Re: Debunking pseudoscience: Why horoscopes really work

From: Dace (
Date: Mon Nov 19 2001 - 01:40:50 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
    Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2001 17:40:50 -0800
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    > Ted:
    > > > > 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,
    > > > >can there be anything outside? Try a little self-deconstruction
    > > > >next time.
    > Philip:
    > > > Okidokie, let's dig into that one for a moment. Let's for a moment do
    > > > assume that the self is being built only as soon as one's able
    > > > to communicate with people from the outside world. Let's do assume
    > > > the self starts from scratch without any intrinsic self present. The
    > > > as you call it, is fed as soon as people communicate with you.
    > > > You are acknowledged as a human being as other human beings
    > > > talk to you.
    > Ted:
    > > And what is it, precisely, that's being acknowledged and talked to?
    > > discussion is predicated on the actuality of some kind of entity that
    > > pre-exists the development of the self-plex (ego).
    > Hi Ted,
    > That's not what I intended. With this pre-self I also mean a self-plex,
    > albeit the self-plex in a very immature stage. A self-plex nonetheless
    > that is able to interpret and process verbal input
    > from outside. With the example of the wolf-children I tried to stress the
    > that without cultural influence the individual is only restricted to the
    > instinctual level.

    This is the animal level of self-existence. You don't need reflexive
    consciousness to have your own existence, aside from existence in general.
    The body doesn't just passively share in the mechanical and chemical
    properties common to all things, like a car or a cloud or a mountain. It
    actively regulates itself and reproduces its kind. Its parts aren't just
    assembled according to an abstract design but emerge organically in the
    course of mutual generation.

    > In this case, the self-plex is still mostly a clean sheet,
    > not defined by cultural influences and programs. If this is what you would
    > like to call the ego, our interpretations seem to be compatible to some
    > extent. If not, then it seems that we differ on a fundamental level.

    Self-plex is a newfangled term for ego. It's not the same thing as the
    self. It's a product of human imagination, ingrained so deeply in our
    collective memory that we can't function intellectually or emotionally
    except in the context of this primordial self-image. As a hallucination, it
    therefore requires a hallucinator. Equating the self with the ego requires
    positing a hallucination that hallucinates itself. And if this the case,
    then evidently there is such a thing as the self after all. There's just no
    way to logically deny self-nature. One way or another it's going to bite
    you in the ass.

    > Ted:
    > > Like real wolves, wolf-children exist in the same way that any organism
    > > does. To be alive is to have one's own existence, as delineated from
    > > existence in general. If the universe is public existence, then the
    > > organism is private. In a sense, humans have brought this process full
    > > circle, as our intellect has reintroduced universality but in the
    > > of mind instead of space. The paradox is that self-contained mentality,
    > > which exists strictly within individuals, doesn't seem to emerge except
    > > the context of collective, social influences.
    > Exactly, that's because the very self is defined by society. No society,
    > self. Just an animal with a superfluous big brain, awkwardly standing
    > upwards and suffering from a lack of isolating fur.

    Without social interaction, the human self fails to crystallize in the
    context of the animal mind. All it takes is exposure to other humans during
    the first years of life to set off the developmental pathway of human
    individuality. Without this, the "wild child" has no self-existence beyond
    that of a typical primate.

    > > If science means knowledge, then it's essentially the modern form of
    > > philosophy. Just as science can be considered the philosophy of the
    > > particular, philosophy is the science of the general. But historically,

    > > science is the little sibling of capitalism. The market economy is the
    > > great rationalizer of consciousness. The word "rational" was originally
    > > economic term, meaning to weigh the value of one thing against another.
    > > Succeeding in the market requires getting accurate information in order
    > > make accurate predictions. It's all about calculating and analyzing in
    > > order to harness and exploit. Sound familiar? Given its symbiotic
    > > with capitalism, science is essentially utilitarian, not philosophical.
    > > It's devoted to gain, not truth.
    > I don't see why science and politics have to be mixed necessarily. At
    > pure science should be able to detach itself from political influences,
    > anyway. Technology, a product of science, may be more politically driven
    > and biased since it receives funds from industry and governments.
    > I don't think it's fair to consider science and politics to be
    > coupled inherently.

    It's a fact of history that science developed in the shadow of capitalism.
    See Luciano Pellicani, The Genesis of Capitalism and the Origins of
    Modernity, Telos, 1994.

    > Ted:
    > > Math is mechanical reasoning. Math to philosophy is like assembly lines
    > > automobiles. Where philosophy is a fine, hand-built car, science is a
    > > fleet of trucks racing across every facet of existence.
    > It seems you're not too keen on science and math in general but
    > prefer philosophy instead. I cannot blame you, but you have to keep
    > in mind that the bulk of contemporary rational philosophy is based
    > on results from science. Einstein's cosmological model redefining our
    > notions of space-time, the implications of quantum mechanics
    > debunking determinism, Darwin's enlightened theory heralding the era
    > of evolutionary thought and substituting religiously based philosophy
    > with natural philosophy. What will be the philosophical implications if
    > AI really gets going? What if string theory is experimentally confirmed?
    > What if quantum computers are born? And so on...
    > Science and philosophy are deeply intertwined but the latter usually
    > derives from the former.
    > Philip.

    Philosophy and science are the same thing. Philosophy is the science of the
    whole, while science is the philosophy of particulars. Either way it's the
    application of reason to the evidence of the senses. Since each field of
    science is a form of specialized philosophy, it's liable to require the
    specialized language of math. Nothing wrong with that. But even if math is
    the mechanism of science, philosophy is its meaning.


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