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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  10:34:01  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In an odd sequence of events a Google ad in Gmail piqued my interest and took me here, which is this guy Perry Marshall's attempt to "prove" God exists (the email I was reading said nothing about evolution or atheism, so I don't know why this ad appeared at all).

On his site is a PDF of what appears to be a talk (it's ca. 31 pages long; there's also a 74 minute MP3) where he lays out his argument for design.

I'm trying to wrap my head around it. His argument seems to be based on "information theory" which, I really, is something the ID people often talk about. He distinguishes between "patterns" and "designs" and then moves to languages, holding that all languages are designed (which is true to an extent, but obviously they evolved organically; no language sprang into being fully fleshed out). From here, he tries to argue that DNA is nothing but a language (though this leap seems to be superficial), ergo DNA is designed, and so there has to be God.

Anyhow, I throw this out there for discussion. Of course, like any smug ID/Creationist, he writes towards the end
A lot of people come along who really do not like what I said (big surprise). They reply back, sometimes they have very special words for me and they tell me how 'smart' they think I am. Some people come out with machine guns blaring and everything. But I can tell you that after thousands of people have gone through this email series, no one has punched a hole in this.
Not that they haven't tried! But nobody has found a flaw in this argument.
So he's really asking for it. I'll ponder this some more, and perhaps write something on it later.

Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  11:04:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ok, so I've been thinking about this some more. (This may be why I'm not the most productive scholar on earth; I spend an hour thinking about this instead of the paper I'm supposed to present at a conference in 6 weeks.)

And I think he fails on the language thing. He keeps harping on the whole "language is designed" but it's not. Or rather, it's designed just like naturalistic evolution. That is, it went through small, incremental steps with lots of failed attempts, and selective pressures forced languages to split from one another, and so on.

The earliest human speaker on earth couldn't have expressed "the tree by the creek is big" to anyone.

The DNA question is more vexing, but only because I don't know about such things. The DNA sequence is governed by certain chemical laws, no? That is, carbon (for instance) can't just form in any way it wants willy-nilly, right? Organic chemistry suggests this, no?

Anyhow, I'm just thinking out loud. Er, well, you get the idea.
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  11:13:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thats right, Carbon cant use the Argon bathrooms.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  11:35:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks BPS. I've also found some threads on iidb.infidels.org where they debate the guy (he actually came on the page to talk about it). I'm still early in the discussion, but I'm starting to see the flaws in his argument about DNA as "code" and "language" and whatnot.
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  11:39:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
NP, but I dont actually know wtf Im talking about with regard to DNA formation, all I know is that carbon is the life of the party so to speak, gets along with all but the nobles, who are really very prudish.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  13:15:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Cune.....

Some of the academic and experiential credentials of this King of Philosophers.....

USE GOOGLE ADWORDS AND THE POWER OF GUERILLA MARKETING TO ATTRACT NEW CUSTOMERS 24/7/365



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Perry Marshall helps companies grow sales & eliminate waste with highly targeted web traffic, marketing & publicity.

"I got my degree in engineering but eventually went into sales, which was a rude awakening. We had the privilege of eating baloney sandwiches and ramen soup for a while.

"Things really turned around after I rejected most of what I'd been taught about selling and took the contrarian approach. Business should not be a grind - it should be challenging, fun, and profitable.

"When I'm not working, I enjoy theater, good books, fine music systems, and intense conversations about almost anything."

The DMOZ Internet open directory lists:
Perry S. Marshall & Associates - Sales lead generation, results accountable advertising and publicity systems for technical sales in the industrial, electronics, Information Technology, audio, high-end consulting and wireless sectors.

Mr. Marshall is an engineer, turned salesman, become a self-discovered intellectual, and transmogrified (sic Dave) into a theological and philosophical savant. I am in the process of reading his e-mail 'course'.

I suspect an overdose of baloney sandwiches. More later!

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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  13:55:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks, bngbuck. My own Google-searching has turned up similar results.

His discussion at the Infidels site reminds me of us talking with Mozina. Fun to an extent, but also frustrating to a large extent.
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R.Wreck
SFN Regular

USA
1191 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  14:25:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send R.Wreck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm trying to wrap my head around it. His argument seems to be based on "information theory" which, I really, is something the ID people often talk about. He distinguishes between "patterns" and "designs" and then moves to languages, holding that all languages are designed (which is true to an extent, but obviously they evolved organically; no language sprang into being fully fleshed out). From here, he tries to argue that DNA is nothing but a language (though this leap seems to be superficial), ergo DNA is designed, and so there has to be God.


Is this goober arguing that languages were designed by a supernatural designer? Does he address the fact that English from not that many centuries ago is all but unintelligible to the English speaker of today? Or that most languages ever to see the light of day are no longer used? Who designed such a system where you have to study for years to be able to retrieve the information from previous generations? Not a very competent designer it seems.

The foundation of morality is to . . . give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibliities of knowledge.
T. H. Huxley

The Cattle Prod of Enlightened Compassion
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  14:38:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
From the talk:
Do you realize that every one of you has billions of copies of yourself represented in the form of DNA? In every cell of your body there is a copy of you. It's an exact plan for your body and it is an exquisitely designed coding system.
Well, that's wrong. DNA isn't an "exact plan" for anything, nor is it "exquisitely designed" as a coding system. Any developmental biologist will tell you that how your body is built depends largely upon the environment during gestation, and the "coding system" that is DNA looks haphazard, at best.
Chaos theory is the study of how order forms naturally without design.
Utter nonsense, it's closer to the opposite: about how apparently random behaviour can arise from non-random systems. He later on agrees that his definition of chaos is bunk when he speaks about the weather being "chaos driven" and he's forced to use the correct definition.
Patterns are simply created by matter in energy.
Huh?
In the world of patterns there is never an exact copy.
Here's a pattern: ABABABA. Here's another one: ABABABA. Oh, look at that, they are identical.
It requires no thought from anybody, true?
Yes, to say, "In the world of patterns there is never an exact copy" requires no thought at all. Showing it to be false takes minimal thought.

Here's where it might get interesting:
To have information you have to matter and energy and will.
For a communications engineer, the guy seems to have rejected everything that people like Shannon found out about "information," which doesn't need a "will" or a "designer" or the like. (Marshall evens cites Shannon much later on, completely ignoring his work.) What Marshall really means is that "meaning" requires intent - at least it does in order to get the correct meaning from a message. But "meaning" and "information" aren't synonyms. He goes on for a while about DNA then, and how it's a language, and then we get this:
To have a language, to have information, you have to have a transmitter and a receiver.
This is a clear equivocation of "language" and "information," but it's not the meaning that any information theorist would give to the word "information."

But here's the real crux:
So which is DNA more like?

Is DNA more like stalactites and stalagmites and tornadoes and hurricanes and snowflakes and fractals? Or is DNA more like music, maps, computer programs and Chinese?

It's definitely in the second category. Absolutely there is no question about it.
And what's the one thing that music, maps, computer programs and Chinese have in common: they've all been produced by human beings. Therefore, DNA was made by human beings. But people like Marshall never take that final step in their argument, they stop after deciding that because "language" is created by "intelligence," then anywhere they see a "language" there must be an "intelligence" behind it, and they get to pick which "intelligence" they want because their argument is so poor.

But they fail to consider bird song, primate warning calls, etc. They fail to consider that non-intelligent sources can create languages.

He continues the equivocation:
If you only have an alphabet and syntax and you don't have meaning or intent than you have a meaningless sentence. There has to be other sentences around it so you know what I mean when I say you “You've got a green light.”

This is the core problem with a naturalistic philosophy of materialistic science:
Matter and energy all by themselves cann

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  17:09:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave......

I, like you and others, am in the process of dissecting this urination of an arrogant pretender to the musnud of Philosophy. I largely agree with everything you have written here, and this is not an invitation to quarrel, as this man demands an answer and most of what you have said is spot on.

However, in reading Marshall's essay, I saw this....
All languages come from a mind. No exceptions.

There are no languages that do not come from a mind.
...as a salient point, badly needing repudiation. You state:
Plainly false.
and
This is a restatement of the previous premise, and it's still false.
Could you expand on your undoubtedly correct statement, i.e., provide the logical proof that his statements are false?

You cite the Robotics piece from Current Biology as evidence that non-intelligent sources are capable of creating language. Floreano, et. al., suggested that the machines had communicated, implying creation of a language, but I did not read that they felt that the functioning of that primitive neural circuitry could not be properly defined as elementary intelligence. Are there other sources that persuade you that "Artificial Intelligence", (or animal intelligence, for that matter), may be qualitatively different than human intelligence?

"Coming from a mind" may be a parariddle of a different drummer, however! Thoughts?

I wonder what Alan Turing would think? Dave, what are your full thoughts on "language is not necessarily a product of intelligence"?

Please understand; as much as you, I feel this man is swimming in a cesspool of sophistical shit, but I feel that he must be rebutted with precision; and that this Forum can serve as a superb, surgically scrupulous, septic system sanitizer!

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  18:11:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
bngbuck, Marshall largely dismisses the possibility of artifical intelligence during the Q&A. He clearly opines that today's computers cannot become "mind," and that Kurtzweil's vision of a whole lot of even faster computers all being linked together becoming a "mind" is a pipe-dream.

Clearly, Marshall's objection to an example such as the robots would be that their communications are not a "language" because there is no "intent," the machines are simply stimulus-response engines that don't comprehend the meaning of the signals they're sending back-and-forth.

But then I would ask: where is the "intent" with DNA? Obvious, DNA serves a purpose, but that's not the same thing as having "intent." Does a fertilized ovum intend to create a whole human being, or does it just happen according to physical and chemical laws?

Marshall's primary premise is that language is always a product of intelligence, and that cinches the case: DNA is a language, therefore DNA is a product of intelligence. I deny that that premise has been shown to be true. A single counter-example of a language not "designed" by a "mind" suffices to demolish Marshall's argument. The robotics piece does so nicely, because the designers of the experiment certainly didn't intend for particular patterns of light to mean "food" and other patterns to mean "poison." The language wasn't designed.

Marshall might counter that the ability to light up and to respond to light were designed, by humans, and so the language that followed must be considered "designed," too. But then we get into the ridiculous idea that any experiment designed by humans can only possibly provide proof of design because something about it was designed. An absurdist notion of "natural" that denies a priori that evolution could be tested at all, ever, thus making all design arguments circular.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  18:18:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
By the way, something that Marshall clearly hasn't considered very deeply, but is necessarily intricately intertwined with his own argument, is the Problem of Mind. From where does "mind" arise in the first place? And what does "understanding" actually mean? Can we point to a particular set of neurons that comprehend "the pencil is on the table?"

If Marshall would answer such a question with dualism - that "mind" is "something more" than just a brain - then it would be incumbent upon him to tell us what that "something more" is and where it comes from. And if he actually had an answer in strictly natural terms, he could have a Nobel Prize.

Most likely, he simply knows "mind" when he sees it, making his argument unassailable because he gets to pick what are minds and what aren't. I suspect a similar set of problems exist with his definition of "intent."

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  20:52:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave.....

I'm still not entirely clear on this. Your original statement was:
But people like Marshall never take that final step in their argument, they stop after deciding that because "language" is created by "intelligence," then anywhere they see a "language" there must be an "intelligence" behind it, and they get to pick which "intelligence" they want because their argument is so poor.

But they fail to consider bird song, primate warning calls, etc. They fail to consider that non-intelligent sources can create languages.
Do you intend to say here that bird song, primate warning calls, etc. are non-intelligent?

And, back to the robots, I am certain that Marshall, belying his training as an an electrical engineer, does not believe (because of his crippling faith) that Artificial Intelligence (or animal intelligence) is the same class of phenomenon as God-given human intelligence.

But I asked for your opinion. Do you feel that there is an essential, or elemental, qualitative difference between Artificial Intelligence (as now being pursued as a specific Computer Science discipline,) and human and or animal intelligence?

Marshall would likely declare a dichotomy between AI and human intelligence by invoking the mystical concept of mind as coequal or integral with "soul", involing dualism and all the nonsense that ensues from that kind of crap.

Turing obviously believed with his famous Test that functionality was the determining factor - what a computer could do (i.e. any cogitation that a human is capable of)) defines whether it is "intelligent" or not. His Test certainly implies that Turing did not feel there was any significant difference between the concept of AI and that of human intelligence, although AI as we understand it today was but a dream in Turing's time.

What do you think?

Then...
Can we point to a particular set of neurons that comprehend "the pencil is on the table?"
From the little that I know of recent developments in neurological biology; maybe, stay tuned. A lot more precision is necessary in the understanding of the meaning of words like "understanding", "mind", "comprehension", "intelligence" and, yes, "perception".

This SFN is indeed a useful sounding board for one attempting to gather the proper words together to describe that phenomenon.

Finally,
But then we get into the ridiculous idea that any experiment designed by humans can only possibly provide proof of design because something about it was designed. An absurdist notion of "natural" that denies a priori that evolution could be tested at all, ever, thus making all design arguments circular.
Please put some more words on this concept. I don't really understand what you said!

Incidentally, I feel that "mind" is a construct, pure and simple!

Edited by - bngbuck on 01/30/2008 20:58:44
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  22:03:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

Dave.....

I'm still not entirely clear on this. Your original statement was:
But people like Marshall never take that final step in their argument, they stop after deciding that because "language" is created by "intelligence," then anywhere they see a "language" there must be an "intelligence" behind it, and they get to pick which "intelligence" they want because their argument is so poor.

But they fail to consider bird song, primate warning calls, etc. They fail to consider that non-intelligent sources can create languages.
Do you intend to say here that bird song, primate warning calls, etc. are non-intelligent?

And, back to the robots, I am certain that Marshall, belying his training as an an electrical engineer, does not believe (because of his crippling faith) that Artificial Intelligence (or animal intelligence) is the same class of phenomenon as God-given human intelligence.
That's my point. Marshall and the folks like him tend to place some arbitrary barrier between human and God "minds" on the one side, and every other sort of "lower" mind on the other. I am saying that Marshall wouldn't want to equate God's "mind" with a chickadee's "mind" in terms of what is (or is not) able to create a "language."
But I asked for your opinion. Do you feel that there is an essential, or elemental, qualitative difference between Artificial Intelligence (as now being pursued as a specific Computer Science discipline,) and human and or animal intelligence?
No.
Marshall would likely declare a dichotomy between AI and human intelligence by invoking the mystical concept of mind as coequal or integral with "soul", involing dualism and all the nonsense that ensues from that kind of crap.
That's what I said.
Turing obviously believed with his famous Test that functionality was the determining factor - what a computer could do (i.e. any cogitation that a human is capable of)) defines whether it is "intelligent" or not. His Test certainly implies that Turing did not feel there was any significant difference between the concept of AI and that of human intelligence, although AI as we understand it today was but a dream in Turing's time.

What do you think?
I think that a Turing Test might detect the presence of an intelligence such as ours, but it gets us no closer to defining what that is or where it resides, or even what "understanding" really means on a deep level. Look at Searle's Chinese Room.
Then...
Can we point to a particular set of neurons that comprehend "the pencil is on the table?"
From the little that I know of recent developments in neurological biology; maybe, stay tuned.
Right. The answer, at the present time, is "no."
A lot more precision is necessary in the understanding of the meaning of words like "understanding", "mind", "comprehension", "intelligence" and, yes, "perception".
Yes, maybe someday we'll have it all figured out. Right now, though, Marshall and other creationists are using those words as if everybody knows precisely what they mean and how they happen. It's a sloppy argument, preying upon people's desire to have more answers than they do (making Marshall's comments about science allegedly claiming to have all the answers all the more ridiculous).
Finally,
But then we get into the ridiculous idea that any experiment designed by humans can only possibly provide proof of design because something about it was designed. An absurdist notion of "natural" that denies a priori that evolution could be tested at all, ever, thus making all design arguments circular.
Please put some more words on this concept. I don't really understand what you said!
A popular notion among creationists today is that designing an experiment to test natural processes actually sneaks "design" into the experiment by the simple fact that the experiment was designed. If true, this would mean that it is impossible to perform any test to see if natural processes can result in evolution, simply because humans are involved in "designing" all scientific tests. Thus, any experimental results which appears to support "naturalistic" evolution is actually due to humans somehow sneaking their own intelligence into the experiment through the experiment's design. Thus, any experiment which results in a true answer of "this happened naturally" is impossible.

This sort of argument is seen most-often as a counter to computer simulations of evolutionary processes. One commentator on Uncommon Descent went so far as to say that in order to provide evidence in favor of evolution, not only would the computer-construct "animals" have to mutate and be subjected to selection, but so would the computer's operating system, which everyone agrees would likely result in nothing more than a non-functional computer and no simulation of anything. As many people responded, this is like saying that it's impossible to create an accurate computer simulation of an airplane in flight unless you take the computer it's running on up to 40,000 feet and throw it out the door. (Later on, the original writer claimed he was joking, but that rationalization fell flat.)

But ultimately, if human experiments are only capable of detecting design because of the design inherent in their design, and never capable of saying "this is natural," then the entire design argument - that we can detect design in biological systems - becomes "life appears to be designed because humans designed the experiments." Technically, this isn't a circular argument, but it does get us right back to where we started: is life designed? If our ability to design "contaminates" any test to see if some aspect of life is natural, then it's impossible to tell and the design argument is ruined by its proponents' desire to be blind to evidence for evolutionary theory. Because that's the only real reason the "sneaking the design in" argument is made: to dismiss evidence of the lack of design.
Incidentally, I feel that "mind" is a construct, pure and simple!
What the heck is a "construct?" Why is your statement any purer or simpler than any assertion that "mind" is a gift from God?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  23:24:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave.....

You ask.....
What the heck is a "construct?" Why is your statement any purer or simpler than any assertion that "mind" is a gift from God?

Webster's International Unabridged

Main Entry: 3construct Pronunciation Guide
Pronunciation: känztrkt, känstr-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): -s
1 : something that is constructed especially by a process of mental synthesis: as a : an object of thought constituted by the ordering or systematic uniting of experiential elements (as percepts and sense data) and of terms and relations b : an intellectual or logical construction : an operational concept; also : the result of such a construction or concept <the constructs of science>

I couldn't have said it better myself, or I would have!

Pure? Simple? Well, there's no dependence on a deity, and that makes it a hell of a lot simpler for me! As to Purity, I have no cognizance of any contamination in the cognate (morpheme) construct!
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  23:41:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.
A popular notion among creationists today is that designing an experiment to test natural processes actually sneaks "design" into the experiment by the simple fact that the experiment was designed. If true, this would mean that it is impossible to perform any test to see if natural processes can result in evolution, simply because humans are involved in "designing" all scientific tests. Thus, any experimental results which appears to support "naturalistic" evolution is actually due to humans somehow sneaking their own intelligence into the experiment through the experiment's design. Thus, any experiment which results in a true answer of "this happened naturally" is impossible.

This sort of argument is seen most-often as a counter to computer simulations of evolutionary processes. One commentator on Uncommon Descent went so far as to say that in order to provide evidence in favor of evolution, not only would the computer-construct "animals" have to mutate and be subjected to selection, but so would the computer's operating system, which everyone agrees would likely result in nothing more than a non-functional computer and no simulation of anything. As many people responded, this is like saying that it's impossible to create an accurate computer simulation of an airplane in flight unless you take the computer it's running on up to 40,000 feet and throw it out the door. (Later on, the original writer claimed he was joking, but that rationalization fell flat.)

But ultimately, if human experiments are only capable of detecting design because of the design inherent in their design, and never capable of saying "this is natural," then the entire design argument - that we can detect design in biological systems - becomes "life appears to be designed because humans designed the experiments." Technically, this isn't a circular argument, but it does get us right back to where we started: is life designed? If our ability to design "contaminates" any test to see if some aspect of life is natural, then it's impossible to tell and the design argument is ruined by its proponents' desire to be blind to evidence for evolutionary theory. Because that's the only real reason the "sneaking the design in" argument is made: to dismiss evidence of the lack of design.
Dave, I had, of course, heard IDers use this rationale to dismiss any experiment which showed that evolutionary principles were capable of producing novelty. As you say, mostly when it came to computer simulations. However, I never quite thought through the implications of that to the degree that you did. You're right. It means that ID is untestable in principal in all conceivable cases.

Geez, first the creationists criticize evolution for not rising to the level of those other hard, "experimental" sciences. Then they refuse to recognize the validity of those experiments once evolutionary scientists run them! On the other hand, their logic forces me to conclude that Dembski's "Explanatory Filter," being itself designed by a human intellegence, must return a similarly endless supply of false positives. (Actually, we know it does.)

"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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