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Science Set Free



boomerang

Paranormal Adept

Tyger

Paranormal Adept
Excellent.
grinning-smiley-003.gif
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
I think by looking at what we mean by science it will help us decide what is truth and what is going on as seekers of truth and justice:
Shedrake's presentation in the videos posted contain a number of errors and unfounded assumptions leading to specious conclusions. Either that or he presents the so-called scientific dogma in such a way that it can be easily attacked. In other words he's stacked the intellectual deck in his favor rather than being entirely objective.

I'm not going to go into each issue here in one post, however his explanation of conservation of energy ( the total amount of matter and energy is always the same ) is flawed. It's not as he says that God created all atoms and therefore there are as many now as there were then, it's that matter and energy are interchangeable. Atoms can be destroyed at which time they're converted to an equivalent amount of energy. The point on the propensity of scientists to change their assumptions to fit their theories isn't based simply on beliefs, but on observations. Dark Energy and Dark Matter are concepts used to reconcile observations and mathematical estimates. It's also perfectly fair for scientists to look for such matter to see if it exists. This is exactly the kind of exploration Sheldrake's point of view seems to support. Yet here he uses it to criticize. Why the double standard?

Sheldrake's theory of Morphic Resonance appears to be pseudoscientific. The evidence supporting Panpsychism is vanishingly small, and he calls the Big Bang a miracle. These are only a few issues but they reveal just how shaky the ground is that Shedrake's paradigm is built on. I do however agree with him that there is a certain mindset within the scientific community that tends to offhandedly reject proposals for new research. This is partly understandable, but not always justifiable. I believe as he does, that when an alternative view that appears to have some supporting evidence can be easily and safely explored, then there's little reason not to research it. Some of the most amazing discoveries have been made by accident or by outside the box thinkers. Is not the whole point of science to prove a theory by aseeking valid evidence?

I'm also reminded by these videos that reverence for the scientific establishment is often exaggerated to the point of blind faith, particularly by scientific skeptics who fail to acknowledge that science has had it's share of failures including hundreds of verifiable examples of fraud in scientific papers, mostly medical. Scientific claims should be held to the same standards of analysis as any other type of claim. This brings us to the issue posed in the opening post, that of truth. We've touched on that subject a fair bit recently, and I remain of the view that truth is a realization and/or verification of a particular state of affairs. Truth is separate from science, justice, religion, and even philosophy, though I'm sure there would be those who would argue one or more of those points.

Sheldrake Censored From TED

 

boomerang

Paranormal Adept
Shedrake's presentation in the videos posted contain a number of errors and unfounded assumptions leading to specious conclusions. Either that or he presents the so-called scientific dogma in such a way that it can be easily attacked. In other words he's stacked the intellectual deck in his favor rather than being entirely objective.

Sheldrake indeed plays fast and loose with the scientific method. I probably cut him too much slack in his efforts to link mind and matter. It's the mere fact that he seems to be prodding mainstream science to make the effort as well that keeps me listening.
 

Tyger

Paranormal Adept
Shedrake's presentation in the videos posted contain a number of errors and unfounded assumptions leading to specious conclusions.
Interesting that you think that.

Either that or he presents the so-called scientific dogma in such a way that it can be easily attacked. In other words he's stacked the intellectual deck in his favor rather than being entirely objective.

Objective? Puzzling comment given what he is laying out.


I'm not going to go into each issue here in one post, however his explanation of conservation of energy ( the total amount of matter and energy is always the same ) is flawed. It's not as he says that God created all atoms and therefore there are as many now as there were then,

You need to watch the video again. Sheldrake is giving the history of a line of thinking. This is not his pov, he is teasing out the history of scientific thought and I believe this little bit he ascribes to the debate back in the 19th century - I think the source of this idea is spiritual/religious or something - can't recall precisely but for sure it's not Sheldrake's position.

The point on the propensity of scientists to change their assumptions to fit their theories isn't based simply on beliefs, but on observations. Dark Energy and Dark Matter are concepts used to reconcile observations and mathematical estimates. It's also perfectly fair for scientists to look for such matter to see if it exists. This is exactly the kind of exploration Sheldrake's point of view seems to support. Yet here he uses it to criticize. Why the double standard?

You've missed his point completely about the skewing of data to fit a prevailing bias. Dark matter and dark energy are not concepts - you are not 'getting' his line of reasoning. BTW - someone can 'get' someone's line of reasoning and still not subscribe to it. Your comments clearly indicate to me that you are badly mis-hearing what Sheldrake is saying - and are also - perhaps consequently - misunderstanding him.


It's not worth going further.
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Interesting that you think that.
You've missed his point completely about the skewing of data to fit a prevailing bias. Dark matter and dark energy are not concepts - you are not 'getting' his line of reasoning. BTW - someone can 'get' someone's line of reasoning and still not subscribe to it. Your comments clearly indicate to me that you are badly mis-hearing what Sheldrake is saying - and are also - perhaps consequently - misunderstanding him.
You're back to the same old assumption that because I don't express an opinion about a topic that you identify with, that I don't comprehend what is being presented, when in fact I do.
 

Tyger

Paranormal Adept
You're back to the same old assumption that because I don't express an opinion about a topic that you identify with, that I don't comprehend what is being presented, when in fact I do.

This is why arguing with you is fruitless. I am not in any 'same old assumption' - as though I've 'known' you for a long time and we've argued at great length - neither is the case. But what I have noted is a failure to actually deal with what is said when what is said goes to the core of your point in contradiction - making it impossible to have an actual conversation with you about ideas that trouble you. This is a case in point.

You did express an opinion about Sheldrake. As in: "Sheldrake's presentation in the videos posted contain a number of errors and unfounded assumptions leading to specious conclusions." A very sweeping statement that you do not, in fact, back up with actual 'errors and unfounded assumptions.' The man is a scientist and his reasoning is sound - though you may not agree. I gave only a brief indication of how it was clear you did not hear him accurately.

Here is one 'error' you believe he made and that I quoted: " It's not as he says that God created all atoms and therefore there are as many now as there were then," You are in factual error. Sheldrake does not posit this except as a feature in the history of scientific thought. This is a clear illustration of your not understanding what he is saying. I will not go into any of the other points because it's an endless tape-loop - and aside from the fact that there is not time for such endless non-communication, such conversation is not enjoyable.

As stated: it's not worth going further. From this point I expect statements reaching for the ad hominem from you as this is what I have experienced you doing before in one other conversation when it was clear you decided that I did not adhere to your view of things.
 
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flipper

Paranormal Adept
Shedrake's presentation in the videos posted contain a number of errors and unfounded assumptions leading to specious conclusions. Either that or he presents the so-called scientific dogma in such a way that it can be easily attacked. In other words he's stacked the intellectual deck in his favor rather than being entirely objective.

I'm not going to go into each issue here in one post, however his explanation of conservation of energy ( the total amount of matter and energy is always the same ) is flawed. It's not as he says that God created all atoms and therefore there are as many now as there were then, it's that matter and energy are interchangeable. Atoms can be destroyed at which time they're converted to an equivalent amount of energy. The point on the propensity of scientists to change their assumptions to fit their theories isn't based simply on beliefs, but on observations. Dark Energy and Dark Matter are concepts used to reconcile observations and mathematical estimates. It's also perfectly fair for scientists to look for such matter to see if it exists. This is exactly the kind of exploration Sheldrake's point of view seems to support. Yet here he uses it to criticize. Why the double standard?

Sheldrake's theory of Morphic Resonance appears to be pseudoscientific. The evidence supporting Panpsychism is vanishingly small, and he calls the Big Bang a miracle. These are only a few issues but they reveal just how shaky the ground is that Shedrake's paradigm is built on. I do however agree with him that there is a certain mindset within the scientific community that tends to offhandedly reject proposals for new research. This is partly understandable, but not always justifiable. I believe as he does, that when an alternative view that appears to have some supporting evidence can be easily and safely explored, then there's little reason not to research it. Some of the most amazing discoveries have been made by accident or by outside the box thinkers. Is not the whole point of science to prove a theory by aseeking valid evidence?

I'm also reminded by these videos that reverence for the scientific establishment is often exaggerated to the point of blind faith, particularly by scientific skeptics who fail to acknowledge that science has had it's share of failures including hundreds of verifiable examples of fraud in scientific papers, mostly medical. Scientific claims should be held to the same standards of analysis as any other type of claim. This brings us to the issue posed in the opening post, that of truth. We've touched on that subject a fair bit recently, and I remain of the view that truth is a realization and/or verification of a particular state of affairs. Truth is separate from science, justice, religion, and even philosophy, though I'm sure there would be those who would argue one or more of those points.

Sheldrake Censored From TED

When the scientific revolution was taking place scientist thought they were discovering GOD'S laws. Newton for instance was part theologian. Then the body of scientists removed God from the equation. Then who or what is upholding the laws. The miracle of the big bang is "Where did the material for it come from?" It is true when you drive your car you want Newtonian laws to work but UFOs are obeying other spiritual laws.
Where I first heard of Sheldrake was from a CBC series of how to think about science. I invite you to listen to number 10. In this episode Brian Wynne (episode 10) talks about how two sets of scientist came up with two different answers as to why a prediction was wrong. Instead of using the scientific method to find the right answer they went about proving their theory was right. This what Sheldrake is talking about.
How To Think About Science, Part 1 - 24 (Listen) | Ideas with Paul Kennedy | CBC Radio
 
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Tyger

Paranormal Adept
When the scientific revolution was taking place scientist thought they were discovering GOD'S laws. Newton for instance was part theologian. Then the body of scientists removed God from the equation. Then who or what is upholding the laws. The miracle of the big bang is "Where did the material for it come from?" It is true when you drive your car you want Newtonian laws to work but UFOs are obeying other spiritual laws.

Where I first heard of Sheldrake was from a CBC series of how to think about science. I invite you to listen to number 10. In this episode Brian Wynne (episode 10) talks about how two sets of scientist came up with two different answers as to why a prediction was wrong. Instead of using the scientific method to find the right answer they went about proving their theory was right. This what Sheldrake is talking about.

How To Think About Science, Part 1 - 24 (Listen) | Ideas with Paul Kennedy | CBC Radio

Great link. Thank you for posting it.
 

Jimi H.

Paranormal Adept
.. The man is a scientist and his reasoning is sound - though you may not agree...
His reasoning is very unsound in many cases, e.g. the idea of Morphic Resonance is simply yet another expression of unverifiable Platonic idealism.

Elsewhere he commits the classic New Age fallacy of throwing anything labelled as 'energy' into one basket, and he speaks about 'energy balances'. Again, he takes for granted that some ideal levels of 'energy' exist, as is typical among New Agers. Thus, he does not strike me as a scientist, he strikes me as a quasi-religious idealist.

However, I'd like to suggest another branch of thinking which also comes from mixing the world of biology and philosophy, namely the field of bio-semiotics (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosemiotics). In bio-semiotics, you look at chemistry as communication (signs, from semiotics), not as pure chemical process. It is quite interesting, and most of all, it is not idealism dressed up as science.
Also, biosemiotics deals with actual processes, in particular with surfaces that interact, not the supposed correspondence between material objects or beings across the universe. Besides the poorly hidden idealism of it, the morphic resonance stuff posits that we can disregard the distances of the universe itself, and expect that stuff can be like, 'inspired' by similar stuff 20 light-years away, and thereby become. I don't know where to begin with that, it sounds like b.s. to me.
 
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Jimi H.

Paranormal Adept
Love this phrase he uses at around 19:00: "using rationality as a ritual form of authority".
It sounds enticing, but what's the alternative? Irrationality? Religion?

Nietszche's alternative was to 'not think', to forget science and slave morality and go by one's own intuition and follow one's own whims and desires, without reflecting upon them. But to thinking people like himself, that wasn't/isn't really an option, his brain asked too many hard questions! Hence existentialism. Existentialism is tough, hence New Age came to offer an escape, religion for the new age.

My solution is Edward Abbey's solution or Thoreau's solution: Find peace and happiness in the real material world, but stay humble and awed by the fact that the universe and being itself is a mystery, we can't explain it in essential or absolute terms. We can deconstruct it in so many ways, and gain much knowledge that way, but then, do we lose sight of the whole, when we only investigate the particulars? I think so, but that doesn't take away from what we do know, in an isolated sense.
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
... Instead of using the scientific method to find the right answer they went about proving their theory was right. This what Sheldrake is talking about ...
Thanks for your comments.

What people don't often realize before they are familiar with me, is that unlike most people they'll have a discussion with, I actually bother to watch and listen to the videos or read through what people are saying, and I take notes along the way and do comparisons between what is being claimed, what the established facts are, and how well the claim is logically supported. Then when I make a statement it is supported not by some hastily assembled opinions and impressions, but by what was actually said and claimed. In the case of Sheldrake's videos in the opening post, I doubt that you can even describe the premise of the video accurately along with the Ten Dogmas that go along with it, let alone that you are in a position to make assumptions about whether or not I need it explained to me. For your convenience however, Sheldrake's premise and the dogmas are listed below:

Science has become a belief system Sheldrake calls the Materialist Worldview. It is supported by what he calls Ten Dogmas as outlined below:
  1. Nature is mechanical or machine like |
  2. The total amount of matter and energy is always the same ( aka Conservation of energy )
  3. Laws of nature are fixed
  4. Matter is Unconscious
  5. Nature ( Evolution ) has no purpose or direction
  6. Biological inheritance is material ( Genetics )
  7. Memories are stored in the material of the brain | Claims that attempts to find them have failed
  8. The mind is nothing but what goes on inside your brain
  9. Psychic phenomena are illusory
  10. Mechanistic medicine is the only medicine that works

Sheldrake goes on to use the history behind each of the dogmas above to support his view that they are all false. He starts off with Dogma 2. above by describing its history back in the 17th Century and it's premise based in divine creation and quickly skips up to the present where he claims that the basic ideas are still the same. He then attempts to use the concept of dark matter and energy to show how dogma 2. is false. That is what Sheldrake was actually talking about in respect to my past response. If you don't agree, then by all means go back and review it for yourself.

In response to the above I simply pointed out that the laws as he describes them in a historical context, and which he uses to support his position, are not accurate. I also gave a specific example. I also pointed out how his example of Dark Matter and Dark Energy do nothing to disprove the actual law of Conservation of Energy because the concept of Dark Matter and Dark Energy arose out of discrepancies between actual observation and the math. Nobody has actually seen any dark matter or energy ( though Sheldrake is right that some scientists believe it must be there anyway ). But that still isn't relevant to falsifying dogma 2. The amounts of dark matter and energy that are applied to the math to balance the calculations has nothing to do with violating the Law of Conservation of Energy, and it is not I who needs to get that in perspective.

As I said before, I'm not going to go through all the points in detail. I don't have the time. I do however suggest that you take a more analytical approach to what Sheldrake claims rather than simply being sucked in by an otherwise engaging and pleasant speaker.
 
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flipper

Paranormal Adept
R
It sounds enticing, but what's the alternative? Irrationality? Religion?

Nietszche's alternative was to 'not think', to forget science and slave morality and go by one's own intuition and follow one's own whims and desires, without reflecting upon them. But to thinking people like himself, that wasn't/isn't really an option, his brain asked too many hard questions! Hence existentialism. Existentialism is tough, hence New Age came to offer an escape, religion for the new age.

My solution is Edward Abbey's solution or Thoreau's solution: Find peace and happiness in the real material world, but stay humble and awed by the fact that the universe and being itself is a mystery, we can't explain it in essential or absolute terms. We can deconstruct it in so many ways, and gain much knowledge that way, but then, do we lose sight of the whole, when we only investigate the particulars? I think so, but that doesn't take away from what we do know, in an isolated sense.

Sounds reasonable and reasonably sound.

This is off in a different direction but as a thinking person this might interest you:

Ralph Waldo Emerson may not have anticipated our current era of homeland security or the way in which identity politics play out in this you're-either-with-us-or-against-us neoliberal moment. But Eric Keenaghan has gleaned from Emerson's writings important lessons about overcoming social divisions and risk-obsessed security discourses. Even apparently solitary activities like reading, he argues, have important implications for collective action.
Wed 7.17.13 | Emerson and "The Common" | Against the Grain: A Program about Politics, Society and Ideas
 

Jimi H.

Paranormal Adept
..But Eric Keenaghan has gleaned from Emerson's writings important lessons about overcoming social divisions and risk-obsessed security discourses. Even apparently solitary activities like reading, he argues, have important implications for collective action.
Wed 7.17.13 | Emerson and "The Common" | Against the Grain: A Program about Politics, Society and Ideas
That sounds very interesting, thanks, I'll give it a listen! I've read Emerson quite a bit, but mostly his poetry.

PS, offtopic: In Ecce Homo Nietzsche explains that Emerson had a lasting influence upon him, and that Emerson's cheerfulness was a gentle tonic to him during his darker hours: “Emerson with his essays has been a good friend and cheered me up even in black periods […] Even as a boy I enjoyed listening to him”.

I kinda went aha! when I read that, it made so much sense, comparing their thinking, and their view of nature.
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
That sounds very interesting, thanks, I'll give it a listen! I've read Emerson quite a bit, but mostly his poetry.

PS, offtopic: In Ecce Homo Nietzsche explains that Emerson had a lasting influence upon him, and that Emerson's cheerfulness was a gentle tonic to him during his darker hours: “Emerson with his essays has been a good friend and cheered me up even in black periods […] Even as a boy I enjoyed listening to him”.

I kinda went aha! when I read that, it made so much sense, comparing their thinking, and their view of nature.
Careful Jimi, you're straying into the land of transcendentalism, existentialism, and subjective idealism which are fertile grounds for mysticism and magical thinking.
 

Jimi H.

Paranormal Adept
I honestly don't know if you're being serious or just being ironic? Regardless, I think it would be a serious mistake to deny the genius of Emerson, or his sensuality, or stunning language, regardless of one's own views.

- I think of existentialism as brutal and lonely, not mystical, and certainly not magical.

- One of the major points of the American Transcendentalists was that claiming knowledge of absolute (moral/material) truths as found in traditional religious scripture is antiquated and human, all too human. Hence, Nietszche had no quarrels with Emerson. In fact, I think it's wrong to label the Transcendentalists as religious people. Their spirituality was most of all a sensibility, a way of interpreting and appreciating the totality of material nature and being, - at least that's how I'm inspired by them. They are an antidote to the inherent flaws of scientism.
I'm as mystically oriented as anyone who realizes that, in principle, the universe should not have been. Absolute nothingness makes more sense when you think about, but there is something. The mystery is fundamental to me, and it encompasses everything, and so you might call this a transcendental mystery, the mystery is in the all but at the same time in the specific, because it eventually originates from the same source. What was the Big Bang, and how can you really understand it? Denying the material reality of this fundamental mystery appears to me like a fear of accepting the unknown, or fear of accepting our own ignorance.

PS: all these ideas about life being a simulation etc is to me a reaction to the inexplicable. We'd rather deny our own existence than not have some kind of explanation that we can relate to. These days people idealize technology and computers, so now the universe is 'software', and some incredible and awesome 'programmer' supposedly made it all. So, the big programmer becomes God. The Silicon Valley God. Problem is, who created the 'programmer'? It never ends..
 
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