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  1. Hope this topic is okay. It's socially accepted to believe in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Native American religions, etc, etc. There are obvious logical flaws and fallacies with many, if not all, of these religions. Yet, it's not socially acceptable to point those out and criticize them in a widespread way. Maybe it's more okay on a science forum like this, but if a prominent figure in media or a politician did, they would face serious blowback. Even most scientists (Dawkins aside) I don't think would readily jump on pointing out the logical inconsistencies. They would likely be accused of discrimination. But there are some beliefs systems which one could criticize with little blowback. Astrology, witchcraft, crystal-healing, reiki, etc. As a personal example, I've seen a couple lectures of Neil deGrasse Tyson and he readily criticized many of those, but he of course didn't stray into criticizing mainstream religion. It seems it's just a matter of historical precedent. Do you think this is fair? Should we openly be more critical of religion as a society? Or is that just an unrealistic expectation, given how incorporated it is into people's identity politics and therefore is a constant critique of it actually a form of systemic discrimination- people are irrational all the time, why pick this one issue to lambast them over? Also, should we be more understanding towards these "fringe" belief systems and not be so critical of them, for fairness' sake?
  2. In the 70's a bunch of Roman amphora were found off the coast of Brazil by an underwater archaeologist which led him to conclude that Romans (even if just a ship that got off course and crashed) were the first Europeans to technically visit Brazil, which led to the Brazilian government feeling threatened by that. In corrupt fashion, they falsely accused him as a plunderer, disallowed further underwater archaeological operations, and the jars were confiscated by the military. However, it came out that it was just some guy who had put replicas underwater to try and age them, so the whole thing was moot.
  3. "Prof Allanach has given the possible fifth force various names in his theoretical models. Among them are the "flavour force", the "third family hyperforce" and - most prosaic of all - "B minus L2"." Please, no. Someone help him with this.
  4. Well, you can always go deeper and deeper in terms of "how" and really get to the fundamental underpinnings of how things work. If you're looking for the biophysics of the molecular interactions guiding it, I'm not really qualified to answer. But if you're just looking for a better understanding of evolution, maybe I can give a basic framework. The main forces acting are called Genetic Drift, Gene Flow, and Natural Selection. Mutations will occur in DNA, creating variability from individual to individual in a population. Some mutations will be more favorable for the environmental conditions and if they confer an advantage to the individual, then the individual will reproduce more, passing that mutation along and increasing its prevalence in the environment. This is the "survival of the fittest" that people talk about and a big factor in speciation, as isolated groups could slowly evolve in different ways until they become different species. Now, if we think about evolution in terms of a change in the percentage of a population that has a certain mutation, it's easier to think about Gene Flow and Genetic Drift. Gene Flow is individuals migrating to and from a population and Genetic Drift is the random change in a population's makeup, which can be easily visualized by thinking about a natural disaster randomly killing some members, regardless of their "fitness." These all work in concert. That's a very simplified explanation, and obviously there's much more to it than that. But I hope it helps.
  5. It's behind a paywall, but here's a paper in Science about that. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6227/1190 It seems it's just very efficient at performing lots and lots of different organic reactions and isolating the correct byproducts. But, it only talks about making single molecules. Making a large scale biological system is much taller order. This might interest you, as it's about using nanorobot AI to facilitate supramolecular assembly via atomic orientations, which has obvious implications towards your hypothesis. https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/36/eabb6987 It's an interesting idea, but it's very theoretical and therefore very much in the realm of science fiction at the moment.
  6. This is true, but I was just focusing more on the context of the question.
  7. Because environments and conditions change so if a species couldn’t change with their environment, they would die off.
  8. Sure, if you find anything else out, I'd love to hear it.
  9. Genetic replication is the product of a series of several enzymes working in concert, the main one of which is DNA polymerase, which is what actually builds the new DNA strands. There's also an inherent error rate in DNA polymerase. The errors are checked and "proofread" and fixed, but it's not a totally perfect process and some slip through the cracks, creating mutations in the newly synthesized strands. There are other ways mutations can occur, including being spurred by radiation, but that's the best, easiest way to think about it in my opinion. And without mutations, species would never change. If 2 different species had 2 different DNA polymerases, one of which replicates with 0 errors, then all the members of that species would stay the same while members of the other species would slowly change and the ones who changed for the better would reproduce and eventually the species with the error-prone DNA polymerase would be more fit to survive in their environment.
  10. Are you working on getting this into a peer-reviewed journal?
  11. Online, it seems a lot of sources say LIDAR doesn't work as well as RADAR in rain or humid, dewy weather. Maybe it's obvious, but I was essentially just wondering why. Why does water in the air affect light waves more than radio waves?
  12. Humans have an intuitive idea of what nothingness means, so it makes sense it would show up in philosophies and explanations. And I think you're equating a lot of different kinds of "nothings." "Nothing" in the atomic sense is much different than "nothing" in a Buddhist sense. It feels like you're trying to cram a lot of differently shaped pegs into one single hole.
  13. If nothing else, it seems like a great idea for a City of Ember-esque sci-fi novel.
  14. Like it or not, countries generally have a fair amount of autonomy to terrorize their own people. The rest of the world is reluctant to get involved, for fear of creating a larger global conflict. It's only when countries start terrorizing people from other countries that swift action is taken. Otherwise, it's mostly trade embargoes and the like.
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