dupay014: November 2011 Archives


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Everyone knows someone who believes in karma or even yourself, but is it real? The principle of karma is that every act done by a person will return to that person eventually: a good act will be returned with good; an evil act with evil. In Buddhist traditions, this cycle is treated as a natural law of cause and effect, whereas in theistic Hindu traditions, God is responsible for ensuring karmic rewards and punishments. Since bad things often happen to good people, and vice versa, it is important that the return on good and evil actions is not direct, but can happen much later. For this reason, belief in karma is linked to belief in reincarnation, when an apparently good person endures a life of misfortune, it is the deserved result of evils in a past life. Similarly, when a person apparently gets away with many evil actions throughout their life, karma ensures that this will return to cause them misery in a future life.
There is no plausible evidence for the existence of reincarnation, without which the principle that good deeds are always rewarded and evil always punished is obviously false because experience provides many counter examples. When combined with the theory of reincarnation, the principle of karma return becomes an entirely untestable supposition. Since we can never know the life history of the entire sequence of past and future selves of an individual, it is impossible to evaluate whether or not the good deeds they have done have been met with equally good consequences. Karma becomes an unfalsifiable principle as soon as it is admitted that the balance of good and evil need not be restored in a single lifetime. Within most interpretations of the concept of karma, it's untestability means it is impossible to refute or support through evidence. So although everyone at some point believes they have witnessed or had karma, there is no actual proof that it is real.


Does the Nose Know Best?

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Most women have had the mysterious experience of being turned on by a partner's smell. Though personality and looks definitely play a part in initial attraction, smell may play a larger role than we suspect. Studies have found that how a person smells gives us clues to their genetic make-up, and thus, their potential to be a compatible mate. The first study to indicate this was conducted by Claus Wedekind. 44 men wore the same t-shirt for three days. They refrained from deodorants and scented soaps to keep their natural smell. Women then smelled the shirts and recorded which ones smelled the best. By comparing the DNA of the women and men, it was found that women didn't just choose randomly. They preferred the scent of man whose major histocompatibility complex (MHC), series of genes involved in our immune system, was most different from their own. From an evolutionary perspective, choosing a mate with a different immune system makes survival sense. Kids of parents with different immune genes are more likely to be disease-resistant and are therefore more likely to survive. An interesting exception to the MHC attraction is for women taking the pill, who responded the opposite than would be expected. Because the pill tricks your body into thinking it is pregnant, it chemically alters your sense of attraction. Instead of finding the scent of genetically dissimilar men attractive, women on the pill found the scent of men with MHC's similar to their own to be attractive. This may be because when a woman is pregnant, she isn't looking for a new mate, and may benefit from being around those with a similar genetic make-up. Though certainly the scent of a man can be a powerful indicator of genetic compatibility, it certainly doesn't dictate everything. If a woman falls in love with a man, and then begins the pill, she's not likely to lose interest. And there are certainly other factors at play than just scent. Our noses may help us find the mate most suited to us, but it's ultimately up to our minds to decide whether or not we like what we've sniffed out. So in my opinion, use your nose, but make sure you don't only depend on scent.


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This page is an archive of recent entries written by dupay014 in November 2011.

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