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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Apr > Apr 26

Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2012 23:09:00 -0500
Archived: Thu, 26 Apr 2012 06:34:23 -0400
Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary


>From: Cathy Reason <Cathym.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2012 18:47:44 +0100
>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
>>To: <post.nul>
>>Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2012 13:34:55 -0500
>>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>>So it's a solid premise because it has a lot backing it up, and
>>>the evidence which backs it up must be ok because it's based on
>>>a solid premise. This is completely circular reasoning.

>>Nice try, Cathy. No. The premise is backed up by evidence
>>obtained from empirical research conducted in scientific fields
>>outside psychology. There is nothing circular there.

>Yes, I'm aware that you are now enlisting physics in your quest
>to prove that human perception is unreliable. All I have to say
>to this is that if you want to describe perception as unreliable
>because it can't detect interference patterns between quantum
>waveforms, then that's up to you. But to my mind that stretches
>the notion of unreliability to an extent that is manifestly
>absurd.

A nice piece of sophism, Cathy. Brilliant how you reduced the
vast number of things that the human perception process can't
detect down to just  "interference patterns between quantum
waveforms."

It really will make me look the fool to anyone foolish enough to
not catch the sophism.

Your remark would make sense if that was what I was doing but
you and I both know this is not the case, as do most of the
members on this list with a modicum of intelligence to their
credit.

For those not so blessed: the human perception process fails to
detect a whole lot more than interference patterns between
quantum waveforms.

>It also means, needless to say, that every instrument used in
>classical physics is also hopelessly unreliable, since it is
>effectively impossible to detect an interference pattern in any
>system which is entangled with the natural environment.

It would only mean this if your unfounded accusation that I was
describing the human perception process as unreliable solely on
the basis that it can't detect interference patterns between
quantum waveforms was true.

><snip>

>>If I have, let us say, the actual painting of the Mona Lisa
>>before me, I have the whole picture. This represents the
>>totality of all that exists outside us. I take a paper towel
>>tube and place it against the canvas, so that I see only a very
>>small portion of the picture. I lose sight of most of the
>>picture. This represents the limitations of our senses in not
>>detecting most of what exists external to us. Now I take a black
>>marker and smude out most of the very small portion of what I
>>see through the tube. This represents our brains filtering out
>>most of the data that is assailing us on a steady basis.
>>Finally, let's say that the very, very small piece of the
>>painting that is left that I am aware of happens to be just one
>>of the Mona Lisa's eyes. It is really just a bit of paint on a
>>two-dimensional surface. But the painter did a really good job
>>and I perceive it as a three-dimensional thing. This represents
>>our perception process adding qualities to things that they
>>don't have, such as color, hotness or coldness, form, etc.

>You've assumed, entirely without proof, that information
>filtered out by the brain is relevant, rather than irrelevant.
>So for that reason I think your analogy here is fallacious.

No. You think my analogy is fallacious because you misunderstand.
You misunderstand because _you_ are assuming.

As stated above in your remark, you assume I am saying that the
information filtered out by the brain is relevant rather than
irrelevant.

Nothing could be more distant from the truth. Some of it is
relevant and most of it isn't.

In the case of the human perception process operating in the
real world as humans go about their normal business, the brain
presents very relevant information to our awareness on a steady
basis, and most of what it filters out is irrelevant. That is
what makes it functional. You are accusing me of saying the
opposite. I'm not.

The analogy is crude, and maybe not even a good one, but it is
not fallacious. But I do see where it could have misled you to
the conclusion that I was saying most of the information
filtered out by the brain is relevant. The amount of painting
blotted out by the black marker was not very representative of
the proportion of relevant information filtered out in the real
world. I was trying to get across the idea that filtering of
relevant data occurs but, in retrospect, the analogy implied too
much relevant data was being filtered. So, I am mostly
responsible for your false assumption that I am saying the data
filtered out by the brain is mostly all relevant.

Sorry. I should have devised a better analogy. However, I am not
saying that the data filtered out by the brain is mostly
relevant because it most certainly is not. It is mostly
irrelevant.

But I _am_  saying that the brain does - quite often - filter out
relevant data too.

>>Missing essential information can have a detrimental impact on
>>our survival in the everyday world. If you walk into an
>>abandoned mine, for example, where there has been a buildup of
>>odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas - as two children did
>>here in Glace Bay several years ago - that missing essential
>>information certainly will have an impact on your survival.
>>(These two children were found dead a few days later by
>>searchers, only feet from the entrance to the mine. They had
>>walked into the pocket of poisonous gas which their senses could
>>not detect, quickly passed out, and died trapped within the
>>pocket.)

>Yes, these things do happen. But they are products of extreme
>and unusual circumstances. They are the exception, not the rule
>- and that's precisely why they tend to be newsworthy.

I think they happen a lot more often than you accept. They don't
have to come out of extreme and unusual circumstances.

In the natural world, similiar things happen all the time. But
these are caused by relevant data not being presented to
awareness because it has been filtered out by the brain, rather
than not detected at all by the senses.

Take the illustration of camouflaged animals. How many times has
an animal ended up as a pile of feces because its perception
system did not present relevant information to awareness? How
many times has a hungry animal gone without its meal because its
perception system did not pass important information to
awareness?

No camouflage is perfect; there are always vital clues present.
The brain filters them out.

>>So, at an inconvenience to my wife and I, we sat in a hot car
>>for more than half an hour, wasting time that we were short on
>>(as there were other important things we had to do). At an
>>inconvenience to my son, he had to walk home (several
>>kilometers) in the heat. These were occurances that none of us
>>wanted. So exactly how reliable relevant to our needs was our
>>perception process at that time?

>Ok, first question - how often did this happen to you in the
>last month? Second question - how often did it _not_ happen?
>That is, how often in the last month have you looked for someone
>or something and _not_ failed to find them?

How many times have I sat in a hot car for more than half an
hour because I failed to see my son walk in front of it? Just
that once. Thank the powers that be for that.

But dozens of similiar things happen quite often. I can't count
the number of  times I wandered around the room like an idiot
looking for my keys and they were right in front of me the whole
time, in a place that I looked directly at several times. Or did
the same thing looking for my cup of tea, or the book I was
reading and put down for a few minutes. This has also happened
times beyond count to everyone I know.

>The situation you describe is known as a visual search error and
>there is a whole literature dedicated to understanding it. Yes,
>these things do happen. But they are exceptional and that's
>precisely why we remember them.

Yeah, I know what it's called. I am familiar with a lot of that
literature. But there is nothing exceptional about these
situations. I am going to post some literature relevant to this
in a seperate post.

>We have models for understanding how the brain identifies
>targets from fields of heterogeneous distractors (sometimes
>known as "visual clutter"). These models are built up of local
>processing algorithms and it's possible to fool them by
>presenting targets in a highly cluttered environment (one
>involving a lot of heterogeneous distractors) or by cueing
>attention to look in the wrong place, as you have described
>here. But as I mentioned in a previous post, these errors are
>highly specific to the circumstances that create them. There is
>no need to imagine some generic cognitive homunculus creating
>"models of reality" and thus no reason to regard these sorts of
>errors as systemic. And systemic error is surely what
>unreliability entails.

I have a good understanding of these models, Cathy. And here is
the funny thing: I subscribe to them.

It is entirely your assumption that I think there is a
"cognitive homunculus creating models of reality." And the
reason you are assuming this is because of a single word in your
description of what you think I believe in. (Hint: this word
starts with a "c" and ends with an "e."

>>The human senses not detecting most of what is out there,
>>blotting out most of what it does detect, creating an
>>inaccurate representation of what is out there that caused the
>>initial stimuli, then interpreting (via mechanisms that are
>>capable of being tricked) is quite a bit more than a ragbag of
>>perceptual anomalies.

>It would be if that's what was going on. But your entire case
>rests on two Cognitivist assumptions - firstly that perception
>creates a "representation" of reality and secondly that this
>"representation" is inaccurate.

>But if there is no representation in the first place this whole
>case falls to pieces. If there is no representation-building
>homunculus then there is nothing to "blot out" most of what it
>sees and create an inaccurate model of the world. Instead there
>are merely local processing algorithms which have evolved to
>_select_ precisely those aspects of the visual world which are
>needed to provide accurate information about the environment.
>It's quite true that these mechanisms can be fooled. But as
>David Rudiak has pointed out, it's actually quite hard to fool
>them, and biologically that's just what we should expect.

There's that "c" word again.

It has quite accurately been said that no two people can debate
something successfully unless they have an agreement as to what
the definitions of the terms they are using mean. This has never
been more apparent than in our current discussion.

When you talk about a "representation" it is quite clear that
you are meaning what Cognitivism means by this. But you have not
been able to grasp the idea that not everyone defines psychology
in the same way you do.

When I am using the term "representation" my understanding of it
is simply 'the contents of awareness.' What we are aware
(conscious) of. That which has reached the level of
consciousness (awareness).

I believe consciousness is a fundamental component of the
universe, its most basic building block.  It is diffuse
throughout the universe and can't be broken down into smaller
units. It is like the electric charge in a subatomic particle.

The brain is a receiver - rather than a generator - of consciousness
and serves to filter out the vastly overwhelming amount of
information available - via the mechanisms and algorithms you
and David are talking about. It is a reducing valve that filters
out most of what's out there (because it is irrelevent) and leaves
but a trickle of which we are aware. Change or affect the process
(as with psychedelic drugs) and there is more or less awareness.

But that awareness happens because consciousness is fundamental.
The stuff in consciousness (awareness) _is_ consciousness.

No objects floating by in the stream of consciousness for a
spectator to watch.

No representation (replica or image) building homunculus that is
blotting out stuff it doesn't need as it creates a picture of
reality that it then presents to us.

I draw on physics, parapsychology, psychology itself, mysticism,
neuroscience, research into psychedelic drugs, and everyday
observation to support these beliefs. I don't base them on merely
accepting a rigid physics representation of reality. I base it on
much, much more than simply physics.

Most importantly, I base it on personal experience that comes
out of many years of experimenting with heavy doses of
psychedelic substances, such as dimethyltryptamine (DMT),
psilocybin, mescaline, lysergic acid amide (LSA), muscimol (as
found in Amanita muscaria mushrooms), salvinorin-A (in Salvia
divinorum), and a few more such substances.

DMT is a hard to obtain item but anyone with a high school
knowledge of chemistry can easily freebase it from an easy to
obtain Mimosa hostilis root bark powder. It is an easy, though
not without risk, process involving naptha, lye, and ammonia.
The rest of the psychedelics listed above are easily obtained.

Much to my dismay, I had to  discontinue my experimenting with
these substances awhile back. My last three experiments with
psilocybin were close to fatal. My last experience saw me being
taken to hospital, and then rushed by ambulance to another
hospital, with a blood pressure of 188 systolic over 108
diastolic, pulse of 108, severe chest pain, and indications that
a cardiac event had occured before being taken to hospital.

These substances are vasoconstrictors and it is not a good idea
for a man in his fifties who has high cholesterol, boarderline
high blood pressure, and a diagnosed heart arrhythmia to be
experimenting with them. So I have not been able to experiment
for some time now, as my next experiment may be my last (a
fatal) one.

>And that's why I describe these examples of yours as anomalies.
>You've taken a ragbag of anecdotes and assumed they are
>representative of some systemic unreliabity. But there is just
>no evidence of this and plenty of evidence against it.

And that's why your ragbag of anecdotes description is
completely out to lunch. There is indeed a bag of evidence and
it is a pretty big bag, and contains a whole lot more than
anecdotes.

There is no evidence for - and plenty of evidence against -  the
representation-building, blotting out what it sees, homunculus
presenting pictures or representations to us.

I agree with you here. But I haven't held that view in more than
thirty years.



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