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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Law of Conservation of Ignorance

SPECIAL UPDATE: I was so impressed with Jonathan Vos Post's comment on Good Math, Bad Math that I visited his site and came across this gem, a dialogue on how to travel at superluminal speed without warp drive. Right up my alley. A must-read! (Vos Post was a protege of and coauthor with Richard Feynman!)
Mark C. Chu-Carroll has an excellent introduction to Information Theory (which is not to be mistaken for Information Science, the subject that I am pursuing).

This post makes a good life preserver so that the novice does not drown while swimming in (and probably getting a stomach cramp from) the unutterably foolish arguments of Salvador Cordova. This has got to be a joke. If it isn't: Sal—let Momma make it very easy for you:

If I paint a picture of a rock, does that then prove that the original rock was designed?

If you bake a cake (because I’m not going to do it), does it mean that there was “cakiness” front-loaded into the flour?

If I mix yellow and blue pigment, does that mean that “greeniness” somehow pre-existed in these pigments (and in which? The yellow? Or the blue?)?

And if you say “yes” to these questions (that is, you attest to their "truthiness"), then I say that intelligent design has nothing going for it but a circular argument--in fact, it is nothing but a big circle itself with no center, a frame around a void, a useless non-methodology that contributes nada to our understanding of the world. (So "designs" of stones lead to stones, and to designs of stones, cakes to cakes, and to cake decorations, green to green, and to my green face/puke, etc.—so what? Where does that get us? Nowhere. It's incoherent.)

You think that there is a center, a portrait, bounded by your meaningless perimeter of words and disjointed thoughts, because you’re nostalgic for the ultimate coach, a Daddy (or a Mommy?) about which to write this incessant, mawkish soap opera called intelligent design.

It is this sentimental, effeminate hankering for the ultimate cosmic cake decorator—and not any scientific evidence or mathematical proof—that drives grown men to look down through a circle of stones around an abyss and see their own reflection, and call it God. It’s neo-Platonism gone wild!

It reminds me of the other grown men who are still penning "Star Trek" adventures, twenty years after the publishing industry finally announced, due to the volume of bad manuscripts they were receiving, it would not accept any more without a writer’s representation by an agent. It reminds me of the aging filmmaker wannabees I have encountered who are still making poor rip-offs of Excalibur and Clash of the Titans.

But I’m wasting my breath here, considering Sal thinks that rock cannot be a viscous putty (because it’s hard!) or that water cannot be trapped beneath rock (because it’s heavy!) or that the Tasmanian Wolf, which has a pouch, is really a canine (because it looks like a puppy dog!).

It’s jaw-droppingly embarrassing. I think I have a cramp.

(I'm flailing toward Good Math, Bad Math with the intention of shimmies, assuming I live.)

UPDATED: This awesome comment by James Taylor at Dispatches from the Culture Wars expresses my own thought about natural selection in computer programming. It also works for any human creative endeavor, including creative writing.

SECOND UPDATE: Portrait of Jesus obviously done by Picasso manifests itself in tree. (The surrealists were masters at adding randomness and thus information to their works by the way, although Picasso was not truly a member of the movement.)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, thank you for you kind comment-on-comments, both on Good Math Bad Math and on your own wonderful blog. It would be rude for me to agree, on Mark C.C.'s blog, as the thread is not about me, and he knows who I am anyway.

Second, I bow to my superiors, which include (obviously) Feynman, one of my superhuman mentors.
Also, on the slower-than-light, I was merely part of a team. Geoffrey A. Landis was the editor, and he has deservedly won far more literary awards than I, has done spectacular work on the Mars Rovers, and has been a professor at MIT. Also on the team:
Dr. David Brin (also, as with Geoff, a Hugo- and Nebula-winner), and the late great Robert L. Forward, scientist, engineer, science fiction author, and far-out inventor.

I have done many cool things. But I am one of many people who have learned to make efficient use of limited resoources. My superior have innately higher intelligence or aesthetics.

I would like to think that many many more people will use the primary value of the Web: as collaborationware, to combine their skills and enthusiams with those of other people.

Keep up the good work!

-- Jonathan Vos Post

January 05, 2007 7:58 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Thank you, Jonathan. Compared to you I'm slower than a Galapagos tortoise, but if I read something through often enough, I can digest it eventually. How awesome to have worked with Feynman. *Bows* Oh, and of course, shimmies to you! (If you don't know what those are, stick around, I may post video someday.)

January 05, 2007 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're welcome. But...

It took me years to realize that my wife, Christine with a CH, was smarter than I. Then it took us years to realize that our son was smarter than both of us. Fortunately, I am not at the bottom of the ladder. I know I'm smarter than our dog, because I can beat her two out of three at chess.

Was Salome an information science expert in her spare time? Have you danced to recorded bongo drumming by Feynman? Casettes and videos are available, I'm sure.

Also, the Galapagos tortoise got to hang out with Darwin, and outlive his entire generation...

-- Jonathan Vos Post

January 05, 2007 9:29 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Why, thank you for the encouragement! (My cats are smarter than me, but they still love me.)

Was Salome an information science expert in her spare time? If she was, she kept it to herself--not very librariany of her.

Have you danced to recorded bongo drumming by Feynman? Nope, can't say that I have. (Did he really record music?)

BTW, I'm famous, but not the way I want to be.

I'm not sure, but I think it's a subtle jab at my all my blown kisses to William Dembski, the Fig Newton of Infignewton Theory.

January 05, 2007 9:44 PM  

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