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My "pipeline" And Yours Are Not The Same!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on June 6, 2003 03:17:33 UTC

Hi Yanniru,

No need to apologize. The departure of our thinking can be quite easily established. It lies exactly in what we are talking about when we use the word "pipeline". I brought up this concept in an attempt to clarify what I was talking about. When I first introduced the idea, I defined it too be an unexaminable barrier between our conscious awareness and reality. You said that you agreed with my argument that the barrier existed; however, you then went on to make it clear that what you were referring to as the pipeline was not at all what I had defined. You substituted a conceptually examinable pipeline for my unexaminable entity. By doing so, you clearly deny the existence of such an unexaminable entity and thus, in the very same step, you avoid any possibility of thinking about the consequences of such a thing. Since I am talking about the logical consequences of the existence of an unexaminable entity, we are not even in the same ball park.

Just as an aside, I can understand your failure to comprehend what I was trying to focus your attention on. One of the primary assumptions of most any scientific endeavor is the assumption that anything of significance can be examined. The universal reaction of any trained scientist is, "if it cannot be examined, it is not worth thinking about." (Personally, I think anything I can think is worth thinking about; but that's beside the point.) When I brought up the existence of illusions as a defense of the existence of that unexaminable pipeline, your mind of course jumped immediately to the idea of confused deductions (an examinable pipeline). As considerable theory exists for the production of illusion, your reaction is understandable. I apologize but it was the only example I could think of. From my perspective, those theories omit the central issue: the fact that we cannot examine our perceptions directly. Actually I have a number of other phenomena which I think arise from the same circumstance. However we can't discuss that until you understand what I am talking about.

Back to the main issue. As the central issue of a scientists life concerns what he can examine, it is very easy to understand the difficulty of getting his attention onto something which cannot be examined. He wants to figure out a way of examining it before he takes any issue seriously. My point, that our senses have to be part of our mental image of reality requires the existence of a step which is unexaminable, is most often pushed off into the "field" of metaphysics and ignored by anyone with any serious scientific training. In other words, he is strongly trained not to look there. Both you and Harv have shown a very strong reluctance to look. Every time we get close to the issue, both of you immediately deflect attention to some other issue close by.

We cannot go on at all unless you will accept the fact that an "unexaminable" barrier exists. I think it very improbable that you will conceptually allow the existence of such a barrier. If that is the case, then let us take another tack. Just for the fun of it, suppose we talk about what would happen if such a barrier were real. The first issue is to define what exists on the two different sides of the barrier; to define what the barrier separates. Clearly the source of information is normally called "reality". "Reality" is the source of every piece of valid information by definition. The fact that we may not be able to determine what is valid and what is not valid has absolutely no bearing on that issue at all (I only mention that because it is Harv's most precious Cavil: i.e., a very valuable mechanism of attention deflection). The other side of the barrier is our mental image of reality directly available to our conscious awareness (that entity is indeed examinable as we are clearly aware of it in every detail: we can think about any aspect of it).

What happens within the barrier is unexaminable! It has a very unique characteristic: it is neither directly examinable nor is it part of reality. If you can give me any reference to any logical examination of such a thing I will sincerely applaud you. I believe the concept is original with me!

What is important here is that the scientific method does not apply at all. Most everything you have said has no application whatsoever to the discussion. By the way, I do not disagree with anything you have said (as I do not disagree with anything Harv says); my only statement to the entirety of it is that none of it has any bearing on what I am talking about. What I am talking about is an unexaminable barrier between reality and our mental image of reality.

Initially, to a primitive human being, the barrier contains everything. As he develops explanations of his mental image, more and more things are removed from the pipeline (his theories become examinable entities). Is there no limit to this progress? What happens if there exists a barrier even after all possible explanations have been exhausted? What happens if there really does exist an unexaminable transformation between him and reality? Certainly, all your comments about examining it are completely beside the point.

As I have commented many times, the most probable reaction to that is "well if you are going to allow anything to happen in that barrier (allow the barrier to exist in the final analysis) then everything is illusion and anything can happen. Is that a true statement or not? The only way we can even begin to answer that question is to start by thinking about it (any other answer is pure "belief" without any support at all). I think that by ignoring the possibility that such a barrier exists, you are doing a disservice to science. As I have said before, to put anything above examination is to scuttle rational science.

Yanniru: But I would prefer that you address the point that science, if it works at all, must attempt to minimize the distortions introduced by the pipeline. If we cannot agree on that point there is no basis for further discussions.

We of course agree on that point. The point of difference is what occurs if an unexaminable remnant remains.

Yanniru: Science, especially physics, has developed a common mental image of reality as a basis of experimental technique. But you talk as if one does not exist. That is precisely the disservice to science.

What I am pointing out is that the apparent "common mental image of reality" is not what it appears to be. Remember, if that barrier of which I speak does in fact exist, then your mental image of reality (or at least the aspects of which you communicate to me) are part of reality and have been processed by the unexaminable barrier created by my (( ????) subconscious) existence. I have no proof that what you are expressing is exactly what has been created by my subconscious. I can only examine the internal consistency of what I perceive. To think otherwise is only a disservice to the idea that my (or your) senses are a direct and correct perception of reality.

Try to look at the issue from a slightly different perspective:

The scientists present to you a particular mental image of the universe (a very complex image which I will not go into the difficulty of presenting)

The defense of their mental image is, "God, don't ask that question, it is based on a million years of intuitive observation of what goes on around us!"

I present you a particular mental image of the universe (a very simple image, the development of which I have presented in detail in a paper consisting of fewer than 10,000 words).

The defense of my mental image is, "It is examinable in detail by anyone who cares to take the effort to examine it!"

I think my defense is more scientifically acceptable than is theirs.

I have recently sent Paul a note which seems to me to clarify the issue quite well. (Though of course, I expect my analogies to bypass everyone here.) I will quote part of that note anyway, in the hope that some of you will comprehend what I am talking about. My note concerns his essay "Einstein's and Hilbert's Question".

I have no arguments with anything prior to paragraph 24. You say that I "show that this strictly logical structure implies some necessary constraints on any possible communicable universe".

My work shows no constraints on the universe at all. What I show is there exists a very powerful "explanation" and that all communicable explanations can be transformed into my explanation. This is a subtly different thing.

All explanations consist of two different things. One could call them Axioms and Rules: i.e., things we accept as being true and behavior we accept as being true. What I have proved is that these two components of any explanation are essentially orthogonal concepts (I know you will understand the use of that term because of your mathematical background). The lack of recognition of this orthogonality leads to a rather confused search for an explanation of the universe.

Our search for an explanation of our experiences is, in many ways, analogous to a wanderer's explanation of his wanderings without the use of a geometry. He can explain everything he has seen in terms of what was on his left and what was on his right as he wondered through the woods. On occasion, he may be able to see something far away which he had passed before and it leads him to the idea that there is a thing such as direction but, if he fails to comprehend geometry, he is very apt to think those directions are real things, real in the same way the trees are real.

Now, whenever two wanderers, perhaps having taken different paths through that woods, begin to compare their explanations of the woods, they are very apt to agree on many things and at the same time fail entirely to communicate other sights which they absolutely know are valid. If they ever grasp the concept of geometry and orthogonal axes, the whole explanation of the woods then becomes something which they can accurately communicate. They will be able to correlate their experiences to a common reference.

What I have discovered is that my rule (which is easily expressible in mathematics as F=0) provides one axis against which we are free to set out (orthogonal to our rule - i.e., these things must obey the rule) those other things which complete our explanation of our experiences.

I think my construct is much more analogous to the invention of geometry than it is to being a theorem of Statistical Analysis or Probability theory. There are three "things" here: the things which really exist, the things which our rules require to exist and our rules. In the analogy to geometry, knowable data are analogous to the trees, the rules are analogous to one axis and unknowable data are analogous to the other axis.

I have little argument with the rest of the essay.

Somehow, I know you will misinterpret what I have said but I will post it none the less.

Have fun -- Dick

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