Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Liveblogging the Veritas Forum

21:30 And we're done. I think two things kinda say it all: more of the audience questions were appropriate for a preacher than for a scientist; and the book table on the lobby was packed with every desperate attempt to make theism intellectually respectable published in the last twenty years. Veritas indeed.

21:25 I made my way to the mike line and asked about personhood being an emergent phenomenon. In particular, since she had gone out of her way to dismiss the very idea in less than a sentence, my question is, do you have the scientific basis for such a rejection? Result: total deflection. I mean, yes, it's also interesting that other humans ascribe person-ness to dumb routines, which is why the Turing Test is less powerful than it first appears, but answer the damn question.

20:58 Did she just approvingly mention Killing Jesus? As in, Bill Fucking O'Reilly?

20:50 Oh, and apparently the Bible instructs us not to self-promote. Or at least not to do the research you already did last year.

20:45  Now Picard and Spickard are sitting down for Q&A. His first questions are about religion.

20:37 ...And she came from an "atheist faith" to a Christian faith. Lovely.

20:36 Ah, now we see the reveal. Imagine an alien race which stumbles across inductions for building a radio. Lo and behold, it's more than its components: there's music too! And it's an emergent phenomenon! Personhood is analogous to the music "emerging" from a radio.

20:29 We've now seen two going on three multimedia clips; yet for some reason the products didn't bother to figure out how to connect the laptop's sound to the PA.

20:13 Picard opens by polling the room about their beliefs on whether human beings are "just" machines. She says she used to. Very few in the audience raise their hands. (The room, by the way, is FULL.)

20:11 A student brings the room to order. Picard's research sounds well worth doing.

The guest of honor: Rosalind Picard of MIT.

The local host: Anderson Spickard. The Third. Captain, I detect no warning signs of incipient douchebaggery.

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