Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 20, 2013 - 05:18pm PT
Dr. F., you're pretty funny. You start a thread called "Politics, God and Religion vs. Science," yet when one shows the soft underbelly of science and its practices, you complain that the thread has been derailed.
ML.

it was an expression of emotion
sorry, it wasn't a complaint, I just never thought it would go this way.
I will have more to say about this topic soon.

But to use the words, funny, yes. . it is funny

MH2

climber
Jun 20, 2013 - 05:30pm PT
An infinitesimal consciousness exists in an infinite universe. I have it right, don't I?


You are infinitely wrong. That's impressive.


Richard Feynman is a good example to take. For a paradigm I like this:

Each piece, or part, of the whole nature is always an approximation to the complete truth, or the complete truth so far as we know it. In fact, everything we know is only some kind of approximation, because we know that we do not know all the laws as yet. Therefore, things must be learned only to be unlearned again or, more likely, to be corrected.......The test of all knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific “truth”.



Feynman describes a meeting with someone a little like MikeL:

Some years ago I had a conversation with a layman about flying saucers — because I am scientific I know all about flying saucers! I said “I don’t think there are flying saucers”. So my antagonist said, “Is it impossible that there are flying saucers? Can you prove that it’s impossible?” “No”, I said, “I can’t prove it’s impossible. It’s just very unlikely”. At that he said, “You are very unscientific. If you can’t prove it impossible then how can you say that it’s unlikely?” But that is the way that is scientific. It is scientific only to say what is more likely and what less likely, and not to be proving all the time the possible and impossible. To define what I mean, I might have said to him, "Listen, I mean that from my knowledge of the world that I see around me, I think that it is much more likely that the reports of flying saucers are the results of the known irrational characteristics of terrestrial intelligence than of the unknown rational efforts of extra-terrestrial intelligence." It is just more likely. That is all.


Also a good reminder:

We can't define anything precisely. If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers… one saying to the other: "you don't know what you are talking about!". The second one says: "what do you mean by talking? What do you mean by you? What do you mean by know?"

MH2

climber
Jun 20, 2013 - 05:31pm PT
BASE104,

Here is a little better explanation of the mysterious nature of energy:

http://www.ftexploring.com/energy/definition.html
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 20, 2013 - 06:24pm PT
F=MA is a really cool equation.

Imagine Boot Flake, which probably has a mass of thousands of kilograms. That is just mass. If you were floating in space and got "underneath" Boot Flake, you would feel nothing. Its mass is too small to have much gravity on its own.

Now go down to El Cap Meadow and imagine Boot Flake not falling on you, but just laying on you. You would be crushed. The only significant difference is acceleration, which is caused by the Earth's gravity, and gravity is actually a weak force.

See? Mass is accelerating and will crush you. That is the difference between force and mass.

That is the best attempt at explaining it that I can. Ed or Gill should jump in here to illustrate this.

Imagine Newton figuring all of this out back in the late 1600's. His equations are still used to send spacecraft all over the solar system, from landing rovers on mars to sending a probe onto Saturn's moon Triton. Many of the current probes have complicated navigation involving multiple slingshots around planets these days. It is cheaper than using a more powerful rocket. The speeds are so much slower than the speed of light that relativity isn't a big factor. Newton's work is totally amazing, and engineers use that work to build huge bridges, buildings, you name it. He figured that out, including the mathematics required, all on his own.

It is a huge mistake to take the quantum world and try to apply it to large scale objects. Sure, a subatomic particle behaves very odd, but don't try to scale it up and say that a person or an elephant or a mountain cannot be completely understood with classical physics.

Recommended reading: QED by Richard Feynman. That book explains the quantum world in a way that we can understand, at least a little. It is a thin little book that took me a long time to read.

The best book of all regarding how to critically think and judge things is Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World. That is a tremendous book.

Look. Science just is. It isn't there to make you happy or sad. Nature is just nature and that is all that there is too it. Science isn't a spiritual pursuit, and attacking it to reinforce a spiritual concept is just nutty. Science worship is also nutty.

And yeah, Largo. I do think that the car pool is a dirty trick. I live next door to two famous AI researchers. I could certainly engage them to write posts for me, but I would not consider it without crediting their every statement. Stealing ideas or arguments from others without crediting them is a sort of heresy. I can't believe that you did that. If you did that in science it would be considered as sloppy at the least or as fraud at the worst. That is why you see so many citations in a peer reviewed paper.

I have had long discussions with the husband, and he said right away that you can't approach AI without considering subjective experience. Subjective experience is the way we humans perceive things, and if you approach AI with an objective of human intelligence as your working model, you must understand subjective experience.

To come to an objective conclusion requires a lot of work. It isn't a very natural way of day to day thinking. You have to set down some rules.

If you live and believe in the subjective world, you can end up thinking that you have some sort of invisible force field such as in the video that HFCS posted earlier, which is damn funny to watch. At some point you need a small amount of proof, lest ye join the scientologists and end up paying a grand for a 50 dollar audit meter.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 20, 2013 - 06:35pm PT
I will create a "Largo" post. It starts with a snipped line, sometimes out of context, a line beneath it, and then a brow beating.

Here we go:

But what the hell does Newton's Second Law have to do with what we're talking about?

------------------------------------------------------------


I figured that you understood a lot about math and physics. Your knowledge about Hilbert Space really impressed me.

John, I don't like to be mean. I just want you to know that I believe you haven't been coming clean.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Jun 20, 2013 - 07:42pm PT
JL is a man of mystery, BASE.


;>)
WBraun

climber
Jun 20, 2013 - 08:14pm PT
Dr F -- "I'm ready to rip into religion."

Go ahead, but it won't help you.

I was actually LMAOF when I wrote,

"Stupid white man killed all the intelligent people and then made himself as the impostor God in the form of scientism ....."

LOL

Unfortunately a lot of it is true ..... :-)
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 20, 2013 - 08:17pm PT
If you live and believe in the subjective world


You have no other alternative but to live in a subjective world, BASE, because you're a subject with experience. The illusion that you live objectively is something we deserve to hear explained. And I don't mean to imply that as subjects, our discursive minds doesn't objectify things, but that info stream is always delivered to you by way of your subjective experience. An object can't have experience.

And the "objective world" you keep talking about. As a reductionist, you are honor bound to reduce things to the basics - quantum. But now you say what a huge mistake it is to apply QM to the meta or mega world. That gives us two objective worlds and two sets of laws - QM, and classical. Both of these are considered "objective," so far as I know, but a reductionist would have to by nature prefer the quantum world because it forms the basis for the higher structures. Unless you mean you are a reductionist to a point - meaning you stop at a place beyond which your beliefs no longer hold up. Anyhow, I was just curious what "objective" world you were refering to, plus that pesky business of energy, which isn't even there in the classical sense, according to some (my buddies included).

It would seem that your fixed, everlasting and selfsame "objective" world is playing tricks on us, changing hats at different stories, as it were, and here and there, smply vanishing from sight. What's up with that?

JL
go-B

climber
Hebrews 1:3
Jun 21, 2013 - 03:45am PT
Proverbs 21:23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue,
Guards his soul from troubles.

photo not found
Missing photo ID#307797

Proverbs 21:30 There is no wisdom and no understanding
And no counsel against the Lord.
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Jun 21, 2013 - 04:13am PT
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 21, 2013 - 07:35am PT
I had never really considered many of these topics until this wonderful thread showed up. It has made me stare off into space and ponder odd things, and it did bear some fruit. It still could if everyone was open.

Subjective experience is all over the map. You could be an eyewitness to a murder and be totally wrong in your memory, or subjective experience of the event. This isn't pie in the sky stuff. It is well known that eyewitness testimony is unreliable, but prosecutors still have people executed with it. I find that an abomination. F*#k prosecutors.

Sagan's The Demon Haunted World, which is mainly about junk science, carves through things such as alien abductions, psychics, and wha wha of that nature. That is a GREAT book. I had always thought of Sagan as a pop science writer, but that book belongs on every bookshelf. It is very useful.

To turn subjective evidence into objective evidence, you must use the scientific method. That is its only purpose. You must be very rigid in your methods, and be willing to discard your most precious theories.

As per reductionism, it isn't necessary for me to have a vast knowledge of the topic. We do lower open hole logging tools down every well and pull them up very slowly. They can be induction, simple gamma counter, neutron bombardment, the photoelectric effect, NMRI, you name it. I don't need to know a whole lot about how they work. I just need to know how to interpret them. In reality, we do know how they work, because you get odd info in odd lithology.

It is sort of like needing to know what time it is. You don't need to know how to build a watch. We all do this on a daily basis.

Science as a whole must look into every nook and cranny, but the load is spread far and wide. The scientists at Schlumberger design the tools and then publications of how they work and how to interpret them. That is a huge part of the job, and I look at probably 50 to a hundred wells each day, and that well may have twenty different curves to interpret.

There are some brilliant minds here, and I could teach almost any of you how to I do my job, or the basics of it, in a year or so. Just the basics. You would all make excellent techs, and I promise you that it would be exciting. There is so much information locked up in rocks.

The PE curve is great, but most wells didn't run one (because it hadn't been invented yet). Sandstone is 1 or 2. Limestone is 5. Dolomite is about 3. It is very useful. Einstein's Nobel Prize was for his discovery of the photoelectric effect. Relativity was still being dismissed by other scientists, which is normal. Scientists must be skeptical.

Scientists must be skeptical. Skepticism is also a very useful tool for anyone, and I highly encourage it, as well as critical thinking skills.

Go look at those people on the Republican thread. They behave like angry children at best, and like speaking snakes at their worst.

I'm trying to be open. Don't attack me. Help me.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Jun 21, 2013 - 07:45am PT
The problem with the neuroscience backlash...

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/06/the-problem-with-the-neuroscience-backlash.html
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 21, 2013 - 07:49am PT
I want to take Boot Flake into space and play catch with Werner. You could push the thing. The only problem is that it would also force you backwards at a far higher rate.

Hmmm. Scientists. If Werner and I were playing catch with Boot Flake, would it also push us so far apart that the "catch" would be a one time one way affair?

It seems so.

I love the burning smell of Ammonium Perchlorate in the morning. Some day I need to come clean about my old passion of designing high powered rockets. These aren't little science class rockets. The motors used to require a LEUP from the ATF, and one the size of say a Stinger Missile was not uncommon to see.

Some people waste time playing solitaire on their computer. I used to constantly play chess while talking on the phone, and later I tweaked rocket design on a simulation program too much. I set three altitude records. They have now been broken, of course, but understanding transonic drag and the like is super fun.
MH2

climber
Jun 21, 2013 - 08:33am PT
There is so much information locked up in rocks.



That deserves a frame of its own. Thanks, BASE.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 21, 2013 - 08:54am PT
As a reductionist, you are honor bound to reduce things to the basics - quantum

This is how you parse things into silly arguments, JL.

Then as a spiritualist, you must make the case for the spirit.

Reductionism is only one tool. You must always keep the big picture in mind unless you are a physicist looking for something very new.

Reductionism is just a tool for looking at a complex system and trying to be a detective. If you saw a complex system, how would you go about understanding it? Would you examine components or would you sit in the Lotus position and Grok it?

If I want a bridge built, I go to an engineer. If I want to drill a well in the right place and the correct depth, call me. If I want a faster computer, I approach a materials scientist.

If I want to develop an invisible force field of shakra energy, I go to you.

You use all of this science and technical knowledge on the one hand, but you dismiss it in a sneering way, openly using weasel words and other rhetorical no-no's.

Look man. The mind is what the brain does, to borrow a quote from that excellent (and short) New Yorker article that HFCS just posted.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Jun 21, 2013 - 10:16am PT
Jogill: A video proves something to you? Really? (I don't admire your standards for evidence and reasoning.)

Oh for heaven's sake, lighten up MileL! Do I come back at you every time you make a statement about science and truth that sounds as if it's coming from another galaxy? When you denigrate scientific inquiries or say that every PhD student feels they are frauds? We should find common ground with the utterly fraudulent crap that comes out of the far east concerning the mystical uses of energy in the martial arts or yoga. Remember the "levitation" of yogis, bouncing off their bed springs, or the incredible power of the mind as demonstrated when a "master" made a whole army of men collapse as they rushed him? It would be easy to draw comparisons with various other asian practices, like zen . . . but I would not do that.

This video is hilarious, as are similar ones that have cropped up. Loosen up and enjoy it!
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 21, 2013 - 11:11am PT
If you saw a complex system, how would you go about understanding it? Would you examine components or would you sit in the Lotus position and Grok it?
---


The fuuny thing is that in trying to lampoon self reflection, you provide the solution in a sense, though it sure sounds silly the way you say it. If you were trying to find out what was going on INSIDE a concert hall, would you study the floor plan, or go inside and see for yourself? Tastes differ. I always picture in my mind some poor dufus witgh fifty pens in his pocket scrutinizing the out side of the concert hall and scribbling in a notebook when the door is right there and it's open.



If I want to develop an invisible force field of shakra energy, I go to you.
-

Why me, BASE? I don't know a thing about shakra energy? What is it? Why would I know?
--


Look man. The mind is what the brain does, to borrow a quote from that excellent (and short) New Yorker article that HFCS just posted.
-

That quote is one of the howlers of the faux consciousness work people are engaged in (which is very exacting work on objective functioning, but is NOT consciousness work.)

We've already gone over all of this and A is what B "does" is not a paradigm that would ever fly in scientific circles. Like saying gravity is what falling rocks do. It doesn't tell us anything other than the poor rube who said it is holding onto "the brain creates consciousness" but he can't say how.

What's more, I asked you two very straighforward questions and you ducked them entirely. And reductionism is not just a tool to those who believe it. It is a law. In your mind, BASE, when isn't reductionism valid, and why? Where does it break down, and why?

The other thing is this huge myth that some totally objective view of consciousnss or mind is going to explain it. For starters, there is no such thing as a human and purly objective view of mind and experience.


JL
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 21, 2013 - 12:19pm PT
The way I see it this thread is the White Lab Coats versus the Paisely Nehru Jackets ( with a feather boa loosely wrapped about the neck)
MH2

climber
Jun 21, 2013 - 02:55pm PT
I always picture in my mind some poor dufus witgh fifty pens in his pocket scrutinizing the out side of the concert hall and scribbling in a notebook when the door is right there and it's open.


Maybe the dufus is an architect? Maybe deaf? Why do we attempt to denigrate one another? Why not just respond to what people say rather than embellish? Perhaps it is the writer in you being colorful? Humor is okay, but it is better if we laugh with each other and not at each other.

Funny how everyone is a poor dufus to someone. I remember a program on people who had suffered severe brain injury. One of them said, "We like to go places and make fun of normal people." That was funny.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 21, 2013 - 03:26pm PT
It’s amusing to me because as a person who grew up as a Stonemaster, the silly characterizations people use to lampoon wuwu worshipers with Neuru coats are the same that we used to laugh about. In the same vein we would tease the “L 7” (square) science types “who couldn’t get laid with a $1,000 bill.” It was all fun and games and nobody took it seriously, especially those of us in traditions that more resembled boot camp (Renzai Zen) then cocking around in a hot tub up in Carmel. So when Trotter breaks out his absurd generalizations about the subjective work, and lumps me of all people in with Tiny Tim and the Right Reverend Moon, I privately bust out laughing.

But an even greater ignorance is shown toward the imagined way we go about the work, and ultimately, the utter mythology about humans conducting a purely objective evaluation of our subjective lives.

Some people probably get into subjective work to see ghosts and flash energy fields and look at past lives. Most of us, however, are trying to find out what is true about our lives, the bedrock, having long ago realized that looking inside is the only way. On the other hand we have people claiming to be investigating experience “objectively,” and when they are told they are, in fact, examining objective functioning, they balk and say all kinds of silly and impossible things. At the heart of it is a profound ignorance of what is actually happening, pivoting on the illusion that as human beings, they can and should divorce the realities of consciousness and sentience from their work. This is what Bohr and other faced with their Copenhagen definition of QM . Einstein's comments "I, at any rate, am convinced that He (God) does not throw dice," and "Do you really think the moon isn't there if you aren't looking at it?" exemplify this. Bohr, in response, said, "Einstein, don't tell God what to do."

But the point is made clear with a few simply thought experiments. Many on this thread consider consciousness to be entirely understandable in purely determined and mechanistic terms. Even when chaotic and random factors enter the equation, people believe they can after-the-fact reverse engineer those factors, once known, to betray a mechanistic causal progression – impossible to know beforehand, but mechanistically understood en toto later on.

This, and other factors, has led people to believe that we can understand consciousness mechanically, or objectively, as an object, or a thing, and do it in a way entirely devoid of subjectivity. Put differently, the objective can “know” and understand the subjective, top to bottom, drawing from no subjective well at all.

Not so fast . . .

To see the folly of this, and to get at the heart of what the Copenhagen folks were, in part, saying, imagine a machine that was fifty times more robust than a human brain. It could examine anything and tell you all about it. Of course as a machine, and not a living thing, it would have no experiential, subjective life (and if it did, it would no longer be objective, but a “subject” of its own experience). But for our purposes, our machine is just a machine, and has no information whatsoever in its data banks about experience and qualia and subjective reality whatsoever, and is only skilled at describing mechanical processes.

Now give that machine a human brain and let it run the numbers. No doubt it would run some incredible evaluations, but none of that data would betray sentience because there is nothing in that data that suggests anything but mechanical functioning itself. Nothing, in any of those flickering neurons shows a flair for Neuru coats, stardust, lybacks, hussies, wankers, engineers, or Yanke Doodle riding on a pony. That’s because the subjective is simply not accessible nor yet comprehensible to a purely objective machine. If a machine’s only reference is mechanical functioning, that is all it can ever know. It would not be able to even come up with – Mind is what Matter Does, because it would not grasp that mind, in experiential terms, was there at all.

JL
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