Is the Universe a Simulation?

Mathematical knowledge is unlike any other knowledge. Its truths are objective, necessary and timeless.  


It seems spooky to suggest that mathematical entities actually exist in and of themselves. But if math is only a product of the human imagination, how do we all end up agreeing on exactly the same math? 


…one fanciful possibility is that we live in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics — not in what we commonly take to be the real world. According to this theory, some highly advanced computer programmer of the future has devised this simulation, and we are unknowingly part of it. Thus when we discover a mathematical truth, we are simply discovering aspects of the code that the programmer used. [img: DVDP ]

Is the Universe a Simulation?

Mathematical knowledge is unlike any other knowledge. Its truths are objective, necessary and timeless.  

It seems spooky to suggest that mathematical entities actually exist in and of themselves. But if math is only a product of the human imagination, how do we all end up agreeing on exactly the same math? 

…one fanciful possibility is that we live in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics — not in what we commonly take to be the real world. According to this theory, some highly advanced computer programmer of the future has devised this simulation, and we are unknowingly part of it. Thus when we discover a mathematical truth, we are simply discovering aspects of the code that the programmer used. [img: DVDP ]

fixed.

fixed.

Government policy should be evidence-driven. If crime is going down, you shouldn’t be increasing resources for crime prevention. Or you should be taking note of what has worked and concentrate the crime-prevention methods on policies that have a track record of success.
Much like me, it’s neurosciencey and lawish…but friendly and easy on the eyes.
Zombie apocalypse: not hot   |   Satanic panic murder cults: hot

Zombie apocalypse: not hot   |   Satanic panic murder cults: hot

Guess I better update my wardrobe. 

Guess I better update my wardrobe

Journal of Negative Results in BioMedicine

This should be a much thicker collection of these journals

For any given research area, one cannot tell how many studies have been conducted but never reported. The extreme view of the “file drawer problem” is that journals are filled with the 5% of the studies that show Type I errors, while the file drawers are filled with the 95% of the studies that show nonsignificant results. via 

…it should prompt more areas to publish their own file drawers, for free….and catcall *other publishers and funding organizations (replication studie$?).

Availability of unpublished findings could also address other shortcomings of the current scientific process, including the regular failure of scientists to report experiments, conditions or observations that are inconsistent with hypotheses; the addition or removal of participants and variables to generate statistical significance; and the probable existence of numerous published findings whose non-replicability is shrouded because it is difficult to report null results. via
After the noon R coding time, it’s heated debate on the drawing table time in the lab. 

After the noon R coding time, it’s heated debate on the drawing table time in the lab. 

Me and my headache decided to stay in tonight & bang on a hypothesis.

Me and my headache decided to stay in tonight & bang on a hypothesis.

While studies in behavioural genetics show certain gene and environment combinations correlate with antisocial conduct, many of the studies have not been replicated, which raises questions about their reliability.
Blame the brain ….and how about those grant offering institutions, which set requirements for studies they will fund. Rarely do you see replication involved or allowed. Confirming previous findings may not as sexy as publishing novel ones, but it’s as important -if not more so. 

P.S.H.

I had a drink with him once a year or 2 ago, in a dark, divey bar in the West Village. It was Sunday night, late. He sat next to me, chatted and had one drink. The bartender knew right away what he wanted without asking. He had such fantastic eyes… the crazy, but gentle kind. A few friendly exchanges, he emptied his glass, nodded with a half smile and left a twenty. I remember thinking, that was too brief, who has just one bourbon?

It is a sad mission to cut through and destroy with the scissors of analysis the delicate and iridescent veils with which our proud mediocrity clothes itself.
Mind Machine

An engineer wears a helmet of sensors at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging—part of a brain scanner requiring almost as much power as a nuclear submarine. Antennas pick up signals produced when the scanner’s magnetic field excites water molecules in the brain. Photo - Robert Clark (via NatGeo)

Great, it does amazing things. But is this best we can do, design wise? Why does every cap need to look like a Doc Brown creation? You guys have been so busy with minimalistic living & your cool pants, this is what we are left with. 

Mind Machine

An engineer wears a helmet of sensors at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging—part of a brain scanner requiring almost as much power as a nuclear submarine. Antennas pick up signals produced when the scanner’s magnetic field excites water molecules in the brain. Photo - Robert Clark (via NatGeo)

Great, it does amazing things. But is this best we can do, design wise? Why does every cap need to look like a Doc Brown creation? You guys have been so busy with minimalistic living & your cool pants, this is what we are left with. 

Message received, and now publicly promising to work on my side project.

Combat is combat. Killing is killing. This isn’t a video game.
The landscape of western Montana, (…) bears a striking resemblance to the Hindu Kush of eastern Afghanistan—a place he’s seen only pixelated on a monitor. It was a cognitive dissonance he had often felt flying missions, as he tried to remind himself that the world was just as real when seen in a grainy image as with the naked eye, that despite being filtered through distance and technology, cause and effect still applied. 
We look through them at the world, and ultimately stare back at ourselves.  

 Confessions of a Drone Warrior

Message received, and now publicly promising to work on my side project.

Combat is combat. Killing is killing. This isn’t a video game.

The landscape of western Montana, (…) bears a striking resemblance to the Hindu Kush of eastern Afghanistan—a place he’s seen only pixelated on a monitor. It was a cognitive dissonance he had often felt flying missions, as he tried to remind himself that the world was just as real when seen in a grainy image as with the naked eye, that despite being filtered through distance and technology, cause and effect still applied. 

We look through them at the world, and ultimately stare back at ourselves.  

 Confessions of a Drone Warrior

A biological basis for pedophilia?

So just a few months ago, the Washington Times ran an article about the strong stance the American Psychiatric Association was taking regarding pedophilia, and not accepting it as a sexual orientation. This lead the APA to differentiate between pedophilia and pedophiliac disorder, mainly based on: preference/consummation vs compulsion/consummation. This really just gets at coding a different DSM diagnosis for the degree of impulse inhibition one may have over their actions, rather than thoughts and desires. 
A more recent article highlights neuroscientific findings contrary to this, that are generally upsetting to most, but might encourage us to think about how to ethically, legally or medically deal with individuals who are aware they are attracted to children, but do not want to act on it…as well as those who do act and what to do with them. 

The evidence suggests pedophilia results from atypical wiring in the brain. Cantor calls it “cross-wiring”: the stimuli that usually evoke nurturing and protective reactions in adults is instead evoking sexual reactions in pedophiles.




Similar experiments are being conducted across the globe, most notably at Berlin’s Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine, but Cantor’s research has greatly influenced the view among researchers that pedophilia has a biological basis.
[T]he idea that pedophiles are born, not made, can be used to support opposing political views — some will say “lock ’em up and throw away the key,” while others will call for sympathy and therapy. (via)

Side bar: The US makes it nearly impossible to get preemptive help before an act is committed, due to mandatory reporting laws for therapists. Because of this, support groups are springing up online.  Remember, just because there may be a biological basis, it’s not a way to excuse behavior, but it could mitigate punishment. These things tend to be about understanding the condition, prevention and treatment… as well as punishment for criminal actions. 

Last note: our lab is now analyzing millions of sex crimes across the country to see just how effective & successful sex offender regulations have been over-time, in a way that’s never been done before. I’ll get to link up our data and talk about this soon, but I always like to hear what you guys think.

A biological basis for pedophilia?

So just a few months ago, the Washington Times ran an article about the strong stance the American Psychiatric Association was taking regarding pedophilia, and not accepting it as a sexual orientation. This lead the APA to differentiate between pedophilia and pedophiliac disorder, mainly based on: preference/consummation vs compulsion/consummation. This really just gets at coding a different DSM diagnosis for the degree of impulse inhibition one may have over their actions, rather than thoughts and desires. 

A more recent article highlights neuroscientific findings contrary to this, that are generally upsetting to most, but might encourage us to think about how to ethically, legally or medically deal with individuals who are aware they are attracted to children, but do not want to act on it…as well as those who do act and what to do with them. 

The evidence suggests pedophilia results from atypical wiring in the brain. Cantor calls it “cross-wiring”: the stimuli that usually evoke nurturing and protective reactions in adults is instead evoking sexual reactions in pedophiles.

Similar experiments are being conducted across the globe, most notably at Berlin’s Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine, but Cantor’s research has greatly influenced the view among researchers that pedophilia has a biological basis.

[T]he idea that pedophiles are born, not made, can be used to support opposing political views — some will say “lock ’em up and throw away the key,” while others will call for sympathy and therapy. (via)

Side bar: The US makes it nearly impossible to get preemptive help before an act is committed, due to mandatory reporting laws for therapists. Because of this, support groups are springing up online.  Remember, just because there may be a biological basis, it’s not a way to excuse behavior, but it could mitigate punishment. These things tend to be about understanding the condition, prevention and treatment… as well as punishment for criminal actions. 
Last note: our lab is now analyzing millions of sex crimes across the country to see just how effective & successful sex offender regulations have been over-time, in a way that’s never been done before. I’ll get to link up our data and talk about this soon, but I always like to hear what you guys think.