SCIENCE (from the Latin for 'knowledge') informs wisdom, reason and humanism. This is a 4-legged worldview within reality that maximizes well-being for individuals and society.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

We Are Talking To Ourselves As The World Collapses

I have been a very active and vocal promoter of science-based thinking.  Why?  This is why. What has it led to?  In truth, not much.  Want evidence?  The recent decades of increasing anti-science ideology and dogma culminating in the 2016 US Presidential election results will do.   (NOTE:  this is in addition to Trump's lying and character issues)

Please let me digress a bit before launching into the main reason for this post.  Science literally means "knowledge."  The opposite of knowledge is ignorance, which ruled the planet until the beginning of the "Enlightenment" and the scientific revolution.  Would anyone really want to live in the ignorance prior to this change?  Then why let it creep back into society?   Steven Pinker talks about the positive effects of enlightened and scientific thinking.  Sam Harris challenges the claim that science is morally neutral.  Following are points from Sam's ideas that everyone who thinks science only deals with "is" and not "should" needs to be aware of (Credit: Harriet Hall, the author of the article):

Humans, Animals And Original Sin

Christian apologists claim that God created man in his own image and man initially was "Sin-free."  However, after "The Fall", humans were now capable of "Sin."  Besides the facts of evolution and that humans evolved as a group and not as a pair, science in recent years has showed us that our behavior is not that unlike our closest relatives.  Also consider that human and animal aggression are not that dissimilar.

Now look at evolution and morality.  Science shows us that humans are more cooperative and altruistic than any of our closest relatives.  If this is the case, what did humanity really "Fall" from?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Christianity Falsified

Below are several links to articles presenting evidence that much of the New Testament is forged and that virtually all of its claims on reality have been falsified:

1352 Reasons Christianity is False *

Half of New Testament forged, Bible scholar says

MORE CONTRADICTIONS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

The Bible is Fiction: A Collection Of Evidence

Biblical scientific errors

Some Reasons Why Humanists Reject The Bible

* There was an attempt to rebut this article by a Christian apologist (see the last part).  Not only did he not adhere to the author's request to address ALL of the reasons, he attacked the cited material through ad hominem, and quotes the Bible and his cherry-picked apologists only.  He essentially did not address one significant point within the article. It was tediously long and a total waste of time for him, SMH.   If you disagree, let's have at it.

The History Of Reporting On Climate Change And Exposing Deniers

"Across centuries, the scientific literature documents climate research unceasingly. But from week to week, ephemeral journalism reports it unevenly. Climate-change deniers can exploit the unevenness, falsely portraying the science as unseriously contrived, not painstakingly established. That’s a reason for attention to Andrew Revkin’s New York Times posting “News coverage of coal’s link to global warming, in 1912”—and to other reporting that embraces climate science’s development since the 19th century and recognizes how the subject has, or has not, been publicly discussed."

Climate science’s long history matters—and so does the history of news reporting about it

Friday, November 11, 2016

Tricks Regarding Alternatives To Medicine "Research"

"Alternative medicine is an area that is now beginning to attract a reasonable amount of research. If we cast a critical eye on what emerges from it, we are bound to be harshly disappointed. The journals of alternative medicine are full of studies apparently showing that this or that alternative therapy is efficacious. Yet there are several compelling reasons to be sceptical about such findings. Much of what is being published in this area is hardly worth the paper it is printed on, and many of the researchers of alternative medicine are pseudo-scientists who seem about as trustworthy as a £4 note."

How to fool the public with a clinical trial that can’t fail

Climate Change Policies Are On The Front Burner Now

"The political right has to abandon their conspiracy narrative about climate change. Likewise, the political left has to abandon their prejudices against nuclear power. This is an issue that needs to be solved and if both sides come together and are willing to be reasonable we can do it."

Trump and Climate

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Another Example Of How The Brain Can Fool Us

"For 99 percent of hominid history, social communication consisted of face-to-face interactions with someone you’ve hunted and foraged with most of your life. But then the recognition and familiarity components got pried apart by modern technology. By “modern technology,” I mean a newfangled invention that came along a few millennia ago—you could communicate with someone by putting scratches of ink on a piece of paper, and then sending that paper a great distance where they’d decode it. Wait, you know someone by their microexpressions, their pheromones, their totality—not by implicitly assessing word frequency in their letter or the scrawl of their signature. This was a first technological blow to the usual primate sense of familiarity. And the challenges have accelerated exponentially from there."

A long article, but very interesting if you are into brain science.

To Understand Facebook, Study Capgras Syndrome

Eye Injuries In Children

"'Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the United States and most injuries occurring in school-aged children are sports-related,' states the National Eye Institute. 'Protective eyewear, which is made of ultra-strong polycarbonate, is 10 times more impact resistant than other plastics, and does not reduce vision. All children who play sports should use protective eyewear -- not just those who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. For children who do wear glasses or contact lenses, most protective eyewear can be made to match their prescriptions.'"

Eye Injuries in Youth Sports, and Where They Come From

Reflections On The Trump Victory

The USA has just finished one of the longest and the most polarized, nasty election in my memory.  Virtually half of the country is in the state of depression and worry with the other half ecstatic and happy.  What do we do within this reality?  Do we hunker down within our ideology or do we try to get along and understand each other better?

Is there an approach to political action that can tap into the shared values of most people in our constitutionally secular democratic republic?  I propose that we come together using wisdom, reason and humanism, informed by science.

Following are links to articles in today's Charlotte Observer that I think are beneficial for all to reflect upon:

A close election and a divided America

Our hopes for a Trump presidency

Trump wins: 4 tips to help depressed progressives beat post-election blues

This article is directed toward those who voted for Donald Trump.  Please understand that those of us who accept the truth that science is the best way to know reality are deeply concerned about Trump's views on science.

“Donald Trump’s presidential election win stuns scientists”

This article will summarize my opinion of those who voted for the man.

Why it is so hard to empathize with Trump voters

What make Trump tick, in his own words, and how it is against what has worked historically in the USA:

http://www.vox.com/a/donald-trump-books

In closing, THIS is the REAL record of Obama's accomplishments during his eight years as President of the USA. Here's hoping that you, Mr. Trump, will at least come close to achieving what he did. Oh, please note: he did this with minimal Republican cooperation.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

New Testament Mention Of Prayer's Effects Are Falsified

"Christian parents are in a bind. Does prayer work the way Jesus said it does? Prayer as described by Jesus is powerful medicine, though there are different kinds of medicine. A bottle of sleeping pills left in the kitchen where small children could find it is reckless … unless it’s homeopathic medicine, which is just pretend medicine. Is prayer like homeopathic medicine—powerful in name only?"

 Irresponsible Use of the Awesome Power of Prayer

A "Manhattan Project" For Understanding The Brain

"Punching through to the next level of understanding of how our brains work may just require this level of collaboration. Obviously, not every research question is this complex and will require such a model. The big questions of science, however, likely do."

A New Collaborative in Neuroscience

Trump Is A Symptom

This article was posted by me on Facebook 3 years ago.  After what so many of my fellow USA voters did this election cycle, I just had to post it today on this blog.  I have no more to say about the election at this time.

Why is accommodating respect for faith-based beliefs stupid and irresponsible?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Fake News Websites

Following are links to fake news website lists:

Snopes

Wikipedia

About

Facebook

Fake News Watch

Granite Crok

Media Bias/ Fact Check


OR, just do a Google search for the website in question.

Polls Are Not Scientific

"Earlier, we published an article explaining why there is no such thing as a scientific poll. In a nutshell, because polling relies on good but sometimes inaccurate assumptions, it is far more art than science. As we noted, "Tweaking [voter] turnout models is more akin to refining a cake recipe than doing a science experiment." Still, since American pollsters are good at their jobs, polls tend to be correct more often than not."

Nate Silver's 'Chance of Winning' Election Forecasts Are Complete Nonsense

The Election In Some Perspective Regarding Science

"In order to refresh our minds with some cleansing thoughts, let's focus on something America does really well: Science. Regardless of the outcome of Election Day 2016, the following facts will remain true:"

Whoever Wins on Election Day 2016, American Science Is Still #1 in the World

Being Positive Isn't Bad, But - - -

"Many people like myself who are living with a chronic disease and a dying family member find that without an emphasis on the bright side of things, the negatives would be too overwhelming. However, I believe it is important to be careful with generalizations about positivity. As in the example above, saying that 'patients whose moods were overall more positive were 58 percent more likely to live at least another five years' is a misrepresentation of the data. Used as medical advice in popular media venues, such generalizations are bound to have social and cultural repercussions."

Positive Psychology and Health

Monday, November 7, 2016

Moral Dilemmas

Religious folks like to tout their dogmatic "morality" instead of realizing that morality really is not as "Black and White" as they believe.  A clear example of this gray area is the Trolley Car Problem. as well as the decisions made regarding going to war with "the other."  Now, consider the abortion debate and "Pro-life."  Here, there are two entities: an independent adult and a potential human person depending on the mother for its progress toward independent personhood.  The "Pro-life" folks just ignore biology and bodily autonomy to promulgate their dogma.  I am willing to wager that these same people would not agree to an answer to the trolley problem.  'Nuff said.

Abrahamic Religions Are Essentially Violent Philosophies

" Abrahamic religions like Christianity and Islam are fundamentally violent philosophies with violent Gods. Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and others have all reiterated essentially the same thing."

Religion is Literally Killing Us

The Brain And The Immune System

"But over the past two decades, researchers have recognized that the entire immune system is very much a part of a functional CNS, with vital roles in cognition, injury repair, neurodegenerative disease, and sensory systems. Microglia pervade the CNS, including the white and gray matter that constitute the organ’s parenchyma. Other immune cells, including T cells, monocytes, and mast cells, reside in the brain and spinal cord’s outer membranes, known as the meninges, and circulate in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)."

Immune System Maintains Brain Health

Evidence That Philosophy And Psychology Have Their Pseudoscientists

"A new volume of papers on panpsychism edited by philosophers Godehard Bruntrup and Ludwig Jaskolla just appeared with Oxford University Press. It features paper by prominent philosophers David Chalmers, Galen Strawson and Brian McLaughlin, among many others. According to the traditional version of panpsychism, everything around you is conscious: the chair your are sitting on, the rock you use as a doorstopper at home and the thick hurricane-safe windows in your office. Panpsychism literally means that particular kinds of psychological states are embedded in everything. An alternative to the traditional view is the view that everything around you has a form of rudimentary consciousness."

Is There Consciousness in Everything?

A Major Medical Journal Goes To The Dark Side

"Dr. David Spiegel, the medical director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine says, 'I don’t think we’re at the point where it’s an obvious science yet, but I think we’re heading in that direction.' I think that JAMA should read that line again. If they are publishing articles highlighting approaches that are not backed by science - then medicine is going down a very dangerous road. And, JAMA is leading the way."

AMA highlights alternative approaches with no scientific evidence

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Religion Exposed As Not Compatible With Reality

If this debate was a sporting event, the Mercy Rule would be invoked.  This is one of the better videos starkly contrasting religion with science.  The answer is clearly NO!!!

Are religion and science compatible?

Bill Maher Exposed

"Though occasionally funny, Mr. Maher is not half as clever as he imagines himself to be. The dangerous gibberish that he spouts as enlightenment, combined with his complete lack of self-awareness, means the irony of his latest diatribe was entirely lost upon him. Unfortunately, far too many Americans still tune in, letting their worldviews be shaped by a fool posing as a wise man."

Anti-Vaxxer Bill Maher Preaches the Importance of Knowledge

Friday, November 4, 2016

Get Rid Of Daylight Savings Time

"The strongest arguments support not only doing away with the switches but keeping the nation on daylight saving time year-round. Yet humans adapt. If we abandon the twice-yearly switch, we may eventually slide back into old routines and habits of sleeping in during daylight. Daylight saving time is the coordinated alarm to wake us up a bit earlier in the summer and get us out of work with more sunshine."

Daylight Saving Time Isn't Worth the Trouble

Replication Of Studies A Key Component Of Research

"One very dominant pattern that I see on a frequent basis is the tendency to cite preliminary evidence as if it is rock-solid and confirmed. People will worry about the health effects of GMOs or vaccines because of a few flawed studies. They will promote the health benefits of a supplement based upon a preclinical study that is many steps removed from actual clinical claims. They will accept a new phenomenon as real based on studies that have never been replicated."

Reproducibility is Critical

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