Category Archives: Philosophy

The Brain

Is it computable?

Nicolelis is in a camp that thinks that human consciousness (and if you believe in it, the soul) simply can’t be replicated in silicon. That’s because its most important features are the result of unpredictable, nonlinear interactions among billions of cells, Nicolelis says.

“You can’t predict whether the stock market will go up or down because you can’t compute it,” he says. “You could have all the computer chips ever in the world and you won’t create a consciousness.”

I’m personally an agnostic on the issue.

Aging

I’ve always believed that there is no law of physics that makes it inevitable, that it’s a matter of learning how to continue doing the cellular-level repair that occurs when we’re young. But here is an article that says it is caused by thermal chaos.

Not sure I buy it (it still doesn’t take into account artificial techniques for doing error checking in transcription), but it’s an interesting read.

Why Trump Is Worse

than any previous Republican nominee (discounting the fact that he’s not really a Republican):

We know, from his deeds, words, and even his pronouncements in this campaign, that Trump offers nothing to conservatives – worse than nothing, he would evict us from any position within our own party. He gets his foreign policy ideas from Michael Moore and Code Pink (or worse yet, from Vladimir Putin); his abortion views are grounded in his sympathy with Planned Parenthood; he supports socialized medicine in the form of single-payer healthcare, higher taxes, more government spending, and Herbert Hoover’s trade policy. He’s never met a bailout or a crony-capitalist deal he didn’t like, or a Democrat he wouldn’t donate to. He’s astonishingly ignorant, emotionally unstable, and wholly incapable of saying no to Democrats. Trump is a spoiled, entitled rich kid who shows not the slightest understanding of the American way of up-by-the booststraps striving to better yourself; in Trump’s world, the rich get richer by having the right friends, and everybody else is a serf who needs the government to protect them from foreign competition.

Let’s compare Trump to some of the prior Republican presidential losers, and I’ll throw in Rudy and Newt for good measure since I’ve written on this site in their defense before…

RTWT.

[Update a while later]

In short: yes, you can find an example of many of Trump’s flaws in prior Republican presidential candidates. But not one of those candidates combined the total package of Trump: the unfitness to be Commander-in-Chief; the total lack of accomplishments, sacrifices or even efforts over his lifetime for any cause we believe in, combined with repeated efforts to assist the other team; the manifest lack of political principle, personal character or demonstrated political character; the ignorance; the catnip for white supremacists; the toxic effect on the brand of both the party and its ideas.

A vote for Trump, even in the general election, is a suicide note for the Republican Party and the conservative movement. I will never vote for Hillary Clinton, but I cannot in good conscience ever give aid and comfort to Donald Trump and the poison he represents.

That’s my current attitude. I don’t know whom I’ll vote for — it will depend on what I see on the ballot.

The Vegetarian Myth

Dr. Eades reviews what appears to be a very interesting book.

My thoughts: No, we can’t sustain the current human population without agriculture. But then, we’re not sure how we’re going to sustain a human population in space, either. We need advances in technology to solve either problem. I suspect that we’ll be manufacturing meat in the not-too-distant future that will have the taste, texture and nutrition of the real thing, and that will be good for all, including wildlife. But even absent that, I’d amend the old bumper sticker. Grains aren’t food. Grains are what food eats.