Friday, April 16, 2021

Being an Element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution

Although I’m a family man, with my share of friends, along with being community-minded, there’s a part of me that rarely fully connects with people, leaving me with an impression of being on the outside looking in and trying to make sense of all the distracting, and frankly, illusional thinking people indulge in.

Over the decades I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to understand what makes my fundamental outlook and instincts so foreign to the general mindset.  It’s only recently, with the hindsight of sixty-five years, and coming off of this “Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero-gravity Project” that I’ve finally nailed it,

I possess a visceral awareness of, and appreciation for, being an element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution.  

Such a fundamental understanding bestows a host of cascading spiritual and intellectual benefits.

Here's another example of words having power, by finally distilling those feelings into a sentence, I'm becoming aware of and comfortable with a new level of understanding and have created a fresh platform for taking it to the next level.  I mean, the adventure simply keeps on getting better.

This sense of self and spiritual solidity emerged out of a lifetime of curiosity and learning about (myself, but that's another story) Earth, deep-time, and her amazing evolutionary story.  

Especially realizing how the components of my own physical body had their origins eons ago.  Even before that, if you consider how Earth herself had to go through intense processing before promising molecular tricks and biological solutions to life’s challenges would have the material resources at hand to allow them to be put to the test and prosper.

It’s a long, amazingly complex story that keeps evolving as more evidence gets collected and processed into shared scientific knowledge.  Folds within folds of cumulative harmonic complexity flowing down the cascade of time.  Considering I’ve been paying attention to it since my grade school days, it’s inevitable that I’ve achieved some insights along the way.

In the end, the thought of being an intelligent self-aware element of creation, one who is capable of savoring the pageant of Earth’s amazing Evolution is more than comforting.  It provides me with a spiritual foundation and solidity in the face of challenges, inevitable failings and my coming death, that possess a depth of peace and security that no Holy Book, or fast-talking pick-pocket preachers can get close to offering.  It's good news worth passing around to the few who are honestly curious.   ✌️


Regarding Deep-time


Deep-time is basically appreciating the immensity of Earth's Evolution.  

Earth is ~4,600 million years old; complex organisms ~600 MYA; vertebrates ~525 MYA; land populated ~400 MYA; placentals ~90 MYA; hominids ~6 MYA; modern humans ~0.3 MYA.   It's nothing magical, it's overwhelming is what it is, all of that really did unfold one day at a time.

Appreciating deep-time emerges from learning things such as why the "boring billions" weren't so boring. (Earth’s mineral evolution - R. Hazen) Understanding why our moon mattered, imagining 100s of meter high tidal waves racing around the globe, etc.  Baby continents and no plants, only storms and erosion, and time, inconceivably long periods of time and steady change, with significant punctuations now and then.

Appreciating that we can’t understand an organism without also understanding its environment.  Life started, then was constrained by Earth’s environmental conditions, which took a long time to sort out.  

Appreciating the serendipitous Evolutionary Dance between Geology and Biology that made Earth so magnificent and promising for Life.

Most people "know" some of that, but no deeper than a series of postcard impressions.

Having a deep-time appreciation indicates having learned enough about Earth’s Evolution to have developed a certain visceral appreciation for those amazing expanses of time and all it took to converge and line up just so, to result in us.  Nothing exact or fancy, simply a developed awareness of the processes required for us to be created. 


Cc’s Students’ Resource, (still) a work in progress.

(Titles are linked)

Donald Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero-Gravity

a critical review of, The Case Against Reality:  Why Evolution Hid The Truth From Our Eyes, by Donald Hoffman, ©2019, W.W.Norton Company

The Prelude, Prof Donald Hoffman Playing Basketball In Zero-Gravity

Chapter 10a, Community: Network of Conscious Agents (1/3)

Chapter 10b, Community: Network of Conscious Agents (2/3)

Chapter 10c, Community: Network of Hoffmanian Conscious Agents (3/3)

Chapter 1, Mystery: The Scalpel That Split Consciousness

Chapter 2, Beauty: Siren of the Gene

Chapter 3, Reality: Capers of the Unseen Sun

Chapter 4, Sensory: Fitness beats Truth

Chapter 5, Illusory: The Bluff of the Desktop

Chapter 6, Gravity: Spacetime is Doomed

Chapter 7, Virtuality: Inflating a Holoworld

Chapter 8, Polychromy: Mutations of an Interface

Chapter 9, Scrutiny: You Get What You Need, in Both Life and Business

Appendix,  Precisely: The Right to Be (Foolish)


Hoffman/Prakash’s Objects of ConsciousnessObjections and Replies

Frontiers in Psychology - June 17, 2014

4/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness,  (conclusion)

1/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness, questions + replies (1-12)

2/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness, questions + replies (13-17)

3/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness, questions + replies (18-21)


Diary - But, wait!  There's more.  Ten Learned Responses:

Probing the interface theory of perception: Reply to commentaries, by Donald D. Hoffman, Manish Singh & Chetan Prakash"    Psychonomic Bulletin & Reviewvolume 22, pages1551–1576(2015)


We propose that selection favors nonveridical perceptions that are tuned to fitness. Current textbooks assert, to the contrary, that perception is useful because, in the normal case, it is veridical. Intuition, both lay and expert, clearly sides with the textbooks. We thus expected that some commentators would reject our proposal and provide counterarguments that could stimulate a productive debate. … (HSP)


Barton Anderson - Where does fitness fit in theories of perception? 


Jonathan Cohen - Perceptual representation, veridicality, and the interface theory of perception. 


Shimon Edelman - Varieties of perceptual truth and their possible evolutionary roots. 


Jacob Feldman - Bayesian inference and “truth”: a comment on Hoffman, Singh, and Prakash. 


Chris Fields -Reverse engineering the world: a commentary on Hoffman, Singh, and Prakash, 

“The interface theory of perception”. 


Jan Koenderink - Esse est Percipi & Verum est Factum. 


Rainer Mausfeld - Notions such as “truth” or “correspondence to the objective world” play no role in explanatory accounts of perception. 


Brian P. McLaughlin and E. J. Green Are icons sense data


Zygmunt Pizlo - Philosophizing cannot substitute for experimentation: comment on Hoffman, Singh & Prakash. 


Matthew Schlesinger Interface theory of perception leaves me hungry for more. 



Student Resources - Background info:

Rainer Mausfeld: ‘Truth’ has no role in explanatory accounts of perception.

Paul Mealing: considers Hoffman's "Objects of Consciousness.”

The Case For Reality: Because Apparently Someone Needs to Make One

Sabine Hossenfelder: in Defense of Scientific Realism and Physical Reality

"Emergence" - A Handy Summary and Resources

Physical Origins of Mind: Dr. SiegelAllen Institute Brain Science, Tononi, Koch.

Can you trust Frontiers in Psychology research papers?  Student Resource

Critical Thinking Skills - In Defense of Reality - A Student Resource

Philo+Sophia - Love of Wisdom - A Student Resource


Summary, explaining why I've pursued this project.


Dr. Mark Solms deftly demystifies Chalmers’ “Hard Problem” of Consciousness, thus coincidentally, highlighting why Hoffman’s “Conscious Agents” are luftgeschäft. 

Dr. Mark Solms demystifies Chalmers' "Hard Problem" of Consciousness.

The Other Side of Mark Solms PhD, farmer, vintner, humanitarian.

Students’ Resource: A representative cross-section of Dr. Mark Solms' scientific publications.


More to come . . .

An Alternative Philosophical Perspective - “Earth Centrism

     Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide

          Being an element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution

               It’s not a “body-mind problem” it’s an “ego~god problem.”

Feel free to copy and share

Email: citizenschallenge  gmail  com



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