Monday, October 10, 2011

Science and belief Current debates blur the distinction


Science and belief Current debates blur the distinction

Tags: Radicals, Religion, Evolution, Global Warming, Science and Belief, Brain, Emotions Affect Thinking

Radicals of any professed religion or ideology rarely resort to logic to decide where science and beliefs fit in their lives. Religious radicals also tend to be radicals in politics and the Supreme Court as we have painfully experienced.

It seems to run in communities and families living in less populated communities more than large cities. Just published studies show that large cities generate more tolerant people.

Those who migrated from the South and Midwest tend to maintain their strong beliefs when they moved to Orange County, California or less populated States or regions such as Northern Florida. The conservative seniors also moved to Arizona to retire where almost all the voting seniors are White coinciding with the radical politics there and long-time Republican control.

Most religious scholars become agnostic primarily because the evidence does not support the stories in the Bible, religious documents, and relics discovered in the last centuries. Very few Israeli Rabbis who are not Orthodox believes the Old Testament was written not by God and delivered by Moses, but a myth based on archeological and scientific evidence.

Also remember that many Bibles have been greatly modified by the Roman Emperor Constantine and the selected hierarchy of the Christian church representing the Rome favored version by eliminating two dozen Bibles reflecting other versions of Christianity. They destroyed Bibles and libraries which led to the Dark Ages and before the Huns invaded Rome.

Irish Priests kept the Bible alive by retranslated the original Greek version into English. Of course it has been "modified" to suit the leaders of the church. The King James version has been further modified by Americans. Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity are just another sect of Christianity made to fit their particular ideology.

Brain research done at Stanford, MIT, U. Pennsylvania, University of California, San Diego, and Harvard in the last decade with Magnetic Resonance Imaging has shown that decisions we make are not entirely logical and free of emotion. Individuals vary in the amount of emotion involved in making decisions including scientists and does not necessarily correlate with intelligence as we have seen in the current Supreme Court. Emotional peoples such as Italians have large Amygdalas, the fear organ, and

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CuriosityKillsTime: Preview "Science and belief Current debates blur the distinction" 10/10/11 5:57 PM

more likely also prevalent in the Southern portions of the USA.

However, we now know that without the emotional part of the brain, we cannot make decisions. We discovered this when the part of the tiny brain matter which seemed to serve no important function behind the prefrontal cortex was removed, these individuals could not make decisions.

These finding in the last several decades have been published in many books such as David Brooks in Social Animal which is enjoyable to read and largely accurate told in a great narrative fashion, but I favored Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely with more actual data.

Darwin took a long time to publish his Theory of Evolution because of his fear of a strong religious backlash, including his loved ones. I really admire his courage as well as those of Copernicus, Galileo, and Luther willing to fight the ruthless and corrupt six Popes to launch a less hierarchical religion. Copernicus was burned at the stake for telling us that the earth was not at the center of the universe and Galileo made a telescope to observe and come to the same conclusion.

The only reason he was not burned at the stake was that the Pope was his good friend before he became Pope. He was under House arrest for the rest of his life, but he was still able to get his manuscript out of Italy which changed planetary science. The Catholic church did not accept this conclusion for two centuries.

As we have seen in more liberal northern Europe, where people are more secure, religious fervor dissipates. The birth rate in Italy is one of the lowest in the developed world which contradicts Church Doctrine.

One reporter on NPR in Pasadena found that although regular church attendance here was high, Catholic churches in Europe had almost empty pews.

The Theory of Evolution with modern science has become even more secure going down to the DNA level and supported by bones from our pre-human ancestors. Even more distressing for radical Evangelicals and many Americans is the recent findings that apes have much more cognitive ability to think and plan than we previously believed.

Yesterday, the scientific finding that we evolved on land starting from the lung fish cements the Evolutionary science even more completely.

Good scientists assume their theory are wrong and design tests to contradict their theory. Even Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity may have been shown to be incomplete if the experiments results in Europe can be triplicated, the number of independent studies needed to establish a theory into practice. The theory that vaccines cause Autism was based on one experimental group who we finally discover that fraudulent research on vaccines causes Autism.

Why do the affluent have more children with Autism than the rest of the population. I suspect the heavy use of UVB sunscreens which prevents UVB from stimulating Page 2 of 5

CuriosityKillsTime: Preview "Science and belief Current debates blur the distinction" 10/10/11 5:57 PM

vitamin D3 formation. Vitamin D3 supplements have been children with Autism. . Vitamin D metabolite, 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, helps turns genes off and on to provide us with optimum health. Yes, it is the science of epigenetics.

Climate Change: Even though the proof of climate change was available in the 1960s, it took 50 years to get a 98% consensus among climate scientists against successful efforts of the oil companies to get surrogates to create doubt about the facts in a similar manner that tobacco companies did by lying to us with bought experts.

Half of Americans say they don't believe in Global Warming and Evolution. Normally a form of government does not last more than a hundred years because of greed and corruption undermines them. We may be close to that Tipping Point. Shows the power of propaganda, especially on increasingly ignorant Americans.

Medical Treatments: Scientists and Medical Doctors at universities, even some of the most prestigious ones, have rejected the recent findings that we overdo tests such as prostate exams and unnecessary operations and treatments for a slow growing cancer where other causes kill the patient earlier.

But the list goes on and on. Unnecessary back operations justified by MRI which cannot differentiate between normal and bad backs, CT Scans, X-Rays, Mammograms, hysterectomies, and even heart by-pass and stents and blood tests. One physician at the Cleveland Clinic uses a non-meat largely vegetarian diet to improve the health of his heart patients who are recommended for a by-pass while some doctors operate on patients who have no heart disease because no one checks. Well the FBI closed them down and checked. The reopened hospital has heart operations at a normal rate which is 50 percent lower.

Obama should get the ruthless health insurance companies to investigate excessive medical care. So should Medicare officials. The huge savings without a decrease in life or health is close to certain based on millions of Medicare patients.

I am a fan of Dr. Jerome Groopman, an oncologist at Harvard Medical School. He and his endocrinologist wife Pamela Hartzband wrote a new book to give advice to patients on how to get the doctor to treat you in the best way possible. Their new book Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You, Penguin Press, gives us advice we rarely get from doctors. I learned the hard way how arrogant doctors really work. In his book for physicians published earlier, he criticizes doctors trained at Harvard to talk with patients so both patient and doctors can understand what the illness' cause really is. Blood and other tests are not enough. Patients as well as doctors are all different medically. Here is a short excerpt and a link to a review in the New York Times Book Review.

... “If medicine were an exact science, like mathematics, there would be one correct answer for each problem,” Groopman and Hartzband write. There isn’t. One close friend of mine with prostate cancer opted for immediate surgery, fully aware of the risks and side effects, just to “get the cancer out — now!” Another said he would rather risk dying sooner than lose sexual function, and so he rejected surgery in favor of a vegan diet and yoga, and has no regrets 10 years later, remaining happily Page 3 of 5

CuriosityKillsTime: Preview "Science and belief Current debates blur the distinction" 10/10/11 5:57 PM

symptom-free. Groopman and Hartzband’s important book will help doctor and patient learn how each of us navigates our own tolerance for risk, thus improving outcomes on both sides of the examination table. ... jerome-groopman-and-pamela-hartzband-book-review.html?_r=1&ref=books

Jim Kawakami, October 10, 2011,

EDITORIAL: Science and belief

Current debates blur the distinction


(Sunday, Sep 4, 2011 05:15PM) Midnight, Sept. 4

(The editor made some inaccurate comments about Global Warming and Evolution which I deleted. See the whole text at the link at the bottom of this editorial. Jim)

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman warned last Tuesday of a tendency among Republicans to reject widely supported scientific ideas, citing a poll showing that “only 21 percent of Republican voters in Iowa believe in global warming (and only 35 percent believe in evolution).” Many clear-thinking scientists approached with a similarly worded poll question would stand with the majority of Iowa Republicans. They would remind the pollster that global warming and evolution are not ideas to be believed in. They are ideas to be accepted (or rejected) on the basis of scientific evidence.

There’s a big difference, and both science and politics would be improved if the distinction were better understood.

Krugman wrote of Rick Perry, governor of Texas and GOP presidential front-runner, who has said that evolution is “just a theory” that has “some gaps in it.” Of course it’s a theory, and of course there are gaps. If everything about evolutionary processes were perfectly understood, if every question had been answered, if every contradiction had been resolved, biologists could close their labs and go home. The fact that plenty of work remains to be done in biology, that further refinements are needed and that conceptual upheavals undoubtedly lie ahead doesn’t weaken the fundamental theory. ...

The criticism is rooted in a confusion, widely shared by people on both sides of scientific debates, about the differences between two kinds of thinking. Scientific thinking, based on observation and experimentation, builds a structure of consistent facts, but is always incomplete. Belief involves the Page 4 of 5

CuriosityKillsTime: Preview "Science and belief Current debates blur the distinction" 10/10/11 5:57 PM

acceptance of a truth despite incomplete evidence, or even in the absence of evidence. The two types of thinking are not incompatible — many brilliant scientists are also people of strong faith — but they are far from interchangeable. ... science-warming-believe-evidence.html.csp

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