Sunday, April 17, 2005

5 questions, answered...

Tgirsch has graciously enlisted me to play the 5 questions game; here's my best shot...

1. Superstring theory: Legitimate science or mathematical masturbation? Explain your answer.

That's a pretty difficult one. As an engineer, basically, I am inherently suspicious of theories that require exponentially larger amounts of capital equipment to provide evidence in its favor, which, to my understanding, much of modern physics implies.

The other issue I have with superstring theory is basically, I am inherently suspicous of the possibility of time travel, for reasons, I am embarrassed to admit, come straight from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy- you know, once somebody does it, nobody can be sure of anything anymore.

But given that I suspect the time travel issue can be resolved (to forbid it), and ditto for worm-holes (they've got to be rare if possible) I see no reason why superstring theory can't be true.

But it's only science if there are good ways to prove its implications, which don't involve huge amounts of capital equipment. My guess is somewhat in favor of the mathematical masturbation argument, unless I see something really, really clever.

2. What religion, other than your own, are you most inclined to align with?

I have a friend and colleague who's an atheist Hindu- apparently depending on the school, that's not a contradiction. Maybe I'd be an agnostic Hindu. Or a Unitarian Universalist. I'd probably plump for the latter given that I'm basically a westernized person.

3. Boob man, leg man, or butt man?

I'd say butt.

4. Are there any core tenets of Buddhism with which you disagree? If so, what are they and why? If not, what is your biggest problem with Buddhism?

Buddhism doesn't really have core tenets; but sooner or later reincarnation comes up when I'm asked about it. Explaining reincarnatin as karma as anatman (the doctrine of the insubstianitiality of the self) usually sets my questioner's eyes aglaze. IOW, no, I don't think a self is necessarily literally reborn (although I'm reminded of Marx's dictum on things happening first as tragedy and then as farce.) But I don't think that's out of line with what Buddhism actually teaches, despite popular stories and beliefs of "doing something bad in a past life."

I could also mention vegetarianism; apparently many people think this is necessary to be a "good" Buddhists (which it's not).

My biggest problem with Buddhism is me. I'm the one who's got to live up to what is needed to be done. I hope that doesn't seem like a cop-out.

5. Precisely why are we thanking Mr. Roboto?

For doing the jobs that nobody wants to / For helping me escape just when I needed to
The problem's plain to see / Too much technology
Machines to save our lives / Machines dehumanize

The sad thing is most Japanese don't get this, and those that do are cooler than you or I will ever be...

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