Can information be inherently deceitful? If it can then we must actively be on guard to protect ourselves from natural lies. If it cannot then humans are the source and cause of misunderstandings, falsehoods, and intentional altering of truth.

 “One man’s trash is another man’s treasures.” “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”"Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them." This would also mean that un-beauty or ugliness does not exist naturally. Whatever exists to be simply is. It is not until a self-aware organism can reflect upon them do they become anything else but themselves. The old question about a tree falling in the woods with no person around to hear it and then asking if it makes a sound seems to be backwards. The question is ego-centric because it means to say that reality is absent without an observer, but the reality seems just the opposite.

An observer mutates or morphs reality into other things than the thing is. Sounds, being vibrations in air molecules, are interpreted by different minds to mean or be different things. Sometimes those things are what the sound really is and sometimes those things are grossly distorted from their original source. While it is understandable to think that beauty exists for the sake of an observer, it does not reflect well with what really is. We look like the only possible observers in existence. Could it be any different?

Is there a difference between an ant’s perception of a raindrop and a human’s? Is the raindrop itself any different because the observer is different? It does not appear that way. A raindrop is a raindrop is a raindrop. We may give additional meaning to a raindrop but it does not change the reality of the raindrop’s existence. If we possess any advantage over the ant, the fish, the bird, or fellow primate, it is to store information outside of our inherited genetics. This is also our biggest disadvantage as anything a human can think of or do can be stored.

Is racism what causes an ape to kill another primate it has never encountered before? Is a particular regional belief responsible for a raccoon not sharing its abundant food supply? It seems quite clear that we humans are the best and worst that life on earth has at its disposal. We should not become overly anxious at this dilemma, however, for any creature to possess the abundance of external genetic information that we do will likely find itself in the same dilemmas we are currently challenged with.

How do we sail closer to the horizon of hope while avoiding the pitfalls of persecution? It is not an easy journey by any stretch of the imagination, but it is one we must take. Indeed it is one we are all already on. Many of us see ships lost at sea while their sailors see quite the opposite. We cannot all be sailing to improved horizons but we can all be sailing away from them.

How do we sailors of salvation, each with our own version of what really is, steer each other to better courses of compassion and mutual understanding? The moment we name our course, our ship, our reasons for sailing in the first place, is the moment others begin to assess, judge, criticize, and reject. For some, the prejudgment comes the moment the colors of the sailing ship’s flag are visible.

What can we do to ensure better opportunities for sharing our voyages without crashing into one another or forever sailing away from each other? Or does our own tribal survival depend so heavily on quickly perceiving an enemy vessel, real or imagined? A false positive is commonly preferred to a false negative, especially in terms of an ignored threat to life, but what of the others? Are there ways to bypass instinctual survival skills so an opportunity of better understanding is not lost?

For now let us ask which is more reliable-Our instincts or those other things not found in our shared genetic code? 

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Comment by Vasanth Ra on May 15, 2012 at 2:21pm

@Kane,when I say perception,it's not confined to our senses and reasoning based only on senses.Perception more aptly is our final understanding about something,which obviously takes the aid of technology.Technology augments our perception and our perception is further augmented eith better technology,certainly.But augmentation never reaches the peak,it's continuous,an amelioration.

But I don't see where you really contradict my views,except perhaps maybe on absolute.I don't say that there is no absolute out there,what I'm saying is that since we are a part of this Uninverse,there is no way we can find it out what that absolute really is.We create images of the world around us in our mind.These images are subjected to correction through the augmentation of our perception. 

Comment by Cane Kostovski on May 14, 2012 at 6:54pm

I have a suggestion that only works with family and close friends that are religious. I share with them (and anyone who will listen) the joys of scientific progress. Visit the group I started. It might give you some ideas to share. I find that the scientific discoveries like synthetic life, and prosthetic eyes are the kinds of "wow" discoveries that impress the "science phobic" people (as BIONICDANCE would say). They may not listen to "There is no God." but most of them seem impressed with the amazing things science has done and gain a certain respect for science even if they don't understand how science did the amazing things. Have great day!!!

Comment by It's just Matt on May 14, 2012 at 5:24pm

Oh, and anyone have any familiarity with Micheal Shermer's idea of " Belief-dependent realism?"

My understanding of it is that belief about claims come first, reasons and evidence come later...this seems to be true for all claims.

We are so often busy telling others and ourselves about what we don't believe, we overlook what we do believe and when we started to believe. 

Comment by It's just Matt on May 14, 2012 at 5:20pm

I generally agree with Vasan's and Fester's posts which, I may be wrong here, are telling me I am thinking and asking the wrong questions about deception and perception.

Yes, we are the biggest obstacles and solution makers to said obstacles.

I'd like to believe that anyone could have their mind changed or as Dawkins puts it                 "Consciousness raised," but my limited experiences have me believing otherwise.

So do I ignore that fact that it appears the religious person is going "la la la" in their head after hearing I am an atheist or can I truly change their mind, that is, try to show nature as truthfully as possible? 

My late father-in-law once said over dinner " I will never vote for a Democrat" and well...he didn't. 

Comment by Cane Kostovski on May 14, 2012 at 5:07pm

Hello Matt! I have ignored your posts, so the ones you posted up to this last one: "Aren't we humans the problem here?" so forgive me if you already asked and got an answer to the topic I would like to comment on. So, I'm jumping in because the water is cold and I want to get a shock. 

You seem to be leaving out important ideas that may have been expressed in other posts, so I apologize if I step on your feet. 

I will take the first sentence at face value: We are not only the problem here, we are also the answer. We may have faculties that are lacking, but we have other faculties that not only correct our perceptions, but also far exceed our expectations of what we can achieve. Yes, our faculties sometimes get in the way of our understanding, but for scientists they are obstacles to overcome, not impregnable walls that we cannot get through.

Anyone can adopt the scientific philosophy, even religious people. They just have to choose to.  

And to answer your question forming the last sentence: No! It is never too late to change someone's mind with one exception: if they die before someone succeeds. I'm in hurry, so I may be missing the obvious, but what do you mean by "...and can we know about it?"

BBL

Comment by It's just Matt on May 14, 2012 at 4:51pm

Aren't we humans the problem here?

Isn't it common for our own preferences to get in the way of seeing nature for what is really is?

With this viewpoint, it is easier for me to see how many people stay religious or spiritual or even just worried about science...if humans are so often wrong about the world around them, why even bother some may say, its hopeless and lonely decry others.

Then I ask them about all the technology in their lives...they pause momentarily but usually fail to connect the dots. Yup, nature is not aware of us but since we are aware of it, we can discover how it works and yield new ways to benefit humanity.  

Perhaps the better topic question would have been something like-

Is ever too late to change someones mind and could we know about it? 

Comment by It's just Matt on May 14, 2012 at 4:41pm

I may not have chosen the best words for explaining what I am after or hope to accomplish.

On one hand I want to say or maybe presume that the universe (most of the time just things we encounter in our daily earthly lives) we know or have yet to know just is-it is voidless in regards to anything we can describe with any language. Which seems like a preferable thing as it leaves the posibilty of finding things out just as they are.

At others times it seems like incoming information is somehow tainted because of the vast gap in various humans detecting them.

I do realize I am mostly chasing my tail here for the only way to truly 'know' something is being able to measure it. And as the G-man has noted, our invention of better measuring tools far exceeds our internal detectors.

 

But, and its a big but, how do we notice when our measurements aren't that accurate especially when different parties have roughly the same amount of data but in conflict? 

Comment by Cane Kostovski on May 14, 2012 at 2:27pm

@ Uncle Fester - I agree

Comment by Cane Kostovski on May 14, 2012 at 2:26pm

@ Vasan - Let's start with human perception. You say that if there is an absolute world "out there" (meaning outside of a person's perception), we can never perceive it (I am paraphrasing). And then later you say: 

Perception is not deception, rather it is projection of  human limitation in the quest to understand nature.This is what we can do afterall,perceive something,find fault in it and with correction raise the standard of our perception.Since we a part of evolution,considering the limitations of human senses and the shortcomings of our reasonings,this is the only path we can follow.

You mention that human perception has limitations as well as human reasoning. I wonder what your response would be to this observation: Before telescopes and microscopes, our human perception was limited to what our eyes could see, AND, our reasoning was limited by our perceptions. Telescopes were invented and that opened a window that Galileo used to augment his reasonings with the augmented perceptions. Better tools to augment our perceptions have continuously been invented at ever faster rates and bringing to us fantastic things like eye prosthetics, synthetic life, and eventually the grand unification theory. I don't know if you are correct in what you say about an absolute world, but I have a hard time swallowing it. 

And a personal comment if I may: You seem more of a philosopher than a scientist.

Comment by Vasanth Ra on May 14, 2012 at 1:09pm

@Kane,I really won't mind if you did that,provided you are really able to point it out what is it that I'm lacking.

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