Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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MikeL

Trad climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Mar 28, 2014 - 11:29am PT
HFCS: Be a winner in your final days, not a loser.

Too many metaphors.

What could that phrase possibly mean? How can one be a "winner" or a "loser" in one's final days? What would that mean? That one would finally choose or be on the right side of Truth? That one would finally "be right?"

Ugh. May god save us from those who would save us from ourselves.

There are no winners or losers, not even when there seem to be winners or losers. What gets won? What gets lost? How is any of it possible? Just what is it that you think you have at all to begin with?

In your final days, I wonder how much you will lament being a loser, or relish being a winner.

I don't think you've been with dying people enough.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Mar 28, 2014 - 11:35am PT
It's amazing how certain people are of uncertain things in this thread.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Mar 28, 2014 - 11:45am PT
Tvash, it's really all your fault, lol!

I was near done with this thread, if not site, then I read a few of your posts, science-based and science-defending, in response to the woo, and was drawn back in.

Let's face it, in this setting, there just is no getting around LGo and his parakeets and lap dogs. This thread, from a science perspective, is no better than the climate thread. It's a shame, there are just some subjects one cannot discuss intelligently in a public setting biased by various supernaturalisms, better they work out by other means. Time to move on.

Approaching escape velocity now...

:)
WBraun

climber
Mar 28, 2014 - 12:07pm PT
When I was a kid we played every sport in season all the way up to college.

A lot of pickup games on every kind of surface, pavement to natural grass.

Sometime it got rough and bloody noses, ripped shirts, bloody knee caps broken bones concussions etc etc.

Every now and then some girly guy would be in the game and get a small tiny little scratch
or bruise and start crying like a girl and demand the ball and run home to mommy.

The girly guy never came back.

Fruitcake .... you were and still is that guy .....

Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Mar 28, 2014 - 12:09pm PT

Defining sentience - Part 2

A quick review, and then going a little deeper. As mentioned, I cordially invite any and everyone to pitch in. Even Fruity. It's easy to sound off about true science and so forth, but the heavy lifting of actually observing something and then moving to description to John S standards is not so easy. So all the help I can get is most welcome.

A principal hallmark of sentience is awareness, “the state or ability to perceive,” the felt sense and real-time cognizance of being present in time and space.

We are aware of “qualia.” For this conversation, qualia denotes both the content of awareness (people, places, things and phenomenon), and the direct, first person subjective, experiential flow of said content.

All qualia arises in a “field” of awareness (aka, “mind space,” et al.).

Our field of awareness is limited by A) the reach of our sense organs (for example, right now I can only see for X miles,) and B) through the process of placing our attention on one thing (a feeling, say, or a crossword puzzle) at the relative exclusion of all else, both internally and externally.

We have limited (some say none at all) conscious control over WHAT qualia arises in our field of awareness. That is, our brains screen our calls, so to speak, per what appears in our awareness field. But awareness itself is non-discretionary and all inclusive.

We have some modicum of control over where we place our attention (on that thought, or this apple). Put differently, we can consciously focus our awareness from wide open (like infinity on a camera lens) to small, or macro (“close focus mode”). This trombone-like action of our focus occurs, like most everything else in sentience, on a sliding scale, and can formulated in terms of a ratio – from close focus (macro) to wide open (infinity).

The vast majority (99% or more) of focus shifting happens
unconsciously. The act of narrow focusing on a flower or a stream of thoughts in our head or the next car ahead of us in traffic mostly happens automatically, instinctively, and requires no consciously piloting, so to speak. We literally are not aware of our focus continually sliding from wide to small. When we consciously take charge of our focus, we generate attention, or we start “paying attention.”

For the moment, we can define attention as real time conscious presence with qualia – qualia being the content (people, places, things and phenomenon) or our awareness. If qualia is not in our field of awareness, it does not exist for us.

To make this clear, awareness is simply an undifferentiated field that holds no intentionality or discretion. Awareness is the brute isnesss or thereness of the qualia within its field, and is also the field itself. More on this later.

Like focus, awareness is a relative term, exhibiting a ratio, existing on an ever sliding scale of more and less. “Will you please pay attention to (fill in the blank)!” makes clear this basic fact of sentience. We have to consciously pay attention - that is, intentionally pay attention to whatever we are focused on, be it a math equation or a boulder problem. When we are paying full attention, we are fully engaged with a discrete bit of qualia ranging from a quark to a football game.

To better illustrate the sliding scale of awareness, recall the many times you have driven somewhere and your attention has been shanghaied by the riptide of thought and you have driven for miles vaguely aware, but have operated largely on auto-pilot (NOT consciously present with the moment to moment flow of qualia). Then a dog runs out in front of your car and you are snapped back to the present. You are suddenly "paying attention" instead of wandering with the unconsciously, auto-generated qualia in your field of awareness. This is a common scenario that clearly illustrates the sliding scale of awareness, or being consciously present with the moment to moment flow of qualia.

As mentioned in the previous post, it is useful to have a model to use when formulating the ratios involved in focus and awareness because these two functions are largely responsible in formulating the particular reality we live, teased out of multifarious flow of qualia running in real time through our awareness field.

One useful mode or model is borrowed from the old Gestalt psychologists, and involves field and ground. As said, while this can be seen as a visual/photography metaphor, it is nonetheless how our awareness and cognition actually work.


In short, whatever we place our attention on involves narrow focusing on that thing(s). This is the “figure.” The “ground” is everything else. In photography, the figure is typically in focus, while the ground is blurry. In sentience, the more attention we pay to the figure (in focus), then the less attention we are paying to the ground (out of focus). So here too we have a sliding ratio, between figure and ground, between foreground and background, and between the attention we pay to each. At times the ratio of attention favors a tree, while at other times, the ratio favors the forest, en total.

Perhaps the key here to understand is the notion of ratios. Because our attention and focus wax and wane, seemingly at light speed, most every second of every day, sentience becomes an even more slippery term to try and define in hard and fast terms, given so many moving parts, so to speak. Future AI folk will have their hands full programing these autonomous functions, to say nothing of programing the agency and the sliding ratio that, in real time, spontaneously and consciously narrows our focus on this at the relative exclusion of that.

Next up: Comments on thought generation, and how our attention can seamlessly traverse between internal and external, yet how the qualia in question always remains first person subjective.

JL
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Mar 28, 2014 - 12:11pm PT
JL, an excellent exposition, thank you! Note that our field of awareness generates a local map of reality containing our perceived patterns of awareness. As we are capable of generating conscious thought, this is like editing the map according to our personal bias, reinforcing some pattern elements and obscuring others. Selective awareness is trained by habit, for example the person who is constantly finding golf balls, or another constantly noticing deer that most people overlooked. A quiet mind is more capable of expanded awareness. However it is also worthwhile to consider the difference between quiet energetic awareness and lapsing into a lazy daze of unawareness.


Some seem like a fish denying the existence of water...even as others are rigorously investigating its properties....

Not interested in competing on the basis of professional credentials, as this is supposed to be a friendly collaborative discussion. There is certainly a lot that I don't know about, but have made a little progress since being a child interested in human intelligence and awareness capabilities...and choosing rock climbing as my principle laboratory...
MH2

climber
Mar 28, 2014 - 12:36pm PT
Good going, JL.

You have chosen a hard path. Try not to let negativity stick.



"Tom likes working with everyone at camp. He tries to give people reasonable choices in their work and to set up a safe environment for people to learn."

"Sometimes Tom is exhausted from working with groups."


Tom Stofford
camp builder at Farm and Wilderness Camps






Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is nothing but a dream!-
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

etc.

etc.

etc.

Let us then be up and doing,
with a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.


A Psalm of Life
Longfellow


go-B

climber
John 6:44
Mar 28, 2014 - 12:44pm PT
How can one be a "winner" or a "loser" in one's final days?

...by turning to Jesus or not! :)
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Mar 28, 2014 - 09:36pm PT
Go-B you're such a buzzkill.
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Mar 29, 2014 - 12:02am PT
JL, you have used Hilbert Spaces as mathematical metaphors for your fields of awareness, etc. These math tools as employed in physics are heavily computational and may not be appropriate for your current efforts. It’s too bad ST has such limited syntax available for these posts, for math notation is intricate and unique. Nevertheless, I would suggest a mathematical analogue in set theory or topology, or merely simple functional ideas, involving little in the way of numerical involvement - Indeed, a topologist has been called a mathematician who cannot tell the difference between a coffee cup and a doughnut (think of either made of moldable plastic, then imagine squeezing and shaping one object into the other in a continuous kind of way). It has been a long time since I worked with these things, so there might be some mistakes another mathematician might correct.

First – and you won’t like this – I would separate the objective world (OW) from the subjective world (SW) and interpret humans as functions that map OW into SW. Call the function f(n,t) where n designates the nth person alive now in some finite (but large) counting scheme. Then we have f(n,t) mapping a set of conditions, t, in the OW to a qualia, if you like, or set of corresponding conditions, s, in the SW.

Assume this is actually a function: given a person, n, and set t there is generated a single set s in the SW. (however, different people might map another set t to the same s). Then I might consider sentience to be the union of all such qualia sets in SW.

This function or mapping might be continuous in some sort of metric in the sense that t(1)≈t(2) ⇒ f(n,t(1))≈f(n,t(2)). Or one could turn to topology and define open sets in both the domain and range of these functions and use topological principles to further investigate phenomena.

Just playin’ here . . .
MH2

climber
Mar 29, 2014 - 01:23am PT
There are many creative ideas out there. I saw this one when it was first published in the West. It doesn't seem to have attracted much interest.

http://www.deepdyve.com/lp/elsevier/human-subconscious-as-a-p-adic-dynamical-system-CgZipPuHQK




Computer subconscious?

http://www.deepdyve.com/lp/emerald-publishing/the-computer-subconscious-YpRym0MhRJ

(and a quote from Sir Francis Crick with an opinion on what philosophy has not accomplished and why)



Time will tell which ideas are good and which are bad, but 2,000 years?

go-B

climber
John 6:44
Mar 29, 2014 - 09:59am PT
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John



...Jesus told Pilate, "My Kingdom is not of this Earth", and so to these Pharisees wanted to see Jesus' father, only thinking only according to the flesh, when He was talking about His Heavenly Father.
Just as sentience, applies to this world, God's Spirit is needed to discern spiritual reality!
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Cor++2&version=NKJV
glanton

Social climber
Babylon
Mar 29, 2014 - 10:35am PT
Credit: glanton
MikeL

Trad climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Mar 29, 2014 - 12:36pm PT
Jgill: I would separate the objective world (OW) from the subjective world (SW) and interpret humans as functions that map OW into SW.

I can understand why anyone would make a distinction between the two, but why the sequence of causality in that direction? What observations have you made or what empirical studies would you refer us to that "map OW into SW" that we could be sure of? Why not the other way around? (I believe the sequence is the result of a philosophical stand that you've assumed.)


Glanton:

So you can post ugly and abusive images, but what IS your point?


Largo: . . . awareness is simply an undifferentiated field that holds no intentionality or discretion.

This may only be directed to you, John, but I'd say that while attempting to distinguish awareness IS indeed a key to understanding sentience to some extent, intentionality is also analytically "problematical" or part of the equation.

First, you could say that awareness is a sort of display. But a display would perhaps indicate a recursive loop. What gets displayed . . . a display of what? A display of consciousness itself? Would it be a question of "consciousness becoming aware of itself" / "consciousness becoming aware of consciousness?" (Is there a conundrum or a paradox that you are uncovering?)

Second, intentionality seems to point to what some have referred to as the seat of consciousness. Making awareness serve this function, too, may make awareness too broad of a notion. Analytically one may not be able to make awareness serve too many functions and purposes for this audience without looking experientially.

So, ok, analytically there is awareness. We all have some sense of that with regards to sentience. The "am" in "I AM" might be just that. But now it's the "I" that becomes problematical (as a placeholder or function of intentionality).

The soft graceful arcing glide of pelicans coming into for a landing in the bay around San Francisco illustrates the perfect consciousness that all animals have, but do not know. Their intentionality seems to be engineered by genetics and biological systems, as perhaps ours has, but their evolution has not matched ours. The difference is that we know that we know. It is that very ability to self-reflect--that is, consciousness increasingly becoming aware of consciousness, itself--that also requires understanding. There is the "I" and there is the "AM", and the two would seem needing to be connected.

I don't meant to throw in a monkey wrench into the investigation so early in its development, but lest we go down too far down one path before recognizing other possible paths, we might first consider whether there are different levels or states of sentience. What I'm suggesting is that awareness might appear to exhibit an unfoldment that may not quite have a clear beginning or a clear or a final end to it. The difference between pelicans and humans at our current state of unfoldment runs along a continuum. That is, there may be no single state of sentience or non-sentience. From rocks to Einstein, from the deep sleep of homo habilis to the svabhavikakaya of a Buddha, there are only degrees of unfolding understanding of "What This Is" for any being--be it pelican, plankton, or climber.
MikeL

Trad climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Mar 29, 2014 - 12:52pm PT
MH2:

I looked at the article you pointed us to (in Kybernetes, 1995, by Caulfield). He presents a 4-step model for information processing. His first step is: the choice of a problem or study.

You might be interested to know that in the social sciences it's been argued and empirically supported in many places that what people do often is first come come up with an insight or solution, and then expend resources finding an appropriate problem to solve. The empirical findings (and some computer simulations showing how it works) suggest that the conceptualization is a more efficient process, resource-wise.

My experience with high-technology companies here in Silicon Valley suggest the same thing.

The idea that creative or entrepreneurial people first face a problem that needs solving and THEN investigate or come up with insights that lead to innovations and new products is a very rational view of an irrational world and competitive domains. It may be downright idealogical.

See, Garbage Can Model of organizational choice at:

http://faculty.washington.edu/krumme/gloss/g.html
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Mar 29, 2014 - 01:02pm PT
Glanton:

So you can post ugly and abusive images, but what IS your point?



Would you ask a similar question of Go-B? Ugly and abusive is not a reason to doubt or dismiss.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Mar 29, 2014 - 01:45pm PT
Nice monkey wrench MikeL,

Second, intentionality seems to point to what some have referred to as the seat of consciousness

We are not alive and breathing because of Will or because we wanted to be alive. Wouldn't the blood flow from the pumping of our hearts be considered intentionality? I should propose this to be the seat of the Soul.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Mar 29, 2014 - 01:52pm PT
the basic reason why the human species designation should be Homo Hubris rather than Homo Sapiensis this obsessive concept dividing subjective and objective worlds, or human world vs natural world, extending into every aspect of our barbaric unenlightened society

in reality there is no such distinction except as a cleverly contrived form of epidemic insanity


the precursor concept which is present throughout the animal kingdom is the concept of predator vs prey

this is the basic slight-of-hand trick that obscures most people from cosmic consciousness

there is a certain experience of awareness coming at the moment of predator participating in the death of prey...

most people in our society are carefully insulated from such transitional moments in life...it's all shrink-wrapped at Safeway...

even sexual experiences tend to be degraded, joked about, commercialized, sanitized and isolated from their profound potential



the concept of otherness is basic to all conflict

it is also a basic limiter on awareness



whoever originally engineered this world's bio-system appears to have done so out of supreme frustration with beings maintaining predatory viewpoints

this does establish an interesting learning curve for beings trapped in it



look how long it took us to enfranchise the females of our own species, let alone those with different skin color

only very recently is modern society starting to honor the rights of species on this planet who have intelligence superior to ours...

India has granted cetaceans with the status and rights of 'non-human people'

Columbia has added a constitutional amendment granting status in courts of law for the 'rights of nature'



attaining a state of Homo Sapiens would be a good idea
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Mar 29, 2014 - 02:03pm PT
If nothing else, glanton illustrates that a picture has a bigger impact than words. It's much easier to scroll down go-B's lists of quotes than it is to avoid glanton's photo.

It's also a good illustration of motivation. However misguided one might think go-b is, his intent is recognized as good by the majority on this thread. As much as many might agree with glanton, the majority would recognize his intent as malevalent towards both go-B and the subject at hand.

Just another illustration of the order of evolution in terms of brain organization. Intent before abstraction.Tom's predator and prey idea in action.

MH2

climber
Mar 29, 2014 - 02:15pm PT
You might be interested to know that in the social sciences it's been argued and empirically supported in many places that what people do often is first come come up with an insight or solution, and then expend resources finding an appropriate problem to solve. The empirical findings (and some computer simulations showing how it works) suggest that the conceptualization is a more efficient process, resource-wise. (MikeL)



Ever since reading Ben Lexcen's story of his early life I have seen that each of us can be viewed as the solution to some problem. Whether we encounter that problem is another issue.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Lexcen


The first time Ben Lexcen saw a toy sailboat on a pond he knew that he was going to make boats.


The special problem or set of problems that most people are best suited to may escape them in this lifetime.
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