Monday, March 1, 2021

Diary, “Get over it dude, why u so obsessed with Hoffman’s Case Against Reality?”

I'm happy to report that after an unexpected extension, my critical review of Donald Hoffman's "Case Against Reality" is complete.  I thought to do more by way of summary, but not getting any inspiration, so I'm done.  Perhaps in a year, providence willing, it'll be fun to revisit and see if I can write an interesting summary.  In the meantime, this will have to do.


HOFFMAN'S "CASE AGAINST REALITY," 

PLAYING BASKETBALL IN ZERO-GRAVITY, A REVIEW


The Case Against Reality book with an agent, ©Peter Miesler

Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero-gravity Review is intended to offer solid information, food for thought, and hopeful inspiration for students concerned with American’s descent into delusional thinking.  It is set up to be easily skimmed, contains copious references to expert sources and reporting, along with a few promising gems.  


I've been challenged with the question: "Why am I so "obsessed" with Hoffman’s Case Against Reality?"


Overnight hoar frost#1, ©Peter Miesler

It’s a fair enough question.  Why have I spent a half year thinking about it, then nearly another half year and thousands of words dissecting Donald Hoffman’s book, The Case Against Reality, why evolution hid the truth from our eyes


I’ll tell you why,  


* It started with Donald Hoffman boasting that he’s doing serious solid science that is relevant to our daily lives.  When all he’s doing is sophisticated mathematical games, computer modeling, philosophizing, wrapped in just-so storytelling.  But, none of it deserves being called serious science! 


* Getting further into the book, I found my Down to Earth sensibilities and my respect for physical sciences increasingly offended by this man’s glib disregard for natural facts as scientists have refined them.


* His dismissal of physical sciences and the physicalist paradigm were as laughable, as they were irritatingly disingenuous.  


* His notion that the perceiver composes the perceived, is childish.  

After all, doesn’t light need to reflect off an object before we can perceive it?  The perceiver composes an impression of the perceived.  How does Hoffman justify such gross distortions of physical fact?

* His constant reliance on computer analogies to answer questions - is reminiscent of an evangelical’s dependence on their own Bible to make their case, such debate tactics are not acceptable for a scientist.


* His constant conflation of Objective Reality and Physical Reality, needs a spotlight.  

“Objective” being a product of our minds doing their best to keep subjective human biases out of their observation and learning process.  

Thus, science’s dependence on process and measurements; physical evidence and repeatability; facts at hand driving understanding; a community of experts always looking over each other’s shoulders; constructively learning from mistakes; demand for honesty at all levels of communication; and so on.


* His tendency to imply that Evolution has agency reveals a limited appreciation for actual “wet” evolution unfolding one day at a time, over the course of deep time.  


* In fact, turns out the only thing Hoffman knows about Evolution, is Evolutionary Game Theory.  (He's never studied actual Evolution.)  Realizing that, made Hoffman’s simplistic sweeping pronouncements regarding Evolution that much more galling.


* Then, his quantum level rhetorical fancy dancing that disingenuously conflates conclusions from atom smasher experiments with our macroscopic day to day reality, was like listening to nails being scrapped across a chalkboard.  

* He joined the chorus of talking head$, proclaiming “Space-time and Reality (as we know it) is Doomed,” a mere figment of our imagination.  Why?  Basically because their latest and greatest math breaks down, leaving them with no other conclusion.


* Then to fill in this contrived void, Donald’s imaginative storytelling comes to the rescue with Hoffmanian Conscious Agents that zip around interpreting reality for us, because the reality we think we are seeing, isn’t really there, says Professor Hoffman.  He assures us that he has the math to “prove” it.


Hallelujah, river's running again, ©Peter Miesler

Over all, I found his writing to be a type specimen of an author who fell so in love with his own ideas, that he got trapped within his own Mindscape, and lost touch with physical reality.  Which is fine for fiction and the what-if world of philosophizing, but to claim one is representing actual factual reality and science, that’s an insult to intelligence and centuries worth of learning and scientific understanding - and to me.


For me, Hoffman’s sort of delusional parlor games aren’t fun anymore.  Times on this planet are ever more difficult, thanks to exactly that sort of mass acceptance of such frivolous flights of fantasy that blind people to our actual evolving biophysical reality, along with crippling their sober decision making ability.


Additionally, Hoffman provided me with an excellent vehicle for wrestling with and further developing my own notions.  That is, a more down to Earth, (that is built upon a foundation of nature's facts), physical reality respecting, Earth Centrist philosophy.


Neglecting fundamental honestly and Earth’s physical reality has set-up today’s ugly destructive vector that humans have strapped themselves into.  I’ve had enough of the delusional thinking for fun and profit and I can’t help believing I’m not the only one.  


If any of this resonates with you, please spend a little time skimming through these Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero-Gravity Review project blog posts.  I’m no genius, not offering any grand solutions, but the contents of this project has much to offer, simply skimming through it like some picture book.  It will feed your understanding and imagination, and help you better formulate and organize your own developing understanding of the way people twist the truth, and what you might do to constructively confront it. 


One that’s founded on an appreciation of the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide.


Overnight hoar frost#2, ©Peter Miesler


Alrighty then, with so many complaints, I sound like a big grump.  But the thing is, I can rationally and factually support those complaints. 


That’s why it was important for me to challenge myself with thoroughly dissecting Hoffman’s book from start to finish.  I needed to verify and document the deceptions that I found so disturbing.  I’ve now stated my case and provided detailed red flags, specific arguments, evidence, along with further resources, in a fairly organized manner - ready for review and response.  Being a non-academic I know this project leaves plenty of room for improvement, but I’ll leave that to others with a stronger background.


I invite debate, but even more importantly, I want to offer this as a ‘Student Resource regarding Rhetorical Deception’ for those with whom these concerns resonate.


I’ve no idea how many hours I put into it, all told, it’s in the hundreds.  At 65, with an eventful, makes me smile, life under my belt, I managed the spare time to devote to this project.   My historic perspective makes me believe and hope that it might be helpful to some sharp activists and students of political deception.  Students interested in better understanding the rhetorical arts and their tricks of the trade.


These chapters can also serve as the template for any number of class projects.  You are encouraged to share, so long as you respect including citations and original sources.  As for my words, use 'em as a springboard, it's all ideas for the sharing and mutual learning, make 'em yours.  healthy democracy demands an enlightened and engaged citizenry.


I want young people to think about intellectual confrontation, challenging, and striving to change minds while waking up, informing, and engaging your own chorus, in the process.  


Who would those students be?  

Aware, engaged, worried about today’s trends.

Students who want to learn more about the ways of rhetorical deception for fun, and profit, and power.

Students who love Earth and who understand, plus respect the scientific method of studying and learning about our Earth, and our own bodies, and lives.   

Students who are fed up with delusional thinking, driven by fraud-based belligerent willful ignorance.    

Students who want to be part of confronting the normalization of lies and deception, and who rather encourage a return of respect and appreciation of the need for honesty and truth in learning and public dialogue.

Students who want to push back and demand that honestly facing the facts, is the best way to go forward on this rapidly changing increasingly hostile shrinking planet.

Unless we are changing minds, we are losing.


Candle-©Peter Miesler


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Cc’s Student Resource.


Donald Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero-Gravity, a critical review of, The Case Against Reality:  Why Evolution Hid The Truth From Our Eyes, by Donald Hoffman, ©2019, W.W.Norton Company


The Prelude, Prof Donald Hoffman Playing Basketball In Zero-Gravity

Chapter 10a, Community: The Network of Conscious Agents (1/3)

Chapter 10b, Community: The Network of Conscious Agents (2/3)

Chapter 10c, Community: Network of Hoffmanian Conscious Agents (3/3)

Chapter 1, Mystery: The Scalpel That Split Consciousness

Chapter 2, Beauty: Siren of the Gene

Chapter 3, Reality: Capers of the Unseen Sun

Chapter 4, Sensory: Fitness beats Truth

Chapter 5, Illusory: The Bluff of the Desktop

Chapter 6, Gravity: Spacetime is Doomed

Chapter 7, Virtuality: Inflating a Holoworld

Chapter 8, Polychromy: Mutations of an Interface

Chapter 9, Scrutiny: You Get What You Need, in Both Life and Business

Appendix,  Precisely: The Right to Be (Foolish)


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Hoffman/Prakash’s Objects of ConsciousnessObjections and Replies

Frontiers in Psychology - June 17, 2014


4/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness,  (conclusion)

1/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness, questions + replies (1-12)

2/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness, questions + replies (13-17)

3/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness, questions + replies (18-21)


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Diary - But, wait!  There's more.  Ten Learned Responses:


Probing the interface theory of perception: Reply to commentariesDonald D. Hoffman, Manish Singh & Chetan Prakash" 

Psychonomic Bulletin & Reviewvolume 22, pages1551–1576(2015)


Abstract

We propose that selection favors nonveridical perceptions that are tuned to fitness. Current textbooks assert, to the contrary, that perception is useful because, in the normal case, it is veridical. Intuition, both lay and expert, clearly sides with the textbooks. We thus expected that some commentators would reject our proposal and provide counterarguments that could stimulate a productive debate. ...


Barton Anderson - Where does fitness fit in theories of perception? 

doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0748-5

Jonathan Cohen - Perceptual representation, veridicality, and the interface theory of perception. 

doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0782-3

Shimon Edelman - Varieties of perceptual truth and their possible evolutionary roots. 

doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0741-z

Jacob Feldman - Bayesian inference and “truth”: a comment on Hoffman, Singh, and Prakash. 

doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0795-y

Chris Fields -Reverse engineering the world: a commentary on Hoffman, Singh, and Prakash, 

“The interface theory of perception”. 

doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0742-y

Jan Koenderink - Esse est Percipi & Verum est Factum. 

doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0754-7

Rainer Mausfeld - Notions such as “truth” or “correspondence to the objective world” play no role in explanatory accounts of perception. 

doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0763-6

Brian P. McLaughlin and E. J. Green Are icons sense data

doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0780-5

Zygmunt Pizlo - Philosophizing cannot substitute for experimentation: comment on Hoffman, Singh & Prakash. 

doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0760-9

Matthew Schlesinger Interface theory of perception leaves me hungry for more. 

doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0776-

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Student Resources - Background info:


Rainer Mausfeld: ‘Truth’ has no role in explanatory accounts of perception.

Paul Mealing: considers Hoffman's "Objects of Consciousness.”

The Case For Reality: Because Apparently Someone Needs to Make One

Sabine Hossenfelder: in Defense of Scientific Realism and Physical Reality

"Emergence" - A Handy Summary and Resources

Physical Origins of Mind: Dr. SiegelAllen Institute Brain Science, Tononi, Koch.

Can you trust Frontiers in Psychology research papers?  Student Resource

Critical Thinking Skills - In Defense of Reality - A Student Resource

Philo+Sophia - Love of Wisdom - A Student Resource

 

 Summary, explaining why I pursued this project. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dr. Mark Solms deftly demystifies Chalmers’ “Hard Problem” of Consciousness

Dr. Mark Solms demystifies Chalmers' "Hard Problem" of Consciousness.


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More to come . . . 

 

An Alternative Philosophical Perspective - “Earth Centrism

     Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide

          Being, you are an element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution

               It’s not a “body-mind problem” it’s an “ego~god problem.”


Feel free to copy and share

confrontingsciencecontrarians.blogspot.com

Email: citizenschallenge  gmail  com

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The bottom line, courtesy of:

Mysteries of Modern Physics by Sean Carroll

Jan 29, 2020  -  Darwin College Lecture Series


Sean Carroll,  10:45

. . .  these are the particles that make up you and this table and me and this laptop and really everything that you have ever seen with your eyes touched with your fingers smelled with your nose in your life. 


Furthermore we know how they interact with each other and even better than that, the most impressive fact is that there will not be a discovery tomorrow or next century or a million years from now which says you know what there was another particle or another force that we didn't know about but now we realize plays a crucial role in our everyday life. 


As far as our everyday life is concerned by which I really mean what you can see with your eyes touch with your hands etc we’re done finding the underlying ingredients. That is an enormous achievement in human history one that does not get enough credit, because of course as soon as we do it we go on to the next thing.  


Physics is not done.  I'm not saying that physics is done, but physics has understood certain things and those things include everything you encounter in your everyday life - unless you're a professional experimental physicist or unless you're looking of course outside our everyday life at the universe and other places where we don't know what’s going on. … 


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Students Introduction to Reality Based Brain/Consciousness Research


The Mind as a Complex Mathematical System with Emergent Properties, Daniel Siegel

A Scientific Explanation of the Human Mind | Daniel Siegel

Dan Siegel: The Neurological Basis of Behavior, Mind, Brain and Human Relationships, Part 1 to 3 

Allen Institute for Brain Science

Giulio Tononi on Consciousness

Consciousness: here, there and everywhere?  Giulio Tononi and Christof Koch

Video, Giulio Tononi on Consciousness

The Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness, Dr. Christof Koch,

Allen Institute for Brain Science

Allen Brain Observatory: Visualizing the brain in action

Allen Cell Types Database: Understanding the fundamental building blocks of the brain

Allen Institute for Brain Science,  Coding & Vision 101, 12-part undergraduate-level lecture series

Brain Expansion Microscopy, Harvard Medical School,

Lattice light-sheet microscopy

Gut bacteria and mind control: to fix your brain, fix your gut!

New center advances biomedical and brain imagingUniversity of Delaware,

Stunning Brain Map Reveals Tiny Communication Network

Brain Research: New Discoveries and Breakthroughs at UC Davis


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Some Elements of an Evolutionary Theory of Perception


Perceptual Systems, Historical Background, Innate And Learned Classical perceptual phenomena, Broad theoretical approaches, Current research/future developments.

Sources, science.jrank.org

Ecological approaches to perceptual learning: learning to perceive and perceiving as learning

Agnes SzokolszkyCatherine ReadZsolt Palatinus, et al., 2019

The Essential Elements of an Evolutionary Theory of Perception

Eric P. Charles, 2017,

The evolution of early symbolic behavior in Homo sapiens

Kristian Tylén, Riccardo Fusaroli, Sergio Rojo, et al. PNAS 2020

The Evolution and Fossil History of Sensory Perception in Amniote Vertebrates

doi.org/10.1146/annurev-earth-082517-010120, March 21, 2018 

Evolutionary Specialization of Tactile Perception in Vertebrates

Eve R. SchneiderElena O. Gracheva, and Slav N. Bagriantsev, 2016

Evolutionary Psychology and the Emotions

Leda Cosmides & John Tooby, Handbook of Emotions, 2000

The evolution of modern human brain shape

Simon Neubauer, Jean-Jacques Hublin and Philipp Gunz, 2018:

Intrinsic Multiperspectivity: Conceptual Forms and the Functional Architecture of the Perceptual System

Rainer Mausfeld, PhD.

Perceptual Worlds and Sensory Ecology

By: Stephen Burnett, PhD, Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):75

Ch.17. A Hierarchical Model of the Evolution of Human Brain Specializations

H. Clark Barrett

Surroundings and Evolution Shape Human Sight, Smell and Taste

by: Andrea Korte, February 19, 2017


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