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Salon sucks so bad

I give up. I’ve deleted my bookmarks to Salon. The final straw: two articles published today that are appalling in their inanity.

First up is Charles Darwin’s Tragic Error: Hitler, Evolution, Racism, and the Holocaust. Just the title tells you it’s a dishonest pile of crap. Most of it has nothing at all to do with Darwin (so why are they blaming him?), but here’s the key graf:

Modern racism had several different intellectual sources, and only with difficulty could one say which of these was most important. I will focus here on the “scientific” strand of racism, which drew its inspiration from Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection. Several factors dictate this emphasis on Darwinian racism. First, Darwinist racism explicitly motivated Hitler and many other leading perpetrators of the Holocaust. Second, Darwin inspired the researchers, most notably in biology and anthropology, who gave racism its aura of scientific certainty. Third, Darwinian thought may well have been more popular in Germany than anywhere else during these years, in part because Germany was the world’s leading center of biological research before World War I and the Germans were exceptionally literate. Finally, Darwinist racism was the brand of racism most easily understood by the widest number of people, in part because Darwin’s theory was astonishingly simple and easy to explain.

Right. “Several different intellectual sources,” but notice the absence of any mention of the Catholic or Lutheran churches, which were far more powerful sources for promoting anti-semitism. All the author has is the claim that Hitler’s racism was “inspired” by Darwin.

No, it wasn’t. Hitler did not make scientific arguments; he did not cite or credit Darwin; he did think God was peachy-keen and justified his actions on behalf of the right German people. His actual sources did not much care for Darwin.

RationalWiki has a good discussion of the subject. In particular, it discusses Houston Stewart Chamberlain — you cannot seriously discuss Hitler’s race arguments without referencing Chamberlain, and it’s a sure sign of a hack when Darwin is given more blame than Chamberlain.

Houston Stewart Chamberlain was an influence on Hitler’s antisemitism. In Chamberlain’s book, “Foundations of the Nineteenth Century” he wrote of “A manifestly unsound system like that of Darwin …” (Author’s Introduction, page lxxxviii), “… Darwinian castles in the air …” (First Part, Division II, Fourth Chapter, “Scientific Confusion” volume 1, footnote beginning on page 264), “… no tenable position can be derived even from the most consistent, and, therefore, most shallow Darwinism.” (Second Part, Ninth Chapter, “Historical Criterion” volume 2, pages 215-216)

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, an infamous anti-Semitic fraud of some influence, includes Darwin among the Jewish conspiracies:

“Protocol 2: … 3. Do not suppose for a moment that these statements are empty words: think carefully of the successes we arranged for Darwinism, Marxism, Nietzsche-ism. To us Jews, at any rate, it should be plain to see what a disintegrating importance these directives have had upon the minds of the GOYIM.”

The Salon article is the kind of ahistorical hackery I’d expect from the Discovery Institute.

The second article reflects Salon’s recent dumbassed pandering of religion: Science Doesn’t Disprove God: Where Richard Dawkins and New Atheists Go Wrong. It’s embarrassingly bad. The authors argument is that science cannot build an AI, therefore God had to have created consciousness.

No, seriously. That’s his argument.

The question about consciousness is key to everything we are discussing. Modern cognitive science relies on the principles of evolution and posits that consciousness is something that can be produced artificially. Life-forms become more and more advanced through evolution, and eventually consciousness is the outcome. Thus, many cognitive science practitioners believe that machines can develop a consciousness as well, although this has never happened. Consciousness has never been produced in the lab, not even close.

That is not the basis of the anti-dualist argument. We expect that an AI could be constructed, but the reasons that we think the mind is a natural product of the activity of the brain rest on knowledge of how the brain works, how damage and chemical modification affect consciousness, and the mapping of activity in the brain to thought.

I don’t know of any biologist or atheist who is waiting to see a conscious machine before concluding that the mind is a product of the brain; there is simply no expectation that that is a necessary prerequisite. But this wanker is throwing out all of neuroscience because this one experiment can’t be done with current technology. OK, and the stars are only 500,000 miles from the Earth, and you can believe that right now because we haven’t built a starship to fly to Alpha Centauri.

He then makes the usual arguments from ignorance: gosh wow, but you can’t possibly create Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, Picasso’s Guernica, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, or the palaces on Venice’s Grand Canal with brains made of meat, because they’re just too beautiful, therefore…

Therefore… (can you possibly guess what?)

Therefore…GOD. (You couldn’t possibly have seen that coming, could you?)

An alternative explanation is that God gave us the mental abilities and that extra something we use in making decisions and in creating great works of art, sublime music, magnificent architecture, beautiful literature, and science and mathematics. Our incredible brains can do all these things because they contain some ingredients that science has not yet found or explained and whose origin remains one of the deepest mysteries in all of science.

Fuck me. I can’t read this bullshit anymore. The Salon editors are just letting drivel through now.

Scientists can’t build a conscious robot yet, but God-diddlers can imagine superpowerful beings that are magically inserting thoughts into our heads, therefore theology wins.

Comments

  1. Sastra says

    An alternative explanation is that God gave us the mental abilities and that extra something we use in making decisions and in creating great works of art, sublime music, magnificent architecture, beautiful literature, and science and mathematics.

    Supernaturalism is the assumption that minds and/or the products of minds are magical entities and forces outside of the normal physical boundaries of nature. Consciousness, Love, Beauty — all inexplicable because they have to be irreducible. I think the science which is eventually going to pull the plug on theism is neurology. You can always pull back on what God does and accept modern theories and discoveries about the nature of reality as “how God works” . But you can’t keep pulling back and back from what God is.

  2. says

    So, on the one hand, we have Paley’s argument: a watch was designed by humans, therefore, life is designed.

    And on the other hand now we have: humans can’t design a brain, therefore, life is designed.

    Do you know what is designed by humans? Two-faced coins.

  3. says

    Our incredible brains can do all these things because they contain some ingredients

    Ingredients, eh? Makes as much sense as A God’s Recipe to Make Brains.

  4. says

    Well… I deleted salon from my bookmarks in 2009. And I am pretty sure it was because of another stinkin’ article that someone had brewed up their ass… either on science or politics or both.

  5. raven says

    Salon whoever is slaughtering strawpeople en masse. It’s astonishingly dumb. My comments are in bold. Xpost from the lounge.

    Evolutionary science cannot indicate to us the location of the point on the continuous evolutionary scale, which Dawkins believes is there, at which human consciousness arises.
    Evolutionary theory can’t explain what that noise in my car engine is, or where the lost socks in the laundry go. That isn’t what it is for.

    Evolutionary theory is unable to tell us how life began, how eukaryotic cells evolved, how intelligence came about, or how consciousness arose in living things.
    This is more or less false. We know from evolution how eukaryotic cells evolved, endosymbiosis, and how intelligence came about, big brains in primates. Life beginning is abiogenesis and consciousness is neuroscience, not evolution.

    The question about consciousness is key to everything we are discussing. Modern cognitive science relies on the principles of evolution and posits that consciousness is something that can be produced artificially.
    False. Cognitive science relies on neurobiology. Evolution does not say that consciousness can be produced artificially. Whoever has no idea what evolution really is.

    Life-forms become more and more advanced through evolution, and eventually consciousness is the outcome.
    So what. This is an observable fact.

    Thus, many cognitive science practitioners believe that machines can develop a consciousness as well, although this has never happened. Consciousness has never been produced in the lab, not even close.
    True but irrelevant. We have yet to launch interstellar starships either or visit Mars in person. That we haven’t done something doesn’t mean we can’t or won’t do something in the future. In fact, we know that in the future we will do and discover new things.

    This is just a mashup of god of the gaps, pure ignorance of basic science, and sloppy nonreasoning.

  6. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Still trying to figure out how Ian Kershaw missed out on pointing out how Darwin was a huge influence on Hitler and how the German scientific community was a huge presence in Vienna.

  7. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Andrés Diplotti @ 2

    So, on the one hand, we have Paley’s argument: a watch was designed by humans, therefore, life is designed.

    And on the other hand now we have: humans can’t design a brain, therefore, life is designed.

    Do you know what is designed by humans? Two-faced coins.

    I quite like this. May I borrow it?

  8. feministdalek says

    I was so disappointed that NPR chose to interview this guy. Beyond his wild-eyed torching of GnuAtheistTM Strawmen, he never addressed the fact that science can’t prove a negative. His whole damn argument is unfounded and his criticisms swing at shadows.

    He mumbled something something mathematics something equation HA! and that was about the end of it.

    Interesting, too, because the realization that I didn’t have to believe that no gods existed to be an atheist; I just had to admit that the evidence wasn’t there. As a “once saved always saved” Christian, the idea that my beliefs could change based on the availability of the evidence was kind of mind-blowing.

    This guy is just so wrong it’s painful. At least the caller they took during the segment called him out on his malarkey. Templeton Foundation grants, indeed.

  9. says

    Life-forms become more and more advanced through evolution, and eventually consciousness is the outcome.

    No. That is not a fact. It’s entirely false, actually.

  10. says

    It’s like Smilodon arguing that “Life-forms become more and more toothy through evolution, and eventually sabre-teeth are the outcome.”

  11. robro says

    Life-forms become more and more advanced through evolution, and eventually consciousness is the outcome.

    No. That is not a fact. It’s entirely false, actually.

    Thank you, PZ. I was about to say the same.

    Also, I find the title of the Darwin article misleading to the point of being a lie. There is no way that events happening long after Darwin’s death are the result of his “tragic error.” How people used, or misused, his ideas even when he was alive are not the result of his “tragic error” but that of other people’s. This amounts to little more than click baiting: put the words Darwin and Hitler together and watch your ad score go up.

  12. says

    [RationalWiki server admin hat on] INCOMING!!!

    So far we’re holding up to a Pharyngulation OK :-) Let me remind all that it’s a wiki, and you can hit that “edit” button and actually change stuff. If you add your reference, it might even stick. If you’re not sure, the article has a talk page.

    I worry a bit about the quality of much of RW (it’s a wiki and it’s on the Internet, so …) but seeing that people can use our stuff as a skeptical reference is most cheering. Thank you, PZ.

  13. Pan Paniscus says

    PZ, both your post and the RationalWiki article you cite massively *underplay* the vast differences between Darwinism and Hitler’s ideology.

    In brief, Hitler was a creationist, who believed that the Aryans were “God’s highest handiwork”, created in God’s image in their *current* form. He also believed that the Jews (and other races, Blacks, Slavs etc) were *separate* creations. He considered that the primordial excellence of the Aryan race was threatened by interbreeding with the Jews, which he considered to be the highest sin against God. Thus the “final solution” was to remove any possibility of the Jews interbreeding with (and thus destroying) the Aryan race. This is 100% creationist and religious, the justification for the Holocaust was about as far from Darwinism as you can get. All of this is expounded at length in Mein Kampf.

  14. mikeyb says

    The Darwin racist canard, kinda like the Darwin-Hitler canard. If these guys just did about 5 minutes of google searches they could quickly discover that Darwin was a ardent opponent of slavery, way ahead of his time. There is zero evidence that evolutionary theory has ever had anything to do with racism or slavery or Nazism, Communism or other isms. Zealots and bigots don’t wrap their ignorance behind scientific theories. One exception might be eugenics, but even that was based on pretty flimsy fringe stuff even back then that had little to nothing to do with evolutionary theory.

    The god equals consciousness crap is equally absurd. Did they dig into the latest woo from Deepak Chopra to gin up this total crap.

    It’s amazing how many journalists, I’m talking mainstream left of center, non-Faux news types, are such total idiotic ignoramuses when it comes to science or basic history that any 5th grader could refute with a just few google searches. Basic science literacy in the US even among so called elites, deplorably not far off of that of fundamentalist Islamic countries.

    Does every goddamn article have to be a prostration to ignorant American religious sentiments.Let’s grow up.

  15. raven says

    Life-forms become more and more advanced through evolution, and eventually consciousness is the outcome.

    No. That is not a fact. It’s entirely false, actually.

    Going to disagree here.

    1. Life forms have become more advanced (or complex) through time. Starting with prokaryotes and later on metazoans.

    2. Consciousness arose at some point.

    These are both observable facts.

    3. One doesn’t necessarily imply the other as being inevitable. Life becoming more advanced, however you define that, doesn’t mean consciousness had to arise. Or that humans had to arise. I’m not implying any cause and effect relationship. But in our world, they did.

    It’s like Smilodon arguing that “Life-forms become more and more toothy through evolution, and eventually sabre-teeth are the outcome.”

    Well that is what observably happened. But you can state that without implying that sabre toothed tigers are an inevitable outcome of more toothiness, however toothiness is defined. In fact most toothy animals aren’t sabre-toothed.

  16. Rich Woods says

    Our incredible brains can do all these things because they contain some ingredients that science has not yet found or explained

    I can disprove that Goddidit claim quite easily. Just give me an ice pick, and get the author of the article to volunteer for some crude brain surgery.

  17. Rich Woods says

    First, Darwinist racism explicitly motivated Hitler and many other leading perpetrators of the Holocaust.

    So the Nazis threw Darwin’s books on the bonfires as part of a cover-up?

  18. mikeyb says

    @3 Amir Aczel, the latest in a long depressing list of science writers, who definitely do know better, for career reasons sell out and kiss up to the religious to gain respectability and sell more books. I have nothing but utter contempt for this form of smarmy dishonesty.

  19. anuran says

    Actually, the Nazis banned Darwinist writings along with anti-Christian works (other than Himmler’s Live Action D&D). Darwin was strongly opposed to the eugenics of his day, and during the voyage of the Beagle his even-handedness in the way he treated and paid White and non-White local workers was remarked on.

  20. raven says

    Our incredible brains can do all these things because they contain some ingredients that science has not yet found or explained

    I can disprove that Goddidit claim quite easily. Just give me an ice pick,

    It’s easier than that. Half a fifth of whiskey or some marijuana will demostrate the same point.

    What he is arguing here is Dualism. Dualism died a century ago when we realized our thoughts arise in our brains and are a product of billions of neurons.

    It lives on as a Zombie, an incoherent wreck lurching around in the dark corners of religion.

  21. anuran says

    @19 mikeyb

    The Darwin-Wedgewoods were noted for their progressive attitude towards labor, especially the people who worked in their factories. The acorn didn’t fall far from the tree.

  22. deeneely says

    Robert Zubrin’s Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism does the exact same thing with connecting Hitler, Eugenics and Darwin, but throws Malthus into the mix.

    Amazon: Merchants of Despair

  23. Akira MacKenzie says

    …creating great works of art, sublime music, magnificent architecture, beautiful literature…

    The author doesn’t realize that beauty, greatness, magnificence, etc. are entirely subjective.

  24. raven says

    Boring, the old Darwing racism fallacy again.

    Racism existed long before Darwin.

    One of the earliest sources we know of is the bible!!!

    The Jews got even with the Egyptians for enslaving them with the Ten Plagues and then genocided the Canaanites and stole their land, women, and stuff.

    Payback was severe. They were overrun by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. The Romans kicked them out of Israel, the Catholic church persecuted them for 2,000 years, and the Germans killed half of them.

    It is all about god’s chosen people and who they hate. And who hates them back.

  25. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    …creating great works of art, sublime music, magnificent architecture, beautiful literature…

    Yeah, but that means that God also can be blamed for velvet dog paintings, Milli Vanilli, tenements, and Chick tracts. Checkmate!

  26. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Sorry, but “Salon” is a real thing? I thought it was an Onion parody, not that I’ve ever actually read anything by it (it gets mentioned on other sites I read, but always in a way that seems like a parody of the kind that inhibits even curiosity clicking).

    About the second of these articles (I’m trusting they are being acurately pissed upon here – I have no interest in checking): see Ed B.’s video of a Xian stand-up comic (so described). He makes all the same arguments in the same way, and with hilarity of a 1000% unintentional sort.

    What tiresome, yet potentially evil, horseshit.

  27. mikeyb says

    @31 Sounds like they are describing the world of Pillars of the Earth, now wouldn’t it be such a load of fun to live in that world, creativity and all, being put on the rack in all if you misbehaved.

  28. Al Dente says

    Number of times Darwin is mentioned in Mein Kampf: 0

    Number of timed God or the Lord mentioned in Mein Kampf: 52

  29. Pan Paniscus says

    @17 David Gerard

    [RationalWiki server admin hat on] Let me remind all that it’s a wiki, and you can hit that “edit” button and actually change stuff.

    I’m tempted, since there is a lot in that page that I see as only half right. E.g.:

    It is clear that [Hitler] saw struggle for survival, and natural selection based on this struggle, as crucial to the lives of animals, …

    He saw natural selection as only *preserving* the health of a species, weeding out weak members of the species. He had no conception of long-term species change and of long-term evolution. He was a creationist who believed that species had been created in their current form with a fixed nature.

    As far as I’m aware there are no clearly genuine quotes showing that he accepted human evolution from apes. Indeed, lots of stuff in Mein Kampf is incompatible with that idea. (Some of the Table Talk is dubious for several reasons: it was not written down by him, it was edited by others, and the translations are dubious).

    Hitler saw only progress towards a “higher stage of being”, and elsewhere mentioned “the higher evolution of living organisms”

    In context it is quite clear that he is talking about *cultural* progress, not biological evolution.

    However, his references to God, along with his belief in progress towards a higher evolutionary order, strongly suggest that he believed that evolution was guided by a purposeful entity.

    Again, in context, any such phrases are about cultural evolution, *not* biological evolution. As above he did not accept evolution of humans.

    The State should consecrate it as an institution which is called upon to produce creatures made in the likeness of the Lord and not create monsters that are a mixture of man and ape.

    Based on comments like this, Hitler seems to have believed that humanity, and especially the Aryan race, had evolved to become the likeness of God (rather than being created initially in God’s image), while other races were closer to humanity’s evolutionary ancestors.

    No! He believed that humans — rather Aryans — had been *primordially* *created* in the likeness of God. He also thought that separately created races could interbreed and destroy the primordial God’s-likeness excellence of Aryans. Inter-racial marriages would do that. In that quote he is saying the state should prevent inter-racial marriage for that reason, that it would mix Aryans with the literally “sub-human” separately created races.

    The RationalWiki is trying too much to match Hitler’s views into a basically Darwinian picture. But Hitler had a basically creationist view. Thus this page is very misleading.

  30. says

    Pan @35 – feel free to dump that on the talk page, where editors will see it; if you have references (RW editors can be every bit as querulous as Wikipedia editors) then it’d be great for the article. Looking at the history page, it was originally ported from the long-dead SkepticWiki many years ago and not really fixed up since.

  31. Akira MacKenzie says

    Is it my imagination, or are MSM “liberals” bending over backwards to pander to religion and make excuses for the Christian Right?

  32. Pan Paniscus says

    @36 David Gerard:

    Pan @35 – feel free to dump that on the talk page, where editors will see it; if you have references (RW editors can be every bit as querulous as Wikipedia editors) then it’d be great for the article.

    OK, will do, but I’ll look out some references first.

  33. colnago80 says

    I find it hard to believe that someone could be as ignorant of the history of the Nazi Party and evolution. Hitler specifically, in Mein Kampf, rejected common descent, the basis of Darwin’s theory of descent with modification. How could Hitler and the Nazis have possibly been influenced by Darwin when they rejected common descent? The mind boggles.

  34. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    …someone could be as ignorant of the history of the Nazi Party and evolution…

    I’m quite certain that in many cases it’s not ignorance, it’s deliberate, at least at the leadership level.

  35. unclefrogy says

    the superficial fucking thinking and utter bull shit. I clicked through to science friday my desk is too cluttered to head it. That guy is really on the hard sell, he was sounding like a car dealer pushing “my book” this and “MY BooK” that… blahh!
    Ira was asking questions that were trying to move toward reason to no avail because god who’s definition he seemed to dodge.

    I feel kind of sad for the religionists the vaguely christians when they try to face the horror of WWII how they try all this wishful thinking and just so B.S, to avoid the real history of christian moral action through the ages and the racism expressed in the holocaust and its christian roots.
    uncle frogy

  36. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re “Darwin–>Hitler”:

    tsk,tsk: Hitler stole a phrase, attributed, to Darwin: “Only the fit survive!”, and morphed it into, “…since Aryans are the fittest, only THEY shall survive (and we’ll just hurry it along)”.
    .
    “Life-forms become more and more advanced through evolution,…” Advanced? Your definition, please. In what way, advanced? pffft. Ever hear of Stephen Jay Gould? He objected, strongly, to the idea of evolution being a ladder: each species moving UP a step on the ladder. He described evolution as a bush, each species just branching off from its nearest ancestor species. Also, examine your tenses. “…and eventually consciousness is the outcome.” is very different than, “…and eventually consciousness was the outcome.” The former implies “consciousness” is the inevitable goal of evolution, the latter is just a statement of fact. Yes, it happened, why throw in magic as the cause of it? Just because we can’t do it, means it is impossible, so magic caused it? It is possible. ||..Wait..|..For..|..It…||

  37. barnestormer says

    Salon is the worst. They were slightly awful even back in the early 2000s when I started reading there, but the formatting got less tolerable so I stopped. These days you can hardly see the bullshit for the ads. :(

  38. davidchapman says

    Thus, many cognitive science practitioners believe that machines can develop a consciousness as well, although this has never happened. Consciousness has never been produced in the lab, not even close.

    — Salon article.

    How would they tell if it had? And a related question: What does ‘not even close’ mean? How do you get ‘close’ to achieving consciousness?

  39. unclefrogy says

    unless it is strictly defined consciousness can be every bit as vague as any other metaphysical term as to be almost useless in describing anything. You might as well try to substitute Bodhisattva for it for all the clarity it provides as used. Are there levels or is it either or? If there are levels how are the separated from each other?
    uncle frogy

  40. davidchapman says

    48
    unclefrogy

    unless it is strictly defined consciousness can be every bit as vague as any other metaphysical term as to be almost useless in describing anything. You might as well try to substitute Bodhisattva for it for all the clarity it provides as used. Are there levels or is it either or? If there are levels how are the separated from each other?
    uncle frogy

    Well I’m drunk, and I wish that anything I post at the present time to be understood drunkenly. But I do want to say that we do not necessarily have it in our power to strictly define a lot of the things that we might like to; because we don’t understand them. Yet I daresay that we can agree Uncle Frogy that when the article I’m questioning says that ‘nothing like’ consciousness has been produced in the lab, that’s a problematic statement. Wadja think?

  41. mithrandir says

    Raven @20:

    To be more precise, there is no evolutionary force that always cause higher complexity to have a greater survival value than lower complexity. Rather, the upper bound of “most complex extant lifeform” will tend to increase over time because there are more ways to be complex than to be simple (in fact, that’s more or less one definition of complexity), and evolution will tend to explore the previously unexplored “complex” regions of the genetic phase space.

    Complexity can, of course, go down with great ease, if the more complex life forms go extinct.

    And of course, all this still begs the definition of what “complexity” is; it’s surprisingly hard to define “complexity” in a consistent way that includes all of the aspects of the colloquial definitions, and William Dembski is well known for his failed attempts to do so. Mind you, his failures were because he was trying to formulate a definition of “complexity” that describes something evolution cannot do, and complexity isn’t the sort of thing evolution finds difficult.

  42. atheistblog says

    I stopped following Salon after their obsessive cult worship of obama, obama protection of wall street, democrat corporate backing elite and their current obsessive worship of clinton. That tell lot about Salon. Democrat or Republicans no different whatsoever, only the rhetoric and obamas lies.

  43. mikeyb says

    It’s just deplorable that we not only have to fight with creationists, religious wackos and Faux listeners about basic completely uncontroversial science and history, but apparently with a lot of mainstream liberals too, who buy into arguments which are just slightly more sophisticated forms of the same set of lies and distortions put forth by AnswersInGenesis. Really it is quite shocking the level of ignorance we are dealing with.

  44. David Marjanović says

    Evolutionary science cannot indicate to us the location of the point on the continuous evolutionary scale, which Dawkins believes is there

    What in the fuck. There is no evolutionary scale, and Dawkins doesn’t believe there is.

    It’s like Smilodon arguing that “Life-forms become more and more toothy through evolution, and eventually sabre-teeth are the outcome.”

    O hai! I maded you an Internetz from lavender cookies, and I did not eated it.

    Going to disagree here.

    1. Life forms have become more advanced (or complex) through time. Starting with prokaryotes and later on metazoans.

    No. The diversity of life’s complexity has increased. There’s no reason to think that the median and the mode have ever moved.

  45. David Marjanović says

    Democrat or Republicans no different whatsoever

    “They’re both evil” is not the same as “no difference whatsoever”.

  46. eggmoidal says

    #24 “From now on I’m calling it Hair Salon since it’s mostly idiotic fashion and outrageous gossip anyway.”

    I was thinking “Saloon”. I imagined a low-brow watering hole with pretensions of being upscale – sawdust on the floor, Heineken on tap – filled with smug, lazy, ill-informed, drunken libertoonians. They get their inspiration from their fellow patrons, effortlessly topping each other with their more-contrarian-than-thou brain farts until they have enough for an entire article.

    Funny, I was thinking of deleting my bookmark to it for a while now. I’ve read it off and on from its beginning, so I guess I had some kind of emotional attachment. Yesterday was almost the final straw. I looked at the article list, and decided on an early bedtime instead. Tomorrow’s got to be better, I thought. But when I hit the bookmark today and saw some of those titles, I was so disgusted I just immediately hit my Pharyngula bookmark to stop the irritation. But before the page loaded, I had the thought: today is the day – delete the damn bookmark already. So I did, right then. It joins Slate as a once decent (never great) semi-liberal site that fell down the rabbit hole of pandering to mindless conservatives, contrarians and religionists. Even when they are right, they’re almost always banal too. When will they learn? Every conservative I know wouldn’t touch their sites with a 10-foot pole. Except when they can refer to it starting with the phrase: “Even the liberal Salon …” (compare to: “Even the liberal New Republic …”). Anyway, after deleting the Salon bookmark, I started reading the Pharyngula page that had loaded, and laughed when I immediately saw that PZ reached his Saloon limit today too. An amusing coincidence.

    So bye bye Salon. Hope you can cannibalize Slate and HuffPo readers, or it’s going to be increasingly rough sledding.

  47. says

    I lost track of Salon after Greenwald left for the Guardian, and rarely went back. They have a few good writers, and occasionally break truly excellent pieces like this: http://www.salon.com/2014/04/18/exclusive_prison_inmates_to_strike_in_alabama_declare_they’re_running_a_slave_empire/

    The whole editorial tone has long been religion-friendly (Joan Walsh is a practicing Catholic, iirc), and much more moderate than leftist. To the extent they have anything worth reading, we’ll probably hear about it on Twitter or elsewhere.

  48. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    eggmoidal @ #56:

    You mean Salon and Slate are two different things? Just run together in my head. I don’t have either bookmarked in themselves, just Bad Astronomy, which is on Slate now. Or Salon…or Slate? Who knows?

  49. says

    I saw those two articles as well and they seemed to be part of the Salon trend towards becoming a left-leaning media outlet in the mold of all the right-wing media. Just feed stupid crap with LOTS of words, but no intellectual integrity and get plenty of comments.

    Sigh. I do not want to become a left-wing version of a tea-party.

  50. tuibguy says

    He then makes the usual arguments from ignorance: gosh wow, but you can’t possibly create Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, Picasso’s Guernica, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, or the palaces on Venice’s Grand Canal with brains made of meat, because they’re just too beautiful, therefore…

    Okay, you know what? I am fucking sick and tired of the idea that any of these works of art are objectively beautiful and that they signify…something. Beauty is subjective and there is an evolutionary case for appreciation of beauty and sweets.

    Does he like punk and rap music? Does he insist that they are given to us by God, too? How about skeezy art, or slash fiction? Is human meat incapable of writing that, too and we need to have God’s inspiration? What about the slums and the buildings designed to warehouse people, rats and cockroaches all in one tidy tenement?

    If he wants to give God the glory for great art, he has to also give God the glory for stuff he doesn’t like.

    (Note – I like both rap and punk and do not intend to conflate either of them with slumhouses.)

  51. says

    So God exists because humans can’t yet create artificial intelligence but what would happen if we did?
    Isaac Asimov wrote a short story titled “Reason” about a robot with AI. In the story the robot discovers religion and proceeds to follow the orders of its “god”, The Master rather than its human masters.

    So there you are it takes artificial intelligence to find an artificial god.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reason_%28short_story%29

  52. DrVanNostrand says

    @57
    I actually thought that Salon was going downhill for a while before Greenwald left. When he left, I started going there far less often. Now, on the rare occasion I go there, it seems to be going downhill at an alarming rate, and the only good posts are re-posts from other sites. The original content is just crap now.

  53. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    To add to tuibguy’s #60, I hate both rap and punk—especially rap—but I thoroughly concede that any machine which could write acceptable (to their audiences) versions of either could also write acceptable symphonies. Probably more easily, because of the more mathematical structure.

  54. rorschach says

    Charles Darwin’s Tragic Error: Hitler, Evolution, Racism, and the Holocaust.

    I read that drivel, and I’m still waiting to be informed of what “Darwin’s tragic error” is supposed to be. Being read? Being twisted beyond recognition by some incoherent numbnut pseudo-journalist in 2014 to fill some paragraphs in a pathetic and laughable internet rag?

    Finally, Darwinist racism was the brand of racism most easily understood by the widest number of people, in part because Darwin’s theory was astonishingly simple and easy to explain.

    Tell that to American highschool biology teachers.

  55. unclefrogy says

    @49
    well I was thinking about what we know about what other animals perceive of the world and what they are capable of doing. turns out many can make tools and can communicate some things in rather abstract ways, then I remembered a recent NOVA program I think it was about how plants communicate
    We have made some surprising things in the lab that can do some very complex things on their own and in groups. If the test is the Turing Test I do not think any thing has passed it yet. The real sticking point for me is the term consciousness as used has the implied meaning of possessing a soul I think though it is not ever stated very often. It is a moving target. It is taken to mean something separate from the meat without any serious effort to identify what it is and does it really exist.
    uncle frogy

  56. Usernames are smart says

    Hitler … did think God was peachy-keen and justified his actions on behalf of the right German people.

    Hence the “Gott Mit Uns” (God is with us) on German Soldiers’ standard-issue belt buckles.

  57. says

    I’ve never been able to stomach Salon for very long. It seemed like every time I went there I would see at least one, if not more, articles that would frustrate me to no end.

    I do get tired of their obsession over Hitler. Hitler being an atheist, an evolutionist, or any other ist does not change the fact that the people that went out and implemented his ideas, supported his leadership, put them in practice, were almost exclusively good, old fashion Christians. Without them Hitler would not have been able to get very far.

  58. says

    Funny how this blog is called Free Thought. I guess it’s free as long you think same as you do.

    Anyway, here is my two cents.

    Imagine cloud computing, a person from 15th century would never be able to understand how cloud computing works. Maybe they would be able to understand electricity, seeing text and images on the screen to a certain extent, but the fact that computer receives all data from some place in the sky, would seem unreasonable to them.

    And this is exactly how our consciousness works. We are just receivers, our brain are just processors, a real data is outsourced, coming from levels of energy and reality which is unknown to many people, although I do know many who have pretty good insights about that energy field which feeds all of us, day and night, wanted or not.

    It’s hard to grasp this concept and I know that people will fight on this topic for decades to come, but slowly the minds will open and the truth will be revealed, we all need just little bit patience, open mind and respect each other’s opinion, because you never know when you will come to the point that you will be forced to change your own opinion. That’s inevitable because our understanding of life is on such low level that anything but giving up all we know and be open for new things is absurd.

  59. Holms says

    Interesting hypothesis. Got any experiments in mind to test it? Data? Measurements? Anything at all to separate it from the null hypothesis (i.e. that you are full of it)?

  60. Steven Brown: Man of Mediocrity says

    Oh wow! It’s okay everyone, Johny has found some, up till now unreported, force that transmits information directly into our brains. I wonder what kind of set up he used to detect it? Perhaps he was doing some work over at the LHC and found a new kind of particle or some such thing.

    Or maybe he’s just talking out his ass.

  61. says

    Johny Miric:

    And this is exactly how our consciousness works.

    I think you had best speak for yourself here. All you have is Goddidit without an explicit god. Ever hear of evidence? It’s a good thing. Try putting some of that on the table, please.

  62. says

    Why people always say, “Oh, I got an idea!” Why they don’t say, “Oh, my mind just created an idea! Ideas are received, not produced, and deep down in our consciousness we understand that, but on sensation level we believe that we have created something.

    Regarding a proof or a scientific study, ask any person who practice meditation for a long time and he will confirm the same thing, what he gets during meditation is not the product of his body or mind, it’s something that comes from outside.

    We have a built-in antenna to receive energy and ideas, but most of us are not aware of it.

    There are so many articles on this topic, but science people tend to ignore them, and reason for that is because you can’t grasp this idea with your brain, it really requires deep understanding on a soul level, which have very little do with our brains. Most scientists are not able to do that, they base all their investigation on brain only. And as long they keep it that way they will never be able to discover what is really happening.

    What we really need here is a merge of science and spirituality, one without another is unable to provide the answers we all seek.

  63. unclefrogy says

    Johny all of that is subjective there is no way to say any of that came from outside unless the actual ideas was found somewhere or heard from some one.
    the only thing you can say is that the idea felt like it came from outside. The same can be said from meditation it elicits these feelings which are then interpreted by thoughts and traditional teachings to have some particular meanings all of which are subjective.
    The experience may be real but the interpretation is made up out of ignorance and superstition and dream psychology.
    uncle frogy

  64. Snoof says

    Why people always say, “Oh, I got an idea!”

    I don’t. I usually say, “I have an idea.”

    Have you considered the possibility that rather than revealing a deep truth about human cognition, this is merely a quirk of your local dialect without any further significance?

    Ideas are received, not produced, and deep down in our consciousness we understand that, but on sensation level we believe that we have created something.

    How do you know this?

    We have a built-in antenna to receive energy and ideas, but most of us are not aware of it.

    How do you know this?

    There are so many articles on this topic, but science people tend to ignore them, and reason for that is because you can’t grasp this idea with your brain, it really requires deep understanding on a soul level, which have very little do with our brains. Most scientists are not able to do that, they base all their investigation on brain only. And as long they keep it that way they will never be able to discover what is really happening.

    So how come all the religious, spiritual and theistic scientists throughout history (not to mention all the ones alive and working right now) didn’t “discover what is really happening”?

  65. dutchdelight says

    It’s hard to grasp this concept and I know that people will fight on this topic for decades to come, but slowly the minds will open and the truth will be revealed

    Revealed truth? I think you need to talk to those other guys, theists, they love that stuff. Here, not so much.

    Regarding a proof or a scientific study, ask any person who practice meditation for a long time and he will confirm the same thing, what he gets during meditation is not the product of his body or mind, it’s something that comes from outside.

    Anecdotes… I see you came prepared for an examination of your claims. People here like to believe things that are true though, that means you have to support claims with evidence.

    We have a built-in antenna to receive energy and ideas

    Pics? Blinded trials? Picked up a million dollars from Randi yet? Anything resembling evidence for your claim here would be nice.

    There are so many articles on this topic, but science people tend to ignore them, and reason for that is because you can’t grasp this idea with your brain, it really requires deep understanding on a soul level, which have very little do with our brains.

    Ah, you’ve got special knowledge. Didn’t see that coming. Anyway, what you believe you know is not relevant, evidence for any of your claims is. Everybody reading is pretty excited about the possibilities of energy/thought transmitting antennas in their heads. Throw us a bone here!

    What we really need here is a merge of science and spirituality, one without another is unable to provide the answers we all seek.

    Spirituality seems to do fine providing answers to people all day long, provided you don’t care if the answers are anywhere near what is true.

    Now, if you want useful answers, there’s this method, the scientific method, and it allows you to determine what’s most likely true. It methodically eliminates biases and works towards the truth, introducing fact-free spiritual nonsense anywhere in this method would make it useless.

  66. says

    Why people always say, “Oh, I got an idea!” Why they don’t say, “Oh, my mind just created an idea!

    I’m going to do you a favor and assume that this wasn’t supposed to be a serious argument.

    Regarding a proof or a scientific study, ask any person who practice meditation for a long time and he will confirm the same thing, what he gets during meditation is not the product of his body or mind, it’s something that comes from outside.

    And how do you propose to verify that this impression is accurate? After all, meditation is an exercise that involves the mind and body, so whatever subjective effects you get is entirely consistent with the idea that thoughts are the product of the brain.

    This is not in itself proof of anything at all. You need some kind of actual test. “My friends all agree with me” is not a valid test for ideas about objective reality.

    Also, what’s with the vagueness? How long is a “long time”? Will any kind of meditation do or only whatever kind you prefer? Do you really mean any person? I can’t help but feel that you’ve left yourself several outs, just in case anyone shows up who have meditated for ten years and disagree with your conclusion.

    It’s a bit like those Christians who tell you that if you pray, god will reveal himself. Didn’t work? You must have prayed the wrong way, or not long enough, or not sincerely enough, or you’re lying to yourself, or…

    There are so many articles on this topic, but science people tend to ignore them, and reason for that is because you can’t grasp this idea with your brain, it really requires deep understanding on a soul level, which have very little do with our brains.

    Bull-fucking-shit! Fact is that you’ve got no evidence for your claims, you damn well know it, and you’re just making excuses. It’s exactly the same as apologists for any religion you care to mention. If the scripture makes no sense, it’s because you’re not reading with “spiritual eyes”.

    Evidence, motherfucker, do you have it?

  67. says

    Johny Miric:

    What we really need here is a merge of science and spirituality, one without another is unable to provide the answers we all seek.

    Are you sure? Because science has given us understanding of the universe stretching light years in space and eons in time. Science has given us longer, healthier lives and ability to do things undreamed of in the past.
    Science has taken us across the planet, to the depths of the ocean and into the heavens. Science has put men on the moon and robotic probes out past the boundary of the freakin’ solar system. It’s a product of science that’s even allowing us to have this very conversation!

    Even the bad things that have resulted, like weapons and pollution, are there because science works! We may sometimes put our understanding of reality to poor use, but science is the reason we have any understanding to put to any use, good or bad, in the first place.

    Now, remind me. What answers have spirituality produced? What practical benefits? I don’t want to hear about claims or proclamations or subjective sensations; what tangible, indisputable results have your spirituality given us?

  68. says

    Dutchdelight

    To simplify this discussion, when we use our brain we use information which is physically stored in there, collected through our lifetime.

    When we practice meditation, or some other sort of chanting, praying, relaxation… we are actually tapping in to the energy field around us. Why Buddhism, for example, survived for so many years and so many people are still dedicated to learn that knowledge? Because it can give answers on questions which are for science unsolvable, at least until now.

    I really feel that we don’t have a common ground for discussion. We both know what science is offering, what level of understanding, but as long you don’t spend several years practicing some sort of the spiritual technique, you will have no idea what I’m talking about.

    All you have is your tiny scientific brain, full of limitations, focused only on what you can see and touch. Human beings have many other sensations, and we need them all to be able to see.

  69. Snoof says

    When we practice meditation, or some other sort of chanting, praying, relaxation… we are actually tapping in to the energy field around us.

    You still haven’t answered how you know this.

    I really feel that we don’t have a common ground for discussion.

    Then why did you say anything at all? Are you just here to show off how Enlightened and Wise and Special you are to us poor ignorant physicalists?

  70. dutchdelight says

    Why Buddhism, for example, survived for so many years and so many people are still dedicated to learn that knowledge? Because it can give answers on questions which are for science unsolvable, at least until now.

    Argument from “this-stuff-is-really-old man”. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and suggest that it’s not really a good idea to use a movements age as an indicator of how reliable their beliefs are

    We both know what science is offering, what level of understanding

    I doubt that..

    All you have is your tiny scientific brain, full of limitations, focused only on what you can see and touch. Human beings have many other sensations, and we need them all to be able to see.

    Humans have very limited ways of detecting everything that’s out there, that means you and me both. You don’t have an out from that state through your “spirituality”. Someone making a scientific analysis will take more into account then just stuff someone can see or touch, I suppose you didn’t follow any science news for a few centuries. Ever heard of electromagnetism or spectroscopy?

  71. davidchapman says

    Contrary to the claim of Kalimac @42, the University of Arizona website collection of Nazi book blacklists doesn’t include The Origin of Species, although the Die Bucherei list is hostile to what it refers to as ‘primitive Darwinism.’) :

    Incidentally here’s another beauty from another Nazi directive on the site:

    The following list attempts to include that part of literature which absolutely must be removed from public libraries or from commonly accessible commercial lending libraries, because of its destructive and damaging tendencies towards the cultural and public goals of the Nazi revolution.[……]
    c) All writings that ridicule, belittle or besmirch the Christian religion and its institution, faith in God, or other things that are holy to the healthy sentiments of the Volk.

    There is also a list of “Pre-1939 Books at the University of Arizona by Authors
    whose Books were Proscribed by the Nazis” on the same ( UA ) website. Darwin doesn’t appear, which makes it quite clear that Darwin was not banned by the Boys in Brown. So if this is accurate I’m afraid the reference to ‘primitive Darwinism’ is not really representative of Nazi thinking.

  72. says

    Snoof,

    sorry, I didn’t mean to insult anybody. I like to talk with people who are open for discussion, but when I see comments like from that “motherfucker” guy, I realize that some things are better to keep for yourself.

    To answer your question, how I know this? By experiencing it on my own and by knowing many people with same experience. I don’t need a scientific study to tell me whether something is real or not, I can see results.

    If you really want to dig into it, here are few places to look:

    Book: The Field by Lynne McTaggart
    Movies: The Secret, What The Bleep Do We Know

    These are all made by scientists, not some spiritual prophets. There you will see a living evidence of the energy field which is all around us, influencing our life on so many levels.

    Our consciousness does not end with our skull, it reaches very far, interacting with objects, people, changing realities.

    Meditation, chanting, prayers, relaxations… all these activities make perfect sense once you realize that such energy field exists and is able to provide us with information and change our realities in such spectacular way which can’t be scientifically explained.

    I can’t give you the answer where is the source of this energy field, do we call it a God, Creator, Almighty, is it a guy with a beard… no idea, but what I know for sure is that it exists, and the fact whether you believe it or not makes a huge different on your reality. If you believe in it, you are able to access it, if not, doors are shut, or very, very narrow.

    Therefore the faith and believing concepts will never extinct because they are our primary tools to reach greatness. You can fight them with all our scientific studies, but you will always have people who will understand that there is something far beyond of what we can see and prove.

    Science is only there to do the aftermath, bring logic to a rather illogical and mystical world, once is revealed to our eyes.

  73. Forelle says

    An alternative explanation is that God gave us the mental abilities and that extra something we use in making decisions and in creating great works of art, sublime music, magnificent architecture, beautiful literature, and science and mathematics.

    This argument bugs me to no end precisely because I love, say, Mozart and Haydn, usually misused in this way. I enjoy their works as wonderful human achievements that should make most of us happy to exist when the world around us looks too dark, wicked, or trite. Mozart alone has been much more beneficial to humanity than most people: he has brought consolation, bubbling joy, beautiful expression of an enormous gamut of emotions to thousands, probably millions. Many aficionados respond to, for example, Bach with awe – to Mozart, with gratitude.

    And yes, he was very much gifted, but he worked damn hard. His music is so well known and transparent – you can listen to his progressive learning and compare him to other composers, not always favourably; it’s not precisely difficult. Yet many people will insist on his being a) a lofty, incomprehensible genius; b) a stupid goof; or c) just a creature of God, that is, goddidit, as you say. Anything but dealing with the fact that he was a human being – part envy, part absolute incomprehension, and you scientists must know something about that too.

    I myself say now and then that Mozart and other artists are a marvellous asset for religious belief. If people believe in God even subject to Christian rock and Mormon paintings, I can’t help feeling that good artists make that belief even firmer. Close yourselves for an hour in a church, say, with an organ playing César Frank, lots of frankincense and Spanish baroque imagery; add to that being in a group; and the experience can be quite overwhelming. But all those wonders are of human origin, and that is something to delight in. I wish people would stop the stupid argumentum ad Monam Lisam.

  74. dutchdelight says

    If you really want to dig into it, here are few places to look:

    Book: The Field by Lynne McTaggart
    Movies: The Secret, What The Bleep Do We Know

    You do know know the the last movie you refer to is over a decade old and basically the ramblings of a channeler and some scientists that didn’t know they would get abused to sell quantum woo.

    Does spirituality come with any kind of self-correcting mechanisms like the scientific method does? How come you thought it would help your case and convince us that these were not made by “spiritual prophets”.

    To answer your question, how I know this? By experiencing it on my own and by knowing many people with same experience. I don’t need a scientific study to tell me whether something is real or not, I can see results.

    Actually the human brain is easily fooled by a myriad of natural circumstances, science acknowledges this, and therefore “personal testimony” doesn’t count as evidence for anything. In spritualism there is no such distinction though, anything goes, it’s followers usually, like you, consider their brains infallible.

    So to get back on track, you made some claims, and there’s no evidence on the table yet. There’s anecdotes from people you know, there’s your personal conviction, but nothing that would convince an observer of your claims.

    You are not doing well i’m afraid.

  75. says

    Johny Miric:

    When we practice meditation, or some other sort of chanting, praying, relaxation… we are actually tapping in to the energy field around us.

    That’s your hypothesis. Now, how are you going to test it?

    If this “energy field” is capable of affecting the indisputably physical matter of the brain, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to measure it. So, we (and by “we” I mean “you”, since you’re the proponent of this idea) should get to work trying to identify the nature of this field and to measure it, thus demonstrating it’s existence.

    However, if the idea isn’t correct, such attempts to identify a mystical energy field will fail. you can’t find a field that doesn’t exist. On the other hand, if you propose that the field is somehow immune to detection by scientific means, you’ve got a lot of explaining to do regarding how it manages to provide input to the brain and how such input can be switched on or off by purely physical means (the act of meditating).

    See, your idea is meeting resistance not because we’re dogmatically against it, but because it sounds like bullshit. You’re ignoring requests for evidence and dodging questions. If your idea is correct, it should be entirely possible to provide clear, objective, honest-to-god physical evidence for it, so why aren’t you?

    but when I see comments like from that “motherfucker” guy, I realize that some things are better to keep for yourself.

    Don’t blame your ignorance of common cultural references on me. Besides, if you can’t handle a bit of strong language, you’ve really come to the wrong place. I asked you for evidence. If that’s too much for you to handle, I don’t think you’ll like it here.

    To answer your question, how I know this? By experiencing it on my own and by knowing many people with same experience. I don’t need a scientific study to tell me whether something is real or not, I can see results.

    How exactly do you manage to directly experience the existence of an outside energy field affecting your brain? How does that work? What sensations allow you to distinguish internally generated thoughts from externally supplied ones?

  76. Snoof says

    To answer your question, how I know this? By experiencing it on my own and by knowing many people with same experience. I don’t need a scientific study to tell me whether something is real or not, I can see results.

    For thousands of years, people experienced the sun orbiting the Earth, and knew lots of people with the same experience.

    Were they correct when they said, “The sun orbits the earth”?

    (I submit that, “lots of people think this” is not a suitable metric for determining the truth of a proposition.)

    Movies: The Secret, What The Bleep Do We Know

    I’m no mystic, but I have solved the Schrödinger equation a few times, and I can tell you that the use of quantum physics in these films is unadulterated garbage. More’s the point, so will a whole lot of other people who use quantum physics to build things which exist in the real world, like microchips and solid-state memory and lasers.

  77. azhael says

    @86 Johny

    I can’t give you the answer where is the source of this energy field, do we call it a God, Creator, Almighty, is it a guy with a beard… no idea, but what I know for sure is that it exists, and the fact whether you believe it or not makes a huge different on your reality. If you believe in it, you are able to access it, if not, doors are shut, or very, very narrow.

    Therefore the faith and believing concepts will never extinct because they are our primary tools to reach greatness. You can fight them with all our scientific studies, but you will always have people who will understand that there is something far beyond of what we can see and prove.

    So you have nothing to demonstrate any of your claims except your assertion that this is definitely real. I´m also fascinated by the fact that for some completely unspecified reason believing it without any eveidence whatsoever is required as a first step to have access to this thing. Believe it first, then feed yourself non-sense that reafirms that believe.

    Does it make you feel special and better than the rest of us to claim that your preposterous non-sense allows you to achieve greatness? “Primary tools to achieve greatness”…i mean…fuck me. What greatness?
    I´d wager that everybody here understands that there is something beyond what we can currently “see” and demonstrate….the difference is that noone here would propose something as silly as what you are peddling.

  78. says

    I’m not scientists, I do not have means or knowledge to make scientific tests on such level that it would be recognized globally.

    I see bits of information scattered around internet, about people working on this from many different angles.

    Like for example this one http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/your-aura-and-how-it-affects-others/

    What is aura and why we know so little about it? Why does the color and substance change according how we feel? For me this is direct connection between our feelings and outside world, or energy field. And this aura have much bigger range than what articles claim, but our technology is not developed yet to sense it.

    Why the instruments read aura source fields on the body to be exactly on same spots as chakras, a system which is developed thousands of years ago? That means that those “ancient” spiritual methods had insights thousands of years before we even discovered electricity.

    Here I could go on and on with energy meridians within humans discovered by Chinese thousands of years ago as well, they, for example, have discovered that those energy pathways are not closed circle but have exits on our heads and feet.

    Going where?

    Or this example http://korotkov.org/energy-of-consciousness/
    Quote: “We have already left behind the idea that the brain produces consciousness. The brain is better presented as a receptacle which reacts to the signals of the surrounding space, including signals from the collective field.”

    Which field?

    Or another example, for me the most amazing. We are able to change a physical structure of water by meditating or simply expressing our feelings around it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJmmkLm6aYA

    How our words can change the structure of the water? How is that possible without having an energy field which is far more sophisticated than we think. An energy field which acts as extension of our body and mind.

    Religion is based on real things, I agree that many wrong things have been done in the name of religion, official institutions often misbehave, but that doesn’t mean that spiritual techniques are not working.

    They are real, they are dealing with real things and have real effects on our lives.

    Those ancient scripts and books have a real power, words written there are made in purpose to be able to manipulate the energy field around us. Problem is that humans started to interpret those words on so many different ways, people got confused, started to fight over its meaning, completely forgetting what those words are really for.

    Words are not just words, they carry energy, they work on a same way as line of code in a operating system, a good line of code can bring nice and useful software, bad line of code can disrupt the whole thing and make it useless.

    Our words work in a same way, we manipulate energy field and reality around us with our words, but we are not aware of it. Every time we get angry, we create an angry energy field around us, every time we are happy, we create a happy energy field. The reality results of those two fields are totally different. One brings misery and sickness to people, the other brings success, health and contentment.

    What we think, what we speak, what we write, what we feel, directly influence on reality around us, changing the shape and substance.

    This is the essence of every religion, and personally I think, the methods, like mediation, praying, chanting… cannot be more scientific than they are. They are our direct tools to discover and change the world around us.

    One more link as closing word, just a reminder that science is always one-two steps behind spirituality: 8 Ancient Beliefs Now Backed By Modern Science
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/21/8-ancient-beliefs-now-bac_n_4995877.html

  79. opposablethumbs says

    Oh, Johny Miric. Oh dear oh dear oh dearie me. Well I suppose the least I can do is thank you for making me laugh aloud (one genuine audible chuckle) on this rather cloudy day.
    You do realise that everything you’ve said is an exact match for the excuses people have given for every religion ever? As LykeX said, it’s just like praying and the ol’ sensus divinitatus (now there’s a side-slapper): anyone who questions it can be told they just didn’t do it right or for long enough!
    You silly, silly person. Try a spot of actual evidence, or failing that at least try to present a coherent case with a smidgen of logic? One that isn’t just a woolly waffle of bald assertions with nothing whatsoever to back them up? Hmm?
    (oh, and incidentally, why aren’t you an adherent of at least one religion, if not all of them? They have the same grounds for belief that you do …)

  80. says

    So I give up on the nonsense peddled by Salon, & Johny here comes back with a link to that great fecal lake, the HuffPo? No, thanks.

  81. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Regarding a proof or a scientific study, ask any person who practice meditation for a long time and he will confirm the same thing, what he gets during meditation is not the product of his body or mind, it’s something that comes from outside.

    That isn’t evidence, that is self-delusion. Either show an instrument measurement, or all you have is bullshit. That is how science works. Take your self-delusion out of the circle.

  82. Al Dente says

    Johny Miric @74

    ask any person who practice meditation for a long time and he will confirm the same thing, what he gets during meditation is not the product of his body or mind, it’s something that comes from outside.

    I’ve mediated for years. I’ve never had a sense of communicating with the Great Spirit™ or anything else outside of me. So if you ask me, I will not confirm anything even remotely like what you’re trying to sell.

    Mediation helps me focus on things and become aware of when my focus is drifting. I notice this even when I’m not mediating. Incidentally, I’ve found letting my focus drift is an excellent aid to falling asleep. Mediation helps me deal with anxiety and reduce my emotional reactions to unpleasant situations. In short, meditation is beneficial to me in various ways. For me it is not a gateway to spirituality or recognition of the Great Arkleseizure or any other happy horseshit like that.

  83. says

    We have a built-in antenna to receive energy and ideas, but most of us are not aware of it.

    Well, our eyes are sensors that convert energy (in a specific frequency range) into signals for our brains and our brains convert them into ideas. There is substantial and obviously existing support in our brains for doing this important activity. If you hypothesize an “antenna” for other energies, what frequency range are those energies and where in the brain is that processing done?

    Here’s an experiment you can perform yourself: close your eyes and think of/recall the opening riff of AC/DC’s “back in black” or some other piece of music. There. Now, that didn’t come from outside or anywhere other than your brain itself. You did not just receive that from a cosmic AC/DC field. Now, recall a feeling of peace and oneness such as you might experience meditating… Which is more likely, that your “antenna” just tuned it in or that you’ve been imagining the whole thing all along?

  84. says

    What is aura and why we know so little about it?

    Some of it’s a side-effect of chemical processes used in film photography, specifically overdevelopment to completion. That it’s not captured on digital cameras is a dead giveaway since digital cameras nowadays are much more sensitive than film was.

  85. Frenzie says

    @Johny Miric

    Why people always say, [sic] “Oh, I got an idea!”

    I don’t say that. I say “I have an idea” or “I’ve got an idea”. More to the point, why do people say the sun comes up and goes down? Why are some varieties of English at school and others in school? Why are Dutch people on school? Do the people at school stand around in front of the building while those on school take position on the roof?

    Why the instruments read aura source fields on the body to be exactly on same spots as chakras, a system which is developed thousands of years ago? That means that those “ancient” spiritual methods had insights thousands of years before we even discovered electricity.

    Why you not know the verb “do”?

  86. Frenzie says

    @96, Al Dente

    I’ve mediated for years. I’ve never had a sense of communicating with the Great Spirit™ or anything else outside of me. So if you ask me, I will not confirm anything even remotely like what you’re trying to sell.

    +1

    At best I can see how letting your focus drift over your body might be explained as some kind of spiritual nonsense if you didn’t know about the electrical signals that make up our body.

  87. says

    The brain is better presented as a receptacle which reacts to the signals of the surrounding space, including signals from the collective field.

    Then why don’t we all think the same?
    Oh, wait, it’s because our brains actually DO do something! They interpret what’s around them through their sensory experience! In fact, that’s all they have, which is why a deaf person doesn’t hear the music I’m listening to, even though it’s a bunch of vibrations in the air all around them. If you think about it for a second you’ll realize that, if our brains were attuned to some additional input channel, it would be incredibly distracting because it’d be irrelevant to what was going on around us.

  88. says

    Al Dente,

    Mediation helps us with focus, anxiety and emotions because we receive additional energy which helps us solve these issues.

    But the question is from where this energy comes?

    An empty car cannot create a gasoline out of thin air, it has to go to the station. It cannot refuel itself.

    To get additional energy you have to take it from somewhere. It’s a basic law of physics.

    Same with humans, if we feel tired before meditation, which means we lack energy, and after meditation we feel full of energy, from where this energy came from?

    If you feel sad and then you talk with somebody and you start to feel better, what did you get from this person?

    This person helped you to reconnect with a field around you.

    I’m not talking spiritual language here, I’m talking from simple physics perspective.

    The energy we have, the energy we give, the energy we receive, it all goes from and to somewhere, it’s a pure math, and it has to match.

    If somebody says that he felt tired before meditation and after he felt great, and claims that additional energy came from his body, I call it nonsense.

    Same goes with sleep. Why we sleep? To recharge. From which source?

    Where do you put your phone during the night?

    Your phone did not recharge by itself. Neither human can.

  89. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Mediation helps us with focus, anxiety and emotions because we receive additional energy which helps us solve these issues.

    Either show where this “energy” comes from and its type and frequency, or it doesn’t exist. Everything beyond this point is bullshit until you properly define and demonstrate this “fact”. For the moment, it is only an unevidenced presupposition, and can be and is dismissed as fuckwittery.

  90. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Your phone did not recharge by itself. Neither human can.

    The phone receives known electrical energy. You receive only what you deluded yourself into to thinking, as it doesn’t exist until you can verify it with the proper instruments.

  91. zenlike says

    “Tiny scientific minds” gave us airplanes, and this thing called computers and internet which is used by Johny to spout his idiocies.

    Spirituality gave us the unfounded and unproven ramblings by Johny.

    The scientific minds might be tiny, but at least they contribute something useful to this world.

  92. says

    Marcus Ranum

    There are two types of information, one that is already stored in our brain, like your ACDC song example, we can call this an old message, and then there is incoming, new message, which we receive from outside. And this is the source of all great ideas humans have discovered. The old messages within our brains are of lower quality, therefore “less great”

    To be more technical, our receiving panel for new messages is our solar plexus, this is why most spiritual methods will teach you how to breath and relax your lower belly, this is because we need this part of our body to work as antenna. Other body parts are also able to receive new energy, but solar plexus is probably the most important.
    http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/ourladyofweightloss/2011/06/where-is-my-solar-plexus-and-why-should-i-care.html

  93. zenlike says

    our receiving panel for new messages is our solar plexus

    No, we have five senses to receive new info. This is basically toddler-level biology Johny.

  94. says

    zenlike: “No, we have five senses to receive new info. This is basically toddler-level biology Johny.”

    I’m talking about meditation, there you are supposed to shut down your senses and you use your body to receive energy.

  95. says

    Johny Miric:

    I’m not scientists

    Believe me, it shows. We’re asking for evidence and all you’ve given us so far are more claims.

    Take that HuffPo article, for example: 8 Ancient Beliefs Now Backed By Modern Science. It’s a study in dishonesty and twisting the facts. I note a common theme in three of the examples, about Acupuncture, Tai Chi and meditation. They take a general benefit and then apply it to a specific technique.

    For example, it’s true that regular Tai Chi is very healthy and can reduce many age-related conditions, like arthritis and poor balance. However, that’s because any regular, light exercise will give those benefits. It has nothing to do with Tai Chi, specifically, and pretending that it does is just plain dishonest. It’s the equivalent of “part of a complete breakfast”.

    Fact is that the spiritual underpinnings of Tai Chi are flat out wrong. The ancient masters were wrong, there’s no two ways about it. They happened to be wrong in a way that led them to doing things that, for entirely unrelated reasons, were healthy, but that doesn’t make them any less wrong.

    Likewise, there are no meridians in the body, moving Chi around and meditation doesn’t do anything mystical, it’s just deep breathing and mental focus. These ideas were based in models of reality that were wrong.

    If I start hiking to the top of a hill every day to pray to Shiva and as a result end up losing weight, it’s not because of Shiva’s blessing. It’s because I hike up a hill every day. The fact that I got a benefit from an entirely unexpected cause doesn’t make me right.

    If you want to provide evidence for (for example) the benefits of meditation, but all you show are physical benefits, entirely consistent with a purely naturalistic model of reality, then don’t expect me to accept all your mystical claims. If you you want me to believe those claims, show me evidence for those claims, not some unrelated claim.

  96. mikeyb says

    If you see aura’s you may have some form of synesthesia. Also, meditation occurs in brains which happen to exist in bodies. Whatever the purported benefits, these bodies need food and water (energy) to function at a minimum. So where’s the magic come from.

  97. azhael says

    If somebody says that he felt tired before meditation and after he felt great, and claims that additional energy came from his body, I call it nonsense.

    xDDDD You are hilarious. You think metabolisms are nonsense?
    You need to put down the Chopra and grab a few biology books. Your ignorance of how biological systems work is getting in the way of you realizing how much garbage and silly, meaningless nothings you are spewing.

    You are so deep in bullshit you can only see brown.

  98. says

    That’s why there are large bundles of nerves in our solar plexi – with big nerves to conduct the signals to our brains. What? What’s that you say? There aren’t?! Never mind.

  99. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m talking about meditation, there you are supposed to shut down your senses and you use your body to receive energy.

    You’re talking about self-delusion. Typical of woomeisters. Who can’t point to what they claim, it is all intuition. But how do they show their intuition isn’t a delusion? They can’t.

  100. says

    Practically, none of you can explain why we feel energized after meditation and why we have more energy after sleep?

    This is basic principle of physics
    Empty cup cannot fill itself – it needs an additional source of water to get filled.
    Car cannot fix itself – it needs a mechanic
    Phone cannot recharge itself – it needs a charger and electricity

    Nobody have any clue how this works, from where this additional energy comes from, so I came up with a claim that we have an energy field around us which feeds us and you dismissed that for lack of evidence.

    It’s “Earth is flat” and “Sun goes around earth” all over, if you ask me :-)

  101. Snoof says

    No, we have five senses to receive new info. This is basically toddler-level biology Johny.

    Depends on how you define “sense”. In addition to the regular five (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch), arguably proprioception is another sense, and I personally think splitting touch up into its components (sensitivity to heat flow, sensitivity to texture, sensitivity to force and so forth) is reasonable. On the other hand, if you’re a lumper, you might classify hearing as a form of touch, since ultimately it just detects atmospheric pressure changes.

    On the other hand, claiming

    our receiving panel for new messages is our solar plexus

    is a major challenge to the modern models of psychology and physiology, and needs to be backed up by replicable, reliable data.

    I doubt it’s coming. I suspect (and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, Johny Miric) that the conflict here is methodological rather than factual. I suspect Johny Miric isn’t using things experimentation or data or replicability or falsifiability or the scientific method to build their ideas, but is relying on “spiritual” revelation, wishful thinking and appeals to ancient authority.

  102. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Practically, none of you can explain why we feel energized after meditation and why we have more energy after sleep?

    Learn basic metabolism. Not woo. Inane non-sequitur question.

    The only question of interest is how to you measure your alleged and unevidenced “energy”. Until you answer that, you have nothing but bullshit.

  103. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I suspect Johny Miric isn’t using things experimentation or data or replicability or falsifiability or the scientific method to build their ideas, but is relying on “spiritual” revelation, wishful thinking and appeals to ancient authority.

    No suspect, it is exactly the woo-woo-woo that is being peddled. Utter and total BS.

  104. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Johny Miric @ 107

    To be more technical, our receiving panel for new messages is our solar plexus, this is why most spiritual methods will teach you how to breath and relax your lower belly, this is because we need this part of our body to work as antenna.

    The breathing techniques used most often in meditative practices involve abdominal breathing. There is a wealth of information on the effects abdominal breathing has on physical health, mood, and stress. There is nothing mystical in this. No extra special things happening. It’s all perfectly physical and well understood. There’s no extra energy coming in from space or anything else. You feel different because you’re breathing differently, which has an effect on your circulation and oxygen levels.

    The absurd explanation you offer is unnecessary and without any evidence, trying to describe something that is already very well understood from a purely physiological standpoint. Spiritual antennae need not apply.

  105. says

    Johny Miric:
    You know, as fun as it is to watch you dig yourself into a deeper and deeper hole, making one unsubstantiated claim after another and demonstrating your fundamental ignorance on the advanced subjects of eating and sleeping, I’m not sure it’s particularly productive.

    Maybe you could clear up something simple for me: Do you claim to have any actual evidence for what you believe? Yes or no.

  106. says

    Nerd of Redhead

    You keep calling BS but you are not answering simple question, from where comes the additional energy we receive after we sleep or practice meditation?

    If you leave your car in the garage, empty fueled, do you expect it to be full in the morning?

    If you say that additional energy comes from within our body, I call it BS as well, because it makes no scientific sense. It has to come from somewhere else, and I will take one step back here, I will not claim that I know, but I’m waiting for some logical answer from so many people who know their science here.

  107. says

    from where comes the additional energy we receive after we sleep or practice meditation?

    Your body has large stores of energy that it can mobilize when needed. That’s why if you go a day or two without food, you don’t just drop dead. You need to demonstrate that additional energy has actually been transferred into the body, rather than the body simply drawing on the energy stores it already has.

    Incidentally, sleep is a lot more complicated than a simply high or low energy, but if you’re already having problems, we should probably stay out of that.

  108. Al Dente says

    Johny Miric @102

    Mediation helps us with focus, anxiety and emotions because we receive additional energy which helps us solve these issues.

    But the question is from where this energy comes?

    You need to learn about something called “metabolism.” That’s explains how the body, including the brain, uses energy. This energy comes from stuff we consume which is commonly called “food.” As for “additional energy,” it doesn’t exist. I don’t receive any additional energy during meditation.

    To get additional energy you have to take it from somewhere. It’s a basic law of physics.

    Same with humans, if we feel tired before meditation, which means we lack energy, and after meditation we feel full of energy, from where this energy came from?

    As I said, I receive no “additional energy” from mediation. I feel relaxed and this relaxation allows me to use my body’s energy for other things besides worry and stress (both of which cause our bodies to use energy in unproductive ways). Since the additional energy doesn’t exist, it doesn’t come from anywhere.

    If you feel sad and then you talk with somebody and you start to feel better, what did you get from this person?

    This person helped you to reconnect with a field around you.

    Show me where this “field” exists. What is it made of? Is it electromagnetic or luminiferous æther or what? How can we detect it? I won’t accept “you just feel it”, I want some concrete evidence this field doesn’t come straight out of your ass.

    I’m not talking spiritual language here, I’m talking from simple physics perspective bullshit.

    FIFY

    The energy we have, the energy we give, the energy we receive, it all goes from and to somewhere, it’s a pure math, and it has to match.

    That’s that metabolism thing again. Learn about how your body works before you try to baffle the cognoscenti with bullshit.

    If somebody says that he felt tired before meditation and after he felt great, and claims that additional energy came from his body, I call it nonsense.

    I don’t feel any additional energy after mediation. I feel the same energy as I did before. I feel relaxed and comfortable after mediation and that lets me use my body’s energy more efficiently. Sorry if that seems nonsensical to you. I suspect others on this thread will be more willing to accept my reaction to mediation than yours because mine is more reasonable.

  109. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You keep calling BS but you are not answering simple question, from where comes the additional energy we receive after we sleep or practice meditation?

    I answered it. Until you provide a means of measuring the external “energy” coming into your perceptions, it is nothing but basic metabolism. You stop working, your body can switch back to totally aerobic metabolism since you can oxygenate your cells. Basic science, no bullshit.

  110. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If you say that additional energy comes from within our body, I call it BS as well, because it makes no scientific sense. I

    I’m a scientist, 35+ years. What you say makes no scientific sense, since you provide NO MEASUREMENT for your claims. Whereas metabolism is well evidenced by science.

  111. says

    from where comes the additional energy we receive after we sleep or practice meditation?

    Distribution of glucose, plus the removal of built-up lactic acid in the muscles.

    LykeX writes:
    Do you claim to have any actual evidence for what you believe? Yes or no.

    It’s probably more effective with him to challenge his epistemology rather than his evidence.

    @Johny Miric – How do you come by this knowledge, about the antenna in the solar plexus?

  112. says

    LykeX

    Yes, body can pull additional energy if needed, but still, although you gain few hours more, after that you will feel extremely exhausted. It’s like energy drink effect.

    I’m talking about regular sleep and regular meditation, where in the process we gain a lot of fresh energy without exhausting our body by reaching some backup storage.

    We sleep for a reason, we meditate for a reason, to receive something, something which we don’t have.

    And still nobody explained from where that something is coming?

  113. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yes, body can pull additional energy if needed

    What “energy”. Until you show it exists, it is only a delusion in your mind, like a deity. No evidence, it is dismissed.

    I’m talking about regular sleep and regular meditation, where in the process we gain a lot of fresh energy without exhausting our body by reaching some backup storage.

    Basic metabolism. Explained by science. Until you evidence your “energy”, it is nothing but bullshit. Citation needed.

  114. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    We sleep for a reason, we meditate for a reason, to receive something, something which we don’t have.

    Not your fuckwitted and unevidenced explanation, that is for sure.

    Peddle your woo elsewhere. Everybody here is laughing at your gullibility.

  115. steffp says

    Johny Miric #74 / Al Dente #96
    Same here. I do meditation for 30 years now on a daily basis. No higher being connecting at all, but it refreshes me and often gets me out of circuitous thinking habits, reducing external and internal noise. Some people may need woo explanations to muster the discipline for such exercises, but that’s not a prerequisite. It’s just a mental technique. Helpful, but not supernatural.
    The change in mind after taking a dose of Tavor® is pretty impressive, but it’s just chemistry…

    The Austrians, as the Hitch once remarked, have been very successful in hiding the fact that A.H. was an Austrian, not a German. He did not mature in (more or less rational) academic circles in Heidelberg or Göttingen, but in irrationalism-brooding post-war Vienna, full of conspiracy theorists and mysticism. His racism specifically centered on Jews – the usual scapegoats for Christians over the centuries. To him, they were the potentially deadly disease of the nation’s body, parasites that had to be removed mercylessly and totally. That is a pretty specific form of racism.
    The father of modern racism, Gobineau, who posited qualitative differences between the races, was trying to find reasons for different treatment of different races. Hitler wanted to
    exterminate a whole race not because he felt they were inferior, but because he deemed them dangerously superior both intellectually and tactically, and abysmally bad at the same time.
    Gobineau pre-dated Darwin by decades, and the idea of a “malign” race is totally un-darwinian. I have my doubts that he ever referred to Jews as a special race.

  116. says

    Marcus Ranum – We do not eat while sleeping or meditating

    Nerd of Redhead – You keep claiming that body replenishes itself, and I call it BS. From where?

    Meditation and sleep puts body in a special position for receiving something additional, something which is not in our body.

    Claiming it’s metabolism is just avoiding a real problem here. How body can get additional energy without spending it from somewhere else?

    You guys have a real scientific issue here, and I will leave you with it :-)

  117. says

    body can pull additional energy if needed

    Epinephrine (Adrenaline) triggers release of glycogen from the liver, increased heart rate (more blood flow) and vasodilation (arteries and veins swell slightly, increasing blood flow) – I’m sure you’ve experienced it. It’s how bodies pull additional energy – the glycogen is what powers our cells.

    Here’s another way of looking at what you’re talking about: the mechanism whereby cells are powered with glycogen is something science has made some progress toward understanding. In no place has there been any evidence that cells draw energy from anyplace else. So that’s actually evidence against the idea that some undetected energy comes from meditation. Now, you can move up the control stack and say “well, maybe meditation increases glycolisis” but there’s no evidence of that, either, unless you move up the control stack a bit further (as I did in my first paragraph) and ask whether meditation affects the control mechanism of glycolisis, itself, like adrenaline does. Well, the problem with that is that what we know does that is…. adrenaline. So maybe meditation releases adrenaline? Uh, doubtful because it’s a mechanism for short-term energy release and is usually associated with stress/fear/flight/fight not relaxation.

    Perhaps you’re confusing meditation with a brief nap, as I tried to imply above.

  118. davidchapman says

    If someone is feeling miserable, they’re likely to have a low level of energy. If they are feeling happy and optimistic, their energy level is likely to be high, regardless of whether you practice meditation. If the question you were asking was a real question, you would have to respond to that observation by saying that not only meditation, but happiness draws energy in from outside the body as well. But that is another totally unwarranted claim: your psuedo-reasoning would oblige you to claim something about the nature of this energy that might be completely wrong and misleading. Now such things as happiness, optimism and energy are very important issues. They are central to human life, and we shouldn’t make glib assumptions about their nature.

    Can you see then why you must be more careful in your reasoning then you’re being?

  119. Rich Woods says

    I’m really enjoying this, Johny, but I’ve ran out of popcorn. Can you hold on for half an hour, please, while I nip into town and buy some more? And some beer. Thanks.

  120. says

    Johny Miric:

    Yes, body can pull additional energy if needed, but still, although you gain few hours more, after that you will feel extremely exhausted. It’s like energy drink effect.

    No, you’re talking about pushing yourself without a resting period. I’m talking about exactly what happens during the resting period. The body uses the energy reserves to recuperate and be ready for another period of activity.

    I’m talking about regular sleep and regular meditation, where in the process we gain a lot of fresh energy without exhausting our body by reaching some backup storage.

    Yes, and that backup storage is in the body itself, like fat tissue. When we rest, the body does repairs, refills glycogen stores and whatnot. That’s why we’re refreshed when we wake up. The body isn’t inert while we sleep. There’s all sorts of stuff going on, to prepare us for the next waking period.

    We sleep for a reason, we meditate for a reason, to receive something, something which we don’t have.

    This is a claim, not a fact. Provide evidence for it. You’re claiming that there’s a net gain of energy during sleep, simply because you, subjectively, feel more energetic. This is sloppy, to put it mildly, and I see no reason to accept that idea. I’m not going to believe you just because you keep repeating it.

  121. says

    Marcus Ranum – We do not eat while sleeping or meditating

    Digesting food isn’t an instantaneous process!!!
    You put it in your stomach and it gets dissolved and broken down and whatnot. While you’re asleep, while you’re in the shower, while you’re walking your dog, while you’re meditating… In my case, since I eat more pasta, pizza, and red wine than my body needs to keep itself going, it converts some of the food into lipids (fat!) and stores them around and above my hips, so if my body needs energy it can use that stored supply! What a marvel! You really should study a bit about how metabolisms work; it’s just freakin’ amazing stuff.

    So why do you believe there is an energy receptor in the solar plexus? Have you observed it? Or is it something you read about somewhere? If the latter, where?

  122. says

    You guys have a real scientific issue here, and I will leave you with it :-)

    If that was a proto-flounce, it’s pretty underdeveloped. You should put more energy into it.

  123. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nerd of Redhead – You keep claiming that body replenishes itself, and I call it BS. From where?

    Easy Peasy, from Wiki even.

    Now, you provide a citation from the peer reviewed scientific literature for your “energy”. Or shut the fuck up.

  124. says

    Johny Miric:

    Claiming it’s metabolism is just avoiding a real problem here. How body can get additional energy without spending it from somewhere else?

    I wonder, what do you fat is used for? Why do people get fat when they eat a lot and why do they slim down when they exercise? What is the mysterious mechanism that causes this behavior?

  125. says

    we meditate for a reason, to receive something, something which we don’t have.

    And how do you know that?

    Commenters here have done a good job of explaining that “energy” comes from a metabolism and resting/sitting still/napping/meditating are things your body does to replenish itself. So, unless you’ve got something else you want to claim, why don’t you just research metabolism a bit and then you won’t need to believe in something that contradicts a great deal of hard-won knowledge about how our bodies work.

  126. zenlike says

    Claiming it’s metabolism is just avoiding a real problem here.

    No it isn’t Johny-boy. You don’t understand metabolism at all apparently. Just like you barely understand anything.

    Johny is a clear example of someone who opened up his mind too far, and in the process lost his brain.

  127. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You guys have a real scientific issue here, and I will leave you with it :-)

    There is no scientific issue here. There is a scientific issue with you and your woo. Look inward for your problem cricket.

  128. says

    Marcus Ranum – No, mediation is not a nap. A properly done meditation puts our mind in completely different level of consciousness, making it actually much more beneficiary than sleep.

    A great buddhist masters sleep very little, some of them don’t sleep at all, but they spend most of the time meditating, that way they receive much more energy than from sleep, and much, much more than from food.

    Regarding solar plexus, it’s just day by day practicing relaxation techniques. It’s really hard to explain to somebody who never experienced such state of body and mind. It feels like you don’t have self, you don’t feel your weight, you can’t think on anything, all you feel is massive amount of light coming into your body, mainly in solar plexus area, but often in legs and hands etc.

    There are of course lots of different types of meditation, many of them are purely mental, it puts focus on energy within your body.

    A proper meditation, done by chinese master for example, puts focus on energy around you, and then sensations can get very visual and physical.

    It’s not easy to reach that point, sometimes it takes me weeks or months, but when you get there, you just know that this have nothing to do with my body. You just know.

    And I have many friends who are into same kind of things, they could tell you similar stories.

    This is nothing new, it exists for centuries, but science have problems grasping it and putting a label on it.

    So, if you ask me do I have a physical evidence of some external energy field, all I can say is no, I don’t.

    But do I claim that it exist? Oh yes.

  129. Frenzie says

    A great buddhist masters sleep very little, some of them don’t sleep at all, but they spend most of the time meditating, that way they receive much more energy than from sleep, and much, much more than from food.

    That fails on internal logic, even if we accept your premises. If they receive more energy from meditation than from sleep, why exactly do they have to meditate most of the time?

  130. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    A properly done meditation puts our mind in completely different level of consciousness, making it actually much more beneficiary than sleep.

    Unevidence assertion. Dismissed.

    A great buddhist masters sleep very little, some of them don’t sleep at all, but they spend most of the time meditating, that way they receive much more energy than from sleep, and much, much more than from food.

    Unevidenced assertion. Dismissed.

    A proper meditation, done by chinese master for example, puts focus on energy around you, and then sensations can get very visual and physical.

    Unevidenced “energy” claim. Dismissed.

    And I have many friends who are into same kind of things, they could tell you similar stories.

    The plural of delusional anecdote is not data. Dismissed.

    So, if you ask me do I have a physical evidence of some external energy field, all I can say is no, I don’t.

    Then you have conceded the argument, and you have nothing.

    But do I claim that it exist? Oh yes.

    Unevidenced claim, see your previous acknowledgement of no evidence. Dismissed.

    Now, what is your argument that you can evidence?

  131. says

    It feels like you don’t have self, you don’t feel your weight, you can’t think on anything, all you feel is massive amount of light coming into your body, mainly in solar plexus area, but often in legs and hands etc.

    But why would you conclude anything about an energy field from that? Isn’t this exactly the kind of weird phenomena you’d expect when you’re doing something funky with your brain? Isn’t that 100% consistent with a model that holds thought as a product of the physical brain and nothing else?

    I’ve had similar experiences myself, especially the weightlessness. One time, it was so pronounced that for a moment I actually wondered if I was levitating and looked down to check if I’d floated off the ground. I was quite grounded, which just goes to show you that you can get sensations that are very clear and powerful and not true.

    How do you get from “I meditated and had these sensations” to “great energy field that supplies energy and ideas”? Why do you think these experiences are a good reason to believe what you do?

  132. raven says

    LOL.

    I just skimmed this later part of the thread. I could feel JM’s Transmitters sucking IQ points out by the second.

    1. If we are receivers and there are Great Cosmic Invisible Transmitters, then…why do we have to go to school to learn anything?

    We know exactly where all our language, cultural, social, and educational skills come from. We learn them from other humans. It takes 18 to 30 years of our lives just to become useful adults, depending on the occupation. Many or most of us continue that process our entire lives. You can learn a lot just from reading Freethoughtblogs.

    Seems to me the Great Cosmic Invisible Transmitters could just stick all that in our memory banks in one download. Should take a second as I’m sure JM doesn’t believe in bandwidth either.

  133. says

    Give credit where it’s due, P.Z. Your source is, I’m sure, based on the findings of the historian of science Robert Richards, who has pretty much demolished the view that Hitler owed anything to Darwin. Here’s the .pdf of his article:

    http://home.uchicago.edu/~rjr6/articles/Was%20Hitler%20a%20Darwinian.pdf

    In the meantime, he appears to have expanded this into a book:

    http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/W/bo16137224.html

    It’s always important to remember here: Hitler’s Darwinianism (or Social Darwinism) has been a commonplace of the historical literature on him for years. Because it has, I assumed it was the case when I first read deeply on the subject of Hitler. Richards’s recent findings are probably still being absorbed by the larger scholarly community. This doesn’t excuse the Salon authors; they could have found Richards’s article by a simple google search–but if they did read any less recent scholarly literature, they may have been misled by that.

  134. says

    LykeX

    and who says that your experienced sensation didn’t come from outside? It happens all the time.

    I don’t claim that meditation is the only way, we are interacting with energy field all the time, but meditation is the only form of natural training to reach such state that I know. Everything else is random, happens by chance.

    If you meditate good, yow will receive lots of fresh ideas. It puts your mind in special “receiving” position, making it more open.

  135. Snoof says

    Johny Miric @ 147

    Regarding solar plexus, it’s just day by day practicing relaxation techniques. It’s really hard to explain to somebody who never experienced such state of body and mind. It feels like you don’t have self, you don’t feel your weight, you can’t think on anything, all you feel is massive amount of light coming into your body, mainly in solar plexus area, but often in legs and hands etc.

    How precisely do you distinguish this experience from a dream, hallucination, confabulation, delusion or other non-standard state of consciousness? Why is this experience a reliable indicator of the nature of reality, but not the time I believed I was lying on the ceiling of the world and if I didn’t hang on I’d fall off into the sky? (That was a bad trip.)

  136. says

    I’ve read the blurb now for Richards’s book (at the UChicago website) and it appears that, rather than an expansion of the Darwin essay, it’s a collection of essays (including, I assume, the one on Darwin).

  137. Kevin Kehres says

    Oh boy. Someone’s either trolling real hard or needs to go back to 6th grade science class. Hint: Look up the definition of “energy”. You’ll find it doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    Sounds like a devotee of that “Spirit Science” guy on YouTube. That guy never met a woo he didn’t like.

  138. Snoof says

    If you meditate good, yow will receive lots of fresh ideas. It puts your mind in special “receiving” position, making it more open.

    So what ideas have you had from this process? Which ones could only have come from outside, and not been generated within your own mind? How can you tell?

  139. says

    and who says that your experienced sensation didn’t come from outside?

    The sensation was of me levitating. I wasn’t levitating. I sensed something that wasn’t real because of the altered mind state of the meditation. Whatever the source of the sensation, what I sensed was not an accurate representation of reality.

    That ought to give you pause, since your entire argument so far is based on taking your personal experiences at face value.

    If you meditate good, yow will receive lots of fresh ideas. It puts your mind in special “receiving” position, making it more open.

    Yet another claim. you keep doing this and I’m not getting any impression that you realize how problematic it is. You throw out claim after claim, with no support but your say-so. That’s not what serious people do. That’s not the behavior of a person I’m going to trust on the color of the sky, much less the nature of consciousness.

  140. says

    To be clear, I’m not disputing that you’ll get more ideas if you relax for a bit. I know that. I’m disputing where these ideas come from and I question your tendency to jump to such unwarranted conclusions.

  141. Snoof says

    LykeX @ 160

    You throw out claim after claim, with no support but your say-so. That’s not what serious people do.

    I’ve encountered a fair number of Deeply Serious scholars, theologians, politicians and pundits who do precisely that. You can tell they’re Deeply Serious because they look solemn and wear expensive clothes, and are often paid extremely large amounts of money for making these claims. Why shouldn’t mystics get in on that sweet racket?

  142. raven says

    While we are citing academic sources on Hitler’s creationism, Alan MacNeill wrote a great essay on this a while ago. Read it yourself at the link below, it isn’t rhat long. But it is very good.

    http://evolutionlist.blogspot.com/2008/03/godwins-darwin.html

    Saturday, March 29, 2008
    Godwin’s Darwin

    AUTHOR: Allen MacNeill
    SOURCE: Original essay

    There has recently been a huge controversy generated around the upcoming movie, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”, featuring Ben Stein. Rather than rehash most of this, I recommend that those who are not yet “up to speed” check out the related posts at The Panda’s Thumb.

    Ben Stein (a former speech writer for Richard Nixon) interviewed many evolutionary biologists for this film, including Will Provine and me. As the various threads at The Panda’s Thumb indicate, he did so under patently false pretenses. Then, when some of the interviews contradicted the particular propaganda point he was trying to make, those “inconvenient” interviews were cut from the film (see here).

    But that’s not what I want to talk about in this blog. Ben Stein has been quoted repeatedly as saying that the underlying message in “Expelled” is “No Darwin, no Hitler”. Yes, this is a particularly egregious example of Godwin’s Law, but it is cited so often by creationists and ID supporters that I have prepared the following refutation (including citations, most of which I found here) Enjoy!

    While Hitler uses the word “evolution” in Mein Kampf, it is clear that he is not referring to Darwin’s theory. Indeed, he never mentions Darwin at all. In fact, a look at his writings reveals his sentiments on the subject to be those of an orthodox creationist.

    Like a creationist, Hitler asserts fixity of kinds:

    “The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger.” – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. xi.

    Like a creationist, Hitler claims that God made man:

    “For it was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties.” – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. x. Keeps going longer.

  143. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    By Johny Miric‘s logic, high intensity interval training must be a spiritual exercise as well. You do quick bursts of activity to burn up stored glycogen in your muscles, rest for a few seconds/minutes depending on the type of HIIT cycle you use, and then do more quick bursts of activity with renewed vigor.

    I chose HIIT as the example here because it’s a cycle you can see very quickly. Spend eight seconds pushing yourself as hard as you can–running or riding a stationary bike if you can–and then stop for twelve seconds. Then run or whatever at your top speed once again. Twelve seconds of doing nothing spiritual, nothing special, nothing magical and all of a sudden you’re capable of pushing yourself as hard as you can, as though energy just suddenly appeared.

    The stored glycogen in muscles is used up for that intense activity, then replenished from stores already in the body. The blood, the liver, fat, and ongoing digestion are all sources of energy even when the muscle stores of glycogen are depleted, and so your muscles can be restocked without having to stop and eat. If I spend all the money in my wallet, I can replenish it from my bank account without making more money first. Same thing going on here.

    If rest did not allow your body to access previously stored energy–if it only tapped into some spiritual source of energy–then it would be physically impossible for people to continue going after they used up the glycogen in their muscles without having some spiritual experience. That is demonstrably absurd, right now by any person who can engage in vigorous movement.

    HIIT isn’t a spiritual exercise, and yet it’s based on the same work-rest-work strategy that Johny Miric insists requires some mystical energy to work.

  144. Rich Woods says

    OK, I’m back, laden with popcorn and beer. What have I missed?

    Ah.

    @Johny Miric #147:

    A great buddhist masters sleep very little, some of them don’t sleep at all, but they spend most of the time meditating, that way they receive much more energy than from sleep, and much, much more than from food.

    This is nothing new, it exists for centuries, but science have problems grasping it and putting a label on it.

    I don’t think science would have much of a problem with this. The first thing to do is test the claim. How about you ask one of those Buddhist masters if he’s willing to help us by spending a fortnight in a closed room? He can spend as much of that time as he likes meditating, but we get to watch him and see how much time he spends asleep as well. Also, he’s only allowed to gain energy by meditation, so he’ll have to go without food (he can have as much water as he can drink, though). We weigh him before he enters the room and weigh him again a fortnight later when he comes out (we also measure the amount of water he drinks and the amount of waste he produces over that time). That should tell us if he really is able to power his body by meditation alone, and would provide a strong suggestion that the energy you describe exists and can do what you say it can do. More refined investigations can take place after this initial, very simple one.

    How about it?

  145. Al Dente says

    and who says that your experienced sensation didn’t come from outside?

    I say this.

    You need to tell us exactly what comes from outside and how we can test for it. Your outside energy is sounding more and more like the luminiferous æther or phlogiston.

  146. says

    ok guys, this is very time consuming and I don’t see the end of it.

    Discussing these kind of things on internet is really bad idea, people get angry and fired up without any reason. I discuss these things with people in real life and they all take it reasonable, and that’s because they know me, they know what I do, where I have been and what I have experienced.

    For you guys, I’m just a stranger claiming some strange stuff, there is no way we can actually have proper conversation about such topic because we are missing the basic trust condition of actually knowing each other.

    And actually I don’t do this very often on internet, now I know why :-)

  147. Rich Woods says

    I discuss these things with people in real life and they all take it reasonable, and that’s because they know me, they know what I do, where I have been and what I have experienced.

    It’s good that your friends respect your opinions — I wouldn’t ask any less of mine, nor offer less — but surely you can see that it’s going to take a little while and some effort to make new friends, here or anywhere else.

    Unfortunately you may have set the tone by starting off with:

    Funny how this blog is called Free Thought. I guess it’s free as long you think same as you do.

  148. says

    I’ve felt the sensation of levitating and the bed spinning lengthwise, but as I staggered to the bathroom to throw up, I realized it was the tequila.

  149. says

    Funny how this blog is called Free Thought. I guess it’s free as long you think same as you do.

    “Free” means “free to criticize” in this case. It’s not called “Believe any dumb bollocks” blog – that’s at anydumbbollocks.com, I think.

  150. Rich Woods says

    @Marcus #169:

    It once took my foot two minutes to hit the ground when I stepped off the kerb, but that was because I’d only had a total of nine hours sleep in the previous ninety hours.

  151. says

    Johny Miric#167
    So, your complaint here is basically that we refuse to just accept whatever you say, uncritically.

    It wouldn’t matter if we knew you; that’s not actually the problem. I might be more polite to my friends, but that doesn’t mean I’ll accept anything they say. The problem is that you’ve got a claim (actually, many claims) with nothing to back it up and that sort of thing doesn’t fly around here.

    By the way, people aren’t angry with you. On the contrary, I think most of us are having a great time. In fact, given the inanity of some of the things you’ve said, I’m actually surprised at how cordial everyone has been.
    Neither are we being unreasonable. We’ve asked you very obvious and on-point questions and we’ve even bothered to explain some very simple concepts to you. Believe me, you’ve been treated very well.

    If you want to bow out now, that’s fine, but don’t pretend it’s for any other reason than your complete inability to back up anything you’ve said.

  152. Al Dente says

    I’m not angry with Johny Miric. Xe’s made some claims and has backed them with zero evidence. That doesn’t make me angry, that just makes me disregard his claims. Xe made specific claims about meditation and, as someone who has meditated for over 20 years, I rejected the claim because it didn’t match my experience.

  153. mykroft says

    @ Johny Miric
    There are no mysteries here; you are interpreting your experiences based on the woo you’ve immersed yourself in. It has been shown that sleep is the period during which the brain flushes out wastes accumulated during wakefulness. It is not a stretch to think that deep relaxation during meditation can also induce the brain to flush wastes, inducing the feeling of refreshment you describe.

    No supernatural or mystical causes needed. Your attributions of this phenomena to an undefined “energy” provides no added explanatory power over known biological principles.

  154. says

    LykeX

    But what is the point of further conversation? You claim I don’t have a physical proof, I agree, but that doesn’t change my experience and the facts I have. And that’s where story ends.

    I would like to add one more thing, of course it’s going to be labeled as bullshit, like everything else, but here we go:

    “If the body generates consciousness, then consciousness dies when the body dies. But if the body receives consciousness in the same way that a cable box receives satellite signals, then of course consciousness does not end at the death of the physical vehicle. In fact, consciousness exists outside of constraints of time and space. It is able to be anywhere: in the human body and outside of it. In other words, it is non-local in the same sense that quantum objects are non-local.”

    Source: http://pemanews.com/wordpress/scientists-claim-that-quantum-theory-proves-consciousness-moves-to-another-universe-at-death/

    The part of the sentence is particularly interesting here: “…if the body receives consciousness in the same way that a cable box receives satellite signals.”

    We receive consciousness, brain does not create it.

    Receive from where?

    There are scientists out there asking right questions. it’s still very vague, I agree, but it does trigger some interesting ideas. It’s just question of time when we will find a proper evidence of reincarnation, energy field and all this stuff. It’s just question of time, that’s all I can say at this stage.

  155. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    For you guys, I’m just a stranger claiming some strange stuff, there is no way we can actually have proper conversation about such topic because we are missing the basic trust condition of actually knowing each other.

    That is irrelevant to the truth of your claims, and always will be. Your friends may humor you, just as the person who believes pixies live in the garden is humored.

    We aren’t your friends, and we won’t humor your quaint beliefs. This blog has scientists and skeptics, so the first thing we ask for is evidence, third party evidence, preferably from the peer reviewed scientific literature. The one thing that makes sure we take you as a liar and bullshitter is for you to not supply those citations, and keep trying to make us take your word for your beliefs, which we must believe too. Sorry, doesn’t work that way.

    If someone says their deity exists, we ask for solid and conclusive physical evidence, evidence that would pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. Essentially they have to stop telling us they believe, and point to the evidence, something equivalent to the eternally burning bush.

    Same for you. You believe your “energy” exists. We gave you scientific reasons for you claims, and you dismissed said scientific evidence. So we dismiss your unevidenced claims due to skepticism, where the null hypothesis is that your “energy” doesn’t exist. The only way you will convince us to the show that your “energy” really exists, in controlled experiments, with the same scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers setting up the protocols for the experiments.

    You may believe anything you want. When you want others to believe with you, you need more than what is essentially your testament. You need third party evidence, which you acknowledge you don’t have. Which is why you got nowhere.

  156. Rich Woods says

    @Johny Miric #177:

    You claim I don’t have a physical proof, I agree, but that doesn’t change my experience and the facts I have. And that’s where story ends.

    Perhaps you’d like to review the suggestion I made at #165. Wouldn’t this go some way towards providing proof? If you’re the gatekeeper of important knowledge which could hugely benefit humanity, don’t you feel an obligation to communicate it more convincingly?

  157. says

    Nerd of Redhead

    I agree with you, that’s why I said it’s a mistake to lay my claims here. You guys want hard evidence, I don’t have it, but time will give the answer, and all these things will be revealed, by real scientists, so that you guys can finally take it as real :-)

    Regarding my friends and what they think of me, as I said, you don’t know me, you are making claims based on your beliefs, because you don’t know anything else and you think that everybody share same logic as you. Well, they don’t, and the world is better place because of it.

  158. Al Dente says

    Johny Miric @177

    The part of the sentence is particularly interesting here: “…if the body receives consciousness in the same way that a cable box receives satellite signals.”

    The operative word in that phrase is if. You need to change the if to when. You (and Dr. Lanza) have failed to do this.

  159. says

    Johnny Miric @74

    Why people always say, “Oh, I got an idea!” Why they don’t say, “Oh, my mind just created an idea! Ideas are received, not produced, and deep down in our consciousness we understand that, but on sensation level we believe that we have created something.

    Not only is this statement utter bollocks, but it has been proven to be utter bollocks. Imaging of so-called Eureka Moments has been done. Research has been done.

    […] the resulting studies, published in 2004 and 2006, found that people who solved puzzles with insight activated a specific subset of cortical areas. Although the answer seemed to appear out of nowhere, the mind was carefully preparing itself for the breakthrough. …The scientists refer to this as the “preparatory phase,” since the brain is devoting its considerable computational power to the problem. The various sensory areas, like the visual cortex, go silent as the brain suppresses possible distractions. […]

    What happens next is the “search phase,” as the brain starts looking for answers in all the relevant places. […]”Almost all of the possibilities your brain comes up with are going to be wrong,” Jung-Beeman said. “And it’s up to the executive-control areas to keep on searching or, if necessary, change strategies and start searching somewhere else.” But sometimes, just when the brain is about to give up, an insight appears. “You’ll see people bolt up in their chair and their eyes go all wide, “ [a graduate student] said [….]

    The suddenness of the insight comes with a burst of brain activity. Three hundred milliseconds before a participant communicates the answer, the EEG registers a spike of gamma rhythm, which is the highest electrical frequency generated by the brain. Gamma rhythm is thought to come from the “binding” of neurons, as cells distributed across the cortex draw themselves together into a new network, which is then able to enter consciousness. it’s as if the insight had gone incandescent.

    […] at first, the brain lavishes the scarce resource of attention on a single problem. But, once the brain is sufficiently focused, the cortex needs to relax in order to seek out the more remote association in the right hemisphere, which will provide the insight.

    […] On the one hand, an epiphany is a surprising event; we are startled by what we’ve just discovered. Some part of our brain, however, clearly isn’t surprised at all, which is why we are able to instantly recognize the insight. […] the brain has been concertedly pursuing the answer; we just didn’t know it.

    “Your consciousness is very limited in capacity, “ [Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at M.I.T] said, “and that’s why your prefrontal cortex makes all these plans without telling you about it.”

    …[An] epiphany registers as a new pattern of neural activity in the prefrontal cortex.

    So, yeah, your brain has a backstage or off camera area that beavers away. Once you set it a task, it will work on it, sometimes even while you sleep or take a shower. God or unknown forces or mysterious energy doesn’t feed solutions to problems or epiphanies to your brain. Your brain runs itself. Your brain has an idea 300 milliseconds before it enters your consciousness and you say “Oh, I got an idea!”

    When your brain is searching in the “more broadly tuned” cells of the right hemisphere (longer branches and more dendritic spines) it is gathering information from a large area. What is in this large area depends, in part, on what you have decided to put in there. Education, reading, experience, attention, etc. You should not put only crappy articles from Salon in there. If you do, your brain will come up with word-salad insights that are worthless.

    All of the quotes above are excerpted from an article in the July 28, 2008 issue of The New Yorker.

  160. says

    You claim I don’t have a physical proof, I agree, but that doesn’t change my experience and the facts I have.

    Many of the commenters here are being fairly gentle with you, because we understand that.

    What do I mean? Well, we understand that personal experience is what it is, and it’s inarguable. The way we move beyond personal experience to shared understanding is by evidence and/or understanding cause and effect of whatever is claimed. So, perhaps you feel light emanating from your solar plexus when you meditate – cool, that’s your experience, but to get others to share it, we’d have to see the light or consistently have the same experience, which would then lead us to explore for a mechanism that might underlie that shared experience.

    The reason you’re getting pushback is because you’re saying your personal experience is fact – that because you feel a certain way, that there is an energy field that is unknown to theoretical and experimental physics and cosmology. Those sciences represent a distillation of shared experience and a painstaking teasing-out of the underlying cause and effect of why those experiences happen the way they do. When you say that you just know there’s an energy field, you’re saying your experience – your feelings – trump the experiences and knowledge of a whole lot of people. That’s not madness; we don’t think you’re hallucinating or your brain is playing tricks on you – it’s just buttheadedness: you’re refusing to see that your beliefs, no matter how passionately held, do not trump reality.

    You can get huffy and grumpy and feel set-upon but here’s the funny thing: reality doesn’t give a shit about your beliefs, either. Why don’t you lock yourself in a room for a month and survive off your meditative energy? Reality doesn’t give a shit about your beliefs; you’ll die. It’s not that we don’t believe you (and we don’t) but it’s that reality, which doesn’t give a shit about your beliefs, is not going your way.

  161. says

    all these things will be revealed, by real scientists

    That’s the problem: the things you’re talking about have been revealed to be wrong by real scientists.

    “Real scientists” base their understanding on evidence and knowledge about underlying cause/effect relationships, not your personal experience.

    “Real scientists” aren’t real because they agree with you. They’re real because they don’t.

  162. Al Dente says

    Marcus Ranum @184

    Reality doesn’t give a shit about your beliefs

    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” ― Philip K. Dick

  163. says

    Lyke X

    I’ve had similar experiences myself, especially the weightlessness. One time, it was so pronounced that for a moment I actually wondered if I was levitating and looked down to check if I’d floated off the ground. I was quite grounded, which just goes to show you that you can get sensations that are very clear and powerful and not true.

    Give me some Ibuprofen and my brain will do exactly that: create a lot of sensations that are simply false.
    It’s not like we discovered drugs yesterday…

  164. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    In fact, consciousness exists outside of constraints of time and space. It is able to be anywhere: in the human body and outside of it. In other words, it is non-local in the same sense that quantum objects are non-local.”

    Gibberish. Somebody who knows quantum sounds sciency, but has no idea of what it meant by it. Or how to use it properly. Dismissed as fuckwittery, and a web site devoted to consciousness newagey (rhymes with sewagey) is like a creationist claiming AIG is scientific. Only in their delusional minds.

  165. says

    “If the body generates consciousness, then consciousness dies when the body dies. But if the body receives consciousness in the same way that a cable box receives satellite signals, then of course consciousness does not end at the death of the physical vehicle. In fact, consciousness exists outside of constraints of time and space.

    Well, if consciousness existed outside the body, there’s no reason to presuppose it does or doesn’t end at the death of the physical vehicle. It might last forever, it might not. It would depend what that consciousness was made of. Because “exist” means “made of something” so there’s a bit of an inherent contradiction in that idea at the outset. For it to exist outside the constraints of time and space is also a bit contradictory because then consciousness would not be grounded in time and space which would make it really hard for you to know where and when you were at any given time (since your consciousness is timeless: is it this week or 1066?) The idea of a consciousness not moored in time and space is nonsensical. Also, the idea of a consciousness not deeply connected to our physical beings is – rather nonsensical: otherwise, why is so much of our consciousness related to things we physically do with our bodies? A timeless spaceless soul couldn’t appreciate music because music is a phenomenon of hearing which is pressure waves against nerves in our ears, processed through our brains. A timeless spaceless soul couldn’t appreciate the things we see, etc.

    A timeless spaceless soul would ‘know’ what vision was even if the meat puppet it was connected to was blind. Oddly, we don’t find that people who are born blind are able to ‘visualize’ things without a great deal of work and then they admit they don’t really know if what they are doing is similar to what I am doing when I visualize “a 57 chevy belair”. Etc.

    The idea of spaceless timeless souls is all good children’s tales but it actually makes an understanding of reality more complicated than assuming they don’t exist. Which, so far, appears to be the case. It saves us having to hypothesize how an extradimensional timeless spaceless something or other can usefully and meaningfully interact with a meat puppet and why on earth such a weird arrangement would make sense or happen or have any value.

  166. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Regarding my friends and what they think of me, as I said, you don’t know me, you are making claims based on your beliefs, because you don’t know anything else and you think that everybody share same logic as you.

    Belief means you have no evidence to back up what you think. I have scientific conclusions based on solid evidence. The fact that you don’t understand the difference is why you will never get anywhere except at web sites that ignore reality.

  167. says

    Here’s a shorter way to look at it:
    If someone says that consciousness exists outside of time and space, in some alternative reality or dimension, they are lying. Because it’s not possible for those of us trapped in this reality to know anything about an “alternative” reality. How could we? All the means we have of knowing anything are firmly wedded to this reality.

  168. rorschach says

    Miric,

    my left hand is made of prawn dimsum just not when you examine it, and cats think in Russian. Prove me wrong.

  169. azhael says

    “If the body generates consciousness, then consciousness dies when the body dies. But if the body receives consciousness in the same way that a cable box receives satellite signals, then of course consciousness does not end at the death of the physical vehicle. In fact, consciousness exists outside of constraints of time and space. It is able to be anywhere: in the human body and outside of it. In other words, it is non-local in the same sense that quantum objects are non-local.”

    I expect that at some point all that mental masturbation will result in a mental orgasm. Please direct your solar plexus into a quantum tissue when it happens.

  170. Amphiox says

    Miric’s receiver and projector are simply different parts of a single human brain.

  171. says

    Johny Miric #177

    But what is the point of further conversation?

    We could try to clarify things a bit. How about this classic: What kind of evidence would convince you that you’re wrong?

    After all, if what you say is true, there would be a thousand ways for you to convince us of that fact. Beyond the direct confirmation of the energy field, the model you propose might well open up venues for instant learning, ESP, telekinesis, after-life contact, or wholesale transference of consciousness between bodies; all things that would be shatter the notion that the brain was the sole seat of consciousness.

    So, what would convince you?

  172. opposablethumbs says

    So. Farewell then, Johny Miric.
    You said many foolish things, but then
    Smart things also got said.
    I mean to say, that they got said by the really rather well-informed Horde. The smart things, that is.
    In homage to E.J. Thribb, 17.

  173. rorschach says

    That explains a lot about my cat.

    This quote was of course stolen from Pascal Boyer’s book “Religion Explained”, which should really have been called “Superstition Explained” in my view. Because it does that. Miric might find it interesting reading material. But then again, maybe not.

  174. says

    LykeX

    I have seen too much to be ever convinced that I’m wrong.

    Do I have a link to it? No.

    Does it means if it’s not linkable that is not real?

    If that is true than internet is really a sad place :-)

  175. says

    Al Dente @188

    Lynna OM @183

    That’s interesting. Thank you for posting it.

    You are quite welcome. I think it accounts nicely for the feeling that ideas are coming from outside of oneself. It’s a nice of frame of mind, one in which you may have given an executive order for your brain to focus on poetry about rivers, and then you relax and take the insights as they come. This make days or weeks, but it works if you have been feeding and fertilizing your brain with high-quality input. The executive will be back in charge when it comes time to edit.

    Unfortunately, if you give your brain a directive to find confirmation for light coming from your solar plexus, it will do that too. If you ask it to confirm that mormon prophets are speaking for god, your brain will do its best to do so. If you ask it to confirm that you have transcended during meditation, your brain will look for correlations in all the Deepshit ChoppedUp books you have read. The confirmation will be shit quality, but it will be what you asked for.

  176. says

    I have seen too much to be ever convinced that I’m wrong.

    Wow. Just wow.

    I didn’t actually expect you to just flat out admit that.

  177. chigau (違う) says

    I have seen too much to be ever convinced that I’m wrong.

    Cue scary organ music.

  178. Rob Grigjanis says

    Johnny Miric @177: The science in the linked article is a bit out of date. Penrose’s microtubules were dealt with quite handily by Max Tegmark about 15 years ago. And I think Everett is being misrepresented, but that doesn’t really matter, since Many Worlds is on shaky ground at best.

  179. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Does it means if it’s not linkable that is not real?

    If the only place it exists is in your mind, and you can’t tell for certain it isn’t a delusion, it isn’t real. You need verification from outside sources.

    Freethought doesn’t mean any ideas are considered, because you don’t understand what freethought is. From Wiki:

    Freethought or free thought is a philosophical viewpoint which holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, or other dogmas.[1][2][3] The cognitive application of freethought is known as “freethinking”, and practitioners of freethought are known as “freethinkers”.[1][4]

    Empiricism is you need evidence from sources outside of yourself. You have none. So, why are you still here?

  180. Rich Woods says

    @opposablethumbs #199:

    In homage to E.J. Thribb, 17.

    Or, more fittingly for Johny:

    In homage to E.J. Thribb, 17.333 – 2i.

  181. rorschach says

    I have seen too much to be ever convinced that I’m wrong.

    Translation: I place undue weight on personal anecdote and subjective experience, while completely failing to critically examine myself or my experiences. This makes me look stupid, but I can rest assured in the knowledge that I will find many like myself to reinforce my false beliefs in a giant “know nothing and proud of it” circlejerk.

  182. Amphiox says

    I have seen too much to be ever convinced that I’m wrong.

    A real scientist would say “If I see this one thing, I will know that I am wrong. I did an experiment to look for this one thing and did not find it, so my confidence that I am right has increased. The experiment also showed that if this second thing is seen, I will also be wrong. I have designed an experiment to look for this second thing, and am asking for grant money to do the experiment.”

  183. says

    Well, that’s a damn shame about Salon. It’s been going downhill for years, but a recent bright spot was when they offered a platform to Brittney Cooper, a member of the Crunk Feminist Collective, who wrote about feminism from black women’s perspectives.

    Too bad Salon probably pays better than FTB. Still, it might be worth approaching her with an offer. Maybe she has a problem being associated with such ignorant nonsense.

  184. says

    Johny Miric #202
    I just needed a time out there. Let me elaborate:

    The fact that you can say something like that and apparently not realize how damning it is is very telling for this entire conversation. It’s like mentioning that you’re a neo-nazi when applying for a job at the Anti-Defamation League.

    Not only are you basing your opinion on personal, subjective experiences, with no reference to evidence; not only are you happy to speak about this to others, despite having no way to convince them; not only are you doing all this, while also being fundamentally ignorant of basic high school level physiology; you’re also so utterly convince that you’re right, that you’re not even going to admit the hypothetical possibility that you could be wrong.

    That is so mind-blowingly arrogant, it’s a minor miracle that your skull doesn’t just pop from the pressure. You have dealt a crippling blow to your credibility. This is the argumentative equivalent of getting a tattoo in your forehead saying “I’m a gineus”.

  185. colonelzen says

    Good grief.

    Aside from a relatively mild FU in not recognizing the ultimate physical grounding of primary qualia (although quite correct about its ultimate abstract nature in phenomenality) Dan Dennett had consciousness nailed twenty plus years ago in “Consciousness Explained”.

    If philosophers were not more interested in protecting their turf from science than in genuine knowledge and not done a vicious and downright libelous hatchet job on Dennett and any functionalist/materialist conscious theory of mind generally, we might well have intelligent AI’s now.

    Actually our computers and most machines are conscious now. We just don’t recognize them as such. And of course the complexity and depth of consciousness is not great. The real issue that is hard to get across is that consciousness is NOT intelligence and it is difficult to recognize consciousness that does not look like what we know as consciousness.

    As per Edelman et al, most animals have generalized primary consciousness. As I schematicize this (on the-brights.net forums if you care in the interminable “The Philosopher’s Brain” thread… not recommended for the weak of stomach those with real lives) this is genaralized abstraction at first level. We humans have secondary general abstraction – we can think about what we can think about. We can turn our thoughts into objects to think about. This is Dennett’s “virtual machine”.

    It won’t be long until empirical for vindication of functionalist consciousness models. Recent things I’ve been reading about the ability of researchers to isolate areas and types of memory are encouraging. My schematics say that the “carrier” of consciousness is an iterative process of memory that phenomenally appears recursive. Such granular memory research is *very* likey to run across it soon.

  186. rickk says

    “I have seen too much to be ever convinced that I’m wrong.”

    Exactly what the biblical literalists say.

    Exactly what the Scientologists say.

    Exactly what the UFO believers say.

    Exactly what the 9/11 Truthers say.

    Exactly what the FLDS believers say.

    Exactly what the Wiccan spiritualists say.

    But they can’t all be right. Most or all of them MUST be wrong, and that includes you.

    Meanwhile, we’re sitting here reasonably well-fed, comfortable in our climate controlled, water-tight dwellings, wearing durable, affordable clothing, with a life expectancy pushing 80 years, with leisure time to debate this topic over a global digital communications network because of people who said: ” I may be wrong, let’s test my ideas against the evidence.”

    Sorry Johnny Miric, your beliefs are just that – your beliefs – and nothing more. Without evidence to convince a skeptical mind, your assertions are dismissed as easily as fairies or midichlorians.

  187. Al Dente says

    I have seen too much to be ever convinced that I’m wrong.

    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool. –Richard Feynman

  188. Nick Gotts says

    I have seen too muchthought too little to be ever convinced that I’m wrong. – Johny Miric

    FIFY

  189. mikeyb says

    I’ve been away from this for a while, but I’d guess that one of the reasons (if it’s true) that practiced meditators can go with out sleep for long periods of time, is that essentially they are sleeping for parts of the meditation. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are essentially asleep a lot of the time. That is probably why Zen masters use the stick, to wake people up – probably they are sleeping. In meditation you can learn to control your breathing and brain waves to some extent, in essence its a form of self hypnosis, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if people can learn to defer sleep for a long time because essentially they are sleeping during parts of the meditation. A lot of this is speculation, but it wouldn’t surprise me if something along these lines is going on. None of this is magic, anymore that exercise or sleep have effects on physiology just like meditation. You might recommend it for health benefits, but no need to add magic.

  190. doublereed says

    The authors argument is that science cannot build an AI, therefore God had to have created consciousness.

    Eliezer Yudowsky points out that this argument is blatantly falsifiable. When someone said this to him, he responded “So if I build an AI, does that mean I disprove your religion?”

    As far as “Darwinist Racism” or whatever. This is a common misconception as Scientific Racism came about relatively near Darwin’s time. So people just mush them together, even though the principal aspect of Darwin’s theory says that we’re all cousins. Darwin was incredibly tolerant for his time period, moreso than Lincoln.

    This article is a great in-depth look into Darwin and the racist views of the time period:
    http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/darwin_nazism.htm

  191. says

    People who think consciousness is somehow separate from the brain apparently have never spent much time around someone who gradually loses their facilities due to brain damage or age related syndromes. Then again I suppose they’d just claim the “receiver” is damaged, which frankly isn’t any more comforting.

  192. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    I wonder if I could (politely) ask Johny Miric where he got this cable box that picks up satellite signals? Because I live on the wrong side of the building to put up a dish. Thanks in advance!

  193. David Marjanović says

    “Gott Mit Uns” (God is with us)

    “Gott mit uns” (God with us) – only nouns are capitalized, and the verb is missing so you can’t tell if it’s “is” (statement of fact) or “be” (hope).

    Why people always say, “Oh, I got an idea!”

    Aren’t you the least bit ashamed to assume all languages are literal translations from English, let alone specifically your kind of English?!?

    When we practice meditation, or some other sort of chanting, praying, relaxation… we are actually tapping in to the energy field around us. Why Buddhism, for example, survived for so many years and so many people are still dedicated to learn that knowledge? Because it can give answers on questions which are for science unsolvable, at least until now.

    So, why isn’t Hinduism extinct, then? It’s even older… Or Zoroastrianism? Or “Chinese folk religion” with the Monkey King and the Jade Emperor and all those deities?

    And what, if anything, do you mean by “energy”? I don’t think you mean what this technical term of physics actually means.

    All you have is your tiny scientific brain, full of limitations, focused only on what you can see and touch.

    …like… …the Higgs boson.

    I don’t need a scientific study to tell me whether something is real or not, I can see results.

    Trouble is… to tell other people whether something is real or not, you do need a scientific study.

    If you really want to dig into it, here are few places to look:

    Book: The Field by Lynne McTaggart
    Movies: The Secret, What The Bleep Do We Know

    These are all made by scientists

    *headdesk*

    argumentum ad Monam Lisam

    *steal* :-)

    Same goes with sleep. Why [do] we sleep? To recharge.

    No. We sleep to get garbage out of our brain where the lymph system doesn’t reach. There’s a scientific paper on this; I can’t look for it right now.

    we have five senses

    If you define a sense as one type of sensory cells, we have lots more.

    It’s good that your friends respect your opinions — I wouldn’t ask any less of mine, nor offer less —

    I do not want my friends to let me get away with spouting bullshit that isn’t supported by evidence.

  194. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    Just one thing /columbo:

    Picasso’s Guernica

    … is a work of horror not beauty. This is God’s design?

  195. says

    Jonny Miric:

    Easter Sunday at my job was incredibly boring, so I got to follow (if not comment on) this thread. Thanks for providing some laughs in an otherwise humdrum day.

    When you say

    I have seen too much to be ever convinced that I’m wrong.

    How do you know your experiences were not delusions?

  196. unclefrogy says

    well Johny you mentioned Chinese meditation. I would like to suggest that you look up “The Secret of The Golden Flower” Translated by Richard Wilhelm and especially the forward/cometary by Carl Jung
    Jung goes into depth into the difficulty the western mind has with ancient and foreign metaphors and symbolism in regards to “spiritual teachings’ which to a large part are concerned with psychology.
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Secret-Golden-Flower-Chinese/dp/0156799804/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398040343&sr=8-1&keywords=secret+of+the+golden+flower

    uncle frogy

  197. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    cm @ #230:

    Just one thing /columbo:

    Picasso’s Guernica

    … is a work of horror not beauty. This is God’s design?

    Well, it did have the salutary effect of making the Luftwaffe ridiculously overconfident—they succeeded in terrorizing a small provincial town with no antiaircraft guns or fighter defense and thought they could do the same thing to London.

  198. A. Noyd says

    David Marjanović (#229)

    And what, if anything, do you mean by “energy”? I don’t think you mean what this technical term of physics actually means.

    I’m sure they’d be happy to mean that if they could get away with it.

    All you have is your tiny scientific brain, full of limitations, focused only on what you can see and touch.

    …like… …the Higgs boson.

    Also, there are more than 55,000 hits on for “dark energy” and 378,000 hits for “dark matter” on Google Scholar. (That’s “dark energy” and “dark matter” in quotes.)

  199. mildlymagnificent says

    You are quite welcome. I think it accounts nicely for the feeling that ideas are coming from outside of oneself.

    It’s probably also related to common misunderstanding of the occasional misfire at the super-fast background level when we have that deja vu feeling. All that means is that we “perceive” a sight or an event as coming from long term memory rather than as the formation of new memory. It’s just a normal brain function that occasionally gets it wrong. It certainly ain’t paranormal ability or any other magical or superstitious guff.

    Along with all those inexplicable fast actions we take to avoid accidents when we have “no time” or recollection of any perception of danger. The brain and our senses (however many there may be) operate at speeds we can’t measure and in ways not accessible to routine conscious thought.

  200. says

    The authors argument is that science cannot build an AI…

    Yes, we can, and we’re well on our way to doing it, if the NSA haven’t done it already. Your fisking of this rubbish can pretty much stop right there.

  201. says

    timgueguen #225

    Then again I suppose they’d just claim the “receiver” is damaged, which frankly isn’t any more comforting.

    Indeed, that just opens up brand new problems. Are we going to postulate that the limited human brain is a perfect receiver? Surely not. But if it isn’t, that means that your personality right now is but a pale reflection of the True Self that exists as pure consciousness. You, at this very moment, aren’t actually yourself at all.

    Likewise with every friend and loved one; their True Selves might be nothing like what you’re used to, because their True Consciousness is mangled by the limitations of the brain receivers. Every experience you have is translated through the tinted glass of your limited brain, with other people obscured by the tinted glass of their limited brains.

    If the receiver has such a great impact on both the subjective experience and the presentation of consciousness, we can’t draw any conclusions about a person based on their earthly life. When you go to the other side, your best friend might turn out to be a complete asshole, he just had a malfunctioning brain that made him behave as if he was nice.

    After all, we know that a nice person can turn into a bastard based on changes in the brain. Both physical damage and chemical changes can effect massive changes in behavior. If that’s possible, what guarantee do we have that our current behavior has any relationship to our true nature at all? At best, you have to assert it as a matter of faith.

    I agree that the “brain as a receiver” angle doesn’t provide much in the way of comfort. Rather, it leaves you completely alienated from everyone, even yourself.

  202. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    David,

    Aren’t you the least bit ashamed to assume all languages are literal translations from English, let alone specifically your kind of English?!?

    Funny thing is, if you look at his facebork page, it’s quite obvious he’s my national, or at least speaks the language.

    And we say “I have an idea”

  203. knowknot says

    82 Johny Miric

    … We both know what science is offering, what level of understanding, but as long you don’t spend several years practicing some sort of the spiritual technique, you will have no idea what I’m talking about.

     
    No one has any idea of what you’re talking about, because no one has any idea what you mean by meditation. If you mean the forms in which all kinds of bizarre imaginations are the focus, then yes, I bet you get a lot of “outside” ideas. On the other hand, if you’re talking about something related to mindfulness, then yes, the experience is not easy to communicate, if at all. (Please understand that I’m NOT hoping that you explain, because your results, as stated, speak for themselves – see 204, 205, 206, 218, etc.)
     
    But meditation means something to me, so I hope in the name of whatever holy mother and all her crazy nephews that you do NOT purport to speak for mindfulness or anything related to it, because you are something very much like the worst enemy of the concept.
     
    Reminds me of an actual person who spent concerted time in retreat, with regular meetings with a monk (I have no interest in the religious aspects here, but sorry, he happened to be a monk). Initially, the student had all kinds of wild, intense experiences of energy and depth and whatnot, and was very disappointed that his instructor remained unimpressed – even bored – with his reports. He was upset that he was only told that he needed more work. After some time and out of sheer frustration that his “elevated” experiences were disappearing due to lack of support, he finally went in and said: “I had a peach today. It was very good.” He says this was a true statement; there had been peaches. But the fact that his instructor responded with “Now you are getting somewhere!” was, for him, enough to change the course of his practice permanently.
     
    What I’m suggesting here is that the metaphysical aspects of your pursuits are screwing up not only your understanding of science, but your understanding of meditation – or at least its most meaningful aspect, peace with reality – as well.
     
    And none of this is to say that those who speak to you face to face are wrong in seeing you as a nice, earnest, and perhaps even loyal and giving person.
     
    But please try to listen, or respond meaningfully, or failing those, shut up for your own sake.

  204. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    I’m always a little startled by folks like Jonny Miric. I mean, how does anyone with any life experience at all not understand how unreliable our personal experience can be?

    Jonny, if you’re still lurking about, I suggest you try this simple experiment*:

    -Get bowl that’s large enough to place both hands in and fill it with water.
    -Let it sit undisturbed for several hours in order for the water to reach room temperature.
    -Fill another bowl with water and add ice cubes.
    -Fill yet another bowl with hot water, make it as hot it as can be without scalding.
    -Place the hot and cold bowls to either side of the room temperature one and immerse one hand in the hot bowl and one in the cold bowl.
    -Leave them there as long as you can without damaging yourself.
    -Pull both hands out and put them in the room temperature water.

    Now here’s the crux Jonny: based on what your senses are telling you, is the water hot or cold?

    Which hand do you believe?

    Our unaided perception of the world is fallible, to claim otherwise is to deny reality. This is why we as a species did not significantly advance our understanding of the physical world until we invented instruments like thermometers.

    Until you can demonstrate by way of an objective, external to your perception measurement this of ‘energy’, you cannot know if your perception of its nature is true.

    You are a person whose done the experiment above with only one hand; claiming with unswerving, unwarranted confidence that the middle bowl is full of cold water.

    *I really recommend that everybody try this. It’s a strange feeling indeed.

  205. bogardiner says

    All this criticism does help. For what it’s worth, Salon has responded to the many complaints in their comments about its idiotic, dead-wrong, sensationalist clickbait headline, changing it from:

    Charles Darwin’s Tragic Error: Hitler, Evolution, Racism, and the Holocaust

    to

    Hitler, Darwin and the Holocaust: How the Nazis distorted the theory of evolution:
    The evolution theorist couldn’t have known that people like Hitler would exploit his ideas in such horrifying ways.

    http://www.salon.com/2014/04/19/charles_darwins_tragic_error_hitler_evolution_racism_and_the_holocaust/

  206. says

    The article is still both dead wrong and a lame attempt to scapegoat Darwin for the mass-scapegoating of Jews. Here’s an example of its wrongness:

    The right-wing branch of Social Darwinism…also inspired Adolf Hitler and his ardent supporters to launch a world war and exterminate the Jews of Europe.

    No mention of Martin Luther and his rather extensive and…colorful…writings about Jews. The article is still blood libel.

  207. Endorkened says

    Interesting realization: “social darwinism” is basically the same sort of contradiction in terms as “quantum healing.”

  208. gussnarp says

    “Hitler, Darwin, and the Holocaust” is really no better as a title, regardless of the subtitle, and it doesn’t change the content. It’s still clickbait and it’s still a conscious attempt to conflate Darwin and Hitler, two individuals removed by a century and by vastly different purposes and ideologies.

  209. says

    It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s a small one and it doesn’t eliminate the problems of the article itself, which I think is unchanged. Hitler’s thinking simply wasn’t particularly related to evolution at all. On the contrary, there are several bits of Mein Kampf that sound conspicuously like creationism, as someone mentioned earlier.

  210. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Shorter Fossilfishy@240:

    Optical illusions: How the fuck do those work? ;-)

  211. tbp1 says

    Salon is very frustrating. They are on the right of most issues I care about, and do print some very good articles. But while no publication, online or print, is going to bat a thousand, they print crap like this way too often.

  212. David Marjanović says

    Funny thing is, if you look at his facebork page, it’s quite obvious he’s my national, or at least speaks the language.

    Oh. I did notice (at some point) that his English doesn’t look native, but it didn’t occur to me to mouse over his name. :-]

  213. grpfrt says

    @246: Well, I would argue that there was some indirect effect on his thinking… I think the article is silly, but the cultural mindset that informed his views had something to do with evolution in a more removed sense — pre-WWI attitudes in Europe — jingoism, nationalism, colonialism, the Industrial Revolution, the idea of the perfectability of man and science, superior races, “progress,” eugenics… I think in some ways the theory of evolution slotted very nicely into the philosophies emerging as a result of all the great changes that occurred in the 19th century in Europe.
    But, just so everyone doesn’t yell at me, of course that doesn’t mean that Hitler knew a thing about evolution or that it directly influenced him at all.