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Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection 
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 Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection

Please use this thread for discussing Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection. :up:



Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:51 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
I'm into the first few pages of this chapter but wanted to quote the very first paragraph:

Quote:
My parents died years ago. I was very close to them. I still miss them terribly. I know I always will. I long to believe that their essence, their personalities, what I loved so much about them, are - really and truly - still in existence somewhere. I wouldn't ask very much, just five or ten minutes a year, say, to tell them about their grandchildren, to catch them up on the latest news, to remind them that I love them. There's a part of me - no matter how childish it sounds - that wonders how they are. 'Is everything all right?' I want to ask. The last words I found myself saying to my father, at the moment of his death, were 'Take care.'


That was a very beautiful expression by Sagan, and a very honest admission - that no matter how much of the skeptic he is, at such a profound moment, he told his father to "take care" as if there might be a slight possibility of his father's essence continuing.

Anyone that has lost a parent(s) they were close to can relate.

Sagan had once before mentioned he was close to his parents and that he deeply grieved their deaths.

My question for Sagan would be a scientific one:

What is the evolutionary explanation for loving his parents so profoundly years after they've died, and how does it benefit the perpetuation of the species?



Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:00 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
Quote:
ant wrote:

That was a very beautiful expression by Sagan, and a very honest admission - that no matter how much of the skeptic he is, at such a profound moment, he told his father to "take care" as if there might be a slight possibility of his father's essence continuing.


I agree. It is so moving to hear this admission. Of course, like everyone of my age I have seen my loved ones die and because I never really questioned that there was an afterlife, I was never really so very devastated because before last year, they were all of an age, around the age of 80, when one expects to move on.

It was different when Jeremy died......he was too young to go. He was tall and healthy and he became so ill.....it was horrible to watch. His passing upset me more than any previously. He didn't really care about dying.....but he didn't want to leave his son, my grandson. Now, why should he contact me after his death? I think because I was accepting of the fact that life continues. Anyway, at the risk of boring you, I will copy and paste the email, I sent to my daughter. You may make of it what you will.......I just want to

Emma - from Mum:-

I have been waiting for an opportunity to tell you this for three weeks....but I haven't had the chance. Anyway, I have decided to record it in writing so that you can tell Isaac, if and when an opportune moment occurs. If not, keep it recorded and he might read it for himself sometime.
Three weeks ago, on Tuesday I was working at the shop all day, rather than finishing at 2.00 o'clock as normal. After three o'clock in the afternoon, a man cam bouncing in....and that is what he did, he bounced....he was a youngish, portly chap with a rosy face and exuding energy.
He asked me to point him to the 'occult' section, so I did and he thanked me. I had no sooner got back to the counter, when he came back and said he had found the book he was looking for immediately.....I said, that happened a lot to people and he said, he didn't know why he was surprised because it happened to him all the time. He said, ' I am a psychic medium and I belong to a group. We work with angels and higher spirits. I don't know why they contact me, because I am thick. ' He did have a slight scouse accent.
Anyway, I said I understood about mediums because my Mum had been a spiritualist. He said, he had been sent out of his way to call at Lady Heyes, by his spirit friends......and he looked at me....just looked at me. I said we had just lost 'the father of my grandson' (that is how I always said it). 'Oh' he said, 'so it is you I've been sent to see.' I have a gift in the car for you. He went to go out to his car, but then turned around as he reached the door and said, 'It's not from me.....it's from Jeremy'. I was quite shaken.
He went off and came back with a very colourful scarf ring - all different colours of glass stones. He said, 'On my way here, they showed me a white van....which said 'Grace - Landscape Gardeners.' - Yes, I told him, I knew why that was.
He then was going to leave.....but he said, 'He's showing me a shape - like a figure of eight on its side'. He traced it with his finger - I thought it was the Greek Letter 'Omega' which it might be - but have since been told it is the sign for 'Infinity'.
I felt very uplifted and thought that Jerry was letting us know that he was still around. The bravest thing I did was tell your Dad when I got home. He was not impressed.......but I am very grateful to be able to relate this to you and hope you will take it in the spirit in which it is meant.
It sounds unlikely, but i swear it is the absolute truth....and a can show you the scarf ring.
I so wanted to tell Sally, but I couldn't.
xxxxxxx


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Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:16 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
ant wrote:
What is the evolutionary explanation for loving his parents so profoundly years after they've died, and how does it benefit the perpetuation of the species?


Love is what motivates us to protect those who share our genes. Where it extends beyond utility is a spandrel, just like old age.


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Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:24 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
Quote:
Love is what motivates us to protect those who share our genes


Love is often extended beyond those who share our genes.

Your definition is textbook darwinism but is unsatisfying and inaccurate when compared to how the world is experienced.

But I see where this conversation can go.

To be honest, I'm not certain I understand your spandrel comment.


Maybe Penelope can chime in here and share her thoughts about love and spandrels.
I'd like to hear them.



Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:35 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
I had never heard the word spandrel and had to Google it. It seems to come from the root - expanse??

The space between two arches?

In evolutionary biology, a spandrel is a phenotypic characteristic that is a byproduct of the evolution of some other characteristic, rather than a direct product of adaptive selection.

Hmmm...so love is a by-product??

Well, so far as I can judge - lust is the the primary evolutionary force. It is also primal, primitive. It is very much of the body and physical. I believe it to be the life-force and a holy thing (since it creates new life) which can be corrupt if in the wrong place, wrong time, wrong person, ie if one of the participants is not a consenting adult....then it is absolutely unholy.

Love, on the other hand is of the emotions, and comes from the soul. When we feel love, we feel our soul. If the soul does continue after death of the body....then the love between us can bind us together. (Like a spandrel between arches?) That is why some religions teach that souls come in clusters and that, in life, we recognise those who belong to the same cluster.

This is not scientific at all, is it? Not helpful then. Sorry, it's the best I can do.

It just seems evident to me that there is a dimension to us which does not conform to Physics. If you read the footnote to my posts (my signature) it gives an idea of what I mean. We are more than the sum of our parts.


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He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

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Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:51 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
ant wrote:
To be honest, I'm not certain I understand your spandrel comment.


It means that love is often extended beyond where we should expect it to have evolutionary utility. There is much in evolution that goes beyond utility, most often times because it isn't a detriment. Consider old age. There's no reason, from an evolutionary perspective, for us to be any older than mating age(40 years old or so). Yet we grow much older than that. It's a spandrel of evolution. Not useful, yet not detrimental. It's neither selected for or against, so there's a wide, unlimited range that it could possibly be.

Parallel to this understanding is the fact that not everything that has evolved has utility. There are excesses that aren't selected against as long as they aren't detrimental to the survival of our genes. That is what a spandrel is, in a nutshell.

Lust is useful in mating, but love is needed to protect those who share your genes. Children, siblings, etc. Love and lust are both real and useful, with respect to the survival of our genes.

Penelope wrote:
Love, on the other hand is of the emotions, and comes from the soul. When we feel love, we feel our soul.


Then it stands to reason that our soul can be removed with a prefrontal cortex lobotomy.


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Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:55 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
Quote:
Interbane wrote:

Then it stands to reason that our soul can be removed with a prefrontal cortex lobotomy.


Absolutely, if you imagine that we are zombies and are just the product of chemicals in our brains.

This chapter is much more profound that the search for little green men. This is ontology, the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or can be said to exist, and how such entities can be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences.

Of course, if life has no point, there is no need for philosophy.

Quote:
Interbane wrote:

There's no reason, from an evolutionary perspective, for us to be any older than mating age(40 years old or so). Yet we grow much older than that. It's a spandrel of evolution. Not useful, yet not detrimental. It's neither selected for or against, so there's a wide, unlimited range that it could possibly be.


Well, I am old and past childbearing.....so not useful. I can only philosophise..........

Fortunately, I don't feel the need to be useful.....I just actually like life more as I've grown older......except for my knees of course...my knees are a bloody pain. :weep:

King David and King Solomon lead merry, merry lives
With many, many concubines and many, many wives
But when old age came upon them, with its many, many qualms
King Solomon wrote the Proverbs and King David wrote the Psalms.

:o :o :o


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He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

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Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:22 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
Penelope wrote:
Absolutely, if you imagine that we are zombies and are just the product of chemicals in our brains.


What I meant was that if you remove part of the brain, you remove emotion. I don't think we are zombies, but we are a product of the chemicals in our brains. There is more to us than merely chemicals. We're also the arrangement of neurons - the informational patterns.


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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
Penelope wrote:
Absolutely, if you imagine that we are zombies and are just the product of chemicals in our brains.


Great line.

Just a few comments in passing.

Let's say we know that love can be explained by a chemical reaction in the brain. Does that make it less meaningful? Just because some of our feelings can be explained in strictly evolutionary terms doesn't mean they are not important to us. Obviously they are. Sometimes I think it helps to understand the evolutionary utility of our actions and emotions as a way of knowing thyself.

I believe "spandrel" was first coined by Stephen Gould to explain some behaviors that don't make a lot of sense in terms of strict evolutionary goals to survive and procreate. Dawkins discusses spandrels in some of his books as well. In architectural terms, the spandrel of a building serves no purpose for that design, but the space it creates has become useful for other things. In other words, the spandrel is co-opted into something else that goes beyond it's original design. I think Gould suggested that religious belief is a kind of spandrel that arose from having big brains. Personally, I think that religious belief does serve a useful purpose, but that's another question.

Interbane suggested that it makes no sense for us to live beyond our child-bearing years, but in fact, we grandparents do play a very important support role in helping to raise the grandkids. It has been speculated that women tend to live longer than men because they are more important for this support role. It's also been speculated that the younger males in a family of many males, are more likely to be homosexual because there are already enough males to pass on the genes for this specific gene pool. Most of this is stuff is far from proven. Such is the nature of evolutionary psychology. But it's very interesting nonetheless.


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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
Penelope, have you seen the movie "Interstellar" yet?

I've a feeling it was made for you.

I cried like a baby :-D



Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:10 am
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
Quote:
youkrst:

Penelope, have you seen the movie "Interstellar" yet?

I've a feeling it was made for you.


No, I haven't heard of it, but I will watch out for it. We are at present all watching the TV series 'Wolf Hall' about the Tudors. It is really atmospheric and superbly cast, but miserable. I can never go straight to bed after watching it. I always have to find something funny to take my mind off the serious stuff.


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He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

Rafael Sabatini


Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:39 am
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
I'm the same, after researching some depressing stuff I had to listen to a bunch of old red dwarfs just to detox :)



Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:45 am
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
We're big Red Dwarf fans. That series is so imaginative.

Which character are you? I feel a bit like Holly on this forum.


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Only those become weary of angling who bring nothing to it but the idea of catching fish.

He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

Rafael Sabatini


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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
It's hard to pick just one as I can see all of them in myself...I'll get back to you as I watch more eps, probably 40% lister 50% rimmer and 10% cat but my better half would likely vary those ratios a little :lol: there's some kryten in there too :-D

I'm currently trying to hunt down the episode with the "justice zone" in it, some real gems in there.



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