Friday, February 24, 2012

(2) The value of pubic hair to human survial

Jack Dikian
February 2012

In the series looking at the New Scientist eccentricities of humans and what impact these have in overall survival value and evolutionary rationale. Here is another – Pubic hair.

While primates have finer hair around their genitals than on the rest of their body, adult humans sport an impressively thick bush of pubic hair.

Robin Weiss, Professor of Viral Oncology at University College London, in Journal of Biology, Vol 8 observes that pubic hair became thicker than that on the rest of our bodies at some point in our evolution and this must have happened for a reason. There is really no accepted explanation, however some advantages.…

Why would we evolve a response that lets others know that we are embarrassed or stressed

Jack Dikian
February 2012

For the next 10 days I thought I’d share what New Scientist published back in 2009 examining the eccentricities of humans, what impact these have in overall survival value and evolutionary rationale.

Blushing is the involuntary reddening of people’s face and neck due to embarrassment or emotional stress. It is thought that blushing is the result of an overactive sympathetic nervous system. Why would we evolve a response that lets others know that we are embarrassed or stressed.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The universe minus humans minus stars, sun, moon, and earth equals original universe equals heaven

Jack Dikian
February 2012

Walking through the city (Sydney) today with a close friend we were approached by a lady who handed us a leaflet. Not wanting to seem rude we accepted it and walked on.

Later, I was intrigued with the pictorials and some of the text (see attached); True world, False world, the Universe minus humans, and so on and so forth.

Those who know where this is going will know I’m describing Maum Meditation. In Korean, Maum means mind, soul or spirit and this style of meditation is a 7-step method of subtraction that allows the individual to become free of their human mind.

It seems the underlying premise is that the human mind accumulates “pictures” that are taken by a five-sense “camera” through our senses (no mention of vestibular sense) and it is these pictures that dictate our behaviors, emotions, desires, etc.

The next part to this is interesting. The logic chain is that the “pictures are illusions” and therefore humans live with these illusions and accept them as real. Those that have read 16th century philosophy will recall Descartes.

When for example Descartes decided to question everything. He starts by saying that any knowledge we have gained from others is not certain, since we ourselves did not acquire this knowledge first hand. He goes on to claim that even our senses may deceive us. Is their any way to be sure our senses are always accurate? Therefore: we can’t fully trust them. If we can’t trust our senses then what can we trust? Can we trust our thoughts? Well, we can't trust our thoughts that are based on 'knowledge' that we have learned, since we can’t trust our senses or anything outside ourselves. What then can we trust? What then do we know?

So it seems in Maum, rather than mistrust our senses, let’s just “free” ourselves of these pictures, and by consequence, free ourselves of “false” worlds.

An interesting extract; “The universe minus humans minus stars, sun, moon, and earth equals original universe equals heaven.

It amazing what one learns when they take a minute to read what’s been pushed into their lap…

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hat Size and Intelligence...

Jack Dikian
February 2012

These days we use statistically reliable and well-known cognitive assessments such as Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale to help determine cognitive function (let’s say intelligence for the sake of this blurb). These assessments generally measure a person's performance on several markers relative to that of his or her peers and include a series of analytical, mathematical, and spatial activities.

Let’s now rewind time back to 1870’s when Charles Darwin’s cousin, a scientist called Francis Galton got a brilliant idea or two. The good cousin becomes fascinated by animal breeders bringing about new advances in the varieties of dogs, sheep and cattle. His big idea was to use Darwin’s selection for a practical and political purpose - breading better humans.

He writes, “if only one 20th of the cost and pains spent on the measures of the human race then is spent on the improvement of breads of horses and cattle, what a galaxy of genius might we not create.” The term eugenics was coned - the application of animal breading concepts to humans.

His idea was underpinned by the belief that traits such as intelligence, genius, and memory were inherited in just the same way as the physical traits of cattle and sheep.

Interesting in one survey he distributed to 330 eminent men, as well as a question about “energy of mind”, he seeked to learn the hat size of the group - believing of course smart people must have bigger heads. Darwin’s hat size was considered a respectful 22 inches and a quarter.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Science inflicting wounds on humanities’ pride

Jack Dikian
February 2012

Our fragile pride

Sigmund Freud said that science inflicted three wounds on humanities’ pride. The first when Copernicus showed that Earth wasn’t the centre of the Solar system, then Charles Darwin showing that man evolved from other animals and then Freud himself that mankind is not [always] in control of their own behaviour and emotions. That is, human nature began with animal nature - and so Darwin’s dangerous idea is alive and almost visible inside all of us.