11-19-20

– To accept that God wanted a rational animal. He wanted something whose organs and physical structure would be cast up from an ocean of chance and unknown possibilities, and something that would get by not just through calculation, reflection, and deliberation but even by unconscious drives, unavoidable biases, urges that had long lost their environmental justifications, strange associations that are opaque to rational justification (like when we associate scents and strong memories) etc.

-That the person is a microcosm means not just the rather facile idea that the mind holds some picture of the universe in itself, but also that within human interior life there is the reactive, unreflective consciousness of the animal, the unconscious striving of the plant, and even the mystery of matter that is simultaneously completely inert and always active.

-We see the multiple lenses of a fly’s eye and assume they see a thousand little pictures. Nonsense. What they see is just as much one world as ours, but it is not characterized by objects (that is, things known being in front of us) but by radiants (that is, a complete dome of a world with all things in front, above, behind)

-Pit vipers see not just with eyes like ours but also in infrared. Nightfall is not when all goes dark but when all changes color. During the daytime, one and the same thing has two colors at once in the same way that it now can have a color and texture at once.

-Dogs would share and record scents like we do with pictures.

-“Scientism cannot be given a scientific verification”. Really? Doesn’t Shermer try to do this by appealing to the method as the only way to avoid cognitive biases, and then try to back it up with research findings, experiments, etc.? Perhaps this just pushes the goalpost back, but we might be able to argue that it pushes it back to a self-evident truth, like the desire to avoid contradiction. We might even allow a whole logic too, just deny any power as a tool of discovery outside of logical entities.

-Explaining things by laws is an attempt to explain the changing by the unchanging; the temporal by the non-temporal. Motion remains a way of being relative to the immobile, while this immobile thing does not change relative to it. The mobile is ruled, measured, and defined by the immobile without interacting with it. It makes no difference to this argument whether we take the law as in the mind or outside of it, or in things or outside of them, it only shifts the sense of “rule, measure, and define”.

-Retorsion and refutation leaves us with nothing. But something is better than nothing. True,  it is better to have no opinion than to have a false one, but the refuted thing is never so thoroughly false that there isn’t anything to recommend it.

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