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    1. #1
      Xei
      UnitedKingdom Xei is offline
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      By which mental faculties do we obtain counterintuitive knowledge about the universe?

      I will start off brief. If this is incomprehensible to lots of people I will edit this to explicate what I mean by it.

      It is commonly thought that we access knowledge about the universe by means of mental faculties, which were until recently held to be indubitable. These include things like an understanding of identity and permanence of objects, conservation and causality, and these are wrapped up with an understanding of space and time. Every thought rests upon this foundation, and every other concept is abstracted in terms of it; number from things like object and space, logic from things like causality, the sciences through various instances involving these faculties.

      But it has transpired that these faculties are not a priori; even worse in fact, all of them are wrong. Atomic structure debunks object identity (via Ship of Theseus type arguments), special and general relativity show our conception of space and time to be totally wrong, and quantum physics disprove our conception of causality and conservation (with, for example, the spontaneous arising of particles).

      This is my question: it seems as if we have proven false all of the bases of our mental faculties through which we observe and reason about the world. But then... how do we get that knowledge in the first place?

    2. #2
      Lucid Shaman mcwillis's Avatar
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      You may find this old book published in 1922 interesting, re-published online

      'The Consciousness of the Atom' by Alice Bailey

      Also I read somewhere that Einstein made several of his hypotheses whilst daydreaming when sailing during the summer months.

      Please click on the links below, more techniques under investigation to come soon...


    3. #3
      Flailing chicken barnacle Achievements:
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      Observation and interpretation are the two main mental faculties all science is based on. Sure, scientists try to be objective and truthful, but oftentimes, their subjective minds and limited methods of observation get in the way. The history of what scientists thought the atom looks like is a fantastic example of this. (As probably mentioned above.)
      Alex is greatest. He <i>is</i> the Master Flan.

    4. #4
      D.V. Editor-in-Chief Original Poster's Avatar
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      For me, the first step is accepting I might be wrong. This has evolved into just letting go of holding "knowledge" in the first place. Instead of trying to learn what is true, I try to learn what gives me advantage and functionality.

      But the way I think is based very heavily on relationships. I guess I also use my feelings, which I would root in my upbringing. I was surrounded by teachers and teachings that explained things like "the heart knows" and from there, the difficult challenge is to figure out when your heart is telling you something is true, and when you just have an emotional reaction. But I am very in tune with my feelings, and I don't believe anything unless it agrees with my feelings. This gives me access to my greater unconscious mind as the emotional reaction typically represents the gestalt of neural patterns in the mind, ie the unconscious. Logic has equal status, but if someone arguing with me can make logical sense but their argument feels wrong, I have a tendency to argue back very stubbornly whether or not I make any sense. For the most part I attempt to use logic to figure out my emotional response rather than impose knowledge upon it. And my logic is based very heavily on relationships. I would say if you could define people's reasoning skills, you have logicians who interpret reality from a basic cause and effect perspective, and then you have symbolists, who interpret reality from a more holonic perspective, hunting for similarities and patterns. I'm of the latter group.
      Last edited by Omnis Dei; 04-19-2012 at 05:43 AM.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    5. #5
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      I am not a scientist, and I can't prove that quantum physicists are wrong about everything, but I am certain of one thing... They are wrong about causality. I know that eventually the flaw in their reasoning will be found. There are no uncaused events. It's an absurd concept. That makes me majorly question the rest of their theories.

      Also, I don't think quantum physics suggests that "all" of our historic conceptions are wrong. There are just interesting "corrections" to aspects of our past beliefs, but they would not be enough to make us just outrageously wrong about everything. Perception is still generally in line with reality, even according to quantum physics. If you see food on your plate, you can probably pick it up and eat it.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


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      You say quantum physicists as if they all have the same philosophy...

    7. #7
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Wayfaerer View Post
      You say quantum physicists as if they all have the same philosophy...
      They generally have the same position on causality, and what I said about their positions on other issues did not imply that they have even the same general positions. Did Xei suggest that they all have the same "philosophy" when he used the term "quantum physics?"
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


    8. #8
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      The majority of physicists hold the othodox ontology, yes. Quantum mechanics rests successfully only on this view, but I'd say quantum physics refers more to the reality that's open to question.

    9. #9
      Czar Salad IndieAnthias's Avatar
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      Here are a couple of findings from the field of cultural evolution.... I'm not going to attempt to apply to the question at hand, only mention them.

      Learning strategy - humans are very social learners. All animals are either asocial learners (don't learn by immitation of others, only by own observations of the environment), or some mix of asocial and social learners. Social learning requires more advanced cognative faculties, but amongst the species that are capable of it, there are costs and benefits associated with asocial and social learning. The benefit of asocial learning is that information is more accurate and up-to-date. Cost is that it is more dangerous to obtain. Benefits of social learning is that it is safer to obtain, but the cost is that it may not be accurate. The rate of environmental change is one of the factors that affects which is favored by natural selection. Humans have evolved to be very social learners.

      Cognitive attractors - it has been found that bits of information that are within a sweet spot of being minimally counterintuitive are most readily stored into memory. That is, information that is very counterintuitive is rejected as false, and information that is not counterintuitive at all is not worth storing to memory. This could be to facilitate the advantages of social learning.

    10. #10
      D.V. Editor-in-Chief Original Poster's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      I am not a scientist, and I can't prove that quantum physicists are wrong about everything, but I am certain of one thing... They are wrong about causality. I know that eventually the flaw in their reasoning will be found. There are no uncaused events. It's an absurd concept. That makes me majorly question the rest of their theories.

      Also, I don't think quantum physics suggests that "all" of our historic conceptions are wrong. There are just interesting "corrections" to aspects of our past beliefs, but they would not be enough to make us just outrageously wrong about everything. Perception is still generally in line with reality, even according to quantum physics. If you see food on your plate, you can probably pick it up and eat it.
      How stubbornly Newtonian of you.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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