Monday, 3 December 2018

Twitter is a waste of my time

I created a Twitter account a fair few years ago, but it's only in the past 5 weeks or so I've started to use it. 

I hate the 280 character limit, and I think scarcely anyone reads my tweets. I feel like I'm just talking to myself, no one ever comments on my tweets. And they are rarely liked. I'm unable to find anyone who has less followers than I have (66).

You do get people like Richard Dawkins and other notable people tweeting on there, unlike facebook.  You can respond to them, but they almost always ignore you.

Much prefer facebook. 

Friday, 30 November 2018

My forlorn attempt to get an essay published

I submitted the following essay Can we really be so certain there’s no afterlife? to a magazine called Philosophy Now. Literally approximately 5 minutes after I sent it, I received this response:

Hi Ian, thanks for the submission, but I think the argument for a Cartesian soul has to be better made than just saying 'for all we know, it's possible'. Why should someone believe such a thing, eg why should someone overturn their materialism? 'Because we don't know how consciousness works' does not seem strong enough, as that leaves various other options open too. In any case, we're just finishing putting together an issue on mind and self, so we wouldn't really want to cover this again in the foreseeable future. But thanks for thinking of us.

Grant Bartley

As a preliminary, I should note that the time between the time I sent my essay via email, and this response scarcely gave him enough time to read it; at best he skim read it.  This suspicion is reinforced by the fact his comments reveal he simply hasn't assimilated what I have said at all.  

In my responses I'll largely simply be repeating what I said in my essay.  Let's dissect his remarks one by one.  He said:

I think the argument for a Cartesian soul has to be better made than just saying 'for all we know, it's possible'.

I actually argue that the certainly amongst the scholarly community and educated people that we cease to exist when we die cannot be justified. And that is all I argue -- certainly I do not argue for a Cartesian soul. Indeed, I'm not even arguing for any type of afterlife, just that it's not so unlikely as people tend to maintain.

He also said:

Why should someone believe such a thing, eg why should someone overturn their materialism?

He means why should anyone believe in an afterlife, why not continue to believe in something like materialism?  But my whole essay addresses this very issue, which he has simply completely ignored. To repeat: my argument wasn't for an afterlife, my argument was that the mind-body correlations do not suffice to give near certainty that there is no afterlife. This is contrary to what most educated people believe.  

As for materialism, this is a position that people are forced to subscribe to if they both believe that the brain must create consciousness, yet also realise that consciousness (as conceived by commonsense) cannot in principle be derived from any material processes. Materialism essentially denies the very existence of consciousness as we tend to think it --  that is it denies we have qualitative subjective experiences such as the experience of colour and so on; at best such experiences are illusionary.  But, in order to believe this extraordinary unlikely hypothesis, they need to be convinced that the brain must create consciousness.  However, the main part of my essay argues that this is precisely what they shouldn't be convinced of.

He also said:

""'Because we don't know how consciousness works' does not seem strong enough, as that leaves various other options open too.""

Of course I am not saying that at all.  I argued that it seems we cannot in principle explain consciousness. Saying we "don't know how consciousness works" suggests that in principle consciousness can be derived from physical processes, we just don't know how yet.  This, though, is a direct denial of my argument, but without explaining how my argument errs.

And if consciousness cannot be derived from physical processes, how do we know it is parasitic on such physical processes?  Of course, there are other options compatible with no afterlife, but so what?  He is expressing the very common view that in order to show that a near certainty in the existence of x is not justified, one must provide strong arguments that x doesn't exist.  This is, of course, ludicrous.  I need do no such thing. I do not have to demonstrate the reality of an afterlife in order to dismiss the idea that the mind-body correlations provide overwhelming evidence that there is no afterlife.

I did point out to Grant Bartley that his comments were already comprehensively addressed in my essay, and that given he also took just 5 minutes to respond, I can only conclude he took the barest of glimpses of my essay before responding.  He denies this, and he also said that if he doesn't understand my essay, then there's precious little chance that the readers of Philosophy Now will understand it. Well, I've also published my essay in a couple of facebook groups.  I've had virtually no responses, but one person, a certain Alan Hugenot, in one group commented:

Unfortunately, Your thesis ignores the facts. I am a scientist who is also a medium. Check out this video and then re think your BELIEF that consciousness is a by-product of the brain. Maybe the brain is just a filter for consciousness existing outside the physical.

He also provided a youtube link which, I believe, features him (I haven't looked at it) 

Another person, a certain Heather Barden Koellein, in another facebook group said:

Read books by Dr Brian Weiss,a prominent psychiatrist very educated in the best schools,was totally skeptical until one of his clients proved that it exists. It took work with many patients using regression to convince him.

So, Grant Bartley the editor (or one of the editors) of Philosophy Now, misunderstands my essay.  He thinks I'm arguing that the Cartesian soul exists, and that if materialism is incorrect, there must be an afterlife.  These other 2 people also misunderstand my essay, but in a completely differing way.  They think I'm actually arguing against an afterlife!

I do not believe it is plausible that my writing is so wretchedly unclear that if people had actually carefully read my essay, that they could possibly believe I am saying what they currently think I'm saying.  This is especially so since they are coming to such diverse  conclusions as to my actual position (all of which are incorrect).  No, it is abundantly clear to me that these people have only given the briefest perusal of my essay, then leapt to conclusions about my message.  This is especially reprehensible in the case of Grant Bartley since he is the editor of Philosophy Now.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

The story of a rodent's unrelenting quest for happiness and fulfillment.

Superb.  An accurate portrayal of modern life in the west -- namely that it's deeply unsatisfactory.  At 2:58 I'm hoping the afterlife will be like that! LOL

A few related posts by me
Feel the rapture of being alive!
Are You A Slave To The System?
Modern Life
Depression, Suicide, and the Modern World

Thursday, 1 November 2018

When I first went on the net

Got my very first computer ever at the end of 1998 (a place called Time computers and cost me around £1400.  It had a 10GB hard drive and everyone thought that was huge at the time). Didn't go on the net till about 6 months later. You had to connect your computer to a phone line and you had to pay for each minute you were online. So even when I figured out how to get on the net, I only spent very brief periods online.

However, in 1999 or 2000 my phone company, NTL, introduced a special offer. On Saturday you could ring a national number (as opposed to a cheaper local number) and speak on the phone to someone as long as you like, all for 40p!

So what I did is I used this national number for my computer to connect up to the net! Hence, each Friday at midnight I went on the net. And in the morning I connected to the net and was on it all day until midnight. So spent around 2 hours after midnight on net, then on all day Saturday too (never went on for the rest of the week of course since it would have cost me a packet).

It didn't even cost me 40p since NTL had another offer whereby if you spent a certain amount on telephone bills you got a discount. But they applied the discount before reducing my Saturday bills to 40p. They result was that NTL actually gave me money for going on the net all day!

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Computer Games

Back in 1998, before I'd even got my very first computer, I borrowed a PlayStation off someone together with a couple of games, "Resident Evil" and "Tomb Raider".  I hadn't played any computer games since the early 80's when I used to play space invaders, asteroids, pacman etc, both in the arcades and in a simpler form on my Atari 2600 console.

Anyway, I used to love playing those games, although they did get tedious after a while.  I got ridiculously good at all of them e.g watch me play the first Space Invaders here, or Space Invaders 2 here. And then I started playing Resident Evil . .wow . . just wow!  Really it bore absolutely no relationship to the computer games I had hitherto played.  I was in a 3D environment controlling a person called Jill being attacked by zombies and solving puzzles.  I was entranced!

Then I played Tomb Raider, and I was even more blown away!  The haunting music, the satisfaction of figuring out the puzzles, completely exploring a level, only to then start a brand new level with more puzzles and exploring to do.  I loved it!

Those two games, the first two 3D games I ever played, have remained unsurpassed. Tomb Raider 2, Half Life (the 1st one) and Far Cry (the 1st one) were all excellent too, but not as good as those first 2 games.

Now I'm trying to play games such as Far Cry 3 etc (see me play Far Cry 3 here), but these more modern games just don't hold the same magic, and I get sick of playing them.  I don't know why, maybe because I'm older, but I suspect not so much thought has been put into these games to make them so entrancing.

Monday, 22 October 2018

How successful are people with high IQ's?

Reading the following article it says:

[M]any Termites failed to become highly successful in any intellectual capacity. These comparative failures were far less likely to graduate from college or to attain professional or graduate degrees, and far more likely to enter occupations that required no higher education whatsoever.

Termites = those with average IQ's of 151 at 11 years of age

Being successful in a capitalistic sense will presumable involve all sorts of factors of which IQ is only one small part. Equally essential is working hard at school, being ambitious, being able to get on with other people, being good looking, being gregarious and social. Most important of all is expressing views consonant with the prevailing consensus (i.e not rocking the boat). Otherwise you won't get promoted, or even land a prestigious job in the first place.

Also I'm not sure how far IQ reflects actual intelligence.

I have no idea why the author and so many others considers this to be remotely surprising.  Moreover, I do not get the impression that rich people and those with Ph.D's, tend, on average, to be particularly intelligent.  Regular readers of my 2 blogs (if there are any) will understand why I hold this view.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

More to Reality than what it seems?

I see no reason why there couldn't be something behind it all, some ultimate reason. That, after death, our existence might continue to adventures anew into new realities where everything comes right at the end and our hearts are filled with joy and happiness. Maybe, or maybe not, but I believe there's a damn sight more to reality than appears on the surface.

Twitter is a waste of my time

I created a Twitter account a fair few years ago, but it's only in the past 5 weeks or so I've started to use it.  I hate the 280 ch...