Category Archives: What’s Up

A flare for things unusual in gadgetry and technology.

What is a Human?

DaVinci atomatronic model graphic

Emergence from the knowledge abyss

What is man?

“is probably the most profound question that can be asked by any human. It has always been central to any system of philosophy or of theology. We know that it has been asked by the most learned humans 2000 years ago, and it is just possible that it was being asked by the most brilliant australopithecines 2 million years ago. The point I want to make now is that all attempts to answer that question before 1859 are worthless and that we will be better off if we ignore them completely.” —Simpson 1966, p. 472

Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence. If superior creatures from space ever visit Earth, the first question they will ask, in order to assess the level of our civilization, is: “Have they discovered evolution yet?” Living organisms had existed on Earth, without ever knowing why, for more than three billion years before the truth finally dawned on one of them. His name was Charles Darwin. To be fair, others had inklings of the truth, but it was Darwin who first put together a coherent and tenable account of why we exist.”—Dawkins 1976, p. 1

Identifying ultimate causes, however, is important, because certain proximate explanations may be incompatible with certain ultimate explanations. This is because certain ultimate explanations specify the existence of certain types of proximate mechanisms. For example, the ultimate explanation that the human eye evolved by natural selection because it increased our ancestors’ ability to detect light requires the existence of proximate light-detection mechanisms in the eye.”

“No aspect of life can be completely understood until both its proximate and its ultimate causation are fully known. To understand how ultimate causes can be known, one must understand how natural selection leads to adaptations” | RANDY THORNHILL and CRAIG T. PALMER |

Orthodox-Apocalypse-FrescoAll arguments to the contrary are opinions of the individual unsupported and unsubstantiated except by ancient oral traditions, eventually written down, but not by those within the story itself. Traditions, stories, beliefs, superstitions, are all normal human reactions to a world of random chaos and events beyond our level of comprehension. It’s just more comforting and easier to assign unexplainable moments, catastrophe, cruelties, to some deity.

Over the centuries of written tradition, we find explanations that are outside of the authors abilities or comprehension to be associated with a deity. Monarchs and despots have used deities to give gravitas or approval to their actions, no matter how self-serving or egregious.

Natural Selection and Adaptations

“Adaptations are phenotypic features (morphological structures, physiological mechanisms, and behaviors) that are present in individual organisms because they were favored by natural selection in the past. Darwin sought to explain the existence of adaptation in terms of evolution by selection. Initially, he observed the action of selection on living things in nature—a fact of natural history that is inescapable in view of the high rates of reproduction and mortality in all organisms. Later, he realized just how creative selection could be when extended over the long history of life on Earth. This retrospection is evident in the following eloquent passage from On the Origin of Species:”

“Natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working…. We see nothing of these slow changes in progress, until the hand of time has marked the long lapse of ages.” (Ridley 1987, p. 87)

“The biologist George Williams, in his 1966 book Adaptation and Natural Selection, clarified what Darwin meant when he wrote of natural selection’s rejecting all that was “bad” and preserving all that was “good.”- First, Williams noted, these words were not used in a moral sense; they referred only to the effects of traits on an individual’s ability to survive and reproduce. That is, “good” traits are those that promote an individual’s reproductive interests.”

Remember that Christmas, although heartwarming and comforting to some, is just another one of those long traditions carried forward to our children.

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The question is this: Is man an ape or an angel?  I, my lords, am on the side of the angels.
| Benjamin Disraeli |

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The New Citizens Prayer

US flag Whitehouse
Oh great and powerful Washington we ask you to make our lives better.

Oh great Washington we ask that you give us clean water.

We ask you to give us better atmosphere, with desirable temperatures and temperate climate.

We beseech thee to give us fairness & justice.

Oh great Washington, we ask you to remove all statutes and monuments that offend us.

Oh great and good Washington, we ask you restrain all individuals or groups that we don’t approve of, or say words that we don’t wish to hear.

Great Washington, protect us from our enemies, negotiate with each of them, give them what they want, except the Republicans. We know they’re beyond any rational discussion.

Oh great Washington give us peaceful coexistence at reduced cost.

Oh great Washington give us free food, free housing, free cell phones, health care, education, and basic income.

Oh great Washington, let all people come into our country and enjoy all of our free or reduced cost benefits.

Finally oh Great Washington, let us live pain free, without having to face anything too challenging.

Allow us to not only receive low cost energy, we also need low cost drugs of our choosing without arrest or punishment.

Give us all these things without consequences and no conditions. Create as much money and prosperity to meet all our wants and needs.

These are our simple requests, our fundamental rights, and for that we commit to electing all of those who agree to give us these basic needs and our human rights.

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When is it My Turn to be Happy?

Good morning America. It’s another beautiful day to be alive and smell the ….
Wait a minute! This is America in the 21st century. No shiny happy people moments are allowed. Not unless you’re given permission to by one of the following :
CNNABCBBCMSNBCPBSCBSNBCDHSSierra ClubPolitical Party of your choice.
animated copUnless & until such permission is granted, happiness, contentment, gratefulness, are off limits. Please pick one or more of the following topics to argue, complain, or at least be annoyed about :

 

  • Donald Trump
  • Climate
  • Racism
  • Guns
  • Sexism
  • LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ
  • Taxes
  • Oil
  • Coal
  • Healthcare
  • YourMommaCare
  • Statues in a park (somewhere)
  • Footwear
  • Over Inflated Footballs
  • Youth
  • Old People
  • Short People
  • Tall People
  • You People
  • My people
  • Transportation
  • Exploitation
  • Frustration
  • Constipation
  • Religion
  • Some Kind of People
  • Countries That Hate Us
  • People that want to blow us to kingdom come
  • People we want to bomb into oblivion
  • Hacking
  • Unfair elections
  • Someone’s erection
  • Military
  • Missiles
  • Ships that go bump in the night

Someone please feed the animals…

History isn’t just the story of bad people doing bad things. It’s quite as much a story of people trying to do good things. But somehow, something goes wrong.”
• C.S. Lewis

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
• Thomas Jefferson

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
• Confucius Jefferson Davis statue removed

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