Entangled Life: Best Instagram Posts–First Half of 2017

Entangled Life is on Instagram since beginning of this year. Here are the best post so far. If you are on Instagram be sure to follow, because when inspiration strikes, it is highly likely that something will be published there first, simply because I might feel that it’s too small a thought to warrant a full blog post. You’ll notice that some have very few likes. This is because at the beginning you don’t have so many followers, but they are still included because I feel they are essentially good. The posts are in chronological order, which means they will be posted in the order they were posted on Instagram, so you’ll be able to see that the account does get more popular.

Below each each post is a small comment about it. Also, while I’m here I want to tank some of the people who are following since the beginning.

So, here we go:

What can an #atheist do to improve the World? Generally, this is our goal. #atheism #agnostic #agnosticism #humanist

A post shared by Entangled Life (@entangledlife) on

Comment: Ah, the horrors of trying to generalize. But I feel that even generalization is better that the “NOT ALL __” proclamation which really only stops the conversation. Choosing this quote was an attempt of trying to explain why do atheists post things they post.

Bertrand Russell is surely one of the people who I admire, so there’ll be some quotes from this extraordinary man. Here is his thought about how it really doesn’t make sense for god to be offended when somebody simply uses the “tools” he gave them.

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Why Invest In Science?

Whenever you see a post about something amazing science has done, or some big investment in science, there’s always somebody with a comment “that will end all wars”, or “yeah, looking at other galaxies is really useful”. Yes, many times these are nothing more than trolls, people desperate for some attention. But many times, people really, really think these things and will flame until the end of time because of it. Also, sometimes people will like in agreement while thinking only short-term and not realizing what investment in science actually means. In this day and age where we get bombarded with a hue amount of misinformation, it’s all too easy to quickly agree and continue scrolling.

This is an attempt to quickly answer the question “- Why should we invest in science?

No Science? No Music on the Go for You!

Take the very fact you are on Facebook or the very fact that you are looking at your phone right now. Well, it is because of Quantum Theory! Without quantum mechanics there would be no computers because the most important building block of a computer would not exist – the transistor. In short, the semiconductors development is based on a foundation of quantum mechanics. To quote Wikipedia:

The modern understanding of the properties of a semiconductor relies on quantum physics to explain the movement of charge carriers …

… Developments in quantum physics in turn allowed the development of the transistor in 1947 and the integrated circuit in 1958.

Wikipedia: Semiconductor

The process did not go: “we need some sort of machine which will do calculation for us” and then Quantum Mechanics was discovered – exactly the opposite thing happened. Scientists more-or-less went where their curiosity took them. They were concerned with nature of light, photoelectric effect, radiation, etc. These kind of scientific experiments led to scientists formulating the Quantum Theory. After that, the insights into the World given to humanity by Quantum Theory gave scientists knowledge and ideas to design components of modern electronic devices, laser, transistor, etc. And it all started with exploration of something humanity did not know at the time.

Same purpose applies today. The investment in exploration of something we don't know today will solve all kinds of real problems tomorrow. Not only that, but such endeavors inspire generations of people to go into field of Science and to continue exploring and inventing. This effect then goes into positive feedback–loop – even more scientists are influenced by those who came before them. And all of this can only mean good news for a country or countries that invest in science, since they get to lead the world in the technological advancement.

The previous argument was mostly focused on the utility of science – but there is another very powerful argument. We should invest in science because it answers questions about the world. Science illuminates the cave, looks into unknown and drags the truth out in the open, for all to see. This means – science even gives us the tools and power to decide things that are a matter of ethics – science informs us, so that we have the facts before making an important ethical decision. Science helps ordinary people understand the big themes – space, time, the World and our place in it.

Science makes the World a better place. That is it.

Debunking Conspiracy Theories – Chemtrails – Pt. 1

There are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to crazy conspiracy theories. First school of thought basically says that they should not be even discussed because it gives crazy, deluded or simply hopelessly ignorant people a platform to stand on, brings them into the mainstream and validates them. In other words, this school of thought feels that the very act of talking about these theories, somehow hints that we should take them seriously.

Other school of thought basically believes that humanity needs to really actively work to get rid of the World o these unrealistic, crazy and simply put, bad ideas. It believes that if people talk about these problems long enough and simply present evidence to the contrary, conspiracy theorists will start abandoning these silly beliefs because they will now have a better explanation. Regarding the first school of thought they feel that it’s a justified risk.

Without wasting time on too much introduction, the existence of this post basically means that, after much thinking, we’re gonna give second school of thought an advantage. It simply seems that the world is in such a bad shape that some things really need to be not only disproven, but that we should strive for this to reach as many people as possible, because if science and reason don’t, ultimately there is a risk that the conspiracy theorists will. Of course, people are capable of thinking for themselves, but if they are constantly exposed to one thing, and the rebuttal is nowhere to be found …

So, we’ll start with one that’s particularly annoying: Chemtrails. This is a big topic and we can cover a lot of ground, so, we’ll for the sake of being clear enough and not bore people split it into few posts. Sorry for the long introduction, BTW, it’s just that if you’re a member of the first school of thought – that we shouldn’t give them a platform, you might want to consider switching to the second school of thought.

Chemtrails? What?

A high-flying jet's engines leaving a condensation trail (contrail)

Image by Adrian Pingstone No machine-readable author provided. No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., Public Domain, Link

This is an image of the condensation trail left behind by a jet’s engines. The claim that these trails that airplanes leave in the sky (if they are long lasting) are actually chemicals which are being sprayed for well, unknown purposes. The craziness often includes such claims as fighting global warming, attempts to reduce the size of the population, the idea that the US military wants to use the weather in future wars, psychological manipulation … etc.

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Why should we Trust Science?

f you think about it, it’s actually pretty sad that somebody is even motivated enough to open a Word processor and start writing about why should we trust science. Make no mistake, it’s important to think for yourself and not blindly follow what any authority says, but in this day and age, we all can agree that the problem of our World is NOT too much rational thinking and looking at evidence, but rather the opposite. It is not that people are looking for evidence and then look at evidence themselves, it’s that people are looking for opinions that confirm their already existing suspicions or preconceived notions. That is called Confirmation Bias.

Ok, after this gross-generalization, let’s get real. Many times story is less sinister. Today it’s easier than ever to be exposed to the so-called fake news. We all have a huge number of friends on social media platforms. There is a large spectrum of beliefs about the world and only some of them are true. So, it’s very likely that everyone has at least one free-spirit, alternative energy, magic beans, astrology type who likes to share various dubious claims with links to dubious sources which someone may tend to believe. The problem with this should be clear: not every idea is a good idea, or to put it more bluntly: not everything you read on the Internet is true.

Microscope

Image: felixioncool / Pixabay, Public Domain

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Science and Religion do clash

TL;DR – That science and religion do not clash as they are not concerned with the same things is basically a mantra invented by religious people to have their religion not questioned.

If religion makes claims about the Real World, they can be disproven.

The entire point of this post can be summarized by the image above.

It can also be perfectly explained by paraphrasing Sam Harris: There is NOT a single thing for which once we had a scientific answer, but for which we now have a much better religious answer, while through history we have countless examples where things were once explained by religion, but are now better explained by science.

It basically goes in this one way, every single time. It is almost every time science really advances knowledge about our universe, religion somehow falls back, loses credibility. To prove this point just think about that once religion claimed that the Earth was stationary, until science proved this wrong. Same with Earth being the center of the universe, and the sun going around it. This can also be seen in the science disproving nonsense that is Noah’s ark, for example. Then the creationism of man, which was disproved by evolution / geology / astronomy. Nowadays creationism is mostly replaced by so-called “intelligent design” where people are simply saying “ok, some kind of evolution did happen, but it was god who guided it” .. or “god started it”, or something similar.

Of course, even these things are being disproved by science right as we speak. For example, through the human body there is evidence of “bad design”, meaning no intelligent designer would do things in this manner, but on the other hand, they are perfectly explained by evolution.

Buddha

CC0 Public Domain – Mikegi / Pixabay

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Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence … Or is it?

You might have heard this clever wordplay about how the fact that there is no evidence for something does not mean that this does not exist. People proclaiming “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” want to say that just because humans have not found evidence for something, it is not excluded that this does not exist.

Well, yes, it is not excluded, but evidence can be used to infer the presence or not presence of something. “For instance, if a doctor does not find any malignant cells in a patient, finding nothing is evidence of absence of cancer, even though the doctor has not actually detected anything per se.” – Wikipedia

As this shows us, the evidence is one thing and PROOF is another thing. We are not talking about proof here. Do NOT confuse evidence and proof. The proof is a difficult thing and it’s almost always close to impossible. Proof only really exists in mathematics. Evidence, however, does give reason to SUSPECT absence, to consider absence very, very, very likely. So, what’s all this with evidence of absence?

There is always a small, minuscule possibility that the evidence has not been observed yet, but this doesn’t mean that this possibility can and should be used to hang on to outrageously unlikely beliefs. Just the opposite.

Evidence

Image by stevepb / Pixabay. Public Domain.

When analysing an idea to decide what evidence is necessary to support it, we should always take into account what evidence should be there and how much of it should be there. If there should be a LOT of evidence for something and we know exactly what the evidence should be, then a lack of this evidence does indeed allow us to dismiss this idea.

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Human endeavors that inspire: The Hubble Space Telescope

Humanity has invented conflict, war and Religion. But not all achievements of society are bad. Quite the contrary, some of them are so magnificent they can actually restore your faith in Humanity and make you feel special to be a member of the Human family.

The Hubble Space Telescope is one of those achievements.

Hubble In Free Orbit

Image by NASA, Public Domain

 

The problem with observing the universe using telescopes and observatories stationed on Earth is a bit difficult because Earth’s atmosphere gets in the way. When looking at objects through Earth’s atmosphere, so-called twinkling occurs. What apparently happens is: the light which comes from distant sources passes through different densities of the atmosphere and the path of light is diverted and you don’t get precise readings.

In addition to that, atmosphere blocks ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma-rays, so if humanity wants to observe them it cannot do so through the atmosphere.

The Hubble Space Telescope as seen from the departing Space Shuttle Atlantis.

The Hubble Space Telescope as seen from the departing Space Shuttle Atlantis.

 

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