On Wednesday, February 27, 2013 11:25:41 AM UTC-5, John Clark wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 25, 2013  Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com <javascript:>>wrote:
> >>when a computer is operating correctly it can most certainly tell the 
>>> difference between a audio and a video file,
>> > Absolutely false.
> How so?

Because if it could, then it wouldn't need any identifying bytes in the 
file to associate it with a program. Even if it could that would only 
represent a more advanced file analysis function, not any kind of audio or 
video sensitivity.

> > It can tell the difference between one file format and another,
> Well that's all I said.

No, you said "when a computer is operating correctly it can most certainly 
tell the difference between a audio and a video file".

You are missing the enormous leap between discerning the differences 
between two differently labeled files, and any sort of audio or video 
presentation qualities. This is the difference that I am pointing out in 
this thread: A geometric form like a circle is not the same thing as a list 
of numerical coordinates. 

> > but there is no relation between a file format and the ability for that 
>> file to be output to a screen as opposed to a speaker
> And yet when I play a video on a web page my computer always sends the 
> audio signal to the speaker and the video signal to the screen and not the 
> other way round. How can it do that it it doesn't know if the output should 
> go to the screen or speaker? Is it just lucky?

Uh, no. The web browser is explicitly instructed by the code of the file 
which application list is appropriate. If it says mp3 or wav, then the OS 
will try the default app to process that file. Whether or not you even have 
your speakers plugged in means nothing. The computer has no idea what audio 

> > I have opened music files before as bitmaps. You can still open an mp3 
>> file as text in Windows by renaming it's extender.
> Yes, and in exactly the same manner I can examine your ideas and I can 
> also open your skull and examine your brain; one way of looking at things 
> does not contradict the other but are complementary, and a computer can 
> look at things both ways.

A computer can only look at everything one way - as a binary code. It is 
the job of all computer peripherals to act as a medium for accessing a 
facsimile of external events as binary code. This is the opposite of what 
consciousness does. We can listen to a song or have a completely different 
experience watching that song encoded as video graphics - but the computer 
has no experience either way. Even people with synesthesia can recognize 
the difference between color and sound, even when they are experienced 
together in an unconventional way. A computer doesn't know anything about 
the world beyond its peripherals. It can't tell whether a bitstream ends up 
in your ears or eyes. It doesn't know if it's running on a laptop in the 
middle of a warzone or on a virtual server in a data center.

> > If a computer could tell the difference between an audio file and a 
>> video file, you wouldn't need file extenders
> Some modern programs can get along without file extensions, although if 
> you deliberately try to confuse it by giving it a incorrect extension the 
> conflicting information will make the machine queasy; and if you receive 
> information from your eyes that conflicts with information from your inner 
> ear you will get motion sickness and feel nauseous.

You don't need file extensions in every OS, but the fact that they exist at 
all should show you how helpless a computer is to figure out anything that 
it isn't programmed to check for. There is no condition which will make a 
machine queasy, and our sense of queasiness is not in any way a logical 
result of a data mismatch. If your ears and eyes had a conflict, it could 
just as easily be presented as a ringing in our ears or profuse sweating or 
hallucinations of Mayan calendars.

> > As you can see from my sample above, your assertion is false. The 
> machine is happy to crap out ASCII garbage instead of music
> You specifically told the machine to interpret it as ASCII, so why are you 
> complaining that it did exactly as you requested? 

It's not interpreting it as ASCII, it is identifying it as ASCII. It has no 
memory that it ever was anything else and couldn't tell that it was related 
to music if its life depended on it.

> You're saying that the ability of computers to look at any file as a 
> bitmap or as a bunch of ASCII symbols shows some sort of inherent 
> limitation of computers, and that makes no sense.

The limitation is not that they can open a file as a bitmap or ASCI, its 
that they can't tell the difference between the two. If I tell it a file is 
text, it thinks its text. If someone hands a person a book, and tells them 
that it is dinner, that wouldn't really work as well.

Everything that you are saying indicates that you swallow the 'pathetic 
fallacy' 100%, and even stranger, you don't seem to realize what's wrong 
with it.


> John K Clark

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