Archive for the ‘Questions Answered’ Category

Who Am I?

June 28, 2012

Do we have a soul? Are we magical, special, immaterial beings? Are we, a tiny % of the universe, unique and different from everything else that is material? Do animals have souls? Materially they are just as unique as humans. We have the same DNA, the largest and most complex known molecule in the universe. If we are unique then so are the other animals. Is it the nervous system that is unique? It is 1 and near-symmetrical, connected in the middle of the brain, spread out in different globes and layers, stretching outwards through 4 tentacles, 5 if you include a penis, in near-uncountable sprouts. This is the structure that shapes a  mirror of the universe. It is not magically separated from the universe, it is material and a borderless part of the universe. So, the universe is 1 and near-infinite in terms of size, time and number of parts. The body is a countable number of parts, although in a constant flux as you can see in the video clip. The soul is the idea that the flux is a constant and as an idea it is great, it makes us self-aware and that enables us to achieve what no other things in the universe has achieved, breakfast cereals. But it is only an idea, self-awareness is not a constant, we are unconscious, we dream, we misunderstand ourselves and the universe, lying and guesses things wrong. Consciousness is recreated each new instant over time, each new state of mind unique, reflecting the ongoing changes of the nervous system brought on by its material machinery which is energized and resourced by the surrounding universe and thus also reflecting the universe. So, what are we? Well, we ARE this machine, in an everyday practical sense of the word being, practical in a way that furthers evolution by treating yourself as separate from the universe, because you have constantified the flux of the universe, inside the flux, so that you can control it. At other times it is better to remember the unity between the self and the rest and think of how the flux continues into and through the perceived constant. So, we have this delusion of a constant soul because we are, almost, 1 nervous system and we have the delusion that we are a part of God because our souls makes us feels special and magical. We are all connected, but only in a material sense. We are all unique, but only in a material sense, just like the state of the mind is constantified, so is the entire flux of the universe. We percieve it as globes and forces and circles and teeth. Which is practical, especially since small things like atoms are pretty constant from our perspective, i.e. the perspective of a 2 m tall structure that lives for 100 years. The universe, however, remains a flux and only in its function of each of its unique states, which is, again, material, can we relate the near-infinite? parts in relation to each other, a flash before it is a complete new world. Or maybe that’s just what I think.

The Human Body is Mostly Empty Space

May 8, 2012
“On April 7, 2011, the CDF collaboration at the Tevatron reported an excess in proton-antiproton collision events that produce a W boson accompanied by two hadronic jets. This could possibly be interpreted in terms of a Z’ boson.[4][5]” -wikipedia
What the f does that mean? Let’s try to find out and then we’re gonna count the protons in your body. (Skip ahead if you don’t wanna know about the bosons.”
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Is the Quran the Word of God?

April 11, 2012

Or is it just another story written by humans? To date 130 million books have been written. If the Quran is the word of God, it would be quite unique. 99.99999923% of all books are not the Quran and thus not the word of God, thus the claim that the Quran is the word of God is quite extraordinary and thus requires extraordinary evidence*, or at least one piece of evidence. Let’s see if we can find one.

Books believed to be written by Gods often have it written in them that they were written by said Gods. So does the Quran. If we assume that the Quran was written by God, then this textual evidence supports the idea that the Quran was written by God. But since the point of this text is to investigate if the Quran was written by God rather than just assume prior to evidence that is was, this textual “evidence” is irrelevant.

I’m not gonna dwell on the prophecies in either of the three texts because anybody who knows anything about prophecies know why the prophecies in the Torah, NT and Quran fail to predict the future accurately. If you think these prophecies predict the future accurately then you don’t know enough about prophecies in relation to the concepts of coincidence, vagueness and post-diction. Check out Nostradamus, horoscopes or 2012 or whatever if you still think the Torah predicts Jesus or whatever.

I am gonna dwell on the chapter “Intellectual Proofs of his Prophethood” in the book “Muhammad: The Messenger of Allah” written by (no, not God) Abdurrahman Al-Sheha. He lists 14 “Intellectual” proofs for the Quran being the word of God in addition to the stupid (?) textual proofs.  It is my pleasure to list the 14 proofs for you now.

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What Is an Atheist Apologetic?

March 12, 2012

A Christian Apologetic says the muslims have been written out of Euro-Catholic history books in terms of their involvement with the preservation and advancements in Roman and Greek culture and science through the Constantinople and Ottoman Empires.

An Atheist Apologetic says Jesus really did suffer and die on the cross/pole and that billions of people have spent a lot of their time with religion in mind, many devoting their whole lives.

An Atheist could also say that we spend a lot of time not seeing what is really there. We read about coffee cups and see them in movies but they’re only pictures, you’re not really there, you’re only imagining. Of course we can only perceive reality, we experience it via our senses, we only have a mental representation of reality, it’s not really reality, it’s an image of it. And when you look at reality you barely see it, you only see selected bits of it. So when you really look at what’s right in front of you you start seeing things like fingers, faces, cheeks, hair, society. The difference between immaterialism and materialism is naively only whether the picture or the so called reality is reality.

How to Defeat a Racist in 1 Minute?

September 19, 2011

Tell the racist:

To create some of the atoms a human being is made of a star has to explode as a supernova.

The human body consists of 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms.

All life (bacteria, plants, animals) of Earth are built with only 1 molecule, DNA.

Earth life is unique in the Universe, which is 1,400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 km wide.

When you Wound a Finger, How Does the Body Know what Shape to Rebuild?

September 16, 2011

Let’s assume you cut your fingers with a bread knife and there’s a gaping wound. You can just see the skin layers cross-sectioned and maybe even the whiteness of the bone before the red liquid floods it all. What’s amazing is that a few weeks later, your finger will look just like it did before you cut it.

How is this possible you ask, how does the body know? Surely, this is proof that there is some external intelligence, something beyond matter that knows or stores information about matter or at least about the material body and that can steer matter or the body.

Similarly, one might ask: How is the world possible, why is it the way it is, how come everything happens just the way they happen? Surely, this is proof that there is some external intelligence, something beyond matter et cetera et cetera.

The problem with Intelligent Design is that there’s no reason to assume an external intelligence behind a process when the process is self-explanatory. Instead of trying to find a top-down, simplified reason behind everything, we should look at all the details of the complexity that form the whole of the process  bottoms-up.

In the case of the finger, and indeed the growth of a child, we look at all the biochemical processes that form a whole human body.

When a blood vessel is damaged, the endothelium, a layer of cells on the inside of the blood vessel wall, releases a protein that binds collagen. Then blood “platelets bind to collagen with surface collagen-specific glycoprotein Ia/IIa receptors. This adhesion is strengthened further by additional circulating proteins vWF, which forms additional links between the platelets glycoprotein Ib/IX/V and the collagen fibrils,” and the chain reaction started this way leads to clotting. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coagulation

“Numbers of monocytes in the wound peak one to one and a half days after the injury occurs.[18] Once they are in the wound site, monocytes mature into macrophages. The spleen contains half the body’s monocytes in reserve ready to be deployed to injured tissue… Stem cells of endothelial cells, originating from parts of uninjured blood vessels, develop pseudopodia and push through the ECM into the wound site to establish new blood vessels.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wound_healing

To answer the question, no body knows anything here, the cells just do their jobs. There’s no command centre with a large map of the body on display whence individual cells get their orders and then using compasses they orient themselves to a specific place. Instead the body structure is maintained by having the remaining cells on the edges of the damage build the body back up from the edges inwards. When they  (and by them I mean the copies of them) bump into each other they stop growing, sometimes the process is less than perfect and we end up with scars that all look differently.

Why Do Men Have Nipples?

April 25, 2011

Almost all mammals have nipples. Feeding babies through the navel, and then from the breasts, instead of using a yolk like birds and reptiles, is the evolutionary trait that has made mammals so successful. Caring for children to the age of 20 while intelligence develops is humans winning recipe. But why do men have nipples when only females nurse?

“because the “female template” is the default for humans, the question is not why evolution has not selected against male nipples, but why it would be advantageous to select against male nipples in the first place:

The uncoupling of male and female traits occurs if there is selection for it: if the trait is important to the reproductive success of both males and females but the best or “optimal” trait is different for a male and a female. We would not expect such an uncoupling if the attribute is important in both sexes and the “optimal” value is similar in both sexes, nor would we expect uncoupling to evolve if the attribute is important to one sex but unimportant in the other. The latter is the case for nipples. Their advantage in females, in terms of reproductive success, is clear. But because the genetic “default” is for males and females to share characters, the presence of nipples in males is probably best explained as a genetic correlation that persists through lack of selection against them, rather than selection for them. Interestingly, though, it could be argued that the occurrence of problems associated with the male nipple, such as carcinoma, constitutes contemporary selection against them. In a sense, male nipples are analogous to vestigial structures such as the remnants of useless pelvic bones in whales: if they did much harm, they would have disappeared.” -wikipedia

This is maybe hard to understand and it sure is easy for creationists and the like to willingly misunderstand, but it’s not very complex. If an individual has a negative trait, like being blind, then that individual is more likely to die before being able to reproduce, either from falling, not being able to find food or being eating by a predator. Even bad mutations can get lucky though, so temporarily, unlikely populations do exist. But here is the crux of the matter: Being able to see really well does not give you more children. Evolution only works one way, it kills the misfits, it doesn’t reward the well-adjusted. By inference, the well-adjusted are rewarded since they’re left unkilled, but natural selection doesn’t premier positive traits, it only weeds out the bad ones. In the long run, only the best remain so it’s easy to make this mistake. Survival of the fittest is actually only an indirect consequence of the killing of the unfit, or the Impotence of the Weak, or what have you. It’s this mechanism that answers the question: “Why have we not evolved to perfection yet?”. Because mutations are random and the bad ones are removed and perfection only happens if all the perfect mutations randomly appear instead of the ones that aren’t perfect, but good enough for continued procreation. This is an easy relationship to remember and if you keep it in mind in discussions about evolution, you will be able to spot the flaw in many arguments.

What is Stream of Consciousness?

January 26, 2011

This is an attempt to show how the mind works. I’m trying not to overthink what I write… and I try to make it as fluent as possible. fluent meaning spontaneous. I think only literary right now… and I’m marking pauses in my thought progression with three dots, like so… Also, I’m listening to music, so I’m not sure how that’s gonna affect my thoughts, but so far, the flow seems quite good. A good thing is that I’m often able to think in grammatically correct sentences. I don’t know… why this is, but… Well… It’s…hard not to, I guess/suppose. Also, whatever comes out linguistically, I mean, in writing, is an adaptation, I’m trying to formulate… and specify how the thoughts come to me. If it feels like a pause I’ll make, note it as a pause. The “/” earlier I don’t know what it symbolizes. Strangely, people often don’t talk in complete sentences so I’m curious to see what happens here, if I can stay grammatically correct or not. Also…I was thinking of something, but forgot it. I think the music is distracting me a bit, but, and that was what I forgot…I’m able to write in complete sentences, perhaps because I think slowly. I do write down every single complete word that comes to my mind, but who knows how many incomplete, I mean subconscious, thoughts built up to that complete word or that complete sentence. Lots, perhaps, or none, no lots rather. Well, this interesting, I feel I have a hard time coping with the speed as I probably can’t write as fast as I sometimes think, even when thinking only… slowly… I just checked my cell phone, looked at it for 2, roughly 2 seconds. That was part of the stream unfortunately, and it seems it’s impossible to write genuine, true stream of consciousness, as there are all kinds of thoughts going on that are not literal, semantic, linguistic. It’s…forgot…Well, isn’t this nice. You sitting there, reading this stuff, I’m sitting here, actually, I didn’t think wholly and only “stuff”, I did pass through, went through…like a half-spoken “shit” as an alternative to stuff. That was a nice parenthesis. I’m gonna pause, see if something different, novel comes to my mind. [pause]

Just had a sip of tea, some ayurvedic stuff. It’s licorice, strange for tea, yes, but I like it, I like licorice. And the ayurvedic part, I’m not a big believer in traditional medicine. As some British stand-up comedian said, and I’ve forgotten his name right now, but he said…the…something along the lines of…the traditional medicine that was tested by modern methods and approved, made certain they worked, became medicine, while the remainders became traditional medicine. It’s a joke, but there’s some truth to it. The testing is kinda important as…what’s the word…eh…I actually did think “eh” there…placebo, that’s the word. Ya, confirmation bias. Everything you believe in, you’ll interpret the results in the, in its favour. That’s how it works. So, the music is still a potential threat to the stream of consciousness being genuine. Also, a great thing about English is that it’s easy to cop,  be grammatically correct, you can cop out of every sentence that is heading array, away, erratic, I don’t know, by just changing up the tempus or something and it becomes, or add a sentence, scratch that, clause, something, and make it a new ending that makes sense, sorta, often at least. So, on the music note, I’ll pause and try without for a sec, and have a second sip of tea as well. [pause]

Now I want to go back to the music and listen some more. Actually, so many words are forming just beneath articulation in my brain that it’s hard to see, understand how many words I’m actually thinking and not so hard to see how why I manage to complete sentences so often…The… [pause, I wish I could type faster, gonna regroup and try again]

I forgot to mention that I’m Swedish, so languages come and go in my brain. Usually no Swedish in there when I’m in my English mood, well, train of thought, but occasionally it pops up, and so does English in Swedish… I’m gonna think of something different now, just been reading the Doors of Perception, about half-way through, and it’s an interesting book, not a book, just a text, but I don’t agree with mister Aldous Huxley on certain points, although I can’t go and quote him cuz I’m in the flow, writing stream of consciousness. Why am I telling you this? You already know I’m in stream of consciousness mode. There I did it, just added a “mode” to make that sentence make sense, although it’s not a perfect sentence. There never is. There are none. Lot’s of correction in my brain, I guess that means I’m typing faster than I would normally correct myself when speaking. I do speak slowly, so not a big surprise… [pause, sip of tea, looking for a quote]

Oh well, bored, not gonna give you a quote. I’ll read the rest instead and leave you hanging. Might not even write a blog post about it. EVER! Cya.

Edit: Actually, I’ll do it.

“The fear, as I analyze it in retrospect, was of being
overwhelmed, of disintegrating under a pressure of reality greater than a mind, accustomed to living
most of the time in a cosy world of symbols, could possibly bear. The literature of religious experience
abounds in references to the pains and terrors overwhelming those who have come, too suddenly, face
to face with some manifestation of the Mysterium tremendum. In theological language, this fear is due to
the in- compatibility between man’s egotism and the divine purity, between man’s self-aggravated
separateness and the infinity of God.”

From my point of view, the mystery is due to the incompatibility between the nervous system’s perception of the rest of the world, and its perception of its own existence. A very materialistic cause for the subjective mystery and very monisticly I disagree with Huxley’s and others’  Inner and Outer world or of the transcendence connecting them.

Seems like mescalin made him critical of his own ego and others’ egos in favour of a love for the whole of existence, nature, God. A particular car makes him cry with laughter over the designer. What he forgets is that humans are part of nature and thus so are our creations.

Aliens are Primates? New Psychological Insights

December 20, 2010

How come all the aliens we depict look like humans? Subconsciously, aliens are to humans as humans are to chimps. That means they’ve not even left the primate family. Humans have less hair than chimps, bigger brains and walk upright which enables them to manipulate high-tech tools more easily. A typical alien, the small, thin one (sometimes wearing an artificial exoskeleton) with 2-5 fingers on each hand, walks upright on two legs, has a very big head and very big eyes and they don’t even have eyebrows or pubic hair and they travel through space and operate high-tech machinery. That’s like the next step in primate evolution; chimp-human-alien and space is the supposed final frontier for us so it’s not strange that we imagine aliens to be similar to what we imagine future humans are like.

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Can Materialism Explain Mary’s Room?

October 19, 2010

The thought experiment was originally proposed by Frank Jackson as follows [in 1982]:

Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white television monitor. She specializes in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all the physical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes, or the sky, and use terms like ‘red’, ‘blue’, and so on. She discovers, for example, just which wavelength combinations from the sky stimulate the retina, and exactly how this produces via the central nervous system the contraction of the vocal cords and expulsion of air from the lungs that results in the uttering of the sentence ‘The sky is blue’. […] What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a color television monitor? Will she learn anything or not? [4]

If she learns something new, then, supposedly, immaterial qualia exists. Check the arguments for and against on wikipedia, Mary’s Room.

Now, this is my materialist solution:

She has only received stimuli that affect neurochemistry telling her that the sound “blue”, how it is muscularly pronounced and all the other things she reads or hears about blueness belongs to 475 nm wavelength photons as reflected by objects. She has not received the photon itself so the neurochemistry will be completely novel and the experience therefore also novel. However, this doesn’t say anything about whether qualia is immaterial or not, it is stricly a material formulation of the dilemma. To me, qualia is knowledge, so it’s wrong to differentiate between the two and ask whether she knows about the qualia or not because the knowledge existing in the auditory neurochemistry is impossibly the same knowledge that exists in the visual neurochemistry, i.e. no matter how much you know about vision, that knowledge exists in neurons that are impossibly the same neurons as the neurons in the optic nerve. If the neurons in the optic nerve are never stimulated by the retina but used only in an auditory network, then they’re not really an optic nerve now are they. The quality of qualia relies on what the senses are capable of sensing because the mind IS the physical senses, so knowing/experiencing visual qualia of a blue car is an electrochemical activity behind the retina that is different from the visual qualia of reading a text about blue car visual qualia and different from the auditory qualia of being told what qualia is.

It’s actually just a matter of spotting the error in the premise. Knowing everything about anything is impossible, but even if Mary knows terribly much through all kinds of experiences she doesn’t know the experience of photons on the retina, not only does she not know what it “feels like” but she has never had the physical experience and thus not the physical knowledge of the photon hitting the retina. So, even though her brain has learned the word blue and all other things that have entered her brain, she hasn’t learned the blue photon hitting the retina because it has not hit yet. This means the premise is false, she doesn’t know everything there is to know about colour.

An interesting side note is that learning is a physical process of growing relative connections in the brain through sensing outside stimuli and working with internal stimuli (like the neurology constituting a memory that fires and causes happiness). The older you get the less of the original structure remains and the original structure [see Chomsky on language] is designed to make sense of colour stimuli so given enough time a monochrome or blind person can’t neurologically adapt to and make sense of colour stimuli. We see the same deterioration of ability to decipher auditory stimuli in grown-ups with cochlia implants. It might be too late for Mary to see colors well or at all.

A second side note is that she might be so well educated in photon wavelengths that she will think it folly that some people use so few words to describe the differences. Of course, learning means differentiating between stimuli so even assuming she still has the ability to learn colour vision at old age it will require some biological time for the neural pathways to build up connections with the linguistic centre and memories and so on, but once she’s done that, also given her extraordinary interest in the matter, she might refrain from using “simply red” to denote a colour and emphasize the differences between shades of red by giving each wavelength a unique name. Psychologically this seems like a likely response to someone who’s been locked-up in a monochromatic prison for a few years and learnt everything there is to know about colour.

Does the Soul Exist?

October 2, 2010

“I sense, therefore I have senses”

The short answer to the question is no and the long answer is very long but maybe I can summarize the reasons why there’s nothing metaphysical, all things metaphysical are human inventions/ideas.

1. Power greed. People use religion for their own purposes and knowingly invent false fantasies for egotistical reasons.

2. Lack of understanding. We can’t see what cells, quarks or stars are really made of without sophisticated instruments and we still have many questions.

3. Gullibility. A lot of people believe in their ancestors and authority figures, misinterpret (consciously, subconsciously and non-consciously) or pass on other people’s lies because it fits with their own convictions, it’s a sort of combination of lack of understanding and wishful thinking but not exactly either of them. Even the supposedly cynically power greedy may suffer from gullibility and the other five reasons.

4. Wishful thinking. We all want a purpose in life, we don’t want to be mere mortal bodies, we want to be special, we want there to be a reason for our existence, we are very afraid of death (see bottom of post) and often it’s just because people are unhappy.

5. How? A) When during 3 billions years of evolution did the souls enter the organisms? B) When during the creation process of an individual organism does the soul enter? C) Where did the soul come from? D) Where does it go when we’re asleep, dead or not paying attention? E) How does the soul control the organism? All of these questions are nonsensical in light of scientific research.

6. “Why?” Human minds are limited, they simplify the universe into nouns and verbs so they can have an understanding of the universe along the formula verb->noun. An example is having sex->baby or burning->heat. This idea of cause and effect is a simplification because the entire universe is just one single continuous process, but our understanding is based on dissecting items by going backwards in the chain of events using the question why, creating more and more concepts by dividing concepts into smaller parts and relating them to each other in a monocomplex network (the brain is physically and functionally such a network). However there’s no end to this ultimately flawed line of inquiry, so there never was and never will be an ultimate reason for the same reason time will never stop, we only ever exist in the present. Mind you that although our method is ultimately flawed, it’s relatively true.

7. “Who am I?” Descartes said “I think, therefore I am” implying there has to be a metaphysical I, effectively dividing the I into a body and a soul, a two-in-one being. He didn’t say “I think, therefore I am a physical being” or “I think, therefore I exist as a physical being”. I would have said “I sense, therefore I have senses” or I=the sensations of my body or I=body.

My advice: Don’t invent a magical alternative reality with immaterial souls and Gods and a supernatural system for explaining these fantasies. Instead, accept being your body, in this reality, with all its limitations. You’re a monkey. A really cool one.

(Promises of an after-life: In norse mythology, if you die in battle you get to go to Valhall and feast on the pig Sæhrimner for all eternity, because the day after it’s eaten it’s alive again. Judaism, Christianity and Islam say that if you’ve been good/believe in God/ask forgiveness you go to a paradisical place called heaven for all eternity. Greek heroes went to Elysium. Jehovas say that the good people will live for a thousand years of peace on earth and the Jehovas themselves, 144000 to be specific, will rule the earth from heaven. Buddhism and Hindusim say you are reborn after death and get to live again, and again, and again and so on until you reach moksha/nirvana or become one with the universal soul/god for eternity. More after-lives)

Are Aliens Vegetarians?

October 1, 2010

Aliens in fiction are very similar to humans. On Star Trek they might have an extra bone in the face and in Avatar they’re blue, but they’re virtually identical to humans, while in some cases the aliens seem to be nothing more than pure energy. But these are fantasies produced by limited minds and not realistic ideas based on an in-depth understanding of what life is and why it is the way it is. I wanna know what aliens really look like. To find out I’m gonna try to figure out what aliens are made of, what they eat and how they reproduce, based on the facts we have about life on Earth.

1. What are aliens made of?

All life on earth; trees, virus, fungi, reptiles, insects, mammals are made from 4 molecules, adenine, thymine (uracil), guanine and cytosine. Just 4 small molecules that are all made from about 20 atoms each. And all 4 are made up of 4 atoms; Nitrogen, Carbon, Oxygen and Hydrogen. These 4 atoms are small and therefore common in the universe because small atoms are produced in stars. They dissolve in water and thanks to the liquid water on earth they had a good chance of meeting each other and react chemically to form life. There might be some silicon-based life-forms as well. Both carbon and silicon have 4 valence electrons, meaning they have the maximum ability to form molecules with other elements making them great candidates for a basis of life and silicon is a also a small and common atom in the universe.

Life on a different planet would benefit from a liquid that increases the potential for forming new molecules, a star that makes up a stable energy source, an atmosphere that protects from electromagnetic radiation that destroys molecules and lastly the necessary atoms that like to react, like carbon and silicon. Helium, the second most abundant element in the universe is very stable and non-reactive and therefore not a big part in life. On the other hand, Germanium also have 4 valence electrons but it is very rare in the universe and only through massive luck will there be a planet far out in the colder regions of the universe with large amounts of germanium, but it’s not impossible.

2. What will aliens eat?

The first forms of life breathed in carbondioxide, used photosynthesis (star power) and breathed out oxygen. This is the plant quality. Then we get bacteria that breathe the now bountiful oxygen and eat the plants or other “animal bacteria”, that’s the animal quality. These are the only two types of life on Earth. Either you eat photons or you eat photon-eaters or you eat photon-eater-eaters and so on.

It’s likely they’ll consume molecules from the planet together with either photons or heat from the planet (like reptiles). The life-forms are most likely to occur on the surface where the molecules can move around easily and not in a very warm molten core that destroys molecules. They might use e.g. iron-compound molecules as their main food – life on earth only needs a small amount of iron. But humans eat carbohydrate-compound molecules because of its abundance so carbon or silicon are still more likely. Note that all food humans eat is other life-forms (except water) and the energy from these carbohydrate-compound molecules originally comes from photosynthesis.

On Earth, mammals are the biggest life-forms on the surface and in the water but not in the air. The evolution is like this: Plant bacteria, followed by animal bacteria, followed by different sorts of invertebrates, then insects, then fish, then reptiles, then flowers, then some reptiles got feathers and wings and they rule the air still today. When a lot of reptiles died 65 million years ago, small mammals took over. They differ from insects and reptiles and fish in that they have large brains and require much more from their parents. The female mammal only have 1-20 children, carries them inside her own body for several months and when it’s born let’s it eat from it’s own body, energy in the form of milk, and then spends several years with the child to educate its brain. This requires a lot, but is worthwhile in the end as we can see in the evolutionary success of whales and humans.

3. What will they look  like?

Alien animals will have senses; trees don’t but all tree-eaters, except fungi, bacteria and virus, do. And senses are required for thought so they’re not animals if they don’t have senses. And they will reproduce by some form of molecular copying or they’re not really life. And they will use energy to move around. They might not have milk, they might not have sex, they might not have eyes, they might not be symmetrical (all reptiles, birds, mammals have 4 extremities, 2 on each side on the body), they might not have a head that functions like a human head. Human heads are a center for senses – taste, smell, sight and hearing – and they take in air, water and food through the hole in the head. (Most birds, fish, reptiles, mammals, insects, spiders do too. Some lizards drink with their skin. Also octopuses, which belong to neither of these groups and interestingly have beaks, are what in Swedish is known as huvudfotingar (“head-feeters”) see picture below).

Animals on earth have between 0 and many extremities. Mammals, reptiles and birds have 4 extremities, one main body with processing organs and a head for molecular intake and senses, a skeleton that supports it all and skin that protects it all and holes at the bottom for passing out DNA and poo. And don’t forget all the bacteria that live in symbiosis with us inside us and on our body surface.

Aliens on other planets might swim with a screw-like body, sense radio waves with their skin, which might be made of iron. They might be 5000 meters long and have tree-like extremities and fight for mating rights using electromagnetic radiation or do they reproduce asexually, polysexually or maybe using flowers? In an area of rainforest 100x100metres you can find 100 000 species (not individuals) of insects. They all look “alien” to us and we should expect the same biodiversity on other planets, especially planets where life has evolved long enough to produce intelligent life. So, given the probability of all the prerequisites for life listed above, what will aliens look like? They might have senses for detecting all kinds of strange things in nature, shapes and life-cycles that we can’t even dream of, and made from a molecule no less strange than the billions-of-atoms-long DNA-molecule.

We can’t know what they’ll be like but if you see an alien with a head, two eyes and a mouth you should be be skeptical. We can’t know but maybe they’re as strange as the offspring of a rose, a scorpion, a star fish, an algae, a snail and a diamond. And potentially 10 000 times smarter than us, and if so, they will have the capacity to alter their DNA and their bodies to even stranger appearances, although they still have to obey the laws of physics and chemistry.

How Can DNA-Copying Lead to New Species?

September 25, 2010

A guy commented on a youtube clip:

“0 information is ever added to the DNA strand. It’s all copied, Einstein! Mutations are when the copy gets damaged.”

I said: “Mutation is not DNA damage, it’s DNA change, which can be either positive, neutral or negative to an individual. During DNA replication, base pairs can be added, moved, removed, doubled, replaced et cetera. This changes the function of the organism, which by any possible definition means that information has been added. During 2-3 billion years, from bacteria to human, billions of basepairs have been added. During 5-7 million years, from ape to man, 1% has changed.”

“Do you know why it’s called mutatation? Maybe you could look the word up? Ask your teacher why he believes damage to the cells development results in a healthier specimen? Look at the complete genetic system at work, account for all the players and their actions and you tell me, what is the component adding newly made codes to the system? It never ceases to amaze me how easily the devil can trick someone with crap like mutation (mutilation of the original information) is beneficial! WTH?”

I said: “Well, transposons, UV radiation and mutation hotspots with non-standard bases (not ATCG) are important players. And it seems strange to me that anyone can’t see that among all the negative and neutral mutations there is statistical probability for beneficial mutations. Examples are the CCR5 Delta 32 mutation against smallpox and all primates having 3 cone types in the retina (birds have 4, they can see UV, most mammals have 2).”

“Yes, there are positive reactions that occur due to the sophistication of the original design, I agree. But what I don’t get is how it’s twisted into something it’s obviously not capable of. The same system that takes a physical being to it’s physical peak in 25-35 years also takes that same being through the stages of middle, old age and death. The world is a challenging place to survive but if macro evolution is the system in control then by now nothing would die. What’s your take?”

I said: “Firstly, macroevolution=microevolution, just a difference in time span. Turritopsis nutricula is a jellyfish that can live forever. It only dies from disease and injury. The reason immortality is not the peak of evolution is because it’s more beneficial to spawn new individuals with new mutated qualities because the environment, including other life-forms, is constantly changing. But in a way, DNA is immortal, it’s been going for 3 billion years now.”

All plants, virus, animals – all life – is made from 4 cyclical molecules like adenine, C5H5N5, in pairs in a long chain. Insanely huge molecules formed by these four little molecules. From 100 base pairs to several billion base pairs long. Either God was hell-bent on making everything out of these four molecules for some unimaginable reason or evolution is true.

Lighthouse Translated to Swedish

July 28, 2010

This search led someone to my blog so I thought I’d answer it.

Lighthouse is called fyr in Swedish. Fyr means fire, but not in modern Swedish. It is part of some words other than lighthouse and in the military phrase ge fyr which means fire/shoot, as in fire at will. From German feuer, Greek pyr. Pyroman is Swedish for arsonist. Also found in the modern Swedish word fyrverkeri, literally meaning fireworks and the old Swedish word helsefyr meaning hellfire. Fyr meaning lighthouse comes from fyrbåk. Not sure what båk means, it’s not a contemporary word, but it probably means pile of wood, or rather a built structure. Bål is the word used for this today, as in a pile of wood you would burn a witch on. Båk could be connected to the English word beacon.

The Meaning of the Lighthouse in Satanism

July 24, 2010

Got this search and thought I’d try to give an answer.

Satanism is mainly an opposite of Christianity. It holds a lot of beliefs that are equal to and stolen from Christianity but reversed. The bible speaks of being kind to your fellow man, while satanism emphasizes individualism. Satanism is most coherently defined within Anton Lavey’s religious movement the Church of Satan. I didn’t find a specific mention of the lighthouse when searching the web but a book called Die Satanischen Rituale (the Satanic rituals) had a picture of a satanic-looking lighthouse on the cover. This is some of the mentions I’ve found:

“This online manifestation is created in the dark spirit of that store, which contained the Lighthouse Effect / The Command to Look amidst the mediocre edifices surrounding it, looming as a gaping hellmouth amidst the commoners.” -some satanic store keeper

And from a Satanic dictionary:

“The Lighthouse Effect: 1. The Process by which an object, person, structure, image, or sound stands apart in an environment, as in the influence a Dominant Mass has on its surroundings.

2. Objects, images, people, or edifices which inspire either compassion, lust, or fear.

3. What activates The Command To Look.

Examples

1. A lone instrument sounds amidst frenetic noise.

2. A Person who stands out in a crowd by virtue of their very presence, &/or attire.

3. A house or building which looms ominously amidst & apart from common domiciles.

4. An automobile which stands apart from the common commercialized models.

5. A natural formation that dominates its surroundings.

Definition derived from the solitary vigilance of the lighthouse.”

So, I’d say that the lighthouse in Satanism is used just like the lighthouse in Christianity and western culture – it’s a  beacon of  hope, truth, enlightenment – the difference being that the truth is not God’s truth, but Satan’s truth. (Dunno if Dominant Mass with capital letters refers to a Satanic metaphysical substance).

What Are Animals With 4 Stomachs Called?

June 2, 2010

Today’s Guest Request: “name for cattle with four stomachs”

Some search engine sent someone to this blog with that search string. If the question was what you call an animal with four stomachs, then the answer is: Ruminants – ruminants have four compartments in their stomach so they can chew, swallow, regurgitate, chew and swallow their food more than once to extract as much resources out of it as possible. Animals with a simple stomach are called monogastric. Horses and rabbits have a singular, but modified, stomach and are called hindgut fermentors.

What’s on the Swedish Alcohol Menu?

May 12, 2010

(This is a new feature on this blog. When someone uses a search engine like google and end up on this blog wordpress tells me what search words they used to get here. So, in the search statistics I find phrases like “kilimanjaro” and “niobe punishment from artemis”. And so, if I believe I havn’t written a blog post that satisfies whoever made the search and came to this page, I might write a new blog post based on what I presume the searcher was after – by indirect request. It’s very much possible to make direct requests as well of course.)

Today’s Guest Request: “swedish alcohol menu”

Now, what was going through this person’s head? Maybe it was a Swedish person feeling like a drink before Systembolaget (“Swedish State Liquor Monopoly Corporation”/”The System Company”) had opened their stores and thought googling alcohol while waiting for alcohol might satisfy the most urgent desire. However, I’m gonna assume that the guest was a non-Swedish person looking for information about what Swedes drink or what to expect to be served when in Sweden.

100 years ago people in Sweden drank 4 million liters of schnaps and less than a hundred bottles of wine per year. Today we drink on average 4 liters of hard liquor, 25 litres of wine and 35 litres of beer per person per year. Which is a lot of poison for one human body to handle. Most brands are European, but you can find Chinese liquor too if you like. It’s not cheap to drink in Sweden, but all the bottles have shiny, professional labels – unless you’re drinking something home-made out of a plastic barrel in a cold forest full of trolls.