Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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FortMentäl

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Nov 11, 2013 - 08:29pm PT
Can you at least show how consciousness is manifested?

You still are whiffing royally on this one. Turing is basing his "consciousness" entirely on output, on an objective data stream (words), behind which lurks a mind that is indistinguishable from a machine so long a sentient being is observing the output on a computer screen.

The reason why "Can you at least show how consciousness is manifested?" is a trick question is because you assume that A) objective brain function and consciousness are the same thing (where else but the brain would they occur?? Right?), and B) that consciousness/self awareness are "manifested," that is, mind is a thing "clearly apparent to the sight or understanding; obvious; is shown or demonstrated plainly; revealed; To be evidence of; prove.

So... either you can't answer the question, or are ducking it, or have no basis for even understanding the question.

Which is it?


Again... According to you, how is consciousness manifested?

Again... NOT a trick question.

jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Nov 11, 2013 - 08:29pm PT
Jstan: care to speak more on your conjecture that "we are what we do?" As we age - you and I are beyond that point - do we then diminish to extinction as our abilities expire? "Action speaks louder than words" is a haunting refrain as one progresses through their 70s, on the way to being really, really old. And as time passes and our deeds or non-deeds are assessed by later generations, do we then change accordingly? Is there a chronological dissonance associated with "us?" Where does one's personality - the living soul - come into play? Do the things we "do" include breathing, meditating, and speaking to friends?

Just random thoughts on your previous post . . . trivial, probably, but I am trying to capture the ambiance of Mike's commentaries on words, pointing but not necessarily logically impactful.

Oh well . . .
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Nov 11, 2013 - 09:32pm PT
So... either you can't answer the question . . .


What you have essentially asked is: Provide material proof that there is even such a "thing" as consciousness. Either you can provide such proof (answer), or you cannot.

The standard Zen answer is that mind is totally ungraspable, that there are no corners or edges or qualities to measure or describe save for output, that mind is empty. In other words, no one can answer the question because no one can grasp the quality (mind) in question to start quantifying it in any meaningful way.

That's what makes the study of mind so interesting. First, only an insane person would disagree that our subjective experience is not our fundamental reality. All and everything we shall ever know as human beings is made known through our mind and only our mind. No one can think or feel or sense or remember for us, any more than someone else can climb a rock for you. And yet this fundamental reality is known only to ourselves.

JL
go-B

climber
Hebrews 1:3
Nov 11, 2013 - 09:46pm PT
I wonder if...



O VERY GOD OF VERY GOD

O very God of very God,
And very Light of Light,
Whose feet this earth’s dark valley trod,
That so it might be bright.

Our hopes are weak, our fears are strong,
Thick darkness binds our eyes;
Cold is the night, and O, we long
That Thou, our Sun, wouldst rise!

And even now, though dull and gray,
The east is brightening fast,
And kindling to the perfect day
That never shall be past.

O guide us till our path is done,
And we have reached the shore
Where Thou, our everlasting Sun,
Art shining evermore.

We wait in faith, and turn our face
To where the daylight springs,
Till Thou shalt come, our gloom to chase,
With healing in Thy wings.

To God the Father power and might
Both now and ever be;
To Him that is the Light of Light,
And Holy Ghost, to Thee.
jstan

climber
Nov 11, 2013 - 10:13pm PT
Jstan: care to speak more on your conjecture that "we are what we do?" As we age - you and I are beyond that point - do we then diminish to extinction as our abilities expire? "Action speaks louder than words" is a haunting refrain as one progresses through their 70s, on the way to being really, really old. And as time passes and our deeds or non-deeds are assessed by later generations, do we then change accordingly? Is there a chronological dissonance associated with "us?" Where does one's personality - the living soul - come into play? Do the things we "do" include breathing, meditating, and speaking to friends?

"We are what we do" gains its power because the words have been stripped. There are no limiters. "Do" includes everything.

Abilities do not diminish to extinction. They change and they grow - as we grow.

The assessments of others, whether now or later, are not under our control. One's task is to be one's self. Simply.

What we do is the expression of us.

Those of us who have reached these realizations, were following your lead.


MH2

climber
Nov 11, 2013 - 10:25pm PT
What we do is the expression of us.

And what we have done.

And as to whether the bouldering of 1960 can be compared to the bouldering of today, "I am not a revisionist historian," said a student of WWI when asked about whether the Canadian military was wrong to allow underage boys to join up back when.
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Nov 11, 2013 - 10:30pm PT
One last thing I would like to note about the Dawkins - Chopra encounter is that Dawkins represents a country and an upper class culture where language is used extraordinarily well. I am always aware in Britain, especially when inter acting with the educated, that they use language much more precisely and articulately than our own intellectuals. It seems obvious that English is the native language of their country and that we Americans only speak some pijinized version of it.

At the same time I would also like to note that Chopra is speaking in English as a second language. Further, it is well known that one of the last breakthroughs in learning a foreign language, is when one can be emotionally upset and still say what one wants without translating those emotions into one's mother tongue first. At the level of language Chopra was at a distinct disadvantage.



Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Nov 11, 2013 - 10:31pm PT
Meanwhile I am looking forward to jstan's reply to jgill's questions. For me they are particularly poignant questions as I've just spent time with my 90 year old mother who is rapidly losing her long term as well as short term memory. Will she be the same person when it's gone? From a discursive mind point of view, probably no. From a Zen point of view on nothingness, probably yes.
MH2

climber
Nov 11, 2013 - 10:37pm PT
Jan,

As a nurse who worked 10 years in a nursing home, I would say that what we call dementia or Alzheimer's or senility erodes the inessential qualities of a person's character and exposes the bedrock. There is still the person even when it seems that there isn't.
jstan

climber
Nov 11, 2013 - 10:41pm PT
Meanwhile I am looking forward to jstan's reply to jgill's questions

Yeah, I am looking forward also. John Gill asking questions kinda puts a fella on the griddle.

Jan:
As to your question. If my mother still lived and was under my care I think I would make sure to brush her hair. Doing so would say everything that she needed to hear.
FortMentäl

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Nov 11, 2013 - 10:43pm PT
The standard Zen answer is that mind is totally ungraspable, that there are no corners or edges or qualities to measure or describe save for output, that mind is empty.

....save for output.

Thank you.

I'll take it that that is also your answer. Perhaps you can square it with your version of Turing's answer...

You still are whiffing royally on this one. Turing is basing his "consciousness" entirely on output, on an objective data stream (words), behind which lurks a mind that is indistinguishable from a machine so long a sentient being is observing the output on a computer screen.

Basing intelligence and/or "consciousness" on output, or phenomenologicaly, is the only means by which we have to evaluate it in other entities. No thinking person would suggest that we've built all of the tools that might make interpretation of output in all interactive entities, living or otherwise...hence the constant refinement of our understanding of "consciousness" in others as we work our way down (or across) the evolutionary ladder.

Physicists have an unusual view of what constitutes being "alive", at least on the atomic level. Cognitive scientists and computer scientists have an equally unusual view of what constitutes "intelligence" and "consciousness". I've pointed out that you, me, and Turing essentially agree on the defining characteristic of consciousness being our interaction with it's manifestation, despite you dressing your answer in fancy orange robes.

On a related note, one of the primary manifestations of consciousness is language... not so much for the purposes of communicating with others, but primarily for internal communication within the mind, recognizing that mind needs to communicate with itself. You give short shrift to language and it's importance, shocking for an alleged "student-of-thought"!
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Nov 12, 2013 - 09:15am PT
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Nov 12, 2013 - 10:14am PT
Ahhhh..

We covered language a long time ago. It is all part of the emergence of consciousness.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Nov 12, 2013 - 11:22am PT
FM: Can you at least show how consciousness is manifested?

"Manifested" is the right word choice here. You've answered your own question. It "shows up." That's how it "manifested." That's about all that one can say.


MH2, I'd like to draw your attention to that in the image you posted 11/11/13 01:37pm PT. Note the unrealistic antler renditions and the various abstractions around what some folks might recognize as the head of a deer or elk. What do you think those other marks are or mean?

I'd suggest that they are symbols of meaning that you can't decipher because you don't share the structure of consciousness of the beings that made them. "What was going through the mind of the person" [who lived in that time]?

Even the contemporary notion of death or survival as we think of it today could have been inconceivable to those beings who lived 20,000 years ago. In the earliest moments of awareness of our species, the feeling of a full stomach might well have constituted an eternity because Man in that stage of awareness may not have had any conception of space, time, or objectivism. Man may have only had the awareness of now, now, now.

The painted drawing points to a completely different state of consciousness to me, one that I cannot possibly have access to because any other structure of consciousness than the one I now am in must be lived, not cognized, for it to be understood. Different structures of consciousness can't be cognized, any more than any of us can even imagine what it's like to see the world through a reptile brain and body.

To assume that consciousness or awareness (different in my mind) is as one thinks it should be strikes me as immensely narrow and centric. (In the same vein, I'd suggest that almost no one can question their worldview, either 20,000 years ago or even today.) For anyone to do so, he or she must start to shut down various processes and elements of consciousness or awareness and build up or retreat to more fundamental ones. (Words cannot properly or accurately explain what I'm pointing to.)

When one looks at things that one recognizes (e.g., a red octagon with white print on a post at street intersections), it's called a sign. Words are signs, mathematics are signs, everyday objects are signs.

When one looks at an artifact such as you've shown, one is looking at a symbol. Understanding symbols demands a different structure of consciousness. We can't get there from her. The one you showed cannot be deciphered with a mental-rational structure of consciousness. You can guess all you want. If a scientist or observer forces an interpretation on artifacts / symbols from different structures of consciousness, all he or she does is simply make stuff up. It's useless (but imaginative).

Meditation can provide access to different structures of consciousness, but just because you get access to them doesn't mean you can explain or even describe them.

Back to FM. Do you get this notion? Do you understand how one language (and supporting worldview) cannot help you to gain access (and understanding) to another? Even between French, English, German, and other languages, some ideas or notions just can't be translated. There is no equivalent because the ideas or notions are more than culturally bound--they are bound by consciousness THAT MUST BE LIVED TO GET THEM. No test, not even Turing's, is going to help provide access to that world which one does not live within.

Sadly, these ideas can also show up between disciplines, between ideologies, between different attitudes about life even within our mental-rational worldviews today. One can even go so far as to say that an individual cannot express themselves accurate and properly to another individual right here, right now, in today's structure of consciousness.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Nov 12, 2013 - 11:27am PT
I just want to add my two cents somewhere.

When the Taliban shot Malala, they shot the wrong girl!



http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/malala-yousafzai-s-book-banned-in-pakistani-schools-1.2421595

(The "wrong girl"? Those who aren't my opponents looking for an angle will get my drift.)

Now she's meeting with Queen Rania and advocating for the children of Syria. Wow.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Nov 12, 2013 - 11:35am PT
Jstan: What we do is the expression of us.

It might be the expression of one, but it IS not one. Duchamp's "Nudes Descending A Staircase" provides an expression, but the painting is not Duchamp. The map is not the territory. What one does, does not define one's essence (apologies to Sartre and Camus).

You're about to fall into an ethical trap with this approach. It would be that the value or worth of people is what they do, productivity, "value creation," making X, doing. So to be of value, one must do. Folks who can't get jobs or gainful employment would be worth not the same as those who do or can.

We are called "human beings," not "human doings."

Doing, if it really matters, comes from being. (Even "what you are is what you are" needs some circumspection.)

This should take the conversation back to pure being, pure awareness. What is that? What is that for you?

Take a close look.

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Nov 12, 2013 - 11:37am PT
Have you ever heard someone so young so reasonable and articulate? Wow.

.....



Want substance? Here you go...

A man whose sperm tasted like honey would probably not have any children at all.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/04/28/jerry-coyne-on-the-adaptive-significance-of-semen-flavor/#.UoJZxuLjXfF
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Nov 12, 2013 - 11:47am PT
FortMentäl

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Nov 12, 2013 - 12:05pm PT
If a scientist or observer forces an interpretation on artifacts / symbols from different structures of consciousness, all he or she does is simply make stuff up. It's useless (but imaginative).

Utter nonsense. You've just dismissed the entire field of archeo-anthropology and classical literature with this ignorant statement and basically say that we've learned nothing at all of ancient psychologies by the study of artifacts and literature.

Meditation can provide access to different structures of consciousness, but just because you get access to them doesn't mean you can explain or even describe them.


Then you don't understand them, because you surely can't even explain them to yourself; but that's OK....fantasies and illusions are like that.

Back to FM. Do you get this notion? Do you understand how one language (and supporting worldview) cannot help you to gain access (and understanding) to another? Even between French, English, German, and other languages, some ideas or notions just can't be translated. There is no equivalent because the ideas or notions are more than culturally bound--they are bound by consciousness THAT MUST BE LIVED TO GET THEM. No test, not even Turing's, is going to help provide access to that world which one does not live within.

Bullshiht. Your culturally bound translations are mere window dressing to the bigger picture of how the human mind has evolved, most notably since the bronze age. This is clearly of little interest to you, fascinating in it's own right: how a student of "mind" dismisses the evolution of the brain and resultant psychologies. You'd probably say that the concept of "I" has been around as long as humans have.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Nov 12, 2013 - 12:48pm PT
^^^^^^^^^

Maybe you could explain the markings and what they meant to the beings 20,000 years ago in the image MH2 posted?

There's no reason to be angry. You could tone down the ad hominems and vitriol for better conversation.

If you have a handle on how the human *mind* has evolved since the Bronze Age, please do tell. I would very much like to hear it. Maybe you could point to some articles that you've read on the subject? A URL?

On second inspection, I see that you seem to be using "brain" and "mind" interchangeably. If you are, then perhaps you could tell me what archeo-anthropology has to say about brains and consciousness.
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