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Isn’t that what comments in the code are for?

  1. Are some categories (“whales as mammals”) more useful than others (“whales as fish”) in understanding the universe?

  2. If we categorize many different kinds of phenomena as “religion”, we might arrive at “religion is universal - present in all human cultures”, and we might then seek brain/neural mechanisms that provide an “explanation”. Whereas another approach to categorization (e.g., Lthis phenomena is no more religion than philosophy is physics”) might lead to “religion is far from universal; many cultures exist/have existed with no religion”. We might no longer then seek explanations for religion in the structure of the human brain.

Categorization is then not “made for man”.

  1. The issue with Pluto, in part, would be, e.g., if we can deduce how and where it was formed and that mechanism and location is the same or different from the other planets. That is, the point of trying to form categories such as planet or planetesimal is so that the category is capable of a common explanation.

E.g., the ancient Hindu astronomers had the nava graha. Nava = nine, graha today means planet. But what were these nine? The five naked-eye-visible planets, the Sun, the Moon, And Rahu and Ketu. Rahu and Ketu are the two points where the Moon’s orbit intersects the ecliptic; I.e., the lunar and solar eclipses occur when the moon is near Rahu or Ketu. In their categorization, these were the nine points moving through the sky whose positions they had to measure and predict. A different categorization, but less susceptible to finding a clean underlying structure/explanation than say, Kepler.

Categories “made for man” are not conducive to knowledge.

“My soul as a computer programmer cries out against the idea of representing N particles with N^2 distances between them; it seems wasteful”

Given 3 non-collinear points on a plane, any other point is fixed by its distances from these three points; and similar results hold in higher dimensions. You need O(N) numbers, not O(N^2) numbers to describe N particles.

I have imagined that the key to scientific progress is to focus on problems that are “within reach”. If that is valid, not sure Harry has good reasons to think that solving death is within reach.

Three more links re: Gandhi On the use of India’s armed forces:

On Hitler,

Actually Mahatma Gandhi was very much against cowardice, not against violence. The highest courage was to resist non-violently; but if you could not do that, Mahatma Gandhi wanted you to stand your ground. Regarding WW2, he would not have India fight the Empire’s war without Independence. Not after the experience of WW1.


Indians lent their support enthusiastically in World War I to Great Britain, thinking that it would help them become equal partners in the British Empire. A brief take on this can be found here. Even the pacifist Mahatma Gandhi said "I would make India offer all her able-bodied sons as a sacrifice to the Empire at this critical moment, and I know that India, by this very act, would become the most favored partner in the Empire, and racial distinctions would become a thing of the past." [1] 800,000 Indians saw combat, 1.5 million volunteered. But, as the aforementioned link will tell you:

The British government’s post-war attitude quickly alienated Ghandi and was a great stimulus for his independence movement.

Agreed that the 9/11 hijackers see themselves as the heroes of their own story. But about “hating freedom”, they very likely thought that:

  1. Western influence on their cultures, regarding women’s right to dress, drive, work etc., is destructive.
  2. It is wrong that the legislatures can make laws that violate those given to them by the Prophet. (Even the alleged moderate Imam Rauf of the Ground Zero Mosque proposes that a bench of religious scholars be instituted to review decisions of the US courts).
  3. Christians and Jews must live within the limits prescribed for people of the Book; and harsher restrictions must apply to the rest.
  4. Science that contradicts religion must not be taught.

Further, that it is legitimate to kill over differences like the above ( while we think political polarization is an overreaction to such differences.)

So, “hate freedom” - very much so!

The Banach Tarski Paradox is a plausible way in which 1 = 2, and thus 3 = 2 + 2.

Various industry and government estimates tell us that Americans watch an unbelievable 8 hours of TV every day. Even if this a gross overestimate, what is the cost of a few days of lottery fantasy compared to that?

“In many cultures, is important to understand that stories are not explanations. They are neither true nor false because they do not describe ‘factual’ events; they do not claim that they do either. “

Any comments on the above?

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