All of Chef's Comments + Replies

Alpha Mail

Agreed, simply calling a creator an alien is simply redefining alien to mean god. I gotta give it to you LWers, conversations on here have certainly proved already to be quite a bit more interesting than with my old line cooks.

Alpha Mail

Exactly. Which reminds me of the computational irreducibility of the universal cellular automaton a la Wolfram.

Alpha Mail

This is precisely the type of simulation I'm taking about. I was also playing with genetic algorithms when I started thinking about this. So let me ask you this, if you got to a point where it was evident that your agents were conscience, intelligent, and examining their own environment, what sort of methods can you devise to communicate with them?

0HungryHobo8y
well.. it's not likely to be an issue but I imagine the kinds of protocols proposed for talking with aliens would be applicable with the advantage that you can make sure you use some method they notice.
Alpha Mail

Just so we are clear...I don't believe in God in any religious sense. I think that increasingly science views the universe in terms of information and so we should examine the idea that information built into our universe may contain clues to or a communication channel for other life trying to communicate. I personally can't think of too many ways that life outside of our universe could communicate with us but find the idea to be interesting if not a stretch. I do understand it's a slippery slope as evidenced by things like the Bible Code where recursive search yields anything we want to find. We could then just use all kinds of banal natural processes as evidence of God (intelligent design).

1V_V8y
You sure? It seems to me that there are people who profess religious beliefs but are effectively atheists when it comes to beliefs revealed by their behaviours, and conversely people who profess atheism but buy into to various religious-like ideas and ideologies. This isn't necessarily due to deliberate dishonesty: religious beliefs (or lack of thereof) often become signals of allegiance to social groups. I dunno, pulsing gamma bursts according to a sequence of prime numbers encoded in binary? Anyway, the point of science is finding the simplest hypotheses that explain our observations. Intelligent gods (designers, programmers, etc.) are complex hypotheses. Thus we don't resort to them unless we ruled out everything simpler.
Alpha Mail

Sure, but if I believe that aliens in a multiverse outside of our own happened to create a simulation that is our universe, does that constitute God in any sense intended by religion? Theism requires that the God has an active role in the creations lives, not simply a belief in a creator - omnipotent or not. The only religion I can think of that mention aliens in doctrine is Scientology. And while I'm sure that most people would allow for Scientology as a religion, I'm pretty sure that with a hundred thousand people arranging the following list of religion... (read more)

0V_V8y
Aliens from other planets are one thing, the sort of thing weird low-status UFO cultists believe. "Aliens" from outside our universe, who happened to have created it, and maybe even want to have a personal relationship with us (otherwise why would they try to send messages encoded in alpha?) are gods under another name. Do you know where the word "avatar" comes from?
Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013)

Thanks for the guidance. It can be intimidating exposing your ideas to a new set of people. I've been reading things here on LW off and on for roughly a year. There is quite a bit of jargon on this site and I've been reading through as many sequences as I have time for to try and fill myself in. I find that even concepts I'm familiar with tend to have sub-context here that doesn't quite allow me to fully understand some of the ideas being discussed. I have a fairy good grasp of map versus territory for example, but my understanding comes by way of The Prec... (read more)

Alpha Mail

I don't think it's quite enough to simply have a particular attitude to a God to be a theist. It has to go both ways.

the·ism noun belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in one god as creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to his creatures.

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply
Alpha Mail

I wholeheartedly agree. I had a professor (a former priest) who thought it was absurd that I was willing to use the term creator but unwilling to admit a God. To his dogma they are one and the same. But for me, even if a creator has the power to pull the plug on this experiment, my current thinking doesn't allow omnipotence in the sense used by most theists. And I can't imagine that a creator in this context has the ability to hear our thoughts, respond to daily minutia, or has any interest in dictating morality to a bunch of bits in a hard drive.

1V_V8y
God or gods aren't necessarily omnipotent in all religions. Just because you don't believe in textbook Catholicism it doesn't mean that you are an atheist.
3buybuydandavis8y
From your reply, I don't think I was clear enough about what I meant. I'm a theist, or not, dependent on my attitude to a purported God, not on a purported God's attitude toward me, and not on anything the God does, intends, or wants. Let the usual All Powerful Celestial Psychopath actually exist. Knows all, sees all, and will judge all in the end. Let me know it, not just believe it. No faith. Overwhelming evidence. Knowing that still doesn't make me a theist. I think modern day theism is best characterized as a belief in an unchosen obligation to be an adoring slave. I saw the best (and most horrifying) example while driving past a church one day. I'm still kicking myself for not taking a picture. If anyone can place the phrase, as I'm guessing it is some quote or allusion, please provide the reference. "Though I burn in the flames of Hell, I will Love the Lord my God."
Alpha Mail

This is what I was thinking also. Not only would it be important to be selective but also attempt to minimize disruption as much as possible. Shining a light through a universe might make some life forms uncomfortable.

Alpha Mail

Duly Noted. Those were both very good reads, thanks for that.

Fifty Shades of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

But more likely is that a television executive simply has their finger on the pulse of the type of garbage that the average person enjoys (and is willing to pay for either with dollars or their attention to advertisements).

Fifty Shades of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

"The publishing giant Vintage Press saw that number and realized there was a huge, previously-unrealized demand for stories like this."

It's the "previously-unrealized demand" that I simply don't understand here. The numbers for romance novels took seconds to look up.

74.8 million people read at least one romance novel in 2008. (source: RWA Reader Survey) with an estimated $1.350 billion for 2013. If the author did indeed write 120 chapters, it shows that the author has the ability to produce for the publisher. Taken together with the abo... (read more)

Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013)

Hi, I'm Ian. I am a 32 year old computer programmer from Massachusetts. My main interest (in computer science) is in the realm of computational creativity but is by no means my only interest. For half my life, I've been coming up with my own sets of ideas - way back when it was on Usenet - some ideas better than others. Regardless of the eventual proven validity of my ideas, I find coming up with original ideas one of the primary motivators in my life. It is an exercise that allows me to continuously uncover beliefs and feelings and uncharted territory tha... (read more)

4[anonymous]8y
Hello and welcome to LessWrong! I admire your reasons for joining. It is easy to find a group or circle that does not challenge you and then rest on your laurels. Seeking out disagreement and criticism is a hard first step for a lot of people. But don't worry... you will certainly find both here! Not that that is a bad thing. I see you've already added to the Discussion [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/new/] forum. Good on you for diving in and starting some new conversation. If you have some ideas you want to share and get critiqued but feel they are not fully formed enough for a post of their own, try the Open Thread [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/kkl/open_thread_july_2127_2014/]. Even Open Thread conversations can be quite engaging and constructive (and heated! Don't forget heated). Also, I don't know if you've read any of the LW literature people tend to reference, but, given your interest in refining your ideas, this [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Reductionism_(sequence]) set of posts might interest you.