Eliminative Materialism

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Eliminative Materialism

Eliminative materialism is the view that qualia (i.e. subjective experience or phenomenal consciousness) does not exist and should be "eliminated" from our vocabulary. Self-professed atheist Daniel Dennett is a prominent proponent of this view. I cannot think of anything more irrational. I trust that the "Rational Response Squad" will issue an intellectual citation to any individual on this forum peddling such a ridiculous idea.

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

"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:It is true

Paisley wrote:

It is true that science has made extensive progress in identifying the mental correlates of neural and behavioral processes. However,  correlation does not equate to causation. And it certainly does not equate to identification.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Just because we don't understand it completely yet doesn't necessitate god. 

I never argued that it does. But I have argued that materialism is a metaphysical belief that is ultimately based on faith (i.e. a belief made without sufficient evidence).

 

But what constitutes 'sufficient evidence' is entirely subjective as well.  We believe what we do because we see science taking strides forward in the quest for knowledge, while religion seems to give very little to humanity.  Science ushered in the information age.  Science is capable of allowing us to manipulate our environment in ways previously not imagined.  I see no reason to accept any other metaphysical position, when one of them so clearly stands out as being unimaginably useful.  That is where my faith comes from, and most here feel the same way; that one collection of books does not warrant this level of respect.

 

Quote:

v4ultingbassist wrote:

This is the same shit that happened thousands of years ago when someone said 'the rain is coming from a cloud, not the rain god,' and someone else said, 'you can't prove that at all!'  Would you like to guess which one of them you are?

Well, I am asking you to prove that subjective, mental phenomena are objective, physical phenomena. Good luck in that endeavor!

v4ultingbassist wrote:
 

Here, this will make you giddy,  I have FAITH that science will explain consciousness.  You just think it can't be done.  I don't like people who give up on knowledge.

Oh, I know you have faith in science. I have already established that atheists operate on an element of faith. That being said, I am fairly confident that you're placing your faith in a false hope (i.e. scientism/scientific materialism). The bottom line is that there is no objective, scientific, empirical evidence for the existence of consciousness.  And there never will be for the simple reason that subjective experiences are not objective. Moreover, subjective experiences are invisible to third-person corroboration (which is a vital aspect of the scientific method). The fact is that the only evidence we have for the existence of consciousness is anecdotal (i.e. evidence based on first-person, introspective observations).

 

You are wrong in saying that the only evidence for consciousness is anecdotal.  If someone is talking to us they are conscious.  If they are asleep, they aren't.  We can hook up an MRI and observe someone fall asleep, thus going from conscious to unconscious, and observe the change in mental activity.  I think your problem is that you are getting hung up on the fact that subjective experiences are only subjective from your own introspection and when not externally validated (via science or technology).  Those experiences become objective when an external system can validate them.  We don't have the full technology to do so yet. 


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v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

I never argued that it does. But I have argued that materialism is a metaphysical belief that is ultimately based on faith (i.e. a belief made without sufficient evidence).

 

But what constitutes 'sufficient evidence' is entirely subjective as well.

I will agree only if you allow the believer the same luxury as you do the skeptic.  IOW, you cannot make the argument there is no evidence for the existence of God because evidence is subjective.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

We believe what we do because we see science taking strides forward in the quest for knowledge, while religion seems to give very little to humanity.

Religious/spiritual practice have pragmatic value. They give meaning to one's life, and foster one's well-being and happiness. And if that were not case, then people would obviously not engage in the activity.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Science ushered in the information age. Science is capable of allowing us to manipulate our environment in ways previously not imagined.  I see no reason to accept any other metaphysical position, when one of them so clearly stands out as being unimaginably useful.

You're conflating science with scientism. They're not the same (the former is a method, the latter is a belief-system embracing the ideology of scientific materialism). Also, you see the practice of science and the practice of religion as mutually exclusive. They're not. Many of the greatest scientists were believers.

Incidentally, one could argue that science is not  exactly innocuous. The world is presently experiencing an ecological crisis and on the brink of nuclear devastation - thanks, in no small part, to the technological innovation (i.e. the manipulation of our environment) wrought by science.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

That is where my faith comes from, and most here feel the same way; that one collection of books does not warrant this level of respect.

Then most here do not feel the same way as Sam Harris - a prominent personality in the atheistic community. He advocates the practice of spirituality and mysticism.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Oh, I know you have faith in science. I have already established that atheists operate on an element of faith. That being said, I am fairly confident that you're placing your faith in a false hope (i.e. scientism/scientific materialism). The bottom line is that there is no objective, scientific, empirical evidence for the existence of consciousness.  And there never will be for the simple reason that subjective experiences are not objective. Moreover, subjective experiences are invisible to third-person corroboration (which is a vital aspect of the scientific method). The fact is that the only evidence we have for the existence of consciousness is anecdotal (i.e. evidence based on first-person, introspective observations).

 

You are wrong in saying that the only evidence for consciousness is anecdotal.  If someone is talking to us they are conscious.  If they are asleep, they aren't.  We can hook up an MRI and observe someone fall asleep, thus going from conscious to unconscious, and observe the change in mental activity.  I think your problem is that you are getting hung up on the fact that subjective experiences are only subjective from your own introspection and when not externally validated (via science or technology).  Those experiences become objective when an external system can validate them. We don't have the full technology to do so yet. 

Firstly, the only evidence for the existence of consciousness is anecdotal. Subjective reporting based on first-person observations is anecdotal by defintion.

Quote:

anecdotal 2: based on or consisting of reports or observations of usually unscientific observers <anecdotal evidence>

(source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: anecdotal)

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anecdotal

Secondly, identifying the correlations between brain waves and conscious states (e.g. waking, dreaming, and dreamless sleep) does not establish that consciousness is physical. Correlation is not identification.

Thirdly, the burden of proof is upon those individuals (like yourself) who insist that subjective, mental phenomena are objective, physical phenomena, not on individuals (like myself) who question the validity of this assumption. Why? Because I have first-person evidence that my subjective experience is not objective. In fact, assuming that they are is a clear violation of the principle of contradiction (one of the three classic laws of thought or logic).

Fourthly, there is presently no scientific instrument that can validate the presence of consciousness. Until then, materialism is simply a metaphysical belief based on faith.

Finally, behaviorists and/or eliminative materialists realize that the subjective can never be logically explained in objective terms. This is why they deny the existence of subjective experiences.

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


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Quote:I will agree only if

Quote:

I will agree only if you allow the believer the same luxury as you do the skeptic.  IOW, you cannot make the argument there is no evidence for the existence of God because evidence is subjective.

 

I will give you this. (It came up elsewhere with someone else.)

Quote:

You're conflating science with scientism. They're not the same (the former is a method, the latter is a belief-system embracing the ideology of scientific materialism). Also, you see the practice of science and the practice of religion as mutually exclusive. They're not. Many of the greatest scientists were believers.

 

I realize that.  I'm just using 'science' in a blanket manner because I assume you know my position. (which you clearly do)

 

Quote:

Incidentally, one could argue that science is not  exactly innocuous. The world is presently experiencing an ecological crisis and on the brink of nuclear devastation - thanks, in no small part, to the technological innovation (i.e. the manipulation of our environment) wrought by science.

 

The issue here is that what science discovers is impartial.  The discoveries simply exist.  Religions on the other hand have set ways to treat other people and are meant to be followed.  When a scientific discovery occurs, there is nothing that comes with it saying 'this is how this discovery should be used.'  Religion inherently requires certain actions to be done, without acknowledging that it could be erroneous.  Scientific methods include accepting the potentiality of error.

 

Also, we both know that religion isn't innocuous either.

 

Quote:

Firstly, the only evidence for the existence of consciousness is anecdotal. Subjective reporting based on first-person observations is anecdotal by defintion.

Quote:

anecdotal 2: based on or consisting of reports or observations of usually unscientific observers <anecdotal evidence>

(source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: anecdotal)

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anecdotal

Secondly, identifying the correlations between brain waves and conscious states (e.g. waking, dreaming, and dreamless sleep) does not establish that consciousness is physical. Correlation is not identification.

Thirdly, the burden of proof is upon those individuals (like yourself) who insist that subjective, mental phenomena are objective, physical phenomena, not on individuals (like myself) who question the validity of this assumption. Why? Because I have first-person evidence that my subjective experience is not objective. In fact, assuming that they are is a clear violation of the principle of contradiction (one of the three classic laws of thought or logic).

Fourthly, there is presently no scientific instrument that can validate the presence of consciousness. Until then, materialism is simply a metaphysical belief based on faith.

Finally, behaviorists and/or eliminative materialists realize that the subjective can never be logically explained in objective terms. This is why they deny the existence of subjective experiences.

 

Correlation is not identification, but in this case it could be.  That is my stance, that the correlation stems from an underlying causation.  This leads to my biggest qualm with any belief in the supernatural.  You say that the brain is both physical and supernatural, right?  My question is how?  From many conversations and discussions on here and elsewhere, it seems that the only way to experience and consequently know anything about the supernatural is through subjective personal experience.  Therefore, all supernatural belief is subjective, and always will be.  Scientism, on the other hand, is based on objective methodology and knowledge.  This is why it is better, because there is at least an iota of actual objectivism in it.  This boils down to the fact that what science finds is objectively true, while all religious and supernatural belief is entirely subjecitve.  I know, scientific materialism is subjective, but its basis is not.

 

EDIT:  As far as having the burden of proof, that can be argued against ALL philosophies, with the exception of those that are 'unsure' in nature.  I am assuming that your position is not one of unsureness, so you too have some form of burden of proof.  (Technically, since science allows for error and uncertainty, one can argue that any philosophy based on it will necessarily adapt, whereas other positions do not intend to allow change.)

 

/rant


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v4ultingbassist

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

I will agree only if you allow the believer the same luxury as you do the skeptic.  IOW, you cannot make the argument there is no evidence for the existence of God because evidence is subjective.

 

I will give you this. (It came up elsewhere with someone else.)

Okay, I can live with that.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

You're conflating science with scientism. They're not the same (the former is a method, the latter is a belief-system embracing the ideology of scientific materialism). Also, you see the practice of science and the practice of religion as mutually exclusive. They're not. Many of the greatest scientists were believers.

 

I realize that.  I'm just using 'science' in a blanket manner because I assume you know my position. (which you clearly do)

Okay. Fair enough.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Incidentally, one could argue that science is not  exactly innocuous. The world is presently experiencing an ecological crisis and on the brink of nuclear devastation - thanks, in no small part, to the technological innovation (i.e. the manipulation of our environment) wrought by science.

 

The issue here is that what science discovers is impartial.  The discoveries simply exist. 

Yes, this is true. But the application of that knowledge (i.e. technology) has implications.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Religions on the other hand have set ways to treat other people and are meant to be followed.  When a scientific discovery occurs, there is nothing that comes with it saying 'this is how this discovery should be used.'  Religion inherently requires certain actions to be done, without acknowledging that it could be erroneous.  Scientific methods include accepting the potentiality of error.

But the problem is that the scientific method does not address morality, ethics, purpose, meaning and values. These are religious and philosophical issues, not scientific ones.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Also, we both know that religion isn't innocuous either.

Agreed. But we must be wary of all ideologies, not just religious ones.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Correlation is not identification, but in this case it could be.  That is my stance, that the correlation stems from an underlying causation. 

But the point is that you have not proven that it is.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

This leads to my biggest qualm with any belief in the supernatural.  You say that the brain is both physical and supernatural, right

No, this is not actually what I believe. Mental phenomena and physical phenomena are not identical, although they be correlated.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

My question is how?

Are you asking how do the subjective and objective interact?

v4ultingbassist wrote:

From many conversations and discussions on here and elsewhere, it seems that the only way to experience and consequently know anything about the supernatural is through subjective personal experience.  Therefore, all supernatural belief is subjective, and always will be.

Well, subjective personal experience does play an important role in religious belief. But this should stand to reason. For example, if you believe that God is love (as many believers are apt to do), then you should be able to subjectively experience this love.

Note: I am assuming that you understand the term "natural" to mean "physical." Therefore, the "supernatural" is that which is beyond the natural or physical.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Scientism, on the other hand, is based on objective methodology and knowledge.  This is why it is better, because there is at least an iota of actual objectivism in it.  This boils down to the fact that what science finds is objectively true, while all religious and supernatural belief is entirely subjecitve.  I know, scientific materialism is subjective, but its basis is not.

I basically agree. Religious beliefs are primarily based on subjective experiences. But spiritual practice is more of an art than a science. That's just the way it is.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

EDIT:  As far as having the burden of proof, that can be argued against ALL philosophies, with the exception of those that are 'unsure' in nature.  I am assuming that your position is not one of unsureness, so you too have some form of burden of proof.  (Technically, since science allows for error and uncertainty, one can argue that any philosophy based on it will necessarily adapt, whereas other positions do not intend to allow change.)

Well, you have the burden of proof because you are the one who is claiming that the subjective is objective. Contrary to the popular opinion on this forum, dualism is actually the working metaphysical assumption of science, not materialism.

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


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No matter what coat you

 

hang over its shoulders, Paisley, you're simply peddling the god of gaps. The fact you're still here arguing about it with us suggests you're as just as curious to know the truth as we are. 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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I'm not sure

 

Atheists can all be branded conveniently as radical Dennett-style eliminative materialists and then pigeon-holed in the way you are trying to do here, Pais. We will understand 'self' one day and to your disappointment it will not be some soul thing existing off screen in a spiritual inner dimension. Whatever it is may surprise us with its simplicity. I think Derek Parfit was right. We are not what we believe ourselves to be. Have a read of this New Scientist article from a few years ago (link attached). It's readable and fascinating.

 

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19225780.073-the-big-questions-what-is-consciousness.html?page=2

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist wrote: We

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

We will understand 'self' one day and to your disappointment it will not be some soul thing existing off screen in a spiritual inner dimension. Whatever it is may surprise us with its simplicity.

 

thaaaaank you...

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I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
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Quote:Yes, this is true. But

Quote:

Yes, this is true. But the application of that knowledge (i.e. technology) has implications.

 

The distinction I meant to make is that science, inherently, has no implications.  Religion does.  I suppose it's pointless because those can be good or bad, or both.

 

Quote:

But the problem is that the scientific method does not address morality, ethics, purpose, meaning and values. These are religious and philosophical issues, not scientific ones.

 

My belief is that, in time, it could.  Human consciousness is the final frontier for the more relevant and applicable of the sciences.

 

Quote:

But the point is that you have not proven that it is.

 

I know.  I admitted the faith of the claim.  However I feel it a more rational position because its basis lies in the objective (science), not the subjective (spirituality/supernaturalism).

 

Quote:

Are you asking how do the subjective and objective interact?

 

More specifically, how the natural and supernatural interact.

 

Quote:

Well, subjective personal experience does play an important role in religious belief. But this should stand to reason. For example, if you believe that God is love (as many believers are apt to do), then you should be able to subjectively experience this love.

Note: I am assuming that you understand the term "natural" to mean "physical." Therefore, the "supernatural" is that which is beyond the natural or physical.

 

Yes, those are how I understand the terms.  I mean to posit that religious belief is based purely on the subjective.

 

Quote:

That's just the way it is.

 

If you agree that it is better to base beliefs in science, then why don't you?  It is not possible to make multiple loaves from one loaf.  It is not possible for a human to come back from the dead.  These are contradictions I see in Christianity the lead to question other assertions it holds.  Also, there are plenty of explanations that have a more objective basis for almost any type of supernatural belief.  To me, admitting something is supernatural is giving up on the idea that it could be something physical.  I think it more rational to exhaust efforts finding an objective explanation as opposed to accepting the subjectivity of the supernatural.

 

Quote:

Well, you have the burden of proof because you are the one who is claiming that the subjective is objective. Contrary to the popular opinion on this forum, dualism is actually the working metaphysical assumption of science, not materialism.

 

I admitted to faith and have given my reasoning.   The claim of dualism for science intrigues me.  How so? 


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Atheistextremist wrote:

 

hang over its shoulders, Paisley, you're simply peddling the god of gaps. The fact you're still here arguing about it with us suggests you're as just as curious to know the truth as we are.  

I'm not peddling anything. I'm simply discussing the subject matter of this thread - the irrationality of eliminative materialism. And yes, I am interested in knowing the truth - all believers in the truth are.

 

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


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Atheists can all be branded conveniently as radical Dennett-style eliminative materialists and then pigeon-holed in the way you are trying to do here, Pais. We will understand 'self' one day and to your disappointment it will not be some soul thing existing off screen in a spiritual inner dimension. Whatever it is may surprise us with its simplicity. I think Derek Parfit was right. We are not what we believe ourselves to be. Have a read of this New Scientist article from a few years ago (link attached). It's readable and fascinating.

 

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19225780.073-the-big-questions-what-is-consciousness.html?page=2

I did read the article. It can be branded as pure "radical Dennett-style eliminative materialism" (to employ your words). And if you subscribe to it, then you're irrational. 

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


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Chuckle - I knew you'd say that, Pais.

 

I contend that your thread is designed in such a way that to disagree with you is to obliquely admit to owning your definition of irrationality while to agree with you is to tacitly embrace spirituality. Either will represent a failure in your eyes. This is pretty much in keeping with other man-traps you've set here. So - are you suggesting that any theory of self that is not based on an intangible spirit (a spirituality conveniently beyond the realms of proof) is an example of eliminative materialism?

I earlier suggested you were peddling gap god because you rarely take a position that is not offensive (I mean this in a military sense). As such you're entirely unlikely to simply be exhorting the establishment to join you in a call for greater rationality - instead you're working at making a point. This is perfectly legitimate - but it could be called peddling your case - and that case is a god who seems to be 'proved' by the things we don't or can't know. Things like the nature of self.  

Moving on, that article ranged about all over the place and ultimately drew no serious conclusions. It was food for thought. Given the paucity of evidence I'm not sure of the true nature of self. Are you certain self is spiritual or do you have doubts?

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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v4ultingbassist

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

But the problem is that the

scientific method

does not address morality, ethics, purpose, meaning and values. These are religious and philosophical issues, not scientific ones.

My belief is that, in time, it could. Human consciousness is the final frontier for the more relevant and applicable of the sciences.

But if you subscribe to the ideology of scientific materialism, then you have to accept its logical consequences. And what does this entail?

1) That the only real processes are physical processes.

2) That physical processes are amoral and nonteleological (i.e. without purpose).

3) Therefore, there are no moral norms and purposive behavior is purely illusory.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:
 

But the point is that you have not proven that it is.

I know. I admitted the faith of the claim. However I feel it a more rational position because its basis lies in the objective (science), not the subjective (spirituality/supernaturalism).

Well, I don't believe it is more rational. Why? Because an intellectual commitment to scientific materialism ultimately leads to eliminative materialism (which denies the reality of subjective experiences). Those who deny their own subjectivity are not rational.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Are you asking how do the subjective and objective interact?

 

More specifically, how the natural and supernatural interact.

Well, since you believe that the "natural" and the "physical" are interchangeable terms, then it amounts to the same thing.

In the philosophy of mind, this is known as the "mind-body" problem. I am not required to have a solution to the problem in order to acknowledge that there is a problem. And this is what eliminative materialists fail to do - they fail to acknowledge the reality of the problem by simply denying the reality of subjective experience.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Well, subjective personal experience does play an important role in religious belief. But this should stand to reason. For example, if you believe that God is love (as many believers are apt to do), then you should be able to subjectively experience this love.

Note: I am assuming that you understand the term "natural" to mean "physical." Therefore, the "supernatural" is that which is beyond the natural or physical.

 

Yes, those are how I understand the terms. I mean to posit that religious belief is based purely on the subjective.

Well, I believe that religious beliefs are primarily based on subjective experience. That being said, I also believe that there is scientific evidence for pantheistic beliefs (e.g. quantum mechanics and parapsychology).

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

That's just the way it is.

If you agree that it is better to base beliefs in science, then why don't you?

Because some things are simply beyond the purview of science.  Also, religious faith in some ultimate divine reality should not be falsifiable.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

It is not possible to make multiple loaves from one loaf. It is not possible for a human to come back from the dead

NDEs (near-death experiences) are a fairly common occurrence (where clinically dead people are resuscitated).

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Also, there are plenty of explanations that have a more objective basis for almost any type of supernatural belief. 

But no objective explanation for subjective experiences has been forthcoming. In fact, the only explanation for consciousness (by materialists) is to simply explain it away.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

To me, admitting something is supernatural is giving up on the idea that it could be something physical.

That's simply displaying a faith-commitment to materialism (despite evidence to the contrary). And why is it "giving up?" What exactly are you giving up?

v4ultingbassist wrote:

I think it more rational to exhaust efforts finding an objective explanation as opposed to accepting the subjectivity of the supernatural.

I think it is more rational to acknowledge the reality of the subjective because our very rationality depends upon it. Why does subjective awareness have to be explained? Why can't it be a brute fact of existence - as fundamental (if not more fundamental) as space-time, mass/energy?

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Well, you have the burden of proof because you are the one who is claiming that the subjective is objective. Contrary to the popular opinion on this forum, dualism is actually the working metaphysical assumption of science, not materialism.

 

I admitted to faith and have given my reasoning.  The claim of dualism for science intrigues me.  How so? 

The original parameters of modern science were set by Decartes (a dualist philosopher and mathematician). The objective world of physical phenomena was to be the domain of science while the subjective world of mental phenomena was to be the domain of religion.

 

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


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Would you agree, Pais

Paisley wrote:

1) That the only real processes are physical processes.

2) That physical processes are amoral and nonteleological (i.e. without purpose).

3) Therefore, there are no moral norms and purposive behavior is purely illusory.

That some real processes are physical processes? How can you say all purely physical processes are purposeless? Purposeless in terms of what? Is it not possible physical processes could support systems that could operate in ways our brains would describe as moral/purposeful? You will disagree with me but even if we can't describe the higher systems of the brain adequately at present, apparently these systems are supported by the physical brain, are they not? When the physical brain dies or is damaged, these qualities disappear. And there must be some connection, some interface between the non-physical spirit that clearly underpins your side of the argument, and the physical brain that processes and serves the so-called morality that drives our feelings and actions. But just where is this magic soul/brain comms port?   

Now, if the points you make here are correct, then we have to ask why there are living physical beings that are not moral/purposeful in the way we think of things as being moral and purposeful. You would expect trees and bacteria to evolve from an amoral physical process. But if replicating strands of RNA can form through an amoral and nonteleological process under the right conditions, then where does this end in terms of today's living species and the simpler life forms that preceded them? The only creature of the tens of millions inhabiting our planet that your points appear to apply to completely, is homo sapiens.

I tend to think the group-advantageous characteristics we describe as moral are far more widespread that we confess. Bacteria chemically warn other bacteria nearby if conditions become too challenging for them to continue to function and they all shut down together. Algae and plants fight competitors on behalf of their siblings. This selfless/selfserving, all for one and one for all sort of behaviour is elemental - it's as old as life itself and inherent in the simplest life forms on the planet. 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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v4ultingbassist wrote:I

v4ultingbassist wrote:
I know.  I admitted the faith of the claim.  However I feel it a more rational position because its basis lies in the objective (science), not the subjective (spirituality/supernaturalism).

Aww, you don't have to do that. Faith is completely unnecessary; it's garbage. Most Christians use faith when they're unsure about something. We don't have to resort to faith. We can just admit that we're not 100% sure. I would hold to some form of materialism that is roughly analogous to scientific naturalism; at present, everything immaterial is definitively supernatural anyways.  

http://www.rationalresponders.com/problems_notion_nonmaterial_aspect_conscious_process

As for correlation vs. causation, the evidence is stacked terrifyingly against the dualists at this point, no matter how you slice it. We've 'correlated' each method that our five main senses utilize to communicate with the brain as well as the areas of the brain that correspond to each sense organ. We've 'correlated' different physical activities, such as reading, watching TV, stretching, etc. with different brain activity. We're in the processing of 'correlating' out a general blueprint of the human brain and what every little portion of it 'correlates' to. Brain damage has been 'correlated' to changes in personality, consciousness, intelligence, etc. etc.

And where does the soul fit into all this? Nowhere, of course. It is completely superfluous, has absolutely no effect on anything, and is defined to be absolutely undetectable by anything, just like God.  

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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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

1) That the only real processes are physical processes.

2) That physical processes are amoral and nonteleological (i.e. without purpose).

3) Therefore, there are no moral norms and purposive behavior is purely illusory.

That some real processes are physical processes? How can you say all purely physical processes are purposeless? Purposeless in terms of what? Is it not possible physical processes could support systems that could operate in ways our brains would describe as moral/purposeful?

On the materialistic worldview, the only (not some) real processes are physical processes. Also, on the materialistic worldview, all physical processes are nonteleological. Therefore, any purposive behavior must necessarily be deemed purely illusory.

Atheistextremist wrote:

You will disagree with me but even if we can't describe the higher systems of the brain adequately at present, apparently these systems are supported by the physical brain, are they not? When the physical brain dies or is damaged, these qualities disappear.

How would you confirm this belief? If you're right, then you will never know.

Atheistextremist wrote:

And there must be some connection, some interface between the non-physical spirit that clearly underpins your side of the argument, and the physical brain that processes and serves the so-called morality that drives our feelings and actions. But just where is this magic soul/brain comms port?   

I believe there is an interaction between the physical body and the nonphysical mind. What's the evidence? My first-person experience of free will. I believe in both efficient causation and final causation. Your worldview necessarily precludes belief in the latter.

Atheistextremist wrote:

Now, if the points you make here are correct, then we have to ask why there are living physical beings that are not moral/purposeful in the way we think of things as being moral and purposeful. You would expect trees and bacteria to evolve from an amoral physical process. But if replicating strands of RNA can form through an amoral and nonteleological process under the right conditions, then where does this end in terms of today's living species and the simpler life forms that preceded them? The only creature of the tens of millions inhabiting our planet that your points appear to apply to completely, is homo sapiens.

As I see it, the materialist - who is compelled to take a purely functional view of consciousness (i.e. they describe  consciousness in terms of information processing) - must either admit that all organic stimulus-response systems (e.g. bacteria) exhibit intentional acts and are therefore subjectively aware or no living organisms are. The former is flirting dangerously close with pantheism; the latter with eliminative materialism. IOW, I win either way here.

Atheistextremist wrote:

I tend to think the group-advantageous characteristics we describe as moral are far more widespread that we confess. Bacteria chemically warn other bacteria nearby if conditions become too challenging for them to continue to function and they all shut down together. Algae and plants fight competitors on behalf of their siblings. This selfless/selfserving, all for one and one for all sort of behaviour is elemental - it's as old as life itself and inherent in the simplest life forms on the planet. 

Then you are flirting dangerously close with pantheism (actually, Daniel Dennett suggested in his book "Consciousness Explained" that the first self-replicating molecular systems in the so-called primordial soup had the capacity to perform intentional acts.) Also, I have already brought up the subject matter (in another thread) of the "decision-making" capabilities of bacteria.

http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsrel/science/12-09BacteriaDecision.asp


 

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


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Quote:1) That the only real

Quote:

1) That the only real processes are physical processes.

2) That physical processes are amoral and nonteleological (i.e. without purpose).

3) Therefore, there are no moral norms and purposive behavior is purely illusory.

 

The issue here is that you presuppose your definition of morality.  From my worldview morality is a non-absolute social interaction pact that has arisen through evolution. 

 

Also, in point three, you again presuppose your own worldview.  By saying that 'purposive behavior is illusory to a materialist,' you assume that the materialist has some way of making a distinction from 'himself' and his body.  My worldview holds that 'I' am merely a physical process in my brain whose role is to oversee the actions of my body.  There is no way for an illusion to exist because there is nothing external to the system. 

 

As far as purpose goes, why is it so bad that there may not BE a purpose for anything we do? 

 

Quote:

Those who deny their own subjectivity are not rational.

 

Subjectivity refers to a person's perspective or opinion, particular feelings, beliefs, and desires. It is often used casually to refer to unsubstantiated personal opinions.  - Wiki

 

I still don't see why this concept needs to be eliminated.

 

Some eliminativists argue that no coherent neural basis will be found for many everyday psychological concepts such as belief or desire, since they are poorly defined. - Wiki

 

So their issue is with poorly defined words.

 

you wrote:

But the eliminative materialist believes that subjective experiences do not exist because there is no objective, scientific evidence for their existence.

 

This is apparently where you are wrong.  Also, as I've said, I think we WILL find evidence.

 

 

Quote:

I think it is more rational to acknowledge the reality of the subjective because our very rationality depends upon it. 

 

You see the mind as dependent on the supernatural.  I see the supernatural as dependent on the mind.  If the mind is proven to be purely physical, then you are wrong and I must conclude that the supernatural does not exist.

 

Quote:

Why does subjective awareness have to be explained? Why can't it be a brute fact of existence - as fundamental (if not more fundamental) as space-time, mass/energy?

 

Humans like to understand things.  Also, I could argue the same about why it was important to ask what rain was.  The more we understand, the better. 

 

BTW, 'fundamental' in terms of science typically refers to our current limit in understanding, i.e. the cell, the atom, the electron, proton, and neutron  were all seen as fundamental at one point.  Right now it could be that energy and matter are really super-small vibrating strands of multi-dimensional energy.  The point is that just because something is fundamental does not mean it is a 'brute fact of existence,' in terms of science.  The interesting thing here is that with a deterministic view, science faces an infinite regress.  I've read a few people's posts about a possible combination of deterministic and chaotic processes, but I still don't see that as being anywhere close in definition to 'deity' or most types of theistic belief, with the exception (as you noted) of pantheistic views.

 

Quote:

The original parameters of modern science were set by Decartes

 

I'm sorry, but Descartes is not modern, in any sense of the word.  Things change.  Theories change.  That is an essential part of science.  Similarly, it is possible for the worldview associated with science to change, as is the case here, given that Descartes died centuries ago.  And the scientific method is usually attributed to Bacon, from my understanding.


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Atheistextremist wrote: I

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

I contend that your thread is designed in such a way that to disagree with you is to obliquely admit to owning your definition of irrationality while to agree with you is to tacitly embrace spirituality. Either will represent a failure in your eyes. This is pretty much in keeping with other man-traps you've set here. So - are you suggesting that any theory of self that is not based on an intangible spirit (a spirituality conveniently beyond the realms of proof) is an example of eliminative materialism?

Well, I basically win either way (if that is what you're implying). But that is not because I'm not playing fair.

Atheistextremist wrote:

I earlier suggested you were peddling gap god because you rarely take a position that is not offensive (I mean this in a military sense). As such you're entirely unlikely to simply be exhorting the establishment to join you in a call for greater rationality - instead you're working at making a point. This is perfectly legitimate - but it could be called peddling your case - and that case is a god who seems to be 'proved' by the things we don't or can't know. Things like the nature of self.  

And I would counter by saying that you are making a "materialism of the gaps" argument.

Atheistextremist wrote:

Moving on, that article ranged about all over the place and ultimately drew no serious conclusions. It was food for thought.

The article (like Dennett's book) was incoherent and self-contradictory.

Atheistextremist wrote:

Given the paucity of evidence I'm not sure of the true nature of self. Are you certain self is spiritual or do you have doubts?

I know with absolute certitude that I am conscious even as I write this statement. Also, I believe consciousness is nonphysical and therefore spiritual. I see no reason to doubt this.

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


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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

v4ultingbassist wrote:
I know.  I admitted the faith of the claim.  However I feel it a more rational position because its basis lies in the objective (science), not the subjective (spirituality/supernaturalism).

Aww, you don't have to do that. Faith is completely unnecessary; it's garbage. Most Christians use faith when they're unsure about something. We don't have to resort to faith. We can just admit that we're not 100% sure. I would hold to some form of materialism that is roughly analogous to scientific naturalism; at present, everything immaterial is definitively supernatural anyways.  

http://www.rationalresponders.com/problems_notion_nonmaterial_aspect_conscious_process

As for correlation vs. causation, the evidence is stacked terrifyingly against the dualists at this point, no matter how you slice it. We've 'correlated' each method that our five main senses utilize to communicate with the brain as well as the areas of the brain that correspond to each sense organ. We've 'correlated' different physical activities, such as reading, watching TV, stretching, etc. with different brain activity. We're in the processing of 'correlating' out a general blueprint of the human brain and what every little portion of it 'correlates' to. Brain damage has been 'correlated' to changes in personality, consciousness, intelligence, etc. etc.

And where does the soul fit into all this? Nowhere, of course. It is completely superfluous, has absolutely no effect on anything, and is defined to be absolutely undetectable by anything, just like God.  

You have already gone on record in another thread and stated explicitly that consciousness does not exist. This would align you with the irrational worldview that is eliminative materialism.

butterbattle wrote:

I believe in abstractions of phenomena that are the result of natural processes; the abstractions themselves obviously do not require any substance as they do not "exist" in any real way. There isn't any consciousness "thing;" consciousness is just a convenient but scientifically inept term, like "morality" or "meaning."

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


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Consciousness

Paisley wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

I contend that your thread is designed in such a way that to disagree with you is to obliquely admit to owning your definition of irrationality while to agree with you is to tacitly embrace spirituality. Either will represent a failure in your eyes. This is pretty much in keeping with other man-traps you've set here. So - are you suggesting that any theory of self that is not based on an intangible spirit (a spirituality conveniently beyond the realms of proof) is an example of eliminative materialism?

Well, I basically win either way (if that is what you're implying). But that is not because I'm not playing fair.

Atheistextremist wrote:

I earlier suggested you were peddling gap god because you rarely take a position that is not offensive (I mean this in a military sense). As such you're entirely unlikely to simply be exhorting the establishment to join you in a call for greater rationality - instead you're working at making a point. This is perfectly legitimate - but it could be called peddling your case - and that case is a god who seems to be 'proved' by the things we don't or can't know. Things like the nature of self.  

And I would counter by saying that you are making a "materialism of the gaps" argument.

Atheistextremist wrote:

Moving on, that article ranged about all over the place and ultimately drew no serious conclusions. It was food for thought.

The article (like Dennett's book) was incoherent and self-contradictory.

Atheistextremist wrote:

Given the paucity of evidence I'm not sure of the true nature of self. Are you certain self is spiritual or do you have doubts?

I know with absolute certitude that I am conscious even as I write this statement. Also, I believe consciousness is nonphysical and therefore spiritual. I see no reason to doubt this.

 

Define it then. Exactly what is consciousness?

What you are saying is that you are certain of the nature of something we understand incompletely, if at all, and your certainty is based on the nebulous nature of the subject matter. Why do you of all people have such boundless knowledge that you can make this claim that consciousness is spiritual? 

We have no idea how the brain's higher functions work but you are certain they are not at some describable level but must be spiritual, invisible. What is your beef with the physical? Our brains are thinking machines with storage capacity and random access memory. They have sensory areas and areas that are clearly related to instinct. Do you explain all this away simply on the basis of the fact we cannot explain the nature of human self? What is my self? Take away the brain's physical ability to store and remember and recognise and like any person with Alzheimers, I have lost a great part of my self. Damage my frontal lobes and I lose my wit and quickness of thought. My whole nature is intimately connected with my brain and my personality linked to the bodies of the parents who gave their DNA to me. Where is the non-physical in all this?

You earlier suggested there was little or no link between spirit and brain and to know the answer one would have to die but this is false. People with physical brain damage lose parts of their personality, their morality, their self control. Why is this so?

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Yes

Paisley wrote:

I contend that your thread is designed in such a way that to disagree with you is to obliquely admit to owning your definition of irrationality while to agree with you is to tacitly embrace spirituality. Either will represent a failure in your eyes. This is pretty much in keeping with other man-traps you've set here. So - are you suggesting that any theory of self that is not based on an intangible spirit (a spirituality conveniently beyond the realms of proof) is an example of eliminative materialism?

Well, I basically win either way (if that is what you're implying). But that is not because I'm not playing fair.

 

Yes, I'm implying you win either way and yes, you're playing fair in a sense but you have clearly chosen ground that is to your advantage and positioned any non-theistic foe in a lose/lose situation. Self is presently unknown and modules of that self, like morality, are equally curious. Typically an atheist believes life can be explained by evolution - the accrual of attributes that enhance survival of an organism which over long period has been shown to lead to increasing complexity. This does not explain abiogenesis but it might explain the development of useful characteristics in a given population that we might call morality. Additionally, we are operating from the disadvantageous position of hindsight and this colours our view of what has purpose and what we consider that purpose might be from our human perspective.

While I think your argument hinges on things we don't know, I think we will know them. I hope so. It's a fascinating area and a fun subject to struggle with. Thinking about consciousness and the nature of the mind gives me that feeling in the head you get when you try to conceive of eternity. I liked the NS article for its provocation of thought but I can see why you didn't. You come at this question from a decided perspective. On this topic I can say what we don't know I don't know but you appear to say what we don't know you know

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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v4ultingbassist

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

1) That the only real processes are physical processes.

2) That physical processes are amoral and nonteleological (i.e. without purpose).

3) Therefore, there are no moral norms and purposive behavior is purely illusory.

 

The issue here is that you presuppose your definition of morality.  From my worldview morality is a non-absolute social interaction pact that has arisen through evolution. 

I presupposed the conventional definition of morality (i.e. right and wrong behavior). Electrochemical processes are not seeking to behave right or wrong. They are amoral and nonteleological. Evolution is nonteleological.

v4ultingbassist wrote:
 

Also, in point three, you again presuppose your own worldview.  By saying that 'purposive behavior is illusory to a materialist,' you assume that the materialist has some way of making a distinction from 'himself' and his body.  My worldview holds that 'I' am merely a physical process in my brain whose role is to oversee the actions of my body.  There is no way for an illusion to exist because there is nothing external to the system. 

No, I didn't presuppose my worldview. Quite the contrary. For the sake of argument, I presupposed the materialistic worldview. And on the materialistic worldview, there is no purposive behavior because all living organisms (human and otherwise) reduce to nonteleological electrochemical processes playing themselves out.

v4ultingbassist wrote:
 

As far as purpose goes, why is it so bad that there may not BE a purpose for anything we do

It only becomes problematic when individuals (like myself) attempt to engage in a rational discussion with individuals who believe they are mindless zombies.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Those who deny their own subjectivity are not rational.

Subjectivity refers to a person's perspective or opinion, particular feelings, beliefs, and desires. It is often used casually to refer to unsubstantiated personal opinions.  - Wiki

I still don't see why this concept needs to be eliminated.

This is from the same Wikipedia article that you are quoting from....

Quote:

Subjectivity may refer to the specific discerning interpretations of any aspect of experiences. They are unique to the person experiencing them, the qualia that are only available to that person's consciousness.

(source: Wikipedia: Subjectivity)

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

v4ultingbassist wrote:
 

Some eliminativists argue that no coherent neural basis will be found for many everyday psychological concepts such as belief or desire, since they are poorly defined. - Wiki

So their issue is with poorly defined words.

Eliminative materialists deny the reality of qualia (subjective experience). Saying that subjective awareness is poorly defined is simply a ploy by eliminative materialists in order to divert attention from the fact that they will never be able to explain subjectivity in objective terms.

v4ultingbassist wrote:
 

Paisley wrote:

But the eliminative materialist believes that subjective experiences do not exist because there is no objective, scientific evidence for their existence.

This is apparently where you are wrong.  Also, as I've said, I think we WILL find evidence.

No, I am not wrong. You are not reading the entire article (see quotes below). Also, saying "we WILL find evidence" and actually finding evidence are entirely two different things. Besides, how can you prove something is objective when it is invisible? That it is physical when it has no physical properties?

Quote:

Other versions (of eliminative materialism) entail the non-existence of conscious mental states such as pain and visiual perception [2]

(source: Wikipedia: Eliminative materialism)

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

Quote:

The most common versions are eliminativism about propositional attitudes, as expressed by Paul and Patricia,[6] and eliminativism about qualia (subjective experience), as expressed by Daniel Dennett and Georges Rey, [2]

(source: Wikipedia: Eliminative materialism)

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

Quote:

Some eliminativists, such as Frank Jackson, claim that consciousness does not exist except as an epiphenomenon of the brain function; others, such as Georges Rey, claim that the concept will eventually be eliminated as neuroscience progresses.[2][11]

(source: Wikipedia: Eliminative materialism)

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

v4ultingbassist wrote:
 

Paisley wrote:

I think it is more rational to acknowledge the reality of the subjective because our very rationality depends upon it. 

You see the mind as dependent on the supernatural.  I see the supernatural as dependent on the mind.  If the mind is proven to be purely physical, then you are wrong and I must conclude that the supernatural does not exist.

But the fact is that consciousness has not been proven to be physical. Therefore, I am rationally justified in believing the "supernatural."

v4ultingbassist wrote:
 

Paisley wrote:

Why does subjective awareness have to be explained? Why can't it be a brute fact of existence - as fundamental (if not more fundamental) as space-time, mass/energy?

Humans like to understand things.  Also, I could argue the same about why it was important to ask what rain was.  The more we understand, the better.

But the point I was making is that it may be as fundamental (if not more fundamental) as space-time, mass/energy. You do not seem to even consider this as a possibility. However, this is what we should infer based on the materialistic explanation given thus far.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

The original parameters of modern science were set by Descartes

I'm sorry, but Descartes is not modern, in any sense of the word.  Things changeTheories change.  That is an essential part of science.  Similarly, it is possible for the worldview associated with science to change, as is the case here, given that Descartes died centuries ago.  And the scientific method is usually attributed to Bacon, from my understanding.

Descartes is the first philosopher to set the parameters for science (see quote below). Also, consciousness has NEVER been proven to be physical. So nothing has really changed.

Quote:

Descartes is often regarded as the first thinker to provide a philosophical framework for the natural sciences as these began to develop.

(source: Wikipedia: Descartes)

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


 

"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:You have

Paisley wrote:
You have already gone on record in another thread and stated explicitly that consciousness does not exist. This would align you with the irrational worldview that is eliminative materialism.

Consciousness is an intuitive abstraction of the subjective experience of having a brain. Consciousness itself has no substance. If that makes me an eliminative materialist, then I'm an eliminative materialist.

Edit: Descartes is an idiot.

Edit: Well, okay, not an idiot, but his Meditations are pathetic.

 

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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Quote:I presupposed the

Quote:

I presupposed the conventional definition of morality (i.e. right and wrong behavior). Electrochemical processes are not seeking to behave right or wrong. They are amoral and nonteleological. Evolution is nonteleological.

 

But what constitutes 'right' and 'wrong'?  I regard them as social concepts that arose through the development of society, while you see them as either a priori or told to us by god.  And a really complicated process can oversee other processes to determine what it is doing.  We (the really complicated process) gather past knowledge and make a moral decision by guessing what its impact on other human beings will be.

 

Quote:

there is no purposive behavior because all living organisms (human and otherwise) reduce to nonteleological electrochemical processes playing themselves out.

 

Purpose is a result, end, aim, or goal of an action intentionally undertaken - wiki

 

So a squirrel, which you will agree is entirely electrochemical processes, eats acorns without the intention of doing so to stay alive?  The purpose of eating is to have energy to do things and stay alive.  You are focusing on a specific use of the word 'purpose' in a philosophical sense pertaining to the ultimate purpose of life.  You are ignoring the rest of the definition of the word.

 

Quote:

It only becomes problematic when individuals (like myself) attempt to engage in a rational discussion with individuals who believe they are mindless zombies.

 

Why are we so important as to warrant any purpose whatsoever?  I have no idea WHY I exist, only that I do.  I'll make of it what I will.  I see no need for some greater, ultimate end result of life.  No other form of life has a 'greater' purpose, so why should we? 

 

We aren't mindless.  Our definition of mind is different than yours.

 

Quote:

Besides, how can you prove something is objective when it is invisible? That it is physical when it has no physical properties?

 

Do you not realize that you are doing the EXACT same thing that doubters of science have been doing for hundreds of years?  'You can't get up to where the clouds are, so you'll never know where that rain comes from!'  'You can't explain your so-called gravity, it's invisible for fuck's sake!'  'You moron, emotions don't have physical properties!' **

 

I have a whole list of 'correlations' regarding electrochemical activity in the brain and states of consciousness.  You have assertions that the mind isn't physical.  It seems that one side has a little more to back up its claims.

 

** Vocabulary used is not per era represented in the provided quotation (which is a fictional representation of an unimportant historical figure).

 

Quote:

But the fact is that consciousness has not been proven to be physical. Therefore, I am rationally justified in believing the "supernatural."

 

May I point out that this attitude has left many feeling, say, idiotic once science came about explaining numerous 'supernatural' processes?  The 'mind' is the final frontier, as I said, because, if (and I think when) the mind is found to be physical, all remaining woo will be left to the ignorant and idiotic.

 

Quote:

But the point I was making is that it may be as fundamental (if not more fundamental) as space-time, mass/energy. You do not seem to even consider this as a possibility. However, this is what we should infer based on the materialistic explanation given thus far.

 

Based on history regarding science and supernaturalism, we should infer that there is a physical process behind the mind.  Will you deny the link between mind and brain?  If you acknowledge it exists, then you too should have sort of explanation for how this connection works.  That is why I asked how the 'physical' and supernatural interact.  "I am not required to have a solution to the problem in order to acknowledge that there is a problem."  You are when your solution is that the mind must be supernatural.  You must now support your claim and explain why your solution offers a fix to the problem.  Good luck.

 

Quote:

Descartes is the first philosopher to set the parameters for science (see quote below). Also, consciousness has NEVER been proven to be physical. So nothing has really changed.

 

On Bacon:

His works established and popularized an inductive methodology for scientific inquiry, often called the Baconian method or simply, the scientific method.

-Wiki

 

Bacon was descartes' senior by 35 years.


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

Define it then. Exactly what is consciousness?

Consciousness is awareness. Hopefully, this clarifies it for you. 

Atheistextremist wrote:

What you are saying is that you are certain of the nature of something we understand incompletely, if at all, and your certainty is based on the nebulous nature of the subject matter. Why do you of all people have such boundless knowledge that you can make this claim that consciousness is spiritual?

What I am saying is what I have already stated:

"I know with absolute certitude that I am conscious even as I write this statement. Also, I believe consciousness is nonphysical and therefore spiritual. I see no reason to doubt this."

I believe consciousness is nonphysical. You believe that it is physical. What scientific evidence do you have that it is physical?

Atheistextremist wrote:

We have no idea how the brain's higher functions work but you are certain they are not at some describable level but must be spiritual, invisible.

Consciousness is invisible. In fact, there is no objective, scientific evidence that consciousness exists.

Atheistextremist wrote:

What is your beef with the physical? Our brains are thinking machines with storage capacity and random access memory. They have sensory areas and areas that are clearly related to instinct. Do you explain all this away simply on the basis of the fact we cannot explain the nature of human self?

I am not explaining away nothing. Information processing is not interchangeable with subjective awareness. If it were, then I should infer that my computer is conscious.

Atheistextremist wrote:

What is my self? Take away the brain's physical ability to store and remember and recognise and like any person with Alzheimers, I have lost a great part of my self. Damage my frontal lobes and I lose my wit and quickness of thought. My whole nature is intimately connected with my brain and my personality linked to the bodies of the parents who gave their DNA to me. Where is the non-physical in all this?

The part that is not detectable by science - namely, subjective awareness.

Atheistextremist wrote:

You earlier suggested there was little or no link between spirit and brain and to know the answer one would have to die but this is false. People with physical brain damage lose parts of their personality, their morality, their self control. Why is this so?

No, this is not true. I said that mind and body interact. In fact, my first-person experience of free will is proof-positive that they do.

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


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Atheistextremist wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Well, I basically win either way (if that is what you're implying). But that is not because I'm not playing fair.

Yes, I'm implying you win either way and yes, you're playing fair in a sense but you have clearly chosen ground that is to your advantage and positioned any non-theistic foe in a lose/lose situation.

The atheist is in a winless situation because of his fidelity to the materialistic dogma.

Atheistextremist wrote:

Self is presently unknown and modules of that self, like morality, are equally curious. Typically an atheist believes life can be explained by evolution - the accrual of attributes that enhance survival of an organism which over long period has been shown to lead to increasing complexity. This does not explain abiogenesis but it might explain the development of useful characteristics in a given population that we might call morality. Additionally, we are operating from the disadvantageous position of hindsight and this colours our view of what has purpose and what we consider that purpose might be from our human perspective.

On the materialistic view, there is no explanation for why consciousness (subjective awareness) was naturally selected by evolution. Why? Because consciousness, on the materialistic view, is not causally efficacious (i.e. materialism does not allow for free will).  I have already raised this point in another thread. Needless to say, no answer was forthcoming.

Atheistextremist wrote:

While I think your argument hinges on things we don't know, I think we will know them. I hope so.

Well, I have already demonstrated (to the chagrin of many atheists) that the materialistic worldview is ultimately based on faith.

My argument hinges on logic.

Atheistextremist wrote:

It's a fascinating area and a fun subject to struggle with. Thinking about consciousness and the nature of the mind gives me that feeling in the head you get when you try to conceive of eternity. I liked the NS article for its provocation of thought but I can see why you didn't. You come at this question from a decided perspective.

I didn't like the article because the author was making an irrational argument.

Atheistextremist wrote:

On this topic I can say what we don't know I don't know but you appear to say what we don't know you know

I know that dualism has a privileged status over materialism because our basic experience of the world is dualistic.

 

 

"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:Paisley

butterbattle wrote:

Paisley wrote:
You have already gone on record in another thread and stated explicitly that consciousness does not exist. This would align you with the irrational worldview that is eliminative materialism.

Consciousness is an intuitive abstraction of the subjective experience of having a brain.

This is a completely unintelligible statement.

butterbattle wrote:

Consciousness itself has no substance. If that makes me an eliminative materialist, then I'm an eliminative materialist.

You qualify as  an eliminative materialist because you stated in a previous thread that consciousness does not exist.

butterbattle wrote:

Descartes is an idiot.

Those who insist that their own subjectivity is an illusion are really in no position to be casting aspersions on the rationality of others.

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


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Paisley

Paisley wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

What is my self? Take away the brain's physical ability to store and remember and recognise and like any person with Alzheimers, I have lost a great part of my self. Damage my frontal lobes and I lose my wit and quickness of thought. My whole nature is intimately connected with my brain and my personality linked to the bodies of the parents who gave their DNA to me. Where is the non-physical in all this?

The part that is not detectable by science - namely, subjective awareness.

 

This is why he is calling your argument the god of the gaps.  Fifty years ago you would be saying, "Love cannot be detected by science, therefore God."

You can't do that anymore, so now you are saying, "Science cannot detect the meta-action of consciousness directly, therefore God."

God of the gaps.

What the scientific quotes are about is the idea that consciousness likely does not have any physical properties, it is an emergent property of the rest of the detectable brain functions, and so in neurobiology the use of the word might die out as we understand more of the individual parts that make up the whole experience.  Essentially, if the full system is understood there might not be a need for the shorthand word that represented all that was previously mysterious.

As far as consciousness being non-physical, I still have not seen you give a sufficient answer to the reality that your 'spiritual' consciousness can be taken away by physical means.  The fact that you can turn a conscious human into a perfectly healthy vegetable seems like ultimate proof that dualism is flawed.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Pais

 

Let's take eliminative materialism vs spirit to a more basic level. When you talk about human self not being material what are you talking about exactly? Does your view call for spirit to be made of...spirit?

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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If this is all

Paisley wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

Define it then. Exactly what is consciousness?

Consciousness is awareness. Hopefully, this clarifies it for you. 

 

that sits in the driver's seat of spirituality then it makes a stronger case for my side of the argument than for yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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v4ultingbassist

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

I presupposed the conventional definition of morality (i.e. right and wrong behavior). Electrochemical processes are not seeking to behave right or wrong. They are amoral and nonteleological. Evolution is nonteleological.

There is no purposive behavior because all living organisms (human and otherwise) reduce to nonteleological electrochemical processes playing themselves out.

 

Purpose is a result, end, aim, or goal of an action intentionally undertaken - wiki

I will accept that definition of purpose. With that in mind, I will repeat myself. Electrochemical processes are nonteleological. They do not have goals. They do not have intentions. On the materialist worldview, everyone reduces to nonteleological, electrochemical processes. Therefore, all purpose and intentional acts must be deemed purely illusory. What exactly are you not grasping here?

Paisley wrote:

So a squirrel, which you will agree is entirely electrochemical processes, eats acorns without the intention of doing so to stay alive?  The purpose of eating is to have energy to do things and stay alive.  You are focusing on a specific use of the word 'purpose' in a philosophical sense pertaining to the ultimate purpose of life.  You are ignoring the rest of the definition of the word. 

No, I do not agree that squirrels consist soley of electrochemical processes. I am not a materialist.  Therefore, I believe that squirrels (as well as all living organisms) are conscious (i.e. they experience subjective awareness).

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

It only becomes problematic when individuals (like myself) attempt to engage in a rational discussion with individuals who believe they are mindless zombies.

Why are we so important as to warrant any purpose whatsoever?  I have no idea WHY I exist, only that I do.  I'll make of it what I will.  I see no need for some greater, ultimate end result of life.  No other form of life has a 'greater' purpose, so why should we

Previously you argued that squirrels display purposive behavior. Now you are arguing that no life forms (including human beings) do. This is very strange. It is also very irrational because without presupposing some kind of purpose you cannot engage in any rational activity. This is why I said: "It only becomes problematic when individuals (like myself) attempt to engage in a rational discussion with individuals who believe they are mindless zombies."

v4ultingbassist wrote:
 

We aren't mindless. Our definition of mind is different than yours.

Based on the materialist worldview, we are relegated to nothing more than organic "robots with consciousness" or "robots WITHOUT consciousness" (i.e. the viewpoint of the eliminative materialist).

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Besides, how can you prove something is objective when it is invisible? That it is physical when it has no physical properties?

Do you not realize that you are doing the EXACT same thing that doubters of science have been doing for hundreds of years?  'You can't get up to where the clouds are, so you'll never know where that rain comes from!'  'You can't explain your so-called gravity, it's invisible for fuck's sake!'  'You moron, emotions don't have physical properties!' **

Yes, I do realize what I am doing. I am demanding that you prove your hypothesis that consciousness (i.e. subjective awareness) is physical by providing me with its physical properties.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

I have a whole list of 'correlations' regarding electrochemical activity in the brain and states of consciousness.  You have assertions that the mind isn't physical.  It seems that one side has a little more to back up its claims.

Correlations do not establish identification. Haven't we already discussed this?

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

But the fact is that consciousness has not been proven to be physical. Therefore, I am rationally justified in believing the "supernatural."

May I point out that this attitude has left many feeling, say, idiotic once science came about explaining numerous 'supernatural' processes?  The 'mind' is the final frontier, as I said, because, if (and I think when) the mind is found to be physical, all remaining woo will be left to the ignorant and idiotic.

Please provide me with the physical properties of consciousness, not your woo-woo beliefs.

v4ultingbassist wrote:
 

Paisley wrote:

But the point I was making is that it may be as fundamental (if not more fundamental) as space-time, mass/energy. You do not seem to even consider this as a possibility. However, this is what we should infer based on the materialistic explanation given thus far.

Based on history regarding science and supernaturalism, we should infer that there is a physical process behind the mind.  Will you deny the link between mind and brain?  If you acknowledge it exists, then you too should have sort of explanation for how this connection works.  That is why I asked how the 'physical' and supernatural interact.  "I am not required to have a solution to the problem in order to acknowledge that there is a problem."  You are when your solution is that the mind must be supernatural.  You must now support your claim and explain why your solution offers a fix to the problem.  Good luck.

I am not required to provide a solution to the mind/body problem. I am simply acknowledging what is clearly self-evident - namely, that we have an objective, physical body and a subjective, nonphysical mind. If you are asserting that subjective phenomena are objective, then prove it.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Descartes is the first philosopher to set the parameters for science (see quote below). Also, consciousness has NEVER been proven to be physical. So nothing has really changed.

 

On Bacon:

His works established and popularized an inductive methodology for scientific inquiry, often called the Baconian method or simply, the scientific method.

-Wiki

 

Bacon was descartes' senior by 35 years.

Who is denying Bacon's contribution to the scientific enterprise? I am simply stating the historical fact that physical science developed in the dualistic philosophy set up by Descartes.

Quote:

Descartes is often regarded as the first thinker to provide a philosophical framework for the natural sciences as these began to develop.

(source: Wikipedia: Descartes)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Descartes

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


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mellestad wrote:Paisley

mellestad wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

Where is the non-physical in all this?

The part that is not detectable by science - namely, subjective awareness.

 

This is why he is calling your argument the god of the gaps.  Fifty years ago you would be saying, "Love cannot be detected by science, therefore God."

You can't do that anymore, so now you are saying, "Science cannot detect the meta-action of consciousness directly, therefore God."

God of the gaps.

And you are making a "materialism of the gaps" argument. The gap here is subjective awareness.

mellestad wrote:

What the scientific quotes are about is the idea that consciousness likely does not have any physical properties, it is an emergent property of the rest of the detectable brain functions, and so in neurobiology the use of the word might die out as we understand more of the individual parts that make up the whole experience.  Essentially, if the full system is understood there might not be a need for the shorthand word that represented all that was previously mysterious.

As far as consciousness being non-physical, I still have not seen you give a sufficient answer to the reality that your 'spiritual' consciousness can be taken away by physical means.  The fact that you can turn a conscious human into a perfectly healthy vegetable seems like ultimate proof that dualism is flawed.

Well, if consciousness "does not have any physical properties" (your words, not mine), then I guess this emergent property is not physical!

 

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


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Let's take eliminative materialism vs spirit to a more basic level. When you talk about human self not being material what are you talking about exactly? Does your view call for spirit to be made of...spirit?

I believe that consciousness (i.e. subjective awareness) is nonphysical or immaterial.

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


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Consciousness is awareness. Hopefully, this clarifies it for you. 

that sits in the driver's seat of spirituality then it makes a stronger case for my side of the argument than for yours.

How exactly does this definition of consciousness bolster your case for materialism?

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


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Quote:I will accept that

Quote:

I will accept that definition of purpose. With that in mind, I will repeat myself. Electrochemical processes are nonteleological. They do not have goals. They do not have intentions. On the materialist worldview, everyone reduces to nonteleological, electrochemical processes. Therefore, all purpose and intentional acts must be deemed purely illusory. What exactly are you not grasping here?

 

When a computer runs a program, the purpose of the command 'end' is to stop all of the functions running within the program.  This is a completely physical process where something has a purpose.  In the correct reference frame, something entirely physical can have a purpose, as shown in this example.

 

And honestly, I doubt bacteria, viruses, and single-celled organisms are self-aware.  There is no reason to think that true, unless of course it has to be true to you because you cannot accept the possibility of physical systems developing purposive behavior.

 

Quote:

I am not required to provide a solution to the mind/body problem.

 

Well guess what?  One of us is at least trying to find a solution.  My worldview doesn't have the mind-body problem.  Yours does.  By invoking the supernatural, you are attempting a solution to the problem.  You believe in dualism.  I want to know how the two interact.  Please, paisley, explain to me how your mind and your body interact with each other, because YOU are the one who believes that they are separate.  In the mean time, I will let neuroscience, which has only recently (50 years or so) been given the tools to explore the human brain, figure out how our brains work, and THEN make a conclusion about how to view the subjective and objective.  We do not have a full understanding of the physical systems in the brain, so it is naive to conclude that it has supernatural properties without first understanding the physical ones that are present.  NEITHER one of us can be correct yet, because we both have insufficient information regarding the brain.  You are putting your faith into your current logic, and me into scientific study.

 

Quote:

I am simply acknowledging what is clearly self-evident - namely, that we have an objective, physical body and a subjective, nonphysical mind. If you are asserting that subjective phenomena are objective, then prove it.

 

It cannot be self-evident if we don't fully understand the physical properties in the brain.  Neuroscience is in the process of addressing the proof right now.  You are simply asserting that there isn't proof.  This is clearly the 'god of the gaps.'


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Paisley! Love your new

Paisley! Love your new avatar.


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I think we are sprawling sideways with our

Paisley wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Consciousness is awareness. Hopefully, this clarifies it for you. 

that sits in the driver's seat of spirituality then it makes a stronger case for my side of the argument than for yours.

How exactly does this definition of consciousness bolster your case for materialism?

 

definitions on this thread.  Various definitions have seen consciousness and self tending to get blurred (maybe it's me doing the blurring). If the essence of self is consciousness and you describe consciousness as 'awareness' then I think you're suggesting awareness is a control centre that governs a range of brain modules handling long and short term memory, instinct and learned behaviours, inherited reactions, short term physical stress responses, the release of hormones. You have not drawn a line in terms of where you think spirit self ends and physical self begins but I can't imagine you will contest that there are a wide range of self elements that are physical. 'Awareness' to me, does not seem a property of such earth shaking importance that it needs by default to be spiritual. I can end my 'awareness' by drinking 2 six packs and smoking reefer. Or by hitting myself on the head with a hammer or having a doctor put me to sleep pre-op. My brain turns off it's awareness with a soup of melatonin and other physical chemicals on a nightly basis. How can spiritual consciousness be so melded to the physical environment if it is immaterial?

Pais, could you tell me the extent of spirit self as you see it? How much of your self is spirit and how much is physical? What parts of your self do you consider physical? Do you agree memory is physical? Learned response? Inherited traits like depression and anxiety? Draw me some borders.

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Yeah I thought that, too.

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley! Love your new avatar.

 

I like the cross interpretation and the yin/yang thing that's going on. Cool.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Additionally, Pais

 

and this is a personal question so just ignore it if you would rather not answer it. What is the source of your faith - did you come to faith yourself or did you grow up in a church? Where and when did your faith in a god take root? I might as well show you mine given I'm asking to see yours. I grew up in church (minister father) and struggled to accept an invisible god. Even as a kid I struggled to convince myself there was a god - and I tried my hardest. This inability to disconnect from the physical was a source of enormous guilt - especially given that the teachings of the bible do not allow for healthy skepticism. Doubt the bible and you are evil and must die - whether your actions are moral or not.

What about you?

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley! Love your new avatar.

 

I like the cross interpretation and the yin/yang thing that's going on. Cool.

 

I actually do too.  I made a personal modification of the picture below to make each bass clef a half of the yin-yang.  I have considered getting a tattoo of it, though I doubt I will.

 


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Sorry I haven't been around

Sorry I haven't been around to join in the fun. I started by going back and re-reading "Consciousness Explained," but I'm also reading "The Greatest Show On Earth," and somehow got pulled into Kant (whom I've never read at all), mostly due to his evisceration of the ontological argument.

So far, it seems to be as I recall. Dennett does not claim that "consciousness" does not exist. He says the word "qualia" is loaded, and in fact represents a concept that is invalid. You do not have to believe in a "life-force" to know that life exists. (He actually uses this analogy in a paper.) The word "qualia" is like "life-force." It pre-supposes the existence of something that neither has explanatory power, nor represents any real-world thing. It ends up being distracting and confusing.

To be fair, he also claims that our subjective experience of consciousness is not the objective reality, so I can see how you might interpret his statements as him denying consciousness exists. However, this is borne out by evidence, such as synesthesia, or by people experiencing the subjective feeling of hunger when in fact their body does not exhibit the objective symptoms of hunger. (This occurs quite frequently, especially in people who are depressed.)  So he claims our subjective understanding of consciousness is not the objective truth.

This is a far cry from saying consciousness doesn't exist. As my earlier actual quote demonstrates, he does believe consciousness exists. He simply claims we can make no objective judgments based on purely subjective understanding. That is, our intuition about the nature of consciousness is unreliable at best, and downright wrong in general.

We've known that for years, though. Early experiments into the psychology of consciousness relied entirely on subjective interpretation. These experiments were failures, inasmuch as there was little to no consensus among the test subjects. It was not until we developed objective metrics that we started making progress in the study of 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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Paisley wrote:mellestad

Paisley wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

Where is the non-physical in all this?

The part that is not detectable by science - namely, subjective awareness.

 

This is why he is calling your argument the god of the gaps.  Fifty years ago you would be saying, "Love cannot be detected by science, therefore God."

You can't do that anymore, so now you are saying, "Science cannot detect the meta-action of consciousness directly, therefore God."

God of the gaps.

And you are making a "materialism of the gaps" argument. The gap here is subjective awareness.

mellestad wrote:

What the scientific quotes are about is the idea that consciousness likely does not have any physical properties, it is an emergent property of the rest of the detectable brain functions, and so in neurobiology the use of the word might die out as we understand more of the individual parts that make up the whole experience.  Essentially, if the full system is understood there might not be a need for the shorthand word that represented all that was previously mysterious.

As far as consciousness being non-physical, I still have not seen you give a sufficient answer to the reality that your 'spiritual' consciousness can be taken away by physical means.  The fact that you can turn a conscious human into a perfectly healthy vegetable seems like ultimate proof that dualism is flawed.

Well, if consciousness "does not have any physical properties" (your words, not mine), then I guess this emergent property is not physical!

 

 

As others have said: from our side, subjective awareness is something that is in the process of being explained.  From your side you choose to say it is undiscoverable.  On our side we have progress to show us out path is correct, from your side you have nothing but a bald faced denial.

If you really didn't understand what I meant by "Conciousness does not have physical properties" then I can re-phrase.  This whole thread seems to be based on pedantry.  The point is not that conciousness does not exist, it is that there is not likely a single, physical thing that can be detected and labled 'conciousness' and put in a neat little box.  It is emergent.

You also avoided my question.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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v4ultingbassist

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Quote:

I will accept that definition of purpose. With that in mind, I will repeat myself. Electrochemical processes are nonteleological. They do not have goals. They do not have intentions. On the materialist worldview, everyone reduces to nonteleological, electrochemical processes. Therefore, all purpose and intentional acts must be deemed purely illusory. What exactly are you not grasping here?

 

When a computer runs a program, the purpose of the command 'end' is to stop all of the functions running within the program. This is a completely physical process where something has a purpose.  In the correct reference frame, something entirely physical can have a purpose, as shown in this example.

The reference frame at issue here is the one that looks at the natural process as a whole. On the materialist worldview, the natural process as a whole is viewed as a completely mechanical process (not unlike the executing of a deterministic computer program).  As such, the natural process does not have a purpose.  To argue that it does is to make a teleological argument for the existence of some kind of God. Why? Because you are implying that the entire natural process is an intelligent one or is designed or "programmed."

Every choice that is made is ultimately determined by the entire causal nexus, which extends from the beginning of time to the moment  each choice is made. (IOW, the Big Bang is ultimately determining each choice.) So either the entire causal nexus is intelligent or any intelligence in the universe must be deemed purely illusory. These are the only two options available to you as a materialist. The former invalidates your worldview; the latter renders your worldview absurd.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

And honestly, I doubt bacteria, viruses, and single-celled organisms are self-aware. There is no reason to think that true, unless of course it has to be true to you because you cannot accept the possibility of physical systems developing purposive behavior.

There's scientific evidence that bacteria make decisions (see link provided below. AtheistExtremist has already brought up this subject in this thread). Remember, the materialist worldview reduces human beings to organic robots (i.e. stimilus-response systems). If one stimulus-response system (e.g. a human being) is conscious, then we should infer that all of them are. This would include the bacterium. Why? Because you are making the argument that the basis for consciousness is the function of data processing. Bacteria most certainly process environmental stimuli.

http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsrel/science/12-09BacteriaDecision.asp

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

I am not required to provide a solution to the mind/body problem.

Well guess what?  One of us is at least trying to find a solution.  My worldview doesn't have the mind-body problem.  Yours does. 

Your worldview doesn't have the problem if you take the tack of the eliminative materialist - just pretend that the problem (i.e. subjective awareness) does not exist. I am sorry, but that is not a very compelling argument.

v4ultingbassist wrote:

By invoking the supernatural, you are attempting a solution to the problem.  You believe in dualism.  I want to know how the two interact.  Please, paisley, explain to me how your mind and your body interact with each other, because YOU are the one who believes that they are separate.

I have evidence for dualism based on my first-person experience of a subjective realm of mental phenomena and an objective realm of physical phenomena. That trumps your evidence. Besides, there are quantum mind theories that have been proposed for interaction dualism (see Henry Stapp's theory listed in link below).

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

v4ultingbassist wrote:
 

In the mean time, I will let neuroscience, which has only recently (50 years or so) been given the tools to explore the human brain, figure out how our brains work, and THEN make a conclusion about how to view the subjective and objective.  We do not have a full understanding of the physical systems in the brain, so it is naive to conclude that it has supernatural properties without first understanding the physical ones that are present.  NEITHER one of us can be correct yet, because we both have insufficient information regarding the brain.  You are putting your faith into your current logic, and me into scientific study.

My belief is based on evidence. Yours is not. In fact, you are simply making a "promissory materialism" argument. If you believe that subjective awareness is objective, then you have to provide me with objective evidence by providing me with the physical properties of consciousness. Thus far, nothing has been forthcoming. Until then, I am fully justified in believing in the supernatural.

v4ultingbassist wrote:
 

Paisley wrote:

I am simply acknowledging what is clearly self-evident - namely, that we have an objective, physical body and a subjective, nonphysical mind. If you are asserting that subjective phenomena are objective, then prove it.

It cannot be self-evident if we don't fully understand the physical properties in the brain.  Neuroscience is in the process of addressing the proof right now.  You are simply asserting that there isn't proof.  This is clearly the 'god of the gaps.'

It is self-evident. The vast majority of human beings support my view, not yours. In fact, there are "materialists" arguing on this very forum that consciousness is nonphysical! To reiterate, you are simply making a promissory materialism argument. I will not accept your promissory note. Unless you can provide me with the physical properties of consciousness, then I am completely within my epistemic rights to adhere to the belief that subjective awareness is nonphysical.

"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:Paisley!

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley! Love your new avatar.

Thank you. It is the symbol of "dialectical monism" (a.k.a. dualistic monism).

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

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


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

How exactly does this definition of

consciousness

bolster your case for materialism?

definitions on this thread.  Various definitions have seen consciousness and self tending to get blurred (maybe it's me doing the blurring). If the essence of self is consciousness and you describe consciousness as 'awareness' then I think you're suggesting awareness is a control centre that governs a range of brain modules handling long and short term memory, instinct and learned behaviours, inherited reactions, short term physical stress responses, the release of hormones. You have not drawn a line in terms of where you think spirit self ends and physical self begins but I can't imagine you will contest that there are a wide range of self elements that are physical. 'Awareness' to me, does not seem a property of such earth shaking importance that it needs by default to be spiritual. I can end my 'awareness' by drinking 2 six packs and smoking reefer. Or by hitting myself on the head with a hammer or having a doctor put me to sleep pre-op. My brain turns off it's awareness with a soup of melatonin and other physical chemicals on a nightly basis. How can spiritual consciousness be so melded to the physical environment if it is immaterial?

What is the physical? Oscillating quantities (mathematical abstractions) of mass/energy in space-time (clearly abstractions)? The bottom line is that picture science paints of the physical is not really physical.

Quantum indeterminacy appears to be the key. You have two options:

1) Events are happening uncaused (which is unintelligible).

2) There's a place for nonphysical causation.

Atheistextremist wrote:

Pais, could you tell me the extent of spirit self as you see it? How much of your self is spirit and how much is physical? What parts of your self do you consider physical? Do you agree memory is physical? Learned response? Inherited traits like depression and anxiety? Draw me some borders.

When you are asleep and dreaming, what part of your "self" is mental and what part is physical?

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


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

What is the source of your faith?

God

Atheistextremist wrote:

Where and when did your faith in a god take root?

My soul.

Atheistextremist wrote:

I might as well show you mine given I'm asking to see yours. I grew up in church (minister father) and struggled to accept an invisible god. Even as a kid I struggled to convince myself there was a god - and I tried my hardest. This inability to disconnect from the physical was a source of enormous guilt - especially given that the teachings of the bible do not allow for healthy skepticism. Doubt the bible and you are evil and must die - whether your actions are moral or not.

What about you?

I'm a student of mysticism and philosophical theology.

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


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The Doomed Soul

The Doomed Soul wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Eliminative materialism is the view that qualia (i.e. subjective experience or phenomenal consciousness) does not exist and should be "eliminated" from our vocabulary. Self-professed atheist Daniel Dennett is a prominent proponent of this view. I cannot think of anything more irrational. I trust that the "Rational Response Squad" will issue an intellectual citation to any individual on this forum peddling such a ridiculous idea.

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

 

Im in favor of eliminating QUALIA from the english language... it doesnt even look like a real word! i know 1337 words that seem more sensible!

(Blink and you'll miss it)

Yeah, I was wondering where someone put the cliff notes on the OP in this thread...

DAMN, I thought I was a weird person... then I read this thread.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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nigelTheBold wrote:So far,

nigelTheBold wrote:

So far, it seems to be as I recall. Dennett does not claim that "consciousness" does not exist. He says the word "qualia" is loaded, and in fact represents a concept that is invalid. You do not have to believe in a "life-force" to know that life exists. (He actually uses this analogy in a paper.) The word "qualia" is like "life-force." It pre-supposes the existence of something that neither has explanatory power, nor represents any real-world thing. It ends up being distracting and confusing.

Qualia and subjective experience are interchangeable terms. Therefore, if Dennett denies the reality of qualia (which he most certainly does), then he is denying the reality of subjective experience by implication.

Also, vitalism can be defined as that aspect of life process which cannot be explained in terms of physics and chemistry. This obviously smacks of emergentism - a term which is frequently invoked on this forum as the "scientific" and "physical" explanation of consciousness. However, if you cannot identify one physical property that consciousness has, then you have not actually established that it is physical.

Quote:

vitalism: 2 : a doctrine that the processes of life are not explicable by the laws of physics and chemistry alone and that life is in some part self-determining

(source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: vitalism)

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vitalism

Quote:

A refinement of vitalism may be recognized in contemporary molecular histology in the proposal that some key organising and structuring features of organisms, perhaps including even life itself, are examples of emergent processes; those in which a complexity arises, out of interacting chemical processes forming interconnected feedback cycles, that cannot fully be described in terms of those processes since the system as a whole has properties that the constituent reactions lack.[13][14}

(source: Wikipedia: Vitalism)

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

nigelTheBold wrote:

To be fair, he also claims that our subjective experience of consciousness is not the objective reality, so I can see how you might interpret his statements as him denying consciousness exists. However, this is borne out by evidence, such as synesthesia, or by people experiencing the subjective feeling of hunger when in fact their body does not exhibit the objective symptoms of hunger. (This occurs quite frequently, especially in people who are depressed.)  So he claims our subjective understanding of consciousness is not the objective truth.

Consciousness (i.e. subjective awareness) is axiomatic (i.e. self-evident). Any attempt to deny it presupposes it. Does Dennett attempt to deny subjective awareness? Answer: Most definitely. Does he waver and vacillate back and forth on the subject matter? Answer: Yes. But this is exactly what we would expect from someone who is attempting to make such an irrational argument.

nigelTheBold wrote:

We've known that for years, though. Early experiments into the psychology of consciousness relied entirely on subjective interpretation. These experiments were failures, inasmuch as there was little to no consensus among the test subjects. It was not until we developed objective metrics that we started making progress in the study of consciousness.

The term to describe this approach is introspection. It failed because early psychologists simply lacked the training and background in this area. However, contemplatives (e.g. Buddhist practitioners of meditation) have the expertise in this area and have succeeded where the early psychologists have failed.

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


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Quote:1) Events are

Quote:

1) Events are happening uncaused (which is unintelligible).

 

Hold up there cowboy, since when is our intelligence an important factor in what is true of nature?  What I mean is that we evolved in what can be considered the classical realm of physics.  There is a limit in the quantum world where the classical world arises (chaos theory tries to understand this), so if we developed in the classical realm, our 'intelligence' will be purely based on the notions we gathered from the classical realm, i.e. determinism.  Just because we think deterministically doesn't mean that the universe is.  This is obviously a potential nightmare for our attempt to understand the universe, but is a consideration that COULD be true (despite our intuition saying otherwise).

 

 


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Quote:The reference frame at

Quote:

The reference frame at issue here is the one that looks at the natural process as a whole. On the materialist worldview, the natural process as a whole is viewed as a completely mechanical process (not unlike the executing of a deterministic computer program).  As such, the natural process does not have a purpose.  To argue that it does is to make a teleological argument for the existence of some kind of God. Why? Because you are implying that the entire natural process is an intelligent one or is designed or "programmed."

 

That is NOT what I am saying.  I am saying that I do not know whether or not there is a purpose for existence.  What I AM saying is that there is a PURPOSE for my lungs, which is to allow me to breathe.  I am trying to make a distinction between the two ways you are using the word. 

 

Quote:

Every choice that is made is ultimately determined by the entire causal nexus, which extends from the beginning of time to the moment  each choice is made. (IOW, the Big Bang is ultimately determining each choice.) So either the entire causal nexus is intelligent or any intelligence in the universe must be deemed purely illusory. These are the only two options available to you as a materialist. The former invalidates your worldview; the latter renders your worldview absurd.

 

The quantum world is putting determinism on shaky ground.  Consequently, I do not agree with your causal nexus.  This may have been the root of our disagreement.

 

 

Quote:

Your worldview doesn't have the problem if you take the tack of the eliminative materialist - just pretend that the problem (i.e. subjective awareness) does not exist. I am sorry, but that is not a very compelling argument.

 

Subjective awareness and subjective experience are NOT the same thing.  Stop equating them.

 

Quote:

My belief is based on evidence.

 

Evidence that is completely useless to someone without your subjective experiences.  It is by no means scientific.

 

Quote:

The vast majority of human beings support my view, not yours.

 

This is useless to point out, because I can point out views on the flatness of earth etc etc; there are many examples of the majority being wrong.

 

Quote:

consciousness is nonphysical!

 

In the sense that it is a property of a physical system, not an actual 'substance' itself.

 

Quote:

It is self-evident.

 

Not in a scientific sense.  Your argument necessitates the supernatural without fully comprehending the physical system it is supposedly intertwined with (I would think it silly for dualism to deny a mind-body connection).   Consequently, you are ignoring the potential for a physical solution by asserting the necessitation of the supernatural.

 

Here, let's try a logical argument for the rationality of materialism. 

The materialistic perspective is more rational because, despite the presupposition of only the material, there exists the potential to describe the interactions of a purely physical system, and consequently an explanation of the mind.  Dualism, on the other hand, offers no way to explain how the material and immaterial interact, and consequently offers no coherent explanation of mind.

 

You are rejecting the first sentence, and not addressing the second.


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mellestad wrote:Paisley

mellestad wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Well, if consciousness "does not have any physical properties" (your words, not mine), then I guess this emergent property is

not

physical!

As others have said: from our side, subjective awareness is something that is in the process of being explained.  From your side you choose to say it is undiscoverable.  On our side we have progress to show us out path is correct, from your side you have nothing but a bald faced denial.

I said that there is no scientific instrument that can detect the presence or absence of consciousness. That's not a bold-faced denial. That's simply a statement of fact.

mellestad wrote:

If you really didn't understand what I meant by "Conciousness does not have physical properties" then I can re-phrase.  This whole thread seems to be based on pedantry.  The point is not that conciousness does not exist, it is that there is not likely a single, physical thing that can be detected and labled 'conciousness' and put in a neat little box.  It is emergent.

If consciousness does not have any physical properties, then you have no basis to assert that it is physical. It's that simple. Flinging ad hominem attacks and the term "emergent" will not change this. 

mellestad wrote:

You also avoided my question.

You did not ask any questions in your previous post.

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