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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.

Comment: Re:Two things (Score 1) 85

by Bongo (#47270341) Attached to: The Game Theory of Life

Phenomena manifest in many ways, many perspectives.

The colour "red" is a human phenomena, and the notion of "wavelengths" and "energy" are also something humans see/have/experience as phenomena. You can then use signifiers, signified, words, sounds, etc. to say "red" for what you see in your vision as "red" whilst noting on some instrument the "wavelength".

There is no really real reality beyond your experience of sights, sounds, concepts, etc. -- reality which we can speak of, IF we can't observe it. In this sense, you don't create reality, but likewise, hallucinations are "real" for you. There is basically no firm ground to stand on, hence phenomena are "empty". But that doesn't mean YOU are creating "reality", what you are is a phenomena experiencing machine, which has a set of senses. The point is, we can't ask is the equation "real", because we can't access the truly real reality directly anyway. Whatever the "sun" is, we know it rises and sets, as experienced by all human beings and animals. Your sight of the sun is as real as the mathematical formula describing its motion and vice versa.

Whether you're experiencing a mathematical abstract idea or a colour in your vision, that's what you have and it is co-created perception, just like you need a lens to focus light. That doesn't mean we create reality, rather we create our dream implicitly by being an instrument which can experience.

It is a lot easier if you think of the mind as just another sense organ. So sight is a sense organ, and mathematics is a sense organ. Thoughts are a sense organ. Just because you see red doesn't mean reality is made of redness. Your senses manifest that particular representation/perspective.

What I think most people mean by "reality" in the everyday sense of the word is that this stuff over here correlates with that stuff over there. A real car correlates with death if you stand in the middle of the road. A hallucinatory car (which looks as real as the real one) doesn't. Your math equation is "real" if it correlates with the stuff you're modelling.

So to try to answer the question, the math equation is "created" in the sense that a human thought of it, but it is no more separate from reality than the phenomena you're trying to study, because that phenomena is itself something your perceptual senses are "creating" also. We never see the really real directly. Seeing is an activity. Not that it makes much difference. Trouble is we are sentient and so sentience is always part of whatever it is you're "seeing out there".

It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.