Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mental Disease Theory: High Entropy Neural Pathways

An idea I just had.

Assumption: Neural Patterns stimulated more regularly will become stronger and more easily stimulated

Certain mental diseases could be treated and avoided by non-drug therapy, or brain stimulation techniques. A mental disease could start off as a seed neural pathway in the brain that has an unusually high entropy value, or unusually low resistance. These pathways because of their high entropy/low resistance would be stimulated easily, and the more they are stimulated the more likely the neurons involved in the pathway will become linked to other neurons, auxiliary to the pathway, but linked to the experience, additionally the more the low entropy state becomes activated, the more strongly the neurons in the pathway become linked, a cancerous feedback loop of thought. For instance, if you are eating breakfast when a certain pathway is stimulated, the smell, taste, visual data, or even other things on your mind could become linked to the neural pathway being stimulated. This could in turn cause this high entropy neural pattern to become stimulated when eating breakfast, associations like these could in theory branch out, so that almost everything in your life, every experience activates this high entropy pathway.

So if a person has a latent high entropy pathway that simply has not yet been stimulated they will not experience the particular mental illness that results from this pathway.

Intellectual athletes, those who are constantly trying to expand the powers of their mind may be prone to mental illness by activating pathways in novel ways. An intellectual athlete is more than just an explorer of the mind, activating many many pathways, but creates links between pathways possibly creating an infectious low entropy pathway. This could also explain why psychedelic drugs have been linked to mental illness in those with a family history of illness. Certain people have latent high entropy neural pathways that have yet to be activated, psychedelic drugs activate pathways in the brain in very different manner than the brain is normally activated. Therefore a psychedelic drug could simply stimulate one of these high entropy pathways, and thus start the feedback loop of cancerous thought, precipitating the illness.

If this theory explains certain mental illness, this would provide for enhanced treatment options over the traditional prescription and therapy treatment.

One would simply need to have real-time brain imaging machine with a certain amount of resolution that allowed pathways to be distinguished from one another rapidly. A therapist and patient would need to experiment to find which pathway the disease state occupies, and the auxiliary pathways that activate the disease state. Through neurobio-feedback the patient could learn to avoid activating the disease state. This would be an ongoing process, that would be very intensive during the beginning weeks/months of neurobio feedback, with neurobio-feedback sessions tapering off as the disease state becomes activated less and less. It may even be possible for the patient to break apart the high entropy system through neurobio-feedback.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Atheists are not Close Minded

Let us clear up Atheist Vs. Agnostic. These are not mutually exclusive terms. There are no atheists that exist that are also not agnostic. Being agnostic simply means that one acknowledges that it is impossible to prove a negative 100%. Being an atheist simply means one does not believe in theology. This next bit I read somewhere, but cannot remember where.

It is impossible to prove that unicorns do not exist, yet nobody seriously believes that they exist. To acknowledge that it is impossible to know, one would say they are agnostic about the existence of unicorns, but they also know there is no reason to believe that unicorns exist, thus one is also atheistic in regards to the existence of unicorns.

Although it is possible to be agnostic without being an atheist, any intelligent atheist (most are) is also agnostic. Anybody who claims to know with absolute certainty that there is no god is a fool, this however does not make god any more real than a unicorn, or for that matter a unicorn-leprechaun hybrid.

Atheists as far as I know are skeptics. Being an atheist in the USA is not something one does flippantly, very few are born into atheism. Unlike most religious people, an atheist at some point makes a conscious choice that they do not believe in religion.

Imagine, if you will, a prototypical balance, a plank of wood balanced on a wedge. Yet this is not an ordinary balance, this is a conceptual balance of evidence. This conceptual evidence balance is what rational people use in order to judge the accuracy of idea's and theories. Much of the time it is difficult to determine immediately which side of the balance is heavier, that is, which idea or theory has more evidence to it, however after research and a good amount of skepticism it becomes clear which side is heavier.

It must be noted that this sort of decision making is based on the assumption that it is rational to believe idea's with the most evidence for them, essentially the assumption is, it is rational to believe idea's that describe reality most accurately rather than ideas that describe reality less accurately.

People who use this sort of system to judge rationality are given the labels, rational, rationalist, or skeptics. Being a skeptic is synonymous with rationalist.

Now, getting back on subject, I have heard it said that atheists are just as close minded as theists. This is a gigantic lie.

Atheists, as mentioned above are mainly composed of skeptics, or rationalists who weigh evidence in order to make a decision about belief. These peoples beliefs are not set in stone, and change according to evidence. The fact of the matter is, there is overwhelming amounts of evidence that contradict the idea of a god in any sort of religious sense what-so-ever, and absolutely 0 evidence in favor of there being a god.

However every atheist I know would convert to any particular religion if there were more evidence of it being correct than of it not being correct.

There are exactly 0 theists that would do the same, simply because, any theist, if they used a rational system to evaluate evidence would come to the same conclusion as anybody who has ever looked objectively upon religion, and would realize it was all a scam.

The only reason a person would say an atheist is close minded is simply out of frustration that a skeptic cannot be swayed by stories like "I was personally touched by god" or any of that anecdotal evidence. These sorts of things are called spiritual experiences, and everybody, regardless of religion (or lack there of) have them. Atheists who do not believe in soul or "free will" have these sorts of profound experiences too.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

How to live in 4 simple steps

Many of us walk around, nervous, without confidence about the decisions we need to make in life. Below I am providing 4 tips for improving your life immediately.

1. Do your best on everything you do

My grandfather once told me, "If a job is not worth doing right, it is not worth doing at all." I believe that this statement is true. Many of us do not put 100% into many projects in fear of failing and coming to the realization that we are genuinely not good at something, but this is absolutely rubbish. If you are genuinely not good at something, it is beneficial to know this so that you do not take tasks you are not good at. In addition to this, giving 100% often produces results far better than your own expectations of yourself, boosting your confidence. Also, if you put 100% into everything you do, you cannot blame yourself if you do poorly because it simply is not possible to do better than your best effort.

2. Do not bite off more than you can chew

This goes along with number 1, if you have too much on your plate that you cannot put your best effort into everything, you need to realize your limitations (you are human) and cut out tasks that are lower on the priority scale so that you can invest your best effort into those things that are most important to you.

3. Philosophize

Every individual needs to come to an understanding of what life is all about, what is the purpose, what is morality, what things do you believe or not believe. Religion is a horrible thing to center your life around. It is much easier to dismiss morality given to you by somebody else, than to dismiss your own conclusions about morality. One must really think about morality, what it is, what it means to you, and then stick to your own idea's about morality. Regardless of what religion teaches, humans are very capable of coming up with their own morality which is generally more reliable, and dare I say, more moral than morality handed down from thousands of years ago. This can be seen by prison statistics, Christians make up approximately 83% of the prison population, they also make up about 83% of the general population, while atheists make up around 8% of the general population and only about 0.2% the prison population.
In addition to morality, questions about life, happiness, and meaning can only be found through personal insight, although there are many good books on the subject, in order for any answers to these questions to be true for an individual, one must discover these insights for themselves.

4. Forget the past, live for the moment, but plan for the future.

Many of us worry about the decisions we have made in the past, some of us even live in regret. Although it is important to reflect on the past, to shape our decisions for the future, regret is a horrible situation to be in and does not help anybody. If you have made a bad decision in the past, confront the issue by realizing it was a poor decision, and try your best to avoid decisions like that in the future. Forgive yourself because there is nothing you can do to change the past, learn from your mistake and move on.
In addition to this, do not worry excessively about the future. The future is going to happen whether you want it to or not, there are endless possibilities of things that could possibly go wrong, so there is no need to worry about things that are out of your control. The sun could explode in 10 minutes and wipe out all of humanity, but this should not make you live in fear because you have no way of controlling this. Try to structure your life today so that you minimize failure in the future, but do not obsess about the future, because you do not live in the future. You live in the here and now. You do not live in the past, or in the future. If you are constantly thinking about things other than the here and now, you will miss out on what is happening, you miss out on real reality. All you have is this moment, take advantage of it.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The World is Fucked up

I have been thinking lately about how completely fucked up our world is.

Disregard for the Environment:

We are polluting this planet like never before and as such we are facing very large problems. Global warming is happening, this is bad news, not just for us, but the biodiversity of our planet. If Global warming were the only problem facing the environment, life would evolve to fit within this new warmer environment, but this is not the only issue. We are constantly manipulating the environment and changing the rules of selection on organisms faster than natural selection can keep up. This is why we are going through the greatest mass extinction on the history of the planet.


In the united states we are currently under control of one of the most manipulative and pure evil governments that has come to power. It is clear now that our own government either planned and executed the attacks on 9/11 or they knowingly let it happen. There is plenty of evidence for this, but I think that the most telling is that the official report on the 9/11 attacks concludes that it is not important that we know who funded these attacks. Of course it is important to know who funded the attacks on the US, the only reason they would say it is not important would be if they had some sort of involvement.


We live in the most technologically advanced period that we have ever lived in, yet we are still just as stupid as ever. Many people think war is unavoidable, yet it is. All we have to do is say "we aren't going to kill." Yes, this would only work if the entire planet came to this realization, but is it really that hard? Honestly what does murder solve? Nothing. There is nothing wrong with people disagreeing with each other, but we do not need to kill over it. Can't people just get along? War would not happen if the entire planet was educated.

Corruption and corporations

People often take advantage of others for personal gain. A corporation is considered by law to be a legal person. They have all the rights of a person. They can own land, other companies, sue and be sued, etc etc. The problem is the company is a legal person, when this legal person commits heinous acts nobody is held responsible because you cannot send a corporation to jail. This is how it is possible for corporations like Nike to travel from country to country and pay people less than slaveholders paid for the upkeep of their slaves. As soon as an area starts demanding more money, they pick up shop leaving the area destitute, completely crumbling the society that existed before they were there in the first place, and sets up in another area where they can exploit the natives. This is all technically legal, but is it right? No. This is just a very vague example of the horrors that can come about when the bottom line is profit.


People in this world are stupid. Really, really stupid. This needs to be fixed with education. People need to learn critical thinking for themselves. The majority of people in this world have their minds made up about everything and no amount of reason can change their minds. This is the leading reason that we allow ourselves to become slaves to the machine, we believe what we are taught to believe from our parents, from our school, from our media. And no matter how logical an argument is people will not believe it if it interferes with what they already believe.

The point:

The point of this post is not to convince anyone that the world is fucked up, if that were the reason I would go through each of my assertions and provide a source for the evidence, and perhaps that is something I will do at a later day. But for right now, the point is simply for me to vent. Others out there that feel the same way will recognize what I have written and empathize with me.

What should we do?

What should we do about the global injustice? Why can't we be truly free? Why does money have to motivate people? Why cannot we be motivated to work for the common good? Why must greed run the economy? Why can't we work together, we can achieve such greatness if we tried, our world could be in peace and harmony if we wanted. There doesn't need to be starvation, or homelessness. Utopia is possible if everybody wanted that, why do people not want utopia?