John Brisson, Fix Your Gut Health and Slide-rule Science |394|

#21
thx. I totally get yr points re great results from cannabis use. but there does seem to be a lot of denial going on re abuse/addiction. glad it works for you... I don't want to control it... just want to get real about daily use of weed.
Well, it is controlled, and that's the problem. Even in places where it's legal, it's controlled. Cannabis is legal for medical uses in Florida, but I can't grow my own, or buy it in leaf or bud to smoke or vaporize it. A Florida state judge ruled that the laws enacting the changes to the Florida constitution that passed the vote in 2016 are unconstitutional because the laws don't reflect the will of the electorate in being able to smoke or otherwise use cannabis in it's most beneficial forms.

My main point I want to make is that the notion of cannabis abuse or addition is completely out of proportion to its benefits. It is still listed by the US Federal Government as a schedule 1 drug, meaning it has no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. I think you could be helpful, if you use your platform to communicate the great value of cannabis, instead of even mentioning its small potential for abuse.

From my personal experience, it's not addictive, YMMV. Addiction implies a severe negative consequence from using and that it is difficult or impossible without help to stop using. I see the benefits of cannabis use far outweighing the negative consequences. What negative consequences do you see, Alex?
 
#22
For people who think like most of us do here however, it isn’t so far fetched.
I see the big problem with Idealism as that it seems to predict that anything is possible. MAL decides to get rid of Venus - well poof it disappears!

Materialism really breaks down in connection with consciousness, and it makes most sense to start with a theory that explicitly proposes that much or all of consciousness is stored outside the brain, and probably outside space-time (dare one say In the Cloud - just kidding) with a brain-consciousness link - Dualism! This theory makes it possible to conceive of a whole range of phenomena, which then gives researchers the green light to go and look for those phenomena, and describe them in papers.

David
 
#23
I see the big problem with Idealism as that it seems to predict that anything is possible. MAL decides to get rid of Venus - well poof it disappears!

Materialism really breaks down in connection with consciousness, and it makes most sense to start with a theory that explicitly proposes that much or all of consciousness is stored outside the brain, and probably outside space-time (dare one say In the Cloud - just kidding) with a brain-consciousness link - Dualism! This theory makes it possible to conceive of a whole range of phenomena, which then gives researchers the green light to go and look for those phenomena, and describe them in papers.

David
I’ve never quite understood people who feel we should believe idealism a-priori. But I still like guys like Bernardo pushing it simply because it opposes materialism, which I think is extraordinarily depressing and has, quite probably, left a lot of people feeling depressed and that everything is worthless/hopeless. I know that’s how I would feel if I thought materialsm true. And idealism is nearer the truth (in my view) than materialism simply because it acknowledges the fundamental importance of consciousness. The mere idea and fact of consciousness is NO less spooky, magical, and bizarre than UFOs, ghosts, cryptids, Astral realms etc. It is consciousness which is the grand miracle of magic. After that recognition, not a lot is hard to believe if the testimony and supporting evidence is solid.
 
#25
I see the big problem with Idealism as that it seems to predict that anything is possible. MAL decides to get rid of Venus - well poof it disappears!
Whoa there! Where do you get the idea that MAL can decide anything? If I understand Bernardo correctly, MAL's consciousness probably isn't self-reflective. Such self-reflectivity as exists (and enables things such as decision making) only does so in alters. It is through them that MAL can self-reflect, but at their level, they can't appreciably influence seemingly large things such as Venus, which are the appearance to them of one small facet of MAL's being.

It's self-evident that MAL changes (as evidenced by our perception) -- planets move and get smashed by asteroids, stars also move and explode, etc., but those sorts of things aren't envisaged as happening under MAL's conscious control. Rather, they're simply how some of the processes occurring in MAL appear to our perception. Other processes include what we think of as subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, together with the behaviours of these, etc., which it appears to us we can, at least to some extent, influence). MAL can be seen as "subconsciousy striving", as it were, to achieve self-consciousness through beings like us. As far as we can determine so far, it hasn't actually got there yet.

Perhaps you need to check your understanding of Bernardo's hypothesis, because I suspect you might have a fundamental misapprehension.
 
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#26
Whoa there! Where do you get the idea that MAL can decide anything? If I understand Bernardo correctly, MAL's consciousness probably isn't self-reflective. Such self-reflectivity as exists (and enables things such as decision making) only does so in alters. It is through them that MAL can self-reflect, but at their level, they can't appreciably influence seemingly large things such as Venus, which are the appearance to them of one small facet of MAL's being.

It's self-evident that MAL changes (as evidenced by our perception) -- planets move and get smashed by asteroids, stars also move and explode, etc., but those sorts of things aren't envisaged as happening under MAL's conscious control. Rather, they're simply how some of the processes occurring in MAL appear to our perception. Other processes include what we think of as subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, together with the behaviours of these, etc., which it appears to us we can, at least to some extent, influence). MAL can be seen as "subconsciousy striving", as it were, to achieve self-consciousness through beings like us. As far as we can determine so far, it hasn't actually got there yet.

Perhaps you need to check your understanding of Bernardo's hypothesis, because I suspect you might have a fundamental misapprehension.
Well if you put it like that, I am simply giving up on Bernardo's ideas. There is no sense in talking about a consciousness that isn't self reflective, has no free will, and runs the place as if it were following a set of rules - the laws of physics!

<rant>
I am sick of talk of stuff like:
deterministic free will,
consciousness that isn't self reflective,
powerful psi capabilities (super-psi) that are only proposed to try to cast doubt on something else, and then forgotten about.....
metaphors that seem to wrap your mind in tangles,

I think we need to reclaim a more down to earth approach to these questions.
</rant>

To me, your interpretation of Bernardo's ideas (which may well be accurate) illustrates beautifully why we need a theory which is a minimal extension to the established laws of physics (not including the speculative stuff) to enable the concept of consciousness to make scientific sense. I mean, even that minimal extension would be hugely controversial, but it would help researchers pin their observations to a proposed scientific theory.

David
 
#27
Well if you put it like that, I am simply giving up on Bernardo's ideas. There is no sense in talking about a consciousness that isn't self reflective, has no free will, and runs the place as if it were following a set of rules - the laws of physics!

<rant>
I am sick of talk of stuff like:
deterministic free will,
consciousness that isn't self reflective,
powerful psi capabilities (super-psi) that are only proposed to try to cast doubt on something else, and then forgotten about.....
metaphors that seem to wrap your mind in tangles,

I think we need to reclaim a more down to earth approach to these questions.
</rant>

To me, your interpretation of Bernardo's ideas (which may well be accurate) illustrates beautifully why we need a theory which is a minimal extension to the established laws of physics (not including the speculative stuff) to enable the concept of consciousness to make scientific sense. I mean, even that minimal extension would be hugely controversial, but it would help researchers pin their observations to a proposed scientific theory.

David
I agree with some of what your saying, I'm tired of all the free will deterministic talk myself. Psi is a waste of time to talk about cause I experience it everyday and I have proof of 2 examples in my phone right now which I might even share
 
#28
Whoa there! Where do you get the idea that MAL can decide anything? If I understand Bernardo correctly, MAL's consciousness probably isn't self-reflective. Such self-reflectivity as exists (and enables things such as decision making) only does so in alters. It is through them that MAL can self-reflect, but at their level, they can't appreciably influence seemingly large things such as Venus, which are the appearance to them of one small facet of MAL's being.
But you can't argue that Venus cannot be influenced by a sub-set in MAL. For starters you don't know the size of that subset relative to what has to be influenced in relation to Venus.

I agree you can't assert that MAL can decide anything - at least without clear definitions. But then MAL is a terminology invented by humans. If it exists we can anticipate organisation and order. Do we then infer the natural development of a hierarchical consciousness, such that we can infer agency?

Huxley's original insight suggested to me a sense of innate animism. MAL infuses everything. Ergo does it resolve into superior agents - what we call angels and gods?
 
#29
Well, it is controlled, and that's the problem. Even in places where it's legal, it's controlled. Cannabis is legal for medical uses in Florida, but I can't grow my own, or buy it in leaf or bud to smoke or vaporize it. A Florida state judge ruled that the laws enacting the changes to the Florida constitution that passed the vote in 2016 are unconstitutional because the laws don't reflect the will of the electorate in being able to smoke or otherwise use cannabis in it's most beneficial forms.

My main point I want to make is that the notion of cannabis abuse or addition is completely out of proportion to its benefits. It is still listed by the US Federal Government as a schedule 1 drug, meaning it has no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. I think you could be helpful, if you use your platform to communicate the great value of cannabis, instead of even mentioning its small potential for abuse.

From my personal experience, it's not addictive, YMMV. Addiction implies a severe negative consequence from using and that it is difficult or impossible without help to stop using. I see the benefits of cannabis use far outweighing the negative consequences. What negative consequences do you see, Alex?
IDK, maybe it's just me, but it seems that we're all a lot more familiar with the addiction thing than we let on. I completely understand how I could become addicted to almost anything. I'm not prone to addiction like some folks are, but I get it.

so, it just seems a little off when folks don't acknowledge how powerful and potentially addictive weed is. daily use? come on, that's a prob.

but again, I have nothing against weed... and am much more concerned/outraged by the wacky synthetic opioids that big pharma is pumping out... totally immoral.
 
#30
<rant>
I am sick of talk of stuff like:
deterministic free will,
consciousness that isn't self reflective,
powerful psi capabilities (super-psi) that are only proposed to try to cast doubt on something else, and then forgotten about.....
metaphors that seem to wrap your mind in tangles,

I think we need to reclaim a more down to earth approach to these questions.
</rant>
nice! agree :)
 
#31
Well if you put it like that, I am simply giving up on Bernardo's ideas. There is no sense in talking about a consciousness that isn't self reflective, has no free will, and runs the place as if it were following a set of rules - the laws of physics!
Does a bacterium have consciousness? If it does, is it self-reflective?

MAL doesn't "run the place as if it were following a set of rules". Rather, I'd say everything it is happens to appear rule-like to our perception.

<rant>
I am sick of talk of stuff like:
deterministic free will,
Did I say that? I don't think so. I said it's possible that there's a mixture of determinism and free will in our lives. The deterministic element might apply to the potential we identified between lives. By exercising our free will, we can steer either towards or away from our destiny.

I think we need to reclaim a more down to earth approach to these questions.
</rant>
But what if there is no "down to earth" approach? If there were, wouldn't we have found it already?

To me, your interpretation of Bernardo's ideas (which may well be accurate) illustrates beautifully why we need a theory which is a minimal extension to the established laws of physics (not including the speculative stuff) to enable the concept of consciousness to make scientific sense. I mean, even that minimal extension would be hugely controversial, but it would help researchers pin their observations to a proposed scientific theory.
Really, David, it's hard not to conclude that you're still overly influenced by materialism. You want a theory that is "a minimal extension to established laws" as if materialism is largely correct and its "laws" represent some kind of reality that has been established beyond doubt. I say bollocks to that. The more we discover, the ropier those laws begin to look. The rot probably set in with the arrival of quantum physics.
 
#32
But you can't argue that Venus cannot be influenced by a sub-set in MAL. For starters you don't know the size of that subset relative to what has to be influenced in relation to Venus.
I'm a bit nonplussed. As far as I'm aware, I never argued that. I have no doubt that certain processes ("thoughts") in MAL (which is what Venus is seen to be in Idealism) can appreciably influence other processes in MAL. I've already mentioned asteroids impacting planets, for instance.
 
#33
Does a bacterium have consciousness? If it does, is it self-reflective?
Fair point! I'd be inclined to say it does have consciousness, quite whether it is self reflective, I'm not sure. Perhps within its tiny world it is.
MAL doesn't "run the place as if it were following a set of rules". Rather, I'd say everything it is happens to appear rule-like to our perception.



Did I say that? I don't think so. I said it's possible that there's a mixture of determinism and free will in our lives. The deterministic element might apply to the potential we identified between lives. By exercising our free will, we can steer either towards or away from our destiny.
No you didn't - I should have made it clearer that I was ranting more generally :)
But what if there is no "down to earth" approach? If there were, wouldn't we have found it already?
Well science wouldn't have found it because it turns its back on evidence it doesn't like.
Really, David, it's hard not to conclude that you're still overly influenced by materialism. You want a theory that is "a minimal extension to established laws" as if materialism is largely correct and its "laws" represent some kind of reality that has been established beyond doubt. I say bollocks to that. The more we discover, the ropier those laws begin to look. The rot probably set in with the arrival of quantum physics.
You don't understand my point. I'd still like science to explore consciousness properly. At the moment it seemingly can't because it can't process any information that is obviously outside materialistic explanations. For example, in Irreducible Mind there is a discussion of a phenomenon called "Maternal Impressions". The author points out that at one ime these were reported at a certain rate, but the number of reports fell sharply when it was discovered that the fetus doesn't have a nervous connections with its mother. This discovery rendered the phenomenon totally impossible to explain (as opposed to very hard) conventionally, so doctors were reluctant to report it!

This, I think, is the problem - science just needs a leg out of the box of materialism and it can begin to explore again. I don't think Idealism can ever give it that leg up, because as it stands right now, Idealism is utterly vague. Hardly anyone will research a subject if from the point of view of accepted scientific dogma and speculation the nul result is the only possible one, and anything else will be treated as error/fraud on the part of the experimenter. Furthermore, if there is no theory on which to hang the results, the research will be doubly damned.

I would still judge Idealism to be the most probable ultimate theory.

David
 
#34
IDK, maybe it's just me, but it seems that we're all a lot more familiar with the addiction thing than we let on. I completely understand how I could become addicted to almost anything. I'm not prone to addiction like some folks are, but I get it.

so, it just seems a little off when folks don't acknowledge how powerful and potentially addictive weed is. daily use? come on, that's a prob.
The problem is that by criminalising it, people don't get the chance to try cannabis of a sensible strength, or to receive official advice that is in any way credible. Also gangs get involved because it is illegal, and try to spread its use to young children etc.
but again, I have nothing against weed... and am much more concerned/outraged by the wacky synthetic opioids that big pharma is pumping out... totally immoral.
Big pharma has become frightening.

David
 
#35
You don't understand my point. I'd still like science to explore consciousness properly. At the moment it seemingly can't because it can't process any information that is obviously outside materialistic explanations. For example, in Irreducible Mind there is a discussion of a phenomenon called "Maternal Impressions". The author points out that at one ime these were reported at a certain rate, but the number of reports fell sharply when it was discovered that the fetus doesn't have a nervous connections with its mother. This discovery rendered the phenomenon totally impossible to explain (as opposed to very hard) conventionally, so doctors were reluctant to report it!

This, I think, is the problem - science just needs a leg out of the box of materialism and it can begin to explore again. I don't think Idealism can ever give it that leg up, because as it stands right now, Idealism is utterly vague. Hardly anyone will research a subject if from the point of view of accepted scientific dogma and speculation the nul result is the only possible one, and anything else will be treated as error/fraud on the part of the experimenter. Furthermore, if there is no theory on which to hang the results, the research will be doubly damned.

I would still judge Idealism to be the most probable ultimate theory.

David
I'm puzzled, David. You seem to want a more down-to earth theory and yet you still judge Idealism to be the most probable ultimate one. I would say that Idealism is about as far away from a down-to-earth theory as one can get, whereas materialism is is predicated on being as down-to-earth as possible. Until the advent of quantum physics, the universe was deemed to be celestial clockwork, best described by Newton for inanimate objects and Darwin for animate ones. Not a trace of telos anywhere in the real world was allowed; we had cracked all the great mysteries and found ourselves to be totally insignificant "mindless robots" as Alex so aptly puts it.

Present-day science shouldn't be able, according to its own claimed rationality, to ignore the implications of quantum physics, and yet whilst on the one hand it avers its findings, on the other it still proceeds as if it didn't exist. It still wants to come up with a theory of everything that is consistent with a clockwork universe. Despite this, it constantly delves in metaphysical realms by postulating dubious ideas about the big bang, dark matter and energy, black holes, multi-universes, invisible dimensions as in string theory, and so on.

These are far from down-to-earth and yet science feels very comfortable with them, deeming them not as ridiculous as the idea that the universe has a purpose. Moreover, a sizeable proportion of the general public places undying faith in science's utterances as if they were written in tablets of stone -- this despite the fact that most non-scientists can understand hardly a word of them. And then there's the scientists themselves, who might understand them, but shut their eyes to the many flaws in their own thinking.

Why? It's probably in no small part down to unjustifiable faith in mathematics, which is only as good as the premises it's based on. Mathematics can be indisputably correct in and of itself, but the things it describes can still be complete poppycock. That's not such a big problem where postulates can be empirically tested, but where they can't (as in much of modern cosmology and the neo-Darwinian version of evolution), it is. The contortions that scientists are prepared to engage in to tweak their theories so as not to have to admit to a purposive universe are comical. For such "down-to-earth" people, it's amazing how far out on a limb they're prepared to go.

To reiterate, you think Idealism is probably the best ultimate theory of everything, but you baulk at the idea that MAL might not be self-reflective. Let me play along with that. Imagine that MAL is self-reflective. If it is, then its mental capacity would presumably be unimaginably greater than ours. Why then would it have created the universe, along with us? What possible utility would there be for it in that?

Maybe we'd be akin to pets for it, or things to help keep it amused and entertained in its otherwise splendid isolation. Or, maybe MAL is some kind of scientist that is experimenting and diverting itself that way. IMO, this is perilously close to the dualistic and Abrahamic notion of God -- a bigger and more powerful version of man, with similar motivations: the great and invisible dictator who knows no bounds to the arbitrary exercise of its will.

Or then again, maybe it would hope for us to evolve and to become Gods in our own right, apparently without forcing us in that direction, (because, after all, we do seem to have free will). But here again, that would be projecting human-like motivations onto it, such as justice, love and nurturing.

If we put aside our tendency to anthropomorphism, it's possible to envisage a version of MAL that isn't like that. In and of itself, for whatever reason or none, it is what it is: inherently an ordered and regularised entity which presents itself to us through our perceptions as everything from what we interpret as subatomic particles to planets, stars, galaxies and galaxy clusters, which behave in ways we've only superficially modelled through our science.

It might have no idea what it is, except insofar as it is able to see itself through the limited self-reflective abilities of what we think of as animate beings ("dissociated alters" in Bernardo's terminology). And what do we perceive these animate beings to be composed of? What do we think of them as being? Why, incredibly intricate and hierarchical collections of interacting particles -- IOW, made of the very stuff we interpret the non-animate universe to be composed. But then, we often make the mistake of assigning consciousness to these perceived collections instead of regarding them as the appearance, to our perception, of varying degrees of self-reflective consciousnesses arising and evolving in MAL.

I asked whether Bacteria were conscious and whether their consciousness was self-reflective. To answer my own question, I suspect that both are true, albeit that bacteria seem to be at a much lower level than we are. Bacteria may have been the first tentative "embodiments" (perhaps more accurately, appearances) of MAL's "desire" (for want of a better word) to find a way to view itself, to come to know itself. And at each stage, animate beings have the capacity to transcend themselves, to evolve to higher levels, each with appearances that are correspondingly more complex.

Rather than address the argument over panpsychism by saying that the "stuff of the universe" is not all self-reflective (but that some is), I'd say that none of it is self-reflective. Why argue over the self-reflectivity of what merely appears to us, or at any rate is interpreted by us as "material particles" or collections thereof? "Things" as they appear to us are all "made of the same stuff", i.e. the "underlying substrate of the universe"; in some cases those appearances mirror a degree of tentative groping for self-reflection by MAL, and in others, not. The mirroring aspect is key to this idea, and in my view helps reduce the dualistic mode of expression in Idealism, which can never be completely eliminated because language is an inherently dualistic mode of expression, and that's why I sometimes have to use inverted commas to try to make my meaning clearer.

Why is Idealism less "down to earth" than materialism or dualism or many other -isms? It's probably only because language has habituated us into thinking at least partially in dualistic terms, into separating the universe into that which is self-reflectively conscious and that which isn't. It's an artificial separation of ontological categories that may not actually exist.

We aren't, as I see it, separate from MAL (or God if one prefers). We are its "organs" of self-perception and inseparable from it and its inchoate and ineffable "strivings" to come to know itself.
 
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#36
I've had my own recent episode with the medical profession. I was getting symptoms that were diagnosed as heart failure -- arrhythmias, ectopic heartbeats, extreme tiredness and fatigue and so on. However, and tellingly, there was no swelling around the ankles, which as I understand it would be due to accumulation of fluid that the heart couldn't shift around the body. One medic told me this was highly unusual and that I must be the luckiest man alive.

Naturally, they wanted me to start taking statins and other drugs. There was ramipril, an ACE inhibitor used to lower blood pressure, which can have serious side-effects that mean one has to be periodically checked for kidney damage. There was bisoprolol, a beta blocker, used to treat arrythmias and also high blood pressure which can have side affects on the liver and lead to shortness of breath. And there was clopidogrel, a blood thinner a bit stronger than aspirin, also with side effects.

Well, I outright refused statins and soon found out from my GP, who advised me to stop taking them, that ramipril and bisoprolol lowered my blood pressure to unacceptable levels even on low doses. As to clopidogrel, why bother when aspirin is a safer alternative?

I told the consultant at the hospital why I wasn't taking any conventional drugs, but he was an arrogant SOB and refused to consider me for a stent (a device for inserting into heart blood vessels to widen them) even though I never wanted no stinkin' stent in the first place. To be considered, I apparently had to take at least clopidogrel. Screw that for a bag of chips.

At that point I said OK, stood up and exited the consulting room, probably to his amazement (how could anyone not fall down and worship at his feet?). He'd asked me at one point what medications I was taking (because I'd mentioned that I was), and I could hardly get the first one out -- it was cayenne pepper -- before he interrupted me, plainly uninterested. I'd also said that I didn't think the root cause was my heart, but he pooh-poohed that notion.

The list, incidentally, includes cayenne pepper, turmeric, allicin (from garlic), hawthorn and CBD oil. The first four are known natural remedies for heart problems, and I continue to take them daily. But they didn't help too much and I wondered if there was something else going on that was causing my apparent heart problems.

I've long suffered from what I suspected were food intolerances and had tried eliminating all sorts of things from my diet, but with only variable degrees of success. Then I had a thought. During the last couple of years prior to the diagnosis, I had taken to drinking a lot of fruit juice and having honey instead of sugar on my porridge. Maybe it was something to do with that?

It's a long story, but I finally discovered I had fructose absorption problems -- not fructose intolerance, which means one can be sensitive to even the low amounts of fructose and fructose-related compounds found in most vegetables -- but malabsorption. Once I stopped with the fruit juice and honey, there were noticeable improvements in the heart problems, but other symptoms, particularly the tiredness and fatigue, persisted.

Then I started scrutinising ingredients of packaged and tinned products (something I was used to, but I hadn't been looking for fructose -- after all, wasn't fruit healthy?). I discovered all sorts of food additives contain fructose. The obvious one was glucose-fructose syrup, found in many varieties of biscuit and cakes. But then there's invert sugar syrup, Golden syrup and other things.

Short and long of it, my tiredness and fatigue is finally beginning to disappear, plus a few other symptoms I won't trouble you with. Thinking back to products that in the past have caused me problems, upon checking, I found that they all contained fructose in some form or other. That explained why such disparate products as scones and brown sauce had become things I habitually avoided.

Now -- I've no doubt that the problems I've had were real, but doctors immediately focus on the symptoms as being primary and treat those. They don't look behind them for possible actual causes, particularly when they're nothing they've been trained to think seriously about. I wonder how many people have been treated for symptoms and suffered from severe side-effects of allopathic medicines, all the while being ignorant of the true cause of their issues?

Next to sanitation, I suspect that nutrition is the single most important thing to health, and it's not just a question of getting enough of this or that obvious thing like protein, fat and carbohydrate and so on. Food malabsorption and intolerances can be serious and shouldn't be dismissed out of hand by medics. They tend to take seriously only the widely-accepted intolerances to such things as peanuts, milk and gluten. How many think about fructose?
 
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#37
I'm puzzled, David. You seem to want a more down-to earth theory and yet you still judge Idealism to be the most probable ultimate one. I would say that Idealism is about as far away from a down-to-earth theory as one can get, whereas materialism is is predicated on being as down-to-earth as possible. Until the advent of quantum physics, the universe was deemed to be celestial clockwork, best described by Newton for inanimate objects and Darwin for animate ones. Not a trace of telos anywhere in the real world was allowed; we had cracked all the great mysteries and found ourselves to be totally insignificant "mindless robots" as Alex so aptly puts it.

Present-day science shouldn't be able, according to its own claimed rationality, to ignore the implications of quantum physics, and yet whilst on the one hand it avers its findings, on the other it still proceeds as if it didn't exist. It still wants to come up with a theory of everything that is consistent with a clockwork universe. Despite this, it constantly delves in metaphysical realms by postulating dubious ideas about the big bang, dark matter and energy, black holes, multi-universes, invisible dimensions as in string theory, and so on.

These are far from down-to-earth and yet science feels very comfortable with them, deeming them not as ridiculous as the idea that the universe has a purpose. Moreover, a sizeable proportion of the general public places undying faith in science's utterances as if they were written in tablets of stone -- this despite the fact that most non-scientists can understand hardly a word of them. And then there's the scientists themselves, who might understand them, but shut their eyes to the many flaws in their own thinking.

Why? It's probably in no small part down to unjustifiable faith in mathematics, which is only as good as the premises it's based on. Mathematics can be indisputably correct in and of itself, but the things it describes can still be complete poppycock. That's not such a big problem where postulates can be empirically tested, but where they can't (as in much of modern cosmology and the neo-Darwinian version of evolution), it is. The contortions that scientists are prepared to engage in to tweak their theories so as not to have to admit to a purposive universe are comical. For such "down-to-earth" people, it's amazing how far out on a limb they're prepared to go.

To reiterate, you think Idealism is probably the best ultimate theory of everything, but you baulk at the idea that MAL might not be self-reflective. Let me play along with that. Imagine that MAL is self-reflective. If it is, then its mental capacity would presumably be unimaginably greater than ours. Why then would it have created the universe, along with us? What possible utility would there be for it in that?

Maybe we'd be akin to pets for it, or things to help keep it amused and entertained in its otherwise splendid isolation. Or, maybe MAL is some kind of scientist that is experimenting and diverting itself that way. IMO, this is perilously close to the dualistic and Abrahamic notion of God -- a bigger and more powerful version of man, with similar motivations: the great and invisible dictator who knows no bounds to the arbitrary exercise of its will.

Or then again, maybe it would hope for us to evolve and to become Gods in our own right, apparently without forcing us in that direction, (because, after all, we do seem to have free will). But here again, that would be projecting human-like motivations onto it, such as justice, love and nurturing.

If we put aside our tendency to anthropomorphism, it's possible to envisage a version of MAL that isn't like that. In and of itself, for whatever reason or none, it is what it is: inherently an ordered and regularised entity which presents itself to us through our perceptions as everything from what we interpret as subatomic particles to planets, stars, galaxies and galaxy clusters, which behave in ways we've only superficially modelled through our science.

It might have no idea what it is, except insofar as it is able to see itself through the limited self-reflective abilities of what we think of as animate beings ("dissociated alters" in Bernardo's terminology). And what do we perceive these animate beings to be composed of? What do we think of them as being? Why, incredibly intricate and hierarchical collections of interacting particles -- IOW, made of the very stuff we interpret the non-animate universe to be composed. But then, we often make the mistake of assigning consciousness to these perceived collections instead of regarding them as the appearance, to our perception, of varying degrees of self-reflective consciousnesses arising and evolving in MAL.

I asked whether Bacteria were conscious and whether their consciousness was self-reflective. To answer my own question, I suspect that both are true, albeit that bacteria seem to be at a much lower level than we are. Bacteria may have been the first tentative "embodiments" (perhaps more accurately, appearances) of MAL's "desire" (for want of a better word) to find a way to view itself, to come to know itself. And at each stage, animate beings have the capacity to transcend themselves, to evolve to higher levels, each with appearances that are correspondingly more complex.

Rather than address the argument over panpsychism by saying that the "stuff of the universe" is not all self-reflective (but that some is), I'd say that none of it is self-reflective. Why argue over the self-reflectivity of what merely appears to us, or at any rate is interpreted by us as "material particles" or collections thereof? "Things" as they appear to us are all "made of the same stuff", i.e. the "underlying substrate of the universe"; in some cases those appearances mirror a degree of tentative groping for self-reflection by MAL, and in others, not. The mirroring aspect is key to this idea, and in my view helps reduce the dualistic mode of expression in Idealism, which can never be completely eliminated because language is an inherently dualistic mode of expression, and that's why I sometimes have to use inverted commas to try to make my meaning clearer.

Why is Idealism less "down to earth" than materialism or dualism or many other -isms? It's probably only because language has habituated us into thinking at least partially in dualistic terms, into separating the universe into that which is self-reflectively conscious and that which isn't. It's an artificial separation of ontological categories that may not actually exist.

We aren't, as I see it, separate from MAL (or God if one prefers). We are its "organs" of self-perception and inseparable from it and its inchoate and ineffable "strivings" to come to know itself.
I agree with almost all you have said!

However, Idealism is a very old idea, and it has made almost no impact on science, or on most people's imagination. The reason is that in its present form, it is too vague. You can't overturn science with a theory that says that the particles of physics could well be conscious entities doing their stuff, because there is already a theory that seems to do rather well. In fact, I suppose Newton could have 'explained' the motion of the planets using Idealism, and it wouldn't have advanced things at all, because it wouldn't explain or predict anything.

If we look at the science of the everyday, there are areas where science doesn't do well at all. One is just about everything that relates to consciousness, and another is evolution. In both these areas, science seems to me to be genuinely vulnerable.

There are other areas where science may be wrong - such as CAGM and medical science - and these may reduce people's confidence in science, but the fall of CAGM would not hit science at its heart, or force it to change direction. Of course, science is vulnerable in areas where there is little or no reliable data, and no way to do experiments, or where mathematical complexity has grown like weeds, but even if these fell, that would still leave the science of the everyday seemingly intact.

Science can only develop a bit at a time. As I have argued before, General Relativity would have been useless at the time when Newton came up with his theory of gravity, and I think Idealism is useless now. If science is ever to take a step forward out of what we both think is the dead end of materialism, it simply has to be a small step. Restoring the idea of Dualism (possibly using a different name) seems to me to be that minimal step because it directly addresses the puzzle of consciousness, and it may well open up thinking about evolution as well.

Clearly most researchers will not collect data that is unlikely to fit any putative theory, because doing that is very likely to damage their career. If we want science to advance into all the areas we discuss here, I think we need a minimal tentative extension of what is available now!

David
 
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#38
Short and long of it, my tiredness and fatigue is finally beginning to disappear, plus a few other symptoms I won't trouble you with. Thinking back to products that in the past have caused me problems, upon checking, I found that they all contained fructose in some form or other. That explained why such disparate products as scones and brown sauce had become things I habitually avoided.
That is an amazing story - do you need to avoid some types of fruit to keep your fructose intake down?

It was very brave to walk out of a consultation like that! I wonder if your GP will get to hear of it!

Of course, ordinary sugar - sucrose - breaks down into 50% fructose.

David
 
#39
That is an amazing story - do you need to avoid some types of fruit to keep your fructose intake down?

It was very brave to walk out of a consultation like that! I wonder if your GP will get to hear of it!

Of course, ordinary sugar - sucrose - breaks down into 50% fructose.

David
Yes, sucrose does break down 50-50 into glucose and fructose, but from what I've read, it doesn't have a negative effect on most people (except if they're diabetic, of course), certainly not on me, because the two sugars are in balance at the point of their metabolism and to some extent the one compensates for the other. Fructose is a plant sugar and so foreign to animals and probably not suited to be taken in large amounts, as many people who regularly drink fruit juices do; in fact, my having tended to drink a lot of juice over a couple of years, and change from sucrose to honey, may have been what over-sensitised me to it. Glucose (aka dextrose), on the other hand, is found in both plants and animals and is essential for their metabolism. Some people can take pure fructose, as in fruit, if they add glucose to it and eat it at the same time. But if fructose predominates in a food, the excess seems to be what causes the problem.

I personally try to avoid all fruit, even the low fructose varieties such as lemons and limes. They too can cause me problems, albeit not of the more severe kind. Usually, most citrus fruits contain less fructose than other fruits, though there are some exceptions to the general rule. I find that I can substitute a little orange marmalade (provided it has no added fructose and only uses sucrose, which means it tends to be a bit more expensive) for mango chutney when I'm having a curry.

As regards my bravery, who gives a ****. The guy was a complete and arrogant arsehole and I didn't want to give him any more of my valuable time. Hopefully, my exit will have taught him to moderate his insufferable attitude. Knowing him, however, he probably thinks I'm someone in denial and if I don't want his condescending "help", then I can't blame him and he can absolve himself.

The hospital rings you up after a consultation to check how it went. So I told them. But I doubt anything will be done (it's been months now): the follow-up is probably just a bit of administrative nonsense to keep the bureaucrats feeling important. I despair, I really do. No wonder people are less and less enchanted with the "health" system and seeking out alternative treatments. Thank God for the Internet!
 
#40
However, Idealism is a very old idea, and it has made almost no impact on science, or on most people's imagination. The reason is that in its present form, it is too vague. You can't overturn science with a theory that says that the particles of physics could well be conscious entities doing their stuff, because there is already a theory that seems to do rather well. In fact, I suppose Newton could have 'explained' the motion of the planets using Idealism, and it wouldn't have advanced things at all, because it wouldn't explain or predict anything.
Did you actually bother to read what I wrote, David, or was that a knee-jerk response? Bernardo's Idealism, which I think I was faithful to, specifically excludes the possibility of particles being conscious entities -- see this for example:


Also, Bernardo's ideas are getting more and more exposure in orthodox journals -- even Nature and Scientific American. It appears that although you aren't giving them any credit, a number of others are. They're not finding them at all vague, but rather, like me, extremely articulate, to the point, and well-supported by evidence.

Finally, contrary to your assertion (underlined in the abstract of your post), there is a noticeable move towards panspsychism amongst scientists and philosophers, probably because it's a bottom-up notion and to them, that seems preferable to the top-down ontology of Idealism, which latter smacks of some kind of governing telos. It's probably the next place they'll try to move when materialism evaporates because, although it isn't materialism, it's still not MAL or TWE or God.
 
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