Alternative evolution

For those who are sceptical of a reductionistic view of evolution where blind forces and accidental mergings are purported to account for the observed diversity of life, here is an alternative theory. This approach begins from a standpoint that assumes mind and consciousness to be primal as opposed to the above view which treats lifeless physical substance and forces and nothing more as the originator of life.

The primal mind and consciousness I will call spiritual, the physical substance and forces I will call material.

In my opinion the material is condensed out of the spiritual. So I am just giving an explanation of evolution to be considered and not trying to pass anything I say below as fact.

From this aspect the sun that we see in the sky is just the physical manifestation of the spiritual sun which covers a much more inclusive area. All of the surrounding sphere of influence of the sun is encompassed by the spiritual sun. And so our earth and all the planets are included in this sun. When we look up at the night sky all that we see, all of the visible objects are manifestations of the spiritual. All that we don’t see, the darkness, the vacuum of space, this belongs to the spiritual from which the physical is condensing. And through physics we are starting to realise that empty space is anything but empty. It is only empty from the point of view of human physical senses.

Now there are distinct levels of condensation. If we look at the solar system, the gas giants have condensed less than the earth and inner planets.

Moving on to earthly life, the single celled organisms we see around us are descended from those forms which condensed the earliest and by so doing have become less plastic and unable to develop further. There forms are not suitable for the descent of consciousness into the physical forms. But this remaining behind was an absolute necessity in order to form a base from which ever higher forms of life could emerge. And at every stage of life’s development certain forms remain behind and develop their consciousness no further. Organisms such as fish have descended more slowly and have thus been able to evolve further than the earlier forms. But they have progressed no further than their current stage. And this is how evolution continues. Humans have taken the longest time to condense down to the physical and thus have developed a physical form in which consciousness, which is spiritual, is able to become manifest in the individual organism.

And this is why we see a nested hierarchy of life from its early beginnings up to the present. Life is an evolution of consciousness which can also be described as a condensation of individual consciousnesses out of a cosmic consciousness. Prokaryotes share in the cosmic consciousness but have very little in the way of any noticeable individual consciousness. Humans are at a level where they do manifestly display a certain amount of individual consciousness.

This development of life can be seen mirrored in the development of each one of us from conception to adult. See the diagram below:

Images of human development compared to the evolution of sentient life:
A & K – Single cellular beginnings
B & L – Cells multiplying
C & M – Differentiation of forms
D & N – Distinct forms appearing
E & O – Developing locomotory systems
F & P – Early stages of central nervous system and senses
G & Q – Transition to a terrestrial existence
H & R – Limbs have developed to a point where they can support the body
I & S – Bipedalism gives the upper limbs more freedom from the gravitational forces
J & T – Organisms have moved from being just creatures to being creators

And this series is not meant to be taken as a simple progression one following on the one preceding it. There are overlapping forms between and within each level. I’m sure everyone understands that life is vastly more complex than depicted by this simple diagram.

Thinkers such as Lorenz Oken and those ancient astronomers who interpreted the heavens in the form of the zodiac, the circle of animals, pictured the animal kingdom as a spreading out of the human form, a series of individual forms each displaying a one sided aspect of that which is seen as complete in the human form. The human is the culmination of all that was prepared in preceding life. And that is what I have tried to show with this diagram. What is spread throughout the animal kingdom is condensed in the individual human being.

0

153 thoughts on “Alternative evolution

  1. Kantian Naturalist: I don’t know what anyone means by “materialist” — it’s one of those words that gets tossed around all the time but I can’t tell how it identifies any position that anyone actually holds. It’s just a straw-person caricature from what I can tell.

    Regardless, I don’t understand why anyone would need to believe in “higher spiritual reality” (whatever the hell that means) in order to explain why trajectory towards more complex forms of mindedness is one among many trajectories to be discerned in the history of life on Earth.

    But one would need to know some cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary theory to see that a naturalistic explanation for mindedness is well within our grasp.

    If you don’t like the word “materialism”, then substitute it with the word, “naturalism”.

    If you look at my diagram of the stages of life there is an ascending level of consciousness. At each level there are higher dimensions than the most advanced creatures at the time are aware of. I would say that it is the height of anthropocentrism to declare that there are still not higher dimensions beyond the present, normal human awareness. Reality should not be dictated by what the most advanced creatures are aware of at their present stage of evolution.

    By “spiritual” I mean no more than higher dimensions.

    0
  2. CharlieM: If you look at my diagram of the stages of life there is an ascending level of consciousness. At each level there are higher dimensions than the most advanced creatures at the time are aware of. I would say that it is the height of anthropocentrism to declare that there are still not higher dimensions beyond the present, normal human awareness. Reality should not be dictated by what the most advanced creatures are aware of at their present stage of evolution.

    Your diagram is based on pictorial resemblance — it has nothing to do with empirically observed biological reality.

    0
  3. Kantian Naturalist: Your diagram is based on pictorial resemblance — it has nothing to do with empirically observed biological reality.

    I have the exact same objection to virtually all evolutionary studies that assert common descent. Usually the objection is not even understood. It would be great if some biologist (someone who understands biological reality and how to empirically observe it) still existed.

    0
  4. Erik: I have the exact same objection to virtually all evolutionary studies that assert common descent.

    Haha.

    0
  5. Erik: I have the exact same objection to virtually all evolutionary studies that assert common descent.

    Virtually all? Which evolutionary studies do not suffer from this objection?

    Erik: It would be great if some biologist (someone who understands biological reality and how to empirically observe it) still existed.

    I expect most professional biologists feel they have some understanding about what the reality of biology entails. Perhaps you could do them a favor and share your knowledge of biology and how you came to understand the reality of biology so as to set biologists on the correct path.

    0
  6. Erik: someone who understands biological reality and how to empirically observe it

    You’re here to let us in on your secrets or what?

    0
  7. Kantian Naturalist: You’re quite correct to point out that Goethe was a phenomenologist. But this in turn forces onto the table the central question: is phenomenology a guide to metaphysics?

    Phenomenology gives us tools for describing how the world is to us as we experience it — but can it tell us how the world really is in itself? (Bear in mind, after all, that Husserl himself thought that the point of phenomenology was to avoid metaphysics — an ambition he shared with the logical positivists.)

    And Goethe too wanted to avoid metaphysics. But Goethe had a greater understanding of the power of thinking to bring us to a reality that could be experienced without the need to speculate about anything further behind reality. For Goethe the idea is not a copy of reality it is the experience of reality. The idea is not something we make up, it belongs to the object being studied and is taken from this.

    Andy Blunden:

    There were a number of reasons for Goethe’s hostility to what I will call ‘positivism’, so as to avoid misuse of the name of Isaac Newton.

    Firstly, and above all, the description and supposed explanation of a phenomenon in terms of some imperceptible force or ‘vibration’ is a form of metaphysics in that it makes something beyond perception into the cause and explanation for what is given in experience.[2] The same criticism could be made of Kant’s split between thing-in-itself and appearance. Goethe wanted to obliterate this gulf between idea and image because, as he saw it, understanding of Nature came from the study of Nature itself, not by looking for supernatural or metaphysical forces.

    Goethe wrote:

    If I look at the created object, inquire into its creation, and follow this process back as far as I can, I will find a series of steps. Since these are not actually seen together before me, I must visualize them in my memory so that they form a certain ideal whole. At first I will tend to think in terms of steps, but nature leaves no gaps, and thus, in the end, I will have to see this progression of interrupted activity as a whole. I can do so by dissolving the particular without destroying the impression itself

    Steiner:

    Sömmerring sends him (Goethe) a book in which Sömmerring makes an attempt to discover the seat of the soul. In a letter that he sends to Sömmerring on August 28, 1796, Goethe finds that Sömmerring has woven too much metaphysics into his views; an idea about objects of experience has no justification if it goes beyond these, if it is not founded in the being of the object itself. With objects of experience, the idea is an organ for grasping, in its necessary interconnection, that which otherwise would be merely perceived in a blind juxtaposition and succession. But, from the fact that the idea is not allowed to bring anything new to the object, it follows that the object itself, in its own essential being, is something ideal and that empirical reality must have two sides: one, by which it is particular, individual, and the other by which it is ideal-general.

    Goethe wrote to Jacobi:

    God has punished you with metaphysics and set a thorn in your flesh, but has blessed me, on the other hand, with physics. … I hold more and more firmly to the reverence for God of the atheist (Spinoza) … and leave to you everything you call, and would have to call, religion … When you say that one can only believe in God … then I say to you that I set a lot of store in seeing.”

    I hope these quotes will help to give an understanding of Goethe’s stance.

    0
  8. Kantian Naturalist,

    Further, here is Steiner’s stance on metaphysics:

    Steiner:

    It will not do to assume higher forms of existence than those belonging to the world of ideas. Only because the human being is often not able to comprehend that the existence (Sein) of the idea is something far higher and fuller than that of perceptual reality, does he still seek a further reality. He regards ideal existence as something chimerical, as something needing to be imbued with some real element, and is not satisfied with it. He cannot, in fact, grasp the idea in its positive nature; he has it only as something abstract; he has no inkling of its fullness, of its inner perfection and genuineness. But we must demand of our education that it work its way up to that high standpoint where even an existence that cannot be seen with the eyes, nor grasped with the hands, but that must be apprehended by reason, is regarded as real. We have therefore actually founded an idealism that is realism at the same time. Our train of thought is: Thinking presses toward explanation of reality out of the idea. It conceals this urge in the question: What is the real being of reality? Only at the end of a scientific process do we ask about the content of this real being itself; we do not go about it as realism does, which presupposes something real in order then to trace reality back to it. We differ from realism in having full consciousness of the fact that only in the idea do we have a means of explaining the world. Even realism has only this means but does not realize it. It derives the world from ideas, but believes it derives it from some other reality. Leibniz’ world of monads is nothing other than a world of ideas; but Leibniz believes that in it he possesses a higher reality than the ideal one. All the realists make the same mistake: they think up beings, without becoming aware that they are not getting outside of the idea. We have rejected this realism, because it deceives itself about the actual ideal nature of its world foundation; but we also have to reject that false idealism which believes that because we do not get outside of the idea, we also do not get outside of our consciousness, and that all the mental pictures given us and the whole world are only subjective illusion, only a dream that our consciousness dreams (Fichte). These idealists also do not comprehend that although we do not get outside of the idea, we do nevertheless have in the idea something objective, something that has its basis in itself and not in the subject. They do not consider the fact that even though we do not get outside of the unity of thinking, we do enter with the thinking of our reason into the midst of full objectivity. The realists do not comprehend that what is objective is idea, and the idealists do not comprehend that the idea is objective…
    When Volkelt says that our thinking moves us to presuppose something in addition to the given and to transcend the given, then we say: Within our thinking, something is already moving us that we want to add to the directly given. We must therefore reject all metaphysics. Metaphysics wants, in fact, to explain the given by something non-given, inferred (Wolff, Herbart). We see in inferences only a formal activity that does not lead to anything new, but only brings about transitions between elements actually present.

    0
  9. John Harshman: What does “pure light” mean?

    Light that has not been influenced by matter or darkness. We see objects by the means of light, we do not see the light itself.

    0
  10. Kantian Naturalist: Your diagram is based on pictorial resemblance — it has nothing to do with empirically observed biological reality.

    My diagram is a pictorial representation of empirically observed biological reality. Have you not observed the stages in human development. Walk down any busy street in your area and you will see babies in prams, parents and toddlers, teenagers, old people with walking sticks or on mobility scooters. And it also depicts individual organisms that are observable now at the sage of evolution they have reached.

    It has everything to do with observed reality.

    0
  11. Erik: I have the exact same objection to virtually all evolutionary studies that assert common descent. Usually the objection is not even understood. It would be great if some biologist (someone who understands biological reality and how to empirically observe it) still existed.

    They might want to convince you by asking you to compare it to an adult humans consisting of trillions of differentiated cells all having a common ancestor in the zygote. But then, that would be too much like a structured, directional form of evolution. And we all know that this type of thinking is taboo 🙂

    0
  12. CharlieM: John Harshman: What does “pure light” mean?

    Charlie: Light that has not been influenced by matter or darkness. We see objects by the means of light, we do not see the light itself.

    That response was … very illuminating.

    0
  13. CharlieM: Do you see the light?

    Some of us may need a tiny bit more explanation, e.g. concerning:

    What is darkness if not absence of light? How does darkness “influence” light? How does vision work when we are unable to see light? etc. etc.

    You know that this stuff will come up, especially from John, who has zero tolerance for vague hand waving. So why not seek out common ground and explain it properly?

    0
  14. Corneel: Some of us may need a tiny bit more explanation, e.g. concerning:

    What is darkness if not absence of light? How does darkness “influence” light?

    I don’t want to speculate about the definition of light and darkness. If we take Goethe’s lead and use white and black to represent light and darkness then all we need is a prism to do some simple experiments. Get some sheets of black and white card or paper. Put two black sheets over a white sheet so that there is a horizontal white band. Look at them through the prism and you will see the blue/violet end of the spectrum at the edge nearest the base of the prism and the red/yellow at the other edge. If you then narrow the white band the spectral colours will merge giving the green in the centre. Do the same with a dark band using white sheets on top and you will get the inverted spectrum as shown in the image below. The blue/violet and the red/yellow come together to produce magenta in the centre.

    This is what Goethe meant when he said that colour was produced by the interaction of light and darkness.

    How does vision work when we are unable to see light? etc. etc.

    You know that this stuff will come up, especially from John, who has zero tolerance for vague hand waving. So why not seek out common ground and explain it properly?

    Vision works because the light is acting on physical objects which are always dark compared to the light. We do not see the light but we do see coloured objects by means of the light.

    0
  15. CharlieM: My diagram is a pictorial representation of empirically observed biological reality. Have you not observed the stages in human development. Walk down any busy street in your area and you will see babies in prams, parents and toddlers, teenagers, old people with walking sticks or on mobility scooters. And it also depicts individual organisms that are observable now at the sage of evolution they have reached.

    I wasn’t referring to the ontogeny of human development but rather to the fact that one can assign resemblances between stages of human development and other species only by a massive cherry-picking of the data — not to mention misunderstanding the data that is cherry-picked. (For example, penguin bipedalism is anatomically very different from human bipedalism, because in penguins — as in all birds, as far as I know — the femur is perpendicular to the spine, whereas in humans the femur and the spine are aligned.)

    0
  16. For whatever it’s worth, I think that the relationship between concepts and objects — which is the main focus of my research and scholarship — is much more complicated than Goethe made it out to be. So I don’t take him as being an authority on this issue.

    In the smallest possible nutshell: the correspondence between concepts and objects obtains not because objects are themselves concepts or concept-like but because concepts are themselves a kind of object.

    0
  17. Kantian Naturalist: I wasn’t referring to the ontogeny of human development but rather to the fact that one can assign resemblances between stages of human development and other species only by a massive cherry-picking of the data — not to mention misunderstanding the data that is cherry-picked. (For example, penguin bipedalism is anatomically very different from human bipedalism, because in penguins — as in all birds, as far as I know — the femur is perpendicular to the spine, whereas in humans the femur and the spine are aligned.)

    Your example only goes to show that although penguins are bipedal and hold themselves upright when walking on land, they have not reached the stage of bipedalism reached by humans. Like you say their femurs are positioned closer to the horizontal than the vertical. Another important point is that their foramen magnum is positioned at the back of the skull and not below as in humans. Not to mention that they have reverted to a fish like form and positioning when in the water.

    If my data is cherry picked, give me some examples of your own from within the evolutionary tree of animal life and we will see if I can fit them somewhere along my list.

    0
  18. Kantian Naturalist:
    For whatever it’s worth, I think that the relationship between concepts and objects — which is the main focus of my research and scholarship — is much more complicated than Goethe made it out to be. So I don’t take him as being an authority on this issue.

    Goethe didn’t really think much about the relationship between concepts and objects. He wasn’t one for thinking about thinking. He preferred to study nature and let nature reveal to him its ‘open secrets’. Philosophising about the nature of thought was too much of an abstraction for him.

    In the smallest possible nutshell: the correspondence between concepts and objects obtains not because objects are themselves concepts or concept-like but because concepts are themselves a kind of object.

    I can relate to that. Physical entities are objects we perceive externally through our senses. Concepts are objects we perceive from within.

    0
  19. CharlieM: Goethe didn’t really think much about the relationship between concepts and objects. He wasn’t one for thinking about thinking. He preferred to study nature and let nature reveal to him its ‘open secrets’. Philosophising about the nature of thought was too much of an abstraction for him.

    Yet that doesn’t seem to have refrained him from making philosophical claims.

    I can relate to that. Physical entities are objects we perceive externally through our senses. Concepts are objects we perceive from within.

    I don’t think that’s true at all — rather, concepts are (on my view) just stable, reliable patterns of animal behavior, and that is why they are a kind of object (indeed, a kind of physical, spatio-temporal object).

    0
  20. Kantian Naturalist: October 22, 2018 at 7:59 pm
    Ignored

    CharlieM: Goethe didn’t really think much about the relationship between concepts and objects. He wasn’t one for thinking about thinking. He preferred to study nature and let nature reveal to him its ‘open secrets’. Philosophising about the nature of thought was too much of an abstraction for him.

    Yet that doesn’t seem to have refrained him from making philosophical claims.

    Can you give me an example of one of these philosophical claims?

    0
  21. Kantian Naturalist:

    I can relate to that. Physical entities are objects we perceive externally through our senses. Concepts are objects we perceive from within.

    I don’t think that’s true at all — rather, concepts are (on my view) just stable, reliable patterns of animal behavior, and that is why they are a kind of object (indeed, a kind of physical, spatio-temporal object).

    How many assumptions do you have to make before you come to the conclusion that concepts are physical, spatio-temporal objects?

    0
  22. CharlieM: How many assumptions do you have to make before you come to the conclusion that concepts are physical, spatio-temporal objects?

    I never counted ’em, but probably about as many as you made before coming to the conclusion that concepts aren’t physical, spatio-temporal objects.

    0
  23. Kantian Naturalist:

    CharlieM: How many assumptions do you have to make before you come to the conclusion that concepts are physical, spatio-temporal objects?

    I never counted ’em, but probably about as many as you made before coming to the conclusion that concepts aren’t physical, spatio-temporal objects.

    I haven’t said that that concepts aren’t physical, spatio-temporal objects. If I had then you would have been justified in what you wrote above.

    I wrote, “Concepts are objects we perceive from within”. Well we have both claimed that they are objects, which is really just saying they are something rather than nothing. So we are equal in that regard. The only other thing I have claimed is that we perceive them from within. What other way could I hold a concept if not within my mind? And notice I am not claiming anything about the nature of mind either. All I am claiming is that I have direct experience of having concepts in my mind.

    To make claims that they are physical or non-physical, within or outside of space and time are all assumptions over and above anything I have claimed for them.

    0
  24. We certainly can become aware of concepts through reflection but that doesn’t show that the concept/object distinction tracks the outer/inner distinction. We acquire concepts (for the most part) in the process of learning how to use words, which is a public and norm-governed activity.

    Having acquired a concept, it is possible for us to become aware of what that concept is, though I would certainly not want to build an empirical psychology of conceptual activity on the model of what philosophers do when they engage in reflective, deliberate reasoning.

    My point being that we shouldn’t build our theory of what concepts are on the basis of introspection, any more than we should build our theory of what physical objects are on the basis of sense-perception. We know from a few centuries of physics and biology that physical objects aren’t what we ordinarily take them to be, and the same point applies to concepts as well. (For the same point not to apply, we would have to believe that introspection is somehow far more veridical or truth-disclosive than sense-perception, and there’s no reason at all to think that it is.)

    0
  25. CharlieM: John Harshman: What does “pure light” mean?

    Light that has not been influenced by matter or darkness. We see objects by the means of light, we do not see the light itself.

    Do you have any idea what you’re trying to say here? What is “darkness”? How does it influence light? How does matter influence light? Of course we see the light itself. Light consists of photons. Photons enter the retina and activate the visual pigments there, setting off a cascade of events that are eventually integrated by the visual cortex. So we see light, and that’s all we ever see.

    0
  26. CharlieM: This is what Goethe meant when he said that colour was produced by the interaction of light and darkness.

    Those look like fun experiments, but those guys are not talking about “invisible light” and “darkness influencing light”. They correctly mention that the inverted spectrum appears because our eyes need to interpret a mixture of various wave lengths with our trichromatic colour vision. This is basic optical physics and basic biology. How you get to all that stuff about “pure light” is beyond me. How do those statements follow from the “inverted spectrum” experiments you link to? Could you start off with the basics we learned in high school about colour diffraction and photoreceptor cells?

    0
  27. Kantian Naturalist:
    We certainly can become aware of concepts through reflection but that doesn’t show that the concept/object distinction tracks the outer/inner distinction. We acquire concepts (for the most part) in the process of learning how to use words, which is a public and norm-governed activity.

    You are using so many concepts in this paragraph and you have come to them all by the act of thinking. So you should start your philosophising from thinking and not concepts. All of your concepts have already been worked through by thinking.

    Having acquired a concept, it is possible for us to become aware of what that concept is, though I would certainly not want to build an empirical psychology of conceptual activity on the model of what philosophers do when they engage in reflective, deliberate reasoning.

    Having the concept is already having become aware of it. That is what is meant by having the concept. Your concept might not accord with reality but that does not mean you are unaware of the concept you hold.

    I’m not trying to build anything on the reflections of philosophers. I am building it on how any human would gain an understanding of reality and that is achieved through thinking. And that is why my 4 year old granddaughter is constantly asking, ‘why?’

    My point being that we shouldn’t build our theory of what concepts are on the basis of introspection, any more than we should build our theory of what physical objects are on the basis of sense-perception. We know from a few centuries of physics and biology that physical objects aren’t what we ordinarily take them to be, and the same point applies to concepts as well. (For the same point not to apply, we would have to believe that introspection is somehow far more veridical or truth-disclosive than sense-perception, and there’s no reason at all to think that it is.)

    Humans have known for thousands of years that physical objects aren’t what they are ordinarily taken to be. Think ‘Maya’.

    The only way we arrive at any concept is through the inner activity of thinking. I look at an oak tree. When I was a very small child it meant nothing to me, it was just a foreign object among a multitude of foreign objects. Then at some point I learned that it was a tree. Through external observation, and the inner activity of thinking about the memories I had built up, I gained the concept ‘tree’. Now through the power of thinking I look at an oak tree and associate several more concepts with it, such as organism, deciduous, wood, acorn, leaf, bark, and so on. Every consistent concept I add gives me a fuller picture of the reality of the tree that is in front of me.

    We were out walking and my granddaughter saw a large tree stump and she shouted, ‘Look, a mountain!’ whereupon she climbed on top of the stump. Up to that point she had probably only associated mountains with those she had seen in picture books or the TV. She did not have the concept of scale. But as she develops she is adding concepts which fit her world picture and hopefully correct any previous concepts which do not fit. But it is all done through thinking working on experience.

    Are you denying that my granddaughter and I have these inner experiences? Our senses give us an incomplete picture which can only be completed by the act of thinking and making connections.

    0
  28. John Harshman:

    CharlieM: John Harshman: What does “pure light” mean?

    Light that has not been influenced by matter or darkness. We see objects by the means of light, we do not see the light itself.

    Do you have any idea what you’re trying to say here? What is “darkness”? How does it influence light? How does matter influence light? Of course we see the light itself. Light consists of photons. Photons enter the retina and activate the visual pigments there, setting off a cascade of events that are eventually integrated by the visual cortex. So we see light, and that’s all we ever see.

    We do not see light, we see the influence of light, the contrasts, the colours, the interplay between light and darkness.

    Please watch this video. In it they experiment with the various spectra. The normal rainbow colours they call the Newtonian spectrum and the inverted spectrum they call the Goethean spectrum. They demonstrate that they are equal and opposite, two complimentary spectra.

    So for your question, ‘What is “darkness”?’, it is shadow, and from it can be produced a spectrum of yellow, magenta and cyan complimentary to the red, green and blue spectrum which is usually the only one discussed. By taking account of both spectra it disproves Newton’s theory that pure light contains all the colours within it. Because they demonstrate if that were the case then pure darkness must contain the yellow, magenta and cyan spectrum, which is clearly nonsense.

    They are working with the actual experience of colour, you are dealing with mathematical abstractions used in order to be able to quantify and measure colour. But in so doing we actually lose sight of colour itself.

    Here are some things that physicists say about the photon:

    It is a construct, a dimensionless point particle, we don’t really know. a wave packet, an atom of light, a purposely mysterious “quantum object”, a countable thing with definite energy, photons are merely a figure of speech useful when the field is of a special kind, an elementary particle, a gauge boson, a zero-mass particle with energy and spin one, a single-particle excitation of the free quantum electromagnetic field

    None of this is anything taken from our direct experience of light and colour.

    From this site Arnold Neumaier writes:

    The talk about photons is usually done inconsistently; almost everything said in the literature about photons should be taken with a grain of salt. There are even people like the Nobel prize winner Willis E. Lamb (the discoverer of the Lamb shift) who maintain that photons don’t exist.

    Here they have this to say about the Newtonian and the Goethean spectra:

    In the field of classical spectroscopic methods, a spectrum cannot be empirically prioritized in favour of its inverse counterpart: they are spectroscopically equivalent and this equivalence is guaranteed by the energy conservation of the radiation in the spectra pair.

    What we see is clouds, cats, crimson, dust particles, red sunsets. We do not see photons, light cones, neurons.

    Both the light and shadow spectra are the colour images that we see when we manipulate light and dark edges.

    0
  29. CharlieM: So for your question, ‘What is “darkness”?’, it is shadow, and from it can be produced a spectrum of yellow, magenta and cyan complimentary to the red, green and blue spectrum which is usually the only one discussed.

    So far when I ask you “what is darkness?” all you do is provide a rough synonym: “black paper”, “shadow”. Darkness is the absence of light. We see objects as dark when there are not many photons coming from that direction, often relative to other directions. Darkness does not generate a spectrum, whatever you think you mean by that. You are so hopelessly confused about nearly everything that it’s almost impossible to talk to you.

    0
  30. Corneel: Those look like fun experiments, but those guys are not talking about “invisible light” and “darkness influencing light”. They correctly mention that the inverted spectrum appears because our eyes need to interpret a mixture of various wave lengths with our trichromatic colour vision. This is basic optical physics and basic biology. How you get to all that stuff about “pure light” is beyond me. How do those statements follow from the “inverted spectrum” experiments you link to? Could you start off with the basics we learned in high school about colour diffraction and photoreceptor cells?

    If I wanted to discuss the mechanics of colour vision then I could start off with these basics. But I am not talking about the mechanics behind vision, I am talking about our visual experience. Look around you. We see green fields, blue sky and grey clouds, we do not see the sunlight that allows us to see these things. The air in your room is invisible. We might see dust particles dancing in the light but we do not see the air itself. Do you think that because the air is invisible then it does not exist? Air is more dense than light, it has mass, so what do you find so objectionable to saying that pure light is invisible.

    0
  31. John Harshman: How does matter influence light?

    For one thing it refracts or reflects it. Does a stained glass window affect light in the same way that a brick wall does?

    0
  32. CharlieM: Air is more dense than light, it has mass, so what do you find so objectionable to saying that pure light is invisible.

    First, that you have been unable to say what pure light even is and how it might differ from impure light. Second, that our inability to see air has nothing to do with our ability to see light. Third, light is all we see. We don’t see clouds directly, whatever that might mean; we see the light that bounces off clouds and into our eyes. The only sense in which we don’t see light is that we actually see images created in our visual cortex. But those images are assembled based on the light that hits our eyes, and anyway processing by the visual cortex isn’t what you’re talking about; you seem to be claiming some actual physical phenomena here, and you’re just talking nonsense. Science passed by Goethe a very long time ago.

    0
  33. CharlieM: For one thing it refracts or reflects it. Does a stained glass window affect light in the same way that a brick wall does?

    No, but what both of them do is to change the frequency distribution of the light that hits them by absorbing some frequencies, reflecting others, and letting others pass through. That is nothing like the pseudo-mystical nonsense you are preaching here.

    0
  34. John Harshman:
    … Darkness is the absence of light….

    I am happy to go along with that definition.

    …You are so hopelessly confused about nearly everything that it’s almost impossible to talk to you.

    You are the one who is confused about what you can and cannot see.

    0
  35. Man, it’s not like Isaac Newton and the next century of science on the nature of light and optics settled this matter. CharlieM is what, three or four centuries behind in his understanding of the nature of light?

    0
  36. I will say that the refraction of the “ray” of magenta is kinda cool, but all of these effects are the (easily explained) results of inadequately-collimated light.
    Charlie should try reproducing these results using a neon light source…

    0
  37. petrushka:
    There are days when these discussions are really depressing.

    Maybe you remember the late Professor (Emeritus) John A. Davison? He had a supporter, Martin Cadra, who was an enthusiast on Goethe’s colour theory and I felt obliged at one point to find out more as he raised it at some discussion venue, can’t remember where now. Apart from not quite (well, maybe not at all) matching reality, it’s quite interesting.

    here

    0
  38. petrushka:
    There are days when these discussions are really depressing.

    Hang in there, the woompa loompas should be treating us to a nice little song any minute now

    0
  39. CharlieM: We see green fields, blue sky and grey clouds, we do not see the sunlight that allows us to see these things.

    OK, Let’s see if I can follow Goethian colour physics:

    We see green fields, blue sky and grey clouds. You said that our vision works because of the light acting on physical objects.

    But if air is invisible, then why is the sky blue? It cannot be the light itself scattering in the atmosphere, right? So what blue thing are we looking at?

    0
  40. John Harshman: First, that you have been unable to say what pure light even is and how it might differ from impure light.

    Pure light is invisible, we see through it. Impure light is light which has been weakened by its interaction with matter, we see it as a hue. Examples are the blue sky, red sunset, a rainbow.

    Second, that our inability to see air has nothing to do with our ability to see light.

    For me light and air have one thing in common, I cannot perceive them directly with my senses.. If I wish to remain within my experiences and not add any speculations then I can say that the room I am in is illuminated by sunlight but I do not see this light, what I do see are the objects in the room. Likewise I do not see the air that is in the room. For my senses they are equivalent.

    Third, light is all we see. We don’t see clouds directly, whatever that might mean; we see the light that bounces off clouds and into our eyes. The only sense in which we don’t see light is that we actually see images created in our visual cortex. But those images are assembled based on the light that hits our eyes, and anyway processing by the visual cortex isn’t what you’re talking about; you seem to be claiming some actual physical phenomena here, and you’re just talking nonsense.

    Tell me what is the difference between the cloud in your field of vision and the ‘cloud in itself’ behind the cloud in your field of vision?

    Science passed by Goethe a very long time ago.

    Maybe ‘science’ has thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

    One minute I am discussing evolution and the next the properties of light! How did that happen!?

    0
  41. John Harshman: harlieM: For one thing it refracts or reflects it. Does a stained glass window affect light in the same way that a brick wall does?

    No, but what both of them do is to change the frequency distribution of the light that hits them by absorbing some frequencies, reflecting others, and letting others pass through. That is nothing like the pseudo-mystical nonsense you are preaching here.

    I am saying that matter affects light. By talking about frequency distribution you are saying that you agree with the current, standard theory of light. Whether it is true or false can be debated. I’m sure it will be superseded by a more complete theory in the future. But I am just confining myself to my experiences of light, darkness and colour.

    I suppose this should be discussed in another thread. Maybe I’ll eventually get back on topic 🙂

    0
  42. DNA_Jock:
    I will say that the refraction of the “ray” of magenta is kinda cool, but all of these effects are the (easily explained) results of inadequately-collimated light.

    Such as natural sunlight is.

    Charlie should try reproducing these results using a neon light source…

    You mean using light that is already coloured.

    0
  43. Alan Fox: Maybe you remember the late Professor (Emeritus) John A. Davison? He had a supporter, Martin Cadra, who was an enthusiast on Goethe’s colour theory and I felt obliged at one point to find out more as he raised it at some discussion venue, can’t remember where now. Apart from not quite(well, maybe not at all) matching reality, it’s quite interesting.

    here

    Have you actually read the book?

    0

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.