Monday, May 04, 2009

News Flash: Turing Test Almost Passed!

by Tom Bozzo

It's increasingly looking like the best explanation for Stanley Fish's "Think Again" column is that its "author" is actually a Fish-O-Matic in a sub-basement of the Times' headquarters building, cranking away on maybe version 0.8 of a Wolfram Alpha engine. I mean, what other explanation could there be for validating a claim of the "bourgeois fallacy par excellence" of "self-authorship" with a reference to Milton? [*] Surely the program's "imitate intellectual tics of source material" parameter overwhelmed the "deploy actual evidence in support of argument" parameter.

[*] I.e., those crazy sciento-religionists contend that there's no need for a god to serve as first cause let alone all causes (which theologians for centuries have said is neither necessary nor the same as the role of ineffable quality of being [**], [***]), and you know who else thinks he wasn't created? Milton's Satan. Ka-chow!

[**] Though it would be fair to say haven't reached consensus on that.

[***] It's funny how arguments in favor of god as ineffable quality of being almost trip over images ("father," "lord") or qualities (ability to love) that seem to my undertrained mind to be inherently effable. Cf. Aquinas: "God is what sustains all things in being by his love, and ... is the reason why there is something instead of nothing, the condition of possibility of any entity whatsoever." Salon review of Terry Eagleton's Reason, Faith, and Revolution, h/t Lance Mannion on Facebook.

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