What is the purpose of life?

The question of the purpose of life has preoccupied philosophers, poets, thinkers and the like, for thousands of years. Clearly, it’s a tricky one. It is surprising that pharmaceutical companies have not addressed this issue… yet… 🙂

From the materialistic/atheistic/evolutionary perspective, the answer to this question is clear: Since the universe and life are the products of purposeless, random processes, life itself has no purpose or meaning either…
While materialists could argue that it is still possible to find some kind of meaning in life, in the end there doesn’t seem to be an ultimate purpose in life without some kind of hope that theistic supporters look forward to…

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Suicide evolution and determinism bamboozle

Many recent, and not so recent, suicides of celebrities, stirred up some questions whether humanity is actually progressing, or evolving, especially when the noticeable increase of mental health issues is taken into consideration, such as depression or anxiety disorders that often lead to suicidal thoughts and suicide…

My question is: How does suicide fit into the evolutionary theory?

Also:

How does suicide fit into the deterministic notion popular among many evolutionists and materialists who claim that humans have no free will?

Here is how one article Why Doesn’t Evolution Discourage Suicide? elaborated on the issue of suicide in light of evolution:

“Humans, like all animals, are designed to pass along genes to the next generation. But ending your own life means, in stark evolutionary terms, cutting off, or harming your future reproductive success. When young people kill themselves, their genes are eliminated from the gene pool; when adults kill themselves they can no longer care for dependent children; when elderly people kill themselves, they, too, abdicate the role of caring parent for the next generations.”

So, suicide, even thoughts of suicide, makes no sense, at least from an evolutionary point of view…

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The Heart is Not a Machine, it is a Work of Art

In the following video Alexander Tsiaras calls the development of the human heart magnificent oragami as the heart forms with cells developing  at a rate of one million per second.

Conception to birth — visualized

It is generally believed that the heart acts as a pressure pump forcing an inert fluid through the lungs and through the bodily tissues and organs. There is evidence that this is not the case and that it is more accurate to view the heart as an organ which regulates the dynamic activity of the blood. Continue reading

Does quantum entanglement violate relativity?

Ever since the implications of quantum entanglement between particles became unavoidable for physicists and cosmologists, the doubt of the accuracy or completeness of Einstein’s general and special theory of relativity became real… Einstein himself called quantum entanglement “spooky action at a distance” because the possibility of faster than speed of light transfer of information between two entangled particles (no matter what distance between them) would violate relativity and the fundamentals of one of the most successful theories in science…

Recently, however, several experiments have confirmed that entanglement is not only real but it seems to violate relativity.

The results of the first experiment have provided the speed of entanglement, which was measured to be at least 10.000 times faster than the speed of light. here

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Climate change killed the aliens and will kill us too: a case study in GIGO

Ever wondered why we haven’t met any aliens yet? Live Science Senior Editor Brandon Specktor thinks he knows the answer: technologically induced climate change (caused by excessive energy use) may have killed them all off, and it’ll kill us off too, if we don’t get our act together real fast and switch to sustainable sources of energy. In an eye-catching article titled, Climate Change Killed the Aliens, and It Will Probably Kill Us Too, New Simulation Suggests (Live Science, June 6, 2018), Specktor breathlessly reports on the findings of a new study by Adam Frank et al., titled, The Anthropocene Generalized: Evolution of Exo-Civilizations and Their Planetary Feedback (Astrobiology, Vol. 18. No. 5, published online May 1, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1089/ast.2017.1671). Dr. Adam Frank is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Rochester, New York.

Spektor’s summary of the study’s findings is sobering:

The results, as you might expect, were generally pretty grim. Of four common “trajectories” for energy-intense civilizations, three ended in apocalypse. The fourth scenario — a path that involved converting the whole alien society to sustainable sources of energy — worked only when civilizations recognized the damage they were doing to the planet, and acted in the right away.

“The last scenario is the most frightening,” [leading study author Adam] Frank said. “Even if you did the right thing, if you waited too long, you could still have your population collapse.”

But a model is only as good as the foundation upon which it is built. And it turns out that Frank’s model is built on a foundation of sand.
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What Would Indicate the Supernatural

The term “supernatural” comes up on this and other boards and in similar discussion forums from time to time and I have come to the conclusion that there can be no such thing. Or, at the very least, if there really is something that could be accurately labeled as supernatural, such would have to be completely beyond understanding by anything (like we humans) that is not supernatural.

As an example, I’ve been studying quantum entanglement a bit. Pretty weird phenomenon from the perspective of those of us in a non-quantum, macro dimension. Very difficult to conceptualize how certain particle states could possibly be correlated, but correlated they are. So is this correlation “supernatural”? I certainly would not define it that way and I know of no physicists who would either.

The point is, even if one really believes that something like entanglement – a repeatably verifiable and investigatible phenomenon – has a supernatural basis, what could possibly be understood about that supernatural component? How could it be verified at all and what could investigating it add to any kind of understanding about…oh…anything?

So for those of you who do believe there is something that can be classified as supernatural, I’m just curious as to what supernatural means to you and what type of event or phenomenon would indicate to you that something is supernatural.

 

2. Earth is the Center of the Universe? Full Movie

This is a follow up to Earth is the Center of the Universe? OP with the link to the full documentary entitled The Principle. It is really worth to watch it in its entirety just to get the sense of how cosmologist, like Lawrence Krauss, and many other scientists deliberately resist the data  (verified by 3 different probes) that Axis of Evil are pointing to the special location of the Earth in the Universe…

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The Yanny/Laurel phenomenon

Another case of perceptual ambiguity gone viral, along the lines of the famous blue dress/gold dress phenomenon.

I emphatically hear “Yanny”, but roughly half of the population hears “Laurel”.

The New York Times explains:

The Times traced the clip back to Roland Szabo, an 18-year-old high school student in Lawrenceville, Ga., who posts as RolandCamry on Reddit. He said Wednesday that he was working on a school project and recorded the voice from a vocabulary website playing through the speakers on his computer. People in the room disagreed about what they were hearing. Some other students created an Instagram poll, which was then shared widely on Reddit, Twitter and other sites.

One detail may frustrate some and vindicate others: He found the original clip on the vocabulary.com page for “laurel,” the word for a wreath worn on the head, “usually a symbol of victory.”

The Times also provides a tool that allows you to modify the frequency response, transforming “Yanny” into “Laurel” and back again:

We Made a Tool to Help You Hear Both Laurel and Yanny

If God expects us to pray for others, does that make Him a monster?

Scrolling through some recent comments, my attention was caught by this one, posted by keiths:

Besides not panning out scientifically, intercessory prayer doesn’t even make theological sense.

An old OP on the topic:

The (il)logic of intercessory prayer

So I checked out keiths’s OP, which describes the hypothetical case of a woman named Mary, suffering from a terminal illness, whose friends decide to pray for her. Keiths cuts to the chase:
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Commemorating May 1

Not even in his worst nightmares could Franz Kafka “imagine” such dystopia – he could only bear tearful witness in slack-jawed dumbfoundment!

Check out this link:

https://www.dailywire.com/news/30050/nyt-celebrates-marxs-birthday-op-ed-happy-birthday-ben-shapiro

Carpe diem I shall seize the opportunity to address any and all “USEFUL IDIOTS”, especially those who are even unaware that they are “USEFUL IDIOTS” aka “Cultural Marxists”.

First of all, let us be clear here: Cultural Marxism is NOT just some misappropriated simpleton “snarl word”, to smear the presumed compassionate and well-intentioned high ideals of the Left, dontchya know. (my gorge rises)

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The Joe G Memorial Math Problem

Regular readers of TSZ will remember the hilarity that ensued when former commenter JoeG grappled unsuccessfully with the cardinality (loosely, the size) of various infinite sets. In honor of that amusing episode, I’m posing a new problem involving an infinite set.

Here’s the problem:

Consider the set containing every real number that can be described using a finite number of English words. For example, “thirty-three” and “two point eight” obviously qualify as members of the set, but also “pi minus six”, “the cube root of e”, and “Zero Mostel’s age in years on July seventh, nineteen sixty-three”, all of which designate specific real numbers. The set is infinite, of course.

Prove that the set of all such numbers takes up exactly zero percent of the real number line.

A dubious argument for panpsychism

At Aeon, philosopher Philip Goff argues for panpsychism:

Panpsychism is crazy, but it’s also most probably true

It’s a short essay that only takes a couple of minutes to read.

Goff’s argument is pretty weak, in my opinion, and it boils down to an appeal to Occam’s Razor:

I maintain that there is a powerful simplicity argument in favour of panpsychism…

In fact, the only thing we know about the intrinsic nature of matter is that some of it – the stuff in brains – involves experience… The theoretical imperative to form as simple and unified a view as is consistent with the data leads us quite straightforwardly in the direction of panpsychism.

…the brains of organisms are coloured in with experience. How to colour in the rest? The most elegant, simple, sensible option is to colour in the rest of the world with the same pen.

Panpsychism is crazy. But it is also highly likely to be true.

I think Goff is misapplying Occam’s Razor here, but I’ll save my detailed criticisms for the comment thread.

Powerful Evidence of Natural Selection on Society

As a card carrying Creationist, the video link below is one of the best arguments for the influence of natural selection on society as argued by Professor Walter Block. It also echoes arguments by Jerry Coyne vs. PZ Myers:
When ideology trumps biology

In my earlier post I pointed out the pervasive biological evidence that in both humans and other species, the conditions for sexual selection hold—a greater variance in male than in female reproductive output—probably explaining why men are bigger and stronger than women, and have beards and other secondary sexual differences. It also explains why male peacocks have showy tails, why male sage grouse do “jumping displays” to attract females, why male insects have weapons and ornaments, and so on. (See my bullet-point list of biological facts in that post.) Further, though Bateman’s experiments were flawed, they have been repeated properly in other species and have shown that, yes, males in general have the potential to have many more offspring than females: a higher variance in offspring number). — Jerry Coyne

It explains why matriarchal societies are unlikely, the 4-sigma smartest people will be men, the number of mentally ill and homeless are men, and why heads of countries and corporations will tend to be men and societies that are not patriarchal will not compete as well as societies that are.

It’s also April 1 today.

NOTES:
Prof. Walter Block is a professor of economics. He currently holds the Harold E. Wirth Chair in Economics at the J. A. Butt School of Business at Loyola University New Orleans. He is a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama.

Testing the claim that intentional mutations can be differentiated from nonintentional mutations

fifthmonarchyman has helpfully explained how we can detect intention for specific mutations:

No, I have suggested that humans are hardwired to infer that intentional things are non-random and non-algorithmic.

Therefore directly intentional mutations would be differentiated from those that would be categorized as nonintentional by this property.

Given that statement, I hope that fifthmonarchyman can give a demonstration of how to determine if specific mutations are directed or not.

So, fifthmonarchyman, can you walk us through the process of how you perform that differentiation? Or will you admit that this claim cannot be grounded in reality and that you nor anyone else cannot perform any such differentiation?

I can give some examples of fully sequenced mutations in human populations if that would be useful fifth? Or pick your own, it really does not matter as it’s more about the process then the specific mutation.

 

Feser’s fourth proof and the mystery of existence

If the Aristotelian argument for a purely actual Being (which I critiqued in my previous post) is the backbone of Feser’s five proofs of God’s existence, the Thomistic proof is the beating heart, as it gets to the very core of what God is: Pure Existence itself, according to philosophy Professor Edward Feser. Today, I’m going to argue that this notion of God is utterly nonsensical. But it is not merely the argument’s conclusion which is flawed: the Thomistic proof also rests on shaky foundations, as the real distinction it posits between a finite thing’s essence and its existence is a highly dubious one: the main argument cited in support of it actually points to a matter-form distinction, instead. The second argument for a real distinction between a thing’s essence and its existence establishes nothing of the sort: all it shows is that whatever causes a thing to have existence also causes the nature or essence of that thing. A third argument for the essence-existence distinction illicitly assumes that the term “existence” names a single perfection, which is inherently simple and unlimited.

In addition, Feser’s Thomistic proof trades on an equivocation between the notion of a Being whose essence is identical to its own existence and that of a Being whose essence is Pure Existence – an equivocation which is grounded in the background metaphysical assumption that the concept of “existence” is a simple and unlimited one. In reality, as I shall explain below, the concept of “existence” is neither simple nor complex, neither limited nor unlimited, but rather, indefinite – which is one reason why the attempt to characterize God as Pure Existence, or Being itself, is doomed at the outset. Finally, any attempt to construe God as some sort of activity – whether it be Pure Existence, Pure Actuality, or Thought thinking Itself, or Love loving Himself – is radically mistaken, either because it reifies an abstraction (Existence exists, Actuality acts) or because it generates an infinite regress (Love loves love loves love…). In plain English: We need to think of God first and foremost as a noun, and not merely as a verb – in other words, as an Agent, rather than simply as an unlimited act of thought or love or “be-ing.”

Despite its flawed conception of God, Feser’s Thomistic proof is not without its merits: Continue reading

Rejoinder to Basener and Sanford’s reply, part I

William Basener and John Sanford have responded here to my post concerning whether R.A. Fisher’s Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection is critical to work on the theoretical population genetics of the interaction between mutation and natural selection. (This reply by Basener and Sanford is also reposted here.) Continue reading