Re: Debunking pseudoscience: Why horoscopes really work...

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Sun Nov 11 2001 - 02:17:58 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Debunking pseudoscience: Why horoscopes really work...
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    Quoting Dace <>:

    > Philip wrote:
    > > The knowledge provided by systems such as astrology cannot be
    > considered
    > > genuine as its premises simply are false. Within the context of
    > memetics,
    > > what they actually have experienced is a feeding of their
    > self-plexes.
    > I take it you're refering to the memeplex we call "self." In other
    > words, the ego. Not the actual self, which consists of reflexive
    > consciousness, but the image of itself it conjures up. Mental
    > self-awareness is a product of evolution. It has a natural history spanning
    > millions of years. Only in the context of genuine self-existence could a
    > fictional "self" be fabricated. Someone must hallucinate the hallucination.

    It seems that way, yes. The bulk of people believe what they like to believe,
    irrespective of whether the source is rational and justified or not. They
    like to believe that what is most compatible with their `own' world-view.

    Memetics, at least Susan Blackmore, takes the self one step further than you
    seem to do. It treats the whole perception of the self as one great collection
    of memes: the self-plex. This data-base of our own person is fed by either
    channels from outside (friends, family, yes: astrologers and the like) or
    from within by self-reflection, self-analysis etc. Memetics provides a
    good ground to deny the possibility of a spiritual entity housing the
    physical representation of the human being (Cartesian theatre).

    I might have missed something in prior discussions but could you please fill
    me in on what you refer as `reflexive consciousness'. Does it coincide with
    something such as human spontaneity?

    The fact that we are aware of ourselves and our environment has evolutionary
    roots indeed. Without consciouness we would be seriously impaired to learn.
    We would be left with instintive drives to warrant our survival. Having
    consciousness means we can make a difference compared to other animals
    having no, or hardly any, consciousness. Conscious animals such as us
    are in a unique position to make an outstanding effort to flexibly
    adapt to the environment.

    > > What most people also do not seem
    > > to realize, is that a big disadvantage of such misinforming systems
    > is
    > > that the recipients become reduced in their personal freedom as they
    > > commit themselves to live their life in conformance with their
    > star-sign,
    > > tarot-cards and the like. They trade in their genereral talents [1]
    > to
    > > specialize in chasing dreams, or ghosts depending upon what
    > perspective
    > > you assume. In a dramatic sense their, also much cherished but
    > illusory,
    > > free-will (which, in a strict sense, is a fallacy anyway) is
    > shattered
    > > to smitherines (even more).
    > Do you imagine that scientists have disproven free-will? No more so
    > than
    > tarot readers and astrologers, who also take it on faith that all is
    > determined, every fate tucked away in its 4-D slot. In the case of
    > science
    > or superstition, the pursuit of security promotes a belief that the
    > world is
    > pre-planned, that the future, in a sense, already exists. There's an
    > obsession with seeing what will happen next. It's all about
    > prediction.
    > What's desired isn't knowledge exactly but foreknowledge. Determinism,
    > be
    > it astrological, Calvinist, or Newtonian, feeds on our fear of
    > uncertainty.
    > It persists despite the fact that the whole issue was swept away nearly
    > 80
    > years ago when deterministic mechanics gave way to the probabilism of
    > quantum mechanics. It lives on only memetically, not logically.
    > While
    > memes can proliferate on the basis of logic, there's nothing to stop
    > them
    > from exploiting our fears to get themselves ingrained in our thinking.

    When it comes to such intangible matter as free-will science fails to give
    definite answers. It can, however, make something redundant or highly

    Determinism, in many times, is an mathematical over-simplification. At any rate,
    labeled deterministic phenomena may only survive shallow inspection. The
    world is too complex to call anything deterministic. Deterministic models
    however may be useful to reveal mechanisms which are mainly responsible for
    the phenomenon they are meant to describe (e.g Newtonian mechanics, but any
    deterministic paradigm will do).

    It will take a vast amount of time and even more effort before the full
    implications of QM will get to the masses. The inertia of `common-sense' is
    so powerful that fringe/pseudo sciences will be able to proliferate until
    truly rational enlightened alternatives succeed to convincingly reject
    their ill-founded rivals.




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