On Consciousness, part 3: The Robots

Note: for a discussion on the evolutionary basis for consciousness, please review part one of this series. For a discussion on the human condition with respect to consciousness, please review part two.

Will a machine ever become conscious? In order to answer that question, we must first deconstruct it. When that question is posed, it is usually asking two things: First, will machines ever be conscious in general terms (whatever that means), and second, will machines ever be conscious in the way that humans are conscious? Since the second question is the easiest to answer, I will address that one first. Continue reading

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To Resist

Back in February of 2014 I wrote a post entitled To Dissent. I encourage you to go read it, but I want to quote the final paragraph of that post:

The times are always tumultuous for dissent, now more than ever. But if we are to regain the balance between the government and the people, if we are to take charge of the destiny of our societies and our species, if we are to make a better life for ourselves and our children, if we are to proactively look towards the future instead of reactively running from it, if we are to continue to rise to the challenges provided to us as intelligent, sentient beings, then we must on occasion stand and make ourselves heard, even if our legs are shaking – especially when our legs are shaking – because to not do so is to disregard and dishonor the great gifts bestowed upon us by those who have courageously done so in the past.

Hannah Arendt is perhaps most famous for her discussion of what she termed the ‘banality of evil.’ In studying how the atrocities perpetuated by Germany under control of the Nazis came about, she reached the conclusion that great evil can only come about through the compliance of the people; that the truly bad can only happen when good people put their heads down and, whether from fear, or tiredness, or dismay allow it to unfold unchecked. Continue reading

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Climbing out of the rabbit hole

As always in a democracy, there are issues where we can agree, and there are issues where we cannot agree. I can agree, for example, that the establishment has done a poor job of protecting the middle class. I can also agree that it has done a poor job of allowing minorities to enter it. Where I cannot agree is that the person gleefully supported by David Duke and white supremacists is the right person to fix it. I will never agree with that. Ever.

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Eden is gone. Get over it.

There was once a period of time on this planet that was perfect for growth and prosperity for the human race. For over ten thousand years, the earth’s temperature hovered around a relatively narrow band. The climate was relatively stable. This stability allowed people to reasonably predict when it was good to grow food, and how much needed to be stored until the next growing season. This allowed humans to settle and invest in agriculture. This led to civilization. Seemingly infinite resources promoted an ideology of endless growth. Endless growth resulted in a massive population explosion and the creation of a global village. It is what has allowed the human race to set up shop on nearly every corner of planet earth. As the cradle of humanity, earth was as close to Eden as reality and human nature allowed. Continue reading

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A Veteran’s Thoughts on Colin Kaepernick

Jim Wright over at Stonekettle Station has his usual eloquent take on the so-called Colin Kaepernick incident , in which he describes, in somewhat great length, his opinion on whether Kaepernick should stand (or not) during the playing of the National Anthem. As a veteran myself, I would like to add my opinion, which is this: Continue reading

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And we are still two nations

So, the verdict is out on Tamir Rice. What more is there to write than what I have already written: here, and here, and on, and on

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The communists are not who you think

I find it interesting that many people accuse Bernie Sanders of being a communist when he is merely advocating the expansion of many of the ‘socialist’ programs that these same people take for granted—Social Security, Medicare, reduced college tuition—while at the same time these people seemingly have little problem with the policies they should really be associating with communism: the intrusion of the security state into their private lives; the merger of corporatism and government; the expansion of the gulag called the prison system; the harassment, roundup, detainment, and expulsion of the political underclass; the utilization of terror and fear to promote policy. All in the name of freedom and the flag, of course. Continue reading

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