Thoughts about the popularity of this forum

#21
Alex has to be true to his avuncular invitation at the end of every episode; the show threads must be open to all listeners who consume his output. Moderated as necessary.
Hmmm...discussion of the show is open to all already. I think that what you mean is that the show threads which Alex starts should be open to all. Alex isn't interested in hearing from everybody, though. And to be honest, I don't think he should be forced to be interested in what the Banned of Seven, or any critics, have to say.

Linda
 
#22
Yeah, I mean the former for the Critical Discussions-section. I know many think it's tedious to "battle" skeptics on every issue, but I think it is healthy to have ones own beliefs or theories challenged.
I agree. But the physical being only a small part of consciousness is not a belief or a theory. That the current status quo relies on parameters and approaches designed for, and often only valid, with physical phenomena is not a belief or a theory. That the physicalism is being pushed on people at large in a massive campaign that has no room for neutrality or challenge is not a bleif or a theory.

If Skeptiko was the only forum where people could air and argue for their physicalism I'd say it was of great importance to make sure it stayed a place they could do so. But there's a ten ton elephant on the physicalism side and adding equal weight to both sides doesn't exactly achieve balance.

Plus I just don't see the point in arguing about if there's a force that keeps objects on the earth (aka gravity) I do see great merit in discourse about views on various details of that force.

I'd guess that most of the people who want the CD approach are either physicalists or those who have relied only on standard-mode intellect as a way of accessing knowledge.
 
#23
Hmmm...discussion of the show is open to all already. I think that what you mean is that the show threads which Alex starts should be open to all. Alex isn't interested in hearing from everybody, though. And to be honest, I don't think he should be forced to be interested in what the Banned of Seven, or any critics, have to say.

Linda
I agree. My suggestion was purely aimed at making the show threads busier/more vibrant.

To be honest, a few of us (without the use of psi) foresaw the consequences of annexing alternate interpretations and awkward questions from the show threads.
 
#25
These forums don't rank very high on Google for popular keywords that might drag in new users. Almost certainly part of the problem is a poor web site structure
Not totally the same, but along the same lines: if I recall correctly, I saw Skeptiko suggested as a podcast many times, but I naturally assumed it was a typical "sceptic's" podcast. So, I think the tag line should definitely be more descriptive than it is, (science at the tipping point). It's cool if you know what it's really about, but if you don't then you would never guess that psi, reincarnation, NDEs & OBEs, and conspiracies are talked about here. You would assume it's more of the same. Search "Skeptiko" and you have to go several links down to finally see something about consciousness research; but even that hardly covers or describes the scope of the podcast and forum. People need to have it spelled out more or less in the first few lines of the first link.
 
#27
I agree. My suggestion was purely aimed at making the show threads busier/more vibrant.

To be honest, a few of us (without the use of psi) foresaw the consequences of annexing alternate interpretations and awkward questions from the show threads.
I guess it all depends upon the goal. I suspect that "better Google ranking" is at odds with "promoting my paradigm".

Linda
 
#28
I think there would be less wheel spinning or the feeling of another "round in the ring" if there was no assumption of physicalism, one way or the other, in the CD section. What about giving that a try? Most of the "battle" seems to be centered around an idea nobody is arguing for anyways. If neither side feels like their wheels are spinning, I expect that the conversations would take on a different tenor. Maybe that would make it more attractive to new or lurking members?

Linda
I am not sure what that would mean in practice - can you elaborate?

I wish sceptics - such as yourself - would not always get stuck on trying to dismantle the evidence for this or that phenomenon. That is OK up to a point, but I don't think it is reasonable to attribute every bit of ψ evidence - and there has been a lot amassed - to fraud/careless/naivete etc.

I think you should be more prepared to open up on the implicit consequences and problems of a rigorously materialistic outlook. to discuss for example the question of whether it makes sense to attribute consciousness to a physical computation (in effect).

I have had several attempts to discuss topics like Artificial Intelligence and the gedanken experiment of simulating a brain in software, and I always feel that the sceptics don't feel comfortable discussing that, because as you probe the roots of materialism, it stops being a common sense position and becomes extremely weird.

I mean, you should be really interested in all the seeming weak points of materialism - autistic savants would be another good example.

A debate that wasn't (just) about whether data might have been cherry picked, or whatever - debate about ideas - might be a lot more interesting

David
 
#29
I mean, you should be really interested in all the seeming weak points of materialism - autistic savants would be another good example.
I had always assumed that autistic savants were just processing information faster than non-savants, but I never heard it described as a blow to materialism. I'm excited to hear why it's considered a blow to materialism. I'm always on the hunt for another nail to hammer in the coffin of the garden variety pseudo-skeptic!

Thanks, David.

Daveed
 
#32
The argument about savants is best made by considering acquired savant syndrome. How can damage to the brain produce new capabilities? The phenomenon contradicts the laws of thermodynamics. A better explanation is that the brain is a filter of consciousness and some forms of brain damage act like holes in the filter that allow through existing conscious capabilities that were previously filtered out.
Maybe it is better not to debate ψ issues themselves here, but in CD as Linda suggested.

Thanks for mentioning acquired savant syndrome, which is also very relevant.
I know what you mean about contradicting the law of thermodynamics (creating new order out of a blow to the head) but alternative explanations (that would not involve a decrease in entropy) seem to require masses of unused abilities in the head that are unleashed by damage.

I'd love to read Linda (who is/was a doctor) discuss these phenomena, but in a new CD thread please.

David
 
#33
Maybe it is better not to debate ψ issues themselves here, but in CD as Linda suggested.

Thanks for mentioning acquired savant syndrome, which is also very relevant.
I know what you mean about contradicting the law of thermodynamics (creating new order out of a blow to the head) but alternative explanations (that would not involve a decrease in entropy) seem to require masses of unused abilities in the head that are unleashed by damage.

I'd love to read Linda (who is/was a doctor) discuss these phenomena, but in a new CD thread please.

David
:D You couldn't make it up. Marked mod+, and in a low activity sub forum from which Linda is banned:

http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/acuquired-savant-syndrome.2868/
 
#34
I am not sure what that would mean in practice - can you elaborate?
That you stop doing what you just did below. Maybe consider reading what I have actually said instead of assuming that what I say is supposed to be about dismantling the evidence or a materialistic outlook.

I wish sceptics - such as yourself - would not always get stuck on trying to dismantle the evidence for this or that phenomenon. That is OK up to a point, but I don't think it is reasonable to attribute every bit of ψ evidence - and there has been a lot amassed - to fraud/careless/naivete etc.
Agreed. I don't do that.

I think you should be more prepared to open up on the implicit consequences and problems of a rigorously materialistic outlook. to discuss for example the question of whether it makes sense to attribute consciousness to a physical computation (in effect).
Agreed. I don't think a materialistic outlook (or any 'outlook' for that matter) is useful.

I have had several attempts to discuss topics like Artificial Intelligence and the gedanken experiment of simulating a brain in software, and I always feel that the sceptics don't feel comfortable discussing that, because as you probe the roots of materialism, it stops being a common sense position and becomes extremely weird.
I'm guessing that rather than feeling uncomfortable, what you are seeing is that people don't care to discuss Strawmen.

I mean, you should be really interested in all the seeming weak points of materialism - autistic savants would be another good example.
I'm not a materialist or an anti-materialist. I don't give a rat's ass whether autistic savants are a weak point for materialism.

]A debate that wasn't (just) about whether data might have been cherry picked, or whatever - debate about ideas - might be a lot more interesting

David
Sounds like it might be. Maybe you should consider it.

Linda
 
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