Politics, God and Religion vs. Science


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Feb 14, 2013 - 09:08pm PT
Truth can pull the rabbit out of the hat.

Modern materialistic science only can see the rabbit after it comes out of the hat.

They have no clue how the supreme magician operates .......

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Feb 14, 2013 - 09:10pm PT
It is a Valentines Day.

Move away from your computers and get some love, FCS!

photo not found
Missing photo ID#289720

Feb 14, 2013 - 09:23pm PT
The world's first electronic computer designed solely to solve problems in truth-value logic was built in 1947 by William Burkhart and Theodore Kalin, then undergraduates at Harvard University. When they asked their machine to evaluate the liar paradox, it went into an oscillating phase, making (as Kalin said) "a hell of a racket."
from aha! Gotcha by Martin Gardner

That does sound a bit like how certain questions affect this thread.

Ice climber
the ghost
Feb 14, 2013 - 09:26pm PT
So you could not write an exact mathematical formula, but given
(1) pertinent info about the participant
(2) the response vs time of a sample of the populace
I expect one could produce an algorithm that would predict the True/False response of the participant as a function of time.

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
Arthur C Clarke

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 14, 2013 - 09:26pm PT
I'm ready for Gill to jumpstart us on something interesting and counterintuitive. I'm glad JL is out of the hospital, but he hasn't budged in two years.

I really mean it when I say that we miss a good neuroscientist on this thread. There has been a lot of talk about the brain, and I dunno if anyone knows where state of the art neuroscience is.

This has been covered: The history of the Earth has been well studied, and if anyone tries to put out the biblical account, I'm going to get mean. I'm never mean. On purpose, anyway.

I will, though.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 14, 2013 - 09:27pm PT
Modern materialistic science only can see the rabbit after it comes out of the hat.

And you can before it comes out of the hat, I guess. Can you tell me stocks to buy?

Feb 14, 2013 - 09:29pm PT

You can sail your boat up under the Squamish Chief and I will talk your ear off about neuroscience.
Unless the sun shines.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 14, 2013 - 09:45pm PT
MH2, if you are a neuroscientist, speak up. This thread is full of people who assume how the brain works.

Feb 14, 2013 - 10:06pm PT
Well done, gentlemen!! Great posts.

Here's a cutie:

Banach-Tarski Paradox:

Given a solid ball in 3 dimensional space, there exists a decomposition of the ball into a finite number of non-overlapping pieces (i.e.,subsets), which can then be put back together in a different way to yield two identical copies of the original ball. (wikipedia)

BTP relies upon the Axiom of Choice from set theory, which sounds innocuous enough:

Informally put, the axiom of choice says that given any collection of bins, each containing at least one object, it is possible to make a selection of exactly one object from each bin. In many cases such a selection can be made without invoking the axiom of choice; this is in particular the case if the number of bins is finite, or if a selection rule is available: a distinguishing property that happens to hold for exactly one object in each bin. For example for any (even infinite) collection of pairs of shoes, one can pick out the left shoe from each pair to obtain an appropriate selection, but for an infinite collection of pairs of socks (assumed to have no distinguishing features), such a selection can be obtained only by invoking the axiom of choice. (wikipedia)

Nevertheless, the axiom of choice is controversial among mathematicians who dwell in the arcane realm of set theory – dreadful place!

Undecidability one can live with, but consistency is very important!


Ice climber
the ghost
Feb 14, 2013 - 10:27pm PT
Since I am merely a computer programmer, I judge correctness by the validity of output, not by mathematical proof.

Ice climber
the ghost
Feb 14, 2013 - 10:43pm PT
Are you trying to tell me that all computer programs must be mathematically correct to be useful?

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 14, 2013 - 10:43pm PT
Speaking of neuroscience, there's a fascinating article on Wiki about Einstein's brain. It certainly makes it look to me like Genetics was all important.

Here are a few excerpts.

The brain of celebrated physicist Albert Einstein has been a subject of much research and speculation. It was removed within seven and a half hours of his death. The brain has attracted attention because of Einstein's reputation for being one of the foremost geniuses of the 20th century, and apparent regularities or irregularities in the brain have been used to support various ideas about correlations in neuroanatomy with general or mathematical intelligence. Scientific studies have suggested that regions involved in speech and language are smaller, while regions involved with numerical and spatial processing are larger. [Einstein's inferior parietal lobe (which is responsible for mathematical thought, visuospatial cognition, and imagery of movement) was 15% larger than average.] Other studies have suggested an increased number of glial cells in Einstein's brain.[1]

Harvey had reported that Einstein had no parietal operculum in either hemisphere.,[8] but this finding has been disputed.[9] Photographs of the brain show an enlarged Sylvian fissure. In 1999, further analysis by a team at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada revealed that his parietal operculum region in the inferior frontal gyrus in the frontal lobe of the brain was vacant. Also absent was part of a bordering region called the lateral sulcus (Sylvian fissure). Researchers at McMaster University speculated that the vacancy may have enabled neurons in this part of his brain to communicate better.

Einstein himself claimed that he thought visually rather than verbally.

A study, "The cerebral cortex of Albert Einstein: a description and preliminary analysis of unpublished photographs",[9] was published on November 16, 2012, in the journal Brain. Dean Falk, an evolutionary anthropologist at Florida State University, led the study - which analysed 14 recently discovered photographs - and described the brain: "Although the overall size and asymmetrical shape of Einstein’s brain were normal, the prefrontal, somatosensory, primary motor, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices were extraordinary."[13]

Preserving the brains of geniuses was not a new phenomenon—another brain to be preserved and discussed in a similar manner was that of the German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss almost a hundred years earlier. His brain was studied by Rudolf Wagner who found its weight to be 1,492 grams and the cerebral area equal to 219,588 square millimeters.[14] Also found were highly developed convolutions, which was suggested as the explanation of his genius.

Ice climber
the ghost
Feb 15, 2013 - 06:35am PT
"This statement is false" is a self-referential statement that negates itself.

One way to represent the statement is with a function; using recursion, which is somewhat awkward but it emphasizes that the output depends on the previous version of the function. If you were going to let it run to infinity, it would crash when you run out of memory & swap.

Take out the lines with ## if you want a version where you have no idea what the value of x is at any time.


sub ThisIsFalse
my ($n, $x) = @_;
if ($x == 0) {$x = 1;}
if ($n == 0) {return $x;} ##
$x = ThisIsFalse ($n, $x);
$x = - $x;
if ($x > 0) {print "$n \"this statement is false\" is true\n";} ##
else {print "$n \"this statement is false\" is false\n";} ##
return $x;

ThisIsFalse(5, 1);

If you want higher efficiency, or you don't want to run out of memory, you can replace the recursive function by a loop. In this case, the statement is represented by a variable.

for ($i=0; $i<$n; $i++)
{$ThisIsFalse = !$ThisIsFalse;

We don't even have to supply an initial value.

If we want it to run forever, we can replace the loop:

while(1) {$ThisIsFalse= !$ThisIsFalse;}

In all cases, there is a flipflop between true and false. If you let it run, without print statements, the internal state is unknown. It could be true, it could be false.

All the above is trivial. What is more interesting is how people react to the statement. That would be more difficult to model. But we wouldn't have to worry about infinity ;-)


Hebrews 1:3
Feb 15, 2013 - 08:02am PT
Truth can pull the rabbit out of the hat.

Modern materialistic science only can see the rabbit after it comes out of the hat.

They have no clue how the supreme magician operates .......

Same way God created everything out of nothing, spoken into being...

Psalm 33:9 For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command.

Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.


Feb 15, 2013 - 09:10am PT
Yes ... sound vibration.

There are mantras that can make a nuclear bomb far more powerful and completely accurate than any of these inferior stupid bombs these so called modern scientist have ever even dreamed of.

Modern warfare is total caveman garbage.

Not worthy at all for intelligent human beings.

Yet at the same time all these so called modern fools make their claim we've evolved into this great intelligence.

Stupid people.

One look at the state of the world today and all one sees is pure stupidity and is the worst excuse for calling itself humanity.

Total stupid barbarians is what it has devolved into ......

Hebrews 1:3
Feb 15, 2013 - 09:39am PT
Asteroid DA14 Facts: Feb. 15 Space Rock's Size, Speed, Proximity & More (SLIDESHOW)

photo not found
Missing photo ID#289779

Social climber
joshua tree
Feb 15, 2013 - 10:20am PT
Scientific studies have suggested that regions involved in speech and language are smaller, while regions involved with numerical and spatial processing are larger. [Einstein's inferior parietal lobe (which is responsible for mathematical thought, visuospatial cognition, and imagery of movement) was 15% larger than average.] Other studies have suggested an increased number of glial cells in Einstein's brain.[1]

Couldn't this be caused by the fact he used this part of his brain so much?

On the subject of creating something out of nothing. When we hear a song,
And then memorize it. Are we in fact turning what we hear and ideas into
"meat" or matter???

Feb 15, 2013 - 10:35am PT
This thread is full of people who assume how the brain works.

Given that they have a brain (not taking anything for granted here) then it is natural that they would have a notion about how one works. If you really know how a thing works, though, you should be able to build one, and to construct a model of it. Here, model means a description that need not include every detail about every component, but a description that does capture essential elements of what the brain does and that embodies those elements accurately enough and in enough detail to account for the behavior you are interested in.

If you study an example of a nervous system you can learn a lot about how the parts work: neurons, axons, synapses, and excitatory and inhibitory influences that neurons exert on each other. At a seminar at Chicago one of the smart theorists of neuroscience held up a transistor and asked whether from knowing how it worked you could understand a computer. To truly understand the nervous system you need to understand the jobs it performs.

However, even a seemingly simple task like reaching your arm out and picking up an object is quite hard to understand and model in a 3D world full of obstacles and ambiguity. The brain handles many such tasks.

My experience in neuroscience was mainly devoted to the few jobs which the brain does that we do have a good understanding of, because human engineers had faced and solved some of the problems. When you are walking or running and need to keep your eyes on a target your inner ear is sensing motions of your head and this information is sent by a very direct 3-neuron path to your eye muscles so that your eyes can move in a direction counter to the head movement and thereby keep pointed at the target. This is the way anti-aircraft guns were rigged on navy ships in WWII to help compensate for pitch, roll, and yaw.

My thesis advisor Jay Goldberg early in his career had a keen interest in why we like music. In the late 50s and early 60s he studied how sound, represented as firing patterns in the auditory cranial nerve, is processed in the brain. He thought that using such an approach he might be able to follow the signal through the brain to places where harmony, chords, octaves, and rhythm would tickle our limbic system or some such. He was surprised to find that much of the signal processing which occurred in brainstem auditory nuclei accomplished nothing he could understand the reason for. He redirected his ambition toward looking for how the brain makes use of information from the ears to locate sound.

My advice: if you want to understand the brain, start with a behavior. To learn you need to observe. The brain takes in a lot of information and chews it over but ultimately the brain output is behavior that you can see.

A good reference for some of what is known about how the brain works:

Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 15, 2013 - 05:03pm PT
I heard that it was OK for me to bump this thread anytime I wanted...
for no other reason than I had some new cool cactus/succulents photos

It's a never ending/starting/seasonal/growing/dying/seedling/rebirth experimental wonderland of rocks in my back yard

Credit: Dr. F.
Credit: Dr. F.
Credit: Dr. F.
Credit: Dr. F.

I kill (or they die under my care) about 50 - 120 plants a year,
die in the definition that I think they can't be recovered, or not worth the work of trying to recover it.
So what constitutes the definition of the final death for a plant?
The trash bin
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Feb 15, 2013 - 05:25pm PT
More left / right brain stuff strikes a blow against free will:

The Surprising Brain Differences Between Democrats and Republicans
Two new studies further support the theory that our political decision making could have a neurological basis.
—By Chris Mooney | Fri Feb. 15, 2013 3:01 AM PST

It is still considered highly uncool to ascribe a person's political beliefs, even in part, to that person's biology: hormones, physiological responses, even brain structures and genes. And no wonder: Doing so raises all kinds of thorny, non-PC issues involving free will, determinism, toleration, and much else.

There's just one problem: Published scientific research keeps going there, with ever increasing audacity (not to mention growing stacks of data).

The past two weeks have seen not one but two studies published in scientific journals on the biological underpinnings of political ideology. And these studies go straight at the role of genes and the brain in shaping our views, and even our votes.

First, in the American Journal of Political Science, a team of researchers including Peter Hatemi of Penn State University and Rose McDermott of Brown University studied the relationship between our deep-seated tendencies to experience fear—tendencies that vary from person to person, partly for reasons that seem rooted in our genes—and our political beliefs. What they found is that people who have more fearful disposition also tend to be more politically conservative, and less tolerant of immigrants and people of races different from their own. As McDermott carefully emphasizes, that does not mean that every conservative has a high fear disposition. "It's not that conservative people are more fearful, it's that fearful people are more conservative," as she puts it.

I interviewed the paper's lead author, Peter Hatemi, about his research for my 2012 book The Republican Brain. Hatemi is both a political scientist and also a microbiologist, and as he stressed to me, "nothing is all genes, or all environment." These forces combine to make us who we are, in incredibly intricate ways.

And if Hatemi's and McDermott's research blows your mind, get this: Darren Schreiber, a political neuroscientist at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, first performed brain scans on 82 people participating in a risky gambling task, one in which holding out for more money increases your possible rewards, but also your possible losses. Later, cross-referencing the findings with the participants' publicly available political party registration information, Schreiber noticed something astonishing: Republicans, when they took the same gambling risk, were activating a different part of the brain than Democrats.

Republicans were using the right amygdala, the center of the brain's threat response system. Democrats, in contrast, were using the insula, involved in internal monitoring of one's feelings. Amazingly, Schreiber and his colleagues write that this test predicted 82.9 percent of the study subjects' political party choices—considerably better, they note, than a simple model that predicts your political party affiliation based on the affiliation of your parents.

I also interviewed Schreiber for The Republican Brain. He's a scientist who was once quite cautious about the relevance of brain studies to people's politics. As he put it to me: "If you had called me four years ago and said, 'What is your view on whether Republicans and Democrats have different brains?' I would have said no." Now, his own published research suggests otherwise.

The current research suggests not only that having a particular brain influences your political views, but also that having a particular political view influences your brain.
One again, though, there's a critical nuance here. Schreiber thinks the current research suggests not only that having a particular brain influences your political views, but also that having a particular political view influences and changes your brain. The causal arrow seems likely to run in both directions—which would make sense in light of what we know about the plasticity of the brain. Simply by living our lives, we change our brains. Our political affiliations, and the lifestyles that go along with them, probably condition many such changes.

The two new studies described here are likely connected: It is hard not to infer that fear of outsiders or those different from you—along with greater fear dispositions in general—may be related to the role of amygdala, a brain structure that has been dubbed the "heart and soul of the fear system." The amygdala has been repeatedly implicated in politics. Indeed, Schreiber's research builds on prior brain studies: In a group of University College of London students, for instance, conservatives showed more gray matter in the right amygdala.

So what's the upshot? How about this: We need a much broader and more thoughtful discussion about what it means if political ideology turns out to be nothing like what we actually thought it was. Scientists working in this new field tend towards the conclusion that the new research should make us more tolerant, not less, of political difference—not to mention a whole lot more humble about our own deeply held beliefs.:

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