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Everything posted by Area54

  1. (Emphasis added) Or that we should be paying more attention to the possibility of panspermia. Until we have established, with a high degree of confidence, one or more plausible paths from pre-biotic to primitive cell, then any alleged estimate of probability for abiogenesis remains a wild-assed guess. I am not saying we shouldn't make wild assed guesses. They are entertaining and can inform future research, but we should remember they are just wild-assed guesses.
  2. This is a general observation and, perhaps for some, a reminder. In the UK there is no such thing as Right of Way. No road user ever has right of way in any situation. What they may have is priority. In that case other road users should respect that priority by giving way. The responsibility remains with the user with priority to ensure it is safe to proceed, not to confidently advance on the basis they have "right of way". Anecdotaly, most people seem unware of this.
  3. I realise I must be explaining my postion with a gross level of incompetence. You are considering only the desired outcome for the immediate situation. I am arguing that we must consider the consequences of that action for future situations. Torturing alleged terrorists generates more terrorists who cause further pain in suffering. You are arguing it is OK to cause future pain and suffering in order to prevent present pain and suffering. You are arguing for continuing the cycle of violence. I understand this is not a conscious argument on your part, but it is the essential outcome. You are mistaken. Dangerously mistaken. In an effort to be part of the solution you become the root of future problems. Don't bother replying, I shall be unable to see it.
  4. And to reiterate my position. I find it difficult to understand your entrenched refusal to acknowledge, or - seemingly - even to admit the role of torture and other violent reactions to terrorism, in generating new terrorists. Your approval of torture to, hypothetically, save the lives of potential victims, while ignoring its assured effect of generating more terrorists, is difficult to stomach when proposed by a fool, but it is especially painfull to witness, as in this case, in an intelligent, educated person. And I hope,they would have the intellect to consider strategy, not tactics. Naturally, I would like my family and myself to survive, but that means I'm asking that others should die, so I can live. Is selfishness a key aspect fo morality?
  5. Your persistent reference to a portion of the article on torture in the subject encyclopedia suggest that you think it somehow proves the correctness of your argument. It doesn't. It merely notes that some writers have argued the same case as you, just more eloquently - not necessarily more convincingly. If that's all you have - and it seems it is - it is time for you to retire from the field.
  6. The evidence is that they are not arbitrary, but rather are loosely expressed cultural reflections of instinctive behaviours. Nothing arbitrary there. Contrary to some popular thought, once can compare apples and oranges. However, comparing physics with ethics is less productive. I sense that you do not understand what fittest means in an evolutionary context. I see that you are unaware of the importance of cooperation. It is on a par with competition. (Arguably more important.) I guess you have no idea of the major role played by luck. Given such weak premises I couldn't see any point in giving the rest of your post much thought, though I would be happy to discuss why you are wrong, if you wish.
  7. When you mature enough to consider thinking about the comments of others, rather than launching into an automatic, angst ridden, agenda driven, logic free, outburst, you might be able to identify the flaws in your thinking. You might also be a lot happier. I wish you well in that respect. In the meantime I am heading for a sensible thread.
  8. I am unable to express my objections concisely enought to warrant further disruption of me by the thread. This was why I proposed taking up the discussion in a seaprate thread. Regarding deception, I did not intend to suggest you were deliberately lying. Rather, the nice flow of your argument makes it seem more convincing than the evidence warrants. I think you may have misled yourself. Absolutely. Nicely put. Pretty much how it struck me. I would probably also call it seductively deceptive.
  9. I don't disagree that one can make a well structured argument. What I am maintaining is that I have not seen such arguments supported by extensive evidence. Where evidence is offered, my impression has been that it was, consciously or unconsciously, cherry picked. This is a field in which my reading has been casual and therefore I may have overlooked many examples of which I am doubting the existence. Nor do I mean to imply that the present absence of such evidence means it isn't out there, waiting to be discovered. It's just that i have seen little examining the possible role of recent brain evolution (last 50k years, say) in the changes. (Which changes, while postulated have not necessarily been adequately demonstrated.) There appears to me, with limited background, that cultural explanation is accepted with a fairly low bar. In a sense my comments are an appeal to anyone who has a deep knowledge of current thinking of this topic to provide a summary and point me to texts that will address it in depth. Your last sentence is interesting because it made me think of Julian Jaynes' book from the 70s, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Not sure why you think engagement of both hemispheres would be mediated by culture rather than neurology. Perhaps you were speaking metaphorically?
  10. I thought it was an expansion rather than an extension. It introduced concepts not explictly stated, nor implicitly obvious from your earlier remarks, with which I was in agreement. Your expansion/extension had, in my view, plausible elements, but also some with such exceptions as to invalidate the generalities. However, it is a side issue and off-topic for this thread. If you ever care to debate/discuss it in another thread I would be game. Just let me know by pm if you start such a one.
  11. Yes, it seems a no-brainer, but then that is based upon the evidence we currently have and a particular interpretation of it. Others seem to be able to look at the same evidence and come up with a different interpretation. It makes no sense to me (or to you), but that doesn't mean we are right. It is speculative, but I wonder if there has been a signifcant change in some aspect of brain architecture or operation in the last few millenia that that encourage the rational approach. I realise the conventional explanation is that it is a cultural evolution, but I've not seen a convincing, evidence based argument for that. (Though I haven't gone out of my way to look for one.)
  12. You have attempted to sum up human character and its causes in half a dozen short paragraphs. I think, in the process, you've formed an over-simple pattern. It reads well, even very well, but I doubt its efficacy for interacting with the world. Put another way, in this instance you've offered a view of reality that is more dangerously askew than that held by @deepend. I say more dangerous, because your view is close enough to the truth to be seductive, but far enough away from it to be deceptive. I try to avoid the seductively decpetive.
  13. The OP apparently denies that there was anything rational in the foundation of any religion. Yet, as @Peterkin and @Ken Fabian point out, there are perfectly rational reasons to account for the origin of religions. The OP makes much of the need for evidence to define, or identify reality. (And seems to have reached the questionable conclusion that he has quite a good grasp of reality.) Our early ancestors had minimal evidence; no microscopes, telescopes, chemical analyses, MRIs; no systematic process for investigating nature. Based upon the evidence they did have, it was reasonable and rational to imagine that the movement of the trees in a wind, the changing of the seasons, the blessings of the sun, were the product of agency. To conclude otherwise would, based upon available evidence, have been nonsensical. If the alternative to believing in an afterlife is a life long, paralysing fear of death, perhaps it is rational to believe a religion that offers an alternative. Conclusion - there are rational reasons for founding a religion. (As an aside, Ron Hubbard seemingly did it for the money.) My conclusion is that the OP knows almost nothing about religion, practically nothiing about how sciences such as anthropology or geology can investigate the reality of the past, and next to nothing about what constitutes reality. Apart from this, his posts are entertaining. @deependFor the record. I am an agnostic, but atheistic in regard to all the religions I have so far come into contact with. As to cult membership, I am quite engaged by model railways, but - contrary to your apparent expectation - there is a lot of evidence that they really do exist. I found almost nothing in your posts that was logical, or reflected reality, or revealed an understanding of what your were discussing. I echo the implicit recommendation by @Phi for All: don't assume you know better than everyone else: stop preaching; listen to what others say; reflect on it; engage, rather than tell people how they think and how wrong they are. I look forward to the interesting discussions that could follow your conversion. Damascus, this way!
  14. An excellent idea, but I would divert some of the funds to charging those who approved and promoted development in such areas for gross negligence and endagering the public wellbeing. You can't legislate against stupidity, but you can penalise it. Then again, if one buys a property on a flood plain is the problem that one just didn't pay attention in geography class, or that one missed the sginificance of the word flood!
  15. The ambition and imagination of the Namibian President (or of his advisors) is inspiring. I understand that politicians feel the need to focus on the next election, but this one seems to have found how to focus on both the short term and the long term. I hope he and his country succeed.
  16. The technique used on the Venus intrigued me, as I was unfamiliar with it. Described as micro-computed tommography, it builds up a 3D image of the interior via X-ray examination. Such non-destructive techniques are surely transformational in several fields. I see an analogy with seismic tomography, which has provided such deep (pun intended) insights into the Earth's interior through examination of earthquake data from multiple stations. The central message of the paper appears to be that the analysis has been able to identify a source south of the Alps, while the Venus was made north of the Alps, indicating far ranging communication between Europeans 30 millenia ago. The researchers were able to determine that the oolite from which the Venus was carved was not of Miocene age (which could have been sourced neraby) by, but Jurassic. We have the same oolite in the UK, part of the Great Oolite Group. Wikipedia note "It is exposed at the surface as a variably thick belt extending roughly NE-SW from the coast of Dorset up to the Humber." Fellow Britons in these areas may be familiar with it. Thank you for pointing us towards these interesting items.
  17. From the outset in this thread I have had considerable difficulty in discerning what you are saying or asking. The abovequote is a simple and reasonable statement, one with which I can readily agree. However, the sub-text reads (or perhaps I misread it) as "Go on then, tell ne what you think it contributes to our understanding!" If I have misunderstood you, my apologies. Put it down to my paranoid imagination. If, however, that was your underlying meaning then I have no wish to continue further in a conversation where I have to guess at what is being said.
  18. That is an interesting observation, but it fails to answer my question. I wasn't asking about any novel hypothesis. All can infer from your post is that you do not think this research adds anything to our understanding of eukaryote evolution. From my pesrpective that seems a fauly view, but you are, of course, entitled to hold it.
  19. Am I correct in understanding that you see nothing in this research that can inform our understanding of the emergence of eukaryotic features from prokaryotic anncestors? If not, why the dislike. If so, how odd.
  20. I fear you are correct. I am reminded of George Santayana's aphorism: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Being unaware of the past has pretty much the same effect.
  21. Your opinions are duly noted. Your disregard for the last half century or so of history, in regard to what makes terrorists is duly noted. Your attachment to and defense of emotional acts is duly noted. Your inability to focus on anything other than immediate threat is reminiscent of the young child who opts for the choclate bar now, rather than two chocolate bars in five minutes time, is duly noted and despaired of. In light of the foregoing I shall try to restrict my view of your posts to the technical ones, which are often quite good.
  22. Certainly we are technical site, but that makes it appropriate that we use the terminology appropriate to the particular discipline we are discussing. The term chamber is not used in reference to hydrocarbon deposits by reservoir engineers or petroleum geologists. They talk about reservoirs and pore spaces, not chambers. Leave that to a paleontologist who would certainly use it in relation to the chambers of an ammonite. So, how big a chamber is depends on the context. And whether or not we use the word chamber at all depends, again, on context.
  23. Yes, but I don't see your point. This does not contradict my observations. Again, I am not sure what you are driving at. I've offered an explanation of why this was described as a missing link - a shorthand way of noting an interesting, plausible step between prokaryote and eularyote. Researchers have hypothesised the separation of DNA into a separate 'compartment'. Now we have a a living instance of an organism with this feature. It is incidental that the ribosomes are also in the pouch.
  24. There is a perceptual error in the opening post. Hydrocarbon deposits are not found in underground chambers. Blame a century or so of oversimplified explanatory diagrams for that false idea. Oil and gas are found in the pore spaces of rocks (typically sedimentary rocks as pointed out by others.) These pore spaces are typically small, sometimes microscopic. Calling such pore spaces "chambers" only contributes to sustaining the false impression of large cavern like voids. Hydrocarbons and volcanism are often found in association. For example, the subduction of the Indian Ocean plate generated the volcanic arc of Indonesia and was responsible for the oil deposits lying in the back arc of the Java Sea. Or take the failed triple junction in the North Sea with its extensive oil deposits formed contemporeaneously with the active volcanism of the adjacent and effective Atlantic opening. Where magma does come into contact, or proximity to oil bearing deposits these are going to be cooked. They are not going to flow into and be erupted along with the magma.
  25. It contains features that link seperate species, or families, or - as in this case - domains. Bacteria don't have cell nuclei. Their DNA is distrbuted throughout the cell. This example has the DNA restricted to a membrane encase pouch. That is plausibly a step through which life passed in moving from prokaryotes (no nuclei) to eukaryotes (nuclei). i.e. a missing link.
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