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Bloggingheads 06-05-2010 12:44 AM

Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 

Starwatcher162536 06-05-2010 01:22 AM

Lost
 
So did Lost ever get around to having time traveling Aliens?

I'm SO awesome! 06-05-2010 01:40 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet
 
Horgan, I love ya, but i'm gonna have to call you out on the "research" you based your article on. fMRI + evopsycho = N/A. i don't think it even qualifies as a theory. but we do have to guess, right? i'd be much more inclined to go with Wade, cuz he's the man. it's obviously strongly selected for, not a spandrel at all.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/15/we...ew/12wade.html

he wrote a whole book on it, fgsakes!

Jyminee 06-05-2010 03:19 AM

Sorry, John
 
Your (and your girlfriend's) interpretation of the Lost finale is wrong. The island wasn't purgatory--everything that happened on the island happened. But the "flash sideways" universe was a sort of purgatory--it was created in a timeless realm after all the characters had died, as Christian Shepherd said, some before Jack, some long after.

Brianimator 06-05-2010 04:28 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
I believe Jyminee is right. The events on the island actually happened. The finale would be very unsatisfying had the island been purgatory, because you want the sacrifices made there to have been for something - especially Jack's death. The implication is that had Jack not defeated the Man-in-Black/Fake Locke, the happy ending with all the characters reuniting would not have been possible.

However, I think the very nature of the show demands that we be open minded about interpretations. After all, the island and the story are really just grand metaphors for our own search for meaning. You have to find it for yourself, not be spoon fed an answer. Thatís what was so clever and bold and ambitious about this show: it wants us to have a debate about it... and it turns out almost everyone who watched it is!

thouartgob 06-05-2010 11:16 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Brianimator (Post 164100)
I believe Jyminee is right. The events on the island actually happened. The finale would be very unsatisfying had the island been purgatory, because you want the sacrifices made there to have been for something - especially Jack's death. The implication is that had Jack not defeated the Man-in-Black/Fake Locke, the happy ending with all the characters reuniting would not have been possible.

However, I think the very nature of the show demands that we be open minded about interpretations. After all, the island and the story are really just grand metaphors for our own search for meaning. You have to find it for yourself, not be spoon fed an answer. Thatís what was so clever and bold and ambitious about this show: it wants us to have a debate about it... and it turns out almost everyone who watched it is!

Well even if it was "purgatory" then there is still the matter that they were able to transcend this world thanks to his actions I would think

Interperation is key to Lost and the way they were able to keep things a bit fresh. If you looked at it as some form of parable about faith etc then you have one story, if you look at the science fiction aspects ( the Desmond, Eloise plot ) you have another story. They were able to weave them together ( mmm the weaving done by Jacob :-) )

I haven't finished the diavlog but if it isn't mentioned then let me mention it here, a show like Lost would not have been possible without the hyperlink ( mmm hyperlink, kind of a shortcut through time and space, like jacob's lighthouse ) ... sorry bout that. There were too many connected things, too many shifts in time to keep track of pre-hyperlink. The creators themselves used the very fact that people would research and link to stuff they left in the show ( easter eggs and such ) to keep people guessing and interested. Lostpedia was the reference that I used and it made my life a lot easier.

Right now George is talking about the internet offering stimulation to the "reptilian brain stem" and I would say that our primate part of the brain is the one that would offer the most unconscious stimulation, even quite apart of the cortex and prefrontal lobes. Variety is the spice of life and damn if you don't get that with the internet in spades.

frontier_sally 06-05-2010 11:18 AM

Re: the Internet
 
(chortle) I think John just inadvertently validated my decision to take an 8-week break from the internet, starting yesterday. I should probably quit watching this now... ;)

Whatfur 06-05-2010 11:42 AM

Re: the Internet
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by frontier_sally (Post 164122)
(chortle) I think John just inadvertently validated my decision to take an 8-week break from the internet, starting yesterday. I should probably quit watching this now... ;)

Some might call your anti-Internet dicipline into question based on the purity of your application of said decision thus far. ;)

Ocean 06-05-2010 12:13 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Thank you John and George for another pleasant exchange of ideas.

I listened to this diavlog late last night. I probably shouldn't have, because today I have only a vague recollection of the topics. The conversation regarding "Lost" will remain a mystery as I barely watch any TV at all.

However, I read John's article about Religion and Sex. Although the article has, in my opinion, some valid points, it seems to me that at least the title is quite a stretch if not plainly misleading. It does remind me of some remarks by Susan Blackmore about the sales benefit of the word sex in any consumer product.

I found one of the comments at Scientific American comment section to be particularly helpful. It certainly captures my thoughts quite well. I got lazy and I'll just reproduce the comment here, with due credit to its author:

Quote:

drollere at 03:24 PM on 06/03/10

these speculations suffer from three general faults.

the first is use the term "religion" without specifying exactly what the term refers to -- belief, or practice, or what exactly? prayer, guilt, transcendental vision, messianic certitude, conformity to dogma, moral code, fasting and penance, gender stereotypes, creation myths, priestly hierarchy, institutional administration, sacred texts? i find it very hard to see any connection between the process that allows us to misidentify clouds or sounds in the night, and the process that produces holy wars and consuming feelings of guilt or shame.

the second fault is attributing to religion a single function that is its "adaptive purpose". early on, religion probably provided continuity across time -- a framework for oral history and heritage practices of control, in particular in medicine, hunting, and agriculture. thereafter, in the agricultural societies, religion provided the overarching authority for mass organization -- civil codes, priestly administration, criminal punishments, and social control through fear. still later, religion becomes an independent institutional force relying on the perpetuation of superstitions such as salvation and heaven, against which first kings, then elites, and finally societies as a whole have struggled to liberate themselves.

finally, the correlation of religion with specific patterns of brain activity is a fool's errand. any human practice that spans such a long history and such a wide variety of social practices and psychological expressions is obviously not a unitary process.

it's also counterproductive. we should be studying why individuals are susceptible to religious belief, and how this is transmitted in preadult development, so that we can understand how to eradicate this blight from human affairs.
Indeed, one of the most salient objections I had regarding the article is the confusion between certain very limited aspects of religious experience and religion as a whole.

The relationship between the release of sexual (psychic) energy, especially if suppressed as it may have been by the religious figures mentioned in the article, and the experience of mystical states of mind is clearly conceivable. However, there may be only a limited overlap, or perhaps one serves as a fuel for the other, without an exact superposition.

In terms of John's comments on Karen Schrock's article, it seems again plausible that people with autism or Asperger's may lack the neural connections that allow certain forms of abstract thinking and attribution of meaning, or may lack association between the areas of the brain that process concrete information and emotional experience areas. The implication being that, in order to understand or experience religion at an abstract level, these associations are needed.

The theory of mind interpretation as a basis for religion appears to be a far less original idea. The role of magical thinking in primitive cultures and how it has evolved to include other forms of religious beliefs is quite well known. In our attempt to understand the world we can't avoid using our imprints that attribute intention and purpose even to random or natural events.

Thank you again for a thought provoking discussion.

I'm SO awesome! 06-05-2010 01:45 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
this quote from SCIAM is taken directly from a paper posted in Cell or PLOSOne several months ago. first of all, they should credit the authors unless they are one themselves and secondly, it's a misguided attempt to explain religion as a non-evolved trait. the fourth part of that side of the argument they left out is that when a wide array of (including athiests and others of many religions) people are exposed to a novel moral dilemma they all respond similarly. unfortunately, this lends itself much more towards universal morality within brain circuitry than anything else. Pinker, etc. have covered this extensively. the first part of the comment is completely ridiculous as this is the same argument those against universal grammar make. it'd be like saying "How do you even categorize language?? I mean, there's Chinese, English....they're all different!" Ridiculous. They (religions and grammar) all have common denominators. Wade, Wilson, etc. have been through this extensively. The second two part of the comment is closer to a Just So story than anything else. The third part is even stupider to include in a paper or a comment (especially given recent developments in neuroscience.) The chance that religion arose under selective pressure before man left africa is overwhelmingly more likely than trying to explain its arrival independently in EVERY culture on Earth in every continent. People who make these arguments probably don't follow genetics or neuroscience so they don't realize how dumb it sounds.

Ocean 06-05-2010 01:59 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by I'm SO awesome! (Post 164133)
this quote from SCIAM is taken directly from a paper posted in Cell or PLOSOne several months ago. first of all, they should credit the authors unless they are one themselves and secondly, it's a misguided attempt to explain religion as a non-evolved trait. the fourth part of that side of the argument they left out is that when a wide array of (including athiests and others of many religions) people are exposed to a novel moral dilemma they all respond similarly. unfortunately, this lends itself much more towards universal morality within brain circuitry than anything else. Pinker, etc. have covered this extensively. the first part of the comment is completely ridiculous as this is the same argument those against universal grammar make. it'd be like saying "How do you even categorize language?? I mean, there's Chinese, English....they're all different!" Ridiculous. They (religions and grammar) all have common denominators. Wade, Wilson, etc. have been through this extensively. The second two part of the comment is closer to a Just So story than anything else. The third part is even more ridiculous to include in a paper or a comment (especially given recent developments in neuroscience.) The chance that religion arose under selective pressure before man left africa is overwhelmingly more likely than trying to explain its arrival independently in EVERY culture on Earth in every continent. People who make these arguments probably don't follow genetics or neuroscience so they don't realize how ridiculous it sounds.

You have included too many "ridiculous" in your comment for me to be able to follow. It's a pity because it looks like you may have had a few interesting ideas there.

I'm SO awesome! 06-05-2010 02:26 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
good point - i changed two of them. and those aren't my ideas they're the ideas of the leading experts in this field. i'm sure John's read them but he probably needed something to write about.

Ocean 06-05-2010 02:41 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by I'm SO awesome! (Post 164138)
good point - i changed two of them.

LOL!

Wow! What a difference! You changed ridiculous for stupid and dumb!

Now it has all become so much more meaningful.

Awesome! ;)

rcocean 06-05-2010 02:54 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
I actually got through most of this and & enjoyed it. Several points.

Lost - As stated, the island wasn't purgatory - "What Happened, happened". I also found it humorous that John and George did the little intellectual Kabuki dance when discussing 'Lost'. Neither wanted to look like they cared -or watched - too much TV, so the whole discussion had that "I normally don't watch TV, But..." vibe.

"Atheists and Asperberger's Syndrome" - this certainly would explain a lot of obnoxious atheist behavior. One such behavior, is the "Proud Professional Atheist." These jerks are constantly proclaiming their atheism, unasked, and pointlessly. For example, an atheist at work seems to start every other sentence with "As an atheist... " or "I'm an Atheist, so I (don't) like, X, Y,Z). It'd be funny, if it wasn't so annoying and out-of-place at times.

I'm SO awesome! 06-05-2010 02:56 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
yeah, you're still not that smart. not even worth making fun of

Ocean 06-05-2010 03:21 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by I'm SO awesome! (Post 164141)
yeah, you're still not that smart. not even worth making fun of

I'm doing my best to grow up, believe me, but it isn't easy.

bjkeefe 06-05-2010 08:37 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by I'm SO awesome! (Post 164141)
yeah, you're still not that smart. not even worth making fun of

I gotta say, fed/ISa, Ocean's initial reaction mirrored mine quite closely, even given that I read your comment, evidently, after you'd replaced some of the ridiculouses. That is, you really sounded like you knew what you were talking about, but your indulging in sweeping and dismissive statements got in the way.

I am well aware that I suffer the same flaw at times. I would claim, though, that this only helps me to know it when I see it.

No biggie. I just think you ought to have seen Ocean's initial response as constructive criticism, and her follow-up as more of that, not to mention a well-played zing. A spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, in other words.

bjkeefe 06-05-2010 09:15 PM

Dealing with distractions while reading online
 
I think you speak for many people here, George. I have a couple of suggestions, which may be of interest to you, and possibly some others.

First, a technical fix that comes close to what you asked for: Readability. The developers' tagline is:

Quote:

Readability is a simple tool that makes reading on the Web more enjoyable by removing the clutter around what you're reading.
It works by adding a button to your browser's bookmarks toolbar, which, if you click it when visiting some page, will make a guess about what's the main article on the page, and display only that.

Below are screengrabs of a typical NY Times article page (left) and the same article as rendered by Readability (right). Click 'em to big 'em. (Sorry about the size info in the thumbnails -- it's not there in the full-size images.)

http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/1...lityoff.th.png | http://img139.imageshack.us/img139/8...ilityon.th.png

[Original article URL, for the record.]

Now, you'll note that the links in the story are still present, but at least all the links surrounding the article are gone, not to mention the other assorted visual distractions.

I haven't played around with it much since I came across it. At that time, it was still a little early-beta-ish for my taste, but I am going to give it another try (thanks, in part, to you). Also, you should be aware that when I came across it, it was due to pourmecoffee, who called it "the greatest Web tool ever developed." Further, when I blogged about, 100% of my commenters (i.e., all nearly-two of them) agreed with the thrust of the emotion.

An additional benefit: you can use the site's interface tools to adjust your preferences as to how Readability will render an article: type face, font size, and layout style ("Newspaper," "Novel," "eBook", etc.). Looks like they've added some options since the last time I dropped by.

Anyway, you might give Readability a look.

The second suggestion is a little more low-tech, but it does have the advantage of addressing your link-switch wish more directly, even concerning those links within the article you're reading. As you may or may not know, you can open links in a new tab by clicking on them with the middle button of your mouse. Or, if you have a two-button mouse with a scroll-wheel, odds are very good the wheel can be pushed down, just like a middle button. I have gotten myself in the habit of middle-clicking links as they pique my curiosity, which causes the links to open in new tabs, which remain "behind" the one I'm currently looking at. Then, at the end of reading the article, I can go look at the other tabs.

Or not -- the real beauty of this approach, for me, at least, is that doing that background opening of the links, as it were, defuses the temptation I have to click the links, which means it's significantly easier for me to stay focused on the original article. I have to say, I suspect developing this habit has been part of the reason I haven't spent more time playing around with Readability.

HTH.

[Added] One more suggestion here.

nikkibong 06-05-2010 09:27 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rcocean (Post 164140)

"Atheists and Asperberger's Syndrome" - this certainly would explain a lot of obnoxious atheist behavior. One such behavior, is the "Proud Professional Atheist." These jerks are constantly proclaiming their atheism, unasked, and pointlessly. For example, an atheist at work seems to start every other sentence with "As an atheist... " or "I'm an Atheist, so I (don't) like, X, Y,Z). It'd be funny, if it wasn't so annoying and out-of-place at times.

as an agnostic, LOL.

Wonderment 06-05-2010 09:28 PM

Re: Dealing with distractions while reading online
 
Quote:

Anyway, you might give Readability a look.
Nice!

Quote:

As you may or may not know, you can open links in a new tab by clicking on them with the middle button of your mouse. Or, if you have a two-button mouse with a scroll-wheel, odds are very good the wheel can be pushed down, just like a middle button.
Yes, I just downgraded my MacBook Pro to a two-button and wheel mouse. Way better than the trackpad. Under $20.

nikkibong 06-05-2010 09:29 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
excellent diavlog, john and george.

bjkeefe 06-05-2010 09:43 PM

Re: Dealing with distractions while reading online
 
[Continued from here.]

Forgot something.

One other, perhaps overly obvious, suggestion. Lots of sites that offer lengthy articles have a "print this article" link/button somewhere on the page. Most often, clicking this will cause the loading of a new page, in which the article is rendered more or less as it will look when printed. (Sometimes you have to cancel your browser's pop-up prompt about actually printing, but that's trivial, to me at least.)

In this case, the links in the article may or may not still be there. But, as with Readability, at least you've removed some of the surrounding click-bait.

A bigger complaint I have with this option is that, almost always, the new page is too wide to read comfortably, since no layout margins are specified to prevent the text from sprawling the width of the window, as on a more typical web page. However, it's easy enough to grab the side edge of your browser window and make it more columnar, and the text will re-wrap itself accordingly. This does work in a pinch, and it may appeal of you don't think Readability is worth your while.

Whatfur 06-05-2010 09:57 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 164182)
...I am well aware that I suffer the same flaw at times. I would claim, though, that this only helps me to know it when I see it.

.... A spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, in other words.

I think I just puked a little bit.

bjkeefe 06-05-2010 10:47 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Whatfur (Post 164193)
I think I just puked a little bit.

We can only hope you'll inhale it.

badhatharry 06-05-2010 10:49 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Whatfur (Post 164193)
I think I just puked a little bit.

http://www.earthfrisk.com/uploads_user/1000/2/504.jpg

bjkeefe 06-05-2010 11:00 PM

Some additional random comments
 
(1) Regarding the conspiracy that John mentioned (forgot to dingalink, sorry), in connection with his first thought that his WSJ review was only going to appear online, note that Web proprietor Bob refused to give sidebar links for Nicholas Carr's site or blog!!!1! ;)

Actually, I have to say, I was one of those who waved Carr off when I first heard about his book Is Surfing For Porn Making Us More Liberal? or whatever it was. But I think I'll give him another shot, since John had such a favorable reaction, and conveyed some of Carr's nuance. (I say this despite John's tendency to become wildly enthusiastic -- or paranoid -- about most new ideas, upon his first exposure.)

(2) I know George's worry about missing something. One thing I have told myself that helps in this regard is to think back to my early college days, when going to the right bar, every night, and staying till closing was of paramount concern, just so I didn't miss anything. I finally realized back then that I was never going to be able to be at all places at all times, and that living in the moment, for the moment, was as good as it was going to get. And ultimately, concentrating like that helped me enjoy the moment more.

Perhaps a better analogy would be the feeling I got when I was in the university library, struggling to understand some undergrad concept, and feeling overwhelmed at being surrounded by the library's collection of books and even more so, journals. But of course no one can know everything, and again, a little concentration pays off in helping to know a few things better.

A third analogy, relevant to the topic that seems to have provoked the most commentary, is the way I deal with the worry about being not in with the in-crowd concerning some hot new TV show. Here, I find it easier to dismiss the whole thing if getting caught up seems like too much work. (I have to admit that there's a tech aspect which has made adopting this attitude even easier -- I can always tell myself, "Eh, I'll wait till the show comes out on DVD.")

All of these may well be superficial rationalizations, if not downright Deepak Chopra-like, but they do get me through those bad moments when I feel like I'm missing something, can't stay on top of all things, etc.

(3) This bit of crankiness from George, about the smart phone helping to identify constellations, bothered me. As he goes on to say, he spent a fair amount of time looking at the stars when he was young, and then going to look up the constellations in some reference book, but crucially, he has not ever remembered them.

Now, is it important to know these? To some people. And those who care about it will, no matter the format of their reference sources. That's just the way people's minds work -- they store the things they care about, even if it takes a lot of effort at the beginning. It would only be "cheating" if you claimed you knew the constellation and then surreptitiously held up your smart phone.

I must say, though, that I do sympathy with his worry that GPS devices prevent people from developing mental maps. Not sure if there's any real difference here, but to me there is. But it is also true that I am somewhat of a map-fetishist.

(4) Regarding this bit about email, I could not possibly disagree more. The beauty of email is that the person making contact is being polite. He or she is saying, "What I have to say is not so burningly important that you must drop what you are doing and pay attention to me, this instant. But, while I thought of it, I wanted to tell you/remind you about this." The fault here is entirely George's: turn off your email if you don't want to be distracted. Or at least set the check interval to a lower frequency. And read Nicholas Negroponte on the superiority of asynchronous communication, and why the default behavior of a telephone call should be to go directly to voice mail.

Once again, it has been easier to type about my disagreements than about my agreements. Probably you know the feeling, but just in case not: please don't take it the wrong way. Thanks, as always, to George and John for an hour well-spent.

bjkeefe 06-05-2010 11:37 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rcocean (Post 164140)
I actually got through most of this and & enjoyed it.

Underhanded Compliment of the Week!

Quote:

Originally Posted by rcocean (Post 164140)
[...] For example, an atheist at work seems to start every other sentence with "As an atheist... " or "I'm an Atheist, so I (don't) like, X, Y,Z). It'd be funny, if it wasn't so annoying and out-of-place at times.

I quite agree. As I have said several times on this site, nothing drives me more batty than, "As a Libertarian, I ..." or "As a Real Conservative, I ..." or "As a true liberal, you should ..."

And don't get me started on philosophical or poli-sci "debates," in which the tendency is to hurl at one's interlocutor accusations of deviation from ideological purity; e.g., "But as an Objectivist, you must agree that ..." or "As a Realist, I ..."

If you and I can agree on the noisomeness of the "As a" throat-clearer, it definitely belongs on The Phrases to be Banned List.

bjkeefe 06-06-2010 12:44 AM

Re: Some additional random comments
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 164197)
[...]

Another thought, after reading John's review of Carr's book, which also follows on to some of the initial random comments I had ...

It occurs to me that though I absolutely adore computers, and the Internet, I have no interest in owning a smart phone, or any other compact bit of connectivity-enabling gadgetry, and I only have owned laptops for the sake of travel; i.e., being able to bring my desktop with me, as it were. I like the notion of the binary choice -- either I am available or not, either I am plugged-in or not, or however you might want to see it.

I can certainly appreciate the need to stay in touch, as certain types of business people, or parents, or teenagers, might put it. But for whatever reason, despite the amount of time I spend not-AFK, I do like that I have a desktop computer -- a place where I must go when I want to ... do whatever these gadgets allow us to do.

I'm curious: How many of you commenters here would feel severely hamstrung if you could only have a desktop computer (with Web connection)? (And let us make it easier, and say that you could have this desktop magically appear wherever you happened to be for any interval of time >= 12 hours.)

anonomicon 06-06-2010 01:05 AM

George Johnson on fire early
 
George was very sharp in this edition. The Annie Hall reference was so very well timed and delivered. He makes a point too...internet zombies are superior cultural reference artists.

I'm SO awesome! 06-06-2010 01:16 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
well, the reason i sound like i know what i'm talking about is because i'm simply regurgitating what several of the top experts in this area (Pinker, Wade, DS Wilson, etc) have had established for years. it's not really a debate or my opinion - these people have written lengthy books on this very subject and, for some reason, ocean and John haven't picked up on this yet. all they have to do is look on Wikipedia. it's hard to not make sweeping statements when the other side of the "debate" is so flawed - not worth much of a fight.

bjkeefe 06-06-2010 01:36 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by I'm SO awesome! (Post 164210)
well, the reason i sound like i know what i'm talking about is because i'm simply regurgitating what several of the top experts in this area (Pinker, Wade, DS Wilson, etc) have had established for years. it's not really a debate or my opinion - these people have written lengthy books on this very subject and, for some reason, ocean and John haven't picked up on this yet. all they have to do is look on Wikipedia. it's hard to not make sweeping statements when the other side of the "debate" is so flawed - not worth much of a fight.

In some sense, you are entirely correct, and I plead this, sometimes, when I myself get a little snappish or supercilious.

However, as George Washington Carver once said, if you want the cattle to eat, you have to place the fodder where they can reach it.

There are some things that deserve to be dismissed out of hand (creationism, moon-landing hoaxes, astrology, Obama is not an American, etc.). But in this case, I think you are dismissing something that has not quite reached that same depth, from the perspective of this community, at least, no matter how much you have already become convinced. It could be purely because people aren't yet regularly browsing Cell or PLoS, or what have you. It takes time for newly established findings to percolate. And this is assuming you (and the other sources you cite) are correct. I am not educated enough to judge. At the risk of sounding like Lucianne's boy, this is central to my point.

Not telling. Just suggesting.

AemJeff 06-06-2010 01:56 AM

Re: Some additional random comments
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 164207)
Another thought, after reading John's review of Carr's book, which also follows on to some of the initial random comments I had ...

It occurs to me that though I absolutely adore computers, and the Internet, I have no interest in owning a smart phone, or any other compact bit of connectivity-enabling gadgetry, and I only have owned laptops for the sake of travel; i.e., being able to bring my desktop with me, as it were. I like the notion of the binary choice -- either I am available or not, either I am plugged-in or not, or however you might want to see it.

I can certainly appreciate the need to stay in touch, as certain types of business people, or parents, or teenagers, might put it. But for whatever reason, despite the amount of time I spend not-AFK, I do like that I have a desktop computer -- a place where I must go when I want to ... do whatever these gadgets allow us to do.

I'm curious: How many of you commenters here would feel severely hamstrung if you could only have a desktop computer (with Web connection)? (And let us make it easier, and say that you could have this desktop magically appear wherever you happened to be for any interval of time >= 12 hours.)

Sometimes I pull my car my car over to pull out my phone and check something online. I have gazebo in my backyard with AC, so I can spend a day in the yard, online. I spend a lot more time on my laptop than on my desktop; and often while I'm working I have half a mind on what's going on somewhere online, and a browser open... it beats staring into space while I try to figure something or other out. I do sometimes sleep with the laptop under my bed, because I couldn't put the damn thing down when I went up.

I admit to a degree of pathology.

Ocean 06-06-2010 02:12 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by I'm SO awesome! (Post 164210)
well, the reason i sound like i know what i'm talking about is because i'm simply regurgitating what several of the top experts in this area (Pinker, Wade, DS Wilson, etc) have had established for years. it's not really a debate or my opinion - these people have written lengthy books on this very subject and, for some reason, ocean and John haven't picked up on this yet. all they have to do is look on Wikipedia. it's hard to not make sweeping statements when the other side of the "debate" is so flawed - not worth much of a fight.

This comment is as obscure as the one with the abundant "ridiculous". Why? Because you are responding very viscerally to what you imagine others' arguments are. You dismissed several arguments presented by John (?), a commenter at Scientific American, and by me, with a set of arguments that are somewhat related but not necessarily addressing the same topics. Since you presented your perspective with a dismissive and ridiculing attitude towards others, you really didn't leave any room for discussion. Furthermore, even when you seem to support your claims by mentioning valid sources, you really don't demonstrate whether you understand their arguments or anyone else's.

The arguments that you hint at don't necessarily contradict the arguments that you find so ridiculous. I don't know who you are or what your level of knowledge is, but in the way you post, we will never know. My initial intention was to get you to expand on your comments. Now I see that may not be possible. There are a whole bunch of books that we all can read.

bjkeefe 06-06-2010 02:23 AM

Re: Some additional random comments
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 164215)
Sometimes I pull my car my car over to pull out my phone and check something online. I have gazebo in my backyard with AC, so I can spend a day in the yard, online. I spend a lot more time on my laptop than on my desktop; and often while I'm working I have half a mind on what's going on somewhere online, and a browser open... it beats staring into space while I try to figure something or other out. I do sometimes sleep with the laptop under my bed, because I couldn't put the damn thing down when I went up.

I admit to a degree of pathology.

Naw, this all sounds pretty normal. I could force it into my model almost entirely by saying you are merely moving your "desktop" to a more pleasing space.*

I sometimes keep a laptop at bedside, but generally, I read paperbacks when I'm drifting off -- if I fall asleep mid-page, it's not a worry if I drop them on the floor or roll over on them.

==========

* Okay, not the part about pulling the car over. My mindset is more that it is fun to think about/try to win an argument about until I/we get to our destination. But as a fellow user of the fascist-socialist interstate highway system, I do thank you for safety concerns.

I'm SO awesome! 06-06-2010 02:26 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
tru dat, homie. but you know me, though, I'm too rude and impatient to withhold a good throttling. john really has no excuse, though. i honestly suspect he just needed to fill space or is using the weird, contrarian part of his brain for his article. Once you read Pinker's work and Wade or Wilson's books on religion the evidence for evolved modules pre-exodus from Africa (etc) is completely overwhelming. it's on par with evidence for Pinker's universal grammar.

bjkeefe 06-06-2010 02:31 AM

One more random comment: Time vs. Newsweek
 
Anyone care to speculate why (as J or G asserted) Time is still standing while Newsweek is about to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Newsmax? (Last I heard, at least.)

No fair just typing MEACHAM!!!1! and calling it good. That's too easy.

One bet: there is only enough room for one such newsweekly magazine, and because Time had a little more strength once this started becoming true, it was just a matter of time.

Another: Time did a better job (not a great job, but better than Newsweek) at establishing a worthwhile site. Just as one example: I can name Swampland as a brand name, and at least two or three name bloggers who have contributed to that. Can anyone say something close to that about Newsweek? I know I can't.

I'm SO awesome! 06-06-2010 02:32 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
this was the initial link i posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/15/we...ew/12wade.html

i don't know what's going on anymore but i'll finish by saying this is well established research by A1 guys, who are quite famous, that have been working on this for decades. the info is so comprehensive i wouldn't know where to start other than just linking to Wade's book or either of the Wilson's or Pinker's work. John and Bob are a little behind the curve on this topic.

Ocean 06-06-2010 02:54 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by I'm SO awesome! (Post 164222)
this was the initial link i posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/15/we...ew/12wade.html

i don't know what's going on anymore but i'll finish by saying this is well established research by A1 guys, who are quite famous, that have been working on this for decades. the info is so comprehensive i wouldn't know where to start other than just linking to Wade's book or either of the Wilson's or Pinker's work. John and Bob are a little behind the curve on this topic.

Yes, even when I'm still not so smart, I think I know what you mean.

You may already have watched these, but in case you didn't, here are the links: Wade , Wilson (I think this is the Wilson you may be making reference to), and Pinker (although not sure that this the topic that relates most to the current discussion, perhaps at the end of the diavlog).

These cover some aspects of the discussion but far from all.

bjkeefe 06-06-2010 03:01 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by I'm SO awesome! (Post 164222)
i don't know what's going on anymore but i'll finish by saying this is well established research by A1 guys, ...

Those the steak sauce dudes, who toppled ketchup?

In that case, I concur, wholeheartedly.

I'm SO awesome! 06-06-2010 03:04 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Religion, Sex, and the Internet (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
:)


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