Notes from the Surf

Wheelbarrow races never looked so good.
I guess every sport has their Fosbury's.

When a gun is close enough to grab
Probably mainly useful for police, bouncers, gangsters, and movie directors.

Thus, for any nondeterministic Turing Machine
...the same reason I majored in comp sci  =^(

iPhone or Droid
"What if I want something more..."

Dan Ariely on our buggy moral code
"even when we gave self-declared atheists the task of swearing on the Bible and we give them a chance to cheat, they didn't cheat at all... If somebody from our in-group cheats... we feel it's more appropriate... But if it's somebody from another group... all of a sudden people's awareness of honesty goes up"

Iraq: "oil company was participating in the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution"
"When drillers struck oil in a rich new field called Tawke in December 2005, no one but a handful of government and business officials and members of Mr. Galbraith’s inner circle knew that the constitutional provisions he had pushed through only months earlier could enrich him so handsomely."

Gold: "nothing more than a set of self-confirming beliefs"
"Gold has become a fiat commodity or a fiat commodity currency, just as the US $, the euro, the pound sterling and the yen (and a couple of hundred other currencies) are fiat paper currencies... Remember, fiat money, including gold, is intrinsically useless."

FDIC: Failed Bank List
3 failed in 2007. 26 failed in 2008. 124 failed so far in 2009.

Invisible Recovery Outside of Wall Street
"The fact that you have people lining up at midnight just waiting to have their paychecks or government checks clear for food is probably something you are not going to see on CNBC but it is happening."

Maoists justified in taking up arms: Arundhati Roy
"You have an army of very poor people being faced down by an army of rich that are corporate-backed. I am sorry but it is like that."

Does God exist? (A series)

We are first of all struck by the awesome difficulty of the question. When we examine this feeling of difficulty, we find that it comes apart into two sections, which we can call the internal or self conscious section and the external or comparative section. The two parts, if we put them into words, say: “I am not good enough to attack this question” and “other, better people have attacked this question, and I should refer people to their analyses rather than doing a new one.”

Is there any legitimacy to these worries? Should we just give up the quest before we even get started? To answer that question, let’s examine the first of the worries. It seems like the more important of the two worries to address, since there could at least be some point in going on if better people have attacked the God question, but there can be no point in going on if my brain is not good enough for the question at all.

Why wouldn’t I be good enough to attack the God question? I suppose one reason would be that I am young. But that’s not a very good reason, since the answer to a philosophical question should be in grasp of anyone with a working brain. On every philosophical issue I have investigated, I have found that all of the arguments end up pointing to the correct answer when they are properly examined. Truth overwhelms. And if I am young, I am at least an unusually clever and ambitious young person, so perhaps these factors offset my youth somewhat.

But none of these rebuttals are really satisfactory. There is still a feeling that I am too young to say anything valuable on the topic. If that feeling is correct, then so much the worse for truth and warrant. It’s only a daylog. I am going to make a grab at this question anyway, and perhaps some of my readers will get some entertainment from watching an arrogant young person try to answer one of the immortal questions. I shall be a sort of intellectual clown in that case.

And if I reach a conclusion that seems completely right to me, can I really be wrong?

Let’s return to the first worry. Is there anything else about my brain that might render me unfit for this question? Perhaps this worry has roots in my ignorance of philosophy of religion. But I have a broad grasp of the essential arguments in the field. I have been arguing on religious discussion forums for a while now, and one would think that that gives me some credibility, although there are perspectives like William Lane Craig’s to consider (who says that such boards are full of “angry teenagers”). I can rattle off the words “cosmological, teleological, ontological” quickly when someone asks me what the main arguments for God are*, and I can explain Kant’s purported refutation of them. I have a working knowledge of Plantinga. I stand in the presence of all that I have learned in the years behind me, and I feel that this has all got to count for something. So I’m going to say that I know enough about philosophy of religion to make a stab at this question. If I don’t, maybe I’ll be a decent intellectual clown.

I have spent a long time dissecting the first part of my worry, and will now return to the second section to see if there’s anything I need to pay attention to there. Shouldn’t I just recommend a book or something, and perhaps write a review of it for far more XP than this daylog is likely to get? Aren’t I just wasting my readers’ time out of an entirely selfish desire for attention? From one perspective, the answer to both questions is clearly “yes.” If we consider my writeup from the perspective of XP attainment or my readers’ intellectual edification, this writeup should not exist. But the real purpose of this writeup is to help me figure out what I think on this topic, and so much the worse for anyone who reads it under the (mistaken) impression that it is meant for them. I am a selfish philosopher.

I have come to several distinct conclusions here, and I should sew them all together before I go on. First, I have concluded that I am not too young or ignorant to answer the question, “does God exist?” And second, I have concluded that this writeup’s purpose is not to get XP or entertain anyone, but solely to figure out what I think on this topic. This second conclusion seems to contradict my earlier conclusion that I will, at least, be an intellectual clown if I fail to be old enough or learned enough to reasonably reach a conclusion on the God question. This is only an apparent contradiction, however, because I will be an unwitting clown in that case.

So my goal from here must be to arrange my (presumably sufficient) knowledge on the topic of God’s existence into a logically ordered whole. Actually, this is getting fairly long. I will do that tomorrow. I suppose this will have to be a series of daylogs.

*Nobody ever does

With the Tenth Anniversary of E2 upon us, a lot of people have been talking about everything2, and, unsurprisingly, how it's been around for ten years. But also, they've been talking about Michael Jackson, probably just because he just died, but that has little to do with E2 and it's 10th Anniv. or lazy use of abbreviations.

But people, and some intelligent animals, have also been pondering E2's future. This is mostly because every second that goes by is another second of E2's future becoming E2's present the next second, and in the next E2's past. But apart from that whole issue, mostly when discussing E2's future, people are talking about at least 24 hours from now and beyond, because trying to ponder the next second of the future but then all of a sudden it's the past, that would get quite maddening, so we buffer that pondering, of course, by at least a day.

Anyway, among all the talk about the quality of the writing here, David Hasselhoff, new user retention, water retention, and other retentions, as well as detentions, people have been making analogies about everything2, and how it compares to other things in our lives, important things. Like mashed potatoes for example. Maybe it's because in America we just ate about five tons of it last Thursday, or maybe it's because of our obsession with Things that are Mashed (like music genres, for example; for example, gangsta rap and country is a wildly popular one). Now before you get all confused at me comparing E2 to mashed potatoes, I promise you that you will see by the end of this writeup where I'm going with this and exactly what I mean by that.

First of all, mashed potatoes are really soft and mushy, unlike it's hard and crunchy origins. To get it mashy, one must skin and cut into chunks regular potatoes, and boil them. But before you're ready to load the mashed potatoes into your mashed potato serving squeeze gun, you must, well, mash them. You could smash them I guess, but then you'd have to tell your guests that you are serving smashed potatoes and not mashed, which could be quite embarassing. Mashing is done by taking beaters to them when they're boiled nice and soft, adding some butter, milk, or other cow-related products to the mix. You must get them nice and soft and smooth and free of lumps, kind of like Megan Fox's backside until she gets old, or your guests will complain.

OK but what does this have to do with E2? Hang with me, I'm getting there.

Mashed potatoes, like most food-like concoctions, are best served and eaten hot, like Megan Fox's backside. One thing not to do with mashed potatoes, no matter how strong the urge might be, is take the big bowl of it you're about to set down on the table and fling them up into the ceiling fan (which you have on high). Trust me, that is a Very Bad Idea. You must also resist the urge to put them inside other orifices besides your mouth, like your ears, and other parts that I will not mention, like vaginas.

The point is, there are many dangers to mashed potatoes to go along with the many pleasures of it. They can even be deadly. That's right. During a food fight, if you fling mashed potatoes at somebody, it can indeed injure or kill. That is, if you put bullets in them. And then maybe put those bullets in a gun, and then shoot the person. Also, mashed potatoes can be poisonous, provided that you put some poison in them.

But one more thing about mashed potatoes, probably the most important thing about mashed potatoes, one thing that most people overlook, is that Megan Fox is hot, except for her toe-thumbs.

Anyway, remember that promise I made near the beginning of this writeup? Well, sorry, but not keeping promises is one of the many faults that I have, of which there are many.

Ahh, man, as I was thinking of this writeup last night, I laughed myself to tears. And then the baby Jesus came to me and said "Shut the hell up, it's almost Christmas you Norwegian moron!" Sheesh, I can't believe he thinks I'm Norwegian. I've never even been to Norwegia.

*Sigh*... Good times, good times.

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