Is Free Will a Philosophy Invention?

July 31st, 2007

The twentieth century society has taught us that almost everything we think or feel is connected to philosophy or was at least generated by it. And, honestly, if you come to think about it, it really is so, because we live and act according to moral values and inner conceptions that have been previously been formulated and dealt upon by great philosophy thinkers. So, is philosophy really living our lives instead of us? Is our free will an innate gift, or rather a piece of philosophy that we share?

Philosophy has disputed the question of free will over and over again, without really reaching any conclusion. Those of us who consider themselves “on their own” are definitely advocates of free will and will therefore support the idea according to which people can make decisions by themselves rather than be obliged or influenced. Have you ever heard somebody saying “well, he did it out of his own free-will"? This means that people understand by free will having desires and dreams and acting upon them, without paying too much attention to the philosophy behind all this.

Philosophy is an ardent advocate of the cause-effect theory. However, just because the world works in such a way that your reasons are causally determined, that doesn't make them any less your reasons. It is just like the fact that you being the product of influences doesn’t make you any less yourself. The fact that everything might be pre-determined because that's the way the universe works, is not exactly tantamount to everything being pre-determined because some conscious entity chose it that way for his/her own purposes.

Philosophy and philosophical ideas always get people to think problems over and over again, until they really become questionable. The free will theory is very likely to remain a dilemma many years from now, as it is really a gang idea fight.

Fascinating Biology: The World with Toxins

July 31st, 2007

Apart from the fact that biology teaches us about plants, animals, organisms and human functions, it would perhaps be very interesting to dwell on the issue of toxins and how they influence our lives. There is hardly anything more interesting in biology than toxins, because as soon as you learn about them and what they can do to our environment you are doomed to regard the world with different eyes.

Yes, biology facts officially say it: toxins are everywhere nowadays: under your chair, on the scarf you use to cover your neck, on the carpet, even on that freshly washed plate. But what exactly are toxins? Apparently, they are micro-organisms that inhabit practically any spot, from you inside body to the whole environment. For instance, did you know that the smell of new carpets comes from one such toxin that can severely damage your brain in time? Or those air fresheners that contain toluene can lead to neurological and behavioral changer? Or did you ever think that your microwave oven may cause young girls to develop prematurely and young boys to have estrogen effects?

Biology also teaches us that toxins are to be taken in consideration when we will be forced to protect ourselves from the dangers of toxins. Surely enough, the best way would be to actually protect ourselves from coming into contact with them, but since this is a sensitive topic, we might as well consider other solutions. Traditional diets with wealthy rapports of vitamin A can fight these unseen monsters and clean up our bodies. Being everywhere around us toxins are conquering more and more land, so we must be prepared to protect our bodies, by restoring PH balances, the liver process and gastrointestinal function.

What Did Curiosity Do to Einstein – The Magic of Physics

July 31st, 2007

Everybody knows who Einstein was or, more importantly, what he did. What you might not know is that all Einstein’s discoveries now stand as starting point for the most elaborated devices, tools and appliances in various domains. Yes, the microwave oven in your kitchen wouldn’t have existed if it hadn’t been for Einstein’s genius. Not to mention the X-ray revolutions, lasers or television screens, gadgets that have entered our lives so quickly that we don’t even think who could have elaborated them.

Albert Einstein was first and foremost an example to follow, just as his motto was during his life – “to be an example”. He was also very modest, having asked the committee board at Princeton to lower his scholarship grant from 7,500 to 6,000. But what Einstein is most famous for are the innovations and discoveries in physics domain (Nobel-prize winning discoveries) and how these shook the world. Not only did Einstein develop the sphere of photo-electricity, but he also brought valuable contributions to space exploration, laser development or radiation treatment to cure cancer.

His curiosity always put him one step ahead of the others and encouraged the physics specialist to take further research work in completely new or project-level issues. Another one of his physics theories refers to the atom bomb, whose effects could not properly be imagined at those days. And if we come to think that all this physics activity really started for Einstein at the age of 5, when his father gave him a compass, it really is magic!  

Even though many times physics is trapped within nebulous formulae, it will always be a subject that tackles with most of the things that human cannot find an explanation to. And, obviously, this is only for the best, because, as Einstein did all his life, there cannot be anything new if we don’t dig and wonder.

What’s so Funny about History? A User’s Guide to Famous People

July 31st, 2007

History is, without doubt, the most impressive subject when considering destinies and famous lives. Even if we regard history as a chronological axis on which acts, wars, treatises, murders or pacts are included, there is a sea of secrets somewhere behind these stories. After all, that crowd of generals, kings, emperors and presidents were, first and foremost human beings, with qualities that set them apart, but also with shortcomings that made them famous.

If you were to think about one interesting piece of information about a famous president, other than the one in history books, what would it be? Surely enough, you must have heard that the teddy bear was named after Franklin D. Roosevelt. Or that the same famous president was forced by his mother to wear dress until he was five. What would you say if you knew that Benjamin Harrison was so afraid of electric lights that he used to have White House staff turn them on and off? History doesn’t seem just as plain and boring, does it?

Some skeptics might ask what’s the use in knowing such history facts. But then again, why only take for granted everything and omit the interesting part in things. For instance, it might be fun to know that John Tyler had 15 children, or that Rutherford Hayes was the first president to use a phone and his number was easy to remember: 1! How about Chester Arthur, who owed about 80 pairs of pants he would change daily, or Herbert Hoover, who would speak to his wife in Chinese, in order to keep their secrets?

History information is vast and, fortunately, history is still being written. So why should we stand apart and only skim what really happened, instead of getting into the kernel of actions and getting acquainted to any spicy detail that could have(why not admit this?) contributed to one event or another?  The result of this productive curiosity can only be fruitful!

Astronomy Dilemma: Why Wasn’t Pluto Good Enough for the Universe?

July 31st, 2007

Astronomy has always been fascinating to most people as it was the entity that would tell us about stars and suns, planets and orbits, making us feel very proud in the virtually unlimited universe. But this domain has been lately severely shaken by an earthquake, when the International Astronomical Union decided to cut Pluto down from the Solar System’s planet list. Now why would astronomy do such a thing? What did such a tiny planet do to offend the “high authorities”?

The sad thing about this entire situation is that the decision was not unanimous, in fact not even 5% of world’s astronomers voted. Apparently, it was all an astronomy dilemma, a sort of spin and toss choice and not a large-scale judgment. Bowling out Pluto was the result of rethinking and redefining planethood, which showed that this ninth planet’s small dimensions were not good enough as compared to the other ones.

Having lived only 76 years, Pluto was to astronomy the smallest planet in the Solar System and the only one that has remained unvisited in spacecraft. (Could it be that those who stood for the astronomy decision were envious for not having managed to se foot of it?) Since it was also the farthest planet from the Sun, its composition included mostly rock and ice, being, this way, basically impenetrable.

Aside from being special – it was never like the other planets, neither known, nor lived- Pluto was also the one after whom the famous cartoon character was named. And trust me, nobody would like having their children give up the Looney tunes playful dog, just as most astronomers didn’t like having to say good-bye to a new piece of space. With this unwanted separation astronomy committed the Solar System just got poorer. We’re waiting anxiously to see who will take Pluto’s place.

Rooting Back Philosophy: The Ancient Thought

July 14th, 2007

People have resorted to philosophy ever since they began asking questions about their origins, the laws and feelings of people. Did they come to any conclusion? Not really, because this is precisely what philosophy is all about: making people wonder about their lives and not giving exact answers, but, instead, directing them towards new issues. Philosophy goes back to the times where the Romans and the Greek were uttering theories and ideas regarding love, free will or deity, an epoch that remained in the history of philosophy known as Ancient philosophy.

Philosophy enthusiasts are familiarized to names such as Socrates, Euclid, Aristotle or Plato, people who are regarded as the pillars of Ancient philosophy. It is here that metaphysical speculation begins, together with the world-wide adopted analysis and synthesis methods, which introduced in the field of philosophy new alternatives to the obscure thinking before these times. Greeks and Romans were famous for throwing parties and reunions centered on discussing topics such as love, state of god-related subjects. And the beauty of these reunions turned to the artistic side of philosophy and all its implications.

Aristotle’s philosophy centered mainly on framing human subjects and feelings, political virtues and correct judgment. If we dig deeper we will find out that it was with Socrates, and later Plato, that the psychiatrist business really began, as these philosophers compared their interest (philosophy) with an ailment for the mind and the soul. So philosophy, despite the always new topics it suggests is not at all a new science. On the contrary, its issues interested people from the very beginning and made them use their minds about whatever process was taking place around them.

Economics Tips – Choosing the Right Bank

July 14th, 2007

These days, choosing the best bank is a tough business call since many banks offer a great variety of services that seem to satisfy our financial needs. Finding the best bank that can satisfy our needs implies our knowledge on what a specific bank has to offer us. Therefore, the effectiveness of a bank is supposed to be measured by having in consideration some essential economical facts, namely the profitability that we are to gain, the capital adequacy, and the asset quality of that bank as compared to other similar institutions.

The question that arises is: what makes a good bank good? As far as I’m concerned, the bank’s performance is what makes it good and worthy of us having trust in it. The performance of a bank should be a sufficient reason for us to have faith in that the bank will protect our interests. There are nonetheless some criteria that help us determine the quality of the bank as far as we, as investors, are concerned. You have to be sure that you pay the lowest interest possible, and that the engagement that you take with the bank will be available, in that very state, for the entire period of your contract. Generally speaking, the fewer the fees, the better the bank is considered to be. Another thing that you have to take in consideration when choosing the right bank is the network of ATMs that the bank has. If the bank doesn’t have a convenient network, then you will have to pay quite some money on cash-machine fees.

All in all, choosing the right bank implies especially your economics information and knowledge on how a specific bank can satisfy your financial needs and expectations. But make sure that the risks you’re taking are not too high!

Is Autism Biologically Determined?

July 14th, 2007

Biology is a fascinating topic. Here is one interesting biological fact: there are many cases in which some believe that the mothers bear the guilt for their kids’ problems. In the 1950’s there circulated a theory according to which autism appears due to the mother’s failure in having a strong emotional bond with her child. Although this idea is discredited today, it hurt many parents and kids that were subjected to doubtful therapies.

Nowadays, the specialized agree with the fact that autism has a biological cause, that it is determined by the genes or by certain lesions at the level of the brain. There are some prejudices that discourage the taking into consideration of the psychological factors that are implied in the appearance of autism because autism is caused by a mechanism in the brain, by a neuronal circuit that doesn’t work properly.

Autism results from an avalanche of psychological set backs in the development of the personality. The biological elements and the chemical factors act indirectly upon the development of this imbalance. The description of the imbalances that autism implies is made at three levels: biological (the brain), psychological (the psyche), and behavioral. But there haven’t been discovered specific biological factors that might provoke the appearance of autism, although the recent studies revealed the existence of abnormalities in different regions and systems of the brain, as well as structural, functional, and chemical differences.

Apparently, there have been discovered imbalances in the activity of the brains of people who suffer from autism, an imbalance that is caused by the impossibility of the brain to coordinate its different constitutive areas. This finding has led the scientists to the conclusion that autism is a brain disorder, and therefore it has a biological cause. And this disorder at the level of the brain is causing the social inadaptability of the person who suffers from autism.

Chemistry in the Work of Nature

July 14th, 2007

Have you ever though of how important colors are to us? What would happen if the world would be monochrome? You can imagine how dull, sad, discomforting this would be, unless this world of ours is also boring. The modern world can’t be separated from color that is present in the details of the daily existence, from the deliberately colored objects to the ambiance of the parks and of the streets. Our sensibility to color, to the discretion, the refinement and the fantasy in using colors, all these influence the biological and the psychological equilibrium.

The 17th century marks the debut of the interpretation of the color as a physical phenomenon, on the basis of Newton’s theory. These days, the science of color has close connection to arts, biology, physics, chemistry, psychology, geology, and so on. Until the 19th century there have been used only the natural dyes, but in 1856 it has been discovered a coloring substance. In the same period, chemistry developed as a science. Moreover, the chemistry of the dyes has become a component of the organic chemistry during the formation of the first scientific theories.

The fabrication of the coloring substances has always brought many benefits even in the periods of economic recession because the value of the dyed product is twenty times higher than the value of the un-dyed product.

But if we think of the food that was colored, then we see the limitations and the flaws of the dyed products. We have to take into consideration the fact that these coloring substances are extremely toxic, many of them causing even different types of cancer and other abnormalities at the level of our body. Therefore, chemistry can be both benefic from an economical point of view, but also destructive for the health system.

Physics Knowledge – Part of Our World

July 14th, 2007

Physics is not only for those whose brain weights more that average. Yes, you heard me correctly, knowing at least some notions of this domain will definitely not kill you, nor harm you in any way whatsoever. On the contrary, these valuable pieces of physics information might be of help the next time your car crashes or when the power goes down.

Some will say that most of the physics laws are hardly comprehensible and are mostly concerned with endless formulas and calculus. But if you manage to read between the lines you will learn that physics id perhaps on of your closest allies: always having that missing piece. Take for instance a situation where your car has to make a turn on a road.

Keeping a car's center of gravity low is very important in order to avoiding disaster during turns. And cars that have high centers of gravity and narrow wheelbases are susceptible to flipping and several production cars have been found unsafe in this respect. The higher a car's center of gravity, the more likely it is to tip over during a high-speed turn. So you do not need to be a specialist in mechanics or a physics professor to make sure your car is safe.

But the universe of physics is basically unlimited. It never stops, as inventions are brevetted day by day and theoreticians spend their entire lives to up-date matters and elaborate new branches of physics. So getting to know physics is perhaps one of the best improvements you can do for yourself in order to keep you with the flow and always receptive at novelties. What is more, physics has come a long way and is now regarded as the solution provider for whatever universal problem there could possibly be.

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