Posts Tagged ‘Science’

What science says about the brains of Democrats and Republicans

January 31, 2017

Did a bit of research and am posting some of what I found.  I thought it quite interesting.———-

Here’s What Science Says About the Brains of Democrats and Republicans

Author: Dylan Goldstein

“Researchers investigated the emotional differences between the two groups and found that when faced with risky decision-making, the amygdalae of Republicans fire at a greater rate than those of Democrats. This suggests that Republicans might be relatively more influenced by emotions in their decision-making process. What’s more, a study found that conservatives were aroused to a greater extent than liberals when shown disturbing images, such as those depicting infested wounds. Simply put, it appears that the conservative brain is more sensitive to stimuli that carry emotional weight.

Research shows that individuals who are more engaged in politics exhibit greater firing in the amygdala and ventral striatum while viewing statements consistent with their partisan ties. The amygdala is linked to emotional importance, while the ventral striatum is linked to reward value. Thus, political fanatics seem to find heightened intrinsic satisfaction to ideologies with which they agree.

These findings suggest that as we trudge deeper into the political world, we become more and more tied to our respective political parties. Scientists believe this may build a feedback loop that fuels polarization in the political world, motivating us to selectively seek out information that confirms our pre-existing beliefs. Even if we attempt to break from this self-perpetuating cycle, research also suggests underlying neural mechanisms that impede our capacity to empathize with members of the political out-group. It’s as if we are programmed in a way that is less than helpful for seeing alternative points of view.

Back in 1796, George Washington offered the nation some unheeded words of advice: beware of political parties.

Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think is a 1996 book by cognitive linguist George Lakoff. It argues that conservatives and liberals hold two different conceptual models of morality. Conservatives have a Strict father model in which people are made good through self-discipline and hard work, everyone is taken care of by taking care of themselves. Liberals have a nurturant parent model in which everyone is taken care of by helping each other.

Conservatives have more structured and persistent cognitive styles,” said Carola Salvi, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow in cognitive psychology at Northwestern and RIC.

Liberals were more likely than conservatives to achieve solutions with a sudden insight or “Aha!” In contrast, both groups achieved roughly an equal number of solutions through gradual, analytical processing.”

Science vs God

October 31, 2010

I did not write this, but was sent it from a friend. It is a long read, but I found it interesting enough to post. Hope you enjoy! Food for thought….
—— Science

“Let me explain the problem science has with religion.”

The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

‘You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?’

‘Yes sir,’ the student says.

‘So you believe in God?’

‘Absolutely ‘

‘Is God good?’

‘Sure! God’s good.’

‘Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?’

‘Yes’

‘Are you good or evil?’

‘The Bible says I’m evil.’

The professor grins knowingly. ‘Aha! The Bible! He considers for a moment. ‘Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?’

‘Yes sir, I would.’

‘So you’re good…!’

‘I wouldn’t say that.’

‘But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.’

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. ‘He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Can you answer that one?’

The student remains silent. ‘No, you can’t, can you?’ the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax. ‘Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?’

‘Er..yes,’ the student says.

‘Is Satan good?’

The student doesn’t hesitate on this one.. ‘No.’

‘Then where does Satan come from?’

The student falters. ‘From God’

‘That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?’

‘Yes’

‘So who created evil?’ The professor continued, ‘If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.’

Again, the student has no answer. ‘Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?’

The student squirms on his feet. ‘Yes.’

‘So who created them ?’

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. ‘Who created them?’ There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. ‘Tell me,’ he continues onto another student. ‘Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?’

The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. ‘Yes, professor, I do.’

The old man stops pacing. ‘Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?’

‘No sir. I’ve never seen Him.’

‘Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?’

‘No, sir, I have not.’

‘Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?’

‘No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.’

‘Yet you still believe in him?’

‘Yes’

‘According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist… What do you say to that, son?’

‘Nothing,’ the student replies.. ‘I only have my faith.’

‘Yes, faith,’ the professor repeats. ‘And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.’

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own. ‘Professor, is there such thing as heat? ‘

‘ Yes.

‘And is there such a thing as cold?’

‘Yes, son, there’s cold too.’

‘No sir, there isn’t.’

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. ‘You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit down to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy.. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.’

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.

‘What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?’

‘Yes,’ the professor replies without hesitation. ‘What is night if it isn’t darkness?’

‘You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?’

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. ‘So what point are you making, young man?’

‘Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.’

The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. ‘Flawed? Can you explain how?’

‘You are working on the premise of duality,’ the student explains.. ‘You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought.’ ‘It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.’ ‘Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?’

‘If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.’

‘Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?’

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

‘Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?’

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided. ‘To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.’ The student looks around the room. ‘Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?’ The class breaks out into laughter. ‘Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelt the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so.. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.’ ‘So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?’

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable. Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. ‘I Guess you’ll have to take them on faith.’

‘Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,’ the student continues. ‘Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?’ Now uncertain, the professor responds, ‘Of course, there is. We see it Everyday. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in The multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world.. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.’

To this the student replied, ‘Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God.. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.’

The professor sat down.

If you read it all the way through and had a smile on your face when you finished, mail to your friends and family with the title ‘God vs. Science’
——————–
In case you are interested, the student was Albert Einstein.

Telescope Budget problems

October 13, 2007

In Puerto Rico there is, suspended by steel cables and strung from 300 ft. towers, an array of antenna hangs above an aluminum bowl 1,00 feet in diameter that gazes into space. This is the largest and most sensitive radio telescope on earth.

It has an extraordinary history and one of the missions is to search for signs of intelligent life. It has made discoveries for decades.

IT IS THE ONLY FACILITY ON THE PLANET ABLE TO TRACK ASTEROIDS WITH ENOUGH PRECISION TO TELL WHICH ONES MIGHT PLOW INTO EARTH! It could save perhaps millions of lives. Yet, it may close down for a lack of “a few million” dollars – a pittance these days. This is insane.

The National Science Foundation has funded the dish, but told folks at Cornell University (who operate the facility), that if it cannot find outside sources in the next three years, it may need to close. It’s budget has been cut to free up money for new adventures. What the heck is the matter with those who fund the telescope!

Astronomers say it’s all back to politics, and not really a lack of good science. The cash crunch comes from a senior review last November….Come on – for any of you with money or clout, this is a great project to dedicate a “few” of your bucks to perhaps save the world.

Maybe the $12 million dollar gift the “queen of mean” left her dog should be donated! Surely with billions being wasted on war and throw away by political candidates to get elected, something can be done. All I can do is pass on what I know about it as I am not one of those with money to free up to help.

Please pass this information forward and perhaps something can be done via the posting of blogs! Thanks and have a beautiful day!