This prominent scientist says life is meaningless… and he’s serious |314|

#45
I find it fascinating that so many physicists start voicing metaphysical opinions on the nature of life, meaning and consciousness. Are studies in metaphysics part of your typical physics PhD? Why should a physicist be better equipped to answer these questions then say, your local bus driver? No disrespect to your local bus driver intended. More importantly, why do physicists want to start speculating on these questions? Is it that physicists, like the rest of us, are in their deepest of hearts, also perplexed by the strange nature of life, meaning, consciousness and our part in the universe? Carroll reflects the hard toiling rationalist scientist, rapt in the existential angst of what this paradoxicaly universe could really be telling us and now expressing the desperate desire to make sense of it all by bracketing consciousness and meaning in the tight logical box of fundamentalist physicalism.
 
#46
I find it fascinating that so many physicists start voicing metaphysical opinions on the nature of life, meaning and consciousness. Are studies in metaphysics part of your typical physics PhD? Why should a physicist be better equipped to answer these questions then say, your local bus driver? No disrespect to your local bus driver intended. More importantly, why do physicists want to start speculating on these questions? Is it that physicists, like the rest of us, are in their deepest of hearts, also perplexed by the strange nature of life, meaning, consciousness and our part in the universe? Carroll reflects the hard toiling rationalist scientist, rapt in the existential angst of what this paradoxicaly universe could really be telling us and now expressing the desperate desire to make sense of it all by bracketing consciousness and meaning in the tight logical box of fundamentalist physicalism.
Most physicists don't, I wouldn't worry. Most of the scientists I've encountered have been pretty unwilling to stake any certainty in almost anything at all. (anecdotal I know)
 
#47
Well for starters the one where Parnia's conclusion is that "it appears that consciousness survives death from which ever way that we've measured it". Alex quotes that conclusion to Carroll, but I'm not sure what paper that's from?
I'm not sure exactly, though there is bound to be a difference between the style of language used by Parnia in interviews and talks as compared with the formal and restrained wording of papers (though the meaning is still there).
 
#48
Why he's snubbing his allies? I've no idea.
That's a nifty move, Malf ! I thought I had you in a half nelson and you disarm me by deliberately answering the wrong question with a rather puzzling reply.

Lets try again. Is it your perception that there is no reliable evidence anywhere in the NDE literature that supports a survivalist interpretation ?
 
#49
Why should a physicist be better equipped to answer these questions then say, your local bus driver?
Regarding ontological primitives and prime causes, the bus driver's opinion is the equal of any cosmologist. The standard skeptical response is to say, while these things (mind at large) could be true, what we already know (which is next to zilch) suggests we can behave as though it's false (which allows us to go full steam ahead with a stab in the dark) and categorically state (on no basis whatsoever) that consciousness is epiphenomenal (magic, but high-minded magic), while keeping my tenure and book deal with an urbane demeanour and trousers intact.
By contrast the bus driver will get you to your destination for the price of the fare.
 
#50
I think Malf has a good idea. We need a "canon" of say... The top 3 papers that most clearly defy classical physical models in each category of Psi: NDE, telepathy, psychokenesis, pre-cognition, etc.

And then if every physicalist was prepped with these a couple weeks prior to the interview, perhaps there would be more productive dialogue?

I was glad Alex mentioned the double slit meditation experiments as for me and I think for many physicists that would have to be one of the most profound.
 
#51
I think Malf has a good idea. We need a "canon" of say... The top 3 papers that most clearly defy classical physical models in each category of Psi: NDE, telepathy, psychokenesis, pre-cognition, etc.

And then if every physicalist was prepped with these a couple weeks prior to the interview, perhaps there would be more productive dialogue?

I was glad Alex mentioned the double slit meditation experiments as for me and I think for many physicists that would have to be one of the most profound.
Alex used to do this, but I can't remember a single podcast in which the interviewee had read the material in advance of the show. Why would they? The stakes are high, it would require intensive reading and they'd have to confront the evidence. Much easier to debunk the data, undermine the credentials of the writer, and accuse anyone who took it seriously of being mentally unhinged or ideologically suspect.

Remember, these people are not bringing new research to the table, they're not even stress testing the materialist party line for potential weak spots. They're dismissing anything they don't like the sound of as flawed. Evidence only compels if it's treated as reliable, and skeptics can claim a new variety of dirty test tube until you fall asleep or die of boredom.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#53
I also want to add that I prefer interviews like this in general, we shouldn't stop talking to skeptics and people like Carroll.
Heh...I gotta say the opposite is true for me. Give me immaterialists or materialists who accept some element of parapsychology...but materialists who reject parapsychology as part of their naturalist faith....what's the point?

"You cannot awaken a man who only pretends to be asleep."
-Indian proverb

And on giving guests papers in advance....has some possibility though again for missionary skeptics not so much...

"The man who wants to beat a dog always finds his stick."
-Serbian proverb
 

Alex

Administrator
#54
OK, that does sound disappointing. I've been at work all day and will listen tonight... I'd still be really keen to know (in an ideal world) what 3 or 4 NDE studies you would put in front of a Skeptiko guest before an interview with you.
I would have them listen to ep 314 and then decide how much of this bullshit they're are willing to subject themselves to... i.e. one has to decide if they believe they are a biological robot in a meaningless universe. If one decides that's a really stupid idea, then they would probably start questioning the starting point in the debate. One of the problems people get into when "debating" NDE science with nitwits like Carroll and Sam Harris is that they start with this or that NDE study and never put the debate in it's proper context... i.e. science-as-we-know-it is crippled because it's married to materialism. So, it's not the 3-4 NDE studies (which is a constantly moving target and subject to personal preference) it's the fact that there are a couple of hundred, and the only reason they are not accepted is because these folks are stuck in a worldview that doesn't allow it.
 

Alex

Administrator
#58
Carroll's comment about how those who deny the existence of an afterlife are "being more honest" very much reminded me of one of Alex's interviews with Bernardo Kastrup, where Kastrup talked about hardcore materialism becoming fashionable precisely because it was so negative, which was combined with the idea that "A real man faces the harsh reality." So you end up with people who treat being a materialist as a point of pride, because they can see themselves as being tough enough to take it. I get the sense that there's at least some of that attitude behind Carroll's words.
I think it's also rooted in the phony science versus religion debate. Carroll is trying to cast this as a debate between fundamentalist Christians (primarily) and "men of science."
 
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