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Old 06-21-2013, 08:12 PM   #46
vivaldirules
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Conferences. There are thousands of them. Attended by many tens of thousands of bright people. How many university professors are there now? Many. And they still publish, they review each other's papers, their grant proposals, exchange their students, call each other by phone, and have beer with each other as often as possible. Certainly not all of them would I call great thinkers but there are plenty. And as with so many other things, salons which were elite and small in number have been democratized, globalized, and greatly expanded in number and the ways for communication to occur. If Hawkings or some other thinker wants to communicate with others, he's got a far better chance of encountering and exchanging ideas than at any other time in history, don't you think? Thinking and collegial rapport is not dead, I think. It's alive and well so long as there are still places of higher education. And pubs.

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Old 06-21-2013, 10:03 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
It's funny that the smart people who think everyone evolved from monkeys try to fight climate evolution and cannot accept that keeping the less fit alive and encouraging them to reproduce might have an adverse impact on the gene pool. Kind of like asking a vegan why they are pro choice after letting them explain why they do not eat animals.

People do a lot of thinking today, but they rarely need data or research to validate their opinions. If they feel it, then it is.

When I learned the scientific method a generation and a half ago, we were taught that a hypothesis was not considered law until tested over time. We were told that great minds once thought the sun revolved around the earth and that the earth was flat. That was a long time ago -- before Time magazine warned of a coming ice age.



Are great thinkers always right or do they simply think, pontificate, and publish?

You know who was a great thinker? Hazel. He had to work through a lot of cause and effect and overcome a moral dilemma before breaking Doc's arm. In the end, he executed a well thought out plan and the result was as predicted. He probably would have been a good president.

Hazel did not need a reset button. Maybe the Bear Flag Restaurant is the great 'thinkers' and 'creators' salon of today?
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:15 AM   #48
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Perhaps we need less great thinkers and more great "doers."

Intellectual discourse is fine, but people who get out and make a difference change the world rather than hanging out in ivory towers and salons.
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:17 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizwor View Post
It's funny that the smart people who think everyone evolved from monkeys try to fight climate evolution and cannot accept that keeping the less fit alive and encouraging them to reproduce might have an adverse impact on the gene pool. Kind of like asking a vegan why they are pro choice after letting them explain why they do not eat animals.

People do a lot of thinking today, but they rarely need data or research to validate their opinions. If they feel it, then it is.

When I learned the scientific method a generation and a half ago, we were taught that a hypothesis was not considered law until tested over time. We were told that great minds once thought the sun revolved around the earth and that the earth was flat. That was a long time ago -- before Time magazine warned of a coming ice age.

Are great thinkers always right or do they simply think, pontificate, and publish?
Congratulations Wizwor, I have rarely seen a post that short that also managed to contain so many metric tons of derp. From climate change denial, to a deeply flawed misstatement of natural selection (even Darwin described the benefit of helping the "less fit", and his theory has been refined to an incredible extent since then) and to a head-scratcher of a statement about vegans and abortion.

I really shouldn't, but I am going to pick a specific nit in your post - that Time cover you posted is fake. Time never predicted a coming ice age. Here's the actual, undoctored cover:



The idea in the 70s that the Earth was cooling rather than warming? Ya, that was an invention of the media and did not reflect scientific opinion. A survey of peer-reviewed scientific papers published between 1965 and 1979 showed that the large majority of research at the time predicted that the earth would warm as carbon-dioxide levels rose.

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Old 06-22-2013, 07:21 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizwor View Post
It's funny that the smart people who think everyone evolved from monkeys try to fight climate evolution and cannot accept that keeping the less fit alive and encouraging them to reproduce might have an adverse impact on the gene pool. Kind of like asking a vegan why they are pro choice after letting them explain why they do not eat animals.
I've reread this a number of times and I still can't work out exactly what you're saying
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:34 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by ebusinesstutor View Post
Perhaps we need less great thinkers and more great "doers."

Intellectual discourse is fine, but people who get out and make a difference change the world rather than hanging out in ivory towers and salons.
I'm not sure anything has changed the world more than all of this thinking and discussion. The change hasn't always been good, but change rarely is. Most of the reason for the impact of this thinking is the immediate availability of the [mis]information for discussion and debate.

Greek philosophers held that the earth was round hundreds of years before Galileo, but their positions did not stand up to peer review. If only they had had blogs and forums to explain.
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:45 AM   #52
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I've reread this a number of times and I still can't work out exactly what you're saying
I think you probably need to be fluent in crazy to understand it fully, but it appears to be advocating letting 'less fit' people die to prevent them from weakening the gene pool and somehow linking that to a bizarre sideswipe against vegans that support the right to abortion. Nothing for the sane people here to concern themselves with.
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:11 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
Congratulations Wizwor, I have rarely seen a post that short that also managed to contain so many metric tons of derp. From climate change denial, to a deeply flawed misstatement of natural selection (even Darwin described the benefit of helping the "less fit", and his theory has been refined to an incredible extent since then) and to a head-scratcher of a statement about vegans and abortion.

I really shouldn't, but I am going to pick a specific nit in your post - that Time cover you posted is fake. Time never predicted a coming ice age. Here's the actual, undoctored cover:



The idea in the 70s that the Earth was cooling rather than warming? Ya, that was an invention of the media and did not reflect scientific opinion. A survey of peer-reviewed scientific papers published between 1965 and 1979 showed that the large majority of research at the time predicted that the earth would warm as carbon-dioxide levels rose.

This.
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:45 AM   #54
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even Darwin described the benefit of helping the "less fit"
Could you elaborate on this? I don't understand how this fits into his theories or with neo-darwinism that came later.

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Originally Posted by Bilbo1967 View Post
I think you probably need to be fluent in crazy to understand it fully, but it appears to be advocating letting 'less fit' people die to prevent them from weakening the gene pool
Well, I suppose we do this in farming generally but I suspect it might be a little politically incorrect to suggest it for humans.

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Old 06-22-2013, 09:06 AM   #55
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I'm not advocating anything. I'm simply observing that...

1) there are inconsistencies in the beliefs of great thinkers.

Scientists embrace evolution. They taught us that man evolved from monkeys. They taught us that glaciers descending on North America formed the white mountains. To accept that and ignore the possibility that changes in weather might be part of this evolution is inconsistent, in my opinion.

2) great thinkers are often wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Berger
1. Geocentric universe: The concept that the Earth was at the center of the universe dates back to at least 600 B.C. with Greek philosophers who proposed cosmologies of the Sun, Moon and other heavenly bodies orbiting the Earth. The most famous contortion of the system was Ptolemy’s epicycles to explain the retrograde motion of Mars. This is a prime example of fitting scientific evidence into preconceived notions. The theory was disproven with the publication of Nicholas Copernicus’ De revolutionibus orbium coelestium in 1543.

2. Miasmatic theory of disease: This theory holds that diseases such as cholera, chlamydia or the Black Death were caused by a miasma (ancient Greek: “pollution”), a noxious form of “bad air”. This concept was not disposed of until the late 1800s, with the rise of the germ theory of disease. Miasma was considered to be a poisonous vapor or mist filled with particles from decomposed matter that caused illnesses. It was identifiable by its foul smell.

3. Luminiferous aether: Assumed to exist for much of the 19th century, the theory held that a “medium” of aether pervaded the universe through which light could propagate. The celebrated Michelson-Morley experiment in 1887 was the first to provide hard evidence that aether did not exist, and the theory lost all popularity among scientists by the

4. Stress theory of ulcers: As peptic ulcers became more common in the 20th century, doctors increasingly linked them to the stress of modern life. Medical advice during the latter half of the 20th century was, essentially, for patients to take antacids and modify their lifestyle. In the 1980s Australian clinical researcher Barry Marshal discovered that the bacterium H. pylori caused peptic ulcer disease, leading him to win a Nobel Prize in 2005.

5. Immovable continents: Prior to the middle of the 20th century scientists believed the Earth’s continents were stable and did not move. This began to change in 1912 with Alfred Wegener’s formulation of the continental drift theory, and later and more properly the elucidation of plate tectonics during the 1950s and 1960s.

6. Phlogiston: Arising in the mid-17th century, physicians conjured up the existence of a fire-like element called “phlogiston”, which was contained within combustible bodies and released during combustion. Charcoal, for example, left little residue upon burning because it is nearly pure phlogiston. Experiments in the mid-1700s led chemists to conclude the theory was false, giving birth to the field of modern chemistry.

7. The “four humours” theory of human physiology: From Hippocrates onward, the humoral theory was adopted by Greek, Roman and Islamic physicians, and became the most commonly held view of the human body among European physicians until the advent of modern medical research in the 19th century. The four humours of Hippocratic medicine were black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood.

8. Static universe: Prior to the observations made by astronomer Edwin Hubble during 1920s, scientists believed the universe was static, neither expanding nor contracting. Hubble found that distant objects in the universe were moving more quickly away than nearby ones. Very recently, in 1999, scientists unexpectedly found that not only was the universe expanding, but its expansion was accelerating.

9. A young Earth: In the mid-1800s many scientists, including Lord Kelvin, believed the Earth to be just 20 million to 40 million years old. It was around that time that geologists such as Charles Lyell began to believe that the Earth was much older, and this conformed to the views of biologists such as Charles Darwin, who needed a much older Earth for evolution to unfold. It wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that scientists came to the accepted conclusion today that the Earth is about 4.55 billion years old.

10. The Earth is flat. Actually, this one doesn’t belong on the list but I put it here to prove a point. While there’s a popular belief that “flat earth” was somehow a widely held “scientific” idea, Greeks such as Aristotle knew the Earth was round, as did Thomas Aquinas. In short, most scholarship suggests learned men and women from the dawn of antiquity knew the Earth was round. So science gets a pass on this one.
As for Natural Selection, I'll let Darwin speak to that...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage.”
I have chosen not to take medications prescribed for me by scientists because, while they address a micro-problem, I believe they put the whole of me at greater risk.

I take vitamin D because I apply sunblock to my skin before exposing myself to the greatest natural source of vitamin D because I am concerned about radiation, but every year, a bunch of scientists put a lead bib on my chest and blast radiation at my skull from a nearby room.

And the vegan thing? I sent an email to PETA a few years back. It said that I had come into possession of a pregnant dog and was willing to care for the dog but unable to care for the puppies. I inquired about the ethics of terminating the pregnancies and spaying the mother. PETA responded that I should let the dog have the puppies, find good homes for them, and prevent the mother from getting pregnant without mutilating her.

So, adoption and abstinence. A few weeks later, I sent an email to the same address inquiring of PETA's position on abortion and was referred to their FAQ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by PETA's FAQ
PETA does not have a position on the abortion issue, because our focus as an organization is the alleviation of the suffering inflicted on nonhuman animals. There are people on both sides of the abortion issue in the animal rights movement, just as there are people on both sides of animal rights issues in the pro-life movement. And just as the pro-life movement has no official position on animal rights, neither does the animal rights movement have an official position on abortion.
I think people eat too much meat. I'm a 'flexitarian' which simply means that I work to find tasty, healthy meals that are meatless, but I still enjoy meat. When I attend or host a function, I try to bring a tasty, healthy meal that is meatless and I mark it as such. Inevitably, a vegan/vegetarian tells me they are surprised that I am a not a [knuckle dragging] carnivore. When I explain myself, they usually go into the animal cruelty thing. When that is over, I inquire about their position on abortion.

People tend to be inconsistent on their principles.

All of this is on the internet for people interested in any of the discussed ideas to discover and consider. If anything in the preceding paragraphs causes a single person to ponder the topics discussed, then I think I have made the case for my initial position -- that internet forums are the salons of today's great thinkers and creators.

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Old 06-22-2013, 04:17 PM   #56
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Could you elaborate on this? I don't understand how this fits into his theories or with neo-darwinism that came later.

Well, I suppose we do this in farming generally but I suspect it might be a little politically incorrect to suggest it for humans.
I'm glad you asked because, and this is embarrassing, I totally flubbed what I said about Darwin. A quick perusal of his work showed me I completely (and unintentionally) misstated what he'd said about people with disabilities.

I was thinking of later work I read that talked about the survival benefits of empathy and compassion, and somehow misremembered it as something Darwin had said. Effectively, we are better served as being a species that cares about people that need support rather than a species that dumps anyone with more than a sprained ankle in the woods. Wizwor is still wrong but my response on that point was glib and off-the-cuff.

This does highlight a few things: (i) Darwin's evolutionary theory was groundbreaking at the time but far from complete; and (ii) it's good to be disagreed with so you can course correct.

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Old 06-22-2013, 04:27 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by wizwor View Post
I'm not advocating anything. I'm simply observing that...

1) there are inconsistencies in the beliefs of great thinkers.

Scientists embrace evolution. They taught us that man evolved from monkeys. They taught us that glaciers descending on North America formed the white mountains. To accept that and ignore the possibility that changes in weather might be part of this evolution is inconsistent, in my opinion.

2) great thinkers are often wrong.


....
What? That doesn't even make sense. And No Science does not say man evolved from monkeys, it says that humans (homo sapiens sapiens), bonobos, chimpanzees and great apes evolved from a common ancestor.

Yes glaciation happened, there is clear evidence.

Evolution is dependent on two things mutations and environment.
Weather does not play into evolution, long term climate might.

and none of this particularly has to do with the topic at hand.

I don't think anyone every claimed great thinkers were completely consistent.

I'm not even very sure what the h*ll you are trying to say.
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Old 06-22-2013, 04:32 PM   #58
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....

When I learned the scientific method a generation and a half ago, we were taught that a hypothesis was not considered law until tested over time. ....
You know, you continue to keep misstating and getting not only facts wrong, but posting fake magazine covers. You really should be more careful.

as far as the scientific method, pseudoscience and vitamins/vaccinations. I just happened to run across this great blog post today that might prove edifying for you and others:

http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skept...oscience-fool/
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:03 PM   #59
mike_bike_kite
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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
this is embarrassing, I totally flubbed what I said about Darwin
No problem at all. It takes a rare person to admit a mistake (even a small one) on the web these days

There are situations where our genes program us to protect others even if it puts us at risk but it usually only occurs when saving our children (or very close family members). The act looks like an example of self sacrifice but the reality is that our genes are shared with our kids so preserving their life means it raises the chances of our shared genes being passed on. I'm pretty sure it was covered in the book the Selfish Gene (Dawkins) and he explains it far better than I can after a few glasses of wine.
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:47 PM   #60
kennyc
The Dank Side of the Moon
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I think we'll know where they are now in about ten years when there's been time for reflection.
Ya think?
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