Re: Debunking pseudoscience: Why horoscopes really work

From: Dace (
Date: Tue Nov 13 2001 - 16:42:37 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T.Smith: "Re: Debunking pseudoscience: Why horoscopes really work"

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    Subject: Re: Debunking pseudoscience: Why horoscopes really work
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    Hi Philip.

    > 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.

    Shouldn't that be, "We" and "our?"

    > 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.

    What do you think "within" means? If there's no self, where does
    self-reflection come from? Without a self to define what's inside, how can
    there be anything outside? Try a little self-deconstruction next time.

    Blackmore, Dennett, Ryle-- and analytic atomism in general-- dismiss the
    self as a concept, an image. We do indeed have an imaginary self, and it
    has a name: the ego. This "self" is a cacophony of attractions and
    repulsions. We identify with some things and repel from others. We want
    this and fear that. (Also known as love/hate). Unquestionably, this self
    has no intrinsic reality. Whatever we think we are, that's not it. But does
    that mean we don't exist at all? Or does it tell us something about the
    limitations of the intellect, of concepts and discriminations? Our ideas
    about the world aren't the same as the world, so why would our idea of the
    self be the same as it?

    > Memetics provides a
    > good ground to deny the possibility of a spiritual entity housing the
    > physical representation of the human being (Cartesian theatre).

    The true self is inseparable from body and mind, which themselves are
    the same thing. In other words, the "self" is simply the self-existence of
    the body/mind. The damn thing exists intrinsically. That's what being
    alive means. It means you exist. Then, when you die, you don't exist.
    Seems like the masses are a step ahead of you on this one.

    > 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?

    It means our awareness reflects back in on itself. We know ourselves as
    minds, not just as bodies. This is the basis of individuality and freedom.

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

    Determinism and randomness are also intangible. With its quantum basis,
    even matter turns out to be as intangible as statistics. It's not so much that
    freedom is intangible but that it's intrinsic. There's no freedom without an
    intrinsic "self" that possesses it. Physics is limited to existence. It has no
    knowledge of self-existence.

    > 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.

    Complexity in no way contradicts determinism. Even fractals are made from
    simple, deterministic equations. What tips over the apple cart is novelty.
    As Bergson argued a century ago, the meaning of time is that the universe
    is NOT determined. It hasn't all happened yet. To assert determinism is to
    deny time. Indeed, that's exactly what physics does, not just since Einstein,
    but all the way to back to Descartes. Positivistic science has always
    reduced existence to a graph, with time as its fourth variable.

    > 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).

    Science can be treated one of two ways, either as glorified engineering or
    compartmentalized philosophy. It all depends on whether you truly want to
    understand. Do you want reality or utilitarian models?

    > 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.
    > Amen...
    > Philip.

    That pretty well says it all...

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