Freedom and Belief

Freedom of religion is anatomically equivalent to freedom from religion; which is to say, there are no state-sponsored consequences resulting from your choice of religion or lack thereof. Whether that results in more or less ‘freedom’ for you really depends on you and not on the state.

Religion, on the other hand, is generally just acceptance of a standardized set of spiritual beliefs. Christians are people who accept that Jesus is their personal conduit to salvation. Catholics are people who, while believing in the same god, accept that the Church is their conduit to salvation. To be part of a religion is largely to accept a preconfigured set of beliefs and make them your own.

It is belief itself which destroys freedom. If you “believe” that a thing is valuable, then you no longer have the freedom to assist or ignore an attack on it.  If you believe that thunderstorms are troublesome for aircraft, then you no longer have the freedom to fly through hurricanes.  If you believe that Jesus is your main man, then you no longer have the freedom to sacrifice human beings to your idols.  All of these, of course, being freedoms that you give up in order to retain your beliefs and maintain an internally self-consistent mindset.

The question really is; if there exists truth out there somewhere, and you find it and believe it, and it constrains your actions in some manner… are you more free or less free?

smart-chucks

While driving today, I saw a bumper sticker that said Eschew Obfuscation. I silently agreed, but wondered what the point of the bumper sticker was. Then I realized…

Irony.

MSG Obesity

Monosodium Glutamate, I’ve recently learned, is used in the laboratory to cause obesity in animals. So, for instance, if you need obese rats to do your research, you feed them MSG, and they become obese. This is all fine and good for the lab, but when you realize that a significant portion of commercial food contains MSG, our epidemic of obesity begins to make more sense. Google “MSG Obese”.

Congress is now, of course, trying to exempt food manufacturers and their trade organizations from obesity liability. All else being equal, I’d agree, but the issue is muddied when noone knows that one of your ingredients increases appetite and causes obesity.

“… a widely used nutritional monosubstance – the flavouring agent MSG – at concentrations that only slightly surpass those found in everyday human food, exhibits significant potential for damaging the hypothalamic regulation of appetite, and thereby determines the propensity of world-wide obesity. We suggest to reconsider the recommended daily allowances of amino acids and nutritional protein, and to abstain from the popular protein-rich diets, and particularly from adding the flavouring agents MSG.” – Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Aug 31 – Obesity, voracity, and short stature: the impact of glutamate on the regulation of appetite – Hermanussen M, Garcia AP, Sunder M, Voigt M, Salazar V, Tresguerres JA (link).

Don’t give me the fat.

http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v29/n3/full/0802830a.html

Ad-36 was first isolated in 1978 in a diabetic child in Germany. More research is needed to determine if Ad-36 has played any role in the global epidemic of obesity that has occurred over the last approximately 20 y.

Dr RL Atkinson of the Obetech Obesity Research Center and colleagues have published a paper linking human adenovirus 36 (Ad-36) with obesity. Is it possible that obesity is a disease, we’re in the middle of an epidemic, and we should avoid being sneezed on by the more husky people around us?

from http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=90

Tesseract

My head is spinning around the 4-dimensional cube, aka the Tesseract, of A Wrinkle in Time fame. The tesseract is in fact a mathematical construct, a cube into 4-dimensional space.

“The tesseract is composed of 8 cubes with 3 to an edge, and therefore has 16 vertices, 32 edges, 24 squares, and 8 cubes.” – Eric W. Weisstein. “Tesseract.” From MathWorld–A Wolfram Web Resource. http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Tesseract.html