The New "Religion Vs Science" Thread

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cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Jan 12, 2015 - 03:10pm PT
http://io9.com/heres-a-photo-of-something-that-cant-be-photographed-1678918200
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Jan 12, 2015 - 03:14pm PT
The problem with all social science research is that there are just so many variables. It seems like Callie (Crimpergirl) would be the one to answer your question though. I've specialized in societies that were the very reverse of sociopathic - tightly knit, highly religious Buddhists, who together faced a very hostile physical environment - a totally different situation
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Jan 12, 2015 - 03:18pm PT
Want to know how a sociopathic sub culture would behave?

I give you Wall Street. It's the Great Attractor.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jan 12, 2015 - 03:44pm PT
Thanks, Cintune, your links never disappoint. :)
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Jan 12, 2015 - 04:00pm PT
Good one about Wall Street tvash!

And it also proves my point that just because some Homo sapiens are very intelligent, doesn't mean they'll play nice.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
Jan 12, 2015 - 04:04pm PT
They develop their own set of morals, just like most everyone else, out of necessity. They can be just as if not more disingenuous about their adherence to those morals, as the rest of us, as well.

They also invent their own versions of gods, just like the rest of us as well, even if they don't call them that (just like the rest of us, too).

Prison gods.... gang gods.... street gods... wallstreet gods.... vatican gods... missionary gods.... gods.... all made up. Are the holy gods of your religion any less made up than the sociopathic gods of prison gangs? Are their morals any less useful for survival purposes?

DMT
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Jan 12, 2015 - 04:18pm PT
From an evolutionary perspective, the switch from a vegetarian to a meat diet enabled Homo to become more intelligent, which in turn enabled them to become better apex predators - in other words, not very nice.

That was a byproduct of climate change and an altered environment from wet (lots of vegetarian eats) to dry (not so much).

And therein lies the rub - morality and social/physical evolution is heavily shaped by environment - whether in prehistoric Africa, prisons, the arctic, or modern suburbs.

A suburban American will give to charity, treat the people around them with love and respect - while voting for war and consuming more resources and putting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere per capita than any other people on earth.

Contrast that with a typical southern Caribbean islander - typically underemployed and therefore 'lazy' by American standards - a moral failing in our eyes - but they don't go to war with anyone nor do they denude their island environment from over-consumption.
paul roehl

Boulder climber
california
Jan 12, 2015 - 04:19pm PT
That of course leads us back to the interesting argument of whether morality is innate and if so what is it?

It is really the lack of definition that causes so much confusion on this thread.

What is God? Benevolent interfering force concerned with every sparrow or ultimate universal force, unthinking and oblivious to our needs? What is morality? innate behaviors that provide evolutionary success or commandments from some mountain top?

You gotta define your terms.

But the notion that theology wasn't fundamental in the establishment of contemporary liberal morality and government, liberal in the sense that these things are not dictated by the aristocracy or the church, seems "silly."

A quick walk around the mall in DC will reveal a host of Roman and Greek temples from the Capitol building to the Supreme Court, as well an Egyptian obelisk dedicated to Washington. The rational thought that led to the enlightenment's reason was first found in the mind of Athena who was herself born from the "mind" of god.

Of course not "really" but the notion that the source of reason is the mind and not the heart is, in part, a product and celebration of this metaphor.


Tvash

climber
Seattle
Jan 12, 2015 - 04:26pm PT
Well, let's see. Homo sapiens has been around for a quarter of a million years, making moral decisions that entire time.

The oldest known religion has been around...how long? Monuments are nice - as are churches, but the inconvenient fact is that the Bill of Rights is not only explicitly secular, but at odds with many of the Christian teachings of its time - and most certainly of our own time as well.

The idea that our religion spawned morality - 50,000 years ago or today, seems ludicrous to me. Morality evolved with us, and therefore pre-existed any semblance of what we'd call religion by many thousands of years.

Perhaps the relevance of religion today is that it has provided a negative example to reject moving forward if a modern notion of human rights is to be achieved.

We needn't define America's shared moral code from scratch - it's called the Bill of Rights.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Jan 12, 2015 - 04:39pm PT
I think Zarathustra would call bs on that statement.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jan 12, 2015 - 05:37pm PT

Contrast that with a typical southern Caribbean islander - typically underemployed and therefore 'lazy' by American standards - a moral failing in our eyes - but they don't go to war with anyone nor do they denude their island environment from over-consumption.

What is ur definition of moral? Approx. how many do you have? If its easy how about a list?

Should be interesting!!
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Jan 12, 2015 - 05:49pm PT
Actually the list need have only one item.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jan 12, 2015 - 06:15pm PT
oh missed this page.

Jan, don't you think it goes beyond that?

we don't treat kids the same as ourselves. Or the elderly!

i'd say being respectful with ur language around these two groups. Is a Moral. And one that crosses all borders. Cept at Wallmart..
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jan 12, 2015 - 06:27pm PT

What is morality? innate behaviors that provide evolutionary success

Certainly Not! Evolution's success is a product of natural selection from a determined cause-n-effect. That is NOT morality.

Morality is atleast a free-willed choice to a path of dignity.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jan 12, 2015 - 06:34pm PT
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EyeWire

Credit: J.S. Kim, et al., "Space-time wiring specificity supports direction selectivity in the retina"
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jan 12, 2015 - 07:05pm PT
Thanks, Ed!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jan 12, 2015 - 08:01pm PT
Nature 509, 331 (2014)
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v509/n7500/full/nature13240.html

Space–time wiring specificity supports direction selectivity in the retina

Jinseop S. Kim, Matthew J. Greene, Aleksandar Zlateski, Kisuk Lee, Mark Richardson, Srinivas C. Turaga, Michael Purcaro, Matthew Balkam, Amy Robinson, Bardia F. Behabadi, Michael Campos, Winfried Denk, H. Sebastian Seung & the EyeWirers

Abstract
How does the mammalian retina detect motion? This classic problem in visual neuroscience has remained unsolved for 50 years. In search of clues, here we reconstruct Off-type starburst amacrine cells (SACs) and bipolar cells (BCs) in serial electron microscopic images with help from EyeWire, an online community of ‘citizen neuroscientists’. On the basis of quantitative analyses of contact area and branch depth in the retina, we find evidence that one BC type prefers to wire with a SAC dendrite near the SAC soma, whereas another BC type prefers to wire far from the soma. The near type is known to lag the far type in time of visual response. A mathematical model shows how such ‘space–time wiring specificity’ could endow SAC dendrites with receptive fields that are oriented in space–time and therefore respond selectively to stimuli that move in the outward direction from the soma.

Compared to cognitive functions such as language, the visual detection of motion may seem trivial, yet the underlying neural mechanisms have remained elusive for half a century1,2. Some retinal outputs (ganglion cells) respond selectively to visual stimuli moving in particular directions, whereas retinal inputs (photoreceptors) lack direction selectivity (DS). How does DS emerge from the microcircuitry connecting inputs to outputs?

...


This work focused on Off BC–SAC circuitry. An analogous sustained–transient distinction can also be made for On BC types7,8. It remains to be seen whether their connectivity with On SACs depends on distance from the soma. If this turns out to be the case, then the model of Fig. 6 could serve as a general theory of motion detection by both On and Off SACs. The model filter of Fig. 6a also resembles the spatiotemporal receptive field of the J type of ganglion cell (see Fig. 3b of ref. 29).

Neural activity imaging30 and connectomic analysis31 have recently identified a plausible candidate for the site of DS emergence in the fly visual system. If our theory is correct, then the analogies between insect and mammalian motion detection1 are more far-reaching than previously suspected, with fly T4 and T5 cells corresponding to On and Off SAC dendrites in both connectivity and function.

A glimmer of space–time wiring specificity can even be seen in the structure of the SAC itself. As BC types with different time lags arborize at different IPL [inner plexiform layer] depths, IPL depth can be regarded as a time axis. Therefore, the slight tilt of the SAC dendrites in the IPL (Fig. 5a) could be related to the orientation of the SAC receptive field in space–time (Fig. 6a). However, dendritic tilt alone is not sufficient to predict our model, as co-stratification sometimes fails to predict contact (Figs 4d and 5b). For example, co-stratification predicts strong BC4 connectivity to distal SAC dendrites. This would favour an inward preferred direction, contrary to what is observed, because BC2 leads (not lags) BC4 in visual responses7.

The idea that contact (or connectivity) can be inferred from co-stratification is sometimes known as Peters’ rule32, and has also been applied to estimate neocortical connectivity33–35.The present work shows that fairly subtle violations of Peters’ rule may be important for visual function. Previous research suggests that On–Off direction-selective ganglion cells inherit their DS from SAC inputs owing to a strong violation of Peters’ rule9,36–38.

...

Credit: J.S. Kim, et al., "Space-time wiring specificity supports direction selectivity in the retina"
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jan 12, 2015 - 08:40pm PT
http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/140409/ncomms4639/full/ncomms4639.html
NATURE COMMUNICATIONS|5:3639 | DOI: 10.1038|ncomms4639

Olfactory projectome in the zebrafish forebrain revealed by genetic single-neuron labelling

Nobuhiko Miyasaka, Ignacio Arganda-Carreras, Noriko Wakisaka, Miwa Masuda, Uygar Sümbül, H. Sebastian Seung & Yoshihiro Yoshihara

...
Animals use the sense of smell to monitor chemical cues in their environment, which provide vital information for food searching, predator avoidance, mate choice and social interactions. The odour information is initially represented as a discrete pattern of neural activities across a glomerular array on the olfactory bulb (OB), which results from axonal convergence of olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) expressing the same olfactory receptors1. Glomeruli responsive to structurally related odorants are often clustered within defined regions of the OB2–5, establishing a chemotopic map of molecular features, so-called odour map. The odour map in the OB is transmitted by output neurons, mitral cells, to higher olfactory centres and eventually translated to elicit appropriate behavioural and physiological responses. Recent anatomical studies in mice showed that axons from identified glomeruli project diffusely throughout the piriform cortex6–9, the largest target area of the OB, and that piriform neurons receive convergent inputs from multiple mitral cells distributed throughout the OB10. These findings are consistent with an optical imaging study that found no apparent spatial organization of odour-evoked activity patterns in the piriform cortex11. In contrast, the anterior olfactory nucleus and the cortical amygdala receive topographic and biased projections from the OB, respectively9,10. Thus, a conceptual organization has been proposed in which the secondary olfactory pathway bifurcates to transform odour information into stereotyped and random representations, features suited for directing innate and learned behaviours, respectively12,13. However, it is not entirely clear how projections of individual output neurons to multiple brain areas are organized, because each of these studies in mice analysed only a small fraction of mitral cells and/or a restricted subset of its target areas.
...
The olfactory circuits we describe in zebrafish provide insights into anatomical similarity and dissimilarity with those of insects and mammals, especially with Drosophila and mouse. In all the three species, individual output neurons in the OB or the antennal lobe send axons to multiple brain areas. Each brain area appears to adopt one of two major strategies of projections to be received: (1) restricted and stereotyped projections with respect to glomerular classes for the fly lateral horn14, zebrafish Hb and mouse cortical amygdala9,10; (2) broad and random projections for the fly mushroom body49, zebrafish pTel (Dp), and mouse piriform cortex9,10. Thus, our findings support the idea that the two distinct modes of connectivity patterns (stereotyped and random), which are suitable for innate and learned behaviours, are applicable to all animal species as a fundamental principle for olfactory representations in higher brain centres. As to the axon branching of output neurons innervating the same glomerulus, highly diverse patterns are observed in zebrafish and mouse6,7, compared with more stereotyped one in Drosophila16,17. Furthermore, we find in zebrafish that choice of target areas in the forebrain by output neurons innervating the same glomerulus is not always the same. Thus, the increased diversity of projections in vertebrates may serve to enhance the ability to perform combinatorial processing of odour information beyond the OB.
...

Credit: N. Miyasaka, et al. "Olfactory projectome in the zebrafish forebrain revealed by genetic..."
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jan 12, 2015 - 09:35pm PT
Very interesting stuff,ED!

How does DS emerge from the microcircuitry connecting inputs to outputs?

shouldn't this say;

"How does DS emerge in the microcircuitry connecting inputs to outputs?"?

seems like if the retina doesn't know DS, and doesn't need to know it to do its job. The eye-balls DS might not be determined until it collaborates with where the rest of the body is in its referenced space-time? Another words, the retina cant know direction whithout first knowing the direction of the head.

OR

We've invented a switch that produces light. Now we need to learn how light invented a switch to produce meat.


couldn't get into EyeWire. Almost queer that they would use people sitting still staring at a flatscreen to test for DS? Seems like climbers would be a better labrat
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jan 12, 2015 - 09:57pm PT
they use the people to map the connections...
actually, to help train their artificial intelligence algorithms to map the connections.



I think your question is interesting:
shouldn't this say;
"How does DS emerge in the microcircuitry connecting inputs to outputs?"?


and is at the crux of the two discussions going on in this thread. The question asked in the papers are just exactly right... they presume that something like directional selectivity "emerges" out of the functioning of a cell network.

Signals go in, and signals come out, transformed and encoding information, such as motion. How does this happen?

It isn't "in" the microcircuitry, it doesn't have to be, the behavior of the network of cells produces the information just by acting in a rather well defined manner to local stimulation, they don't "know" themselves what they are doing, they just react, electrochemically, to the stimulus.



the paper on the zebrafish is interesting because it shows that olfactory sensing provides information to a place that "looks up" the stereotype of the stimulus, but also to a place where those stimuli are free to associate with other stimuli, which you might imagine has to do with the ability to find associations that aren't "wired in" to the network, a place that allows the network to learn.

once again, this is a community of cells just doing their thing... reacting to a local stimulus...

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