What does the end of materialism mean for political science? |294|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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    What does the end of materialism mean for political science? |294|
    by Alex Tsakiris | Nov 17 | Consciousness Science

    Dr. Alexander Wendt examines the implications of consciousness science on the social sciences.
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    photo by: David Ohmer

    I was introduced to the power of interdisciplinary thinking when I found myself way over my head in a graduate course in cognitive psychology. I had gone back to school at the University of Arizona to pursue a PhD in this new, cool thing called “Artificial Intelligence.” Once there, I met a wonderful classmate from Norway with a similar interest. Oystein was a lot smarter than me and a much better programmer, so I was willing to follow his lead when he suggested we take a graduate course in cognitive psychology. After a week I was lost and ready to throw in the towel, but everything changed when Oystein brilliantly turned the discussion toward the latest advances in computer architecture and the possible implications for cognitive psychology. As it turned out, the professor and his graduate students were very aware that their models were largely based on computer models, so they were eager to find out how advances in computer science might effect them. The course was a breeze from then on.

    The lesson stayed with me, it’s okay to borrow models from other fields, but it’s a good idea to reassess how you’ve applied them when those interdisciplinary models change. Today on Skeptiko we look at a paradigm busting interdisciplinary approach to the social sciences by way of Dr. Alexander Wendt from the Ohio State University and his new book, Quantum Mind and the Social Sciences:
     
  2. Yes, I think in the mainstream, the social sciences are based on materialist assumptions. It makes a huge difference because in order to understand what is happening on the physical level you really have to understand what is going on at the spiritual level - for individuals and up through to the national, international, planetary and interplanetary level. If you don't believe in spirits or the afterlife you can never understand what a human being is or understand anything about humanity or even the physical universe.

    A correct understanding of consciousness throughout all sectors of humanity would be transformative.
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/the-science-scam-is-one-of-biggest.html

    You can get a glimpse of the potential good that a true understanding of consciousness could yield by considering the fields that have progressed despite mainstream adherence to materialism:


    Furthermore, people who experience psychic and afterlife phenomena are harmed by scientist's denial of our spiritual nature.
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-harm-caused-by-pseudoskepticism.html

    If social scientists would recognize that consciousness cannot be explained by materialism they would open up furthers vistas for the betterment of humanity.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
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  3. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Here's the thing: lots of people already believe such things, but it hasn't so far helped alleviate much suffering. It would help a lot more if people, more than believing them, actually knew them. But then again, if they did know them, what would be the point of incarnate existence? I suspect people aren't suffering unnecessarily, but suffering necessarily. For whatever reason, suffering may be the price of eventual transcendence.
     
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  4. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I am always uncomfortable when people glue the prefix "Quantum" on to just about anything. I like to invent new such expressions and GOOGLE them to see if they exist, for example:

    https://www.createspace.com/4406077
    http://www.sexandquantumphysics.com/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel's_Quantum_Kitchen
    http://quantumwellnessbotanicalinstitute.com/
    http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index689.htm
    http://www.quantumbicycles.com/
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/62558.Quantum_Psychology
    http://www.painfree-now.com/Quantum-Birthing.html
    http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academi...s-and-hamiltonians-options-and-interest-rates
    https://www.youtube.com/user/QuantumSavvy
    http://www.inquisitr.com/809176/plants-do-quantum-physics-vegetables-smarter-than-us-apparently/
    http://quantumsoundtherapy.com/

    You get the general idea!

    I was glad that Alex managed to drag the discussion out of that rut towards the end.

    I do agree that a non-materialist view of consciousness should have a profound effect on a whole variety of 'soft' disciplines, except perhaps that they have often adopted an unofficial non-material view of consciousness already.

    David
     
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  5. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    Apologies to all but my quick scan of the transcript makes me think that Wendt doesn't really have a good grasp on much of what he's talking about in areas outside of PoliSci.

    Beyond that I think the theme question is not lucrative for at least two reasons:

    1 If there actually is an end to materialism any time soon what changes occur will depend on what becomes the main perspective.
    2 PoliSci is an abstraction and any significant changes to it will come after major changes in individuals and the systems they create.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  6. What statistics do you have to back up your assertion?

    "Lots of people" on an absolute measure but not on a relative measure.
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/worldrel.htm
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    Look at who committed the worst genocides in recent history: http://www.scaruffi.com/politics/dictat.html
    Mao, Hitler, Stalin did not believe that they would have a life review where they would experience the suffering they caused other people.

    How can you know anything? Science can't prove a theory it can only falsify one. Epistemology is a huge question way beyond the scope of this thread.
    I'm just answering Alex's question which I quoted. He asked if it is true and if it matters.
    But do you advocate that we stop using modern medicine, labor saving machines, agricultural techniques, methods of sanitation, building codes, democratic governments, weather forecasting, watershed management, etc etc that have reduced suffering for humanity?
     
  7. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    Hmmm... Just a random obsevation, but wouldn't you expect more people to take the "easy way out" if they knew? Fear of death is one of the, if not the, main reasons why some people avoid suicide despite living miserable lives. In my view, this is also one of the reasons why materialism pairs so well with things like consumerism. Fear of death = Trying to prolong life = More time as part of both the standard cycle of consumerism (even by trivial means like food or transportation), but more importantly, a willingness to join the scheme that is our medical insurance system (be it willingly in order to prolong life or indirectly by reaching a certain age and falling prey to the ravages of age). Its somewhat ironic that the commies were the first to drop religion, when our capitalist system as it stands today pairs so well with the materialist dogma. Knowing could open the door for people to drop out of life when they began feeling unhappy or unhealthy, several would ignore the eastern concept of karma or simply assume that they could simply abandon the ship again if things got hard the next time around. That is a big problem for all sort of corporations and the government itself.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
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  8. Alex

    Alex New

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    look at the book on Amazon... he knows what he's talking about.
     
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  9. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    These statistics tell of the number of people in each of the major religions. Despite all that belief, there isn't too much evidence that it's alleviated much suffering, is there?

    Hitler was baptised and confirmed as a Christian.
    Stalin spent five years in a Greek orthodox seminary.

    Neither may have believed in the life review, and both in later life may have become atheist, but there's evidence in both cases that this may have been influenced by a reaction against religious upbringing.

    What has disproving scientific theories got to do with truth or knowledge? Science isn't even a way of knowing: it's more a way of modelling.

    I don't accept your waving aside epistemology simply because you opine it's way beyond the scope of this thread. You post scods of stuff here as if you're the world's expert on all things spiritual--and imperiously dismissing others doesn't cut any ice. Stand your ground and discuss your case or don't bother.

    You're a crazy man. Where did I say that? And who created modern medicine, etc? Probably as many atheists as religionists.

    Fact is, my response wasn't an attack on what you posted: more of a reflection. If you want an argument, go look elsewhere. This is a place for civilised discussion, not thinly disguised hostility.
     
  10. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    His book may be okay. But writing is different. You pause, you re-read what you wrote, you (hopefully lol) consult references and others,re-check the points you make. But it's a different thing when one is called on to converse about it.

    I'll change my critique to . . "based on some of his statements in the interview I think he doesn't know these areas well enough for my liking."
     
  11. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    Excellent interview Alex. You hit the ball out of the park a couple of times I thought; and your guest brought a lot to the table. Looking forward to the next instalment of Dr Wendt.

    When I heard the title of the book I initially thought, oh dear! I am not a fan of the very loose and metaphorical way many people use quantum mechanics to discuss or explain consciousness and free will. But to my perception that is not what Dr Wendt is doing.

    I haven’t read the book, so just going from the interview, Wendt seems to be working at two levels; philosophical and technical. In other words the inherent philosophical absurdities and failure of materialism which social science theory and practice clearly implies; and the application of quantum statistical methodology to the social sciences.

    I am on the side of the angels with respect to the absurdity and inadequacy of materialism; and I can see no objection to applying quantum statistical methodologies to the social sciences.

    What I want to focus on in this comment is the issue of social bodies or systems, such as organisations, institutions, societies, nations etc. Wendt seems to imply in passing that he does favour granting some form of metaphysical existence to such social entities; and I agree in principle; question is, what kind of existence or reality?

    This kind of thinking is also represented to some extent in the ideology currently dominating the Western social mind – neoliberalism.
    I am referring to market fundamentalism and specifically the myth of the invisible hand.

    The other side of neoliberalism is a radical individualism. The dissolution of society and human social order into an aggregate of atomised (alienated) individuals; the myth of the individual rational self-maximising market actor.

    Of course I think this Panglossian socio-economic theory is a fraud and theoretically absurd and an unfolding social disaster which I hope will soon run its course; but it does get this much right, though in entirely the wrong way; as human beings we are simultaneously individual and social; and these are not separable or independent. Our individuality is a function of our sociality; it is only superficially a chicken and egg situation. One cannot be a human being without society; meaning without other human beings.

    So given the primacy of society, and accepting the reality of mind and consciousness, can we say that the general social mind or the noosphere is every bit as real as our physical bodies and our physical social structures such as houses etc?

    What kind of reality can we assign to the noosphere?

    I think this is a fascinating area not much discussed.
     
  12. Alex

    Alex New

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    this impressed me too.

    great one!

    right, hurrah for better models

    [/QUOTE]What I want to focus on in this comment is the issue of social bodies or systems, such as organisations, institutions, societies, nations etc. Wendt seems to imply in passing that he does favour granting some form of metaphysical existence to such social entities; and I agree in principle; question is, what kind of existence or reality?

    This kind of thinking is also represented to some extent in the ideology currently dominating the Western social mind – neoliberalism.
    I am referring to market fundamentalism and specifically the myth of the invisible hand.

    The other side of neoliberalism is a radical individualism. The dissolution of society and human social order into an aggregate of atomised (alienated) individuals; the myth of the individual rational self-maximising market actor.

    Of course I think this Panglossian socio-economic theory is a fraud and theoretically absurd and an unfolding social disaster which I hope will soon run its course; but it does get this much right, though in entirely the wrong way; as human beings we are simultaneously individual and social; and these are not separable or independent. Our individuality is a function of our sociality; it is only superficially a chicken and egg situation. One cannot be a human being without society; meaning without other human beings.

    So given the primacy of society, and accepting the reality of mind and consciousness, can we say that the general social mind or the noosphere is every bit as real as our physical bodies and our physical social structures such as houses etc?

    What kind of reality can we assign to the noosphere?

    I think this is a fascinating area not much discussed.[/QUOTE]

    great stuff! you've just pierced another veil of almost-but-not-quite-post-materialism :)

    I agree with your point and think it kinda links back to your comment about angels... paraphrasing... how many angels does it take to shift a bayesian correlation?
     
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  13. Neil

    Neil New

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    I bought his book because of the show and it is very good and very thought provoking.

    I am surprised to see such little response to this show. This is a very unique and important perspective on social science and its broader implications.

    Alex, I really look forward to hearing him again, and I hope to see a second book!
     
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  14. Alex

    Alex New

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    I'm with you... I think it's a really important contribution. It's a tangible sign of a shift away from materialism outside of the very small group of folks that usually talk about this issue.
     
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