Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Skeptical Chopra

Let's take a look at this article from Deepak Chopra, the title of which encourages skeptics to go radical.
Anyone who has had the audacity to question mainstream science soon runs afoul, particularly in the blogosphere, of hard-line skeptics.
Whatever that means. 'Mainstream' science is just science.
Whether they are simply insistent or outright aggressive, the skeptical viewpoint has long been founded on a simple principle.
Question everything, even this article. That's the principle.
Reality is what lies before us, in the three-dimensional world "out there" that's verified by the five senses.
So, things like dark matter aren't real because it doesn't exist in those three dimensions, and you can't taste it.  Same thing with microwaves or IR light.
If you can see it, feel it, touch, taste, and smell it, the thing in question is real (making provisions for scientific instruments like telescopes and microscopes that extend the naked eye).
Well, which is it?  Must I be able to experience them with my senses, or can I experience them by proxy?
No amount of argument shakes the skeptic's credo,
That's correct. We question things until we have solid evidence.  I'm sure that won't come up again.
and so it's refreshing that they are being upended,
So you do not question things?  Or you don't want us to require evidence for claims?
not only by metaphysics
HAHAHA.... oh no, you can't experience metaphysics with any sense, or instruments, but somehow it's real!

Excuse me while I catch my breath, I laughed too hard.
or deeper investigation into consciousness--all of which gets dismissed as woo-woo,
So you don't have even those instrument readings you just said were required, but we should just accept your claims as true?  Well, I think you just admitted it isn't real, Deepak.
but by science itself.
That's the point, sir.
With the discovery of so-called dark matter and dark energy, which either obeys none of the laws of nature that apply to ordinary matter and energy or else conforms to those laws in a hidden way, the primacy of the visible universe has shrunk alarmingly.
Those things are real and we can detect them with instruments, which you just said were fine.

We cannot, however, seem to find a telescope, microscope, radio receiver, or anemometer that can pick up on metaphysical constructs that you've described elsewhere.
Every solid object in the cosmos,
Those made of matter, you mean.  There are solid things not constructed of matter, like for example things made of dark matter.
including interstellar dust,
Why wouldn't it include that, again?
is barely the cherry on the top of an ice cream sundae,
A dark-matter sundae, no less.  You really don't understand dark matter, do you?
because only a fraction of 1% of creation
 No, it's not created.  It simply is the universe.  The cosmos.  Don't use the word creation until you demonstrate a satellite dish that can receive information from a metaphysical creator.  Remember, you need that for it to be real.  Are you even paying attention to your own article?
is constituted by ordinary matter and energy.
Actually, you're off by an order of magnitude, because it's probably closer to 4% right now.
This common-sense objection to the physicalists,
You only think it common because you don't understand what that word means.
as materialists now prefer to be called,
Who cares?
doesn't shake their faith utterly,
Faith doesn't require evidence. Metaphysics has no evidence, by your admission.  Therefore, you're the one with that kind of faith (since you're conflating terms here like the disingenuous person you are).
because it might be possible to redefine matter and energy in such a way that the old model of "if you can see it, it's real" won't collapse.
You're the one claiming that things have to be able to be sensed to be real, after all.  Just because we can measure something doesn't mean we can sense it.  Not in the meaning you're using, anyway.  Again, conflation of terms.
But other challenges to physicalism are more radical,
...of which you've presented none here...
which is why skeptics need to follow their credo
...except when it comes to your claims, right?
to the nth degree and apply it to themselves.
Right back at you.  Are you not skeptical of your own claims?  Why do you not hold them to the same rigor?

Oh right.  Can't hear us over your special pleading, can you?  Also, I can't be skeptical of claims you aren't supporting with evidence.  You need evidence for skepticism to play out.  Otherwise you're just a modern-type cynic with a baseless assertion.
There is almost universal agreement among physicists that the universe emerged from a pre-created state that is a void,
No, there isn't, and you're an intellectually dishonest lout. If I were to correct your statement:

"There are mathematical observations upon which physicists rely, that describe the state of the early universe as expanding from nothing, the kind of nothing that Krauss and others have described at length.  This is a fact that liars intellectually dishonest charlatans like Deepak Chopra will cherry-pick out to make himself look more credible, because he doesn't have a shred of scruples when it comes to honest discussion."
known as the quantum vacuum state.
Also known as "just one more thing Deepak doesn't understand."
This void offers no empirical data.
Virtual particles, for one.  Dark matter, for another. We can observe them mathematically, predict them, and see their effects on the expansion of space.
The world's most powerful high-speed particle accelerators can barely budge any data from the quantum vacuum state,
Yeah, we didn't learn nothing from the silly higgs-boson experiments, right?

If you insult my intelligence this severely again, I may become thoroughly unpleasant.

You have been warned.
whose existence is so abstract
It's not abstract.  It explains how the world works.  The quantum world.
that one might as well call it totally mathematical, i.e., mental.
You are the only mental one here.  You do not understand the math, so you think people just make it up.  You are a disgrace to the institution of philosophy that you claim to represent.  You do not understand this and so you claim that no one can, because it would hurt your ego too severely if someone actually understands something you don't, that you have to act like you're the ultimate authority on sciences you probably couldn't comprehend if Feynman gave you a personal tour of his mind for the next several centuries.  You couldn't grasp these concepts if you had until the end of time, and Carl Sagan himself explained it in painful detail.  You would not understand the basics if Mr. Rogers held your hand and walked you through QED on the Magic Schoolbus.
If your foundation of reality is mental,
...says the twit who claims that metaphysical stuff isn't entirely mental...
it's obvious that the five senses have long ago ceased to be reliable
It's a good thing math isn't based on feels, then, isn't it?  See how you're reading this blog entry?  If math didn't work, neither would your computer.

Checkmate motherfucker.
(skeptics tend to overlook that among the greatest quantum pioneers a century ago, everyday matter and energy had already been thoroughly dismantled).
Well, when you don't define your terms, I guess you can have verbal diarrhea anywhere.
The notion has long existed, as first evidenced by Heisenberg, that elementary particles have no set qualities;
Yeah, he didn't really say that, but I reckon a strawman argument is the only argument you've ever engaged in, so try not to burn your brain on the actual science.
instead, nature delivers measurements tailored to the expectations, experimental setup, and observational bias of human beings.
Which is totally why the red shift is something only humans can observe.  Yup.  It's not an intrinsic part of the universe, nope.
There are no fixed qualities of space, time, matter, and energy that exist "out there" without being extrapolated from human experience.
Wrong. You're just simply wrong.  You are so incredibly wrong that I'm not even going to go into detail here.  Here's a video on the alpha constant though.

If you want to be radically skeptical,
Deepak "THE EDGELORD" Chopra
look with doubt upon a basic fact like the big bang,
It's not as basic as you think, in this regard.
which we say in human time took place 13.8 billion years ago.
Roughly, yes. We also have ways to demonstrate how long that is independently of our own methodology.  It's just handier for humans to speak to one another in human-friendly units.  We could measure it in Planck times, but this wouldn't be useful to most people.
With so much agreement on this fact, how could anyone be skeptical?
Well, for a start, 'the big bang' wasn't really the thing, it's just common popular vernacular for describing the very earliest parts of the inflation.  'Big Bang' doesn't really explain it, because 'big bang' refers to a specific event hypothesized half a century or more ago.  We've updated the models with new evidence.
The reason lies deeper than the clock ticking away on the shelf.
Not really, but I digress.
The big bang has no known origin
Correct, because it doesn't require one.
when you get to the finest level of time and space, known as the Planck scale.
Holy crap, I called that one.  I actually hadn't read this far.
At this level, which is measured in trillionths of a second,
Close enough.
the emergent universe is about to be born.
Well, not exactly. The inflation was when time began.  Don't look at it like the beginning of a timeline, though.  Think of it more like a sphere. The beginning of time is the center of that sphere.  You can't go beyond the center, obviously, because you'd just start going the other way.
Its birth wasn't a bang, for obvious reasons.
Mainly because it wasn't a 'bang.'  It was an inflation.  At the beginning (which you would do best to think of as the center of the universe in time) it was literally a point a planck-length across, probably less even, and it 'inflated' from there.
One, there was no sound,
This is mainly because matter wouldn't annihilate with antimatter for a bit, and create space as we commonly think of it for quite a while after.
and two, explosions require a place and a time.
Close enough I guess.
The Planck scale precedes time and space
No. Can't have measurements where space doesn't exist.  No dimensions yet, remember?  You can't have the smallest space and the shortest time before space and time existed.
(granting that "precede" makes no sense without time already existing).
See, you don't get it.
In this pre-reality,
Wrong again.  You've defined your terms poorly, again. It's every bit as real as the center of the earth or sun.
if we can call it that,
Nope.  We can't.  You can, because you're dishonest, but I can't, because I'm not.  So we cannot.
the universe originated everywhere at once,
Not really.  You aren't following me, are you?
and contemporary theorists speculate over whether the same is true today as well.
[citation needed]
You can argue,
You, however, cannot.
from various viewpoints
Something else you lack.
like eternal inflation,
What, prithee tell, is 'eternal inflation?'  Did you mean expansion?  The inflation was a specific thing. Before it happened, time and space were infinitely dense, so to speak.  They existed at null states in symmetry with dark matter etc.
that the existence of matter and energy, whether at the subatomic scale or on the massive scale of galaxies, is a process that never ceases.
Well, again, you seem to be referring to the expansion, but even then not really, because the expansion largely has nothing to do with galactic formations anymore.  It's a thing that happens far from galaxies, in fact, because matter-heavy areas don't tend to expand as much for some reason.
Besides being timeless, it is also dimensionless.
The inflation? No.  You are wrong.  The various phases of the inflation did happen for specific periods of time, give or take, but you simply don't understand how time works.  Maybe we'll discuss it in a future episode.
The whole notion of the quantum vacuum state, which is ground zero for reality,
Not really, no.  What does this waffle even mean?
can be mathematically tinkered with so that the void has no dimensions,
No.  That's so dumb...  I think I just pulled an axon.
infinite dimensions,
Not based on observation, it can't.
or a specific number in between.
See, this is why you don't understand dimensions.  I'm working on a hypothesis to describe reality, actually, and maybe even tie all the forces together neatly.  I'm probably wrong.  Either way, I'm still attempting to figure out if the stuff I'm thinking about can be tested.  You are not.  You haven't made any predictions we can test, apart from claiming the evidence is wrong.  That's the only thing you've claimed which we have an ability to test for, and you come up wrong every time.  Quit acting like that's the fault of someone else.
In a word, reality at its core is inconceivable,
Again, what does that mean?
and trying to model it with mathematical formulas may serve a certain purpose abstractly,
It serves a fine purpose practically, too. It predicts the force of gravity based on the mass of an object.  It predicts the flow of electrons through a system. It predicts the rates of decay of radioactive atoms. Things we can test to see if our math is correct, and then how to correct our math for further predictions.
but even diehards like Stephen Hawking concede that current theory may be far removed from reality.
But unlike die-hard folks like Chopra, Hawking is open to his claims being wrong if new evidence presents itself.  Which Chopra has yet to provide.
Skeptics should be chewing on the current imperfect and very malleable state of cosmology before they point accusations at anyone else.
Do you even read, bro? There's not a unified theory yet, and do you know why?  It's because they ARE chewing on those problems, then going out and testing those hypotheses and reforming them based on observation. Something you seem quite content not to do.
The defense of common-sense physicalism is not only outmoded by about a hundred years,
You act like metaphysics is any different...
but it amounts to an article of faith and a superstition,
No, it doesn't.  Science makes observations and then tests predictions based on those observations.

Metaphysics makes stuff up and then doesn't care what the observations are, because it'll just make up new stuff regardless of the observations.

Can you see the difference?
the very things the skeptic movements is dedicated to oppose.
You are not a skeptic.  You don't question your own beliefs. You don't attempt to embrace evidence that could show you wrong, but that's what skepticism does. If I'm wrong, show me, and I'll have to change my opinion.  If I don't think you are correct, but you can show that you are, then I must concede your point.  Unfortunately, for you, you haven't done that.
In an era of radical skepticism,
should it ever arrive,
Passive-aggressive tripe.
a post-physicalist perspective could be of tremendous benefit to everyone.
Or it could be complete horseshit.  Good thing we have empiricism to sort it out, if it ever arrives, right Deepak?