SCI-ART LAB

Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

Q: Is schizophrenia genetic?

Krishna: About 60 to 70 percent of a person’s risk for schizophrenia depends on their genes. At the same time, scientists have known that complications during pregnancy, including viral infections in the mother, increase the fetus’s risk for developing schizophrenia by  several fold.

New research published in Nature Medicine on May 28, 2018 (1) reveals how when these two risk factors interact, the likelihood of an individual eventually being diagnosed with schizophrenia goes up at least five-fold compared to someone with a high genetic risk alone. Roughly a third of the genes associated with schizophrenia are in the placenta. But certain variations in the DNA of these genes only result in schizophrenia if there are complications during pregnancy. The gene variants likely affect how resilient the placenta is to stress from its environment.

If the mother or baby experiences a major health complication during pregnancy, the variants could activate these genes in the placenta and induce inflammation or affect the fetus’s development, increasing the risk for schizophrenia later in life.

Placental health may also be a key influence in other neurodevelopmental disorders that have a strong genetic basis, such as autism, Tourette syndrome and ADHD. These conditions typically affect males more than females.

Q: What simple example can you give to say Earth is spherical and not flat?

Krishna: Airplanes travelling in an arc during intercontinental journeys. The shortest distance between two points on a sphere is an arc rather than a straight line. If you travel in a straight line, you will go directly into space, not  another place on Earth!

Q: Is evidence based trust in science more important than a blind belief?

Krishna: Yesterday I read an interesting article (2) titled "You don’t have a right to believe whatever you want to" written by Daniel DeNicola, a professor and chair of philosophy at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania and the author of Understanding Ignorance: The Surprising Impact of What We Don’t Know (2017), which received the 2018 PROSE Award in Philosophy from the Association of American Publishers.

The author asks the Q  in the article, "Do we have the right to believe whatever we want to believe?" and answers it in a beautiful way.

This supposed right is often claimed as the last resort of the wilfully ignorant, the person who is cornered by evidence and mounting opinion: ‘I believe climate change is a hoax whatever anyone else says, and I have a right to believe it!’ But is there such a right?

We do recognise the right to know certain things. I have a right to know the conditions of my employment, the physician’s diagnosis of my ailments, the grades I achieved at school, the name of my accuser and the nature of the charges, and so on. But belief is not knowledge.

Beliefs are factive: to believe is to take to be true. It would be absurd, as the analytic philosopher G E Moore observed in the 1940s, to say: ‘It is raining, but I don’t believe that it is raining.’ Beliefs aspire to truth – but they do not entail it. Beliefs can be false, unwarranted by evidence or reasoned consideration. They can also be morally repugnant. Among likely candidates: beliefs that are sexist, racist or homophobic; the belief that proper upbringing of a child requires ‘breaking the will’ and severe corporal punishment; the belief that the elderly should routinely be euthanised; the belief that ‘ethnic cleansing’ is a political solution, and so on. If we find these morally wrong, we condemn not only the potential acts that spring from such beliefs, but the content of the belief itself, the act of believing it, and thus the believer.

Such judgments can imply that believing is a voluntary act. But beliefs are often more like states of mind or attitudes than decisive actions. Some beliefs, such as personal values, are not deliberately chosen; they are ‘inherited’ from parents and ‘acquired’ from peers, acquired inadvertently, inculcated by institutions and authorities, or assumed from hearsay. For this reason, I think, it is not always the coming-to-hold-this-belief that is problematic; it is rather the sustaining of such beliefs, the refusal to disbelieve or discard them that can be voluntary and ethically wrong.

If the content of a belief is judged morally wrong, it is also thought to be false. The belief that one race is less than fully human is not only a morally repugnant, racist tenet; it is also thought to be a false claim – though not by the believer. The falsity of a belief is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a belief to be morally wrong; neither is the ugliness of the content sufficient for a belief to be morally wrong. Alas, there are indeed morally repugnant truths, but it is not the believing that makes them so. Their moral ugliness is embedded in the world, not in one’s belief about the world.

‘Who are you to tell me what to believe?’ replies the zealot. It is a misguided challenge: it implies that certifying one’s beliefs is a matter of someone’sauthority. It ignores the role of reality. Believing has what philosophers call a ‘mind-to-world direction of fit’. Our beliefs are intended to reflect the real world – and it is on this point that beliefs can go haywire. There are irresponsible beliefs; more precisely, there are beliefs that are acquired and retained in an irresponsible way. One might disregard evidence; accept gossip, rumour, or testimony from dubious sources; ignore incoherence with one’s other beliefs; embrace wishful thinking; or display a predilection for conspiracy theories.

The 19th-century mathematical philosopher William K Clifford, claimed: ‘It is wrong, always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.’ Clifford was trying to prevent irresponsible ‘overbelief’, in which wishful thinking, blind faith or sentiment (rather than evidence) stimulate or justify belief. This is too restrictive. In any complex society, one has to rely on the testimony of reliable sources, expert judgment and the best available evidence. Moreover, as the psychologist William James responded in 1896, some of our most important beliefs about the world and the human prospect must be formed without the possibility of sufficient evidence. In such circumstances (which are sometimes defined narrowly, sometimes more broadly in James’s writings), one’s ‘will to believe’ entitles us to choose to believe the alternative that projects a better life.

In exploring the varieties of religious experience, James would remind us that the ‘right to believe’ can establish a climate of religious tolerance. Those religions that define themselves by required beliefs (creeds) have engaged in repression, torture and countless wars against non-believers that can cease only with recognition of a mutual ‘right to believe’. Yet, even in this context, extremely intolerant beliefs cannot be tolerated. Rights have limits and carry responsibilities.

Unfortunately, many people today seem to take great licence with the right to believe, flouting their responsibility. The wilful ignorance and false knowledge that are commonly defended by the assertion ‘I have a right to my belief’ do not meet James’s requirements. Consider those who believe that the lunar landings or the Sandy Hook school shooting were unreal, government-created dramas; that Barack Obama is Muslim; that the Earth is flat; or that climate change is a hoax. In such cases, the right to believe is proclaimed as a negative right; that is, its intent is to foreclose dialogue, to deflect all challenges; to enjoin others from interfering with one’s belief-commitment. The mind is closed, not open for learning. They might be ‘true believers’, but they are not believers in the truth.

Believing, like willing, seems fundamental to autonomy, the ultimate ground of one’s freedom. But, as Clifford also remarked: ‘No one man’s belief is in any case a private matter which concerns himself alone.’ Beliefs shape attitudes and motives, guide choices and actions. Believing and knowing are formed within an epistemic community, which also bears their effects. There is an ethic of believing, of acquiring, sustaining, and relinquishing beliefs – and that ethic both generates and limits our right to believe. If some beliefs are false, or morally repugnant, or irresponsible, some beliefs are also dangerous. And to those, we have no right.

Other experts say, if you believe vaccines are Western conspiracies to sterilize you and your children, or vaccines are against religion and refuse to get vaccinated, that right should be taken away from you because you are becoming a danger to the society you live in with your irresponsible and irrational beliefs. 

If you want to be ignorant, that is your wish. But if your ignorance is causing trouble to others, you have no right to be ignorant!

If beliefs like that Osama Bin Laden or Hitler causes chaos in the world, you don't have the right to have such beliefs.

In science, there should be different set of rules and rights. Here you don't have a right to follow blind beliefs that endanger the world. Your opinions and emotions,  shouldn't count at all. Only scientific evidence and data should count. Rest of the things belong to thrash cans.

Read the explanations here: in-the-field-of-science-majority-s-opinion-counts-only-when-it-matc...

and here: superstitions-don-t-have-any-science-behind-them#

Q: The raw force with which science attacks our core values and beliefs makes it difficult for us to accept science. Do you agree?

Krishna: I understand. But agreeing? It is a different ball game.

Science understands the problem in this way... Core beliefs can be part of your identity, so questioning a core belief can actually be pretty anxiety-producing. You can experience cognitive dissonances when facing two contradictory beliefs. You can experience reactance when you feel the facts we are presented with threaten your concept of freedom. You have strategies to protect our beliefs, like confirmation bias. And you can even delve deeper in your beliefs when they’re attacked by facts and contradictory evidence, that’s called the backfire effect.

That’s not just religious people, that’s every single one of us. Scientific evidence points to social and/or evolutionary advantages to these biases. 

However, critical thinking can bring a change in this attitude.

In a scientific world, accepting facts have more benefits than denying them.

Scientific principles run this universe. They run life in this universe. They run you and me too!

Isn't that a fact based core value too? Just because somebody in a pre-scientific era had wrong thoughts about this universe and its origins, there is no necessity for us to stick with them now too and live in a pseudo-world. 

Tell me, why is it difficult to accept evidence based reality that is core of our very existence? Why is it difficult to come out of your comfort zone that keeps you in an eternal state of weakness and walk into a state of strength? Why is it difficult to accept  something that benefits you?

Why can't we come out of these biases when we have more advantages? 

Science makes you very courageous and fearless. When you understand something clearly your fright melts away. You feel confident in dealing with it. You also realize how foolish you were all these days for fearing such silly things.

Peace and calmness fills your mind and body.  

If you have a complete view of the scientific world, you will get  the answers to your Qs, well almost all.  For instance, if you understand the human biology, you will not get overwhelmed by any condition, disease because you understand why it happens and most importantly why it happened to you. Then you don’t feel the betrayal at all like you feel when you are ignorant about any condition. You can tackle it more efficiently and successfully.

When you understand how this universe works, all the walls that divide  people will melt away. Read here how:  Science and Spirituality

You can deal with tragedies, fears, and inadequacies more efficiently if your thinking is scientific. Read here how ... 

science-s-rules-are-unyielding-they-will-not-be-bent-for-anybody-

science-tries-to-strengthen-your-minds-permanently-by-making-you-

Science makes you live a healthy and clean life. The knowledge you get through science makes this possible. You will get this knowledge here: some-science

How science saves lives? There is more than medical science that is important in saving lives. Read here what it is: how-scientific-illiteracy-can-harm-you 

Courage, confidence, cleanliness, calmness, universal outlook,  broadmindedness, good health, peace,

realistic outlook, knowledge, thrill and saving lives. These are the things science brings into your life. These are the things people told me they got because of their association with this network based on science.

Get into the world of science which is full of benefits. 

Think about that.

Q: What is the scientific reason behind walking clockwise around temples?
Krishna : You won’t get a true scientific reason for this question because there isn’t one!

All you get is pseudo-scientific reasons people circulate all over the net. I have read several of them and can give them here but that denotes misleading people which as a true person of science I don’t want to do.

It is a culture based tradition, not science based one.

Q: Does it get easier to marvel at the natural world when one is ignorant or knowledgeable of the scientific explanations behind physical manifestations?
Krishna : Without knowing science behind something, you can marvel at only half of the picture and scene. If you can see the whole picture, your sense of wonder doubles! This is my experience before I entered the field of science and after I earned my Ph.D. in science and went further to investigate the wonder of the universe.
“ Science, far from destroying the beauty and romance of the world as seen by artists, musicians and writers, enhances it by revealing the underlying reasons and purposes' – McConnell .
Q: Is science a way of thinking or a way of finding the truth?

Finding truth? Yes, some of it, but a provisional one most of the time.

Yes, you can find how your system works because you can see it at a close range using your senses.

But finding how this universe originated? Our infrastructure hasn’t developed yet to find that out accurately. So you can have theories that can be tested and tried later when we obtain the capacity.

There is a scientific way of thinking .

Science is the language this universe is written in. Scientific principles govern this universe, living systems, you and me. Without them, this universe doesn’t exist, life doesn’t exist, you and I don’t exist. Finding them and understanding them answers several of our questions about our own existence. It is finding facts about what our senses perceive as the universe around us.

It helps us if we understand the basics of fundamentals this universe is based on because we can manipulate them to our own advantage.

Q: Is it possible that we may never fully discover and describe how our mind works?

New technologies like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allow researchers to see a picture of the brain at work — helping them to understand how a brain reacts to a particular stimulus or how differences in brain structure can affect a person’s health, personality or cognitive functioning.

It might be a slow process but steadily we are finding ways to pin point the ways of our minds’ cognitive functions.

Trust in science which thinks nothing is impossible. The ways of science takes a lot of time because of scientific methods accepted to establish facts, but they sure can find things.

We will fully discover how our brains and the minds work in the future.

Q: How can we predict right answers in astrology like math?

Why Astrology is Pseudo-science

Q: Can we stop scientists from performing dangerous experiments that may cause the destruction of our world?

Have you found any scientists doing that till now? Why didn’t our world get destroyed then?

“Mad scientists” wanting to do that is science fiction, not fact. Some politics and war might influence them to do such things, but if they start doing that, they do that secretly and you would never be able to stop them until they themselves reveal their secrets. By the time you realize what is happening in their labs, you would have already got affected by it.

I am a Microbiologist and if I want to produce a lethal biological weapon at home ( yes I set up a lab at home sometime back), and do my work secretly nobody can know about it. If I really want to cause harm like a mad scientist, why would I reveal it to anyone and face obstacles in my path? I would just produce it and unleash my secret weapon on the world, sit and enjoy the consequences ( I would have protected myself against it) because to do that I would have to be a psychopath.

You hardly find any psychopaths among scientists. Don’t worry, 99.99% of the scientific community works for the welfare of mankind, not for its destruction.

Even if scientists perform dangerous experiments, they take all precautions to protect the world outside . Like these…

What are Biosafety Labs?

We are not mad scientists and better than most people in the world. Only thing you should be worried about is how to stop terrorists from using science and technology to destruct the world. We think about that and how to protect the world and not how to destroy it.

Q: Are people as informed as they should be about scientific matters?

Understanding science can save your life. Failing to can kill you. Here is my evidence…

How scientific illiteracy can harm you...

After reading this article, decide for yourself, whether you want to get informed about scientific matters or not and let me know what your decision is.

CITATIONS:

1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-018-0021-y

2. https://aeon.co/ideas/you-dont-have-a-right-to-believe-whatever-you...

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