Archives for Religion

My Father and Me. A Memoir. For Mayer Spivack (1936 – 2011)

My father, Mayer Spivack, passed away on February 12, 2011, in the Kaplan Family House, a beautiful hospice outside of Boston. He passed away, at the young age of 74, after a difficult year and a half battle with colon cancer.…

Nowism — A Theme for the New Era?

DRAFT 1 — A Work in Progress


Here’s an idea I’ve been thinking about: it’s a concept for a new philosophy, or perhaps just a name for a grassroots philosophy that seems to be emerging on its own. It’s called “Nowism.” The view that now is what’s most important, because now is where one’s life actually happens.…

Burma Update: Protestors Cremated Alive; Monks Massacred in Jungle

The situation in Burma is far worse than the mainstream media has reported so far. Watch this video that was just smuggled out showing soldiers beating unarmed protesters. There are now reports coming in from eyewitnesses of young school students being shot by the army, masses of injured protestors being cremated alive, and thousands of monks and other protesters being killed and dumped in mass graves in the jungles.…

Dangerous Situation in Burma Developing

The nation of Myanamar (Burma) is currently ruled by a repressive and corrupt military dictatorship. Past attempts to bring about democracy have met with violent crackdowns by the government, usually against unarmed civilians. In one past incident, approximately 3000 protesters were killed by the military.…

British Ministry of Defense Chief Resigns; Cites Concerns About UFO's

Ok, here’s a very unusual news item:

During his time as head of the Ministry of Defence UFO project, Nick
Pope was persuaded into believing that other lifeforms may visit Earth
and, more specifically, Britain.

His concern is that "highly credible" sightings are simply dismissed.

Minding The Planet — The Meaning and Future of the Semantic Web


  • Master Copy can be found at this URL or
  • Last Update: Tuesday, November 7, 2006, 10:17AM PST
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Is Moral Judgement Hard-Wired Into the Brain?

A Harvard University researcher believes that moral judgement is hard-wired into the brain:

The moral grammar now universal among people presumably evolved to its
final shape during the hunter-gatherer phase of the human past, before
the dispersal from the ancestral homeland in northeast Africa some
50,000 years ago.

Is There Room for The Soul? – Good Article on Cognitive Science

This is a surprisingly good article on the nature of consciousness — providing a survey of the current state-of-the-art in cognitive science research. It covers the question from a number of perspectives and interviews many of the leading current researchers.

Why Machines Will Never be Conscious

Below is the text of my bet on Long Bets. Go there to vote.

“By 2050 no synthetic computer nor machine intelligence will have become truly self-aware (ie. will become conscious).”

Spivack’s Argument:

(This summary includes my argument, a method for judging the outcomeof this bet and some other thoughts on how to measure awareness…)


Big Thinkers' Most Dangerous Ideas

The Edge has published mini-essays by 119 "big thinkers" on their "most dangerous ideas" — fun reading.

The history of science is replete with discoveries
that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally
dangerous in their time; the Copernican and
Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious.

Does the Cosmic Background Radiation Contain Hidden Message?

This is a cool idea — some researchers are considering whether the cosmic background radiation may contain an encoded "message from God." OK I doubt it. I think it is more likely to be somewhere in our DNA, or in the digits of Pi, or perhaps in the distribution of the prime numbers.…

Boy in Nepal Said to go Without Food or Water for 6 Months

From the Fringe Department… This article is making the rounds today. It’s about a 15 year old boy in Nepal (see the picture) who is said to have been meditating under a tree without food or water, or even moving or going the bathroom, for 6 months.…

New Study: Human Hands, Feet and Foreheads Emit Light

Now this is really interesting! New research has found that certain parts of the body emit measurable numbers of photons. This may open up new diagnostic techniques. But that’s just the beginning. Spiritual healers from many different faiths have long said that they experience light coming from their hands, and can feel (and even see) energy from the hands, feet and heads of other people.…

Simulated Universes and the Nature of Consciousness

Researchers in Europe have completed the first phase of what may be the largest computational physics experiment in history: They built and ran a simulated universe through 14 billion years of development. The experiment used up 25 million megabytes of memory, and the biggest supercomputer in Europe for a month.…

Hackers Crack Junk DNA?

A group
of researchers working at the Human Genome Project will be
announcing soon that they made an astonishing scientific
discovery: They believe so-called non-coding sequences (97%) in
human DNA is no less than genetic code of an unknown
extraterrestrial life form.

Chinese Hackers Target Tibetans

A recent article on Boing Boing reports the most recent round of Chinese cyberattacks on the Tibetan government in exile.

China has increasingly aimed its sophisticated cyberwar teams at the low-tech, peace-loving Tibetans. I know dozens of Tibetan lamas and their staffs and they all use PC’s — and none of them know anything about viruses, firewalls, trojan horses, etc.…

Past Life Memories of Children

Dr. Ian Stevenson has amassed 3000 documented cases of children remembering events from past lives.

In each case of children’s past life memory, Dr. Stevenson methodically documents the child’s statements.  Then he identifies the deceased person the child remembers being, and verifies the facts of the deceased person’s life that match the child’s memory.

Brain Stimulation Helmet for your PC

Years ago I read about Persinger’s work on the induction of unusual states of consciousness using magnetic stimulation of the temporal lobe and always wanted to try it — unfortunately the only way to do that was to go to his lab (assuming you could get invited).…

An Incredible Flash Production — Must See!

I was fortunate enough to wander across this amazing online Flash presentation that reveals the hidden meaning of the film, "2001." It’s a thoroughly engaging, brilliantly produced, fascinating production — one of the best uses of Flash animation that I’ve ever seen.…

Scientists Discuss their Beliefs in the Unknown

The New York Times has published a wonderful and fascinating set of mini-essays by leading scientists about their beliefs in the unknkown and unexplained — from consciousness, to God, to life on other worlds, and the existence of true love.  There are some terrific thoughts in it — one of thoses rare articles that breaks through stereotypes and opens the door to new paradigms.…

If the Universe is a Simulation, then What?

Here’s an interesting speculation. Assume for the moment that our universe is in fact a simulation running on a vast computing system created a race of beings that is far more advanced than we can presently imagine. The next logical question would be, “Why would an advanced civilization want or need to undertake such a project?”

Without debating whether or not such a project is possible, let’s simply address this second question.…

I'm Learning Tibetan

Well, I’m finally doing it — I’ve started studying Classical Tibetan. After many years of procrastinating I’ve taken the leap. You may wonder why anyone would need to know Classical Tibetan — the answer is that it is the language used in all the classical Tibetan Buddhist texts.…

Transgenic Tombstone Project Hits Snags

Yikes this one freaks me out — A project to splice the DNA of dead people to apple trees as a way to preserve people’s “essence” after death. Fortunately, it has hit some snags. I would not want to bite into an apple and find out that I was actually eating grandma!!!!…

Was our Universe Created in a Lab???

Here’s an interesting article on another theory that suggests our universe is just an experiment in someone’s lab.

Virtual Internet Church Plagued by Devils

This is a funny article about a virtual reality church on the Internet in which worshipers can participate as avatars in a simulated church service. Unfortunately, some people have been logging in as …. you guessed it… Satan!

Have you Seen the Buddhabrot Set Fractal?

I just found a really cool new fractal visualization based on the Mandelbrot set. A slight modification to the algorithm results in a Buddha-like image that is self-similar at every level of scale. Very nice. See this page for some very high quality visualizations from a very nice online Gallery of Computation that has a number of images I have never seen before.…

Girl With X-Ray Eyes

I have come across several references to Natasha in the last week. It seems to be a well-documented case of extra-sensory medical perception. This type of perception is not at all uncommon among Tibetan lamas and Chinese Taoists that I have studied with, and I have heard from friends who are close to Native American and African healers, of people with similar abilities.…

Part of the Lore…

I was goofing around in Google Groups today, looking up ancient conversations I had in USENET in the long gone days of the 1990’s and I came across a quote of mine which is “I don’t care how many levels of reality you posit, as soon as you posit even one, it’s turtles all the way down!” from this hilarious old newsgroup alt.buddha.short.fat.guy which is one of the places where renegade freakazoid crazy-wisdom Buddhists used to hang out (and still do?).…

Is Reality Really Real? The Late Philosopher Donald Davidson's Problematic Answer…

Here’s an article about an interesting modern theory that purports to “prove” that “reality” is not just an illusion. It’s a bit of a complicated appeal to the basis of language, but makes some good points. However, I think there may be a fundamental flaw at the very root of the argument.…

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