Re: Debunking pseudoscience: Why horoscopes really work

From: Philip A.E. Jonkers (
Date: Mon Nov 19 2001 - 05:17:15 GMT

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    From: "Philip A.E. Jonkers" <>
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    Subject: Re: Debunking pseudoscience: Why horoscopes really work
    Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2001 21:17:15 -0800
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    > > 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
    > > view 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.

    Okay, your view and mine seem to be compatible after all.

    > > 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.

    I don't deny there is such a thing as the self being the individual. That
    would be silly. All I claim is that if the individual would be stripped
    from its cultural baggage (i.e. its cultural education and upbringing) an
    animal-like self would remain. I used the phenomena of the feral children
    to support this view. It speaks for itself that wolf-children may bite me
    in my ass if I'd deny their possible existence.

    > 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.

    Can't agree with you more...

    > > I don't see why science and politics have to be mixed necessarily. At
    > > least pure science should be able to detach itself from political
    > > 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.

    Any form of science? What about the ancient greek and byzanthium(?)
    scholars, didn't they virtually invent science while capitalism was still
    an unknown word? It may be true that capitalism now has a great influence
    on the conduct of science, especially its technological derivative, but
    I find it hard to believe that science served capitalism all along.
    Anyway, I will look into your reference when I have time, thanks for that

    > > 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.

    > 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.

    To some extent, yes, but scientists scrutinize on technical and experimental
    details whereas philosophers focus more on interpretation and theory. When
    science was in its conceptual infancy it was not unusual for scholars to
    fulfill both roles to expert level simultaneously, I'm thinking of giants
    like Newton, Maxwell, Gauss and Bohr. I think today scientists
    are mostly old-school scientists with a philosophical bite.
    After all, why else would we (the science-community) be needing
    philosophers if there would be nothing left to ponder about.

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