A New Smear Article: Interpreter Targets Givens and Hauglid

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Re: A New Smear Article: Interpreter Targets Givens and Hauglid

Post by Kishkumen »

sock puppet wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 6:46 pm
Could you expand on your thoughts about 'materialist ideology'? Is it the Epicurean view?
No, I am not thinking of Epicureanism, another ancient school of philosophy, but more generally of our times, in which Capitalism, Marxism, and other materialist views dominate our discourse and way of looking at the world. In other words, I am thinking about popular materialist ideas, and less about reductive and eliminative materialism, although they do contribute to current popular skepticism.
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Re: A New Smear Article: Interpreter Targets Givens and Hauglid

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Mostly to repeat myself, I think:

I can't see where to look anymore to grasp a world of spirits, or a supernatural, or a god. I've lost the ability to imagine a place to look or a time to look, or whatever. It's all pretend it seems to me. So when people complain about materialism or rather naturalism, as I'd moreso define the worldview, I admit mostly I hear people trying their best to shout their make believe into existence. "but I really really think it. And since it feels so good to me, and, I mean, no natural phenomena can be as interesting as my make believe. It really is real." That tends to be the noise I hear on this topic and I say that with all due respect--hoping everyone understands I mean no offense here. Its all so personal and mysterious, as if those are the end of important values in this world. Sounds like misery to me anymore though.

And I can't find a way to escape the imaginative feeling I have wherein if humanity prized rational thought the way they do an imagined world to supplant this one, we'd all be better off. We'd all benefit from going all in on such a noble cause. I agree with Kish...that'll never be. People really want this world to be worse than an imagined one. They really want to pretend there is something more interesting than what we experience in reality. That's a dreadful goal as I see it. As I converse on the matter with people I hear a lot of, "its arrogant to assume that whatever we observe is all there is. It's much more nice and humble to pretend imagined sayings from an imagined other sphere is reaching the special or endowed among us to teach us something we can't possibly find in this world". Its as if everyone's speaking backwards to me and then condemning me for perplexed looks in return.

Ah well...I mean I was all in on this make believe for a long damn time. I want to say "so I get it". I don't know how I can anymore. I just don't get it. Its confusing now. I don't feel sad about that. I feel sad that my noises on this matter sound as difficult and problematic to everyone else as their noises sound to me. And...so much of what we have in this world is fruitful interactions with others. I want fruitful and I get stymied at every turn.

Alright, I probably added too much for dramatic effect in there. But, the points are there.
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Re: A New Smear Article: Interpreter Targets Givens and Hauglid

Post by Physics Guy »

Humans and dogs perceive differently. Our dogs seem to find fascinating smells on random spots of sidewalk that are indistinguishable to me from any other spots. I, on the other hand, can perceive a lot of meaning in the tiny black squiggles of print on a newspaper page. To the dogs that page is just like most of the other things in the world, namely something to pee on.

The dogs can see the same black printing that I see. They just don't recognize the meaning. The same volatile molecules to which their olfactory senses react also enter my nose. I guess neither of us knows what we're missing.
What if fire is only the first of a million such things?
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Re: A New Smear Article: Interpreter Targets Givens and Hauglid

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I like the relativity element to your analogy--we're all just kind of enjoying what we're enjoying. I have two dogs I take out and play with daily. When I walk them, one gets stuck on one spot to smell while the other is stuck on another. Sometimes they both hone in on one spot, but mostly they enjoy their own spots. That's fine and dandy for what dogs smell, but humans can't be so relative in their preferences...or at least that'd be my contention. We're trying to build stuff in the world in hopes to make a better world, not smell stuff for the sake of smelling stuff.

Sure in one sense, it's like, "I mean believe what you want, I guess. Pretend the make believe is real. No big deal here". In another its like "you're doing things, saying things, teaching things, fighting things all because you really want your make believe to be real". Sure there's in between that kind of thinking, but if there is you still have to think of it both ways.
“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”
― Carl Sagan, Cosmos
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Re: A New Smear Article: Interpreter Targets Givens and Hauglid

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dastardly stem wrote:
Fri May 06, 2022 1:52 pm
Mostly to repeat myself, I think:

I can't see where to look anymore to grasp a world of spirits, or a supernatural, or a god. I've lost the ability to imagine a place to look or a time to look, or whatever. It's all pretend it seems to me. So when people complain about materialism or rather naturalism, as I'd moreso define the worldview, I admit mostly I hear people trying their best to shout their make believe into existence. "but I really really think it. And since it feels so good to me, and, I mean, no natural phenomena can be as interesting as my make believe. It really is real." That tends to be the noise I hear on this topic and I say that with all due respect--hoping everyone understands I mean no offense here. Its all so personal and mysterious, as if those are the end of important values in this world. Sounds like misery to me anymore though.

And I can't find a way to escape the imaginative feeling I have wherein if humanity prized rational thought the way they do an imagined world to supplant this one, we'd all be better off. We'd all benefit from going all in on such a noble cause. I agree with Kish...that'll never be. People really want this world to be worse than an imagined one. They really want to pretend there is something more interesting than what we experience in reality. That's a dreadful goal as I see it. As I converse on the matter with people I hear a lot of, "its arrogant to assume that whatever we observe is all there is. It's much more nice and humble to pretend imagined sayings from an imagined other sphere is reaching the special or endowed among us to teach us something we can't possibly find in this world". Its as if everyone's speaking backwards to me and then condemning me for perplexed looks in return.

Ah well...I mean I was all in on this make believe for a long damn time. I want to say "so I get it". I don't know how I can anymore. I just don't get it. Its confusing now. I don't feel sad about that. I feel sad that my noises on this matter sound as difficult and problematic to everyone else as their noises sound to me. And...so much of what we have in this world is fruitful interactions with others. I want fruitful and I get stymied at every turn.

Alright, I probably added too much for dramatic effect in there. But, the points are there.
That's cool, stem. I would only observe that the things you take to be make-believe are things that were until recently taken for granted to be real and backed up by numerous personal experiences. It wasn't until materialism and the scientific method developed in particular ways that people started to think that there was no good reason to take any of that seriously. (Very few ancient thinkers, even those who opposed popular conceptions of divinities, dismissed their existence altogether.)

The degree to which you are persuaded that they are right is well expressed above. What you once saw as something worth committing your life to you now dismiss as wishful make believe that people have no good reason to accept as real. What I would say in response to you is that everything you say brings to mind so many complications for me. It is not just that people imagine another, better world; they instead experience, albeit on a subjective level, what they take to be "other worlds." Some of these experiences seem to point to better things, some to neutral things, others to worse. Unfortunately, everyone is locked in a fruitless debate about what one is morally obliged to think.

I don't believe for a moment that one is morally obliged either to believe or not believe in things beyond the reach of current scientific confirmation. What I will say is that I don't think people are bad, dangerous, or stupid for believing that there are things beyond the reach of current scientific confirmation.
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Re: A New Smear Article: Interpreter Targets Givens and Hauglid

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dastardly stem wrote:
Fri May 06, 2022 5:04 pm
Sure in one sense, it's like, "I mean believe what you want, I guess. Pretend the make believe is real. No big deal here". In another its like "you're doing things, saying things, teaching things, fighting things all because you really want your make believe to be real". Sure there's in between that kind of thinking, but if there is you still have to think of it both ways.
What in PG's analogy is not real, stem? The smell? The words on the page? Which part is unreal?
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Re: A New Smear Article: Interpreter Targets Givens and Hauglid

Post by Physics Guy »

Pareidolia is one thing that's real: people often think we see meaningful patterns in stuff that doesn't really mean anything, or at least doesn't mean what we think. The clouds do not really form horsies or duckies. The mouldy spot on the bread probably isn't a sign to you from Thor.

Yet on the other hand the most striking proof of meaning—perhaps even the meaning of meaning—is seen in complicated patterns that do not follow obvious rules. What I mean by that is not woo, but information theory: the most efficiently communicated message will literally be a string of random characters—if you don't know the code.

This can be eery. After quite a few years in Germany I can now follow even rapidly spoken colloquial German with no real difficulty ... unless there is too much background noise. In a crowded room with many people speaking, or a hall with bad acoustics, German just sounds like unintelligible mumbling. At my age I get the same effect in English, too, but only at a higher noise level. My non-native German proficiency is just not as good as my native English proficiency at recognising signal in noise. So at parties I am often reduced to smiling and nodding and saying, "Echt?" and "Wirklich?" ("Oh, really?") a lot.

For all the evidence I can distinguish in those circumstances, it would be tempting to conclude that everyone is just pretending to understand one another, that communication is make-believe, and that all those echoing sound waves are carrying no meaning at all. And yet as soon as things quiet down a bit and one person's voice stands out clearly, my brain gets a lock on the signal again, and everything is quite unambiguous. There's nothing make-believe about it, not in the slightest. Somebody's lights are on the parking lot, license plate number—oh Scheiss.

Until there's a sudden flood of overwhelming clarity like that, it can be an awfully hard question to determine whether or not a pattern is really meaningful. The mean orbital radii of the planets around our sun conform pretty closely to a simple pattern known as Bode's Law. No theoretical explanation of the pattern has yet been found, however; it's probably just a coincidence (though it will be interesting to see whether extra-solar planetary systems follow anything like it). On the other hand the weird jumbles of wavelengths of light that are emitted and absorbed by simple gases can also be catalogued with simple numerical patterns. These empirical patterns turned out to be the decisive confirmation of quantum mechanics, and they are now used to tell us almost everything we know about distant stars.

If somebody else believes there is a meaningful pattern in data that to you seems like meaningless noise, then you could be right. Or they could.
What if fire is only the first of a million such things?
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Re: A New Smear Article: Interpreter Targets Givens and Hauglid

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Physics Guy wrote:
Fri May 06, 2022 3:38 pm
Humans and dogs perceive differently. Our dogs seem to find fascinating smells on random spots of sidewalk that are indistinguishable to me from any other spots. I, on the other hand, can perceive a lot of meaning in the tiny black squiggles of print on a newspaper page. To the dogs that page is just like most of the other things in the world, namely something to pee on.

The dogs can see the same black printing that I see. They just don't recognize the meaning. The same volatile molecules to which their olfactory senses react also enter my nose. I guess neither of us knows what we're missing.
Are you trying to insinuate that there are objective "truths" that will never be known? For instance a dog not being able to read does not invalidate the truth that Shakespeare was real. Is this the place that the supernatural is supposed to be? Like the bumper sticker says spirituality if for those of us who have been there?
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Re: A New Smear Article: Interpreter Targets Givens and Hauglid

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dastardly stem wrote:
Fri May 06, 2022 1:52 pm
Mostly to repeat myself, I think:

I can't see where to look anymore to grasp a world of spirits, or a supernatural, or a god. I've lost the ability to imagine a place to look or a time to look, or whatever. It's all pretend it seems to me. So when people complain about materialism or rather naturalism, as I'd moreso define the worldview, I admit mostly I hear people trying their best to shout their make believe into existence. "but I really really think it. And since it feels so good to me, and, I mean, no natural phenomena can be as interesting as my make believe. It really is real." That tends to be the noise I hear on this topic and I say that with all due respect--hoping everyone understands I mean no offense here. Its all so personal and mysterious, as if those are the end of important values in this world. Sounds like misery to me anymore though.

And I can't find a way to escape the imaginative feeling I have wherein if humanity prized rational thought the way they do an imagined world to supplant this one, we'd all be better off. We'd all benefit from going all in on such a noble cause. I agree with Kish...that'll never be. People really want this world to be worse than an imagined one. They really want to pretend there is something more interesting than what we experience in reality. That's a dreadful goal as I see it. As I converse on the matter with people I hear a lot of, "its arrogant to assume that whatever we observe is all there is. It's much more nice and humble to pretend imagined sayings from an imagined other sphere is reaching the special or endowed among us to teach us something we can't possibly find in this world". Its as if everyone's speaking backwards to me and then condemning me for perplexed looks in return.

Ah well...I mean I was all in on this make believe for a long damn time. I want to say "so I get it". I don't know how I can anymore. I just don't get it. Its confusing now. I don't feel sad about that. I feel sad that my noises on this matter sound as difficult and problematic to everyone else as their noises sound to me. And...so much of what we have in this world is fruitful interactions with others. I want fruitful and I get stymied at every turn.

Alright, I probably added too much for dramatic effect in there. But, the points are there.
I have never been ever to articulate my world view any better than this description. It reminds me of Rod Decker a long time news reporter in Utah. Dehlin interviewed him and asked him why he never became religious. He said he looked around the world and things didn't operate as if there was a supernatural. For me it was a long hard road reading evolutionary biology, physics and numerous debates with Hitchens, Dawkins ,Carrol and others. For me it didn't take away the awe an inspiration that the universe's secrets hold, it added to it. Writings like this are helpful to people trying to understand their journey.
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Re: A New Smear Article: Interpreter Targets Givens and Hauglid

Post by Physics Guy »

Rivendale wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 7:32 pm
Are you trying to insinuate that there are objective "truths" that will never be known? For instance a dog not being able to read does not invalidate the truth that Shakespeare was real. Is this the place that the supernatural is supposed to be? Like the bumper sticker says spirituality if for those of us who have been there?
I think there may be a lot going on in the universe that we just can't grasp because our little meat brains just aren't up to it. Have you ever read Stanislaw Lem's Golem XIV, or Jack Vance's short story Green Magic (not to be confused with other fantasy stories with similar titles)? In different ways they are good at evoking an impression of things far beyond human ken. Obviously they are fiction, but I find the kind of possibilities they raise hard to rule out for the real world.

Traditional notions of the supernatural usually seem self-contradictory to me, because they don't actually postulate anything non-physical. They just want to call things non-physical. They still want substances and orderly laws, they just want different ones from the ones we know. So they're actually playing the same game as physics, and not playing it well. What to me would be much more plausible, though, would be that things people call spiritual or supernatural are complex kinds of meaningful patterns that we don't normally recognise. There is ample room for that, in principle.

Maybe we are like dogs, and the guru or messiah or whatever is trying to teach us to read. It's inherently hard to prove or disprove that, but not for dodgy reasons. Transcending the limits of human intelligence is kind of bound to be hard. It's not impossible to investigate the possibility that some subtle features in reality exist, though, and gain some evidence for or against them. You can try whatever exercises the prophet or guru or whatever is suggesting, and see if anything at all impressive seems to happen. If you keep trying for a while, you may be able to hedge against chance and placebo effects.

On the other hand there isn't enough time in life to make serious investigations of all the potential messiahs. You have to do some kind of triage. Maybe in doing it you'll be too hasty about something and end up overlooking the real meaning and purpose of life. Oops. I don't see any obvious way to avoid that risk. Simply dismissing it all as obvious nonsense, though, seems like wishful thinking. The fox can't manage to get hold of the grapes so it consoles itself with the assurance that they were assuredly sour anyway.
What if fire is only the first of a million such things?
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