / 2) (#26)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 08:06:51 AM EST

The last - speculative - part is the least credible. Chaos theory is very much not a paradim shift in the way we see the world, or in the way society works, as the previous shifts in cosmogony were.
I think the article actually defends its point in an odd way. I believe a tenet of chaos theory is that details which seem small may actually have a huge effect on the entire system, while spectacular-seeming ones may just have an incremental effect. However, the article talks about the past in wide sweeps, as if the details don't matter. Many historical commentaries make this overbroad generalization, portraying philosophy as a large pendulum that is little affected by the individuals which make it run.

The few places which don't portray the world in this way are usually in literature: Sherlock Holmes stories, Shakespeare. Counterbalances to our innate tendency to make generalizations.

[ Parent ]
Hmmm (3.58 / 12) (#31)
by Signal 11 on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 08:44:43 AM EST

Cliff's Notes For 'The Next Big Paradigm Shift':

30,000 years ago, we looked at everything in terms of sex because we didn't have technology. Once farming came along, we started worshipping different gods because, well, that was just the thing to do. And then sex became taboo. And then we had the Renaissance, where we rejected religion and had sex however we wanted. Now there's a new thing - chaos theory, and it promises to make sex even more random than ever! In conclusion, I support the invention of the Fractal Chaos Condom. Perhaps that itself is the final irony, that the acceptance of chaos will itself have chaotic effects on our society.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Uhh...no! (3.75 / 8) (#32)
by mdxi on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 08:45:09 AM EST

and even though [computers] were entirely built by humans they are prone to behave in unpredictable and unfixable ways.

Sounds like someone is running Windows or a version of Mac OS prior to 10.

Both of those families of OSen do have a distinct tendancy to *seem* to behave in nondeterministic ways on the surface, but this is actually due to crap programming, design and filesystems.

"But what of bit-rot from high-energy cosmic particles interacting with electrons in the circuitry?", I hear people every bit as pedantic as myself asking. "Certainly that introduces chaotic and nondeterministic behaviour into the system!"

Hey, it ain't my fault you're too cheap to use machines with true parity RAM :P

All of my machines behave in a highly predictable and deterministic manner (hardware failures excepted), thank you.

--
SYN SYN NAK

Psst...I think that's a BOFH excuse (2.50 / 4) (#40)
by theboz on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 09:50:56 AM EST

"But what of bit-rot from high-energy cosmic particles interacting with electrons in the circuitry?", I hear people every bit as pedantic as myself asking. "Certainly that introduces chaotic and nondeterministic behaviour into the system!"

Umm...I think that was one of the excuses on my BOFH list. I'll have to double check later if I remember. Of course, in that context, Bill Gates is the biggest BOFH of them all since his company has intentionally left in security problems so users can lose all of their email and data. Just wait until you see what stuff he has planned in XP. He's really going to get one over on all the users now.

And before anyone calls me a hypocrite, yes, I use Windows most of the time (well, probably 60%, the other 40% is Solaris.) I hate it, but it works better than linux for a desktop machine.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Evolving universes (3.20 / 5) (#33)
by Paul Johnson on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 08:53:23 AM EST

I think most hackers have already formed a vision of the fourth paradigm shift, one in which god (if such a being does exist) did not so much create the universe as discover it, perhaps by trying different values for the fundamental physical constants.

Physicist Lee Smolin has proposed an evolutionary variation of this hypothesis in his book The Life of the Cosmos. Briefly, he thinks that universes reproduce through black holes, and hence evolve to be good at black hole production. Amongst other things, this explains the fact that if a few of the fundamental constants were tweaked slightly then stars would never form. No stars means no black holes, and no black holes means a universe that does not reproduce.

OTOH maybe this gives us the clockwork-maker deity again: Smolin's multiverse is just His evolutionary algorithm.

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.

Ermm... (4.00 / 3) (#36)
by ajduk on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 09:01:37 AM EST

Actually, it is easy to tinker with the constants to give a universe which quickly collapses into a lot of black holes (i.e. within 1-2 seconds...)

The problem with this theory is:

a) No starting point, and
b) No evolutoniary pressure; there is no known limit to the possable number of universes.



[ Parent ]
TIME (3.00 / 1) (#91)
by Steeltoe on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 03:43:04 PM EST

This is exactly the basis for the book TIME (ISBN 0 00 651182 1) by Stephen Baxter. Maybe he got help by Smolin to write his novel? I'm not sure, but I recommend the book to anyone interested in cosmos and sci-fi. It's very interesting to read and you get to picture many different universes in your mind.. There are also alot of other interesting, if not so realistic as they are romantic, ideas in it.

- Steeltoe
Explore the Art of Living

[ Parent ]
paradigm shift and what people do (3.66 / 3) (#46)
by speek on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 11:22:40 AM EST

The biggest problem I see when people talk about this type of thing is that people fail to translate the big ideas into effects on reality. It's too easy to talk big, and way too hard to make something concrete out of it.

A paradigm shift is meaningless unless it changes people, and thus changes the way they behave. A shift from the birth paradigm to the craft paradigm, to put it in terms of your article, helped people view the world as something fundamentally understandable, and controllable. So, they went about taking control with their hands, whereas previously, people tried to gain control by talking with nature, so to speak (via sacrifices, rituals, magic incantations, etc).

Your view of chaos theory creating a new paradigm is interesting, though I would consider evolution as being the initial idea, rather than chaos theory. How will this effect people? Chaos theory, and evolution, both suggest that important things happen without conscious design (and without requiring a predecessor from which it is "birthed"). What effect might this have on people?

Now that's the hard question, and without trying to answer it, you've accomplished nothing. Because, later, when stuff happens, anyone could adapt the big words that were written, and claim they "explain" just what actually ended up happening.

Just my $.02, but I would expect that if a new chaos-theory inspired paradigm were to take hold, people might begin behaving as though they had control over everything by simply effecting their most local surroundings ... No need to grow big to effect things, merely perfecting one's understanding of oneself, and applying the knowledge to change things about oneself would allow one to gain control of the world ... Think globally, act locally ... You don't fight the enemy with sword and shield, but rather by not engaging them at all ...

Just some ideas to throw out there. It's hard to separate a honest-to-god prediction from just a description of what I see happening, however. It's hard to pinpoint a paradigm shift :-)

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees

Further extension... (3.00 / 1) (#85)
by magney on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 04:08:59 PM EST

Chaos theory, and evolution, both suggest that important things happen without conscious design (and without requiring a predecessor from which it is "birthed").
Might we also add quantum mechanics, which suggests that important things can happen without any cause at all?

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

Haha, good extension to science! (4.00 / 1) (#90)
by Steeltoe on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 03:27:37 PM EST

<i>Might we also add quantum mechanics, which suggests that important things can happen without any cause at all?</i>

Spot on! This could mean an "impassable" barrier to science and perhaps unification between spirituality and science. I mean, it's a big step forward for scientists to admit that they have no clue at what's going on (it's a joke!). Just too bad they have to wrap it up in so many complex theories and hard-to-understand words ;-)

- Steeltoe
Explore the Art of Living

[ Parent ]
Well, no. (3.77 / 9) (#49)
by trhurler on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 12:20:18 PM EST

Aside from the complete lack of documentation for historical claims, and aside from the fact that the author clearly has not met the most fundamentalist of fundies out there(yes, there ARE still people who regard mechanical automata as evil!) this article suffers from what I call Pleasant Sounding Bullshit Syndrome.

Basically, the premise is that chaos theory explains everything - it is even said in the piece that this is true. Well, it isn't true, and the theory does not explain everything. In fact, it is a very tightly bounded mathematical notion, and attempts to apply it to reality usually end up breaking one or more of the constraints integral to what "chaos theory" is. For instance, in the original "Jurassic Park," the scene with the drop of water falling one way or another - guess what? That's not even remotely a chaotic event. First off, it has yet to be determined that the drop has a finite number of possible states(positions.) Secondly, the only reason it was even portrayed in the movie as chaotic is because of uncertainty about the starting parameters - potential and kinetic energy and precise position information. Given those, it is trivial to work out the answer to the question "which way will it fall" among two alternatives, which was what the movie talked about.

The author gives the example of computers. See my reply to streetlawyer, here for what I think of that claim.

I could go on, but I think I've demonstrated my point: those who think that chaos theory(or any other idea) is going to be a "grand theory that explains it all" are no better than the savages who invented their mother goddesses or their craftsman gods. We don't know everything, and maybe we never will; the notion that religion or this sort of pseudoscience gives that you "understand the universe" is nothing more than an illusion. Maybe someday, in the distant future, someone will really understand, but he'll do it by means that don't involve any steps labelled "and then a miracle happens." Meanwhile, why is it that everyone I've ever met or talked to except me feels a compelling need to pretend? Some hide it better than others, but that's no real distinction. (I really would be grateful for an explanation; if most people did it, I could chalk it up to ignorance, or stupidity, or weakness - but even people I admire for their lack of all of those things - they're all the same. WHY?)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

that's very insightful, trhurler (4.00 / 2) (#55)
by eLuddite on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 02:17:42 PM EST

I could go on, but I think I've demonstrated my point: those who think that chaos theory(or any other idea) is going to be a "grand theory that explains it all" are no better than the savages who invented their mother goddesses or their craftsman gods.

I hear you, brother. Isnt it maddening the way some people confuse aspects of the real world with models of same -- laissez-faire, for instance? I mean, seriously, who are these clowns with a religious fetish for an Invisible H*nd guiding their own "chaotic" behavior? I've heard said that these people actually believe the Invisible H*nd is a vengeful, angry H*nd which tolerates interference very poorly. Ha! Have you ever heard anything so silly?

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Rationality and Absolutes (4.00 / 1) (#87)
by cam on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 10:12:09 PM EST

>Basically, the premise is that chaos
>theory explains everything

In each of the periods of Human Rationality, the Rationality has been absolute, describing the present as well as a human future. Until Algebra and Calculus provided better models of describing the natural world, religion was absolute in it's description of everything. Gravity and death were all domains of religion.

In the mechanistic rationality though the natural world was divided into finite elements, if you knew the state of all those elements and had the equations that described changes in state, then you could predict the future. Quantum Mechanics was an early formalised indication of the limitations of the mechanistic ideal. Hard to describe an elements state when by observing that element you disturb it's state.

Holistic science and engineering, where the worth of a system was greater than the sum of its parts individually, rose as an answer to the failure of mechanistic science in some areas and applications.

I was exposed to this about a decade ago, so these may be hopelessly out of date, some of the hypotheses that were based around integrated complex holistic systems that I found interesting were, Lovelocks GAIA, Mollisons Permaculture, Sheldrakes Morphic Resonance and Yeomans City Forest and Keyline Planning.

One other aspect of Rationality was once it changes, the previous rationality was incomprehensible, such as the given example of the sparrow flying being held up by religion. I cant imagine a world where the human knowledge of perspective did not exist and ships were unable to navigate across oceans because they didnt have a clock. I do remember though, the thrill of "getting" that electrons exist in shells as probability distributions.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

someone else already had that thought. (4.80 / 5) (#61)
by taruntius on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 06:02:29 PM EST

This was a nice summary of trends in religious thought vs. technology. Whether it's accurate from a historical point of view, I have no idea, but it was definitely interesting so let's proceed as if the history is right. Still, something sounds awfully familiar here...

neal stephenson, from In the Beginning was the Command Line:

THE RIGHT PINKY OF GOD

[ ... snip snip ... ]

I think that the message is very clear here: somewhere outside of and beyond our universe is an operating system, coded up over incalculable spans of time by some kind of hacker-demiurge. The cosmic operating system uses a command-line interface. It runs on something like a teletype, with lots of noise and heat; punched-out bits flutter down into its hopper like drifting stars. The demiurge sits at his teletype, pounding out one command line after another, specifying the values of fundamental constants of physics:
universe -G 6.672e-11 -e 1.602e-19 -h 6.626e-34 -protonmass 1.673e-27....
and when he's finished typing out the command line, his right pinky hesitates above the ENTER key for an aeon or two, wondering what's going to happen; then down it comes--and the WHACK you hear is another Big Bang.

localroger:

I think most hackers have already formed a vision of the fourth paradigm shift, one in which god (if such a being does exist) did not so much create the universe as discover it, perhaps by trying different values for the fundamental physical constants. He might now be munching the divine equivalent of Doritos and calling up his divine buddies to tell them what parameters result in some really cool output.

Nevertheless, such notions could well have deep ramifications for people's thoughts about the nature of god. It seems to me, however, that changing god from "clockmaker" to "experimentalist" is fundamentally equivalent to denying that there could be any practical effects of god's existence. It is, to put it shortly, very similar to an athiest's viewpoint.

A believer in an experimentalist god would contend that god made the universe with no plan, just to see what would happen, or possibly that god made the universe with a plan but without any certainty or possibly even any expectation that this universe would match that plan. An experimentalist god is definitely not omniscient.

Maybe we're on plan, maybe we're not. There's no way for us to know. For all we know, our beaker is gathering dust on god's shelf while he's trying some new mixtures down on the workbench. But no matter whether god had a plan or not, or whether we're on plan or not, god's hands are entirely off the universe after pouring our physical constants into the beaker.

The athiest, by comparison, lives in a very similar universe: one in which things just happen according to physical law, and there's no god poking around, fiddling with things. The only difference in these two systems of thought is that in one a god caused the universe to have its base set of physical laws, and in the other those laws just are. The systems of thought differ only in things that might have happened before the big bang. Well, whether there is/was any "before the big bang" is a whole can of worms, but you get my point: the systems differ only in factors that are external to the actual universe. And therefore, from the point of view of what happens internal to the universe--how the planets move, why bad things happen to good people, etc.--the systems are identical

Thus, IMHO, an experimentalist god is for athiests who can't give up the notion of some being to blame everything on. So if localroger is right, ultimately chaos theory is the death of religion.




--Believing I had supernatural powers I slammed into a brick wall.
more fiction (4.50 / 2) (#84)
by janra on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 04:06:01 PM EST

Not an experimentalist, but definitely chaotic... here's two examples off the top of my head:

There's "The Lady" (Lady Luck) in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, who makes the gods wonder nervously what's going to happen next when She decides to take part in their games.

Then there's "Ifni" (infinity) in David Brin's Uplift series, who runs the universe with Her dice.

I wonder what other stories have a god[ess] of the chaotic or experimentalist type...


--
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the comments (4.00 / 3) (#63)
by localroger on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 06:37:28 PM EST

No sooner had I posted this than I was called out of town so I've been unable to check its progress until now. A few quick responses to some of the points brought up in the comments:

  • I began collecting documentation and realized that (a) I could probably hyperlink every damn word in the article and (b) this would not increase its credibility one iota. If anyone doubts a factual claim I refer you to Google; if you indeed find that I'm in error I'd actually be interested to know.
  • I am aware that there are other paradigms, outside of the thread I traced -- for example, much Eastern thought is based on the idea of equilibrium between competing opposites. My intent was to trace the thread which led to modern technological society.
  • I'm also aware that there are still some fundies so fundamental they think automata are evil. They are not the mainstream, however. I was tracing the dominant paradigm and people who think automata are evil are certainly in the minority today.
  • The gentleman who thinks chaos theory doesn't explain anything doesn't understand the ramifications. The liquid drop example in Jurassic Park was a poor attempt to simplify an explanation of the Butterfly Effect, but the important point is that a simple, iterative system which contains a finite amount of information can be unpredictable by any model simpler than the system itself. This means that a finite, definite universe can in practice be unpredictable both by us and by any creator for whom the universe was a major project, and that's a very new thought in religious circles.
This is my first attempt at submitting a story to K5 and I do appreciate the thoughtfulness and constructive criticism present in most of the comments.

I can haz blog!

OK (2.00 / 1) (#68)
by Simon Kinahan on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 08:23:44 PM EST

<P><I>I began collecting documentation and realized that (a) I could probably hyperlink every damn word in the article and (b) this would not increase its credibility one iota. If anyone doubts a factual claim I refer you to Google; if you indeed find that I'm in error I'd actually be interested to know. </I>

<P>To pick a random example, take the Egyptian cult of the god Amun. He's a creator god (as were most Egyptian gods). He created the world by masturbating. This isn't atypical. I seem to remember Enki (Sumerian) also did so. They're therefore neither Creatrix, nor Craftsman creators, but something different. Admittedly these are both examples from early city-states, not "primitive" cultures, but your essay implies these cultures should have had craftsman-type creator-gods.

<P>This is why references are useful. You don't have to supply every link you can find, just a couple to substantiate each major point.

<P><I>The gentleman who thinks chaos theory doesn't explain anything doesn't understand the ramifications.</I>

<P>Hmm. I'm not sure who said that. Certainly chaos theory explains some things, but its not paradigmatic within science. Aside from the sloppiness of some of its pracitioners its barely caused any controversy. Compare this with Godel's theorem, or Quantum mechanics, whose apparent metaphysical consequences similarly limit the amount we can know about the world, which are still controversial.

<P>Its hard to see how such an unrevolutionary bundle of science can have any real impact socities view of the world, and indeed it hasn't really had much, outside of the ba'hai society circles that are constantly looking for parallel's between science and spirituality, and research under the "chaos" label has more or less ended.


Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
OK (3.00 / 1) (#74)
by localroger on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 08:08:52 AM EST

take the Egyptian cult of the god Amun. He's a creator god (as were most Egyptian gods). He created the world by masturbating.

The Egyptian religion was syncretic, meaning that any god conceived by any individual was considered to exist. The Egyptian religion had a number of interesting features, but while it was important it was not on the thread which led to modern society; it was so fully lost that we had no idea what they really believed until the Rosetta Stone was deciphered.

The tripartite mother-goddess was prominent in northern Europe, where quite a bit of archeological evidence has turned up for her. This is the religion which was reconstructed by Robert Graves in The White Goddess, and which was incorporated into the Greek and Roman pantheons in the form of the Fates.

Incidentally, a universe formed by masturbation is not inconsistent with my idea. It's a different way of encoding the ascendance of male over female in the structure of society.

Admittedly these are both examples from early city-states, not "primitive" cultures, but your essay implies these cultures should have had craftsman-type creator-gods.

No, the craftsman god was a radical shift away from this stage. These states had creation myths in which a living thing created the world via a biological process. The fact that it wasn't birth demonstrates the departure from simpler tribal societies, which would have been prone (but not exclusively, as there are counterexamples there too) to pick the more obvious metaphor.

Certainly chaos theory explains some things, but its not paradigmatic within science. Aside from the sloppiness of some of its pracitioners its barely caused any controversy. Compare this with Godel's theorem, or Quantum mechanics, whose apparent metaphysical consequences similarly limit the amount we can know about the world, which are still controversial.

You know, I struggled for a month to understand what Godel was getting at when I was first introduced to his Theorem. It finally hit me that I couldn't understand what he was getting at because, to me, it was so obvious it wasn't even worth proving. (At the time I was unaware that anything like the Principia Mathematica had ever been attempted, and I had a good laugh when I realized it had.)

Chaos limits what we can know about the universe much more radically than the Godel Theorem. It states very clearly, for example, that we will never be able predict the weather much better than we can now, no matter how good our sensors and models become. It also states that our ability to micro-manage our own form through genetic engineering will be drastically limited. Remember the flap over how few genes we have when the success of the Human Genome Project was announced? It turns out we are all of us veritable bundles of emergent properties.

These are things which have not caused a flap in scientific circles because they still aren't widely understood. This is why I said the next paradigm shift hasn't happened yet. It may not happen for a hundred years or more. But it's hard to say; things move more quickly now than they did in ancient times.

The point of the article was not to get my Ph.D. in comparative religion but to point out a trend I think I've spotted in the very early going. It's naturally controversial, because the trend hasn't happened yet (and who knows, I might be wrong eh?). Time, as they say, will tell.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

God doesn't need to predict the universe (3.00 / 1) (#88)
by RandomUsername on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 05:38:28 AM EST

the important point is that a simple, iterative system which contains a finite amount of information can be unpredictable by any model simpler than the system itself. This means that a finite, definite universe can in practice be unpredictable both by us and by any creator for whom the universe was a major project, and that's a very new thought in religious circles.

This comment is probably too late, but I can't let it pass. There are two problems with it:

1 - God is usually defined as being omniscient, which makes her able to comprehend the universe in its entirety - chaos theory is a product of limited information.

2 - traditional Christian theology, going back to Augustine, viewed God as being outside the Universe and outside time. To paraphrase CS Lewis, God does not predict the future, she sees it.

In general, the ability of the Deity to predict the future has being well hashed over in traditional religious circles. See the numerous debates over the centuries about the tension between the concept of free will and the omniscience of God.

[ Parent ]

Not so sure about that.. (4.00 / 1) (#89)
by Steeltoe on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 02:16:43 PM EST

This means that a finite, definite universe can in practice be unpredictable both by us and by any creator for whom the universe was a major project, and that's a very new thought in religious circles.

First of all, are you absolutely sure a finite, definite universe can be unpredictable in practice? It surely isn't for the creator, unless he is also limited by time (he has to wait for the outcome, in dire need of a CPU-upgrade ;). Which is sort of a requirement for your whole theory. Then what have you really explained? If God created you, me and the world, who created God?

Remember, some religions are VERY old. Don't think of religion as of christianity alone. There are many different views on God and on the world. Try reading about Hinduism. I've even searched up a link about its relation to modern science for you on Google. Studying Hinduism and the vedas will make you gasp, if you can understand it that is. It's even better to live it. IMHO Hinduistic way of life is widely misunderstood, underrated and perhaps misused.

- Steeltoe
Explore the Art of Living

[ Parent ]
Is this the eonic effect? (2.00 / 1) (#79)
by xah on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 02:15:20 PM EST

The "eonic effect" makes similar claims. http://www.eonica.net/

Nitpicks (4.00 / 3) (#80)
by briandunbar on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 06:04:54 PM EST

Nitpicks

Educated people no longer believe that a conscious deliberate god built the gears and levers with intent, but they have only replaced consciousness with a blandly invoked "billions of years." Their error informs many important errors in seemingly unrelated fields.

I submit that many educated people believe exactly that. What you *may* be seeing localroger is a common pattern with young people. They leave home, get some education and make a conscious descision to forsake all of their baggage, including their parent's religion. They get older (into their 30s or 40s) and discover for a variety of reasons that they miss their religion, and begin to seek it out again.

But there were a lot of emotionally loaded problems within Christianity which simply evaporated once the watchmaker-god was introduced, the most significant of which was the so-called Problem of Evil. (e.g. if God is omniscient and omnipotent and omnibenevolent, why do bad things happen?)

I don't believe this problem has evaporated. Perhaps it used to be a true trial, but it's commonly held (as I understand it) that Evil Happens because we have free will.


Feed the poor, eat the rich!

Nitpicks (2.00 / 2) (#81)
by briandunbar on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 06:07:49 PM EST

Nitpicks

Educated people no longer believe that a conscious deliberate god built the gears and levers with intent, but they have only replaced consciousness with a blandly invoked "billions of years." Their error informs many important errors in seemingly unrelated fields.

I submit that many educated people believe exactly that. What you *may* be seeing localroger is a common pattern with young people. They leave home, get some education and make a conscious descision to forsake all of their baggage, including their parent's religion. They get older (into their 30s or 40s) and discover for a variety of reasons that they miss their religion, and begin to seek it out again.

But there were a lot of emotionally loaded problems within Christianity which simply evaporated once the watchmaker-god was introduced, the most significant of which was the so-called Problem of Evil. (e.g. if God is omniscient and omnipotent and omnibenevolent, why do bad things happen?)

I don't believe this problem has evaporated. Perhaps it used to be a true trial, but it's commonly held (as I understand it) that Evil Happens because we have free will.


Feed the poor, eat the rich!

The Next Big Paradigm Shift | 92 comments (69 topical, 23 editorial, 1 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!