Free Will and Tabula Rasa is Dead; But So Is Materialism. Connecting Dots.

The Enlightenment idea of Free Will, or Tabula Rasa, is one in which humans are deemed to have been born clean slate, no intrinsic behavioral programming. It's often juxtaposed with the observed unlearned behavior of animals, called instinct.

On the other end are the materialists, who essentially hold that we're merely a product of genetics that call forth certain cellular chemical processes that effect brain processes, and everyone is just a product of an evolved genetic code—blameless—and it's for us to select enlightened leaders to socially engineer things so as to minimize carnage.

I regard Free Will as a means by which humans can be made to feel unearned guilt. I regard Materialism as a means by which humans can rationalize any behavior, along with regarding guilt as social construction. Metaphorically, it's a philosophical battle between Angels and African Cats. ...Angels have free will, if you've ever heard of Lucifer.

Moreover, I regard the former as a crutch for religion—the idea of sin or Original Sin—and the latter as a crutch for socialism, as everyone is an innocent, blameless victim of their programming.

For many, many years, I've not been an allie of either—though I now believe I was still mistaken, had not connected all the dots. It's the classic sort of dispute...in which, one must pick a side. But I hate picking sides—because all sides are obsessed with a side and thus, always wrong. So, for a long time, I've called myself a materialist, except for free will (I wasn't trying to be funny).

And now, that changes.

Animal Behavior and the Microbiome

But humans are not the only animals with microbiomes, and microbiomes do not just impact health. Recent research is revealing surprising roles for microbiomes in shaping behaviors across many animal taxa—shedding light on how behaviors from diet to social interactions affect the composition of host-associated microbial communities and how microbes in turn influence host behavior in dramatic ways.

...Just wait until you read the bit on the lifecycle of the liver fluke in our upcoming book; which reminds me...I've got to get back to work, or Tim is going to have my ass.

So, here's where I'm at now. Humans have neither free will where they're necessarily culpable in all action, nor are they materialist-blameless and guilt free for any deed. It's a complex combination where humans are 10% of the total cells of a human body, 500-1,000th the combined species of a human body, and 100-150th of the genome.

There is perhaps an alien mind control aspect to it but perhaps the reconciliation I seek is to be found in a simple distinction: It's not free will, but it is the power to exercise conscious will and it's something that almost everyone has experienced, regardless of the makeup of their mocrobiota. That only means it's easier for some, but not entirely out of the reach of anyone I've ever experienced. Easy for some, fucking difficult for others.

So, to my mind, we have the potential of a new philosophy where you're neither all guilty, nor all blameless. But, you still have some power.

It's complicated.

I think this notion has the potential to revolutionize philosophy, and everything human ultimately flows from human philosophy over the questions of why. It's why so many of you health/diet bloggers don't have the readership you may deserve on the 1+2 merits of your work. You have to connect it all to deep contemplation.

Consider that the idea I've just put forth has the potential to unite free will, materialism, and even the observed instinct in animals. Is instinct in lower animals simply a far lower resolution of human-like intelligence, where there's no extant power of will that by definition in this context, is the power to override the chemical-signal influence of the microbiota, because they don't deal in intellectual conceptualization and metaphor?

Is the human power of will a double-edged sword, essentially—literally—what makes us human when called for, but a noisy signal when we ought to relax and go with the flow?

I can't begin to sort out all the possibilities, so I'll leave it to comment contributors at this point.

How Barack Obama Becomes The Greatest President In US History Without Killing 750,000 Americans

That figure was news to me. I've been winging it with ~650k American "Civil" War dead (don't you just love that oxymoron?) for two decades of writings when I bring it up. Perhaps that's what it takes to be the greatest president, in The Land of the Free. Kill lots of people that lots of other people don't like. Simple equation. Little history lesson. Letter from President Abraham Lincoln to Horace Greely, editor of the New York Tribune, 1862.

As to the policy I "seem to be pursuing" as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.

I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.

I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free. [emphasis added]

Spoken like a master pragmatist.

Shorter Lincoln: 'Don't you fuckin' get it, man? I'm a politician and as such, seek power over the lives of other people and the more, the better. We euphemistically call it a union; and the constitution and statutes it has enacted; I have sworn to uphold. and I will do so, no matter how many lives it costs.'

The "Civil War" was about secession of the southern states, tied to slavery economically, via unmechanized agriculture; but not about ending slavery in any sort of Enlightenment, moral ideal. Abolition of slavery had a long history, since The Enlightenment, and the first nation to enact laws abolishing slavery was Spain (Leyes Nuevas), in 1542, more than 300 years before the US "Civil War" to "end slavery in the 'free' world." (The only thing that surpasses American hubris is American ignorance, to a degree that might make North Korea blush, some days.)

The root cause of slavery was agriculture. Logic flow:

  1. Agriculture creates many calories, relatively easily available and cheap vs. hunting and gathering.
  2. Relatively easy and cheap calories equals a boon to fecundity and survival of young.
  3. More people.
  4. Requiring more agriculture.
  5. Exponential growth.
  6. Eventually, people are no longer self sufficient.
  7. Vacuum.
  8. Protection racket, euphemistically called Politics.
  9. Non-industrail; so, let subjects starve, or arbitrarily create classes of slaves based on differences and natural antagonism?
  10. Slavery wins out. Gotta protect the political power of having the most influence over the most people.

It's not morality or conscience that ended slavery. They just hitched a ride and have been milking it ever since. What ended slavery was the Industrial Revolution that got started in about 1760 and was in full swing...guess...20-40 years before our most civilized war. OK, so maybe Spain and a few others were acting on conscience in their Abolition. Don't know, for sure.

America largely and officially, was not. It was not! America has no seat at the table over freeing slaves because it was morally abominable to hold slaves. And yet, Americans are like North Koreans on this point of history, and it has fucking irritated me for 2 decades.

I have plenty of hubris over a lot of things, but the American fantasy and hubris over being the shining light in terms of human slavery makes me blush.

...OK, shifting gears and connecting dots, suppose we forget all that and focus on the existing American enslavement of blacks and Latinos? They call it the War on Drugs. I call it the War on American Citizens, but it's really just another "Civil War" that morally depraved Americans just seem to sadistically love—the most sadistic being the most religious; completely not ironic, if you understand their lust for people they don't like being tortured in hell eternally. Let's get started.

According to Sen. Robert Byrd, cosponsor of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, the reason to attach five- and ten-year mandatory sentences to drug trafficking was to punish “the kingpins—the masterminds who are really running these operations”, and the mid-level dealers.

But, the logic of law enforcement is to always go with the least risk, least cost, and just plain easiest—all while showing off their fashion clothing. This is why if you're paying attention, they are praying on peaceful citizens daily and shooting the family dog—probably a combination  of wanting something low-risk to do, combined with a pussy complex...but I'm just guessing.

Federal Judge Mark W. Bennett:

How Mandatory Minimums Forced Me to Send More Than 1,000 Nonviolent Drug Offenders to Federal Prison

Growing up in blue collar Circle Pines, Minnesota, in the 1950s, raised by parents from the “Greatest Generation,” I dreamed only of becoming a civil rights lawyer. My passion for justice was hard-wired into my DNA. Never could I have imagined that by the end of my 50s, after nineteen years as one of 678 federal district court judges in the nation, I would have sent 1,092 of my fellow citizens to federal prison for mandatory minimum sentences ranging from sixty months to life without the possibility of release. The majority of these women, men and young adults are nonviolent drug addicts. Methamphetamine is their drug of choice. Crack cocaine is a distant second. Drug kingpins? Oh yes, I’ve sentenced them, too. But I can count them on one hand. While I’m extremely proud of my father’s service in World War II, I am greatly conflicted about my role in the “war on drugs.”

I'd ask why his government retirement is more important than those lives and his conscience, but it's not the point. It's going to happen anyway. I get that, so I'll give him a pass so long as he maintains a voice of conscience. And it has a certain power: "why are you torturing my conscience like this, for the sake of your politics and irrational fears?"

So, You da Judge. Keep at it, sir.

Keeping with Da Judge, Let's take a look at the facts, just in terms of federal law and conviction, keeping in mind that in total, the Land of the Free incarcerates more citizens per capita than any other nation on earth.

Crack defendants are almost always poor African-Americans. Meth defendants are generally lower-income whites. More than 80 percent of the 4,546 meth defendants sentenced in federal courts in 2010 received a mandatory minimum sentence. These small-time addicts are apprehended not through high-tech wiretaps or sophisticated undercover stings but by common traffic stops for things like nonfunctioning taillights. Or they’re caught in a search of the logs at a local Walmart to see who is buying unusually large amounts of nonprescription cold medicine. They are the low-hanging fruit of the drug war. Other than their crippling meth addiction, they are very much like the folks I grew up with. Virtually all are charged with federal drug trafficking conspiracies—which sounds ominous but is based on something as simple as two people agreeing to purchase pseudoephedrine and cook it into meth. They don’t even have to succeed.

I'd suggest considering a different view. That America is morally depraved and its people—you, voters—directly culpable. I know. you don't care. God & Country, Law & Order. Damnation, Hell, and eternal torture. Turn your Bibles to Chapter X. It all reads the same.

I'll limit this to Federal incarceration and it goes to the post title as to why, which I'll get to shortly. Drug offenders in the Fed system:

  • As of 2013, 99,426 were serving time for drug offenses, about 10% associated with violence. Call it 90K non violent. Interestingly, for all 50 states, "only" 55k are in for possession, while 167K are associated with violence. Since state law typically deals with the adjudication of violent acts, this makes sense. On the other hand, how much of the violence is associated with the presence of laws that make no rational sense to people? "Where there are laws, there will be crime." - Solzhenitsyn
  • As of 2013, 985,000 people were on probation for federal drug offenses.
  • As of 2013, 280,000 people were on parole for federal drug offenses.
  • As of 2013, approximately 500,000 people are in federal and state prison over drug offenses, violent and non-violent combined.

Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution grants unilateral executive power to the president to "grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment." 

So, all that to get to this. President Barack "Choom Master" Obama gets to be the greatest president in our history by the stroke of a pen during his last few days in office. See, he's pretty famous for pleading his duty to "uphold the law" when admonished by common citizen surfs in town-hall publicity stunts, who harangue him for not holding up the Black end of things.

OK, so just enforce the law to convict them, then pardon them all. By my rough calculation, he could free 1,355,000 slaves in prison, on probation, or parole with a single signature—a hugely disproportionate population-based percentage of them black and Hispanic.

Would that fucking rock the world, or what? It would literally gut the whole Drug War and get poor, peaceful folk back to their families—or remove dark specters of federal conviction hanging over their heads—for good. As a bonus, as Presidents love to apologize for the past sins of the nation they execute power over, how about a public apology for the American Disgrace, since Nixon started it? Barack: just say that you were inhaling, when Clinton was in office. That outta do it.

How many state governors would then find the "political will" (one of the funniest fraud-concepts ever) to follow suit and open their prison doors to non-violent offenders and release parolees and those on probation?

It would be so awesome. That's why it would and will never happen. It's complicated, but it turns on the secret handshake between those who hold office, and those who proudly wear lapel stickers every 2-4 years.

Barack Obama is a politician and the Democrat party is far more important than all those lives. So is the Republican party.

Now, voters, go out and wave your party flags, you proud people, you.

One Thousand Words

IMG 0977
 

I miss your Divinity terribly, sir.

Ok, 1,006 words.

You Heard It Here First Update

The number of posts here are over 90, now.

The body of research is is 30+ years old, encompasing thousands of studies and I and my book collaborators—the amazing Tim, who just did an update with Angelo, and Dr. BG, "Grace", who just recorded with Dave Asprey (Tim & I are scheduled to go on Dave's show jointly on May 2)—have been uncovering it, writing about it—and not only here, but in a book (RS is a mere part of it) that now busts at 450 pages, into the thousands of references, and three appendices. Accordingly, we are now facing a luxurious problem of too much.

Resistant starch: a promising dietary agent for the prevention/treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and bowel cancer.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Resistant starch represents a diverse range of indigestible starch-based dietary carbohydrates. Resistant starch has been investigated in the past for its effects on bowel health (pH, epithelial thickness, and apoptosis of colorectal cancer cells); reduction in postprandial glycemia; increased insulin sensitivity; and effects on the gut microbiome. This review highlights advances as resistant starch gains clinical relevance as a potential treatment/preventive tool for diseases such as colorectal cancer (CRC) and diabetes.

RECENT FINDINGS: Recent articles have evaluated the comparative physiological effects of different types of resistant starch and investigated the effects of resistant starch on blood lipids, body weight, and defining resistant starch-induced changes to the micriobiome that may be important in health and disease. The most novel and relevant recent data describe a role for resistant starch in ameliorating inflammation; the use of resistant starch for optimal bowel health and prevention of CRC; and, further, that the systemic effects of resistant starch may be important for the treatment of other forms of cancer, such as breast cancer.

SUMMARY: This review describes advances in resistant starch research highlighting the gastrointestinal effects that are now being linked to systemic, whole body effects with clinical relevance. These effects have important implications for overall health and the prevention or amelioration of various chronic diseases. [emphasis added]

Remember how all the paleos and LCers dismissed it out of hand, 99%, back in about 2011 when it seemed to hit the "news" big time?

Screen Shot 2014 03 23 at 11 52 46 AM
Resistant Starch - Looks Like We Have LOTS of Work to Do

As you can see, I'm no match for the MSM, but it'll be interesting to see how that chart looks in a year or two, and I suspect you suspect how it'll look.

What Came First, the Chicken or the Egg? And The Creationist Shtick: New Species

Offhand, and without thinking of it much to the 1st Q, I'd probably say spore forming bacteria came first. That's kinda like an egg, right? Probably happened a billion years before we saw reptiles, or birds—all reproducers by means of encapsulated, self sufficient wombs.

Well, Mark let the cat out of the bag in terms of who's likely to be publishing the book Tim and I have been working on since early December, and Dr. "Grace" BG since a month or so ago as Amazing Science Editor—which is going to go down as the best idea to which I've ever capitulated. :) Tim insisted. We've now entered the realm of having too much, possibly. About 400 pages, hundreds and hundreds of references, a huge number form 2013 and even...2014. We get assaulted daily.

...Anyway, this notion or framework in thinking about evolution is something Mark and I have talked about. He mentioned it in the podcast with Dave Asprey linked above, and it is already well ingrained in the narrative of the book (which is my primary responsibility).

Did we evolve and gut bacteria were opportunists or, are we essentially the product of the first on the scene, 3 billion years ago and counting, going through about a half dozen generations of evolution per day, compared with our 30-year-long single generations?

Oh doG, what's happening to my universal view? What about THE BIBLE, written by sheepherders following a handyman with prophetic Messiah delusions—just like about 300 or so others—only with worse writers, such as to be dismissed by the Romans as not politically viable?

Or, maybe it's to the advantage of the 100 trillion gut bacteria who regulate all manner of gut pH, SFCA production, hormonal production and regulation, and are plugged right into the brain with all of it. Maybe they need us to be kinda stupid, for their own survival and ours. Wisdom of crowds? there's 100 trillion of them. after all.

We are the Borg. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. We will integrate your technology and make it our own.

New Research: The Hologenomic Basis of Speciation: Gut Bacteria Cause Hybrid Lethality in the Genus Nasonia.

ABSTRACT

Although the gut microbiome influences numerous aspects of organismal fitness, its role in animal evolution and the origin of new species is largely unknown. Here we present evidence that beneficial bacterial communities in the guts of closely related species of the genus Nasonia form species-specific phylosymbiotic assemblages that cause lethality in interspecific hybrids. Bacterial constituents and abundance are irregular in hybrids relative to parental controls, and antibiotic curing of the gut bacteria significantly rescues hybrid survival. Moreover, feeding bacteria to germ-free hybrids reinstates lethality and recapitulates the expression of innate immune genes observed in conventionally reared hybrids. We conclude that in this animal complex, the gut microbiome and host genome represent a coadapted “hologenome” that breaks down during hybridization, promoting hybrid lethality and assisting speciation.

Translation: Gut microbiota and the evolution of the species: an interview with Dr. Seth Bordenstein

Our science begins with the questions of who we are as animal-microbe chimeras and who we are as an animal species. Traditionally, most of us see the living world through a refined set of filters: the animal genome is stably inherited, subject to natural selection, and determines how new species arise from descent with genetic modification. Yet there is a transformation occurring today in our capacity to understand who we are beyond our nuclear genes. Indeed, the science of the microbiome has emerged in the last decade to massively widen the recognition, if not scope, of a species dependency on microbes. In this specific study, Dr. Robert Brucker and I set out to test if the gut microbiome has been overlooked in the process by which new species arise.

Using a model insect system, we first discovered evidence that the DNA from the gut microbiome can retain information on the ancestry of how animal species are related to each other (termed “phylosymbiosis”), just like the DNA in the nucleus’ genome (termed phylogeny). Second, we showed that the gut microbiome is essential to stopping interbreeding between the species. In a series of hybridization experiments with and without a gut microbiome, the work demonstrated evidence that both the DNA from the nucleus and gut microbiome are essential to the speciation process. A mismatch between the right microbiome and nuclear genome is what underscores why hybrids die between species, thus potentially spurring the origin of species.

This work is different from previous studies because it adds the gut microbiome to a short list of genetic entities that can cause speciation – what Darwin deemed the mystery of mysteries! In addition to the divergence in DNA sequences in the nucleus and mitochondria, the changes in the gut microbiome can promote the evolution of one species into two.

[...] Evolution is defined as a change in DNA that occurs over time, leading to new adaptations and speciation. If one looks at the gut microbiome as a major, if not dominant, component of the DNA of a host animal, then changes in the gut microbiome can quite naturally lead to new adaptations and speciation just like changes in nuclear genes. We adhere to this view and suggest that the gut microbiome must be considered a major portion of the genetics of an animal, in combination with the nuclear genome and organelles – what is now called a hologenome.

Uh, sorry creationists: Evolution in real time.

Lenski has watched E. coli bacteria multiply through 59,000 generations, a span that has allowed him to observe evolution in real time. Since his Long-Term Experimental Evolution Project began in 1988, the bacteria have doubled in size, begun to mutate more quickly, and become more efficient at using the glucose in the solution where they’re grown.

More strikingly, however, he found that one of the 12 bacterial lines he has maintained has developed into what he believes is a new species, able to use a compound in the solution called citrate — a derivative of citric acid, like that found in some fruit — for food.

But I'll tell you what. It's supposedly a free country, so creationists get to be as stupid as they want to be. They get to just open their 2,000-year-old good book, written by sheepherders following a mentally disturbed handyman with a daddy complex.

...Alright, all you smart folks who have to encounter ignorant creationists bringing up "the species problem" ...you have a new link to share.

You're welcome.

Bulletproof Executive Dave Asprey and Mark “Daily Apple” Sisson on Resistant Starch

And it's in video.

Here's the podcast page with the show program. The resistant starch stuff starts at about 37 minutes in.

Incidentally, I largely agree with Mark on his "carbohydrate curve."

100-150 grams/day – Primal Blueprint Maintenance Range

I think there's an enormous difference between 30-60g per day and 80-120g per day. And with the right carbs (starchy veggies, white rice and legumes—not grains, sweet foods and sugar drinks) I think fat loss can still be a factor in a range of 100-200, 150 being a daily average.

Anyway, nice discussion and willingness to keep the door open on this. If you think I'm miffed by Dave's more speculative stance, you would be wrong. I surely need the skeptics out there to help keep me in line.

The Great Robb Wolf on Potato Starch

He dropped this comment on the Facebook thread on my last post, where I expressed disappointment over Fred Hahn's convenient dismissal, since even though he found a potato diet worked wonders to lose weight, it has to be fundamentally from a low-carb perspective (read the thread). Resistant starch basically makes low carbers look like ignorants and Fred can't have that. But it just does render them wrong. They have been essentially and fundamentally wrong for four decades. Because, if RS via forbidden foods fixes all sorts of problems people complain about on LC, then in the words of Mr. Brownlow, 'low carb is an ass.'

Been doing RS (jumped right in at 4TBL/day...I guess I got lucky I did not explode) Purely subjective findings: Digestion is better than in past 15 years. My pesky problem of not tolerating the carbs I need to train MMA/BJJ is largely gone. I still partition more carbs PWO, have fewer on non-training days, but overall very impressed with the results. I bit leaner, good performance. In the past my concept of "gut health" largely started and stopped with "avoid gluten." Now I look at green plantain chips as a means to get "awesome poos" and stave off blood sugar wackyness. I would have called extreme BS on this as I;ve always eaten a ton of greens, squash etc but I find Richard does not align with silly shit AND the solution was like $2/bag. When shit is that cheap, it's got to work.

As emphasized, potato starch is just food. Here, watch...and especially, to anyone who's been lied to by any glom-on charlatan recently, that it's "man made resistant starch" or thereabouts. Here, you can make it yourself if a few bucks per bag of BRM is too much for you.

Oh, and liars will always lie.

Thanks to Robb for not tarnishing himself by posting about a bullshit week long "test" and trying to cover his past ass by dismissing it and though it's meaningless.

Hopefully, Fred Hahn's fans will take his behavior into account when evaluating anything he says to them in the future. For the record, it is immaterial whether PS is something that works for Fred or doesn't. My beef is with the "study" method and "reporting."