Sunday, June 20, 2010

Life!

Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise
To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.
Khayyam

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Birth!

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness that are here.

We didn't arrive by spaceship, we arrived by being born, and we didn't burst conscious into the world but accumulated awareness gradually through babyhood.
Richard Dawkins

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I don't know!

I heard her voice in Blower's daughter. When I saw her performance in "unplayed Piano" I had no doubt that she would be a rising star soon! There you go! she is a star now! I enjoyed her performance in Montreal last year!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th Birthday of Darwin!




Facsimile of a page from a note-book of 1837, by Charles Darwin.
Transcription (from source): "led to comprehend true affinities. My theory would give zest to recent & Fossil Comparative Anatomy : it would lead to study of instincts, heredity, & mind heredity, whole metaphysics, it would lead to closest examination of hybridity & generation, causes of change in order to know what we have come from & to what we tend, to what circumstances favour crossing & what prevents it, this & direct examination of direct passages of structure in species, might lead to laws of change, which would then be main object of study, to guide our speculations."

Reproduced in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, edited by his son Francis Darwin, in Two Volumes: Vol. II. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Not interested? do not worry it is natural!

I am sure you have noticed that young children easily interact with other kids and learn a new language without any difficulty! but what will happen if we do not "send" them to school? You think how motivated they are to learn reading and writing? or why most people have some ability to read the social cues ( facial expressions) of other people? we do not need any education for this!
It seems that most people have motivation for ordinary activities which are social in nature! Have you noticed how many hours we spend on watching TV or talking about unimportant issues ( small talks)? you think how many people read to expand their reading abilities? What would you think if one tells you that " the motivation to read and to engage in other activities (e.g., video games, television) is probably driven by the content of the activities rather than by the process itself"! Have you ever thought why most best sellers are about romance and relationships? maybe reading this particular subject would "allow people to rehearse control-related behavioral strategies (e.g., reading about relationships allows one to refine social knowledge and strategies)"!

Both children and chimpanzees can point at objects and count them! It is just natural! We are born with it! but we need academic education to learn algebra!
Let me ask you a different question: how many people have "burning desire" to master mathematics or other complicated subjects? which one seems more natural; going to a party and "having fun" or spending hours doing experiments in the lab for the sake of scientific discovery? we know that very few people "generate a disproportionate number of scientific and technological advances". How many people do postgraduate training , masters or PhD, to increase their chance to find a job or increase their income? why most postgraduate students are complaining of hard life and try to finish their education as soon as they can to start a normal life!? because they are paid less and have to work long hours? or maybe they also have to learn and think and produce something? why is that? Why learning is hard?

I have found better explaining for these questions when I looked at them through the prism of evolution! I have recently read an interesting paper by Geary about " evolutionary educational psychology"!!. He describes our abilities as primary ( such as social skills that have evolved through million years) and secondary abilities such as academic competence required in modern world! Due to explosion of knowledge in the recent few hundred years, there is a big gap between these two! Since our primary abilities are not sufficient for social functioning, we need education and schooling to close this gap!

Here is the link to his paper Not interested? I do not blame you! :) Now I know the lack of curiosity to understand such relatively conceptual matter is normal and also natural Just kidding!! I am sure you will enjoy it even if you disagree with the author. I guess for those of you who have children, you will feel less guilty by forcing your kids to learn which is very painful and difficult!! all kids want to play! we do too, do not we? :)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

More about evolution!

These days, I am reading about two interesting subjects: evolutionary educational psychology and the concept of self-deception described by Robert Trivers! They are just fascinating! I will write about them as soon as I get a chance!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

We are lucky!

"We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.

...we didn't arrive by spaceship, we arrived by being born, and we didn't burst conscious into the world but accumulated awareness gradually through babyhood. The fact that we gradually apprehend our world, rather than sudddenly discovering it, should not subtract from its wonder."
Richard Dawkins

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Anything Good About Men?

Some of you may know that recently I have been studying evolution theory more thoroughly! I think that our knowledge about mechanism of evolution gives us better understanding of our psychology and behaviors, biology and even social and cultural issues. Probably it is not a "must" for surgeons but it is the effect of my distracted mind!

While ago I had a conversation with a friend who told me that he read somewhere that there is greater proportion of men at both extremes of the IQ distribution! Some studies have shown that there is greater variance in the performance of men compared to that of women (i.e., men are more represented at the extremes of performance).

I know that this is a sensitive topic and if you remember former president of Harvard University and possible candidate for Obama's treasury secretary, Larry Summers had to resign after his comment( link) about difference between sexes in terms of intelligence! Apparently, his comments were politically incorrect!

The question is that what if there was a difference! I believe that we need to carefully interpret available evidence! I disagree with this idea that science should not have any word in construction of morality and social frameworks. I think that we have been able to make significant progress to resolve controversial issues such as abortion, stem cell research and end of life because of our secular approach founded in scientific knowledge!

I came across this speech by Roy F. Baumeister in American Psychological Association in 2007. He is professor of psychology at Florida state university. I enjoyed reading his speech.It was thought provoking! I thought you might enjoy it too. In his introduction he says that "I don't want to be on anybody's side. Gender warriors please go home."

It seems that most of us think that men are in charge of everything! Too obvious to be missed! But he says that there is a flaw in this conclusion! Because we look at the top! If you look at the bottom of the society, you will see mostly men are there too! criminals, prisoners! If there are big male winners, there are big losers too!

I let you read the whole paper but I would like to quote few parts that I found very interesting! They are about relationship and social roles!

"Women favor close, intimate relationships. These are if anything more important for the survival of the species. That's why human women evolved first. We need those close relationships to survive. The large networks of shallower relationships aren't as vital for survival — but they are good for something else, namely the development of larger social systems and ultimately for culture"

I hope this help my friends who are complaining about their partners! Why men are not committed! That's genetic!! If it is natural for women, men need to actively overcome their shallowness!

I think many of us will have trouble with the following statement. But it is worth thinking:

"the reason for the emergence of gender inequality may have little to do with men pushing women down in some dubious patriarchal conspiracy. Rather, it came from the fact that wealth, knowledge, and power were created in the men's sphere. This is what pushed the men's sphere ahead. Not oppression"

Hopefully after this email, you do not disassociate yourself from me! Please do not get me wrong! I believe that equal opportunity should be given to everyone! But to survive, men and women have evolved differently and obtained different abilities over the past million years!

Link to the article

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Evolution theory or fact? is it controversial?

It is not uncommon to hear that some people say evolution is controversial and it is still a theory! I have seen that even in educated people, probably not well-educated!
Evolution is like gravity or the fact that earth is round not flat!

"One thing all real scientists agree upon is the fact of evolution itself. It is a fact that we are cousins of gorillas, kangaroos, starfish, and bacteria. Evolution is as much a fact as the heat of the sun. It is not a theory, and for pity’s sake, let’s stop confusing the philosophically naive by calling it so. Evolution is a fact."

Richard Dawkins

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Running, surgery and philosophy!

I am reading an interesting book, "running and philosophy" by
Michael Austin which I came across while was looking for a book about philosophy of mind!. I can relate to it because there are many similarities between marathon running and surgical training! I recommend reading this book.
The author describes the seven Cs of success originally proposed by Thomas Morris in pursuit of excellence:

1. A clear Conception of what we want, a vivid vision, a goal clearly imagined.
2. A strong Confidence that we can attain our goal.
3. A focused Concentration that we can attain our goal.
4. A stubborn Consistency in pursuing our vision.
5. An emotional Commitment to the importance of what we’re doing [passion]
6. A good Character to guide us and keep us on a proper course.
7. A Capacity to Enjoy the process along the way.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Imagine!



Today is a very important day! to remind us what self-righteous and religious delusion mean! to reminds us how ignorance could be devastating! Let's imagine a world with no religion!
When I am on call,I receive few calls from the nurses in the middle of the night regarding surgical patients who have spiked a fever or have pain. Sometimes we need to do some investigations like lab work or Xray and often I need to go and assess a patient. Why? because our patients are very important. They may seem trivial! these trivial but important things disturb our sleep! this is what we are supposed to do: to take care of each other! then how it is possible people kill each other for supposedly good reasons? what is more important than our life?

Richard Dawkins has a good point:
"The nineteen men of 9/11, having washed, perfumed themselves and shaved their whole bodies in preparation for the martyr's paradise, believed they were performing the highest religious duty. By the lights of their religion they were as good as it is possible to be. They were not poor, downtrodden, oppressed or psychotic; they were well educated, sane and well balanced, and, as they thought, supremely good. But they were religious, and that provided all the justification they needed to murder and destroy.

It is easy for religious faith, even if it is irrational in itself, to lead a sane and decent person, by rational, logical steps, to do terrible things. There is a logical path from religious faith to evil deeds. There is no logical path from atheism to evil deeds. Of course, many evil deeds are done by individuals who happen to be atheists"


I quote Steven Weinberg again
"With or without [religion] you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion."


Just imagine world with no religion!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Important things in life

The main things which seem to me important on their own account, and not merely as means to other things, are knowledge, art, instinctive happiness, and relations of friendship or affection.
Bertrand Russell

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Tragedy vs. Comedy!

"Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think."

Jean de La Bruyère

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Life and music!

Can you imagine our life without music?