Seattle Becomes Fourth U.S. City to Outlaw ‘Conversion Therapy’

Aug 13, 2016

By Nicole Knight Shine

The Seattle City Council this week banned so-called conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth, making it the latest in a string of cities and states to outlaw the harmful and unscientific practice.

The “conversion therapy” ban passed Monday in a unanimous vote.

“Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer or transgender is not an illness,” said Lorena González, the councilperson who sponsored the new ordinance, as the Stranger reported. “Nor is it something that needs a cure.”


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69 comments on “Seattle Becomes Fourth U.S. City to Outlaw ‘Conversion Therapy’

  • Conversion therapy in a form of fraud. In Canada that would make it the concern of the federal government, certainly not civic government. In the USA, that would be a state or federal concern would it not?

    Americans seem to use their civic and county goverments as experimental grounds for new legislative ideas.



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  • Roedy

    I thought the same thing on reading this. Why is this going town by town?! When we try to get things done here state by state it’s already agonizingly long. Town by town is absurd. The article says that the Obama administration has stated the position that conversion therapy is harmful. That should kick off a much faster process than what we have going now, not to mention all of the medical associations that have come in with warnings of the dangers of this so called “therapy”.



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  • Laurie, The AMA should step in and take a stand. This is about public health and safety.
    The wording “therapy” is misleading and indicates a professional approach which it is not.

    If nothing else, it is fraud.



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  • From the article above:

    Major medical and health-care organizations, such as the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry have rejected the controversial practice.

    alf

    The AMA has taken a stand against this “therapy”. What more can they do?



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  • alf

    The religious have a stranglehold on the USA. (for now)

    Yes, for now. But I feel the tide is turning, especially with the young people. There are important victories being won in the courts in favor of the secular bunch.

    I’ve never visited Seattle but I hear it’s a very cool place. 🙂



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  • I don’t live in Seattle anymore. Too crowded for this small town guy. I live on the coast now.
    I was just on the Olympia Atheists site and I was thrilled to see so many “young” people who reject religion. The tide is indeed turning. But I live in a rural area and not much changes here.
    I met two families last week who are just fed up with the religion and uneducated hillbillies here. They were both educated and like me, they were thinking about moving.



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  • Laurie, Alf

    The religious do not have a stranglehold. The corporations do. And the Republicans (the Plutocratic Oligarchs) rely upon their base, many of whom are religious. The corporations and the wealthy are not religious per se; nor are they motivated by religious motives; they are motivated by the need to preserve the principles of concentration of wealth and power. Fiscal conservatism (preservation of wealth and privilege, pure greed), is, I believe, the primary issue. So-called social conservatism is just about rallying support from the vast, ignorant, unreconstructed white bigots from the bible belt, and about rallying support from socially conservative voters in general.

    This is not just about secular versus non-secular. It is larger than that. (If Trump were truly religious I’d be less worried. He’s worse than religious; he is a lying piece of self-aggrandizing, reactionary, fear-mongering, hate-mongering filth who is appealing to “the lowest common denominator”, as Hawking said.)

    This fine but flawed – and at times wearisome – site is too fixated on religion and missing the larger picture. I am growing bored.

    (Up in the Berkshires. Just got back from Tanglewood. Boston Symphony. Beethoven, Concerto 4.)

    Chomsky on the corporate takeover of US democracy and Citizens United:

    “A very successful predictor of government policy over a long period is political economist Thomas Ferguson’s ‘investment theory of politics,’ which interprets elections as occasions on which segments of private sector power coalesce to invest to control the state. The means for undermining democracy are sure to be enhanced by the Court’s dagger blow at the heart of functioning democracy.”



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  • @Alf,
    So cities like Seattle are too crowded for a small town guy, so you moved to the boondocks.
    Now living in a small town you’re getting fed up of religious/uneducated hillbillies and are thinking of moving.

    You probably should look for Eureka, it’s somewhere in your general neighbourhood. 😉



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  • Dan @#8

    This fine but flawed – and at times wearisome – site is too fixated on religion and missing the larger picture. I am growing bored.

    You need to stop reading all that pointless literature and philosophy nonsense – Read some serious science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics) – Your mind will boggle far more than some dullard asking what is the colour of love or some asinine comment shrouded by the woo-woo of philosophers self-aggrandizement. Surely you have read “The selfish Gene”…. if not – a good place to start me-thinks!



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  • 12
    Pinball1970 says:

    @11 and Dan

    The birth of Time by John Gribbin

    I think it’s better than Hawking’s a brief history as an intro to the universe.

    When you get what level these guys are up to in terms of technology, theory, accuracy and verification of results and dedication, you realise everyone is just playing with meaningless words.



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  • M27 H #11:

    I am “bored” at times by the fixation with religion (on threads dealing with politics) at the expense of the “larger picture.” Perhaps reading (comment 8, for example) before replying would be a good idea. “Color of love”? You used that exact phrase a couple of months ago. “Woo philosophers.” Not interested in your hostile, derisive bias and put-downs.— A lot of people like philosophy and literature. If you don’t that’s your problem, not mine.

    My last response to comments of this kind. Not constructive.



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  • A bit harsh, M27Holts, don’t you think? There are plenty of lovers of philosophy on this site (though I am admittedly not one of them), Phil R comes to mind immediately. Would you give him the same talking to that you just gave Dan? I don’t think so. Just because Dan’s erudition on science isn’t the same level as others (which he has admitted several times) doesn’t mean he can’t play in the same sandbox. “Pointless literature and philosophy nonsense” – I mean, come on now. That’s just an inflammatory and ignorant statement on its face. I won’t even waste my time pointing out its flaws. You might try some pointless literature and philosophy nonsense in addition to your high minded serious science. Then you might be a bit more accepting of others who don’t think exactly like you do. For the most part I believe we’re all friends here, searching for the same truth however we interpret that. I think your overall message is well intended, at least I hope so, but the medium is flawed. As SoW would say, peace.



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  • Steven, I wish I had more background in the literature and philosophy area. I am sadly only slightly
    educated in science.
    One mans weakness is another man’s strength. I have much to learn from you guys.



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  • Steven007.

    For the most part I believe we’re all friends here

    Do you think I consider Dan to be an Enemy?
    I may have been a tad offhand with my sweeping dismissal of literature and classical philosophy – but those on here that know me (via my posts) would probably realize that I was aiming at certain non-mathematical “truths” espoused by the classical philosophers (all that nonsense about subjective knowing versus the “knower” and unverifiable speculation about consciousness etc). And, I have read a lot of really bad literature in my time (I used to read Jilly Cooper when I was 14, but I suspect that was due to my ongoing fixation with posh-girls in tight Jodhpurs!). I think I may have been remembering my forced exposure to Hardy, and the terrible Bronte sisters in my direct dismissal of Classical Literature. My opinion of course is just that “Opinion” with no mathematical proof that Charlotte Bronte < Mark Twain , I am stuck with the unpalatable taste of subjectivity!
    Peace!



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  • 17
    Pinball1970 says:

    What conversion therapy do they use to make someone straight?

    How would one begin to do that?

    I did not think that sort thing existed anymore, it sounds like something from clockwork orange or one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.

    America fascinates me, the country that gave us Richard Feynman and anti gay medicine



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  • Pinball1970 #17
    Aug 16, 2016 at 8:04 am

    What conversion therapy do they use to make someone straight?

    How would one begin to do that?

    It probably runs something like a celibate priesthood or faith-healing!

    ie. It does not actually work, but the facade must be maintained at all costs, regardless of damage to any humans involved!
    The clue is probably in the word “conversion”, which involves delusion, self-deception, “faith”, and secret personal guilt for flawed system failures!



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  • 19
    Pinball1970 says:

    @15

    Steven, I wish I had more background in the literature and philosophy area. I am sadly only slightly
    educated in science.
    One mans weakness is another man’s strength. I have much to learn from you guys.

    We all do Alf that is the beauty of this site.

    You can insight on a topic very quickly just reading the posts.

    Philosophy is something I struggle with, just the phrases have me reaching for a dictionary!



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  • 20
    Pinball1970 says:

    @18 Yes I can imagine priests involved, chanting nonsense, burning incense.

    Perhaps naked men displayed at intervals on a screen whilst the priest whips the (male) patient after every image.

    That would fit into my view of religious healing



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  • M27

    Opinion is fine but when we work collectively to develop ideas we must always offer some clue as to how certain we are of our comments/observations. (A great experiment reported in New Scientist showed that the collective effort of groups could indeed outperform the sum of individual efforts if and only if individuals in the group rated their certainty over their own comment. Opinions and suspicions were fine and helpful so long as their authority was honestly reported also.)

    If you think artistic merit is entirely subjective then you should offer your opinion well qualified and constrained. But it would also be honest to note that many people agree in their opinions on art like this or that . I have claimed often that each piece of art offered and accepted is a psychology experiment we perform on ourselves. The aesthetics involved are extensive and most often the second order evolutionary artifact of our myriad crude detectors and early fixing experience (the curve of a jodhpurred gluteal, the crisp articulation of the superior), but they lay bare piece by piece the sort of person we are. They are psychological mirrors. Jolly Super offered one type of mirror, but other writers may dig out far more curious and unexpected wrinkles. The delight people take is often surprise at the discovery of unexpected sensibilities.

    As a callow youth I knew I was a little cut off from others. (At 8 I was nicknamed Professor Brainstorm by my class teacher) but discovering the written word as a set of accounts for others and how they behave and feel and a revealer of well hidden bits of sensitivity in me slowly turned me (a bit at least) into a real boy.

    In the end though art is one way we find our commonality and our all important differences.



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  • @ M27Holts

    Thanks for the reply. And yes, my positive knowledge of you here via your posts is specifically why I was surprised by your easy dismissal of lit/philosophy. Thanks for adding some color and clarity.

    @alf

    As Pinball said, we all have much to learn in many areas. I really appreciate the erudition of many of our fellow members.



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  • Steven007 #22
    Aug 16, 2016 at 9:57 am + @ M27Holts

    I think there is some confusion here about what is meant by “philosophy”.

    In the distant past philosophers were the “wise men and deep thinkers of classical cultures, but about two hundred years ago things changed.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_philosophy
    Natural philosophy or philosophy of nature (from Latin philosophia naturalis) was the philosophical study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science. It is considered to be the precursor of natural sciences.

    From the ancient world, starting with Aristotle, to the 19th century, the term “natural philosophy” was the common term used to describe the practice of studying nature. It was in the 19th century that the concept of “science” received its modern shape with new titles emerging such as “biology” and “biologist”, “physics” and “physicist” among other technical fields and titles; institutions and communities were founded,

    Major branches of natural philosophy include astronomy and cosmology, the study of nature on the grand scale; etiology, the study of (intrinsic and sometimes extrinsic) causes; the study of chance, probability and randomness; the study of elements; the study of the infinite and the unlimited (virtual or actual); the study of matter; mechanics, the study of translation of motion and change; the study of nature or the various sources of actions; the study of natural qualities; the study of physical quantities; the study of relations between physical entities; and the philosophy of space and time. (Adler, 1993)

    What was included in the philosophy of the ancients, has now been taken over by university science departments, so much of what is now marketed as “philosophy”, is the remaining rump-end of theology, refuted hypotheses, historical arguments, and imponderable (as yet)unanswered questions, along with some mystical woo and other semantic mental gymnastics, AFTER the science elements have moved on into science departments!

    Philosophy in the ancient sense still exists, but many confused theological arguments now are presented under the (fake?) badge of philosophy, (especially in Bible Colleges), with much postmodernist style pseudo-deepity verbosity, and contrived semantics.

    Then there are examples like this pseudo-science crap (beloved by preachers), which pretends neuroscience and psychology are “beyond the scope and domain of science”! :-

    @Wiki link – René Descartes’ metaphysical system of Cartesian Dualism describes two kinds of substance: matter and mind. According to this system, everything that is “matter” is deterministic and natural—and so belongs to natural philosophy —and everything that is “mind” is volitional and non-natural, and falls outside the domain of philosophy of nature.

    That must be the gapologist woo which we regularly hear is “outside of space and time”, and therefore outside the material universe!!!!
    (I think they would have severe difficulty for producing evidence for that “non-natural, non-material, brain matter” claim: -“outside of the neuroscience and psychology of delusion”!

    You may recall this earlier discussion:-

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/06/want-to-be-good-at-philosophy-study-maths-and-science/



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  • alf, Phil, Pinball, Alan, Steven, M27Holts:

    M27, it’s okay. I probably irritate you at times. That’s fine. (Seriously.) You’re probably a decent and compassionate man. Why else wold you have joined a humane site like this? You can be a bit tough, but hell, you’re a straight shooter. I usually don’t mind your expressions of disgust with my stubborn unwillingness to learn more science, but in this case (on this thread) nothing I had said had anything to do with my interest in philosophy or literature; so your comment seemed a little gratuitous. I think the problem, as SoW said, is that comments on a web page (and e-mails) are tone-deaf. They sound colder, more harsh, than they really are, in many cases. That is why he signs off with the valediction: peace. There was a little tension between him and I at one point. Now we’re on good terms.

    Steven, thanks…. Now go take a walk! (Kidding.) You see, If I hadn’t said “kidding’ you might have thought I was being a prick, when I was just being ironic (funny).

    I don’t have time to read all the comments now.

    Oh and Alan, I am opposed to any form of “gapology.* However, if I, as a student of philosophy, can’t find an explanation for something, then I will say that a gap exists. The difference is this: I wouldn’t try to fill that gap with anything positive. A gap is a gap, and must necessarily remain something unknown or, if you prefer, not yet known. I think scientists can, at times, fill those gaps too quickly. Take Space.—Mathematically, it can be divided infinitely just as you can divide any number infinitely. That is what I’d assert. And that leaves a gap; all paradoxes imply a gap….

    Now you and Phil and others might say that it can’t be divided infinitely. Is this a difference of opinion that can lead to the development of a new idea, as Phil said above? Or am I just wrong? Even if the latter is the case, I think dialogues such as that (between philosophy and science) can be useful.



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  • I think I really have to defend modern philosophy courses from the charge of theology fixation. I think many 17th, 18th,and 19th century philosophers were deeply compromised by failing to recognise the theological roots of their vocabulary and its thought constraining powers, but much was still achieved by their efforts in some fields.

    Modern philosophers from the 20th century onwards started to shake a lot of this over-Ockhamed stuff off and many great philosophers work hand in glove with scientists or are themselves scientists. Still, more than a few sadly remain unaware of the scientific brute facts that have now mostly destroyed honourable earlier musings in the absence of such facts. The discussion Alan linked to still stands as a decent plea for more science savvy in there. By the same token all scientists would do well to study the philosophy of science and epistomology. They need to know they have a case and need to be abe to effectively argue it.

    More than ever we need disciplined thinking in ethics (for science, for public policy) and politics and philosophy has a great role here. Having known a professional science ethicist (she had two other degrees apart from philosophy and was one of the megafauna on this site), I have profound respect for the training she had and clear thinking that resulted.

    Picking a course quite at random

    http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/undergraduate/degrees/philosophy-ba/

    Have a read through the three years. I fancy it myself…



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  • Dan #24
    Aug 16, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    The example I give as an ancient refuted or unevidenced claim is that of René Descartes’ Cartesian Dualism: – a created speculated gap dredged along from the past, which has been, and is being, closed up day by day as neuroscience progresses.

    Oh and Alan, I am opposed to any form of “gapology.* However, if I, as a student of philosophy, can’t find an explanation for something, then I will say that a gap exists. The difference is this: I wouldn’t try to fill that gap with anything positive. A gap is a gap, and must necessarily remain something unknown or, if you prefer, not yet known.

    The problem for those reading philosophy but not current science, is that that they do not understand the modern techniques of investigation, and are likely to be unaware of just how many, and how far, gaps have been closed. The gaps persist in their own individual knowledge, but have been closed in publications of the studies they have not read!

    I think scientists can, at times, fill those gaps too quickly.

    Modern science has thousands of university studies and industrial researchers, pressing forward at the frontiers of human knowledge. Nobody can keep up to date with all of them.
    Science is about making testable predictions, so those of us with good foresight or good fortune, can pick out relevant areas in which to watch for productive developments. Tips from others with good forward vision in specialist areas help us look in the right places (as on this forum)!

    As I point out @#23, once science split from philosophy in the 1800s, it has been only too easy for philosophers to become bogged down in many of the (now resolved) arguments of the past. –
    A situation aggravated by theological / creationists attempts to resurrect, dubious or long refuted claims, which can be presented as supporting their mythologies.
    Creationists also love cherry-picking flawed, refuted, obsolete, scientific studies, for the same reason – usually pretending the failed incompetent or quack is being made a martyr by those “conspiring” scientists – arguing in a similar style to the clown of a denialist senator on this link!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/08/challenge-to-presidential-candidates-debate-about-science/#li-comment-209581



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  • phil rimmer #25
    Aug 16, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Modern philosophers from the 20th century onwards started to shake a lot of this over-Ockhamed stuff off and many great philosophers work hand in glove with scientists or are themselves scientists. Still, more than a few sadly remain unaware of the scientific brute facts that have now mostly destroyed honourable earlier musings in the absence of such facts.

    I think you have clarified the key divisions of those modern philosophers who embrace modern science and incorporate its knowledge and methodologies into their studies and debates, and those who I will name as “fossil philosophers”, who are heavily focussed on theology and the misconceptions of the past.
    As I commented less clearly @#23, there is stuff being marketed as “philosophy” in Bible and theological colleges, which is the latter.
    The output from such establishments turns up on this site from time to time, full of “expertise in their philosophy”!



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  • Alan,

    Yes I have heard creationists use outdated philosophical terms and outdated phrases too. I hate it. It gives good philosophers a bad name. But they use pseudo-scientific arguments as well. When I refer to the unanswered questions I am usually thinking of such things as “what was before time” and “what lies after space” and other paradoxical problems. As far as I know these questions, in spite of what I have heard, remain unanswered.

    I don’t know about the split you speak of. I do not doubt that it took place.

    Phil,

    I am not a conventional student, and take what I can where and when I can. I have dismissed far more than I have embraced or affirmed. I have learned much from Plato. And I suspect that we were closest to the truth in the 19th Century. The distinction between ancient and modern is legitimate yet misleading. There is agreement to be found among the most heterogeneous minds. Everything that has been discovered and presented in modern times has ancient historical roots (although the modern might not have been aware of them). This, presumably, applies to the history of science as well.

    Philosophy can be useful, and disciplined, precise thinking is vitally important. My experience, however, has taught me that professional philosophers tend to be wordy and dull, confused, egotistical, over-educated, if you will – incapable of honest reflection or of producing much of anything, except an agenda. (They conduct biased studies and get paid.) Your friend is an exception, I am sure. There are many exceptions. Many.

    I am not interested in pragmatic philosophy per se. Philosophy, in my opinion, is analogous to art; the purpose of the latter is the production of beauty; its uses and advantages for life is in inverse proportion to its practical utility.

    I want to learn something, gain knowledge and deep insights and maybe acquire a view of existence wholly my own, in this one brief period of time that has been allotted to me. (Dawkins said the same thing, although somewhat differently.) There is value in that. I distinguish between value and utility.

    Is science and philosophy so different? Yes and no. For one thing, science is always practical. Philosophy need not be.

    Back in the late 80s and early 90s I was sometimes asked if I was interested in analytic or continental philosophy. I used to say: I am interested in all philosophy that seems to me to be true. That produced irritation. I never understood what the difference was and to this very day I still don’t, and have no interest in learning. I think someone just made that up for convenience sake and it caught on. I take one thinker at a time, and prefer not to place them anywhere – except in my estimation as either high, low, or somewhere in-between.



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  • Dan #28
    Aug 16, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    I don’t know about the split you speak of. I do not doubt that it took place.

    Perhaps this other link will help you and any other readers to a clearer view.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphysics

    Another central branch of metaphysics is metaphysical cosmology: an area of philosophy that seeks to understand the origin of the universe and determine whether there is an ultimate meaning behind its existence. Metaphysical cosmology differs from physical cosmology, the study of the physical origins and evolution of the Universe.

    Prior to the modern history of science, scientific questions were addressed as a part of metaphysics known as natural philosophy. Originally, the term “science” (Latin scientia) simply meant “knowledge”.
    The scientific method, however, transformed natural philosophy into an empirical activity deriving from experiment unlike the rest of philosophy.
    By the end of the 18th century, it had begun to be called “science” to distinguish it from philosophy.

    Thereafter, metaphysics denoted philosophical enquiry of a non-empirical character into the nature of existence.[5]
    Some philosophers of science, such as the neo-positivists, say that natural science rejects the study of metaphysics, while other philosophers of science strongly disagree.

    Evidence based science rejects metaphysics (going by this more recent definition), as theology based gapologist whimsical speculation.

    The change in definition is often involved as semantic shuffle in theist arguments promoting a god-of-gaps.



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  • Alan—

    “God of the gaps.” Great expression. I’d enjoy it more if this way of thinking wasn’t so pervasive and pernicious.

    Conversion therapy. An atrocious practice.



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  • Dan

    I distinguish between value and utility.

    Then you do, in fact, have all the mental equipment to comprehend the difference between understanding and mastery respectively.

    The history of ideas (and the current potentially true and as yet not disproven) is not a contiguous tree for all branches like the tree of life. Thanks to the use of utterly new metaphysics discontinuities can spring up (terminate and restart somewhere quite other) and when validated by test and/or value and/or utility may sustain, branching and fruiting.

    Everyone lives in the past in one sense. My taste is to live in as much of it as possible, even the newly minted past. The newly minted past is our collective adventure just coined. Here is particular and thrilling value.

    Science is always practical.

    Hardly. Science is not technology. Certainly the greatest scientists are in it for the thrill of knowing alone. We technologists are much humbler and more mercenary beasts. I think possibly Hollywood and Amazon may be the only practical beneficiaries of cosmologies, say.

    My experience, however, has taught me that professional philosophers tend to be wordy and dull, confused, egotistical, over-educated, if you will – incapable of honest reflection or of producing much of anything, except an agenda.

    Smeering someone’s motivation (invoking unworthy thoughts and dishonest intentions) stops me reading like nothing else. Here is an under-analysed proposition.

    What of philosophers like Bachelard and Poetics?

    This is an artist as an explorer of aesthetics. My son introduced me to him. (He figured in his final year thesis). I rather loved him.



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  • Dan #28
    Aug 16, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Alan,

    Yes I have heard creationists use outdated philosophical terms and outdated phrases too. I hate it. It gives good philosophers a bad name.

    That is why I coined the term “fossil philosophers”.
    Like the biological fossil record, the successful forms have evolved into modern science, rational thinking and modern knowledge.

    The “fossil philosophers” are just like (or actually are), the creationists, who keep on reasserting the extinct refuted arguments and notions of the past.

    When I refer to the unanswered questions I am usually thinking of such things as “what was before time”

    What “was before time?”, is an oxymoron, as “before” implies a relative measured position, and direction of view, in time, so it cannot be “outside of time” or “outside of space-time”.

    and “what lies after space” and other paradoxical problems.

    We would need to clear up whether the term “after” refers to time, or if it refers to some “boundary of space”. Both concepts seem to be Earth and space Earth-time, and Earth measurements of distance based.
    Concepts which are not consistent with Einstein’s relativity in which time varies with relative velocities and gravity. ( ie. a space-craft or a body approaching the speed of light would have its relative onboard time slowing toward zero and its relative mass increasing towards infinite. This implies that the energy requirement to exceed light speed, is also infinite and the acceleration on approach reducing to zero.)

    As far as I know these questions, in spite of what I have heard, remain unanswered.

    The issue would be: “Do those words have any meaning to form a coherent question to which an answer can be given?” – Or are they just semantic labels on imaginary misconceptions which do not fit the physics of the material universe?

    @#30 -“God of the gaps.” Great expression.

    For anyone into rational philosophy and fallacy spotting, this page is a good read!

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/God_of_the_gaps



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  • Smeering…possibly a Freudian conflation of sneering and smearing? Or a falling to bits brain.

    What “was before time?”, is an oxymoron

    Its many things but not a coherent question.

    Are there space-times? How might they be connected if they are not contiguous?



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  • …..If reality is non local can they be re-connected by shared physics?

    These are slightly more tractable questions, but only available to philosophers steeped in science (or the reverse).



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  • I see a lot of this site as an open invitation to “Expand” the experience of learning! I am currently preparing my “reading list” for my forthcoming Costa-Del-Sol holiday – I have purchased “Oxygen” and “Life Ascending” by Nick lane because I was so impressed with “Power, Sex, Suicide” – which I bought a few months back. No time for reading novels at the moment i’m afraid! – But I will check out that book that Pinball recommended – and hope it arrives before I leave for Spain!



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  • 36
    Pinball1970 says:

    @#34 These are slightly more tractable questions, but only available to philosophers steeped in science (or the reverse).

    I think anyone born now, smart enough to be a philosopher back in the day, would be a scientist today.



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  • 37
    Pinball1970 says:

    @Phil. If reality is non local can they be re-connected by shared physics?

    I will have a try here Phil and this something blew my mind a little bit when I read about it so hopefully you can help me a little with some of the details

    Reality can be two things

    1/Objective Einstein reality where the moon is still there without us looking at it

    2/Heisenberg reality whereby there is no way one can ever extract information from a system with interacting with it and therefore changing that system. There for there is never any objective reality with any meaning to it as you cannot say anything about it.

    In terms of locality are you referring to entanglement? John Bell and EPR?

    My understanding is that physics is not local and Einstein was wrong, spooky action at a distance does occur BUT information regarding separated systems cannot violate special relativity or causality.

    In other words we could not use such a system to reconnect separated systems that violate those laws.

    So if you had two entangled particles in labs one in CERN and the other in an lab someone where in Andromeda could you not alter the spin on one particle to tell CERN immediately?

    Devise a fast/slow switch with a sort of Morse code?

    If not why not?

    Only issues are;

    1/Keeping the particles entangled

    2/Getting to Andromeda

    This a thought experiment so all technical difficulties and travel time issues can be dispensed with.



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  • Pin, I am indeed talking about Bell and the like here, but here is the core idea-

    The world we experience in daily life, in which events occur in an order determined by their locations in space and time, is just a subset of the possibilities that quantum physics allows. “If you have space-time, you have a well-defined causal order,” said Časlav Brukner, a physicist at the University of Vienna who studies quantum information. But “if you don’t have a well-defined causal order,” he said — as is the case in experiments he has proposed — then “you don’t have space-time.” Some physicists take this as evidence for a profoundly nonintuitive worldview, in which quantum correlations are more fundamental than space-time, and space-time itself is somehow built up from correlations among events, in what might be called quantum relationalism.

    A deeper substrate than (a) spacetime may be the same substrate for others. Starting off with a spacetime and its attributes like special relativity and causality may well seal it off as you argue.

    Here’s the quote in its much bigger context.

    https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160119-time-entanglement/



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  • Oh,

    (1.) By “connected” I don’t mean contactable/signalling, I simply mean a deeper under-girding physics in common. The intention is simply to have a coherent account for “before time” or “beyond space”.

    (2.) Dan, should delight in the mention of Leibnitz and Mach in the next sentence after the quote. The Kantian lesson (following Leibnitz) is at the heart of modern science. But then Leibnitz and Kant etc. were scientists as much as mathematician and philosopher.



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  • Phil, Alan

    In a rush. (Busy.) A few quick comments.

    “What ‘was before time?’, is not a coherent question”.

    Precisely!! Congrats!! Yet we cannot conceive as time as finite either; all beginnings are in time. No beginning. No end. This “gap” constitutes a paradox, may be viewed as an impenetrable mystery, and a permanent limitation of human understanding What this incoherent question expresses is this: time and space (our old friends) exist solely in relation to the empirically real world (universe).

    I understand that Space is no longer considered infinitely divisible. Mathematically, however, it can be divided infinitely just as you can divide any number infinitely. That is a classic paradox, and when I ask what was before time, I am being ironic and also raising a question, a question that I have raised here repeatedly. And I would say this about space: the reason why space can, in a mathematical sense, be divided infinitely is because perceived, physical space is a formal condition of the understanding; it is impossible not to be conscious of space;. empirically we are in space. Yet space is actually in us.

    Einstein distinguished between mental and physical time. I (his scientifically challenged cousin) distinguish between empirical and absolute time (and space).

    Mastery and understanding. I haven’t the time now to read the comment in its entirety; but how could you have doubted that I have the mental equipment to comprehend this distinction, Phil? Me?

    I wasn’t implying that theoretical science cannot provide the same kind of satisfaction that philosophy or art does; I just think that the end and aim of science is not pleasure or enlightenment (depth) per se. Those are by-products, not ends. Conversely, philosophy can yield many practical benefits; yet the ultimate goal, as far as I am concerned, is more along the lines of: the acquisition of insight, enlightened perception ( the acquisition of depth).

    41 (2): Yes, always nice to read a positive reference to Kant, for a change. (Leibniz never interested me. “Best of all possible worlds.” Ha!)



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  • Dan

    Yet we cannot conceive as time as finite either.

    I can. I’m here for a bit and then I’m not. Besides time without change is meaningless, unless there is a larger context of change to be its ruler.

    but how could you have doubted that I have the mental equipment to comprehend this distinction, Phil?

    Because you have never before acknowledged that knowledge may be valuable to us in itself and that it may also be merely useful.



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  • Dan #42
    Aug 17, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    “What ‘was before time?’, is not a coherent question”.

    Precisely!! Congrats!! Yet we cannot conceive as time as finite either; all beginnings are in time. No beginning. No end. This “gap” constitutes a paradox,

    The confusion arises because of the mistaken obsolete philosophical view, that time is linear and uniform.
    Due to relativity, the pace of time varies with relative velocity and gravity.
    The rate of progression through time diminishes to infinitesimal as the speed of light is approached, while the energy required for further acceleration of mass approaches infinite.
    (an example of this would be material falling into a black-hole.)

    may be viewed as an impenetrable mystery, and a permanent limitation of human understanding

    There is nothing impenetrable or mysteries in understanding that measurements of time are taken using an “elastic ruler” where calibrations can shrink or expand, rather than using a uniformly calibrated fixed one.

    Engineers and mathematicians frequently use graphs and measurements using variable units of measurements based on some formula.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graph_paper#Examples

    What this incoherent question expresses is this: time and space exist solely in relation to the empirically real world (universe).

    They are indeed an integral part of the material universe.



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  • 46
    Pinball1970 says:

    This is the only philosophy I can really appreciate because it comes directly from observational and testable science and theory.

    The questions have value.

    What is time? Does it exist at all? Is it quantized or continuous and can moments in time be entangled?

    The last question is not something I have read about until Phil’s post, really out there stuff that is not something we have evolved to understand.

    Einstein, Bohr and Heisenberg must have had some great conversations about physics but to an outsider they must have sounded like philosophers.

    Until one of them pulled out a piece of chalk and walked to the black board that is.



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  • Phil—

    “I’m here for a bit and then I’m not. Besides time without change is meaningless, unless there is a larger context of change to be its ruler.”

    Time without change is indeed meaningless. All changes of states of matter are in time.

    I have always suspected that you do not have an adequate grasp of the subtly apprehended doctrine of the ideality of time.

    Alan—

    There is more than one way of thinking about time. I am thinking of time in relation to the mind. The time you speak of is a different species of time; perhaps a word other than “time” should be used when referring to non-linear “time”.



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  • Dan #47

    Alan—

    There is more than one way of thinking about time. I am thinking of time in relation to the mind.

    At any location, time is the pace of active energy in atoms and particles of matter (- in mechanical clocks or in atomic clocks). That includes the synapses of the brain and the atoms of the body.

    The time you speak of is a different species of time; perhaps a word other than “time” should be used when referring to non-linear “time”.

    This is a misconception of the form which misperceives a gently curving section of a graph as a straight line.

    There are no “other species of time”. There are just different places on the curve of the graph determined by relative velocity and gravity.

    @#32 . the space-craft or a body approaching the speed of light would have its relative onboard time slowing toward zero and its relative mass increasing towards infinite.. Any passenger on such a craft would be affected by Einstein’s time dilation in the same way as their craft, although they would feel quite normal.

    Time dilation is not some fanciful notion! It is proven physics, which has to included in the formula of the calculations which make satellite navigation systems work.
    I will put a separate link about this.



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  • Dan #47

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

    In the theory of relativity, time dilation is a difference of elapsed time between two events as measured by observers either moving relative to each other or differently situated from a gravitational mass or masses.

    A clock at rest with respect to one observer may be measured to tick at a different rate when compared to a second observer’s clock. This effect arises neither from technical aspects of the clocks nor from the propagation time of signals, but from the nature of spacetime.

    Clocks on the Space Shuttle run slightly slower than reference clocks on Earth, while clocks on GPS and Galileo satellites run slightly faster.[1] Such time dilation has been repeatedly demonstrated (see experimental confirmation below), for instance by small disparities in atomic clocks on Earth and in space, even though both clocks work perfectly (it is not a mechanical malfunction). The nature of spacetime is such that time measured along different trajectories is affected by differences in either gravity or velocity – each of which affects time in different ways.[2][3]

    In theory, and to make a clearer example, time dilation could affect planned meetings for astronauts with advanced technologies and greater travel speeds. The astronauts would have to set their clocks to count exactly 80 years, whereas mission control – back on Earth – might need to count 81 years. The astronauts would return to Earth, after their mission, having aged one year less than the people staying on Earth. What is more, the local experience of time passing never actually changes for anyone. In other words, the astronauts on the ship as well as the mission control crew on Earth each feel normal, despite the effects of time dilation (i.e. to the traveling party, those stationary are living “faster”; while to those who stood still, their counterparts in motion live “slower” at any given moment).

    With technology limiting the velocities of astronauts, these differences are minuscule: after 6 months on the International Space Station (ISS), the astronaut crew has indeed aged less than those on Earth, but only by about 0.005 seconds (nowhere near the 1 year disparity from the theoretical example). The effects would be greater if the astronauts were traveling nearer to the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s), instead of their actual speed – which is the speed of the orbiting ISS, about 7,700 m/s.[4]

    Time dilation is caused by differences in either gravity or relative velocity. In the case of ISS, time is slower due to the velocity in circular orbit; this effect is slightly reduced by the opposing effect of less gravitational potential.

    As far as brains perceptions of time go, those could also vary with the temperature, the chemical energy available (ie. the rate of metabolism), and the brain circuits used in the perception.
    ( These would be the effects similar to a CLOCK mechanically running faster or slower, NOT relative time running faster or slower.)

    Gravitational time dilation is at play e.g. for ISS astronauts. With respect to ground observers the ISS astronauts’s relative velocity slows down their time, whereas the reduced gravitational influence at their location speeds it up. The two opposing effects are not equally strong. At the ISS altitude the net effect is a slowing down of clocks, whereas in much higher orbits clocks run faster than on the ground.

    This effect is not restricted to astronauts in space; a climber’s time is passing slightly faster at the top of a mountain (a high altitude, farther from the Earth’s center of gravity) compared to people at sea level. It has also been calculated that due to time dilation, the core of the Earth is 2.5 years younger than the crust.[6]

    As with all time dilation, the local experience of time is normal (nobody notices a difference within their own frame of reference). In the situations of velocity time dilation, both observers saw the other as moving slower (a reciprocal effect). Now, with gravitational time dilation, both observers – those at sea level, versus the climber – agree that the clock nearer the mass is slower in rate, and they agree on the ratio of the difference (time dilation from gravity is therefore not reciprocal). That is, the climber sees the sea level clocks as moving more slowly, and those living at sea level see the climber’s clock as moving faster.



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  • Dan

    I have always suspected that you do not have an adequate grasp of the subtly apprehended doctrine of the ideality of time.

    I’ve never come across a doctrine that necessitates a mode of apprehension before.

    Subtle, huh?

    A subtle apprehension, but firmly grasped. Well I’m truly fucked then.

    However, my point was that time starting and stopping is an easy concept…for me.



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  • Phil—

    Time starting and stopping may be easy concept for you. And I suppose I can conceive of 3+2 equalling 5; and I can form a conception of God and the Devil; but concepts are not perceptions; and I for one cannot conceive of someone perceiving time stopping or starting. Why can’t you just say: interesting point? Let me think about that.

    Must I always be wrong?

    Didn’t mean to offend. I just don’t think you quite get what I am saying. —I could be wrong – again.



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  • Comment 52 cont.

    “And I suppose I can conceive of 3+2 equalling 5.”

    I meant to say not equalling five. (I make that kind of mistake often; must be a Freudian thing.)

    A concept that is not derived from perception is (often) an empty husk.



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  • Must I always be wrong?

    I often think you are right! But truly this particular one is super familiar to, f’rinstance, physics folk and filmgoers these days. The real problem is the relationship that spacetimes may have one with another. How could we understand such a state of affairs? Well it seems we might be able to produce an account that linked spacetimes, a model that may, perhaps, defy understanding but, at least, may confer a predictive mastery.



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  • Filmgoers, Phil?

    How many physicists have read Kant’s Transcendental Aesthetic? How many (filmgoing) physicists have read S’s work in its entirety? I assure you: the doctrine of the ideality of space and time is not easily grasped, and is understood by only a few. Many, I am sure, have a superficial understanding of this problem; but very few people understand the many parts of this problem and how they fit together. Space, matter, time, understanding, causality. —These are component parts of reality. All of these parts of must be understood separately. Then one can – assuming one has an aptitude – understand how they all contribute to the production of what we call reality, what IS reality. Time itself, which does not exist independently of objects, cannot be perceived; this happens and then that. Perceived changes in time are successive. Time is successive, but without space cannot exist (See K’s intro. to the second edition of his Critique.), and vice-versa. Without the faculty of understanding, nothing can be perceived as external, etc. This is not a simple idea we are discussing; it is an esoteric one par excellence.

    There is understanding and there is understanding, as you know. Being familiar with something is not the same thing as understanding something.

    Q: is space-time perceived? (I refuse to believe that time is an absolute physical quality or quantity, and if it is, it is not time but should have another name, as I suggested in an earlier comment.)



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  • Neither Kant’s might bes, nor your recipe for reality, can ever be a fully successful account because it has no concept of that essential ticking clock, thermodynamics, within a spacetime and the winding down that is turned increasingly slowly (!) into entropy. Philosophical hypotheses that (usually unwittingly) posit the suspension of say the second law of thermodynamics fail to apprehend that logic itself then loses its imperative.

    Nor does this account approach the posed problem of spacetimes, sitting within a larger physics, which I propose is the coherent question that can be asked that looks like “What is before time or beyond space?”



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  • 58
    Pinball1970 says:

    @55 …and this is the philosophy I dont like much

    Kant did not know about entropy and the implications for the arrow of time.

    He did not know about special/general relativity and the fact that time is not universal and can be distorted by gravity and velocity.

    He did not know about Minkowski space time where time is simply one dimension in a four dimensional space.

    None of these are fanciful concepts, we know for a fact time is malleable and GPS systems rely on Einstein’s equations to factor in the effects of velocity and gravity.

    Mathematics, accurate ,robust, rigorous, mathematics.

    Yet time may not exist!

    How can that be possible?

    Time may be a mathematical tool we have invented to predict and separate out one set of events, given another set of events, no clock is ticking anywhere in the universe.

    Time gives an illusion of going forward just because statistics regarding entropy say it should.

    Mathematicians use these abstract things all the time, -1? Can you give me £-1? Colour space? A mathematical model to denote and compare from one colour to another, this does not actually exist in reality.

    Neither does colour itself for that matter, colour is not a thing in itself at all it is a series of events and biological interactions, only the quanta could be said to exist.

    Neither are emotions what are they? Neurones firing? Responses to stimuli, biological models used to describe a series of biochemical processes.

    Love, hate, colour, time are just human constructs to make sense of the universe.

    Brian Cox did a great little piece on this as part of “Wonders of the universe,” series I would check that out.

    As an aside,very entertaining series and he has done a lot for the promotion of science to kids in the last ten years, RD xmas lectures did the same in the 90s.



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  • Brian Cox did a great little piece on this as part of “Wonders of the universe,” series I would check that out.

    Aye, excellent programme – best on BBC for a while!
    I would just emphasize what has already been said in the last few posts – Physics has mathematical proof and empirical testing results to back up it’s claims. Kant and the rest of the philosophers did not back up ANY of their hypotheses! In any case modern science has pulled the rug out from underneath their word-based-woo.
    Peace.



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  • their word-based-woo.

    This is a little bit unfair IMO. The motivation is not particularly to the woo (though others may push it that way). The problem is rather their woo-based words,



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  • Q: In the empirically real world, the one that you and I inhabit and have consciousness in relation to, is there really such a thing as spacetime, or is this a purely mathematical construct used to build mathematical models?

    Q: is space-time perceived? (#55) Still unanswered.



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  • Dan #63
    Aug 19, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Q: In the empirically real world, the one that you and I inhabit and have consciousness in relation to, is there really such a thing as spacetime, or is this a purely mathematical construct used to build mathematical models?

    That was answered by the comments and links on relativity. Spacetime governs and regulates how, when, and where everything works.

    Q: is space-time perceived? (#55) Still unanswered.

    The bigger picture is only perceived and measured through the tools of science, but specific effects such as ageing, gravity, day, night, and seasons, can be directly observed and felt.



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  • Olgun,

    Your questions regarding David Eagleman’s half hour lecture on the Pinker thread about the perception of time…

    Touch signals from the toes travel up A-delta type afferent nerves (nerves conducting towards the brain) at about 20m/s. This is five times slower than the A-alpha afferents that are used for, say, proprioception (keeping out balance etc.). The A-deltas are really skinny, so high resistance and have really thin insulation (fatty myelin) giving a high relative capacitance to the salty water around them. This long RC time constant means that electrical signals travelling up 2m of wiring takes about 100 milliseconds the limit for the brain to create the conscious illusion (and therefore simple memory) of simultaneity. This delay is compensated out (by delaying faster signals), but all at a sub conscious level and in a way that is open to modification dependent upon experience (as we see later). It is compensated out as the brain’s learning mechanism (Donald Hebbs) demands a cofiring of neurons to strengthen links between them and establish a perception and an memory of that perception. The flexibility of this compensation probably allows for some fault tolerance and seems to follow the slowly moving average of a typical biological homeostatic system.

    The flash phenomenon works with any kind of novelty, not just brightness. The more novel phenomenon consumes more brain time (and energy) and is presented longer and later for our conscious consideration. This is far better seen in this presentation-

    http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/mot-flashLag/index.html

    Here the novelty has nothing to do with brightness. Start with the rpm set to one and the flashed outer finger aligns with the rotating inner finger. At 10 rpm there is at a noticeable angle to the flashed finger.

    His schizophrenia hypothesis looks pretty good. Our head voices out of sync with our expectations become someone else’s. Shortly I will post a TED talk from Daniel Wolpert showing how we can tickle ourselves, how time shifting our expectations dramatically alters our sense of ownership of our actions…

    Terrifying people into experiencing a slower but no more detailed perception of time was done
    a few years earlier than David Eagleman. Only they really scared people. They strapped the big watch to their wrists, tied the subject to a chair and kicked them backwards off the top of a building…They may have had nets…



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  • Thanks Phil

    Cant really digest it at the mo but will take a better look later tonight and watch the Tedtalk.

    I did take a quick look at at the flash lag though. I don’t know what it means but I can make it sync by blinking at the right speed. The strobe effect makes them line up perfectly. I even made the flashing line disappear, unintentionally, matching the closed eye with the flash. Don’t know exactly but I was blinking at about three times a second when it happened?

    BTW. I am not questioning the theory, haven’t quite grasped it yet, just his experiments and his interpretation.



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  • Ol,

    I think his interpretation of the flash illusion is correct and backed up or at least is consistent with later explanations. Like you I thought other explanations were possible but these, I believe, are discounted by that second version I linked to.



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  • Thanks again Phil. Still have the get the alternatives out of my head but it makes more sense now.

    I did that have slowing down effect in times of danger in a car accident. No one was badly hurt but the time it took for my chin to hit the dash and my head the screen seemed like forever. I had to be promoted to remember it though a few minutes later. Thats when I might have remembered it in slow mo rather than at the time but am not sure at all. All four of us discussed how long we skidded for and how slow that went as well. Me and the front passenger also remembered her face in our headlights slowly looking from side to side but not seeing us and pulling out but that was milli seconds before she pulled out so a mixed memory perhaps?



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