Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Messages 14121 - 14140 of total 22973 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 1, 2013 - 09:53pm 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 1, 2013 - 10:33pm 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 - 09:21am 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 - 09:30am 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 - 10:11am 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 - 10:13am PT
Werner, is it Magic??
Is that how it works
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Apr 2, 2013 - 10:16am PT
Stoopid scientists ....

Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Apr 2, 2013 - 10:20am PT
LOL !
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 2, 2013 - 10:52am PT
I've said so before: It might not be completely owing to material stirrings; it most certainly is not magic; that leaves . . . . what? Where do you go from here. That blank wall you're staring at is actually a door.

JL
rectorsquid

climber
Lake Tahoe
Apr 2, 2013 - 11:06am PT
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.

You are really not presenting any new information. This just leads to the obvious questions that are brought up all of the time that are not answered by creationists: If the computer cannot run until someone turns it on, who turned on the someone who turned on the computer?

Evolution is a topic that you seem to know nothing about. To suggest that man cannot exist because something had to turn man on is like suggesting that someone had to turn on a hurricane or tides. Sure, maybe the universe was started by something bigger than us but that does not mean that we could not come about because of the activity of the environment.

Think of it this way: the universe is already turned on. We are just a small insignificant part of it and we are "on" because it is on. All of your parts were on before they were combined into what you think of as you. You were already running so no turning on was needed. You just needed some parts added to get you to the point of thinking that you were some special part of Gods creation.

This reminds me of when John asked where we go when we die as if there is something in us other than just patterns of activity. All of those types of questions are begging the question. They start with an assumption that cannot be resolved until the question is answered but the assumption is already being made.

It may sound spiritual but it's like this: We are part of the universe and it is part of us. We are connected to everything in it. When we die, we just change and the universe and all of our parts keep on going in a new state of being. The patterns that we call our consciousness is gone but ironically, and opposite what religion teaches, it is our physical being that goes on.

At least that seems plausible to me. There is certainly as much evidence of it as there is to that God stuff you all seem fixated on. The difference is only that the God stuff also seems to fit with a lot of other crazy sh#t that people come up with to somehow FEEL better. Like TV, it's just made up.

Dave
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Fresno
Apr 2, 2013 - 11:26am PT
Don Paul wrote:
until you end up with something like saying a virus is conscious, and the term no longer has any meaning.

This sort of statement is very common, but I think it is a logical mistake. By pre-stating that a virus does not have consciousness, you are partially predefining consciousness, even though there is a whole discussion trying to figure out what consciousness is. If you do not know what consciousness is, you cannot logically state that viruses, or anybody else, do not have it.

The most common definition of consciousness is the every day meaning of being awake rather than asleep. Do you know enough about viruses to determine whether sometimes they are asleep and sometimes they are awake? Are they sometimes dormant and sometimes very active? If so, then they might fit the most common meaning of consciousness and unconsciousness. Looking at how that happens in viruses, bacteria, bugs, etc. might be helpful in understanding how it happens in us.

Maybe that is not the definition of consciousness you are interested in, but the basic point is the same. If you are not really sure of a definition of consciousness and don't know how to measure it in any consistent way, you can't logically/honestly say who has it and who does not. You can arbitrarily say who and what has consciousness, but I question whether that leads to greater understanding or limits our search for understanding.

Not picking on you Don, but the opposite. Your posts are cogent enough to be worth responding to. I keep returning to this thread because a few people, such as yourself, continue to post really fascinating ideas and observations.

jstan

climber
Apr 2, 2013 - 11:39am PT
As I understand it our ability to function and to live depends critically upon the fact protein molecules preferentially bend in a number of ways and thus can react. release energy, and build more complicated structures. So I have a question.

Are protein molecules conscious?

If you take this thread in its entirety, one has to expect this question, too, will be discussed.

If it is not actively discussed

we have established a lower bound to the topic of consciousness. Below which none of us is willing to sink.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 2, 2013 - 11:58am PT
Evolution is a topic that you seem to know nothing about. To suggest that man cannot exist because something had to turn man on is like suggesting that someone had to turn on a hurricane or tides.



What is your sense of qualitative differences? Do you notice such thinga in the real world? Do the looks of a woman or the ripeness of a fruit or the strength of a coctail make any difference to you, or is it all basically the same - bad rock and choss, whisky and light beer, Carissa White and your Aunt Hagatha. And this concerns the shades of the very same things - women, drink, rock.

If qualitative differences are that pivotal with selfsame stuff, how about with that which is vastly and wildly different - like the difference between a hurricane and self awareness? Is it really a certain and facile fact that elements with such vastly different makeups arose and operate in exactly the same way?

Why wouldn't they, right? Why complicate the investigating.

JL
jogill

climber
Colorado
Apr 2, 2013 - 01:23pm PT
That blank wall you're staring at is actually a door

The verbal stick I needed, Master . . . now I'm back on track with mind focused.


Good to hear from you, MikeL. You always provide thoughtful commentary.


;>)
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Apr 2, 2013 - 01:40pm PT
The tools to actually study the human brain while it is thinking, without doing some sort of unethical, invasive, Nazi type program is now possible with the advent of functional brain imaging devices.

One of which uses........shhhhhh.....anti matter. Don't tell anyone.

You can't take the brain out of its evolutionary context. You can't ignore the development of both anatomy and consciousness after birth. There are a lot of elephants in the room that you can't ignore.

It is foolish to get too far ahead of the fundamental facts that we know about the Human Brain. To do so would be like studying hurricanes without bothering to learn how weather works. You will step all over your dick.

So. If you have something to show us, it must be consistent with the very basics.

You also need to bone up a little on comparative anatomy. We are surrounded by other creatures, all with their own brains. The brains of mammals share pretty much all of the same structures. The sizes of these structures does change from species to species, and it appears to correlate with intelligence.

I strongly recommend that you keep this stuff in mind when you think that you have discovered something amazing in the human mind. This is just logical, or covering your ass. You may not believe something is separate from anatomy, but you are going to find any audience pretty skeptical of that, and it should be addressed right away.

It will not hurt you to learn why the human brain, which is the most complicated thing that we know of in the Universe (so far), is special in its own right. There are some pretty fascinating qualities of the human brain which I looked up and will post here:

If you just use size, it stands out right away:

First you have the Encephalization Quotient, which compares various brain mass vs. predicted brain mass based on an animal's size. This is really cool and I will cut and past some of it:

The human quotient is 7.5
Bottlenose Dolphin is 4.1
Killer Whale is 2.6
Chimpanzee is 2.5
Monkey (rhesus) is 2.1
Elephant: 1.1 - 2.36
Dog: 1.2
Cat: 1.0
Horse: 0.9
Mouse: 0.5
Rabbit: 0.4

The Chief: 0.5

This quotient is only developed for mammals, and is just a rough pass at relative intelligence. The Dolphin is massive. I had no idea that we both stuck out that far. This is

For fish, the Manta Ray rules. For invertebrates it is the Octopus. Has anyone seen how an octopus learns quickly how to pull the cork out of a bottle to get at the food inside? My dog can't do that.

Our brains are unusual because of the size of the cerebral cortex, particularly the frontal lobes which are associated with executive function all the way to abstract thought. The whole left brain right brain talk is now known to be a poor description of processes, so nobody uses that one much from what I just read.

The human brain is the latest in a long line of models that have rolled off of the evolutionary assembly line, and it is pretty easy to figure out the basics of brain structure from the structure of the skull if it is a fossil. You can do reasonably good comparative anatomy of any brain if you have a skull to work with.

A cool fact is that the human brain uses up to 20% of the bodies total energy expenditure. Obviously less for some that we know....

These anatomical differences and features are just clues, but I think that it is foolish to ignore this because of some silly bias or prejudice that humans are somehow separate from other mammals. We came from a small tree shrew, the first mammal. Evolution does its thing and we see animals adapting to the water, such as a whale, whose flippers have complete hand and finger bones within them.

If you begin studying something and have an existing bias or a prejudice, then your work is highly suspect. History is littered with examples of mistakes that were made because of some bias. If you want to learn the truth, you have to abandon all of this. You have to look at things in all contexts. When you have a grasp of it all, then you will start seeing things that nobody has before you.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Apr 2, 2013 - 01:47pm PT
we have established a lower bound to the topic of consciousness. Below which none of us is willing to sink.

Nonetheless this thread is not doing too bad considering there is no commonly agreed upon definition of "consciousness ".
That DNA or protein molecules are " conscious" is fine and dandy until someone suggests that fat can think too.
If fat is indeed conscious then it helps to explain why the late Orson Welles could eat 16 hot dogs at 'Pinks' , then cross the street and slaughter a gallon of ice cream ; all in a days culinary warm-up before dinner at Chasens.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


and it is pretty easy to figure out the basics of brain structure from the structure of the skull if it is a fossil.

Scientists were once puzzled by Neanderthal skulls that indicated a brain cc that was clearly larger than modern humans.
They have since discovered that Neanderthals larger brain was explained by a roughly 200,000 + year adaption to European climates of higher latitude, lower light levels and numerous ice epochs. This required more of the brain be recruited for the processing of visual and motor information in the dark and dreary environment.
Modern humans later entered that same environment with more of their brains devoted to social networking. The human brain was smaller but with more bang for the buck.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130319093639.htm
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Apr 2, 2013 - 01:59pm PT
very nicely said, Dave

wish you would post more often here
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Apr 2, 2013 - 02:10pm PT
I'm guessing here, but the two dogs curled around my feet seem to be conscious to me, and they score a 0.5.

A bottle nosed dolphin must be an incredibly intelligent animal, with whales right behind.

I venture a guess that a dolphin is very self aware. I have never thought that consciousness was the sole property of humans.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Apr 2, 2013 - 02:25pm PT
I venture a guess that a dolphin is very self aware. I have never thought that consciousness was the sole property of humans.

I've always thought that marine mammals were notably intelligent because they got around more. That is , they were once, like most land animals, descended from ocean dwellers , lived on land , but in their case they then apparently decided to go back to the ocean.

They vindicate this sentiment from Mark Twain:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Apr 2, 2013 - 02:34pm PT
Man. I'm really busy.
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