[LINK] electromagnetic fields effect brain activity
planetjim at gmail.com
Tue Jan 9 15:36:57 AEDT 2007
On 09/01/07, Jan Whitaker <jwhit at melbpc.org.au> wrote:
> I was going to mention the concept of 'wait a awhile and it will get
> better' which fits colds and many other ailments. I reckon we could
> reduce our health costs by about 30% merely by pointing this out to
> new mothers.
Similarly, it is demonstrable that singing the national anthem out load each
day before breakfast cures colds, and generally within only a week or two.
For anyone interested in this stuff (like me), I strongly recommend a book I
recently read on and around this subject: Six impossible things before
breakfast, by Lewis Wolpert. It's an inquiry into the nature of belief, but
unlike the array of philosophical enquiries (eg Popper) it takes a
biological perspective, looking at what the evolutionary basis might be for
developing a brain capable of belief, and what the limitations of the system
might be. Along the way, he looks at what animals can and cannot do, what
people can and can't do, and brings in lots of other interesting stuff, like
the tool making capacities of ravens.
His take: once we developed a belief system that's always switched on, it
became intolerable to not have reasons for important life events, like
droughts, disease, death, etc, so we began producing explanations by any
available means. We're reasonably good on the simple, like figuring that
clubbing an antelope produces food, but producing reliable beliefs on
difficult problems like weather patterns and disease requires us to
relinquish simple belief producing methods and resort to slow
counterintuitive processes like the scientific method, statistics, and
complex reasoned analysis.
He argues that no one can do this all the time, we are - for "good"
biological reasons - just too prone to grabbing beliefs by any available
method, so the best we can hope for is to require that where important
aspects of other people's lives are dependent on our beliefs we should be
required to use methods that produce reliable beliefs.
That's my nutshell, but if you're interested, borrow or buy the book; I
enjoyed it and it made me think and reevaluate. For me, it's a great
insight into why certain types of disagreement like political arguments can
persist seemingly without limit, basically, they are in the unreliable zone!
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