Given a Time Machine, When Would You Go?

The when in the title means to what time period would you go, not how soon you would leave the present. I’m using when with respect to time travel the same way one might use where when taking about space travel.

For purposes of this obviously hypothetical thread, let’s ignore the fact that a machine that moved only in time would take you to the current point in space before or after the earth came through, thus leaving you sucking the vacuum of deep space. So, we assume the time machine stays with earth, as long as you stay within the roughly 9 billion year duration of earth counting past and future. If you pick a point outside of that, you get to define the parameters.

Would you go forward, back, or both? In what order would you make your trips? How far forward or back would you go? Would you ever bother coming back to the present? Please give at least a brief explanation of any choices you list so we can understand your reasons.

Here’s a list of my own choices:

  1. 50,000,000 years in the future. I’d want to see who (meaning what species) evolved after we humans kill ourselves off. This should be enough time for a good variety of new species to have evolved.
  2. 200,000 or 2,000,000 or 7,000,000 years in the past to see the earth as it was before homo sapiens, before the entire homo genus, or before hominids, respectively. How pristine I want to view the earth depends on my mood. With a time machine, I’d probably want to visit all 3 of these points.
  3. 70,000 – 80,000 years in the past. This would be an environmentalist move on my part. At this time in pre-history, there were just 1,000 – 2,000 breeding pairs of humans on the planet. If I could round all of them up together and kill them in one cataclysmic event, I would save the world from the damage caused by the so-called great leap forward of humans, i.e. the sixth great extinction. Note: it is important that they all die together as I would also instantly die for having killed off my ancestors. If I miss and some survive, I might only kill myself by killing one or more ancestors but not save the world from humans.
  4. Beyond the other choices, I would want to visit a point in the time of the big dinosaurs, a point when pterosaurs still existed, the world of the trilobites, and other interesting points in the past. Then I might want to sample some times farther in the future and see what species evolve beyond the 50,000,000 year time mark I specified earlier.
  5. The Big Bang! If there were some hypothetical way to visit the early universe without it killing me, perhaps from another dimension … with voyeuristic intention. Note that this could genuinely be done without moving in space. The big bang happened right here. Of course, that can be said equally about any point in the universe.

P.S. If you find my parameters way too limiting, feel free to use the ship of the imagination, from Cosmos, that can go anywhere in spacetime on any scale. But, please try to be at least somewhat serious and explain why. I’m hoping that this thread won’t just devolve into two threads of discussion on the benefits of going to the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains in the land of Sevorbeupstry on the planet Preliumtarn, third out from the sun Zarss in Galactic Sector QQ7 ActiveJ Gamma versus the home of Eccentrica Gallumbits on Eroticon VI. Though, I do admit these are good choices, especially the latter.

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125 Responses to Given a Time Machine, When Would You Go?

  1. Rodnikov Magilovich says:

    And just what are you smoking this frosty Sunday morning?
    -you have assumed that it is possible to invent a machine or method to escape Time as we know it! This is possible IF we use a space vehicle to move outside of the relative motions of the Sun and Solar System which create our Time Frame!
    -outside of the Solar System, does Time as we know it stand still?
    -Time as we know it is a function of the angular motions of The Earth, The Sun, and to a minor degree all of the other Planets
    -what if there is one, three, or five more Universii that are co-existent yet undetectable on other “polarizations” ! Remember that is it 96% of the observable gravitational force cannot be attributed to any visual Masses ….at our current level of Science detection!
    -what is to say that is such hypothetical time travel could be created, that we would be able to see, comprehend, and interact in said existence?
    Now given the above, maybe it would be more appropriate to investigate where and how if it exists, the biological computer where all dying brains download their total life experiences! For example, what was Bloody Mary, Queen of Scots, [my many greats grandmother] thinking when she got offed in the Tower of London? Or what was Gen. Custer thinking when all of those hoards of Indian Braves on the War path appeared on the horizon?!!!
    There is a massive number of scenarios one might want to visit/view/absorb, including in the future when Vladimir Putin gets his come upance!
    Finally, to what end(s) would this serve beyond our own individual gratuitousness? Just maybe we could not handle it just like many of us can’t handle some of today’s stressful crisis! So pass the bong!

    • Accremonious says:

      Here is some deeper thinking on the subject of Multi-verses:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse
      [You might want to take a Tylenol first!]

    • And just what are you smoking this frosty Sunday morning?

      Salmon.

      you have assumed that it is possible to invent a machine or method to escape Time as we know it!

      Actually, I blatantly stated it as a hypothetical and even bounded the hypothetical with conditions such that we could entertain a hypothetical discussion.

      outside of the Solar System, does Time as we know it stand still?

      No. As far as we do and can know, time follows General Relativity. I believe there is likely evidence of this in the beams of light that reach us from vast distances and times. However, since I’m not a physicist, I am not sure how to express this.

      Time stands still only for objects moving at the speed of light in a vacuum. To the photon, it is everywhere along its trajectory simultaneously. For the rest of us, time moves, but at varying rates depending on motion, acceleration, and gravity wells.

      what if there is one, three, or five more Universii …

      Irrelevant to this conversation but interesting hypothesis. It has, however, nothing to offer in terms of time travel. And, as for other places to visit, we have no evidence that the other universii exist, let alone the places and times to which we might travel in such universii. Do you have more info? Do you have somewhere and somewhen you wish to go in these universii?

      what is to say that is such hypothetical time travel could be created, that we would be able to see, comprehend, and interact in said existence?

      Absolutely nothing. I was just thinking about when to go should such travel be created and become available to me. It’s a thought exercise, nothing more.

      There is a massive number of scenarios one might want to visit/view/absorb, including in the future when Vladimir Putin gets his come upance!

      Exactly! This is what I hoped to discuss.

      Is the death of Vlad the ImPutiner your first choice, assuming a quick stop at a library 100 years hence to get the correct time and place first? Is his death your idea of his come upance? Or, would you rather visit him in the hospital during a long and painful illness? Perhaps to spit on his face?

      How about killing Hitler? Seems a popular destination and activity.

      http://www.tor.com/stories/2011/08/wikihistory

      Finally, to what end(s) would this serve beyond our own individual gratuitousness?

      None.

      Just maybe we could not handle it just like many of us can’t handle some of today’s stressful crisis! So pass the bong!

      But, that would cut short an opportunity for mental masturbation.

  2. bigdukesix says:

    Jeez, We could be twins – thanks for all your pump advice – my wife has one

  3. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Excellent list Scotty. I would choose to …………….. follow you.

    Comments in no order until the last one:

    Very little reason to go into the past for the reasons you listed. Those pre-human environments still pretty much exist RIGHT NOW somewhere on earth. Go to the middle of Costa Rica or the Amazon or the Congo. Absolutely freaking miserable places to be and don’t for a minute sprain a leg or break the continuity of your skin. PRIMITIVE….man!!!

    No—the future is where its at. At peg the meter for about every 50 years for as you skip: INDEED what do our current faulty social policies result in? As I have no choice, I don’t mind dying==but I am supremely curious about how all the shit we have created rolls down hill. The future ain’t bright. Looks like a foot race between the good and bad science/technology combating each other in the milieu of God Damned stupid fucking people. ((We aren’t actually that far apart?))

    But….Earth is not “a thing” to be preserved/restored for its own sake. Without a self aware consciousness to bemoan its fate, the animal populated Earth means no more than a bare rock circling a dead sun. What is meaning?

    So……..I’d follow you thru time and at the point you herded all the extant hoomans together to kill them all off, like the brain dead social Zombie that you are, I’d save mankind by killing you. Quick and painless as possible…. after all, I’m no sadist.

    Course….. that might change for both of us if our trip to the future informs us otherwise. If we kill ourselves off as we both guess, maybe a race of intelligent racoons arise with better family values all in line with Nature Park Earth as you advocate??

    So time travel may not be what is needed. More like “sliders” where we visit alternative universes where we see what better and worse pivot points result in?

    Everything is. ……………. “under performing.”

    • Excellent list Scotty. I would choose to …………….. follow you.

      So……..I’d follow you thru time and at the point you herded all the extant hoomans together to kill them all off, like the brain dead social Zombie that you are, I’d save mankind by killing you. Quick and painless as possible…. after all, I’m no sadist.

      Glad you approve of my list, except where you don’t. Luckily, my non-existent, hypothetical time machine is equipped with an equally hypothetical cloaking device to prevent you from following me, as well as some other countermeasures that I won’t mention to avoid having you negate them.

      Those pre-human environments still pretty much exist RIGHT NOW somewhere on earth. Go to the middle of Costa Rica or the Amazon or the Congo. Absolutely freaking miserable places to be and don’t for a minute sprain a leg or break the continuity of your skin.

      Actually, no place on earth has not been affected by the human infestation of the planet. I’ve been to two out of three of those places, Costa Rica and several parts of the Amazon. They are indeed no longer pristine by any stretch of the imagination. Huge barges on the Amazon; it’s used the way we use our interstates, for all of the shipping to the region. Costa Rica is even more on on the beaten path. Numerous extinctions and reductions of species in both places. Much pollution. Definitely far from pristine.

      That said, they are still wonderful places. And, I have injured myself and broken skin in the Amazon. I survived.

      ooks like a foot race between the good and bad science/technology combating each other in the milieu of God Damned stupid fucking people. ((We aren’t actually that far apart?))

      Hmm… I’m still looking for examples of technology that has solved problems without causing bigger problems. A minor but classic example is the cars that were the solution to the problem of noise and smell in New York City in the early 1900s. Think the problems of cars are smaller than those of horses? Really??!!?

      And, one more thing, it’s not the God Damned stupid fucking people who are the real problem, it’s the God infested stupid fucking people. Actually, perhaps it’s all the stupid fucking people who aren’t using birth control when they’re fucking.

      I wouldn’t bet on raccoons. Large warm blooded species fare poorly in mass extinction events. I’d bet on some successful small cold blooded species or group of species undergoing extreme speciation and taking over next. Though, of course, no one yet has and no one in the future will ever wrest power from the real rulers of the planet, the bacteria.

      Still though, being a large species, I’m more interested in the more complex and interesting (to me) behavior of other large complex species. It’s very biased of me, but so be it.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Oh Scotty!!

        With a time machine, when I run into your cloaking device, all I have to do is go 10 more years into the future and steal the just developed Anti-Cloaking device. The footrace (auto race/destruction derby) of progress is like that.

        There are lots of places on Earth, in Costa Rica, the Amazon where you can argue it has been affected “but” you can’t tell….so whats the difference? The main channels of the Amazon are trafficked now…if you can invent or will into existence a time machine, why do I have to tell you to travel the tributaries of the Amazon until you hit the pristine? Or natural enough that you can’t tell it from pristine? Sound to me like you have some kind of ax to grind?

        Cars causing bigger problems? CONTEXT is everything. What were the pros and cons with horses compared to the pros and cons of cars? The analysis doesn’t stop with 1-2-3 items chosen on each side thru your biased and pre-selected for failure filters. One element of the context: the world is constantly changing. Cars, and really the co2 element of them—just a step on the way to individualized pollution free mass transit. We are all on the way from the bad past to a better future if destruction doesn’t tip the board first. Thats why its a foot race.

        God Damned..people. Yeah, I stumbled on that a bit myself. Infested is a master stroke—I hope to remember that. Good one.

        Raccoons–got a lot going for themselves. All depends on what the mass extinction is. I think it is more likely that hoomans will kill ourselves off leaving mamals like raccoons behind to evolve. Maybe not. As you have educated me in the past, if the co2/temps get so bad that methane reserves (or was it sulfur?) get orgasmically released for a MASS extermination…then yes, cold blooded. But…mammals did survive the last great extinction…why not again? Its a foot race.

        Interesting to you? Ha, ha. Rather Ironic. Its a close question, but I see a conscious self aware mind at work in your postings. Those non-human creatures having awareness so limited as to be not worth mentioning.

        Why the drive to extinguish the only self aware/appreciating being in the Universe? Why not a drive to find the changes necessary to keep the human drama going? Why so self centered to the misery of everyone else?….. almost as if…. you actually aren’t that much aware of anything and just are totally id driven. Like an animal…..

        Hey==I’ve been fat, sedentary, with increased lipids for decades now. How come I don’t have diabetes? No one in my family on either side has any history of diabetes. The bobbo clan all dies from heart attacks. Whats up with that?

      • More detailed reply later. For now, just tell me where I can see a giant sloth bear. 87% of large s. American mammals were killed by the first humans to the continent. I can tell that.

      • Methane clathrates melting will speed warming. Warming causes the ocean to become anoxic. An anoxic ocean breeds sulfur producing bacteria. Then we get the hydrogen sulfide gas.

        If this happens, we will have a mass extinction event like the one 250 million years ago. Mammals (and dinosaurs) had not yet evolved. That event was much worse than the more recent K/T extinction 65.3 million years ago.

        As for self aware species, what makes you think we’re the only ones? All great apes, some monkeys, and dolphins all pass the mirror test. Sperm whales have the largest brains on the planet. Parrots and crows are incredibly smart. Crows make tools in the wild and cache particularly good ones for later reuse.

  4. Rodnikov Magilovich says:

    Quote Bobboy:
    But….Earth is not “a thing” to be preserved/restored for its own sake. Without a self aware consciousness to bemoan its fate, the animal populated Earth means no more than a bare rock circling a dead sun. What is meaning?
    Reply:
    Earth is a dynamic evolving multi-functioning environment, that does not ever be or become pristine!
    Does meaning constitute a finite definition or is it not an evolving relative state of being and beings there on?
    Time travel is in effect a Red Herring concept, which is not possible on a more than just a fundamental level of means to achieve. It is not there to begin with!

    Quote Scotty:
    Though, of course, no one yet has and no one in the future will ever wrest power from the real rulers of the planet, the bacteria
    Reply:
    Just read an article outlining the new problems in the forests surrounding Chernobel. All the bacteria are absent, so when the leaves fall off the trees and other debris like twigs, etc. over the past DECADE, they do not decay and are piling up! Now this was not anticipated!

    Further to both of your comments re: Homo stupidus believing in a Gawd: This concept that has been in grained in the minds for many generations will be very difficult to eliminate even if evidence from another Universe could be accessed with proof beyond a shadow of a doubt to the contrary! What is taught by mothers to their offspring on their laps in early formative years becomes deeply held as truth(s)!
    For example, some brilliant statistical mathematicians devised an experiment to analyze data collected from studies regards the results of prayers. Their conclusion was that the results are no different than that of random chance! This alone is cause to question Deities, but no dice, and no C change in beliefs!

    • Cerberus says:

      Regarding time travel.
      You are correct in the assumption that, at present, it is not practical nor is it within our grasp. But to say that it cannot be achieved is ignoring the basic fundamental facts of space time, because if one were to travel at 99.9% the speed of light, you would thusly travel forward in time. Make no mistake, Rod. Given enough time that will be achieved.

      • BTW, there’s also the possibility of a wormhole that can be traversed. This is actually allowed by the current laws of physics as we understand them. It would require about 400,000 times the power output of our most powerful power plants, if I remember the lecture at which I heard this correctly. But, the theoretical possibility exists.

        A science fiction filmmaker asked physicists to check by asking the question of whether this was allowed by the laws, rather than attempting to check whether such a wormhole might exist in nature. So, solving the equations from the assumption of a survivable wormhole rather than seeing whether existing natural wormholes (perhaps in black holes) gave the desired answer.

    • Cerberus says:

      Regarding bacteria;
      It is all around us, hell, it is even in our bodies. So to assume that it will not be in an environment that is specified in flat wrong. If indeed it is not there at present, it will be in due time.

      And to even assume that a mind cannot be changed in regards to religion then you obviously haven met anyone here.

      Good day friend.
      Cerberus

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Isn’t it ABSOLUTELY a fact that the hypothesis “There is No god” cannot be proven? Going to other universes, including ours in some other time/space continuum, could only prove The Black Swan: and find a God actually doing his/its thing. Being an ANTI-THIEST its fun to contemplate the nature of what being would be generally accepted as “god” in whatever universe does. Most I can come up with is some powerful dude. Being all good is impossible…. as is all knowing…..as is being worthy of worship.

        Rod–your points strike me as extraneous, independent from what I posted, tangents at best.

        Meaning defined: ((of life from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meaning_of_life )) The philosophical perspectives on the meaning of life are those ideologies which explain life in terms of ideals or abstractions defined by humans. AKA==without humans, there is no meaning. ((bobbonote: even WITH humans, there is no meaning, but I haven’t written that wiki yet!))

        Pristine defined: as you will. Scotty evidently defines at as an Earth without humans AND containing a Giant Sloth…and I must assume one that hasn’t been hit by an asteroid in a few million years? You define it as a condition that cannot arise??? I define it as: whatever you get used to. (sarc off)

        Chernobyl Bacteria: fascinating. How come they haven’t repopulated “from the air?” If true, must be the radioactivity in the ground is that high and bacteria really doesn’t travel that well by air?

        Not very pristine in my book.

      • Hit by an asteroid is still pristine. So is any other non-human caused extinction event in my mind. The times after such events are less interesting to me because the amount of complex life on the planet is dramatically reduced.

        The human caused extinction has also dramatically reduced the amount and diversity of complex life on the planet. What’s worse is the knowledge that I and my species have caused the reduction. So, to me, the sixth extinction holds a “special” place in my heart, though far from a happy one.

        As for disproof of gods, those who are powerless, such as the god of the Deists, cannot be disproved. But, what about gods that allegedly take action. Would not evidence that a god could not both take action and avoid detection be evidence that said god either does not exist or is omnimpotent?

        Is not omnimpotence the moral equivalence of non-existence?

        Certainly, evidence of omnimpotence is proof of the non-existence of all personal gods who take action in the actual universe in which we live.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Scotty–what is the meaning of life on a planet with a pristine complicated ecology without a self aware entity to marvel at it.. something more self aware than recognizing one’s self in a mirror and having some basic altruistic gene promoting characteristics?

        IE–it is rather awesome that even what we call “morality” is a consequence of Darwinian evolution. I think that is stunning!

        ….but life, even with humans is meaningless in any sense of some unifying idealogy==other than perhaps (SIC!!!) be fruitflies and multiply? Nice irony there.

        Still meaningless though….(link to Big Bang theme song/thread here). With all the meaning one can muster…. what will THAT mean when the universe goes cold and dead without a single object in space visible from any other?

        Ha, ha. ((Enjoy it for what you do, while you can. Meaning if any is all primite id and all very personal.))

      • Scotty–what is the meaning of life on a planet with a pristine complicated ecology without a self aware entity to marvel at it.. something more self aware than recognizing one’s self in a mirror and having some basic altruistic gene promoting characteristics?

        What is the meaning of life regardless of the existence of homo horribilis? Hint: None. There is no meaning in life. The only meaning any of us have in life, whether mice or humans, is the meaning we choose to give our lives. Does building mountains of garbage give us more meaning than species that do not? If so, how?

        What is your evidence that other species are less self-aware than we are? Hint: Also none. Unless and until we can communicate with other species in their native “languages”, we cannot know the extent of their abstract thought.

        Edited below:

        IE–it is rather awesome that even what we call “morality” is a consequence of Darwinian evolution. I think that is stunning!

        Really? If so, why do you denigrate the other species that also evolved morality through the same process? I think you actually find it stunning only at the human level. I think you fail to appreciate it in others. In short, I think you’re quite narcissistic, at least at the species level.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Brain scans and manipulations show where the “meaning centers” of the human brain are located. No similar structures in 99% of species, 99% of which don’t even have brains.

        But yeah, its an uninteresting concept that you can’t prove your wife even exists, or yourself. Just a dream in a bubble of a computer program?

        Get real.

      • Strangely though bobbo, you seem to completely and utter fail to recognize that we members of homo terribilis are the single least moral species on the planet. Some people are moral, possibly even most. But, the atrocities we commit as a species make us far less moral than just about any other multi-cellular species on the planet. Our morality as a species is more in line with that of smallpox or ebola.

      • Cerberus says:

        This is why I know for a fact that the article in question that you’ve supposedly read is flat wrong, Rod.

        Please read about (Deinococus radiodunans) and you’ll see why.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Why argue when you can look it up?

        http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/forests-around-chernobyl-arent-decaying-properly-180950075/?no-ist

      • Cerberus says:

        Interesting article, Bobbo. Thanks for the heads-up!

        Ha,ha! I stand corrected. Who’d a thunk?

      • Cerberus says:

        But there is bacteria that do thrive in radiation nonetheless.

        Sorry, Rod, Bobbo, and Scott.

        And now, I must put on my dunce cape!

        Good day
        Cerberus

      • I think we’re really missing the point on this Chernobyl thing. OK, so we’ve created a microbial dead zone. Is no one going to think about the bigger picture here? Will no one consider how Monsanto can use radiation as a food preservative? Will no one consider the amazing benefits Monsanto could get from genetically engineering crops to withstand the radiation, thus protecting crops on the plant from being attacked by microbes?

        Seriously now. There are real issues to discuss here.

        We’re not going to pretend to care about the effects such radiation might have on the humans and farm animals who eat such crops are we? Why should we when we don’t care about the effects that Agent Orange ™ (OK, only one of its components, the one now known as RoundUp ™), actually is used in growing RoundUp ™ ready crops. And only that component of Agent Orange ™ actually gets into our bodies by eating such crops.

    • Hi Rod,

      Earth is a dynamic evolving multi-functioning environment, that does not ever be or become pristine!

      You are correct. However, in this context, I think we can assume pristine to mean free of human interference. At least, that is what I mean when I say it. A truly pristine world can be seen on most clear evenings. It is also a true example of world peace. But, since we don’t want earth to become as lifeless as the moon, let’s assume for sake of argument that pristine means unmodified by humans.

      Time travel is in effect a Red Herring concept, which is not possible on a more than just a fundamental level of means to achieve. It is not there to begin with!

      Time travel is at least theoretically possible, especially if we limit the parameters with far greater limitations than those I have imposed on this discussion.

      Time: A Traveler’s Guide – Clifford A. Pickover: A serious study in the actual possibilities for time travel that are allowed by general relativity.

      The real question here though is not whether time travel is possible, but whether hypothetical discussions are possible. Are they?

      Just read an article outlining the new problems in the forests surrounding Chernobel. All the bacteria are absent

      Happen to have the link? That sounds like a very interesting article. Is it all bacteria that are missing? Or, only those that cause decay?

      For example, some brilliant statistical mathematicians devised an experiment to analyze data collected from studies regards the results of prayers. Their conclusion was that the results are no different than that of random chance!

      I’ve posted on this topic. At least one such study concluded that people who know they are being prayed for fare worse than those who are not being prayed for or those who are unaware of the prayers.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        They fare worse? …… meaning that prayer does have an effect?

        I don’t believe it. xxxxx OH!===”they “know” they are being prayed for?” OK—never mind. People do all kinds of stupid shit when they know something.

      • xactly so. One hypothesis was that perhaps those who know they’re being prayed for (or preyed on, or whatever) resign themselves to the will of the higher power rather than fighting to stay alive. Another was that it put pressure on them to do better, which made things worse. I don’t believe any hypothesis suggested that any god said, “you know the one who’s being prayed for? Fuck him!”

    • Cerberus says:

      Oh, and btw. You don’t necessarily need bacteria for the decomposition of leaves, Rod. The only other ingredient is (oxygen) as this will also help in that process.

  5. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    I can’t next my comment….so here it stands:

    Scotty==as you so often do, you are conflating various issues/definitions together without recognizing the distinctions.

    As these conversations never progress……I will state what is obvious and stop:

    I am stunned at the beauty and functionality of DARWINIAN evolution. Not any given code of morality. Most evolutionary changes are damaging to a species. It takes time/environment to work out what succeeds and what fails. The human brain/morality may indeed be a dead end evolutionary development for humans and many other species.

    I think that is stunning.

    • You splatted two things together in such a way that I assumed you had made a segue. Perhaps not. Here was the quote I misunderstood of yours.

      Scotty–what is the meaning of life on a planet with a pristine complicated ecology without a self aware entity to marvel at it.. something more self aware than recognizing one’s self in a mirror and having some basic altruistic gene promoting characteristics?

      IE–it is rather awesome that even what we call “morality” is a consequence of Darwinian evolution. I think that is stunning!

      See. Generally when someone says i.e. (which should be lower case, unless you meant Internet Explorer), they mean id est, meaning “that is”.

      (dictionary break)

      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/i.e.

      I.E.
      1. Indo-European.
      2. Industrial Engineer.

      i.e.
      that is.
      Origin: < Latin id est

      So, perhaps you meant Indo-European. Or, perhaps you meant Industrial Engineer. But, in the context of your quote, it’s reasonable to assume you meant “id est” or “that is”, meaning that your second paragraph in the quote above is a clarification of your first.

      So, what you stated, and I understood, though perhaps it was a misstatement on your part was:

      1. Life on a planet only has meaning to you if it is self aware and can marvel at whatever “it” means at the end of your first sentence.

      2. You clarify this by stating “that is” morality is awesome.

      Of course, I concluded from this that morality of some species is required to give meaning to life on this planet. Now you state that this is not what you meant.

      Choose your words more carefully please.

      My questions to you are now:

      1. What exactly do you require for there to be meaning to life?
      2. Why exactly must there be something you consider to be meaning for life to be beautiful in and of itself?
      3. Why should any other species give a rat’s ass, so to speak, what you or any other human thinks?
      4. How does any of this place a higher value on humans than on all other life, or does it, in your mind?
      5. How does this in any way invalidate or contradict my own opinion that I would want to see the world as it would be had humans never evolved to destroy tens of millions of years of evolution?

      Finally, meaning in life is something generally spoken about by the religiose. Life has no meaning. Or rather, life has whatever meaning it chooses to assign itself. My life has no more or less meaning than yours or than that of a chimpanzee or than that of a sperm whale or than that of an elephant or than that of my cat (who believes instead that I am His human, to which I would agree). Yes. It is clear to me that my cat thinks of Himself in capital letters.

  6. Rodnikov Magilovich says:

    Quote Cerberus:
    Oh, and btw. You don’t necessarily need bacteria for the decomposition of leaves, Rod. The only other ingredient is (oxygen) as this will also help in that process.
    Unquote!
    Cerbby,
    I think you will find there is also anaerobic deterioration, too! Think of stronger acidic or basic ionic solutions! Plus the other members of the same column in the Periodic Table will also have some deleterious effects! Plus there are documented cases of biotics that live in some very vile conditions, eg. deep Ocean Thermal Vents that are strongly Sulfurous! They use the Element Sulfur in place of Oxygen, which brings up the question of whether the other Elements can be used in energy transfers like Oxygen and Sulfur!

    Bobboy,
    I think that the word profound is a better choice than stunning, but is it in your dictionary?
    And why do you attribute Evolution as Darwinian? He is only the discoverer, not the owner! Evolution via mutation has been around a very long time! And it is now well known that most mutations are not advantageous, and consequently die out, but of the 5% or so that are, thrive! Dr. Jay Gould discovered that any change in the environment which affects only 1 in 1000 of a species population, will promote a mutational change in that population which will thrive!
    Hence it follows that change promotes change!

  7. Excellent comments Rodnikov.

    One minor issue though. It is common to use either of the terms Darwinian Evolution or Biological Evolution to distinguish the biological type of evolution from stellar evolution, which was the first use of the word.

    In fact, Darwin didn’t like the term evolution and didn’t use it because of the preexisting use of the word in stellar evolution, which is far more predictable than biological evolution. Darwin used “descent with modification”.

    I do applaud any attempt to slap bobbo down for misuse of the English language, especially since he claims that he alone in the world owns a dictionary when in reality, he just makes up his own definitions all the time and claims they’re from the one and only dictionary in the entire world that just happens to be gathering dust in his basement.

    However, I must stand up for him on this common usage, even though Darwin himself would hate it.

    Oh, and yes, the concept of biological evolution predates Charles Darwin by at least a couple of generations. His grandfather Erasmus Darwin worked on it quite a lot. Charles Darwin’s contribution was the theory of natural selection that explains how biological evolution works. That was truly revolutionary, almost as much so as including humans in the theory of natural selection and the observed fact of biological evolution.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Darwinian Evolution…I use the term mostly just to irritate those who don’t believe in evolution and “blame” Darwin as being anti-Christian. The literature recounts how very religious he was, but I sense he was actually just afraid of the religious communities responses and afraid to lose the affection of his wife. Hard to believe Darwin would be religious.

      Profound is a good word to going to slightly different issues. Stunning because my own schooling, as you still see today in issues of sexual and racial equality issues, is that most difference between people are chalked up to rearing or culture or environment. I’ve always favored genes as having a more powerful effect than given credit…..so, when the Religious claim there is no morality without the Bible or question “from where does morality come” AND it turns out that much of morality can be shown to come from Darwinian Evolution, I do think that is profound and that many religious types would be stunned if they could understand it. My own bit of projection perhaps.

      Its a fine point, I’ll have to make another entry in my personal dictionary, but I think there are other “schools” of evolution besides Darwins descent with modification? (Punctuated Equilibrium?) It may be a point so narrow as to not exist, or is just my unclear memory of long past read articles, but it seems to me that Darwin was more about individuals surviving and passing on genes while “modifications” of his theory includes family or tribal characteristics, or something other than “individual” successes all summed up? I probably should delete that?

      But…another fine point and where I was actually going, I don’t think most properly that genetic variation is the “driver” of evolution, it is the selection by the environment operating on those variations. IE–if a variation doesn’t increase or decreasing having offspring then the variation is of no import. It is the environment picking winners and losers that makes the difference. I’m only quibbling…depending on what your ax is.

      Decomposition of leaves….I thought without much reason to do so that most of it was by mold and fungus. How they and bacteria interact with different types and levels of radiation, I don’t know. Evidently, those life forms don’t like it very much. I’ll guess most of those species involved in decay do need oxygen though as peet bogs and stagnant water preserve things that normally rot?

      My use of “ie” with regards to Darwinian evolution of morality was indeed faulty. I was off on my own private tangent and was drilling down on my own argument when I spasmodically interjected it back into the continuing thread. Bad form. Something any good proof reading should catch and correct.

      As an existentialist, I don’t believe the Universe does have any meaning but by whatever definitions one might want to concoct, as existential beings all consistently do, a thinking observant self aware creature seems to me to be required. This requires much more than just recognizing one’s self in a mirror…… in fact, the pinnacle is writing your own dictionary.

  8. bobbo,

    In your above context, Darwinian Evolution actually specifies descent with modification by natural selection. This is as opposed to Larmarkian Evolution which specified that acquired characteristics during one’s lifetime are passed on to the next generation. So, Giraffes stretched their necks more with each generation passing on the acquired characteristic of a longer neck to the next generation.

    Thank FSM Lamark was wrong!!

    We’d also be inheriting broken arms, heart conditions, black lungs from smoking or coal mining. In short, we would be becoming gradually more decrepit with each generation.

    Punctuated Equilibrium, from Niles Eldridge and Steven Jay Gould does not contradict Darwin’s theory at all. Darwin never really talked about time. He said only that it happened over generations. Punctuated equilibrium says that too. The refinement in punctuated equilibrium is to recognize that in a large healthy population, stasis it the norm. No significant evolution happens during such times of stasis. It is during times when population is reduced or a small population separates from the main population that speciation happens. And, it happens rapidly, in relatively few generations.

    This means that biological evolution is not happening at a constant rate over time. This is why, when determining the number of years two species have been separated, they use mitochondrial DNA rather than the genotype that determines the phenotype. The former is not affected by evolution, so makes a good clock in its drift. The latter changes mostly during speciation.

    Regarding Darwin’s views on religion, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Everything I’ve heard is that he was mostly worried about his wife’s views of him. And, his delay in publishing was about fears of what the world would think of him. He knew it was very radical to take God out of the equation, and many times more so to include us in the natural process of descent with modification.

    As for meaning in life, you’re bouncing back and forth like a ping pong ball.

    Life has meaning because there exists an allegedly intelligent species (us) to observe it and marvel at it. Life has no meaning at all. Make up your mind.

  9. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Lamarck is the best example of another theory of evolution.

    I didn’t say life has no meaning, I say that the Universe has no meaning. THAT is why each individual can choose what meaning, if any, his life will have—because there is no gravity of the universe pushing such notions according to some formula.

    So, A’s meaning can be to raise his children as best he can, while B can have the opposite notion of not having kiddies at all. Opposite Meaning by individuals are possible because the Universe doesn’t care.

    • And C’s meaning could be to evolve to become airborne and infectious to humans, where C is ebola. Is that meaning any less valid?

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Yes, its totally INVALID. C-bola does not choose to do anything. It merely “reacts” to its environment. No meaning at all. Review the defintion posted above.

        You appear not to understand what being self aware and conscious means? Is your bestest friend forever a rock? Because you know, rocks choose to skip on water, fall off mountains, erode into soil, or just sit and think all day long. I guess we do pick our friends based on shared values?

  10. Cerberus says:

    Quoted from, Rod;
    I think you’ll find there is also anaerobic deterioration, too!”

    You certainly like to yell, don’t you?
    My reply
    Yes, but since there’s no biology in the soil — well… So much for that.
    Again, there’s only oxygen within said environment for the decomposition process – so your point is?

    Quote, Rod.
    Plus the other members of the same column of the Periodic Table will also have some deterious effects! ”

    Ummm… That depends on the concentration of said elements, and they aren’t high enough here.

    Quote, Rod;
    Plus there are documented cases of bio tics that live in some vile conditions,”

    Old news.

    The rest of quote;
    “eg. deep ocean thermal vents that are strongly sulfurous.”

    Since when did Chernobyl fall into the sea? Is that an older map you’re reading? Damn, I know I’m old but I had no idea there’s an ancient that walks amung us. You’re not really that old, are you, Rodney?

    Ah -ha! Ha, ha, ha!
    Be good friend
    Cerberus

    • Cerberus says:

      Whoops!
      I also forgot to mention the low concentration of acidic rain that will also help in the decomposition process.

      Good day

  11. Cerberus says:

    Hi, Scott.
    Regarding the microbial dead zone.
    As humans, we tend to destroy that of which we have no understanding. Hell, the wolf was nearly nonexistent in the twentieth century because of the ignorance of humankind, and only for the pleasure of it. So, it is very much within our nature to destroy ourselves. Our own culture teaches us the concept of greed to obtain everything by any means necessary. Is it then any wonder why we will go the way of the dodo?

    • As humans, we tend to destroy that of which we have no understanding.

      Minor correction: As humans, we tend to destroy.

      Is it then any wonder why we will go the way of the dodo?

      Nope. It’s as obvious as the fact that our species will die by the same hand that killed the dodo.

  12. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    All other animals kill in the same way as humans. Without technology, they just aren’t as good at it. A limitation of ability, not desire or intent.

    Totally pristine.

    • Cerberus says:

      Agreed, Bobbo. All biological life is only interested in survival to insure the species continued existence, and not for the fun of it. Even we as a species only wish for our own continued existence, but because of our language and farming tech, we’ve had time to think. But, our chimpanzee brains allow for other to just blindly follow without any need to think and question those whom are in a position of power.

      Ahh, the old hunter gather instinct.
      It is so easy to just follow, and it’s within their interest to just keep you following.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Wolves, foxes, weasels, orcas, dolphins, chimpanzees all have been reported to kill when not hungry…seemingly for the fun of it. Hmmmm…. all mammals….. our cousins.

      • I doubt this is limited to mammals. Though, I am not aware of this in any non-mammals.

      • Cerberus says:

        Agreed, but we also have the ability to change our way of thinking too. But yes, as a general rule we are somewhat psycodic in nature I suppose. And because of this our future isn’t looking very pristine.

      • Cerberus says:

        Still, I also think that when even chimpanzee’s kill for virtually no reason they are being directed by the central leader. This even happens within our own species. So the potential for change is there… But it is up to we humans to change that outcome.

      • Sometimes chimps are less likely than humans to follow blindly. Implications regarding religion are left as an exercise for the reader.

      • Cerberus says:

        Whoops! I ment to say “this happens within our own branch of that species.”

        Damn- it.

      • Cerberus says:

        Thanks for that, Scott. Well done! I had absolutely no idea!

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Nice video. I wonder what would have happened if the kiddies were told: “Watch this and then its your turn to get the candy as fast as possible.” IOW–the kiddies weren’t hungry and 99% of the time benefit from copying adults just as shown by example. The video even says the chimps don’t teach one another and they are driven by food/hunger rather than by adult approval.

        Even things that mean something remain debatable. I like the video where the dogs will go to the bucket that humans point to whereas the smarter more independent chimp doesn’t pick up on that clue.

        This affinity to other beings is only ONE of the 39 different kinds of intelligence that has been identified. (joke!==more than 6 but don’t know the number)

      • Cerberus says:

        But, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that chimps do not learn from their parents because chimps copy the behaviors from others within the group. That is a learning ability, isn’t it?

        But I had no idea that our understanding was so limited. Are we really so blind?

      • This chimp research has been around for a while. It was just mentioned at last night’s SciCafe at the American Museum of Natural History. The podcast is not yet available.

        One thing the lecturer mentioned was that the children were asked why they were poking into the hole. They all came up with explanations of why it was necessary to do so. Some suggested that there were magnets or other unseen forces at work.

        Sounds like religion.

        So, no. I don’t think the results would be different if they were told to get the candy as quickly as possible. The lecturer also stated her opinion, with which I agree, that if an age-appropriate test were created for adults, the results would likely be no different. This particular test is too easy for adults, however.

        Remember though, this last is just an opinion. I am not aware of any such age-appropriate test having been created or performed on adult homo stupidus.

  13. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Who said chimps don’t learn from their parents?

  14. Chimps do learn from their parents. I was surprised last night to hear the opinion that they do not. Perhaps in captivity where most of these studies are performed, the results are different. It may also depend on the difficulty of the task.

    Certainly, ape see ape do is a true statement. All apes can learn by watching others. This is not at all true of most monkeys.

    What they seem to mean by parents actively teaching is that the parent deliberately makes it obvious what is being done and turns so that the child can watch carefully and other such actions. Given cultural variation in chimps, I’m inclined to think this applies more in the groups of chimps that have harder tasks in the wild. Cracking nuts on an anvil is one of the hardest tasks wild chimps learn from their parents. I believe in this task that the parents have been shown to actively teach, rather than merely having children watch and hope to get it.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/05/0523_020523_0523TVchimps.html

    In the Taï forest mother chimpanzees teach their infants the tasty art of nut cracking, which takes about seven years to master—it takes about 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) of skillfully applied force to split the nut without pulverizing it.

    http://www.researchgate.net/publication/232478122_Teaching_among_wild_chimpanzees

    Observations of wild chimpanzees in the field suggest that mother chimpanzees may influence the development of nut cracking in their infants in 3 ways: stimulating, facilitating nut cracking, and active teaching.

    More detailed account below, see page 3 “Ontogeny, Food Sharing, and Teaching”:

    http://faculty.oxy.edu/clint/learn/articles/tooluseinwildchimpanzeesnewlightfromdarkforests.pdf

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Its all the artful skill of communication. My impression remains the statement was “Chimps don’t teach their offspring” NOT that offspring don’t learn from other Chimps. CLOSE… but not the same idea. If a Chimp uses a rock to crack a nut, and the kiddie is always with the mother observing everything Mom does, is Mom “intentionally” 🙂 teaching to kiddie or only intentionally keeping the kiddie near and the kiddie is aping what it sees? Again: CLOSE…but not the same ideas.

      Same with Human kiddies. What is the value of “thinking for oneself” at a young age when what the parents do intentionally teach is 99.9% what you need to know?—even if only how to get along with your parents?

      Would adults do the test the same way? I still say: what are they being told to do? Is it “Do as I do”…or is it get the gummy bear as fast as you can.? Would you expect any difference in performance?

      Given the prize was a gummy bear and not a beer, I’m surprised the kiddies didn’t hurl shit at the examiners…… as I would have done absent being all mellowed out on beers.

      ymmv—but pay attention to the words. Different words mean different things. Very few words are completely identical to other words. Learn and teach are two different words.

      • Cerberus says:

        Yes, Bobbo. It is very much the artful skill of communication, but the impression that it leaves with the flock is the overall indication that we are separate from our ape family lineage. They will use anything to suppress the theory of evolution. The very least they can do is to offer more clarification on the matter, but I highly suspect this will never happen.

        Regarding the mothers teaching their offspring.
        True, may learn form the mother without any interaction, but according to the article Mr Scott provided it seems that the mothers DO in fact teach their young is what I gathered from said article.

        And, regarding thinking ones self.
        Agreed, there is many things one can learn from our parental guides, but when they try and fill your head with nonsensical things as religion, ghosts, vampires, bigfeet, and other such nonsense to keep you in fear when in fact one has never even seen such things within this really – then wouldn’t one want to seek the truth elsewhere? I would, and did.

        And, there are many parental guides that have the philosophical view of: do as I say and not as I do mentality.

        Some parents are so confused…
        Including that of my own.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        1. “…but the impression that it leaves with the flock is the overall indication that we are separate from our ape family lineage.” /// Define separate? We are and we aren’t depending on what you mean by that word. Do humans ape their parents differently than apes do? THAT proof (evidence?) is right before you eyes.

        2. “They will use anything to suppress the theory of evolution.” /// I didn’t catch that theme at all. Just the opposite.

        3. “but according to the article Mr Scott provided it seems that the mothers DO in fact teach their young is what I gathered from said article.” /// My reaction was: How do the scientists know what the apes are “thinking?” How can anyone distinguish intentional teaching, from instinctual learning, from anthropomorphizing, from projection? There are just too many words…. you know?

        4. “– then wouldn’t one want to seek the truth elsewhere?” /// Off topic. This is about what young kiddies do…. not older kiddies and adult children… for those few who do. Most of us are well and permanently bent by our childhoods…by parents and others. We are “followers.” Something to sit down and have a few beers over. Self reflective beers.

        5. And, there are many parental guides that have the philosophical view of: do as I say and not as I do mentality. /// Usually good advice too. The parents just can’t live up to it. THATS exactly why it is advice. You don’t have to advise people/kiddies to do what they are going to do.

        Amusing eh?

      • bobbo,

        Please read the links I posted. Yes, the Tai chimps in the wild do teach their children to crack nuts. The final link I posted even posits reasons that such behavior is not observed in the developmentally disabled captive chimps that did not have the required stimuli in captivity to reach their full chimp potential.

        With adults, such a test would be much harder to devise and administer. Remember, the task must be much harder to challenge adults.

        Here’s one example I can give from semi-personal experience. Human adults were taught the skill of how to teach skiing. They taught a variety of techniques along a progression to more advanced skiing. It was only after decades of teaching in this manner and improved skis that made people rethink the technique and realize that children and adults can be taught to ski without a lot of the earlier steps along the way.

        Similarly, generations of adults learned to calculate planetary orbits using retrograde motion. They believed the planets orbited in a circle but that they occasionally went in little backward circles. Many adults learned these calculations and even got the right answers for where the planets would be. Only Kepler noticed that the orbits are actually elliptical rather than circular. And, of course, everyone wanted to do the calculation as quickly and simply as possible to get the beer right answer.

        So, maybe there are real world examples of adults not figuring out the simpler way. Maybe the test just has to be sufficiently difficult.

      • bobbo please!

        Define separate?

        First, define question. This isn’t one. Don’t get on other people for definitions when you can’t be bothered to use correct ones yourself.

        Second, it is abundantly obvious from the greater context of Cerberus’ post that separate means separately created, not evolved from. He is talking about the blatantly false belief that humans are not apes.

        Of course we are!

        But, many people refuse to accept this basic truth that is at the center of all modern medicine. We evolved from other animals. That’s why testing medicines and medical procedures on other animals produces meaningful results for our own species. We’re related.

      • bobbo,

        Again and again and again, read the fucking article.

        They explain exactly how they distinguish between active teaching and mere observation on the part of the chimplets.

        I directed you at the exact page number and section heading to read. And, still you refuse.

        If you were to read it and dispute their argument, that would be a wholly different discussion. But, to pretend that they can’t possibly know the difference without fucking reading is just pure and simple homo stupidus behavior on your part.

        The explanation is long. Here are some of the relevant bits. But, I still recommend reading the article.

        Sharing nuts is the dominant element in this apprenticeship, occurring for 6 years between a mother and her infant. (In contrast, Gombe chimpanzee mothers never share tool-acquired food with their off-spring.)

        Up to 3 years, mothers let them take nuts directly from the anvil, from the mothers’ hands, and even from their mouths.

        Later, when the offspring are around 4 to 5 years of age (normally before a new baby is born), the mothers start to share less but while collecting nuts leave behind, on anvils, intact nuts and their own good tools. No chimpanzee without young offspring ever does so. Usually the youngsters use this opportunity and start using the tools, learn to recognize an optimal tool, and sooner or later succeed in opening a nut. This is the beginning of the true apprenticeship—when the offspring start assembling the three necessary objects for this activity and use them correctly.

        It is during this period that we observed the very rare true cases of active teaching in a wild animal. We saw two mothers correct errors in their infants’ nut-cracking technique by demonstrating the right method.

        Read bobbo read!!!

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Scotty–I do apologize. I was indeed commenting off what was posted that I read before you DID THE WORK to link to and document your position. HEY…. I was on a roll. Bad form though. I really do respect the work you do for us all. I’ll just copy and paste what I wrote and save it for insertion into another post? (ha, ha!)

        There was another show on tv recently about “empathy” exhibited by chimps as in giving them food when one of them couldn’t reach it themselves. Powerful stuff… showing the continuity from species to species, the changes and variation too, making us all separate and a part of at the same time.

        No doubt, you are also as accurate as to what is in Cerebus’ mind as the ape mind. That is ironic though that the religious would offer up evidence that humans don’t think for themselves but rather do what they are told? I’ll bet they don’t perceive it that way?? ….. b…but… theres the video!

        ……………but I’ll say again …………. for when it is relevant: there are many examples of very complicated behavior that “intent” can be implied but in the main no one thinks so. The intricate courship of birds is a good example. The birds do what they do instinctually, 100% genes, no thinking going on at all. Where the line is between that and chimps cracking nuts is… I dont know. Whatever. I think intentional behavior can mean a lot less in other animals than what we think it means in ourselves. We observe behavior and imply the mind behind it. We do that with people too.

  15. bobbo,

    You are entertaining. I must say that.

    I’ll just copy and paste what I wrote and save it for insertion into another post? (ha, ha!)

    And, you know me. I’m nothing if not consistent and predictable. I’ll probably paste in the quote from here with a link to this last comment of yours.

    There was another show on tv recently about “empathy” exhibited by chimps as in giving them food when one of them couldn’t reach it themselves. Powerful stuff… showing the continuity from species to species, the changes and variation too, making us all separate and a part of at the same time.

    One of the reasons I love watching wildlife is for the Zen feeling of oneness I get with other life on this planet. The interrelatedness and yet differences among the various species fascinate and amaze me.

    With some species more than others, I look into the eyes (if I get the chance) and really do think “my cousin!” And, it’s not just primates. I feel this way with lions, among others.

    The intricate courship of birds is a good example. The birds do what they do instinctually, 100% genes, no thinking going on at all.

    You won’t get me to agree to that. Even in many small songbirds (who fail the mirror test consistently and are not reputed to be particularly intelligent), the song must be learned by the young males from listening to older males. There are regional variations or dialects.

    This could not possibly be the case if it were all 100% genes without any thought.

    Further, most birds are quite selective about their mates. Many mate for life, unlike most mammals (including humans?). This would also not be the case with pure genetic programming.

    I think intentional behavior can mean a lot less in other animals than what we think it means in ourselves. We observe behavior and imply the mind behind it. We do that with people too.

    I’m sure there is a continuum. I’m not sure we’re at the top of the list. After all, there is a lot of truth in the comment sometimes made about a man letting the little head think for the big one.

    Consider Eliot Spitzer or Bill Clinton or Larry Craig or Ted “Meth and Man Ass” Haggard. Do you think that these people would really make such horrifically bad decisions that would ruin their careers if they were thinking with the big head instead of the little one? Is that how humans show intent in their behavior? Methinks not.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Me: The intricate courship of birds is a good example. The birds do what they do instinctually, 100% genes, no thinking going on at all.

      Scotty: You won’t get me to agree to that. Even in many small songbirds (who fail the mirror test consistently and are not reputed to be particularly intelligent), the song must be learned by the young males from listening to older males. There are regional variations or dialects.

      A qualified Geneticist: might say that genes 100% set down the structure but what song is sung is provided by the environment. My favorite example: thats why cantaloupes don’t sing. Word stew: learning and thinking address different issues and the song birds variable songs demonstrates the overlap and the distinctions of the two ideas. ((bobboNote–I don’t know if this qualified Geneticist is accurate on this issue or not…..but why cantaloupes don’t do all sorts of things is always a counterpoint for me.))

  16. Cerberus says:

    Hey, Bobbo.
    Did you ever partake in a religious order?

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Never have. At very young age (7-8?) I was sent home from a weekend Sunday School for being “difficult” as I asked too many questions: “Where did all the water come from?” … which seems like a softball question to me. I don’t remember how or why I was in that class but my parents made no issue of my being removed from it. Road went up or down from there depending on your approach to Damascus.

      I went to an International school run by Jesuits for the 5th grade. An hour a day of Religious history/concept but not worship. I don’t recall much about it.

      Not liking “the Church” was my second revelation. I thought their teaching that homosexuality was wrong/sinful was on par with my first revelation regarding society that blacks were an inferior race to whites. In my view, major segments of society that I had to get along with were simply….wrong.

      Today, what major segments of society have wrong just about occupies the entire landscape. Not much room except for allowing minority views to exist as they may? Everything could/should be done better than it is……objectively speaking.

      Yea, verily!

      • Cerberus says:

        Thanks, Bobbo.
        That’s an indication that you were never really “bent” to another’s will. As one should always question athority. You even express that in not excepting textbook dictionary definitions. Of course, you do follow them…just not in accordance with what our system teaches, and I do respect that. Just a little confusing is-all.

        This is why I cannot except the argument that we just “blindly follow,” or as you’d say, “bent” to another’s will.

      • Cerberus says:

        At least not all of us.

        Thanks again, Bobbo.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Cerberus says:
        April 5, 2014 at 11:45

        Thanks, Bobbo.
        That’s an indication that you were never really “bent” to another’s will. /// I conform my actions/speech to get along…especially in the work place, and I try to take care when dating…but by and large, I do think I think for myself, bent as we all are in that department.

        As one should always question athority. /// Not always, unless something doesn’t square up…then yes.

        You even express that in not excepting textbook dictionary definitions. /// I can’t think of a single dictionary definition I don’t accept===>in totality. I have just stopped complaining of Scotty making that claim against me. Most words have 5-6-10 definitions slightly varying depending on context. Scotty hangs an argument based on one of the contextual meanings and refuses to look at the others often more applicable. He says I make up my own definitions when in reality it is actually HIM not being astute. He’s like a cantaloupe.

        Of course, you do follow them…just not in accordance with what our system teaches, and I do respect that. Just a little confusing is-all. /// Copy and paste an example when you spot this activity. I can make up an excuse on the flip of a dime.

        This is why I cannot except the argument that we just “blindly follow,” or as you’d say, “bent” to another’s will. //// I doubt there is a single person blindly following anything/one else on all issues. It is sufficient for injury that too many blindly follow too much. In that appreciation, it doesn’t matter what they independently think when the harm is done by what they blindly follow. Not too subtle … people and ideas like definitions of words are not simply one thing only…… usually.

      • He’s like a cantaloupe.

        Orange, sweet, and full of seeds?

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Yep, thats what being “Anti-Theist” is all about. Science can’t prove that god does not exist but science/common sense proves on every issue that God can’t exist “as reputed to be”…ie the old Epicurus Challenge.

        It seems to fit here: I have never understood why Christians call/harass Jews for killing Christ. Even seems to me with all the crap that Catholics do because thats what Jesus did (no women priest for instance, no marriage of priests and on and on) …then why exactly aren’t all Catholics practicing Jews? I mean…. thats what Jesus did….actually and for real… not interpretations based on what he didn’t do.

        Cantaloupes: they can’t sing.

  17. I was sent home from a weekend Sunday School for being “difficult”

    Reminds me of an old Jewish joke. A Jewish mother is complaining to her friend that she has no idea what to do about her son. He has been expelled from several schools now for misbehaving. She’s at her wit’s ends.

    Her friend suggests sending the son to Catholic school.

    She is horrified. “We’re Jewish!! I can’t send my son to Catholic school.”

    The friend insists that it really will work.

    After two more expulsions, she decides to give it a try.

    Within a month, her son is a model student. He’s getting straight As. She can’t understand it.

    She asks her son why after all of the other schools he is suddenly a good student in a Catholic school.

    He replies, “Ma. Right when you walk in the door, they have a poor kid who acted up once and got nailed to a tree.”

    • Cerberus says:

      That was very funny, Scott! If only that poor kid had ever existed.

      • Would it really make any difference? I often cite the information that contradicts even the flesh-and-blood existence of Jesus. But, from the standpoint of the words credited to him and the harm (and good) that have come from them, does it really matter?

        Or, are you saying that it might be better if there actually were a God, as described in the Bible and His Son and Ghost as described? I’d be scared shitless of such a creature were I to believe it existed.

      • Cerberus says:

        Regarding the existence of Jesus.
        It matters to Christians that said deity exists, but does it matter to me? Absolutely not. But, we all need quality information for the continuous existence of our species, if we so choose to except it. So yes, it matters.
        This is why I will continue to make that point. So no, Cerberus will never have any belief in any deity whatsoever.

      • Cerberus says:

        And , if by chance he ever were a flesh and blood human, then that is all Jesus ever was.

  18. bobbo,

    I’m not sure how you know this, but you are correct. I sing like a cantaloupe, if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky and are around me, I might actually attempt to sing. Then, you’ll wish I were a cantaloupe.

    But, to say that because genes have given birds (and some humans) the ability to learn to sing means that singing is 100% genetics is to ignore the entire evolutionary purpose of brains. Brains give us the ability to learn. There just aren’t enough genes to make a brain that is fully programmed to do everything we (or songbirds) need to do.

    In the case of humans, there are about 200,000 genes in the human genome. There are about 100,000,000,000 neurons in a human brain. There are about 2-3,000,000,000,000 neural connections in a human brain.

    There simply aren’t enough genes to make a programmed brain.

    While I do not know the numbers of neurons, connections, and genes in a songbird, I expect that they would be similar in not having enough genes to do the detailed programming.

    Brains are expensive organs. Their purpose is to give us flexibility and capability beyond what the genes that allow for the general creation of the brain, but not its programming, ever could.

    • Oh, and my opinion on the whole nature versus nurture debate? It’s both. It’s always both. And, if I had to guess, the amount that this debate has gone back and forth for decades and possibly centuries indicates that it’s probably damn close to 50-50.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Scotty—gibberish. Not a considered thought do you utter.

        I’m not a geneticist, so I’m coasting on basics. OBVIOUSLY there is behavior that is 100% controlled by genes. Its definitional. Take 100% genetic behavior and “add” a song to it. Has the mating behavior turned into a learned behavior?

        Why do we sleep?===>Genetics. We can force/learn to sleep more or less. Doesn’t change the basics.

        The Meaningless Universe: Brains don’t have a purpose. Evolution is not goal driven, it has no purpose. Brains and evolution is THE RESULT OF descent with modification thru the filter of the environment. Total anthropomorphic to characterize anything as “purpose.” Note: the foregoing is BASIC to understanding evolutionary theory.

        Your math is fubar as well. There is nature and there is nurture. Some behavior is 100% genetic, some is 100% learned. It all varies by species and subject………………. you “think” that means its 50/50 huh? bwhahahahahahah! Just like two cars have an accident so each is 50% at fault? THAT kind of 50/50?

        Common norm to say crap like that though. Wifey and I went to a marriage counselor who “tried” to point out that we both had 50% of the responsibility to make the relationship work. I said: “How so?” blah, blah, blah. Ha, ha—another few sessions and the counselor could barely do anything except spit at me when it came to analyzing who was responsible for what in our relationship. She said one day: “I don’t know why I don’t like you.” and I said: “Because I disagree with you………. and prove it.”

        Good times.

        Well,,,,,,,, if you already sing like a cantaloupe, then you would gain something by considering the cantaloupe more deeply. Its 100% genetics. Same for why monkeys don’t grow fruit, and cantaloupes don’t climb trees. Not a fair analysis you say?

        It does demonstrate the power of genes in a way that cannot be disagreed with—so it can only be accepted or dismissed. When I was in school, it was generally thought that humans were mostly about nurture. Lots of twin studies since then, genome decoded and spliced. Genes coming on strong. Always a mix of the two but its only a failure to analysis that strikes a balance of 5050.

        Who would be so lazy…… at $75/hour?

    • Cerberus says:

      Scott, I agree.
      We can change our way of thinking as you’ve pointed out in an earlier post. If it were totaly genetics, then no brain would ever be needed for any complex behavior at all because it would be entirely genetically driven.

      I’m a person that is impulsively driven because of my genetical make up and have had to think and correct my own impulsive behavior. An example of this is my instinctual trait to just leave something without consciously observing where I’ve put the damned thing, or that of my ill temper that I can control more now. I an a trill seeker and cannot help myself, but I’ve come a long way since then.

      This study of oneself as well as others is an indication that we can control these emotions, that, we all share this ability for change, that, one really can make a difference in others lives , and that of your own.

      • Thanks Cerberus. Yes. It is my opinion that any complex behavior cannot possibly be programmed by a mere 200,000 genes. And, I include complex behavior in other animals as well as in humans. What seems fairly simple to us, such as cracking a nut with a hammer and anvil is still a very complex example of tool use.

  19. bobbo,

    Scotty—gibberish. Not a considered thought do you utter.

    My mistake. I thought we were trying to have a reasonable discussion. I guess only one of us was, and it wasn’t you.

    I’m not a geneticist

    I know. I’ve been to a number of lectures by geneticists and you sound nothing like them.

    OBVIOUSLY there is behavior that is 100% controlled by genes. Its definitional.

    Actually, it’s not obvious at all. But, let’s assume for sake of your argument that it is. So, take sleep and add song. Do you know a lot of people who sing in their sleep? Did their parents? Do their children? Have you done a genetic analysis of people who sing in their sleep?

    The Meaningless Universe: Brains don’t have a purpose. Evolution is not goal driven, it has no purpose.

    I didn’t say evolution had a purpose. I said that brains have a purpose within evolution. Things that are extremely expensive to an organism, in this case requiring a lot of extra food for the energy supply for the brain must convey an evolutionary advantage. Else, they’d be selected against by natural selection. Natural selection is not random.

    Complex behavior requires both genetics to give the capability to learn and the learning itself. Missing either one results in a human who sings like a cantaloupe. Silly to say? No. Silly to say otherwise.

    Singing is complex behavior. Can we agree on that? Or, would you care to get the crap beaten out of you by a big fat opera singer who spent years learning the art of singing?

    BTW, your marriage counselor was right. The fact that you disagree says that no one should have married you in the first place. It says that you are a pompous ass.

    Both parties in any relationship do have an equal responsibility to work to make the relationship work. What that means may be different to each side. But, if one party isn’t working for the relationship as hard as the other, it means one person doesn’t want the relationship to work as much as the other. It means the relationship is not a relationship of peers. Perhaps you want to be a domineering pompous ass. Perhaps you don’t want a peer relationship.

    To me, it means that you deserve to die alone for failure to realize this basic fact.

    Harsh but true. I’d suggest you reexamine your beliefs on the subject.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      I’m bored, so I’ll hit this instead of my more geneeral response of below.

      Misanthropic Scott says:
      April 6, 2014 at 01:09

      bobbo,

      Scotty—gibberish. Not a considered thought do you utter.

      My mistake. I thought we were trying to have a reasonable discussion. I guess only one of us was, and it wasn’t you. /// Yeah, it was my first kneejerk reaction. Would have other words but dishonest if not reaching the same conclusion. Words do matter though. I thought my phrasing was good for emphasis. Pros and Cons to all we do.
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      I’m not a geneticist

      I know. I’ve been to a number of lectures by geneticists and you sound nothing like them. /// Well, you gotta have 2-3-4 follow up questions to get past the politically correct. What does a geneticist mean when he says there are no races… for instance? Can he be honest enough to slow down and accept that such ideas, and therefore the discussion about them, is not a scientific one? Short simple and wrong is so much easier.
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      OBVIOUSLY there is behavior that is 100% controlled by genes. Its definitional.

      Actually, it’s not obvious at all. But, let’s assume for sake of your argument that it is. //// Well it is obvious in my cantaloupe example. So obvious as to seem irrelevant….but why don’t cantaloupes sing? A: Because plants don’t sing. bobbo: Exactly so…but why?===You have to understand plants don’t sing because they don’t have the structures/processes to do so. Plants are about “other things.” Its as black and white as simple a demonstration of 100% genetic control as possible. Once on board with that, we whittle down to the more balanced/nuanced questions including those of interaction.
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      So, take sleep and add song. Do you know a lot of people who sing in their sleep? Did their parents? Do their children? Have you done a genetic analysis of people who sing in their sleep? //// The example was bird courtship and singing. A direct whittle from the cantaloupe.
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      The Meaningless Universe: Brains don’t have a purpose. Evolution is not goal driven, it has no purpose.

      I didn’t say evolution had a purpose. I said that brains have a purpose within evolution. Things that are extremely expensive to an organism, in this case requiring a lot of extra food for the energy supply for the brain must convey an evolutionary advantage. Else, they’d be selected against by natural selection. Natural selection is not random. ///// Take this example to a geneticist who has time for 2-3-4 follow up questions. Sorry, it is again so definitional, but what does “purpose” mean in an evolutionary context? There is no purpose from the standpoint of there being an “end goal.” Brains do have a function. As you point out, they present an adaptation that has pros and cons to reproductive success. An evolutionary advantage? That is all time, place and conditionally linked. It is mans very brain power that more likely than not lead to our own extinction. I think the evidence is pretty clear that Big Self Aware Brains are an evolutionary DEAD END. On balance, the VERY SHORT time period of self awareness is worth it. But then, I don’t see the PURPOSE of a pristine environment.
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Complex behavior requires both genetics to give the capability to learn and the learning itself. Missing either one results in a human who sings like a cantaloupe. Silly to say? No. Silly to say otherwise. /// I can make sense of that, but I don’t know if it is the same thing you mean to say. I agree: genetics sets the limits of what can be done and what cannot be done. So–I think we agree that genetics controls 100% of some things? Certainly the INABILITY to do something, and we are discussion the interaction of nature and nurture on what is possible to do???
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Singing is complex behavior. Can we agree on that? Or, would you care to get the crap beaten out of you by a big fat opera singer who spent years learning the art of singing? /// Thats human singing. Lots of song birds can be identified by their song because most of them only sing one tune. Strike “song” birds. Maybe by definition those are the ones who learn variations. Birds more generally speaking?
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      BTW, your marriage counselor was right. The fact that you disagree says that no one should have married you in the first place. It says that you are a pompous ass. //// In point of fact what I said was that 50/50 sounds like a failure of analysis and that it must be that issue by issue more likely one of us, Wifey or Me, had more responsibility for the issue and its correction than the other. The fact that both Wifey and I were in the relationship did not make all issues and solutions 50/50. Then I asked if she could recommend any literature/books on the issue and she said No. I said that was too bad as I liked to read.
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Both parties in any relationship do have an equal responsibility to work to make the relationship work. //// As stated, I disagree. The person with any given problem has the responsibility to fix it or admit that they wont. The other person will of course be affected by those decisions/perceptions and have a correlative responsibility/opportunity to react by way of acceptance, rejection, making changes themselves. Where does mathematics of 5050 come from in that? The car accident is quite illustrative of this. One guy is drunk and runs a red light. Its true that both parties are “INVOLVED” but on what whacked out philosophy are both responsible for what happened and on what needs to be done to resolve/correct the situation? IE==drunk pays for all damages. Not 50% of the damage to the others car paid by each party. See how that works? And if you agree, why does the same reasoning not apply to marriages? Some marriages are car wrecks??? Or… some issues within marriages involve cars?

      EDIT AND EXPANDED: As a pilot, as a scuba diver, I have the personality to make MYSELF responsible even for things that in fact I have no responsibility for. If the plane mechanic puts in the wrong size screws and the plane is going to crash I can’t say “Not my fault”. No, I have to take responsibility and land safely. I LIKE TAKING RESPONSIBILITY. Screw me in a deal, business or personal, and mostly I look to MYSELF. Why did I do what I did, how can I avoid the same result in the future. It almost doesn’t even matter what the other person did. Wifey was very much the opposite. If anyone else was within a city block, it was their fault. One of our biggest arguments, and the one that got us to the counselor, was she came home one day with a lost dog. She put up posters noticing our possession and posted on a lost pet website. After one week she got a call from someone who had details only the owner could have. She told the owner those details were wrong…….because……….she had grown to “love the dog.” What should she do? I said she could do as she wished as it was only a dog and the rightful owner could get another one. But she continued to whine about feeling guilty so I said she couldn’t have it both ways. Call the owner back and say the dog was here and get a new dog herself, or keep the dog and accept she was willing to steal when her emotions were involved. Well…she decided to give the dog back. Owner came by, picked the dog up and was upset the purebred dog had been violated. Did our dogs do it??? I said, no, we had all the dogs under observation the whole time and by the way… the dog had been missing for a week before we found it…. and by the way… so what if our dogs did screw? Good times all around. Wifey was pissed at me that I didn’t care about her feelings for the dog. As usual when it comes to feelings: I said: Huh? Yes, good times.
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      What that means may be different to each side. But, if one party isn’t working for the relationship as hard as the other, it means one person doesn’t want the relationship to work as much as the other. It means the relationship is not a relationship of peers. Perhaps you want to be a domineering pompous ass. Perhaps you don’t want a peer relationship. /// Or… perhaps “I just care too much” and want all the problems to be “mine” so that they would actually be addressed? Ha, ha. Word stew.
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      To me, it means that you deserve to die alone for failure to realize this basic fact. /// We all die alone regardless of what we realize. Life is like that. Even if the other person lies right on top of you and you both cut your throats at the same time and die the same instant: both have died alone. Its definitional.
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Harsh but true. I’d suggest you reexamine your beliefs on the subject. //// Did it work?

      • Scotty—gibberish. Not a considered thought do you utter.

        My mistake. I thought we were trying to have a reasonable discussion. I guess only one of us was, and it wasn’t you. /// Yeah, it was my first kneejerk reaction. Would have other words but dishonest if not reaching the same conclusion.

        Rather than get mad after my recent much larger faux pas, I will just say that I genuinely did consider very carefully before posting. So, your comment was demonstrably false. You may not agree with the conclusions I reached. But, my thoughts were quite “considered”.

        In general, if I’m typing in “verbose” mode, rather than just making a quick snide remark, it’s a good bet that I thought about it quite a bit. Hell, even that time I called you psychobobbo, I made sure to google the lyrics to get them right. I had thought the original was “psychobabble oh psychobabble.” But, it’s “psychobabble all psychobabble.”

        What does a geneticist mean when he says there are no races… for instance? Can he be honest enough to slow down and accept that such ideas, and therefore the discussion about them, is not a scientific one?

        But, then you’re asking the geneticist not to be a geneticist. So, why ask a geneticist? She would have to take off her geneticist hat and pretend to be a lay person. Do you want to ask me about large scale computer systems in banking as a non-programmer? I’m not sure I could do that. I would have to deliberately ignore and even contradict my programming knowledge? Imagine asking, say, a lawyer about a SCOTUS decision but wanting a lay person’s opinion regardless of any knowledge of the law. Same for any field of expertise. Asking an expert to respond as a lay person is silly. Go find a lay person.

        Well it is obvious in my cantaloupe example. So obvious as to seem irrelevant….but why don’t cantaloupes sing?

        Not singing is not a behavior. Cantaloupes do not have a gene for not singing. Not collecting stamps is not a hobby. Not believing in gods is not a religion.

        The question is how you jump from non-singing cantaloupes to an assumption that either dancing or singing is a simple behavior like a heartbeat that does not require learning. In actual fact, both courtship dances and singing in birds does require learning. When a guy raised cranes in an effort (successful) to save them (whooping, I believe), he had to teach them to dance.

        So, no body structure for dancing (legs and wings in this case) will produce no dancing because of genetics. No learning to dance will produce no dancing because of a lack of learning.

        Same result. Lack of genetics to provide the physical capability to dance or to sing and lack of learning to dance or to sing will both result in a non-singing, non-dancing bird. Or, as you like to say a bird that dances or sings like a cantaloup.

        Is that not the very definition of 50-50??!!? Both are required or the complex behavior does not happen.

        And, let’s keep the conversation to complex behavior. In the actual nature vs. nurture debate, no one hypothesizes that people must learn to make their hearts beat. Or learn to sleep.

        Brains do have a function.

        That’s probably a better wording and is what I meant by evolutionary purpose.

        But then, I don’t see the PURPOSE of a pristine environment.

        How about the function? A pristine environment allows for a robust ecosystem with many species mostly living in perfect disharmony trying to kill and not be killed. Humans have dramatically upset things and simplified the ecosystem making it less robust. Further, since humans actually are genetically capable of making moral decisions, even if some of us never learn to do so properly, do we not have a moral responsibility to question whether what we’ve done to the planet is morally acceptable? (Hint, my answer is yes we have that responsibility and no, it isn’t moral what we have done and are still doing.)

        Singing is complex behavior. Can we agree on that? Or, would you care to get the crap beaten out of you by a big fat opera singer who spent years learning the art of singing? /// Thats human singing. Lots of song birds can be identified by their song

        Birds that can be identified by their songs are song birds and have learned to sing. I believe you mean calls here. So, let’s talk about bird calls. I’m not sure how much of that is genetic. Calling is a fairly simple behavior. I’m not sure I’d put it in the list of complex behaviors. I’m also not sure about bird calls varying by region. I think some do. I’m not sure if they’re learned. Many smaller birds all have the same contact call, a soft “wheet”. Do they all share the same genes to make it so? I think many of the species who do that are not so closely related. So, I don’t really have the requisite knowledge to talk intelligently about calls. I can ask questions but am not sure whether the answers exist or where to find them. Perhaps I’ll do some googling later.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        My only real point for all of this is that i think much more behavior is strongly linked to genes than ever initially thought. Its the bias. Observers recognize their own thinking and see their own behaviors in other species. All too easy to think it is all learned….. but the action of genes is complicated.

        When you start to get hints that human altruism, sacrifice, empathy can be seen in other animals as lowly as fruit flies, fish and so forth you can easily conclude there is a genetic basis with a whole bunch of learned behavior (culture) piled on top of it.

        I wouldn’t call it 5050 though.

  20. BTW bobbo, please provide your proof that you’re so much better than your wife that only she should have to work on your relationship. Then tell me why you married someone you consider so inferior to yourself.

  21. One last analysis of your statement regarding your marriage and marriage counselor. When you say that you and your wife don’t need to work equally on your relationship, that can be interpreted in a number of ways, none of them good. Here are somethings I would read into that statement.

    1. I don’t love my wife.
    2. I don’t care whether my wife is happy.
    3. I don’t give a shit whether my wife stays with me or leaves. Therefore, it is completely up to her to work on the relationship if she wants to stay, not for me to work because I really don’t care.
    4. My wife’s feelings are completely invalid. She should be thrilled to be with a son of a bitch like me and not care about anything else.

    Did I get that about right? Which is it? All of the above?

  22. Hmm… Perhaps I went over the line with the deserving to die alone comment.

    bobbo, go ahead, explain it to me. I’d like to hear why you think that both parties in a relationship do not need to work equally (albeit, possibly quite differently) to make the relationship work.

    I’m all ears, see?

    (((((((((())))))))))

  23. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    I keep having to “relearn” that where you post depends on how you access the forum. This must be 50% your fault? or 33% if we include Cerebus?

    From above–delete where you think appropriate?

    bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:
    April 6, 2014 at 11:21

    Scotty: what in the world makes you think I think wifey had more work to do…. instead of: I did?

    You see, my mother was a cocaine addict during her pregnancy with me and I was born a Coke Baby. No mothers milk for me, no warm body temp lactose baby formulas, it was room temperature, if not hot from the trunk of the car, Dr Pepper, Mountain Dew and Coke that gave me my protein (“0″) and calories (6000/day).

    What chance did I have except to grow up an addict myself? ((Talk about your nurture?)) So, I grew up learning to hide my Coke Addiction quite well. I even would pretend to prefer uppers and downers… you know… to study.

    So, when I met Wifey in Church that fine Sunday (my dealer was the Assistant Pastor==giving out Drugs for under the table “confessions”) I had my game face on: “How yu do’in?”..and she fell for it like a ton of Hashish.

    Coming home from the wedding, I still laugh at the look on Wifey’s face when I pulled off the road to light up for the first time. She was horrified and asked how I had hidden it for so long. “Practice” I said as I chivalrously offered her a hit. Her parents got involved, She called the Police on me!!! Can you believe that shit—so I had to hit her more than once to calm her down.

    Up shot: we wound up in Family Counselling. The counselor looked at Wifey and said: I see you have selection issues, low self esteem and that 50% of the problems here are on your shoulders to correct.

    Not being a geneticist, how could I disagree?

    …………but I did. I said: “Maybe I do have some problems I should work on?”

    ………… and the therapist spit on me because you know==there are two people in every relationship. Its 50-50===obviously.

  24. bobbo, I have newfound additional respect for you. I have never met anyone who said that it wasn’t 50-50 and expected to be the one to have to work harder before. Many apologies!!

    That said, the fact that you believe yourself to be more responsible is a wonderful thing. But, it is unlikely to be true. Selection issues and low self-esteem may be exactly the reason she “failed to notice” your problem until way too late.

    Or, perhaps you are the rare case where you need to do 60-70% of the work. But, you said you hit your wife. I’m not sure even slapping to calm someone down is really acceptable. And, either way, she stayed knowing you were a drug addict. She didn’t annul the marriage right then. She’d been lied to through the whole dating process, so clearly did not have a marriage with a foundation of honesty. She would have been well within her rights to annul the marriage.

    Why didn’t she?

    Maybe she really does have some issues to deal with. Yours are drugs. Are drugs easier or harder to get past than one’s own personality flaws? Hmm… I’ve never been addicted, other than to caffeine (which is somehow acceptable). So, I don’t know. It probably depends on the addiction and on the specific problems.

    I can think of some really bad drugs. I can also think of some really bad psychological problems.

    Are you still using? (I’ll assume no, unless you tell me otherwise.)
    Did you have physical withdrawal symptoms, like those of heroine?

    Anyway, I’m not a professional therapist and don’t know the psychological issues or the difficulty of getting past the addiction. And, of course, there may be psychological issues on your side too.

    So, I really can’t say in your particular case.

    I keep having to “relearn” that where you post depends on how you access the forum. This must be 50% your fault? or 33% if we include Cerebus?

    It is 50% me, 50% you. Since Cerberus is not experiencing problems with placement of comments, he has nothing to do with it.

    The 50% that is me, I can change very easily by not allowing threaded conversations at all. All comments would then show up in the order they were posted. Each of us would always have to indicate exactly the post to which we are referring.

    The 50% that is you should be simple to correct. The rule is:

    If you scroll to the bottom of the post and enter your comment in the existing reply box, it will always come up on the bottom. Perhaps you should always do this if you can’t understand the rules below.

    If you click reply, it will be a threaded reply to the specific post under which you clicked reply. The maximum level of indentation at present is 3. 5 was too much. At 5, comments got to be only about 1 or 2 words wide. Remember?

    So, if you want to reply to something that is already indented to level 3, you must go to the parent post of that. Clicking reply will then put it at the bottom of the max indented thread. This last is the only complicated bit, IMHO.

    For my part, when I’m replying to the last post, I generally leave it unthreaded and just reply at the bottom. That avoids hitting maximum indentation too quickly. I also sometimes make the command decision (a decision you’re welcome to make at any time as well) to quote text from the post to which I’m replying and then reply at the bottom anyway. I do this to avoid having the whole conversation at indentation level 3. I have done this several times on this particular post.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      I kept my drug addiction a secret from wifey when she was my gf. And I was very skilled at it. So….while she did have the responsibility to know who she was marrying, the limit must surely be whatever a knowing and aware person could observe? Once that level of recognition is met, then I think responsibility distributes itself based on the amount of knowledge and concern. So, roughly I say I had 95% responsibility of the issues relating to my drug habits and usage. Interestingly, and to your point, wifey is a female so of course she has the major interest in being married to being with. I’m a guy and certainly didn’t need to get married, but she wanted it, so I gave into it. I’d say then on the issue of getting and staying married that the responsibility was 95% hers? So–much like an IQ test, you average the unequal terms, and you do come out at 50/50 each?

      Thats just two factors that coincidently were 95% each. So many other factors but even with just two–its shown that each issue in a relationship has to be evaluated on its own…no averaging out.

      As I stated right at the start…. that would be lazy.

      I still do all kinds of drugs all the time …. but only about 50% as much as I used to. I used to snort 2 grams, now only 1…used to toke15 times, now only 7 or 8. I think that shows I met my obligation to work on any problem at the 50% level. Likewise, I told our counselor I would only be paying her 50% of her invoice.

      50/50==certainly some good pros and cons there. As careful as I drive though, I hope I’m never in a car accident with anyone who has thought through the issue as carefully as you have.

      Yep, thats exactly what I mean by “re learn.” but I wouldn’t let Cerebus off the hook so easily. After all, he attends the forum and must accept his burden on a per capita basis. Just like marriage.

      • Why should a woman have more interest in a marriage than a man? That’s just highly sexist thinking, and is despicable, IMNSHO. It’s what I was accusing you of when I thought you meant that your wife should take on more than 50% of the work of keeping the relationship.

        Now you state that you didn’t want the marriage and did it solely for her. So, you’re back to exactly the 4 situations I listed above. In fact, you’re specifically in number 3.

        3. I don’t give a shit whether my wife stays with me or leaves. Therefore, it is completely up to her to work on the relationship if she wants to stay, not for me to work because I really don’t care.

        I feel sorry for her that you feel this way.

        Oh, and cutting drug use by 50% is most definitely NOT 50% of the way to quitting using drugs. it’s 100% of the way to continuing to use drugs. Given that you’re snorting rather than freebasing or smoking crack, you probably have no physical addiction to cocaine. And, pot is not addictive to my knowledge.

        So, unlike alcohol or heroine, the once an addict always an addict may or may not apply. Either way though, you’re still using. Pot’s probably no big deal. At most, it generally causes literally nothing to happen to you, usually no job, no advancement, nothing that can be called a real career, etc. In your case, you seem to have gotten past that aspect of pot, possibly through the opposite effects of cocaine; I have no idea.

        Coke is serious though, even without a physical addiction. At it’s worst, even without any form of smoking, its effect can be bankruptcy and loss of everything meaningful in your life. So, while I would say that IMHO, pot is no worse than alcohol and less addictive. So, there may actually be no need to quit that if it’s not having negative effects on your life.

        Coke, on the other hand, is a real problem that you should continue to work on. You’re not 50% of the way there. You’re 0% of the way there.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        What do you think? …. Our inability to agree on what 50% responsibility means? Are we both 50% at fault/responsible or is one of us High on Cocaine?

        Issue by Issue.

  25. Neither of us uses the moniker “Casey Jones”. Nor, to my knowledge, is either of us driving a train. Hmm…

    I wouldn’t say that there is any fault in us disagreeing. Fault would only need to be assigned for a lack of understanding of each others’ positions. Failure of either of us to persuade the other is not so much of a fault as long as understanding is reached, IMHO.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      I don’t understand what that means… but I sense it should apply directly to marriages as well? And lack of understanding pretty well sums most bad relationships up?

      Reminds me of something that strikes me as too true all too often: Men marry hoping she will never change and Women marry hoping he will. Both parties are wrong.

      In my case, I think both of us wanted the other to change…. and neither on of us did. Wifey did get “worse” though. Having a “right” to her emotions slowly transformed to include anything her emotions demanded—like that dog.

      Emotions. Like thinking other people are one way when they amply demonstrate they are some other way. Hopes and dreams.

      • I’m not sure what you’re not understanding. Casey Jones was a reference to a Grateful Dead song. I hope you got that. I thought that was your reference.

        There’s your sexism again. I married because I loved and still love my wife. She married because she loved and still loves me. Man, woman, root out the sexism. We’re mostly the same, except for the jumbly bits.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        That dead song is about anybody high on drugs: “mind your speed” because you are out of control leading to a train wreck of your life. Its a metaphor.

        Most often there is “fault” in disagreeing, almost always, if one party has an argument based on facts and the other points out the error in the argument and/or facts yet the other party holds their position regardless. Its having a position regardless of the facts which is a fault. Dogma.

        All too much of it going on.

  26. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    For grins, I googled (song birds learn genetics) and the one sentence descriptors say exactly what I did.

    I feel fresh and tingly all over.

  27. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    “Both birdsong and human speech are controlled by discrete neural circuitry and auditory feedback is essential in normal learning.” /// IOW–its based on genetic hard wiring (100%), with learning piled on top. They are covering song birds. Other articles (I assume) addressing the less interesting issue of 100% genetic issues to be found elsewhere.

    Cantaloupes. I think you still don’t get the import of the example. What I can’t tell is if its genetics or nurture. I’m leaning towards nurture though. Lots of empty calories out there.

    • Cerberus says:

      Mr Bobbo, I understand your position, but what you are talking about is not a genetic trait. Just because you’ve experienced drugs while your mother was pregnant with your very being does not constitute any mutation or genetic hardwiring to incorporate that response. You know how I know? Been there and done that. Cocaine is a powerful addiction, but is an addiction only and can be conquered. But only if the individual is willing to help themselves. As no one can do that for them…

      The environment is what made you the person you are – but you’re not a bad person, and I have a great amount of respect for you now. And no longer feel alone.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Bad Dog: the discussion of my train adventures has ZERO to do with the discussion about genetics. You must be HIGH right now to conflate two issues so far apart.

        …… now, if I had to: its genetics that makes us attracted to cocaine at all as in: cantaloupes aren’t so attracted. I suspect the grip that various drugs has on people is highly genetically influenced if not controlled. The nuts and bolts of what we are. I’m fat, but may not ever get diabetes. Scotty is skinny (my guess) but has diabetes. Why?===Genetics. How does that affect so many other “learned” behaviors? Who knows? Its complicated.

        For real: I used to drink too much for me…but like Bill Maher, I never considered myself an alcoholic. When I decided to stop, I did. No withdrawal, no hunger. And I do still drink when I feel like it but not to black out party time like I used to…putting my job at risk and so forth. My father was an alcoholic, but I can’t really say it was genetic, behavioral or what combination other than not 50/50. If anybody “should have” become an alcoholic a la “Shameless” I think I qualify. But I didn’t. I put that down to genetics. I just don’t have whatever it is that converts heavy drinking into that disease.

        I’m blessed….. in so many things. ONLY if I was an egotist, would I say I used will power to control my behavior. We count our blessings where we may.

    • IOW–its based on genetic hard wiring (100%), with learning piled on top.

      Only the capability is hard wired. to perform the task requires learning. If you knew word one about the human brain, you would know that the same is true of your debating me on this point. Your brain has dedicated pre-wired language modules, one for input, one for output. Your brain also has dedicated motor modules that can be taught tasks like typing.

      So, all of your behavior is 100% geneticly hard-wired too.

      Except that it isn’t. You’ve learned to read. You’ve learned to type. You learned to speak the specific language in which we’re communicating out of many thousands that have been dreamed up. And, you’ve learned a very small amount about genetics.

    • There are 2 things that I love about this post.

      1. It reminds me of a great Fan Quayle 9thquote. “The most important thing, in one word, is ‘to be prepared’.” You used 11 words (1 misspelled) after saying IOW.

      2. I can go to the beach and dig up some sand (glass & silica) then buy a bit of raw copper ore and even less gold ore plus a bucket of unrefined crude oil and sell you the lot of it as a high end computer!

      The bundles of neurons that you consider hard wired actually need to be properly connected via learning in order to function.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        JUST LIKE with other definitional issues–you get presented with a RANGE OF SLIGHT VARIATION, the exact definition to be most appropriate according to CONTEXT and you resolutely pick one defintion and ignore all the rest.

        Lack of subtlety, lack of learning, lack of flexibility.

        So…I went back and again googled (song bird genetic learn) and the very first return of: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/studying/birdsongs/vocaldev

        “Young birds develop their singing abilities in strikingly different ways, depending on their species. For example, songbirds such as wrens, sparrows, thrushes, and warblers learn their songs from others. In contrast, flycatchers and their relatives don’t need to learn their songs–they inherit all the genetic instructions they need to sing the appropriate song.”

        Now Scotty—why can’t you wise up and recognize you can get any answer you want if you ignore all the answers that don’t fit your dessired outcome?

        Like I said: just what I said right from the start.

        Issue by Issue.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        As coinicidence would have it, a debate by Darwinians vs Theists on: Does the Universe have a purpose?

        Hours and hours could be spent on You Tube reviewing debates/exchanges/presentations we never heard about. Get on You Tube and search for (meaning of life) or (purpose of life) and narrow down from there by including participants names. The most knowledgeable people in the world debating the issues. Even we could learn from it including this Muslim guy who put me on the trail. Humorously, Muslim guy says the same debate proves the purpose of the Universe is to worship Allah.

        Thats the way the pistachios crumble!

  28. bobbo, diabetes is not a complex behavior. It is not any kind of behavior. The whole nature versus nurture debate is about complex behavior. No one doubts that I am a human being rather than a cat because of genetics.

    Let’s make this so simple even bobbo can understand:

    cantaloupe genes + songbird learning = sings like a cantaloupe

    songbird genes + cantaloupe learning = sings like a cantaloupe

    ONLY

    songbird genes + songbird learning = beautiful bird song

    Since only genes plus learning produces the desired behavior and missing either one results in no behavior, how do you decide that one is more important than the other? All you have managed to convince me thus far is that:

    mathematics genes + pre-natal cocaine = performs math like a cantaloupe

    Here’s a video that should make things more obvious to you. When you see that

    songbird genes + chainsaw learning = sings like a chainsaw

    perhaps then you will change your tune. I personally find this one of the most depressing videos ever.

  29. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Its not as relevant a point as possible, but susceptibility to diabetes is very much an issue of genetics. Its genetics that controls a lot of our differences. You may not see it in complex learned behavior but if you can see it in diabetes, maybe you can start to appreciate genetics may play a role in other things as well, including behavior. Like Alcoholism. Like Empathy. I give many examples so you can find one that you relate to. Picking one you don’t relate to is being argumentative on purpose rather than getting what you can from the discussion.

    I saw that show about song birds learning to mimic chainsaws. I think that is rather interesting and not depressing at all…. unless you mean its an indicator of those birds losing their environment and thereby being pushed into extinction. Yes. That is sad–for you, me, and bio-diversity advocates everywhere.

    The birds don’t care. And thats why pristine worlds without humans is rather meaningless, even more than it is anyway.

  30. I’m not ignoring you bobbo. I have some family emergencies to attend. I should be able to get back to this on Thursday.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      The reason I prefer email or a forum is people have the luxury of considering and replying “at their pleasure.” Time to think, time to read, time to give it a break, time to deal with life.

      Its a good thing.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Scotty–just made a two video contribution to the “Purpose of the Universe” above. It should be here.

  31. bobbo,

    “Young birds develop their singing abilities in strikingly different ways, depending on their species. For example, songbirds such as wrens, sparrows, thrushes, and warblers learn their songs from others. In contrast, flycatchers and their relatives don’t need to learn their songs–they inherit all the genetic instructions they need to sing the appropriate song.”

    What you are repeatedly failing to understand bobbo, and I will probably never ever get this point into your ossified brain, is that the entire nature vs. nurture debate is only relevant for complex behavior.

    The songs of non-song birds? Yes, they do use the term song to distinguish the call from their contact calls while feeding. Here’s an example of a flycatcher’s “song”. Please click through and play the “song”. You will hear that it is merely two notes. The bird may repeat this “song” many times, but it is still two notes.

    http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/eastern_phoebe/sounds

    Comparing this to the song of a mockingbird, for example, and please do play this for the full 55 seconds. I’ve heard far more variety than this personally in the wild, but this should give an idea of the difference.

    http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/eastern_phoebe/sounds

    So, to say that non-song birds do not need to learn their non-songs is not a point in the nature vs. nurture debate because it is not complex behavior.

    One may as well discuss the speech of a human infant going “goo goo gaa gaa” as if it were the Gettysburg Address or a Shakespearean soliloquy.

    I don’t expect that you will agree with me on this point bobbo. But, please at least try to understand that the reason that we’re talking past each other this time is because I am trying to discuss complex behavior and the nature vs. nurture debate while you are trying to point out that some behavior that is far from complex behavior is indeed genetically determined. I will not disagree that uber-simple behavior is genetic.

    A simple knee jerk reflex is genetically determined, 100%, and is utterly irrelevant to the nature vs. nurture discussion. It is not a step along the way to a ballet.

    While you might pay $100 to have a doctor hit your knee to determine if you are OK, you are unlikely to pay $100 to watch an hour and a half of this on a stage, unless you are a bizarre form of mild sadist.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Excellent response Scotty. It would be hard to find a better example of circular reasoning.

      I think you have expressly agreed that “some” behavior is 100% genetically controlled. Again, my only actual point is that from that fact, I merely suspect that genetics influences many behaviors in ways that are not yet appreciated.

      I do hope your family issues ended well and that you took a lot of pictures.

  32. Did I not say at the start that my opinion is that for complex behaviors that the nature vs. nurture will be 50%??!!?

    Yes. Genetics has a profound effect and will be in ways not yet appreciated. 50% is a lot!

    Things where genetics have 100% control are called reflexes.

    When people talk about nature vs. nurture, they are usually discussing why Bobby Fisher or Motzart or Newton were so brilliant or why the guy down the street robbed a liquor store or shot up his high school.

    They’re unlikely to even be discussing why Paul McCartney plays his bass guitar left-handed despite being right-handed.

    They’re even less likely to be discussing such voluntary but simplistic activities as nose-picking. Genetically, of course, the fingers fit perfectly. Gorillas have wider nostrils precisely because they have such fat fingers. (Yes, I’m joking here, mostly.)

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Our disagreement to the degree its there may come more from our individual experience ((called nurture by those in the know)). My education greatly stressed nurture over nature. I was taught that the human mind is infinitely malleable and that everything is taught. Just comes to me a good example would be male/female differences on whatever issue you want to name.

      My point: not that something is 50/50 because we have two Venn Circles but that whatever value one used to give to the nature/genetics part of the circle surely must be larger than ever thought before.

      You ought to look up what a reflex is too. It more physiology which indeed is all genetics but the context of the discussion here is behavior/emotions/mind not physiology.

  33. I know the definition of a reflex, or at least functionally well enough. What about my example of nose-picking? Do you think it’s largely nature or nurture? More importantly, do you give a shit?

    I don’t.

    This is why the nature vs. nurture debate is about complex behavior. For the simpler behavior, like the non-songs of the non-song-birds, who gives a shit?

    I thought nose-picking was a perfect example of something many humans do that is not reflex and is a simple behavior for which few if any people care whether it is nature or nurture.

    Though, I seem to remember reading once that it is a health issue, and a positive one. I can’t remember (and also don’t care) about the supposed health-benefit of nose-picking.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      I did just catch the third and final installment of “Your Inner Fish” about evolution and how even our complex brain structure started with and can still be found in sea worms. Very well presented show, lots of warmth and awe. Some good “new” info.

      Science. I love it.

  34. Cool. I didn’t know there was a show. I went to a lecture and book-signing by the author and then read the book.

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