Homing pigeons, the sun & Dennet, Gould, Dyson and Toulmin

From: QueeneMUSE@aol.com
Date: Sat Jul 08 2000 - 17:50:17 MDT

n a message dated 7/8/2000 3:01:27 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
vxs@mailandnews.com writes:

> Sheldrake stated that the sun could be alive. He also said that he
> performed a vast array of experiments which showed that birds could
> regardless of circumstances in which they were placed---determine the
> direction of their home. The others offered seemingly every reasonable
> challenge: well, what if you put them in a sealed box and move them? No,
> that; they still found their way. What if you put magnets on their heads?
> Nope, did that. What if you spin them around rapidly? Nope, tried that.
> What if you put magnets on their heads and spin them around rapidly? No,
> that didn't work. What if you put them in a box, put magnets on their
> and spin them around? Nope, did that. What if you burn down, fall over,
and then >sink into the swamp? Nope. It got pretty amusing.

    Actually it's homing pigeons, and Gould only suggests magnets in the
manner of homing pigeons being tuned into magnetic particles, like a compass,
which is the common understanding of how it works.... Dyson humorously
points out: "the problem is, the ones who make it get the medals, while the
others you forget about" -- and jovially laughs.

The one who makes all the 'what ifs' and could over their heads, and looking
for funding for floating islands with pigeon lofts...is Sheldrake himself!!
You're right -- it gets funny, but mostly watching the others trying to not
look rude as they snicker behind their napkins ; - ) Dyson's face is
priceless! ..aMUSEment abounds!!!

    While Rupert was making his meandering points about magnets on wings,
anesthetization, nostrils being blocked, etc., … the others snort, snicker,
(Gould, Dennet, Dyson, Saks,Toulman) drink coffee, eat morsels of food and
look at him in disbelief, silently exchanging glances...

My favorite thing Dennet says is in response to the sun having thoughts.

Sheldrake posits that the sun is CONSCIOUS. Not alive ; - )
His idea is that there is a correlation between the kind of patterns of
mental activities and sun's electromagnetic patterns. = D . Sunspots you
know... The sun "might be thinking".

The sun has a mind.

Gould presents a challenge: if Rupert can get the sun to talk to him, and at
that point he'll be willing to consider it. ; )

    Dennet says no no - even more, give me a REASON D'ETRE for the sun
"might" *need* consciousness ...animals have a use for it... (Then he says
that evolutionary functions have a use ... for example, if trees had eyes it
would be a truly horrible thing, they could see attackers coming, but they've
no legs to run ! : ) HEHEH

Then Sheldrake speculates for a while about what the universe is thinking ...
maybe it's thinking about the details of evolution on earth ... sunspots ...
and it gets very new-agey and vague...

I really wondered what ax the director had to grind, to put him in this
otherwise wonderful documentary.

I could have listened to Freeman Dyson or Oliver Saks for hours longer and
skipped him entirely.

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