About Dark

Bio

Got a hold of my first computer in 1981, that was it for me. I knew almost immediately what I wanted to do with my life. Began contributing to the WWW project in early 1992. I have worked at most levels of software development (assembly language, bootstrap, firmware, operating system, application, networked application). I'm on a life-long journey of learning, and study everything I can. My name, Dark Star, comes from the comedic screenplay and movie by John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon. Dan O'Bannon later went on to write Alien.

Languages

English

Areas of Expertise

Computation, Psychedelics, World Wide Web, Forth

An idea worth spreading

Ideology is Prejudice / Evolution rewards cooperation & symbiosis

I'm passionate about

Truth, Life, Computation, Physics, Cosmology, Evolution, Abiogenesis, History

Talk to me about

Anything! Especially things I'm passionate about or things on my blog: http://iconoclasm2000.blogspot.com/

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

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Dark Star
Posted over 2 years ago
Rupert Sheldrake's TEDx talk: Detailing the issues
This has nothing to do with the censorship of ideas -- Sheldrake remains free to publish his books. But it is irresponsible to promote this as science, under the TED banner, when it very plainly is not, because it conveys the wrong message. Should children be taught that astrology and witchcraft and alchemy are all science? The great Newton himself wrote lengthy tomes on all of these subjects, why aren't they taught as science? The answer is because it is clear now that these things are not science. They did not hold up. How many millions of human centuries of thought and effort need to be wasted on such fancies before we can say "enough"?
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Dark Star
Posted over 2 years ago
Rupert Sheldrake's TEDx talk: Detailing the issues
>> Bell’s Inequality shows that there is no inherent DNA (predictability of outcomes) in quantum particles. Information transmits without regard to the speed of light Bell's inequality (which hasn't been 100% confirmed) would imply local realism is wrong, not that information can be transmitted faster than light. etc etc
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Dark Star
Posted over 2 years ago
Rupert Sheldrake's TEDx talk: Detailing the issues
I think you are confused. The big G constant is NOT a measure of gravitational force at a specific point in spacetime, that absolutely varies, tremendously. G is the gravitational constant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_constant it is NOT known to vary, it is known to be very difficult to measure precisely - because of measurement error it can only be verified to a certain precision. But here is absolutely ZERO credible evidence that G is variable. If it is variable it is beyond our limit to measure it currently. It's fine to TEST such hypotheses (and people have) but it is utterly dishonest and irresponsible to make claims that cannot be supported. >> But scientists have discovered that the speed of light is faster at the outer reaches of the known universe and slower when telescopes are pointed in the opposite direction The vacuum speed of light? Citation please
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Dark Star
Posted over 2 years ago
Rupert Sheldrake's TEDx talk: Detailing the issues
2. Factual error "The Science delusion is the belief that science already understands the nature of reality in principle". 2. Factual error [science alleges] "there is no consciousness in animals" 2. Factual error: science assumes all laws are fixed (no, only the fundamental, fixed laws are fixed and science isn't 100% certain which ones those are) 2. Factual error: [science alleges] matter and energy sprang into existence at the moment of the Big Bang 2. Factual error: "governments only fund research into mechanistic medicine" 1. Philosophical error: suggests laws could be habits - this is, at best, his hypothesis, no evidence is provided for the assumptions underlying this argument. 2. Factual error: genes only produce proteins [and so can't account for morphology], the morphological impact of the position *and* timing of expression of genes (especially the HOX complex) is well established in causing morphological changes. 2. Factual error: changes in the value of speed of light (discussed elsewhere) 2. Factual error: that scientists don't look for systematic changes in the 'constants', numerous studies have been undertaken - two of many: http://prd.aps.org/abstract/PRD/v59/i4/e043516 http://iopscience.iop.org/0034-4885/66/11/R04 1. Philosophical error: misrepresents the relationship between the speed of light and the definition of the meter - speed of light measurements had progressed to the point where the measurement was limited by the definition of the meter itself and so the meter was redefined to be "The metre is the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299 792 458 of a second." Sheldrake dishonestly makes this sound like scientists are trying to pull a fast one but the issue is that you must have a reliable definition of length to measure speed. This definitional change in no way limits our ability to study the speed of light, it merely shifts it into a distance measurement.
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Dark Star
Posted over 3 years ago
George Smoot: The design of the universe
In addition to my reply to Peter, here is a technical look at how entropy increases even as the energy released from process of ATP -> ADP hydrolysis is used to do some work within the cell: http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/Biological_Chemistry/Biochemical_Energy/ATP%2F%2FADP
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Dark Star
Posted over 3 years ago
George Smoot: The design of the universe
Peter, I'm not sure your statements mesh well with science. Sara - the entropy of the whole system IS increasing, but this in no way prevents localized complexity from arising. Evolution does not drive towards complexity - it drives towards successful systems; that sometimes means increasing complexity - and sometimes it means simplifying. But yes, evolutionary processes have absolutely driven up the complexity of various organisms at various times. Why don't we quickly run out of energy? Because of the sun, powering photosynthesis and fueling biological processes (a few organisms get energy from nuclear decay products, others from hydrothemeral vents, and misc other sources as well). Entropy is a measure of disorder of the ENTIRE system, not every part of it. Entropy is a measure of the energy unavailable for work. The second law of thermodynamics does NOT imply that work cannot be done on a part of the system that results in an increase in complexity. These are two very different measures, at at different logical levels (parts and the whole). When you swish your hand through still water, extremely complex vortices of rotating water are formed - but some of the energy expended in this action ceases to be available for future work. Another way to think about entropy is to consider all the possible arrangements of a system. Imagine a 10-by-10 square with 5 rows of red dots followed by 5 rows of white dots. There is only ONE configuration of the box that represents this state - but there are ~1E30 of almost identical seeming configurations with a nice mixture of red and white dots - they are almost indistinguishable (think about properties). If you randomly started swapping dots around you would quickly run down from red-top/white-bottom state and very quickly hit a state of high entropy where the dots are well-mixed up. From there, you would never expect to see the original 'ordered' state again (nor any other specific state).
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Dark Star
Posted over 3 years ago
Richard Dawkins: Militant atheism
Militant MEANS aggressive in support of a cause; how does that imply hierarchy and deference to authority? And what is Dawkins being Militant about really? about thinking critically for oneself!
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Dark Star
Posted over 3 years ago
Dan Dennett: Let's teach religion -- all religion -- in schools
Put another way: "you can't explain what "good" means without Odin" OR "you can't explain what "good" means without a Flying Spaghetti Monster" This argument simply does NOT follow - you simply punt to some undefinable quantity and pretend like that resolves the question. In reality, you are just begging the question. What do you have in evidence? The bible claims it's moral to slaughter infants with a sword if God commands you to do it and to stone your child to death if they disrespected you sufficiently. These were believed to be MORAL OBLIGATIONS, commanded by God. Do you follow the OT morality? Or do you believe that morality changed with the NT? If your moral obligations changed with the NT then they are clearly at best relative (although you cannot demonstrate that they are anything but arbitrary; you merely PRETEND otherwise). Secular morality is superior to this because it admits that we have imperfect knowledge and that we must continually reflect on our actions and consequences and reevaluate what we consider to be right and wrong so that we can do BETTER in the future. Where is the commandment against owning another human being as property? PERIOD, EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE? Where is the commandment not to beat your child? Instead we get "Spare the rod, spoil the child." Do you need me to link you to stories about the many "Good Christians" who have beaten their children to death? Where is the commandment to NOT trust your child's health to prayer and TAKE THEM TO A DOCTOR? Do you need links to the many stories about "Good Christians" who let's their kids DIE while they ignorantly try to pray them back to health? Matthew 18:19 Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven Then why do Children die when they are prayed for? Don't give me excuses, the passage doesn't say WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT. It says it WILL be done. This is a harmful lie.
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Dark Star
Posted over 4 years ago
Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!
40+ and I don't wear a watch! I do what I love which is programming and have been doing it since I was 14. I did absolutely HORRIBLE in school and instead focused all my energy on learning programming, which lead to math, math lead to physics, physics lead to chemistry, chemistry lead to biology, biology lead to evolutionary sciences, evolution lead to abiogenesis, and along the way I picked up a pretty sketchy view of history (a weak point in my studies but I continue to learn). So I've learned a few Important things about a lot of different subjects but my focus remains on programming. I read a LOT, used to be books but now I read ideas on the internet. Debate is so critical to learning, that is one of the things I enjoy most about the internet. #1 thing I think is they need to STOP treating children like cogs in a wheel. A single curriculum does not fit all children equally. I could have flourished in the right environment (as I have in my computer work).
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Dark Star
Posted over 4 years ago
Denis Dutton: A Darwinian theory of beauty
He says in the talk that beauty is "One of the ways that evolution has of arousing or sustaining interest". I think this is one of the better ways of understanding how it could factor into survivability. Our ancient ancestors would have found a vast of array of things 'beautiful' in order to best survive and we inherit at least some of that historical context.