Remarks on a few philosophers’ misconceptions

One can issue explanations (scientific, neurological, psychological, quasi-psychological) of the processes (neural processes, workings of the sensory faculties) which under lie sense perception. These result in analyses or breakdowns (e.g., reducing things to neural processings) of the processes that underlie a person’s perception of the world. It could be called an “examination of the machinery the makes perception possible.”
But nothing about this work refutes the common-sense proposition that we perceive (see, hear, touch, taste, smell) aspects and objects of the real world.

EPIPHANY – By Robert Richert

I learned early upon arrival in Vietnam that rice farmers, eking out a bare bones living without modern conveniences, endured a hard life. However, none of this hit home until I entered this modest hooch and took the time to observe and absorb my surroundings; and allow reality to sink in. This humble family and their quaint home made a lasting and deep impression upon me. I felt an overwhelming sense of humility, and recall thinking that in many ways this ‘peasant’ was a better man than me! If I had to trade places with him I would be in way over my head

On Cosmology, Death of God, and Nihilism

You say that European philosophers with their dark views of humanity devoid of a transcendent order to keep them in check display more courage than their contemporaries who don’t emphasize that view of things. Maybe, who knows? But a realistic, existentialist view of humanity need not fall into the nervous “fear and trembling” that is displayed by those who need the big “parent in the sky” to guide and reassure them. Many existentialists who were atheistic did not fall into that kind of cowardly despair.

Letter from Vietnam – by Robert Richert

I read with disgust the article in the November Time Magazine about the My Lai incident. What kind of person would fire a magazine of 16 rounds into a little boy? I’ve seen guys, who after seeing their buddies get blown away, feel like shooting at anyone with slanted eyes, but they didn’t because their reason dispelled their emotions. During the day, the farmers we see plowing their fields are innocent civilians. At night, however, some of them are out setting booby traps. But, we cannot hold an entire village, especially children, responsible for those among them who are VC. Many of the civilians that we believe are VC sympathizers may just be scared civilians who pay taxes to and are harassed by the VC who come at night to the villages. Most of these people are loyal only to themselves and their families. They live in fear of destruction by VC and GI.

Some Disconnect on Darwinian Evolutionary Theory

Against the claim that Darwin only challenged orthodox religious explanations, I pointed out that many historians and commentators on Darwin argue the contrary: namely, that Darwin’s work, Origin of the Species, faced a variety of resistance, only part of which stemmed from religious doctrine. Undeniably, Darwin challenged orthodox religious accounts of life on earth (origin and maintenance); and religious doctrine was a big factor in the thinking of most people. But more importantly to the history of biological science, Darwin’s evolutionary science also challenged prevailing theories and beliefs of secular scientists and other people who did not base their views on religion at all. The idea of fixity of life species was a far broader idea than just something gotten from religious doctrine.

Contra the Moral Utility of Belief in a Soul

Why do I think ancient people adopted the belief in an immortal soul? — The likely answer is that the ancients and medieval people were generally indoctrinated to believe the dogma of an immortal soul, along with other dogma about the fate of the soul after death. In the Christian period, when they were not so indoctrinated or resisted the indoctrination, they were terrorized into believing (or at least outward assent to the belief).

A Dialogue on the Limits of Science and Transcendent Possibilities

Let me use the analogy of human high jumping. Although the height that human high jumpers have achieved has risen dramatically in recent decades (now over 8 feet), there is a limit (a physical limit to how high a human can jump). So possibilities of yet higher jumps remain. But the book is not wide open on these possibilities, as long as we’re talking about human physiology. You won’t see anyone ever high jumping 50 feet! But maybe someone will someday achieve a jump of 9-10 feet. The same thinking applies to the limits and possibilities of scientific knowledge. Yes, scientific knowledge is not a completed story. Yes, more remains to be told (discovered). But what remains, when it is disclosed, will come under the category of nature as we now know it. There is no reason for claiming that among those possibilities not yet disclosed are supernatural realities (the sort you yearn for). That would be like claiming that because human high jumpers are still setting new records, one will eventually jump over a 100 foot barrier unaided!