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Archive for April, 2011

Relationships, Weight Loss

When I was younger, for a while, women were practically all I thought about in my spare time. Of course, I realized at one point that this was a phase, and then later I could reflect upon this. Though some people do not wish to let go of this phase…

I remember my first girlfriend fondly, although we didn’t part on the best of terms, it was 2001 (that’s 10 years ago) in the middle of me growing my hair long, we were teenagers. How time flies.

Of course I realize now that someday when I find a woman who agrees to marry me, she will be even more special than I thought my first girlfriend was 10 years ago. But was she really that special? If we could turn the clock back to 2000, by that time I had maintained good friendships with at least 6 different girls, and any one of them would have done as a first (real) girlfriend. It wasn’t as if I would have said “no” to any of them had they asked. On the other hand I did what any sensible person would do: chose one and then all-but ignored all my other female friends for the next two years (yes that well over-spans the length of that relationship, but it’s no real understatement).

I haven’t had all that much luck, as they say, since that time either. Not that I’m disappointed with being alone at the moment, at least it beats plenty of other alternatives.

At this point the conversation is academic. Let me tell you about some of my other friends, from around this period 1999-2002. Some had begun drinking before 18, something I did on a couple of occasions (one or two beers only), I wasn’t interested in being a part of that scene. Some had begun using illicit drugs, again I had no interest in this. Some had taken up smoking, again I thought this was stupid. I even knew people with more than 1 girlfriend.

I’m glad that I had those principles. I still know plenty of people who drink too much, use drugs regularly and who smoke. I know people in their late 20’s to late 30’s who have more than 1 girlfriend. I’m not one of them buy choice. I know plenty of people in their 20’s who really stacked on the weight in their early 20’s. By 2007 I was slightly overweight myself; but less than a week ago I recorded my lowest ever adult weight: 72.8kg. More on that in a little bit.

Over the last 10 years I’ve watched many men my age (that’s a relative term, not an absolute as of 2011) leave the Church. Our Church does not adequately facilitate for this need, not in a long run. Once a year it runs the Alpha Course; and I’ve said now for about 10 years that I will never, ever, under any circumstances, ever invite anyone I know to attend an Alpha Course. Many times I’ve asked for alternatives to be run, but this request has always fallen on deaf ears and I’ve continually told that my opinion is not valid. So in truth, over the years I’ve never had the ability to invite people I know who would be interested in a short course designed for non-attending Christians or non-Christians to introduce/re-introduce them to the Church.

One of the saddest things is watching the world’s so-called morality rub-off on them. Living with girlfriends before marriage; or even having children before marriage is one example. Another one is the use of drugs. Another is lying, fraud, cheating etc and vice in general. I know people who teach their children that they are to fight back when threatened at school, for instance. It’s a sad state of things.

Also the selfish attitude that I want and I must have. This surrounds a lot of things, from materialism to relationships, I can’t count the number of times people have said to me “I don’t know how I would live if I couldn’t always have a relationship with a woman”. They do live up to their promise, and get new women as soon as the old ones are gone, in fact, I know lots of people that do this.

Weight Loss

A few weeks back I lost 3kg when I didn’t eat almost anything for 3 days with a stomach-bug, and I lost about 5kg over 3 weeks by crash-dieting prior to that, and at that time I recorded my weight as 73.8kg, it was the first time I had ever recorded my weight below 74kg as an adult. I had thought that 2-3kg of that would come straight back on since that’s the amount that was lost in just three days when I was sick, but a week later I measured again and 73.6kg (a new record) told me that the weight loss was indeed permanent.

The reason I crash-dieted for 3 weeks is that I can’t stand lying weight-loss advertisements, and I wanted to definitively prove their lies. They’re all the same: they lie. Bodytrim claims you’ll loose 5kg in your first week, it’s impossible to loose 5kg of fat in a single week by dieting alone (you can only loose up to about 2kg), and as it doesn’t incorporate a fitness regime, it ranks as one of the slowest most overpriced systems out there – on the plus side it does have a healthy approach to weight loss, but this is overshadowed by the fact that they claim their system is backed up by scientific studies, yet this claim is unsubstantiated. Furthermore, for the price ($149) of an education system which only targets diet and not exercise, it is really bad value for money in any case, even if the system was complete and included both the price would still be very high. Yes I know I just said I lost 3kg in 3 days but to be fair I vomited my entire stomach contents at the start of that period; so all that really proves is that bulimia is effective.

The one I really dislike is Rapidloss. They’re the ones that boldly make the claim that you can’t loose weight by eating less: yes you can, I’ve done it, it’s easy. I simply don’t like seeing crap like rapidloss being peddled on TV, just like the majority of weightloss products it’s not very good. Superslim has more merit to it than rapidloss.

Rapidloss makes the claim that IF your died leaves you feeling hungry THEN it will fail. The very fact that this statement is a blatant lie makes me wonder how it is allowed to air on television as it is. Even if I had not lost any weight in the 3 weeks my diet would have been a success, since the purpose of it was 1. to prove that it can be done easily, and 2. most importantly, like any other crash-diet, to reduce my appetite. Weight loss is just a bonus to that. I was left feeling hungry all the time, it isn’t difficult to deal with it.

Crash dieting requires discipline and the ability to cope with hunger, and most importantly, it can only ever be a short-term system. It deprives your system of required nutrients, which I’m sure I don’t have to tell you probably lowers your immune system and isn’t a great thing to do long-term. Why does it work? Well it’s simple physics… just like all major diets, ultimately it limits calorie intake. Still the claim made in the ad “if you’re left feeling hungry your diet will fail” is false; I coped with feeling hungry just fine. The biggest and most important rule I self-imposed was no food after 6PM. Trust me on this, if you can impose that one rule, you can definitely achieve your dieting goal.

The road ahead is uncertain…

Today we close this physics series. I was having a discussion the other night with a friend of mine, and we were arguing over definitions, but he said something that made me realize yet another fundamental flaw in evolutionary theory: he pointed out to me that in order to get diabetes a person must carry the gene that makes them susceptible. And I suddenly realized that the theory of evolution fails to explain this phenomenon; or rather; fails to explain why life isn’t plagued by this phenomenon. You see the gene is harmless as long a creature’s behaviour (lifestyle) does not set it off; thus while creatures are behaving in a predictable manner we would expect that problem genes like this can spread through the species unabated; especially if that same gene also provides a further “benefit”.

This illustrates the dangers of GM foods; what if the gene you introduce does something you don’t want to when behaviour, environment or other external forces change? The problem with Darwinism is that its explanation for humanity is that we were an “accident”. The reason why this is untrue is because in any predictable scientific system there exists structure to produce repeatable results. If we are the product of Evolution then it is certain that humanity would have necessarily evolved in any case, and the particular pathway that we actually have in our history is of no real consequence. Of course what I mean to say is that while humans as we know ourselves could have evolved differently; from a different species even; the result would still have been that a species like ours (where brain trumps brawn) would have evolved.

I find abortion distasteful, but I want to illustrate the flaw with the pro-life argument that a foetus will necessarily develop into an adult human as long as it is not inhibited; this is a half truth. Its genetic make up give it the tools for building cells and for growing organs, muscles, brains, etc. But we are reliant on external information given to us by own parents and environment. Feral humans prove this is true; our brains don’t wire their tens of trillions of connections correctly without this; we’re born with a genetic toolkit, we’re not born an unchangeable organism. There have been scientific studies which prove that if an organism isn’t allowed to use particular parts of their anatomy for long enough, they never can. For instance, tests have been carried out on kittens where they were deprived of light for a set period of time (weeks) after birth and when being shown the light they are permanently blind. This is because it is not our genetic material that teaches us to see – it’s not hard-wired into our brains before birth, we have to learn it.

I now have to make an apology: if you have any respect for modern science you are about to be offended! We do not live in a “deterministic” universe; in the same way that we don’t live in a “random state” universe. We can describe and grasp the concept of consciousness, but try to explain it scientifically and the framework breaks down. Our ability to make choices is not the work of deterministic rules of particle physics; nor is it the result of random quantum states. Just like consciousness does not apply to a quantum particle; nor does QM apply to consciousness. Indeed if it is really possible to link the two together the pathway in order to do so is so convoluted and complicated that even if someone was able to map it out it would be of no benefit to science because you would not be able to use it; you need a network of individual living cells to create consciousness; which then transcends them: no matter what brain cell may “randomly” die you will not loose your consciousness, it transcends the individual components, it’s not found in any of them, nor in a small selected set thereof.

The typical textbook reductionist answer is that there are no real scientific laws except those that exist at the fundamental level; the theory of everything. Whether it is string theory (which isn’t even science) or something else, this generates all other scientific “laws”. Does that mean there is no such thing as a “spider web”? It can’t be that simple, because spider webs are real, so is our atmosphere.

It is with no hesitation I point out that while Quantum Mechanics is a well established theory of the microstructure of the universe, but it can’t be used to describe larger systems: chemistry, evolution, crystallography, the relative stability of the Earth’s atmosphere. QM itself is not a fundamental truth about the universe: it is a mathematically-based model of the universe. It was Einstein who received the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering that the universe is made of quantized blocks of matter; even that itself may not be a truly fundamental truth of the universe; after all what if the tiniest blocks of matter that we can appreciate are built off still smaller; truly fundamental particles which produce them? The most surprising thing about the universe is that it is knowable; but then what if it isn’t knowable at all? And all we really know are our models which are higher functions based off of rules which are based of other rules, nested together to create all the multitude of different rules that apply to the “knowable” universe?

In mathematics there’s a saying: Theories destroy facts. What does it mean? Before a “law” of nature is known, all you have are facts. But as soon as a theory links them together, you no longer care about the facts, you now have a way to generate your own facts in a consistent way. The facts no longer matter.

How does the universe know how to keep our planet rotating around the sun? Does it use Isaac Newton’s inverse-square law and treat the sun and the earth as single essentially spherical independent objects with their masses concentrated at their respective centres? Does it run off general relativity and calculate the position and mass of every single particle contained with it? Physicists – especially cosmologists – seem to think it does; yet where is the evidence that the universe is able to calculate such a complicated calculation as would be required in order to do so?

The features of our universe are not generated by our “laws” of science. Newton’s inverse-square law does predict the elliptical orbits of the planets with a very high degree of accuracy; but those orbits are not generated from such a law since the accuracy is not absolute. Indeed, we run into to the exact same problem with General Relativity: Nobody knows the formula to predict a binary system using it, we only know how to do it using the inverse-square law. If we can’t even use our own so-called established theories to predict the universe, how can we expect that the universe does it?

Yet the problem is that the evidence of agreed upon facts conforming to modelling leads to the scientific assumption of the correctness of the theory. You only have to look back at the history of science to see that every theory we once thought was an absolute fact was completely misguided by way of selective convergence between fact and theory. There is convergence in nature as well; two completely different objects occurring which share exactly the same feature (how about “food”?). There are many large scale systems, I’ve already named some of them – planets, spider webs, which arise out of chaotic conditions, but show a high level of immunity to initial conditions; thus transcending the processes. To put it another way, order arises out of chaos; indeed the initial conditions are often ignored. Crystal formation is not dependant on having clean, pure starting conditions, despite beginning in a corrupted chaotic environment it can still develop in a predictable manner.

Although many scientists do not usually want to admit it there are massive gaps in modern science. And the insanity to attempt to link something like quantum mechanics to consciousness and then explain that we live in a deterministic universe is to ignore all real evidence and only pay attention to the THEORIES which have displaced facts in order to bring about “understanding” and “knowledge” of the unknowable universe. The workings of the microstructure of the universe can be calculated by the simple equations given under quantum mechanics; but that doesn’t mean it’s the structure of the universe; it’s only a scientific model it is not the fundamental truth of the universe; this fact cannot be more understated. Imagine a structure which as yet is undiscovered which exists “between” quantum mechanics and chemistry; and if it could explain how the rules and “laws” of chemistry are generated; then it might help reshape quantum mechanics to better explain how it itself is generated; of course this is purely academic it’s not real it’s just an idea, but I use it to show you that just because we can calculate to some high degree of accuracy the inner workings of the microstructure of the universe using QM it doesn’t prove QM as being true, it only tells us that it’s a model which is useful.

I can’t tell you why the universe has so many laws that are all seemingly generated from a single fundamental source even more fundamental than Quantum Mechanics. I can tell you that such a system must necessarily be designed since we can’t design laws that we know will generate further laws. I can also tell you that they are very real, and not just delusions of the human mind. There is indeed a law that governs how different atomic particles form molecules and interact; but where it comes from we do not know. There is so much structure to life that had it really have started on its own it’s difficult to believe that even with evolution it could develop highly complicated structures like hearts and brains. Indeed we think we know that DNA controls biological development; but nobody actually knows how. We think too that the complicated neural network in our brains creates consciousness; but again nobody knows how. We think we know that crystal formation is implicit in quantum mechanics, but nobody knows why and nobody can show you proof that it is.

In 1997 it was discovered that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. Nobody knew why. Had this been knowledge when Einstein formed his theory of General Relativity he may well have factored it into his theory; instead the theory has been “corrected” by using Dark Energy. But don’t let facts get in the way of good scientific theory; after all: theories destroy facts. And on this note I will return to this topic sometime, as for now I leave you on this note.