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S. Zizek, The Parallax View, MIT, 2006, p.239.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=je702bo2Pl...4#PRA2-PA239,M1

What the neuroscientist misses in her account of my experience of eating is precisely the experience itself: the first-person phenomenal sensation of actually eating the cake. When it comes down to offering the "best" description of how the mind works I can either buy the objective map the neuroscientist presents me with or the subjective qualitative account that I immediately experience, but it seems impossible to assert the primacy of one without dismissing the other. That is, for Zizek there is no way for the two perspectives to meet in any fashion that still preserves what remains essential to both. In short, the parallax gap.

Now my question is ... why would one want to "assert the primacy of one"? That's just a silly waste of information that could help to learn the truth! In fact, the neuroscientist would be quite interested in the subjective experience, to identify the particular sensations and emotions being displayed as electrical charges.

This is a very juvenile, inaccurate and dismissive view of science.

Every person is capable of both scientific thought and spiritual experience. One need not "assert the primacy" of one or the other, as that would be to deny part of oneself.

Again, it's just those pesky dichotomizers trying to reduce everything to black and white lines when they should be seeing in shades of colour.

Funny, usually it's scientists accused of seeing things in dichotomies, but here it is a philosopher.

Nothing has been proven here.

Edited by tango

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Hey look, if religious people want to make up and believe an allegorical tale of Adam and Eve to explain the emergence of human consciousness during evolution, let them! Most know it isn't literal truth. Those who demand that it be treated as literal truth ... well ...some people prefer to keep their knowledge simplistic.

If people want to be ignorant, there's nothing to stop them. A lot of people have no curiosity about science. All they want to know is how to operate the latest electronic gadgets that have been made possible because basic science provided engineers with new ideas. But the creationists who don't want to have to update their mythological creation models are actually hostile to new scientific knowledge. It's a prescription for returning to the dark ages, and if it can't be stopped, it certainly shouldn't be condoned or encouraged.

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Now my question is ... why would one want to "assert the primacy of one"? That's just a silly waste of information that could help to learn the truth! In fact, the neuroscientist would be quite interested in the subjective experience, to identify the particular sensations and emotions being displayed as electrical charges.

This is a very juvenile, inaccurate and dismissive view of science.

Every person is capable of both scientific thought and spiritual experience. One need not "assert the primacy" of one or the other, as that would be to deny part of oneself.

Zizek is not really offering anything new here with his objections to neuroscientists seeking physcial explanations for how the brain creates a sense of mind. Australian philosopher David Chalmers has written a number of philosophy papers about his objections to explaining mind as an emergent phenomena of physical processes. He claims that "qualia" or mental sensations cannot be adequately explained through emergence.

This Zizek guy kind of reminds me of when I took my kids to see Wallace and Gromit a few years ago, except that instead of creating ridiculously complex machines to perform simple tasks, Zizek complicates the study of the mind with his over-psychoanalyzing of human behaviour. It can sound impressive, but it's likely unfalsifiable also.

Zizek's example is making a mistake that idealists typically make, in that they assume that they can interpret their own mental states perfectly. Zizek would have to admit that a schizophrenic, or someone suffering from another disorder was not able to give any kind of "first person account" that was accurate; but the truth is that our brains construct the feelings of having one mind and free will. It is a useful system to help us function in the world, but it does not give an accurate picture of how the brain generates consciousness.

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Review - The Parallax View

by Slavoj Zizek

MIT Press, 2006

Review by Adam Hutchinson

Jun 25th 2007

Philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Zizek has been called the Elvis of contemporary intellectuals more than once. After all, not only can he boast a publication and speaking record that should make him the envy of every academic in the Western world, but he has recently been the star of an eponymous titled documentary (2005's Zizek!) and laid down several commentary tracks on the DVD release of Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men (2006). Indeed, while Zizek's name certainly holds a prominent place in the philosophy section at your local bookstore, it is not limited to it.

With regard to Zizek's newest and perhaps most ambitious work The Parallax View though, we might be best served to drop the rock star metaphor and talk about jazz instead. The Parallax View is series of brief riffs on a staggering range of topics without the benefit of an obvious structure (much like good jazz). From the fascist potential of modern art to the Hegelian turn in the brain sciences The Parallax View proceeds with only a common thematic to guide it: that is, Zizek wishes to demonstrate how there is a fundamental short circuit or point of disjunction in the make-up of reality -- the parallax gap.

A parallax gap for Zizek is a "confrontation of two closely linked perspectives between which no neutral common ground is possible." (4), or what we might call the minimal difference between two incommensurable points-of-view. For instance, one of the problems that has sustained constant interest in philosophy of mind as well as the various scientific approaches to understanding the mind is the notion of the explanatory gap. A neuroscientist may be able to offer an exhaustive account of what happens in my mind (what areas of the brain light up with activity etc) when I eat a piece of delicious cake. I cannot help but think though, that she is missing the point. What the neuroscientist misses in her account of my experience of eating is precisely the experience itself: the first-person phenomenal sensation of actually eating the cake. When it comes down to offering the "best" description of how the mind works I can either buy the objective map the neuroscientist presents me with or the subjective qualitative account that I immediately experience, but it seems impossible to assert the primacy of one without dismissing the other. That is, for Zizek there is no way for the two perspectives to meet in any fashion that still preserves what remains essential to both. In short, the parallax gap.

The Parallax View then is an attempt to show that such an "explanatory gap" is not exclusive to problems of mind, but is simply a constitutive element of reality itself -- that our experiences are filled with "blindspots" between some elements. However, Zizek's goal is not to show how such gaps can be resolved -- of how we can bring a neurological map together with a qualitative experience without conflict -- but to explain how such gaps must themselves become a part of any attempt to theorize experience. This includes, of course, our experience as persons in love, as readers of books, and even as political subjects. The parallax gap, Zizek insists, touches on every level of our being. If the idea of such a gap sounds somewhat obscure but nevertheless vaguely intriguing then I have done my job of explaining it in a way that befits Zizek.

As I mentioned above, the parallax gap functions as more of a thematic glue than as a central organizing principle. While Zizek takes pains to at least briefly highlight the parallax gap in each of the various discussions, the book itself does not systematically build from gap to gap, but instead zigs and zags from parallax to parallax. While such an approach gives each section of the book a certain freshness (where is the gap going to pop up?) it also represents its greatest weakness. While each section is very interesting on its own, there is little connection between the different discussions. The whole book then comes off as a series of notes, as if Zizek was just jotting down different parallax gaps as he thought of them and never went back to provide any kind of flow among the different chapters. Moreover, while some sections emphasize and put their particular parallax gap at the center of discussion, others simply mention their gap and move on to other tangential topics that, while almost always fascinating, really detract from the unity of the book. In fact, the only reason I fail to offer a section-by-section account (besides the obvious fact it would make this review far too long) is that it would simply read more like a random bar conversation than a progressive argument. For instance, Zizek moves quickly through comments on the Freudian Death Drive to the parallax of Jesus as God and man, to an analysis of the late Johnny Cash song "When the Man Comes Around" (with all of the lyrics helpfully included) all in the space of three pages.

Zizek has described The Parallax View as his magnum opus and to be fair the book is not lacking in intellectual scope (he theorizes everything from the notion of morality in Henry James to the place of the Jew in contemporary Europe). The problem is that in the end Zizek fails to tie all of his insights together, to build off of his various discussions to anything that resembles an ending. It feels as if the final chapter of the book is more or less arbitrary -- he could have closed it with any of the sections and it would have given us just as much satisfaction. This is the problem in attempting to describe the structure of The Parallax View, other than a few references to previous discussions it seems as if each section is self-contained and overall arrangement is rather arbitrary. While this allows the reader to jump around at their leisure, it also prevents Zizek from building any momentum from section to section, chapter to chapter The Parallax View then reads more like a series of very interesting notes than a complete work of philosophy. While this may make for good jazz, it sometimes makes for very frustrating reading.

Despite the obvious structural flaws of The Parallax View it is still a worthwhile and oftentimes fascinating peek into contemporary cultural theory (perhaps its jumbled structure is a mirroring of present day Anglo-American culture). Zizek combines the insights of 19th century German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel with 20th century French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan in many brilliant and oftentimes unexpected ways. While neither Hegel nor Lacan is exactly an easy read, Zizek manages to make their ideas quite accessible through a near endless series of pop culture examples. This is an accomplishment in itself and anyone wishing to familiarize themselves with either thinker can find a wealth of helpful philosophical hints in The Parallax View.

Even though there are many obvious shortcomings to Zizek's approach in The Parallax View it is still a thoroughly worthwhile read. While we may not get the kind of satisfying closure that we might have hoped, Zizek still makes a valuable contribution to contemporary philosophy -- even if his most fascinating insights remain only slightly connected to one another. I recommend this book not only for those that might be interested in Zizek as a philosopher and exponent of psychoanalytic theory, but also for those who are simply interested in Zizek as a kind of pop culture phenomenon. A reader can simply dive into The Parallax View at any point and find something interesting or at least outrageous. If you find yourself unable to understand a Hegelian or Lacanian theory just keep reading, Zizek will either provide you with a wealth of examples or simply change the subject. Zizek is among our most valuable contemporary theorists and The Parallax View, despite its shortcomings, is a much-welcomed intervention into the philosophical scene.

http://metapsychology.mentalhelp.net/poc/v...ook&id=3699

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When it comes down to offering the "best" description of how the mind works I can either buy the objective map the neuroscientist presents me with or the subjective qualitative account that I immediately experience, but it seems impossible to assert the primacy of one without dismissing the other. That is, for Zizek there is no way for the two perspectives to meet in any fashion that still preserves what remains essential to both. In short, the parallax gap.

This is still a complete misreading of what the neuroscientists and philosophers who work with them, are attempting to do. The neuroscientist is lookiing for neuro-correlates between the activity of neurons and the mental experiences described by the patient; or in other situations, the neuroscientist is trying to find out what the significance is of differences in brain activation areas of normal subjects and psychopaths who demonstrate that they have an inability to make the emotional connections to witnessing or performing acts that normal people would have. The neurologist does not claim to fully understand what is happening at the neuronal level, but the fact that brain activity can be matched with mental states is proof of the connection between the two. Zizek's claim that there is no common ground between the two is nonsense. He is lie the creationist who doesn't want a new missing link fossil to be discovered because his view of the mind depends on a lack of understanding of the brain, not an increased understanding of how the brain generates the mind.

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This is still a complete misreading of what the neuroscientists and philosophers who work with them, are attempting to do. The neuroscientist is lookiing for neuro-correlates between the activity of neurons and the mental experiences described by the patient; or in other situations, the neuroscientist is trying to find out what the significance is of differences in brain activation areas of normal subjects and psychopaths who demonstrate that they have an inability to make the emotional connections to witnessing or performing acts that normal people would have. The neurologist does not claim to fully understand what is happening at the neuronal level, but the fact that brain activity can be matched with mental states is proof of the connection between the two. Zizek's claim that there is no common ground between the two is nonsense. He is lie the creationist who doesn't want a new missing link fossil to be discovered because his view of the mind depends on a lack of understanding of the brain, not an increased understanding of how the brain generates the mind.

For Zizek, Jesus as both God and man is a parallax. So, for him there can be connection, but no common ground.

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Has anyone mentioned yet that the origin of life and evolution are not mutually exclusive. Science has yet to explain with any probabilistic certainty how life started. I'm not saying that there was a creator, but asking someone whether they believe people were created or evolved is a false dichotomy fallacy.

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The average Canadian or human being in general is not very thoughtful - and most are so busy attempting to survive in this stress fill consumer culture that almost none have had time to give creation and evolution any real depth of thought - so their opinion is a non-starter..they are not self informed.

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The average Canadian or human being in general is not very thoughtful - and most are so busy attempting to survive in this stress fill consumer culture that almost none have had time to give creation and evolution any real depth of thought - so their opinion is a non-starter..they are not self informed.

ALSO: Those that believe in God and evolution have given it some thought and some study - that with the super natural there is no time as we know it - so evolution and creation is the same thing - "a second is a thousand years and a thousand years but a second to God" - to para phrase - that's not to hard to figure out - but most are uninformed ---- For instance 80% of Catholics believe that the term "emaculate conception" has something to do with the conception of Christ -------------when a common dictionary states it is the conception of Mary - the mother of Jesus.

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Has anyone mentioned yet that the origin of life and evolution are not mutually exclusive. Science has yet to explain with any probabilistic certainty how life started. I'm not saying that there was a creator, but asking someone whether they believe people were created or evolved is a false dichotomy fallacy.

As soon as one start using such powerful tools as are symbols (words, numbers), seeing creators everywhere becomes an unavoidable illusion.

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http://www.montrealgazette.com/Life/Canadi...5662/story.html

You can see that with people divided on the issue that it lends itself to trying to get creationism taught in schools.

And if creationism is accepted then why not all rules that separate church and state?

Church and state are one and always were..our old religious values are translated into all of our laws...creationism - must be understood - and evolution must be fully understood - but - people like to feel superiour to their brothers - and they compete - "there is no God and you are stupid - and I am smart because I have no god" or vise versa = it's silly - evolution and creation are the same thing. TIME does not exist .. :rolleyes:

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I don't understand what you're trying to say.

By creators you should read intentional beings: biologists, however reluctant they are, cannot avoid the illusion of seeing in all life forms intentional designs.

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By creators you should read intentional beings: biologists, however reluctant they are, cannot avoid the illusion of seeing in all life forms intentional designs.

If it is designed then it has a purpose and if it has a purpose it has an intent and intentional design..why would things just happen for no reason or purpose of function - The whole idea of accidental design makes evolutionists look stupid and God look stupid...and us look stupid.

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By creators you should read intentional beings: biologists, however reluctant they are, cannot avoid the illusion of seeing in all life forms intentional designs.
If you mean intentional design, you should say intentional design. Don't leave it up to your reader to guess what you really mean. Could you provide examples of scientists seeing intentional designs? The foundation of Darwinism is that random genetic variants are weeded out, not that specific variants were intentionally designed. The genes that survive over thousands of generations are the ones that make the species more likely to survive. I don't see where your intentional design fits into that.

It is possible, however unlikely, that a "Watchmaker" set things in motion and evolution is simply the way the "watch" carries out its function. Evolution does not disprove the existence or God, nor does it prove creationism as false. It does, however, show the age of the earth to be much older than scripture says, and it disproves the scriptural teachings that everything was created just as it is today. The problem with the scriptures then becomes weeding out what can be trusted as truth and what isn't. You would think something that is divinely inspired as guidance for humanity would be filled with less contradictions and outright misinformation.

Edited by cybercoma

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It is possible, however unlikely, that a "Watchmaker" set things in motion and evolution is simply the way the "watch" carries out its function. Evolution does not disprove the existence or God, nor does it prove creationism as false.

It does prove that complexity can be created in the nature by itself, through a sequence of seemingly random events, that require no intelligent, or otherwise, interference. If that is indeed the case, the notion of God becomes redundant, unnecessary from any scientific point of view, as it explains no new concepts. Most certainly one can believe in it, but as a phenomenon of psyche, rather than natural science.

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It does prove that complexity can be created in the nature by itself, through a sequence of seemingly random events, that require no intelligent, or otherwise, interference. If that is indeed the case, the notion of God becomes redundant, unnecessary from any scientific point of view, as it explains no new concepts. Most certainly one can believe in it, but as a phenomenon of psyche, rather than natural science.

The scientific point of view is bogus because bare factuality coincides with radical voluntarism.

http://books.google.com/books?id=je702bo2P...=4#PRA1-PA64,M1

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Over centuries numerous attempts to de-bunk Creation were made. Attempts are still being made.

Science had greatly advanced to the point that its powers are god-like....and yet up to now, it remains completely stumped as it was all the way to the very distant past.

Why can't they prove a simple question: Where did it all begin?

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Over centuries numerous attempts to de-bunk Creation were made. Attempts are still being made.

Science had greatly advanced to the point that its powers are god-like....and yet up to now, it remains completely stumped as it was all the way to the very distant past.

Why can't they prove a simple question: Where did it all begin?

Because it is not a simple question. ;)

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Because it is not a simple question. ;)

For you perhaps. But I'm talking about scientists!

Those who managed to discover and create all sorts of things....those who even managed to bring a few dead people back to life! Those who can even create new life!

It's not as if this simple question came up only yesterday. It's been asked for eons of ages ago!

Over time, finding the answer became even more complex for these folks. They don't even agree with one another anymore! They bring to mind the mythological gods on Mt Olympus. ;)

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excerpt from:

INTELLIGENT DESIGN: DAWKIN’S BASSET HOUND?

By Benjamin Langer

Science Creative Quarterly

"ID is very often maligned for being an entirely unscientific enterprise because it makes no testable hypotheses.

This is not exactly true. It makes one, a hypothesis popularized by Michael Behe as the irreducible complexity hypothesis. The idea, however, is not new and was even made explicit by Darwin at the very beginning. He said, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

To someone who has a vested interest in Darwin’s theory breaking down, this sounds like a tantalizing challenge. As the field of evolution has expanded and engulfed newer and more complex fields like biochemistry and development, the processes that constitute life seem more bafflingly complex than ever. Instead of the eye, nowadays one would more likely hear "ID is very often maligned for being an entirely unscientific enterprise because it makes no testable hypotheses. This is about the cilia or the blood-clotting pathway as the ultimate example of an answer to Darwin’s challenge.

For many in both camps, Richard Dawkins’ flippant answer of “we’re working on it,” just doesn’t cut it. Looking at the Dynein and Kinesin proteins that tightrope walk along 30 nanometer microtubules with their special deliveries between two organelles in a cell, even the most secure evolutionist wipes sweat from his or her brow and thinks I sure hope the Discovery Institute hasn’t seen this."

http://www.scq.ubc.ca/intelligent-design-d...ns-basset-hound

Edited by betsy

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LOL Did you understand that authours message? That the ideologically-driven ID team, by critiquing intensely, more solidly flesh out and confirm the very thing they are trying to tear down?

Your choice of excerpt was amusing.

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LOL Did you understand that authours message? That the ideologically-driven ID team, by critiquing intensely, more solidly flesh out and confirm the very thing they are trying to tear down?

Your choice of excerpt was amusing.

It only shows you that the advancement of technology since Darwin still hadn't come up with anything to fully back-up Darwin's evolution theory! Darwin thought proof was within reach. It still remains elusive. Even now when these scientist can discover and simulate practically almost anything....

Why would some scientist reluctantly admit to Intelligent Design and Intentional Design? Reluctant...because they come up with these fancy words, avoiding using the word: G O D!

Why would the ID camp stick out their necks and reputation over a God whom obviously they don't really believe in that's why they can't even bring themselves to say His name...instead they come up with this "Intelligent Design"....Intentional Design" names!

Division....two camps intensely at one another! ID camp finding weak spots....when there shouldn't be any at all if we're to swallow the evolution theory that's being forced on us!

The fact that they're finding weak spots says the evolution theory stands on shakey ground!

So why is the search for this simple question caused only a bitter division....and becoming more complex?

Edited by betsy

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