Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Nov 23, 2012 - 10:11am PT
As I read the recent postings (about 10 or so pages of them), most folks are interested in how the body (brain) works. It's made me think that what's most of interest among us here is how puzzles can be unlocked or put together. That's makes us mechanics. Puzzle-solving is an interesting task. But arguments about this mechanical system (e.g., material) as opposed to that mechanical system (e.g., not-material) at times seems to end up to be much about nothing. This morning it seems like a waste of attention when life (subjectivity) is being fired at us point-blank in the here and now. Life is for living, and parenthetically to wonder about its mechanisms (much like it's an amusing interest to wonder at some other mundane facet in life). I wonder why a group of climbers and ex-climbers spend so much time and effort at arguing about mechanics and puzzles of politics, God, Religion, and Science. For some of us, some of the topics are our jobs. For the rest of us or the rest of the topics, . . . why?

All I can think of to answer that question is what some have called, "death-denial projects." We have nothing better to do, and we need to fill the space of our lives. (What a very strange idea that is.) It's especially curious (or meaningful) that we invest so much psychic and emotional energy in those undertakings.

And I find my own writings in this. A mirror can be a brutal object.

Maybe I'm writing this because it's the morning after a day of thanksgiving (here in the States), with young and old relatives, in an environment full of grace. Life is good, and I can't help noticing it.

Be well.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Nov 23, 2012 - 10:21am PT
I agree this 'mental speculation' (™ Werner) falls under the same sort of deeply unnecessary futility as offwidth climbing and at least as unsatisfying in terms of outcome. However, as non-climbing entertainment goes, the brain is way up there ahead of contemplating other anatomical vistas.
WBraun

climber
Nov 23, 2012 - 10:45am PT
The brain can't do sh!t without the mind, intelligence and the soul which is the source and seat of consciousness and the living entity.

The foolish mental speculators speculating that the material lump of goo they call their brain is the source and seat of consciousness are mislead by their own blind groping in their mechanical laboratories.

One must use the right tools for the job.

Life comes from life .......
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Nov 23, 2012 - 10:59am PT
the material lump of goo they call their brain is the source and seat of consciousness

Yes, this is the claim.
WBraun

climber
Nov 23, 2012 - 11:04am PT
Quit twisting MY words to fit your nonsensical rascaldum otherwise I will unleash the mother of all consciousness .....

:-)
go-B

climber
Hebrews 1:3
Nov 23, 2012 - 11:05am PT
There you go…. God outdone by his own words.

Creation, Theology and The End of the Universe
http://www.gty.org/video/conferences/2009-SC-01


and then...


Biblical Inspiration Validated By Science, Part 1
http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-326


Biblical Inspiration Validated By Science, Part 2
http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-327

The Battle for the Beginning
http://www.gty.org/resources/sermon-series/255/The-Battle-for-the-Beginning

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Nov 23, 2012 - 11:05am PT
the material lump of goo they call their brain is the source and seat of consciousness

A mind-blowing claim. If true, how amazing!

MH2

climber
Nov 23, 2012 - 11:06am PT
That's makes us mechanics.


No, it makes us people with an interest in mechanism. Don't expect the full range of life to appear, here.


What would be wrong with death-denial? Do you expect only rational reactions from people?



I hope to eventually learn what Roger Penrose has to say about the possibility of quantum computing and if that could achieve what he is looking for in the way of human-like understanding. His first book on consciousness was published in 1989, the second in 1994. A few of his examples of computer inadequacy became obsolete in the interval. His third book, The Road to Reality, is from 2004.


Thanks to Malemute for reminding me about parallel processing. A lot of my examples are out-of-date, too.


Dr. F.

Ice climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 23, 2012 - 11:08am PT
The brain can't do sh!t without the mind,
WB


and the mind can't do sh#t without the brain!!
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Nov 23, 2012 - 11:10am PT
go-b's link: "So, you see, when you talk about science at the very basic level, it is only the Bible that gives you any sensible understanding for the way things really are."

The delusion is palpable.
WBraun

climber
Nov 23, 2012 - 11:17am PT


That does it!!!!

Yer all goin to HELL !!!!!!

:-)
MH2

climber
Nov 23, 2012 - 12:48pm PT
Whoa! We need to stand up for good old-fashioned first personal subjective experience!

The CBC just did a segment on Black Friday shopping and one of the experts they interviewed was a "neuro-marketer." The interviewer asked her, "So, what is going on in my brain when I am standing there looking at a shelf full of potato chips?"

The neuro-marketer also related a story about Campbell's Soup re-designing their label by doing fMRI on subjects shown different soup labels.


American (and Canadian) stupidity.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Nov 23, 2012 - 01:35pm PT
Ed wrote: "Consciousness is a "behavior" related entirely to our ability to communicate that part of our "internal" state that is relevant to social interaction.

I'd be interested in examples of conscious behavior which is are not so related."

Consciousness is not "entirely" related to our ability to render objective, verbal output (to a 3rd party = social interaction) per our subjective experience. We are also and primarily self-conscious, moment to moment awash in our unique and first person subjective stream, and evaluating it as we fjord, drift or are gushed forward in a rush of experience.

Note that much of our discursive activity is in reaction to either the aforementioned subjective (sensation, emotion, etc.) stream, or the involuntary thought steam itself. Harris, of all people, has some interesting things to say about this, though IMO he was wildly jinaccurate about how discursive thinking proceeds from the initial, involuntary offering of the brain per whatever the subject we encounter or take up at a given time.

Healyj quoting Chalmers:

"So we can dismiss all claims that consciousness, mind and awareness are emergent properties of matter or brains, because we need the presence of a mind for emergent properties and phenomena to appear in the first place. The subjective activity of the mind of the observer, together with the 'objective' procedures and the structures upon which they operate, is an irreducible component of emergent phenomena."

This sounds a little like those professing that the consciousness is not a "productive" property of the brain (the so-called "transmission" or broadcast model), but that consciousness is "transmitted" THROUGH the brain. This is not exactly what Chalmers means, but for those that do, their position is roundly attacked by hard core physicalists, who don't especially like being told that their materialistic-reductionistic model is not as wrong as it is incomplete. By believing as much, they counter, you can still allow your deluded self healthy doses of woo woo, soul-stuff and Jeezus into the equation, as opposed to the strictly material model "built by serious and hard working people." You can see where this leads - nowhere at all. Everyone who does not adhere to a fundamantailst physicalist model is lumped into a pot of Woo Woo, so it is easy to lambaste those doing so as simplistic and puerile.

Anyway, moving back to Chalmers - I believe he fumbles/confuses "mind" with raw or bare awareness. While many would simply pile awareness into the boiling metafunction of Mind, feeling there is no need to reify awareness as some real or distinct thing, even a cursory look at our subjective experience shows us incontrovertibly that awareness is the most slippery of all. We can hardly call awareness and the objects of awareness the VERY same things, for obvious reasons, yet the sense that there is an agency "watching" our experience, while real, is impossible to substantiate. Yet the entire world turns on personal identity - that you, as Joe Blow, have a life that you are responsible for, yada yada. Slippery stuff indeed.

Anyway, mind and awareness are imprecise terms in both the western scientific and philosophical community. JSatan raised some interesting questions about this a few days ago and I need to go back and look at those.

Much of this harks back to what Ed was talking about when people babble in trances, sounding human but there is no one home (self aware), as happens when we sleep walk, or maybe when Fruity wets his bed.

A whole load of interesting things converge at this point and you really have to be dialed into the work to follow, IME.

For instance, Chalmers said: ". . . we can dismiss all claims that consciousness, mind and awareness are emergent properties of matter or brains, because we need the presence of a mind for emergent properties and phenomena to appear in the first place."

Most physicalists would say that this "mind" that Chalmers mentions IS the emergent phenomenon, and that the whole McGuilla somehow just arises or "emerges" off the meat brain. Chalmers seems to argue, to use a metaphor, that for the Big Bang to ever happen, there had to be a void into which the "world" could emerge. Materialists would say that "space" was "created" by the big bang - and here we face the conundrum that a true void is a total lack or any thing, any quality, so no-thing can hardly be created in the first place.

Perhaps in this sense, Chalmers is saying, without knowing it, that awareness is without objective quality at all, and is the preexisting field or potentiality into which the evolved brain emerges into consciousness, being what Royce claimed was "a fundamental quality of what reality IS."

Interesting to ponder. . .

JL
damo62

Social climber
Brisbane
Nov 23, 2012 - 01:38pm PT
Ed, does your dog not SIT on command?
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 23, 2012 - 01:43pm PT
The real question is if Ed goes and gets the leash to take the dog for a walk after being stared at intently. If he resists that form of communication, he is doing better than the rest of us.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 23, 2012 - 01:51pm PT
Maybe it's a spectrum from awareness to sentience to full self consciousness?
go-B

climber
Hebrews 1:3
Nov 23, 2012 - 02:10pm PT
Grace to You :: Unleashing God's Truth, One Verse at a Time
Biblical Inspiration Validated By Science, Part 1
Scripture: Selected Scriptures
Code: 90-326
http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-326



By John MacArthur
Excerpt from PDF starting at page #9...

Let's talk, first of all, about the basic principles of science since we're dealing with foundational things. Science deals with a matrix when we're talking about natural science. We're talking about the way things are in a material universe, there is a matrix of things. You have to have matter, you have to have force, you have to have energy, you have to have space and you have to have time. That is...that is Herbert Spencer's great achievement, he died in 1903, he said, "Everything in the universe can be deposited in one of these categories...time, force, action, space and matter." Force and action comprising energy. There has to be time, there has to be energy which is force and action, there has to be space, and there has to be matter. And by the way, those five things which he defined in that order are all in Genesis 1, "In the beginning...that's time...God...that's force...created...that's action...the heavens...that's space...and the earth...that's matter." The matrix is in Genesis 1:1, that is a profound scientific statement. The universe in essence is a...is a matrix of space, time, matter, and energy. And all of it has to be existing at the same conflux. It all has to come together or none of it exists. One cannot exist without the other. The entire continuum must have existed simultaneously from the beginning. That is why you find it all in Genesis 1:1, it all had to be there. Science says it has to be there and Scripture says it is there.

Now once the matrix comes into instantaneous simultaneous existence, its processes then are designed to operate in an orderly fashion, going forward. All the different phenomena within the matrix of nature and life are sustained by the forces that exist in that matrix. Time goes on, space goes on, energy goes on, matter goes on. It is all instantaneously and simultaneously coming into existence, it is then not only brought into existence by some external force and source, but it is then kept in prefect balance and function by that same power. It is sustained by the same force that brought it into existence. But everything that God made was made in six days. And it says in Genesis 2:2, "God ended His work which He had made." God stopped making anything. If you know science, you understand that that is scientifically accurate, nothing is being created, nothing is coming into existence, nothing has since creation, day six, and God's cessation of His work. The complete cessation of creative activity has been, by the way, in advertently recognized by modern science and they call it the law, the first law of thermodynamics and the first law of thermodynamics is called the conservation of mass and energy...the conservation of mass and energy. This is THE most and universal and certain of all scientific principles. Science has shown and verified that there is nothing being created in the known universe today. Things are doing what they do but not coming into existence newly. There is nothing new in the universe. In fact, the Bible tells us this in the most unaffected, the most simple, the most direct ways without ever defending itself as if its made some statement contrary to fact.



For example, in the words that come to us in the ninth chapter of Nehemiah, "In praise to God, in blessing to God," we read in Nehemiah 9:6, "Thou alone art the Lord, Thou hast made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their hosts, the earth and all that is in them, the seas and all that is in them. Thou dost give life to all of them." You made it all, everything that exists in the heaven and the earth and the seas, everything that lives, you made it all. That is an affirmation of God's completed and ended creation. Everything that is You made, and You made it all in those six days of creation.

I think it's in Isaiah, there are a lot of Scriptures that we could look up but there is another one, I think it's in Isaiah...yes, chapter 40 verse 26, "Lift up your eyes and see who has created these stars, the one who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name, not one of them is missing." Nothing comes into existence and nothing goes out of existence. This is the law, the first law of thermodynamics, the law of the conservation of mass and energy. Nothing is being created, nothing is going out of existence. And this is exactly what the Bible says in the most unaffected way and without any scientific pretension. For example, Ecclesiastes 1:9, "That which has been is that which will be and that which has been done is that which will be done and there is nothing new under the sun." In the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, verse 14, "I know that everything God does will remain forever." There is nothing to add to it, there is nothing to take from it. It is God so...it is God who has so worked it, that which is has been already, that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by. This is the continuum of the creative reality, spontaneous generation, new creation doesn't happen. What perpetuates the creation is the conservation of mass and energy. And every organism that is a living organism has the seed of life within itself to reproduce itself.

Now there's a second law of thermodynamics and science has labeled this law, and the second law of thermodynamics is this...nothing new is being created, nothing is being destroyed, that is in the sense the first law. The second law is, however, all things are tending toward increasing disorder. This is the second law of thermodynamics. Energy is running down. It is losing its capacity to perform its work. There is increasing disorder. That means that slowly but observably the processes that God set in motion are winding down. We're heading toward the death of this creation. Now they don't have an explanation for that and it's a very hard thing to come up with an evolutionary view that everything is getting more complex, more intelligent and better while at the same time they can show scientifically that energy is dissipating and everything is tending toward chaos and disorder. All energy is running down and heading toward being incapable of performing its function.



Now God didn't make the world that way. God did not make the world that way. In fact, when God finished His creation, Genesis 1:31, He looked at it all and said, "It's...what?...it's very good." How do we explain what's happened? The Bible is the only place you can go for an explanation. Science has no explanation for the second law of thermodynamics. It has no explanation for the first law. Why is it that everything came into existence in a matrix at one time and continues in that same matrix? Why is it that if this is all a matter of chance, coincidence and randomness that that's not happening again and again and again and again? Why is it that it has come into existence in such a matrix of complexity and sustained itself in that matrix of complexity? That, in fact, is what drove Einstein crazy, if you would call him crazy, because he couldn't figure out the power was that held everything together. And how then do you explain this slow death? What is the reason for that? Only the Bible explains the matrix, the power of God is the invisible power that holds it all together and sustains it. And only the Bible explains why it's all tending toward disorder and death and the explanation comes in Genesis 3, it is the Fall and God curses creation. God curses creation. You read Genesis 3, man is cursed, woman is cursed. Sin enters into the world, the land is cursed, the ground is cursed. You have to till and work by the sweat of your brow to get something out of the land and fight all the cursed elements, the thorns, the weeds. And man has to fight against the weakness of his own body and his weariness and illness and disease because death enters the world and women have pain in childbearing. The ground is cursed. The whole creation is cursed. Read Romans 8:20 to 22. In Romans 8:20 to 22 the whole creation groans under the weight of the curse.

Science has no explanation for the first law of thermodynamics which they are glad to label but cannot explain how the complex matrix can come into existence in a moment, which all of which is required for anything to exist out of nothing. They cannot explain that nor can they explain how it holds itself together because there's no way to find the power that holds it together scientifically, nor can they explain the principle of disintegration and disorder in the second law of thermodynamics. The Bible explains both perfectly.

The Bible also explains that the second law of thermodynamics without calling it that is working its way down to an end, and the end must come and it will come, only it won't die a slow death, it will die an immediate death, as I just read you, when the Lord Jesus destroys this cursed universe and establishes a new heaven and a new earth. And in the new heaven and the new earth, there will be a different matrix. There will be a different matrix. There will be no time, there will be no space, there will be the energy of eternal life. It will be a completely different matrix and there will be no second law of thermodynamics. There will be no death, no sickness, no sorrow, no dying, no decay, no unrighteousness, no trouble, to pain, no destruction, and so forth and so forth.

So, you see, when you talk about science at the very basic level, it is only the Bible that gives you any sensible understanding for the way things really are. And we would expect that the one who made things the way they are, knows the way they are, and tells us the truth about the way they are. I stand so firmly before you as somebody who is not a scientist, by any stretch of the imagination, to say to you that I have read as extensively as I can read in science, particularly in those many, many months when I was going through Genesis chapters 1, 2 and 3, trying to understand science, true science, comparison to Scripture, and I have yet to find and I am supported by Christian scientists all over the country and all over the world who study far more in depth and more diligently than I who back up the fact that there has never ben any...any scientific discovery that is in true fact the way it really is that contradicts the biblical record...never...never.
jstan

climber
Nov 23, 2012 - 02:14pm PT
Go-Bee:

That mouse thing with the clicker? By moving it on the desk top while holding the clicker down we are able to scan past unending text. Really fast and much less painful. Try it and see.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Nov 23, 2012 - 04:08pm PT
WOW-Wee!!! go-B ;;;;;;;;;;
I didn't know you were THAT smart..
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Nov 23, 2012 - 05:18pm PT
Ed said:

I'm still pushing this from a practical point of view, not a "theoretical" point of view... certainly we can describe, often incompletely and rather poorly, the state of "sentience" and it is distinct to what we would describe as "conscious" though it can be intertwined, certainly. But those aspects of "sentience" that make it to our "consciousness" are precisely those which we can describe to someone else.

--

I trust that most of us would consider our direct first person experience as the most tangible aspect of human reality, and for any interpretations of same to be theoretical abstractions. Not in terms of being theory, per se, but in terms of being symbolic (verbal representations of something else – namely experience), once removed from reality.

If by “make it to our consciousness” you mean the qualia that we are aware of, then the question becomes – to what extent can we symbolically represent (words, figures, etc.) our experience? We all acknowledge that this experience is bigger than the capacity of words or numbers to represent, and that the best representation - unlike measuring a tree trunk - is only a vague approximation.

To cover any ground here, we must IMO acknowledge the differences between the external physical world and our internal experiential world - and that these differences are real and vast. Without doing this, we run the risk of treating all things as equals (a boulder and sadness, say), and from such a starting point our conclusions might be rationally consistent, but perfectly absurd and wildly truncated representations of reality.

The arts are in large part expression of our internal world that begin where our descriptions and quantification leave off, where word and numbers can take us no further. To expect our descriptive techniques such as language and mathematics to fully capture reality is expecting far too much.

So while what we express in our many ways might be “ those aspects of sentience that make it to our consciousness,” said expression is going to be more varied and rich than the manner in which we describe external reality - in cut and dry terms.

JL
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