Philosophy

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Is God Bipolar?

Bo Byron is the singer and songwriting force behind the funk and soul band Slum Lord Byron.  Joe Hubris is thrilled to publish this essay on his ideas about Christianity, faith and spirituality.

By Bo Byron

The Bible is a beautiful, poetic work of literature.  Much inspiration, wisdom and truth can be found within it.  However, if one's personal views are shaped by fear, from which all hostility, jealousy and prejudice arise, some passages can be interpreted to support those beliefs and agendas.  If a man shoots at a wall every day for a month and then, afterward, draws a target around the bullet holes, he looks like a better marksman than he actually is.

History

 There are two Americas.  

There is one America that is guided by principles, and one that's guided by voices.
 
One America believes everyone should vote.  One does not.
 
One America shapes their message for their audience.  One does not.
 
One America knows that immigration is our greatest strength.  One does not.

Interview: Testing Bombs, Splitting Worlds and Saving Israel with Professor Lev Vaidman

Lev Vaidman is not a household name, but perhaps it should be.  The Russian-born physicist at Tel Aviv University has demonstrated that teleportation (of photons, if not Star Fleet officers) is possible.  His work has led to evidence of parallel universes.  It has suggested that in the quantum world, time moves both backwards and forwards.  And now, He might just guarantee the survival of Israel--in at least one parallel world.


Do We Live in a Two-Dimensional Universe? An Interview with Physicist Craig Hogan

Is Space Digital? asks the cover story of this past February's Scientific American (by Michael Moyer).  The subject of that article, the Fermilab's Holometer experiment (officially called Experiment E990), is a remarkable project.  It is designed not to study some exotic particle or the properties of matter or energy, but to examine the fabric of space itself.

Information vs. Entropy

Entropy is that strange, difficult-to-understand/define property of the physical world which is somehow related to equilibrium and as anyone who ever sweated through a physics class knows, in a closed system, always increases. 
 
The change in the amount of entropy in a system is inversely related to the amount of information needed to describe that system. 
 
Consider the following classic example:  Ice melting.  Take a glass of ice water and put it into a box which is at room temperature.  Now you have a closed system with three different states of water and three different temperatures: water frozen solid in the ice, water in a liquid form (a little warmer than the ice) and water vapor suspended in the air in the box (at room temperature, a little warmer  than the liquid water).
 

Does All Evil Begin with a Lie?

 

Does All Evil Begin with a Lie? Joe Hubris Responds

Does all evil begin with a lie?
 
In true Philadelphia lawyer style,  yes, maybe.
 
The problem with an absolute statement is that any example can refute it.  That said, I think that none of the examples given does so.  Either they were not actual examples of evil, or they all contained lies.
 
My test to determine whether or not an act is evil is as follows:
 
Does the act cause unjustified harm to another?
Does the act require a lie to be completed?
 
If yes to both, then it is an evil act and anyone involved in the deception is an evil-doer.
 
In this test, I use the following definitions:
 

Evil, Mendacity and Kinetic Sculpture

 Does all evil begin with a lie?

That's the question that Joe Hubris will be posing to revellers May 21st, at this year's Trenton Avenue Arts Festival.  The festival is the premiere cultural event in East Kensington and is famous for its Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby.

Come to Joe Hubris' table and discuss the above question, buy an Information vs. Injustice tee shirt and enjoy some street philosophy.

Email for more info.

Information vs. Injustice in Egypt

 Repression just got a little harder.  Perhaps, it got a lot harder.
 
In the wake of the Tunisian unrest, the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak is on the verge of collapsing after thirty-years of almost unchallenged power.  Democratic activists in both countries used Twitter, cell phones and the Internet to organize “flash mob” protests.  They were soon joined by working class Egyptians.  The Mubarak took the extraordinary step of shutting down the Internet and cell phone networks for the entire country.
 
Too late.
 

Immortality: the Cold, Hard, Scientific Way

This article is accompanied by the complete interview with Dr. Alejandro Jenkins.

Quantum physics is probably the most bizarre part of our description of the universe that is collectively known as "the standard model."  The field is concerned with the physics of the incredibly small, like atoms and the subatomic particles of which they are composed. 

Interview with Alejandro Jenkins of Florida State

Dr. Alejandro Jenkins is a post-doctorate researcher studying high-energy physics at Florida State University.  His work was featured on the cover of the January 2010 Scientific American.  He participated in this interview as part of the accompanying article on quantum immortality.  He is currently working on the application of quantum field theory to the physics of elementary particles, atomic nuclei and cosmology.

Quantum mechanics includes some of the most difficult concepts for laypeople (this one included) to understand.  Why do you think that is? 

Dr. Peter Lewis Answers Questions About Quantum Immortality

Peter Lewis is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami.  He graciously provided the following answers as part of the accompanying article on quantum immortality.

In Young's experiment, why doesn't the box qualify as an observer? Isn't it observing the photons and recording their passage through the slits as well?

Cognita: The Known and the Unknown

A parable to illustrate the limits and progress of science and human knowledge.

There is a community of intelligent beings who live in a place they call Cognita.  It's made up of two islands: Prima and Segunda.  Collectively, they call themselves the Cognitians.  Their world is composed of a variety of natural environments, full of life in a multitude of forms.  All the life on the two islands (and the waters surrounding them) evolved from a single common ancestor.  The Cognitians themselves descended from a single ancestor (the Proto-Cognitian) who was herself born of an earlier species of beings (the Pre-Proto-Cognitians or Precognitians).  All Cognitians were born on either Prima or Segunda and none has ever ventured beyond them. 

Part Three: The Future

The theory of natural selection has application beyond speciation and biological morphology, it can describe cultural and social institutions as well.  Take for example, the Roy Rogers restaurant chain.  Their fixin's bar is one of the great achievements of American fast food.  At one time, there were some 650 locations primarily in the mid-Atlantic region of the east coast.  Today, there are 52.  Almost half are located in a kind of commercial archipelago--the expressway service area.  Just as marsupials in Australia (the island continent) were shielded from the rise of placental mammals by the oceans, so Roy Rogers have only been able to survive in an economic niche.

Part Two: The Present

Part Two: The Present

In our causally deterministic universe, all time can be divided into three categories: the unitary past, the unitary present and the unitary future.  The present is the most interesting of the three.  All moments spend some time as the past and future, but only one moment as the present.  J. M. E. McTaggart proposed this view of time as the A-Series theory of time (as opposed to the B-Series which breaks time into two categories: the past and present).

Part One: The Past

Part One: The Past

IF we live in a casually deterministic universe, then everything in the past that gave rise to the present really existed.  The past must be perfectly preserved as a record of what has come before the present.  Every event, all objects and all energy were actually there when the present swept past them.  In an infinitesimally small moment, the then-present became a part of history stored in a subsequent present in an ongoing process.  Our memories appear to mimic this process--imperfectly.  We live in the present, as does the universe.  We recall the past, as the universe does.  And we predict the future, which the universe also appears to do.

Musing about the Past, Present and Future

What is the Present?  The apparent motion of time in one direction, apart from an apparent asymmetry, leads us to the obvious question of how do we describe the past, present and future in a meaningful way.  Do these different "times" actually exist as separate things or are they an illusion created by our minds.  The best evidence is that the present does exist as an independent physical entity.  It must, otherwise there would be no way for our our minds to differentiate between it and other times. 

But if it does, what is it?  It is the forward edge of the time component of space-time.  It contains a perfect record of all past and present events and objects and it constructs the future based on that record.  In that sense, the future, while determinable by the present, does not actually exist until it becomes part of the present and then part of the past.

Darwin's 200th Birthday--Updated

UPDATE October 14, 2009: In honor of his 200th birthday, a "missing link" of flying dinosaurs, which filled in a gap, millions of years long, between the earliest, primitive pterosaurs and those that followed has been named after him.  The gap was known in Darwin's time and the features of Darwinopterus reveal much about how these creatures evolved.

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