Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Crab Blogging (guest appearances)

No Crabs today; but, we had some unexpected visitors:

Including the Easter Hare:

Watering flowers

Standing on a Corner.....

(Firstly, let me apologize for the lack of posts. I am intent on finishing the thread on information and we're still sifting through the wreckage of our computer (Hal) crash of a month ago. I'm hoping to post again this weekend.)

The Growlery has a very interesting post up called Riding the (Carrier)Wave. He also has a second post since many, like ourselves, apparently found his discussion worthy of comment.

While there are a number of issues discussed there, it is the use of "quotes" from popular songs that most intrigued me. I suddenly realized where I had seen this before. Of course, it is scattered throughout Renaissance literature from Erasmus to Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy. The only difference is that the "quotes" here are from popular songs while there they are from classical tests, most often Horace, Cato, Cicero, etc. The author that quotes most deftly I find to be Montaigne. And, since he lets you into his personal life, it is pretty easy to see that his references are simply embedded in his life, just as popular songs are embedded in our lives, particularly from our youth. Or, as Montaigne himself says:
I quote others only in order the better to express myself.
The main difference is that when we write in blogs we can ever so easily crosslink.

So, "that will be the day" and "bye bye love." Or, my very favorite, since it evokes an entire era, "Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona,..." (Jackson Brown as covered by the Eagles.)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday Crab Blogging

From the Archives

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Libby Verdict

I really have to comment on the Libby verdict. Even though one of my friends feels that the moment of change was last November's elections, I really feel that this verdict, by a jury of randomly selected lay people, vetted by the defense attorneys, was a milestone. It was a demonstration that the American people, no matter what the World says about us, are, at heart, committed to the rule of Law. If only this could have happened before the tragedy of Iraq.

It is no matter that this will be overturned in appeal on a technicality. It is no matter that, if that fails, Bush will pardon little "Scooter" in January 2009. What matters is that, in spite of thousands of dollars on defense, the truth came through. That a Republican prosecuter actually achieved a conviction of one of the highest officials in the Bush White House. And that even at this date, the White House doesn't get it!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Comments on the Tangents

Our friend over at the Growlery has made some comments on our last installment concerning information. I realize that I am far behind in finishing up the bemusings, but really, HAL has been the most obstreperous of computers. He is quiescent now. Its hard to be your own I.T. tech.

Comments on the Tangents on the Comments:

Growlery: I would have been tempted to say that the brain is completely dependent, rather than "strongly dependent", on sensory information received. Even when surviving sensory deprivation, it falls back on recycling of external information previously received.

Dr.C: I would agree with this completely. Hopefully, when we get to the inner workings of the brain, this will be the crucial observation pertaining to free will.

Growlery:And I was amused by his use of the word "purpose" ("In spite of being in thrall to the imagination, I am sure you will agree that abstract creativity is not the primary purpose of the brain" - para 3, my emphasis). It is, of course, a figure of speech: I use it myself. My amusement derives from knowing that Dr C is usually more strict than I about not using language which imputes purpose to the products of blind evolutionary chance. Amusement aside, this says more about language, and thinking, and the symbolic bases of both, than about Dr C or myself.

Dr.C.: Again, I would agree that “purpose” is a loaded word. It is anthropomorphism at its sloppiest. I will be more careful in the future. Let us just say that although evolution is blind, it is also thoughtful. He (or She) would like to maximize a given species chances for survival (but not the collective species, i.e. life). Now this indeed is something to ponder. Talk about a tangent!

Growlery: Abstract creativity is the faculty which makes possible concrete problem solving in unexpected and unpredictable (even, on occasion, unimaginable) sets of new conditions or circumstances. It is at least arguable as a hypothesis that capacity for abstract creativity is the main factor in maximising the probability of survival, wellbeing and procreation for Homo sapiens. And if that hypothesis is accepted, then can it not be said that abstract creativity is the primary purpose (or at least a primary purpose) of the newest, most recently evolved regions of the brain?

Dr.C.: This, again, is just a rather heady grist for the ponder mill. One can easily see how the evolution of wings on a bird help it to fly. And then, the transformation of these wings to limbs (if I remember it right). But how does the ability to think (whatever that is) evolve? It must say something about the underlying structure of the brain. That is, the brain must be so structured as to allow evolution. So, I am going to store this question until we arrive at the brain itself. I only have a few things to tidy up on the periphery, but they are important.

Since Bill Evans on the piano is definitively abstract creativity. And there is many the man who seduced the girl (maximized his procreativity) using him as background, The Growlery has a point.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Crab Blogging; From the Archives

Hope to get back to the board this weekend.