|Posted on Sunday, October 25, 2009 - 11:16 am: |
After all your contemplations, what do you think of the following?
#1. Do you think we live in a Living Universe?
#2. Have we in the 'simple universe' idea stumbled upon a TOE?
#3. Is God a non-religious idea, even 'atheistic' idea, in a Simple Universe?
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." -- Quote Albert Einstein
Write what you will, if you will. This is an open ended question from Humancafe.
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|Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 12:34 pm: |
#1. Do you think we live in a Living Universe?
Yes, the Hindu concept of Brhaman thinks so.
"The Upanishads describe Brahman as "the eternal, conscious, irreducible, infinite, omnipresent, spiritual source of the universe of finiteness and change." (2) Brahman is the source of all things and is in all things; it is the Self (atman) of all living beings."
If the universe is filled with life, then it is a living entity infinitely in both Brahman and atman.
#2. Have we in the 'simple universe' idea stumbled upon a TOE?
Perhaps, but it is odd that the universal constant G for gravity first postulated by Newton, and adhered to by Einstein until present times, was never refuted. A variable G idea is tempting if it in fact unites the basic forces (Standard model) and explains better what is observed astronomically such as brown dwarfs and neutron stars. But is the Pioneer Anomaly enough to call for it? http://www.humancafe.com/discus/messages/6/23.html#POST300
Are the gas giants of the solar system really evidence of higher G holding their extreme massive atmospheres?
The case can be made that since a universal constant G was used in all orbital calculations of mass, there could not have been a way to catch our error, especially since different masses (per different G) would still act the same in acceleration (as Galileo proved long ago) so we did not know the difference. The only exception was orbital gravity assist anomalies and the Pioneers, so we really had no way of knowing if G was a universal constant as assumed. We simply assumed it was and that was that. However, and this is potentially big, if G proves to be variable in some consistent way vis-a-vis the radiational energy where it is measured, then its variability can connect to the other three forces, and that makes it fit. If it is so, then the simple universe idea also fits.
#3. Is God a non-religious idea, even 'atheistic' idea, in a Simple Universe?
A concept of God can be either personal or impersonal for us, so the Hindu God (One) is an impersonal "Being in itself". But this Being as "atman" can also be a personal god for every being alive in it. An "atheistic" God can exist only on the impersonal level, like a secular God in name only, "In God we trust," but not in a truly religious sense. Religion focusses on God as a personal experience of the spirit with rituals to better understand that relationship. In a simple universe idea, both the religious God and secular/atheistic God can exist side by side. In the end, it is our choice (atman).
“Water is life's mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.” - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi http://thinkexist.com/quotes/albert_szent-gyorgyi/
I heard a Hindu priest say "The universe is full of water, and water is life, so the universe is a living thing," as proof even scientists can accept as true, that "God is" no matter what your belief.
Son of Brahma
|Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 12:18 pm: |
Love, and You Win.
Oh Sons of Brahma! The beauty you see in your brothers and sisters is the beauty in yourself; same as the beauty they see in you is already the beauty in them. Their beauty, in their eyes, their voice, the face, limbs, their smile and sereneness is the beauty of all living things through the whole universe of Life. When you see them with beauty, they see you with living beauty, so nothing of death can enter you. And so you win, in this life and for all living things. You win in God.
Oh sons of ape! The lusts you feel in your heart are material in spirit, that drive you to steal or lie in ambush, to take by force what is not yours. Your divinity is blackened by your thieving actions, your beauty darkened by lies, by causing pain in others, in all living things. In your eyes you see the world darkly, lust for what is not yours, you fail in the beauty of the living universe. This failure is your loss in this life, and all lives near you, so even the beauty of the animal is lost in you. You are lost in God.
Oh children of Man! The love in your heart is not lust but the beauty of all creations of Life, all living things. Cherish this love for all things; from your heart flows Life spirit transcendent. Restrain the lust and find the beauty of your love, and the world of Life will open its heart to you. Love, and you will bask in the love of all living things about you. Love, and you will cheat death, you will win in God.
-- In answer to #1. Do you think we live in a Living Universe? and #3. Is God a non-religious idea, even 'atheistic' idea, in a Simple Universe? -- not a religious God, but a universal One, of Love.
|Posted on Thursday, November 26, 2009 - 11:11 am: |
Pilgrim's voyage to a new world --- a non-religious "religion" for a secular moral society.
(for #3. Is God a non-religious idea, even 'atheistic' idea, in a Simple Universe?)
What does religion, or God, bring to our lives? Today we no longer believe the simple "truths" of the religions of our ancestors and question everything, rightly. But we cannot ignore with doubt the moral framework religion gave us. And while we no longer believe in blind obedience to what ancients believed in their superstitious good and evils, we still maintain principles of morality adhered to by modern societies in their 'liberal' tendencies of justice, or right and wrong. Society on a larger scale could not exist without this.
When our Pilgrim forefathers came to these shores, they brought with them a hard moral code based on the Christian church (conservative reformed) beliefs of the time, of temperance, hard work, hard justice, and hard piety and sacrifice in the name of God. This was how they built their civilization out of the wilderness, which was a hard life and their morality reflected it. Today that wilderness exists little, or no more, rather we are hoping to preserve what is left of it for future generations, and the foundations of our Pilgrim fathers exist mostly in vestiges of modern sensibilities of justice and right laws, or right living. But what are these right laws of morality reduced to, in final analysis?
The modern Liberal 'atheistic God' of moral values is no longer subject to a strict hard code of Puritan morality, though from such a moral base our nation was built, but comes from a softer set of conditions that all citizens of society have more or less accepted as just and morally right. They are on the whole mainly this:
1) Reciprocity, of do onto others as you would have them do onto you, also called the Golden Rule.
2) Equality, that we are equal in each other's eyes and before the law, regardless of race or origin.
3) Tolerance, where our differences are not condemned but even celebrated.
4) Subjective morality, where what you believe is true for you is true, though it may not be true for any other person, as long as your belief does not damage the other. (This is a very modern idea which allows a person to grow.)
5) Punishment commensurate with the crime, not brutal and unusual to the destruction of the perpetrator of the crime, where capital punishment is largely eliminated or restricted.
6) Universality, that what liberates one person or group is equally valid for all others, and what enslaves is equally invalid for all.
7) Truthfulness, where we are true to ourselves and to others, both in word and deed.
8) Freedom, that we are allowed to be in our lives how we will as long as we allow the same for others. (A modern idea of the Golden Rule.)
Such ideas are not entirely new, since they existed just below the surface of most world religions, given the Golden Rule. What is new is that these principles had been stripped of their religious overtones, or over cloaks of "God", and distilled simply down to their pure essence, the Universality of Truthfulness and Freedom and Equality. These are now the sum principles of modern liberal ideas of morality, of a moral code without invoking a religious concept but deferring to scientific achievements, more secular in nature; believing in the sanctity of the individual before a greater universal reality than had ever been understood by our ancestral religions, a reality based on scientific discovery and validations. The new Pilgrims of morality are those who act and believe in a liberal moral code regardless of whether they believe in God. Whether or not "God exists" by default becomes entirely a personal, subjective moral choice, one that may not be imposed upon any other person. This is a very modern idea, and one perhaps that our Pilgrim forefathers had never envisioned. Yet, this idea had built the greatest and freest nation on Earth. And for that we must be truly thankful.
Happy Thanks Giving.
|Posted on Saturday, November 28, 2009 - 07:59 pm: |
Good words, Pilgrim, well said. There is every reason to be awed by the human condition in a Simple Universe, and every reason to be awed by our place in it, as stated above our "atman" within "Brahman". If I were to add one principle to your list of "commandments" above, it would be this:
9) Personal responsibility, where each person carries the responsibility of their actions in relation to existence, and all living creatures within it.
This dove tails into our earlier "Opus Rex" idea, that certain things are in and of themselves inalienable to our existence as human beings, even a morality without God. These principles of existence exist independent of us, of our objective and subjective reason, but are a reason universally unto themselves. We are not mere spectators in such a universe, but also active participants in it. This is an extremely rich gift from our Universe to us, the gift of fulfilling Consciousness.
|Posted on Monday, November 30, 2009 - 02:13 am: |
Forgive the off-topic question, but were you a participant in the "Examined Life" philosophy discussion forum from years ago? And if so, do you remember that infamous participant named "Anonymous" who also went by the name "Andrew" and a few other names -- and if so, have you ever seen him since?
I was a frequent participant of that forum, going by the name "Dr. Pepper" and a few other nicknames.
|Posted on Tuesday, December 01, 2009 - 01:06 pm: |
Dr. Pepper! Thanks for stopping by, Hesperado.
I did a quick word search on Humancafe forums and found your first entry on discussion "Dialogue with a Muslim", going back some years. This led to some good and heated discussion (but where did you go?); but it having steered away from the original intent of Humancafe, a world collective of ideas reduced down to sound universal, philosophical principle; we retired it when the discussions went too far into the problems of Islam's current manifestations (and confrontations with the world through their Jihad). We then decided the discussions lost sight of the bigger picture, especially as it applies to raising world human consciousness, through a too narrow focus on Jihad. Once the at times contentious "dialogues" were systemized into universal principles, the narrow focus of Jihad was deemed restricted and redundant on this site (best handled by sites dedicate to battle such tour de force discussions), so here focussed instead on universal notions of human interactions and philosophical notions of cosmological reality. The final product of that may be "The Universe is Simple" anthology -- continued here.
We eventually retired Mohideen's line of thought, with regrets, since he was very informative in his own way. What remains, now that Humancafe is officially "closed" (read only), is these PostScripts, to which all are welcome. But where did you go?
About Andrew or "Anonymous" at the Examined Life Journal, I can't recall the poster. I had stopped going to that site years ago when Mitch Hodges shut it down, but I think it is now reopened again at "The Examined Life On-Line Philosophy Journal", which requires a login. Hope all is well, most welcome to stop by again. Thanks.
|Posted on Thursday, December 03, 2009 - 04:38 pm: |
I had dimly remembered that "dialogue with a Muslim" from years ago here, but for the most part forgot about it. I hesitate now to even click on the link you provided, lest I become ensnared in following labyrinthine sophistry that only tends to infuriate and lead to ulcers and aneurysms -- Islam-apologist sophistry I have seen, and become entangled in, a thousand times since then.
At the time, I was fairly green about this whole issue, though even then I sensed what was likely to be ahead if I stuck around to dig into a "dialogue" with a canny Muslim who would inevitably trot out all the interlocking "arguments" of his Apologetics -- which back then I hadn't even begun to analyze as I have in years since.
When I left my brief dip into Humancafe back then, I went on to continue to participate more and more in the comments fields of Jihad Watch and Front Page, and soon after that, when I learned about the curious slaughter of a Christian Coptic family in New Jersey coincident with their heated participation in some vocal chat venue called "Paltalk", I looked into it, and found quite a few Islam-critical chat rooms there, which I went on to participate in rather intensively, and even created a few rooms of my own where lots of debate -- productive and not-so productive -- was sparked between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Another thing I've done over the past few years is create a blog, called The Hesperado. I started it in June of 2006, and have written about 300 essays on it, the last one a couple of weeks ago (it's not a daily blog like some, more a place for me to pen more thoughtful analyses that take me time to think about and research).
From your brief description of your time at Examined Life, it sounds like you must have missed the long period during which "Anonymous" was most active. I had participated in Examined Life for many years, fairly continuously, I believe beginning in the late 90s. From my admittedly vague recollection, it went through at least three phases, and I believe the phase you allude to, "when Mitch Hodges shut it down" was followed by its reincarnation under some other guy whose name I can't remember, I believe a guy out of the UK whose bio boasted of being a regular runner or jogger. At any rate, if your allusion refers to the last time Examined Life was "shut down", it doesn't seem to gel with my memory and one fact:
1) for it was during at least two years prior to that time that "Anonymous" was quite active -- right up to the very end (he also wrote under other pseudonyms, but all the regulars knew who he was)
2) since that last time, there has been no discussion forum at Examined Life, only a "Journal" website where no discussion or comments at all can be posted.
Just a couple of the mischevious deeds of "Anonymous" I could cite out of many, perhaps you remember:
1) For a few months, he disguised himself as a female librarian from Liepzig and embroiled himself in many amazingly complex philosophical arguments with other commenters -- when he finally admitted it had all been a sham, he caused quite a stir, and a whole new discussion was generated all about that.
2) Later, some members suspected he pretended to be a learned female Muslim from Pakistan or Bangladesh, posting a couple of long complex comments defending Islam.
Beyond that, Anonymous and I got into frequent tangles about the problem of Islam -- he, needless to say, seeing no problem at all.
Anyway, thanks for reading all this, and thanks for responding. I hope all is well.
|Posted on Friday, December 04, 2009 - 11:45 am: |
Beyond that, Anonymous and I got into frequent tangles about the problem of Islam -- he, needless to say, seeing no problem at all.
Ah yes, 'taqiyya' and 'kitman' - 'war is deception' - and posing an impostor, concepts now better understood by many thanks to JW and Mr Spencer et al. I will look in on The Hesperado.
|Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 01:22 pm: |
In a Simple Universe, the Kingdom of God administration is secular, not religious.
(This is in answer to: #3. Is God a non-religious idea, even 'atheistic' idea, in a Simple Universe?)
Thus, to become human, fully conscious in the image of our universe, is the greatest goal of our development. We are not in our kingdom yet, though we can approach our kingdom on certain conditions; ultimately it will be for us to rule. -- Habeas Mentem, Chapter 16
The Abrahamic faiths have a tradition of the Kingdom of God on Earth. Perhaps the best, most modern example of this is the Baha'i Faith directive, as a reformed off shoot of Islam (making it the fourth Abrahamic faith), where the primary work of the followers is to bring in on Earth a God administration, a world order as defined by Baha'ullah and the founders of the faith. This is accomplished by doing good works and prayer, by shunning political involvement with non-religious (non-Baha'i) administration of government, by following the precepts and tenets of the Faith, and by instituting administration of world government based on the moral teachings of the founders, including racial unity, compulsory universal education, equality of the sexes, elimination of extreme poverty (and wealth), a universal language, and a culture of cooperation and discussion rather than competition and confrontation. The idea behind this movement, laudable that it is, is that the whole world eventually submit to this form of religious and moral administration to bring God's Kingdom on Earth through our human actions and right beliefs. Failure to follow these precepts requires moral correction and, in the worst case, shunning by the followers for heresy.
Contrast this with our Secular beliefs and administration of government, where separation of "church and state", meaning no religion can dominate our constitutional government; where the moral foundations of our secular society rest in equality and reciprocity, innocence unless tried by law and proven guilty, equality of gender (without restriction on what "gender" means), freedom of choice within limits of the law, private faith and belief unfettered by law, a scientific approach to inquiry and problem solving, economic freedoms; and non-discrimination for our beliefs as long as our actions led by these beliefs do not infringe upon the rights of others (through violence, fraud, deceit, and in other ways intentionally hurtful to others), where all persons are equally protected by the law from such infringements. This form of government administration (followed by most modern democratic societies) is representative in structure, where political involvement is encouraged for citizen voters to participate in. Such a system of governance in society, based on the separation of religion from the constitutional laws of government, is universal for all societies regardless of their belief systems and ideologies, whether or not of the Abrahamic faiths traditions, and solely based on the principles of just and fair government equally for all. Failure to obey the laws will cause legal prosecution, but not of a "moral" nature, rather of a social nature to "re-educate" the perpetrator with personal restriction or fines, or therapy, rather than shunning and cruel punishments (cutting off of hands and feet, stoning to death, or threats of imagined punishments in the afterlife), so the wrong doer is encouraged to once again become a full member of society. There is no "heresy" under our secular freedoms of thought.
This secularized administration of government contrasts with the religious administration in that there is no stigma attached to how one conducts oneself in life as long as a "Golden Rule" applies, that we do not restrict others from their conduct as long as it does not infringe upon us, and society structures itself not according to some master plan (of God or man), but as the collective aggregate of humanity manifests itself in society. Contrast where religion, in particularly the Abrahamic faiths, demands that we obey certain rules of the faith, whether dietary, obligatory prayers, rules regulating many aspects of personal life, a priesthood dictating right from wrong; in effect, where a person's life is managed and prescribed, or proscribed, by the religious rules and dogmas of the faith, or be punished. Man, as a universal being, must conform to these rules or be ostracized by the believers, and possibly punished or banished, even punished unto death. To do "God's Kingdom" in this faith based social environment means one must pull along with the other members to bring about a religious administration according to the rules and precepts of the faith, to make this Kingdom a reality on Earth. Contrast this with a Secular world, where no such demand is made on humanity. But this does not mean the same goals cannot be achieved; rather, it means there is a better way to achieve the same goals without the heavy over-structure of the Abhrahamic faiths.
The main difference between the two ideologies of world government, one religious the other secular, is that where the religious "pushes" man to act according to prescribed tenets of how God's Kingdom is to become reality, to work towards that administratively (social rules of conduct and beliefs) as well as personally (fasting, prayer, right morality, etc.), the whole basis for this action is to do God's work on Earth. Whereas, the Secular option is to give human freedom a chance to create an equitable and just administration of world government, so once in effect each person "pulls" in the greater social structures from the (God's Kingdom) Universe through their personal life and existence, naturally. Think of the difference between a surfer pushing his board into the waves, versus one being pulled by the forces of the wind over the waves; it is something like that. Or in Tai Chi Chih there is a motion called "pulling the taffy" where the motions are not to push, but to pull in the energy of the universe. The goal of a Secular world order is not to push on a string to create God's Kingdom on Earth, but rather to establish a just and equitably fair system of governance, a constitutional and democratic administered government, from which all human beings can draw their own strengths and talents to bring about the best in themselves, and in the aggregate to bring about the best of humanity in our world order, by agreement rather than conflict. That is what "pulling" in God's Kingdom would mean, where each human being is automatically working towards this goal without having to be coerced into doing so, or excluded from it because of their personal beliefs. The drawback and serious flaw of the Abrahamic faiths, even the most advanced versions (such as Baha'i) is that they "push" human beings into being a certain morally prescribed identity, ignoring that human identity is already given by God naturally; and thus forcing or coercing human beings to negate what they already got from their natural state. (This is a subtle coercion because on the surface it appears to have all the same qualities as the secular, cooperation and agreements, but beneath the surface lurks the reality that one must believe as told, or be out of the imagined Kingdom.) There is no mystery to allowing humanity find its best. Keep humans from doing harm to themselves and each other, and they naturally rise to the surface of their greater being (in God) to consciously shine as creations of a vast living natural Universe. This is a reversal of traditional religious ideology: where it is not man defining God, but God defining man. That is the Kingdom, but we are not yet there.
In such a world order, where the Kingdom of God forms naturally, prayer for each man and woman, and child, is naturally how they live and breathe. There are no rules to which they must be obedient, or submissive, or otherwise failing they will be punished. That is not how God's Kingdom works. Rather, it works on elevating each human being to their best potential, their natural excellence, where we interact on principles of cooperation and agreements, not through force and coercions. All religions already know this, that the best of humanity is to be our very best morally personally, individually accountable of our own free will. This is as true of the Abrahamic faiths as it is of all other world religions: we know the best of humanity is in their freedom to become the best they can be. Where the religious failures occur is that the "interpretations" of how this best is achieved become the same coercive process that disengages the best in humanity. We cannot be at our best when pushed into it; our best humanity is when we pull it in from the Universe, a loving and joyful world, of our own free will. In a Simple Universe, this is naturally how we are.
That is how "God" rules on Earth, because only in freedom are we free to do His will.
The Messiah Paradox
|Posted on Friday, December 25, 2009 - 01:37 pm: |
Microbial life may be the key to macro-multicellular life.
(This is in answer to #1. Do you think we live in a Living Universe?)
(interactive -various articles- click images)
Sodium chloride crystal; bacterium cells; neuron connections
We live in a macro-microbial universe where both species co-exist, though microbial life far preceded multicellular life in our world's evolution as a living planet. (See Paper: Evolution of Mammals and Their Gut Microbes, also see NewScientist article: And Life Created Continents.) There is cause to believe that life and evolution of life are all interdependent down to the microbial level. We live in a "bacterial universe", which surrounds and hugs us tightly right down to the gut level, so microbial life is symbiotically macro-multicellular life as it had been for hundreds of millions of years on Earth.
Why is this important, or even interesting? The key to answering this question fits into another discussion on how life started in hot pools of crystalline clays. This unsurprisingly dovetails nicely into Wolfram's idea of "cellular automata", which theoretically can mimic life-like cell reproductions. But more importantly, it points hypothetically to a linkage interface between the crystalline world and the microbial world, though this needs a deeper explanation, a very novel idea which necessitates invoking the idea of totality "interrelationship" and correlated "emergence". This is a critical key to understanding the micro-macro life connections, that a cellular structure is both derived from its crystalline predecessor, but also is driven by it through its emergence.
How can this work? The most intuitive answer is that atoms and molecules came together in some crystalline 'soup' to form the first bacterial cells, and life proceeded from there into its ultimate evolution of a brain capable of understanding this. However, that is a limited way of seeing it, since it leaves out the connections of why this happens, so in the end we are left with no explanation. A better way of understanding this is to make the connections between an 'interrelated' reality of matter, atoms and molecules, that are responsive to the macro-structure of the universe. As a 'totality' interrelationship, it in turn redefines everyone one of its constituent parts in terms of the totality macro-image of where each part fits in relation to the whole of it. In effect, this is a description of how a macro-universe 'communicates' with its constituent parts at the elemental level. Taken to the next step, this universal system of internal communications (via interrelationship) can direct life's evolutionary process through a bio-feedback mechanism involving emergent cellular DNA. However, this still leaves one more connection missing, that between the crystalline matter and micro-bacterial cellular structures: What connects cellular living matter to the macro-universal structure of atomic matter?
(interactive, click image)
How old is life?
And this is where Wolfram's idea of 'cellular automata' fits in, that while the elemental structure of micro-baterial matter is self-defined, it simultaneously interacts with its external existence in a specific way which makes it responsive to the universe's internal 'interrelationship' structure. The two worlds of atomic matter, both as physics and chemistry defined by their interrelationship positions within the totality of existence; and the cellular bacterial world, as defined by the cell's interaction with this atomic matter, are intimately connected at the bio-feedback mechanisms that define living micro-life organisms, which in turn interact (after a lengthly period of co-evolution) with the macro-life of multi-celled organisms all the way up to human life forms. (Think of an insect colony 'thinking' as a totality, for example.) And what is important is that this process of connections bio-feedback works in both directions, so what is experienced by macro-life organisms, even ourselves, is once again communicated back through the micro-life organisms, bacteria, back to the interrelated matter of the physical universe, of atoms and energy, to the totality image that defines them. This is continuously a two way process, both in the present moment as well as in all prior history, where each interaction is communicated back and forth. Furthermore, what makes it even more interesting is that this communication between the micro-macro worlds and their atomic totality worlds is registered both in the cellular DNA programing, and ultimately in some manner of consciousness in the organism's living brain. Conversely, through our bacterial connections to our universe, our thoughts and actions are consequently recorded in some totality image stored into infinity. We may learn of the universe with our conscious brains, but the universe already 'knows' us in its infinite capacity for life. And that connection is what completes the circuit, which both explains why we have evolution as well as why we have a brain conscious of it: our Living Universe.
So this explanation of a Living Universe goes deeper than a simple intuitive understanding of how first life came into being from a crystalline soup; it delves deeper into how the universe self-organizes itself into a bio-feedback mechanism of life through its micro-bacterial life forms. We are interdependent upon this simple life form to interact at the macro-interrelationship levels of how the universe is self-structured into an infinite living entity; the feedback from this is the evolution of multi-cellular life forms capable of developing a thinking brain; in effect, we are made in the image of our Living Universe through our bacterial connection to all existence. And that makes us special, and divine.
We are living beings, intimately connected with a Living Universe, of God Consciousness.
Also see: BBC ScienceNews (2014) Deep Earth's crust microbial life found, living off methyl hydrocarbons without light or oxygen, very little water.
What's it about?
|Posted on Friday, January 01, 2010 - 12:01 pm: |
What's it all about, really? What are we thinking?
One Human Family
As I am reading these pages, and thank you to all who wrote here, I am thinking: what is it really we are saying? Are we not in final analysis really all saying the same thing, the wisdom of the ages, that we are somehow intimately connected to all existence? We are all connected to each other in community, this is obvious, though each one of us is a separate identity, a person. We are also all connected to our planetary biosphere for survival, an environment that if too degraded will cause our demise, so we must take care of it. We are all connected psychically to each other in the things that make us human, our smiles, our loves, our fears, our desires for happiness. But in reading this, it also makes sense that we are connected to all existence in a meaningful and totally intimate way, with a universe that acts around us as we act in it. This is still a novel idea, but it harks back to what all religions, philosophies and mysticisms of the past always hinted at, that we are creatures of a God-consciousness; that we are made in that image that makes us uniquely the human species with all its beauty, and at times terror, that had been the humanity of the ages. We are connected to our universe and each other, totally. Isn't this the most wondrous thing? Each one of us is the final thread of a vast infinite tapestry of Life, and we are now coming conscious of it and beginning to understand.
Once we know this, begin to truly understand our interconnectedness to the whole universe and each other, what do we do with it? Is this not the portal of our human exploration of the ages, of the stars, that we seek to understand ourselves in Life's existence throughout the universe? Isn't this what HumanCafe was all about? Think about it.
I leave this as a thought for the New Year - 2010 - that we are one human family. God bless, and many happy wishes to all.
And to all, thank you!
TOE is rubbish
|Posted on Monday, January 04, 2010 - 07:26 pm: |
"Theory of Everything" is an impossibility, hence "rubbish".
(In answer to #2. Have we in the 'simple universe' idea stumbled upon a TOE?}
There can never be a "Theory of Everything" or TOE given the impossibility of fitting all theories into the matrix of their foundational premises and logic. Take for example the foundational matrix of pre-Copernican astronomy, where Earth was the center of the solar system. The Ptolemaic epicycles worked perfectly within the parameters of the theory, though it was totally wrong. Earth is not the center, so within the description offered by those epicycles, it all made sense and was falsifiable, though in fact it was rubbish. This will be true for any falsifiable theory of reality, because though it will make perfect sense within the parameters of the foundational matrix of premises and logic, it cannot be falsified outside of that matrix. The best example today is whether or not gravity is truly a universal constant or not. Einstein's General Relativity falsifiably proves that it is. Everyone who knows astrophysics knows that it had been verified to decimal fractions. However, since any theory can be 'falsified' within the parameters of its matrix or observational observations, without independent cross-discipline verifications, it is essentially as worthy as those epicycles were, hence rubbish. Another example is the physics of chemistry, or perhaps even quantum physics. Within their domains of verification, they are flawless. But taken outside of their observational matrix and interpretations, they only work for within the parameters to explain the phenomenon. Outside, it becomes rubbish. So even if gravity was proved variable from what it had been assumed, it still could not and would not prove a TOE, because outside its parameters, it reduces down to rubbish. A Theory of Everything, hence, is impossible.
|Posted on Tuesday, January 05, 2010 - 01:35 am: |
I have difficulty with the concept that God is love. Love is simply a subjective (but perhaps universal condition [as mercy may be]) state that depends on the definition of the conscious being involved. On the other hand, conscious beings may find that successful coexistence may only occur with peace, mutual respect, and love as qualifying conditions. So perhaps Love is the Way - Dharma so to speak, that intelligence would favor.
God is simply possibility - time, space, occurrences, and non-occurrences, as well as the creative energy which provides for these!
God is simply...?
|Posted on Saturday, January 30, 2010 - 04:10 pm: |
God is simply possibility - time, space, occurrences, and non-occurrences, as well as the creative energy which provides for these!
"God is Life" is quickly becoming my motto, Naive, though there are aspects to life that are not loving. God is Love is a human aspiration, not a universal given, to my mind. Predatory behaviors dominate too much of the universe, from galaxies devouring each other to meat eaters. But... Are these merely more "possibilities" for Life, or simply "probabilities of energy" in the end?
Here is a fairly recent article that shows how Life is much more elementally complex than we had hitherto understood. It is organized right down to the virus level, and had been such from the dawn of evolution: Viruses: The unsung heroes of evolution.
Perhaps viruses' most dramatic claim to a starring role in evolution involves events in the dim and distant past. According to Forterre and others, viruses were responsible for some or even all of the main events in early evolution, including the invention of cells.
Perhaps the most profound change will be in our concept of organisms and species. Individuals are supposed to be distinct packages of genetic information that have been passed along an unbroken line of ancestors extending back millions, if not billions, of years. But in truth we're all leaky vessels, and DNA knows no bounds. It is looking more and more as though the biosphere is an interconnected network of continuously circulated genes - a "pangenome", to use the term recently coined by microbiologist Victor Tetz of St Petersburg State Pavlov Medical University in Russia.
So we are "viruses" first? Love second? And "bacteria" is what holds the universal Life together?
As to whether or not "God is Love" really matters to the universe, I think it matters only to us. God is whatever is the universe, all its possibilities and probabilities, and from that we must take what we can, if it is given. That includes Love. Personally? I'll take my chances on Love.
|Posted on Saturday, January 30, 2010 - 09:41 pm: |
When I was a kid I used to say, "We
(humanity) are just fancy germs."
I do agree with you about the predatory nature of things. Everything that lives must consume something else organic. If a person eats human flesh we call it barbaric, but we don't feel the same in regards to cannibalism in other species. I think then that we equate the ability to reason with moral responsibility. In turn we assume an omnipotent God is the ultimate in consciousness and thus the ultimate moral force, the ultimate in love.
What's really at issue is our "human" concept of love. Ancient cultures used harsh rites of passage to turn children into adults. For them it was an important and necessary step - an act of love on the road to maturity.
I believe we need to evolve our moral sense and reconcile it with the realities of the universe. Compassion can be harsh depending on the context. And love is not always the doting pampering and concern that we think it to be. Add that to the idea of an omniscient God . . . and there is just no way our small way of thinking can explain the necessity, inter-connectivity, and causal relationships that comprise universal happenings.
The gift is that we have some capacity to understand and explore our environment.
The question - do events just happen or are they made to happen, as in a grand plan?
God not there?
|Posted on Monday, February 01, 2010 - 12:19 pm: |
God is not there?
I believe we need to evolve our moral sense and reconcile it with the realities of the universe. Compassion can be harsh depending on the context. And love is not always the doting pampering and concern that we think it to be. Add that to the idea of an omniscient God . . . and there is just no way our small way of thinking can explain the necessity, inter-connectivity, and causal relationships that comprise universal happenings.
The question - do events just happen or are they made to happen, as in a grand plan? -- Naive
This is a very good question, Naive. Do events just happen, or is God there in some "grand plan"? I suspect it is something like this: God is not there, there is no one "managing" our human Earthly events, anymore than there was God managing the Hebrews' escape from Egypt, or during the Nazi Holocaust. Nor did these things "just happen". WE made them happen. God is a human creation, a "missing link" between the physical universe and our living human aspirations. Same as in quantum physics it is necessary to theorize missing particles, like the Higgs Boson, to fill in gaps in the models of our understanding, so is it on a vaster scale of human need to understand our existence. God is supposed to be there. But there is nobody there, except the echoes of our own psychic voices. God is us, deep down, our own need to understand and survive the deadly business of life. We die, so to make our lives worthy of living, we invent an order to the universe that has hitherto invoked God into existence.
But this is not a fatalistic, nor atheistic point of view. The universe is large, and it is able to accommodate the dreams and aspirations of its living things with surprising ease. If we want it to be God is Love, it can be. But this has to be chosen by us, dreamed willfully and consciously chosen, same as its antithesis can be chosen, and realized. We had done that all too often, and suffered. Why not aspire for the better and higher things, and succeed? Is God there? Of course, if we want it to be. But no, not really there. In the end, what is our Dream? What are our moral and humanist bearings? How well do we understand all the interrelations of reality? What level of our compassion for all life? What does it all mean to us? That is what is God... It is inside us.
|Posted on Friday, February 05, 2010 - 05:49 pm: |
I too believe that God is within us. I think this was the idea that Jesus postulated, but perhaps was not able to impress upon his ancient followers due to the limitations in thinking of that time period. And then when the Romans got a hold of him . . . well the rest is history. Hinduism and Buddhism were more successful in transmitting their points about spirituality because ancient Hindu leaders valued the ascetic way and were expected to retire to such a life after their reign was done. It was a positive tradition.
It is so unfortunate that our concepts of (respecting) divinity are so contrary to progress. Imagine if people put as much faith and zeal into scientific pursuits. We would have a world wide renaissance. Science, after all, is the appreciation of what God / the universe is.
I think the real questions are not related to science or culture or religion at all, but rather to someone's political agenda. Who benefits from keeping the world in the dark? Why don't current world leaders have a tradition of asceticism? And why aren't they held to that standard? When we are brave enough and free enough to impose these standards upon our leaders, then the love you speak of will become societal and global rather than individual. As is, most of our minds are shackled by a mental slavery to gain and ancient dogma.
This is a 4000 year pattern that various prosperous individuals continue to exploit . . . and seemingly, no one wants to be free.
|Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 - 11:05 am: |
BBC report on 'Winners and Losers' in former Soviet states:
Communism is easy to understand, it is essentially legalized stealing from the rich. As to where the confiscated wealth goes is a question mark. Some of it goes into munitions to maintain a war machine, some goes to maintain officials and their families in comforts of privileges, some goes into the apparatus set up to combat those (counter-revolution) forces opposed to the stealing of wealth, some goes into setting up social programs like schools and hospitals and government directed manufacturing and distribution per Communist ideology, and some of this redistributed wealth will end up on the tables of the needy poor, which is most everybody else. So now, since Communism proved poor at producing new capital wealth, once the redistributed wealth runs out, the economic system fails. This usual takes about three or four generations. But such an outcome for legalized Communism is easily understood and foretold. - Ivan
Note how in most of the former Soviet republics, democracy and freedoms go hand in hand with wealth, but corruption and oppression of freedoms engender poverty. Same ratios for health. Freedom and democratic governments free of coercions and corruption serves the people's health and wealth. But where these are damaged, so suffers the nation.
Russia is an odd case because wealth is surprisingly high considering they are the least democratic, but that is more a function of their wealth of natural resources than economic productivity, similar to many 'Third world' countries. Health suffers regardless.
What do you think? Can oligarchy, theogarchy, or kleptogarchy really deliver best government for the people? Or is freedom, respect for the individual, the right to free expression, rule of law protecting human rights, laws of agreement free of coercions (except coercion to stop criminality), and the right of human beings to find their own happiness; are these not better than the former? Freedom wins in all these.
Let the record speak for itself. Western civilizational freedoms are best. Also see: Why the West is Best by Ibn Warraq
Science & Politics collide
|Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 02:11 pm: |
When Science and Politics collide.
The "politicizing of science" has been ongoing since the days of the Holy See tried to imposed its own Ptolemaic brand of science from Biblical sources in Medieval times. Today's politicizing of science is a more recent invention: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politicization_of_science . But the aims are still the same, to politically influence scientific thinking with either power or money, or both. Of course, that makes for bad science. When dogma and science collide, it is bad for science.
Is this perhaps why the European Space Agency (ASE) dropped its planned "gravity research" probe for the outer solar system's Pioneer Anomaly? After all, if gravity is supposed to be a "universal constant", then why bother? If it's different constant out there than here, think how "destabilizing" this would be for all modern Cosmology thinking. How destabilizing it would be for such research funding, if Newton's G were not a constant! Better to sweep this under the proverbial rug and not examine it further…. There's too much money at stake. So like dogma, when science and politics collide, it is bad for science.
Dogma vs Science
Also see: Galileo's complaint
|Posted on Wednesday, February 06, 2013 - 02:10 pm: |
Are GMO Foods Dangerous to your Health? - video shorts with Dr. Oz
Genetically Modified Food (GMO - genetically modified organisms)
Pesticides injected into plants genetically stay inside indefinitely, even after they had died, so cannot be washed away. Pseudo-science claims at FDA cut short real scientific inquiry, saying GMO is safe to the public, and threaten independent researchers with legal action if they use patent protected GMO products in their experiments. But Freedom of Information and Consumer Protection should demand greater study, and certainly Truth in Labeling GMO products. Where are the legal challenges to this? Right or wrong, the consuming public has a right to know. It's your life, and your childrens' life, so it is your choice. We have a right to demand GMO labels so we can freely choose.
Also see: GMO Awareness Week articles
Non-GMO Shopping Guide
Moms Across America to label GMOs
Responsible Technology GMO dangers
But what if the GMO patent is dangerous to the public? Viz. Monsanto, saved seed and farmer lawsuits.
Should their 'patents' be invalidated if they pose a health risk? Wouldn't Freedom of Information and Consumer Protection warrant a legal challenge to "unlabeled" GMOs? Fair question, as any patent found harmful to public health and safety should be confronted legally: Organic Producers Fight Back Against Monsanto.
Freedom of information does not preclude the right to know what consumers are being sold as food. Patent protection is still in force, whether or not producers label genetically engineered food products, provided they are not sold as "food" to the consuming public. Otherwise, label and they can sell; or not label and they keep them off the shelf. At very least, potentially hazardous products, even patent protected, should be labeled (like tobacco) as potentially hazardous to public health. Product misinformation or 'omissions' should not be protected by law. Fair notice.
How 'intelligent' Intelligent Design?
|Posted on Friday, March 15, 2013 - 12:51 am: |
How "intelligent" is Intelligence Design?
(interactive - click to visit artist site)
Back when we wrote on Intelligent Design (2006), the initial question was if this theory was only a "God" related idea: "Can intelligence be designed into the universe without invoking a Deity?" Can we wrestle it away from the "Creationists"?
The common perception, according to Wikipedia on Intelligent design, is:
"Intelligent design (ID) is the concept that "certain features of the universe and of living things exhibit the characteristics of a product resulting from an intelligent cause or agent, as opposed to an unguided process such as natural selection." Proponents say that intelligent design is a scientific theory that stands on equal footing with, or is superior to, current scientific theories regarding the origin of life."
No, scratch that. That was 2006. Today, seven years later, the submission to Wiki had been changed to:
Therein lies the problem, that "intelligent design", which is essentially an ontological idea, had been moved from philosophical inquiry to a near theistic, politicized absolutism: a form of "creationism"? Is this true?
"Intelligent design (ID) is a form of creationism promulgated by the Discovery Institute, a politically conservative think tank based in the U.S.. The Institute defines it as the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.""
The usual view of present day scientists is that Life started from RNA combinations that created the first living cells, possibly from some clay mixture, that then had the ability to thrive and replicate. From there, once life takes hold, a Darwinian evolution is set in motion, devoid of any intentional intelligent operative, and solely based on undirected 'natural' selection. Anything else, the scientific community cloaks itself in inviolability by calling such ideas "pseudo-science", which ends the discussion. Or worse, the question of "intelligent design" in the universe evokes a negative visceral rejection, borderline hysterical emotional response. But why is that? Isn't Science open to all challenges and ideas, leaving no stone unturned? Obviously, on this issue, the answer is clearly "No."
Does the ontological idea of a Universe bearing Life having some "intelligence" to its design lead of necessity to a Deistic idea which cannot be separated from "religious" belief? Is Life's evolution strictly a religious idea prejudiced and monopolized by an a priori concept of God? Can the universe be "intelligent" without invoking a Deity, but be intelligent by Design of its own accord, by how it is put together? Critics of Intelligent Design answer an uncategorical "No." Apparently, in their collective minds, ID equates with Creationism, such as founded by ancient text of Judaic scripture, or promoted today by fundamentalist Christians. But is this the only option? Does God have to come into it, or can a secular Intelligent design be as viable?
The same issue came up in a documentary on Intelligent Design titled "Expelled: No Intelligencer Allowed" by Ben Stein et al, where the academic community discriminates against any of its own who even mention in passing the concept, even if only referenced in a paper. The 'punishment' is shunning, being ridiculed, disciplined, losing ones employment, and essentially being "expelled" from academia for having done so. Is this Science? But Stein's documentary falls into the same ontological trap, that it commingles "Intelligent design" with "Creationism", so it becomes an issue of which do you believe? Darwinism or Creationism? However, that is a straw man, because it fails to address Intelligent design on its own terms. Darwinism's "natural" (whatever it means) selection is one possible methodology of "intelligence" in the universe, but not exclusively so. The question is not whether there is a "God" who set all this in motion; rather, the question is if there is "Intelligence" in how life had evolved? The evolution of life may be more complex than the assumed "natural selection" of survival of the fittest, or even of environmental adaptability. Life may be more a complexity of "intelligent emergence" resulting from the intelligent "design" of the Universe, than any deistic prime mover, or any "undirected" process randomly playing genetic dice. In short, Stein's documentary should have been more careful on separating the three into separate and distinct avenues of inquiry. Rather, it would have been better had he brought into the picture how "intelligent design" is actually a metaphysical idea that can exist ontologically without "God", and even with or without Darwin.
I had written in a past entry to the Examined Life forum (now closed):
"God" need not come into this argument, nor Creationism. Life can evolve (2008) from its primordial clays, or ice, or crystals, or some primordial soup, or undersea volcanic vents, etc., simply by being complex enough, and large enough, so that massive complexity can become an "emergence" (2008) evolving from its own complex system. Given the universe's inherent interconnectedness (to infinity) as an "interrelated" complexity, there would be a natural (whatever that means) emergence of something more complex than itself. Given sufficient time and space, this same emergence can replicate into an organic form that is "alive", and replicates on its own. In Stein's film, he asks the question (paraphrased) "What is the probability of RNA coming together in such a fashion, all 250 proteins necessary, to become life?" No answer can be meaningful, as the probabilities are astronomical, or magical. But they can be meaningful if taken as a probability "emerging" from the universal complexity, focussed and redefining itself (as the concept of a living "interrelationship" posits) so that the whole re-defines itself on any one point within itself. That basically defines "Emergence", and it has nothing to do with a deistic, religious, or creationist ideology. "Natural" in that sense becomes just what it is meant to be, that nature is an "emergent complexity" on an infinite scale. And that, taken to its final analysis, ontologically, is what creates Life. No "God" need apply. The Universe is already "Intelligent" in its inherent design.
Biology is not merely chemistry, however, and the two sciences only meet on the periphery of how living tissue responds to chemical or electrical stimuli. Thus far we had not yet succeeded in observing a single instance where inorganic chemistry comes alive, though we had simulated amino acids in the laboratory. But though they may be the building blocks of living matter, they still fall far short of spontaneously coming to life. So biological science is separate and distinct from the other physical sciences, and is thus unique, because it deals with living things. Life science is thus a mystery.
But it gets better. There is little in the universe that the human mind can find totally devoid of some "intelligence". Everything works within itself as part of a total whole, at every instant of time, in an interconnected interplay of forces from here to infinity. From the Quantum level to the Galactic cosmic level, there is a constant interplay of forces and energies, all commingled into an infinite complexity following intelligible laws (such as discovered by science). There is nothing "dumb" out there, but totally intelligent and understandable to the human mind. It seems that in our eagerness to understand the universe, we switched and reversed roles, that rather than seeing all Existence as intelligently intelligible, we ascribed our intelligibility as the only intelligence out there, in our brains, while the rest of the universe remains inertly devoid of it. But is this not an odd form of reverse anthropomorphism? We claim to be intelligent, but claim that the universe cannot have "intelligence", so we conclude that it must be devoid of our intelligence, as if our human (or alien) intelligence was the "only" one out there. Is it not more sensible to say that our intelligence is an "emergent" quality of Life's already extent "intelligence", one we are fortunate enough to participate in? Other living beings have some intelligence, but we surpass them, as far as we can see, by orders of magnitude. Yet, if all animals display some rudimentary intelligence, then why should our higher evolved consciousness not be inherent of the whole structure, of how it all is put together? Perhaps, taken to its natural extension, our consciousness is merely one "emergent" fragment of a larger, infinite, universal Consciousness, which we have evolved high enough to come to understand it (or beginning to). In effect, it is watching us! And if so, is that not what "Intelligent design" is naturally? There is no "God" deity here, only how the Universe, in all its totality, puts itself together on a higher intelligence plane, of interrelated forces and motion, so all emergent possibilities come "natural" to existence, and the end product of that is Life, or consciousness, or our human identity. Evolution, on such a platform, even the crude evolution of Darwinism, even if devoid of self-adjusting DNA, is still orders of magnitude greater than the simple scientific hypothesis of "random" natural selection, random mutations, environmental random adaptations, predation, etc. They somehow fall short of telling the whole story, and sound rather un-intelligent. It does not have to be deistic Creationism to be Intelligent design. Life's evolution is much more than limiting ideas of ancient creationist mythology, or politicized religion. The universe is already intelligent. It was an arrogance of ignorance that led us to think we are the supreme "intelligence" out there. In fact, we have it turned around. The Design is already out there; we are merely fortunate enough to participate in it.
Also see: Does "random" really exist?
Universe thinking itself as the Logos?
THE UNIVERSE IS SIMPLE
Do we have Free Will?
Brilliant Mind of Einstein
|Posted on Monday, March 25, 2013 - 02:13 pm: |
The Brilliant, Beautiful Mind of Albert Einstein
(interactive - Einstein's Field Equations)
Ricci tensor on blackboard
There is ample documentation that Einstein's mind was unusual, which may in part explain his brilliant accomplishments in physics within his lifetime. His scientific career spanned nearly a half century, though most work was done between 1905, when he published his Special Relativity, his 1916 published General Relativity theory of gravity, and 1935, when he worked on Quantum Mechanics and particle entanglement. His later years were dedicated to reconciling his General Relativity, which had been amply proven right through astronomical observations, with Quantum Theory, which had also been proven right. In 1950 he published a paper in Scientific American describing his unified theory, entitled "On the Generalized Theory of Gravitation"; except this reconciliation remained unsuccessful until his death, 1955. But in those years, he accomplished many innovations in how the world of physics works, and astronomical advances, from the Photoelectric Effect (for which he received a Nobel Prize, 1921), to quantized atomic vibrations (particle Brownian motion), to the Equivalence Principle (gravity and acceleration equivalent), to wave-particle duality (photons and energy quanta), to speculations on the nature of the universe (zero point energy, dynamical space-time, energy momentum pseudotensor equations, geodesic equations, wormholes theory, etc.), to a new type of 'heat exchange' refrigeration (patented 1930). His mind was tireless in seeking answers, and towards the end of his life he turned his attention to world events, grimly aware that the invention of the atom bomb was a serious turn in human events.
But it was the Entanglement of Quantum states that ipso facto was a potential turning point in Einstein's theoretical developments, what he called "spooky action at a distance". Had he pursued this to its natural conclusion, that the universe interacts 'instantaneously', his phenomenal insights into the workings of the universe might have taken another turn. His theoretical work was based on the workings of electromagnetic energy, light waves as photons, the light speed constant limit as a measuring gage of relativistic phenomenon in the universe, the Riemann manifold geometry as an expression of those phenomena translating into gravity geometry, how mathematics match the workings of the natural universe. It was Relativity that defined how the universe worked mathematically, and from that domain of mathematical idealism, Einstein's brilliant mind saw a totality of theory encompassing both gravity and the electromagnetic world of energy. They were related, mathematically compatible, both restricted by the light speed c limit, which made all electromagnetic energy observation, like light, automatically restricted to its 'relativity' restrictions based on light speed c; all of which invoke time delay, or relativistic 'proper' time, in how space-time became a four dimensional of Lorentz transformation. So 'instantaneous' action at a distance was not a viable alternative, if the universe worked according to the light speed constant limitation, as defined by Special Relativity. Within the parameters of relativistic reference frames, as measured by lightspeed with adjusted time, a century of observations have demonstrated the innate genius of this great mind, with mathematical elegance and precision. If all forces in the universe are communicating at the lightspeed limit, with adjustments for time, then the results of Einstein's relativistic universe are incontrovertible. His brilliant genius could not have made the outcome different, given those parameters. A century of proofs has given ample evidence of this, which is why today General Relativity and all projections from this theory of gravity spacetime have yielded us such a rich panorama of universal observations, from Hubble light redshift to the Big Bang's Cosmic Microwave Background. Within the parameters set, these are the natural conclusions that could not have been derived otherwise. Hence, the complete genius of Einstein's Relativity.
However, if the universe operated instead on a quantum entanglement platform, where all forces are not limited to lightspeed, but some forces (i.e., gravitational related forces, atomic strong force et al) operate within instantaneous 'simultaneity' parameters, the universal image now drawn is incomplete. It is correct for all observable radiating electromagnetic forces, but it fails on the gravitational arena, unless, and only unless, hypothesized gravitons (undetected to date) actually do travel at the lighspeed limit. If they do, then relativistic gravity GR is of necessity correct; but if gravity forces exceed the lightspeed limit, then GR is inconclusive. And this is where "spooky action at a distance" possibly tripped up Einstein's brilliant mathematical computations to give a potentially false reading on what is happening on the cosmological scale. If Quantum Entanglement is real, then the 'instantaneousness' of its action at a distance creates a totally different scenario. Einstein, having theorized Relativity as universal, could not have envisioned this otherwise, since his theories are entirely lightspeed dependent; it is not his fault. He put together a beautiful theory within the parameters framework he envisioned, supported by countless observations (within relativistic domains of applicability), but one which, unbeknownst to him, was flawed on its basic premises; so both his first and second postulates would have read differently from how they were said. The axioms instead would have postulated faster than light, perhaps infinitely faster, forces communicating at infinite distances, and that different reference frames communicate with each other instantaneously, not at the lighspeed limit; and the isotropy of the universe would have yielded a very different gravitational backdrop than theorized by GR. But this would necessitate an axiom of where Newton's gravitational constant G is not a universal constant. Of course, Einstein had no way to know that, as neither did other cosmological theories of his time. So within the parameters set, his work was perfect; but within a different theoretical set of axioms, it would in the end prove incomplete. Still, what Einstein did was absolutely beautiful. His was a truly beautiful, great mind.
Einstein's last years, diary chronicles
What would big data think of Einstein? - BBC
Gravity, the perfect illusion
The Mass of the Universe
Gravity Waves Found?
also: Einstein’s exploration of a steady-state model of the universe - Einstein had doubts on the Big Bang Theory?
It is well known that the most important fundamental difficulty that emerges when one asks how the stellar matter fills up space in very large dimensions is that the laws of gravity are not in general consistent with the hypothesis of a finite mean density of matter. Thus, at a time when Newton’s theory of gravity was still generally accepted, Seelinger had already modified the Newtonian law by the introduction of a distance function that, for large distances r, diminished considerably faster than 1/r2.
This difficulty also arises in the general theory of relativity...
- Albert Einstein
The Big Picture, Cosmic Relativity
|Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 - 09:55 pm: |
The Big Picture - Special Relativity and General Relativity incompatible?
photo from Hyperdesk page
Does Dark Matter gravity redshift?
Galaxy Redshifts Reconsidered by Sten Odenwald and Rick Fienberg, February 1993
It may be that our 'proven' and tested understanding of General Relativity, though mathematically beautiful and elegant, may not be self-consistent, and may not describe reality. Or as the above authors stated:
The first conclusion means that we cannot trust even the insights hard won from special relativity to accurately represent the 'big picture' of the universe. General relativity must replace special relativity in cosmology because it denies a special role to observers moving at constant velocity, extending special relativity into the arena of accelerated observers. It also denies a special significance to special relativity's flat spacetime by relegating it to only a microscopic domain within a larger geometric possibility. Just as Newtonian physics gave way to special relativity for describing high speed motion, so too does special relativity give way to general relativity. This means that the special relativistic Doppler formula should not, in fact cannot, be used to quantify the velocity of distant quasars. We have no choice in this matter if we want to maintain the logical integrity of both theories.
The last conclusion drawn from general relativistic cosmology is that, unlike special relativity, it is not physically meaningful to speak of spacetime existing independently of matter and energy. In big bang cosmology, both space and time came into existence along side matter and energy at 'time zero'. If our universe contains more than a critical density of matter and energy, its spacetime is forever finite and bounded, in a shape analogous to a sphere. Beyond this boundary, space and time simply do not exist. In fact, general relativity allows the Conservation of Energy to be suspended so that matter and energy may be created quite literally from the nothingness of curved spacetime. General relativity provides a means for 'jump-starting' Creation!...
These are limiting factors of the 'Big Picture' of our universe, to restrain it within dimensions human minds can understand. However, the universe may be both simpler and bigger than our minds now comprehend. And thus continues the adventure saga of understanding our enigmatic cosmological universe… As such current beliefs are the neo-Creationsim Cosmology.
Also see: Mass of the Universe
Oh Einstein... Whert art thou?
|Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 - 02:30 pm: |
Symbol of historic Universalism
We are all programmed to connect with the Universal Mind, though mostly we are unconscious of it. Natural Universalists are those men and women who already tell the truth naturally. It is an involuntary urge to so so, when it is safe to not harm others. They will be those who do not intend to coerce others, and rather in a spirit of goodwill and community will help instead. Universalists are people who naturally connect with their higher consciousness in all things they do, whether or not aware of it. They are easily identified by their courteous good nature and joyous aura, for they eschew negativism and do not give into their fears. The individuals who are comfortable in their belief, whether or not true (for life will correct us if wrong), are true to their principles and find courage in them. Universalists are persons who bring all things to the good, such as they believe it to be, who are tolerant of others (not permissive), who reconcile differences rather than divide; nor do they force others to believe as they do. These are natural human tendencies that better center us in our natural being of Who we are.
We are what we believe, so if we believe we live in an all inclusive universal, interrelated reality that defines for us our being's identity, our Who, then we are naturally drawn to better occupying that reality in terms of Who we are. This is a fundamental principle of the freedom of us occupying our being without coercion or deceits, with the right to be who we are, and with reciprocal freedoms for all others equally. This is a fundamental human right in this existence, one that no morality belief system can take away from us. As free human beings we are better occupying our natural existence to manifest our lives as we are designed to live them, with our dreams and aspirations, and with the freedom to seek our own beliefs and beauty in life. Then we naturally manifest our lives with happiness and joy for ourselves, and for all who come in contact with us. When we believe this, a natural peace comes into our lives, and those of others, as our lives become beautiful with love for all things.
We can choose to live in competition or in harmony. Friendly competition, where parties agree to compete, is healthy for us, and stimulating as well as fun. But coercive competition is damaging to our universal being, as it promotes predatory behavior, strife and injury causing suffering. Human history is replete with the latter, but it was the prior that led to our long legacy of achievements. As Universalists, we become conscious of how we choose to live our lives. The choices we make, both consciously and unconsciously, are driven by our innate beliefs, and those are determined by how our lives unfold for us. If we seek beauty, we will find it. And if we are driven by energy to succeed, to explore, to progress in life, we will achieve it, without necessarily having to fight for it. In a Universalist belief world, the universe already works to position us within our natural being of Who we are. As more people come to understand this, the world will change for the better in surprising ways. Our future as a planet composed of conscious, Universalist beings, is a world driven by truth and harmony, and joyfulness. It is a world of gratitude and consideration, a legacy for our future generations to be thankful for.
The Kingdom of God, secular
Masters of the Universe - Deconstructed Universalism
Devil sugar, salt
|Posted on Wednesday, February 05, 2014 - 01:25 pm: |
The Devil Sugar, demon Salt
American per capita sugar consumption - 1822-2005
World facing cancer 'tidal wave' on horizon, warns WHO
The globe is facing a "tidal wave" of cancer, and restrictions on alcohol and sugar need to be considered, say World Health Organization scientists.
It predicts the number of cancer cases will reach 24 million a year by 2035, but half could be prevented.
We eat too much sugar, on average 100 pounds a year (vs. ~10 lbs in early 19th century), which is detrimental to our health. Complex sugars like fruit or found in natural foods, which also contain important dietary fiber, are not detrimental in same way as processed foods with sugar added; why whole grains are healthier than refined carbohydrates like white flour and white rice.
BBC News: Sweet tooth linked to heart attacks
Most adults and children in the US and the UK eat too much sugar.
Sugars are added to a wide range of foods, such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, and some fizzy drinks and juice drinks.
Nutrition labels often tell you how much sugar a food contains - look for the figure for carbohydrates on packs.
Read the ingredients labels for added sugars like sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, grams of sugar, etc. Raw sugars found in food are preferred to added sugars, including artificial sweeteners.
How addictive is sugar?
And then there is salt: High-sodium diet linked to obesity in teenagers
High salt intake linked to higher stroke risk
Researchers found that of close to 2,700 older, mostly minority adults, those who got well above the recommended sodium intake were nearly three times as likely to suffer a stroke over 10 years as people who met guidelines recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA).
Young and old should read labels for salt content, same as sugar content. It's a matter of life and health. (In fact, per research sited by Gary Taubes, below, salt intake has a minimal effect on hypertension, whereas sugar is the greater culprit.)
Also see: Science writer Gary Taubes' richly informative book, "Good Calories, Bad Calories" (2007), available at Amazon.com
Gary Taubes, pp: 392-393:
This half century of research unequivocally supported the alternative hypothesis of obesity. It established that the relevant energy balance isn't between the calories we consume and the calories we expend, but between the calories - in the form of free fatty acids, glucose, and glycerol - passing in and out of the fat cells. If more and more fatty acids are fixed in the fat tissue than are released from it, obesity will result. ... And as this research had now made clear, the critical molecules determining the balance of storage and mobilization of fatty acids, of lipogenesis and lipolysis, are glucose and insulin - i.e., carbohydrates and the insulin response to these carbohydrates.
Insulin works to deposit calories as fat and to inhibit the use of that fat for fuel. Dietary carbohydrates are required to allow this fat storage to occur. Since glucose is the primary stimulator of insulin secretion, the more carbohydrates consumed - or the more refined the carbohydrates - the greater the insulin secretion, and thus the greater the accumulation of fat. "Carbohydrate is driving insulin is driving fat," as the Harvard endocrinologist George Cahill recently summed it up.
Just in: Sugar worse than salt? - BBC Health news
Also see: Grain Brain - by Dr David Perlmutter, MD
Yoga for Hormonal Health
Passing of an Age
|Posted on Thursday, August 07, 2014 - 12:14 pm: |
Passing of an Age
It may only be me, but it feels as if this new Twenty-first century is surrendering its former age. Same as the Twentieth had in turn surrendered the Victorian age, we are now ending what I would call an age of Optimism. Where the Twentieth century was rich in happy future enthusiasm, despite two horrific world wars; remember nuclear energy "too cheap to meter?"; today it seems falling towards an age of a depressed, grim realism. All is not well in the world as we examine our new century. The bright expectations of the past century where, for example, it was believed the world would better itself by ending European world empires, in Africa and Asia, had not produced meaningful gains for peoples of these former colonies as expected. Perhaps parts of Asia experienced some hoped for progress economically, but the same had not happened for Africa, where endemic wars, poverty and social displacements are rife. It was thought that the passing of an era of Colonialism would give way to an age of independence and social progress, but as mass migrations show, mass desperation came instead. There are many reasons for this, most from warring factions and corrupt leaders, the future looks grim; but there are also systemic reasons for Africa's failure in its post-Colonialism reality, with decaying infrastructure, limited education, petty official corruption, and persistent regressive cultural habits, especially towards women. The same in Asia or South America, where human rights are subsumed to a neo-medieval mentality run by strong men and corrupt officials, even in Russia after the fall of Soviet Communism. This last century may have been cynical, but it was also an age full of hope and optimism, medical miracles for universal health, a positive 'can do' age of executive attitude in society, universal education, science, space exploration, corporate commerce, environmental awareness, ending hunger and malnutrition, even vast technological progress. These were not by 'divine intervention', but products of human ingenuity. Yes, progress happened, but it was uneven, tenuous, and the backsliding forces of social dysfunctions still kept surfacing to temper our optimism. The grim reality is that our new century is plagued in ways we had not foreseen.
Granted this new century is short on nations attacking nations. Israel may be the glaring exception, as it must defend itself against a persistent enemy from Islamic Jihad, Gaza not yet a nation. The rule is nations do not war on nations in the Twenty-first century, but a more sinister attack has claimed dominance against peace in the world, what had been dubbed by media as "terrorism". In fact, these attacks are the new world war, and it originates globally from one group that wants to dominate all civilization. With its peculiar form of theocratic form of Medieval government, devoid of basic human rights and democratic process, or rule of law based on equality and universality, it wants world dominance to undo all modern achievements of humanity's Age of Reason. Their persistence in these attacks, often suicidally self destructive and driven by theological fanaticism, is the new plague on the world's humanity, and one that has caught us short. We as a global humanity did not expect this, certainly not in a progressive 21st century! But where our world view was one of Jetson-like future optimism, theirs was one of perceived moral decadence. Hence they war in us, to save themselves from our corrupting influence on their world. In their eyes, our modern freedoms and achievements count for little if it corrupts our youth, our women, and it must be routed out by force. It matters to them even less that their form of jurisprudence, the Sharia as inspired by the Koran, yields disastrously poor results where practiced, and where odious forms of punishment, enslavement, discrimination against women, minorities, homosexuals, and endemic poverty and disease plague their world; they see themselves in the right, and we in the wrong, according to their 'God's law'. This is the new reality of our century, that our former optimism is being tempered by those who do not share in it, cannot share in it, are even fanatically hostile to it, so force us to reassess where we had been, and where we are going.
The optimism of our past century may be most exemplified by our music, Jazz and Rock'n'roll, or by America putting the first humans on the Moon, or by virtual elimination of pandemic diseases such as polio, typhoid, tuberculosis, small pox, cholera, malaria (though some are making a comeback), and by a new world view of ourselves as part of a global community, exemplified by easy jet travel, instant communications, and the overwhelming information on the world Internet. Never had humanity achieved so much in such a short span of time; Caesar and Alexander would have been envious. But that was not enough. First, it did not affect the world equally and universally; second, it is tripped up by growing in-city violence, drug wars, new pandemics like deadly viruses, Ebola, SARS, AIDS, MERS, and growing environmental cancers, old age dementia (life expectancy may be dropping). Our 20th century optimism is being tarnished, and with it the passing of an age where our innocence is being suppressed by an uncomfortable realism. All is not well in the future of the world.
Who in the glory of Rome, or Nineveh, would have guessed the collapse of their civilization, and a return to more primitive barbarism? Probably few, but there may have already been a shift of mood, that some things were not holding right. This is how I see today's civilization, that the security of our built world, the social theories which we have come to believe, the foundations of our common beliefs, all have somehow given way to doubt. I do not forecast the end of civilization, since I believe we live in different times from the Romans and Assyrians. But I forecast a shift in our Age of Optimism towards something more real, less cynical, and more down to Earth. Families will still raise their young to function as worthy adults, schools will still educate students to become productive doers and thinkers, and cities will still be built to house the engines of our civilization. People will still build their homes and tend their gardens, mostly in sprawling suburbs, to raise their families in peace and relative comfort (if possible), a world filled with gadgets of technological abundance. These will not perish, same as the self-assured Victorian world did not perish with the First World War; it only changed, and with this change ended an era. Today's change will likewise see the passing of an era, and the age of giddy optimism will give way to something new, more sober. It will be uncomfortable at first, whole segments of a self-assured society feeling ill at ease, doubting both church and tradition, more insecure in their future; perhaps even physics may undergo change, where the age of Einstein will give way to a surprising new science. Environmental degradation, species extinctions, and world overpopulation all weigh on us, globally. Did someone say Global Warming? But things change, and same as grand, aristocratic estates of past centuries gave way to more democratic estates, there will be social changes that will make such ostentatious grandeur less secure. The world will be a simpler, humbler place, but at the same time not poorer, rather it will be richer in spirit and less arrogant, more real. People will care more for one another, for that is how all societies survived and vanquished common foes. And where religion had anchored morality in the past, a new human, global awareness will guide our future. We are challenged in this century, and in that challenge will come responses that will lead to new optimism, but not the naive optimism of this past century. Rather, it will be a renewed optimism of realism, that decadence is a dangerous pursuit, and arrogance its bankrupt handmaiden. I believe we as a civilization will persevere, just different than before, and hopefully wiser and sadder, and more mindful for the better. Yes, an age may have passed, but a new age has begun. Though, we may still not know what to call it... Perhaps we will "come together" as a human family.
Ebola virus escape
|Posted on Sunday, October 26, 2014 - 01:34 pm: |
The Great Ebola Virus Escape.
Medicins sans Frontieres, Sierra Leone
Though not fond of conspiracy theories, nor urban legends on the net, there may be possibility the Ebola virus escaped from one of West African research facilities: Accidents in Germ Labs and the Ebola Pandemic. This is a frightening prospect, though natural infection from species jump, where either apes or fruit bats are suspected, has the higher probability; where first cases were reported in 1976 in Zaire and Congo. Since then it may have mutated, in 2010 new cases were reported in West Africa, the latest outbreak in 2013 evident in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. Now with near 5000 deaths reported, it has been labeled a world pandemic, a human tragedy with frightening consequences.
Though the virus' reproduction numbers are comparably low (to other pandemics, such as Spanish Flu a century ago), there is the counter fact that Ebola virus needs but one spore to take hold of a new human host, which makes it potentially exponential if it spreads. This, of course, is not assured it will spread, but given modern modes of mass transportation, especially air travel where all aboard breathe the same canned air, and if the virus can be transmitted without direct contact with agent's body fluids, then a whole new dimension opens in terrifying proportions. Imagine all air travel halted, along with other forms of mass transport? Drastic measure, but if serious enough it could happen.
There is another dimension to consider: religious pilgrimage. The October Hajj to Mecca just completed did not make news, no Ebola reported, but the potential consequences of infected pilgrims could have devastating effect of transporting the virus back to their home countries. Many Muslim pilgrims on the Hajj come from poor countries, or crowded nations like Pakistan or India, which could vector exponentially the number of infected people in close contact with active disease. This could vault into unimaginable suffering and deaths, where whole villages could fall at risk. Fortunately, this had not happened. But such infection could catapult amongst all groups, including Hindus and Christians who also do religious pilgrimages.
There are treatments available, but any vaccine is still in the early stages of development. Blood transfusions from survivors have been successful in curing Ebola, but this is a limited response, unless such transfusions are done on a mass scale. Large pharmaceutical companies are developing Ebola vaccines, still awaiting human trials. The hardest hit areas, especially West Africa, are poor areas with many uneducated persons, so other than quarantines, there is not much that can be done to contain spread of infection if the people don't understand how the disease spreads. Some people affected may not believe the disease is a serious risk, so may ignore efforts to contain it. Worse, they may fall to conspiracy theories blaming the West and its doctors, or pharmaceuticals, cynically believing they brought Ebola to them. This is as absurd as believing it is the 'wrath of God', and it hinders proper containment and treatment. Families die, children orphaned, and the disease unchecked grows exponentially with tragic results worldwide, not only lives lost en mass, but also social paralysis and economic devastation.
These are the real consequences of unchecked pandemics. No casting of blame, nor superstitious fears, can reverse the spread of this malicious disease if it is not properly treated. It will take coordinated action, good medical science, and a will to fight both the disease and the ignorance of those who fail to understand the seriousness of risks involved. Education is an important weapon against its spread, as is medical assistance, with serious dangers for those who come to aid, who not only face the risk of infection but also the wrath of the people they have come to help.
In the end, it will take science and the coordinated actions of all nations, and able people of good will, to reverse the spread of Ebola so it does not grow exponentially into a devastating world pandemic. At the height of Europe's Black Death in the Middle Ages, over a third of the population perished. It can not be allowed to happen again, in Africa or anywhere. We cannot allow this devastating disease to escape; we can beat this, as we must.
What about illegal immigration
|Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 07:47 pm: |
What to do about illegal immigration.
Tomorrow President Obama is to announce his Executive vision on the American illegal immigration problem:
Obama to announce major US immigration changes - BBC
Will it be realistic? Same as is happening in Europe or Australia (but not in Asia), desperate people are fleeing their countries for hope to a better life for themselves and their children in the American land of opportunity. After all, this was a country largely built by immigrants, from all over the world. Whether they flee their homelands for political repression, or organized gangs criminality, or for a crushing poverty from which they see no escape, they are all classified as 'refugees' in the real sense of the word. As long as they themselves are not criminals, they should be treated as refugees. These are desperate people who risk life and treasure to escape their homelands because something is broken there. And same as war refugees, they must be handled in some humane manner rather than be allowed to starve. But there are conditions.
First of all, the borders should be secured in order to account for who is trying to get in. As well, there should be facilities to process the refugees once they arrive. If they pass certain tests, are not known criminals or fanatic terrorists, and express a desire to assimilate into our way of life, there should be a probation period for them to find meaningful work, employment that will facilitate their economic condition so they are not falling back on public welfare, and show a propensity for adapting to an American (or European) way of life. If, let's say, a three month probation is required and the refugees have found employment, where they are issued a work card, then an automatic review should be established to track whether this condition is still active, say every three to six months. After one year, they then can be issued a regular residency identification card, so in effect they are no longer on the same probation roster as before, but now are on a new post-follow-up roster. All this requires human and financial capital, but as a rich nation, we must find ways to make it affordable. They have come to us as refugees, and it is our duty to help them. Since it is unlikely they will land high paying jobs, rather menial work no one else wants to do, they are not a drain on our economy, but a benefit. Charging them same taxes as normal citizens, including retirement Social Security, does not detract from our economy, but rather adds to it. This is how America was built, that if they are willing and able, let them work.
There are other ways to help the refugees fleeing their countries. Of course, it would be ideal if their economies and political systems were righted so they would find no need to flee. But realistically, short of a Colonialism styled take over of their countries to secure investments and political stability (something no one wants today), there is a limit to what financial investments, in factories or other enterprises, could be made self-sustaining, or profitable; if the criminality is high, or government oppression crushing, then investments and natural economic and market activities have poor chance of success. The Chinese, for example, have tried to create jobs in Haiti, or African countries, but their success seems to have been marginal. (Chinese experience in Haiti was they fired the local workers and sent in their own nationals to work, claiming the indigenous were not productive enough workers. The Korean efforts may be having better results.) Will these work conditions approximate 'sweatshops' where wages are barely sufficient for survival? Perhaps, and if so, this is not a viable investment solution, as it brings back Colonialism conditions. In the end, refugees will continue.
Another concern regarding refugees is those who come for 'benefits tourism'. They are not a contribution to our economic well being and should be weeded out within the three month probation period. If they cannot find suitable work in that time frame, then it is imperative they return to the misery from which they fled. It is hard hearted, but America was not built on charity, but hard work. For the refugees to come here and then live off the welfare benefits offered, they send back the wrong message to those still waiting at home; it encourages a migration of the lazy who cannot contribute to our society. The qualifying factor for the refugee (or illegal immigrant) is that it is temporary, that the men and women are given a chance at a start in life; the other qualifying factor is that they will contribute as productive future members of society, and add to our way of life. So this is a critical divide that separates those who are true refugees seeking a better future, from those who are opportunistic and care nothing for the land in which they landed. Criminals are automatically cast out, as they care not; but families with children, parents who care and want to work, they should be welcomed and helped; and their children must be educated.
I speak from experience, because as a ten year old boy, I and my little sister came to America stateless, our parents had only two valises and $100 to start with. It was a grim beginning, we did not live in a style I would have hoped for, but both parents worked menial jobs, and saved, skipped having a car for many years, but within four years had enough to put down a deposit on a home. That is how America was built. The new refugees should be given the same chance. This is not charity, nor empathy, but a good investment. And given that chance, it may be a better investment than we think.
Let's see tomorrow what Mr. Obama has to say.
* * *
And then, the next day, here is the Full text of Obama's immigration speech.
|Posted on Friday, December 05, 2014 - 06:52 pm: |
Racism is not an exclusive domain given to any one group; all humans have potential for racial bigotry. But neither is racial tolerance forbidden to any one; we all have the ability to not be racist. The recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, where a Black teen was shot and killed by a White police officer has inflamed the Black community into Ferguson's riotous behaviors, which may be excusable given the passions and pent up anger the community harbored over decades. That the Grand Jury later found the policeman acted within his rights only further inflamed the community, especially given the jury was predominantly White (9), a minority Black (3), so injustice had been called, even by the UN Human Rights Group. So it seems the jury, or the police, had been 'racist' in their actions, where a more powerful race had once again oppressed a less powerful race. This is a pattern that had been called not only in America, but also in South Africa, Australia, and increasingly in Europe, where officialdom embodied in the police had acted as what has been called repeatedly 'racist'. However, where racism is an odious term, one that inflames passions and mass social resistance, even violence, there has been little explored in how this racism has come to be. It has become so politicized that it has now taken on a life of its own, whereby the very mention of 'racism' is enough to condemn a person, no matter how prominent, into a silence that is tantamount to social 'censorship'. When this happens, to even approach any ideas regarding race or racism is to invoke a kind of self-imposed silence so it cannot be intelligently discussed. For example, Dr. Watson's stupid gaffs about race and intelligence had, though a highly acclaimed scientist, basically cast him out of the scientific community. For his foolishness, this may have been justified, but lost is anything he might have said that could have been true, that it cannot be discussed, that it becomes 'prohibited'. Under this racist Prohibition, we cannot speak of anything about it without invoking racial passions, racial guilt, and risk racial profiling, or condemnation. No matter what is said, it falls under that dome of silence when racial issues are discussed, and so no discussion can take place.
This is a tragic consequence of Racism, that it both invokes politicized, often irrational passions, while at the same time it silences any possible discussion that could help alleviate the consequence of racism. You have a problem, you must be able to discuss it intelligently, if solutions are to be found. The media, government agencies, academia, and even the man on the street, is essentially silenced and too cowed to discuss this, short of excusing it, because of the stigma of being called a Racist. But is this not in effect a 'reverse-racism', where any meaningful discussion on the issue is shut down automatically, because it becomes 'racism'? So if, for example, it is found that Asian students excel other racial groups in scholastic achievement? Is this not racist? Of if found that statistically Black youths commit a disproportionate number of violent crimes versus other racial groups, is this not racist? Or that polls show Muslim men disproportionately abuse their women de facto racism? Of course it is. But the insipidness of reverse-racism is that such discussions cannot take place on any level without invoking 'Prohibition', so all discussions on the issues are driven underground (or discussions on "reverse racism" default to racial power rather than equality). That is the tragic end result of calling out Racism, is that it shuts itself off from intelligent discourse or examination, and intelligent people are forced to be deaf and mute, or blind to what is actually happening. People have grievances, and it is right for them to voice those grievances, even if their passions cannot always be contained. But to silence the voice of examination and understanding works counter productively, so the issues remain raw nerves but never resolved. That is Reverse-racism, that nothing can be said about issues that involve race, whether it be economic, or cultural, or perhaps even genetically. We are shut out of the discussion, period.
Discussion must be intelligent and open, if we are to come to terms with what Racism is really all about. Is it predominantly an issue in the West, where such discussions of racial issues are silenced? Or is the same encountered in other countries, in Africa or Asia? For example, how do the people of China, or Japan, deal with race? What about race issues in Kenya or Morocco, or Saudi Arabia, or India? Or Mexico, Brazil? How are they dealt with there? Is there racial discrimination in other parts of the world we should examine? Should racial statistics be allowed into discussion, or are they taboo? Reverse-racism says no, you cannot do any of this, but must maintain a studied silence. A mature mind recoils from this imposed silence, but that is the reality we face in today's political environment, that open discussion is not politically correct. Reverse-racism shuts down discourse. The unfortunate result is without such discourse, solutions to problems, especially race related problems, as well as socio-economic, educational, health problems, nutrition problems, all these become no-go areas, so nothing gets resolved. Furthermore, because these issues are not resolved, the people take matters into their own hands, they gather in large crowds, and if the anger is there, they riot. That is the tragic end game for those who are angry, and have nothing to lose. In short, 'reverse-racism' causes riots such as we saw in Ferguson. It will not stop there.
Also see: List of riots, 17th to 21st century
One Hundred Years War
|Posted on Sunday, December 07, 2014 - 12:06 am: |
The Hundred Years War - from 1914 World War to 2014 World at War.
German soldiers surrendering
The short op-ed in TIME magazine titled From Gaza to Ukraine, the Effects of World War I Persist, the author says:
We still live in the long shadow of a war that began a century ago…
It was supposed to be over in a matter of weeks. In the summer of 1914, the European war that began in the aftermath of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand drew great armies into the fields, launched ships of war upon the seas and engaged imperial ambitions and fears. There was, however, a sense of optimism among several of the combatants, an expectation that victory would be quick.
Of course, the war was not over in a matter of weeks, but dragged on for four bloody, devastatingly destructive years, with more than 17 million casualties, both civilian and military. By the time of the 1918 Armistice signing Europe's map had been redrawn, but also affecting other parts of the world. Germany's influence in Africa faded; the Ottoman Empire's partition ended its influence in the Middle East; Britain and France filled in the vacuum. America ended its isolation with the war, first by President Woodrow Wilson supporting the League of Nations (US did not join), and second by becoming a military force to be reckoned with. The Great War, like a stone dropped in a pond, continued to ripple its effects for decades, Armistice partly responsible for the rise of Hitler's malevolently vengeful Nazi Party, and the rearrangement of national borders which either cemented together the people into greater nationalism, or splintered them into factionalism. So the "War to end all wars" was just the beginning. The century that followed had a whole string of wars: World War II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, the endless Cold War, the Algerian War, multiple modern wars in Africa (including Biafra), Russian civil war and rise of Soviet Communism, Mao's China Communism, Castro's Communism Cuban revolution, East Timore, wars between Israel and Arab states, Persian Gulf War… And then the 20th century ended, ushering in the 21st with Al Qaeda's 11 September, 2001, massive attack on New York Twin Towers and the Pentagon in Washington. The game changed, from a world conflict of wars to a world of war conflicts, small guerrilla wars in a declared 'Jihad' against the West. However, the West would not grace that declaration of war (by a band of hard scrabble rebels from the hills of Afghanistan) with a counter declaration of war; what followed instead was military action and intelligence, arrests and prosecutions, in response to degrade the enemy through attrition, what had been policy ever since 9/11. Of all the wars, this one is proving the most intractable, even gruesome, with the enemy's total disregard for civilian lives, using civilians as human shields, firing rockets and artillery from schools and hospitals, or mosques; while respondents from the West still try adhere with efforts to shield civilians when firing back, if possible. It is an uneven war, but one that spells the path the ripples of war will take in the future. Oil is not even in the equation. These wars will be essentially 'undeclared' but fought by proxy, or denial, as is happening in Ukraine; or by disaffected young men and women from Western nations who zealously join religious wars abroad, to support a cause that would retrovert 21st century modern civilization back to the 7th. Now, one hundred years later, how did it come to this?
Wars are always a wild card. You never know how they will turn out. When victorious France and Britain partitioned the remnants of the Ottomans, did they give consideration to the religious sentiments and passions of the people whose borders were drawn? Did politicians and ministers think about tribalism in Africa? Were the borders of these new, post Ottoman, post Colonialism, states drawn with any foresight of what would come of them? In retrospect, it appears the answer is not much. After a period of relative calm, often enforced by autocratic rulers (some of whom were democratically elected), the old grudges and hostilities resurfaced, as now seen in post-Arab Spring, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Kurdistan, or Somalia, the stability and progress hoped for failed. What followed was that as these strong men autocrats were forcibly deposed, they became replaced with war lords who are even more brutal. In South America, autocratic governments fight drug lords, sometimes as powerful as themselves. In Africa the war lines are constantly shifting making societal normalcy virtually impossible. In Central Asia and the Middle East, all these are laboring under corrupt officials, unreliable armies, and a cowed population terrorized by religiously motivated insurgencies. The massive failure of intelligence in the West failed to identify Bin Laden as a cruel tactician, who would use civilian airplanes full of people as living bombs, to take down the West by attacking major symbols of progress, where the fall of the Twin Towers virtually paralyzed our economies, airlines stopped flying, markets closed temporarily; though all since have returned to normalcy (except for heightened airport security), it was beyond initial comprehension. Who in our progressive, enlightened humanist times would do that? Well, they did. It is a war without armies, without uniforms, nor governments, but a war filled with ill will and shadowy figures, and mean tactics. This is the new World War, one that stretches from the Philippines to Africa, and one that despite best efforts at establishing viable states in the Middle East, or North Africa, builds on fear and loathing, such as displayed by the gruesome beheadings and killings of civilians by the self appointed Islamic State Caliphate. The wild card is that no matter how we fight them, and degrade them, and kill many, their war is unending; they will find new blood, and fighting continues. It all started one hundred years ago, and its long shadow continues still today.
Countries where Islamic terrorists attacked - add Australia (2014)
Faced with this grim reality, we have no leisure to entertain that there is some simple resolution to this war. Surrendering on any level simply emboldens them more. Blaming Israel is disingenuous in the least, since Hamas and their supporters, from Iran to Turkey, to Arab states, all have sworn to destroy them; peace negotiations have yielded no results, no matter what concessions are made. Russia will do all in its power to regain control over Ukraine, more as a matter of national policy than a real economic need, fueled by the latent imperialism of a slowly failing state. Whether any of these will actually win is not much worth speculation, since they most likely will not win. But the cost of constant warfare is debilitating to all parties, and those who could least afford it are foremost at the front of these conflicts, and so their people suffer the most. So how does it all end? The unfortunate model for ending these wars is that Arab Spring was in vain, and with the exception of Tunisia (where it started), and perhaps some hope in Egypt, the end game will be for strong men to once again take control of their people. This reverts back to the old ways of war lords commanding repressive regimes, backed by their armies, who then posture to impress, though their countries are backwards and failing. Young lives are ruined, or lost, and families lament, lives pointlessly suicidally wasted. And when the borders stabilize amongst themselves, without interference (other than humanitarian aid) from countries of the West, or Asia, they will eventually run out of steam, supportive funding dried up, and they stop fighting. This is how wars end in all primitive societies, that they just stop because they are worn out, and continuing fighting gives them no pleasure. In the end, their losses will be their gain, that though failed to improve their lot, they could no longer fight. But their world is left no better.
Refugees fleeing war
It is sad that our new millennium should start on such an inauspicious beginning, but that is the reality of the world. The West fought big wars, and in so doing they destabilized backwards and impoverished places in the world that did not know their own lack, and so now unleashed their misery on the rest. From millions of war refugees, to torn families, homes and cities destroyed, young men and women killed, all for the arrogance of war, one started one hundred years ago. But we live in a new world now, one that is intimately connected with jet travel and electronic communications, so the same messages now used to inflame religious, or national, passions to send young people to war will in time work against them, and the mullahs and imams, or war czars, will find their words falling on deaf ears. At some point the bravado will be overcome by exhaustion, and the wars stop. One hundred years ago, the Kaiser did not know how wrong he could be when, in 1914, he told his troops, "You will be home before the leaves have fallen from the trees." Of course, it did not end then, a century hence, it still continues. But like all wars, this too will end. And we rebuild. Peace is a better solution.
Also see: UN Refugee Agency, Europe
New World Confederation
|Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2014 - 02:00 pm: |
A New World Confederation.
UN General Assembly
A new world confederation for the Millennium is a natural evolution of cooperation between states and nations in our modern environment of greater communications, rapid world travel, and interdependence, where no part of the globe is in isolation from any other. We live in a totally interconnected social, economic, and political reality the world had never known before. Given this backdrop of international interdependence, it only follows naturally that all states and nations should come together in a world confederation.
Confederations have existed since ancient times, when tribes and administrative regions united together to form partnerships, usually in common defense and economic administration. Examples were the Mayan confederation (10-15th centuries, CE), Swiss confederation (13th century-present), Hanseatic League (13-17th century), United States of America under the Articles of Confederation (1781–1789), Iroquois Confederacy, Canadian Confederation, and many others. The more recent confederacies formed are the African Union (2001-present) and the European Union (1993-present), and of course, the United Nations (1945). It is the same with the formation of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1949), which established an intergovernmental military alliance for European and North American nations. All these alliances had to a greater or lesser degree rendered cooperation between states and nations, some in uneasy relationships, to better achieve practical solutions to the world's many problems, from world malnutrition, to endemic wars and diseases, to mass human migrations, to climate change, in order to meet the growing needs of peoples everywhere. Isolation is no longer tenable in today's world reality.
All political, social, or economic organizations have their strengths and weaknesses. For example, the United Nations has proved effective in international humanitarian aid, feeding the hungry and giving disaster relief, but had been largely ineffective in achieving peace between warring factions. The European Union has achieved a stable currency and economic cooperation, but its laws are believed arbitrary and bureaucratic. The African Union has been instrumental in combatting militancy on the continent, but thus far had not yet established economic growth, nor a common currency. Confederations may have different agendas and responses to existing human problems, but where each has its strengths or weaknesses, together they may counterbalance these shortcomings in future cooperations. Working towards a common purpose and backed by non-intrusive laws and policies, more can be achieved in union than separately, so all members benefit. There are gaps in organizational alliances. For example, the ASEAN, Association of South Asian Nations (2008), largely an economic association, does not include China, which is a large player in the region; the EU does not include Russia, which has chosen to stand alone; the Arab League (1945) largely excludes non-Muslim nations, so are insular from their inception. All these world organizations can come together for a common goal, a kind of commonwealth of nations, to work cooperatively towards solving global problems, from environmental to socio-economic issues. But to date this had not happened, though potential for such cooperation now exists. A NATO like cooperation of all states could help solve the many wars on the planet, for example, in ways no single nation or league could otherwise resolve. But this cooperation necessitates forming a world confederation to coordinate and ameliorate cultural (and religious), as well as political, differences between member states. The easiest cooperation is economic, where the common interests of market exchange pave the way for finding solutions; the hardest is political, where national or cultural passions hinder finding reasonable agreement. These differences are not insurmountable when not unreasonable, but prove serious obstacles where parties involved are unyielding. For example, the Arab League's call for the elimination of Israel has blocked every effort at a roadmap for peace in the Middle East, not least of which is changing Arab Palestinians from permanent refugee status to nationhood. But for conflicting parties, common interest solutions can be found, if the will exists, and if all parties agree to their benefit.
The natural evolution of these organizations of confederacy, given the growing interdependence of the world, is that in future they find means to merge together into a functional World Confederation, where all sub-groups are involved. One possible location for headquarters of the World Confederation might be Gibraltar, which is located at a cross roads of Europe and Africa, straddling both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, a fulcrum of humanity's civilization historically symbolic. Paramount for a working Confederation would be a fundamental observance by all members the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which would be foundational to how all members would be mutually and reciprocally respected in their interactions with each other. Most probably, the Confederation would be administered by democratically elected officials from the member states, akin to how is organized both the United Nations and the European Union, where elected officials would then select a chair person to oversee organizational matters. Each year the elected officials would be up for review, as to whether serve an automatic second term or their seat be up for election, to discourage entrenched interests that might run counter to the Confederation's primary goals. These goals should be spelled out in advance, agreed upon by consensus, and adapted to changing world conditions. The purpose of the World Confederation would be to coordinate world efforts at establishing peace and universal well being for all peoples of the world, of all race and ethnicity, within the context of their respective nations and laws. It should be understood the World Confederation is not a world government. Rather it is an association of world organizations working together towards common goals and interests, where the sovereignty of nations and the rights of individuals are protected, for the common good.
The initial goals of the new World Confederation should be modest, more to insure the workability of the organization than sweeping world projects. For example, adequate universal nutrition (already addressed by the UN's World Food Program), the eradication of world pandemic diseases (AIDS, Ebola, Polio, Malaria) should be in focus; as well perhaps arbitration of world conflicts, the Middle East and Africa (including militant religious fanaticism) especially, and the humanitarian support of massive refugee migrations to Europe (North America, Australia) should be considerations. Once initial success is achieved, the Confederacy can begin to tackle other world concerns that cannot be resolved unilaterally, climate change and rising sea levels, international copyright and patent infringements, violation of territorial waters and atmosphere (global air and water pollution, terrestrial and oceanic species degradation and extinction), international neutrality of certain global regions (Antarctica, international waters sub-sea mineral rights, outer space), eliminating human trafficking and sex slavery, for example. These issues are already being addressed in ad hoc fashion, but could be better resolved with concerted efforts in a coordinated manner overseen by a confederate body. All this represents a pooling of efforts and resources, and intelligence, that we as a human species can excel at in unison rather than separately. Large scale projects are beyond the scope of individual nations, but in pooling our knowledge and actions they can be resolved. In effect, this is the prime directive of the World Confederation, that we can achieve more together than separately.
The successes or failures of this world group effort can be examined by all involved parties, debated academically, reviewed in popular media, and communicated world wide through the interlinked electronic communications the world enjoys today, something not possible a century ago. We as a planet have evolved into a new world consciousness and in confederating as a planet-wide organizational body, incorporating existing world bodies, we can better our world in ways to date never achieved. An Earth that can present itself as a consciously intelligent, universally tolerant planet, with the ability to come together as a global people united in our common goals of peace, health, and good will, is a legacy we can leave for our children and grand children to be proud of. As a confederated united world, rather than one fragmented and factional, we are better. Our emergent Universalism is based on a principle of a conscious human respect and reciprocity. The ultimate success of a World Confederacy reflects a positive light on us all. We can do this.
Thank you 2014, best wishes to all for New Year 2015!
Yoga hormonal health
|Posted on Monday, January 26, 2015 - 01:28 pm: |
Yoga, for our hormonal health.
Human hormones dictate the balanced interrelationships that promote good health. In the book by Dr. David Perlmutter, MD, "Grain Brain", it says:
He then describes leptin, a hunger hormone, as key to thyroidal hormonal health, the importance of sleep to reset our hormonal balances, and how all hormones, from those produced by our pancreas and adrenals to hormones in our fat cells, are all necessary for good health. He also stresses the importance of exercise. But this same hormonal health is also achievable through gentle exercise, such as yoga.
The entire hormonal system, in fact, is extraordinarily complex. There are untold numbers of interrelationships, and describing them all is beyond the scope of this book. (pg. 211)
As in sleep, an important factor in hormonal health is exercise, daily and consistent, to achieve the body's hormonal balance. One such exercise that benefits the endocrine production of hormones is described by yoga instructor Tracey Kelly: Best Yoga Postures for Balancing Hormones, she says:
Hormonal balance is key in helping the body function properly in controlling production of insulin and ketones that regulate how our cells' intake of glucose and proteins, and fatty acids (important fuel for the brain and other organs), for maximum health to avoid degenerative disease and to control our metabolic weight. Kelly lists the following glands benefited by yoga:
Some people believe by doing yoga poses that stimulate and/or activate certain glands and organs, the practice helps to maintain hormone balance and consistent production and distribution.
Yoga does not have to be intensely complex, as even simple positions such as in Restorative Yoga can have beneficial impact on hormonal production. Among the benefits of relaxation yoga are:
Here is a small list of glands and organs and their corresponding hormones and functions:
Adrenal - controls cortisol release, "flight or fight" and general stress response, and oxygen intake
Hypothalamus - releases hormones to the pituitary to help those hormones function
Ovaries - produce estrogen to help to maintain a pregnancy and control the menstrual cycle
Pancreas - produces and releases insulin, which controls blood sugar
Pineal - still a mystery, but scientists believe one of its functions is to produce melatonin, which helps regulate sleep patterns
Pituitary - good for overall wellbeing, regulates a number of hormones, including growth, thyroid-stimulating, testosterone, estrogen, and vasopressin
Testes - produce testosterone, which helps with a number of factors in adults, including sex drive and building muscle mass
Thyroid - hormones produced by this gland control your metabolism.
In addition to adequate sleep and exercise, such as the ancient Vedic practice of yoga, there is also the practice of consciously mindful eating. It is best to avoid refined products such as white sugar, high fructose corn syrups, hydrogenated oils (trans fats), and highly refined carbohydrates, such as white flour, pasta, and white rice (whole grains in moderation are okay), which have been proven to spike our blood sugar without the nutritional values of nutrients taken out of refined carbs. Spikes in blood sugar stresses our hormonal system by spiking insulin production to convert sugar into the glucose energy the body's cells use as fuel, including the brain, which if prolonged leads to insulin resistance, production of excess cholesterol and triglycerides, which when not used in physical work turn the excess sugar into fat cells (also a hormone, which out of balance leads to obesity), or plaque to clog our organs and arteries. As a whole balanced system, the body's hormonal system works to maintain ideal weight, and metabolic health; but if out of balance, the excess triglycerides and cholesterol production leads to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and a list of degenerative diseases such as heart disease, ischemic stroke, Alzheimer's, ALS, Parkinson's, and cancer. This long term dis-ease further degenerates our body's cells, including the brain (dementia), accelerating our aging process and systemic decline. So to maintain optimal health into our old age it is important to watch what we eat, consume adequate protein and healthy fats, and cut back on refined carbohydrates and sugars (often found in processed foods); a high fiber diet rich in vegetables and natural fruits (not stripped of fiber) all contribute to our physical well being (and bowel health). Yoga, and any form of gentle exercise such as walking, including meditation, complete the body's ability to self regulate and do what it was designed to do, to keep us active and mentally alert.
During deep relaxation, all the organ systems of the body are benefited, and a few of the measurable results of deep relaxation are the reduction of blood pressure, serum triglycerides and blood sugar levels in the blood, the increase of the "good cholesterol" levels, as well as improvement in digestion, fertility, elimination, the reduction of muscle tension, insomnia and generalized fatigue.
Here are some gentle yoga poses that help in restoring hormonal balance: Restorative Yoga poses. Combined with mindful eating, we can enjoy our body's longevity into old age, and do so in an enjoyable and healthy way. Good health can be enjoyed for the duration of our natural existence, without having to over rely on the wonders of modern medicines. Natural health is a hormonal balance that is a free gift of life available to all of us. As our population ages, this can be a good thing.
As the Kundalini Yoga blessing says:
"May the long time Sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure light within you guide your way on. Namaste."
Also see: Devil Sugar, demon Salt
We are what we eat
|Posted on Sunday, March 01, 2015 - 01:32 pm: |
We are what we eat.
New food pyramid vs old
On our 62nd meeting of discussion Group (GWNN) we met to talk about nutrition for healthy aging. Thirteen participated in our tri-weekly meeting held in Costa Mesa, CA, with myself (volunteered) as presenter. After my half hour presentation, as per my outline notes below, I opened the floor for questions, then an hour long discussion followed. The topic centered on the following:
Good Nutrition for Healthy Aging.
(Caveat: I am not a nutrition expert, these are merely my interpretations of materials read on nutrition and good health.)
OUTLINE of readings:
1. The Energy Conservation theory of body fat: Old theory
"More energy in food consumed than expended in activity, both mental and physical, so excess energy is stored as fat." (per First law of thermodynamics) but body fat is NOT from eating too much and exercising too little.
2. Reality is more complex: New theory - the metabolic cycle (science is very complex, but here is a synopsis)
A) calories to fuel the body are consumed as carbohydrates, proteins and fats
B) carbohydrates, sucrose and fructose, are converted by liver into glucose, which stimulates endocrine production of insulin hormone to control glucose; proteins, fat and fatty acids, are converted by liver and pancreas into glucose by ketosis process; both feed brain
C) cells use glucose to power metabolism, muscles, organs and brain activity; hypothalamus runs this process and complex hormonal system regulate liver's production of cholesterol, which is needed for cells' health and brain functions
D) excess fructose and glucose not used by cells is converted by liver into triglycerides, which convert into fat cells stored in skin and organs, and plaque formed in blood system - atherosclerosis and high blood pressure
E) cholesterol breaks down into lipoproteins: HDL, LDL, VLDL, and triglycerides, not all bad, depending on ratios
F) high triglycerides convert into body fat, which is symptomatic of high insulin, or hyperinsulinemia, which leads to insulin resistance
G) insulin resistance leads to Type 2 diabetes, blood sugar spikes and body fat accumulation cycle
H) excess triglycerides lead to heart disease and body fat
I) insulin resistance also leads to leptin resistance (hunger hormone) so body does not get message it is satiated and feels hungry, which makes body look for more food, which restarts the fat generating cycle, ultimately leads to obesity
J) high carbs diet fuels this cycle, especially highly refined white grains and white sugar, which throw out of balance endocrine hormonal system and leaves us lethargic and hungry, sometimes depressed
K) Conclusion: the energy budget is taken up by physical and mental activity, where the excess calories are turned into triglycerides, which then turn into fat cells, which over prolonged time can lead to a cycle of obesity. And so it goes, this complicated cycle is repetitive, with more weight gained, and ill health, until broken by changes in dietary behaviors.
Sugar consumption, obesity and diseases
3. We have to eat something:
A) all food consists of carbs, proteins, and fats
B) good carbs, whole grains and vegetables, are rich in fiber and flatten the insulin spikes in response to glucose production
C) bad carbs from refined grain - white bread, pasta, white rice - spike insulin, leads to insulin resistance, and makes us hungry, looking for more carbs
C) good sugars like natural fruits have fiber, so retards insulin spikes; liver converts fructose into glucose which feeds muscles and brain; honey is fructose, okay in moderation.
D) bad sugars, like refined table sugar (sucrose and fructose) which spike glucose and insulin; added to soft drinks and many processed foods
E) the worst sugar is 'high fructose corn syrup' introduced in 1978 (when population obesity started to rise), added to soft drinks and many foods, which severely spikes insulin, is converted by liver into high triglycerides, which drives obesity; highly addictive and may be carcinogenic
F) good proteins, lean meats and legumes, eggs, dairy, are converted by ketosis into glucose to efficiently fuel cells and brain activity, triglycerides decrease
G) bad proteins - excess red meats, tinned meats like Spam- may lead to health problems, and triglycerides increase
H) good fats, both saturated, meats and dairy, butter and cheese, and unsaturated-vegan, olive oil, coconut oil, and polyunsaturated, sea food, nuts, leafy greens, lower triglycerides; these fats are necessary for good health
I) trans fats, partially hydrogenated, hydrogenated oils, margarine, drive up unhealthy cholesterol and triglycerides, bad for heart health and add body fat; may be carcinogenic
J) cholesterol does not come from eating eggs, meats, butter, cheese, but is mainly generated by the liver in response to carbs and sugar; but glucose oxidized glycolsylates turn LDL into atherosclerosis, or plaque; cholesterol is minor player in heart disease and a poor predictor of heart attacks
K) fats and fatty acids are good for our metabolism, but low fat and high carb diets are bad, they leave us hungry, and lead to metabolic syndrome: obesity, type 2 diabetes, and long term degenerative heart disease, cancer and dementia
L) salt in excess is bad, raises blood pressure, but not as bad as sugar
M) worst case: highly refined carbs and sugars lead to health problems from poor sleep and depression to cancers, ALS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and organ and joints and brain 'inflamation' which leads to arthritis and dementia; also accelerates aging
M) best case is to eat balanced diet of whole grain carbs, vegetables, fruits, and legumes rich in fiber, lean (grass fed, free range) meats and healthy fats like nuts, olive oil, eggs, dairy, to fuel the metabolic process and maintain healthy body weight without feeling hungry; helps reduce ill effects of aging -- unlike sugar and white carbs, you cannot eat enough proteins and fats to get fat without getting sick of it!
In sum: Simple First Law of thermodynamics of body's 'energy budget' is gross over simplification; the body's metabolic process is much more complex.
HIGH GLUCOSE, HIGH INSULIN, AND HIGH TRIGLYCERIDES ARE THE MAIN VILLAINS for poor health, NOT high cholesterol.
[Marie Antoinette's diet retort: "Let them eat cake." -- really bad advice!]
4. Some things that may, or may not, be beyond the scope of this talk, but warrant mentioning:
A) GMO foods, are they really understood and tested, or are we Guinea pigs?
B) all vegan diets prove healthy, though without animal fats. But if high protein, high fat diets, such as eaten by people in Paleo times are healthy, when eaten by Westerners, do we know what long term effects on health would be? Gout? This had not yet been tested, so should approach this idea with caution. Preferred is a 'well balanced diet' in moderation rather than excess.
C) I'm also not sure what Dr Perlmutter means by 'inflammation' though it sounds like an abscess, except he claims it leads to dementia. Glycation, binding of blood sugar to brain proteins, may be cause of Alzheimer's disease?
D) oils and fats are so complex that they would need another discussion on their own, only mentioned in my memo casually, but they are important. Low fat diets, and low cholesterol foods diets, had taken us down wrong path into poor health; partly responsible for this was Ancel Keys (author of Army K-rations) who erroneously concluded that high cholesterol, which is easy to measure, was responsible for heart attacks; it was bad science, and more recent studies show virtually no correlation. Unlike high triglycerides, which do have correlation, and which are produced by excess carbs and sugar, cholesterol may be misunderstood by modern medicine. In the end, if so, ill health comes down to excess of refined carbs and sugar.
E) artificial sweeteners may have harmful effects, they trick the brain into thinking it got glucose, so continues to look for it, leaving us hungry. May be addictive and ultimately fattening, a discussion in itself?
F) Statins are bad medicine, body needs cholesterol for cells and brain health; very low cholesterol (below 150) may be carcinogenic; limiting carbs and sugar may be better solution.
4. Q & A? Some topics for this discussion?
Are white carbs and sugar killing us?
A) how did we get to this, a lifetime of bad eating? Bad medical advice?
(See sugar charts above)
B) how do we navigate today's supermarket for healthy eating; by reading ingredients labels for high fructose, added sugars, sodium, hydrogenated oils?
C) why in the long run most low-fat diets fail?
D) how do we transition our kitchen pantry from white carbs, packaged processed foods, chips and cookies, sugars to healthy, protein and fiber rich whole foods?
E) what role does exercise play in good health, to retard ills of aging?
"Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes (2009)
"Grain Brain" by Dr David Perlmutter, MD (2013)
"Fats and Oils" by Dr Udo Erasmus (1986)
... Got recipes?
Some of the discussion focused on how we came to this point, where there is a tight correlation between increased consumption in sugar and refined carbs and the increase in modern Western diseases, especially type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Most of us remembered how in our childhood obesity was more rare, especially among children. With the introduction of high fructose corn syrup (1978), these diet related diseases increased dramatically. (Sugar is everywhere! Sugar and salt are added by manufacturers to increase addiction, make the consumer want more. Take steps to cut them out, and the addiction lessens, keep ingesting them and you want more.)* Also discussed were the former misconceptions on the ill effects of cholesterol and fats, now with better research understood to not be at root cause of degenerative diseases, unlike refined carbs and sugars, which are. Each of us had a chance to contribute what we knew on the matter, giving examples. In Japan, for example, the older generations remain thinner and healthier; they consume a traditional diet starting the day with a protein rich broth, small amount of rice, unlike the younger generations eating a more Western diet, and suffer obesity and related diseases. We talked about being more mindful of what we eat, eating in moderation, and reading ingredients labels to check for sugar and salt content; whole foods are best, lots of vegetables and whole fruits; lean meats and healthy fats are best. To be avoided are processed foods, highly refined carbs like white bread and pasta, and sugary drinks. (Beware of whole grain breads, cereals with sugar added!) We talked about Canola oil, not a health food; it had been highly processed, chemicay deodorized, and the rapeseed from which it's made has high GMO content. We also talked about why 'diets' failed except on a temporary basis, with the weight regained and then some when stopped, which is frustrating. Low fat, high carbs diets don't work!
There was some concern on GMOs, as well as advice of doctors and nutritionists who still follow the old 'cholesterol - low fat' paradigm. How much exercise do we need to be healthy? Not so much, even half hour walk or yoga is beneficial, but need 'boot camp' to burn sufficient carbs if overeating sugars. How do we break the sugar habit? We all were born into this era of bad food, bad advice, but now we have the ability to make better nutritional choices.
The meeting ended on this positive note, that forewarned is forearmed, and then we turned to 'healthy' deserts made by some members, mindful of how good things can taste without too much added sugars. It was a fine evening, and hopefully we all gained something worthwhile and fulfilling from our talk.
Thanks to the hostess for making her home welcome for our Group's discussion, a very fine time, nice eats. ;-)
[Some additional notes:
1. First time in Human History since Civilization has domesticated starchy grains millennia ago, that there is such an abundance if food. Early grains were coarse ground and eaten whole with fiber. The introduction of highly milled refined flours and sugar around the beginning of 1800s led to the rise of many modern degenerative diseases, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, various cancers and the beginning of obesity. By the mid 20th century, these easily available refined carbs and sugars had become standard in Western modern societies but still lacking in underdeveloped societies.
2. When this modern refined diet of sugar, white bread and pasta, white rice, was introduced to native peoples, they too developed the same degenerative diseases common in the West. Pima Indians of Arizona are 50% diabetic and obese, same for other Native Americans, though less severe. Tokelau natives off the coast of New Zealand suffered same ills as on mainland when introduced to Western diet, but symptoms stopped when returned to traditional diet of sea foods and coconuts. Similar cases found in other indigenous people in other parts of the world, Inuits and Africans.
3. Obesity has become a serious problem in Western nations, especially the non-Mediterranean diet countries, where as many as a third of the population is considered obese. The obesity curve really took off after 1978 when high fructose sugar introduced; also coincides nicely with promotion of low cholesterol, low fat diets rich in carbohydrates, especially refined carbs and sugars. More recent studies in 1990s shows the high cholesterol myth was bad science, not predictor of heart disease, and low fat diets drove more carbs consumption to alleviate inevitable hunger, so weight loss was temporary and regained with more weight when diet stopped.]
To your health - Salute!
*(from Pauline's excellent summary of discussion)