Niek

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Zonnecellen moeten meer ‘knuffelbaar’ worden

Zonnecellen zijn nuttig, goed voor een duurzame samenleving maar meestal foeilelijk. Wordt het niet tijd dat we daar wat aan gaan doen?

Mae Yokoyama ontwikkelde Lux: een halsketting met zonnepanelen en parels die tot vier uur blijven gloeien. Meer informatie: ecouterre.com

Afgelopen week liep ik eens naar een andere supermarkt dan waar ik normaal gesproken boodschappen doe. Op mijn weg hier naartoe kwam ik langs een klein, oud, typisch winkeltje. In de vitrine lagen voornamelijk accu’s. Op het dakje boven de ingang lag een drietal zonnepaneeltjes duidelijk in het oog. Toen ik verder liep zag ik dat ook in de vitrine een klein zonnepaneel was aangesloten. Ongetwijfeld ving het daar weinig zon, maar ik ervoer wel iets geks. Ik bedacht me dat ik nog nooit eerder een zonnepaneel van zo dichtbij had gezien.

En is dat niet een probleem van zonnepanelen? Eigenlijk zijn ze een beetje vreemd. Iets voor hipsters en nerds, niet voor Jan Modaal. Bovendien liggen ze vaak buiten bereik en uit het zicht. Je hoopt dat een dak met zonnepanelen uitstraalt dat je hip, modern en bewust bent – maar niets is minder waar. Als zonnepanelen al zichtbaar zijn, maken ze je dak lelijk en rommelig. Je bent een uitzondering, een ‘outsider’, zo lijkt het uit te stralen. Dat kan toch anders?

In plaats van outsider moet het uitstralen dat je trendsetter en hip bent, het moet ook voor gewone mensen een statussymbool worden. Net als je auto of smartphone.

VTT Research ontwikkelde dit mooie bladvormige zonnepaneel. Way to go! Bron: vttresearch.com

En een statussymbool of iets dat onderdeel is van je identiteit plaats je niet uit het zicht op je dak. Die plaats je op ooghoogte of duidelijk in het zicht zoals in het winkeltje. En als je dat doet, wil je wel dat het er ook een beetje mooi uitziet. En dat het past bij je kozijnen, je gevel, je gordijnen… noem het! Er moeten verschillende design– uitvoeringen komen, waarbij niet de opbrengst maar de knuffelfactor het belangrijkst is. Als we willen dat iedereen aan de zonnepanelen gaat, zal het die kant op moeten. Pimp your own solar panel! Wat maakt het uit dat een zonnepaneel op je voorgevel niet zoveel energie oplevert als op je dak? Als het maar aanzien oplevert! Energie-opbrengst is dan mooi meegenomen. Zul je zien dat met een paar jaar huizen met voorgevel op het zuiden opeens veel populairder worden, dan heb je tenminste een reden om je panelen te showen. Hoppa!

Ik zie het al voor me. Nu nog die lelijke dingen wat hipper en meer sexy maken.

 

The quest for a non-hierarchical numerical system

When we open a book and start reading, we usually start at the beginning and end at the end. The pages are numbered from 1 to the number of pages in the book and the story is divided into chapters that are divided over these pages in ascending order. However, if we open a dictionary or encyclopedia (insofar as they still exist in this era of Wikipedia), we see that it is not the chapter numbers but the initial letters of the terms that determine the way the parts are arranged. I call these different methods of ranking, alphabetically or via our (Arabic) number system, hierarchical ranking. Would there also be non-hierarchical 'numerical' systems?

Why this question?
What I'm looking for is a non-hierarchical system that can be used as a numerical system. I am interested in equality: all parts are equally important and one does not necessarily come before or after the other. This is of course the case with the alphabet or our numerical system: we start with 1 and then 2 follows (or A and then B). But suppose we are in a situation where we don't want this. I'll try to explain what I mean and why I'm looking for this.

I see philosophical texts as 'arguments', or rather as 'tools'. So you have Plato's comparison of the cave, Searle's thought experiment of the Chinese room, and so there are many examples of tools. Plato's comparison of the cave is intended to clarify certain things in certain situations, and Searle's thought experiment clarifies certain things in other situations. Philosophy as a whole (or maybe even science as a whole) is a toolbox in which each tool has its own application. The tools cannot be arranged hierarchically because they are all in certain situations can be useful. I am looking for a system that allows you to refer to the tool, without one tool appearing better or more important than another. This so that you can say in an argument that you have to prepare certain tools in advance to be able to follow the argument.

Visualized my network of LinkedIn connections.

Which systems don't work:

  • I had already mentioned the alphabet and our current numerical system. The Roman system also does not work for the same reason.
  • I don't think words work either. Words have a certain connotation (charge) that makes some seem better or more important than others. Moreover, words seem to make connections that do not necessarily have to be there between the tools.
  • People names don't work for the same reason words don't. Some names are longer than others, and on top of that, names are sometimes loaded as well (kids are no longer called Adolf anymore, for example). Some names are also easier to remember.
  • It occurred to me that constellations might be a good option. Unfortunately, there is a sequence in constellations, and there are also a finite number of them.
  • Spatial figures also seem like a good option. But it goes without saying that more complex figures appear subordinate to less complex figures.

Which systems might work:

  • If you look at websites like bitly.com, you will see that they use indexing through a certain amount of characters. Every website on the internet is the same for them: they can index and mark any url with a string of characters. So did I just now www.visionair.nl indexed, and it is characterized as fniRSf. The disadvantage of this is that stylistically it can become unclear if many such references are used in a text. It does not make the text easier to read.
  • Another possibility that could work is positions in a room. I mean emphatically the positions, and not the coordinates. After all, coordinates have a kind of hierarchy, I have the idea. Then why would a position work? I picture the tools as if they are all interconnected. A tool is a kind of node in a network, see philosophy (or science) as the totality of this network. It is a kind of three-dimensional fishing net, or perhaps more comparable to the network of neurons in our brain, or as a social network (see image). Some have more connections (read: connections), others less. The only disadvantage here is that we still need a system to refer to the tools (locations), which doesn't help us much further.
  • The best option I've come up with so far is to use Chinese (or similar) characters. These are not infinite, but there are many, and they are also fairly similar in complexity. Although there will be a hierarchy in the signs for the Chinese themselves, this will not apply to us Westerners. The signs will not evoke any essential connotation for us.
  • Another attractive option is identicons. These are the avatars that, for example, are also generated here on Visionair.nl for users who do not have an avatar themselves. Since every user is basically the same, these avatars do not contain a hierarchy and therefore seem appropriate. Speaking of which, QR codes may also be useful.

 

I am aware that this is a very unclear story. If things are unclear I would like to hear about it, and maybe I will make some adjustments to make it clearer. What I want to ask you: do you have any suggestions for such a system that I am looking for, or do you see advantages or disadvantages of the mentioned systems?

DSM-5: upcoming changes


De Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (kortweg de DSM-5) is een handboek waarin alle psychiatrische stoornissen beschreven staan, dat kan worden gebruikt voor het stellen van diagnoses. Een aantal psychiaters is bang dat met de introductie van de DSM-5 ook een aantal nieuwe ‘rages’ in de psychiatrie worden geïntroduceerd die kunnen leiden tot overdiagnoses. Het wetenschapsprogramma Labyrint besteedde hier  zondag 7 april aandacht aan. Ter verdieping van die uitzending scheef ik een artikel voor de website van Labyrint over welke nieuwe aandoeningen we kunnen verwachten in de DSM-5.

Bekijk hier de hele uitzending van Labyrint van zondag 7 april:
 

Also see: DSM V; everyone a little crazy

Video: why is it dark at night?

Why is it dark at night? What a stupid question, you would say. During the day the sun shines and it gives enough light so that it is not dark, at night the sun does not shine and the stars do not give enough light, so it is dark. However, this answer turns out to be far from complete. The fact that it is dark at night tells more about the workings of the universe than you would initially expect.

For a clear explanation of why it is dark at night, see the video below:

Critically analyze a convincing text [2/2]

Here at Visionair.nl we try to stimulate visionary thinking. A critical attitude and daring to think for yourself in the first place without just running after the ideas of others are of great importance for this. Through this site and on many other sites, readers come into contact with convincing texts; texts written from the idea that the writer wants to convince the reader of his point of view or opinion. What should you pay attention to when writing a text if you want to convey your point of view convincingly? That question was answered part 1 of this article central. Part 2 asks 'what can you pay attention to when analyzing or responding to a convincing text from someone else?' central.

A text that has been drawn up according to the diagram in part 1 of this article does not necessarily have to be a good or convincing text, but the elements for conviction are present. Now that this is known, convincing texts can also be analyzed and criticized on the basis of this scheme. All four points can be criticized. In the list below, the points correspond to the points from the previous list.

  1. The assumptions that are explicitly made can be questioned. Is the arbitrariness of the assumption realistic or acceptable? Does the assumption match my intuition / perception? Are there any authorities / investigations claiming otherwise? How strong is the previous reasoning and is that reasoning still valid in this context? For an example of this last question, think of: I have seen 1000 swans that are all white, so I assume that all swans are white. Unfortunately I am now in Australia and they also have black swans there, so that assumption is not valid. Even if an assumption is not made explicitly but remains implicit, one can ask whether it is justified that this assumption remains implicit, and whether it is correct at all.
  2.  

  3. The choice of method of reasoning can be questioned. Perhaps it is better to use deduction instead of induction. However, I don't think this criticism will be frequent, precisely because the writer has probably chosen the strongest method possible. In the case of abduction, it can be said that the writer's position is currently the 'best possible explanation', but that does not necessarily mean that other explanations can be given that are better. However, the writer will be aware of this criticism in the case of the choice of abduction.
  4.  

  5. The logic in an argument is essential. Illogical reasoning can be fatal to the defense of a particular point of view. By showing that the logic of the reasoning is wrong, the persuasiveness of a text can be greatly diminished. Very often texts turn out to be logically incorrect during analysis; a lot of fallacies often come into play here. For example, conclusions do not necessarily follow from all of the foregoing. If the logic is correct, an argument is as strong as its assumptions, and for criticism see the first point.
  6.  

  7. Using the terms or the working definition of terms in a text can of course also be queried. Although words no essential meaning does not mean that words can mean just anything. In addition to jeopardizing the legibility of the text, an oddly chosen definition also makes it harder to keep the logic of the reasoning correct and to convince the reader that the writer's position is a position worth pursuing. If the writer does not define his terms in too weird way and is consistent in his use, this criticism often does not make much sense.

A final point of criticism that can be made of a convincing text concerns this target of the text. A writer aims to convince a group of people of his point of view, and the larger this group of people, the greater the reach or power of the text. What you can give as criticism here is that the reach of the conclusion is less than that the writer would have you believe at first sight. If, after critical analysis, he turns out to mean by 'all swans' 'all swans in the small village', then a conclusion that, for example, 'all swans must be exterminated' is much weaker, because it concerns a much smaller group of swans than when he actually means "all the beasts in the world that could be called" swan "by a normal biologist. The scope of this conclusion depends on the interpretation of the term 'all swans'.

Critically analyze a convincing text [1/2]

Hier op Visionair.nl proberen we het visionaire denken te stimuleren. Een kritische houding en het überhaupt zelf durven te denken zonder alleen maar achter de ideeën van anderen aan te lopen, zijn hiervoor van groot belang. Via deze site en op vele andere sites komen lezers in aanraking met overtuigende teksten; teksten die geschreven zijn vanuit het idee dat de schrijver de lezer van zijn standpunt of opvatting wil overtuigen. Waar kun je op letten bij het analyseren van of reageren op een overtuigende tekst van iemand anders? Die vraag wordt in deel 2 van dit artikel beantwoord, in deel 1 staat de vraag centraal: waar moet je bij het schrijven van een tekst op letten als je je standpunt overtuigend wilt overbrengen?

In een vorig artikel schreef ik al dat retorica de kunst van het overtuigen is en legde ik het belang van ethos, pathos en logos uit. Bewust zijn van de overtuigingsmiddelen van de retorica is een belangrijke stap in het ontwikkelen van een kritische houding en het wapenen tegen valse overtuigingskracht van schrijvers. Niet in iedere tekst is de schrijver een bepaald standpunt toegedaan waarvan het de lezer probeert te overtuigen. Puur wetenschappelijke teksten beroepen zich vaak vooral op logos; er wordt data beschreven die een these kan bevestigen of ontkrachten. Overtuigen speelt hierin niet echt een rol, omdat de mening of het standpunt van de schrijver niet relevant is (of hoort te zijn). Opiniestukken daarentegen, doen vooral ook veel beroep op ethos en pathos. Filosofische stukken zijn wat lastiger te plaatsen in dit geheel, omdat een schrijver (filosoof) aan de ene kant vaak de lezer wel van een bepaald standpunt wilt overtuigen of het belang van een filosofische stroming wilt benadrukken, maar aan de andere kant zo min mogelijk beroep wilt doen op ethos en pathos. De logische consistentie (logos) is erg belangrijk voor filosofen. Onderstaande werkwijzen kunnen voor verschillende soorten teksten verschillend van belang zijn.

Teksten kunnen heel erg van vorm en leesbaarheid verschillen, maar om een argumentatie te geven voor een bepaald standpunt, zullen er in de tekst bepaalde elementen aanwezig moeten zijn.

  1. Allereerst geldt voor ieder standpunt dat het is gebaseerd op een aantal aannames (of premissen / axioma’s). Deze aannames kunnen expliciet gedaan worden, maar kunnen ook impliciet blijven als de schrijver van mening is dat de lezer het hierover wel met hem eens zal zijn. Dat morgen de wereld niet vergaat is een aanname die niet altijd expliciet gemaakt hoeft te worden. Relevante aannames worden idealiter wel expliciet gedaan, tenzij er een gegronde reden is dat niet te doen. Aannames kunnen een verschillende oorsprong hebben: willekeurig (dat is meestal natuurlijk niet zo sterk, maar kan wel in geval van een gedachte-experiment), intuïtief, waarneembaar, overgenomen van een autoriteit / onderzoek of voortkomen uit een vorige redenering.
  2.  

  3. Vanuit de aannames volgen redeneringen. Er zijn verschillende methodes om te redeneren, namelijk deductie, inductie en abductie. Zie voor uitleg over deze methodes this article. In een tekst dient een passende redeneringsmethode gehanteerd te worden.
  4.  

  5. Deductief redeneren is de meest zekere methode, omdat een correcte redenatie altijd 100% zeker klopt. Het bestaat uit een aantal aannames en een logische afleiding (wat wil zeggen dat het voldoet aan de wetten van de logica) die noodzakelijk volgt. Idealiter is een redenering daarom deductief opgesteld, maar dit hoeft lang niet voor iedere tekst het geval te zijn. Een bekend voorbeeld van een deductieve redenering gaat als volgt:

    (aanname 1) Alle mensen zijn sterfelijk.
    (aanname 2) Socrates is een mens.
    (conclusie) Dus: Socrates is sterfelijk.

    Een uitwerking van dit voorbeeld kun je in dit artikel over verzamelingenleer vinden. Inductieve en abductieve methodes kunnen ook gevolgd worden, maar deze kennen zoals gezegd wat minder zekerheid. Hier geldt ook dat de redeneringen logisch moeten volgen.

  6.  

    De denker. Bron afbeelding: Wikipedia
  7. De termen die in de tekst gebruikt worden, moeten idealiter gedefinieerd te worden. Dit om onduidelijkheid hierover te voorkomen, zodat bijvoorbeeld ambiguïteit kan worden uitgesloten. Dit lijkt een overbodige stap, maar het is belangrijk in discussies om goed te weten wat de ander precies bedoelt. Aangezien woorden no essential meaning kennen is het handig om voor de belangrijke termen van een tekst een working definition op te stellen. Nog niet overtuigd? Probeer dan bijvoorbeeld eens een sluitende definitie van ‘spel’ te geven, of denk bijvoorbeeld aan ‘emergentie’; dat woord wordt door verschillende mensen op verschillende manieren gebruikt. Filosofen zijn hierin helemaal kunstenaars; zij gebruiken termen veelal naar eigen inzicht. Een extreem voorbeeld hiervan is de Duitse filosoof Martin Heidegger die in zijn meesterwerk ‘Sein und Zeit’ vrijwel alle woorden op een eigen manier interpreteert, waaronder ook de woorden ‘zijn’ en ‘tijd’. Hier wordt het geheel uiteraard niet leesbaarder door; een definitie die dicht bij het dagelijks gebruik ligt is voor de leesbaarheid van de tekst wel aan te raden.

Een tekst die volgens bovenstaand schema is opgesteld hoeft natuurlijk niet per se een goede of overtuigende tekst te zijn, maar de elementen voor overtuiging zijn dan in ieder geval wel aanwezig.

Een argument overtuigend maken volgens het SEXI-model
Een manier om een (sub)argument voor je standpunt goed over te brengen, kan door gebruik te maken van het SEXI-model. Dit model gaat uit van drie delen: State, EXplain en I.llustrate. Je begint met het poneren van je stelling (state), daarna leg je uit wat je precies met deze stelling bedoelt en waarom het belangrijk is (explain), en als laatste geef je een voorbeeld om de stelling toe te lichten (illustrate). Zijn deze drie delen goed met elkaar in overeenstemming, dan komt je argument vaak helder en overtuigend over.

Rhetoric - the logos, ethos and pathos of persuasion

Arguing is one of our daily activities. Sometimes we do it in a playful way, sometimes in a less pleasant way such as during an argument. We are constantly confronted with other people's arguments and want to contribute to the discussions or considerations that this produces. Although argumentation itself is a verbal activity, it is often supported by non-verbal and at first glance irrelevant aspects.

Rutte is doing his best to convince. Image source: wikipedia.

Three means of harnessing
Where we put forward arguments, we hope to convince. Arguing itself is a linguistic activity, but convincing often requires more than just a good argument. Within argumentation rhetorical doctrine focuses on the art of eloquence or persuasion. Aristotle understands 'rhetoric' as the “ability to find suitable means of persuasion to use in a speech” (source [1] p. 49). He distinguishes between technical and non-technical means of persuasion. Non-technical means includes, for example, material that is independent of the speaker, such as laws, reports or documents. The technical means, on the other hand, are more interesting. Aristotle distinguishes three categories:

  • The ethos; refer directly or indirectly to the speaker's own qualities, or of another authority. According to Aristotle, ethos is the strongest means of persuasion: “an audience that has confidence in the speaker will be inclined to accept his point of view” (source [1] p.50). If a speaker adapts his language to the audience he has in front of him (you address a group of school children differently than a group of experts), the speaker takes the ethos into account. The use of celebrities in advertising campaigns can also be seen as a typical example.
  • The pathos; responding to the emotions of the audience (in order to affect the judgment of the audience). Martin Luther King's “I have a dream” speech is a wonderful example of strong use of pathos, but also recruiting campaigns showing pathetic children or dying animals are included in the use of this persuasion tool. If we take this further, we can also classify advertising campaigns that make us feel that we have to belong somewhere under pathos.
  • The logos; convincing by means of arguments, where logic is of great importance. Where pathos appeals to the heart, logos appeals to the head. All logical inferences are covered. For example: if I want to go to the store but my car is broken, I will have to go by bicycle (because I cannot drive a broken car). Scientific pieces are also convincing, especially because of their logos.
The ethos, pathos, logos triangle.

The exact distinction of these categories is debatable (Aristotle and Cicero - both important figures in the history of argumentation - had different views of what exactly falls under ethos and what does not), but it is important to realize that besides logos, there are also non-argumentative means of persuasion (the ethos and pathos). Ideally, you should use all three of these resources to convince.

The Importance of Rhetoric
Even if it is not so important to you to convince others, it is useful to be aware of the rhetorical techniques. Rhetoric is important because it helps to communicate effectively, but it also makes you more aware and resilient. Besides the art of persuasion, rhetoric is also the analysis of the art of persuasion. You learn to fathom techniques that others use, so that you can ask more specific questions about the essence of the message. You feel convinced by the story, but is it actually all correct what is said? Because of the knowledge of rhetoric you are less guided by the rhetorical qualities of a speaker (or an advertisement, for example), which gives you a better grip on your own life. And that is useful, because from temptation to deception is only a small step. A good rhetorician knows that [2].

The form or techniques used cannot be separated from the content within rhetoric; there is a close relationship between form and content. An encouraging smile contains aspects of rhetoric and timing is also critical. At certain times a much stronger force of persuasion applies than at other times, and at certain times at the right time not saying can be important. To become a good rhetorician, a sense of timing is important, but self-confidence, general development and knowledge of people (including knowledge about yourself) are also fundamental to rhetoric [2].

If we think we can make it with just the arguments, we will come home from a rude awakening. “No more than 50% of courtroom decisions are based only on argumentation. ” - Eugène Sutorius, criminal law professor.

 

Sources:

[1] Frans vam Eemeren, Rob Grootendorst and Francisca Snoeck Henkemans (ao) - Handbook Argumentation Theory (1997).

[2] Eugène Sutorius, professor of criminal law (UvA) and chair of the Rhetorica Chamber, master class on the importance of rhetoric, 16 March 2010.

Hierarchy of sciences: who is where in the pyramid?

Een eeuwenoude, maar nog steeds relevante opdracht voor ons visionairen. Gegeven het onderstaande piramide-schema. Hoe zou jij de wetenschappelijke disciplines rangschikken in dit schema, en waarom op die manier? Wat komt er waar te staan en wat is de onderlinge relatie? Welke discipline is het meest fundamenteel en waarop baseer je dat?

De opdracht blijft bewust vaag, omdat ik niet te sturend wil zijn in de antwoorden. Er mogen uiteraard lagen worden toegevoegd of afgehaald, het schema is naar eigen invulling te gebruiken. Probeer het zo duidelijk mogelijk te beschrijven en toe te lichten in de reacties hieronder. Uiteraard kun je ook zelf tekeningen maken en in de reactie een link naar je plaatje plaatsen. Dit is geen experiment, maar een probleem waar de wetenschap(sfilosofie) al jaren mee rommelt. Dus ik ben benieuwd waar jullie mee komen!

Binnenkort zal ik een vervolg op dit artikel schrijven. Voor nu: succes met nadenken en alvast een fijn weekend!

What is Health? - Tom Watkins only eats raw

Since yesterday (Monday, December 17, 2012) the Dutch documentary 'Rauwer' was shown on TV, various discussions have flared up in the Netherlands. The documentary is about a mother (Francis Kenter) and her son (Tom Watkins) who have both been eating raw food for about 10 years. Fruit, vegetables, nuts, nothing more. The predecessor of this documentary had already been premiered in 2008 under the name 'Rauw'. See below:

On November 14, mother and son were guests at Pauw en Witteman, where they told their story. Below that excerpt:

One point I DO NOT want to focus on is the mother's view that it is better for the child to stay at home to learn because there can be too many bad influences at school. In the Netherlands every child is of compulsory school age; whether that is justified or not (it doesn't seem to be the case in England) is another discussion that we might be able to pursue in our forum.

Another discussion that has been heard a lot in response to these documentaries is the question of whether that mother 'maltreats', 'indoctrinates', 'protects', etc. She is responsible for the health of her child and should treat him accordingly. that a healthy and happy life awaits him. But what is '(un) health' actually? If the doctor says you are unhealthy, is that true?

Characteristics of health
Tom, who is now probably about 15 years old and thus in his puberty, is small. Despite the fact that he is growing, he remains a lot smaller than his peers. According to a doctor, this has to do with my diet, which means that he has far too little energy, does not get enough protein, his calcium level is too low and also lacks specific fats. In addition to the fact that his body grows less, according to the doctor, this also has consequences for the development of his brain. The reason Tom eats this way is because his mom thinks it's better for him. According to her, it has been proven that there are substances in cooked food that can cause cancer. Baking in oil or heating in the microwave is out of the question for her. Millions of years ago we didn't eat hot food either, the reasoning goes, so why not go back to this more natural form of consumption? Or to come up with another example: if you're going to feed monkeys pizzas and energy drinks, that will certainly not be good for those animals.

Image source: wikipedia.
It's quite tempting to blame the mother for everything. She may not immediately look like the friendliest mother and she may not always speak her words well. But does that detract from her reasoning? Unfortunately, I am not an expert in the field of biomedical sciences and I do not know to what extent certain points of view that she cites are 'proven'. But: the same will apply to the doctor's position; he will also base his diagnosis on scientifically recognized theories. Still, I think she has a point: 'health' is relative and therefore depends on what you take as standard. Is Tom sick, or is the rest of society sick?

Various illnesses
According to CBS, in 2011 slightly more than half of men overweight, as well as over 40% of women. Also there are in absolute numbers more and more deaths due to cancer in the Netherlands, even though a decrease can be seen in relative terms. Still, the number of deaths from cancer is the Netherlands relatively high compared to other countries. In the Netherlands, between the 60,000 to 100,000 children with ADHD (although this number has not increased in the last 20 years). To name a few examples. To give an honest picture, shouldn't the doctor also express his concerns about the dietary patterns of some of these people? By this I mean: although Tom may be missing some nutrients in his food (which may be essential for a healthy continuation), the same probably applies to many more children in the Netherlands. The doctor's diagnosis can thus be put into perspective: the diet is 'unhealthy', but that applies to many more children.

The difference between Tom and these 'other children' is probably that Tom looks perfectly healthy. He has just as much energy playing football as his peers and also comes across as a sober, reasonably bright boy. Moreover, he does not indicate that he does not feel well (unless he eats food that he should not actually eat, because his body is not used to it). Okay, it's smaller, but since when is height a measure of that? health?

Different points of view
The great thing about science is that we can predict things based on research results. In the above videos, the mother expresses fear of cancer in particular, unfortunately I cannot immediately conclude whether there are other things that she wants to protect her child from with this diet. The doctor explains next to the growth problem (what in itself doesn't really have to be a problem), a risk of stagnation in brain development. How do these two points of view weigh against each other? As far as I know, no research has been done into exactly this consideration, but it is likely that considerations can be made. Adding a few dietary supplements to the food can possibly significantly decrease the likelihood of stagnation in brain development than the same supplement reduces the likelihood of cancer (difficult sentence, I am trying to balance the two points of view here). The mother has clearly chosen not to do this, thereby making a clear stand against our Western eating habits, and perhaps also against our Western views of what is medically 'healthy'.

Another point that comes back in the videos, which I would like to mention briefly, is nicely summarized by Tom's grandmother. She says: "I don't have to live to be 150 years old, I want to be able to enjoy it." This resembles a hedonistic attitude, which more people seem to adhere to. Is this so? Do we mainly have to follow what we can enjoy and do we not have to be so aware of the consequences? I don't necessarily agree with Mother Francis in encouraging her child to adopt these eating habits, but she certainly has a point where we can learn to appreciate our food better and be more aware of our food. She herself may have gone a bit too far, but only the future can tell whether that is the case.

Nb A small disclaimer: I absolutely do not know the situation of Tom and his mother, and only base the above story on the two above videos that I have seen. I have not seen the documentary 'Rauwer' either.

Video: Six Famous Thought Experiments Explained

In onderstaand filmpje worden in razend tempo zes beroemde en zeer invloedrijke gedachte-experimenten uitgelegd. Dit zijn:

  1. Zeno’s paradox over Achilles en de schildpad
  2. Rene Barjavel’s paradox over tijdreizen
  3. John Searle’s Chinese kamer
  4. David Hilbert’s oneindige hotel
  5. Albert Einstein’s tweelingparadox
  6. Erwin Schrödinger’s kat

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