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Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality 
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 Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality

Please use this thread for discussing Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality. :bananadance:



Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:49 pm
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One more post ought to do it.

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Post Re: Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
I do feel as though I want to take issue with his looooong list of pseudoscience and superstition.........2nd Paragraph.

But there again, it is only a list and is Sagan's own perception of bogus.

I think I have seen enough mediums and healers (my Mum used to have them to tea when they were appearing at her Spiritualist church), to realise that some are deliberately misleading, some are well-meaning and convinced of their own gift of clairvoyance or whatever, and some can convey such a sense of peace and stillness that there is no doubt that they can heal psychosomatic disorders, as Sagan seems to agree in this chapter, (my page 218, paragraph beginning 'As a typical example'). The point being that a very large proportion of illness in this day and age is psychosomatic, more than in history because of the pace of living and the different modern circumstances. It is still healing, one person to another. Asthma and eczema, both being nervous complaints with physical manifestation.

I myself have learned dowsing. I use a pendulum. I don't know how it works, I don't think it's magic, but it works on some level.

Anyway, whilst I have appreciated this chapter and it is good to be reminded to be skeptical and wary, it seems a shame to be completely cynical and miss out on a lot of natural healing techniques.

Sagan has warned us that we might be hallucinating, or imagining things, or it might be wishful thinking, but surely the best person to decide is ourselves. If a person is not gaining financially, or seeking kudos, then we can use our own rational thinking to decide rather than lump it all into one huge heap and call it bullshit.

I have enjoyed this chapter though. You see what happens Carl Sagan? You teach people to think for themselves and what happens? They won't do as they're told.... :-D


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Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:25 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
In my opinion, it's not wise to make grand sweeping assumptions about Reality.
It's arrogant, but not very wise for a number of reasons.

This is what disinterests me most about celebrity scientists like Sagan.

I plan to read, "The Eerie Silence" by one of my favorite authors, Paul Davies.
Probably immediately after finishing up this book.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Eerie-Silence ... B005OHT0WS



Last edited by ant on Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:35 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
Penelope wrote:
Anyway, whilst I have appreciated this chapter and it is good to be reminded to be skeptical and wary, it seems a shame to be completely cynical and miss out on a lot of natural healing techniques.


I wouldn't say we disregard the natural healing techniques. As long as we understand them as naturalistic - ie affecting us through placebo, then we are being honest about the potential limits.


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Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:35 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
Not only do placebo treatments work because of the impressive powers of our minds, but the body has a natural tendency to heal itself, anyway, which increases the chances that any treatment--or no treatment--will be effective. A doctor once told me something striking. He said that doctors should post a sign in the waiting room reading, "75% of you will get better anyway."



Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:21 am
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Post Re: Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
What does the phrase "impressive powers of the mind" mean scientifically?



Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:25 pm
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One more post ought to do it.

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Post Re: Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
Our minds are much more powerful than we are generally aware. My husband says that when he worked in Research and Development in the Nuclear Power Industry - he used to go to sleep with a problem/puzzle on his mind, and when he woke up in the morning he often had the answer as though his brain had been working it out whilst he was sleeping. I don't mean he would receive flashes of inspiration, I think it would be more like a mathematical equation.

I don't know whether this is what DWill was meaning,.

I know that our minds can be calmed and influenced by music, or by the reassuring presence of another person.

How to express it scientifically is another matter entirely.


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Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:24 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
Maybe Interbane would say it stands to reason that we should be able to locate inspiration in the brain and remove it for further analysis.



Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:23 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
ant wrote:
What does the phrase "impressive powers of the mind" mean scientifically?

I dunno, didn't mean for it to have scientific heft. I'm even a little hazy on what we might mean by use of that word--scientific. What specific quality do we mean to confer?



Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:29 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
DWill wrote:
ant wrote:
What does the phrase "impressive powers of the mind" mean scientifically?

I dunno, didn't mean for it to have scientific heft. I'm even a little hazy on what we might mean by use of that word--scientific. What specific quality do we mean to confer?


75% of people will get better anyway??

And the scientific explanation would be "because that's what mostly happens. The science of medicine assists health, but does not assure it or its well being"
Maybe?

No doubt we have come a long way. But is there a tendency to overrate our understanding?



Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:43 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
ant wrote:
Maybe Interbane would say it stands to reason that we should be able to locate inspiration in the brain and remove it for further analysis.


Many things like inspiration are emergent phenomenon as complex as the weather. We may be able to roughly gauge what is inspiring to another, and study a few of the neurons in detail. But it's currently complex beyond our ability to examine. Most of the answer is necessarily philosophical or even artistic, since inspiration is a mostly subjective thing.

ant wrote:
And the scientific explanation would be "because that's what mostly happens. The science of medicine assists health, but does not assure it or its well being"
Maybe?


As DWill said, our bodies heal naturally.


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Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:12 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
ant wrote:
75% of people will get better anyway??

And the scientific explanation would be "because that's what mostly happens. The science of medicine assists health, but does not assure it or its well being"
Maybe?

No doubt we have come a long way. But is there a tendency to overrate our understanding?

I'm not sure what you're arguing here, ant, and I wasn't arguing anything beyond ill-health mostly resolving itself without any treatment (other than applying common sense). Do I need a study to back me up on that?

We don't live our lives through science, anyway. It's just a tool in the toolbox.



Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:16 am
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Post Re: Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
Sagan touches on the placebo effect a bit in this chapter.
Although he does not provide scientific reasons for it, his talking point is understood and now approaching total redundancy.

Sagan is free to opine as much as anyone, but when you totally mischaracterize an issue and blow its context completely to hell (as Sagan does with the historical details of Mesmerism) i know the author is either intentionally duping his readers, or isnt sophisticated enough to be opening the topic up for discussion.
Sagan is both.



Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:46 am
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Post Re: Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
Quote:
i know the author is either intentionally duping his readers, or isnt sophisticated enough to be opening the topic up for discussion.
Sagan is both.


are you saying that CS is intentionally duping his readers AND not sophisticated enough to discuss these matters? :-D

this reminds me of when Stahrwe called Joe Campbell a hack.



Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:19 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
Quote:
Page 241 Carl Sagan :
"But what worries me is that a Carlos will come along with bigger fish to fry-attractive, commanding, patriotic, exuding leadership. All of us long for a competent, uncorrupt, charismatic leader. We will leap at the opportunity to support, to believe, to feel good. Most reporters, editors, and producers-swept up with the rest of us- will shy away from real skeptical scrutiny. He won't be selling you prayers or crystals or tears. Perhaps he'll be selling you a war, or a scapegoat, or a much more all-encompassing bundle of beliefs than Carlos's. Whatever it is, it will be accompanied by warnings about the dangers of skepticism."


Here, With this quote is the root fear CS is warning against, Charlatans with bombs.
Read the quote and think carefully of events since 911, seems prophetic doesn't it? Don't just picture in your minds eye the other side in possession of WMD's, Think of your side as well.


Quote:
same page Carl Sagan :
One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject evidence of the bamboozle, We're no longer interested in finding the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. Its simply to painful to acknowledge, even to our selves, that we've been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back. So the old bamboozles tend to persist as the new ones rise"


Again read the quote, and think in terms of global politics, CS's prophetic subversion, or am I totally out of context?



Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:50 pm
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