Where is the geographic center of Europe?

Where is the geographic center of Europe?

If one plugs the search phrase “geographic center of Europe” into Google, we find numerous claims to this honor. It all depends on where you put the borders of “Europe”.

The Site of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty has an article by Valentinas Mite on the matter indicating that the French have calculated that the geographic center of Europe (if one includes Iceland) is in Lithuania.

Karl Schlögel has a superb article in German entitled

“Remapping Europe oder: was die Wissenschaften leisten könnten, das neue Europa zu denken” Vortrag an der Viadrina am 17. Mai 1999 (unkorrigierte Version).

Belief Without Proof : Evidence and the World – #11 – Consciousness is a Trick

LawPundit does not limit itself to the legal field. There are all kinds of laws and beliefs in this world beyond “law” itself and also encompassing the laws of the physical sciences and the humanities. Interestingly, much of what we believe in science is not based on evidence but rather on intuition or guesswork.

The highly acclaimed Edge Foundation has 120 prominent minds commenting on John Brockman’s question: “WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS TRUE EVEN THOUGH YOU CANNOT PROVE IT?”

We comment on these comments by 120 prominent minds: This is #11.

Belief Without Proof : Evidence and the World – #11 – Consciousness is a Trick

NICHOLAS HUMPHREY, a psychologist at the London School of Economics and author of The Mind Made Flesh thinks that “consciousness is a conjuring trick“.

The concept of human consciousness is best known from Descartes who wrote “I think, therefore I am” but its existence in human language may already be found in the symbol of the raised arms KA in the hieroglyphic writings of the Pharaohs, where KA describes, according to the British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, “the creative life-force of each individual, whether human or divine…. [coming] into existence at the same moment that the individual was born….”

We think that the Pharaonic Egyptian KA is the same as the hypothetical Indo-European root AUG (still found in Latvian as the major word AUG), which applies to the concept of “growth” or “increase” or “becoming” in living things (from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Appendix I, Indo-European Roots):

“ENTRY: aug-

DEFINITION: To increase….

The question of the nature of human consciousness is of course at the root of all religion and is integrally tied with the idea of a soul. As long as our cells are still “growing”, i.e. metabolizing, we continue to live. When life processes cease, we enter a different sphere. If human consciousness exists, what was it before our human conception and what is it after our human life?

Our answer is that human consciousness is one aspect of the principle of the universe, embodied in our human form.

Belief Without Proof : Evidence and the World – #10 – Human Smarts are Unique

LawPundit does not limit itself to the legal field. There are all kinds of laws and beliefs in this world beyond “law” itself and also encompassing the laws of the physical sciences and the humanities. Interestingly, much of what we believe in science is not based on evidence but rather on intuition or guesswork.

The highly acclaimed Edge Foundation has 120 prominent minds commenting on John Brockman’s question: “WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS TRUE EVEN THOUGH YOU CANNOT PROVE IT?”

We comment on these comments by 120 prominent minds: This is #10.

Belief Without Proof : Evidence and the World – #10 – Human Smarts are Unique

MARC D. HAUSER, a psychologist at Harvard University and author of Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think, thinks that human smarts are unique because of our “capacity to take as input any set of discrete entities and recombine them into an infinite variety of meaningful expressions”.

We disagree in part. Of course, by definition, human smarts are unique. However, we think that the principle that drives thought is universal in the universe.

As stated at andiskaulins.com in “What is the Universe?”:

“Thought by its nature is combinatorial… as if it would not tolerate a single, static world. Is this also the mechanism of the universe?”

We find that it is the impossibility of a single dimension which drives the mind, as also the rest of the universe. We are not unique in the true sense, but only a particular species applying a principle of the universe which is incorporated in us as “thought”.

Surely all other animals “think”, but only at a lower scale of sophistication than humans. A monkey who gets a ladder to reach an otherwise unreachable banana is thinking, and we stem from the apes. Thought did not just “begin” with us. That would simply be a very limited, egocentric view of the human species.

Belief Without Proof : Evidence and the World – #9 – Consciousness Exists

LawPundit does not limit itself to the legal field. There are all kinds of laws and beliefs in this world beyond “law” itself and also encompassing the laws of the physical sciences and the humanities. Interestingly, much of what we believe in science is not based on evidence but rather on intuition or guesswork.

The highly acclaimed Edge Foundation has 120 prominent minds commenting on John Brockman’s question: “WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS TRUE EVEN THOUGH YOU CANNOT PROVE IT?”

We comment on these comments by 120 prominent minds: This is #9.

Belief Without Proof : Evidence and the World – #9 – Consciousness Exists

DANIEL GILBERT, a psychologist at Harvard University, believes that consciousness exists and he has not “the slightest doubt that everyone I know has an inner life, a subjective experience, a sense of self, that is very much like mine.”

We agree. Is not the entire organization of our human world based upon this oft unstated belief?

Belief Without Proof : Evidence and the World – #8 – Birds have Dialects

LawPundit does not limit itself to the legal field. There are all kinds of laws and beliefs in this world beyond “law” itself and also encompassing the laws of the physical sciences and the humanities. Interestingly, much of what we believe in science is not based on evidence but rather on intuition or guesswork.

The highly acclaimed Edge Foundation has 120 prominent minds commenting on John Brockman’s question: “WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS TRUE EVEN THOUGH YOU CANNOT PROVE IT?”

We comment on these comments by 120 prominent minds: This is #8.

Belief Without Proof : Evidence and the World – #8 – Birds have Dialects

GEORGE B. DYSON, science Historian and author of Project Orion: The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship believes that birds not only have dialects, but that the borders of these dialects may be similar to the language dialect borders of humans.

We agree. Influences of environment and climate impose themselves upon human language, such as the north to south shift of “p” to “pf” to “f”, so why should this be any different for birds, or any other animal for that matter?

A master of the hunt who recently passed away and who we knew in England had 80 hounds (do not say “dogs”), each of whom responded unfailingly to their particular name. Only people who have not worked with animals entertain strange notions about them and think that animals have no understanding of language, including some human terms, especially their names. Of course, they have their “own” language too, and just as the appearance of animals varies with geographic location, so also will their animal language expression vary with that same location.

Belief Without Proof : Evidence and the World – #6 & #7 – Consciousness is Based on Language

LawPundit does not limit itself to the legal field. There are all kinds of laws and beliefs in this world beyond “law” itself and also encompassing the laws of the physical sciences and the humanities. Interestingly, much of what we believe in science is not based on evidence but rather on intuition or guesswork.

The highly acclaimed Edge Foundation has 120 prominent minds commenting on John Brockman’s question: “WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS TRUE EVEN THOUGH YOU CANNOT PROVE IT?”

We comment on these comments by 120 prominent minds: This is #6 & #7.

Belief Without Proof : Evidence and the World – #6 & #7 – Consciousness is Based on Language (Calvin, Dennett)

WILLIAM CALVIN, neurobiologist, University of Washington and author of A Brief History of the Mind: From Apes to Intellect and Beyond and DANIEL C. DENNETT, philosopher, Tufts University and author of Freedom Evolves believe that consciousness is based on language, in the case of Calvin, that consciousness is structured intellect with good quality control, especially in preschoolers, and in the case of Dennet, that human language is a necessary precondition to consciousness.

We definitely disagree.

Although language surely plays a great part in structuring modern consciousness, we must ask the chicken and egg question: Which came first – language or human consciousness? We would argue that human consciousness gave origin to language and not vice versa. Language could not have originated in a vacuum. Hence, language develops in concert with consciousness.

Indeed, as a parent having seen the development of an infant from day one, it would appear to us that it is the human consciousness of an infant which permits him or her to learn a language in the first place. It is a different consciousness which prohibits animals from learning that same human language. This does not mean that animals have no consciousness, but rather that this consciousness is not human.

Furthermore, as someone who has seen first hand a human being recovering from a brain operation over time, it is quite clear that individual human consciousness is based on a sense of individual identity, which is a function of memory and recognition. A person recovering from brain surgery can for a time not know who he or she is and also not recognize close loved ones, even when the language facility is still clearly present. One can speak like a human, but still have human consciousness greatly impaired.

The corollary theory to those of Calvin and Dennett would be that the most verbally language-adept humans would have an elevated consciousness over their fellows, a theory which would be negated by a deaf-mute painter and which is also simply negated by experience. Many people have been taught a human language and still have remained primitive brutes. Just view the daily news of events. Other people have been nerds at language, for example Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton (via Shark Blog), but have demonstrated exceptional “human” abilities.

We would argue that language can be used to structure existing human consciousness – that, yes. But that human consciousness must be there to begin with, which we think is a function of genetics and the way the universe works, and not just of the acquisition of language.

Belief Without Proof : Evidence and the World – #5 – Our Universe is not Unique

LawPundit does not limit itself to the legal field. There are all kinds of laws and beliefs in this world beyond “law” itself and also encompassing the laws of the physical sciences and the humanities. Interestingly, much of what we believe in science is not based on evidence but rather on intuition or guesswork.

The highly acclaimed Edge Foundation has 120 prominent minds commenting on John Brockman’s question: “WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS TRUE EVEN THOUGH YOU CANNOT PROVE IT?”

We comment on these comments by 120 prominent minds: This is #5.

Belief Without Proof : Evidence and the World – #5 – Our Universe is not Unique

LAWRENCE KRAUSS, physicist at Case Western Reserve University and author of Atom, believes that our universe is not unique, writing:

“At every instant there may be many universes being born, and others dying….I nevertheless find it satisfying to think that it is likely that not only are we not located in a particularly special place in our universe, but that our universe itself may be relatively insignificant on a larger cosmic scale.”

What else can we say. We agree. Except that we would add that each of us is a part of the larger universe and that the essence of the universe is IN US. We are not outside looking inside. We are inside looking inside. Whatever the universe is made up of, so are we too. For us, that is the ultimate comfort and the ultimate root of religious faith. The universe (seen as all of existence) probably has no center and no end, so that the center is where we make it. Perhaps that is one motivation for living and one beauty of each individual life. We were born (as matter) in the stars and to there shall we return, as the ancient Pharaohs long ago believed.