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It doesn't matter what the majority of people think. That is ultimately what we are, and the tragedy of being killed by a bomb reinforces it.



Ultimately? Really?

If you are going to deconstruct that way, why stop there, why not bags of water? Or a random assortment of atoms?

By that reasoning a work of art is just random colors and there is no reason to admire it.

But in actuality the whole is greater than the parts, and that applies to people too.


"By that reasoning a work of art is just random colors and there is no reason to admire it."

I disagree. There is no conflict between admiring the organization of the fundamental particles and realizing that stuff is ultimately just big collections of fundamental particles.


Yes, but "realizing that stuff is ultimately just big collections of fundamental particles" is probably the ultimate in pointless activities. (Unless of course you are studying particle physics.)

By that measure every single thing that exists is exactly identical to everything else. If nothing is different, then nothing matters, and nothing has value.

Let's just short circuit that entire pointless line of thought and look at the whole, not just the parts.


I would add to my sibling comment here that one should note that a particular characteristic of the engineer (or software developer) is the ability to internalise all of the layers of a system and to be able to treat it as whichever subset of the layers are relevant at any given time.

Doing so hardly means that one considers all such systems equivalent or indeed that one doesn't think of a reductionist view as just the most reified (though pretty damned vague) possible view of the system.


That's a great point. All layers are correct, but most won't be useful for a given problem.

If you're thinking about, say, crowd reactions, then you don't want the "meatbag" model. Instead, you need a higher-level psychological model. However, if your problem is "what kind of injuries result from a bomb", then the "meatbag" model is right on.

Thinking of the body as a loose confederation of fundamental particles is fairly useless when trying to decide how much to charge for a product, but it's an excellent model when e.g. figuring out how much radiation a person will absorb from a source.

No layer denies the usefulness or reality of any of the others.


We can agree here. And note that I had no issue with the use of the word meatbag to describe bomb effects.

It was your use of the word "ultimately" that I objected to.


I don't get why. If you keep stripping away the abstractions, that is where you end up.


No, if you keep stripping away the abstractions you end up with quarks.


I'll consolidate the conversation here.

"By that measure every single thing that exists is exactly identical to everything else."

Where do you get this idea? "X is ultimately just a big collection of fundamental particles" and "Y is ultimately just a big collection of fundamental particles" does not imply "X is identical to Y".

It's like saying you should never call anybody a "person" because you're implying all people are identical. I mean, what?


  | why not bags of water
Already been done: "Ugly bags of mostly water"

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Home_Soil_(episode)


Ironically you're using 'a work of art' in your defense while attacking a statement made in an artistic style.


If all you are is a "meat bag", then a bomb blast is no more tragic than making sloppy joes with ground beef.

Silly nerd thinking. Your "meat bag" and "meat space" thinking is ridiculous.


You are making the classic mistake of assuming what people must think without actually bothering to stop and ask them if they really think that. Just because you think that he thinks that, does not actually mean that he does think that.

I simultaneously believe that humans are made of meat and that the loss of a human is tragic. You are in absolutely no place to tell me that I don't think the second because I think the first.

Edit: Also, "meatspace" generally is just shorthand for "life away from the computer. not 'cyberspace'" The term "real life" could be used, though many find the implication of that to be very silly for obvious reasons.


What he thinks was most certainly revealed there, and it's common for many commenters on sites like HN and reddit.

"We are all just meat bags ..."

If you told someone that their son was "just a meat bag," or if you were speaking on your behalf in court and stated you were "making an appearance in meat space," you would be naturally considered a sociopath.

So get real.

It's the nerd group-think reductionist tendency on the internet. They wouldn't get away with it in real life for long if they valued having friends.

You can choose to sound like the atheistic Colombine murderers and their ilk, but don't expect the less numbed to not call you out on it.


"atheistic Colombine murderers"

Holy shit. Nice troll.


Are you only trolling or deliberately misinterpreting a comment just to be angry at evil atheists?


Oooookay, we are done here.

I should have guessed a real conversation wasn't your goal when you started out with insults. My fault really.


> If all you are is a "meat bag", then a bomb blast is no more tragic than making sloppy joes with ground beef.

Does not follow, and I disagree strongly. Specifics matter, but that doesn't make the "meat bag" thing untrue.


It's also true that a person and a block of wood are the same - they are both made of atoms, and the same types of atoms for that matter.

If everything is true then nothing is. If you want to compare a person to a meat bag, then you also have to compare them to a block of wood, and the sun, and everything else. i.e. you've actually done nothing whatsoever.


          matter
         /  |   \
     meat  wood  ...
    /   \    \
  human cow   ...

Humans are not wood, though wood and humans are both matter. Humans are however "made of meat", just as any other animal is.

As far as I can tell, the point of describing humans as meat is not to make an assessment of worth, but rather to drive home the fragile and temporary nature of humans. I don't know why anyone would object to that.


Because people like being pedantic in the worst possible way.

The fragility angle was obvious in his post, but people clearly just needed to be butthurt over something.


"is" != "is (mostly) made of"


Fair enough. I suspect the terminology "meat" is mostly a homage to Terry Bisson's short story "They're Made Out of Meat". That is why I like the word anyway. ;)


After thinking about this for a while I propose "aggregates of stardust" instead of "meat bags" ^^


You're trying to put people down by calling them nerds on Hacker News. It's not an insult that gains much traction anyway, but surely this is about the worst place you could possibly do it.

Nobody's suggesting what you're saying but you. If you're incapable of comprehending written English then you probably shouldn't be reading these comments.




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