No Place For Democracy

November 23, 2007

“There will one day spring from the brain of science a machine or force so fearful in its potentialities, so absolutely terrifying, that even man, the fighter, who will dare torture and death in order to inflict torture and death, will be appalled, and so abandon war forever.”
Thomas A. Edison
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Dubious Ethics in Atlantis?

June 4, 2007

After watching all ten seasons of Stargate SG-1, I have seen the characters on that show exhibit an unusually high sense of morality, perhaps to an unrealistic extreme. They constantly put themselves in harm’s way to save the lives of those around them and attempt to negotiate at every chance they can. This is particularly true of Daniel Jackson, who has repeatedly tried to convince various hostile alien races (and numerous human factions) to take a peaceful approach.

Seeing this sets a high standard for the characters in the spin off series, Stargate Atlantis. However, there have been numerous occasions in Atlantis when the main characters take approaches that are difficult to justify in an ethical sense. Many are done with the standard aim of security and survival in mind, yet there are occasions when a perverted sense of ethics comes into play and has a surprisingly little impact on the other characters.
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On the Nature of Memories and their depiction in the anime series “Big O”

November 25, 2006

Memories play a pivotal role in human existence, as they are the carriers of information and, like genes, can survive for long periods of time. A person with a favorable experience will remember it and be influenced by it in the future. In this way culture and religion have been propagated throughout our world, as well as countless others (technology being a notable one). They have grown less important in this purpose with the advent of writing and reading, but are still critically important to humanity for a different reason: humans are defined by some (as of yet unknown) combination of their genes and their experiences (memories / memes). The critical question posed by the anime series “Big O” is an important one for us (at least me) to consider: What is the relationship between memories and the quality of life of the individual or society?
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The Self as an Inference Engine

October 23, 2006

The nature of sentience has been a hot topic lately, particularly because it is so intangible and difficult to define. Many have tried to produce a catch-all definition or trial that could scientifically or experimentally be used to determine this, but to no avail (as of yet). One of the more well-known tests in this area is the Turing Test [1], which sounds great initially, but has a few hilarious shortcomings[2: Satire]. As such, I propose an alternative to the issue of sentience and the self that completely avoids sentience altogether. This alternative solves many of the problems that we are forced to indeterminately wonder about now, but adds new complications…
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Galactus: Truly Amoral?

August 30, 2006

Galactus[1] of the Marvel Universe is an exciting character to me for a number of reasons, although most of the excitement comes from his having “limitless power” ala the Power Cosmic and even more so, the dubious conception of him as an amoral being. These beings (and some who claim to be but aren’t) tend to shake up the world around them simply through their presence, and the titanic Galactus is surely no exception. But is he actually amoral, or just a pretender?
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Information Control

August 25, 2006

The question of when it is permissable to control the flow of information has been on my mind for quite some time now. It first came to be relevant when I played Metal Gear Solid 2 for the second time and getting to the end of the game, where this is said:

Rose: You’re being silly! What we propose to do is not to control content, but to create context. [1]

It is this line specifically that irks me, although I will quote others as I investigate the connections between content and context as well as whether it is permissable to create and regulate context. Specifically, I plan to argue that it is permissable to regulate context given certain conditions.
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Faith and Reason

August 1, 2006

There are many different definitions for the word ‘faith’, some tangible, others intangible. Most people refer to it as ‘their faith’, specifically referring to their religion. Not being the religious type, I have always felt it to mean something else. Faith for me is more relying on one’s intuition and notably relying on things that have been reasonably proven to me in the past. That’s my faith. It’s something I cling onto even during the occasional times when I know I shouldn’t, perhaps in the same way your faith has worked for you.

My faith has evolved over time in the scientific sense: a theory is made that models the world around me. If it proves to be accurate over time, it ‘lives’ on, and if not, a new ‘faith’ takes its place. It is the same for most of my beliefs, and it should be no surprise, as it’s just a fancy way of saying that I’m learning as I go along.
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