Thoughts on The Science Delusion by Curtis White
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11-06-2013, 12:40 PM
RE: Thoughts on The Science Delusion by Curtis White
The New York Times is not too impressed by his bs.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/books/...d=all&_r=0

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_experience
They can be induced pharmacologically.
He's untrained. A professional bs'er.

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Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things" (KJV)

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11-06-2013, 01:48 PM (This post was last modified: 11-06-2013 01:55 PM by amyb.)
RE: Thoughts on The Science Delusion by Curtis White
You know what pisses me off? The idea that scientific explanations for a thing somehow diminish that thing. I don't know why people think there must be a woo component to anything that seems good (art, creativity, love, beauty, etc.), and that the reaction can't be "just chemicals." Fuck these people if they can't differentiate between someone getting a blowjob and someone getting their dick chewed off, and think there must be some kind of woo out there telling them what's good and what isn't. These would both involve a dick in a mouth, but one would presumably be pleasurable and one would not. They would be very different signals being sent to the brain.

And as for the dog shit example, over the course of our evolution we've tended to avoid things that smell a certain way: mainly excrement and rotten food. It's good for our health to not shit where we eat, and to not eat rotten food, and that's why we recoil from these scents. It's not just a meaningless reaction in the brain, we've attached meaning to it and we make judgments about the smells.

I don't know if he has specifically invoked woo, but I would ask: if creativity doesn't take place in the brain, then where the fuck does it take place?

Quote:It challenges the idea that science has debunked our idea of free will, creativity and consciousness by reducing them to neural functioning.
What do these people have against neural functioning? Why is it a "reduction" of any kind? I know a lot of people who like science and still would be considered creative people.

Which brings me to a related issue: I really hate it when people suggest atheists cannot possibly see beauty in the world, that they must always be miserable, and they have no imagination. I always tell them I have an imagination, it's just that I can understand the difference between reality and fantasy.
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11-06-2013, 02:04 PM
RE: Thoughts on The Science Delusion by Curtis White
(11-06-2013 09:55 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(11-06-2013 09:29 AM)Enlightened Romantic Wrote:  "Philosophy is dead" -Stephen Hawking
"Philosophy... hasn't progressed in 2000 years" - Lawrence Krauss

Please provide some context for those quotes.

Quote:“Most of us don't worry about these questions most of the time. But almost all of us must sometimes wonder: Why are we here? Where do we come from? Traditionally, these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead,” he said. “Philosophers have not kept up with modern developments in science. Particularly physics.”

So that one is in the context of philosophy not having kept pace with knowledge.

And from Kraus...


So, now tell me about the arts ...

Thanks for the link to Krauss' Scientific American article. I found his closing statement most telling and to the point.

"So, to those philosophers I may have unjustly offended by seemingly blanket statements about the field, I apologize. I value your intelligent conversation and the insights of anyone who thinks carefully about our universe and who is willing to guide their thinking based on the evidence of reality. To those who wish to impose their definition of reality abstractly, independent of emerging empirical knowledge and the changing questions that go with it, and call that either philosophy or theology, I would say this: Please go on talking to each other, and let the rest of us get on with the goal of learning more about nature."

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I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's. - Mark Twain in Eruption
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11-06-2013, 02:24 PM
RE: Thoughts on The Science Delusion by Curtis White
(11-06-2013 10:03 AM)Enlightened Romantic Wrote:  
(11-06-2013 09:55 AM)Chas Wrote:  Please provide some context for those quotes.

Sure - Stephen Hawking in the Grand Design speaking of how science has eroded religion to the point that it is clearly delusional says in the last chapter that this same logic erodes the inquiries of philosophy and art to the same degree and science is all that is left.
Krauss said that in his lecture for American Atheists in 2012 (which, I think, is the popular YouTube one). His logic is much the same, except I disagree more strongly with this statement because, he forgets, Newton wasn't a scientist (the word didn't exist, as you probably know), he was a natural philosopher. Hitchens says that the distinction between the two - the thinking that science and philosophy are totally separate structures - is something "we could do without".

You aren't the only one who has read the books and heard the lectures. edit: Although, thank you, as I've never seen that article from Krauss. That statement had always upset me coming from him, and I'm glad he recognizes his relative ignorance of the subject. He (and Hawking) are brilliant physicists and mathematicians; however I doubt that they have acquainted themselves with what philosophy (which, as I said above, science is a part of) can suggest to them are the limits of these disciplines.

The major problem, as I see it, is that science is wholly empirical (as it proudly states) and that this is good. However, since Schiller, philosophers have thought that empirical inquiry can only get so far, especially dealing with things like conscious observation and experience (because basing arguments on observation requires an observer a priori, a term blasphemous to science).

Again, note, this is not the Observer of religion - it's simply speaking of how much can observation and modeling show us.

edit: And about the arts. I think the protest here is that the scientific realist says (correct me if I'm wrong) that a Van Gogh painting has no more meaning than a certain chemical spike in the brain, and that this spike is no better or worse than the one emerging from smelling a pile of dogshit. Any meaning given to this spike, or painting, is nothing more than ignorance on the part of the observer - it is illusory.

No, you are creating a strawman 'ultra-reductionist' who doesn't actually exist.
(Well, except B. F. Skinner, maybe.)

Science is not empiricism. Science is realism - there is a reality that we can explore with rational means. Science is creative - the facts aren't just there for us (that's empiricism), we create theories of how things are and test those theories against reality. All of the facts are theory-laden.

We create value in our minds, so we value some things above others. That value is in our material brains. And so is the meaning.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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11-06-2013, 02:36 PM
RE: Thoughts on The Science Delusion by Curtis White
(11-06-2013 01:48 PM)amyb Wrote:  You know what pisses me off? The idea that scientific explanations for a thing somehow diminish that thing. I don't know why people think there must be a woo component to anything that seems good (art, creativity, love, beauty, etc.), and that the reaction can't be "just chemicals."

Yes.

When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer is the single worst non-Vogon poem ever written.
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11-06-2013, 05:58 PM
Thoughts on The Science Delusion by Curtis White
(11-06-2013 07:35 AM)Enlightened Romantic Wrote:  [I'm a new user, so I hope I posted this in the right topic]

Note: this isn't about the dumb-ass [we can swear on this forum, right?] science delusion lecture and UK book by Shelldrake

Has anyone else read The Science Delusion by Curtis White?

I'm about 3/4 through it, and the purpose of the book is to counter the statements made by scientists that philosophy as well as the arts are dead; there is nothing more to them (Beethoven, Shostakovitch, Van Gogh, etc.) and their inspiration than to the conception of the swiffer mop. It challenges the idea that science has debunked our idea of free will, creativity and consciousness by reducing them to neural functioning.

In place of this reasoning White props up the ideas of the Romantic period (as opposed to the Enlightenment) such as the notion that beauty, art, poetry and strife cannot be reduced to mechanistics and that pure empiricism is unsound at its core. For example, when Krauss, Hitchens and Dawkins (each of whom he straw mans in attempt to debunk) stress that there is beauty in the stars of night, they have no basis to say that anyone should find this beautiful, or that this beauty is any better than a sadist pedophile finding a beaten child beautiful (excluding the obvious moral implications). He also rejects that conscious experience and creativity can be reduced by science to neural processing, defaulting to a sort of dualism which is physically indistinguishable from physicalism, however seems to explain these things (consciousness, creativity, higher-order beauty etc.) better than science - which at its current state simply promises that either these things don't exist as we picture them or that it will find an answer to them in the future.

Note: White doesn't think that this opens the door to religious belief or even spirituality, though he may bring this up in the last 1/4 of the book. In the summary on the front cover of the book he is called an atheist. However, he mentions religion twice, saying "I am a Christian. I am not a Christian" which may or may not be him speaking about his own beliefs. He also says that if Christianity is defined as the totalitarian authority of an almighy god that he is an atheist. This seems very vague, though it seems his worldview is atheistic in the sense that it doesn't postulate a god (and, indeed, a god's existence could screw it up).

I was just wondering what your view of this is?

There are two rules in this forum:
1. Do not question the U.S. government or talk badly about it.
2. Do not question science or talk badly about science.

If you do any of these than you will be ridiculed on this forum.

Science is a human tool, what tools we use and how we use those tools are determined by social political circumstances that are beyond our individual control. Logic and reason are the best methods to use in science but logic and reason do not get one any closer to a "fact" or "truth", facts and truths are a result of logic, reason, ideology, peer pressure (peer review) and mob psychology. If most people believe in black holes than that affects another persons decision on whether or not one believes in black holes.
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11-06-2013, 06:23 PM
RE: Thoughts on The Science Delusion by Curtis White
(11-06-2013 05:58 PM)I and I Wrote:  There are two rules in this forum:
1. Do not question the U.S. government or talk badly about it.
2. Do not question science or talk badly about science.

If you do any of these than you will be ridiculed on this forum.

Science is a human tool, what tools we use and how we use those tools are determined by social political circumstances that are beyond our individual control. Logic and reason are the best methods to use in science but logic and reason do not get one any closer to a "fact" or "truth", facts and truths are a result of logic, reason, ideology, peer pressure (peer review) and mob psychology. If most people believe in black holes than that affects another persons decision on whether or not one believes in black holes.

If you fundamentally misunderstand the philosophy of science, and think Russia Today is a legitimate news source to boot, then yes, you will be ridiculed.

...

If logic and reason allow us to form a description of the world - which is more accurate and self-consistent under all known conditions - then in all practical senses that description is closer to true.

In an absolute sense, no, of course it isn't. Prediction is not certainty and deduction is not knowledge. Notice, however, that nobody ever said they were.

There are ways to say that without being a troll - that much is certain!
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11-06-2013, 07:58 PM
RE: Thoughts on The Science Delusion by Curtis White
(11-06-2013 05:58 PM)I and I Wrote:  
(11-06-2013 07:35 AM)Enlightened Romantic Wrote:  [I'm a new user, so I hope I posted this in the right topic]

Note: this isn't about the dumb-ass [we can swear on this forum, right?] science delusion lecture and UK book by Shelldrake

Has anyone else read The Science Delusion by Curtis White?

I'm about 3/4 through it, and the purpose of the book is to counter the statements made by scientists that philosophy as well as the arts are dead; there is nothing more to them (Beethoven, Shostakovitch, Van Gogh, etc.) and their inspiration than to the conception of the swiffer mop. It challenges the idea that science has debunked our idea of free will, creativity and consciousness by reducing them to neural functioning.

In place of this reasoning White props up the ideas of the Romantic period (as opposed to the Enlightenment) such as the notion that beauty, art, poetry and strife cannot be reduced to mechanistics and that pure empiricism is unsound at its core. For example, when Krauss, Hitchens and Dawkins (each of whom he straw mans in attempt to debunk) stress that there is beauty in the stars of night, they have no basis to say that anyone should find this beautiful, or that this beauty is any better than a sadist pedophile finding a beaten child beautiful (excluding the obvious moral implications). He also rejects that conscious experience and creativity can be reduced by science to neural processing, defaulting to a sort of dualism which is physically indistinguishable from physicalism, however seems to explain these things (consciousness, creativity, higher-order beauty etc.) better than science - which at its current state simply promises that either these things don't exist as we picture them or that it will find an answer to them in the future.

Note: White doesn't think that this opens the door to religious belief or even spirituality, though he may bring this up in the last 1/4 of the book. In the summary on the front cover of the book he is called an atheist. However, he mentions religion twice, saying "I am a Christian. I am not a Christian" which may or may not be him speaking about his own beliefs. He also says that if Christianity is defined as the totalitarian authority of an almighy god that he is an atheist. This seems very vague, though it seems his worldview is atheistic in the sense that it doesn't postulate a god (and, indeed, a god's existence could screw it up).

I was just wondering what your view of this is?

There are two rules in this forum:
1. Do not question the U.S. government or talk badly about it.
2. Do not question science or talk badly about science.

If you do any of these than you will be ridiculed on this forum.

Science is a human tool, what tools we use and how we use those tools are determined by social political circumstances that are beyond our individual control. Logic and reason are the best methods to use in science but logic and reason do not get one any closer to a "fact" or "truth", facts and truths are a result of logic, reason, ideology, peer pressure (peer review) and mob psychology. If most people believe in black holes than that affects another persons decision on whether or not one believes in black holes.

It's posts like this most recent one from I&I that makes me pine for a thumbs down on a post that is just plain idiotic. This one is right up there.

cjlr refers to another thread, so perhaps I&I just had his hind quarters handed to him, as often happens here from both people who agree and disagree with him.
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11-06-2013, 08:30 PM
RE: Thoughts on The Science Delusion by Curtis White
(11-06-2013 10:03 AM)Enlightened Romantic Wrote:  
(11-06-2013 09:55 AM)Chas Wrote:  Please provide some context for those quotes.

Sure - Stephen Hawking in the Grand Design speaking of how science has eroded religion to the point that it is clearly delusional says in the last chapter that this same logic erodes the inquiries of philosophy and art to the same degree and science is all that is left.
Krauss said that in his lecture for American Atheists in 2012 (which, I think, is the popular YouTube one). His logic is much the same, except I disagree more strongly with this statement because, he forgets, Newton wasn't a scientist (the word didn't exist, as you probably know), he was a natural philosopher. Hitchens says that the distinction between the two - the thinking that science and philosophy are totally separate structures - is something "we could do without".

You aren't the only one who has read the books and heard the lectures. edit: Although, thank you, as I've never seen that article from Krauss. That statement had always upset me coming from him, and I'm glad he recognizes his relative ignorance of the subject. He (and Hawking) are brilliant physicists and mathematicians; however I doubt that they have acquainted themselves with what philosophy (which, as I said above, science is a part of) can suggest to them are the limits of these disciplines.

The major problem, as I see it, is that science is wholly empirical (as it proudly states) and that this is good. However, since Schiller, philosophers have thought that empirical inquiry can only get so far, especially dealing with things like conscious observation and experience (because basing arguments on observation requires an observer a priori, a term blasphemous to science).

Again, note, this is not the Observer of religion - it's simply speaking of how much can observation and modeling show us.

edit: And about the arts. I think the protest here is that the scientific realist says (correct me if I'm wrong) that a Van Gogh painting has no more meaning than a certain chemical spike in the brain, and that this spike is no better or worse than the one emerging from smelling a pile of dogshit. Any meaning given to this spike, or painting, is nothing more than ignorance on the part of the observer - it is illusory.

Dawkins makes a similar point and likes to quote JBS Haldane: "My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose." The point is that limitations inherent to what Dawkins describes as a middle world--neither big, nor small, moving at slow speeds--limits the ability of the human mind, and by extension the Philosopher, to say anything useful about the world we live in. Normal reason for instance dictates that cause follows effect, but that is less clear in the quantum world.

I think Hawking in The Grand Design is arguing more along this vain, that empiricism has been necessary, and may be all that we have that we can rely on when we delve into the quantum and cosmological scales.

Hitches spoke on this topic once, and only expressed his hope that this were not true. He justified his position by noting how the early atomist philosophers used the tools of their field to work out the idea of atomism without the benefit of modern science. Lucretius seems to be Hitchens's favorite of this group who extended the argument to justify naturalism. Pretty impressive for Greek philosophers to be thinking these things in the few hundred years before Christ/Christianity.

But to quote another famous scientist, Feynman, "Someone who claims to understand quantum mechanics, doesn't understand quantum mechanics". There is nothing intuitive about QM, and I just don't see philosophy being very useful in this area of Physics. Notions of cause, the fabric of space and time, intuition go out the window with QM. Even a great scientist like Einstein ridiculed the idea that quantum entanglement of particles (say electrons) could occur over indefinite distances as "Spooky Action at a Distance". Turns out spooky action at a distance is a real thing.

Now about art and aesthetics, I don't think any prominent atheist or scientist argues those are useless or meaningless. I just never see those arguments--many consider themselves Humanists, and would never consider those to be without value.
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11-06-2013, 09:23 PM
Thoughts on The Science Delusion by Curtis White
The scientific methods of inquiry are the same for religion. We use the available tools we have then assess the results and then decide which answer best fits the results of using the tools.

A villager visiting witch doctors and deciding on a conclusion is the same process that scientists use. A scientists uses the abailable tools assesses the results then comes to a conclusion. Logic and reason do not get one closer to a "truth" or a "fact" whatever those things are.

Philosophy correctly points out the severe limits of reason and logic.

Modern science has become more woo and less science and the so called atheists can't get enough of this woo.

Science also confuses reduction with deduction. Example: humans have hands, a logical statement could be " humans are a series of hands". This is a logical and reasoned statement but false statement. This type of reduction like reducing humans to just a collection of cells or atoms is logical but not a factual or true outcome.

A hammer sees only nails.
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