• Drug Illegalization/Legalization and the Ethical Life
    There are some who take comfort in normal behaviour, but honestly isn't this point a little old fashioned now? You can do pretty much anything nowadays and get away with it more or less.kudos

    I think this is somewhat true now, but not true when attitudes against drug users hardened.

    What about my other points?
  • Drug Illegalization/Legalization and the Ethical Life

    I think there are several reasons:

    There is a general contempt for drug users, especially among the upper class, in part because primarily the lower class is drawn to them. This contempt finds expression in punitive laws.

    There is a fear of neuro-atypicals, especially among conservatives, who demand and take comfort in conformity. Drugs mechanically induce atypical thoughts and behavior, which must seem fearful to the conservative mindset.

    Kids are especially intrigued by drugs, and prone to abuse them if they get the chance. This provides a fertile ground for moral panic, for the dirty chemicals and their users defiling their pure children.

    There is the well known fact that the war on drugs was consciously formulated to punish Nixon's leftist enemies. This war was exported by the US to the rest of the world, and other autocrats have taken note and emulated it.

    There is the institutional corruption surrounding drug prohibition, where local governments and other actors profit from its harsh enforcement.

    There may even be an element of harm reduction, though this is likely the weakest reason, especially as drug prohibition is well known to fail at this, and it doesn't apply at all to psychedelics and weed.
  • There is no meaning of life
    (The form of meaning is X means Y) to hypercin.

    You misread, I said that this was the mistake OP was making.
  • There is no meaning of life
    The form, in general, is that X means Y to Z.

    but I suspect that when you say 'life', you are speaking personally, such that your formula is:– niki wonoto means "nothing" to @niki wonoto.

    I would suggest that his formula is "@niki wonoto means nothing", and that the form of meaning is X means Y. The delusion that meaning, if it is to be meaningful at all, must lie latent in the thing itself, the X instead of the Z.

    But I think your post captures another delusion, that meaning of your life comes from others, not yourself. Sure, you can devote your life to others, even others devoted to you. But your meaning is not contingent on others. This is the social butterfly's view on life, who surrounds themselves with as many friends as possible. Do social butterflies live especially meaningful lives? This has not been my impression.
  • There is no meaning of life
    Today I am walking around a local lake. This seems to be an objectively meaningless activity, after all I end up where I started. Yet the moments of the walk are filled with meaning, meaning that I choose, though not necessarily freely, and at the end I will not be quite the same person that started the walk.

    You can also walk around the exact same lake, bored, thinking of nothing except gripes and dissatisfactions, and at the end think, "what a waste of time, I'm never doing that again!". I've done so as well.

    Life is like a walk around a lake. We all end up where we begin: the ground. Yet, the moments in between may have meaning, and you might even make a journey worth repeating. Or, you might not.
  • There is no meaning of life
    But it still must be chosen, don't you think?Patterner

    Yes, I think so. My point is that the act of choosing in itself is not enough. What is chosen must stand in some "meaningful" relationship to oneself, that I can't elucidate right now.

    There are so many meanings, that more than merely "regretting the choice", are objectively wrong choices, in that they don't stand in this (for now, mystery) relationship with the chooser. For instance, the pursuit of money or fame cannot be the meaning of your life, no matter how earnestly chosen, if you are unfulfilled and haunted by precisely the thought that your life is meaningless.
  • There is no meaning of life
    I began to wonder, is this person getting some kind of kick out of simply trying to spread notions that life is not worth living?universeness

    Almost certainly they are just depressed.
  • There is no meaning of life
    Does a lion search for a meaning to his life? Does a dolphin? Why should they?Vera Mont

    They lack the conceptual capacity. Only man is so blessed and cursed, afawk, with the ability to add concepts onto what is.
  • There is no meaning of life
    Anybody/thing capable of understanding the concept is free to choose the meaning of their own life.Patterner

    i'm not sure if one's life meaning can necessarily be chosen. Do we really have that much agency? Many meanings we might choose will turn out to be false, and reveal themselves as such with hollowness and dissatisfaction. I would say, it must be discovered.

    Some people will never discover theirs, or even may not have any.
  • Nobody's talking about the Aliens
    Regarding the positioning I doubt that is considered. Remember that even closely related species can have very different numbers of chromosomes, let alone genes. What must count is the number of matching protein-encoding genes.
  • Nobody's talking about the Aliens
    there's a lot of different genetic ways to get to similar physiological solutions. There's really no good reason for the DNA of two completely independently developed lineages of life to look that similar.flannel jesus

    But what is similar between us and bananas (60% similarity) is not physiology but basic cellular machinery and communication. Are there a lot of genetic ways to get that?
  • Nobody's talking about the Aliens
    It's only not inconceivable by a technicality. It's more than astronomically unlikely.flannel jesus

    I don't think it is. Our genetic code isn't a product of mere chance, more like a directed stochastic process. It might be that the basic cellular machinery common to all multicellular life is the best or even only possible solution to large scale lifeforms. (I sure would like to see the similarity of its mitochondrial DNA. )

    In order to estimate the probability we'd have to come up with possible alternatives that work as well, and estimate the difficulty of the evolutionary steps to arrive at those.
  • Nobody's talking about the Aliens
    I'm wondering about the 30% genetic difference. If they didn't evolve on earth, where did they get all the humanoid genes?Vera Mont

    A 30% genetic difference is HUGE. No mammal is so genetically remote from humans. This number is closer to the difference between humans and reptiles.

    It is not inconceivable that both DNA itself, and its content, could evolve independently this closely, if in fact they represent globally maximal solutions to the problems they solve.

    More likely though it is shaped croc meat.

    I put this in the Epistemology subforum because I feel that the most interesting questions about this release of information are epistemic questions. Questions like, should this footage elicit a change in beliefs at all? Do we have good reason to trust that these are real aliens?flannel jesus

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and the evidence we have now is hardly that. We need imaging of the "alien's" insides, for starters. If it turned out the genetic similarity is 70% to EVERYTHING, that would be something.
  • Bell's Theorem
    there's some "thing" that goes to the future, finds out what value needs to obtain, and then comes back in time and takes that value.flannel jesus

    Sounds pretty unaesthetic to me. If it comes to that I might prefer MWI.
  • Bell's Theorem

    :chin: :chin: :chin:
    It's the right question, and a doozy... I'll have to get back to you on that one!
  • Bell's Theorem
    are you eschewing a casual explanation altogether? If not, how does the casual narrative look?flannel jesus

    So, Alice and Bob are 11 and 10 light seconds away respectively from a dual photon emission. Charles is at the emission site, and Dave is travelling at high speed in a spaceship, away from Bob, towards Alice.

    When Alice and Bob measure their spins of +A,-A, they immediately send signals telling the result. Charles measures Bob's first, and believes Bob "caused" the virtual world to become actual where Alice measures +A. Dave believes Alice received the photon first, and "caused" the virtual world to become actual, where Bob measures -A.

    Both are equally correct. "Cause" is in quotes to distinguish it from ordinary cause and effect, which always involves forces. I'm speculating that this situation is OK, because unlike with forces, the resolution of virtual worlds into the actual world is invariant wrt sequence. No matter the frame of reference, the end result is the same, that Alice and Bob occupy the same actual world, and measure the opposite spin.

    How this cosmic bookkeeping actually works might be beyond our ken.

    I'm by no means attempting to convince you to change your mind. I just think all this stuff is interesting to think about.flannel jesus

    :100: Absolutely
  • Bell's Theorem
    I hope that makes sense.flannel jesus
    Yes. I retract my amendment, my theory as originally stated stands: the virtual worlds collapse immediately.

    When you combine Relativity with Copenhagen, you get this strange picture of causality. You can't objectively, universally say A caused B, because it's equally valid to say B caused A. THIS is what "spooky action at a distance" means. This is what's spooky about it. This is why Einstein couldn't stand QM when he first learned of it.flannel jesus

    I think the word "causality" is misused when applied to virtual worlds collapsing. "Causality" in the physical, actual world involves the action of forces. You can't have a situation where A can cause B, or B can cause A, depending on the frame of reference. This is illegal *not* because it bothers our intuition, but because forces are asymmetric: you can't generally get the same result if you change the sequence. The universe can't allow that, because there is only one actual world, and this would result in multiple conflicting versions of reality.

    The collapse of a virtual world into actual is not caused by a force (though it can be triggered by a force). Could a force somehow push or pull a virtual world into actuality? It doesn't make sense. Rather, this operates at a deeper level, it's the underlying logic of the universe that makes causal interaction via forces possible. Unlike forces, collapses are symmetric, so it doesn't matter if A or B happens first in different frames of reference, what matters is that the outcome is the same.
  • Bell's Theorem

    :chin: Lemme think about it. Feel free to elaborate if you like, you've got a real knack for it, I love your lucid explanations.
  • Bell's Theorem
    In that case, I hereby modify my "theory", the virtual world collapsing also happens at the speed of causality (aka light?) :P

    This means that MW and Copenhagen aren't just interpretations, they are different theories, and there must be a way to test their differing predictions, right?
  • Bell's Theorem

    Interesting. Does MW "solve" this somehow?
  • Bell's Theorem
    it seems to me the last part is what is meant by "entanglement."tim wood

    As to randomness, I'll add this: that randomness is really hard to define. I suspect that at the level of the things themselves, nothing is merely random, for reasons I think obvious (yes?).tim wood

    I'm not sure. Intuitively it might seem so, but this is a domain that is far far away from that where our intuitions were formed. God may or may not ultimately play dice with the universe, how can we say?
  • Bell's Theorem
    If it is Copenhagen, does this slant make it any more agreeable to you?
  • Bell's Theorem

    Cool, I don't know either if this meaningfully diverges from Copenhagen or not.
  • Bell's Theorem

    I think so, yes.
  • Bell's Theorem
    At the moment one particle gets measured, by exactly what mechanism does the other particle know to come out measured the opposite?flannel jesus

    When particles s,t are emitted, there are infinite virtual worlds where s,t can have any allowable spin. But crucially, these are the same virtual worlds, since their spins are linked. Upon measurement of s to have spin +A along one axis, the virtual worlds collapse to an actual state of affairs, where s has +A, and t has -A. The particles don't "know" anything, their spin just belonged to the same set of virtual worlds.
  • Bell's Theorem

    To me MW is only palatable if the "worlds" are virtual, not actual. The universe consists of a finite set of resolved state and an infinite, virtual, unresolved state: the set of everything that is consistent with what is resolved. There are infinite possible worlds which are consistent with what is actual.

    So for instance, an electron cloud represents all the probabilities of locations an electron may be that is consistent with the position of the nucleus (itself a tighter cloud), and the surrounding fields. These can be thought of as virtual versions of the world, and none is more actual than any other, just more or less likely. The infinite worlds collapse to a definite state of affairs when interaction with other definite states of affairs make it necessary. But this then is just the basis for a new set of virtual possible worlds.

    So in the Bell experiments the two particles don't have a definite spin, the actual, resolved world is consistent with an infinite number of potential spins they may have. When they encounter a magnetic field, these virtual worlds collapse to an actual one where one has one definite spin, and the other the opposite. Since there is no consistent world where the particles have anything but opposite spins, the collapse creates the appearance of action at a distance.

    This combines the genuine randomness of Copenhagen with the "out" for non-local causality of MW, without the egregiousness of gigatons of matter being created every nanosecond, at every point in space (I don't know if anyone actually believes that last bit).

    Is this kind of interpretation a "thing", or am I talking out of my ass?
  • Is touching possible?
    "Touching" in common use (as in this thread) does not mean occupying the identical space, it means exerting pressure on another object.LuckyR

    That is what it entails. What it means, in common use, is that two objects are physically adjacent, so that a surface of one is in contact with a surface of the other. This commonsense notion doesn't happen at the micro scale, so that part is strictly speaking impossible.
  • Bell's Theorem

    I've appreciated your comments here, thanks for that. Frankly I feel like he is flailing without knowing what he is talking about.
  • Bell's Theorem

    I thought this was a really good article. I understand the subject now way more than I did, though I'm still trying to sort through it and the ramifications in my head. How did you find it, I guess you had a physical copy lying around?

    To give an idea of the caliber of writer SA used to employ:

    FWIW (probably nothing), my take on "quantum ontology" is that there is a kind of tolerancing to the universe. The universe is as exactly as specified as it needs to be, and no more. If something (a quantum state) may remain unspecified, it remains unspecified, and the range of possible states and their likelihoods exactly describe it. It is a bit analogous to "lazy evaluation" in software programming. I find this elegant and efficient, not spooky.
  • Putnam Brains in a Vat
    I am a brain in a vat iff “I am a brain in a vat” is trueMichael

    But the first part is (presumably) not expressing what the second part is, as they are (presumably) different languages. So Tarski doesn't apply.
  • Putnam Brains in a Vat
    Given this, it must be that the sentence "I am a brain in a vat" in my language is false, and so I am not a brain in a vat (this is simply Tarski's T-schema).Michael

    I'm not following this. If you accept semantic externalism, the object language "I am a brain in a vat" does not and cannot speak to the meta language assertion that the speaker is a brain in a vat. If the "two languages" are split apart, then the falsity of a claim in the one can't imply the falsity of the other.
  • Putnam Brains in a Vat
    2. If semantic externalism is true then we cannot be brains in a vatMichael

    Should this be, "If semantic externalism is true then we cannot claim to be brains in a vat"?

    But even that doesn't seem right. A BiV can experience an in-world simulation. Suppose a BiV denizen plays SimTree on their (simulated) computer. It may then wonder, "suppose there is a tree that stands in relation to the tree outside my window, in the same way the tree outside my window stands to SimTree"?

    After all we do this same sort of thing, hypothesize the existence of things that we have no direct experience of. We can happily use language to refer to these theoretical entities. If a theory eliminates a real feature of real language, chuck it.
  • The irreducibility of phenomenal experiences does not refute physicalism.
    I would expect that in principle we can derive Mary's reaction of "aha, now I know what it is like to see red" from a complete physical description of her brain processing.Apustimelogist

    But this is the hard problem, which suggests that a complete physical description of Mary's brain would not entail the experience of red.

    Suppose there is a blind man, blind not because his eyes are defective, but because his brain lacks the ability to visualize. Suppose he learned every physical fact of Mary's neurology. Would he then know what it was like for Mary to see red for the first time? No, he cannot experience red, he lacks the requisite neural machinery. All the physical facts about light, light's interaction with brains, brains, cannot equal the subjective experience of red, as this experience depends on a brain able to generate it.
  • Is touching possible?
    Touching is by many considered an object coming into contact with another, which perhaps requires the objects occupying the same space.elucid

    This is a naïve conception. If touch is to be conditional on its everyday, naïve conception, then there is no touch. Of course there is touch, but it doesn't operate that way.

    I *think* that the force of touch is ultimately electromagnetic, electromagnetic fields pushing against other electromagnetic fields. There is also mingling, when humans touch, oil and protein and dna intermingle. But none of this involves atoms contacting each other directly.
  • The Shoutbox
    It has the feel to it though like when someone insists the umpire made the wrong call just because they think part of the game is yelling at the umpires about calls that go against you.Hanover

    Its not just that. They must realize the power of insisting on an obvious falsehood: it reframes the conversation ("well, was Trump robbed? Some say yes, some say no. Who's to say?"), and it is an assertion of your and your own group's power (the less powerful would be ridiculed and dismissed). The more earnestly you believe, the better.
  • The irreducibility of phenomenal experiences does not refute physicalism.

    There are two questions you can ask of the photograph:

    1. How do you explain the informational content of the picture?
    2. How can the material photograph host the content of the picture?

    1 is not subject to a physicalist argument around the properties of the photographic material, but 2 is. But for phenomenal experience, the 2 question cannot (as of yet) be answered in terms of the physics of brains. Pointing out that 1 also cannot be answered by brain physics (and that it shouldn't be expected to be), doesn't seem salient to the anti-physicalist argument that 2 cannot be answered.
  • Literary writing process
    Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
    - Francine Prose

    On order!
  • Literary writing process
    The ideas that burst from my brain were circled, underlined, numbered, asterisked and arrowed. There has to be a better way.Amity

    I'm curious that you don't use a computer. I would find chaotic writing styles like ours very hard to manage with pen and paper.

    I think it is important that a story is enjoyed AND understood. Otherwise, what's the point?Amity
    I think this is a mental hurdle you have to get over. It is not actually essential that you be understood.
    Your brain made a thing and the reader's brain mingled with it, played with it, that's the sexy part.

    I have two larger projects that require this.Count Timothy von Icarus

    Hey, these both sound pretty awesome, tbh. You should participate in the next "contest".

    Read a lot.Tom Storm
    It you want to improve your description, read Bradbury. When I was 19, my first chief tech gave me an old paperback copy of Dandelion Wine. It was a revelation worthy of a fanfare by the celestial brass. I still consider him the grand master of evocative description.Vera Mont

    This sounds awfully enticing. I'm starting to read again, after a huge dry spell. Because of @Baden's mention I'm reading Appointment in Samarra, great, great book, makes The Great Gatsby look like a limp dick. I'm putting Dandelion Wine next in queue.
  • The Tourist by Hypericin
    This is interesting because it doesn't read that way. It's easily the tightest and most succinct story this time around.Noble Dust

    It seems concise and polished to me. It was in my top three favourites, exactly because it's so well crafted.Vera Mont

    Maybe this is wrong:

    I think struggle generally reflects poorly in the quality of output.hypericin

    Maybe struggle is beneficial in a sense, because it makes the author acutely aware of what they are writing, and insecure about its quality. Therefore, can it lead to more care, and ultimately a more polished work?
  • The Tourist by Hypericin
    We can imagine a brooding isolated figure suddenly struck by a need to get the hell out of Dodge.Amity
    Hmm, who does this sound like... :yikes:
    I guess that is why I chose the first person. Not the me of now, but certainly a past iteration.

    Feigning illness. Such a sorry-ass!Amity

    Takes toiletries – special focus on personal hygiene and takes off in a Honda! Japanese not American.Amity

    I remember spending too much time deciding what car, I should have just written "car". The 03 Honda was supposed to connote a cautious, conservative, parsimonious personality. It wasn't an overnight trip, so he didn't actually need toiletries...

    the empire state building. No capitals.Amity

    The lone, alienated and depressed shooter; an outsider with violent dreams.Amity
    I actually wanted to avoid this impression of the protagonist, but I may have slipped into it here, an inaccuracy on my part. He is not a violent person, nor I think (especially) alienated or depressed. He doesn't dream of violence per se, yet the always latent possibility of violence suggests itself to him. Later, he does not actively fulfill a violent fantasy, but rather stumbles into it, like a somnambulist.

    The experience of writing all these stories has made me reflect on the role inaccuracy plays in writing. The master writer might play the reader like a fiddle, hitting every note exactly, but the rest of us, try as we might to communicate our exact intent, spew out words, for better or worse. The writer and reader never quite meet, the writer's inaccuracy stands between direct communication. Which does not make the result "bad" by any means...

    This, for me, represents a psychotic state of homicidal/suicidal ideation.
    Taking place in the labyrinthine mind. Delusional and scary as fuck.

    This is one of three interpretations I had in the back of my mind writing this (I didn't necessarily have more clarity than the reader.) The protagonist is a delusional murderer; the whole experience is a delusion; the protagonist, his victim, and his killers, are all somehow psychically ensnared by the "doors". While the last was the one I considered the most, seeing this reaction, I think I like this interpretation best.

    He comes home. A homebody.Amity

    Nice connection that I didn't consciously make. A home body.

    And here we are. With this winning story. Many Congratulations to the author!Amity

    Thanks, especially for another spot-on 'Amity'!