Locals Questions Answered 23 Nov 2023
In this episode, we cover a variety of topics including Jesus' resurrection, hate speech, AI in art, marriage, and personal prank experiences. We end with Thanksgiving wishes and a call for donations. See you next time!
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0:00:12 The Question of Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus
0:01:41 Distinguishing Supernatural from Possibility
0:03:01 Potential Existence: Life at the Bottom of the Ocean
0:04:02 Potential Existence: Unicorns and Self-Contradictory Beings
0:12:16 The Power of Choice in Consuming Offensive Content
0:13:22 The Non-Avoidable Harm of Language on Children
0:15:01 The Impact of Progress and Adaptation in Work
0:16:05 Changes in Programming and Artistic Fields
0:18:08 AI as an Efficient Tool for Artistic Creation
0:19:17 AI's Role in Enhancing Artistic Efficiency and Impact
0:20:46 Responding to the View of Irresponsibility in Having Children
0:22:12 The Beauty of Parenthood and Irresponsible Choices
0:23:45 Selfishness and the Decision Not to Have Children
In this episode, we begin by expressing gratitude for the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. The first question we address is whether the resurrection of Jesus can be accepted as true in the same way we accept other historical events. We acknowledge that while it is possible for Jesus to have been perceived as rising from the dead based on the standards of the time, claiming something to be supernatural poses a different challenge. We explain that reason and evidence make things possible but not necessarily true, using the example of claiming that someone can be both a man and an elephant simultaneously. We then discuss the concept of hate speech and verbal abuse. While hate speech is often vague and subjective, verbal abuse can be objectively defined as causing harm to others through falsehoods. We emphasize the importance of harm being objectively measurable rather than based solely on hurt feelings. We also touch upon the issue of offensive speech, explaining that individuals have the choice to turn it off, whereas children may be more vulnerable to its harm. Moving on, we discuss the fear of AI taking over art and rendering it meaningless. We acknowledge that progress and technological advancements have often displaced certain professions in the past but argue that change and innovation can bring overall benefits. We suggest that utilizing AI to create powerful and evocative images can be a valid approach, comparing it to how portrait painters had to adapt when photography emerged. The purpose of marriage is then explored, with its role being to publicly proclaim a lifelong commitment and reinforce pair bonding through social encouragement and ostracism. We briefly address the topic of having children, responding to those who express concerns about the state of the world by reminding them of the sacrifices their ancestors made for them. Ultimately, the decision to have children or not is seen as a personal choice. We then lighten the mood by sharing personal experiences with pranks, including one involving stuffed wolves and a recording of growling hunting dogs. Finally, we express our appreciation for the questions and comments and encourage listeners to consider donating to support the show. We bid everyone farewell and look forward to the next episode.
resurrection of Jesus, hate speech, verbal abuse, fear of AI in art, purpose of marriage, personal experiences, pranks, gratitude, Happy Thanksgiving, donations, farewell
[0:00] All right, some great questions from locals. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
Hope you're doing well, having a wonderful day. And I hope that you're giving thanks for the first time in history we can engage in these incredible conversations.
So thank you everyone so much.
The Question of Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus
[0:12] And I hope that I do your questions justice.
First one up, I have read arguments from Christians that the resurrection of Jesus is true in the same sense that we can reasonably accept that other historical events happened, i.e.
We know that Caesar crossed the Rubicon, Columbus discovered America, et cetera.
Do you agree with this assessment or is there a higher standard of evidence for such an extraordinary claim?
Is a philosophical standard of evidence different from a historical standard of evidence?
It's a great question and there's a lot to say about it. I'll try and keep it relatively brief.
I'll fail, but I'll try, you know, A for effort, F for execution.
So, it is entirely possible that Jesus was perceived to have risen from the dead.
[0:54] Now, it is possible that someone could go into something that approximates a coma or something which appears to be death and then jerks back to life.
I mean honestly there have been people who have been in morgues who have come back to life, there have been people who've been pronounced dead who come back to life.
I don't know about three days but that's not really the relevant or foundational part of it.
So the idea that somebody could be tortured as Jesus was, a crown of thorns and nails through the hands and feet hung on a cross of course, that he could faint or pass out or lapse into some kind of coma-like state.
[1:33] Be taken down, be dressed for burial and then return to life is something that is entirely possible.
Distinguishing Supernatural from Possibility
[1:41] Now, saying that something is supernatural, that's a different matter.
So philosophy says reason and evidence make things possible.
It's necessary but not sufficient for things to conform to reason and evidence in order for them to be true.
If someone were to say a man is both a man and an elephant simultaneously, that would not be possible.
And you wouldn't need to scour the universe to find out if such a being existed, right?
So there's sort of three states of potential existence. The first is reason and evidence, in other words empirically proven and conforms to reason.
That means that you know you look outside and there's tree and you go and touch the tree and reason and evidence like sense evidence and rationality laws of non-contradiction, identity and so on that tree exists right there's no other higher standard so that is certainty of existence same thing of course with yourself right you look in the mirror you think you perceive you feel other people could see feel you you can record yourself and all that, So you exist, the tree exists, that's the highest standard of existence.
Now the other is something which conforms to reason but not to evidence.
So could there be some 40-foot translucent eel.
Potential Existence: Life at the Bottom of the Ocean
[3:01] That lives in the bottom of the ocean that we've never found yet?
Yeah, I mean sure. It conforms to the laws of biology, it conforms to the laws, of logic, it just has not been empirically observed. So that's potential existence.
We can of course think of, is there intelligent life on Reddit?
Sorry, let's go a little closer to home, a little closer to the human experience.
Is there intelligent life on other planets?
Well, of course that potentially could be the case.
It doesn't violate the laws of logic or reason or evidence for there to be intelligent life on other planets, right?
That's entirely possible. But it has not been yet established.
So we can't say that there isn't intelligent life on other planets, but we can't say it's proven.
And we would imagine with a hundred billion galaxies and a hundred billion stars in each galaxy, of course there's intelligent life elsewhere.
It's just probably been unable to crack C or the speed of light, which is why we don't really see it much. So, and of course, it's hard to find that much space.
Potential Existence: Unicorns and Self-Contradictory Beings
[4:02] So these are the three states of existence. Conforms to reason and evidence, right?
Conforms to reason, but no evidentiary proof, and then neither conforms to reason nor evidence, which is a man who is a man and an elephant simultaneously.
So, we can say, like, does a unicorn exist?
Well, if you define a unicorn as a quadruped with a horn on its head, like a horse with a horn on its head, yeah, that could exist somewhere.
I mean, some, we don't see them here on Earth, but some place there could be something that looks just like a horse that has a horn on its head.
It could have developed that, right?
So that's not impossible, we can't, right? We would have to scour the universe in order to say that a unicorn, like a horse-like creature with a horn on its head, to say that, doesn't exist we'd have to scour the whole universe and check and that wouldn't work because by the time we finish scouring the universe it could have evolved somewhere on the first planet we looked at or some other planet, right?
So we can never ever say that that doesn't exist.
Potential existence for sure, but if you define a unicorn as a magical horse that can defy gravity and travel through time and whatever it is, shoot lasers from its horn or something like that, well, no, that's not real.
We don't need to scour the universe to know that self-contradictory beings don't exist.
We don't need to scour the universe to say that square circles don't exist. right?
[5:25] Could it be potential that somewhere in the universe there is a lake that is very close to a perfect square?
Like whatever that would mean. It just happened to form that way.
Yeah, it's possible because it doesn't defy the laws of reason.
Is it possible that somewhere in the universe there is a lake that is both a circle and a square at the same time?
No, that's not possible because it defies the laws of identity, right? So I mean circle or. That's an either or.
[5:52] So is it possible that Jesus was reasonably perceived by the standards of the time to have come back from the dead? Absolutely.
Absolutely that's possible.
So I can accept that. Now, did Jesus literally die, was dead for three days, like no heartbeat, no brain activity, and then came back from the dead? No.
That's not a real thing. Now of course if you believe in miracles then that would be a real thing but no that's not that's not a thing that can be accepted from a philosophical scientific or medical standpoint.
Now of course if you believe in miracles then the whole point would be because it's impossible but it happened that's proof of God's power benevolence and might right so I want to be clear about theologically speaking totally possible because to God all things are possible from a philosophical empirical rational scientific standpoint it's not possible.
There's no violation of the laws of physics, biology, life or anything for Columbus to discover America or Caesar to cross the Rubicon or whatever.
[6:54] But for a man to literally be dead for three days and then come back to life would be impossible, because especially in the heat, right, I mean too much decay would have occurred for life to be restored.
So, all right. What is the difference between verbal abuse and hate speech.
You've mentioned before that hate speech doesn't exist but we have also mentioned in peaceful parenting the existence of verbal abuse.
Is the difference here that children cannot remove themselves from the situation so it is therefore abuse whereas adults can remove themselves in the situation so it isn't abusive or even hate speech?
Yeah of course I mean nobody has ever been able to come up with any clear definition of hate speech which is sort of the point.
Hate speech or the concept of hate speech is the goal of giving unelected bureaucrats for the most part control over a speech that doesn't follow a particular political goal or agenda.
[7:48] It's used against those who criticize people who support a political party, a particular political party. We sort of all know which way this goes.
So yeah, there's, I mean, there's no such thing as hate speech.
And of course if there was, right, if even if we were to accept, let's say, well there's speech that leads to violence, there's speech that leads to real world harm, they sort of say, real world harm.
Well the most prevalent speech that leads to real-world harm is a communism.
So if anybody says well we have to suppress speech that has a tendency to lead to real-world harm well death toll of communism just, in the 20th century and not even all the 20th century basically 1917 to 1999 the 80 plus years the death toll there was like a hundred million people and there are still people dying and starving and being tortured, murdered, brutalized.
And incarcerated unjustly under communism. So if there was such a thing as hate speech, then the first thing that you would say is, well, what's the most prevalent hate speech that has led to the most, or what's the most prevalent dangerous speech that's led to the most real world harm?
That would be communism. But of course, it's never used that way.
[8:57] So it's not a real thing. It's just a political weapon.
So verbal abuse, yeah, of course, if… So there's a bunch of different kinds of verbal abuse, some that would be legal and some would not.
If you go to a restaurant and you say I found the tail of a rat in my soup But you actually produced it yourself and inserted it in order to destroy the reputation, That's words that lead to real-world economic harm, right?
So that would be False speech that would be defamation libel slander, you know Categories, whatever that would what sort of thing depends whether you said it or printed or whatever, right?
But so yeah, that would be a form of verbal abuse if If someone is trying to get a loan to start a business and then you send a letter to the bank to say this person is actually a drug addict and is going to use the money to buy drugs and then you're going to be involved in illicit activities and he won't be able to pay you back, it's all the ruse.
And if the bank freaks out and pulls the loan, then that would be interference in something, like torturous interference in business.
I don't know what the terms are exactly, of course, I'm no lawyer, but it's something like that, I think.
[10:01] So that would be abusing someone and lying about them to cause real-world harm.
If you go and set up an elaborate scenario in order to pretend that some woman had an affair on her husband, some wife had an affair on her husband, and then you present all of this information, you know, you lure her out and it's on her GPS and so on and whatever it is.
Like you set up some elaborate scenario wherein you are able to convince a husband or reasonably tried to convince the husband that his wife had an affair, well that would be a form of abuse using language as a whole.
So there's lots of different ways that this stuff can show up.
With children, and that would be direct world harm, real world harm to that person and so on.
So verbal abuse is when you harm someone by a falsehood, right? By a falsehood.
[10:54] And the harm has to be somewhat objective and not just hurt feelings and so on, right?
And so the harm has to go through some sort of empirical test, right?
Otherwise, there's no proof, right? If I say, well, somebody said X, Y, and Z, I was horribly offended, I'm really upset, I couldn't sleep for three days, and that's abuse.
Well, there's no empirical measure of anything like that, right?
So, it has to be something where, like, I lost money, or my wife divorced me, or I divorced my wife and it turned out to be false, and things like that, right?
So there has to be some sort of objective harm that can be made.
So, verbal abuse is objective harm caused to another person by falsehood, right?
I mean, if somebody's a murderer and you say this person's a murderer, that's not… I mean, you guess you can say that you're harming that person, but it's a true thing, right?
And truth is always the ultimate defense in most places with regards to defamation.
But if you lie, right? So, if you say to your children, you're stupid, you're clumsy, you're rude, mean, vicious, underhanded, defiant, Like, you're lying about their character, that actually causes them real-world harm.
Like, that actually harms their brains, it harms their self-esteem.
And I don't know if the brain scans are sophisticated enough to find that, but I mean, it certainly would be the case that that would be findable.
So you're causing real-world harm to someone that would be in some sort of objective fashion.
The Power of Choice in Consuming Offensive Content
[12:16] And they can't get away, right? If something really offends you, the reason why you can't say, well, I was so offended by what someone said, that I couldn't sleep for three days, I didn't get this job because I was too tired and that cost me a hundred thousand dollars I'm gonna sue, is that you have to be in pursuit of someone's speech.
You have to voluntarily click on it, you have to listen to it, you have to finish listening to it.
Like if he starts to upset you and you just turn it off, right?
I mean, I watched, I started to watch a movie, Quiet Place, this is the second one, there was a sequel.
And early on in the movie, a child gets his leg caught in a bear trap and is, you know, screaming blue murder.
And look, just as a human being and as a parent, I'm like, I'm not watching this.
God, why would I want to watch a child be tortured? It's like, you know, the movie It, you know, where the child gets his arm chewed off and it's like, why, why, why?
Like, I don't want to watch that. So just turn it off, right?
That's horrible, I don't want to watch that, so I'm just not going to watch it. So there's choice in that kind of consumption.
The Non-Avoidable Harm of Language on Children
[13:22] Children of course have no choice over the language they consume, right, they're trapped with their parents and so on, right?
[13:30] So harm that is done to children through language is non-avoidable and therefore would be destructive.
All right. See here, I'm frightened about AI killing our passion, especially for art.
I was a good artist, found some deep meaning in exploring and creating my own art.
Now seems pointless. No matter how hard I try, AI is going to make it better, cheaper, and in a larger scale.
I was used to spending months on some paintings, and now I feel like it's not worth it.
Was it doing that for others, meaning that their validation was more important than the art itself for me because I can do it and I love the challenge but if no one is going to see it or care about it is there any point?
I'm very insecure about the reasons of my fears.
Yeah I mean I understand this that technology makes jobs less relevant.
Yeah I mean you understand every single human being has been dealing with this ever since the free market came along or you could say even before, but I mean, it used to be that 97% of Americans were involved in farming just a little over a century ago. Now it's down to like 2% or 3%.
[14:44] When I started out in business, you needed secretaries. Now you don't.
The computer skills that I learned when I first started programming computers are, I mean, the structure and logic is all the same, but the content has all changed.
The Impact of Progress and Adaptation in Work
[15:01] And so, yeah, things move then people get tossed out of work.
I mean, I'm not sure. I don't really know what the alternative is.
I mean, what's the alternative? To stop progress?
So, yeah, like I know it's, I think it's tough. I sympathize.
I understand, I sympathize, but.
You have to adapt as a human being. I mean, don't you?
And what does that mean? I don't know. I think graphics artists and web designers and so on, yeah, they're gonna have a tough time of it for sure.
But you know, really, as far as web design, those jobs, they lasted a couple of decades, which is pretty good.
So yeah, things are always, you know, I mean, having graphical user interface design mechanisms like message box, you know, in Windows to bring up a message box, well, you used to have to do all that stuff by hand.
You used to have to create those message boxes, draw them, and so on, early run, and then Windows made it much more efficient.
And when I first started programming, I programmed in just text, there was no graphical interface.
And now there's, you know, Visual Studio and so on, you've got a whole nice graphical interface, so it's become much easier.
Changes in Programming and Artistic Fields
[16:05] So how many people program in Assembler anymore? Well, almost nobody, right?
Because it's just not that efficient, because you can compile to machine code, even from basic now. There used to be an interpretive layer, now there isn't.
[16:18] So, I mean, the things change.
You know, I was pretty good at analyzing politics and then things changed and now I'm not doing it anymore.
So, yeah, there's, I mean, again, I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, but I mean, you like the fact that there's cell phones, right?
You know that cell phones, there were all these people who were really good at making rotary dial phones and setting up and servicing rotary dial phones, now a lot of people don't even bother having landlines, right?
They just use their cell phones.
And so you're happy to have cell phones, and everybody wants stagnation in their own field and innovation everywhere else, so it's just a basic matter of empathy.
All the things that you value that are new and that have improved are there because there's been massive changes, right? Massive improvements.
Lots of people get thrown out of work, lots of people have to retrain, lots of people have to get new skills and so on.
And if you have a vision for art, like if you have, like there's a famous painting, Canadian painter, it's a horse thundering down train tracks towards an oncoming train.
And it's evocative of like agriculture versus industrialization, natural versus man-made, Rousseauian versus Lockean, like it's really evocative and powerful painting.
I could care less how it's created.
[17:37] So instead of painting each little stroke and mixing the paints and so on, maybe you just get really good at using AI to produce vivid and powerful images that people care about.
[17:49] I mean, I could be giving live speeches, but instead I record and broadcast, right?
So it's better for me to record and broadcast.
So if you have really powerful images that you wanna create and produce, using AI would seem to me a far more efficient and positive and powerful way to get those images produced.
AI as an Efficient Tool for Artistic Creation
[18:08] I mean, if you look at, think of all the portrait painters who lost their jobs when photographs came along, right? Because people would rather sit for a photograph I've then sit for a week for a portrait.
So they had to adapt, they had to change, they had to move in some manner.
So you're just part of the general movement of artists.
And instead of looking at AI and saying, oh, that renders art useless, it's like, no, it renders art efficient in the same way that I can speak to a lot of people rather than just a few by speaking over the internet rather than speaking in person.
So it's just made it more efficient. I prefer giving speeches in person.
Like I prefer giving speeches in person to talking on the internet, but it's better for philosophy that I talk on the internet and it's safer as well of course because of the violence around these these topics.
So as far as while I only paint so that people look, well of course you do, of course you do.
You think I just sit here and give speeches to myself without recording them?
I mean maybe it's a practice once or twice but no, of course not.
Of course you're doing art in order to be seen appreciated and valued.
[19:07] I mean, I don't see that there's anything wrong with it. I can't imagine what would be considered wrong with that. It doesn't make any sense. All right.
[19:13] So no, AI is not gonna kill your passions. It's just gonna make them more efficient.
AI's Role in Enhancing Artistic Efficiency and Impact
[19:17] What is your definition of marriage as an act? When are two people married?
So two people are married, in my view, when they publicly proclaim that they're going to stay together forever and that they'll have no others, put each other first, usually with the goal of having kids and so on.
So the purpose of marriage is to reinforce pair bonding with social encouragement and ostracism.
So the way it used to work of course is that you publicly would proclaim that you're married before God, of the congregation, of the community and so on and then because you had publicly proclaimed that and that was your vow, any time that you were doubting that vow or failing that vow or tempted or whatever, people would just say, nope you can't get separated, you already made the vow, it's for the good of the kids, we're going to encourage you and help you to maintain your marriage and if you still walk away from your marriage, you're dead to us.
Like, you're not gonna be part of this social group anymore because you're a witch or a bastard and we don't want to have anything to do with you.
So in the past, if you divorced, you just wouldn't be welcome in social, good social company anymore.
Like, just, right. So that's how society does it, right?
[20:21] The carrot and the stick. The carrot is, we'd love to help you and keep your marriage and all of that.
And there's a scene in Goodfellas where the guy's gonna leave his wife and the other gangsters come over and even the gangsters do it.
They say, no, you gotta, you gotta stay with your wife, you get to stay with your the mother of your children and so on, right? So that's that's the purpose.
That's the definition of marriage is when you've publicly proclaimed and made a vow in front of everyone you care about to stay married forever and so on, right?
Responding to the View of Irresponsibility in Having Children
[20:46] What's the best response to people who say I don't want kids because it's irresponsible to bring kids into a such a screwed-up world?
In a way, I understand their argument, but I know from personal experience that having kids is the greatest gift one can receive Love you and all you.
Oh, thank you. That's very kind.
[21:03] What's the best response to people who say, I don't want kids because it's irresponsible to bring kids into such a screwed up world?
Well, isn't it kind of selfish that your ancestors went through far worse and gave you the gift of life?
Like, why would you just collect that gift handed to you by 4 billion years of harsh, bloody and vicious evolution and just say, well, there's a big national debt.
So, you know, I mean, people had kids during the Blitz. They had kids during other wars, famines, plagues, invasions, you name it, right?
Instability, I mean, humanity was down to 10,000 people after the last ice age and we fought our way back. So…
So that would be, now if they push back on that, right, like, you've got this incredible inheritance and you're not going to pay it forward, like, that's selfish, right? I mean, that's selfish.
I mean, if somebody really enjoys his life and doesn't want to have kids, it's like, okay, that's kind of selfish.
Like, you only exist to enjoy your life because your parents made sacrifices and you're not willing to make any further sacrifices.
You're just like somebody who inherited a lot of money and you're just blowing it uselessly.
Or they're unhappy, in which case you can say, well, maybe you're unhappy because you don't have kids and you're just kind of selfishly consuming experiences and money and materials for no future, no purpose.
The Beauty of Parenthood and Irresponsible Choices
[22:12] And you don't even care about other people's kids in order to have kids, right? Which means that, you know, other cultures and so on are probably going to have more kids and so on, right?
Now, if people, so the only word there is irresponsible. People, they just don't want to have kids because they don't want to grow up.
They don't want to be responsible for someone else. They don't want to sacrifice their pleasures.
They're in this, you know, bug man view that to satisfy their immediate pleasures is the greatest gift in life. It's the greatest goal in life. Well, I got to travel.
I got to go to Bali and whatever, right? It's like, okay, that's great.
You know, you went to Bali.
Okay, good for you, right? How long can you go to Bali for? Oh, look, another waterfall.
But to actually see a life grow and interact with it is, I mean, it's the most beautiful thing. I mean, you actually, you've created a brain.
Like you have created a brain that's gonna be greater than anything else you could ever create.
So if people that irresponsible, I'm like, yeah, no, and I've actually had these conversations, right?
[23:05] Yeah, then I think it's a good idea. Like don't pretend it's because of the screwed up world or anything, like you don't wanna have kids, right?
And that's probably a good idea, right? Because if you don't wanna have kids, then you shouldn't have kids. I mean, obviously, right? Because kids is a huge commitment.
If you don't want to have kids, if you genuinely think that, I don't know, sleeping in, watching Netflix and having a latte is better than raising actual human beings with minds who will love you and take care of you when you get older, hopefully.
If you genuinely believe that these sort of shallow, you'd rather play video games and whatever it is than have a family, then that's probably a good thing.
Selfishness and the Decision Not to Have Children
[23:45] Like I have no particular issue with that level of selfishness not reproducing in the world.
[23:50] Alright, last question. I've got a Thanksgiving event to get to. Hey Stiff!
Happy All Saints Day. Have you ever pranked someone? Has Izzy ever pranked you?
I've had a couple of pranks from Izzy. I think I've only done really one prank when I worked up north.
[24:06] There was a guy that we kind of got a lot of ribbing going.
I was living at a hunting lodge and we would go out and get our soil samples and so on.
It's crazy, man. I remember having to carry 80 pound bags of earth on my back while climbing over felt trees that were like pickup sticks all tangled over the forest floor.
It was really wild. It was wild time. Bugs in your face and all.
[24:29] But there was a guy who kind of got into a ribbing competition with and so what I did was in the from the basement of the hunting lodge and there were a couple of stuffed wolves down there.
I mean obviously you're kind of gamey at this point and not exactly the most high quality taxidermy job but there were a couple of stuffed wolves in the basement and there were a couple of hunters up there who had their hunting dogs.
So I went out and recorded or the audio of the hunting dogs growling.
I got the hunters to get their dogs to growl. I recorded that and then in the night I I moved the stuffed wolves into the guy's room and then played the recording of the growling.
And of course he woke up, I flipped on, saw the shadows, turned on the light and of course screamed like an anime character being hit by a lightning bolt.
So that was kind of cool. That was kind of funny.
All right, I will get to more of these and I really, really appreciate these questions and these comments.
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