Science in America — Neil deGrasse Tyson

April 20, 2017

A very powerful video that speaks for itself.

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Robots, not immigrants, are taking American jobs

April 3, 2017

From the article:

On some not-too-distant day, it will become clear that our civilization has become so reliant on highly efficient, wondrously intelligent machinery that we simply do not need that many people to work in traditional jobs. There will be plenty of wealth to go around, but not that much work. Unless we want millions to starve or go homeless or riot in the streets, our society will need to guarantee a minimum income for everyone by letting all citizens share in the vast wealth created by robot labor.

Robots, not immigrants, are taking American jobs


De-Extinction: AMNH 2017 Asimov Debate – NdGT Moderator

April 1, 2017

Watch the 2017 Asimov Debate from the American Museum of Natural History. It was a great one. I did not expect the answer to the question of whether we can do this. No spoiler from me. Settle down for a couple of hours with a good drink for this one.

This debate discusses a wide variety of issues, including genetically modified organisms, agriculture, environmentalism, extinction, quality of DNA from preserved extinct animals, morality, animal welfare, legal issues, etc.

For a sample, just consider the question, if we brought back a mammoth (or mammophant) from extinction, is it automatically an endangered species? What is its “natural range”? What are its natural habitat and food? Is it moral to bring back a species adapted to the arctic in an age of climate change?

P.S. Neil is a bit out of his element on this first Asimov Debate that is NOT related to cosmology, astronomy, or astrophysics in any way. But, as he points out Isaac Asimov wrote about a variety of sciences, some of which did not even really exist at the time he wrote about them, such as robotics. So, de-extinction is perfectly within lines to honor the late Isaac Asimov who spent many hours at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Enjoy.


Why I Know There Are No Gods

March 22, 2017

Background:

Formally, I classify myself as a gnostic atheist, meaning I know there are no gods. Most atheists (from what I read online) appear to be agnostic atheists, people who are without gods but who do not claim to know there are no gods. Some people who fit this description simply call themselves agnostic. But, on formal forums, like reddit’s atheism subreddit, all who are without gods are atheists and agnostic or gnostic is a statement of whether they know or have doubt. Similarly, they allow for agnostic theists, those who believe in god(s) but have some doubt.

Regarding knowledge:

In no other area of discussion do we expect certainty or proof when we speak of knowledge. Nearly all knowledge, outside of mathematics, is empirical knowledge, gained by empirical evidence.

Empirical evidence, also known as sensory experience, is the knowledge received by means of the senses, particularly by observation and experimentation. The term comes from the Greek word for experience, ἐμπειρία (empeiría).

After Immanuel Kant, in philosophy, it is common to call the knowledge gained a posteriori knowledge (in contrast to a priori knowledge).

This is the type of knowledge we use when we say that we know that if we drop a ball on the surface of the earth, it will fall. I don’t hear a whole lot of people telling me, you can’t claim to know that because you can’t prove it. But, indeed we cannot. We know the ball will fall because it has done so the last gazillion times we performed the experiment.

For some reason, most people expect that if you say that you know there are no gods, that this one case of knowledge requires certainty. We do not require certainty from any other type of knowledge. Why do we demand certainty to state knowledge only when we are discussing knowledge of the existence or non-existence of gods?

Why this one?

Nowhere in the definition of knowledge does it ever specify that we must have 100% certainty.

So, when I say I know there are no gods, I mean it the same way that I know the ball will drop or that I know the planet on which we live will continue to rotate through the night causing the appearance of a sunrise in the morning, even if it is blocked by clouds. Night will become day as the earth rotates. I know it. You know it. We cannot prove it to 100% certainty. We only know that it has always done so before.

Classifying gods:

To begin our discussion, we have to classify gods. This way we can address different claims of gods individually.

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IUCN Misses One Critically Endangered Species … Us

May 12, 2016

Some of my formerly radical views seem to be becoming more mainstream. Click this first link to read the main topic of this post.

ALERT: Critically Endangered Species: Homo sapiens

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You’re five times as likely to die in an extinction event as in a car crash

April 30, 2016

I’ve been talking about the Great Human Die-off for years and have felt like somewhat of a crackpot for doing so. I’ve usually qualified it as just my opinion based on hearing and reading a lot of environmental science.

Now, it seems that the idea of human extinction within the time frame of those alive today is no longer such a crackpot idea.

Human Extinction Isn’t That Unlikely

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Proof of Evolution in our Vestiges

March 20, 2016

I doubt I get many readers who doubt evolution. But, some of these are kind of cool and might help if you end up debating nutjobs who think we were created by God in our present state sometime after the actual human invention of agriculture.