Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Windows Kernel Data Inpage Error after Cloning Hard Drive or SSD

Problem: You've cloned your disk to a new hard drive or SSD and everytime you boot your computer from the off state you get a Kernel Data Inpage Error, the computer reboots, and everything is fine, until the next time you shut down completely and start up again.

Cause: Windows has gotten confused about the characteristics of the page file.


Step 1: Disable the page file entirely:
Windows 7 Instructions
Windows 10 Instructions

Make sure you have rebooted the computer after changing the settings.

Step 2: Re-enable the page file. Use the above instructions to get back to the window where you change the page file settings. This time the only thing you will do is check the box "Automatically manage paging file size for all drives". Click OK two or three times to go out and then reboot the computer.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Rationality and Religion

Humans have a tendency to see agency, or at least rationality, in things.

I was reminded of it this morning. As I thought back on my professional career, I wondered why I got the positions I had, when I got them, and not some other positions, at other times. Of course, being the central figure in the story, I have a wealth of data to go on. I quickly constructed a hypothesis that supported the idea that everything proceeded rationally.
But is it so? Or have I just impressed my own mental framework on reality?

I know a church in my area, that has a special Thanksgiving service every year. The mic is passed around and people talk about what they are thankful for. Of course as you would imagine, every one of them ascribes the good thing to the good agency of god.
It becomes very easy for Christians to psych themselves into faith this way. A fundamentalist Baptist pastor I knew (who apparently is now a conservative reformed Evangelical) has something on his Facebook feed that said, “Play up the positives, play down the negatives, and call it faith,” in reference to church pastors who try to sugarcoat problems in their churches. However the rank-and-file believer in the pew follows the same script all the time.
The problem with this is while it turns the past into a nice tidy bundle of rational intentionality, it does poorly at predicting the future. Simply put, it only works in hindsight. Therefore the Christian approach to the future is to suspend judgement until such a time as rational intentionality can be interpreted from events now past. Then praise god for it.

Prayer only serves to intensify this process. You are repeating your desires constantly, of course you are going to see scraps of intentionality all over the place. If what you want happens, you are going to assume it was an answer from god, with no other evidence to suggest that. If what you want doesn’t happen, you either 1) assume god is saying no or 2) suspend judgement and assume god is going to do something else at another time. Then wait a sufficient amount of time to be able to turn around and claim intentionality on the part of agency (god) in the non-answer of your prayer.
I wrote the following 11 problems with prayer 5+ years ago:


Problems with Prayer…

1. Incompatibility with God's sovereignty

For God to answer many of our prayers would involve going against what He already plans to do. Will He change His mind in every circumstance for us?

2. Incompatibility with God's inscrutability and man's finite understanding

Prayer as communication relies on a shared understanding of the situation at hand. God is thinking 10,000 moves ahead and has determined what He will do or allow, while we spin our wheels asking Him to change that because we have no way of comprehending what He is up to.

3. Incompatibility with Cessationism

Prayer as a conversation invites a reply. To pray always results in us believing that God speaks back to us, not just through His word, or through circumstance, but within our hearts. And yet there is no more open revelation. How do we know the voices in our hearts are God? What will we do when that which we are calling a "leading" turns out to be based on an undeniable falsehood?

4. Incompatibility with unanswerable prayer

Prayer assumes that God can do anything. To draw on a popular atheist retort, why doesn't God heal amputees? Why doesn't God physically move mountains? There are certain things that no amount of prayer will solve.

5. Incompatibility with unanswered prayer

Prayer assumes that God is willing to answer at least some of our prayers. Then why does God never seem to answer some prayers, like calming a crying baby in the middle of the night. Or keeping the rent check from coming in until after payday. Simple, small requests where "wait" is not an option.

6. Incompatibility with the suffering of the neediest

The North Korean government operates (yet denies) a prison camp by the name of Camp 22 in the northeastern corner of their country. Atrocities of the worst sort occur there. One of the things they do there is conduct human experiments, some in gas chambers. A story was related where a family of four, a husband, wife, and two children, were placed in a gas chamber and gassed to death. Even though the parents were vomiting and barely able to breath themselves, they tried to protect their children with mouth-to-mouth breathing. It didn't matter; the gassing continued until they were all dead. Another story is told of a guard who was asked to find 50 healthy women, then to feed them chemical-soaked cabbages. These women immediately began to vomit blood and all died. How about here in America, homeless families, sick people with no insurance, starving children? Why would God answer my prayers, a man who has a job, shelter, food, freedom, insurance, a loving family, etc. Why would I want God to spend His time on me instead of them.

7. General lack of falsifiability

When the answer to any prayer is defined as "yes" "no" or "wait," you have completely stripped prayer of any meaningfulness. You could pray to a milk jug and always get an answer.

8. Dangerous to man's sense of responsibility and creativity

When we pray, we choose to leave the matter in God's hands in faith. This results in us "waiting on Him," and not acting in our own power. To the extent that we believe that only God can respond is to the extent that we reduce our own efforts. The story is told of a man sitting on the roof of his house in a rising flood. He prayed for rescue: a log floated by, but he waited for God to save him; a boat came by, but He waited for God to save him; a rescue copter showed up, but he waited for God to save him; then he drowned. This is an extreme (and likely fictional) example. However, it illustrates the point. Prayer tends to make us passive and ignore the possibilities we could explore on our own.

9. Creates the tendency for judgmentalism in the church

If God is not answering prayers for personal or financial needs it may be because you don't have enough faith, there may be sin in your life, etc.

10. Creates an unhealthy cycle of expectation and disappointment

We strive to pray in faith according the James, then watch our faith get broken when the prayer isn't answered, resulting in less faith the next we pray. Psychologically it takes a toll and can cause us to question God and Christianity.

11. Is too easily confounded with circumstance

Is someone's death the answer to a prayer that God would bring a person back to righteousness? Is someone's healing the answer to the same prayer? In the first case we assume that God judged, in the second case we assume that God was merciful, when quite honestly we just don't know. Did your favorite sports team win the game because you prayed? Or was it because they were better? What is your explanation for the lack of answered prayer of those rooting for the other team?


Every one of these problems is understood and very clearly makes sense when you understand the Christian perception of divine rational intentionality as a typical expression of the natural human tendency to see rationality in things, and not as a true perception in and of itself.

Of course, it is possible that our concept of agency is at fault, the rationality we perceive does exist, and some other concept of agency could explain it. Any religion that shares the prayer/providence nexus won’t do, for (one or more of) reasons we’ve discussed. Most religions do, with the exception of some Eastern religions such as Buddhism. But these religions don’t provide a god-based framework for understanding perceived rationality, in fact, they proclaim that form is emptiness (Buddhism) or are simply humanistic (Confucianism). So we aren’t left with a satisfactory understanding involving god, except possibly Deism.

The only rational intentionality we can confirm is from (semi-)intelligent beings existing on Earth. Even then, we must take care to actually confirm with evidence such rational intentionality, before using it to make claims about the order of things. Otherwise you’ve just got a conspiracy theory.

This offends many people’s sense of rationality and agency because it goes against human instinct. The reply here is that a creator god gave us that instinct. Well I have just discussed that the common religious impulse derived from this instinct is painfully inadequate, so I am not keen to accept that reply.
To better explain, the concept of rationality is based in the physical concept of cause and effect, giving rise to logic that is based in its principles on natural cause and effect. If this, then that. Because this, then that. If not this, then not that. & etc.
The physical concept of cause and effect is rooted in the (presently) unchanging laws of the universe that were frozen in place during the last big bang, and will change again only during next one.
Natural selection selected for humans who survived, and in doing so selected for humans that survived the most, and those that survived the most were those who were factually accurate the most, and those who were factually accurate the most were those who developed a rationality that most closely mirrored the true state of reality.
We therefore see the world in this manner, and perceive rationality all around us. We further tend to perceive intentional rationality because that’s what got us in trouble the most… a preying lion, or a warrior from another tribe.

It’s easy to make the jump from that to making the entire cosmos rationally intentional (caused by an agent).
No wonder once you make the cosmos the work of an agent, you begin to place revelation over rationality. Many, many advances we take for granted required overcoming a substantial amount of opposition based purely on revelation(religious conviction): vaccines, anesthesia during childbirth, birth control, to name a few. Global warming and evolution are the latest to offend those who place revelation over rationality. It is a wonder that people who place revelation over rationality like to criticize the rationality of those who don’t.
As a matter of fact, the prayer/providence nexus itself was and is commonly used as a defense against modern medicine, from the initial historical arguments against vaccination (look it up) all the way up to believers in faith-based healing who would rather let their children suffer and die under a regimen of prayer than take them to a doctor.
The common American evangelical would like to distance themselves from such things but they cannot, as they subscribe to the very same interpretation and outlook concerning revelation, prayer, and providence. The only difference is that the march of time has shifted the interpretation of that revelation to allow for many modern advances. But they fight the same type of battle today against global warming and evolution, employing their misguided sense of intentional rationality to cook up boogeymen who are trying to destroy our country and way of life with science.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Charter Schools and Ignoring Inequality

Are American public schools really failing? Are charter schools swooping in to save the day with innovative methods that engage students like never before? The history of allegations of "failing" public schools is a long one, and often motivated by something other than academic success.
I grew up in a Christian fundamentalist family. For grades 1-2 and 6-12, I attended fundamentalist Baptist church schools. (The only reason I didn't attend 3-5 was because that was a period of time my family could not afford the tuition.) I'd like to dispel the notion up front that fundamentalist and conservative evangelical church schools are private schools. Indeed they are private schools in their constitution, but absolutely cannot be compared to private schools in their rigor or academic offerings. In their effect on the academic growth of the student, such schools are no better than glorified collective homeschools. We are talking about schools with teachers with no credentialing, no regionally accredited college degrees, using religious based curriculum that makes no effort to adhere to the latest guidelines of any state. In my time in such schools, two religion-based curricula were used: A-Beka, a product of the regionally unaccredited Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, FL; and ACE/School of Tomorrow, based out of Hendersonville, TN.
It was in the ACE curriculum that I ran across a lesson that discussed political cartoons. The example given of a political cartoon was a ship, representing public education, sinking. Now keep in mind this was the early 1990s, and the material I was given was likely first published in the 1980s, long before the public charter movement really found its legs. The Christian school movement, put bluntly, was formed in the early 70s not because public schools were "failing" but because of the enforcement of racial integration in public schools through bussing. Many conservative white evangelicals and fundamentalists were having none of that and left the public school sphere entirely to found the Christian school movement. However, after the Civil Rights Movement, you could no longer participate in the public sphere in America being blatantly racist, and the trope of "failing public schools" was a convenient justification, along with Supreme Court decisions "taking God out of" schools.
Many criticisms of the charter school movement abound, but as I am wont to do, I took a data-focused approach in attempting to understand whether charters were filling in for public schools that are "failing" or not. In the San Diego area in which I live, as I pored over the data, several things stood out:

1. You don't find much charter school penetration in wealthier areas.
2. Free-and-reduced-lunch percentage (FRL%) was strongly correlated with academic performance.
3. Taken on the whole, charter schools have similar outcomes to public schools.
4. The test results that show American schools behind other countries? When adjusted for economic inequality, American kids actually come out ahead.

Number one really hit me. Basically, the well-to-do don't need charters, because the public schools in their neighborhood do just fine, year after year. This is in the same school district that has flailing schools in poorer neighborhoods. Of course, guess where the charters tend to be? The poorer neighborhoods. They chase after a potential market of parents that don't know what to do about their kids who are struggling in school.
Economic inequality has produced a sizable underclass of families with children who don't have enough support from home to make it in school. This support includes the basics like regular, decent meals, parental time for regular bonding and homework help, parental involvement at school, money for supplies and extra activities and supports outside of school, etc. and etc. Specifically, a FRL% over 69% usually indicates a poor performing school. In one case I knew of, the school couldn't get parent volunteers because most parents in the neighborhood had things on their record that prevented them from passing the basic background check required of volunteers. The school had begun to function as a black box, severely limiting parental involvement, as they had to, in the main, function independently of parental involvement.
In contrast, schools with a FRL% or 50% or less, performed well.
The data shows that public schools do fail with a lack of community and parental support, and no amount of money will fix that. Charters aren't a panacea for this; if they are specifically organized to provide extra assists to these at risk kids then there potentially could be improvements. Also the very act of a parent choosing a charter involves the parent in the education process where they might not have been involved before, thus potentially improving outcomes. It's just sad to see political ideologues blame public schools for failing when they don't have the community and parental support they need to succeed.
I happen to know of a quasi-charter school, a public school of choice. Parents can choose to send their kids here if the regular assigned school is not working out for them. What is happening is, yes, they are getting some gifted kids, but just a couple, and these kids, rather predictably, leave shortly. The reason is this: most of the kids who do not succeed in typical public schools are at least slightly below average. They are only marginally college bound. The school has tailored its instruction to this reality, and the truly gifted kids get frustrated and leave. I dare say this is the same with any charter. (School FRL% is over 50%)
The point is this: all alternative education, including public charter education, is remedial to some degree. Instead of America solving its inequality problem, we are exacerbating that problem by segregating kids whose education has been strangled by inequality. And yet even in this scenario we are not reliably correcting the educational deficiency.
The solution for the whole problem is to provide Americans with a decent living so they can have the time and money to invest in their local schools. You see this all the time in wealthier neighborhoods: active PTAs, lots of volunteers, fundraisers. The confirmation of this solution lies in the elementary school my children go to. FRL% is over 60% but they do well because it has all those things: active PTA and lots of parent volunteers and involvement. But you aren't going to get that in neighborhoods where the parents work multiple jobs just not to be able to cover bills at the end of the month and are too tired and stressed to pay attention to what's going on at school unless Junior gets in serious trouble-at which point you yell at Junior...who isn't making it anyway.
As with many societal problems in America, this one does not exist on its own. It's just tragic because it has filled America with people who are either stupid and/or apathetic. I suppose the 1% have multiple passports and can go somewhere else when America tanks.