Why It Happened

December 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm (By Realpc)

We do not know why it happened — I mean the school shooting the other day. There were some articles describing Lanza as being kind of strange — he was a very smart nerd who belonged to the technology club. He lived in his mother’s basement and played violent computer games. He wore different clothes than the other kids, and always carried a black briefcase.

And all this was said in a way that seemed to imply “Well no surprise he murdered 27 people — he looked and acted strange!”

I was shocked by the murders, of course, but I was also shocked by this reaction. Unpopular nerd playing violent computer games — well OF COURSE he went on a killing spree.

Can you see that there is absolutely no logic whatsoever in that line of thinking? And it’s outrageous, and insulting to every person who wasn’t the most popular kid in school.

And it’s dangerous, because people could lose their rights and freedoms, all because someone decided they were a little “odd” and therefore potentially a threat to society.

I saw posts on facebook saying that this type of kid should be diagnosed and showered with love and hugs, and that will prevent him from going beserk.

Well, for one thing, not every misfit wants to be showered with love and hugs. Being a little different is not a disease.

And there is no evidence whatsoever that I ever heard of that, if a person actually were a potential mass murderer, love and hugs would cure them.

We DO NOT KNOW why these things happen, and we don’t know how to prevent them.

I am concerned that now parents and teachers will be start rounding up all kids who are too different, or too smart, or too strange, and send them for psychiatric “treatment.” And psychiatric treatment now days means brain-numbing drugs.

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wasted 25 dollars

June 23, 2012 at 9:05 pm (By Realpc)

I went to the new age store again this morning and asked the sales person if the psychic would be there today. She said yss. I asked again if the psychic, Lacey, really gets information from spirits, rather than asking questions and guessing based on common sense.

“Oh no, she never asks any questions and she really gets the information from spirits, she is wonderful, blah blah blah.”

I found out I could get 15 minutes for $25 so it seemed worth trying, and I came back later.

Lacey smoked cigarettes, INSIDE the new age store which was scented with incense. I happen to hate cigarette smoke but the spirits didn’t tell her that.

She asked what I wanted to focus on, since we only had 15 minutes. I said I would rather let the spirits tell her, since I didn’t want to direct them.

It turned out Lacey sort of knows me, because she has seen me walking and biking a lot. So, with no guidance from me (or the spirits), she went on about how I am so much connected with the earth and the spirit worlds.

She gave me a standard motivational talk about how I also need to connect with people, and to get over the fears I acquired in childhood. I should go in a positive direction, rather than negative, etc.

She stretched all this standard BS out so it would take up most of the 15 minutes.

Finally I told her that I am not a loner who needs to learn how to connect with people. She only assumed that because she saw me walking alone a lot. I said I walk because I like to get exercise and I am busy so most of the time it’s easier to walk by myself.

She said well it’s true that I need to get past the childhood fears, etc. I said yes I already know, and I work on that. I said I really hoped the spirits would tell her things that apply to me and my current situaion, not to almost everyone in the world.

Lacey got offended and said she is not a carnival act and she will not be tested.

The spirits did tell her that I play piano and compose music, and she started tapping her fingers on the table like it was a piano. I said ok that is close, since I play an instrument.

She asked what instrument. I said why can’t the spirits tell you. Again, I heard that she is not a carnival act.

I did not go in there as a skeptic looking to see through the BS. I came in ready to open my soul to the spirits and learn the truth, however scary or hurtful. As the sales person had warned me, that I must be ready to hear the truth.

So as the last minutes ticked away, I told Lacey I really meant to focus on what was happening with my boss at work. Lacey took her best guess — my boss has gone away, become distant? I met her questioning gaze. She had no more guesses.

So finally I told her my boss has been torturing me and I decided to give up and get another job. Lacey said that was a good decision, and she said I will never lack money and God always takes care of me.

Well I hope she is right about that, but I have no reason to believe her about anything.

She said I didn’t have to pay, but I paid anyway, since I will always have abundance in my life.

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Medical Mythology

March 25, 2012 at 5:54 pm (By Realpc)

I was walking through town today (Sunday) and a woman offered to give me a ride home. I said no thanks, I have a car, I’m just taking a walk. But then I went back and asked how she knew where I live. She said she sees me walking, walking, walking, all the time. I explained that I only walk a half hour before work on week days, which really is not much. I asked if she thought I was a crazy homeless person, just because she sees me walking. I said I have been walking, and doing yoga, all my life and that is probably the reason I am not sick and on drugs, like practically everyone else my age.

(I don’t usually do this, must have been in a weird mood today).

So she replied that the drugs must be doing something right, because we are living longer than ever now. She said there are lots of people in their 90s now, and there never were before.

I said first of all, there were always people in their 90s. And if you ask someone in their 90s you may very well find out they don’t go to doctors or take drugs. I said we are not being kept alive past age 40 thanks to the drugs, that is just propaganda from the drug companies, to make us think we need them.

I tried to explain that average lifespan has increased, mostly because young children are not dying anymore, thanks to antibiotics and vaccines. I tried to explain how the drug companies misuse the statistics to make us think we would all drop dead at 40 if not for them.

She waited patiently for me to give up and leave. If she didn’t think I was a homeless crazy before, she was sure of it after my lecture.

But I am so tired of hearing the same old myth.

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Crime Pays

March 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm (By Realpc)

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/guy-who-rented-all-94-rooms-of-aspen-hotel-for-party-scores-awesome-new-goldman-job-20120312

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The Creationist Conspiracy

March 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm (By Realpc)

Steven Novella, who writes a skeptic’s blog, has discovered a sinister conspiracy. The Creations have joined forces and organized and they are infiltrating our universities and scientific publications. Scary!

http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/id-making-an-end-run-around-science/#more-4253

“… they want to change society and the nature of science itself. They want to inject supernaturalism into the process of science, so that it can be made to support their world-view and religious beliefs. They cannot do this honestly, so they do it deceptively. They are also well-funded and tireless.”

Oh my godless! The Creationists are coming and we must find a way to stop them!

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More Quantum Woo

January 14, 2011 at 8:13 pm (By Realpc)

Oh the pseudo-skeptics are gonna hate this. Luc Montagnier won a Nobel prize for his HIV research, but now he studies memory in water. The same thing that Benveniste was studying when his career was destroyed by Amazing Randi. New Scientist just published this story. It requires a subscription but I found it somewhere and am posting it here. And there is this story at http://news.techworld.com/personal-tech/3256631/dna-molecules-can-teleport-nobel-prize-winner-claims.

So was Benveniste right after all, as I always thought? Montagnier is demonstrating weird quantum effects at normal temperatures and time frames. The pseudo-skeptics are always laughing about quantum woo, but I don’t think they will laugh very much about this.

Scorn over claim of teleported DNA

• 12 January 2011 by Andy Coghlan
• Magazine issue 2795. Subscribe and save
• For similar stories, visit the Quantum World Topic Guide
Editorial: “Why we have to teleport disbelief”
A Nobel prizewinner is reporting that DNA can be generated from its teleported “quantum imprint”
A STORM of scepticism has greeted experimental results emerging from the lab of a Nobel laureate which, if confirmed, would shake the foundations of several fields of science. “If the results are correct,” says theoretical chemist Jeff Reimers of the University of Sydney, Australia, “these would be the most significant experiments performed in the past 90 years, demanding re-evaluation of the whole conceptual framework of modern chemistry.”
Luc Montagnier, who shared the Nobel prize for medicine in 2008 for his part in establishing that HIV causes AIDS, says he has evidence that DNA can send spooky electromagnetic imprints of itself into distant cells and fluids. If that wasn’t heretical enough, he also suggests that enzymes can mistake the ghostly imprints for real DNA, and faithfully copy them to produce the real thing. In effect this would amount to a kind of quantum teleportation of the DNA.
Many researchers contacted for comment by New Scientist reacted with disbelief. Gary Schuster, who studies DNA conductance effects at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, compared it to “pathological science”. Jacqueline Barton, who does similar work at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, was equally sceptical. “There aren’t a lot of data given, and I don’t buy the explanation,” she says. One blogger has suggested Montagnier should be awarded an IgNobel prize.
Yet the results can’t be dismissed out of hand. “The experimental methods used appear comprehensive,” says Reimers. So what have Montagnier and his team actually found?
Full details of the experiments are not yet available, but the basic set-up is as follows. Two adjacent but physically separate test tubes were placed within a copper coil and subjected to a very weak extremely low frequency electromagnetic field of 7 hertz. The apparatus was isolated from Earth’s natural magnetic field to stop it interfering with the experiment. One tube contained a fragment of DNA around 100 bases long; the second tube contained pure water.
After 16 to 18 hours, both samples were independently subjected to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a method routinely used to amplify traces of DNA by using enzymes to make many copies of the original material. The gene fragment was apparently recovered from both tubes, even though one should have contained just water (see diagram).
DNA was only recovered if the original solution of DNA – whose concentration has not been revealed – had been subjected to several dilution cycles before being placed in the magnetic field. In each cycle it was diluted 10-fold, and “ghost” DNA was only recovered after between seven and 12 dilutions of the original. It was not found at the ultra-high dilutions used in homeopathy.
Physicists in Montagnier’s team suggest that DNA emits low-frequency electromagnetic waves which imprint the structure of the molecule onto the water. This structure, they claim, is preserved and amplified through quantum coherence effects, and because it mimics the shape of the original DNA, the enzymes in the PCR process mistake it for DNA itself, and somehow use it as a template to make DNA matching that which “sent” the signal (arxiv.org/abs/1012.5166).
“The biological experiments do seem intriguing, and I wouldn’t dismiss them,” says Greg Scholes of the University of Toronto in Canada, who last year demonstrated that quantum effects occur in plants. Yet according to Klaus Gerwert, who studies interactions between water and biomolecules at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, “It is hard to understand how the information can be stored within water over a timescale longer than picoseconds.”
It is hard to understand how the information can be stored in water for more than picoseconds

“The structure would be destroyed instantly,” agrees Felix Franks, a retired academic chemist in London who has studied water for many years. Franks was involved as a peer reviewer in the debunking of a controversial study in 1988 which claimed that water had a memory (see “How ‘ghost molecules’ were exorcised”). “Water has no ‘memory’,” he says now. “You can’t make an imprint in it and recover it later.”
Despite the scepticism over Montagnier’s explanation, the consensus was that the results deserve to be investigated further. Montagnier’s colleague, theoretical physicist Giuseppe Vitiello of the University of Salerno in Italy, is confident that the result is reliable. “I would exclude that it’s contamination,” he says. “It’s very important that other groups repeat it.”
In a paper last year (Interdisciplinary Sciences: Computational Life Sciences, DOI: 10.1007/s12539-009-0036-7), Montagnier described how he discovered the apparent ability of DNA fragments and entire bacteria both to produce weak electromagnetic fields and to “regenerate” themselves in previously uninfected cells. Montagnier strained a solution of the bacterium Mycoplasma pirum through a filter with pores small enough to prevent the bacteria penetrating. The filtered water emitted the same frequency of electromagnetic signal as the bacteria themselves. He says he has evidence that many species of bacteria and many viruses give out the electromagnetic signals, as do some diseased human cells.
Montagnier says that the full details of his latest experiments will not be disclosed until the paper is accepted for publication. “Surely you are aware that investigators do not reveal the detailed content of their experimental work before its first appearance in peer-reviewed journals,” he says.
How ‘ghost molecules’ were exorcised

The latest findings by Luc Montagnier evoke long-discredited work by the French researcher Jacques Benveniste. In a paper in Nature (vol 333, p 816) in 1988 he claimed to show that water had a “memory”, and that the activity of human antibodies was retained in solutions so dilute that they couldn’t possibly contain any antibody molecules (New Scientist, 14 July 1988, p 39).
Faced with widespread scepticism over the paper, including from the chemist Felix Franks who had advised against publication, Nature recruited magician James Randi and chemist and “fraudbuster” Walter Stewart of the US National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, to investigate Benveniste’s methods. They found his result to be “a delusion”, based on a flawed design. In 1991, Benveniste repeated his experiment under double-blind conditions, but not to the satisfaction of referees at Nature and Science. Two years later came the final indignity when he was suspended for damaging the image of his institute. He died in October 2004.
That’s not to say that quantum effects must be absent from biological systems. Quantum effects have been proposed in both plants and birds. Montagnier and his colleagues are hoping that their paper won’t suffer the same fate as Benveniste’s.

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The Pseudo-Skeptics Fight Back

January 9, 2011 at 8:36 pm (By Realpc)

Parapsychology has been out of style for a long time. Maybe this is partly because of James Randi, who devoted his career to debunking psychics. Randi became famous when he, supposedly, exposed Uri Geller as a fake on a live TV show. I doubt that Geller is a total fake, although anyone who makes their living on these unreliable and fickle abilities must use trickery at least part of the time. Anyway, Randi became famous and “smart” people became skeptical of anyone who claimed to have psychic abilities. Randi offered a million dollar prize to anyone who could demonstrate these abilities, and the prize has never been won. If you argue with a pseudo-skeptic materialist, their argument will always depend mainly on this fact.

I don’t know why no one has won the Randi prize, and there could be various reasons. But the field of parapsychology has suffered. Parapsychology has been around for about as long as experimental psychology, both having begun somewhere around the turn of the 20th century. In both of these sciences, something called inferential statistics are used. And this is also the case in various other branches of science, such as medical research.

Parapsychology has been respectable at times, but in recent decades it has not been, in general. There are a very small number of parapsychologists working in universities. I only know of two in America, Dean Radin and Gary Schwartz. Mainstream scientists mostly ignore parapsychology, and mainstream journals have refused to publish the research. Well until just recently that is.

Daryl Bem of Cornell University did some high quality experiments that seem to demonstrate precognition. That is not so surprising if you already have an open mind about the paranormal. What is surprising is that a mainstream psychology journal accepted the research for publication.

Bem is a respected psychologist at a respected university. He does not think precognition is ridiculous or impossible. He does think it is compatible with current knowledge in physics. So maybe those of us who believe in psi are not all complete idiots and wackos after all.

Of course, the pseudo-skeptical materialists are fighting back. They are assuring us that the experiments will never be replicated (scientific research cannot be accepted until it has been repeated, and therefore verified, by independent researchers). As far as I know, others have already done similar precognition studies, so it has already been replicated. But 3 recent attempts have failed. That is not surprising given the tricky and unreliable nature of psi.

The pseudo-skeptics are also telling us that the effect sizes were small, and therefore can’t be trusted. For example, in one experiment subjects’ hit rate was 53%, when 50% was expected by chance. But Bem was not trying to show that people are constantly gazing into the future with ease. We are influenced by the future in subtle ways. If we had constant easy access to the future, this would be a very different kind of world.

The point of using inferential statistics is to show that an effect,  however small, is probably real. The pseudo-skeptics are skeptical of these statistical tests when they are used in parapsychology. But  when          they are used in psychology or medicine, for example, the pseudo-skeptics have no problem with them.

The pseudo-skeptics also complain that Bem has not provided an explanation for how precognition might work. Without an explanation, they are unwilling to accept any kind of evidence. Well that is ridiculous. No one can explain how gravity works, for example, yet we still believe it exists. Most things are not explained.

It will be interesting to see if Bem’s precognition research is replicated. Parapsychology might become respectable again. But more importantly, mainstream science might be forced to finally let go of materialism. Minds that were closed might be forced open.

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The Black Swan

January 5, 2011 at 7:10 pm (By Realpc)

I saw the movie The Black Swan the other day, and I resonated with it on several different levels. I actually felt my soul blazing throughout the whole movie. It’s about the ballet Swan Lake, which I have never seen (but now of course I want to see it). The main theme of the movie is, I would say, the universal human struggle with the Shadow.

The main character, Nina, is a carefully controlled perfectionist, a young woman still tied to her mother. She never lets go, and therefore the Shadow bursts out in strange ways. Nina scratches her skin until it bleeds, and experiences psychotic hallucinations.

She will be a great artist as soon as she learns one more lesson — how to accept the deep violent passion within her. And by the end of the movie, she has learned.

Anyone who has read any of my posts might know that I believe in trying to face Reality. Rather than escape into comforting fantasies and ideologies, I try to see what is there and find ways to live with it.

The post that I think expressed my philosophy best was, by a strange Jungian “coincidence,” about swans on a lake. We look at swans gliding effortlessly and we never think about the hard ugly reality that supports their beauty.

We think that grace and beauty can be manufactured and maintained by us, by our cleverness. Our mythology tells us that we are gods, that we are in control.

We are not. Just like Nina, everything we fear and hate rages within and around us. Our deepest love and desire rests on the Shadow. Our greatest and most perfect artistic expressions rest on the Shadow.

How could any so-called “progressive” ever reconcile these horrible blazing truths with their bland fantasies of peace and fairness for all?

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Ok skeptics, explain this

November 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm (By Realpc)

Parapsychology has been around a long time, about as long as psychology. Parapsychologists have been claiming to find evidence for paranormal abilities, and mainstream “skeptics” have been refusing to believe it. Parapsychologists are vastly outnumbered by mainstream psychologists, and the mainstream journals seldom publish parapsychology research. I have had many arguments over the years with mainstream materialist “skeptics” who will not even consider the evidence. They just discount it, or ignore it, because, they say, it cannot possibly be true. It would defy the laws of physics.

Oh really? Do we actually have the laws of physics all figured out? Alternative scientists keep pointing out that physics has shown us how weird and incomprehensible our world is. That time can travel backwards, that things can be connected through empty space, for example. But the “skeptics” always respond that the quantum levels have no relevance whatsoever to our level of reality. You have to wonder how these “skeptics” know all that.

But in any case, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, the “skeptics” have to say against a recent article published in a very respectable mainstream journal by a very respectable psychologist at Cornell. The research is summarized in this Psychology Today story: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-social-thinker/201010/have-scientists-finally-discovered-evidence-psychic-phenomena.

I heard about this type of research years ago. I loved it because, unlike most parapsychology research, it doesn’t depend on subjects consciously trying to use their psychic powers. Bern’s experiments do not involve the subjects’ conscious minds.

Ok, so what happens if it turns out this research cannot be discounted or refuted or ignored? Are we beginning to enter a new era, where mainstream scientists are allowed to doubt the materialist dogma? And once that doubt is allowed, where does it stop? If our minds can be influenced by future events, maybe fortune-telling isn’t all nonsense. And if fortune-telling isn’t all nonsense, what else might not be all nonsense?

This kind of research, if it turns out to be impossible to refute, could profoundly affect our society.

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Progress

October 23, 2010 at 6:51 pm (By Realpc)

I used to believe we were evolving in a positive direction. I was a liberal and a progressive because I grew up in that context, and it was reinforced in college. But my progressive beliefs gradually fell away until now hardly any are left. I have questioned all of it and found it to be a big pile of myths, without a connection to reality.

Human societies all have myths, so of course ours does also. Myths are the things that go without saying and are too obvious to mention.

But because our society is so enormous and diverse and complex, we have multiple, contradictory, mythologies.

The progressive myth is widely believed, by political conservatives as well as by the political left. It says we are becoming smarter, nicer, safer, healthier, all thanks to western science and technology.

Then you have the people who cling to guns and religion — they don’t entirely buy the progressive myth. And I am, more or less, on their side now. Think I might get a gun, and maybe join a church.

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