Stephen's blog

Believing is seeing

It is with some irony that skeptic Micheal Shermer should write a book on the "Believing Brain" -- that we see things not as they are, but through the lens of personal and cultural belief.

A review of his book (in the Boss Magazine supplement in the Financial Review) explains part of the irony:

A central theme is the purposeful formation of beliefs, emerging from subjective emotional and psychological roots nurtured in social environments and society.

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So deeply disconnected

While sharing some ideas on a science forum, I wrote the following:

“Now that we have met with paradox we have some hope of making progress.” [Niels Bohr]

I go further and argue that if the theory you are considering (e.g. to explain consciousness) is not at root a paradox, then it is a limited truth.

And no, we can never fully comprehend these paradoxes of life -- such as finite within the infinite, consciousness within a deeper collective-unconscious, part within whole, individual within oneness.

If you think you've fully understood any of the above paradoxes, you've simply demonstrated a bias of focus towards one side.

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Skeptics not in tune

While sharing some views with a neuroscientist on the ResearchGate website, I received a thank you for pointing her in the direction of this article "DNA Waves and Water" (pdf) with reference and links included in the "Congruent Solutions to Zeno's Paradoxes" article.

It wasn't until I reread the conclusions section, that something rather important occurred to me.

Specifically, that "the DNA Waves and Water (pdf) gives some linkages between mind and its effect upon chemical processes in the body (e.g. the em frequency of 7Hz of both DNA and the nervous system -- and that entered by (not in the article) deep meditative states! As I recall, light meditation (Alpha) changes brain activity to just under 14Hz, and Theta (deep meditation), changes brain wave frequency down to around 7Hz)."

Interesting to see that 7Hz figure, which is not as easily achieved in meditation. Most schools (meditative practices) are largely focused on Alpha, but for medical issues, 7Hz (Theta) states would be required, it seems!

And that's important in medical circles on issues of health and wellbeing: It's not just a matter of wishful thinking to, say, reverse cancer -- it requires deep meditative practices!{C}

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The SEP field is alive and strong

I recently thought to set straight on a forum the nonsense arguments concerning solutions to Zeno's Paradoxes. Quick fillin — Zeno's Paradoxes are a set of paradoxes concerning the (theoretical) impossibility of physical movement. Obviously we routinely experience physical movement in our daily lives. No problem there. The theory however of how things move, is ... shall we say 'problematic'.

Anyway, the reason for the forum post was that after another hub thread started deleting my reasoned responses, I decided to post my own.

What has been interesting is to observe how Douglas Adams' SEP field is alive and strong on this topic.

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Giving God some giddy-up

I was communicating (emailing) back and forth with someone who I suspect is a fundamentalist Christian.

So I thought to use the Reciprocal Test, as previously explained in "The power of the Reciprocal Test", which basically turns belief-systems upside down to show their 'naughty bits' -- the bits that have hairs on them, and/or have holes in them :)

By doing so, the Reciprocal Test (aka The Paradox Rule) shows just how much we, as a childish culture, are subservient to, and frightened of perceived "higher authorities", which as explained in "Consider some stuff", are only there by dint of our cooperation and blessing.

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The power of the reciprocal test

Recently enjoyed a few email exchanges with a well-meaning, good-natured friend.

The communications included ideas concerning "God".

Now, as I have found in many such "arguments" there are entrenched views that aren't often swayed by counter-arguments — here's one example where simple straight-forward reasoning didn't change this person's belief one bit, it seems.

Be that as it may, there is a very helpful technique that enables one to see the bias in beliefs.

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The jig is up

There is an astonishingly deep and dangerous disconnect between our mainstream world view, and reality. So deep and dangerous is that disconnect I believe it imperils the survival of the human race. That disconnect is demonstrated by modern science's approach: that for every physical effect, there is (in theory) a physical cause. If someone is sick, a physical cause is sought. A bacteria perhaps? Hence the widespread use of antibiotics. It is a simple matter to show that these mechanical-world views are wrong. Dangerously wrong.

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Solitude fuels creativity

From a NYTImes article

"The Rise of the New Groupthink"

Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption. And the most spectacularly creative people in many fields are often introverted, according to studies by the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist. They’re extroverted enough to exchange and advance ideas, but see themselves as independent and individualistic. They’re not joiners by nature.

and

Solitude has long been associated with creativity and transcendence. “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible,” Picasso said. A central narrative of many religions is the seeker — Moses, Jesus, Buddha — who goes off by himself and brings profound insights back to the community.

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If you are not shocked ...

Some years ago I read that Nobel Laurette and physicist Niels Bohr reportedly remarked that "Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it".

In more recent times Prof. David Albert of Columbia University similarly explained that

There's something really indescribably strange about the picture that we're presented with of ourselves by -- especially by fundamental physics. And it's a picture that we just don't know how to fully take in. And I think it's very, very, very disturbing.

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