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Sun, 21 Apr 2019
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Why Darwinism Is Wrong, Dead Wrong - Part 1: Intelligent Design and Information

darwin statue

Charles Darwin: God-savior of materialism
Despite its name, Darwin's theory of evolution - and its post-genetics variation, neo-Darwinism - is almost universally accepted as hard fact. It's 'scientifically proven' we're told, which in practice simply denotes something about which you are not allowed to ask questions. But Darwinism is wrong, dead wrong. It is wrong philosophically, scientifically and morally.
  • It is philosophically wrong, because even some non-sloppy thinking combined with common sense is all you need to dismiss it.
  • It is scientifically wrong, because the more science progresses (the more we discover about molecular biology, for example), the more Darwinism loses the little plausibility it had left.
  • It is morally wrong, because the kind of materialism and (false) postulations about nature Darwinism promotes imply an abhorrent world view that acts like poison on human morality; as such, it paved the way for Nazism, Stalinism, postmodernism and today's nihilist, almost psychopathic outlook on life in general.
In the first part of this series, we'll look at Darwin's theory from the philosophical angle. Philosophy promotes rigorous thinking, the detection of gross errors in reasoning and the ability to hold different and conflicting ideas in mind without freaking out. Let's see how Darwinism fares.

Attention

Trying to forget uses more brain power than remembering

mental health
Choosing to forget something might take more mental effort than trying to remember it, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin discovered through neuroimaging.

These findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, suggest that in order to forget an unwanted experience, more attention should be focused on it. This surprising result extends prior research on intentional forgetting, which focused on reducing attention to the unwanted information through redirecting attention away from unwanted experiences or suppressing the memory's retrieval.

"We may want to discard memories that trigger maladaptive responses, such as traumatic memories, so that we can respond to new experiences in more adaptive ways," said Jarrod Lewis-Peacock, the study's senior author and an assistant professor of psychology at UT Austin. "Decades of research has shown that we have the ability to voluntarily forget something, but how our brains do that is still being questioned. Once we can figure out how memories are weakened and devise ways to control this, we can design treatment to help people rid themselves of unwanted memories."


Comment: Perhaps in some situations 'forgetting' could be useful but as a therapy it might not always be the best solution. Simply forgetting that something happened still doesn't remove the trauma that is stored in the body or the behaviours that can be produced by it. Forgetting that it happened could take away what could the only thing that will give us access to the root of the problem.


Memories are not static. They are dynamic constructions of the brain that regularly get updated, modified and reorganized through experience. The brain is constantly remembering and forgetting information - and much of this happens automatically during sleep.

Books

Didn't read the article before commenting? Science says it really shows

reading news in bed
© tommaso79/iStock
A little bit of knowledge can go straight to your head, and not in a good way. New research has found that those who only read snippets of their Facebook newsfeed often think they know more than they actually do.

By glancing through article previews, instead of reading the full piece, many users overestimate their understanding of an issue, and this is especially true for those whose knowledge is guided by strong emotions - and, therefore, strong opinions.

"Because most social media users only have a passing engagement with posted news, exposure to political information on social media may simply create the illusion of political learning," write the researchers at the York College of Pennsylvania.

Comment: The point of the article is likely accurate, but there is one glaring flaw in the study that isn't mentioned. Taking a polarizing subject like GM foods, people are likely already holding knowledge and opinions on the subject, regardless of what was written in the sample articles and previews. What if the subjects knew what was written in the article but had prior information which they weighted more than what was written. It brings up the old (by now) adage - who decides what's true? Perhaps it would be a better study design to choose a more neutral subject, or one not as divisive, to actually test what information was retained.

See also:


Attention

Moral Zealotry and the Seductive Nature of Evil

German Chancellery
A tempting fallacy about morality is to think that wickedness must arise from transparently abhorrent motives, and goodness from nice ones. Few explicitly endorse this crude dualism, but many breezily equate hatred with evil, love with goodness, or both. This way of thinking makes it difficult for us to see the dangers of moral zealotry, one of the most insidious motives for wicked behavior.

The notion of moral zealotry as a vice is somewhat puzzling. Shouldn't we want people to be as moral as possible? Republican Presidential hopeful Barry Goldwater is often quoted as saying, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." That's true of idealized people who have perfect knowledge of justice and how best to pursue it, and whose commitment to goodness is untainted by less saintly motives. The rest of us are at risk of having our minds hijacked by intense, but not necessarily reflective, moral passions.

Comment: This 'nature' of evil, of the very things people may well do in the name of an ideology, the very things that can sway a whole country in a macro social way, can be read from the work of the late Andrew M. Lobaczewski's Political Ponerology: A Science of Evil Applied for Political Purposes

Political POnerology

Get it on Amazon or at Redpillpress.com



SOTT Logo Radio

The Truth Perspective: First Sight: Why Psi Is the Root of Consciousness

parapyschology
Parapsychology remains a controversial science, rejected by materialists as impossible and not worth any scientific attention. But if materialism is false, and there is something valid in the parapsychological research, what do its results suggest about the nature of consciousness? James C. Carpenter has been doing such research for decades, and developing a theory of psi that places it within a complete picture of human psychology.

Seven years ago he published the culmination of his research and theorizing: First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life. Carpenter argues that psi events are not anomalies and psi is not an ability. Rather, psi is an intrinsic psychological process that contributes to every thought, feeling, and action. It is the leading edge of consciousness and plays an essential role in the construction of our experience.

In fact, psi seems to operate in much the same way as various subliminal mental processes: below the level of consciousness. Just like subliminal primes, extrasensory information prepares the mind for action, activating physiological, emotional, and cognitive responses. And all these psychological processes fulfill the same function: to engage the world of meaning according to our shared and individual aims and intentions, both conscious and unconscious.


Running Time: 01:34:19

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Heart

Breathtaking: The benefits of conscious breathing

Breathing
© Aeon
Do hold your breath: on the benefits of conscious breathing
In my 20s, like many others who find that their mind is poisoning their life, I discovered meditation. Though for a long time I found it impossible, I liked all the encouragements to stop paying attention to my thoughts, because I feared and loathed many of my thoughts. I was less impressed by the suggestion that - to quote the teacher at a retreat I attended - my breath was 'the most powerful force in the Universe' or that 'all wisdom starts with proper breathing'. Breathing? I thought. That is how I will escape this flirtation with what feels like madness? By breathing? Sat stiffly, failing to follow the most powerful force in the Universe as it moved through my nostrils, I inwardly scoffed, warming myself with my own incredulity.

Five years later, like the once-foolish novice in many a spiritual parable, my annoyance has given way to a degree of understanding. I'm no yogi, and my practice is scattered, improvised and private. But I consider my breathing constantly. In doing this, I flirt with the madness less brazenly, and less often.

Comment: For more on the power of breathe work, you can read:


Nebula

Life after death: Hospice doctor studies the vivid dreams and visions of dying people that suggest comfort being given from the other side

tunnel
We tend to look at death as the end of a life, but surely there's more to the story than that. And while we know that people have very similar stories to tell after a near-death experience, often speaking of a tunnel of light and then being returned to the mortal world, we rarely consider what happens to our dreams as we approach the end.

For years, Dr. Christopher Kerr and his team at Hospice Buffalo in New York State have been documenting and studying the dreams of patients as they approach death. Dr. Kerr's shows something fascinating and inspiring about the last stage of life: the people we love who've already died are there on the other side waiting for us. It's as if those friends, family members and loved ones who've already left this world are just beyond the veil waiting for us, communicating in dreams.
I was laying in bed and people were walking very slowly by me. The right-hand side I didn't know, but they were all very friendly and they touched my arm and my hand as they went by. But the other side were people that I knew - my mom and dad were there, my uncle. Everybody I knew that was dead was there. The only thing was, my husband wasn't there, nor was my dog, and I knew that I would be seeing them. - Jeanne Faber, 75, months before her death from ovarian cancer [Source]

Comment: Why is Dr. Kerr among so few in the medical profession to look at and validate the very vivid and profoundly moving experiences of dying people? And what does that say about modern science that seems to dismiss the emotional, psychological and even spiritual healing of people and reduce an individual's health to biological processes only - never mind the possible implications of such interactions as mentioned in the the article above?

See also:


Shoe

Self-care is not an indulgence. It's a discipline.

steps stairs exercise
© Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash
Self-care requires the discipline to do the hard and boring things that are good for us.
The way self-care is portrayed today is completely and utterly backward. First, self-care as a concept is almost exclusively aimed at women (generally wealthy white women who can afford the goods and services that get marketed to them as self-care). The not-so-subtle suggestion is that women need to be reminded to care for themselves because, after all, they are so busy taking care of everyone else. And the even less-subtle suggestion is that while we should be taking care of ourselves, that doesn't absolve us from taking care of everyone else.

Which brings me to the second way that the current portrayal of self-care is backward -- it's characterized as an indulgence. This means both that the practice of self-care is something we are occasionally allowed to indulge in and that self-care should feel like an indulgence. Think expensive bath products, luxurious chocolates, spa appointments. When we spend more time talking about the self-care power of high thread count sheets than we do about getting enough sleep we've wandered pretty far from anything that can be remotely considered healthy for either mind or body.

Comment: Although this article is aimed at women, it could just as easily apply to men. Self-care is treated as an indulgence for both sexes, and people rarely if ever take the time needed to take care of themselves before engaging in tasks and duties. If self-care isn't prioritized, the body may take steps to force downtime through illness. Don't wait for the billboard to fall on your head! Take care of yourself!

See also:


People

Connection is a core human need, but we are terrible at it

connection
© Illustration: Hélène Desplechin/Getty Images
In his book Lost Connections, Johann Hari talks about his decades of work in the fields of trauma and mental health and why he believes that the root of almost everything we suffer through is a severed connection we never figured out how to repair.

At one point, Hari talks about an obesity clinic where patients who were overweight to the point of medical crisis were put on a supervised liquid diet in an effort to try to save their lives. The treatment worked, and many of the patients walked out of the clinic hundreds of pounds lighter and with a new lease on life - at first. What happened later was a side effect no doctor predicted. Some of the patients gained back all the weight and then some. Others endured psychotic breaks and one died by suicide.

After looking into why many of these patients had such adverse emotional reactions, the doctors discovered something important: The time when each patient began overeating usually correlated with a traumatic event they had no other coping mechanism for. Hari summed up the findings like this: "What we thought was the problem was very often a symptom of a problem that nobody knew anything about."

Comment: See also:


People 2

Your romantic partner is probably not as smart as you think they are, suggests new study

Couple surprised
It's now well known that many of us over-estimate our own brainpower. In one study, more than 90 per cent of US college professors famously claimed to be better than average at teaching, for instance - which would be highly unlikely. Our egos blind us to our own flaws.

But do we have an even more inflated view of our nearest and dearest? It seems we do - that's the conclusion of a new paper published in Intelligence journal, which has shown that we consistently view our romantic partners as being much smarter than they really are.

The researchers, Gilles Gignac at the University of Western Australia and Marcin Zajenkowski at the University of Warsaw, also tested whether the couples' actual IQs influenced their relationship satisfaction - with surprising results.

There had been some previous signs that we are especially optimistic about our loved ones' attributes. When it comes to physical attractiveness, for instance, we tend to think that we have managed to attract someone who is even hotter than us - an effect sometimes called the "love is blind bias". But past studies had failed to find a similar optimism for estimates of partners' intelligence. Overall, people seemed to judge their partners' intelligence as equal to their own - rather than thinking that they were especially clever.

Comment: Interesting but as the researchers said, they had only used one marker of intelligence when there are many. In addition to language there is also emotional and spiritual intelligence, which we can use to make more accurate evaluations of others. However, it stands to reason that the 'love is blind bias' would extend to favourably judging another's intelligence in addition to their physical attributes. See also: