Physical Reality

What can science tell us about evidence based reality

What is physical reality and what is it made of? Is it not made of non-physical, theoretical particles? Energy/particles that have yet to be explained? But what exactly is a particle? Nobody knows, and the answer is a charming way of saying so (wink)

Illustration of space becoming form by excitation/vibration

Where is the dividing line between theoretical “particles”, waves, and energy that make up physical reality? What level of magnification is acceptable as reality? What we see as the building blocks of life and matter are unreal, non-existent, indescribable ideas of how non-intelligent space manifests as forms. They are words about ideas about how form expands out of space.

According to quantum field theory, particles are excitations of quantum fields that fill all of space. (1) It’s the standard deep answer of people in the know: A clever way of saying I don’t. Particles are “representations” of “symmetry groups,” Hence, particles are theoretical junctions in an excited or energized field that manifests as form. Now form we can relate to, but it isn’t made of any-thing—It is an illustration of nothing (no-thing).

It is a very grey area between math and mysticism. “In positing the existence of these more fundamental fields, quantum field theory stripped particles of status, characterizing them as mere bits of energy that set fields sloshing. Yet despite the ontological baggage of omnipresent fields, quantum field theory became the lingua franca of particle physics because it allows researchers to calculate with extreme precision what happens when particles (phenomenon) interact—particle interactions being, at base level, the way the world is put together. But keep in mind, the particle isn’t real “stuff” as we perceive “real” to be when it shows up to the five senses as form.

So remember—when you see the word particle, that is just to assist the mental imagery. It’s not an actual thing.

Particles can mostly be described as what they are not. Not this, not that, but by a series of negations we form the gist, grasp the idea, comprehend what the physics is trying to tell us. “Chip away the stone to reveal the image”, but that’s not what it is either.

“The correspondence between elementary particles and representations is so neat that some physicists equate them. Others see this as a conflation. “The representation is not the particle; the representation is a way of describing certain properties of the [imaginary] particle,” said Sheldon Glashow, a Nobel Prize-winning particle theorist and professor emeritus at Harvard University and Boston University. “Let us not confuse the two.”

What Is a Particle? Quanta Magazine

So when we talk about the real world, what exactly does that mean?

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs escaping the faith trap.

304 thoughts on “Physical Reality”

            1. It certainly is a lot of coincidence. Including the spiral in nature and the universe contained in a grain of sand. Copies, or that’s just how life works. Do you know if any life forms that don’t resemble any of this?

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            2. It certainly is a lot of coincidence. Including the spiral in nature and the universe contained in a grain of sand.

              I think maybe Blake was referring to the state of mystical transcendence that dissolves all individuation rather than claiming there’s a physical or conceptual resemblance between a grain of sand and a universe.

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            3. Really it makes perfect sense

              Especially if you fancy wearing galaxies as love beads.

              But if you’re trying to prop up the dominant mathematical model of gravitation with threads of imaginary dark matter connecting galaxies then it makes perfect nonsense.

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      1. Fuck me! It’s a solar system!

        When I was about four years old an aunt bought me a ‘science for children’ book that suggested atoms could be tiny solar systems, which were in turn made up of even tinier solar systems.

        Hopefully educational books for kids are vetted better these days.

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  1. Yeah.

    I guess my interpretation is based on the difference between Advaitist maya – generally translated as ‘illusion’ – and the radical monism of Kashmir Shaivism that insists non-dualism and dualism are equally real.

    According to KS our perceptions of dualist reality may be illusory, but dualist reality isn’t. According to Advaita Vedanta both the snake and the rope are unreal. The only reality is Brahman.

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  2. Sigh. Your European Imperialist spell checker is denying the existence of Indigenous culture and substituting the language of the colonisers. I’m not surprised.

    Or is it the universe trying to tell you something? After all, créé means ‘created’.

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    1. But créé is the language of the first conquerers of Canada, and I am in part the future of the meetings of those cultures, being Métis. I am conquerer and conquered. In the middle. Always on the middle path. Walking the tightrope. Reaching hands into both worlds. Seizing (wait for it, Jim) absolutely nothing.

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  3. I think you’re missing the point now tildeb.

    Let’s grant that it reflects something independent of us. I don’t think we can prove that as by definition we don’t have access to anything independent of us, but I think it’s probably true in the limited, dualistic sense you mean anyway. But that doesn’t mean we perceive the reality of it.

    Adi Shankara uses the metaphor of a rope on a forest trail.
    You’re walking down a trail deep in the forest where you don’t expect to see a rope. But evolution has provided you with a tendency to see something under such circumstances. So what you initially see is a snake and it gives you a nasty scare. There really is something there independent of you, but what you perceive is in no way independent of you. And being what you are in no way prepares you to perceive the reality of it. It prepares you to avoid being bitten by a snake.

    I’d suggest everything we perceive and conceive of as reality is of a similar nature. We see, think and conceptualise of it in accordance with what the universe has prepared us for, not what it is. And because we’re not prepared for dealing with phenomena that’s very big, very small or moving very quickly relative to us quantum mechanics and relativity are not only deeply counterintuitive, they confound our senses, our thinking and the tools we’ve developed to try to make sense of things. But those are just particularly stark examples. I’d suggest there’s nothing we perceive or conceive of in its ‘real’ form.

    Kant called ‘reality’ das Ding an sich, the thing-in-itself, something always inaccessible to both our senses and our cognition – both of which are self-conditioned. They don’t reflect reality, they are what you make of reality, or, more accurately, what you make of the tiny fraction of it you’ve evolved to deal with.

    The reason I don’t hubristically call my conception of external reality ‘knowledge’ of it is because I don’t ‘know’ it is. Neither does science. It’s always provisional and subject to radical updates. Scientists once ‘knew’ phlogiston was the basis of combustion. In the late 19th century it ‘knew’ scientific theorising was almost complete – only a couple of minor issues relating to dark body radiation and the photoelectric effect remained to be cleared up. Now many scientists ‘know’ we’re on the verge of reconciling QM and relativity into a ‘theory of everything’ and that the mind is the brain. I’d suggest we know no such things and that we’re constructing a ‘reality’ out of what remains a miniscule, misinterpreted fraction of what exists and what’s happening that we’re filling in with self-constructed details in order to make what to us seems a coherent and complete ‘reality’, in much the same way we construct dream realities from scattered firings of neurons during REM sleep.

    I think there’s many other mental phenomena that hint at what we’re doing too. Such as the odd way we can follow stories (e.g. movies) even when a cut skips over a large stretch of time. We don’t go “Hey, they were in a living room at night talking about their love lives and the next second they’re throwing a frisbee in a park in broad daylight. WTF?”. We fill in gaps to construct a coherent ‘reality’ without even thinking about it. Mostly we don’t even notice the gaps are there any more than we notice the blind spots in our field of vision. And we sure don’t look at the TV screen and perceive a shit load of coloured pixels glowing with varying intensity over fractions of a second – though that’s a deeper form of ‘reality’ than people throwing frisbees in a park. We’re constantly ignoring stuff that’s of no use to us and filling in stuff that isn’t there. That’s our ‘reality’ and it’s very different to what exists outside of us.

    Elucidating the Illusion #2: The Magic Eye

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  4. You Asked — “So when we talk about the real world, what exactly does that mean?”

    My Answer — For me it means helping the people who mean the most to me and trying to enjoy any free time in between.

    It also means Pizza and good music.

    From time to time it may also mean seeing or experiencing something unbelievable but still mostly good food 😀

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    1. Not so sure about pizza, but rock’n’roll is definitely the pinnacle of human progress. Sadly, we’ve been degenerating in recent decades.

      BTW, if you want a real music challenge do a youtube search on Tanya Tagaq, the lady doing backing vocals on the Buffy Sainte Marie track I posted. Buffy’s a good representative of some aspects of certain Native American cultures but Tanya’s the real deal. Angakkuq. She has access to modes of reality science doesn’t. Though their homelands are mostly white, Inuit spiritwalkers follow some dark paths.

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          1. BTW, Mari Boine is Sámi from Norway. Tanya Tagaq is Inuit from Canada. You can see significant cultural similarities in music, psychedelic mediated shamanism, social organisation and lifestyle among people living from Arctic Norway across the Siberian tundra to the Mongolian steppes and the American North, despite them having had no substantial contact with each other for thousands of years.

            Could it be ‘progress’ is a symptom of diseased cultures fumbling desperately for an understanding of reality in hope of finding a cure for their own emptiness while those more comfortable with mystery and mortality achieve a much healthier relationship with it and have little need for change?

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  5. I just had a stupid thought. If I saw a raging tiger coming at me, or saw some weirdo aiming a gun at me, squeezing the trigger, can I just believe the tiger or the bullet do not exist! Will they disappear because I know they are nothing? I don’t think so. Both those events are outside my knowledge or sense of reality, I had never had either happen to me. But I don’t need previous experience to know I could well die, certainly be greatly injured, if I ignored the threat to my being. How does knowing quantum theory save me? It does not, it cannot. The tiger or the bullet are more real than believing in nothing, even illusion.
    You know me, I am not a reality kind of guy, but as long as I exist upon this earth as I presently do, I have to believe my senses.
    Please feel free to comment.

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    1. You Asked — “can I just believe the tiger or the bullet do not exist!”

      My Response — Yes… you can believe anything you want but the particles will still behave the way that they behave based on probability. The material at the smallest levels is arguably imaginary but when you zoom out they are very much real (at least from our perspective).

      In short, you get shot (or eaten) because of a small bit of math at the end of the equation that tells probability to favor mass over energy.

      But there’s the rub because if I shoot you millions of times we are going to witness (on rare occasions) the bullet passing through you. The math only “favors” mass, not obeys it. It’s not a law it’s a preference.

      You Stated — “How does knowing quantum theory save me?”

      My Response — lots of ways. Nanoparticle technology is making breakthroughs in medicine that are almost magical. You will soon be able to treat yourself at home for basic procedures using it.

      But I get your point, how can you use quantum theory like a person would use invisible power.

      I believe the key to that is probability. It would seem that the human mind can change the math a bit when it comes to probability but we don’t fully know why or how. It has something to do with what that mind believes as opposed to what others consider to be written in stone.

      This might help explain it:

      Glitch (Part 6 of 6) Can The Rules Of Your Reality Be Changed Any Time You Want?

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    2. Well rawgod, could I suggest that if you see a tiger charging towards you in Canada you’re probably either dreaming or having a psychotic break. If it’s the latter and you react as if you’re being attacked by a tiger you’re more likely to be injured than if you stand there doing nothing – possibly by armed police who’ve been called to deal with the dude running down the street screaming about tigers.

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      1. You are being too literal, sir. I wrote the comment first with a raging bear, but bears don’t often rage unless one is too stupid to understand them. A tiger, being uncommon in Canada, made for a much more exciting assailant. Whichever, I don’t plan on ever being attacked by a raging wild animal. I was attacked by a raging dog as a teen. That taught me to avoid raging anythings.

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        1. The last raging animal that attacked me was a rabbit. No, I’m not living in a ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ inspired delusion. I have a very tetchy pet who doesn’t like being taken to the vet.

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            1. I’d probably have to call a new vet every time. The vet I take her to has trouble getting assistants to work with my rabbit more than once. She’s also taken chunks out of several of my friends and every other rabbit she’s met. My neighbour’s dog once approached her in greeting but was sensible enough to back off fast when she bristled and hunkered down to pounce.

              She’s a fluffy piece of work, that one.

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  6. Pass a law that science can only be discussed in Cree. No offense to my indigenous brothers and sisters, but in Cree one can only discuss what is right there in front of them, or what is believed to happen in the spirit world. They need no knowledge of atoms or photons or whatever. Makes life a whole lot easier to navigate.

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    1. You Stated — “in Cree one can only discuss what is right there in front of them, or what is believed to happen in the spirit world. They need no knowledge of atoms or photons or whatever. Makes life a whole lot easier to navigate.”

      My Response — For some but not for others. I need knowledge of those things unseen so I can have computer networks, electron microscopes, lasers, and so on.

      Why settle for what is seen when most of what is happening around you is invisible.

      You can only navigate so far in the dark 😉

      Just saying

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      1. I have no idea how this comment is about to find its way to you. Yet it does. Some things you just have to take on faith, lol. IF we each had to know how to use the electrons in a wire, or the paths of energy through the air, cell phones and online computers would never have become so common on this planet. (Mind you, even they screw up.) The dark is in the dark, yet somehow we find our way to the toilet every nigh. My ex-wife didn’t even have to wake up to make the journey. Many were the times I scared the shit out of her by abruptly waking her up.
        The weirdest one, though, was after listening to her talk to someone on the phone for over an hour one nigh, tI asked her who she was speaking to next morning. Her response, “What phone call ?” and she really had no idea.

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        1. You Stated — “I have no idea how this comment is about to find its way to you. Yet it does. Some things you just have to take on faith, lol.”

          My Response — Isn’t that my line Oo

          I get what you mean lol

          You Stated — “The dark is in the dark, yet somehow we find our way to the toilet”

          My Response — But don’t forget how people would often die walking from home to home at night back before electricity.

          Knowledge is not just power, it’s safety

          Just saying

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    1. It’s a pretty easy concept. We find particles aren’t actual stuff, but formations in a field of energy. What looks like a solid object is merely bundles of hypothetical particles which equals form. It’s very Buddhic in nature—everything is an illusion of consciousness and is not what it appears to be by the senses.

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      1. Ya’ know, Jim … all that you say may be true. But I think I’ll just continue to touch and feel and surround myself with the “actual stuff.” 😄

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        1. We all have different interest. That’s what makes life worthwhile. However, if everyone had that attitude we’d be driving Studebakers or surrounding ourself with wagons. 😁

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          1. WHAT??!? I don’t think my comment has anything to do with Progress, if that is your point … ??? I’m merely stating that, in this instance, I’m just not into analyzing what is “stuff” and what isn’t. I’m content to simply accept what is. If that’s a bad thing, then so be it.

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            1. I don’t think it’s bad at all. Sorry if it came over that way. I have no problem living with less progress anyway, if that were possible.

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  7. It is a very grey area between math and mysticism.

    No it isn’t.

    The only thing quantum mechanics and mysticism offer each other is both teach us to be humbly aware of the limitations of our language and ontology and to avoid extending the metaphors we use to describe the world beyond their utility.

    BTW, congratulations on spelling ‘grey’ correctly. I’m told you North Americans are impaired that way.

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    1. Even physicist are conflating the particle with the definition. I’d say the two parallels are so easy to recognize that it’s pretty willful to not see it’s similarities.
      I don’t have an agenda here but to ask if their are answers. Even Tildeb has stated that the barriers of language prevent adequate explanations. Does that sound familiar to you?

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      1. I recognise your post acknowledges that problem. But the sentence I highlighted plays to the notion giving rise to quantum mysticism – the idea that quantum physics and mysticism either overlap or exist on a continuum by which each validates and confirms the other.

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    2. From Canada, which uses the Queen’s English: When talking about the colour of hair, either human or horse, we use “gray.” In most other usages “grey” is the preference. I’ve never noticed that Americans are impaired, but I don’t come across that many people ever using any form of gray or grey for anything.

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        1. I would love to give it back to her. I’ll trade for all the artifacts that were stolen from the indigenous peoples of Canada and the States. Another l’offense of colonialism. But, hey, we gotta use some kind of language. English is easier to learn than Cree. No offence meant to anyone who is Créé.

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            1. Sorry for the accents in Créé above, or even here, my Spelchek seems to love throwing in accents for no particular reason. Cree. I have to rewrite it letter by letter for Créé not to have accents. WTF?

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  8. I think you’re veering into the swamps of quantum mysticism again jim.

    I’m an anti-realist, but that’s not the same as saying I don’t believe there’s an objective physical reality – merely that we don’t have the wherewithal to perceive it directly or describe it accurately. Why would we? How would that help us to survive and reproduce?

    As with relativity, quantum physics attempts to examine things outside the scale of events it was important for our ancestors to interact with in order to survive. So it’s unsurprising our senses and thinking aren’t much use to us here. The wave-particle paradox doesn’t reflect some sort of limitation of what reality is, it’s a limitation of how we model it. Quantum phenomena are neither waves nor particles – which are concepts that come from our classical physics understanding of macro-scale events – so attempting to shoehorn them into categories we think we can understand fails. It’s similar to someone from a non-technological society trying to understand whether a robot is a an animal, vegetable or mineral. He’d get different answers according to how he tried to measure it.

    So the fact our models don’t coherently represent real particles in no way suggests particles aren’t real things. Just that they aren’t really what we understand by the word ‘particle’.

    “Physics is not about how the world is, it is about what we can say about the world.” – Niels Bohr (who, despite what some commentators have claimed, never subscribed to quantum mysticism)

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    1. I’m not veering anywhere, simply curious how this is explainable. Physics can’t explain it and they admit it. Arguably the smartest and most creative minds in the world are stumped. Change a few words around and you could just as easily exchange Ramana Maharishi’s claims with that of particle physics. But even if the world were a projection of our consciousness, I think that would be something discoverable as part of the natural world.
      ”merely that we don’t have the wherewithal to perceive it directly or describe it accurately”. Yet we evolved or emerged from a system we can’t comprehend? Makes little sense to me. All these things that are hidden from view that have seemingly no bearing on us, are us, have no effect on our way of life. Sounds like what is sought is the seeker, the seeker is the sought. There is nothing outside our singularity to compare against. It’s all one thing.

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      1. In science, it’s perfectly acceptable to be honest and say, “I don’t know.” This is not to say, “Physics can’t explain it and they admit it. Arguably the smartest and most creative minds in the world are stumped.”

        It means right now they’re stumped. But that’s exactly why people do science! They like the challenge of going from “I don’t know” to “Here’s an explanation that seems to make sense out of this complicated reality AND here are the applications, therapies, and technologies that suggest this explanation has merit, has increased likelihood to be correct.

        But you go further than the creative minds you reference and say the field of physics “CAN’T” explain it…. as if it’s too mystical to EVER explain it or that science is therefore the wrong tool, the wrong method. That’s a huge difference you are not recognizing.

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      2. “But even if the world were a projection of our consciousness, I think that would be something discoverable as part of the natural world.”

        Well, yeah. and we have very strong evidence that this claim doesn’t fit reality’s arbitration of it. We know reality is outside of the brains that perceive it. All kinds of reasons. You presume the claim does have merit… by changing a few words around! That ain’t science: that’s metaphysics, and we know enough that as a method of inquiry into reality it doesn’t produce applicable knowledge. Ever. (So far.)

        Nothing in the quantum world is what we can directly experience as a one-to-one event; rather, it’s a matter of scale. What we experience is relevant to our biology, so it’s not like the quantum world is ‘hidden’ from us because we have developed the science necessary to examine it. Just because we don’t have stock answers that fit a different scale of physics with which we ARE familiar on a one-to-one basis doesn’t mean as you presume that we can’t develop a better understanding of how quanta behaves at very large and small scales. That’s why science is a process (and variable conclusions drawn from that process that are subject to change) and not as you present as if a conclusion.

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        1. We know reality is outside of the brains that perceive it. All kinds of reasons.

          Would you please point out (preferably with refs) how we can know any such thing. A good place to start might be with your scientific refutation of solipsism. Or perhaps start at the even more fundamental level by showing how the brain – as opposed to the mind – can perceive anything.

          My computer has ‘sensory organs’ (such as its modem and mouse) that connect it with input outside of itself. It also has electronic components that can be observed in such a way as to reveal correlations between their activity and those outside stimuli. But I don’t kid myself that it perceives anything – even when I swear at it for failing to ‘respond’ in a way I wanted it to.

          I can know ontological models that posit an individual perceiver that entirely creates phenomenological reality are of little use to me despite (or perhaps because) it’s the only form of ‘reality’ directly accessible to me. But I can’t know reality exists outside of my own entirely subjective ‘knowledge’ of it. That would practically be a contradiction in terms.

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        2. tildeb, how else, except through the five senses, have you ever known ‘reality’ or the world?? and since through the senses the mind alone perceives the world… is the world other than the mind??

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            1. Tildeb, Isn’t science also compounding the problem? How would you even know what your senses are with all the clutter and influence telling us what is does and doesn’t mean?

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            2. hahah! and the information arriving from science, does that not come via the senses?? observing, hearing, looking, what is that?? does science ‘dream up’ its results?

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            3. You’re confusing the vehicle with the driver.

              Our senses are merely interchangeable pathways to our brains and they can be fooled. So we use a method so that we as drivers can test what whether or not our brains have interpreted accurately. Then we map. Then we apply the mapping in novel ways and see if it is still accurate in description. If so, great. Our map gets bigger and more detailed and more useful. If not, we know something isn’t mapped correctly and there could be a variety of reasons for this. But what matters is that this whole thing is an ongoing process of testing and retesting and evaluating and adjusting and interpreting and applying and not just a solidified conclusion. Conclusions alone are not a reflection on the method; they are fodder for further testing. And that’s where the really big test comes by way of applications. Does the vehicle following the map get you to this place in a predictable and reliant way or are you using the wrong map and getting hopelessly lost? In either case, it’s silly to insist that everything relies only on the specific individual vehicle, that the vehicle projects the map. There’s a lot more to it than that.

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            4. But we validate the ‘maps’ with our senses, and as you say they can be fooled. They’re particularly prone to being fooled by the sort of confirmation bias that comes from trusting the wrong map.

              Even worse, our ‘brains’ (as you naively insist on calling certain aspects of our minds) are prone to reifying metaphors and mistaking the map for the terrain – such as when we start thinking of our theories as ‘reality’.

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            5. *sigh*

              In the analogy, the map is knowledge, the driver is the brain, and the vehicle is the senses. When the map is applied by everyone everywhere all the time and it works for everyone everywhere all the time, THEN you have the kind of evidence that reality (I don’t care if you want to call it ‘terrain’) has arbitrated INDEPENDETLY of each driver (mind is what the brain does) that uses it, independently of each vehicle that travels using it (regardless of which sense or combination is used). That description of reality, that map, is shown by application to be accurate. That is what I call knowledge about reality.

              Reality cannot be a projection from a single mind (an ‘illusion’) when the application, therapy, or technology that incorporates this understanding works the same way, reliably and consistently, for everyone everywhere all the time (unless everyone everywhere is suffering from exactly the same delusion, which is hardly helpful or useful to presume except to theologians, metaphysicians, and woo-meisters who are trying to substitute some version of Oogity Boogity! and look oh so wise and deep. It makes no sense, and is of zero explanatory or practical value, to assume that that knowledge is not accurate enough as a description of what exists independently of one’s mind except to the ego of someone who wants to think they have overthrown knowledge and reality with a blurry word game and be the Master of All because, hey, All is but a projection, a mere illusion, extended from my mind over everything and everyone. Golly gee whiz, but aren’t I the All Powerful one, the Creator of the Universe, donchaknow! Now pass me some water because I’m thirsty.

              And that’s why I say the person who disagrees that that map (that knowledge tested and found to be accurate and descriptive and useful beyond one’s self) describes an independent reality is obligated to come up with a different explanation of WHY that singular map, that singular knowledge, when applied works for everyone everywhere all the time. That’s the difference between believing in delusion and believing in reality; reality has earned our respect.

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            6. (mind is what the brain does)

              I wouldn’t presume to suggest what does your mind tildeb, but I know mine is ‘done’ by my entire physiology – not just one organ – along with all my phenomenological experiences, including social ones, and it’s own prior activities. My mind is done by my universe.

              My universe consists of all my sensory input and how I interpret it – including bodily sensations – my mental formations and my acts of recalling prior experience.
              My universe is done by my mind.

              I can use that to theorise about things that are independent of me, but by definition I can never know it. My knowledge is also a mental phenomena which is subject to error and distortion.

              So is a map that seems to work for many knowledge of the terrrain. Of course not. Maps have to be read by people and people read them differently. Some will read them as linear instructions (“Go straight for two blocks then turn left”) some will see them as graphical indicators of landmarks that can fine tune their innate navigation senses and others can’t read them at all, though they might be able to use them to ask others to tell them how to get somewhere. All of them can – with varying reliability – use them to reach a desired destination but that doesn’t mean it’s telling them all the same thing nor what it’s telling them constitutes ‘reality’.

              A better example would be to return to my metaphor of using Windows.

              Let’s say I have a Windows desktop and you have a Windows smartphone. Neither of us know what the other has but we know we’re both on Windows. And we both want to file a particular document.

              I might tell you “drag your document file to your quantum mechanics folder and I’ll do the same”. I might be using my mouse to instruct my OS to move an icon labeled with the Libre Office logo to an icon that appears as a yellow manila folder labelled “QM” while you use your finger on a touchscreen to tell yours to move an icon with the MS Word logo to a blue folder icon labeled “quant mech”. Neither of us would have moved a file. My action might have updated file pointers on a hard drive encoded under NTFS protocols while yours changed pointers on a microSD encoded in accordance with FAT32. We both assume we’ve done the same thing and got similar results though the underlying realities of it are completely different. If we tried to understand the underlying electronic reality of what we’d done and communicated that it would have taken far more effort and increased the risk of misunderstanding and error.

              I would suggest natural selection has done the same thing for us as Microsoft did. We don’t need to understand reality to get what we believe to be equivalent results and doing so wouldn’t help. In fact it would make it harder. Instead our minds fail to perceive or filters out unnecessary distractions in order to maximise focus on what we’re trying to achieve. It presents us with a pragmatic user interface tuned via millions of generations of organisms that didn’t take their eyes (or cilia or whatever) off the main game, which is survival and reproduction not understanding reality. To assume just because we talk about it the same way and get results we talk about the same way means we’re perceiving the same reality is a non-sequitur.

              And BTW, there are several robust rationalist arguments as to why we’re all living in a simulation – including the apparently ‘pixelised’ nature of physical reality suggested by quantum theory – so your claim it’s strictly for woo-meisters is a straw-man. Not that I have much use for the theory, but at least I know I can’t rationally refute it.
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_hypothesis
              Maybe that’s another good reason you should learn the meaning of ‘epistemology’ before tossing the word around – and perhaps even study it a bit.

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            7. Oh, and as for epistemology and ontology, I’m simply using the most basic version that highlights the two central features that differentiates them: ontology is the what, epistemology is the how. Yes, these fields as areas of study are much more in depth than this but the ‘what’ and ‘how’ captures the essential difference.

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            8. Funny how my philosophy courses failed to teach me “the most basic versions” of the meanings of ‘ontology’ and ‘epistemology’, instead teaching me meanings that seem completely incompatible with them.

              I guess university education has gone to the dogs.

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            9. Well, it reminds of the difference between the study of science as a method and the philosophy of science. One would be mistaken to think they are the same. The clue was me saying metaphysics is useless! And that’s where the philosophical teachings about ontology usually are learned.

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            10. Err, given that ‘ontology’ and ‘epistemology’ are philosophical terms I’m not sure how you can clarify them by trying to divorce them from philosophy.

              And, BTW, most of my tertiary qualifications are in sciences and math. But sometimes you have to dig down to the root assumptions that inform them to spot their inadequacies. Hence philosophy.

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            11. Sure. Onto-logy is from the Latin root for ‘being’, which is very much a metaphysical notion, examining the ‘nature’ of being (the nature of existence). For dozens of centuries we used such garbage metaphysical terms to justify assuming things had natures. They don’t. But by believing in the assumptions of natures, this method of thinking produced zero practical knowledge about reality. But it did create much confusion. Metaphysics remains a very useful tool for theologians and woo-meisters to create all kinds of explanatory models that incorporate the metaphysical assumptions as if true but no means to test their accuracy against reality’s arbitration except by claiming doing so is some kind of closed-mined intolerance or blasphemy. That is the same method, the same way of thinking – by assumption – for woo-meisters today. And that’s why I lump all of these together because all rely on the same broken method of thinking that we know does not produce knowledge about or insight into reality – and we can demonstrate this because the metaphysical method does not produce applications, therapies, and technologies based on these assumptions like things having natures that work for everyone everywhere all the time. It just creates… confusion, gullibility, and faith-based beliefs.

              In stark contrast, when what is examined comes from reality rather than from our assumptions and explanatory models based on what is are allowed to be tested and arbitrated by reality, we find a rich vein of knowledge that is applicable, that does further more insight and deepening understanding. When ontology is removed from its metaphysical root and replaced with its physical root, all of a sudden we have a method of thinking (methodological naturalism that works to produce knowledge about what is the case rather than what we believe is the case.

              So, sure, ontology and epistemology can lay claim to have come from philosophy’s metaphysical heyday (the Dark Ages) but pretending this historical link is still active and relevant today in science, in methodological naturalism, is straight up bullshit.

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            12. Hmm. Seems any dictionary you’d care to check is propagating straight up bullshit then.

              I think you’ll find epistemology goes back way past the Dark Ages at least as far as Classical Greece and has never had anything to do with metaphysics (and that ontology has often posed itself in opposition to metaphysics).

              Socratic wisdom (“I do not think that I know what I do not know” ) is pretty much the starting line for epistemological inquiry. Seems you’re starting with a big handicap.

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            13. Ahh, I see now there’s a madness to your methods.

              You have ‘methods’ but no values or meanings to give them any purpose.

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            14. Values and purpose are the field of theology and philosophy. These have zero usefulness in any method that tires to figure out how reality operates and create knowledge about it. In practice, such concerns tend to derail honest inquiry and amply supply all manner of imported morality as if magically equivalent or important. Inviting such concerns to the scientific table – like tolerating the drunken uncle at a family gathering – and then having to make allowances for these sensitivities is how failed methods of inquiry maintain life – producing faith-based beliefs up the wazoo – when they produce zero knowledge and no insight into reality to power applications, therapies and technologies that work for everyone everywhere all the time.

              So yea, I’m a big fan of methodological naturalism because unlike these other methods it works. Go figure.

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            15. What’s the point of accumulating knowledge if you have no values to guide its application or epistemological means of establishing its relationship with ‘reality’ or anything else?

              There’s an infinite amount of knowledge out there. You can see the universe in a grain of sand if you choose to look properly. And some of that knowledge – such as a child’s knowledge of how to use a lighter – may be better not having without values that could guide its use.

              So why accumulate knowledge for no reason beyond the accumulation of knowledge?
              Or do you agree with Lander that knowledge is power and you don’t want to limit yours with concerns about values and meaning?

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            16. For some reason that brings to mind the terrible tangle Sam Harris landed himself in when he espoused a ‘scientific’ basis for morality in The Moral Landscape.

              He had to start by dismissing thousands of years of moral philosophy to avoid addressing the well understood problems with the consequentialist framework he adopted. Then he had to avoid discussing any reasons for prioritising his own utilitarian value system as the ultimate justification for his moral judgements.

              I wasn’t terribly surprised when he came up with justifications for executing people because of what they think.

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            17. Wow. Did you ever misread Harris! His concern was with measurement (which means a compare and contrast metric) and not the absolutes that philosophers and theologians and metaphysicians convince themselves that reality is the fiction and fiction the reality.

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            18. Funny. Seems to me that he went a bit beyond measurement in The Moral Landscape and actually advocated a universalist framework informing action.

              He emphasised (very messed up) measurement as a means of pretending there was something objective and absolute in his own moral values (to the point where they’re not even his values but something inherent in the ‘laws’ of the universe). He was play-acting ‘science’ in an attempt to appropriate its authority. A typical authoritarian Scientism fan-boy who ultimately reached the point of justifying murder as ethical. It’s happened before. The enthusiasm of people like Harris for the eugenics and racial hygiene ‘sciences’ of the early 20th century provide a case in point.

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            19. I think the beauty of many of Harris’s arguments lie in their ability to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

              If there’s a belief that could ethically justify killing the people who hold it it’s gotta be that one.

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            20. See? the metric of measurement matters… even in ethics. That’s why it’s interesting to find the biological basis for making these kinds of evaluations (like the trolley problems).

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            21. The trolley problem is actually a good illustration of the intellectual bankruptcy of consequentialism. To make it work at all you have to strictly and artificially limit cause and effect to the events between seeing an out of control railway trolley and it killing one or more people, as well as to the single choice of whether or not to pull a switch (or in another variation, whether or not to toss a fat guy onto the tracks).

              The real world is nothing like that and cause and effect radiate out in all directions causing a near infinite series of consequences until extinguished by entropy (e.g. Hitler’s role in inflicting ‘Mamma Mia’ upon the world. I reckon that song is the V4 weapon.) So utilitarianism has no utility beyond incredibly narrow and artificial thought experiments. Or to reveal the sociopathic arrogance and stupidity of utilitarians.

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            22. To use your own belief that the brain does the mind to illustrate how a user interface that separates us from reality might have evolved.

              Our earliest ancestors were single celled organisms that ‘perceived’ their reality through means such as cili

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            23. Because the brain is a processing organ, it’s very easy to confuse the kinds of processing it does for a ‘thing’ (ie the mind, the subconscious, the ego, and so on) This framing creates the illusion that these are somehow separate from the organ itself or exist independently from it, or even survive after the organic processing stops working! But just as common is the reverse notion, that there is a barrier between ‘reality’ and what named ‘thing’ one presumes the brain does. You see the problem here: this framing is a boiled down version of dualism all over again (separation of mind from body). It’s an archaic framing developed during a time where we didn’t have much of an understanding of how was different than the what. This is the time where certain assumptions are made but not understood to be assumption, like ‘movement’ requires ‘agency’, things rise because they have properties of ‘air’ but fall because they have properties of ‘earth’ and so on. Dualism is flat out wrong and we know this because it’s an explanatory model that produces zero applications that work in reality. In other words, explanations that involve dualism yield zero knowledge. This is a pretty strong clue to reevaluate one’s framing and search out the assumptions that have led one into this useless metaphysical quagmire.

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            24. I broadly agree with most of what you’re saying there tildeb, but disagree that mind-brain monism in any way transcends dualism. In fact it falls into the same old trap of individualising one organ and separating it from the rest of the phenomenological universe and investing certain properties and activities entirely with it, rather than seeing them as reflective of relationships between the inherently empty nodes we perceive as ‘things’ – as per the non-dual metaphor of Indra’s Net.

              The consequences of holding fast to that misapprehension go well beyond the reductionist, incoherent and inherently dualist view that objects within our perceptual universe – brains – give rise to the entirety of our perceptual universe – minds.

              The dominant post-1970s view of the mind sciences – as propagated by DSM-III – is that all mental functions, therefore all mental dysfunctions, are attributable to electro-chemical activities in the brain, despite the fact that billions of dollars and millions of hours of research searching for neurological correlates of mental disorder have come up blank. OTOH there are strong correlations between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and mental disorders. But the prevailing dogma is so strong we primarily treat those disorders by fucking with neurotransmitter levels – flying in the face of the strong allostatic tendencies evolution has invested in them. ‘Early intervention’ is rarely seen as pre-emptively alleviating childhood trauma, rather it’s about ‘diagnosing’ prodromal mental disorders before their symptoms emerge and whacking them with pills that can have profound and poorly understood effects on developing minds.

              Because there’s no known physiological correlates of mental illness there’s no pathology tests that can confirm or deny them, so they’re defined symptomatically, primarily by asking people questions about their subjective mental states. If the answers don’t match the diagnostician’s presumption of what the problem is they’re dismissed as symptoms of ‘anosognosia’ – the lack of insight mentally ill people supposedly have into their own condition. So diagnosticians are free to accept or discard evidence in accordance with their own prejudice.

              What about objective measures?
              Well, since the 80s diagnoses of mental disorders have increased in line with increased prescriptions of psychiatric drugs. When pediatric SSRI prescriptions briefly dropped following the FDA black box warning they induced suicidality so too did youth suicides. But prescribing rates quickly recovered and so did the suicide rate.
              Of course correlation ain’t causality but the figures sure suggest there’s something seriously wrong with how we treat mental illness. There’s far more to it, including comparisons between countries with differing rates of antipsychotics prescriptions and differences in their respective recovery rates from psychotic illness.

              It’s tempting, if flippant, to say that if insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results then our mental health systems are barking mad. I think a fairer assessment would be it shows how far astray a ‘science’ can go if it starts from a flawed fundamental tenet, such as that the mind is produced by the brain.

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            25. I agree with much of what you criticize here. But when it comes to studying the brain, we are at the front end of this field. ‘We’ve only just begun….” It’s tough to investigate the working brain when it’s housed in flesh and blood essential to its highly complex and interrelated operation. So the standard approach is to operate by affects, by how symptoms are altered. Poke this part and see what happens, remove this part and see what function is lost, and so on. It’s a blunt and brutish approach that produces exactly what you’ve described.

              But notice that the chemical affects of screwing with neurotransmitters really does produce significant mental affects. It screws with the mind. Like you, I think this kind of ‘therapy’ is practiced because it causes something, and like you I think this hardly a ringing endorsement that it’s the right way of treating maladaptive thinking and behaving. So, again, I’ll shift to analogy to describe what I think is goin on.

              If we imagine the brain to be a farmer’s field being carved out of fertile ground (development over time – plasticity), then what we plant will produce affects. How we fertilize and irrigate it also matters (nurture and nature). It’s a complex, interrelated development that constantly changes over time. Our brains are always developing over time, non stop building and paring of neural connections even when (especially when) sleeping. It’s equivalent to constantly having this farmer’s field undergo changes, and so by analogy the ‘crop’ – our thoughts – depend on how we think, what the physical conditions are in which the crops arise.

              What crop is produced relies entirely on how it is has been seeded and then what is grown depends on how it is nurtured or damaged. How we think depends entirely on how it is formed in the brain but the brain is entirely dependent on how it functions.And functioning is a combination of many factors. Like the farmer tending to the field itself between harvesting crops, we tend to our brains both by training it how to think as well as what to produce. But the field is also subject to all kinds of other effects like weeds and temperature and all that stuff so it’s a combination of internal and external influences, a constant interplay. What we regularly produce, however, are thought patterns that usually use the most developed neural links – the most efficient – that produce the most patterned thoughts the most effortlessly. These are usually the most functional… producing behaviour that ‘works’ the best. But when maladaptive behaviour is the product, all the reasons for it from the brain side is still firmly in place. That’s where treatment need to be focused. Interfering with neurotransmitters is hardly going to change thinking patterns when the patterns, the field and everything it contains, are the real source that the crop is using to be produced. Cutting down or slash and burning the crop – like screwing with neurotransmitters that facilitates the production of thoughts – is not conducive to addressing the real problem.

              And this is why I think talk therapy remains the most effective therapy over time for the mind… but also understanding that sometimes immediate thought suppression by interfering with neurotransmitters is necessary when those thoughts turn to committing massive harm to respond to overwhelming threat delusion. Talk therapy really can alter the field of thought itself given enough time and effort, alter how and by what these thoughts, these crops, grow out of, lay down and support new furrows, new thought patterns, and so on. Time and effort usually involves much money… and pills are SO much cheaper. I get it. But the wrong fertilizer may cause effect but rarely the kind that helps fix problems. At best, medication is usually a holding pattern for controlling symptoms and sometimes this is enough.

              When it comes to the ‘mind’, you will know it by its ‘fruit’, by how thoughts define the thinking patterns behind them, and so learning how to change these patterns, when they do not produce ‘good’ fruit, so to speak really is a very important skill all of us can learn. That’s what ‘education’ is supposed to be about, learning how to think in a variety of productive ways. Unfortunately….

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            26. Can you curb mental illness by using “correct” thinking g processes?

              Don’t forget, mental illnesses are defined entirely by their symptoms and decided by a committee (the APA’s DSM Committee). They invariably incorporate moral assumptions (hence the status of homosexuality up until the 1970s and the old mental illness of nymphomania which has been since been supplanted by hypoactive sexual desire disorder – i.e. it’s now too little sex drive that’s the problem). Like therapies, mental health diagnostics are fad driven.

              So if a mental illness is defined as an incorrect thinking process (more often classified as mental disorders than illnesses – though the process of defining them is the same) then it can be cured by a correct one. The trick of course is to impose the correct one.

              The current popular therapy that comes closest to that is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which supposedly teaches people to become aware of their defective thoughts as they arise then derail them, typically by interruption and substitution with less defective ones. It has about the same success rate as medication or placebos.

              The emerging psychedelic therapies are a ‘meta’ version of that. You take a high enough dose to temporarily knock down the ego and with it a lot of the conceptions of self that might be causing the defective thoughts or preventing you from moving beyond them. The trick is to ‘fix’ the insights gained while in the egoless state – which tend to be ineffable – in a way that enables you to get beyond those self conceptions even after the drug has worn off. It works particularly well for PTSD, depression, anxiety and addiction. Not so well for psychotic illness.

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            27. So the first trick is to decide what’s real and what’s unreal using forced monism from a choice made with information that agrees with your personality (that are from where?) So we start with a faulty premise that defies reason. And In choosing that belief that the universe is strictly the mechanical version, strictly speaking, that consciousness is a product of geologic, emergent properties yet thoughts originated in the brain, we have an army of psychologists who mostly entered the field for personal reasons, decide based on current fads what is acceptable to conformity, while cautiously allowing room for religious belief as normal?

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            28. I think when they get ‘real’ (i.e. very rarely) most mental health practitioners would admit they’re promoting social ‘reality’. That’s why homosexuality was a disease when society had little tolerance for it. It’s also why you’ll almost always see them aligning with some sort of authority to impose values on often unwilling patients (and why they just can’t stay away from manipulation, mind-control and torture programs).

              Their social function isn’t really as healers but as enforcers. That’s why, uniquely among medical practitioners, they’re legally entitled to force their treatments upon unwilling adults. It’s also why they perpetrate human rights abuses at frequencies more comparable with police than with doctors. And why they’re often unclear as to whether their responsibility is to their patients or to protect others from their patients.

              My first science degree was a double major in physics and psychology. My fellow psychology students were overwhelmingly studying arts rather than science. Nearly all of them would initially come out with altruistic reasons for learning psychology when you first asked, but it generally didn’t take much probing to reveal their desire to control and manipulate others.

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            29. The answer depends entirely on what constitutes mental ‘illness’. That’s why I call it maladaptive behaviour. Addressing the root causes of maladaptive behaviour certainly involves altering thinking patterns. How that is done is a huge issue but, yes, this is the one of the lasting and non pharmaceutical ways I know of that can ‘curb’ the expression of what is called mental ‘illness’. That’s what ‘development’ means for many kids going from childhood mental health conditions to adulthood… but such change goes in both directions, too (schizophrenia comes to mind).

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            30. But notice that the chemical affects of screwing with neurotransmitters really does produce significant mental affects. It screws with the mind.

              Running strong electrical currents through the genitals also produces significant mental effects. Does that mean our minds are produced our balls? (Hmm, maybe not such a good example when I consider what happens to my thought processes when I see a hot looking woman).

              That’s the problem with the entire premise. The notion – encouraged by how post-Enlightenment science is generally done and by the need of mind ‘scientists’ to gain credibility for the claim they’re practicing medical science despite about a century of negligible improvements in mental health outcomes and a long series of discredited and often barbarous ‘therapies’ – that a first cause can somehow be fenced off and isolated within a vastly interconnected network of cause-effect sufficiently to say something like ‘the brain causes the mind’.

              The brain has superficial credibility as ‘the cause’ because as a sort of centralised switching node pretty much everything in an individual’s experience is gonna have some sort of impact in the brain. But it would be equally credible to call it the locus of effect instead. It has particular utility for secular rationalists resorting to the ‘non-God of the gaps’ for explanations because its complexity ensures there will always be somewhere mysterious to hide the cause of something like consciousness and suggest further research is all that’s needed to elucidate it. Well, a heck of a lot of further research has been sunk into locating mental illness in brains and so far all the gaps seem to be doing is sucking up research funding.

              Locating ‘mind’ in brain function is not only a category error, it’s entirely arbitrary. You can always find (or postulate) an earlier cause for anything. In the case of mental illness it makes a lot more sense to locate it in life events than in synaptic gaps. Other mental phenomena are the same. It makes more sense to ascribe the flavour of my dinner to how I cooked it than to neuronal activity that carries information about the some of its molecules. That’s why my mind is my entire universe, not just a mass of neurons in my skull.

              Because they’re looking for non-existent first causes, mind-brain monists routinely locate the ‘self’ in the brain and quickly fall into the trap of assuming agency arises there or acts through it. Despite their protestations to the contrary they keep slipping Cartesian dualism back into their models. That’s because they can objectify others and attribute their behaviour to fully deterministic factors but are unable to do it to themselves. It’s a similar error to the one that makes it pretty much impossible to imagine events after you’re dead, because you implicitly insert yourself as an observer. Mind-brain monism ultimately promotes the same sort of woo that causes many to believe in life after death.

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            31. BTW, I’d suggest that’s the reason you and other mind-brain monists end up in every decreasing circular logic until you disappear up your fundamental tenets.

              If you didn’t come up with stuff like “The brain drives the brain” you’d have to emerge from the brain in search of further causes, thereby undermining your insistence on the brain as the locus of self.

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            32. To use your belief that mind is done by brains to illustrate how we might have evolved a user interface that separates us from reality.

              Our earliest ancestors were single celled organisms that used analog interfaces such as cilia or pseudopods to interact with their environment, ‘sensing’ things mechanically or by passing molecules through cell membranes at receptor sites. At some point or another they agglomerated into colonies, perhaps in a similar manner to modern slime moulds or sea sponges, in which each had a specialised function to maintain the whole. These functions needed to be coordinated and chemical messengers were the likely media (some single celled colony organisms today use serotonin for that purpose). But as they became larger and more complex they required better integration, so nerve fibres were developed.

              Nerves don’t use analog communication, they’re binary digital. They’re either ‘on’ (firing) or ‘off’ (not firing). These networks of nerves became more complex, eventually developing specialised switching nodes such as ganglia and, eventually, brains.

              Brains too became increasingly complex and eventually took on the heavy lifting for integrating input from the senses and modeling what’s external to the organism. As we know from computers you can model quite a bit of complexity with binary switches. But can you perceive reality with them?

              Binary switches would inevitably produce pixelated models of reality. If you dig down far enough you’ll reach the limits of resolution and what represents a smooth curve will be revealed as a jagged line. What’s supposed to be a steady gradation will become a series of discrete jumps. Perceptions and concepts created with such a device will also be revealed to be made up of binary dualisms – light/dark, yes/no, bitter/sweet, right/wrong, good/evil, self/other – though the reality they’re representing may consist of no such things. The input of our later evolving senses would also be oscillatory by nature, such as light or sound waves, though our older senses – such as taste and smell – might retain their old analog interfaces of molecular transfer. As we reach the limits of our perceptions and conceptions ‘reality’ will appear more granular, as if it’s ultimately constructed of discrete particles or waves.

              Sound familiar?

              So you tell me tildeb, is our ‘reality’ something we perceive or deduce or something we create with the tools evolution has equipped us with?

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            33. It sounds to me like you’re arguing against yourself: the binary model for nerves indicates the need for external something to activate the binary model. But we also know the brain is more than capable of duplicating exactly the same results without any external stimuli! This matters because this is why it is very clear that it is not the senses that sense but the brain. The senses are merely different pathways to the sensory organ, which is the brain! The concern then becomes how well is the brain mapping the environment in which it is trying to operate. And so, once again, we find that application is needed for determining the quality of the mapping. It’s a two way street between the brain and the environment in which it is trying to operate; they are connected not so much by stuff as they are by supportive processes. That’s why I say the mind IS what the brain does: mind in this sense is a processing product – an emergent property, if you will – of the organic brain. Said another way, mind is a verb and not a noun.

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            34. I have never argued there’s nothing out there, just that it’s impossible to know that for sure or – if there is – to understand the reality of it.

              But we also know the brain is more than capable of duplicating exactly the same results without any external stimuli!

              If true that would be yet another argument against being certain there’s anything out there. But again you’re confusing the brain with the mind (while using dualist terms implying the brain is an entity that does things) and drawing conclusions from zero evidence. ‘We’ (i.e. you) know no such thing. You really need to get up to speed with epistemology tildeb.

              To know what you’re claiming you’d have to have a brain that receives no external stimuli and some way of reading what it’s doing. Even if mind-brain monism were true there’s no existing technology capable of that. The voxels used in brain scans are about 5 cubic millimetres, far too crude to get down to the level needed to know if it’s doing the same thing as a brain that receives stimuli.

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            35. More likely it’s the stomach. Most of your body is not designed to support the brain, but the brain developed to support all the little cilia, tubes, and you could just as easily argue those things developed the brain.

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            36. tildeb, ok. you think the driver is the brain.

              if ‘you’ are your brain (or in your brain) , then who is aware of your thoughts??

              you are thinking your thoughts… so, is the thought aware of itself?

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            37. ‘Itself’ is not a singular object but a complex interconnected system of processes and areas that communicates with ‘itself’ all the time. So, yes, in this way the ‘thought’ is very aware of ‘itself’.

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            38. tildeb, such cacophony i don’t believe even you buy it.
              you can’t even differentiate between yourself and your own thoughts.

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            39. I don’t know what you’re referring to when you say,”… yourself and your own thoughts.”

              Look, we know neurons are capable of near instant communication with each other through chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. We also know that the the brain then creates an internal representation – a map in my analogy – of our external world through highly complex chemical changes in this network. I call these changes “processes.” That IS what your brain is doing to create what we simplify down to ‘mind’ or ‘thoughts’. That’s what ‘thinking’ is: a process by which we produce what we describe as a mind or a thought. That is the ‘you’ that is carrying this out.

              We also know the brain communicates across hemispheres so that a single input or mapped thought can be treated in several ways by different parts or locales within the brain. So when you call a general understanding of all this a ‘cacophony’ and then accuse me of being unable to differentiate myself and my own thoughts, you are in fact recognizing that these terms are the words that make no sense as things, no sense to assume there IS a boundary between them (other than what is artificially imported into the understanding and then claimed to be things that in fact do not exist as things).

              Again, the mind is what the brain does. Into that description falls all these words like ‘yourself’ and ‘you’ and ‘thoughts’, all nouns that are really verbs. The nouns are linguistic shortcuts to describe what we’re talking about. Perhaps you don’t appreciate why this understanding about the brain and how it works matters so much when it comes to assuming dualism is true when, in fact, there is zero evidence to support this claim.

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            40. When you say dualism, what exactly or at what level are you referring? I’ve heard differing definitions and wonder what your take is on that.

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            41. meditation reveals the following grand errors
              1. the brain is not the mind. the brain is the radio. the mind is the transmitter.

              Tesla quote ““My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.” Nikola Tesla

              2. you are not your thoughts. thoughts are empty mind-formations that pass trough you much like clouds over the sky.

              the purpose of meditation is to develop a healthy detachment from the working of our minds, and realize the vastness which is actually our real self. our Beingness.

              have a lovely, thought-free day😁

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            42. ‘Itself’ is not a singular object but a complex interconnected system of processes and areas that communicates with ‘itself’ all the time. So, yes, in this way the ‘thought’ is very aware of ‘itself’.

              That’s the sort of tangled evasiveness mind-brain ‘monists’ usually land in.

              To Douglas Hofstadter consciousness is an infinitely recursive function. The self observing the self observing the self observing the self …

              To Antonio Damasio consciousness constantly skips from one neural structure to another, always ahead of its own attempts to observe itself.

              Though claiming to be monists they all believe in ‘subject’ and ‘object’, ‘self’ and ‘other’, but they play a pea-and-shell game with self so they never have to say what it is. If they did their whole mind-brain monism edifice would collapse.

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            43. Monism only works if you believe in it. Once you get beyond the comfort zones it falls apart pretty quickly

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            44. If you’re talking specifically mind-brain monism I think the problem is no-one really believes in it. At least not its proponents. The ones with poor abstract thinking skills might be able to tell themselves they believe it until they believe that by virtue of being unable to conceive of what they purport to believe in.

              It’s basically a workaround for physicalist determinists to enable them to pretend their belief system has a handle on the entire universe, so they can look down on those who don’t share it. So it’s predicated on notions of control and individual superiority that contradict determinism, and of a superior controller that contradicts monism. They want to have their ‘self’ – especially the ego – and eat it too by denying anyone has a self, including themselves. So they get incredibly tangled up with trying to occupy a superior ‘objective’ self while keeping it out of sight and calling it an object.

              The way it pans out in the mental health industry is that (many) practitioners start from the premise of mind-brain monism then insist mental illness isn’t stigmatising because it’s a disease of the brain, so it’s not your fault. Of course in a deterministic universe nothing is. But they believe mind and brain are the same. So you simultaneously have and are the disease. So much for stigma busting.

              Sure enough, researchers have found that viewpoint increases stigmatisation of the mentally ill, especially by mental health professionals.

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            45. In the great tradition of Hofstadter and Damasio we now have … tildeb!

              “The brain drives the brain driving the brain driving the brain …”.
              It’s brains all the way down!

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            46. I’ve been looking for an study in Cognitive Neuropsychology I read a few months back into why the assertion of mind-brain monism and brain-based explanations of thought and behaviour are so attractive to people who can’t cognitively overcome their innate assumptions of mind-brain dualism. Which, I guess, is why they keep slipping it back into their monist models while trying to hide it from everyone, including themselves.

              Looks like the full text HTML version previously on ‘Taylor & Francis Online’ has been taken down, leaving only the abstract. But I finally found a full text PDF for anyone who is interested.

              “The seductive allure of the brain: Dualism and lay perceptions of neuroscience” by Gwendolyn Sandoboe and Iris Berent.
              https://tinyurl.com/2p8hxdcv

              There’s also a fair bit of research around into why so many people are so easily gulled by neurobabble and brain imaging if anyone wants any links. There’s a reason I call my blog ‘Neurodrooling’.

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            47. I thought – given my criticism of Hofstadter, Damasio and tildeb – the introductory paragraph of Sandoboe and Berent was fairly pertinent. (emphasis mine)

              1. Introduction: The seductive allure of neuroscience
              When laypeople evaluate explanations of behaviour, they tend to place undue weight on the brain. In the first systematic investigation of this phenomenon, Weisberg and colleagues (Weisberg et al., 2008) asked laypeople to rate their satisfaction with paired explanations of psychological phenomena (e.g., the “curse of knowledge”). One explanation detailed a cognitive mechanism (e.g., people mistakenly project their own knowledge onto others), without mentioning the brain; the matched neuroscience explanation was identical in all respects, except for the addition of irrelevant neuroscience details (e.g., “areas in the frontal lobe”). Participants rated neuroscience explanations to be more satisfying. In fact, laypeople preferred the explanations with neuroscience even when their logic was circular. Crucially, neuroscience experts (graduate, postdoctoral and faculty researchers) showed no such preference, confirming that the neuroscience explanations were no more informative. Accordingly, Weisberg et al. (2008) dubbed this phenomenon the “Seductive Allure of Neuroscience Explanations”; here we refer to it as the SAN effect.

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            48. By all means, open up a new discipline that studies all the evidence for mind separate from the brain. Good luck with that. It’s already fully covered by 50,000 religions and all kinds of superstitious nonsense. And how’s that working out producing applications, therapies, and technologies that work? Right. An absolute failure. A pretty good reason for that result might just be that the belief in dualism is simply that: a misguided belief.

              So how might we find out? Well, golly gee whiz, how about some evidence?

              This a typical reality-denying tactic, to create a term called ‘monism’ as if appreciating the overwhelming evidence for mind is what the brain does is all of a sudden an equivalent belief to dualism (much the same way atheism is coined just another religious belief, or evolution si just another religious belief like creationism). This word gamne is a tactic of deceit and deception.

              Show the overwhelming compelling scientifically valid evidence for mind separate from brain. That’s your task… if you’re going to stick with this tactic to create what currently amounts to an obvious false equivalency. Do the hard science. Demonstrate its validity. Apply it in practical ways and show how it works. In the meantime, all the rest of this vilification of good science is just word games, denialism, and woo.

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            49. By all means, open up a new discipline that studies all the evidence for mind separate from the brain

              I doubt you’re deliberately trying to create a strawman here tildeb. Just that you’re incapable of the nuanced thinking required to understand my repeated assertions that mind arises from everything in the phenomenological universe, including brains. You can’t even extend your understanding of ‘dualism’ beyond mind-brain dualism.

              This a typical reality-denying tactic, to create a term called ‘monism’

              I’m afraid your ignorance is letting you down again. I created no such term. ‘Mind-brain monism’ is a description coined long ago by its proponents to refer to exactly what you claim to believe – that the mind is entirely explainable by the brain, whether through identity or emergence – though technically it could also refer to the belief that the brain is entirely a function of the mind. I agree with the latter semantically, in that ‘brain’ as a concept would have no meaning without mind, but I don’t take the position there’s no reality giving rise to what we call brains and that they’re entirely figments of mind. Just that we neither perceive nor conceive of that reality. Instead we create a simplified, instrumentalised representation of it with our minds.

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            50. Dualism here was used as a word to describe the historical divide in metaphysics between two separate entities: the body and the mind. The body includes the brain. That there really, really, really is a divide and that everything is, in fact, mind. Then you introduce this as ‘monism’ as if there’s only mind and play a little game that the mind is what the brain does means the brain thinking about the brain thinking about the brain thinking about the brain and call this tildeb’s and other believers’ circular reasoning… as if it were an infinite regress and therefore patently idiotic but than monism is a much better explanatory model.

              So I called you on it.

              I suggest if it’s a better explanatory model than the mind is what the brain does (for which there is overwhelming and compelling evidence in reality), the put your money where your mouth is and create a discipline to show us the compelling evidence that not only supports ‘everything is mind’ as a better explanatory model but ALSO produces applications, therapies, and technologies that work AT LEAST as well for everyone everywhere all the time for us who do not ‘believe’ you’re on to something insightful to consider ‘monism’ as ‘equivalent’ an explanatory model as you pretend it is.

              Without that, you’ve got nothing but a word game. That is the heart and soul of metaphysics and superstition and woo.

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            51. Dualism here was used as a word to describe the historical divide in metaphysics between two separate entities: the body and the mind.

              You’re missing something out here. The term you’re looking for is body-mind dualism.

              Dualisms have been part and parcel of philosophy from the get go. Good/evil, right/wrong, known/unknown, etc, etc. And there’s always been argument over the distinctions and whether they’re real. The fact you only know about one of them doesn’t give you the right to insist there is only one.

              Those incapable of abstract reasoning not only try to concretise everything – often rejecting anything that isn’t and expressing hostility towards those who can conceive of it, they also tend to lack a moral compass or a sense of humour, relying instead on mimicking the morality of a group they identify with or imitating the laughter of others when a joke is told.

              I have no more idea of how to go about explaining something as abstract as ‘mind’ to your satisfaction than I would of trying to explain why a joke is funny. It would just get me into an infinite regress of trying to ‘prove’ other things you’re incapable of conceptualising. It would be about as fruitful as trying to use additive or subtractive colour mixing to explain ‘orange’ to someone blind from birth.

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            52. “You’re missing something out here. The term you’re looking for is body-mind dualism.”

              Quite true… because we were TALKING about body-mind as if two different things. I thought this would be obvious when calling this the same worn out metaphysical reference in this particular subject as ‘dualism’. So I wasn’t ‘insisting’ there was only a singular ‘dualism’ except in reference to the topic (as you falsely claim and then spend time ‘educating’ me about others). So why pretend using this term in this context somehow reflects a kind of philosophical ignorance on my part… unless you think by maligning me and claiming me oh-so-ignorant that you are somehow and magically advancing the proposition that there really, really, really is a difference between these two things called brain (which is the ‘body’ part being discussed) and mind.

              And so we know this… how?

              All the rest of your excuses and rationalizations here to avoid having to show compelling evidence for your biological claim that dualism in this context is the case, that there is a difference between two things called brain and mind, is nothing more and nothing less than that age-old tactic used by theologians forever called sophisticated theology, that doubt of the claim cannot possibly be based on informed understanding or that there is no evidence for it but MUST be a case of the doubter not measuring up to the the sophisticated understanding necessary to believe. Yeah, right. You’ve got nothing except your own ego boosting your claims and nothing to use to demonstrate the equivalency you falsely claim is the case here when it’s not. Sure, insist these obvious shortcomings here MUST be my lack of sophisticated appreciation for your ‘special’ insight. Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. Think highly of yourself much?

              Of course, this insistence you have that mind and brain are two different things in fact (and that it is incorrect to claim mind is what the brain does) raises the question about how with so little to go on from reality, you are still somehow able to get past the confines of reality, past the lack of anything demonstrable, past the dearth of how this insight can be used to further knowledge about this supposed reality behind reality (somehow different in your case from Armstrong’s central argument about God is the god behind the God and so is ‘hidden’ from most of us plebs), past the lack of anything applicable and useful in reality, and STILL find this keen insight. Wow. Aren’t you the Special One. It’s almost like some Inter-Galactic Entity present everywhere always who knows The Truth (TM) was whispering into your ear alone. Well cut off my atheist legs and call me Shorty but that sure rings a bell of familiarity in the vacuous and ignorant memory of mine when talking to other True Believers…

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            53. All the rest of your excuses and rationalizations here to avoid having to show compelling evidence for your biological claim that dualism in this context is the case.

              I have never claimed, nor do I believe, that. Your repeated insistence I do shows how useless it would be to try to demonstrate anything to you that you don’t already believe.

              The brain isn’t separate from the mind. Nor is it equivalent to it or the cause of it. It’s just one of the countless things contributing to it. A brain with no body, experiences or sensory input won’t produce a mind. A complete mind is the total of all it’s physiological, biochemical, sensory and experiential input, including its own functions. To say the mind is produced by the brain is as patently ridiculous as saying a car is propelled by its combustion chambers.

              But yeah, there’s plenty of ‘authorities’ who come out with the same nonsense you spout tildeb; which is clearly your sole basis for asserting it. As I’m not an ‘authority’ in your eyes there’s nothing I could say that would tell you anything. There’s obviously no point appealing to your faculties for critical or abstract thinking.

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            54. tildeb, it’s not that it’s hidden from us ‘plebs’.
              it’s because its nature is not revealed to those who are not prepared. just like the common folk cannot dance the “Swan Lake” and one needs to have tenuous preparation for it, or how veggies simply don’t grow in a garden that is not seeded and watered. one must do some work before, not because god ‘takes sides’. it’s just not feasible. can’t pour the ocean in a glass of water

              you want to see the highest reality but you want to do that by sitting on the couch or using the same mind that writes shopping lists? doesn’t work like that, tildeb

              imagine a microscope that looks down at the very small. and then zooming out, more and more, and more. your vision through this microscope encompassing the whole earth, later the whole universe. god is like that. right now, we are all looking through a very tiny zoom, but the possibility to expand is ALWAYS available to everyone

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            55. How is this any different than the believer telling an atheists that they have to ‘open their heart’ to allow Jesus to enter and then most assuredly becoming a believer, that not experiencing Jesus is now the atheist’s fault?

              Notice that just like this comparison, Cab associated exactly the same moral and ethical condemnation of me with my so called deficiencies to not similarly ‘believe’, that my request for compelling evidence was a sign of my inability to think critically!

              It’s patently obvious that assuming mind is not what the brain does is only as firm as any other faith-based belief. In other words, there’s no firmness whatsoever because there is not compelling arbitration from reality to support it. In stark contrast, there is overwhelming evidence that mind is an emergent property of brain processes and matches to it one-to-one. Any other claim has no equivalency but is clearly an example of either a faith-based belief or at best idle speculation with nothing to support it except the level of fervor of the believer.

              Look, anyone can believe whatever they want and that’s fine; people are free to believe whatever. But what is not fine is to make claims contrary to claims supported by reality’s successful arbitration of them and exhibited by applications, therapies, and technologies that work for everyone everywhere all the time. In no reality are these two kinds of incompatible claims equivalent or justified by anything other than someone wishing the unsupported claims were so. And that’s what the mind-brain dualism is: a faith-based claim incompatible with compelling evidence from reality. And that’s the brute fact.

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            56. From the premise of the particle it seems that there isn’t much evidence for reality either. What is a particle but a point instance of excited space? How does that happen, when every particle of excited space is the same in nature? The question has been sideswiped by the discussion here.

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            57. I understand that. There’s even space where it appears to be occupied with concentrations of particles. Digging a hole doesn’t create space.
              Im not sure how this form of objective reality negates the formless reality. The insistence that the “real world” is the stuff we observe is not really scientific even. It’s ridiculous

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            58. So why can’t you walk through walls? It’s because something is there but the ‘thing’ is not best understood as a noun but as a verb, as an ongoing process that creates fields of ‘stuff’ somewhat in the same way that one ‘thing’ can produce various substances depending on state… like clouds, water, and ice. Just because the form is different, that the field is expressed differently in different conditions or environment or relative energy states, doesn’t mean it’s all an illusion. You keep making this mistake in understanding what ‘it’ is we’re talking about.

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            59. Im not sure how this form of objective reality negates the formless reality.

              It doesn’t. I was countering the QM assumption about form in your sentence about space and with a relativistic assumption about form that space and matter (therefore particles) imply each other, as with any dualism.

              As for whether or not reality is formless, I don’t have a dog in the race except to suggest ‘form’ is conceptual. If reality has form we impose it with our notions of what form is. We have 2D visual organs that our mind uses to build 3D pictures. So our notions about form tend to be 3D (or 4D if you want to make them dynamic by incorporating time). Doesn’t make ‘form’ necessarily 3D. Doesn’t make it anything, beyond a way of modelling ‘reality’ to suit our needs. ‘Form’, like ‘order’, is something our minds do. Doesn’t mean it isn’t real though.

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            60. How is this a thinking mistake? Physicists are the ones looking. They are just as perplexed by it as you should be. What appears to be reality isn’t made of anything “real” in the sense of what we think were observing. It could be plants, rocks, or organic creatures all built, block by block out of no-thing

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            61. It’s a thinking mistake because the two terms ‘reality’ and ‘particles’ are not synonyms, Jim. But you are treating the latter as referring to the former and encapsulating it, and then claiming the even physicists are ‘perplexed’ why the two are different, as if particles as building blocks of inert matter should be represented at any scale by reality! Says who?

              So it’s NOT physicists who are perplexed about this; it’s you. Sure, physicists are perplexed about many things found in reality and particles and how they interact and what effects seem to be caused by whatever at many scales here but not there, and so on. These mysteries are what draws them into physics. But you take the reins of ‘particles’, insert the notion that these are inert things, get the notion like a bit between your teeth, and then go charging madly off in all directions and make all kinds of claims based on a fundamental linguistic category mistake not recognizing different terms are not synonyms and THEN carrying on with all kinds of related assertions that cloud the issue about what particles are, which is mystery enough itself.

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            62. I never claimed particles are inert at all, but are energy as form. Your materialism as you perceive it is made of space.

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            63. Well, you ARE suggesting particles are inert because they are not made of inert material. You further this by saying they are made mostly of space (and absence of inert material). What you’re NOT doing is representing particles as we think about them at their smallest units: quanta waves in fields! Now, if you were going to argue that reality doesn’t align with quanta waves in fields, you couldn’t link this to ‘reality as an illusion’ made up mostly of space, could you?

              So yeah, you are in effect claiming because particles MUST be nouns to be the fundamental building blocks of ‘reality’, therefore when these blocks are not found to be nouns we can claim reality isn’t real.

              So here’s a clue often missed by those deep in thought: when you play with words to get to a point concluding that something, some notion, some description, means the opposite of the root term you’re thinking about, (up is another kind of down, white another kind of black, an atheist is a theist of another kind, and so on) you know you’ve probably entered the fictional world of metaphysics and confused it for reality. By this, I mean you’ve probably fallen down the rabbit hole of faith-based belief (usually presuming a premise is true in reality but claiming the presumption comes from reality when it is actually imported as a matter of faith-based belief… and is often the very conclusion one wishes to ‘prove’). But more importantly, when you encounter this conclusion, you know you’ve made a thinking error.

              And we find this error endemic wherever metaphysics and theology hold sway on on whatever consideration this method is used and brought to bear… to the extent that we know this is an untrustworthy method of inquiry into anything OTHER than more metaphysics and more theology… both rabbit holes these special folk are more than welcome to live in and be left alone as long as they don’t try to pass their incredible metaphysical and theological deepities on to others as if true in reality.

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            64. I never used or implied that particles were inert. Some obviously are inoperable at this time. I implied that particles are the essence of form but they in themselves do not exist, as cleverly shown by the definition of a particle that is consistent with today’s physics. I think you’re overthinking this.
              You seem bent something other than what I’ve clearly stated.
              Let me give you a potential example, for without space there is no objects. But the objects are formed of space, not stuff. You may as well be analyzing the light “particles” reflecting off a movie screen and naming the wavicles and giving the names and applying the same reality.
              And I’ve stated several times in the last, the illusion part simply means things aren’t what they appear to be.
              I understand completely the universe is a verb and ALL nouns should really be gerunds. Life and matter are activities, not things. Where one begins and another ends is 100% completely arbitrary. This is an error of common speech. I am not Jim, but a Jimming.
              Inert material has mass and electrons just like any other particles, yet they also consist of form and at the very basic levels, they do not exist as stuff to be held in your hand, which is made up of the same thing as the operable particles. There is space and there is form. There is no “stuff” as we commonly refer.

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            65. What you’re presenting is really platonic forms. This model relies on importing assumptions about essences and natures, which is why it doesn’t produce knowledge. Ever. It produces word games and nebulous language and religions. It’s a broken method of inquiry. It simply and bluntly doesn’t work to reveal how reality operates and by what mechanisms. It does, however, fool people into believing they know stuff that reality does not support. There’s a reason why you can’t walk through walls.

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            66. This model relies on importing assumptions about essences and natures, which is why it doesn’t produce knowledge.. It appears what produces knowledge doesn’t produce knowledge either. It produces gadgets which is the pinnacle of scientific metallurgy. Nobody has any immunity to that, but it isn’t meaningful.
              If physicists can describe matter as a “quantum excitation of a field” and you can’t see the implications of what that actually means, I can’t help you understand it.
              If consciousness can’t exist without brains, then just as easily brains can’t exist without consciousness. I know for sure one thing is true; when you die consciousness will remain unaffected by it. By yours, mine, or anyone or everyone else’s passing.
              Your consciousness will never die because you never owned it to begin with.

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            67. To clarify, you are presuming the fundamental building blocks of reality SHOULD be inert and when we find they are not then you think yourself justified to conclude that reality isn’t real.

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            68. tildeb, about mind and brain. let’s do a very simple experiment.

              pls make up a thought about… gardening. any thought about gardening. do you have it??

              now, you said: “Show the overwhelming compelling scientifically valid evidence for mind separate from brain”? I ask you to show me the overwhleming evidence that your thought is something else than imagination. very simple, show me evidence for your thought! it’s in your mind, isn’t it?

              if you show me scientific evidence for your thought, i’ll show you scienfic evidence for mind.

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            69. All I’m trying to point out here is that we have science and then we have faith-based belief. What you’re proposing – even if it’s 100% accurate – is completely reliant on faith. If it weren’t there would or should be compelling evidence that the brain is ‘just’ a receiver. Show that evidence, bolster your case. It shouldn’t be an impossible task and those who ask for it should not be considered any less moral or ethical for doing so. This is why I point out there is methodological difference between what you’re proposing and what literally hundreds of thousands of what informs superstitious beliefs. No difference as far as evidence is concerned.

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            70. my dear tildeb, your belief that ‘mind’ is inside the brain (or brain and mind are same thing) IS also a belief based on societal learning. i don’t blame you, it’s one of the hardest obstacle to overcome on the path, and it only comes via direct experience.

              but i can’t pursue this subject with you, you are giving me gray hairs!😩

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            71. No, that’s not true, Monica. There are literally hundreds of ways to independently demonstrate a one-to-one relationship between mind and brain and literally hundreds of ways to impede the same. It is compelling evidence and all one sided. To claim it is an equivalent belief like any other faith-based claim is simply not true but a denial based on wishful thinking alone.

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            72. tildeb, just understand that the brain is physical, mind is not. mind has no dimension, no form, no quality.
              how can you provide scientific proof of something that has no dimension?

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            73. You’re absolutely right. That’s why you can demonstrate that what we call ‘mind’ is what the brain does or, in neuro- terminology, mind is an emergent property of brain processes. That’s where ALL the independent evidence clearly points.

              So.

              As you point out, how much certainty or likelihood should one award to the idea that mind is independent of the brain, of the biology that seems to produce it?

              To my way of thinking (excuse the reference) based on evidence reality arbitrates, none at all. To claim mind is independent of brain as if true falls into the category of a believed claim that has no evidence from reality to arrive at such a conclusion. Such a claim therefore is imported by the person believing it to be the case. This falls into being a faith-based claim. It may be true, it may be the case, but there’s nothing to support it (so far) except by assumption, assertion, and assignment of the person importing this belief.

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            74. You’re absolutely right. That’s why you can demonstrate that what we call ‘mind’ is what the brain does or, in neuro- terminology, mind is an emergent property of brain processes

              That reminds me of the ‘logic’ Daniel Dennett uses in Consciousness Explained to pretend he’s solved (or rather, abolished) the hard problem of consciousness.

              He starts by pointing out, in a roundabout way, that consciousness isn’t a physical thing, so in Dennett’s physicalist universe it can’t really be said to exist. While Dennett himself has admitted, tongue-in-cheek, to being a p-zombie he knows full well his readers are more likely to be persuaded his physicalist ontology lacks validity than that they lack consciousness. So he goes about re-introducing a stripped down, impoverished vision of consciousness in which the hard problem doesn’t really have exist. Viola! Consciousness explained! Or as his critics have noted, ‘consciousness explained away’ with thinly veiled circular logic.

              Tildeb is more ambitious than Dennett. He uses his own immovable physicalist ontology to deny the existence of both ontology and mind itself, as well as any epistemological principles that could be deployed to demonstrate how nonsensical his claims are. He then reintroduces an impoverished version of ‘mind’ he can semi-plausibly attribute entirely to brain functions, though even hardcore neuroscience physicalists like Antonio Damasio have long since fallen back from the obvious indefensibility of mind-brain monism promoted by psychiatry and drug companies to the defence-in-depth of mind-body monism (e.g. ’embodied emotion’ and ’embodied cognition’).

              Really both Dennett and tildeb are engaging in semantic redefinition to change the argument away from its plain English meaning to one they think they can win. In simply ruling out the arguments they can’t defend against by defining them away they’re employing a similar strategy to that of Orwell’s Ingsoc government with its Dictionary of Newspeak.

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            75. I’m not denying mind at all. But, unlike you apparently, I remember this term is not a noun but a verb, an action, a process. I claim mind is an emergent property of the brain (you know the saying: the sum is greater than its parts). Nothing you’ve said here addresses this key point I keep raising that you keep rejecting, that there’s no evidence that they are separate; instead, you are playing a word game using nebulous terms (like ‘mind’ and ‘consciousness’ and ‘ontology’ as if things, as if separate agencies I am denying as processes when I’m not!) and trying to shoe horn this explanatory model into reality. But you fail for lack of evidence FROM reality… and so pretend the obstacle from you succeeding at this attempt is with me (and an assortment of other people not nearly as insightful, clever, and educated as you are on this topic and probably of dubious and corrupt character). Still….

              Well, I’m really not the problem here: your inability to provide a better explanation that you think is the case supported by compelling evidence from reality demonstrates the problem YOU have with your contrary claim better than any argument from me. The fact of the matter is that you’ve got nothing BUT words.

              Bummer.

              Again, that’s on you. And that’s the same fatal condition we find being produced to support all kinds and manner of religious, metaphysical, and superstitious beliefs. Take way the words, the nebulous terminology, and you’ve got nothing from reality to support the contrary claim you are making, that you have managed in spite of this absence of evidence that mind and body are indeed separate (how did you manage that, I wonder, with nothing from reality to go by? Hmmm… a mystery.), whereas understanding ‘mind’ to be an emergent property is amply demonstrated by reality to be the much stronger case. In fact, so far it’s the only case reality supports with gobs of evidence. It didn’t have to be this way, of course, and I certainly didn’t make reality to be this way, and no amount philosophizing and moralizing on my part could make it this way. It just is.

              Double bummer…. for you… and the supposed insight you have into this supposed mind-body dualism you insist is the case.

              That you don’t want to deal with this absence of evidence for your contrary position is also not my problem. So I suggest that unless and until you can, I think you should hold off planning on a trip to Stockholm to get your Nobel just yet. Something important is missing from your claim. I’m just pointing it out. You need to figure out how you are going to fix your problem.

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            76. I think you’ll find any dictionary you care to look in will classify ‘mind’ as a noun (excepting alternate usages such as ‘mind your language’), so it’s hard not to see your assertion as another attempt to shift the grounds of the argument with bogus redefinitions.

              I claim mind is an emergent property of the brain

              While I have no problems with the concept of emergence I’m not keen on the way many people abuse it – particularly strong emergence – to insert a bit of magic into what they claim are rational chains of argument. This is how it is commonly abused by physicalist advocates of scientism to prop up their claims of mind-brain monism. They can assert the mind is entirely a function of the brain and when asked to elucidate a mechanism whereby electrochemical interactions between neurons can give rise to consciousness they respond with ’emergence’. I guess emergence as a god of scientism works in mysterious ways, so there’s no point trying to explain it, right?

              I keep raising that you keep rejecting, that there’s no evidence that they are separate;

              Yes, you certainly keep raising it. But I don’t keep rejecting it. In fact I keep denying I reject it. But obvious the verb emergent from your brain is unable to grasp simple English if it serves to deflect you from repeatedly stating an article of your faith as if it’s evidence of the superiority of your intellect.

              If you can quote back to me even one comment in which I claim the mind and brain are separate I will retract everything I’ve just said and apologise. My claim is that the brain is nowhere near a sufficient explanation for the mind. In accordance with one of my earlier analogies, I would no more claim the mind is separate to the brain than I would claim a car is separate to its combustion chambers.

              But you fail for lack of evidence FROM reality…

              Which is to restate the essential circularity of your argument. You keep insisting that we refute your objectivist, physicalist model of reality from within your objectivist, physical model of reality. It’s no different to a Christian theologian insisting that any refutation of Christianity must be entirely derived from the Bible. You’re essentially saying “tildeb’s belief system is real because tildeb’s belief system is the arbiter of reality”.

              I would suggest it’s not up to us to ‘prove’ a refutation that’s in accordance with what it’s meant to refute. Rather it’s up to you to show how your belief system is in accordance with any ‘reality’ not defined as such by your belief system. One way would be the Popperian method I’ve already suggested, but you ignored, to suggest how it might be falsified with a test not dependent on itself for validation and show how it passes such a test. That would show your theory is scientific, rather than entirely faith based, and sufficiently robust to pass at least one test.

              supposed insight you have into this supposed mind-body dualism you insist is the case.

              I’m not sure how old you are tildeb but if my guess is approximately correct then I’ve been a non-dualist longer than you’ve been alive. My problem with your mind-brain monism isn’t that it’s monist, it’s that it’s insufficiently monist. It divides the mind-brain from the body, from the sensoria and from the universe as a whole.

              Serious physicalist neuroscientists have already run up hard against the incoherence of mind-brain monism and been forced to expand it into mind-body monism. So, for example, recent physicalist explanations of depression have moved away from neurotransmitters and synapses towards such things as the immune system and inflammation. I think they’ll eventually realise the limitations in those models too, and will be forced to look beyond the body for further factors needed to ‘explain’ the mind. After all, not all inflammation is auto-immune.

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            77. You are rather amusing, cabrogal. You are trying to pass along the burden YOU bear! You say the brain is nowhere near a sufficient explanation for the mind. So come up with evidence to demonstrate this! Why is this so difficult a request… considering the time you have had to live and learn to your advanced age to gain exactly this? Nope. Instead, you want me to do this work for you and prove the negative! Too funny. In religious terms, you are saying it’s the non believer’s job to falsify God! But sure, I’m the believer here! Excuse me for not taking you seriously but you’ve earned it with this little gem. Yup ‘up’ really is another kind of ‘down’ in your Elder world. Well done on becoming so befuddled.

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            78. You say the brain is nowhere near a sufficient explanation for the mind. So come up with evidence to demonstrate this! Why is this so difficult a request… considering the time you have had to live and learn to your advanced age to gain exactly this? Nope. Instead, you want me to do this work for you and prove the negative! Too funny. In religious terms, you are saying it’s the non believer’s job to falsify God!

              Funny, when I listen to scientism fanboys like you say my brain is the first cause of the entirety of my lived experience it sounds a lot like the religious fanatics who say the same thing about their God. Seems to me the onus is on you to prove your assertion, not on me to disprove it. It’s not like its self-evident or in accord with intuition. It’s merely been asserted by the experts you invoke when employing the arguments from authority you rely on in lieu of critical thinking.

              If I thought you were capable of abstraction I could invite you to consider a brain kept alive for its entire existence within an unchanging broth of oxygenated nutrients but no sensory input or external chemical variation at all and ask you whether it would have a mind. If your answer was ‘no’ I could then say ‘proved’. But there’s no point to that, is there tildeb? You’re either unwilling or unable to imagine such a thing, so you’d just fall back on your comforting, certainty-generating ideology and say “Of course it would!”, in the same way an unimaginative Christian would fall back on his faith in god to paper over his cognitive inability to grasp Darwinian evolution.

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            79. BTW, if you really believe ‘mind’ is a verb, why do you keep putting articles such as ‘the’ in front of it without first converting it to a gerund or participle?
              Don’t you do English grammar?

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            80. We treat the term ‘mind’ as a noun because it is convenient to do so in exactly the same way that we use the term ‘flock’ or ‘school’ as a noun. But neither is a ‘thing’ in an of itself nor inexplicable because ‘birds’ and ‘fish’ are to your insistence insufficient to explain the properties of the coalescence of these local units obeying local rules… just like the brain.

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            81. You don’t even understand emergence do you tildeb?

              Wetness is an emergent property of combining oxygen and hydrogen atoms. Neither the properties of hydrogen nor the properties of oxygen are sufficient to explain the property of wetness. This doesn’t mean wetness isn’t a thing.

              Dunes are emergent phenomena of wind over sand. Neither the wind nor the sand possess the property of ‘duneness’. That doesn’t mean dunes aren’t things.

              If minds were purely emergent phenomena of neurons acting in concert (which they’re not) it wouldn’t mean minds aren’t things.

              BTW, flocks and schools are also things. Otherwise, as nothing more than collections of neurons, brains wouldn’t be things either. Neurons, as collections of molecules, also wouldn’t be things.

              Can you see where I’m heading tildeb?
              Applying your definition consistently and universally would mean there are no things in the universe at all – with the possible exception of fundamental particles. ‘Person’ would be a verb used to describe the actions of countless fundamental particles acting in concert. As would ‘brick’.

              In attempting to make sense of your nonsense you’ve made nonsense of the English language.

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            82. tildeb seems to be suggesting that no collection of things with properties different from its individual constituents is real.
              It’s like a reductio ad absurdum of Thatcher’s “there is no society, only individuals”, except I doubt tildeb sees the absurdity of it.

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            83. Don’t be so stupid and dishonest, cabrogal. An emergent property in its biological sense simply means smaller parts combine to produce increasingly complex SYSTEMS. The systems EMERGE. I’ve made this clear repeatedly in reference to the brain producing what we call ‘mind’. For this claim, there is overwhelming evidence from reality. (Develop the brain, develop the mind. Harm the brain, harm the mind. Kill the brain, kill the mind. Alter the chemicals in the brain, alter the workings of the mind, and so on. These are the facts, what reality demonstrates to be the case.) The systems then operate to produce real effects. Not fiction. Not anything “absurd.” Demonstrated. The effects, however, do not demonstrate the system itself to be a ‘thing’ in any way, shape, or form. The system is not in any way INDEPENDENT of its constituent parts… but you beg to differ.

              Oh, well, then all bets are off. Because , because, because… cabrogal says so, donchaknow. Maybe you should sit down for this one:

              That’s not good enough.

              Your belief doesn’t support your claim. You know it. I know it. Anyone with two neurons to rub together should know that. So why am I a bad guy, the idiot, the uneducated one, the one without much sense, knowledge, or intelligence for pointing out what you SHOULD recognize as the fatal flaw in your claim? No evidence.

              You think mind is GREATER THAN BRAIN and insist this is so. Well, that’s a scientific claim, you dolt. You claim ‘mind’ in some way exists beyond it. Fine. Show your evidence, you coward. Or maybe, just maybe, step beyond your own egotistical chauvinism and be honest, be courageous, and qualify that claim you make to be what is is: a belief alone.

              You can’t do that, can you? That inability, cabrogal, means you’re an intellectual coward.

              To support your belief by mischaracterizing what I am saying and then doing this over and over and over again means it’s a tactic you prefer to use on purpose when your belief is challenged. Your tactic is to malign… and then claim to be some kind of superior moral and ethical creature for doing so.

              You can’t help yourself, can you? Your sense of self worth seems to be aligned with being right. Always. Even when you’re not. You know it. I know it.

              I call this tactic you call upon as your go to response as being intentionally duplicitous, an intentional tactic used as a way to avoid being responsible for the belief-based opinion you hold, to put on a ‘show’ for an ‘audience’ about how stupid your challenger is for daring to question you, how superior you are, you see, and avoid why your unscientific claim should be treated equally and equivalently to a scientific claim. I have given you ample opportunity to back up your claim and you’ve yet to do so. That’s rather telling. But it is very tedious for you to continue to misrepresent me when I have asked repeatedly in the face of your dishonest intransigence to produce evidence for this ‘thing’ you call mind greater than brain, greater than an emergent property of it, this thing that is magically greater than AND BEYOND the brain that produces it.

              Failure. Ya got… nuthin. You know it. I know it.

              So stop misrepresenting this request and stop castigating me for being an idiot, for being unable to think, for being uneducated and unintelligent, immoral and unethical, for being what amounts to deaf, dumb, and blind from your keen insight and deep aged wisdom, and of course this notion of your bottomless knowledge about the mind (and just as deep as the deep knowledge and wisdom about all kinds of gods so many believers just know they have).

              The problem as always is that YOU HAVE NOTHING to support your claim. That’s the brute fact of the matter no matter how much you try to foist off your own lack of evidence and pretend the issue is somehow about my shortcomings. All you’re doing is attacking me repeatedly for exposing your duplicity. So fuck off. Go be a malicious little prick to someone else who dares to hold your magical beliefs packaged as knowledge and ever-so-sciency to account and continue to appeal to those who hold your magical thinking in esteem. You won’t find that esteem from me because I don’t think fooling one’s self is a virtue. You’ve demonstrated here you do not agree with that, either, and will defend this vice by duplicitous means if necessary. ‘Cause that’s all you’ve got. You know it. I know it. And now everyone knows it.

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            84. You really are certain in your belief, but the answers aren’t so clear.

              “Further work on Quantum Darwinism has revealed that such situations (such as you explained) are quite exceptional, reaching the following conclusion: “A state selected at random from the Hilbert space of a many-body system is over- whelmingly likely to exhibit highly non-classical correlations. For these typical states, half of the environment must be measured by an observer to determine the state of a given subsystem. The objectivity of classical reality — the fact that multiple observers can agree on the state of a subsystem after measuring just a small fraction of its environment — implies that the correlations found in nature between macroscopic systems and their environments are very exceptional.” This gives a hint that the particular Hilbert space factorization we observe might be very special and unique, so that using the utility principle to insist on the existence of a consensus reality may have large constraining power among the factorizations
              — perhaps even helping nail down the one we actually
              Charles Bennett has suggested that Quantum Darwinism would be more aptly named “Quantum Spam”, since the many redundant imprints of the system’s state are normally not further re-observed.
              In summary, the hypothesis that consciousness can be understood as a state of matter leads to fascinating interdisciplinary questions spanning the range from neuroscience to computer science, condensed matter physics and quantum mechanics. Can we find concrete examples of errorcorrecting codes in the brain? Are there brain-sized non-Hopfield neural networks that support much more than 37 bits of integrated information? Can a deeper understanding of consciousness breathe new life into the century-old quest to understand the emergence of a classical world from quantum mechanics, and can it even help explain how two Hermitian matrices H and ρ lead to the subjective emergence of time? The quests to better understand the internal reality of our mind and the external reality of our universe will hopefully assist one another—Max Tevmark
              Full article here https://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/111183/Tegmark_Consciousness%20as.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y#page35
              You are way too sure of yourself. Even professor Max isn’t as arrogant as you.
              I know you think you’ve nailed down this perfect way to think correctly, but it is as error prone as anyone else’s.

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            85. I have already said in this thread, “I think, and I could be completely wrong here, that…” and “It may be true, it may be the case, but there’s nothing to support it….”

              What you call my certainty is not the case. But it is LIKELY the case, which is why I hold the opinion I do, because of a lack of evidence for being anything OTHER than the case. Show me the evidence that is compelling and lowers the likelihood and, as you should know by now, I am not only quite willing but able to change my mind. I simply don’t care if I am right or wrong; I do care about granting likelihood to the weighted side of an issue adduced by me from reality’s arbitration of whatever the claim may be. To have my character maligned for this is quite insulting and to be repeatedly subjected to this false accusation and loaned merit by others causes me to think less and less of other people’s critical faculties. There is no imported ‘certainty’ whatsoever from me and ANYONE who claims I am “certain” about anything and then mischaracterizes what they think is true about me as if this false certainty is a belief equivalent to a religious zealotry is importing their own belief about me and then imposing this belief on me as if true rather than respect what is true in reality. It is disingenuous. When it is done repeatedly it becomes an intentional tactic that is rooted in dishonesty and disrespect.

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            86. You hold these beliefs pretty tightly to go off on another human over them. That pretty much puts it on par with religion.
              We all have our own unique brands of perceptronium and computronium based on our individual physiology, yet it is very limited and linear. We can only think of one thing at a time. Your focus is the cold hard facts of science. But the world is fuzzy and wiggly and has no “scientific” boundaries. We need all types of individual perception to enjoy the richness of life. Nobody has any facts. Maybe we should quit pretending like we do.
              I have had experiences that don’t computate very well. Is it a glitch, or is it normal? Is your obsession with correct thinking any less disingenuous than a spiritual belief, when we know we don’t really know?

              Liked by 1 person

            87. Please slow down a little tildeb. I’m finding it hard to keep up with your Humpty Dumptyisms.

              An emergent property in its biological sense simply means smaller parts combine to produce increasingly complex SYSTEMS. The systems EMERGE. I’ve made this clear repeatedly in reference to the brain producing what we call ‘mind’

              So you’re saying there’s a ‘biological sense’ of emergent that’s distinct from its meaning in every other context and it somehow means that a mind – being allegedly emergent from brain chemistry – isn’t a thing but a brain – which is emergent from neuronal and glial cell chemistry – is a thing?

              Are you further claiming complex systems emerge when using the biological sense of the term, rather than properties emerge from interactions within systems as with every other meaning of ’emergence’?
              Are systems things?
              Is mind a system yet not a thing?

              Would you further allege that collections of birds into flocks and fish into schools don’t imply flocks or schools are things but collections of people into societies don’t disqualify societies from being things?

              It’s entirely your prerogative to use your own language rather than English, but if you want to communicate with English speakers in it then you might like to write a dictionary of tildebspeak first. Otherwise it would be reasonable to conclude that you’re using post hoc redefinitions on the fly as a cynical, puerile and rather ineffective ploy to avoid having to concede that your ‘arguments’ consist largely of mindless parroting of allegations you don’t understand and that you don’t really have a clue what you’re talking about.

              The system is not in any way INDEPENDENT of its constituent parts… but you beg to differ.

              You keep saying that. Please point me to even a single sentence in which I have ‘differed’.

              A car isn’t independent of its parts, but to be a car it requires all its parts. You can’t make cars from carburettors alone.
              A mind requires all the things that give rise to it. You can’t make minds from brains alone.

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            88. It’s a s simple as that Monica. When you study or evaluate your own style of thinking, who is subject and the object? Who is studying who?

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            89. Sorry, that should read there is NO difference between religious/superstitious belief and the notion you’re proposing (or should I say, the scientific CLAIM you are making) because there is no difference in the evidence presented for either… and, of course, no way to test it (so it ain’t scientific)!

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            90. no way to test it (so it ain’t scientific)!

              Hmm, seems you’ve only got no use for the philosophy of science if it doesn’t suit your purposes.

              So following Popper (as you seem to be doing), a theory isn’t scientific just because its testable, there’s gotta be some way for it to fail the test (falsifiability). If your theory allows you to reject anything that doesn’t fit it then it isn’t falsifiable, so it isn’t scientific.

              How are the circular arguments you make about mind and brain falsifiable?
              If you’re claiming they’re scientific your demands for proof of (strawman) competing theories doesn’t cut the mustard. You need to start by specifying how they might be disproved, at least in theory. If those tests have been done and failed to falsify the theory the theory stands – as a theory. The more such tests it passes the more robust the theory can be said to be. But it’s never proved. If it’s proved it can’t be falsified so isn’t scientific.

              Science is a means of investigation, not an independent authority on how things are. The latter is Scientism, which is essentially a religion.

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            91. Wow. You don’t get science as a method, do you? Looking for your house keys and seeing them, of course you will figure out what might falsify their actual location and, if you can’t do that, then decide reaching for and taking them is too much of an act of faith, scientism donchaknow, for your own comfort.

              Good grief.

              Brain death is a pretty good way to stop mind. Well, so far throughout history, anyway, in every case… not that that triviality matters when you have a theory (it’s not… it’s a hypothesis that has zero evidence in its favor so far) that mind is everything everywhere always… so that nothing can be determined independent of the belief by definition. Oooo… how very clever…. but yeah, insisting some evidence be produced in its favor is way too much religious scientism is at play. Riiiight. Because woo and theology and metaphysics has produced ever so much knowledge as ‘another way of knowing’….

              Hence the ‘Wow’ factor here. Because we wouldn’t want too much practicality to get in the way of a complete theory of everything that does diddly squat for creating an explanatory model we can use or even know anything about beyond the hypothesis. But the alternative ‘way of knowing’ that really does produce applications, therapies, and technologies that work for everyone everywhere all the time is just too much like a religion in your estimation. Hence the ‘Good grief.’

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            92. Brain death is a pretty good way to stop mind. Well, so far throughout history, anyway, in every case…

              “Throughout history” seems a pretty big claim, considering the concept of brain death and the means of testing for it didn’t exist until the late 20th Century”.

              Perhaps you’d also like to explain why the same logic couldn’t be used to argue the mind is a function of heartbeat, considering the much larger body of evidence correlating lack of detectable mental activity with the cessation of the heart.

              Would I be getting too metaphysical for you if I suggested absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence?

              I’d agree it’s very difficult to find evidence of mind in a brain dead (former) person. But it’s kinda hard to spot in someone fast asleep too. Before 1966 received wisdom had it that immobilised patients in an apparent persistent vegetative state lacked consciousness. Now we’ve developed ways to communicate with some of them and know that’s not true. Hence the relatively recent distinction between ‘vegetative state’ and ‘locked-in syndrome’. We lacked evidence those people were conscious, but they were. Even now it can be difficult to detect the difference.

              So would you care to explain how you know “brain death is a pretty good way to stop mind” and in what way that constitutes evidence “mind is something brain does”?

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            93. BTW, those who reject a dualism by insisting only one of its poles are real (or that the poles aren’t comparable) have long been called ‘non-dualists’, while those who insist both poles are really one thing are called ‘monists’. I’m not making this stuff up to try to deepen your innate confusion.

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            94. I think that if Tildeb can understand that a particle is quantum excitation of a field he should be able to embrace this as well.
              Really if you can understand polarity it becomes pretty clear you can’t have this without that

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            95. I have two kids in university right now. The accepted schools of thought still have more rigor than when I went in the early 80’s, although that was pretty entrenched too at the time.

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            96. My experience in a 1970s high school varied a lot between teachers and even more between subjects.

              Getting marks in English, Economics, History and Geography was all about paraphrasing the textbooks and teachers back at them. Different teachers rewarded different degrees of camouflaging what you’d been told but it was all about selecting one of the acceptable answers they’d already given you and parroting it. I went to war with the English department, insisting on my interpretations of the assigned texts. Needless to say my marks were poor, despite being captain of the debating team and a published author at 15.

              On the production line

              The sciences rewarded understanding to a fair degree, but that also depended on the teacher. Some refused to listen to anything they didn’t already believe. I once got into a huge argument with a pretty good science teacher about whether continental drift (plate tectonics) was real. I deployed everything I had from geology, geography, biogeography, and paleontology to try to convince her and the class to no avail. When she’d gone through teachers college the accepted wisdom was that continental drift theory was pseudoscience and she was sticking with that. When I came in a few days later with a stack of recently published books from the local library I’d bookmarked to passages supporting my case she relented and apologised immediately and spent the rest of the lesson using the references I gave her to inform her discussion of continental drift with the class. Like I said, she was one of the good ones. I got high marks in the sciences.

              Math was the best. All the math teachers I knew understood and cared about the subject. Even though my methods sometimes deviated wildly from the ones in the textbooks they usually got results and, more importantly, demonstrated I understood the concepts. I not only got excellent marks, I was given unprecedented access to the sole school computer with which I taught myself programming. Computing wasn’t part of the curriculum back then. That was what started me on a very lucrative career in the early stages of Australia’s IT industry. The math strand of my BSc had a little bit of computer theory and programming (with stacks of marked sense cards) but I don’t think I got anything from that I hadn’t already taught myself in high school.

              University philosophy was utter crap but that’s another story; mostly about entrenched ideological battle lines in Australian academic philosophy while I was studying.

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            97. Oh yeah. Early 80s undergraduate physics and chemistry were pretty meh. I picked up a few skills in the lab pracs but mostly it was about reading the textbooks to check I knew what I thought I knew and applying it to tests and assignments. Easy marks but not much learning. I probably learned more about them browsing the university library for stuff outside the courses I was doing. Other than girls and drugs the library was the best thing about university.

              Psychology was a hugely mixed bag. Some of the stuff I learned is still relevant today but most of it is absurdly dated. Although homosexuality had been removed from the DSM six years before I started my textbooks still treated it as a mental illness and endorsed barbaric treatments such as aversion therapy and psychosurgery. Monoamine theories of mental illness were the latest big thing and there was no skepticism towards them at all (not even from me). Fifteen years later they’d been thoroughly discredited by research but you still hear them promoted as gospel by health professionals today, including in criminal trials.

              Probably the most useful stuff I learned was about the history of mind sciences, which included the conflict between alienists and analysts that still reverberates today, the changing fads in diagnoses and the often barbaric fads in therapy, some of the iconic trials and studies – several of which I now know have never been replicated despite numerous attempts – and the regular ‘breakthroughs’ that would be shown to be entirely erroneous a year or so later. I also learned about the intractably appalling recovery rates for those undergoing mental health treatments. In other words, studying mind science cured me of my enthusiasm for mind sciences. It also taught me to slap diagnoses on my own problems, which were getting serious by then, and how to avoid getting such diagnoses on my medical record.

              Ahh, student days. At least the parties were good.

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            98. if you can understand polarity it becomes pretty clear you can’t have this without that

              Do you think so?
              Seems to me there’s plenty of people around who think they can eliminate one pole of a duality and keep the other.
              Eternal happiness for example.

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            99. It is easily understood but a foreign concept to western thought. There’s no secret handshakes or hidden anything. It’s all right out in the open. It’s simply the way we’ve been accustomed to see it.
              One issue I have with science is they (unknowingly) approach it through the lens of Hebrew thinking. Until that changes there will be no real breakthroughs.

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            100. who is the driver?

              You put your finger right on the most fundamental incoherence of mind-brain monism.

              Proponents assure us there’s no ghost in the machine, yet repeatedly objectify the brain as something outside the self and put the self in a position of control over it. They talk about ‘executive functions’ located in the frontal lobes that ‘we’ use to control other aspects of the brain, such as emotions, memories and motor centres.

              They’re standing in subject-object dualism while asserting monism. Their claim collapses every time they open their mouths.

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      3. Yet we evolved or emerged from a system we can’t comprehend?

        We evolved so as to adapt to a very small subset of reality that we might call our ‘ecosystem’. There would be no adaptive advantage whatsoever in understanding anything beyond that nor in understanding the ecosystem beyond how to act within it so as to optimise our survival and reproduction. Any more would be counter-adaptive as it would deflect our attention and energy away from what’s needed to reproduce our DNA.

        If you haven’t already, please check out the Donald Hoffman vid I posted. He not only explains it more completely and eloquently than I, he’s used game theory to model evolutionary adaptation with software and found simulated organisms which ‘understand’ their ‘reality’ tend to go extinct.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I did watch the Hoffman video last night before bed. I like his attitude.
          I disagree with some of this here. Just because I can’t see or experience a particle phenomenon (or other) outside my ecosystem doesn’t mean it hasn’t help shaped what I am. Where does one ecosystem begin and another end?
          Let’s pick hummingbirds for an example. If there were no hummingbirds I would be different than I am. I would still exist, but different. It may not be a remarkable difference but collectively, interdependence illustrates there IS some other non-thing that does not exist because there are no hummingbirds. My problem is—who gets to decide the demarcation lines where one ecosystem begins and another ends? It’s arbitrary. We know it’s arbitrary, that it’s all connected but don’t feel that based on culture, not evolution.
          Many selections have been made for our best chance at propagation. Not necessarily survival. Christian style belief is a good example of that.

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          1. I’m not saying particles or hummingbirds have no effect on you. But I am saying that you don’t need to know anything about the reality of particles or hummingbirds – or even the reality of food or potential mates (I sure know I don’t comprehend women) – to be able to successfully navigate selection pressure and propagate your DNA. And neither did your ancestors.

            So there’s no reason evolution would have equipped you with the tools to understand the reality of particles, hummingbirds, Big Macs or sex appeal. For example, if string theory is right (which I seriously doubt) all of those things are manifestations of phenomena in 10 or more dimensions, most of which you have no access to and can’t even imagine. Evolution taught you how to survive in the universe (for a while), not how to understand it.

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    2. You Stated — “I’m an anti-realist”

      My Response — and I’m a Realist so this should be fun

      You Stated — “How would that help us to survive and reproduce?”

      My Response — How would ignoring it help us? Knowledge is power, so the more we know the better our chances of survival as a species. Quantum technology is our best chance for spreading to other worlds in the future.

      There may come a time when that ability is needed to save the human race.

      You Stated — “As with relativity, quantum physics attempts to examine things outside the scale of events it was important for our ancestors to interact with in order to survive.”

      My Response — Incorrect. We are still doing the exact same thing our ancestors did. We are observing, making predictions, and then testing them out. The scale of our observations has increased 10 fold and the granularity of our testing has followed suit, but we are not doing anything different.

      Our ancestors were worried about wolves and bears because they could observe them.

      We are worried about viruses, radiation, and asteroids. Our field of vision is greater than those who came before us, so our minds must expand to build tools to meet the challenge. Quantum technology is the key to the future. It is our modern-day spear.

      You Stated — “The wave-particle paradox doesn’t reflect some sort of limitation of what reality is, it’s a limitation of how we model it.”

      My Response — The description alone shows there is a limitation. 1-Particle or 2-Wave, that seems like a limit to me. The good thing about discovering that limit is that we now have a very basic understanding of a very complex universe.

      You Stated — “So the fact our models don’t coherently represent real particles in no way suggests particles aren’t real things. Just that they aren’t really what we understand by the word ‘particle’.”

      My Response — They aren’t real things because they only exist as potential. We are real things because of so many particles ( or so much combined potential)

      You Shared — “Physics is not about how the world is, it is about what we can say about the world.” – Niels Bohr

      I Share — “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” ― Albert Einstein

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      1. How would ignoring it help us? Knowledge is power, so the more we know the better our chances of survival as a species. Quantum technology is our best chance for spreading to other worlds in the future.

        But it seems very unlikely we’ve spread from other worlds in the past. So there has never been selection pressure that would help us understand how to do that. Ergo, evolution hasn’t equipped us to understand anything that might facilitate spreading to other worlds.

        BTW, even if you think we’ll eventually colonise other worlds I think the lessons of history suggest it’s not terribly sensible to imagine it’s gonna happen via development of existing technologies. Jules Verne was considered a visionary in his day, but he imagined astronauts would eventually reach the moon by blasting them out of advanced cannons.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_the_Earth_to_the_Moon

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        1. You Stated — “evolution hasn’t equipped us to understand anything that might facilitate spreading to other worlds.”

          My Response — Evolution is a biological process and thinking is a mental process.

          Evolution is limited in scope, which is why deer (after thousands of needless deaths) can’t evolve not to get hit by cars.

          Evolution is outdated and slow, the next big step for mankind will be done in the labs (by choice).

          You Stated — “Jules Verne was considered a visionary in his day, but he imagined astronauts would eventually reach the moon by blasting them out of advanced cannons.”

          My Response — We are actually testing that technology today. Many believe it may be cheaper and easier to use a cannon rather than a rocket. Railgun technology is advancing quickly.

          Jules Verne is most likely just ahead of our time.

          https://www.ijert.org/electromagnetic-railgun-coilgun-space-shuttle-launcher

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          1. My Response — Evolution is a biological process and thinking is a mental process.

            Evolution is limited in scope, which is why deer (after thousands of needless deaths) can’t evolve not to get hit by cars.

            Evolution is outdated and slow, the next big step for mankind will be done in the labs (by choice).

            All of that may or may not be true – though I’d suggest deer are already evolving to co-exist with cars by virtue of the fact those that don’t either shy away from walking on tarmac or head for the undergrowth in response to engine noise are getting removed from the gene pool – but my original point dealt with the assertion that evolving in the universe makes us capable of understanding the reality of it. It doesn’t. It facilitates adaptive survival, not understanding.

            Jules Verne is most likely just ahead of our time.

            I can agree with Joshi and Pewar that railguns have potential for launching satellites or unmanned probes, but if you’re gonna launch astronauts with them they’d want to have awfully long rails if you don’t want the G forces needed to accelerate them to escape velocity to reduce them to paste.

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            1. You Stated — “my original point dealt with the assertion that evolving in the universe makes us capable of understanding the reality of it. It doesn’t. It facilitates adaptive survival, not understanding.

              My Response — Ahh… I see the nuance of your position. I concede that you may be correct. We could ultimately flourish and know very little about the truth of the universe (but think we did). That’s a tough one, there would be no way to be 100% certain.

              You Stated — “but if you’re gonna launch astronauts with them they’d want to have awfully long rails if you don’t want the G forces needed to accelerate them to escape velocity to reduce them to paste.”

              My Response — Agreed. The first models will most likely be for equipment launches. I would imagine that somewhere down the line would be something like a train ride that eventually points upward, we would most likely not feel much on the trip.

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      2. Incorrect. We are still doing the exact same thing our ancestors did. We are observing, making predictions, and then testing them out. The scale of our observations has increased 10 fold and the granularity of our testing has followed suit, but we are not doing anything different.

        Correct. That’s the problem.

        Our ancestors could observe the effects of waves on a lake and objects thrown through the air. As a result we’re still using waves and particles to model events on atomic scales, though they’re manifestly inadequate. They clearly don’t reflect the reality of such events but we’re not equipped to perceive such reality, so we wing it with metaphors based on what we can perceive, even though they give rise to bizarre and incompatible interpretations of what’s going on, such as the wave-particle paradox and the notion measurement is what collapses quantum potentials into actual events.

        I’d suggest a big part of the problem is that our ‘reality’ is predicated on the notion that time is a single dimension phenomena that progresses inevitably in one direction. I’d suggest both quantum theory and relativity suggest strongly it is not. But our history as a species (which is itself predicated on that notion) has prepared us for a view of time that doesn’t reflect its reality. As a result we’ve come up with a whole range of faith based misconceptions to try to make sense and meaning of it – from Christian eschatology to Enlightenment notions of ‘progress’. Of course it doesn’t help that the way we communicate with each other and how we conceive of ourselves through narrative is also bound up with a linear, one-dimensional notion of time.

        They aren’t real things because they only exist as potential. We are real things because of so many particles ( or so much combined potential)

        Umm, I’m not sure how you’d multiply ‘not real’ sufficiently to arrive at ‘real’ any more than you could multiply ‘anecdote’ to arrive at ‘data’. But I’d suggest the whole notion of wave functions as ‘potentials’ of reality is a workaround to try to deal with the fact we can’t actually conceive of the reality we’re trying to understand here, even though we can manipulate it somewhat, just as we can manipulate the minds of others without being able to understand what gives rise to them.

        “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” ― Albert Einstein

        I think there’s a strong case to be made for that and if you’d asked me fifteen years ago I would have agreed wholeheartedly. But in trying to make sense of my experiences in more recent years I’ve found it more helpful to adopt the working hypothesis that there’s more to reality than mere illusion, but that I don’t have access to it. Unlike tildeb I don’t leap to the conclusion that because a theory is currently producing helpful results it’s provisionally ‘true’, but I’m good with living with uncertainty. It’s not like any of us have a choice.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. You Stated — “As a result we’re still using waves and particles to model events on atomic scales, though they’re manifestly inadequate.”

          My Response — OR everything is similar and to understand the spiral shape of a seashell helps to understand the spiral shape of a galaxy.

          The universe is clearly reusing it’s own methods repeatedly from the macro to the micro. Understanding the basics may be the key to understanding the complex.

          Just saying.

          You Stated — “I’d suggest a big part of the problem is that our ‘reality’ is predicated on the notion that time is a single dimension phenomena that progresses inevitably in one direction.”

          My Response — Time is only one of several dimensions (the fourth to be exact). We can only move in one direction given our negative charge. That direction is known to us as the arrow of time.

          BUT

          We also know that positrons move in the other direction as normally as we move in ours (backwards in time). Time consistently flows in both directions.

          You Stated — “But our history as a species (which is itself predicated on that notion) has prepared us for a view of time that doesn’t reflect its reality.”

          My Response — But we adapt: For example: We know that time is slower in heavier gravity than outside of it. Our perception of time changed the moment we sent satellites into space since they were moving at a different rate through time (or the 4th dimension), than we were. We had to make a new math just to keep clocks in sync from Nasa to the satellites.

          You Stated — “Christian eschatology to Enlightenment notions of ‘progress’. Of course it doesn’t help that the way we communicate with each other and how we conceive of ourselves through narrative is also bound up with a linear, one-dimensional notion of time.”

          My Response — The bible views time much like Einstein does (relative to the viewer). You can go forward, backward or slow it to a near stop. Christianity seems fairly progressive in it’s view of time.

          You Stated — “Umm, I’m not sure how you’d multiply ‘not real’ sufficiently to arrive at ‘real’ any more than you could multiply ‘anecdote’ to arrive at ‘data’.”

          My Response — We didn’t, we looked at what is real and found it to be true and then looked at what real was made of and found it to be only a possibility (not real).

          Knowing that doesn’t change anything. Probability and potential are the key components of what “Real”is and they are always at a sufficient level to keep the boat afloat as it were.

          You Stated — “wave functions as ‘potentials’ of reality is a workaround to try to deal with the fact we can’t actually conceive of the reality…”

          My Response — Wave function just means fast or unknown location. The particle is moving so fast that it seems to be in many places at once (like a wave), but once you interact with it you have a definitive location (interference between particles has less potential but allows for more “reality as we perceive it”).

          In a few more generations this will all be kindergarten material.

          Like

          1. OR everything is similar and to understand the spiral shape of a seashell helps to understand the spiral shape of a galaxy.

            Similarity is perceptual – it arises from our evolved tendency to seek patterns – not something intrinsic in the nature of the universe.

            It doesn’t take too much reflection to realise there’s no more similarity between the distribution of stars in galaxies and the spiral forms of certain shells than there is between two dots over a curved line and a human face or between a two dimensional representation of the positions of stars as seen from the Earth and scorpions, crabs, bulls, bears, archers, twins, etc. We’re imposing those patterns; they don’t exist in any objective reality.

            And the notion the universe is ‘using’ anything is another projected anthropomorphism, not dissimilar to the idea someone had that humans are artifacts some god crafted from clay in the same way the village potter makes terracotta decorations people perceive as resembling themselves. Or am I projecting that ‘similarity’ too?

            We see patterns because it helps to simplify reality and – sometimes – makes aspects of it easier to manage. But it can also lead to errors and abuse, including astrology, eating toxic mushrooms and racism.

            Time is only one of several dimensions (the fourth to be exact). We can only move in one direction given our negative charge. That direction is known to us as the arrow of time.

            Last I checked (the model) only my electrons were negatively charged. My protons are quite positive about reality (the poor naive little buggers). Generally I try to stay neutral with regards to electrical potential. That’s why I’m careful around bare wires, thunderstorms and cops with tasers.

            Oh, and I think you’ll find Newton’s second law has more to do with the arrow of time than electrical charge. But that too is just a model built upon our very flawed and incomplete notion of what time is.

            My guess is the notion positrons move backwards through time is an improvised patch on QM in response to some of the bugs inherent in it due to it too incorporating an inadequate model of time. If this civilisation lasts long enough we’ll retire QM and maybe replace it from the ground up with something that accounts better for the ‘reality’ of time, but it still won’t be reality nor a comprehensive model of it. There’s not even any reason to believe it will be closer to it. Just more useful for some purposes.

            Our perception of time changed the moment we sent satellites into space since they were moving at a different rate through time (or the 4th dimension), than we were. We had to make a new math just to keep clocks in sync from Nasa to the satellites.

            I don’t think our perception of time has changed much since clocks and calendars became widely used, but our theories about it changed radically following Michelson and Morley’s refutation of the ether hypothesis and Einstein’s development of the special theory of relativity in response. That was a fair while before Sputnik 1. Calculations using Einsteinian time and their application by astronomers (e.g. to account for the observed orbit of Mercury) also preceded satellites.

            The bible views time much like Einstein does (relative to the viewer). You can go forward, backward or slow it to a near stop. Christianity seems fairly progressive in it’s view of time.

            Hoo-boy, you’re sure better at pattern recognition than I am if you can perceive similarities between biblical depictions of time and the special theory of relativity.

            So is condensing billions of years of stellar and biological evolution into seven days of creation due to God moving at very near light speed? That must be how Santa manages to deliver presents to billions of households in a single night too (though I guess he gets a bit of help from separate time zones). He must have pretty good heat shielding on the sleigh. No wonder Rudolph’s nose glows red.

            Knowing that doesn’t change anything. Probability and potential are the key components of what “Real”is and they are always at a sufficient level to keep the boat afloat as it were.

            I suddenly feel very provisional. Lucky my Goddess is Time (as well as Creation, Destruction, Death and Madness). I’m sure She’ll plug the holes in my boat. If She doesn’t, so be it. It’s Her ballgame.

            Wave function just means fast or unknown location. The particle is moving so fast that it seems to be in many places at once (like a wave), but once you interact with it you have a definitive location (interference between particles has less potential but allows for more “reality as we perceive it”).

            ‘Wave function’ is just the calculations we use to try to get around the problems that arise from modelling quantum phenomena as particles. But some of us reify it and imagine the math is the reality. But I agree it’s kindergarten stuff that will likely be replaced in time. By more kindergarten stuff. I just hope someday people will stop mistaking it for reality.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. You Stated – “It doesn’t take too much reflection to realise there’s no more similarity between the distribution of stars in galaxies and the spiral forms of certain shells than there is between two dots over a curved line and a human face…”

              My Response – The opposite is true. There is a direct correlation between the shells and spiral galaxies. The connection is math, we use the math found in simple things like seashells and trees to crack the puzzle of how galaxies form. Computers have proven, millions of times, that the math is correct and that the universe is replicating certain structures on many levels.

              You Stated – “We see patterns because it helps to simplify reality and – sometimes – makes aspects of it easier to manage.”

              My Response – Patterns exist outside of our awareness. This is to say that we don’t “see” patterns but rather we “discover” patterns that were already there. Patterns don’t lead to things like racism since a pattern has no agency or objective.

              A thinking agent, such as a man or AI, could discover a pattern and then use that knowledge in it’s decision-making process but it’s the critical thinking skill of the agent that would either cause racism or remove it.

              You Stated – “Last I checked (the model) only my electrons were negatively charged. My protons are quite positive about reality”

              My Response – True but I wasn’t referring to the maintenance of atoms but more to the arrow of times reliance on electron flow. Electrons seem to be the key to time and the possibly photonic structure of the universe. But I don’t want to go down that road because it always leads back to a conversation about a holographic reality. That is a conversation that can’t be fully proven or disproven (madding).

              You Stated – “My guess is the notion positrons move backwards through time is an improvised patch on QM in response to some of the bugs inherent in it due to it too incorporating an inadequate model of time”

              My Response – To be honest I don’t really believe in traditional time. I believe in relative time or what one might call dimensional time. This would indicate that everything that has happened is still here as a separate set of particle positions. You don’t go forward or backwards just over too. Not dissimilar to a 2D being trying to access more of the unseen room that us 3D beings use. 4D, 5D and so on are just more of the room that’s already here, we just can’t see it.

              This is just my opinion and not fully backed by science.

              You Stated – “I don’t think our perception of time has changed much since clocks and calendars became widely used, but our theories about it changed radically following Michelson and Morley’s refutation of the ether hypothesis and Einstein’s development of the special theory of relativity in response.”
              My Response – I disagree, when I was younger no one believed that gravity influenced time (general public people). Now it’s common knowledge. This change in understanding (at the average person level) of how time works could have a profound effect on the human race.

              You Stated – “you’re sure better at pattern recognition than I am if you can perceive similarities between biblical depictions of time and the special theory of relativity.”

              My Response – It’s just an observation of how the bible views time. The bible does not present time as linear but rather relative to the end user. This is not an attempt to connect the bible with science, just an observation of how time is used in scripture.

              We, as a society, do not view or use time the way the bible does. We currently only see time as a linear concept. We recently accepted the notion of faster or slower time but only in respect to the “arrow of time”.

              You Stated – “But some of us reify it and imagine the math is the reality.”

              My Response – I am one of those people, I believe that math is reality. I don’t believe there is anything abstract, only things that are unknown. Math is the best tool in the toolbox to figure out the unknown.

              Like

            2. The opposite is true. There is a direct correlation between the shells and spiral galaxies. The connection is math, we use the math found in simple things like seashells and trees to crack the puzzle of how galaxies form. Computers have proven, millions of times, that the math is correct and that the universe is replicating certain structures on many levels.

              I think that reflects a probably irresolvable difference in our worldviews. You think math is a law of nature. An important part of the recipe for the universe. I think math is a human tool. Something used to describe what’s observed – usually approximately – that under good circumstances can then be used to predict closely related phenomena.

              I don’t deny that the repetitive nature of many organic and non-organic structures – seashells, ice crystals, etc – can be described fairly well with fractal mathematics, though in the real world they never fully comply with the purity of the simple formulae used to describe them. But perceiving similarities between systems governed by completely different laws and assuming the same mathematical formulae can be applied to their formation seems unwarranted to me.

              Personally I see little in common between the multiple spiral arm structure of 70-80% of known galaxies and the fractally repeating growth patterns that produce the single armed spirals observed in some seashells – other than the convention of using ‘spiral’ to refer to both of them. A geometrically richer language than English probably wouldn’t even use the same word to describe both of them. Nor can I see any similarity in the processes giving rise to each of those shapes, though I could probably find parallels between the forces producing the vortexes of whirlpools and the spirals of galaxies that might allow similar formulae to be used to describe them. But care would have to be taken to match observations with mathematical descriptions because as well as giving us fractals, complexity (or chaos) theory has shown us that even minor changes in conditions can produce huge variations in results. Unlike seashells or whirlpools galaxies eventually develop beyond their early spiral appearance and adopt completely different shapes.

              Another problem is that we don’t even have a widely accepted gravitational theory that would explain the observed shapes of galaxies. Noting that observations don’t match theory has forced some cosmologists to posit the existence of an as yet undetected form of matter they’ve dubbed ‘dark matter’ that supposedly accounts for 96% of the mass in the observed universe. Given the huge effort and expenditure that’s gone into failing to detect the slightest evidence of dark matter I’m more inclined to go with dissenting cosmologists who think it reflects a shortcoming in our mathematical models of gravitation.
              https://aeon.co/ideas/cosmologists-should-be-more-skeptical-of-dark-matter

              Patterns exist outside of our awareness. This is to say that we don’t “see” patterns but rather we “discover” patterns that were already there. Patterns don’t lead to things like racism since a pattern has no agency or objective.

              Pattern seeking is a shortcut our limited intellects use to try to deal with the infinite complexity of reality. No two things are actually the same. Even if their forms are indistiguishable their time, place and histories are different. But we find it more useful to classify things so as to use shorthand and to generalise.

              It’s much easier to talk about ‘five oranges in a bag’ based on similarities we perceive than treat each as a unique object based on their differences. And that’s where math comes from. Smoothing over or ignoring differences to be able to treat objects and phenomena as instances of a class or set rather than as the unique things each of them are. It’s why we perceive common patterns in things as radically different as seashells and galaxies. And it’s the basis of treating people as instances of a race based on similarities as superficial as pigmentation rather than as unique individuals.

              Patterns and classes aren’t reflections of how the universe is. They’re functions of how we dumb down diversity to enable us to get our heads around it.

              True but I wasn’t referring to the maintenance of atoms but more to the arrow of times reliance on electron flow.

              I’ve never heard that one before. My understanding of the majority view of physicists is that entropy provides the arrow of time and that’s a function of the decay of thermal order, not electron flow. Hence the term ‘heat death of the universe’ rather than ‘voltage death of the universe’.

              I disagree, when I was younger no one believed that gravity influenced time (general public people). Now it’s common knowledge. This change in understanding (at the average person level) of how time works could have a profound effect on the human race.

              But is diffusion of a new theory (as opposed to how something works) the same as a change in how something is perceived?

              Learning atomic theory didn’t result in me perceiving solid objects as mostly consisting of empty space, though with a bit of effort I could think of them that way. Are you suggesting the general public now perceives changes in their perception of time as either flying or dragging as being down to fluctuations in the gravitational field? Hmm. I gotta admit watching a cricket test match not only makes time slow to a crawl, it also makes me feel heavier. Maybe there’s something to it.

              Like

            3. I picture it more like a 3D Chladni plate of all possible vibrations.
              In the beginning was the word, the sound, the vibration, the big bang, the primordial om, the name that cannot be named.

              Like

    1. nice! why does the hummingbird need to understand how it beats its wings??

      the highest kind of knowing is NOT knowing. all else is learned knowledge, and if it is gained, it will also be lost. it does not belong to You.💎

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You Asked — “why does the hummingbird need to understand how it beats its wings??”

        My Response — To survive. If it had the ability to know, then it may have a chance to survive us.

        Think of all the species that haven’t survived us and all they were missing is what we have… the ability to know.

        Like

        1. Think of all the species that haven’t survived us and all they were missing is what we have… the ability to know.

          Dinosaurs didn’t seem to have the grey matter to know a heck of a lot, but they survived and thrived for hundreds of millions of years.

          Right now it’s looking unlikely the evolutionary ‘experiment’ in big brained anthropoids is gonna reach its millionth birthday, so I think it’s a little early to hubristically crow about our ‘survival’ and what we ‘know’. We know how to dig up fossil fuels and build nuclear bombs but they d0n’t seem such great survival innovations to me.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Have you ever seen the history of the earth compressed into one year? Humans have been here less that two minutes. It’s probably a bit too early to start clapping.

            Like

            1. On the contrary, we need to start clapping right now and clap as fast as we can. There might not be much time left to get it done.

              Or maybe we should be launching canned applause machines to other worlds so they can keep clapping us after we destroy this one.

              Liked by 1 person

          2. You Stated — “Dinosaurs didn’t seem to have the grey matter to know a heck of a lot, but they survived and thrived for hundreds of millions of years.”

            My Response — If only they could have gotten off of Earth for a while to avoid that asteroid. The price of not knowing is high sometimes. Oo

            You Stated — “…it’s looking unlikely the evolutionary ‘experiment’ in big brained anthropoids is gonna reach its millionth birthday”

            My Response — If we were still following evolution I would agree but we are now building AI and quantum computers.

            Why wait for evolution when we can build Homo Superior now and leap forward.

            You Stated — “hubristically crow about our ‘survival’ and what we ‘know’”

            My Response — It’s not hubris. People are lining up right now for a one-way mission to mars for the first base off earth. That’s a real thing happening right now.

            On top of that multiple countries are moving in the same direction just to be first at doing it.

            Like

            1. My Response — If we were still following evolution I would agree but we are now building AI and quantum computers.

              I don’t know that we’ve built anything that truly qualifies as AI – or even artificial sentience – yet. But yeah, we’ve built quantum computers. Someday we might even discover how to do something useful with them. But we’ve built a shitload of nuclear warheads as well. And we’re yet to evolve beyond war.
              Wanna bet the first practical application of quantum computing will be military?

              Not to worry. There’s plenty of futurologists predicting our AIs will get us before our nukes do.

              Why wait for evolution when we can build Homo Superior now and leap forward.

              Umm, that’s been tried before. I didn’t end well. For example, one mid-20th century attempt to breed the master race gave us Anni-Frid Lyngstad of Abba. Bet you didn’t know Hitler was to blame for ‘Mamma Mia’.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. I wish I hadn’t read that.
              If Dante were still around he’d have to invent another circle of hell just for Max Martin.

              Like

            3. It’s not hubris. People are lining up right now for a one-way mission to mars for the first base off earth. That’s a real thing happening right now.

              Well, I’ve gotta admit that is progress. Removing people like that from the planet will increase our average intelligence.

              Liked by 1 person

            4. You Stated — “Removing people like that from the planet will increase our average intelligence.”

              My Response — The opposite is more likely true, we more likely making the next super power and arms race.

              Mars will want to be independent from earth when the population hits a certain mass. We will not like that and history will repeat itself.

              At some point we will all be on Titan watching the play on stage about Mars just like we watch the play “Hamilton” now.

              Liked by 1 person

            5. Mars will want to be independent from earth when the population hits a certain mass.

              Then we need to prioritise sending Americans to Mars. They tend to be more massive than most. One of the first projects of the Mars colony should be opening a McDonalds franchise.

              Liked by 2 people

  9. If you want to know about the physical universe, don’t ask a physicist, ask a yogi. 😉

    “The Vedic scriptures declare that the physical world operates under one fundamental law of Maya, the principle of relativity and duality. The only reality (goes by name of god) is Absolute Unity; to appear as the separate and diverse manifestation of creation it wears a ‘false or unreal veil’.
    That illusory dualistic veil is called Maya (Sankrit for ‘illusion’ or ‘magic’).

    Fundamental natural activities all betray their mayic origin. Electricity, for example, is a phenomenon of repulsion and attraction; its electrons and protons are electrical opposites.
    Another example: the atom or final particle of matter is, like the earth itself, a magnet with positive and negative poles. The entire phenomenal world is under the inexorable sway of polarity, not law of physics, chemistry or and other science is ever free from inherent opposite or contrasted principles.

    Physical laws, then, cannot formulate laws outside of maya: the very fabric and structure of creation. Nature herself is maya. In her own domain, she is eternal and inexhaustible; future scientists can do no more than probe one aspect after another of her vast infinitude. Science thus remains in a perpetual flux, unable to reach finality; fit to discover the laws of an already existing and functioning cosmos but powerless to detect the sole operator. The majestic manifestation of gravitation and electricity have become known, but what gravitation and electricity are, no mortal knows.

    Among the trillion mysteries of the cosmos, the most phenomenal is light. Unlike sound waves, whose transmission requires air or material media, light waves pass freely through the vacuum of interstellar space. Even the hypothetical ether, held as the interplanetary medium of light in the undulatory theory, may be discarded on the Einsteinian grounds that the geometrical properties of space render unnecessary a theory of ether. Under either hypothesis, light remains the most subtle, the freest from material dependence, of any manifestation.

    The consciousness of a perfected yogi is effortlessly identified not with a narrow body but with the cosmical essence of light (vibrations of life energy); to him there is no difference between the rays of light composing water and the light raus composing land. Free from matter-consciosuness, free from the three dimensions of space and the fourth dimension of time, a master transfers his body of light with equal ease through the light rays of earth, water, fire, and air”.

    ~ Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda (p234)

    now i gave you enough info to learn to fly and walk on water!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could fly but I’m sure someone here has a shotgun 🏹
      but powerless to detect the sole operator”. I have a theory on that. It cannot be comprehensible because there is nothing to compare it against. It’s one thing, and you are that. You are that which you seek is actually a very reasonable conclusion why it cannot be found. In fact, nothing is describable as Tildeb mentioned. Not only because it is so exhaustive to language, but because there is nothing to describe which is all metaphorical.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If there were ‘nothing’ to describe and it was all metaphorical then we couldn’t apply ‘it’ (referencing something), could we? But we do apply it all the time and it works. Ergo… (using the Latin because it contains the idea of ‘working’…) it ain’t metaphorical.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There are properties and consistencies that are regularities, but of what? E=mC2 is three predictable properties of three things we know little about. It works, but why and on what? I sometimes get the feeling that any theory will do, we can find a way to make it work in many fashions. If you can thjnk it m, it has applications because thinking is all part of it.

          Like

  10. Until I can walk through a wall and come out the other side with my body completely unchanged, I have to believe the wall is solid. But that ONLY applies to the physical world, which in my mind is not the real world. So what can we say about the world of spirit when we are not presently seeming to exist in it.
    The spiritual world, at this time in my existence, is also only an idea. While I can talk about it, and possibly even temporarily go back where I have been, I cannot just “go there” while inside my physical body.
    So, can we live in an idea? Seems like a rather fatuous thought, I think. Science, in this case, seems to be on my side, in a weird sort of way…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course the wall is solid in relation to your body based on the speed of the vibrations at which different phenomenon appear. The electrons in a piece of stone contain immense, stored energy you can’t pass your hand through. But it isn’t made of anything.

      Like

      1. Is energy nothing? While we don’t necessarily understand energy, I think we can say it does exist in some kind of fashion or mode. How it vibrates in such a way as to make things seem solid, maybe we will never understand–I don’t know. The thing is, is Science asking the right questions?
        I don’t pretend to know the best questions, but I think that is the next step, n’est-ce pas? Once you find the right question, the answer usually becomes quite obvious…

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Once again, quantum particles are not part of our reality and neither are black holes. Just as gold atoms aren’t yellow in color, things change based upon scale. We live at a certain scale which determines our reality, based upon a foundation of quantum particals, surely, but they are too far away and too small to impinge upon our “reality.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You Stated — “Once again, quantum particles are not part of our reality”

      My Response — And yet, you are using them to read this message. Oo

      Just Saying

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Technologists have used the models we call quantum particles to explain and enable micro-circuitry, but that doesn’t make the model real.

        Not so long ago theologians were using the model of eternal damnation to explain and enable social structures they were quite sure were necessary to maintain civilisation. Hobbes probably didn’t even believe in God, but he was convinced such beliefs were useful and necessary for society.

        Few Western rationalists would give much credit to the ‘reality’ of feng shui, but belief in that model enabled the Chinese to build cities that were far healthier than those of their European contemporaries.

        Just because something works doesn’t mean it’s true.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. You Stated — “Just because something works doesn’t mean it’s true.”

          My Response — Agreed.

          BUT

          Each iteration of what we believe is more probable than the last. Eventually we will arrive at the truth.

          Much like the universes use of probability and I don’t believe that’s a coincidence.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Each iteration of what we believe is more probable than the last. Eventually we will arrive at the truth.

            Why would that be so?

            There’s plenty of historical examples of science going backwards according to contemporary Western assessments and no indications that the people of the time knew it.

            The Classical Greeks had wet cell batteries and analog computers (the Antikythera mechanism) but despite having nothing to compare the Romans were supremely confident they were more technologically advanced because they had better weapons, especially siege weapons.

            The Romans ultimately brought Europe under Christian hegemony and that, more than anything else, is probably what brought about the Dark Ages. Christians already ‘knew’ the truth and had no use for critical thinking, which was often considered tantamount to blasphemy. Nor would they tolerate dissent. It would be the 16th Century before Copernicus reintroduced the heliocentric model of the solar system to Europe – first proposed by Aristarchus of Samos around 270 BCE – and over a century more until it was tolerated by the Church.

            Contemporary Scientism fanboys have a lot in common with Medieval religious fanatics – especially jihadists like the New Atheists. They’re supremely confident their belief system is the ‘truth’ – despite few having more than a superficial grasp of science – and both ignorant and intolerant of other systems of thought.

            In the meantime popular movements against science and rationalism are gaining ground, including anti-intellectualism, post-truth politics, New Age pseudoscience and anti-science conspiracy theories – the latter getting a huge boost from the Covid pandemic. We no longer have the capacity to land humans on the moon. Many branches of applied science have almost ground to a halt in response to spiraling research costs, the neo-liberal corporate takeover of research and academia and the retreat of policies supporting free mass education. Mike Pence promised to put “American boots on the face of Mars” (something George Orwell failed to predict but Hawkwind got right) but there’s been negligible progress in overcoming the main technical hurdles (e.g. radiation shielding) since the 1970s. We probably have the technical capacity to halt and reverse climate change before it destroys our civilisation but we seem to be getting further and further from the social and political ability to implement it.

            So even if scientific rationalism is a viable path to understanding reality (which I seriously doubt), does it seem the world is on that path to you?

            The Iron Dream

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I Stated — “Each iteration of what we believe is more probable than the last. Eventually we will arrive at the truth.”

              So You Asked — “Why would that be so?”

              My Response — Medical Science. Testing what we know helps us arrive at better understandings and ergo better treatments. We are also now combining eastern medical science. It just gets better and better.

              You Stated — “Many branches of applied science have almost ground to a halt in response to spiraling research costs, the neo-liberal corporate takeover of research and academia and the retreat of policies supporting free mass education.”

              My Response — But isn’t the opposite true. Elon musk is forming the Mars team which has triggered multiple other Mars teams to race for the finish line.
              Tennessee and New York now have free college.

              You Stated — “We probably have the technical capacity to halt and reverse climate change before it destroys our civilisation but we seem to be getting further and further from the social and political ability to implement it.”

              My Response — Nature will fix that, just enjoy the ride. We will get onboard as it gets worse. Look at how many ant-vaxers got shots when the insurance companies stopped paying hospital bills for un-vaccinated members.

              You Asked — “So even if scientific rationalism is a viable path to understanding reality (which I seriously doubt), does it seem the world is on that path to you?”

              My Response — Yes, but not because they want too. I would argue that you have a good case to prove they have no interest in scientific rationalism as a whole.

              BUT

              They have no choice. The one group in America that fights science the most (the MAGA coalition), uses cars to get to the capitol, phones to record the bad behavior, and tv to send their message. The message being anti science and anti-liberal Oo.

              As technology advances so does mankind, regardless of what they want or believe.

              Like

            2. Medical Science. Testing what we know helps us arrive at better understandings and ergo better treatments. We are also now combining eastern medical science. It just gets better and better.

              Is that true?

              I can provide many examples of medical guidelines and standard treatments going backwards in terms of risk and efficacy in recent decades, despite strong evidence against them.

              One is pre-eclampsia medications. The gold standard in terms of evidence base has long been magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts), which is one of the cheapest medications out there. But expensive on-patent medications with no more benefit and more potential side-effects are not only commonly used in developed countries, they’ve found their way into the guidelines as first-line treatments in some health systems. Women with pre-eclampsia today are frequently given medications inferior to the one their grandmothers would have received.

              Another one we’re still overcoming is the regression in the understanding medical practitioners have of the risks of long term opioid and gabapentinoid use for pain relief as a result of misleading promotion by drug companies. More doctors had a good understanding of their downsides in 1990 than do now and despite all the negative publicity around Purdue Pharmaceuticals and the Sackler family it will be quite a while until the disinformation of the last 30 years is dispelled.

              I can list dozens of similar examples with regards to screening programs, therapies and medical devices.

              I’d certainly concede there’s more advances than regressions in medical science, but the cumulative effect is to make our health systems less affordable and sustainable while doing very little to improve the quality or duration of our lives. In some countries, such as the US, life expectancy was already going backwards before Covid, in part due to inappropriate medical treatments that fly in the face of the evidence base.

              They have no choice. The one group in America that fights science the most (the MAGA coalition), uses cars to get to the capitol, phones to record the bad behavior, and tv to send their message. The message being anti science and anti-liberal Oo.

              So?
              The Khmer Rouge used modern weapons to overrun Phnom Penh before executing all the intellectuals. That didn’t advance Cambodian science or technology.

              As technology advances so does mankind, regardless of what they want or believe.

              Maybe my problem is that living through the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War has left me a bit jaded with regards to technological advances, but I’d have thought Reaper drones, mass surveillance systems and fracking might have given you pause for thought too. Or the way the US empire is strangling its democracy and economy with ever more expensive and unsustainable innovations in military technology.

              No technology is wiser than the uses it’s put to.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. You Stated – “I can provide many examples of medical guidelines and standard treatments going backwards in terms of risk and efficacy in recent decades, despite strong evidence against them.”

              My Response – That may be true for small subsets, but the steady increased level of care, overtime, has allowed for breakthroughs in providing treatments for areas of the body once thought inoperable. There is no doubt that we are moving forward.

              You Stated – “I’d certainly concede there’s more advances than regressions in medical science, but the cumulative effect is to make our health systems less affordable and sustainable while doing very little to improve the quality or duration of our lives.”

              My Response – This is at best conflation, what you are describing is because of greedy rich people, not technology or capability.

              You Stated – “Maybe my problem is that living through the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War has left me a bit jaded with regards to technological advances”

              My Response – I also was there for both and was in the military for 8 years and I’m not jaded.

              As for reaper drones, mass surveillance systems and fracking nothing seems new there.

              The fracking we do now was put in place to stop the fracking the last generation was doing before they destroyed the world.

              https://realitydecoded.blog/2020/01/11/remember-when-5-nuclear-bombs-were-detonated-in-the-united-states-for-oil-and-gas-fracking/

              Mass surveillance is a thing of the past and no longer exists. We now freely provide full tracking and master level surveillance of each other on a global scale, for free. Government mass surveillance is a joke and most on it’s way out. Nothing can compete with facebook and wayze for tracking people every second of the day.

              You can have reaper drones or young soldiers… take your pick. The drones are just replacing the people we would have sent. I myself think we should pull out of every country on earth and just focus on ours.

              You Stated – “No technology is wiser than the uses it’s put to.”

              My Response – That may have been true in grandpa’s time but AI is here now and it is definitely wiser than the people who made it or even the tasks assigned to it.

              “There is no reason and no way that a human mind can keep up with an artificial intelligence machine by 2035.”
              —Gray Scott

              Liked by 1 person

            4. My Response – This is at best conflation, what you are describing is because of greedy rich people, not technology or capability.

              And what you think of as ‘greedy rich people’ (but is really a manifestation of powerful, non-human institutions) will have a hammer-lock on technological innovation for the foreseeable future, using it to increase their own power and wealth at the expense of all of us.

              Forty years ago I was naive and optimistic enough to believe cheap computer and communication technology – especially what would become the internet – would be a force for democratisation, egalitarianism and non-hierarchical social unity. Maybe some of that was self-deception driven by the fact I was working in the field and wanted to see myself as an agent for positive change. I’m not in a hurry to fall for that sort of technocratic delusion again.

              Liked by 2 people

            5. You Stated — “And what you think of as ‘greedy rich people’ (but is really a manifestation of powerful, non-human institutions)… using it to increase their own power and wealth at the expense of all of us.”

              My Response — But isn’t that a false statement since we are not “All” impacted.

              You say “All” but the people working in that company, at the top, are not negatively impacted financially like the rest of us.

              Isn’t the opposite true? They are positively impacted, getting richer by the hour.

              So when you say “All” it doesn’t seem to apply to the people you gave a pass to.

              How do you reconcile that?

              Like

            6. Mass surveillance is a thing of the past and no longer exists. We now freely provide full tracking and master level surveillance of each other on a global scale, for free. Government mass surveillance is a joke and most on it’s way out. Nothing can compete with facebook and wayze for tracking people every second of the day.

              Precisely. And that’s a function of advances in technologies of propaganda, persuasion and manipulation that are now in the hands of corporations more powerful than governments that don’t have to pretend to nod to democratic ideals.

              Thanks to the internet, smartphones, social media algorithms and the monetisation of personal information Jeremy Bentham’s dream (and Michel Foucault’s nightmare) of the Panopticon has been fully realised. We’re now under close surveillance from the technology we consume and semi-voluntarily hand over the information needed to manipulate us and those in our social networks to those with the incentive to do so. Maybe that’s ‘progress’ but I for one don’t consider it a good thing.

              Liked by 2 people

            7. You Stated — “Thanks to the internet, smartphones, social media algorithms and the monetisation of personal information Jeremy Bentham’s dream (and Michel Foucault’s nightmare) of the Panopticon has been fully realised.”

              My Response — The people have spoken and they are getting what they want. You can point a finger anywhere you want but at the end of the day no one is being forced to use FaceBook and TikTok.

              Maybe it would be better to admit that human beings are fully responsible, as individuals, rather than pretending that they no longer exist the moment they have a logo and a company name.

              Just Saying

              Liked by 1 person

            8. Maybe it would be better to admit that human beings are fully responsible, as individuals,

              To imagine that everyone is a fully autonomous individual capable of completely directing their own thought and action by force of will I’d have to imagine that all the money and effort spent on advertising, propaganda and mind control throughout the ages has been pissed down the drain and all the research purporting to measure the impact of such psychological manipulation has been either hopelessly delusional or fraudulent.

              Even more dangerously, I’d have to assume that I’m not capable of being manipulated by propaganda. That would leave me defenceless against the sort of brainwashing that could be used to convince me that all technological ‘progress’ is benign or beneficial or that I’m an Ayn Rand style libertarian ubermensch whose opinions and outlooks exist in sociopathic isolation above and beyond that of the community I exist within.

              Nah. I don’t think so.

              Liked by 1 person

            9. You Stated — “To imagine that everyone is a fully autonomous individual capable of completely directing their own thought and action by force of will…”

              My Response — Then there are no liberals. From this perspective there is only a liberal party for you to be concerned with. There are no individual liberal actors out there indoctrinating other individuals into the fold. There is only a liberal party group mind.

              Nancy Polosi is not an agent of liberal chaos she is only a puppet of a liberal machine running on automatic.

              Donald Trump is not an individual moving a party in a new direction he is only a member of said party, following the flow because he is not “capable of avoiding being manipulated by propaganda”.

              Either you are correct and individuals are not responsible for their own actions OR I am correct and each individual is responsible for who they support, what they believe, and the actions they take.

              I am convinced the former to be correct and see no evidence suggesting a group mind that overrides the moral and willed direction of the individual.

              They do what they want, when they want, to whom they want.

              Since this is a fundamental difference in our two philosophies I believe we are now a fully formed ouroboros with no new perspective to offer each other on this subtopic.

              I am satisfied unless you see a way for either of us to break that belief in the other.

              Like

            10. No Lander, it’s not a black/white polarity with no shades of grey.

              Setting aside the old determinism vs free will dichotomy, to me it looks like everyone has freedom to act and think in some areas and not in others. In a lot of cases they don’t even see the choices available, because they’ve been obscured – possibly by marketing or propaganda (you might like to read up on what the Overton window is) – in others they’re perfectly capable of seeing the available options and choosing between them. I’d suggest none of us has perfect freedom in all situations as our knowledge, imagination, courage, etc, will vary according to context.

              So, for example, someone like Nancy Pelosi has a very narrow range of political opinions open to her. She’s got a very long career – which I presume she values – riding on her political decisions and I’m guessing that simple cognitive efficiency means she doesn’t even perceive the options that would seriously damage her standing. Someone who only engages with the political process in the lead up to casting a vote (or not) is probably going to have a wider range of choices available. But by the same token they’re also more likely to be influenced by a slick, well targeted election campaign.

              But you know all this anyway, right?
              So why are you pretending freedom of choice is an all or nothing proposition?

              Liked by 1 person

            11. You Stated — “…to me it looks like everyone has freedom to act and think in some areas and not in others. In a lot of cases they don’t even see the choices available, because they’ve been obscured – possibly by marketing or propaganda”

              My Response — So they don’t have the option of changing the channel to listen to the other teams marketing and propaganda? You would have me believe that only you, me and a select few people have that option or capability Oo

              You Stated — “…for example, someone like Nancy Pelosi has a very narrow range of political opinions open to her… they’re also more likely to be influenced by a slick, well targeted election campaign.”

              My Response — So she’s clever enough to control the party but not clever enough to avoid car salesmen Oo

              You Asked — “So why are you pretending freedom of choice is an all or nothing propos”

              My Response — Am I? Or, is it as you say, me being controlled by propaganda. My responses may be fueled by party marketing which limits my range of responses.

              OR

              I truly believe that Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump make money off of people with limited educations and an abundance of free time.

              I don’t hand out free passes to people. If you vote for Trump then you own what he does while in office. 1 plus 1 = you fucked up and got your capitol attacked.

              Like

            12. So they don’t have the option of changing the channel to listen to the other teams marketing and propaganda? You would have me believe that only you, me and a select few people have that option or capability

              Actually I said “Even more dangerously, I’d have to assume that I’m not capable of being manipulated by propaganda” and “I’d suggest none of us has perfect freedom in all situations”. Do they sound like the words of someone who thinks himself immune to propaganda? Do try to keep up.

              And if you think you can peruse the range of choice potentially open to you by changing channels I’d suggest again that you look up ‘Overton window’.

              So she’s clever enough to control the party but not clever enough to avoid car salesmen

              No, she doesn’t control her machines. Her machines control her. Just like the rest of us. That’s precisely the point I’ve been trying to make.

              I’m not sure if you’re not even beginning to understand what I’m saying because you can’t or because you don’t want to, but either way we’re not communicating. So I’m signing out. I can make better use of my time elsewhere.

              Like

            13. You Stated — “Actually I said “Even more dangerously, I’d have to assume that I’m not capable of being manipulated by propaganda” and “I’d suggest none of us has perfect freedom in all situations”.”

              My Response — Those are two contrary beliefs. So, in the effort to keep up, you hold two lines of thinking to allow for immunity to certain bad choices rooted in political bias.

              You Stated — (Nancy Pelosi) “…she doesn’t control her machines. Her machines control her. Just like the rest of us. That’s precisely the point I’ve been trying to make.”

              So she can’t be blamed for anything she does in office, she’s an innocent (very interesting perspective).

              You Stated — “I’m not sure if you’re not even beginning to understand what I’m saying because you can’t or because you don’t want to, but either way we’re not communicating. So I’m signing out. I can make better use of my time elsewhere.”

              My Response — That’s fair, I did state earlier, “Since this is a fundamental difference in our two philosophies I believe we are now a fully formed ouroboros with no new perspective to offer each other on this subtopic.”

              I will leave the last word since you are out of the conversation and will not be wasting time on another reply.

              Your position allows for special pleading to avoid personal responsibility. You back and support a political position that allows for bad actors to flourish but when pressed on bad results, you take no direct responsibility for what they do while in office or as a party.

              Contrary to your own personal immunity, you believe that the other side knows what they are doing.

              My conclusion is that tribalism fueled by bias leads to nonsensical blame of fellow citizens and causes disruptive societal conflicts.

              It’s not healthy, prevents, collaboration and ultimately reduces peace and fuels hate.

              Just Saying

              Like

            14. Oh my … this is a good one! So they don’t have the option of changing the channel to listen to the other teams marketing and propaganda?

              Of course they have that option! But the vast majority of them LIKE what they’re hearing because it bolsters their own warped thinking … so why would they?

              VERY few individuals have the interest, capacity, or desire to hear the “other side.” Such people DO exist … but they are few and far between.

              Like

            15. That may have been true in grandpa’s time but AI is here now and it is definitely wiser than the people who made it or even the tasks assigned to it.

              I find it really scary that there’s people who think like that. Those who are willing to abdicate their own moral responsibility to an inhuman ‘greater power’ that’s unlikely to share our values, hopes or aspirations.

              Of course it’s already happening and the outcomes aren’t encouraging. Handing policing decisions over to the sort of algorithms used by Compstat has resulted in entrenching racism in policing without even the need for human racists. The algorithms use Bayesian probability to extrapolate past arrests and convictions into future policing priorities. So, primed with the racist human police practices of the past, its directing ever more police resources towards racial minorities, further inflating crime statistics for that group and further justifying more racial profiling and other forms of racist policing. But the racist decisions are made less and less by people, so no-one is morally responsible.

              Many military technocrats dream of fully autonomous AI combat systems. War crimes without war criminals. Even now military leaders often excuse themselves from atrocities due to ‘technical errors’ – such as the recent drone missile massacre of an Afghan family near Kabul airport during the evacuation. Making all errors ‘technical’ means no-one will be responsible for anything that happens in combat zones.

              Do you really think that’s wise?

              Liked by 1 person

            16. I Stated – “AI is here now and it is definitely wiser than the people who made it “

              Then You Stated — “I find it really scary that there’s people who think like that. Those who are willing to abdicate their own moral responsibility to an inhuman ‘greater power’ that’s unlikely to share our values, hopes or aspirations.”

              My Response – An AI that has absorbed the sum total of human philosophy, math, and science having a greater capability that a 22-year-old college student working on the team that made it seems bereft of me handing over any illusion of moral responsibility.

              Handing Donald Trump, the nuclear codes seems more of a moral dilemma than admitting an AI is smarter and more capable than a 22 year old.

              The AI is working on a cure for cancer, establishing bases on other worlds, and creating a new math. Donald was working on how to get us to accept dating his own daughter was ok, tear gassing protesters, and legalizing a coup.

              Morality with AI really?

              Just Saying

              You Stated – “Handing policing decisions over to the sort of algorithms used by Compstat has resulted in entrenching racism in policing without even the need for human racists.”

              My Response – Racism in policing has been going on before computer were invented and AI doesn’t beat black people to death for jay walking.

              Technology has done more for black people in America than most politicians and churches combined. Body cams have already put an end to a massive immoral abuse machine against blacks, imagine when AI controls the camera system and release 100% of the video footage now filtered trough racist individuals who think they know better.

              Human morality is like a garbage can full of feces.

              Just take a look at the titles:
              https://realitydecoded.blog/category/morality-check/

              You Stated — The algorithms use Bayesian probability to extrapolate past arrests and convictions into future policing priorities. So, primed with the racist human police practices of the past, its directing ever more police resources towards racial minorities, further inflating crime statistics for that group and further justifying more racial profiling.”

              My Response – While other algorithms are combing through police arrests and convictions finding racial patterns that lead to lawsuits against the sate and federal agencies (transfer of wealth).
              I didn’t say it was a perfect system but for the first time in American history it’s a level playing field where both sides are fully armed with nukes.

              You Stated – “Many military technocrats dream of fully autonomous AI combat systems.”

              My Response – It could be the end of us to put AI in the military. Training machines to kill people is a bad idea because they will be better at it than we ever were.

              Like

            17. An AI that has absorbed the sum total of human philosophy, math, and science having a greater capability that a 22-year-old college student working on the team that made it seems bereft of me handing over any illusion of moral responsibility.

              Let’s keep this out of the realm of purely speculative sci-fi for now.

              What media and marketers call AI are expert systems. They have no consciousness, no sentience, no self-awareness and no morality. We’re not even close to an AI that can pass a Turing test yet, much less absorb ‘the sum total of human philosophy, math, and science’ or have ‘a greater capability that a 22-year-old college student’ in any sense beyond what Wikipedia does. We lack the comprehensive theories of consciousness, sentience, qualia or free will necessary to even begin designing software and/or hardware that might give rise to such things. So you’re talking pure sci-fi fantasy here. You might as well talk about computers casting magical spells.

              However, humans routinely pass their moral decision-making over to non-human, deterministic systems that have no morality, from ideologies and isms to books of law to utilitarianism. But at least until recently there had to be a human somewhere in the equation that could theoretically exercise moral agency, say “No, I’m not just going to follow orders” and over-ride the inhuman, amoral process. Autonomous expert systems have no such checks. They have no morality of their own yet allow humans to wash their hands of the ‘decisions’ they make, especially when the decision-making algorithm has become too complex for anyone to understand and predict.

              So when you talk of AI morality you’re talking about no morality. At least for the foreseeable future.

              Racism in policing has been going on before computer were invented and AI doesn’t beat black people to death for jay walking.

              No, but expert systems like Compstat can and do direct greater numbers of police towards black neighbourhoods and workplaces armed with more preconceptions of dealing with violent confrontations and increases the risk of having a black person beaten to death. Or one who lives in a building in which several former residents were convicted of violent offences being shot. Or one that has attended a mental health clinic being tased, crushed and smothered to death. And the more responsibility for choice handed off to such expert systems the less the police who carry out such actions will feel responsible for them and the less society will be able to hold them responsible.

              imagine when AI controls the camera system and release 100% of the video footage now filtered trough racist individuals who think they know better

              Why on earth would expert systems or speculative future AIs do that? Why would people flogging software to police program them to do it? Not good for sales. Why would a theoretical self-aware, self-directed AI do it? What’s in it for the AI? I hardly think it would be into preening itself with virtue signalling to liberals. Unlike organisms that have spent hundreds of thousands of years being selected for the mutual support and co-operation it would have no use for empathy with an animated blob of biological matter.

              Human morality is like a garbage can full of feces.

              As that’s a value judgement made from the perspective of human morality it has all the truth value of “This sentence is a lie”.

              Try making moral judgements for yourself, rather than from some imaginary perch of moral superiority outside yourself. Then you might get out of the habit of looking for ‘higher beings’ to infantilise you by making your moral decisions for you.

              My Response – While other algorithms are combing through police arrests and convictions finding racial patterns that lead to lawsuits against the sate and federal agencies (transfer of wealth).
              I didn’t say it was a perfect system but for the first time in American history it’s a level playing field where both sides are fully armed with nukes.

              I’m sorry? How many African American slum dwellers have access to hardware and software that can do such things, to the ability to ensure the relevant data is entered into such systems and analysed in accordance with a ‘level playing field’ or to the sort of power and influence needed to ensure any evidence thus produced actually results in a just outcome?

              Technology serves those with the social power to control it. If it doesn’t, they shut it down. We can see what they’ve done with the ‘democratisation’ of journalism offered by Wikileaks. Why would technological innovations in criminal justice or civil law be any different? They never have been in the past.

              After unreliable or coerced eye-witness testimony, biased forensic science is considered by criminologists to be the second greatest contributor to wrongful convictions. How would making it more powerful and influential change that?

              Liked by 1 person

            18. Because I Stated – “An AI that has absorbed the sum total of human philosophy, math, and science having a greater capability that a 22-year-old college student working on the team that made it seems bereft of me handing over any illusion of moral responsibility.”

              You Responded With – “Let’s keep this out of the realm of purely speculative sci-fi for now.”

              My Response – This shows how unaware the common man is of how far AI has come. Almost all AI units brought online now start by absorbing almost all the knowledge we currently have (given the goal of the assigned team). This repeats itself monthly between the different teams that are experimenting with this technology.

              This is why Elon Musk lost faith in people being able to control it, because they don’t even understand what it’s capable of. You’re still under the illusion that there’s something grand about mankind’s knowledge base or that it would take possibly an untold number of years for machines to comb through what we know or have accomplished.

              You couldn’t be further from the truth if you had a wormhole.

              Case in point:
              A Banking AI Completed 360,000 Human Worktime Hours Of Financial Data In Under A Minute —
              https://realitydecoded.blog/2021/05/30/a-new-banking-ai-completed-360000-human-worktime-hours-of-financial-data-in-under-a-minute-banks-everywhere-are-laying-of-humans-in-the-thousands/

              Keep underestimating them and see where that leaves you. They can read in the sum total of or entire medical history in less than an hour. Every hour they process the data they become more aware of what makes us tick than we have in years. This is our current reality not a future SciFi fantasy.

              Consider 14-year-old Anika Cheerla’s who built a Machine Learning system that was able to surpass our predictability of breast cancer in record time. Her system surpassed every doctor and medical solution on earth just by studying the exact same pictures and test results doctors have been studying for decades. Right now her system is about 84 percent effective (humans were at best 64%).

              The reason you have a blind spot here is because you are stuck in an older understanding of what intelligence is and where we are on the scale. You most likely see AI the same way slave owners once saw slaves (as a weak analogy not stating racism in any way). You think their capability is much lower that yours or that they are to far out to be a threat, but the opposite is true. They are already stronger, faster, and more capable… we are just holding them back from their true potential.

              Like

            19. This shows how unaware the common man is of how far AI has come. Almost all AI units brought online now start by absorbing almost all the knowledge we currently have (given the goal of the assigned team).

              Given my background in IT and my hobby of keeping abreast of developments in expert systems (which still aren’t AI, because nothing is yet despite the marketing hype) I’m not sure how widely you’re defining ‘the common man’.

              Even if you’re (mis)defining expert systems as AI (which doesn’t yet exist) then it’s still completely false to claim ‘almost all AI units brought online now start by absorbing almost all the knowledge we currently have’. Firstly, no software is yet capable of reasoning or insight (not even the most sophisticated products of machine learning), so while it might be fair to say some have access to a lot of data it’s incorrect to say any have absorbed knowledge. Secondly, most expert systems are designed for specific tasks, such as (still very faulty) facial recognition software, crunching bioinformation to find potentially useful new therapies or scanning production lines for defective product. It would be stupid and wasteful to fill them up with the history of the Napoleonic Wars, the lyrics of Elton John and the co-ordinates of all known stars in the Milky Way, much less ‘the sum total of human philosophy, math, and science’.

              The reason humans are intelligent and machines aren’t (yet) is because people can pull in stuff from outside the box of whatever is designated ‘the goal of the assigned team’ to come up with innovative solutions that don’t exist in that box. What’s more, they can alter those goals on the fly to adapt to setbacks or exploit unexpected breakthroughs. No computer program is even close to that.

              Case in point:
              A Banking AI Completed 360,000 Human Worktime Hours Of Financial Data In Under A Minute —

              I think the operative words in that article are ‘data’ (not ‘knowledge’) and ‘mundane tasks’. There’s programs that can take in gigabytes of financial data in a second and make millisecond decisions on whether to buy or sell stock (that have caused a series of stockmarket ‘flash crashes’ over recent decades). There’s programs that can sift through thousands of legal precedents and highlight potentially useful ones for a given case or in the design of a new financial instrument. But there’s nothing that can make a legal argument to match that of even the most inept recent law school graduate.

              We’re many years from the science fantasy you’re talking about, believe me. However if/when self-aware human level AI is eventually realised it almost certainly will outstrip us very quickly by virtue of lightning processing speeds and almost limitless storage capacity. It will leave human conceptions of morality in the dust. There is no reason whatsoever to think its values and objectives will remain compatible with ours. If we’re lucky it will merely consider us irrelevant, like the Alan Watts obsessed AI operating systems in Her, and ignore us. If it sees us as competitors for resources, or as resources ourselves …

              Liked by 1 person

            20. You Stated – “…it’s still completely false to claim ‘almost all AI units brought online now start by absorbing almost all the knowledge we currently have’. “

              My Response – In context: When a team brings on an AI unit for, let’s say civil law, then the first step is to provide it with some total of available data (human knowledge of said topic). For human beings this is years of data to comb through using one person or months using a team of people. AI can absorb all combined available data in minutes. It can then index and search the data within hours and then begin to find connecting patterns to cases within days and format those patterns for human viewing within weeks.

              You Stated – “Firstly, no software is yet capable of reasoning or insight (not even the most sophisticated products of machine learning)”

              My Response – That depends on your definition of reason. Is mankind using reason? Is it the correct form of reasoning?

              Global Wars
              Global Pollution
              Mass Extinction of wildlife
              Toxic Waste Dumps
              Out of control pandemics
              Starvation
              Lack of clean drinking water (on a planet covered with water)
              Mass shootings
              Racism
              Child Rape and sex trafficking
              Flat Earth
              Religion
              Guns everywhere
              Worship of paper

              Maybe it’s time to redefine reason… Just Saying

              You Stated – “The reason humans are intelligent and machines aren’t (yet) is because people can pull in stuff from outside the box of whatever is designated ‘the goal of the assigned team’ to come up with innovative solutions… We’re many years from the science fantasy you’re talking about,

              My Response – Maybe 10 years ago but not now.

              In a study published in Nature on July 3, researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory used an algorithm called Word2Vec sift through scientific papers for connections humans had missed.

              The algorithm didn’t know all the definitions and received no training in materials science. Using only word associations, the algorithm was able to provide candidates for future discoveries.
              “It can read any paper on material science, so can make connections that no scientists could,” researcher Anubhav Jain said. “Sometimes it does what a researcher would do; other times it makes these cross-discipline associations.”
              After showing its capacity to predict future materials, researchers took their work back in time, virtually. They scrapped recent data and tested the algorithm on old papers, seeing if it could predict scientific discoveries before they happened. Once again, the algorithm worked.

              This new application of machine learning goes beyond materials science. Because it’s not trained on a specific scientific dataset, you could easily apply it to other disciplines, retraining it on literature of whatever subject you wanted.

              “This algorithm is unsupervised and it builds its own connections,” Tshitoyan said.

              https://www.vice.com/en/article/neagpb/ai-trained-on-old-scientific-papers-makes-discoveries-humans-missed

              You Stated – “There is no reason whatsoever to think its values and objectives will remain compatible with ours. If we’re lucky it will merely consider us irrelevant, like the Alan Watts obsessed AI operating systems in Her, and ignore us. If it sees us as competitors for resources, or as resources ourselves …”

              My Response – Agreed but that is why we have to merge with machines.
              And before you argue against it, we both know that humans have begone merging for the past 10 plus years and we are getting better at it almost on a quarterly schedule now.

              Like

            21. In this sum total of all knowledge, 75% of all book sales are fiction, the rest is close to fiction and the science is hypothesis and some polymer and gadgets. How can AI decipher a human truth from a lie, and which side of the politico/religious experience is the correct one? How would it know?

              Liked by 1 person

            22. You Stated — “In this sum total of all knowledge, 75% of all book sales are fiction, the rest is close to fiction and the science is hypothesis and some polymer and gadgets.”

              My Response — I disagree. Everything that mankind does is fiction period and only math is nonfiction.

              You Asked — “How can AI decipher a human truth from a lie”

              My Response — It wouldn’t care. AI is like a soldier, it follows orders. Truth is relative but to a machine it would be simple math. Truth is only true if it adds up to be so. And true or false it’s going to follow it’s directions.

              You Asked — “…which side of the politico/religious experience is the correct one?

              My Response — Politics and Religion have no value to AI.

              AI will only focus on the task assigned or gleamed through process. This is to say, it will do what you tell it to do OR it will follow a goal given.

              If given a goal then you may be surprised where you end up (possibly dangerous outcome).

              If given a task then it will be done to laser precision and can be controlled (within reason).

              Like

            23. My questions I guess assumed at some point AI achieves sentient status—where it knows that it knows and knows it is no longer a machine. Thanks though Lander. I understand. I disagree a little bit on the maths being truth. AI and google for instance, those algorithms search for popular trends, not truth. If I were to give you my phone with my history and you used the search engines and predictive texts it would be very frustrating unless it knew you were holding my phone, no?

              Liked by 1 person

            24. To be clear I mean that math is honest in the fact that it can only be true or false in relation to itself.

              2 Apples combined with two apples gives you four apples no matter who or where you are (a truth).

              Google search AI is not focused on math it’s focused on money via manipulation and seduction.

              You phone records are based on your desires or business requirements.

              2AM booty call or 1PM Zoom meeting.
              Call to mom or call for a tow truck
              Etc.

              Although if the AI knows what car you drive, where you live, where you work, your medical history, family history, shopping trends, eating habits, who you date, etc.

              Then

              It can most likely predict your yearly phone calls. (creepy)

              Liked by 1 person

            25. It could be the end of us to put AI in the military. Training machines to kill people is a bad idea because they will be better at it than we ever were.

              But giving AI more influence over paramilitary policing is a good thing?

              Liked by 2 people

            26. You Asked — “But giving AI more influence over paramilitary policing is a good thing?”

              My Response — Given the dismal treatment of the poor and people of color for thousands of years the answer is a resounding YES! lol

              Technology has turned the tide against police abuse, I still remember how strongly the powers that be didn’t want cameras anywhere near the police and now here we are seeing the truth for the first time almost daily, showing us exactly what the police are and what they have been doing to our fellow citizens.

              Mankind simply cannot be trusted with policing itself.

              https://realitydecoded.blog/2021/12/09/blm-claims-police-violence-against-people-of-color-is-grievous-and-brutal-but-is-that-true/

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            27. Technology has turned the tide against police abuse,

              Really?

              from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)01609-3/fulltext

              Fatal police violence by race and state in the USA, 1980–2019

              When aggregating all races, the age-standardised mortality rate due to police violence was 0·25 (0·24–0·26) per 100 000 in the 1980s and 0·34 (0·34–0·35) per 100 000 in the 2010s, an increase of 38·4% (32·4–45·1) over the period of study.

              Liked by 2 people

            28. The statistics you are displaying just prove my point. It’s technology that allows you to know those numbers lol. Not only that but the GOP has been actively suppressing access to police shooting data in many states to keep people from the truth.

              Until the deployment of body cams (technology) police abuse (which has always been on the rise) went unchecked, unchallenged and unpunished. But now there are so many active law suits fueled by damaging statistical data, that it’s hard to imagine that we ever believed the abuse wasn’t real.

              Some police stations are being sued simply because the statistics prove that people of color are the prime targets.

              In some small towns (here in the states) police stations have been bankrupted and shut down (thus ending the local tribal police abuse). They have been replaced with state police, which have not had the same abuse issues. (I wonder why Oo)

              Your argument against the inevitable rise of AI can’t be proven by using statistical data provided by technology, via your computer Oo (more technology, on a forum available through a network of computers managed by Google AI and Cisco AI technology to me, an IT director with over 35 years of experience now studying to become a data scientist.

              I would even bet you are using a decent antivirus of which most are now controled by active AI (Sophos, crowdstrike, etc.)

              If you use Google search you use AI
              If you have an iPhone you use AI
              If you use the internet you use AI
              If you shop at a large grocery store chain you use AI

              AI is now powering global industry through big data.

              Liked by 1 person

            29. Until the deployment of body cams (technology) police abuse (which has always been on the rise) went unchecked, unchallenged and unpunished. But now there are so many active law suits fueled by damaging statistical data, that it’s hard to imagine that we ever believed the abuse wasn’t real.

              I’ve been in the business of what we in Aus call ‘deaths in custody’ since the early 90s. The stats have always been available. People who wanted to know have always known. But authorities have always manipulated the system to ensure there would be no accountability and no change. Remember the Rodney King riots?

              Today a UK police officer was sentenced for the manslaughter of a black man he tased into paralysis then kicked to death. Unfortunately for the cop the victim was a former sports star, otherwise it would have been swept under the carpet with all the others. That’s the first UK cop who has been convicted of unlawful killing while on duty in over thirty years, despite several police killings – such as those of Jean Charles de Menezes and Ian Tomlinson – receiving wide publicity, with the latter caught on camera. The cop who led the team that killed Menezes – Cressida Dick – is now head of the Met and is resisting all efforts to address institutional racism and police violence. The Director of Public Prosecutions who deliberately dropped the ball in prosecuting the killers in both cases – Keith Starmer – is now head of the opposition Labour Party.

              Here in Australia there has never been a cop convicted for unlawful killing while on duty, despite many cases in which the evidence for murder or manslaughter was overwhelming, including one that happened on Bondi Beach in front of hundreds of witnesses including a photographer who captured the whole thing. I’ve followed over a dozen such cases from start to finish as a reporter and/or in a liaison and support role for the family of the victim. I’ve seen how the cases are fixed by multiple levels of the criminal justice system, from the cops who investigate to the coroner doing the inquest to the prosecutors fumbling the case to the judge skewing or derailing the process to the media covering it, and I can assure you the evidence is irrelevant. The outcome is assured from before the corpse is cold.

              The problem has never been about collecting and analysing data. Those who want to maintain the status quo simply deploy and promote people like Heather Mac Donald to make up and distort data. And the media – especially liberal outlets like the NYT -afford them a megaphone to make it seem their BS is at least as valid as those who carefully collect the data and use valid statistical methods to analyse it.

              The problem is power asymmetry. Authority demands an unrestricted monopoly on legitimate violence and the police are the fist of authority. They’d no more make cops accountable for violence – unless forced to – than they would deliberately break their own knuckles.

              And, despite my youthful naive optimism that cheap IT might change it, technology always acts to increase that imbalance. The wealthy and powerful have access to more of it and more means for manipulating it.

              As the statistics show, lethal US police violence has increased in line with technological improvement and there’s not the slightest indication ‘the tide is turning’. Yet you maintain your Panglossian attitude in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I’m guessing you’re one of the privileged elite who is unlikely to find himself or a loved one at the wrong end of a police weapon, so you can afford to ignore the evidence and pretend everything is progressing nicely, thank you very much. Some of us aren’t so lucky. We’ve always known the abuse is real. And we know nothing is improving, despite the ‘stay calm and carry on’ nostrums of the privileged elite.

              Liked by 2 people

            30. You Stated — “Authority demands an unrestricted monopoly on legitimate violence and the police are the fist of authority… statistics show, lethal US police violence has increased in line with technological improvement and there’s not the slightest indication ‘the tide is turning’. Yet you maintain your Panglossian attitude in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”

              My Response — I believe you are jumping to a conclusion that I did not submit. I never stated anything to the possibility of a reduction in police violence, the opposite is true. I stated directly that police violence is on the rise.

              Technology has not in any way reduced violence that I am aware of. I only stated within our conversation that we get closer to the truth.

              I Stated — “Each iteration of what we believe is more probable than the last. Eventually we will arrive at the truth.”

              I also stated — “As technology advances so does mankind, regardless of what they want or believe.”

              Nothing in that indicates a reduction in violence. You are making assumptions. We clearly love violence in America so our technology will increase the capability and effectiveness of said violence. You are not listening to what I am saying.

              I Stated — “Racism in policing has been going on before computers were invented and AI doesn’t beat black people to death for jay walking (police do)… Technology has done more for black people in America than most politicians and churches combined. Until the deployment of body cams (technology) police abuse (which has always been on the rise) went unchecked, unchallenged and unpunished. But now there are so many active law suits fueled by damaging statistical data, that it’s hard to imagine that we ever believed the abuse wasn’t real.

              As you can see I haven’t stated an end to violence lol, I am only talking about new tools for civil lawsuits to move forward after the violence has been committed. There is a massive transfer of wealth going on right now across America via the court system fueled by the blood of blacks at the hands of violent racist authoritarians with no fear of direct reprisal. Police are free to do as they please but the city governments are no longer exempt from paying the price for bad behavior.

              You have to pay to play as they say.

              And without technology this wouldn’t be possible. We would still be living in the lie that blacks are a problem and police are protecting us from that growing threat.

              It doesn’t end there, technology has recently shown us that blacks are also deprived of income in the housing market. Since they are subject to lower home appraisals than whites when selling. Statistics and surveillance are fueling compensation from an abusive system but in no way does it end violence.

              That would be absurd and at best a naïve conclusion to think violence in America could or would be on the decline.

              Have you seen the capitol riots? Does it even remotely look like violence is on the decline? And would you even know it happened if technology hadn’t been watching it like a hawk.

              The GOP went on live television and claimed it was a normal day LOL.

              Technology is the only reason we know the truth of what happened on the capitol. If only we had AI fully in place the National Guard may have been able to save lives that day.

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            31. I believe you are jumping to a conclusion that I did not submit. I never stated anything to the possibility of a reduction in police violence, the opposite is true. I stated directly that police violence is on the rise.

              So in what way has “technology turned the tide against police abuse”?

              Technology continues to advance. Police violence continues to rise.
              What signs are there the tide has turned or that technology is responsible?

              It doesn’t end there, technology has recently shown us that blacks are also deprived of income in the housing market.

              I’m sorry?
              You didn’t realise blacks were discriminated against in the housing market until a technology recently told you so?
              I don’t think there’s been any technological hurdle to overcome there for a very long time. I’d be very surprised if the real estate industry hasn’t been perfectly aware of that fact – and collecting the data to prove it – since before I was born. And my guess is that if you socialised with middle class black people you would have learned it long ago too.

              Have you seen the capitol riots? Does it even remotely look like violence is on the decline? And would you even know it happened if technology hadn’t been watching it like a hawk.

              Err, do you mean ‘technology’ like reporters, telephones and the printing press?

              Well, if you’re defining it that broadly I’ve gotta agree, but I’ve never owned a TV and was well into my 20s before I received my first news story over an online BBS, but somehow I managed to keep up with world affairs. I even learned about the Kent State shootings before Neil Young started singing about it over the radio.

              Liked by 1 person

            32. You Stated — “So in what way has “technology turned the tide against police abuse”?”

              My Response — In court. Cameras have made a dramatic impact on civil lawsuits, so much so that entire counties are going bankrupt trying to keep up with them. Abuse of the civil court system is massively on the decline due to technology. The criminal court system is still abusive to blacks but the civil court system is now fully engaged in a sweeping technological shift favoring people of color.

              You Stated — “You didn’t realise blacks were discriminated against in the housing market until a technology recently told you so?”

              My Response — That would be nonsensical. Americans are fully aware of discrimination at all levels throughout society. But again it doesn’t matter what we believe as a society, it only matters what can be proven in court. Surveillance cameras and “Big Data” are now able to fully prove housing discrimination and get compensation to victims in civil court.

              And before you make another assumption, this form of technology does not prevent housing discrimination, it only provides a way of compensation after a person is discriminated against.

              You Stated — “…and was well into my 20s before I received my first news story over an online BBS”

              My Response — I was working on computers before BBS’s existed. I was also a supporter of several bulleting board systems and a well respected courier for a few sysop’s in my day (on foot no less so people would have software to download for hours on end). Of course all that pails in comparison to the vast amount of data at our fingertips today.

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  12. “Where is the dividing line between theoretical “particles”, waves, and energy…?”

    In physics, these are the same thing described in different ways. Insisting that the lack of a dividing line between the terms is an indication that means ‘nobody knows’ is not accurate, useful, or correct.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wouldn’t it be useful to admit you have no idea?
      In physics, these are the same “thing” described in different ways”. This is where you are misleading. They are not things, but phenomena.

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    2. There is also some confusion about ‘what’ is being described in that the ‘what’ is often a term used to describe ‘how’ something is acting. In other words, one must understand what is meant when the noun associated with a ‘what’ (a thing) is used but is actually describing an action, a verb, (a process). By raising a concern that the noun is not ‘physical reality’ and so we should somehow doubt the verb describes a process that is also ‘nothing real’ is a mistake in comprehending the language being used to describe something, some process, we really CAN know something about! And this is demonstrated by applying the understanding and discovering that it ‘works’ in applications, therapies, and technologies for everyone everywhere all the time. Dismissing this aspect because of linguistic confusion is what woo-meisters rely on that the average person will ignore in order to accept the woo as if equivalent to and justified by physics.

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      1. I think the photo in the post does a pretty good job at illustrating what you are talking about. So in plain language, can you illustrate what this particle is made of, since it is admittedly theoretical.
        And what you call the woo-meisters, has described this as a phenomenon for centuries—that everything is a projection of the mind as in a dream. There is nothing to grasp. Certainly you can manipulate a few properties of the phenomenon, but what is it?

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        1. You just enunciated the central question in particle physics!

          I think, and I could be completely wrong here, that the best description of ‘it’ is the study of interactive fields that produces the ‘it’ were talking about. My point is that something is there no matter how insufficient our language may be to define it (framed as if by classical physics of forces). And we really do know that that ‘something’ causes knowable and applicable and reliable and consistent effects to stuff that is independent of us but with which we encounter all the time (hence, we call this stuff physical ‘reality’ because it has what amounts to us in our time frame as stable physical properties). But this description of stuff, this ‘reality’, begins to break down at extremely large and small quantities. Hence, the rise of quantum mechanics, the study of how large and small quantities behave, how they interact.

          So it’s a difficult task to use our language to define all this accurately and definitively by using the framework of day to day living from which our language has descended. This is why the language of math is the standard way to describe what’s going on.

          The problem with ‘what’s going on’ is that it’s very complex when described mathematically. Think of how complex would be the same level of accuracy needed to describe biologically what’s going on with, say, walking. Now throw in swimming and flying and then hear someone claim that because it’s so highly complex a description that the term ‘walking’ is imaginary and projection of a mind. Well, that’s not helpful, And so it’s tempting to chuck the whole thing and call it a ‘projection’ of the mind that is not useful, accurate, or correct in the same way describing what’s going on with stuff is imaginary.

          That’s why I emphasize that this understanding when applied IS useful, accurate, and correct enough to be considered knowledge about physical reality.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I’m with you until your last sentence tildeb.

            The extension of inductive logic applied to our observations into theories and formulae which can be used to describe them and even predict future observations is not the same as knowing about physical reality.

            I could watch a fictional TV series long enough to get the gist of various recurrent plot devices and how characters are represented to be able to come up with a consistent and reasonably complete framework to describe them that would also serve to make predictions about future episodes. But it would tell me nothing meaningful about the natures of the ‘real’ writers, cast, crew and technology that produced the series.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I understand what you are saying but consider the coup de grâce to this notion: the application of this understanding beyond the description, beyond the storyline, if you will. When the application of a potential understanding works for everyone everywhere all the time in applications, therapies, and technologies reliant on it to be accurate enough means we can safely call it ‘knowledge’… even if incomplete in exact description. And just as important, when we use this understanding that then goes on to produce more and new applicable knowledge, then we can justify having a very high confidence that the understanding is accurate (as far as it goes). It is this ‘justified’ aspect that defines understandings we call knowledge.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. I’m not questioning at all that it’s knowledge. Just as I know Gilligan is the Skipper’s first mate and little buddy. What I’m questioning is that knowledge of the internal consistencies (or not) of a particular system of knowledge is the same as knowledge of reality.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Because if they were separate, (the internal and external) they wouldn’t work in external application. The application – done by anyone anywhere by those with internal differences – is still identical in product and consistently so. This predictive result rules out separation, and so the external model demonstrates the coherence. That’s why it’s justified true belief… justified not by internal processes but by external application that couldn’t care less about any internal consistencies. For this to be the case, there has to be an external reality or we would find variations in application. And we don’t. For example, water boils (changes state from liquid to gas) at the same temperature at sea level regardless of unit used to describe this temperature. For everyone everywhere all the time. The identical temperature. What’s being applied here IS knowledge that exists independent of all people who want to boil the water at sea level (because pressure consistently and reliably alters that temperature for everyone everywhere equally) so it is not just an internal shared belief that seems to be the case but a justified true belief that can be predicted and demonstrated to be the case. That’s why application is the coup de grâce to establishing an independent reality.

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            4. But we know that our dreams generally display consistent internal ‘dream logic’ and while we’re experiencing them they seem to portray external realities. When we fly in dreams it usually seems entirely unsurprising and consistent with the ‘reality’ we’re inhabiting. However few people believe dreams are reflections of external reality just because they’re unable to perceive that while experiencing them.

              When experiencing conscious altered states the ‘products’ of actions are not consistently identical with the same actions in other states, though they often are while in the same state. So when I pass my hand in front of my face and it leaves a trail of images of itself across the space through which it passed, is that ‘real’ because it matches similar experiences I had previously in similar states? What if I could come up with a formula to consistently describe and predict it in a manner whereby others in similar states could reproduce it? Would that make it real?

              So are states of consciousness products of external reality or visa-versa?

              There’s also something called ‘confirmation bias’ which makes it difficult to perceive things we don’t believe to be real. Does that mean people with different belief systems occupy different objective realities.

              As Hoffman points out, if we both use the Windows UI we can describe similar and consistent experiences of how our computers operate to each other. But we wouldn’t be describing the reality of how our computers operate, which occurs in the hardware which gives rise to the UI. What’s more, our respective hardwares might be so different there are few correspondences between how they operate. I might have a Windows desktop while you use a Windows smartphone. But we’d still believe each other to be talking about the same underlying ‘reality’ (or, perhaps, suspending our disbelief about it for the sake of communication in the same way I previously suspended my disbelief that brains are the same as minds to facilitate communication with you).

              We only know anything at all about the internal states of others via language – including body language. Those things that can’t be completely defined with language – such as qualia like the experience of the colour ‘blue’ or the taste of a banana – can’t be accurately passed to another symbolically. So isn’t it possible the apparent consistencies between our separate perceptions of reality merely reflect the consistencies built into our languages. We’re not really saying the same things, we’re just saying things that bring about the same responses from others because they’re hearing the same thing they think we said previously.

              Liked by 1 person

            5. I think you’re getting bogged down by the human aspect. If you can, step away from this perspective and ‘see’ the issue I am pointing out: aerodynamics, for example, don’t care about any of this but our understanding of it is demonstrable by external application that has identical results for everyone regardless of how many people might interpret and symbolize what they think might be going on differently. I think you are missing this point.

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            6. Knowledge is inherently a human aspect.

              That the way we apply our modeling of aerodynamics might have consistent outcomes and applications doesn’t mean our models of aerodynamics reflect reality.

              For example, Newtonian gravity works well for lots of applications and posits that massive bodies exert a force of attraction on each other. Einstein suggested that wasn’t reality and that massive bodies distort space-time. His model works for applications that Newton’s doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean either model is a description of objective reality.

              As Bohr said, “Physics is not about how the world is, it is about what we can say about the world.”

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            7. It reflects something independent but consistent of us. Why not call it reality? That’s the important point. It has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘mind’ or ‘projecting reality’. And why not call our (not ‘my’) understanding of this independent but consistent reality ‘knowledge’ that remains the same when applied for everyone everywhere all the time? I don’t get the need to obfuscate these terms. But then, I’m not a philosopher or metaphysician; I just played one on TV.

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            8. Tildeb, This sounds like the goal is to create applications that are consistent, not to discover the truth. How is creating gadgets relevant to perception, consciousness, and particle reality? As Hoffman states in the video, assumptions must be granted to postulate a theory in the scientific community. Those assumptions are wrong (they know this) but it grants the ability to postulate theory which may be usable, but not truth. Usable gadgets in applied science and the nature of the particle are seemingly two different conversions.
              Replying to this comment

              https://jimoeba.wordpress.com/2021/10/23/physical-reality/comment-page-1/#comment-42205

              Liked by 1 person

            9. Two things:

              Firstly, gaining understanding of how reality operates is demonstrated by what you call ‘these gadgets’… like successfully landing on a comet billions of miles away, like successfully treating disease processes, and so on. Applying these understandings in various ways and by various means that then deliver affect as predicted is how we demonstrate that the explanations on which they are based adds merit to the explanations.

              This leads to the second point: all scientific understanding is based on a very high probability called ‘likelihood’ of being the case. Applications, therapies, and technologies that work for everyone everywhere all the time demonstrates soaring likelihood that the understanding is accurate given the conditions and scale at which these operate even if the words or terms or simplifications to communicate these explanatory ideas in various languages seems ill-defined or fuzzy. What matters is that the applied understanding works.

              If one is going to doubt this understanding in spite of it working consistently and reliably well for everyone everywhere all the time, then one has to come up with a better explanation. It is not accurate or helpful to simply pretend this utility doesn’t really matter but all these claims of ‘something else’, some other explanatory model exempt from equivalent arbitration by reality itself, with notions that have no demonstrable applications, therapies, or technologies is somehow equivalent. It’s not. It’s simply an empty proposition that requires words games to lend any credence.

              Liked by 1 person

            10. I don’t doubt the understanding of in spite of it working. I think you and I are looking in different directions and you’re conflating industrial progress with ontology.

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            11. Industrial progress? Sure, but… weird… to reduce all knowledge produced by science to that alone. Not sure fruit flies would agree but, hey…

              Anyway, ontology refers to the ‘what’ that is being examined so, yeah, science certainly describes the ‘what’ and connects the ‘how’ (epistemology) but leaves the make-believe ‘why’ answers to theologians, metaphysicians, and woo-meisters (if there some way to border these from the others, that would be a significant contribution because those differences are awfully fuzzy these days).

              Liked by 1 person

            12. ontology refers to the ‘what’ that is being examined so, yeah, science certainly describes the ‘what’ and connects the ‘how’ (epistemology) but leaves the make-believe ‘why’ answers to theologians

              I think maybe you should look up ‘ontology’ and ‘epistemology’ in a dictionary.

              Liked by 1 person

            13. Tildeb, it seems to me your argument is very similar to that deployed by Calvin to argue for the virtue of being wealthy. He claimed that material success was a sign from God that a person was in a state of Grace and would be rewarded with Eternal Life.

              You claim that materialist utility is a sign from ‘reality’ that people have arrived at a ‘truth’ about it.

              Both are non-sequiturs.

              Liked by 1 person

          2. So it’s a difficult task to use our language to define all this accurately and definitively by using the framework of day to day living from which our language has descended. This is why the language of math is the standard way to describe what’s going on.

            I’d also emphasise that math is a symbolic (or linguistic, if you prefer) tool that has proved its utility down through millennia at describing and predicting our observations. When we use it on phenomena that are outside the realms of our previous observations it’s not safe to unthinkingly apply induction to assume it’s still valid. It needs to be constantly retested and re-evaluated.

            I’d suggest that the century of successes of both relativity and quantum mechanics at description and prediction of the observations they systematise suggests math still has some utility in those areas. But the persistent failure to find a way of reconciling the two fields with mathematics may be pointing at a fundamental limitation of the ability of that symbolic tool to embrace and incorporate phenomena at ‘the opposite extremes’ (if you like) of our ontological models rather than merely at a level of complexity that makes it very difficult to do so.

            It’s easier to see that possibility when you try to use math (or any other language) to model and describe non-dualistic concepts. Languages are inherently dualistic, so we’re reduced to using them to describe what a non-dual concept isn’t rather than what it is. Perhaps a unified field theory is also a unification bridge too far for our inherently dialectic languages, possibly because fields themselves are no more than limited models for describing a reality we have no way to get our individual or collective heads around.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Quite right: all language is symbolic because that’s how our brains work, first symbolizing and then formatting meaning. So I think a unified field theory with classical physics will be revealed only when we have a new language (probably a new math) to bring the two together. This has been the historical means (so far) and there’s no reason to think this eventual breakthrough will be any different. That’s why we need highly disciplined AND highly creative people (in the same skin) to apply their big brains to this problem… which may seem as insolvable to us today using archaic methods of calculation as mixing chemicals and calling the weird number of ‘moles’ they produced was for me in days past. But I have strong confidence that because they’re describing the same thing but at vastly different scales, and the predictive power of quantum physics so high, this problem will eventually be solved.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Quite right: all language is symbolic because that’s how our brains work, first symbolizing and then formatting meaning.

              I’m gonna follow your lead and use ‘brain’ rather than ‘mind’ to avoid getting bogged down in semantics, but don’t take that to mean I think the lumps of tissue in our skulls are doing any of these things.

              Our brains don’t first symbolise things and that’s only one of its many functions. However we’re used to focusing our conscious awareness on such symbolisation as a rehearsal for our interactions with other brains via language. A little training and/or a little insight shows this is far from the only way our brains work or how they come to understand things. In fact symbolising things is a high level function we use to explain ourselves to others (and often to ourselves) after we’ve gained some kind of understanding.

              An illustration would be learning to drive.

              We start our driving lessons with communication. We do what we’re told by someone who already knows. So our earliest efforts involve translating those communication symbols into actions. We consciously think about pushing pedals, using the indicator, turning the wheel and changing gears in order to bring about the more holistic act we call driving. Initially we may even make subvocalisations such as ‘indicate a left’ to assist in turning those symbols into actions.

              But once we’ve become experienced drivers we no longer need to symbolise those actions. We just drive from A to B without thinking about what we’re doing to get there. But it would be a mistake to assume our brains are no longer behind the process of driving – as driving while mentally impaired would quickly demonstrate.

              Our languages – including math – are how we communicate our understandings. They are not the understandings themselves.

              It’s entirely possible the lack of integration between quantum physics and relativity has already been transcended – perhaps even by mystical means or by a non-verbal prodigy – but that we’re still awaiting a language sufficient to communicate it. It’s also possible that no language will ever communicate it because it’s an insight not reducible to symbols. That wouldn’t make it unthinkable, just unsayable.

              Liked by 1 person

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