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Tag search results for: "stephen p. smith"
Review of Huw Price's Book by Stephen P. Smith: Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point: New Directions for the Physics of Time

Abstract: Price writes much on Gold's big bang and big crunch model of the universe, and he writes on alternative views too. Having navigated safely from the time-flow anthropocentrism, Price seems to have gotten himself snagged on a second anthropocentrism that we are isolated from everything else. It is true we may see ourselves as all knowing creatures that are competing for our survival in a lifeless pool of chaos we call our universe. But there is no objective basis for this belief. It is just a possible that we are the forgetful universe reflecting hopelessly into the many egocentric bodies that are said to be all knowing. Are we the inside system or the outside system? The question is symmetrical, and cannot be answered. Then why do we answer it by projecting a Gold's universe onto reality by demanding a separate big crunch future that is just as likely as our big bang past? See:

Review of David C. Stove’s Book by Stephen P. Smith: Anything Goes: Origins of the Cult of Scientific Irrationalism

Abstract: What are the implications of Stove's remarkable book? I will summarize my observations. Induction is not the poison that Popper made it out to be. Moreover, science need not be restricted to negative declarations as Popper demanded, but may also seek evidence that affirms. Popper's falsification principle continues to be important to promote error recognition, but it is very partial. Popper's own failure in deductive reasoning shows his limitation. Induction and deduction as a two-piece logic system is still too restrictive for proper error recognition, in my view. See

Review of Steve Fuller's Book: Kuhn vs. Popper by Stephen P. Smith: The Struggle for the Soul of Science (Revolutions in Science)

Abstract: Fuller's book in interesting (worth four stars) because of the contrast made between Kuhn and Popper found in the first half of the book. The confusion comes later, but Fuller (page viii) shows little affection for Kuhn from the get-go, and writes: "The more I have tired to make sense of Kuhn's words and deeds, the more I have come to regard him as an intellectual coward who benefitted from his elite institutional status in what remains the world's dominant society." Fuller tells us that Kuhn won the class struggle, and Fuller's own emotionality betrays his affection for Popper's libertarianism.

Review of Palle Yourgrau's Book by Stephen P. Smith: A World without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Godel and Einstein

Abstract: Yourgrau tells us that Godel was a philosophy-loving Platonist, and writes (page 23) on Platonists: "who like Plato believed in the objective, independent existence of ideal, disembodied forms, of which the natural numbers are a paradigm." Here truth discovered objectively becomes conflated with existence, while the person that discovers truth fades in importance. Godel would have been better served by resolving his issues with the "Dutch anti-Platonist, intuitionist mathematician L.E.J. Brouwer," who also visited Vienna as Yourgrau (page 29) indicates. Yourgrau (page 40) tells us that Einstein`s thinking impacted the Vienna Circle, as well as Godel: "It was precisely the hegemony of positivism, Godel wrote later, that allowed the members of the circle to mistake Einstein for an ally and to underestimate the difficulty of rendering mathematics empirically acceptable by reconstructing it as a system for formal manipulation of signs. Einstein himself would awaken the positivists from their misconceptions about the ultimate relationship between his thoughts and theirs.

Review of Ayn Rand's Book by Stephen P. Smith: Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology: Expanded Second Edition

Abstract: According to Rand`s objectivism, deduction, induction, and concept-formation are all that is needed to acquire objective knowledge. Rand`s "concept-formation" is to first differentiate (or particularize) a set into units and then to integrate (or generalize) over the set. Rand (1990, page 28) limits concepts to a bi-polarity and writes: "The process of observing the facts of reality and of integrating them into concepts is, in essence, a process of induction. The process of subsuming new instances under a known concept is, in essence, a process of deduction." Rand correctly connects induction and deduction with the proclivities of generality and particularity, respectively, but in doing this she turns concept-formation into an empty bi-polarity that holds nothing else but induction and deduction.

Review of Charles T. Tart’s Book by Stephen P. Smith: The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together

Abstract: Tart believes that the big five, his referral to telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis, and psychic healing, are well supported by scientific evidence. Tart reviews this evidence, but wants to go to the next step: to consider other paranormal phenomena, and to look at the issue of what these phenomena mean in a philosophical sense (his best bet). See:

Review of Gregg Braden's Book by Stephen P. Smith: The Spontaneous Healing of Belief: Shattering the Paradigm of False Limits

Abstract: In is interesting that Braden sees reality as a computer simulation, and it comes with belief codes that act as part of the universal computer program. This admission would seem to delight materialists and science fiction writers that venture similar speculations. But Braden's usage is metaphorical, and there is a serious caveat that permits a break from a mechanistic world view: we are able to re-program our poorly tuned beliefs, because instinctively we know that the simulation is only an illusion. Because we know that an appearance is an illusion we are able to escape the dictates of a computer program, and therefore greater reality cannot be just a simulation. See:

Review of B. Alan Wallace & Brian Hodel's Book by Stephen P. Smith: Embracing Mind: The Common Ground of Science and Spirituality

Abstract: Wallace (and Hodel) do a very good job in "Embracing Mind." They break the book down into three parts. In Part One, Wallace takes another look at science, and where science may drift off into scientism. In Part Two, Wallace looks at a more promising science that can study the mind. In Part Three, Wallace takes up "tools and technologies of a Buddhist science of contemplation. See:

Review of David Skrbina's Book by Stephen P. Smith: Panpsychism in the West

Abstract: David Skrbina's "Panpsychism in the West" presents the historical emergence of panpsychism within western philosophy: from the ancient Greeks, the Renaissance, the eighteenth century, and up to modern times. Skrbina gives a very comprehensive treatment, worthy of five stars despite my criticism. Nevertheless, I want to point out some subtlety that Skrbina missed, and this is not to detract from Skrbina's fine work. Skrbina writes about my favored panpsychists: C.S. Peirce; A.N. Whitehead, Teilhard de Chardin, and C. Hartshorne. He makes a very impressive case for panpsychism, taking us into modern time. His book is must reading. See:

Review of Manjir Samanta-Laughton's Book by Stephen P. Smith: Punk Science: Inside the Mind of God

Abstract: Manjir Samanta-Laughton's "Punk Science" is worth five stars. I recommend her book because of its groundbreaking insights, and this is despite of the book's significant weaknesses that I will also point out. See:

Review of Robert Lanza & Bob Berman's Book by Stephen P. Smith: Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe

Abstract: Lanza`s book is not a rigorous scientific treatment, but the science he refers to is rigorous. Neither is his book a comprehensive philosophical development. Rather, Lanza has a colloquial style that is typical of good popular books, and his book can be understood by non-experts. See:

Review of Douglas R. Hofstadter's Book by Stephen P. Smith: I Am a Strange Loop

Abstract: There is little science to be found in Hofstadter's analogical arguments. His book is mostly weak philosophy. He (page xvii) writes: "Although I hope to reach philosophers with this book's ideas, I don't think I write much like a philosopher". Then he writes (page 325): "Philosophers who believe that consciousness comes from something over and above physical law are dualists, etc., etc." Physical laws are found necessary, but Hofstadter's own strange loop implies that laws in isolation are insufficient to explain consciousness. There is only a leap of faith! Moreover, it is caricature mode thinking that is found dualistic. The strange loop can be better advanced by bringing it in line with philosophy, and in particular, the philosophies of C.S. Peirce and Edmund Husserl. It is the Trinitarian logic offered by Hegel that is non-dual, and it is Brouwer's intuitionist mathematics that is non-dual. See:

Review of Bruce H. Lipton's Book by Stephen P. Smith: The Biology Of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles

Abstract: I found Lipton's "The Biology of Belief" very readable, and worth reading. He is brave to say what he believes. Lipton describes "smart" cells, some perhaps living in a petri dish. Their collective properties are found smart. Lipton also presents his ground breaking ideas on epigenetics, a body of study that looks at the impact the environment has on controlling our genes. Further, Lipton also deals with cell membrane, quantum mechanics plus more. See:

Review of Steve McIntosh's Book by Stephen P. Smith: Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution

Abstract: Steve McIntosh's "Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution" brings a new perspective to integral philosophy. McIntosh breaks new ground beyond Ken Wilber. McIntosh takes the primary values and translates them into feeling, thought and will, thereby providing an overall structure upon which Wilber's plurality of lines (the psychorgraph model) may find their expression. McIntosh adheres to his view of development and evolution as a dialectical spiral, driven by a cosmogenetic organizing principle. The interpenetrating forces of differentiation and integration can be seen functioning in the whole and its parts. McIntosh moves away from Darwin's evolution that is seen empty of purpose. See:

Review of Henry P. Stapp's Book by Stephen P. Smith: Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics and the Participating Observer (The Frontiers Collection)

Abstract: Stapp gives a very deep and scientific account of his ideas, that must now be taken serious. He is far from a New Age quantum guru here, even as he ventures into philosophy. Stapp finds agreement with Whitehead`s ontology, and with this revelation Stapp`s theory is now found more far reaching than what even Stapp is willing to admit. For example, Stapp makes heavy reference to an agent that carries intention and causal efficacy, but I am afraid that even Stapp`s very mature quantum mechanics is unable to define this agent into existence. I need only follow Whitehead to the logical conclusion. See:

Review of Ursula King’s Book by Stephen P. Smith: The Book of Secrets: Christian Mystics: Their Lives and Legacies throughout the Ages

Abstract: Technology offers the attraction for hot new inventions, and these can even seduce our nature into accepting change for changes's sake. And confronted with secular pretense and it is easy to miss the subtleness of mystical experience altogether. Ursula King's "The Christian Mystics" provides an account of this other activity that is possible to miss. The alternative activity cannot be dismissed easily seeing that King catalogues the life of numerous mystics, from early Christians (e.g., Clement of Alexandria, Origen) to those contemporary mystics (e.g., Simone Weil, Thomas Merton). See:

Review of Paul Davies’ Book by Stephen P. Smith: Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe Is Just Right for Life

Abstract: As I agree with Davies remarkable conclusions, despite our disagreements, his book is very worth reading in my most critical opinion. Remember, our felt tension returns value to science. See:

Review of William A. Dembski’s Book by Stephen P. Smith: Intelligent Design: The Bridge between Science & Theology

Abstract: Dembski's treatment is less about the mechanism of a grand scale design by a supreme deity, and more about the specification of signs that are discovered to hold intelligent causes. Described this way, intelligent design is an open scientific question. I was pleasantly surprises to see this controversial topic couched this way. See:

Review of Harold J. Morowitz’s Book by Stephen P. Smith: The Emergence of Everything: How the World Became Complex

Abstract: Motowitz's book outlines 28 examples of said emergence, ranging from the making of our nonuniform universe, the emergence of stars and the elements of the periodic table, the solar system, planetary structures, universal metabolism, prokaryotic life, eukaryotic life, multicellular organisms, animals, humans, mind, philosophy and spirituality. See:

Review of Alexandra Bruce’s Book by Stephen P. Smith: Beyond the Bleep: The Definitive Unauthorized Guide to What the Bleep Do We Know!?

Abstract: The film "What the Bleep do We Know", left me a little disappointed. The claims were outlandish, and I was left somewhat skeptical. But while the film has its weak points, this little book by Alexandra Bruce shines brightly.

Review of Jesper Hoffmeyer’s Book Stephen P. Smith: Signs of Meaning in the Universe (Advances in Semiotics)

Abstract: In Hoffmeyer view three-way interactions are everywhere, and he provides many examples in his book ranging from biology to consciousness. I would also point out that insistence on a one-way chain of mindless transitions cannot explain the origination problem of mind, and it ultimately leads to a meaningless search back to the beginning of time in a futile search to find the answer to David Albert's ready-state paradox. To his credit Hoffmeyer makes mention of Gödel and his incompleteness theorem, and including the issues of a deeper subjectivity and self-referral. But what Hoffmeyer is describing is Panpsychism, though he does not mention it as such, and he gives not mention of the works of early philosophers beyond Pierce. A.N. Whitehead's process metaphysics is strangely missing from the references. I found Hoffmeyer version of reality to be less agreeable with the atheistic panpsychism supported by D.S. Clarke (see "Panpsychism and the Religious Attitude"), though Hoffmeyer says little about the issue of a God. See:

Review of Ken Wilber’s Book by Stephen P. Smith: Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World

Abstract: Wilber writes of the great repression of spirit by the intellectual West. He writes (page 183): "They jettisoned the amber God, and instead of finding orange God, and then green God, and turquoise God, and indigo God, they ditched God altogether, they began the repression of the sublime, the repression of their own higher levels of spiritual intelligence. The intellectual West has fundamentally never recovered from this cultural disaster." I agree the tragedy is very apparent, sense-certain in fact. Nevertheless, Wilber's investigation of 8 perspectives carries the weakness presented by his caricature-mode thinking here, and any caricature is revealed to be a strawman if we care to dig deeper. See:

Review of Deborah Blum’s Book Stephen P. Smith: Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life after Death

Abstract: Psychical energy, even in its subtle form, is felt directly when our affections are found conflicted. Deborah Blum's "Ghost Hunters" provides many examples of conflicted affection, both in the positive and in the negative. See:

Review of Deepak Chopra’s Book by Stephen P. Smith : The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life

Abstract: In his book, Deepak Chopra gives us his vision of spirituality and of the reality we find ourselves wedded to. Chopra (page 15) writes: "Every secret in this book goes back to the existence of an invisible intelligence that operates beneath the visible surface of life. The mystery of life is an expression not of random accidents but of one intelligence that exists everywhere." See:

Review of Nicholas C. Demetry & Edwin L. Clonts’ Book by Stephen P. Smith: Awakening Love: The Universal Mission: Spiritual Healing in Psychology and Medicine

Abstract: Demetry and Clonts were inspired by the late Stylianos Atteshlis (Dakalos), and they wrote a wonderful book on spiritual healing from a Christian perspective yet there is overlap with other spiritual traditions, including Isalm, Taoism and Buddhism to name a few." See:

Review of Stephen C. Meyer’s Book by Stephen P. Smith : Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design

Abstract: Meyer makes the case for intelligent design, in my view, but he stops short with the causation that underwrites intelligent design. For Meyer, the only known cause for specified information has been human consciousness and agency, and therefore, intelligent causation offers the best available explanation for the origin of many features of life. This is well enough, but Meyer shirts the issue about the manifestation of this consciousness throughout life and in human expressions of consciousness. See:

Review of Stuart Kauffman’s Book by Stephen P. Smith: Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion

Abstract: The pretense is that emergence provides an unambiguous account of evolution. I will argue that ambiguity remains, even after a close read of Kauffman's "Reinventing the Sacred." Kauffman lauds the "natural" God that is found associated with the apparent "ceaseless creativity," even while he rejects the "Creator God." I think the Creator God is Kauffman's abstraction that sees a God that is held separate from God's creation. However, it seems unreasonable to say that God is separate from God's creation, in my view. Christians pray to God, and live by the golden rule, and this can only imply that God is again united with God's creation. Moreover, mystics from all religions report being united with God and this is far from Kauffman's Creator God. The concept of "natural" in Kauffman's naturalistic God is equally ambiguous given that ambiguity cannot be removed from emergence. See:

Review of Mike Gene’s Book by Stephen P. Smith: The Design Matrix: A Consilience of Clues

Abstract: Is there a middle way between the design inference and natural causation? Between teleology and non-teleological evolution? Mike Gene's "The Design Matrix" gives an affirmative answer to these questions. Take design seriously, and new scientific insights and testable hypotheses become available - so says Mike Gene. Follow the Rabbit (Gene's proxy for the teleological agent), and we shall discover things beyond the reductionism offered by the Duck (Gene's proxy for the blind watchmaker). See:

Review of John C. Landon’s Book by Stephen P. Smith: World History and the Eonic Effect: Civilization, Darwinism, and Theories of Evolution

Abstract: John C. Landon's "Word History and the Eonic Effect" is a worthy read for anyone interested in cultural evolution and theories of evolution. Historicism, the belief that history unfolds from universal laws (leading to a blind induction without remainder), is exposed as fraud. The best example of fraud is Darwinism, the belief that macro-evolution is explained by random variation and natural selection. In fact, evolution necessarily implies something ineffable; otherwise we fall back into historicism. Fixity of purpose, stuck on historicism, stuck on Darwinian explanations of biological function, leads to the blind leading the blind. See:

Review of Frank Ryan’s Book by Stephen P. Smith: Darwin's Blind Spot: Evolution beyond Natural Selection

Abstract: Competing bacteria can fine tune their weapons to such an extent that they may win over their victims. They could be invited into their conquered host cells and become organelles like mitochondria and the cell nucleus. But the illusion of conquest is short lived. As the competing prokaryote cells find themselves to be one eukaryote cell, they discover a deeper symmetry and their felt imperatives flip as the competing bacterium find deep agreements in their mutual cooperation. Frank Ryan's book presents a wonderful account of such symbiosis as discovered in biological evolution. See:

Review of Suzan Mazur's Book by Stephen P. Smith: The Altenberg 16: An Exposé of the Evolution Industry

Abstract: Suzan Mazur describes the evolution industry in crisis, given an apparent emptiness in the neo-Darwinian account. Mazur interviewed many world-wide scholars, and not just those that attended the 2008 meeting in Altenberg, Austria. Stewart Newman, Antonio Lima-de-Faria and Lynn Margulis provide among of the most interesting and credible accounts of an evolution that is not stuck in a dogmatic and hopeless neo-Darwinism. This is not to say that most scientists don`t still over prescribe Darwin`s simplistic theory, and some of these folks are interviewed in Mazur`s book. See:

Review of Jerry A. Fodor & Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini's Book by Stephen P. Smith: What Darwin Got Wrong

Abstract: I agree with most of Fodor and Palmarini`s analysis. They ask what kind of "theory is natural selection?," and write the following: "The same kind as Skinner`s theory of operant conditioning. With, however, the following caveat: all that`s wrong with Skinner`s story about filtering of psychological profiles is that it is a variety of associationism, and quite generally, associationism is not true. But Darwinism has (we`ll claim) no analogous story about the evolutionary filtering of randomly generated phenotypes. In consequence, whereas Skinner`s theory of conditioning is false, Darwin`s theory of selection is empty." See:

Review of Amit Goswami's Book by Stephen P. Smith: Creative Evolution: A Physicist's Resolution between Darwinism and Intelligent Design

Abstract: Goswami's book is worth five stars, and his view of evolution is almost the same as my own; and I have studied evolution for years now. I present the following quotes. For example, Goswami write: "Any organizing principle that is nonmaterial is automatically excluded from science by definition. However, mainstream scientists themselves, biologists included, have a fundamental but unproven metaphysical assumption behind their work called scientific materialism." See:

Review of Michael J. Behe's Book by Stephen P. Smith: The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism

Abstract: Michael J. Behe, in "The Edge of Evolution", shows himself to be an evolutionist. He believes in common descent, but he questions the limit of Darwin's theory. Behe sees Darwin's theory as describing only micro evolution. See:

Review of S. Conway Morris' Book by Stephen P. Smith: Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe

Abstract: Simon Conway Morris in "Life's Solution" makes his point. Evolution does seem to be going somewhere, and human-like intelligence is along the way (not to be confused with the endpoint). Morris is less convincing with his belief that we are alone in the universe. To collect convincing data we need to travel to distant corners of the universe, and see for ourselves. But such a hypothetical adventure is out of the question, at least today. See:

Review of George D. Shollenberger's Book by Stephen P. Smith: The First Scientific Proof of God: Reveals God's Intelligent Design and a Modern Creation Theory

Abstract: This is a philosophic proof, but is it a scientific proof? Science has drifted into philosophy, and it finds itself unable to stay as a pure activity as Popper demanded. And so Shollenberger`s proof can be seen as scientific in that all evidence must make sense within the unifying presence, and because science necessarily drifts into philosophy for big questions about what is beyond caricature (infinite). When science is limited to empiricism and existentialism, science can only test theories that permit predictions (that necessarily make a caricature of their subject). The caricature-giver is beyond Popper`s science. See:

Review of Duane Elgin's Book by Stephen P. Smith: The Living Universe: Where Are We? Who Are We? Where Are We Going?

Abstract: A close look at Elgin analysis shows that science has been unable to get beyond the three-fold archetype (receiving, sending, and middle-term), and it is this archetype that hints at Elgin`s conclusion. Elgin gives the false impression that most scientists will welcome his conclusion (or rediscovery). No, only some will have the level of maturity to find something significant in Elgin`s work. Many will accuse Elgin of being pseudo-scientific, but they are wrong. True, Elgin`s account is less about science as it is known traditionally, but his interpretation of the evidence is the correct one (in my view). Elgin presents a philosophical and spiritual treatment that recognizes the scientific evidence that is found beholding to the three-fold archetype. And this is not to say that all presented evidence is valid enough to give its support to Elgin`s thesis. For example, Elgin (page 103) mentions sting theory: "the particle nature of matter gives way to unimaginably small, vibrating loops of non-material strings." But string theory remains a wild speculation, and it adds little value to Elgin`s worthy insights. See:

Review of Amit Goswami's Book by Stephen P. Smith: God Is Not Dead: What Quantum Physics Tells Us about Our Origins and How We Should Live

Abstract: Goswami's book provides evidence for the reality of God, and he gives (page 34) an early outline: "In view of quantum physics, the vast data on life after death, and alternative subtle-body medicine, it is considerably more difficult to refute the ideas of downward causation and subtle bodies." Goswami is breaking new ground here. Nevertheless, the book could benefit with additional treatments of some classical philosophical arguments, and I mean to point to arguments that are beyond Thomas Aquinas. Hegel's "ontological proof of God" and Charles S. Peirce's "neglected argument for the reality of God" (as they are known) provide non-dual understandings that are agreeable to Goswami's monistic idealism, in my opinion. See:

Review of Antony Flew & Roy A. Varghese's Book by Stephen P. Smith : There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind

Abstract: Antony Flew's "There is a God" deserves a careful read by both believer and non-believer. Flew sews together an evidential tapestry, mostly by pointing to the work of others like Albert Einstein, Paul Davies, Gerald Schroeder, John Barrow, Richard Cameron, David Berlinski, and several others. Overall, I am impressed with Flew's thinking. See:

Review of Bernard Haisch's Book by Stephen P. Smith: The God Theory: Universes, Zero-point Fields, and What's Behind It All

Abstract: Bernard Haisch's "The God Theory" is required reading for anyone interested in the religion versus science debate. Haisch (page xi) notes the modern-day dilemma: "you cannot get away from the preexistence of something, and whether that is an ensemble of physical laws generating infinite random universes or an infinite conscious intelligence is something present-day science cannot resolve, and indeed one view is not more rational than the other." But Haisch's God is very real. We are God's expressions, and we labor to bring God's experience to an otherwise meaningless world. See: