This prominent scientist says life is meaningless… and he’s serious |314|

Well I dont know about Sean, but I certainly hold to the view that QM is epistemic

ps; theorems do not refer to ontic realities; they are mental constructions; a theorem cannot 'prove' an ontic reality
I just remembered an experiment on wave function measurement

https://www.newscientist.com/articl...gets-real-in-quantum-experiment/#.VSF8Z2d0zIU

“In my opinion, this is the first experiment to place significant bounds on the viability of an epistemic interpretation of the quantum state,” says Matt Leifer at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada.

I see it as "something is waving" in that you get interference patterns. Some kind of reality at least for the waves?
 
KeithA said:
"promissory materialism", where it's a kind of future hope that materialism is right



I heard something else in what Sean said about materialism being proven right
First of all Sean is very clear - he believes that is already the case for all honest thinkers... he says so
But he also says that nothing we will discover in the future will alter that conclusion...!!

That he mistakes his belief for an objective fact is bad enough
but to also imply some kind of prescient authoritativeness as to future science is foolishness and hubris

As I said in an earlier comment both of these are common traits in fundamentalists
It seems to be a decision on all future physics, all discovery, also all anomalous experiences to an arbitrary future time. What gives him such confidence?! Maybe he knows the influence he has and dare not say otherwise.
 
I just remembered an experiment on wave function measurement

https://www.newscientist.com/articl...gets-real-in-quantum-experiment/#.VSF8Z2d0zIU

“In my opinion, this is the first experiment to place significant bounds on the viability of an epistemic interpretation of the quantum state,” says Matt Leifer at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada.

I see it as "something is waving" in that you get interference patterns. Some kind of reality at least for the waves?
Thanks Keith
The article makes it clear the experiment is inconclusive and the results are open to multiple interpretations
As with so many of these exotic QM experiments

For me this sentence stands out - "Schrödinger’s cat actually is both dead and alive"

I would never accept this on the basis of either rational theorems or inconclusive experiments
In this case I would require extraordinary evidence


As to what you wrote, that "something is waving", I have no issue with that at all

My own best guess is this - what we call matter is a process, not a thing

Matter appears to us at the macro scale to be a thing
But that appearance is relative to our physical scale & density and our sensorium and is not fundamental

The appearance is not an illusion; but it is also not real in the ultimate sense
 
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While most of us intuit that future science/technology discoveries opens up endless possibilities, folks like Sean, while of course open to future discoveries, however go further into lumping the topics discussed in these forums, in with what would be thought of as truly improbable as for example discovering singing cockroaches are responsible for the force of gravity.
 
Thanks Keith
The article makes it clear the experiment is inconclusive and the results are open to multiple interpretations
As with so many of these exotic QM experiments

For me this sentence stands out - "Schrödinger’s cat actually is both dead and alive"

I would never accept this on the basis of either rational theorems or inconclusive experiments
In this case I would require extraordinary evidence


As to what you wrote, that "something is waving", I have no issue with that at all

My own best guess is this - what we call matter is a process, not a thing

Matter appears to us at the macro scale to be a thing
But that appearance is relative to our physical scale & density and our sensorium and is not fundamental

The appearance is not an illusion; but it is also not real in the ultimate sense
I agree that several different interpretations of QM are still viable even with an ontological wave fn. I think Matt Leifer has summarized these, some massive review he did on this whole issue.

There was a line in the New Scientist article that rang a bell ... If the wave function is real, then a single experiment should not be able to determine its polarisation – it can have both until you take more measurements.
Alternatively, if the wave function is not real, then there is no fuzziness and the photon is in a single polarisation state all along.

I think this chimes with Anton Zeiliger's expts. where photons don't have specific polarizations until measured - creating physical props. The issue of realism being false. However, saying that, I still honestly think there is still some window for the epistemic view of the wave fn., though maybe closing.

Re "matter is a process" as you said I agree with but so must be energy, being interchangeable. I remember a psychologist saying the same of the mind, like a whirlpool he said, which also isn't a thing but also a process creating a form which can change. But what the mind is a process in, if that's sensible, what underlies the process, I wonder must be something eternal and perhaps with unlimited potential. Getting into David Bohm here ... :)
 
I agree that several different interpretations of QM are still viable even with an ontological wave fn. I think Matt Leifer has summarized these, some massive review he did on this whole issue.

There was a line in the New Scientist article that rang a bell ... If the wave function is real, then a single experiment should not be able to determine its polarisation – it can have both until you take more measurements.
Alternatively, if the wave function is not real, then there is no fuzziness and the photon is in a single polarisation state all along.

I think this chimes with Anton Zeiliger's expts. where photons don't have specific polarizations until measured - creating physical props. The issue of realism being false. However, saying that, I still honestly think there is still some window for the epistemic view of the wave fn., though maybe closing.

Re "matter is a process" as you said I agree with but so must be energy, being interchangeable. I remember a psychologist saying the same of the mind, like a whirlpool he said, which also isn't a thing but also a process creating a form which can change. But what the mind is a process in, if that's sensible, what underlies the process, I wonder must be something eternal and perhaps with unlimited potential. Getting into David Bohm here ... :)
I think matter is a process of energy
I do not distinguish in any absolute sense between what we call matter, and energy
I think they are different forms of the same fundamental process
and as processes matter and energy are fuzzy
 
Keith wrote:

" I remember a psychologist saying the same of the mind, like a whirlpool he said, which also isn't a thing but also a process creating a form which can change. But what the mind is a process in, if that's sensible, what underlies the process, I wonder must be something eternal and perhaps with unlimited potential. Getting into David Bohm here ... :)"

I agree with that psychologist
For me the human mind and the human person is a process - not an entity (or a thing)

Our experience of our human person arises in our consciousness, which is the eternal aspect of us, and is part of the Eternal or the Divine

We are not our bodies; nor are we the person we live as in this lifetime in this world
Our human bodies belong to the Earth; they are part of the biosphere
and the human person or personality is created or formed by living a life in this world
And although the person or personality survives the death of the body
I do not consider it eternal
People who recover memories of previous lives, remember being different persons in those different lives

These are my best guesses at this point
 
I had mixed feelings about the afterwards with Alex. Normally I don't like comments when the other person can't respond- it's no longer a dialogue. Feels more like edited tape that way. However, I liked how he put it together with the stop and go function.
The thing is, Doctor Carroll is subject to one of the biggest problems that Materialists suffer from. They are unable to recognize that EVERYONE exists with a worldview. I challenge Alex to go check this out with some materialists in the future. Ask them how the idea of a worldview affects how they see the world?
Almost every Atheist/Materialist I speak say they are "aware of the theory" but are completely oblivious to how they are affected by a worldview.
They argue endlessly that Atheism is not a belief. It's a non-belief. But that's impossible. You can't exist in a vacuum. To have a non-belief, you have to have ancillary beliefs that support that non-belief. You have to- for example say, "I believe in science therefore there is no God"
But they don't even see that.
So I tell them
"I'll make you a deal...
When you show me an Atheist thast believe in Angels, Heaven, Hell, Demons, The Devil, Elves, Magic and Unicorns but doesn't believe in science having the answers or the Scientific Method being the ruler for measuring fact...
I'll let you get away with saying tht Atheism is an opinion based on a single point.
Human beings do not create a single belief. They create associated beliefs to create a structure of reality around ideas. This is how we work.
Welcome to the human species."
 
Almost every Atheist/Materialist I speak say they are "aware of the theory" but are completely oblivious to how they are affected by a worldview.
They argue endlessly that Atheism is not a belief. It's a non-belief. But that's impossible. You can't exist in a vacuum. To have a non-belief, you have to have ancillary beliefs that support that non-belief. You have to- for example say, "I believe in science therefore there is no God"
But they don't even see that.
This really is just a semantic issue. It's unlikely that the atheist who states that atheism is the rejection of a claim (ie: the proposition: there is at least one deity) is saying that they don't have ancillary or other related beliefs. Of course they have other beliefs. What they are saying, though, is that when they say "I am an atheist" what they mean by that is no more than "I do not believe in any deities". That is the soft atheist position. They will have all sorts of other beliefs, about science, religion, whathaveyou. It's just that they will say that those beliefs are separate from their identification as an atheist. That the only requirement to being labelled an atheist is the lack of belief in a deity.

The same goes for theists. To be a theist simply means that one believes in at least one deity. Nothing more. If all you know about someone is that they are a theist you can't draw any other conclusions about what they believe. Their specific beliefs about the deity they believe in is something in addition to their theism. But to be considered a theist there is no other requirement than to believe in at least one deity.

Atheist/theist are pretty broad tents. There are those with elaborate, well defined views, there are others with almost no defined views. Some atheists will value science, others won't. For me, my atheism long predated my interest in science, for example. I stopped believing in a deity at around 11 or 12. I just didn't buy what I was being told. It had nothing to do with science, nor where my reasons anymore developed than I simply stopped believing.

Here's the thing: if you want to know what the atheist thinks about science, just ask! The debate over the definition of atheism/theism doesn't go far. So long as parties are clear on their terms for the discussion they can use whatever terms they like!
 
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S

Sciborg_S_Patel

I had mixed feelings about the afterwards with Alex. Normally I don't like comments when the other person can't respond- it's no longer a dialogue. Feels more like edited tape that way. However, I liked how he put it together with the stop and go function.
The thing is, Doctor Carroll is subject to one of the biggest problems that Materialists suffer from. They are unable to recognize that EVERYONE exists with a worldview. I challenge Alex to go check this.out with some materialists in the future. Ask them how the idea of a worldview affects how they see the world?
Almost every Atheist/Materialist I speak say they are "aware of the theory" but are completely oblivious to how they are affected by a worldview.
They argue endlessly that Atheism is not a belief. It's a non-belief. But that's impossible. You can't exist in a vacuum. To have a non-belief, you have to have ancillary beliefs that support that non-belief. You have to- for example say, "I believe in science therefore there is no God"
But they don't even see that.
So I tell them
"I'll make you a deal...
When you show me an Atheist thast believe in Angels, Heaven, Hell, Demons, The Devil, Elves, Magic and Unicorns but doesn't believe in science having the answers or the Scientific Method being the ruler for measuring fact...
I'll let you get away with saying tht Atheism is an opinion based on a single point.
Human beings do not create a single belief. They create associated beliefs to create a structure of reality around ideas. This is how we work.
Welcome to the human species."
I really like this observation on the associated beliefs that underlie our statements about reality.This is an interesting point, it reminds me of when Colin McGinn - before he shifted further away from materialism - said that while there wasn't going to be a solution to the Hard Problem we should just take materialism on faith because it just made the most sense. Yet to someone else, Idealism or Neutral Monism would be more sensible - in fact IIRC McGinn's something of a Neutral Monist now. All depends on what intuitions and desires people bring to the table.

I've found the faith of the skeptic is based on supposed objectivity of the sciences, even though scientism itself rests on certain - often mechanistic - assumptions about the nature of reality. This leads to some interesting ideas that apparently are OK for naturalists, such as the universe being a computer simulation or just made out of Platonic Mathematics. We live in odd times when you can find naturalists more willing to accept ideas like we can upload our brains into computer programs or have romantic relationships with future computer programs than those immaterialist metaphysics where we have no souls and enter oblivion upon death.

Even certain ideas, like every reality has to have fixed unchanging laws, are hard for even immaterialists to shed.

On that last bit...I appreciate the sentiment but I actually do suspect there are atheists that believe in the possibility of spiritual entities like the ones you mention but don't believe that science can answer all questions because it can only investigate relationships between things rather than their intrinsic natures. I say this because I might count myself in that set...at least on some days...
 
That's my entire argument. There's no such thing as "single beliefs". Beliefs run in strings that are based on a number of different factors.
Possibly those who talk in terms of 'simple beliefs' like to play with words - such as taking the word 'atheism' and declare that by definition it means something very simple and self-contained. Sometimes I may play such games myself, for example the word 'plastic' was in use in the 1630s, with the meaning "capable of shaping or moulding" but we know it has many other meanings and associations. Simple word games aren't sufficient, the supporting concepts and ideas weave a vast and tangled web into our view of the world.

edit: I noticed that I misquoted the word 'single' as 'simple'. However I leave the rest of my post unchanged. I consider it still stands as is.
 
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That's my entire argument. There's no such thing as "single beliefs". Beliefs run in strings that are based on a number of different factors.
Sure, none of our beliefs exist in a vacuum. The issue here, is not what our beliefs are but rather how we are communicating them to one another. Those atheists aren't saying they don't have those strings - just that they'll use different words for them!

If someone says "when I say the word "x" this is what I mean by it" then you know what they mean and it allows you to continue the conversation. I mean, you can argue with them that they shouldn't use that word in that way, but that's a different proposition.

What is your objective with the line of argument? That people are using words wrong? If enough people adopt a certain definition, then it no longer becomes wrong. The definitions of words evolve.

I think we sometimes forget that the words are basically tools that allow us to communicate our meaning to each other. Often, people mean different things by the same words. This can lead them to talk past one another. They think because they are using the same words, they are each talking about the same thing, when that may not be true. But once someone says "this is what I mean by "x"" this helps resolve that. The other person can say "oh, by "x" I meant something else!" Then they can decide to sidetrack the discussion and argue about who is using "x" right - or they can say to themselves "now that we know what each other means, we can better understand one another and continue the discussion!"

The problem with arguing over word definitions is that often both people are using commonly accepted, but slightly different, definitions. In that sense, both parties are "right". What will continuing to argue about definitions accomplish other than frustration for both parties. What good comes from saying "I know you've said that by "x" you mean such and such, but I'm still going to proceed on the basis that if you say "x" you really mean [insert preferred definition]"? Communication is guaranteed to break down!
 
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