"New Song for the New Age"

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Because if accepting reality itself - as we understand it - is itself an unfalsifiable "leap of faith" based on pragmatism, rather than data or evidence...
I wasn't meaning to say that 'pragmatism' is opposed to 'data and evidence'. According to Radical Constructivism (if I might presume to construe their meaning), our ideas about reality are constructed out of the evidence and data collected by the brain and sensory organs, which are themselves a part of reality, and understood through self-collected evidence and data. The entire contraption (evidence, data, and constructed view of reality) is pragmatic and unfalsifiable, but it's the best we can do with what we have.

However, this doesn't constitute a license to believe just anything! If the evidence and data are coherent with modeled reality, then our understandings will find confirmation to a high degree of probability. Or in other words...

...there is no error in preferring a less likely belief over one which is more likely, so long as the reasoning is truly pragmatically superior...
Quite to the contrary, if again I may speak as a Radical Constructivist: the pragmatically superior reasoning and belief IS that which is judged more likely, based on the evidence and data.

But perhaps what you are driving at here, is that humans seem to be pragmatically faulty in terms of a lack of altruism or motivation to promote community good; as well as a tendency towards emotional depression, caused by the bleak realization that humans are ephemeral specks of organic matter on a small planet hurtling through the void. Or, as pointed out by Blaise Pascal: "There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing but only by God the creator, made known through Jesus"? And perhaps one might argue that every successful human society or tribe provides some sort of story to fill that God-shaped vacuum?

So now we're getting Tony Fauci, the Apotheosis of Science, sent to fill the god shaped vacuum. And just when I thought Jesus was a problem!

During the first aeon, this would have been a creature sacrifice - sacrifice of the creation. During the second, it has meant sacrifice of the Creator - a Divine sacrifice.
Didn't you leave out the still earlier aeon of child sacrifice? Babes thrown into the flames of Moloch, or their hearts cut out at the altar, as evoked by the myth of Abraham and Isaac?

I also think it makes it less anxiety-provoking to name it and confront it - I can only imagine that the next step is for the congregants to become the sacrifice
And here I was trying to talk myself back into a more comfortable view, hoping that maybe the coronavirus isn't designed to cause prion disease after all. No, I don't think that naming the prospects for elite-driven population reduction, makes the prospect less anxiety provoking. Sigh...
 

Marcilla Smith

Active Member
... our ideas about reality are constructed out of the evidence and data collected by the brain and sensory organs, which are themselves a part of reality, and understood through self-collected evidence and data.
... if they even exist (as we perceive them). It seems to me that you're still beginning with a god's eye view of reality as axiomatic, and then placing us inside that.

What I'm saying is that we are the ghost in the machine (in the reality [if it exists]). Our (ghost) face is permanently strapped onto the periscope screen. We can only see what's going on inside the machine by looking into the periscope screen while guiding the periscope in such a way as to point from the outside of the machine back to the inside.

But how can we even know to what extent what we see on the periscope screen corresponds to what is actually there that we would see if we pulled our face away from the periscope screen and looked around the inside of the machine with our naked eyes? We can't - our faces are permanently strapped to the periscope screen. Therefore, we can't even be sure that what we're looking into is truly a periscope, since although we can look inside the periscope (as inside the rest of the machine [as well as the external "reality"]), we can only do so through (what we perceive is) the periscope screen.

When we bore through our skulls to implant Elon Musk's Neurolinks, are there really brains there that are receiving and also guiding the implantation of the devices, or is it all a simulation, recorded in a series of 1's and 0's on a blockchain in a universe we may never even be able to imagine? I think this is what the other self-driving car guy was talking about with his "we need a new religion" speech at SXSW

... the pragmatically superior reasoning and belief IS that which is judged more likely, based on the evidence and data.
Consider that one of - maybe the most - important asset in a survival situation is the sustained belief by the person in peril that she or he or they will survive. Imagine two people lost in the wilderness - one with a dogged belief in their likelihood of survival, the other calculating the odds at 40%. The beliefs of #2 may be more consistent with reality, but not with survivability.

And perhaps one might argue that every successful human society or tribe provides some sort of story to fill that God-shaped vacuum?
Collective salvation, Jerry? Really, now, that's so "first aeon"

So now we're getting Tony Fauci, the Apotheosis of Science, sent to fill the god shaped vacuum. And just when I thought Jesus was a problem!
And here I thought you were all about rationality, or we could say, "the Logos"

Didn't you leave out the still earlier aeon of child sacrifice? Babes thrown into the flames of Moloch, or their hearts cut out at the altar, as evoked by the myth of Abraham and Isaac?
Perish the thought! That's specifically why I said "creature," and not "animal" (although we are also animals)

No, I don't think that naming the prospects for elite-driven population reduction, makes the prospect less anxiety provoking. Sigh...
Jerry, have you been hanging out at the Guidestones again? Do you really think they have enough time to reduce the population before the Web3 parousia when our Cyber Christ uploads our souls into the data clouds of the metaverse heavens?
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
... if they even exist (as we perceive them). It seems to me that you're still beginning with a god's eye view of reality as axiomatic, and then placing us inside that.
I don't know if "axiomatic" is exactly the right word. Googling the dictionary gives the definition "self-evident or unquestionable." Going with the Radical Constructivists, I think I'm saying it's unfalsifiable, and that I can't conceive of any alternative.

Odd that you should mention the "God's eye view." What sort of entity (machine, apparatus or living being) could ever embody such a notion? This "God" would have the capability to simultaneously know every detail about everything that has ever existed, exists or will exist in the entire universe. Or at lease a broad and secure enough "view" to be able to factually know that reality exists -- as opposed to our elaborate intellectual superstructure, allegedly encompassed within three pounds of wetware.

When we bore through our skulls to implant Elon Musk's Neurolinks, are there really brains there that are receiving and also guiding the implantation of the devices, or is it all a simulation, recorded in a series of 1's and 0's on a blockchain in a universe we may never even be able to imagine? I think this is what the other self-driving car guy was talking about with his "we need a new religion" speech at SXSW
"The Simulation" is a sort of answer to my question, what sort of entity could have a "God's Eye View" of our own reality? If indeed we imagine that some unimaginably advanced civilization in a greater universe has constructed our Universe as a sort of zoo for their own edification and entertainment, then I suppose they might have some greater insight about what's going on in that zoo. But as I complained before, all this really accomplishes is to take the mystery of our own experience, and explain it through an appeal to a much greater mystery, whose nature (and even existence) is completely beyond our ability to access. And furthermore: if this greater universe does indeed exist, how do we know it isn't also part of a simulation existing in yet another universe, at a second level from us, in terms of its inaccessibility and un-imaginability?

There is also a problem of Occam's razor. Why postulate such a vast, incomprehensible computing engine as a precondition for existence, when the universe itself is bizarre enough as we know it?

It is lately becoming increasingly fashionable, and fully justified, to attack Wikipedia as a hopelessly biased snake pit, where all the important articles are written by the CIA and large corporations. And yet, it is still a wonderful source for background information such as this article "Turtles all the way down". The article explains that 17th century Europeans were amused to learn that according to some version of Hindu mythology, the earth is supported by seven elephants standing on a giant tortoise. Of course they felt that their 'God' was a much better explanation.

Later on, in the 19th century, the realization gradually dawned that God and the tortoise have exactly the same problem, and the tortoise became the butt of a new joke.

The following anecdote is told of William James. [...] After a lecture on cosmology and the structure of the solar system, James was accosted by a little old lady.
"Your theory that the sun is the centre of the solar system, and the earth is a ball which rotates around it has a very convincing ring to it, Mr. James, but it's wrong. I've got a better theory," said the little old lady.
"And what is that, madam?" inquired James politely.
"That we live on a crust of earth which is on the back of a giant turtle."
Not wishing to demolish this absurd little theory by bringing to bear the masses of scientific evidence he had at his command, James decided to gently dissuade his opponent by making her see some of the inadequacies of her position.
"If your theory is correct, madam," he asked, "what does this turtle stand on?"
"You're a very clever man, Mr. James, and that's a very good question," replied the little old lady, "but I have an answer to it. And it's this: The first turtle stands on the back of a second, far larger, turtle, who stands directly under him."
"But what does this second turtle stand on?" persisted James patiently.
To this, the little old lady crowed triumphantly,
"It's no use, Mr. James—it's turtles all the way down."
— J. R. Ross, Constraints on Variables in Syntax, 1967

To put this in our context --

Jerry: "If our Universe is merely a simulation running within a giant computer, then what Universe does that computer exist within?"​
Marcilla: "It's no use, Mr. Postflavian. It's simulations all the way down...."??​
 

Marcilla Smith

Active Member
I don't know if "axiomatic" is exactly the right word. Googling the dictionary gives the definition "self-evident or unquestionable." Going with the Radical Constructivists, I think I'm saying it's unfalsifiable, and that I can't conceive of any alternative.
As good a reasoning for your axiom as any, and certainly better - and more deliberately recognized - than most!

Odd that you should mention the "God's eye view." What sort of entity (machine, apparatus or living being) could ever embody such a notion?
The mind of an atheist (witting, or otherwise - and even if only momentarily), obviously! The mind of an atheist could even be said to have a supergodly view. How else could it even conceive to put God (or any god) in a terrarium, pull out its magnifying glass and notepad, and proceed to study Him (as if from above)?

"The Simulation" is a sort of answer to my question, what sort of entity could have a "God's Eye View" of our own reality?... Why postulate such a vast, incomprehensible computing engine as a precondition for existence, when the universe itself is bizarre enough as we know it?...
"Why," indeed! It's along this line of thought that compelled me to post:
... this is one of those things I like to lean into Philo on, who was vehemently against the anthropomorphizing of God, and claimed that we could really only say that He exists and nothing more, substantially.
"God" is whatever is (or isn't) "out there." We can no more grok what comprises out Creator than our ancestors of the Bronze Age could have grokked that Hydrogen makes up the Sun. All they could do was see the rays of Light emanating from the Heavens beyond our world, sent down into our own (... Light from Light... consubstantial with the Father... ) and feel the radiated warmth (... proceeding from the Father and the Son... ) as a sort of comforter or paraclete, if you will - this third Person of the Heavenly One remaining with the earth, even after the second has left, until His return the next morning

Jerry: "If our Universe is merely a simulation running within a giant computer, then what Universe does that computer exist within?"​
Marcilla: "It's no use, Mr. Postflavian. It's simulations all the way down...."??​
Yes, only I'd say it's more like, "all the way out," or at least, "all the way up." Otherwise, it sounds like more of the "god's eye view of God, Himself" that I'm pointing out.

Or to put it another way, instead of saying, "imagine that some unimaginably advanced civilization in a greater universe has constructed our Universe as a sort of zoo for their own edification and entertainment," I would be more likely to begin by saying, "imagine that our Universe is a sort of zoo... " I think this lends itself less to assumptions about what and where we were created, and more to questions like, "are we in a shared cage? Separate? Are there no cages? Where are the bars, or what otherwise is the limit?

Then maybe we start to think that the best way to better understand our own condition is to become the gods of our own simulations - our own metaverses, if you will. Goodness, a whole new religious movement could spring up around such an idea.

Or, at a minimum, maybe we could leapfrog past the "solid state battery" thing:
 

Marcilla Smith

Active Member
When Cyberspace Jesus...


... converges with the Digital Messiah...


... I think that's when we'll see the newer New Song.

In the meantime, I found this webinar in a few weeks, for anyone else curious
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Marcilla,

Getting back into this after Xmas travels...

Imagine two people lost in the wilderness - one with a dogged belief in their likelihood of survival, the other calculating the odds at 40%. The beliefs of #2 may be more consistent with reality, but not with survivability.
I completely agree with that a person's attitude of optimistic determination is crucial in such a situation. But I'm not so sure it's necessary or helpful to contrive a belief system contrary to facts and information. Following your example: skill and mental focus are obviously necessary, if the odds of survival are only 40%. Whereas even a careless, casual attitude should be more than sufficient, if success is 100% certain.

In either case, it's not so much a person's guess about the odds that matters, as it is about their mental toughness, avoiding either panic and despair, or overconfidence.

The question is, whether it's necessary or helpful to have some sort of religious beliefs, in order to maintain functionally effective mental attitudes.

Also, it seems to me that there's a problem that comes with intellectual maturity. Children might believe in Jesus and Santa Claus, because their parents told them so. Sooner or later, most kids figure out that Santa is a mall employee in a red costume. It takes a little longer, and only a few read Joe Atwill's book, and realize that Jesus is a fictional character invented in service of Roman wartime propaganda. But in both cases, once you've seen the truth, it's hard to go back. Even if a sincere belief in Santa Claus would help a person to be a better stock market trader.

"God" is whatever is (or isn't) "out there." We can no more grok what comprises out Creator than our ancestors of the Bronze Age could have grokked that Hydrogen makes up the Sun.
By this definition, "God" is whatever we don't understand. Indeed, the ancients saw the Sun as a God. But how helpful was that, really?

"imagine that our Universe is a sort of zoo... "
What about this: "Imagine that our universe is NOT a zoo?" Nobody is watching over us, or judging us? No bars, no cages, no moats? Isn't that more liberating?

[video link] Welcome to VR Church...
Even my local UU church has gone virtual, since the pandemic. Every Sunday they meet by Zoom. This VR Church doesn't seem all that much different, as an experience -- except that you use 3D glasses and cute cartoon avatars, so nobody knows you're really wearing your pajamas?

Perhaps VR Church is the future of Religion, just as VR is the future of Reality? As Toby Rogers discusses here, even Keanu Reeves from The Matrix thinks that Virtual Reality is Awesome! But, Rogers isn't so sure:

The digital world will always be faster, funnier, sexier, more exciting, and more dopamine and serotonin producing than the real world. That’s the enormous problem that we face and it is here now. TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Facebook Stories are much more thrilling than most ordinary social experiences — because these social media sites algorithmically curate the best five-second highlights of the best scripted moments of the imagined playacted lives of people all over the world. The immersive worlds created by the video game makers (where you can travel to outer space and participate in wars without consequences) are also more thrilling than our day-to-day lives....
But ... if the real world does not matter (and the virtual world is just as good or better), then at some point, the Pharma/Big Tech predators may simply turn us off. Real world toxic injury leads to digital slavery (the metaverse) that soon becomes real world genocide. If you’ve already uploaded your whole personality to the cloud, the game, the metaverse, then Apple, Epic, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Niantic, Nike, etc. (all of the companies that want to create metaverses) have no more use for you. Once all of your wealth has been drained out of your bank accounts they can simply turn off your life (with the help of their buddies in Pharma). Eugenics-driven depopulation seems to be Gates’ goal (as it was for his father) and I imagine the billionaire class would much prefer to live in a world with several billion fewer people who want to overthrow them. So why is the real world better? Because of personal sovereignty.

[video link] Technology as religion
Interesting video. Traditional religion generally dealt with "God", the unexplained and mysterious creator and all-powerful source of existence. The new "technology religion" is more concerned with the nature of human beings, with the imminent possibility that we might become superhuman, endowed with eternal life via the Singularity. The video discusses "dataism", which is the idea that human consciousness is based on data processing in the brain. According to "dataism", as computers become faster and more powerful, and equipped with better software, they will equal and then surpass the intelligence of humans, who then will have the opportunity to upload themselves and merge with the machine.

After touring a new AI museum exhibit full of technological wonders, the video highlights interviews with James Lovelock, Meghaan O'Gieblyn, Bernardo Kastrup, and Roger Penrose. Lovelock and O'Gieblyn are optimistic about "dataism" and the future of AI, but Kastrup and Penrose are skeptical. They believe there is something going on in the human brain that can't be explained as simple data processing. They believe it's somehow related to the fundamental randomness and non-local properties of quantum physics.

Richard Stanley weighed in on this question, and provided some more videos, at this old thread:

https://postflaviana.org/community/index.php?threads/is-the-brain-mind-a-computer.1732/

I don't have a strong opinion about "dataism" or "materialism" vs. "idealism". But I do believe it's a debate that's amenable to application of the scientific method. Eventually, it seems conceptually possible either that scientists & engineers will succeed in building AI supercomputers that surpass humans in every way, including apparent displays of understanding & outward appearance of consciousness; or, conversely, that failures will continue until it's back to the drawing board, to learn more about quantum phenomenon in neural microtubules. Either way, it's a question about our nature as human beings. I don't see that it has much to do with God, or the origins of the Universe.

There's an interesting comment about "religion" at about 31:40 --

"Is mainstream AI thought, then, a form of religion? I mean, they hope for something that is not true, and they adhere to dogmas that aren't proven."

How's that for a definition of "religion"?
 
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