Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Feb 28, 2013 - 06:59am PT
It is possible that science is so far very limited because our abilities and understanding have limited its application.

That was not really the point I was trying to illustrate. The limitations are more in our ability to measure, record and reproduce results. It isn't science without those abilities. For example consciousness is a fundamentally unique experience. One might reasonably assume others have a similar experience but it is not recordable in a way even closely resembling the experience. At least not so far.

Matrix anyone? Where is the "recall" office? How about an "Avatar"
WBraun

climber
Feb 28, 2013 - 09:09am PT
Where it gets good is when somebody claims that they are absolutely correct.

When coming to a stop sign one must stop.

I'm absolutely correct .......:-)
MH2

climber
Feb 28, 2013 - 09:10am PT
For example consciousness is a fundamentally unique experience. One might reasonably assume others have a similar experience but it is not recordable in a way even closely resembling the experience. At least not so far.


Let's suppose you could record "consciousness" in a way exactly resembling the experience. What could you then learn from that? If you could play it back would it be like The Matrix? Would it be an entertaining way to relive parts of your life?

Perhaps a complete reproduction of "consciousness" would resolve ancient philosophical questions?

What science allows is the answering of well-posed questions, most often of a yes-or-no type. See Ed's post a way back about the process. You need to get a good understanding of what is already known. Then your brain will see patterns, your imagination can push the pieces of the puzzle around to see what fits with what, and with a lot of hard work plus a stroke of insight you may find a way to put the pieces into a new pattern that makes sense and that explains in a new way a part of the physical world in a way which can be tested. Science abstracts essential parts of phenomena and looks for rules that underly their behavior. Science isn't about reproducing exactly the details of how you felt about your drive to work in the morning. That is for your diary. An exact record would not be a triumph of science but it could be an aid to writing your novel.

When you add, "At least not so far," do you think such a thing is possible? If so, then what you would have would amount to a prosthetic brain. Would you then put your own brain out to pasture?

climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Feb 28, 2013 - 09:17am PT
When coming to a stop sign one must stop.

I'm absolutely correct .......:-)

Not when they plow a big pile of snow across the intersection.

Man I've seen so many n00b drivers make this mistake.

Its about the only time I get pissed at people for stopping at a stop sign.
WBraun

climber
Feb 28, 2013 - 09:17am PT
Are people unconscious here?

They must be according to what they are saying here?

Fact: Consciousness is the direct symptom of "Life".

Is everyone dead here?

Must be .......

climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Feb 28, 2013 - 09:28am PT
What science allows is the answering of well-posed questions, most often of a yes-or-no type. See Ed's post a way back about the process. You need to get a good understanding of what is already known. Then your brain will see patterns, your imagination can push the pieces of the puzzle around to see what fits with what, and with a lot of hard work plus a stroke of insight you may find a way to put the pieces into a new pattern that makes sense and that explains in a new way a part of the physical world in a way which can be tested. Science abstracts essential parts of phenomena and looks for rules that underly their behavior.

Absolutely agree with this. It's basic and fundamental scientific process. And As new tools and technologies are applied the types of things we can measure increase. Thus the types of inquiry that can be pursued multiply. Answers to question come about and knowledge is gained.

I never in anyway meant to imply that science is not valuable, powerful, useful or many other good things. Merely that it does have significant and unfortunate limits in application towards some very big questions.
WBraun

climber
Feb 28, 2013 - 09:38am PT
Science can get out of their significant and unfortunate limits if they open up.

They are just like the Pope all locked up and dogmatic all the time.

No one knows is their most famous phrase.

If someone claims they know they immediately crucify and burn them at the stake of the world is flat analogy.

Such simpletons who only know how to dress the material body and totally neglect the operator ......

( the latest gallop poll: 70% of Americans suffer depression)

This is the sum substance of their advanced civilization.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 28, 2013 - 10:23am PT
Werner: They are just like the Pope all locked up and dogmatic all the time

As opposed to you who is free as a bird and dogmatic all the time? How exactly is Catholic and Hindu dogma different?
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 28, 2013 - 10:38am PT
I have great respect for scientific observations and research ongoing throughout the world and try to maintain some level of current understanding. Most of my professional career has been involved with scientific research and technical innovation, and I have been variously called a computer scientist, environmental researcher, and a rocket scientist; with a long list of published technical papers.

However to claim that members of the scientific community are the keepers of all creditable knowledge is simply a boastful misrepresentation.

A lot of what is scientifically and technically known is kept very secret for the military and financial advantages of a few insiders. This has been true since the foundations of science in the secret society of Pythagoras around 500 BC in southern Italy. Any members revealing their knowledge were subject to execution, and so much of their research has been lost.

There is enough scientific material publicly available to overwhelm anyone attempting to maintain a significant level of understanding. One of the most intelligent hard-working computer scientists I ever knew, literally worked himself to death trying to stay on top of one small area of computer chips design for Pentagon and White House special projects.

So to pedantically designate what is known or not known within the 'scientific community' is only speculation at best.

This thread is a fascinating attempt by a group of very experienced and knowledgeable individuals to make sense of it all. Let's just not be too quick assuming we know what information to reject out-of-hand...
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Feb 28, 2013 - 10:48am PT
Consciousness is the direct symptom of "Life".

Key question but an incomplete answer. Dogs are alive, are they conscious? At some level, yes. They are aware and have feelings and learn things, they just don't have a symbolic language in their brains. What about insects are they conscious? Less, but none? Plants. Are they conscious? What about a virus molecule?

It's one of the few things we know is real but can't really measure. Electrical measurements of brain waves isn't what I mean. There is no way to detect it except to infer it, since another person wouldn't be speaking and thinking if they weren't. Its considered the "hard problem" in philosophy and psychology since the answers don't really explain the feeling you have of being you. Reminds me of pythagoras who saw in mathematics evidence of a spiritual world, since math is obviously true and real but isn't something physical.

Ultimately I think consciousness will be understood, and like all advances in science, will be far more interesting than the primitive concept of the soul that's in all those ancient books.
Malemute

Ice climber
the ghost
Feb 28, 2013 - 10:50am PT
When coming to a stop sign one must stop.

I'm absolutely correct .......:-)

Not when they plow a big pile of snow across the intersection.

Except for police or fire trucks.
So you are NOT absolutely correct.
Stupid person.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 28, 2013 - 10:51am PT
Tom, my previous question to you is where do you drop the line relative to the expenditure of inquiry resources? Should we charge off and investigate everything everyone proposes or supposes or do we use what we do know to prioritize it. Kind of gets right back to inter-dimensional Sasquatch. Nessie and high-performance Nazi flying disks - do we invest time and resources to investigate them or is there anything you are prepared to dismiss out-of-hand as a waste of time and resources based on what we do currently know?
WBraun

climber
Feb 28, 2013 - 11:08am PT
will be far more interesting than the primitive concept of the soul

Every living entity exhibits consciousness which is direct proof of "life" of which the individual soul is the source .......
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 28, 2013 - 12:11pm PT
Let's suppose you could record "consciousness" in a way exactly resembling the experience. What could you then learn from that? If you could play it back would it be like The Matrix? Would it be an entertaining way to relive parts of your life?


This assumes that consciousness is a "thing," a kind of bio product that we can quantify into bits of information and in turn perform a "telecine" transfer much as they transfer film to tape. This of course requires you to assign values to aspects of consciousness like awareness that are demonstrably non-discrete.

One wonders how someone got the notion that a numerical value could ever be assigned to qualia or subjective experiencing itself. What experiences would a person have to have to think the subjective is collapsible into an objective quantity?

To do so i believe we must first confuse brain info processing with consciousness. This allows us, in theory, to make the map the territory, behind which is the belief that the objective could "exactly" resemble the subjective (experience). Meaning objectification has no limits = scientism.

It's amazing how we come back to this so often. When we come to seemingly insuperable problems of assigning, say, a digital summation about the EXPERIENCE of getting laid which is an exact resemblance of actually getting laid, we seem to always say - just wait, all we need is more data.

A girl might be needed - or a boy, for some - but perhaps we can work up a digital Sheela given a rich enough data stream.

JL
MH2

climber
Feb 28, 2013 - 01:00pm PT
About consciousness Don Paul says

There is no way to detect it except to infer it


All information comes to us through several stages, for example light to the retina, action potential to the lateral geniculate body, etc., and gets out of us by similar Rube Goldberg connections. Information is not beamed directly into our "consciousness."

I can't think of any alternative to detecting consciousness other than through observing the behaviour of someone or something.

If you grant that through our behaviour we can affect another person's consciousness, then it would seem to me that consciousness is a "thing."
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Feb 28, 2013 - 01:22pm PT
OK then say someone was able to make a replica of a brain, maybe a computer simulation that simulates each of the neurons, knows how they are all connected, and how each neuron makes the other ones fire. This is in the far distant future when we have more powerful computers. They finish off the program by programing in some cameras and an output device for a voice. Fire it up. Hey Dingus, anything going on in there? Oh man where I am I? I feel like I got run over by a truck. I can't move my arms! Is this thing conscious? It looks like it and reacts just like the real Dingus would. Is there something inside that program, that is self conscious and feels like they are a person?

Maybe so. Who knows. If consciousness isnt something physical then I think it must be more in the realm of mathematics. ie, in how the information is organized, or self-reflecting, which seems to be another aspect of consciousness. The brain uses symbols for things and processes the symbols instead of the experiences, knowledge etc. One of the symbols is the symbol for itself. Freud calls it the ID (although Freud an Jung should be erased from psychology books and only appear in history books) and calls this the beginning of self-awareness or consciousness when the brain is conscious of itself and creates a symbol for itself. (me) And of course babies at first don't know that they are distinct from their environments and it takes them a while to figure it out.

So there you have it, it's some kind of abstract property like physics or math, and for me, pretty mind blowing if you are in a room full of people and just try to imagine what all of them are thinking about.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 28, 2013 - 02:07pm PT
The voice of god...

One rat brain 'talks' to another using electronic link

So much for free will...
Malemute

Ice climber
the ghost
Feb 28, 2013 - 02:21pm PT
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 28, 2013 - 02:34pm PT
so by just trying one might be subjected to Largo's chiding, that it is not productive, no more, that is not possible, but that is an opinion he has, not something that has been established.


Every system has limitations. Our evaluating minds could be viewed as a system that organizes material reality in a way that allows us to manipulate and predict what we can do. The evaluating mind can be looked at as a cognitive Hilbert Space, if you will, an interpretive device that has a highly functional export. But just as Hilbert space cannot address EVERY issue in physics, our evaluating minds cannot address EVERY issue of consciousness. We have to start making the most fantastic claims to do so - like the subjective IS the objective, or can be made so through sage quantification. To me, this is not only a vastly dishonest claim, but it will prove to be utterly unproductive the further we go into experience. May I remind you that just last year a leading neuroscientist said that while we have a fantastic idea about how the brain processes info, we have "no idea whatsoever" how consciousness works, and that standard mechanistic approaches are the equal of "trying the same thing (quantifying) and expecting different results). But so long as people bullishly press ahead with the same methods, "cracking consciousness" will remain like cold fusion - always ten years off.

But it might be the case that people have so little understanding about how our experience happens, or what is involved, that we can have people wondering how to bottle an experience "exactly" so we can pass it on to our grandchildren.

I have to go to the airport now but I'll try and share some more thoughts on this later.

JL
jogill

climber
Colorado
Feb 28, 2013 - 04:21pm PT
One wonders how someone got the notion that a numerical value could ever be assigned to qualia or subjective experiencing itself

Doctor to patient: "How would you rate your pain on a scale of one to ten?"
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