All of jonvon's Comments + Replies

Penguicon & Blook

hahahahahahahaha

that is AWESOME. your girlfriend rocks.

i think that you've built quite an audience here. i wouldn't normally be curious about a book like that, but in your case i'll be VERY interested to see what you come up with. i'd think the traffic you guys get here would be a big plus for any publisher, but what do i know? i'm just a guy planning to buy your book.

the blog/blook is great, but i have to admit many times i wish i had it in a more accessible format, like the small "for popular press" kind of book you mention. something i can rum... (read more)

Perpetual Motion Beliefs

there are so many beautiful things about this post. i have only a smallish idea what you are talking about a good deal of the time, but i can easily understand this: "To form accurate beliefs about something, you really do have to observe it."

your posts here have helped solidify this for me. this is true, i feel strongly, for all great art, for reliable science, and for joy in living. observation is everything.

this sentence: "One of the chief morals of the mathematical analogy between thermodynamics and cognition is that the constraints of p... (read more)

Superexponential Conceptspace, and Simple Words

this reminds me of The Dumpster.

http://www.flong.com/projects/dumpster/

also, i can't help but think of the concept of the Collective Unconscious, and the title of an old Philip K Dick story, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Torture vs. Dust Specks

ok, without reading the above comments... (i did read a few of them, including robin hanson's first comment - don't know if he weighed in again).

dust specks over torture.

the apparatus of the eye handles dust specks all day long. i just blinked. it's quite possible there was a dust speck in there somewhere. i just don't see how that adds up to anything, even if a very large number is invoked. in fact with a very large number like the one described it is likely that human beings would evolve more efficient tear ducts, or faster blinking, or something like t... (read more)

Avoiding Your Belief's Real Weak Points

here here, living out what is not true is much more painful - and not just in the long run. it is more painful every day.

i grew up a christian. there is a parable about a man who gives up everything he has in order to find the "pearl of great price" which he knows is buried in a field. so he sells everything to buy the field, and then he is able to legally dig up the treasure. in other words he's done the work and has the right to the reward. i know this will sound crazy to most christians, but giving up christianity was my way of selling everything i had to find the pearl of great price.

4waveman10yIt's very hard to do. I gave up Christianity 39 years ago and I'm still finding large chunks of it floating around in my brain. This was the point of "God is dead" - people no longer believed in God but unconsciously carry on as if it were still true.
9AndyCossyleon11yYes. This is how I felt as well, that my personal discovery of atheism was merely the next step in my life having been raised as a Christian. Losing religion and coming clean about it was the test of my integrity, which was formed under the wing of the Bible and Christianity.
Explain/Worship/Ignore?

daaaaaaamn that's a good post. sums up exactly the way i feel about things. i'm not a scientist, but i do engage in observation, more as a poet than anything else in terms of what i end up doing or creating with that observation. the things i believe are the things i've observed. it wasn't always that way for me, but it is now.

i recently sat and listened to robert bly read lots of poetry. he talked a bit in an offhand way about writing poetry, and what he said was, if the last line you just wrote makes sense to you, cross it out.

somehow poets go straight t... (read more)

Science as Attire

i can't help but see a few interesting ironies in this post.

the "mutants" in the world of the x-men are people who all have one and only one common "genetic" mutation. and that mutation is the ability to mutate, as you put it, "in one generation". that is itself the essential mutation that is common to all "mutants". the fact that they can move from normal human to super powered mutant in the space of one generation (their own lifetime) is exactly the point.

in other words, "control over lightning" is not th... (read more)

1tlhonmey7moSuch an ability isn't even that ridiculous with proper grounding. Brain cells seem to use an RNA-like molecule to transfer programming from one neuron to another. Turning that into a way to make genetic changes at the speed of protein brains instead of at the speed of genetic evolution would be a big step, and very unlikely to come about without the assistance of some protein brains guiding the process, but once it was established it would be a large enough advantage that it would likely stick around. So odds seem high that all the "mutants" are the descendants of some genetic engineering project somewhere.
1Armok_GoB10ySo... the superpowers are a metaphor for general intelligence?