On Saturday, January 5, 2013 4:28:30 PM UTC-5, John Clark wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 5, 2013 at 12:21 PM, Craig Weinberg 
> <whats...@gmail.com<javascript:>
> > wrote:
> > You mean that physicists have been given 10 billion dollars to spend on 
>> particle accelerators (and comfortable salaries as well, among other things 
>> I would imagine). 
> Yes. 
> > If someone was going to give me 10 billion dollars I think that I could 
>> try to find something that I could not explain also. 
> And physicists have *tried* to do that also, so far no luck, but nothing 
> gets their blood moving like a experimental result they can't explain. If 
> psi was real physicists would love it, if psi was real it would have been 
> proven to everybody's satisfaction in the 17'th century,  if psi was real 
> high school kids would be repeating the 300 year old experiments in their 
> science fair projects, if psi was real I personally would love it too, in 
> fact it's hard to imagine anyone not loving something as cool as psi. But 
> unfortunately psi is not real.  
>  > We use intuition all the time. 
> I have no quarrel with intuition, I have no problem with using rules of 
> thumb and or probability to make decisions, it's pseudo science that I 
> don't like.
> > If people who had no sense of humor were in charge of peer reviews, then 
>> I think that you would find that the existence of funny things would be in 
>> dispute 
> Even people who have no sense of humor can deduce that other people do 
> have it, 

Would they if only 0.001% of the population had a sense of humor? If movies 
and books and cartoons were made for the other 99.999% and contained no 
humorous references?

> and even if the peer review editors had no psi ability themselves they 
> could deduce that other people had them if they did. But they don't so they 
> can't.

Maybe, but not necessarily. We have words for things like luck and kismet 
and destiny, which could not easily be modeled as physical phenomena, but 
that doesn't mean that there is nothing at all to them in all cases.

> > In science though, we can't claim that we know for certain that any 
>> course of research is misguided, only that it has not proved anything so 
>> far. 
> We know with certainty that all the paranormal research of the last 
> century has produced absolutely nothing and they might as well of kept 
> their hands in their pockets for the last hundred years; so if you were a 
> talented researcher with good judgement would you pick that field, would 
> you spend your finite resources on that crap?   

I'm not personally drawn to investigate those areas, but then again, I have 
my own framework for understanding non-ordinary awareness. If I were 
personally impacted by some psi-related event or capacity, I don't see any 
reason not to spend time and effort looking into it. We don't all have to 
be watching infinitesimal particle collisions on multi-billion dollar 

> > The record of AI development is similarly fruitless at demonstrating 
>> computer awareness.
> Computers are far smarter than they were 10 years ago, but making machines 
> behave intelligently is supposed to be the easy AI problem, the hard 
> problem is making them conscious; armchair philosophers are constantly 
> spinning theories that they think will solve the hard problem, you've done 
> it yourself, and yet they don't even attempt to solve the easy problem. Why 
> is it that you can solve the hard problem but don't even claim to know the 
> first thing about solving the easy problem? It's because the "easy" problem 
> is far far more difficult than the "hard" problem. 

The easy problem is harder than the hard problem in the sense that it is 
the long way around. It is like trying to reconstruct the recipe for apple 
pie using a mass spectrometer and electron microscope. It is not easy by 
any means, but it is much easier than trying to explain why and there is a 
such thing as an experience of tasting the flavor of apple pie. In naming 
the two problems hard and easy, Chalmers was just trying to make the point 
that it is a whole different order of difficult. The easy problem is 
quantitatively difficult, but progress is inevitable with applied effort. 
The hard problem is qualitatively difficult, so that not only is progress 
not inevitable, but it is not necessarily a realistic possibility.

>  > You know that Rupert Sheldrake was the Director of Studies in 
>> Biochemistry and Cell biology at Cambridge, right?and a Research Fellow of 
>> the Royal Society. From 1974 to 1985 he worked in Hyderabad in India as 
>> Principal Plant Physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute
> My beef with Sheldrake has nothing to do with him helping farmers grow 
> more food, my complaint is that he's a crackpot. He wouldn't be the first 
> scientist to go nuts, Brian Josephson was a much better scientist than 
> Sheldrake ever was and in the early 60's wrote an absolutely brilliant 
> paper on superconductivity and won a Nobel Prize, but very soon after that 
> he abandoned the scientific method. The parapsychology meme virus infected 
> his mind and he hasn't had a creative thought since and for the last half 
> century has accomplished precisely nothing. There seems to be no idea so 
> screwy he can't make himself believe  it. The poor man has lost his mind.

Genius and madness are notoriously close. If it weren't for crackpots 
though, we would never likely be tempted to explore new areas. Why doesn't 
some respectable non-crackpot reproduce Sheldrake's experiments and prove 
him wrong?

>> > If you want to understand something which challenges the status quo, 
>> you can't always do it in a way that the status quo is going to embrace.
> All junk science researchers fantasize that they are misunderstood 
> geniuses that history will eventually vindicate, but what history has 
> actually shown us is that for every Galileo there are 6.02 * 10^23 
> crackpots.     

And for every methodical scientist working under the radar toward some 
measure of greatness there are  6.02 * 10^23 dull-minded careerists whose 
life's work will never amount to more than unread publications. Human 
attention is not so finite and precious that we cannot afford for a tiny 
fraction of the population to deviate from the herd. I say that increasing 
that number 10 fold could only help.


>   John K Clark

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