Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Considering critique of "Missing Key to Gould’s “Nonoverlapping Magisteria” "

I received an interesting critique on my column - The Missing Key to Stephen Gould’s “Nonoverlapping Magisteria” - I appreciated the questions and enjoyed the opportunity to correct the writer's misunderstanding regarding what I wrote.  I invited the writer over here to share, but alas, it never happened.  So, I'm going to share his critique anyways. 
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Critique:  It appears to me that the author is considering every product of the human mind just as imaginary as every other. 

For instance the completely subjective religious experience, and the striving to be objective science are both: "products of the human mindscape, generations of imaginings built upon previous generations of imaginings, all the way down." 
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Citizenschallenge:  That’s an incorrect assumption.  

"Imaginings" is more akin to “inventions of the mind” or products of our mindscape.  

The critique misses out on the evolutionary aspect.  Religion was amongst the mindscape’s earliest inventions, probably a couple hundred thousand years ago.  

It took humanity tens of thousands of years and even civilized humans took many more millennia before the human mindscape developed the understanding and discipline that enabled it to invent science, barely 500 years ago.
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Now, it is true that every single recorded phenomena, experience and so on must have either begun as some sort of sensory input influencing our mindscape, or came as a product of the workings of said mindscape (something commonly known as imagination). 
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Precisely my point.
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Of course just because something is relayed through a human mind, this doesn't automatically make it imaginary. 
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I never implied it did!
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In a sense the author is trying to put a divide between the real world and the way we perceive and interpret the real world, equating the latter to imagination. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Confronting Republican Deception - Science, Activism, Networking, Engaging in debate.

Selections from the previous list of key blog posts.

The Situation:  The disconnected-from-physical-reality GOP attacks on climate science (a.i.) have reached horrifying levels with the Trump Administration.  Yet science loving rationalists, pluralists, progressives, liberals, Democrats still haven’t developed effective messaging for directly confronting the most childish of Republican arguments.  

Why?  Seems to me, mainly because rationalists rather sidestep that Me First driven willful ignorance.  This acquiescence to malicious nonsense has been a fatal error for the national dialogue.

Engaging and arguing with contrarians should not be seen as an exercise in futility, since those are teaching opportunity for explaining the simple logical geophysical reasons behind some of the disingenuous arguments to onlookers from our own side, who probably don’t understand the science very well themselves.  Making teaching opportunities out of false claims.

Even on this fateful US election eve, little effort seems expended to help geographically dispersed individual activists, of diverse talents, network with like-minded for sharing information, developing ideas, raising enthusiasm for debate.  Such efforts would facilitate better appreciation for what we are all about, while encouraging a sense of community and pro-active cooperation.

Why write that essay:

I’m hoping it might resonate with some of you and that you’ll be in a position to do more with it than I ever can here in my Colorado hinterlands.  It has my copyright, but that’s about establishing my authorship, I invite its copying and sharing. 
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Exploring the Map v Territory Problem - via the Brown Ocean Effect and Dr. Trenberth

“… During the Q&A I had a chance to ask Dr.Trenberth, (58:00 video 3/3) 

Science communicators, I ask for a moment of your time and consideration, please.


As a follow up to The Missing Key to Stephen Gould’s “Nonoverlapping Magisteria” I want to share a selection of blog posts that focus on various other aspects (keys) to better understanding of the Republicans blind-faith driven mass deception and self-inflicted self-stupification regarding matters of extreme importance to our future health and wellbeing.
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I’m looking for help to network with others who understand what I’m trying to say with these essays, virtual debates and blog posts.  I’ve added a selection of excerpts from these blog posts and FCFP columns in the next post.   

Exploring the Map v Territory Problem - via the Brown Ocean Effect and Dr. Trenberth

Colorado Floods - statistical certainty vs geophysical realities - 2013

2018, now what? Considering the Republican Dialogue Problem in 14 VERSES.

CO2 Science - Blue team: "Pruitt, it's certain as certain gets! It's the physics! Don't you know?

CO2 Science - Pruitt, proof is in the pudding! Impossible Modern Marvels

Schooling Pruitt's Red Team about our planet and its climate engine (FCFP)

(Sd7) Abuse of Our Free Speech Rights (LandscapesAndCycles - Jim Steele) (FCFP)

(Sd3) Mr.GOP don't buy Jim Steele's Fraud - LandscapesAndCycles

(Sd1) Revisiting Jim Steele's LandscapesAndCycles Fraud 
            An index of past research - Steele debate #1

Fruits of Ignoring Deliberate Deception.

I am an Earth Centrist.

Earth Centrist ponders, polite or honest?

Saying No To Reality (Four Corners Free Press column)

Citizenschallenge’s  “Hall of Shame”



Saturday, September 1, 2018

Missing Key to Stephen Gould’s “Nonoverlapping Magisteria”

   _______________________________________________________________________________________________________
    
The Missing Key to Stephen Gould’s
“Nonoverlapping Magisteria”











“… missing was a much more fundamental division crying out for recognition.  Specifically,                                        
the magisteria of Physical Reality vs the magisteria of our Human Mindscape. …”

© Peter Miesler, August 21, 2018
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The increasingly shrill and disconnected from physical reality attacks on science by faith-based organizations and individuals has me thinking about an essay evolutionary biologist and historian of science Stephen J. Gould wrote some twenty years ago in an attempt to address the tension between scientific truths and religious truths.
His solution was the notion of “Non-overlapping Magisteria” which delineated two teaching “authorities” (magisterium), the “magisteria of science” and the “magisteria of religion.” It wasn’t his original idea, rather a continuation of a centuries old dialogue between scientists and the Catholic Church that I don’t have the space to get into.
In any event, Gould concluded there should be no conflict because each realm has its’ own domain of “teaching authority.” Since these “magisteria” do not overlap, they cannot contradict each other and should be able to exist in mutual respect.
When it first came out

Friday, August 31, 2018

Diary 8/31/2018 - reset

It’s been an interesting, satisfying month for me.  Feels like I’ve cracked a riddle I’ve been circling around for decades.  When I think of some of the posts that lead to this breakthrough I’m reminded of a complain I once received about sometimes repeating myself and being boring.  

I giggle because yes, I’ve been working with variations on a theme that to disinterested eyes probably are boring as hell.  Oh well, I have no time for them, I’m interested in the eyes with genuine substance and curiosity behind them.

Besides, these blog posts are my self-study homework, they force me to think, do some research, to double-check myself, and then to share finished projects, some better, some not, still each adds a little more to my appreciation for this magnificent Earth I’m part of.  

I’ll add that though outreach is secondary, I do hope this resonates with some and that they find value in these efforts and I’d love to have a discussion about it, make a comment.

Now my warning, I will be doing a bit of repeat of some posts in order to start September from the top so to speak.  As for the labels I attached to this post: defending reason, engaging in constructive debate, reasserting need for honesty, celebrate learning, Earth Appreciationthat's sort of a declaration of what my blogs are all about.

Thanks for dropping in and best wishes, cc



Thursday, August 23, 2018

Magisteria of Physical Reality vs. the Magisteria of our Human Mindscape.





“… missing was a much more fundamental division crying out for recognition.  
Specifically, the magisteria of Physical Reality 
vs. the magisteria of our Human Mindscape. …”

© Peter Miesler, August 21, 2018

The increasingly shrill and disconnected from physical reality attacks on science by faith-based organizations and individuals has me thinking about an essay evolutionary biologist and historian of science Stephen Gould wrote some twenty years ago in an attempt to address the tension between scientific truths and religious truths.

His solution was the notion of “Nonoverlapping Magisteria” which delineated two teaching “authorities” (magisterium), the “magisteria of science” and the “magisteria of religion.” It wasn’t his original idea, rather a continuation of a centuries old dialogue between scientists and the Catholic Church that I don’t have the space to get into.

In any event, Gould concluded there should be no conflict because each realm has its’ own domain of “teaching authority.” Since these “magisteria” do not overlap, they cannot contradict each other and should be able to exist in mutual respect.

When it first came out I loved the idea because of my own struggling intellectual spiritual journey which was embedded within gathering and learning from sober scientific knowledge about this Earth, while also dealing with the spiritual aspect of ‘touching Earth’ and having experienced ‘God’s breath’ against my back, so to speak.

Gould’s idea was interesting and it gained a lot of attention and lively discussion, but in the end seems to have offered little to either side. For myself, the critics made sense and my enthusiasm diminished. Still, the conflict kept echoing like an unresolved challenge as I increasingly engaged faith-shackled contrarians towards science.

In the years since I’ve kept learning more about Earth’s amazing evolution and geophysics and also the scientific process itself. A process that’s basically a set of rules for gathering and assessing our observations in an honest, open and disciplined manner that all who understand science can trust.

Recently it occurred to me that what Stephen Gould was missing was a much more fundamental divide that is crying out for recognition. 

Specifically, the Magisteria of Physical Reality vs the Magisteria of our Human Mindscape.

In this perspective we acknowledge that Earth and her physical processes and the pageant of evolution are the fundamental timeless touchstones of reality.

Part of Earth’s physical reality is that we humans were created by Earth out of her processes.  Science shows us that we belong to the mammalian branch of Earth’s animal kingdom.  

Yet, it’s undeniable that something quite unique happened about six million years ago when certain apes took a wild improbable evolutionary turn.

By and by besides the marvel of our two hands, we developed two feet and legs that could stand tall or run for hours and a brain that learned rapidly. During that evolutionary process something extraordinary fantastical was born, the Human Mindscape.

On the outside hominids learned to make tools, hunt, fish, and select plants, plus they mastered fire for cooking and better living.

On the inside our brains were benefiting from the new super nourishment while human curiosity and adventures started filling and stretching our mindscapes with experiences and knowledge beyond anything the "natural" physical Earth ever knew.

While the human mind and spirit are ineffable mysteries, they are also of tremendous consequence and real-world physical power. They drove our growing ability to study and manipulate our world, to communicate and record our experiences and to formulate explanations for a world full of mysteries, threats and wonders.

People learned to think and gossip and paint pictures upon the canvas of cave walls, or even better, upon the canvas of each other’s imaginations. We’ve been adding to our brain’s awareness and complexity ever since.

Of course, while all this was going on the human mind was also wondering about the ‘Why’ of the world it observed and the difficult, fragile, short lives we were allotted. In seeking answers to unknowable questions it seems inevitable that Gods would inhabit our mindscape. I suspect inspired by buried memories of being coddled within mom’s protective loving bosom those first couple years of life.

No doubt these “Gods” enabled further successes, though not through super-natural interventions, but rather through their ability to form, conform, reform and transform the mindscapes of the masses of people beginning to congregate. Thus, combining pragmatic civil societal needs with universally felt, but keenly personal questions, fears, and dreams.

After the middle ages tribal stories, accepted ancient doctrines and religious “truths” were no longer enough to satisfy our mindscape’s growing desire for ever more understanding and power over the Earth. The human brain took another tremendous leap forward in awareness with the Intellectual Enlightenment and the birth of serious disciplined scientific study.

Science’s success was dazzling in its ability to learn about, control and manipulate Earth’s physical resources and to transform entire environments.

Science was so successful that today most people believe we are the masters of our world and most have fallen into the hubristic trap of believing our ever fertile mindscape is “reality.” 

Which brings me back to Gould’s magisterium and his missing key. The missing key is appreciating the fundamental “Magisteria of Physical Reality,” and recognizing both science and religion are products of the “Magisteria of Our Mindscape.”

Science seeks to objectively learn about our physical world, but we should still recognize all our understanding is embedded within and constrained by our mindscape. 

Religion is all about the human mindscape itself, with its wonderful struggles, fears, spiritual undercurrents, needs and stories we create to give our live’s meaning and make it worth living, or at least bearable. 

What’s the point? Religions, God, heaven, hell, political beliefs, even science, they are all products of the human mindscape, generations of imaginings built upon previous generations of imaginings, all the way down.

Here we are, 2018, sober assessment of physical facts is out of fashion and fantasy thinking in the service of ruthless avarice is in.

Now it literally threatening to topple USA’s government For The People, By The People, in favor of a Me First, profits are more important than people, oligarch run machine. Well, unless an awful lot of sideliners start getting engaged in democratic politics.

All the while the actual physical creation outside of our conceited little minds keeps on unfolding, following well understood geophysical rules regardless. Ignore at our own peril

Slated to appear in the Four Corners Free Press, October issue - 
though I retain © and am hoping others will want to share and republish this essay.
citizenschallenge at ConfrontingScienceContrarians.blogspot.com
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I need help  to network with others who understand what I’m trying to say with these essays and blog posts.
Any feedback, encouragement, networking, or support would be much appreciated.  
Peter Miesler aka citizenschallenge @ gmail com 
P.O. Box 56, Durango, Colorado 81302


Further explorations into defining the communication problems and what we stand for.

Exploring the Map vs Territory Problem - via the Brown Ocean Effect and Dr. Trenberth


2018, now what? Considering the Republican Dialogue Problem in 14 VERSES.

CO2 Science - Blue team: "Pruitt, it's certain as certain gets! It's the physics! Don't you know?

CO2 Science - Pruitt, proof is in the pudding! Impossible Modern Marvels

(Sd7) Abuse of Our Free Speech Rights (LandscapesandCycles - Jim Steele) (FCFP)

(Sd1) Revisiting Jim Steele's LandscapesAndCycles Fraud - 
An index of past research - Steele debate #1

Fruits of Ignoring Deliberate Deception

I am an Earth Centrist.

Earth Centrist ponders, polite or honest?

Saying No To Reality (Four Corners Free Press)

Regarding - Stephen Gould, who with Niles Eldredge
introduced the world to evolutionary Punctuated Equilibrium in 1972

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Exploring the Map vs Territory Problem - via the Brown Ocean Effect and Dr. Trenberth (revisited)

Time for something a little more thoughtful than jousting with Steele's LandscapesAndCycles snow job.  Since Trenberth's talk at Fort Lewis College inspired my previously posted FCFP column; which in turn inspired Mr GOP to share Jim Steele's complain about the lack of debate; which in turn lead to the forgoing series examining Mr. Steele's base disingenuousness and which isn't quite finished yet.    

Still, for now I figure it's only fitting that I share the other article I wrote regarding Dr Trenberth's talk.  The Four Corners Free Press column was intended for the uninitiated, this essay is intend for climate science communicators and wannabe communicators regarding the under appreciated Map v Territory Problem.  Food for thought.  Originally written December 10, 2017, revised August 22, 2018.
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On November 9th, 2017 Dr. Trenberth visited our local Fort Lewis College and was the featured speaker at an afternoon climate change symposium.  

A Distinguished Senior Scientist (in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research), he is a cartographer if you will.  His entire being is about getting the science, the models, the map, as close to representing reality as resources and ability allow.  This dedication has made him among the best in his field of climate studies.  

As a self-taught Earth and climate science enthusiast I’ve been familiar with his work for decades and have learned a great deal from his articles and in past years talks on YouTube and I was glad to finally have the chance to see and hear him in person.

He gave an interesting talk reviewing many aspects of our warming climate system including hurricanes, where he touched on the recent Hurricane Harvey with its extraordinary longevity and rainfall.  Dr. Trenberth went through its vitals, a million people displaced, homes damaged, massive power outage, biblical rainfall.  

He pointed out that normally hurricanes ‘peter out’ within on average 27 hours, whereas Harvey went for 70 hours on land making a loop and returning to the Gulf with it’s record warm waters, which fed the cyclone before it made another incursion onto land.  Then he discussed the many human factors around Houston that ensure floods will reek maximum havoc, pointing out that, “with climate change you either adapt to it or you suffer the consequences.”

What struck me was that Trenberth didn’t mention the “Brown Ocean Effect” which is a fairly new, but fascinating and important observation based realization.  Also, it’s another sure indicator of a warming world.