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I'm somewhat confused why Nolan Funeral Home is one of the organizations you needed to contact about panspermia contagion, via some random person's memorial page. Is this some kind of spam program gone awry?

Why not fill the detergent compartment immediately after emptying the dishwasher? Then you have closed detergent slot -> dirty dishes, open detergent slot -> clean dishes.

Have you run the numbers on these? For example

there are never two different subjects claiming to have been the same person

sounds like a case of the Birthday paradox. Assume there's order of magnitude 10^11 dead people since 8000 BCE. So if you have a test group of, say, 10 000 reincarnation claimants and all of them can have memories of any dead person, already claimed or not, what's the probability of you actually observing two of them claiming the same dead person?

The bit about the memories always being from dead people is a bit more plausible. We seem to have like 10 % of all people who ever lived alive right now, so assuming the memories are random and you can actually verify where they came from, you should see living people memories pretty fast.

But I’m curious now, is there a fairly sizable contingent of academic/​evidential dualists in the rationalist community?

It's more empirical than ideological for me. There are these pockets of "something's not clear here", where similar things keep being observed, don't line up with any current scientific explanation, and even people who don't seem obviously biased start going "hey, something's off here". There's the recent US Navy UFO sightings thing that nobody seems to know what to make of, there's Darryl Bem's 2011 ESP study that follows stuff by people like Dean Radin who seem to keep claiming the existence of a very specific sort of PSI effect. Damien Broderick's Outside the Gates of Science was an interesting overview of this stuff.

I don't think I've heard much of reincarnation research recently, but it was one of the three things Carl Sagan listed as having enough plausible-looking evidence for them that people should look a lot more carefully into them in The Demon-Haunted World in 1996, when the book was otherwise all about claims of the paranormal and religious miracles being bunk. I guess the annoying thing with reincarnation is that it's very hard to study rigorously if brains are basically black boxes. The research is postulating whole new physics, so things should be established with the same sort of mechanical rigor and elimination of degrees of freedom as existing physics is, and "you ask people to tell you stories and try to figure out if the story checks out but it's completely implausible for the person telling it to you to know it" is beyond terrible degrees-of-freedom-wise if you think of it like a physicist.

When you keep hearing about the same sort of weird stuff happening and don't seem to have a satisfying explanation for what's causing it, that makes it sound like there's maybe some things that ought to be poked with a stick there.

On the other hand, there's some outside view concerns. Whatever weird thing is going on seems to be either not really there after all, or significantly weirder than any resolved scientific phenomenon so far. Scientists took reports of PSI seriously in the early 20th century and got started trying to study them (Alan Turing was still going "yeah, human telepathy is totally a thing" in his Turing Test paper). What followed was a lot of smart people looking into the shiny new thing and accomplishing very little. Susan Blackmore spent decades studying parapsychology and ended up vocally disillusioned. Dean Radin seems to think that the PSI effect is verified, but it's so slight that "so go win the Randi Prize" doesn't make sense because the budget for a statistically conclusive experiment would be bigger than the prize money. And now we're in the middle of the replication crisis (which Radin mentions zero times in a book he published in 2018), and psychology experiments that report some very improbable phenomenon look a lot less plausible than they did 15 years ago.

The UFO stuff also seems to lead people into strange directions of thinking that something seems to be going on, but it doesn't seem to be possible for it to be physical spacecraft. Jacques Vallée ended up going hard on this path and pissed off the science-minded UFOlogists. More recently, Greg Cochran and Lesswrong's own James Miller talked about the Navy UFO reports and how the reported behavior doesn't seem to make sense for any physically real object on Miller's podcast (part 1, part 2).

So there's a problem with the poke things with a stick idea. A lot of smart people have tried, and have had very little progress in the 70 years since the consensus as reported by Alan Turing was that yeah this looks like it's totally a thing.

Any thoughts on Rupert Sheldrake? Complex memories showing up with no plausible causal path sounds a lot like his morphic resonance stuff.

Also, old thing from Ben Goertzel that might be relevant to your interests, Morphic Pilot Theory hypothesizes some sort of compression artifacts in quantum physics that can pop up as inexplicable paranormal knowledge.

Still makes sense if you listen when walking or driving when you couldn't read a book anyway. I mostly listen to podcasts instead of audiobooks though, a book is a really long commitment compared to a podcast episode.

Podcast transcription services probably. They seem to cost around $1 per minute nowadays. I expect they'll keep getting disrupted by AI. There's already audio transcription AIs like the autogenerated subtitles on youtube, but they get context-dependent ambiguous words wrong. Seems like an obvious idea to plug them to a GPT style language model that can recognize the topic being talked about and uses that to pick an appropriate transcription for homonyms.

You seem to be claiming that whatever does get discovered, which might be interpreted as proof of the spiritual in another climate, will get distorted to support the materialist paradigm. I'm not really sure how this would work in practice. We already have a something of a precommitment to what we expect something "supernatural" to look like, ontologically basic mental entities. So far the discoveries of science have been nothing like that, and if new scientific discoveries suddenly were, I find it very hard to imagine quite many people outside of the "priesthood" not sitting up and paying very close attention.

I don't really follow your arguments about what matter is and past scientist being wrong. Science improved and proved past scientists mistaken, that's the whole idea with science. Spiritualists have not improved much so far. And the question with matter isn't so much as what it is (what would an answer to this look like anyway?), but how matter acts, and science has done a remarkably good job at that part.

Are people here mostly materialists?

Okay, since you seem interested in knowing why people are materialists. I think it's the history of science up until now. The history of science has basically been a constant build-up of materialism.

We started out at prehistoric animism where everything happening except that rock you just threw at another rock was driven by an intangible spirit. The rock wasn't since that was just you throwing it. And then people started figuring out successive compelling narratives about how more complex stuff is just rocks being thrown about. Planets being driven by angels? Nope, just gravitation and inertia. Okay, so comets don't have comet spirits, but surely living things have spirits. Turns out no, molecular biology is a bit tricky, but it seems to still paint a (very small) rocks thrown about picture that convincingly gets you a living tree or a cat. Human minds looked unique until people started building computers. The same story is repeating again, people point human activities as proofs of the indomitable human spirit, then someone builds an AI to do it. Douglas Hofstadter was still predicting that mastering chess would have to involve encompassing the whole of human cognition in 1979 and had to eat crow in the introduction of the 20th anniversary edition of his book.

So to sum up, simple physics went from spiritual (Aristotle's "rocks want to go down, smoke wants to go up") to materialist, the outer space went from spiritual to materialist, biological life went from spiritual to materialist and mental acts like winning a chess game went from spiritual to materialist.

We're now down to the hard problem of consciousness, and we're also still missing a really comprehensive scientific picture for how you go from neurons to high-level human thought. So which way do you think this is going to go? A discovery that the spiritual world exists after all, and was hiding in the microtubules of the human brain all along, or people looking at the finished blueprint for how the brain works that explains things up to conscious thought and going "oh, so that's how it works" and it's all just rocks thrown about once again. So far we've got a perfect record of everybody clamoring for the first option and then things turning out to be the second one.

OP might be some sort of content farming sockpuppet. No activity other than this post, and this was posted within a minute of a (now deleted) similarly vacuous post from a different account with no prior site activity as well.

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