Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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WBraun

climber
Jun 7, 2013 - 07:14pm PT
Love doesn't do war.

Yes it does.

You do not fully understand LOVE either ......
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 7, 2013 - 07:27pm PT
Could these mental (religious) practices be just a way to activate the physical brain to release more dopamine, or other psychoactive molecules?
This Kundalini, it sounds more like a manic mental state, activated by normal brain pathways.
MH2

climber
Jun 7, 2013 - 07:32pm PT
You cannot have an purely objective experience, and a sensation IS an experience.

but experience, by nature and definition, is subjective.



In the case of temperature sensation we can tell you the physical basis of your experience: how the local temperature affects channels in nerve membranes, how ionic current through those channels affects impulse traffic in the axon, where the axon carries the information, and perhaps the part of the brain that goes "aaaaah" or "eeeeek" depending on the temperature and other factors.

When you inadvertently touch a hot pan or stove the message goes straight to your spine and right back out to the muscles as needed to get your hand or whatever it was out of harm's way. Maybe a half second later your exalted consciousness is made aware of its mistake.

The point is, when we look at parts of the system, we can explain the subjective in physical terms. As we look at more parts in better detail, we may be able to explain more.

The wonderful thing is that there is a viewpoint from which it all makes sense. Your body and brain are chiefly concerned with keeping you alive to reproductive age. After that, both fade, their part in the play over.

Temperature sensation is labile. When you put your hand in warm or cold water, the intensity of the sensation fades in a few minutes, as long as the water is not painfully warm or cold. This transient occurs at the level of the receptor and can be seen in recordings from the axon which connects to the receptor. Your brain is less concerned with what the temperature is, objectively, than with what will happen if enough of your skin stays in contact with that water. The brain is making a prediction, or the receptor itself is making the prediction, about how fast your body temperature will change if you do nothing further. You can moderate your body temperature somewhat by sweating or shivering but looking ahead and taking appropriate action ahead of danger is safer and may be more efficient energetically.

View the brain as an organ that has important jobs to do related to your survival and reproduction. It has entertainment value, too, but this business of whether it is a subjective energy field or an objective machine does not seem much of an issue to me.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Jun 7, 2013 - 08:14pm PT
love does do war.

If it doesn't you have no right to exclaim the sacrifice of your loved ones for an ideal on your behalf.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 7, 2013 - 09:34pm PT


In the case of temperature sensation we can tell you the physical basis of your experience


What you keep missing is the fact that what you have described is the physical footprint you associate with a sensation. The objective physical processes that the organism does to generate a sensation. The subjective experience of that sensation is not the same thing as the physical process that you believe "creats" the sensation. In a word, being sentient of that sensation, experiencing the sensation, is not the very same thing at the underlying process any more than a trumpet, which provides the physical basis for a rendition of Taps (plus the body that blows), is th same thing as taps.

What you are actually doing is tryig to separate out what you believe are the physical components of a sensation and at the same time, ignoring the subject in which a sensation comes to exist. A physical process is not a sensation. A sensation requires a subject. What you have described is strictly a physical process.

And Ed, you have been lampooning and trying to stonewall all of what we've said - from pissing on so-called "masters" to calling all subjective disciplines age-old "revealed wisdom" to serving up half-baked philosophical renditions (or determinism, for example) and have repeated insisted that quantifying objective reality is the only real game in town, all others being the silly games of those lacking the brain power to do the heavy lifting. By your own admission you have done none of the subkjective work whatsoever and yet you insist you have some prividleged understanding of it believing as you do that the subjective is merely the bastard stepson of the grandpappy, the physical. In short you have learned nothing from anyone but quantifiers on this list and have not budgd one inch from a staunch physicalist position because we have come up with no physical evidence or discursive paradigm that will convince you otherwise. As though something as unique and slippery as consciousness can be so easily framed. There is nothing remotely the equal or which has any likeness to subjective experience in the universe. And yet when we go into the realm so many of you keep backpeddling back into objective functioning insisting that the supposed physical basis of something is the exact equal of something else. This is insane, really, because if nothing else, it tries to totally dismiss the only reality that you ever live as a human being - and that is your subjective experience. This is not so much insane, as it is sad, because you are missing such a great and fantastic pice of the puzle, which at the same time refusing to move out of your comfort zone for fear of seeing an expanded view of reality as you now understand it. At the bottom, what we are really up against here is scientism. I've said that all along. That is a safe view of the world because it believes that only the physically tangible and measureable is real, but it forcs you into absurd positons like insisting that an objective physical process IS a subjecive experience. As thought this were a distinction so subtle that it could be lost on otherwise intelligent men and women. To anyone who has any experience in subjective adventures, these arguments are absurd. But as I have said, the only people callng me full of sh#t are those who have never gone there. That part, and perhaps only that part, is not in dispute.

JL
WBraun

climber
Jun 7, 2013 - 09:41pm PT
Something happened here?

First you said Largo is full of sh!t and linked a pdf to Godel.

Using Godel ... that's dangerous ground for the materialists .......
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Jun 7, 2013 - 10:06pm PT
The point is, when we look at parts of the system, we can explain the subjective in physical terms.

Not so fast, MH2. In a technical, scientific sense, someone has to come up with a transduction system whereby the perceptual system of sensations gets translated into linguistic and knowledge representation systems. I'm aware of almost no one who's made that attempt. Jesse Prinz is one, and Barsalou is the other.

Barsalou, L.W. 1999 “Perceptual Symbol Systems.” Brain and Behavioral Science, 22(4): 577-660.

Barsalou, L.W., and K. Wiemer-Hastings 2005 “Situating abstract concepts.” In D. Pecher and R. A. Zwaan (eds.), Grounding cognition: the role of perception and action in memory, language, and thinking: 129-163. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Prinz, J.J. 2002 Furnishing the Mind: concepts and their perceptual basis. Boston: MIT Press.

The interesting thing (at least to me), is that both have turned the traditional model of cognition on its head. Instead of the mind / brain being the instigator of cognition, it is the senses that instigate them and provide their foundations. So, without direct experience in domains, no concept could have a perceptual grounding. That is, they could not adequately point to or represent referents in the mind or in the world.

In other words, "Experience Rules, dude!" (just kidding.)


Hey, Ed. Largo's full of sh*t based upon the presentation of one unpublished paper? Really? Wow, you guys at Livermore run loose and free, huh?

EDIT: Ed's posting was withdrawn.
WBraun

climber
Jun 7, 2013 - 10:08pm PT
Well then Ed agreed with Largo which I thought was ground breaking.

But then he withdrew that too?

Something up?

?????
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jun 7, 2013 - 10:44pm PT
I was looking to reply to a thread Ed posted before I got busy the last 24 hours and it is gone. In fact he has deleted all his posts back to May 12 ??? What in the world did you guys say to him while I was gone ???
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jun 7, 2013 - 10:55pm PT
YES! The last couple of pages have been PURE gold!

And DRF, how do I save this shite?
And if you do delete them, I will K I (double hockey sticks) you!

Largo, my hats off to ya! you are a Great mathematician of words. But i don't think you've summed up anything for Ed to learn. Or even JStan..

MikeL
In other words, "Experience Rules, dude!" (just kidding.)

I totally agree with this dude. After all I did say over 6 months ago; That our previous experiences are our only true Truths. IME.

Keep it up fellers!
Edit: and fellerets!
MH2

climber
Jun 7, 2013 - 11:01pm PT
Not so fast, MH2. In a technical, scientific sense, someone has to come up with a transduction system whereby the perceptual system of sensations gets translated into linguistic and knowledge representation systems.


That "transduction system?" Sounds like your average human. Don't we translate perceived sensations into linguistic and knowledge representation systems? Don't we have several billion such transduction systems up and operating?


The paper that Ed linked to is a good summary of what the properties of formal systems have to say about the mechanistic nature of the human mind, and what they can't tell us. It is interesting to see that Gödel thought about such questions:

Eitherthe human mind (even within the realm of pure mathematics) infinitely surpasses the powers of any finite machine, or else there exist absolutely unsolvable diophantine problems



Roger Penrose has company. J.R. Lucas also thinks that the logic of formal systems shows us that the human mind cannot be mechanistic in the sense that a Turing machine is.


What his arguments do not countenance is the possibility of obtaining fully convincing empirical support for the mechanist thesis, namely that eventually all evidence points to mind being mechanical though we cannot ever hope to supply a complete perfect description of a formal system which accounts for its workings.5

5
That would be analogous to obtaining fully convincing empirical support for the thesis that the workings of, say, the human auditory and visual systems are fully explicable in neurological and physical terms, though one will never be able to produce a complete perfect description of how those operate. I presume that we are in fact in such a position.


last 2 quotes from Solomon Feferman
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jun 7, 2013 - 11:02pm PT
Jan
I think Ed has been dissed on a couple of threads, and he may be fed up.
It's really a shame. I hope he can let it roll off his back.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jun 8, 2013 - 04:29am PT
OK, I'll reply to Dr. F. then as the issues are somewhat the same.

Could these mental (religious) practices be just a way to activate the physical brain to release more dopamine, or other psychoactive molecules?


I think it's progress, that someone like Dr. F. could phrase the question in this manner. For a long time the esoteric nature of yoga was disbelieved. Now of course, we have an increasing number of scientific studies being done (the most complete being the book recommended by Ed, The Science of Yoga by William J. Broad) so this will be at least one new paradigm for such experiences and certainly in keeping with a materialist world view. We seem to have gotten beyond the yogi or shaman as schizophrenic.

This Kundalini, it sounds more like a manic mental state, activated by normal brain pathways.

Meditation sickness and the initial complete rising of the kundalini could be mistaken for a manic mental state but it calms down after that, or at least can be directed toward a choice of calm or active, depending on one's goal. The point is that one does learn to tolerate and then use it constructively.

I suppose we can say that it is activated by normal brain pathways in the sense that all of us have the same brain hardware more or less and it does involve biochemical and seemingly electrical properties of the brain, spinal cord and nervous system. It is not normal in that most people will never experience it and those that do, generally have to put in considerable effort before it happens.

It has been written of as the evolutionary potential in all humankind by a number of eastern writers. This could lead to another paradigm which is that life evolves to a level where its apparatus is sufficient to tune into other dimensions/intelligences/energies in the universe which of course goes beyond the material. The Science of Yoga book states that the author believes it will be several centuries before we know for sure.

If I personally have any original contribution to make some day, it will be along the lines of comparative religious mysticism, showing in detail that the mystics of all religions go through the same stages using different vocabulary and that the symbolism of various religions can be understood as emanating from these internal experiences and that the symbols are very similar in many ways. That alone will be enough to upset a lot of religious people but a next step in religious evolution I believe, along with the attempt by the Dalai Lama and others to develop an encyclopedia of these various experiences and a common vocabulary across all religions.

I feel but won't live to see the answer one way or the other, that the most common paradigm of the future will be one that ties together the science of yoga, a belief in a metaphysical connection, and a new understanding of traditional religions. Scientists if they get involved in yoga at all, will of course stick with the materialist understanding. I can imagine a whole range of approaches from Chakras for Christians, to Universal Chakras, to Kundalini for Atheists.

jogill

climber
Colorado
Jun 8, 2013 - 06:51am PT
This could lead to another paradigm which is that life evolves to a level where its apparatus is sufficient to tune into other dimensions/intelligences/energies in the universe which of course goes beyond the material

Interesting conjecture. This might be achievable along several different pathways, including abstract mathematics and meditation. I've mentioned the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis before.

Speculative, but intriguing.
go-B

climber
Hebrews 1:3
Jun 8, 2013 - 06:55am PT
How about a little peace of MIND with God's help...

God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren <br/>
God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren

Credit: go-B
God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren <br/>
God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren

Credit: go-B
God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren <br/>
God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren

Credit: go-B
God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren <br/>
God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren

Credit: go-B
God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren <br/>
God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren

Credit: go-B
God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren <br/>
God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren

Credit: go-B
God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren <br/>
God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren

Credit: go-B
God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren <br/>
God's Answers to Life's Difficult Question by Rick Warren

Credit: go-B

...from,"God's Answers to Life's Difficult Questions" by Rick Warren
http://www.amazon.com/Answers-Difficult-Questions-Living-Purpose/dp/0310273021/ref=la_B000APD9C6_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1370698787&sr=1-4

http://www.rickwarren.org/


...my head hurts!
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Jun 8, 2013 - 07:25am PT
That "transduction system?" Sounds like your average human. Don't we translate perceived sensations into linguistic and knowledge representation systems? Don't we have several billion such transduction systems up and operating?

Who knows? No one has found them. Such a process is unclear even theoretically (Barsalou and Prinz). I don't think you're reading very closely or you don't understand the cognitive issues.

Your post is unresponsive. You're such an optimist: "in time, everything will be known." It's not dissimilar to cave men thinking that one day men will fly just like birds. Your overly ebullient enthusiasm reaches far beyond your grasp. Werner's right about speculating materialists. You and others complain here that spiritualists haven't a leg to stand on because spirit cannot be measured. On the other hand, you are so far ahead of what you know without a doubt (not statistically, not theoretically, not through social consensus), that you're already making claims of achievement before the fact. In fact, you know almost nothing but your experience, and even that you're confused about.


Problems of transduction is yet another example of the broad problem of incommensurability that Kuhn and Feyerabend pointed at, and it's a problem for anyone who claims that only one view is the right view.

On the one hand, different disciplines and domains appear to give rise to unique or highly specialized knowledge, variables, models, and language. The metrics in domains are idiosyncratic as well. (So far, so good.)

On the other hand, different knowledge, variables, models, and language of different domains means that people who work in different domains cannot talk and work with each other very well. Usually, people in different scientific communities kludge that problem between each other with impromptu and ad hoc interfaces, but it becomes painfully obvious in no time that there are no one-to-one seamless translation / transduction systems. In organizations, different functions or disciplines simply throw their work over chinese walls to other groups and hope for the best. In any organizing efforts, incommensurability is where most of the problems of functionality emerge.

You say that there must be billions of transduction systems up and running for "the human machine" to be working, but you can't seem to cite one. I'm pointing you to the only two researchers I'm aware of who have offered conceptual systems of how that problem can be solved between only two systems (perception and cognition).

Your declaration that one day all will be solved is a bit overly optimistic.

I think Largo has been here all along. He's been requesting someone to show how the objective gets translated into the subjective. No one's been able to do that for him, and I suspect there's a reason for that. Objective does not lead to subjective. It's the other way around (see Prinz and Barsalou, again). That means (OMG) that objectivity would be a dependent variable to subjectivity as the independent variable. Can you see that?

This encourages me to go further than that. I question the entire idea that reality could have different different systems up and running functionally with each other. Reality must be just one thing, and it must be all-inclusive. If there are different systems running together seamlessly, then what is The Fundamental system that supports those? What is the big operating system in the sky that's supporting all of the applications we call "disciplines," "domains," "fields of study?"

I suppose someone brings up the idea of multiple parallel universes that somehow co-exist within the same basic space. I say, "whoa . . . just how does that happen?" You say, "well, mathematically, it could be!" I say, "sure, . . . anything COULD be, but you're off into your imagination (and as long as you're there, bring back God with you when you return to this reality)."

The only answer I can find to that question of "the basic operating system that supports everything" that is consistent with all that I know and understand IS Consciousness. Again, we have things backwards. Consciousness is not some little tiny dot in the middle of the big beautiful picture we call the universe. The big beautiful picture is in consciousness. It's the only way all problems (e.g., tractability, incommensurability, paradoxes, transductions, metaphysical, ontological, epistemological, scientific, etc.) get resolved.

You see, at the core of all of these conversations here on this thread is that we aren't very far apart from one another, MH2. You have some pretty fantastic ideas about reality that you can't prove, and I do, too.

But there is a difference, to my mind, between us. I start from the starting point that I know almost absolutely nothing but my direct experience (which I cannot describe or grasp, but which I know), and you start from abstractions and say you know or can readily know everything.

To you and others here, I should think that my view is completely fantastic. To me and maybe two others here, I think that your view is even more fantastic the more I look closely at the details. You say prediction is the final arbiter. I say that prediction is non-operative in any dream.


If I personally have any original contribution to make some day, it will be along the lines of comparative religious mysticism, showing in detail that the mystics of all religions go through the same stages using different vocabulary and that the symbolism of various religions can be understood as emanating from these internal experiences and that the symbols are very similar in many ways.

This would be a very interesting study, Jan--and useful to help to resolve some of the inter-religious misunderstanding in the world.
MH2

climber
Jun 8, 2013 - 09:06am PT



You say that there must be billions of transduction systems up and running for "the human machine" to be working, but you can't seem to cite one.

Me. You. That's two.


Barsalou works within conventional neuroscience. Instead of looking at parts of the brain in isolation of others, as is done to answer certain questions, he looks at cognition as a whole. One of the things that makes study of the brain challenging is that everything is connected to everything else, whether directly or through a chain. Barsalou steps up to that challenge. The neuroscience tradition I worked in is not so ambitious. Personally speaking, I am not sure we have good enough information on how the parts work to start looking at how they all work together, but Barsalou is making guesses about this higher-order functioning and testing them in thought and experiment like any other scientist.

I remember being here, before:

http://psychology.emory.edu/cognition/barsalou/papers/Hasenkamp_Barsalou-Frontiers_NS_2012-meditation_connectivity.pdf

I wonder which of my sense modalities are involved?

Note to Jan and JL: the paper linked to above compares fMRI done on people with various degrees of experience in meditation and finds changes in "attentional" areas of the brain. This is what a physical basis for experience would predict. The brain is not only highly interconnected, it changes physically with each new experience. Some of the changes persist.


I am fine with spiritualists. I do not think they need legs to stand on, metaphorically speaking. They may say there are things beyond what we now know and measure. I do not care unless they insist I spend my time looking.

I do not claim that we will eventually know and understand everything. I only claim that we can learn more than we know, now.

WBraun

climber
Jun 8, 2013 - 09:17am PT
I do not care unless they insist I spend my time looking.

But you are looking, even subconsciously you are looking and searching regardless.

This is why you are a fine human being that remains equipoise ......
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Jun 8, 2013 - 09:36am PT
German man locked up in a psychiatric hospital seven years - for telling the truth:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/28/gustl-mollath-hsv-claims-fraud

"A German man committed to a high-security psychiatric hospital after being accused of fabricating a story of money-laundering activities at a major bank is to have his case reviewed after evidence has emerged proving the validity of his claims.

In a plot worthy of a crime blockbuster, Gustl Mollath, 56, was submitted to the secure unit of a psychiatric hospital seven years ago after court experts diagnosed him with paranoid personality disorder following his claims that staff at the Hypo Vereinsbank (HVB) – including his wife, then an assets consultant at HVB – had been illegally smuggling large sums of money into Switzerland."
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 8, 2013 - 09:42am PT
Roger Penrose has company. J.R. Lucas also thinks that the logic of formal systems shows us that the human mind cannot be mechanistic in the sense that a Turing machine is.
---


What gets lost here, as often happens in these discussions, is that the whole mechanistic/physicalist crowd is basically talking about the brain's capacity to process and register stimulai, and the objective and knowable biological processes they believe are associated with it. The wildcard in all of this, which gets no PT (playing time) in this crowd, is the self-awareness of what the brain is said to generate (sensations, thoughts, etc.). In a word: sentience.

MH2 is giving us fine and solid examples of the objctive side of what arises in Mind, be it measurable temperature etc. This constitutes the content or qualia of a subject's experience. The shortfall of this objectifying is that perforce it excludes the subject who is sentient, who "has the ability to feel, perceive, or be conscious, or to experience subjectivity and the content passing through his or her experience."

Simply put, minus the subject and their sentience, the objective "sensations" and mechanical productions of the brain exist only as measurable electrtochemical phenomenon, not as subjective experience themselves. Saying these are the same thing is basically saying that a subject is no more the object observed or experienced. Science is doing a fine job of describing the process by which objects, sensations, thoughts and so forth are being generated in the brain, but the key component in experience, the experiencer/subject, is being left out of the equation.

JL

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