Monday, April 6, 2009


The start of my previous blog entry triggered a conversation on twitter with @XiXiDu. My comment about it being harder these days to carry on a serious discussion with people, resulted in XiXiDu's comment that its probably easier than ever. This points out lazy thinking on my part, and how our perceptions are shaped by where we focus our attention.

My brain is full of stuff since I have been an avid reader all my life. In recent years I have added blogs and social media to the torrent feeding my brain. With social media, some of those ideas are starting to spill out, so it is no longer a one way flow of information.

In the past I have occasionally tried to express my ideas, but have often run into opposition. This opposition typically come from people who have never or have rarely done any reading since they got out of school. People who do not actively seek new ideas, tend to reject anything that doesn't comfortably fit with their world view. They don't take the time to understand and point out the flaws in the ideas, they just automatically reject them.

The people I meet online typically have a different perspective, they are people that actively seek new ideas and are willing to push the boundaries. In other words "to boldly go where no man has gone before".

My online activities and resulting offline activities have increased the ridicule from people who have not taken the time to explore new ideas and find out what social media is about.

Being hperconnected using second life, facebook, flickr, twitter, blogs and other online applications is changing who I am and how my mind works. Thanks to all my online friends who are helping to kick my mind up to a new level.

Hyperconectivity is not only changing me and my online friends, it is changing the way our global society works. For example the offline world seems intent on patching the old economic order to try to get it functioning again. Online there are many groups and thousands of individuals working out new ways of doing things.

Here is the conversation I had with @XiXiDu. I pulled it out of friendfeed, merged the two streams, and inverted the time line so it can be read top to bottom.

XiXiDu: "With many people these days it is hard to carry on a serious conversation..." - These days? It's probably easier than ever... @wburris”
April 6 at 8:45 am

wburris: “RT @XiXiDu: "With many people these days it is hard to carry on a serious conversation...", I should have qualified that with "offline"”
April 6 at 8:51 am

XiXiDu: “What I meant was that people are generally more open-minded today than ever before. I agree, just not about "these days"... @wburris”
April 6 at 8:59 am

wburris: “@XiXiDu There seems to be a completely different mindset between people I have know for years, & people I meet online.”
April 6 at 9:08 am

wburris: “@XiXiDu Hyperconnectivity changes people”
April 6 at 9:10 am

XiXiDu: “Same. The difference is that the appearance of people online is by interest and offline by more organic reasons. @wburris”
April 6 at 9:12 am

XiXiDu: “That's why I think that even tho most people are not autistic, socializing will increasingly shift towards the metaverse. @wburris”
April 6 at 9:14 am

XiXiDu: “It's just so much more appealing, because you can group with people that are much more like you than the people physically around. @wburris”
April 6 at 9:15 am

XiXiDu: “Which is at first very good, since it empowers completely new kinds of ideologies. But later it may cause only reassurance, not evolution...”
April 6 at 9:18 am

XiXiDu: “The old days of spatial dependence that caused adherence to corporeal entities like countries are replaced by the empowerment of memes!”
April 6 at 9:21 am

XiXiDu: “Memes like transhumanism would have no chance of becoming strong in a spatial dependent world, a world without a Noosphere.”
April 6 at 9:23 am

wburris: “@XiXiDu you are correct, it is that my online contacts typically have similar interests to mine, which is not always true offline”
April 6 at 12:39 pm

Here is a twine about hyperconnectivity:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Woo Woo

With many people these days it is hard to carry on a serious conversation, because their brains are bogged down in woo woo.

You could say why worry about peoples crazy ideas. The reason is that the world has some serious problems to be solved, and it would be nice if everyone was committed to solving those problems instead of making them worse. A large portion of society seems to be committed to pulling the rug out from under the very tools that will help us solve these problems.

Do your part by understanding critical thinking and the scientific method, and fight for these topics to be included in your children's education.

For an idea of some of the problems to be solved and the seriousness of them, please watch this video of Jared Diamond. Why Societies Collapse

Friday, April 3, 2009

Do you believe in evolution?

This is really a stupid question, but it is a good trick question, for revealing someones understanding or lack of understanding of science.

Acceptance of evolution is not a belief, it is a recognition of the scientific process in action. If you have no understanding of the concepts behind the modern theory of evolution, and the scientific process, you might think the question is about your religion.

The theory of biological evolution is not just something that popped into Darwin's head, turning him into a god who is to be believed forever after. Darwin observed the natural world and came up with some possible explanations and wrote these down. His own personal beliefs on the matter are irrelevant. What matters is that his work was the needed inspiration, to start a new area of investigation that has vastly improved our understanding of how the world works. The success of modern medicine is largely a result of this understanding. Thousands of scientist have worked hard over the last 150 years to refine our understanding of biological evolution. This is not something you just throw away because it contradicts your belief, and you are too lazy to educate yourself about critical thinking.

The whole argument about God vs Darwin is a stupid argument. The real argument is about whether or not we should base our actions on careful observations, experiment, and critical thinking, or our beliefs.

Believe whatever you want, but please keep it at home, and don't use it as an excuse for destroying the foundation on which modern society is built. Let our children get a proper education, based on an understanding of how to use their minds for solving problems.

If your personal beliefs interfere with your understanding of the scientific process, you should definitely not hold public office in a position where you make national decisions on science policy and funding.