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

be sure to check out the Q&A at the end, some folks press the issue... her response is interesting.

of course all this plays into what Don is saying about modeling these kinds of systems.
OK--I have now watched the whole video. Once again, I come away mightily impressed with Judith Curry. One can't help but admire expertise coupled with humility. She didn't stand up and rant as some on either side of the debate are wont to do, and to any unbiased observer, I think that should provide food for thought. This is the kind of debate we should have been having right from the beginning, but it hasn't been a scientific debate, has it? It's been an ideology-driven debate, and the pressure has been on from the get-go to come up with the verdict the ideology demanded.

As I see it, with the demise of conventional religion, elements of a moral/ethical framework have been discarded. Something has to fill the vacuum. The new framework depends to a fair degree on ecological concerns, some of which are genuinely pressing, but not, I believe, AGW. Ostensibly, it's a rational, scientific issue being driven by empirical evidence, but IMO, evidence is being manipulated and exaggerated to promote a moral/ideological aim. The effect is very similar to that religion has had in the past on some of the rational aspects of human thought and behaviour: a delaying of societal evolution.

It's one thing to have moral/ethical aims and to recognise that's what they are, honestly putting forward one's case in those terms. It's deeply troubling when that becomes masked in the garb of science. I for one can see a case for a lessening of consumerism in the West, and for less profligacy in resource usage; but for me that's a moral issue, and not one supported by convincing scientific evidence that anthropogenic CO2 is the major evil of our times. It's a case of a fortuitous scapegoat having arisen at around the same period in history that the West was losing its old value system.

The lord only knows what will happen if eventually what I believe to be a latter day cross between Tulip Mania and Lysenkoism is revealed as just that. The implications would be far-reaching, and the culprits would be scurrying under the skirting boards to distance themselves from the fallout; the scientific establishment would become even more derided. I think that's fully understood and accounts for certain acolytes doubling down: the more AGW is being challenged as a major issue, the harder they're digging in their heels; but what choice do they have? There's too much at stake to admit to even the smallest possibility of error. I think it's FUBAR, completely FUBAR.
 
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wish she woulda followed thru with her Skeptiko interview.
Actually, I am glad she didn't. Just as the AGW debate here didn't really shed much light and irritated some long-time skeptiko members, I think if she had appeared on Skeptiko, the AGW crowd would have used that fact against her mercilessly. I have come to the conclusion that although the two subjects are strongly linked because they relate to the corruption and distortion of science, it doesn't do to link them together in a public way.

David
 
It's one thing to have moral/ethical aims and to recognise that's what they are, honestly putting forward one's case in those terms. It's deeply troubling when that becomes masked in the garb of science. I for one can see a case for a lessening of consumerism in the West, and for less profligacy in resource usage; but for me that's a moral issue, and not one supported by convincing scientific evidence that anthropogenic CO2 is the major evil of our times. It's a case of an fortuitous scapegoat having arisen at around the same period in history that the West was losing its old value system.
Agreed - and perhaps the rise of ecological concerns mirrors religion in another way also. Just as religions such as Christianity seem to distort into often quite pointless and destructive forms, so the ecological movement seems to have done the same. Concern over AGW is hugely destructive, and deprives many people in Africa of basic reliable electricity.

The Green movement had a host of valid concerns - such as saving the rain forests - and it has instead focused on the most pointless. In the same way, religious morality seems to focus almost exclusively on sexual matters - often in destructive and negative ways.

David
 
Actually, I am glad she didn't. Just as the AGW debate here didn't really shed much light and irritated some long-time skeptiko members, I think if she had appeared on Skeptiko, the AGW crowd would have used that fact against her mercilessly. I have come to the conclusion that although the two subjects are strongly linked because they relate to the corruption and distortion of science, it doesn't do to link them together in a public way.

David
Yup. An excellent point!:)
 
Thanks for the link. It is stuff I never saw before but looks like it could be of interest. Too bad for the paywall... As to the levels of "objects" and dynamical patterns, each level is a level of nested dynamical systems. They all are vrittis in the yogic sense, patterns in the mind. As mental patterns they correspond to something in the external world, in a Kantian sense. I don't know if calling each level an "object" is better or worse than calling it a "dynamical pattern". Each view is probably appropriate in different circumstances.
Again, not from any insight at a specialist level of interaction, like you have, but from a most general level - certain objects exhibit linear and dynamical patterns corresponding to the fields that are influential in their environment. What is interesting is informational objects fit this description, as well or better than material objects.
This idea of information objects is touched on in a great paper: http://www.academia.edu/947996/A_Buddhist_Model_for_the_Informational_Person
 
Your right, for me it has been purely experimental, and without a framework fot any of the experiences to sit on. It has been much later that I recognized some things in the esoteric schools of thought. Words don't do these things justice so it is always difficult to intellectualize. Yes the icons are very familiar.
This was the main reason I took Hinduism so seriously. At first I thought all Indians did psychedelics! (just kidding!). Then I realized it was Hinduism takes you to the same places the psychedelics do. Even now I continue to study their symbolism and myths because it gives the intellect a way to symbolize this otherwise abstract experienced. Heirich Zimmer's books are good for this and Taimni has some good ones too. -Don
 
Okay. Perhaps a more accurate way of framing my meaning. Yes. I mean of course I'm not suggesting flushing the poor dear down the toilet. Going with the valid specifics you've raised , I'll rephrase as "moving beyond using the intellect for both translating meaning and as primary (often sole) info-gathering mechanism."
Like Adam Curry says: "Words matter!"
 
Actually, I am glad she didn't. Just as the AGW debate here didn't really shed much light and irritated some long-time skeptiko members, I think if she had appeared on Skeptiko, the AGW crowd would have used that fact against her mercilessly. I have come to the conclusion that although the two subjects are strongly linked because they relate to the corruption and distortion of science, it doesn't do to link them together in a public way.

David
Also, I think this AGW thing may be a modern variant of the stuff Tarpley claimed was going on in Newton's day.
 
Don,

I think our discussion is somehow getting confused. Possibly you think I am saying things that I am not.
hi David. You are correct in your conclusions about denying free will, etc. All I can do is fall back on Leibniz and say this is why he invented the idea of "pre-established harmony".

Qualia are not a particular mystery in yoga, only in neurophysiology where we need to get relatively homogeneous neurons to make blue, red, green, a continuous series of pitches, pain, smells, tastes, etc. In yoga (actually, in reality, just that yoga recognizes this reality) the qualia exist on the inner planes. Blue is a "thing in itself" on the inner planes. The right series of vibrations from the external world, through the eye, through the brain, through the etheric body serve as an address code to present blue to consciousness on the astral plane. So, the qualia problem will never be solved by only looking at the physical plane. Can I prove this? No because it involves nonphysical things. So it can't be proven via physical experiments or devices. However, one can learn to move on the inner planes and "see" how the colors and other qualia are accessed via these channels. When this happens, you will prove this to yourself.
My feeling has been for a long time that qualia represent things that are non-physical. Forgive me if I talk in dualistic terms - the non-physical may be split into 6 subdivisions, or indeed an infinite number of planes according to Seth, so when I say non-physical I mean everything that is outside of the material plane.

I think Chalmers' argument is one of the strongest arguments against the brain==mind philosophy.
[Side note: I have seen the source of colors in our visual awareness. I discuss it a little in Beyond the Physical, I call it the "color field" or something like that. It is very abstract how it works. All colors are present all the time when we see, only some get pushed in the background, somewhat analogous to when you look at the foreground the background becomes blurry. There is a filter system in the brain that normally only lets the main color through into awareness. Although it you stare at anything long enough, the other colors will bleed into your awareness to some extent.]

So yes, this implies that when we perceive even the physical world in our consciousness when awake, we are simultaneously perceiving (at least a very small portion of) the astral world. That is where all the qualities of perception come from.
Clearly the brain performs a lot of pre-processing of visual information, and the apparent colours of objects don't reflect the distribution of photons reaching the eye. There are some wonderful colour illusions that illustrate this point, e.g.

http://www.moillusions.com/color-tile-illusion-new-aspect/

I have always assumed that these aspects of colour really do get processed in the brain, and that the non-physical doesn't get an RGB value (which is in itself an artificial construct). Any comments?
I have said a few times and don't mind repeating it: consciousness is the medium in which everything occurs. It is a magical substance from whence everything arises. You cannot reduce consciousness to anything else. Everything that exists reduces to consciousness. It is the ground of being.
This sounds very much like what I think - we are on the same wavelength, I think!
There is a lot of semantic confusion on this point. As humans we have very complex minds. They see, hear, etc on the sensory front, think, imagine, speak, etc on the cognitive front, dream, etc on the altered states front. These are all just patterns inside of consciousness.
If the patterns are inside consciousness, we don't disagree. What I do object to, is people who want to associate consciousness with some pattern inside the physical brain - an oscillation, or a spreading activation, or whatever.
The patterns are made from the medium, but the medium transcends the patterns. If you listen, for example, to Searle in Alex's interview with him, Searle confuses the word "consciousness" for the patterns that appear in the awareness of humans.
Searle reminds me of Chalmers ina way - he reached the radical conclusion that the mind cannot be the result of physical action, but then backed away from that realisation! OTOH I think I read that Chalmers is starting to return to a non-materialistic view of mind.
A yogi would not make this mistake because he uses different words for all this. The patterns are vrittis, the mind is manas, consciousness is dismatrah. The yogi does not mistake the medium, dismatrah, for the patterns in the medium, vrittis. And the vrittis make very complex structures (just like cells make complex structures called organs and organisms). A most important structure is manas, (what we would call the sum of the conscious and unconscious minds) but there is also the structure called buddhi (or ahamkara), which most here would relate to the term "ego" or "sense of I-ness".
The technical (Pali?) words really get in the way of discussions like this :(
Anyway, I am happy to bet you one dollar the qualia problem will never be solved in physical terms because all the qualities of our awareness are vrittis of a finer kind happening on the inner planes.
Again, this has been my view for a long time.

David
 
Hi Dominic

Thanks for asking the hardest possible question you could ask! :)

I will try to answer in the few minutes I have right now, and if it's not satisfactory, I am happy to go back and forth on it. First, yes of course you should teach morals to the kids and ethics and be responsible and teach others to be responsible. These are things people need to be people.

The position I have adopted is expressed perfectly in Chapter 8 of van der Leeuw's Conquest of Illusion. The determinism is all internal. It is you that bind yourself via your desires and attachments. Of course there can be external forces that seek to hold you in place, but it is easy to rebel against that. But even the act of rebelling against an external control is a kind of determinism in itself. But the real bondage is SELF-IMPOSED. It rises up from an invisible source inside yourself. van der Leeuw gets into this well.

At the intellectual level, it has to do with understanding that we exist in a relative condition. The fact that our nature is relative is where the externally AND internally imposed determinism comes from. Nothing can be free in any sense because it depends on other things to exist. I need the air and water and all the other animals (at bare minimum to eat). I need the Earth and Sun and their gravity. These are all "determining" factors. The problem is in thinking there is some "chess master" that plays us like chess pieces. This is not true at all. Determinism doesn't manifest like this. It manifests in our myriad needs that connect us to all other things in the Universe along a spectrum from "needs greatly" (e.g. oxygen molecules) to "needed in the background" (e.g. all the galaxies whose mutual gravity support the Sun).

One cannot escape the fact that each of us is but nodes in a vast incomprehensible network of interconnection to all the rest of what exists. This is the nature of the relative.

Only the absolute is free. The absolute made the relative. It can also extricate itself from the relative if it wishes, and it is already free of the relative at some level of existence. The absolute is free because there is only one absolute and there is nothing to bind or condition it.

The very core or kernel of our consciousness IS the absolute. This is why we "feel" free because our essence IS free. But in its absolute freedom it has chosen to make little pieces of itself seem to be not free, and this is the relative condition we find ourselves in.

So, it is not that there is no freedom at all, there is no freedom for us humans in our relative existence. But our existence is ironic in that our being, our very consciousness, is the only free thing that exists. But my consciousness and your consciousness (both of which are from the same source and identical to each others) is, for the moment, frozen in ice so to speak, frozen in this ever moving form that we find ourselves in. It is, in some sense, like a dream. When we wake from it, we will find that "we" have always been free, that we are all that is, that there is nothing but us. Then we will get lonely and dive back in this cage of relativity where for the time being we can forget that we are all that exists and pretend that all the diversity and variety is our company. Then we will again feel smothered by our creation and seek to break out of it, and the cycle will repeat. Endlessly. Because, well, there is nothing else to do.

So, it is all very, very abstract. It is full of paradox from top to bottom. It has no end or beginning. When in the relative form, it is determined by the whole pattern. When not in the relative form it is free to do literally anything.

So, this is all very Eastern. You cannot shoehorn the Western views of freedom/liberty/determinism into the Eastern view. You can hold them side by side and try to make bridges between them. In doing this, I presently believe that our urge for "freedom" in the West is precisely the urge of the absolute to be free of the relative fetters it has bound itself into.

I hope this makes some modicum of sense. Again, feel free to call me out on anything that doesn't sound right to you.

Again, thanks for asking, Dominic. Best, Don.
Don, this is a great story and I enjoyed reading it, but the question about freedom is whether we have it now in this world. It doesn't help me to know that I have the essence of freedom within me or that in some other world I will have absolute freedom. We need to get more real-world about this. For example, if Fred murdered his wife last week, could he possibly have done otherwise, given his upbringing, environment, psychology, and all the rest? You may say that this is a very western way of framing the whole issue, but as I see it it's only because of the implications for moral responsibility that people are so obsessed with the free-will question.
 
Don,

I think our discussion is somehow getting confused. Possibly you think I am saying things that I am not.

My feeling has been for a long time that qualia represent things that are non-physical. Forgive me if I talk in dualistic terms - the non-physical may be split into 6 subdivisions, or indeed an infinite number of planes according to Seth, so when I say non-physical I mean everything that is outside of the material plane.

I think Chalmers' argument is one of the strongest arguments against the brain==mind philosophy.

Clearly the brain performs a lot of pre-processing of visual information, and the apparent colours of objects don't reflect the distribution of photons reaching the eye. There are some wonderful colour illusions that illustrate this point, e.g.

http://www.moillusions.com/color-tile-illusion-new-aspect/

I have always assumed that these aspects of colour really do get processed in the brain, and that the non-physical doesn't get an RGB value (which is in itself an artificial construct). Any comments?

This sounds very much like what I think - we are on the same wavelength, I think!

If the patterns are inside consciousness, we don't disagree. What I do object to, is people who want to associate consciousness with some pattern inside the physical brain - an oscillation, or a spreading activation, or whatever.

Searle reminds me of Chalmers ina way - he reached the radical conclusion that the mind cannot be the result of physical action, but then backed away from that realisation! OTOH I think I read that Chalmers is starting to return to a non-materialistic view of mind.

The technical (Pali?) words really get in the way of discussions like this :(


Again, this has been my view for a long time.

David
Hi David

After reading your reply, yes I have to agree. I think I misunderstood what you said initially. Well, yes, it seems like we are very close on these topics. Okay, nice talking to you! Bye!

(hehe just kidding)

A couple additional points.

1. Physical/nonphysical dualism: it is only a dualism in Western thought. In yoga, there are 4 phases of vrittis/gunas. One of them we call "physical", the other would be considered "nonphysical". So they are all the same things. no dualisms. triisms, quadralateralisms or anything. Even our "physical" human form is seen to be a composite of all four of these phases. Just as the physical part of the body consists of all the phases of physical matter: solid, liquid, gas and electricity (or photons, light).

2. Problem with Chalmers and Sealer is they are philosophers. This doesn't mean its not worth considering what they say, but they aren't real scientists. They are more like cheerleaders or something. And yes it makes a huge difference. When you do real science you see the limits between the reality of experiments and our intellectual interpretation of them. I deal with this daily. No amount of intellectualizing can substitute for the understanding that comes from rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty with plain old work, both the work of doing the experiments and the work of interpreting them.

You should read instead Raphael Yuste. He is one of the guys that applied voltage sensitive dyes to understanding brain function. I think he is at Columbia. One of his papers trumps all this old worn out philosophy.

When you see his data of neurons conducting in real living brains using these dyes, it becomes obvious...you can just see it...there is no picture there, no colors, no sounds. Just electricity coursing along the cells in very complex patterns.

Whatever "mind" is, its not happening in the neurons. Now, I know we agree on this. I am just suggesting you elevate your citations, and I say this not as an jab at you, but as a jab at the philosophers. :)

Yes, there are very complex things the brain is doing that correlate with physical phenomena. To me, the picture is clear enough now that the brain is acting like a radio receiver and consciousness is like the radio wave. The brain is somehow serving as a machine that allows consciousness to be held at this lever of materiality. The sense organs and brain convey information about what happens at this level of materiality into consciousness and there is some process where increasingly finer levels of materiality convert the signal that eventually appears in conscious awareness.

Because all we know with our science and technology only gets to a certain level of material fineness, people just assume that that is all there is. I mean, this is insane nowadays when you have physicists totally serious about bent space-time, dark matter, dark energy and stuff like that. The physicists are forced to admit that the materiality we perceive via the senses accounts for like what? 5% of the materiality they detect?

Until this philosophers start tying all this stuff together, I am happy to speculate for myself, thank you.

So, again, none of this is directed at you at all. Just pointing out stuff that is science from the past decade or so.

Yes, the patterns are inside of consciousness. And consciousness itself is really the only non-material thing there is. (Notice I said non-material, not nonphysical because the inner realms are just finer forms of material).

Colors are non-physical, yes. They exist on the astral plane (for lack of a better term). And yes, the brain does a lot of tricks to convert physical vibrations into very fine vibrations (that traditionally were called "etheric") that serve to stimulate vibrations on the astral plane, that cause ripples in consciousness that we perceive as color.

Yes, we certainly agree that people that want to say consciousness is made in the brain are wrong. Again, they are making the fatal error of assuming that what they see is all there is to see. And also revealing that they have a very limited range of experience.

So yes, we are very much on the same page. But it is still useful to discuss it just to expose this old moldy stuff for what it is, and to air the newer insights that seriously dent the old delusions.

Again, David, thanks for the most stimulating conversation.

Best,

Don
 
Don, this is a great story and I enjoyed reading it, but the question about freedom is whether we have it now in this world. It doesn't help me to know that I have the essence of freedom within me or that in some other world I will have absolute freedom. We need to get more real-world about this. For example, if Fred murdered his wife last week, could he possibly have done otherwise, given his upbringing, environment, psychology, and all the rest? You may say that this is a very western way of framing the whole issue, but as I see it it's only because of the implications for moral responsibility that people are so obsessed with the free-will question.
I think when you put it that way, yes we certainly can make choices, and yes there is right or wrong.

This is a very difficult thing to express in words. van der Leeuw does the best I have seen. It goes something like this. When you look at history, only one thing happened. Fred did not murder and not murder his wife. It either happened or it did not. The past reveals the frozen nature of eternity. The future is also frozen like this. But there is some matrix we call "time" that our consciousness flows through. In the present, we can chose our action. Although it is, in some sense, already frozen in history, so too our choice is frozen. But the choice is a part of the whole process, and everything leading up to the choice. It is very paradoxical. Like van der Leeuw says, if you think it is blind fate and you do not think you have to act, well, just try not to act. You will find in a very short time that you have no choice but to act. The whole of everything is moving and you must move with it. All these things, eduction, morals and ethics, awareness of right and wrong, these are all part of this motion that isn't really moving in some sense.

As the beings we are, we do not have access to the frozen perspective for all time, only for the past (and only a very limited vision in that direction). Why it is this way is a great mystery. So, even if we intellectually know all time is a frozen thing, we do not experience it that way. We can only work within the framework we have to work in. And in this framework, it appears for all practical purposes that we have to make choices. And that we need to have culture and civilization, and religion and morals to provide a framework within which to make those choices. So, the perspective you started with is perfectly valid in its own terms. To try to literally express my perspective as a working solution to everyday life will, as van der Leeuw says, end you up in the funny farm. We do not experience the eternal, we experience time. So it is a strange mystery we must live with, we have no choice but to live with, until or if we, as individuals, or as a species collectively can come to experience the eternal where everything is just frozen, in some sense that makes no sense to us at all in our present form.

So, you see where this type of debate goes on the intellectual. It goes nowhere. And in the end, we have to make choices, we have to be responsible.

However, where this type of debate has utility is that it serves as one very small, very, very small step on the path to honing your intuition to sense eternity. When one ever so slowly learns to sense eternity, one begins to understand the "frozen" patten and why things happen the way they do. One slowly comes to sense something that Leibniz described as "great beyond anyone's imagination". And it is very much a part of this pattern that these things all come to pass. Every single thing is seen to be absolutely necessary to the whole. And this breeds its own morals and choices. The morals of how to express this "unimaginable greatness" in each act and deed.

So, your position and my position are two different points in an upward ascending spiral whereby manifested existence becomes greater and greater and greater in every imaginable sense possible.

Does this make sense? I hope so. It is late and perhaps I am rambling. Anyway, Dominic, thank you for asking and following through on the discussion.

Best,

Don
 
Can you elaborate - I am not into Tarpley at all!

David
I'll just briefly say a couple things as I have to crash. Tarpley talks about using knowledge in general as a tool of political power. He asserts that what eventually came to be called the "Newtonian world view" of a dead clockwork universe that God stood out side of (that in fact, all of us here in this forum are rallying against the descendants of this viewpoint) served the political purpose of those who wanted to make money selling human beings (English slave traders) and by doing usury (money lenders). If we have no soul and we are only animals, then it is okay to sell animals on the market, even if both the product and the salesman are just animals. It is a way to justify and uphold social evils basically.

My link was that AGW serves to justify this idea of "carbon taxes" which only makes rich people richer. If you were serious about carbon emissions, you would simply ban them. Further, the science of this stuff is all one big joke. I won't get into it here but to say, the idea that we can forecast weather more than about 1 week into the future is a total joke.

Anyway, I can elaborate more if you like, but this was the general gist. Talk to you more later, David. Thanks. Don
 
I'll just briefly say a couple things as I have to crash. Tarpley talks about using knowledge in general as a tool of political power. He asserts that what eventually came to be called the "Newtonian world view" of a dead clockwork universe that God stood out side of (that in fact, all of us here in this forum are rallying against the descendants of this viewpoint) served the political purpose of those who wanted to make money selling human beings (English slave traders) and by doing usury (money lenders). If we have no soul and we are only animals, then it is okay to sell animals on the market, even if both the product and the salesman are just animals. It is a way to justify and uphold social evils basically.

My link was that AGW serves to justify this idea of "carbon taxes" which only makes rich people richer. If you were serious about carbon emissions, you would simply ban them. Further, the science of this stuff is all one big joke. I won't get into it here but to say, the idea that we can forecast weather more than about 1 week into the future is a total joke.

Anyway, I can elaborate more if you like, but this was the general gist. Talk to you more later, David. Thanks. Don
I think Alex, Michael and I are well aware of the fact that the science of AGW is a joke! I guess Tarpley's idea fits pretty well.

David
 
Because all we know with our science and technology only gets to a certain level of material fineness, people just assume that that is all there is. I mean, this is insane nowadays when you have physicists totally serious about bent space-time, dark matter, dark energy and stuff like that. The physicists are forced to admit that the materiality we perceive via the senses accounts for like what? 5% of the materiality they detect?
My impression of modern science, is that while in some areas it is well pinned down by practical considerations of making electronic chips, navigating the earth and solar system, or curing people of serious diseases, in other areas it can drift badly away from the truth, and it doesn't seem to find it easy to correct itself anymore.

Bogus, or overconfident science betrays itself in a number of ways:

1) Proponents of the dominant view call dissenters "Deniers" or "Science deniers", or other Ad Hominems. This is used as an excuse for not debating with such people, or letting them publish in key journals. The crucial point is that these "Deniers" were formally respected members of the science community, or bring some other expert skill - such as statistics - to the problem.

2) The central hypothesis is repeatedly elaborated to cope with new data that is seemingly inconsistent with the supposedly established theory.

3) Proponents cite the fact that most scientists agree with them - which really isn't how normal science works.

My partial list of probable bogus areas of science would include the following:

A) Global Warming.

B) The theory that saturated fat causes high blood cholesterol which in turn causes heart disease/strokes seems false in both associations! The original saturated fat evidence was based on a cherry picked graph. The trick was exposed, but the medical advice persists to this day! Something similar also seems to apply to the supposed harmful effects of salt

C) Haltern Arp (formerly highly respected astronomer) seems to have produced a lot of evidence that not all cosmological red shifts are caused by the Doppler shift, and therefore that they cannot be used to deduce distance.

D) Henry Bauer and other formerly respected medical researchers suspect that HIV does not cause AIDS. Their ideas are quite complex, but imply that huge numbers of people are being poisoned by retrovirals for no reason.

E) Alexander Unzicker has published a book, "The Higgs Fake" that makes a reasonable case that a lot of modern particle physics is false. Despite the fact that he is not a physicist, he seems to have a remarkable knowledge of the subject. There isn't really room in the margin of this post to do him justice - best to read his book!

F) String theory, which has dominated theoretical physics for many years, is now being criticised even by mainstream physicists as being unable to make any testable predictions. The lack of super symmetric particles at the LHC has strengthened these criticisms.

G) The theory of evolution seems to be under much threat (as we have already discussed) and yet it is presented as beyond scientific argument, and its opponents get vilified as non-scientists.

H) The concept that we can confidently see and interpret fluctuations in the microwave background. Indeed even the idea that the microwave background has to have come from a Big Bang seems dubious. This must be particularly so if red shifts can be misleading (point C above).

I) Then there is science's response to ψ.

Feel free to add some of your own!

David
 
David and Don: I'm enjoying the interchange between you. I'll just throw in the old adage about following the money. In theory, science just seeks to discover the truth. In practice, because of the way science is funded, and the scientific institutions are organised, it's become an elaborate game governed by gatekeepers or gatekeeping principles. The scientists ensnared by the system are either so inured to it that they can't see what it's doing, or if they can see that, are too afraid to raise their heads above the parapet and call it out for what it is. Those brave enough to do so risk everything, including their careers.

Meanwhile, a lot of non-scientists, who still have a mental model of science as a universally noble enterprise (at least in areas that they find conducive to their world views), have a new sacerdotal class and new holy texts they can substitute for priests and the bible. They may be quite unaware that a lot of science these days is driven by mythological narratives. The traditional function of myth is in its right place: but some of the modern myths of science, in being taken as literal truth, are out of place and functioning in a pathological way; and that only happens, in the end, because the bulk of the money goes towards supporting the narratives. Too few seem concerned any longer with the pursuit of truth for its own sake; but I do see a glimmer on the horizon, and I think the Internet is a significant factor in facilitating change.

Don, I liked this:

Yes, there are very complex things the brain is doing that correlate with physical phenomena. To me, the picture is clear enough now that the brain is acting like a radio receiver and consciousness is like the radio wave. The brain is somehow serving as a machine that allows consciousness to be held at this lever of materiality. The sense organs and brain convey information about what happens at this level of materiality into consciousness and there is some process where increasingly finer levels of materiality convert the signal that eventually appears in conscious awareness.

That's been said before, but I think you've said it particularly well. And, I can go along in principle with the idea that there are increasingly finer levels of manifestation of the fundamental "stuff" of the universe. What a pity that we don't seem to have a common word that can connote this "stuff" that doesn't also connote the conventional notion of concrete material. Maybe a neologism like "manifestand" is required. All manifestands could be of the same fundamental nature, just manifest in different ways that are more, or less, perceptible according to the state of consciousness of the percipient.

So linguistically embedded are we, that words like "matter", "physical" and so on come to be reified; to seem utterly concrete and to belong to their own ontological realm. Language is structured around the most common state of conscious awareness, and we are left at at loss to describe what we can perceive in different states of awareness. I appreciate that Yoga might have a lexicon that allows for the expression of that, but as David intimated, it's a big problem in that it's in a different language and comes from a different time and historical setting. It takes considerable effort to familiarise oneself with the terminology, let alone with its intended meaning; and all we have to describe that meaning is the language we're more familiar with. It may be different if one is being taught in person by someone who genuinely knows whereof s/he speaks, because there may be other channels that can be employed in that case, including, who knows, the direct transmission or initiation of different states of consciousness in learners.

A change in state of consciousness may bring the perception of manifestands that aren't usually perceived, and a knowing sense of what they signify and how they relate to ordinary perception; but those can't be described using the ordinary lexicon. It may not even be describable using the lexicon of Yoga or other spiritual traditions unless learners have also experienced what is being referred to.

I'll add that I'm sceptical of the role of psychoactive substances: in a number of traditions, their use is frowned upon or proscribed because it's said the experiences they invoke are counterfeit and misleading. Many people here will have heard that from me before, and indeed we've argued about it in the past, so little point arguing it all over again. But you don't know that's my view, and so won't know that it affects what weight I place on what people say. May as well be up front about it, though.
 
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