Tag Archives: philosophy

ZOMFG kkkonspiracy!!1

Wired has a run-down of the ten most popular conspiracy theories, which will either raise a wry chuckle out of you or fire you up into a paranoid rant-fest, depending on your personal belief systems.

I’m kind of fascinated by conspiracy theories, and when I was younger used to subscribe to quite a few (mostly the UFO-related ones, I’m ashamed to admit – a classic case of wishful thinking). Curiously, the book that completely cured the problem for me was Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s conspiracy classic, The Illuminatus! Trilogy.

It’s apparently the innate pattern-recognition functions of the human mind that create conspiracy theories wherever we find a vacuum of fact surrounded by unexplained events … how long do we have to wait until Occam’s Razor becomes hardwired, I wonder?

[tags]conspiracy, theories, psychology, philosophy, logic[/tags]

None of this is really real

Via the indispensable TerraNova blog comes word that no other organ than the New York Times itself is running an article that talks about the Simulation Argument. This exceptionally science-fictional slice of philosophy, created by one Nick Bostrom, contends that the reality we exist within is in fact a simulation of extraordinary complexity, and we are just very cunningly scripted artificial intelligences within it.

What’s interesting is that John Tierney (for the NYT) seems more convinced of Bostrom’s theory than Bostrom himself. It’s a head-twistingly paradoxical piece of thinking, so much so that even George Dvorsky finds it makes his brain hurt – which makes me feel slightly better about being in the same situation.

But my main concern is this – if Bostrom and Tierney are correct, and this really is just a simulation, haven’t they now sent a rather obvious signal to the builders of the simulation that the inmates have seen behind the wizard’s curtain? What if the success of the simulation is dependent on our ignorance of it being one? But then, surely they’d have programmed against that contingency – code is law, after all … but that sounds like the arguments for the ineffability of a deity creating mankind with free will! Good grief … if anyone needs me, I’ll be slumped in the corner surrounded by Greg Egan novels and an empty bottle of gin.


“The Existential Cure,” a new short story by Will McIntosh, is now available.

[ IMPORTANT NOTICE: This story is NOT covered by the Creative Commons License that covers the majority of content on Futurismic; copyright remains with the author, and any redistribution is a breach thereof. Thanks. ]

The Existential Cure

by Will McIntosh

I stood on the edge of the curb, out of the flow of pedestrians, and watched for my son and my ex-wife. A blonde man with a twisted face and raging skin ulcers brushed against my shoulder as he lurched past. He was laughing like a loon. I tried not to flinch.

I spotted Caroline’s van and flagged it to the curb.

She stared at me through the window as Matt got out on the passenger side, her fat red lips set in an adolescent pout, cheeks streaked with too much blush, her big boobs spilling out of a low-cut blouse. I tried to recall a time when those boobs had made my head spin, but my revulsion was bone-deep and set like concrete.

Her window glided down. “He’s all yours,” she said.

“Mm-hm,” I said, not meeting her eyes.

Matthew waddled around the front of the van wheeling a suitcase, puffing from the exertion. Jesus, he’d gotten huge. How could Caroline let him get so big? Continue reading THE EXISTENTIAL CURE by Will McIntosh