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Author Topic: A "What The #$%*!..." question
Sisyphus
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posted 04 April 2005 02:02 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just saw "What the *bleep* Do We Know". I very much enjoyed it.

I loved the mix of documentary and fictional story. It's a powerful technique that should be used more often.

The message is upbeat and positive and it is pro-thought and pro-intellect, which I like.

Some purists may argue that it tips a little too far into New Agey territory, but tough. It's a great intro to current thinking about neuroscience, cell biology and quantum physics and is very funny in spots to boot.

I have a question that some learned Babbler may be able to answer for me (Dr. Conway, or perhaps Francis Mont if he'd still about?).

One of the documentary interviewees, Jeffrey Satinover, M.D.,who appears to be a bit of a loon (from his website, anyway) --albeit a very smart, productive and well-educated loon-- mentioned an physics experiment in which a small chunk of matter --maybe a single electron, but he seemed to imply it was bigger-- occupies two distinct points in space simultaneously. I was wondering if anyone knew of such an experiment and could provide me with a reference.

I'm particularly interested in what the criteria were used in concluding that what was seen was actually the same thing in two places rather than two indistinguishable things.

As to the film in question, I absolutely don't believe this. However, I do have the wherewithall to test it myself .


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 04 April 2005 02:27 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Was he talking about quantum entanglement? An example of this is the emission of two electrons from the singlet state (spins antiparallel) in opposite directions. Now, we don't know which one is spin-up and which one is spin-down, but experiments have shown that measuring one forces the other to be in the opposite spin state.

Freaky deaky.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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posted 04 April 2005 03:00 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't think so. What I remember about quantum entanglement concerns the instantaneous transmission of information (i.e. spin state) between separate electrons that originated from the same orbital(?) in the way you describe.

The guy (Oversatin)in the movie seems to suggest that there was some way (not specified, maybe a bubble chamber) that we could obtain two spatially separated images of the same thing. I assumed that as a graduate student in physics, he would have read the pertinent paper before making such a claim.

I didn't link to his website because most progressive people would probably find his politics offensive, but I may e-mail him and see if he'll answer.

To be honest, I find the character that emerges from the website a little bit creepy.


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 04 April 2005 03:16 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Some purists may argue that it tips a little too far into New Agey territory, but tough.

Well, yes. For the most part, the site is a religious one, with a very slight veneer of science to catch the unwary.

Sorry, but the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Albert Einstein or Niels Bohr have nothing in common.

And the featured book, which tells us that water has thoughts which can be ascertained by looking into it, VERY CAREFULLY, should be a joke, but isn't.

No wonder the right can get people to believe anything about Terri Schiavo; they feed them this tripe first, and critical minds rot.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
venus_man
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posted 04 April 2005 03:37 PM      Profile for venus_man        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I haven’t seen the movie yet but planning in a near future.

Not sure if that would add something to the explanation, but here are some life examples of such:

Just swing (right-left or vice versa) the pendulum in front of your eyes as fast as you could (not too fast though). At a certain speed it would appear to be at two (or more) distinct points at once. The speed of vibration (or spin) is seems to be a key factor here at least.

Another one. You are physically can be located where you are. Yet in your imagination/daydream (or a real dream) you could be in some other environment doing whatever. And the vision (or a dream) could be so intense that sometimes it’s hard to distinguish which one is more real until you regain your physical consciousness.

The later techniques (well developed and performed consciously) were and are used by some Shamans and yogis.


From: outer space | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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posted 04 April 2005 03:56 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
No wonder the right can get people to believe anything about Terri Schiavo; they feed them this tripe first, and critical minds rot.

In defence of the film, rather than the site, I'd counter that the reason the reason "the right can get people to believe anything about Terri Schiavo" is because they get people to unquestioningly accept dogma and to distrust the power of their own minds.

The parts of the film that concern synaptic plasticity and the role of receptor expression in learned behaviours are solid scienifically, but for a few quibbles that are not relevant to the main points.

The quantum mechanical stuff is more-or-less standard barstool extrapolations that can be found in any popularization of the subject, and except for the Carlos Castenada-esque extrapolation to the macroscopic world, seem reasonable in the context of the main message: "Being an observer is not passive. Thought is useful and creative."

I believe that there is an equal danger that critical minds rot from blindly trusting one's imperfect senses and faulty logic in slavish devotion to a view of reality which ignores the fact that our conceptual categories are not real, but the products of our memories as much as of the tiny sliver of awareness that our sense organs give us of the material world.

I don't believe in homeopathy and I remember the Nature water "memory" debacle. When i saw the "photos" of the psychically enhanced water, I was pretty contemptuous too.

But, to be contemptuous without having tried it is a very dangerous attitude and is what makes the contempt that creationists have for evolution so charming.

Second, I don't see the harm in people believing that the human mind is capable of such feats. A little fantasy is good for the soul, particularly because so much that we know to be true is probably fantasy anyway.

We need to be humble, Jeff. Not in the face of our own ignorance, but in the face of our genius.


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
venus_man
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posted 04 April 2005 04:59 PM      Profile for venus_man        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sisyphus:

I don't believe in homeopathy and I remember the Nature water "memory" debacle. When i saw the "photos" of the psychically enhanced water, I was pretty contemptuous too.


Homeopathy is more real then Tylenol. Do you believe in Tylenol? This pharmaceutical fraud? I personally met homeophatic doctors who healed cancer patients through the restoration of the oxygen flow through the infected areas as well as enhancement of the immune system and cleansing of the organism. At the end of the day illness prevention is much more efficient then any antibiotics.

Do you believe that water is dead? Is their anything that is dead on this planet? If it’s not dead then it has to manifest like all the living things do. It has to come into chemical reactions with other elements forming new entities. It has to be expressive on its own way because of the mere fact of existence. Is your consciousness alive? Do you like to sit by the fire or water and it brings you in a certain mood, visions, dreams etc. Do you think its all irrelevant and un-real, or your intellect for whatever reason saying so?


From: outer space | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 04 April 2005 05:07 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You deal with him, Sisyphus; he's one of those people who is convinced he shouldn't accept "dogma" like the roundness of the earth.
From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 04 April 2005 05:08 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There is a difference between saying:

1. that you can use preventative medicine (e.g. good nutrition and healthy lifestyle) to lessen the chances of developing cancer and heart disease and diabetes and the like, and

2. that you can cure stuff by using a remedy that is so diluted that there isn't even one molecule of the active ingredient left in the water but that the water has a "memory" and can therefore cure you.

Number 1 makes perfect sense to me. Number 2 is unscientific, superstitious hooey.

Also:

quote:
I personally met homeophatic doctors who healed cancer patients through the restoration of the oxygen flow through the infected areas as well as enhancement of the immune system and cleansing of the organism.

Sez who? The homeopathic doctors themselves?

[ 04 April 2005: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 04 April 2005 05:14 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Homeopathy is more real then Tylenol.

From the book "Things my Homeopath Told Me", no doubt.

If tiny trace elements in water were capable of curing all my ills, I'd walk down and take a good long drink from Lake Ontario. Then I'd be cured of heavy metal poisoning, E Coli, dioxin poisoning, PCB poisoning, etc. Or, as Mr. Magoo Sr. would say, "cures coughs, colds, sore holes, and pimples on your old wazoo". But of course it doesn't really work that way, does it?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 04 April 2005 05:27 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm inclined to think that a lot of the credence 'alternative' medecine gets roots in our suspicion of authority, a bit of romanticizing of the Orient, a significant dollop of crass commercialism (who else could sell water for as much as hundreds of dollars a litre?), and a done of foolishness.

There is a problem in current medicine - the profit motive drives corporate medical researchers to pursue drugs etc. that will be profitable, and ignore others that might not be. So we get Viagra, but no cure of malaria.

Fine, but the solution isn't to have our crystals done, to have a poser shaman bellow mumbo jumbo over us at a Saltspring retreat, or to fall for the latest version of snakeoil salesman to come along. We spend billions on this silliness, and I've seen friends have some significant health problems NOT addressed because some holistic doofus was giving them bogus advice (i.e. a friend with undiagnosed IBS being given a wide range of useless 'cures' and going through hell for over a year).

The solution is to have publicly funded medical research, explicitly not profit oriented, with a focus on addressing and curing (if possible) the ailments and diseases that we face. It is also to ensure that healthy food and exercise opportunities are available to all of us. Private medical research is valuable, and has a role, but we are starving the necessary public research that will work on problems where profit doesn't work.

If an herbal medicine or cure works, it will become 'mainstream' medicine if there is the research to support it. If it doesn't, and much of it fits that description, then we need to stop kidding ourselves and figure out what does.

Let's not even get started on the nonsense circulating about vaccination. Ye gods.


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
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posted 04 April 2005 09:41 PM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:

If tiny trace elements in water were capable of curing all my ills, I'd walk down and take a good long drink from Lake Ontario. Then I'd be cured of heavy metal poisoning, E Coli, dioxin poisoning, PCB poisoning, etc. Or, as Mr. Magoo Sr. would say, "cures coughs, colds, sore holes, and pimples on your old wazoo". But of course it doesn't really work that way, does it?


I'm taking this to the Hall of Fame.


From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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posted 04 April 2005 09:48 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
You deal with him, Sisyphus; he's one of those people who is convinced he shouldn't accept "dogma" like the roundness of the earth.

Well, I did make my bed with that last post, didn't I, JH

quote:
Homeopathy is more real then Tylenol. Do you believe in Tylenol?

Actually, that question made me reach for a bottle, which I found, so yes, I do believe in Tylenol. More precisely, I believe that it can lessen the pain of a headache and that it will reduce the effects of a fever.

I don't think it will cure cancer, mend broken bones or make me beautiful.

About the "dead" thing. Interestingly, it's something I have given some thought to. Personally, I'm on the fence about viruses, seeing as how they lack a homologue to the ATP-based energy storage system that seems to me to be an important aspect of "life".

That aside, I'd have to say that I consider water to be outside of what I would classify as "alive" or "dead". Kind of like the question "Is purple more oval or triangular?"

quote:
Do you like to sit by the fire or water and it brings you in a certain mood, visions, dreams etc. Do you think its all irrelevant and un-real, or your intellect for whatever reason saying so?

I understand the first question and the answer is "yes". I also like moonlit paddles on a calm lake as it happens.

I don't get the last question.

As to homeopathy, if it ever cures anything, it is because of the placebo effect, for which I have a great deal of respect.

Because water is a collection of molecules dancing around in a surface tension and hydrogen bonded frenzy, every so often releasing one of its monads on a mystical flight into the cosmos (temperature and atmospheric pressure permitting), it is difficult for me (though apparently not for some reviewers at Nature) to understand how this constantly shifting and changing mass of molecules could hold any sort of pattern whatsoever, and how it could be measured if it did.

While we're at it, reiki is for leaves and crystals make good radios...

Embracing possibilities is not the same thing as believing improbabilities.


Edited to remove an annoying punctuation fetish.

[ 04 April 2005: Message edited by: Sisyphus ]


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
venus_man
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posted 04 April 2005 09:51 PM      Profile for venus_man        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jeff house:
You deal with him, Sisyphus; he's one of those people who is convinced he shouldn't accept "dogma" like the roundness of the earth.

What is your dogma then? Probably the fact of your non-existence.

quote:
Originally posted by arborman:
If an herbal medicine or cure works, it will become 'mainstream' medicine if there is the research to support it. If it doesn't, and much of it fits that description, then we need to stop kidding ourselves and figure out what does

Research in this area has been done and still going on around the world. But who benefits from it? - pharmaceutical companies. For they sponsor these researches, in part with governments, so they could convert the results into new killer drugs that are also expensive.


From: outer space | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 04 April 2005 09:58 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Expensive killer drugs? Sign me up! That's way cooler than the cheap, effective, natural remedies that are everywhere if only I'd free my repressed mind long enough to consider them!
From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
venus_man
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posted 04 April 2005 10:09 PM      Profile for venus_man        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
Expensive killer drugs? Sign me up! That's way cooler than the cheap, effective, natural remedies that are everywhere if only I'd free my repressed mind long enough to consider them!

According to your reaction and inability to distinguish useful from un-useful or original from fraud, it sounds like you are already signed up! You are cool, not to worry.

[ 04 April 2005: Message edited by: venus_man ]


From: outer space | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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Babbler # 490

posted 04 April 2005 10:30 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So, venus_man, did you know you could get more energy and realign your chakras from a simple dose of magic, "alive", Polonium-210?

Sad thing is, you probably WOULD buy it from me, and you WOULD end up killing yourself with it. (Polonium-210 is radioactive, half-life 138 days, and doesn't immediately flush out of the body)

This is the sort of danger people talk about when they say that there are way too many hucksters and con artists in the "alternative medicine" industry. Someone can sell you something that will kill you and call it a "natural healing remedy" - and before you get in it with me about the Po-210, it's "natural", all right. It exists on earth anywhere you find uranium - and gosh, that's "natural" too, since it was in the ground.

An absolutely literalistic reading of my sarcastic "Advertisement" above should get the point across to you. Radioactivity can be considered, if you're really weird about it, to be an "alive" characteristic of a metal, and it certainly involves the deposition of energy into the surroundings. The realign your chakras thing is so much crap, but people actually believe that kind of bilge. In short, I told half-truths and mixed in some creative lying to create an overall deception, which, if you believed it, would kill you.

Oh, hey, venus_man? One more thing. "Gullible" isn't in the dictionary.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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posted 04 April 2005 06:58 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To Whom it May Interest (DrC?):

I did find a paper that proposes a theoretically feasible experimental set-up with which to actually show quantum superposition, which I interpret to mean the simultaneous existence of mutiple solutions to Schrodinger's Equation representing the wave function of a macroscopic object -- in this case a small mirror. I take it that a big problem is that the wavefunctions of all the component elements and surrounding matter interact with each other, cause the system wavefunction to lose coherence.
What an observer would see (near as I can understand) is the object appearing and disappearing alternately at two separate points with a periodicity determined by who the hell knows (the math is a wee bit beyond me) .

From a Nature blurb:

quote:
Phys. Rev. Lett.91, 130401 (2003)

Can a macroscopic object be placed
in a quantum superposition — like
Schrödinger’s notorious cat, both dead
and alive? William Marshall et al. have
devised a scheme that comes close. Their
‘cat’ is not alive, nor exactly macroscopic;
but it is far bigger than the atomic-scale
entities with which superpositions are
generally associated.
The researchers claim that a microscopic
mirror, 10 mm square and weighing
around 5^-10 kg, could be placed in
a superposition such that it can be
considered to occupy two positions
simultaneously.


The paper claims that this has really been done with "large molecules". I haven't checked the references.

[ 04 April 2005: Message edited by: Sisyphus ]

[ 04 April 2005: Message edited by: Sisyphus ]


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
maestro
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posted 04 April 2005 07:29 PM      Profile for maestro     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Good beginning explanation of quantum theory in

"Where Did The Weirdness Go?" by David Lindley


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Anonymous
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posted 05 April 2005 01:17 AM      Profile for Mr. Anonymous     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The alt. health topic has been fairly recently discussed here:
http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=11&t=001024&p=

With all due respect to doctors, they tend to live shorter that average lifespans, and are the third leading cause of death in the US, according to a Public Citizen's (Ralph Nader's group) study. Modern hospital birthing methods are considerably more dangerous than modern midwife directed birthing methods, and mortality rates tend to decline during doctors strikes.

Despite massive increases in R&D and other "modern" medicine costs, rates of diseases of all kinds are increasing decade by decade. Some might say this is due to diet, but how much dietary advise do doctors usually give? Most doctors have recieved less than 2 days worth of dietary instruction and are constantly innendated with PR from drug companies, who have nothing to gain and everything to lose from unpatentable natural cures. People on this site should understand that power corrupts, and that drug companines - being one of the largest industries and tied in to a group (doctors) seen as highly respectable - have tons of it.

All modern allopathic drugs have side effects, and only tend to supress symptoms, never actually truly improve health long-term. Western doctors usually don't even pretend to understand the root causes of disease, the answer usually is something like "It might be tied into your genes, we really don't know. Take this drug, it will supress your symptoms. Chances are you will have to take it - or ones like it - for the rest of your life, along with others to deal with the side effects. The odds are the condition will get progressively worse over time and will likely shorten the length and quality of your life, perhaps severely". How indicative is the above of an understanding of - and ability to truly improve - human health? Can anyone adopting the above view legitimately criticize all (some perhaps, but certainly not all) non-allopathic modalities, especially some that have worked for many hundreds, maybe even thousands of years?

I am not including trauma care in my view of allopathic medicine as unhealthy. I am including vaccines though, as my research has lead me to believe that while some good has been done, the overall results have been negative, and will continue to be negative overall in the forseeable future (read the books on the linked page for some idea why I have concluded this).

Anyone skeptical about homeopathy should go out and buy something called "Rescue Remedy", then try it out on themselves and others in times of stress (for the drops) or pain (for the cream). See what happens for most people who use it as directed, then judge it.

Studies have been done that show that prayer does help people, that accupuncture does help some problems well beyond that which could be expected from the placebo effect, and that yogis can live in tightly enclosed places for hours, even days, with only enough air to last the common person minutes. One could also look at the apparent age of many yogis or even long-term western yoga instructors, they often look 30 years younger than they are - and have the health to match - a much better result than might be expected from the simple exercises they do.

Related to the last line, this may be of interest:
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20031126/edit.htm#8
(near the bottom of the page)
"DOCTORS here never stop gaping at 76-year-old Prahlad Jani, who claims not to have taken a drop of water or a morsel of food for the past 65 years.

His amazing lifestyle has transcended the boundaries of medial science and become the talk of the town in the principal city of Gujarat in western India. Doctors at Sterling Hospital here have kept Jani under observation for 10 days and found to their astonishment that he lives without consuming food or water. “Neither has he put a morsel of food in his mouth, nor has he demanded water. His body too does not perform vital functions like passing urine and stool,” said Urman Dhruv, secretary of the Association of Physicians of Ahmedabad.

“On November 12 we put him in a special room and kept him under constant observation with the help of video cameras, but this man seems to have some superhuman strength to defy hunger and thirst.” The association, a body with over 400 members, in association with the New Delhi-based Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Science, is heading the research on Jani at Sterling Hospital. Doctors say Jani’s ability to live without food or water is superhuman, but he says his strength springs from the blessings of a goddess.

“A panel of doctors —including physicians, cardiologists, neurologists, a neurosurgeon, a gastroenterologist, an endocrinologist, a diabetologist, a nephrologist, an uro-surgeon, an ENT surgeon, a psychiatrist, an opthalmologist, a genetic counsellor, a radiologist, sonologists and many more - have examined him,” said Dhruv. “We have deputed a team of doctors and security personnel on round-the-clock duty around his room,” said V.N. Shah of Sterling Hospital.

Jani agreed to avoid bathing during the examination period but was given 100 ml of water every day to wash his mouth that was collected and measured. According to doctors, Jani has not passed urine since his admission to the hospital and lived without food or water."

[ 05 April 2005: Message edited by: Mr. Anonymous ]


From: Somewhere out there... Hey, why are you logging my IP address? | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 05 April 2005 02:52 AM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That movie is filled to the brim with bullshit. It should be called "what the bleep some deluded people think they know".

One of the kooks who appear in it is "new age" icon J.Z. Knight, who claims to be channeling a 35,000-year-old god/warrior from Atlantis named Ramtha. Very credible!

Here's some of the comments on that movie that can be found at James Randi's web page (an invaluable source on bullshit):

"The films' producers, writers, directors, and some of the stars are members of the Ramtha School of Enlightenment in Washington State. Several of the scientists are affiliated with Knight's school, and the film was largely financed by one of Knight's students. It's a blatant effort by religious, mystical, and New Age gurus such as Deepak Chopra to disguise their views as real science. Thrown in are the fantasies of Masura Emoto, who claims to have proven that thoughts can change the structure of water; his "experiments" consist of taping written words to glasses of water."

[ 05 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 05 April 2005 03:16 AM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mr. Anonymous: please, don't go around believing anything that the media says! They're terrible at checking sources and they tend to not let the truth interfere with a good story. Just check their recent coverage of the Schiavo affair and the Pope's death.

There are many ways that old indian could be fooling those so-called observers (assuming that the observers are honest, which might pretty well not be the case). I'm sure you can think of a couple if you try.

By the way, scientists are often terrible witnesses: nature is complicated, but never intentionally devious (unlike humans).

[ 05 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
venus_man
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posted 05 April 2005 10:22 AM      Profile for venus_man        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DrConway:

Sad thing is, you probably WOULD buy it from me, and you WOULD end up killing yourself with it.


Do you think that I’m an idiot of some sort? I agree that in the homeopathy not everything is good. However with proper, non-dogmatic education and sensitivity (pardon the term) plus an understanding of the healing and naturopathic medicine you’ll find the real ones. I have, for instance, a tea-tree oil that never leaves any stains if spilled. Why? Because it’s pure. I, for once, am not using any medicine unless I really, really have to. I prefer preventative methods and healthy immune system.

Otherwise it looks like we’ll have to open up a club of pharmaceutical industry supporters within the bubble, they are plenty here it seems.


From: outer space | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 April 2005 10:55 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Otherwise it looks like we’ll have to open up a club of pharmaceutical industry supporters within the bubble, they are plenty here it seems.

Make it something a little less red and herring-y, like the "Actual Science Club", and we'll be there with bells on.

Please don't even try to connect having an interest in that which can be objectively proven with being gung-ho cheerleaders for Big Pharma. In fact one more attempt to try and turn this into "everyone else is the stooge of the Man", and I'll be merciless in my tinfoil hat/nutjob/"crystal people" jokes... OK?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
venus_man
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posted 05 April 2005 11:37 AM      Profile for venus_man        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:

Please don't even try to connect having an interest in that which can be objectively proven with being gung-ho cheerleaders for Big Pharma. In fact one more attempt to try and turn this into "everyone else is the stooge of the Man", and I'll be merciless in my tinfoil hat/nutjob/"crystal people" jokes... OK?

You forgot to add this…

Proven? on mice…proven by whom…proven what… that all this so-called medicine causes severe side effects. What is “proven” today becomes another junk tomorrow. I wouldn’t rely on that. It smells like the so-called religious dogmas where everything is “proven” if you ask them. But the so-called scientific and religious fanatics would tell you that them and only them can figure it out and tell you what to do and what is right. What a fraud, indeed.


From: outer space | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 April 2005 12:03 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I know how tempting it must be for you to regard science as some secret cabal of men in white lab coats holding clipboards and hiding a secret agenda.

"Science" isn't that. It's the belief that you can test what's real and true. That you can make a hypothesis (eg: objects fall faster as they fall longer) and that you can test that hypothesis to see if it's true (drop a ball; measure it's speed as it falls). You don't need a labcoat. You don't need the clipboard. What you need — and this is essential — is a willingness to abandon any hypothesis that you cannot demonstrate to be true. Even if you really really liked that one, more than the one that you could prove.

And this is where Science always comes in conflict with KooKiness. KooKs don't like having to abandon that which they fervently wish were true, and of course Science sometimes forces them to that point, so they choose instead to disregard science.

In the case of alternative medicine, Science is just an unbiased observer. If purple Kool-Aid could be shown to cure lymphoma, Science would say "purple Kool-Aid cures lymphoma!". If you can show that woodchips give rats cancer, Science will say "woodchips give rats cancer!" Likewise, if homeopathy is indeed more effective at curing illness than so-called "Western" medicine, then Science will have to take one for the team and say "Homeopathy is better than Tylenol".

But until this can be repeatably and reliably shown, Homeopathy takes its place with grape Kool-Aid, as just another substance with no known curative powers. That doesn't mean that it's all over, full stop. It means until you can repeatably and reliably demonstrate some kind of curative powers, none will be attributed.

Isn't that just common sense??

Don't we basically structure our lives around just this sort of rationality? Do you fill your car with gasoline because it's been shown to you time and time again that it will fuel your car? Or do you fill your car with homeopathy water because it's all full of magic and stuff, and "surely it must" power your car? Is your computer currently plugged into the wall as a source of electrical power, or is the cord dangling in a jug of homeopathy water, since this water contains "masses of untapped energy"?

quote:
What is “proven” today becomes another junk tomorrow.

Interesting that the very fact that science is self-correcting and willing to own up to its own errors is always presented as a fault by believers who lack the same basic decency. Science is interested in the truth, and frankly you are not. You'll pretend you are, you'll insist you are, you'll even go so far as to suggest that you and you alone, with your "open mind" are on a journey to find the truth, but at the end of the day, science can admit when it's wrong, and you KooKs simply cann will not.

[ 05 April 2005: Message edited by: Mr. Magoo ]


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
venus_man
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posted 05 April 2005 12:38 PM      Profile for venus_man        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Bravo!
An award for you from the church of science. What a good parishioner!

Many medications that as you say “were reparably and reliably shown to be useful”… in a year or so would prove causing a heart failure or so. And I am not imagining it. Can blind lead?

Of course science has its (sometimes-positive) place in the social hierarchy. But only a place. You consider them as new gods or priests it seems.

I believe in humanity and human beings. You know, where individuality repressed dogma appears. Thus anything that limits individuality in its relations and understanding of the surrounding world is dogmatic. Orthodox science, as orthodox religion or communism does just that.

I am not against science per se, yet I’m not relying on it. Same with religion. I believe in the power of the individual with the unlimited capacities as oppose the power of dogma with its cult-like mentality. Are you for free individual development or dogmatic reliance?


From: outer space | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Jimmy Brogan
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posted 05 April 2005 12:55 PM      Profile for Jimmy Brogan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My Mom took these drugs back in the 1950's which cured her of TB. The only side effect was 50 more years of healthy living - so far. But if something turns up like she starts growing big hairy tits on her back, I'll let you know.
From: The right choice - Iggy Thumbscrews for Liberal leader | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 April 2005 12:58 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Bravo!
An award for you from the church of science. What a good parishioner!

This is really all you've got, eh? A continued insistance that anyone who values proof over KooKiness has been brainwashed.

I'm just really thankful this is going down in Culture and not Science and Humanities. I think those crop circles and fake artifacts were more than enough KooKdom for one forum.

quote:
Of course science has its (sometimes-positive) place in the social hierarchy.

Namely, in the form of about a million things you couldn't possibly live without, nor possibly make/create/invent for yourself without the benefit of this "science" which you cannot understand and which you mistrust so much.

quote:
I am not against science per se, yet I’m not relying on it.

Bah! I dare you to go a year without it. Or a month. Or even a week.

quote:
Are you for free individual development or dogmatic reliance?

Are you for Hobson's Choices or False Dichotomies?

Have your Homeopathy water. Have your healing crystals. Have your Kerlian photos, your crop circles, your magic talismans, your Feng Shui, your copper bracelets, healing magnets, mantras, chakras, lotions, potions, snake oils, and poisons in tiny doses.

And when they all fail — and rest assured, some day they will — all I ask is please, as you beg science and medicine to provide a cure for you or a loved one, to mentally eat a nice big fat slice of humble pie. Fair enough? And in return, if it ever turns out that my only hope of survival lies in some crystal, I'll do the same.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 05 April 2005 01:06 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I hope Venus doesn't kill himself with all that hocus pocus about the triumph of the will (I mean the individual).

In the meantime, I won't take any koolaid from this guy.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
venus_man
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posted 05 April 2005 01:22 PM      Profile for venus_man        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I have no interest in arguing with you any further because you not willing to even admit the existence of consciousness in people. How can you talk to a molecule or a bunch of atoms? Balls to the wall-a similar effect.

To the rest of you so-called science-cult members, you are not better then evngelics, as stubborn and un-humanely dogmatic in you worldviews. You perhaps should pay more attention to the development of your emotional brain. May be then, as psychology says, you will realize that you are alive.
Good luck with that.


From: outer space | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 05 April 2005 01:51 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
We're dogmatic because we require evidence? And you're not because you believe in spite of a lack of evidence. Mmm... You know, I think you have more in common with evangelicals than we do!
From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 April 2005 02:20 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, I'm sure venus_man requires evidence of some things... just not others.

If, for example, I contracted to paint his house for $300, and if, upon viewing my "work" he found it exactly the same colour, and if I assured him that instead of the cans of toxic sludge from Benjamin-Moore, I had used a far superior invisible paint that not only protects against the elements but also evil spirits, bad mojo and random acts of voodoo, I suspect that his "open mind" would slam shut audibly, that the conversation would involve such dogmatic phrases as "prove it you liar", and that my $300 check wouldn't cash.

But water with a magical memory? That he'll buy. Go figure.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
venus_man
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posted 05 April 2005 03:03 PM      Profile for venus_man        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Surferosad:
We're dogmatic because we require evidence?

By the way evidence comes from the evident: Easily seen or understood; obvious.
Why would you require the obvious? Isn’t it absurd? Oh yest-that’s the science-cult dogma. Pardon moi.

From: outer space | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 05 April 2005 03:21 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How do you know you're not being a victim of wishful thinking or of obfuscation?
From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 April 2005 03:40 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Why would you require the obvious?

If it's so damn "obvious" then why won't cranks like you ever produce it? I mean other than the other "obvious": you can't. If you could, you would, and we'd be all finished with the matter, but you can't so you won't, and all in order to keep your hope alive.

"Please, oh please don't let them take away my magic water! Don't let them deny my crystal powers! I'll dodge. I'll obfuscate. I'll t... look, out the window! It's a flying turtle!!"


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
venus_man
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posted 05 April 2005 03:51 PM      Profile for venus_man        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:

I'll dodge. I'll obfuscate. I'll t... look, out the window! It's a flying turtle!!

My gosh...I pity you. You have gone mad! Oh well, the unfortunate consequence of the cult mentality pressures


From: outer space | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 05 April 2005 03:55 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Venus_man, how do you know what you know and how do you know it to be true?
From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 April 2005 03:56 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, not to worry. I have beside me a glass of water that has the memory of seeing the Dalai Lama, so with its help I'll be serene in no time. It also has the memory of seeing the Beatles live at Wembley in 1964, so we've been talking about that.
From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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posted 05 April 2005 04:22 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Surfosad writes:
quote:
We're dogmatic because we require evidence? And you're not because you believe in spite of a lack of evidence. Mmm... You know, I think you have more in common with evangelicals than we do!
yet he makes this statement about a movie he hasn't seen:
quote:
That movie is filled to the brim with bullshit. It should be called "what the bleep some deluded people think they know".

because a washed-up magician who spends his life debunking the quaint superstitions of of a few of of the Earth's true 'mentally-challenged" tells him so?

Can anybody say "Argument from authority?"

As to the Ramtha connections, it's true. And I did find it amusing (not knowing who the woman was) that she was the most persuasive speaker of the lot.

Again, Surfosad, can you say "Ad hominem argument"? That's what happens when a person who's incapable of mounting a credible rebuttal of an argument tries to discredit it by attacking the qualifications/sanity/intelligence of the person presenting it.

It's another logical fallacy.

Think about how many people believe the stuff
this wackjob dreamt up.

quote:
And a penchant for the occult was not Newton's only quirk. He is reported to have laughed just once in his life-when someone asked him what use he saw in Euclid. He took to decorating his rooms in crimson. He stuck a knife behind his eyeball to induce optical effects, nearly blinding himself. He was a Catholic-hating Puritan who secretly subscribed to the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ. Newton was also given to endless feuding. He seems to have had only two romantic attachments, both with younger males, and suffered a paranoiac breakdown after the second came to rupture.

The key to Newton's theory of gravity was the idea that one body could attract another across empty space. To Newton's great contemporaries, Descartes and Leibniz, this notion was medieval and magical; they subscribed exclusively to "mechanical" explanations, in which bodies influenced one another only by a direct series of pushes and pulls.


[ 05 April 2005: Message edited by: Sisyphus ]


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 April 2005 04:36 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Your Newton example only highlights the vast difference between Science and KooKs.

Science keeps only that of Newton's which he could demonstrate and prove. His more fanciful silliness ends up in the dustbin of history.

If Newton were a hero to the KooKs, they'd be insisting that we should all stick a knife behind our eyes for enlightenment.

quote:
That's what happens when a person who's incapable of mounting a credible rebuttal of an argument tries to discredit it by attacking the qualifications/sanity/intelligence of the person presenting it.

To be fair, it's about all that's available if you're arguing against someone's superstitions. Credible rebuttals are dismissed as brainwashing by the Man.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
venus_man
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posted 05 April 2005 04:41 PM      Profile for venus_man        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Surferosad:
Venus_man, how do you know what you know and how do you know it to be true?

..."From whence did Roger Bacon believe he derived his amazing awareness! "True knowledge stems not from the authority of others, nor from a blind allegiance to antiquated dogmas," he said. Two of his biographers write that he believed knowledge "is a highly personal experience--a light that is communicated only to the innermost privacy of the individual through the impartial channels of all knowledge and of all thought."


From: outer space | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 05 April 2005 05:26 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Roger Bacon was still a medieval thinker, so religion permeates everything he did. Like most of his contemporaries, he believed reason was god given, something that a modern thinker would have trouble accepting. Now, you're not answering the question. Lets say you have a wonderful insight, that is personal and subjective. You feel it is true. But how do you "know" that it's true? It's important to figure this out, since there are tons of people who have all kinds of insights that they believe to be true, and many insights are in contradiction. What makes your particular insight better than those other insights? How do you go about making sure that you're not deluded or wrong? And why should I believe you?

[ 05 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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posted 05 April 2005 05:55 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Your Newton example only highlights the vast difference between Science and KooKs.

No, it shows that scientist can be kooks, just like the rest of us.

quote:
Science keeps only that of Newton's which he could demonstrate and prove. His more fanciful silliness ends up in the dustbin of history.

Exactly my point. Just because the statement that our perceptions of reality cannot be separated from our associative memory mechanisms comes from a person who claims to be channelling a warrior from Atlantis circa 33,000 BC, doesn't change the truth of the statement.

quote:
To be fair, it's about all that's available if you're arguing against someone's superstitions. Credible rebuttals are dismissed as brainwashing by the Man.

Yeah but there's a lot of problems with your quote here.
One, you don't know what was said in the movie because you haven't seen the friggin thing!
This means that from a legal or scientific perspective your relying on anecdotal/hearsay/conjecture/talkingoutmyass evidence. "Empiricism" plays a role in keeping the anal sphincter to the task it was designed for.
Two, seems to me, post-Enlightenment intellectual history is a chronicle of "arguing against someone's superstitions".

Credible rebuttals are dismissed in lots of other ways, too. It's the stock-in-trade of the PR industry, most religions and Question Period.

You're never going to convince anyone of anything who isn't actually after the truth, since most people just want their own preconceptions re-affirmed.

Hence my original statements about the movie. It's about ideas, both good and bad. But at least it's got some content that engages the brain rather than just the glands.

[ 05 April 2005: Message edited by: Sisyphus ]


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
venus_man
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posted 05 April 2005 06:15 PM      Profile for venus_man        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Surferosad:
How do you go about making sure that you're not deluded or wrong? And why should I believe you?

That is a fundamental, yet sophistic question that allows multiple interpretations and misinterpretations.

I believe that as humans we have the capacity to perceive the world as evident as it is. However I am not denying research, experimentation, inquiry etc. these processes (and tools) are again intrinsic parts of the human nature. Each individual is unique-pretty obvious. Therefore each has certain approach towards dealing (or cooperating) with the reality. You may have a more scientific approach. This guy here is an artist, therefore aesthetics is how he deals with life (I’m talking about flavor, if you know what I mean). Now, any approach is good, likewise every individual is right unless….they promote themselves as smartest or whatever or if they rely too much on some authority or fixate themselves on a dogma (any dogma) thus blocking the direct access to the reality. Direct access, you’d ask? Yes. Once again we, as individuals, have all necessary means for understanding and cooperating with reality. Our brain (s), nervous system etc. do allow us to participate in ever-new reality (non-static). Therefore there could not be a fixed knowledge, for nothing is fixed, but dynamic. Hence experimentation.

Therefore sensitivity (emotional brain), inquiry (intellectual brain) and experimentation (physical) are the keys for the understanding of responcibility of living. I would add to this Love as a magnetic force but 'afraid' to be stoned.

I appreciate science as much as ancient Vedas. Only in syntheses and harmony of approaches and discipliners one will not slip into dogma, I believe.

Now I'm expecting some attacks.

Oh yes, one more (?) thing-the world is alive, therefore expressive. From here stems the appearance of the world as mythological. Simple example-when you look at a car you don’t see bolts and nods plus steel carcass. The car has some sort of personality and we know that. Biologists while watching the bacteria see them as living organisms, with sometimes funny shapes and colours. Isn’t it a microcosm, a certain mythology?


From: outer space | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 05 April 2005 06:19 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sisyphus, that movie is very far from being honest regarding the ideas they talk about. They make it pass as "real science", when in fact most of the stuff isn't science at all. They're co-opting scientific lingo and concepts to give a veneer of credibility to their ideas. I think the main objective of the movie is not to "engage the brain", but to convert people to new age thinking. In other words, that movie is propaganda: the New Age version of the Passion of the Christ!
From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 05 April 2005 06:22 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In other words, Venus-man, you deny that there is such a thing as objective reality, right? That's what you seem to be saying. Are you saying that all individual points of view are equally valid?

[ 05 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 05 April 2005 06:46 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sisyphus, what I don't like is that you seem to be denigrating Isaac Newton's scientific contributions by reciting a laundry list of his human foibles.

Yes, he was a mean old son of a bitch. Yes, he was weird. So what? Even if he didn't like the field concept of action at a distance, he still managed to systematize our knowledge of gravitation and classical mechanics in a clean, mathematical way that physicists still use, centuries later, for problems that don't need general relativity.

And speaking of GR, Einstein is reported to have cheated on his wife. Does that take away from his fundamentally new insight into the nature of space and time?

I also don't like your insinuation that our description of reality in science has to be subjective in all instances. Quantum mechanics does impose certain subjective features into our observations of reality on a small scale, but even those can be mathematically circumscribed in known ways.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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posted 05 April 2005 06:47 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Surferosad, my question to you is simply this: What are the main messages of the movie and, as you asked venus_man: how do you know?

Again, I've actually seen the movie.

Objecting to what you think is the content or message of the film violates the sacred epitemic principles you accuse the film of blaspheming against.

It's clear the producers and the individuals involved want to make money, from getting publicity for the books they're hawking on their websites, to the "extras" you can order from the movie web site. I suspect you can join the Ramtha cult or whatever it is, too.
None of this detracts from the film itself, which is subtitled "A Quantum Fable". I had similar discussions with people who complained that "Life is Beautiful" was a BAAAD movie, because the depiction of concentration camp life was so implausible. As I recall, it was also self-described as a "fable".

I saw no evidence that either movie was trying to make a factual statement about either "The Nature of Reality" in one case, or "How Inmates Could Have Found Fun at Auschwitz" in the other. to suggest either is to misinterpret or misrepresent what was portrayed in each film. Period.


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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posted 05 April 2005 06:55 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Sisyphus, what I don't like is that you seem to be denigrating Isaac Newton's scientific contributions by reciting a laundry list of his human foibles.

I also don't like your insinuation that our description of reality in science has to be subjective in all instances. Quantum mechanics does impose certain subjective features into our observations of reality on a small scale, but even those can be mathematically circumscribed in known ways.


I have done neither of these things.

In the first case, I have only shown the weakness of the ad hominem argument.

In the second, I suppose you are referring to this:

quote:
our perceptions of reality cannot be separated from our associative memory mechanisms
.

It's been demonstrated in a hundred psychological studies. Luckily we have several ways to observe phenomena, plus a verification system that has been selected to guard against subjective bias when interpreting results, no?

However, I don't take your umbrage to suggest that our internal subjective experiences are identically available to each other, unless you're tryiong to suggest that their is no subjective component to our perseption of reality?


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 05 April 2005 07:35 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
As I've already said, the movie co-opts scientific concepts to explain new age beliefs. The repeatedly misrepresented quantum mechanics (without really ever explaining anything about it) and utilised it as a platform to legitimise mysticism.

How do I know? Man, just use your common sense and read a little on quantum mechanics and science, and you'll know it too! The laws of quantum mechanics are only applicable at very small scales, they have no direct bearing on everyday life. Your everyday experience proves it. An electron can be thought as being both a particle and an energy wave, but in your everyday life these things don't apply. You're too big for quantum effects to be visible.

Here's some of the movies claims:
Did you know when Columbus landed in the Americas the Native Americans had never seen a ship so they were incapable of seeing the ship?
Did you know that your emotions affect the growth of crystals?

And then, there's Ramtha:
"Ramtha the Enlightened One, Lord of the Wind, lived once as a human being 35,000 years ago in the long-gone continent of Lemuria...in that lifetime he addressed the great questions about human existence and the meaning of life...When he decided to finally leave this world he ascended in front of his people, which numbered two million, promising them he would return. Remnants of his life and teachings exist in various archaeological artifacts from India and Egypt, as well as ancient Hindu literature." (For all this and the opportunity to buy his Autobiography, Google up Ramtha and JZ.)

For this film, Ramtha seems to have borrowed a head to do his talking from JZ Knight, a psychic who channels him.

Come on! How can anyone take this movie seriously?

[ 05 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 05 April 2005 09:09 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here's a web page with a small explanation of a quantum effect (it will give you an idea of quantum mechanics weirdness): http://www.colorado.edu/physics/2000/schroedinger/

It explains the famous particle/wave duality.

[ 05 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


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Sisyphus
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posted 05 April 2005 10:39 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This'll be my last post on this topic, since I found the answer to my quantum superposition question.

Having looked into the film a bit more, I was dismayed to learn that the one physicist who is not connected with the Ramtha cult feels his point of view was misrepresented.

By the way, Surfosad, the film's claim is that emotions can affect water, they don't even mentioning freezing it.

As it happens, I used to see a quantum effect every day when I was using a transmission electron microscope. to focus the electron beam precisely at high magnification, one uses the diffraction pattern (called Fresnel fringes) produced around small holes in the specimen. Of course, this depends on the wave-like properties of electrons.

I took the main message of the movie to be an exhortation to take a more active role in one's life, in that passivity is a form of interaction since it will affect the outcome of a situation.

If one reads closely the writings of Krishnamurti, for example, and applies the "observing the content of conciousness" exercise, one finds that one's emotional states become easier to master and that one is freed of conditioned responses to situations. Of course this requires that New Agey thing called "empiricism".

For what it's worth, what the movie has to say about emotions is identical with the content of the Nature of Things series currently playing on CBC.

I've never been comfortable with statements like "it is the act of observing that causes the collapse of the wavefunction" since "observation" is an-ill defined cause for a well-defined effect, and I don't believe in magic.

Any extrapolations from the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to macroscopic reality in the movie, I took to be part of the fable.

Anyone who thinks though, that their day-to-day perception of the world approaches anything like Scientific Objectivity, let alone the Holy Grail of God's Own Platonic Objectivity clearly does believe in magic.


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Surferosad
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posted 06 April 2005 12:52 AM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, I have a tendency to not remember the details of things I find highly dubious.

I'm not claiming absolute scientific objectivity. I never did actually. But there is a lot that we can know with a high degree of certainty. I'm not willing to go into the "anything goes" camp just because there are a few things we don't understand!

[ 06 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


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Mr. Anonymous
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posted 07 April 2005 11:11 PM      Profile for Mr. Anonymous     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
With all due respect to those claiming science as their guiding light, I would simply say that legitimate science requires open-mindedness, an ability and desire to research, and the willingness to both admit flaws in the current paradigm and to adopt changes to that paradigm - or even a new paradigm altogether - when the evidence supports such a view.

I would also say that loud support of something by the establishment does not make that something correct, and remind people that the scientific establishment has in the past louldly proclaimed many things that have turned out to be wrong. Hygiene was once thought to be unimportant, as germs were thought to have nothing to do with disease. Like most people challenging the establishment, the person who first suggested that germs could be harmfull was not just slow to gain support, but was actually ridiculed by the scientific establishment of the day. The idea that an acidic body is a precurser to and cause of much disease is likewise mostly ignored today, yet those with more acidic bodies tend to get sick, while those with more basic bodies tend to be healthy.

Perusing the literature will reveal countless instances of the scientific establishment mocking and/or ignoring new ideas, both in the past and today. If it has a complete understanding of one area, it should be fairly easy to either show how the accepted ideas are right by virtue of their predictive abilities (the true test of legitimate science as I understand it) and/or to test different ideas and explain exactly how (and why) they are wrong.

Most loudly self-proclaimed "followers of science" or "skeptics" I have come across are simply following the current paradigm without real investigation or willingness to admit flaws or look into new ideas.

Neo-darwinism is a more current example, the scientific thing to do would be to openly admit that the theory has flaws while discussing the flaws of its main rival (Creationism), yet the scientific establishment would rather play this as a black and white issue in which neo-darwinism is 100% correct and all other views are simply not worth discussing. [note: by rival I mean in terms of widespread acceptance, I am not suggesting that Creationism is a more scientific theory than neo-darwinism.]

Re. modern ("scientific") medicine (and again, not including certain uses or anti-biotics or trauma care), the scientific thing to do would be to admit that doctors live shorter than average (about 10 years in the US, not sure about Canada), that new diseases are coming into being, that many other diseases are claiming more lives, and that people are - in general - getting sicker. This *should* be a major source of consternation and ongoing discussion amongst the medical establishment, and should also be a major source of discussion in the media. That it is not suggests a more cult-like mentality amongst doctors, patients, the media, and society in general, and one much more costly our physical, emotional, and economic well-being than alt-health practitioners could ever hope to duplicate. While some may make unwise decisions in forgoing allopathic treatment for illness, I would suggest that easily ten times as many make just as unwise decisions in following allopathic treatments for disease when the correct alt-health treatment could not only suppress their symptoms, but actually cure them for life.

For some flaws in modern scientific establishment thinking, check out http://www.alternativescience.com/
http://www.alternativescience.com/james-randi.htm
And if you want to be scientific about it, don't dismiss the whole thing becase some flaws might exist, unless you also want to dismiss most of what is believed today by the scientific establishment at large.

[ 07 April 2005: Message edited by: Mr. Anonymous ]


From: Somewhere out there... Hey, why are you logging my IP address? | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Anonymous
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posted 07 April 2005 11:28 PM      Profile for Mr. Anonymous     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
For an article on crop circles, check this out:
http://paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa021802a.htm
for a book by someone with a PHD in physics, check
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1583940464/ ref=pd_bxgy_text_1/104-4467273-6866312?v=glance&s=books&st=*]

and re. the Darwinism commentary above, check this
http://www.alternativescience.com/darwinism.htm
or his book "Shattering the Myths of Darwinism"

[ 07 April 2005: Message edited by: Mr. Anonymous ]


From: Somewhere out there... Hey, why are you logging my IP address? | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 08 April 2005 08:47 AM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I consider myself to be pretty open-minded. But damn it, I don't want my mind to be so open that bugs can fly through it! It's not that scientists are unwilling to admit flaws (they often are), it is that believers in pseudo-science want people to throw solid, established and useful science out the window without providing good reasons to do so, often basing themselves on the flimsiest evidence (or no evidence at all, just wild speculation)!

Remember: "Extraordinary claims demands extraordinary evidence".

It's not up to me to believe you, it's up to you (and the believers in what is usually mentioned under the name of pseudoscience) to produce concrete evidence, evidence so good that even sceptics like myself are forced to concede that they were wrong.

You're not going to get scientists to change ideas with flimsy statistical effects, tangential complicated proofs that demand leaps of faith and wild speculation. You need solid evidence and solid straightforward thinking without holes so big a mac truck could drive through them. That's how you get "paradigms" to change!

And so far, nothing! And some of the things proposed by so-called "alternative medicine" and "pseudoscience" are so damn childish (like the claims of homeopathy and that the really complex, obviously man made crop circles have been made by aliens, for instance) that it is obvious (and it also has been proven time and again) that they can't be true! And even after solid evidence has proved that many pseudoscientific claims are bunk, people still hold to them and blame the system...

[ 08 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


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Surferosad
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posted 08 April 2005 08:57 AM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Crop circles:

http://www.circlemakers.org/

They make their own and they have photos to prove it.

[ 08 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


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Mr. Anonymous
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posted 08 April 2005 11:23 PM      Profile for Mr. Anonymous     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Surferosad:
Crop circles:
http://www.circlemakers.org/

They make their own and they have photos to prove it.


Neither I, the author of the article, the author of the book, or I suspect the majority of those researching crop circles are suggesting that they are *all* of non-human origin.

If even one of the claims below, or one of the others in the complete article or the book cannot be explained by human activity though, then there is probably another explanation for *some* of the circles which deserves further investigation.

From the article:
Such hoaxers have proved before witnesses and television cameras that they can create large, elaborate designs at night in just a few hours.
...
There are peculiarities to "genuine" crop circles, these researchers say, that cannot be created or hoaxed by humans. Here is some of their "best evidence":

Placement. While most crop circles can be found in readily accessible fields, some are not. Some have been found within restricted areas, according to "Peculiarities of Crop Circles" - "numerous accounts of crop circles appearing inside military installations that are fenced off (quite securely!) from the surrounding area. Most notably in Wiltshire along the Salisbury Plain."

Increased size. Dr. Eltjo H. Haselhoff, Ph.D., a former employee of Los Alamos National Laboratories, noted these alterations in crop circle plants in his research: "It was discovered that the plant stems inside these formations had increased in diameter, as an effect of intensive heating, with an astonishing circular symmetry. Moreover, this effect perfectly matched the radiation pattern of an electromagnetic point source at a height of four meters and ten centimeters above that field." This finding, he says, supports the contention that the formations were created by the "balls of light" (see below) that witnesses have claimed to see at crop circles.

Bent unbendable plants. Some plants just should not be able to be bent, say some researchers. "Crop circle formations often appear in canola (oil seed rape) fields," says Joseph Mason. "This plant has a consistency like celery. If the stalk is bent more than about 45-degrees, it snaps apart. Yet, in a 'genuine' crop circle formation, the stalks are often bent flat at 90-degrees. No botanist or other scientist has been able to explain this, nor has it ever been duplicated by a human being."

Altered seeds. Tests by some researchers have shown that seeds planted from crops that were part of crop circles grow abnormally. "Biophysical Effects found in Crop Formation Plants" by BLT Research says that the seed-heads (barley) from the 1992 formation at Barbury Castle are "stunted and seedless." Some crop circle plants also produce seeds that are noticeably smaller than normal plants.

Radioactive isotopes. In 1991, two American nuclear physicists, Michael Chorost and Marshall Dudley, applied their expertise to crop circle research. "After subjecting a number of seed and soil samples to rigorous lab analysis," according to Freddy Silva's article, "Analysis of Crop-Circle Affected Crops and Soil," "their main discovery was that the soil in genuine formations contained no less than four, short-lived radioactive isotopes - vanadium, europium, tellurium and ytterbium.

[ 09 April 2005: Message edited by: Mr. Anonymous ]


From: Somewhere out there... Hey, why are you logging my IP address? | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Anonymous
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posted 09 April 2005 12:04 AM      Profile for Mr. Anonymous     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
from the http://www.alternativescience.com/darwinism.htm page:
___________________________________
Neo-Darwinists were quick to claim that modern discoveries of molecular biology supported their theory. They said, for example, that if you analyse the DNA, the genetic blueprint, of plants and animals you find how closely or distantly they are related. That studying DNA sequences enables you to draw up the precise family tree of all living things and show how they are related by common ancestry.

This is a very important claim and central to the theory. If true, it would mean that animals neo-Darwinists say are closely related, such as two reptiles, would have greater similarity in their DNA than animals that are not so closely related, such as a reptile and a bird.

Fifteen years ago molecular biologists working under Dr Morris Goodman at Michigan University decided to test this hypothesis. They took the alpha haemoglobin DNA of two reptiles -- a snake and a crocodile -- which are said by Darwinists to be closely related, and the haemoglobin DNA of a bird, in this case a farmyard chicken.

They found that the two animals who had _least_ DNA sequences in common were the two reptiles, the snake and the crocodile. They had only around 5% of DNA sequences in common -- only one twentieth of their haemoglobin DNA. The two creatures whose DNA was closest were the crocodile and the chicken, where there were 17.5% of sequences in common -- nearly one fifth. The actual DNA similarities were the _reverse_ of that predicted by neo-Darwinism. 5

Even more baffling is the fact that radically different genetic coding can give rise to animals that look outwardly very similar and exhibit similar behaviour, while creatures that look and behave completely differently can have much in common genetically. There are, for instance, more than 3,000 species of frogs, all of which look superficially the same. But there is a greater variation of DNA between them than there is between the bat and the blue whale.

Further, if neo-Darwinist evolutionary ideas of gradual genetic change were true, then one would expect to find that simple organisms have simple DNA and complex organisms have complex DNA.

In some cases, this is true. The simple nematode worm is a favourite subject of laboratory study because its DNA contains a mere 100,000 nucleotide bases. At the other end of the complexity scale, humans have 23 chromosomes which in total contain 3,000 million nucleotide bases.

Unfortunately, this promisingly Darwinian progression is contradicted by many counter examples. While human DNA is contained in 23 pairs of chromosomes, the humble goldfish has more than twice as many, at 47. The even humbler garden snail -- not much more than a glob of slime in a shell -- has 27 chromosomes. Some species of rose bush have 56 chromosomes.

So the simple fact is that DNA analysis does _not_ confirm neo-Darwinist theory. In the laboratory, DNA analysis falsifies neo-Darwinist theory.

An even more damaging blow to the theory was the discovery that the very centrepiece of neo-Darwinism, Darwin's original conception of natural selection, or the survival of the fittest, is fatally flawed.

The problem is: how can biologists (or anyone else) tell what characteristics constitute the animal or plant's 'fitness' to survive? How can you tell which are the fit animals and plants?

The answer is that the only way to define the fit is by means of a post-hoc rationalisation -- the fit must be "those who survived". While the only way to characterise uniquely those who survive is as "the fit". The central proposition of the Darwinian argument turns out to be an empty tautology.

C.H. Waddington, professor of biology at Edinburgh University wrote; "Natural selection, which was at first considered as though it were a hypothesis that was in need of experimental or observational confirmation, turns out on closer inspection to be a tautology, a statement of an inevitable although previously unrecognised relation. It states that the fittest individuals in a population (defined as those who leave the most offspring) will leave most offspring. Once the statement is made, its truth is
apparent." 6

George Simpson, professor of paleontology at Harvard, sought to restore content to the idea of natural selection by saying; "If genetically red-haired parents have, on average, a larger proportion of children than blondes or brunettes, then evolution will be in the direction of red hair. If genetically left-handed people have more children, evolution will be towards left-handedness. The characteristics themselves do not directly matter at all. All that matters is who leaves more descendants over the generations. Natural selection favours fitness only if you define fitness as leaving more descendants. In fact geneticists do define it that way, which maybe confusing to others. To a geneticist, fitness has nothing to do with health, strength, good looks, or anything but effectiveness in breeding." 7

Notice the words; "The characteristics themselves do not directly matter at all." This innocent phrase fatally undermines Darwin's original key conception: that each animal's special physical characteristics are what makes it fit to survive: the giraffe's long neck, the eagle's keen eye, or the cheetah's 60 mile-an-hour sprint.

Simpson's reformulation means all this must be dropped: it is not the characteristics that directly matter -- it is the animals' capacity to reproduce themselves. The race is not to the swift, after all, but merely to the prolific. So how can neo-Darwinism explain the enormous diversity of characteristics?

Not only are neo-Darwinist ideas falsified by empirical research, but other puzzling and extraordinary findings have come to light in recent decades, suggesting that evolution is not blind but rather is in some unknown way _directed_. The experiments of Cairns at Harvard and Hall at Rochester University suggest that microorganisms can mutate in a way that is beneficial.8
_______________________________________


Seems to me the scientific thing would be to admit these (and other) flaws and actively seek out solutions to them, yet the theory is presented as a straightforward proven scientific fact to children and adults alike.

Contrary to popular belief, this unwillingness of one group to admit the flaws in its theory more often than not only encourages other semi-informed groups to become more hardened in their views, not less.

Imagine if the US admited (and appologised for) some of its former attrocities. This would improve their image in the minds of some fundamentalist groups who have been exposed to these attrocities in some form, and help convince the rest of the world that their current intentions in the Mid-East are honorable. (It would also the US population to understand their mindset as opposed to thinking they were simply "evil" or "against freedom"). As it stands today, most of the world with access to Al-Jazeera already knows of these attrocities, making the people responsible for electing the US government some of the least informed on the subject.

I think the same would happen if scientists today were honest about neo-Darwinism and other topics, in relation to the views of Christian fundamentalists re. science in general. As it stands today, they can use these flaws as reasons to dismiss these and other widely held scintific views altogether, and to organize to install those who would wave the banner of religion at the expense of honest scientific investigation.

[ 09 April 2005: Message edited by: Mr. Anonymous ]


From: Somewhere out there... Hey, why are you logging my IP address? | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Anonymous
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posted 09 April 2005 12:56 AM      Profile for Mr. Anonymous     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It seem to me that some of the "extrordinary claims" re. the effectiveness of modern medicine in non-trauma situations, crop circles, and UFOs, among other things are being promoted by the mainstream media here, not the more responsible investigators in the fields of differing views.
Note: this means *some* investigators, perhaps even most, but not *all*, and dismissing the fields because some in them adopt obviously incorrect views does all of us a disservice. It is also decidedly unscientific and a poor use of sceptisism if one wishes to arive at the bottom of the issue, and not just defend whatever the current paradigm may happen to be.

To paraphrase one investigator into paradigms (Kuhn perhaps), "Paradigms only tend to change when those who have adopted and benefited from them die off".

This observation IMO should be factored in to any views of well established fields in which the respect and prosperity of its members are directly challenged by changes to the paragidm in question. Remember, if a group of people has spent a lifetime devoting their energy to researching and promoting a current view, and if a significant change to that view would not only make them lose the respect of themselves and other members of their community - but perhaps even their careers as those seeing things differently might take over the new leadership and membership of the field - then it would make sense that they would have a massive incentive to continue promoting their paradigm against those that might challenge it.

I think even most scientists today will admit that the odds of other intelligent beyond our planet are extemely high. Here is a report by some of those scientists released by the French Government in 1999.

http://www.cufos.org/cometa.html
The French Report on UFOs and Defense: A Summary
By Gildas Bourdais

On Friday July 16, 1999 an important document was published in France entitled, UFOs and Defense: What must we be prepared for? ("Les Ovni Et La Defense: A quoi doit-on se préparer?"). This ninety-page report is the result of an in-depth study of UFOs, covering many aspects of the subject, especially questions of national defense. The study was carried out over several years by an independent group of former "auditors" at the Institute of Advanced Studies for National Defense, or IHEDN, and by qualified experts from various fields. Before its public release, it has been sent to French President Jacques Chirac and to Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.

The report is prefaced by General Bernard Norlain of the Air Force, former Director of IHEDN, and it begins with a preamble by André Lebeau, former President of the National Center for Space Studies (Centre National D’études Spatiales), or CNES, the French equivalent of NASA. The group itself, collective author of the report, is an association of experts, many of whom are or have been auditors of IHEDN, and it is presided over by General Denis Letty of the Air Force, former auditor (FA) of IHEDN.

Its name "COMETA" stands for "Committee for in-depth studies." A non-exhaustive list of members is given at the beginning which is quiteimpressive. It includes:

* General Bruno Lemoine, of the Air Force (FA of IHEDN)
* Admiral Marc Merlo, (FA of IHEDN)
* Michel Algrin, Doctor in Political Sciences, attorney at law (FA of IHEDN)
* General Pierre Bescond, engineer for armaments (FA of IHEDN)
* Denis Blancher, Chief National Police superintendent at the Ministry of the Interior
* Christian Marchal, chief engineer of the national Corps des Mines and Research Director at the National Office of Aeronautical Research (ONERA)
* General Alain Orszag, Ph.D. in physics, armaments engineer

The committee also expresses its gratitude to outside contributors including Jean-Jacques Vélasco, head of SEPRA at CNES, François Louange, President of Fleximage, specialist in photo analysis, and General Joseph Domange, of the Air Force, general delegate of the Association of Auditors at IHEDN.

...

In its conclusion, COMETA claims that the physical reality of UFOs, under control of intelligent beings, is "quasi-certain." Only one hypothesis takes into account the available data: the hypothesis of extraterrestrial visitors. This hypothesis is of course unproven, but has far-reaching consequences. The goals of these alleged visitors remain unknown but must be the subject of speculations and prospective scenarios.

In its final recommendations, COMETA stresses again the need to:

1. Inform all decision-makers and persons in positions of responsibility.
2. Reinforce means of investigation and study at SEPRA.
3. Consider whether UFO detection been taken into account by agencies engaged in surveillance of space.
4. Create a strategic committee at the highest state level.
5. Undertake diplomatic action with the Unites States for cooperation on this most important question.
6. Study measures which might be necessary in case of emergencies.

Finally, this document is accompanied by seven interesting appendices which are worth reading even by seasoned ufologists:

1. Radar detection in France
2. Observations by astronomers
3. Life in the Universe
4. Colonization of space
5. The Roswell case and possible disinformation
6. Antiquity of the UFO phenomenon and elements for a chronology.
7. Reflection on various psychological, sociological and political aspects of the UFO phenomenon.


From: Somewhere out there... Hey, why are you logging my IP address? | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 09 April 2005 07:50 AM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Holy shit! You know, I'm perfectly capable of reading something in a link! You don't have to quote entire papers, that's bad form around here.
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Surferosad
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posted 09 April 2005 07:58 AM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That text on darwinism is an excellent example of the straw man fallacy mixed in with lies and ignorance. It perfectly shows the way how creationists play with words to hoodwink people into accepting their brand of hokum. They critique notions that neo-darwinists don't hold anymore, they deform notions that some neo-darwinists still hold, but that don't belong to the ideas that meet scientific consensus, or they blow out of proportion some ideas that really don't affect the basis of evolutionary thinking. It was either written in bad faith, or by an ignoramus who decided to exaggerate certain things while ignoring the overwhelming data pointing towards natural selection (which he doesn't understand).

And why do they do this?

I quote: "Not only are neo-Darwinist ideas falsified by empirical research, but other puzzling and extraordinary findings have come to light in recent decades, suggesting that evolution is not blind but rather is in some unknown way _directed_." (This, by the way, is total bunk)

This smells of intelligent design theories i.e. creationism. And of course, people who are only searching to validate their particular prejudices gobble this up as if it was gospel.

I suggest you spend some time here, if you're really interested in getting the real story:

http://www.talkorigins.org/

15 answers to creationist nonsense.

[ 09 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 09 April 2005 11:35 AM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Do you read french? About that Cometa report:

"Le général Letty explique que : «bien qu’aucune menace caractérisée n’ait été perçue à ce jour en France, il a semblé nécessaire à d’anciens auditeurs de l’IHEDN de faire le point sur le sujet. Associés à des experts qualifiés provenant d’horizons très variés, ils se sont regroupés pour former un comité privé d’étude approfondie baptisé COMETA.»

Le COMETA est donc bien une association privée, et non pas l’IHEDN lui-même, même si la dernière phrase du général Norlain peut semer le doute chez le lecteur."

http://sciencefrontieres.free.fr/art/cometa.htm

The people who wrote that report weren't working for the french government. They belonged to a private association and they were selected by a couple of french generals. They probably were selected not for they scientific credentials but for they belief in UFO lore. Also, the only places that talk in any detail about this report are the UFO pages, which have zero credibility. There's no way to know what is true on that whole story.

By the way, even if this report had something to do with the french government, that wouldn't make its speculations any more true. The military are, like everyone else, perfectly capable of holding beliefs unsupported by evidence. And this is only a report: essentially the opinion of a bunch of people. This is not concrete evidence. Find a piece of a spaceship, find a clearly alien organism, find something solid, and I'll believe you.

[ 09 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 09 April 2005 12:04 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
About crop circles: I concede that some may be caused by some kind of atmospheric or geophysical phenomenon. Maybe. Really maybe, with great reservations. But there isn't any evidence that they are related to anything "alien" or "paranormal". The crop circles that show very complex geometrical patterns are human made. I mean, duh! They're so obviously man made!

[ 09 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


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Boom Boom
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posted 09 April 2005 12:13 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Of course the crop circles are man made. I have a lengthly Scientific American story on this, and an interview with one of the best known crop circle creators. Shall I excerpt a bit from the article? (year 2002 I think)

Edited to add:
Scientific American recommends this link:
http://www.circlemakers.org/

[ 09 April 2005: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]


From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 09 April 2005 01:22 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks Boom! I've already linked that site in a post above.
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Boom Boom
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posted 09 April 2005 01:26 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Surferosad:
Thanks Boom! I've already linked that site in a post above.


Sorry - I must have missed it.


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jeff house
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posted 09 April 2005 05:57 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
An even more damaging blow to the theory was the discovery that the very centrepiece of neo-Darwinism, Darwin's original conception of natural selection, or the survival of the fittest, is fatally flawed.

This would be convincing except that Darwin never used the words "survival of the fittest."

So, it has nothing to do with "Darwin's original conception of natural selection."

It also has nothing to do with neo-Darwinism.

I have always found it useful to understand theories before I toss them into the wastebasket and celebrate my own openmindedness as I revel in crop circles.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 09 April 2005 07:04 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jeff house:

This would be convincing except that Darwin never used the words "survival of the fittest."

So, it has nothing to do with "Darwin's original conception of natural selection."

It also has nothing to do with neo-Darwinism.

I have always found it useful to understand theories before I toss them into the wastebasket and celebrate my own openmindedness as I revel in crop circles.


Exactly! That subject is covered in detail in the "15 answers to creationist nonsense" link.

Mr. Anonymous probably thinks that the objections he posted are something new... But I've heard them before; they're pretty standard pseudoscientific fare.

[ 09 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Anonymous
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posted 11 April 2005 02:48 AM      Profile for Mr. Anonymous     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Re. Darwin's theory:

- The comment about evolution being "directed" is - as far as I can tell - as close as Mr. Milton ever gets to anything resembling creationism. More germaine to the original topic though, if evolution is not directed in any way at all, including via earth-bound spiritual growth, can there be any worthwhile meaning to life? If there is some meaning, what would you suggest it might be? And for the brave, how does one explain Kundalini Awakening as it relates to what science currently believes is possible?

- If neo-Darwinistic theory is true, how exactly can the vast differences in similar species DNA-wise be explained, and how can the fact that humans have about half the choromosome pairs of goldfish and and some rose bushes? How exactly is "junk DNA" explained in a neo-Darwinistic way? Of what evolutionary use could it be, and why would it come into being, especially the huge amount of it? Why would it not be left behind?

If there is a solid scientific theory of Darwinistic evolution that explains all of this and the other questions of Mr. Milton in his book or at http://www.alternativescience.com/darwinism-faq.htm where can I find it? If past explanations were incomplete, why were they presented as fact? Indeed, back to the health question, if science at large today is so scientific, why the huge increase in medical cost along with the huge decrease in human health and well-being over the years? Why the lack of admission of ignorance and in-depth search for the foundations of health?

Along these lines, I suggest that there is a trend throughout human history, namely that the scientific establishment has routinely loudly proclaimed that it knows "the truth", and has therefore ignored or supressed all other competing beliefs to the best of its ability. Furthermore, most of the time these loudly proclaimed "facts" are indeed wrong, and indeed are often dangerous. In the medical field many of the corresponding treatments have been dangerous by themselves, and have tended to draw people away from better treatments. I am not blaming the small groups of scientists in question of this, but suggesting that human psychology/sociology tends towards deifying certain groups, and that this tends to be dangerous, as various religions and governments throuout history have also shown. Can we really expect purity from scientists? Insofar as the science is openminded, probing, and willing to admit areas of imperfect understanding, though, I absolutely support it. I realize I am repeating this, but think that it is worthy of discussion.


Re. the Cometa report:

Those involved in the project seem to be fairly high ranking and/or respected members of french government/society (An Admiral, 4 Generals, Police superintendent, etc.). Given the ridicule and threat to career that talking about belief in UFO's tends to invite, I think there are two general options in interpreting this: One, that these people are either crazy and/or masochistic, or two, that they are smart enough to defend their positions and brave enough to work on such a report. I think the second is the more realistic one of these two. One of these people (a General) had a PH.D in physics, I doubt he could have been two easily mislead into believing illogical conclusions. This is on top of the fact that militaries tend to be one of the least likely groups around to be "airy-fairy" or otherwise ungrounded in their beliefs.


Re. Crop Circles:

Insofar as the assertions of the article http://paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa021802a.htm are correct, what possible atmospheric or geophysical conditions could possible account for said phemomena? With the Drake equation suggesting around 10000 advanced alien species in the Universe, and with technology on earth doubling every 1.5 years or so (and taking into consideration that our technological growth only really started about 100 years ago, and that things that seemed absolutely impossible 50 or so years ago are commonplace today), are atmospheric or geophysical phenomenom really the most likely scenario for *all* of the crop circles?

As for the desire for physical objects held by idividuals, would it not be logical that the government would seize such things if and when it found out about them? Do governements not tend to be tight lipped about secrets, especially ones with a potential to cause change in society or otherwise potentially impact "national security"? Indeed, there are those who claim (most of them apparantly quite sane - and going against massive amounts of disbelief and ridicule by doing so) that they have seen and touched such objects before they were seized by their goverments. There are many, many more people (most of them sane as well) who report sightings of objects that deny all logical explanation as current physics understands it, and many others who report actual abductions. Are *all* of them either lying or otherwise imagining things? I tend do doubt it. If only a small number of these reports cannot be logically expained by terrestrial phenomena - and indeed many cannot - than this makes extraterrestrial explanations a logical topic of debate deserving of some openminded and respectful discussion which has IMO been all to scarce in our society to date.


I conclude with a quote favoured by such people as Dr. Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Michio Kaku ( http://www.mkaku.org/ ), and other leading physicists (as well as respected mystics throughout the ages) who have concluded something like this: "Life is not only stranger than you think, it is stranger than you can think"


From: Somewhere out there... Hey, why are you logging my IP address? | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 11 April 2005 05:58 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mr. Anonymous, I'm gonna start calling you Mr. Kitchen Sink, I think.

Why? Because you're a "kitchen sink" debater. You throw in everything but the kitchen sink in some vain hope that we won't figure out that you're just throwing around crap.

Eg. What the hell does increased expenses on health care have to do with whether or not neo-Darwinism is correct? Yet you threw that in there anyway in some kind of windmilling effort to impress everyone.

Yeah, I'm so impressed.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
AppleSeed
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posted 11 April 2005 06:22 AM      Profile for AppleSeed     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.
-Sir Arthur Eddington

We are bits of stellar matter that got cold by accident, bits of a star gone wrong.
-Sir Arthur Eddington

Science is one thing, wisdom is another. Science is an edged tool, with which men play like children, and cut their own fingers.
-Sir Arthur Eddington

Something unknown is doing we don't know what.
-Sir Arthur Eddington

It is impossible to trap modern physics into predicting anything with perfect determinism because it deals with probabilities from the outset.
-Sir Arthur Eddington


We have found a strange footprint on the shores of the unknown. We have devised profound theories, one after another, to account for its origins. At last, we have succeeded in reconstructing the creature that made the footprint. And lo! It is our own.
-Sir Arthur Eddington

The mathematics is not there till we put it there.

Earlier computer techies used to walk about in white coats, spoke in the hushed tones of a temple, and were treated like the high priests of a god. Today pierced and tattoed punks have many times that computational power in their basements.

The neo darwinists remind me of those white coated keepers; more style than substance. They haven't a clue where their study is headed, but will only whisper that when they're sure the creationists aren't listening.

Like magicians, they won't reveal their tricks, the great unwashed must be made to pay at the door, and sent home happy. It doesn't solve the problems, but it pays the bills.


From: In Dreams | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 11 April 2005 06:54 AM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Mr. Anonymous:
Re. Darwin's theory:

- The comment about evolution being "directed" is - as far as I can tell - as close as Mr. Milton ever gets to anything resembling creationism. More germaine to the original topic though, if evolution is not directed in any way at all, including via earth-bound spiritual growth, can there be any worthwhile meaning to life? If there is some meaning, what would you suggest it might be? And for the brave, how does one explain Kundalini Awakening as it relates to what science currently believes is possible?

Not sure about meaning of life, except to say that just because we'd like there to be one, doesn't mean there is one. My life has meaning, and I like the Enlightenment. Go figure. Life can have meaning without evolution being directed by anyone/thing.

If neo-Darwinistic theory is true, how exactly can the vast differences in similar species DNA-wise be explained, and how can the fact that humans have about half the choromosome pairs of goldfish and and some rose bushes?
More than half. However, it's not just what genes you have, but how you use them in concert with other genes. Most of our genes are occupied with directing things like cell functions, which you don't need a cerebral cortex to do, but you definitely need. Your argument is nonsense.

How exactly is "junk DNA" explained in a neo-Darwinistic way? Of what evolutionary use could it be, and why would it come into being, especially the huge amount of it? Why would it not be left behind?

Because the purpose of evolution is to pass along genes - we are basically DNA transmitters. Everything we do, evolutionarily speaking, is based on the possibility of passing along our genes. It isn't junk to the DNA, it just doesn't do anything. We exist for it, not the other way around.

I know you won't like that argument, because you want to believe we are divine beings with a guided purpose - a very convenient belief for rich westerners like ourselves. Harder to be a divine being on $1/day.

If there is a solid scientific theory of Darwinistic evolution that explains all of this and the other questions of Mr. Milton in his book or at http://www.alternativescience.com/darwinism-faq.htm where can I find it? Everywhere you care to look. I suggest a first year genetics class - there is one at every college and University in Canada.

If past explanations were incomplete, why were they presented as fact? THey weren't, they were presented as 'Darwin's Theory of Evolution." However, the evidence is overwhelmiong, as opposed to any evidence of intelligent design of any sort.

Indeed, back to the health question, if science at large today is so scientific, why the huge increase in medical cost along with the huge decrease in human health and well-being over the years?
Actually, life expectancies in Canada 100 years ago were approximately to age 50. 4 out of 5 deaths were children under 5. The obvious improvements since then weren't a result of homeopathy or Kundalini awakening, they were a result of scientific research. Scratch that straw man. Costs today are increasing (though not really by as much as the newspapers like to pretend) largely because of the cost of scientific research - we've already made most of the easy discoveries, though no doubt there are a few more surprises left.
Why the lack of admission of ignorance and in-depth search for the foundations of health?

Along these lines, I suggest that there is a trend throughout human history, namely that the scientific establishment has routinely loudly proclaimed that it knows "the truth", and has therefore ignored or supressed all other competing beliefs to the best of its ability. Throughout human history? Neanderthal scientists were particularly protective of their patents. Hyperbole makes you look ridiculous.

Real science doesn't claim to know the 'truth (not in the way that you are), it claims to know what it can prove. Your confusion likely stems from people telling you that scientists know the truth - you were a bit too credulous. Scientists know that we know very little - much more than 100 years ago, but much less than there is to know.

In the 19th century, the homeopaths and newfangled doctors fought furiously for years over the idea of boiling water. 'Alternative' type doctors insisted that little bugs (germs) were irrelevant, and that medicine should be about 'wellness', not cures and hocus pocus like boiling water. Amazingly, some still insist things long those lines (though they aren't so stupid as to make such stupid claims any more, it is couched in much better terms, usually surrounded with lots of doctor bashing).

That's all I have time or strength for.

[ 11 April 2005: Message edited by: arborman ]


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
venus_man
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posted 11 April 2005 07:08 AM      Profile for venus_man        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by arborman:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Mr. Anonymous:
[qb]Re. Darwin's theory:

In the 19th century, the homeopaths and newfangled doctors fought furiously for years over the idea of boiling water. 'Alternative' type doctors insisted that little bugs (germs) were irrelevant, and that medicine should be about 'wellness', not cures and hocus pocus like boiling water. Amazingly, some still insist things long those lines (though they aren't so stupid as to make such stupid claims any more, it is couched in much better terms, usually surrounded with lots of doctor bashing).


In the same 19 century science was fiercely defending the firmness and unbreakability of the atom. Yet theosophy, back in 1875, claimed the opposite for which was proclaimed as a heresy by dogmatic scientists and religious fanatics plus the so-called spiritualists.


From: outer space | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 11 April 2005 07:49 AM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
If neo-Darwinistic theory is true, how exactly can the vast differences in similar species DNA-wise be explained, and how can the fact that humans have about half the choromosome pairs of goldfish and and some rose bushes? How exactly is "junk DNA" explained in a neo-Darwinistic way? Of what evolutionary use could it be,

Sorry, but these questions demonstrate that you do not understand the theory of evolution at all.

Really, it is incumbent on anyone critiquing something so central as the theory of evolution to understand it before proclaiming its demise.

Here's a start for you: Evolution does not claim that everything "has an evolutionary use." One of Darwin's defenders, Galton, disposed of this argument in about 1887, when he pointed out that fingerprints have no purpose; they weren't put there to convenience the police.

Here is what Gould and Lewontin wrote on the topic of "spandrels" which are the spaces above arches in medieval buildings:

quote:
Dr. Gould and Dr. Richard Lewontin, also at Harvard, soon elaborated on the importance of how organisms are built, or their architecture, in a famous paper about a feature of buildings known as a spandrel. Spandrels, the spaces above an arch, exist as a necessary outcome of building with arches. In the same way, they argued, some features of organisms exist simply as the result of how an organism develops or is built. Thus researchers, they warned, should refrain from assuming that every feature exists for some adaptive purpose."

[ 11 April 2005: Message edited by: jeff house ]


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 11 April 2005 08:17 AM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, I see that Mr. Anonymous hasn't read the "15 answers to creationist nonsense" link I provided . Or if he read it, he didn't understand it. Oh well...

[ 11 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 11 April 2005 08:47 AM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by venus_man:

In the same 19 century science was fiercely defending the firmness and unbreakability of the atom. Yet theosophy, back in 1875, claimed the opposite for which was proclaimed as a heresy by dogmatic scientists and religious fanatics plus the so-called spiritualists.


Funny: when some scientists say things that support kookery, you jump all over what they're saying and make a big deal of it. But if scientists don't give you what you want, you dismiss them and just go "what do they know anyway?"

Personally, I have never heard of that debate. But it doesn't matter... Theosophists could say whatever they wanted, they could even be right! But if they didn't present concrete evidence of what they were saying, if they "believed" it was so, that the "truth" had been "revealed" to them, there would be nothing differentiating them from all the other religious people saying all kinds of things. You need to support what you're saying with reliable data, if you want to be taken seriously.

Scientists are individuals, they're entitled to having opinions. But they have often been proved to be wrong, specially when speculating about things that were virtually unknown at the time. Lord Kelvin once said, around 1900, that all the great undermining principles of physics had been discovered, with the possible exception of a few remaining details related to the properties of light's motion and the emission of radiation when objects are heated. Well, these two "details" gave rise to relativity and quantum mechanics. He had no way to know, at the time, the importance of these "unresolved details". But see, this new research become important because it generated evidence that couldn't be explained with the old "classical" theories. That's how it goes, scientific research is a self-improving activity.

Now, when I tell you that homeopathy and "intelligent design" is bunk, I am talking about things that are know to be bullshit, and that have been demonstrated to be bullshit. There is no evidence proving that such things are true, and all the reliable evidence collected so far goes against it.

[ 11 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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Babbler # 490

posted 11 April 2005 09:36 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by venus_man:
In the same 19 century science was fiercely defending the firmness and unbreakability of the atom. Yet theosophy, back in 1875, claimed the opposite for which was proclaimed as a heresy by dogmatic scientists and religious fanatics plus the so-called spiritualists.

The atomic model still works well for chemistry, although we know that the real reason is because the energies of chemical reactions are too low to affect the nucleus.

I think your statement is misplaced, considering that even in the 1800s people realized that the atom had to have constituent parts due to the discovery of "cathode rays".


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Anonymous
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posted 12 April 2005 01:12 AM      Profile for Mr. Anonymous     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
arborman- as you claim to understand the neo-Darwinist theory, why not eludicate us on the passage above related to what the author claims neo-Darwinism predicted about DNA similarities and what the result of the study actually turned up. Did/does the theory not suggest that the similarities would exist, and if not, how might the differences be explained. Why again do you think that goldfish, garden snails, and rosebushes more chromosomes than we do? How does this tie into neo-Darwinistic theory?

Also, please explain thess passages (from http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=21776 and with appologies for the backward social commentary) With appologies, I do not wish to spend a year studying genetics and neo-Darwinism, I hope you will help me out if you understand it.
_____________________________________________
To resolve this dilemma, modern evolutionists asserted that the fish's genes must have mutated into human genes over eons. Mutations, of course, are abrupt alterations in genes.

However, this hypothesis is no longer tenable. Dr. Lee Spetner, who taught information theory for a decade at Johns Hopkins University and the Weizman Institute, spent years studying mutations on a molecular level. He has written an important new book, "Not by Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution" In it, he writes, "In all the reading I've done in the life-sciences literature, I've never found a mutation that added information. … All point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not increase it."
...
Ernst Chain, who shared a Nobel Prize for his work in developing penicillin, obviously knew much about bacteria and antibiotics. "To postulate that the development and survival of the fittest is entirely a consequence of chance mutations, or even that nature carries out experiments by trial and error through mutations in order to create living systems better fitted to survive," he wrote, "seems to me a hypothesis based on no evidence and irreconcilable with the facts."

Biochemistry is also giving Darwin problems. Michael Behe, biochemist at Lehigh University, has written a book entitled "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution." In this book, Behe describes how certain biochemical systems are so complex that they cannot have evolved step-by-step; he calls this "irreducible complexity."

For example, blood clotting swings into action when we get a cut. The formation of a blood clot is a complex, multi-step process that utilizes numerous proteins, many with no other function besides clotting. Each protein depends on an enzyme to activate it. So to paraphrase Behe very simply: What evolved first -- the protein or enzyme? Not the protein; it cannot function without the enzyme to switch it on. But why would nature evolve the activating enzyme first? Without the protein, it serves no purpose. Furthermore, if blood clotting had evolved step-by-step over eons, creatures would have bled to death before it was ever perfected. The system is irreducibly complex.
...
Cells consist essentially of proteins; one cell has thousands of proteins, and proteins are in turn made of smaller building blocks called amino acids. Normally, it takes chains of hundreds of amino acids to make up a protein, and these amino acids must be in precise sequence.

According to the evolutionary scenario, then, how did the first cell happen? Supposedly, amino acids formed in a primordial soup, and since millions of years were involved, eventually they came, by chance, into the correct sequences, and the first proteins were formed and hence the first cell.

But Sir Frances Crick, who shared the Nobel Prize for co-discovering the structure of DNA, has pointed out that that would be impossible. He notes in his 1981 book, "Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature," that the probability of getting just one protein by chance would be one in 10 to the power of 260 -- that's a one with 260 zeroes after it. To put this in perspective, mathematicians usually consider anything with odds worse than one in 10 to the power of 50 to be, for practical purposes, impossible. Thus we see that chance couldn't produce even one protein -- let alone the thousands of proteins a cell requires.

Furthermore, suppose there really were some basic organic compounds formed from the "primordial soup." If there was any free oxygen in the atmosphere, it would oxidize those compounds -- in other words, it would destroy them. ... Without oxygen, there would be no ozone layer, and without the ozone layer, we would receive a lethal dose of the sun's radiation in just 0.3 seconds. How could the fragile beginnings of life have survived in such an environment?

And cells need more than proteins -- they require the genetic code. The genetic code of a bacterium is far more complex than the codes for Window 98. Does anyone think the program for Windows 98 could have arisen by chance?

But wait! Cells need more than the genetic code. Like any language, it must be translated to be understood. Cells have devices that actually translate the genetic code. To believe in evolution, we must be believe that, by pure chance, the genetic code was created, and also, by pure chance, translation devices arose which took this meaningless code and translated it into something with meaning.
...
But let's say that somehow, by chance, a cell really formed in a primeval ocean, complete with all the proteins, amino acids, genetic code, translation devices, a cell membrane, etc. One would think that this little cell, floating on the waves, would have been very short-lived. But it must have been quite a cell -- because within its lifetime, it must have evolved the complete process of cellular reproduction. Otherwise, there never would have been another cell.

And where did sexual reproduction come from? Male and female reproductive systems are quite different. Why would nature evolve a male reproductive system? Until it was fully functional, it would serve no purpose -- and it would still serve no purpose unless there was, conveniently available, a female reproductive system -- which must also have arisen by chance.
...
What about the fossil record? Does it document evolution? According to Darwinism, single-celled organisms eventually evolved into the first invertebrates (creatures with no backbones, such as jellyfish). But invertebrate fossils appear suddenly in the fossil record with no visible ancestors -- in the so-called "Cambrian explosion."

Supposedly invertebrates evolved into the first fish. But despite millions of fossils from both groups, transitional fossils linking them are missing.

Insects, rodents, bats, pterodactyls and numerous other life forms appear in the fossil record with no trace of fossils showing how they developed. As Gareth J. Nelson of the American Museum of Natural History pointed out, "It is a mistake to believe that even one fossil species or fossil 'group' can be demonstrated to have been ancestral to another."

Likewise, Colin Patterson, senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, wrote, "Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils...
...
The main point: If evolutionary theory is true, we should find the innumerable transitional forms Darwin predicted would be in the geologic record. We shouldn't find just a handful, but billions of them. Instead, the fossil record shows animals complete -- not in developmental stages -- the very first time they are seen. And this is just what we would expect if the Bible is right and God created animals whole.

Darwin's developing problem
Corroboration of this comes from yet another scientific sphere. Molecular biologist Michael Denton studied cellular structures from various animals on a molecular level, and found no evidence for the classic evolutionary sequence: fish to amphibian to reptile to mammal. In his book, "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis," Dr. Denton writes, "Instead of revealing a multitude of transitional forms through which the evolution of a cell might have occurred, molecular biology has served only to emphasize the enormity of the gap. … [N]o living system can be thought of as being primitive or ancestral with respect to any other system, nor is there the slightest empirical hint of an evolutionary sequence among all the incredibly diverse cells on earth."


From: Somewhere out there... Hey, why are you logging my IP address? | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Anonymous
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posted 12 April 2005 01:26 AM      Profile for Mr. Anonymous     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Arborman - You also say "Because the purpose of evolution is to pass along genes - we are basically DNA transmitters. Everything we do, evolutionarily speaking, is based on the possibility of passing along our genes. It isn't junk to the DNA, it just doesn't do anything. We exist for it, not the other way around."

The idea that we are slaves to the reproductive wished of our DNA to seems to run contrary to the beliefs of some of some of humankinds greatest minds. In your opinion, do you truly believe that Jesus, the Dalai Llama, and any other monks or those who choose to adopt children are evolutionary duds, and that their views that humans have the ability to surpass them in wisdom is a sign of mental illness or something similar? How does your theory relate to the pollution of our environment? I tend to suspect that anyone who believed the DNA theory deep down would likely go insane and commit suicide, or devote his life to good health and giving birth to tons of children, both of which seem less common than I would interpret your theory to suggest.

Re. http://www.alternativescience.com/darwinism-faq.htm I suspect that anyone going into it (and clicking through to all of the related links) with an open mind will find much to contrast neo-Darwinism, including the things on the "15 reasons" page.

Re. life expectancies, I was not talking 100 years ago (more like 40 or so), though I think you will find that those in similar positions to most modern North Americans today (with sanitation, basic medical care, clean food, and the chance to retire before physically burning out, ie. the wealthy of the day), did tend to live as long or even perhaps a little longer than we are today. Things only seem to be going downhill in practical health terms. Look at the rates of diabetes, heart problems, cancers of all sorts, athsma, allergies, autism, ADHD, depression, suicide, deaths due to doctors' mistakes (3rd leading cause of death in the US today) and on and on today, and tell me that things are getting better as a result of "scientific" medicine.

BTW, there are studies showing the use of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and the like in treating disease, but they are dwarfed by the massive amounts of money spent on resaerch in the allopathic vein. The media will hype potential wonder-drugs while reporting anything that might impact badly on vitamins or herbs. For those interested, there are many good books on ths subject citing their sources, and a website listing studies orthomolecular medicine. You will be surprised what is out there, and the lack of risk involved in almost all of the more natural/non-invasive treatments.

Will good science eventually gain a solid understanding of human health? I suspect that it will. My contention though is that it a) will be very far from the drugs, radiation, and surgery approach so strenuously followed by todays doctors and b) will be much closer to the approach of *some* of what is currently done by non-allopathic ("alt-heath") practitioners today, much of which could be determined very quickly by studying some of the current research already done in these fields, if the intent was there.

As for the love of science "throughout human history" comment, it was (obviously) a mistake. Alternative doctors did and still do tend to focus more on strenghting ones immune system than on killing germs, though many early herbal treatments undoubtedly did both these things.

As for scientists not speaking of their views as fact, this is semantics, as there is a tendency to do everything short of calling their views fact. This can be compared to a a mafia boss who claims to be in the field of "waste disposal", tells his family and the goverment that he has nothing to do with the mafia, yet people understand he controls things andlisten to him when he gives the orders. In reality, is he controlling things or isn't he?

The same goes for the "Darwin never used the words "survival of the fittest."" comment. If neo-Darwinists left people with the impression, as most people seem to believe, does the exact wording really matter as much as the meaning portrayed?

[ 12 April 2005: Message edited by: Mr. Anonymous ]


From: Somewhere out there... Hey, why are you logging my IP address? | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Anonymous
rabble-rouser
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posted 12 April 2005 01:45 AM      Profile for Mr. Anonymous     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DrConway:
Mr. Anonymous, I'm gonna start calling you Mr. Kitchen Sink, I think.

Why? Because you're a "kitchen sink" debater. You throw in everything but the kitchen sink in some vain hope that we won't figure out that you're just throwing around crap.

Eg. What the hell does increased expenses on health care have to do with whether or not neo-Darwinism is correct? Yet you threw that in there anyway in some kind of windmilling effort to impress everyone.


It's a matter of context, I thougth that was obvious.

To spell it out, one group of scientists - it would seem the most powerfull group of scientists in existence today - are treated as superior beings and entrusted with directing our healthcare - somthing that continues even today despite evidence that there is significant danger in their approach that should be looked at.

As far as this is true, it might imply that another group of people working under the same banner (science) might hold flawed ideas as well, and that there might be some benefit from opening such ideas up to debate, especially debate from other respected researchers and scientists.

Seems relevent in that context, does it not?


From: Somewhere out there... Hey, why are you logging my IP address? | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Anonymous
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posted 12 April 2005 02:04 AM      Profile for Mr. Anonymous     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Many great scientists are religious, if not in the dogmatic sense. Here are some quotations from Albert Einstein (from www.quotationspage.com )

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.

Imagination is more important than knowledge...

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.

We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

The important thing is not to stop questioning.

It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curious of inquiry. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.

Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all art and science.

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.

All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field.

When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.


From: Somewhere out there... Hey, why are you logging my IP address? | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
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posted 12 April 2005 04:45 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't generally get involved in "metaphysical" discussions, but I couldn't let this pass...

quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Anonymous:
Many great scientists are religious, if not in the dogmatic sense. Here are some quotations from Albert Einstein (from www.quotationspage.com )

[...]

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all art and science.


"Many great scientists are religious"???

*tsk*

Howzabout I give you the whole quote...

quote:
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery— even if mixed with fear— that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds— it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity; in this sense, and this alone, I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind we experience in ourselves. Neither can I, nor would I want to, conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or from sheer egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.

The World As I See It (1931) pp. 8-11
Ideas and Opinions , Crown Trade Paperbacks, New York, 1982


*shaking head*

Y'know, son, if you don't know how to handle a book of quotes properly, it can just blow up in your face, or go off with no warning...


From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 12 April 2005 03:11 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mr. Anonymous, there is an awful lot of propaganda written by the "intelligent design" people out there that masquerades as legitimate scientific discourse. You probably don't realise it, but all you have done until now is quote this stuff. Most of what you have quoted regarding evolution is standard anti-evolutionary rhetoric. This stuff usually consists of quotes out of context, abuses of language, distortions and outright lies mixed in with a bit of scientific language to provide legitimacy.

And once again, I suggest you spend time reading those two links I provided. You could also read The Blind Watchmaker By Richard Dawkins.

Once again, scientific research is not in the business of telling us what we want to hear. It is in the business of trying to find how the world works. It is then up to us to decide what to do with this knowledge.

[ 12 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Anonymous
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posted 17 April 2005 07:18 AM      Profile for Mr. Anonymous     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
More links:
http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/pe00cont.html (The work of a bio student and aspiring author, see also the bibliography of his upcoming book here: http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/PoE/PoE17Bbl.html
http://www.rae.org/ (a listing of articles, a few of which might have merit)
http://www.rae.org/dendar.html (one of the more famous ones, as far as I can tell)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1932236317//104-3682294-7997510 (A review of the book "Uncommon Dissent", a collection of writings disputing neo-Darwinistic theory)
A quote from one review:
"Also very interesting and encouraging is the fact that, contrary to the (bogus) claims regularly made by Darwinists, the contributors to this book do not display a uniformity concerning religious beliefs. They run the spectrum from evangelical Christians like William Dembski and Nancy Pearcey to completely irreligious folks like David Berlinski and Christopher Michael Lanagan, who proposes the idea of a non-supernatural, teleological universe. Also of particular interest in this regard is the section of the book in which Michael Behe, Michael Denton, and James Barham tell their personal stories regarding how they came to question the truth of Darwinism. Of these three, only Behe seems to hold to any kind of serious tradititional religious belief. This spectrum of varying beliefs gives the lie to claims often made by the anti-ID crowd that ID is nothing but religious creationism is disguise, and that IDers are nothing but rabid fundamentalists who wish to overthrow America and establish a theocracy. Such claims reveal more about the anti-religious fervor of many Darwinists than they do about intelligent design."


For the record:

- When I said "non-Dogmatic religion" , I was refering to what is often referred to as a belief in a Creator, or "Spirituality". I am certainly not pushing an agenda of promoting any kind of religion. For what it's worth I am not a member of any religion and am generally not fond of those who would push others into joining one. I appologize if I was unclear in this. As for the quote, if quotes were always presented as long as that provided, few indeed would remember or disseminate them. Also, it was one of 20 or so, most of which are representative of the workings of a fairly good mind unsupportive of religious fundamentalism.

- I am not dismissing all the ideas present in Darwinism, I suspect it is a real part of the whole story (and certainly much more so than straight-up Creationism) but to say it is the whole truth, and nothing less than the whole truth, in light of the links doesn't make sense to me.

- I did look at both sites, if someone here who is a believer in neo-Darwinism can explain the seeming inconsistancies presented in past posts, I would welcome it. Insofar as those who truly understand something tend to be able to explain it to the public at large in easy to understand language, I (and undoubtedly others) would be happy to listen, and modify my views in accordance with the arguements if appropriate.

Re. the views of the Creationists: They might have blind spots in some areas (don't we all?), this should not *neccesarily* be taken to mean that they are blind in all areas.

As for:
"there is an awful lot of propaganda written by the "intelligent design" people out there that masquerades as legitimate scientific discourse. You probably don't realise it, but all you have done until now is quote this stuff...",
Richard Milton by all accounts to be coming at this from a non-religious viewpoint, as I suspect are most of the scientists quoted (especially those who have written books) have insofar as their writing is accurately reported. Insofar as it is inaccurately reported, please fill us as to the relevent inaccuracies. Again, I don't doubt much of what is written is wrong, but don't see how all of it is.

And with context again, considering the historical faith of the scientific establishment re. neo-Darwinism - related perhaps to the fear of some form of religious infringement - I would think that scientific authors would be under great pressure not to criticize the theory, and would have to be extremely smart in their criticisms in order to avoid total blacklisting by the scientific community at large. Even then it could very possibly be seen as betrayal, and probably has by a great many of those in the scientific community.

Is it really so hard to believe that some sort of spirituality has some part to play in human evolution, or that some non-terrestrial race fooled around with natural evolution at one or more points in our extremely long history? Does science not demand we keep and open mind and explore possibilities outside of the current paradigm. Indeed, is this not how all new ideas come about for the general good of society?

So a few questions for the believers that neo-Darwinism is unassailable:

Where are all the theorized transitional species? Some would say that the fossils were wiped out, but I (as well as many others) would suggest that the odds of so many being wiped out are slim at best, especially with the amount of exploration since the time of early Darwinist proponents.

What's up with the Cambrian explosion? How does this jibe with the theory of slow and random mutations? If another explanation is offered, can this be shown to be fundamentally more probable than some sort of spiritual force (not neccesarily an ouside God-like force), or meddling by other advanced non-terrestrial civilizations.

Also, belated appologies for length of my posts and (perhaps overly-) confident attitude, its just my way of trying to get to the truth. Hope I haven't offended anyone too much, and that anyone offended will forgive me...

[ 17 April 2005: Message edited by: Mr. Anonymous ]


From: Somewhere out there... Hey, why are you logging my IP address? | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 17 April 2005 11:19 AM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mr. Anonymous:

From the 15 answers to creationist nonsense:

"13. Evolutionists cannot point to any transitional fossils -- creatures that are half reptile and half bird, for instance.

Actually, paleontologists know of many detailed examples of fossils intermediate in form between various taxonomic groups. One of the most famous fossils of all time is Archaeopteryx, which combines feathers and skeletal structures peculiar to birds with features of dinosaurs. A flock's worth of other feathered fossil species, some more avian and some less, has also been found. A sequence of fossils spans the evolution of modern horses from the tiny Eohippus. Whales had four-legged ancestors that walked on land, and creatures known as Ambulocetus and Rodhocetus helped to make that transition [see "The Mammals That Conquered the Seas," by Kate Wong; Scientific American, May]. Fossil seashells trace the evolution of various mollusks through millions of years. Perhaps 20 or more hominids (not all of them our ancestors) fill the gap between Lucy the australopithecine and modern humans.

Creationists, though, dismiss these fossil studies. They argue that Archaeopteryx is not a missing link between reptiles and birds -- it is just an extinct bird with reptilian features . They want evolutionists to produce a weird, chimeric monster that cannot be classified as belonging to any known group. Even if a creationist does accept a fossil as transitional between two species, he or she may then insist on seeing other fossils intermediate between it and the first two. These frustrating requests can proceed ad infinitum and place an unreasonable burden on the always incomplete fossil record.

Nevertheless, evolutionists can cite further supportive evidence from molecular biology. All organisms share most of the same genes, but as evolution predicts, the structures of these genes and their products diverge among species, in keeping with their evolutionary relationships. Geneticists speak of the "molecular clock" that records the passage of time. These molecular data also show how various organisms are transitional within evolution."


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 17 April 2005 11:21 AM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
About the so called Cambrian explosion:

It's important to remember that what we call "the fossil record" is only the available fossil record. In order to be available to us, the remains of ancient plants and animals have to be preserved first, and this means that they need to have fossilizable parts and to be buried in an environment that will not destroy them.

It has long been suspected that the sparseness of the pre-Cambrian fossil record reflects these two problems. First, organisms may not have sequestered and secreted much in the way of fossilizable hard parts; and second, the environments in which they lived may have characteristically dissolved those hard parts after death and recycled them. An exception was the mysterious "small shelly fauna" -- minute shelled animals that are hard to categorize -- that left abundant fossils in the early Cambrian. Recently, minute fossil embryos dating to 570 million years ago have also been discovered. Even organisms that hadn't evolved hard parts, and thus didn't leave fossils of their bodies, left fossils of the trails they made as they moved through the Precambrian mud. Life was flourishing long before the Cambrian "explosion".


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 17 April 2005 01:36 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Anonymous:
And with context again, considering the historical faith of the scientific establishment re. neo-Darwinism - related perhaps to the fear of some form of religious infringement - I would think that scientific authors would be under great pressure not to criticize the theory, and would have to be extremely smart in their criticisms in order to avoid total blacklisting by the scientific community at large. Even then it could very possibly be seen as betrayal, and probably has by a great many of those in the scientific community.

Don't underestimate the willingness of scientists to question things. Many scientists do science because they truly want to understand how the world works. If there is solid evidence indicating that an idea is incomplete or wrong, the evidence will in the end win. Why? Because many scientists are honest, some are inveterate glory chasers and most love to be right! If someone comes up with solid evidence raising serious objections to standard evolutionary explanations, he can expect a lot of attention, fame and maybe eventually even a free trip to Sweden.

quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Anonymous:
Is it really so hard to believe that some sort of spirituality has some part to play in human evolution, or that some non-terrestrial race fooled around with natural evolution at one or more points in our extremely long history? Does science not demand we keep and open mind and explore possibilities outside of the current paradigm. Indeed, is this not how all new ideas come about for the general good of society?


Is it hard to believe that some sort of spirituality has some part to play in human evolution, or that some non-terrestrial race fooled around with natural evolution at one or more points in our extremely long history?

YES!

Why?

Because there's no evidence of this being true. Nothing, nada, zip, bupkiss. Science demands that we keep an open mind, but science also demands that our assertions be supported by solid evidence, specially when very important ideas that have been very successful in explaining things are questioned.

If there's only one thing you should remember of all these exchanges, it is that (I'm going to be boring and repetitive) "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence."

[ 17 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 17 April 2005 01:42 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
13. Evolutionists cannot point to any transitional fossils -- creatures that are half reptile and half bird, for instance.

The Royal Ontario Museum has an ongoing exhibition of transitional fossils recently found in China. The fossils show the relationship between birds and reptiles. About 80 separate species are exhibited.

Those who attend will see a very precise and incremental change from certain saurians (with primitive feathers) towards birds.

Those who don't attend will continue to write bilge, such as the quoted #13, above.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 17 April 2005 02:15 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Creationists' demand for fossils that represent "missing links" reveals a deep misunderstanding of science

[ 17 April 2005: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 17 April 2005 05:16 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Anonymous:
Furthermore, suppose there really were some basic organic compounds formed from the "primordial soup." If there was any free oxygen in the atmosphere, it would oxidize those compounds -- in other words, it would destroy them. ... Without oxygen, there would be no ozone layer, and without the ozone layer, we would receive a lethal dose of the sun's radiation in just 0.3 seconds. How could the fragile beginnings of life have survived in such an environment?

You're being naive. The initial life forms would have evolved in what we call an anaerobic environment, and there are still such bacteria today that metabolize sulphur, not oxygen.

Furthermore, organic life emitting oxygen as a waste product would have created the necessary oxidizing environment for the changes to occur which would bring about new forms of life more resistant to the oxidizing environment that we now see all around us.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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