the nature of the brain
Here's a conversation, rather liberally chopped together to show flow of thought, that occurred a week ago (under the forum topic of "problems i have with most atheists". Any comments are encouraged and the discussion is one that goes to the heart of many a theist's worldview.
Serotonin (or whatever variant of chemicals and such) is not qua happiness. There is the inner experience of it!
the evidence is self-evident. Unless I am talking to an automaton? How are you even thinking if you have no conciousness?
Is happiness merely serotonin in the brain. Certainly, it *is* serotonin in the brain, but what about just the inner experience of it. Just because something *causes* happiness does not make it *happiness in itself*. There is the inner, immaterial realm of experience and emotions that is definable only on its own terms. Does happiness exist without serotonin? Certainly not. The reverse is also true. These are two separate yet intimatly connected things. My point is (and if you read about Ken Wilber's quadrants it will make this much more clear) that equating emotional states as merely chemical reactions is a fallacy. Your every day experience of your very conciousness is immaterial.
here is a classic case of naturalistic dualism at its finest and I have little doubt that pkremida would find great joy in reading David Chalmers.
Unfortunately for Mr. Chalmers and the young lady here, the problems for said position are rather numerous and have already been outlined by Dennett, Owen Flannagan and a few others. The core of the problem has to do with a certain naive understanding of language and a misunderstanding of the term "self."
Language, as outlined by J. Jaynes and others, has a certain proclivity towards dualism as words are easily misconstrued as existing in themselves and therefore having a life all their own. however, words are indexical, they merely point to something and have no necessity in being real. For those having studied the ontological proof of god, this point should be helpful. Hence, for the present discussion, when someone says "I" or "me" there is an assumption made that the term has much the same meaning as rock or plane, as if it points to some separate entity, when in fact, much like even rock and plane, it merely points to a relation or section of space/time in material reality (Bertrand Russell excellently discusses this). At no time should the terms begin to take on a life of their own, but should be kept in mind that they point to something in particular.
What they point to is determined largely upon your metaphysic, whether explicit or implicit. The issue here is that any singular "experience" you have is impossible to be used in any logical justification for a self in any way removed from the relational system of the brain and all of material reality. To use such an example is inchoherent not only because, neurologically you aren't discussing the event itself but rather a reconstruction of it, but also as to the fact that there is no coherent sense in which you can discuss singular events and get a seamless "self" out of it. This is why dualism is so damning, because it requires an unchanging entity that in some way makes sense out of the disparity of experiences, when in fact it is precisely the different experiences and our ability to narratize that creates the semblance of continuity.
And how do you know that this 'inner experience' is anything other than how you experience these neurotransmitters? Can you explain just how you 'experience' an 'immaterial mind' without stealing the concept of materialism?
And how would you know how to compare how a materialist sensation of a physical brain 'ought to feel' vs how an immaterialist 'sensation' of an 'immmaterial mind" ought to feel?
Nothing about the axiomatic nature of consciousness supports the claim that consciousness is immaterial.
There's literally no reason to believe that consciousness is immaterial - one only has arguments from ignorance vis the current state of neuroscience, combined with arguments to personal incredulity, which themselves are based on the irrational premise that one can 'know how a immaterial mind oughta feel'
pkremid wrote: Nuclear physicists have seen subatomic particles actually disappear based on the observer. Quatum physics has shown reality to be a probalistic model, not a deterministic one. Quarks move in choatic patterns, and since they are the basis for all matter, puts the deterministic model into question.
Unfortunately this is another case in which someone with little to no educational background picks up a theory and runs with it, without knowing what they're actually talking about. Quantum theory is mathematics at its finest and even those theorists who propose it are very careful in saying that at best it may describe reality only at the subatomic level. While it is true that the fundamental thinking that the universe is deterministic has been altered by quantum theory, it in no way has been done away with. Newtonian physics is still accurate, but only in context. The problem is one of language, i.e. the descriptive devices used to describe larger forces like gravity simply do not work at the subatomic level and hence a new paradigm needs to be created.
pkremida wrote: The are all the *outward forms* of evolution, and not one of them represents how evolution looks from the *inside*, how the individual entities feel and perceive and cognize the world at various stages.
Mr. Wilbur is unfortunately, at least how his thinking is being shown here, completely unaware of his own metaphysical assumptions. Again, as was mentioned in my previous post in which I quoted pkremida and then refuted her claim, a point lost on the other in this discussion, Wilbur is another case like Chalmers of a naturalistic dualism. To begin discussion of any "entities feelings and perceptions" is to ignore the various means by which organisms differ. In the haphazard way that these words are being used, it infers that all entities think, feel and perceive like humans do, which is patently absurd. A rock has no more ability to perceive than a leaf does, not in any sense that makes perception intelligible. Granted, Mr. Wilbur may be going down the path of Liebniz's windowless monads, but I hope not as that was thoroughly debunked by Kant.
pkremida wrote: In other words, my mind is known interiorly "by acquaintance," but my brain is known exteriorly "by description" (William James, Bertrand Russell). That is why I can always to some degree see my own mind, but I can never see my own brain (without cutting open my skull and getting a mirror).
Having recently finished a study on James and Russell, it is a sad thing here to see their names associated with a theory they would in no way agree with. Again, if my previous post had actually been read and addressed, there would be no point here. Words are largely indexical in usage, they "point to" something, but that something does not necessarily possess independent existence. James and Russell would only agree with this theory of Wilbur's in the sense of being an examination of the different lingual paradigms being used, but not as saying there is any metaphysical difference between the mind and brain.
pkremida wrote: The brain is the outside, the mind is the inside - and, a similar type of exterior/interior holds for everything in evolution.
Not much more needs to be said about this than already mentioned. The assumption here, again, is that there is a metaphysical difference between mind and brain, a fact not at all substantiated. The mistake here is in assuming that simply because a word is being used it must imply some sort of ontologically independent existence, but that is completely unwarranted as seen in the example of a unicorn, a creature that can be described but does not in fact exist in any sense outside of an imaginative construct.
As a sidepoint, it is curious here to point out that in all of the language being used to describe the mind, it all has to do with physical directions; the mind is "inside" , implicitly giving credence to the point that the mind is simply an indexical term pointing to a process going on in the brain and not a thing in itself.
No, it's shown that the quantum level is probablistic - not 'reality'. It's a fallacy of composition to apply these results to the macro level.
Well, what you mean is that we can't detect these things from the third person perspective - i.e. the behavioral approach.
Well, yes, we can't know these things phenomenologically - i.e. in a 1st person perspective, that is true... But clearly, it's an overstatement to say that NONE of this can be known from the outside.... if that were true, then how would we know about such things as celluar irritability in the first place?
Which is why actual science is multi-modal..... science need not be simply behavioral/external in the sense that Wilber mistakenly believes it is. Science can and does also look into phenomenology. It's a myth that concepts like reductionism and holism must be 'at war' with each other, and that science is mainly reductionist. Both concepts are tools that can be used by the same investigator while looking into the same phenomenon.
Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm