Discussion: Philosophy an Art form rather than science

In my Wisdom Through the Ages link (post 142), I put this paragraph in the timeline around 700 AD

As we’ll see in a bit, it takes more some literature and good ideas to develop philosophy that can support democracy and increase cooperation on a world scale. The East didn’t have the ideas the Greeks had, and the Roman Empire was collapsing. Philosophy was preserved but didn’t advance for a thousand years.

Indigenous people might have had a better sense of intuition and a better relationship with the natural world, but without written language and widespread travel those ideas didn’t spread. They remained tied up with their mythology and were almost lost when Western philosophy promoted colonization in the name of progress. This is not just an aside, it is significant. It’s only in the last 100 years of advancements in neuroscience that we are beginning to see the errors of viewing ourselves as creatures separate from our environment, and worse ones with dominion over it.

The sentence structure could some work, but am I getting the idea across? Somewhere in that time, the big empires were splitting permanently from the smaller tribal nations. Slavery and conquering had always existed, but with improved metallurgy and world travel, they were becoming industrialized. Somewhere between antiquity and modernity, enough people choose the comforts of heating and indoor plumbing and good food over thinking 7 generations into the future, and how to take care of the air, and not poop upstream. Since then, it doesn’t seem to matter how good of an argument you make, people don’t want to make the trade-offs.

I read something today on BigThink, about how Aristotle had some ideas about how to do science, but it was a long time before the work of science began; the monotonous data gathering, the measurements down to the millimeter. It’s not natural. The average person doesn’t want to make their case, they want simple demonstrations of how things work. So, we’re stuck waiting for the shorelines to all disappear before they believe the climate is changing.

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I’m not complaining about Earth scientists and biologists and such - It’s the philosophers and storytellers and their wealthy sponsors who dropped the ball.

60s media could still talk about the science as straight forward science and honest good-faith endeavor.
Somewhere in the 70s/80s we crossed a Rubicon and turned our backs on soberly recognizing scientific facts - along with their implications.
Good faith review of scientific evidence was out the window and ruthless self interest proceeded to do all they could to own the public dialogue. Jesus and abortion became the big distractions and then “Liberal” became the big boggy-man.

(Problem is any constructive solution requires the whole team to buy in, dirty tricks and sabotage will ruin the most promising of efforts, which is what the GOP has done ever since.

I don’t need to repeat myself. En mass, bad choices were made, denying honest review of facts and evidence, basically embracing “gluttony” - and as we did. We all became accomplices, some less willing than others, but nonetheless it was the world we were born into.

Generations worth of a general underlying mindset of willful disregard created barrier to solutions, that remain solid, even in this day of all around understanding, for those interested in learning about it.

I’ve spent all my life trying to make sense of the promises mades by powers that be; the apathy of the people; baffling counter-productive election outcomes; choices made, promises discarded. As if deliberately setting the stage for ever worse disasters, small and large,.

Cascading into ever greater madness of consumption, destruction and power struggle. Most those decades, full of self doubt and dealing with the cognitive dissonance between what I was hearing and what we were witnessing unfolding in the world.

The screaming self-centeredness in outlook, with it’s casual, yet profound selective disregard for other peoples, creatures or things, landscapes, water, clean water, and so on. The general expectations and disregard for “externalities” and cascading destructive impacts, of our sumptuous life styles and ever increasing expectations.

Now I’m at the old man’s storytelling explaining stage, I have no illusions of changing or saving anything, though I do hope I can offer some food for thought.

I’m not arguing about the science!

It’s one of those “tells” - some may say: “I get it” - but everything else they say demonstrates they don’t get it.

Please don’t be conflating Philosophers with Earth scientists.

It’s always the philosophers (okay the occasional scientists, who’ve crossed over into metaphysical intellectual entertainment arena) where I’ve been finding fault and blindspots,

I’m sorry lausten, I’ve been chewing on this for days and I’m not out to insult, but your words demonstrate that, no you don’t get it. If anything it throws you off your game, why else not relate to it and instead keep going back to good ol cosmic reflections, realm of the gods and irrefutable dreams.

Not that different from Write’s need to always go back to microtubules as if they were the “answer”…

It would be.
I don’t know how to get there either.

But turning a blind eye to our long history of glaring disregard and shallowness toward understanding the natural world that made us.

Hurt feelings or not.

This isn’t about notions for ultimate answers and certainty, it’s about understand basics, and simple first steps, such as appreciating our biology and how it makes us who we are. But that is frankly impossible without a deeper understanding of the evolutionary pageant that created the multiple interwoven layers and systems that are the creature wonder of that human body you possess. Along with how much that body depends on the rest of that natural world.
A pageant that was a thing of constant feedback loops, choices were permanent, and creatures did the best they could with what they had dealt out to them.

Yes, but only as one of the fundamental answers to the emergence of “conscious intellect”. I am quite capable of discussing other important subjects without mentioning microtubules.

It could be the way you keep jumping around without defining your terms. One thing we might need to discuss is that to me, philosophy is not philosophy if it’s not grounded in science. Anyone can do wild speculation, most do pseudo-science. You’ve introduced this term “story tellers”, and mention Attenborough, so we agree there are good story tellers, although when I point to one, like Kimmerer, you barely acknowledge it. So, yeah, I’ve told you, I don’t get what you’re saying. You say “they” have “dropped the ball”, but if there are good examples, then who is “they”? I don’t think I would have come up with my understanding of what propaganda is, or how media is manipulated, on my own. Some degree of freedom and ability to speak up about lies existed while I was still young and learning, and it is still being exposed every day.

But you use terms like “out the window” as if that explains the 50 years. I’ll ask a question that Jonathan Haidt got the other day on a podcast, “What are your top ideas for changing the current situation?”

When I say the “science recognizes the self-centeredness”, I’m saying there are those who hear exactly what you are saying and are working on it. You say “it’s always the philosophers” and that I conflate them with scientists. We disagree on what philosophy is. Philosophy is what you do after you finish your experiment. Where did the data lead you? What questions are still unanswered? What new questions were raised? What other possible correlations are there? Is there new neuro-science that might inform the results? That’s all philosophizing. When Thomas Sowell distorts history and speaks of “economic-man” as it’s a real thing, that’s pseudo-science/intellectual entertainment, and he gets called on it constantly.

This is an incomplete sentence. I don’t want to respond until giving you a chance to clarify where this fits.

Well, okay, but perhaps we should start by identifying most significant problems that needs fixing.

At the top of my list would be humans’ superiority complex, self-centeredness, and an Ego that mistakes itself for God, (& that cheap gas prices is the holy grail.)
with it’s disconnect driven disregard for natural cycles and landscapes and creatures,
that foster all those destructive choices, that have brought us to this place of our Earth’s biosphere unraveling, while our climate engine is being supercharged.

Best exemplified by the conviction of most, that “Earth is something given to us to exploit”, end of discussion.

Getting people to appreciate that God is something created from within ourselves, would also change attitudes, along with the public dialogue, and the decisions that attitudes drive. No reason for people to ditch the religions and congregations they so passionately believe in, but get it into a healthier perspective. Appreciate it for an exercise of the soul and intellect a longing for something beyond our physical realm.

Recognize Earth’s dominion over the here and now of our physical existence.
Why should that be so difficult?

A subtle but profound change in human attitude,
Today’s lust for ever more, needs to be reexamined and stopped.

Our biological origins needs to be absorbed on a personal level,
that is, the fact of our being another evolved biological sensing creature,
that is created out of the fabric of this Earth over the course of hundreds of millions
of years, folds within folds of complexity that map your evolutionary roots.
Not superficially, like the way we care about starving people on the other side of the **
** globe, but like your own family and kin.

Nothing of substance can change without a profound change in basic attitude towards Earth. People would will need to develop an intellectual and emotional connection with Earth on a par with the way we feel about our own kin.
Because only that kind of emotional connection will create the environment for constructively dealing with challenges in a way that does its best to protecting and nurturing the landscapes and environments we depend on for our survival.

After that, the rest will come of itself. Left to current attitudes and methods, free fall is all that remains.

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I agree with this. I think a significant number of people do.

Please be specific.

I can agree with that, I try to emulate the former, after all it would be trite not to acknowledge I’m an outhouse philosopher myself.
It’s the pseudo-science many who are billed philosopher that irritates me. For instance, take a Hameroff lecture, then watch Nick Lane, or Solms, or Hazen and the difference in fidelity to scientific rules is out there on display.

I believe I acknowledged her. I’m only slightly familiar with her, the book is on my wanna-list, I’m listening to an interview in the background. Sounds like a wonderful person whom I can relate to. Not sure what more you expect of me. If she came to talk and I listen to her speak, I’d probably have much more to say.

That’s cute and sorry, but an example of normalizing by disregarding its existence:

Science Contrarians Hall of Shame
When it comes to Serious Constructive Debates - that is, dialogues that respect the confines of truth and honestly representing others and the evidence - these showmen are nowhere to be found. …

Here’s a thumbnail sketch. Fifty years age technology and science came of age. Most age old questions have been answer more or less convincingly. Humans were finally able to sit back and assess, and recognize, how much our global societies were impacting our global biosphere and potentially even our atmosphere and the global climate engine that it regulates our weather systems.

We could also think into the future and do the math and see that we were starting to achieve unsustainable levels of growth and consumption and that unless we as a society powered-down a bit, both populations and consumption expectations, we were going to significantly alter environmental conditions that we depended for the life styles we were enjoying so much.

The inescapable lesson was that man had turned the tables, we were now the giants leaving massive footprints, and unless we learned to tread a little lighter, there were going to be monstrous consequences in the coming decades and centuries. Barely half a century into the new understanding, and disconnect and self-delusion is running rampant. Not everyone, thanks be, but too few of us to make significant different.

Since people don’t want to be bothered, I doubt there’s much that can be done.


and here,

and here,

and here,

Guess I’ll have to work on those tags. :slight_smile:

Yes the process of writing scholarly works is daunting, I’ll never achieve their standards. I take solace in one of life’s truisms: we strive to do the best we can, with what we have.

Fortunately, I’m no well disciplined scholar, I feel more akin the snot nosed kid watching the parade go by, but oh, I have tasted life.

Yeah, that’s by way of excusing my shortcomings. :+1:t2:

Lausten, serendipity is a beautiful thing.

Here’s an example you were wanting to find.

Wonderful discussion, at about around 37/38 minutes Kenneth Miller a self professed Christian and scientist, walks right up to the line and almost explicitly acknowledges that our God’s and religions are the products of our mind, doesn’t do it, but still expressed some excellent ideas.

This talk resonated quite well with my own ideas and attitude.
A point in your court, in that it’s a good example of giving Evolution it’s due.

Does Evolution Explain Human Nature?

Sep 30, 2009 - YaleUniversity

Corey S. Powell, Editor and Chief of Discover Magazine, Kenneth Miller, Professor of Biology at Brown University, Laurie Santos, Professor of Psychology Yale University, and David Sloan Wilson, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghampton University, discuss how we got to be the way we are.

The next sentence after I say you jump around without defining terms, I discuss your use of the terms “philosophy” and “story-tellers”.

Bit of an insult there. I’ve been posting about things like “merchants of doubt” for as long as you’ve known me. It’s weird that you accuse me of disregarding those, when what you post as evidence that I’ve done that is the very people I’m saying exist and are important to acknowledge. I said this just recently, that you and I know of the liars because of all the people who publish, like in Scientific American. Francis Moore Lappe was born in 1944, making her almost a contemporary for you and me. Pete Seeger lived until just recently. I could name many more. These voices are strong and they’ve been doing this kind of thing you talk about for a long time.

But when you review the last 50 years, you leave them out. You paint this picture of science “coming of age”, but in a time when prayer in schools was still accepted as normal. Science was just barely applied to human rights at that time. I don’t think there were that many people sitting back and assessing. One guy had to fight hard to get lead taken out of gasoline. It’s always been a fight of the selfish against the altruistic, the short-sighted against the long-view.

Your first two links in response to my description of how philosophy is part of the scientific method are confounding. I was talking about what one does after an experiment produces data, not how you were led to the Hoffman book. The Centrism is more along the philosophy lines. I hadn’t seen Earth Centrism 2/2, that’s an impressive bibliography.

I don’t think everybody needs to. Anyone can do science in their backyard. The point I’m making is to avoid pseudo-science or bad philosophy. Be curious, and don’t fill in with a made-up answer when you don’t know. You don’t need to discover a new species to be a person who appreciates the wonders of evolution.

I’m not trying to score points. But yes, it’s a good discussion. I tried reconciling religion and science at one time, but I gave up. I could polish the post or two I did recently on how we only need science, it includes all the wonder, the creative desire, the love of life, everything. Religion (or religious people) say science is limited to facts and the physical world, but what does that mean? How could we have imaginations if not for the physical world?

Then stop ignoring those facts so often.

I’m discussing the general state of thinking, not you specifically, stop making it about you specifically - jesus, you think, you listen, you push back - you ain’t nothing like most the sleepy heads out there. But at times you do say things that dramatize how little you get the substance of what I’m thinking.

Of course, sometimes in pushing back we need to push harder

Because the past half century has been busy turning them into pretty near irrelevant side shows.

It’s like on the one hand saying, “Sure, okay, of course God’s are the product of our own human mind” - then going right back to the religious books and spending endless hours pouring over texts that others wrote and going right back to the same old debating each other about God and his almighty power. And I see that a lot.

I was pointing to my humble sloppy efforts to emulate that process, the fruits of my labors, so to speak.

I don’t think I do that.
Heck that’s why I’ve striven to boil it down to it’s essence:

“Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide”

Which incidentally offers the key to reconciling the "science v religion’ conundrum.

I’ve also been able to address questions, when asked. Handwaving gets more difficult to respond to constructively.

Oh and why isn’t that advice given to scientist-philosophers telling us about the essence of consciousness delving into the depths of the cosmos and meta-physics with examples and evidence conjured from the imagination and not provable one way or that other???

With that little formula up there, and your knowledge of Earth’s Evolutionary Pageant you already have the tools to work it out.
:grinning: :+1:t2:

It’s the byproduct of being evolved biological sensing organisms, with a couple billion years of biological learning packed into our bodies.

I didn’t say you do. I’m reflecting your POV here, looking for agreement. I’m getting the sense that anything short of me saying, “you’re absolutely right CC”, is unacceptable.

Well I wish I could find them, or they me. Lordie knows I’ve been shooting up enough emergency flairs hoping someone spots me.

What I do here on this forum fits these discussions. I respond to people who are way off with their libertarian arguments, but I don’t feel it’s necessary to present long arguments. More often, people who make those bad arguments are also bad at being civil and I have to handle that.

Important though, you know that I really hate the Left Wing Intellectual thinking error, that you can beat people over the head with facts to win them over to your side. Below, I had forgotten about Julia Galef, a brilliant young thinker, who discusses this. She validates what you’ve said when she shows some graphs. One shows how Republicans and Democrats diverge on the question of AGW. What’s really depressing is, the more intelligent the people, the more divergent they are. That is, a smart Republican is MORE likely to disbelieve climate science.

But, then, near the end, in the interview section, about 1 hr 27 minutes, she says she had a more hopeful graph that she didn’t include in the talk. It showed that if you are “science curious”, you are more likely to accept the AGW science. I’ve always felt that “Earth Centrism” encourages scientific curiosity. But, when you start talking about it, you can slip into admonishing conservatives and talk about how we have to get more information out there. This arguing amongst liberals has been a problem for liberal politics for some time now.

You have a point, yet, yet,

Getting more information out there, isn’t exactly the same as “directly confronting the lies being manufactured and strategically manipulated.”

In terms of how to win people over, it’s worse. Calling people liars is not how you start a conversation. It’s one thing to write a science-based piece that points out bad logic, missing facts, and incorrect conclusions. It’s completely different to claim to know the motivations of people, insult their intelligence, or otherwise denigrate them.

It’s about the facts.

If one misrepresent physical facts, that should be called out.

If we can’t do that, all we do is continue our self-destructive impulses. That reminds me, in some ways this is thee acid test of our much vaunted uniqueness and superiority over the beasts of the Earth,
or are we actually no more than dumb animals, with a lot of pretense, yet locked into acting on instinct and to hell with all this highfalutin thinking and compassion and reasoning abilities we are supposed to possess?

Before we can debate the best ways to try that education or fact checking and correcting - the first primary decision is
How much does physical truth matter?

Is our current normalization of deliberate false and misleading propaganda about critically important issues simply to be written off as no big deal? Get over it dude!

For that answer check current events.

Either we’ve gone off-topic, or this is the central question, I’m not sure anymore.

I think calling out people for being wrong on facts is a self-destructive impulse. We can see how it’s worked in Congress. We can see how news has become entertainment. We see how openly propaganda is used, but it still works. We know the psychology of people digging in and doubling down when they are told they are wrong.

I’m not sure what else to say, since it’s you who has presented and discussed Mark Solms, who talks in detail about we are emotional beings, not dumb, but our thoughts are not generated strictly by our higher-order reasoning abilities. This seems important to you, but I don’t see you applying it.

How would you think I should be “applying it”?

Speaking to the emotional source of the votes for Trump. You and I can’t get to Trump, but we can talk civilly with the people who vote for him and others like him.