“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”
― Mark Twain
“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly, those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?”
― Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder
“Free will is defined as the belief that there is a component to biological behavior that is something more than the unavoidable consequences of genetic and environmental history of the individual and the possible stochastic laws of nature” (i.e., the laws of physics and chemistry)
That is, there is something that you can do that violates naturalism and the laws of physics and chemistry. Which is making free decisions, one can not simply obviate the laws that predominate reality, this is the bone of my contention and why I reject the very notion of free will. We live in a universe that is determined at bottom by fundamental particles, so to say you as an individual can intervene and induce the system via your own will is absurd. We are animals constituted of baryonic matter whose actions are determined by the laws of physics and chemistry, our environment and the stochastic nature of reality promulgated by quantum indeterminacy. Continue reading
The business of business is to do business and maximize profits, so we need to inhibit their ability to externalize cost in the form of lack of safety, lack of health, and destruction of the commons.
– Sam Seder
“We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.”
― H.L. Mencken, Minority Report
This graceful arc is an example of a cosmic phenomenon known as an Einstein ring. The ring is created as the light from distant objects, like galaxies, pass by an extremely large mass, such as the apparent galaxy cluster in the image.
The light from a background galaxy is diverted and distorted around the massive intervening cluster. Due to the creation of a gravitational well created by the sheer mass of the galactic cluster, time and space are literally warped, forcing light to travel along various distinctive light paths toward Earth, making it seem as though the galaxy is in several places at once producing the Einstein ring.
This primordial and inconceivably enormous universe never ceases to amaze, intrigue, and inspire me, as I learn more about it, and its connection to us humans, on the small blue pebble, we call Earth. And as always, now, what will you think💭?
By our very nature, we humans are natural sinks of profound error, and throughout time we have been able to deem, through conjecture and dissertation of empirical evidence (science) that certain claimed roots to knowledge are erroneous. Such as that of authority, scripture, dogma, the feeling of subjective certainty (intuition), charisma, revelation, tradition, faith, and the hermeneutic parsing of ‘sacred’ text. The antithesis of what these supposed claimed roots of knowledge allegedly sought was discovered, in that, they conversely generated delusion, not erudition.
Through the disapprobation of those claimed roots to knowledge only one generator of truth accretion has been found, that being science broadly construed, fueled by the ability to offer hypotheses and to see if they can withstand falsifiability via logical consistency and empirical evidence. If this freedom to present wrong hypotheses and open criticism were to be taken away, then we would be left without the only fuel that generates truth, leaving society suspended in a state of ignorance and self-deception. And as always, now, what will you think💭?
“To find someone you love and for that person to return that love, walking together in life on the same path, that is the greatest and only kind of miracle that exists in this world, time is precious, make it count.”
On more than one occasion, I have come across the school of thought that brandishes religion as useful, while acknowledging that it is an untrue convention created by humankind. But I found this to be a non sequitur because religion, in some cases, could be useful, but in light of that, it is empty of all content and truth; functioning like a placebo. We can’t just believe things based on their utility, this line of dubious reasoning leads to a whole host of deleterious consequences. We should strive to have our conscious state and emotional life track the reality of our circumstances in the world, conforming to it if you will, as the mysteries of this grand universe are uncovered. Skepticism, fallibilism, open debate, candidness, and empirical testing are the sole ways we should formulate reliable knowledge about the universe and ourselves.
I would also like to add that this is a profoundly condescending, cynical, pessimistic and unimaginative view, the idea that, I and you don’t need religion, but of course the rift raft out there needs to be sedated by pious delusions. Not to mention there is real social, environmental, and economic cost associated with being entrenched in this grand delusion. Ranging from personal cognitive dissonance which generates stress, to the needless subversion of the health and safety of millions, through the imposition of a heritage of contradiction and obfuscation on our social institutions. Continue reading
Human genomic DNA contains a gene called CYP1A2, in past research this gene has been linked to influencing caffeine metabolism in humans (Sachse, Christoph, et al., 2003). CYP1A2 encodes the enzyme CYP1A2, created in the liver this gene is the main enzyme that demethylates caffeine which is crucial to the initial steps of metabolizing caffeine in humans (Butler et al., 1989). Caffeine demethylation by CYP1A2 gene produces two products either paraxanthine (major product) or theobromine (minor product). The CYP1A2 gene is located on the 15q24.1 chromosome (Sachse et al., 1999) and shares a promoter region with a gene titled CYP1A1. Within one intron of the CYP1A2 gene, there is located a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP. It is nominated as rs762551; encoding either an A or a C nucleotide (Chida et al., 1999; Sachse et al., 1999). Studies in the past have exhibited that fast caffeine metabolism occurs in individuals who are homozygous for A, while those who metabolize caffeine more slowly are homozygous for C or are heterozygous AC (Sachse et al., 1999). However, in other research, this rudimentary interpretation of the CYP1A2 involvement in caffeine metabolism has been challenged. Instead, differences in caffeine metabolism may be better explained by changes in the expression level of mRNA due to the polymorphic locus existence on a regulatory region of the gene (Nakajima, Miki, et al., 1999).
Here, it was investigated which CYP1A2 allele is encoded in multiple individuals genomes, whether or not we have the SNP that encodes A or C nucleotide. By using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to amplify the CYP1A2 gene, restriction fragment digestion, which allows for the detection of single nucleotide variation to identify the CYP1A2 allele. Subsequently using gel electrophoresis to visualize the restriction fragments, and finally, bioinformatics analysis to aid in the interpretation of the gathered data comparing it to other mammals. Continue reading
It would behoove us to precisely explain our selves in place of using labels, to avoid the fallacy of attributing attitudes to others that may not be fully expressed by a label. While labels may be efficient and necessary shortcuts when explaining who we are, we shouldn’t rely on them to accurately or meaningfully characterize ourselves. Labels may allow others to generalize and get a more clear picture of a position, than in the absents of a descriptor, but in most cases, this terminates in mischaracterized attributions.
For it is dubious to expect others to understand us with solely the aid of one description, the assertion that labels are genuinely capable of expressing the totality of an individuals position is ambivalent at best. For irrespective of the argument, there is almost always a spectrum of perspectives, even within supposedly homogeneous ideologies.
Giving a nuanced description of one’s ideologies and beliefs may remedy many cognitive errors when it comes to understanding others. We should think of labels as insufficient tags that are remarkably malleable, it should be understood that they only give us a vague conception of a position. If one would like to inquire further into an idea, then some extensive analysis is in order. And as always, now, what will you think💭?
The addictive properties of cannabis, as well as the potential health consequences, has long been a subject of contention within public discourse. But a string of recent studies has truly aided in the elucidation of the genuine consequences of this supposedly dangerous drug. While some concerns should be taken before indulging in this recreation, you will find that it is no more dangerous than other products one could find on the shelves of most stores today. Here, I will try and answer 2 questions, Is cannabis addictive? And does cannabis cause potential health problems? Continue reading