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God and the Audiophiles


joelha

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I’ve always assumed that disagreements would be a part of our hobby.

 

The benefits (or lack thereof) of using double blind testing, “audiophile” USB cables, Ethernet cables, and countless tweaks only scratch the surface of the contentious topics we constantly debate.

 

What has been surprising to me, and ComputerAudiophile has generally been one of the more civilized sites, is the tremendous emotion, upset, and even apparent anger that has accompanied some of these disagreements.

 

I understand how reasonable people can disagree, but why would seemingly rational people become so emotional over these issues?

 

My theory is that these debates are about far more than audio products and methods. They’re about God, faith, and religion and that the more secular the audiophile the more likely he is to require science to validate our hobby. Why? Because in religion there’s a belief in something intangible, whether that’s God, a revelation, or a miracle. There’s also a belief by some (myself included) that not everything we ascertain can be measured.

 

Similarly, there are those of us (again, myself included) who believe that even without double blind testing, measurements, or even a good explanation for what we hear, we can still determine sonic differences in our systems as we compare cables, amps, software, etc. In short, we have faith in what we've experienced.

 

For a variety of reasons, I believe those kinds of audio assertions can drive the religious atheist, agnostic, or non-believer crazy. The notion that not everything we perceive can be evaluated scientifically seems to challenge the very foundation of how the sceptic evaluates the world around him. He’ll argue that either you can quantify your experience or you shouldn't be talking about it.

 

I believe that for some audiophile sceptics, agreeing that something unmeasurable can still be experienced would be a big step in the direction of acknowledging that an invisible and unmeasurable God could exist, miracles could take place, or that religions can be credible institutions.

 

Ideally, I’d prefer not to debate double blind tests, cables, and the like.

 

My only question is, what do people think about my theory as to why some audiophile debates can become so heated? And if there are other theories, I’d love to read them.

 

Joel

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I’ve always assumed that disagreements would be a part of our hobby.

 

The benefits (or lack thereof) of using double blind testing, “audiophile” USB cables, Ethernet cables, and countless tweaks only scratch the surface of the contentious topics we constantly debate.

 

What has been surprising to me, and ComputerAudiophile has generally been one of the more civilized sites, is the tremendous emotion, upset, and even apparent anger that has accompanied some of these disagreements.

 

I understand how reasonable people can disagree, but why would seemingly rational people become so emotional over these issues?

 

My theory is that these debates are about far more than audio products and methods. They’re about God, faith, and religion and that the more secular the audiophile the more likely he is to require science to validate our hobby. Why? Because in religion there’s a belief in something intangible, whether that’s God, a revelation, or a miracle. There’s also a belief by some (myself included) that not everything we ascertain can be measured.

 

Similarly, there are those of us (again, myself included) who believe that even without double blind testing, measurements, or even a good explanation for what we hear, we can still determine sonic differences in our systems as we compare cables, amps, software, etc. In short, we have faith in what we've experienced.

 

For a variety of reasons, I believe those kinds of audio assertions can drive the religious atheist, agnostic, or non-believer crazy. The notion that not everything we perceive can be evaluated scientifically seems to challenge the very foundation of how the sceptic evaluates the world around him. He’ll argue that either you can quantify your experience or you shouldn't be talking about it.

 

I believe that for some audiophile sceptics, agreeing that something unmeasurable can still be experienced would be a big step in the direction of acknowledging that an invisible and unmeasurable God could exist, miracles could take place, or that religions can be credible institutions.

 

Ideally, I’d prefer not to debate double blind tests, cables, and the like.

 

My only question is, what do people think about my theory as to why some audiophile debates can become so heated? And if there are other theories, I’d love to read them.

 

Joel

 

Subjectivists are like spring lambs who rush to tell the world of some discovery they've made in good faith only for the wolf like objectivists to start licking their lips. For some people it's just a game.

There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made. Richard P Feynman

 

http://mqnplayer.blogspot.co.uk/

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Civilised discussion used to be the norm at CA, however, it's a close knit community.

 

A core bunch of posters have differing views that are not viewed so well by others, it doesn't really matter what they are for now, but the same line or tactic is tried to convince the opposing side, "you are wrong". As time goes on, the same arguments appear, whether innocently from new posters, this increases the agitation even more to the point of shouting, since there is no civilised avenue for discussion any more.

 

The ghost in the MP3 thread's basis was very interesting, to see what information was thrown out in the conversion from lossless to MP3 and the possibility to recover the lost information mathematically. This information could be used to restore recordings which has some merit and worthy of further discussion. A good application would be for our German DJ trying to improve sound quality for his gigs for example. That discussion went right off the rails in a very short time.

 

Whether the differing of opinions is aligned to the way religion works, I will stay out of that discussion. I put forward that a long winter, cabin fever and GRUMPY OLD MEN syndrome are to blame for the loss of civility at CA. Blissfully I have now five people on an ignore list, and wow, it's certainly made a change to the activity page, the content quality has improved dramatically. Rather than reading bickering, which would occupy some 30% of the content or more, the opening post lines are of great interest these days.

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the possibility to recover the lost information mathematically. This information could be used to restore recordings which has some merit and worthy of further discussion.

 

An interesting idea.

It's a shame that you are unlikely to see me agreeing with you though.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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I’ve always assumed that disagreements would be a part of our hobby.

 

My only question is, what do people think about my theory as to why some audiophile debates can become so heated? And if there are other theories, I’d love to read them.

 

Hi Joel,

 

My guess is that the questioning of someone's convictions or beliefs makes him feel very uncomfortable.

And when neither side can provide substantial evidence to support it's claim, the debates go on for ever...and even when they can, the same happens.

 

Ricardo

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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For a variety of reasons, I believe those kinds of audio assertions can drive the religious atheist, agnostic, or non-believer crazy. ...

I believe that for some audiophile sceptics, agreeing that something unmeasurable can still be experienced would be a big step in the direction of acknowledging that an invisible and unmeasurable God could exist, miracles could take place, or that religions can be credible institutions....

 

My only question is, what do people think about my theory as to why some audiophile debates can become so heated?

 

It very conveniently places all of the blame for discord upon those whom you happen to disagree with, despite the factual record to the contrary.

 

I cannot speak for others, but I think belief in many of the audiophile phenomena you cite is similar to irrational belief in imaginary deities. I don't think it is coincidental that the same mindset that rejects evolution in favor of biblical creationism rejects rationalism and science in favor of subjective listening impressions.

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I read that one of the few activities that stimulates, activates and uses the entire brain is music. If this is even only partially true it highlights the problem as to how we can ever expect to fully agree on what sounds better. It is time to stop these senseless debates. It degrades this forum and makes it useless to but a few that have decided to make it their life to keep these senseless debates going and hijacking many well intended posts and questions. Get a life! This was a great forum when I first joined and I learned a lot from many members and have tried to share where I thought I could add some value based on MY expriences. Sad to see it being degraded by a few.

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I don't think it is coincidental that the same mindset that rejects evolution in favor of biblical creationism rejects rationalism and science in favor of subjective listening impressions.

 

What a complete and utter load of crap! What evidence do you have to even remotely support this ridiculous assertion? I don't know any intelligent person who believes in creationism.

 

What's your next theory, that subjectivists attribute the inability to hear differences between cables to be the work of the devil?

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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What a complete and utter load of crap! What evidence do you have to even remotely support this ridiculous assertion? I don't know any intelligent person who believes in creationism.

 

What's your next theory, that subjectivists attribute the inability to hear differences between cables to be the work of the devil?

 

Sometimes I think cables in general are the work of the devil - does that count? :) :)

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Sometimes I think cables in general are the work of the devil - does that count? :) :)

 

I don't know about "in general", but if you are talking about the cost of many high end cables, you just may be right! :)

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Relax, it's only hi-fi.

 

Forgive me, I apparently attributed you with more subtlety than deserved by omitting the :). I wasn't aware that your sense of irony was unidirectional.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Hi Joel - thanks for a thoughtful, interesting post filled with new ideas to ponder.

 

I have been thinking about this, and I think that passion is what ties God and Audiophiles together. Like most people, I feel deeply and passionately about my religion, and I am willing to go out on a limb and make a stand to defend it. It isn't rational. It makes far more sense to think that this universe, this life - that it is all there is. But there is always a bit of a question worrying there in the back of my mind. Is it? Is this really all there is? That is a cold and frightening thought, and one that everyone must face.

 

Rationalists, of course, say yes. That is all there is. There is nothing more. At least until someone goes and discovers that not only is there more to this universe than we think, there may be an infinite number of universes. Just as vast, just as infinite. And when that gets old,they will go on to discover something else new. It never ends. Ever. Infinite. God.

 

Or Audiophiles arguing over what they can and cannot hear. While rationally I know that Redbook Arudio at 16/44.1 logically contains everything I can possibly hear, and can reproduce it accurately, and sometimes it does so amazingly well, my mind and soul tells me nope- there is more. And for heaven's sake, there is more. 24/192K sounds very different to my ears than 16/44.1. And I don't just mean the mastering, I mean the physical format sounds different.

 

I tend to equate most Audiophiles with the reformation. The established self appointed authorities are sure that they know it all, and have the word of the difference engines in their ears. They present rational arguments over and over why one cannot hear what one hears. Not only that, they persist, trying countless times to get one to refute one's hearasy. (pun intended!)

 

Sometimes I think they are just blind. Then I look at the fringe element on the other end, with $10K cables, mysterious additions to binary bits, unscientific and easily challenged / disputed test claims, and passion that easily flares into a bit of anger. In other words, easy targets. Irresistibly easy targets.

 

The more balanced folks, on both sides of the fence, are make to look like fools by this never ending war.

 

Sure sounds a lot like religion, don't it?

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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The four armed subjective audiophile god. In one of the left hands you see cash. Probably from the sale of hires recordings, magic cables and simple belief in the ineffable qualities of music. Only by turning inward to create your own self referential judgment is true peace possible. And cash, you will need some cash.

 

 

audio god.png

 

 

Here you see the objectivist horde of sorcery. Reductionist in the act of reducing something wonderful. Even their own beings are pieces of the whole of their own selves. Yet they persist in the belief the pieces can be put back together into beautiful wholes. Only they have the Sisyphean task of hoping the pieces are like holographs that each piece has the whole in its diminished entirety.

 

obj.png

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Or perhaps this is god of the Britons and the audiophiles.

 

god of the Britons.png

 

While others have this opinion.

 

bioya.png

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Some have faith. Some have science. Some have both. Some have neither (sad IMO)

We can all peacefully coexist if there is mutual respect. Derogatory words (deaf, delusional, stupid, liar) and condescension ("I'm better than you because...") have no place in civilized discussion.

 

Civilised discussion used to be the norm at CA, however, it's a close knit community.

 

... the same arguments appear, whether innocently from new posters, ...

 

....Blissfully I have now five people on an ignore list, ...

 

Sorry, I'm a newbie, and I've probably rehashed old stuff. Let me know if I'm unwelcome.

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Some have faith. Some have science. Some have both. Some have neither (sad IMO)

We can all peacefully coexist if there is mutual respect. Derogatory words (deaf, delusional, stupid, liar) and condescension ("I'm better than you because...") have no place in civilized discussion.

 

 

 

Sorry, I'm a newbie, and I've probably rehashed old stuff. Let me know if I'm unwelcome.

 

Naw- you are quite welcome. It is kinda refrshing when someone new jumps in absolutely sure of what they know, and finds that their facts are often disputed. Not that that is you, just that it happens all the time. :)

 

It is really funny when a militant monk from another forum jumps in ready to convert the unwashed masses to SCIENCE! The ensuing crusades are usually comical. At least they are once they are over. (grin)

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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For a variety of reasons, I believe those kinds of audio assertions can drive the religious atheist, agnostic, or non-believer crazy. The notion that not everything we perceive can be evaluated scientifically seems to challenge the very foundation of how the sceptic evaluates the world around him. He’ll argue that either you can quantify your experience or you shouldn't be talking about it.

 

Except blind religious-type faith has nothing to do with subjective observations shared by many people - whether verifiable or not is a different issue. For instance Audiophiles dont claim to *observe god* - we may have god like hearing - but thats a different issue ;-) .One can have blind faith in hearing differences based on their *observation* or one can have blind faith that non-measurable differences dont exist.

 

I believe that for some audiophile sceptics, agreeing that something unmeasurable can still be experienced would be a big step in the direction of acknowledging that an invisible and unmeasurable God could exist, miracles could take place, or that religions can be credible institutions.

 

No need to go there, see above.

 

My only question is, what do people think about my theory as to why some audiophile debates can become so heated? And if there are other theories, I’d love to read them.

 

Yeh well, people just stubbornly refuse to agree with me, don't they? <sarcasm?>

Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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Naw- you are quite welcome. It is kinda refrshing when someone new jumps in absolutely sure of what they know, and finds that their facts are often disputed. Not that that is you, just that it happens all the time. :)

 

It is really funny when a militant monk from another forum jumps in ready to convert the unwashed masses to SCIENCE! The ensuing crusades are usually comical. At least they are once they are over. (grin)

 

Don't you have a finer brush? Your broad strokes don't include me in the picture and I feel left out... :-/

 

Perhaps I'm being too sensitive and taking this too personally, but your disclaimer doesn't hide that within your response to me may be another problem in this field. It seems you see 2 teams, and that I'm not on yours. You therefore relegate me to the other team and already know all about me. You don't.

 

FYI, I AM on a crusade, but NOT the one you think. I have no intention of converting any masses; I can't anyway. I AM absolutely sure of what I know, but unlike so many, that includes knowing my knowledge has limits. I embrace those limits not as acceptance of my ignorance, but to set goals for improvement. "militant monk from another forum"? I've posted exactly 22 posts in audio forums ever. All in February. 19 here.

 

If anyone disputes my facts, I'm happy to admit I'm wrong. When everyone agrees with me, we might all be crazy. But when I admit I'm wrong, I'm happy because I'm certain I've learned something.

 

You can pull out your disclaimer and say "not that this is you", but I'm responding to your answer to me.

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I have been thinking about this, and I think that passion is what ties God and Audiophiles together. Like most people, I feel deeply and passionately about my religion, and I am willing to go out on a limb and make a stand to defend it. It isn't rational.

 

With respect, I don't see any tie between such disparate topics as God and audiophilia or any need for one. There is no reason why agnostics and atheists can't love and appreciate music every bit as much as the most fervent religious believer. IMO, the fundamental question regarding religion is, "Did God create man or did man create God?" I don't see how the deeply personal answer to that question has anything to do with our hobby. Accordingly, I will refrain from expressing my opinion regarding your equating "most Audiophiles with the Reformation". However, if your expressed belief works for you, that's fine.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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I don't think it is coincidental that the same mindset that rejects evolution in favor of biblical creationism rejects rationalism and science in favor of subjective listening impressions.

 

Bill, if you meant what you said (hard to tell with you sometimes) a little unfair and maybe shows your prejudices. On what evidence do you base your claim that creationists=audio subjectivists? You have maybe one or two posters here that have indicated beliefs like that. Peoples belief sets are often much more complex than that, and often aren't consistent in a simplistic manner from one area to the next. For instance, there are religious conservatives who are socially liberal about lots of issues.

 

I think you'd find it difficult to find someone who rejects creationism more than me. But I certainly don't accept that the hard core objectivist camp has it all correct, and that the subjectivist camp has it all wrong.

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Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

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All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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