Materialism is Dead

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Ahanu, Jul 28, 2022.

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Is materialism, which has dominated science for so long, dead?

  1. Yes

    1 vote(s)
    16.7%
  2. No

    5 vote(s)
    83.3%
  3. Maybe

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    "When you say space-time is doomed, this is a shot to the heart of the whole conceptual framework we've had in science. Not to the scientific method, but to the fundamental ontology . . ."
    -Donald Hoffman​


    First, I would like to take a moment to admire the fact you expect you and others can find the truth. Any seeker can inhale the fragrance of the Friend in you ;). Where does the sense that there is truth to be found come from? I think the very notion one can find truth contradicts materialism. One cannot help but be reminded of Alvin Plantinga's critique of materialism and evolution, which can be found in Where the Conflict Really Lies:

    Just wanted to throw that out there. Our cognitive faculties just cannot be trusted if materialism and evolution are true, according to Plantinga.

    Unlike Plantinga, Donald Hoffman is not a philosopher; he is a distinguished scientist. He is not saying the same thing as Plantinga, but there is some crossover in ideas here: our cognitive faculties, which are shaped by the evolutionary process, are not reliable.

    Hoffman would say you're mistaking your perception of reality for reality itself (around the 7:30 mark in the video). "Evolution gave us perceptions that guide adaptive behavior, which means hiding the truth . . ." Since your perception of space and time is shaped by evolution, then there is a zero percent probability it is reliable for showing the truth. All you have to do is watch the first 10 minutes of the video above, in which he mentions he is not just guessing because that's what the science says according to his scientific research based on John Maynard Smith's evolutionary game theory. It's what he and his team discovered. He proceeds to discuss the new science emerging from physics revealing data structures beyond space-time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2022
  2. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    By the way, I voted yes.
     
  3. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    On what does Plantinga base his assertion that our cognitive faculties are probably very unreliable?

    Having only read that short passage, my impression is that he's distrusting the very faculties he uses to make his argument? Taken by itself, that passage reads like a kind of reverse Baron Münchhausen stunt :) I am assuming he has some good mitigations in place, but which are not part of that passage.

    To put it bluntly, if he says we can't trust our reasoning, isn't he just glorifying irrationalism by then making reasoned arguments?
     
  4. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    Since I'm completely unfamiliar with his work - does Plantinga refer to cognitive errors and biases here? They are well-studied by materialist science, and have been connected to how we evolved so far.

    I'm sure he's not conflating these with the cognitive reasoning which we use to do science, in his critique, but then, how does he distinguish? Can you quote a passage whete he makes this clear?
     
  5. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    I'm only about 30 min into this 3hr+ podcast. Am liking it:

    "Spacetime is just the user interface ... Any conceptual theory we come up with will always fall short of reality ... We can only test things in terms of what we can measure with our senses in terms of space and time ... What is beyond spacetime?"
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2022
  6. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    It's very interesting. Thanks for posting it @Ahanu
    Ill go on listening, over a couple of days.

    This may be along similar lines:
    Holographic Universe
    Leonard Susskind said, “The three-dimensional world of ordinary experience––the universe filled with galaxies, stars, planets, houses, boulders, and people––is a hologram, an image of reality coded on a distant two-dimensional (2D) surface."

    I think of Standard Model quantum theory as like a system of music notation. There is western music -- quantized by Middle C -- and there is also African music, Arabic music, Indian music and so on, each with a different quantum root. They are all coherent and self-contained ways of hearing, although they sound strange to unfamiliar ears at first.

    The speed of light and the Planck Constant etc, are postulates, and they work: our lives are built around the practical developments -- the devices we are using to communicate across continents. But it is not the final definition of reality.

    There may be other ways of seeing and measuring the universe, than the standard model that breaks down at the speed-of-light singularity where time and mass both become infinite.

    What is clear is that it would be unsafe to assume 21st Century science is the final arbiter of consciousness and reality?
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2022
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  7. 'Amir Alzzalam

    'Amir Alzzalam Šayṭānist

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    There are two things to consider here. One is that the dimensional universe exists outside of our perceptions of it, and will exist when we no longer perceive it. The other is that we create our experiences, everything we experience exists because of our conscious awareness. The latter is the common theory used by left hand path adherents such as myself.
     
  8. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    If materialistic science was dead the question would never arise.
     
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  9. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Materialism is locked to spacetime.

    The spacetime reality that we perceive is the interface that evolution has built for us to optimize our survival -- and it extends to our science. Our scientific instruments are extensions of our human reality structure, to answer human questions phrased in human terms. Spacetime is not the full reality. It is a working construct. Quarks and leptons are not real things. They are the portal interface that allows human reality to construct a working science model.

    Spacetime science is limited, as Newtonian science was limited. There is going to be more. In 100 years the scientists will laugh at the limitations of our 21st scientific knowledge.

    It's not safe to assume limitations for consciousness and the universe based on what we know now. We will know more, imo

    A spider's reality is limited to the interface function of spider survival.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2022
  10. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    But my brain goes numb when he (Hoffman) starts talking about a zero probability event occuring an infinite number of times. Even Lex Friedman, the interviewer, shies away from that one, lol
     
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  11. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    I wonder what role mathematics is assigned in the "we can't trust our cognitive faculties" paradigm discussed here...
     
  12. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Hoffman believes he has the maths right
     
  13. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Ok. I've heard It through. Very deep. Many of the terms are over my head. Especially in the second half of the podcast. They are, as Lex Friedman says -- heavy ideas.

    In the end the proposal seems to be that we should expect new papers from a new generation of physicists probing beyond space-time with formations such as the 'aplitudahedron' from which space-time becomes an emergent feature, eventually concluding that the brain is emergent from consciousness -- as the interface -- not the other way around as deduced by physicalism?

    I don't know anything more about Donald Hoffman than this podcast. Others may supply deeper input. The podcast certainly isn't a waste of time. Eventually the ideas need to be backed up with peer reviewable papers? I don't know if there are any?

    The last 30 min are great, imo:
    "I am not something in space and time"

    I like him ...
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2022
  14. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Lex Friedman: "The universe is trying to figure itself out through us. Why?"

    Hoffman: "There's being, and there's the forms that come out of being. We don't know... Consciousness wakes up to itself by knowing what it is not ..."

    Friedman: "Albert Einstein: "Time and space are modes by which we think, not conditions by which we live"

    Let it be
     
  15. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    I haven't listened to the video yet.

    The reason I wrote that was the thought, "the math is fine, but why does he trust his own cognitive faculties to do the math? How does he manage to exempt himself from dismissing his own cognitive ability to do the math?"
     
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  16. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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  17. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Answer: Evolutionary processes aim at adaptive behavior, and so possessing reliable cognitive faculties doesn't seem probable in the face of adaptive behavior.

    "Return to the evolutionary scale and C. elegans, that celebrated worm, and suppose that it is in C. elegans that we first get belief. No doubt such belief will be primitive in excelsis (and if you don't think C. elegans has beliefs, you can simply go up the scale until you encounter creatures you think do have beliefs), but let's suppose members of this species have beliefs. Now given that C. elegans has survived for millions of years, we may assume that its behavior is adaptive. This behavior is produced or caused by the neurological structures in the C. elegans nervous system; we may further assume, therefore, that this neurology is adaptive. This underlying neurology causes adaptive behavior; as Churchland says, it gets the body parts where they must be in order to survive. But (in line with nonreductive materialism) it also determines belief content. As a result, these creatures have beliefs, which of course have a certain content.​

    And here's the question: what reason is there for supposing that this belief content is true? There isn't any. The neurology causes adaptive behavior and also causes or determines belief content: but there is no reason to suppose that the belief content thus determined is true. All that's required for survival and fitness is that the neurology cause adaptive behavior; this neurology also determines belief content, but whether or not that content is true makes no difference to fitness."
    -Plantinga

    No. He is arguing that trusting our reasoning cannot be rationally believed if materialism and evolution are true.
     
  18. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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  19. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    No, he doesn't.
     
  20. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    I'll have to listen to this talk before writing more replies. Right now it sounds to me as if he is engaging in trying to revive the poor old watchmaker argument... but then I'm giving in to knee-jerk reactions myself :)
     

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