Tag Archives: philosophy

Why the other planets?

Saturn Nightside

There is much debate these days about the role of science and faith, (two diametrically opposed worldviews), in the nature of our existence and purpose. And despite over four centuries of astronomy and numerous unmanned and manned explorations of the moon and surrounding planets, almost all of the debate focuses on the origin of life on earth and of the origin of earth itself. And it is not just ‘creationists’ and religious scholars, but also to some extent, scientists who are to blame. Why is that? We, in the twenty first century know that we are not alone, and never were. We have companions that are very close to us, which are in fact alien. They are alien worlds, millions of miles separate from earth, and world’s to themselves. It is such a simple question. And seemingly obvious. What are they for? Asked from a religious-historical standpoint, what purpose do the planets serve? “Purpose” is a question that would seemingly have ramifications religiously, just as the recent genome data sparks controversy and more questions for our existence and purpose. Are they for our entertainment? To invoke wonder? Or do they serve as some kind of example, perhaps to value our own world even more? Maybe we should ask simply because no one else is?

In one of my favorite films “The Great Race” Peter Faulk the wise fool, asks the “Professor” constantly for advice, I take artistic liberty in imagining him asking such a question now: “Hey, professor, uhh I know they orbit the sun, they have orbital periods, ya ya sure, but what are they FOR? The earth is for us, right?” Is the earth really only for us? Does not the evidence of our relatedness to the code shared by all life on the planet, say something of our collective purpose and even, stewardship? The anachronism serves to illustrate a general viewpoint of TV shows and classrooms. The question of what the planets are for, is equally troubling if asked from a religious or scientific perspective. It challenges the comfort gained by precise data, facts and figures, as these seem to only shroud the problem further, they do not answer why the giant planets are here. This is not a shortcoming of more persuasive oratorio or speech, but defines I believe, the real gap between where we are now and where we need to be. Learning of the climates and conditions of other planets may not only improve ones local understanding of their own planet, it may de-vilify the very technology and knowhow that is needed to address the problems.

In the days of Galileo, the mere knowledge that other moons circled Jupiter threatened the Vatican’s position that the earth was the center of the universe..The geocentric view in which all objects the ‘stars’ the moon, the sun, were placed in spheres, orbiting the earth. It marked the great rift between science and religion based worldviews. But how far have we really come from that time? Some leading scientists attempting to meld science with religion, such as Dr. Francis Collins, the former head of the Genome project speculate broadly on the nature of creation and of the modern synthesis theory, that is modern science’s account of life’s origins. They discuss the big bang and the possible role of God in the Big Bang, but also in the possible directing of “God’s instruction manual” as he refers to the genome. In such a view, the earth is the sole focus of our origin, just as it is in the Bible (see Collins’ book, “The Language of God” 2006). Another leading scientist, for example, the paleontologist Andrew Parker, has recently come out with a book (“The Genesis Enigma..”) touting the hypothesis that Genesis is in fact very consistent with scientific theory of the Big Bang and origin of earth and life on our planet. What is interesting though is that Genesis only mentions the earth and “the heavens”, it never mentions the other planets. They are not important? How so? How do you misplace an object that is 317 earths? (see Jupiter’s mass http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/jupiterfact.html) Or Saturn, which is 95 times the mass of earth. Both planets orbit the sun just as earth does, though they take considerably longer, about 13 earth years for Jupiter for example. The focus we are to understand, is to again backwards accommodate ancient texts with science, even modern science. It appears that even today, four hundred years since the discovery of the moons of Jupter by Galileo, science confronts the modern equivalent of geocentrism with such eye opening wonders as close planetary flyby’s and comet landings, as real as gravity. And these are largely ignored. It is interesting that now, just like in the days of Vatican Inquisition, when Jesuits weighed the biblical implications of “infinitesimals” and forbid their teaching, science is still encountering issues of compatibility. Is it really incompatibility? Is science not, at its most serene, not simply exploring what is already there? It seems time for some of these scientists to open their eyes, and see for themselves, the light of saturn reflecting off its rings, not as some “sign” of philosophical alarm, or harm to their own personal beliefs, but of simple wonder of our existence shared by all peoples. If we again return to Collins’ thoughtful reasoning for how science or Design, might explain or might not explain our origins based on how DNA of our genes is constructed, but also the big bang model, can we also consider the issue of the missing planets from the book of Genesis and their purpose or purposelessness in Collins’ literal view of Creation? Collins asks frequently such questions as, “why would God put ‘junk’ DNA in our genome, what purpose would this serve?” Yet, Collins and intelligent designers would likely never ask “why would God put large gaseous planets in our solar system? Such unquestioning puts earth as a central focal point of the discussions about what should be the greater solar system and denies the obvious and very large bodies orbiting across our skies at night, which might ask if they could: “why were we not included in your book?” The scientists who look for scientific truth to support their beliefs seem to want to focus only here, only on earth. How are they any different from Jesuit mathematicians or astronomers who refused to consider the moon’s of Jupiter four hundred years ago? Why would God create other planets which serve no purpose to earth? I have heard plenty of the science-religion melding or accommodating arguments from some scientists, for how God might have steered evolution, or God might have balanced physics in such a way that the Universe is more favorable to intelligent beings as ourselves, moving this constant or that constant ever so slightly, and this is the anthropocentric view. But we are talking about giant planets, Jupiter and Saturn, and Uranus and Neptune. Why would God miscalculate and create at least eight other planets which serve no purpose? The sweeping masses that can be seen moving silently through our night sky, in their orbits of our sun, should be worth their weight in evidence against what is essentially a modernistic, geocentric view of the universe. A scientific combatabilism that serves only itself, has no legitimate claim to science, and is irrelevant to belief, except as I’ve said by deliberately fomenting its apparent incompatibility with religion (the fault of some scientists who make it so). If such accommodationist views still are considered relevant, it is extremely myopic, and scientifically and culturally narrow minded, of our species, to neglect the purpose of entire worlds, some of which might harbor life in their orbiting moons (consider Europa for example).

There is much energy invested in the search for other life in the solar system, and for earth like planets. The mathematics- the odds, favor finding an earthlike world. It seems odd to concentrate so heavily on the search for extraterrestrial life outside the solar system, when we in fact have extraterrestrial systems, nearby. The creation of these worlds, and of our solar system..are unknown histories that really should be a pressing question for our species. Because wherever they came from, their source must be magnificent and beyond scales of comprehension. Could such a source be reachable? Could it be visible to us if we decided to build an instrument to scan for it? Consider that even now, the mysteries of the universe are deepening. It is possible that 75% of the matter, meaning what is out there in the heavens, is dark or invisible, OR that some other force is working upon it besides gravity.
As of the date that I first drafted this article, a new and significant discovery has been made about the “outer” solar system. Amateur astronomer’s discovered a previously unknown planet, VP113 or unofficially “Biden’s” planet. It is a frozen, pinkish world covered in ice. But this finding suggests that there may be other planets orbiting well past Pluto, even other giant planets which might explain why smaller objects like Biden’s planet have irregular orbits. It extends the limits on the size of our solar system and if there are so many potential undiscovered planets orbiting, what else might be there?
We have opened the discussion to some extent to the purpose of the planets, at least as a more open question that is or should be of equal relevance as the ‘purpose’ of our genetic relatedness. At the same, however, the true nature of the other planet’s existence should invoke wonder of a deeper kind, that is not limited merely to our own world. I believe the other planets ask us to question even beyond what we currently know or are prepared to ask, perhaps limited to ask, currently about biological science and where we originated. The issues of our origins are most assuredly related to the birth of the other planets around us, and their history, a history that is virtually unknown to us. One might say “these are merely interpretations, different views of the same evidence before us.” But is it really such a subjective ‘interpretation’ if we as a species are falling short in our technology that ensures our survival? Perhaps the cutting of funds for basic technological research is not so “subjective” but has real impacts on our race to the next frontier. Given the consequences of not being prepared for a wayward asteroid, I don’t believe we could really have “too much technology” to deal with such a challenge, the real concern would be to not have enough.

Civilizations five hundred years ago could not fathom jet airplanes or supersonic trains because the fastest transportation system was still the horse. It was not because of a lack of brain power. It was simply a lack of knowledge of what was possible. Could we be in similar circumstances? Believing that we cannot even approach light speed travel, because the ____ engine has not been discovered? Ancient mariners did not look at the sea as being a gateway to other rich continents, because they didn’t know these even existed. The average citizen in 17th century London, had no idea he could make a fortune in gold in a place now known as “California.” The New World was not only a waste of time, it was a place to die, and very quickly.

To date, we have spent a great deal on the discussion of earth-creation here on earth. But in doing so, we neglect our neighboring planets. We neglect our place essentially in the system we live in. The nature of our existence is a mystery that extends to places far beyond earth itself, and is tied with the other planets around us, these are fields of astrophysics and astrobiology. Like civilizations before us, we need to educate ourselves on these other worlds, the secrets they harbor, and just like ancient mariners, learn about new ways of navigating across them.

 

 

1. Saturn (NASA/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/ugordan/719346540
2. Francis Collins (2006) “The Language of God.”
3. New planet, Eris is heavier than Pluto by 27%http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070611/full/news070611-10.html
4. New planet VP113 discovered outside solar system. http://rt.com/news/dwarf-planet-biden-unlikely-region-505/ and Trujillo, C. A. & Sheppard, S. S. Nature 507, 471–474 (2014).
5. http://www.nature.com/news/private-asteroid-hunt-lacks-cash-to-spy-threats-in-orbit-1.17810
6. Amir Alexander (2014) “Infinitesimal: How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory Shaped the Modern World”.http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/infinitesimal-amir-alexander/1115382359?ean=9781429953924

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June 28, 2015 · 6:27 am

Science Thursday: More Lunacy Regarding The “Self Illusion” Book

It seems that every time the determinists begin to tackle the problem of consciousness and the self, they run aground (on their own science) and it’s usually in exactly the same way, it just “appears” to be different. And the self illusion” appears to be of a different science than some of the other books, (about free will) but in actuality, it is based on the same fundamental premise(s): determinism and also experiments of Libet and others done in the 1980’s. What appears to be a hard science based dismissal of the self is really nothing more than reworking of this familiar territory.

It starts off well enough, with some very high brow credentials.

I would assume, based on what is claimed in the book, that these are credentials that should help make this all go down much easier. I recall a scene from “The King’s Speech” where the king, (Colin Firth’s character) is telling his speech therapist /psychologist that he’s already had expert opinions on his problem. His therapist quips “they’re idiots.” The king replies “but they went to Oxford.” To which the therapist replies “..makes it official then.” It’s good to keep an open mind about reality, and not be too trusting of what ‘experts’ tell us.

Here is a quote from the interview in “Psychology Today” with Bruce Hood, author of “The Self Illusion” book:

 

“Interviewer: “In what sense is the self an illusion?

Hood: For me, an illusion is a subjective experience that is not what it seems. Illusions are experiences in the mind, but they are not out there in nature. Rather, they are events generated by the brain. Most of us have an experience of a self. I certainly have one, and I do not doubt that others do as well – an autonomous individual with a coherent identity and sense of free will. But that experience is an illusion – it does not exist independently of the person having the experience..”

 

Here is the problem with that premise. I have a basic problem wth any premise that is simply not true. He seems to believe he has “evidence” that the self is an illusion, which he likens to holograms. But is the self really like a hologram or an illusion, a real illusion? Let’s consider that for a moment.

The hologram or 3D image appears to be real to us, and yet it isn’t. That’s its appeal. That’s why they’re fun. But obviously, we know that the image isn’t real. Why is that statement true? That’s an important non trivial question to think about. A: Because we can test it. For one thing, try putting your hand through the “real” surface of the hologram. See, nothing touches! Just like magic. We know that a 3D hologram is not a real 3D object for very simple reasons. But there are other ways of course to test whether or not a 3D image produced by a trick of the eye or really the brain (how it processes images with confocal vision) is actually a real object. This is not too fine a point. I believe either the author isn’t grasping this physical distinction or is not being authentic about it, for the purposes of making his case that the self is an illusion.

So, even if we know nothing about neuroscience, we can say at the very least that we, ourselves or “the self” are healthy and fully functitoning because of a healthy mind and body? Correct? But we can also say with a high degree of confidence that that is not an illusion like the illusion of a K diagram or a 3D hologram.

Simplified analogies are a way of teaching complex scientific principles. But his analogy, the one he’s making is rather hostile and highly inaccurate. An illusion isn’t physically real, in the sense that it occupies actual space, it is made by the brain. But even by their own definition and models, the self is a projection of biological effects. It is as real as anything. But the result of this analogy would be to say that the self is not even biolgically determined. Calling it an “illusion” is a semantic oversimplification.

Let’s think about this for a moment. (And if you’re uncertain of your self’s existence, in this exercise, perhaps you can borrow someone else’s). So if the self is an illusion, then what is real? Are trees, and houses, and dogs real? , what he’s really defining here as “self” is the so called problem of will or free volition. Not the physical “self” made by a mind or a projection of the mind’s activities. That’s ultimately what he’s claiming is the non real part, the illusion as he calls it. So that arguemnt goes back to the experiments of Libet and others like them, and it goes back to determinism.

In reality, the science he’s claiming to back up the claims from his scientific book is actually not so solid. The studies of Libet are rife with uncertainties, and there are a plethora of unanswered questions about their validity, but as I’ve stated before, determinism itself is a theory with other problems and triggers (which we’ve explored before). What is at issue here is that this is not what it seems really, not a book “based on scientific research” but an unabashed flogging of the underlying deterministic agenda. The self is illusion, just like “I” and “me” are illusions, is straight out of the determinists play book. I for one have never seen an “I” wandering about, so does that mean “we” doesn’t exist?

But the real error in the science is that no science is ever claimed. There isn’t a hypothesis, or position claimed. And that is in many ways, the first rule of science- you state clearly what it is you’re attempting to prove.

This argument that he uses to annihilate the self premise is a trick, and I’ll give you examples of how this fallacious argument works. I can tell you that I think a certain food is good. Maybe it’s a favorite of mine. But, can I physically show you what ‘good’ is? No. Does that mean that it isn’t good? If I claim it’s my favorite food, I also cannot show what this means physically. But this doesn’t change the fact. We have to establish what “favorite” even means in terms of a parameter, a comparison, a mathematical model, that can be valid. Sometimes even this model is wrong, and possibly it can’t be evaluated. That is the most glaring issue I have with the science of the book “The Self Illusion.” The author does not attempt to evaluate the problem in terms that might actually be justifiable. Instead he embarks on a stratagem to erode and annihilate these definitions, thus creating the illusion that it doesn’t exist.

So don’t worry. No one can prove you don’t ‘like’ chocolate, just because the word “like” doesn’t physically exist, any more than they can prove that the self is an illusion, just because there isn’t any scientifically provable or agreed to definition of what consciousness is.*

 

*And if there was, in theory, would this not automatically invalidate the “illusion?”

 

 

 

 

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I Challenge A Determinist’s Worldview On Edge: Is It Science?

Determinism, as defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as “the idea that every event is necessitated by antecedent events and conditions together with the laws of nature.”

So, other than being a philosophy, is it an actual science? Meaning is it supported by scientific evidence? Regarding this very point, I responded to an Edge contributor on his own web site .You can read the blogger’s initial letter over in the Edge article (“http://www.edge.org/response-detail/25381) I responded to. But for space I won’t reproduce it here. Apparently Edge is a place for “scientists, philosophers, and public intellectuals.” Yes, I’m responding to the leading minds over on Edge, a think tank organized by John Brockman. This was my first discussion with one of them, and how did I do? Deleted and blocked that’s how I did! So that’s how scientists do it now. If they don’t like your arguments they delete them!

I won’t apologize for questioning the veracity or scientific credibility of someone’s statements they are making in public if they are wrong. If you are claiming that two and two are five, I would hope that I’m not the only one calling this out. It is one thing to have an opinion or to state a personal philosophy, but that’s not the issue here. What is at issue is to make what I believe are non scientific or unsupportable claims based on what is clearly an opinion, and calling it “science.” It is more egregious when the claim is made by someone apparently from academia. This is a situation where the real issue is not just the theory, it is the claim that there is evidence for the theory. I believe the same standard would be applied to anyone writing a paper in a journal, claiming to have evidence for an alleged “scientific position”, when in fact they do not. I have not found “scientific” papers that present evidence for this philosophy, and I doubt that there are any of the sort.

So more importantly my purpose is to advocate my own position, and a theory, that determinism is itself disprovable as a worldview, at least in terms of any kind of science. How? That is explained here. But if determinism is so “widespread and accepted” as its advocates seem to believe, then the ramifications are obviously profound if this is true- since it is regarding the nature of free will, the self and consciousness, but also real world interpretations of various real brain studies. Determinists have seized on much of this data and seem absolutely convinced that brain scanning i.e. MRI imaging that shows how the brain functions, is somehow smoking gun evidence that the brain is in fact being controlled without our knowledge.

Here was my first response to the blogger’s “http://www.edge.org/response-detail/25381Edge article.

“This is incorrect on so many points I’m not sure where to even start. It’s surprising that this position is accepted without much contention. If it’s considered in the realm of a scientific hypothesis it should be testable and it should have proof or evidence to back it up that’s a little better than what’s given here. Let’s take the purported real world examples or implications of this theory, that choosing a flavor of ice cream is somehow ‘not a choice.’ If it wasn’t a choice, then you are claiming this is a pre-determined outcome, since no other flavor was a possibility. But, we have no idea what physics to identify that made this outcome 100% certain! The other example, of MRI studies: which are the basis presumably to claim that something else is controlling the brain and not the brain itself, which is unfounded (what other brain is controlling the brain? Are we to infer that they can predict that someone will reflexively grab an apple, before the apple falls? It takes a single brain study out of context to support the contention that every action we make is controlled by genes and envirtonment. What genes are pulling the strings to make one walk across the road? Genes don’t operate that quickly. The claim that it isn’t pre-determinism is going to automatically disqualify it as a scientific theory of any sort, since it, determinism in fact never makes a prediction that can be tested. Grab your life vests, the SS Determinist is going down.”

Note that I said “this position” obviously addressing a theory and nothing whatsoever to do with a personal point. And yet here’s the Edge article author’s, response:

“First of all, your answer is rude to the host, so lay off the snark. Second of all, your “arguments” hold no water. The science behind the lack of conscious decisions include not only the predictability of MRI studies, which gets better and better (and farther and farther in advance) as technology improves. Plus there is all the evidence that we have in favor of determinism in science. Further, there are all the experiments, detailed in Wegner’s book, where you can delude people into thinking they’re consciously controlling a cursor when they’re not, and similar experiments, as well as the confabulations in which brain manipulations cause involuntary motions that people later pretend they intended. Plus all the psychological experiments in which you can manipulate people’s behavior in profound ways by trivial changes in their environment…Isn’t that enough science for you? Right now we can predict right versus left choices with crude brain scanning at about 65% accuracy, well before people claim they’ve made the choice. Just think how much better we could do if we had better ways to monitor the brain. […Determinism certainly does make predictions that can be tested, as with the Libet experiments and their successors in which the prediction (fulfilled) is that we can predict with statistically significant results which way someone will decide before they’re conscious of deciding it. You sound like some kind of ghost-in-the-machine libertarian, since you reject determinism. Regardless, your answer is not only uninformed but rude, and is not in the least convincing to me. And as for the last sentence, you should simply apologize. Or go to some other website where you can be incoherent and snarky without penalty. Your main mistake is saying that because we can’t yet predict human behavior completely, it is inherently unpredictable. Of course that would hold for all of physics a couple of hundred years ago.”

I guess he didn’t like being challenged. Here is my response to his response, (in quotes below), which he blocked from his blog, so I’ll reproduce it here. Why did the Edge contributor, delete my response from his blog?

“And in each of those scientific papers that you cite [above], there is a scientific hypothesis within them which assumes, by its de facto existence, that a number of alternatives are/were possible in the experiment. Possibilities and unexpected results. These papers do not arrogantly decree that their subjects had no choice, in the outcomes that were presumably tested, and I doubt their authors would make such a claim either, (to your point that the scientific majority supports determinism). But if they are doing research’ on a subject, any subject, in which there are no possible outcomes available, what kind of ‘research’ is this? Are scientists who do statistics, silently agreeing with determinism, or are they actually accepting that unknowns will always be present, in fact more present than ‘knowns?’ Citing more papers of journals is not going to convince me that humans are not capable of completely unexpected responses, a reality of the ‘real’ world.”

Keep in mind that the basis of this deterministic worldview is that all events are 100% predetermined by causal factors. In reality, according to determinists, there is zero uncertainty in how any event incluing human decision making came about. The uncertainty, they claim is illusory. Hence, my other point:

Furthemore, what kind of science is being done when the experimenters have already pre-supposed that they know the outcomes of their experiments? Scientists doing work with pre-known outcomes, and nothing to learn, teach or prove? Is this the end of science?

The more we investigate how the human mind works, the more questions it will produce, not less.

He needs to knock off the claims that we don’t have any choice about our decisions, and that our free will (which is only defined as theoretical options) is an illusion, IF he can’t or won’t identify the physics of how that might actually be possible. His claim that science has shown no physical distinction between the mind and the brain, is a strawman argument, because “mind” is really not defined scientifically anywhere. Reductionists have long assumed that the brain is made of atoms, but this in no way demonstrates determinism, nor does that fact alone,(that it’s atoms), begin to explain consciousness. But there are too many problems with the “100% certainty theory”, of determinism, to even get into.

If we presume that his evidence of determinism is MRI data and the other psychology studies, then the other mistake he’s making, is assuming that determinism only applies to humans, or even that it is only relevant to psychology. The theory is much more fundamental to causality. Which he doesn’t seem to grasp. Predetermined outcomes aren’t specific to antecedent events that just involve human beings. They must predict outcomes of other events or things. He’s claiming that I’m somehow holding determinism to an unfair level of precision, (his last paragraph), but show me one chemical or physics law that is not hypothetically testable? The answer: All of these real sciences do, but determinism does not. Determinism operates on the implicit assumption that everything in principal, is knowable. As if there are laws essentially governing the unknown, and they just haven’t been found yet. But that basic assumption was challenged with the double slit experiment (Thomas Young, and later,”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment“). According to the famous physicist, Richard Feynman, even the prediction of the position of a single electron is impossible (book three in Feynman’s lecture series). Is that so complex, one small electron?

Determinism is just the hindsighted notion that a theory might in theory exist. At the very least, I’m asking determinists to come up with a real science theory like other scientists. Is that too much to ask?

That being said, I won’t be apologizing for challenging this blogger on his “scientific claims”. If it’s true that determinism is already accepted by a majority of scientists, that would be unfortunate, not grounds for celebration in my opinion, because they’ve been duped and that’s “a bad” for science. It’s also unfortunate that he blocked my response, but that tells me that maybe he’s worried I might make his “science” look bad. And we wouldn’t want that happening.

So I think I’ll end with this. A question. Is determinism really being accepted as science? If it’s not, then why would Roy Baumeister, a psychologist from Florida, debate the topic of free will vs determinism at the SPSP Great Debate? And why are there all these studies showing determinism is harmful?(See Vohs et al.) Determinism is becoming the catchword for “science” whereas duality and combatibilism are catchwords for a bunch of other ideas not considered supportable by physics. One obvious consequence of determinism is that it dehumanizes medicine. It’s much easier to treat a “robot” in which morality doesn’t actually exist, than it is to treat a human being and follow ethical practices. It seems that most professionals don’t entirely understand the arguments for it, it’s complex, and delude themselves into thinking that it is undeniable fact and must be rationalized into a “free will illusion” that is necessary for “doing culture.” Yes they are searching for explanations or justifications in the mind for free will, but not because they’re convinced it is physically defensible. They’ve bought into the “you believe in laws of physics or you don’t” duality argument. So possibly there are consequences to not going along with the “thought leaders”, who are promoting determinism so aggressively. They are made to look foolish and “non-science based” and worse, that they’re challenging determinist dogma. But what if determinism is wrong? And what if it can’t pass the Hypothesis Test? These are the more important issues, and I’m absolutely convinced I’m right, which would be a big deal.

As for my response to the Edge author- We know that determinism isn’t really making any predictions, that’s clear, because the other claims he is making in Edge, the egregious ones, that everything in science is in principal, predetermined. So it’s misleading to state that determinism is doing the work that’s leading to the MRI studies and other data, when it’s 100% incongruous with science. The Edge author’s claim that “duality is dead”, and that mind and brain are no longer valid distinctions, as “proved by science”, stems directly from determinism theory, not data. The Edge author demanded that I apologize for challenging his views, but he’s go it all backwards. He should be apologizing for his bad science.

Source links:

1. (https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/annual-edge-question-and-my-answer/#comment-698409.

2.”http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cultural-animal/200906/free-will-the-tampa-spsp-conference-the-great-debate

3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18181791

Author’s note: This article was mysteriously lost from this blog at WordPress, it vanished! so I am reproducing it here.

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Substance Emoting

What am I to do with all of it?

He regards the yard full of strange stuffs

These skills he learnt all these

years ago. Those quiddities. Those talents of yesteryear.

They’re like parts of machines idle now, but they’re

meant to do things.

Nay, I wanted to do something

good with what I had in my head.

So I thought I’d throw it back at them.

In ways they could not have foreseen. Make their devices

Of reason and logic contort and strain until unrecognizable.

They tried to make me conform, to their ways

I never did. Now I will return

I’m not a conformed entity, a liquid

substance following a mold

I am substance emoting

Everted content revealing and stripping molecules down

To their former purposes, and reprogramming them. And spelling it all out.

I learned well crossing inhospitable places- the value- of a self contained purpose and the hardened

self determinate.

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A New Tangled Intimacy

 

A new tangled intimacy

Distant with stripes she’s decked in

Climbing forever

Into black clouds, threatening to rein

On these drops of sweat

Pouring o’er a taught body,

Absorbed with another program

A mindless form, but distracting pleasure

Sipping in and out

The nectar, viscous, sweeping, over

Steel flowers populating these crowded aisles-

Banishment deserved for curves

Against a norm of straight lines

Making-

those lonely trails in the invisible miles

like the ones I once observed

Cutting to and fro across mica flats

 

[Do it princess, on a  metal flower, make

The pistil dip and spread his pollen,

(that is the payment,

and

the reward

is

‘progress’)

 

Elbows in she streamlines to make her letter

Her stamp, her move, a sentence, a vision.

Time deceives us, painting music and sculpting bodies,

Mimicking images on the monitor,

It can’t be trusted.

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The Air Becomes Toxic

by Matthew Kenneth Kosak

 

The air becomes toxic.

A toxic air of intolerability, a precipitation of doubt

Sapping the heat from the permafrost.

And why can’t I simply live? asks the seed [thought], frozen,

Suspended, in non-animata. Not yet knowing the feel of Spring

How the liquid heat feels of life fulfilled , of rivulets coursing

With spontaneity , and arms outstretched, the green skin soaking

The first light in a morning

It wonders if it might- (ever) to such feelings, make a sound, an oratorio (for them)

Is there someone to hear it? silly seed, there is no one of our species with ears, (not yet)

These are still in the darkness of the days

leaving their trace

On the grey smudgy pane

The toxic rain of your desolation, has not finished washing.

 

© 2013 by Matthew Kenneth Kosak

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Thoughts Driving To LA, Summer 2012

by Matthew Kenneth Kosak

 
I Took a moment from driving to peck out a few lines.
Sometimes I think when traveling.

It is fairly straightforward to set financial goals. Though not easy, at least these are finite.
But when it comes to so-called ‘achievements of the mind’, these goals are limitless. They are without bounds. It is something to aspire to, and the space of thought (whatever is out there to be discovered) are not limited or as set in stone, as many people so often think. I imagine it probably helps to be looking at the twinkling lights of a city fifty miles away, a hazy dusting of glitter, coming into view in the middle of the desert, as you pass a mountain.
I would like to at least inspire those to consider looking more carefully. At what I consider this limitless space. Hopefully writing can do that, take us out on empty highways at night.
So in regards to what I’m doing, and themes, (other than driving right now and keeping the car on the road at three in the morning), that would be an objective. To simply show that a new medium is possible and can be worked with. It is open to anyone, and is vast like this desert here…
 
Many things become clear in places like these. This was another thought, simply popping in for no reason, like a meteor. The ones who cannot possible comprehend how far you’ve come or gone ..will judge you as arrogant. That is the unit of distance they will use.

I’ve stopped for a moment. The road, normally a busy highway, is quiet. It is about eighty degrees. The night sky is bright.

 

Copyright © 2012 Matthew Kenneth Kosak

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