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Philosophy & Science / Therapy that sticks
« Last post by sciborg2 on Today at 05:57:37 am »
Therapy that sticks

Linda Michaels

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Juxtaposed with this mental health crisis, news media and headlines tout the benefits of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), explicitly recommended as ‘evidence-based’ and said to work rapidly, especially when combined with drugs such as antidepressants or mood stabilisers. Varieties of CBT apply to a host of different diagnoses: dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) for personality disorder; cognitive processing therapy (CPT) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); interpersonal therapy (IPT) for mood disorder. The list goes on: 50 per cent of therapists now define themselves as fitting in the cognitive-behavioural lane, compared with none 50 years ago. People seem to be absorbing these messages with more of us on medication than ever; antidepressant use alone went up 64 per cent from 1999 to 2014. The increase is so steep that an estimated 13 per cent of the US population now take the drugs.

What is wrong with this picture? Why do modern ‘evidence-based’ treatments fail to produce better outcomes? Indeed, why do things seem to be getting worse, with many forms of suffering, even suicide, on the rise?

My conclusion: the biomedical model (favoured by psychiatry) and the short-term, structured therapy model (favoured by psychology) don’t work as well as they should. These treatments seem easy to administer, but is a ‘quick fix’ really what’s called for when addressing complex problems in life? Is it possible that one type of therapy – CBT and its family of treatments – can work for nearly every person and every problem so successfully?
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Philosophy & Science / Why materialists are wrong and the Jedi right....
« Last post by sciborg2 on March 27, 2020, 07:10:37 pm »
Why materialists are wrong and the Jedi right, and how panpsychism might revolutionize science.

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In spite of all this, one of the great scientists of the twentieth century - Arthur Eddington - argued that a position remarkably similar to Jedi theology was not only perfectly consistent with modern science, but actually something we might have to reason to believe. Eddington is best known for being the first to offer observational confirmation of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. In May 1919 he conducted a series of observations of a solar eclipse from the island of Principe off the West Coast of Africa. As the moon covered the sun, Eddington photographed stars visible around its covered edge. On the basis of this he was able to demonstrate that, precisely as Einstein’s theory had predicted, the light from these stars had been bent by the spacetime curvature caused by the mass of the sun.

A decade later, Eddington wrote a book in which, as well as explaining relativity and other developments in recent physics, he defended panpsychism: the view that all matter is infused with consciousness. Like the Jedi knights, Eddington was convinced that there was a spiritual force underlying the workings of the physical universe. In words we can imagine Luke – or Obi Wan before him – using in his Jedi training classes, Eddington put it as follows:

"…our minds are not apart from the world; and the feelings that we have of gladness and melancholy and our yet deeper feelings are not of ourselves alone, but are glimpses of a reality transcending the narrow limits of our particular consciousness…the harmony and beauty of the face of Nature is at root one with the gladness that transfigures the face of man…"

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If physics does not tell us what the nature of physical properties is, then what else gives us this information? Eddington believed that physics is a tool for prediction. Even if we don’t know what “mass” and “force” really are, we are able to recognise them in the world. They show up as readings on our instruments, or otherwise impact on our senses. And by using the equations of physics, such as Newton’s law of gravity, we can predict what’s going to happen with great precision. It is this predictive capacity that has enabled us to manipulate the natural world in extraordinary ways, leading to the technological revolution that has transformed our planet. But it is simply not the job of physics to tell us what the stuff of the universe essentially is. As Stephen Hawking put it, physics doesn’t tell us what “breathes fire into the equations”.

Given that physics tell us nothing of the nature of physical reality, is there anything we do know about it? Are there any clues as to what is going on “under the bonnet” of the engine of the universe? Eddington argued that the only thing we really know about the nature of matter is that some of it has consciousness; we know this because we are directly aware of the consciousness of our own brains:

"We are acquainted with an external world because its fibres run into our own consciousness; it is only our own fibres that we actually know; from these ends we more or less successfully reconstruct the rest, as a palaeontologist reconstructs an extinct monster from its footprint."

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We have no direct access to the nature of matter outside of brains. But the most reasonable speculation, according to Eddington, is that the nature of matter outside of brains is continuous with the nature of matter inside of brains. Given that we have no direct insight into the intrinsic nature of field and particles, it is rather “silly”, argued Eddington, to declare that they have a nature entirely removed from mentality and then to wonder where mentality comes from. On this basis, Eddington concluded that the most simple and parsimonious view consistent with our direct and observational knowledge is some form of panpsychism, according to which the underlying nature the stuff of the physical world is, as Eddington put it, mind stuff.

These ideas of Russell and Eddington from the 1920s have recently been rediscovered in academic philosophy and are causing a great deal of excitement. For decades philosophers and scientists have struggled to understand how physical matter produces consciousness: the subjective inner world of feelings, sensations and experiences. Many are now persuaded that, in broad brushstrokes, Russell and Eddington had the answer. In Eddington’s version, physical science describes matter “from the outside”, providing mathematical models that allow us to predict its behaviour, but in its underlying nature matter is constituted of consciousness. It is consciousness that breathes fire into the equations. The attraction of this view is its capacity to reconcile the reality of consciousness with our scientific understanding of the universe.
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Philosophy & Science / The Illusion of Now: Is time static or fluid?
« Last post by sciborg2 on March 27, 2020, 06:55:23 pm »
The Illusion of Now: Is time static or fluid?

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Past and future are worlds we can never inhabit. We live of necessity in the present. But physicists and philosophers with very different outlooks, from Einstein to Derrida, claim that the present is an illusion. Is time not a river at all, but instead a static dimension? Are we deluded by experience into imagining the present is real? Or are Einstein's spacetime universe, and Derrida's attack on the metaphysics of presence, fundamental errors?

The Panel

Philosopher of science Tim Maudlin joins author of The End of Time Julian Barbour and philosopher and historian of science Emily Thomas to go in search of lost time. Joanna Kavenna hosts.
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General Misc. / Re: Recipes! Share your secret, or not so secret, cooking methods.
« Last post by Wilshire on March 27, 2020, 03:18:19 pm »
Store bought tomatoes off-season generally suck. If you can find them, Kumato is a great brand year round as they tend to have decent flavour in the off season. They usual come in a plastic covered container that has maybe 5 or 8 in a single sleeve.

But for all the times you want tomatoes and only crappy ones are available, or maybe a bunch are on sale and you want to save some money and need a way to make them last longer, making Conserva out of them is amazing. Basically you simmer them for an hour. Food alchemy happens, and you've magiced gross tomatoes into amazing tomatoes!

The recipe I use is from a cook book by Milk Street (pretty good cook book, though most recipes tend to be a bit elaborate), but it seems that the site is behind a paywal. I did find this site (or at least this recipe) copied in full the one I use, so its accessible for free: https://www.rachaelrayshow.com/recipes/tomato-conserva-christopher-kimball

Yes, it takes an hour to cook and a fair bit of chopping, but most of that time is just having it sit and simmer in pot. Easy to do while you are making another meal, then you can just put it in a container and have it ready for tomorrow.
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General Misc. / Recipes! Share your secret, or not so secret, cooking methods.
« Last post by H on March 27, 2020, 12:50:11 pm »
Just a place to collect any recipes or techniques for cooking you have or like.  Feel free to post about anything related to cooking though, or food, really.  Pretty much anything goes, as long as it is tangentially related.

I guess I'll start with a little "trick."  Anytime a recipe calls for simmering rice on a stove-top, like for jambalaya, for example, I actually just put the whole dutch oven in the actual oven.  Generally at about 375.  Now, that does mean you can't stir it, but you really won't have to, since it heats so evenly.  Pretty much guarantees you won't burn the rice to the bottom of the pot.  It does take a little longer, but it is worth it to me.
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General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« Last post by sciborg2 on March 26, 2020, 08:15:29 pm »
"Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it." –Andrew Boyd
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General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« Last post by sciborg2 on March 26, 2020, 08:24:59 am »
"The only acceptable point of view appears to be the one that recognizes both sides of reality--the quantitative and the qualitative, the physical and the psychical--as compatible with each other, and embrace them simultaneously."
- Wolfgang Pauli
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Philosophy & Science / Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance
« Last post by sciborg2 on March 23, 2020, 06:54:41 am »
Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance

Tomas Pueyo


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Put in another way: the mitigation strategy not only assumes millions of deaths for a country like the US or the UK. It also gambles on the fact that the virus won’t mutate too much — which we know it does. And it will give it the opportunity to mutate. So once we’re done with a few million deaths, we could be ready for a few million more — every year. This corona virus could become a recurring fact of life, like the flu, but many times deadlier.



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  • With a few more weeks, we could get our testing situation in order, and start testing everybody. With that information, we would finally know the true extent of the problem, where we need to be more aggressive, and what communities are safe to be released from a lockdown.
  • New testing methods could speed up testing and drive costs down substantially.

  • We could also set up a tracing operation like the ones they have in China or other East Asia countries, where they can identify all the people that every sick person met, and can put them in quarantine. This would give us a ton of intelligence to release later on our social distancing measures: if we know where the virus is, we can target these places only. This is not rocket science: it’s the basics of how East Asia Countries have been able to control this outbreak without the kind of draconian social distancing that is increasingly essential in other countries.



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If you’re a politician and you see that one option is to let hundreds of thousands or millions of people die with a mitigation strategy and the other is to stop the economy for five months before going through the same peak of cases and deaths, these don’t sound like compelling options.

But this doesn’t need to be so. This paper, driving policy today, has been brutally criticized for core flaws:

They ignore contact tracing (at the core of policies in South Korea, China or Singapore among others) or travel restrictions (critical in China), ignore the impact of big crowds…

The time needed for the Hammer is weeks, not months.
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Philosophy & Science / Re: Lying
« Last post by TaoHorror on March 23, 2020, 12:00:24 am »
I'd need a more robust study than asking 15 highschoolers, the replication crisis is built on the back of badly conceived experiments.

Excellent point, I think they did do a deep dive on this and this was a quick abbr video on it, but I'll double check to make sure. Good catch.
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Philosophy & Science / Re: Lying
« Last post by themerchant on March 22, 2020, 09:23:16 pm »
I'd need a more robust study than asking 15 highschoolers, the replication crisis is built on the back of badly conceived experiments.
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