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Writer's Block: 5//7//5

Posted on 2009.07.16 at 02:20
Sum up your day in the form of a haiku.

Leads All Except For The
Many Value Judgments

Writer's Block: Conversion Rate

Posted on 2009.06.28 at 00:58
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Current Music: In the End- Linkin Park
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Have you ever considered converting to another religion?

I wasn't raised with any form of a religion. A list of my religious experience growing up, in no particular order.

I've been baptized.

I've been blessed by a bodhisattvas.

I attended sunday school.

I was a boy scout.

I attended some form of Christendom church.

I've observed Rosh Hashanah.

I've been known to be a cohort of a Satanist.

I've seen the Wicca gates calling ceremony. I was with a coven for a bit.

I've read lots on many other religions.

I found it enthralling, fascinating. All these similarities and absolute differences. All of the need to be the one.

However my opinion on God was majority influence by mass media. I saw it portrayed as a child selfish fool, that gets only praise and deals out punishment. I refereed to him as an asshole. Although for a long wallow I couldn't formulate why he was. It just what I felt from how he acted from Mass Media.

When I was in Jr. High, I realized that I was an atheist.

I felt my way out of this notion of a god.
This left though the need for any religion as a great many of them require for something greater then we. The lowly humans.

I didnt think there was a god, so I didnt need to follow the rules that predicated there was one.

I kept quite about this though I had, that there was no god. Yes, my closet friend at the time agreed with me but he took it light heartily. We were 14 or so, obsessed with the fangled new internet and getting unpixilated boob shoots.

I think I kept it quite because god is everywhere. Its on our money, I lived at the time across from a grave yard. Seeing the sights of rites of passage from men of the cloth was not uncommon for me. I went to school, I passed a church, I went to high school. Taking one bus from the start of its trip its end, and taking one more to its end and one more to almost its end. And I see holy gathering to holy gathering.

I didn't think anyone else was an atheist. The society made it seem god is needed, that god is a must. That god was the accessory that everyone could not be without.

On reflection, I must have kept it a secret with the feeling that it was almost wrong to be an atheist as well.

I did know that science worked. I did know that all accomplishments were done by us mere lowly humans. I see these feats that are beyond human, and yet there is a human doing it. I see a building being constructed from the things dug deep within the earth, modeled with forethought and purpose. With elegance.

It seem to me, the growing human secularist, humans are and have always been pretty damn awesome. That there achievements can only be out match by their own initiative, curiosity and imagination. These thoughts is something that I grasped on an intuitive level. If asked during my teen years, I couldn't defend these thoughts. I had nothing to fire back with, except that it was my opinion. A weak one for a long time in my life.

Then came such a lovely day in high school. Where I was felt, that this whole god, christ, and religion stuff wasn't correct.

I'm using the term felt on purpose. I'll get to that soon.

I was home school for what little high school I was in. The program that existed at the time, was basically for long term home schoolers for religious convictions.

I took my 3 hr bus ride to the on site facility 3 times a week. Not a dime to my name. No way to be social even though the desire was there.

And it was between classes, or after class. I sat with a group trying this whole social things, and they were speaking to their holy institution and asked which one I partook in. I said none.

They ask of god, I replied in same. Then something happen, they verbally ganged raped me, provided me with these information sources, and asked me explain them away. They had these sheets printed, ready to hand out.

They asked me, if I was there to validate my trust in science. How could I know that saturn was there if I never saw it. I didn't know why I knew it could be there without first hand proof. I didn't even consider to flip it on them, as they were sorely more affect by that question then I was, even though I had no idea that they were.

I was shaken. My virginal world view, I thought I held alone seem to be crushed. There these information sources, and questions I couldn't answer. I must have been wrong.

I got home, still physically shaken. I call my friend Bill, a friend of the family. A theist. And he calmed me down, and suggested further reading.

That what I did.

Up till now, I felt that god wasn't real. By proxy neither was religion. I didn't think they were real. I didn't reason they were real. I wasn't aware of reason. I wasn't aware of logic.

I became aware of such things, and read and read more. I read apologist like Ray Comfort, and I read Hitchen and Dawkins. I read of Carl Sagon, who I knew for his science.

Sagon taught me in part that the glories of science can be applied to all things. That what I did. I look into how science is. What are the processes. Why does it come to its conclusion.

I substantiated why I felt god was poo. Soon my feeling god did not exist, were replaced with reasons why god did not exist. My opinions evolved well researched informed stances.

That was a major turning point.

A lot of person get into one belief or another with bad reasons. These bad reasons are filmsy. So you can go on with one belief to the next because each belief is held up by exactly the same processes. Once I knew how to cement my stances, and knew what was needed to overturn them I no longer grew timid due to them.

Yes, there is no god. Why? Lack of evidence. I'm sorry, good sir but your counter argument lacks factual foundation.

So yes, I did.

However, now I can without the internal turmoil because I have a substantiation process through my critical thinking skills, research and scientific skepticism that allows me to reevaluate my stances in an objective matter as much as possible, to all none value stances.

What a Skeptic to Me?

Posted on 2008.07.10 at 02:47
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What does skeptic mean?

What does it mean to call yourself a skeptic?

Does a skeptic get its own decoder ring inside the Crackerjack box?

Why the use of the word? Skeptic. Why do I call myself one?

Well, I look at the world and I compare it with what I know is true, what I know is possible and what is contradictory to the latter two. Skeptic does not mean true disbeliever, or a cynic although both can happen and has. I'll try not to be. A skeptic, unlike what Skepticism is generally purported to be, are open minded. However, we are open minded but in relation to what is previously known. Reality doesn't simply go away with an ADD mentality towards it.

Just because something new and unheard on the TV, the person who tell you says that its old, or wears a medical looking clothes doesn't mean it is something to be trusted. If it conflicts with what you generally already know, then there is a good chance that you should doubt it.

Doubt is the key word.

Doubt is what a Skeptic does. Skeptic doubt, we doubt other skeptics, we doubt authorities. We look for what is correct; we plainly see the world. We do not fear the anguish of conflicting with popular modalities.

No idea is immune to doubt. No method is immune to doubt. If it cannot be question, then why!

If it refuses then refuse its existence.

If it cannot stand to be nick picked then the basis for that idea, are weak and should be changed to something stronger. Something when inquired about should hold true. When its peered for the ten thousand time it should be as crystal clear as the first person to trod down the path of self discovery.

Skeptic is willing to have his or her opinion and thoughts changed on any matter. There are some qualification though that any idea must go through before it will be accepted.

The major one, is to have enough evidence to support its claim, and the greater the claim the greater amount of evidence is needed. Now what does this mean? This mean simply put that if a new idea is contradictory to other known ideas then it must have enough proof that is greater then what the old idea have.

Lets take a Laws of Motion, developed by some crack pot by the name of Newton. (Yes, he was a crackpot really check that crazy guy out.) Let say that someone proposes an idea that directly conflicts with these laws. Let pick on at random, that an object will remain in constant motion even if forces are acting upon it. The claim, is fine if crazy. I can say that frogs live a secret invisible life as a pink unicorn but this does not make it so.

But now, let look at the claim. The claimant is proposing a change to proof in mathematics and one of the essential to physics. This is a huge, giant claim. I cannot place into words how large this claim is. Think of the largest things you can think of, then double it then let that object sit in the shadow of how large this claim is.

See, now the claimant has goal of refuting and changing three hundred twenty one years validation. This is not an impossible task.

If the claimant can provide an equal worth of evidence, another three hundred twenty one years of evidence to support his claim. Then it can be considered a competing scientific theory. It becomes a swing vote as to which is correct. Now to replace the old idea, it must provide even more evidence, another fifty or so years on top of the old one to be consider the
most likely of the two.

Now of course I am using years of acceptance as a measure of evidence in support of. That isn't entirely accurate as long as the evidence is correct it doesnt matter how old it is. But I think it illustrated the amount needed to overturn an accepted idea.

Anyway if I expand on that, it will be a post about critical thinking and that beyond the scope of this post.

But that what a skeptic would do. It would examine the claim and think of what would be needed for that to work. If what needed for that to be is great, then the chances of it being wrong are equal to the amount of evidence needed it to be correct.

Think of it like a like running with your back to a mirror. When you stand with the mirror, evidence and likely hood of it being real are equal. As you move further away from the mirror, the more evidence you need, then the figure in the mirror also moves further away from it being true.

This is generally concisely stated in; Extraordinary Claims, require Extraordinary Evidence.

A skeptic is a person who is not afraid to wonder and doubt what others think. To postulate on what would be needed for it to be true, and use that as a basis for accepting it. A skeptic should always be willing to change as new (New as different, not more of the same) evidence is brought and reevaluate the claim.

Skeptic is not a nay sayer, or a cynic or a true disbeliever, or close minded. At least they are not suppose to be.

A Skeptic is a person who looks at the world, and ponders how that fits in with the rest of the pieces. If it doesn't seem to, then we ask why? We flatly say why not.

A skeptic has an answer to the question 'What would change mind?' or at least willing to admit that it can be changed.

For what I've seen, and read a True Believer of anything, does not have answer for this.

Why I think Ghost are Bunk

Posted on 2008.07.03 at 21:13
Current Location: Home
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I am a skeptic, I think that ideas, objects, events need evidence in equal weight to their claim. For instance, if someone were to claim that France does not exist. Then the claimant would need more evidence that France doesn't exist compared to the evidence that France does exist. That is a hefty height to be reached, but if the claim is true then in due time it can be reach.

Extraordinary Claims, require Extraordinary Evidence.

Those simple words describe so well what most Paranormal, Supernatural, and Alternate ideologies lack. I think that any Woo, if it were true would be so very cool. Even more ways to improve the human condition. More avenues for possible gains in knowledge and study. Theses are awesome. They truly are. It's not everyday a new branch of Science is opened.

When I was younger, I used to be believe in so much. Crop Circles were real, Sylvia Browne was the shit and Sightings was the cutting edge in unbiased reporting the world over. And far to many more to list. As I grew older it just wasn't adding up. The beer goggles needed to view the world were fading on me. Sadly one of the delusions that faded when my mind accepted rational logical and critical thinking was that Ghost were most likely to not exist.

Ghost have have been in folklore, and myths with the advent of Human conscious and realization of morality. Death is a scary ordeal. There no two ways about it. Couple this with a need and want to understand, explain the world around us as well as a need provide comfort for those grieving. An admiral cause in its origins indeed and the best our knowledge at the time allowed.

However as our knowledge grew and other methodology to explain the world around us matured, the model of Ghosts seems to be the triangle block going through the circle hole. Ghost are a beautiful idea. It just seems very unlikely. For Ghosts to exist it would require that humans (well any Sentient Species as Human are all that special on the planet) actions and consciousness to be different entities. This is generally known as Duality or informally as the Ghost in the Machine theory.

For a time it was a competing model to how the brian and mind work in the later half of the nineteenth century. It was for a time an acceptable position to hold in Neurology during its infancy. Science went on how it should. The completing theories proposed experiments to predict test results and falsify one another.

As time went on, the evidence laid bare to both parties, and it was pointing in one direction with little room for argument. The direction it pointed at that Duality wasn't needed to explain conscious and actions. That there was direct correlation to all observable events with brian activity and external physical/emotion reactions.

With all scientific theories, any excess baggage that can be edited out while the model it was portraying remained true, was. Having a sprit, or a soul, life energy what have you, wasn't needed to explain how the brian work. This became the working model, the dominating scientific theory, for the field of Neurology and it even affected Psychology as well. So far since the early Twentieth century it has remained so. Even in the Twentieth First century, Neurology is seeing even more conformation to their Scientific Theory with the inventions of the MIR and MEG so on so forth. The newest contraptions can even see real time data from external stimulia then brian reaction then external reaction. This can be seen with pain or even emotions such as love. (Displaying photographs of love ones).

For this part of 'Theory of Ghost' to work it would have to eventually provide enough evidence to rewrite the century of evidence that this isn't how the brian works. This is a daunting task. However, like all scientific fields it is open to rewrites and revolutions in thinking. Just as long as the evidence provide is testable, the Scientific Theory is fallible and it explains all previous known evidence. Again an incredibly daunting task.

Extraordinary Claims require Extraordinary Evidence.

Then a further claim of the 'Theory of Ghost', is that once a person dies. (Although in my research I cannot find an accepted definition of Death) That their Soul, life force, consciousness what have you is somehow magically independent of their body and somehow magically retain certain aspects of their former lives. (Even though such things as memory are stored directly by how the neurons are organized and by no means correlated to electrical fields.)

The vague and ambiguous reasoning that I managed to find is for this is that since the brian releases electrical signals as the neurons fire, and produces a weak (extremely weak, refrigerator magnets are stronger) EM fields that this field is retained in the surrounding medium. Generally Air, although it it can also inhabit objects and even other persons. Some places like to interject some Science Souding words, such as Thermodynamics, Quantum Mechanics and brian waves. Although two of these terms are not related to biology at all, and very strange unwieldily to use in this context. Thermodynamics deal with energy and cohesion and how efficient it can be used. Quantum Mechanics deals with the interaction of sub-atomic world. Currently for Physics, the macro and micro world do not interact. (Although they must). Beyond this, the body does not use any quantum effects, the brian does not have a section that can send or receive 'quantum signals' or any signals at all. The brain is not an antenna. Brian waves are real, but they do not even go beyond the scalp since they are so incredibly weak.

For this part of the 'Theory of Ghost' to work, it requires that Duality to be true and thusly inherits the burden of evidence of the first claim. However nothing to fear, if it is correct it will eventually lead it self to be seen as so. It also requires that a Electromagnetic Field can exist without any known methods for producing such a field.

For all currently understood EM fields to be generated it requires One of two things.

  • A magnet to be moved along conductive wiring. Or Conductive wires to be moved around a magnet. This is the principle that most electricity generators work under.

  • Moving Electrical Current in conductive wires. This is the property which Electromagnetic works under.

  • A theory would have to explain how an EM field can be generated and maintain in a fashion where there are no known mechanics or electricity or magnetism being introduced into a open system and retaining cohesion. (Oddly breaking the laws of pesky Thermodynamics.) For Ghosts to work in this fashion it would have to reinvent the field of Electrodynamics and provide enough evidence to prove another century of Scientific Theory is fundamentally wrong.

    Two hundred plus years of science would so far have to rewritten to allow Ghost to work in a natural world with natural explanations. Although some may now go that Ghost are Supernatural, and therefore beyond Science as Science by definition doesn't deal with anything that isn't natural. If Ghost did not interact with the natural world, this would be correct.

    However as with the next part of the 'Theory of Ghost' is that Ghost interact with their environment, their natural environment, therefore must be a natural event which can be explained with natural causes. Thusly squarely in the purview of science.

    As before for this claim can only be true if two other parts of theory are true. An increasingly heavy burden. Ghost are claimed to interact with the environment in several ways;
    1. Audibly
    2. Visually
    3. Physically
    4. Mentally
    5. Temperature of Ambient Air
    6. Draining of Batteries and presumably other electrical sources

    I'll go down the list starting with Audible interactions. With keeping that Ghosts are supposed collections of EM fields that passed over from the dying brian. The most common reporting of this type of interaction is hearing with one owns ear, and recording it and calling it an Electrical Voice Phenomena (EVP).

    For this to happen, then there has to be a reasonable explanations on how an EM field can produce sound waves. EM Fields are silent and do not make a peep in any medium as EM fields do not agitate the air allowing vibrations to produce sounds.

    Sound, is a form of energy propagation from vibration in gas, solid or liquid medium. The spread and heights of the waves have to be in a narrow range for human ears to pick up. This means that something has to disturb the medium, make waves then it travels out from the source equally.

    Otherwise no one can stand to be in a modern city, with all the Radio waves (A part of the EM spectrum), generators, so on and so forth. It would be deafening if EM fields make a noise. This is an observable fact. There no room for corrections or difference of opinion. Reality says No.
    (The noise that is heard is from the machinery producing the EM fields as with all machines they are no one hundred percent efficient.)

    No WiFi for nerves.

    With this being an impossibility then we have to look for another explanation on how a Ghost, a collection of EM fields, can induce the simulation of hearing something. Although I haven't seen this suggested this leads me to believe that Ghosst, the only other possible way is that it must interact with the brian directly from either the nerves or the brian. There is no current way to introduce outside signals to closed Neurons. They're insulated so that grouping of Nerves wont confuddle information. However there are junctions were nerves insulation is weak and allows electrical pulses to jump ship, but that is a very complicated part of the nervous system and outside the the scope of this post.

    The only known method of introducing outside singles to nerves is to directly connect to the nerve. There is practical applications to this, such as implants that some Deaf persons may use to allow them regain some hearing. There are no events that I know of that has a ghost removing the nerve from the ear to the brian so that it may speak. This would make them deaf, although there are stories that ghost can do this (causing deafness not disconnecting nerves), it was a belligerent and purposeful attack and in no way a method of communication in a meaningful manner. As for interacting with the brain directly, I address with mental interaction, as the mechanism needed to do so is the same.

    Although it does seem nearly impossible for a Ghost to to stimulate sound for a biological entity to hear it; it is also claimed that Ghost can also be heard on Recording Devices after the fact. These are known as EVP, and the Ghost oddly decides to;
    1. Interactive with Present Party
    2. Speak in some Recording Devices and not others especially if other are in the same room
    3. Sporadically Utter Seemly Random Statements or
    4. Sporadically answer Questions
    Most Modern Microphone use the this basic principle. A device to transform Audible energy into Electrical Energy. This is generally done with a diaphragm moving past a magnet inducing a study amount of current. This is something that an EM field might be able to do. But of course this leads to the assumption that a ghost can now know how the operation of hundreds microphones and how to properly induce the correct electrical signals to allow them to have their voice on the device. This seems very unlikely, especially with ghost that died before Electricity was in common usage. I would also have to take a guess that this would be a probably a huge expenditure of energy on the Ghost part. (Then again it might not be.)

    Then there is also the theory that the Ghost bypass the microphone altogether and imprints the information direction on the recording medium itself. This seems even more unlikely then just using the microphone as now the Ghost must have instant knowledge on how to affect Devices, such as flash drives which are not affected by magnetic forces to record their information.

    Although if plausible, that a supposed EM collection, can induce communication this way vises-vi microphone, it seem to suggest that Ghost get an infinite amount of knowledge out of a vacuum.

    Then there is also the problem of Paradolia. This is simply best explain the mind trying best to see/hear expected known things in random input. The mind is constantly associating patterns and predicts patterns to help us navigate the world around us. The thing that bites us is that it does too good of a job and it does an equally to good of a job to convince us that its real.

    If a Ghost can somehow, use Microphone to communicate, then there needs to be a process to exclude the possibility that it is not simply our brian filling in the holes to ensure that the world make sense to us. Although I am currently searching for what is the accepted method that Ghost Hunters use to exclude this, I so far haven't found it. I am in the midst of designing my own controlled double blind assessment test of EVP and better instruments to limit the possibility that its not a mistake done by the instrumentation.

    Visual interactions. Orbs, Shadow People. What have you, it comes down to a ghost changing it EM spectrum from what ever it natural spectrum is, into visual light spectrum. As EM fields cannot reflect, deflect or refract each other, they can only scramble with one another. This I do not think a Ghost would do (if it can), it would be much of a similar process of a Star going nova, it would loose cohesion spread to all points at the speed of light and begone forever. Suicide for a Ghost.

    Unless a Ghost had the excess energy to transform some of its energy into visible light, this would require a fantastic energy expenditure even for a few seconds. Shooting off million of Photons at purposely different wave length to gain definition and color. This would disallow a ghost in any form being semi transparent, as any emitting light source blurs out near by light. (Well the strong source would blur the weaker one.)

    A similar processes would also need to happen for the supposed 'Shadow People' as they are suppose to be an obeseness of light. As this Ghost would have to make light of the exact same wave length to cancel each other out, thusly making an absences of light Since its impossible for a collection of EM fields to physically block light it would have to do the latter, or a Ghost would have to increase its density in such a fashion it would create a strong gravitational field and just simply suck light into itself.

    Physical interaction, such as moving books, cups and loaf of bread. It isn't impossible for a Magnetic field to affect none-pharis materials. What it does though, it requires several magnitudes higher in strength then what is used in industrial purposes. Which in turn requires an even greater amount of electrical energy then what your average abode, or office building is capable of before the fuse is blown. You practically need your own power plant to produce an electromagnet strong enough to affect ceramics, plastics and even bread. For this type of interaction I will place it in the plausible just highly unlikely for a ghost to do.

    Then we physical interactions that involve people. These go from the begin 'Brush' to the moderate push or trip. Then the potential deadly such as abrasions that causes bruises, lacerations that draw blood, to even hanging in one case. I will say that this is nearly impossible for Ghost to be able to accomplish as the human body is not susceptible to magnetic forces. Otherwise, no one could use an MIR. Or fans, computers...

    Then the latter claim such as lacerations or abrasions is also equally silly, a magnetic force is blunt. It does not cut. And magnetic fields repel like charged magnets, since the human body is neutrally charge it can not be pushed with a magnet.

    Mental interaction, namely possession. Be this begin mediumship possession or pea soup spewing possession, it requires the same thing. The ability for EM radiation to change and overwrite neurons in our brian. Literally shifting, destroying and creating new neurons in the special places for the desired actions (Or random places I suppose). This is out right impossible. The human brian is not affected or changed by exposure to magnets or electricity. Otherwise when some one uses MRI they would pop out a different person. Or we would have real honest working magnetic therapies (Not the psedo-crap that helps with circulation of blood or the immunity, those are shit) for Coma victims.

    Ambient Temperature changes, the classic cold spots and warm spots or the seemly different spots. This seems to be the oddest interaction that doesn't seem to comply with the rest of the Theory assumption on Ghosts. Heat is the local excitement (vibrating, shaking) of modules of any substance. This heat can be spread, refracted, reflected, deflected absorbed however it can not be turned directly into electrical energy. If a ghost did produce waste energy then it would give off Heat, allowing for Warm Spots. As with the thermodynamics each time it exchanges one energy to one other form there is always waste. If Ghost are real, they would by any means not leave a Cold Spot, but probably a Warm Spot by the means of wasting energy. However, how one can exclude all possible air current in an even closed system from producing the difference in ambient temperature is nearly insane. Modeling fluid dynamics, is one of the most mathematically complicated calculation to perform and is often left for super computer to ponder over.

    It suppose to be a collection of several other data points to help extrapolate that a difference in air temperature is a ghost, however since there is no hard data comparing it with one another is trying to build a house of cards that have all been doused in water, while drunk with a bad ear infection. It just not stable. It also just silly and unwise.

    Electrical Conducting in open air, is not impossible but it does require that the air to able to hold and conduct electricity. Currently this requires ionizing the air then by grounding the circuit or completing it. This is the basis for the Lighting Gun and Open Air Electrical Dispersal (something that the air force is testing in Alaska based off of Telsa ideas). This seems to be a required component for a ghost to able to 'live', but it would need a constant source of electricity to stay 'alive'.

    As the Ghost can have no known mechanic to store electricity, since it basis for being 'alive' requires moving electrical current to produce an EM field. Although this is a similar problem as the ghost has been facing as the required energy to produce the affect would get the ghost a net loose of energy and kill it self even fast. The power and the ability to drain a battery would out strip the energy needed to sustain the ionized air to transfer the energy.

    Then from the hardship of the current ghost theory stands and the seemly unlikely hood of several of its claims, if ghost were real, they would have to live in a power plant, and it would never do anything but feed. It would remain invisible. This compounded with that Ghost Research has been around for nearly a century, and scientific research has been around for almost thirty years that Ghost Research is no closer now then they were at day one. The only school of science that stays stagnant for decades at a time, is Parapsychology.

    It seems to be that it would be very unlikely that ghost are real. It would require the rewriting of two well founded understood school of Science, and overturn their combined two hundred plus years of evidence as this is how reality works.

    Science is not against Ghosst. Science is opposed to waste of time, and Ghost seem like waste of time.