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Dreamtastic
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12 Jun 2020, 8:34 pm

Okay, so we all probably know the modern paradigm predominant in today's times, or as I like to call it, the modern "worldview" of reality. Please note that what follows is not me expressing my own beliefs but rather my interpretation/understanding of this worldview. Since it is my own interpretation/understanding, it is possible that some aspects could be mistaken. :)

1. The universe is essentially a random accident. It began from nothingness entirely because of physical laws (be they quantum or classical) and random chance. While we may not know everything about the universe, what caused it, and what (if anything) existed before it, we can know this much. Therefore, we also know that there is no "purpose" or anything else more than what meets the eye going on with the universe other than physical laws/random chance.

2. Life is essentially the same as the universe. Random accident, no purpose other than survival and procreation. Furthermore, since they are a random accident, life and consciousness are not by any means an essential part of the universe. The universe could have existed the same way it does now without any sort of consciousness.

3. Existence is a one-time deal. When you die, that's it. There is nothing else forever and ever and ever and ever and ever...and an infinite number more of evers!. There is no heaven for any spirit/soul to go to. And as far as reincarnation? A meaningless concept without a spirit/soul or any other essential part of you that survives your death. Others may be born after you die, but they won't be "you" because "you" are dead, and existing as "you" is the only possible way to exist. Besides, the universe will eventually die too, so there will come a point when no one else will ever be born again.

4. Consciousness and everything associated with it is entirely a product of the brain. The entirety of human experience, including all of our hopes, fears, wishes, goals, and dreams can all be reduced to physical, electrical, and chemical interactions in the brain.

5. Science and its methods are the sole means of discovering truth. Individuals may have feelings and experiences, but these are pretty meaningless since science is the only possible source of objective truth. And any experience that an individual has that seems to run contrary to any of these five elements must have a materialist explanation.

So, there you have it. That's my understanding of what I call materialism (there of course is that other economic or popular meaning of the word, but that's not what I'm talking about here). :)

I have a couple questions. First of all, how can we be so sure that this is true?

Now, let me be honest. I'm not particularly religious, and I think it's pretty unlikely that any of the world religions have all of the answers. While I can't be sure, I also lean toward believing that it's unlikely that God in the traditional, religious type sense exists.

But other than that, I really have no idea about the true nature of reality. I definitely have no idea what happens when we die, and I'm not so sure that anybody really can. So I'm wondering, how is it that materialists can be so sure about what they believe?

As for me, I think the best thing to do is to simply embrace the mystery. I am open to any and all possibilities, both about the nature of reality and about what happens when we die. There is certainly a chance that materialism is true, and I admit that. To be sure, the pressure to believe it in today's society is immense, and folks like me who aren't so sure about it are becoming fewer and fewer in number. But to say that you know for sure it's true? That's just something I can't do.

My second question is, how do you think materialism influences the world today? I think it's pretty obvious that in most academic circles, materialism is by far the predominant worldview. And since academic circles influence all kinds of institutions within society, and the influence of those institutions eventually trickles down to individual lives, materialism does have an impact on even folks who don't necessarily agree with it.

How do you think materialism influences human happiness? Do you think it's possible that some of the societal problems we experience in today's world might be because we are constantly taught that life is a random accident with no purpose?



techstepgenr8tion
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12 Jun 2020, 9:50 pm

Dreamtastic wrote:
But other than that, I really have no idea about the true nature of reality. I definitely have no idea what happens when we die, and I'm not so sure that anybody really can. So I'm wondering, how is it that materialists can be so sure about what they believe?

I really think this is doubling down over politics, considering the battles with creationism, intelligent design, being seen as important enough as the core institution to receive the funding it needs.


Dreamtastic wrote:
My second question is, how do you think materialism influences the world today? I think it's pretty obvious that in most academic circles, materialism is by far the predominant worldview. And since academic circles influence all kinds of institutions within society, and the influence of those institutions eventually trickles down to individual lives, materialism does have an impact on even folks who don't necessarily agree with it.

In the last ten years I think there's actually been a significant shift in the opposite direction. You have David Chalmers defending a sort of dualism, you have Michael Silberstein speaking and writing quite eloquently in defense of neutral monism, you have Kristof Koch and Giulio Tonini with Integrated Information Theory, you have people like Galen Strawson, Phillop Goff, and Peter Sjöstedt-H defending panpsychism, and perhaps most cogently and appearing on both Sam Harris's Making Sense for three hours as well as on Michael Shermer's Science Salon you have Donald Hoffman and his particular strain of consciousness-first universe with matter as a social network, pervasive Markov chains, and a network of 'contracts' as he'd put them that resemble functionalism with multiple realizability - something the occult community has been describing in the way of 'egregores' since the 18th century. That's also leaving out Rupert Sheldrake and increasing numbers of people are seeing his questions and hypotheses as quite sensible.

I think a couple things can be said here: first is that the shift away from reductive materialism isn't happening as fast as many would like it to, and the second thing that can be said - it's going less toward new age and NDE land and much more toward an entire cosmos that experiences Darwinian processes.

Speaking of NDE-related content you also have increasing recorded cases of terminal lucidity, ie. people having restoration of cognition for a few minutes to say goodbye to friends and family after long stretches of senile dementia. You have 'shared' death experiences where a living relative whose there at the hospital 'sees them off'. To this one could also add that Ian Stevenson's work on 'reincarnation' memories is getting taken more seriously and the debate still rages as to whether these are actually memories of their own life or 'super agent psi' drawn from the environment. Either way it seems like whatever is happening seems to suggest that if a person comes back around with a birth defect based on trauma from how they died it's something that has little to do with 'karma' in the way of reward or punishment for behavior and more to do with a basic template of some type (avoiding the term 'etheric body' but that was the vogue parlance of the late 19th and early 20th century) getting jacked up by what happened.

Where reductive materialists have it right - life is relentlessly harsh and borders on a loveless battle for survival. You also don't get the choice to simply make things easier by escapism or wishing you could blast off, in fact if one tries that they'll be absolutely dominated by people who've spent far more of their time focusing on brutality and power for it's own sake - and that will almost always win (our culture seems to be a macabre show of that even triumphing over any pursuit of truth most often in favor of fitness payouts and Darwinian evolution in the sheer fitness sense). OTOH, what they do miss, I think sometimes in a fantasy of 'fixing the world's irrationality' and at other times just settling scores of political authority, if this really were a thing of people just being emotionally weak and needing a crutch - the evidence would be decreasing over time not increasing, and that's what hasn't been happening.

I also think that what we tend to look for out of this in the west is something that maps onto either a prosperity doctrine protestanism or new age bent where the universe is holding our hand, most pointers seem to lean in the direction of more of an austere sort of industrial processing of consciousness through pummeling and trauma, stuff that might have far more in common with esoteric traditionalist ways of thinking, the processes of human alchemy as laid out in various places by the non-puffer alchemists of the Renaissance, or with more austere forms of Hinduism and Buddhism.

I don't know what my thoughts are on the above, similarly I'm not fully sold even that evidence of psychism or non-physical consciousness would prove that there's any life after death, it seems to suggest that there's no reason to think it's impossible but that's a long way from saying that we can have anything we're secure in. I'd also add - I've seen too many NDE'ers whose follow up, diversion of take-away messages, similar to ayahuasca, suggest that it's a purely subjective experience although what I'm more open-minded to is the idea that this goes into a sort of subspace or a pre-physical layer of their own subconscious mind, where what they'll see is either mostly or entirely the contents of their own memory, dreams, and thoughts either from this lifetime or many.

Dreamtastic wrote:
How do you think materialism influences human happiness? Do you think it's possible that some of the societal problems we experience in today's world might be because we are constantly taught that life is a random accident with no purpose?

I think anyone whose willing to burn down the public commons to ace out their corporate competitors and anyone whose willing to be absolutely ruthless in how they raise their kids as if the Darwinian game of predator and pray is the only thing happening - they're taking a really big risk, and similarly their way of thinking could lead humanity to extinction. Imagine what a strange feeling would be if we turned the earth into Mars just to find out that yes, there was reincarnation and all of that but it was all tied to the biological substrate and now that there's no more biological substrate the noosphere of the planet, including former human minds, would be decaying for the next ten thousand years? There are all kinds of things that probably need to be thought about more seriously, but at the same time I think even with reductive materialism still holding the center of the culture it's getting obvious that a lot of our dominance, status, and vying for top mating choices games that we play are self-terminating, especially as we can accelerate our capacities for processing nature into junk for economic gains or even more democratized weaponry for annihilating life on the planet.


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12 Jun 2020, 10:16 pm

Right off the bat, you need to decide your interpretation of quantum.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretations_of_quantum_mechanics#Comparisons

If your perspective is a deterministic interpretation, then (religious) GODs doesn't make much sense.

[rhetorical] What's the point of worship if everything is already fated by casualty?

However, if you see quantum "collapse" of the wave function from many potential outcomes to one, then for this indeterministic perspective, it may at least be conducive to a (religious) GOD belief.


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Last edited by TheRobotLives on 12 Jun 2020, 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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12 Jun 2020, 10:26 pm

TheRobotLives wrote:
If your perspective is a deterministic interpretation, then (religious) GODs doesn't make much sense.

Unless you were predestined to pray since the moment the block universe got slapped together. We'd be doing exactly what we are and / or what we feel like doing - we'd just be doing it with zero free will (which arguably we probably are right now).


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12 Jun 2020, 10:43 pm

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
TheRobotLives wrote:
If your perspective is a deterministic interpretation, then (religious) GODs doesn't make much sense.

Unless you were predestined to pray since the moment the block universe got slapped together. We'd be doing exactly what we are and / or what we feel like doing - we'd just be doing it with zero free will (which arguably we probably are right now).

So, what is your quantum interpretation (deterministic or not)?


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12 Jun 2020, 10:59 pm

TheRobotLives wrote:
So, what is your quantum interpretation (deterministic or not)?

TBH I don't know.

It seems like, at least from thinking about how time, motive, consciousness, and processing of options all roll out there doesn't seem to be a place for free will, and there doesn't seem to be a good reason to believe that quantum randomness (assuming for a minute that Brian Greene was right in his claims about that) would mean that a person could have made a different choice with all of the same antecedent causes.

I can't be absolutist on that, or Minkowski block universe, because while they seem to fit intuitions remarkably well and coherent in their consequences regardless of materialism, idealism, or whatever else I still am not comfortable in saying with certainty that we haven't done something like making many worlds interpretation far uglier than it is or some other framing which, just shift a few variables we don't have yet and everything that seems plausible goes out the window.

The quantum itself - I'm on the fence as to whether probabilities in this sense are as real as Sean Carroll would claim they are or whether it's what Eric Weinstein said recently - ie. that the quantum world will answer bad questions (like is it either A or B when it's both A and B which it displays one or the other intermittently) whereas the classical world will just ignore bad questions. Both seem like coherent ideas, I just don't know if we have enough evidence for either or yet.


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Dreamtastic
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13 Jun 2020, 7:49 pm

Quote:
In the last ten years I think there's actually been a significant shift in the opposite direction. You have David Chalmers defending a sort of dualism, you have Michael Silberstein speaking and writing quite eloquently in defense of neutral monism, you have Kristof Koch and Giulio Tonini with Integrated Information Theory, you have people like Galen Strawson, Phillop Goff, and Peter Sjöstedt-H defending panpsychism, and perhaps most cogently and appearing on both Sam Harris's Making Sense for three hours as well as on Michael Shermer's Science Salon you have Donald Hoffman and his particular strain of consciousness-first universe with matter as a social network, pervasive Markov chains, and a network of 'contracts' as he'd put them that resemble functionalism with multiple realizability - something the occult community has been describing in the way of 'egregores' since the 18th century. That's also leaving out Rupert Sheldrake and increasing numbers of people are seeing his questions and hypotheses as quite sensible.


Thanks so much for pointing out these folks and theories! I'll admit that I'm not in the loop when it comes to the latest academic theories as much as I would like, so I'll definitely have to check this out.

Quote:
I don't know what my thoughts are on the above, similarly I'm not fully sold even that evidence of psychism or non-physical consciousness would prove that there's any life after death


Well, I think that when most people ask if there is life after death, they mean is there life after death for me? Now I have heard a theory that you are all that exists, and once you die, the universe does too. But I think that most folks would agree that even when one person dies, other people are born after that. So in that sense, there is life after death.

But I think the assumption is that if there is no life after death for "you" as the self/identity/personality you are now, then there is no life after death period, even if other folks' lives start after yours ends. Again, the idea is that existing as "you" is the only possible way to exist. And I guess I'm just not so sure that I agree with that assumption. :)

Quote:
but at the same time I think even with reductive materialism still holding the center of the culture it's getting obvious that a lot of our dominance, status, and vying for top mating choices games that we play are self-terminating


Agreed. :) But I guess that is sort of what materialism teaches, or at least implies. Since this one random accident existence is all that we have, we might as well gain as much as we can for ourselves, even if that comes at the expense of others.


Quote:
Right off the bat, you need to decide your interpretation of quantum.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpret ... omparisons

If your perspective is a deterministic interpretation, then (religious) GODs doesn't make much sense.

[rhetorical] What's the point of worship if everything is already fated by casualty?

However, if you see quantum "collapse" of the wave function from many potential outcomes to one, then for this indeterministic perspective, it may at least be conducive to a (religious) GOD belief.


I will admit that I'm not especially educated in the field of science. My only real knowledge of how quantum theory might rule out materialism comes from listening to Robert Lanza's "Biocentrism" books. I found those books very intriguing, but once again, I just find it so hard to believe that one person or one theory has all the answers. :)

As far as "God" goes, I am definitely open to the idea of a higher or ultimate intelligence. I just don't think that if God does exist, he/she is much like how he/she has typically been characterized in world religions. But I guess that since I've heard that quantum theory sort of means that "all things are possible," a religious type God could be too. :)



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13 Jun 2020, 8:33 pm

"scientific materialism" isn't exactly new. In it's basic form, it's Epicurean atomism, a philosophy roughly 2500 years old.

And it has become so widespread through the advance of science. It is even a necessary belief for science to even be a thing at all.
The necessary belief for a scientist must slways be that there is a more fundamental law that, in it's application, creates certain observable effects. Searching for these fundamrntal laws has, within inly a few centuries, charted out most things between quantum mechanics and relativity in some form or another. And while there are very obvious, everyday things that have no good andwer - what the best way of eating is, for example - the answer is usually one of interactions between molecules.

Human consciousness is widely believed to be an emergent effect of hiw the brain works because messing with the brain (through chemicals or electric and electromagnetic stimuli) changes the subjective experience - so chemicals and electricity at least play a role in human consciousness. To what extent, we can't say for sure, but science needs to assume that it can find out how this works.

It's a question of where to draw the line between the natural and some sort of supernatural occurrence. - but we don't even have a workibg definition of what "natural" means. Right now, the best definition is: anything that can be scientifically explained.
Hence, supernatural is anything that cannot be explained. So, science is the endeavour of making the supernatural natural.

It's quite obvious that this won't end anytime soon, that this is a tool for power, abd that it is a game which you can not choose to not play, once it's invented.


Has it made humans happier? Probably not.
Neuroendocrinologist Robert Sapolsky considers religion to be "nature's anti-depressabt", and religious people are on average happier.

It's influence on politics is probably less than you'd think, though, since politics is a game of emotions, spectacle and power, and that has always been the case. So, whether it's the 14th century vatican electibg a pirate to be the pope, in the hope he can get rid of the other two popes (that really happened, and he did not succeed), or American citizens electing a reality TV-star to "drain the swamp"... There's not an awful lot of difference.
Maybe some environmental protection laws could ve argued to have been the result of understanding how atoms work, but I'd argue, by and large, people do not believe in atoms at all. They're these sbstract things thst scientists work with to do things.

But when I walk by the vegan ice cream parkor in my town wgich advertises its icecream as sugar free (yet sweetebed with dates) I wonder: what di these people thibk makes dates taste sweet, if not fructose? Magic?


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techstepgenr8tion
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13 Jun 2020, 8:41 pm

shlaifu wrote:
But when I walk by the vegan ice cream parkor in my town wgich advertises its icecream as sugar free (yet sweetebed with dates) I wonder: what di these people thibk makes dates taste sweet, if not fructose? Magic?

Something that doesn't lower vegan social status points whatever it is.


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13 Jun 2020, 10:09 pm

Dreamtastic wrote:
Okay, so we all probably know the modern paradigm predominant in today's times, or as I like to call it, the modern "worldview" of reality. Please note that what follows is not me expressing my own beliefs but rather my interpretation/understanding of this worldview. Since it is my own interpretation/understanding, it is possible that some aspects could be mistaken. :)


"Weltanschauung", mate. :wink:


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14 Jun 2020, 12:40 am



SMiLes; Material Reductionism
Measures; And Soul Breathes Deeper
Than Materialism Sees; So What is Soul;
Not A Question Science Answers; for if it could
There Will be A Cure For 'Trumps' Gaining A Benefit
of a 'Soul', iN A Pill; ThiS How 'Advanced' Science
Is in Human Terms; When i got Shut-in Sick, 66
Months; Sick Enough And Close then to Death;
And Lost my Emotions; No Remedy for that;
But Wait! As No Doctor Had a Solution for that
Part of my Soul Lost; Then i Found Out the Root
of the Problem For Soul of Emotions; Yes, Spirit of HeART
Flows From Head to Toe; as 'the Nuclear Reactor' That Powers
Us Most to Naturally Emote Life For Real; Take Care of Your Soul
Physician; and Breathe in Balance; Regulating Emotions; Integrating Senses;
Yes
Free
DanceSinG
Be Whole Yes
Be Complete
Be Laser Focus
Greater Short Term
Working Memory, Now;
Yes, Excellent Cognitive
Executive Functioning; What
Science Lacks is what i am missing then
Most; A Path Back to Soul; Emotions Moving
Success of Life Most; Now i have it all; plus
i'm 3 Times Stronger In Terms of Empirical
Measure on Leg Pressing at 60 than 53; And
21 too; as my Graduate Level Sociology Teacher of Aging
wasn't Prepared to Measure 1520 Pounds of Leg Pressing at 60;
when i was 21 and did 500 Pounds then; of course the Gym
is Closed Now as the Military takes care of their Workers;
Never the Less, put a Youtube Video in for proof at 1340 Pounds
And 12 Reps of Very Slow Pressing for 100 Seconds at a 90 Degree
Angle; i never leave Home without the Proof of what is Possible; but of course
'back then', 'they' said it wasn't possible; be prepared to be Old at 60; i did it the
Opposite way and got stronger; But First, i got even Stronger With Soul in Balance;
Again, Just another
Term for Emotions
Regulating and Senses
Integrating for Best Success;
Balance the Body; Balance the Mind;
My Psychiatrist saw the effective results
He could never 'repair'; quit His Practice
and said i inspired him to Teach Movement
Therapy at a Teaching Hospital in South Florida;
Key is come to Know/Feel/Sense Yourself Within; don't count on
Science to do it; as Science is a Smaller Picture View; And Human
Soul is
the Biggest
Picture Any
of us ever do;
Bigger or Smaller now;
3 Degrees of College Taught
me very Little of what it means
to Truly Thrive in Life for Soul, Yes,
Heaven Success within; and of course
Religion is Just Material Reductionism
In Smallest Soul of all Seeing A Dirt Nap as the Ultimate Goal in Life.
The Parts Within innate; instincts; intuition; the Oldest Newest Intelligences still
Naked Born
Free Now
to truly
Arrive
Alive as
More than
Just a Ghost
in a Machine; and more;
Poverty of the Soul Not in
the Realm of Science to Repair alone.
As Soon as Science Plays the 'Next Jimi Hendrix
Guitar Solo', i'll be Impressed; but first Science
Will Have to Figure Out How to Bring that
Human being Back to Life and recreate
The Entire Snowflake of His Being;
Smiles, Life is A Unique Snowflake
And so much more than Science;
When i was in College There Were warning
Signs on Computer Labs and Engineer Classes;
'Don't Forget You Are Human'; those warnings are fruition now forgotten;
Yeah; sure, there is always a Renaissance Somewhere with an Elite 5 Percent Exclusion;
Like Any 'Dead
Poet's Society '
Reciting Breath Again HoME;
click, click, click, 'Dorothy' You're Back;
Or 'Alice' If and When 'Neo' NoW Loves to
DiVE iN Rabbit WHoLeS Deeper in Ocean
View Breath
Sublime;
Not
What
Science
Regularly
Does Best in
Beauty's Eyes Arts Alive..:)


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15 Jun 2020, 8:39 am

Donald Hoffman's been hitting the interview circuit pretty hard lately and it seems like it has a lot to do with his ideas landing in that he's exploring a space that it seems many hadn't evaluated in quite this exact manner and he's attempting to do his due diligence in pulling out quantum mechanics, general relativity, classical mechanics, and Darwinian evolution from what he's proposing might be the broader framework underwriting all of the above.


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15 Jun 2020, 8:48 am

Instead of raising questions about reality and postulating an immaterial universe, why not provide some evidence?  Yes, I realize that this is a philosophy thread, so proof-of-concept is not necessary, but why postulate something and advocate for its validity if it cannot be proven? Sure, it's a fun mental exercise, and these postulations make for great cinematic adventures (i.e., Avengers, Star Trek, Star Wars, et cetera), but other than that, just what is the point?


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15 Jun 2020, 8:59 am

Fnord wrote:
Instead of raising questions about reality and postulating an immaterial universe, why not provide some evidence?  Yes, I realize that this is a philosophy thread, so proof-of-concept is not necessary, but why postulate something and advocate for its validity if it cannot be proven? Sure, it's a fun mental exercise, and these postulations make for great cinematic adventures (i.e., Avengers, Star Trek, Star Wars, et cetera), but other than that, just what is the point?

This topic is about materialism not universes.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Materialism

More deeply, it's about Pascal's wager
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_wager


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Last edited by TheRobotLives on 15 Jun 2020, 9:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

techstepgenr8tion
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15 Jun 2020, 9:02 am

Fnord wrote:
Instead of raising questions about reality and postulating an immaterial universe, why not provide some evidence?  Yes, I realize that this is a philosophy thread, so proof-of-concept is not necessary, but why postulate something and advocate for its validity if it cannot be proven? Sure, it's a fun mental exercise, and these postulations make for great cinematic adventures (i.e., Avengers, Star Trek, Star Wars, et cetera), but other than that, just what is the point?

Couple thoughts:

1) Some people are, you'll find more of it sprinkled in over time as this thread progresses.
2) Any proof yet that the end game of quantum mechanics is string theory or Everett many-worlds?


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Fnord
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15 Jun 2020, 9:08 am

TheRobotLives wrote:
Fnord wrote:
Instead of raising questions about reality and postulating an immaterial universe, why not provide some evidence?  Yes, I realize that this is a philosophy thread, so proof-of-concept is not necessary, but why postulate something and advocate for its validity if it cannot be proven? Sure, it's a fun mental exercise, and these postulations make for great cinematic adventures (i.e., Avengers, Star Trek, Star Wars, et cetera), but other than that, just what is the point?
This topic is about materialism not universes...
Yes, yes, of course ... Materialism involves that which can be measured, observed, or both.  I get it.  With evidence of the material nature of the universe all around us, there is no need to prove its reality.

Anything allegedly "Supernatural", however, cannot be measured or observed, but only postulated (or taken on faith).

So all we can really know is only what we can observed or measure (or both).


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