Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - sciborg2

Pages: 1 ... 13 14 [15] 16

...As I said, Harris wants to deliver moral decision making to science because
he wants to defeat the evil (if oddly paired) twins of religious fanaticism and leftist
moral relativism. Despite the fact that I think he grossly overestimates the pervasiveness of the latter, we are together on this. Except of course that the best
arguments against both positions are philosophical, not scientific. The most convincing reason why gods cannot possibly have anything to do with morality was
presented 24 centuries ago by Plato, in the already mentioned (in the context of Dawkins’s book) Euthyphro dialogue, and which goes, predictably, entirely unmentioned in The Moral Landscape.

Needless to say, moral relativism, too, has been the focus of sustained and devastating attack in philosophy, for instance by thinkers such as Peter Singer and Simon Blackburn, and this is all to be found in the large ethical and metaethical literature that Harris finds so increases the degree of boredom in the universe.

Harris’s chief claim throughout the book is that moral judgments are a kind
of fact, and that as such they are amenable to scientific inquiry. First of all, the
second statement does not at all follow from the first. Surely we can agree that the
properties of triangles in Euclidean geometry are “facts,” in the sense that nobody
who understands Euclidean geometry can opine that the sum of the angles in a
triangle is not 180° and get away with it. But we do not use science, or any kind of
empirical evidence at all, to arrive at agreement about such facts. At the very least,
and without wanting to push an argument for moral realism, this makes the point
that “facts” is too heterogeneous a category, and that Harris needs to be much
more careful on how to handle it...

I think this is a pretty well intentioned yet deservedly hard critique from Massimo, himself an - IMO - honest skeptic. I'd often felt that Harris was incredibly lazy when it came to philosophy but my opinion was that of a layperson dipping their toes into the pool.

It's good to see I wasn't the only one.  ;D

Beyond that, I do wonder about the education of some supposed skeptics. There seems to be a subset (unclear how large) that is enamored by the Singularity and it's supposed virtual Promised Land, and that this group isn't necessarily educated on the continuing developments of science nor the various issues brought up by philosophy discussed in the Intellectual Bitterness thread. Massimo shares this concern:

I would actually go so far as to charge many of the leaders of the New Atheism movement (and, by implication, a good number of their followers) with anti-intellectualism, one mark of which is a lack of respect for the proper significance, value, and methods of another field of intellectual endeavor.

A clear cut example of this is the glorious mess that is Rational Wiki, wherein Searle is accused of racism because he doesn't think computers can be conscious entities.  :-\

The Forum of Interesting Things / Money & Life
« on: February 27, 2014, 11:15:15 pm »
Gonna Watch This Tonight.

(Obviously we can go beyond the film, but seemed like a good opener)

MONEY & LIFE is a passionate and inspirational essay-style documentary that that asks a provocative question: can we see the economic crisis not as a disaster, but as a tremendous opportunity?  This cinematic odyssey connects the dots on our current economic pains and offers a new story of money based on an emerging paradigm of planetary well-being that understands all of life as profoundly interconnected.

The film takes us on a journey, from the origins of money to connecting the systemic dots on the current global financial crisis and how we got here. Most importantly, MONEY & LIFE says that we owe it to ourselves to understand the fundamentals of this technology called money in order to be effective participants in the economic transformation that is happening around us, a shift more rapid and as profound as the Industrial Revolution....

Philosophy & Science / Placebos and Nocebos?
« on: February 18, 2014, 01:28:26 am »

The Forum of Interesting Things / Roland Barthes on Aesthetic Experience
« on: February 16, 2014, 02:13:00 am »
Roland Barthes and the conception of aesthetic experience

I don't pretend to have read copious amounts of Barthes, but I do enjoy his work and recommend the book Mythologies whole heartedly...sadly I need to procure a new copy for myself....At least the essay about theatrical wrestling is online.

Anywho, I'm making a thread because I came across a reference to Barthes' "Obtuse Meaning" in a textual discussion of shamanism.

I gave the paper above a first pass, and will need to read Barthes' original essay on The Third Meaning.

I thought Barthes' work might prove to be of interest as hidden within it I feel like there is an any interesting & impassioned argument about consciousness.

Here's an intro into this idea from Sir Roger Penrose, who posits three worlds that I understand to originally belong to Popper.

While Plato's World o' Forms feels like it belongs more to D&D than conceptions of reality, the idea of Mathematical Platonism did find a sympathetic naturalist ear belonging to Massimo Pigliucci.

There is a difference between general Platonism and the mathematical flavor. For Plato, each apple, say, is but an imperfect example of the absolute (and perfect) Idea of an apple. But as Aristotle quickly realized, Plato has it exactly backwards: we arrive at the general idea of ‘apple’ by mentally abstracting a set of characteristics we think common to all actual apples. It is we who conjure the ‘perfect’ idea from the world, not the world copying the concept.

But now contrast the idea of an apple with the idea of a circle. Here Aristotle’s approach becomes more problematic, as we don’t find any true circles in nature. No natural object has the precise geometric characteristics of a circle, and in a very strong sense we can also say that the circles we draw are but imperfect representations of the perfect idea of a circle. Ah – but whence does such a perfect idea come from?

Consider another way to put the problem. One major difference between science and technology is that science discovers things, while technology is about human inventions . We discover the law of gravity; but we invent airplanes to allow heavier-than-air flight despite the law of gravity. But where do mathematical objects, like circles and numbers, or mathematical theorems like the Pythagorean one, or Fermat’s Last one, come from? Are they inventions of the human mind, or are they discoveries?

I hope you’re beginning to feel as queasy as I did when I started to take the matter seriously, because contrary to Aristotle’s approach to knowledge, my gut feeling was that mathematicians discover things, not invent them. This was a huge paradigm shift from my days as a scientist.

Philosophy & Science / Quantum Mechanics - Interpretations & Implications
« on: February 13, 2014, 07:07:48 pm »
 Quantum Experiment Shows How Time ‘Emerges’ from Entanglement

This is an elegant and powerful idea. It suggests that time is an emergent phenomenon that comes about because of the nature of entanglement. And it exists only for observers inside the universe. Any god-like observer outside sees a static, unchanging universe, just as the Wheeler-DeWitt equations predict.

Of course, without experimental verification, Page and Wootter’s ideas are little more than a philosophical curiosity. And since it is never possible to have an observer outside the universe, there seemed little chance of ever testing the idea.

Until now.

My notes:

If the universe is static from the outside, then it's like an object frozen? Like if someone is in another universe and could see ours? They'd see a giant (infinite?) black sphere?

Why is there a comprehensible past going into the present and then future if everything that happened already happened the instant the universe was made?


Next Up: Non-Locality? WTF?

Want to get people's thoughts about the Weird in real life. As this is a side hobby of mine feel free to say you think it's all bullshit. ;D

So some time ago I came upon this article about Krippner in the SF weekly.

The part that piqued my interest was:

The knock on parapsychology studies has long been that any so-called evidence of ESP is usually limited to negligible effects only detectable after scouring massive bodies of data. "Those to whom this criticism has any appeal should be aware that the Maimonides experiments are clearly exempt from it," wrote Irvin Child, Yale's former psychology department chair, in American Psychologist, the APA's flagship journal. "I believe many psychologists would, like myself, consider the ESP hypothesis to merit serious consideration and continued research if they read the Maimonides reports for themselves."

Now I didn't have much knowledge about this stuff though I felt like I'd heard of Child before. Strangely enough I later met a former grad student of Krippner's, and I asked him why Krippner's attempts at replication had all resulted in failure.

Said student actually passed along a message from the man himself:
First of all, our original dream telepathy results were repeated several times in our own laboratory. We published both the successful replications and the unsuccessful replications. All of these articles are referenced at the end of our book DREAM TELEPATHY (by Ullman, Krippner, and Vaughan). A meta-analysis of all the studies produced high significant results and was published in a 1985 article by Irvin Child in The American Psychologist, flagship journal of the American Psychological Association..

Several other researchers attempted to replicate our work. Both the successful replications and the unsuccessful replications have been published in the chapter by Roe and Sherwood in ADVANCES IN PARAPSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH, VOLUME 9 (edited by Krippner and Friedman). A meta-analysis of all these studies produced highly significant results. They were not as strong as the Maimonides data, probably because they used "home dreams" instead of "laboratory dreams," the latter involving psychophysiological recordings. In the lab, participants can be awakened once they have been in REM sleep for a while. For home dreams, participants are usually awakened randomly by telephone, hence many dreams are lost.

I'm thinking of buying the book, doubt I'll get Volume 9 of something I'm not really sure is real.

Philosophy & Science / The works and ideas of Krishnamurti
« on: February 11, 2014, 09:13:57 am »
Found this video, which has a biography and then some summarization of his works.

Note that Bohm, who I made a thread about yesterday, came up with his Implicate Order partially through his dialogue with Krishnamurti.

Here's the repository of his work.

Madness might better direct us to specific works.

Philosophy & Science / Bohm and the Implicate Order underlying reality
« on: February 09, 2014, 02:20:49 am »

If people have been curious about the pilot wave, or Bohm's Implicate Order, this is a good introduction.

Also gets into Bohm's ideas related to consciousness.

Philosophy & Science / Interesting Thoughts on Human Perception
« on: February 03, 2014, 02:39:12 am »
Currently reading about some brain wrinkling stuff relating to perception, made me think about BBT:

1) A Cartoon Epistemology.

An interesting comic about how what we see and what is out there don't have to match up. The implications of this are rather...well, crazy if you agree with the author's conclusions.

2) The Interface Theory of Perception:Natural Selection Drives True Perception To Swift Extinction

I think the reason I thought of BBT should be obvious. :-)

Philosophy & Science / Animal (and AI?) Personhood with Singer and Brin
« on: November 23, 2013, 07:37:20 pm »
​Peter Singer and David Brin to speak at animal personhood conference

The IEET's Rights of the Nonhuman Persons program — a program that I founded and currently chair — seeks to do much more. We'd like to see not just dolphins, but whales, elephants, and all great apes given the same consideration — and not just in principle; the only way to truly protect highly sapient animals from such things as undue confinement and experimentation is to grant them the status that they truly deserve, which is that of the person.

But we're not only interested in animal welfare — we're also looking ahead to the future when artificial intelligence and robots will need to be granted personhood status as well lest they be abused, exploited, and left unaccountable.

Here's Neil deGrasse Tyson's argument for space exploration funding.

As far as I can tell, this seems like a man trying to demand public funding for his personal hobby.

Let's say I don't want my taxes to go toward space programs unless there is a considerable surplus.

What's the argument that justifies funding space exploration when that money might be better spent on some other program that creates jobs? What justifies spending that money on space exploration rather something more terrestrial that might yield more immediate benefits?

Philosophy & Science / Forget androids, how about subhumans?
« on: November 19, 2013, 05:47:30 am »
Is it ethical to alter fetuses to produce human bodies with animal consciousness/intelligence?

Is it okay to fuck said sub-humans? To make them work in our fields?

Can we specialize their abilities while keeping them at dog level intelligence?

For legal purposes does this need to be done when the fetus is part of a woman's body? (Once the fetus is in an artificial womb what rights does it have? Or can we edit a developing fetus after it's been transplanted out of a womb?)

Philosophy & Science / New Dualism [Worth indulging, or waste of time?]
« on: November 08, 2013, 06:31:43 pm »
Haven't gone deeply into the site, but New Dualism does seem interesting:

Among contemporary analytic philosophers of mind, cognitive scientists, and neurophysiologists, physicalism is all the rage.  For the past thirty years, physicalism – the view that everything there is, including human minds, is ultimately and exclusively composed of physical constituents –  has been (and continues to be) the dominant paradigm in discussions of what Schopenhauer purportedly described as a "world-knot" (Weltknoten), the so-called "mind-body problem."  But is physicalism true?

Historically, the mind-body problem represents Descartes' legacy.  How can two fundamentally different substances (i.e., mind and body) causally interact? Or is there another way, apart from Descartes, of conceiving of the dualism of mind and body?

This is a website devoted to the new study of different kinds of ontological dualism, in particular non-Cartesian dualism.

The Forum of Interesting Things / Collaborative Fiction Sites
« on: October 07, 2013, 07:22:55 pm »
Over on Planewalker we have Life in the Day of a Planar

and Parallel Wheels:

The latter probably requires some cursory knowledge of the D&D Great Wheel cosmology, but the former can be thought of as a place for varied fantasy stories.

The Parallel Wheels threat starts off enumerating possible parallel Great Wheels then slowly builds up organizations and recurring characters.

Special Containment Procedures

A collaborative fiction site where people write about creepy objects/places/people.

Here's the one that has kept me up 2 nights running:

Ronald Reagan Cut up while talking.

Is Baztek on these boards? Cause he has one in there that's also great.

There's spin-off Wikias from the SCP site but I haven't plunged deeply into those yet.

Pages: 1 ... 13 14 [15] 16