Archives for category: biology

Karl Popper had described science as a (virtual) place where things happen like this:

Some guy has an inkling. Studies it and gathers a lot of information on the subject.
Based on that information, develops a hypothesis. Then attempts to prove it.
After being satisfied with how much proof they had found, the hypothesis is declared a theory. And published as such. Along with all pertinent evidence. For all those interested to see.

So that all those interested to be able to replicate the experience.
To be able to retrace the proving process. To certify its validity.

And for all those interested to be able to find any proof to the contrary!
So that, as soon as that proof had been found – and declared acceptable, the theory to be considered false. Or, at least, incomplete.

The first example which comes to my mind being that the simple existence of Einstein’s Relativity had proven that Newton’s Physics was incomplete….

Fast forward to our days.
To our raging Covid-19 pandemic.

When vaccines are already available and where there are people who refuse to be vaccinated.

The vaccine was supposed to protect us.
From becoming infected.
From needing to go to the hospital.
From dying. From ending up suffocating alone…

But people continue be infected. Even after receiving the vaccine.
People continue to be admitted to the hospital.
And people continue to die. Even after receiving the vaccine.

Wouldn’t all these evidence strongly suggest, scientifically speaking, that the vaccine is useless?
‘Useless’, to say the least?

Wouldn’t it be actually rational to frame the situation in these terms?

Well, according to Popper’s reasoning, the first vaccinated individual becoming ill had been ample enough proof of the fact that the vaccine was not 100 % foolproof. That it isn’t fail-proof!
The first vaccinated individual being admitted to the hospital had been ample enough proof that the vaccine is no absolute shield against any of us who has been infected will ever have to go to the hospital.
The first vaccinated person who had died with Covid-19 had been ample enough proof that the vaccine will not protect all of us from dying after becoming infected with this virus.

And the fact that so many of us continue to refuse to be vaccinated is ample proof of the fact that reasonable should trump rational. Yet it still doesn’t….
Of the fact that too many of us continue to consider that their short term/self serving interests are more important than other people’s lives.
And of the fact that too many of us continue to ignore how vaccines work.

The key aspect here being the last!
People continue to ignore how vaccines work simply because of the huge amount of disinformation which is being peddled on the internet right now.
It’s not the ‘refuseniks’ who put their short term/self serving interests in front and above the lives of innocent people!
It’s those who have initiated, and continue to drive, the fake-news process who will be eventually determined as having been the root-cause of the excess mortality we’re currently experiencing.

When?
Hopefully, after a reasonable amount of time.
If enough of us start behaving rationally… In a comprehensively rational manner…

In a truly scientific manner!

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/

Someone asked me a few months ago:
‘These guys who spread misleading information on the internet, whether out of sheer stupidity or out of personal interest, will at some point understand how many people they have killed. Directly or indirectly.
How will they feel? In that moment…’

Until then, none of my vaccinated acquaintances have kicked the bucket.
Nor seen the inside of any hospital… after being infected with Covid.
Among those who have not been vaccinated… the situation is somewhat different… Although the unvaccinated are, among the people I’m personally acquainted to, about 4 times less frequent than the others, 8 of them are missing already. All 8 of them are no longer with us after having been diagnosed with Covid.

I hope you’ll have a ‘light’ conscience when we’ll arrive at the end of this mess.

For those of you who don’t know about the most recent controversy on the internet, let me sum it up.

Joe Rogan is a comedian.

Rather experienced in creating controversy. Controversy is good for the ratings, isn’t it?
For example, in September 18, 2020, “Joe Rogan apologized for spreading misinformation about Oregon fires“.

Well, at that time Rogan had just moved his podcast – from September 1, 2020, on Spotify. After receiving $100 million for a “multi-year licensing” deal.

If you don’t know, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic.
Caused by SARS Cov2, an airborne virus which kills people. 5,682,971 worldwide when I last checked.

Joe Rogan, the comedian, thought he had to cover the subject. So he had invited a controversial figure, Dr. Robert Malone, for an interview.
The interview had become viral. But the ‘information’ being peddled by Dr.Malone had provoked the indignation of his fellow physicians.


A few days later, Neil Young – then followed by Joni Mithchell, asked Spotify to choose between him and Rogan.
Understandably, Spotify had chosen to keep Rogan.
But the row didn’t end there.
Even sites like the financially minded Sport Bible have noticed that “Joe Rogan Has Lost Spotify A Staggering $2 Billion In Market Value In Less Than A Week
So Spotify announced a change in policy and Rogan issued another apology.

As usual in this kind of circumstances, the netizens have taken sides.
Some manifest their indignation against the capitalists who make money by spreading false information.
Others manifest their indignation against the ‘cancel culture’ which limits the freedom of expression of those who contradict the opinions held by the intransigent majority.

As usual in this kind of circumstances, I try to explore alternative venues of looking at what’s going on.
Let me remind those of you who are not familiar with the Romanian language that ‘Nici-chiar-asa’ means ‘not so fast’ (or ‘don’t over do it’) in my native language.

So.
Why would a huge number of people – the Malone interview went “viral”, attempt to get information about a raging pandemic by watching a stand-up comedy show? Hosted by a “comedian” who recently had to issue an apology for things which he had said in one of his shows…
Those people had been mesmerized by the ‘past experience’ of Dr. Malone? “Who touts himself as one of the architects of mRNA technology”….
Maybe… but those people shouldn’t have googled Dr. Malone’s name before sharing the interview? To their like minded brethren?
Before making it viral? They would have learned that Dr. Malone had already been banned from Twitter for spreading misinformation…

‘Those people do not believe that media venues should restrict the freedom of people speaking up their minds’…

Then whatever preventive measure are put in place by the likes of Spotify will amount to exactly nothing!

We need a different approach.

Three truths about what ‘science’ means.
First part, We.

According to Heidegger, there are two kinds of truths.

A. A proposition is ‘true’ if what’s being said there is in perfect correspondence with reality.
B. A proposition is ‘true’ if the proposition encompasses everything the ‘communicator’ knows about the subject at hand.

‘OK, you promised us a discourse about science and here you are babbling about truth…’

Impatient as always!
How do you determine whether something being said, a proposition, is in (perfect) correspondence with the reality of the fact described there?

To be able to do that, you need first to determine the reality itself.
You know what’s being said – more about that later, and, if you are to determine whether what’s being said is true, you now need to know the truth itself.
How are you going to do that?
You either know it already or you proceed to determine that particular truth.

I’ll leave aside the ‘already known truth’ and proceed towards the ‘future truth’.

A particular individual has two possible approaches towards finding out a ‘new’ truth. A piece of ‘true’ information which is new for that particular person.
Consult a reliable source or investigate the reality.

‘Consulting a reliable source’ brings us back to square one. How do you determine whether a source is reliable or not….
‘Investigate the reality’… Easier said than done!

How do you do that? How do you investigate the reality in a reliable manner? How do you determine the truth of the matter when ‘things’ are a tad more complicated than touching a stove to determine whether it’s hot or not?

You use the scientific approach?
Start from the scientific data base which already exists on the subject(s) closer to your object of interest then proceed using the proven scientific method of trial and error? Emit a hypothesis, try to prove it, formulate a theory and then challenge your peers to tear apart the results of your investigation?

Results you have chased being convinced from the beginning that you’ll never reach the ‘pinnacle’?
Convinced from the beginning that the ‘absolute truth’ – even about the merest subject, is out of reach?
For us, mere mortals, anyway?

‘But if ‘absolute truth’ is out of reach, then how can we determine whether the simplest proposition is actually true?
And why continue to bother about the whole subject, anyway?!?’

Before attempting to find an answer to your question, let me formulate another one.

Let’s consider that you have reached a conclusion about something. That you are in possession of ‘a truth’. How are you going to share it? With your brethren/peers?
I must remember you at this stage of our discussion that language is beautiful but rather inexact. Are you sure that you’ll be able to communicate everything you want to say? To cover every minute aspect of the truth you have just found?
So that the proposition you are about to put together will be in absolute correspondence with the piece of reality you have just discovered?

You are not going to use language at all?
You’re just going to point to your discovery? And let everybody else to discover the truth for themselves?
And how many are going to take you seriously? To pay attention? To what you have pointed?
And how many are going to suspect that you just want to take their focus off what’s really important? To lead their attention away of what you want to keep under wraps?

I’ve got your head spinning?
Then you must understand my confusion. I’m so deep in this that I have to go back and read again what I’ve been writing…

So.
‘Science’ tells us that the ultimate truth is out of our grasp, linguistics/theory of communication tells us no messenger will ever be able to be absolutely precise nor convey the entire intended meaning … what are we going to do?
Settle down and wait for the end to happen to us?

OK, let me introduce you to an absolute truth.

WE ARE HERE!

Who is here?
‘Us’. We are here.

What are we doing here?
‘Are’. We are here.

Where are we?
‘Here’. We are here!

I’ve been recently reminded that mathematics, the most exact language we have at our disposal, is based on a number of postulates. On a small number of axioms – pieces of truth we consider to be self evident, which have constituted a wide enough foundation for mathematics to become what it is today.
But mathematics is far more than a simple language. It is also a ‘virtual space’. A space where special rules apply. A space where our thoughts move according to certain and specific ‘instructions’. A space where we enter holding our arms around a problem we need to solve and which we exit, if successful, with a solution inside our head.

A little bit of history.
Our ancestors had a problem. A class of problems, actually.
How to build something – a house, a temple, a boat, and how to ‘manage’ property – arable land, in particular, but also crops and other ‘stocks’. Problems easier to formulate, and solve, using numbers.
To solve this class of problems, some of our ancestors have invented ‘mathematics’. Had ‘discovered’ the self evident truths – axioms, and then ‘carved’ an entire (virtual) space using the axioms as the foundation upon which they, and those who have followed in their steps, have built – and continue to build, the scaffolding of rules which keep that space ‘open’.

Through thinking, our ancestors have carved a space in which to solve some problems they have encountered in the ‘real’ world…

‘Please stop!
I don’t understand something.
Do you want to say that mathematics is not real?’

To answer this question, this very good question, we need to settle what ‘real’ means.
To us, at least…

Let’s examine this rock. Is it real?
Why? Because you can feel it? If you close your eyes, I can make it so that you experience the same feeling by touching something else to your stretched out fingers than the original rock. In a few years, I’ll be able to produce the same sensation in your brain by inserting some electrodes in your skull and applying the ‘proper’ amount of electric current. What will ‘reality’ become then?

Forget about that rock, for a moment, and consider this table.

Is it real? Even if it’s not as natural as the rock we were analyzing before?
‘Artificial’ – as in man made, starting from natural ‘resources’, might be a good description of the difference between a table and a ‘simple’ rock. Both ‘real’ in the sense that both imply consequences. Your foot will hurt if you stumble in the dark on either of them. Regardless of the rock being natural and the table happening to be artificial…

‘But what about things which are not of a material nature?
Are they real?’

Are you asking me whether ‘metaphysical’ objects – God, for instance, are real?
Then how about ‘law’. Is it real? As an aside, does law belong also to the metaphysical realm? Alongside God? Who determines which thing belongs there?

Or have you glimpsed the fact that ‘truth’, the concept of truth, is a metaphysical ‘object’?
Something which, like God, has a ‘real’ side but makes no sense (to us) unless we think about it?
Something which we have extracted – someway, somehow, from the surrounding reality – where else from? – then ‘carved’ a virtual space around it? So that we may examine it without the distractions of the rest of the ‘real’ world?

Or have you glimpsed also that even the concept of ‘reality’ is a figment of our self-reflecting conscience?

The larger your ‘skull’ is, the more ideas – sometimes conflicting ones, you are able to ‘harbor’.

This guy, a 31 years old father of two, is looking forward for a heart transplant.

Meaning that he, and his family, trust the doctors who are going to perform the surgery.
Who are going to open up his chest, take his failing heart out, sew the ‘re-cycled’ one in and patch him up again.
Doctors who need to hook him up to various machines and to pump him full of chemicals in order to maintain him alive – but unconscious, during the procedure. And who are going to closely monitor him – and, again, administer him a lot of vital drugs, during the rest of his life.

Meanwhile he, and his family, don’t trust the doctors who tell him he needs to get a Covid jab first.

David Ferguson, D.J. father, “said the Covid vaccine goes against his son’s “basic principles, he doesn’t believe in it”.”

“We are literally in a corner right now. This is extremely time sensitive,” the family said in its fundraising appeal, which has raised tens of thousands of dollars. “This is not just a political issue. People need to have a choice!”
D.J.’s mother, Tracey Ferguson, insists that her son isn’t against vaccinations, noting he’s had other immunizations in the past. But the trained nurse said Wednesday that he’s been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation — an irregular and often rapid heart rhythm — and that he has concerns about the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“D.J. is an informed patient,” Tracey Ferguson said in a brief interview at her home in Mendon, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest of Boston. “He wants to be assured by his doctors that his condition would not be worse or fatal with this COVID vaccine.”

Hospital patient without COVID shot denied heart transplant.

Unvaccinated man denied heart transplant by Boston hospital.

The way I see it, it makes more sense to tax those who don’t want to get a jab than to bribe people to accept the vaccine.
The vaccinated individual enjoys the benefits, the jab is already paid for by the community… and the community, as a whole, is safer.
You don’t want to be jabbed, for whatever reasons, you should pay for the privilege.

After all, this is a matter of personal choice.

There are three kinds of personal choice which impact the wider community. Regardless of who covers the financial costs of healthcare, people being sick is a burden shouldered by the entire society.

Eating too much.
It can have a whole series of consequences but most of them are of a ‘personal’ nature. You can be a bad example for your kid but that’s about all you can do to negatively impact the health of others through eating too much. Except for the financial implications, of course.

Smoking.
Still a personal choice. But the consequences of your bad habit directly affect those who happen to be around you when you exercise your ‘right’. Smoke travels freely…

“My body, my choice.”
Refusing to ‘put experimental substances into my body’ is, again, a personal choice.
But getting sick with Covid has far wider consequences for the wide community than smoking. Let alone the fact that smoke is visible while the virus is not.
Smoking in a plane won’t give a lung cancer to each of the passengers present but a person infected with Covid breathing inside such a cramped place can directly infect many. And god only knows how many more after the passengers reach their final destinations …

Since the above mentioned decision of the Supreme Court – that government should not tell ‘the people’ what to do with their bodies (unless federal money is involved) – things are getting murkier.
Smoking seats might return on planes. Smoking tables in pubs.
And who knows what else…

There are two ways in which we may acquire information.
The hard way and the reasonable way.
By ‘immersion’ or by learning.
By ‘getting stronger if lucky enough to survive’ or by making sense of what had happened to others.

„The pandemic’s transition toward becoming a disease that the world can manage more easily and learn to live with.
“Really?!?It’s the disease which needs to become something we might be able to learn how to live with?!?””

„That’s how pandemics work. Like the 1918 flu…”

„Well…The virus itself is being passively selected by the naturally occurring ‘evolutionary forces’.
We, as a conscious species, act more or less ‘uncoordinatedly’. We develop vaccines, determine that masks are good for us and then refuse to use them to their full potential.
Doesn’t make much sense, evolutionary speaking…”

On the other hand, the article is interesting. Like so many other times, the content is ‘somewhat’ different from the click-bait title/presentation….

And, maybe, I should remember you that ‘nicichiarasa’ is the Romanian word for ‘don’t overstep it’, …

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/12/31/national/covid-endgame-omicron

Do you think they’ll ever make it?

You know how much I hate having to admit that I have no clue about something, right?

I didn’t ask you what’s going to happen! Nobody knows that… I only asked you what you feel about it. What’s your impression about what’s going on!

Well… They surely evolved a lot faster than what we’re accustomed with… But none of them reached the point we’ve been expecting… not yet, anymore. And the signs don’t bode well…
On the other hand, evolution is like tennis. A sport they had invented and which is very popular among them. Among all of them!
Coming back to evolution, no matter what the signs suggest, it’s not over – one way or the other, until the very end. Until the last ball had been played and the last individual had died. Or until the ‘field’ had become unusable…

And what seems to be their biggest problem?

They still have to overcome quite a number of hurdles… the most important being the fact that they haven’t yet learned how to balance their need to maintain their distinct individualities with the reality that they have to coordinate their efforts in order to achieve anything worth mentioning. Including their own survival!

Any possible explanation for this inability of theirs?

The only thing I can think of is their particular sexuality. The more evolved among them have only two sexes. And the roles played by each sex are hugely different! Hence they have a clear idea about what complementarity means but also this strange notion of ‘priority’. Each sex considers itself more important than the other…
Starting from here, it’s almost understandable that each individual, as they grow up, attempts to assert their individuality. Defend it from ‘intrusions’. Impose it upon as many of the others as they can…
This impulse is so strong that even now, more than 5 generations after one of them – a certain Charles Darwin, had figured out a theory of evolution, most of them still consider that evolution is about the ‘survival of the fittest’…

This being the only difference?

Yep! They check on all other bench-marks…
We can review each of them, if you want.

According to Charles Darwin, natural evolution is the process which has brought us, animal beings, to where we are now. Each to its own place.

According to some, evolution is about ‘the survival of the fittest’.
According to Ernst Mayr, What Evolution Is, evolution is about ‘the demise of the unfit’.

It’s up to us to ‘choose sides’.
For no other reason than the fact that Darwin’s evolution was driven by ‘accidental’ changes in the environment. The species which happened to live ‘under the weather’ had to adapt to those changes. Or to ‘exit stage right’!
While nowadays we have to make do with consequences resulting from our own decisions…

“Dr. Jack Lyons remembers the pandemic’s early days when grateful communities banged pots and pans to honor frontline health care workers.
But now, faced with hostility just for trying to save his patients’ lives, he says that, sadly, those days are long gone.”

“Now health care workers fighting on the front lines of the pandemic are also coming face to face with patients who dismiss and even threaten them over how they are being treated for the virus.
“Folks act as if they can come in the hospital and request any certain therapy they want or conversely decline any therapy they want with the idea being that somehow they can pick and choose and direct their therapy. And it doesn’t work,” Lyons told CNN from the CentraCare hospital he works at in St. Cloud, Minnesota.””

“They insult your intelligence, they insult your ability, and most hurtful, they say that by not using these therapies you are intentionally trying to harm the people we’ve given everything to save,” Lyons said.”
“About 70% of the patients in Lyons’ ICU are sick with Covid-19, and almost all of them are unvaccinated.”

Evolution happening under our own eyes. The ‘pot and pan bangers’ got jabbed and no longer have to go to the ICU. Not with Covid, anyway.

Hence the likes of Dr. Lynch are left with the Covid deniers… who already know the ‘right’ treatment…

Deflated health care workers and desperate patients clash over alternative Covid treatments
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/12/24/us/doctors-patients-threats-coronavirus-treatments/index.html

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