Saturday, May 23, 2015
Detailed description (including links to source materials)
You can sign up for the retreat and work with an instructor, or you can use the source materials, videos etc, on your own at your own pace.
If you sign up, they ask for a donation, whatever you feel like paying, after the retreat.
This style of meditation is based on the teachings of the Buddha. Most "Buddhist" meditation taught today is based on later commentaries on what Buddha taught.
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Thursday, May 21, 2015
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Monday, May 11, 2015
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Thursday, May 7, 2015
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Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Infinity Is a Beautiful Concept – And It’s Ruining Physics
By Max Tegmark
Physics is all about predicting the future from the past, but inflation seems to sabotage this. When we try to predict the probability that something particular will happen, inflation always gives the same useless answer: infinity divided by infinity. The problem is that whatever experiment you make, inflation predicts there will be infinitely many copies of you, far away in our infinite space, obtaining each physically possible outcome; and despite years of teeth-grinding in the cosmology community, no consensus has emerged on how to extract sensible answers from these infinities. So, strictly speaking, we physicists can no longer predict anything at all!
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Monday, April 20, 2015
Saturday, April 18, 2015
ANIMAL cognition and desire, from the appetite of a clam to the optical systems of vultures and frigate birds, is supposed to have neurobiological explanations resultant from, if not reducible to, universal laws of physics. That is a minimal and modest project for epistemology naturalized, one to be assisted by specialized sciences.
There is a larger and bolder project of epistemology naturalized, namely, to explain human thought in terms available to physical science, particularly the aspects of thought that carry truth values, and have formal features, like validity or mathematical form. That project seems to have hit a stone wall, a difficulty so grave that philosophers dismiss the underlying argument, or adopt a cavalier certainty that our judgments only simulate certain pure forms and never are real cases of, e.g., conjunction, modus ponens, adding, or genuine validity. The difficulty is that, in principle, such truth-carrying thoughts2 cannot be wholly physical (though they might have a physical medium),3 because they have features that no physical thing or process can have at all.
Blowing the whistle: But, Emperor Evolutionary Materialist Scientism (by being self-falsifying) is parading around naked . . .
1] Truth does not exist (Is that a true statement?)
2] Nothing is absolute (Is that absolutely true?)
3] I do not exist (You must exist to deny that you exist)
4] Science is the only way to know (Can you scientifically prove that?)
5] Only what can be perceived by the five senses exists (Can you prove that by the five senses?)
6] Nobody can know anything for sure (Do you know that for sure?)
7] Nobody can know anything about God (How do you know that?)
8] Talk about God is meaningless (Since it is a statement about God, this statement is meaningless too)
9] Reality is just your interpretation, objective reality does not exist (That’s just your interpretation)
10] “‘Everything we think and do is the function of our genes/nervous system’”: Is this belief itself just the result of genetic/neutral activity? If so, why trust it — or any belief we have? If your belief happens to be right, it’s just by accident” 
11] There are no beliefs (You expect me to believe that?) 
12] Everything is meaningless (So is that statement)
Friday, April 17, 2015
Pseudogenes Shrink Gaps for Theistic Darwinian Evolutionists Collins & Giberson
Friday, April 10, 2015
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
...if we want to explain the origin of the adult form of C. elegans, we need first to explain the origin of the developmental pathway that constructs the worm. And this is where undirected evolution runs into severe difficulties.
Monday, April 6, 2015
...when anyone says that testimony and personal experience are dismissible forms of evidence, they are obviously using (consciously or not) selective (and logically incoherent) hyperskepticism against an unwanted idea, because everything any of us believe or call ‘knowledge” is gained/extrapolated (hopefully using logic and logical arguments) via personal experience and/or information gained via testimony.
Hundreds of miles out to sea in a storm, exhausted birds would sometimes land en masse on ships for refuge. Sailors must have wondered at the sight; where did these little birds come from? And what are they doing out here? Did the wind carry them away from the safety of the land? A team of scientists decided to find out.
Sunday, April 5, 2015
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel from Slaves4Christ on Vimeo.
"... [believing] began a transformational process for me where over time my philosophy and my attitudes, relationships, parenting, world-view, all of that began to change over time for good. Really for good."
"When Lee became a Christian his whole life started to change to the extent that our five year old daughter who also saw those changes went to her Sunday school teacher and told her that she wanted Jesus to do in her life what He had done in her Daddy's life."
Saturday, April 4, 2015
Friday, April 3, 2015
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Monday, March 30, 2015
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Bee pesticide study furore is called a 'scandal' - environment - 27 March 2015 - New Scientist#.VRe24_lQOM5
Do neonicotinoid pesticides kill bumblebees? We still don't know, but the latest research is alarming – and casts doubt on the integrity of science.
The study, by Helen Thompson of the government's Food and Environment Research Agency, found "no clear consistent relationships" between pesticide residues and measures of the health of bee colonies, such as the number of new queens. "The absence of these effects is reassuring but not definitive," she said.
But Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex in Brighton has reanalysed the data and says that in fact the results "strongly suggest that wild bumblebee colonies in farmland can be expected to be adversely affected by exposure to neonicotinoids".
"This is a scandal," said Matt Shardlow of the charity Buglife, which has campaigned on the issue. "The scientific process appears to have been deliberately manipulated to agree with the environment secretary's views."
Thompson now works for agribusiness Syngenta, which manufactures some pesticides. She was not willing to speak on the record to New Scientist about Goulson's conclusions, but is understood to have submitted a new study on the issue for publication.
Saturday, March 28, 2015
In an age when commercial competition is only a click away, the new mandate is to make products and services that generate compulsive behavior: in essence, to get users hooked on a squirt of dopamine to the brain’s reward center to ensure that they’ll come back.”
It starts with a trigger, a prod that propels users into a four-step loop. Think of the e-mail notification you get when a friend tags you in a photo on Facebook. The trigger prompts you to take an action—say, to log in to Facebook. That leads to a reward: viewing the photo and reading the comments left by others. In the fourth step, you inject a personal stake by making an investment: say, leaving your own comment in the thread. This pattern, Eyal says, kicks off a cycle that lodges behaviors in the basal ganglia, the part of the brain where automatic behaviors are stored and where, according to neuroscientists, they last a lifetime.
The hook’s final stage, investment, closes the loop by “loading the next trigger,” Eyal says, an idea inspired in part by work on game psychology by Jesse Schell, a Disney Imagineer turned Carnegie Mellon professor. Take Twitter. When you make an investment by posting a tweet, a follower’s reply to your contribution triggers an e-mail notification to your in-box, inciting you to take yet another spin through the cycle.
Enzyme Families--Shared Evolutionary History or Shared Design? A Study of the GABA-Aminotransferase FamilyMariclair A. Reeves, Ann K. Gauger, Douglas D. Axe
AbstractThe functional diversity of enzyme families is thought to have been caused by repeated recruitment events--gene duplications followed by conversions to new functions. However, mathematical models show this can only work if beneficial new functions are achievable by just one or two base changes in the duplicate genes. Having found no convincing demonstration that this is feasible, we previously chose a highly similar pair of E. coli enzymes from the GABA-aminotransferase-like (GAT) family, 2-amino-3-ketobutyrate CoA ligase (Kbl2) and 8-amino-7-oxononanoate synthase (BioF2), and attempted to convert the first to perform the function of the second by site-directed mutagenesis. In the end we were unable to achieve functional conversion by that rational approach. Here we take a complementary approach based on random mutagenesis. Focusing first on single mutations, we prepared mutated libraries of nine genes from the GAT family and tested for BioF2 function in vivo. None of the singly mutated genes had this function. Focusing next on double mutations, we prepared and tested 70% of the 6.5 million possible mutation pairs for Kbl2 and for BIKB, an enzyme described as having both Kbl2 and BioF2 activities in vitro. Again, no BioF2 activity was detected in vivo. Based on these results, we conclude that conversion to BioF2 function would require at least two changes in the starting gene and probably more, since most double mutations do not work for two promising starting genes. The most favorable recruitment scenario would therefore require three genetic changes after the duplication event: two to achieve low-level BioF2 activity and one to boost that activity by overexpression. But even this best case would require about 10^15 years in a natural population, making it unrealistic. Considering this along with the whole body of evidence on enzyme conversions, we think structural similarities among enzymes with distinct functions are better interpreted as supporting shared design principles than shared evolutionary histories.
Physiology is rocking the foundations of evolutionary biology
Denis Noble Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics, Oxford, UK
The ‘Modern Synthesis’ (Neo-Darwinism) is amid-20th century gene-centric view of evolution, based on randommutations accumulating to produce gradual change through natural selection. Any role of physiological function in influencing genetic inheritance was excluded. The organism became a mere carrier of the real objects of selection, its genes. We now know that genetic change is far from random and often not gradual. Molecular genetics and genome sequencing have deconstructed this unnecessarily restrictive view of evolution in a way that reintroduces physiological function and interactions with the environment as factors influencing the speed and nature of inherited change. Acquired characteristics can be inherited, and in a few but growing number of cases that inheritance has nowbeen shown to be robust formany generations. The 21st century can look forward to a new synthesis that will reintegrate physiology with evolutionary biology.