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Name: Paul
Gender: Male
Hometown: Florida
Home country: USA
Member since: Wed Mar 31, 2010, 03:20 PM
Number of posts: 3,829

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Snail Kite heaven: Lake Kissimmee, Florida

For those that want to see and photograph Snail Kites, as far as I know, the best place to visit is Lake Kissimmee in central Florida.

Lake Kissimmee and Joe Overstreet Rd that leads to the east shore of the lake is a popular birding area. A major prize of the area is the Snail Kite which breeds around the lake. Often you can see the Snail Kites from the shore by the end of Joe Overstreet Rd. I took the last four Snail Kite pictures there this summer of one that was hanging around the dock at that time. Usually you're not that lucky.

To get better looks, take the airboat ride from the company that operates at the end of Joe Overstreet Rd and ask them to take you to see the Snail Kites. You can get really close to the kites from the boat:

coordinates: N27.93716, W81.22577


At least right now, there are a lot of Snail Kites on the lake. There is a huge population of snails in the lake so the kites should be reliable for a while. The kites do move around central and southern Florida, but the airboat operator told me that Lake Kissimmee currently has the largest population.

The first three Snail Kite pictures I took from the airboat on November 17, and the last four I took this summer of a kite that was hunting around the dock. The Bald Eagle and the other snail hunting specialists, the Limpkin, I took on November 17 from the lakeshore by the dock:










Reincarnation and the Multiverse Ė with no gods, souls, woo, or any of that crap

Consciousness is only a biological process. Consciousness isn't a separate thing that is attached to neurons. When the body dies, consciousness dies. When someone suffers brain damage their consciousness diminishes or dies. There is no evidence for a separate soul.

Partly based on these facts, Iím inclined to believe that a form of reincarnation must exist. Many people, including most atheists, think itís impossible. Iím an atheist and I think we all have been reincarnated probably an infinite number of times in the past, and will in the future. I suppose with the influence of religion and the difficulties of understanding consciousness people make false assumptions about the nature of consciousness.

If it were possible to instantly replace every atom in your body with another identical atom, would you be the same person with the same conscious-self? I think yes. If you then instantly evaporate every atom in your body and then with a one second delay replace every atom, would you then be the same person? I think yes. How about doing the same thing except with an hour delay and then reconfigure the atoms in the house next door, would you then be the same person with the same conscious-self? I donít see why not. Consciousness isnít attached to any particular atoms and no separate soul disappears when consciousness shuts off.

When you die your consciousness shuts off. You return to the same state you were in before you were alive. The future potential for your consciousness to exist again after you die is the same as your future potential to exist had been before you were alive, since there is no metaphysical force or invisible sky ledger that keeps track of your past lives to prevent future lives. All that needs to happen for your consciousness to return after you die is a duplication of the same biological processes that had created your consciousness in your previous life. In other words, a form of reincarnation must be possible since consciousness is only a biological process and thereís nothing to prevent it. There will be no memories of past lives since memories are destroyed when the old brain dies.

Similarly, in gambling, when you roll dice each roll is independent from the last roll. When you havenít rolled a particular number combination for awhile you have a no greater chance of rolling that number combination in future rolls. Nothing in nature tracks your rolls to change the odds on future rolls. Nothing in nature tracks your past conscious-selves to prevent future conscious-selves. That would be magical thinking.

In this form of reincarnation, the new consciousness will be the same as the old one (it will have the same self); but it will be in a different brain with different memories, probably have a different personality, and probably will be in a different species on some planet other than earth. Since the conscious-self is the same in the new brain it is obvious why I use the word reincarnation. The particular process that produces the particular consciousness is sufficiently the same, so the consciousness will also be the same. It would require a dying soul or metaphysical force to prevent reincarnation. There is no soul that dies.

Some may claim that there are very long odds to have a new brain after you die with the same consciousness as before. Well, you are here now and the odds are the same for your current existence as your future existence in your next life.

Some claim that your consciousness is your memories. But consciousness is what experiences your memories, consciousness isnít memories. If you get amnesia and you lose your memories, the same conscious-self probably still exists. The memories are gone after death, but they are only what you are conscious of. Memories are not consciousness.

When I was young I thought it interesting that I was alive at that moment. With only one life the odds were greatly against my existence at that or any particular time, considering how old our Universe is. During most of the life of our Universe I hadnít existed (as far as I knew). I hadnít yet thought about reincarnation.

Letís say that our Universe is the only universe and time will soon end. With only our Universe and one life, someoneís chances of existing at a particular time (with a 75 year life span & our 13.8 billion year old Universe) are 1 in 13,800,000,000/75 = 1 in 184,000,000. Lotteries have much better odds than that.

But the odds get much worse. Our Universe will likely be around extremely far into the future, many times its current age Ė if not forever. Imagine an infinite time-line to the future representing all of time that will probably ever exist. Let's say that there is no reincarnation and we only get one life. What are the chances that I would be alive at a particular moment if I had only one life on the infinite time-line? It is zero, since (one life time)/(total time Universe will exist) = finite#/infinity = infinitely small number = zero, which would be the odds of me living right now with only one life and our Universe exiting forever into the future.

So it would be impossible for me to be conscious right now if I only got one life and time is infinite. Since my consciousness existing right now is very important for my consciousness, my existence right now is the equivalent of me winning the lottery with zero odds of winning. So it seems with infinite time I must be reincarnated an infinite number of times for it to be possible for me to exist right now.

Non-existence of everything (total nothingness), including before our Universe, is impossible since everything arrived through an existing physics. The existing physics is something (not nothing); and since some always existing physics was able to produce our Universe, itís likely that it has produced infinite universes through infinite time. At least the always existing physics is able to create infinite universes that have time, so there has always been time in these created universes. This means there is infinite time from the past to the future, and possibly an infinite or huge number of universes at any given time.

With only one universe the odds of having a seemingly designed universe with conditions suitable for life are extremely small. This apparent design of our Universe can easily be explained by the Multiverse (more than one universe) theory. Astronomer Martin Reese covers this in his book ďJust Six NumbersĒ. If any number were minutely changed, our Universe would have been completely different.

For example: if the amount of matter in our Universe would have been a tiny fraction different, our Universe would have quickly collapsed or quickly flown apart and no life could have arisen. Some have proposed a many universes theory to explain this (each universe with its own conditions). This greatly increases the odds of there being a universe suitable for life.

Hereís astronomer Martin Reeseís reasoning for the existence of the Multiverse at 11:10 to 26:40 in video Ė ignore the rest:

The Multiverse brings up the possibility of there being a huge (or infinite) number of universes, and also the possibility of there being a huge number (or infinite number) of universes with life. With so many universes there will inevitably be universes with properties that can evolve life. The Multiverse eliminates the need for some miraculous explanation for our existence Ė including gods.

The reason that our Universe appears fine tuned is the same reason that our Earth appears fine tuned: there are many planets and most canít evolve life, but only on those planets that can evolve life will there be a consciousness to contemplate its own existence. This fools the consciousness into thinking the planet is fine-tuned just for it. The same logic holds for our Universe: there are a huge number of universes with many different properties, but only on a very small percentage will life ever evolve. Inevitably we are in such a universe.

The Multiverse allows for the possibility of there being many universes with life and for there being infinite time from the past to the future with life evolving universes. This gives a huge number of opportunities for a consciousness to be reincarnated to planets and universes beyond Earth, and it greatly increases the odds that our conscious-selves can and must be reincarnated.

The possible, given infinite opportunities (or a huge number), is guaranteed to happen an infinite number (or possibly a huge number) of times. By our very own existence our conscious-selves are shown to be possible. Since there is no separate soul that dies or invisible sky ledger that keeps track of whether a particular consciousness has yet existed, reincarnation can happen. And with an infinite Multiverse reincarnation must happen.

Rosy Finches Ė Sandia Crest, New Mexico

On the drive I just made to San Diego I stopped by Sandia Crest, New Mexico to see the Rosy Finches that winter there. This is the best place to see all three species of North American Rosy Finches.


Sandia Crest is a short drive from Albuquerque, New Mexico; so it's convenient if you're driving by on I-40 or I-25. East of Albuquerque, take exit 175 off of I-40 and then go north on Hwy 14 for about 6 miles to Sandia Crest Rd (Hwy 536). Go west on Sandia Crest Rd for about 13 miles, and at the end of the road turn left into the middle of three parking lots. The bird feeder will be up the hill on the right by the building. (at least in the winter of 2012/2013).

Get there really early in the morning or you may miss them. The light was bad for pictures, but I walked up a path above the feeders to get close and OK results. The birds are rather tame.






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