Monday, 20 May 2013

Intuition pumps to help you avoid being lured by the bioluminescent escas
 of a bathypelagic angler fish.

I was attracted to " Intuition pumps " by the tweet from Richard Dawkins.
 I thought it would be fun to read the book he was reading.
 I was a bit worried that Intuition pumps would be beyond me
 but like a fly to the nectar bribe of a pitcher plant I couldn't resist.

I shall attempt to follow Rapoport's rule and list the points in the book
 that I admired or agreed with first before attempting rebuttal's

The best things about this book is that it steer's toward reality by being
 based on the fact of evolution by natural selection and introduces the
 reader to the works of Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Matt Ridley, 
Jerry Coyne, Charles Darwin, Richard Feynman.
I thought he would have given a nod to other great books like 
" Believing bullshit, how to avoid falling into a black hole "
 by eminent philosopher Stephen Law and
 " Evolving out of Eden, christian responses to evolution " by
 Robert M. Price and Ed Suominen..
Loc437 Dennett comments that " 'Well it seemed like a good idea at the time'
 has often been regarded as the rueful reflection of an idiot, a sign of stupidity
 but we should regard it as a pillar of wisdom."
Every issue has pros and cons. Often we get drawn into making a decision by
 the pro and it is only afterwards that the cons slowly dawn on us or are
 discovered from bitter experience. Many decisions involve a trade off 
between competing priorities and aspects. Maybe no matter what decision
 is taken it is always a bit of a mistake in terms of the other priorities.

Chapter VII is Tools for thinking about consciousness. Is it possible to write 
software codes for humans ? Are there some subroutines which undermine our 
experience of life ? Maybe language is like monitor resolution and primitive language
 was like low resolution ZX -1981 graphics in comparison to 2013 megapixel
 windows display. Maybe the more generalized the comment the less accurate it is. 
Perhaps if comments could be adequately specific by restricting them to the level of
 the idea or action in question our thinking would improve.
Phrases like " He is an idiot, fool " are too generalized and it is smarter to say, 
" He did an idiotic thing or said a foolish idea "
Loc 612 Dennett mentions Sturgeon's law - " 90% of everything is crap ". 
Percentages attempt to make a more accurate comment. Maybe the trouble
 with language is that most times the comment ends up generalized on
 some level which allows for many interpretations & misunderstandings.

The old question of " She loves me, she loves me not " might be more accurately put,
 " What does she love about me, and is there anything about me that irritates her ,
 will she mostly enjoy my company over the coming years or will she get sick of me,
 does that depend on whether she focuses on the good times or bad times ? " 
Terrence Real in " The new rules of marriage " attempts to explain what you need to know to make love work.

Anyway there is food for thought in " Intuition pumps " but several sections were
 too abstract for me but at least it is more concise than Dennett's other good books;
 " Breaking the spell " and " Darwin's dangerous idea "
They helped me to stop being like a moth circling the light of Christianity by showing 
which points were false. This has helped me escape the black hole at the centre of
 the christyway galaxy and now the golden rule is just a pole star.

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