ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

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ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

We debate origins of the Universe, life, Earth, humans, religion, atheism, using common sense, evolution, cosmology, geology, archaeology, and other sciences, to repel biblical creationism and other religious beliefs.

Location: Oxford University, England
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Latest Activity: 5 hours ago

The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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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.
http://www.atheistnexus.org/group/documentarians
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!) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-15128057
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?
Comment by Alice on September 29, 2011 at 11:31pm
I like the idea of a positive feedback loop - I think the negative metaphor is mis guided.  Even with the best effort to create a positive feedback loop - there are SO many causal factors - you'd be lucky to even remember the original intention.  There's no fear in aiming with all your efforts to create a positive feedback loop.
Comment by Marc Draco on September 27, 2011 at 4:49pm
Tee hee, Chris. Yes indeed. I'm not sure if I can post the clip here - it's better heard in context; the show itself is worth looking out for if you can get it where you live. Although it's very UK centric (many characters in hell are our most hated celebs) a lot of religious jokes will have you rolling around.
 

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