Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Psilocyborg

climber
Apr 1, 2013 - 01:27pm PT
Dr F, funny, I have had the exact opposite. When I hit my age of reason @ 12, I became an athiest. It wasnt until 2 or 3 years ago that I realized my own form of spirituality. The hundreds of deep psychedelic experiences I had as a teenager now have a profound meaning. Instead of being human drug induced experiences, I now realize I was transending time and space, and much more.

At the end of the day, we are both happy and content individuals, which is the point. Congradulations, peace, love, and all that good stuff.

Base....the enlargements of certain areas of the brain, wouldnt it be facinating if it was brought on by thousands of years of phychedelic mushroom consumtpion? Mana from heaven!
jstan

climber
Apr 1, 2013 - 01:31pm PT
If you take ten posts from someone, read them all and carefully work through them logically, you should find something that is consistent.

If you cannot find a consistent picture, just move on. There is nothing there.




My neighbor, at 91, is in the hospital right now. Yesterday I visited and saw patients facing lung failure, smoking. A question.

A person facing lung failure who is still smoking has made their decision.

Why are they in a hospital?
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Apr 1, 2013 - 02:13pm PT
We are animals. We have been around for 200,000 years.

Look at an infant. Do you remember being an infant? Perhaps. There is no doubt that the brain develops physically and anatomically after birth.

Why do we need to cling to any idea that we are somehow special? The evolution of the human brain is very clear from fossil evidence. There is enough to show a variety of hominids whose brains became progressively larger, particularly certain brain regions that are known logic and language centers.

OK. I must flee to wiki, but I admit to it. I just don't remember the details and dates of anthropology after all of these years.

I had this part right: we became anatomically evolved 200,000 years ago. We became behaviorally modern 50,000 years ago, and that is when we begin to see a richer fossil record containing tools, burials, art, etc.

At what point do you want to say that consciousness began? Is a worm conscious? It responds to all manner of outside stimulus. A lizard? They have fairly complex behavior. A mouse? Mice can learn. Even an octopus is amazingly intelligent and can be taught.

Where do you draw the line and say, "OK, here we have consciousness."

We do have to draw the line or at the least draw a spectrum of intelligence. The only thing that leaps out regarding human anatomy is the size of the higher brain centers. It is directly correlated to anatomy.

It isn't much of a stretch to see this and realize that these are evolved traits. Unfortunately we are the only surviving hominid. If others had survived we could do a lot of comparative anatomy and study of brain function.

I present you with a cave painting that is 40,000 years old:

Credit: BASE104
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Apr 1, 2013 - 02:16pm PT
A person facing lung failure who is still smoking has made their decision.

Why are they in a hospital?

I would guess that they are afraid of death. Being afraid of death is what brought this entire religious wha wha about.
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Apr 1, 2013 - 02:46pm PT
Cool Altamira shot there. The rise of representational art certainly marked an epoch in consciousness. Saw this recently:

Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 1, 2013 - 03:47pm PT
BASE, try and you will, you bungle my aim every time.

If you want to understand the drift, first, know that "content" or persons, places or things will not answer to the deeper questions of existence. Not everyone needs to bother with these questions - it's like wall climbing in that regards. It doesn't make you smarter or more profound to chase these questions. You have to be a transcendent fool of sorts. It's not easy work.

Second, if you want to get a fix on this, forget the content and settle with the agency of consciousness, NOT the content. But most importantly, DON'T make any attempt to quantify that agency, which will cause your awareness to narrow focus on some thing, and you'll miss the forest for the trees, so to speak. The idea is to anchor to that forest and hang out - forever.

It doesn't matter at all if you believe the objective is the subjective, or that your awareness simply and miraculously jumps off of neurons like smoke off a BBQ. All of those notions about functionality are merely ideas anyhow, and like I said, the thought realm will never give up the goods.

Any attempts to objectify or quantify the agency of mind, through which all content whistles through, will give you nothing more than more of the same, or just a bunch of functional analysis. If that's all the deeper you want to go. Fine. My efforts to talk the monkey out of the corner are pretty much over. If you have no interest in other perspectives beyond cognitive data and qualia, no harm in that at all.

The one and most basic trick is probably the hardest to those tranced by the discursive mind: Don't objectify (narrow focus on "it"). If that approach had any hops of working, we all would gladly have done so from the start. It was only after experiencing cognitive methods failing entirely that other counterintuitive paths were explored.

When I boil it all down, there isn't much more to it than that - and of course, practicing it till you're blue in the face. Beliefs, gurus, masters, faith, fuzzy feelings, "God," tea ceremonies (never care for those myself) and all the rest are part of the game, but ultimately must be given up at the zero hour. Any way you shake it, you've eventually be wrangling noting at all. The adventure starts once you run out of answers entirely, and simply give up - but don't quit.

JL
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Apr 1, 2013 - 03:59pm PT
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Apr 1, 2013 - 04:44pm PT
I take the view that we can learn more about how the nervous system works and that we may achieve an understanding of consciousness as largely if not entirely a product of neuronal activity.

I agree that the way to study consciousness is through brains and neurons - although I would start with simple brains, but this depends on your definition of consciousness, and whether a symbolic language is a requirement.

Thought experiment: Let's say you had a computer that could model the neurons in a human brain. All their connections to other neurons and what the electrical potentials needed to make each one fire (they're like transistors). The simulation models every possible variable, blood sugar and oxygen levels in the blood, whatever may influence neural firing. You hook it up to simulated inputs, eyes, ears, even a spinal cord similator for touch. You determine the initial state of the system through a CAT scan, and say go.

The obvious question is whether this simulation would be conscious and believe itself to be the person simulated.

If so, then consciousness is a mathematical property of that system and Werner and Largo were right that it's totally independent of the meat brain. That doesn't mean its immortal, though. This one could be, but the meat brain ones aren't.

If not, then there is no way to simulate consciousness even through a perfect simulation of the neural activity that creates it. What would THAT mean?
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 1, 2013 - 05:29pm PT
If so, then consciousness is a mathematical property of that system and Werner and Largo were right that it's totally independent of the meat brain. That doesn't mean its immortal, though. This one could be, but the meat brain ones aren't.


Never said consciousness is "totally independent" of the meat brain. Give us an example of something, anything that is "totally independent" of persons, place and things?

From my point of view, the simulation you set up is entirely about objective functioning. We can understand how a digital processor of enormous power might replicate certain brain functions. But I'm not following how raw awareness and self consciouslness are related to objective functioning. What model are you basing this on in Nature, where something remotely like awareness has ever been "created" by or is blowback of objective functioning. When people say, "I see no reason why awareness is not a direct function of neuronal activity alone," what is such a belief based on if not the fact that ever other phenomenon in reality seems to be the product of physical processes.

To me, believing that a computer can "produce" and replicate a consciousness that wonders if it is machine or person is sci fi far more spectacular and rare then Frankenstein, minus the forked lightning.


JL

It's Alive!
It's Alive!
Credit: Largo

jogill

climber
Colorado
Apr 1, 2013 - 07:53pm PT
The adventure starts once you run out of answers entirely, and simply give up - but don't quit

Hit me with the stick again, Master, for my attention wanders . . .


;>)
MH2

climber
Apr 1, 2013 - 09:56pm PT
JL,

When you set limits on neuroscience, just for a moment consider a person looking up at El Cap in 1913 thinking, "They will never climb that."
WBraun

climber
Apr 1, 2013 - 10:06pm PT
You guys are all completely projecting all kinds of crazy sh!t Largo never meant.

It's pretty obvious most of you are not using your own selves correctly.

No training at all except pure western cave man brute force thinking.

Full speed head first into a brick wall without thinking is what you're all doing.

That's why you're all animals.

A human being has knowledge that separates him form animals.

Western material science is just plain polished animalism .......
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 2, 2013 - 12:37am PT
When you set limits on neuroscience, just for a moment consider a person looking up at El Cap in 1913 thinking, "They will never climb that."
--


What do you believe are the farthest limits of neuroscience to try and physically explain mind?

JL
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 2, 2013 - 12:53am PT
My neuroscientist friend is only trying to make the blind see, literally. Having been raised as a
Hindu he is fine with leading such a prosaic existence.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Apr 2, 2013 - 01:33am PT
John, . . . funny, . . . I would have thought you would have liked a good tea ceremony. Listening to those little bubbles well up and hit the sides in an iron tea pot has brought some satori to this little mind. Those sounds are like the effervescence you feel in your mouth from a good champagne. Ting'ly. Completely experiential.


I haven't been around for a while due to some new projects I'm learning from and struggling with. I've recently gotten involved with various social entrepreneurs who put social-benefit objectives over economic objectives in organizations.

When we talk about any organization, we talk about resources, investments, revenues, costs, relative values, and the difference in between the costs and revenues (e.g., returns, profits, or residual value). We think in economic terms. We feel we must. We don't know how to do it in any other systematic and logical way. We haven't found ways to resolve social missions with economic missions. It's the math (accounting and finance). It's the metrics. It's the worldview. We can't economically justify doing social work. There's no profit in it. In other worlds, there is a fierce incommensurability between the social versus economic viewpoints. It doesn't make accounting or finance right or wrong, economics right or wrong, social missions right or wrong. They are just different.

Our problem (in my field) is that we need to transcend economic theory to broader notions of inclusiveness so that we can put non-economic objectives (and metrics, and math) in front of us to serve. But we will never be able to do that with economics alone.

I see this menial example as the same problem facing so-called spiritualists and materialists. It's the problem of incommensurability.

On the other hand, it is possible that each "view" (economic, spiritual, physical, materialistic, philosophical, etc.) can contribute to "a perspective" that is not one view or the other, not both views together, and neither not one view nor not any other view. (Jogill pointed to the excluded middle a few hundred posts earlier.) That so-called perspective is aperspectival.

"The answer" is that there is no answer, but that TOGETHER all "no answers" are the answer. Not one perspective, not all perspectives, but no perspective.

(Hey, it's possible. The longer and more intently that you look at anything, the more you will come to find no perspective at all is appropriate. An object becomes simply "suchness, "one" that is ungaspable and undefinable.)

This is a working definition of emptiness and no-thing.


(Hiya, Blu, Werner, Base, MH2, Jogill, Largo, Jstan, Ed, Dr.F.) A new quarter is about to start for me, and so I won't be long here. (HFCS will be happy about that.)

Best.
MH2

climber
Apr 2, 2013 - 12:21pm PT
Good to hear from you, MikeL.

(Hey, it's possible. The longer and more intently that you look at anything, the more you will come to find no perspective at all is appropriate. An object becomes simply "suchness, "one" that is ungaspable and undefinable.)


I remember as a kid repeating the same word again and again in my head until it became meaningless.


JL,

I don't know how far neuroscience can go. I would not put much faith in anyone, neuroscientist or not, whose stated goal is to explain the human mind. As I've said a couple times on this Forum, the lobster stomatogastric ganglion was hard enough for Alllen Selverston and its hard enough for me. Your own skepticism is well founded in my opinion.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Apr 2, 2013 - 12:30pm PT
From my point of view, the simulation you set up is entirely about objective functioning.

I had a related idea after writing it - that trying to analyze a brain in a bottle may be meaningless. The brain is so live-wired to the network of neurons, I'm not sure what it would be without it. You can go down to the level of an insect, and a light signal will trigger the escape reflex (see TED video posted a few days ago) So maybe the place to begin is in the nervous system and then build up from that. My definition of consciousness would include, for example, dogs, that have feelings, can learn, and can communicate in a limited way, even though they have no language to do it. But if you start going lower than that, say, whether an insect is conscious, then its hard to tell where to draw the lines, until you end up with something like saying a virus is conscious, and the term no longer has any meaning.

Headline news today, big US research effort to map the human brain. Probably a hard sell in this economy but maybe another giant leap for mankind.
WBraun

climber
Apr 2, 2013 - 01:11pm PT
Brain can't do anything without the soul.

After a computer is created and built it can't do anything without a living entity first turning it on and putting a firmware into it to run.

Creation

Then evolution

Brain is useless without the living entity operating it.

Stoopid scientists can't even observe a simple thing.

Instead they make complicate theories and get lost and bewildered.

Stoopid scientists ....
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 2, 2013 - 01:13pm PT
Werner, is it Magic??
Is that how it works
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Apr 2, 2013 - 01:16pm PT
Stoopid scientists ....

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