Mod+ Bernardo Kastrup Challenges Brian Cox

#3
This part was great:

Because of our growing cynicism as a culture, long ago has wisdom been abandoned by our value systems. We have given up on the idea of elders: those who, irrespective of formal education, are firmly in touch with the full spectrum of their humanity and its intimate connection to the universe at large. We have given up on our poets, artists, healers and philosophers as guides. But the archetypal human need to receive guidance and reassurance from an external source remains intact. We naturally need to place our projections of wisdom and superior knowledge onto something or someone else. The gap left had to be filled. And in our technology-obsessed culture, we tragically filled the gap with the spokespeople of science. Having done so, we now find ourselves in the insane position of expecting wisdom and guidance from – pardon my blatant sincerity – semi-conscious nerds; intellectual specialists who can solve abstract mathematical puzzles but are largely disconnected from life and the depths of their own psyche. No teenager would make this silly mistake among his or her own circle of friends, as a visit to any schoolyard will show you. Yet we, as a culture, do it all the time.
I also added this comment, which if I am remembering things correctly, makes Cox's responses to Chopra even worse than it may seem

Bernardo,

You said: "Indeed, eternal inflation simply postpones the primary creation event forever, by proposing that the universe is eternal"

My understanding of this is that it's even worse than that. Eternal Inflation is only eternal into the future, not the past (unless some developments have changed this recently). Therefore, all they have done is "pass the buck". Now instead of asking what came before the Big Bang, we can just ask what came before the Multiverse ... but it's really the exact same problem! i.e. eternal inflation solved nothing when it comes to Chopra's point as you outlined it above, because there would still have to be a "primary creation event" some finite time ago in the past.

But, you might want to "fact check" what I said, because I haven't stayed current with eternal inflation.
 
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#4
This part was great:

I also added this comment, which if I am remembering things correctly, makes Cox's responses to Chopra even worse than it may seem
"Although inflation is generically eternal into the future, it is not eternal into the past: it can be proven under reasonable assumptions that the inflating region must be incomplete in past directions, so some physics other than inflation is needed to describe the past boundary of the inflating region."

http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0702178

Eternal inflation and its implications By Alan Guth

From 2007, not real current, so perhaps things have changed.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#5
"Although inflation is generically eternal into the future, it is not eternal into the past: it can be proven under reasonable assumptions that the inflating region must be incomplete in past directions, so some physics other than inflation is needed to describe the past boundary of the inflating region."

http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0702178

Eternal inflation and its implications By Alan Guth

From 2007, not real current, so perhaps things have changed.
Thanks for than that EthanT.

Bernando mentioned a few studies that are suggestive of Idealism. What do you think of those?

I wasn't sure why he thought the experiments demonstrating nonlocality would be worth including, though AFAIK it does show usual expectations of space & time are inaccurate.
 
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#7
Erm.. Lol

I have to say I find the adversarial approach to debate usually inconclusive to the lay observer (ie me). As an observation though, Cox is a physicist that's true but I'm not sure what his specialty is - it's quite a wide field and I doubt it's possible to be an expert on everything - a bit like the law perhaps. I don't think I'd want the opinion of a commercial specialist on a criminal matter.

Although Kastrup isn't a professional physicist I don't think it's reasonable to reject his opinions out of hand just for that reason. He clearly has a science background and it seems to me is perfectly capable of understanding the physics behind quantum physics. He doesn't need to be a professional physicist to do that as far as I can see.

The argument about the extent of even the professionals' understanding of quantum physics seems to be to be valid insofar as it is being used to support either side of the argument. It does rather sound like two bald men arguing over a comb sometimes.

On an aesthetic note: the article has more cut-and-paste than Baron Frankinstein's monster and I found it difficult to follow the line of argument.
 
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#10
Thanks for than that EthanT.

Bernando mentioned a few studies that are suggestive of Idealism. What do you think of those?

I wasn't sure why he thought the experiments demonstrating nonlocality would be worth including, though AFAIK it does show usual expectations of space & time are inaccurate.
Hi Sciborg,

I think he put them up because they suggest realism is wrong, which implies Idealism might be right. They looked interesting, but to be honest I still need to look at them in more detail. The one from 2007 Bernardo has been mentioning for a while now. But, it is interesting to see that he has come up with more, especially the one from Zeilinger, which is the one I am really looking forward to reading about some more!

I suspect we'll need many experiments suggesting realism is wrong before physicists will start leaning towards an Idealistic view of QM, in general.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#11
Tom's response was interesting, given he's an atheist and physicist who also disagreed with Cox.

Deepak Chopra - I agree I probably should not have callously called you a 'nut job'. In fact, I don't know very much about your views, so this is in fact unjustified. My apologies. And thank you for directing me to the Bernado Kastrup article. This I found to be very well written, I was surprised by it, and I agreed with almost everything in it - this is really quite unusual for me. That is to say, the article focused on Brian Cox and "the new priesthood of modern culture" as Mr Kastrup refers to it. I could not agree more with this perspective.

( For the record I am not, however, about to adopt "idealism". Kastrup proposes "idealism" beats "materialism" by virtue of increased simplicity. By the same token, didn't you stop when you could have continued? You see, by the same argument, Solipsism beats them both. Why explain other people's consciousness, when you only need to explain your own? )
I don't think Idealism -> Solipsism, though I think this is something that anyone pushing for an Idealist view is going to have address over and over again.

That said, I particularly liked this part:

In my opinion "Science" really started to become popular - or at least well regarded - in the 19th century (and into the beginning of the 20th). Personally, this is a period that fascinates me, and I tend to focus on the arguments that occurred at this time. At this point I think science essentially did not have preachers. The preachers were confined to religion (where the audience was bigger?) And so the scientists were all a little bit renegade. They were shown the torture chambers etc. Charles Darwin was forced to rewrite his works to include God. You could count on the fact that (without church interference) the scientists were pretty much motivated by a search for the truth, because at that time, what other motivation could there be? Often they were aristocracy or at least very well off (who else had the time for such intellectual distractions?) - they were not generally fighting for social status because they had it already - and anyway, 'science' did not do as much for people in terms of social status as it does today.

Today there are a lot more people claiming to be scientists. (Do many hands make light work or do too many cooks spoil the broth?) Today 'science' brings Brian Cox - and all those other chaps Mr. Kastrup listed in his article ("Cox, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, Laurence Krauss, Richard Dawkins: scientists or TV stars?") their 'status'. So in fact this is a different situation, because these guys now have a vested interest in being "correct". They may well feel they *need* to be correct to keep their social position. If that meant inventing mumbo jumbo to cover up gaps in their arguments, one could easily see that they might do this. And the unwitting public increasingly reaching out to the 'scientists' for the reassurance of their answers may further fuel this. Perhaps because science has indisputably pissed on a good few religious claims, so religion seems a less attractive place to go for people wanting a quick reassuring answer. But in fact, the public seem to have mysteriously, by their own accord, come full circle and adopted the position that modern science not only brings them an iphone, it really does have absolutely all the answers to life the universe and everything. In that sense, it does appear science is rapidly becoming the new religion. And I can see how any 'authoritative' figure in 'science' (journalist speak, hence the quotes) might be tempted - given how easy it should be - to masquerade as the thing everyone is saying you are anyway.

Could Brian Cox ever admit to being wrong, even if he came to believe he had made an error?
 
#15
Did Bernardo start his twitter account yesterday? He only has 88 followers . . . Well, 89 now
Yeah, he only joined to issue the challenge. He's not doing so bad in such a short time.

I don't get what use Twitter and Facebook are. Never used them. Same with mobile phones: I don't have one because I hate the idea of being contactable anywhere I might go. Guess I'm a control freak.:)
 
#16
Yeah, he only joined to issue the challenge. He's not doing so bad in such a short time.

I don't get what use Twitter and Facebook are. Never used them. Same with mobile phones: I don't have one because I hate the idea of being contactable anywhere I might go. Guess I'm a control freak.:)
Yeah, Michael,

I only say that b/c Bernardo deserves to be heard . . . and the shame of it is that those things - Twitter and Facebook and the like - are somewhat essential for that . . . and for being viewed in an up to date sort of way. I believe just a bit earlier someone was talking about Bernardo doing what he does in his spare time vs. certain materialist skeptics doing this stuff for a living. Well, my first thought even then was about publicity, which is key. And I realize it's a shame that that's the way the world works now, but it just does.

In my own life, I learned that the hard way. I detested those things: facebook, twitter, you name it, and used none of them till recently for reasons other than personal ones. For that matter, I didn't even have a phone of any sort - cell or house - till eight years ago. Before that, if one wanted to contact me, they had to call my girlfriend and leave a message with her. We split up, I moved out of state, and since my father couldn't get in contact with me at all (except, I suppose, through letters ;)), he gave me a phone and had me added to his plan. I took it. One year ago June, my wife upgraded her phone and gave me her hand me down iPhone. I took it, too. And I like it.

The thing with Bernardo reminds me of music: why, we ask, does this band/musician over here who is so, so good get almost no recognition at all, while a mediocre one is booked solid, is popular, and getting write ups? Publicity, mainly . . . normally it's self publicity through things like Facebook and Twitter and such . . . which is a certain amount of real work and shouldn't be totally looked upon as something bad. It's just what it takes. Of course, with music, it's a matter of individual taste and there are always other variables (what venues they'll stoop to, playing songs instead of performing sets, etc), but I swear that many, many times so much comes down to bad management of social media/image.

So, again, "getting out there" - social media stuff - isn't always bad at all. In the case of Bernardo issuing the challenge to Cox on Twitter and using the word "gutsy" is great! I love it! It reminds me of Taleb Nassim, who I'm a big fan of, issuing such challenges. He uses Twitter and Facebook, and it's generally good stuff. I don't feel that he compromises himself in any way whatsoever. Bernardo ought to follow suite, in my opinion, and I'm glad that he's already on there and that he's growing a following. But, when I got on Twitter to follow him, I first thought the 88 would have a "k" behind it or something. (Which, granted, would be way too far the opposite direction to assume). When I realized it was only 88, I'm like, "well, that explains the earlier conversation about not having his ideas out there (or known well enough or whatever it was, exactly)."

Anyhow, as I said above, I'm 89th follower now. :)
 
#17
' a Twitter war ' ! he he

sounds like ' a pillow fight '
or 'handbags at 10 paces'

ok I’m not into the new way of communicating

but what is the infantile hash tag ?


I cant see anything to be gained having debate with Cox

seems a bit juvenile, re Woo .. ;)

from what I've seen of him on the box anyway
 
#19
This “debunking” by Shen1986 is so bad it’s painful to read.

Problem #1:
Shen simply stated that Bernardo was wrong without supporting his assertion. This statement debunks nothing.

Problem #2:
Shen calls the idea that consciousness was involved in the big bang a “silly thing” and brands the idea “woo”. What Shen fails to understand here is that the burden of proof is not on the idealist to prove this point. Idealism can explain everything that materialist models can and more with less fundamental assumptions. By Occam's Razor the default assumption should be that consciousness is involved in everything – including any beginning event. A universe outside of consciousness is the real “woo” here.

Problem #3:
Shen asserts that the general public and Bernardo Kastrup do not understand quantum mechanics. He then goes even further and says that quantum physicists have no real understanding of quantum mechanics because of the existence of competing theories that conflict with each other.

The implication here is that nobody is qualified to use quantum physics to support any sort of philosophical position because nobody truly understands quantum physics. This is absurd. If we were to apply this logic across the board then we would have to conclude that we have no ‘real’ understanding of any field of science where conflicting theories exist. One would have to say that neuroscientists have no real understanding of the brain, for example, and therefore no philosophical conclusions could be drawn from any neuroscience experiment.

While quantum physicists might disagree on the conclusions they draw from the double slit experiment, they agree on the results of the experiment itself. The results of these experiments are entirely within the grasp of the general public and are subject to philosophy, just like everything else.

Problem #4 & 5:
Calling the double slit experiment ‘controversial’ does not debunk the claim. Shen dismisses a paper because it “only deals with the double slit experiment”.

Problem #6:
Shen simply points out that the paper is about non-locality and Anton Zeilinger is involved. This statement debunks nothing.

Problem #7:
Shen rehashes that we don’t understand quantum physics, and suggests that there might be other variables which we do not yet see.

I would liken this to promissory materialism. Whenever something flies in the face of materialism, the proponents of materialism will simply declare it a mystery to be solved in the future before materialism is proven correct. This can be used to dismiss anything. It is a very weak argument.

Problem #8:
Shen is literally attempting to argue against scientific fact here. These quantum eraser experiments are well established and their results are not something that can simply be denied because they don’t fall in line with the uncertainty principle. Instead this shows a need for a model that can accommodate both – such as idealism.

Problem #9:
Shen asserts that Bernardo Kastrup is wrong because there is "conflicting evidence" (see problem #8). He rehashes that we do not fully understand quantum physics.

Problem #10 & #11:
There is no debunking going on here. This is skeptical diarrhea.

Problem #12:
There is nothing wrong with writing a book or advertising a book. Many well known ‘skeptics’ have books of their own and have done the exact same thing.

Problem #13:
I think that Kastrup wants to debate Cox because Kastrup knows he has the upper hand.

Problem #14:
This is not an attack on science so much as it is an attack on the materialist ideas that pervade the scientific community. Bernardo is correct when he says that science is inherently ontologically neutral.

Problem #15:
This is a straw man. He is not calling atheists evil. It is entirely possible to be an atheist idealist. In fact, Bernardo’s arguments support that very position. (See "Modern Idealism: Way Beyond Berkeley")

Problem #16:
Shen implies that supporting Chopra makes Bernardo a new ager. This is another ridiculous argument. Bernardo can agree with the statement that reality is in consciousness without agreeing with all of Chopra’s ideas.

Problem #17:
Shen asserts that Bernardo is putting forth his ideas to make money, rather than the desire to spread his ideas to the masses. This is a baseless claim. Spirituality is not a dirty word. One can be both spiritual and scientific.

Problem #18:
This debunks nothing.

Problem #19:
Shen rehashes that we do not understand quantum physics yet again.

Problem #20:
Shen rehashes that scientists are divided on quantum physics.

Conclusion:
Shen likens the claim that consciousness is responsible for the double slit experiment to claiming that Zeus or God is doing it, once again showing his lack of understanding of Bernardo’s core arguments. By Occam’s Razor, idealism should be the preferred model. Materialist views of the universe would be closer to his Zeus analogy. I see Shen’s whole post as little more than preaching the choir, as these kinds of arguments can only stand in the absence of opposition.
 
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#20
This “debunking” by Shen1986 is so bad it’s painful to read.

Problem #1:
Shen simply stated that Bernardo was wrong without supporting his assertion. This statement debunks nothing.

Problem #2:
Shen calls the idea that consciousness was involved in the big bang a “silly thing” and brands the idea “woo”. What Shen fails to understand here is that the burden of proof is not on the idealist to prove this point. Idealism can explain everything that materialist models can and more with less fundamental assumptions. By Occam's Razor the default assumption should be that consciousness is involved in everything – including any beginning event. A universe outside of consciousness is the real “woo” here.

Problem #3:
Shen asserts that the general public and Bernardo Kastrup do not understand quantum mechanics. He then goes even further and says that quantum physicists have no real understanding of quantum mechanics because of the existence of competing theories that conflict with each other.

The implication here is that nobody is qualified to use quantum physics to support any sort of philosophical position because nobody truly understands quantum physics. This is absurd. If we were to apply this logic across the board then we would have to conclude that we have no ‘real’ understanding of any field of science where conflicting theories exist. One would have to say that neuroscientists have no real understanding of the brain, for example, and therefore no philosophical conclusions could be drawn from any neuroscience experiment.

While quantum physicists might disagree on the conclusions they draw from the double slit experiment, they agree on the results of the experiment itself. The results of these experiments are entirely within the grasp of the general public and are subject to philosophy, just like everything else.

Problem #4 & 5:
Calling the double slit experiment ‘controversial’ does not debunk the claim. Shen dismisses a paper because it “only deals with the double slit experiment”.

Problem #6:
Shen simply points out that the paper is about non-locality and Anton Zeilinger is involved. This statement debunks nothing.

Problem #7:
Shen rehashes that we don’t understand quantum physics, and suggests that there might be other variables which we do not yet see.

I would liken this to promissory materialism. Whenever something flies in the face of materialism, the proponents of materialism will simply declare it a mystery to be solved in the future before materialism is proven correct. This can be used to dismiss anything. It is a very weak argument.

Problem #8:
Shen is literally attempting to argue against scientific fact here. These quantum eraser experiments are well established and their results are not something that can simply be denied because they don’t fall in line with the uncertainty principle. Instead this shows a need for a model that can accommodate both – such as idealism.

Problem #9:
Shen asserts that Bernardo Kastrup is wrong because there is "conflicting evidence" (see problem #8). He rehashes that we do not fully understand quantum physics.

Problem #10 & #11:
There is no debunking going on here. This is skeptical diarrhea.

Problem #12:
There is nothing wrong with writing a book or advertising a book. Many well known ‘skeptics’ have books of their own and have done the exact same thing.

Problem #13:
I think that Kastrup wants to debate Cox because Kastrup knows he has the upper hand.

Problem #14:
This is not an attack on science so much as it is an attack on the materialist ideas that pervade the scientific community. Bernardo is correct when he says that science is inherently ontologically neutral.

Problem #15:
This is a straw man. He is not calling atheists evil. It is entirely possible to be an atheist idealist. In fact, Bernardo’s arguments support that very position. (See "Modern Idealism: Way Beyond Berkeley")

Problem #16:
Shen implies that supporting Chopra makes Bernardo a new ager. This is another ridiculous argument. Bernardo can agree with the statement that reality is in consciousness without agreeing with all of Chopra’s ideas.

Problem #17:
Shen asserts that Bernardo is putting forth his ideas to make money, rather than the desire to spread his ideas to the masses. This is a baseless claim. Spirituality is not a dirty word. One can be both spiritual and scientific.

Problem #18:
This debunks nothing.

Problem #19:
Shen rehashes that we do not understand quantum physics yet again.

Problem #20:
Shen rehashes that scientists are divided on quantum physics.

Conclusion:
Shen likens the claim that consciousness is responsible for the double slit experiment to claiming that Zeus or God is doing it, once again showing his lack of understanding of Bernardo’s core arguments. By Occam’s Razor, idealism should be the preferred model. Materialist views of the universe would be closer to his Zeus analogy. I see Shen’s whole post as little more than preaching the choir, as these kinds of arguments can only stand in the absence of opposition.
This one is even better --

http://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=23825 :D
 
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