Politics, God and Religion vs. Science


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Hebrews 1:3
Dec 29, 2012 - 04:30pm PT
2 Corinthians 6:1 And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain— 2 for He says,

“At the acceptable time I listened to you,
And on the day of salvation I helped you.”

Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”—

19 - Today Is The Day Of Salvation!


Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Dec 29, 2012 - 05:01pm PT
So yet again, the point of eternal life? Hopefully to be answered in contemporary speech using your own mind and words? You do have words and are capable of your own thoughts, right?

Social climber
An Oil Field
Dec 29, 2012 - 05:58pm PT
Say it ain't so, Go-B!!

You haven't turned into one of those prosperity Christians, who preach how the lord is going to reward us in this life, have you?

Based on my rather long childhood as a(up to 16 or so) Christian, everything I was taught was about how the meek and poor are the ones who are going to be cared for.

If you are poor now, you are a statistical leech to the Republican Party.

Which is weird, because the Republicans have their fair share of truly ignorant and low income voters. Just check out the tea party!!!

The Tea Pary is a group of rather noisy (OK, because it is politics), willfully ignorant, and probably a racist phenomena, that is now looking short lived. During the last election cycle, I didn't see any campaign showing the hordes of protestors that descended on the capitol, nor did I see a single commercial where George W. Bush endorsed A SINGLE PERSON.

It didn't take very long for George W. Bush go from hero to pariah. Nope, not long at all.

The furthest right and the furthest fundamentalist christians are not simply ignorant of science and technology, they are WILLFULLY IGNORANT

The modern conservatives are also guilty of WILLFUL IGNORANCE, unless they find something useful in science, like how to build better ways to kill people. Meaning miltitary technology.

Being willfully ignorant is a nutty idea to begin with. I can understand when religion is involved, but enough has leaked out from BB's posts to let us know that he believes a lie: That Mt. St. Helens spewed more CO2 into the atmosphere than a hundred years of cars, or something along that line. This is a conservative idea, not a Christian one.

Volcanoes are thoroughly studied. They tell us things that are very rare in geology: What is going on in the mantle. Sure, we have a good idea of the density and likely make-up of mantle rocks simply because of geophysics using worldwide earthquake energy to give good velocity models of the subsurface, but that isn't much. With a volcano, you learn a lot, and the constituent of gas (water being the largest part of the gas) can tell us a lot about the lithology of the rocks in the mantle or magma chamber.

We have known for decades that the more mafic magmas tend to cause much less explosive eruptions, such as the gooey basalt lava in Hawaii, while the felsic magmas tend to be wildly explosive (such as Mt. St. Helens).

A lot of information is known from huge volcanic deposits from the geologic past. Some of these events are beyond belief to a modern person. Those eruptions did actually change climate, because those eruptions did release enough CO2 to seriously change atmospheric chemistry.

These events, like many other good theories, have other, unrelated evidence to support them. CO2 in the ancient atmosphere can be followed by studying microscopic parts of certain flora, and this can easily be replicated from the rock record to a modern laboratory, exposing plants to similar CO2 content and studying them.

These events also appear to be the main culprit in Oceanic Anoxic Events, which ironically are responsible for the carbon rich source shales that source the world's oil and gas fields.

The reason that the anoxic events preserved the raining carbon, which is present in nigh any ocean, is that the seafloor was anoxic, and organic material could accumulate into a relatively high fraction of that shale.

Despite the sedimentary record consisting of about 90% shale, overall, and all of that shale being worthless mudstone overall, the super high carbon source shales are easy as pie to map. Their log signature is blatant, even small drill cuttings can be checked to see that the rock is or was thermally mature enough to generate hydrocarbons (this is so easy a monkey could do it). Due to their economic importance, cores have been taken of these organic rich shales, and we know a LOT about them. For instance we know through basin analysis the amount of hydrocarbons that the source shales have generated, how much has actually been found, and in the instance of gas shales, which is nothing more than the shales currently being at a pressure/temperature regime to currently be producing gas, their potential for producing natural gas, in a shale gas play.

I was entertained by BB's statement back a few pages that went something like this: "BASE, admit it, nobody knows the actual age of the Earth."

Which leads me again to willful ignorance. We have a pretty darn good idea of the age of the Earth. Certainly within 500 million years or so, which is a 10% error factor.

Religion and ignorance don't have to go hand in hand. Our fortunate flood of jewish physicists led to a lot of help in WWII, and after WWII, the number of Nobel Prizes in Physics shifted from Germany to the U.S.

I hate to be a downer, so for your viewing pleasure:

Social climber
An Oil Field
Dec 29, 2012 - 06:15pm PT
Here is what I call, a "fluff piece" on how important geology is becoming in studying climate change. Geologists already know how to reconstruct a lot about the paleo atmosphere. We certainly know the distribution of flora and fauna during any period in the history of planet. This provides examples of what happens when you have a natural greenhouse event. There is a ton of work being done on paleoclimate right now, because it is necessary to evaluate human induced changes to the planet's atmosphere.

Sorry, Ed. Physicists understand the most basic of all sciences, but the other disciplines have taken that information and used it to study the natural world..and most of it involves pretty simple physics.

Like I have been saying for ages, the sedimentary geologists who take a physical rock sample every ten feet of a 18,000 foot well, and then study the borehole with zillion dollar instruments that measure physical and chemical processes in the sedimentary rocks, give us loads of data. If you want really good science, sometimes we will drill a "Science well." Those wells do a lot of physical coring, which brings up a nice cylinder of the rock, are frozen and encased on the spot, and then get the snot studied out of them in the lab. They are usually plugged and abandoned to throw off the riff raff. A core can be studied over and over for decades. Most states require that they be saved. The core library in Oklahoma is a gigantic old trucking facility. It has twenty foot high racks of cores and kind of looks like that gigantic storage facility that they stored the Ark in on the first Indiana Jones movie. Now you pull the catalog number and they get it with a high lift fork lift. A 5 inch core that is 50 feet long comes in 3 foot boxes that are pretty damn heavy.

Modern studies of global climate change on Earth usually rely on computer modeling techniques. However, studying the history of our planet through geology can provide information on actual occurrences of climate change in the past.

Dr. Anthony Cohen, a member of the research team, commented: "The use of current computer models to try to predict the course of climate and environmental conditions in the longer term is uncertain because of our relatively poor understanding of the great complexity of the Earth's behaviour. ?In contrast, marine sedimentary records can provide quantifiable information about precisely how the Earth has responded to severe environmental change in the past. Therefore, these records may also provide valuable constraints for testing the reliability of predictions about environmental change that will continue to occur in the future as a result of man's activities."

Although the Toarcian OAE occurred roughly 183 million years ago, the findings of the recent study have important implications for our understanding of climate change today. The rates and magnitude of environmental change during ancient OAEs appear to have been similar to what we see occurring in modern times.

By studying OAEs, scientists are able to gain important clues about how climate change might impact life on Earth in the in the coming centuries. Hopefully, their work will lead to scientific solutions that could prevent the same devastating affects on the Earth's carbon cycle — and life itself — that were caused by global warming during the Jurassic period.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 29, 2012 - 07:54pm PT

I'm fascinated by the idea of a core drilling library.
Are they open to the public or is it just for professionals who know what they're looking at?
Do people ever take geology classes there on field trips?

Social climber
An Oil Field
Dec 29, 2012 - 08:26pm PT
Open to the public. Small fee for pulling the cores and laying them out. twenty bucks or something.

Warning: They won't look very important or earth shattering unless you know where and what depth and what formation they come from.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 29, 2012 - 09:58pm PT

Are there books with photos of core drills and explanations? Or websites?
I can't find any but it seems that would be a really important contribution to the climate change debate, not to mention just generally interesting.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 30, 2012 - 01:26pm PT
Meanwhile, two books I have just finished reading that both involve multiple levels of perspective, are Beamtimes and Lifetimes, a study of high energy particle physicists by an anthropologist, and Proof of Heaven by a neurosurgeon who was in a coma for a week and then miraculously revived and came back with very unusual experiences to report.

Don't be put off by the title "Proof of Heaven". It's there to sell books. What is interesting is that the author concludes we live in a multi dimensional universe of which the physical is only one part, but he is not pushing any particular religion or religion at all. Mostly he describes what he saw as a kind of travelogue and then as a brain specialist he tries to understand what aspects of the brain might have produced these effects, some of which I have experienced myself during meditation and some of which he experienced again later in meditation.

His conclusion that these effects could not have been produced by his brain, the cortex of which was completely shut down, will not convince the materialists but will provoke anyone interested in the brain to think deeper about how it functions. I kept remembering the Wiki article on the cerebellum that MH2 recommended and wondering if there isn't more consciousness there than we ordinarily understand. His lists of possible explanations in the final appendix gives a lot of interesting brain info.

The book is for the general public, so everyone here will wish for more details. Evidently he is writing a follow on book to include more science. Definitely an interesting read right now however and his website has an interesting bibliography that includes both science and spiritual topics.
Dr. F.

Ice climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 30, 2012 - 01:31pm PT
I have some core drill samples from Crestmore Quarry
They were in a back lot, and so old the wooden trays that stored them had all rotted away, and they were lying in a big pile,

I grabbed a couple 3 foot sections, that had some pretty colors.
how they decorate the cactus garden
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Dec 30, 2012 - 01:51pm PT
two books that I have just finished reading that both involve multiple levels of perspective, are Beamtimes and Lifetimes, a study of high energy particle physicists by an anthropologist, and Proof of Heaven by a neurosurgeon

So, Jan, did you purchase this book by this neurosurgeon?

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 30, 2012 - 03:33pm PT
Yes, that's the only way I can get most of the books I read over here.
It's available in paperback.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 30, 2012 - 09:56pm PT
Dr. F-

How about some photos of those core samples in your garden?

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Dec 30, 2012 - 10:07pm PT
Proof of Heaven - Oliver Sacks isn't buying it..

Dr. F.

Ice climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 30, 2012 - 10:09pm PT
I will take a photo of the cores
In the mean time, here is my Scapolite Collection
Credit: Dr. F.
The purple is very rare
Dr. F.

Ice climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 30, 2012 - 10:10pm PT
Credit: Dr. F.

Dec 30, 2012 - 10:16pm PT
Doesn't matter what Oliver Sacks empty words say.

The upper planetary systems are there.

Is the guy a stupid Republican?

It's the spiritual stratum that they can't see with their material eyes.

But every individual can see that with their spiritual eye when purified of material contamination.

That is why the individual soul is the real person within the material body.

Everyone here keeps thinking they are the body.

That's as ignorant as thinking you are the Patagonia coat you're wearing .....

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 30, 2012 - 11:00pm PT
One of the articles cited by Eban Alexander that I found interesting was this one.

"Neural correlates of the psychedelic state as determined by fMRI studies with psilocybin"


Contrary to one's hyper alert sense of the world when on psychedelics, brain scans show that the brain is actually slowed down which is certainly the case when one experiences such effects during meditation.

The spiritual explanation is that slowing the brain accesses other dimensions. The physicalists will write it off as an unknown form of hallucination. Interesting in either case.


Psychedelic drugs have a long history of use in healing ceremonies, but despite renewed interest in their therapeutic potential, we continue to know very little about how they work in the brain. Here we used psilocybin, a classic psychedelic found in magic mushrooms, and a task-free functional MRI (fMRI) protocol designed to capture the transition from normal waking consciousness to the psychedelic state. Arterial spin labeling perfusion and blood-oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) fMRI were used to map cerebral blood flow and changes in venous oxygenation before and after intravenous infusions of placebo and psilocybin. Fifteen healthy volunteers were scanned with arterial spin labeling and a separate 15 with BOLD. As predicted, profound changes in consciousness were observed after psilocybin, but surprisingly, only decreases in cerebral blood flow and BOLD signal were seen, and these were maximal in hub regions, such as the thalamus and anterior and posterior cingulate cortex (ACC and PCC). Decreased activity in the ACC/medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) was a consistent finding and the magnitude of this decrease predicted the intensity of the subjective effects. Based on these results, a seed-based pharmaco-physiological interaction/functional connectivity analysis was performed using a medial prefrontal seed. Psilocybin caused a significant decrease in the positive coupling between the mPFC and PCC. These results strongly imply that the subjective effects of psychedelic drugs are caused by decreased activity and connectivity in the brain's key connector hubs, enabling a state of unconstrained cognition.

Dr. F.

Ice climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 30, 2012 - 11:46pm PT
I wanted to ask Go-be.

You say you agree with everything Klimmer believes in, or says.
I think you would not agree with many of his beliefs, He is the one of the most egregious picker and choosers of what he thinks Christianity is and what the bible says.

He contends that the bible agrees with evolution, and that the earth is 4.8 billion years old.
That aliens are really Lucifer's armies, that will invade soon
That the bible has coded messages that predicted 911, the Bible code, which could be interpreted as occult.

There are many other examples, but I would say that you two are on different sides of the fence.

But my original point is valid, most Christians pick and choose what they like, and then cast accusations that most other Christians are Not true Christians, they are just fakers or misguided.

Dec 31, 2012 - 12:26am PT
You might think brain science would have got further than it has on this question of how psychotropic drugs work. However, although the subject is interesting the papers written about it are exceedingly dull for some reason.

In the discussion part of the psilocybin/fMRI paper they say that their finding is consistent with Aldous Huxley's metaphor for the experience, which was that the brain heavily filters our perceptions and that the drug opens those filters. After all, in the real world of our ancestors, our brains had to sort through confusing and changing patterns of leaves, branches, grasses, sounds, and smells trying to detect signals that made the difference between life and death. If you were so struck by the astounding details of a flower that you stared at it for half an hour, that could be your undoing. Today we could stare at the flower for an entire weekend at least.

It may be misleading to say that psilocybin slows things down. According to single-neuron studies it activates a receptor for serotonin and may cause glutamate release, which can inhibit firing in neurons, but then that inhibition may allow other neurons which the inhibited ones connect to to become more active.

Another question raised about the study:

There is a potential problem with Carhart-Harris et al.’s interpretation of their results that they appear to have overlooked. Previous research has found that a number of areas of the brain, including the mPFC and the PCC actually show heightened levels of activity when a person is simply at rest and show decreased activity when concentrating attention on various tasks unrelated to thinking about oneself (D'Argembeau et al., 2005; Wicker, et al., 2003).



But questions are good. Answers are hard.


It's been too long. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter, which helps explain the surprise of the investigators that psilocybin reduced blood flow to parts of the brain.

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Dec 31, 2012 - 12:31am PT
It takes the mind time to learn how to see. Ever had sensory overload? Do you remember the first times you really looked at a big cliff? I definately remember how it just looked mishmashed and uncomprehensible. In time my climber directed mind learned to pick out features cracks overhangs facehold.. but when i first went out to climb a real cliff my mind could not see this stuff.

now of course I pick this stuff out in a second from miles away.

I have heard music once in a dream that was the most beautiful and simple but the instruments making it were voices of the quality of bells, fine horns and strings. It started out as jingle bells in a round..and built .. then I woke and the best music I have heard since is but a dull dirty reflection.
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