Mod+ 274. DR. BERNARDO KASTRUP, WHY OUR CULTURE IS MATERIALISTIC

#21
I wonder if you got what (at least I think) he was saying. He thinks those mutations happened, but they were not random, but deliberate (at least some of them).

David
Yes I got what he meant. That's why I only quoted the part in question. Macro-evolution is nonsense. And contrary to what some claim there has never been proof of it and the evidence offered is dubious.
 
#22
Yes I got what he meant. That's why I only quoted the part in question. Macro-evolution is nonsense. And contrary to what some claim there has never been proof of it and the evidence offered is dubious.
If the mutations are deliberate, lots of things are possible. For example, a whole suite of genes could be constructed in an inactive form, and then activated in one burst.

David
 
#23
If the mutations are deliberate, lots of things are possible. For example, a whole suite of genes could be constructed in an inactive form, and then activated in one burst.

David
Over what time frame? How do you keep them from mutating into junk over long periods of time if you can't select for them? How do you get them distributed throughout the population if they don't have a survival advantage? Or, how do you keep them all together in one organism through generations of breeding?
 
#24
Idealism isn't a scientific theory. It doesn't aim to model the patterns and regularities of nature. Instead, it's an ontology: a framework for interpreting scientific theories as far as the underlying nature of things and phenomena. That said, it does have implications that depart from materialism. Chapter 8 of Brief Peeks Beyond is entirely about it. A quick overview is available here:

http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2014/09/does-it-matter-whether-all-is-in.html



The jump is a subtle, remarkably small shift in perspective. Once you make it, you find it astonishing that you hadn't seen it before, so self-evident it is. The only difficulty comes from the cognitive pollution we get from the culture, with the myriad hidden assumptions we constantly absorb since childhood.

I have thought about substance dualism as a stepping stone for the culture at large -- not for science -- for a long time now. I have some sympathy for it. My first book was even written under a dualist metaphor. But ultimately, promoting substance dualism just adds more pollution, reinforces the confusion, and hides the key strengths of idealism: it's parsimony, logical coherence, and empirical honesty. Substance dualism may be handy from a spiritual perspective, but it simply cannot replace materialism as the ontology of science, for it isn't internally coherent or empirically grounded.
Hey Bernardo, I recently finished Why Materialism is Baloney. If I started a thread on it, are you still interested in involving yourself in discussions about this book? I realise that you've got a new one coming out shortly which you are probably more interested in discussing, but I thought I would ask! (I might do it in any event, just for the members here to discuss, though it would be more interesting with you in it). Please feel no obligation, I understand that you have other priorities!
 
#25
Hey Bernardo, I recently finished Why Materialism is Baloney. If I started a thread on it, are you still interested in involving yourself in discussions about this book? I realise that you've got a new one coming out shortly which you are probably more interested in discussing, but I thought I would ask! (I might do it in any event, just for the members here to discuss, though it would be more interesting with you in it). Please feel no obligation, I understand that you have other priorities!
I will try, time allowing. Don't get me wrong if I choose to answer common criticisms by pointing people to essay 2.2 in the new book, or other material online. I can't react to the same criticisms over and over. So maybe a good way to start the thread is to also point people to the below, before they start criticizing.

http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2015/04/social-media-policy-and-useful-links.html
 
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#26
I will try, time allowing. Don't get me wrong if I choose to answer common criticisms by pointing people to essay 2.2 in the new book, or other material online. I can't react to the same criticisms over and over. So maybe a good way to start the thread is to also point people to the below, before they start criticizing.

http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2015/04/social-media-policy-and-useful-links.html
Thanks Bernardo, I appreciate it! I will post the link. Though I haven't read any other critiques of your book so I don't know if my comments are common or not! I'll post a link in this thread or send you a PM when I do it.
 
#27
274. DR. BERNARDO KASTRUP, WHY OUR CULTURE IS MATERIALISTIC
POSTED ON MAY 5 IN CONSCIOUSNESS SCIENCE |






Alex Tsakiris of Skeptiko interviews Dr. Bernardo Kastrup, author of Brief Peeks Beyond about the shortcomings of science’s reigning paradigm of materialism.
I have a couple quick questions.
On this: Why would consciousness deceive us by simulating a materialist world?

I'm not quite satisfied with the answer, and I don't necessarily agree that it's as stupid and childish a question as implied on the podcast. First off the answer of "Why not ask the sun why it deceived us" seems off simply because the sun is not conscious, right? This is like answering the question "Why did Jim deceive me" with "That's a silly question. Why not ask a can of coke why it deceived you?". If the question is framed like this: "why would the cosmos appear to be largely physical when the entire cosmos is consciousness itself", does it become less stupid?

Also, I'm curious about what you mean by materialists being deprived of an experience that is available to non materialists, such as dualists. Isn't the cosmos what it is regardless of whether or not you understand how it works? I'm assuming you are saying this hyperbolically and not literally to make a point about the materialists philosophical position.
 
#28
First off the answer of "Why not ask the sun why it deceived us" seems off simply because the sun is not conscious, right?
To say that all is in consciousness does not mean that all is conscious, which is a point further elaborated upon in the book. Idealism does not say that the sun is conscious, in the sense of having private inner life and intentionality like you and me. It only says that there is nothing to the sun but what is experienced 'somewhere' in consciousness (not necessarily your personal consciousness alone). See: http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2014/07/ripples-and-whirlpools.html and http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2015/04/the-reality-nervous-system.html (point 3).

Now, idealism does say that the universe as a whole is the external aspect -- the outside image -- of some kind of 'cosmic' conscious inner life, in the same way that your body-brain is the external aspect of your conscious inner life. But that does not necessarily mean that the universe's inner life is anything like yours or mine, with the potential for agendas, whimsical preferences, deception, etc. Indeed, idealism doesn't deny that many aspects of reality unfold according to strict patterns and regularities that can be modeled through stable 'laws.' It only says that those patterns and regularities exist only insofar as they are experienced 'somewhere' in consciousness. As such, this 'cosmic inner life' of the universe as a whole may unfold according to strict patterns and regularities akin to what Jung called archetypes. It isn't necessarily self-reflective or premeditated (in fact, I think it isn't), but rather instinctive.

As such, it is indeed a bit myopic to ask why the universe is deceiving us by pretending materialism to be correct. That some people's interpretation of the universe is wrong isn't evidence of a deception on the part of the universe, for exactly the same reason that our earlier misinterpretation of the behavior of the sun was no evidence of a deception on the part of the sun. The universe is simply what it is. How we interpret it is our own responsibility, not the universe's.

Also, I'm curious about what you mean by materialists being deprived of an experience that is available to non materialists
Not sure what you mean here. I don't think materialists are fundamentally deprived of any experience. Whatever limitation they may have are limitations they impose on themselves. What part of the dialogue are you referring to?
 
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#29
To say that all is in consciousness does not mean that all is conscious, which is a point further elaborated upon in the book. Idealism does not say that the sun is conscious, in the sense of having private inner life and intentionality like you and me. It only says that there is nothing to the sun but what is experienced 'somewhere' in consciousness (not necessarily your personal consciousness alone). See: http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2014/07/ripples-and-whirlpools.html and http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2015/04/the-reality-nervous-system.html (point 3).

Now, idealism does say that the universe as a whole is the external aspect -- the outside image -- of some kind of 'cosmic' conscious inner life, in the same way that your body-brain is the external aspect of your conscious inner life. But that does not necessarily mean that the universe's inner life is anything like yours or mine, with the potential for agendas, whimsical preferences, deception, etc. Indeed, idealism doesn't deny that many aspects of reality unfold according to strict patterns and regularities that can be modeled through stable 'laws.' It only says that those patterns and regularities exist only insofar as they are experienced 'somewhere' in consciousness. As such, this 'cosmic inner life' of the universe as a whole may unfold according to strict patterns and regularities akin to what Jung called archetypes. It isn't necessarily self-reflective or premeditated (in fact, I think it isn't), but rather instinctive.

As such, it is indeed a bit myopic to ask why the universe is deceiving us by pretending materialism to be correct. That some people's interpretation of the universe is wrong no evidence of a deception on the part of the universe, for exactly the same reason that our earlier misinterpretation of the behavior of the sun was no evidence for a deception on the part of the sun. The universe is simply what it is. How we interpret it is our own responsibility, not the universe's.
But what about a rephrasing of the question to "why would the cosmos appear to be largely physical when the entire cosmos is consciousness itself". Is that not, at least in some small part, similar to the original question and worth asking?


Bernardo Kastrup said:
Not sure what you mean here. I don't think materialists are fundamentally deprived of any experience. Whatever limitation they may have are limitations they impose on themselves. What part of the dialogue are you referring to?
I think it was this part of the dialog:
Bernardo Kastrup said:
Under dualism there is a spiritual world that you will directly experience one day at least, maybe after you die. But under materialism, the real world of materialism is fundamentally and forever inaccessible. All you can access is a sort of copy of it, a representation of it in your head
 
#30
But what about a rephrasing of the question to "why would the cosmos appear to be largely physical when the entire cosmos is consciousness itself". Is that not, at least in some small part, similar to the original question and worth asking?
Well, it doesn't change anything, does it? The 'physical' is a human conception. The universe's inner life -- or 'mind-at-large,' as I prefer to call it -- knows nothing of this 'physical.' It simply unfolds according to its intrinsic tendencies and drives; that is, according to its own nature. So how could it be 'pretending' to be physical'? The question reflects a naive anthropomorphic projection.

You seem to be attributing to mind-at-large certain characteristics that are specific to the inner lives of humans and perhaps a handful of other higher mammals: self-reflectiveness, self-awareness, intention, etc. Nothing in idealism requires that mind-at-large be anything like that. And, as it turns out, evidence -- the 'laws of nature' -- indicates that it isn't. Take insects as an example: they are probably conscious, yet their inner lives are unlikely to be anything like ours. They probably operate entirely on the basis of program-like instinctual drives. If I take it to another extreme, mind-at-large may unfold not with human-like self-reflectiveness or self-awareness, but according to universal psychological archetypes whose external aspect -- outside image -- is the regularities we call the laws of nature.

I think it was this part of the dialog:
Oh, what I meant was that the 'real world' of materialists, which lies fundamentally outside consciousness, is -- by definition -- fundamentally beyond experience. It can never be experienced, not by anyone, materialist or otherwise. According to materialism, all we can ever experience is an internal representation of that world inside our heads. Everything you experience right now is, according to materialism, an internal representation created by your brain. The 'world outside' is pure abstraction. As such, the 'spiritual worlds' of dualists are less metaphysical than the outside world of materialists: the former can, allegedly, at least be experienced in NDEs or after death.
 
#31
Well, it doesn't change anything, does it? The 'physical' is a human conception. The universe's inner life -- or 'mind-at-large,' as I prefer to call it -- knows nothing of this 'physical.' It simply unfolds according to its intrinsic tendencies and drives; that is, according to its own nature. So how could it be 'pretending' to be physical'? The question reflects a naive anthropomorphic projection.
I think you're losing me on the physical doesn't exist. But that's ok. I appreciate your responses. As for a "naive anthropomorphic projection" I supposed you'd include anyone that believes in God as a willful creator and sustainer of the cosmos?

You seem to be attributing to mind-at-large certain characteristics that are specific to the inner lives of humans and perhaps a handful of other higher mammals: self-reflectiveness, self-awareness, intention, etc. Nothing in idealism requires that mind-at-large be anything like that. And, as it turns out, evidence -- the 'laws of nature' -- indicates that it isn't. Take insects as an example: they are probably conscious, yet their inner lives are unlikely to be anything like ours. They probably operate entirely on the basis of program-like instinctual drives. If I take it to another extreme, mind-at-large may unfold not with human-like self-reflectiveness or self-awareness, but according to universal psychological archetypes whose external aspect -- outside image -- is the regularities we call the laws of nature.
I think I understand this. So consciousness is the cosmos itself, but the cosmos is itself not aware. Consciousness as a fundamental manifests itself in "alters", typically in living organisms which have their own inner conscious life. Is that correct?

Oh, what I meant was that the 'real world' of materialists, which lies fundamentally outside consciousness, is -- by definition -- fundamentally beyond experience. It can never be experienced, not by anyone, materialist or otherwise. According to materialism, all we can ever experience is an internal representation of that world inside our heads. Everything you experience right now is, according to materialism, an internal representation created by your brain. The 'world outside' is pure abstraction. As such, the 'spiritual worlds' of dualists are less metaphysical than the outside world of materialists: the former can, allegedly, at least be experienced in NDEs or after death.
Gotcha. So assuming that materialism is incorrect, do materialists experience the same cosmos as non materialists? Does the belief matter? You're simply pointing out a philosophical logical inconsistency, right?
 
#32
As someone who worked with complex systems for a while, the saltational aspect of the fossil record doesn't seem so peculiar to me. Even fairly simple systems like cellular automata -- governed by simple, deterministic rules and random initialization -- display saltational behavior: long periods in which nothing happens, followed by periods of spectacular, complex changes, followed by boring periods again, etc. I created several of these systems myself, as you can see in the background images of some of my Story Time videos (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL78E9FC4D0B807CAE). The images in episodes 1 and 4 show clear 'punctuated equilibrium' and, I promise you, they are entirely deterministic, autonomous and intentionality-free. They were also randomly initialized in every case. In general, thus, I think non-Darwinists make a little too much of the saltational aspect of the evidence.

That said, it is indeed true that this very aspect is consistent with, and suggestive of, non-random mutations at the root of the process, for the reasons you so-well describe yourself:

To me, the strongest argument in favor of non-random mutations (i.e. mutations favoring physiological or anatomical trends at different points in the history of life) is the very richness and complexity of nature today. Neo-Darwinists will say all this could have been created by natural selection alone but, as I say in the book,
I think you could profitably read Darwin's Doubt by Stephen Meyer. If you have already read it, then nothing I could say could change your mind.:)

You say "Even fairly simple systems..." as if saltation becomes easier the more complex the system, which I don't think is true for living systems: it's just hand-waving. At one time, we had just a few Ediacaran phyla, and then many more phyla in the space of around 10 million years (give or take) during the Cambrian.

No problem: in some way, vastly improbable mutations that weren't expressed were accumulating prior to the leap, which were suddenly switched on--indicative of some kind of plan, if only because their not being expressed must have meant there was nothing for natural selection to act on. Alternatively, for some reason, mutation must have sped up enormously, in which case, you'd think the Cambrian strata would be choc-a-bloc with transitional forms.

If you lean to the accumulation idea, then you can't be a neo-Darwinist. The dynamics of neo-Darwinism insist that for a mutation to be selected, it must be expressed. If you lean to the rapid mutation view, then you have to explain the lack of myriad transitional forms in the fossil record.

The accumulation idea is actually compatible with ID, but not with neo-Darwinism. I don't see how you can claim to be a neo-Darwinist. Frankly, I'm rather baffled by your position.
 
#33
I think you're losing me on the physical doesn't exist.
It undeniably exists as a modality of experience. But the concept of the physical as something outside, and independent of, consciousness is unknown to mind-at-large, for it is a human invention.

As for a "naive anthropomorphic projection" I supposed you'd include anyone that believes in God as a willful creator and sustainer of the cosmos?
The old bearded man in the sky, with a detailed plan for each of our lives, is clearly a naive anthropomorphic projection; but one with rich metaphorical meaning.
'God' as mind-at-large is certainly the sustainer of the cosmos, for it is the cosmos.

So consciousness is the cosmos itself, but the cosmos is itself not aware.
Yes, not self-reflective or self-aware, in my view. It's just the internal aspect -- the subjective inner life -- of nature. Self-reflection and self-awareness arises with us after a long evolutionary line; but we, of course, are also part of the cosmos. In that specific way, self-awareness is also part of the cosmos.

Consciousness as a fundamental manifests itself in "alters", typically in living organisms which have their own inner conscious life. Is that correct?
All nature is a manifestation of consciousness for it can't be anything else under idealism. But yes, alters are specific manifestations of consciousness: dissociated complexes of mind-at-large that attain a private inner life.

So assuming that materialism is incorrect, do materialists experience the same cosmos as non materialists? Does the belief matter? You're simply pointing out a philosophical logical inconsistency, right?
Yes, simply a philosophical inconsistency. That was my sole point in that specific passage. I discuss the ontological effects of belief more broadly towards the end of Brief Peeks Beyond.
 
#34
It undeniably exists as a modality of experience. But the concept of the physical as something outside, and independent of, consciousness is unknown to mind-at-large, for it is a human invention.



The old bearded man in the sky, with a detailed plan for each of our lives, is clearly a naive anthropomorphic projection; but one with rich metaphorical meaning.
'God' as mind-at-large is certainly the sustainer of the cosmos, for it is the cosmos.



Yes, not self-reflective or self-aware, in my view. It's just the internal aspect -- the subjective inner life -- of nature. Self-reflection and self-awareness arises with us after a long evolutionary line; but we, of course, are also part of the cosmos. In that specific way, self-awareness is also part of the cosmos.



All nature is a manifestation of consciousness for it can't be anything else under idealism. But yes, alters are specific manifestations of consciousness: dissociated complexes of mind-at-large that attain a private inner life.



Yes, simply a philosophical inconsistency. That was my sole point in that specific passage. I discuss the ontological effects of belief more broadly towards the end of Brief Peeks Beyond.
Thanks for all the responses Bernardo. I enjoyed the podcast.
 
#35
Over what time frame? How do you keep them from mutating into junk over long periods of time if you can't select for them? How do you get them distributed throughout the population if they don't have a survival advantage? Or, how do you keep them all together in one organism through generations of breeding?
Well maybe over 5 mins - remember this hypothesis is presupposing that some conscious entity does something deliberate. For example, I hope that the contents of my hard disk 'mutate' exceedingly slowly, yet I can change them very quickly.

It the mutations build up in genes that are not expressed, the only cost to the organism would be the wasted DNA.

David
 
#36
I don't see how you can claim to be a neo-Darwinist. Frankly, I'm rather baffled by your position.
I DON'T claim to be a neo-Darwinist; I am not a neo-Darwinist; I reject neo-Darwinism; insofar as neo-Darwinism entails that the mutations are necessarily random at origin.

All I said was that I believe that new species evolve from older species by the accrual of genetic mutations that confer a survival advantage. In other words, I believe in evolution by natural selection.

I am very careful with the term 'ID' because I never know wha people implicitly assume or mean by it. So I'm about to take a risk that I hope others won't misrepresent: insofar as the mutations at the root of evolution may embody teleological trends -- a hypothesis I am open to -- then evolution becomes compatible, in general terms, with ID. The trends become the 'designer.'
 
#38
I enjoyed this episode very much - particularly the bit about conspiracy. Most seem to think critical events are due entirely to either top-down conspiracy or bottom-up "stigmergy". I liked how you emphasized that it is both. The war on drugs was a perfect example.

From what I've read it seems that many of the top level conspirators are fully aware of the non-material or mental nature of reality, but have nevertheless decided to join "the dark side" using occult knowledge of mentalism to dominate those without this knowledge. Others are more the Kurzweil type materialists who's good intentions pave the dangerous path to transhumanism in hopes of immortality in material.

I am also a big fan of the idea that mutation is not always entirely random, but can occur in meaningful ways. Since intention has been shown to make quantum random processes non-random, I don't see why DNA mutation couldn't also be subject to whatever field or force is responsible for this phenomenon. Perhaps after hundreds of generations of a bird wanting to see in the dark, his eyes get bigger and owls are born in a single species generating highly unlikely synchronicity.
 
#39
If the mutations are deliberate, lots of things are possible. For example, a whole suite of genes could be constructed in an inactive form, and then activated in one burst.

David
What you speak of is genetic engineering. So basically. if you're using that as a refutation to what I stated, you're equating genetic engineering with evolution.
 
#40
I DON'T claim to be a neo-Darwinist; I am not a neo-Darwinist; I reject neo-Darwinism; insofar as neo-Darwinism entails that the mutations are necessarily random at origin.

All I said was that I believe that new species evolve from older species by the accrual of genetic mutations that confer a survival advantage. In other words, I believe in evolution by natural selection.

I am very careful with the term 'ID' because I never know wha people implicitly assume or mean by it. So I'm about to take a risk that I hope others won't misrepresent: insofar as the mutations at the root of evolution may embody teleological trends -- a hypothesis I am open to -- then evolution becomes compatible, in general terms, with ID. The trends become the 'designer.'
I see: this removes my bafflement. Sorry if I misread you to be leaning towards neo-Darwinism. Okay: so you only want to say that natural selection occurs, but on mutations that aren't random. Personally, I think that puts you somewhere in the ID camp; it's a view that I, as an ID sympathiser, can readily accept as a possibility, and I'd be surprised if Stephen Meyer could discount it. It would mean that Darwinism is partially correct, but would undermine the key aspect of it that claims randomness and thus supports materialism.

In fact, as so often before, you have helped me take on board a possibility I hadn't really considered. Many thanks for that.
 
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