The hard problem: Tom Stoppard on the limits of what science can explain

Discussion in 'Why Science Is Wrong... About Almost Everything' started by Bertha Huse, May 30, 2015.

  1. Bertha Huse

    Bertha Huse New

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    Recent article...

    "When Tom Stoppard was writing The Hard Problem, his play about the conundrum of human consciousness, one of the scientists he consulted was American evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson. The play offers, among other things, a challenge to Wilson’s view that altruism, as a consciously motivated action, can be completely accounted for in terms of evolutionary theory. In the play, Hilary, a young psychologist, scornfully rejects the idea that brain activity “explains” emotions such as sorrow. She ends up quitting a brain science institute and heads off to study philosophy in New York."

    The rest can be found here:

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/20...ard-on-the-limits-of-what-science-can-explain

    My Best,
    Bertha
     
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  2. Reece

    Reece Member

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    When a college professor of mine explained the love of her children in biological/evolutionary terms, I was amazed. This was one of the first things that got me to question the whole "scientific" world view. It wasn't so much that I was offended on some moral level, but rather that I thought it - mechanistic/materialistic thinking - was unintelligent . . . lacking in subtlety and kind of caveman-ish . . .
     
  3. Bertha Huse

    Bertha Huse New

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    For those of us well read in psi research, and in depth psychology or even quantum physics ... the current materialism and the use of science as its authoritative voice of reason does begin to strike one as just another kind of religious doctrine (minus God) forced once again upon the populace. When Neil deGrasse Tyson announces "Philosophy is dead" in the name of Skeptical materialism, you know something is seriously awry in the halls of state sanctioned academia.

    My Best,
    Bertha
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2015
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  4. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Under Idealism, the hard problem ain't even a problem!;)
     
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  5. Reece

    Reece Member

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    Yeah, I can't stand Neil deGrasse . . . just another talking, yapping head to me.

    But back in college, when I first started objecting to/seriously questioning mainstream science, I was completely and wholly unaware of all psi/NDE research. I initially objected because I thought it was ridiculous to think everything everywhere could be measured, which my entire anthropology class (we were all majors) thought completely possible. I figured if there was one single thing that couldn't be measured and factored into their precious equations, then their entire view was flawed. At the time, I certainly understood consciousness to be whole and nonreducible, but my intial objections came from an understanding of the process of creation . . . normally artistic. In my view, creation is quite at odds with materialism, because I believe that ultimately there's something involved that can't be described, accounted for in mathematical terms, and completely beyond the scope of human understand - that is, science. Another objection I inately had was that they thought everything could be taken apart and analyzed, figured out, then put back together. I didn't think this was possible. That's why I've often said that everthing causes everything . . . yet no one seems to understand, (or say they understand), where I'm coming from with this statement. Yet once you see through that lense - that everything causes everything - then you can't go back to thinking that understanding (ultimately) comes from taking things apart. Taking things apart implies seperation, which is an abstraction . . . which doesn't correspond to reality. Reality is whole and inseperable. There's one single thing happening; not two . . . yet science is essentially built on the assumption that things are seperate.

    At any rate, I actually only started becoming familiar with psi and such years after graduating with that useless degree.
     
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  6. Neil

    Neil New

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    Do you have a source for that quote? Are you sure it wasn't Stephen Hawking? I know at least Hawking said that, but if Tyson said that as well I was not aware of it.

    Many physicists are lousy philosophers. That's not new, though :) Lawrence Krauss is another physicist that ignorantly belittles philosophy. He childishly responded to a scathing review of his book by calling philosopher of physics David Albert a "moronic philosopher." Albert was harsh, but he was right. Krauss made claims that made absolutely no sense and then responded childishly. He also said "Every time there's a leap in physics, it encroaches on these areas that philosophers have carefully sequestered away to themselves, and so then you have this natural resentment on the part of philosophers." Perhaps Krauss is not aware that philosophers do not do experimental physics--that's not what they do. That's what experimental physicists are for. What philosophers do, at times, is call physicists on their obviously false claims (such as his book explaining "why there is something rather than nothing.").
     
  7. Bertha Huse

    Bertha Huse New

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    Yeah it's called Google. Try it some time.

    Many philosophers have also been scientists. Take William James for example. Ever walk around Harvard? One of the buildings there has his name on it.

    Cheers mate.

    My Best,
    Bertha
     
  8. Neil

    Neil New

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    Respectfully, I disagree to an extent. I think reductionism does work extremely well for a particular domain. I do not think it can be applied to everything, which is where I think you may be coming from, but I don't think that since reductionism doesn't work for certain domains like consciousness that it is useless.

    To say that it doesn't correspond to reality I think is misleading, since we have quite strong empirical evidence that reductionism is extremely successful for many things in our every day reality. We wouldn't have these computers to communicate with each other if it weren't for the method of reductionism. The potential issue that arises here is what is meant by "reality." In a sense, I think reality is scale-relative. At our human scale, I think reductionism is quite valid to a large degree in certain disciplines (like physics), however if you get to extremely small scales of the quantum, then reductionism starts to fall apart. If you go to the absolute perspective, then reductionism makes no sense whatsoever since there is only unity. But at our scale, you can reduce many things to smaller parts and gain better understanding, but it also should be complicated with a non-reductionist approach. For example, if reductionism were absolutely true, we could explain human behavior by quantum theory, which is obviously absurd.

    I think another example comes from quantum physics. Fundamentally nothing is separate, but even at the scale of quantum experiments, we do not have to take the wavefunction of the entire universe into account with the double slit experiment. Quantum theory would never have been discovered if everything were so highly interconnected., yet fundamentally there is unity.

    Just my opinion, for what it's worth.
     
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  9. Neil

    Neil New

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    I didn't know that "google" was a proper citation. You were the one that stated it was Tyson. I am not about to try to search through the web to see if what you claimed is true, particularly when I think the quote was misattributed to Tyson and was actually Hawking.

    That doesn't change what I stated. Physicists usually aren't good philosophers because they're....physicists. They do not study philosophy. There have been some very good philosopher physicists such as Schrodinger, Heisenberg, and Bohm, for example, but that does not change that physicists generally are not good philosophers.
     
  10. Bertha Huse

    Bertha Huse New

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    I am not about to do your homework for you Neil. I am retired. If you don't believe me then that's your problem not mine.

    No it doesn't. You're right. But on the other hand, some of the best philosophers were also scientists.

    My Best,
    Bertha
     
  11. Reece

    Reece Member

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    I agree.
     
  12. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Bertha, I've checked out Google and haven't been able to find anywhere that Neil deGrasse Tyson said that philosophy was dead--that was Hawking. As far as I can determine, he has said that philosophy is "useless" and "can really mess you up", but not that it's dead.
     
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  13. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Do we need to have so much aggression about such a tiny point?

    David
     
  14. Bertha Huse

    Bertha Huse New

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    Good question eh?

    My Best,
    Bertha
     
  15. Bertha Huse

    Bertha Huse New

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    You're right. I must have mixed the too together. Although I am certain Tyson quoted him at some point in a tweet. Can't find it.

    Same difference though.

    As far as the aggression? Laughable considering the bullshit we've had to put up with Skeptics on this site. If you don't like my style then get Alex to ban me.

    Hell - I think Rupert was right. "Science is almost wrong about everything" IS a shitty title for a book.

    OK you guys want to censor me or ban me more Bailey? Go right ahead. Given how the Skeptics have run roughshod on this forum and you've done shit about it.

    My Best,
    Bertha
     
  16. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    The only people I ban are spammers!

    I wrote what I did as one poster to another - why needlessly raise the temperature of a discussion?

    David
     
  17. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Don't be like that, Bertha. Take a deep breath, count to ten and come back refreshed.:)
     
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