VectorLinux
December 18, 2014, 10:52:54 pm *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Visit our home page for VL info. To search the old message board go to http://vectorlinux.com/forum1. The first VL forum is temporarily offline until we can find a host for it. Thanks for your patience.
 
Now powered by KnowledgeDex.
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Please support VectorLinux!
Pages: [1] 2 3 4
  Print  
Author Topic: here's something to chew on  (Read 9915 times)
Triarius Fidelis
Vecteloper
Vectorian
****
Posts: 2399


Domine, exaudi vocem meam


WWW
« on: June 24, 2008, 12:42:58 am »

I was thinking about Late Antiquity earlier. Specifically, I was thinking about the sack of Alexandria. I can't think of any other historical event I would have wanted to prevent more. It really surprises me that Cyril is still called a saint, but I guess you can't argue with tradition. Roll Eyes

Anyway, It seems that in a geologically short time period—only a few centuries—we've basically recovered most of the technical knowledge from the city's library one way or another (unfortunately, very little of the art) and are now well on the path of steady exponential growth of technology.

I can't account for the hardiness of reason, something that has been threatened year in and year out for ages, other than to say that there is something in Nature that favors it. I'm not necessarily saying that Nature actively cares about us using reason, or that there is some God or supernatural force that wants us to. I'm not saying there isn't either. Maybe there is. I guess I'm agnostic, but I'm not even sure about that. But, in any case, I'm not so much concerned cause as I am with effect. The effect is apparently that using reason in any form is ultimately rewarded much more than wallowing in ignorance, even though it appears to have the advantage in the short term.

And I have to say—it feels good to have something to believe in that isn't petty, like the personal satisfaction I get out of studying or the material comfort I can enjoy from pursuing a challenging field. If any one of us who is  interested in promoting the truth fails along the way, ten more will eventually pick up where the one left off. It's a process that can't be stopped, I think. There is evidently something more powerful than any one of us that will crush out the people who blow themselves up in the street in the name of God, the people who kill scholars and the people who try to corrupt science education in public schools. It might be a strictly incidental force of nature, but it's very comforting anyway.

So, I think I've found the peace of mind that I couldn't find in religion or in society as it stands today. This is pretty cool. What do you think?
« Last Edit: June 24, 2008, 01:13:12 am by Epic Fail Guy » Logged

"Leatherface, you BITCH! Ho Chi Minh, hah hah hah!"

Formerly known as "Epic Fail Guy" and "Döden" in recent months
gacl
Vectorite
***
Posts: 218



« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2008, 07:05:02 am »

My view of the living world is very simple: The survival of the gene pool. To me that's all there is. You take something very complex, you start to decompose it, and sooner or later you'll find those genes there. Of course, i've been told that i'm oversimplifying everything, but i've done my share of brainstorming on this and i stand by my opinions.

Now, if we think about, let's say the AIDS virus ( HIV ), it just propagates its genetic code as it wreaks havoc on us. But, why? It's certainly not doing it consciously; it doesn't even have a brain. Instinct? Ditto. Is it obeying some fundamental laws of physics? Some properties of the carbon molecule? In other words: Why does "survival of the gene pool" exist?
« Last Edit: June 24, 2008, 07:08:52 am by gacl » Logged

“Our very lives depend on the ethics of strangers, and most of us are always strangers to other people.” -- Bill Moyers
Triarius Fidelis
Vecteloper
Vectorian
****
Posts: 2399


Domine, exaudi vocem meam


WWW
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2008, 12:14:31 pm »

Hm, well idk.

But it has been seen that precursors to life arise spontaneously—including crude self-replicators—in a laboratory simulation of the environment of a very early Earth.

It seems something in Nature 'wants' life to exist and—later on—sentient life.

I imagine that an AI complex enough to replicate and solve new problems would be rewarded by Nature in the same way. Its sentience would be more important than whether it's organic or not.
Logged

"Leatherface, you BITCH! Ho Chi Minh, hah hah hah!"

Formerly known as "Epic Fail Guy" and "Döden" in recent months
tomh38
Vectorian
****
Posts: 913



« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2008, 01:59:38 pm »

EPIC:

Regarding the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria (I think that's what you're referring to):  There's now a lot of disagreement among scholars about what actually happened to the most famous library of antiquity.  I once read a book which listed a number of people upon whom the burning has been blamed, only to show that a great library at Alexandria is referred to at some later date in history.  I probably borrowed the book from my public library; I no longer remember the name of the author nor the title of the book.  However, here is a link to an article from The Straight Dope which is a good summary of why we should be skeptical about the actual destruction of the library:

http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/malexanderlibrary.html


If I can find the book I'll give you the title and author in a later post.

Regarding the second point, about how life persists:  it seems to me that a molecule which could make copies of itself only had to come into existence once.  Whether that happened purely by accident, or because of something inherent in the nature of the universe, or via a divine act is right now a question open to debate (I'm leaving out my own personal opinion here).  Once such a molecule came into existence, however, it would spread to wherever the raw materials that made it up could be found.  If by some fluke one of these self-replicating molecules gained a quality which helped it to replicate more easily, more quickly, or exist under harsher conditions, it too would spread everywhere it could.  You can of course see where this is going - to the world in which we live today, where life is very diverse and found even in extremely harsh conditions.

I don't think I can say why this happened, but the geological record and our own knowledge of chemistry indicates that it did happen.
Logged

"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." - Linus Torvalds, April 1991
overthere
Vectorian
****
Posts: 1281



« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2008, 02:36:20 pm »

I am surprised Cyril did not eat the filleted flesh of Hypatia directly from one of the abalone shells. Perhaps no clean portion was possible, his mob was fiendish, stripping her to the bone and burning the remains before obliterating the intellectual remains of the library. A truly fascinating reflection of human repetition

http://alexpetrov.net/memes/hum/alexandria/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bibliotheca_Alexandrina
« Last Edit: June 24, 2008, 03:32:13 pm by overthere » Logged

Everything Is Relative
Dweeberkitty
Packager
Vectorian
****
Posts: 836



WWW
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2008, 06:54:43 pm »

I guess I'm agnostic, but I'm not even sure about that.

LOL.....You're not sure whether you're sure or not or even whether you can be sure of anything and be sure of your position of being sure on it?  Cheesy Wow, that'd drive ME bonkers.  Grin
Logged

Registered Linux User #443399
Desktop: Intel Pentium D 3.33Ghz, 320GB hard drive, 2 gigs DDR2 533mhz RAM, NVIDIA Geforce 7800 GS, X2GEN 22" widescreen monitor;
Laptop: Dell Mini 9, Intel Atom 1.6Ghz, 1GB ram
Multimedia Bonus Disc website: http://www.vectorlinuxsolutions.com/
Masta
Global Moderator
Vectorian
*****
Posts: 725



« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2008, 07:17:57 pm »

I'm so sure of being sure ... lol  Grin
Logged
Triarius Fidelis
Vecteloper
Vectorian
****
Posts: 2399


Domine, exaudi vocem meam


WWW
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2008, 07:44:58 pm »

EPIC:

Regarding the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria (I think that's what you're referring to):  There's now a lot of disagreement among scholars about what actually happened to the most famous library of antiquity.  I once read a book which listed a number of people upon whom the burning has been blamed, only to show that a great library at Alexandria is referred to at some later date in history.  I probably borrowed the book from my public library; I no longer remember the name of the author nor the title of the book.  However, here is a link to an article from The Straight Dope which is a good summary of why we should be skeptical about the actual destruction of the library:

http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/malexanderlibrary.html

Well, the point is that there were a lot of crazy people like St. Cyril (and, like your page mentioned, Omar) who were directly hostile to the library and eventually destroyed most of its contents. Yet there has been a recovery.

Regarding the second point, about how life persists:  it seems to me that a molecule which could make copies of itself only had to come into existence once.  Whether that happened purely by accident, or because of something inherent in the nature of the universe, or via a divine act is right now a question open to debate (I'm leaving out my own personal opinion here).  Once such a molecule came into existence, however, it would spread to wherever the raw materials that made it up could be found.  If by some fluke one of these self-replicating molecules gained a quality which helped it to replicate more easily, more quickly, or exist under harsher conditions, it too would spread everywhere it could.  You can of course see where this is going - to the world in which we live today, where life is very diverse and found even in extremely harsh conditions.

tr00f
Logged

"Leatherface, you BITCH! Ho Chi Minh, hah hah hah!"

Formerly known as "Epic Fail Guy" and "Döden" in recent months
tomh38
Vectorian
****
Posts: 913



« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2008, 06:07:36 am »

EPIC:

I've concluded that there are a few important points to keep in mind about the Great Library at Alexandria.  If people remember that something has been done in the past, they then know that it can be done; this gives them much greater incentive to invent something than they would otherwise have - since they know it existed, they will look for a way to re-create it.  Another point is that very few searches for knowledge are completely fruitless.  Sometimes people make fun of the medieval alchemists in their search for a way to convert base metals into gold.  Nevertheless, in their researches the alchemists discovered the properties of many substances, which laid the groundwork for modern chemistry.  It's also easy to mock astrology (which we know has existed for at least three and a half millenia), but the precise observations of the planets and stars which astrologers made laid the groundwork for modern astronomy.

On the other point, concerning the origin of life and its place in our universe:  we already know that our universe is hospitable to life (our own planet is evidence of that).  In addition, we only recently confirmed that many stars near us have planetary systems, something that was suspected by many for a long time but is now known as fact.  I think we're on the verge of knowing (within the next few decades) whether planets capable of bearing life are common also.  My personal opinion is that on the scale of the universe the existence of life in places other than our planet is almost certain.  I hold this opinion because there are probably more than 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, ranging in size from a few tens of millions of stars to a trillion or more in very large galaxies.  Whether or not life exists elsewhere in our galaxy or even in our corner of the Orion Arm, I think we're going to find out very soon (on a historical scale, of course).
Logged

"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." - Linus Torvalds, April 1991
Triarius Fidelis
Vecteloper
Vectorian
****
Posts: 2399


Domine, exaudi vocem meam


WWW
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2008, 01:05:40 pm »

EPIC:

I've concluded that there are a few important points to keep in mind about the Great Library at Alexandria.  If people remember that something has been done in the past, they then know that it can be done; this gives them much greater incentive to invent something than they would otherwise have - since they know it existed, they will look for a way to re-create it.  Another point is that very few searches for knowledge are completely fruitless.  Sometimes people make fun of the medieval alchemists in their search for a way to convert base metals into gold.  Nevertheless, in their researches the alchemists discovered the properties of many substances, which laid the groundwork for modern chemistry.  It's also easy to mock astrology (which we know has existed for at least three and a half millenia), but the precise observations of the planets and stars which astrologers made laid the groundwork for modern astronomy.

Newton's alchemical experiments have been repeated and it turns out a lot of them have merit.

I have much less respect for astrology (especially since people still seem to take it seriously), but yes it was important.

On the other point, concerning the origin of life and its place in our universe:  we already know that our universe is hospitable to life (our own planet is evidence of that).  In addition, we only recently confirmed that many stars near us have planetary systems, something that was suspected by many for a long time but is now known as fact.  I think we're on the verge of knowing (within the next few decades) whether planets capable of bearing life are common also.  My personal opinion is that on the scale of the universe the existence of life in places other than our planet is almost certain.  I hold this opinion because there are probably more than 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, ranging in size from a few tens of millions of stars to a trillion or more in very large galaxies.  Whether or not life exists elsewhere in our galaxy or even in our corner of the Orion Arm, I think we're going to find out very soon (on a historical scale, of course).

Well, there's a Terrestrial Planet Finder project now and so we'll find out whether it's possible very, very soon. Finding out whether it is true (i.e., obviously intelligent transmissions and/or entirely credible report of contact) may take a very long time. I think our best bet would be to send a probe to Europa and look for life under its icy shell. If there is life twice over in our Solar System, I think we can infer it's abundant everywhere it can be sustained. If not, then who knows.
Logged

"Leatherface, you BITCH! Ho Chi Minh, hah hah hah!"

Formerly known as "Epic Fail Guy" and "Döden" in recent months
overthere
Vectorian
****
Posts: 1281



« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2008, 03:10:38 pm »

Quote
So, I think I've found the peace of mind that I couldn't find in religion or in society as it stands today. This is pretty cool. What do you think?

Ya that's pretty cool EFG..I'm not very religious.. but if there was a man named jesus I think he was a man with the confidence to die for what he believed..and understood the power of positive thinking and simple pleasure. I think his mother took him to church and when he realized the history was being used for self gain by the clerics, said so and was kicked out...when he explained to others outside the church.. some blindly followed not really understanding but intrigued and when he rubbed sand over the cateracts of a man blinded by them and stuck his head in a fountain to wash out the sand the now seeing man was amazed and the blind followers thought it a miracle..how can you stay silent when you have knowledge to share..point being he found the self confidence to embrace what religion and general society could not..wisdom...accumulated knowledge objectively applied

I think intelligent life out there know better than to make contact...we are like wolverines...then again it could be an encounter like THE MOTE IN GODS EYE where both are equally pompous and traitorous

cheers
Logged

Everything Is Relative
Will
Vectorite
***
Posts: 175


« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2008, 03:44:07 pm »

RE: Alexandria

I'd always assumed the library was burned/purged at least four different times throughout history. I don't know why four as opposed to six, or three, or any other number, perhaps something I'd heard or seen when researching the matter years ago.

Still, the fact that we know that things HAVE been done provides a stepping stone, even though many seemed to view stories of temple machines, or the odometer, as exadurations or outright fabrication  they gave people ideas on what to aim for.
Logged
Dweeberkitty
Packager
Vectorian
****
Posts: 836



WWW
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2008, 04:42:44 pm »

but if there was a man named jesus

Shocked LOL, IF there was a man named Jesus.....This is what I believe in case you want to know (or even if you don't  Wink):
http://www.vectorlinux.com/forum2/index.php?topic=3794.msg24650#msg24650

Logged

Registered Linux User #443399
Desktop: Intel Pentium D 3.33Ghz, 320GB hard drive, 2 gigs DDR2 533mhz RAM, NVIDIA Geforce 7800 GS, X2GEN 22" widescreen monitor;
Laptop: Dell Mini 9, Intel Atom 1.6Ghz, 1GB ram
Multimedia Bonus Disc website: http://www.vectorlinuxsolutions.com/
Triarius Fidelis
Vecteloper
Vectorian
****
Posts: 2399


Domine, exaudi vocem meam


WWW
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2008, 05:07:29 pm »

I think intelligent life out there know better than to make contact...we are like wolverines...then again it could be an encounter like THE MOTE IN GODS EYE where both are equally pompous and traitorous

Haven't read anything by Larry Niven yet. But I do like the hard science fiction genre. Seems to be worth looking at.

Still, the fact that we know that things HAVE been done provides a stepping stone, even though many seemed to view stories of temple machines, or the odometer, as exadurations or outright fabrication  they gave people ideas on what to aim for.

The temple machines are at least theoretically possible and the Roman odometer is definitely not a fabrication! The secret in recreating it was very simple actually: to use triangular teeth on the gear, so that a peg on the wheel would advance it without getting stuck. Every other attempt failed because they tried to use unwieldy square teeth.

but if there was a man named jesus

Shocked LOL, IF there was a man named Jesus.....This is what I believe in case you want to know (or even if you don't  Wink):
http://www.vectorlinux.com/forum2/index.php?topic=3794.msg24650#msg24650

As we've mentioned before, this post contains several logical fallacies and inaccuracies. One is that the Second Law of Thermodynamics has nothing to do with information entropy—i.e., 'randomness' of data, or how well data can be compressed ideally. That law is about the physics meaning of entropy, rather than the information theory meaning of entropy, and simply states that the amount of energy usable to do work decreases constantly in a closed system. (The Earth is an open system.) Information theory doesn't really support ID either, because it observes that Nature has many interesting ways of self-organization.

And, overall, the argument rests on an 'appeal to the masses'. If we were to rank religions by the size of a consistent corpus written by many people over thousands of years, Hinduism would probably be the winner. However, I don't follow Hinduism even though it has many, many texts, which are, for the most part, internally consistent. I find some aspects of this religion really illogical, and I can come up with my own opinions anyway.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2008, 05:39:36 pm by Epic Fail Guy » Logged

"Leatherface, you BITCH! Ho Chi Minh, hah hah hah!"

Formerly known as "Epic Fail Guy" and "Döden" in recent months
Dweeberkitty
Packager
Vectorian
****
Posts: 836



WWW
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2008, 06:08:33 pm »

As we've mentioned before, this post contains several logical fallacies and inaccuracies. One is that the Second Law of Thermodynamics has nothing to do with information entropy—i.e., 'randomness' of data, or how well data can be compressed ideally. That law is about the physics meaning of entropy, rather than the information theory meaning of entropy, and simply states that the amount of energy usable to do work decreases constantly in a closed system. (The Earth is an open system.) Information theory doesn't really support ID either, because it observes that Nature has many interesting ways of self-organization.

Yeppers, I realized my mistake...but of course the thread is locked so I couldn't change it. But yeah, if you have a bone to pick, an axe to grind, pick that ONE sentence and generalize my mistake in an attempt to downplay the entire argument. I guess that's how the lawyers do it.  Wink

And, overall, the argument rests on an 'appeal to the masses'. If we were to rank religions by the size of a consistent corpus written by many people over thousands of years, Hinduism would probably be the winner. However, I don't follow Hinduism even though it has many, many texts, which are, for the most part, internally consistent.

Wow, I did not realize that Hinduism was more consistent and had more historical backing than the Bible. I'd like to see where you got that.  Cheesy In all seriousness, compared with other ancient writings, the Bible has more manuscript evidence  than  any ten  pieces of classical literature combined. (Montegomery, J.W. "History and Christianity", Downer's Grove, IL. InterVarsity Press)

There are now more than 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Add to that over  10,000 Latin Vulgate and at  least 9,300 other early versions and we have more than 24,000 manuscript copies of portions  of the New Testament in existence.  No other document of antiquity even begins to approach such numbers and attestation. In  comparison, the "Iliad" by  Homer is second  with only 643 manuscripts that   still survive. Other works   such as the writings   of Livy, Plato, and Herodotus have no more than 20 surviving manuscripts! (Bruce, F.F. "The Books and The Parchments", Rev. ed. Westwood: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1963.)

The reliability of  the  New Testament  manuscripts is  also supported by   the writings of  the early church Fathers. Suppose  that the New Testament had been destroyed, and every  copy of it  lost by the end  of the third century (that's 100 years before the  Synod of Hippo canonized the  New Testament), how much of it could be collected from the writings of the Fathers  of the second and third centuries? The answer is stunning! All of it except for eleven verses. ([9] Leach, C. "Our Bible: How We Got It", Chicago: Moody Press)

LOL, yeah anyway, that's that. If you want to talk historical accuracy and consistency, don't argue with the Bible. Cheesy I don't intend this to be a flame to anyone, just had to defend my position you know.  Grin

Logged

Registered Linux User #443399
Desktop: Intel Pentium D 3.33Ghz, 320GB hard drive, 2 gigs DDR2 533mhz RAM, NVIDIA Geforce 7800 GS, X2GEN 22" widescreen monitor;
Laptop: Dell Mini 9, Intel Atom 1.6Ghz, 1GB ram
Multimedia Bonus Disc website: http://www.vectorlinuxsolutions.com/
Pages: [1] 2 3 4
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!