Skeptic Magazine: Michael Shermer- Interviewing Dr. Donald Hoffman: ‘The Case Against Reality’

Michael Shermer with Dr_ Donald Hoffman — The Case Against Reality (SCIENCE SALON # 78)

Source:Skeptic Magazine– Talking about Donald Hoffman’s “Case Against Reality.” Reality and reason.

Source:The New Democrat 

“In his new book, The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth From Our Eyes, the U.C. Irvine cognitive scientist Dr. Donald Hoffman challenges the leading scientific theories that claim that our senses report back objective reality. How can it be possible that the world we see is not objective reality? And how can our senses be useful if they are not communicating the truth? Hoffman argues that while we should take our perceptions seriously, we should not take them literally. His evolutionary model contends that natural selection has favored perception that hides the truth and guides us toward useful action, shaping our senses to keep us alive and reproducing. We observe a speeding car and do not walk in front of it; we see mold growing on bread and do not eat it. These impressions, though, are not objective reality. Just like a file icon on a desktop screen is a useful symbol rather than a genuine representation of what a computer file looks like, the objects we see every day are merely icons, allowing us to navigate the world safely and with ease. The real-world implications for this discovery are huge, even dismantling the very notion that spacetime is objective reality. The Case Against Reality dares us to question everything we thought we knew about the world we see.

In this conversation, Hoffman and Shermer get deep into the weeds of:

• the nature of reality (ontology)
• how we know anything about reality (epistemology)
• the possibility that we’re living in a simulation
• the possibility that we’re just a brain in a vat
• the problem of other minds (that I’m the only sentient conscious being while everyone else is a zombie)
• the hard problem of consciousness
• what it means to ask “what’s it like to be a bat?”
• does the moon exist if there are no conscious sentient beings anywhere in the universe?
• is spacetime doomed?
• quantum physics and consciousness
• the microtubule theory of consciousness
• the global workspace theory of consciousness, and
• how Hoffman’s Interface Theory of Perception differs from Jordan Peterson’s Archetypal Theory of Truth (Shermer’s label for Peterson’s evolutionary theory of truth).

This dialogue was recorded on April 8, 2019 as part of the Science Salon Podcast series hosted by Michael Shermer and presented by The Skeptics Society, in California.”

From Skeptic Magazine

I’m not a scientist ( obviously. What was your first clue? ) so I’m not qualified to get into one’s brain as far as why they do certain things, especially when they’re obviously wrong and go against their own personal interest, as well as the interests of the people around them. But I’m an observer of people and as a man myself I am qualified to speak for myself as far as why people do certain things, including things that go against their own personal interests and why people even feel the need to try to escape reality and reason when making certain decisions.

I’m not an Atheist and I’m not a Randian ( term named after author Ayn Rand ) but as an Agnostic and I believe even as a Liberal I believe in reason and reality and don’t believe in the faith for the most part. Perhaps the least romantic person you’ve ever met ( assuming you’ve never met Ayn Rand ) and I believe that you always should go with reason and reality, over how you want things and people to be. I also don’t drink alcohol and or use any other narcotics, so I’m always forced to live in reality and see things they way they are, at least to my best ability, because I’m don’t have that escape to take me away from the way things really are, for good and bad. I’m not going to have a bad day and then hit a bar to get wasted to try to get that day or whatever happened that day out of my mind.

I’m not saying I’m an expert on anything and I’m the best at anything including personal decision-making. I’m just saying reality and reason are my approach to how I choose to look at the world and then try to make the best decisions that I can based on what I’m personally seeing and hearing in life. Based not on how I want people, things, or places to be, but how they are based on the best available facts and evidence.

But for too many Americans reality is not good enough for them to the point that they just don’t try to change it for them, but start seeing and hearing things that simply aren’t there to make themselves feel better. The example I gave about not going to the bar when I’m having a bad time to get wasted and escape from my negative reality, that’s not what a lot of Americans do and perhaps is a reason for alcoholism that people need to get wasted and feel better when they’re going through tough times and see alcohol as their personal escape, regardless of the negative consequences that come from abusing alcohol.

For intelligent, sober, responsible, sane people, reality is all we need to do well in life: “these are the facts on the ground ( for good and bad ) and this is what can be done about it. And this is how we can make the best of it.” Is how these people look at the world to make the world the best that they can make it for themselves.

The alcoholic, the celebrity culture crazed person who might not even be popular or even well-known in their own neighborhood, let alone the rest of the country, for them reality is not good enough. So they see things that simply aren’t there, think more of themselves than they deserve too, and perhaps especially the alcoholic make a lot of bad decisions that come with really bad consequences for them and people around them. Because the real-world is not good enough for them and have mentally escaped reality.

About Erik Schneider

Full-time blogger on a multiple ray of topics and subjects, because of multiple interests.
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