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Everything posted by AzurePhoenix

  1. Indeed, and even with matched blood types making things like kidney transplants between humans possible, the donatees still have to take immunosuppressants for the rest of their lives.
  2. Chimp hearts have been successfully transplanted into humans... pig hearts too for that matter. Look up xenotransplantation. Succinct response: No. Response I'm going to regret: Please share with me how your obviously, profoundly erroneous non-understanding of evolution led you to this oh so darling conclusion. Vast amounts of evidence. Comparative anatomy, genetics, the biogeography, fossil record. The latter provides a series of links, from apes (keep in mind, we didn't just evolve from apes, we still are apes) to well before. Here's a likely timeline. ... I feel silly having to point it out, but I think it might be necessary in this case, so I will explain it as simply as I can... What are popularly referred to as "missing links" are just snapshots of more obviously distinguishable "generations" along the evolutionary path. There are no clear demarcations between species or genus or family or so on and so forth. If you could magically line up and look at EVERY reproductive generation between, lets look on the "short" scale, modern Homo sapiens and our last common ancestor with Pan, you would see EVERY generation give birth to its own species, only seeing notable differences when you jumped ahead many, many generations, in which case you'd simply be seeing the cumulative effect of countless tiny generational changes piling up on one another (rather than any one big change or complex of multiple changes occuring simultaneously to create an offspring taxonomically distinct from the parent; this does NOT happen.) As for multiple species evolving from a common ancestor, heres this for a simple comparison; a modern human family spreads out and splits, acquiring subtle changes in customs or mannerisms or surname, so on and so forth. Several generations down the line the original "family" is now a number of distinct, independent families not obviously related to one other. The family may share common traits, but they've developed along various lines, and none likely perfectly resemble their common ancestors in any of these traits, though some more traditional lines of descent may more closely resemble the ancestors they all share. (A family farming out in rural china more closely resemble ancestors of the family as they were hundred years ago, than that family's cousins who moved to the US and became Americanized.) The same general thing happens to organisms. Some populations diverge into multiple lines of descent, slowly acquiring changes, some remaining more traditional, others becoming more obviously distinct, while the original ancestors are dead, as ancestors tend to be, no matter how closely this or that surviving population may or may not resemble them.
  3. I'm close with a former marine, and while he definitely thinks that the underlying foundation of the "ban" is hollow bigotry, he did explain that it was often explained in the form of a group cohesion issue, such as, while an open gay might not weaken a troop by themselves, prejudice and bigotry on the sly against them might, or, more of a stretch, should members of a troop form romantic attachments they might understandably prioritize each other over the mission and either reject their duty or take unacceptable risks. I don't know enough about women in the military to say how this is avoided if it is at all. Seems almost half reasonable at first glance but both of us think its a copout.
  4. Totally subjective. My life matters all the more to me because I'm aware that this is all I've got to work with and had better make the best of it. Wouldn't matter so much if I thought I had eternity to fritter away the time, everyone'd inevitably take it for granted (as most do nowadays with our scant ~80 years.) It'd be nice to be remembered down the road, as a matter of my own ego, but it's not really important, and everyone will be just as forgotten eventually, from you or me to Jesus and Caesar. But that doesn't matter to me because I won't be around by then for it to matter to me, but I am around now and thus my current existence, and the foreseeable continuation of my existence matter to me for the time being. Can't say the same for you or anyone else. As for right and wrong, there is no ultimate basis for right and wrong, good and evil, etc. They're abstract constructs that we create and uphold. The universe has no meaning or purpose beyond what conscious entities can attribute to it, and so right and wrong exists only in the context of the subjective values of beings capable of producing them. In our case, those values are usually rooted in the behaviors we evolved as a social species, further shaped, refined, augmented, supplemented and twisted by culture, society, memetics etc.
  5. I would've gone with "delusion" rather than "hallucination" myself. In this instance, and any other I've ever heard or read, he is by no means cruel. Not even harsh. Just forthright. I was actually kind've disappointed when I finally started reading his stuff, expecting a bold, offensive cruelty, but only found unapologetically polite directness His reputation is definitely not earned
  6. It's obviously fake that IS a tokay gecko, and max, that lizard in the photo is ten or so inches long. The largest geckos in the world aren't much larger than that. The photo is just using misleading perspective to make it look large. Tokay's are common geckos throughout southeast Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc. I can find them in the US so cheap at petstores because theyre so common and frequently imported and bred. This entire thing is a scam, and a pathetically unconvincing one at that.
  7. That looks to me just like a Tokay gecko... they're common pets here, fifty, sixty bucks maybe? Let's assume there is some truth to it, I could buy that its saliva kills the HIV virus, but that's by no means a "cure" (I doubt it's true anyway) More certainly, the antibiotic skin secretions of the White's Green Tree Frog do kill the HIV virus and I could go across the street right now and buy one for 12 bucks.
  8. K, a lot of people are questioning the existence of immorality when morality is obviously advantageous. There are several points of explanation. And for the sake of simplicity, in this post I'm mostly going to regard immorality as that which violates the golden rule. 1) Nothing is perfect and aberrations will occur. 2) Humans are a cultural species, we're not shaped just by our instincts. Our surroundings and upbringing go a long way in shaping our behaviors and world views. For example, this is one reason why kids who grow up in neighborhoods that harbor a prominent gang presence find it extremely difficult to avoid getting involved in the gang life. Religion is another prime example. It's no advantage to me evolutionarily to sacrifice my kid to a god, but if I'd been raised in a religious society where the act was deeply ingrained in us as normal and holy, I'd likely not question having to do it even if I didn't want to. 3) Immorality can be evolutionarily advantageous too, if you can avoid the consequences. When all of a society is cooperative and innocent, all it takes is one mutant "cheater" who is willing to prey on the innocent, exploit them, steal, whatever, to become mightily successful. This means the cheaters will overrun society and quash the moralists unless the moralists themselves go on the defensive. Eventually an evolutionarily stable balance is achieved between the two, with most going about their lives playing by the rules, while cheaters exist in just enough numbers and cheating just enough to avoid arousing too much suspicion and retribution from the cheated masses. I suspect that people who exhibit interpersonal apathy all the way up to low level sociopathy (not to the extent of serial killers, just folks who have no qualms exploiting other folks) aren't necessarily poorly raised or dickish aberrants, but are just examples of this alternative strategy. And in modern western society, I would also suspect it's so much easier to get get away with being self-serving cheater than it was in pre-agricultural days, when you had to live in a very close group of no more than the same few dozen people your entire life. Modern civilization is so vast and complex that not only is it easier to escape notice in the masses, and reasonably never meet the exploited again, but it's far easier to hide your cheating in the complexity of the modern world. Not to mention that as far as I can tell, such behaviors are explicitly tolerated, even highly valued in certain modern fields, such as sales and business, the media, politics, law, etc. In what way is not eating a bunny advantageous to you or your family or larger community? How does killing it hurt you? Point is, eating meat is ultimately a practical thing to do. And so it's practical to kill stuff made out of meat. So there's no reason for it to have become one of humanity's universal standards of immorality
  9. Living here is eating up all of my internet-time!

    1. iNow


      Try living in Singapore. At least Arizona has snowcones. Out here, they have durian ice cream.

    2. AzurePhoenix


      I've never tried Malaysian food...

    3. iNow


      There are a few different kinds. Some is Chinese in origin, other is Malai, or more Muslim in background. Quite good. Wonderful spices, well balanced. Makes American food seem rather boring by comparison. Amazing food from all around the world is perhaps one of the best things Singapore has going for it. Cheers.

  10. Indeed, I just chose the most widely recognizable representative example. Its a pretty obvious strategy to develop in the perpetual dark.
  11. I'm a Phoenician again. I want a snowcone.

  12. Soooo... what's this mystical A then? Obviously it's not the origin of life from non-life itself, since we have lots of good hypothesis with which to fathom that... I doubt you mean the origin of the various chemical compounds that would go on to become life... hrmm... we've got a good handle on where the heavier constituent elements of those compounds came from... and of course the lighter elements formed during the early phases of the big bang via nucleosynthesis before they collected together in stars to get fused into those heavier elements. Leaving you with wherever the Big Bang came from, which, it seems, we have a number of models to work with and fathom that might very well explain it. Maybe they're wrong, maybe they're right, regardless, we're not fathomless. Where would you put A?
  13. I can't help but feel a little bit responsible for originally pointing out the the distinction between "can't" and "can never" Anyhow faith and science are mutually exclusive. They're completely opposite philosophies of thought, and for them to cooperate on equal footing each must compromise itself and its integrity for the sake of the other, while arbitrarily granting sovereignty over certain things to one or the other. Like when the pope claims that evolutionary science can explain the origin of the human form, but not the human mind or morality. Which, of course, is flat out wrong. Science by its nature has a tendency to debunk &/or remove the need for faith, while faith tends to continue on dismissing whatever science might say that conflicts with faith's predetermined acceptance of this idea or that. So, as for the original question of what science can never answer, assuming by "science" we're talking a compromised version of science that's been supplemented with Faith, then I would say that such a science can never answer anything at all.
  14. I find the irony of the post a sufficient counterweight to the despair. Yes, large portions of the US seem to revel in delusion and ignorance the way a raccoon does a sushi dumpster. Point?
  15. Bolas Spiders are particularly spectacular in their luring/hunting methods.
  16. Read my words carefully. You are confusing and mixing together two types of materialism in your opening post. Your initial definition of materialism is wrong for BOTH types. Without quibbling over the semantics of wealth to avoid the point, and preferably after youve looked up explanations for both, since you clearly dont have a clue and I'm too disgusted to do it for you (someone's already posted a correction in fact which you've failed to respond to), PLEASE CLARIFY WHICH MATERIALISM DO YOU ACTUALLY MEAN
  17. My question stands; are you confusedly hybridizing philosophical Materialism with materialistic consumerism, as your strange description of Materialism in the opening post indicates, or are you just talking about a warped interpretation of the latter? So have you changed your mind and abandoned your belief in being open-minded, or did you just never mean it in the first place? Or are you just too spectacularly dense to comprehend the hypocrisy?
  18. No matter how you cut it, Pascal's Wager carries no weight. some might say the wonder of knowledge for knowledge's sake, the satisfaction of an intellectually honest understanding of the universe as it truly is, or others might say freedom from the negative elements imposed on a person's life by religious superstition. See above and below for some suggestions. If God does exist and is the foul, petty douche portrayed in the bible, then yeh, we'll burn. Whatever. If that's what he's like I don't think I'd want to whore out my intellectual integrity just to suck up to the king of raving tyrants even for the bribe of eternal paradise (I'd want to get as far from Him as possible) If He does exist, but is a truly benevolent, reasonable being worthy of worship (completely unlike the god of the bible), it's hard to imagine that he would penalize good, well-meaning atheists for misguidedly but honestly following where their intellect led them, in which case, no harm done, we'll all laugh about it with Him in the afterlife over a round of beers. Or, He doesn't exist and no harm done anyway, and we can content ourselves in the meantime with the reward of honest knowledge. While some more nihilistic or satisfactorily fulfilled atheists might not mind the concept of oblivion, plenty of us are perfectly happy to admit that we'd prefer a nice stay in paradise (personally, I like the version in What Dreams May Come). But because one sounds nicer than the other doesn't make it legitimate. I would PREFER if I had a billion dollars in my bank account, but I don't, and lying to myself isn't going to change that. If anything, the lives of SOME (certainly not all) religious folks definitely would have been better if they hadn't spent theirs' striving to be pious or to earn their way into heaven, possibly plagued by guilt or shame or fear or revulsion at their so-called sinful nature. When they die, if there is no afterlife, they'll have ended up wasting the only shot at living a good, happy life they'll ever get. The ultimate failing of Pascal's Wager is that it proposes a coin toss. Heads or Tails. Judeo-Christendom or Atheism. But that ignores all the other options. What if you're being such a good christian that you fail to die a valorous death in combat, and you're sent to the dreary Norse underworld of Hel rather than Odin's hall in Valhalla? Or maybe Christianity was right, but Fundamentalist Mormonism in particular, and you damn yourself by not having enough wives. Or what if you don't properly preserve your body or stock your tomb or regularly receive fresh offerings? Ending up destitute in the world of the dead, receiving no food with which to nourish your Ka, your Ba ruinously bound to your decaying, non-mummified corpse, destroying any possible hope of even being able to get to Duat in order take your tests, much less pass them and win entry into Aaru in the first place. For that matter it would suck to get stranded on the banks of the River Styx just because some cheapskate forgot to leave coins over your eyes back in your grave. So if you DO get it wrong, you'd better hope that Hinduism, Buddhism or Jainism, or even Scientology are right, giving you chances at do-overs. Or Zoroastrianism, since in the end Ahura Mazda will considerately and benevolently go out of his way to purify and redeem each and every soul anyhow, no matter what they believed.
  19. It's not a violation if the net energy of the universe equals zero
  20. Anglerfish have lures on their heads, that they wiggle to draw in prey by mimicking the movements and light of their own. Alligator Snapping Turtles have worm-like lures on their tongues, the Margay Cat was just discovered to mimic the calls of a type of monkey to draw them in, and a species of firefly (really beetles), in which the female is flightless mimics the sexual signals of other firefly species to draw in males of the mimicked species in question, in order to eat them. Even some predatory plants lure prey with sweet nectar or rotten scents and the like. Apologies... lost track of myself.
  21. SIGH, got my hopes up. Hilarious though.
  22. AzurePhoenix

    Animal Size

    We do it all the time with livestock. Giant European rabbits, certain breeds of cattle or pig or what have you for meat production. Draft horses vs miniature horses. Or just about any dog breed. No reason you couldn't do it with genetic engineering, if you worked out what to tweak, but you'd need a reason why and it has to be worth the investment.
  23. Individual perceptions of qualia, by the very nature of the concept, are indeed beyond the realm of verification. But for all intents and purposes, experience indicates that it's safe to assume that under normal circumstances we can communicate or comprehend one another well enough. While we can't prove that you see red the same way I do, such sciences can and often do go a long way in explaining why we react to different to it differently. You're example comes closer to my point than it does your own. She has no exposure to or knowledge of red. So she has no opinion about it whatsoever, because she has no experience from which to draw associations with it. As a human being, she has more complexity than, say, a bird, which may react to such a flagrant, and often cautionary color as red with fear, so it's harder to determine how she would react to seeing red the first time, but I contend that a psychologist who had studied such things, and was familiar with Sally's general characteristics and past, would be able to predict how she might react to seeing the color red with reasonable accuracy. As I pointed out above, even if qualia theory is valid, which, philosophically I grant you it may be, for all intents and purposes experience tells us that we might as well ignore whatever impact it might have. Our past experiences, long-term exposure, and/or social and cultural norms can go a long way to shaping our preferences, the tastes we might acquire over time in relation to beat or rhythm or what have you. Can you really claim that we have no capacity to understand why small town farming folk tend to prefer country western music while low income inner-city folks are more likely to prefer rap? This study for instance seems to make some valuable observations about why we like what we do Reading a couple of your other posts elsewhere regarding your peculiar phrasing has led me to believe that perhaps I have to ask you what "means" means before I can accurately examine what you're saying. Yes, and there are other suggested interpretations that remove consciousness from the equation. Clarification; what distinct elements are you suggesting we can not understand? I agree on all points, leading me to ask, when you say "can't", do you mean, "can not as of now answer," or "can never answer" ?
  24. I can't help but feel it's important to ask whether or not you're confusing and hybridizing the seculr philosophical concept of Materialism with the absolutely distinct socio-economic sort of materialism related to economic consumerism... or if you're JUST talking about the latter, in which case, why are you bringing it up in relation to secularism?
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