Humans are far from perfect, but generally aspire to perfection. This brings about much progress, but also much grief. Before aspiring to perfection, we must first imagine it, and then weigh its perceived benefits vs costs. And then there's often the question of who's the "we" that will reap the benefits or pay the costs.
Generally, the wider our notion of "we", the less of a zero-sum game we play, while the narrower "we" tends to work selfishly, with less regard for loss to others.…Continue
I think the following graph speaks for itself. We can discuss whether or not humans are responsible for the sudden, unquestionably drastic spike in CO2 represented on this particular graph, but I'm primarily interested in learning if anyone of significance in science disputes the overall accuracy of the graph?
Click on the graph to see a selection of more recent timeframes (X-axis).…Continue
Even at 60 years old, or perhaps I should say "in spite of 60 years of accumulated wisdom", I still have my moments of naïveté. I'm in the middle right now of working out one of those moments. This began weeks ago, as a result of Affleck vs Maher/Harris media vexations (thanks…Continue
Trying to catch up on current events, I watched PBS/Frontline's The Rise of ISIS. I wasn't even aware of how Malaki (Shiia) stoked the fire for the rise of ISIS, but I think we can still blame ourselves for Iraq's destabilization that's led to the current ISIS. Sure, there are percentages of fault to consider, and I won't try to prove that the current atrocities would have been completely avoided if Bush II hadn't…Continue
I'm an atheist that feels there's too much invalidation of other people's emotions in the name of atheism. Or maybe a better way to say this is that science discourages emotion from affecting rational thought, and therefore many science minded people discount emotion as empirically measurable, and therefor is irrelevant in discourse about scientific realities.
But human emotions are animal emotions, engaging us with our most fundamental survival needs. Many people even discount that…Continue
I disregard prophesied apocalyptic scenarios (except for recurrence of known natural catastrophies), but I'm increasingly interested in the probability of AI taking on a life of its own, at humanity's expense.
Few would argue that, over time, AI will become increasingly enmeshed with our lives. Many believe that we'll always retain control, with preemptive capabilties in cases that would otherwise head out of control. Some argue for unlimited "progress", no worries.
The following is speculative and reliant on memory, not yet citing scientific references. I feel it includes significant insight, but wouldn't mind if anyone posts evidence to the contrary.
Sex's advantage/purpose in life's evolutionary processes is not yet as simply definable as, say "it enhances genetic diversity". But obviously there are several, complexly related advantages of sex in evolution that outweigh its disadvantages, on the whole. (Recall, bacteria are still evolving,…Continue
I try not to mock people, but there's a special, warm spot in my heart reserved just for Tea Party activists, and conservative Texans in particular. Yup, they sure prove how fucked up government can get, when TPers throw in their votes and slogans. (Now imagine rolls of toilet paper hanging from ceilings of a dysfunctional congress. Waahoo, TP wins!)
Short and sweet entries, please, sort of like a log that people can look back on and enjoy, after Hillary reaps the spoils of a the…Continue
Look around the world and notice the pressure put on people to just put faith into whatever the local belief system happens to be. This is especially true (currently) in Middle-East Muslim culture, so I'm most interested in hearing back from them, in particular.
It's not just Muslims who put peer pressure on their own society to practice faith, as almost all religions are a product of local peer pressure. So my question still applies (to various degrees) to every religion.
By Barack Obama
Imagine my surprise when I opened the New York Times and read Vladimir Putin's Op-ed. I didn't know what I was reading for a few minutes. Sometimes my Chief of Staff will putThe Onion in front of me just to shake things up so it…Continue
I'm asking people who believe in souls.
One popular declaration is that a Soul is invoked when Sperm hits Egg to form Zygote. But really, says who? It's not in the bible or other ancient scripture, because those were written before science discovered sperm and egg... unless you feel you have the right to interpret scripture in a way that looks prophetic.
Or how about after, when zygote splits into two, to make identical twins? Does one soul now split into two, or do…Continue
Added by Pope Beanie on September 14, 2013 at 2:20pm — No Comments
According to CNS, black holes may be mechanisms of universe reproduction within the …
I like this question because people have such a difficult time agreeing to agree on definitions. The most basic question of all, "What is Free Will" never gets hashed out so that people can discuss it on common terms. So I'm more interested now in just how to define it.
It's extremely difficult for people to imagine their own non-existence (whether before birth or after death), and perhaps the only way that an existing mind can contemplate itself is to…Continue
Something along the same lines of my blog "It Was All Just a Theory", I want to build up a list of stuff that hasn't happened yet, but that Science will make happen.
If religionists can't appreciate all that science has learned and found to be true and presented to humanity--such as all the medicine and technology that has increased our health and lifespan and provided for our daily needs…Continue
While currently going through a period of low motivation, I'm wishing that some magical power would just pop into my head and push buttons or zap something. When I was a teen, once or twice I think I tried to make a deal with God, something like "Help me with this, and I'll reconsider You!". Never answered, of course.
Meanwhile, science has proven a few times the power of the placebo. Just believe, and things get better right? Is there a way to make this happen, but without…Continue
I've wanted to put together a list of all those nasty theories that get in the way of divine/religious dogma. But I didn't think until now of a place (here) to start such a list.
I happen to think that the "theory of gravity" is a bad example, because I don't know of any people present or past who preached or taught something against a theory of gravity. It's the blatant, anti-science preaching/teaching (e.g. Creationism) that I'm more concerned with.
I don't like to ridicule people. Well, not unless they ridicule, first. I try to avoid it because it's rarely productive, except maybe when it's like preaching that excites the choir. Sometimes Ben Stein's angry preaching gets me excited.
Here's an outtake of his latest writing for The American Spectator. If it sounds like I'm taking it out of context,…Continue
I believe that epigenetics is the next frontier in the study of genetics, and biology. Wikipedia's definition of epigenetics is a good start, if you're new to the field.
But I'd like to clarify something that might otherwise be confusing people about this new science. The scientific definition of "epigenetics" can vary depending on which aspect the geneticist focuses: Embryonic Development, or Inheritable Traits.…Continue
Added by Pope Beanie on May 5, 2012 at 11:58pm — No Comments