Thursday, September 19, 2019

Religious Thinking v. Scientific Thinking

When looking up Cambrian Period information you'll get flooded with Creationist Intelligent Design propaganda.  Stuff that freely misrepresents the facts and their "opponents," instead coming up with disconnected just so stories in complete disregard of the full spectrum of available understanding - so beware. 
That is why I'm sharing this comment that I originally penned for a discussion over at Center For Inquiry's ForumIt belongs here since a better understanding of the difference between religious thinking and serious scientific thinking is worth trying to push into the public consciousness!   (edited 9/19/19 evening)   

The challenge is clarifying the key difference between Religious Thinking and Scientific Thinking.  Both of which are products of our Human Mindscape.

It starts with acknowledging that all we see and experience, is through our senses and then processed by our brains to the best of our individual learning and abilities. 

The "Mindscape" is just that, our mind, the product of our body, nerves, brain and all we sense along with our emotions and thoughts.

Religions are all about our “Mindscape" itself, with it's constant dialogue and self-story telling and fears, emotions and needs.  Its freedom to poetically tie together whatever it wants.  It is the realm of the metaphysical thoughts and daydreaming and story telling. 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Diary 9/1/2019 - Life happens.

I've been neglecting this blog too much and decided to step it up with little reflection upon my summer, followed by an excursion into Earth's Pageant of Evolution.

Life is what happens while you’re busy making plans.  This summer my blogging effort wound up being focused on trying to convey the pageant of Earth’s Evolution and offering a glimpse into the folds within folds of accumulating harmonic complexity flowing down the stream of time that is the evolutionary process.

July 1990

Personally it’s also been a summer of five solo road trips down to Phoenix via a route I hadn’t been on since the ‘80s.  Driving out of Cortez, Colorado on Hwy 160 past the Four Corners Monument, then south on Hwy 191 along the western edge of the Defiance Uplift, including visits to Canyon DeChelly, then on to I-40 and scooting over to Hwy 87, which rises into the wonderfully surprising Coconino National Forest and then down the ancient Mogollon Rim.

The Mogollon Rim is the edge of the Colorado Plateau and its a two thousand foot drop into what’s called the “Transition Zone” with it’s jumble of one time islands caught between the ultimate rock and a hard place.  Then out into the “Valley of the Sun” and the “Basin and Range” geologic province.  Geologically it’s a fascinating drive and going solo allowed me a slower pace than our usual rush to reach our destination.

Though the drive south tended to be a bit more rushed than the drive home.  You see, I had dates to keep with my infant grandson.  Unlike with my first two grandkids who’s stay at home mother also had plenty of extended family around, this little guy’s parents have full-time professional careers.  Being an old hand with babies I was drawn into helping out with the child care.

Then when it was discovered how well the little guy and I get along, I kept getting invited back when the unexpected forced mom, then dad, to take a couple trips and my no longer carpentering left me available.

If you know how much Life and Earth’s story fascinate me, you can imagine what interacting with and watching an infant evolving impacts my thoughts.  Meaning my mind has become increasingly distracted and cluttered from the blogging task at hand.  

August 2019

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

. . . .

Under construction - right now merely parking place for images related to a writing project I'm working on and some discussion at CFI.

{click on images for better viewing}
The Fossil Tree of Life

The MicroRNA Tree of Life

MDIBL Science Café - Cambrian Explosion: Animals or Fossils?
Kevin J. Peterson is a professor of biological sciences at Dartmouth College.
Published on Aug 21, 2013

The fossil record shows animals suddenly exploding upon the geologic scene around 530 million years ago, forever altering Earth. However, new research suggests that the origin of animals pre-dates the "Cambrian explosion" by almost 200 million years. Kevin Peterson will examine the issues surrounding the origin and rise of animals and address the "missing" Precambrian fossil record, culling data primarily from the molecular record of animal life.

Kevin J. Peterson is a professor of biological sciences at Dartmouth College. He received his undergraduate training in biology at Carroll College in Helena, Montana, and earned his Ph.D. in geological science from the University of California, Los Angeles. His work centers on using molecular tools to address the origin and early evolution of animals


Flaws emerge in RNA method to build tree of life

Study finds problems with alluringly simple way to tease out evolutionary relationships through microRNA.
Tiny molecules that seemed to provide a powerful way to construct the tree of life may not have such a strong capability after all. A team of scientists has exposed1 flaws in a previously celebrated method that uses molecules called microRNAs to deduce evolutionary relationships between animals.
Growing pains
Thomson and his co-authors also applied an alternative method of analysing trees, which accommodated nuances in microRNA evolution, instead of using a method that assumes microRNA conservation through the generations. Three of the five resulting trees, including the reptile tree, more closely matched those produced by other methods.
Peterson could not be reached by Nature for comment, but Erik Sperling, a palaeobiologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, who was Peterson's co-author on some of the microRNA analyses2, 5, agrees with Thomson's conclusion that microRNAs cannot alone unveil species relationships. "MicroRNAs are not the panacea we perhaps originally hoped,” he says. …

But that doesn't mean they're a bust!  Solid lessons were learn and study continues.


Woodbury Fire from Mesa, June 15, 2019

Woodbury Fire from Mesa, June 18, 2019

Woodbury Fire outside Phoenix metro area June 19, 2019
With hot spot blowing up, if you look closely, above post and distant farm buildings.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Mr.GOP, Why is an unborn fetus more important than a matriarch?

Anyone up for a good discussion?  Here’s my start, visit CFI if you want to share.
Dear Mr. GOP,
Please explain why an unborn fetus is more important than the matriarch and foundation of my family and memories? 
Killing is a horrid thing, yet Mr. GOP justifies it under a thousand guises, pleading the sacred right to “self-defense”   It’s called justifiable homicide.   Why not label abortion, justifiable homicide? 
Where is your ethical and moral justification for making abortion the supreme sin of all?  (Yet, all the while dismissing as irrelevant our destroying untold thousands of living innocents and vibrant neighbors in other nations?) 
But that’s not enough, Mr. and Mrs. Republican then have this need to play God and invade a woman’s most privates and strip that woman of her rights to Self-Defense and Self-Determination. 
How do you ethically morally justify that? 
Why is a woman’s anguished abortion a worse sin than having our Made In USA weapons of mass destruction feeding escalating violence throughout the world? 
Where is your moral authority, and no, an ancient text and you having the hubristic conceit that you are in contact with the God Almighty, Creator of Light and Time, Life and Love, isn’t enough!  Read your Bible.  The actual God of life is BEYOND OUR UNDERSTANDING!  We’ve been making it all up as we’ve gone along. 
The GOP’s attitude towards woman is every bit as barbaric as Islamic’s horrendous viciousness towards their woman.  So I’m asking Mr. and Mrs GOP where do you get off?
{I also wonder why don’t liberals and progressives have more backbone and strive harder to stand up to these absolutists and wannabe totalitarians with thoughtful, yet firm, intellectual confrontation and education?}

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Peter, why are you an Earth Centrist?

First there was a lifetime of living and absorbing lessons, then there was an essay, then there was an invitation to give a talk, then the challenge to inject some relevant bio and double the essay into 20 minutes that hold the audience's attention, okay can do, at least I’ll try.   
Then the skeptics’ group that invited me imploded.   
So it goes. 
Life is busy and now the script sits here, I like it, though I keep tinkering with it. Guess foremost it’s a continuing education project for me.  Still now with spring loading me up with chores and distractions I want to do something with it. So, I’m putting it out here and I invite thoughtful responses.
{For a fun distraction, any Bluegrass fans out there? }
Rational comments, pro, con, observational, are all welcome, nonsense will be ignored.  Thoughtful will be respected and posted no matter what it says.   

Hello, my name is Peter Miesler and I am an Earth Centrist,
… and I admit, I’m hoping you’re wondering what in the world is that and why on Earth should you care.
I even spent a couple weeks last year writing an essay describing this particular perspective.  It turned out pretty good, it was tight, flowed well, told a story that held attention and people liked reading it.
I sent it around, even received a couple attaboys from some genuine science Who’s Who, who are usually silent, which did me a bit of good.  I’m not the crazy one after all.  :-)  I have enunciated something valuable.  But that was about it, then a return to the good 'ol sound of one hand clapping.

© Steven Orfield 
When reading it to friends, though they listened with interest, it left them a bit perplexed rather than enlightened.  Okay? Fun interesting read, now what am I supposed to do with it?  What is it actually about?  And so on.  In responding I was down to, ‘it’s about perspectives and how we process the information that’s flowing through our senses.’  

Thinking on it some more I know that it's about much more than that.  It's about grasping for an appreciation of DeepTime, Evolution, and the dance of life and geology that created this world we were born out of and will die back into.  Something that offers individuals a path to understanding their own place in time and the universe within a sane reality based over-arching perspective.

Something that offers peace in the face of our individual mortality and that eternal question of “Why?”.

Something that offers spiritual fulfillment through a visceral appreciation for how time and life on this Pale Blue Dot created us and this world we inhabit today and will return to upon finishing our short dance across life’s stage.  Why isn't that cosmic gift enough?

Something that can offer rationalists and atheists a sense of our own spiritual fulfillment - in contrast to the faith-shackled's nonstop trumpeting about praising EGO and being intolerant towards others.  

Something that offers us Children of the Intellectual Enlightenment the inner moral foundation and spiritual fortitude to step up and lovingly, constructively, challenge and confront those sad brainwashed souls eye to eye.  

All of us have them in our lives, why not discover ways to ask them how they live with the cognitive dissonance inherent within their “my way only” religions? 

Maybe slow down those self-certain ME FIRST Trumpkins from steamrolling rationalists into oblivion.  Listen to them, lordie knows it's what they’re dreaming of doing.  We had better stop ignoring that or a genuine horrendous civil war will unfold in parts of our country.  They haven’t been stocking piling those straw men and contrived angry passions and weapons and ammo for nothing! (4/3/19)  But I digress.

Before I get to the Earth Centrism, I think I need to look at some of the origins of my own individual perspective.  After all, give the same book to a dozen readers of diverse backgrounds, …  

Friday, March 29, 2019

Adam Schiff nails GOP for indifference to attack on America

I often share my disappointment with the limp Democratic Party and how easily they wither in the face of GOP's ruthless macho bullying.  Still, once in awhile I get impressed and realize there is some hope left.  Now if only these few courageous politicians can start getting more of We The People to better support them by actively getting behind these individuals and letting our representatives know we expect them to follow through on their efforts.  
Act as if our democracy depends on it, because it does!  A healthy democracy requires an informed and engaged electorate!
Yeah, yeah, an imperfect democracy is better than this ME FIRST theocracy the oligarch owned GOP is pushing our country towards.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff fired back at Republicans on his committee, including disgraced former chair Devin Nunes, calling for his resignation during a hearing about Russia interference in the 2016 election. Lawrence: "You're going to want to see every word of the controlled, targeted, and building anger of the honorable Adam Schiff.”
MSNBC | Published on Mar 28, 2019

2:42   Honorable Adam Schiff Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee:    

       “My colleagues may think it's okay that the Russians offered dirt on a Democratic candidate for president as part of what was described as the Russian government's effort to help the Trump campaign.  You might think that's okay.  (transcript continues)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Why do People Pray? Faith vs. Rationality - CFI Forum

I’m sad that actual dialogue across this incredible internet-work of global connections we have created is disappearing.  Seems that instead of more dynamic dialogue, the opposite has happened.  People becoming insular, too full of ourselves and fearful of others, too content with our comfort zones.
We’d rather take mortal offense at being challenged, or worse corrected, regarding the physical facts of a matter.  Instead of constructively dealing with uncomfortable issues, we’re disconnecting from society.
I keep trying to initiate some dialogue, but seems there’s nobody out there.  Still, basket weaving is better than nothing, especially if some of them are beautiful baskets.
I continue visiting the Center For Inquiry chat forum though it’s a sad shadow of it’s former dynamic interesting self, but hope springs eternal and we keep hoping for a rebirth.  Which is as close as a few interesting visitors looking for a good conversation. 
(click on image for better view)

I know there is no personal god concerned with my affairs or how well I worship him.  But the Universe is a big place and it actually pulses through me, us.  
You know the ‘stuff’ that makes our bodies was created inside stars during their life cycles and deaths.  All the various little molecular and biological tricks my body performs to keep itself going today, were tricks discovered over more than four billion years of dynamic evolution and then passed along.
And when we look at the facts of Evolution – no way around it, there is a consistent theme of steadily evolving more manipulatory and cognitive abilities, yes it is a pageant – (poetically you could dream a universe striving to create the mechanisms needed to be able to contemplate itself.) – Think about it, within our bodies we carry events from along the entire pageant of evolution.
So why not pray to the Universe?