Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ok, sometimes you DO want to lock your car doors

In my previous post, I expressed my opinion that locking car doors is pointless. But apparently, this bear opened an unlocked car door, got trapped inside, knocked the transmission into neutral, sending the car 38 meters downhill into a thicket of trees, and completely tore up the upholstery.

I guess a german shepherd would have been useless in this case. But maybe if the door had been locked the bear would have moved on to a different car?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Do NOT lock your car doors

Unless your motor vehicle is equipped with bulletproof windows, locking your car doors could do more harm than good.

A car thief bent on reselling a stolen car may be more cautious and use locksmithing skills to open the car door and start the car without causing any damage. But then, the end result is that your car is gone.

While an unmotivated thief unwilling to attract attention in a public place may be deterred by a locked door, and move on, if the car is to be left somewhere overnight, or parked in a quiet low traffic area, you are in for a treat.

A thief of opportunity interested in the radar detector on your dashboard, the duffel bag on your backseat, or to the iPod on your seat will just 'smash and grab', breaking your window with no regard to the structural integrity of the glass or resale value of the vehicle.

Most automobile insurance policies have a per-incident deductible (sometimes a few hundred dollars) that must be met before they will pay any claims, and many policies do not cover items stolen from the vehicle. Unfortunately, replacing a car side window can cost at least 250 dollars. Which means that a thief stealing your 200 dollar iPod will also cause 250 dollars worth of damage, for a total loss of 450 dollars, none of it covered by insurance.

By leaving your car doors locked, you are throwing money out the (broken) window.

What then is a solution that does not involve purchasing a surplus armored vehicle with bulletproof glass?

Do not leave anything in a parked vehicle.

Even if the item you leave in the car is worthless, a motivated thief may be curious enough to break a window to get to it.

Police departments who advise people to lock their cars are foolishly perpetrating the myth that a thief can be stopped by a few millimeters of glass. Give me a break (pun intended).

And if you are not so much worried about the laptop on the passenger seat but do not want the car itself to be stolen, consider an ignition kill-switch, a GPS tracking device, or a rabid german shepherd.

Does God have a brain?

No, I am not trying to be funny. This is a serious question for all those who believe in God. If God is able to think, surely, then he must have a brain, does he not? At least, he must have frontal lobe.

Doesn't God think? Isn't God the judge of good and evil, and the arbitrator of morality?

According to Wikipedia, "The executive functions of the frontal lobes involve the ability to recognize future consequences resulting from current actions, to choose between good and bad actions (or better and best), override and suppress unacceptable social responses, and determine similarities and differences between things or events. Therefore, it is involved in higher mental functions."

Therefore, God, if he does exist, must have a brain. If he has a brain, then he needs lungs to draw in oxygen from the air, and a heart to pump the oxygenated blood to his brain. Of course, this means that he must have a skeleton as a basic structure, a digestive system to provide nutrients for the various organs, teeth to chew the food, and possibly skin to cover up the entire body.

In other words, if God is able to think and breathe air, then he must have physical body. If he has a physical body, then he cannot be omnipotent. If he is not omnipotent, how could he have created the Universe? If he is a product of creation, how could he have created himself?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Why I don't believe in ghosts part II

Here's another reason not to believe in ghosts. While pure energy can travel through thin air (i.e. lightning) or through empty space in the form of electromagnetic radiation (i.e. sunlight, gamma rays, x-rays, etc) complex computing circuitry is essential to allow for data processing.

It is our brains that allow us to feel, memorize, recall and think. Without neurons to act as capacitors, diodes and transistors, the energy would be scattered in an unorganized way. How would a ghost be able to think? What ethereal circuitry exists that would allow for cognitive function? Do ghosts have synapses? Do ghosts have a frontal lobe? What about a cerebellum?

How would this ethereal circuitry maintain cohesion?

With precise instrumentation, we are able to detect gamma rays emitted by stars thousands of light-years away. We are capable to measure tiny electrical voltages at the near atomic level inside microprocessors. Yet we can't detect the massive amount of energy that would be required for a disembodied mind to maintain cohesion and interact with its environment?

If a brain (or a body) was not required to exist as a person, to think, to feel, and to interact with our surroundings, then why would nature gift us with brain-controlled bodies? Nature does not do wasteful things.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Why I don't believe in ghosts

Do you believe in ghosts, spirits, souls, life after death? I don't.

Here's why.

We know that the mind is a process inside the brain. We know that because people with head and brain injuries experience personality disorders, memory loss, and in extreme cases, can become simply brain-dead vegetables. Severe brain injuries can often be irreversible, and the person rarely recovers full mental function. Now when that person is actually unplugged from the life-support machines, or when that person dies naturally, it would be quite a stretch to posit that they could actually regain their memories and cognitive abilities. If the person wasn't able to formulate thoughts while still plugged into the heart-lung machine, why would that person's condition improve after rigor mortis sets in?

If you say that a 'soul' leaves the body after death, does this soul have full mental capacity? Does the soul enter the afterlife (Heaven, Valhalla, Hades, or other) with all the cognitive power and memories from that person's life?

Then why doesn't the person who falls off a cliff and lands headfirst onto boulders below fully recover mental capacity once their broken bones have healed? Did that person's soul go away?

And when that person dies and becomes a ghost, or a soul in Heaven, does the soul come back with the memories? Where was that person's spirit?

The soul never goes away, because it does not exist. Brain death is final death of the individual. Anything that survives death becomes food for bacteria, mold, and worms. The mind cannot exist without the brain. The brain is part of the body. The body stays here in the physical world.

Treat your body well. It's the only one you have.