Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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go-B

climber
Hebrews 1:3
Oct 16, 2013 - 09:23pm PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#325579
go-B

climber
Hebrews 1:3
Oct 17, 2013 - 07:41am PT
Word...

photo not found
Missing photo ID#325841

...page by page!:)
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Oct 17, 2013 - 12:03pm PT
The reason the bulk of those people all got up early is that they couldn't sleep, not because they wre "morning people" or because they were following a rutual. Note the universal reliance on coffee to get the job done. That's because most every creative person has ADD to lesser or greater degrees.

JL
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Oct 17, 2013 - 02:03pm PT
Interesting comments on creativity, John. The greatest mathematician of the twentieth century, Paul Erdös, once commented "If I am looking at a blank piece of paper and I have my coffee I see mathematics all over it, otherwise I simply see a blank piece of paper" (paraphrase) As he aged he turned to speed in his late 70s and 80s to the best of my knowledge. Either Erdös or a fellow Hungarian mathematician, Rényi, coined the phrase "A mathematician is a machine for converting caffeine into theorems."

At first I thought you might have over-generalized, until I started thinking of the very creative people I have known. How about those friends of yours who are in the sciences who you bike with? What do they have to say about creativity in their areas?
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Oct 17, 2013 - 02:05pm PT
what is with the posting of pictures of Cacti anyway?

I mean I can really understand why Gobee throws out Bible scripture

but why constant daily cactus pics?
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Oct 17, 2013 - 02:28pm PT
How about those friends of yours who are in the sciences who you bike with? What do they have to say about creativity in their areas?


Funny you mentioned that. I had to give a talk the other night at Caltech, a memorial for Michael Ybarra, former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal who died soloing in the Sierras. I saw two of the folks I used to ride with before busting up my leg, a husband and wife team. She's a genius level chemist who got her doctorate from Caltech and he is an engineer at JPL. About five years ago I told the guy he should go have a psych evaluation because he had all the signs of ADD. He did, tested out on the high end of the ADD scale, went on the meds (meth) and suddenly became a WHOLE LOT easier to be around. She is something of a night owl but doesn't seem to have the need to "translate caffeine into equations." That's a hilarious line. The ADD folks are always trying to self medicate one way or another. Another part of the ADD cycle is the ability to hyper-focus, the obsessive focusing on one thing, almost being transfixed till a resolution is worked out.

Who the hell knows how this stuff really works. Probably a mix of factors and all are moving targets.

JL
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Oct 17, 2013 - 02:29pm PT
It's been useful to get away from this thread for a while. I got involved in a project that just showed up in front of me.

I'm teaching undergraduates business ethics, and they come to the course with principles that they have no experiences to support. They just believe. (It reminds me of this thread at times.)

The things my undergrads believe so fervently is that they should serve their own self interests, that companies should maximize their profits above all, that markets are efficient and effective, and that competition is the natural order of things and leads to the best outcomes. They also believe deeply in the power of evolution.

At one point a few weeks ago, I felt compelled to do something that might open some doors for them. I wrote a little paper and pointed them to it. It's turned a few heads.

A few days ago, I thought the paper might be useful here (although people aren't exactly talking about the economic issues above).

http://www.dropbox.com/s/g88u76cphkgdwzt/Understanding%20Self-Interest.docx

Little things happen that have big effects, unintended consequences occur from the best of intentions, and people's minds fill-up pristine space with manifestations that have no substantive existence. Yet those ghosts have real effects. Paradoxes for as far as the eye can see.

The paper is another concept. Something that occupies pristine space.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Oct 17, 2013 - 03:14pm PT
The reason the bulk of those people all got up early is that they couldn't sleep, not because they wre "morning people" or because they were following a rutual. Note the universal reliance on coffee to get the job done. That's because most every creative person has ADD to lesser or greater degrees.

Erdos is an extreme case in point that may ironically go a long way in supporting the otherwise over generalized bullshit quoted above. But even that would be a leap of unsubstantiated speculation.

For you JGILL:

Erdos was one of the most brilliant and prolific mathematicians of the twentieth century. He was also, as Paul Hoffman documents in his book The Man Who Loved Only Numbers, a true eccentric—a “mathematical monk” who lived out of a pair of suitcases, dressed in tattered suits, and gave away almost all the money he earned, keeping just enough to sustain his meager lifestyle; a hopeless bachelor who was extremely (perhaps abnormally) devoted to his mother and never learned to cook or even boil his own water for tea; and a fanatic workaholic who routinely put in nineteen-hour days, sleeping only a few hours a night. Erdos liked to work in short, intense collaborations with other mathematicians, and he crisscrossed the globe seeking fresh talent, often camping out in colleagues’ homes while they worked on a problem together. One such colleague remembered an Erdos visit from the 1970s: … he only needed three hours of sleep. He’d get up early and write letters, mathematical letters.He’d sleep downstairs. The first time he stayed, the clock was set wrong. It said 7:00, but it was really 4:30 A.M. He thought we should be up working, so he turned on the TV full blast. Later, when he knew me better, he’d come up at some early hour and tap on the bedroom door. “Ralph, do you exist?” The pace was grueling. He’d want to work from 8:00 A.M. until 1:30 A.M. Sure we’d break for short meals but we’d write on napkins and talk math the whole time. He’d stay a week or two and you’d collapse at the end. Erdos owed his phenomenal stamina to amphetamines—he took ten to twenty milligrams of Benzedrine or Ritalin daily. Worried about his drug use, a friend once bet Erdoos that he wouldn’t be able to give up amphetamines for a month. Erdos took the bet and succeeded in going cold turkey for thirty days. When he came to collect his money, he told his friend, “You’ve showed me I’m not an addict. But I didn’t get any work done. I’d get up in the morning and stare at a blank piece of paper. I’d have no ideas, just like an ordinary person. You’ve set mathematics back a month.” After the bet, Erdos promptly resumed his amphetamine habit, which he supplemented with shots of strong espresso. "A mathematician" he liked to say " is a machine for turning coffee into mathematical theorems"

It would appear , on the surface , that Erdos may have had ADD and was self-medicating with
pyschostimulants.
It this was true then he was a notable exception .

Nothing about the lives of most of the creative people profiled in this book indicates that they were insomniacs with ADD like Erdos may have been.

That they used coffee or tea to jump start their day ,like most people ,does not prove the creative/brain- dysfunction theory.
It only proves that they like these beverages, like billions of other people.
I love coffee myself. Especially in the morning.

Moreover, the biographical facts presented in this book indicates just the opposite of the absurd speculation that some creative people get up early because they are insomniacs.

Like most diligent people,creative individuals discover that sticking to a schedule results in greater productivity.
They adhere to that schedule because it produces the results they are seeking---not because they have a brain dysfunction

The majority of the creatives in the book discovered that arising early allowed them to achieve the intended result pursuing their work and life's passion ---not because they have trouble concentrating and can't get to sleep.


jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Oct 17, 2013 - 05:12pm PT
One such colleague remembered an Erdos visit from the 1970s: … he only needed three hours of sleep

My advisor, Arne Magnus, housed Erdös in the mid 1960s when he visited Colorado. Arne was interviewed by the FBI before the visit and afterwards, since Erdös was considered a commie sympathizer. I don't recall Arne saying much about the visit other than his guest could be "difficult." I only met the great mathematician twice, once as I gave a paper at a meeting in Rapid City at School of Mines - he was sitting on the front row and quickly lost interest in what I was saying. And a few years later in Hungary at an international conference. He lost interest in my presentation there too!
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Oct 17, 2013 - 08:15pm PT
Moreover, the biographical facts presented in this book indicates just the opposite of the absurd speculation that some creative people get up early because they are insomniacs.

-

Ward, you've gone off the rails on this one. The above could be construed to mean that it is an absurd speculation to believe that some people - creative and otherwise - get up early because they are insomniacs. The truth of the matter is that insomniacs get up early because they ARE insomniacs. That is hardly an "absurd" conclusion, and should you actually interview or get jiggy with a slew of creative types, their habits will seem anything by "mnormal" on the whole, and downright queer or strange in some cases.

You're approaching this thinking creative people regulate themselves via disciplined routines. In fact these routines, if you actually read the book you quoted, describes classic OCD rituals, OCD being one of the standard side-dishes found in garden variety ADD, both of which genetically favor creative types, for various reasons, and both of which have spotty sleep cycles, tending to less than more.

JL
Dr. F.

Trad climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 17, 2013 - 09:54pm PT
I post the Cactus photos just to piss you off Norton
and for LEB who is always lurking
Credit: Dr. F.
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Oct 17, 2013 - 10:06pm PT
I got the impression the cacti think the Dr. is God, or something like that....
Dr. F.

Trad climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 17, 2013 - 10:08pm PT
The Cactus are a science of the process
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Oct 18, 2013 - 03:12pm PT
Very interesting post, Mike. Have to mull it over . . .
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Oct 18, 2013 - 04:01pm PT
MikeL

A great post and a brilliant article. I found this part of the article very useful:


" The Social Construction Of Economic Realities

John Maynard Keynes once quipped that the theories of social
sciences--right or wrong--become true by modifying the reality they
purport to explain. This happens through the institutional designs
(systems, structures, metrics, processes) that transform image into
reality. Social norming creates accepted truths, and people are
hesitant to violate powerful prescriptive expectations (like,
narrow self-interest). Language, too, affects what people notice and ignore.

In sum, social science theories often become self-fulfilling theories.
Social science theories may not attain their lofty status because they
are true, but because they are interesting and engage the attention of
experts and practitioners.

Today, markets are assumed to be the most efficient way of organizing
exchanges, and the core idea of economics is that every agent is
actuated by a narrow definition of self-interest. The concept of
markets also places an emphasis on extrinsic rewards. Indeed, the
concept of markets and market metaphors pervade economic
assumptions and language. Competition purportedly leads to optimal
results when people pursue their own narrow self-interests.

Here are some research findings from various research studies
conducted on the issue.

• When Black-Scholes options pricing model was first introduced
publically, the outputs of the model’s calculations were
compared to the actual prices of options at the Chicago Board of
Trade. During the first year of comparative measurements (the
same year the model was published), the market’s prices showed
a 35-40% deviation from the results of model’s calculations. Five
years later, the deviation had declined to 2% and has remained
close to that deviation since.

• Studying economics and business leads to learned behaviors.
Twelve different experiments have shown that subjects will
contribute significant resources (42% those available) to the
provision of a public good, as opposed to graduate economics
students (20% those available).

• Economics majors keep more resources for themselves in
games / behavioral experiments than students who have
declared non-economic majors or were not enrolled in an
economics course.

• Economists defect more often in prisoner’s dilemma games than
other academics.

• Economic professors are less likely to donate to charities than
professors in other disciplines.

• Libertarian conservatives (i.e., those who believe in the power of
markets, in individual self-reliance, and in the power of human
rationality) are least disturbed by tradeoffs between money and
harming People."
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Oct 18, 2013 - 04:55pm PT
Sorry to butt in.

One of my best friends had a stroke a few days ago. He has complete aphasia (inability to speak) and is paralyzed on one side of his body.

Take care of that meat brain. It is very fragile.

I had another friend suffer a stroke about 7 years ago and also suffered aphasia. You couldn't really communicate with him for several years, and the speech center of his brain was toast.

Now he has about 75% of it back. We have discussions and stuff. Sometimes he struggles to find a word to fit a thought. Otherwise you wouldn't notice it. As sometimes happens, a different part of his brain took over the speech duties. It was really amazing to watch his brain change over time. You could tell just by talking to him.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Oct 18, 2013 - 06:29pm PT
I had a very close friend of mine who underwent a major brain operation several years ago.

Afterwards he avoided me for a long time. At first I thought it was me, so I toned down my style of communication quite a bit. The puzzlement in his eyes just increased.

I began to discover that parts of his brain were trying , as it were, to 'locate' me --- so as to complete the inclusive picture of my personality and meaning to him. He had to, in effect, reconstruct me, so that I might once again be seamlessly reintegrated within his surviving memory .

Once I understood the process and the particular ordeal he was experiencing, things went a lot smoother.


FortMentäl

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Oct 18, 2013 - 06:37pm PT
Imagine being able to consciously rewire certain parts of your own brain....then mistaking your new, odd perceptions as some profound view into an altered reality.
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Oct 18, 2013 - 06:52pm PT
Brain salad surgery,
It'll work for you,
It worked for me.
jstan

climber
Oct 18, 2013 - 10:52pm PT
Imagine being able to consciously rewire certain parts of your own brain....then mistaking your new, odd perceptions as some profound view into an altered reality.
/FM

No one would mistake something that transparent. Couldn't be.
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