Jordan Reeves

TED-Ed Community Manager, TED Conferences

This conversation is closed.

In ten words or less, what is a question no one (yet) knows the answer to?

Is there life outside of our planet?

What's a bigger factor in our development: environment or genetics?

Is there any real truth, or is everything relative?

What will the earth be like in 100 years?

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    Dec 7 2011: QUOTE: "What's a bigger factor in our development: environment or genetics?"

    We actually know this one. It's genetics. Our dogs live in the same environment we do but, as yet, do not get to vote, drive cars, or run for political office. And very few know how to write. The difference is genetic.
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      Dec 8 2011: I'm not attempting to be rude, but was this supposed to be funny? I can't tell if this was sarcasm or not, but just in case it isn't... Obviously the question of development, which clearly states "our" development, is in regards to human development, and has absolutely nothing to do with dogs. This question has not been definitively answered. Psychologists and other medical professionals are still in great debate over which factors influence our development the most.
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        Dec 8 2011: QUOTE: "I'm not attempting to be rude, but was this supposed to be funny? I can't tell if this was sarcasm or not, but just in case it isn't... Obviously the question of development, which clearly states "our" development, is in regards to human development, and has absolutely nothing to do with dogs."

        Did it make you smile?

        The question of nature versus nurture is only an issue if we focus on one species at a time (which, as humans, we are prone to do) ... if we expand our consideration to include even two species then the BIGGEST factor, by far, is genetics ... after all, one little blip in our DNA, and we'd all be chimpanzees ... or maybe blue-green algae.

        So our development (whether human or otherwise) is influenced first by genetics (it makes us what we are) and then by environment (it shapes us within very clearly defined constraints. ... Now I'm a human ... I can only be a "good" human, or a "bad" human. I don't really cut it as flora.)


        [It's funny if you want it to be... humour seems to be a personal thing.]
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          Dec 8 2011: I get what you're saying now, but I guess we looked at the question differently. I took it to refer to human development, that is, once we are born (as humans!), do our genes or our environment play a bigger role in shaping who we ultimately become.
        • Dec 8 2011: This is a question close to the heart of adopted people, and I would agree with Juliet that there is much to be learned with regard to nature versus nurture.
      • Dec 8 2011: y so srs? I know the subject matter is all serious, but his answer was a comedic brilliance!
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        Dec 9 2011: It is obvious that both plays a huge role in our development but to say which one could potentially create the biggest impact on the individual I'd go with our genetics/our biology and here is why:

        I consider myself a very philosophical individual. There many values and principles that really guide my life and it is evident that my environment had an influence on such a development.

        There was a period in time in which I was homeless and that's when I realized how these higher principles we base our lives around due to the environment we created for ourselves as a society really did not have an impact when I was homeless. it is in our genes to want to survive and we'll do that by any means necessary. These higher principles that we create for ourselves due to the society we live in really almost serve no purpose in the real face of danger. It actually a privilege to even have a conversation like this

        Ultimately I think our biology can influence us more but I'd be a fool to say it influences us completely.
    • Dec 8 2011: QUOTE: "What's a bigger factor in our development: environment or genetics?"

      We actually know this one. It's the environment. Picture yourself having an identical twin brother. Then shoot yourself in the head. Your brother has the same genes as you do but, as you are dead, you do not get to vote, drive cars, or run for political office. And you no longer know how to write. The difference is environmental.

      This is brilliant logic.
      • Dec 8 2011: now that's funny!
        • Dec 8 2011: Just goes to show everything is subjective.

          It's like watching a dog chase his tail which one's faster?
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        Dec 8 2011: Hi Richard,

        Well, let's say you have a twin and he passes away of natural causes ... would you become a genius ... or, say, an iguana?

        You are (as I mentioned) focussing on a single species ... which is a typical human response. (As far as I know, iguanas don't have an opinion. Their brains haven't developed in quite the right way. It's genetic. you know?)

        [Are you an America male?]
        • Dec 9 2011: The question was "What's a bigger factor in OUR development?" Not, "What's a bigger factor in of the development of arbitrary species?" You are over-extending the question.

          To extend your over-extension of the question further: "What's a bigger factor in the development of a rock versus an iguana?" It's clearly environmental, since a rock does not even have genes.

          More generally, genes originated from the environment, not vice versa. One's genetic environment, which changes throughout life, is just one of many different environments that influence one's development.
        • Dec 10 2011: If it were genetics as you state, then you would not become anything from your twins death as you would pass away of the same natural causes as your twin (assuming identical). If you did not pass away, then exposure to a different environment can be the only explanation.

          The answer is both as seen in Epigenetics, it is the influence, combination and recipe of each.

          To bring the question across species - According to Evolutionary Developmental Theory of Mind and Vygotsky, the ability to teach and learn (as opposed to mimicking) differentiates humans from all other species. One must ask the question uniquely to each species and cannot generalize development across the universe.

          The humor and philosophy is also appreciated.
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        Dec 10 2011: Hi Richard,

        As I said it depends on where we would like to begin to answer the question.

        And if we choose, "our" can mean "humans" or it can mean "terrestrial earth-dwellers."

        You pick.

        I don't mind which answer we come up with. Because we can always shift contexts and get another answer.
    • Dec 8 2011: I guess there is no answer after all. At least there is debate on it.
    • Dec 8 2011: Enviro-netics
      • Dec 10 2011: Epigenetics
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          Dec 10 2011: QUOTE: "If it were genetics as you state, then you would not become anything from your twins death as you would pass away of the same natural causes as your twin (assuming identical).

          Hi Jessica,

          So you're saying if one twin gets hit by lightening the other will as well.

          That sucks.

          And, of course, we can frame the question (or the answer ... or both) to refer only to humans if we wish.

          We can also select discrete timeframes: for instance, in our (human) past, we made stone tools. We made them the same way for a long, long time (for example, we made Oldowan tools for a million years or so starting about 2.5 million years ago.) [Technically, we still make them, but you get my point (no pun intended.)]

          Our environment didn't change all that much but we suddenly started making more sophisticated tools.


          It might have had something to do with our brain's development (which is genetic) and we then changed our environment more or less continuously until, today, I can write to you from China.

          Now, why did our brain suddenly develop?

          Some think it's because we started eating fish which is rich in Omega 3 oils ... which is environmental.

          So you see, it just depends on how we would like to answer the question.

          I suspect no dogs have participated in this discussion (though their environments often include computers).... But we (all terrestrial earth-dwellers) are still evolving. Maybe there are some really, really smart, fish-eating dogs out there just waiting for their thumbs to become opposable and their Broca's area and Wernicke's area to evolve.

          Context is everything.
    • Dec 8 2011: Didn't (and don't) we adapt genetically to our environment? We adapted from apes to humans because of certain environmental conditions. Since your question focuses on which factor influences our development more it would surely be the environment.
    • Dec 8 2011: The fact that evolution occurs at all is evidence of the impact of environment on genetics. Those who are best suited to an environment prosper. The environment however has a great enough influence that those without the genetically endowed characteristics needed to survive it will die.

      Thus the environment is the stronger of the two - capable of creating change in genetics and altering the course of evolution (such that we ARE different from dogs).
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        Dec 8 2011: Hmmmm ... you guys are taking this one to heart.

        There are "environments" that have been around a lot longer than earth and they have no "genetic" material ... no genes, no evolution.

        Now, if we would like to go back a bit further ... we might hit, let's say a big explosive event ... if that didn't turn out "just right" no stars, earth, humans or dogs.

        So I guess it depends on where we want to start with our enquiry.
  • Dec 8 2011: If a turtle loses its shell, is it homeless or naked?
  • Dec 8 2011: What question is most worth asking?
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    Dec 8 2011: Where exactly is memory in the brain?
    Where exactly does a thought come from?
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    Dec 7 2011: How big is the universe?
    • Dec 8 2011: I remember being in class at a Catholic elementary school and a teacher saying that if you really want to occupy your time because you have nothing to do, try contemplating how old God is (ie. the Bible says he is infinite and has no beginning and no end).

      Now that I have grown and am agnostic, I have replaced this with the age/size of the universe. It actually makes me very uncomfortable when I try to contemplate this.
    • Dec 8 2011: Apparently we now have a multiverse, so it's smaller than that.
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      Dec 9 2011: There are two answers. Of the observable Universe, just over 15 billion light years long in all directions. Of the actual, requires us to be external to the Universe which by definition is not possible.
    • Dec 10 2011: Which one?
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      Dec 11 2011: The universe is as big as u can imagine it would be.
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    Dec 6 2011: What is Love?
    • Comment deleted

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        Dec 7 2011: Love is a many-splendoured thing.
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        Dec 7 2011: Thank you Varlan,

        this is the thing about Grown Love. What happened to passion, lust and curiosity for each other?
        How come that often over time couples loose a lot, if not all, of what has made them attracted to one another the moment they met?

        I call it the 'Dark Side' turns into 'White Side'.
        The dark side is our curiosity, lust, passion, sense of adventure, intensity, pure-ness, surprise...
        The white side is where we feel empathy, responsibility, diplomacy, understanding, patience, ...
        And we all have a Dark Side AND a White Side in us that seek expression.

        However, especially when we begin to think we 'know' our partner, a house is bought together, a family is built, many couples slowly but steadily stop being curious and start to focus only on behaving responsibly, caring for the kids, working hard to pay the bills, organizing life and worrying about the future.
        Furthermore, if children are born in the relationship, couples don't feel the sense of passion, lust and adventure appropriate to live alongside raising the kids anymore.
        The pure thought of spending a hot weekend just the two without kids often raises guild.
        Doing a striptease or spending a champagne night full of lust and sex starts to feel awkward.
        And this way, before you realize, your 'Grown Love' has become a love for each other purely lived with the White Side.

        However, we all always have both sides in us that seek to be expressed as part of our life.
        We can not and should not try to close this side down in us, both man and woman.

        And that's why it is so important to not let your Grown Love become a 'less entangling mystery' but to make your love for each White and Dark. In the end, it's the love of the parents for each other that has created all there is. It's living the White AND the Dark Side with each other that thrives the relationship of the entire family.

        So for all 'Grown Lovers' out there, remember what made you fall in love, feel it and live it.
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      Dec 7 2011: Read "The Psychology of Love" by Nathaniel Branden. Monumental!
    • Dec 8 2011: Perhaps the the attraction of the One with the Many, Spirit with Form, Light with Darkness, Past with Future, Time with Space... which creates consciousness, life, evolution, peace, the moment, existence
    • Dec 8 2011: Love, like in a couple? Passion + Intimacy + Commitment. Known as Sternberg's Triangle. (in other words, Lust, Laughter, and Loyalty).
    • Dec 8 2011: love is the combination of effects originating by chemicals and hormone changes produced in your brain (like oxytocin) these effects provide us with similar sensations and consequences as those we feel by drugs (such as addiction and withdrawal). The three elements: (1) sexual desire, (2) emotions and (3) human dependency on a partner (originally for the purpose of evolution and to raise offspring) amalgamate to create that complex set of feelings and to ignite the production of the afore mentioned chemicals and hormones to which we have decided to give the name of LOVE.
  • Dec 10 2011: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object ??
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      Dec 11 2011: one is proved to be false :D
    • Dec 11 2011: something unbelievable
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      Dec 11 2011: Answer is obvious: That force will keep acting, and that immovable object maintain its position. There would be no observable effect.
    • Dec 13 2011: I would hazard that the underlying pattern of the universe would preclude both from co-existing. We would have one, the other, or neither.
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    Dec 8 2011: Why does a minor chord make us feeling sad ?
  • Dec 8 2011: What if I had taken the other road?
    • Dec 9 2011: The one less-travelled by? It would have made all the difference.
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    Dec 8 2011: How does dreams work?
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    Dec 8 2011: What the purpose of life?
  • Dec 7 2011: Who is the happiest person in the world?
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    Dec 11 2011: where are my keys? Where are my keys? Where? Where?
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    Dec 9 2011: What is the mechanism that makes the placebo effect work.
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      Dec 9 2011: I believe its autosuggestion.
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      Dec 9 2011: Great question! I think there's some real mystery here and great potential if it's answered! psychology is not a mechanism, but as a discipline it offers some limited answers.
      The mechanism clearly seems to be within the person, and that mechanism has the power to heal the body on its own steam! The answer, if found, could become a very powerful source for good.
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      Dec 9 2011: Expectations
      The human brain is wired to be influenced by Expectations. Placebos have their effect through a sort of mind-over-matter process. It's similar to how drug addicts can feel a 'high' by watching a video of another drug user 'shooting up.' We don't need to directly experience the drug's action to 'feel' the same result, IF we can expect what the effects of the drug could be.

      (The actual mechanism may be the expected reinforcing/rewarding effects from a drug, like alcohol, by way of the Dopaminergic pathway).
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    Dec 8 2011: Why are moths attracted to lightbulbs? (Thanks QI !)
  • Dec 8 2011: Where is the source of consciousness?
  • Dec 8 2011: The foundation of religion: What happens to us when we die?
  • Dec 8 2011: Did God create us or did we create God?
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    Dec 8 2011: Can you imagine the unimaginable?
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    Dec 8 2011: Is there an afterlife and is it the same for everyone?
  • Dec 8 2011: Do plants "think"?
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      Dec 8 2011: They have the same lower level thinking processes that we humans have in the lower brain stem reacting to stimuli and regulation themselves, but with regards to self-aware and abstract thoughts of humans... there are many humans that one could question whether they "think".
    • Dec 8 2011: I think so.
  • Dec 8 2011: What is the cure to cancer? What's the cure to AIDS?
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    Dec 8 2011: Will we one day learn from our mistakes?
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    Dec 8 2011: Is there any real truth, or is everything relative?
    Opposite of every truth is just as true! - "Hermen Hesse", creation is ultimate truth.
  • Dec 8 2011: Why do we perceive beauty in abstractness, music and art?
    • Dec 8 2011: I like your question.
      In my opinion,
      It is because art is able to materialise (or make visible, or hearable) the collective and universal order which exists in each person because we all belong and exist inside universe. Therefore all people are able to recognize, feel, and connect to it on some level, through art. Of course, art is, also, NOT the only area which makes us perceive beauty.

      ps. When I say order, I mean beauty (although Beauty is of course far more relative term and concept.
      I find that not all art is beautifull, but I tried to answer it from the general perspective, as I see it.)
  • Dec 8 2011: Do we have free will?
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    Dec 8 2011: I'd rather ask... Is there a question mankind actually ever know the answer of?
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    Dec 7 2011: Can science explain consciousness?
    • Dec 7 2011: Or what was the first conscious thought that humans had? I tend to think that it was ¨I can direct my actions¨ ... and not ¨I exist¨
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        Dec 7 2011: Along with quantum mechanics, the study of consciousness forces the empiricism of science to be moved, kicking and screaming, into the realm of the metaphysical.

        The uneasy relationship between the scientific method and the metaphysical, and how it develops, will be fascinating to watch.

        I await the inevitability of their embrace with bated breath.
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    Dec 6 2011: How long I'll live.
  • Dec 12 2011: What is it like to die.
  • Dec 12 2011: How is knowledge possible?
  • Dec 11 2011: Who am I?
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    Dec 11 2011: who are you God ? just wanna say thanks.
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    Dec 10 2011: why do human exist?
  • Dec 10 2011: Is life fair to everybody?
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    Dec 10 2011: How exactly would look your reply (to this post), if this post would be different?
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    Dec 10 2011: So, by rules of the game, do we have to specify a question that we believe we will eventually GET an answer to, or merely a question that we do not know the answer to regardless of if it is answerable or not?
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    Dec 9 2011: What is not known is how the mental state of believing you are cured affects the cells of your body. The placebo effect is the interface between mind and body but we do not know how it works.
  • Dec 9 2011: wikipedia's (!!) answers are "when"and "how:..
  • Dec 9 2011: How will you react to this statement?
  • Dec 9 2011: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
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    Dec 9 2011: Do we really know the answer to anything?
    • Dec 9 2011: Oh we absolutely do, BUT what we know is only temporary. That's the catch. It's all temporary.
      • Dec 9 2011: Totally agree. We are all tourist here.. In words of Jim Morrison, " The blue bus is calling us :) "
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        Dec 10 2011: Temporary for us alive today. Our descendants will use what we are talking about here. We remain part of humanity as long as humanity exists.
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        Dec 11 2011: The fact that what we know is only temporary could also mean that we don't know the answer to anything but with every discovery we are getting closer to the answer...that we might not unravel in our lifetimes...
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      Dec 9 2011: Yes we do know the answer to nothing and we do know the answer to 1 + 1, we know the answer to lots of things, but we do not know the answer to everything.
    • Dec 11 2011: Sure we know the answer to 1 + 1, but in the world of evidence-based science, one of the biggest challenges (?frustrations) is always remembering that one can never truly know/prove anything with absolute certainty.
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      Dec 11 2011: We know answer to anything but not everything.
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    Dec 9 2011: How many licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
  • Dec 9 2011: Why do we get Deja Vu?
  • Dec 8 2011: How can i get onto platform 9 3/4?
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    Dec 8 2011: Is there negative infinity?

    Can objects be smaller and smaller infinitely? what if our galaxy or even the universe was just a tiny part or an important component of something much bigger. Maybe we are as small as the matter to bigger beings and thus completely insignificant. And since earth is the only living planet, what if our very existence is the beginning of mutation of something bigger. Maybe earth is an error!
  • Dec 8 2011: Why did I just have deja vu?
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    Dec 8 2011: I don't know whether anyone has posted this...but what i get most puzzled on is.....
    "Where" is This Universe!!!
    and then I stop thinking..:)
  • Dec 8 2011: If there really are parallel universes, can we cross over? (ten words exactly)
  • Dec 8 2011: Is time travel probable?
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    Dec 8 2011: What force makes or made the world start to go round?
  • Dec 8 2011: Who has the biggest influence over society's development?
  • Dec 8 2011: why can't we all just get along?
  • Dec 8 2011: Where is the source of time?
  • Dec 8 2011: Why do people not follow the ten word limit?
  • Dec 8 2011: How many people can the planet support at a reasonable quality of life?
    • Dec 8 2011: I'm pretty sure there are people alive today with a below a reasonable quality of life. My answer is less than seven billion.
      • Dec 8 2011: Although that assumes that some people would be unable to have a reasonable quality of like consuming significantly fewer resources than they do now and sharing what we do have more equitably? I guess it depends how you define reasonable.
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          Dec 10 2011: I am not sure we westerners know what is reasonable any more. While we stuff ourselves with choice fare, the have-nots' mouths are filled with dust, and their drink is full of parasites.
          Are we willing to give an iota of our cushy lifestyles? Can we insist on calling ourselves human?
  • Dec 8 2011: Why ?
  • Dec 8 2011: Why isn't common sence more common?
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    Dec 8 2011: Why do some people spontaneously combust?
  • Dec 8 2011: What would you do for a klondike bar?
  • Dec 8 2011: Why are people so certain?
  • Dec 8 2011: What will happen next?
  • Dec 8 2011: Why are there so many questions noone can answer?
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    Dec 8 2011: Who or what is GOD?
  • Dec 8 2011: Infinity exists?
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    Dec 8 2011: What is the purpose of my existence?
    • Dec 8 2011: To ask inane questions ;-)

      No, seriously, I like what G.B. Shaw wrote: "Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."
      • Dec 8 2011: Very much the case...this is also related to the nature vs. nurture question. Let's take Avatar for is impossible to create a "blank" mature human because neural networks are developed because there is specific stimulation...change any of the input from the environment during development and you change the resulting human. We are the produce of the environment that our genes are exposed to, each and every step of the way. At the point of maturity there is no way to have a blank, unless you erase every memory store up to that point (the military is working on drugs for that!)...however, you would still have the network and structure that were developed due to that unique set of exposures. I realize I have come full circle in regards to the Avatar scenario...think how unethical it would be to "wipe" a mature persons personality and memories for purposes like those in the film...gee, that sure would change the plot line!
    • Dec 8 2011: Your life didn’t begin at birth and it won’t end at death. Before you came to earth, your spirit lived with Heavenly Father who created you. You knew Him, and He knew and loved you. It was a happy time during which you were taught God’s plan of happiness and the path to true joy. But just as most of us leave our home and parents when we grow up, God knew you needed to do the same. He knew you couldn’t progress unless you left for a while. So he allowed you to come to earth to experience the joy—as well as pain—of a physical body.

      One thing that makes this life so hard sometimes is that we’re out of God’s physical presence. Not only that, but we can’t remember our pre-earth life which means we have to operate by faith rather than sight. God didn’t say it would be easy, but He promised His spirit would be there when we needed Him. Even though it feels like it sometimes, we’re not alone in our journey

      God’s plan for you is beautiful and simple. He wants you to have joy and to become more like Him.

      That doesn’t mean He expects you to be perfect. He knows you won’t be. But He does expect that while you’re here on earth you try to the best of your ability to be more like Him and that you learn and grow from your mistakes. Each time you make a poor choice with painful consequences, that decision leads to unhappiness—sometimes immediately, sometimes much later. Likewise, choosing good eventually leads to happiness and helps you become more like Heavenly Father.

      Regardless of what you do or don’t have in this life, your deepest, most lasting happiness will come from knowing God’s plan and following it.
      • Dec 8 2011: how do you know all these things? and what's god's plan?
        • Dec 8 2011: God is knowable. The idea that God is incomprehensible or some mystical spirit that cannot be known or understood is just not true. He has always He has not abandoned us, but most have abandoned Him.

          What are some things that tell me there is a God?
          Our bodies, the planet, and even the entire universe are as complicated as they are beautiful. Yet they all have perfect order and such specific design that could only have come to be through a divine creator. Some might be of the opinion that you can either believe in God or Science, but not both. I believe they go hand in hand. God created all things using laws natural to his environment. The Earth has His divine imprint and its chalk full of pattern, law, order, and meaning. Therefor the study of the world can also be seen as a study of the divine.

          Our mortal lives are temporary, but our spirits are eternal. As His spirit children, we lived with our Father in Heaven until He knew the only way we would continue to learn and progress would be to leave His presence and experience trials and opposition. Life is our opportunity to learn to distinguish good from evil, to confront and deal with challenges, trials and conflicts, to experience joy and sorrow and other emotions, to become more compassionate, kind, loving, courageous, and at peace, and to provide others similar opportunities by bearing, raising, helping and embracing other human beings. Our search for meaning includes finding connection and purpose outside ourselves. The only way we achieve our greatest potential is through principles of faith, hope, charity, and change (repentance) which are symbolized in holy ordinances, including baptism. God wants us to learn to be happy. Truly happy like He is. To find this type of happiness, we must not set our hearts on pursuits of 'temporary gratification' i.e; beauty, wealth, fame, and other selfish indulgences that are hollow and fleeting. Lasting happiness comes from keeping God's commandments.
        • Dec 12 2011: This is a tautology, which simply does not make a good argumrent.
      • Dec 8 2011: that's a pretty myth but it is yours not everyone's.
        • Dec 8 2011: Truth isnt relative... truth is eternal and never bending. Those who live and abide by the precepts and principals of that truth, are enlightened while finding joy, peace and fulfillment.
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          Dec 8 2011: Troy, while it's true that "truth is eternal in never bending," perception is a different story. The ideas you shared above are a matter of perception. Not to step on your beliefs in any way, but your perception of the "truth" isn't necessarily what others will perceive. All of these ideas are intrinsic to humanity, not religious idealism.
      • Dec 8 2011: Troy, I am a born-again Christian, and while I agree with some of what you're saying, I have questions about where some of your thinking comes from. 1. Where did you get the idea that we were first spirits before being created as human flesh? 2. If God was simply sending us to earth to progress... how does one explain the Garden of Eden?
        • Dec 8 2011: Since we were created spiritually first, prior to our birth on earth, we have to assume that we existed and lived somewhere during that period of time. Hence, a Premortal Existence in a Premortal World. In Genesis 2: 4-5 Moses teaches in Genesis that God created all things spiritually prior to their physical creation.

          The bible gives us the following evidences of a premortal existence:
          Job 38: 4-7
          4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
          In this verse, God is asking Job if he knew where he was while God was laying the foundations of the Earth.
          5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
          6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
          7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
          These verses tell us that when the corner stone of the foundation of this earth was laid, the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. If we were among all the sons of God, then we too existed prior to the foundation of this earth.

          There are more:
          Jer. 1: 5
          5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

          Eccl. 12: 7
          7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
          This verses seems to indicate that the spirit within man will return to a place it was before it was joined with the dust which makes up our mortal tabernacle. Thus indicating that it existed prior to coming to this earth and will return to God after we die.

          more still...
          Ecclesiastes 12: 7 "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
          The keyword in this verse is "return". In order for something to return to anything it would have had to be with it previous.

          there are more, but I'm out of space!
      • Dec 9 2011: God didn't plan anything for me. Following the words of Ayn Rand, you should never have to prove that there isn't a god, because you can't prove a negative. Find me proof that there is a god, and I will believe you.

        So lets say there is God. Now several million years ago, the world was in harmony and nature was allowed to thrive. Then God came along and said, lets f*ck that up! So god created man, and man through the process of civilization began to systematically destroy life on the planet. If God's plan is to have humans eradicate life on the earth and allow some humans to over eat until they die of obesity and some humans to die from starvation, well then this God is a horrible god and I would like him to stop playing with our lives.
        • Dec 9 2011: I know God lives. All things point to this truth, however, I have had divine witness and confirmation of this truth that removes all possible doubt.

          Naturalism’s explanations of the origins of life and the miracle of our bodies often appear convoluted when placed side by side with the simple truths of the revealed word and divine scripture.

          With its 107 million cells, connected to the brain by over 1 million neurons, the eye is more perfect than any camera ever invented. It caused Charles Darwin to humbly admit, “That the eye with all its inimitable contrivances … could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest sense.”

          This earth departs from its orbit of the sun by only one-ninth of an inch (2.82 mm) every 18 miles (29 km). If, instead, it changed by one-tenth of an inch (2.54 mm) every 18 miles, we would all freeze to death. If it changed by one-eighth of an inch (3.18 mm), we would all be incinerated. Did this all happen by accident?

          The doubter requires too much of us when he asks us to believe that the miracles of eyes and hands and DNA and order in the universe all happened by chance. The passage of time, even long intervals of time, is not a “cause” and provides no answers without an intelligent designer.

          The evidence of Heavenly Father’s existence is everywhere: in every newborn babe and in every system, part, and parcel of the unending and orderly universe, including our own bodies. He is evidenced in every sunset, work of art, and passage of music, all of which He has provided to gladden the heart and bring beauty to our lives.

          The same God who brings such order to the universe and inspires the prophets designed the time, place, and circumstances of your birth. God’s love for you and awareness of your circumstances are of equal measure. Our relationship with Him is not that of Creator and created thing. It is of personal Father and child.

          I know God exists and all things are evidence of this truth.
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        Dec 9 2011: Some of us humans learned not to believe in the Super Natural Myths such as Apollo, Zeus, Thor, and God. Some humans do not believe our spirits/souls existed before our DNA started to unfold into a human and we don't believe our spirits/souls will exist after our DNA unfolding stops and decays back into elements. We exist only while our DNA is in the STATE of unfolding. All tribes on Mother Earth have a genesis myth. And the genesis myths serve to ease the uncertainty caused by lack of knowledge. Some have a need to weave the myth into fantastic beliefs and will kill to preserve the mind set. Enough said...
        • Dec 9 2011: So the question is, are we just DNA enabled unique machines or there is a more mysterious code which runs our DNA and continues after the DNA (spirit)?
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        Dec 9 2011: HI Troy,

        You say, "I know God lives. All things point to this truth, however, I have had divine witness and confirmation of this truth that removes all possible doubt."

        Has it occurred to you that tens of thousands, if not millions, of others have experienced similar "divine witness" that were just as "real" to them as yours is to you and they came to different conclusions?

        Your experiences are, no doubt, compelling and convincing to you but fundamentally no different than those who believe in Allah, Yahweh, reincarnation, enlightenment and so on.

        You know your experience and you know the conclusions you have drawn based on your experience. That's all. You do not know if your experiences and conclusions are "universally true."

        You might not agree with me.

        Your conclusions are not true for me. Although I do agree with some of what you say.


        QUOTE: "Naturalism’s explanations of the origins of life and the miracle of our bodies often appear convoluted when placed side by side with the simple truths of the revealed word and divine scripture."

        Naturalism’s explanations appear elegantly simple to me and much less convoluted than "man-from-mud," woman-from-rib, "a talking serpent," and so on. THAT is convoluted. But that's just me.
        • Dec 9 2011: I understand that this may sound absurd to a lot of folks here, but there is a certain psychedelic concoction that can,let's just say, open new windows for the human brain. Returning form such an experience without having a profound appreciation for the creator is an impossibility.
        • Dec 9 2011: Hi Thomas,

          God loves all His children, and yes, many millions are witnesses to that love. My wife and I share the same faith and belief yet, our testimonies differ in strength and in our expression. You and I could experience something together, yet what we take away from that experience would likely differ, would it not? Yet, that that difference does not mean that the experience itself never happened or wasn't real. One might say just the opposite. Your point that thousands or millions have also experienced a "divine witness" to me is only faith confirming, and to the analytical minded could be seen as evidence.

          Is it plausible that many differing religions or cultures throughout the world actually all contain truth? I think so. Do I know it all? No. Throughout time, God has revealed more and more truth to His children. Do we know all there is about the nature of God today? No! Is it possible that some people on one side of the planet call this truth by one name, and others in a different part of the world call it by another? Yes of course. Is it possible that some cultures have distorted truth with the philosophies of man? Yes of course. That is why prophets and revelation has been so important throughout the history of the world. Without it, man loses his way.
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        Dec 9 2011: QUOTE: " I understand that this may sound absurd to a lot of folks here, but there is a certain psychedelic concoction that can,let's just say, open new windows for the human brain. Returning form such an experience without having a profound appreciation for the creator is an impossibility."

        Then how would we explain all the atheist stoners?

        But you bring up an interesting point: "divine revelation" dropped off considerably in Europe when bread-makers switched from rye flour to wheat flour.


        Because rye was, and is, prone to ergot contamination. Ergot is a fungus with hallucinogenic properties.

        No kidding.
        • Dec 9 2011: Quote: Then how would we explain all the atheist stoners?
          Then I guess they haven't been to Peru yet.
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        Dec 9 2011: Everyone in Peru is a stoner and so believes in God?

        Do you think they might just be Catholics (who, for the most part, believe in God) with a liberal attitude (when it comes to what might be considered ... ah ... a sacrament?)
      • Dec 9 2011: I used to feel that way. then I quit smoking pot!
        • Dec 9 2011: Something that is a gaba blocker and a serotonin modulator at the same time acts as a short term nootropic that can increase neural activity in the brain several fold, no divine revelations here, just an incredible increase in cognitive capabilty, lending to several insights. That's NOT pot.
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        Dec 9 2011: people presume to know what is happening before and after. (10)
    • Dec 9 2011: 13.7 billion years ago, the universe was born in a cosmic fireball. Roughly 10 billion years later, the planet we call Earth gave birth to life, which eventually led to your existance. So your question: "What is the purpose of my existence?" The answer is: To exist. What you are while you exist, is something you know already.
  • Dec 8 2011: Can entropy be reversed?
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    Dec 8 2011: Where does gravity come from?
  • Dec 8 2011: Can humans avoid self-annihilation?
  • Dec 8 2011: What's it like to be you?
    • Dec 8 2011: It's great! It's interesting! It's fun! It's ... well ... unique! Thanks for asking!
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    Dec 8 2011: what is freedom?
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      Dec 8 2011: It is a perception, a state of mind. We are all imprisoned in our bodies but yet free to explore the cosmos in our minds.
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      Dec 8 2011: Ability to make independent decisions. It is what we lack in socialistic countries (most of the world now). For example: a possibility to choose if you want to be safe or not.
    • Dec 8 2011: The capacity to choose.
  • Dec 8 2011: What is radioactive decay caused by?
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    Dec 8 2011: Is there only one universe?
  • Dec 8 2011: why is yawning contagious?
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    Dec 8 2011: What happened before the Big Bang?
  • Dec 8 2011: Will humankind achieve infinite energy sustainability, or fossil fuelled extinction?
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    Dec 8 2011: What is Justice?
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      Dec 8 2011: I think its same with justice as it is with happiness and darkness. All are terms used to describe the state where there is lack of its counterparts which you CAN describe and measure (unhappiness, injustice, light).
  • Dec 8 2011: How did the Universe begin?
  • Dec 8 2011: What does it take to forgive?
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      Dec 8 2011: Compassion, understanding, and "putting oneself in the other person's shoes"
  • Dec 8 2011: Does conscious identity continue to function after physical death?
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      Dec 8 2011: Yes, but you rapidly lose frame of references and the concept of time and space. The longer you are dead, the more conscious identity disperses. The person you are diffuses but the thoughts continue (for how long I don't know as I was only dead for 15 minutes).
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        Dec 8 2011: I think this response needs some clarification from you. Your brain was dead? Your heart stopped beating? Your body temperature started falling? please enlighten us. Usually what happens when you die, they bury you or cremate you. The rest I think, is medical definitions of death that can be reversed sometimes.
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    Dec 8 2011: What is the unchanging difference between right and wrong?
  • Dec 8 2011: Why are we here? Where are we going? If chance caused the universe can it end the universe?
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      Dec 8 2011: Thank you!
      • Dec 8 2011: I will try to suggest the answer to your third question.
        Please think of it as a proposition made by a very tired and sleepy person, nothing more...

        Chance needs some "ingredients" to even happen, right? Therefore, if it needs something else to come alive or to happen, than it is always dependable. Everything what is dependable on something, loses its real power over anything else, which means it loses its power even to destroy.
        So in my opinion, it cannot end it.

        And of course there is this other viewpoint that says chance does not exist and everything is connected by a higher meaning and higher purpose.
  • Dec 7 2011: How many people you have met in your life?
  • Dec 7 2011: Is there life beyond our planet? Yes or no; "In either case, the idea is quite staggering." ~Arthur C. Clarke

    What's a bigger factor...environment or genetics? Epigenetics?!

    Is there any real truth? hmmmm! (Is that a word?)

    What will the earth be like in 100 years? (With current trends,) we'll have left the Earth far behind.
  • Dec 7 2011: When one will die?
  • Dec 7 2011: Why do humans feel the need to find a reason for their existence?
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      Dec 8 2011: Life is what you make it. One can either take responsibility for their own actions or find a rationalization for justification of their actions. Finding a reason is one of the latter.
  • Dec 7 2011: who am i
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    Dec 7 2011: Who will win the next lottery?
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      Dec 8 2011: Me!! :) Wouldn't it be cool if someone cracked this code?
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        Dec 10 2011: Socialistic goverments cracked this code. People pay monthly, and they (goverment people) always win money for nothing.
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        Dec 10 2011: I find very curious that in aproximately 1 in 50 million (at least) chances of winning the lottery, 1 time in 3 weeks someone always win it....
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      Dec 9 2011: The contestant with the winning combination.
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        Dec 10 2011: That's true. ... Unless no one has the winning combination.
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          Dec 10 2011: Then that would be not a winning lottery which your question was. The fact that your question stated a win, then by definition it is one where a contestant has a winning ticket.
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        Dec 10 2011: Hi James,

        The answer might be "no one."


        Yes, your answers are valid.

        As I mentioned, Jordan did not specify the answers had to be correct or even meaningful.
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        Dec 10 2011: QUOTE: "Not speaking to this question specifically, but I would hope that all the questions posted and the answer posed would be correct and meaningful. Haha!"

        Okay James, this raises the bar a little.

        How about these (maybe they have already been asked??):

        Will we prove the Higgs Boson exists?

        Will we prove the existence of "super strings?"

        Will we ever tell the difference between believing and knowing?
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          Dec 11 2011: Hello Thomas,

          Agreed, these are better questions and definitely raise the bar (which I am glad to see). Hopefully in a couple of days we will have answers to the Higgs Boson (but I gather there are a few in Cern that already know the answer). Will the Grand Unification Theory be proven goes along the same lines.
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    Dec 7 2011: What happens (to us) after we die (if anything?)
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      Dec 9 2011: Your physical body begins to decay, your consciousness and subconscious thought begin to lose their frame of reference and lose a sense of time and space until self awareness ceases to exist.
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        Dec 10 2011: Hi James,

        Maybe. But you don't know. (And I know at least two people on TED who would argue vociferously against such an assertion ... they don't know either ... but I'll bet you, and they, think you do.)
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          Dec 10 2011: Hi Thomas. Clever question.

          Now when we say no one knows the answer, I can interpret it to mean that nobody knows with certainty what the answer is.

          But just as a fun exercise, I could interpret this in a slighly different way:

          Suppose I have a coin and two friends. I ask them what will be the next toss, heads or tails, and they each select one of the choices. Even without throwing the coin, i know that one of them is right (i might not know which one, but certainly one of them is)

          So can I argue that if i know two people with opposed opinions on what happens to us after we die (one believes our consciousness keeps going, and the other that it dies with our physical bodies), isn't one of them right? and it one of them is right, doesn't that mean that someone already knows the answer?

          I hope you will allow this twist on the conversation

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          Dec 10 2011: Hi Thomas,

          One's frame of reference is within your body, everything that makes your self awareness who you are is therein contained. Without the body (which we have empirical proof decays), there is no means to maintain that frame of reference. There is no time during your life that you have other frames of references than your own life.(e.g. we do not phase in and out of our bodies into that of another human, an animal, a tree, or a rock)

          Just because there are people that either choose not to accept reality or prefer to be in denial, does not necessarily open another possibility. (e.g. we have never seen a decaying body regenerate to life, we have never seen a broken glass reform itself, etc...)
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          Dec 10 2011: @James: Doesn't necessarily mean another possibility doesn't (or hasn't always been) open either.
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        Dec 10 2011: HI Andres,

        Maybe both are right. Maybe whatever we think will happen, happens. Maybe it's something we literally cannot imagine and both are wrong. (If it's knowable, we'll find out soon enough.)

        There was a teacher in England I think it was and he was teaching statistic, probability or some such thing. He flipped a coin to make a point, saying it would be either heads or tails. It landed on the edge.

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          Dec 10 2011: Andres: What may happen to our concious after we die is totally different than asking on what side coin will land. With coin, you already know it may land on 2 sides (or the edge). So you can say one of 3 people betting on each possibility is right, but noone know how many sides could be after death, so you cant say that one of those philosophies already invented or any philosophy to be invented by humans (with limited posibilities of imagination and limited perception, intelligence and brain capacity) is right. We are like ants not knowing why outside of their anthill there is once light and other time darkness. And like ants we are not capable of discovering the reason.
          This is why agnosticism seems to be the way to go if it comes to beliefs. There is just no point disputing if golden teacup is orbiting between earth and mars - no ancient books written by people claiming there is such golden teacup, wont make it more true or possible.
        • Dec 10 2011: Hi Thomas/Andres,

          The real problem with Andres' argument is the misuse of the word "know". No, neither of the 2 people "knew" what the toss is going to be. Their bets/beliefs could happen to correspond to the outcome of the flip at a later point in time. But neither before the flip nor after it can either of them claim that they "knew" the outcome of the flip.
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        Dec 10 2011: Hi James,

        I understand you. And what you say does make sense. BUT unless you have died, you simply do not know what happens after you die. Period.

        We can speculate all we want; we cannot know (unless perhaps we are, say, God ... then who knows?)

        This is one of the few things I do not qualify (other than the whole God thing which might also be phrased as superconscious or ...?)

        Even if we have died "before" and remember what happened (I have a friend who "remembers" eight previous lives) we can not know what will happen when we die the next time.

        And I am dubious about the remembering thing too.
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          Dec 10 2011: Hi Thomas,

          You doubt the lives of your friend, I do too.

          Rememberence yes and of the time in between we can see what's beyond life.

          Not linear as a time following life but rather as no time from which you can enter time to live a life.

          There are ways to comprehend that time is non existent, just a methode to archive our experiences. If this is true and time is not, wouldn't then that what is, that what you experience here to be, exist as it does now in an ever changing form as it is now even without a body, as it is now, for that body is just something your consciousness is attached to by identification.

          Here you can see how that attachment is an interpretation.

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      Dec 10 2011: I've read a couple articles about structures within the brain that contain some kind of quantum data. I wonder if it would be possible that this quantum data might continue to exist after we die. I also wonder if perhaps it might be an explanation for reports of past lives, near-death experiences, etc.

      Of course, there are many more better-researched, and better-explained ideas that deal with this subject, too:

      Even the most basic elements of our body, DNA, is affected (and reacts to) quantum states:

      But it seems like --- there's just plain ol too much going on in the universe, and we don't know what we don't know yet to be certain---one way or the other.
  • Dec 6 2011: What actions by me delivers the most good for others?
  • Dec 6 2011: What will I be in my next life, if there will be a next life, and why?
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      Dec 8 2011: This is so fun to think about, right?
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      Dec 9 2011: Next life won't be yours by definition, it will be another life.
      • Dec 9 2011: How do you know?
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          Dec 10 2011: Here is a way to think about it. What do you remember about your last life? The answer is you don't remember because a) it wasn't your life, b) self awareness and personality of who you are (the "I") does not cross the termination of your life, or c) the environment, the nature and the nurture of each life is what defines our lives, therefore it is impossible for your "life" to live that other life because of these factors.
    • Dec 9 2011: You would first need to be really clear what you mean by 'I'.... !
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    Dec 6 2011: Who did Mary have sex with?
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      Dec 7 2011: Joseph.
    • Dec 8 2011: Corollary: What would Jesus's paternal DNA look like? [if we could get a usable sample from a cheek swab - not sure if DNA survives the resurrection process?]
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    Dec 13 2011: If there's a creator, is he watching this now?
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    Dec 13 2011: Why r we going fast bcoz one day I die??
  • Dec 13 2011: Coincidence or Faith: the stronger contender in life's crazy mysteries?
  • Dec 13 2011: How can we define our faith ?
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    Dec 13 2011: If a man makes a statement. and there is no woman to hear him, does this mean he is still wrong!!!!
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    Dec 13 2011: Will we make it?
  • Dec 13 2011: The thing we see is true or not?
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    Dec 13 2011: what death is like?
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    Dec 13 2011: Who are we and why are we here?
    • Dec 13 2011: Everything, everybody has a purpose of life but what the purpose is ? we'll have to find out the answer but HOW ?
  • Dec 13 2011: What is the true meaning of life?
  • Dec 13 2011: Is there life after death and what is it if yes?
  • Dec 13 2011: Are we living in the Matrix?
    • Dec 13 2011: you are asking your computer that?

      How would you know if any of us, as responders, were not simply feeding you more stimuli?

      And no, because Kung-fu is actually really hard to learn.
      • Dec 13 2011: I suppose we can't be sure about anything at all then.

        Kung fu does indeed appear challenging...
  • Dec 12 2011: Nature of high-temperature superconductivity
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    Dec 12 2011: Is the Goldbach conjecture true ?
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    Dec 12 2011: What footprints will you make in this world with your life ?
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    Dec 12 2011: Yes you are "right" :) in "you mean to ask why do we have a burning need to have our points of view accepted as right by others?" But could not say that in 10 words or less! So than you for being the first to comment! That was a great help!
  • Dec 12 2011: Indeed it was, sponsored by the august People magazine.
  • Dec 12 2011: Will this conversation reach over 1000 comments?
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    Dec 12 2011: Needs and wants are highly important. When wants become more relevant than need ie advertising and mass hypnosis to buy into the life style of the next product.12345678 endless etc

    This ideology fools us the human into thinking that this is a need. To stipulate quite clearly the difference between the 2 and implement this into the education system and remove all useless brain washing advertising to children will change the perception of thought for human kind for the future.

    To implement it into the "fictitious monetery environment" that benefits the few that control the structure of the system, you will first have to remove there greed that has been inbred for centuries paving the way for ignorance.

    = = = Confusing the 2 (need and want) has created a mass confusion dillusion that has become the habitual concept of thought for the why are we working masses.(slaves to the want) i want more stuff because i am being programmed to think i need it.

    Surley if need was at the forefront for the masses the world and all its contents would have a more = balance

    Finally if advertising is so influentional it should be put to better use ;)
  • Dec 12 2011: No life
    genetics as this relates to environment
    nothing is true, its how we perceive it to be
    modernized or gone.
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    Dec 12 2011: mmm If i could only create an "organic computer person" who didnt believe they where programmed so that they would be randomly adaptable to the environment that i have created. lots of memememememememes i love me mu hahahahahaha. i know feel relevant and not so insecure. Oh darn it, its lonley being the creater, i need more creaters but they are different oh no i am insecure again,i need some ice cream but i cant decide which to have(chocolate or vanilla)... its melted oh no!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i will just have to single out one of the infinite billion other random options and focus on that for a while dependent on my perception at the time will be how i react to it 1+1 = a window, i think i might climb through that and see where it goes ;)
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    Dec 12 2011: Is there any real truth, or is everything relative?

    This is the answer to your question Jordan Reeves. There is always a truth, no matter where you go, there is always a single truth. What is truth? It is the realization of yourself as being the only truth! YOU are the world and why it works. The final place or plane of existence where all things are perceived as a part of YOU. Jordan, ancient religions are teaching us that there is no difference between a being called God and you. The moment you realize yourself, your true identity and begin to act upon that, is the time you will stop asking questions and realize the need to not do so, because you are the reason for it. Every person on this planet is a part of a bigger whole but resembles each other intellectually and spiritually in every way, only the physical world and its various crude manifestations have embodied certain social, physical and mental principles in our world which is avoided and destroyed by the sages who seek true self-realization. Therefore the ultimate question is:

    Who am I?
  • Dec 12 2011: whom did you first see when you were born?
  • Dec 12 2011: Is science the new religion? If the universe originated from nothing to everything is true by majority of modern astrophysicists.
  • Dec 12 2011: How many such questions can we think of ?
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    Dec 12 2011: Jordan--

    The Q not yet answered, is:

    How to sustain peace.

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    Dec 12 2011: What is it like to walk a day in the life of someone else's shoes?
  • Dec 12 2011: How do you measure knowledge?
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    Dec 12 2011: How do we reconcile individual freedom and group responsibility?
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    Dec 12 2011: Is capitalism good for the planet?
  • Dec 11 2011: Hi James, in this sense I was trying to convey existence as the 'allthing', all that is, conceptualised as an infinite, unfolding system (unfolding in the sense of moving through time). This raises the tough question of what is 'is' or 'being'...

    In terms of thinking of our mental tools I see it as follows;

    'what' identifies a 'thing' in spacetime, (and for thing I would propose 'a particular perceived pattern')

    'how' focuses attention on the chain of causation that has led to the 'thing' existing

    'why' locates the 'thing' (including its causation 'how') within the greater world the observer perceives by ascribing purpose to the 'thing'.

    In short, 'what' is the mental tool we use to identify some thing, 'how' enables us to understand the chain of causation that led to the thing's existence and 'why' ascribes purpose to the thing so that it becomes meaningful and hence understandable.

    This approach can be applied to physical things e.g. a car (what is it? A car. How does it work? Engine, wheels, fuel driver etc. and why? to move from A to B) or to events e.g. travelling from London to New York.

    'Why' is deeply embedded and often automatically assumed, this is necessary because without it we cannot make sense of the world around us. Using the journey example, you might know that I travelled to New York (what), by plane (how) but until you know why the event remains meaningless.

    The overall point I am trying to get at is that by using these three basic tools we literally reify our own world into existence. How skillfully we use these tools plays a huge role in determining the overall complexity and sophistication of the world we end up perceiving.
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    Dec 11 2011: Seriously, this conversation is ending and I can't find my keys.... WHERE ARE THEY? WHERE ARE MY KEYS????
  • Comment deleted

  • Dec 11 2011: The "soul" If there is one, when does it arrive?
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    Dec 11 2011: If we no longer feel we have to be right (not meaning complacent) how would we feel toward one another?
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    Dec 11 2011: Why do humans have a burning need to be right?
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      Dec 12 2011: Well, taking your question at face value I'd answer "survival" since being right will help us make better choices. I suspect, however, you mean to ask why do we have a burning need to have our points of view accepted as right by others? I won't claim to know the answer but I suspect that it may be at least partially adaptive, as confidence in a mate is attractive, since it gives the impression that a mate might better be able to do what is needed of him or her. Having one's viewpoint accepted as legitimate goes a long way towards establishing confidence. Keep in mind I am neither a psychologist or anthropologist.
  • Dec 11 2011: Exactly
  • Dec 11 2011: How do we build a proper education system for the youth of today?
  • Dec 11 2011: when are we going to realize that time does not matter?
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    Dec 11 2011: Answer this question: Where are my keys? Where are they?
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    Dec 11 2011: Speak to any serious, genuine artist and they will tell you that it doesn't matter whether or not it's genetics that has determined their place in life as an artist. What matters is a complicated set of ambiguous forces, both internal and external, that compel them to remain an artist.
    Genes are something you are born with. From that point on who you become is pretty much left up to circumstance.
  • Dec 11 2011: Vow! your question is its own answer! :) oh now that it is, is it?
  • Dec 11 2011: Is there any god beyond religions?
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      Dec 11 2011: No, god is the invention of religion.
      • Dec 11 2011: Then, who or what creates the universe or multiverse?
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          Dec 11 2011: I have no idea... Maybe it was me.

          Maybe existence does not require a creator.

          Why does what we call existence require ownership? Let it be.
      • Comment deleted

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          Dec 12 2011: If existence requires a creator, and the creator exists, then what created the creator (and it's creator, and it's creator's creator ad infinitum?)
      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

    • Comment deleted

      • Dec 12 2011: I believe the deletion of the previous commentay is less motivated by an assertion of the creators existence and more on the "...subjective vomitus..." and a general degredation of the quality of the argument. That does tend to happen when belief systems become the subject of debate.

        As to your riddle... Religion is not so difficult to comprehend. There have been as many religions as there have been cultures, probably more. Thier plenitude, and perseverence proves nothing about the universe, and much about psycology. We, as a species, impose our view on the world more often as we derive it. Perhaps because life didn't come with a manual, and we do like to have a little purpose with which to combat the possibility of being meaningless.

        Something that confounds me though, is how difficult the concept is for us all to agree on. So many apparent constants are basic components to existence and are easily accepted by all. Time, distance, etc... are implicit principles which we readily understand early in life. no one goes to war to deny the four dimensions. Why, if god is even more fundamental to existence, is the subject so rife with dissagreement and differences? Should it not be as easy as falling off a log? I know this is no proof of anything, I just find it curious.

        I will assert however , that no matter who created religion, man created religious wars, which have been going on since the development of monotheism. We have no one but ourselves to blame for that.

        "A man says unto the universe, Sir ! I exist ! And the universe responds, that has never inspired in me any sense of obligation." Stephen Crane.

        K.K. It seems I cannot reply to my own comment, so an addendum. No... I did not flag you. I would rather it, and my origional rebuttal, were still here to be judged on thier own merits. I think as long as offensive language is avoided for the sake of minors, freedom of speech should be a paramount mandate.
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          Dec 13 2011: He was losing the debate?

          True colours?
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          Dec 13 2011: Hi Ian,

          Wars predate monotheism and exist even now - on a small scale - in cultures with pantheistic and animistic religious views. "God," religion, and war are all human creations. (As are commerce, agriculture, education, and every social institution we care to mention.)

          I agree we have no one to blame for war but ourselves.
    • Dec 13 2011: Before one can answer this question , two words have to be well defined. What or who is a god and what is religion? It seems that from the question itself the questionaire feels like there is more than one god by stating "any god" and that there are "religions" trying to reach these gods.Isn't it strange that that the so called GOD of theJewish religion states in his first commandments that one should make no material idol representing Him and we are also not to even make an image in our mind as to who or what he looks like . "I am that I am" , "My thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways" Isaiah 55: 8,9
      • Dec 13 2011: Greetings Thomas,

        I cannot seem to reply to my own thread, so if john will pardon me, I shall awnser you here...

        I agree that wars predate monotheism, and violent conflict was, and is, not uncommon among pantheistic societies. That said, I would posit that monotheism ushered in a new concept of religiously motivated warfare. From the consolidation of chrisendom in roman times, to the seventh century jihad, the oft mentioned crusades both into the middle east and the several that remained within europe, to the incredible brutalities of the reformation, monotheiesm has provided both a motivation and convenient excuse for an evolution in the logos of war.

        Previous pantheistic empires had waged war for largely economic and territorial reasons. The Romans make an excellent example, as they felt no need to impose thier religion on the conquored, or any specific religion on thier own populace until post-Contantine times, specifically when Thedosius outlawed paganism in 380. Under paganism Rome imposed rituals on thier populace, (as with the Genius of the Emporer which so consternated the Jews of the day), but not belief. The distinction is, I contend, pivotal.

        Speaking of the Jews of the day, Masada and the suicides of the defenders in 66 provide and excellent exaple of what monotheistic belief can motivate a group to act. I know of no pagan or pantheistic example, then or now, of similar behaviour.

        Ramses, Darius, Alexander, Ceaser, Octavian, Mithrandantes, etc lacked religious motivation for thier many conflicts, and thus thier wars were limited to the physical world, rather than the landscape of the heart. When you make war on men, you must defeat your enemy. When you make war on faith, you must desroy him.

        Space constraint impede futher exaples, but I might reccomend the excellent work of Dr. Bart Eagen, as his histories of early christianity and the transitions from paganism to monotheism delve deeply into this subject.

        Best regards
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    Dec 11 2011: James,

    Emotional and "spiritual" intelligence are not some magical properties that exist outside the operation of our brains. They are nothing more than sub-classifications (some consider them imaginary classifications) within the universe of "human" intelligence. If you want to start using TV series as "proof" then consider the latest BattleStar Galactica series. The artificial intelligences in that series had their own religion and based many of their decisions on "emotion." All "emotion" is is a subconscious (the conscious part of the mind doesn't have direct control over it) bias within the circuits of the brain which influence the final outcome of the intelligence, often in ways that contradict the outcome one would get if that bias were not present. If you paid close attention in ST-TNG you would see that data did, in fact, have his own set of emotions; his own set of driving forces. One of which was the desire to be more human.

    Besides, Logan, the original poster, has confirmed that his intent was not to generate an intelligence identical and indistinguishable from a human, but an intelligence on par with the capabilities of a human. Emotion and spirituality can easily be incorporated into the fundamental operation of any AI complex enough. If you remember your robotic fiction, the three laws of robotics could be considered just such an underlying bias. Asimov's stories fully explored what kinds of irrational decisions can be made, even by a relatively simple AI, when such an underlying bias exists.
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    Dec 11 2011: Are native tongues sacred; are languages devised by humans noxious?
  • Dec 11 2011: How would be the life without lie?


    Light without darkness,white without black and + without -
  • Dec 11 2011: How would be the life without lie?
  • Dec 11 2011: Is Mathematics human convention or fundamental to the universe?
  • Dec 11 2011: Is times directionality implicit, or perceived?
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    zed hm

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    Dec 11 2011: which one is better wealth or knowledge? :D
    • Comment deleted

  • Dec 11 2011: Where's Waldo?
  • Dec 11 2011: What is time?
  • Dec 11 2011: Why is there something, rather than nothing?
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    Dec 11 2011: and the prophet's dancing.
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    Dec 11 2011: or is that everything but nothing?
  • Dec 11 2011: What happens to you after you die?
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        Dec 11 2011: QUOTE: ""I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you." ... then you'd know whether or not I was right! [lol]"

        He might. But you wouldn't know if you were right.
    • Dec 11 2011: Lacking first hand experience, or any evidence whatsoever, I agree that this is a question without sure awnsers.

      My preffered analogy comes from The Death of Socrates, in which one of his interlocuters compares conciousness to the tuneing of a lyre, unique to each instrumnet yet similar to all others, and predicated on the continued existence of the physiacal object.
      • Comment deleted

        • Dec 12 2011: You stretch my anology past it's intended object, but I do not object. This is after all an area where opinion matters, as truth remains unknowable...
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    Dec 11 2011: Below are the answers to some of your questions:
    "Is there life outside of our planet?": Go to the moon and ask the same question, at that moment answer will be 'yes for sure'.
    "What's a bigger factor in our development: environment or genetics?": Environment. Because it creates setup for genetics.
    "Is there any real truth, or is everything relative?": Any information is relative to one's own way of interpretation.
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    Dec 11 2011: Keep asking "Why?" to any answer to any question, and you'll find that there is no final definite answer that will fully satisfy the question "Why?".
  • Dec 11 2011: What exactly triggers pregnant women to go into labor (naturally)?
  • Dec 11 2011: Where are all the UFO's
  • Dec 11 2011: What is the maximum potential of a human being? How about the human race?

    Here is my fantasy scenario. Humans exist on Earth for another one million years. Technology has become so evolved that it can not even be seen anymore. Underlying our vision of the natural world is a layer of nano-type technology which supports daily life as we know it. This technology interacts with us without even needing an interface. The human mind and body is entirely compatible with this invisible support system. Not only is our environment enhanced but due to vast new libraries of information the mind and body itself has reached a level where it functions at an exponentially greater level then in AD 2000. Information and understanding is transferred Matrix style so that a wide body of skills can be attained in a lifetime (Assuming that we can even die). Anyone from our current time looking at this world might think they are looking into a scene of Lord of the Rings where Elves are running around the forest performing magic. One might even think they got teleported back in time to some mystical era rather than ahead. In reality it is a highly evolved, technological society, fully integrated with nature, whose residents have unlocked many of the secrets that this universe still has stored away today.

    Ending note: Slowly fantasy is becoming a reality. Maybe one million years in the future things like magic, dragons, and superheroes will really exist. Albeit through a natural evolution of technology and application.

  • Dec 10 2011: well about Your questions -Yes to one-I personally think that there is a life outside of our planet but not in that way what we mean. The bigger factor in our development and other is life energy (this what starts when ovule meet with sperm-that moment). What is truth-well our mind is so limited -after all we use only very small part of our brain....And truly what will be earth in 100 years it is important only than when You believe in regeneration but is int it it self limited few?
    In ten words or less, what is a question no one (yet) knows the answer to -well if You have that question in Your mind (in words) than someone knows the answer too -but do we like the answer -is int it so that we look for answers what fits our thinking and those who not we just do not see or do not like to see-well we do not use them? What is the meaning to ask when the world is in side You-well for ex. if You look the blood system or the digestion-is not it amazing, maybe this is a world it self with things like us, or look the ant-do we understand 100% of their living purpose? how termite got the construction thinking-how they can make so well ventilated buildings after all they do not fly? So?
  • Dec 10 2011: How do neurons encode meaning?
    • Comment deleted

      • Dec 11 2011: lol
      • Dec 11 2011: Initially, I felt your ignorant assertion did not warrant the slightest attempt at an intellectual response. Now, however, I believe your narcissistic attitude deserves at least a link to reassure you that you do not know what you're talking about, which can likely be said about most of your other replies.

        Well, here's the link:

        Some food for thought... or are you too full?
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    Dec 10 2011: Why is wrong easier to practice than right?
  • Dec 10 2011: what should i do to be happy? how can i be happy now ? i'm 20 and its like that if i may wrong decision now it ll affect my life and i wont be able to change it. instead of living my life i feel pressure.
    • Dec 11 2011: I refer you to Aristotle, whos genius is proved by his ongoing relevance.

      All goods are defined as either primary, as in a good done for itself and for no other reason, and secondary, as in a good done for the purpose of another good. He then cataloges a great number of goods, (Health, wealth, victory, beauty, etc..) and finds that each is in some way, and at some time done in the name of another good, health for longevity and physical pleasure, wealth for security etc.. Amongst all of these goods, he can find only one which is done always only for itself, and that is happiness. In this perspective, if the point of life is taken to do good, ( as he suggests), then the point of life is to be happy.

      What then becomes important is how happiness is defined, because we would not want to be subjected to the definition of an Napoleon, or a Stalin. the Philosopher would say that happiness must be defined by a healthy man, ( mysogony was reality in his day), in a healthy home, in a healthy society ,(polis), in a healthy land. The tricky thing is that healhy is a subjective term when used outside of biology, where it simply means operating at ideal states and viable for breeding.

      I might suggest, do not lease your happiness into the future with anxiety and pointless perceptions of ponderously problematic possibilities. make the best descisions you can, based on the best information you have, and then spend more time looking around than looking foreward and back. I have found thus far that happiness is like balancing stones, more a method than an object. Expect it to be transitional, but work at improving the method.

      You may or may not live another day, and I can guaruntee you the world decades from now will likely be different than you will or can concieve. I has been for everyone else so far. Chaos is certian, embrace it from time to time.

      Best of luck.
  • Dec 10 2011: Are we, as humans, merely a bunch of atoms?
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      Dec 11 2011: No, we are meaningful bunch of atoms.
    • Dec 13 2011: The funny thing is, we are not even the same atoms.

      We eat, we excrete, and as we travel through the world we leave a wake of no longer self behind us. Everything within us is eventually replaced, the skin takes only weeks to be entirely replaced, the internal organs years.

      I wonder what the mass of all of the atoms that have at one time been me is? And who are they now?

      I would thus argue that we are the continuity of our atoms, like the thesian ship. Every plank and spar was eventually replaced, but it was still the same boat.
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    Dec 10 2011: The question I most often ponder is when does space end.... and what is space in its entirety?
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    Dec 10 2011: What is the essence that ties us all together?
  • Dec 10 2011: yes..,there is a life outside of our planet

    environment coz without environment we can't live
  • Dec 10 2011: When is the second coming of Jesus Christ?
  • Dec 10 2011: Is it the true reality or a simulation ?
  • Dec 10 2011: What is questioning ?
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    Dec 10 2011: What is the Occupy movement actually going to solve?
  • Dec 10 2011: What is the meaning of life?
  • Dec 10 2011: The ultimate 'why ?'. Why all this? . Everything that was, is and will be , w.r.t the existence and not w.r.t my self .
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    Dec 10 2011: Is there a pattern in the distribution of prime numbers?
  • Dec 10 2011: Your answer is deep, but my question tended to be more practical : how comes that organisations or nets, for instance like the FAO, are still unable to stop this absurd situation?
  • Dec 10 2011: How to combine quantum mechanics and gravity ?
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      Dec 11 2011: Gravity is an effect of all particles acquiring special type quantum entanglement and get attracted to each other (so they tend to have less distance amongst each other). These are my own words.
      • Dec 11 2011: Thanks for the comment Farrukh,

        "entanglement" is one of my favourite words, which describes a lot of things. Gravity is such a weak force in the realm of particles that can be not taken into account. What is it "special type quantum entanglement " ? Can it help do understand why the elementary particles have masses? Related to this is a mystery: “Why Does the World Exist?” :)
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          Dec 11 2011: Quantum entanglement is so called 'spooky connection' between two particles, which will make them behave in similar way. No one so far knows exactly why there can be such a mysterious connection between some particles, but it is proven to be the real thing. So I was saying maybe there is another special type of quantum entanglement that involves not only two particles, but also all existing particles in the universe. And the result of this connection would produce effect that we call 'gravity'.
          Why does the world exist? I guess it just exists. :)
  • Dec 10 2011: Is consciousness a valid concept?
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    Dec 10 2011: What am I thinking?
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      Dec 10 2011: *spider sense tingling* This is a trap.
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      Dec 10 2011: You thought that you came to an idea for a question that noone will know an answer to. - I knew ;)
      • Dec 10 2011: Mariusz: your answer is past tense Helene's question is in the present tense. She has designed a question for which each passage of time will give a different answer. I think that the question is unanswerable as written.
  • Dec 10 2011: Kathleen, I had never heard of John Titor until now. Did a bit of research—sounds to me like a clever guy playing a game of skill. (And what about that U.S. civil war that was supposed to rage from 2005 to 2015, when the big nuclear war in which 3 billion people will die would begin with Russia?)
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    Dec 10 2011: Will any single human mind ever understand the human mind.
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      Dec 10 2011: I'm normally a hopeful, optimistic person. I truly would like to think it could be answered by a single human being. Unfortunately, anyone who seems to have answers, upon being prodded, just breaks down.

      The problem is that one can gather enough mental resources to understand certain sections of the mind, which, if it were possible to add them all together, might translate into a full collective understanding of the human mind.

      But there are just too many variables to conceive of that could go differently with a mind. Too many variables for just one mind to hold. Trillions of connections, hundreds of billions of neurons, all in a constant state of agitation, flux, life and death to keep track of.

      How many different combinations could there be? Best bet would be in trying to identify the base structures in the mind, the way *any* decision, thought, feeling, or sensation is made---and then trying to get all the computers in the world to crunch through every single decision, thought, feeling, or sensation we could have in any of the almost infinite contexts that could be created.

      . . . On the other hand, do cyborgs count as human beings? In which case --- I'd like to be hooked up to a gigantic super-computer and run those simulations for you. I'd do it in a heart-beat.
  • Dec 10 2011: The future. One can guess, predict, hope, but not KNOW. (AND as soon as the future is here, it is the present.)
  • Dec 10 2011: How can I prevent my own death?
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    Dec 10 2011: When all is known and all ideas have been shared will we need TED?
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    Dec 10 2011: A sort of mind over matter does not answer the question, how do thoughts affect atoms, molecules, cells. There is no established system whereby your thoughts can affect matter. You can not move a chair by thinking. Why can your thoughts make the cells of your body change their behaviour? If we understood this all illnesses could be cured by thinking.
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      Dec 10 2011: HI Brian,

      You might enjoy Candace Pert's "Molecules of Emotion." It goes into some detail about how thought and feeling impact us on a physical level - i.e. how thought literally affects matter. Very interesting.
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        Dec 10 2011: Thanks Thomas, I'll look into it. I doubt that she can answer the question though, how do thought and emotion affect matter. For me it is like the link between computer chips and software, where the interface is machine language. We have no idea how thought can affect matter, we only know that it does.
  • Dec 9 2011: Yeah....I know, more than 10 words.
  • Dec 9 2011: What is the purpose of humanity?
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      Dec 10 2011: One of our purposes is for sure to preserve life, like any other living organism. Life started and trough evolution done whatever was needed to preserve itself.
    • Dec 10 2011: Humanity's purpose is the same as any other species to preserve ourselves as a species.
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    Dec 9 2011: Jordan, Your third question prompts me to jump right in. The "real truth" is hidden in the mystery of creation. Mystery is intriguing for now, but knowing , really knowing how everything was made in the beginning and for what purpose, would be the ultimate scientific achievement.
  • Dec 9 2011: What happens to us when we die?
    Is there such a thing as fate?
    Is there such a thing as good and evil or does our biological creation control that?
    Is there a God?

    There are so many...
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    Dec 9 2011: Why do we exist? Why are there humans, what is the point of life?
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    Dec 9 2011: What did humans learn that can saved their future?
  • Dec 9 2011: sperm swim and they fight. do they have a brain?
  • Dec 9 2011: half of 1 is .5, half of .5 is .25 - QUESTION: if we keep this cycle, will we find GOD?
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    Dec 9 2011: Are we really here right now? (thank you!)
  • Dec 9 2011: what is the probability that the probability concept itself is true??
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    Dec 9 2011: What are we (humans) evolving towards in the 21st century?

    i.e. what traits are being positively selected for in humans? Reproductive success is a different kettle of fish today with modern medicine. Very "successful" humans by social standards choose to reproduce less or not at all! Technology has overcome the necessity for positive selection for strength, dating websites may have eliminated (or strengthened?) positive selection for attractiveness... what is being positively selected for in the human gene pool today? what will the average human be like in fifty generations?
  • Dec 9 2011: My answer was serious as well. Human nature seems to mean that each generation must repeat its own mistakes, and although we can learn some things from the experiences of others, we still have to touch that bench with the "wet paint" sign on it, to see for ourselves!

    However, although the situation is desperate, I don't believe it is hopeless. Growth and learning is possible ... and we are better off in many ways than we were 100 years, 50 years ago. The important thing is the direction we are moving towards.
  • Dec 9 2011: How is energy transformed into consciousness?
  • Dec 9 2011: What is a Human being?
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    Dec 9 2011: Flatlined for 15 min is clinical death and yes, it was under medical supervision so body was kept artificially warm (but they only have an 80% chance of resuscitation from the surgery, and it drops to about 20% when flatlined for 15 min of coming back anything but a vegetative state).
  • Dec 9 2011: Will we ever fully understand how the brain functions?
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    Dec 9 2011: What is the purpose of life?
    Everyone wants the answer to this question one way or the other....
    • Dec 9 2011: I agree. And I think many change the purpose of their life as they are exposed to different ideas.

      What is the purpose of a knife? It has many purposes....cutting meat, opening boxes, sharperning another knife, or, hurting someone.

      The answer to what is life's purpose has alot to do with our view of life itself. Some use their life to cut others down, as you can fathom from the many negative, hurtful replies throughout this site. Still others use their lives to be conduits, relaying information freely and opening minds to higher learning....helping others to think outside the box. Still others view themselves as an instrument, they want to sharpen the face of another through education. The worst purpose life can have is to hurt others. Humans do this by killing others in war, lying, stealing, slandering, and so on, and so on......

      Finding the purpose of anything has alot to do with who created the instrument to begin with. And even then, because we are such ingenious intelligent beings, we can improvise and use things that were designed for one purpose, to solve another issue...Example......Sewing thread was designed to help in production of making clothes. But have you ever had meat between your teeth, and lacked a toothpick? You can just as easily grab a thread and use it as dental floss!!

      That being said, I have found the purpose of life as it relates to scriptural truth. But that doesn't mean I have to impose my beliefs on others. I respect the dignity of others, and realize we have free will. And when someone asks me about what I feel is the purpose of life, I give a reason for the hope I have. In the meantime, we are all in this together, so it's best to get along and listen to what others have to say respectfully, without hurting anothers feelings.

      "Pride goeth before a fall"

      Sanket, I thank you for your comment which allowed me to contribute to this conversation.
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        Dec 10 2011: Mary.....Although I have problems galore relating truth and scripture of any kind, I too believe, that the likely hope for mankind to get along is to learn and be willing to work with each other regardless of what our innermost beliefs are. This is the meaning of live and let live.
  • Dec 9 2011: Why don't people do what they know is healthy?
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      Dec 9 2011: Because a healthy life doesn't necessarily equate to a happy life.
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      Dec 10 2011: Few of us would want to live to a hundred on beans and rice and tofu.
  • Dec 9 2011: Your question, should you choose to answer it, what are 'we' doing here?
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      Dec 9 2011: Breathing, eating, sleeping, pro-creating, and hopefully evolving. Hopefully you are also learning and making your own meaning for your life.
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      Dec 10 2011: Satya.....I am talking to you through visible curvatures. Just patted my cat and texted my son and my daughter not long ago. What are you doing?
  • Dec 9 2011: The question is not about the existence of God or mystical being. I believe that there are cetain number of aspects which are beyond the scope of human brain to understand.
    Just like you cannot imagine a dog thinking about big bang theory or existence of life, its difficult for us to perceive a bigger picture which is controlling us. We are microcosmic part of galaxy, universe, planets. WHo knows there could be a parallel galaxy much much bigger than ours running parallel to us but we can't see it. It all goes so crazy because we are humans, a certain aspect of living organisms who try to take life too seriously. Who knows if we really have any souls or we are just made out of no where/genetics/DNA??

    For me its just science fiction, what you see as real is perceived by your brain. Its your brains and neurons which makes you believe in certain aspects of life. And that is what triggered this question. And indeed that is what triggered my humble answer :)
  • Dec 9 2011: "What is a question no one knows the answer to?"

    That would be my answer.
  • Dec 9 2011: Can you use a question by not asking?
  • Dec 9 2011: will we manage to think and feel in a more positive way?
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      Dec 9 2011: Yes, but you will also have times were we manage to think and feel in a more negative way.
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    Dec 9 2011: Will we discover an algorithm for generating true human intelligence?
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      Dec 9 2011: speak for yourself ;)
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      Dec 9 2011: The answer is no. Human intelligence is comprised of non rational components that comprise our human intelligence. Algorithms depend on all components being rational.
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        Dec 9 2011: I'm not sure I follow; even the non-rational components of human intelligence lead to definite solutions to a problem. The heuristic approaches the human mind employ, while ambiguous at best, are still effective, which would suggest an organizational heirarchy that can cope with this ambiguity and leads to satisfactory solutions.

        As a result, shouldn't it be possible to quantify the rules that this structure employs and translate them into a machine-code compatible format? Perhaps through the machinations of some rule-based computing language, like LISP? All that would remain would be to identify these structures and reduce them to their simplest forms, wouldn't it?

        Fuzzy logic deals a lot with this idea; values within a fuzzy logic system are not exact, but are approximate. In many ways, the variability of a value between 0 and 1 simulates a neuron and the energy with which it fires. And they are beginning to be implemented in consumer electronics.

        Fuzzy electronics:

        Fuzzy logic:
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          Dec 10 2011: I earn a living working with fuzzy logic. The question of preference for Chocolate Ice Cream over Vanilla Ice Cream does not have an algorithm.
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          Dec 10 2011: It could choose between chocolate ice cream and vanilla ice cream by asking virtual organism simulation for it needs (which is analogy to our likes / desires). If you would add hormones' mechanics, organism's mechanics (that influence our human thoughts) then you could get to somethign no different than human intelligence.

          Are we not just AI influenced by organism's needs / desires?
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        Dec 10 2011: James, in regards to your statement: "The question of preference for Chocolate Ice Cream over Vanilla Ice Cream does not have an algorithm."

        I don't think that was exactly the question. The original question was "Will we discover an algorithm for generating true human intelligence?" Now, we could pick some nits with the wording of this question. For instance, algorithms are designed not discovered. And the only "true" human intelligence would, by definition, be only in a human. But there is one key nit that I believe you missed which creates an important distinction in this context. Whether intentionally or not, Logan did not ask if we will develop an algorithm that itself has human intelligence. He asked if we would develop an algorithm which would in turn be able to GENERATE human intelligence.

        Genetic algorithms can be used to GENERATE other algorithms and/or hardware which quickly become more complex than even the creator of the original algorithm can understand. I believe the right algorithm, running on the right hardware and making modifications to the right mix of hardware and software can and will eventually generate human intelligence. I feel the problem many researchers in this field have is that they limit themselves to what they can do with the kinds of binary, sequential processing, instruction following, register shifting kind of logic which they have available to them now. Remember, massively parallel processors are still a finite number of processors which each execute instructions sequentially.

        Think of the one major difference between a brain and ANY current processor.... nerves don't have a clock signal. Nerves just react in their own time. This is more akin to how digital electronics worked before timing clocks were invented and the signals just cascaded throughout the circuit. The clock was invented to tame the difficulty of getting all the timings correct throughout the circuit. Imagine using those timings to your advantage instead.
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          Dec 10 2011: Yes sir, that's exactly what I had in mind when I worded the question. You were right in your other nits, as well; algorithms are designed, not discovered, and, of course, the only true "human" intelligence would be in a human.

          I am glad that you moved beyond those nits to grasp the essence of what I was attempting to ask, though, and you said it quite eloquently in the subsequent paragraphs.
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          Dec 11 2011: My point is there is more to true human intelligence that just intellect (which in humans is flawed - e.g. we forget) there is emotional intelligence and some would argue spiritual intelligence. We have both nurture and nature that govern our experiences and shape our human intelligence. Star Trek: The Next Generation dealt with the topic throughout all of the series with Data and even in the original series with Spock. In order for the algorithm to be "true human" would have to be a human. What you are arguing is what we do when we procreate.
    • Dec 9 2011: If we think we have we would spend a millinium tearing it apart because too any of us wouldn't believe it or would theorize it to death to the point we would never trust it.
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        Dec 10 2011: Hehehe. You mean---like we do with our fellow human beings?
  • Dec 9 2011: What'll it take for the human consciousness to escape religion?
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      Dec 9 2011: Two things have been present since the beginning of man; religion (certain ritualistic behaviors are even exhibited in chimpanzees) and rational thought. I hold that they are fundamentally the same thing. The following is the first definition of religion according to

      "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."

      "A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe." Scientific study begins with the belief that all things can be objectively studied and rationally expressed (such as the cause, nature, and (perhaps through philosophy) the purpose of the universe). Just the belief that this is so; nothing more.

      In a similar way, religious folks consider the universe(and here we encounter the purpose of the second part of the definition) ". . . the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. "

      To cast off one, you must unshackle yourself from the other. Leave behind any notion of belief and the implication that there is either objective or subjective reasoning. That things are the way they are, and the universe just is, whatever that may be. And that whatever it is, it is NOT because the Universe is fundamentally objective or subjective.

      I think that's the only way to escape it, but ehhh, what do I know? I just work here.
      • Dec 9 2011: Another idea for you...

        Rational thought is an emergent system that sits on the edge of chaos as your finite self consciously collide with the infinite i.e. thought is the resultant of collision between the infinite with the finite. How we perceive 'the world' is based on our mental structures but we are always aware of the infinite, that which we cannot describe. Since, by definition rational though require things to be understandable or at least describable , we fail to cope with the true nature of the infinite and simply do our best to describe it..... this is religion.
        Religion and rational thought are intimately interwoven, religion takes over where rational thought cannot tread.
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          Dec 9 2011: Jan.....What you say is eloquent in all respects. I would just like to add, that I prefer to live with uncertainty and not knowing as opposed to having a stamped out answer for everything.
          That "God" made it all is OK with me, but I want to know how and why. In the meantime I adore the mystery.
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      Dec 9 2011: beleiving that you can do it for yourself. (8)
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      Dec 9 2011: critical thinking by all.
    • Dec 9 2011: Even if we found the "God Particle" who/what made it? You cannot begat something from nothing. Zero means Zero and there has never been zero everything so where did it come from?
  • Dec 9 2011: its human being's nature to know the answer for WHY and HOW. if we cud hv ignored those questions, lyf wud hv been much simpler. personally i dnt care if therz any other world. im happy here.
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    Dec 9 2011: What is the reason that everything happens for a reason?
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    Dec 9 2011: How will we know if the measurement problem is resolved?
  • Dec 9 2011: What is Fermat's amazing proof of his Last Theorem? True?
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    Dec 9 2011: What is the meaning of life?
  • Dec 9 2011: WHY does gravity hold us down?
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      Dec 9 2011: Gravity doesnt hold me... it makes me hold the earth under my feet. Why asking in this thread? Wikipedia have answers for this question.
  • Dec 9 2011: how everything came into existence out of nothing?

    is it possible that death occurs because all energy is exhausted in sub atomic particles from which our body is made?
  • Dec 9 2011: What are we waiting for??
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    Dec 9 2011: I'll try to keep my questions/thoughts close to the 10 word limit, some are a bit longer.

    Are planets alive similar to cells? Can they be related?

    Is a dream reality?

    Can human interference to our surroundings be called "natural causes"?

    Since history repeats it self, is it possible we've had electric technology before?

    How can society guard it self from psychopaths?

    Is normal being like the majority or being in the middle from two extremes?

    What's on the other side of space?
  • Dec 9 2011: funny you should say that, there's another question somewhere here about what causes 'more development': genetics or the environment. I don't think anyone stopped to think about what the operational definition of development was there either. good on ya for calling me out, my comment was pretty cynical as it is.
  • Dec 9 2011: Can we come back to the real world - Peace in Isreal/Middle East -ever?
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    Dec 9 2011: Were Ross and Rachel really on a break? ›
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    Dec 9 2011: Can we avoid destroying ourselves?
    • Dec 9 2011: from my point of view: Destruction, decontruction, and diminishing are all parts of a process of creation.
      It is usually what we call transformation.
      It is necesarry to any kind od development.
      Under destruction, I do NOT mean agression because agression (in any direction), of course, is not a positive process.
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      Dec 9 2011: People presume to know the future. (6)
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      Dec 9 2011: No, unless you have unlocked the secrets of immortality.
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    Dec 9 2011: what is required for consciousness to exist?
  • Dec 9 2011: What about: "What is a question no one can answer?" XP lol
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    Dec 9 2011: We have learned to build instruments that can measure gravity. We have developed equations to predict the effects of gravitational attraction.

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      Dec 10 2011: To hold us Earth-bound, solar system-bound, galaxy-bound..........Otherwise?
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    Dec 9 2011: Why can't Schools start relying on mnemonics techniques and speed-reading skills?
  • Dec 9 2011: Why do we do things that we know is bad for our health and our environment?
  • Dec 9 2011: Santa, the tooth fairy and God, when to stop believing?
  • Dec 9 2011: Why is there not nothing?
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      Dec 10 2011: Because the Creator (the name of whom merits to be capitalized) saw it proper to set in motion endless streams of particles to form a whopping puzzle to boggle our finite minds.
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      Dec 11 2011: Because there is something.
  • Dec 9 2011: Are we real?
    • Dec 9 2011: Well, at least *I* am, but I'm not sure about the rest of you.
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        Dec 9 2011: Damn i have the same feeling... Now if only you would be real and i would not, would i know im not real?
        • Dec 9 2011: your mission, should you choose to accept it, which pill would you prefer?
  • Dec 8 2011: When will the other shoe drop with Quantum Mechanics.
  • Dec 8 2011: Which came first?
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    Dec 8 2011: Here is one for an evening of circular reasoning:

    Why do I ask THIS question?
  • Dec 8 2011: Why can't I reply to individual posts on this forum?
  • Dec 8 2011: In considering the great questions that have perplexed philosophers and sophomores since the time of Plato and before, it is important to think carefully about whether the question arises from a category error, as in "What is the colour of Kepler's Third Law?", or "How much income tax does the precession of the equinoxes owe?".

    Messages have meaning. Tools have purposes. Lives, universes, and Existence Itself are simply not messages or tools.
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    Dec 8 2011: The question you pose itself could be a question that no one has a definitive answer to yet :-)
  • Dec 8 2011: Is time travel a possibility in the near future?
  • Dec 8 2011: Why do people going down an escalator fill superior to people going up?
  • Dec 8 2011: Why does matter exist ?

    How was matter created ?
    • Dec 9 2011: To keep Antimatter at bay.
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      Dec 10 2011: Endless speculation will some day result in revelations unimaginable to our collective imagination. Just think, a hundred some years ago millions and millions of horses were necessary to farm and build and travel. We have no idea what science and technology will sprout ten years from now.........!
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    Dec 8 2011: A few related questions.

    Do dimensions exist outside the universe?

    What does the universe expand into?

    What is nothing or nothingness?
  • Dec 8 2011: As for chickens and eggs: there were reptile laying eggs, amphibians laying eggs, fish laying eggs, and assorted invertebrates laying eggs long before birds evolved, let alone chickens.
  • Dec 8 2011: Why is hunger killing while food is thrown as garbage ?
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      Dec 10 2011: Because we still can not fathom the significance of the gift of being human.
  • Dec 8 2011: How do we get more people to think critically?
  • Dec 8 2011: what amazes me is that you talk with so much certainty. "As His spirit children, we lived with our Father in Heaven"
    how do you know that? I have no knowledge of any source of information that call tell that's a fact.
    And again, what's god's plan?
  • Dec 8 2011: Parasitic organisms - if removed from the food chain - significant impact?
  • Dec 8 2011: What will unite humanity?
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      Dec 10 2011: A serious threat of alien invasion?
      • Dec 10 2011: Great answer, though it may be only temporary and perhaps even lead to human trafficking coordinated by other humans or "traitors".
  • Dec 8 2011: How did the winged serpent come to be a symbol of deity across many ancient cultures?
  • Dec 8 2011: Was maths a discovery or an invention?

    How absolute is scientific proof?

    Can we know anything for sure?
  • Dec 8 2011: Life after death. Yes? No?
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    Dec 8 2011: Am I an I, or a we?
  • Dec 8 2011: Will it someday be / Is it possible to disprove the existence of a god?
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      Dec 8 2011: No. Existence of god is not a scientific theory that you could disprove. It is a belief. Science can only give you probabilities. In the end, It is up to people to believe or not.
  • Dec 8 2011: What answers we already have that are wrong?
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    Dec 8 2011: Are we going to be extinct eventually?

    Are we ever going to move to other inhabitable planets?

    Have we evolved to survive on earth only?

    Are there any other advanced intellectual beings out there?

    Will we ever create smarter self-conscious beings?

    Is technology advancement going to make us go extinct one day?

    Is after death "resurrection" going to be possible one day?
  • Dec 8 2011: How to create large amounts of water - not desalinate but create
  • Dec 8 2011: When will the Israel/Palestine conflict be resolved?
  • Dec 8 2011: How many breaths have you taken in your life?
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    Dec 8 2011: Is there a thing everybody likes?
    • Dec 8 2011: To be loved and not be bothered, I suppose.
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      Dec 8 2011: sex?
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        Dec 9 2011: sex?


        There is a small percentage of the population that do not like sex.
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          Dec 9 2011: Ok play? everybody must've liked playing at some point..probably when they were little. Whoever does not or did not like that is probably incapable of liking anything.
    • Dec 9 2011: Breathing
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        Dec 9 2011: Breathing is one of my favourite things but (believe it or not) I have met people who do not like breathing.

        Go figure.
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      Dec 9 2011: Achieve
  • Dec 8 2011: Why so few know the difference between less and fewer?
  • Dec 8 2011: i believe that is more of a concept than existence. the future hasn't happened yet, therefore in linear time it does not exist yet. we take it for granted that one nanosecond moves seamlessly into the next, but for all we know existence could be wiped out before i finish this sentence. well, i guess it wasn't, but you get what i am trying to say? then again...i am comfortable with the three simple words....i don't know.
  • Dec 8 2011: Does a paradigm exist, in which the explanatory gap of consciousness could be explained?
  • Dec 8 2011: Is there a God/ess and does God/ess care about humans?
  • Dec 8 2011: What is God? and is there anything or anybody as God?
  • Dec 8 2011: what happens after you die ? i believe that we all have a soul and its temporarily occupying the body but what happens after the spirit leaves the body ..
  • Dec 8 2011: Are there questions without answers?
  • Dec 8 2011: Is what you believe true?
  • Dec 8 2011: What is memory?
  • Dec 8 2011: What will happen to us after we die? is it heaven or hell
    • Dec 8 2011: Same as what happened to all mammals that went before us. Nada.You live and then you die!
  • Dec 8 2011: Thanks for the responses. Not to minimize the impact of a 15 minute preview of what may lie beyond... but I really was wondering more long-term. I mean, I've recently had some hypnogogic experiences which, if interrupted and examined, might be interpreted as indicative of the ensuing experience of prolonged sleep. But those conclusions, in my experience, would be wrong. Likewise, a seed might, to all appearances, be dead, but then it... grows. At which state, along its development, could we take a 'reading', and predict what might happen next?
    Maybe I should have cheated (I love to cheat, don't you?) and asked, in ten words or less, two questions: Does consciousness continue after death? If so, for how long?
  • Dec 8 2011: Does "life" inherently mean "carbon-based, water and oxygen needing"?
  • Dec 8 2011: sounds cheesy but: Is love an emotion?
  • Dec 8 2011: Why don't people take their meds (properly)?
  • Dec 8 2011: If, hypothetically, you could create an exact 'copy' of my brain (neurons, connections, weights, etc) and you replaced my actual brain by its copy, would I continue to be ME?
  • Dec 8 2011: Why is there gravity?
  • Dec 8 2011: can space/time be ruptured by a quantum singularity?
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    Dec 8 2011: What distinguish us from others? Genetics, knowledge, soul, circumstances? None?
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    Dec 8 2011: It is difficult to honestly anticipate my actions presuming either an answer in the affirmative or negative, but my best guess is that I would not. I remain curious, however.
  • Comment deleted

    • Dec 8 2011: But if you answer with relative, then you are simultaneously acknowledging that the truth you are declaring is relative (to you), so it is not contradictory, just unprovable.
      • Comment deleted

        • Dec 9 2011: surely the keyword is OR, yes there is truth, i am 31 yeas old, over weight and know the date i was born, etc...
          to offer OR IS EVERY THING RELATIVE, well yes it is, your asking two questions by the same means which can/could/would OR not eventually lead to opposing answers.
          therefore by logic, your question can only be perceived as creating a conundrum depending on the readers perception of the question.
          to clarify with a similar question, which came first, the chicken or the egg?
          you do not clarify what is considered truth, nor do you specify what could be relative,your leaving those possibilities to the mind-set of the reader, thus leaving your two questions to be contradictory in themselves.
      • Comment deleted

        • Dec 9 2011: relative is not necessarily defined by truth, relativity could acknowledge an absolute truth for a single person, which would not hold true for another person. For one person, the single best way to do math could be mentally, say because it challenges their brain and keeps them sharp, whereas to another person the single best way to do math is with a calculator, because it will not make an error. It could be said that it is the truth that the best way to do math is mentally, but that is only for one person, therefore it is relative. To reiterate, it is simultaneously truth and relative. Truth, without the ethos of a Creator, must be relative, because there is no inherent way to prove that something has not been overlooked when stating "the truth." Sure a more knowledgeable person can come along and contradict your view with more/better/new information, but how can you be certain that their opinion takes into account all of the happenings of the universe? Without omniscience, there is no absolute truth.
        • Dec 9 2011: The egg definitely came first. Dinosaurs laid eggs and there weren't any chickens around in the Cretaceous Period, at least as far as I know.
  • Dec 8 2011: What is gravity? Is the force which holds atoms together gravity?
    • Dec 8 2011: gravity is the indentation of the space/time continuum by matter, affecting everything: like the proverbial bowling ball at the center of a trampoline and everything else is like marbles at the edge. be it the "bowling ball" be the size of a star or an atom...
  • Dec 8 2011: Do we have a soul?
  • Dec 8 2011: Is there one typical way our thoughts work? (Or is it different for everyone?)
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    Dec 8 2011: First I'll start with your questions. I see there being answers to your questions and they all intermingle, in a way.

    Based on what we know of the universe (millions of stars and galaxies), it is 'likely' that there is life on other planets. What is not likely is that we will ever find life given our technological limitations. Now that's something we may not know in our lifetime, anyway.

    I think it's both nurture/nature--I think they are both big factors in our development. We are chemical beings in a chemical world, so, in my view, it has to be both.

    Everything is relative but there are many things we can agree on that make life 'comfortable', or 'good', or 'safe' for all humans. That is, however, given that we can all agree that all humans are born to deserve dignity and respect and comfort. I believe that-I hope everyone does. I don't know if I would call these truths, however, but constants of sorts.

    I have no idea what the earth will be like in 100 years as we can't predict nuclear war (which would change the world), natural disasters (which would change the world) etc.

    As to my question:

    I know some physicists are working on theorizing that we are in a soup,so to speak, of multi-universes, which would explain some phenomena in our own universe but not answer the larger question--"What started all that (the multi-universe)?

    So I guess that is my unanswerable question, which also makes me think of all the infinitesimal creatures that make up our own bodies, let alone our planet, and how even in their smallness (like our smallness in our universe and even the multi-universes) they all play their part in a bigger picture. I guess we are all 'big' in our own tiny areas of life--relatively speaking (here comes that subject-relativity, again lol).
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    Dec 8 2011: Will we survive as a species?
    • Dec 8 2011: No

      Sooner or later (let's hope later) something will get us. Death of the sun, evolution into a number of different species not homo sapiens, our own idiocy, an asteroid, extra-terrestrial invasion, vengeance of God on Richard Dawkins.
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        Dec 8 2011: The way we're absorbing resources, I hate to think about what things will be like when I'm old, much less the next generation..they're the one's who are really going to suffer and live completely differently than we do today.
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      Dec 9 2011: I like to think that we'll do much more than survive! I like to think that we'll flourish and thrive. We are a resilient bunch, and I think we'll make a better world for posterity. I think that we'll also evade potential pending genocide from outside sources.
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        Dec 9 2011: An optimistic viewpoint...a very scarce resource in today's complex world my friend. We'll need a new home either under the water or on a local rock in this solar system soon..population grow is exponential now and renewable resources are quickly's scary, but I see more of a Lord of the Flies future for the next generation unless there's a fundamental paradigm shift across the globe.
  • Dec 8 2011: Why can't we telepathically convey ideas?
  • Dec 8 2011: What determines sexual orientation? Genetics or Environment?
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      Dec 9 2011: I think 99% of scientists agree that 100% of the evidence points to genetics. Often, however, there are people that claim to choose the people they are attracted to. Interesting, right?
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      • Comment deleted

        • Dec 10 2011: It seems that much more research is needed in this area. Based on what I've read so far, the consensus maintains that both genetics and environment are involved in determining sexual orientation. My personal opinion is that it's mostly environmental as a person may go through different phases of orientation in her/his life (whereas if it's genetics, it should stay the same (or should it?)).

          And Joel, I think your argument (how it reproduce itself genetically) doesn't contrast the genetics hypothesis. Imagine a gene that is produced in a mutation process.
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      Dec 11 2011: QUOTE: "What determines sexual orientation? Genetics or Environment?"

      Genetics, in utero maternal hormones, and brain development.
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        Dec 11 2011: I agree, but there is (at least) one more factor: an individual's life experiences. In most cases this is a routine process, but in some cases it is life-altering.
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          Dec 11 2011: Hey Jim,

          QUOTE: "I agree, but there is (at least) one more factor: an individual's life experiences. In most cases this is a routine process, but in some cases it is life-altering."

          Not really. Preference (i.e. sexual orientation) is set by genetics, in utero maternal hormones, and brain development. Behaviour is a choice and might be affected by circumstance.

          A bisexual, or even a gay person might choose an opposite-sex partner "to fit in" to an intolerant culture but the underlying preference will not be affected. Heterosexual prisoners might engage in homosexual sex because there is no other option save celibacy but, again, the underlying preference will not be affected.
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          Dec 11 2011: Hi Joel,

          Research. (I'm sure you can find some if you do a google search.)
      • Comment deleted

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          Dec 11 2011: Hi Joel,

          Sexual orientation is not a choice.
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          Dec 11 2011: QUOTE: "Remember, good science is repeatable with the same result."

          So is bad science.

          Seriously. Google it. Sexual orientation is not a choice.

          Are you a religious man?
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          Dec 12 2011: Hi Joel,

          Why so defensive?

          It's a genuine question: Are you religious?

          I am not.

          The findings are not disputed at all ... at least not by "mainstream" science. Sexual orientation is not a choice. There is some question as to how orientation is determined - which is "normal" with any scientific assertion. The most widely accepted explanation is as I have stated.

          Would you prefer it be a choice?
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        Dec 11 2011: Thomas - Your paradigm makes me shutter... But you might be right.

        Are you saying that people - in fact all living things - are nothing more than a complex mechanisms?

        That we are bound tight to the gods of the genes?

        Is it possible that free will is a hoax?
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          Dec 11 2011: Hi Jim,

          That you would read that into an epigenetic, etiology of sexual orientation is intriguing.

          If I said your eye colour is determined by genetics, would you react?

          Of course not.

          Sexual orientation is determined by genetics, in utero hormones, and brain development.

          So says the research.

          If it were not so:

          - a "straight" person could choose to be "gay." They cannot. (They might choose to engage in homosexual behaviour ... but that is not the same thing, is it?)

          - a "gay" person could choose to be "straight." They cannot. (They might choose to engage in straight behaviour ... but that is not the same thing, is it?)

          - an "asexual" person could choose to be "anything." They cannot. (They might choose to engage in specific behaviour ... but that is not the same thing, is it?)

          In fact, if orientation were a choice, we could all simply say, I choose to be _________ [fill in the blank with whatever the opposite of our orientation actually is] and we would be equally happy, and equally satisfied ... and we all know that's not true ... research or no research.
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        Dec 11 2011: Thomas - Your argument sounds so impenetrable.

        I'm not disputing the science. I'm disputing (kind of) your interpretation of the science. I think you may be jumping to conclusions in an area that is still not wholly understood.

        For now? Yes, sexual orientation is, for all intents and purposes, determined by what you say. But I can't help but feel there is more to the story that we have not understood yet. Call it my "instincts", if you'd like!
        • Dec 11 2011: One thing to consider is the point that genetics actually *determine* little on their own. Having one gene simply does not guarantee an outcome (although it can make it very likely!). Thus, it is important to be careful here when we talk about causation in complex systems-there are obviously mainly inter-dependent, emergent concepts in play.

          If you look to the natural world homosexual behaviour is abundant. Looking for the 'gay' gene is for me to entirely miss the point, you are looking for something (being gay) that doesn't really exist. There is not black and white world of sexuality, 'natural' behaviour demonstrates many shades of grey. There might be genes that pre-dispose you to to certain behaviours, as much as there might be cultural or environmental influences that pre-dispose you to being with males and females in different ways.
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          Dec 11 2011: Hi Jim,

          This is the second time this conversation has come up recently. I'm not sure why people feel uncomfortable about sexual orientation being determined by genetics, in utero maternal hormones and brain development. In other words, by epigenetics.

          Sexual orientation is just one attribute (expression) of our human nature. In that regard, it is not different than eye colour or gender. We do not seem to mind that those are genetically determined but, when it comes to orientation, we seem to clamour for "democracy."

          Anyway, the research in unequivocal. It is not a choice.

          By far, the dominant explanation is that it is determined by genetics, in utero maternal hormones and brain development but, as with all science, there are people who question the findings.

          That is good science.
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          Dec 12 2011: Hi Jan,

          [There's no reply button on Jan's comment Jim so this is following on from yours.]

          Yes, you are correct, genes act "in concert" and may be expressed differently depending on other genes, environment, and so on. That is why orientation is said to be determined by "epigenetics" - genes, in utero hormones, and brain develpment.
  • Dec 8 2011: What is being?
    Does time move backwards or forwards?
  • Dec 8 2011: What lies outside the boundaries of our universe?
  • Dec 8 2011: Why can't I do (and get) whatever I want to?

    Why must I corrode and die?
  • Dec 8 2011: What is contained withina black hole?
  • Dec 8 2011: What is simple?
  • Dec 8 2011: What will "retirement" look like in the future?
  • Dec 8 2011: Are we the most superior species in the universe?
  • Dec 8 2011: Is it necessary for anything at all to exist?
  • Dec 8 2011: Does Real Individuality Exist Anymore?
  • Dec 8 2011: Why the caged bird sings ??
  • Dec 8 2011: How do you make the most enlightened tunafish sandwich?
  • Dec 8 2011: Will the human mind ever really understand itself?
  • Dec 8 2011: how do we 'make' water?
  • Dec 8 2011: How do we smell and what is its biological purpose?
  • Dec 8 2011: I can't believe no one has asked this yet:

    Is there a God?
    • Dec 8 2011: There IS a Belief in (and in many cases a Need for this belief) God(s).
  • Dec 8 2011: what will be tomorow?
  • Dec 8 2011: If life is all that we can see and perceive we would be wrong!!
    This is because we tend to see life as limited(focused) kind of. We perceive only that catches our attention.

    Each one perceives an action in different ways. let's take for instance 9/11. 9/11 is something which most of us thought of to be a disgraceful act by humanity. But there are others who believe this to be something freeing or elating, something to be proud of.

    For me it is relative in the sense that it all depends on how "you" define life.

    It is what you believe world is!

    because YOUR world is different from MINE!
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    Dec 8 2011: What's past the edge of the universe?
  • Dec 8 2011: Why is there something instead of nothing?
  • Dec 8 2011: How do they get the caramel in the Caramilk?
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    Dec 8 2011: *Is there life outside of our planet?

    Life can only mean more life. If we exist in a comfortable distant from our sun, what makes you think that is unique to our fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the universe? An anthropocentric question is a disconnected question. A better question...

    When will we communicate with other humanoids, aliens or life?

    *Is truth relative?

    I can't stand this question - answer: yes, no, maybe, sometimes and occasionally - there is no left or right with truth, ever, always variables to consider. Better questions....

    Is human consensuses of science in correspondence with alien intelligence?
    Is universal communication possible with language or multiculturalism - or do we need technology?

    - A personal question I want to know is "What does come next after life?" - Reincarnation in some material sense seems pretty plausible compared to a majority of considerations.
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      Dec 8 2011: Thank you for your input!!
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      Dec 10 2011: Hi Nicholas.....Regarding your personal question.......most likely annihilation of the self as we know it, surviving in another sense or form, like when we were just a seed with no remembrance of it. Logic trumps faith here......
      in the final run it will not matter, for I will not be who I was before. Some claim to remember former lives; I was not granted this privilege through my questions-filled journey thus far. I will have to wait and see.
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        Dec 10 2011: "You are a being whom became bored with immorality and manufactured a reality. When you die, you gain a new perception."
  • Dec 8 2011: What will come after democracy?
  • Dec 8 2011: what is the substance that holds the universe together/apart?
  • Dec 8 2011: How far is humanity?
  • Dec 8 2011: Will we ever reach new planets?
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      Dec 8 2011: Not if we don't sort ourselves out first. The proof there is intelligent life out there is that it hasn't tried to contact us. We have a lot of growing up and have to survive the corrective action in the near future of our current explosive population growth (7 billion and counting with a world estimated to only be able to sustain around 9 billion, the last billion came on in last couple decades).
    • Dec 8 2011: Absolutely: if we don't destroy ourselves first, that is.
  • Dec 8 2011: Will "e.s.p." ever be accepted as real?
    • Dec 8 2011: I *knew* you were going to ask that.
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      Dec 8 2011: When science fiction becomes science (which happens all the time, it is just a matter of achieiving a higher state of collective consciousness).
    • Dec 8 2011: We know the answer to ESP. It's a delusion. Try asking a different question.
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        Dec 10 2011: So feeling someone's skepticism and hostile to the notion of e.s.p. would be which of the five senses?
        • Dec 10 2011: It would be a correct sense. Good luck believing your superstitions.
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        Dec 11 2011: You made a false assumption that I believe in e.s.p. I see your glibness is serving you well.

        My point if you recall is that there are many things that are unexplained at some age (e.g. Lightning and thunder were thought to be made by the gods because humans limited understanding until science could reproduce through experimentation.) The same may be said for e.s.p., we may not be able to explain it now, but we may later on and tap our full mind's potential.
        • Dec 11 2011: Yeah, good luck with that.
        • Dec 12 2011: Regarding tuneing into my higher senses....

          Astounding claims require astounding evidence" -Carl Sagan

          "Got any?" -Ian

          Because if you were to claim there were white ravens, it would not be up to me to gather the world population of ravens to prove you wrong. Rather, it is your obligation to provide corroboration to your own claims. Until you do so, disagreeing is not denial, it is common sense.
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        Dec 11 2011: Luck might be involved in discovering esp within humans, but it will be skill and scientific reasoning and methodology that will confirm it. For example, once we are able to scientifically understand "gut feelings" we might attribute it to esp with certain human beings (and not others). You cannot say your original answer is without doubt correct that esp is delusional, and that is the point to my response. The original question remains valid as one without an answer yet.
    • Dec 8 2011: what is e.s.p ??
      • Dec 8 2011: extra sensory perception as described here : : Scientists in pre-Revolutionary [Russia] were studying the area of parapsychology as did later such Soviet scientists as V.M. Bekhterev, A.G. Ivanov-Smolensky and B.B. Kazhinsky in the twenties and thirties. In 1922, a commission composed of psychologists, medical hypnotists, physiologists, and physicists worked on parapsychology problems at the Institute for Brain Research in Petrograd (Leningrad). Work flourished throughout the thirties with research being reported in the literature in 1934, 1936, and 1937. After 1937 further experiments in the field of parapsychology were forbidden. During Stalin’s time, any attempt to study paranormal phenomena might have been interpreted as a deliberate attempt to undermine the doctrines of materialism. So stated the 1972 DIA report ‘Controlled Offensive Behavior - USSR’ (Appendix 1, page 22)

        The Defense Intelligence Agency are the military intelligence agency of the US Department of Defense. Part of the military, mainly army, they carry out intelligence work for the Pentagon. According to an official CIA paper written by Gerald K. Haines, the historian of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO):

        ‘There is a DIA Psychic Center and the NSA (National Security Agency) studies parapsychology, that branch of psychology that deals with the investigation of such psychic phenomena as clairvoyance, extrasensory perception, and telepathy.

        In 1960 the Stalinist taboo that prohibited research into the paranormal was lifted and the KGB and GRU (Soviet military intelligence) began a scientific exploration of the weapons potential of psychic energy.

        Soviet interest in psi was reawakened in February 1960 by a story which appeared in French magazine Science et Vie (Science and Life).
    • Dec 9 2011: Psychedelics, my friend
  • Dec 8 2011: what is the value of a like
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    Dec 8 2011: who let the dogs out
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    Dec 8 2011: How do you rid the world of greed?
    • Dec 8 2011: Define greed
      • Dec 8 2011: According to OWS, anyone with money.
      • Dec 8 2011: desire for more than what is needed
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          Dec 9 2011: Then define what is "needed"? From my perspective you may have more than needed, and from yours you would still not have what you need. Relative. Everyone is greedy in someone else's eyes, and noone truly desire more than he needs (wants) becouse its just paradox. You always need what you want for some reason, by some (and for sure yours) point of view.
        • Dec 11 2011: "desire for more than is needed."
          define needed. As in needed by me today, ie : btu's of heat, calories of energy, etc... or needed for the security of myself and my progeny, ie: a college fund, retirement plan, World Safe For Democracy, etc...
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        Dec 12 2011: The love of material wealth as an end rather than a means.
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      Dec 8 2011: Why would you like to rid the world of greed? The greed is our nature. We want MORE money, more knowledge, more experiences, more dreams coming true, more love, more happiness... If you take that away we will not live anymore. Greed is what make us develop as humans and society. Greed is what make people interact freely with each other for their own personal gains, making it work like a charm. Why changing it?
      • Dec 8 2011: i think there's a difference between greed and ambition. with negative and positive connotations respectively.
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          Dec 9 2011: Ambition is fueled by greed. It is not defect - its healthy, natural trait.

          edit: Or maybe we should say: "Ambition" and "greed" is the same thing but from different perspectives? ;)
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          Dec 10 2011: Greed is the opposite of being altruistic... Greed is imposed upon us by society; our constant need for more even though we provide less. Why did Madoff need more money? Is there a point in time when it no longer matters? Conversely, there is no real altruism. To be altruistic, one needs to shun all gratification to the benefit of others.... but.... isn't the act of altruism a form of greed in that the altrusitic person receives graification from someone's approval, gain, and acceptance? Ergo, greed is not necessarily a physical experience.
        • Dec 11 2011: As to the existence of Altruism, mathematically the best solution to the prisoners dillema is "Forgiving Tit for Tat", as in do unto others as they have done to you, but periodically extend the hand of friendship no matter what, to see if you can improve the relationship. This would imply the intrinsic benifts of what we call generosity of spirit and compassion have a root in self interest. Or conversely, that self interest benifits from compassion.
          Perhaps anonymous generosity would qualify, but the self-rewards involved in having done the good deed could be classed as self interest.
          personally I think altruism is an abstract we construct, and it is as real as money, as long as we believe in it it works, but when we don't, it loses it's value.
          Respectfully, go read a biography of William Wilberforce and then tell mr there is no altruism.
      • Dec 9 2011: greed: excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions. ( i think the words 'excessive' and 'rapacious' are key parts of the definition. I also think what you mean to say is that desire is a healthy natural trait. greed is by definition unhealthy. ambition is not necessarily fueled by greed. it is a form of desire though.
      • Dec 9 2011: the only things man truly needs is proper shelter and nourishment. greed for material objects and money gives power to transient objects that are subject to destruction and permanent loss of power. But greed is also as you said natural it makes us want things that give us benefit, but when mixed with deception and money it becomes detrimental to society.
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      Dec 8 2011: When we are all equal and treated equally..when there is no poverty and richness..when we all get our share of everything equally and when being complacent is the norm.
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        Dec 9 2011: Now that would be a nightmare. Thanks God its impossible.
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        Dec 9 2011: Boy, sounds like a short story by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. called "Harrison Bergeron."
      • Dec 13 2011: I don't think that ecomonic equality and complacency are predicated on one another.

        There may be a lesson in hunter gatherer societies there for us, where taking more than your needs was often met with shunning, rather than the adulation and reinforcement we give the rich in this culture. After all we don't necessarily want equality if it means everyone is poor, but rather we want everyone to be rich. Or just us.

        I read recently that if you have an income of $45,000 in Canada, ( roughly equivilent to the States at present rates) then you are among the richest 1% of the worlds population. The richest 1% of the Canadian population earns an average of $400,000. There are several coutries where $400 per annum is a good income.

        Thism sets up an interesting series of ratio's. the middle class in the wealthy nations resent those who earn less than ten times as much, and forget those who earn more than a hundred times less. True, this is not a scientific point, but it is glaringly unbalanced just the same.
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      Dec 9 2011: Teach the difference between needs and wants. (7)
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        Dec 9 2011: You can lead a horse to water, but can you make him think?
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        Dec 10 2011: THen try to teach the difference between good and evil... its relative, subjective and depends entirely on perspective.
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      Dec 9 2011: remove all the humans from the planet.
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        Dec 10 2011: So negative.
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          Dec 11 2011: Jordan,

          My point wasn't negative, but rather realistic in pointing out that greed is part of human nature and fostered by human nurture. Don't believe me? I don't see sperm trying to share an egg very often if they can help it.
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        • Dec 11 2011: All negation is not negativity. Balance requires mitigation of extremes, and inclusion of opposing perspectives. Pragmatism and realism specify that sometimes the glass is half full, sometimes it is half empty, depending on wether you are pouring or drinking. Context is often as important as content.

          Possession is implicit with existence, my food, my mother, etc.. greed, as with all subjective terms is more context than anything else. Is it greedy to feed your children while others go hungry?

          Me... i blame the bag.. think on it , before the bag, (or perhaps the gourd), you could only possess two things at a time, the one in your left hand and the one in your right. Hunter gatherers are, so far, histories only sucessful communists.
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          Dec 11 2011: Negativity can be very healthy when faced with "fright or flight" situations (however, those are few and far between these days) where being positive would get you killed. Unfortunately, people spend more time being negative than being positive and social networking seems to attract that behaviour more than is healthy, so from that point of view, I agree.

          However, my point, back to the original question, was the only way to remove greed from the planet was to remove humans (since it is impossible to remove greed from 100% of the population). There was a movie with Ricky Gervais, The Invention of Lying, that comes to mind that could apply to greed as it did to lying.
      • Comment deleted

        • Dec 11 2011: In addition to shared language, conventions of understanding are required for communication. You well know that I refer to the poured or consumed substance, rather than the air in the glass, the microbacteria on its rim, or the "potential" it contains. Tell your gas tank there is no such thing as empty, or your stomach. Empty is conditional, and begs the question empty of what? The relevant substance. Potential would only be relevant if I could pour it or drink it.

          Potential is an abstract, not a reality, we conferr potential through perception and prediction, it is not implicit, but inferred. If there were no observer to percieve, there is no potential in the glass. (The potential energy of an elevated object in a gravity well is another matter entirely.)

          You might further note the importance of "Context is often as important as content." to the paragraph, and understand my confusion at your decision to thus take it out of context.

          Edit : this was in response to a comment since deleted.
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          Dec 11 2011: Some see the glass as twice the size necessary for the amount of liquid (looking at it from the liquid's perspective rather than the glass). But even then, from the glasses perspective, the glass is full; half with water and half with air.
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        • Dec 12 2011: I was responding to the universal statement that "negativity is unhealthy". Responding to that comment does not, to my perspective, alter the context one whit.

          Pessimism and optimism are extemes, and I assert a more balanced outlook is more productive. I would not argue against looking for the best in events, but pessimism had real survival value during the Black Death, Stalin's Russia, etc...

          Looking for the bright side when you have wandered into a mine field is simply obtuse.As for the glass, I am afraid your perpective wil not alter the water to vodka when it comes time for a breathalyzer. Perpective gives meaning to events, but the physical environment we all share cares little about your opinion of gravity, or percieved value of your being able to fly. ( I whistle distractedly as I pass a physiscist doing the classic double slit experiment)

          By "out of context" I reffer to the fact that your reponse in no way addressed the question of the viability of negativity. Instead it rehashed old and tired responses to the admitedly over used glass cliche.

          By the way, how did telling your gas tank that there was no such thing as empty work out for you?
      • Comment deleted

  • Dec 8 2011: What causes crime?
  • Dec 8 2011: Is consciousness generated inside the brain or... not?
  • Dec 8 2011: hehe: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
  • Dec 8 2011: Where does 'reality' exist?
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    Dec 8 2011: What is an answer no one knows the question to?
  • Dec 8 2011: Will we be able to survive despite of ourselves or are we like a parasite doomed to die when our current host dies if we don't find/create a new one?
  • Dec 8 2011: there are some answers which we can't get trough logical thinking, but from intuitive knowledge. we have all information (knowledge) inside us, but we are not at ''home''
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    Dec 8 2011: What will be the next BIG discovery?
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    Dec 8 2011: Is there a soul?
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      Dec 8 2011: The real question to that is if you have the answer, would you act differently?
  • Dec 8 2011: When human race will become humanely?
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      Dec 8 2011: When we no longer have human needs
      • Dec 8 2011: Or, when we fully understand two basic Universal laws: Free Will and Action&Reaction.
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          Dec 9 2011: There are plenty with free will and understand action and reaction who do not act humanely.
  • Dec 8 2011: What's the meaning of life?
  • Dec 8 2011: What are memories made of?
  • Dec 8 2011: Does the end justify the means?
  • Dec 8 2011: Will I die tomorrow?
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      Dec 8 2011: The answer is likely not tomorrow. Most people seem to ponder "When will I die?" and then wonder if they really want to know the answer.
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    Dec 8 2011: Well more precisely.... Why me?
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    Dec 8 2011: Why?
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      Dec 8 2011: Why not?
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      Dec 8 2011: I don't know the answer to "Why?" but it isn't the ultimate question, because the question after that is "Is there anything more?"
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    Dec 8 2011: Why is stillness the only thing that ever really brings peace?
  • Dec 8 2011: There is a great observable difference between the male and female in all forms of life, ie, all males waste a lot of time whereas, females are professional, reaching back to their den at the earliest opportunity(male animals can be seen playing with the prey thus wasting time, male humans busy with many activities, many of them claiming to be part of intellect, an abstact property) I think the male is terrified of returning as he will have to 'perform', which always ends in great misery for the male as females of all animals grossly ill treat the male immediately after 'performace'. May be our ancestors thought of the impending doom for the human male, if things(performance) are to follow a natural course, giving rise to (say)art, science and other abstractions, all intended to delay performance.
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      Dec 8 2011: You've apparently made some new discoveries in biology. I await your publication with interest.
      P.L., biologist
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    Dec 7 2011: What's it all about, Alfie?
  • Dec 7 2011: why to live?
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    Dec 7 2011: God is true?
  • Dec 7 2011: It's why why why all the way down with no answer at the bottom.
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      Dec 9 2011: actual "why?" is not the ultimate question, because there are no further questions after the ultimate question, and the question after "Why?" is "Is there anything more?"
      • Dec 9 2011: James, I think the final answer would then be, "yes, there's more."
    • Dec 9 2011: What, why, how, who, where, when are not real. They are mental tools that we use to understand the world around us, much like a carpenter uses different tools to create a table so we use different questions and other mental tools to literally construct the world. Asking why a lot simply takes you to the edge of your world, but not to end of existence.
      • Dec 9 2011: Jan, I don't know what you mean by existence, but I do know what you mean about why being a mental construct, just like any other word. It's just hard when all you have are words.
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        Dec 9 2011: W5 is real enough for human intellect. We will not rest until we know it all. We are asking questions that are about the edge and beyond.
  • Dec 7 2011: who/ what/ where iz GOD..??????
  • Dec 7 2011: How can we live without war?
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    Dec 7 2011: Will ART be apart of public education in 20 years?
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    Dec 7 2011: How many will respond to this conversation before it expires?
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      Dec 9 2011: A finite number.
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        Dec 10 2011: That is not how many; that's a single integer (out of an infinite set.)
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          Dec 10 2011: So are you suggesting it a non-finite number or perhaps an un real number. No, I would argue that it would have to be a finite and real number which would be a precise answer to your "many" and is a valid answer to your question.
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          Dec 10 2011: @James: Maybe Thomas was referring to which specific finite number that the number of responses would be--? If I were a betting man, I'd bet he already had a pretty good grasp of number theory, and that it was sure to be a finite number (as opposed to infinity).
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      Dec 11 2011: this.getNumberOfCommentsMadeAt(December 13, 2011 at 9:43:31 AM EST)
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    Dec 7 2011: Will this be my last breath?
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      Dec 9 2011: No it wasn't.
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        Dec 10 2011: True again. And the question still stands. Your answer will be correct for every breath but one. And while we engaged in this amusement, thousands of people actually did take their last breath. None knew which it would be. I'm sure there were some pretty good guesses though.
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        Dec 10 2011: Good effort James. Jordan didn't say the answers had to be correct!
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          Dec 10 2011: Thomas, I think if we reformulated the question to "When will my last breath be?" then there would definitely be an answer in the future but not currently available.
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    Dec 7 2011: When will human beings (Homo sapiens) become extinct -- and how?
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      Dec 8 2011: Interesting! Do you think we'd be replaced by another dominant species?
      • Dec 8 2011: It doesn't have to be dominant, humans could simply die out - like bacteria in a petri dish. Once all the nutrients are gone, and waste eventually toxifies the environment, the colony comes to an end.
        • Dec 8 2011: Great fusion of concepts! Humanity in a Petri dish... this conversation is less than the lightest dust!
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          Dec 8 2011: Exactly, I always love this analogy. I think there is a pretty good resemblance. Indeed the fate of bacteria can be twofold. They either die when all resources are used up or they get killed by their own waste. So, to which future are we heading, which one of the two scenario's?
          But there's hope. We have an external power source, the sun. Everything we do, including recycling, costs energy. Switching completely to renewable energy is the way to go.
          Another point of hope is that we are supposed to be homo sapiens. Can we escape from our behavior and see the bigger picture and act accordingly?
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      Dec 9 2011: when we have evolved into a different species.
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    Dec 6 2011: If environments evolve according to laws, what controls/controlled the laws?
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    Dec 6 2011: If time travel depended on this question being free of mispelled words, could I never come back and fix it?
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      Dec 9 2011: I really believe time travel is a myth.. a fantasy theory. If someone could go back in time, we would anihilate ourselfs or just stopped existing, see unnatural things, meet people from past and future and vitness the utter chaos, or we just woud not be here cause in past such utter chaos would be done by time travelers wanting to go backwards and backwards as far as it gets... Scientists trying to explain it not happenig by theories of parallel realities. No matter how many such realities would be there, if in one of them time travel would become possibility, then time travelers would spread trough parallel realities like wildfire and we would have time travelers in our reality aswell. Its just fantasy...
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        Dec 9 2011: Mr. K,
        You seem to have a genuine interest in the fascinating concept oftime travel.
        I, on the other hand, do not.
        My contribution to the conversation was meant to suggest an unanswerable question.
        You will notice I began my question with the most potent of words. . . . . "if".
        So my interest lies in whether you can answer my hypothetical question or not.
        Good luck on the time travel question and thanks for your comments.
        • Dec 9 2011: According to another theory, after you go back in time , it will become ridiculously impossible for you to make your sentence grammatically correct . The whole universe will come together to stop you from doing that.
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          Dec 10 2011: Im sorry, i got a bit driven. But i can answer your question aswell:

          "If time travel depended on this question being free of mispelled words, could I never come back and fix it?"

          1. Answer to your question is "Yes". Lets assume that soon you would edit your question and get rid of any misspelled words and then time travel becomes possible, and then there is no obstacle to come back to even earlier moment (moment where you first posted original, misspelled word) and fix it sooner, making the time travel possible earlier in the reality to which you woudl travel (of course it coudlnt be this one, becouse it still didnt happen).

          2. You could of course ask otherwise: "(...)depended on this question in this moment of time being free of mispelled words". - Then the answer still would be "Yes" - Becouse for example other "You", from other reality where it would not be dependant on similiar condition, could come back and fix it in some different reality.

          3. You could of course ask yet otherwise: "If time travel in all realities depended on this question in this moment of time, in this reality being free of mispelled words". - Then answer would be "No". If time travel would be dependant on that question and you misspelled word "mispelled" in this point of time in this reality, then you could never time travel, so you could never come back and fix it.
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          Dec 11 2011: Mr. Long, Word is full of learnings. Hypothetical questions speeled by you creates an isolation from practical world. Any new ideas are not matures untill and unless we make mistakes as you said you mispelled and you want to correct it. Hypothetical questions is concealing the reality.
          So let us continue the ideas and research groomed by our great researchers and creeds.
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      Dec 9 2011: time travel seems relative as we think time is relative. (10)
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        Dec 9 2011: It beats the heck out of me, Philip.
        Can you answer my "unanswerable" question?
        What is the meaning of the number 10 in parentheses?
        Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
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      Dec 9 2011: The question is truly unanswerable. As time moves, the meanings and spelling of words migrate. If one were to misspell the sentence while embarking to a time where its spelling was accepted, would the journey be valid? And if a person misspells and spell check does not catch it, would future readers ever know?
    • Dec 11 2011: "If time travel depended on this question being free of misspelled words, could I never come back and fix it?"
      No, you could not "never come back", because yes you spelled correctly. Ha ! paradoxes are pretty, (or is that paradoxi?)
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        Dec 11 2011: Very clever Ian, but in the original question, "mispelled" is misspelled....try again!

        I think I might have a retort:

        If you time travel to the past where the misspelling would not be detected, there would be no need to come back- you would travel forward to fix it... and if you were to time travel to the future you would be SOL.
        • Dec 12 2011: Erp. My mistake then, that will teach a dyslexic to mind his p's and q's a four in the am. Still... I liked it better without errors.
  • Jan 1 1970: