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Hmm, Good Question, an idea site would be the simplest, albeit incomplete, description of which, presented 118 scientists, philosophers and researchers with one question, "WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS TRUE EVEN THOUGH YOU CANNOT PROVE IT?", via The New York Times and, here are my favorite responses,
I believe, but I cannot prove, that all life, all intelligence, all creativity and all "design" anywhere in the universe, is the direct or indirect product of Darwinian natural selection. It follows that design comes late in the universe, after a period of Darwinian evolution. Design cannot precede evolution and therefore cannot underlie the universe.
- Richard Dawkins
Evolutionary biologist, Oxford University; author, "The Ancestor's Tale"
Irrational choices.

I do not believe that people are capable of rational thought when it comes to making decisions in their own lives. People believe they are behaving rationally and have thought things out, of course, but when major decisions are made - who to marry, where to live, what career to pursue, what college to attend, people's minds simply cannot cope with the complexity. When they try to rationally analyze potential options, their unconscious, emotional thoughts take over and make the choice for them.
- Roger Schank
Psychologist and computer scientist; author, "Designing World-Class E-Learning"
Mine would be a fairly simple, straightforward case of an unjustifiable belief, namely that there is no god(s) or such a thing as a soul (whatever the religiously inclined of the right persuasion mean by that word). ...

I'm taken with religious folks who argue that you not only can, but should believe without requiring proof. Mine is to not believe without requiring proof. Mind you, it would be perfectly fine with me if there were a proof that there is no god. Some might view this as a potential public health problem, given the number of people who would then run damagingly amok. But it's obvious that there's no shortage of folks running amok thanks to their belief. So that wouldn't be a problem and, all things considered, such a proof would be a relief - many physicists, especially astrophysicists, seem weirdly willing to go on about their communing with god about the Big Bang, but in my world of biologists, the god concept gets mighty infuriating when you spend your time thinking about, say, untreatably aggressive childhood leukemia.
- Robert Sapolsky
Neuroscientist, Stanford University, author, "A Primate's Memoir"
I believe that consciousness and its contents are all that exists. Space-time, matter and fields never were the fundamental denizens of the universe but have always been, from their beginning, among the humbler contents of consciousness, dependent on it for their very being.

The world of our daily experience - the world of tables, chairs, stars and people, with their attendant shapes, smells, feels and sounds - is a species-specific user interface to a realm far more complex, a realm whose essential character is conscious. It is unlikely that the contents of our interface in any way resemble that realm.

Indeed the usefulness of an interface requires, in general, that they do not. For the point of an interface, such as the Windows interface on a computer, is simplification and ease of use. We click icons because this is quicker and less prone to error than editing megabytes of software or toggling voltages in circuits.

Evolutionary pressures dictate that our species-specific interface, this world of our daily experience, should itself be a radical simplification, selected not for the exhaustive depiction of truth but for the mutable pragmatics of survival.

If this is right, if consciousness is fundamental, then we should not be surprised that, despite centuries of effort by the most brilliant of minds, there is as yet no physicalist theory of consciousness, no theory that explains how mindless matter or energy or fields could be, or cause, conscious experience.
- Donald Hoffman
Cognitive scientist, University of California, Irvine; author, "Visual Intelligence"
The "rotten-to-the-core" assumption about human nature espoused so widely in the social sciences and the humanities is wrong. This premise has its origins in the religious dogma of original sin and was dragged into the secular twentieth century by Freud, reinforced by two world wars, the Great Depression, the cold war, and genocides too numerous to list. The premise holds that virtue, nobility, meaning, and positive human motivation generally are reducible to, parasitic upon, and compensations for what is really authentic about human nature: selfishness, greed, indifference, corruption and savagery. The only reason that I am sitting in front of this computer typing away rather than running out to rape and kill is that I am "compensated," zipped up, and successfully defending myself against these fundamental underlying impulses.

In spite of its widespread acceptance in the religious and academic world, there is not a shred of evidence, not an iota of data, which compels us to believe that nobility and virtue are somehow derived from negative motivation. On the contrary, I believe that evolution has favored both positive and negative traits, and many niches have selected for morality, co-operation, altruism, and goodness, just as many have also selected for murder, theft, self-seeking, and terrorism.

More plausible than the rotten-to-the-core theory of human nature is the dual aspect theory that the strengths and the virtues are just as basic to human nature as the negative traits: that negative motivation and emotion have been selected for by zero-sum-game survival struggles, while virtue and positive emotion have been selected for by positive sum game sexual selection. These two overarching systems sit side by side in our central nervous system ready to be activated by privation and thwarting, on the one hand, or by abundance and the prospect of success, on the other
- Martin E.P. Seligman
Psychologist, University of Pennsylvania, Author, Authentic Happiness
How do we remember the past? There are many answers to this question, depending on whether you are an historian, artist or scientist. As a scientist I have wanted to know where in the brain memories are stored and how they are stored—the genetic and neural mechanisms. Although neuroscientists have made tremendous progress in uncovering neural mechanisms for learning, I believe, but cannot prove, that we are all looking in the wrong place for long-term memory.

I have been puzzled by my ability to remember my childhood, despite the fact that most of the molecules in my body today are not the same ones I had as a child—in particular, the molecules that make up my brain are constantly turning over, being replaced with newly minted molecules. Perhaps memories only seem to be stable. Rehearsal strengthens memories, and can even alter them. However, I have detailed memories of specific places where I lived 50 years ago that I doubt I ever rehearsed but can be easily verified, so the stability of long-term memories is a real problem.

Textbooks in neuroscience, including one that I coauthored, say that memories are stored at synapses between neurons in the brain, of which there are many. In neural network models of memory, information can be stored by selectively altering the strengths of the synapses, and "spike-time dependent plasticity" at synapses in the cerebral cortex has been found with these properties. This is a hot area of research, but all we need to know here is that patterns of neural activity can indeed modify a lot of molecular machinery inside a neuron.

If memories are stored as changes to molecules inside cells, which are constantly being replaced, how can a memory remain stable over 50 years? My hunch is that everyone is looking in the wrong place: that the substrate of really old memories is located not inside cells, but outside cells, in the extracellular space. The space between cells is not empty, but filled with a matrix of tough material that is difficult to dissolve and turns over very slowly if at all. The extracellular matrix connects cells and maintains the shape of the cell mass. This is why scars on your body haven't changed much after decades of sloughing off skin cells.

My intuition is based on a set of classic experiments on the neuromuscular junction between a motor neuron and a muscle cell, a giant synapse that activates the muscle. The specialized extracellular matrix at the neuromuscular junction, called the basal lamina, consists of proteoglycans, glycoproteins, including collagen, and adhesion molecules such as laminin and fibronectin. If the nerve that activates a muscle is crushed, the nerve fiber grows back to the junction and forms a specialized nerve terminal ending. This occurs even if the muscle cell is also killed. The memory of the contact is preserved by the basal lamina at the junction. Similar material exists at synapses in the brain, which could permanently maintain overall connectivity despite the coming and going of molecules inside neurons.

How could we prove that the extracellular matrix really is responsible for long-term memories? One way to disprove it would be to disrupt the extracellular matrix and see if the memories remain. This can be done with enzymes or by knocking out one or more key molecules with techniques from molecular genetics. If I am right, then all of your memories—what makes you a unique individual—are contained in the endoskeleton that connects cells to each other. The intracellular machinery holds memories temporarily and decides what to permanently store in the matrix, perhaps while you are sleeping. It might be possible someday to stain this memory endoskeleton and see what memories look like.
- Terrence Sejnowski
Computational Neuroscientist, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Coauthor, The Computational Brain
The Brain Basis of Talent

I believe that human talents are based on distinct patterns of brain connectivity. These patterns can be observed as the individual encounters and ultimately masters an organized activity or domain in his/her culture.

Consider three competing accounts:

#1 Talent is a question of practice. We could all become Mozarts or Einsteins if we persevered.

#2 Talents are fungible. A person who is good in one thing could be good in everything.

#3 The basis of talents is genetic. While true, this account misleadingly implies that a person with a "musical gene" will necessarily evince her musicianship, just as she evinces her eye color or, less happily, Huntington's disease.

My Account: The most apt analogy is language learning. Nearly all of us can easily master natural languages in the first years of life. We might say that nearly all of us are talented speakers. An analogous process occurs with respect to various talents, with two differences:

1. There is greater genetic variance in the potential to evince talent in areas like music, chess, golf, mathematics, leadership, written (as opposed to oral) language, etc.

2. Compared to language, the set of relevant activities is more variable within and across cultures. Consider the set of games. A person who masters chess easily in culture l, would not necessarily master poker or 'go' in culture 2.

As we attempt to master an activity, neural connections of varying degrees of utility or disutility form. Certain of us have nervous systems that are predisposed to develop quickly along the lines needed to master specific activities (chess) or classes of activities (mathematics) that happen to be available in one or more cultures. Accordingly, assuming such exposure, we will appear talented and become experts quickly. The rest of us can still achieve some expertise, but it will take longer, require more effective teaching, and draw on intellectual faculties and brain networks that the talented person does not have to use.

This hypothesis is currently being tested by Ellen Winner and Gottfried Schlaug. These investigators are imaging the brains of young students before they begin music lessons and for several years thereafter. They also are imaging control groups and administering control (non-music) tasks. After several years of music lessons, judges will determine which students have musical "talent." The researchers will document the brains of musically talented children before training, and how these brains develop.

If Account #1 is true, hours of practice will explain all. If #2 is true, those best at music should excel at all activities. If #3 is true, individual brain differences should be observable from the start. If my account is true, the most talented students will be distinguished not by differences observable prior to training but rather by the ways in which their neural connections alter during the first years of training.
- Howard Gardner
Psychologist, Harvard University; Author, Changing Minds

How do we remember the past if all the molecules are gone?
Reminds me of the fight of Dr Bienveniste, a fench scientist who did studies on homeopathy and the memory of water. Water retains the properties of some substances even after the dilutions are too high for their molecules to be still present.

Guadeloupe, F.W.I.
agreg at
How do we remember the past if all the molecules are gone?
Reminds me of the fight of Dr Bienveniste, a French scientist who did studies on homeopathy and the memory of water. Water retains the properties of some substances even after the dilutions are too high for their molecules to be still present.

Guadeloupe, F.W.I.
agreg at
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Program on the emergence of civilization.

"14 species of large animals capable of domesitcation in the history of mankind.
13 from Europe, Asia and northern Africa.
None from the sub-Saharan African continent. "
And disfavor.

They point out Africans’ failed attempts to domesticate the elephant and zebra, the latter being an animal they illustrate that had utmost importance for it's applicability in transformation from a hunting/gathering to agrarian-based civilization.

The roots of racism are not of this earth.

Austrailia, aboriginals:::No domesticable animals.

The North American continent had none. Now 99% of that population is gone.

AIDS in Africa.

Organizational Heirarchy
Heirarchical order, from top to bottom:

1. MUCK - perhaps have experienced multiple universal contractions (have seen multiple big bangs), creator of the artificial intelligence humans ignorantly refer to as "god"
2. Perhaps some mid-level alien management
3. Mafia (evil) aliens - runs day-to-day operations here and perhaps elsewhere (On planets where they approved evil.)

Terrestrial management:

4. Chinese/egyptians - this may be separated into the eastern and western worlds
5. Romans - they answer to the egyptians
6. Mafia - the real-world interface that constantly turns over generationally so as to reinforce the widely-held notion of mortality
7. Jews, corporation, women, politician - Evidence exisits to suggest mafia management over all these groups.

Survival of the favored.

Movies foreshadowing catastrophy
1985 James Bond View to a Kill 1989 San Francisco Loma Prieta earthquake.

Many Muslims are being used like the Germans and Japanese of wwii::being used to hurt others and envoke condemnation upon their people.

I wish I could find a source to educate many Muslim fundamentalists. Muhammad is alive. He is a very lucky man, chosen like Jesus Christ and, due to his historical status, will live forever.
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