2,657 thoughts on “Elon Musk Thinks Evolution is Bullshit.

  1. RB,

    One is the loneliest number
    That you’ll ever do…

    (Directly pertinent to envatted brains…)

    Yeah, the one-brain version of envattedness is far more disturbing than the Matrix-style version, where many brains share a common, though illusory, reality.

  2. keiths:
    RB,

    Yeah, the one-brain version of envattedness is far more disturbing than the Matrix-style version, where many brains share a common, though illusory, reality.

    Imagine a universe where this is only one, lonely but capable entity. Wouldn’t it want to forget, in a vat?

  3. keiths: I don’t think beliefs are necessarily linguistic either. Do you?

    They aren’t if cats know things, but they are if all anybody can know is one of your infinite asterisk propositions.

  4. Fwiw, my cat is neither a cartesian nor been terribly moved by anything Boltzmann has written. Of course he’s not much different from you in having no idea about an infinite number of the other scary disjuncts.

    Hey, if keiths’ view is correct the two of theml might consider getting together to reform the old Know-Nothing Party.

  5. Rich:

    Imagine a universe where this is only one, lonely but capable entity. Wouldn’t it want to forget, in a vat?

    Could an omnipotent, omniscient deity deliberately relinquish omniscience, plus set up a virtual reality in which he appeared to lack omnipotence? I think timelessness throws a wrench into the works, but we could stipulate a god that exists within some kind of time.

    So it’s possible that fifth is actually God, envatted and (ironically) casting about for a God to worship. Perhaps he can infallibly reveal himself to himself.

    Don’t bogart that joint, RB.

  6. keiths: it was the Son who incarnated, not the Father or the Holy Spirit.

    Right I never said otherwise. Christ has a physical brain and the other members of the Godhead benefit from the knowledge he gleans from that .

    Three persons one God.

    keiths: Now you’re telling us that God’s every conscious thought as he interacted with the people of the Old Testament depended on the operation of a physical brain that, like Jesus’s butt, would not exist until hundreds of years later.

    Temporal perspective requires that the observer be in time. phrases like “until hundreds of years later” are meaningless from the perspective of a timeless God

    I suggest you check out this book if you are genuinely interested in this sort of thing

    https://www.amazon.com/God-Us-Divine-Condescension-Attributes/dp/1433509024

  7. walto: go read the Van Cleve paper I recommended.

    link please

    walto: In fact maybe V.C. gets into that in the Reid book mung recently bought.

    I’ve read a lot from and about Reid. I’m definitely a fan. I don’t think the anti-christian will get a lot of help from Reid’s thought when it comes to this stuff.

    Peace

  8. fifthmonarchyman: . I don’t think the anti-christian will get a lot of help from Reid’s thought when it comes to this stuff.

    People read things for different reasons. So far as I can tell from OPs by, e.g., phoodoo, mung, and other theists who post here, THEY concentrate on reading things to support their views. (And maybe sometimes will post something by an atheist that strikes them as particularly stupid.) Patrick reads Rand to support his views and doesn’t like to read stuff he disagrees with. That’s not how everybody rolls, though.

  9. walto: That’s not how everybody rolls, though.

    Do you have any evidence for this?

    I would say that trying to maintain consistency with your most valued and core beliefs is pretty much a universal characteristic as we go through life.

    Perhaps a core belief you have is that are unbiased and open minded. If that is the case then you will tend to find confirming evidence for that wherever you look.

    You might even look for ways that your approach is different from those you take to be biased and closed minded

    peace

  10. fifthmonarchyman: I would say that trying to maintain consistency with your most valued and core beliefs is pretty much a universal characteristic as we go through life.

    Sure. I agree with that. I don’t think what I read is particularly constrained by it, though. What’s most constraining in my case is lack of reading speed, reluctance to plow into things that seem particularly hairy (and, others would no doubt add, my comprehension limitations).

    ETA: Also, my desire to read everything Trollope wrote. So damn prolific, that guy!

  11. walto: Fwiw, my cat is neither a cartesian nor been terribly moved by anything Boltzmann has written.

    And as Putnam liked to repeat, there are a lot of cats in the neighborhood.

  12. phoodoo:
    Kantian Naturalist,

    Furthermore, what the hell are you talking about with “Darwins Doubt” in parenthesis? Cognitive science has helped us explain the explosion of life during the Cambrian?

    I was referring to “Darwin’s Doubt” in Plantinga’s sense, not Meyers’s. I thought context made that perfectly clear.

  13. A quick survey of responses to Descartes — including but not limited to Locke, Hume, Reid, Peirce, etc. — indicates that there is no non-circular refutation of skepticism. Descartes’ own refutation of skepticism is completely circular, as Hume points out in “Skepticism with regards to reason” in the Treatise. Just as Descartes argues that one cannot vindicate the reliability of the senses by means of the senses, Hume argues that the same point is true for reason itself. And that means the skeptic wins, once the question of the reliability of our cognitive powers is permitted to take a global (rather than local) form.

  14. keiths:

    The biggest source of confusion was that you and walto were including “perception is veridical” as one of the disjuncts, while KN and I were excluding it.

    Bruce:

    I did not mean to do so. I only meant for the disjunction to list all of the metaphysical possibilities.

    The effect is the same, because “perception is veridical” is true in some of those metaphysical scenarios. Whether you itemize those separately or gather them into a single “perception is veridical” disjunct is immaterial.

    I take your point as being we cannot reason our way to knowledge about the ontology of our world purely on the basis of subjective experience.

    Almost. First of all, I would substitute “perceptual” for “subjective”.

    Secondly, I think we can say that the ontology of the real world (including us) must be such that

    a) we can exist in it, and
    b) it’s capable of producing the stream of “sensory” information we are receiving.

    But of the ontologies that satisfy (a) and (b), we can’t favor any particular one over the others empirically because the stream of sensory information doesn’t distinguish among them.

  15. walto:

    Keiths is content not to know anything except some propositions he can’t state, but only summarize.

    Where did you get that idea? I think we can know things — mathematical truths, for example. (We can’t be absolutely certain of them, of course.)

    Second, I don’t need to know that any of the disjuncts are true. Cartesian skepticism depends only on not knowing that all of the disjuncts are sufficiently likely to be false.

    I think keiths misses the whole point that language has to be acquired.

    It doesn’t matter, because perception can happen without the aid of language. I don’t need to mentally form the sentence “there is a tree in front of me” in order to experience the perception of a tree in front of me.

    But the BB and demon are just completely confused on those matters IMO. They are specimens of Cartesian theater theories.

    How so? What’s the screen, and what’s the homunculus, in the Boltzmann brain scenario? In the Cartesian demon scenario?

    And keiths repeats the circularity claim. But taking items in the common-sense world as Quinian “posits” does not use them as premises.

    You’re taking “perception is veridical” as a premise and concluding that perception is therefore veridical. Flagrantly circular.

    This exchange reveals the problem:

    walto:

    Now we can explain this, as foundationalists do, by saying that perceptions are inherently warranted by their very nature…

    keiths:

    But you would need an argument to that effect. You haven’t pointed to anything in “the very nature” of perceptions that warrants an assumption of reliability.

    walto:

    …or we can start postulating Gods and Bibles and burning bushes and water walking (or skiing or whatever it is) and a vast amount of other assorted silliness that is entirely inconsistent with almost everything we know about the world.

    keiths:

    The whole point of this discussion is that we can’t claim to know anything about the outside world unless we already know that our senses are basically reliable.

    In other words, you’re making a circular argument. You’re rejecting every possible Cartesian scenario based on its inconsistency with what you “know” about the world; yet knowing those things about the world depends on your already having rejected every possible Cartesian scenario.

  16. Neil:

    Many people might say that “real” is how God sees the world. Here, “God” could be a hypothetical, so that even an atheist can have that view of “real”.

    So you retract your silly claim that I am assuming the truth of theism and dualism?

  17. walto,

    Patrick reads Rand to support his views and doesn’t like to read stuff he disagrees with.

    Is that something you actually know to be true, or is it just a reflection of your dislike of Patrick?

  18. keiths: Where did you get that idea? I think we can know things — mathematical truths, for example. (We can’t be absolutely certain of them, of course.)

    Second, I don’t need to know that any of the disjuncts are true. Cartesian skepticism depends only on not knowing that all of the disjuncts are sufficiently likely to be false.

    First, I’m glad that you know 2+2=4 but sorry that you don’t know whether you have pants on. Second, of course you don’t know that any of the disjuncts are true. How could you? You know basically nothing (which, incidentally, is something I’ve been saying since I’ve started coming to this site).

    keiths: It doesn’t matter, because perception can happen without the aid of language. I don’t need to mentally form the sentence “there is a tree in front of me” in order to experience the perception of a tree in front of me.

    That remark may well be false, but as it’s largely irrelevant to your knowledge claims, I leave it.

    keiths: What’s the screen, and what’s the homunculus, in the Boltzmann brain scenario? In the Cartesian demon scenario?

    The “stream of sensory information” is the screen; the “We” you keep talking about that are “receiving” this stream are the homunculi.

    keiths: And keiths repeats the circularity claim. But taking items in the common-sense world as Quinian “posits” does not use them as premises.

    You’re taking “perception is veridical” as a premise and concluding that perception is therefore veridical. Flagrantly circular.

    No, that’s completely wrong. You should look up “veridical”: it means accurate or true, not evident. I’ve said that perceptual experiences inherently provide evidence not that they’re necessarily veridical.

    keiths: The whole point of this discussion is that we can’t claim to know anything about the outside world unless we already know that our senses are basically reliable.

    In other words, you’re making a circular argument. You’re rejecting every possible Cartesian scenario based on its inconsistency with what you “know” about the world; yet knowing those things about the world depends on your already having rejected every possible Cartesian scenario.

    That’s also completely confused. I simply deny that we need to know that our senses are reliable for our senses to BE reliable. You are putting the cart before the horse, just as FMM does. We need to know things before we can know that we know them. We don’t have to know that we know things before we can know them.

    Anyhow, at least you did TRY to respond to my objections in this post. That’s a step forward. I think you should next admit that on your view animals can’t know anything.

  19. keiths:
    walto,

    Is that something you actually know to be true, or is it just a reflection of your dislike of Patrick?

    It’s a surmise based on his limited understanding of political philosophy and his attitude toward posts he disagrees with here.

  20. walto,

    Patrick reads Rand to support his views and doesn’t like to read stuff he disagrees with.

    keiths:

    Is that something you actually know to be true, or is it just a reflection of your dislike of Patrick?

    walto:

    It’s a surmise based on his limited understanding of political philosophy and his attitude toward posts he disagrees with here.

    In other words, you don’t know that Patrick reads Rand to support his views, and you don’t know that he dislikes reading stuff he disagrees with, but you wrote it anyway:

    Patrick reads Rand to support his views and doesn’t like to read stuff he disagrees with.

    Jesus, walto.

  21. fifthmonarchyman: Right I never said otherwise. Christ has a physical brain and the other members of the Godhead benefit from the knowledge he gleans from that .

    What knowledge does a human brain have the the other members of the godhead don’t?

  22. Kantian Naturalist,

    Yes, I got it. Some people might think a guy as exacting about words such as you might not have wanted to capitalize doubt. But the point was really that you make these grand statements, woven into your verbose theories, and just expect people to accept all the wild premises camouflaged within.

    Most people probably don’t have the time or patience to call you out on them. But when you say our best understanding of cognitive system shows that there is in fact a causal link between successful action and accurate representation, one just has to say “Whoa! how do you just throw that in there”?

    Were you hoping no one would notice? Its pretty hard to go further beyond that.

  23. KN,

    I mean, you certainly don’t think its true for dung beetles or goldfish, that there is a causal link between successful action and accurate representation of their world do you?

    So when do you think it just so happened to become a fundamental part of our genome? Was it something that was like a switch, that just suddenly turned on and caused us greater reproductive rates, or was it in degrees? Are we still somewhere in the spectrum of reliable senses, or have we finally got it mastered-as the luck of evolution would have it?

  24. Hey Phoodoo, are you going to be correcting your post as Elon Musk clearly doesn’t “think evolution is bullshit”, or does that require too much honesty?

  25. Richardthughes,

    Of course doesn’t believe in evolution. A simulation created by programming geniuses is the antithesis of a belief in evolution. Whether or not he (or the delusional materialists here) realizes that is another story.

    You are like the dung beetle who thinks he is the King of the World, when really you are only the King of Shit.

  26. Richardthughes,

    No no Richard, he may think that he believes in evolution, because evolution (evil geniuses playing with computers) has created a gap between what he believes in and what he says he believes in, because this is the most successful strategy for reproducing (You see, if Musk were to enunciate honestly the wild contradictions of what his brain is telling him, woman would realize he is a complete loon, and they would be less likely to want to reproduce with him even despite his millions-think Donald Sterling) so he has a survival advantage by saying things that are so incompatible, so ludicrously impossible, that any woman listening with any sense at all, would quickly realize he was joking.

    That it has all flown completely over your head is not only irrelevant to his survival strategies, but also entirely expected.

    The dung beetle continues to happily roll his ball of shit unaffected.

  27. phoodoo,

    It gets funnier, Phoodoo. You know what Elon Musk is thinking (better than he does) and also purport to know what I’m thinking. How often do we catch you baselessly motive mongering? Perhaps the real mystery is how a person with your telepathic gift is so unaccomplished and uniformed in life.

    But look at Musk, so helplessly confused as you suggest. He’ll never amount to much.

  28. Richardthughes: Imagine a universe where this is only one, lonely but capable entity. Wouldn’t it want to forget, in a vat?

    How would we go about testing that? A thought experiment?

  29. phoodoo: …if Musk were to enunciate honestly the wild contradictions of what his brain is telling him…

    Echoing Rich, do you think it is reasonable to discount what people say for themselves and make up your own version that suits your own preconceptions?

  30. Regarding thought experiments, solipsism and brains in vats, I’ve been experiencing déjà-vu after recalling Dr Johnson’s famous demonstration of reality (though it would have been better if he had been surprised by tripping over an un-noticed rock). Have we been there before?

    Why yes, we have.

  31. Alan:

    I’ve been experiencing déjà-vu after recalling Dr Johnson’s famous failed demonstration of reality…

    Fixed that for you.

    And the conclusion of my OP was:

    Kicking the stone proved nothing.

    Thus I refute Johnson, though I’m sure I’m not the first to do so.

  32. Alan Fox,
    Alan,

    You mean you believe Musk is actually a raving lunatic, who not only believes that we are living in the midst of some evil geniuses world of digital computer switches of “1s” and Os” AND he also believes we are a product of a series of highly flawed, meaningless replicators that accidentally, over billions of years have turned these meaningless specks of dust into unfathomably precise intelligent organic beings, capable of pondering their own existence, exactly because of the fact that they are so flawed and unorganized and sloppy?

    Well, that really is an interesting take Alan.

    Do you think someone should call a mental hospital? And perhaps also the SEC to investigate if Tesla is covering for their madman CEO who has plunged off the deep end?

  33. keiths:

    According to orthodox Christian belief, it was the Son who incarnated, not the Father or the Holy Spirit.

    fifth:

    Right I never said otherwise. Christ has a physical brain and the other members of the Godhead benefit from the knowledge he gleans from that .

    Trying to backpedal, eh, fifth? We weren’t talking about knowledge, we were talking about minds.

    Remember, you wrote:

    I would note that the paper appears to assume that it is necessary for a mind to be “in time” to be [a] viable entity. This would refute your notion that a timeless deity could interact with a temporal universe.

    By your logic, only Jesus has a mind, because only Jesus entered time and acquired a physical brain. The Father and the Holy Spirit don’t share Jesus’s brain. They can’t, because they didn’t incarnate. According to you, they are timeless and can’t interact with the physical — and that includes Jesus’s brain.

    So the Father and the Holy Spirit are mindless, and only Jesus is capable of thought.

    You’ve stumbled into another heresy, fifth.

  34. phoodoo,

    No he doesn’t think that at all i’ll wager. You are simply engaging in your bad and dishonest habit of attributing views to people they do not hold.

    Again, Phoodoo is not a parody. He is a real person.

  35. I have to say Alan, that I find it rather disturbing that you bandy about with you wildly speculative theories of mental illness so casually.

    If Musk really is the whacked out delirious psychotic that you are suggesting, that is no trivial matter for some. I think you could perhaps be a bit more sensitive.

  36. keiths:

    Now you’re telling us that God’s every conscious thought as he interacted with the people of the Old Testament depended on the operation of a physical brain that, like Jesus’s butt, would not exist until hundreds of years later.

    fifth:

    Temporal perspective requires that the observer be in time. phrases like “until hundreds of years later” are meaningless from the perspective of a timeless God

    We aren’t talking about a timeless God. We’re talking about a physical brain in time. Remember, you’re the one who happily quoted the BCP paper to argue that minds are only viable within time.

    So the God of the Old Testament, interacting with the people of the Old Testament, does all of his thinking with a brain that doesn’t yet exist. (Actually, that might explain some of the idiotic things Yahweh does in the OT. You may be on to something, fifth. 🙂 ).

    You’ve once again stepped on the rake, and the handle has hit you squarely in the forehead. You simply aren’t suitable for apologetic work, fifth. Please, please, find someone competent to take over.

  37. walto,

    Second, of course you don’t know that any of the disjuncts are true. How could you?

    You’re contradicting yourself. You just told me that I didn’t know anything except some of the disjuncts:

    Keiths is content not to know anything except some propositions he can’t state, but only summarize.

    walto:

    But the BB and demon are just completely confused on those matters IMO. They are specimens of Cartesian theater theories.

    keiths:

    How so? What’s the screen, and what’s the homunculus, in the Boltzmann brain scenario? In the Cartesian demon scenario?

    The “stream of sensory information” is the screen;

    It can’t be. In a Cartesian theater, the screen is what the sensory information is projected onto, and there’s an infinite regress of them — and of homunculi. That doesn’t happen here.

    You need to brush up on the Cartesian theater model.

  38. Could someone please edit waldo’s long url link? It make the thread unreadable on a tablet.

  39. keiths:

    Sure, but I don’t think beliefs are necessarily linguistic either.Do you?

    Yes, it is an interesting question whether animals and pre-linguistic children can have beliefs.

    But as I read it, all of the discussion in this thread is about knowledge of propositions, ie we are trying to understand the relation between global skepticism, perceptual experience, and an utterer to whom we are we are ascribing beliefs/knowledge of a proposition such as “I see a tree”.

  40. Reciprocating Bill: One is the loneliest number
    That you’ll ever do…

    (Directly pertinent to envatted brains…)

    A small point: as I understand Putnam’s BIV paper, he has many interconnected, independent brains. So they could be considered a language community.

    Presumably, the brains of Three Dog Night would have been among them.

  41. BruceS: A small point: as I understand Putnam’s BIV paper, he has many interconnected, independent brains.

    Two can be as bad as one.

  42. Neil Rickert:

    Given how you worded that, I’m guessing that you misunderstood my point.

    Doh! I should have seen that coming.

    I’ll grant that we have some criteria (but unstated) for judging what is real.And we judge what is real based on those criteria, rather than by asking what is the community consensus.However, the criteria themselves come from something like a community consensus.

    But even if we stick with a single language community, there are many sub-communities within it.

    Consider the sub-community of those who believe in the reality that the earth is round versus the sub-community of those who deny that reality.

    Is there no way to compare the merits of each sub-communities claims about reality?

    I have no doubt misunderstood again, but where?

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