Do you trust your senses?
« on: August 25, 2018, 02:09:42 AM »
When I was young, I had the privilege to see David Copperfield LIVE! It blew my mind to see someone get sawed in half right in front of my eyes, or get locked into a box and appear on the other side of the stage. The greatest trick was when he called upon several members of the audience (at least 10 or 15), had them come up front and climb into a suspended platform which was then covered up by a large curtain. After some charades, and spinning of the platform, the curtain was dropped and all 10 or 15 audience members had disappeared! Incredible. Of course we all knew it wasn't real, so nobody was worried that they were actually gone from existence, but we were all quite amazed, nonetheless. A few minutes later (it seemed) after the charades ceased, someone gestured to the audience up-stage (I was sitting clear in the back row), everyone seemed to be pointing at me. I turned around as though there was someone behind me they were pointing at, and to my dismay, there WAS someone behind me... a whole 10 or 15 someones! All standing there with candles lit... It couldn't have been more than 10 or 15 seconds since the curtain was dropped, I thought. Not even 30 since they were placed up on the platform....how in the......??

 Well, however in the %$#! it happened, it most certainly happened.

Obviously there was a secret trap door of some kind that the 10 or 15 people went through, then through a tunnel to some stairs where they ended up right behind the entire audience - they were all given candles in the process.... all planned and synchronized. Astounding performance!

But how is it that the entire audience failed to see the 10 - 15 people go through the trap door? How did nobody hear or see them walk up in single file right behind them at the back of the auditorium, with lit candles!?- like literally right behind them. I could have reached behind and grabbed one of them - they were so close.

The answer is simple, selective attention.

Here is a video that demonstrates selective attention.

If you have never seen it before, you might be in for a surprise!




My point is, you are getting information from your senses, and that information is processed by your brain. Only some of it....

If you were able to process everything that came into your 5 senses, you would literally go crazy... you would spend all of your time processing random, meaningless information about your surroundings such as fine lines in the carpet, or differences in shades on the wall caused by cracks or bubbles. Dust particles, bugs.... extraneous lines, spots, or colors on a blanket, a shirt, pants, your pets hair and dander.... there is just too much data coming in for you to process all of it.

So how do you make sense of your world and the things around you with sooooo much input?

Check this out for a more detailed, but simple explanation: https://www.simplypsychology.org/information-processing.html

Basically, your brain creates structures of information called schemas. They are like templates for information, so when your brain is triggered by a certain sense or stimuli, the brain immediately calls for a schema that fits the information coming in. This schema allows you to quickly process the data in a meaningful way and causes your consciousness to ignore the extraneous information that doesn't fit the schema. This is how a magician can fool you. They cause your brain to focus on a particular detail for which you have a schema, so your brain immediately hones in on that trigger and creates a picture of what's happening - extremely vivid. Unfortunately, as this amazing function happens, you conveniently ignore the reality that 10 or 15 people have just traversed a trap door right in front of your eyes. The brain failed to process it.

Most of the time these schemas work for our benefit. Allowing us to make sense of the world and our surrounding. Occasionally, they lead us astray.

This poses an enormous problem for empiricists - believing only in what you can collect from your senses, and taking that as not only your reality, but also that of others. Making these things into truths. Imagine if the entire audience was unable to make sense out of their failed sense experience... how many people would be calling 911 claiming that aliens have abducted an entire group of volunteers at a magic show because they "just disappeared".

Theoretically speaking, our senses provide us with all the information we would ever need, practically speaking, we do a fine job of ignoring most of it, and sometimes we get the rest just completely wrong. Including observations such as landscapes and earth curvatures or non-curvatures. Distances between mountains or valleys, how much of a peak we can or cannot see. Whether or not the ship goes out of our vision or how a massive a piece of land looks from afar. Planets, moons, stars.... everything we take for granted. What is real and what isn't? What does Helen Keller make of her world? Never able to see or hear? Only a world of touch, taste, and smell? Are these things real?

How much do you trust your senses?
« Last Edit: August 25, 2018, 11:27:09 PM by timterroo »
"noche te ipsum"

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."  - Albert Einstein

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Offline Rushy

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Re: Do you trust your senses?
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2018, 04:35:49 AM »
The question of whether or not you trust your own senses doesn't really matter. Since reality only exists insofar as you can perceive it through your senses, you are required to inherently trust what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel is tantamount to reality. It's possible to trick these senses, of course, but you only realize the trick when you have a "more real" experience to compare the trick against. Your senses have to fed multiple inputs, and then you decide some set of inputs is "more real" than another set. If your entire existence is a trick, you would never discover it, since you there's no objective reference frame to compare your subjective experience towards.

Re: Do you trust your senses?
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2018, 02:27:08 PM »
The question of whether or not you trust your own senses doesn't really matter. Since reality only exists insofar as you can perceive it through your senses, you are required to inherently trust what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel is tantamount to reality.

Indeed, you probably should trust that what you experience isn't far from the truth. If you start questioning whether or not the TV sitting in front of you is 'really' a TV, you might be schizophrenic or have some other mental illness.

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It's possible to trick these senses, of course, but you only realize the trick when you have a "more real" experience to compare the trick against.

This isn't always true. Take the example of an eye witness. You see a car accident, a truck t-bones a car in an intersection. Later, when describing the incident to the police, you tell him you are 100% sure the blue truck ran the red light and hit the red car - it was the trucks fault. The police officer then corrects you and says the truck was red and car was was actually green. There was no blue car; however, there is a large blue awning on a coffee shop on the corner.

Possibly not the best example I can come up with on the fly, but the fact is, this happens all the time in eye witness accounts. Someone sees something and they're 100% sure what they recall is what they experienced. 9 times out of 10, they are flat wrong. This happens so often, that police investigators are acutely aware of this phenomenon, and when conducting their investigation, they actually consider those more objective witnesses more credible. The witness who 'reflects' upon what they experienced. This reflection is what allows them to deduce false realities from reality.

If you try to recall what someone was wearing as you passed them on the street, you likely will not be able to recall it exactly. The key to sifting through reality and skewed reality is reflection.

The ability to reflect, however, does come from past experiences and past failures. It doesn't necessarily have to be the exact objective experience that you are subjectively having, but rather what you need is an awareness that your brain doesn't always get everything right.

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Your senses have to fed multiple inputs, and then you decide some set of inputs is "more real" than another set.

This is incorrect. You do not 'decide' what set of inputs your brain processes. This is an unconscious process that happens in milliseconds. You would not realize this is happening while it is happening. You can reflect on your experiences and consider an alternate reality, after the fact.

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If your entire existence is a trick, you would never discover it, since you there's no objective reference frame to compare your subjective experience towards.

I think I can agree with that statement. You can however learn from the mistakes of history and discern that your reality is susceptible to skews and you can compare your reality with those of others - the problem here is that you compare your reality with others using your own reality... what a paradox!
« Last Edit: August 25, 2018, 03:09:11 PM by timterroo »
"noche te ipsum"

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."  - Albert Einstein

Re: Do you trust your senses?
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2018, 01:50:50 PM »
The trick you are talking about is very famous.



It is famous because a court made Copperfield reveal how it was done after some bumbling fool fell over performing it.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/05/revealed-how-david-copperfield-pulls-off-his-famous-vanishing-cr/


Was the trick more exciting before or after you knew Copperfield had a tunnel and people just ran down the tunnel? One would argue people are only entertained when they don't know how the trick is done. No one wants to pay to watch people run down a tunnel.

So a better question ... is it better to be happy, or better to be right?

Is it better to believe in God if that makes you happy, than if science could prove you are own your own and whatever crumbs of comfort and strength you got from your beliefs were taken from you?

Should mankinds ultimate goal be the pursuit of knowledge or the pursuit of happiness? Because I don't think they are the same thing and I think there are too many "science is awesome" fanatics pushing us in a direction we ultimately might regret. There is nothing wrong with having a little magic in our lives.
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Re: Do you trust your senses?
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2018, 01:18:28 AM »
The trick you are talking about is very famous.


It is famous because a court made Copperfield reveal how it was done after some bumbling fool fell over performing it.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/05/revealed-how-david-copperfield-pulls-off-his-famous-vanishing-cr/


Was the trick more exciting before or after you knew Copperfield had a tunnel and people just ran down the tunnel? One would argue people are only entertained when they don't know how the trick is done. No one wants to pay to watch people run down a tunnel.

So a better question ... is it better to be happy, or better to be right?

Is it better to believe in God if that makes you happy, than if science could prove you are own your own and whatever crumbs of comfort and strength you got from your beliefs were taken from you?

Should mankinds ultimate goal be the pursuit of knowledge or the pursuit of happiness? Because I don't think they are the same thing and I think there are too many "science is awesome" fanatics pushing us in a direction we ultimately might regret. There is nothing wrong with having a little magic in our lives.

Most things like magic are better when you're a child. It is easier to believe it empirically!

When I realized that magic wasn't real, it was a bit like learning how a computer works. I don't mean learning about the parts (mobo, ram, cpu, etc.) and how they work together, volatile vs non-volatile memory, bus, cpu, input/output.....

I'm talking about the inner fabrics of the logic and design of a CPU. All the way down to the binary 1s and 0s as they go from ram into the logic system of a CPU, 1 instruction at a time. In CSCE230, we had to design a multi-state processor (we're talking logic gates here), load it onto a UP2 programmable logic board and run some code in a language that we created. The only limitations of the assignment was that it had to be 16-bit instruction set and had to contain the given instructions (can't remember them all now). But they were things like add, sub, LLS (left-logical shift), jump, etc. - assembly language. It also had to be a technical multi-state processor, meaning that it could process multiple instructions at a time, one clock cycle at a time. In essence there could be multiple instructions flowing through the CPU at one time. It was probably very similar to what an original Nintendo used.

This all took the 'magic' out of computers. No longer did I sit there wondering how an image could be formed on the screen by simple electrical signals. It was all so real, suddenly. It was like a "holy shit" kind of moment. Amazing really!

Anyway, magic, it's something that can be really fun and entertaining, but ultimately we realize that it is fun because we have been duped!

It is sad that somebody got hurt and now the whole trick is exposed... but seriously, it was obvious how it worked even as a child!
"noche te ipsum"

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."  - Albert Einstein

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Offline Tumeni

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Re: Do you trust your senses?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2018, 11:04:55 AM »
My favourite magic trick comes from an episode of Freewheeling, with UK comedian Ross Noble.

https://www.chortle.co.uk/interviews/2013/10/29/18954/i_ended_up_in_paul_danielss_shed

"4. I ended up in Paul Daniels's shed.He asked me to lift down one of his old illusions, and I asked if he could do it. And he went, "Debbie!" Debbie comes out of the kitchen and he performs this proper, brilliant full-scale illusion in a tiny room. That was amazing."


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Pete Svarrior "We are not here to directly persuade anyone ... You mistake our lack of interest in you for our absence."

Tom Bishop "We are extremely popular and the entire world wants to talk to us. We have better things to do with our lives than have in depth discussions with every single curious person. You are lucky to get one sentence dismissals from us"

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Offline RonJ

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Re: Do you trust your senses?
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2018, 07:45:15 PM »
There are some YouTube videos that show just how some of the common magic tricks are actually performed.  Everything makes sense once you see what the 'trick' is.  Don't get me wrong, a lot of the tricks take an extensive amount of practice to actually pull off.  In a lot of cases it's the diversion of your senses by something else that's behind the trick.  Now if the FET folks will take a few clues from the RET world, they can actually see how "Mother Nature" performs all her tricks.
For FE no explanation is possible, for RE no explanation is necessary.

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Offline Dr Van Nostrand

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Re: Do you trust your senses?
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2018, 11:41:21 AM »
After decades of partying, hyperbaric exposures and occassionally getting kicked in the head, I certainly don't trust my senses. I need to double check everything I sense.
Round Earther patiently looking for a better deal...

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Offline RonJ

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Re: Do you trust your senses?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2018, 03:19:47 AM »
I don't trust my hearing at all.  After an inner ear hemorrhage many years ago, I hear auditory hallucinations on a daily basis.  All my research on the subject, and confirmed by the doctors that checked me out, say that all the strange sounds are being generated by my brain.  My ear doesn't respond to sounds at all anymore and since all the normal auditory inputs are now gone the brain just generates random sounds.  It's maybe kind of like the process of interpolation where the brain is trying to make some sense out of nothing.  Kind of like I try to do here.  At least my 'disability' can be useful when communicating with my wife.  It's easy to claim that I didn't hear her say to 'take out the garbage'. 
For FE no explanation is possible, for RE no explanation is necessary.

Re: Do you trust your senses?
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2018, 01:39:42 PM »
I don't trust my hearing at all.  After an inner ear hemorrhage many years ago, I hear auditory hallucinations on a daily basis.  All my research on the subject, and confirmed by the doctors that checked me out, say that all the strange sounds are being generated by my brain.  My ear doesn't respond to sounds at all anymore and since all the normal auditory inputs are now gone the brain just generates random sounds.  It's maybe kind of like the process of interpolation where the brain is trying to make some sense out of nothing.  Kind of like I try to do here.  At least my 'disability' can be useful when communicating with my wife.  It's easy to claim that I didn't hear her say to 'take out the garbage'.

Thank you for sharing! That's quite interesting. There is a similar effect that causes the sensation known as "seeing stars". It's when the part of the brain that interprets visual input starts firing randomly, producing apparent light spots in our vision, but we all know the "stars" aren't really there.
"noche te ipsum"

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."  - Albert Einstein

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Offline RonJ

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Re: Do you trust your senses?
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2018, 02:22:50 PM »
Yes, you have hit the nail on the head, so to speak.  If you ever played football and took a big hit you tend to 'see stars' and your hear 'ringing' in your ears.  That is exactly the 'woozie' feeling that I get much of the time.  The sounds in my ears clearly aren't real and my balance even on a flat earth is compromised.  I can't trust that I am level and have some difficulty standing up straight in a completely dark room.  Fortunately,  in my last years before retirement, I was at sea.  In 15 meter seas, no one on the ship could stand up straight.  See Psalm 107:23-30. 
For FE no explanation is possible, for RE no explanation is necessary.