Materialistic science makes us feel less human. He thinks the arts can change that |304|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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    Materialistic science makes us feel less human. He thinks the arts can change that |304|
    by Alex Tsakiris | Feb 9 | Consciousness Science

    Author and poet Dr. Drew Dellinger uses spoken word performances to challenge science’s narrow view of human consciousness.

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    photo by: Gary S
    I don’t quite know how the artistic gene skipped me. I have a whole side of my family who are incredible artists. I have an uncle who’s an amazing painter and sculptor and a bunch of aunts and uncles who are artistically gifted. I am not. But art speak to me, like it speaks to many of us. The arts tell us we’re something more. On today’s show we explore the arts as an embodiment of the repudiation of materialistic science. We’re going to do it with a very talented guest who is an author and spoken word poet, Dr. Drew Dellinger. I don’t think this interview needs much of an introduction beyond that so let’s get right to my conversation with Drew Dellinger:
     
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  2. No. Materialism is incoherent and therefore nothing can be compatible with it.


    Materialism cannot explain consciousness, i.e. subjective experience, i.e. qualia. Art has no purpose except to produce a subjective experience in the viewer and/or listener. Without consciousness, art cannot exist. Since materialism cannot explain consciousness, the existence of art is incompatible with materialism.

     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
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  3. Interesting stuff, I do think our confrontation with art can remind us that the Real exceeds the relational data of science.

    Beyond race I do think the humanities can show us there's more to the metaphysics of prior civilizations than many would expect. I've seen claims that all religions/spirituality presuppose dualism but I think an examination of Chinese culture would indicate a support of panpsychism or neutral monism, Indian culture would be idealism and nondualism, and a variety of indigenous cultures didn't see the distinct separation between psyche and matter that Westerners do.

    After all there was some good reason the fathers of quantum mechanics looked into Taoism, Vedanta, and Jung's Archetypes - the first two reject Western mind-body dichotomy and Jung's Archetypes transcend any particular religion.

    (Reading the history pre-Descartes not even sure you can claim Christianity was inherently dualist.)

    Though I often note the differences in NDEs, I do think a cross-cultural examination reveals mysticism converges on ideas regarding God even if orthodoxies diverge in terms of the historical biases that can infect scriptures.

    More specifically on the subject of art, JF Martel gets into this in his book Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice, but he also wrote some essays about art & consciousness:

    Consciousness In The Aesthetic Vision

    Beauty Will Save the World

     
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  5. Ginko

    Ginko New

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    Very interesting interview. But Alex you betray a materialistic bias right at the get-go when you say the "artistic gene" skipped you! You then repeat it by saying that's just the way "the genetic wheel turns". There is no evidence that there is any specific genetic component for artistic expression. Besides who is to say that what you are doing isn't artistic? Art is so many things.

    I'm with Peter Gabriel who once said "anybody can come up with a great work of art. Just put a gun to their head and tell them they have a year to make something great or...adios" (I paraphrase) Wanting to do it all the time or make a living from it is another matter.

    not to change the subject but have you thought about doing a show with any of the intelligent design people (not the fundamentalists!) who just shred neo-Darwinism and genetic determinism to bits? They do it quite easily in fact. They just look at the data. Our genes work for us, not the other way around. I know Sheldrake believes in evolution. It would be interesting to have him defend that. Perhaps genes are just the interface between the morphogenetic fields and/or our souls and the world. But that ain't neo-Darwinism or evolution really.

    Not to mention the fact that art cuts both ways and is often used as a means of reductionist propaganda. Art could even be made that convinces people that genetic determinism is the only way to understand life. Such is the paradox of art.
     
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  6. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    That is rather amusing because Alex is normally criticised for being too anti-materialism - but you haven't been here long!

    I think his reference to genetics was little more than a turn of phrase, or even ironical!

    There has been a lot of discussion about the shortcomings of Darwinism on this forum, and Rupert Sheldrake has been interviewed more than once.

    David
     
  7. The existence of genes does not prove evolution by natural selection or materialism. That is what intelligent design is all about. Intelligent design does not deny the reality of genetics, what it doubts is the ability of natural processes to produce genetic information.

    And the brain does not generate consciousness it only filters consciousness and it is influenced by genetics.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  8. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's question at the end of the podcast:

    Is artistic expression compatible with the reductionistic, materialistic, consciousness-is-an-illusion-you-are-a-biological-robot, view?
     
  9. Alex

    Alex New

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    so glad you added "beyond" there. I was a little uncomfortable with Drew's stuck-in-the-60's race thing. then again, he's working on a MLK book :)

    After all there was some good reason the fathers of quantum mechanics looked into Taoism, Vedanta, and Jung's Archetypes - the first two reject Western mind-body dichotomy and Jung's Archetypes transcend any particular religion.



    great stuff! thx for sharing.
     
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  10. Alex

    Alex New

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    busted.

    interesting. unrelated (or maybe not :)) I love the scene in Big Eyes when Andy Warhol says, "I think what Keane has done is just terrific... it has to be good. If it were bad, so many people wouldn’t like it.

    might be interesting. who specifically?
     
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  11. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    I must say, I was nauseated by Drew Dellinger's views. While banging on about the necessity for white guilt about more or less everything wrong with the world, he seems to me to have been implying his own innocence of such charges because he is one of the good whites, and has seen through it all.

    Have whites done nothing good for the world? Think Renaissance and Enlightenment, think food aid and the rule of law, think of at least some degree of civilisation, and the conclusion is inescapable: white peoples have been involved in that. It is true that white people initially enslaved black peoples, but then they freed them and increasingly, black people have the opportunity to take part in modern society. Some of the places where involvement in slavery and endemic corruption is still a fact, and has long been so, are in black Africa and other non-white countries.

    My guess is, he's a white American liberal who is projecting his own world view onto other whites, probably those he lumps together on the right. In other words, he's peddling a disguised political view where he's a standard bearer of truth and justice in shining armour. By his own criterion, he could be classified as no less of a spinner of narratives as those he seeks to criticise. If so, I reject that narrative. White nations are far from perfect, but for whatever reason--who knows why--they happen to have been at the forefront of the development of civilisation for at least hundreds of years.

    It may be different in future times--who can tell--but denying this is a typically trendy liberal approach by economically comfortable bleeding hearts who'd soon enough change their tune if their fortunes were to change. It's actually as patronising and paternalistic a view as those Dellinger professes to abhor.

    Spirituality is not directly related to politics, and politicos, left or right, are equally prone to narcissism. The left think they are superior because of greater humanity, and the right, because of greater commonsense. Fact is, we need both humanity and commonsense, so at the moment, if one has to be political, possibly the best approach is centrism; however, in my experience in the UK, what are called centrist views aren't necessarily either humanist or commonsensical.

    I don't think Dellinger has succeeded in disentangling politics and spirituality. He seeks to make a certain brand of politics spiritual by fiat, delivering it in an apparently understanding, humble tone (but which actually may be more hubristic). Bring me a pot to puke in, because I refuse to buy into this kind of rhetoric.

    As regards the AIDS thing (see http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/racialethnic/africanamericans/ for some statistics), which I think Alex mentioned, the narrative goes something like this: secretly, scientists are racist and blame the higher incidence of AIDS in black females on their purportedly higher promiscuity.

    One hardly knows where to start. But most importantly, there's the matter of how AIDS is diagnosed, whether it's AIDS at all, and in any case, whether it's sexually transmitted by the HIV virus--which I personally doubt. The criteria for diagnosing it vary from country to country, and I think there's a pretty strong link between nutrition and sanitation in Africa--and lifestyle and drug taking in the US--with the diagnosis of so-called AIDS.

    Are black US females more promiscuous, or do they tend to take proportionately more drugs and/or live in less hygienic circumstances? And in any case, are their circumstances, or for that matter the proportionately larger prison population of blacks in the US, due solely to white oppression? I'm not saying there is no white oppression, but is it responsible for all cases of so-called AIDS and all black offenders in jail? Are white offenders less likely to be convicted? If so, is that down to prejudice, better court representation, or whatever?

    It's easy for white liberals to point the finger at whites (excepting themselves, of course) and blame them for everything. Someone has to be blamed, but therein lies the rub: it seems there's no role for personal responsibility, whether a person is black or white. By blaming whites, one is denying that many blacks are willing and able to accept that responsibility. It's extremely racist and patronising to say that blacks don't have any choice in the matter of whether to get AIDS or to commit crime, whereas whites do.

    It's just as racist as branding black people as inherently insanitary or criminal. We all know black people who are just the reverse, in fact are extremely moral and admirable people. Some of them are even on the right of the political spectrum. If a black person wants to be an effective and contributing member of society, it might be harder due to socio-economic circumstances, but it's far from impossible. I myself came from an impoverished background, and like many blacks in my country, have improved my situation in life through the exercise of my own effort and personal responsibility.
     
  12. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Said the pot to the kettle that people liked.;)
     
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  13. Psiclops

    Psiclops Member

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    [QUOTE="Alex, post: 86006, member: 1"might be interesting. who specifically?[/QUOTE]

    Michael Denton


    Stephen Meyer


    David Berlinski


    William A. Dembski
    Jonathan Wells
    Michael Behe
     
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  14. Psiclops

    Psiclops Member

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    Sorry can't get the hang of the quote system!
     
  15. Nicole

    Nicole New

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    The Merriam-Webster definition of art says:

    “Something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings. : works created by artists : paintings, sculptures, etc., that are created to be beautiful or to express important ideas or feelings.”

    In my opinion this is where the problem starts, and even Alex buys into it with his opening statement, that the artistic gene skipped him. This leaves us in the belief that an artist is only someone who sings or plays music, dances, writes, creates visual art or acts. Only a selected few have that privilege and for that they have to undergo years of struggle to pay their bills, in the hopes that one day they get discovered and maybe even famous.

    Similarly in the podcast (starting at 9’ 30”), Drew mentioned that there is an inner artist inside each of us who needs to tell the universe’s story and quoted a Japanese artist who said that ‘it is not a special kind of person who is an artist, but that every person is a special kind of artist’. I subscribe to this view, but feel it was not embodied in the interview. We are still left with the impression that an artist is someone who fits the Merriam-Webster definition.

    I had a few conversations with traditional artists, trying to get to the bottom to what makes them tick, and they all expressed the following idea in one form or another: You do not choose to be an artist, it chooses you. It is a drive that wells up from deep within and not expressing your art is not an option. You cannot not do it.

    This is something I can relate to. I too have been driven since childhood by a need to understand the universe and how all pieces fit together. No matter what I do, the same quest emerges and this is why I am here. My guess is that Alex is bitten by a similar bug; otherwise he would not devote the amount of time to Skeptiko he does.

    In my city we have a couple of politicians who have such an amazing ability to connect with people, it is hard to find someone who doesn't like either. One of them is a paraplegic and is frequently seen motoring around in his wheelchair, mingling with his constituency. He mentioned during the last Christmas open house, that he always wanted to talk to people, even as a kid, but ended up making many uncomfortable. Now he gets to talk and mingle for a living, and what has changed is that people actually want to talk back.

    I would argue that this person is fully in touch with his inner artist, as he expresses what makes him uniquely him.

    My point is that the conversation should move away from materialistic science vs. art and instead explore what an artist really is. I believe if people are encouraged to embody their uniqueness and express what only they are able to express, we have for one thing a healthier society and the question of being nothing more than a biological robot becomes mute.

    It seems then, by keeping the definition of art in its small little box and accessible by only the few that are willing to pay its high price, the majority of us are left disconnected from our core, and the status quo remains in place. Wait a minute ….
     
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  16. Chefjames

    Chefjames New

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    Your guest talks a lot about "social justice", white denialism and institutional racism from an historical perspective. As someone who believes in volunteerism, I abhor the idea of social justice. Social justice is an idea promulgated by Progressives. Progressivism Is the same philosophy that brought eugenics, the idea that black Americans should adopt "white culture", brought us the welfare state and the war on drugs which has filled American prisons primarily with blacks. Alex, perhaps you should have Thaddeus Russell a real historian and author of "A Renegade History of America" on the show. It would do your audience good to get a different perspective from an historian who's life work are these issues.
     
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  17. Alex

    Alex New

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    I defiantly get where you're coming from, but as much as we might like to be done with race, I don't think we are. I think we gotta own some... but puke some back as well :)

    but I think you've blown right past the point.

    so we agree that HIV/AIDS science has some huge holes in it. we may not know exactly where the holes are but the epidemiological data tells the real story. for example, it's absolutely silly to suggest that lifestyle/behavior account for African-American woman being 20 times more likely for HIV/AIDS. there's just nothing in the data re sexual activity or drug use that can make this work. so the UN and their scientists are total idiots for publishing such a stat. but, and here's the part that relates, the fact that this ridiculous proposition slides thru the grizzly bars of reasonableness suggest an underlying racism. people would think twice if you published a stat saying mid-aged white women are 20 times more likely for HIV/AIDS.
     
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  18. Steve

    Steve Member

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    I think that unless you've experienced being a coloured guy growing up in the west you can have no idea what undercurrents of racism exist. And exist they definitely do! I see SO MANY subtle (and not so subtle) hints that being a man of colour in the west is an uphill struggle - it is improving, but slowly.

    As for Muslims? A recent thread on this very forum opened my eyes.

    You are so right in pointing out how the statement about African-American women is accepted with quiet nodding of heads, when if the same thing were to be said about whites it would be met with gasps of horror! Such hypocrisy is rife in our society. Fetch ME the bucket! :( You kept bringing it back to science, a worldview that encourages such views, I think that you were right to do so, but it goes far beyond science.

    Walk a mile in their shoes.

    The story that you related involving Ram Dass is just an example of how tough it is to navigate through this life, every day of it. It is a question that I wrestle with a lot, it's not easy. I think that my stroke was caused by not coping with the inequality of things that I saw in the workplace. Now I think that the problem was MINE, no one else's. I had a choice to make, I put off making the choice until eventually I was no longer given a choice - it was made for me!

    I liked Drew a lot. Most musicians and 'artists' of all types are generally in favour of social justice, I think. We are all responsible for making the global consciousness the way it is, no matter where we point our fingers.

    To answer your question: Of course it isn't. Being creative is what makes us grow, feeling emotions of all descriptions is what life is all about - is it pointless? I definitely don't think so, but would find it hard to come to that view if I believed the materialist worldview.
     
  19. Ah this does seem interesting:

    Why I Got Fired From Teaching American History
     
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  20. Alex

    Alex New

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    that might work... pls reach out to him on my behalf and see if he's interested.

    I love the volunteerism concept, but from a historical perspective it seems so, so far beyond what works. or, maybe I'm just not informed... educate me.
     
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