Monday, 28 December 2015

Stephen Hawking and God

From here:
God did not make the universe and the “Big Bang” was the certain consequence of the laws of physics, says well-known British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.

And that is as much an explanation as saying that I stooped down to pick up a £20 note that I spot on the ground because in the past it has been observed that I pick up £20 notes when I see them.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Electricity key for pay meter

Getting to be a dab hand at these pay meters for energy. When I first moved in here 6 months ago, the first time I bought electricity it took me about 2 mins to work out how to eject the electronic bit from its casing on my electricity key (hope no good looking women were watching me!). Now I just do it straightaway taking around 1 second!

These things just take practice. It's like when I always say I'm hopeless at anything practical. But if I started doing it I'd probably get better than anyone else!

Monday, 21 December 2015

Shared Death Experiences

Interesting article about a phenomenon called a "shared death experience"

Beyond Goodbye

Reading the article Joe Nickell asserts it is grief which wholly causes a shared death experience. One might wonder how he can be so certain? What evidence does he have that he is content in asserting such a thing? I strongly suspect he doesn’t actually have any evidence.

He’s a skeptic and thinks that the notion of a “life after death” is extraordinary implausible.No doubt he shares Sean Carroll’s sentiments. Later in the article it says that Sean Carroll asserts that “life after death” is dramatically incompatible with everything we know about modern science.

It would be helpful if physicists didn’t pontificate on issues which reside outside their area of expertise. Unless one embraces reductive materialism (which is conceptually incoherent) then current science completely leaves out consciousness in its description of reality. Indeed, so far as science is concerned, we might as well all be what has been termed philosophical zombies — that is to say we might as well all be entirely devoid of any conscious experiences whatsoever, even though we externally look and behave exactly like real people.

So we cannot say consciousness is incompatible with physics, it simply is not something which currently lies in the purview of physics. And of course this applies to whether we’re talking about consciousness before death, or after death.

Going back to Joe Nickell’s assertion: It seems then he has neither any evidence for his assertion, and, as we have just seen, no reason either. But it’s worse than that. A good rule of thumb is that similar effects have similar causes. “Shared death experiences” have a number of similarities with NDEs. Hence it seems likely that whatever causes shared death experiences will also cause NDEs. Hence if it is grief which causes shared death experiences, then it seems likely that it is grief which causes NDEs.

But this seems to be clearly false. Let’s put aside the fact that NDEers are on the threshold of death and really shouldn’t be experiencing any emotions at all. From their reports they often say they were filled with profound joy and are extremely reluctant to return to their bodies. Sometimes it’s reported that they experience confusion as to whose body they can see below. On odd occasions they report unpleasant feelings if they perceive malevolent entities etc.

But I can’t recollect them reporting grief. At most there is sorrow at leaving loved ones behind, but that is outweighed by their anticipation of what is to come.

So it seems to me that Nickell’s hypothesis is simply not plausible. It’s a hypothesis conjured up out of desperation to explain away the evidence for an afterlife.

Marx and his critque of Capitalism


This is interesting. Talks about the shortcomings of capitalism which to a large measure I agree with. Which doesn't mean to say of course there's anything obvious with which to replace it.

Quote from Richard Dawkins

An interesting quote from Richard Dawkins book "Unweaving the Rainbow".


We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton.

We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here...
After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be a part of it?

I've never regarded his philosophical ability in high esteem but he expresses himself very well. The quote is of course only applicable for those who believe that's there's no ultimate purpose or goal in life and this life is all we have.  Which I don't personally subscribe to, but if I did I would share Dawkins' sentiments.

150,000 people die every day

Interesting to think that around 150,000 people die every day. 150,000 either disappearing into a complete eternal nothingness, or 150,000 people discovering that they do survive in some form and entering some new reality.

Friday, 11 December 2015

The last human.

I wonder who will be the very last human to ever live, what his/her life will be like, what his/her thoughts will be, and when this will occur.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

School and Education

I read the following article a few days ago:

School is a prison — and damaging our kids

It says:


The blueprint still used for today’s schools was developed during the Protestant Reformation, when schools were created to teach children to read the Bible, to believe scripture without questioning it, and to obey authority figures without questioning them. The early founders of schools were quite clear about this in their writings. The idea that schools might be places for nurturing critical thought, creativity, self-initiative or ability to learn on one’s own — the kinds of skills most needed for success in today’s economy — was the furthest thing from their minds.

So why on earth are schools still like this?  I sent off the following email a few days ago to "the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP" the education secretary of the UK Government.   I haven't yet received a reply and I strongly suspect I won't:
Hello Nicky,

Might I suggest that the Government needs to radically change the nature of school and how it attempts to impart knowledge?

Many people seem to have learnt very little at school and lack basic grammatical and numerical skills. Others just get "brainwashed" into an unthinking passive acquiescence of the prevailing beliefs of the western way of thinking.

If after being taught maths and English for 11 years between the ages of 5 and 16 people do not know the answer to a question such as what is 1/3 divided by 1/9, or understand what a decimal point is, or understand the difference been your and you're, and loose and lose, then there's something fundamentally wrong with the whole way they're being taught. Trying to make children reach targets and cramming in information for exams doesn't seem to me to be the best way to foster either enthusiasm, interest or an understanding of the subject matter. They'll be unhappy, it robs them of the spare time of their childhood, and possibly creates an antipathy towards education.

A teacher needs to engage, use an enthusiastic tone of voice, attempt to show the real world applications of the knowledge s/he imparts. But, most importantly of all, pupils need to be divided in 2's and 3's to discuss some problem or issue, and think of solutions. Also it is imperative that philosophical topics are introduced at a very early age (that is if we are interested in education per se rather than merely education for the purpose of a specific vocation).

Starting to teach children the ability to think for themselves from primary school onwards, to question received opinion etc would be of immeasurable benefit in initiating the utilization of their innate intellectual capacities as adults.

Another relevant blog entry by me on my other blog:

Mathematics, Education and School
 Mathematics, Education and School

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The so-called Fat Haters Organisation

I was reading an article in the Daily Mail yesterday.  It says:

A commuter was left in shock after she was given a card by a stranger dubbing her a 'fat, ugly human.'
British Transport Police are investigating after Kara Florish, 30, of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, shared a picture of the card she was given by someone working for 'Overweight Haters Ltd', on Facebook.
The card, which had the tag line: 'It's really not glandular, it's your gluttony,' read: 'Our organisation hates and resents fat people. We object to the enormous amount of food resources you consume while half the world starves. We disapprove of your wasting NHS money to treat your selfish greed.
'And we do not understand why you fail to grasp that by eating less you will be better off, slimmer, happy and find a partner who is not a perverted chubby-lover, or even find a partner at all.
'We also object that the beatiful pig is used as an insult. You are not a pig. You are a fat, ugly human [sic].'


Ridiculous. Fat people -- and especially fat woman -- are constantly on diets and trying to limit their calorie intake. But they're constantly fighting against their hunger and this is why they eventually fail.  Yes they'll be able to reduce their weight and keep it off for a few weeks or a few months.  But our bodies will constantly strive to regain that weight by increasing our hunger.  Human beings are human beings and like it or not the vast majority of us will not be able to endure constant hunger all the time, year in year out, for the rest of our lives.  If a sizeable percentage of us are fat it is simply the wrong target to blame people.

It's the big food manufacturers who are to blame. They add sugar, salt, fat etc in just the right proportions to trigger the various chemical reactions in the body encouraging us to eat. All for the sake of maximising profits. And impotent Governments who refuse to do anything.

And besides which being fat is not a crime! If they are so concerned about half the world starving then they should be concerned about limiting population growth, reducing the consumption of meat, reducing food wastage etc.

People might be interested in a relevant article about losing weight in my other blog.

Woman, 26, ditches city life to live on a remote Welsh island.

Link
There's even an Internet connection. Be great to live there! I wish..

It would especially be a desirable place to live if you accidentally went back in time a 100 million years. You'd need to find somewhere where there aren't any predators. Otherwise, without any modern weapons to bring down all the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the like, life could be very short, and death very painful. 


The Voyager Spacecraft

From the following article: NASA marks 40th anniversary of Voyager launches [O]n board each is a golden record with ...