Quote by Carl Sagan

carl sagan by espenartman

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Wanderers by Erik Wernquist

Here we are inhabiting about 3/10 of a fragile little speck of dust. Suspended in a universe of such enormous scale that we might not be around for long enough to explore even 0.00001% of it. But it is an inspiring thought – to know that your finite, but strive for eternity; to be hungry for knowledge in the face of the dark; and to never stop gazing upwards… waiting for that one glimpse of your future, when everything is the silence of the cosmos and you drift away into the abyss still hoping to unravel the unknown.

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The Big Electron

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The Power of Opinion

Just having something to say doesn’t mean that it is the right thing to say. One of the main problems of today’s society is that every moron around the corner with basic knowledge on how to use language holds an opinion on something. What is even more troubling is that the more ignorant someone is, the more he has to say. There’s bullshit flying everywhere and people believe in it without question, especially if the person saying it is recognized as a form of authority. Ignorant bloggers preach their nonsense, politicians and journalists shape society’s opinions…

Our daily lives are dictated by things we don’t usually put to question. The media. Everyone says they don’t believe the media and yet they still fall for the same old things every time. The government doesn’t need you to believe what you are hearing, they just want you to feel a certain way about someone, a country, an event. But what I’d like to stress is something else people don’t question. God. Not only is the Bible – or some other holy book – their authority but the pope and pastors too.

This type of authority is a lot more powerful than the media in every way possible. None of the people going to church would claim, ‘I don’t believe a word the pastor says.’ Pastors have full control over people’s beliefs and political views. They can make others like or hate a country mid sentence or make their followers jump off cliffs because those he preaches to would never think that the he could tell a lie. In fact, the pastor himself thinks he cannot lie.

The most dangerous liars are those who don’t know that they are lying.

What does any of this have to do with opinion? Everything. Opinions, judgements and so on are formed by our own view on things, the way we think about something. Do you see where I am going with this? Of course you do. When someone with authority interferes, you no longer have an opinion, you think you do but, ultimately, you simply accept that of the pastor. You adopt someone else’s viewpoint without filtering it or developing it yourself. This can prove to be an extremely potent weapon that can be used not just by politicians, but by delusional men who wish to bring change in their favor.

For us, skeptics, this is unacceptable. We are used to forming our own opinions and we refuse to let someone else tell us what’s good or what’s bad. Having an opinion is a powerful tool. And if it’s shared among the masses, like in the case with believers, it could bring great change. The problem we face is that skeptics don’t follow a dogma. We have no ultimate truth that unites us and makes us go to a place every sunday to sing about how good it feels to be brainwashed. We’re all different and this simple truth on its own is enough to show that we are divided. While the believers are like the Borg from Star Trek, we, skeptics, are all individuals and we rarely come together. We think separately and most of us fight our battles by ourselves.

In this sense it is very dangerous to have an opinion that differs from that of the mass, especially if the mass consists of idiots. Great men were executed for telling the truth. The truth is not something that everyone can handle. And if this mad wave of ignorance continues throughout the years ahead, we’re going to have a really hard time progressing as a society. What we could do is speak up. If you believe you have something valuable to say, say it. If you see that there is something wrong with the world, stand up, raise your voice and let others know, so that we could all correct for our mistakes together as humans… not slaves of gods.

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Richard Dawkins’ Speech at the ‘Protest the Pope’ March in London

This is the full uncut speech by Richard Dawkins at the ‘Protest the Pope’ rally, 18th September 2010.

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A.I. Arms Race

Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk are famous for their mistrust of artificial intelligence. The two, along with a group of equally concerned scientists and engineers, have released an open letter calling for the prevention of an autonomous robotic army, warning of the disastrous consequences for humanity and future advancements. You can read the full letter here.

“If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: Autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow.”

Isn’t it about time we started spending more money on science and less on finding more creative ways to kill one another? I don’t know. That’s just me.

I’d like to point out that I am quite excited about artificial intelligence and have no problem with its development. The benefits outweigh the risks. But I do have concerns just like Hawking and Musk do.

In the eyes of history humanity’s made a big leap from barely being able to figured out how to use tools to the technological giants we think we are now compared to each other. This, however, doesn’t undermine the fact that we could also be considered the most immature creatures on the planet. Wars, torture, meaningless suffering, religion… The list goes on and on. Yes, it is true that I can’t compare our moral or immoral deeds with those of the monkey but the possibility of overwriting our initial instincts is a frightening thing at this current point in time. We’ve endured so much since we were first able to think, but considering the amount of time we’ve spent on Earth as thinking beings, we are still very young and have much to learn.

Back to the problem at hand. It’s not a rare event to see men comparing the size of their penises. It’s always the same thing: one person figures out that he could kill others with a specific weapon and suddenly everyone else wants to have it in order to level the playing field until one day the only thing left to ‘level’ is flatness the Earth… if there even is an Earth to speak of.

The use of AI will create tension between countries mainly on a political level. The fear of someone misusing this technology is justified. We don’t need any more war machines. We never should’ve had the need for them in the first place. Remember the last time a country decided to show its power? Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We are supposed to be better than that.

“In summary, we believe that AI has great potential to benefit humanity in many ways, and that the goal of the field should be to do so. Starting a military AI arms race is a bad idea, and should be prevented by a ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control.”

AI could provide so many benefits to humans. The possibilities are limitless. At the same time if used for war, we might find ourselves cheering for the machines as they enslave nations and destroy all ethical boundaries for the sake of someone’s ego.

This is not just a question of ethics. It is a way of shaping human nature as a whole. It’ll become a new ground for measuring the human character. If you want to test a man’s character, give him the power of AI.

Stop taking pride in your dicks and improve the quality of your deeds.

Learn More: Big Think

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Vaccines DO NOT Cause Autism

I usually don’t deal with nonsense like this but it is worth talking about it at least once. And rather than talking, I decided to share a video.

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