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Magic/the occult

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Posts

  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    It's not really the information-processing aspect that makes CptHamilton's analogy.

    It's the indirectly physical nature of the object in question.

    "The Mind" and "The OS" are both examples of constructs that we discuss as though they're non-physical things even though in reality they're physical, just in a somewhat weird manner.

  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited June 2011
    Feral wrote: »
    hanskey wrote: »
    if a belief is malleable, or subject to change, then it is not dogmatic by the definition of dogma, but you might then argue that it was never a belief by the definition of belief, either.

    Right. When I use the phrase "web of belief," that's not a phrase I coined myself - I borrowed it from a pretty famous 20th century philosopher - and when the term "belief" is used in philosophy of science (and arguably in philosophy in general), it simply means "an idea considered to be true" without intrinsically implying a level of dogmatism.
    I don't care who made it up, that's just an appeal to authority fallacy, so back that train up first of all.

    As long as you yourself are not dogmatically attached to a belief, then we really don't have much to argue about. Your responses have been clearly the least dogmatic of the "science therefore no magic" crowd, so whatever. I'm glad you yourself are not dogmatic in your beliefs, but I've met many scientists who are, and many have been famously dogmatic, and many in this thread are thoughtlessly dogmatic about science and magic. Dogma is more than simply sticking with a belief no matter what, because it also gives decision making authority to someone else. When you believe in science you give up skepticism, and give over authority over your own beliefs to another authority, in this case the discipline of science. That's why skepticism and dogma are eternal enemies: when you don't have on you have the other.

    Your statement "that it is not likely that magic exists based on the available evidence" I can actually agree with, but getting more definite than that is just blind belief and I won't do it.

  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    It's emergent reductionist materialism, actually.
    I know what the fuck it is called I just don't fucking care, because it is not equivalent to the computational model of the mind, which is what the fuck was under discussion at the time of your interjection. That's also not a belief we share, because I think it sounds dumb as shit and has next to 0 empirical evidence to support it over any other model, despite your unsupported assertions to the otherwise.
    Edit: I also never claimed to be a computationalist. You told me it was wrong after I made an analogy to the only other available information-processing machines around.
    Sure, since information processing is all we do, that really makes sense.

    I'm not sure why you got all angered up.

    Also, emergent reductionism/property dualism is what you just described... The mind is a phenomenon emergent from the operation of the brain which is not directly reducible to components of that interaction.

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited June 2011
    It's not really the information-processing aspect that makes CptHamilton's analogy.

    It's the indirectly physical nature of the object in question.

    "The Mind" and "The OS" are both examples of constructs that we discuss as though they're non-physical things even though in reality they're physical, just in a somewhat weird manner.
    Nope. There is absolutely nothing the OS does that cannot be explained through a reductionist approach, and specified exactly,if you wanted to.

  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited June 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    It's emergent reductionist materialism, actually.
    I know what the fuck it is called I just don't fucking care, because it is not equivalent to the computational model of the mind, which is what the fuck was under discussion at the time of your interjection. That's also not a belief we share, because I think it sounds dumb as shit and has next to 0 empirical evidence to support it over any other model, despite your unsupported assertions to the otherwise.
    Edit: I also never claimed to be a computationalist. You told me it was wrong after I made an analogy to the only other available information-processing machines around.
    Sure, since information processing is all we do, that really makes sense.

    I'm not sure why you got all angered up.

    Also, emergent reductionism/property dualism is what you just described... The mind is a phenomenon emergent from the operation of the brain which is not directly reducible to components of that interaction.
    I was annoyed that I thought we were talking about the computational model of the mind, which you and the other guy seemed to be defending, but then it turned out you were defending emergent reductionist materialism. Both have some good features but fail to be complete.

  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    It's not really the information-processing aspect that makes CptHamilton's analogy.

    It's the indirectly physical nature of the object in question.

    "The Mind" and "The OS" are both examples of constructs that we discuss as though they're non-physical things even though in reality they're physical, just in a somewhat weird manner.
    Nope. There is absolutely nothing the OS does that cannot be explained through a reductionist approach, and specified exactly,if you wanted to.

    Yes. That was my point. Though I'm withholding judgement on the exactly part as regards the brain pending advances in neurology.

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    I don't care who made it up, that's just an appeal to authority fallacy, so back that train up first of all.

    I think you misunderstand my motivation. I mentioned Quine partly because I don't want to take credit for a good idea that wasn't mine; partly because if you're really interested in this topic, then there's a lot that has been written about it in the 20th century, and Quine essay "Web of Belief" is as a decent place to start as any.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited June 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    It's not really the information-processing aspect that makes CptHamilton's analogy.

    It's the indirectly physical nature of the object in question.

    "The Mind" and "The OS" are both examples of constructs that we discuss as though they're non-physical things even though in reality they're physical, just in a somewhat weird manner.
    Nope. There is absolutely nothing the OS does that cannot be explained through a reductionist approach, and specified exactly,if you wanted to.

    Yes. That was my point. Though I'm withholding judgement on the exactly part as regards the brain pending advances in neurology.

    Cool, I can get on board with that.

    I still have my doubts about the power of reductionism to explain the mind, but I too will keep my eyes and mind open to future developments.

  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited June 2011
    So - anyone else have any stories about chi experiences or any other weird shit? Be aware, you will be told that it's not magic, but you should still share. ;-)

  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited June 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    So - anyone else have any stories about chi experiences or any other weird shit? Be aware, you will be told that it's not magic, but you should still share. ;-)

    I once mixed chi with cocoa powder and a bit of hot sauce and cinnamon and sweetened it with honey. Yum.

    Also, I got stigmata the other day, which is really weird because I'm a reform Jew.

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    belief is dogmatic by it's very nature

    No it isn't. For it to be dogmatic One can't allow it to be disputed. You can dispute anything in science you want. Nothing is off limits. You just have to be able to back up your claims when you do so.

    PSN: allenquid
  • TheOrangeTheOrange Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    While I'm part of the "The Mind isn't that special and we'd probably get there soon" crowd. We do some things better then a computer, one thing I can think of that is mathematical in nature, is deriving factors:

    If K = A*B where A and B are prime, the most common computer way to do it is to divide by all primes up to K's square root. If none are found, K is prime.

    Humans oddly enough require less steps (still slower though, due to relative computational weakness of the brain), our brain is better at recognizing factors, so we usually search at random, and its easier for us to know if we should search lower or higher of our first choice.

  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited June 2011
    Quid wrote: »
    hanskey wrote: »
    belief is dogmatic by it's very nature

    No it isn't. For it to be dogmatic One can't allow it to be disputed. You can dispute anything in science you want. Nothing is off limits. You just have to be able to back up your claims when you do so.
    Oh, good. Quid is back to revisit shit I already corrected. Read on from that post and you'll see that after that I climbed off that wall and said something more reasonable, but then you'd have to go through the effort to read the whole thread, so I doubt you will. Way to cherry pick something irrelevant to attack me with, dude! Hope your "science is my religion" scene points let you count that post, since it added exactly nothing to the discussion.

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    I never attacked you. You should probably consider not getting so upset every time people point out when you write things that are incorrect. I was working my way through the thread on my phone and replied. And sorry, but I didn't see where you acknowledged that isn't true.

    PSN: allenquid
  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited June 2011
    I have really gotten super sick of people misreading me and putting words into my mouth, so I apologize for being snappy. That said, you should probably consider reading a whole thread before you post in it.

    BTW, I'm particularly irritated with you, personally, from the dogpile last week, though I'm trying to just get over it. Similar to what I told Feral "I'm starting to stink of troll" and I intend to change that.

    Edit: I mean that I've been too troll-like for my own liking, sorry.

  • Grey PaladinGrey Paladin Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    All logic is fundementally based on deduction and induction.
    If an observable difference can consistently be made through a certain chain of events, then the scientific method can study and explain this phenomena, whether it is the conjuration of ightning bolts or electrical engineering.
    If the difference is immeasurable (or, in other words, unable to effect the world as we experience it - even something that only affects the user could be studied through replication) then it might as well not exist.

    Trying to apply logic to disprove logic is incoherent. Reason can prove anything that acts in a consistent fashion, and anything that does not (not even in a random fashion that can be studied through statistics) is impossible to affect on purpose, leaving rituals and mysticism in the same place as reason.

    How can you debate using reason as your basis without accepting the above?

    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
  • ShanadeusShanadeus Registered User
    edited June 2011
    I remember reading Dragonball and trying to do what Viedel was being taught to do by Gohan in hopes of finding out that I had awesome Ki-powers.

    Sadly, nothing substantial ever came out of my attempts.

  • zerg rushzerg rush Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    TheOrange wrote: »
    While I'm part of the "The Mind isn't that special and we'd probably get there soon" crowd. We do some things better then a computer, one thing I can think of that is mathematical in nature, is deriving factors:

    If K = A*B where A and B are prime, the most common computer way to do it is to divide by all primes up to K's square root. If none are found, K is prime.

    Humans oddly enough require less steps (still slower though, due to relative computational weakness of the brain), our brain is better at recognizing factors, so we usually search at random, and its easier for us to know if we should search lower or higher of our first choice.

    What? No. Computers typically use sieves and other methods.

    The mathematical algorithms in properly coded computers are exactly as efficient as the best mathematicians. And compared to lay people, they're orders of magnitude more efficient. Computers use literally the same exact algorithms in the same exact steps.


    Granted, you can program a computer to do it very poorly, but that's not the computer's fault and why would anyone do that?


    Edit: I suppose a better way to put it is that our brains are using algorithms. Either lookup tables or heuristics to give us solutions. Well programmed solutions use those same exact systems. It's not like we're running on magic.

  • voodoosporkvoodoospork Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    OK, so I actually do have a funny story.

    When I was in elementary school, I came to the conclusion in the OP (I got better), and found some natural magic book at the library. There was a straight up wish spell in it that involved writing on a leaf and tying it to a tree. My first attempt was to wish for a 200 dollar bill. I got a check in this amount a few weeks later. Psyched up by my success, my second wish was for omnipotence. I planned it all day at school and step 2 was going to be closing this dangerous wish door behind me. I guess the jury is still out on wish #2, but I think the moral of the story is to always go for omnipotence first.

    Sorry about the shitty formatting, cell phone.

  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    :^: Apothe0sis likes this story.

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  • TheOrangeTheOrange Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Actually I think the moral here is that you should aim small with wishes, easier for what ever power out there to give you what you want.

  • Wandering HeroWandering Hero Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    God has a budget of 200 dollars per person for wish spells?

    Not today.
  • TheOrangeTheOrange Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    We can't conclusivly set the limit with the data at hand :P

  • Rhan9Rhan9 Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Well, regarding the chi and shit like that, I did once try out Tai Chi, and the instructor walked us through the movements and what you were supposed to be visualizing during the "warm up" before the actual Tai Chi. I've forgotten the name he used for that.

    Anyways, there was some stuff about imagining forming a ball with your hands and moving it around, and heat coming to your body through the breath, "chi" if you will, and using that to grow the ball and then compact it, making it "hotter" and so forth. This went on for some time, and at some point I noticed that I started feeling a certain sensation in my hands somewhat related to sensing warmth, and I was more or less able to sense the supposed ball of chi I was forming and shaping.

    It was pretty damn interesting, as far as meditative exercises go, as when you concentrate on certain sensations and accompany them with movements, you can fool your body into sensing them for real, kind of like recalling scents and tastes if you try hard enough.

    It was definitely cool, but no hadouken. :P
    Self-suggestion is pretty interesting, and I'd probably try it or something similar again at some point. It never entered my mind that someone would think it's actual chi though. I always figured it to be more of a term for the state of concentration and purpose than any semblance of a real force or something. Then some dude sent me a youtube clip of those guys with the "martial art" of fighting people off with "chi" or something. That was certainly...unique.

    And as far as the science as dogma and all that shit goes, my personal opinion is of extreme skepticism with most things, and I only accept what I perceive to be credible. This pretty much requires results, and since scientific pursuits are the only ones that have demonstrated achieving them, I'll place my bets on the scientific explanations over the friendly neighbourhood witch. Still, if someone does demonstrate some sort of magic that can be confirmed to work, I'll be the first person to try and learn it. I doubt that'll happen though.

    steam_sig.png
  • Grey PaladinGrey Paladin Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    zerg rush wrote: »
    Edit: I suppose a better way to put it is that our brains are using algorithms. Either lookup tables or heuristics to give us solutions. Well programmed solutions use those same exact systems. It's not like we're running on magic.

    I think this is relevant

    'Computer science' is truly the study of process, and has little to do with computers at its heart.

    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
  • elkataselkatas Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Rhan9 wrote: »
    Anyways, there was some stuff about imagining forming a ball with your hands and moving it around, and heat coming to your body through the breath, "chi" if you will, and using that to grow the ball and then compact it, making it "hotter" and so forth. This went on for some time, and at some point I noticed that I started feeling a certain sensation in my hands somewhat related to sensing warmth, and I was more or less able to sense the supposed ball of chi I was forming and shaping.

    It was pretty damn interesting, as far as meditative exercises go, as when you concentrate on certain sensations and accompany them with movements, you can fool your body into sensing them for real, kind of like recalling scents and tastes if you try hard enough.

    That technique is all about concentration and hallunications. See, when you concentrate on something long enough, you, sooner or later, bypass your critical factor, creating light trance. Trance, unlike presented in a popular media, is state of higher focus. You tend to be more aware about what you see, hear, feel, and taste better than normally. For example, most people report that their skin starts to tingle. It is not that your skin is getting more sensitive, but you are more aware about those subtle movements on its surface.

    And because you are in light trance, and there is no critical factor, you can "create" hallunications like energy balls pretty easily. The thing is that when people think about hallunications, they typically think these 3D super-realistic hippos dancing in pink tutu. Well, the truth is that 99 percent of hallunications are... very hazy. Nonetheless, they feel real. But interestingly enough, you can't hallunicate smell at all. Why? Smell has direct connection to your brain, because you need always have ability to smell rotten food. All other senses are filtered, and their perception can be changed pretty freely, and you can kind of hallunicate smell by hallunicating taste.

    If I remember correctly, someone in this thread said that he could feel movement in his left hand when someone stroked his right hand. Well, that is also pretty classic hypnotic trick, and it has some fun applications. For example, I have done this quite lot with my girlfriend. I have conditioned her so, that every time I touch her, it feels wherever it creates most pleasure. Controversial? Perhaps. But I don't see her complaining about it, especially when she can turn the effect off any time she wants. :)

    Hypnotically inclined.
  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    It's not really the information-processing aspect that makes CptHamilton's analogy.

    It's the indirectly physical nature of the object in question.

    "The Mind" and "The OS" are both examples of constructs that we discuss as though they're non-physical things even though in reality they're physical, just in a somewhat weird manner.
    Nope. There is absolutely nothing the OS does that cannot be explained through a reductionist approach, and specified exactly,if you wanted to.

    Yes. That was my point. Though I'm withholding judgement on the exactly part as regards the brain pending advances in neurology.

    And I mean, the great part is: science isn't wedded to this explanation!

    For all we know, there's some part of the way mind functions that makes it impossible to describe using only the physical properties of the human body.

    Hell, I've heard really interesting arguments to the effect that "you" are more or less a collection of interactions with the world and offloaded information that has grown enormously since the invention of the written word.

    But I think the key idea that the mind is at some point rooted in the physical world makes sense due to the physical world being all that exists, as far as we can tell.

    There are a lot of interesting pathways open for uncovering more about the way sentience works. None of them involve deciding it's so mysterious that we should just marvel about it for a minute and then not bother doing anything substantive.

    That's my issue with the magical thinking approach: a lack of confidence so dire that you can't use it to explain anything interesting for fear of being proven wrong.

  • voodoosporkvoodoospork Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    OK, so I actually do have a funny story.

    When I was in elementary school, I came to the conclusion in the OP (I got better), and found some natural magic book at the library. There was a straight up wish spell in it that involved writing on a leaf and tying it to a tree. My first attempt was to wish for a 200 dollar bill. I got a check in this amount a few weeks later. Psyched up by my success, my second wish was for omnipotence. I planned it all day at school and step 2 was going to be closing this dangerous wish door behind me. I guess the jury is still out on wish #2, but I think the moral of the story is to always go for omnipotence first.

    Sorry about the shitty formatting, cell phone.

    Alright, alright, I have a new working theory. Maybe the delay in the granting of the wish is proportionate to the mojo factor of the wish. I figure unlimited cosmic power has a pretty high mojo factor, so it's really just a matter of time! We're already over two decades in, so I feel like this is some excellent progress. It's possible that I will die or that heat death will occur before it kicks in, but this should not be a problem for me when I am sporting a huge white beard and a kickin' toga or, having been dead for eons, perhaps tentacles...

    Okay, okay, new working theory. I am Cthulu. Do not fret, D&D will be (largely) spared.

  • Alistair HuttonAlistair Hutton Dr EdinburghRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    OK, so I actually do have a funny story.

    When I was in elementary school, I came to the conclusion in the OP (I got better), and found some natural magic book at the library. There was a straight up wish spell in it that involved writing on a leaf and tying it to a tree. My first attempt was to wish for a 200 dollar bill. I got a check in this amount a few weeks later. Psyched up by my success, my second wish was for omnipotence. I planned it all day at school and step 2 was going to be closing this dangerous wish door behind me. I guess the jury is still out on wish #2, but I think the moral of the story is to always go for omnipotence first.

    Sorry about the shitty formatting, cell phone.

    Alright, alright, I have a new working theory. Maybe the delay in the granting of the wish is proportionate to the mojo factor of the wish. I figure unlimited cosmic power has a pretty high mojo factor, so it's really just a matter of time! We're already over two decades in, so I feel like this is some excellent progress. It's possible that I will die or that heat death will occur before it kicks in, but this should not be a problem for me when I am sporting a huge white beard and a kickin' toga or, having been dead for eons, perhaps tentacles...

    Okay, okay, new working theory. I am Cthulu. Do not fret, D&D will be (largely) spared.

    Are you sure you wished for omnipotence. I'm just saying, it would be an easy spelling mistake to make.

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  • Void SlayerVoid Slayer Very Suspicious Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    zerg rush wrote: »
    TheOrange wrote: »
    While I'm part of the "The Mind isn't that special and we'd probably get there soon" crowd. We do some things better then a computer, one thing I can think of that is mathematical in nature, is deriving factors:

    If K = A*B where A and B are prime, the most common computer way to do it is to divide by all primes up to K's square root. If none are found, K is prime.

    Humans oddly enough require less steps (still slower though, due to relative computational weakness of the brain), our brain is better at recognizing factors, so we usually search at random, and its easier for us to know if we should search lower or higher of our first choice.

    What? No. Computers typically use sieves and other methods.

    The mathematical algorithms in properly coded computers are exactly as efficient as the best mathematicians. And compared to lay people, they're orders of magnitude more efficient. Computers use literally the same exact algorithms in the same exact steps.


    Granted, you can program a computer to do it very poorly, but that's not the computer's fault and why would anyone do that?


    Edit: I suppose a better way to put it is that our brains are using algorithms. Either lookup tables or heuristics to give us solutions. Well programmed solutions use those same exact systems. It's not like we're running on magic.

    Considering evolution created our heuristic systems (and that chemical decision engines are a lot more complex on the circuit level then logic decision engines) I suspect the systems humans use are much worse then those created by competent engineers. Evolution often ends up with a poorly designed, silly, round about, use to much resources, fails often, simple way that kinda works over the best solution.

    He's a superhumanly strong soccer-playing romance novelist possessed of the uncanny powers of an insect. She's a beautiful African-American doctor with her own daytime radio talk show. They fight crime!
  • SkySky Registered User
    In response to the original poster about "something" out there:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egregore

    And that actually is something I have been curious about and if anyone could help me further understand it.

    It is kind of blowing my mind.

    I had been thinking of the idea for a few months, and just wrote out an essay describing the concept that "people together seem to generate an union of some sort," and my friend pointed out Egregore to me. (And of course, it is something that has been around for a hundred or fifty years.)

    Sky
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  • Ethereal IllusionEthereal Illusion Registered User regular
    There doesn't seem to be anything mystical about that. It just seems to be when people lack critical thinking and just accept what someone in an equal/higher position of authority says. They agree, and the original presenter of the idea feels validated.

    Maybe it has something to do with mirror neurons?

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