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Old 03-11-2016   #41
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Re: Science says stop complaining

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
To believe that human endeavours can be boiled down to better gadgets, or that a few thousand years of technological exploration mean nothing, or that the mass of religious experiences in numerous cultures all around the world are something we can remove without reducing humanity, or that we can sniffily carry on saying, "My religion is best", or that artists are frivolous parasites on the state, or philosophy a mere academic dead end, are all, I think, examples of limited and ultimately untenable positions.
I think there are definitely people in all fields of human endeavor that look down their noses at certain other human endeavors, and distressingly hold the views that you are pointing out ("artists as frivolous parasities", etc). Again, not to invalidate your point about people in science that are extreme scientismists, I'm not really sure the level of prevalence that those in the scientific field actually think that art, religious study, meditation, etc, are worthless endeavors. Is there any polls or any kind of mass sampling of opinions on this? Sometimes a small minority of a subset of individuals can be extremely loud and often give the impression that the larger population (scientists) do indeed share the minority opinion.

Btw... the article from the Baffler was outstanding (thank you for sharing that Justin). But it does raise the point, I wonder, if the Yarvin's of this world actually represent the scientific community or are simply a loud, brash, and ugly subset of the larger community. I don't actually know one way or another, but I remain unconvinced that the whole of the scientific community (save for a few rare exceptions) look down their noses at non scientific human endeavors. Most scientists I know, are either interested in non scientific human endeavors or maintain an indifference towards other modes of non-empirical study (kind of like a people are free to pursue what they want and I will pursue what I want attitude). I think the conflicts and nasty attitudes arise, when there is a conflict of priority due to scarcity in funding. Humanities/arts are often pitted against Science in the halls of academia when budget season rolls around. And I have seen/heard, representatives from each of these communities makes nasty comments about the lack of importance of each human endeavor. This is more of a function of scarcity and prioritization than actual belief that the other endeavor is truly worthless.

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
I think there should be, first at a national and perhaps ultimately at a global level, a council of people from different areas of human endeavour, and none should be allowed all the muscle simply because it has the most profitable partnership with capitalism at the moment.

Such councils exist, of course, though I am not sure how permanently, formally or powerfully, but it looks very much to me that the British government (for instance) and many others are not set up to represent the interests of humanity, but of finance, and, even then, only of a particular section of the economy.
Ok, so for all practicality, at some point, someone or many someone's will make a decision as to what human endeavors sit on this council, how many reps (if more than one) represent each human endeavor, etc. Who makes those practical decisions before we actually have a council that represents the interests of humanity? Do we take a vote of all of humanity to figure out what ALL of humanity feels about each human endeavor? Doubtful, as I think most people currently, undervalue the arts and humanities. We would probably see lots of reps from the arena of sports and junk TV entertainment.

Or do we get together some of the brightest people on this planet and let them hash it out as to what endeavors best represent all of humanity. If so, who gets to sit on this pre-council to determine the ultimate council?

I'm not really sure what the right answer is.
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Old 03-11-2016   #42
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Re: Science says stop complaining

Quote Originally Posted by Comrade Tulayev View Post
Ok, so for all practicality, at some point, someone or many someone's will make a decision as to what human endeavors sit on this council, how many reps (if more than one) represent each human endeavor, etc. Who makes those practical decisions before we actually have a council that represents the interests of humanity? Do we take a vote of all of humanity to figure out what ALL of humanity feels about each human endeavor? Doubtful, as I think most people currently, undervalue the arts and humanities. We would probably see lots of reps from the arena of sports and junk TV entertainment.

Or do we get together some of the brightest people on this planet and let them hash it out as to what endeavors best represent all of humanity. If so, who gets to sit on this pre-council to determine the ultimate council?

I'm not really sure what the right answer is.
Who makes the practical decisions at the moment? I'm simply proposing widening the current representation, in a 'checks and balances' kind of way.

I am not as interested in politics as many people I know, but, at short notice, and in limited time, that would be my answer on representation.

Yes, if such a council were going to be set up there would be difficult questions.

Britain is going to have a referendum soon concerning whether it remains in the EU. I keep telling myself that I must, before then, do some background reading on the subject, so I can cast an informed vote. Knowing how little time I get for such things, I am not confident that I will, in the end, be able to. I wonder how many votes will, indeed, be informed. So, here is another dilemma about choice. Real democracy would surely decide all or most things by referendum, but is that possible, or even desirable?

I suppose I do think that some people are better informed than others. This is why the representatives in such a council should be a) recognised experts and b) experts in different fields so as to balance each other.

And in order to gradually diminish the negatives of elitism, I would support an education system that actually educates rather than training pupils to jump through hoops in preparation for the workplace. I also think the reinstatement of guilds and apprenticeships would be a good thing for those who are not academically inclined.

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Old 03-11-2016   #43
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Re: Science says stop complaining

Quote Originally Posted by Comrade Tulayev View Post
Doubtful, as I think most people currently, undervalue the arts and humanities. We would probably see lots of reps from the arena of sports and junk TV entertainment.
I'm just going on personal experience here, so everything I'm going to say is wide open to dismissal as being anecdotal. That said...

I know a lot of people in the tech industry, including people with high level silicon valley jobs, including higher ups in companies like Google, NVIDIA, etc. Also people with connections to Wikipedia higher ups and other well-known companies. I've cut back a bit recently but for a long time these people constituted the majority of who I'd hang out with regularly. These are mostly what I would consider very intelligent and motivated people. That said: I consistently felt that I knew more about these people's fields, including technical specifics, than they did about mine. Or to put it more bluntly, I could talk with them about science and technology for a long time, whereas the reverse almost never happened.

Almost everyone had what I would consider a naive (using this word in a technical rather than judgmental sense) view of art, roughly, that:

1. Art and entertainment are basically the same.
2. Writers are supposed to tell exciting stories, which can ideally be ported to other media platforms like movies and games.
3. Language is a basically transparent medium for expressing ideas and communicating things logically.

Which, okay, but: I fundamentally disagree with all of the above, and I spend a pretty significant amount of my life making things based on completely different assumptions.

Their questions to me would always be something like, "But don't you want to eventually work up to writing IRON MAN? Or have a movie made of your story?"

Um, no dude. I actually don't want to do that at all. I want to eventually release more poetry collections. I'm a writer BECAUSE I have no interest in being a filmmaker or f***ing with Iron Man. 

Now, I've gotten pretty good at explaining that art is often separate from entertainment and does include things where the outcome isn't even known and the creator can be surprised by what is produced. I usually talk about OuLiPo and their more technical experiments. This provides a good bridge for programmers - "Whoa, you've really used generative algorithms in a NOVEL?" 

But the fact that I even have to do any of this seems ridiculous, and a terrible waste of time. 
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Old 03-12-2016   #44
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Re: Science says stop complaining

No writer should be expected to do anything in particular for a reader. If you go to a bookstore or Amazon and unconsciously assume the author has your mental frame in mind, that's your fault.

It's the same with experimental poetry. People have a real inferiority complex about it. Which is why I love this clip from Charles Bernstein:


“The real reason why so few men believe in God is that they have ceased to believe that even a God can love them.”
― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
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Old 03-12-2016   #45
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Re: Science says stop complaining

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
I doubt very much whether Tolkien would be on Yarvin's side (if, as the article says, Yarvin's views are influenced by Tolkien).
Diogenes Teufelsdröckh would be on his side though - so he can't be all bad ;) (oops neurogeneticist sorry for commenting on art, i'll get back to crispr and the orcs )

"suckers for posterity" aren't we all
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Old 03-12-2016   #46
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Re: Science says stop complaining

AlphaGo beats Lee Sedol in third consecutive Go game | Technology | The Guardian
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Old 03-13-2016   #47
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Re: Science says stop complaining

Well, that's Davros screwed, then.

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Old 03-13-2016   #48
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Re: Science says stop complaining

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
Well, that's Davros screwed, then.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-1...lphago/7243434


you kinda wonder if it learnt to throw the game to keep it more interesting for the humes

as an aside it is fascinating and unsettling that a primary listed application for the deep learning systems is analysis of genome data potentially providing a level of interpretation otherwise unattainable

"suckers for posterity" aren't we all
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Old 03-14-2016   #49
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Re: Science says stop complaining

Just read this review, which seems appropriate to this thread:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/23/bo...ted=all&src=pm

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Old 03-14-2016   #50
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Re: Science says stop complaining

Spinoza's work on God is still some of the best I've read.

“The real reason why so few men believe in God is that they have ceased to believe that even a God can love them.”
― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
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