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Comment: Re:Denmark has a bigger problem than that (Score 1) 485

by Bongo (#48367069) Attached to: Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Helping people become liberal and desiring of human rights, is an issue which has gotten entangled with ethnocentric nationalistic (what people call "far right") views.

Unfortunately this has meant that the multicultural movement has avoided questioning the far right wherever it is found (Europeans do not have a monopoly on being racists). This in turn has given more ammunition to the European far right to promote racism against foreigners. It is quite tragic really.

The only place to resolve this is to simply promote universal human rights for everyone. This is what many modern thinking Muslims are doing for example, they are questioning their own group's racism, sexism, homophobia, and tribalism, as well as European far right tribalism. Human rights are and should be universal. True for all. But it does seem to be happening, and the Myth of the Muslim Tide is, as the title of that book suggests, immigration is not a scary monster.

But it is important to note that European liberal multiculturalism has tended to label immigrants as being made of groups, and this has only made it harder for liberals inside those groups to escape the conservative entrenched opinions inside those groups, and to get out and support liberal values like equality for women.

Sorry if this post sounds a bit garbled, I am trying to address three points at once, to promote liberal values.

Comment: Re:In spite of this and other similar phenomena... (Score 2) 140

by Bongo (#48334151) Attached to: Robot Makes People Feel Like a Ghost Is Nearby

Well, if they are adamant, I doubt they can back it up.

Having said that, you might read Eben Alexander, an academic neurosurgeon, who would have also agreed that consciousness is the brain.

But one day he fell ill with a severe case of bacterial meningitis, and whilst in a coma, he had vivid complex hallucinations.

When he woke up, he had a problem. His brain had been ill and could not, as far as he knew as a neurosurgeon, his brain could NOT have allowed him to hallucinate anything. His complex brain was in a mush of bacteria, so how come he experienced vivid bright complex dreamscapes with music and people and valleys and thoughts? Where in his brain was that being produced, if his brain was basically shut down, as he understands it?

So now he thinks that consciousness exists also on other levels apart from the physical here.

If you can possibly stomach the titles of his books, at least then you can see what he is basing his views on.

But also don't forget that the consciousess-brain link is considered a hard problem, at least by those who don't wave it off. We know that consciousness and the brain are related, neurones fire when you see shapes, but we don't know how something like sentience ever just emerges out of the brain.

Imagine you build a robot which is as complex as a human, and has software which can respond to its environment and make social interactions and basically be as sophisticated as a human. I think this is quite possible. But here is the issue: it would not need to be sentient. If it is just a machine running a program, why does it need to be sentient? It could do everything, physically process inputs and create outputs, without any need for an observer, someone experiencing the show all the time.

Why are you sentient? What possible advantage is there to you having an experience of existing? The machine, your body, doesn't need an "experiencer". Why aren't you just a machine responding to the environment, "in the dark" as it were. My camera does not need to be sentient to recognise faces, why do I need to be sentient?

So the thing is that, sentience is just strange and we don't know what it is, even though it is our most basic quality.

But anyway, all claims need high scepticism, and an open mind.

Comment: Re:Obviously. (Score 1) 695

There is also some overlap between people who are liberal, humanistic, and value science. So naturally, protecting the planet is both a science question, and an ethical/humanistic question.

But what humanistic people sometimes don't notice, is that there is a long path to trek towards becoming humanistic. We don't know how humans develop, but we know it takes a long time. Consider the Suffragettes, who started out in something like 1892, and yet even today we still don't have equal rights for women in the most developed nations. Extend that to protecting wildlife across the whole planet, even in areas where humans are living with tribal, agrarian, or empire based values/outlooks, and you'll see there is a long way to go to get to "climate justice".

This is where humanistic outlooks have it a bit backwards: most of the work isn't in the so-called first world reducing its emissions, it is in the developing world continuing to grow both materially and socially so that the whole planet becomes populated by humanistic humans. Then you can redistribute wealth as much as you want, because we will all equally and genuinely care.

This isn't to say, don't try to develop cleaner technology, but politically, remember, most development will be social, on a planet where the vast majority, especially in the developing world, still believe in 1500 and 2000 year old myths and base their moral and political decisions on those outlooks.

These people are not going to be wooed into changing their morality towards cooperation at planetary scales, on account of some science.

Comment: Re:Temptation (Score 1) 542

by Bongo (#47798851) Attached to: Grand Ayatollah Says High Speed Internet Is "Against Moral Standards"

It is debatable why, complex history, etc., but some interesting points are that Jesus inserted a virus into the monotheistic movement of the time. Take a couple of messages like, "Render unto Caesar..." and "Turn the other cheek". Did you know that (this or the previous) Ayatollah gave a speech that, "this notion that Jesus said turn the other cheek, is an invention by the West who are trying to undermine Muslims, for no prophet would be so stupid as to say such a thing." (quote from memory, words to that effect). So it could possibly be that Jesus inserted just enough freedom into the culture of the time, that later on, it became easier for Europe to start a long line of questioning "heretical" approaches. Even in 1500 or so, one of the brightest theologians of the time, wrote an essay which basically said, gee, that guy says he is absolutely right and has God on his side, and this other guy also says he is absolutely right and has God on his side, so um... [ here comes the leap of insight for the year 1550ish ] um... they can't BOTH be right? Wow, in like 1550. Then the Render unto Caesar means that Christianity had the semblance of an idea of the separation of Church and State, whereas Islam, basically, doesn't, and adherents often praise it for being "holistic", ie. it should control everything. Even the Koranic passage "there is no compunction in religion" can be read as, you can't force someone to believe, so once you have done your preaching, anyone who still won't convert, just give up on them and eliminate them. Meanwhile, Buddhism, whilst it also has a lot of zealots around the world, at least its founder started with a sort of inquiry, who am I? And that gave it just enough of a rational seed from the outset, some would argue, so it has been more open to change, although, being a religion, still has its share of cultural dogmas about women etc.

Comment: Re:Correlation Does Not Imply Causation (Score 1) 281

by Bongo (#47763367) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

You may be confusing culture with the body. The point of paleo is that our bodies have not changed to handle the huge amounts of sugar which the carbs turn into, carbs grown cheaply using a massive oil supply, so in themselves, no more noble. You can still use your iPhone with paleo you know. How much might we be able to help the environment if we weren't a) ruining it with monoculures like soya, and b) not spending billions on diseases like type II diabetes, heart disease, and potentially even dementia (some suggest it is type III diabetes) ? Even cancer prefers to feed on sugar more than normal cells. I'm not saying these are correct, just don't assume that people in the paleo movement are insensitive clods who tear up the place in their SUVs running down buffalos.

Comment: Re:Correlation Does Not Imply Causation (Score 1) 281

by Bongo (#47763359) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

See Tim Noakes, author of The Lore of Running. He did a 180 and is now all for paleo "banting" for athletes.

See also Lierre Keith, used to be a popular vegan/vegetarian author, until she did a 180 and wrote The Vegetarian Myth, which makes a case for paleo for both health and ethical environmental reasons. Basically, we're using the wrong part of the foodchain, and eating meat isn't the problem, as it's the most efficient place in the ecosystem to sustain humans, the problem is monoculture, including stuff like soya, which destroys biodiversity. Put some cows on a natural pasture.

I don't know if they are right, and you can read and judge for yourself, they are counter-arguments to your question.

Comment: Re:Correlation Does Not Imply Causation (Score 1) 281

by Bongo (#47755181) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

In Paleo we say that carbs create cravings, so yes, the less carbs you eat, the less you crave them. I can happily stand in front of a rack of aromatic pastries and don't even recognise them as food. There's more to Paleo than that though. It isn't just about weight loss, it is about a lifestyle you can do forever. What can one eat for the rest of one's life? Once you take the food pyramid out of it, which created this distorted notion that carbs are the bedrock of all nutrition, and just stick to meat, fish, animal fats, oily fish, eggs, lard and butter, vegetables (starchy ones in smallish quantities, rather mostly greens) then, Paleo would say, things fall into place pretty quickly. No need for psychological hypotheses. And believe me, bacon is very tasty. But it isn't a problem, because the fats are satiating, unlike carbs, which make one hungry again.

Comment: Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (Score 4, Interesting) 465

by Bongo (#47727247) Attached to: Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Still useful... for what? that's the question.

If we're going to move to alternative energy, population control, costing in environmental damage as part of the economy, global justice, etc., climate models don't seem useful for that anymore. They are useful, but not useful enough for that application, still too wide an area of uncertainty. Nobody said the models had to be perfect, just fit for purpose.

Comment: Re: Here we go... (Score 3, Interesting) 454

by Bongo (#47506423) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

I actually agree with this, but two things. Nearly 70 years have passed. The UN drew a line in the sand. What if Germans decided they wanted their land back, which they lost in war? Pakistan was founded at a similar time, largely for a religious group. The UN partly created this problem, the UN needs to solve the refugee crisis which is the Palestinian people, regardless of what their "leadership's" ideas are about changing history.

Comment: Re:"Thus ends "Climategate." Hopefully." (Score 3, Insightful) 497

by Bongo (#47415577) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

Whoever asked for 100%? The errors on the models are so far rather huge.

As for testing, yes, science is tested and challenged. But here's the rub: that process takes time. Sometimes a lot of time. Like 50 years.

Both the scenarios and the time to correct are running into the decades, which is much longer than the window inside which we're supposed to act to avert catastrophe. In other words, both the prediction and the correction haven't come about yet, so anything we do now is based on faith and best guesses.

You can't magic away the risk with a supercomputer and lots of clever people.

Ideally science would be an ever gradual fine grained improvement, but as soon as you deal with complex systems, like human bodies, or diet, or climate, there is just no magic answer. Like you say, we don't have ten planets to run as experiments. As you say, it is not the scientific method as famous for testing things to death repeatedly that is being used. It is guesswork. Educated guesswork carries risks and unintended consequences.

Comment: Re:"Thus ends "Climategate." Hopefully." (Score 2) 497

by Bongo (#47415453) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

I think it was Sam Harris who said that something strange happens when an issue becomes a moral issue. Reason and questioning are no longer allowed. Another weird thing is that people are easily affected to become irrational, when it is being done by the oil lobby, but environmentalists are immune to anything which might corrupt their judgement in a groupthink way. Enviros deconstruct other's hidden motives and agendas, but they themselves are immune. Weird no? To just happen to be in the right? (Real post-modern deconstruction as someone put it, is when you can deconstruct your own cultural groupthink biases before you try to deconstruct someone else's. Most people just use it as a way to attack others, whilst never questioning their own views.)

Personally I am all for a truly global world free of inequality, of the unfairness of being born accidentally in a poor area, and think a global system that integrates development and environment and clean technology with high education and intelligence and happiness and creativity and purposeful existence for all is where humanity and the planet needs to keep striving for. All too often though the mass movements around this sort of thing fall back to old methods, like groupthink and moralistic judgements, forsaking critical discernment. Then when they don't get good results, they blame the big bad oil lobby.

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.

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