Tuesday, August 01, 2006

10 Types of People

There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary numbers, and those who don't.

Binary numbers are used in mathematics and logic, especially in programming/electronics. A light switch is binary. On or off. Yes or no. Two mutually exclusive options, you get the idea.

Some people say the fact that the universe exists is proof that god exists. God is the "First Cause", the force that moved the light switch from Off to On, 0 to 1. I don't quite understand how a 0 can pull itself up by the bootstraps and make itself into a 1.

I don't believe in god. In fact, I reject any and all claims of the supernatural.

If god is the force that created the universe, what created this force? That force must be represented by something. It had to have an effect on that 0 to make it a 1. Or maybe god is really 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001.

Could be.

Maybe god then became more complex and could control matter and energy, and reshaped the universe, creating our beautiful planet and all the neat critters crawling on it. But wouldn't it take matter and energy to manipulate matter and energy? If the supernatural is to be believed, it must have a quantifiable effect on the natural.

Maybe god knows everything. Computers know a lot, and their data is represented with the numbers 0 and 1. All the text you are reading now is like this to the computer. Little electrons buzzing around. So, information has to be represented somehow, because if it did not have a way to discern one thing from another (0 from 1, for example), it just wouldn't exist.

If I wanted to describe myself in every detail, and store the pages and pages of information on hard drives, pretty soon the collection of hard drives would be more massive and voluminous than I am. The only way to describe myself in every detail (think molecular configuration detail) would be to make a perfect copy of myself.

Now apply that to the universe.

Maybe god is the universe. How does the universe use itself to represent other bits of itself so that it can think and know and predict everything about itself?

Ouch. That hurts my head. Talk about mental discontinuities.

Moving on...

Carl Sagan says "we are a way for the universe to know itself". Rightly so. But this does not make us gods.

Or does it?

Genes contain data. We don't know exactly how or why (yet), but the chemicals act as minute differences that allow all sorts of variation. Biomachinery copies the DNA, makes little strings of instructions for cells. It does it all surprisingly well. But this machinery has limits; it can only copy so much without errors becoming too numerous. It would seem that the behaviour of organisms would be limited to whatever DNA could encode as instructions. Then brains came along with their clever proteins. Proteins are DNA chains that have been folded into special shapes. Our brains are made of protein. Our brains store more information than the DNA in our cells.

-If memes are to the mind what genes are to the chemical machinery, what does that mean about us? Our minds make god(s).

Information builds upon itself towards more and more complex systems. Thank you, Sun, for stemming off entropy.

-If genes made memes, what do memes make?

That's why I started this blog. ;-)


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