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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Comment Wall


You need to be a member of ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN to add comments!

Comment by Hania Uscka-Wehlou on October 10, 2011 at 7:33am
Comment by Joseph P on October 10, 2011 at 7:27am

Yeah, it's the cart-before-the-horse issue.  Nature wasn't created to be beautiful for us.  We evolved to find nature beautiful.  Theists just aren't capable of understanding that the latter is a much more powerful explanation.


"The universe was created just for us!  If the Earth was even slightly different, we couldn't live on it!"

Yeah, but probably something could live on it, and those lifeforms would probably be marveling at the way their planet was perfectly designed for them, as soon as they developed the self-awareness to wonder about it

... and the puke-green clouds and vomit-brown seas are so beautiful.

... and such beauty could only be created by God.

Comment by Steph S. on October 9, 2011 at 9:58pm
Chris - we'd love to hear about the documentary on the Great Barrier Reef in the Documentarians group.
Hope you can join us.
Comment by Chris Dodds on October 9, 2011 at 9:46pm
Watching a documentary on the Great Barrier Reef on Animal Planet.  I know I'm probably gonna ruffle some feathers here, but I can see why people might be tempted to think this planet and everything on it were specially created.  The Great Barrier Reef is so beautiful it looks like something that should be displayed in an art museum.
Comment by Marc Draco on September 30, 2011 at 5:15pm
Like the elderly man a few doors down the road from me - he almost bludgeoned his wife to death during a psychotic episode. Guess what - he is a Catholic...
Comment by Joseph P on September 30, 2011 at 5:13pm
Yeah, it has to do with precedent. If an insane person has been raised as a rationalist, he/she is more likely to decide, "Wow, I'm hearing voices telling me to do horrible things. I must be insane and need medication."

If a person is raised to think that an invisible being talks to people, is the ultimate source of good, and must be obeyed ... a different result is likely.
Comment by Marc Draco on September 30, 2011 at 4:00pm
Another reason why religion is particularly dangerous to the mentally ill (which could be anyone, at any time!)
Comment by Marc Draco on September 30, 2011 at 8:26am

Fil, there is another problem with feedback loops (although I like the analogy).

When we're designing a loop we know what the open loop performance is, so we know how much feedback to apply to achieve the result we want. I get the idea (from Black's paper) that negative feedback corrects unwanted artifacts, but the trouble is that outside of a closed system we have to deal with other unwanted factors.

Brainwashing cults work like this - they create a closed system and use feedback to control people. When people escape those boundaries they are free from the system - which is why these cults are so careful to keep followers in check.


Right, back to bed with me...

Comment by Alice on September 30, 2011 at 1:54am
OK I follow the logic.  Can anyone give me a real life example of how this might play out?  Like a role play...
Comment by Neil Thompson on September 30, 2011 at 12:45am
I'm not sure if I agree with your idea of a positive feedback loop Alice. The way I was taught it, a positive feedback loop is like a group of people in a bar, talking. Each tries to make themself heard over the others with the result that the volume increases. A negative feedback loop is like a central heating system. When the temperature rises, the thermostat kicks in and turns it off, thus regulating the temperature. Whe it falls below a certain level it turns it back on again, thus regulating the temperature within a defined range. Thus the positive feedback loop leads to uncontrolled excess, a negative feedback loop leads to a controlled state, exactly as described by Greg. Is that what you meant?

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