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CharonY last won the day on October 17

CharonY had the most liked content!

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2325 Glorious Leader


About CharonY

  • Rank
    Biology Expert

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  • Location
    somewhere in the Americas.
  • Interests
    Breathing. I enjoy it a lot, when I can.
  • College Major/Degree
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Biology/ (post-)genome research
  • Biography
    Labrat turned grantrat.

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  1. Like it or not, a big part is a referendum on identity politics. One, which is basically based on white supremacy or the other which at least outwardly embraces the diversity as a result of demographic shifts.
  2. I think it requires more than that and while I am not well-read enough to actually comment in this area, I am generally a bit skeptical about claims which pinpoint complex situations to a simple source. Also the timeline does not line up. Some famous work in astronomy was performed by Al-Tusi in the 13th century and continued by his followers. While the golden age of science in the Islamic world may have passed after the 13th century, they still remained relevant for a few centuries more. In fact, the first proper formulations of occasionalism were around roughly around the time when Islamic science flourished. One of the arguments I read was that because of the desire to seek the divine truth, scholars embarked on studying the natural world (seems also simplistic, but at least the timeline fits better). Past the 14th century or so we might see a decline (or perhaps it is a matter of perspective, the West was catching up, in part by reading translations of Islamic Scholars). But if we want to talk about the reasons, I think we need to think broader. It is not only a philosophical problem, but one of finances and political power. Arab influence was waning and repulsed from Spain, losing centres of Islamic scholarship. In the east the Mongols were a major threat, breaking up power structures and stability that existed for a long time and arguably resulted in shifts in priorities. Then the Ottoman empire came along which had a completely different structure and again, we would need to re-think the impact on scholarly pursuit. But then we can also ask ourselves the question whether it actually declined? Scientific progress is not a linear chart. Sometimes key findings are required and sometimes folks are led horribly astray. Ultimately Islamic science flourished for almost a thousand years. Only because the Western system of science is leading, it does not mean that this was the only way it could have happened. After all Europe had the industrial revolution and all the power that ultimately came with it (which arguably was more an economic rather than philosophical change). And I think it is very dangerous to look back and then see it as a inevitable and then build stories about why it was inevitable. Sometimes things happened because someone lost a critical battle. Or someone else died too young. Edit: forgot to add that considering the fact that occasionlism was discussed heavily in the 18th century onward (some might even put an earlier date on it) I doubt that one can draw a causal (heh) link.
  3. While I am not well read in that area, I do not think that this is an accurate depiction of Islamic occasionalism. From what I understand at its core it seeks to answer how causality can be viewed in the context of divine actions. As such depending on which form of occasionalism one subscribes to either only God is the source of causality and all other creaturely causality are occasional (global occasionalism). Other forms have a more limited scope for ocassionalism and allow for more creaturely causality (local occasionalism. While Islamic philosophers were probably the first to formulate occasionalism, there are disagreements whether they are actually seen as a global occasionalism (as implied in OP). However, my knowledge is too limited to provide more information on that regard. It should also noted in the Islamic tradition there have been arguments for and against what one would now call global vs local occasionalism. The interesting bit about this position in my mind, however, is not so much the divine part, but the important implication it had for the Aristotelian school of thought where (as I understand it) logical connections between entities were inferred as part of their properties. The occasionalist stance then is that one should instead assume a lack of such connections. Depending on who you read, to me the take home message here is not that there is no link between observed cause and effect, but rather there is no necessary link, which is a very interesting point (substitute God with something like Truth or something like that and it gets really interesting... you can then ask what is the true causal connection between observed entities?) And now to the question whether occasionalism could have arisen in the Christian world and the answer is of course, it actually did. While Islamic and other philosophers made occasionalist arguments, occasionalism was heavily developed in the framework of Cartesian metaphysics (e.g. Malebranche). I would also like to point out that in both, Islamic as well as Christian frameworks, God is seen as rational rather than arbitrary (that is why even everything stems from the divine entity, things happen in reproducible manner). Also what you mentioned regarding creation sounds to me like the the so-called Divine conservation s but continuous creation argument. Again, one made both by Islamic as well as Christian scholars.
  4. I think that is a good way of putting it. Ultimately a scientist contributes to our understanding of the world or some aspects of it.
  5. There are certain areas where I am sure that non-professionals can and have contributed. This is probably most dominant in areas where data collection and observational studies lead to insights (what some folks wrongly proclaim to be stamp collecting). This also includes aspects of traditional (in some areas also called indigenous) knowledge, where empirical knowledge has been integrated into science literature. Due to the way the system works, there is often (but not always) a professional scientist involved at some point, but mostly to translate the information in a way that is more cohesive.
  6. Here are a few reports outlining mitigation strategies in Africa. An somewhat older article from May https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/what-african-nations-are-teaching-the-west-about-fighting-the-coronavirus And a newer one looking at some of the key elements: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-54418613 In Europe, Canada and USA it seems that contact tracing has been reportedly overwhelmed by cases and they basically scaled down in many areas, which again shows how harmful the initial delays were. And it is still surprising to me that it has not been ramped up to a similar scale or following model from other countries. E.g. Japan was doing old-school contact tracing without apps and surprisingly successful, too.
  7. Simple rules. But darn is it difficult to get folks to adhere. Well, at least in Europe and Americas that is.
  8. Well, it is also fueled by the fact that especially among younger folks there are many who are basically asymptomatic, even if they are positive. People are just very bad in understanding large numbers. Even if, say only 3% of folks in younger age get hospitalized it is still a huge number if the numbers of infections are high. And right now, we do not have means to accurately predict whether a given person, even if young and healthy might have severe symptoms or even die. I am astonished how many students do not get that and assume that the numbers mean that they won't get sick.
  9. The XKCD one? https://what-if.xkcd.com/1/
  10. It is getting a bit off topic, and I apologize, but I would like to add that the early recommendations were based on three assumptions: 1) folks had to be symptomatic to spread 2) spreaders wearing masks have a strong effect, but it offers weak protection (compared to other measures) if one is not a spreader and wearing it and 3) PPE should be primarily reserved for health care professionals. What has changed is really 1) as it eventually became clear that folks can spread without symptoms. At this point the logic switched and everyone should wear a mask as anyone (without knowing) could be a spreader. And as a side note I would like to re-iterate that masks are no replacement for other measures, such as hand washing and distancing as much as possible.
  11. ! Moderator Note Since the thread is not going into a positive direction it is locked for now. Also note that we do not tolerate slurs against any groups.
  12. I hope you mean to say that there is no clear evidence regarding the origin of the virus (before it jumped to humans). The conclusion that it does not exist at all is of course ridiculous.
  13. Well excess death is around 300k. But models do predict potentially 400k. Though the US is not the only Western Country with increases(they just never really pushed it down). I still folks would have learned from countries who did...
  14. Potentially more if one calculates excess deaths (though not all of them can be necessarily contributed to COVID-19 alone).
  15. I think the most striking thing of it all was Santorum's after-debate discussion comment in defense of Trump:" First of all, we do not keep kids in cages anymore...". Says pretty much all there is to say regarding the hypocrisy of a pro-life stance, I think.
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