The Blind Spot of the Materialist Worldview

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The Blind Spot of the Materialist Worldview

Below is a link to a "Google Tech Talk" YouTube video given by B. Alan Wallace on science and the study of consciousness. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7gBW9HoTg8&feature=PlayList&p=B2CA29A4B3268623&playnext=1&index=1

 

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


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 Holy shit! It's

 

Holy shit! It's Mattshizzle!

 

Oh wait...


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I'm not exactly watching

I'm not exactly watching this, but I have it playing in the background as I do other things.

At around 13:40 he claims that dreams and emotions and hopes and desires and thoughts and perception are not quantifiable. This is just wrong. Someone needs to tell this man what an fMRI is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroimaging#Functional_Magnetic_Resonance_Imaging

Your perceptions and feelings are easily quantifiable using fMRI. It turns out that perceptions and feelings and thoughts are produced by the actions of various regions of your brain. Sure, they are subjective, but we can still quantify them and understand the physical processes that produce them.

At 14:06 he says that 'they are not clearly physical.' BZZZZT!WRONG!. This guy likes to pretend that thoughts and feelings are non-physical. What a joke.

A bit earlier he spoke of how observers make electrons act like particles when they travel through slits. He doesn't seem to understand that 'obsever' does not mean 'person.' We don't get a special status in the universe for observation. Even a tiny electronic device that is not operated by a person and has no consciousness whatsoever counts as an observer.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/02/980227055013.htm

You don't even need consciousness to be an oberver. This isn't some spiritual thing, unless you think that tiny electronic devices get to subjectively observe electrons using some sort of non-physical mind.

"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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I simply had to respond to

Jormungander wrote:

I'm not exactly watching this, but I have it playing in the background as I do other things.

At around 13:40 he claims that dreams and emotions and hopes and desires and thoughts and perception are not quantifiable. This is just wrong. Someone needs to tell this man what an fMRI is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroimaging#Functional_Magnetic_Resonance_Imaging

Your perceptions and feelings are easily quantifiable using fMRI. It turns out that perceptions and feelings and thoughts are produced by the actions of various regions of your brain. Sure, they are subjective, but we can still quantify them and understand the physical processes that produce them.

What does the machine tell us? Perhaps the sort of emotion experienced, perhaps the length of the experience, perhaps the intensity. We could have quantified all of that before the machine was invented, by introspection. The machine does not tell us anything new. The speaker was referring to qualities of our subjective experience that do not appear on the machine. The thing about anger that is different from sadness, for example, is not quantifiable. You cannot express what about anger is different from sadness in terms of grams, meters, seconds, or meters per second.

Don't say that anger's location in the brain is what makes it different from sadness. That would be confusing the origin of the thing with the thing. It would be like saying that the difference between The Mona Lisa and Starry Night is the people who painted them. The artist matters, surely, but there are also differences between the paintings themselves. Likewise, the experience of anger and the experience of sadness are different independent of their (putative) physiological origin.

Quote:
At 14:06 he says that 'they are not clearly physical.' BZZZZT!WRONG!. This guy likes to pretend that thoughts and feelings are non-physical. What a joke.

The claim that thought is not clearly physical differs from the claim that it is not physical. By analogy, an ancient Greek would have agreed that "the sun is not clearly composed of the same sorts of particles that the earth is composed of" - and at that point in time, he would have been correct. This means only that it is not proven that the sun is made of the same sorts of particles as the earth. The Greek is not saying that the sun is made of something different (though he may believe that), but only that you have not made the case for its being made of the same things as the earth. Likewise, the speaker is only saying there that the atheists have not made a good positive case for thought being physical -- and objectively, he is correct. He may go on to argue that it is not physical later, of course.

And why is dualism "a joke"? Thoughts have qualities that material objects never do. For example, a thought can be insightful, but a rock can't. Likewise, material objects have qualities that thoughts never do. What is the velocity of your opinions on women's suffrage? How about their mass? These observations, coupled with the absence of a compelling reason to think the mind identical with the body, are strong reasons to believe dualism.

We can take a scientific approach to the question as well (scientific because experimentally verifiable). The body moves, yes? Then if your mind was identical with your body, we would expect it to feel as if your mind was moving, once in a while. But as mystics have pointed out for centuries, it never feels like that. This is more probable on dualism than on physicalism.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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THE BLIND SPOT IN THEISTIC

THE BLIND SPOT IN THEISTIC DEITY WORSHIP

 

Said deity is non-existent.

 

A somewhat larger hole than the present mystery presented to us by dreams I would argue.

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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Kevin R Brown wrote:THE

Kevin R Brown wrote:

THE BLIND SPOT IN THEISTIC DEITY WORSHIP

 

Said deity is non-existent.

 

A somewhat larger hole than the present mystery presented to us by dreams I would argue.

Isn't it some sort of broach of etiquette to ignore the OP of a thread? This could have been posted in response to any argument against naturalism. I grant that there are several rather lengthy arguments against God's existence on this website, and at some point the RRS theists (probably me) have to get around to answering them. Nevertheless, other questions can be resolved in the meantime. A lot of people think that consciousness is a problem for naturalism. I think Paisley is asking a perfectly reasonable question: how do you explain the phenomena discussed in that video?

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Jormungander wrote:At around

Jormungander wrote:
At around 13:40 he claims that dreams and emotions and hopes and desires and thoughts and perception are not quantifiable. This is just wrong. Someone needs to tell this man what an fMRI is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroimaging#Functional_Magnetic_Resonance_Imaging

Your perceptions and feelings are easily quantifiable using fMRI. It turns out that perceptions and feelings and thoughts are produced by the actions of various regions of your brain. Sure, they are subjective, but we can still quantify them and understand the physical processes that produce them.

You're focusing on a trivial point. This is not the thrust of his argument. Perhaps you would do better to actually watch the video before making a comment.

Jormungander wrote:
At 14:06 he says that 'they are not clearly physical.' BZZZZT!WRONG!. This guy likes to pretend that thoughts and feelings are non-physical. What a joke.

There is no empirical evidence that mental events are identical with brain events. Christof Koch (the foremost researcher on the neural correlates of consciousness) has stated that mental phenomena are not reducible to physical phenomena. If you had actually watched the video, you would have learned this fact (see time 37:15).

Jormungander wrote:
A bit earlier he spoke of how observers make electrons act like particles when they travel through slits. He doesn't seem to understand that 'obsever' does not mean 'person.' We don't get a special status in the universe for observation. Even a tiny electronic device that is not operated by a person and has no consciousness whatsoever counts as an observer.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/02/980227055013.htm

You don't even need consciousness to be an oberver. This isn't some spiritual thing, unless you think that tiny electronic devices get to subjectively observe electrons using some sort of non-physical mind.

What he actually said is that science doesn't know exactly what part the observer plays in the measurement. Furthermore, he asked the rhetorical question of whether a robot qualifies as an observer. The "measurement problem" is a well-known in quantum physics. And you are the one who is misinformed. Consciousness is most certainly needed to read the measurement device.

Just FYI, B. Alan Wallace has a background in physics. To reiterate...If you had actually watched the video, you would have learned this fact.

"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:Just FYI, B.

Paisley wrote:

Just FYI, B. Alan Wallace has a background in physics. To reiterate...If you had actually watched the video, you would have learned this fact.

I heard him talk about his background in physics. I just have doubts about his competence in physics since he asked a rhetorical question about observers that actually has a real answer. I'm confused as to why I, a person who has only taken introductory physics classes in college, know that mechanical sensors are observers; while he, who likes to talk about his background in physics, pretends as though this is an unanswered question. That was a stupid thing for him to say. It makes me wonder exactly what his conception of physics is. And the implication that a mechanical sensor might not be an observer because it is not conscious was just the icing on the cake for that rhetorical question. It was like hearing a creationist fundamentally misunderstand some aspect of evolution, it makes you wonder what thier conception of it is. This isn't a big deal, but it did make me scratch my head in puzzlement that he doesn't get this even though he talks about his background in physics.

 

Paisley wrote:

There is no empirical evidence that mental events are identical with brain events.

Also incorrect. There is emperical evidence that mental events are physical events within your brain. When you feel rage, that is not an abstract mental event, that is your amygdala undergoing a set of physical changes. It is so obviously clear that mental events are physical events in the brain that I am confused as to why this is a point under debate. Decades ago we figured out that electrically stimulating brain regions resulted in artificially producing emotions. Jose Delgado implanted electrodes into the brains of people and animals and forced them to experience various mental states by electrically stimulating the appropriate regions of thier brains. His research was actually crudely electrocuting various brain regions and then having test subjects describe the sensations that they felt. It was some pretty weird stuff, but it did prove that merely altering the brain (such as by electrically stimulating various regions) produces attitudes and emotions.

Delgado wrote:

Stimulation of different points in the amygdala and hippocampus in the four patients produced a variety of effects, including pleasant sensations, elation, deep, thoughtful concentration, odd feelings, super relaxation, colored visions, and other responses.

Here is what the head of one of his subjects looked like:

You can see the electrodes in it that can produce mental states though electrical stimulation.

I can not imagine someone seriously arguing that mental processes are not processes within the brain. They just are, you can even control them by controlling the brain. If someone wants to be a dualist, they just need to deal with the fact that the mental actions are processes within the brain. I'm sure you can accept that and still beleive in some kind of soul or non-brain mind that you have. But the fact remains that your mind is the processes of your brain.

 

Paisley wrote:

You're focusing on a trivial point. This is not the thrust of his argument. Perhaps you would do better to actually watch the video before making a comment.

I know it wasn't the thrust of his argument. That doesn't change the fact that it is wrong. I can criticize his incorrect statements even if they are only tangental to his argument.

"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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Jormungander seems to be

Jormungander seems to be holding the line on the physics/brain front. I'll just throw in a very small but important point:

 

Even if it were true that we haven't emperically identified emotions (i.e. what they physically are) in the brain, does that mean that they therefore are not physically in the brain and cannot be emperically identified?

 

Wouldn't that be exploiting gaps in typical woo-woo artist fashion?

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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Archeopteryx wrote:Even if

Archeopteryx wrote:
Even if it were true that we haven't emperically identified emotions (i.e. what they physically are) in the brain, does that mean that they therefore are not physically in the brain and cannot be emperically identified?

If it has not been empirically verified, then it is simply an assumption. And why should we assume that mental phenomena are physical when our first-person experience tells us otherwise? The burden of proof is on the materialist to demonstrate that our "folk psychology" is wrong.

Archeopteryx wrote:
Wouldn't that be exploiting gaps in typical woo-woo artist fashion?

Yeah, this is your typical "materialism of the gaps" argument. Only the physical is real; therefore it must be physical.

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


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Delgado wrote:Stimulation of

Delgado wrote:

Stimulation of different points in the amygdala and hippocampus in the four patients produced a variety of effects, including pleasant sensations, elation, deep, thoughtful concentration, odd feelings, super relaxation, colored visions, and other responses.

Hey Jormungander do you have a link to where I can look that up.  I would like to learn more.

[mod edit for crazy bold effect]

Sounds made up...
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Magus wrote:Hey Jormungander

Magus wrote:

Hey Jormungander do you have a link to where I can look that up.  I would like to learn more.

There are some videos of animals with electrodes in their heads being manipulated by Delgado.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk_7eTGF0N4&feature=related

The first half of that video is pretty bad because they only let you see the calmed bull for a second and you can't clearly see that the bull is non-hostile. The second half is better because you can see that cat freaking out when the electrodes are activated to produce rage. The narrator implies that this experiment is what proved the the hypothalamus controls anger. That is not true, Delgado knew that before hand and he just wanted to be able to produce rage at the touch of a button. This was all hit and miss though. He would implant many electrodes and test one after another until he found which one gave the response he wanted. That cat probably had dozens of electrodes in its hypothalumus and perhaps only a handful actually produced rage when activated.

 

Here is a pretty good article from Scientific American on Delgado's research:

http://www.wireheading.com/delgado/brainchips.pdf

Scientific American wrote:

By stimulating different regions of
the limbic system, which regulates emotion,
Delgado could also induce fear,
rage, lust, hilarity, garrulousness and
other reactions, some of them startling in
their intensity. In one experiment, Delgado
and two collaborators at Harvard
University stimulated the temporal lobe
of a 21-year-old epileptic woman while
she was calmly playing a guitar; in response,
she flew into a rage and smashed
her guitar against a wall, narrowly missing
a researcher’s head.
Perhaps the most medically promising
fi nding was that stimulation of a limbic
region called the septum could trigger
euphoria, strong enough in some cases to
counteract depression and even physical
pain. Delgado limited his human research,
however, because the therapeutic
benefi ts of implants were unreliable; results
varied widely from patient to patient
and could be unpredictable even in
the same subject.

Like I said, it was some pretty weird stuff. Delgado considered it to be too crude for use in people. He tested it on a few subjects but did not consider it a valid treatment for anything but epilepsy and Parkinson's disease. Being able to make cats or people freak out at the touch of a button lacks any legitimate medical use I suppose. I would read that article on his work, it is some pretty interesting stuff.

"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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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

The speaker was referring to qualities of our subjective experience that do not appear on the machine. The thing about anger that is different from sadness, for example, is not quantifiable. You cannot express what about anger is different from sadness in terms of grams, meters, seconds, or meters per second.

Don't say that anger's location in the brain is what makes it different from sadness. That would be confusing the origin of the thing with the thing. It would be like saying that the difference between The Mona Lisa and Starry Night is the people who painted them. The artist matters, surely, but there are also differences between the paintings themselves. Likewise, the experience of anger and the experience of sadness are different independent of their (putative) physiological origin.

The difference between emotions would be identified by the chemical makeup of the physical experience, not just the location. And recall Presupp, that qualitative experience in the monistic concept is a product not only of its physiological origin but also of its physiological expression. As expression does involve quantifiable physical pathways, it would seem to suggest the viability of correlating such things as seem subjective about emotions with physical states.

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Quote:
At 14:06 he says that 'they are not clearly physical.' BZZZZT!WRONG!. This guy likes to pretend that thoughts and feelings are non-physical. What a joke.

The claim that thought is not clearly physical differs from the claim that it is not physical.

I will agree with you here, it's not the same claim. And it is quite fair to say that pure correlation between physical events and mental events is not something that is intuitive or readily observable.

That said, however, explicit demonstration of non-intuitive correlations between physical states and mental states is available to examine. It's not so much beyond our understanding as it may, certainly, once have been.

 

Presuppositionalist wrote:

And why is dualism "a joke"? Thoughts have qualities that material objects never do. For example, a thought can be insightful, but a rock can't. Likewise, material objects have qualities that thoughts never do. What is the velocity of your opinions on women's suffrage? How about their mass? These observations, coupled with the absence of a compelling reason to think the mind identical with the body, are strong reasons to believe dualism.

Again I must agree, the intuitive reason subsumes that mental and physical properties do not have common ground, but, there are provisory answers to your questions. Who says a rock is not shrewd, that it does not possess a deep understanding of the universe, in order to judge I'm inclined to say that you would have to know that you possess such understanding yourself and judge it against the behaviour of a rock. Can you judge a rock's behaviour as demonstration of a lack of insight, honestly? On the other hand my opinions on womens suffrage certainly might have a velocity, they would most definitely have a mass, which would be small in comparison to the opinions of others; I feel and react more subtly to the topic than some - physically this would translate to a lesser quantity of excreted chemicals in the event that I have an opinion regarding the matter, a quantifiable mass.

 

Presuppositionalist wrote:

We can take a scientific approach to the question as well (scientific because experimentally verifiable). The body moves, yes?

Not so necessarily. No. The body certainly appears to move, but then so does a cartoon. Our psychology is robust in overcoming much larger gaps in our perception than this, it's not necessary that we are actually moving through space in order to arrange such a perception.

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Then if your mind was identical with your body, we would expect it to feel as if your mind was moving, once in a while. But as mystics have pointed out for centuries, it never feels like that.

No, you're right, It feels, moreover, like a mind is constantly evaluating and validating the state in which it finds itself. If dualism then why would it do that? Why would mind in some way distantly viewing unconnected physical states, entail the need to repeatedly reassert itself within those states?

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Cpt_pineapple wrote:Okay.

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Okay. How sad is it that I recognize Michael Bolton from Office Space? He should be striking a printer and not a horse, but it's definitely him.

Thanks for the pic, Cpt. This is going in my Library of Filched Pictures.

"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 is no

Paisley wrote:

There is no empirical evidence that mental events are identical with brain events. Christof Koch (the foremost researcher on the neural correlates of consciousness) has stated that mental phenomena are not reducible to physical phenomena.

Huh. That's funny. According to Wikipedia,

Wikipedia wrote:

[Christof Koch] has been active since the early 1990s in the promotion of consciousness as a scientifically tractable problem, and has been particularly influential in arguing that consciousness can now be approached using the modern tools of neurobiology.

That seems to be exactly the opposite of what you are claiming.

[EDIT addendum]

Going to Koch's website clearly shows he believes consciusness is an emergent property of neurobiology. He posits that strong AI is possible based on the knowledge we are gaining from the materialistic information theory of consciousness.

It appears the authority to which you appealed supports the materialistic worldview.

"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:If it has not

Paisley wrote:
If it has not been empirically verified, then it is simply an assumption.

You just shot yourself in the foot. Thanks

 

Quote:
The burden of proof is on...

 

ON THE CLAIMANT!

 

and your claim is that there is nonmaterial.

 

Pffff...you don't have evidence let alone proof because that is impossible...this claim is absurd.

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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Alzhemiers, brain injuries

Alzhemiers, brain injuries and every other example of brain damage is extremely common evidence that everything we think , everything we are is a squishy squashy cauliflower like object we carry around in our skulls, i suggest that thoese people infected with the illness christianity try to get treatment so they can use their brains better


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nigelTheBold wrote:Paisley

nigelTheBold wrote:
Paisley wrote:

There is no empirical evidence that mental events are identical with brain events. Christof Koch (the foremost researcher on the neural correlates of consciousness) has stated that mental phenomena are not reducible to physical phenomena.

Huh. That's funny. According to Wikipedia,

Why is it funny? It's documented in the video @ time 37:15. If you had bothered to actually watch the video, you may have learned this fact.

nigelTheBold wrote:
Wikipedia wrote:

[Christof Koch] has been active since the early 1990s in the promotion of consciousness as a scientifically tractable problem, and has been particularly influential in arguing that consciousness can now be approached using the modern tools of neurobiology.

That seems to be exactly the opposite of what you are claiming.

[EDIT addendum]

Going to Koch's website clearly shows he believes consciusness is an emergent property of neurobiology. He posits that strong AI is possible based on the knowledge we are gaining from the materialistic information theory of consciousness.

It appears the authority to which you appealed supports the materialistic worldview.

How does this conflict with what I said? I said "There is no empirical evidence that mental events are identical with brain events." What he BELIEVES is actually irrelevant. Science is based on what you can prove, not on what you believe. Hitherto, there is no empirical evidence that mental events are IDENTICAL with brain events.

"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:How does this

Paisley wrote:

How does this conflict with what I said? I said "There is no empirical evidence that mental events are identical with brain events." What he BELIEVES is actually irrelevant. Science is based on what you can prove, not on what you believe. Hitherto, there is no empirical evidence that mental events are IDENTICAL with brain events.

Here's what you said, and what I'm responding to:

Quote:

Christof Koch (the foremost researcher on the neural correlates of consciousness) has stated that mental phenomena are not reducible to physical phenomena.

As you can see, he does believe that mental phenomena are reducible to physical phenomena. I'm merely pointing out that you misrepresented his understanding of consciousness. I don't care about what you can prove, in this case. I'm just correcting your misrepresentation.

"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:How does this

Paisley wrote:

How does this conflict with what I said? I said "There is no empirical evidence that mental events are identical with brain events." What he BELIEVES is actually irrelevant. Science is based on what you can prove, not on what you believe. Hitherto, there is no empirical evidence that mental events are IDENTICAL with brain events.

Now, as to what can be proved or not: so far, all evidence points to direct, specific corellation between mental events and the operation of the brain. There is plenty of evidence for this. Yet there is not one iota of evidence to indicate otherwise. I would trust the judgement of the "foremost researcher" in the field long before I would trust some second-tier philsopher.

What little evidence there is supports Koch, and not Wallace.

"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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Sigh.He makes one fatal

Sigh.

He makes one fatal mistake at the beginning of his talk, at 6:35 or so. As he's talking about "the measurement problem," he misunderstands what is required for a wave collapse. He claims we don't know what about "observation" causes a wave collapse (which is true), but then says, "Can a robot cause a wave collapse?"

The problem is with the word "observation." It isn't observation that causes a wave collapse. It's interaction. Two particles interacting will cause a wave collapse. So we do know that a robot can cause a wave collapse. Interaction of consciousness is unnecessary.

As it appears that his entire talk is based on this misunderstanding, his conclusions "certainly can be contested," as he says at 3:05. Not only can they be contested, they aren't even based in real science, but a philosophical misrepresentation of science.

"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:Archeopteryx

Paisley wrote:

Archeopteryx wrote:
Even if it were true that we haven't emperically identified emotions (i.e. what they physically are) in the brain, does that mean that they therefore are not physically in the brain and cannot be emperically identified?

If it has not been empirically verified, then it is simply an assumption.

If we had absolutely nothing empirical to go on to answer questions about emotions, then it would be an assumption in either direction: to claim they are material would be an assumption, and to claim that they are not material would be an assumption.

But that's only in a perfect world, where there is no secondary evidence out there we can use to make indirect observations about emotions. The fact that they can be affected by medication, electrical shock, or conditions that cause brain loss, is indirect evidence enough that they are, in fact, material, even if they aren't material in a way that allows them to be surgically removed and dissected.

 

Quote:
And why should we assume that mental phenomena are physical when our first-person experience tells us otherwise?

Our first person experience only gets us so far. I can rely on my first person experience to answer questions like "Is there a window in this room?" or "Is this thing in front of me warm or cold?"

But just because I'm very good at breathing does not make me an expert on how the lungs work. Just because I can run a mile without losing my balance and falling on my face does not give me a Phd in kenesiology. Just because I'm conscious doesn't make me an expert on what consciousness is or how it works. Just because I regularly feel emotions does not make me an expert on what THEY are or how THEY work.

The list goes on and on.

 

Quote:
The burden of proof is on the materialist to demonstrate that our "folk psychology" is wrong.

I would say it has been sufficiently demonstrated that they are materially based. If emotions were not material, then we couldn't affect them with electric shock or medications, and they wouldn't be affected by brain loss either.

To go back to the much overused wind analogy: I can't point to the wind and say "there it is", because the wind itself is not visible. I can't cut off some bit of it and put it under a microscope. But by indirect observation, by seeing that it has physical effects on the environment and that I can control it with other material objects, it is safe to assert that the wind is somehow material. Even if you don't yet know WHAT the wind is, you can still know THAT it is somehow material.


 

Quote:


Archeopteryx wrote:
Wouldn't that be exploiting gaps in typical woo-woo artist fashion?

Yeah, this is your typical "materialism of the gaps" argument. Only the physical is real; therefore it must be physical.

 

A nice rhetorical turn of phrase, but I'm not sure it's accurate.

Since, in all our experience up to now, nothing has failed to be material, it would be special pleading for us to turn around and suppose that this new thing, surely, will be the one case that will finally fail to be material.

Indeed, the biggest problem with immaterial things is that they seem to be indistinguishable from the as-yet-unexplained material things. Whenever you try to claim that something is immaterial, a materialist is just going to call it a material something that needs further explaining. The materialist can explain his positions by using empirical evidence based on other material observations. The immaterialist seems only capable of pointing to things the materialist has not yet sufficiently explained.

Hence, the materialist is arguing emperically, whereas the immaterialist is arguing "of the gaps".

 

 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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Eloise wrote:The difference

Eloise wrote:
The difference between emotions would be identified by the chemical makeup of the physical experience, not just the location.

The same counter-argument applies. We must not confuse the origin of the states with the states themselves.

Quote:
And recall Presupp, that qualitative experience in the monistic concept is a product not only of its physiological origin but also of its physiological expression. As expression does involve quantifiable physical pathways, it would seem to suggest the viability of correlating such things as seem subjective about emotions with physical states.

Maybe they can be so correlated. In any case that is not established. Even if a correlation between throughts and physiological states were established, it would not follow that thoughts ARE physiological states.

Quote:
I will agree with you here, it's not the same claim. And it is quite fair to say that pure correlation between physical events and mental events is not something that is intuitive or readily observable.

That said, however, explicit demonstration of non-intuitive correlations between physical states and mental states is available to examine. It's not so much beyond our understanding as it may, certainly, once have been.

I agree that we have found a lot of correlations between mental and physical events. It might even look, to a lot of observers, as if we will eventually find correlates in the brain for every event in the mind. However, that is not evidence for physicalism. You cannot argue from "the direction it looks like science is taking." Your argument must proceed from facts that we actually have, not facts that you think we will have in the future, and the facts we have do not establish physicalism. (A similar argument led Skinner to believe that the mind does not exist. He argued that since science had progressed by removing the belief that inanimate objects have minds, it would progress even more if we stopped believing that humans have minds. This shows the insanity of this style of argument.)

Quote:
Again I must agree, the intuitive reason subsumes that mental and physical properties do not have common ground, but, there are provisory answers to your questions. Who says a rock is not shrewd, that it does not possess a deep understanding of the universe, in order to judge I'm inclined to say that you would have to know that you possess such understanding yourself and judge it against the behaviour of a rock. Can you judge a rock's behaviour as demonstration of a lack of insight, honestly?
 

Obviously, I don't have a burden of proof to show that rocks do NOT have insightful thoughts. But it is really irrelevant whether rocks in fact have insightful thoughts or not. The point is that no object that does not have thoughts could be insightful (because really, when we say that someone is insightful, we mean that one of their thoughts is insightful). This is reason to believe that thought possesses a quality that matter does not.

Quote:
On the other hand my opinions on womens suffrage certainly might have a velocity, they would most definitely have a mass, which would be small in comparison to the opinions of others; I feel and react more subtly to the topic than some - physically this would translate to a lesser quantity of excreted chemicals in the event that I have an opinion regarding the matter, a quantifiable mass.

Assuming that your opinions have a correlate in your brain, there is a sense in which all of this is true. But it is not the sense that I was talking about. The things you are really referring to when you talk about "your opinions," i.e., your opinions as you know them in your mind, do not have mass or velocity.

Quote:
Not so necessarily. No. The body certainly appears to move, but then so does a cartoon. Our psychology is robust in overcoming much larger gaps in our perception than this, it's not necessary that we are actually moving through space in order to arrange such a perception.

Again, I do not have to prove that the sensation of bodily motion is NOT an illusion. The reasonable presumption is that our bodies do move.

Quote:

No, you're right, It feels, moreover, like a mind is constantly evaluating and validating the state in which it finds itself. If dualism then why would it do that? Why would mind in some way distantly viewing unconnected physical states, entail the need to repeatedly reassert itself within those states?

I think we spend a fair amount of time in abstract thought that is unrelated to the body's immediate circumstances. But presumably the mind evaluates the body, when it does, because the body is the source of all of its sensations.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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There seems to be some

There seems to be some confusion in this thread over how clear it is that brain states ARE mental states. This is not an assumption or a hope to find future evidence to prove this. We already have the evidence that very clearly shows that brain states are mental states. We can second by second observe how various brain regions act and the same regions respond in the same way when certain emotions are felt or certain stimuli is experienced. It has reached the point where it is fact that X region of the brain acting in some certain way is Y emotion. We can go a step further than that and artificially produce emotions and sensations by electrically stimulating those regions to mimic how they naturally act to produce emotions or sensations.

At the touch of the button we can make someone feel deep relaxation or rage or vivid colorful hallucinations by merely connecting electrodes to the appropriate brain regions. How on earth does anyone doubt that the stimulation of those brain regions is the act of feeling emotions or sensations when we can actually stimulate them to produce the mental states? What exactly do you think is going on here? Is it a big coincidence that every time the amygdala is stimulated in a certain way the subject feels rage? Or perhaps, is it that the actions of the amygdala in the brain IS the sensation of rage; so there is no difference between feeling rage and having the amydala act in a particular way. If you feel anger we can see how your amygdala is functioning to make that sensation. Then we can reverse that by making the amygdala function in that manner and observe the rage produced by the stimulation. Come on people, it can not be any more clear that brain states ARE mental states. Stop pretending that the evidence is not very clear on this matter.

Am I the only one who is confused as to why someone would even consider this a debatable issue? I see this as being no different than arguing with a flat earther.

"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."
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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Your argument must proceed from facts that we actually have, not facts that you think we will have in the future, and the facts we have do not establish physicalism.

But we already have the facts on this and the facts very clearly show that the actions of the brain are mental states. I am really confused as to how someone could see what fMRIs have shown us and then think to themselves "Nope, no evidence for a physical basis of the mind here." The only explanation I can think to explain why people think we are lacking in crystal clear evidence for the physical basis of the mind is that they don't know what fMRIs have revealed. It is either that, or willful ignorance on this matter.

I wish we could take the people that don't beleive in the physical basis of the mind and, with their consent of course, connect electrodes to their brain and show then how all of their emotions can be produced at the touch of a button. Rage, pleasure, fear, relaxation and hallucinations can all be artifically produced by manipulating the brain. If that isn't strong evidence that those sensations are actions of the brain, then I don't know what is.

"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."
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nigelTheBold wrote:Here's

nigelTheBold wrote:
Here's what you said, and what I'm responding to:

Quote:

Christof Koch (the foremost researcher on the neural correlates of consciousness) has stated that mental phenomena are not reducible to physical phenomena.

As you can see, he does believe that mental phenomena are reducible to physical phenomena. I'm merely pointing out that you misrepresented his understanding of consciousness. I don't care about what you can prove, in this case. I'm just correcting your misrepresentation.

B. Alan Wallace provides a direct quote from Christof Koch @ time 37:30. Watch the video!

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Jormungander wrote:If that

Jormungander wrote:

If that isn't strong evidence that those sensations are actions of the brain, then I don't know what is.

This is similar to the intelligent-designers ignoring the massive amount of evidence supporting evolution. They ignore the evidence because it doesn't fit their preconceptions and biases. Take the video in the OP, for instance: Wallace states up front that he spent years trying to place physics and consciousness into a framework of buddhism. He wasn't looking for the answers to riddles, which is the goal of science; he was trying to rationalise his spiritual beliefs by applying a veneer of science over a core of presupposition.

This way doesn't lead to knowledge. All it does is reinforce self-serving fantasies.

 

"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:B. Alan

Paisley wrote:

B. Alan Wallace provides a direct quote from Christof Koch @ time 37:30. Watch the video!

I watched. I was unimpressed. And all I can say is, it's a misrepresentation of Koch's professional judgement. One out-of-context quote does not make a valid argument.

"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:I

nigelTheBold wrote:
I watched. I was unimpressed. And all I can say is, it's a misrepresentation of Koch's professional judgement. One out-of-context quote does not make a valid argument.

That you are not impressed only reveals that you lack the intellectual honesty to admit that you're wrong. He clearly states that brain states and mental states are not reducible to each other. And the context in which he says this is in regards to the materialist assertion that mental events are IDENTICAL with neuronal events. If you're truly interested in the context, then I suggest you read pages 18 and 19 of "The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach" by Christof Koch.

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Jormungander wrote:There


Before I considered myself an atheist I did have an idea on how mental states could be both part of the brain and part of something else.  It was kind of like how a router works for sending and receiving signals.  The brain would receive and interpret data that was "transmitted" to the brain.  That would account for why when you stimulate those areas the person reacts as such.  However this doesn't explain why the person wouldn't know the difference between themselves and the electric stimulation. 

I would also like to point out that depression medication does effect emotions. Does anyone who doesn't believe emotions are part of the brain want to explain why this happens?

Sounds made up...
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Jormungander wrote:I heard

Jormungander wrote:
I heard him talk about his background in physics. I just have doubts about his competence in physics since he asked a rhetorical question about observers that actually has a real answer. I'm confused as to why I, a person who has only taken introductory physics classes in college, know that mechanical sensors are observers; while he, who likes to talk about his background in physics, pretends as though this is an unanswered question. That was a stupid thing for him to say. It makes me wonder exactly what his conception of physics is. And the implication that a mechanical sensor might not be an observer because it is not conscious was just the icing on the cake for that rhetorical question. It was like hearing a creationist fundamentally misunderstand some aspect of evolution, it makes you wonder what thier conception of it is. This isn't a big deal, but it did make me scratch my head in puzzlement that he doesn't get this even though he talks about his background in physics.

Evidently, this is a big deal because you're making it a big deal. There is nothing he said about the measurement problem that is incorrect. - nothing, NADA.

Jormungander wrote:
Paisley wrote:
There is no empirical evidence that mental events are identical with brain events.

Also incorrect. There is emperical evidence that mental events are physical events within your brain. When you feel rage, that is not an abstract mental event, that is your amygdala undergoing a set of physical changes. It is so obviously clear that mental events are physical events in the brain that I am confused as to why this is a point under debate. Decades ago we figured out that electrically stimulating brain regions resulted in artificially producing emotions. Jose Delgado implanted electrodes into the brains of people and animals and forced them to experience various mental states by electrically stimulating the appropriate regions of thier brains. His research was actually crudely electrocuting various brain regions and then having test subjects describe the sensations that they felt. It was some pretty weird stuff, but it did prove that merely altering the brain (such as by electrically stimulating various regions) produces attitudes and emotions.

You're confusing the concepts of "influence" with "identity." They're not the same. No one is denying that physical events influence mental events. What many are rejecting is the idea that mental events are IDENTICAL with physical events.

Jormungander wrote:
I can not imagine someone seriously arguing that mental processes are not processes within the brain. They just are, you can even control them by controlling the brain. If someone wants to be a dualist, they just need to deal with the fact that the mental actions are processes within the brain. I'm sure you can accept that and still beleive in some kind of soul or non-brain mind that you have. But the fact remains that your mind is the processes of your brain.

Information processing is not IDENTICAL with consciousness. If this were so, then computers would be conscious.

Jormungander wrote:
I know it wasn't the thrust of his argument. That doesn't change the fact that it is wrong. I can criticize his incorrect statements even if they are only tangental to his argument.

You're criticizing trivial points because you are either too damn lazy or too closed-minded to give an opposing view a fair hearing.

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mrjonno wrote:Alzhemiers,

mrjonno wrote:
Alzhemiers, brain injuries and every other example of brain damage is extremely common evidence that everything we think , everything we are is a squishy squashy cauliflower like object we carry around in our skulls, i suggest that thoese people infected with the illness christianity try to get treatment so they can use their brains better

Just FYI, B. Alan Wallace is a practicing Buddhist, not a Christian.

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nigelTheBold wrote:Paisley

nigelTheBold wrote:
Paisley wrote:

How does this conflict with what I said? I said "There is no empirical evidence that mental events are identical with brain events." What he BELIEVES is actually irrelevant. Science is based on what you can prove, not on what you believe. Hitherto, there is no empirical evidence that mental events are IDENTICAL with brain events.

Now, as to what can be proved or not: so far, all evidence points to direct, specific corellation between mental events and the operation of the brain. There is plenty of evidence for this. Yet there is not one iota of evidence to indicate otherwise. I would trust the judgement of the "foremost researcher" in the field long before I would trust some second-tier philsopher.

What little evidence there is supports Koch, and not Wallace.

Correlation is not causation.  And Koch has already gone on record by publishing his doubts about the physicalist assumption that neuronal events are identical with mental events. 

 

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


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Magus wrote:However this

Magus wrote:

However this doesn't explain why the person wouldn't know the difference between themselves and the electric stimulation.

Perhaps they do realize something is wrong. Maybe the subjects of Delgado's experiments where wondering why they were enraged or terrified when nothing has really happened to justify the emotions. Also lets keep in mind that 'you' are a serious of electical and chemical interactions. What is the real difference between a natural part of you (such as nerves electrically stimulating a region of your amygdala) and a simulation of your natural mental processes (such as performing the same electrical stimulation with implanted electrodes)? I don't really expect an answer to that question from anyone. As more of a rhetorical question: how could you possibly tell the difference between fear caused by natural electrical stimulation or certain regions of your brain and fear caused by identical artifical stimulation? Who knows the answer to that question. Perhaps you would get that something was wrong, perhaps not. We would need to question Delgado's test subjects on this to find out.

"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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nigelTheBold wrote:He makes

nigelTheBold wrote:
He makes one fatal mistake at the beginning of his talk, at 6:35 or so. As he's talking about "the measurement problem," he misunderstands what is required for a wave collapse. He claims we don't know what about "observation" causes a wave collapse (which is true), but then says, "Can a robot cause a wave collapse?"

The problem is with the word "observation." It isn't observation that causes a wave collapse. It's interaction. Two particles interacting will cause a wave collapse. So we do know that a robot can cause a wave collapse. Interaction of consciousness is unnecessary.

Simply substituting terms does not qualify as a solution to the measurement problem. Decoherence is the name given for the wave function collapse. It doesn't actually cause the the wave function to collapse.

nigelTheBold wrote:
As it appears that his entire talk is based on this misunderstanding, his conclusions "certainly can be contested," as he says at 3:05. Not only can they be contested, they aren't even based in real science, but a philosophical misrepresentation of science.

Here's where you display your mental laziness. You clearly didn't bother to watch the video and yet, you feel that you are qualified to criticize it. The subject matter is not about QM and its relationship to consciousness. That's simply a side issue. The central theme is that the scientific study of consciousness requires introspection (i.e. first-person observation of mental phenomena).

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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Eloise wrote:
The difference between emotions would be identified by the chemical makeup of the physical experience, not just the location.

The same counter-argument applies. We must not confuse the origin of the states with the states themselves.

I'm not confusing them, I'm saying that if these states are to be defined piecewise then there are more pieces which you didn't account for in your counter point.

To wit

you wrote:

Don't say that anger's location in the brain is what makes it different from sadness.

And in response, nobody has to rely on this being the case in order to support a monistic conception. The brain is an environment not just a space, and as such events in the brain are quantifiable by more than merely their location.

Besides, if I may speak frankly, I don't consider the brain to be the origin of mental states at all, I disagree with that particular form of the conclusion. I subscribe to monism, so I can readily argue for the correlation of physical and mental states, but I am not a physicalist, I do not believe that mental states originate in the physical. So to that end, how can I confuse the origin of states when I have made no appeal to there even being one at this point?

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Even if a correlation between thoughts and physiological states were established, it would not follow that thoughts ARE physiological states.

No more or less than it would establish that physiological states are in fact thoughts. That's the beauty of equality. But it's quite reasonable, given direct correlation between brain function and mental events, to infer that physical origin concludes the matter.

 

Quote:
Your argument must proceed from facts that we actually have, not facts that you think we will have in the future, and the facts we have do not establish physicalism. 

What is established is that dualism has lost ground that it can never regain, and that in all likelihood, the battle is over for dualism. Most importantly, enough is established that we can say the video in the OP is not a strong challenge to materialism. Isn't that the point here?

 

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Obviously, I don't have a burden of proof to show that rocks do NOT have insightful thoughts.

No, you have the burden of proof to show that a rock can't be insightful as you claimed. Don't shift the goalposts.

Presuppositionalist wrote:

But it is really irrelevant whether rocks in fact have insightful thoughts or not.

Yes it is irrelevant, whether rocks have thoughts was not under discussion, whether they have insight was - and this is a question of whether a rock possesses perception, and to what degree that perception penetrates the situation of a rock with clarity. How can you judge the insight of a rock ?

Presuppositionalist wrote:

The point is that no object that does not have thoughts could be insightful (because really, when we say that someone is insightful, we mean that one of their thoughts is insightful).

Perhaps that's what you intended to mean, you didn't make that explicit in your post. Insight of itself simply indicates that there is a demonstrated understanding of a situation. An insightful thought is one that fits the criteria of demonstrating understanding and insightful person likewise. Define an insightful rock and then judge, otherwise you should admit that your gap in knowledge precludes you from doing so.

Presuppositionalist wrote:

This is reason to believe that thought possesses a quality that matter does not.

Not quite. Insight is an intersection of perception and action. As long as we have evidence to the favour of both being in toto directly correlated to interactions of matter we are availed of reason to believe that it is matter itself which demonstrates insight, it is a quality of matter.

 

Presupositionalist wrote:

Assuming that your opinions have a correlate in your brain, there is a sense in which all of this is true. But it is not the sense that I was talking about. The things you are really referring to when you talk about "your opinions," i.e., your opinions as you know them in your mind, do not have mass or velocity.

Yeah, well, assuming that opinions have a correlate in the brain - the sense you're talking about is a fantasy.

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Quote:
Not so necessarily. No. The body certainly appears to move, but then so does a cartoon. Our psychology is robust in overcoming much larger gaps in our perception than this, it's not necessary that we are actually moving through space in order to arrange such a perception.

Again, I do not have to prove that the sensation of bodily motion is NOT an illusion. The reasonable presumption is that our bodies do move.

I didn't ask you to prove that it is not an illusion. I stated that it did not have to be the reality in order for it to appear as such. You asked me to summarily agree to the premise that bodies move, I responded with reason not to.

 

Presuppositionalist wrote:

I think we spend a fair amount of time in abstract thought that is unrelated to the body's immediate circumstances.

The majority of a body's local circumstances in a region of timespace are not perceptible to the ordinary senses, and moreover, are not given account in the ordinary evaluation of the origin of thought. Frankly, we don't require an appeal to an abstract level to explain them, yet, there are more unexplored possibilities.

Presuppositionalist wrote:

But presumably the mind evaluates the body, when it does, because the body is the source of all of its sensations.

At least.

 

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Paisley wrote:nigelTheBold

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
I watched. I was unimpressed. And all I can say is, it's a misrepresentation of Koch's professional judgement. One out-of-context quote does not make a valid argument.

That you are not impressed only reveals that you lack the intellectual honesty to admit that you're wrong. 

That actually made me laugh out loud. I'm not writing the abbreviation, for that is sad and teenage, but thanks for the belly laugh.

I love your touchdown celebrations, Paisley, I really do. Especially when they're not warranted. Those are the best.

Nigel: "I think that's a misrepresentation of Koch's judgement"

Paisley: "That's because you're wrong and dishonest about being so very, very wrong."

Let me get this straight: regarding a topic that's already controversial, disagreeing with one guy (or even two) makes Nigel "wrong"? C'mon.

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Paisley wrote:Here's where

Paisley wrote:

Here's where you display your mental laziness. You clearly didn't bother to watch the video and yet, you feel that you are qualified to criticize it. The subject matter is not about QM and its relationship to consciousness. That's simply a side issue. The central theme is that the scientific study of consciousness requires introspection (i.e. first-person observation of mental phenomena).

My mental laziness kicked in because he says at the beginning that he's presenting something that is eminantly-contestable, meaning that he is presenting something for which he has only speculation and no evidence; and for the presentation of wave-collapse as being tied to consciousness. That, and the statement that he spent years trying to coerce physics and the study of consciousness into the buddhist framework, basically meant there was little to gain by listening to what he had to say.

The fact that he (and you) misrepresent Koch, who clearly indicates he is a physicalist in the matter of consciousness, also leads me to believe that he (and you) are less interested in learning what is true, and more interested in rationalizing his current beliefs.

"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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Cpt_pineapple wrote: I am

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

 

I am so ganking this!!!

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HisWillness wrote: Paisley

HisWillness wrote:

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
I watched. I was unimpressed. And all I can say is, it's a misrepresentation of Koch's professional judgement. One out-of-context quote does not make a valid argument.

That you are not impressed only reveals that you lack the intellectual honesty to admit that you're wrong. 

That actually made me laugh out loud. I'm not writing the abbreviation, for that is sad and teenage, but thanks for the belly laugh.

I love your touchdown celebrations, Paisley, I really do. Especially when they're not warranted. Those are the best.

Nigel: "I think that's a misrepresentation of Koch's judgement"

Paisley: "That's because you're wrong and dishonest about being so very, very wrong."

Let me get this straight: regarding a topic that's already controversial, disagreeing with one guy (or even two) makes Nigel "wrong"? C'mon.

My favorite bit about this is the implication that anyone who is unimpressed must be intellectually dishonest. Granted, I didn't pay a lot of attention after Wallace presented his out-of-date model of quantum wave collapse, but I certainly played the whole thing through (while reading some of Koch's essays -- he's a damned good writer). That was more than it deserved, I think. He's a smart and entertaining man, certainly, but his ideas are certainly more philosophic than scientific.

Not surprising, considering his main area of study is philosophy and religion, per his own admission.

 

"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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HisWillness wrote:Paisley

HisWillness wrote:
Paisley wrote:
That you are not impressed only reveals that you lack the intellectual honesty to admit that you're wrong. 

That actually made me laugh out loud. I'm not writing the abbreviation, for that is sad and teenage, but thanks for the belly laugh.

I love your touchdown celebrations, Paisley, I really do. Especially when they're not warranted. Those are the best.

Nigel: "I think that's a misrepresentation of Koch's judgement"

Paisley: "That's because you're wrong and dishonest about being so very, very wrong."

Let me get this straight: regarding a topic that's already controversial, disagreeing with one guy (or even two) makes Nigel "wrong"? C'mon.

I think I'm beginning to understand the meaning of Rush Limbaugh's term "drive-by" media. You guys just drive by, without an inkling of what the hell is being debated, and then make an idiotic statement, believing it to be somehow profound.

If you can't muster up the energy to watch the video, then you shouldn't participate in this thread. It's that simple.

 

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


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nigelTheBold wrote:My

nigelTheBold wrote:
My favorite bit about this is the implication that anyone who is unimpressed must be intellectually dishonest. Granted, I didn't pay a lot of attention after Wallace presented his out-of-date model of quantum wave collapse, but I certainly played the whole thing through (while reading some of Koch's essays -- he's a damned good writer).

You said that you were unimpressed because you didn't have the humility to admit that you were wrong. If you had actually bothered to watch the video, then you would have known that Wallace was quoting Koch.

nigelTheBold wrote:
That was more than it deserved, I think. He's a smart and entertaining man, certainly, but his ideas are certainly more philosophic than scientific.

Not surprising, considering his main area of study is philosophy and religion, per his own admission.

Just FYI, Wallace graduated summa cum laude in physics and philosophy of science from Amherst College, Ph. D. from Stanford. And his publisher is Columbia University Press.

 

"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:THE

Kevin R Brown wrote:

THE BLIND SPOT IN THEISTIC DEITY WORSHIP

 

Said deity is non-existent.

 

 

Har har har so clever har har har

 

 

 


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Paisley wrote:You said that

Paisley wrote:

You said that you were unimpressed because you didn't have the humility to admit that you were wrong. If you had actually bothered to watch the video, then you would have known that Wallace was quoting Koch.

Are your comprehension skills so poor that you can't even read a simple two-sentence construct?

nigelTheBold wrote:

I watched. I was unimpressed.

Koch suggests consciousness is tied to short-term memory. Perhaps he's right.

Quote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
That was more than it deserved, I think. He's a smart and entertaining man, certainly, but his ideas are certainly more philosophic than scientific.

Not surprising, considering his main area of study is philosophy and religion, per his own admission.

Just FYI, Wallace graduated summa cum laude in physics and philosophy of science from Amherst College, Ph. D. from Stanford. And his publisher is Columbia University Press.

His Ph.D is in religious studies, not physics. His undergraduate degree in physics was in 1987, around the time that modern research into quantum mechanics was just gearing up, and research into consciousness was barely a topic of conversation in science. His main area of study is philosophy and religion, per his own admission, just as I said.

Yeah, I read Wikipedia on him, too.

Paisley, he starts off his speech by admitting he's presenting ideas that could easily be contested. Then he goes on to say things like (as you stated) consciousness can only be studied by introspection, which is incorrect. Since 2003, people like Koch have been using objective experiments to determine the physical neurological correlates of consciousness. Correlattion is not causation, as you say, but it is far more than Wallace presents, and the state of research is far different than he suggests.

So far, all evidence points to physical causes for mental activity. This is obvious to anyone who has taken a mind-altering drug, or gets grumpy when they are hungry or tired, or has had part of their brain damaged in an industrial accident (like my dad). This is evident to those doing the actual research, using MRIs to map the  brain, which is not introspective, and shows we can research consciousness without introspection.

Wallace is very intelligent, and very well-studied. But he also admits up-front that he has an agenda: to force physics and consciousness to conform to his buddhist views. This isn't science, nor a valid application of science. This is rationalization. And he's good at it, and entertaining, and even thought-provoking. The second time through, I enjoyed his talk much more, once I realized his presentation wasn't supposed to be about science, but about the synthesis of ideas.

In any case, this isn't a "blind spot" for materialists. It's an area of relative ignorance, but materialistic research has turned out to be far more effective than dualist sophostry in unravelling the mystery of consciousness and thought.

"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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Jormungander

Jormungander wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Your argument must proceed from facts that we actually have, not facts that you think we will have in the future, and the facts we have do not establish physicalism.

But we already have the facts on this and the facts very clearly show that the actions of the brain are mental states. I am really confused as to how someone could see what fMRIs have shown us and then think to themselves "Nope, no evidence for a physical basis of the mind here." The only explanation I can think to explain why people think we are lacking in crystal clear evidence for the physical basis of the mind is that they don't know what fMRIs have revealed. It is either that, or willful ignorance on this matter.

I wish we could take the people that don't beleive in the physical basis of the mind and, with their consent of course, connect electrodes to their brain and show then how all of their emotions can be produced at the touch of a button. Rage, pleasure, fear, relaxation and hallucinations can all be artifically produced by manipulating the brain. If that isn't strong evidence that those sensations are actions of the brain, then I don't know what is.

It shows that there is a strong correlation between certain physical states and certain mental states. That's it. It does not show that mental states ARE physical states.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist wrote:It

Presuppositionalist wrote:

It shows that there is a strong correlation between certain physical states and certain mental states. That's it. It does not show that mental states ARE physical states.

It goes deeper than mere correlation. There were predictions made by the hypothesis (that emotional states could be induced by the stimulation of specific areas of the brain), and those predictions turned out to be true. This is a strong indicator that the hypothesis (the physical states are the mental states) is true.

The more we learn about the brain, the more it appears the mind is the physical process of the brain. So far, no evidence supports dualism in the least.

"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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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Jormungander wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Your argument must proceed from facts that we actually have, not facts that you think we will have in the future, and the facts we have do not establish physicalism.

But we already have the facts on this and the facts very clearly show that the actions of the brain are mental states. I am really confused as to how someone could see what fMRIs have shown us and then think to themselves "Nope, no evidence for a physical basis of the mind here." The only explanation I can think to explain why people think we are lacking in crystal clear evidence for the physical basis of the mind is that they don't know what fMRIs have revealed. It is either that, or willful ignorance on this matter.

I wish we could take the people that don't beleive in the physical basis of the mind and, with their consent of course, connect electrodes to their brain and show then how all of their emotions can be produced at the touch of a button. Rage, pleasure, fear, relaxation and hallucinations can all be artifically produced by manipulating the brain. If that isn't strong evidence that those sensations are actions of the brain, then I don't know what is.

It shows that there is a strong correlation between certain physical states and certain mental states. That's it. It does not show that mental states ARE physical states.

It can be measure physically and has its origin in a physical organ but it's not a physical state?

I'm confused.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jcgadfly

jcgadfly wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Jormungander wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Your argument must proceed from facts that we actually have, not facts that you think we will have in the future, and the facts we have do not establish physicalism.

But we already have the facts on this and the facts very clearly show that the actions of the brain are mental states. I am really confused as to how someone could see what fMRIs have shown us and then think to themselves "Nope, no evidence for a physical basis of the mind here." The only explanation I can think to explain why people think we are lacking in crystal clear evidence for the physical basis of the mind is that they don't know what fMRIs have revealed. It is either that, or willful ignorance on this matter.

I wish we could take the people that don't beleive in the physical basis of the mind and, with their consent of course, connect electrodes to their brain and show then how all of their emotions can be produced at the touch of a button. Rage, pleasure, fear, relaxation and hallucinations can all be artifically produced by manipulating the brain. If that isn't strong evidence that those sensations are actions of the brain, then I don't know what is.

It shows that there is a strong correlation between certain physical states and certain mental states. That's it. It does not show that mental states ARE physical states.

It can be measure physically and has its origin in a physical organ but it's not a physical state?

I'm confused.

How about this one, all those that don't believe the mental states aren't physical, please provide the evidence for it, because so far everyone here that has argued that the mental states (emotions, thoughts, etc) are controlled physcially by the brain has shown evidence for it, for those opposed what evidence do you have other than mere speculation?


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Paisley wrote:I think I'm

Paisley wrote:

I think I'm beginning to understand the meaning of Rush Limbaugh's term "drive-by" media. You guys just drive by, without an inkling of what the hell is being debated, and then make an idiotic statement, believing it to be somehow profound.

I don't think I'd make the mistake of considering what I wrote profound. I watched a few minutes of the video and reached the same conclusions as a bunch of people here already. Why would someone who claims to have been a physics student keep making clumsy, inaccurate statements? His short biographies of individuals misrepresent their intellectual environments so much that I can't take him seriously. At around 20 minutes in, he takes Skinner's statements that there are no subjective experiences in such a literal sense (that is, that we do not experience what we are experiencing) that his misrepresentation is obvious. That's where I had to stop.

What am I going to debate with you, Paisley? That there really is a non-physical? How can I do that and remain "intellectually honest"? Subjectivity is notoriously unreliable, regardless of how impressed this guy is with his own experience. I can't see that changing.

Yes, for the last time, there is a bias among scientists towards the physical. A scientist in a scientific context would be laughably outside of their range discussing things that defy falsification. You can keep making the "materialism of the gaps" charge, but all we ever seem to find is physical things, so it's not like we're losing the stochastic battle, here.

Will we eventually find the non-physical, despite its total nonsense as a concept? Stay tuned ... forever. 

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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nigelTheBold wrote:He's a

nigelTheBold wrote:

He's a smart and entertaining man, certainly, but his ideas are certainly more philosophic than scientific.

Not surprising, considering his main area of study is philosophy and religion, per his own admission.

Okay, but then taking Skinner's ideas as "idiotic", he could have approached them from the philosophical context in which Skinner put them in Walden Two. Yes, he certainly stated that subjunctive experience is irrelevant noise where behaviour is concerned, but he also was making a point, which was that we put so much emphasis on the illusion of subjective experience that we neglect a serious look at ourselves. It's difficult not to take that even approach to Skinner when you've read his work, because he was clearly ruffling some feathers (I couldn't avoid the pun). Calling his agenda "idiotic" is flat-out missing the point.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence