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Category Archives: Tradition

The idea that the biosphere of Earth is a single organism, whose cells are each of the life forms, and whose bodily fluids are the winds and rain and rivers, is no revelation, though the notion that it is scientifically accurate challenges our idea of an individual organism. The ‘Gaia Hypothesis’ is an attractive theory, since there are many aspects of other life-forms which the earth-as-a-whole shares. Typically, we think of an individual organism as a single, self-contained entity, which the Earth certainly is. But even we are the combination of trillions of individual, if closely related, life forms; an ecosystem comprised of our cells. Each is one of several hundred classes of cells, all separate aspects of one DNA molecule, living in their own evolved-to-order micro-environment which is created by the other cells.

All life forms do certain things.
If some entity doesn’t do all of them, we don’t consider it alive.

  • Absorption of energy and matter, with subsequent organization of the material, is the first identifying feature of life. Crystals and engines, however, are just two not-living things that can do this.
  • Death is only possible for life forms. Growth slows down, DNA loses it’s integrity, the old and the weak are lost to predators and disease. Even as part of normal development, most life forms cast off certain cells. Our skin is an example of such normal death. But ‘stopping growth’ equals ‘death’ for crystals or other non-alive things that fit the first part.
  • Evolution is the process by which life forms change their characteristics over long periods of time, measured in generations. The Earth’s biosphere evolves, at least as much as any one life form which lives there. But lots of not-alive things exhibit what might be called evolutionary behavior, since the mechanism is merely the disappearance of unfit things, and the preponderance of fit things: Fit organisms survive. Fit computers are Y2K compliant.
  • Reproduction is the critical characteristic for any life form to posses, as the replication and distribution of a molecular design code (the DNA, for earthlings) is the crux of what life forms do. Also, our health depends upon the accurate replication of DNA molecules multiple trillions of times, in the cell divisions required for our growth and repair.

Virii do all of the above, but they are somewhat parasitic upon cells, using RNA to reprogram the host cells so they will produce virii instead of important bodily substances. Because virii use RNA instead of DNA, and hijack cells, instead of honorably trying to just eat them, we question whether virii are alive. But humans have been hijacking (domesticating) other life forms for millennia. If the external nature of the virus’ ‘food’ is reason to call them non-living, then we are not alive either. And limiting the defintion of ‘life form’ to DNA alone is merely arbitrary, as the discovery of life on other planets may prove.

By the preceding definitions, Gaia is not a life form. She has not reproduced — yet.

A bacterium takes twenty minutes to reproduce; A mouse, three weeks; A human being, months. Elephants gestate for two solid years. For all life forms, gestation time is proportional to the size, so we might expect Gaia to take a few billion years.

The resource stress our civilization is experiencing just may be the resource drain on the mother which triggers birth in mammals. We can reasonably expect space based resources to get harvested more as planetary resources get scarcer and hence, more expensive. It has already started happening.
The resources of space and our place in it are already a reality:

  • Space tourism began in 1989, when the first ride was purchased, on the space station Mir.
  • Communications technology has been completely made over by space-based hardware. It may soon become the primary system – in many ways it already is. Satellite television, telephone, and weather forecasting systems are just the beginning.
  • The Moon has water ice. It doesn’t sound like a big deal now, but will probably become the most valuable space resource in our life times, unless some crazy longevity drug is invented.
  • 1996 marked the first year that private space funding exceeded public spending on space exploration, world-wide. Each year, the gap widens.
  • What’s the major symbol of the environmental movement? An image of Earth from space.

If there are sufficient resources in space, people will one day move there en masse. We’d have to find efficient ways to lift ourselves off the face of the planet, and find resources in nearly empty, unfamiliar, lifeless regions. We’d experience solar radiation hundreds of times stronger in a fluid thousands of times thinner than home. We’d need new sensory systems, and energy supplies.

And we’ll end up doing the same thing the first amphibians (or last fish) did to meet the same challenges millions of years ago: take our environment with us. It’s no accident that the blood in your veins and water in your eyes are the same salinity as the oceans. Our bodies are ecologies, of sorts; each cell type has evolved to live in the niche created by the rest of our cells, but the basic nature of that ecology is identical to the one within which our cells evolved: the oceans.

The point of all this is that when humans move into space, we will bring our ecology with us, or invent new ecologies to create, both of which will be based on the one we know: Earth’s.

The use of a non-living shell to protect a cell colony from the environment is an old idea. Insects, fish, snakes, and many other life forms use this strategy. Even your teeth take advantage of it. A space capsule is just a cutting edge technology application.

If we accept the notion that Gaia is a life form, then such colonies will be her first offspring. They will intermingle, and spread, and then isolated systems will evolve away from each other (as they always have) and Gaia will have reproduced, making her fit all the definitions of a life form, using sex organs made of humans.

After all, if it’s us doing it or Gaia, what’s the difference? We are as much of this Earth as anything else grown here.

People might be parasites, cancer, or neurons for earth. But if we take Earth’s forms across the galaxy, Humans will be the Gaia’s sporangia, and when we start carrying all kinds of DNA between our different planets (in some mid-term future with colonies throughout the solar system or galaxy) then we and our robots will be the sex-organs!

The planet doesn’t need saving – it needs us to spread it.


…is a rhetorical device where people cram a pile of lies into a question in order to develop some plausible deniability about their intellectual dishonesty, or perhaps simply derail the conversation.

This is part and parcel of Glenn Beck’s entire career, and conspiracy theorists, AIDSPIGS and other paranoiacs are notorious for it.

“Have you stopped beating your wife?”

“Is Wendy using our lunch money to buy drugs?”

“Are you JAQing off like a dishonest coward because you’ve got such a good point to make?

Aristotle, the inventor of logic and science, considered “Petito Principii” to be the stupidest error.

This oversight, also known as “Asserting The Thesis,” “Begging The Question,” or sometimes “Circular Argument” is when someone merely repeats their conclusion or their claim, or restates it in a different way, but doesn’t actually support it by presenting facts that prove it, or making an argument that otherwise connects their idea to the rest of the world or the rest of our experience.

Occasionally, advanced near-students will resort to a never-ending chain of unsupported assertions, a slightly more complicated version of the same error.

If someone can’t even tell the difference between a conclusion about events and a fact or premise which might support that conclusion, then Aristotle considered them completely unfit to be even a student, let alone inform others.

Don’t be that poor guy stuck on Noob Island – support your claims!

(Or simply admit when you cannot, at least to yourself. You can’t stop sucking if you don’t own it when you do.)


Another way to put it: No, you aren’t entitled to your opinion!

25% is a funny number.

25% is the number of people who simply would not go along with the Asch Conformity experiment.

25% is close to the number of people who would not go along with the Milgram Authority experiment. We might speculate that the extra stress of the pain and suffering made more people than usual relent (35%).

25% is the proportion of expressed recessive traits in a two-allele gene.

The funny thing about recessive genes is that they cannot be simply bred out.

In a typical Punnet Square, the quarter of the population expressing the recessive trait can be prevented from breeding, and half the population still carries the recessive allele, so they can still interbreed and bring out the recessive traits.

Recessive traits cannot be bred out.

Perhaps more to the point: killing all the non-conformists hasn’t ever actually made the population conform. Perhaps it’s because non-conformity is recessive.


Mutts have been studiously and violently destroyed throughout history because they are destined to be the master race.

Those who worship race hate the mixed couples most of all. Once the Mutt-baby is born, they have to deal with it, honorably or not, but, if they can discourage the pairing before the fact…then the purebreds can more effectively prevent their own eventual waning

ship_sunsetAll races were originally formed by biological response to particular areas of our planet

Mutts were created first by adventurers, travelers, traders, and others that roamed the planet, when it was still hard to roam.Race has been one of the most important causes of war and violence, second possibly to only religion, and mutts, besides often being the offspring of war, are the worlds longest and most violently oppressed class.

It is because of these influences, in combination with Hybrid Vigor (AKA, heterosis) that has made the ‘race’ of Mutts the strongest and will one day make us the most prevalence race.

freqmapIt is through hybridization that all genes will ultimately be saved and expressed.

Two identical looking people who aren't.

Katy Perry and Zooey Daschnel. I can never remember which is which.

Dave and I once got talking about all those dopplegangers a while back.

Both of us keep seeing pairs of people who are sooooo similar. For years we’ve been seeing it. Repeatedly meeting people who look like an old teacher or customer or boss. And not just their facial structures, but often their voices, body language, personalities or even preferences in humor or mates are similar.


Two fellow Monties in 1987

People don’t just have types.

We ARE types.

The Greeks and Turks started a race war 1,000 years ago. Nobody can tell them apart anymore. Ten centuries of fucking and fighting have turned them into each other.


Joan and Roger from “Mad Men”

Perhaps skin color, race, really is all surface and changeable for dealing with sun and humidity, while features like pheremones, skeletons and minds are more stable. That might explain why sometimes those dopplegangers … are different races, or even different sexes!

Particular collections of those more stable traits might only produce so many combinations. Dave and I guessed 700.

He looks like Giovanni Ribisi or Macklemore. I’m a poor girl’s George Clooney.

People can only keep track of about I look like WHO?150 types of people in their Ka. If there are substantially more than 150, it would feel the same as 10,000 or a million or a billion types; way more than we can possibly deal with. 700 is about three times the maximum which is plenty enough to feel infinite.alex_katie

“Separated at birth celebrity lookalike” in Google will find dozens of examples that you may already be familiar with.

Then, just a few years ago, The Human Genome Project made a fascinating discovery; humanity went through a genetic bottleneck, about 70,000 years ago. Humans nearly died out, possibly because of the Toba Supervolcano.

Humans were reduced to about 700 breeding pairs, or 1400 Prototypes. Our theory is that colors come and go but muscle, bone and even some processing preferences are less plastic.

Our entire population has less genetic diversity than any 12 randomly selected oragatans.

We’re keepin’ the original name:

The 700 Prototype Theory








edificeThe Edifice And The Shack is a metaphor for the contrast between some proposed giant articulate system of philosophical or ethical principles, and the actual beliefs revealed in the actions and conclusions of the author.

The Edifice is the giant hulking philosophical legerdemain someone has proposed as the way everyone actually operates without exception or as the way everyone should operate from now on: The Answer to everyone’s philosophical conundrums and all questions of Good Social Policy.

The Shack describes the metaphor for the schlepped-together hedonistic or puritanical pragmatism which the author of The Edifice actually operates by, which we presume he erected behind The Edifice to avoid trashing the property values.

shackThis error is a brand of confusing our ideas with their objects, also known as the reification fallacy, and though Plato didn’t invent that mistake, he does get credit for making it seem respectable.

This error most often shows up lately as Sheeple Arguments (when someone starts by thinking EVERYONE ELSE is missing something) or what Thomas Sowell calls “The Mass Psychoanalysis Of Society” – when we imagine society is a creature, with ideas and desires and the ability to learn or teach, which we can understand and predict despite the way it’s actually comprised of millions of brains at least as complicated as our own.

There is a fix for people suffering this mistake…involving the placebo effect, just one of many faculties the Fatalist can’t really integrate.

hypochondriahospitalNewcomb’s Paradox explodes the theological nature of the Fatalist aka Naturalist aka Determinist, who we often see erecting such an edifice to protect their theological conclusions.

There is a wonderful puzzle that illustrates the difficulty.

Below is a common series of objections I’ve encountered when I present my “imagination invokes synergy” argument for free will.

Can you find a better one?

I think your questions are legitimate and deserve answers although I can only speak for myself. See below.

PS. Just so you know where I am coming from, I am an academic physicist.


Hi, Jim.

Thanks for taking the time. I’m also trained in physics (BS in Astrophysics), and since I now teach math and physics full time, I guess I qualify as an academic physicist, as well, so you and I are definitely on the same page.

> 1) Most general; how much mass does an attitude have?  An idea? A belief? An experience?
> IOW, how does the naturalist (which includes
> determinist) philosophy
> which seems to assumes that reality is made only of
> energy, cope with
> the demonstrated fact that much of reality has nosheeple
> mass, such as
> forces, angles, proportions, information, principles
> of operation,
> etc?

Answer: Angles, proportions, etc. have no mass because they are not physical objects – they are concepts.

That is 100% false – you’re pulling my leg about the nature of those realties, right?

Though we use concepts to think about such non-massive realities, they exist in their own right, separate from anyone actually thinking about them. Such mathematically-expressible relationships are 100% real, despite being massless, which is exactly why any cosmology which asserts that energy is all that exists is demonstrably false. Arrangement (which has no mass, since it does not exist as an object) is absolutely a feature of the physical universe, regardless of how we think about such arrangement.

They are not physical *objects*, but they are physically real, which is exactly my point; naturalism starts with oversight, since it fails to account for a number of non-massive yet completely demonstrable physical realities.

Do you think the angle between the sun and the moon in the Earth’s sky is a function of who’s looking or thinking about it?

You might be making the classic Platonist mistake of confusing your ideas for the things those ideas are for thinking about. Perhaps you  believe that you think *about* ideas, when in fact, ideas are what you think *with,* and you use them to think *about* your experiences. That ancient mistaken premise is the foundation of most of the errors found in philosophy which includes, among others, Locke, Hume, Kant, and Plato.

I assure you, portions of a rotation (angles) do physically exist regardless of whether or not you pay attention to them. Likewise proportional relationships, operational principles like gravity, frequencies of interaction, synergistic creative results, etc. Read More »

The Kludge That Won

It’s occurred repeatedly in our history. It’s occurred over and over during the evolution of life.

Evolution has dozens and dozens of examples of some structure evolving for one purpose, but then, once it’s there, being used for some other purpose. Quite often, the new ‘unintended’ purpose ends up being even more useful than the original. Because most biological structures have two or even three uses, such boot-strapping development is ubiquitous. And it doesn’t just occur on the level of our eyes and hands, it also occurs on a chemical level.

The development of new proteins is approximately the major function of biological evolution and again, as soon as one of those enzymes finds a new purpose, it will get used for biological advantage. And dual purposes can occur at the chemical as easily as the mechanical level.

But I want to describe some ideological kludges.

The major lesson is that nobody should ever be afraid to consider some crazy idea. Crumpling up a piece of paper to throw out the latest attempt is nearly free. And the more people with that attitude, the sooner we’ll see another one.

Black Swans” can arise from such Kludges quite easily.

Max Planck tried to fix his math problem with a kludge.kludge1

The problem was that everyone knew what kind of power spectrum is created by a hot body. It’s got a little bit of power in the high frequencies, most of the power in the mid range and a decent chunk on the low end. We KNOW what kinds of radiation is produced, and at what levels. The difficulty was predicting it.

Raylegh-Jeans could predict one end of that curve just fine, but the high frequency prediction was for an infinite amount of energy, which couldn’t be correct. Another formula could predict the other end. Between them, scientists could get by, but it was obviously a problem.

Planck decided it wasn’t Somebody Else’s Problem and set himself the task of getting both sides of that curve from a single formula. Read More »

Feminism is, in some regards, the triumph of the ‘cultural’ culture, AKA alpha-male culture.

Remarkably, it’s actually the nerds – the beta males – who are the ideological opposite of the feminists, because they represent Man’s intellectual and physical mastery over nature, plus they aren’t very cool or articulate ergo they get friend-zoned immediately.

Not coincidentally, denial of sexual favors is 1) something feminists relish and 2) what drove some aspects of evolution as betas moved on for lack of access to food and pussy, and thus had to learn to live in marginal habitats, instead. This favored a moral system based upon understanding the rules of nature and respect for the experiences3earth and thinking of the individual.

Then, once settled, those newly successful regions were encroached upon by the female-run beta male culture (because betas with money do get girls.) But one generation later, being ‘cool’ – knowing the rules of the culture, rather than nature – is what earns power, and usually that boils down to getting laid. Notice how seldom someone who gets laid regularly worries about being cool, and vice-versa.

Alpha-male culture is in fact female-dominated because it is they who ultimately choose the alpha(s), but the fact is, the alpha male culture can only *exist* with beta-male moral systems, because it was those systems which made Earth livable for humanity in the first place ( as opposed to some beaches and tropical islands where naked people can subsist on nuts, slugs and fruit without tools. ) Because there has never been a time in history when the alpha-male culture of the tribe / village / cities wasn’t surrounded by a ring of marginal-habitat beta-male humanity, it’s possible alpha can’t even exist without concurrent beta culture to support it.

To really see the stark clash in a confounding disguise, confront a feminist with the ultimate beta-male habitat-increasing principle-using resource-intensive nerd-pokes-girl endeavor; the colonization of space.

Feminists don’t know why, exactly, they hate it, but they surely do; bring it up in a positive light among a group of them and one of them will always get torqued off and immediately start floundering and raging.

It was very weird the first few times I saw the pattern. They usually come up with some nonsense about preserving the pristine state of a lifeless universe, as if crystals can be invaded or made extinct.

Also, did I drop a comma from the title?


When we go to unwrap an ice cream sandwich, we try to open it longways, to unwrap it in one pull, but then it always rips sideways, around the confection, despite all our attempts to guide the rip, so you have to try again, trying to pull the scruffy edge of that thin fragile paper away from the chocolate, only now you’re stuck digging around with your fingernail, damaging the surface and making you look like you’ve been poking around in your butt.

When you finally get hold of the paper … it rips the short way again, and you have to start all over again.

Meanwhile, when you go to tear off the toilet paper, it rips the long way and makes a giant useless stringy mess and you either have to just wad it up plus a whole bunch more or if you’re a folder, you have to just start over.

So some schmuck has us eating snacks wrapped in toilet paper and we’re using food packaging to wipe our asses.

The world is upside down.boatfall