E. O. Wilson on free will


Not dissimilar to my thoughts on it: The Monkey on the Ape’s back http://petrossa.me/2010/05/16/free-will-does-it-exist/

Originally posted on Why Evolution Is True:

Ed Wilson has finally decided to wade into the murky hinterlands of Consciousness and Free Will, as seen in a new article in Harpers called “On free will: and how the brain is like a colony of ants.” (Sadly, you can’t read more than a paragraph without paying.)  I’ll quote from the pdf I have, but, in general, the article adds little to the debate about free will, which to me seems largely semantic. The real issue—the one that could substantially affect society—is that of determinism, which most philosophers and scientists agree on (i.e., we can’t make choices outside of those already determined by the laws of physics).

There are two problems with Wilson’s piece: it doesn’t say anything new, its main point being that consciousness and choice are physical phenomena determined by events in the brain, and it doesn’t define the subject of the piece, “free will.” How…

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Too little salt as bad as too much

American consumers ingest, on average, about 3400 milligrams of sodium every day (similar to the diets of most recorded civilizations), well above the dietary sodium targets set by US government agencies and the American Heart Association of 1500 to 2300 milligrams or lower. However, there has been much debate about whether or not these recommendations are too strict, a position that we at ACSH have long been endorsing. Last year, the Institute of Medicine published a report stating that there are insufficient data supporting a benefit of sodium consumption below 2300 milligrams per day, and now a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has come to the same conclusion.

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Laat vallen wat valt

Originally posted on Visionair België:

De mensheid, een tamelijk hilarische voetnoot in de geschiedenis van de planeet aarde

LaurelEen paar jaar geleden kwam prof. Etienne Vermeersch ons met zijn gekende bulderstem vertellen dat deze planeet demografisch op springen staat. Straks zijn we met 9 miljard, en het absoluut armste land ter wereld –Niger- heeft het hoogste vruchtbaarheidscijfer. Op geen enkele manier staat de bevolkingstoename nog in verhouding tot de beschikbare woonruimte, landbouwoppervlakte, grondstoffen, energie. De roofbouw is dusdanig, dat de uitputting van de planeet nabij is, en dan is het gewoon gedaan. Niet alleen met de menselijke soort, maar mogelijk met alle leven op aarde, bijvoorbeeld door een wereldwijde kernramp.

Zo’n uitdoving is geen uniek feit, zo leert enig opzoekwerk: ze behoort tot een natuurlijk geologisch ritme. Sinds het Cambriumtijdperk (circa 500 miljoen jaar geleden, waar vermoedelijk de eerste levende organismen ontstonden) zijn er al vijf totale “extincties” geweest. Momenten dus waar alle leven op aarde…

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Gordon Fulks, Physicist, shows some sense on Wind Turbines


‘Renewable energy’ is another way of saying ‘Perpetual motion’

Originally posted on JunkScience.com:

Gordon Fulks PhD Physics, explains the silliness of the Cuisinarts.

This is an OP ED in the Oregonian, the newspaper of record in the state as I understand..

Green Energy – Green Deception
Wealthy corporate giants like Apple and Google now hawk not only their innovations in the virtual world but an ever greater commitment to ‘Green Energy.’ Even Portland General Electric relentlessly hawks their Green Energy. What amazing virtue! What progress! But is it? There are dark clouds on the horizon, as we turn away from objective science and engineering to a look-alike promoted by the politically connected but scientifically challenged.

One of the dark clouds is certainly climate hysteria, which once motivated societies to sacrifice virgins to appease the climate gods, and today seems intent on merely sacrificing industrialization. But that is not my concern here.
I wonder why we are abandoning ‘Efficient Energy’ in favor of…

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pass the butter … the science was unsettled


I refer to my 2010 post on The disease FAT doesn’t exist http://petrossa.me/2010/04/16/the-disease-fat-does-not-exist/

Originally posted on pindanpost:

The worm has turned on diet and obesity, now we can be free to eat fat and lose weight:


That the worm is turning became increasingly evident a couple of weeks ago, when a meta-analysis published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that there’s just no evidence to support the notion that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease. (In fact, there’s some evidence that a lack of saturated fat may be damaging.) The researchers looked at 72 different studies and, as usual, said more work — including more clinical studies — is needed. For sure. But the days of skinless chicken breasts and tubs of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter may finally be drawing to a close. . …

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Healty nutrition, vegetarian leaves a lot to be desired

Population-based studies have consistently shown that our diet has an influence on health. Therefore, the aim of our study was to analyze differences between different dietary habit groups in terms of health-related variables. The sample used for this cross-sectional study was taken from the Austrian Health Interview Survey AT-HIS 2006/07. In a first step, subjects were matched according to their age, sex, and socioeconomic status (SES). After matching, the total number of subjects included in the analysis was 1320 (N = 330 for each form of diet – vegetarian, carnivorous diet rich in fruits and vegetables, carnivorous diet less rich in meat, and carnivorous diet rich in meat). Analyses of variance were conducted controlling for lifestyle factors in the following domains: health (self-assessed health, impairment, number of chronic conditions, vascular risk), health care (medical treatment, vaccinations, preventive check-ups), and quality of life. In addition, differences concerning the presence of 18 chronic conditions were analyzed by means of Chi-square tests. Overall, 76.4% of all subjects were female. 40.0% of the individuals were younger than 30 years, 35.4% between 30 and 49 years, and 24.0% older than 50 years. 30.3% of the subjects had a low SES, 48.8% a middle one, and 20.9% had a high SES. Our results revealed that a vegetarian diet is related to a lower BMI and less frequent alcohol consumption. Moreover, our results showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with poorer health (higher incidences of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), a higher need for health care, and poorer quality of life. Therefore, public health programs are needed in order to reduce the health risk due to nutritional factors.

The Association between Eating Behavior and Various Health Parameters: A Matched Sample Study.