Imaginary nonexistent world

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience' started by Buket, Jun 25, 2016.

  1. Buket Registered Member

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    42
    I believe in science not metaphysics but I was confused when I watched this bideo because there were scientists in it.
     
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    From reading the discussion so far it is fairly clear that this video, or whatever it is, is completely unscientific, i.e. from a science viewpoint it is nonsense.
     
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  5. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    OK then. Well uh... You should practice skepticism.

    :EDIT:

    As per the wiki article: Robert Anton Wilson (born Robert Edward Wilson; January 18, 1932 – January 11, 2007) was an American author, novelist, essayist, editor, playwright, poet, futurist, psychologist, and self-described agnostic mystic. Recognized as an Episkopos, Pope, and saint of Discordianism, Wilson helped publicize the group through his writings and interviews.

    Seriously WTF? Someone should make a Wiki article on me: Likes melted cheese and beer...

    That shouldn't raise any Red Flags.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
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  7. rpenner Fully Wired Registered Senior Member

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    He's not talking long enough to know if he is talking nonsense or not. The people who made the video chopped his sentence in half and deprived the comment of essential context to know what "this" means. If "this" refers to the physics of Newton, then it was not originally nonsense.

    This video (The Quantum Apocalypse by "Faster Than Light" and "Holofractalist") was made by people who are dishonest people and not scientists. The scientists (there are some) who appear in the video aren't teaching any science because the video makers don't want them to talk about science but about “quantum woo” -- the pseudoscientific idea that quantum physics is hard to understand therefore it must be magic and explain human consciousness (not defined), telepathy, premonitions, demons, etc. But there's no honest attempt to interview them but just to edit together previous interviews and lectures into the appearance that they are all talking about the same thing. That's the nonsense part.

    But quantum physics is not particularly hard to learn. But it is hard to relate to objects described by ordinary human language because ordinary human language describes the world of human culture and human-scale transactions. You can say "a star explodes" in human language but the true meaning happens on a scale unlike anything in human experience and requires half a decade in physics/astrophysics to appreciate. You can say "Heisenberg uncertainty principle" but the reasons for it appear tied up in the mathematics of the Fourier transform of analysis for which everyday human language really has no analogue.

    Not everyone with "Doctor" title was a scientist. And being a scientist does not prevent you from being crazy. The key about the video is that no one in it was doing science.

    If there was intent to communicate science in it, the video would not have cut so many sources together. Any one scientist can explain scientific facts and models they work with.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
  8. Cheezle Hab SoSlI' Quch! Registered Senior Member

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    745
    Perhaps I can shed a little light on this Robert Anton Wilson character. He is an author of books that are usually categorized in the science fiction section but sometimes found in the pseudoscience section. A better classification for them is speculative fiction, but even that is not quite right.

    My first exposure to his work was his book Cosmic Trigger Volume I: Final Secret of the Illuminati [1977]. I like to compare this book to the TV show by James Burke called Connections [1979] (highly recommended if you can find it). In that show Burke takes a small subset of scientific concepts and inventions and shows how they fit into a somewhat surprisingly connected whole. His idea that is that science is a network of ideas that form a cohesive whole. Wilson does the something similar but rather that using science as the subject matter he chose conspiracy theories and pseudoscience. Wilson uses a very large array of ideas such as UFOs, the JFK assassination, popular quantum physics, the illuminati, psychedelics, religion, etc, and then draws connections between them so that they form a paranoid world view. Each connection has a fractional truth value and for many readers the writer's skill makes it seem like that connection's value is as close to 1.0 or even exactly 1.0. Most people can only think in terms of absolutes, true and false as a binary concept and so they see these connections as resulting is valid conclusions (1*1*1*1 = 1). But when you zoom out to the big picture of the whole idea network in his book, the result is absurd. Of course, as you trace the connections between distant parts of the network, the fractional truth values multiply and tend toward 0.0 so this absurdity is easily understandable.

    About the book Wilson said this:

    "It should be obvious to all intelligent readers (but curiously is not obvious to many) that my viewpoint in this book is one of agnosticism. The word "agnostic" appears explicitly in the prologue and the agnostic attitude is revealed again and again in the text, but many people still think I "believe" some of the metaphors and models employed here. I therefore want to make it even clearer than ever before that

    I DO NOT BELIEVE ANYTHING

    [...]

    My own opinion is that belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence. The more certitude one assumes, the less there is left to think about, and a person sure of everything would never have any need to think about anything and might be considered clinically dead under current medical standards, where absence of brain activity is taken to mean that life has ended.
    "​

    This is an important point when understanding who he is and what his books are about.

    Wilson can also be viewed as a prankster which fits with his connections to Discordianism, but also he is an author who makes a living at his trade by entertaining people. His books are absurd but not everyone will see it that way. It depends on the person's skepticism vs paranoia level. And that is why he is popular with stoners and absurdists. He takes no responsibility for how the reader interprets his work. Many will see it as a work of non-fiction even though it most often found on the science fiction or pseudoscience selves in the book store. You will never find them in the science section (or even the popular science section) for good reason.

    The reason I even bothered to comment here on Wilson is that there are some in these forums that use this method of chaining together factoids of fractional truth value to arrive at what they believe are valid concepts, even though the truthiness multiplies for each connection and tends toward 0.0 as you trace through the connections and the end result is absurdity. (In my opinion.)

    Youtube has many videos and audios of his talks. Most have not aged well. And after listening to one you tend to not bother with the rest.

    --------------
    James Burke Connections: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=connections james burke season 1
    ---------------
    Robert Anton Wilson Explains Quantum Physics (somewhat humorous):
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  9. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,900
    I certainly like those words.
    I have often thought one could make a better (financially) living as a crackpot writer than one would writting science text books.
    He seems to have found a market and let it exploit itself.
    Thank you for your post.
    Alex
     
  10. Cheezle Hab SoSlI' Quch! Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    745
    Don't get me wrong, I like RAW's stuff. I still have Cosmic Trigger on my main bookself and even pull it out occasional when having conversation with friends, as I have done here. I have thrown away the other volumes but volume I is interesting and has some useful information and ideas in it. Its a fun read with interesting illustrations. You can thumb through a quite a few pages on Amazon if you click on the book's picture (Amazon's "look inside" feature). RAW is an interesting person with interesting ideas as long as you are not too serious. IMO

    I also like the quote, "My own opinion is that belief is the death of intelligence." But there is a kind of a joke in that statement that might not be intentional by RAW. The joke depends on how you define the words and parse the sentence. What the meaning of 'is' is. I believe the phrase "In my opinion" implies a personal belief. So you could possibly rewrite the sentence to be, "I believe that belief is the death of intelligence." It is a funny statement but even understanding the joke, I still agree with it too. Language is tricky as any lawyer will explain.
     
  11. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,900
    Yes I was in the game.
    So often I have sat between parties both talking about the same thing and both hearing a different meaning to the meaning being delivered.
    I found it interesting how both were in agreement but their words misconstrued causing arguement.
    I ask myself "what do they mean" and find the words used wont always get the answer.
    How many times have you said"but you said... "and met with a reply" no what I mean is.... "
    And so often folk recall a conversation as what they mean and not the words they choose.
    In any event I think our crackpot may have been a smart chap after all... If he died poor he was a crackpot, if he died rich he was an eccentric.
    Alex
     
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  12. Cheezle Hab SoSlI' Quch! Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    745
    I know what you mean. I can't say how many times I have argued with someone only to find out that we were defining some key term differently. Periodically I swear off of argument altogether because of the futility.

    I think I will start asking my friends if I am crackpot or eccentric. That should be interesting. Either is OK with me. I am definitely one or the other.

    One thing that RAW talked about was writing in E-Prime. That is a style of writing where you never use forms of the verb 'be'.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-Prime
    I guess he wrote a couple of his books in E-Prime but I have not read those. Looking at the concept it does sound like it has some advantages. Examples do seem to be more pleasant to read. Supposedly arguing in E-Prime would lead to much calmer debate. It seems to encapsulate a skeptical style and avoids dogmatic statements. Those are always problematic. But there is something about the idea that seems to cross some boundary into ideology and I find that troubling. Plus it would just take too much effort.
     
  13. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    4,086
    Kinda' sounds like a comparison should be brewing between him and L. Ron Hubbard.
     
  14. Cheezle Hab SoSlI' Quch! Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    745
    That would be a fun exercise. There are so many similarities and notable exceptions that it could fill a very thick book. But to do it justice a lot of other people and religions would have to be brought into the mix. I probably should stop there since its off topic for this thread.
     
  15. Buket Registered Member

    Messages:
    42
    I think this guy is trying to say that the world is not solid as we know it but it's all quantum fluctuations
     
  16. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    4,086
    Well I guess he'd be up against that only massless particles can travel at the speed of light.

    Unifying General Relativity with Quantum Physics has been sought for like a century. By people most likely more concerned.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
  17. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    7,337
    Well that is clearly rubbish as quantum fluctuations average out to close to zero.

    But in any case, what does it mean to say "solid as we know it"? We've known since the time of Rutherford that matter at the temperatures and pressures of Earth is mostly empty (or nearly empty) space. So "solid" has not meant "containing no empty space" for about a century now. It means instead something like: "the condensed state of matter in which the atoms or molecules are not free to move from their positions in the solid structure".

    This is somebody purveying what is known as "quantum woo". It is a particularly annoying feature of some fashionable popularisations of physics at the moment. Do not be bamboozled.

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