Paul Harwood

Singapore, Singapore

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Paul Harwood
Posted over 1 year ago
Steven Pinker: The surprising decline in violence
Congratulations - you "glanced" at a 700 page book of detailed statistical analyses and decided that he has "cherry picked" because you do not like the conclusion. If you had actually read the book rather than writing the review before you had - you would know that he has exhaustively noted the sources of data that we has used and that he has aggregated (with - before you complain - detailed explanations of the sources and algorithms) a wide range of data sources from different countries and cultures to show a common trend across the globe. Reducing this - without evidence and by your own admission without reading the book - to "some criminologist says" is dishonest in the extreme. You would also know that he covers all of the state violence you mention is in his analysis - including the small war / big war question - but he also covers non-state violence as best we can and he covers the appalling death tolls in previous periods of violence - for instance the An Lushan rebellion during the Tang Dynasty which resulted in the death of about 2/3 of the population according to contemporary census data, or the Mongol conquests of central asia when entire cities where slaughtered giving a potential death toll of 40M against a tiny (by todays standards) world population.
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Paul Harwood
Posted over 1 year ago
Steven Pinker: The surprising decline in violence
I question strongly your assertion - keeping in mind always that we need to evaluate against absolute measures of cruelty not against our expectations of acceptable behaviour since the expectations themselves change over time. Nationally and globally - we now hold as illegal and unacceptable many types of behaviour towards animals that would have been perfectly acceptable only decades ago - and forms of animal torture that would have been acceptable in any country a few hundreds of years like the cat example that he gave are now totally abhorrent.
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Paul Harwood
Posted over 1 year ago
Melissa Marshall: Talk nerdy to me
Scientist message to artists "I find your pictures fascinating but they are too difficult to understand - could you make them easier!" .... scientists message to the french "I find French literature fascinating but it is so difficult to understand - could you write it in English please". You have to come to the party - not constantly complain that the party does not come to you!
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Paul Harwood
Posted over 2 years ago
Brian Greene: Is our universe the only universe?
The Quran states that fresh water and salt water CANNOT mix - or more precisely [25:53] It is He Who has let free the two bodies of flowing water: One palatable and sweet, and the other salt and bitter; yet has He made a barrier between them, a partition that is forbidden to be passed. I challenge you to fill a container half with fresh water and half with salt water. Shake the container and then let it settle and watch the salt water and fresh water separate because of the barrier between that Allah made. If they do not separate - I invite you to become, as you proposed, an atheist.
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Paul Harwood
Posted over 2 years ago
Jonathan Haidt: Religion, evolution, and the ecstasy of self-transcendence
You actually missed a piece - reproduction with inheritance. You are not going to get Darwinian evolution if the individuals have to choose what their descendants look like - you get something more like Lamarckism. And - the answer to your question is that you cannot get group selection in human groups because there is no mechanism for reproduction of the group with inheritance.
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Paul Harwood
Posted over 2 years ago
Jonathan Haidt: Religion, evolution, and the ecstasy of self-transcendence
That last comment suggests that you think that Dawkins believes in group selection which cannot be further from the truth. I am also not sure why you are lumping group selection and memes - there is no link between the two. There are four ideas in this talk and they are largely independent. 1 We are selected to be co-operative. (largely non-contentious) 2 That this requires group selection (highly controversial and I agree with Dawkins that this wrong) 3 That transcendence is an evolutionary gadget to promote co-operation (interesting new idea) 4 That this somehow validates religion since it is "adaptive" - complete claptrap and not reasoned at all just stated.
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Paul Harwood
Posted over 2 years ago
Jonathan Haidt: Religion, evolution, and the ecstasy of self-transcendence
I understand that you did not like the talk. I was no great fan myself, however it would be of immense benefit to the community if you would say why you think it is wrong! I have to say that although I have issues with the talk, you must have had a wonderful and enlightened life up till now if this is the worse talk / speech / presentation that you ever saw!