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Evolution shows our perceptions are not real?

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From Amanda Gefter at Quanta: The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality

It’s an interview with cognitive psychologist Donald Hoffman on the basic theme

“Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know. And that’s pretty much all of reality, whatever reality might be.” More.

If Hoffman is correct, evolution makes science hopeless. Some people have said that for years, but we didn’t think they’d be getting their evidence from Darwin’s crowd itself.

See also: Neuroscience tried wholly embracing naturalism, but then the brain got away

and

Would we give up naturalism to solve the hard problem of consciousness?

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5 Replies to “Evolution shows our perceptions are not real?

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    This hoffman dude is saying dumb stuff.
    evolution did not shape our perceptions. We are not missing stuff because of wiring.
    These people waste our time and are taking jobs from better people in a curve on the populations intelligence.

  2. 2
    Jon Garvey says:

    Oh dear – an explanation is only an explanation if it doesn’t also apply to the other alternative views.

    “Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know. And that’s pretty much all of reality, whatever reality might be.”

    Replace “Evolution” with “God” in that sentence, and it explains just as well why we don’t experience red shift, see quarks, sunbathe in gamma rays and walk among the angels. There is a segment of reality that is our working environment, and much stuff that we do not need to know, unless we’re curious, but which keeps the experienced reality in being.

    You don’t even have to evoke God to see that – most of us live our lives with little awareness of the plumbing and wiring behind our walls or under the streets, with no understanding of how the i-Phone apps work, blissful ignorance of how essential services are run, etc. And yet not a single part of that evolved.

  3. 3
    News says:

    Jon Garvey at 2: The underlying substance of the argument is that our perception that metaphysical naturalism (MN) cannot be correct is just an illusion.

    You are correct in what you say but the unspoken assumption is that the claim, made first by MNs, disempowers everyone else as a result of just being made. And if possible, backed up with increasing pressure.

    It doesn’t matter whether the MN himself can apprehend the world correctly, as long as his position is secure.

    In short it’s a matter of being the first to “discover” the fact and ram home the advantage.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Not only are our perceptions untrustworthy given materialistic premises, which is bad enough, but our belief that we really exist as real persons, which is the most sure thing we can know about reality, becomes merely an illusion under materialistic premises.

    Which all boils down to, basically, if you believe you really exist as a real person then Theism must be true and God must necessarily exist so as to ground the reality of ‘personhood’.

    a few notes:

    “We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.”
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins ”If consciousness is an illusion…what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way.,,,
    In What Science Offers the Humanities, Edward Slingerland, identifies himself as an unabashed materialist and reductionist. Slingerland argues that Darwinian materialism leads logically to the conclusion that humans are robots — that our sense of having a will or self or consciousness is an illusion. Yet, he admits, it is an illusion we find impossible to shake. No one “can help acting like and at some level really feeling that he or she is free.” We are “constitutionally incapable of experiencing ourselves and other conspecifics [humans] as robots.”
    One section in his book is even titled “We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.”,,,
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    [Nancy Pearcey] When Reality Clashes with Your Atheistic Worldview – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0Kpn3HBMiQ

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism – Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: “Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism (MN). If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed (the illusion of) you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.,,,
    some feature of “intelligence” must be irreducible to physics, because otherwise we’re back to physics versus physics, and there’s nothing for SETI to look for.”,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90071.html

    And although Dr. Nelson alluded to writing an e-mail, (i.e. creating information), to tie his ‘personal agent’ argument into intelligent design, Dr. Nelson’s ‘personal agent’ argument can easily be amended to any action that ‘you’, as a personal agent, choose to take:

    “You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”

    “You didn’t open the door. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”

    “You didn’t raise your hand. Physics did, and informed the illusion you of that event after the fact.”

    “You didn’t etc.. etc.. etc… Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”

    I suggest watching Dr. Craig’s following short presentation to get a full feel for just how insane the metaphysical naturalist’s (atheist’s) position actually turns out to be.

    Is Metaphysical Naturalism Viable? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzS_CQnmoLQ

    Further note:

    Agent Causality (of Theists) vs. Blind Causality (of Atheists) – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1118356054843993/?type=2&theater

    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski
    Excerpt page12: “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition.
    If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn’t trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn’t have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place.”
    http://www.undergroundthomist......theist.pdf

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    Evolution shows our perceptions are not real?

    Perhaps the reasoning used to arrive at that conclusion is also not real. After all, did not evolution also give us our reasoning as well as our perceptions?

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