The Future

Keith Olbermann continues to be one of the few voices of reason in the world.

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  1. babylonlurker

     /  February 6, 2010

    I can agree on that one, and I apprewciate the passion behind his statement

  2. While I don’t agree with his comments on marriage (sanctity and all) and abortion (because from a purely biological standpoint, it’s murder), and I really couldn’t care one way or the other about evolution (without some constantly evolving alien menace, I don’t see its relevance where I’m concerned), I DO agree that the corporations need to be stopped, that they need to NOT be recognized as people by the law, and that they should NOT be allowed to fund or even so much as DONATE money to Congressional or Presidential candidates.

    I’d blame Canada, but that’s just a funny copout. Besides, AIDS is their fault (so-called Patient Zero was Canadian), so we don’t need to bash them for anything else.

  3. because from a purely biological standpoint, it’s murder

    I don’t want to get into a long discussion of this, but from a biological standpoint, it most definitely is not. You may object on religious grounds, but the science is pretty clear.

  4. And I think most people around the world see Canada as a slightly better version of the US, which probably enrages both Americans and Canadians. (Now that is funny.)

  5. Well, Jonas, unless we’re witnessing macro evolution in the space of nine months, or all of us are merely tumors that gained sentience (which is even more ridiculous), I’m pretty sure it’s murder.

  6. In a sense, that is what we are: we grow out of our parent organism. For a long time, we are not yet sentient beings, but simply parts of our mothers that will at some point become independent. But until a fairly late stage in that process, we are not in any sense alive – no more than your liver is a separate being, in any case.

    Or, as Michael Moore (a devout Christian) had God say in “Dude, Where’s My Country?”:

    4. An embryo is an embryo, a fetus is a fetus, and a baby is a baby. That’s the way I set it up. When it is a baby, then it becomes a human being. You humans are difficult enough, I don’t need more of you around any sooner than necessary. And while we’re on the subject, I really don’t care about your sex lives, as long as they’re consenting and adult. Just keep it to yourselves, okay?

    Or think of it this way: we don’t accuse someone of murder every time a sperm dies, do we?

  7. I figured you’d go for the sperm argument, Jonas. The part is not the equivalent of the whole. Once the genetic fusion of the egg and sperm have begun, then they have become a new being. Yes, it’s a single cell, and yes, it multiplies. But that single cell is the whole. Then the two cells are the whole. Then the four, then the eight, and so on. The entire quantity of what is present is the whole of the being.

    If I may, look at SGDS from The Infnite Ocean. A sentient computer, yes? But like us, it is made of parts. However, none of these parts are the equivalent of the whole thing. So no, a sperm is not the same as a human being. It’s only a part, as is the liver.

    As for the tumor thing, that’s also quite ridiculous because the genetic code is different from the mother’s. And what’s more, that genetic code doesn’t change from the moment of conception to the day of that person’s death eighty years later. Whether or not we’re sentient is actually irrelevant, as is proven by anyone who has become brain dead. They are no longer “sentient”. And whether they were or not at one point in their lives is still irrelevant. A person is still alive, even if they can’t yell at you about how babies aren’t people until they start exploring. Once there’s a total system shutdown, then that’s it.

    It comes down to the genetic code. And that has never changed.

  8. The possibility of a new being is not the same as a new being.

    The part is not the equivalent of the whole. Once the genetic fusion of the egg and sperm have begun, then they have become a new being. Yes, it’s a single cell, and yes, it multiplies. But that single cell is the whole. Then the two cells are the whole. Then the four, then the eight, and so on. The entire quantity of what is present is the whole of the being.

    Yes, but this is still happening within the parent organism, and the process cannot be completed without it. There is no meaningful separation from the parent organism until much later. At this point, it’s simply a chemical process that can lead to a living being.

    If I may, look at SGDS from The Infnite Ocean. A sentient computer, yes? But like us, it is made of parts. However, none of these parts are the equivalent of the whole thing. So no, a sperm is not the same as a human being. It’s only a part, as is the liver.

    And SGDS was not a sentient being before someone finished programming it and developing its hardware. Before that, it was inert matter, even though development was taking place.

    As for the tumor thing, that’s also quite ridiculous because the genetic code is different from the mother’s.

    So is the genetic code of a ribosome – or a sperm for that matter. (A sperm can move independently and has genetic code that is different from the human that produced it, because human sperm is haploid.) It’s still part of the same organism.

  9. Parent argument: That’s not a tumor. The relationship is more parasitic or commensal (where one benefits and the other gets neither benefit nor harm).

    Furthermore, that single cell multiplying is the child growing. Like I said, the genetic code stays the same from zygote to infant to know-it-all teenager to old dead guy. If you want to look at it from the perspective of a computer being built, then we are still under construction until about 25 and don’t actually become “beings” until we’re finished. Most of our lives are just hardware construction and programming.

    As for sperm and such, that’s still only a piece being produced by the organism. It’s half its genetic code, but it’s still its own genetic code. When it merges with an egg, that’s when you get something new.

  10. It’s half its genetic code, but it’s still its own genetic code.

    Not exactly. The very fact that it’s only half the code means that it also contains a whole lot of code that wasn’t active or had different functions in the parent. It’s not 50% of the parent code, it’s a different code.

    And still, the point remains that the fertilized egg is in not a living organism; it is the first building block of a living organism. It still needs all sorts of parts and resources that can only be provided by the parent organism.

    Scientists, after all, haven’t come up with these definitions for nothing. There aren’t any scientists running around thinking “we want to kill babies!” These definitions are the result of observation and study, not some kind of crazy desire to kill or to perform abortions.

  11. Evil Roda

     /  February 8, 2010

    Erm, I hate to interrupt this lovely conversation on abortion and such, but…
    When I try to open Phenomenon 32, all I get is a black screen. I can move my cursor around, but that’s it. Yes, I waited. Nothing started, happened, made a loud noise that gave me a heart attack, nothing.

  12. Evil Roda, the loud noise is normal and should be accompanied by the words “Receiving data burst”.

    Jonas: I wasn’t aware that, aside from food and general life support, the mother provided anything more than an environment for construction. However, even if the mother’s body actively participates in the construction of the child’s arms, legs, organs, etc., that doesn’t rule out that it’s a living thing all its own. The genetic code is that of a newly formed human being, albeit one that won’t be able to think (probably ever since intelligence is becoming rarer these days). Heck, its gender is even decided at the formation of the zygote; not to sound desperate for solid ground (I’m not, actually), but that has to count for something.

    That genetic code stays the same all the child’s life. It’s different from the mother at the beginning, and stays different at the end. I’m really not seeing how “sentience” enters into it. That’s more something you should apply to a species as a general rule, not something that can be applied to each member. If you’ve ever worked retail, you know what I mean.

    Jokes and jabs humanity aside, there are several other rules that can only applied to the species as a whole, those being in the criteria scientists use to define life, things such as whether or not it can reproduce. Not every person on the planet can reproduce. I happen to know a guy who is sterile. He’s no less alive than I am.

    Sentience is a general rule, not an individual-specific one. If it were, then anyone who lost their higher brain functions and was reduced to little more than a vegetable is no longer human and so it’s perfectly fine to just kill them. Their bodies are just regulating the temperature of a squishy super computer that just got a hard formatting anyway. Without the OS, they’re not really human, now are they? Same for dead people.

    When you apply it to all possible situations, the argument falls short, Jonas.

    As for the haploid thing, half the code may do different stuff than all of the code would, but it’s still half the code. In all likelihood, the new functions are actually suppressed by the other half of the code when we’re dealing with a whole ribbon of DNA. And there’s still so much we don’t yet know about this genetic programming language that my mind reels at how many instructions MUST be present in it.

  13. Cripes… I could submit that as a college paper and get a passing grade just for the length.

    I’m gonna withdraw from this argument now, Jonas, because I’m scared I’ll wind up typing a novella in my next reply.

    So, Ph32 discussion! Not a bug, but is there any chance of turning down the sensitivity of the movement controls? Out of what must be twenty or thirty attempts, I’ve only completed the R&D building level three times because I keep crashing into things. I mean, I’ve DONE it, it’s just… really difficult.

  14. Evil Roda

     /  February 8, 2010

    Wolfgang, I don’t even have a loud noise. Nothing. It’s just quiet darkness. It’s almost as if Jonas had made a purgatory simulator.

  15. @Evil Roda: That sounds like the game is still loading. What kind of computer are you running this on?

    @Wolfgang: I still don’t see how this makes abortion murder at the point where, original genetic code or not, the embryo has not developed into anything like a *functioning* human being. I’m not saying it’s something that should be done casually – but it’s also not the same as killing someone. Do note, also, that in many situations we have no problem removing someone from life support, and that’s not called murder. How is this any different?
    But yes, we should probably get off this. Hmm… game. Ah, yes, the controls. I’m definitely going to look into making them a bit less sensitive. I got used to it after a while, and I think most people can, but it’s almost certainly better if it’s a little easier.

  16. Evil Roda

     /  February 8, 2010

    I’m running on Windows XP, Service Pack 2, with a built-in AMD Athlon processor. How long does the game take to load?

  17. Dojutrek

     /  February 8, 2010

    @ Evil Roda:
    I have the same setup, say for the processor). It usually takes my computer around a solid minute to load the game.

    Also, can you give us anymore information about your rig? Graphics Card? Current RAM? If you need help locating either of these, I can provide some assistance.

  18. Evil Roda

     /  February 8, 2010

    RAM is 448 MB, and yes, I realize that’s less than most laptops. I have no idea about the graphics card.

  19. Then that’s the problem – the game takes more RAM than that. I’d probably recommend something like 800MB as a minimum.

    The reason for this is that Construct has to load all of its textures – including some rather large images from the intro and outro – into the memory before it starts. Yes, that’s silly, and there’s an option to do it differently… but that’s not working properly and makes the game crash incessantly. So, until a newer version of Construct comes out and fixes this bug, Phenomenon 32 will have fairly high system requirements. There’s absolutely nothing I can do about this.

  20. Evil Roda

     /  February 8, 2010

    *tilts his head back, looking up at the sky*
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    *explodes*

  21. Dojutrek

     /  February 8, 2010

    @ Evil Roda:

    Ah, so you’re using a Lappy I see. Laptops tend to use the RAM as sort of a Graphical Memory, which explains the odd value you gave. Usually the Graphical Memory is set through the BIOS on most Laptops and can be reduced.

    While I’m not too sure if you’re running at the minimum already. You can always go into the BIOS and double check if the GFX memory is at the minimum setting.

  22. Life-Support: Yeah, we do take people off of life support and say it’s not murder, but I think that’s either our pathetic attempt at justifying it, if only to put our conscience at ease. That’s still a person we’re killing. So you’re right, the two are no different.

    *Slaps self hard three times*

    STOP IT!

    Okay, yeah, that’s the last one.

    You know what? I’m just gonna leave for a few days. No more.

    (Watch as I come back and keep arguing. Sigh…)

  23. Evil Roda

     /  February 9, 2010

    @Dojutrek: I wish I were using a laptop. This is a desktop.

  24. Dojutrek

     /  February 9, 2010

    @ Evil Roda:

    Hmmm…I must of misread your earlier post then and assumed that you were on a Laptop. Sorry about that.