Re: virus:"other reality"

Reed Konsler (
Fri, 3 May 1996 15:24:10 -0400

On Thu May 2, 10:10pm, John Aten said:
By "other reality" I do not mean "parallel dimension" or "higher plane"
or anything like this. Other realities would be no different than ours,
we just could not observe them with our senses. Like the spectra of
light; there are many types of light, but we can only actually see a
small strip. That which we cannot see does not exist elsewhere; it
exists but we cannot see it.

These "other realities", being side by side with our own, would obey the
same laws of physics that ours does and would consist of the same
objects as ours does. We are just not seeing the entire picture. I am
not introducing anything mystical; quite the contrary. "Other realities"
would be as natural as our own. "

Caveat: The issue is complex. It's development will take some negotiation and
I'm very intereste din what others here have to say, however...

In this forum we have been discussing tarot cards, art, fantasy, and other
manifestations of conciousness which cannot be easily understood in terms of
efficiency, natural selection, or pure rationalism.

We have come to the conclusion that we value many of these things and will find
unacceptable an ideology which excludes or devalues such expression. In other
words, while reason may be the key to truth we must be careful not to become
"greedy reductionists" (this term from Dennett's "Darwins Dangerous Idea") who
attempt to explain everything observed without taking into account the true
complexity of the situation.

Conciousness is incredibly complicated. Reason dictates that eventually we
will be able to reduce any system into it's easily understandable, algorithmic
components. We are not there yet. We can be positive there are several layers
of complexity and currently counterintuitive interrelations which we will be
required to elucidate on the way.

I cannot emphasise is stronger terms, however, that the primacy of observation
is axiomatic to science. Certianly, the hypothesis that alternate realities,
or no one reality at all, may exist is a tenable philosophical position. It is
even possible to construct a logical chain of reasoning based on such a

Such logic, when applied to concepts of "truth" is, however, spurious.

The triumph of reason as a system of understanding is that it is successful in
providing generalizations useful in interacting with the universe by REQUIRING
VERIFIABLE EVIDENCE that something exists before entertianing the possibility
that it does exist.

I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but way back when we were defining belief I
was very serious when I said that:

One observed to act as if X were true is said to believe X.

Is the most precise definition of belief because it explicitly indicates the
primacy of observation. I felt (and feel) the need to continue to restate this
position because I know from conversations here and elsewhere that in people's
minds still lurk the remnants of previous memes and ideologies which CANNOT
COEXIST with scientific rationalism.

I know, with as much ontological certainty as is possible, that God does not

I know that aliens do not visit this planet.
I know that Cold Fusion is a hoax.
I know there was no continent of Atlantis.
I know there are no "alternate realities"

Becuase there is insufficient verifiable evidence that these things exist. If
it is not observed then it is not real.

John was proposing this idea as a hypothetical, and as such it is an
interesting thing to speculate about...the kind of thing one might consider on
a lazy Sunday afternoon while lying in the summer sun. It is vital that we be
very careful in our language to distinguish between what we know to be true
from that which we speculate might be true.

The problem is these TV specials like "Alien Autopsy" which clothe themselves
in the language and method of reason while making a mockery of it. We see
presentation of "evidence" and attempts at "authentiacation" and "verification"
with the ulitimate conclusion:

It cannot be disproven that:
Aliens exist
They shot Kennedy

It cannot be disproven!?!?

My GOD! What are these people THINKING? Do they think they have reaced a
conclusion of any utility? Does it make people feel better to "know" this?

It cannot be disproven!?!

I'm livid, I'm outraged, I'm appalled!

I'm babaling...

Anyway, I'd simply like to point out that such lines of reasoning are
fallacious. A hypothesis must be validated observation; it is insufficient that
there exists a lack of evidence to the contrary.

We really cannot compromise on this point. Presently, we must be explicit. We
must continiously reinforce in ourselves and those we interact with the meme of
reason. We must do this until it becomes implicit, as it is not now, in
everything we think and do. This idea of reason is still a new one, and not
yet fully formed or integrated into the rest of our culture. Within this forum
are a number of people with the privelidge of holding the key to infinite
understanding. We must not lose it, or allow it to be taken from us.

A lot of what I've said isn't universally accepted as fact. I apologize, but
only to a certian extent, for the declarative nature of the previous
paragraphs. These things lie very close to the heart of why, from what I've
read, this forum was created.