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Everything posted by blue_cristal

  1. We could be more different to each other than what we imagine. I will start giving a simple example. We have differentiated photosensitive cells ( cones ) in our eyes. Each type is sensitive to different luminous electromagnetic frequency. Unlike what some people think, these cells do not “read” the colour of the light rays. Colour does not exist in nature. It is a perceptual construct ( qualia ) of particular neuronal circuitries in our brains. It is how our brains interpret and translate to our consciousness different slices of the light spectrum. Since we are all allele mutants to each other in some set of genes or other, it is perfectly possible that, in some case, our QUALIAS ( the way we perceive the information coming from our senses ) are different ( or even radically different ). For instance, it is perfectly possible that a colour that I see as red, you see it as blue or some bizarre colour. But there is no way to realize this difference ( at least up to now ) because we use the same label of colour to the same object. We both call it “red” without realizing that internally we are seeing different colours. For instance, I might see a piece of meat as “red” and label it as “red”, but you could actually see it as blue and also use the label “red” because that is how you learned to label the colour of the meat, without knowing that you internally are seeing something very different from me. And the perception of colour is just one example. We could have different or even bizarre perceptions of feelings, pleasures, pains, smells, sounds, etc. and think that others have exactly the same perceptions because we use the same labels to communicate with each other and not the actual feelings and perceptions themselves. It is even possible that some people have extra and unusual qualias and perceive things that nobody else does. So we could be quite “alien and bizarre” to each other without realizing it. We only realize our differences, perhaps, in extreme cases, like people who see colours and smells in numbers and words, strange phobias like scared of little harmless bugs, or be extremely sensitive to some relatively inoffensive matters, etc. Probably, there are a lot of our personal unique “alien and bizarre” experiences that can never be explained to others because most of us do not even know that we are so different. We assume that we perceive the world in the same way simply because we are using a COMMON LANGUAGE and assume that the words have the SAME PERCEPTUAL MEANING to everyone. That is why, sometimes, people do not understand why someone seems to have an excruciating pain to something that seems a trivial and harmless incident to us. In these cases, people even, erroneously, assume that the person is lying because they do not understand his reaction. Another case is someone who seems to have a hyperbolic, enthusiastic and ecstatic reaction to what we perceive just a dull and trivial object. If we are so significantly different then the psychologists’ tentative to categorize people in simplistic categories is ridiculous. What do you think about these intriguing possibilities ?
  2. I am an atheist but I think that this label is not good enough. I would prefer to call myself anti-dogmatist ( or anti-dogmatic for simplicity ). To understand better what I am talking about. Watch this video:
  3. Probably yes if you reproduce its natural conditions like temperature, water salts composition, pH, nutrients, oxygen, etc.
  4. Not really. Saying what something is not it is not enough. Science tries to find also positive answers. And even when it finds them, it is never a final knowledge about this matter. Science is a dynamic, progressive and never ending process of acquiring, correcting or even totally replacing knowledge.
  5. Example: Homosexuality. It is still taboo to a lot of people. Just observe what the majority of current muslims and christians (fundamentalists) say about it. 1) Actually, only very few people, in society, have analyzed taboos objectively and logically ( scientifically). 2) Further questioning is never ignorance because no conclusion is ever complete and definitive in science. On the contrary, the passive acceptance of something as “definitive truth” is a dogmatic and anti-scientific attitude. Dogmas are what paralyze science and creates/boost religion. Here is a “sample” of what pernicious dogmatic thinking does. Steven Pinker, in his book “The Blank Slate” ( regarding Richard Herrnstein, Charles Murray, Judith Rich Harris, Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer ) say this: “For invoking nurture and nature, not nurture alone, these authors have been picketed, shouted down, subjected to searing invective in the press, even denounced in Congress. Others expressing such opinions have been censored, assaulted, or threatened with criminal prosecution.” You are not formulating this example correctly. What amounts “taboo” was the prohibition to challenge the notion that the “earth is flat”. And yes, this notion was demolished. A more accurate notion reached by science was that the earth has a geoids form (approx. the shape of a regular oblate spheroid ). But if science assumed, as you suggest to do, that the question of earth's form was “definitively clarified” then science could not refine even further this knowledge to reach a new more accurate conclusion: “ the earth's form is not a perfect geoid because it has uneven distribution of patches of higher density of mass." You see, in science, there is not such a thing as saying “we don't feel the need to discuss them anymore”. No issue is ever totally clarified and no theory is definitive in science. Firstly, there is not doubt that paedophilia is harmful to children and society should protect children. But I do not consider it a “finished matter”. Because in order to access how paedophiles should be correctly punished or treated, science should address a lot of pendent questions: 1) Why there are so many paedophiles in human population ? What is the evolutionary/cultural explanation for this phenomenon ? 2) Since probably there is a huge range of possible paedophilic behaviours that goes from simple titillating conversation in one end to the extremes of rape in the other end, do law apply a proportional punishment to each case ? 3) Should paedophiles be punished ( if so how severe should be the punishment ), treated or just isolated from society ? And what is the objective justification for each position. 4) Does the law make a differentiation between pre-pubescent and pos-pubescent paedophiles ( certainly the first type can be far more harmful that the second one ) ? You told me that objective and analytical studies ( I suppose you are referring to scientific studies ) about this matter were made. Could you provide reliable references please ?
  6. I would be convinced by your argument if people here were treating these subjects substantially different from the masses. So far, I did not notice significant differences.
  7. I witness almost a daily dogmatic propaganda in TV, newspapers and all sort of media protecting societies’ taboos and you are telling me that people “don’t really care much” ? How convincing do you think your argument is ? Do people really don't care or, in reality, are they afraid to touch the subject ?
  8. Predictably, people seem scared to debate about taboos. And we arrogantly say that we live in a “free-speech” society. How ironic !
  9. This was an adaptive behaviour when humans lived in simple and primitive tribal societies strongly commanded by a dictatorial alpha-male. I very much doubt that blind conformism is still adaptive to all situations in today’s complex societies. Excessive conformism leads to blind dogmatic beliefs, which leads to fanaticism, witch leads to conflicts and wars. And even when it does not lead to violence or tragedies, conformism stifles creativity and rational thinking which hinders the progress of scientific knowledge and boosts religious irrationality. And wars in a era of weapons capable to destroy humankind 100 times over ( as if one time was not enough ) is highly non-adaptive for the survival of our species. These are just semi-non-conformists. And your assertion is true for the majority of semi-non-conformists ( which, actually, are a minority compared with the majority of conformists ) but there is a brave minority that rationally challenges every single belief that lacks support on verifiable evidence ( I think I am one of them ).
  10. Phosphorescence produces light that it is transformed from previously accumulated radiation ( sunlight, artificial light, etc ). This usually happen with some inert materials. Living beings usually produce bioluminescence. They generate their own light.
  11. Regarding to conformism, for instance, how many people accept the religion imposed on them by their parents and society due conformism and how many do it only after critically comparing this religion to all others and also to the lack of it ? The truth can be pleasant like a wonderful beach in a sunny day or ugly as organized gangs killing children of underdeveloped countries to sell their organs for transplant to wealthy people in developed countries. The truth can be both. Sometimes it is simple and pleasant and sometimes it is complex and irreverent to the current dogmatic beliefs, or something else entirely. Truth is the multiple and varied aspects of nature.
  12. The best eugenics is to correct the genes that cause low intelligence ( and other low mental capabilities ) and genetic diseases in everybody’s gametal cells (before even people are born ) and during three or four generations all reproduction should be done under control of genetic engineering laboratories ( though no-reproductive sex would still be free ). Everybody should donate some of their gametal cells ( espermatozoids or eggs ) wich would be tagged with personal identification and would be frozen in gametal banks. There, defective genes would be replaced, artificial fecundation would be made between partner's gametes, and then the corrected eggs would be implanted back in the women uterus. After that, all people of the new generations would be intelligent, creative ( though still with different talents and personalities ) and free from genetic diseases and also would receive superior education so people could return to natural reproduction again.
  13. Oops ... sorry the typo. I actually meant to say: "Hannibal used elephants to fight romans. They crossed the cold Alpes mountains and survived."
  14. His eugenics method based on IQ and default women sterilization is incredibly idiot. 1) Most women would never accept default sterilization voluntarily. 2) IQ is an unreliable method for measuring intelligence because humans actually have, at least, seven types of intelligence ( Howard Gardner ). And worst, IQ does not even measure creativity and intuition which despite being unconscious processes, they can be, sometimes, far more powerful than reason and memory alone. These two unconscious mental capabilities are responsible for great scientific theories, breakthroughs and outstanding inventions. 3) People like him and the idiotic Nazis are those who give a bad name to eugenics and undermine the possibility of wise, humane and scientific eugenics.
  15. Don't generalize. All cultures have good and bad aspects. Let me list some good aspects of “western” culture. They produced most of the greatest philosophers, scientists and inventors. They perfected agriculture to a such level that most of developed countries eliminated famine. They developed medicine to a such extent that people’s average lifespan is above 80 years. Some bad aspects: recently, most cultural trends are dictated by semi-ignorant masses. In UK and USA, for instance, a lot or perhaps most people use to exceed in the consume of alcoholic beverages and food. They occupy their time on shallow things like watching dumb soap-operas, mediocre pop music, mediocre movies, sports and playing electronic games. There is only a small elite who read important philosophical and scientific books. The majority read very little and when they read something it is shallow fiction books, tabloids gossip and cheap novels. They are over-concerned with social status and appearance so they obsessively buy brand clothes and jewellery and worship frivolous celebrities.
  16. Why don’t you leave him to defend his own position, Sayonara ? And no, so far he failed to understand it or for some reason he does not want to admit his error. I think that there is no problem having the humility to admit errors. Even the most brilliant minds commit errors. What makes you assume that I miss species dynamics ? But species are made up of individuals. Each one of them influences the perpetuation of its species. If an individual has more adaptive genes than the rest, he probably will leave more viable descendants and then influence in some degree the genetic profile of his population. Some times just few individuals ( pioneers ) can even start a new species through accidental geographical separation after hundreds or thousands generations.
  17. Perhaps some people think that powerful, rich and technologically advanced countries have a superior culture ( which, they think, includes language ) so they try to copy everything ( even the bad things ) from foreign culture and reject entirely their native one. The hurried rejection of their entire native culture is unwise because all cultures have something valuable and important to offer. Other people, mainly religious one, react differently. Their complex of inferiority turns into anger and then they blame the foreigners for their situation. So they try to use their illusory religious beliefs as compensation for their complex of inferiority and then claim that their religion makes them “superior” to the “corrupt” foreigners. An obvious example is the people of some muslim countries. Obviously there are more factors influencing people's behaviour. This is just an extreme simplification.
  18. Hannibal used elephants to fight romans. They crossed the cold Andes mountains and survived. I find mind boggling that you still do not understand that big bodies have smaller surface in relation to their volume and therefore conserve temperature better. Small birds and small mammalians survived simply because they could protect themselves against cold by hiding inside burrows and require far less food to survive. If they had no feathers or fur ( plus burrows ) to compensate for small body size they would die first.
  19. Luciferin ( there are several different types ) and luciferase are respectively the substrate and enzyme ( biomolecules ) responsible for bioluminescence in several different types of organisms. Actually, there are five known distinct classes of luciferin: aldehydes, benzothiazoles, imidazolopyrazines, tetrapyrroles and flavins (Hosseinkhani 2003). Each one is found in a different species. I found some good articles about bacteria luciferase here: http://www.proteinscience.org/cgi/content/full/10/8/1563 http://www.modares.ac.ir/sci/saman_h/Pages/bacterial.htm
  20. SkepticLance , I was about to post similar arguments. Thank you for saving me the effort.
  21. 1) The forest was by the coast but it was on the top of a cliff about 20 meters above the sea level. 2) Furthermore the trees / shrubs with luminescent leaves were deep inside the forest about 200 meters distant from the margin that faced the sea. ( I mention trees / shrubs because the vegetation was very dense from the floor and upwards and in the complete darkness it was impossible to know what kind of plants they were.) So it is not only quite improbable that the waves were thrown so high and far away but also such hypothesis does not fit with the pattern of the distribution of the lights. If this was the case then a) the trees / shrubs closer to the sea would also be luminescent ( and even more intensely ); b) entire contiguous patches of the trees/shrubs including branches would be luminescent instead just quite scattered leaves (each tree / shrub had only few luminescent leaves which were quite separated from each other about one meter on average ); c) the entire surface of one side of the leaf was intensely and uniformly luminescent. This uniform and localized pattern does not fit with what we would find if they were just sprinkled with sea water. d) The leaves were dry and it is quite improvable that the marine bioluminescent plankton would survive and form a uniform layer that covered the entire surface on one side of the leaf. My best guess is that it was an unknown species of bioluminescent bacteria or bioluminescent microscopic fungus symbiotic or parasitic to the plants. Yes, the literature, that I searched so far, mention about fungi but nothing about bioluminescent plants. I also found cases of tiny bioluminescent worms living on plants but it is improvable that they would be so discretely localized on leaves and form a very uniform layer.
  22. In this discussion some people try honest scientific thinking but I have the impression that, in this kind of discussion ( as usually ), some people twist, bend, misinterpret and omit facts in order to make them “fit” in their moral preconceptions ( they might not necessarily do it fully consciously but they put their will and beliefs above the search of truth ). A lot of non-verified and preconceived assumptions are made, half-truths are assumed a full truths and even lack of knowledge is taken as useful tool to fill in the “gaps” at will. As consequence no wonder that people arrive at conclusions that they wanted to be “truth” right from the start. This kind of discussion resembles rather ideological proselytism than genuine scientific thinking. I will give a less controversial subject as example. Some people who wants homosexuality to be seen as “wrong” almost always assume that it is a question of “choice” and reject, play down or make a “blind eye” to any evidence pointing to a genetic or developmental determination. Now, if they do that on lesser controversial subjects, imagine what they do to far more polemic and emotionally-charged subjects. And obviously, as usually, they will deny all these manoeuvres. As result, at the end of this kind of discussions, we end up as unenlightened as we started ( or even farther from the truth ). So, what is more important ? conformism and comfortable beliefs or the truth ( even when it is ugly and disturbing ) ? [ I apologise if I seem a bit harsh ]
  23. Indeed. Deception and stealing are some hardwired ( or partially hardwired since humans combine creativity to it ) strategies ( determined genetically ) within a wide set of survival strategies in a lot of animal species including humans ( we actually excel on them ). Unless we eliminate or decrease them through genetic engineering in the future, all politic system models have to include these factors in their calculation. However, eliminating them might be dangerous to our species. Deception ( white lies ) is a useful survival strategy for smoothing human social relationships ( can you imagine if you tell always the truth about other people in their faces ? ) and also in wars. And even if we eliminate wars between humans that does not eliminate the possibility ( however far fetched and “sci-fi” it might appear ) of a confrontation with possible alien invaders in a remote future. We also should not forget that we are in permanent war against pathologic microbes. Some of the medicinal strategies of combating them include chemical and biochemical trickery ( which is a form of deception ).
  24. Being successful economically does not equate with being successful evolutionarily. Evolution “does not care” about your bank account or if you are clever or idiot. It only “cares” on how many viable offspring you leave in the population and how it influences its genetic pool and how it can augment or diminish the chances of perpetuating your species. If you are rich but you leave less viable descendents than poor people then you are probably a evolutionary failure. ( Note that I am using “care” as metaphor to mean that natural selection has no consciousness nor morality. It is a “blind” natural process ). If we want radical changes in society we have to resort to accelerated artificial selection through genetic engineering, not natural selection.
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