Let me put this very succinctly.
In conversation I don’t differentiate between man and woman. I speak to a brain. And as you know that is perfectly understandable in view that I believe the brain functions more or less independent of the body…
I have little formal education other than accounting and draftsman, but I am well-read and confident in my ability for logical thought as a mandatory IQ test for a job application indicated.
I was a bookkeeper for a multimillion-dollar non-profit community development organization with 7 bank accounts and 40 employees. In 7 years my books were always balanced. Before then worked in medical billing for a small hospital with a large extended care facility.
Before that, I spend 7 years on the road as travelling musician, regularly playing big entertainment venues like Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe.
Before coming to US , I travelled halfway around the world as merchant marine, visiting some 10 countries in Europe and South America.
I was a proposal writer for two Indian tribes and lived for 7 years in the Idaho boonies, built my own log cabin, dug my own well, and ran a small farm with 2 horses, 2 dogs , 2 goats . 1 ram, 1 cat, 100 chickens.
I believe that experience has given me a well-rounded perspective on life and my place in it. Call me what you will, I know who I am and I am satisfied…
Why do you jump to the most dramatic dichotomies - besides, I never said that either!
I say his religion colored his outlook which seeps into this thinking and writing.
I don’t know what’s so controversial about the notion?
Darwin was a scientist, he did strive to be a keen objective observer and thinker and he constantly playing devil’s advocate with himself. He was excellent at it.
That doesn’t conflict with being imprinted by the religious milieu of his upbringing and world. Heck seems like religion was a monkey on his back, although much of that had to do with negotiating the dogmatically religious that populated his world and his wife’s thinking.
Of course the “Brain in a Vat” is an idealization. That’s the problem, it’s a philosophical challenge, a mind game to play.
A mind experiment focused on arguing specific intellectual ideas.
The Brain in a Vat thought-experiment is most commonly used to illustrate global or Cartesian skepticism. You are told to imagine the possibility that at this very moment you are actually a brain hooked up to a sophisticated computer program that can perfectly simulate experiences of the outside world. Here is the skeptical argument. If you cannot now be sure that you are not a brain in a vat, then you cannot rule out the possibility that all of your beliefs about the external world are false. Or, to put it in terms of knowledge claims, we can construct the following skeptical argument. Let “P” stand for any belief or claim about the external world, say, that snow is white.
If I know that P, then I know that I am not a brain in a vat
I do not know that I am not a brain in a vat
Thus, I do not know that P.
And that is a ludicrous suggestion - something that only a mind totally consumed in itself can come up with.
Another perfect example of this Abrahamic Mindset driven disconnect from reality!
Even hearing philosophers explaining how there’s no difference between the dreaming mind and the wakeful mind is a bit of hokum.
Your Dreaming Mind is all about the brain internally processing and sorting and settling down the memory patches (or how ever you want to call it) of today - the Wakeful Mind is all about processing incoming information.
And to say you can’t sense the difference between your dream state and your waking state is false, I know that much from my own experience of sleeping, “light” dreaming, and living. Although I’ll admit most the time I don’t even recall any dreams, and when I do they leave me more with an emotional imprint that video worth of action. Even in younger years when I remembered more dreams, and remembered dreaming.
The dreamer and the dreamed long fascinated me, so I was actively thinking about such things and remember being rather shocked when it I read it suggested that we couldn’t tell the difference between dreaming and wakefulness - seemed contrived and no matter how much I ponder those ideas, they just don’t sit with my experience and I believe it’s a suggestion much more than a reality.
The Abrahamic Mindset has an abhorrence of not knowing, thus finds it natural to plaster over unknown complexity with idealized assumptions.
**Recognizing the divide between your thinking processes and the absolutely reality of the physical world we live in,**the physical reality that simply IS and can’t be doubted to have developed by one particular pathway, no matter what the human mind is capable of conjuring. Such an appreciation goes a long way to sobering up the mind games we love playing with our selves and others.
The think I’ve found and you’ve demonstrated a number of times is that the Abrahamic Mindset finds it easy to replace unknowns with assumptions. Me I appreciate the unknowns, and just as soon recognize them outright as unknowns. That doesn’t mean I can’t conjecture about this and that, it simple adds a sobering perspective on how seriously, or not, I should take myself.
Here’s a fundamental cornerstone of my way of thinking
either I am making up all that surrounds me, which would make me infinitely imaginative (heck it would make me the god) or I am the stuff begotten from previous biological stuff and the simple fact that I exist in a rich world of living creatures, is my proof positive that this universe evolved along one particular unimaginably long and complex series of evolutionary event (evolution being Cumulative Change Over Time)
So what pisses me off about this Brain in the Vat thing is that it totally ignores the reality of evolution!!! That’s what I call being stranded within the mindscape. I mean think of, our brain is hundreds of millions of years in the making, and from it’s very first annunciation, it was all about helping it’s organism function, prosper and survive; with time and lessons learned; and Earth herself maturing chemically and geologically, there evolved and most excellent brain capable not just of prospering and surviving but also of self reflection and contemplation, which itself has spent millions and hundreds of thousands of year to achieve it’s current stupendous iteration in humans.
But we are God. First we realized we could imagine divorcing our body from our brain, now we can actually put that brain into a vat and keep it alive and somehow that proves what about the brain?
What? This stuff?
His seminal paper reconstructed the argument in terms of a disjunctive dilemma suggested by Putnam (Brueckner 1986: 154; more or less reproduced by Pritchard and Ranalli in Goldberg 2016: 78):
(1) Either I am a BIV (speaking vat-English) or I am a non-BIV (speaking English).
(2) If I am a BIV (speaking vat-English), then my utterances of ‘I am a BIV’ are true iff I have sense impressions as of being a BIV.
(3) If I am a BIV (speaking vat-English), then I do not have senseimpressions as of being a BIV.
(4) If I am a BIV (speaking vat-English), then my utterances of ‘Iam a BIV’ are false. [(2), (3)]
(5) If I am a non-BIV (speaking English), then my utterances of ‘Iam a BIV’ are true iff I am a BIV.
(6) If I am a non-BIV (speaking English), then my utterances of ‘Iam a BIV’ are false. [(5)]
(7) My utterances of ‘I am a BIV’ are false. [(1), (4), (6)]
What does any of that tell us other than we are stupendous game players and can create the most marvelous stories. But in the end, it simply takes us further from recognizing our real bodies and brains as a living organism and our consciousness simply being the inside reflect of all the physical stuff that unfolds within us. NO that’s too simply, we need to contrive something more fanciful, sexy, sellable, it’s about the story more than the substance - … because it gives us a sense of knowing, which is better than not-knowing?
That is what I am calling the Abrahamic Mindset in action.
Hilary Putnam has famously argued that we can know that we are not brains in a vat because the hypothesis that we are is self-refuting. While Putnam’s argument has generated interest primarily as a novel response to skepticism, he originally introduced his brain in a vat scenario to help illustrate a point about the ‘mind/world relationship.’ In particular, he intended it to be part of an argument against the coherence of metaphysical realism, and thus to be part of a defense of his conception of truth as idealized rational acceptability. Putnam’s discussion has already inspired a substantial body of criticism, but it will be argued here that these criticisms fail to capture the central problem with his argument.
Indeed, it will be shown that, rather than simply following from his semantic externalism, Putnam’s conclusions about the self-refuting character of the brain in a vat hypothesis are actually out of line with central and plausible aspects of his own account of the relationship between our minds and the world.
So long as your Brain in the Vat is oblivious to the evolutionary origins of that brain, it’s a child’s fable. Might have something to say about human psychology, but nothing about our actual brain or its relationship with the world it exists within.
Write, an example of this replacing unknowns with assumptions is,
you say the brain is absolutely isolated, I showed you links that discussed documented examples of infra-sound impacting the intellectual and emotional and physical state of people. Seems plenty of proof that the brain is not isolated from the exterior world.
That falsifies your conjecture right there. Why can you dismiss it so easily?
You said it of Descartes. And Darwin proves that science can be practised in spite of , or alongside religion if one is willing to incur the wrath of the church.
If I recall, Galileo was found guilty of heresy and placed under house arrest.
It took another 350 years for the Papal Academy of Science to admit that Evolution is true, because it does not argue against the concept of a causal agency God , but is a correction of Divine Scripture ( add another mystery).
Galileo’s name was conveniently never mentioned again.
Seems to me that you are identifying any strongly held belief as Abrahamic , regardless if there is indisputable proof of its veracity.
Using that name, I attach a religious aspect to the analogy. And I am atheist so it is meaningless to me.
No! Stop telling me what I’m saying since you obviously don’t understand what I’m trying to spell out, pay attention to what I’ve actually written down - you don’t do that.
And look at yourself. You are talking about religious dogma, I’m talking about a subtle superior attitude that blinkers our intellects - that we aren’t even aware of. And you often offer good examples, such as how you’ve managed to reduce the difference between a man and a woman, to tits and nothing else.
Abrahamic Mindset has a way of limiting one’s outlook of the reality that confronts us.
For instance, do you really believe that the difference between male and females is reduced to possession of tits? Seriously!
You seem to imply that it’s all reduced to being sexist or not being sexist and nothing else out that belongs in your equation -
At least that’s what your words are saying.
Yes a woman is a human and a man is a human and both deserve simple human decency and respect.
But you don’t just speak to male or female icons,
you speak to individual people with their life experiences and personalities, and you’re telling me the man’s experiences and perspectives are the same as a woman’s?
The Abrahamic Mindset idealizes, over simplifies and finds it too easy to use assumptions to coverup mysteries.
Wish I had the time to try to explain it better, but I’m tired, good night.
Though I notice you danced around and avoided my comments regarding the disconnected brain in a vat.
Wait a minute? You speak to brains?!? How’s that work?
In my experience, I’m speaking to faces and voices?
So that must mean you’re telling me you treat everyone exactly the same way.
Is that a true fact?
Then don’t call it Abrahamic mindset that suggests a religious mindset. The name Abraham is only associated with religion.
What you are talking about is the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Dunning-Kruger effect, in psychology, a cognitive bias whereby people with limited knowledge or competence in a given intellectual or social domain greatly overestimate their own knowledge or competence in that domain relative to objective criteria or to the performance of their peers or of people in general.
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Wait a minute? You speak to brains?!? How’s that work?
In my experience, I’m speaking to faces and voices?
That is because you do not accept the fact that brains are autonomous organs and only occupy a male or female body by accident. It is the brain that speaks by producing action-potentials that trigger the vocal muscles.
I am sure you are aware of the current debate about transgender persons, who’s brain identifies as female trapped in a male body or vice versa?
So that must mean you’re telling me you treat everyone exactly the same way.
Is that a true fact?
Yes, intellect is gender neutral. Do you believe blind people are intellectually handicapped. Was Stevie Wonder intellectually handicapped? Was Hellen Keller intellectually handicapped.
Was Stephen Hawking intellectually handicapped because his body didn’t work? How about Peter Dinklage?
Did these people speak to males and females differently?
Do you speak differently to females than men? If so, why?
“Dunning-Kruger effect” - now there’s an interesting notion and I can see how some of that holds true - perhaps related, but still it’s not the same.
Why are you ignoring that Judaism, Christianity, and Islamism, weren’t just religions!
They were society and Law and social custom and a prescribed way of thinking.
Saying that the Abrahamic Mindset is “only religion” reveals yet another blindspot.
Weren’t those religions central to tribes developing into great cultures? Didn’t those religions dictate every aspect of the life, economy, laws, social structure?
Modern society is the evolved outgrowth of that historic dynamic. And it’s been a very self serving dynamic full of exploitation and wanton destruction, and stupid decisions that have brought our now global society to the brink of its own collapse, and doing nothing but pouring more gas on the fire. This even though we are amazingly intelligent, but rather than wisdom we are the self-serving human and will pay dearly for our inability to look outside of our self-serving needs and desires.
At the heart of our human societal failure to our unwillingness to come to terms with actual physical reality, all we see is a larder for us to empty, along with zero vision of the future.
I mean we are destroying our life support system and destroying our ecomonic infrastructure, destroying the splendid weather cycles humanity and Earth’s other creatures have enjoyed these past 8-10 millennia.
Now, you’re telling me there’s nothing to see there? We got it all figured out?
I see a profound societal failures of judgment which implies a failure to understand and require an explanation.
I see a profound societal failures of judgment that’s worth getting to the roots of.
Too many celebrity talkers have become so infatuated with the wonderful ideas their mind creates, that they lose sight of the actually physical reality they are trying to render.link
I’ll wager that if you took some time to think about it, you’d acknowledge that on a fundamental level the Abrahamic religions are all about self-centeredness - ours as well as God’s.
These religions were founded on the basis of self-interest, they were focused on selected kernels of knowledge, born of an aggressive insecurity, and supported by a passionate sense of self-important certitude. Usually with empire building in mind while reeking with hostility towards outsiders, other teachers and learning. They did achieve results.
All the while pretty much ignoring the sovereignty of our Earth’s biosphere, her other inhabitants and the reality of our Evolutionary origins.
Consider, within the Abrahamic tradition our planet’s life support system and her inhabitants never rise above something to exploit until we suck it dry, then we move on to the next bonanza.
Whereas for me, Earth, her creatures and biosphere, her Evolution, these are my touchstones with physical reality. I feel time flowing through me as I travel through my days. I live within a mindscape that’s filled with an awareness of time in its entire spectrum, from microseconds, to my heart beat, to the days, seasons, years and decades, on to the eons of Evolution… link
and I sadly wonder why are you being so obtuse?
Light wine and brandy are not the same thing.
That’s why we like each other I believe and strive to behave the same way.
You want more about Abrahamic Mindset, among its first tenets is the reduction and subjugation of women in social standing. We here in America 2022 separation of church and state since 1787, The Equal Right Amendment of 1997 has yet to ratified.
So why are you telling me I should refrain from the labeling a certain attitude that puts self before others, and that’s force a dualism into all our thinking that does as much blinker as it has helped enlighten.
Abrahamic Mindset? It demonstrates what I’m talking about to a tee. In all three religions and across all secular cultures that have been touched by them. It set the rules and everyone had to play their game, and days become generations.
sure, it’s an over-simplification, but isn’t every label an over-simplification? That why we are obliged to define ourselves.
Because apparently someone needs to make one. Dissecting delusional thinking.
Cc’s Students’ Study Guide for The Case Against Reality.
(a non-scholar’s “scholarly” effort)
I intend to be a witness for a fact based Deep Time,
Evolutionary perspective on our Human Mind ~ Physical Reality interface.
And that’s why I’m actively seeking intelligent critique -
And why I’m more interested in finding people with whom all this resonates a wee bit, the defending gets old, especially when constantly confronted with more misunderstanding and straw men and defensiveness that actually picking apart the words I’m writing. Not trying to be harsh or snotty, and I do welcome all you have to offer because it’s better than the sound of one hand clapping, but you just won’t sit back look at those essays I wrote, allow them to at least percolate.
Anyway. In the end, we only have the tools that we have, no matter what is “real”. The tools include concepts, like accepting that we can’t be 100% sure about what we know. We can calculate probabilities, but let’s say Descartes’ experiment is probable, and we’ve been wrong about physics for the last 500 years. It doesn’t change the tools we have to determine what the evil genius is and maybe even how to escape its prison. Whether we are hooked up to a Matrix, or beings on a planet surrounded by other life, the way we figure it out is the same.
“Gonna have to provide some solid evidence that reality was “given” to us.”
I kinda like my response so am adding it to my collection over here considering it’s relevant to some discussions around here.
Don’t make it so personal. Reality isn’t “given” to “us”.
Isn’t Physical Reality the atoms, molecules, laws of physics, then galaxies and solar systems, then Earth and biology/geology, life, then ecosystems and creatures that kept getting more complex and learning how to think, move and manipulate better. Until one creature was able to reflect upon itself in a way that’s inconceivable to anything else out there.
Think about it, either everything you see, you are making up in your own mind, or you are part of something bigger. Don’t think there’s much middle ground there.
Do you know about the deep time of evolution unfolding one day at a time, and all the foundational steps needed before the environment created the massive foundation needed to create the human being, magnificent body and brain and the mind they produced and environment with resources to sustain it.
Physical reality created stars and planets, this Earth created life and thinking creatures. Earth created us and we created our Gods and philosophies and science.
Here’s a benchmark for appreciating the rest of it - Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide.
Well I’m at another crescendo, and though I’ve posted an earlier version of this, I can’t remember where and seems to me this would be a nice place for it anyways since I have the feeling this the final draft.
Now it’ll be interesting if I get any nibbled off the college kids.
(Am I allowed to say that at 67, if I have kids in their thirties?)
Founded on a life time of learning through the findings of scientists.
Because Earth is our ultimate touchstone with reality and ourselves.
This insight leads to a realization that, for this complex living Earth that we experience, to exist at all, is proof positive that our Earth evolved down one particular pathway, no matter what we people imagine one way or the other.
Ours is to figure it out and appreciate - not to presume to define it!
We appreciate that we are evolved biological creatures born of Earth’s processes, as expressed through its singular Evolutionary Pageant.
We appreciation the profound divide between physical reality, that is matter, biology, laws of nature, on the one hand, and on the other, our thoughts unfolding from within our amazing minds, (or more descriptively, within the realm of our “human mindscape").
We appreciate that fundamentally awareness and life’s “consciousness spectrum” started over a billion years ago with the invention, then prospering, of the unbelievably complex organization of Eukaryote cells (some suggest guided by microtubules).
Keep in mind that in due time these cells created colonies of cells that demonstrated a sense of place and order and purpose or the organism would have collapsed into a chaotic blob. Increasingly complex creatures depended, at every step, on increasing awareness, sensing, processing, internal communication along with improving and refining manipulatory abilities.
By and by, along came one particular clade the eutherians, small nocturnal insect eaters who gave birth to the class of mammalian animals, which begat the primates, which begat hominids, which begat our modern humankind species.
Every stage required new refinements and developments within the complex sensing/body/brain system and the mind that they collectively produce - refinements that depended on previous refinements and lessons. Your Being is the sum total of all the days of Evolution that went into producing the human form you possess and live through, while your mind reflects the sum total of all the days you’ve lived and experienced.
I also added this to my blog, since couldn’t resist a post script for my few regular visitors:
It’s been four years since first writing about my reflections upon a small epiphany I experienced. An insight which left a profound appreciation for the “Human Mindscape ~ Physical Reality divide” through a deep-time evolutionary perspective. My essay describing it is titled: "The Missing Key to Stephen Gould’s “Nonoverlapping Magisteria,” and has been followed by a some revisions.
My intellectual adventure has continued, with Daniel Dennett (someone I could at least take seriously) via his interesting book, “Consciousness Explained.” But that only drove me to Descartes and his “Discourse on Method” which turned out way more fascinating than I’d expected.
Though that still can’t hide the fact that Descartes lived in a time before science. Descartes was an accomplished mathematician, but beyond that he knew nothing of astronomy, physics, or light, or biology, his inaccurate human physiological knowledge didn’t rise much above that of an intelligent, inquisitive butcher’s.
In his defense, all Descartes had was his mind! 1600s learned texts were more opinion and wishful thinking, then evidence and facts to build upon. He was smart enough to recognize that, so deliberately focused on his mind to the exclusion of all the mucho blah blah of his day.
Still, today we have authoritative trustable knowledge flooding in at us from every direction. Not perfect, but there’s a process for separating the chaff from the grain, and the demand for Honesty and Truthfulness remains a prime cornerstone of science in a way that doesn’t seem to exist in the general society anymore. Individually all we need to do, is the homework & learning that comes with it.
Seems to me younger people should be skeptical of our historical intellectual heroes, after all, look at the mess they helped set into motion. Too much time spent on echo’s of religious arguments and genius egos busy out doing each other. Then that easy disregard for Earth’s natural balance sheets of systems & processes, that incidentally are what’s sustained us all these millennia of climate optimum, and long before.
Our collective disregard for accepting the concepts of conservation, making things last, not to be so gluttonous and obsessed with so many empty bells and whistles that the Hollywood dream machine keeps churning out for us. Working together with Earth’s natural system, nurturing
Why not take Earth’s Evolution seriously and do the homework to learn about what makes her tick?
Isn’t it time we recognize a new difficult really is steamrolling at us? We need real ideas and ways of seeing the world around us, because tomorrow keeps coming, and staying fixated on the rearview mirror is not the way to survive. The old truths failed your future, don’t be afraid of moving on.
As we continue into our future, catastrophe’s will happen more frequently, but so does the morning after. Many of us keep getting through it, survive and wake to face the new day. Now, more than ever, we need to take into account the need for honesty, fairplay, goodwill, cooperation and striving to better understand this Earth and her global heat and moisture distribution engine that we depend on for everything.
But now I digress into motivations for not walking away from this frustrating intellectual adventure of mine, and yes, I’d still appreciate some serious feedback.
Thank you for your time and interest,
Citizenschallenge at gmail
That’s seen some touch ups, but nothing worth worrying about, besides short on time.
This has taken a couple weeks longer than expected but now that it’s done, I feel like sharing. It’s a nice collection, if you’re into this stuff, take a peek.
An Earth Centrist’s Student Bibliography,
Appreciating Earth’s Evolutionary Pageant and our animal nature.
The previous post is my summary of an “Earth Centrist” outlook on life and our human condition, a perspective that acknowledges Earth as our fundamental touchstone with reality.
This Earth Centrist’s perspective can’t be attained by reading a description of it - unless it already resonates within you thanks to your own previous inquiry and inclination. That’s because each of us must engage in our own learning effort.
That is, living your moment and doing the homework and drawing your own conclusions from the evidence you’ve been able to gather. Your deeper understanding emerges out of your own efforts.
Since I’m no scholar, I’ve done my learning by way of some wonderful science communicators, mostly real scientists giving lectures via YouTube along with writing articles and books, with a few talented writers and science documentarians in the mix.
I’ve put together a bibliographic list of my favorites, and of course, it’s geared to the intelligent high schooler or early college student, and for other informed enthusiasts such as myself. It follows a natural progression from matter forming followed by mineral evolution and globally a “heat and moisture distribution engine” evolving, to geology and biology combining forces, on to the mysteries of complex dynamic living creatures. Then on to the greatest show on Earth with life’s collective consciousness spectrum.
Since my bandwidth is limited by my crowded day to days filled with other obligations, I’m sure I’m missing many awesome gems. So please do share should you believe you know of some presentations worth adding to this collection.
Featuring: Sean Carrol, NOVA/NASA, Robert Hazen, Robert Rohde, Richard Alley, Nick Lane, David Qualmen, Carl Woese, Lynn Margulis, Tsutomu Wantanabe, Angela Hessler, Svante Pääbo, Mark Solms, Antonio Damasio*,* Susan Greenfield*,* Jim Al-Khalili*. Finishing with introductions to* *David Attenborough’s incomparable tour of the evolution of Earth’s living creatures: " Life on Earth", and James L. Sadd’s wonderful introduction to the fundamentals of geology: “Earth Revealed”