Prof Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero Gravity

Okay pals, I been hinting at it for months and I started thinking about it over a year ago at my first listen to Hoffman’s book.

A Case Against Reality, why evolution hid the truth from our eyes.
Although, that first listen, ... Sorry, can't help it, I've aways be a serious sort of guy, the kind that had little humor for practical jokes and nasty tricks. Listening to Hoffman's story I increasingly felt like I was at the butt end of one of those and he was playing me for the fool and somewhere around "Virtuality #7 I'd had it. What was so madding is that stories he was telling were for the most part accurate to my understanding, but his conclusions, lordie, lordie. . .

Then this summer my neighbor whom I like and who’s intellect and awareness I respect, told me about this great little book that I’d really like because it was ‘right up my alley.’ (She’s read Missing Key to Stephen Gould’s “Nonoverlapping Magisteria”)

Getting home, what a surprise to find I’d already had a copy of the audio and it was that book. Still, the gauntlet tossed and a book review of some sort was poetically demanded. My next listen was on a solo drive down to AZ, my way, nice and easy, savoring the changing landscape like a fine wine - I had a chance to listen to all of it, alone, no distraction but for the passing magnificent wide open Four Corners landscape.

The message didn’t set right by me and I found myself arguing with the author time and time again, and this time slamming the door was no longer an option. As I engaged the internet I was amazed at the following and popularity D.H. and his message has and I think that added energy to my developing my notion to actually devote the time to dissecting it. My neighbor gave me her second hardcopy and said have at it. I read through making notes on it and in a notebook. My ears were not deceiving me, this guy was really saying these things with a serious face. Then it got real, now my schedule has opened up and I’m off to the races.

Probably won’t convince anyone of anything - nor am I into trying anymore. I’ll have the satisfaction of a job well, not to mention all I’ve learning during this process. Life is good, and then we die. And it is good. Destroying the planet for all future generations, that really really really sucks big time.

Beyond examining Hoffman’s words and tactics, this is about a chance to clearly enunciate my perspective as best I can, (at this point and time). I’ll admit I hope, and imagine, there are some with whom this will resonate and I hope it can be a sort of tool, for a few, help em work on developing a better appreciate for their own hunches and feeling towards this Earth (and stand up for it), their lives and our inescapable death.

:wink:

 

Prof Donald Hoffman Playing Basketball In Zero-Gravity - the prelude.

Citizenschallenge - September 28, 2020

https://confrontingsciencecontrarians.blogspot.com/2020/09/case-against-reality-zerogravity.html

 

If Donald Hoffman had categorized his book “The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid The Truth From Our Eyes” as new age literature, metaphysical intellectual entertainment, I’d have no complaints. It’s his insistence on passing it off as a serious scientific effort that begs a frank detailed response, (even if I’m only a thoughtful spectator and no academic myself.)

Science is a set of rules and an attitude for observing and striving to understand our physical world, it’s about atoms and molecules, all they create, including biology and our planet’s biosphere, along with the rules all of it follows. Science strives for objectivity, it demands facts and rejects ego driven conclusions. …

 

Prof Donald Hoffman #1 - Playing Basketball In Zero-Gravity - Mystery

Citizenschallenge - October 4, 2020

https://confrontingsciencecontrarians.blogspot.com/2020/10/hoffman-zerogravity-mystery-1.html

 

Prof Hoffman #2 - Playing Basketball In Zero-Gravity - Beauty

Citizenschallenge - October 8, 2020

confrontingsciencecontrarians _ blogspot _ com/2020/10/hoffman-zerogravity-beauty-2.html

Although I’m keeping my powder dry and will wait for the last couple chapters before I share, what I believe to be, a saner perspective towards dealing with our perceptions, evolution and reality.

 

 

I’ve got my first drafts through ch 8, so feeling good about staying the course. Would be nice if someone gave a damned, but so it goes. What blows me away is the talks that he manages to line up, and the polite reviews he gets for such a transparent nonsense, worse downright crazy-making.

And me, during the past couple chapters, the idea of this shit actually being a mental health menace is starting to develop - I mean if you really try to follow his ideas, it leads to utter derangement and disconnect from the physical reality we are embedded with. Trying to follow the consequences of Hoffman’s logic has had me dizzy a few times. Be interesting to see if the idea developes into something.

The other thought, what the hell is the point of it Hoffman? How is this supposed to enlighten our lives? Or give anyone a leg up? What aspect of a human’s life can be improved, through this philosophy, er theorem, (excuse me)?

I’m trying to hold off on pontificating, right now simply want to introduce his ideas, and then at the end offer a more rational Earth Centrist perspective on evolution, reality and the human interface.

 

October 11, 2020 Prof Hoffman #3 - Playing Basketball In Zero-Gravity - (objective) Reality

https://whatsupwiththatwatts.blogspot.com/2020/10/hoffman-zerogravity-reality-3.html

I appreciate that many people including scientists use the term “objective” to mean something actually existing independent of the mind -

still, if you think about it,

bet you’ll admit that “objective,” or lack thereof, actually exists within our minds - as opposed to Physical Reality which simply IS.


DH writes:  “If we construct everything we see, and if we see neurons, then we construct neurons.

But what we construct doesn’t exist until we construct it.  So neurons don’t exist until we construct them.”   (¶7)

 

Cc points out:  In order to see an object light needs to first bounce off that object, then travel to one’s eyes,

then be processed more or less the way Hoffman described, only then can it be perceived by one’s mind.

 

The light beams bouncing off that object wouldn’t be entering our eye’s to begin with, if that object didn’t already exist.                             Or ?</blockquote>
What blows me away is the talks that he manages to line up, and the polite reviews he gets for such a transparent nonsense, worse downright crazy-making. -- CC
It's amazing how far you can get if you appear to be calm and relaxed, and well, SANE, while you are speaking. You can make a very long speech about a word you just made up, as long as all the other words come from some scientific discipline. People will listen. News people and talk show hosts won't know what questions to ask. Those in the discipline will know you are full of it, but then, you get to call them gatekeepers, and, then you're famous.

 

October 14, 2020 Prof Hoffman #4 - Playing Basketball In Zero-Gravity - Sensory - Fitness Beats Truth

https://whatsupwiththatwatts.blogspot.com/2020/10/hoffman-zerogravity-sensory-4html.html

… Hoffman conflates ‘perceiving’ with ‘the perceived’ and starts down a troubling path.

It’s no secret that our visual system edits and composes the moving images our mind’s eye perceives. Nothing reality shattering about it. Or is there?

Hoffman tells us something more important is going on. That there’s a hidden reality inside of the reality we experience every day. Something humanity really needs to tap into before we can feel whole.

Something like what? Like inside atoms? Is that justified? If so? So what?

Or, might it be simple escapism that’s driving this Case Against Reality? …

 

 

OCTOBER 17, 2020 Prof Hoffman #5 - Playing Basketball In Zero-Gravity - Illusory

https://citizenschallenge.blogspot.com/2020/10/hoffman-zerogravity-illusory-5.html


 

Professor Donald Hoffman: “As long as our theories are stuck within spacetime, we cannot master what lurks behind.”

DH: “ A venerable tradition conscripts the latest technology to be a metaphor of the human mind. …” (¶3)


… and history also shows us what a folly this venerable tradition is.

Gary Marcus: “Science has a poor track record when it comes to comparing our brains to the technology of the day. Descartes thought that the brain was a kind of hydraulic pump, propelling the spirits of the nervous system through the body. Freud compared the brain to a steam engine. The neuroscientist Karl Pribram likened it to a holographic storage device.”
Instead of taking the hint, Hoffman takes his cue from a Hollywood blockbuster and reduces our sensory interface with reality, down to our interface with a computer screen.
Chapter five’s opening quote comes from Morpheus in The Matrix: “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
Is Hoffman being provocative for the sake of intellectual titillation?

Is it for the sake of constructive science? Or what? Is it tailored to sell to a frivolous audience?

Can we tell the different between a constructive scientist and a devious salesman?

Lets find out as I continue my inspection of Hoffman’s words and their implications.

. . . . . DH: “… I invite you to explore a metaphor of perception: each perceptual system is an interface, like the desktop computer of a laptop. A laptop shaped by natural selection, …” (¶3)

 

Morpheus in The Matrix:

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back.

You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.

You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”


It’s moments of insight like this, that keep me at it. I’ve actually tried to give Hoffman a fair shake. I’ve seen his CV, I’ve scanned the list of his publications, subject matter aside, I can’t ignore those accomplishments. I see the amount of talks he gives and the collaborations he’s been involved with. There must be some substance to the guy.

But, that quote takes me right back to the world of dealing with off-the-wall climate science contrarians - and the one weapon they wielded with ruthless efficiency.

Their sense of superiority and self-certainly and that sneering contempt for anyone who doesn’t fall in line with their sciencie deceptions.

It’s why so many people shut up their minds and went along with the FORGET ABOUT IT, NO PROBLEM, NO AGW con artists. It was emotionally easier than facing that constant ridicule. Take a look around at our Earth and see what that’s done for humanity and our prospects.

 

Reading between the lines of that quote from a fantasy movie - I hear Hoffman whispering in our ears if you are so boring that regular macroscopic classical physics satisfies you, fine whatever you sad sap, go to your boring life and lonely bed. I’ve got the red pill that will reveal the reality within reality, trust me it’s a wonderland.

 

Another red flag — he’s afraid to answer simple questions. Ask him if he’s ever studied, shall I say “wet,” evolution? Crickets, but I got copies of his papers because he has so many mention of evolution. I looked at them, no a one had to do with biology or deep time or wet evolution - it was all using “evolution” as a factor in a logic formula.

Ask him about the reality of sun bouncing off an object before an observer can see it. And he responds with a story about virtual reality and how iMax makes things look so real. Ask for some definitions for his “fitness” and “truth” - and, … and, … well guess we’ll see, so far nothing.

I suspect I won’t hear my last, no matter how polite and succinct I make my inquiries. He’s got his air tight theorem and is in no mode for questions.

I don’t doubt it’s solid mathematics, but appropriate for nothing in our living, breathing, down to Earth macroscopic physical reality, where Earth’s three dimensions, and stuff, and time will be a thing to be reckoned with for longer than people will be existing.

Started going through these. Love this little insight.

I’ve always thought it a shame we don’t spend more time pondering, absorbing, and learning to appreciate what we already know. --cc

:wink:

OCTOBER 20, 2020 Prof Hoffman #6 - Playing Basketball In Zero-Gravity - Gravity - Spacetime is Doomed

http://citizenschallenge.blogspot.com/2020/10/hoffman-zerogravity-6-gravity-spacetime.html


 

....... DH: “If our senses were shaped by natural selection, then the Fitness Beats Truth Theorem tells us we don’t see reality as it is. Interface Theory of Perception (ITP) tells us that our perceptions constitute an interface, specific to our species. It hides reality and helps us raise kids.

Spacetime is the desktop on this interface and physical objects are among its icons.” (¶1)


In this chapter 6, Hoffman samples cutting edge theoretical physics to underpin his theorem. This tour through the quantum realm, at the very boundary between atoms and universal background energy, is fascinating. As for Hoffman’s conclusion and implications, they are fascinating science fiction for reasons I will make clear as we go through his text.

“Perceptions constitute an interface, specific to our species” is easy to explain without reaching for twinkle dust.

Every creature has a unique life style, with a unique body plan, sensing abilities, mental abilities, environmental demands and so on.

Eyes are optical instruments, they cannot help but receive the reflected light coming at them.

How well they can process, resolve and act upon those signals is altogether a different question - one that is independent of the physical reality of the object reflecting said light. …

 

Is spacetime threatened by a qubit?

 

Before we look at Hoffman’s pronouncements, I want to share a talk by Sean Carroll who offers us a more scientifically trustworthy baseline of current physics understanding.

You won’t notice any of the red flags of deception that pepper Hoffman’s presentations. Not that Carroll doesn’t present some amazing theoretical conjectures that do seem to echo Hoffman’s - thing is, Professor Carroll presents them within a more balanced framework.

 

This is what a scientist sounds like.

Mysteries of Modern Physics by Sean Carroll

Jan 29, 2020 - Darwin College Lecture Series

Mysteries of Modern Physics

youtube _com/watch?v=rBpR0LBsUfM

youtube_com/watch?v=rBpR0LBsUfM

Sean Carroll, 10:45

. . . these are the particles that make up you and this table and me and this laptop and really everything that you have ever seen with your eyes touched with your fingers smelled with your nose in your life.

Furthermore we know how they interact with each other and even better than that, the most impressive fact is that there will not be a discovery tomorrow or next century or a million years from now which says you know what there was another particle or another force that we didn’t know about but now we realize plays a crucial role in our everyday life.

As far as our everyday life is concerned by which I really mean what you can see with your eyes touch with your hands etc we’re done finding the underlying ingredients. That is an enormous achievement in human history one that does not get enough credit, because of course as soon as we do it we go on to the next thing.

Physics is not done. I’m not saying that physics is done, but physics has understood certain things and those things include everything you encounter in your everyday life - unless you’re a professional experimental physicist or unless you’re looking of course outside our everyday life at the universe and other places where we don’t know what’s going on. …

So I’ve discovered that Hoffman’s Fitness Beats Truth (FBT) Theorem and Interface Theory of Perception (ITP) is hashed over philosophy with theistic roots - Going to have to chew on that one, could make for an interesting article in itself. All this has definitely reinforced my conviction that there’s a need to clearly ennunicate the division between our human mindscapes and all it’s endeavors, from the Physical Reality that simply IS and that we are always going to be marveling at and puzzling over. :wink:

OCTOBER 27, 2020 Prof Hoffman #7 - Playing Basketball In Zero - Virtuality - Inflating a Holoworld

http://citizenschallenge.blogspot.com/2020/10/hoffman-zerogravity-7-virtuality.html

In chapter 7 of Case Against Reality, Hoffman’s “spacetime is doomed” mantra starts sounding like a hypnotist’s spell, as reality fades from view. Here we read more fascinating stories that reveal slivers of actual physics, but then contain too many important omissions to be of any constructive help.

One way Hoffman misrepresents facts and twists conclusions is by anthropomorphizing the results and implications of quantum experiments and theory, all the while ignoring the profound difference between quantum scale experiments, and our macroscopic physical reality.

Or, for that matter, you’ll not hear Hoffman acknowledge the profound difference between his mathematical models of idealized universes and our actual ever evolving universal physical reality.

As a simple hands on working man, trying to follow through on Hoffman’s trains of thoughts leaves me overwhelmed time after time. I don’t kid myself, with my middling layperson understanding of physics, I’m in no position to offer lectures or corrections to Hoffman’s details, nor is that my intent.

Heck, I’ve had to do a lot of searching and additional reading these past weeks and again wrestling with this chapter, trying to grasp the various philosophical strands running through it and trying to wrap my head around the heady pipe dreams of these creative theorists.

My intention is to get through Hoffman’s book then to offer a saner down to Earth alternative. An evolutionary perspective of our Earth and our human relationship with this physical reality we are embedded within. Sans the religious baggage Hoffman’s theorem carries, stay tuned for more on that.

I compensate for my mediocre mind by doing homework and knowing how to check out claims and weigh evidence. For this chapter I’ve blown my deadline and spend a good deal of time learning more about what knowledgeable authorities have to explain. I’ll be sharing highlights throughout this review. …

I think I’ll skip forward to this 7th one in the series, spend some time with it. It looks like a whole semester of theoretical physics in itself. I can feel your pain, slogging through DH’s bad arguments. But they the kind of thing that people grab on to. They accept the repeated mantras, and ignore the fact that they aren’t supported by anything.

I took this as a theme statement:

Folks need to climb out of their focused egocentric traditions be they philosophical or theistic and the Mindscape they have become trapped within. We need to get some real, earth between your toes and fingers real, before the deeper answers become clear, math will never do that. -- CC
looks like a whole semester
You bet, the shit house academic here. :-)

But, what can I say. I get no direct intellectual intercourse so I’m stuck interacting with dolls, by way of provocative supposedly intellectual writings that piss me off so much, that the converted energy carries me through my little learning project.

 

I know these chapters could have been much better, but between my cluttered crowded life and Maddy constantly demanding walks every time I can finally sit down to write, I’m a bit handicapped. So I do the best I can with what I have.

 

I’m hoping after I finish all ten chapters and his appendix featuring Hoffman’s fabled formula of conscious agents - I’ll be able to boil them down to a few interesting articles. Then on to the historical foundation for Hoffman’s FBT Theorem (which isn’t a fraction as original as Donald tries to make it out to be) and scholars inability to see clear of their own theistic blinders. Because in essence it clings to notion of Intelligent Design. Ironically, I made that charge early on, it’s sort of satisfying discovering a genuine direct connection to those notions.

 

Of course, for a long time I’ve been thinking there’s nothing wrong with people minds finding some refuge in some form of Intelligent Design - just don’t take it too seriously, it’s philosophy and religious, which is fine and good - it is not science, so lets just keep it out of that arena. Of course, that can’t happen until people develop a more sober appraisal of their own mind’s limitations - and the divide between our mindscape in the face of physical reality.

 

Opps gotta run, Maddy scratching at my leg.

I know these chapters could have been much better, -- CC
me saying it was a semester's worth of content was a complement. making a summary to try to bring some interest is a fine pursuit as well.

Sorry Lausten, that wasn’t intended as a retort to your nice comment. I’m a bit hard on myself, and this project hasn’t been without it’s frustrations and I expect more from myself than I manage to produce, yada, yada. Then again, I’m not blowing it off, learning things I wasn’t aware of, and when I reread early chapters I do feel good about what I managed, so I happily accept your compliment. :slight_smile:

 

thanks

Well that post should have stayed on the bottom of the pervious page. Hope you don’t me bringing this back on point.

 

....... DH: “It is counter intuitive, and belies our assumption that 3D space is an objective reality that our senses reconstruct. …” (¶15)

Wish I could get some constructive response from Hoffman, one thing I’d like know: Why do philosopher’s find it that way?

Our individual “Mindscapes” are trapped within their own egocentric isolation be it philosophical; theistic; or a blend - self admitted, or not. This creates limits to what we can know.

Hoffman is too comfortable in the conviction that he can summarize it all within a neat nutshell - never noticing how silly he is against the backdrop of the real world and evolution unfolding in front of us.

Actually, that’s not true. I can’t imagine he doesn’t appreciate how foolish all his gibber-jabber is, but it’s his career. He is fulfilling our culture demand that the man success by becoming rich and famous. He’s sharp enough to appreciate that provocative flimflam works way better in our society than the boring substantive stuff. No doubt that’s what today’s audience wants, intellectual candy. As my mom would say, ‘one hand washes the other.’ (20-10-29 11:00PM)

Experiencing actual reality, and nature, spending time it, absorbing it, doesn’t seem a big priority - yet I believe it’s essential. Especially, if one is going to pontificate on the end of spacetime and things as we know them. One should at least know a little about Earth’s amazing story and who you really are, from a deep time perspective, that is.

Reading up on reviews of C.A.R. both the paper and book have received - Hoffman is given far more credit for being provocative, than for making any sense. I find that wildly crazy, but it does reflect our society’s collective failure these past decades.

Reality, homework, worrying about Earth, thinking about “environmentalism” & human trends, the future, that was all so boring, irritating - Get with it, party and consume to your hearts content, so we lived out our time in a what-if make-believe haze of over consumption and existential confusion. Now our kids are left to deal with the collapse.

I’ve also learned that Hoffman’s Fitness Beats Truth theorem and Interface Theory of Perception thesis isn’t at all original. There’s a long provenance with surprisingly theistic origins. But we’ll get into that at a later date. …

https://citizenschallenge.blogspot.com/2020/10/hoffman-zerogravity-7-virtuality.html

Get with it, party and consume to your hearts content, so we lived out our time in a what-if make-believe haze of over consumption and existential confusion. Now our kids are left to deal with the collapse. --CC
Bit of an offshoot of my own here.

You might have noticed Google is getting anti-trust lawsuits. When I was a boy, those kind of lawsuits were horrible things that they were doing to the corporations that were built on prejudice and misogyny using “my” tax dollars. They built the cities I lived in, but they also polluted them, and I focused on that evil side and couldn’t understand how the generations who did it didn’t see it coming. Now I’m sitting here contributing to the data of social media that is destroying democracy. Just like they didn’t see the lead in the air, I didn’t see the toxic fumes of hate feeding the conspiracy theories.

Hopefully we’ve built a better world and with the help of women and people from Africa and Asia we can win these battles. The hardest thing to watch though is young people making the same mistake I did, not listening to the old people.

October 31, 2020 Prof Hoffman #8 - Playing Basketball In Zero-Gravity - Polychromy - Mutations of an Interface

https://whatsupwiththatwatts.blogspot.com/2020/10/hoffman-zerogravity-virtuality-8.html

… DH: “Color can speak volumes. … Color is a window into fitness - also a jailhouse. … Try to imagine a color you’ve never seen. Can’t do it. … Color… like perception, is both window and prison.” (¶1)

Cc: We could also say that our bodies are the prison of our mind. If you really wanted to look at it that way. But, what’s it get you? Beyond a reflection into your own psyche?

 

The fundamental problem with Hoffman’s narrative is that he keeps blaming the perceived object for the quirks and short comings of the perceiving instrument. It’s silly.

The hardest thing to watch though is young people making the same mistake I did, not listening to the old people.
That's interesting. I am the result of strict old world upbringing, the rod was not spared, but neither was it abused, and love infused our family. I had a rebellious streak but learned to listen and try to keep it to myself. Listen I did, then I paid attention. I pay attention to how behavior reflected words, and how claims lived up to evidence and facts, as the years and decades went by.

 

At thirteen leaving Chicago and visiting with my old dying grandpa, he made lots of promises and assurance and he shared some explicit advice: You will be entering the job market and working for people older than you. Shut up and listen! If you don’t like them. Shut up and listen! If you think you are smarter than them. Shut up and listen! If for no other reason than to show respect and become a respected employee. Also once in a while you will learn things, but only if you shut up and listen!

 

I loved the old guy, was my second best pal (after Uncle Julius) in my toddler years, put me on my first construction job. Helping him build concrete stair to a side door, six tread I think. He had me “help” him build the framing for the form and rebar reinforcing, actually, scrap metal items that served the same function. Then mix and pour concrete. I mean that was before I started grade school. Like a good grandpa he explained what he was doing too, and why. For another 7 8 years I was able to walk up those stairs with the pride of having been a part of building it. Guess that’s where it started. He was an old (1920’s to '50s) Chicago brick layer, turned successful architect and he infected me, while my heart remained closed to dad’s music.

Turned out he was a liar about a lot, never saw a penny of the purse he promised me, and there were some skeletons in the closet that shocked. But, hey that didn’t matter. I always felt fortunate that, at that time, in that circumstance, 13 years old ready to hit the road leaving Chicago, heading to California, he gave me that lecture, because I took it seriously, and following his advice, and it paid a fortune in dividends of opening opportunities.