Monday, 25 July 2016

Woody Allen and the meaninglessness of Life

Woody Allen has said:
I firmly believe ... that life is meaningless. I’m not alone in thinking this — there have been many great minds far, far superior to mine, that have come to that conclusion. And unless somebody can come up with some proof or some example where it’s not, I think it is. I think it’s a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing, and that’s just the way I feel about it.

If many great minds have come to that conclusion, then this implies there are reasons why they hold this belief. So what are those reasons? I highly doubt if these are reasons I haven't heard of before! And I'm afraid I don't hold such reasons in high regard as I explain in my blogs and elsewhere on the net.

Nor do I see why the hypothesis that life is meaningless should be the default position. However, I would point to altered states of consciousness such as mystical states and so on, which imply that life has an ultimate meaning. Indeed, we would have to conclude we are being deceived whilst in such states if we are to suppose life is meaningless. With what reason do we have to suppose we are being deceived?

Also see another relevant blog entry by me in my other blog.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Stephen Hawking continues to demonstrate his philosophical cluelessness

God did not create the universe, says Stephen Hawking

Article says:

"God did not create the universe and the “Big Bang” was the inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, says eminent British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking".
Either physical laws:

a) Merely describe what happens.
b) They make things happen.

If "a" then the Big Bang wasn't caused by physical laws. For that would be like saying sleep is caused by sleeping pills via their soporific effect. So in this case we have no explanation for why the Big Bang occurred, nor indeed anything after the Big Bang.

If "b" then why do physical laws exist? Did they somehow acausally spring into being? Or perhaps they were brought into being by something else, some conscious agent? If that's not possible then why isn't it? What's the alternative explanation?

It would be helpful if physicist tried to understand that science merely describes reality.  See my own:

Do scientific explanations actually explain?

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The God helmet

Just watched this video about mystical experiences and the God helmet.  The speaker implicitly supposes, but doesn't argue, that the God helmet produces such experiences.

But such a conclusion is simply not warranted. 
The fact that "the God helmet" triggers such experiences does not entail that the brain is the origin of such experiences. For example, one could be blind due to damage to the brain rather than the eyes. One could thereby restore vision if that part of the brain were altered to make it fully functional again. It wouldn't thereby entail the things we see are not out there.

The brain might prohibit such mystical experiences in its normal functional state. Altering a certain area might allow us glimpses of a reality normally inaccessible to us as the brain filters out such experiences.

See other essays by me on this topic in my other blog: e.g

Neither Modern Materialism nor Science as currently conceived can explain Consciousness

Sunday, 3 July 2016

The War on Stupid People

Just read this article.  It says:
Those who consider themselves bright openly mock others for being less so. Even in this age of rampant concern over microaggressions and victimization, we maintain open season on the nonsmart. People who’d swerve off a cliff rather than use a pejorative for race, religion, physical appearance, or disability are all too happy to drop the s‑bomb: Indeed, degrading others for being “stupid” has become nearly automatic in all forms of disagreement.
Don't they just! At least they do on the Internet. Do they say to their pet dogs and cats "God you are so so stupid, I despise you"? We are what we are.

On the other hand I do object to people making definitive assertions which they cannot back up, and thinking you're stupid because you question their assertion, or -- heaven forbid -- even disagree with it! And this is precisely what many people tend to do on the Internet. And these people presumably tend to think of themselves as bright.

In my opinion there also seems to often be a misunderstanding about what intelligence is. Knowledge is distinct from intelligence, even though there may be an imperfect correlation. Intelligence is more like the innate capacity to understand issues, the ability to think something through rationally, to have an awareness of other possibilities and not necessarily think along pre-defined channels. I don't think one is stupid merely because they haven't heard of Kardishion (or whatever she's called). If intelligence or IQ was considered to be a reflection of how knowledgeable you are about popular culture, I would have a lower IQ than literally 99% of the population. And when I say literally, I mean literally.

Log Cabin

This is what I'd make if I inexplicably went back in time a ~million years or went "sidewards" in time to a parallel world ...