Re: Attempt to put Paranormal discussion in context

From: Jef Allbright (
Date: Sun Jan 01 2006 - 13:12:15 MST

On 1/1/06, Damien Broderick <> wrote:
> At 10:36 AM 1/1/2006 -0800, Jef wrote:
> > > Personally, I see all of it -- us and our subjective experience, and
> > > the unpredictability that accompanies insufficient context -- in
> > > mechanical terms, and strangely, I feel that my viewpoint enhances,
> > > rather than diminishes, the mystery and romance of human experience.
> But what else could it be but mechanism (for some quantum-based and
> semiosis-mediated value of "mechanism")?
> What is at issue, IMO, is the density, opacity, elaborateness of those
> mechanisms we call "human". Rigorous training can get us to emulate much
> simpler machines, within certain boundary conditions, but the rest of the
> machinery has an annoying way of intruding unpredictably. (Parenthetically,
> one of the subtle and compelling aspects of Philip K. Dick's fiction is the
> way in which his characters veer away from the traditional rational
> give-and-take of expository conversation and decision-making in sf,
> abruptly reversing course, for example, to the dismay of the other
> characters. Yet these jinks and swerves are not random, in retrospect,
> given an accumulating understanding of the characters' backgrounds,
> confused or ambiguous states of mind, or simple mammalian capricious
> waywardness.)
> Damien Broderick

Complete agreement on the above, so I'll proceed to note that I assign
a very low importance (evaluated in terms of likelihood times expected
payoff) to the topic of psi. In fact I expect first order payoff to be
virtually zero, but derivative payoffs including openness to
exploration, social tolerance of opposing views, and potential
serendipitous discoveries produce a value somewhat higher than zero in
the bigger picture.

- Jef

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:54 MDT