Crime 11 Awareness Geriatric


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What I like most about this armed robbery cartoon is imagining the robber saying all of this very matter-of-factly, the way someone might end a sentence with “yada, yada, yada”. Tons of people have real-life excuses for bad behavior but there is growing evidence that we don’t have nearly as much free choice as we think we do. Many scientists are beginning to suspect that given our specific DNA wiring, we are compelled to make the decisions we make––good, bad, and indifferent––and there is little we can do about it. Our brains simply tell us that this is the best course of action at the moment and we do it, thinking we made a “choice”. This notion is radical and counterintuitive, to say the least, but it might well be true. Oops…there goes another tenet of traditional human religions.








I usually post my Thurs/Fri/Sat cartoons on Saturday, but I got a lot of response from this Nigel Tufnel cartoon today (Friday) so I’m posting early. If you don’t get it, you’re not a fan of “This is Spinal Tap,” the brilliant comedy film by Rob Reiner. One of the all-time best, in my humble opinion. It still holds up today and none other than comedy genius Ricky Gervais cites it as his favorite comedy film. This is very likely where Ricky got the inspiration for the faux-documentary style that he does so well. This cartoon was the brainchild of the incomparable Cliff Harris The King Of Wordplay, of course.









And now, a sneak peek at tomorrow’s cartoon. Don’t tell anyone. I’m not supposed to post early so if I get reprimanded, I’m going to claim that I wasn’t aware it was only Friday.










VINTAGE JAZZ PICKLAGE: In keeping with the theme of parodying classic movies and TV, here’s a little something from 1997 that you may find 11-14-97 StarTrekWEB


29 thoughts on “Crime 11 Awareness Geriatric

  1. We do have those brain patterns that you mention with the first cartoon here. Some are genetic, either as part of our species or through our particular family genetics. Some are “learned,” added after the sperm and egg meet. In any case, I think it’s helpful (at least to me) to be aware of these built-in patterns and watch out for them, and it is possible to make better choices for us as individuals through this awareness and paying attention. On the other hand, it’s probably easier to just follow the patterns, which results in organized religion and most of the human species.

    • All true, Bob. But scientists are now thinking that even our learned behavior may be a function of our DNA. There may come a time when we can prove that every little thing we do, like my inclination to respond to your comment and every word I type, may not be a “choice”. It’s freaky as hell, but fun to contemplate. :^}

      • Although I completely agree with your understanding, M. Piraro, I must say it is quite impossible for humans to really make heed of this concept, given that even the best computer could not handle all the molecular interactions that defines any human reaction.

      • I am not sure which scientists are proclaiming that all of our behaviour is a function of our DNA. It seems to leave a lot out of the “equation” and this strong statement can be easily shot down by looking at the different behaviour of identical twins.

        Maybe what you mean to convey by referring to DNA is a sort of determinism, a way to state that free will is an illusion. If this is the case then I agree with the sentiment. You can listen/read more about this exciting topic by one of my favourite speakers/scientists/ philosophers: Sam Harris.

        • Thanks for the link. Back in the mid-to-late 1900s, there was a very famous study of twins separated at birth and raised in different parts of the world by different sorts of people. As adults, they were uncannily alike, often choosing exactly the same model, make, and color of car, marrying people with the same name, having the same favorite foods, color, etc., even the same careers. I first heard about this study back in the 80s, I think, and I’m too lazy to look it up right now. :^]

      • Free will is an illusion. But the illusion is so powerful that we have no choice but to act as if it is for real. :-)

  2. As the immortally funny Victor Borge said in one of his classic routines: “Any two for elevennis?”

    I wonder if Mr. Tufnel also suffered from hyperelevension…

    …and the band’s lead singer, was he a elevenor?

    Yes, I get into these silly things. That’s one of my most unhealthy elevendencies…

  3. The gag in Spinal Tap was partly based on a quote from the Deep Purple live album Made In Japan, when one member is faintly heard to say something about “everything louder than everything else”, which is repeated by lead singer Ian Gillan “Yeah, can he have everything louder than everything else?”

  4. According my computer machine, it’s already Saturday everywhere from Moscow and east to the international date line, so there’s your response if the comics bosses get snarky. Glad to help.

  5. I’m sure many Trekkies have pointed out by now, that Spock and Kirk age at different rates. You typical lifespan for a Human, would be around 88, a Klingon would be around 145. By the time Spock would hit wheel chair age, Kirk would have long achieved ‘room temperature’.

  6. A Michio Kaku you tube lecture of wide ranging topics finished with him saying how important the Prez ‘ s Brain Initiative is because the main thrust of brain research the last 50 years has been to liken it to a computer. It’s been figured out now that it’s nothing like a computer and we don’t know any more than we did before. With epigenetics showing how adaptable/changeable we are, if we do operate with no free will according to pre-programming we just might have a teeny active programmer up in there. While it may be what’s so that we make no real choices, I gotta wonder “So what?” What would we do any differently if we knew that as a fact instead of hypothesis? Probably nothing because if we could then it would prove the hypothesis false.

  7. The idea of choice as an illusion leaves me to conclude that there is no “what if”. Everything we’ve experienced, everything we’ve felt and thought, has led us to behave/repsond/react the way we do. For instance, when you say, “If only I hadn’t gone back into the house to turn off the porch light, I wouldn’t have been at the intersection when that other car ran the red light.” But your life experiences are what made you make the decision to turn off the porch light, and that was the only decision you could possibly have made.

    So this notion in sci-fi of parallel universes based on alternate choices we’ve made doesn’t hold up.

    What about flipping a coin? Again, you applied a certain amount of pressure in the muscles of your hand to flip the coin, you decided how much effort to put into it, when to catch it, etc. Only one possible conclusion. QED.

    • It isn’t that everything is predetermined. Random things still happen, but the way you react to them may well be a matter of your DNA programming and the “choice” you make is an illusion. Theoretical physicists also say there may be an infinite number of alternative universes where everything that can happen, does happen. I’m not nearly smart enough to have any idea what that means. :^]

  8. Speaking of ten and elevenditis, how’s the shoulder (looked at a March note)? Got coverage in the corrupt system?

    If we’re genetically programmed to think we have free will when we don’t, how does that account for the increasing (any) number that think we don’t? Mutations?

    I told a friend sort of jokingly that the only reason he thinks there’s no free will is because he’s programmed to think that. If that’s not true, and he came to the conclusion volitionally, that’s evidence of free will.

    I’m not arguing really. Just trying to reason it out. Sorta fun.

    • It’s a crazy concept to be sure. Very difficult to wrap your mind around. But as I understand it, given a certain DNA coding, certain people are bound to investigate science to the point that they discover that free will is an illusion. Any clearer? Me neither. :^}

      • A little. There’s always someone leading in to new things. Other things are even harder to grasp. Try a little quantum on for size.

        Hopefully we’re not so limited that we can’t correct our self destructive course. Every day the news is bad on that possibility. Passed the 400 ppm mark on the c02 they’re saying it will lower the vitamin content of food 5 to 10%! What next? Don’t tell me.

  9. Dan, I enjoy your cartoons, but want to insert the thought that “scientists” is just a meme for a new organized religion – the religion of absolute truth coming from the new high priests of ‘science’. Abolishing the idea that we have any choice in our behavior is more than just an interesting theory – it’s the opening to a new level of self irresponsibility and evolutionary stagnation. If life is not about learning, what is it about? I say it’s about choice and self transcendence. We either evolve in the spiritual sense or we devolve, and the ice ages and cave man periods were results of a spiral of bad choices.

    I realize you have a perfect right to express your opinions on your blog, but I guess i have a right to disagree?

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