My name is Peter Miesler

and I write under the moniker of citizenschallenge.

Born in 1955, my family immigrated from Germany before I was a year old, I grew up bilingual/bicultural in Chicago, Illinois until 13, then we moved to San Francisco Bay Area where I attended Burlingame High School (class ’73), there I learned about climate science, Earth sciences and about the dawning realization that Earth was finite and that we humans and our burgeoning society was reaching limits to growth - in particular, Earth’s ability to sustain us.

I was a science loving bright eyed tree hugger who participated in the first Earth Day celebrations. I never became a scientist still I never lost my love for science and learning and have proactively kept up on homework and scientific news, so I am familiar with the scientific trajectory and findings of this past century and these past decades, where amazing insight have been achieved.

Here in 2021, our society and Earth is living out my worst fears, and I’m a bit startled that mine and younger generations actually allowed things to go so terribly off the rails. I expected better. Still here we are. Today, in the short term, the one thing I know is that if the Democratic Party doesn’t start changing minds, we will continue losing and watch the corporate oligarch’s well executed decades long hostile takeover of our government consummated.

Constructively confronting off-the-rails thinking will require the “liberal” crowd ( science based rationalists, humanists, pluralists, people of empathy ) to rediscover themselves. To regain enough self-assurance and clarity to enable us to constructively confront the unhinged, honesty hating, corporate money fueled, reactionary extremism of today’s Republican Party.

The Democrat Party needs to worry less about donations and more about helping change minds and engaging citizens to care enough to try to stand up to the ever more scary bullies that the Republicans are brainwashing, grooming and unleashing on us.

The Democratic Party needs to start proactively nurturing a real grassroots community spirit, by helping us concerned individual citizens network with each other, so we can reinforce each other and better develop constructive ways to confront the various Republican campaigns of willful belligerent ignorance.

A healthy democracy demands an informed and engaged citizenry!

But how to change minds if there’s nothing to offer as an alternative?

My experience has been a lifetime of living and working, most of it outdoors in southwest Colorado. All the while learning about Earth’s biosphere, our evolution, the birth of geology, then biology, then the dance of Evolution between the two.

Consider the many startling realizations along the way, beyond stardust, we carry genetic codes and biological machinery within our blood that trace back, not just millions of years, but billions. We are part of an incredible biosphere and web of life and an ongoing adventure, born of wonderful changing environments, that we are only beginning to comprehend.

I’ve discovered there’s a profound difference between hearing that you are an element in the pageant of evolution - yeah, yeah, so what? It’s quite another experience, to have an actual visceral appreciation for the majesty behind the evolutionary reality of who we are inside .

Sure beats the paper thin salvation holy books and pick-pocket preachers offer. Like the difference between a postcard and being there. But, to appreciate all that requires a serious honest curiosity and proactively learning.

I’ve also discovered that a key to understanding the roots of human folly, is recognizing our fundamental inability to get beyond lip service, when it comes to actually appreciating the Human Mindscape ~ Physical Reality divide and its implications.

Rather simple, but quite deep once we start realizing how much western philosophy has been shackled by the age old egocentric blinders that all three Abrahamic faiths straddled western society with.

All that led to the contrived mind/brain problem, which is more of an Ego/God problem than any biological conundrum.

If any of that resonates with you, please explore and share these writing and my student resource: “The Case For Reality” .

I can’t help believing there’s a group of thinkers and writers who are looking for someone like me to join them.

I keep hoping someone will help me find them.

I wrote this a while back, now I have a few days where I’ve promised myself to make an effort to engage, stop my endless procrastination and make another effort.
So this is my warm up.
See if it stirs up anything.

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What is Earth Centrism anyways?

Earth Centrism is an Emergent Appreciation, when all those insights one’s collected come together into a tapestry, a pageant of life and circumstance so harmonic and graspable that it blossoms into
a visceral feeling that infuses one’s body.

That’s when Earth Centrism begins to mean something.

I am an element in the flow of creation and it is good.

Earth Centrism , is a perspective on our human condition that’s based on the understanding that Earth is our fundamental touchstone with Physical Reality and that we are creatures of Earth’s own natural processes.

Earth Centrism comes from appreciating the “Human Mindscape ~ Physical Reality divide” and getting a handle on how the Abrahamic traditions, that are fundamentally self-serving and self-obsessed continues dominating philosophical though to this day. The Mind/Brain conundrum, the Hard Problem of Consciousness, are ancient arguments dressed in modern language.

Earth Centrism is founded on the understanding that scientific study of the material world is our best window into understanding physical reality, because Science is, at it’s core, a set of rules for observing and recording and learning about our natural world that strives as much as possible to eliminate the human ego from its deliberations.

Science is founded on an unspoken understanding that we need each other to keep ourselves honest. It’s a community of educated, competitive, skeptical, experts who are constantly looking over each other’s shoulders. With fidelity to honesty being their Golden Rule.

I also contend that science, at its core, offers spiritual/mystical challenges, experiences and resolutions, well beyond the traditions of our human made, ego straddled, religions with their tunnel vision and that resentment towards Earth and learning.

Case For Reality

Because apparently someone needs to make one. Dissecting delusional thinking.

Cc’s Students’ Study Guide for Donald Hoffman’s “The Case Against Reality”

A non-scholars, scholarly effort:

Donald Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero-Gravity

A critical review of “The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid The Truth From Our Eyes,”

Donald Hoffman ©2019, W.W.Norton Company. Cc’s Students Resource.

Confronting Science Contrarians: Case For Reality

I intend to be a witness for a fact based, deep time, Evolution appreciating perspective on our human mind, physical reality interface.

Contents

1) A chapter by chapter dissection of Hoffman’s book “The Case Against Reality”

(1.01) The Prelude, Prof Donald Hoffman Playing Basketball In Zero-Gravity

(1.02) Chapter 10a, Community: Network of Conscious Agents (1/3)

(1.03) Chapter 10b, Community: Network of Conscious Agents (2/3)

(1.04) Chapter 10c, Community: Network of Hoffmanian Conscious Agents (3/3)

(1.05) Chapter 1, Mystery: The Scalpel That Split Consciousness

(1.06) Chapter 2, Beauty: Siren of the Gene

(1.07) Chapter 3, Reality: Capers of the Unseen Sun

(1.08) Chapter 4, Sensory: Fitness beats Truth

(1.09) Chapter 5, Illusory: The Bluff of the Desktop

(1.10) Chapter 6, Gravity: Spacetime is Doomed

(1.11) Chapter 7, Virtuality: Inflating a Holoworld

(1.12) Chapter 8, Polychromy: Mutations of an Interface

(1.13) Chapter 9, Scrutiny: You Get What You Need, in Both Life and Business

(1.14) Appendix, Precisely: The Right to Be (Foolish)

2) A closer look at Hoffmanian “Objects of Consciousness”

Hoffman/Prakash’s Objects of Consciousness , Objections and Replies

Frontiers in Psychology - June 17, 2014

(2.01) 4/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness, (conclusion)

(2.02) 1/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness, questions + replies (1-12)

(2.03) 2/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness, questions + replies (13-17)

(2.04) 3/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness, questions + replies (18-21)

3) Student Resource - Ten Learned Responses

(3.01) Diary - But, wait! There’s more. Ten Learned Responses.

(3.01.1) “Probing the interface theory of perception: Reply to commentaries ,

by Donald D. Hoffman, Manish Singh & Chetan Prakash"

Abstract: We propose that selection favors nonveridical perceptions that are tuned to fitness. … We thus expected that some commentators would reject our proposal and provide counterarguments that could stimulate a productive debate. … (HSP)

(3.02) Barton Anderson - Where does fitness fit in theories of perception?

(3.03) Jonathan Cohen - Perceptual representation, veridicality, and the interface theory of perception.

(3.04) Shimon Edelman - Varieties of perceptual truth and their possible evolutionary roots.

(3.05) Jacob Feldman - Bayesian inference and “truth”: a comment on Hoffman, Singh, Prakash.

(3.06) Chris Fields - Reverse engineering the world: a commentary on Hoffman, Singh, Prakash, ITP

(3.07) Jan Koenderink - Esse est Percipi & Verum est Factum.

(3.08) Rainer Mausfeld - Notions such as “truth” or “correspondence to the objective world”

(3.09) Brian P. McLaughlin and E. J. Green - Are icons sense data ?

(3.10) Zygmunt Pizlo - Philosophizing cannot substitute for experimentation: comment on Hoffman, Singh & Prakash.

(3.11) Matthew Schlesinger - Interface theory of perception leaves me hungry for more.

4) Student Resource - Background information

(4.01) Rainer Mausfeld : ‘Truth’ has no role in explanatory accounts of perception.

(4.02) Paul Mealing : considers Hoffman’s "Objects of Consciousness.”

(4.03) The Case For Reality : Because Apparently Someone Needs to Make One

(4.04) Sabine Hossenfelder : in Defense of Scientific Realism and Physical Reality

(4.05) “Emergence” - A Handy Summary and Resources

(4.06) Physical Origins of Mind: Dr. Siegel , Allen Institute Brain Science, Tononi, Koch .

(4.07) Can you trust Frontiers in Psychology research papers ? Student Resource

(4.08) Critical Thinking Skills - In Defense of Reality - A Student Resource

(4.09) Philo+Sophia - Love of Wisdom - A Student Resource

5) Summary of my critique

(5.01) Explaining why I’ve pursued this project.

6) Dr. Mark Solms deftly demystifies Chalmers’ “ Hard Problem ” of Consciousness

(6.01) Dr. Mark Solms demystifies Chalmers’ “Hard Problem” of Consciousness.

(6.02) The Other Side of Mark Solms PhD, farmer, vintner, humanitarian.

(6.03) Students’ Resource: A representative cross-section of Dr. Mark Solms’ scientific publications.

7) Distilling my 66 years worth of wondering at this magnificent pageant unfolding around me:

(7.01) An Alternative Philosophical Perspective - “ Earth Centrism

(7.02) Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide

(7.03) Being an element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution

(7.04) It’s not a “ Body-Mind problem ” it’s an “ Ego-God problem .”

Sometimes I toss in that bit after mulling over complaints about this being too long to read and tedious at times. Which I can’t deny. But then, that’s how it goes if you want to seriously delve into the depths of a subject.

I originally listened to Donald Hoffman’s book and found it so bizarrely contrived that half way through I’d had enough and walked away convinced Hoffman was a joker playing his audience for fools.

Months later a neighbor who’d just started reading the book challenged me to enunciate the specifics of what was bothering me. That was a bit of a kick in butt, I had to listen to it again willing myself to listen to all of it and see if I wasn’t exaggerating, I wasn’t. Then another listen through followed by getting the hardcover book and reading through it making notes and finally writing up my review, so I do know how tedious it can feel.

But, it was worth it, because now I can defend my opinion and explain specifically why I formed the conviction that the book is the product of an intellectual entertainer for profit, a opposed to any sort of honest effort to understand our human condition within our physical reality.

Ironically after I finished my review, I showed it to her and she laughed, telling me that the book got too weird for her and she’d lost interest and stopped reading it after a few chapters.

Of course, even tedious has it highlight and summaries:

I’ve put together a introduction to my “Donald Hoffman playing basketball in zero-gravity” review of his book: “The Case Against Reality - why evolution hide the truth from our eyes.”
I’ve finished it off with some philosophical perspectives that propose a more down to Earth appreciation of life on this Earth and our human condition.

A preview of Cc’s “Hoffman playing Basketball in zero-gravity” a critical review of his “Case Against Reality”

I’ve put together this 9 page preview of my “Hoffman playing basketball in zero-gravity” critique in order to send a hard copy to scientists and others who’s work I’ve featured during this project, maybe even get a little feedback.

I’m sharing because during the year I worked on this project my homework has evolved into a rich student resource, with copious links, references and insights for the young critical thinker writing a paper or report. Especially those that want to dig into Donald Hoffman’s Case Against Reality, for themselves, this is a goldmine.

That’s also why I’m taking the opportunity to post this online and send hard copies to some others. You see, I’m trying to find out if this resonates with anyone out there in the world beyond my rural Colorado cabin. If the following does resonates with you, I’d love to hear from you. Serious feedback, critique, suggestions, networking is invited.

Thank you for your time,
citizenschallenge at gmail

Welcome to the forum, Person I’ve already chatted with. :slight_smile:

I feel rather misunderstood and I don’t understand why since the concept of the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide seems as self evident as can be from a rational scientific perspective.

It’s what the “brain in the vat” was trying to grapple with, along with endless other philosophical lines of reasoning and speculation.

Since I’m getting negative feedback based on snap assumptions that reveal more about the writer’s biases, then about what I’ve actually written, and the even more disappointing proverbial blank stares I’ve had to get used to. It seemed to me that perhaps I should share a short bio-sketch of key points in my life, that have nurtured my convictions.

Maybe it will lend some perspective on my perspective :wink:

(7.03) Being an element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution

Although I’m a family man, with my share of friends, along with being community-minded, there’s a part of me that rarely fully connects, leaving me with an impression of being on the outside looking in and trying to make sense of the self-destructive impulses that are driving us towards disastrous outcomes.

Over the decades I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to understand what makes my fundamental outlook and instincts so foreign to the general mindset. It’s only recently, with the hindsight of six decades, and coming off of this “Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero-gravity project” with all it’s side trips and then discovering the light at the end of the tunnel with Dr. Mark Solms enunciating the outlines of Neuropsychoanalysis and a rational approach to understanding our minds unfolding within our bodies.

A body of work which convincingly demystifies Chalmers’ “Hard Problem” (and all the distracting intellectual mischief that’s given rise to) and points the way to a biological understanding of consciousness. Neuropsychology and neuropsychoanalysis brings us face to face with the reality that our consciousness is basically the inside reflection of our body/brain interacting with its environment. Think of it, consciousness as ‘interaction’ not a ‘thing.’

Now there’s something worth chewing on if you’re looking for intellectual or spiritual challenge.

Back to my struggle to make sense out of myself. A year ago I was able to enunciate the thing I believe makes me different. Basically, I possess a visceral awareness of, and appreciation for, being an element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution.
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That left me wondering about what it was that opened up such a potential for me? Why did all those religious mindsets feel so foreign, if not plain wrong, to me?

Recently I finally nailed that one too. It goes back to my early childhood, even before starting kindergarten at John J. Audubon Elementary school in Chicago. I’d been playing in the pool of warming sunlight streaming through the window onto our living room carpet, the light was making the floating dust specks look like stars. I remember focusing on their movements, then watching ‘em whooshing after my mom, when she passed on by. I was already fascinated by the night sky full of sparkling lights and these dust motes transported me into a space filled with stars and distant galaxies.

Then I hear myself asking my mom: “What is God?"

I like to think it took her a few beats, then she answered: “A speck of dust that wanted to be more.”

I must have been primed because it blew me away, literally permeated my entire being. After the initial shock wore off, it didn’t provide any sort of answers, it was more like a suggestion, a question, even a challenge to do better. God as a speck that simply wanted to be more. It was beautiful, awesome, and this little boy carried that conception right into school and it has remained with me for the rest of my life. Like a mantra echoing in the distance. It’s taken over 60 years for that echo to fully blossom and for me to appreciate, not just how, but the why that set me on my singular path.

I believe what happened was that the notion of ‘a tiny speck of dust wanting to be more’ wound up filling in and satisfying my “God” niche’ - that thing that, I believe, resides within all humans and that parents, caregivers, society fills in with their gods as a child grows into an adult.

In a couple years when the self-serving Abraham inspired God was presented to me, there was no place for it to grab hold of in my brain or heart, I was free of its shackles and free to make my own sense of the world.

This sense of self and spiritual connectivity with Earth emerged out of a little tree-hugging and a lifetime of curiosity, learning about myself, Earth, deep-time’s amazing evolutionary story, the development of life and creatures, our biosphere and ourselves.
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Especially realizing how the components of my own physical body had their origins eons ago. Not an intellectual knowing, but literally up close and bloody personal. Viscerally learning first hand how, for the most part, mammals have the same skeleton and organs I do, of course in different proportions. Just the same, it’s a profound realization that illuminated the deep kinship between my own body and other creatures.

Or taking it even further back in time and realizing how Earth herself had to go through intense processing before promising molecular building blocks and biological solutions to life’s challenges would have the material resources at hand, within appropriate environments, to allow them to be put to the test and prosper.

It’s a long, amazingly complex story that keeps evolving as more evidence gets collected and processed into shared scientific knowledge. Folds within folds of cumulative harmonic complexity flowing down the cascade of time.

In the end, the thought of being an intelligent self-aware element of creation, one who is capable of savoring the pageant of Earth’s amazing Evolution is more than comforting.

It provides me an unparalleled spiritual foundation and solidity in the face of challenges, inevitable failings and my coming death. Not that I’m above any of it, I still live the dramas and struggles of being me, but I understand the music and it doesn’t scare me anymore. The mindset of the kayaker striving to find the best line through the successive cascades of my life and being rewarded with a transcendent depth of experience, peace and security no Holy Book, or fast-talking pick-pocket preachers can get close to offering.

It’s good news worth passing around to those who are honestly curious about understanding themselves within the context of Earth’s Evolution and the realities of scientific knowledge.

Hi my name is Tom Wlazlak
Many call me different names. that I can not say here.
I am a little confused, What is a tree hugger?
For me I am Master of my own Universe.
This makes most problems of what is an what will be less problematic.
Peter, I seems to me you want to write but who you’re writing to is yourself.
Mostly this is good. because the cost lying on a couch and telling therapist stories is costly.
But Very Interesting, If we understood what you were talking about.
Something to think about when writing stories to others.

Have you ever felt like hugging a tree or two because you were leaving a wonderful landscape that had become close to your heart, and simply felt like it, because it made your insides feel good?

Have you ever felt at home walking through a forest or hanging out within a beautiful landscape or near a splendid little mountain stream?

It starts with appreciating and loving the natural world.

And with enough doing your homework and learning, an awareness of our kinship with the natural world evolves.

If none of that makes any sense to you, it’s your loss.

I don’t want to write I am writing - what do you have to offer?

Sure it’s about myself and the perspective I’ve developed. It’s for others, though I appreciate more and more, how totally foreign it is to a world full of consumer units addict to the boob tube of their choice. But that doesn’t surprise me, that there are so overwhelmingly many of that, had caught me off guard, but I learn as I go.

That’s the tragedy isn’t it.
Way, way too many are too busy consuming and squandering to realize there’s anything in life beyond their next consumer fix.

Nah, I’m not becoming like the sheople out there, even if that means I can’t get anyone to understand the rather simple, straightforward story I have to share.

Beside the most important part of the project is to finish it, and be satisfied that I’ve written what I’ve wanted to get across, and I have and I am. It will find its audience.

Cheers,
Cc
My homemade philosophical underpinnings.

(7.01) An Alternative Philosophical Perspective - “Earth Centrism

(7.02) Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide

(7.03) Being an element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution

(7.04) It’s not a “Body-Mind problem” it’s an “Ego-God problem.”

I haven’t got around to reading it yet. I’ve subscribed to your Blog with RSS though. I haven’t really been reading any new philosophies lately. I’ve been reading the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe and periodically I check the CFI site feed. Mostly I’ve been trying to reduce my screen time because my thoughts tend to get cluttered, my nerve and muscle pain increases. And soon I’m going out of town attend a wedding, so I’d like to have a clear head and be as pain-free as possible.

Good luck with that and enjoy the wedding.

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