Priscilla's Blog

My Thoughts Spelt Out

Archive for the category “Science”

Immortality Discovered?

Watch this video and find out for yourself: http://youtu.be/AErUwYDXUmw

Advertisements

Science Can Make Babies Now

Came across some new inventions that can artificially create sperms, eggs, even womb!

On one side I have a question as to why there exists a need for the scientific community to make an artificial sperm, for that matter an artificial egg and womb! Don’t we have enough people to populate the earth? What is the purpose of this invention – to prove that they are equal to a creator? St. Augustine wrote that one of the most compelling temptations we all have is “to be like God” – the arrogance that actually caused the first fall itself, in the Garden of Eden! Why is the scientific community constantly focused on these sort of stuff when there exist so many other needs & unsolved issues; why not spend the time and energy on inventing cures and what not than on things that are not in-line with “creating a life” sort of a thing! I am not saying inventions such as IVF in order to help couples who have certain disabilities conceiving babies is wrong (in fact, I think it’s an amazing discovery that has blessed couples with twins, quadruplets and octuplets; more children at one go than the couples can fathom! :)) but what I’m not comfortable with is, things like creating artificial sperms, eggs and wombs because they have some societal repercussions in the long run…like, we will never be needing a father, for instance maybe…and before you feminists get all cocky, mothers will not be needed either! Children will be born in incubated labs like chickens! A recent Si-Fi serial called ‘Caprica’ actually depicts the creation of a software program that substitutes the role of the conscience (or soul, or whatever we call the thing that drives us) in a robot! A virtual reality future!

On the other hand, I do agree that science must be viewed in a scientific angle. My premises for this argument, taking certain “arguably good” things that the scientific community comes out with and trash the rest, especially based on my belief system or my emotions, is completely wrong in the first place! Scientific inventions must be looked at a scientific point of view for appreciation and enjoyment. They are weird sometimes, but are not trivial; making an artificial sperm, for instance, is not a slam dunk task as making an omelet – it takes years of understanding very complex elements that goes into it… In fact, the scientific process itself is thrilling in many cases, even if the experiment fails in the end! Once my Pastor (Pastor Lau) even alluded to the fact that scientists are the first to recognize God’s hand in everything, they understand and admire things that are far beyond an average person’s ability to comprehend – like how just 4 sugar-compounds Adenine, Thymine, Guanine and Cytosine could build life (DNA) from scratch! I’m sure facts like these may not amaze a common street folk to an extent it amazes a scientist 🙂 but still…

OK, so how should we view the new inventions (yes, I am talking about the sperms, eggs and womb! L.O.L), should it be taken as a sort of runaway freight train? Or should it be feared as a necessary evil, just as once the religious folks thought Steam Engine was a devil and stoned it! 🙂

I leave it to you to decide.

 

The 3Ps – Parasite, Pathogen & Predator

My friend’s blog:

Religion boon or bane

Confused and Dazed these are the words that best describe the way i feel when i think about religion. On the one hand i see the reason why religion was created, It is to create a sense of fear and moral responsibility to do the right thing in life. A way for people to have hope that when things go wrong sometimes horribly, there is a supreme being watching over us who will take care of us. But on the other hand i see people hating each other purely based on religion and nothing else, passing judgments on someone even before they get to know that individual. For which most of us are guilty of. Also stereotyping a group of people based on their faith. It is ironic that a concept born to bring peace and stability to people, has become the driving force for merciless murders and bloodshed. It is a sad fact that more people have been killed in the name of religion than anything else. Every major war that has ever been waged was in the name of religion and it still is to this day, and unfortunately will be so in the future as well.

The problem i have with religion is that there are way too many of them and everyone have their own versions as to how life is created. Whoz to say who is right? Which version is the right version? Accodring to Christianity earth was created some 6000-7000 years ago(or somewhere around that range if that is so then what about Dinasaurs? are all the fossil records a lie) according to Hinduism the age of earth is much older than that. Which version is the right one? Islam and Judaisim has their own versions as well so does other religions. The problem with religious people is that they are sold out on the idea that their religion is the
right one that they refuse to accept or respect anyone else point of view.

I do not wish to hurt anyone’s sentiments but for me the concept of God is a bit hazy. I wont say i do not believe in god nor do i believe in that supernatural theory. All i can say is I DO N’T KNOW. I’m not sure if there is or there isnt a supreme power. I mean am left without explanation as to how life is created, i mean not how we are concieved but how do we get the conscience? how do we awaken from a stateless souless being to a human being?  Who devised nature as it is? For example everything in nature is visible except for air, have you ever wondered whoz brilliant idea it is to make air invisible, coz if it was visible then we could never see anything. Is it all a work of an intelligent being mysteriously living in the clouds and watching over all things? or is it evolution that made every living things have eyes knowing that air is invisible.

If god is there and everything is going according to his plans then why are people killing each other in his name and why is he sitting in his misty world and not doing a thing about it. If everything is going according to his plan in this world then am not impressed with his work. This doesnt look like the work of a supreme being, it looks more like a work of an office intern with a bad attitude. If everything is a miracle performed by him then why are only certain diseases being cured and some not? Why is it that a person’s leg getting amputated never recieves any miracles from god, why doesnt it grow back. Dont tell me plastic legs are the miracle coz if thatz the best god can do then we are in deep trouble. Why couldn’t he cure polio 50 years back? If i ask these questions the so called religious rights give me some vague explanations with utmost conviction.

I spoke to a religious head whose name and religion i wish not to metion told me that the recent Tsunami was the act of god to punish us for our sins. I have few questions about that. If what he said is true does that mean only people in Indonesia Sri Lanka India and other countries hit by the Tsunami are sinners and others are not? If those who died are sinners then are those who survived saints?

Some moderates will say there is no intelligent person called god but there is a supernatural force that guides this universe. I call it nature. The only people who did the so called miracles for me are my parents. I’m more than happy to worship them than some unknown entity that refuses to show its face. I do not mean to hurt anyones religious sentiments i do understand that the concept of religion is so essential for human survival as a race coz it gives hope to billions. But can we just keep our religions to ourselves and not meddle with others for gods sake?

Confused and Dazed these are the words that best describe the way i feel when i think about religion. On the one hand i see the reason why religion was created, It is to create a sense of fear and moral responsibility to do the right thing in life. A way for people to have hope that when things go wrong sometimes horribly, there is a supreme being watching over us who will take care of us. But on the other hand i see people hating each other purely based on religion and nothing else, passing judgments on someone even before they get to know that individual. For which most of us are guilty of. Also stereotyping a group of people based on their faith. It is ironic that a concept born to bring peace and stability to people, has become the driving force for merciless murders and bloodshed. It is a sad fact that more people have been killed in the name of religion than anything else. Every major war that has ever been waged was in the name of religion and it still is to this day, and unfortunately will be so in the future as well.

The problem i have with religion is that there are way too many of them and everyone have their own versions as to how life is created. Whoz to say who is right? Which version is the right version? Accodring to Christianity earth was created some 6000-7000 years ago(or somewhere around that range if that is so then what about Dinasaurs? are all the fossil records a lie) according to Hinduism the age of earth is much older than that. Which version is the right one? Islam and Judaisim has their own versions as well so does other religions. The problem with religious people is that they are sold out on the idea that their religion is the right one that they refuse to accept or respect anyone else point of view.

I do not wish to hurt anyone’s sentiments but for me the concept of God is a bit hazy. I wont say i do not believe in god nor do i believe in that supernatural theory. All i can say is I DO N’T KNOW. I’m not sure if there is or there isnt a supreme power. I mean am left without explanation as to how life is created, i mean not how we are concieved but how do we get the conscience? how do we awaken from a stateless souless being to a human being?  Who devised nature as it is? For example everything in nature is visible except for air, have you ever wondered whoz brilliant idea it is to make air invisible, coz if it was visible then we could never see anything. Is it all a work of an intelligent being mysteriously living in the clouds and watching over all things? or is it evolution that made every living things have eyes knowing that air is invisible.

If god is there and everything is going according to his plans then why are people killing each other in his name and why is he sitting in his misty world and not doing a thing about it. If everything is going according to his plan in this world then am not impressed with his work. This doesnt look like the work of a supreme being, it looks more like a work of an office intern with a bad attitude. If everything is a miracle performed by him then why are only certain diseases being cured and some not? Why is it that a person’s leg getting amputated never recieves any miracles from god, why doesnt it grow back. Dont tell me plastic legs are the miracle coz if thatz the best god can do then we are in deep trouble. Why couldn’t he cure polio 50 years back? If i ask these questions the so called religious rights give me some vague explanations with utmost conviction.

I spoke to a religious head whose name and religion i wish not to metion told me that the recent Tsunami was the act of god to punish us for our sins. I have few questions about that. If what he said is true does that mean only people in Indonesia Sri Lanka India and other countries hit by the Tsunami are sinners and others are not? If those who died are sinners then are those who survived saints?

Some moderates will say there is no intelligent person called god but there is a supernatural force that guides this universe. I call it nature. The only people who did the so called miracles for me are my parents. I’m more than happy to worship them than some unknown entity that refuses to show its face. I do not mean to hurt anyones religious sentiments i do understand that the concept of religion is so essential for human survival as a race coz it gives hope to billions. But can we just keep our religions to ourselves and not meddle with others for gods sake?

================================================================================

My response to his blog:

One of the major difficulties in answering questions about “abstract” things such as religion, God etc., is not knowing where to start! 🙂 Nevertheless, keeping aside that you are all over the place in this blog, 🙂 I will answer one key question that you raise…I will try to answer, to be precise as Aristotle believes; laying a clear premise first is the first step for any meaningful syllogism to progress, well, if “meaning” is what we are ultimately striving for 🙂

Have you heard about the 3Ps? The Parasite (Parasitoid actually), the Pathogen, and the Predator? Scientists have proven that these are the three things that keep a check on species population at any given point of time. For instance, given the rate at which caterpillars are hatched, but for these 3Ps, we might have too many caterpillars in the tropics, so much so that probably human population have to limit its habitation to the arctic! LOL… True. Do you know that about 90% of these caterpillars are killed, neutered or paralyzed by the 3Ps before they cross that larva stage? And speaking of killing, see this image: http://lh4.ggpht.com/_gOllybY3w_o/Sc7aV1F-v6I/AAAAAAAAAB4/vOlelgdiVvU/s144/3ps.JPG …where a colony of wasp larvae (parasitoids) hatches, feeds and lives inside the caterpillar for a while and one fine morning decides that they need some fresh air, tear open the host’s body and sings “freedom is all we want”! LOL…Yes, it may look so gruesome and inhuman, but it is natural and part of their life-cycle for certain types of wasps! So what shall we say about the Creator (if at all one exist) who meticulously sequenced this, that he has a very bad taste 🙂 or consequently you become a lefty and take a protest march in the streets of Mumbai, with the banner “Wasps got laid, Caterpillars got slayed”. 🙂

The point I am getting at is that we are just a part of the puzzle; hence we neither understand the grand scheme of things of which we are just a piece, nor understand the mind of the One who composes the puzzle! What we comprehend, on the contrary, probably is a small penumbra of things around us, if at all we attempt to understand seriously. Just imagine if each such random puzzle piece thinks its own penumbra is THE sum of all things happening, how pathetic that conclusion would be! 🙂

For that caterpillar in that picture, The Creator of wasp raises all sort of questions… about His care, His intention, even questions His wisdom with the doubt whether He is an “office intern with a bad attitude”! 🙂  At the same time, for the humans, caterpillar vs. wasp is a matter of deciding homo-sapien’s fate …i.e., of us slowly getting extinct at the poles vs. multiplying at the tropics, etc! 🙂

My Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2006 March 24

When Roses Aren’t Red
Credit & Copyright: Jay Ballauer (All About Astro, 3RF)

Explanation: Not all roses are red of course, but they can still be very pretty. Likewise, the beautiful Rosette Nebula and other star forming regions are often shown in astronomical images with a predominately red hue – in part because the dominant emission in the nebula is from hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen’s strongest optical emission line, known as H-alpha, is in the red region of the spectrum, but the beauty of an emission nebula need not be appreciated in red light alone. Other atoms in the nebula are also excited by energetic starlight and produce narrow emission lines as well. In this gorgeous view of the Rosette’s central regions, narrow band images are combined to show emission from sulfur atoms in red, hydrogen in blue, and oxygen in green. In fact, the scheme of mapping these narrow atomic emission lines into broader colors is adopted in many Hubble images of stellar nurseries. This image spans about 50 light-years in the constellation Monoceros, at the 3,000 light-year estimated distance of the Rosette Nebula.

Brain Chip Research

Brain chip research aims for future movement

(CNN) — Matthew Nagel awoke from a two-week coma in the summer of 2001 to learn he was paralyzed from the neck down.

“My mother was right by my side and explained that I got stabbed,” he recalled.

He faced a future of never being able to walk again and having to breathe with a ventilator.

But things changed temporarily for then 25-year-old Nagel when he became the first person to have a device implanted in his brain designed to connect his thoughts and convert them to actions.

How it would work

The BrainGate Neural Interface is being developed by Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems Inc. in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

The device is a 4 by 4 millimeter arrangement of 100 electrodes. It is surgically implanted in the motor cortex, the part of the brain responsible for creating movement in the limbs.

The implanted chip connects to a small platform protruding from the patient’s skull that is linked to an external processor.

If the system works as hoped, the chip detects and sends signals from the motor cortex to the processor, which interprets them and feeds them into a computer.

After doctors implanted the device in Nagel’s brain, they saw some encouraging signs.

“Within the first three days I was able to control the cursor pretty much,” Nagel said. “When I think back on it, it’s kind of a trip to think that my brain signals was controlling a mouse, changing channels on my TV, adjusting the volume, opening e-mails.”

A symphony of cells

In February, Cyberkinetics announced that it had four more participants in two of its pilot clinical studies — one for quadriplegic patients with spinal cord injuries, stroke or muscular dystrophy, and the other for people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gherig’s disease. ALS is a fatal degenerative disease characterized by continual loss of muscle control.

Dr. Leigh Hochberg, a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital is helping to develop the device and is involved with one of the trials. He, too, was encouraged by Nagel’s accomplishments.

“Of course, it’s important to replicate to see that other people with paralysis can achieve the same goals or, perhaps, others,” he said.

Hochberg said that if it’s possible to listen to those signals in the brain, perhaps they could be interpreted and used to control a computer cursor.

“Listening to one cell at a time is much like listening to the solo violinist,” Hochberg said. “But listening to dozens at a time is beginning to hear the whole symphony.”

Hochberg said the initial goal of the research is to test the safety and feasibility of the device.

“If that’s successful, then the long term goal of brain computer interface research is to see if one day we can reconnect brain to limb,” he said.

Thoughts for the future

Results down the road from the clinical trials and continued research could be promising for people like Nagel and Rosemarie Sherry. She was diagnosed with ALS in December 2003.

“I was one of the people who whenever anybody did something nice for me, I would send them a ‘thank you’ card … And [now] I can’t,” she said.

One of Sherry’s concerns is that eventually she’ll lose the ability to do the things she loves, like updating her blog.

“I like to blog because I’m able to write my feelings down, and I like for people to see that life can be still lived with a disease such as mine,” Sherry said. But it isn’t always easy.

“Most times I have to use my left hand to move my right hand on the mouse,” she said.

She’s rapidly losing the ability to move and speak. But, like most people with ALS, there is nothing wrong with her mind.

And while Sherry isn’t a part of the current clinical studies, Hochberg hopes that 10 years from now continued research will help to improve devices like BrainGate and enable people like her to move again.

“I’m very hopeful that these technologies will be able to help people with paralysis in the future; to make communication occur more easily, to allow people to control their environment more directly and, I hope, to one day to be able to move again,” Hochberg said.

 
 
 
 

Article: Intelligent Design Is Creationism Relabeled!

BLOG | Posted 12/21/2005 @ 1:52pm
Why Intelligent Design Is ‘Creationism Relabeled’
 
  

In the history of the ongoing battle between science and faith, Dover, Pennsylvania, has written the latest chapter. Last month, the residents, who usually vote Republican, ousted eight school board members who had backed intelligent design. This week, a federal judge in Harrisburg ruled that it was unconstitutional for the Dover school district to present intelligent design as an alternative to evolution.
 
 
In a sweeping decision, Judge Jones, a Republican appointed by President Bush, declared that intelligent design was not science but “creationism relabeled,” because it seeks to change the very definition of science to include supernatural explanations. This is obviously a victory for science. What is less obvious is that it is also a victory for faith.
 
 
The most pernicious aspect of the ID movement is its commingling of science and faith, its attempt to use science and mathematics to prove the existence of an intelligent designer. Not only does this undermine science, it undermines faith, which by its very definition is “a belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.” If ID scientists were to prove, for example, that the double helix is the stairway to heaven, then the existence of God would cease to be an article of faith and become instead a scientific fact.
 
 
By drawing a bright line between science and faith, Judge Jones has done as much to protect faith from science as he has done to protect science from faith.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
 
To read comments posted for this blog, go to: http://www.thenation.com/blogs/edcut?pid=44239
 
To read the Judge’s comments on the decision, go to: http://blog.sciam.com/index.php?title=threw_the_book_at_em&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

The Power of Human Mind

 Try Reading This Fast…..I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn`t mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt!

Bionics

Part of a human brain cell communicating to a micro-chip…WOW!!
 
 
Quote:
 

I’d rather be a cyborg than a goddess
Donna J. Haraway

Bionics seeks to transcend our biological nature by replacing biological parts with artificial parts (“deflesh“), or by translating the human mind into information in a computer (Uploading ). These processes are naturally highly speculative so far, since we are still far from this technological level. However, in the field of connecting artificial limbs and other systems to nerves, some promising advances have already happened or seem probable in the near future.

======================================================================

Definitions

BIONICS: (a) The science of connecting biological systems to artifical organs, or other systems. (b) An attempt to develop better machines through understanding of biological design principles or imitation of biology. The first use is most common among transhumanists and science fiction fans, the other is most common among cyberneticists. [Origin uncertain, although it seems to have been popularized by The Six Million Dollar Man]

DEFLESH: To replace flesh with non-flesh. [FM-2030]

UPLOAD: (a) To transfer the consciousness and mental structure of a person from a biological matrix to an electronic or informational matrix (this assumes that the strong AI postulate holds). The term “Downloading” is also sometimes used, mainly to denote transferring the mind to a slower or less spacious matrix. (b) The resulting infomorph person. For more information, see the Mind Uploading Home Page or my upload page. [The origin of the term is uncertain, but obviously based on the computer technology term ‘uploading’ (loading data into a mainframe computer).]

Post Navigation