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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Teve says:

    WNDU
    @WNDU

    A Ford dealership in South Carolina is giving away a free American flag, Bible and AR-15 rifle with any vehicle purchase.
    SC car dealership offers free Bible and AR-15 with purchase: ‘God Guns and America!’
    wbtv.com
    3:59 PM · Oct 8, 2019

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: That’s thoughtful of them, I mean selling the rifle with a target, but they should throw in some ammo too.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Because we don’t have TV, I don’t get to watch many Cardinals games. If I want to see one I have to head for the stadium or stop off at the local Applebees. Which is what I did yesterday afternoon. I had planned to get there for the start of the game but ran a little late. I walk in, sit down at the bar, order a Sam Adams, look up at the TV and….

    Braves -0
    Cardinals -10

    WTF? How did I miss half the damn game? Look again…

    Flaherty is on the mound and it’s the bottom of the 1st inning.

    WTF???

  5. CSK says:

    Esquire has an excerpt from All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator, by Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy, in which 43 women accuse Trump of sexually inappropriate behavior. And yes, he does in fact grab them by the pussy.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: No thanx, not enough brain bleach in the world.

  7. grumpy realist says:

    Looks like we’re coming down to the end game for at least this round of Brexit. Boris is supposedly off to pow-wow today with RoI to try to find a way out of this mess. And the commentators over at the DT have turned into a horde of screaming maniacs, yelling “treason!” at anyone who tries to interject a note of sanity into the conversation. It’s amazing to watch how they gin each other up with wilder and wilder accusations against the EU, people who voted Remain, or any politician who doesn’t act precisely as they wish. With threats of revolution and violence. Of course, it’s never the individual writing the threat, it’s always “someone else” who will be “forced to it by their treasonous behavior”.

    The situation isn’t helped by the over-the-top interpretations in some of the articles, but then–this is the same magazine that is perfectly happy to have Boris Johnson as a columnist and to recycle his previous columns.

    There’s a cautionary article in The Guardian today pointing out how England is turning into a country as split as Northern Ireland. If it does reach that sad target, the British tabloids will be responsible for a large portion.

  8. Scott says:

    Looks like Turkey is becoming the latest Ukraine-like scandal. Only with deadlier consequences.

    Remember that Flynn had Turkey connections:https://thehill.com/policy/defense/421780-turkey-and-michael-flynn-five-things-to-know

    Now Giuilani has been messing around in Turkey. https://www.axios.com/trump-rex-tillerson-rudy-giuliani-turkey-58b15c0a-457a-4b15-802a-75d91c6739ad.html).

    Don’t forget all the Trump financial entanglements in Turkey.

    Russia would love for Turkey to drop out of NATO.

    Don’t forget Turkish Government thugs beating up people on the streets of DC.
    https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/05/02/turkish-embassy-riot-recep-tayyip-erdogan-washington-lawsuit/

    It’s a tangled web.

  9. MarkedMan says:

    Nothing quite convinces me that an oddly formatted and lengthy post is worth reading like ending it with all caps….

    13
  10. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: In more cheerful news, Dick’s not only decided not to sell guns anymore, they’re destroying their inventory. I don’t need any more gym shorts, but I may go over and buy some.

  11. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: I tried to look this up but I can’t find it again, but years ago I read about this religious book somebody wrote about Jesus and associates that was written entirely in all caps and the author explained that was because every single word was very important. 😀

  12. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: There is a very successful Dick’s in my town and one of my Kentucky RWNJ relatives said they were going to go out of business because nobody goes there anymore because they Wanna Take Away Yer Rights. That store is packed all the time.

  13. Jen says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson: Against my better judgment, I’m going to respond to this strange form of election poetry you seem intent on posting here.

    Yes, the fact that the open positions on the Federal Election Commission have remained unfilled to the point that the most recent resignation has resulted in a lack of quorum is outrageous.

    The failure to nominate/appoint commissioners goes back to the GW Bush administration. There should be six commissioners, three Democrats/three Republicans.

    Now, with the most recent resignation, there aren’t enough there to do the most basic job of election enforcement. It’s a travesty.

  14. Teve says:

    thanks to the internet my elderly rural relatives hang out on places like Glock Talk and eventually come to believe that what PatriotReloader69 and MolonLabe1957 say is more or less what everybody knows for a fact.

  15. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    That store is packed all the time.

    Oldie but goody: No one ever goes there because it’s too crowded.

    On yet more lighter topics, on of the IT guys let it slip the new company-issued phones will be handed out later this month. He says this time we’re getting more memory, which was the bane of my old phone.

    The old phone is a Samsung mid-market(ish) model with 8GB RAM. You’d think that, and the 32GB card I added to it, would be plenty.

    Nope. Not even close.

    even after deleting useless apps, disabling the preloaded crapware, and moving any app that would move to the memory card (not all of them do for some reason), the phone insists on consuming all its memory. I think never, after the first week, it showed as much as 1 GB free. You need free memory to do app updates, meaning my apps are stuck on older versions.

    At first I would reset the phone, so the whole thing would update. But that takes time and there are better ways to waste one’s time than waiting on a phone.

    what I don’t get is where the memory goes. Last month I disabled Facebook (you can’t delete it), as I can access it fine with the web browser, no additional app needed. The free Ram went all the way up to 800 MB or so. After updating a game and some apps, it went down to 500 MB. Since then, no more updates made, it has oscillated between 250 and 400 MB.

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: I still remember marveling over buying a printer that had more RAM, at like 24meg, than my first PC.

  17. restless says:

    I’m (re) reading a book I love – Russ Roberts’ “How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life”. It was published five years ago, and is his interpretation of Smith’s “Theory of Moral Sentiments”.

    I’m in chapter 8, “How to Make the World a Better Place”, the main idea of which is that we all, through our small and individual actions, create our society. And this morning on the trolley I read…

    “When we honor bad people or avoid good people, we are playing a role in degrading the world around us. It’s a small role, almost negligible. But together, our combined actions are decisive…”

    And now I’m sad – when large segments of the population can’t agree on ‘good’ and ‘bad’, can we have a society? What upheavals are coming as this division plays out?

  18. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    My very first PC had a 40MB hard drive, and I recall thinking no one could possibly use it all up.

    1
    1
  19. Jen says:

    Ooopsies.

    2 Giuliani Associates Arrested On Campaign Finance Violations

    It IS good to know that election law violations are being investigated.

  20. CSK says:

    @Jen: Thanks for trying, but I’m pretty sure it’s pointless.

  21. Jen says:

    @CSK: Perhaps on a larger scale it is indeed pointless. But in the death by a thousand cuts/images of Guiliani associates being led away in handcuffs for election law violations, it’s worth it.

  22. CSK says:

    @Jen: No, I meant your reply to Ms. Ericson. Click on your name in my response and it will take you back to your reply to Cris.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: Turns out these two are part of Trump’s personal legal team. Things should get interesting. Anyone want to take bets as to when Trump starts handing out preemptive pardons? He will have to forget that anyone he pardons can be compelled to speak freely about the things they were pardoned for, or be sent to jail for contempt.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: My first computer only had disc drives and I’ve never maxed out the storage on a hard drive–or even a thumb drive.

  25. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    My very first computer was a Radio Shack TRS 80 Color Computer, with a whooping 4K RAM (how did that thing ever even turn on?), and a cassette recorder for storage (I don’t miss it even a little). I then graduated to a serious (ie useful) Apple ][e with twin disk drives.

  26. Jen says:

    @CSK: Ha! Oops. Evergreen comment you have there, applies to just about everything…LOL.

    Some days, it all feels pointless.

    @MarkedMan: Yes, AND, McCarthy took thousands in campaign contributions from one of them (Parnas), who also donated to Republican Rep. Pete Sessions.

  27. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I hate recursive scenarios.

    If they are cited for contempt and sent to jail, can’t trump issue them a pardon for that? Of course, then they can be questioned on why they were pardoned a second time, as well as what they know and all. But then they can refuse and get sent to jail again, which prompts another pardon, which means they can be questioned about the reasons for the third and second pardons, as well as what they know. And then they can refuse to answer…

    How many cycles can this be kept up?

  28. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: I still remember my wife coming home from work, at a major insurance company, awed by the new drive they’d gotten for the IBM 360, it was a GIGABYTE. Who could imagine such a thing?

  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I don’t think it the President can pardon someone for contempt of Congress or contempt of court, just as he can’t pardon someone at the State level. The difficulty is Congress has no jail of their own.

  30. inhumans99 says:

    @Jen:

    This story should gets its own post on this site because it is quickly going to become a BFD. I assume you have already seen the picture both the one with VP Pence cropped out and the uncropped image.

    I do not think McConnell understands how eager GOP voters might be to clean house, do a little image rebranding post 2020 election and put the insanity behind them.

    I love that these two mooks were arrested as they were getting ready to step onto an International flight with one way tickets.

  31. Joe says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The difficulty is Congress has no jail of their own.

    Maybe they should start building one, along the lines of the holding pens along the southern border.

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    My first computer was the IBM 1401 that had been donated to Bloom Jr. College in Chicago Heights IL for the Data Processing and Computer Programming classes that I took in the fall of 1967.

    The 1401 was available in six memory configurations: 1400, 2000, 4000, 8000, 12000, or 16000 characters. Each character was addressable, addresses ranging from 0 through 15999. A very small number of 1401s were expanded to 32,000 characters by special request.
    WikiP

    It was obsolete as it was replaced by the IBM 360 in 1964.

  33. Mister Bluster says:
  34. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    Back in the day when I frequented Bulletin Board Systems, essentially pre-popular internet message boards, I recall one, hosted at a university computer lab, got a donation from some benefactor which allowed them to acquire a 105 MB hard drive.

    The congratulatory thread was like 50 posts long.

    Back then, aside from messages and a kind of email, there were shareware files available. So a big drive was a big deal.

  35. DrDaveT says:

    (Transferring from the Trump-screws-the-Kurds post where it is now way off-topic.)
    @Kathy:

    I think we’re far from understanding quantum mechanics. We have a large descriptive knowledge of particles and their behavior, but not the reason why they behave that way. We may gain the necessary knowledge and insight someday, or we may find it impossible to do so.

    Putting on my Kuhnian hat for the moment…

    History teaches that the most likely cause for the current stagnation of quantum mechanics (and the ongoing incompatibility with General Relativity) is that the model is fundamentally flawed — that set of hypothesized entities and interactions isn’t really what’s going on. At some point, a combination of inexplicable experimental results and aesthetic disgust will prompt some physicist to propose a radically new description of what’s really going on, incompatible with quantum mechanics but more elegant and better at explaining the experimental data. It will probably be even less intuitive than quantum mechanics (if that’s possible). Most physicists will hate it, but they will die off over time and the younger generation will wonder what all of the fuss was about, consigning quantum mechanics to the same shelf as phlogiston and luminiferous ether.

  36. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Maybe so, but both phlogiston and the aether proved to be very successful failures. One led to the discovery of oxygen (aka dephlogisticated air), the other to relativity.

    It may be we lack the means to observe or measure something important or essential. Measurement is a huge part of science, accurate measurements more so. So we may have to develop, or stumble upon, some heretofore unknown principle equivalent to radio or electricity long ago.

    Or maybe we lack the intelligence to see the answer, even if it’s staring us in the face. That’s one of my pet “what if” weird notions. What if we’re doomed to lie in ignorance of the fundamental aspects of the universe, until someone, or something, more intelligent comes along?

  37. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    Or maybe we lack the intelligence to see the answer, even if it’s staring us in the face. That’s one of my pet “what if” weird notions.

    My wife’s grandfather once said “If our minds were so simple we could understand them, we would be so simple that we couldn’t.”

    Your weird notion is actually why I am not a materialist. I don’t think evolved matter can reason; you can’t get past the syntax/semantics gap. Physical processes don’t mean anything, and the relationship between premises and conclusions in a valid inference is not a causal physical relationship.

    So either there’s something other than matter, or we’re all entirely irrational. I admit the latter could be true, and we could never know it, but I choose not to go down that path. (Although if I’m wrong, I didn’t really ‘choose’… 🙂 )

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT:

    So either there’s something other than matter, or we’re all entirely irrational. I admit the latter could be true,

    It’s twue it’s twue…

  39. Teve says:

    New breakthrough ideas in physics tend to follow data that remain inconsistent with the current thinking even after all the reasonable ancillary conditions have been explored. Hence the apocryphal quote:

    The Most Exciting Phrase in Science Is Not ‘Eureka!’ But ‘That’s funny …’

    If we get a bunch of data that just won’t fit into quantum field theory or GR no matter how hard we try, we’ll get some interesting new physics. There’s a big discrepancy between quantum theory and gravitation, but the circumstances where those theories conflict are places like even horizons which are hard to get data on.

  40. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I tend towards materialism because I’ve yet to see any evidence of something that is neither matter nor energy.

  41. Guarneri says:

    Hey, Joe. Where you goin’ with that whistleblower in your hands…………..

  42. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    I tend towards materialism because I’ve yet to see any evidence of something that is neither matter nor energy.

    Reflect for a moment on the meaning of that sentence, or on your subjective experience of thinking it. It isn’t matter. It isn’t energy. That looks like pretty convincing evidence to me.

  43. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    The Most Exciting Phrase in Science Is Not ‘Eureka!’ But ‘That’s funny …’

    I’m sure that was Isaac Asimov. I even recall reading it in one of his essay collections, but can’t recall which one.

  44. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Well, it’s a proven fact we’re all made of matter and energy. It’s also a proven fact that brain function correlates with feelings, memories, thought, etc. Lastly there’s a ton of documented evidence of people undergoing personality changes due to brain injuries, disease, etc.

    All that seems pretty material to me, even if we don’t fully understand it.

  45. Jax says:

    @Guarneri: Rudy and Co. missed their bus to Vienna. Trump’s gonna throw them all under a different bus now. Do try to keep up.

  46. Teve says:

    @Kathy: Yeah. We don’t understand how qualia or consciousness emerge from certain patterns of interactions of matter and energy, and we may never, but we also have not a single example of a mind that isn’t instantiated in matter and energy doing some activity.

  47. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: This is why I find western, secular Buddhism appealing.

    From Thich Nhat Than*:

    When we look at the ocean, we see that each wave has a beginning and an end. A wave can be compared with other waves, and we can call it more or less beautiful, higher or lower, longer lasting or less long lasting. But if we look more deeply, we see that a wave is made of water. While living the life of a wave, the wave also lives the life of water. It would be sad if the wave did not know that it is water. It would think, ‘Some day I will have to die. This period of time is my life span, and when I arrive at the shore, I will return to nonbeing.

    Structure (consciousness) arises from all the bits below, comes into being, ends, and reverberates.

    *: Not actually western, but his teachings have been very influential in the west.

  48. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    Well, it’s a proven fact we’re all made of matter and energy.

    Out bodies, yes. Our thoughts? Not proven. Our subjective experiences? What would that even mean, to say that an experience is made of meat? Even if the meat generates the experience, it isn’t the experience.

    And the Pythagorean Theorem is not made of matter or energy. Is it a thing? I think so.

    It’s also a proven fact that brain function correlates with feelings, memories, thought, etc.

    Sure. Everyone accepts as obvious that changes in physical state can affect mental experiences. Why isn’t the reverse of that also possible? The idea that the physical generates the mental, but not vice versa, is a model. A hypothesis. Occam’s Razor would be in its favor if there were no phenomena that couldn’t be explained without appeal to the mental… But then you run into subjective experience again. There’s no theory — not even the rudiments of one — for how matter could generate subjective experience. And I don’t see how you could have even the possibility of a theory for how matter could generate meaning.

    I’m not preaching here; I don’t need for you to agree with me. But these arguments are convincing to me, and if you are right that there is only matter then neither of us believes what we believe for any rational reason.

  49. Guarneri says:

    New York Times:

    The email indicates that Loretta Lynch won’t let the Clinton email investigation go far.

    Impeach Trump of course.

  50. mattBernius says:

    @Guarneri:
    A source would be great for that Google didn’t turn up anything and I would love to read the context.

  51. Teve says:

    Anti-gay marriage guy asks Liz a question and she responds.

    You’ll get a chuckle. 🙂

  52. mattbernius says:

    @mattBernius:
    I did find some stuff in the New York *Post* — https://nypost.com/2019/10/08/james-comey-was-troubled-by-loretta-lynchs-pro-clinton-bias-book-claims/ — (just a bit of a difference there) about an excerpt from James B. Stewart new book “Deep State: Trump, the FBI and the Rule of Law.”

    The quote appears to be an excerpt from the book itself. But hey, you know, context.

  53. Tyrell says:

    @Kathy: I have a Samsung Galaxy 5. It takes great pictures, but it uses up power like crazy. I have a feeling (and have been told) that the power and memory are being used up by the spyware that Samsung has imbedded in it. I have looked up methods to root the phone, but have not tried any yet. I asked my cell provider if I could remove all Google and Samsung apps and they acted like I was crazy.
    I plan to keep the phone and use it as a camera only. I now have an LG K20 V: Cheap, and does well for what I need. My next will be a phone that is tough, stays charged, and waterproof – Kyocera or Samsung Rugby.

  54. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Matter and energy don’t just sit there existing, they interact with other matter and energy. They form patterns, relationships, structures, etc. Experiences, feelings, perceptions, etc. are interactions of this kind. A feeling made not be made of flesh, but it is made in flesh.

    And the Pythagorean Theorem is not made of matter or energy. Is it a thing? I think so.

    That’s a good point. No, it’s not a thing. it’s an abstraction, a description of concrete phenomena. If you want to be strict about it, abstractions do exist as well as matter and energy. Suppose there were no sentient or even living beings in the entire universe, then nevertheless force would still equal mass times acceleration. But abstractions are relevant only to sentient beings, to the extent of their sentience.

    There’s no question that intangible and evanescent, non-concrete things exist. You may not be able to hold an idea or a feeling, but they play out in your brain through chemical reactions, electrical signals, and who knows what else (quantum effects? undiscovered particle interactions?). In that sense, the soul is real. and in the sense that one can create concrete things, ideas, feelings, memories in others, etc. the soul doesn’t quite die when one dies. What you leave behind lives on after you do.

  55. Teve says:

    Ha! Just had the following interaction:

    Conservative Dipshit: Greta Thunberg is controlled by international Jews like George Soros, who is also her grandfather!!!1
    Me: Those dastardly Jews! (Twelve goofy emojis like 😛 )
    Facebook: TEVE’S COMMENT VIOLATES OUR POLICY ON HATE SPEECH AND IS DELETED!

    Derp.

  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Pretend you’re an AI charged with identifying hate speech. When you see the words “dastardly” and “Jews” in that sequence, what’re YOU gonna think? How do you contextualize 😛 ? (Hint: You may not be able to, it depends on what Facebook has taught you about context, emojis, and satire [which you still may not be able to recognize even after being taught it exists]. But, yeah, I get that you already knew this part.)

  57. Teve says:

    Shep Smith out at Fox?

  58. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: it’s kind of a positive thing that AI is so terrible, when the robots try to take over and kill us all we’ll be able to confuse them easily by wearing plaid or something 🙂

  59. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    If you put in a dumb rule deleting every post with the name “Soros” in it, I’d bet 99% of the content removed would be antisemitic, or crazy conspiracy theory stuff.

  60. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: AIs try to kill all humans, cannot see black people. After a brief struggle, a stable situation evolves.

  61. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: fine, I’ll need a couple bottles of shoe polish to get my Justin Trudeau on. 🙂

  62. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    Matter and energy don’t just sit there existing, they interact with other matter and energy. They form patterns, relationships, structures, etc.

    Absolutely. No argument there.

    Experiences, feelings, perceptions, etc. are interactions of this kind.

    You’re taking that as an axiom, which makes your argument circular. There is no evidence whatever that arrangements of inanimate matter and energy can magically give rise to consciousness, experience, feelings, etc. There is no theory for how it could happen, or what mechanisms might be involved. People believe that it must happen somehow (though we have no idea how) because the alternative is to believe that matter and energy aren’t the only things, and that’s an idea that has been discredited due to its historical association with silly theist claptrap.

    A feeling may not be made of flesh, but it is made in flesh.

    Even if this were true, that feeling is nevertheless a distinct thing from the matter and energy that are causing it. You can’t describe the feeling by describing the matter and energy. The sensation of seeing blue is wholly distinct from the brain state that produces it, if there is such a brain state. That sensation is real, and is neither matter nor energy.

    You may not be able to hold an idea or a feeling, but they play out in your brain through chemical reactions, electrical signals, and who knows what else (quantum effects? undiscovered particle interactions?).

    If my thoughts are just chemistry, then ipso facto they are not rational, because physical causation is unrelated to logic or reason*. In the physicalist world, I think what I think for the same reasons that hurricanes go where they go, or snowflakes take their shapes. I choose to believe that’s not true; if I’m wrong, well, I didn’t have any choice about what to believe anyway.

    *The relationship between premise and conclusion can either be physical cause and effect, or logical entailment. It can’t be both.

  63. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    You’re taking that as an axiom, which makes your argument circular.

    Not at all. Measures or brain function, in both people and animals, correlate with such things. We can also see changes through brain injury or disease.

    There is no evidence whatever that arrangements of inanimate matter and energy can magically give rise to consciousness, experience, feelings, etc.

    Perhaps because it happens naturally rather than magically? Sorry for the snark, but we also know that in the presence of energy inputs, matter tends to form complex structures, including self-organizing ones like DNA, cells, and organisms.

    [..]because the alternative is to believe that matter and energy aren’t the only things[..]

    I’m open to the possibility. The late XX century and early XXI have taught us that, for all our considerable progress, we don’t know what 95% or so of the universe is made of.

    It would be arrogant, therefore, to assume we know all the categories of actual existents. But so far we know of nothing but matter, energy, and their interactions. There’s no evidence of anything else, and lots of evidence that 1) we have not discovered all types of matter and energy, and 2) we certainly don’t know all the ways these interact, or what emergent properties can arise from them.

    See what I said about ancient metaphysics. There are some ingenious arguments for every philosopher’s pet ideas and notions, but no evidence. almost all of it has been proven wrong.

    In some areas, we’re little or no better. We know neurons form lots and lots of connections, and they transmit chemical and electrical signals between them. We even know what some of the chemical signals do. But if you measure brain power by gray matter neurons, taking into account body/brain mass ratios, good old H. sapiens comes behind dolphins, orcas, and possibly some whales. Obviously, then, the raw number of neurons and connections between them don’t explain intelligence.

    Could it be some kind of not-matter/not-energy’ maybe. but what¡s the evidence for that?

  64. Teve says:

    Matter and energy appear to be necessary though not sufficient conditions for mind.

  65. Teve says:

    Acting Homeland security secretary Kevin McAleenan saying Peace Out Bitches.

  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: The old joke from when I was young was that when the robots take over, if we can trick them into forming political parties, they’ll fight with each other so much that we’ll be able to retake control.

  67. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy: I’m willing to drop this if you’d prefer, but I’m frustrated that you’re only replying to the periphery of the argument.

    Yes, of course matter can affect mind. Anyone who has ever had a stiff drink knows this. Fields can affect particles; particles can affect fields. Matter can affect mind; mind can [censored]. For some reason there is an assumption that the causal interactions between mind and matter must be one-way, from matter to mind. Again, there is no evidence for this — just dogma.

    …but none of this gets at the key point that subjective experience is an entirely different category of thing from any physical phenomenon. It’s as if you read a love poem, and say “the poetry is composed entirely of ink on paper; it’s purely physical”. Even if the poem can’t exist without the ink and paper, it isn’t the ink or the paper or the sum of the two. The meaning is not a physical thing, and there is no theory to explain how that meaning might arise from chemistry and physics.

    Instead of acknowledging this, you say

    Perhaps because it happens naturally rather than magically? Sorry for the snark, but we also know that in the presence of energy inputs, matter tends to form complex structures, including self-organizing ones like DNA, cells, and organisms.

    …as if self-organization somehow suggests a mechanism that could produce consciousness. It doesn’t. There is no reason whatever to believe that a sufficient degree of self-organized complexity somehow suddenly summons a totally different category of thing into being, be that “subjective experience” or “semantic content” or any of the other nonphysical things we experience every day.

    And, again — even if that were somehow true, the experience is still something different from any physical thing, and the meaning is still different from any physical thing.

  68. Matt says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: My music folder alone is over 120 GB in size…

    @Kathy: I used to play a lot of trade wars and other games I cannot remember the name of that were hosted by local BBSes.

    @Tyrell: Well the galaxy 5 was released five years ago. If your phone is that old than the lithium ion battery is probably shot from age and improper charging habits. Hell even an one year old lithium battery can have issues with holding a proper charge if it’s been improperly maintained.. Rooting won’t help

    EDIT : Lithium ion batteries aren’t like the old rechargeable batteries. For example lithium batteries don’t respond well to being fully discharged (unlike older rechargable tech).

  69. Kathy says:

    @Matt:

    Right. I’d forgotten trade wars and other games.

    I didn’t play much. there were too many boards to follow, especially when the local sysops began using the Blur Bit (or Blue Box) hack to make free long distance calls to network their BBSes globally. Eventually there was an offline reader for the message boards and email, and you could even compose replies, follow threads, compose emails, and so on. What this meant was that I’d connect, upload my responses, download new content, and hang up.

    I heard some die-hard fans of WWIV and FIDO tried to keep their systems running after everyone began to move to the internet, and in fact used the web to switch network packets. Most just quit, or moved their message boards to a web site.

  70. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    For some reason there is an assumption that the causal interactions between mind and matter must be one-way, from matter to mind. Again, there is no evidence for this — just dogma.

    Then the assumption is evidently wrong. It’s well known, for example, that mental stress, like excessive worry or nervousness, manifests in physical symptoms like stomach aches, sweating, trembling, increased heart rate, etc.

    But if emotions, experiences, and so on are physically caused by matter interactions, then it’s matter affecting matter, isn’t it?

    …as if self-organization somehow suggests a mechanism that could produce consciousness.

    I pointed out self-organization as a form of extreme complexity of physical systems. A crystal is also a complex arrangement of matter, only far less complex than DNA, never mind a cell.

    But let’s consider something else: self-organization is an emergent property of matter and energy. What evidence do you have that consciousness isn’t another emergent property?

  71. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    But let’s consider something else: self-organization is an emergent property of matter and energy. What evidence do you have that consciousness isn’t another emergent property?

    All of the other emergent properties we can name are physical properties. We’re not talking about matter organizing itself into self-replicating matter that consumes matter and excretes matter and generally behaves like complicated matter; we’re hypothesizing about matter self-organizing in a way that suddenly produces, out of the blue, things that aren’t matter at all. You might as well ask “what evidence do we have that immortal souls aren’t an emergent property of matter?”. There is as much evidence for the latter as for the former.

    It’s well known, for example, that mental stress, like excessive worry or nervousness, manifests in physical symptoms like stomach aches, sweating, trembling, increased heart rate, etc.

    Well, a dedicated materialist could argue that the mental stress is epiphenomenal on the physical stuff; that you would have the same physical symptoms even if there were no mental behaviors associated with them.

    But, again — this is somewhat peripheral to the central problem, which is that a purely physical system can only instantiate physical cause-and-effect relationships, which are insufficient to support reason. If I consider the proof and decide to believe that the Pythagorean Theorem is correct, then either I used correct logic in reaching that conclusion, or I didn’t. The conclusion isn’t justified if I arrived at it by some other causal process, such as brainwashing or incorrect logic or hunch. Physical cause-and-effect (with or without quantum randomness) is one example of “some other causal process”.

  72. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy: Aside: this all started with my reply to your weird concern. This is my own weird concern, featuring my weird argument. I have formally studied philosophy, including philosophy of mind and of language, free will and determinism, personal identity, etc. You won’t find my weird theory in that curriculum, though there are some precursors to parts of it here and there. That doesn’t help me not believe it. 🙂

    In my mind, you and I are having a virtual late night discussion among friends over beers in a bar or a dorm room. If my tone ever starts to sound less friendly than that, call me on it.

  73. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    We’re going around in circles now. We can continue this thread, or just re-read each other’s post 100 times and be done 😉

    I’ll just offer a summary:

    We don’t know what consciousness is exactly or how it works. We don’t know that types of entities other than matter and energy exist or can exist. absent evidence of the latter, then the former must be assumed to be material. This might be wrong, but we don’t know that until a) we find some kind of non-matter/non-energy, b) we prove that matter and energy cannot account for consciousness, or c) we find a complete material explanation for consciousness (in which case we were not wrong, but now we’d know we were not wrong).

    I’m open to any of the above, and a bunch of options I’ve left out or haven’t thought of. But I require evidence or other reliable proof.

  74. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    We don’t know what consciousness is exactly or how it works. We don’t know that types of entities other than matter and energy exist or can exist.

    I think this is where we start talking past each other. To me, it is so obvious that a subjective experience is not a physical thing that no argument is needed. We don’t know what consciousness is or how it works, but we do know that mental events are not themselves physical things — even if they are somehow caused by physical events. The brain state is not the sensation of pain, no matter how closely the two are associated.

    If we can’t agree on that, then I don’t see any productive conversation on the first horn of my dilemma being possible. (Footnote: Descartes started with “cogito ergo sum” precisely because he could be more certain of the reality of his subjective experience than he could of any physical fact. It’s theoretically possible to be mistaken about having a body; it’s not possible to be mistaken about having subjective experiences.)

    To me, the burden of proof is not on the dualist to prove that the physical can’t produce the mental. The burden is on the materialist to prove that the physical CAN produce the mental, given that we know the mental exists and isn’t physical. Occam’s Razor cuts both ways.

    I’m still interested to hear your thoughts on the second horn — the incompatibility of materialism and reason, because if my thoughts are physically caused, they can’t be ‘reasoning’ in the necessary way.

    Happy to continue in the new Open Forum, or happy to finish my beer and wish you a pleasant evening.