Science Will Never Support Religion
\r\nQuestion: As a “bright,” what do you believe?
\r\nJames Randi: The term "bright" I don’t much care for, but hey, we\r\n did the best we could with it. I was with Richard Dawkins in \r\nClearwater, Florida and a few other people who brainstormed and came up \r\nwith idea of having the "brights." I think I was maybe the third or \r\nfourth person to sign the membership roster.
\r\nAnd a "bright" is someone who thinks logically and rationally; bases his\r\n or her decisions on rationality, upon logic, and upon evidence—that’s \r\nthe major thing right there. And if we don’t have evidence, we can \r\nexpress our belief or lack of belief in it, but it has to be \r\nprovisional. I believe that this is probably true, though I don’t have \r\nany evidence for or against. It’s a perfectly safe statement. And so, \r\nbrights base all of their decisions and their beliefs on logic, \r\nrationality, and evidence. That’s the thing in which they differ from \r\nthe average person who takes anything that comes along that looks \r\nattractive. “Oh, I like that; I think I’ll believe in it.”
\r\nQuestion: As the scientific picture of the universe gets weirder, \r\ncould any religious claims ever be verified?
\r\nJames Randi: Not that I know. I am an atheist, tried and true. I\r\n have been since I was, oh I guess about this tall. I’m only about this\r\n tall now. And I made up my mind that I was going to investigate all of\r\n these things and question them. I went to Sunday school. I was tossed\r\n out of Sunday school immediately. But it gave me 25 cents that I could\r\n have put in the contribution plate there, so when they pass the plate \r\naround, and I found out that at Purdy's Drug Store, you could buy a \r\ntwo-flavored ice cream sundae for 25 cents. And that was a great \r\ndiscovery of my childhood, I must say, and I took full advantage of it. \r\n My parents, bless them, never found out and I went off every Sunday \r\nmorning as if going to Sunday school, but I lied. And I’m ashamed to \r\nadmit it now, and if my dad and mom are up there someplace, or down \r\nthere someplace, I have no idea, I ask them to forgive me.
Recorded April 16, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen
James Randi has shunned faith since he was a kid spending collection plate money on ice cream. "If my dad and mom are up there someplace… I ask them to forgive me."
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Northwell Health is using insights from website traffic to forecast COVID-19 hospitalizations two weeks in the future.
- The machine-learning algorithm works by analyzing the online behavior of visitors to the Northwell Health website and comparing that data to future COVID-19 hospitalizations.
- The tool, which uses anonymized data, has so far predicted hospitalizations with an accuracy rate of 80 percent.
- Machine-learning tools are helping health-care professionals worldwide better constrain and treat COVID-19.
The value of forecasting<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTA0Njk2OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMzM2NDQzOH0.rid9regiDaKczCCKBsu7wrHkNQ64Vz_XcOEZIzAhzgM/img.jpg?width=980" id="2bb93" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="31345afbdf2bd408fd3e9f31520c445a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1546" data-height="1056" />
Northwell emergency departments use the dashboard to monitor in real time.
Credit: Northwell Health<p>One unique benefit of forecasting COVID-19 hospitalizations is that it allows health systems to better prepare, manage and allocate resources. For example, if the tool forecasted a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations in two weeks, Northwell Health could begin:</p><ul><li>Making space for an influx of patients</li><li>Moving personal protective equipment to where it's most needed</li><li>Strategically allocating staff during the predicted surge</li><li>Increasing the number of tests offered to asymptomatic patients</li></ul><p>The health-care field is increasingly using machine learning. It's already helping doctors develop <a href="https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2020/06/09/dc19-1870" target="_blank">personalized care plans for diabetes patients</a>, improving cancer screening techniques, and enabling mental health professionals to better predict which patients are at <a href="https://healthitanalytics.com/news/ehr-data-fuels-accurate-predictive-analytics-for-suicide-risk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">elevated risk of suicide</a>, to name a few applications.</p><p>Health systems around the world have already begun exploring how <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7315944/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">machine learning can help battle the pandemic</a>, including better COVID-19 screening, diagnosis, contact tracing, and drug and vaccine development.</p><p>Cruzen said these kinds of tools represent a shift in how health systems can tackle a wide variety of problems.</p><p>"Health care has always used the past to predict the future, but not in this mathematical way," Cruzen said. "I think [Northwell Health's new predictive tool] really is a great first example of how we should be attacking a lot of things as we go forward."</p>
Making machine-learning tools openly accessible<p>Northwell Health has made its predictive tool <a href="https://github.com/northwell-health/covid-web-data-predictor" target="_blank">available for free</a> to any health system that wishes to utilize it.</p><p>"COVID is everybody's problem, and I think developing tools that can be used to help others is sort of why people go into health care," Dr. Cruzen said. "It was really consistent with our mission."</p><p>Open collaboration is something the world's governments and health systems should be striving for during the pandemic, said Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's president and CEO.</p><p>"Whenever you develop anything and somebody else gets it, they improve it and they continue to make it better," Dowling said. "As a country, we lack data. I believe very, very strongly that we should have been and should be now working with other countries, including China, including the European Union, including England and others to figure out how to develop a health surveillance system so you can anticipate way in advance when these things are going to occur."</p><p>In all, Northwell Health has treated more than 112,000 COVID patients. During the pandemic, Dowling said he's seen an outpouring of goodwill, collaboration, and sacrifice from the community and the tens of thousands of staff who work across Northwell.</p><p>"COVID has changed our perspective on everything—and not just those of us in health care, because it has disrupted everybody's life," Dowling said. "It has demonstrated the value of community, how we help one another."</p>
Archaeologists discover a cave painting of a wild pig that is now the world's oldest dated work of representational art.
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- The painting is the earliest known work of representational art.
- The discovery was made in a remote valley on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
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The Persian polymath and philosopher of the Islamic Golden Age teaches us about self-awareness.
A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.
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- Europa, the sixth largest moon in the solar system, may have favorable conditions for life under its miles of ice.
- The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
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Can computers do calculations in multiple universes? Scientists are working on it. Step into the world of quantum computing.
- While today's computers—referred to as classical computers—continue to become more and more powerful, there is a ceiling to their advancement due to the physical limits of the materials used to make them. Quantum computing allows physicists and researchers to exponentially increase computation power, harnessing potential parallel realities to do so.
- Quantum computer chips are astoundingly small, about the size of a fingernail. Scientists have to not only build the computer itself but also the ultra-protected environment in which they operate. Total isolation is required to eliminate vibrations and other external influences on synchronized atoms; if the atoms become 'decoherent' the quantum computer cannot function.
- "You need to create a very quiet, clean, cold environment for these chips to work in," says quantum computing expert Vern Brownell. The coldest temperature possible in physics is -273.15 degrees C. The rooms required for quantum computing are -273.14 degrees C, which is 150 times colder than outer space. It is complex and mind-boggling work, but the potential for computation that harnesses the power of parallel universes is worth the chase.