Tuesday, February 23, 2010

So, yeah, we'll see what comes out.

There's snow, again in Texas. I assume Geewits is doin' fine, but is annoyed, since she hasn't posted an omigod-I'm-freaking-out-'cause-of-the-snow post. 'Course, she doesn't seem the type who'd freak out anyway.

I wish there was some snow here.

I know that if I always got a lot of snow I'd probably get sick of it and wish for the day there would be no snow at all, but I don't live there and I'd like some snow. I'd like to take a walk down the street in that brief moment of quiet after the storm. Actually I'd like to be out there during the snowstorm. Not that it matters in the place where I live.

Sometimes I think my brain is atrophying. I don't read nearly as fast as I used to. On occasion, it's hard to think about... things.

Criss, this is being very difficult to write. I set out with no aim and nothin' to say and just go, but nothing much is going to come out. Or wants to come out? Dunno.

In a few recent introspective moments, I've been wondering about souls. What would they be made of? If they're some sort of energy, we wouldn't be able to see them, would we? The only reason we see lightening is because it ionize the air around it creating a flash of plasma, right? Plus, the visible part lasts for only a fraction of a second. (Maybe I'm wrong about that.) What would sustain a soul? Why would a souls create shadows or drop temperatures?

Maybe I've been thinking about this crap because the Discovery Channel has one of those ghost hunter shows. I hate those shows. Okay, so I don't totally HATE those shows, but I HATE the way they use pseudo-science and camera tricks and act like they're doing REAL research. Locking a guy who believes in ghosts in a drawer in an abandoned morgue, in the dark, he's going to end up freaking out or feeling cold or seeing a streak of light; that's not research. Those girls who made all the accusations during the Salem witch trials actually felt cold, their skin felt cold to the touch, does that mean there were witches? Is there a God because there are people out there who say He told them to kill their kids?

GAH! It's just upsetting because once upon a time I could believe the Discovery Channel was actually about science. It's not, though. As much as I like the show, I blame MythBusters. It may have science in it, but science and learnin' isn't the point. Entertainment over information.

'Course, I'm in the minority in that whole thing. I really don't want to believe that the population chooses to be dumb, but it's hard not to.


geewits said...

The snow was a false alarm. Where I live anyway. Just teeny flakes.
I'd like to think we have a soul of sorts and that it is a form of energy. Remember there are lots of forms of energy that we can't see, like radiation. And radio waves although sometimes I think my brain can pick those up.

ticknart said...

Both too bad and hooray about the snow.

A soul being some kind of unseen/unknown(/unmeasurable?) energy would be acceptable to me. What bothers me is that people claim that they can see it (as a ghost after a death or an aura around the living) or measure it (as in the human body weighs like 7 ounces less after death).

I don't know. Maybe it's the whole left-wing overly zealous belief in mysticism (tarot, reincarnation, earth spirits, etc) while they mock those who believe in a more traditional religious experience that's getting on my nerves. It's a form of hypocrisy that's elitist and that really pisses me off.

Johnny Logic said...

Hey Josh,

As you well know I don't believe in souls-- there is, in my opinion, no substantial reason to believe in their existence (though they make fine metaphor).

If you are interested in an entertaining, scientifically-oriented read on the subject of souls (including the origin of the 7oz myth), check out Mary Roach's Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. Roach has a wonderful sense of humor, and though this is not her best, it is a fun book.

ticknart said...

Soul makes a great metaphor. Seems to me that when most people talk about souls, when the soul is still attached to the body, they're talking about consciousness. I suppose the belief in in ghosts would then be visible confirmation of consciousness existing after death; something beyond "I think, there for I am." (Off topic, but wouldn't that statement be better as "I reason, therefore I am"? I'm probably not the first person to ask that and I'm probably splitting hairs.)

Roach wrote Bonk, right?

So far, I've found articles and TV shows about the working out life after death stuff annoying. They all end in the same way: Nothing we've done has conclusively shown that an afterlife (or out of body experiences or reincarnation) doesn't exist. Perhaps there are things we just aren't meant to know in life. One thing we know for sure, though, we'll all find out in the end. Bah! It's just more sensationalizing bullshit.

I'm cool with being uncertain. I need no confirmation either way. There's something or not, both seem equally acceptable to me. I find it interesting to think about, but I really don't like mysticism being passed off as science, even if it is just on TV.

Johnny Logic said...

I agree that most people mean something like consciousness when they say 'soul', and that the supposition is something like it being separable and independently sustainable from the body, especially the brain. The first part about consciousness, I find unproblematic, but the second about separability and independence is quite a different thing. Our consciousness seems intimately bound with the state of our bodies, especially our brains. Damage to the brain, or various drugs, change a person's consciousness and personality in fairly predictable ways. Moreover, independence seems to only be substantiated by interpretations of near death experiences, religious and popular dogma, and anecdote. This is not the basis on which I prefer to form my own beliefs.

As for the spiritualist shtick they put on in these shows; they are using some of the same tricks that Houdini debunked back in the 1920s. Pure entertainment in science drag. As long as noone is harmed by it, I am fine with it, but still it is not my cup-o-tea.

Johnny Logic said...

Oh, and yes, Roach wrote Bonk, and Stiff (her best).