Saturday, October 31, 2009

Doggerel #212: "Weird"

Welcome to a Halloween edition of "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

There's an implicit argument that seems to come up whenever I hear someone attempt to justify the paranormal by changing the subject to quantum mechanics or other branch of science: "Real phenomenon X is weird, therefore the paranormal is real."

Yes, we realize that the world is full of things that are unintuitive, strange, or don't yet make sense. One of the fallacies that's often used to our annoyance is a presumption that human intuition and "common sense" is always useful. We evolved in the "middle world" where, like many animals, we only needed to be able to get food, avoid dangers, and have children to survive. The instincts and prejudices we grow up with are pretty useful for that, since cutting corners with those assumptions usually didn't cost us anything. Our brains were built to survive, not to divine the truth of the universe.

Scientists know that they can't rely on their assumptions and intuition. That's why science exists: To reduce or eliminate our biases whenever possible. We need this process because science is always pushing at the boundaries of our experience, going to parts of the world quite alien to us. The fact that these places are "weird" to many of us doesn't mean that they are beyond science, only that we have to be careful in how we examine them. Unfortunately, many people try to use this doggerel to mean the opposite: "The paranormal is "weird," so you just have to take my word for it as an alleged expert on it." In other words, it's invoked to deter questioning.

The universe is a strange and wonderful place when you look beyond your everyday experiences. To invoke that "weirdness" as a shield against curiosity and open inquiry is to cheapen the experience.

Doggerel #211: "Spooky"

Welcome to a Halloween edition of "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

Sometimes, skeptics are easily bored. A great deal of the frustration we experience is born out of that boredom: Whenever someone tells us about some "spooky" occurrence, chances are A) We've already heard about it and know what really happened, if anything at all, B) we've already seen countless tales just like it and know many alternative explanations, or C) we find it entirely unsurprising.

One of the major problems that makes this doggerel is the unreliability of anecdotes: We know that people tend to leave out or overlook important pieces of information. People are fallible and can easily misinterpret what's going on. When we try to make sense of something, it's easy to alter our memories of an event to support the story we come up with in the process. That's why cameras and other, more objective forms of 'memory' are better trusted than eyewitnesses. And even then, reproducible forms of physical evidence rank even higher, since cameras don't necessarily capture the important details, just where they're pointed.

In other cases, we've heard a LOT of various stories with known, simple alternative explanations, and the new one you're telling probably doesn't do anything to eliminate those mundane possibilities. What matters most about evidence is quality, not quantity. Good evidence for the paranormal would falsify the many alternative explanations we use as null hypotheses. We get bored if, for example, your tale is just about you performing the same argument from lack of imagination someone else performed long before you arrived.

A lot of "spooky" tales we hear are about simple probability. The world is a big place. Lots of people do lots of things all the time. It's no surprise to us that some unlikely event happened to you. If it didn't happen to you, it could just as easily happened to someone else. As a skeptic, we're supposed to look at these sorts of things in the context of the world, not just your corner of it.

And finally, there are a lot of misunderstandings about weird events in science. One of the favorites is the double-slit experiment and similar small-scale phenomena. Usually, it's old, unsurprising news for us.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Free Energy Rant

Just picked a topic I haven't gone on about for a while.

Free energy is one of those things that sticks around. I guess being able to get something for nothing is just one of those things people wish wasn't too good to be true.

Of course, since I grew up listening to Patrick Stewart speeches, I tend to have an underlying thought that if we're just clever enough, we could find just the perfect things to solve our problems. Of course, as a skeptic, I work to keep critical thinking dominant in my mind, even if it has to give my wishful thinking a swirly. I can imagine it's possible (if very unlikely) that we might find some way to get energy that doesn't require too much effort on our part.

Not quite the case with most free energy boondoggles I hear about: Most really are supposed to be something for nothing. Just spin the magnets the right way and energy will come from some fundamental part of the universe on a silver platter, with a pretty bow on top.

Aside from the raw wishful thinking, though, I wonder if the enthusiasm might also be powered with desire to give the finger to the scientists who posited the laws of thermodynamics. As some ray of sunshine phrased them:
Zeroth: You must play the game.
First: You can't win.
Second: You can't break even.
Third: You can't quit the game.
It's kind of depressing, so I guess I can't blame the sentiment. Of course, another issue is the desire to give the energy companies the finger. Yeah, fossil fuels are bad, and we've got a lot of people dragging their feet on developing practical alternatives, so it's not surprising some amateurs would like to do something to take on the Eeeee-ville faceless oil companies.

There's certainly a lot of good intentions with the deluded (and no shortage of cynical con artists who like to cash in on them), but as hard as it is, critical thinking is more likely to help solve the energy crisis than wishful thinking alone. Just a message from a friendly neighborhood skeptic.

Wasting Money

I'm contemplating seeing "Fourth Kind," an alien abduction movie, and reviewing it. May need to bring a note pad, since I doubt I'd be allowed to bring in my laptop. Any thoughts?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pointless Question #70

I came across a horde of zombies today (at least I think "horde" is the correct term for a group of zombies). So why brains? Why not the bits that don't require all the effort involved in cracking a skull?


Seems they've marked the price down from $200 to FREE! Sounds like a deal to me. Downloaded the installer and might try a few things. Up for hearing if any of you have personal experiences to share. I'll probably hang out at their forum this weekend to find out more.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Doggerel #210: "Victim"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

On some level, as social beings, we have an instinct for justice. When one of "our group" is harmed, we can quickly direct our anger at who or whatever caused that harm. Much of the time, however, cynical manipulators can pull our heartstrings to persuade us into irrationality.

Many forms of pseudoscience attempt to play victim to win sympathy. They treat ridicule and criticism as persecution when it may very well be deserved. In such a case, the use of this doggerel is a subject change: Instead of defending ideas and answering criticism, the user looks for pity so that those who fall for the scheme can complain about irrelevancies like the skeptics' tone of voice or choice of language.

In other ways, the use of this doggerel can be self-fulfilling. Take, for example, a certain Big Lie: That it's illegal to pray in school in the US. It's not. The law only requires that teachers, staff, and other government employees not lead students in prayer while on the clock. But because the Big Lie is so prevalent, many people in those positions actually believe it and end up enforcing the false law, allowing those who spread the lie to claim persecution and milk people's sympathies.

Others claim that non-victims can't possibly understand, therefore all their scientific questions and efforts to point out logical fallacies are meaningless. This is hardly the case. In fact, someone who believes himself to be a victim must redouble his efforts to be objective: Having an emotional stake in the issue can easily lead to bias.

Talking about the problems caused by an injustice can be useful to ignite someone's passions, but it's no substitute for logic and scientific inquiry. Wanting to solve a problem, and knowing the true nature of the problem and its solution are entirely different things.

Doggerel #209: "Patented"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

This bit of doggerel is an old marketing trick that shouldn't work anymore. A patent does not indicate efficacy, only uniqueness, and sometimes not even that.

I've heard that, at least in the US, the patent office will not accept perpetual motion machines or free energy devices, taking the prudent stance that such contraptions are impossible. The decision may also have to do with how common the claims are, and how much extra useless paperwork they would produce.

Patent offices are not scientific institutions. They do not conduct in-depth experiments with every designer's ideas. They do not carry out clinical trials for the latest herbal supplements. They exist to provide an innovator with a protection against someone else copying his work, so that he can make money off his idea. Whether or not you like such things as copyright laws, this should be something to know.

If you want to know if something works, you should test it according to the principles of science and logic. If you're willing to trust someone, you should trust results in good scientific journals, conducted by people who take the necessary efforts to remove their biases. It's that methodology that credibility comes from, not a government stamp of approval.

Doggerel #208: "Nothing"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

This entry is more specific than most, dealing primarily with Creationists. It's become a tired old cliche of theirs to ask, "How can you believe something came from nothing?"

There are many possible responses because we only have ideas for what the moment of the Big Bang might have been: We do not claim certainty or omniscience. Those of us without degrees in cosmology or astrophysics simply don't know with any great confidence. Those with them are working on the issue, and I don't know which ideas are favored.

First of all, the question is quite often used as a tu quoque fallacy: "God" isn't a useful answer to the question. Where did this "God" come from? How did he get the power to create a universe? Why did he bother? Combined with the lack of predictive ability of the god hypothesis, it's nothing but a supernatural placeholder.

Onto our guesses:

1. Something can come from nothing, so long as it's balanced out by an anti-something. That's one of the simple principles behind a lot of formula juggling done for practical science: You can get something if you also get its opposite.

2. There's no room for a nothing: Many people fail to understand that the Big Bang wasn't an explosion of stuff into empty space and time, it was an expansion of space and time itself. The very fabric of time and space were condensed with the matter. There was no "before the Big Bang" so there's no room for a "nothing," no prior time for "come from."

3. Something came from something else: It's possible that what we call our universe came from some event like "branes" colliding in a bigger universe, along a different sort of time axis. That universe might be eternal and infinite, or it might have come from a still larger universe ad infinitum. It may not be elegant, but I don't see any logical reason against such a progression.

I'm sure there are many other ideas I haven't covered, but just with these examples, it should be apparent that the use of this doggerel just isn't worthwhile.

Doggerel #207: "Eastern"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

The "East" is almost a magical place for many of us "Westerners." Wildly different culture, home to many impressive tourist attractions, birthplace of many exotic martial arts, gunpowder, rocketry... and filled to the brim with so-called healers who have their own very detailed systems of medicine.

The region certainly has its own mystique, but just like "Western" pseudoscience, there's no shortage of "Eastern" nonsense, and it uses many of the same defense mechanisms and logical fallacies, whether it's the genuine article or the watered-down commercial version.

"Eastern" pseudoscientific practices like acupuncture, Ayurveda, Eastern astrology, Feng Shui, and so forth are not immune to scientific investigation. The demands of logic and evidence don't change just because some system originated from a different part of the globe.

It's true that many skeptics you encounter online may have "Western" biases, but one of the most important jobs of the scientific method is the removal or at least reduction of bias. We live in one universe that operates one objective set of rules. Our standards for understanding and revealing those rules must remain the same.

It isn't racist to judge everything fairly. To be frank, many who invoke this doggerel ask us to lower our standards for anything vaguely Asian, and that is what I find racist. In science, it shouldn't matter who came up with an idea, only if that idea has merit when tested.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Who the Hell is Dr. Silverstein and Why Should I Care?

My apologies for making yet another post for the ongoing troll roast.

When I thought I might get somewhere by asking for clarification on an analogy, Gabe brought up some glurge about an irrelevant professor named "Dr. Silverstein." I'm not particularly motivated to find out if he's a real, stupid person, someone intelligent whose had his views misrepresented, or some conveniently fictional straw man, but I'll press on with burning the straw man he was used for.

I'm against the Disneyfication of history in history classes. Unfortunately, there are a lot of "PC" hippie douches out there who don't want to say anything remotely bad about someone's ancestors, and far too many people who are too milquetoast to shoulder the "controversy" of telling the truth. Yes, there were some great figures in just about every culture, but there was also a lot of barbarism. Humans are all capable of great good and great evil.

The image of Dr. Silverstein, as described by Gabe, is a racist: He wants non-whites Disneyfied, but doesn't want to convey the same "privilege" to whites. I find that sort of thought disgusting, just like I find the Disneyfication of my white ancestors disgusting. Lots of humans did wonderful things, coming from many cultures and races. Those same cultures were brutal and superstitious. The people who were able to discover or invent new things deserve their kudos.

It's only recently, with the Enlightenment, that human brutality is waning (with no shortage of setbacks and obstacles). The ideas that our society is founded upon are not a product of racial genetics, just some people in the right social, economic, and scholastic circumstances getting inspired and successfully promoting those ideas. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the scientific method are not encoded into anyone's DNA. Someone raised in an environment where others share these ideas and pass them onto the next generation will be more likely to prosper.

I'm sure a lot of us as kids went through a phase of being angry over the crimes of someone's ancestors. I imagine some very rare hippie douches never did. It'd be nice if, for example, the European settlers got together with the Indians for a turkey dinner in November and puppy-hugging like in the saccharine Thanksgiving specials, but they didn't.

One of my history professors had a saying: "Nostalgia is the destruction of history." Yes, you can celebrate great figures of the past and their contributions to the world, but don't whine like a hippie douche when someone points out the darker parts. To me, it doesn't matter if you're Gabriel or this Dr. Silverstein. Disneyfying history is wrong, and even more so when you do it selectively.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Systems Check

One thing that's sometimes annoying: I don't think anyone on my PSN friends list is from my chunk of the blogosphere. Anyone here got a PS3 at all? I might as well ask who's got what systems, just so that I can remember. And maybe contemplate getting an X-Box when I see the massive list. Please, no system wars here.

My long, nostalgic list: NES, SNES, N64, Wii, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS (non-Lite), PS1 to PS3, Old PSP (for homebrew), PSP Slim (to be kept up to date), 3-in-1 (NES, SNES, Genesis)

Doggerel #206: "Toxins"

This honorary Doggerel entry brought to you by YouTuber C0nc0rdance:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Trying to Light a Fire Under My Posterior

I made a resolution to try and get somewhere with my Untitled Platformer back in January. So, I'm going to exchange a few emails, browse some forums and so forth about an engine someone (I forgot who. Sorry.) recommended for me: Torque.

Anyone care to share any experiences or anything like that?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Woo of The Moment: DNA Perfection

Going with Yakaru's suggestion from this thread for now, starting with just some stream-of-consciousness cursory roasting before I consider an in-depth dissection.

So, I give you: DNA Perfection.

Imagine if you woke up one morning and realized that you had dormant superhuman abilities that were waiting to be unleashed.

That once you activated these abilities, you could manifest anything you desired in your life, live a life without drama, create your ideal physical body, become immune to all dis-ease, and REVERSE the aging process.

Wow. The Secret meets comic book science. Bonus points for splitting "disease." I have a feeling I'm in for some staggering piles of bovine excrement.

Imagine if you realized that you could actually change your blueprint of life, your DNA, to enable you to expand your creative potential, provide access to your subconscious mind, and become intuitive, clairvoyant, and know instantly what your purpose is in life.

The first problem with this: You're already built. Changing a person's DNA wouldn't cause them to change like they do in Saturday morning superhero cartoons. Second, how exactly are you supposed to change all your DNA in the same way? There are a LOT of cells in the human body. Feel like I'm on a roller coaster at the top of the first big hill.

What exactly is DNA Activation?

Most people know that DNA is the 'blueprint of life' and is located in every cell of the body. In addition to each chromosome's 2 strand double helix of DNA, there are an additional 10 etheric strands of DNA available to each human, which have been dormant since the beginning of recorded history. Each additional strand possesses attributes that permit the individual to perform greater human accomplishments.

Wonderful. They have to invent a whole new realm of DNA that I predict they cannot record.

Scientists acknowledge that we currently only use 3% of our current 2 strand DNA. Thus we live in a society where people are sick, unhappy, stressed out, create wars, have difficulty experiencing love, and are totally disconnected with the universe.

Someone hasn't been paying attention: A lot of that DNA is space-holding "junk." By including long strings of gibberish, mutations are more likely to end up there than in critical genes.

Also, someone knows nothing of history: We've gotten our health system good enough that woos can feel entitled to health. We have people in first world countries dying of cancer and such because they're not busy dying of childhood illnesses or starvation.

As for all the other stuff, it reeks of genetic determinism. People are not programmed insects: Our strength is our plasticity. We can learn about the world and use that knowledge to our benefit. I have little reason to believe some ethereal DNA can prevent the powerful forces of culture from influencing humans.

Most people have to meditate for many years just to have a so-called 'mystical' experience, that's how disconnected we are now.

And none of them can show any meaningful benefit, awareness, or whatever for their trouble. I'd say it's more likely that there's nothing "mystical" to connect to.

Imagine activating 100% of your 2 strand DNA, PLUS 10 additional strands! You will go from using 10% of your brain to becoming a multi-dimensional being with psychic, telepathic, and manifestation abilities beyond anything you've ever dreamed of.

Ah, the old 10% of the brain myth, that originated as a misquote of Einstein.

Anyway, why haven't these people signed up for the JREF million, yet?

Plus, you will stop the aging process and actually start to rejuvenate to look and feel YOUNGER. This is the Original Divine Blueprint, what man USED to be.

I've heard that one before. From people whose photographs show them with hair that gets grayer over time and skin that gets more wrinkled.

It has been written that Jesus had 12 strands of DNA activated.

Where, and why should we believe it?

There have been children born throughout the history of humanity to raise the frequency of the planet that have more than 2 strands of DNA active - they are known as Indigo children. These are the incredibly intelligent, loving, and amazing children that are being mistakenly diagnosed as having A.D.D. because they are too smart to pay attention in class.

Oh, this crap. Oh, and being "smart" alone isn't that great without the focus. I'm on medication for adult ADHD, and wish I could have gotten started sooner. I may be happy with what I've got now, but it'd be nice if I could have stayed focused. Would have shaved off a couple years (and saved tuition money) in getting my head straight.

How can there be additional strands of DNA and what does this look like?

The portions of the DNA chain that science has presently identified as the "Double Helix", represent only the SURFACE portions of the chemical, elemental, and electrical components of the active DNA strands. Science has yet to identify the MULTIDIMENSIONAL spectra of DNA manifestation, and has yet to realize that within the structures of detectable DNA, there are levels of structure and function that direct the operations of the entire genetic blueprint, which are not currently detectable by the contemporary scientific method.

If science can't detect it, how can you know it's there?

The human DNA imprint will always appear from external analysis, as a 2 strand Double Helix configuration. But what is not understood, is that within the Double Helix there are, and will be progressively more, additional Double Helix strands, which fuse together and add their operational coding into the active DNA imprint. As science evolves into comprehension of the mult-dimensional spectrum, the understanding of the tree structure and function of DNA will progressively advance.

And once science develops a fairy detector, fairy research will advance. AKA Appeal to the future.

But one does not have to wait for science to catch up with a rapidly evolving humanity in order to begin advancing the functions of their DNA. Through the processes of bioregenesis, we are removing ancient blockages within the human anatomy that have been blocking natural DNA activation, and then we are restoring the Original Organic Imprint for Health, that is the birthright of our species. We are progressively reordering portions of the "junk DNA" and stimulating portions of the DNA into activation.

Let me know when you fix that error in primate vitamin C production. Of course, any change should be detectable: Take one sample before and another after. Let me know when you've won the JREF million for that, too.

Why is DNA Activation important right now and how does the Earth affect our DNA Activation level?

We are directly connected to the Earth and exist as part of the Earth. Like a baby that is in their mother’s womb, the body of the mother is actually the OUTER body of the baby. So anything that happens to the mother forms an energetic imprint and affects the child. For example, if the mother smokes or drinks alcohol during the pregnancy, this goes directly to the child and forms imprints, which may manifest as physical birth deformities or genetic problems which eventually manifest into physical dis-ease.

Cutting through the bullshit: Yes, the baby and the mother are connected. The reason for deformities isn't genetic, though: It's congenital. The baby's DNA remains the same, but the actual toxins involved cause developmental errors. Such a baby, if it is able to survive and grow up to have a child will not pass down those problems because of their DNA.

So it is the same thing with the Earth and us. The Earth is OUR outer body. This is why it is called Mother Earth. Our morphogenetic field (form holding blueprint) exists as part of the larger morphogenetic field of the Earth. If something happens to the Earth’s energetic grids, then we inherit these problems into our own grids. Our energetic anatomy is exactly like the Earth’s, with chakras, meridians, axiatonal lines, and DNA. Our 13th chakra is actually one we share with the Earth and exists at the Earth’s core. So if a cataclysm happens with the Earth and it pokes a hole in the Earth’s grids, then what happens is that “hole” is poked into every person’s DNA on the planet.

And there's a big bullshit storm of crank concepts and invented words. The Earth is our environment, and we should take care of it for that reason. No need for any of this vague magical mumbo-jumbo.

And this has been one of the main influences and problems with our DNA throughout history as there have been many cataclysms. The Earth distortions in history have actually created a planetary DNA distortion that has made every living organism’s DNA on the planet to falsely appear as Base-4, with only 4 chemicals.

Convenient how it covers up everything so that it looks exactly like what science says.

Humans are supposed to have 12 chemical nucleotide bases. This would allow us to have 144 physical chemical chromosomes as well, whereas now we only have 46. Also the original Angelic Human DNA Template which most people on the planet have, called the Diamond Sun DNA Template, is 12 strands, allowing for 12 dimensions of consciousness, and is built for transmutation from carbon to silica based body, and eventually pre-matter liquid light. This body is not meant to “die”. It is because of the DNA distortions in ancient history (25,500 B.C) that have blocked people from bringing light into their field and naturally evolving through DNA activation. Most people on the planet only have 3 strands active, which only allows 3 dimensions of consciousness and thus they are stuck in 3D.

1. Wouldn't those extra 'letters' cause trouble?

2. What does the number of base pairs have to do with the number of chromosomes? The fact that English has 26 letters doesn't affect the number of chapters that can be included in a book.

3. Do these people even know what a dimension is?

We are at a very important point in history right now because we have the ability to regenerate our original organic imprint for health. And we don’t need science and fancy equipment to do this. We are just required to learn how to use what we came in with – our mind-body-spirit system to direct our mind to alter the scalar waves by which our DNA is composed.

If I'm bleeding, I'll stick with Band-Aids because Band-Aids are stuck on me.

We are in the middle of an ascension cycle, which is literally a time continuum shift. From now through 2012, the planet is going through this time continuum shift, which only happens once every 25,556 years (called a Euiago cycle). What is happening is that the particles that make up the Earth’s auric field are speeding up in pulsation rhythm to prepare for this shift into ascension from dimension 3 to dimension 4. Since the particles that make up the Earth’s auric field are speeding up in pulsation rate, and we exist as part of the Earth’s auric field, the particles that make up our OWN auric fields must also speed up. This is happening now through 2012. This means that one must have at least 4 strands of DNA active to make the shift into dimension 4.

I really wonder how they came up with the math for this. And I wonder if 2012 was just picked because it's nearby and this person has a pathological obsession with the number 12. Of course, all the crazies who don't know anything about the Mayans probably had a lot of influence in the decision.

And this is why DNA activation is so important now. If you have energetic blockages – auric attachments, karmic imprints, DNA distortions, or unnatural energetic seals, then you will not be able to speed up the particles and accrete the frequencies necessary to make this time continuum shift. And the higher frequencies coming into your field will speed up the body deterioration process and many result in physical problems or discomfort. Many people are noticing these “symptoms” now and this is why. They are also noticing how time is speeding up.

And yet, the GPS satellites, the atomic clocks, and so on are moving at the rates they were predicted to move at.

Also, how would someone notice time speeding up? Relative to what?

Our evolution is directly and intimately tied to the Earth’s. And the actual purpose of the Angelic Humans is to assist the Earth with what is happening now. This IS “why we are here”. Because by raising our own frequency and bringing more light into our fields by DNA activation, when enough people do this and it meets “critical mass”, this will actually reset the distortions in the Earth’s grids so that we can all ascend together in 2012. All masters that have come, are here, and will come know about DNA activation and spiritual evolution does not happen without it.

Definitely unrelated to any sort of evolution I know about.

What are the reported benefits and results of DNA Activation?

DNA activation removes the energetic blockages to you embodying your Higher self, Oversoul consciousness, Avatar self, and Rishi - the part of you closest to Source or God. So consciousness expansion is one of the main benefits and after the sessions, you will be more aware of everything, especially what your purpose is and why you incarnated here at this point in "time". You will start to become aware or see things that others cannot see - some of the hidden agendas going on and how to make decisions to help you and your family in the best way possible. Your dormant brain functions will start to become active, especially your pineal gland. This will help to start tapping into your 7 Higher Senses, and you will be able to use these on a daily basis with practice. Some of the physical benefits reported by clients include thicker hair growth, weight loss and stabilization of desired weight, increased energy, and rejuvenation of various muscles. You will start to see how your body is just a thoughtform as well, and you can change your body more easily with focus, so you won't have to work out as much. Emotionally, you will go beyond your personal dramas, the aggravation of everyday life. Your body will undergo a detoxification, which will bring old emotional issues to the surface to be released forever, to no longer cause dis-ease and poison the body. You will also experience a renewed sense of confidence and security, and will project that to others, which will allow you to have more fulfilling relationships, increased trust and discernment, and the attraction of soul mates. Almost everyone also reports much quicker manifestations of that which they desire.

Randi, Million dollars, yadda, yadda.

What type of healings occur after having DNA Activations?

Spontaneous healings can occur at the time of activations. These usually have to do with acute physical and emotional disorders. After the activations, there is a purification process that begins to detoxify the physical, emotional, and mental bodies. There have been many patients who have cured themselves of cancer and other serious diseases after having the DNA activations.

Curing cancer. Definitely like to see some documentation. And I imagine for every one that might have been a natural remission, there's probably a hundred who didn't make it. Either that, or good ol' medical science did it for them, and they'd rather give themselves the credit for being "spiritual" enough to beat the cancer.

I think that's enough for now.

[Appeal_to_Ridicule] #5.0: Gabriel, Summarized

Thanks for putting up with this extended troll roast, everyone. And Gabe, before you point out that appeal to ridicule is a fallacy, you should know that ridicule done right can highlight someone else's logical fallacies.

Here's something you should think about, Gabe: I think I've got a pretty good summary about how you respond to arguments. Try doing something different.

Stimulus: Oh, no! BD's asking for genetic data!

Response A: Change the subject to World of Warcraft and/or Wikipedia! (Thankfully he's at least learned not to do this anymore.)

Response B: Say that genetics is irrelevant, and that it's actually culture, like BD's been arguing, only instead argue that there's some metaphysical "blackness" about the bad parts of the cultures of impoverished nations.

Stimulus: Oh, no! BD's pointed out that people are heavily influenced by culture and resources!

Response A: Pretend he didn't say anything.

Response B: Rant about responsibility, as if everyone is an island who can just bootstrap themselves up like one of Ayn Rand's Marty Stu characters.

Stimulus: AIDS!

Response: Pretend that there's some metaphysical "blackness" about a virus that just happened to start in Africa but affects whites just as readily!

Stimulus: Oh, no! BD's pointed out that it's a logical fallacy to assume correlation means causation!

Response: Declare that caring about logic is "telling."

Stimulus: Oh, no! BD's pointing out that anecdotes are inherently unreliable!

Response: Copy/paste stereotypical anti-science rhetoric from some psychic wannabe and replace "psychics" with "whites."

Stimulus: Oh, no! Something happened with Obama outside this blog!

Response: Assume BD worships Obama despite his recent complaints about his inaction.

Stimulus: Oh, no! BD mentioned the Dark Ages!

Response: Pretend he never mentioned it, and never attempt to explain the cause.

Stimulus: Oh, no! BD mentioned the advanced-for-its-time nature of ancient Egypt!

Response: Change subject to modern Egypt.

Stimulus: Oh, no! BD acknowledges the crappy state of many African nations, but explains their problems as a result of bad resource distribution, culture, and myriad other non-genetic causes!

Response: Pretend BD thinks Africa is full of prosperous first-world nations.

Stimulus: Oh, no! BD asks for me to use race to explain scientific progress in first world nations!

Response: Ignore the question or pretend it's obvious.

Stimulus: Oh, no! BD explains scientific progress as a result of available resources, cultural, educational, and communication-related factors! He also ridicules me by pointing out that alternative hypotheses require that scientists have formed a conspiracy to lie about how science is done!

Response: Pretend educational institutions have nothing to do with science.

Stimulus: Oh, no! BD pointed out that a person can't choose what ideas are in the heads of the people they grew up with!

Response: Pretend that culture is witchcraft because no one person is completely responsible for a region's culture.

Stimulus: Oh, no! BD pointed out that if Asians were too stupid to develop modern technology on their own, they wouldn't be able to understand current technology or improve it!

Response: Use the word "stole" as if it meant anything in this context.

Stimulus: Oh, no! BD points out that many of the black people he's met, who have had access to similar cultural and educational standards, act and understand the same things white people do!

Response: Pretend he's trying to generalize from them, rather than provide exceptions I can't explain. (Invert and repeat for stupid white people.)

Stimulus: Oh, no! BD points out that the racial differences I talk about shrink as legal, cultural, and educational differences also shrink, like they're doing in first world countries.

Response: Change subject back to third world countries where BD's alternative explanations are even more prominent.

Stimulus: Oh, no! BD's given me a post specifically for explaining my hypothesis in detail!

Response: Waffle on and off topic for a couple weeks.

Doggerel #205: "The Mainstream Won't Publish My Stuff!"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

This bit of doggerel is often a sort of preemptive "sour grapes" rationalization: Because the mainstream allegedly won't publish something, they don't have to bother trying. Even if the doggerel-user has tried and failed to publish in a prestigious journal, they can still publish in many other locations. If their work is actually worthwhile, it should show through. If it's not, criticism is still valid.

Science is not a religion. The prestigious journals are not a form of canonization. A study or experiment that follows good scientific procedure should be able to stand on its own merits, whether or not it's published. Heck, it could be self-published on a blog for all I care. As long as it contains all the relevant methods used, data gathered, etcetera, there shouldn't be any problem with reviewing that work. The good journals are the ones that maintain good standards. If there's some form of corruption preventing a good paper from getting published, the correct response is to publicize that paper as much as possible and expose the corruption, such as pointing out logical fallacies used in the rejection.

Unfortunately, instead of putting forth the effort or giving skeptics something meaningful to look at, this doggerel is used as a cynical excuse for laziness and martyr complexes. Science is not a game of politics. You can't "win" by having a more tear-jerking performance than your opponent: You have to gather data with hard work and/or expose fundamental flaws in your adversary's thinking. You can't allow yourself to fall into fatalism.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Rant About Conspiracies

Ended up following my site traffic and bumped into this Live Journal entry.

Conspiracy is one of the first refuges of woo. It's a easy defense mechanism to create a "THEM" who are against sunshine and bunnies when your pet hypothesis fails all the relevant tests. People naturally want to think in terms of agency: That someone or something causes certain things for a reason. It's a useful instinct when you're dealing with sharp-toothed critters on the savanna, but it's easy to apply the principle when you should instead consider the possibility that you're wrong.

Woos take that easy path all the time, no matter how silly or cynical the conspiracy they invent is. Alties seem to believe that doctors cover up miracle cures because they're greedy bastards with no family or friends who might be affected by those diseases. 9/11 Twoofers believe that thousands of people with useful evidence can all be easily silenced with threats or money. Ufologists believe that men in cliched black suits and sunglasses show up to perform cover ups. Heck, any unpopular theory often gets people complaining about "political correctness" as if that has anything to do with their lack of basic plausibility or data.

It's often an ego-saving defense mechanism. They backed the wrong horse, and don't want to admit it. So, they make a conspiracy so that they can play victim: They're right, and anyone who says otherwise is obviously an evil member of the conspiracy out to suppress the truth they're privileged to be in on. They're above the "sheeple" who are simply programmed to respond to the impractical idea that evidence matters.

It's the ultimate ad hoc hypothesis: Why can't they find evidence? Because the conspiracy covers it up. Why do the skeptics' predictions come true? Because they're in on the conspiracy and arranged things in their favor. Conspiracies can be invoked to explain anything that goes against a woo hypothesis's predictions.

It's Hollywood! Reality's boring when you can be the star of your own suspense thriller flick! In the movies, it's never the obvious answer! Things are never what they seem, EVAR! Of course, reality doesn't operate by the rule of drama: Sometimes things really are what they seem to be. Sometimes the obvious answer is the correct one. Reality isn't a movie genre.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Beware of God #3

I may not be the Texas outdoorsman archetype, but do these people know what "cleaning" a fish entails?

Recreated with this church sign maker. Go easy on it. Seems the host getting more traffic than he can handle.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Suggestion Box: Woo of the Moment

I'm contemplating trying to pick up on some off-brand woo: Usually, I've stuck to alties and IDiots as my usual targets, but I'm thinking about doing a bit of roasting of woos outside those categories: Free energy nuts, psychics, ufologists, way-out-there conspiracy nuts, that sort of thing.

Anyone got ideas for someone specific I could analyze and roast?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pointless Question #69

So, what's up with truck nuts? It's bad enough that you're showing your truck's unmentionables swinging around in plain sight, but you're adding unmentionables to your truck. What were you thinking?!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Mech By Any Other Theme Name

Thanks to a bit of advice I got in a chat, I finally beat Armored Core: For Answer's third (very evil) ending. Turns out the answer was just to do what I do best: Snipe the enemy from far away, retreat when they get close. I was buying into a few too many gimmick builds for heavy damage. (It probably didn't help that I downloaded new regulations that might have nerfed Kojima weaponry.)

So anyway, I'm thinking about redoing my collection of AC schematics. The theme was inspired by the first few episodes of RahXephon: The show had a couple mechs named Allegro and Fortissimo, and I thought that was awesome, so now I name my mechs after types of songs and dances.

Aria: My usual sniper build, focused for dueling.

Nocturne: Variant on Aria that I'll make for teamwork.

Waltz: Fast, light blader.

Duet: General design, intend to find some way to make it work especially well in Co-op mode. (Anyone got the game and want to help me get all the S-Ranks?)

Overture: Heavy biped with large cannons.

Jitterbug: Going for a light "missile boat" design.

Dirge: Environmentally unfriendly Kojima Weaponry.

Static: Lightweight with rapid fire weapons.

So, anyone got suggestions for designs based on the naming theme?

121st Skeptics' Circle

It's up at the Mad Skeptic's.

Open thread as usual, but touching that dial is FORBIDDEN!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Doggerel #204: "Do You Think You're Smarter Than [Scientist]?!"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

One of the things that greatly annoys me about a lot of television shows and movies is when they treat scientific progress as if it was caused by intelligence alone. It's not. Science takes a lot of hard work as well as the luck involved in being around the latest ideas. Having a big brain helps, but it doesn't cover everything.

Big brains or not, scientists are humans just like the rest of us. That's one of the founding principles of science: Anyone can make mistakes. Scientists aren't prophets, mystic seers, or dictators of epistemology. Raw intelligence isn't a substitute for the scientific method.

I can say I have a better grasp of quantum mechanics than Albert Einstein did. It's not because I think I'm smarter than he was: It's because I'm typing on something that Einstein thought was impossible: The transistors in my laptop rely on QM being correct to operate, and Einstein denied QM because it didn't fit his sense of aesthetics.

Einstein was a brilliant person, but he was still human, and he allowed his desire for an orderly, deterministic universe to outweigh his ability to accept the evidence, the conclusions others drew from it, and the successful predictions they were able to make as a result.

That's why arguing about intelligence is a meaningless subject change: Science is about evidence and the logic we use to form conclusions and predictions from that evidence. If a weak link in a scientist's chain of thought uses a logical fallacy, it doesn't take a genius to break the whole thing.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Whole Bill Maher Thing

I haven't been watching all that closely, but I think I'm pretty well on Orac's side. I do think Maher deserves some amount of kudos for the balls it takes to release an anti-religion movie in the US. The problem: Maher's an anti-scientific crank and deserves major anti-kudos for all the tripe he spouts out.

When I didn't know much about the award, I thought it was just something like a PR award, and not quite so much to fuss about. I pretty much agreed with PZ's first post about it: Yeah, throw him a bone for the movie, but do everything (within reason) to put him in the hot seat for his crazy medical beliefs and such.

Then I found out about the science standards that were originally in place, and decided that no, I don't think The Crank deserves the award, and that it should be revoked. Not long after, I found out that they changed the award criteria for his sake, removing science as a standard. At that point, I performed a facepalm.

Many woos accuse us of valuing atheism/disbelief more than the truth, saying we wouldn't believe a scientific demonstration of gods. I think this whole scenario is an enactment of that stereotype: It sends a message that religion bashing is more important to us than science.

It doesn't help that my brother mentioned some dishonest tactics employed in Religulous. I never watched it, since I already had plenty of reason not to support The Crank, but I'm sure it won't take long for me to find out additional reasons to negate the kudos given for that movie.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Pointless Question #68

Okay, so you understand the symbolism, figured out that the cross-eyed angel statue in the Vatican comic shop is a reference to an unreleased Beatles song, and are about to blow the whole masquerade wide open so that people will KNOW the squirrels from Ceti Alpha 5 are pulling the Illuminati's strings.

Why the heck did they leave those clues? Who does the lead squirrel think he is? The Riddler?

Monday, October 05, 2009

A Long Response to Gabriel

Gabriel managed to type a series of comments in a cooler manner, apparently in Notepad while offline, judging from the page breaks I've removed for ease of reading. (A very useful trick. Tip: I find that turning off Word Wrap before saving helps) I have written a long response and don't feel like slicing it up for the 4096 character limit. Besides, I think it's worthy of a full-blown post in itself.

Alot of people do not do much with their lives, they sit at home, play World of Warcraft, Diablo or similar games, and the most they do in socializing is when they invite their riends over for some live roleplay, I am not saying you are one of these rather pathetic people, but wanted to point out that you have shown signs of it, and most of your followers certainly seems to fit this bill.
I'll make an exception in the tone for this defense of us nerds, geeks, and weirdoes:

Translation: "Stereotypical nerdy hobbies means everything I say about science is meaningless because Hollywood loves to depict all of them as chronic LARPers in everyday contexts."

What's wrong with having a few friends over for a role-playing game? How's that any different from having a few buddies over to watch football? Or going over to a bar to chat?

Don't believe every stereotype you see in movies and TV. I tend to facepalm at the antics of those over-eager convention radicals who established the stereotypes Hollywood uses. I play D&D and Magic, but I don't even so much as own a plastic sword, though I do have a bad habit of collecting pretty dice or rummaging through common card boxes. I'm currently going neat freak on my apartment as I pause between typing.

About the absolute worst convention behavior I can imagine doing is putting together a simple, cheap costume to wear or asking Patrick Stewart to give me a moment to get un-starstruck so I can talk to him like a regular guy.

And what the hell does this red herring have to do with epistemology?
I prefer experiencing the world, that is, Learn about the real world we live in rather then sitting infront of the computer. Computers and the Internet are a great thing indeed, and sure, Wikipedia, something you have shown you truly admire (and sure, I admit taking cheapshots at you with that one, but comeone, you don't think twice before insulting me) is clearly a useful tool, but it is not the truth(tm) and this is something I think you need to realize.
I admire Wikipedia and the Internet in the same sense I admire books and radio. Contrary to what Fox News tells you, New Media are not necessarily evil.

I read blogs and search engines because they're generally faster and more relevant than the travesties of journalism that so often occur with mainstream media. The information I get from one internet source doesn't magically transform into false information just because another internet source is popular with internet cranks.

Information is information is information. No media or personal experience is magically exempt from critical thinking. Science exists so that we can collaborate and ask critical questions. When you badmouth us for daring to ask such questions, you're acting the same as any old media mogul who thinks he can issue truth from on high. Learning is a team sport, and if you don't answer our basic questions, we can't learn.
[About Peru] This is not relevant, I just wanted to state what I am doing now.
I successfully stopped myself from wondering if we ran you off. I hope this can mean you can take your time to think and communicate clearly.
When I lived in Africa just a couple of years ago, I travelled between South Africa, Botswana and Namibia trying to improve education and make it better for the people (and this is the relevant part-> ), now, to the contrary to how you act and behave, we do not insult people and degenerate others, we work on passion of Love. We want to make it better and with knowledge comes understanding, and therefore a better life.
Yes, I imagine like many other people, you can maintain a civil tone. I live in Texas, so I'm very familiar with the process of self-censorship in "meatspace." Like many people, I'm much more outspoken in "cyberspace" because I'm less likely to need to file a wrongful discharge lawsuit (that the right term?) if I find out my boss is a little too fundie and doesn't like atheists., we calmly educate them just as you would with dogs. We
do not kick or harm dogs because they are inferior, we teach them and make them understand, just as we do with the negriods when I worked there.
This problem is usually your cyberspace manners over here, not the meatspace ones. It doesn't shock me that you can be a perfect gentleman.

Of course, the other problem is that you're characterizing them as dogs. I had a Master's level spatial science course with a native Nigerian. Aside from being longwinded and having a thick accent at a class presentation, he was perfectly on the level with the rest of us. I've also been reconnecting with a black childhood friend who has apparently gone on to lead a troupe of thespians in NY. (I don't know how far back his US presence goes, but he was always doing something to keep himself busy.)

I don't intend to generalize from those two, but I would think exceptions to your theory that severe cast doubt on it, especially since there are many causes of laziness.
They know very well they are inferior, they see America, the most advanced nation the world as ever seen, they see our history and the Whites building it and want to become like us, I try to make it so, I try to teach them to become just like us and act like us. I want to Help and I am doing it as much as I can. They ask me about the White world and Why we are so great, and I teach them and let them understand that they cant live like savages anymore, not if they want to live a good life, get technology like ours and so forth.
It's true that all the first world nations have a high standard of living, and we have a lot to share and teach the world.

The problem I have is calling it "white." White skin may be correlated with a nation's prosperity in 2009, but there's no logical connect beyond that. Correlation does not imply causation. There are no "smart white genes" or any physical reason for "whites" being smarter that I am aware of to lend plausibility to that causation. As far as scientific consensus goes, we're genetically almost identical. Translate all the unique base pairs the average human has into binary code, and you've barely got a few minutes of an MP3, and by statistical odds, the vast majority of that tiny uniqueness will be parts of space-holding "junk DNA".

We aren't superior because of genetics, but because we have an infrastructure that supports and rewards intellectualism and science: We have the resources and knowledge base it takes to teach everything we know to new generations as well as give them the time to build on those things. That same infrastructure has spread to the "Eastern" world. The Enlightenment was founded on the happy accident of ideal resources in Europe and North America that gave us the stability needed to think about the world around us instead of just where the next meal is coming from. Globalization is steadily spreading those resources around to, hopefully someday, level the playing field. That's why we're hearing about a new satellite from India, and why many of my favorite video games come from Japan.
...but we cant pretent they are somehow equal to us, they know themselves they are inferior...
There's a fundamental problem with that mindset, Gabe. This may sound like a squishy after-school special, but the best way to make sure the gifted people excel is to give everyone equal opportunity and measure them by the same standards. Sometimes genius can show up in unexpected places. We can't know a person's limits without giving them every opportunity to test them. Humans are amazing things full of surprises.

You don't tell a kid whose parents never went to college that he's destined for the same blue collar work of his ancestors. Humans are very plastic creatures. That's what separates us from most other animals: Our big brains with all that neural plasticity means that we're the species with the greatest capacity for learning. Our entire way of life called "civilization" is built on the ability to pass down knowledge to new generations so that they can invent new ideas on the foundations set forth by previous generations. That same plasticity is why you shouldn't allow yourself to think you know someone's destiny before hand. The right words at the right time could cause an otherwise dull person to be inspired to achieve a greatness we didn't realize was just waiting to happen.

If I'm utterly wrong about race, and that there is some undiscovered difference in "white" and "non-white" brains, then there's no harm done: Those with great talent still succeed, and those without still fail in the ideal meritocracy. I just don't think someone should be nailed down by their family's or even nation's history. Of course, as a side note, multi-generation interracial people would be a grab bag, unless you intend to argue that some brain gene actually is connected to melanin production genes in some fashion.

The argument's the same whether we're talking about race, brain damage, family background of scholarship or lack thereof.
Well, with education and understanding, if they know they need help, they can be given it, but without understanding it, you cant. If you do not know your sick, you wont be able to treat it, and the same is here, they need to understand their place, just like dogs, but people like you need to get rid of the hatred you have in you and understand to spread love instead, just because you know something, say a dog is inferior, does not mean, which you seem to believe, you need to hate it. Thats not how to do it.
If we were instead talking about some gifted white kid from a "working class" family instead of black people from an impoverished nation, this would be exceptionally cruel and closed-minded to say about him. There were times that upper class land owners would say this sort of thing about serfs, as if they were a different species.

Treat everyone as an individual, instead of some collective drawn in the sand. That way, if you encounter a talented individual, he can rise above poor backgrounds. I'm glad to live in the modern US where we have a degree of social mobility, and hope for more. The problem I have with this "inferior/superior" thing in this quote is that it seems to me that you're just substituting one trivial phenotype for class to make excuses.

Additionally, inferiority doesn't really matter to me, just content of character. If I were to spontaneously develop some unexpected ability that made me superior to humankind, I wouldn't change a thing about how I treat them. They're still sapient, sentient beings. It wouldn't matter if some yet-undemonstrated genetic factor caused it. I don't treat the brain damaged worse than the average stranger, though I might err in the direction of protectiveness.
A thousand years ago the negriods where living on the savanna, no technology, most die at a young age.
A thousand years ago, "whites" were having a superstitious dark age after a backlash from almost getting the Enlightenment right.
White man where travelling the oceans discovering new continents and creating new cities.
Likely because, by happy accident, a lot of really good resources where far enough north that white skin just happened to be a useful adaptation. A civilization's prosperity is not determined by genetics alone, so there could be a myriad other explanations in that noise. What I'm asking for, as a scientifically-minded person, is something to filter out a genetic signal from all that noise. It's the same technique I use if my car has a problem.
White man had conquered most of Europe, western Europe was spawning (need to use that word) technologies and making the world a better place (for us humans).
And killing and torturing one another for the sake of magical sky fairies. Oh, and dark-skinned Moores were having a little renaissance of their own, making breakthroughs in science and mathematics, which is why today we whites use Arabic Numerals.
Fifty years ago the negriods where mostly living on the savanna, no technology, most die at a young age. A few exceptions such as the areas controlled by Whites, which turned into civilized societies.
After the whites slowed down on performing attrocities for the sake of shiny rocks.
White man went out in space and landed on the moon.
Thanks in part to the knowledge of the Arabs and their invention of the decimal point, and the Asians for providing the first forms of gunpowder and rocketry. Oh, and I imagine there were some blacks who contributed more directly, if they managed to overcome artificial obstacles planted by segregation.
A new disease, HIV, had taken over most of the continent, because of lack of education, common sense and general savage behaviour the disease was spreading like wildfire through rapes, unprotected sex and blood transplants and various other ways.
And would be spreading even faster today without any form of treatment if it were not for the Enlightenment values you've previously rejected being applied to the field of medicine.
White man had created the most advanced nation the world has ever seen, United States of America. White man where working night and day to try to find the cure for AIDS and other diseases, already abolishing alot of them, such as tuberculosis and others.
All thanks to the Enlightenment value known as the scientific method, and not newage (rhymes with sewage) anecdotalism. From the looks of things, it's not going to last, with the crystal wavers, alties, psychics, and religious fanatics spitting on the foundation of that prosperity and embracing anti-intellectualism.
Why does the facts not get through?/In that scull of yours?
Aside from mentioning there were some African empires, a lot of that is indeed true. It's your genetic explanation that's the problem. It contradicts everything civilization is founded on, and no, I don't mean stuff like democratic values or the Constitution: I mean the science that separates me from being just another religious fanatic. For me to accept your genetic explanation, I would have to stop believing in evolution. I would have to stop believing in the value of a good education. I would have to stop believing everything all those white scientists you praise say about how to repeat their success.

Those premises are pretty much true, but your conclusion about a magical, unspecified, undefineable, undetectable gene is the problem. Even if I didn't have any alternative explanations, I wouldn't see any reason to accept such a hypothesis without a LOT more footwork on your part.
What constitutes facts is a hard one, especially looking at the logic followed by the Bronze Dog himself, he has so far shown that if he does not like/accept it, it is generally not True, making by default, anything Dog likes, true and factual.
You're reading from a newage crystal-waver's diatribe, aren't you? The problems I'm talking about are fundamental to the structure of your argument, not the conclusion. I want to believe in psychic powers, but even I won't give them the inches you're asking for. I'm not saying you believe in psychic powers. I'm saying you ask for the same special exceptions to the rules of logic and science I'm unwilling to give anyone, even people I wish were right.
This brings a bit of a problem to the real world and people like me, as he decided not to 'like' anything I say, and therefore it is not true. I need to find entries in Wikipedia to be able to 'confirm' any fact, it seems, I wonder what he think about CreationWiki???
Gabe, you're really desperate if you're still trying to milk that Wikipedia straw man. Wikipedia is irrelevant to this conversation, since that one Wikipedia link I used wasn't even used to make an important point against you. I'm using simple logic to point out your fallacies. Logic that predates the printing press as well as Wikipedia.
First of all, I travelled and experienced alot. Far more then you, I suspect, that is not a insult, and certainly not a way of saying that my opinions is somehow better then yours, I just wanted to make you understand that I seen and done alot in this WORLD of ours, not World of Warcraft, not in a TV sitcom, but the Real World, out there, and however you want to dismiss any experience and knowledge I gained, As a minimum we are equally as functional, mentally, atleast on my side (I dont know if you have some mental disorder but presume not), there must be a limit, must it not?
You still don't understand a thing about me, or what I'm saying. Making fun of Wikipedia or WoW doesn't make your conclusions valid. They are invalid for the same reason penis enlargment pill testimonials are invalid. If someone wants to convince me penis enlargement pills work, they should use a ruler before and after on a randomly selected group of men and include a placebo control group. Once you understand why I don't trust TV ads that promise miracle cures (even from people who can be verified not to be actors or paid for testimonials), you'll understand why I don't trust your conclusions based on your anecdotes and noisy historical data.

Instead of addressing that sort of thing, I predict you'll just bring up Wikipedia and WoW again, and beat the stuffing out of them as if they had anything to do with me or the conversation. I suppose next, you're going to ridicule me for reading books, as if that automatically equates to me believing everything in the fiction section. Don't bother mentioning Wikipedia or WoW again. I'm advising you to avoid that for the sake of generosity: It makes you look like some stupid jock stereotype from "Revenge of the Nerds" who would rather beat up some kid with glasses on random compulsion, rather than have a meaningful conversation about science.
'Science' is based on people, people just like me, alot of them do not see as much as I see and certainly not as intelligent as me, so they must generally, in a minimum, in your own standard, be equal to me, correct? And therefore, what is the big deal trying to give authority to 'Science' and not 'Gabe and others' if we follow the same procedure?
What sets science apart from pseudoscience is that we have to ask each other AND ourselves questions to make sure we're not deceiving ourselves. Why are you asking for a special exemption from that process? Why is it, that when we bring up an alternative hypothesis that explains the same facts more parsimoniously (using forces we already know and agree exist), you randomly start beating the stuffing out of a straw man called "That WoW-playing nerd on that children's cartoon show who bookmarked Wikipedia"?

It's like you have a programmed reflex to mindlessly ridicule certain media instead of actually thinking about what we over here, not over there, are saying. You're like a spambot who locked onto one key word early on and shows up everyday to advertise something completely irrelevant at hand. It's like Boney on that thread about the nuts who believe in The Secret: I mention D&D once, and suddenly the science of quantum mechanics and his logical fallacies don't matter: It's "beat up the geek" time.
In the science world today there is alot of politcally correctness, you are not allowed to state certain facts and not even try to step into the realm of what is not allowed.
That's pretty much what all cranks say about, well, everything. It's usually an excuse for them to be lazy and refuse to talk about their data, even on forums. It's false bravado combined with sour grapes.
Racial matters is just like that, you see no research in how Whites are superior to negriods, Why is that?
You can't research an idea if the question is gibberish. And they have done a lot of research on humans in general. Even if you manage to describe what the hell you're asking about, I don't see the purpose in doing it from a pragmatic point of view: Treat everyone equally, and the talented will naturally excel. That's true, regardless of whether the difference is on the individual level or on some population genetic level.

I would be curious on strictly an academic level, but you can't talk about it: All I ever get out of you is some gibberish about a fictional WoW player who spends too much time on Wikipedia.

About the only thing I've done with Wikipedia in earnest lately was look up a few celebrity names to help my mother with a crossword puzzle while I was visiting this weekend. I'm terrible with celebrity trivia.
And yet you see people claiming it is not so, that EVERYONE IS EQUAL, yet no evidence is produced.
Fallacy: Shifting the burden of proof. I suggest you learn something about the "null hypothesis": Equality means "there is no difference." Science isn't in the business of proving the nonexistence of stuff. That's like a psychic asking us to prove there is no such thing as psychic power. Why waste time and resources exploring the entire universe from start to finish when they can expedite the process by proving the existence of one psychic over the course of an afternoon.

In statistics, one of the very first things you have to do with a dataset is prove that the groups are NOT equal. This is basic philosophy of science.

And even then, it's a straw man: I don't believe everyone is equal. Some people are better at math. Some people are quicker on their feet. I just see very little reason to use race to change how I'd treat someone in an educational context.
Politically correct has become a huge hindrence in knowledge, we are not allowed to study the difference between niggers and spics, spics and whites and whites and niggers, because it does not suit.
How exactly can they stop you? Okay, let's say they don't publish you. You can shout from the mountaintops the logical fallacies the peer reviewers employed in the letters. You can self-publish and dare someone to contest your results.

What I'm seeing here is, "I know with absolute god-like certainty how you'll respond, so I won't even bother trying to make my case."

Well, we've been busy asking you to try, and all we get are anti-science diatribes that would be quite welcome on the tongues of crystal-waving hippies who are racist in the opposite direction: They ask for watered-down Hollywood "Eastern" mysticism to be exempt from "Western" "white" science.

All you're doing, Gabe, is posting excuses for your exemption from basic scientific rigor and even basic chat room critical thinking.
Anyone wanting to go into this field would be condemed, no grants and most likely lose their jobs, thats not a overly 'paranoid(ic)' statement, really.
Let's say you're right, and these people would lose their jobs. How is that going to change the evidence they present? How is that going to prevent them from posting it online for the world to see and analyze in detail? Science takes a lot of courage, even if you're just trying to get data on slime mold published. Peer review can be vicious, even for topics we would consider trivial. If someone can rigorously collect the data and display sound logic, their critics will be demonstrably unarmed.

Instead of any of these people bravely stepping forward just to try, they just repeat this cliched mantra borrowed from B-movie science fiction.

Just like I do every time a parapsychologist comes forward to say that they've got proof, I call their bluff. The studies they present are always underwhelming and easily explained by bad statistics, a magician's sleight of hand, or a mentalist's stage act. So far, Gabe, you're no different in that regard: Every fact you bring up can be explained by countless other forces.
That is an issue, people like you, and not to mention your rather pathetic followers, who truly are a shining example of close-minded nimrods, they are truly people you should distance yourserlf from if you want to seem intellectual and spread information.
What, I should distance myself from people who believe in the value of peer review and the scientific method? Should I try getting in bed with the cranks and weirdoes who say all the pseudo-rebellious nonsense you do?

Conspiracy nuts really are a force for the status quo. No wonder I fear for the United States' scientific future.
You shouldn't need to be ashamed because you know your place in society.
An ideal society gives everyone an equality of opportunity. Those who have the drive and the talent, regardless of some smug individual's evaluation of their background, are the ones who will grasp those opportunities and succeed.

Many smug, closed-minded individuals told scientists and other great thinkers their place in society was at the heels of those in power, or bound to false laws of nature. Science and civilization are inmical to those preconceptions.

I close with Qualia Soup's most excellent video on what open-mindedness really means:

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Gone to the Dogs: Doggerel For a Title

Decided to watch "Lock and Load" with R. Lee Ermie last night. I liked Mail Call, and enjoyed the new show and the history lessons about various weapons. Unfortunately, I was treated to another of History Channel's forays into woo, and it's pretty bad when it's got Doggerel #18 for a title: "I Know What I Saw!"

It's about aliens.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Gabe's Theory Thread

I'm transferring a comment over here, since I don't want Gabe adding unnecessary heat to a topic that's intended for believers who want to be civil. First, Gabe, I want you to spell out your theory about the perceived "laziness" of the South American and African people you've witnessed. Give us a list of definitions. Give us a list of premises and evidence that you use. Give us your conclusion, and the logical steps you used to arrive at it. Surprise us by doing something we haven't seen from countless pseudoscientists.

Gabe's transferred comment is below the fold, and contains evidence that he hasn't been paying attention to what we've been arguing.

[Gabe] said...

I thought, as I was sitting here I would correct and try to teach the ignorant masses that seem to assemble here, something.

I remembered users here claiming that niggers in Africa and spicks in latin america are not lazy, even when I have first hand experience in this, they seem to say "you just saw someone sitting around, therefore you claim all to be lazy", which is rather ironic.

This was called, by our friend Freud, Self-projection. This is what you do, and this is how you act and cogitate, its not the rest of the world. I speak objectively when I refer to other people, especially in this context for obvious reason.

As I lived in both Africa and South America, I have not 'seen someone sitting around', no, I LIVED WITH THEM and EXPERIENCED how they are, by nature, lazy. It is very simple, most here have never travelled and will never travel because of lack of funds or fear or whatever it may be, so they simple repeat or use their own self-projected image of the world and how they want it to be.

No, if you go down here, where I am now, you EXPERIENCE the 'laziness', if you find educated and, if i may, more white people, you will note they know this as well, the people themselves do not pretend they are not lazy, THEY KNOW THEY ARE, I spoken to them about it.

This is not a "I seen someone sittng down on his break, therefore lazy" mantra scenario you seem to conjure up, excuses excuses it seems, no, this is from LIVING WITH THEM and EXPERIENCING their lifes and what they care about and how they relate to the world.

They are lazy, you should be, whats the word, Skeptic about someone claiming otherwise, maybe ask them if they lived together with these people, or even visited it? Maybe gone down to the Ghettos in america which we have ourself, spicks and niggers, sitting around, generally not 'working', and when they are, that is, they call it 'working', we call it robberies murder and rape, but that is what they consider 'work', thats how their monkey brothers in africa do it as well, mayben you should go to Congo or any other country in Africa, and see it yourself.

Rather then claiming people who have experienced it, to be false.

10/01/2009 1:39 PM