Saturday, 28 January 2012

the Atheist and the Christian


"Bill is that you?"

"Yes, gosh, it's great to see you. What's it been? ten years?"

"Yes, the last time was at the graduation. How've you been?"

"Great! I'm married now with two kids. What about you?"

"Well, i'm getting married next month. Fantastic girl. Amazing family."

"So, John, you still trying to convert everyone?"

"No. Actually, i'm an atheist now. You know, evolution and all that."

"Unbelievable John. I'd have never imagined you to give up Christianity. It was, like, your defining Characteristic."

"Well Bill, we can all learn. It was like a light went off in my head. It was my fiance who helped me understand. She and her family are atheists. Like you."

"Uh, funny that John. You see, i'm no longer an atheist. I've been saved."

"You're kidding me! You? You were the ultimate atheist right through school. You knew more about evolution than even the science teachers. What happened?"

"Well, i guess i had time to think about it. And my wife, she's a Christian. She opened my eyes to God's Truth."

"That's amazing. Who'd have thought? You! A Christian! Absolutely unbelievable."

"Yeh. Weird ay."

"You believe all that stuff about God?"

"Yeh. I do."

"Like you believe that the earth is only 5000 years old?"

"Yeh. Really. It is."

"You're shitting me."

"No. It's true. Evolution is a scam."

"Well i'll be fucked!."

"Er, i'd prefer it if you'd not be so profane."

"Sorry Bill. I just can't get over it. You really mean it, you've taken to heart everything?"

"Yes. Jesus saved me."

"The Ten Commandments too?"

"Yes, absolutely"

"So, what's the Third Commandment?"

"Ah, 'Don't Kill?'"

"You mean you believe in God now but you don't know the Ten Commandments?"

"Well you don't need to know all the details to believe something. Anyway that was what you were into - all that Bible reading all through school."

"I guess so. Yeh maybe you're right. I can't claim to know a lot about evolution."

"Really? So, what has more impact on diversity - sex or mutation?"

"Ah, mutation i guess. Is that right?"

"You know what John. I recon we should both go get drunk."

"Yeh. I think that's a good idea. You can teach me all about God and I'll teach you all about evolution."


"Aint it the truth."


Friday, 27 January 2012

Stocks will go up!

According to Robert Trivers (The Folly of Fools, pp 133, 134 "Positivity in old age") "by age sixty (if not earlier), a striking bias sets in towards positive social perceptions and memories". "[Older people] simply do not attend to negaive information".

Baby Boomers hold a lot of wealth. Combine this wealth with a bias towards the positive and a blindness to the negative and it's quite likely that over the next decade, as more and more boomers enter this age, we shall see some impact on prices. Many still feel that they have not saved enough. What else are they to do but try to reap some profits? If enough are buying it will contribute to positive feedback - sending prices even higher. There certainly does not seem to be too many negatives hindering economic growth - energy seems quite safe for now.

Of course, i am approaching that age group, so maybe i am blind to the negatives.


Monday, 23 January 2012

Black Swans from a Black Swan

Comment in response to:

    The Black Swan of Cairo, and herehere and here.

Until about 65 million years ago dinosaurs filled every ecological niche imaginable. We poor mammals survived by our wits and tactics we evolved to protect our young for as long as possible. Not only we mammals but a few  other species evolved tactics that kept their young hidden - crocodiles, turtles, birds. They were not to know that a Black Swan event would turn these strategies to another advantage. But that's how natural selection works - traits that aid survival for one reason can lead to survival for an altogether different reason.

The dinosaurs happily laid their eggs in the open air and for tens of millions of years the balmy climate incubated them. Temperature volatility was unknown. Mom dinosaur need only be nearby to protect her clutch - the climate would do the rest.

Eggs can incubate in a very narrow temperature range. Vary outside that range and nothing hatches. If by chance you were a species that evolved to hide eggs where how you did so also provided insulation or warming from the ocean or decomposing vegetable matter your eggs would still hatch. If you were carrying your young around inside they too were protected by your high metabolism (developed to better run from hungry dinosaurs).

Came an unforeseen event - a meteor impact that lowered global temperatures by more than eggs could tolerate and lo - there were no longer any dinosaurs (other than the few that survived in some remote isolated warm places that became dwindling islands of last refuge against the explosion of other species that survived - like us).

I sometimes wonder if by blanket inoculation against all disease there will come a time that, because of collapse of our infrastructure, vaccines will no longer be available. Nor insulin, nor plentiful clean water.

Of course, Murphy always being ready to do his best (worst), such a collapse will come when there are no books left anywhere - we all depend on google for everything and with it gone not only will we not have access to vaccines and modern medicine but we'd not have access to information with which we might recover. We could go from 9 billion to 90 in a matter of decades. Whatever species had been suppressed by us would then be let loose - from viruses and bacteria to everything you can imagine - rats, cockroaches.....

Safety is a two edged sword - one day we too might find ourselves like the dinosaurs - totally dependent on a very narrow set of conditions.

But then, all species have their life cycle.


What do other's have to say?

    One-way Evolution (New Scientist)