News Briefs 03-06-2014

Better late than never! Here’s the Tuesday news briefs:

Quote of the Day:

Our generation is the first ever to have made the search for self-awareness a crime, if it is done with the use of plants or chemical compounds as the means of opening the psychic doors.

Alexander ‘Sasha’ Shulgin

  1. Psycho skeptic, qu’est-ce que c’est!
    Too much ‘inside baseball’ info to really understand what’s going on, yet why should it be surprising that a person with a ‘psychotic’ personality would rise to the top of an institution like JREF? In fact this is what happens with MOST institutions in which a lot of leverage by the higher-ups is enjoyed, and in which PR skills is a *paramount* requisite to climb the ladder of success.

    The general characteristics of these individuals is that a)they are very intelligent; b)very charismatic; and c)capable of manipulating individuals to further their personal agenda β€”often without remorse or empathy for anyone they might trample under their footsteps.

    I don’t know if that says something particularly insightful about the skeptic movement as a whole, other than –just like many of the people & institutions they tend to criticize– their leaders & spokespersons are just as fallible & human as the rest of us.

    But yeah, it would be nice if they recognized that a bit more often β€”and not just during ‘inside baseball’ drills πŸ˜‰

  2. shrews πŸ˜›
    Fruitless: And just sweeping it under the rug like that is f-ing stupid. I mean c’mon. We’ve already confirmed alien life, it’s small bacteria but it’s technically “alien” by human standards. And to think we are the ONLY intelligent life in the universe is stupid and selfish.

    Golf Course:

    Kappa Bones: These look more mammalian that reptile and they look to be from two different animals. The one on the right looks like a monkey but I can’t see it’s claws/nails. The one on the left is clear from an animal that needs to dig or scratch. It might be from a badger (yes, Japan has badgers) or dog. Also, by myth Kappa had webbing between his feet and there is no remnants of that on these.

    Flowers: The naked man orchid…always happy to see you! Warning, do not plant too close to the Hooker’s Lips or Dance Girls! LMAO xD

    1. Randi’s connection to the
      Randi’s connection to the military/industrial complex.

      JREF is just one big monolithic nuthouse of hugely disingenuous “researchers” who haven’t the slightest interest in doing real science. Randi has his own pathologies too, and really what would we expect? A pathological institution is very likely going to require pathological management. That is what is called “continuity.”

      I would like to know about Grothe’s connections and sponsors to see if they smack of the same conflicts of interest that characterize Randi’s.

  3. Free Will?
    Interesting comments by Brian Greene on free will in the Multiverse article. My particular position is that the idea that we don’t have free will is an “extrodinary claim” that goes against our basic perception of the world, so the evidence must be greater than logical speculation and Libet’s (“free won’t”) experiments.

    Also, as a pragmatist at heart, whether or not free will exists is a moot point. Society works better with the belief people have autonomy and arguing that people don’t have free seems a little… ironic. πŸ˜‰

    But I have been thinking, recently, that if we take the idea that we do not have free will, consciousness seems even more improbable. If we are just computers reacting to the laws of physics, why would anything like consciousness need to emerge? Would it be evolutionarily better than a non-conscious brain? Just some thoughts, hope it make sense.

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