Religious violence. Analyzed?

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Photo by Elina Sazonova from Pexels

Artificial intelligence can help us to better understand the causes of religious violence and to potentially control it, according to a new Oxford University collaboration. The study is one of the first to be published that uses psychologically realistic AI – as opposed to machine learning.

The study published in The Journal for Artificial Societies and Social Stimulation, combined computer modelling and cognitive psychology to create an AI system able to mimic human religiosity, allowing them to better understand the conditions, triggers and patterns for religious violence. (1)

We like to analyze things.

To find the logic behind the deepest evil.

But there is not logic in the shadows.

The cosmos is a bad place.

Full of free will and degradation.

Devil’s biggest trick is that he has convinced us he does not exist.

You must believe that there is malice in the cosmos in order to fight it.

No logic. No cause and effect. Just pure malice.

But there is a way out.

The darkness can be fought.

But not through the light.

This is too logical and predictable to even remotely work.

But through transforming the darkness itself.

Look inside.

You are the raging abyss.

Dark.

Furious.

The destroyer of worlds.

And at the same time…

The life-giver of the cosmos.

A small snail.

A delicate flower.

Birds singing.

It is not that the abyss is far away.

This IS the abyss.

Whispering gently…

Are you afraid enough?

Why be nice?

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Kindness and selflessness are widespread among both humans and animals. Many people donate to charity and feel significantly happier as a direct result of doing so. In the animal kingdom, many species show kindness by refraining from violence when settling conflicts. Instead they may use comparatively harmless fighting conventions.

The benefits gained from receiving kindness are intuitively obvious. But the motivations for engaging in kindness are much less so. In fact, the very existence of kindness and altruism seems to contradict Darwin’s theory of evolution, based as it is on a competitive process of natural selection in which only the fittest survive.

For example, the selfless behaviour of sterile ants, who protect their colonies from dangerous predators, poses a problem that Darwin himself at first considered “insuperable, and actually fatal to my whole theory”.

So how could kind behaviour have evolved – and why was it not eliminated by natural selection? Many theorists have grappled with this problem over the years. The article reviews the most prominent ideas of science up to now. (1)

In essence, all theories which try to explain kindness actually refute it: in all of them there is some kind of benefit coming out of the kind action. And what scientists don’t understand is that this actually makes the action… not kind!

You are not good when you calculate things.

You are not a nice person when you know why you love someone.

You are not a saint when you can analyze exactly why you are…

Kindness is inherently illogical.

Being good is being insane.

Caring in a cosmos which seems void and dark.

Loving in a cosmos which seems pointless and evil.

And yet this insanity is the warmest thing in this cold universe…

Happy Christmas!

For no (apparent) reason…

Being a psychopath. “Saving” people?

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New research shows that people would sacrifice one person to save a larger group of people – and in addition, the force with which they carry out these actions could be predicted by psychopathic traits.

The study, led by the University of Plymouth, compared what people ‘said’ they would do with what they actually ‘did’ by comparing a questionnaire with actions in immersive moral dilemmas created using virtual-haptic technologies (i.e. using a robotic device which measures force, resistance, and speed, whilst simulating the action of harming a human).

In several dilemmas, participants had to decide whether to sacrifice a person by performing a harmful action against them, in order to save a larger group of people.

While all individuals were more likely to sacrifice others in these immersive environments than in questionnaire-based assessments, people with strong psychopathic traits were more likely to generate these harmful actions with greater physical power. (1)

People tend to believe they are gods today. Gods able to decide who can live and who will die. But everyone dies. God is not God because He can save some from death. But because he can love them even though they do die. As bodies and as souls. God is there not to kill a person in order to save many.

It takes the devil to decide to act…

It takes a devil to do something and save someone…

Because most of the times you will kill another person at the same time…

At the end, it takes a human not to act.

It takes a human to be God…

Bacteria. Viruses. Good. Bad…

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Normally, you wouldn’t want to have anything to do with Clostridium novyi.

The rod-shaped bacterium is commonly found in soil, manure or under rotting leaves. When it invades a human body, it releases flesh-eating toxins. The last place you would hope to find it is in a hospital.

But researchers used a modified version of this bacterium to destroy an advanced cancer that had spread to a patient’s shoulder. When injected directly into the shoulder tumor, the altered bacterium killed the cancer cells, sparing nearby healthy ones.

Another bad bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes, is a frequent culprit in serious foodborne illnesses. But the microbe is being tested in patients with several types of cancer. Engineered with special tumor-recognition molecules, Listeria prods the immune system into action, marshaling an attack against tumors that the body might otherwise be unable to combat. (1)

Good. Bad.
Health. Disease.
Death. Life.

Stop defining things.
Stop thinking for a moment.
And everything will come back into place…

Unknown Santa. The only way…

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Susan Desmond-Hellmann, the chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), will be the next CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The oncologist and former Genentech executive will take the reins of the huge philanthropy from retiring CEO Jeff Raikes on 1 May 2014, overseeing the foundation’s activities in global public health, poverty, and education. (1)

Bill Gates is promoting himself as the new “Santa”. (2)

An wise man said once that we should do good but without others knowing it.

Vanity and arrogance are dangerous sins. Do you want to do good? Or do you want others to know you do good? Great men stand next to you. Unnoticed.