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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Apr > Apr 27

Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2012 11:14:20 -0500
Archived: Fri, 27 Apr 2012 09:05:45 -0400
Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>From: David Rudiak <drudiak.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2012 11:17:14 -0700
>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
>>To: <post.nul>
>>Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2012 17:35:00 -0500
>>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>From: David Rudiak <drudiak.nul>
>>To: post.nul
>>Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2012 14:24:50 -0700
>>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>>From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
>>>To: <post.nul>
>>>Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2012 10:56:18 -0500
>>>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>>>From: Cathy Reason <Cathym.nul>
>>>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>>>>Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2012 11:42:17 +0100
>>>>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>>>>From: William Treurniet <wtreurniet.nul>
>>>>>To: post.nul
>>>>>Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2012 14:05:17 -0400
>>>>>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>I agree with Cathy here. I think you are being much too rigid in
>>what you define as a proper representation of the abstraction we
>>call "reality". There are different human models and different
>>ways to define "reality".

>>No, David. This is just a long, long, long spiel describing what
>>the human perception process does, and how and why it does it.
>>It is very detailed and full of example but we already know that
>>the human perception process produces a picture of reality that,
>>most of the time, gets us through the day and enables us to

>>But the bottom line is this: there is something 'out there,' and
>>there is something created within our consciousness that
>>represents it. These two don't even come close to matching. You
>>can get as philosophical as you want and tap dance around it
>>forever but it doesn't change this.

>Eugene, I absolutely defy you or anyone to absolutely define
>this abstraction of something "out there" that is a "true"
>description of "reality". There is no "out there" there to we
>human beings without interpretation. A car is no different than
>a rock or a human being at a fundamental subatomic particle
>level, but they are certainly functionally different to the
>brains of human beings.

>What the "real" description of "reality" is somewhat arbitrary.
>Are you Eugene Frison, a unique human being that likes to argue
>about reality, or are you just a collection of quarks and
>gluons? The latter particle physicist's definition of Eugene
>Frison is quite useless in human day-to-day reality. It is also
>quite different from how a molecular biologist would define your
>"reality", but more useful than a particle physicists (e.g.,
>genetic diseases). In turn this is different from how a
>psychologist might define you or somebody arguing with you or
>how you think about yourself. Different definitions apply in
>different domains.

>I think it is philosophical nonsense to argue that our
>perceptual reality doesn't come "even close" to the fuzzy
>abstraction of "physical reality." No, it certainly does in the
>domain in which we exist, which isn't at the level of quarks or
>DNA molecules. The proof is that we are here, so obviously there
>is some sort of good match between perceptual reality and what
>is "out there", or we would all be dead.

>>It is true that, as far as we are concerned, the reality that we
>>experience as created by our perception is the only reality that
>>matters. And that this representational reality serves us most
>>of the time.

>>But natural selection has evolved a system that doesn't detect
>>most of what's out there, extensively filters out most of what
>>it does detect, and then interprets the trickle of information
>>that is left via mechanisms that can be tricked and which are
>>subject to making very bad judgement calls. You and Cathy can
>>keep dancing around that too if you like.

>And I absolutely defy you or anybody else to invent some
>superman android that wouldn't be subject to the same sort of
>limitations as us. However big or sophisticated the system might
>be, it will always be limited in what it can detect, always have
>to filter the sensory information and perceptual information
>derived from it to keep from being overwhelmed by usually
>useless information, and can always be tricked and make bad
>judgment calls. Again, you are demanding something akin to
>"God", and anything less you deem to be inherently "unreliable"
>or not a "true" representation of "reality". You are demanding
>the impossible.

>>That it succeeds most of the time in keeping us alive doesn't
>>change this. It is functional - reliable _enough_.

>>"Reliable'' and "reliable enough" mean two different things.

>Dictionary definition of ordinary human "reliable":
>"Consistently good in quality or performance; able to be
>trusted." "Capable of being relied on; dependable: a reliable
>assistant; a reliable car."

>Medical/scientific definition: "Yielding the same or compatible
>results in different clinical experiments or statistical

>Under the first fuzzier definitions, our sensory/perceptual
>systems are usually very reliable. That would probably also be
>an engineering definition of "reliable". E.g., the car engine
>can operate for 100,000 miles without breaking down. The car
>will "reliably" get you from point A to point B until it gets
>very old. That is what was designed to do, and in 9 cars out of
>10 it will do it. That is certainly "good enough" for government
>work. "Reliable" doesn't mean you can _always_ count on it, but
>you can usually count it to varying fuzzy degrees.

>Let's take the more restricted scientific definition. Does it
>mean that absolutely all experiments conducted have to yield
>_exactly_ the same result in order for the result to be
>"reliable"? No, this is still the "real" world we are talking
>about of complicated systems, there is rarely 100% agreement
>about anything, and things are rarely sharply defined, including
>our own words used to represent abstractions like "reliable" or
>"real world". To the medical profession, 9 out of 10 studies
>yielding the same basic conclusion would be considered
>"reliable" or even "reliable enough" operationally. And the
>results also don't have to be exactly the same to have the same
>basic conclusion, such as the new anti-clot drug is indeed safe
>by variable amounts and improves survivability of heart attack
>victims by variable amounts. Everything else may be nothing but
>statistical fluctuation or maybe the result of a less-than-
>perfect studies or different statistical populations (e.g., men
>vs. women).

>This is even true in the physicist's "reality" of usually very
>simplified systems. In fact, sometimes sweeping conclusions
>about "reality" are based on only 2 or 3 studies that seem to
>corroborate one another, such as the universe is now not slowing
>down in its expansion but speeding up. Astrophysicists have
>even invented an abstraction called "dark energy" to explain the
>expansion, even though nobody has a clue what "dark energy"
>"really" is or how it fits into our current scheme of physical
>theories. And again, this fantastic conclusion is based on only
>2 o 3 long term studies of distant supernova explosions which
>produced unexpected red shifts compatible with the notion of a
>speeded up expansion, but there is also the possibility that
>maybe something else far less fantastic might account for the
>same results.

>So is this current view of "reality" truly "reliable"? The raw
>data may be reliable and cross-consistent, just like our raw
>perceptions, but the astrophysicists might be drawing the wrong
>inferences by making assumptions about the accuracy of their
>present theories and not taking into account something else,
>just like our brains may have the wrong interpretation of the
>overall perception, like misidentifying somebody by sight.

>>Yes, it is true that if I ignore that my car engine is
>>overheating then I better be prepared to shell out a few grand
>>but it is also true that if I walk into a pocket of toxic gas in
>>an abandoned mine I am going to end up stone cold dead.

>>If you and Cathy want to blur "reliable' and "reliable enough"
>>then I strongly suggest that you both stay away from abandoned
>>mines. Because you might learn the hard way that your "reliable"
>>perception process just isn't what you think it is.

>Well Eugene, it sounds mostly likely a semantic debate we are
>engaged in over the proper definitions of "reality" and
>"reliable" as applied to human perception of the "real" world.
>You seem to be arguing that an information processing system
>like our senses and brains is "unreliable" if it doesn't detect
>with near 100% accuracy all the time nearly 100% the variables
>and mathematical models that physicists use to describe the
>"real" physical world, such as temperature, wavelength,
>subatomic particles, energy, etc., and the relationships between
>them. Of course, such variables and models are themselves
>simplified representations of "reality" and even physicists
>cannot possibly approach such perfection of all-knowingness
>using all instruments at their disposal to extend their sensory

>E.g., "temperature" is a useful human abstraction and is related
>in physical models to the average kinetic energy of all the
>molecules bombarding your thermometer. Thus there is practically
>an infinite range of theoretical temperatures, from absolute
>zero to the temperature of the universe at the moment of the Big

>But is it proper to criticize your engine's temperature sensor
>as "unreliable" or a bad representation of "reality" because it
>can't measure the full gamut of energies in the universe? (with
>"energy" itself being nothing but an another useful human
>abstraction or representation of reality) That makes no sense.
>The temperature sensor is what it is. It is only proper to
>criticize its "reliability" within the engineering specs of the
>temperatures it was designed to measure, which is a functional,
>engineering definition of reliability. If you can't depend on it
>to measure your engine overheating, then it is "unreliable". If
>it senses overheating 99.99% of the time then it is 99.99%
>reliable. If it can't measure the surface temperature of the
>sun, that doesn't some how make it "unreliable" for what it is
>supposed to do. Sheesh!

>The same applies to human senses and interpretation. We only
>need to detect temperatures in the range in which life can exist
>and keep us in that range, and stay away from noxious stimuli
>outside that range that could harm or kill us. What good is it
>to accurately gauge the temperature of a lava flow, other than
>it is too hot to be around safely? Like any artificially
>engineered system like your car designed to operate in a certain
>range, not from zero to infinity, if our senses keep us
>comfortably in that range and away from harm, that is all it
>needs to do. If it is 99% trustworthy in doing that, then it is
>certainly "reliable enough". That's the biological reality of
>living and surviving on planet Earth, and to argue that isn't
>the totality of a physicist's definition of "reality" is just

>The question isn't whether it can "see" absolutely everything to
>be known in the universe. You are demanding something akin to
>"God", some omnipotent, omniscient abstract entity. That gets
>ridiculous and is an impossible demand. Our senses and nervous
>systems are what they are from millions of years of evolution to
>fit our particular niche. They are indeed "reliable enough" that
>we are still here, and most of us get through our lives usually
>in one piece. When experiments are done on the reliability of
>our sensory systems and perceptions, they can be tricked, just
>as ALL instruments and data processing systems can be tricked
>because they operate only a certain range and have built-in
>limitations, but usually our perceptual systems are robust,
>operate properly over a large range of conditions, and largely
>reliable in "real-world" situations. Perceptual researchers,
>even psychologists, refer to this as perceptual constancy.

>Thus, using visual cues in the whole scene, we perceive the
>human being 100 yards away as being the same size as the one 1
>yard away, even though the distant human is only 1% of the size
>on our retinas as the near human. This is size constancy. Our
>perception could be wrong because the visual image is inherently
>ambiguous with multiple interpretations. Maybe we are being
>fooled by a very tiny human the same distance as the near human
>and that explains the big difference in retinal image size. But
>that is a very bad bet, as we know from experience. And also
>there are usually other visual cues to depth and size in the
>scene that help us disambiguate one possibility from another.

>Size constancy breaks down at greater distances, i.e., like ALL
>systems, it operates properly only over a given range, or if you
>strip out various cues to distance and/or deliberately distort
>the cues in a lab setting in order to study size constancy.
>E.g., there is the famous Ames' room experiment of a real-size
>room deliberately distorted. Instead of being rectangular, one
>corner on the far wall is normal height and further away from
>the observer than the opposite corner, which is maybe half as
>tall and twice as close. The illusion only works if observed
>with only one eye through a restricted aperture instead of both
>eyes (to eliminate stereoscopic depth perception), and works
>even better if filmed, to remove other cues that something isn't
>right, such as the test objects being in different focal planes.

>Thus place one twin in the tall, distant corner, and the other
>in the near, close corner, and the distant twin looks like a
>dwarf and the near twin a giant. The brain mechanism for
>relative size is now scaling against the corners, and absent
>other removed cues like stereopsis that would contradict this,
>assuming they are square and the same height. The twins can
>exchange places and walk over to the others corner, and their
>sizes seem to be constantly changing as this happens. The raw
>perceptual illusion is quite compelling, but even then our
>overall perceptual system knows something isn't quite right
>because such things never or almost never happen from real-world
>experience. The illusion ONLY arises because the experimenter
>has deliberately removed or distorted normal depth and size cues
>and the brain has to scale the scene solely on a manipulated
>assumption about the geometrical shape of the room. You could
>also easily fool a computer vision system in the same way.

>This whole issue of "reliability" in relation to UFO experiences
>and sightings is, of course, what this is ultimately about.
>Debunkers will usually argue that humans are 100% unreliable
>when it comes to UFO reports. This is nonsense. Again, we would
>all be dead if that were true.

>Even the most ardent Ufologists would never argue that
>observers/experiencers of unknown phenomena are anywhere near
>100% reliable. E.g., regarding UFO size or distance, if it is
>beyond a few hundred yards, visual stereopsis can no longer
>estimate true size or distance and we have to rely on secondary
>cues to distance/size like brightness, haziness, nearby known
>object, intervening objects, the UFO passing in front of a known
>object (like a cloud layer) etc. If none of these cues exist,
>such as "lights in the blank sky", then yes, estimates of size
>and distance are truly "unreliable". But often various cues do
>exist (e.g., Kenneth Arnold's UFOs passed in front of Mt.
>Rainier and behind subpeak of known distances), or there is more
>than one observer and distance/size can be triangulated based on
>multi-witness interviews, however "unreliable" the individual
>witnesses may be.

>The whole subject is complicated, because you get into
>differences in the reliability of raw human perception at the
>moment vs. memory later on, how many cues are available,
>observer training and attention, the interpretations, if any, of
>what was seen/experienced, overall honesty of human beings in
>general, etc.

>The bottom line is that when statistical studies are actually
>done on UFOs, usually the judged hoaxing or lying level is very
>low, the misinterpretation of mundane phenomena high, but
>people's recounting of basic details, i.e. perceptions, usually
>accurate enough that some sort of determination of
>mundane/explainable/known vs. anomalous/mystifying/unknown can
>be made. The more witnesses plus independent physical
>measurements involved (radar, photos, radiation, etc.), the more
>"reliable" the case becomes one way or another. Even if
>individual perceptions or memory may be unreliable, much more
>valid statistical inferences about "reliability" can be drawn
>from multi-witness sightings. One witness IDing a murderer may
>not be reliable, but misidentificaion becomes increasingly
>unlikely if 20 witnesses ID the same person.

>'Nuff said.

David, understand that when you use the word "reliable" I am
using the word "functional" in its place and you will understand
that I am in agreement with every word that you are saying
above, and for the same reasons.

You replied to my first post in this thread (my short one about
Ray's remarks being dumb). Then I replied to you. You made the
initial 'contact' with me.

You say the human perception system is reliable. I say it is
functional. We are saying the same thing except for the word
used to label it. I described it as functional in my very first
post to you in this thread. Go back and re-read it.

Go back and re-read my first post to you. Re-read your first to
me as well. In your first post to me, you implied "accurate" to
describe human perception. Dictionary definition of accurate:
"1. careful and exact, 2. free from mistakes or errors; precise,
3. adhering closely to a standard."

You meant accurate because you used the word "accuracy."
Dictionary definition of accuracy: "the quality or state of
being accurate or exact; precision; exactness."

It was obvious to me you were using the third definition of
"accurate" and I was using the first two. So I used the word
"functional" to distinquish the difference.

Dictionary definition of functional: "performing or able to
perform a function." The human perception process was evolved to
do a job. It _does_ this, and does it well.

Then you and Cathy began using the terms "accurate' and
"reliable" interchangeably. This is how the confusion of terms
began. If you had used the word "reliable" instead of the word
"accurate" (which has three dictionary definitions) when
describing human perception in your very first post to me then I
would not have had to introduce the word "functional" to
distinquish your meaning of "accurate" from my definition of
"accurate." And if you didn't use "accurate" and "reliable"
interchangeably, I would not have had to adopt a more rigid
definition of "reliable" to distinquish your understanding of
"reliable" from my understanding of "reliable."

You are arguing an argument that I am not arguing against. Your
long rant above was not necessary.

But as you say, "realible" to me (in the context of this
discussion) means "trusty" - that is, _completely_ dependable.
Not the scientific nor the dictionary definition of it but it is
_my_ defininition of it for the purpose of this discussion. And
I pointed this out several times that you were taking these two
views of "reliable" as being the same, as was Cathy.

So, yes, I guess this discussion has been one of semantics and
an utter waste of time.

You have been so busy composing long posts - against arguments
that weren't even being made - that you have failed to even
notice the real issues.

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



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