Tuesday 29 May 2012

Creationism again

I recently got this comment:
"Evolution is not a fact, it is a delusion brought on by atheists who are desperate to grasp onto any crackpot explanation for how man came to be."

And the followup:

"A Christian who believes in macro evolution is as deluded as a satanist who goes to church every Sunday. As a Christian I don't claim to know exactly how old the universe is, but I do know God created man as he is today, not as a microorganism that slowly and randomly 'evolved'. This is the real world bro, not some Pokemon knockoff."

Let me see: Pok√©mon created by Satoshi Tajiri for Nintendo in 1996.
On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin in 1859
There's a 137 year gap there that the commenter can't explain because he/she pulled this comment out of their butts in an attempt to ridicule evolution, but only managed to show the lack of real arguments to present.

As for the use of "randomly 'evolved'" that pretty much tells me this person has no understating of natural selection. Natural selection is not random. Evolution is the non-random survival of randomly varying replicators. Using the word random to describe evolution just exposes your lack of understanding. The process is not random at all, there is randomness involved; just as in nuclear fission, but the process is in no way random. 

To enforce my point, I am going to take the example of the card game poker. In poker you get a number of random cards. Depending on what type of game you play you can choose to keep or discard certain cards. We can all agree that there is randomness involved, but for some reason the same professional players still rise to the top over and over again. So we are no left with the big question, if poker is truly a game of chance, why are the same group of people always winning? We are therefore forced to conclude that poker is not a random game even thou there is an element of randomness in it. 

Sunday 27 May 2012

About evolution

I am going to do another of my short two-paragraph rants, this time about evolution and creationism. I'll start out by saying that evolution is a biological process; anyone who writes an argument that is not about biology, do not understand evolution. Secondly origins of life is abiogenesis, not evolution. Thirdly the second law of thermodynamics say that "[I]n a closed system, you can't finish any real physical process with as much useful energy as you had to start with[.]" and "Entropy in a closed system can never decrease."[1] Creationists love to quote this on, but they fail to notice that the earth is not a closed system. Look out of your window, do you see that big ball of Hydrogen and Helium plasma? That is an outside energy source. The second law of thermodynamics does allow for local decreases of entropy within a system; an AC unit is a perfect example. Every solar storm that doesn't hit any thing will increase the entropy of the the universe as a whole. However any energy or radiation that hits earth will add energy to the localized system called earth effectively destroying that argument.
To sum up, if I in any argument tell you that "that has nothing to do with evolution" I really mean it, and I am not going to debate you on that subject unless you add the proper label to it. And the "biology is a subset of chemistry which in turn is a subset of physics" argument is stupid too. Just look at this:

A = {1,2,3} B = {5,6,7} C = {0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9}
It is true that both A and B are both subsets of C, but there is no intersection between A and B so you can't use B to make a proof on A and any thing that applies to B may not necessarily apply to the entirety of C. QED.
[1] http://www.panspermia.org/seconlaw.htm

Friday 18 May 2012

Religious neutrality

I've had a discussion lately on separation of church and state. And for some reason, theists (mostly Christians) seems to be having problems seeing the difference between an atheistic state religion and "no state religion" also known as "neutral state religion". Because they see atheism as a religion; atheism is not a religion, just as "not smoking" is a habit, and not collecting stamps is not a hobby. Atheism literally translates to "no god". This includes agnostics by the way, because they have no God. Now, remember I am talking about religious neutrality here, a religiously neutral state has to be agnostic by definition, because acknowledging a God, any god, is taking sides, and breaching neutrality.

Just a little note at the end. In a neutral state, the state do not care if "God hates fags", if someone want to smoke those horrible things and poison themselves, they should be free to do so. Allowing cigarettes is not going to infringe on your rights not to smoke them, so why are you complaining anyway? And by the way, pun intended, and it applies to both interpretations.

Richard Feynman

I'm making a habit out of posting youtube videos, but I really don't care. Here are some videos of Richard Feynman on science.

Stupid arguments #1

The other day I got the following argument thrown at me from a creationist: "Newton didn't believe in evolution"
Why is this wrong on so manny levels, and why is this argument stupid? Lets's start off:
Sir Isaac Newton, 4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727 (Gregorian calendar)
Charles Robert Darwin, 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882
Darwin's Book: "On the Origin of Species" where evolution were introduced. - 1959
Isaac Newton died 132 years before the theory of evolution were even coined, did you really think nobody would realize that? Or is it a habit of young earth creationists to ignore documented death dates in favor of imaginary ideas.
One phrase comes to mind: "Shame on you"

Monday 7 May 2012

Godwin's law

I see a lot of "pulling Godwin's law" in my future, so I'm going to do some clarification on exactly what that means.
When I pull Godwin's law that means that somebody used the argument "The Nazis (...) so therefore (...)" Same goes for Hitler, Al Qaeda, Stalin, Lenin, Marx, Mao etc. I'll even extend it to "Jesus". And the argument I make is this: Just because someone liked or disliked something does not mean that thing is automatically good or bad; and if you make such an absurd claim you automatically lost your credibility in the conversation.
When I pull a Reverse Godwins law, that means I'm using a Godwin's Law analogy to show that your argument is absurd; usually by injecting the Nazi's or Hitler into your argument. For instance: Hitler probably won a lot of debates; killing jews is still bad and winning a debate is not evidence of truth.

Friday 4 May 2012

If you want to prove creation by God, explain this.

This goes for Intelligent design, and creationist.
The only catch is: You need to do it without using the argument "Well, that's how God crated it", that argument is not scientific, I'll leave the explanation of why to Richard Feynman.

Look at the part when he says: so vague it can predict anything.

If you are of the people who believe God designed the laws of nature and set off the big bang, you probably do believe in evolution, and therefore this challenge do not apply to you.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Presenting: Vikens law of legal exploitations

I am not a politician, and I do not study law, but still I am going to present you with a law or observation.
This is not a law in a legal system, nor a scientific law, this is a observational pattern; I'll go as far as to call it a theorem. However what it does describe is a pattern in a legal system, and it goes like this:
If a law can be demonstrated to be exploitable for malicious intent; that exploit will, at some point, almost certainly be used for malicious intents.
Now let me explain this.

Here's the logic, and if anyone could help me formulate this as formal logic i would be very thankful.

a.1: Most publicly traded corporations have an obligation to their shareholders to make as much a profit as they possibly can.
a.2: A subset of all corporations will use any non-illegal means available to them to maximize their profits.
b.1: Equal competition makes for lower prices and lower profits and visa versa.
b.2: Fewer competitors means less equal competition.
b.3: Decreased equality in competition means higher prices and therefore profits.
c: Taking a share of a competitors profit margin is a practically free profit increase, and increases competition inequality.
d: A Judicial process is in itself a burden and may kill a weaker party before its completion.
e: Use of an unintended consequence of a law is not illegal.

'a' means that corporations are generally, but not always inherently greedy and a subset may use any non-illegal means to maximize it.
'b' Implies that lower competitive equality is beneficial with regards to 'a'
'c' Implies that a scenario beneficiary towards 'b.2', 'b.3' and 'a' can be achieved my using means commonly associated with intellectual property.
'd' States that if a strong party sue a small party, no matter what the ultimate legal outcome might be, the small party may go bankrupt before the process has been completed and may be beneficiary towards 'b.2'.
'e' States that a member of the subset described in 'a.2' may use a unintended consequence or ambiguity to maximize their profits in ways including but not limited to 'c' and 'd'

The reason I wrote this law down is to formalize why a lawmaker confronted with a scenario; in which a proposed law is exploited, with malicious intent beyond the scope of the original intent of the law; should not be able to get away with the answer "That's not the intention of the law, that is never going to happen". It is very likely to happen. So don't let anyone get away with it; if they actively avoid addressing the problem, it is a possibility that the law was written with this intent in mind, in order to exploit that exact ambiguity and/or loophole.

This is a work in progress so any comments are welcome.

Thursday 15 March 2012

Sunday 26 February 2012

The misconceptions of piracy and damage

Priacy is a huge subjects nowadays. But everyone advocating "strike down on piracy" always overestimates the damages. There is a political motivation behind it is clear, it is a rhetorical means to make the "economical impact" seem bigger; or it might just be that they still haven't realized that the rules and limitations of physical goods do not apply to the digital world. I am not advocating piracy, but come on let us keep it real. I have seen two lesser book authors complaining about "I don't want people to steal my stuff" and implied "there should be zero tolerance on piracy", I might add that one was all for SOPA and the other was like "I'm not for SOPA but I think the 'piracy problem' should be solved" or in other words, "SOPA in unpopular, so I oppose that; rename it to CtIA and I'll be all for it".

Here's the real facts:

  • Some people (in a lot of cases it is most of them) who download from the internet would never have bought your product anyway.
  • Some people buy your product because they downloaded it, and liked it enough to buy it.
  • Some people download an album, like the music and attend a concert.
  • Some people bought your product and lost or damaged their copy, you only allow digital media to be downloaded once, and make it impossible to make a legitimate copy; that is your fault, you and your closed minded policies.
Another thing you need to understand: If somebody steals a DVD, a book or a video game; something physical has disappeared from a shelf, that cost money and raw materials to make; somebody is going to have to pay for that. That is in addition to the upfront production costs but if your movie sucked and nobody bought it, you would still have to pay for that.

The real problem with the industry is that they are competing with anyone now; in music, if you are a competent artist you do not need the labels anymore. The big record companies are no longer able to bend the market to their will. And they don't realize that good artists who make good music can sell music too, you don't have to play on sex to sell music anymore; and most importantly, you don't have to be backed by a label to sell your music with sex.

Journalism is another issue, but they understand the competition they are under (all except Rupert Murdoch, but that is a different matter) and I'll just point out Jeff Jarvis, and his book What Would Google Do?; "It's not the 1950's anymore, get over it; today you have to engage with your audiences."

Lastly, TV and radio; You really don't need anything more than Leo Laporte's TWiT network to really understand it. He created a media empire from scratch and he gives away his content for *free*. Don't tell me it is impossible to make money by giving away your content; you can.

Additional reading:
Jonathan Coulton and pircay

Monday 6 February 2012

NewMedia vs Old Media

I'm going to do a very quick post on one brilliant example of how the old media companies.

The video "This is Aperture" - A portal style remake of the song "This is Halloween" form "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (Touchstone/Disney) has gone somewhat viral on YouTube, and it is made by a complete outsider... this is a Genuine fan-work. An old Media company would go "Charge! bring out the DMCA and sue him to hell and back."; now can you guess what Valve did?
They embraced it as exactly what it is: Fan made free advertising.
If everyone did this instead of trying to fix a flawed system by regulations like SOPA