The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'theology'

2012/9/9

Alternative operating system of the day: LoseThos. It was written from scratch over nine years, runs on a PC (in ring 0), and has a just-in-time compiler for a vaguely C-like language it uses; the inspirations were the Commodore 64 (whose flat memory map and easy accessibility to the bare metal made it eminently hackable) and the voice of God speaking to its creator (who, by his own admission, is schizophrenic) through random number generators.

There's a MetaFilter thread about it, which the creator has joined (under the name “losethos”), weighing in with technical descriptions of its implementation, justifications for design decisions (in which the kinds of insights about “elegance” and solutions which “smell right” that seasoned programmers have and quasi-theological justifications based on mystical revelation are often inextricably intertwined) and stream-of-consciousness revelations from the God who speaks through random numbers. A few choice quotes:

I wanted to make a souped-up, modern 64-bit, C64 so teenagers could do what I did in high school. I had the book Mapping the C64 and I had hours of fun poking and proding around with all the internals of the operationg system for cheap thrills. I wanted to let people control the hardware directly. I wanted something simple, to get your head around. LoseThos is two orders of magnitude simpler than Linux. LoseThos is 135,000 lines of code including my compiler. It is 100% self contained and complete. When I got Linux, I was disappointed because I thought "open source" meant I would have fun messing with the code. Linux tries to support so many architectures and has a main frame operating system, that it's too complex. LoseThos is way way way simpler. Plus it has many innovative ideas. It is not ASCII source code, for example.
Photorealism is graphic and panders to base nature of humans. 640x480 is innocent. How many of you are horrified by modern games, longing for a more innocent time?
As well as numerous revelations from God (whose favourite animals are apparently bears and elephants, and whose favourite band is The Beatles):
The hardest thing in evolution was getting monkey mothers to hold their babies for nursing.
God's favorite thing on TV is soap operas. Read the Bible. ROFLMAO. God likes the Beverly Hillbillies. God said Shakespeare had a vile heart. He said Christian rock was "musical privation". Good word. I like the word "Ambrosial". Go look it up. :-) I'm smug.

bizarre cs mental illness mystical experience operating systems psychoceramics schizophrenia theology 1

2008/11/26

Boing Boing Gadgets' John Brownlee has an interesting account of playing a robot in an evangelical Christian school play as a child. An evangelical Christian robot, of course:

The play centered around Colby, a sentient Christian super-computer who — for some reason — had set up a secret neighborhood enclave for the Christian kids in the neighborhood. It was called Colby's Clubhouse, and inside, it was a Jim Jones phantasmagoria, in which a dancing, singing Christian robot led a gaggle of Bible-thumping kids in elaborate dance numbers, pausing only occasionally to recite scriptures. The main dramatic arc of the play concerned the arrival of new kid Eddie in the neighborhood: he cracked wise about Jesus, never read the Gospel, and was dismissive not only of the Colby Gang's impromptu hymnals but openly professed an admiration and affinity for that year's hot R&B supergroup, the New Kids on the Block. Eventually, Eddie is shown the error of his ways through the tireless proselytizing of the Colby Gang... as well as the direct intervention of Colby himself, who bluntly informs Eddie that he's going to hell if he doesn't mend his ways. Eventually, Eddie breaks down, falls to his knees, and welcomes Jesus into his heart as his Lord and Savior. At that point, Eddie is welcomed into the Colby Gang as an honorary member, presented with his very own pastel-colored, self-identifying t-shirt, and takes part in the exiting performance of the play's title song, "God Uses Kids." Curtain and applause.
Of course, in retrospect, the play looks a lot more disturbing:
At the beginning of the play, Eddie moves into a new neighborhood. He's alone, depressed and friendless. Worse, he quickly discovers that none of the kids in the neighborhood like to play video games or watch movies or listen to records or play with action figures or throw the football around — you know, normal kid stuff. All they ever want to do is sing about Jesus. Raised non-secularly, poor Eddie finds himself ostracized from his newfound peers from the very start, and understandably compensates by adapting the defense mechanism of a smart aleck personality. He acts out. He differentiates himself through cynical non-conformity, but is soundly hated for it.
That's all bad enough, right? Poor Eddie. But consider what happens next. Eddie is invited to the neighborhood clubhouse. Hoping for the acceptance and friendship of the neighborhood's unseen but popular alpha dog — the mysterious but charismatic Colby — he goes, but instead of meeting another kid, the door is locked behind him and a giant metal monster lumbers out of the shadows. Its eyes spit sparks; its servos gnash like rusty teeth. It grabs Eddie by the arms and in a shrill falsetto scream that reverberates with metallic soullessness and the sounds of gears grinding, it inexorably begins to paint Eddie a picture of hell straight out of Bosch. Mewling, fleshless bird things with scissors for beaks. Oceans of boiling feces in which billions bob and drown. Bodies crawling with insects and scabs that never heal. Forced sodomy by impossible geometric shapes. The sound of infants screaming forever and ever and ever and ever. Eddie's mind breaks... as, in fact, had the mind of each and every member of the Colby Gang's under the same nightmarish duress. It is the initiation. He's been accepted. One of us. One of us.
And then, of course, there is the theological question of whether an evangelical Christian robot would have a soul, which John's teacher couldn't quite satisfactorily answer.

(via Boing Boing) children christianity horror indoctrination mind control propaganda religion robots theology 1

2008/5/14

In the latest advance in cosmotheology, the Vatican's chief astronomer has stated that extraterrestrial intelligence may exist—and may even be free from original sin.

aliens astronomy catholic religion science theology 0

2005/12/8

Today, in theological news: the Catholic church is set to abolish the concept of limbo, as a place for the souls of unbaptised children and virtuous heathens, saying that it "has always been just a theological hypothesis".

Meanwhile, terminally ill patients in Israel will be allowed euthanasia, as long as it's carried out by machines and not humans, as that would be forbidden under Jewish law:

A special timer will be fitted to a patient's respirator which will sound an alarm 12 hours before turning it off.
Normally, carers would override the alarm and keep the respirator turned on but, if various stringent conditions are met, including the giving of consent by the patient or legal guardian, the alarm would not be overridden.
Similar timing devices, known as Sabbath clocks, are used in the homes of orthodox Jews so that light switches and electrical devices can be turned on during the Sabbath without offending religious strictures.
As Jamie Zawinski said, "Judaism is so awesome -- it's the only religion composed entirely of loopholes!"

(via jwz) catholic euthanasia israel judaism limbo religion theology 1

2005/1/13

Between 60% and 80% of all naturally conceived embryos are spontaneously aborted without the woman or her partner ever knowing that they existed. The US Religious Right argue that every conceived embryo is, in moral terms, a human being, and, theologically speaking, has a soul. From this it follows that at least 40% of the population of Heaven are the souls of embryos that never experienced life: (via jwz)

Stepping onto dangerous theological ground, it seems that if human embryos consisting of one hundred cells or less are the moral equivalents of a normal adult, then religious believers must accept that such embryos share all of the attributes of a human being, including the possession of an immortal soul. So even if we generously exclude all of the naturally conceived abnormal embryospresuming, for the sake of theological argument, that imperfections in their gene expression have somehow blocked the installation of a soulthat would still mean that perhaps 40 percent of all the residents of Heaven were never born, never developed brains, and never had thoughts, emotions, experiences, hopes, dreams, or desires.

That's assuming that they go to Heaven; according to Dante, the unbaptised would go to Limbo, the uppermost circle of Hell, where they would mix with virtuous heathens.

(This conjures up all sorts of surreal questions and fictional scenarios, such as what relations between the two groups in Heavenly society. Would the embryos see themselves as purer than or superior to than the immigrants, sullied by the sinful world? Would the born-and-died be marginalised as second-class citizens, or form a culture of resentment of the establishment? Presumably Heaven is defined as an enlightened autocracy, ruled by an all-wise and benevolent God with vast bureaucracies and military orders of angels, who would keep the peace somehow. Though, if we transpose this to Philip Pullman's Republic of Heaven, would the Pure and the Dead have separate political parties bitterly contesting their interests in the Heavenly Parliament; or perhaps Heaven would be a fascist state run by the Pure?)

abortion afterlife biology dante eschatology heaven reductio ad absurdum religion theology 4

2003/3/24

Who says theology isn't a useful science? Game designer and theologian discuss the mechanics of deities in multiplayer game world. (via bOING bOING)

design practical applications theology videogames 0

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