I'm happy to report that after an unexpected extension, my critical review of Donald Hoffman's "Case Against Reality" is complete. I thought to do more by way of summary, but not getting any inspiration, so I'm done. Perhaps in a year, providence willing, it'll be fun to revisit and see if I can write an interesting summary. In the meantime, this will have to do.
HOFFMAN'S "CASE AGAINST REALITY,"
PLAYING BASKETBALL IN ZERO-GRAVITY, A REVIEW
Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero-gravity Review is intended to offer solid information, food for thought, and hopeful inspiration for students concerned with American’s descent into delusional thinking. It is set up to be easily skimmed, contains copious references to expert sources and reporting, along with a few promising gems.
I've been challenged with the question: "Why am I so "obsessed" with Hoffman’s Case Against Reality?"
It’s a fair enough question. Why have I spent a half year thinking about it, then nearly another half year and thousands of words dissecting Donald Hoffman’s book, The Case Against Reality, why evolution hid the truth from our eyes?
I’ll tell you why,
* It started with Donald Hoffman boasting that he’s doing serious solid science that is relevant to our daily lives. When all he’s doing is sophisticated mathematical games, computer modeling, philosophizing, wrapped in just-so storytelling. But, none of it deserves being called serious science!
* Getting further into the book, I found my Down to Earth sensibilities and my respect for physical sciences increasingly offended by this man’s glib disregard for natural facts as scientists have refined them.
* His dismissal of physical sciences and the physicalist paradigm were as laughable, as they were irritatingly disingenuous.
* His notion that the perceiver composes the perceived, is childish.
After all, doesn’t light need to reflect off an object before we can perceive it? The perceiver composes an impression of the perceived. How does Hoffman justify such gross distortions of physical fact?
* His constant reliance on computer analogies to answer questions - is reminiscent of an evangelical’s dependence on their own Bible to make their case, such debate tactics are not acceptable for a scientist.
* His constant conflation of Objective Reality and Physical Reality, needs a spotlight.
“Objective” being a product of our minds doing their best to keep subjective human biases out of their observation and learning process.
Thus, science’s dependence on process and measurements; physical evidence and repeatability; facts at hand driving understanding; a community of experts always looking over each other’s shoulders; constructively learning from mistakes; demand for honesty at all levels of communication; and so on.
* His tendency to imply that Evolution has agency reveals a limited appreciation for actual “wet” evolution unfolding one day at a time, over the course of deep time.
* In fact, turns out the only thing Hoffman knows about Evolution, is Evolutionary Game Theory. (He's never studied actual Evolution.) Realizing that, made Hoffman’s simplistic sweeping pronouncements regarding Evolution that much more galling.
* Then, his quantum level rhetorical fancy dancing that disingenuously conflates conclusions from atom smasher experiments with our macroscopic day to day reality, was like listening to nails being scrapped across a chalkboard.
* He joined the chorus of talking head$, proclaiming “Space-time and Reality (as we know it) is Doomed,” a mere figment of our imagination. Why? Basically because their latest and greatest math breaks down, leaving them with no other conclusion.
* Then to fill in this contrived void, Donald’s imaginative storytelling comes to the rescue with Hoffmanian Conscious Agents that zip around interpreting reality for us, because the reality we think we are seeing, isn’t really there, says Professor Hoffman. He assures us that he has the math to “prove” it.