Woo and yoga
Someone asked me how I could like yoga and be down on “alternative (quack) medicine”. Well, there have been some rigorous studies done on yoga and it CAN be recommended for physical therapy purposes (e. g. back aches). Via our National Institute of Health.
This Tiger Frog from Ghana is a cutie:
Movies: I want to see this one:
Note: my beef with religion, at least as practiced in the west, is that too many of them require people to accept “miracles” (resurrections, parting seas, virgin births, etc.) on “faith” (sans evidence). So once you “accept” that the laws of science (naturalism) can be suspended at set times, then, well, why trust science with anything? Seriously: if there is, say, water on your basement floor and a pipe joint above that with green on the joint…well…if you didn’t SEE it drip, then maybe the water and the green just appeared because of the work of some devil or pixie? Why not…if suspensions of naturalism are allowed?
My beef is NOT with religions that don’t require acceptance of miracles.
It is my opinion that a deity/spirit/whatever that is interested in humans and human affairs makes no sense, but that is the realm of opinion.
The eye of a super-hurricane at Saturn’s north pole looks like a peaceful red rose in a fresh bouquet of pictures from NASA’s Cassini orbiter. But don’t be fooled: That rosy appearance is merely due to the false colors ascribed to infrared wavelengths.
This storm’s eye measures 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) in diameter, about 20 times wider than the average hurricane’s eye on Earth. The outer clouds at the hurricane’s edge are traveling at 330 mph (530 kilometers per hour), which would be off the scale on our planet. The vortex whirls inside Saturn’s mysterious hexagonal cloud pattern, and it’s not going anywhere.
How do you like this image of the moon taking from space near the earth?
Here is a picture of a solar eclipse via Scientific American:
Miloslav Druckmüller, a mathematician at the Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic, and his colleagues were on Enewetak as the eclipse’s shadow raced toward them from the northwest at more than twice the speed of sound. This composite of 31 images from the eclipse shows the solar corona, the wispy “atmosphere” of the sun peeking out from behind the moon as well as the cratered, rayed surface of the moon itself.
Back on Earth Again
This species of fish, commonly found in China, Russia and Korea, has been found in New York. It is an invasive species.
Even more interestingly, it can actually breathe outside of water for a short period of time (days) and even hunt.
I am in the background, near the rear of the room (white beard).
This is a small group, but the speaker and many that you can see are among the world’s best topologists.
It was a different story at my hotel room:
5.7 mile run over lunch; 57 minutes.
Going to research meetings is always eye-opening. On one hand, I often learn something and pick up techniques and ideas that I can use.
On the other hand: I am seeing people who, for the most part, research and direct graduate students for a living. This is very different from what I am used to (teaching moderately talented undergraduates relatively elementary things).
The blunt fact is that the researchers are not only the best that graduate school graduating classes have to offer (I wasn’t) but they are also people who do it full time; if you teach a 11-12 hour load (with administrative duties to boot) you are NOT going to research at that level. But it is easy to forget that if you don’t take in one of these from time to time. Those who don’t: often lose perspective.
Yes, this is a Salon article and the title is misleading. But it does raise a point:
The heads and hearts of atheists may not be on precisely the same page. That’s the implication of recently published research from Finland, which finds avowed non-believers become emotionally aroused when daring God to do terrible things.
“The results imply that atheists’ attitudes toward God are ambivalent, in that their explicit beliefs conflict with their affective response,” concludes a research team led by University of Helsinki psychologist Marjaana Lindeman. Its study is published in the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion.
Lindeman and her colleagues describe two small-scale experiments. The first featured 17 Finns, recruited online, who expressed high levels of belief, or disbelief, in God. They read out loud a series of statements while skin conductance data was collected via electrodes placed on two of their fingers.
Some of the statements were direct dares to a deity (“I dare God to make my parents drown”). Others were similarly disturbing, but did not reference God (“It’s OK to kick a puppy in the face”). Still others were bland and neutral (“I hope it’s not raining today”).
The arousal levels of the believers and non-believers followed precisely the same pattern: Higher for both the God dares and otherwise unpleasant statements, and lower for the neutral ones.
Compared to the atheists, the believers reported feeling more uncomfortable reciting the God dares. But skin conductance data revealed the underlying emotional reactions of the two groups were essentially the same. This suggests that taunting God made the atheists more upset than they were letting on (even to themselves).[...]
The second experiment was designed to test that hypothesis. It featured 19 Finnish atheists, who participated in an expanded version of the first experiment. It included 10 additional statements—variations on the God dares which excluded any mention of supernatural forces. For example, in addition to “I dare God to turn all my friends against me,” they read out loud the statement: “I wish all of my friends would turn against me.”
The results: The atheists showed greater emotional arousal when reading the God-related statements than while reading the otherwise nearly identical sentences that omitted the almighty. To the researchers, this indicates that “even atheists have difficulty daring God to harm themselves and their loved ones.”
Note: the “n” is rather low.
The article goes on to make conjectures as to why this might be so. I’ll make mine:
my position of atheism is NOT so much an emotional one as an intellectual one. I see no evidence of divine intervention in human affairs and the idea that there is a “interested in human events” deity in such a large universe with billions of galaxies and billions of stars per galaxy makes no sense to me. I just don’t believe it.
But I WAS raised Catholic; my dad wasn’t a religious man but believed in a deity of some sort; mom believed in “magic tricks” of a deity (one that intervened). So I was raised that way and I have the resulting emotions. I sometimes ask a non-existent deity to eternally condemn inanimate objects when they break or spill (or when I break them ).
But emotions and emotional actions are hard to turn off.
I’ll give an example: I know that my stuffed frogs are inanimate objects. But I’d feel bad if, say, they burned in a fire and I’d get very angry if someone “mistreated” them. That is an emotional, irrational reaction. I’d have the same about religious stuff even though my mind knows better.
I’ve seen a few debates about religion, theism (believing in an active deity) and atheism (denial of the existence of such a deity).
Yes, I’ve read the debates between “well, believing in God is good for you” versus “no, it isn’t”.
Of course, I have an opinion (which I think is evidence based) on whether or not religion or religious belief (or “spirituality”, whatever that means) is good or not, but, that is NOT the point of this post. It could be that, say, believing in Jesus makes you as smart as Stephen Hawking and being an atheist makes you, oh deeply depressed.
But that has nothing to do with “truth” though it might have something to do with “what one WANTS to be true”.
And no, I am not talking about the power of suggestion or the value of religious myth (here, “myth” means “story with deep personal meaning” rather than “falsehood”).
What I am talking about: does it make any sense to believe that some deity intentionally created humans and “cares” (in a human like way) about the welfare of humans (e. g., “loves us”)
Yes, I know about evolution being a directionless process and a belief in “guided evolution” really isn’t compatible with science.
So, yes, that is one reason that theism makes no sense to me; we were put together by a bunch of jerry-rigged steps (e. g. the Vagus Nerve) As an aside, I can recommend Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish for an excellent discussion of how humans are put together.
But perhaps there is some clever “work around” this.
But consider this: get a grip on the massive scale of the univers (this is a cool, well put together tool)
And you can watch this:
Now we are one planet orbiting a rather ordinary star in a rather ordinary galaxy. Each galaxy has roughly between 10 million (dwarf galaxy) and 100 TRILLION stars, and we know that there are, visible to us, over 170 BILLION galaxies.
So on an emotional level: am I to swallow that Bronze Age people, who knew so little, got such an immense question right? What is more likely: WE (what are “we” anyway: Homosapiens? Or all the other members of hominidae included too?) are the center of some creation, or that, well, we just aren’t that special? Why our life form? What about other life forms on other planets, or even other galaxies?
To me, theistic belief, as I have seen it practiced, is VERY ego-centric. Oh sure, “God centered, not me centered” I hear. But you are assuming that there is some super awesome “thing” that cares about you. Please.
It makes far more sense to assume that rather dull humans (as in: human beings, on the whole, really don’t know that much; not that believers are substantially dumber than anyone else) are just making stuff up so they can feel better about themselves.
I also wonder about all of the other gods relegated to the waste bin and wonder about a time when the current ones will be as well.
PS: if you say “see, you SAID that “humans don’t know that much”! True, I did. But “humans don’t know that much” in no way implies “therefore my conception of a deity is correct” or even “therefore my conception of a deity is plausible”.
Yoga (crowded class; saw Lynn and T was wearing her usual tight spandex…)
Then 32 minute warm up jog (3 miles), 9 goose loop laps (29:45; 9:37/10:13/9:55) .5 on, .22 off, then one hard .36, then 2 miles of jogging.
The day was pretty, I felt fine but I didn’t have that extra “umpf”; 13 seconds slower than last week.
Note: the weather has cooled off a bit. But my previous strategy of doing my slow running outside (in the heat) and my faster (ok, less glacial) running inside (treadmill/indoor track) wasn’t all crazy.
Class starts tomorrow; department meeting today.
What is more likely: Bronze Age people living in a planet in a galaxy that is like millions of other galaxies got it right (when they got almost nothing else right) or they were just making stuff up?
However, there are millions who think that the Bronze Age people got it right….one of them is Hike Huckabee:
Why is everybody so down on rape? This is what Mike Huckabee wanted to know today, on his radio program, which also featured Rep. Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin as a guest. For instance, did you know that Ethel Waters was conceived when her mother got raped? Do you know what a world without rape would look like? A world without Ethel Waters, that’s what.
This is what Mike Huckabee said today, as transcribed by the Los Angeles Times’ James Rainey, about the upside of being raped and then getting pregnant:
“Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of a forcible rape,” Huckabee said of the late American gospel singer. One-time presidential candidate Huckabee added: “I used to work for James Robison back in the 1970s, he leads a large Christian organization. He, himself, was the result of a forcible rape. And so I know it happens, and yet even from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things.”
Anyway, stop being so racist against rape-babies, everyone.
Yep….Hiroshima and Tokyo were nicely rebuilt after being a-bombed and firebombed respectively. This clown is just completely tone deaf.
I wonder if this represents a split in the Republican Party between the religious clowns that the “money first” types. Yes, I got a private message from one of the religious types saying that I am misreading things. I don’t think that I am; I really don’t think that religious conservatism has a long term future in the industrialized world. My guess is that in 1-2 more generations, religion will be as dead here as it is in Western Europe. We’ll still have conservatives but they won’t be religious ones.
Note: I disagree with this article slightly. Yes, more Republicans are creationists, but many Democrats embrace woo and new-age nonsense. The difference, as I see it, is scope. We might have someone like Senator Tom Harkin trying to get “alternative medicine” (aka “quackery”) into the health care bills. But that doesn’t compare, in scope, to the scores of creationists in Congress, state legislatures and school boards who are trying to ruin science and science education.
Note: ironically, I don’t see religion as being a left/right thing. Many in the Democratic coalition are religious (example: African Americans). This has an interesting effect on President Obama’s reelection strategy and it is NOT the obvious one.
- 2008 Election
- 2010 election
- 2012 election
- Aaron Schock
- affirmative action
- Agricultural Commisioner
- alternative energy
- April 1
- Barack Obama
- barback obama
- Barbara Boxer
- big butts
- bill maher on mosque
- bill richardson
- blog humor
- blood donation
- Bobby Jindal
- business & economy
- Cheri Bustos
- civil liberties
- Claire McCaskill
- climate change
- college football
- d k hirner
- dark energy
- dave koehler
- Dick Durbin
- Dick Morris
- dk hirner
- draw Mohammad day
- draw Muhammad day
- Fox News Lies Again
- free speech
- glenn beck
- glenn hubbard
- green news
- ground zero mosque
- gwen ifill
- haunting songs
- health care
- Herman Cain
- High Speed Rail
- hillary clinton
- human sexuality
- if rich people have to pay taxes
- immigration. racial profiling
- internet issues
- Intrade Prediction
- jan brewer
- jim lehrer
- Joe Biden
- John McCain
- jon stewart
- Judicial nominations
- knee rehabilitation
- laughing at myself
- michelle bachmann
- Mid Life Crisis
- Middle East
- Mike Huckabee
- mike's blog round up
- Mitt Romney
- national disgrace
- Navel Staring
- Newt Gingrich
- north america
- north carolina
- Olympic Spandex
- Personal Issues
- Political Ad
- political humor
- public policy and discussion from NPR public radio program Science Friday with host Ira Flatow. Science Videos
- rebulican party
- republican party
- republican senate minority leader
- republicans political/social
- republicans politics
- rick perry
- rick santorum
- Rush Limbaugh
- sarah palin
- Science Friday teachers
- Science Friday teens.
- shoulder rehabilitation
- Spineless Democrats
- stem cells
- stephen colbert
- tax cuts
- the colbert report
- Tim Pawlenty
- time trial/ race
- war on drugs
- weight training
- wise cracks
- world events