Consciousness, Emergence, Evolution Theory, and Scientific Materialism

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Consciousness, Emergence, Evolution Theory, and Scientific Materialism

Several points...

- I am using the term "consciousness" to mean, at the very least, "conscious-awareness."

- It is generally argued by materialists that consciousness is an "emergent" property. That is, somewhere during the process of biological evolution, consciousness suddenly emerged in living organisms. Exactly when this emergence occurred seems to be a bit of mystery. And there doesn't appear to be any kind of consensus in the scientific community concerning which organisms are conscious and which are not. Also, keep in mind that consciousness as an emergent property cannot be compared to any other form of emergence we may observe in nature because every other form is physical, not mental. 

- Evolution theory basically holds that the fittest survive by the process of natural selection. In other words, those members of a species with genetic traits or characteristics which confer some kind of survival benefit are the ones that live and reproduce and thereby pass on their traits to subsequent generations.

- Materialism generally holds that consciousness is a by-product or an epiphenomenon of the physical or that consciousness supervenes on the physical. Both epiphenomenalism and supervenience theory hold that conscious is not causally-efficacious. (Incidentally, both eiphenomenalism and supervenience are dualistic...but now I digress.)

Here's the dilemma for materialists as I see it...

Why was the characteristic  or trait of conscious-awareness naturally selected if consciousness does not confer any survival benefit?  In other words, why aren't all living organisms simply organic "robots without consciousness?" (Remember, according to materialism, consciousness is not causally-efficacious. So it cannot confer any survival benefit.)

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Interesting, I assume you

Interesting, I assume you won't let me off by saying that not all traits selected for by natural selection are beneficial, will you? Can you explain further why consciousness is not beneficial to survival?


latincanuck
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Come on paisley your not

Come on paisley your not really this stupid, What benefits does one get from being AWARE of one's enviorment? This is what your asking pretty much? The ability to adapt to one's enviorment, to avoid any type of danger in one's enviorment to be able to make decisions that enhance a species survivablity. Those just some, and I hope that someone with better understanding (Deludedgod, hamby or bob I am looking at your guys for this part) to be able to explain it much better. Although I highly doubt you will bother to understand any of it.


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Suddenly emerged?So, there

Suddenly emerged?

So, there couldn't have been things like... oh I dunno, how about: A basis in simple stimulus-response system, which became increasingly complex as the generations passed. Simple short-term memory. Parts of that system start to specialize in motivators: fear, pleasure. Also specializes in greater sensory adaptation: visual, audio, tactile. As the generations go on you get more complex memory and longer term. More ability to compare memory to the outside world. A greater and greater sense of me-other. Eventually crossing some threshold becoming what we would call consciousness.

And that consciousness and self-awareness is itself a property that emerges from that now very complex series of simpler stimulus-response systems all interacting with one another. And that self-aware consciousness is a huge advantage to the phenotype that has it. It can out-plan predators. Seek food in the most likely paces to find it. Work as a group in hunting. Use tools to make tasks easier.

Each little piece of that system making the phenotype just a wee bit more likely to survive to mating, passing on that new piece of the system.

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


Paisley
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Stosis wrote:Interesting, I

Stosis wrote:
Interesting, I assume you won't let me off by saying that not all traits selected for by natural selection are beneficial, will you?

No, I won't let you off. If the materialist view is true, then we could theoretically have human-like creatures on some far distant planet running corporations, who are completely devoid of consciousness.

Stosis wrote:
Can you explain further why consciousness is not beneficial to survival?

It's called sufficient causation and materialistic reductionism. If all natural processes can be explained in terms of the deterministic laws of physics and chemistry, then speaking of causation in terms of mental phenomena is irrelevant. Basically, the materialist looks at human beings as simply "robots with consciousness."

Also, if you say consciousness is causally-efficacious, then you are making an argument for libertarian free will and therefore an argument for the existence of an immaterial soul.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Quote:- It is

Quote:
- It is generally argued by materialists that consciousness is an "emergent" property. That is, somewhere during the process of biological evolution, consciousness suddenly emerged in living organisms. Exactly when this emergence occurred seems to be a bit of mystery. And there doesn't appear to be any kind of consensus in the scientific community concerning which organisms are conscious and which are not. Also, keep in mind that consciousness as an emergent property cannot be compared to any other form of emergence we may observe in nature because every other form is physical, not mental.

Ah. You must be an expert on the subject matter of evolution via natural selection. Would you care to enlighten us, then, as to what evolution via natural selection actually means, in terms of the mechanism?

Oh, you've already written that. Good work!

Quote:
- Evolution theory basically holds that the fittest survive by the process of natural selection. In other words, those members of a species with genetic traits or characteristics which confer some kind of survival benefit are the ones that live and reproduce and thereby pass on their traits to subsequent generations.

Nope. What you've written here is the gist of the idea first written down by Charles Darwin. Believe it or not, we've learned things since then.

Principally, we've learned that natural selection is far more dependent on an organism's ability to aquire characteristics that assist it in reproducing rather than surviving. Going much deeper than that... well, fuck, the whole field of cellular biology wasn't even around in Darwin's day! 

You need to read something more recent on the subject matter.

Quote:
Why was the characteristic  or trait of conscious-awareness naturally selected if consciousness does not confer any survival benefit?  In other words, why aren't all living organisms simply organic "robots without consciousness?" (Remember, according to materialism, consciousness is not causally-efficacious. So it cannot confer any survival benefit.)

...No reproductive benefit? Are you kidding me?

Well, first you have to understand why asexual reproduction is inferior to sexual reproduction (I leave it up to you to do your own homework here, if you care to learn anything). After that, it should become obvious that being able to be aware of what a potential mate wants (or, otherwise, how to manipulate them/force them into accepting your genetic material) is a huge boon to your genetic goal of propagating alleles.

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"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


Paisley
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latincanuck wrote:Come on

latincanuck wrote:
Come on paisley your not really this stupid, What benefits does one get from being AWARE of one's enviorment? This is what your asking pretty much? The ability to adapt to one's enviorment, to avoid any type of danger in one's enviorment to be able to make decisions that enhance a species survivablity. Those just some, and I hope that someone with better understanding (Deludedgod, hamby or bob I am looking at your guys for this part) to be able to explain it much better. Although I highly doubt you will bother to understand any of it.

I would think that conscious free will would definitely confer a survival benefit. However, there is no free will in the deterministic worldview that is atheistic materialism.

Incidentally, I would ask you to reflect more on the implications of your worldview before you decide to question my intelligence.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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actually I have

As for the concept of free will, it doesn't exist, at least no in the christian sense, we all make decisions based on our previous experiences, with that said we can still make decisions that go against our previous experiences. However we do not make decisions based on free will meaning no previous experience is used at all. 

I have not questioned your intelligence, merely made an assumption of your desire to undrestand the material presented to you by your previous and continuous erroneous undertanding of materialism and atheism. As all explainations given to you explaining to you why your idea or concept of atheistic materialism is the only way for an atheist to live is incorrect. So my assumption is that you will not bother with anything presented to you.


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JillSwift wrote:Suddenly

JillSwift wrote:
Suddenly emerged?

So, there couldn't have been things like... oh I dunno, how about: A basis in simple stimulus-response system, which became increasingly complex as the generations passed.

What does the complexity of a stimulus-response system have to do with conscious-awareness? The "system" is either aware of the environmental stimulus or it is not. It's that simple.

An oxygen atom reponds to environmental stimuli (i.e. it interacts with other atoms). Are oxygen atoms consciously-aware?

Water molecules respond to environmental stimuli (i.e. they interact with other water molecues). Are water molecules conciously aware? Do they have some kind of feeling awareness? Isn't a water molecule a more "complex stimulus-response system" than an oxygen atom?

What about a virus? Isn't a virus a more complex stimulus-response system than a water molecule? 

What about bacteria? A diatom? An amoeba? At what level of complexity does a stimulus-response system become conciously-aware?

This is your argument: When a "stimulus-response system" reacheas a certain level of complexity, then....mmm....presto....consciousness suddenly emerges! You have already presupposed conscious-awareness at this point. There is really no need to address the rest of your argument.

JillSwift wrote:
Simple short-term memory. Parts of that system start to specialize in motivators: fear, pleasure. Also specializes in greater sensory adaptation: visual, audio, tactile. As the generations go on you get more complex memory and longer term. More ability to compare memory to the outside world. A greater and greater sense of me-other. Eventually crossing some threshold becoming what we would call consciousness.

And that consciousness and self-awareness is itself a property that emerges from that now very complex series of simpler stimulus-response systems all interacting with one another. And that self-aware consciousness is a huge advantage to the phenotype that has it. It can out-plan predators. Seek food in the most likely paces to find it. Work as a group in hunting. Use tools to make tasks easier.

Each little piece of that system making the phenotype just a wee bit more likely to survive to mating, passing on that new piece of the system.

You are presupposing conscious free will. There is no free will in a materialistic world. Sorry, try again.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Kevin R Brown wrote:...No

Kevin R Brown wrote:
...No reproductive benefit? Are you kidding me?

Well, first you have to understand why asexual reproduction is inferior to sexual reproduction (I leave it up to you to do your own homework here, if you care to learn anything). After that, it should become obvious that being able to be aware of what a potential mate wants (or, otherwise, how to manipulate them/force them into accepting your genetic material) is a huge boon to your genetic goal of propagating alleles.

Sorry, the deterministic, mechanical worldview that is scientific materialism reduces human beings to "robots with consciousness."  Hopefully, you will demonstrate a modicum of intellectual honesty and acknowledge this. Based on your worldview, you're not really a participant in life, just a spectator.  

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:Several

Paisley wrote:

Several points...

- I am using the term "consciousness" to mean, at the very least, "conscious-awareness."

Then you should demonstrate the difference between human consciousness, other primate consciousness, and pachyderm or ave consciousness. Other apes, as well as elephants and some types of birds, have demonstrated the ability to recognize that their reflection in a mirror is just that: their reflection. This has direct bearing on your next point:

Quote:

- It is generally argued by materialists that consciousness is an "emergent" property. That is, somewhere during the process of biological evolution, consciousness suddenly emerged in living organisms. Exactly when this emergence occurred seems to be a bit of mystery. And there doesn't appear to be any kind of consensus in the scientific community concerning which organisms are conscious and which are not. Also, keep in mind that consciousness as an emergent property cannot be compared to any other form of emergence we may observe in nature because every other form is physical, not mental.

See? Direct bearing. You're holding this 'consciousness awareness' as a separate thing than awareness of surroundings, or awareness of impulses and biological needs like hunger. But first, you'll need to demonstrate compelling cause to believe that human consciousness isn't simply a more complex manifestation of the same level of awareness that I see in my cats. The fact that slightly more complex fractal equations can produce vastly more varied and complex graphs doesn't make the more complex equation fundamentally different in any way, it's just more complex.

And, as I've pointed out elsewhere, the repeated observation that consciousness has no input on the decision-making process, and seems primarily to occupy its time coming up with rationalizations and justifications for the decisions the brain makes while consciousness isn't paying attention... would seem to indicate that really, we're not as 'consciousness aware' as we like to believe ourselves to be. To a large extent, we remain omnivorous apes responding to complex stimuli, and telling ourselves that we had reasons, because we like the chemicals our brains release when we convince ourselves we're in control of our lives. We're just confidence-junkies, sucking up the hormones desperately.

Quote:

- Evolution theory basically holds that the fittest survive by the process of natural selection. In other words, those members of a species with genetic traits or characteristics which confer some kind of survival benefit are the ones that live and reproduce and thereby pass on their traits to subsequent generations.

Ugh. You know, 'survival of the fittest' is as much a crappy after-market label as 'evolution'. Darwin's Theory on Species Differentiation Through Natural Selection wasn't about 'evolution'. 'Evolution' implies a process of moving from a lesser state to a more perfect state, and Darwin himself hated the term. Species don't 'evolve'. They adapt. They change. They develop. They differentiate into other species. And it's not 'survival of the fittest', it's 'reproduction by the most successfully adapted'. It doesn't matter how 'fit' an animal is if it's not successfully adapted to its environment. A young lion in the prime of its health will die a lot faster than an old slightly tubby penguin if you drop it into the waters off Antarctica. It's just not adapted to that environment.

And frankly, current theory holds that while traits that are actively deleterious to an organism's chances to survive to sexual adulthood will tend to get selected out of a population (because the organisms that have them don't make it to adulthood as often), the traits that really have the strongest influence are  the ones that most directly influence the chances of an animal getting to reproduce. So, while in extended periods of crisis, the traits that help creatures successfully reach adulthood when others don't will help that critter's chances of mating, and thus passing those genes along, the traits aren't passed along because the creature was successful at surviving, but because the creature was successful in reproducing.

Quote:

- Materialism generally holds that consciousness is a by-product or an epiphenomenon of the physical or that consciousness supervenes on the physical. Both epiphenomenalism and supervenience theory hold that conscious is not causally-efficacious. (Incidentally, both eiphenomenalism and supervenience are dualistic...but now I digress.)

Here's the dilemma for materialists as I see it...

Why was the characteristic  or trait of conscious-awareness naturally selected if consciousness does not confer any survival benefit?  In other words, why aren't all living organisms simply organic "robots without consciousness?" (Remember, according to materialism, consciousness is not causally-efficacious. So it cannot confer any survival benefit.)

Well, again, you assume that consciousness actually has some effect, and you're not just a stimulus-response sequence that's constructing a self-deception of consciousness in order to get its brain to let loose some of the happy-hormones. So: Prove you're conscious. Moreover, prove that your consciousnes isn't simply a veneer of justifications and emotional self-stimuli responding to external stimuli.

But leaving that aside... consciousness gets naturally selected for because the apes more able to convince their own brains to release mood-reinforcing hormones project more confidence and strength to members of the opposite sex, and thus are more able to attract mates. This means they are more likely to pass on their traits, including the trait of self-deception to get happy-hormones.

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons." - The Waco Kid


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Quote:What does the

Quote:
What does the complexity of a stimulus-response system have to do with conscious-awareness? The "system" is either aware of the environmental stimulus or it is not. It's that simple.

What we call conscious-awareness is simply the product of a complicated system, isn't it? 

Quote:
This is your argument: When a "stimulus-response system" reacheas a certain level of complexity, then....mmm....presto....consciousness suddenly emerges!
 

Jillswift hasn't responded yet, but I'm betting that's a no. It's a gradual, natural phenomenon, and the terms "conscious" and aware" are rather subjective.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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latincanuck wrote:As for the

latincanuck wrote:
As for the concept of free will, it doesn't exist, at least no in the christian sense, we all make decisions based on our previous experiences, with that said we can still make decisions that go against our previous experiences. However we do not make decisions based on free will meaning no previous experience is used at all.

The bottom line is that if there is no free will (libertarian), then consciousness is not causally-efficacious. That being said, the materialist has no logical explanation to account for why nature selected "robots with consciousness" instead of "robots without it."

 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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butterbattle wrote:Jillswift

butterbattle wrote:
Jillswift hasn't responded yet, but I'm betting that's a no. It's a gradual, natural phenomenon, and the terms "conscious" and aware" are rather subjective.

Subjectivity and conscious-awareness are interchangeable terms. 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:I would think

Paisley wrote:

I would think that conscious free will would definitely confer a survival benefit.

You mean you would guess. That's not even a hypothesis.

Paisley wrote:
However, there is no free will in the deterministic worldview that is atheistic materialism.

I think I explained this to death last time, but what the hey, it's Christmas. What you understand as free will may not exist. That doesn't mean that people don't make choices, or that gods would help to make those choices more substantial.

Paisley wrote:
Incidentally, I would ask you to reflect more on the implications of your worldview before you decide to question my intelligence.

It's not your intelligence that I'd question, personally, Paisley. You're clearly linguistically intelligent. I don't think this is even a question of intelligence, for apparently, someone of great intelligence can fabricate an elaborate enough illusion about the world that invisible things are somehow real.

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Paisley wrote:latincanuck

Paisley wrote:

latincanuck wrote:
As for the concept of free will, it doesn't exist, at least no in the christian sense, we all make decisions based on our previous experiences, with that said we can still make decisions that go against our previous experiences. However we do not make decisions based on free will meaning no previous experience is used at all.

The bottom line is that if there is no free will (libertarian), then consciousness is not causally-efficacious. That being said, the materialist has no logical explanation to account for why nature selected "robots with consciousness" instead of "robots without it."

 

The problem lies paisley is the defintion of conciousness, what exactly is it, there are so many defintions and forget the philisophical problems that arise as well. A simple search has the following definitions.

the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself

the state of being characterized by sensation, emotion, volition, and thought

the upper level of mental life of which the person is aware as contrasted with unconscious processes

A sense of one's personal or collective identity, including the attitudes, beliefs, and sensitivities held by or considered characteristic of an individual or group

Special awareness or sensitivity

knowing and perceiving; having awareness of surroundings and sensations and thoughts;

an alert cognitive state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation

Our own awareness of ourselves and the world; the mental processes that we can perceive; our thoughts and feelings.

Orientation with respect to time, place and self, with responsiveness of the mind to impressions made by the senses.

Using any number of these definitions we can say that a molecule does not have consciousness, it can react to it's enviroment but it cannot make decisions based on any form of knowledge. Same goes for simple cells, they merely react to external stimuli. However a group of cells, multicellular organisms, oh like say a worm, is it conscious? Well again that depends on the definition that you are using, it may or may not be. However we can say species with higher forms of intelligences, monkeys, apes, dolphines, whales, humans, etc, etc, etc that say can and do show emotions, able to feel various forms of sensations they are conscious, but then again what is exactly conscious?. However robots yeah to a extent, we are, but it's not the same concept at all, we have basic programming from out evolutionary background, such as the capability of breathing and digesting food without the need of "conscious" awareness. However we can react all differently to the same situation as well, we can make decisions based on our experience, where a robot cannot it simply does as it was programmed to do from the beginning.....predestination if you will. Were we are not predetermined from the moment of conception or birth.


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I'm a bit confused by a

I'm a bit confused by a definition that you are using. You keep saying 'free will libertarian'. I don't know where you are from but where I live people refer to a political ideology and a political party as being 'libertarian'. Seeing as my campus libertarians' club encourages us to go to speaches on religious freedom given by atheists, I don't think we are on the same page on the word 'libertarian'. As a materialist and a political libertarian, I'm confused when you hitch the word 'libertarian' with your ideology. If you aren't from the US then I guess your people have a different meaning for that word.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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Quote:Sorry, the

Quote:
Sorry, the deterministic, mechanical worldview that is scientific materialism reduces human beings to "robots with consciousness."  Hopefully, you will demonstrate a modicum of intellectual honesty and acknowledge this. Based on your worldview, you're not really a participant in life, just a spectator.

You come in, parade around alleged expertise, apparently cannot back-up claimed expertise, and then accuse me of intellectual dishonesty.

My, my - is the ice you're standing on ever getting rather thin.

 

Do you know a single Goddamn thing about consciousness, Paisley? Or, at the very least, what science says about it? It's awfully tough to intelligently reject a theory you know nothing about, so do tell:

 - What is the current 'map' of the human brain? What are the different regions, and what is the function of each?

 - What is the current understanding of how different damages and stimulations to specific regions effects our perceptions? Give examples.

 - What is 'emergence' (as in, an 'emergent property') in scientific parlance? What is the mechanism by which emergent phenomena arise? Give examples.

For bonus points, also demonstrate you know what the Hell you're talking about when you throw robotics/artificial intelligence into the mix by describing how programming languages are 'read' by machines, what the most common/popular languages are in use in today's robotic software and give an example piece of original code and explain how it works.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Paisley wrote:What does the

Paisley wrote:
What does the complexity of a stimulus-response system have to do with conscious-awareness?
Everything.

Paisley wrote:
The "system" is either aware of the environmental stimulus or it is not. It's that simple.
Simple, hm? You make these random assertions about definitions without providing the definitions you're using.

Paisley wrote:
An oxygen atom reponds to environmental stimuli (i.e. it interacts with other atoms). Are oxygen atoms consciously-aware?

Water molecules respond to environmental stimuli (i.e. they interact with other water molecues). Are water molecules conciously aware? Do they have some kind of feeling awareness? Isn't a water molecule a more "complex stimulus-response system" than an oxygen atom?

You do so love to equivocate, don't you? Chemical reactions are not stimulus-response.

Paisley wrote:
What about a virus? Isn't a virus a more complex stimulus-response system than a water molecule?
Viruses are closer, but still not there.

Paisley wrote:
What about bacteria? A diatom? An amoeba? At what level of complexity does a stimulus-response system become consciously-aware?
We're not even close yet.

Paisley wrote:
This is your argument: When a "stimulus-response system" reaches a certain level of complexity, then....mmm....presto....consciousness suddenly emerges! You have already presupposed conscious-awareness at this point. There is really no need to address the rest of your argument.
Tsk. We have consciousness. It's not exactly a wild presupposition. Look up emergence.

It is still somewhat subjective where one draws the line between proto-consciousness and "true" consciousness. Never the less, that line gets crossed at some point in the construction of the system that consciousness emerges from.

 

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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Paisley wrote:- It is

Paisley wrote:

- It is generally argued by materialists that consciousness is an "emergent" property. That is, somewhere during the process of biological evolution, consciousness suddenly emerged in living organisms. Exactly when this emergence occurred seems to be a bit of mystery. And there doesn't appear to be any kind of consensus in the scientific community concerning which organisms are conscious and which are not. Also, keep in mind that consciousness as an emergent property cannot be compared to any other form of emergence we may observe in nature because every other form is physical, not mental.

You're conflating two meanings of "emergence" here. The first use indicates a temporal event, like a baby emerging from a womb. The last couple of uses indicate a system of simple, deterministic rules that combine to produce stochastic results. I'm not sure that has much bearing on the situation, but the two different meanings in the same argument are potentially confusing.

You use "mental" in the same sense that you are using "consciousness," so you are basically saying, "To explain the emergent property of consciousness, you can't use any other example of emergence, because they're not consciousness."

And, you haven't provided any support to the assertion that consciousness as a (poorly-defined) emergent property is significantly different than evolution or any information-processing system. What are the features that differentiate mental processes from any other stochastic emergent processes? Why do you assume consciousness is not physical in nature?

You make the assumption that, because your mind seems separate from your brain, that it is. I contend it is not, and so "mental" processes really aren't any different than any other emergent process in nature that deals with information, such as the production of an organism from DNA. The information substrate is physical; the information processing chain is physical; and the final result is physical. Yet information processing undeniably occurs. The information itself is not physical, but at every step along the way, it is physically encoded.

I guess you could argue for a sort of dualism, in which information exists separately from materialism. It'd be a tough haul, though, as so far we have no evidence that information exists without a material encoding, so the counter-argument is that information is an emergent property of materialism.

In any case, there are at least two examples of information processing systems in nature: the production of organisms from DNA, and evolution. Those emergent processes are just as non-physical as consciousness.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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BMcD wrote:But first, you'll

BMcD wrote:
But first, you'll need to demonstrate compelling cause to believe that human consciousness isn't simply a more complex manifestation of the same level of awareness that I see in my cats.

To begin with, I would suggest that the next time you respond to one of my posts that you first read it in its entirety before posting. This would save time for the both of us. Having to read your bloviated response is timing consuming for me as I am sure that having to write it is time consuming for you.

Now, I  will separate the wheat from the chaff and respond to your post.

I clearly defined the term "conciousness" in the context of this thread to mean "at the very least conscious-awareness." The operative words in this description are "AT THE VERY LEAST." I trust that no further commentary is necessary.

BMcD wrote:
Well, again, you assume that consciousness actually has some effect, and you're not just a stimulus-response sequence that's constructing a self-deception of consciousness in order to get its brain to let loose some of the happy-hormones. So: Prove you're conscious. Moreover, prove that your consciousnes isn't simply a veneer of justifications and emotional self-stimuli responding to external stimuli.

If I hadn't engaged in "discussions" with you in the past, I would be prompted at this point to pose the question "Are you serious?"

Conscious-awareness is axiomatic (self-evident). Any attempt to deny it pressupposes it.

BMcD wrote:
But leaving that aside... consciousness gets naturally selected for because the apes more able to convince their own brains to release mood-reinforcing hormones project more confidence and strength to members of the opposite sex, and thus are more able to attract mates. This means they are more likely to pass on their traits, including the trait of self-deception to get happy-hormones.

I will assume that you are using the term "ape" as a euphemism or substitute for human being. To say that human beings (or apes for that matter) are "able to convince their own brains" PRESUPPOSES that they not only have conscious-awareness but that they also have conscious free will.

What exactly are you peddling? Some form of eliminative materialism (i.e. the especially pernicious form of materialism that actually denies that consciousness - human or otherwise - exists?) And the members on this forum are calling me the irrational one? LOL

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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HisWillness wrote:Paisley

HisWillness wrote:
Paisley wrote:

I would think that conscious free will would definitely confer a survival benefit.

You mean you would guess. That's not even a hypothesis.

What exactly is your point? That conscious free will does not confer a survival benefit?

HisWillness wrote:
Paisley wrote:
However, there is no free will in the deterministic worldview that is atheistic materialism.

I think I explained this to death last time, but what the hey, it's Christmas. What you understand as free will may not exist. That doesn't mean that people don't make choices, or that gods would help to make those choices more substantial.

Free will as it is commonly understood in ordinary parlance means that, given the same situation and circumstances, I could have chosen otherwise. That's it. Free will implies that there is an element of indeterminacy at play in the world.

In philosophy, there are basically two conceptions of free will - namely, libertarian free will and compatibilist free will.  Libertarian free will is what the general population understands the term "free will" to be. Compatibilist free will is the redefinition of free will (i.e. it redefines "free will" by eliminating the "could have chosen otherwise" aspect) to be "compatible" with determinism - hence, the term. Without going into too much detail, free will is incompatible with determinism because, in a deterministic world, what you call free will must necessarily be determined by forces external to the subject. Indeed, every thought you think, every choice you make is predetermined by the cosmic process in its entirety (or what we can call infinite causality).

HisWillness wrote:
It's not your intelligence that I'd question, personally, Paisley. You're clearly linguistically intelligent. I don't think this is even a question of intelligence, for apparently, someone of great intelligence can fabricate an elaborate enough illusion about the world that invisible things are somehow real.

Clearly, subjective awareness is INVISIBLE. And yet each of us knows that it is real. 

The basic illusion of the world (and of materialism in particular) is the belief that ulitmate reality is constituted by permanent "things" in motion. But we know that this cannot possibly be the case because subjective awareness is not a "thing." Our first-person experience of our own subjectivity is proof-positive that the immaterial is real.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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JillSwift wrote:Paisley

JillSwift wrote:
Paisley wrote:
This is your argument: When a "stimulus-response system" reaches a certain level of complexity, then....mmm....presto....consciousness suddenly emerges! You have already presupposed conscious-awareness at this point. There is really no need to address the rest of your argument.
Tsk. We have consciousness. It's not exactly a wild presupposition. Look up emergence.

I know what emergence is - especially as it relates to the philosophical discussion of consciousness. But I don't want to digress. The question posed in the OP is at what point does conscious-awares emerge in the evolutionary process and why is it naturally selected since it is not causally-efficacious.

JillSwift wrote:
It is still somewhat subjective where one draws the line between proto-consciousness and "true" consciousness. Never the less, that line gets crossed at some point in the construction of the system that consciousness emerges from.

From my vantage point, you appear to be eqivocating. Apparently some "stimulus-response systems" have "proto-consciousness" while others have "true consciouness." 

Requests...

1) Please define "proto-consciousness" and "true consciousness."

2) Please explain how they differ from "conscious-awareness?"

Questions...

Are there "stimulus-response systems" that neither have "proto-consciousness" nor "true consciousness?" If so, why not?

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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yet paisley you show your ignorance

You still don't define anything of what your talking about. Please show me some evidence that contradicts that this is a material universe, that there is another relam of existance, a immaterial world, a spritual world or any other form of existance outside of this material world. Second what definition of consciousness besides awareness are you using, and if possible define awareness. Because I have given you a few definitions of consciousness and how we could not be mere robots with consciousness as well how molecules (that ridiculous part that you brought up) cannot be conscious.

Can you even properly define what the hell your talking about, or any of the words your using? Because to date, you haven't. You have started threads without ever providing any evidence for what the hell your talking about. It just comes off that your ignorant of what your talking about and ignoring everything everyone is presenting, and your ignorance about what Jill presented regarding simple response to stimuli, well you got learn more about evolution than what you have presented so far. You just come off as completely ignorant of the facts and really what your trying to present, and your complete lack of understanding of atheism and materlism, even though I have already shown you there are immaterial pursuits that many atheists can and do seek, you still reject and say no no no la la la it's all materialism or nothing.


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Quote:I know what emergence

Quote:
I know what emergence is

So, I'll ask you for a second time then, Paisley:

Explain what emergent systems are and how they form, and provide examples of known emergent systems (patterns of behavior will also count).

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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nigelTheBold wrote:Paisley

nigelTheBold wrote:
Paisley wrote:

- It is generally argued by materialists that consciousness is an "emergent" property. That is, somewhere during the process of biological evolution, consciousness suddenly emerged in living organisms. Exactly when this emergence occurred seems to be a bit of mystery. And there doesn't appear to be any kind of consensus in the scientific community concerning which organisms are conscious and which are not. Also, keep in mind that consciousness as an emergent property cannot be compared to any other form of emergence we may observe in nature because every other form is physical, not mental.

You're conflating two meanings of "emergence" here. The first use indicates a temporal event, like a baby emerging from a womb. The last couple of uses indicate a system of simple, deterministic rules that combine to produce stochastic results. I'm not sure that has much bearing on the situation, but the two different meanings in the same argument are potentially confusing.

There are two forms of emergence in philosophical discourse...

Quote:
Strong emergence is a type of emergence in which the emergent property is irreducible to its individual constituents. Some philosophers have proposed that qualia and consciousness demonstrate strong emergence. Strong emergence stands in contrast to weak emergence.

(source: Wikipedia: strong emergence)

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

Quote:
Weak Emergence is a type of emergence in which the emergent property is reducible to its individual constituents.

(source: Wikipedia: weak emergence)

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

nigelTheBold wrote:
You use "mental" in the same sense that you are using "consciousness," so you are basically saying, "To explain the emergent property of consciousness, you can't use any other example of emergence, because they're not consciousness."

And, you haven't provided any support to the assertion that consciousness as a (poorly-defined) emergent property is significantly different than evolution or any information-processing system. What are the features that differentiate mental processes from any other stochastic emergent processes? Why do you assume consciousness is not physical in nature?

What?

I can mix blue paint with red paint and I observe purple paint. That is an example of an emergent property. But I cannot observe when "conscious-awareness" or "subjectivity" emerges. I can only infer it.

But I am not arguing for or against emergence here. I am simply asking why was "consciousness" naturally selected in the evolutionary process in light of the fact that consciousness exerts no causal influence (at least it doesn't in a materialistic world).

nigelTheBold wrote:
You make the assumption that, because your mind seems separate from your brain, that it is. I contend it is not, and so "mental" processes really aren't any different than any other emergent process in nature that deals with information, such as the production of an organism from DNA. The information substrate is physical; the information processing chain is physical; and the final result is physical. Yet information processing undeniably occurs. The information itself is not physical, but at every step along the way, it is physically encoded.

Overlooking the fact that you are now taking an excursion into the realm of bloviated obscurantism,  you have just contradicted yourself. Either "information" is physical or it is not. If it is not, then you are making an argument against materialism.

nigelTheBold wrote:
I guess you could argue for a sort of dualism, in which information exists separately from materialism. It'd be a tough haul, though, as so far we have no evidence that information exists without a material encoding, so the counter-argument is that information is an emergent property of materialism.

I'm afraid that you have already argued for some sort of dualism.

nigelTheBold wrote:
In any case, there are at least two examples of information processing systems in nature: the production of organisms from DNA, and evolution. Those emergent processes are just as non-physical as consciousness.

Is this a concession? Are you conceding the point that the nonphysical is real?

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Kevin R Brown wrote:Quote:I

Kevin R Brown wrote:
Quote:
I know what emergence is

So, I'll ask you for a second time then, Paisley:

Explain what emergent systems are and how they form, and provide examples of known emergent systems (patterns of behavior will also count).

See post #25.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:JillSwift

Paisley wrote:

JillSwift wrote:
Paisley wrote:
This is your argument: When a "stimulus-response system" reaches a certain level of complexity, then....mmm....presto....consciousness suddenly emerges! You have already presupposed conscious-awareness at this point. There is really no need to address the rest of your argument.
Tsk. We have consciousness. It's not exactly a wild presupposition. Look up emergence.

I know what emergence is - especially as it relates to the philosophical discussion of consciousness. But I don't want to digress. The question posed in the OP is at what point does conscious-awares emerge in the evolutionary process and why is it naturally selected since it is not causally-efficacious.

I'm not sure you do know what emergence is. The form of the word "emerge" which you are using it here is strictly in the temporal sense, which is not what emergence is about. Consciousness is an emergent property of the physical structure and natural processes of the brain. It isn't that it "emerged" at some point in the past. The proper word there is that "evolved" some time in the past.

Secondly, you are claiming consciousness is non-selectable as it is a neutral survival trait. Do you have any reason to suppose it is a neutral survival trait? Or do you just assume it's a neutral survival trait? As it is, it seems that consciousness would be a very handy trait to have, as has been pointed out in several of the previous posts that you have not read. (I assume you have not read them, as if you had, you would have to refute their claims that consciousness is a positive survival trait before you made the claim that  "it is not causally-efficacious." )

Even if we assume consciousness itself is a neutral trait, it is likely that consciousness is a side effect of the way our brain works. The same physical processes that give us intelligence also gives us increased awareness. There seems to be a correlation in nature between intelligence and self-awareness. If this is correct, it's tied to a strongly positive trait.

I'm of the opinion that intelligence and self-awareness are one and the same, or at least two aspects of the same set of processes.

Quote:

Okay, I guess I stand corrected. Evidently, I will have to digress. There are two forms of emergence as it relates to consciousness - namely, "strong emergence" and "weak emergence." Strong emergence holds that conscious-awareness suddenly emerges at some point in the evolutionary process. Weak emergence holds that conscious-awareness is a brute fact of existence and only higher-states of consciousness emerge in the evolutionary process.

"Strong emergence" is a form of emergence which cannot be deconstructed into its set of simpler constituent components. One who holds the view of strong emergence believes the emergent system exhibits behaviours not specifically codified in the system components, but rather, the emergent property supervenes on the system as a whole.

"Weak emergence" is a form of emergence in which the system can be deconstructed into its simpler constituent systems, and the emergent property is traceable to the properties of the system components.

The distinction between "strong" and "weak" is made mostly in philosophy. In science, "emergence" generally refers to the weak variety.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Paisley wrote:There are two

Paisley wrote:

There are two forms of emergence in philosophical discourse...

Quote:
Strong emergence is a type of emergence in which the emergent property is irreducible to its individual constituents. Some philosophers have proposed that qualia and consciousness demonstrate strong emergence. Strong emergence stands in contrast to weak emergence.

(source: Wikipedia: strong emergence)

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

Quote:
Weak Emergence is a type of emergence in which the emergent property is reducible to its individual constituents.

(source: Wikipedia: weak emergence)

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

Yes. And neither are temporal in nature. You often use the word "emergent" as it specifies a point-in-time. It doesn't. I was simply pointing out that you are using the word as if you don't really understand what it means.

Quote:

What?

I can mix blue paint with red paint and I observe purple paint. That is an example of an emergent property. But I cannot observe when "conscious-awareness" or "subjectivity" emerges. I can only infer it.

But I am not arguing for or against emergence here. I am simply asking why was "consciousness" naturally selected in the evolutionary process in light of the fact that consciousness exerts no causal influence (at least it doesn't in a materialistic world).

You've made no case that consciousness exerts no causal influence. Either it exists, or it doesn't; if it exists, it is able to exert a causal influence. The only things that don't exert causal influence are things that don't exist.

All you are doing is repeating an assertion that flies against the evidence of reality.

Quote:

Overlooking the fact that you are now taking an excursion into the realm of bloviated rumination,  you have just contradicted yourself. Either "information" is physical or it is not. If it is not, then you are making an argument against materialism.

Nice little dig there. I'm truly amused.

In that bloviated rumination, you fail to notice that I mention that the counter to the information/material duality is that information is an emergent property of materialism. No duality required. Just as hydrogen and oxygen are have no property for "wetness," when combined, they form water, which exhibits many properties that are not exhibited by oxygen or hydrogen. That's emergence.

The same is true of information. We use this to our advantage every time we use a computer.

Do you have evidence of any information that isn't encoded in something from the materialistic world? Any at all?

Anyway, my bloviated rumination was in response to this, from the OP:

Paisley, in the OP wrote:

Also, keep in mind that consciousness as an emergent property cannot be compared to any other form of emergence we may observe in nature because every other form is physical, not mental.

I addressed that indeed consciousness as an emergent property could indeed be  compared to other natural emergent systems. I notice that instead of addressing this, you chose a mild insult. That is indeed interesting.

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
In any case, there are at least two examples of information processing systems in nature: the production of organisms from DNA, and evolution. Those emergent processes are just as non-physical as consciousness.

Is this a concession? Are you conceding the point that the nonphysical is real?

How did you get that from what I said?

I stated specifically that all information is contained within the material. It's an aspect of the physical, not separate from the physical. Just as you can't dissociate wetness from a liquid, you can't dissociate information from the physical elements that encode it.

We can conceptualize information as a nonphysical thing, but it is inately tied to the material elements that encode it.

 

[edit addendum]

In case you missed it, the underlined sentence was ironic.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Paisley wrote:Kevin R Brown

Paisley wrote:

Kevin R Brown wrote:
Quote:
I know what emergence is

So, I'll ask you for a second time then, Paisley:

Explain what emergent systems are and how they form, and provide examples of known emergent systems (patterns of behavior will also count).

See post #25.

That post only demonstrates precisely what I suspected:

You have no idea what you're talking about. You had to quote a wiki article, and could not produce an original argument upon request.

 

Shame we don't have a 'Fraud' badge.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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nigelTheBold wrote:I'm not

nigelTheBold wrote:
I'm not sure you do know what emergence is. The form of the word "emerge" which you are using it here is strictly in the temporal sense, which is not what emergence is about. Consciousness is an emergent property of the physical structure and natural processes of the brain. It isn't that it "emerged" at some point in the past. The proper word there is that "evolved" some time in the past.

The evolutionary process is inherently temporal as all processes are. Also, there are not degrees of conscious-awareness. A subject is either experiencing conscious-awareness or it is not. Of course if it is not, then it does not qualify as a subject of conscious-awareness.

nigelTheBold wrote:
Secondly, you are claiming consciousness is non-selectable as it is a neutral survival trait. Do you have any reason to suppose it is a neutral survival trait? Or do you just assume it's a neutral survival trait? As it is, it seems that consciousness would be a very handy trait to have, as has been pointed out in several of the previous posts that you have not read. (I assume you have not read them, as if you had, you would have to refute their claims that consciousness is a positive survival trait before you made the claim that  "it is not causally-efficacious." )

I addressed this objection in post # 4....

Paisley Post #4 wrote:
Stosis wrote:
Can you explain further why consciousness is not beneficial to survival?

It's called sufficient causation and materialistic reductionism. If all natural processes can be explained in terms of the deterministic laws of physics and chemistry, then speaking of causation in terms of mental phenomena is irrelevant. Basically, the materialist looks at human beings as simply "robots with consciousness."

Also, if you say consciousness is causally-efficacious, then you are making an argument for libertarian free will and therefore an argument for the existence of an immaterial soul.

nigelTheBold wrote:
Even if we assume consciousness itself is a neutral trait, it is likely that consciousness is a side effect of the way our brain works. The same physical processes that give us intelligence also gives us increased awareness. There seems to be a correlation in nature between intelligence and self-awareness. If this is correct, it's tied to a strongly positive trait.

I'm of the opinion that intelligence and self-awareness are one and the same, or at least two aspects of the same set of processes.

Correlation is not causation.

Computers have artificial intelligence. They process information and spit out results. I have absolutely no reason to believe that computers are experiencing conscious-awareness. And if materialism is true, then theoretically we could have human beings functioning in some possible world as "robots without consciousness." Of course, this is patently insane. But this is not my worldview, it's yours.

nigelTheBold wrote:
"Strong emergence" is a form of emergence which cannot be deconstructed into its set of simpler constituent components. One who holds the view of strong emergence believes the emergent system exhibits behaviours not specifically codified in the system components, but rather, the emergent property supervenes on the system as a whole.

"Weak emergence" is a form of emergence in which the system can be deconstructed into its simpler constituent systems, and the emergent property is traceable to the properties of the system components.

The distinction between "strong" and "weak" is made mostly in philosophy. In science, "emergence" generally refers to the weak variety.

Good! Therefore, we can conclude that those who espouse scientific materialism can not appeal to strong emergence.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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No definitions

what exactly do you mean by conscious awareness? A plant could be considered conscious as it is aware of where the sunlight is, as many plants that are indoor grow towards the sunlight by that VERY VERY vague description that you use for everyhting. Please define what your talking about, because otherwise your not making any sense, and just using words in the most vague of terms to make them mean something else.

In using aware what do you mean, as in being in a congnitive state that you are aware of yourself and your sitiuation? Or as in understanding of, appreciation of, recognition of, attention to, perception of, consciousness of, acquaintance with, enlightenment with, sensibility to, realization of, familiarity with, mindfulness of, cognizance of, sentience of? which one of these meaning defintions are you using with awareness?

Again what do you mean by conscious? Can you define any of these terms with your own words on how you are using the terms, and please no websters dictionary terms, your own words, using your own thoughts on HOW your using these termenologies and definitions.

Computers don't really have artificial intelligence, your desktop or laptop has no AI, information and information out, but it does not have any form on intelligence, it cannot make decisions, it cannot be aware of a situation, all it does is output information based on what is inputed, it cannot change the output of the information or seek any other type of input or output beyond what it has been programmed to do. Humans will never be robots as you describe, because a humans learn from their experiences, robots don't, they can't. Your entire argument has been faulty from the beginning.

Oh again, if you can actually read, IN SCIENCE, "EMERGENCE" GENERALLY REFERS TO THE WEAK VARIETY, IT DOES NOT MEAN ALWYAS, generally, so yes it can make the appeal to strong emergence if the situation calls for it, however that is not the norm, do you have to go back to school to learn how to properly read and comprehend what people are stating?


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go education yourself paisley

Go read, figure it all out and when your actually learned something come back on this topic.

http://dingo.sbs.arizona.edu/~snichols/Papers/evolcons(final).pdf just a small sample of what you actually might have to deal with when learning about this topic.

 

(edit: I cannot seem to get bracket part and .pdf to be part of the link so you will have to add it manually)


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Paisley wrote:The

Paisley wrote:

The evolutionary process is inherently temporal as all processes are. Also, there are not degrees of conscious-awareness. A subject is either experiencing conscious-awareness or it is not. Of course if it is not, then it does not qualify as a subject of conscious-awareness.

In this specific chain of discussion, we were discussing emergence. I pointed out that you were using "emerge" in both the temporal sense, and the sense of emergent properties. I did this because I thought you were doing this unintentionally. I simply wanted to point out this possible communication problem.

As this whole discussion progressed, it became quite clear that you actually thought "emergence" specified a point-in-time. Your reply here pretty much confirms that you are confused about the meaning of "emergence" in reference to properties of physical systems.

Quote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
Secondly, you are claiming consciousness is non-selectable as it is a neutral survival trait. Do you have any reason to suppose it is a neutral survival trait? Or do you just assume it's a neutral survival trait? As it is, it seems that consciousness would be a very handy trait to have, as has been pointed out in several of the previous posts that you have not read. (I assume you have not read them, as if you had, you would have to refute their claims that consciousness is a positive survival trait before you made the claim that  "it is not causally-efficacious." )

I addressed this objection in post # 4....

No, you didn't. You made a bunch of unfounded assertions with no logic or evidence to provide support.

Paisley, in post #4, wrote:

It's called sufficient causation and materialistic reductionism. If all natural processes can be explained in terms of the deterministic laws of physics and chemistry, then speaking of causation in terms of mental phenomena is irrelevant. Basically, the materialist looks at human beings as simply "robots with consciousness."

Also, if you say consciousness is causally-efficacious, then you are making an argument for libertarian free will and therefore an argument for the existence of an immaterial soul.

The problem here is that "consciousness" is left undefined, and you make whatever claim you want about it. Your arguments presuppose dualism, and so any rebuttal that doesn't fall into the dualist model is rejected, even though the rebuttal is sufficient.

Consciousness is nothing more than our perception of our brain at work. It's the brain observing itself, as it were. This may make us "robots with consciousness," or even just "robots." Big deal. In any case, the act of observing the brain at work affects the working of the brain. Like a feedback loop, it affects the processing of the brain. If this isn't "causally-efficacious," then nothing is.

Libertarian free will does not necessitate, nor make an argument for, an immaterial soul. That is something tacked on by supernaturalists.

Quote:

Correlation is not causation.

I didn't say that it was. I stated that one possible answer to your question of the evolutionary basis of consciousness is that it is part of the same process that produces intelligence. I didn't say that one caused the other; I said that, since intelligence seems to correlate with consciousness, they stem from the same mechanism. Therefore, selecting for intelligence would also select for consciousness.

That's really basic evolutionary theory.

Quote:

Computers have artificial intelligence. They process information and spit out results. I have absolutely no reason to believe that computers are experiencing conscious-awareness. And if materialism is true, then theoretically we could have human beings functioning in some possible world as "robots without consciousness." Of course, this is patently insane. But this is not my worldview, it's yours.

Computers do not have artificial intelligence. Not even close. Research into AI has increased our knowledge of information theory, but we are still a long way from artificial intelligence.

And as computers are built on a completely different information processing substrate than our brains, there would be nothing that would necessitate that an intelligent computer must also possess consciousness.

As for the "robots without consciousness" goes: considering you haven't offered up a coherent definition of consciousness, I can't even begin to tell if we're robots without consciousness or not.

Quote:

Good! Therefore, we can conclude that those who espouse scientific materialism can not appeal to strong emergence.

Let's see. I said, "In science, 'emergence' generally refers to the weak variety." At what point did I exclude strong emergence? I believe the word "generally" indicates non-exclusivity. So, conclude whatever you like. It's not what I said, but whatever. You seem to do it a lot.

In any case, I'm not sure where I stand on strong emergence. I'm not convinced there's a case for supervenience, for instance. There's certainly no identified example of strong emergence. But again, our understanding of emergence is in its infancy.

We don't have any tools for working with emergence, so we don't really have any idea how to determine whether the emergent property is derivable from the contituent elements. So we've no method of determining if supervenience really occurs, even if we identify what we consider a strongly-emergent system.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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nigelTheBold wrote:You've

nigelTheBold wrote:
You've made no case that consciousness exerts no causal influence. Either it exists, or it doesn't; if it exists, it is able to exert a causal influence. The only things that don't exert causal influence are things that don't exist.

All you are doing is repeating an assertion that flies against the evidence of reality.

This is interesting. First you tell me that consciousness gradually evolved over a long period of time and that it did not suddenly emerge. Now, you are saying "either it exists, or it doesn't." Well, I'm glad that you now see it my way....either it exists or doesn't!

I have already addressed your objection concerning conscious-awareness and its causal influence. But I will repeat myself....

It's called materialistic reductionism and sufficient causation. Based on a strictly materialistic worldview, all mental events require a physical explanation. If a physical explanation is sufficient to account for a mental event, then it is irrelevant to speak of mental events as an explantion. In other words, it doesn't make a difference if a "robot" has concsiousness or not as to how it will respond to its environment.  

nigelTheBold wrote:
Nice little dig there. I'm truly amused.

In that bloviated rumination, you fail to notice that I mention that the counter to the information/material duality is that information is an emergent property of materialism. No duality required. Just as hydrogen and oxygen are have no property for "wetness," when combined, they form water, which exhibits many properties that are not exhibited by oxygen or hydrogen. That's emergence.

The same is true of information. We use this to our advantage every time we use a computer.

Do you have evidence of any information that isn't encoded in something from the materialistic world? Any at all?

What exactly is your point? Are you referring to information theory and quantum decoherence? What exactly is its relevance to the subject matter at hand?

The term "information" is only meaningful in the context of a mind that identifies it as such.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisely wrote:This is

Paisely wrote:
This is interesting. First you tell me that consciousness gradually evolved over a long period of time and that it did not suddenly emerge. Now, you are saying "either it exists, or it doesn't." Well, I'm glad that you now see it my way....either it exists or doesn't!

Nowhere did he postulate that consciousness began nonexistent and then went through some other phase on its way to existence. You can have consciousness exist or not exist as the only options while simultaneously postulating that the current, highly complicated forms evolved from simpler forms. You seem to have argued that he contradicted himself, but one cannot find a contradiction in what he said. Your conclusion is a non-sequitur.

Paisely wrote:
It's called materialistic reductionism and sufficient causation. Based on a strictly materialistic worldview, all mental events require a physical explanation. If a physical explanation is sufficient to account for a mental event, then it is irrelevant to speak of mental events as an explantion. In other words, it doesn't make a difference if a "robot" has concsiousness or not as to how it will respond to its environment.

You argue that the intelligence to accurately respond to environments can exist without consciousness, but what reason do you have to bolster your argument, aside from the sophistic flab you have repeatedly offered us thus far? It appears that you have used an argument by analogy whereby you compare humans and robots. Seeing as how robots never evolved, you cannot use an argument by analogy to make a point about evolution. It simply doesn't work. We can make robots without consciousness that can accurately respond to their environments and nature has created beings that do the same, but that does not mean that evolutionary processes cannot lead to certain neuronal configurations that would result in consciousness. Your conclusion is a non-sequitur.

Stultior stulto fuisti, qui tabellis crederes!


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Paisley wrote:This is

Paisley wrote:

This is interesting. First you tell me that consciousness gradually evolved over a long period of time and that it did not suddenly emerge. Now, you are saying "either it exists, or it doesn't." Well, I'm glad that you now see it my way....either it exists or doesn't!

It's hard to tell if I agree with you or not. I'm not quite sure what your saying. And you keep misunderstanding me. I think we're often writing at cross-purposes.

I don't know if consciousness is a binary proposition or not. If it is, then it would've appeared suddenly. If it isn't, then it could've evolved over a long period. Either way, it doesn't matter to the thread of the conversation, nor my point, which has nothing to do with evolution.

It has to do with emergence, and your complete misunderstanding of what emergence is. Your equivocation here pretty much proves that you really don't know what emergence is, let alone its application to consciousness. This discussion is completely useless until you educate yourself about emergence in physical systems.

Quote:

I have already addressed your objection concerning conscious-awareness and its causal influence. But I will repeat myself....

It's called materialistic reductionism and sufficient causation. Based on a strictly materialistic worldview, all mental events require a physical explanation. If a physical explanation is sufficient to account for a mental event, then it is irrelevant to speak of mental events as an explantion. In other words, it doesn't make a difference if a "robot" has concsiousness or not as to how it will respond to its environment.  

Again, this is only a problem if you assume dualism from the outset.

If you assume materialism, consciousness is part of the physical causal chain. So, no, you've not addressed my objection at all. You've avoided it by judging it within the framework of dualism, not the framework of materialism.

Quote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
Do you have evidence of any information that isn't encoded in something from the materialistic world? Any at all?

What exactly is your point? Are you referring to information theory and quantum decoherence? What exactly is its relevance to the subject matter at hand?

The term "information" is only meaningful in the context of a mind that identifies it as such.

My point was that you referred to information as nonphysical, in an attempt to get me to admit that there is reality outside of materialism. My point was that information is an aspect of physical systems. For information to be non-physical, you'd need to provide an example of information existing without a physical substrate.

"Information" is meaningful in physical systems. DNA carries the information required to construct proteins, and to differentiate tissue into distinct organs. The frequency and polarity of a photon are pieces of information. All this exists outside the mind.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Paisley wrote:Here's the

Paisley wrote:

Here's the dilemma for materialists as I see it...

Why was the characteristic  or trait of conscious-awareness naturally selected if consciousness does not confer any survival benefit?  In other words, why aren't all living organisms simply organic "robots without consciousness?" (Remember, according to materialism, consciousness is not causally-efficacious. So it cannot confer any survival benefit.)

Consciousness and intelligence are aspects of the same features within the brain. Neither causes the other; they are caused by the same feature. As intelligence is a positive survival trait, that physical feature was selected. As that feature also conveys consciousness, consciousness was also selected.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Paisley wrote:To begin with,

Paisley wrote:

To begin with, I would suggest that the next time you respond to one of my posts that you first read it in its entirety before posting. This would save time for the both of us. Having to read your bloviated response is timing consuming for me as I am sure that having to write it is time consuming for you.

I did. And I promise you, I used precisely no more words than were needed to make my point, no matter how devoutly you ignore it.

Quote:

Now, I  will separate the wheat from the chaff and respond to your post.

I clearly defined the term "conciousness" in the context of this thread to mean "at the very least conscious-awareness." The operative words in this description are "AT THE VERY LEAST." I trust that no further commentary is necessary.

Your trust is misplaced. I am asking you to demonstrate that your definition of consciousness has value, and that what you perceive as consciousness is fundamentally different than the awareness of surroundings and stimuli present in other organisms, such as cats.

Quote:

If I hadn't engaged in "discussions" with you in the past, I would be prompted at this point to pose the question "Are you serious?"

Conscious-awareness is axiomatic (self-evident). Any attempt to deny it pressupposes it.

Of course I'm serious. Your responses are direct results of stimuli. Your perceived awareness of awareness is a response to the stimuli of your own actions. Please demonstrate how this differs from highly complex recursion of stimulus-response. Prove that consciousness isn't a lie the brain tells itself in order to achieve a positive reaction (ie: the release of a more positive combination of chemicals).

Quote:

I will assume that you are using the term "ape" as a euphemism or substitute for human being. To say that human beings (or apes for that matter) are "able to convince their own brains" PRESUPPOSES that they not only have conscious-awareness but that they also have conscious free will.

Not at all. And I'm using 'ape' to refer to.... apes. Humans, gorillas, chimpanzee, orangutan, etc. You know, apes. Saying that apes are potentially able to construct a complex enough set of self-stimuli so as to cause an internal perception of self-determinism doesn't presuppose consciousness, only awareness of existence. As mentioned, the science is beginning to pile up to demonstrate that the internal perception we label 'consciousness' is not actually the part of our brain activity that's making our decisions. It may simply be the part of the brain's activity that attempts to collate the aggregate stimuli into a cohesive framework.

Quote:

What exactly are you peddling? Some form of eliminative materialism (i.e. the especially pernicious form of materialism that actually denies that consciousness - human or otherwise - exists?) And the members on this forum are calling me the irrational one? LOL

I'm 'peddling' following the data, and not letting comforting assumptions stand in the way of a fair and objective reading of the results. If you've got actual empirical evidence that supports your position, present it.

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons." - The Waco Kid


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Paisley wrote:I know what

Paisley wrote:
I know what emergence is - especially as it relates to the philosophical discussion of consciousness. But I don't want to digress. The question posed in the OP is at what point does conscious-awares emerge in the evolutionary process and why is it naturally selected since it is not causally-efficacious.
Obviously you don't know what emergence is - and I'm not interested in discussing "philosophical" anything. Science gets far superior information. Also, why do you keep insisting that consciousness is not causally-efficacious?

Paisley wrote:
From my vantage point, you appear to be eqivocating.
Tell me what I'm equivocating, or you're just projecting.

Paisley wrote:
Apparently some "stimulus-response systems" have "proto-consciousness" while others have "true consciouness." 

Requests...

1) Please define "proto-consciousness" and "true consciousness."

Proto-conciousness is awareness of context without being aware of that awareness. In essence it is a very complex stimulus-response system. The overall system is complex enough to generate complex behavior, but not complex enough to have emergent systems.

Where "true" conciousness includes an awareness of self-other and an awareness of the awareness of context. A sufficient number of the stimulus-response subsystems in such a brain are internal - their stimulus is from other stimulus-response subsystems, and their response is always to send a stimulous to other subsystems. The result is an emergent system most would call a "mind".

Paisley wrote:
2) Please explain how they differ from "conscious-awareness?"
Define this "concious-awareness" so I know how it differs from conciousness. It sounds like a tautology to me.

Paisley wrote:
Questions...

Are there "stimulus-response systems" that neither have "proto-consciousness" nor "true consciousness?" If so, why not?

Yes there are. Their simplicity does not allow for complex behavior.

 

 

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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BMcD wrote:Your trust is

BMcD wrote:

Your trust is misplaced. I am asking you to demonstrate that your definition of consciousness has value, and that what you perceive as consciousness is fundamentally different than the awareness of surroundings and stimuli present in other organisms, such as cats.

There is no philosophically-useful definition of "consciousness." It often gives rise to unnecessary dualism. That's part of the problem here, and I believe this is part of the reason Paisley consistently misunderstands materialism: he is stuck with dualism, and is unable to comprehend the materialistic worldview, as it is incompatible with dualism.

That's why he keeps projecting, and saying that consciousness is not "causally efficacious" from a materialistic worldview. As his dualism insists that "mind" is separate from "brain," consciousness cannot exist from the materialistic view. He completely cannot grasp that consciousness is part of the physical system: it is the brain's monitoring, coordination, and aggregation system. That is the same reason he fails to recognize that information is innately tied to its physical substrate, and does not exist without a physical element.

I realized as I thought about this last night that there is a simple test for consciousness. If consciousness is the "supervisor process" (operating system?) for the brain (for lack of a better term), then animals with consciousness would want mental activity. Animals that worked off a strict stimulus-response system would put all their energy into survival and procreation. Animals with consciousness would exhibit behaviour not directly related to survival and procreation.

As it is, we observe this behaviour all the time. My dogs insist on play. They get physical exercise at other times by running around chasing each other; but that is not sufficient. They want to chase the ball. I have observed ravens at play, in which one would drop a pebble from the peak of a roof, and one or more would chase the pebble down the roof, pecking at it the entire way. Then a raven would fly down to the ground, grab a pebble, and repeat the process. Over and over again.

Another trait that would be exhibited by conscious animals: emotions. Emotions are indicative of self-aware mental states. Therefore, any animal that exhibits emotions is conscious.

Given all that, I'd say that our consciousness is no different from cats, other than degree. Our conscious states appear to be more complex than cats. Otherwise, they are very similar.

If dualism were true, that would mean that cats and dogs have souls. That's kind of a comforting thought. I really love my dogs.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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latincanuck wrote:Paisley

latincanuck wrote:
Paisley wrote:
The bottom line is that if there is no free will (libertarian), then consciousness is not causally-efficacious. That being said, the materialist has no logical explanation to account for why nature selected "robots with consciousness" instead of "robots without it."

The problem lies paisley is the defintion of conciousness, what exactly is it, there are so many defintions and forget the philisophical problems that arise as well. A simple search has the following definitions.

I have clearly defined in the OP of this tread the term "consciousness" to mean "AT THE VERY LEAST, consciously-aware."

latincanuck wrote:
the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself

"The quality or state of being aware." <= This is how I am using the term in the context of this thread.

latincanuck wrote:
Using any number of these definitions we can say that a molecule does not have consciousness, it can react to it's enviroment but it cannot make decisions based on any form of knowledge.

How do we know that a molecule does not have conscious-awareness? After all, we can only infer consciousness on basis of external behavior.  A molecule is a "stimulus-response system" that interacts with its environment. Why can't I infer that it has consciousness based on its behavioral traits?

What about an electron? An electron exhibits truly random behavior (i.e. it is unpredictable). Based on quantum theory, the electron appears to "choose" from a possibility of superposed states. Why can't I infer that an electron is conscious? 

latincanuck wrote:
Same goes for simple cells, they merely react to external stimuli. However a group of cells, multicellular organisms, oh like say a worm, is it conscious? Well again that depends on the definition that you are using, it may or may not be.

What about cells? They interact with their environment and their behavior is not wholly predictable. Why should I not infer that they exhibit conscious behavior?

And you seem to be equivocating with worms. What makes you think that a worm does not experience the "state of being aware?" The worm is a "stimulus-response system" that exhibits behavior that is not wholly predictable. I see no reason why I shoud not believe that a worm is consciously-aware.

latincanuck wrote:
However we can say species with higher forms of intelligences, monkeys, apes, dolphines, whales, humans, etc, etc, etc that say can and do show emotions, able to feel various forms of sensations they are conscious, but then again what is exactly conscious?. However robots yeah to a extent, we are, but it's not the same concept at all, we have basic programming from out evolutionary background, such as the capability of breathing and digesting food without the need of "conscious" awareness. However we can react all differently to the same situation as well, we can make decisions based on our experience, where a robot cannot it simply does as it was programmed to do from the beginning.....predestination if you will. Were we are not predetermined from the moment of conception or birth.

Regardless of an organism's intelligence (which is open to interpretation), there is no reason to assume that some living organisms do not experience the "state of being aware." It may be true that some are aware of more things than others.  But that is not what is at issue here. The only question here is whether or not a "stimulus-response system" experiences the "state of being aware."

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:I have clearly

Paisley wrote:

I have clearly defined in the OP of this tread the term "consciousness" to mean "AT THE VERY LEAST, consciously-aware."

Yet you have failed to comprehend the problem, it is the most vague description that you use that you can practically use the definition to fit anything, that's' the problem with your argument it's too vague to mean anything really. This is your ignorance of the entire topic, you don't even understand what consciousness means let alone how to argue the topic properly.

latincanuck wrote:
the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself

"The quality or state of being aware." <= This is how I am using the term in the context of this thread.

latincanuck wrote:
Using any number of these definitions we can say that a molecule does not have consciousness, it can react to it's environment but it cannot make decisions based on any form of knowledge.

How do we know that a molecule does not have conscious-awareness? After all, we can only infer consciousness on basis of external behavior.  A molecule is a "stimulus-response system" that interacts with its environment. Why can't I infer that it has consciousness based on its behavioral traits?

What about an electron? An electron exhibits truly random behavior (i.e. it is unpredictable). Based on quantum theory, the electron appears to "choose" from a possibility of superposed states. Why can't I infer that an electron is conscious? 

On what level of consciousness are you talking about? At the most basic vagueness of definitions shit it doesn't mean anything, if you even bothered with the link that I provided you would have understood that the term consciousness cannot be used for molecules because they exhibit no form of consciousness at all, even electrons don't. You can if you like use it, however the definition of consciousness far exceeds that of molecules and electrons and they are not aware of themselves, they are not aware of their environment or their situation, at least not in any form that we can test at all. As such they are not considered conscious. Again we get the problem that you just play with words without actually knowing anything, because you refused to PROPERLY define anything beyond vague terms. Your lack of definition is the problem with the ENTIRE OP. You have no definition other than some vague term, as such you can play with it all you want and dismiss anything that you don't like just because you can't make a proper definition of the words your using in your OP. However far more intelligent people have already destroyed your OP by showing you that you don't understand an anything about consciousness or the definition of it.

Quote:

latincanuck wrote:
Same goes for simple cells, they merely react to external stimuli. However a group of cells, multicellular organisms, oh like say a worm, is it conscious? Well again that depends on the definition that you are using, it may or may not be.

What about cells? They interact with their environment and their behavior is not wholly predictable. Why should I not infer that they exhibit conscious behavior?

And you seem to be equivocating with worms. What makes you think that a worm does not experience the "state of being aware?" The worm is a "stimulus-response system" that exhibits behavior that is not wholly predictable. I see no reason why I should not believe that a worm is consciously-aware.

Again what definition of consciousness are you using here? What definition of awareness are you using, please paisley again now either your being completely ignorant on this or completely stupid, at this point I am leaning on stupid because you refuse to actually define consciousness or awareness properly and just playing with words, if your going to make a proper argument use proper definitions no vague terms.  With the worm example I am trying to show you that without proper definitions anything can be considered conscious even if we aren't sure, well it all depends on the definition, which is very very important in science (something you seem to not understand actually no matter how many arguments you make, your lack of understandof  this simple concept, definition or defying a term or word, shows your lack of education or proper understanding of how science works, even philosophy has to have a proper definition of a word or terminology, without it you can just spin tales and go round and round without ever making sense of anything)

latincanuck wrote:
However we can say species with higher forms of intelligences, monkeys, apes, dolphins, whales, humans, etc, etc, etc that say can and do show emotions, able to feel various forms of sensations they are conscious, but then again what is exactly conscious?. However robots yeah to a extent, we are, but it's not the same concept at all, we have basic programming from out evolutionary background, such as the capability of breathing and digesting food without the need of "conscious" awareness. However we can react all differently to the same situation as well, we can make decisions based on our experience, where a robot cannot it simply does as it was programmed to do from the beginning.....predestination if you will. Were we are not predetermined from the moment of conception or birth.

Regardless of an organism's intelligence (which is open to interpretation), there is no reason to assume that some living organisms do not experience the "state of being aware." It may be true that some are aware of more things than others.  But that is not what is at issue here. The only question here is whether or not a "stimulus-response system" experiences the "state of being aware."

in the end, its how complicated is the level of awareness, aware of it's environment, aware of it's self and it's situation? Or is it a basic level of awareness, it's immediate situation or immediate environment. As well intelligence and consciousness they are not separate at all. But if you bother to read the link I gave you would have understood that they are not 2 separate things at all. If you bothered to actually learn anything about how complex the idea and the different levels of consciousness there is , as well as how important it is to DEFINE the term of consciousness your using beyond vague terms, well this would be a moot discussion.

[Edit: I just gotta take more time when written and re-read it a few times before posting]


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 Quote:I have clearly

 

Quote:
I have clearly defined in the OP of this tread the term "consciousness" to mean "AT THE VERY LEAST, consciously-aware."

Kiddo, didn't they teach you in grade school that you can't use a word in its own definition?

 

 

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Hambydammit wrote: Quote:I

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Quote:
I have clearly defined in the OP of this tread the term "consciousness" to mean "AT THE VERY LEAST, consciously-aware."

Kiddo, didn't they teach you in grade school that you can't use a word in its own definition?

It's worse than that, since I think Paisley already said that 'awareness' was pretty much synonymous with 'consciousness', so it is a complete tautology...

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 I know that before I

 I know that before I discovered critical thinking, I often thought of things like this as so patently obvious that they didn't need "word definitions."  Consciousness is consciousness.  We all have it, and we all recognize it when we see it.

I suspect that Paisley may be caught in this trap.  He thinks he has defined consciousness and awareness without realizing that he's just restating the undefined.  As anyone who's studied the subject should know, the definition of consciousness is really, really tricky.

I argued (I think rather convincingly) in THIS ARTICLE that for the purposes of most theological and philosophical arguments, the exact definition of consciousness or sentience isn't as important as it seems.  In fact, it's not really much of an issue at all.  Sure, it's an interesting question for neurologists and philosophers to tackle, but we can clearly see that with increasing brain complexity we get increasing degrees of awareness of and interaction with the environment.  It's very telling that brain size and complexity are directly related to degree of consciousness.  That is, there are no sentient earthworms, but all whales are sentient to approximately the same degree.

Basically, the question of consciousness only becomes problematic if we presuppose dualism!  Since there is no justification for dualism, the question of consciousness is not a problem.

 

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Hambydammit wrote: Quote:I

Hambydammit wrote:
 
Quote:
I have clearly defined in the OP of this tread the term "consciousness" to mean "AT THE VERY LEAST, consciously-aware."

Kiddo, didn't they teach you in grade school that you can't use a word in its own definition?

This is really beginning to become "Clintonesque"....well, this all depends on what the defintion of "is" is.....

If the meaning of the term "awareness" is not immediately self-evident to you, then this discussion is obviously an exercise in futility because I am trying to verbally communicate with someone who is either....1) not conversant in English or...2) a functional zombie. But ironically enough, this goes directly to the point. If the mechanical worldview of materialism is correct, then why isn't the world populated with zombies rather than with these bumbling "robots with consciousness" who profess to be without a belief in God?

 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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 Quote:This is really

 

Quote:
This is really beginning to become "Clintonesque"....well, this all depends on what the defintion of "is" is.....

Q: What is blotosphotecense?

A: It's the manifestation of blotosphotence.

Ok, Paisley.  Now, tell me what blotophotecense is.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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JillSwift
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Paisley wrote:This is really

Paisley wrote:
This is really beginning to become "Clintonesque"....

well, this all depends on what the defintion of "is" is.....

If the meaning of the term "awareness" is not immediately self-evident to you, then this discussion is obviously an exercise in futility because I am trying to verbally communicate with someone who is either....1) not conversant in English or...2) a functional zombie. But ironically enough, this goes directly to the point. If the mechanical worldview of materialism is correct, then why isn't the world populated with zombies rather than with these bumbling "robots with consciousness" who profess to be without a belief in God?

Hahahahhaaa! Oh you are such a card! Quite the sense of humor.

What? You were serious?

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


latincanuck
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Are you that uneducated?

Let see if this example helps you understand what you are doing wrong.

Q: what is christianity

A: a christian

Q: what is a christian

A: a follower of christianity

Q: then what exactly is christianity?

A: A christian

This is how your responding to everything, I suspect because if you actually define what you mean by consciouness and aware than your whole argument fails....actually it has failed in many levels because you refuse to define anything beyond vague definitions

In the example anything can be considered a christian and anything can be dismissed as a christian because you have not defined anything other than the absolute most vague of terms.

So for the sake of the thread, here are some defintions AGAIN of consciousness and awareness....please understand that you cannot use vague terms here as they are meaningless in these type of discussion, and I shall show you why.

Consciousness: an alert cognitive state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation, knowing and perceiving; having awareness of surroundings and sensations and thoughts, may involve thoughts, sensations, perceptions, moods, emotions, dreams, and self awareness, It has been defined from a biological and causal perspective as the act of autonomously modulating attentional and computational effort, usually with the goal of obtaining, retaining, or maximizing specific parameters, such as food, a safe environment, family, or mates (this one answers your evolutionary question) We can break this down even further if you like Phenomenal Consciousness or Access Consciousness but I highly doubt you will understand at this point as you can't get the concept of why using a proper definition is important.

Now lets define Awareness in the regards to consciousness

Awareness: having knowledge of, understanding of, appreciation of, recognition of, attention to, perception of, consciousness of, acquaintance with, enlightenment with, sensibility to, realization of, familiarity with, mindfulness of, cognizance of, sentience of. . The state or level of consciousness where sense data can be confirmed by an observer. In biological psychology, awareness comprises a human's or an animal's perception and cognitive reaction to a condition or event. As well we can break it down further to feeling, sense, self awareness or knowing of awareness But again we shall try to keep it simple for you as you seem to have a hard time with technical defintions here.

If you cannot define awareness or conciousness awareness beyong the vague description that you have used this your thread is done as you have failed to present a proper argument using proper definitions of the word or terms that you are using.


Hambydammit
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 Quote:Hahahahhaaa! Oh you

 

Quote:
Hahahahhaaa! Oh you are such a card! Quite the sense of humor.

 

What? You were serious?

Seriously, this is one of the most absurd discussions I've ever witnessed.  It's hard for me to even think about how to address many of the points he's making.  In another thread, I likened it to you telling me to prove that the streetlamps in Manhattan aren't made of Jello Pudding.  Where do you start?

Paisley is invoking self-evidence without having any clue whatsoever what it means.  In fact, I think that may be part of the problem.  It is most certainly NOT self evident that the streetlamps in Manhattan are not made of Jello pudding.  Rather, it is so overwhelmingly evident that it seems absurd to demand proof.

Ok, Paisley.  There are two basic ways to approach self-evidence:

1) A thing is known to be true without any proof.  This is probably the definition you think you are working with, but you're making a horrible mistake.  The fact that we are conscious is self-evident.  The nature of consciousness is certainly not.  You're proving that in this very thread by claiming again and again that materialists cannot account for consciousness.  If anyone at all cannot account for the definition, then it is most certainly not self evident. {EDIT: Put another way, if something is self-evident, then EVERYBODY knows it.}

2) Self evident propositions are those whose denial is self-contradictory.  The statement "I do not exist" is self contradictory, for existence is required in order to make a statement.  Therefore, I exist is self evident.  We can try this with consciousness and see the truth of it:

"I am unconscious" is self contradictory.  If I am unconscious, I cannot be conscious of my consciousness.  (Notice, I'm using the word in self-reference, but it's ok here because we're not talking about the definition of consciousness, only the realization of it!)

"Consciousness is an emergent property of mind" is not self-contradictory.  It's not an either-or proposition.  It's a definition.  Also, "Consciousness is a supernatural manifestation of a dualistic link between spirit and body" is not self-contradictory.  It is fallacious, but not self-contradictory.

So, we come down to two basic kinds of self-evidence -- empirical and symbolic.  It's not funny anymore how consistently you confuse two different things and then find a way to form a conflated argument around them.

 

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism