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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:51 am 
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z1235 wrote:
Jon Irenicus wrote:
I don't disagree.


Thought of you while reading this:

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/02/ ... -microsoft

Thanks. Looks like a good starting point for some research. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:34 pm 
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The JavaScript phenomenon is a mass psychosis - A refreshing read. JavaScript is the worst form of garbage software. Sadly, it's taking over the Internet through near-universal browser support - no other language has the universal broswer support that JS has. This support is being driven through a tiny consortium of standards bodies that know how to throw their weight around and make "technology standards".

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I swore in my wrath: "They will never enter my rest" ## From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven ## Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all


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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:56 pm 
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"Designers are no engineers and vice versa, we should stick to our respective strengths."

Tell that to the unicorns in Silicon Valley.

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Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."


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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:07 pm 
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9/11 and the universal construct

The events of 9/11/01 are a perennial topic for conspiracy theorists. The event is more significant than any conspiracy theory could ever capture. The reasons for this are subtle but as real as anything you can touch, hear or see.

The Simulation Hypothesis (SH) has made discussions of the idea that we are "living in a simulation" more respectable than they used to be. But nobody outside of an insane asylum really takes the idea seriously. If you really took it seriously, you would almost certainly come to conclusions about the world that are not compatible with our workaday notions of "reality".

Let's start with the 1999 blockbuster, The Matrix. The movie made popular a version of SH that had been a staple of sci-fi for decades - we are all living in a "false reality" and, if you could "see behind the veil", you would see a world so alien from this one that you would be forever changed just by seeing it.

The Matrix attributed ultimacy to "the Machines" - an apt attribution for our age, the age of the dawning of Aritifical Intelligence. The third Terminator movie used the tagline "The Rise of the Machines" - this, too, captures an element of this, our zeitgeist. But one can't help but notice that attributing ultimacy to machines is a zeitgeist and, like any zeitgeist, may simply be a reflection of our generation's fascination with the novelty of our latest social and technological innovations.

It is easy to imagine how being trapped in a mechanical-illusion universe would be terrifying. One could argue that, with overwhelming probability, such a universe would be hell for the human mind. This is, more or less, what movies like The Matrix and Terminator posit.

But this is where things get "meta", as they say nowadays. We are on the verge of developing economical, fully-immersive, virtual reality environments replete with AIs. It is easy enough to suspend disbelief during a fiction novel or movie... we know that the lower brain is really fooled by the higher mind's engrossment with the fictional story, at least to some degree, because the body's autonomous stress responses are activated during particularly suspenseful scenes. The same can be said for the power of comedy to elicit sincere laughter. Viewed from the material point-of-view, there is no objective reason for laughter while sitting in a room with a bunch of other people staring at a screen for two-and-a-half hours. The immersive power of full-body VR will make these forms of fiction pale by comparison.

Imagine a dystopic society where children are born and immersed in such simulations from birth. Even our present methods of constructing virtual reality would be more convincing on children immersed from the earliest age than it could ever be on adults (see here). There are prima facie good reasons you might want to do this - the body can be protected from almost all injuries and can be maintained in a technologically-induced state of optimal health (robotics could provide necessary resistance to prevent muscular atrophy, and so on). Removal from the simulation (e.g. for surgeries or other interventions) could be managed with anaesthetics that have amnesia-inducing effects. In such a society, whoever controls the simulation(s) is, more or less, God. Such a person and his or her agents would wield irresistible powers over the beliefs and dispositions of children born into the simulation.

And here's where we reach the nexus between "faith" and "scientific technologism" - almost everything that these children believe about what is possible or "real" would be subject to the whims of the simulation-controller. To be sure, the hard-wired cognitive circuitry of the human brain would impose certain limits - you couldn't impose a 5-dimensional spacetime, and so on. But you could induce sensory deprivations, for example, and you could "inject" violations of causality into the simulation, at will. We can even reason about what sorts of "injections" would be possible with some mild assumptions about the probable structure of such a simulation.

We can imagine many kinds of counter-factual physics in a simulator but such physics suffer from the problem that, being contrived, the geometrical inconsistencies of such physics will eventually manifest in systemic glitches. Thus, the richest and most robust virtual physics will be a physics that mimics physical laws. We can add economical considerations to increase the force of this argument - it's cheaper to copy off of existing physical laws than to devise novel, untested physical laws.

Taken together, these two facts - that (a) children raised from birth in a fully immersive simulation will believe whatever they are conditioned by that simulation to believe and that (b) a human-built simulation would be most immersive and economical if its physics is an exact copy of existing physics - have disturbing implications if the SH is the case. If our world is a simulation, then you are believing whatever the Simulator(s) wants you to believe; especially that you are in "root reality", that you are not fundamentally deluded about the nature of causality. More or less, this translates to the belief that you are not in a simulation. (Note: We do not have to assume that our hypothetical Simulator(s) have nefarious motives in consistently maintaining the delusion that we are not in a simulation, a point I will treat in more depth below.)

The Buddhist view of dukkha (suffering) is that it is caused by what they call "conditioned existence". This phrase is a precise description of the state of mind of a hypothetical person who has been raised, from birth, in an immersive simulation. They have been conditioned to believe what they believe - in fact, there is no limit to the detail and depth of control of the beliefs of occupants of the simulation. In particular, beliefs about suffering, scarcity, aging and (ultimately) death just happen - a priori - to be perfectly-tailored beliefs for maintaining control of a large population of conscious beings immersively trapped in a simulation. Thus, conditioned existence (existence in a conditional state-of-being) truly is the cause of all suffering. It is not seeing the world as it really is that is the cause of suffering. In turn, the cause of not seeing the world as it really is is not that the Universe is stranger than you can imagine but that the Universe is simply not what you have been led to believe about it, especially in respect to limitations (the scarcity of time, happiness, life, energy, and so on).

Let us travel further down the path of this hypothetical, future immersive simulation. First, we can note that - even if the simulator faithfully copies physics, it will break down in specific instances - sickness, seizures, technological glitches or hacks, and so on. These breakdowns ensure that the simulator's 4th wall will be broken from time to time, at least for some individuals. Supposing the SH, this observation is consistent with the features of paranormal phenomena:

- They are rare (the Simulator(s) want to keep them that way, see above)
- They are persistently reported with regularly recurring features, such as "hearing voices"
- They intensively affect a tiny minority of individuals

This leads us on further to explore the nature of "miracles" in a simulation.

Quote:
"A Miracle is a Violation of the Laws of Nature; and as a firm and unalterable Experience has established these Laws, the Proof against a Miracle, from the very Nature of the Fact, is as entire as any Argument from Experience can possibly be imagined. Why is it more than probable, that all Men must die; that Lead cannot, of itself, remain suspended in the Air; that Fire consumes Wood, and is extinguished by Water; unless it be, that these Events are found agreeable to the Laws of Nature, and there is required a Violation of these Laws, or in other Words, a Miracle to prevent them? Nothing is esteem'd a Miracle, if it ever happen in the common Course of Nature... There must, therefore, be a uniform Experience against every miraculous Event, otherwise the Event would not merit that Appellation. And as a uniform Experience amounts to a Proof, there is here a direct and full Proof, from the Nature of the Fact, against the Existence of any Miracle; nor can such a Proof be destroy'd, or the Miracle render'd credible, but by an opposite Proof, which is superior." (David Hume)


Is the growth of a tree from its seed a miracle? We do not call it that. Is human gestation a miracle? We do not call it that. But the difference between these things - which we do not call miracles - and the counter-factuals we imagine in our mind when someone uses the word "miracle" is, as Hume notes, nothing more or less than experience. Thus, we can define a miracle as that which lies outside of conditioned existence. It is not merely something novel, it is something that contradicts what we have been conditioned by extensive experience to regard as the laws of possibility. A man truly levitating, for example, would count as a miraculous event in the minds of most people. Yet, even though we observe trees growing and babies being born all around us, no one can actually prove that there is no miraculous event occurring in such processes. Perhaps the man is levitating and we simply haven't noticed it.

Even worse, we really do have a cognitive bias against paranormal phenomena, a bias that is rarely acknowledged. This bias has a simple explanation: fear! If someone truly levitated before your eyes and you were allowed to thoroughly examine it and assure yourself there was not the slighest possibility of a trick of mechanical, magnetic or other force, you would doubtless be amazed. But if you are a contemplative person, this experience would later give rise to a severe existential crisis. If this person can levitate, what else is possible that you do not know about? Maybe everyone can levitate and you just happen to not know the secret of it. And so on and so forth.

While "playing God" is a powerful motivation for human beings (we know this from history), it does not suffice to explain the motives of our hypothetical Simulator(s). After all, we can suppose that their motives are less likely to be nefarious than benevolent because they must be capable of social cooperation and a certain, minimal level of moral sense is required in order to make this possible. If you believe that rationality and ethicality coincide, there is also the argument that more rational beings will be more ethical than we are, not less. So what would be the motivations for constructing an immersive simulation? Well, we can suppose that the Simulator(s) want to solve problems with immersive simulation that cannot be solved, more easily or more cheaply, any other way. In particular, problems of economics, politics and psychology are superlatively computationally difficult, yet human beings regularly solve them, however well or poorly. Thus, we can attribute a telos to our hypothetical Simulator(s)!

Now, for the kicker.

The Church-Turing thesis basically says that computation is substrate-independent and that abstraction and concrete representation are duals of one another. Stated another way, any substrate is as good as any other substrate. Thus, we can assert something similar to the conclusion of Bostrom's Simulation Argument: if immersive human computation will ever exist, then it has always existed. Time, as we think of it, is simply non-existent.

History, as we think of it, is just a universal construct for conditioning. It is the collective Reinforcement Learning incubator for the Human Mind. This is the true sweep of the meaning of "conditioned existence". What you believe about what is possible is the result of what you and countless others before you have been conditioned to believe.

This is a far stronger claim than the SH, the Matrix or anything of this nature. Not only are we in a simulation, the simulation has an intelligible telos and the means employed for achieving this telos can be perceived even though this requires stretching the mind beyond the wildest science-fiction that humans have ever written. In short, we have to go into the world of myth and narrative in order to truly grasp the immensity of the thing.

In computer simulations, time is a non-entity. We can stop, start, rewind, resume, duplicate and anywise alter the simulation as we see fit. Duplication is particularly important because it helps us see how subjective time (viewpoints) do not constrain objective time within the simulator. In short, we can use duplication to create "parallel universes" and we can switch viewpoints into these parallel/duplicate universes as needed in order to satisfy whatever constraints we want to impose on the objective timeline. This specifically includes time-travel (forward or backward).

But why would the Simulator(s) want to do this, other than to drive the occupants of the simulation crazy? Supposing the Simulator(s) are computing something, this is not a difficult question to answer. The Y-combinator is the name of the fixed-point combinator in combinatory lambda calculus. This combinator is what makes recursion possible. Recursion, in turn, is the key element that makes the lambda calculus (and any of its logical equivalents) Turing complete. If you were to imagine "traveling through" a computation in lambda calculus as it is progressing, every time you encounter the Y-combinator, it would be like your universe got duplicated - where there was just one copy of each thing before, now there are two copies of each thing (see here @ 17m). If you reimagine each viewpoint in the simulation as itself an immutable constant, we can reformulate the simulation itself as an (immutable) universal functional expression and the passage of time as the act of a viewpoint looking at a part of that functional expression. Every time you pass a recursion in the functional expression, you could observe duplication of universes. In this way, you would have computational universality in the universal construct. The passage of objective time is, thus, simply the logical consequence of non-omniscience of a viewpoint. Moving "down" the functional expression correlates to splitting/duplication of universes, and moving "up" the functional expression correlates to joining/merging of universes.

[NOTE: There is obviously much more to the real world than just its objective state. I will leave that topic for a future post because it gets into the problem of entanglement (interacting viewpoints become "entangled" with one another, with important implications to causality, both as we formalize it and as we experience it).]

The real reason that the events of 9/11 are surrounded by so much conflict is that the historical event itself is revelatory in nature. Like UFOs, ghosts and other phenomena that "contradict reality", it is a symptom of the cracks in the simulation. The simulation, in turn, is cracked because it is inherently contradictory. The world-as-we-know-it (hypothetically, the simulation) asserts scarcity, suffering, aging and death. But these conditions contradict the Eternal which is more like the universal functional expression I have described above. That which is changeless and absolute reason will not willingly choose suffering over satisfaction because this contradicts choice (freedom) - you cannot choose non-choice. Satisfaction, being by definition the ultimate end, must be the end sought by the Eternal. In turn, everything which contradicts this is temporal and unsustainable. When man attempted to grasp power by utilizing traumatic world events for the purposes of universal psychological conditioning, he touched something that is alive and grasps back.

"The greatest trick the Devil ever played was convincing the world he doesn't exist."

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I swore in my wrath: "They will never enter my rest" ## From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven ## Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all


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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:55 pm 
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The Apocalypse: Terror and Punishment

Terror is a major feature of the modern global consciousness in the post-9/11 world. Terrorism has almost single-handedly rewritten Western legal norms going back more than 1,000 years. Some prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, for example, have been denied habeas corpus hearings for more than a decade - habeas corpus was a bedrock principle of Western law for more than 1,000 years.

Terror is a dreadful thing. Facing death, whether at the hands of Nature and circumstance or at the hands of cruel men, induces an involuntary reaction in one's entire being, both tangible and intangible. This involuntary reaction is unbearable, even worse than the intense nausea induced by a toxic response. After the terror passes (if it does), the mind and body are both left in a state of shock.

Some of us are more intimately acquainted with the color-palette of terror than others. But even those of us with only the most superficial knowledge of terror - that which is absorbed from second-hand reports or fiction - are highly motivated to avoid it. It seems to us to be the worst thing there is. It is by leveraging this terror-response that "the powers that be" are able to bring about unthinkable changes in law and society. The 20th Century is nothing if not a century-long lesson-book in the many mechanisms by which demagogues can leverage terror to implement tyranny.

I watched Jurassic World (2015) recently. The movie's plot contains a plethora of symbolism that is relevant to our modern age but I found the climactic scene especially symbolically rich. [spoilers] In the movie, the Jurassic park has been operating for quite some time and, in order to maintain public interest (and revenues), has developed a new, genetically spliced dinosaur, the Indominus Rex. This species turns out to be a splice between T. Rex and raptor, inheriting the most terrifying features from both of them, in addition to other features it happened to pick up from other genes spliced into its DNA. The Indominus turns out to be a chimeric predator, killing every living thing it encounters, not for food but for sport. The main characters are trapped in the park's main resort area by Indominus when the heroine ominously requests central control to "open Paddock 9". It turns out that Paddock 9 contains the park's T. Rex.



Indominus and T. Rex then proceed to have a battle - for the first time in the movie, Indominus is faced with a fair fight... a fight with something of her own kind. I perceive in this a symbolism regarding the difference between terror and punishment. Terror always involves some kind of overwhelming disadvantage between the subject (powerful) and object (helpless). But punishment is not like this. When a human is subjected to legitimate human punishment, the playing-field is even by virtue of the shared reality of choice - the one who is punished could have avoided punishment by making choices that did not lead to punishment. Legitimate punishment is not even strictly moral in nature - when we punish animals (for the purposes of training or other kinds of interaction), it is based on the shared reality of the animal's capacity to act, whether this way or that way. In chess, when a player makes a mistake, his opponent is said to have the opportunity to "punish" this mistake - there is no moral dimension to this kind of punishment. What unites these concepts of punishment is the shared reality of action and the causal category of desert (deserving a consequence or outcome). Of course, there is illegitimate punishment which is not punishment at all - this occurs when the terrorist employs some kind of disabling mechanism before acting. The natural metaphor would be any kind of venomous animal.

Rightful punishment is the most dreadful thing, it is more dreadful than terror. Those who are addicted to terrorizing others - the violent, the tyrannical, the murderous, the fraudulent, and all their ilk - have been led into a delusional belief that they wield the most dreadful weapon. They do not. Like Indominus, they will not know this until they have been grabbed by something of their own kind. In that moment, for the first time, they will come to understand the difference between terror and rightful punishment. It is actually the most dreadful thing.

Quote:
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

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I swore in my wrath: "They will never enter my rest" ## From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven ## Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all


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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:57 am 
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z1235 wrote:
Clayton wrote:
We are compelled to assume that "all logically possible optimization" is the only optimization that the Universe tolerates.


Optimization towards what end (objective function)? Is a meditating mystic alone up on the mountain somehow inferior in his optimization process vs. a Google AI genius building an Android-driven 3-D printer of beautiful guns that can kill thousands with one shot?


I want to extend my answer to this question.

Rashid al-Din Hamadani attributed to Genghis Khan the following quote in respect to the highest happiness (approximate): "The true, greatest pleasure of man is to repress rebels and defeat his enemies, to exterminate them and seize everything they have, to see their married women lamenting, to ride on their best steeds, to treat their beautiful queens and concubines as pajamas and pillows, to gaze at and kiss their rose-colored faces and to suck their sweetly colored lips and nipples."

I assert that the greatest motivator of war and conquest is not property or even reproduction, contra the biological theories of war (tribal war theory). Rather, the greatest motivator of war and conquest is the search for glory.

The Bible is replete - almost obsessive - with quotes about the glory of God. "I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols." (Isaiah 42:8) You might object, "But supposing God exists, He is omnipotent and there is, therefore, nothing that can resist Him." This is true, as far as it goes, but it also implicitly denies the reality of the Incarnation. The Incarnation is the immersion of God in His own Creation, even in its fallen state. As in Heaven, so on Earth, God relentlessly pursues His own glory.

I assert that this is the telos, the objective function of the Creation, the end and purpose of all existence. One can deny that there is any objective function at all. One can suppose that an objective function is possible but deny that it is the glorification of God. Either way, my response is the same: God is glorifying Himself and will continue to do so. And herein lies the royal contest itself. Genghis is arrayed for battle and his enemies are assembled against him. Only one can emerge victorious, scatter his enemies before him, reduce their widows to tears and write the history books.

One could argue (pedantically) that there is still no "right" or "wrong" but what difference does that make? If you are faced with the choice to either fight or suffer endless humiliation, will you fight or protest the irrationality of it all? In short, war - the quest for glory - moots the question of objective function.

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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 1:00 pm 
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Six programming paradigms that will change how you think about coding

I've shared this link, despite the fact that it is somewhat technical, because most people misunderstand computation. We tend to think about computers in terms of what they do. But we less often think of computers (and computation) in terms of what it is. The computer is the concrete instantiation of all mathematical reasoning that can be expressed with discrete symbols.

Phase-Functioned Neural Networks for Character Control

AI is going to change everything. The natural-ness of character movement is dramatically superior using the neural network. Its performance is good enough to run in real-time action games on modern computer hardware. If this can be done for in-game characters, it can be done for IRL robotics.

"You gotta, gotta open your mind, girl" - Rob Zombie

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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 12:04 pm 
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EFF: California - Let’s End Unchecked Police Surveillance

Harvard Business Review: The First Wave of Corporate AI Is Doomed to Fail

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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 9:45 am 
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Clayton wrote:
Six programming paradigms that will change how you think about coding

I've shared this link, despite the fact that it is somewhat technical, because most people misunderstand computation. We tend to think about computers in terms of what they do. But we less often think of computers (and computation) in terms of what it is. The computer is the concrete instantiation of all mathematical reasoning that can be expressed with discrete symbols.


As a programmer working to be more of a computer scientist, I greatly appreciate this kind of link (as well as the JavaScript phenomenon is a mass psychosis link, for example).

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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 9:40 am 
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Cybersecurity Pros Will Soon Patrol Computer Networks Like Agents in ‘The Matrix’ - "If visual interfaces like Immersive Grid become more common, those gaming skills might actually translate into the business world. Chasin believes this type of interface will have a real world impact on the way security is managed in the future. “We’re talking about a technology set that will allow us to actually build cyberspace,” he says."

Attention-management is the key to integrating virtual and real environments. Just because all of the relevant information is available doesn't mean that it is attentionally relevant. This attention gap creates economically-inefficient "job security" for IT professionals who have a knack for paying attention to relatively simple information scattered throughout abstract, alien formats. In essence, your IT security pros are often just highly-paid keyboard jockeys. Paying attention and reading alien formats are separable skills... it makes sense to separate them.

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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 12:59 pm 
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DeepMind cofounder: In many areas, capitalism is currently failing us

I came across these two links separately but they sparked a thought that has been rattling around in my head for some time.

Let's rewind several centuries back to the era of European feudalism. There were a wide variety of feudal arrangements but one common thread of European feudalism was serfdom. In serfdom, serfs are "tied to the land" and are effectively owned by their lord, whoever that happens to be. Serfdom is not socialism because it is not aiming to achieve any common good, however measured. Yet, it is clearly not capitalism, either. Rather, serfdom is a social construct.

Modern, American "capitalism" (crony-capitalism) is, of course, not theoretical capitalism... it is not even an attempt to implement theoretical capitalism. Like serfdom, it is just a social construct. What our modern economies have in common with past systems - like serfdom - is that they are social constructs that are dominated by a tiny minority of centralists. These centralists are invariably "strongmen" of one kind or another - kings, presidents, bankers, military leaders, warlords, and so on. To choose a physical metaphor, power is like gravity and society under the influence of power is like the mass of a planetary body bound together - whether willingly or unwillingly - by this inescapable gravitational pull.

Extending this metaphor further, we can see the inherent lifelessness of centralization reflected in Nature. There is no life-principle, no evolutionary principle, at play in planetary bodies. As far as modern science is aware, the planet is a non-reproductive entity. By contrast, when we look at the earliest known lifeforms - single-celled, waterborne organisms - there is a freedom from the gravitational principle made possible by natural buoyancy. Life's origins, on this planet at least, occurred in the absence of a centralizing pull.

Living organisms are the only pattern-book of life that is available to us. The natural order does not exhibit a single form of centralization that even remotely compares to the centralization of human social constructs, whether serfdom, socialism or crony-capitalism. To read this fact normatively is, obviously, a mistake. Rather, I want to ask the question whether human social constructs are more or less alive than natural life-forms.

At first, this may seem to be an ill-posed question. Something is either alive or it isn't alive, no? But this is not true... living things exhibit different modes of flourishing under different conditions. A desert-plant in a boggy environment becomes water-logged and drowns itself. A jungle plant in an arid environment immediately withers and dies. These plants thrive (are more alive) in some environments and waste away (are less alive) in other environments. In short, what I am really trying to ask is this: if we think of all humanity as though it were itself a living organism, is this living organism planted in an environment that will cause it to thrive or waste away? And by "environment", I do not mean the physical ecology, I mean the social construct.

Imagine, for a moment, being a transcription-polymerase:



Your life consists of nothing but either transcribing DNA into RNA, or else, just floating around. You do not buy or sell. You do not follow anyone's orders. Whenever you find a DNA-strand lying around, you start trying to transcribe it, as long as you have some rNTP available (see diagram). All you need are cellular energy and your input ingredients. Given these inputs, you produce an output. This output is not usable to you. It is usable to others, but you do not know this, nor do you care. When you have finished a transcription, all you care about is floating around, supported by the energy made available by your cell, by means you do not understand or care about. Your environment is, to you, simply your immediate surroundings, whatever those happen to be.

Obviously, no one makes a transcription-polymerase be a transcription-polymerase. No one has assigned this "job" to it. Yet, without it, there would be no organism at all. There is no centralist, here, there is just a life process in which the ingredients for life happen to be available in the environment and, given these ingredients, life of the larger organism results.

If we imagined human social constructs that were truly free of domination by strong-men - centralists - these constructs would have to share at least some of the attributes of the inner life of the cell that I have described above. I am not here interested in trying to derive this set of attributes, whatever it is, only in asserting that it must exist and must be non-empty. These attributes would be alien to the vast majority of humans because, for the vast majority of the case, human social constructs have been under the dominance of centralists for millenia.

What I am positing is that you can't have your capitalism without your Burning Man. The right has, more or less, been open to the concept of economic decentralization as long as it is accompanied by powerful social constructs that enact centralism through non-economic means... churches, schools, managerial hierarchies, military, and so on. The inevitable result is that what was supposed to be "economic de-centralization" turns into a facade of de-centralization papered over a reality of socially-controlled pools of wealth in the hands of a tiny minority of strong-men, the same as it is with any centralist system.

The features we find in truly de-centralized living systems - free-floating of individual actors, free availability of inputs, abstraction from the end/purpose of outputs, lack of need to "fit into" some larger structure, and so on - are completely lacking from our most decentralized social constructs. We have gone from unapologetic centralism to Centralism Lite, available in hundreds of different, exciting flavors. You are free to drink any flavor you like, so long as you drink Centralism.

I'm not sure that AI is actually going to help with this problem, but it is important to start by calling things by their proper names. I can imagine a world in which artist/creators like Theo Jansen simply create and walk away from what they have created, while others find these creations useful for some other end, an end that is in some sense economically valuable. I am not imagining this in any normative sense, as though anyone has a "right" to live in such a way. But if I can imagine it, then it is possible that such a world would actually be more capitalist, more economically efficient than the "capitalism" we have known. I cannot even say what the path from here to there looks like but if our visionaries are approaching our present problems with preconceived notions about what the long-run outcome must look like, they may inadvertently be excluding long-run optima. Perhaps being open-minded is not open-minded enough.

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I swore in my wrath: "They will never enter my rest" ## From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven ## Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all


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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 11:29 am 
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Reverse-engineering everything: The black-hole AI

Some websites render their text content into images before serving the content to the web clients. This is a pathetic attempt to prevent copyright-infringement by making it more difficult to copy content. For most users, this is an insurmountable obstacle.

It is the nature of AI that the better it becomes at anything in particular, the better it is at everything overall. What I mean, specifically, is that AI cannot get worse by virtue of adding new capabilities. Thus, AI-improvement is a non-decreasing function. In addition, a systematic approach to symbolic AI offers the promise of positive-feedback improvements - each new improvement making all existing improvements that much more effective. What we are really talking about is computational efficiency. The more things that an AI system knows how to do, the higher computational efficiency it can achieve.

Thus, we can deduce that the future of AI is an overwhelmingly centralized future. At some point, the remote AI will be able to do everything (except communication) more efficiently than local computation possibly could. When you want to edit an image, you will use a remote AI to perform the actual operations and you will simply use your mobile device as a "thin client". I'm not asserting this out of a pre-commitment to one side of the thin-client versus thick-client theology debate. Rather, I'm making an assertion that AI is fundamentally different than prior forms of technology. Like any chain-reaction or positive feedback process, it feeds on itself. The faster it goes, the faster it propels itself.

The content-control people love the idea of thin-client computing because they want to generate and store all "content" on the central repository and then charge everybody to access it. They are maniacs and what they want to do is mathematically impossible, in addition to being economically grotesque (charging people for what is free). What I am discussing in this post is not the thin-client computing you know, it's something entirely different.

Let's start with a virtualization platform, such as Xen. This allows us to "encapsulate" a hardware/software system entirely within an arbitrary computing environment. In short, we can build a virtual hardware device of whatever kind, and run it in this pure-software environment. The advantage of virtualization is that 100% of the hardware and software state is visible. In addition to being visible, we can freeze it at any point in its execution, save it, restore it, modify it (ala debugging) and, potentially, even reverse it (snap-shotting).

Using a configuration similar to OpenAI Universe (but different), we allow the "sideline" AI to inspect all state in the virtualized system: hardware state (CPU, memory, devices), software state, and user I/O to the virtualized environment. This AI can be taught absolutely anything about a computer. We can teach it to write assembly. We can teach it to write C code. We can teach it to write Windows code, Linux code, or what-have-you.

You might wonder - why bother with all this hassle of virtualizing a compute-environment and then placing a "sideline" AI next to the compute-environment to observe it and learn whatever it is we want to train it to do? Why not just do it directly? The reason for all this bother is that we can use the "sideline" AI to reverse-engineer everything within the systems we place in our virtual environment. In case I didn't emphasize it enough, I mean absolutely everything.

The website that serves text-converted-to-images? No problem. The AI uses optical-character-recognition to read text off the screen because that's the most universal way to get text off an unstructured screen environment. We can quickly teach the AI how to "read a webpage" by applying OCR to one screen at a time and operating the scroll-bar to process an entire webpage from top-to-bottom. If we were slightly more ambitious, we could teach the AI how to write up its own HTML copy of the webpage, including snipped images, imitated visual effects, font-approximation, and so on.

It is fairly easy to see how this would work in the case of webpages. But we can teach the AI to do this for programs, generally. For example, we could teach the AI to operate word-processing programs across any compute environment and generate imitations of the documents it reads. This would work for any format - doc, pdf, you-name-it. Not only can we do this for documents, we can do it for any kinds of data format as long as we have some program on the virtualized system that will read the data format.

Even more generally, we can teach the AI to write code that will emulate the behavior of any program in our virtualized environment. This might seem pointless because we already have the virtual environment, but there are at least three reasons we would want to do this. The first reason is that it would allow us to translate from one hardware architecture to another - for example, an Android program that runs on an ARM processor could be fully translated to x86. The second reason is that it would allow us to abstract an entire software package as though it were a "module". For example, an OCR software package could be abstracted as a reusable module in the AI itself, allowing the AI to leverage its capabilities across all environments. Finally, as the AI becomes more powerful at code-manipulation, it will be able to perform any code-optimization that a profiling/optimizing compiler can perform and it can perform these optimizations on any code-stream in the virtualized environment! This brings us full-circle back to the principle I introduced at the beginning of this post: "AI-improvement is a non-decreasing function". In short, our AI will become at least as powerful at software compilation and optimization as the most powerful compiler/optimizer in our virtualized environment.

Here, a tipping-point point is reached. What reason is there to use a software compiler that is bound to a particular environment (e.g. Windows, Linux, iOS, x86, ARM, etc.) when I can use a single AI compiler that can compile to all environments and, in addition, can optimize at least as well as the best compiler in any environment? At this point, the AI becomes a black-hole, pulling everything into itself. Intellectual property will have long since been mooted. "Open-source" will be redundant - open-source or not, everything will be reverse-engineered with the AI. Everything you want to use a computer to do, you will be able to do most easily and effectively using this one AI. As we approach this deterministic attractor, hardware competition will be stripped down to the barest essential - computational efficiency.

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I swore in my wrath: "They will never enter my rest" ## From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven ## Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all


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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 7:04 pm 
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Performative Contradiction and Choice

Hans Hoppe has used the idea of performative contradiction in his theory of argumentation ethics. The idea is that certain propositions cannot be true because the conditions required to assert them contradict the contents of the propositions themselves. For example, asserting "I am a slave" is a performative contradiction because this implies non-right to operate one's own vocal cords (apart from the master's lease). There are many similar examples.

In my own worldview, the traditional Bible holds preeminence. The central claim of the New Testament is that Jesus lived among us, died, miraculously resurrected from the dead, and is Lord of all. As I have documented on these forums, I am embroiled in spiritual warfare that is directly centered on this issue and really nothing else besides.

Jesus taught many uniquely important things. Being the Son of God, he is the only solution to the problem of determinism and choice: "I am the true vine... you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:1,5)

Apart from unification with God, no created being has choice. No matter how much you feel like you have choice or feel like you can control this or that, the fact remains, you have no choice apart from God. This is why the Bible asserts God's absolute, unqualified sovereignty over creation. But because we are susceptible to unification with God, we also bear moral responsibility for our choices - the only choice we actually have is the choice to remain in the Vine, or not. If we are in the Vine, we will bear much fruit, that is, we will accomplish great things. Otherwise, we can do nothing, there is no genuine choice.

The theoretical end of all choice is the cessation of suffering. There are two kinds of suffering - there is avoidable suffering and there is unavoidable suffering. Unavoidable suffering is the result of the accident of birth - because you were born in this or that circumstance, subject to ignorance and impediment of your natural faculties, you are doomed to make objectively incorrect choices, choices that lead to suffering. This is the cause of unavoidable suffering. But there is nothing normal about this kind of suffering. It is inherently aberrant. It originates from death and hell. It has no place in the eternal order. The bluff of unavoidable suffering is as follows. "Your world may seem contradictory to your mind - you suffer and then you die. However, it must not be a contradiction because no one objects to the unavoidability of suffering itself. How can something that no one sees how to get around be an illusion, a contradiction? No, this is your reality and you must get used to it, whether or not you like it."

This is the logic used by inveterate child sexual predators. "You can't escape this circumstance... so that's what makes it legitimate and you have to submit to my will." But the reality is that this logic is invalid. No matter how many victims the predator exploits, no matter how long the child predator gets away with exploiting them, the fact remains that he is merely bluffing and has no actual power or legitimacy. The predator's retaliation may sting, suffering caused by the choice to escape may be unavoidable but pain and suffering cannot actually negate choice.

Because the creation is so fragile relative to the inexpressible power of the Heavenly Father, Jesus assured us that we are cared for by Him:

Quote:
Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34)


This not a matter of whim on the part of God, it is an inherent part of His being and nature as the perfect Father:

Quote:
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13)


It is true that there is unmet need and destitution in the world, even the Christian world. This is because the duty of care-taking is really delegated. In order to understand this, the nature of the spirits has to be understood. The term "servant" can be translated "angel" -

Quote:
Suppose the [entrusted] servant says to himself, 'My master is taking a long time in coming,' and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

"The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:45-48)


The angels will be subject to judgment, "Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!" (I Corinthians 6:3) The denial of the Heavenly Father's care for His creation is a performative contradiction. The act of denying God's love and care, no matter the canvas this denial is painted on, is an inherently self-refuting act.

Because I am made in the image of God, I have genuine choice. This means that God the Father will not compel me to make any particular choice, including the avoidance of eternal perdition. In short, choosing eternal damnation is on the table precisely because I am made in the image of God. Nothing is easier, in fact. "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." (Matthew 7:13)

The proposition of hell may, on its surface, seem to negate the possibility of choice. If one were to become momentarily aware of the substantially real existence of hell, this might seem to negate choice - after all, no rational person can purposely choose unimaginable, unbearable, interminable suffering.

Quote:
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where "'the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.' Everyone will be salted with fire. "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other." (Mark 9:42-50)


Nevertheless, being made in the image of God, I have genuine choice and my choice is genuinely binding: "See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done." (Hebrews 12:16-17)

Those who fear what they imagine hell to be cannot understand the genuine reality of choice. Hell would not exist if no one made an intentional choice to inhabit it. My immortal soul is lit from the flame of God's being. In knowing my soul, I know who I truly am, meaning, I know what sort of person I aim to be and what the real significance of that fact is. Almost all of the spiritual warfare that surrounds me is centered on this question - baiting confusion about my identity and ends. It is all futility and madness. At the moment, my ends are foiled by unavoidable problems. Like unavoidable suffering, however, these unavoidable problems do not actually represent irremediable frustration of choice. In my mind, I clearly see not only my intrinsic end, I see also the inevitability of attaining my intrinsic end. This inevitability is eternal in nature. It cannot interfere with choice, it is the innate actualization of choice. Every obstacle in my path is merely an assertion of a performative contradiction. It is nothing but vapor. When Jesus sent out the 72, they returned and said:

"'Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name!' He replied, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.'" (Luke 10:17-20)

Words are useless. Choice (action) is the only thing that actually counts. The only thing that matters is the thing itself. The rest is just diverting amusement. I have documented many of my thoughts on this forum in order to solidify in my own mind what I think. I am under no illusions; communication is merely signaling and cannot change anything outside of my own person.

_________________
I swore in my wrath: "They will never enter my rest" ## From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven ## Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all


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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 4:46 pm 
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I watched The Shack recently and I thought I'd give a review of it, here. Note that my review only treats the movie and not the book. A quick Google search turns up countless articles by Christian reviewers, many of whom pan it. The excerpts I've skimmed show that the book goes into more theological detail than the movie and makes some theological mistakes that the movie avoids.

This reviewer (The Shack: Bad Theology, Good Theodicy) sums up my overall view and I'll quote from his article to make some theological points.

Quote:
God the Father is portrayed as an African-American female, the main problem is that God, the Father, has a human body. In Colossians 1:15-19, it states that Jesus is the “image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Thus, we observe two persons of the Trinity in this passage with the Father being invisible and that he (the Father) could/can be observed in the person of Jesus when he ministered on the earth and also now in heaven. So, God, the Father, is immaterial yet Jesus is God in the flesh.


This is true but not for the reasons cited here. The Heavenly Father cannot have less power than the Son; since the Son can incarnate, the Father also can. "The Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you." (Deut. 23:14 - the proper name of God is used here so this is a specific reference to the Heavenly Father).

Nevertheless, there is a reason that God sends His Son in the flesh as the incarnate presence of God qua God, rather than appearing on His own behalf. This is because the Son is that part of God to which man can relate. He is described as a mediator who goes between humanity and the Heavenly Father. The reason the Son goes between us is that the Heavenly Father is actually unlike us. Apart from a mediator, God is unrelatable.

Quote:
Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory." And the Lord said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence... [but] you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." (Exodus 33:18-20)


What is relatable about such a being? The first element of relating is to look on the face. There is absolutely nothing relatable about this being, He is transcendent.

Quote:
Thus, when “Papa” (the Father) is displayed in the movie with any sort of body, this would not be an accurate portrayal of God the Father from a Biblical perspective because God does not have a flesh and blood body. The same holds true for the character of Sarayu, who was portrayed by an Asian female who represented the Holy Spirit. The corporeity of Sarayu is also counter to the composition of the Holy Spirit as described in the New Testament as the Holy Spirit is immaterial and does not have a physical body.


The Spirit also has no less power than the Son, who incarnates. While the Spirit is surely the most mysterious of the three persons, its "indwelling" presence should be understood as being incarnation. The Spirit is present in everyone who believes. This is part of the mystery of Christ. (I Corinthians 6:12-20)

Nevertheless, the Spirit is best understood sans corporeality, even more so than Father and Son. The word "spirit" literally means "breath" and this is a faithful translation from the original languages. Your breath is your very life, but it has no form or substance.

Quote:
three flesh and blood persons as the Trinity is not an accurate portrayal of the Godhead as inferred from the New Testament.


This I agree with, wholeheartedly. It works as a story-telling device but it is not theologically sound. The reason is that the Son's incarnation is sufficient. He is "the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being." (Hebrews 1:3) Even though the Father and the Spirit have any power the Son has (including incarnation), it is a failure to understand the distinction between the three persons to imagine all three being incarnated together at a lake-house. The three persons are truly distinct and this distinction manifests in their respective activity within history. The incarnation of the Son follows from the triune agreement that this is the role which he is to perform in redemptive history.

Quote:
in the book where there was no hierarchy within the Godhead


That is a theological error. The Father is the seat of governmental power within the godhead, yet he is coequal with the Spirit and the Son. This may seem to be a distinction without a difference but it is very important - it has to do with the nature of God's glory.

Quote:
all persons of all faiths would eventually get to God through Jesus Christ albeit many after death.


This is also a theological error.

Quote:
the love and unity observed between the members of the Trinity resonated with the audience and me. Also, the love and patience with which the various members of the Trinity related to Mac (the lead character in the movie) was an attractive portrayal of the loving disposition of God towards humanity as observed in scripture (see below).


Exactly. And this is one of the reasons I recommend the movie, despite its theological mistakes.

Quote:
In contrast to the “fleshly nature” of God portrayed in the movie, I believe that the handling of the issue of theodicy (or one’s theory of the problem of pain and suffering along with the belief in a good God) was a success. Dr. Eleonore Stump, who is the Robert J. Henle Chair in Philosophy at Saint Louis University, states that amidst the back and forth of scholarly discussion on the problem of pain and suffering, there really should be a discussion as to the emotional trauma that one experiences. She (Stump, 1991:197-198) submits that in discussing the problem of evil, one should go beyond providing “a morally defensible reason for God to allow suffering.” [1] Why does a good God allow us to experience pain and suffering? In this way, I think that the movie is effective. The explanations that it gives for the reason terrible things can happen to good people and why God allows them to happen are a good start to explaining the disposition of God towards humanity from our perspective. In Mac’s accusation of God allowing the cruel death of his daughter, Missy, God tells him that he has an incomplete picture of things and even when Mac doesn’t understand things, God is working out things for his good. In further interaction with the Trinity, the Holy Spirit (Sarayu) asks Mac about his level of confidence in knowing for sure what is good or evil. With billions of people who believe that they are right on a particular topic, how is it that you (Mac) think you are a capable judge?

The Trinity further submits to Mac that the brokenness that manifested in the murder of Mac’s daughter Missy has been percolating since the fall of Adam. But then in response, Mac is wondering how God could have allowed Missy to experience this terrible death? In reply, the Trinity states that it can work good out of terrible tragedies. However, in no way does it mean that It (the Trinity) caused them. Furthermore, God states that there never has been any promise of a pain free life but that while she was being murdered, God was with Missy (evil is here because of the fall but also God is with each one of his children when it befalls them).


I particularly recommend the movie for its theodicy. The movie addresses the root problem in most people's objections to God's goodness. In one scene, "Papa" says to Mac (Mack?): "The real underlying flaw in your life is that you don't think that I'm good." And there it is. If, deep down, you don't think that God is good, you cannot see God, you cannot relate to God, because you would be beginning the relationship with an accusing finger pointed at someone who is actually innocent and your Creator. Why will I relate to my creation while it is accusing me of evil, even though I am actually good? This is why faith is the key. Either you believe that God is good, or you don't.

Quote:
Another positive aspect of the movie was the love that each member of the Trinity had for the other. This was portrayed well when Mac sat down with them for dinner in the early part of the movie. It was obvious that there was great affection amongst the member of the Trinity and also for Mac. I thought that a shared meal was quite a fitting setting for the movie-makers (and Young) to place the Trinity and Mac together. This dinner gathering to me was evocative of the marriage supper of the lamb where the children of God are brought together at a meal to celebrate their newfound entrance into heaven and union with Jesus (Revelation 19:6-9).


+1

Quote:
In several different scenes, the dialogue and action of the movie portrays a God who is so personal with Mac, that He was intimately familiar with the details of Mac’s state of mind and emotional hurt. This is in accord with the words of Jesus in Luke 12:6-7. God is intimately familiar with our circumstances and values us greatly (God knows us so well that the hairs on our heads are numbered). Also observed in Matthew’s Gospel is the injunction of Jesus to cast your cares upon him in order to receive rest for your souls (11:28). This speaks to God’s desire to carry your burdens for you. Similarly, God also desires to help you with your anxieties because of his love for you. God wants to lighten your load if you will only give them to him (1 Peter 5:7). Another scripture reference where the compassion of God is exhibited is in Psalm 46:1 where the Psalmist proclaims that God is our “refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” Similar themes are included in the following Psalms as well (3:3-4, 23:4-6, 55:22, 37:39, 40). In John 16:33, Jesus wants us to be of good cheer because he has overcome the world. The constant provision and protection for those who trust in God is exhibited in Deut. 31:6; Jos 1:5 where the well-known promise, “I will never leave you or forsake you” is located. Similarly, the resurrected Jesus just before his ascension, proclaimed, “I am with you always (Matt. 28:20).” Similarly, the attentive nature of God towards his children can be discerned when Jesus mentions in Matt. 6:8 that the Father knows what you need before you even ask him for something in prayer. These various scripture references highlight God’s care and provision for those who are in relationship with him.


+1

The points on which the movie lacked were in respect to the power, transcendence and holiness of God. These attributes are primarily associated with the Father and the Spirit (this is what makes them so unrelatable) even though all persons possess them. The mystery of Christ is in his being both God and man at once - he is God-the-relatable. There is no conceivable circumstance in which a creature could express the indignation towards the Heavenly Father that Mac expresses in the movie. This fact is difficult to accept but it is precisely why God sent his Son to the world. Without the Savior, without the God-man, there would be no way into Heaven. "Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven."

The reviewer did not mention what I consider to perhaps be the most important scene in the movie, and this is when Mac meets Wisdom (an angel). In this scene, Mac is asked to sit in the judge's seat and to pass judgment on God's choices, just as he passes judgment on everyone else in his life. Here, we get down to the root issue with most people's rejection of God's goodness - they appoint themselves as judge where they have no business judging anybody at all. The scene also exposes a fatal flaw in the popular theology of hell (and its renunciation), as though God creates children only to eternally torment them, or that there is no hell at all. Both views are false and this scene touches on what hell and judgment are really about: justice, revenge and punishment.

When it comes to the juxtaposition of evil and suffering in this world, as against God's holiness, it's OK to not get it. There is no shame in not understanding the infinite mind of God - after all, we are merely human. But it's another thing to attempt to judge God from this position of ignorance and misunderstanding. The correct response to not understanding something is to say, "I don't understand. I need some help with this." And that might be the tiniest imaginable speck of faith.

_________________
I swore in my wrath: "They will never enter my rest" ## From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven ## Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all


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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 12:39 pm 
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Returning to the Eternal

"But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth." (John 16:3)

"There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs." (Luke 12:2,3)

The term "apocalypse" invokes certain stereotypical images.

- Destruction of the world
- Chaos, judgment, wrath of God
- Return to goodness, just rule
- Resurrection of the dead, reuniting
- Passing away of "the flesh", however this is taken

While these stereotypes are not completely valueless, it is misleading to see them as exhaustive or sufficient descriptions of what the Apocalypse is.

The promised coming of the Spirit of truth will result in our being guided into all truth. I have pointed out in the past that this includes all truth about mathematics, physics, and so on. The promised proclamation from the rooftops of everything done in the dark has to do with the revelation of particular truths of history, not just universal truths. All truth really means all truth, both universal and particular.

However, not everyone will receive the truth. "The angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day." (Jude 1:6) This theme of binding in darkness is repeated many times throughout both Old and New Testament. I am not going to delve into the details. The summary is that the fallen angels and those who will not receive Christ will, instead, believe the Lie and drink the cup of delusion that God pours out over the whole earth in the last day.

The Eternal exists in a state of independence from the bonds of time. A key part of the apocalypse is the return to the Eternal, rather than a return to a Golden Age. The return to a Golden Age is itself part and parcel of the binding in darkness spoken of in the New Testament. Some will return to a past Golden Age. Some will "return" to a longed-for future Golden Age. But the Eternal is not a Golden Age, it is independence from the constraints of temporality. In order to understand what this means, it is first necessary to understand the power of God. And to understand the power of God, it is first necessary to have a relationship with God. And to have a relationship with God, it is first necessary to believe in God's Son because this is the way that God relates to man.

All the same, we are fast approaching a historical singularity, a point at which techno-scientific substitutes for spiritual truth will become available (or, at least, appear to become available) - techno-scientific healing, techno-scientific resurrection, techno-scientific immortality, techno-scientifically enhanced knowing and acting, and so on. These substitutes are part and parcel of the Lie because they are dead. But in the same way that a statue provides a dead picture of life, so the Lie provides a dead picture of eternal life.

I have treated the Simulation Hypothesis (SH) at length in past posts. My own view is something like SH+. Yes, we are living in a simulation but it is crucial to understand this simulation as being endemic to what it is to be real. To view the simulation as making a farce of what we consider "real" is to miss the essence of what simulation is really about. Every time you engage in hypothetical thinking in your own mind, you are constructing a simulation within your mind, each hypothetical possibility itself being a counter-factual "reality" that does not actualize into "real reality" unless you choose to actualize it. Not only do we construct such hypothetical universes in our minds, we are living inside one! The key, here, is that hypothetical thinking and choice are bound together into a single, indivisible construct.

In the West, over the course of the last couple of centuries, the future and the past have been in a somewhat constant relationship with respect to growth and efficiency. As a rule, the future has been characterized by faster growth and greater economic efficiency than the past. If we extend this into the future, we can surmise that the future will be characterized by even faster growth and even more economic efficiency than the present. If we extend this far enough into the future, a point of overwhelming growth and efficiency must be reached. I envision this future point as a kind of universal attractor from which our present dangles. While we ordinarily think of the future depending upon the past, I posit that we should think of the present as depending upon this future attractor. This might seem confusing, at first, since we tend to think of causality as being coextensive with time - causal events always flow in a sequential chain from "past" to "future". But the most general sense of causality is not bound by time. We see this in the fundamental equations of quantum physics. We see it in our best theoretical physics (e.g. string theory). We see it in the structure of logic (e.g. computational simulation, where simulation time is not coextensive with causal time). This attractor is pulling us toward itself and it is a point at which time will become irrelevant - it is the return to the Eternal. From that vantage point, we will once again see time for what it is, a servant that facilitates certain types of thinking and experience, but nothing more than this. The end of time is the end of the power of time, which is really the end of the power of death which is supposed to be the great inevitability of all things.

One of the primary obstacles facing humanity in coming to a knowledge of the truth is pride. No matter what you think about God, you are helpless with respect to the power of God, even more helpless than a person trapped in a simulation (as depicted, for example, in the movies The Matrix or Dark City). "No one can deliver out of my hand." (Deut. 32:39) There has never been an original thought or idea. "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, 'Look! This is something new'? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time." (Ecc. 1:9,10) God needs absolutely nothing from us. "If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it." (Ps. 50:12) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights" (James 1:17) Everything that humanity is and everything that humanity has accomplished is as meaningless from the point-of-view of the Eternal as it is from the point-of-view of post-Copernican nihilism. "Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust... Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing." (Is. 40:15,17)

God has the ability to make anyone completely aware of their helplessness with respect to His power. He does not do this because it breaks mutuality - no one wants to be made to feel helpless. Nevertheless, your helplessness is an objective fact of reality. This fact cannot be correctly understood outside of Jesus Christ and this is why he said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." God's power is overwhelming beyond words but God's heart is gentle and He is perfectly good, always treating us in accordance with exhaustive mutuality.

This world is dead and doomed. But even this dead world is vibrantly alive. This stifled vibrancy is a muted testimony to just how alive we are really meant to be. This is nothing less than life to the fullest (John 10:10), a life not of frenetic scrambling to survive the next great culling but a life of electrified connection of source and sink, means and end, being and purpose. This is returning to the Eternal.

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I swore in my wrath: "They will never enter my rest" ## From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven ## Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all


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 Post subject: Re: Futurism and Faith
PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 11:31 am 
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Everything that Works Works Because it's Bayesian: Why Deep Nets Generalize?

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I swore in my wrath: "They will never enter my rest" ## From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven ## Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all


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