Monkeys on meth

Joe wrote:

JoshingThySelf wrote:
Thought experiments exist. They are experiments in the form of thought.
Joe wrote:
Thought Fig Newtons exist. They are Fig Newtons in the form of thought.

N.B. You cannot carry-out experiments with your mind - anymore than you can consume Fig Newtons with your mind.

Suppose that we placed monkeys on meth behind the controls of giant cranes. The cranes swing massive wrecking balls, and they're located near every physics lab, every bio-lab, every university and every scientist's home. With the simian-demolitionists left to their meth and their own devices, we return years later. Only with extreme difficulty could we recognize the scenery, the architecture and the artifacts of the world. It would not resemble how it appeared - before the wired-up demolitionists plied their craft.

The above analogy is pretty conformal with what this cult has sought to do with 2,500 years of philosophy, 2,300 years of logic and 400 years of science. However, neither philosophy nor logic nor science has been demolished by their attempts to clobber them with the wrecking balls that they swing from their clobbered minds. The above fields of knowledge are not answerable to the rules devised and enforced by a pack of irrationalists on a Myspace group. Only to them are Darwin's terms "sociopathic", "metaphors", "jargon" and "disgusting", the constants of physics human mind-dependent apparitions, that philosophical zombies possess empathy, that thermostats are capable of thinking, etc.

My conclusions regarding the "pleasant" debates - in which I was permitted to participate (and forced to stomach) -

(1) Zombies do not exist, and even if they did exist, they could not empathize - as they would lack precisely what is required to empathize - an internal point of view, i.e. conscious experiences.

(2) Thermostats cannot think. "low-level intentionality" is but a necessary precondition for thinking. To confound what happens inside the works of thermostats with thinking is an intellectual atrocity and a category error.

(3) The theory of sexual selection continues to be sustained-by data. Every 3 months or so, a paper comes out, linking the mate preferences of non-human organisms (required for SS to be a viable theory) to specific alleles. As early as 1918, R. A. Fisher predicted that the mate preferences of all sexually reproducing organisms would eventually be linked-to genes. Fisher's prediction is - finally - showing up in the experimental literature. The theory of evolution remains intact, and it has not been displaced from scientific viability. Evolutionary theory consists of natural selection, sexual selection, Mendel's laws of inheritance and genetic drift. If any of the above drivers (or laws) are excised from it, evolutionary theory plunges (following Karl Popper) into a myth.

(4) The fundamental physical constants pervading our universe have not varied. Newton, Einstein, Planck and 400 years worth of physics have not been eclipsed by any cultist's profound confusions, regarding the nature of reality.

(5) Logical arguments with logically equivalent premises and logically equivalent conclusions are arguments - as they have been accepted for over 2,300 years.

(6) Imaginary experiments are not experiments. The imaginary is not real - even though this Year Zero Cult insists that the imaginary is real.

(7) No finite human mind (or set of finite human minds) can prove the truth of an infinite universal negative.

(8) Quine's underdetermination thesis neither states nor implies that subsequent, additional (confirming or refuting) evidence is utterly immaterial - as to how scientific theories turn-out over the long (or short) haul. His thesis merely asserts that no theory is determined by the evidence from which it was derived; that is, from one data-set, more than one coherent theory can be spun-out. Following Popper, scientific theories resemble works of art - more than ledger sheets.

Here's a pretty good descriptor of a cult: Members of a group generate ideas which do not fit into reality. An outsider exhaustively demonstrates that their ideas are just plain potty. The members converge into a pack, denounce the outsider as the carrier of a sickness - then drive him off. Neither reasoned argument nor citing reams of uncontroversial scientific evidence can dislodge their cult-beliefs - which do not (and cannot) fit into reality.

What I've witnessed by this cult's abuse of language, science and logic has been nothing less than the extinction of that which makes us human: Reason.