He thinks chaos magic offers a better explanation than science. Of course, he’s right |309|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris New

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    Here's an example of a problem with this approach:
    A friend of mine who has a predisposition towards his own version of "magical thinking" but is otherwise a perfectly reasonable person listened to this episode and was very inspired by it. He took it as confirmation that the doubt or lack of faith that had crept into his view of his "connection to the universe" and his idiosyncratic perception of "his reality" since hitting his 40's represented a wrong turn... and now it was time to get back to believing whatever made sense to him personally and ignoring anything or anyone that represents a challenge to his view.

    He said that hearing about how Göbekli Tepe changes what we thought we knew about the history of civilization was particular confirmation of his belief that none of these intellectually oriented people actually know anything - and therefore his own perception and personal interpretation of the world is just as valid as anything science or anybody else claims to be true. This includes things like his conviction that the "universe" directs messages to him and that he intuitively deciphers meaning in seemingly random innocuous events.

    He said that from now on nothing I or anybody else might offer as an outside critique of this approach to life or his conclusions would matter to him.

    Now I don't particularly think that Gordon White is advocating the kind of interpretation my friend has chosen - although I have to say I didn't really get a clear sense of exactly what White was in fact advocating from the interview. However, there seems to be the potential in his message to reinforce a regressive narcissism in the sort of people who need little encouragement to ditch objectivity and critical thinking for self-generated, gratifying personal mythologies.

    For all the validity of Gordon White's premise, I feel it really needs to be accompanied by an upfront and unambiguous reminder that humans will privilege beliefs that appeal to them over objective truth. And it is necessary to disable that cognitive default mechanism if any new approach to history, "magic" or reality is to be considered credible.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  2. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

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    By "objective truth" do you mean the idea that water boils at roughly 212 degrees fahrenheit? I would be curious what would be on your big list of "objective truths."
     
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  3. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris New

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    I didn't think the expression "objective truth" would be so controversial. I'm referring to reality as it exists independent of any one person's subjective conceptualization of it. So 212 degrees fahrenheit is a conceptualization. That a particular value of applied heat is having a particular physical effect on the water molecules is objective truth.
    Pretty straightforward I would think.
     
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  4. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

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    That's cool. I was just curious where you were coming from. From my perspective I would say that those effects are apparent. But that the true nature of reality is still not known. Where you seem to assume the true nature of reality is materialism.
     
  5. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris New

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    I find it peculiar that you would jump to the conclusion that I am a materialist. Acknowledging that material reality exists doesn't imply I believe ONLY material reality exists.
    The following link should bolster my bona fides as a long-standing non materialist!
    https://goingtogetugly.wordpress.co...ristians-krauss-shermer-vs-dsouza-hutchinson/
     
  6. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

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  7. Reece

    Reece Member

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    Speaking of books and cause/effect and magic: I wrote a (by and large poor) book years ago. I was completely immersed in it for most of a year, so it was almost like a year long meditation. Without going into details, my life, of it's own volition and somewhat against my will, followed the book to a highly uncanny degree. Multiple events were involved in several areas of life, most all of which "materialized" through agencies completely outside myself. Thus I see it as a form of magic, but the magic didn't skip cause/effect. It created them. So, a "skeptic" can look at physical events that took place and "explain" the occurrences as normal, even if (highly) coincidental in relation to my book.
     
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  8. Silence

    Silence Member

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    I am slowly working my way through these podcasts so my apologies for resurrecting an older thread.

    I must say I find the nomenclature (magic, magician) challenging as it does conjure an almost immediate sense of "woo" for me. However, after listening I found myself quite appreciative of what Gordon is putting forth. I don't know that I am going to delve deeper into the practicing side of magic but the broad categorization of magic being "anything beyond the material" resonates. The 'cathedral on the hill' was particularly fascinating and I am left wondering how I had never heard of this before.

    Michael, my reaction to your story regarding your friend seems different from yours. I believe he has put in much more of his own influence into his conclusion than Gordon could possibly have provided. While I can relate some to your friend's strong desire for a worldview that includes the wonders of enchantment/mystery I personally am not about to close my mind to evidence.
     
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