Materialism; A flawed philosophy

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  • #26
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I downloaded the book from Kazaa about a year ago. At the time I was kind of looking for something involving physics, so it seemed interesting. However upon reading the first chapter, it was clear that he had some fairly spiritual views and that kind of disappointed me so I put it down.

If the book continues with the suggestion that the universe is a mental construct, then that too is a disappointment, and I believe people who believe that everything is a construct of the imagination have it seriously wrong.
 
  • #27
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I agree

Vast said:
I downloaded the book from Kazaa about a year ago. At the time I was kind of looking for something involving physics, so it seemed interesting. However upon reading the first chapter, it was clear that he had some fairly spiritual views and that kind of disappointed me so I put it down.

If the book continues with the suggestion that the universe is a mental construct, then that too is a disappointment, and I believe people who believe that everything is a construct of the imagination have it seriously wrong.
Yes the book is deep in spirituality. The title implies that. Even without spirituality one has to ask if nature has a dualistic property to it, that being subjective and objective. To me dualism is foul smelling. All I know is what I have experienced. I cannot say with absolute certainty that there is a world "out there" and I don't believe any one else can.
 
  • #28
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Loseyourname

Originally Posted by Integral
I have a copy of Capra, I read most of it years ago, it failed to impress me enough to feel compelled to finish the book. Even though at that period of my life I was exploring Buddhism and other Eastern philosophy, also my Physics education was much fresher in my mind then now. It was not a matter of bias, just that his writing did not appeal to me.

You have done a good job in reviewing this thread. As you properly quoted, he was looking into Buddhism at that time in his life. I guess I had my feelings hurt and was responding out of emotion. I am new to these forums please forgive my irrationality.

Later on you state that we cannot prove that anything exist "outside of the mind" nor can I prove that anything "doesn't exist outside of the mind" and this is a good point. No wonder materialism and idealism is still hotely debated.

While their existence cannot be proven, can you really say you have any reason to believe that I or Tom do not exist?

No I cannot. You bring about a good argument. At this point all I can say is that I BELIEVE in some sort of monism which is based on pure metaphysical specualtion.

A few of you have done more with intelligent replies to make me see your views that includes respect for the poster than those who resorted to harse
criticizing, sarcastic replies.

You have shown me that I cannot prove that materialism is any more flawed than idealsim. Thanks
 
  • #29
Tom Mattson
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RAD4921 said:
Tom: My point exactly. This is why I posted Capra's quote in "Philosophy" and not physics.
No, it wasn't your point. Your point was actually 180 degrees in the opposite direction, as you yourself explicitly stated. Do you need to see your own words again?

RAD4921: Furthermore, what I quoted is well know knowledge in theoretical physics and IS NOT the domain of metaphysics.

Tom: No, theoretical physicists don't spend their time pondering flowery prose of the type served up by Capra. They spend their time calculating things. If Capra's quote belongs anywhere on this site, it is in metaphysics.
:confused:

Make up yer mind!

I think your bias lies in that physicst have all the answers to the question that man has asked since he had the ability to reason. Your are pretty sarcastic in your reply.
See, this is exactly why I was right to say what I said about Capra. You seem to be doing exactly as I predicted you would: putting Capra on a pedestal, inasmuch as you seem to be equating "disagreement with Capra" with "disagreement with philosophy as a whole".

If your find metaphysics and philosophy so repulsive than what are you doing here?
:confused: I didn't write anything from which you could logically derive that notion. It's not that I find metaphysics repulsive, it's that I find Capra's physics and metaphysics repulsive. They are, to use your own term, "Hollywood theories".
 
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  • #30
Tom Mattson
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RAD4921,

Try using the quote brackets to make your posts more readable. It works like this, but without the spaces in the brackets:

[ quote=some guy ]
Blah Blah Blah.
[ /quote ]

If you do it without the spaces, it will look like this:

some guy said:
Blah Blah Blah.
 
  • #31
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Lose your name

You made me see some things, flaws in my reasoning

Were you just making me see both sides of the coin with materialism and idealsim or are you a materislist or do you stand in middle ground?

Einstein seemed to be an idealist. He once said "body and soul are not two separate thing but two different ways of perceiving the same thing"---Do you agree?

Bohr had the yin yang symbol on his coat of arms, presented by his government. J. Robert Oppenheimer converted over to Hinduism in his latter years. Why so many physicist see wisdom in Eastern thought. Do you?
 
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  • #32
loseyourname
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I'm not a materialist or an idealist. I take the stance that I have no idea whether anything beyond the material world exists. I do find plenty of wisdom in eastern thought, though mostly in the realm of the philosophy of personal behavior and outlook rather than metaphysical thought.
 
  • #33
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I believe Capra's theory is false, basically because in the universe about 0.1% is actually conscious, while the rest is just lifeless energy hanging in space.
If we look at the universe as a large form of moving energy, which has specific rules to how it reacts and acts to itself, then consciousness is basically just another pattern, a form, which stems from this energy.

If this theory is correct, then the universe is not at all dependant on observers in any way, observers are just another 'thing'.
However we can all agree on one thing, the physical world is capable of some great things, for example, imagine a sunset in your head.
Right now things are firing in your head and things are moving, but it doesn't contain the sunset itself.
Your brain interprets it as a visual sunset, you're not seeing it as visually as you're seeing with your eyes, but visual enough to remember it.
As such, since your brain is only physical like everything else, it means the universe is able to create abstract or if you will, non physical things.

The sunset you are seeing is not totally metaphysical, but it's not totally physical either, you can't see it in a lab.
I don't know, who knows if these kind of things only exist in conscious beings, it may exist in other forms iin the universe too.
 
  • #34
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Thanks

loseyourname said:
I'm not a materialist or an idealist. I take the stance that I have no idea whether anything beyond the material world exists. I do find plenty of wisdom in eastern thought, though mostly in the realm of the philosophy of personal behavior and outlook rather than metaphysical thought.
Thanks for your input
Robert
 
  • #35
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bola said:
because in the universe about 0.1% is actually conscious, QUOTE]

This statement is an admission that you BELIVE in materialism. Which is okay but if you read the debate between Lose youe name and I you would find it is a circular argument whether there is a subjective/ subjective-objective reality. Lose your name wisely admits to not leaning to one way or the other. The debate of idealism and materialism is ancient and alothough I got to admit that the subject is the main theme of this thread, I don't think we can PROVE one way or the other.

Assuming materialism is correct and consciousness is a by product of a material world, I think most would agree that "0.1%" of the universe being consciousness is extremely high since all we know of consciousness is life on Earth and that is much too high of an estimate with the amount of matter in the OBSE#RVABLE universe that APPEARS to be aware of itself.

I don't know what you are referring to as Capra's "theory". If you are referring to the book in general I must disagree that the book is not even theroy since about 50% is based on Eastern thought and mysticism, which at best metaphysical speculation.
If the "theory" you are referring to is the page that I copied to the forum, like I said before, this is based on Shroedinger's wave equations and the paradox of Shroedinger's Cat (some of which has already been addressed), this is not Capra's theory but possible his interpretation of Shroedinger's theory.

Robert
 
  • #36
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Well, I have another viewpoint on the issue as well.
People say it can be all subjective, but what rules guide this subjective, mental world?
Wouldn't we need a complete set, aka a whole universe in itself to do that?

I leave you with this little 'essay' I wrote on the subject one sunny day.

A fellow asked me today.. 'how do we know the universe exists? What if it's purely a mental illusion?'.
I pondered it for awhile and came up with an answer.

The universe is made up of sub-atomic particles, and we are too. Our mind is chemistry and biology all rolled into one.

So I said to him, 'what's the difference between a physical universe, and a mental one? is there even a difference?'.
He uttered a most expected 'umm..'.

Because, can we really determine WHAT something is? It seems to me we only have the power to say if something 'exists' or doesn't exist.
Our psyche comes from our brain. This is proven.
So we have to take this into account. When we ask ourselved 'does the physical universe exist?', what are we actually asking?

We're basically asking ourselves 'what exists, and what doesn't?'

If we assume the universe is all 'mental', where is all this information stored? Inside out riny brains with chemistry and biology? Can our puny brain matter really hold that much information?
Or is there some larger, metaphysical universe, a shared consciousness if you will, where all these minds live, making up their own world, interacting.

The problem is, regardless of WHAT the universe is, it still needs to exist as SOMETHING.
Whether a particle we can observe in the labratory is 'something's is certainly feasible to say.
When people say the universe is a mental construct I do not understand them, because the seperation between a physical and mental universe is zero.

EDIT:
oh yeah and id like to add:
I can't prove it as in observe it and make a theory, but I can make a logical set of hypothesis and then logically assign them theoretical proof.

If we assume that the brain cannot distinguish between a physical world and a mental world, but that there exists a world that is seemingly outside of our brains, then my point was the only logical conclusion is that there's no difference between the two worlds, since we can't distinguish between them anyway.

The illusion is too perfect.
Isn't that proof on its own?
 
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  • #37
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Down time

Bola Sorry it took a while to get back to ya, I was out of town for 3 days. By the way is yout first name "e".

Your essay is intresting
Robert
 
  • #38
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Rad - cheer up!

Rad, a lot of what you say or that Capra says has merit.

the problem with this forum is that it is a hard core experiment, measure and prove enviornment.

the realm of phillosophy is mental and beyond objective proof. while an experienced dream is very real and the emotions real, it does not lend itself to physical measurement. it is a very valid experience. even the hard core guys dream, occasionally (lol).

there will always be the debate about the dream being a chemical reaction in the brain, etc. again, even that argument is subjective.

once we get into the subjective, IMHO, we are entering the QT arena. i doubt that it will see proof in a lab, because it is a mathematical method of understanding reality and/or the universe.

this physical world is real, it just ain't the universe. in time with more QT work we will see that the word universe is lacking.

again, all of this is subjective. yes, i have a physical computer that my physical self is using, BUT is it really what it appears to be when viewed from another dimension. it may simply appear as a small energy configuration for my use.

keep thinking and keep trying, the ancients knew how to visit other dimensions besides dreaming, we will get there. i hope in my life time.

love&peace,
olde drunk
 
  • #39
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Thanks for the pat on the back

olde drunk said:
Rad, a lot of what you say or that Capra says has merit.

the problem with this forum is that it is a hard core experiment, measure and prove enviornment.

the realm of phillosophy is mental and beyond objective proof. while an experienced dream is very real and the emotions real, it does not lend itself to physical measurement. it is a very valid experience. even the hard core guys dream, occasionally (lol).

there will always be the debate about the dream being a chemical reaction in the brain, etc. again, even that argument is subjective.

once we get into the subjective, IMHO, we are entering the QT arena. i doubt that it will see proof in a lab, because it is a mathematical method of understanding reality and/or the universe.

this physical world is real, it just ain't the universe. in time with more QT work we will see that the word universe is lacking.

again, all of this is subjective. yes, i have a physical computer that my physical self is using, BUT is it really what it appears to be when viewed from another dimension. it may simply appear as a small energy configuration for my use.

keep thinking and keep trying, the ancients knew how to visit other dimensions besides dreaming, we will get there. i hope in my life time.

love&peace,
olde drunk
Olde Drunk; Thanks for the pat on the back but I am not down and out about this thread. At best Lose your name neutrualized my argument and he did so with logic, something I cannot argue. I still highly value Capra's book, "The tao of Physics" and his ideas. His book is endorsed on the back by physicist Victor Mansfield (who I have had the pleasure of corresponding with and read 2 of his books), and the "Tao of Physics" is also endorsed by the famous mythologist Joseph Campbell. I realize most of what I am hearing here is opinions some of which are projected by people with serious blind spots. Thanks all the same. Robert
 
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  • #40
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Getting back to reductionism, we physicists wanted to be able to calculate everything but found that on many levels things happen that could not be anticipated. These things are now called "emergent phenomenon" and they are often strongly history (read accident) dependent.

I label a scenario objective if it is measurable and reproducible. In this sense quantum mechanics is objective, but causality has suffered.
The experiment I have in mind is the dual slit diffraction setup with a very weak laser and a screen consisting of large numbers of photomultiplier tubes. Photons proceed one at a time and land on the screen in a chaotic pattern. After large numbers of photons have passed the diffraction pattern is apparent. However individual photon count locations are considered to be uncaused.

Even this causal problem is not a challenge to materialism.
 

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