Mod+ 256. DR. DONALD DEGRACIA, WHAT IS SCIENCE?

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by alex.tsakiris, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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  2. Stephen Wright

    Stephen Wright New

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    There were a number of inspiring ideas in the interview. This one stuck-out to me.
    The transfer of energy works because we can model the structure and predict the opposing force event. I suspect that within the inner person that we will learn by looking at how structure is organized in that environment. I think that a person's character is structural and determines "vectors" of experiential events from such organization.
     
  3. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    So again we have - "proper" science is what Karl Popper deemed it to be. :)


    - John McGowan
     
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  4. Sharon Rawlette

    Sharon Rawlette New

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    Great interview, Alex! This is someone I feel like you could have ten interviews with and there would still be more to discuss. You kept the interview very close to the main themes of Skeptiko, as you should have, but I couldn't help wanting to hear him chase a few rabbits, too, to hear elaboration on some of the tantalizing side comments he made. If you get the chance to have him back, I'd love to hear more about his work as a biologist and his personal yogic journey. I'm definitely going to check out his books.

    A side note: The "bat guy" is not David Chalmers but Thomas Nagel. At least I assume DeGracia was referring to Nagel's paper, "What's It Like to Be a Bat?"
     
  5. Alex

    Alex New

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    noted :) thx.

    you'll for sure hear more from Don on Skeptiko :)[/quote]
     
  6. anonymous

    anonymous Member

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    DeGracia says stuff like this:
    And you say stuff like this:
    So DeGracia drops down and for the most part tailors the conversation to that relative level.

    But everything we experience is maya. It is all illusion. All truth within maya is relative truth. Nothing can be said to be really true.That appears to be DeGracia's real message. All the rest of stuff you talked about in the interview is maya.

    The irony of the truth seeker who insists on looking only inside the realm of maya is delicious.
     
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  7. Don DeGracia

    Don DeGracia New

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    Very perceptive! Yes, I would say you were able to decode exactly what I was saying. If, by any chance you are interested in an elaboration of this exact point, I just completed and released a new ebook called Experience that can be gotten from here.

    http://dondeg.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/experience-is-now-a-free-ebook/

    (P.S. Hi Alex, hope its okay to post links like this)

    Best wishes,

    Don DeGracia
     
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  8. Don DeGracia

    Don DeGracia New

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  9. Don DeGracia

    Don DeGracia New

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    Hi John

    Observant comment. Please believe that I am not a "Popperian" (that's a joke for Fantastic Four fans out there). Popper was raised because I address the demarcation problem in What is Science?, which was his idea. By today's standards, Popper is obsolete. If anything, I am most inclined to accept Feyerabend's ideas about the nature of science, which is that it has no definable nature at all. This is quite consonant with my observation that science in general is like Brownian motion. At least it looks that way if one is not aware of the inner planes and how they work. In a way, you can see What Is Science? as the attempt to define a new philosophy of science. However, it's really not new, it's just drawing on yogic ideas to explain what science does. But, as far as I know, I'm the first to make the claims so, in the context of philosophy of science, it's a new idea. But from the point of view of yoga, it's very, very old. Yogis have known about "siddhis" for millennia.

    Anyway, Popper's ideas are what they are, but they are a fairly myopic view that misses large swaths of the scientific landscape.

    Thank you, Sir, for the comments.

    Best wishes,

    Don
     
  10. Judith

    Judith New

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    Good interview, Alex. Coincidentally, last night I had my first lucid dream in a long while. I woke up within the dream, recognized it was a dream, and then began telling everyone else who was there that they were dreaming and it was such an unusual and special thing. They just looked at me...one man said "maybe it's an hallucination". :)
     
  11. Damn...I feel like I should get the Fantastic Four joke but I'm drawing a blank.

    Interesting interview, I have a lot of thoughts but for now I'll say I liked the explanation of the demarcation problem, but I'm not sure if we can rule out getting lab data for Psi.
     
  12. anonymous

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    Cool, Don. I will have a look. I've reread DO_OBE many times over the years. Thanks for always making your work available for free. I don't expect everyone to do that, but I think it is an amazing practice.

    Thanks!
     
  13. ghost

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    Yogic thought is awesome!!!
     
  14. Alex

    Alex New

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    Talk about ironic! Consider the vibe of your post.
     
  15. Don DeGracia

    Don DeGracia New

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    Thank you, Sharon for the correction and the kind comments. You might appreciate the image I was talking about that starts Chapter 8 of What is Science?:

    http://dondeg.wordpress.com/2014/05...he-grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side/

    Best,

    Don
     
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  16. Alex

    Alex New

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    Welcome Don... of course it is... great to have you in the forum :)
     
  17. Alex

    Alex New

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    interesting. I've been having more frequent lucid dreams lately too :)
     
  18. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's question at the end of the Podcast:

    What should we make of science that is outside of Western science--do other cultures offer a "science" in the way that we think about it, and does it deserve our attention?
     
  19. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's question at the end of the Podcast:

    What should we make of science that is outside of Western science--do other cultures offer a "science" in the way that we think about it, and does it deserve our attention?


    A number of writers have made the observation that the science of the "interior", which is necessarily experienced by an individual consciousness, is every bit as rigorous as the science of the "exterior" as it is conceived of in the West. The thing is, that the evidence gathered by interior-directed science cannot, by definition, be shared by everyone on demand. One can't show others the data from a mystical experience one might have had. One can only describe an experience.

    On the other hand, there are plenty of descriptions of what happens in certain states, what effects they have, and plenty of methods for getting into those states. If a pukka spiritual teacher knows enough about a student, s/he can prescribe practices suitable to their state, which, if carried out diligently, will lead to predicted results. In that sense, interior science is verifiable, and you can have significant numbers of people who agree on that.

    In a way, that's no different from what in principle happens in Western science. Someone designs an experiment and comes up with results, and then someone else (is supposed to, but increasingly this isn't happening) repeats the experiment and verifies it; and maybe in time, it leads to practical applications in technology. However, because of the enormous degree of specialisation, many scientists simply accept the truth of what other scientists outside their own field say; in that way, they're no more informed than Joe Public. And within certain specialisations, some ideas become fashionable and clung to even in the face of overwhelming counter-evidence. I think in fields like evolutionary biology, neuroscience, cosmology, medicine, and climate science (amongst many others), the system tends to promote the pursuit of complete fantasy.

    You couldn't get away with that in the science of the interior, because it relies on personal, first-hand experience. One necessarily has to "repeat the experiment", viz. replicate the experience, if one is genuinely going to be able to claim its truth.

    I agree that it's necessary to be able to tell the truth to oneself, and that applies under any definition of science. Western science is steeped in untruths these days, and the system is gamed so that the promulgation of untruth is actively rewarded. We think of ourselves as rational, educated people, capable of objectively evaluating what is real, when actually there's an enormous amount of (not necessarily intentional) self-deception. We're as steeped in superstition as we ever were, but sticking the label "accepted science" on something is meant to make it true. Well, it ain't always so, any more than with religious doctrine.

    As was pointed out, things aren't all hunky-dory on the other side, either. There's also lots of self-deception that can go on in interior science. Self-deception is the thing that needs to be attended to: the first step in being able to competently perform science of any kind. I find Degracia's heightened awareness of his own ignorance extremely refreshing: there's far too much certainty in science in general: far too much arrogance, as well as laziness in questioning inculcated ideas. In the end, only one thing is certain: consciousness exists, and is something I experience.
     
  20. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Don, many thanks for popping in and taking part in the discussion: that only happens rarely, and is much appreciated. I will be exploring your site in the future, and I hope Alex has you back on the show so that we can hear more: perhaps you could focus in on some of the minutiae.

    I enjoyed the interview and am in broad agreement with much of what you say. Only one thing, really, bothered me: at one point, you seemed to be conflating idealism with post-modern social constructivism. I don't know if you meant idealism with a small or a capital "I", even though you mentioned Berkeley's name.

    A number of us on this forum are Idealists with a capital "I", and I for one can tell you that I'm not at all a fan of social constructivism. Yes, it exists and is a favoured tool of politicians, polemicists, and even some scientists, and in that sense has great importance and significance. However, Idealism as a philosophy isn't constructivist. If you have the time, I'd recommend paying a visit to Bernardo Kastrup's site here:

    http://www.bernardokastrup.com/

    He also has quite a number of videos on YouTube, and if you haven't so far come across his work, I think you will find that much he expresses in his version of Idealism is highly compatible with your own viewpoint.
     

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