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The banana is not an atheist.

Posted by majc in Science on Mar 7th 2013 3 Comments »

Atheism is silly.

This is a bit base, but imagine a man wandering about saying “I’m not gay.” “I’m not gay.” “I’m not gay.” at every available opportunity. Imagine that given even the slightest, most tenuous, tangential conversational link to questions of sex, The banana is not an atheist that same verbal response is provoked out of him.

Listening to such a man, we would quickly recognise that he has an odd, supernormal preoccupation with that particular piece of self-analysis.

So too with the self-styled atheist.

The must-constantly-remark-on-not-being-gay man’s thoughts and actions are not free with respect to the subject of sexual orientation. When any connectable suggestion towards the subject arises, his thoughts and actions become ensnared, limited, governed by it.

The must-constantly-remark-on-not-being-theist man’s thoughts and actions are not free with respect to the subject of theistic orientation. When any connectable suggestion towards the subject arises*, his thoughts and actions become ensnared, limited, governed by it.

*E.g. evolution, origins, the universe(s), earth, power, politics, education and ten thousand more points of departure…

In exploring arenas of thinking like the examples above, the Atheist is all too ready to return to particular avenues of thought concerning God(s). He is readily distractible, and his capacity for intelligent exploration is hampered.

Meanwhile, the banana is a bent yellow fruit.

It grows on and lives out its life never once declaring itself an Atheist. You may or may not be a bent yellow fruit, but you are an extraordinarily neocortex’d monkey. And, really, you grow on and live out your life with no more need of declaring yourself an Atheist than the banana.

The banana is not an atheist

Disclaimer: The above banana is not affiliated with any religious organization. It has thusfar lived out the entirety of its life – rich with potassium and vitamin B6 – completely noncognizant of all questions related to the (non)existence of your god(s) and will most probably continue on in this way for the foreseeable future.

Any religious or political opinions you twist into the picture as you look at it are your own responsibility and are not necessarily endorsed or cared about all that much by this blog, its author, or its fictional banana. Any religious/anti-religious threats herein should be directed only towards said fictional banana and its flagrantly lackadaisical philosophical attitude.

No bananas were upset in the making of this post.

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Think Addiction and The Singularity

Posted by majc in Science on Nov 27th 2011 2 Comments »

Lets say you do an fMRI scan on Singularity scientists thinking out the consequences of accelerating technological innovation and smarter-than-human Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). I wonder if, during moments of insight, you might find patterns of activity which correspond to game/reward/addictive experiences? (— What is the Singularity?)

Singularity addiction Thinking is a rewarding process. You can derive immense satisfaction from thought, knowledge, forecasting and successful experimentation. Which is to say the brain lights up and fires a tonne of dopamine at you for it. (Or endorphins or something).

It’s well known that reward-driven behavioural mechanisms can grow uncontrollably. And when such growth is considered counter-productive, we call it addiction. There’s no telling whether this is happening around the technological Singularity.

There is without a doubt an extraordinary intensity of enthusiasm and commitment from many of its proponents. Yet this is to be expected if The Singularity is in fact going to deliver us from even half of the problems it theoretically promises to. Holy shit, eternal life? There are few who would not be excited by the idea of an escape from death. Not to mention the prospect of ever-greater levels of physical health and intellectual achievement in the process – or should I say, in The Process.

And so, with its fantastic promises, although not without risk, this vision of The Singularity, this ideological construct, this reasonable extrapolation of what we know about computation, is rapidly attracting interest and steadily gaining popular support: more and more people building hopefully towards fulfilling some of the most ancient of human desires. »

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80% of poker players probably rate themselves in the top 20%. For readers who are, shall we say, mathematically challenged, 80 is much bigger than 20 which means many of us are wrong.

But not all of us. In fact, some people – for example, me – are so inordinately amazing that we have to periodically deploy stupid techniques on purpose just to keep a low profile: to escape the elaborate super-stardom that’s hard to avoid when you’re this damn good at the game.

Golden Opportunity

Of course, as with many things in life, the finest Bad Poker practitioners don’t need to think twice. Their Accidental Generosity™ is spontaneous, a gift of natural selection. And yet, still people ask me the question all the time (at least once a decade) “how does one attain the ineffable wisdom and status of the Bad Poker guru?”

I will tell you. Something. And that something is that there are numerous completely unteachable talents required to achieve the greatest heights of charitable poker playing. If you’re gonna force me to pick a standout quality though, I think the most important is undoubtedly a well developed, almost superhuman ability to interpret bad decisions as good ones.

A bulletproof 400% confidence that it’s always someone else’s fault is vital. »

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