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Locked Sagan Thread

Discuss PseudoSkeptics and their Fallacies. Share strategies for debating them.

Re: Locked Sagan Thread

Postby Nostradamus » 10 Mar 2010, 10:57

Let me try again. What is it that you need help in understanding in regards to Ann Druyan? What is not clear to you?
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Re: Locked Sagan Thread

Postby Kevin Kane » 10 Mar 2010, 11:53

Let me explain the science to ya. There is no 'thought information' encoded in the brainwaves, or in the ECG data or other medical data on the golden record. Just as there is no thought information in more modern brain data techniques (PET scans).

I was just watching the NatGeo channel about LSD trips. They showed brain PET scans of LSD users. They all looked the same, but their trips were not the same. No thought information was encoded in the scans ... or the brainwaves.

No Thought Information = Brain dead pseudo-science.
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Re: Locked Sagan Thread

Postby Kevin Kane » 10 Mar 2010, 12:27

That's not to say the brainwave information doesn't contain any useful data. It can be used to detect autism, epilipsy, or other abnormal thought patterns. It's a low frequency waveform, a low humming vibration which can be useful for meditation. Listening to your refrigerator hum can also be used for meditation. It can be used to feedback responses in brain detection systems, to control things. But this requires:
1) A human brain (not included on Voyager)
2) Detection software (also not included).


For an alien civilization to find any pattern in the brainwaves (um .. *toke* .. yeah), it would require a reference database of (human) brain signal inferences to compare it to. Something we don't have ourselves. But consider the variables .. where the sensors were placed, the shape of the subject's head, recording equipment, resolution quality, etc. all color or distort the information.

An hour's worth of humming noise without any meaning or message is all the data will ever be.

If the alien civilization wanted to understand the data, they would need a human brain to study. Which is an invitation for alien invaders to harvest humans for medical study like lab rats ... or to eat for lunch. I will blame Carl Sagan if this happens:

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Re: Locked Sagan Thread

Postby Nostradamus » 10 Mar 2010, 13:36

Scimitars were not available - beware January 19, 2038 is upon us.
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Re: Locked Sagan Thread

Postby ciscop » 10 Mar 2010, 13:39

For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: Locked Sagan Thread

Postby Nostradamus » 10 Mar 2010, 13:42

Scimitars were not available - beware January 19, 2038 is upon us.
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Re: Locked Sagan Thread

Postby ciscop » 10 Mar 2010, 15:17

never been much of a space aficionado...
i´ll let this one pass

i am not skeptical about life in another planets, i wish there was althought the conditions of it happening again are minimal.
i am just skeptical about those ufos being aliens ..
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: Locked Sagan Thread

Postby Kevin Kane » 10 Mar 2010, 17:37

1. Can it be confirmed that Nostradamus read the Victor Zammit critique of Carl Sagan? If so, what was so kooky about it?

2. Can it also be confirmed that Nostradamus is the person who reported my original Sagan thread to be locked, because he saw a graphic image from the movie 'Total Recall' and thought it was real? (It's not, it's what Hollywood calls a "special effect")

3. Can it be confirmed that Nostradamus has never seen the classic 80's sci-fi film Total Recall based on a novel by Phillip K Dick?

4. If by chance, Nostradamus did see the movie Total Recall, did he:

A) Think it was a Documentary.
B) Think he was actually on the planet Mars.
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Re: Locked Sagan Thread

Postby Kevin Kane » 10 Mar 2010, 17:46

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Re: Locked Sagan Thread

Postby Kevin Kane » 10 Mar 2010, 19:02

New study: Chronic Pot smokers (such as Carl Sagan) are more susceptible to psychosis.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20194820

The problem with picking out actual thoughts is that the brain is processing so much information, in many different ways, each different for each person. So much of the information and processes are individual and subjective that an all purpose database would be impossible.

The uncertainty principle. At levels of activity of individual neurons, the ability to actually observe what they are doing alters them. And the act of recording, interacting with, and observing brain fuctions with technology must also be calculated.

Hey, remember that vacation you had to Mars with your blonde wife .. in the future? Was it real .. or was it Rekall?

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Re: Locked Sagan Thread

Postby Kevin Kane » 10 Mar 2010, 21:22

Take a look at this:

http://pinktentacle.com/2008/12/scienti ... rom-brain/

It's fantastic, until you realize how much training is required to obtain the data. Staring at a high contrast black and white image for 12 seconds to register the information. Now imagine how it would be necessary to record every possible experience to produce a general reference. Tasting an apple for 12 seconds. Tasting a strawberry for 12 seconds. Tasting a banana for 12 seconds. Looking at a cloud for 12 seconds. Looking at the sunrise for 12 seconds. Thinking about triangles for 12 seconds. Calculating 12x12 for 12 seconds. Remembering Grandma for 12 seconds. The list is endless. The reference database would be huge. False interpretations would be inevitable.
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Re: Locked Sagan Thread

Postby Nostradamus » 10 Mar 2010, 21:30

Scimitars were not available - beware January 19, 2038 is upon us.
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Re: Locked Sagan Thread

Postby Nostradamus » 10 Mar 2010, 21:39

Your link to this article is a great link Kevin; it shows a good example of thoughts being extracted from a noninvasive brain scan. This is not electrophysiological in nature of course. It should also be pointed out that this device, the fMRI, was not available when the Voyagers were launched.

Again arguing for the need for a database is an argument from incredulity.
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Re: Locked Sagan Thread

Postby Kevin Kane » 10 Mar 2010, 23:12

By 'thought information' I mean what Ann Druyan was talking about. Specific information, memories, ideas, recollections, etc. Context is important in discussions. You can't go wily-nily taking things out of context because of some attention deficit disorder or something.

I would think reference data would be essential to understanding a process that is .. alien. For some squid creature from Orion who may not have anything like a human brain. An hours worth of low frequency noise .. should that mean anything to anyone? A record full of Earth music .. followed by alpha waves. Similarities? Oh, it must be some type of music. Or maybe it's just an artifact of human technology of the time.

Should the aliens also be trying to "decrypt" the audio music section for deeply embedded brain coding? What level of scrutiny should they place on various levels of information?

We provided information on how to play the music .. but didn't provide information on how to decrypt brainwaves. It would indicate that the brainwave information is at the same level of scrutiny as the music .. just audio information. How do you decrypt something without a key? Some sort of reference.

And who knows, maybe alpha waves are dangerous to such a creature. Is Carl Sagan trying to kill the space creatures he loves so much with his wife's alpha waves?
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Re: Locked Sagan Thread

Postby Kevin Kane » 10 Mar 2010, 23:38

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