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Old 11-27-2011, 01:24 PM
eeeeeeeli eeeeeeeli is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Palm Desert, CA
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Blowing Smoke Rings (John Horgan & George Johnson)

Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
Some people may think that even if more is involved, since we can't measure it or understand it or observe it, it is impractical to get too busy thinking about it.
I think this is right. But then we still have the problem of phenomenon that we can't really explain very well, and yet must start somewhere if we are to hypothesize - especially if there are real-world consequences of our assumptions either way. Critiques of materialism usually see people as assuming too much, relying too readily on a physical framework as a best guess. Critiques of the opposite - immaterialists? - see people as ignoring what seem to be perfectly reasonable logical conclusions drawn from our knowledge of the physical world.

I tend to fall into the latter camp. I'm reminded of the old creationist thought experiment, the clearly "designed" phenomenon in the natural world, such as Mt. Rushmore or a house in a desert, in which physical processes are assumed to be incapable of such complexity. This can be contrasted with a thought experiment designed to illustrate Occam's Razor, where a broken, blackened tree is found in a field - in the absence of clear evidence, one might assume any number of explanations, some more fantastic than others. Yet the most likely, the most reasonable explanation would be that lightening has probably struck it down.

Surely, many biological processes - certainly those involving the brain and/or consciousness - are lacking in a great deal of evidence. But there is also much that we *do* know, and would be remiss in not taking into full account, if not inferring even further material hypotheses.
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