Saturday, February 1, 2014

Veras Boclé Bernier

Veras Boclé Bernier

Live au Kerganer à Lanloup (Bretagne)
Nelson Veras
Gildas Boclé

Simon Bernier

I believe Veras got rid of the scary thumb nail thing.  If I'd had one of those Godin guitars, I might have taken up playing jazz.  I love it. 

Gildas Boclé & Nelson Veras - 007

The Materialists Can't Come Up With an Adequate Case Against Our Experience of Consciousness

Once  the great scholar of Zen Buddhism, Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, attended a gathering of western philosophers in Hawaii.  The topic was "reality".   While the other philosophers went on and on about reality this and reality that, Suzuki just sat there.  One of the accounts I recall also said he seemed annoyed but he said nothing.  Finally the chairman said,  "You've been silent for the whole meeting. Would you like to say something about reality?"  But D. T. Suzuki didn't say anything.   The chairman said, "Well, is this table real?"  Suzuki said, "Yes".   Perhaps surprised by such a definite answer he asked Suzuki, "Well, in what sense is it real?"   Suzuki said,  "In every sense."


I read a transcript of and listened to a rather astonishing and quite revealing attempt at an interview with the semi-pro level, University of California San Diego,  "neuro-philosopher"  Patricia Churchland, and am left both appalled at her conduct and wondering what it could reveal about her academic product.   It's fairly obvious that Churchland couldn't really discuss her ideas with someone who didn't already accept them, something that isn't unusual among materialists.  They just expect or insist that everything be weighted in their favor and ride on that.  No, they definitely insist on that,  pretending that any other point of view is disallowed even before the discussion begins.

Things weren't going well, she'd apparently already hung up once,  and then when he called her back the interviewer, Alex Tsakiris, pointed out that she had misrepresented the opinion of the researcher into near death experience, Dr. Pin Von Lommel

Alex Tsakiris:  Well, I guess one of the things I did want to ask you is in your book you ask the question, “Is there a neurobiological explanation for near-death experience?” Then you cite NDE researcher and a former guest on this show as answering that question with yes. You say that Dr. Pim Von Lommel believes the answer is yes. Is that your understanding of his research?

Dr. Patricia Churchland:   Well, I think there’s certainly quite a bit of evidence that at least some near-death experiences have a neurobiological basis. Of course, we can’t be sure about all of them. Maybe you had one that doesn’t have a neurobiological basis. I wouldn’t really know, would I?

Alex Tsakiris:  Well specifically, Dr. Churchland, you cite in your book that Dr. Pim Von Lommel holds that opinion. That’s clearly not the case. I mean, he’s written…

Dr. Patricia Churchland:   Has he? Uh-huh (Yes).

Alex Tsakiris:  Right. Do you want me to read to you what he’s written? He’s written that “The study of patients with near-death experience (and this is from The Lancet paper that you’re citing) clearly shows us that…”

[Churchland hangs up] 

I'm not terribly well versed in the literature surrounding near death experience, though I've read some of what is being said.  Von Lommel's name is one that I was familiar with and there is no possible way for someone who has read him to mistake his opinions for those Churchland attributed to him*.   On another website Michael Prescott had this to say:

As I recall, Michael Shermer misrepresented Von Lommel's study in an article for Scientific American. He said the study supported a biological basis for NDEs, when Von Lommel's actual conclusion was the opposite. I doubt this was intentional on Shermer's part; most likely he just hadn't read the paper very carefully.

My guess is that Churchland picked up the idea there, and never looked at the primary source (Von Lommel's paper).

Which would be a very serious lapse in academic practice, the kind of thing that if a non-materilist were found doing it could dog them for the rest of their life.  Only materialists are, in fact, allowed the benefit of a double standard.  They grant themselves one and they are, largely, in control of much of academia and the higher end of the popular media, having bullied out other frames of reference.
You do have to hear the interview as well as read the transcript to see just how incredibly disreputably Churchland acted.   An opera singer or movie actor who did what she did would be discredited by it.

One thing I find hard to believe in what was said is that Michael Shermer could have read the Lancet article at all and made that mistake by mistake.  You would have to be functionally illiterate and make that mistake.

The interview is quite astonishing in what it shows about the sloppiness of Churchland's thinking.  Here is the first problem I noticed with it, from the comments at Alex Tsakiris's blog

I see a really big problem with what Churchland is saying. She says, 

"Ahh, okay. What always puzzled Descartes is if there is an independent non-physical soul, how does it interact with the physical brain? The problem with dualism is that nobody has ever been able to address that in a meaningful, testable way."

1. If consciousness isn't physical, there is no reason to expect that it would have the same properties as physical matter, it would seem unreasonable to expect it to because then it would be the same thing as physical matter. If it is different it's unreasonable to expect to understand it in the same terms as physical matter. 

2, The "tests" are all designed to address physical entities with the properties of physical entities, they would be inadequate to address non-physical entities. For all anyone knows, nonphysical entities could interact directly with matter in ways different than physical objects and forces react with other physical objects and forces. It's quite possible that they constantly interact with them or some of them, such as our bodies, and we don't have the ability "to address them in a meaningful, testable way".

3. That it is inconvenient to the needs of materialist academics that those can't be tested in the way that academics have decided is the only way they will accept that, through the narrow filter of the physical sciences, doesn't really matter. The convenience of academics doesn't determine the nature of reality, no matter how much they like to pretend it does. Dualism isn't disproven, it's merely unfashionable. And it isn't necessarily the only alternative, it's just one that has some history due to Descartes' fame.

She, like every materialist I've ever encountered, insists on everyone limiting themselves to her preferred framing, no one is obligated to limit themselves that way.

Here's a new law, of the kind that people like to bandy around online to show how up to date and modernistic they are.


Churchland and her husband Paul Churchland are kind of big deals in the minor philosophical school called "eliminative materialism,"  a sibling of the discredited but hardly discontinued school, logical positivism**.   Those aren't so much intellectual efforts to discern the nature of reality as they are ideological attempts to outlaw ideas their proponents don't like.  They are a bullying effort.   The logical positivists were, and, let's be honest, are big on declaring ideas they don't like to be nonsensical or meaningless by fiat, when it's clear that those ideas have very definite meanings to the people who discuss them and anyone who doesn't agree with them but are quite able to argue against them as well as for them.  It is a rather low level intellectual pretense, but apparently that has been the best that materialism can do with those annoyingly persistent things like consciousness and freedom and peoples' experience that leads them to think that they can think.

The bigger problem, as a clearly shocked Alex Tsakiris noted after Churchland's last hang up, this kind of thing is the majority position in academia, today.

What’s going on here? How have we devolved into a scientific and academic system that props up such nonsense?

Again, the really scary thing about Dr. Churchland is that her opinion is the status quo majority opinion. It’s nonsensical; it’s indefensible, but it’s the majority opinion. And don’t question it.

And if that's the case for academia, it's even more the case for the lazy, ignorant climbers on lower levels of culture, such as the media.   The  massively qualified researcher,  Dr. Dean Radin noted that recently, as well.   Massively more qualified to even be taken seriously than either of the Churchlands, that is.

I'm old enough to remember when you could talk to people with college education about ideas outside of the materialist straight jacket and not have eyes ceremonially roll up and condescending dismissal in lieu of discussion happen.  That has changed as post-literacy has taken hold.  We aren't in some new age of scientifically improved intellectual discourse, we are in an age when a pretense of science, especially the softest of soft quasi-science, such as the Churchlands represent,  are an Index Prohibitorum, not a lamp of reason.  I hate to look back at the 1960s and even 1970s as even a silver age in the culture of the educated class but this period is definitely one for which fool's gold is the more appropriate metallic standard.

* With lack of evidence for any other theories for NDE, the thus far assumed, but never proven, concept that consciousness and memories are localised in the brain should be discussed. How could a clear consciousness outside one's body be experienced at the moment that the brain no longer functions during a period of clinical death with flat EEG?22 Also, in cardiac arrest the EEG usually becomes flat in most cases within about 10 s from onset of syncope.29,30 Furthermore, blind people  have described veridical perception during out-of-body experiences at the time of this experience.31 NDE pushes at the limits of medical ideas about the range of human consciousness and the mind-brain relation.

Another theory holds that NDE might be a changing state of consciousness (transcendence), in which identity, cognition, and emotion function independently from the unconscious body, but retain the possibility of non-sensory perception.7,8,22,28,31

Research should be concentrated on the effort to explain scientifically the occurrence and content of NDE. Research should be focused on certain specific elements of NDE, such as out-of-body experiences and other verifiable aspects. Finally, the theory and background of transcendence should be included as a part of an explanatory framework for these experiences.

Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the Netherlands  Lommel et al. 2001  Lancet 

**  Logical positivism, discredited in the early to middle decades of the last century lives on as the favorite of the atheist-materialists and their mirror identity as the pseudo-skeptics.    Many scientists who try to retire into those industries hold some sort of folk log-pos ideas, phrases, really, as the sum total of their knowledge of philosophy.   Scientists should either spend the time to master some philosophy, including what has been discredited by both science and, more definitively, mathematics, or they should not expose themselves as ignorant by declaiming on such matters.  It will impress the ignorant but not anyone who knows even as little as I do about it.

Well, I Suppose This Means I've Got To Be Inspired

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AP) — Age hasn’t slowed cyclist Robert Marchand.

The 102-year-old Frenchman broke his own world record in the over-100s category Friday, riding 26.927 kilometers (16.7 miles) in one hour, more than 2.5 kilometers better than his previous best time in the race against the clock two years ago.

By way of comparison, the current overall world record for one hour is 49.700 kilometers (30.882 miles) set by Czech Ondrej Sosenka in 2005.

Marchand, a retired firefighter and logger, also holds the record for someone over the age of 100 riding 100 kilometers (62 miles). He did it in four hours, 17 minutes and 27 seconds in 2012.

Marchand received a standing ovation and was mobbed by dozens of photographers and cameramen at the finish line in France’s new National Velodrome, a 74-million-euro ($100 million) complex that officially opened its doors Thursday.

The athlete smiled and raised his arms at the finish, supported by two assistants. ‘‘It was very good, but at the end it started to become very hard!’’ he said.

Maybe that's the difference between him and most of us.   I'd be inclined to say it started to become very hard AT THE BEGINNING.   But I do find something like this at least a bit inspiring.   I mean, he looks better than lots of people my age and he's obviously having more fun.

I Don't Remember That Happening Before

For some reason Blogger is just displaying this February 1st material, hiding what I posted last week.   I don't recall that happening before and can't figure out how to change it in the settings.  Oh, well, for now they're available in the index on the sidebar.  

A Continuation of That Exchange From Yesterday

Ahahahahahahaha. Idiot.
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      Oh, what a brilliant argument. Did it take you a long time to think it up? Clearly it took most of your brain chemistry, that must have been all used up. I'm surprised you've got enough to breathe and swallow.
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          You aren't very bright are you? What exactly am I supposed to be arguing based on your last post? I don't care about Harris or that other guy. I don't care about your religion. And you blathering on tossing insults everywhere isn't about to change my mind. And you're still an idiot.
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              Oh, you won't have any choice in the end if those verses* are right, you'll be convinced despite what you believe now. It will be irresistible. In the mean time I'm just interested in trying to distance materialism from the left that it can only destroy.
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                  Ooooo. I'm so afraid. Your childish threat is hysterical. And if Muslims or Hindus or any of the thousands of religions are right, you will be wrong too. Or maybe Harry Potter is right, and a world of magic is just out of my sight. I'll just place my bet with reality thanks, not superstitious nonsense. I don't support materialism. I don't even support the concept of property. Or make believe world of monetary/market economics. So what does that make me? Surely you have a handy label for me.
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                      I'm always so amused at the trouble that atheists have with sophisticated things like, you know, the conditional mood. They're so Bright ®
                      J. K. Rowling is a Presbyterian. You do know those books weren't written as religious scriptures, though she cleverly wove some into the stories.
                      But if materialists are right then if there is something that is reality our minds, governed by some rather base chemistry, wouldn't be able to reach it. That's even true of atheist boys like yourself. You're just an atheist because your peculiar chemistry makes you one, atheism doesn't have any more of a special status than the chemistry that would make someone a Southern Baptist of the foot washing type. How's it feel to know your ideology carries its own refutation and atheists' brain chemistry makes them too dim to even realize that?
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                          Brain chemistry? So your brain chemistry makes you religious? So therefore god exists? Do you even read what you write? If religion is just a matter of brain chemistry, and you know that, I have to ask, wtf?
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                              Leave it to an Alternet atheist to not even know the first thing about the intellectual consequences of being a materialist as all atheists are reduced to being if they have even thought the first thing about the options available for being an atheist. No, make that option available.
                              You meat head, it's atheists who widely claim that consciousness has to be the product of brain chemistry. If you weren't such an ignorant dolt you'd know that it's atheists in the pseudo-sciences who make that claim so they can try to make consciousness fit into their ideological framing. Only they have to exempt their thinking from their own, insisted on, framing or materialism can be no more true than religion, which they debunk on that basis, can be.
                              Geesh, atheism isn't a manifestation if brilliance, it's a manifestation of superficiality. As Francis Bacon said, centuries ago,
                              "It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion. For while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them, confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity."
                              I know you won't be able to process something so complicated but I will tell you that its the same Francis Bacon that one of your meat headed Alternet atheist buddies, who had obviously never read him, claimed was an atheist here the other day. Atheism is the product of superficiality in thinking.
                              • *  We'd gotten into it about whether or not Christians all believed in eternal damnation elsewhere and I quoted a number of verses implying if not promoting universal salvation.  
                      • The cast comes off in two weeks, they think.