Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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jogill

climber
Colorado
May 16, 2013 - 08:27pm PT
Thank you, Malemute.

Male Answer Syndrome


OK, found it:

Scientific Test of the Matrix Theory

Oh darn . . . sounds like they use discursive thought. Won't impress the anti-grinders. The mysterious Deeper Issues and More Important Problems cited on this thread, but not defined, I suppose are far more critical than this.
MH2

climber
May 16, 2013 - 09:28pm PT
If jstan were blaming Largo for costing us money, that would be uncool, but it is more likely that he is merely using that example to direct our attention to the reality outside the cave-within-a-cave here on Supertopo. I prefer the comfort of my illusion of comfort.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 16, 2013 - 09:53pm PT
See if you can get your acorn around this one, BASE, LOL.

Look at so-called physical reality like this: You have a puny atomic world, and you have a macro (bigger) world comprised of things. The first you can look as a kind of flux - soup. The second, macro world appears to be much more solid and "real" and seems to respond to laws of this and that. So far so good.

Now worth mentioning is that the transition from puny to the macro, the actual threshold, presents all kinds of interesting challenges where one set of rules seem to leave off and another takes over, at least in part. I present this not as a physics question, which is not my point, but as a thought experiment.

Imagine that it is the puny atomic world that is the closest we have to "objective reality," and the the world of forms, of things, to principally be the fruit of our brains and our sense data.

You say, "Our brains didn't "make" El Capitan. I say our brains didn't make the atomic building blocks that are swirling around in the Captain, but virtually all of our descriptions of El Cap being dense, steep, hard, this color, and so forth are matters of how our brains and sense data are organizing the puny into recognizable stuff - recognizable so long as we have the same aperati to input said stuff. If our sense data and brains are radically different than our own, so is what we perceive to be "out there."

The promise of the discursive mind to absolutely nail down what is "out there" in absolute terms, in a way that we can say, "This is indisputably what (fill in he blank) really is," is true so long as it is us humans doing the looking.

Humans see a human world and call it real. Others, if they exist, will no doubt see another world relative to how they are made.

JL
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
May 16, 2013 - 10:10pm PT
But apart from your purely imaginary cosmic-ray beings, the sensory apparatus of all life forms fall within a fairly specific range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Birds and bees see ultraviolet, dogs and cats hear really high frequencies, etc. And extinct australopiths couldn't have even heard our speech, apparently. I pointed all this out earlier with the usual lèse-majesté, but you conveniently ignored it. Just a heads-up: there aren't any cosmic-ray beings, and even if there were, they would still be having equally dismissable "experiences" on par with our own, in terms of all this no-thing business you're on about.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 16, 2013 - 10:20pm PT
You do realize that JStan was not being funny when he said that we now take all possible paths from A to B, don't you? That is Feynman's path integral, which after you understand it, is damn cool.

This was interesting to note since I had never heard of Feynman's path integral before. What instantly flashed into my mind, was some of the hypothetical maps of neuron grids I have seen with pulses of energy simultaneously flying through multiple grids sometimes leaping to the level above or below (those non sequitors in dreams). I saw the cerebellum involved as well since we often twitch and make noise in dreams.

All of this kind of illustrates largo's idea that we all perceive differently including MH2's characterization of jstan's contributions as being hard to follow at times because he takes several paths simultaneously and we sometimes are unable to follow. Forever in the future when I puzzle over jstan's remarks I will think of multilevel brain tasking with jstan's brain buzzing and popping away while I'm trying to get mine reved above 50 watts!

As for what the Buddha taught and how it is practiced, I was very interested to learn some years ago of a Burmese Buddhist master who was shown emotionally charged photos of suffering while hooked up to a brain scan. At first he registered the impact of the photo in the emotional center as did everyone else. The difference was that he quickly shifted his energy to the left rational side of the pre frontal cortex and then explained the Buddhist view of suffering and karma. This does indeed seem to be the same process jstan is describing using science and logic.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - May 16, 2013 - 10:28pm PT
Just a quick look see, to check in and monitor what's going on here

apparently the sleestaks have infiltrated this thread, so please keep an eye out for these inner earth aliens.
and if you see any, report them to the admin.
Credit: Dr. F.

smoking ducks have also been implicated to be related to the sleestaks, we all know that Ducks Don't Smoke, right?

Credit: Dr. F.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
May 16, 2013 - 10:52pm PT
Emotions are experiential actualities, Jstan. It constitutes a prejudice to deny a part of you. Emotions may have served primary purposes in our past when we didn't' have more developed reason and rationality, but throwing them out with the bathwater may not be reasonable, either. Deep, silent unconscious awareness, sleep, instinct, emotion, myth, and reason are all emergent, unfolding bases of being. It doesn't make sense to me to think that one obviates the preceding capability.


Jogill, I think John gave a good response to the issues you raise. I can't add too much more to the ideas he expresses.

Let's forget that I'm in a weird place right now in my experience. (Things for me are not quite real anymore.) But I don't have to be completely normal to cite scientific literature suggesting that we create the worlds that we live in. Socialization, institutionalization, typification, habituation, education, simulations, as well as the very discursive mind that inhabits you is almost endlessly spinning webs of confusion, stories, and contexts such that you cannot tell what is what with any certainty. What seems hard and solid when looked at very closely shows up as almost entirely space (nothing, really). What seems incontrovertibly solid and concrete or serious appears radically different to another person or from another context or from another time. Even the notions of what makes a concept or classification or category is highly problematical. Indeed, any definition of anything is woefully incomplete and practically dysfunctional. All in all, in fine-grained detail, nothing really works. Every articulation is an approximation, all the better when gross and broadly applied.

You say you have no doubts about what exists and what doesn't. I wonder how you can be so sure of things when you only have perceptions to support you. You seem to be a man of science (or at least scientifically empathetic). I don't understand how you can so sure of things in the face of thousands of studies that tell us that not only are people get things wrong all the time, but also how.

All these things above are why the dramas (and the objects in them) appear to be so real to us. (And I haven't even brought in philosophy).

Do I think a drone exists? In my everyday mind--most likely. But if I'm careful and honest, no, not really. Your "drone" is just a phenomenon, one among an endless array. All phenomena are empty and a display of mind.

For the record, I'm caught in the web of maras almost as much as the next person, Jogill. Occasionally I see them for what they are (images, illusions), and the experience affects me deeply.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - May 16, 2013 - 10:54pm PT
Credit: Dr. F.
jogill

climber
Colorado
May 16, 2013 - 11:27pm PT
Your "drone" is just a phenomenon, one among an endless array. All phenomena are empty and a display of mind. For the record, I'm caught in the web of maras almost as much as the next person, Jogill. Occasionally I see them for what they are (images, illusions), and the experience affects me deeply

Interesting perspective, MikeL. Can you say with even the slightest degree of certainty that when you "see things for what they are (images, illusions)" what you are "seeing" is not itself an illusion?

Like a hall of mirrors.
pa

climber
May 17, 2013 - 12:27am PT
It might be of interest at this point to note the etymology of the word "person".
The Latin "persona" was a blend of the Etruscan "phersu" and the Greek "prosopon"...both of which originally meant "mask".

:))
MH2

climber
May 17, 2013 - 12:41am PT
What seems hard and solid when looked at very closely shows up as almost entirely space (nothing, really). What seems incontrovertibly solid and concrete or serious appears radically different to another person or from another context or from another time. Even the notions of what makes a concept or classification or category is highly problematical. Indeed, any definition of anything is woefully incomplete and practically dysfunctional. All in all, in fine-grained detail, nothing really works. Every articulation is an approximation, all the better when gross and broadly applied.


MikeL,

Do you realize you are addressing these remarks to a mathematician? Mathematical reality has been incontrovertibly solid and concrete for as long as we have any record of it, across different persons and different cultures and contexts.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 17, 2013 - 01:01am PT
Mike L's vocabulary comes out of the Buddhist tradition so some of the terms have slightly a different connotation than scientists would be familiar with. There is nothing he writes about however, that I haven't read before. I've just never known anyone at this particular stage of development.

Language is what makes this thread possible but it is also what divides us.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
May 17, 2013 - 10:31am PT


.....

Language is what makes this thread possible but it is also what divides us.

No worries. New discipline with its own language (cf: biology with its own language or rock climbing with its own language) is on the way. :)

Keep the faith. (the empirical faith)

.....

Last of the Syrians...
"A video circulating this week showed a rebel commander (our modern day Magua??) in Homs cutting out an enemy’s heart and liver, and biting into the heart."

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/17/world/middleeast/pressure-of-war-is-causing-syria-to-break-apart.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 17, 2013 - 12:17pm PT
ut apart from your purely imaginary cosmic-ray beings, the sensory apparatus of all life forms fall within a fairly specific range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Birds and bees see ultraviolet, dogs and cats hear really high frequencies, etc. And extinct australopiths couldn't have even heard our speech, apparently. I pointed all this out earlier with the usual lèse-majesté, but you conveniently ignored it. Just a heads-up: there aren't any cosmic-ray beings, and even if there were, they would still be having equally dismissable "experiences" on par with our own, in terms of all this no-thing business you're on about.


The reason most aware life forms share similar sense here on earth is that life organized itself around this environment and we all share a lot of the same DNA ergo the "five senses." It hardly takes much imagination to picture other life forms organizing differently in radically different environments. The "search for life" studies going on are mostly people looking for conditions that could possibly give rise to life similar to ours.

But perhaps you're loosing sight of the larger issue, that our mental representations of what is "out there" and our measurements as well mostly refer to a brain-conceived world. A world that exists "just as it is," the illusive Kantian reality or "thing in itself" is, on the macrocosmic scale of "things," a product of consciousness organizing the undifferentiated, unborn (non-created) flux.

Just note how our mind fights the idea that what we see and take for objective reality - on the macro scale - is in fact an artifact of consciousness. You'd have to go into QM or other freaky, counterintuitive realms to find something as seemingly irrational.

And M2, what do you mean that mathematics is "solid?" Are you thinking that our quantifications exist independently, outside of consciousness? Like where? Are they circling the moons of Pluto, which is hard, it is true, seeming that Pluto has no moons.

JL
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
May 17, 2013 - 12:28pm PT
Can you say with even the slightest degree of certainty that when you "see things for what they are (images, illusions)" what you are "seeing" is not itself an illusion? . . . Like a hall of mirrors.

Good choice of metaphors, Jogill.

As a postmodernist and budding spiritualist of various traditions awakening, I directly challenge reason, I challenge labeling, single perspectives, dualism, objectivities, reifications, and dominating frames of reference. I expose ironies, contradictions, mises en abyme, and aporias. I appreciate unending symbolism more than action. I deliberately misread and misuse texts, and I am playful with language. I promote the recognition of instabilities, undecideabilities, chaos, différence, and infinities. (See, Alvesson & Skoldberg's (2000) "Reflective Methodologies," or Cusset's (2003) "French Theory.")

All I can personally say is that when I see the illusion or image as an image, the immediacy of its impact floors me. It turns my world upside down. I'm dumbfounded. I can hardly believe what I'm seeing. It forces me to question everything. (I can easily see why an external conversant such as yourself might question the sanity or veracity of my report.)

On the other hand, Jogill, there is all that literature that I made reference to in my last post. As an objectivist and man of science, you can readily doubt my experiences, but I don't see how you can reject the stacks of research studies on the subject out-of-hand. At least you should admit that they make strong points. That's all I've ever said here: there is plenty of room for doubt--your personal surety notwithstanding.

Mathematical reality has been incontrovertibly solid and concrete for as long as we have any record of it, across different persons and different cultures and contexts.

Great. Define "one" incontrovertibly so that I know it when I see it, MH2.



Jan's being kind to me. She has her doubts that I'm in a useful place. :-)
jogill

climber
Colorado
May 17, 2013 - 12:35pm PT
. . . our mental representations of what is "out there" and our measurements as well mostly refer to a brain-conceived world

Yes

A world that exists "just as it is," . . . a product of consciousness organizing the undifferentiated, unborn (non-created) flux

Not quite sure what all of this means. But I do think "objects" exist independent of mind.

And M2, what do you mean that mathematics is "solid?" Are you thinking that our quantifications exist independently, outside of consciousness? Like where? Are they circling the moons of Pluto, which is hard, it is true, seeming that Pluto has no moons

[Max Tegmark's Mathematical universe hypothesis goes further than full-blooded Platonism in asserting that not only do all mathematical objects exist, but nothing else does. Tegmark's sole postulate is: All structures that exist mathematically also exist physically. That is, in the sense that "in those [worlds] complex enough to contain self-aware substructures [they] will subjectively perceive themselves as existing in a physically 'real' world"] Wikipedia

A bit extreme, I admit!

Your "drone" is just a phenomenon, one among an endless array. All phenomena are empty and a display of mind

Well, MikeL, I guess there is no room for argument here. But if I were to look up in the sky and see one of those suckers coming at me I would take the precaution of seeking cover - just in case!

You have a most interesting take on things.


;>)

go-B

climber
Hebrews 1:3
May 17, 2013 - 12:36pm PT
Everything in nature is made by God, Jesus is the light of the world, we are either for Him or not!
When you turn to Him you get the better end of the deal, because God loved us even before the foundation of the world, and sent His Son to show us the Father's love!
The joy of life is to love Him back, and to love His own! Either you are His own now, will be soon - I hope, or you won't be and that would just be missing out on all that God has for you, and for what?
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
May 17, 2013 - 12:57pm PT
You know, my friends, I can't see how you can be a participant in the world--however you find it--and not see all these loose threads everywhere. Science has left them all over the place.

I can look at absolutely anything, listen to any sound, feel any sensation, taste anything, smell any fragrance, and find my experience of those things being spun out into infinities with specific details.

Make any sound with you own voice (choose a word) and say it over and over and over and over. After a while, the word becomes meaningless, and a while after that, the sound becomes magical. The sound takes you away into other worlds. What's up with that?

I told Base to look at any wall and see the infinite shades of color. You can't put your finger on any of them definitively. What's up with that?

You can experience any tactile feeling closely, and it becomes completely indescribable and a world unto itself. What's up with that?

Smell a fragrant flower with all your being. No definition or parts-analysis helps you do that. The experience transcends itself and continues to do so. It takes you to different worlds. What's up with that?

Am I crazy? No, I'm starting to wake up (but I'm just an egg).

Look at all the loose threads left around by all the theories, frameworks, models, and empirical research. Pull on any one of them. If you do you'll find that everything will start to unravel. The Buddha said the same with his final words: "Be careful with the construction of your salvation. In the end, all composite things unravel."

Oh-oh . . . .
MH2

climber
May 17, 2013 - 01:10pm PT
Are you thinking that our quantifications exist independently, outside of consciousness? Like where? Are they circling the moons of Pluto, which is hard, it is true, seeming that Pluto has no moons.



Yes. I see no reason to suppose that mathematics is only an artifact of human consciousness. Otherwise, humans would not agree on math. For comparison we could point to doctrinaire religion, which probably does not exist outside human consciousness. If it did there would not be such disagreement over which religious practice is appropriate.

Even non-biological beings, if there are such, would be likely to have some conception of number. A few non-human species can count.

You yourself point out that all that we know comes initially through our senses. We could call that our personal reality or the human reality. However, we can go beyond that. Over the centuries, working together and building on what came before, we have found a physics reality. Physical reality shows a persistence and regularity that sets it apart from our shifting human reality. Take the early example of learning how to predict lunar and solar eclipses.

Physical reality and mathematical reality overlap. Although complex numbers were first discovered and used to solve math problems they also play a key role in modern physics.

Another reason to regard math as independent of human consciousness is that discoveries in math have at times dismayed and horrified that consciousness. The ancient Greeks worked with whole numbers and with fractions based on whole numbers. Then one day they asked themselves what was the length of the diagonal of a square whose sides were 1 unit.

In The Road to Reality Roger Penrose considers 3 realities: mental, mathematical, and physical. His view is that our mental reality is based in physical reality which is based in mathematical reality which is based in our mental reality. No need for turtles all the way down if all you need is 3 turtles, eh?



edit for MikeL

It's hard to thank you enough, Mike, for such a contrary view. Here, it isn't important whether we agree or not.

WBraun

climber
May 17, 2013 - 01:18pm PT
I see no reason to suppose that mathematics is only an artifact of human consciousness.

Yes .... this is true.

Mathematics is eternal .......
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