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View Diary: Atheist Digest '10: Debunking Dogmas, Part II: Scientific Materialism (111 comments)

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  •  Our perception (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brahman Colorado, Joieau

    of our surroundings is a construct generated in the brain. It's not real in any sense of the word. You can't base anything on it, and call it fact. I think therefore I am, is hubris.

    Free University and Health Care for all, now. -8.88, -7.13

    by SoCalHobbit on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 10:56:38 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Ah! The "Matrix" interpretation. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wilderness voice, SoCalHobbit, Joieau

      Our perception of our surroundings is a construct generated in the brain. It's not real in any sense of the word.

      Well, I will agree with the first sentence, and agree with the second in a limited fashion.  The "construct" is "not real" in a sense, yes.

      But, there is an objective world out there--we may each perceive it in a different way, but we can agree about the properties of that perception, and build instruments to show it, etc.

      IMO, dissertations about the "unreality" of the "consciousness constructed world" and how it means that there is no objective reality are interesting philosophical conversations, but with little value.

      It may all be a Matrix simulation, but to all our senses it is real, we have been able to manipulate it and make predictions about it.  That makes it "objective" in the sense that one can look at someone who says "ghosts are real", for instance, and defends the position by claiming "there is no objective, real world, so who knows what can happen?" and simply prove them wrong, unequivocally.

      "Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win." Lazarus Long

      by rfall on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 11:34:47 AM PDT

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      •  well said (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rfall, Joieau

        and I would add that we have the opportunity to check each others' perceptions and obtain intersubjective agreement

      •  While it is true that (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wilderness voice, SoCalHobbit, rfall

        the world we project from our sensory input in our own minds is illusion, it is not so clear that the world itself is illusion. Even if we aren't at all sure that it exists precisely as we perceive it to be, or if we perceive it thus because the ability to do so has proven to be useful toward our evolutionary success.

        I mean, the sensory apparatuses of flies or any of a myriad of other creatures we aren't closely related to are quite likely to perceive a world that looks very different from the one we perceive. It's all just information extended in dimensional space (that we're also not really sure exists as we perceive it), life has developed lots of different ways of gathering and processing the information.

        I recently encountered a study that has established that jeweled scarabs can perceive circularly polarized light. It's been known for about a century that they reflect circular polarized light, but it wasn't known that they could see it. We cannot, so the CPL technology used to produce the 3-D effects for the movie "Avatar" requires polarized glasses to allow us to see it. The scarabs don't need glasses. Thus they are able to easily identify members of their own species in an environment where their reflection of CPL light makes them almost invisible to predators. Nifty, eh?

        Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

        by Joieau on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 11:46:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I fall back to what I said before (0+ / 0-)

        You don't know what is "real". But you can take the perception of reality and just go with it. Science is the best reality check within that framework. Ghosts don't past the fire trial.

        Free University and Health Care for all, now. -8.88, -7.13

        by SoCalHobbit on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 02:12:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, and the matrix bit... (0+ / 0-)

        I don't know where they got it, but you can bet they didn't originate it.

        All your senses are brought together to give an impression of your surroundings. If you examine vision, and how that works, it's bizarre.

        There's a tenth of a second delay between input and processing, so the image you see isn't in real time, it is a fabrication... stock and "old" images are used and or morphed to anticipate and produce a current image. And the image is a sphere, circling you, comprised of small images like a mosaic. The eye only focuses on about a three inch square at any one time, but is constantly scanning and skiddering about, refreshing tiles in the forward view. Peripheral vision aids some but it's indistinct. The parts of the image you are currently scanning are being updated, the rest are older. The system is fast, seamless, and mostly unnoticed unless tripped up.

        Free University and Health Care for all, now. -8.88, -7.13

        by SoCalHobbit on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 02:59:15 PM PDT

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