Thoughts on Thinking

Truth is reality laden with accurate misinterpretation and faulty perceptions.

Why is this so hard to understand? Our perceptions are flawed, don’t impress that upon reality. Sheesh!”—Steve Ruiz

The illusion is simply that reality is not what it seems to be at first glance—even after inspection. That same flawed perception leads us to believe we can correct it by saying the world is divisible into feet and inches, seconds and degrees—dividing things by regular measurement and the dividing power of thought—The same nature of thought that implies we don’t understand, but somehow can trust the measuring devices we’ve thought up—while every thing requires continued re-examination after interfering by looking—weird

Think is a unit of thought, the same way an inch is a measurement of accepted distance, or a clock can track intervals. We categorize things into boxes so we can manage “the think” about them, pretending then that the world is a collection of bits and catagories, yet is as connected and inter-related as much as a human body. Every single bit is as unexplainable as any other—and to explain one fully we must explain everything fully.

Every perception is real (normal) from a particular point of view, though some truth is a little nastier at heart than others. Imagine how distasteful the world would really be, if believers still knew with a surety that the gospel of saving souls from hell should know no limits to persuasion.

For giggles we have to ask—if reality is so illusory (not what it appears to be) how could humans evolve with our perceptive reality apart from “real” reality? If our perceptions of reality are flawed, how could natural selection point evolution the way things seem to be, versus the true nature of nature? How could brains evolve to a non natural interpretation of things? It’s almost like it is some type of game…

Question on Evolution

Does evolution have the cart before the horse?

Vibration is a reaction to an action, while sound is a relationship between a vibration and an eardrum. If a tree falls in the woods and there is nothing around with ears, it does not make a sound.

How then, prior to the relationship would ears evolve, when nothing in the primordial soup could comprehend vibration as sound, without already having ears?

Sight is the same problem. How could vision evolve without first being able to comprehend light? I have a friend that was born completely blind. Asking her what it’s like to just see darkness all the time, she has no idea what that means—no comprehension of dark or light at all—can’t even imagine it.

Maybe these questions have been already solved, but I am curious if someone smarter than me about evolution can answer this. It appears that the theory of evolution has the cart before the horse…why I sometimes depend on the reasoning prowess of others.

There is a Zen poem that says, “If you ask where the flowers come from, even the god of spring doesn’t know”. They also teach that these things arise mutually on their own, like backs and fronts, lefts and rights, and bees with flowers (you cant have one without the other) According to that philosophy, polarity is omnipotence—it is not knowing how it is done, but simply doing what is done, like growing your own hair—how do you do that?

Target Fixation

How focusing on the problem enlarges the problem—the art of letting go

Humans have a very narrow range of conscious attention that we allow to define us. Based on our personalities and what values (rewards) catch our attention, it begins to define us as a person and collectively as a specie, while the rest of life passes by—often a very good life that is all around, yet unnoticed.

Target fixation is an attentional phenomenon observed in humans in which an individual becomes so focused on a hazard, that they inadvertently increase their risk of colliding with the object. In such cases, the observer may fixate so intently on the target that they steer in the direction of their gaze, which is often the ultimate cause of a collision“.

The human neuron is already very much like radar, always scanning the horizon for trouble. When we stay focused on danger, a type of neurosis sets in and we miss the good, open waters through such myopia. When this evolutionary mechanism of protection is embraced as a value, another mechanism engages—tribalism. Then when evidence is gathered to dismiss such behavior, humans employ a final, last ditch defense against reason—the backfire effect, which describes how individuals, when confronted with evidence that conflicts with their beliefs, come to hold their original position even more strongly.

As our christian dominated culture continues to fixate on the apocalypse, that somehow they can win with this mindset, we may just be bound to bring it on. But really they may have to wait a while, because actual life is petty damn good. Not that anything really matters when its all just a part of evolution. Our only chance of survival is to stop fixing everything before we blow it up by taking sides—or is that natural natural selection too?

Weigh some witches—2020

In Perfect Harmony

How to trust your brain.

Turns out the way, the truth, and the life, is really the half way, the half truth, and a half a life—and it meddles with nature, a serious setback.

Holding to faith as the pinnacle of religious virtue, it has created a great famine of original thought and stunted the collective growth of the species. But we were told it was so much more than it is, which is fine if you never examine any other ways of thinking, or being.

Even atheism with its functional, unlimited connection and hope for humanity—to grant every inhabitant of the planet equal asylum, surpasses religious morality with ethical behavior—simply a more natural, organic development based on fairness.

Religions in general have failed to accept nature as boss. But in the end, after all the information-gathering research, decisions are made by hunches, snap judgments from somewhere in the consciousness, and often against your own judgment. Hunches that have billions of people raising families and living in homes and going on holiday. To the pious skeptic regarding the natural man, isn’t this a testament to the effectiveness of nature and the brain? The more we try to fix the world and shoehorn religious ideals into the public forum, the more we have to look around and say, wow! everyone seems to be getting along just fine, with or without my belief. Nature is best left alone to do its thing. Be happy with that and leave it be—it’s a lot smarter than you think.

It brings in to play innate and spontaneous intelligence by using it without forcing it. It is fundamental to both the Taoist and Confucian thought, that the natural man is to be trusted, and from their standpoint it appears that the western mistrust of human nature is a kind of schizophrenia”—Alan Watts

This point of view is that the brain is a fundamental organism of nature and is to be trusted without coercion, which is evidenced by the success of humanity—in spite of the various commandments and synthetic religious dogmas. Even the Native American traditions exemplified this process.

I am the walrus, 2020

History of the World in Human Time

How to see things in geologic time.

Most people have no idea how young humans are. We are infants. “If January 1st 2019 were the beginning of earth, and December 31st the current day, each day would represent about 12million years (for a 4.3billion years-old earth)

—Bacterium would have formed February 1st and fish November 20th.

—Dinosaurs came into the field December 10th, then our first hominid ancestors on December 31st (in the afternoon), with Homo sapiens coming on the scene at about 11:45 PM. The past 1 minute being the period of known history“—New World Mind, Robert Ornstein and Paul Ehlich

—That’s the history of the world compressed into one year for perspective—But 70billion light years ago Yahweh was tinkering with a human genome to get his Adam, laying the groundwork to have lights in the heavens his man could never see.

The real trick is going to see if we can make it til 12:01… We have advanced for economics sake faster than our evolution, and faster that our rememberable history. What we need now are minds that can perceive and plan for long term, slow motion, earthtime processes, or we may just find the greatest threat to ever face the planet is the prolific homo-sapien, created in the image of god.

Morality Imprinted By God—Homo Ferens

A look at morality as a learned behavior of social construct

If morality is imprinted by god into the hearts of man, why is it that feral children adapt the morality of the host species? (so much for god imprinted on the hearts of men) Not only is such social behavior learned, but it is rarely unlearned, with the vast majority of these kids becoming institutionalized after capture—even after being baptized by the well intended, they remain in their adolescence mindset, be it wolf, monkey, antelope, or bear.

Interesting side note; feral children also develop the acute senses of their host species. Nocturnal vision, acute hearing, and sense of smell are all superhuman compared to the tame man, showing adaptations develop much more rapidly than one would expect.

Evolving From Belief Mode

How belief seems to be a default of insecurity

So, if I am skeptical by nature and don’t believe, but agree to believe by choice, would god then judge me for being a liar? If one simply does not believe the story, but agrees for the sake of community, family, income, for the children, isn’t that dismissal of personal integrity a sin?

Can one truly decide to believe, or in my current case, I only now can decide to pretend to believe? Deciding to believe is a choice, which makes it pretending mixed with hope—that lacks integrity.

It seems as though we are destined to believe, as distasteful and destructive as it is to the current form of humanity. Even those that leave Christianity generally adapt another belief of some kind. Everyone wants a belief. To me, at this point that just seems weird (maybe I’m weird) but I believe nothing. There is no progress in a modern, overpopulated world for these uberdeveloped thought convictions, backed by stubborn, tribal pride, which is ultimately just strong belief in faith.

The antithesis of what the scripture supposedly intends, but draws out the man in a course few can correct.

If I had to choose at this point, some primal form of worship would be my choice.

Evolution—From Hunter/Gatherer to Fat

A critique on religion and sedentary living

Our food is now served on a plate with very little caloric effort on our part (and we wonder how we got so fat) We love the gadgets and endless, idle entertainment while unavoidably hanging on to a genetic past that doesn’t mix well with this sedentary way of life.

Obesity and diabetes (among others) are epidemics. Our bodies have not changed over the last 300 years to keep pace with endless sugar and foreign foods filled to the brim with calories—while Americans sit. Sit for work, sit for play, sit for worship, and sit to travel—proudly sharing a Fitbit status for simply moving of what used to be normal behavior. The hardest part of a normal day may be opening packages.

Religion too, is now served on a plate and we just ingest it with no effort about it. We’re spiritually flat, out of tune with nature and gather our info from big-box, turn-key religious experts or their break-offs.

If any of it were reality and you believe your Bible, there is not one true believer on planet earth. For “greater signs than these follow them that believe“—Jesus. No matter how much you say you believe, you really don’t.

What of life used to be an adventure for each new child, an exploration of the world before us, is now doled-out cookie-cutter style epidemic spiritual and physical sedation from birth to death, with our own intuitive, individual attuning suppressed or hereticized by those same religions that offer nothing but hope. No results, no growth, no bliss, while pretending to be happy in this way of life until it kills us.

The promised enlightenment now tips scales on stagnation and stress from endlessly pretending to be happy. But really, pharmaceutical stats don’t lie. The most religious segments of the country are on the most prescription. Quite possibly the most unhealthy, longest living, over-medicated society in the history of the world. Happy, happy, happy. Have Xanax—and a soda.

The Modern Lucy—Ancient Survival Manipulated

How our grinding evolution is a lemming for religious purpose

Peering carefully, cautiously behind every corner…slowly, quietly, intently approaching every closet, while maginations hide under every bed—every time, chills of air send pilos erect, pupils dilate, blood pressures rise. Skin sensitivity doubles…with caution…ready to flee, or to fight, only to hide in worry another night. After arranging the room carefully—so no objects come alive in their darkened states, can a moment of peace descend dreary into sleep.

Why is this acute imagery laying in wait, alive beround every corner? Where did all this ritual come from? Survival. Who is it that survived the ages to become us? Where did we arrive to this overdeveloped sense, particularly at night?

It is this inherent caution, this fear, that is easily manipulated by religion. Playing on millions of years of survival instinct, the preacher paints a picture of a loving father figure to protect you from evil. If you can only imagine…just a bit more

Since the industrial revolution and the formation of modern survival, we have leaped beyond our multi-generational evolution. Changes that took 100’s of thousands of years are now shoehorned into a century. The preachers gold is our lumbering evolution. Fear is still a best seller…

How We Evolved to Belief—

How in our evolution did we become so trusting while raised in societies of liars.

Hard to dispute that belief is a common thread of war, contention, oppression, division, and hate, but I’d have to take two minutes to prove it. Seein’s I only get a minute here, godspeed is of the essence. To scrutinize and thoroughly plow-over any belief based faith is a noble and quite moral thing to do—and easy…

There are those that claim to have found god in their dreams, visions, NDEs, traumas, addictions, and so forth. He’s also been found in G-force testing, neurological studies, chemical enhancements, CO poisoning, anesthesia, seizures, end-zones, and outright lies. This spectral evidence (except for the lying, of course) is the root of all faith, and beliefs based on such evidence are totally unreliable and 100% subjective. To believe them has caused pain and suffering and outright murderous genicide throughout religions storied past. Putting all religion into past-tense would actually be wise—based on its performance…its own demonstrable evidence.

Humanity’s beauty is our obligatory nature to our fellows in-kind, basically feeling compelled to believe when presented nearly anything—to be compliant, agreeable, simply because we are asked to merely believe and trust. Belief is about the stupidest trait mankind has somehow maximally developed in a society of liars.

To believe based on another’s belief statement, who also heard it from another, who never witnessed anything— is not only foolish, but irresponsible.

Where in our evolution and why, did we become so believing, so trusting, yet raised in a predominantly dishonest society of liars? Raised in deception like it’s a running joke of some kind, how this serves our survival—I just don’t know.

In a nutshell—“if the existence of God is up for debate, he doesn’t exist. Belief/faith in something is not necessary if that something actually exists”Ben

Sandcastles In Real Time—Geologic Time vs Intelligent Design

Comparing human evolution to sandcastles—equal time comparison

Intelligent designers often use ridiculous metaphors to prove a need for god. This conversation happened on Steve Ruis (excellent blog) if you want to wade through it

JohnBranyan— “Do you believe sandcastles appear on the beach without an explanation”?

Jim—See my first answer. Don’t be ridiculous. Please.

Branyan— You didn’t answer the question, Jim.
If you believe brains come about by unguided, natural processes, why can’t sandcastles?

Jim—They do form naturally under the right circumstances given time (see pics)

Branyan—So your answer is, “Yes. Sandcastles appear on beaches without explanation.”

Branyan—This topic actually came up a couple of years ago when during a conversation with my 5-year old granddaughter. She was asked how sandcastles get on beaches. Her response was, “Somebody put it there.” We asked a clarifying question, “Can the waves build sandcastles?” She said, “No.” (this story is a lie)

I’ll tell her that you disagree and see if becomes an atheist. (She would already be one without your overt brainwashing)

Jim—You asked for naturally occurring sandcastles. They appear all the time in geologic time. You want to rush the process, but like the brain (apples to apples) it took a long, long time. You defining negligent parameters doesn’t fit anywhere and you know it. No species evolved in the time it takes to go to the beach. You want to guide the question to suit your answer. Doesn’t work in evolution or geology—only religion….Weird

Branyan—”Well done, Jim.
You have thoroughly debunked the sandcastle argument—”No species evolved in the time it takes to go to the beach.”
Boom”.

He then backpedaled to add some old and irrelevant switching of goalposts, moving from sandcastles to televisions on the beach.

Jim—Actually john, those sandstone mesas used to be in the very ocean, battling the very waves of which you speak. It actually fits perfectly—in evolutionary and geologic time. And as far as the tv on the beach, that too, is proof intelligent design only comes after evolution—of the human brain.

Why Learn Evolution

How understanding evolution benefits humanity

Comments that should be posts—Thank you Swarn.

1. First understanding our true origin means a great deal as opposed to stories that focus on things like original sin. In Judeo Christian thought, the idea that we are all born sinners because of this creation story matters a great deal.

2. The idea that evolution is both non-divergent and is iterative over a long timescale has numerous benefits to us as a people:

a) Evolution wasn’t trying to create us. Intelligence is just one other way to adapt to an environment. We are not the most successful species or the pinnacle of evolution by any means. Human conceit is a big problem and this is largely built the idea that there is a divine reason for our being here that does not apply to the rest of the universe.

b) Because evolution is iterative, we know that as a species we are part of a continuum, not some large gap above every being. This relates to a) above, but the fact that evolution allows us to recognize that all creatures, plants, microbes, other animals have a right to life is extremely important. It also helps us understand how best to preserve conditions that are going to prevent creatures from going extinct before their time to allow for a more natural adjustment of ecosystems. But beyond a) knowing that we are a continuum allows us to study other organisms and their behaviors to help us understand ourselves. It also might allow us to forgive ourselves a little more for our imperfections.

c) The fact that evolution is a slow process is something that helps us understand the vast well of time that it takes to make life as complex as ourselves and gives a sense from where we fit into the history of the Earth and of the universe. It is humbling to say the least and that’s important. Humility. I find contemplating this span of time to also be more awesome than a magical wave of God’s hand and a 6000 year history. And if awe and wonder is important to you, than the ways in which evolution works are filled with much to contemplate and awe at. Understanding the longer story of evolution and human development gives us a better sense of what we can expect out of ourselves for the future.

3) Evolution has also had an enormous impact on our understanding of the brain, and helped bust through the paradigm that our mind is somehow separate from our body. This is something that was built on the human conceit. The brain is an organ like any other, and evolved along with the rest of our organs and thus we can understand much about how the brain works by understanding past environments that we spend much of our time in surviving. This has enormous impacts on understanding human behavior, helping people overcome thought patterns which may not be very helpful, and again by seeing ourselves on this spectrum with other life we can see that our brains aren’t vastly more special than some of our closest relatives. Without evolution we would not have bust through the notion of free will which has enormous implications on how we practice justice. More than that it can increase our empathy for those that are our worst actors in society to see them as sick and not intrinsically evil.

Understanding evolution has increased my empathy, made me more forgiving, gives me more hope for the future, and fills me with a sense of awe and wonder that the spiritual world could not even come close to. Perhaps that’s not your experience, but to suggest that it tries to be some sort of pillar against religion or that people who have studied evolution had some goal to take down religion seems ludicrous to me. Trying to understand the world is a fundamental curiosity and evolution is the truth. It serves us far better than the illusions. Global and social problems can be addressed through an acceptance of evolution. Not only by the contents of the theory, but the acceptance that there is a better way to acquire knowledge about the universe than just make guesses, and believing in things real hard to convince yourself that you’re right. Evolution isn’t obvious, as are a lot of things that science has discovered. They are nuanced, you have to look carefully, you have to be systematic in your observations and you have to check in with others to make sure those observations are sound. This is actually really really important to solving problems. To suggest that we ignore one of the most meaningful and important scientific theories because it doesn’t help us solve the problems of today is just simply untrue.

—Swarn Gill

The Problem With Evolution

Stopping evolution may be the next “global warming” type crisis, as it is currently affecting about 7.6 billion people as of December 2017. The United Nations median estimates it will further increase to 11.8 billion by the year 2100. Each generation is changing, and right before our eyes each new crop presses into an unknown firestorm of change. Do you realize in 2100, that virtually every person 10 years or older with few exception, at this very moment will be dead and gone and the world of people will be an entirely new stock of homo sapient ascent? Or descent, depending on your flavor of mind. Think about that! A new 11.8 billion people will be replacing every contestant in the current population. Will we be smarter, stronger, or faster than the current population? A few, maybe, but not by much. Each new birth starts anew, and the old ways make their way into textbooks so thick a lifetime of learning is dumped in a pile to sift through and decipher. That is, if you want to. The growing and vast archives of world knowledge will be even trickier to navigate, and a subspecies of specialists will emerge, making room for more certification with less education. I hardly see more incentive for more really smart people reaching for the bar of excellence with one hand on their device, and muddled with so many mediocre choices. If our evolution is going to be an improvement on the past, something new in education needs to be done. Getting 80% of the population on board to substance learning instead of superstitious, religious folk lore is going to help. The problem with evolution is it’s unstoppable and unpredictable directions. Perhaps with a little unity, we could guide our direction to a better world, and not just more of it.

Moral Argument; The Answer in a Nutshell

You want to see this absolutely brilliant crop dusting of the Christian argument for morality see this post and read the comments. They spent the next several hours trying to address only selected verbiage and imho without question lost, and resorted to cherry picking points with Branyanistic name calling and Mel moving the topic goal posts. It was masterful ! Here’s the first comment-

“I’ve always found the morality argument for a god to be the absolute weakest for the simple reason that we have hard evidence that this thing we call “morality,” which is really nothing but a formative sense of good (positive) and bad (negative) behaviour, is a product of neurological processing power. The more neurons, the more accute an organisms understanding of it. Countless studies, across numerous species, prove this beyond any rational doubt. It is not a human phenomena, and its anything but complicated- John Zande

Science is a Matter of Trust, Not Faith

I may have cracked the code on this one.

Trust – reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.

Faith- “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I do not have an iota of faith in science, but I do place some trust and confidence in science and scientists because of the prior and continued successes all around us. It has a track record of measurable performance. Religion still has none. The paradox of religious faith is also found in scripture. Let this next part soak in a second.

“If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” John‬ ‭3:12‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Was Jesus a scientist, or better yet, astrophysicist? The Greek word for heavenly is Ouranos, pronounced (oo-ran-os) meaning – heaven, the visible heavens: the atmosphere, the sky, the starry heavens. I digress.

Monotheistic premise today does not believe the earthly obvious, but holds to faith to explain what is otherwise clearly known.

Fundamental knee jerk resistance to science is holding the religious hostage to faith. If they won’t even admit to proven basics, how will they understand more complex disciplines like physics and evolution?

Gods Morals versus Humanist Morals

“The greatest insult to humanism is that man needs a god in order to have a moral framework. The moral framework that comes from god is always tested against mans own morals and the idea that we don’t know right from wrong. But then we have to take it from words dictated from a rather hot-headed neurotic desert tribe is just insulting” -Stephen Fry. It’s so easy even a comedian gets it!

The humanist morals compared to the morals of the nomadic tribe? Hmm

Secular humanism. “The philosophy or life stance of secular humanism embraces human reason, ethics, social justice, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition as the bases of morality and decision making”.

It is painstakingly ridiculous to sift through an archaic and divisive text dictated by a cruel nomadic desert tribe thousands of years ago to determine which is moral or immoral for our time. Theirs was an immoral and violent time that would not pass any litmus test of decency today.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” ~Albert Einstein

But imagination with knowledge……Unimaginable–TCA

Religious Evolutionary Atheists

The transition from religion to atheism was incredibly easy for me. Roughly 80% of Mormons who leave the faith become atheist and never align with another belief system. Made me wonder why. I knew that as a Mormon from my own way of thinking, that if I wasn’t LDS, I wouldn’t be anything. After a few years of atheism now think I figured out why. It is probably the most materialistic world view of any other religion.

Mormon theology teaches three basic principles about where we came from, why we are here, where are we going, and also how to get there.

1. Where we came from– LDS doctrine teaches that we existed before the world was created. That we were intelligences of fine spirit matter. Energy. Spirit offspring of god, and that matter has always existed but some is more pure or fine. But matter nonetheless. That the gods organized existing matter to form the worlds. We are eternal beings living in a mortal existence capable of progressing, evolving, if you will, in a cosmos completely filled with matter. There is no empty space, but all is comprised of matter according to the doctrine.

2. Why are we here? Ultimately the goal is to become like god. Man is as god once was. He is part of the same matter that makes up man. Not separate from it. He is governed by the same natural laws that we experience, only he has perfected it. He was once a man, and though multiple progressions or cycles of learning he was able to achieve godhood. That when you die, you don’t go straight to the highest heaven, but you progress to become more through training and experiences and obedience. Essentially Mormonism was directing me on a concise , focused program to progress (evolve) to the highest life form. Just different wording.

3. Where are we going? Mormon doctrine teaches that when you die, you continue on in spirit form for a time, then after resurrection you have a body of flesh and bone in its perfect form. Then judgement comes and those that are most worthy progress to the highest level. Not as gods, but ready to become such. To continue on the path. To take your place in the expanding universe. (Hubble Deep Space) This is the LDS version of natural selection or, evolutionary exaltation of the fittest or most worthy. The best get to continue on. The other are not damned to hell, but damned as in a halt to their progress. Unknown if those get another chance.

The sole purpose of this creation and the universe is for all of gods creatures to have joy and find happiness and reach their full potential. It feels to me that Mormons transition to atheism easily or naturally because when no longer believing in god or religion, a evolutionary alignment with an atheist worldview is a switch flip. Making the world a better place and for everyone to find the most happiness and joy. Personal happiness and human potential. Also, Matter/Energy cannot be created or destroyed but can only change forms. It can evolve to a higher form given time. Very materialistic view incorporating different forms of matter and potential life cycles.

Evidence Evolving in Space

NASA has released some interesting data about Scott Kelly and his year-long stint at the ISS. Although more data will be forthcoming, early statements seem to chalk one up for the good guys. A drastic change of environment seems to accelerate some evolutionary processes. Here is a quote from NASA

“the chemical modifications that were seen in Scott’s DNA during the trip in space returned to normal once he came back to Earth. The same thing happened around the midpoint of the study for Mark’s end, which led scientists to believe that genes are actually sensitive to changing environments.

NASA found that there are hundreds of unique genetic mutations for both Scott and Mark”.

Also stated were changes in sizes and shapes of red and white blood cells.

Imagining the implications here I thought this was pretty big.