Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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jstan

climber
Apr 2, 2013 - 02:53pm PT
Nonetheless this thread is not doing too bad considering there is no commonly agreed upon definition of "consciousness ".

I am going to follow Base here in his assertion he invented "willful ignorance". I have been railing(unsuccessfully) for years on this thread about how foolish it is to discuss consciousness before we decide what it is.

And I rather like the idea of fat being conscious. Americans will become the most conscious nation on the planet. That's something,



I think.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 2, 2013 - 03:13pm PT
I have been railing(unsuccessfully) for years on this thread about how foolish it is to discuss consciousness before we decide what it is.


Any answer leads to more questions. Efforts to try and pin it down to objective functioning avail us little, same goes for framing mind as a function or a thing. We can do so but it won't stick for long. That's tells us something.

JL
Malemute

Ice climber
the ghost
Apr 2, 2013 - 04:30pm PT
Base104:
Humans are animals.
Humans that believe in a god are animals.
Humans that don't believe in a god are rational animals.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 2, 2013 - 04:38pm PT
How a Neurotransmitter Acts to Coordinate a Compound Movement Through Two Different Receptors in C. Elegans

"We've known the broad outline of how a behavior circuit works-a stimulus starts a neuronal cascade, which ultimately activates a muscle cell-for decades," said Mark Alkema, PhD, assistant professor of neurobiology. "The details about how this process works, however, such as which neurotransmitters act through which receptors in which neurons have remained a mystery for even the simplest of behaviors.

In other words, we exercised restraint and didn't rush to invoke any desperate mumbo-jumbo to explain the unknown while the details remained a mystery - i.e. it was ok for it all to simply be an unknown and we also didn't castigate ourselves over the existence of an unknown. The fact science hasn't answered all our questions is way to it's credit as the alternative, by and large, is to just make sh#t up in the face of fear of the unknown.
Malemute

Ice climber
the ghost
Apr 2, 2013 - 05:45pm PT
The fact science hasn't answered all our questions is way to it's credit as the alternative, by werner and largo, is to just make sh#t up in the face of fear of the unknown.
fixed it for ya
MH2

climber
Apr 2, 2013 - 06:00pm PT
I have been railing(unsuccessfully) for years on this thread about how foolish it is to discuss consciousness before we decide what it is.


In my own defense, I would not want to discuss consciousness after we decide what it is, either.


A small step in what may be a good direction; never speak just of consciousness, rather speak of consciousness of some thing.

A dog can be conscious of it's place in the pack, or in the family.

A fly can be conscious of a swatter.

A virus can be conscious of a cell wall or membrane.

Maybe a protein can be conscious of electrical force and fat can be conscious of temperature.

A human can be conscious of the Universe and wonder how it works.

Consciousness consciousness consciousness...yeah, doesn't sound good isolated and purified.
WBraun

climber
Apr 2, 2013 - 06:10pm PT
MH2

One of the more intelligent people in this thread.

Some of the others (you know who you are) are just on the level of a housefly on stool ......
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Apr 2, 2013 - 06:31pm PT
jstan

climber
Apr 2, 2013 - 06:44pm PT
Now the next question.

Does a protein molecule have a soul?
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Apr 2, 2013 - 07:07pm PT
Watched a dragonfly doing that once, sitting still on a branch with a steady breeze blowing past, every few seconds it would zip out in a perfectly straight line to intercept a gnat or whatever was going by, then return to the same spot on the branch. Went on for a half hour or so until it moved on.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 2, 2013 - 07:30pm PT
How about a Crystal?
Do they have souls?
They grow, multiply, and die, just like a Human!
Credit: Dr. F.
jstan

climber
Apr 2, 2013 - 07:40pm PT
small step in what may be a good direction; never speak just of consciousness, rather speak of consciousness of some thing.

A dog can be conscious of it's place in the pack, or in the family.

A fly can be conscious of a swatter.

A virus can be conscious of a cell wall or membrane.

Maybe a protein can be conscious of electrical force and fat can be conscious of temperature.

A human can be conscious of the Universe and wonder how it works.


That is an excellent start for an effort to put bounds around how we may use the word and what it means to us.

And proteins are also born. cf: video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=ihxTFDQYJnI

Edit:
Many of our conceptual problems arise due to our our binary anthropomorphism. Everything has to be related to us. Everything has to be either "us" or "not us."

Nature is very economical. The DNA and processes in plants and other animals are just variations on that which are active in us.

We are not a one off. We are just a variation and we cannot seem to handle that.

That inability shows up in our use of language.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Apr 2, 2013 - 08:05pm PT
Dr. F., . . . you said:

How about a Crystal?
Do they have souls?
They grow, multiply, and die, just like a Human!

It's your standard for comparison that I object to, not your logic.

The human being is probably not the thing to make evaluative comparisons to. Man is not the measure of things in Reality. That's a particularly modernist view. Do you believe Man today is the Omega in the arc of life?

If we aren't the omega, then how shall we assess, make comparisons, and choose things? How shall we know to where we should grow? To what shall we put our impressive intellect, our unbounded creativity, our greatest hopes towards? Ourselves . . . how we see ourselves today? Should we allow the great machine of evolution make our decisions for us?

Well, as Peggy Lee said: "Is that all there is?" It's unimaginative. It's narcissitic. It's depressing.

Knowledge is just another attraction and a form of death.

Shouldn't we get beyond our insatiable appetite for the accumulation of things (even if those be objects of knowledge)?

Perhaps this is what constitutes living, but it cannot be what life is about.

On the front of Ken Kesey's bus was the inscription: "FORWARD."
WBraun

climber
Apr 2, 2013 - 08:22pm PT
Yes,

They have no real love from the heart.

All they are and what is left is a sterile brain with neurons firing out of control.

They tell their children this all we are, blood pus and stool, DNA, and a bunch of other sh!t.

But the children are not so stupid,

They still love you from deep within their hearts ......
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 2, 2013 - 08:22pm PT
The fact science hasn't answered all our questions is way to it's credit as the alternative, by and large, is to just make sh#t up in the face of fear of the unknown.


This is the scientism that I've railed against from the start - that the "alternatives" to measuring are "by and large" just making sh#t up. The assumption is that "alternatives" are attempting to do science, sans a yardstick and math. Or if they're not, they should be. Who knows what experiences people have had to draw these conclusion, or else, ironic as pie, they are in fact just "making sh#t up" about the alternatives (likely, I'm thinking).

JL
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Apr 2, 2013 - 08:57pm PT
Certainly I wished when I was 10 years old that I could track a pitched baseball better than I did... never hit on base in my little league career... wonder why so many neurons couldn't do what I now know a dragonfly can... probably because my life doesn't depend on it!

I love this paragraph.
jstan

climber
Apr 2, 2013 - 09:01pm PT
this is the physics that is missing, the physics that describes the behavior of non-equilibrium systems. If you will, the reduction in entropy is life, the energy it represents could be thought of as "the soul" for it is that thing we see that is different from inorganic materials.

I had given up on anyone else feeling we don't know how to separate souls from non-souls.

And out comes a definition of soul. And of life.

If you have non zero free energy, you have soul.

Trees have soul.

I have sat in the woods. I can go with that definition.
MH2

climber
Apr 2, 2013 - 09:11pm PT
Many thanks to Ed.

Yes, if we are so smart why can't we understand plants, which don't even have nervous systems? Why can't we make food out of sunlight, water, CO2, and minerals, skipping a few of the messy steps that plants go through?


The dragonfly study is a good example of what to do. Don't try to understand the brain. Pick a behavior that interests you, find a species that shows that behavior, and learn how they do it.


Maybe the lack of base hits had more to do with optics than with neurons? My neuroscience thesis advisor had one eye that would look at you and the other eye looked up, at his God I guess. He wasn't good at sports.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 2, 2013 - 09:18pm PT
But she also insisted that an education in the humanities is equally, if not more, important. 'We need people who are good at explaining facts, who are good at editing, and who can visualize things in creative ways. We need good artists and we need good writers.'"


The problem is there are very limited substantial jobs requiring "creative," artistic and writing skills, and the few that exist are sought after by so many that few ever get them. So people take humanities classes "for fun," which is why the creative arts are drying up or morphing down into tweets and Facebook blurbs. Magazines are really hurting, and the book business is basically dead. It's a shame. But people need to adapt and something fine will emerge eventually.

JL
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 2, 2013 - 09:28pm PT
Many thanks to the science types who contributed to the past few pages. To me, these are some of the most interesting pages in the whole thread, because finally we are hearing from the scientists what a positive alternative explanation of life and consciousness might be. Rectorsquid even came forth with what for a lack of a better word, might be called a new science theology. In the near future it will at least be one of many, and perhaps in a few centuries, the predominant one.

My guess, as a social scientist, is that these ideas will also be incorporated into traditional religions or new syncretic forms of tradition and science. Most people on this thread prefer sticking with science but I can see some real philosophical openings in what has been said - the soul being a form of energy for instance.

The battle between tradition and science will never produce a new paradigm. Scientists talking among themselves in an interdisciplinary discussion will, eventually, it seems to me. Tradition will then either reject or adapt. From an educated bystanders point of view scientists are much more interesting when they talk about science than when they attack tradition.

And finally, thanks to Ward for the new information about neandertals which makes a lot of sense particularly for those of us who have endured long dismally dark northern European winters. If a neanderthal and sapiens brain could be that different, imagine the different types and levels of consciousness in a dolphin.

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