Monthly Archives: May 2013

Collaboration as the ultimate expression of intelligence

Collaboration is the ability to work jointly to achieve a common goal, and I consider it to be one of evolution’s penultimate achievements, if not the penultimate achievement. For example, place five chimpanzees in a room with five identical puzzles, and you will always have five chimps trying to solve five puzzles. Put five humans in a room, and you potentially have five people trying to solve one puzzle. Hence why we are arguably the most adaptable species on this planet. And I would argue that all of the major evolutionary advancements of our species with regards to intellectual capacity in the last two million years have been to support this: from our ability to create and process language, to the relatively recent capacity to connect on an emotive level.
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Filed under General Grunting, Philosophy

The science of skepticism

Fellow blogger Rachel over at quakerattled has an interesting post on the topic of skepticism, specifically with regards to the denial of climate change. I would like to take this as an opportunity to add my two cents to the topic.
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Filed under Climate Change, Philosophy, Science

The free market is not a policy device

This has to rank as one of the stupidest remarks I’ve ever heard:

Mike Gilles, a former president of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, said that he built safe rooms in all his custom homes, and that even many builders who build speculatively now make them standard. But asked whether the government should require safe rooms in homes, he said, “Most homebuilders would be against that because we think the market ought to drive what people are putting in the houses, not the government.”

But, as is pointed out here, does that include electrical and plumbing codes, circuit breakers, grounded outlets, and all the other safety codes the government mandates? I wonder what “the market” would say about these things if left to its own devices? I think we all know the answer to that.
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Robbing Peter to pay Paul

So, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is willing to accept relief for the destruction inflicted on Oklahoma City, but only if someone else suffers. This may be political theater today, but given the ever increasing ferocity of storms and other destructive, climate-related events, expect more of this kind of thinking in the future.
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Filed under Climate Change

Things are like This, because they used to be like That…

And they will be like That again, as soon as our annoyance with This becomes greater than our memory of That.

From This to That and back again. Such is the never ending cycle of the human experience.

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Filed under Parables, Philosophy

What God says

When I think about the looming crises of peak oil, peak water, peak food, peak people , I am reminded of the following Indian parable that I came across, told by the comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell, in his book Myths To Live By:
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Filed under Climate Change, Parables, Religion

Right and wrong

If one cannot know The Truth, then how can one know right or wrong? Such is the age-old battle between moral absolutism and moral relativism.
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Filed under Philosophy, Religion