Teh winners!

August 14, 2010 • 5:58 am

Using counts and random-number generators, I’ve determined the winners of the Cat Smackdown Vote contest. As you recall, there are two: one winner from those who voted for Maru, another from those who voted for Ceiling Cat.

And here they are.

Maru voters: The winner is Seth, who made the following comment: “Voted Maru! Ceiling cat is pretentious.”  Seth wins an autographed paperback of WEIT.

Ceiling cat voters: The winner is Kirth Gersen, who made the following comment: “Ceiling Cat is watching this contest. He watched me vote for him on the site you linked. He’s watching me post this reply. He watched me . . . well, let’s leave that out for now. I vote Ceiling Cat!”  Kirth wins an autographed (by me), mint copy of Einstein’s God: Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit, by Krista Tippett.

Winners, please contact me by email to receive your prize.

15 thoughts on “Teh winners!

  1. Congrats to winners!

    And I can console myself that teh Basement Cat did not in persona defeat teh Celestial Cat: the prize for the (less than) happy voter would have surely been Berlinsky´s “The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions”…

    1. Congratulations to teh happy cats!

      [But Berlinski: oh wow, he really _is_ off his rockers then. I guess his pretensions stopped pretending on him.]

      1. Berlinski: off his rockers .. Mmm.. maybe not entirely: he has been caught openly admitting that he’s “in” it for the money! If the Discovery Institute writes him a big check, he’ll show up and give a talk on any topic they like. You can call him a professional evolution denier (and he’s NOT a religious person!).

        1. Devil´s Advocates are absolutely necessary for a healthy intellectual debate, of course. Alas, in societies where religious institutions have power, money and prestige wildly beyond their intellectual and moral credentials, offering one´s services to the beleaguered forces of faith cannot easily be taken as unselfish initiatives to serve the common good. I cannot pass any judgment on Berlinski´s motivations and his character as other people are much more knowledgeable on them than I am. But whatever his motivations and character, his writings do not serve what I would accept, quite independently of the undeserved privileges of religious faith, as a fair justification, namely, to make the case for faith and religion as good as it can be intellectually and morally. Short of that, I must view Berlinski´s efforts as succumbing the calls of teh Basement Cat…:)

      2. I was referring to the title, not the product. But sure, there are money sources beyond Templeton and in the market sense they are a “fair” take. And so is contractual murder.

        he’s NOT a religious person!

        I would say that effectually he is.

        I’ve had “the opportunity” to analyze his goobledygook over at The Panda’s Thumb when he made visits some time back. His gods-of-the-gaps proof isn’t Miller’s quantum woo, but the problem of solving reverse problems. (I.e. if you have a partial differential equation that allows you to describe, say, how you project an image through a set of lenses, what would be the light sources making the image?)

        You see, Berlinski has delusions of math grandeur. He is famous for describing to professional mathematicians the idea behind the derivative – it’s on the net for all to laugh at.

        The reverse problem is of the NP != P kind. It can take more resources for a problem than its dual, here the solution respectively solution check. (And this is what trap door codes rely on.)

        But never the less there are algorithms for solving it. So quite reverse to Berlinski, this is a material resource problem that allows prediction in principle and often enough in practice, and is no “magical” mechanism for pushing gods into physics or evolutionary gaps. It is a situation at its worst mere analogous to deterministic chaos.

        What you do with gods-of-the-gaps doesn’t matter, whether you are a theist cum deist like Miller or an agnostic “we can’t know, so it’s a 50-50 % situation” or an accommodationist “we can’t know, so quit claim anything else”. It is a religious claim based on inventing supernaturalism where there are none to see, and it is wrong to boot.

        1. (And this is what trap door [sic] codes rely on.)

          But never the less [sic sic sic] there are algorithms for solving it. So quite reverse to Berlinski, this is a material resource problem that allows prediction in principle

          Besides my scrappy need-coffee language, I’m jumping around a bit. “solving it” refers to the discussed reverse problem specifically. (Though NP problems have their solutions too.)

          “allows prediction in principle” is in a logical sense, since physically we (and nature) only have access to finite resources locally. Deterministic chaos doesn’t allow for prediction in principle in actuality.

          But it is Berlinski that pushes this away from physics into his imagined gaps, and falsifiability can follow him as far as gedanken experiments allow “gedanken empiricism”.

          1. No, better scratch that “in principle” – it is a specious claim, and it leads to absurdity. Too close to philosophy :-D, my bad.

            Fortunately prediction often enough in practice, specific cases, is enough at that point.

  2. “Using counts and random-number generators …”
    Considering that this involves cats, I suspect shrouded-in-cuteness sneakiness at various levels!

    I demand complete disclosure of the protocol followed (especially in relation to the selection and application of a random-number generator) as well as two signed witness affidavit (paw prints are NOT acceptable).
    And while we’re in demand mode, I demand a signed copy of WEIT as well.
    Not because I think I deserve one, or are entitled to one, but because simply ASKING something astonishingly and surprisingly sometimes WORKS (this in shrill contrast with praying for something).

    1. “astonishingly and surprisingly”

      I forgot ‘shamelessly’!

      (And meant ‘affidavit(s)’ to be plural)

  3. Do pets become as neurotic as their owners, I suppose that’s the entertainment. Don’t name your chicken nuggets as you’re dipping them, you may need to become vegetarian.

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