Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Prof Hoffman #10c - Community - Playing Basketball In Zero-Gravity - Hoffmanian Conscious Agents (3/3)

In Defense of Scientific Realism and Down to Earth Physical Reality.

Consciousness is a Spectrum, Not a Thing.

Donald Hoffman in Case Against Reality:  “The rot of entropy is an implacable enemy of life, a purveyor of decay and death.”   (Chapter 10 ¶65)

Citizenschallenge:  What a profoundly sad way to perceive our reality and indeed the process of life itself?  As silly as having an absolute abhorrence of death.  Life and Evolution couldn’t exist without death.

Why doesn't Hoffman appreciate that without entropy the engine of life could never have been created to begin with?  No wonder Hoffman’s capable of dismissing physicalism, he’s never learned to appreciate real life processes!  It’s ALL philosophy and math to him.

What infuriates me, and which in turn has fueled me completing this tedious project, is his glib dismissal of physicalism which is the cornerstone of sober science for very good reasons.  

Why do so many stand by and enable such slander against serious science?

DH:  “Conscious Realism must pay another promissory note.  It must from first principles, describe precisely the dynamics of conscious agents, and show how this dynamics, when projected into the interface of Homo sapiens, appears as modern physics and Darwinian evolution.

This is a strong empirical constraint on the theory of agent dynamics:  Its projected into our spacetime interface must account for all the data that supports modern physics and evolution.”   (¶64)

For all his fanciful words, Hoffman never lives up to them.  

Also, in real science, an author is expected to be capable of fielding questions in good faith with substantive constructive answers related to said questions.  

But, from our correspondence and what I’ve read on the internet, Hoffman acts more like a politician.  Consistently forces the dialogue right back onto his train track, or one’s questions are ignored altogether.  

It’s supposed to be a learning process, but too often Hoffman is busy selling.

A review of Donald Hoffman’s, Case Against Reality, 

chapter 10c, Community: The Network of Conscious Agents

DH:  “A conscious agent enjoys a repertoire of experiences.  It networks with may other agents, which enjoy a stupefying variety of disparate repertoires.  So it cannot experience the vast majority of these exotic experiences.  This holds in particular for the hierarchy of agents that constitute it own instantiation.  

An agent simply lacks the resources to experience all the experiences of all the agents in its instantiation, even though those agents contribute to its very self.  An agent can at best wield its repertoire of experience to paint, with broad brush, a crude leptons of its instantiation

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Prof Hoffman #10b - Community - Playing Basketball In Zero-Gravity - Hoffmanian Conscious Agents (2/3)

Case Against Reality:  “I have touted the virtue of precision in a theory of consciousness. …”    (Chapter ten, ¶39)

Citizenschallenge:  Precisely modeling one’s idea is one thing, accurately reflecting Earth, evolution, human nature, is another.  

Hoffman’s Case Against Reality is a philosophical/religious thesis, removed from actual nature and physical reality.  Hoffmanian Conscious Agents offer nothing to observe, and nothing that can ever be tested, beyond computer games.  

The book was a disappointment with little to enhance current neurological, physical, or psychological understanding.  It is marketable intellectual entertainment for the sci-fi, woo loving crowd.  

To me, it’s a splendid example of the sort of fame and fortune seeking follies that helped create today’s willfully ignorant populous, which in turn enabled the current political degeneration, along with all its horrendous cascading consequences of late.

I’m trying hard to enunciate my thoughts in as coherent and concise a manner as I can.  This is because I want to be one of the many many ‘Children Of The Intellectual Enlightenment' who are needed to stand up for rational sober science; people willing to advocate for respect of the reality of our three dimensions and time; for the fact that matter is substantial and can be measured with astounding accuracy and repeatedly, etc., etc.  That serious good-faith science deserves to be respected and trusted.  

I’m just an attentive life long spectator, self-schooled and nearing my end, knowing a fraction of what serious students know.  Where are you??   This is my workbook and you are welcome to use any of it, respecting original sources.  I'm hoping some might find a little inspiration.  

Engage to do something to confront the creeping disconnect from Physical Reality and contempt for science that’s infecting so many people out there.  

Show ‘em you have Soul, the kind that emerges out of grasping deep time and Earth’s Evolution through the lens of science.  


Donald Hoffman tells us

Conscious realism is a non-physicalist monism.” 

 Lets unpack that:

In ontology and the philosophy of mind, a non-physical entity is a spirit or being that exists outside physical reality. Their existence divides the philosophical school of physicalism from the schools of idealism and dualism; with the latter schools holding that they can exist and the former holding that they cannot. If one posits that non-physical entities can exist, there exist further debates as to their inherent natures and their position relative to physical entities. [WIKI]   It get's over complicated, see here.

In other words, by his own definitions Hoffman’s “Case Against Reality” is a non-physical “reality”.  Namely, an abstract meta-physical idea and beyond the reach of empirical science.

Hoffman claims his mathematical rigor makes it science.  But, he forgets that serious science (as opposed to science fiction) also requires observation, measurement, evidence and facts.  

Rigorous mathematics without such physical touch stones, amounts to a self-indulgent head-game, one that has more in common with religious desires, than natural sciences.

A review of Donald Hoffman’s, Case Against Reality, 

chapter 10b, Community: The Network of Conscious Agents

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Prof Hoffman #10a - Playing Basketball In Zero-gravity - Community - The Network of Conscious Agents (1/3)

Cc:   Consciousness is an emergent property of biological complexity.

DH:  “The notion of a conscious agent is based on intuitions that are widely shared.  It must, however, be made precise and then endure the rough and tumble of science.”     (¶9)

Hoffman hasn’t produced anything tangible.  A fine tuned ‘theorem’ proven by mathematics within an idealized computer model universe, isn’t tangible.

Hoffman’s notions are the stuff of rough and tumble philosophical debates, not serious scientific inquiry.   That is, observing, measuring and learning about tangible stuff.

DH:  “…Evolution shaped our perception to hide the truth and to guide adaptive behavior.   (¶3) 

DH  : ”A new theory is required, in which spacetime, objects, their properties, and their fiction of cause and effect,…”   (¶4)

Besides a tendency to imbue Evolution with agency, Hoffman wants us to believe Conscious Agents act from outside.  

Where do Hoffmanian Conscious Agents originate?  How would they have been created?  Have they ever been observed?  Are they God’s twinkle dust holding everything together?  

Evolution isn’t a thing, or a program, it’s a label we put on accumulating change over time.  

A review of Donald Hoffman’s, Case Against Reality, 

chapter 10a, Community: The Network of Conscious Agents

I invite you to consider a different kind of “Conscious Agents.”

If organisms were to survive upon this four dimensional Earth they needed to perceive and act.  Sense organs needed to be invented or nothing would have happened on Earth.  

Furthermore, those organs needed to communicate with something; and that something needed to decode the incoming data; that data needed to be communicated to higher authorities for processing; decision making; and inducing action.

“Conscious agents” are the information the brain sends forth to blossom into the thoughts within our mind. 

A neuroscientist would correct me, by telling me about “neural correlates of consciousness,” then perhaps they’d point out the recent discovery of three super neurons that cradle a mouse’s mammalian brain, along with the implications and how that’s impacting the direction of current research.

Consciousness is an emergent property of biological complexity.

Are These Giant Neurons the Seat Of Consciousness in the Brain?

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Prof Hoffman #9 - Playing Basketball In Zero-gravity - Scrutiny - You get what you need, in both life and business.

Hoffman starts chapter nine by repeating his drill:

DH:  “Our sense forage for fitness, not truth.  They dispatch news about fitness payoffs: how to find them, get them, and keep them.

Keep in mind, this according to a theorem that plays out in an idealized mathematical universe of Hoffman’s design.  Not in our real universe ! ! !

DH:  “Despite their focus on fitness our senses confront a tsunami of information.  …”  (¶1-2)

All that Hoffman reduces to simplistic four-square games with ill defined terms such as “fitness” - “truth” - “hawk” - “dove” - terms that are fundamentally meaningless when it comes to actual evolution on Earth with it’s constant tsunami of information coming at us.


A review of Donald Hoffman’s, Case Against Reality, 

chapter 9, Scrutiny, You Get What You Need, in Both LIfe and Business 

As I’ve worked on this project searching out respectable information and following leads.  I’ve been amazed by how much presence Hoffman’s Case Against Reality has attainted on the internet.  He truly is a marketing genius.

Seems that many people think this Case Against Reality is fascinating.  Time is doomed.  Man, how cool is that?!    

Me, I’m left wondering, what drives such a desire for this sort of vacuous escapism?  

DH:  “For those readers interested in marketing and business, this idea applies to visual advertising.  The goal of successful advertising is not merely, and sometimes not even, to present important facts.  It is to craft visual message that rivets the foraging eye of the typical shopper. …”   (¶12)

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Diary - upbeat election day advice -

This morning I received a wonderful link to a cool short article.

I myself have other things to work on today and will try to stay away from news until tonight, at least.  But I do want to take a moment to pass along the message.

12 Things To Do On Election Day

Hi friends, 

Whoa - today is Election Day and our cortisol is running high. I know today has the very real potential to have most of us glued to the news, maybe drinking more than a typical Tuesday night, and nesting into a space of total fear. 

I’ve read a few reports that large numbers of Americans are expecting violence in the wake of the election, regardless of the outcome. I know that I have friends and family who have stocked up on gasoline and groceries prior to the election because they are concerned that America will face another scarcity attack and grocery store shelves will be empty, similar to early pandemic times.  

It’s also important to acknowledge that all of this fear is intensified by our fatigue of spending the past eight months living through a global pandemic and economic recession.  I do believe it’s really easy and dare I say, justified to get caught up in the chaos surrounding this election. 

Nevertheless, it’s also vital to shift gears and practice some deep self care so that in the coming weeks we can be our best selves.  These are my steps we can take today to truly nourish ourselves and our communities. 

For her suggestions link here


... and since I'm thinking upbeat, here's some music from the same crew.

Between the Walls - a casual global collaboration

Stray The Course Band  -  Jun 14, 2020

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Prof Hoffman #8 - Playing Basketball In Zero-gravity - Polychromy - Mutations of an Interface

DH:  “Color can speak volumes. … Color is a window into fitness - also a jailhouse. … Try to imagine a color you’ve never seen.  Can’t do it. … Color… like perception, is both window and prison.”   (¶1)

Polychromy = “the art of painting in several colors, especially as applied to ancient pottery, …”

We could also say that our bodies are the prison of our mind.  If you really wanted to look at it that way.  But, what’s it get you?  Beyond a reflection into your own psyche?

A review of Donald Hoffman’s, Case Against Reality, 

Chapter 8, Polychromy - Mutations of an Interface

DH:  “As a window on fitness color is not flawless, just adequate to guide our actions that keep us alive long enough to reproduce.  Color, like each of our perception, compresses the complexities of fitness payoffs to bare essentials.”   (¶2)

What gives Hoffman the right to expect some subjective idealized flawlessness from nature?  Seems a bit hubristic to me.

Sure color perception is an important element, among many important sense “elements,” none of them perfect in the best of times, all vulnerable to a galaxy of pathologies and quirks.  Such is life.  That’s why luck often matters as much as fitness.

The fundamental problem with Hoffman’s narrative is that he keeps blaming the perceived object for the quirks and short comings of the perceiving instrument.  It’s silly.

DH:  “(The human eye has 7 million cones and 120 million rods, each carrying compressed information.  The circuitry of the eye then squashes this down to 1 million signal and forwards it to the brain, which must correct errors and decode actionable messages about fitness.”   (¶8)

Thus optical illusions happens. I’m going to skip paragraphs worth of Hoffman’s tour through optics trivia.  I’ll share trustworthy authoritative sources and let them explain the details without Hoffman’s tactical omissions.

A Journey Through the Human Eye: How We See

Bausch and Lomb

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Prof Hoffman #7 - Playing Basketball In Zero-gravity - Virtuality - Inflating a Holoworld

In chapter 7 of Case Against Reality, Hoffman’s “spacetime is doomed” mantra starts sounding like a hypnotist's spell, as reality fades from view.  Here we read more fascinating stories that reveal slivers of actual physics, but then contain too many important omissions to be of any constructive help.  

One way Hoffman misrepresents facts and twists conclusions is by anthropomorphizing the results and implications of quantum experiments and theory, all the while ignoring the profound difference between quantum scale experiments, and our macroscopic physical reality. 

Or, for that matter, you’ll not hear Hoffman acknowledge the profound difference between his mathematical models of idealized universes and our actual ever evolving universal physical reality.

Of course bias comes into it.

some have the luxury of sitting back and dreaming,

Others best take reality as a given and stay focused,

and get on with it.

As a simple hands on working man, trying to follow through on Hoffman’s trains of thoughts leaves me overwhelmed time after time.  I don’t kid myself, with my middling layperson understanding of physics, I’m in no position to offer lectures or corrections to Hoffman’s details, nor is that my intent.  

Heck, I’ve had to do a lot of searching and additional reading these past weeks and again wrestling with this chapter, trying to grasp the various philosophical strands running through it and trying to wrap my head around the heady pipe dreams of these creative theorists.

My intention is to get through Hoffman’s book then to offer a saner down to Earth alternative.  An evolutionary perspective of our Earth and our human relationship with this physical reality we are embedded within.  Sans the religious baggage Hoffman’s theorem carries, stay tuned for more on that. 

I compensate for my mediocre mind by doing homework and knowing how to check out claims and weigh evidence.  For this chapter I’ve blown my deadline and spend a good deal of time learning more about what knowledgeable authorities have to explain.  I’ll be sharing highlights throughout this review.


A review of Donald Hoffman’s, Case Against Reality, 

chapter 7, Virtuality - Inflating a Holoworld

DH:  “… But here, where I don’t expect it, science injects a profound mystery: we still don’t understand “now” and “there”.  That is, we don’t understand time and space - length, width, and depth - which we take for granted, which are woven into the very fabric of our daily perceptions, and which we assume are a true and reliable guide to physical reality.”   (¶2)

The Quantum Mechanical model of an atom

What do atoms look like? Why?

Jul 31, 2020  -  Arvin Ash

Our spacetime is not doomed, no matter what impression breathless writers fill books and magazines with, no matter how smart the scientist’s mind, or how grandiose and self-certain their pronouncements are.  

Use your critical thinking skills.