On Cause and Effect

OM
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On Cause and Effect

I'm curious to see the opinions of board members, theist and non theist, in relation to the law of cause and effect, particularly regarding consciousness, conscious actions ("moral" or not).

 

Is there a direct effect which will be manifested in the future or present of every action and thought we experience? If so, what is the relationship between the cause and the effect? Or do these laws only apply to the strictly material universe?

 

If man is purely composed of and sustained by matter/energy, and we know that these things cannot be created or destroyed, only changed, then does this not extend to our consciousness? If so, what does this mean for our consciousness after death?

 

 


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OM wrote:I'm curious to see

OM wrote:

I'm curious to see the opinions of board members, theist and non theist, in relation to the law of cause and effect, particularly regarding consciousness, conscious actions ("moral" or not).

Is there a direct effect which will be manifested in the future or present of every action and thought we experience? If so, what is the relationship between the cause and the effect? Or do these laws only apply to the strictly material universe?

Yes, there are direct consequences for every action, and for every thought.  The consequence might simply be the increase of entropy, caused by the chemical reactions of the thought process, for fleeting, inane or unimportant thoughts ("This banana is yellow." )  There might be more profound consequences for more deliberate or impassioned thoughts, such as philosophy or manslaughter.  This is how we change our minds: we consider some new datum and the effect is that we might adopt different beliefs or opinions, or we might simply waste mental energy.

OM wrote:

If man is purely composed of and sustained by matter/energy, and we know that these things cannot be created or destroyed, only changed, then does this not extend to our consciousness? If so, what does this mean for our consciousness after death?

No, the creation or destruction of consciousness is not a natural derivative of the conservation of energy. Conscioussness is a form, a pattern of matter under the influence of energy.  Change the pattern, and the conscioussness that results may disappear.   Death destroys neither matter nor energy when conscioussness fades, it merely changes the pattern to one we find less appealing.

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Fight the infection.


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What?

Hi, OM

I do not think there is any such thing as a law of cause and effect as you seem to be using that term.

Please define what you mean by "the law of cause and effect"

effects usually have multiple causes

some effects have no cause e.g. quantum effects.

There is only a material universe.

Consciousness is just a function of the brain analogous to digestion being a function of the digestive system. There is no great mystery about conciousness. What happens to your digestion when you die?

People have moral instincts resulting from evolution, which are based on survival of their genes via the survival of their offspring and the offspring of their relatives, tribe, nation, species, related species, and life on earth.

Spiritual things are impossible. You are not some magical demon called a soul possessing your body. You are your body, and if you think that you're something else (then what you really are) , then you have a serious mental problem. If you disagree, then please provide some evidence that spiritual things are possible.

 

when you say "faith" I think "evil lies"
when you say "god" I think "santa clause"


OM
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patcleaver wrote:Hi, OMI do

patcleaver wrote:

Hi, OM

I do not think there is any such thing as a law of cause and effect as you seem to be using that term.

Please define what you mean by "the law of cause and effect"

effects usually have multiple causes

some effects have no cause e.g. quantum effects.

There is only a material universe.

Consciousness is just a function of the brain analogous to digestion being a function of the digestive system. There is no great mystery about conciousness. What happens to your digestion when you die?

People have moral instincts resulting from evolution, which are based on survival of their genes via the survival of their offspring and the offspring of their relatives, tribe, nation, species, related species, and life on earth.

Spiritual things are impossible. You are not some magical demon called a soul possessing your body. You are your body, and if you think that you're something else (then what you really are) , then you have a serious mental problem. If you disagree, then please provide some evidence that spiritual things are possible.

 

I am using the term cause and effect in reference to, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, or something along those lines. A drop of water falls into a body of water, ripples form. An atom is split, an explosion occurs. I was relating these phenomena to the actions and thoughts, and whether or not they apply. Am I correct in assuming that you do not believe there are effects to thoughts and conscious actions?

I am not familiar with quantum mechanics, so care to elaborate on these effects without a cause?

No mystery behind consciousness? Let me as you this then, how does matter experience? No. Experiences may arise within matter, but then again, matter is only experienced. If there is no consciousness at all, then there is no matter to be perceived. What happens to the digestive system? In the body that dies, it ceases. Beyond that, we do not know.

According to your theory of morals instincts base solely on the survival of my genes, what drives people to do good for beings whose genetic makeup is not descended from themselves, and barely similar to their own?

How do you define "spiritual things"?

No, I am not my body. Am I my finger? if my finger gets cut off,  am I my cut off finger? No. If my finger gets cut off, am I any less myself? No. I am my consciousness, which may be a product of the workings of my body, or may not. My body is an manifestation of me, not the whole me.


OM
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Kavis wrote:Yes, there are

Kavis wrote:

Yes, there are direct consequences for every action, and for every thought.  The consequence might simply be the increase of entropy, caused by the chemical reactions of the thought process, for fleeting, inane or unimportant thoughts ("This banana is yellow." )  There might be more profound consequences for more deliberate or impassioned thoughts, such as philosophy or manslaughter.  This is how we change our minds: we consider some new datum and the effect is that we might adopt different beliefs or opinions, or we might simply waste mental energy.


No, the creation or destruction of consciousness is not a natural derivative of the conservation of energy. Conscioussness is a form, a pattern of matter under the influence of energy.  Change the pattern, and the conscioussness that results may disappear.   Death destroys neither matter nor energy when conscioussness fades, it merely changes the pattern to one we find less appealing.

 

OK. What do you mean by a form? Does it have a constitution? What matter is consciousness made up of? And how about the effects of causes that our thoughts and actions have necessitated? What happens to them after death?


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consciousness is produced by

consciousness is produced by the brain, which is made of matter. No brain, no consciousness.

 

 


OM
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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

consciousness is produced by the brain, which is made of matter. No brain, no consciousness.

 

 

 

First of all, there are plenty of animals that exhibit consciousness that have no brains. Second, my main point which you seem to have missed is, what are the effects of our conscious decisions and thoughts post death, if you believe that there are such phenomena that extend to what you characterize as a  product of matter (which is subject to cause and effect) once the brain dies?


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OM wrote: First of all,

OM wrote:

 

First of all, there are plenty of animals that exhibit consciousness that have no brains.

 

 

Such as?

 

Quote:

 

Second, my main point which you seem to have missed is, what are the effects of our conscious decisions and thoughts post death,

if you believe that there are such phenomena that extend to what you characterize as a  product of matter (which is subject to cause and effect) once the brain dies?

 

If you're dead, you have no conciousness. Once the brain dies, consciouness is toast.

 

Many things can alter consciousness, for example alcohol. Head injuries affect consciousness, mental disorders are linked to brain activity etc...

 


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Your conscious mind is

Your conscious mind is almost certainly a manifestation of material effects, namely chemistry. We have evidence for this from various sources.

We know that drugs can affect short term consciousness. We know that blows to the head, transient ischemic attacks, and various other things can cause permanent changes in ones personality and consciousness. We can even monitor the various electrochemical induced pathways with the use of MRIs.

While this is not conclusive evidence of a purely material basis for consciousness, no evidence is ever conclusive. As there is zero evidence for a non-material origin or basis of consciousness, it is safe to say that material origin does seem to be the case. Your mind, your consciousness, is a product of a physical body, and deteriorates at the time of death. It doesn't appear to float out of your body and join some pool of energy or otherwise continue to exist on it's own. It appears to die, much like the electrical energy in a battery that looses it's energy.

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OM
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Cpt_pineapple wrote:[ Such

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

[


 

Such as?

 

 

If you're dead, you have no conciousness. Once the brain dies, consciouness is toast.

 

Many things can alter consciousness, for example alcohol. Head injuries affect consciousness, mental disorders are linked to brain activity etc...

 

 

Starfish, jellyfish, worms, sea urchins, sand dollars, sponges, etc.

You're still missing the point. I never claimed that consciousness continues after death. I asked, what are the repercussions of conscious thought and behavior while alive, post mortem.

As to your last sentence... I don't even know how that pertains to this topic.


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Desdenova wrote:Your

Desdenova wrote:

Your conscious mind is almost certainly a manifestation of material effects, namely chemistry. We have evidence for this from various sources.

We know that drugs can affect short term consciousness. We know that blows to the head, transient ischemic attacks, and various other things can cause permanent changes in ones personality and consciousness. We can even monitor the various electrochemical induced pathways with the use of MRIs.

While this is not conclusive evidence of a purely material basis for consciousness, no evidence is ever conclusive. As there is zero evidence for a non-material origin or basis of consciousness, it is safe to say that material origin does seem to be the case. Your mind, your consciousness, is a product of a physical body, and deteriorates at the time of death. It doesn't appear to float out of your body and join some pool of energy or otherwise continue to exist on it's own. It appears to die, much like the electrical energy in a battery that looses it's energy.

 

Also missing the point. I agree that it is very likely that consciousness is a product of the brain, I am mainly talking about the effects of our thoughts and deeds. These are not necessarily all resolved at the time of our death - let us liken a thought to a bullet. What happens if a person dies while the bullet of their thought, or a repercussion to an action, is still travelling?

And the battery which has lost its energy has transfered it to another place. The electrochemical energy in our brains cannot "die", it can only change- or transfer to somewhere else.


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OM wrote:And the battery

OM wrote:

And the battery which has lost its energy has transfered it to another place. The electrochemical energy in our brains cannot "die", it can only change- or transfer to somewhere else.

But it changes into a rotting brain when you die. The electrochemical energy feeds worms or insects, or fuels combustion if you are cremated. And that is that; the matter and energy are consumed by insects or fire and then are dispersed. Since your consciousness relies on having a functioning brain, you don't have a consciousness once your brain deteriorates. For that matter there is no 'you' once your brain deteriorates.

You think that jellyfish and sponges are conscious? I doubt it. I think that a sponge is unconscious because it lacks a nervous system. Since it lacks a nervous system, it can not process or collect information at all. Sponges are unconscious animals. I think the real question here should be along the lines of 'how large of a brain or how complex of a nervous system is required for an animal to be conscious?" Does a jellyfish's rudimentary nervous system give it some semblance of consciousness? I don't think so, but perhaps it could.

 

OM wrote:

let us liken a thought to a bullet. What happens if a person dies while the bullet of their thought, or a repercussion to an action, is still travelling?

The repercussions of actions outlive you. But if you had some thought that you never turned into action, then it dies with you. Regardless of how much intent or meaning your thoughts hold, if you do not act on them then they will be destroyed once your brain deteriorates. Your thoughts are the interactions of neurons in your brain, once the neurons deteriorate there are no thoughts or remnant of thoughts.

 

OM wrote:

As to your last sentence... I don't even know how that pertains to this topic.

It was examples of how brain=consciousness. So an alcohol addled brain or a damaged brain lead to an addled consciousness. This is due to the fact that consciousness is dependent on a functioning brain.

 

I see the human brain is being a very complex computer. Information comes in and actions come out. But the information coming in and the actions coming out can 'rewire' the computer that is your brain. I consider our brains to be the most marvellous thing produced by evolution: an information processing feedback system that adapts to its environment. It is amazing, but upon cellular death it's thoughts and motives are destroyed.

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


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Consciousness seems to be

Consciousness seems to be the effect of a process constituted of special patterns of interactions among the billions of neurones which make up our brain. Its a vastly more subtle version of a program running on a computer. When you switch off the computer, that program is no longer running. There is nowhere in the computer you can point to a process which was the running program - all you have is the static record on the hard disk which was used to initiate the program, and maybe some changed files generated by the program when it was running.

The pattern of interactions characteristic of a conscious mind simply loses its structure - then the interactions cease as the brain actually decays. There is no equivalent of the Laws of Conservation of Matter/Energy when applied to structured patterns - the pattern can simply disappear without trace.

There really isn't a Law of Cause and Effect as such in science.  There is the First Law of Motion, which states that a body will continue in its current state velocity unless acted on by a force.

Most events ('effects') are the result of a whole set of things, some relatively static, some changing, and when all these contributing factors ('causes') have a certain critical combination of values, some other event may be triggered (the 'effect').

Quantum events seem to occur completely at random, but normally within a certain well defined probablity distribution, so that over a large number of such events, the averaged effect becomes quite well-defined. The best example of this is that we are completely unable to predict when an individual unstable nucleus will decay, but the average rate of decay may very precisely known, allowing us to use it for radiometric dating, as in carbon-dating.

The 'cause' of that decay is that the intact nucleus has a slightly higher energy content than the decay products, so there is a tendency for physical systems to seek lower energy states. However, to actually emit the particle requires it to pass thru a slightly higher intermediate energy state, so it needs some sort of tiny nudge to actually decay. Its like a ball at the top of a ramp, with only a small ridge stopping it from rolling on to the slope of the ramp, and the whole setup vibrating in a random manner.

When we are talking about mental events, the physical model is not a useful way to analyse it, because what we see as one thought affecting another thought, perhaps in another brain, involves a mass of low-level physical interactions which don't really help us understand what is happening, in somewhat the way it is all but impossible for us to understand complex chemical effects such as DNA replication in terms of the interactions of the fundamental sub-atomic particles which make up the atoms which in turn make up the molecules that are interacting.

As we work our way up thru the hierarchy of structures in the physical world from sub-atomic particles to atoms to molecules to complex macro-molecules to living cells to multi-cellular organisms to animals to humans to human societies, we have to encapsulate the concepts of the 'lower levels' in more complex structures and processes whose properties are described in terms appropriate to that perspective.

The way the properties of quarks and leptons underpin human consciousness is such an immensely complex chain of interactions that it is utterly beyond our ability to analyse and understand in every detail, altho in principle we could simulate it on a powerful computer. We just have to adopt another set of descriptive ways of associating, in our thoughts, the 'matter' around us into larger complex entities.

Any series of events affected by some action you performed while alive and conscious will continue, and presumably the effect of your action can be followed forward, independently of whether you are alive or dead. The only difference if you are dead is that you will not be consciously affecting the course of events in any new way. If you wrote notes, instructions, a book, obviously they may continue to affect other people indefinitely into the future.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Alright, you asked for it.OM

Alright, you asked for it.

OM wrote:
How do you define "spiritual things"?

Can't. Next question.

OM wrote:
No, I am not my body.

Yes you are. You're also sounding an awful lot like a mislead and unrepentant hippie.

OM wrote:
Am I my finger? if my finger gets cut off,  am I my cut off finger? No.

To put it into New Age for you, you were never anything but part of the Earth. Your identity is Earth. 

OM wrote:
If my finger gets cut off, am I any less myself? No.

Right, because your identity is your concern. You can decide your identity, and so can others.

OM wrote:
I am my consciousness, which may be a product of the workings of my body, or may not.

Pray tell where else one might produce consciousness.

OM wrote:
My body is an manifestation of me, not the whole me.

What is the rest of your "me" made of, then? Fairy dust? You're either making things up, or regurgitating things other people have told you.

Also, to save you the time of making this personal, my aggressive tone comes from the apparent impunity with which you peddle this nonsense as wisdom. Go on Oprah and tell the idiot masses that they should feel special because they have a magical ray of sunshine light with them always. Fine. Not here, pal. This is a tougher crowd.

 

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fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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HisWillness wrote:Alright,

HisWillness wrote:

Alright, you asked for it.

Can't. Next question.

Glad we got that out of the way.

HisWillness wrote:
Yes you are. You're also sounding an awful lot like a mislead and unrepentant hippie.

No real argument here 'cept of a bit of the good ol' ad hominem. Am I then dust after I am cremated? No. Read below.

HisWillness wrote:
To put it into New Age for you, you were never anything but part of the Earth. Your identity is Earth.

Why stop there with gross generalizations? Earth is part of a solar system, which is part of a galaxy, which is part of a universe. This universe may or may not be part of a multiverse. My identity is multiverse. Furthermore, if we really were to look at this from a new age perspective, there's no telling what in kinds of places I've been incarnated in the past. I guess "from a new age perspective", I'm not "but a part of the Earth."

HisWillness wrote:
Right, because your identity is your concern. You can decide your identity, and so can others.

I thought you said we are the body? Anyway, identity cannot be "decided" upon. It is extremely large and complex. Part of my identity is everything I have ever thought, felt, done, what my capabilities are, the reason these things are the way they are, and much more, and it cannot be decided or comprehended a mere whim - as it already exists within itself. It is not arbitrary.

HisWillness wrote:
Pray tell where else one might produce consciousness.

I only spoke of consciousness relating to the body.

HisWillness wrote:
What is the rest of your "me" made of, then? Fairy dust? You're either making things up, or regurgitating things other people have told you.

Abstracts such as ideas, beliefs, knowledge, habits which exist independent of my body. Perhaps in the minds of others, or in  something  I wrote, etc.

HisWillness wrote:
You're either making things up, or regurgitating things other people have told you.

Elaborate as to why you think this.

HisWillness wrote:
Also, to save you the time of making this personal, my aggressive tone comes from the apparent impunity with which you peddle this nonsense as wisdom. Go on Oprah and tell the idiot masses that they should feel special because they have a magical ray of sunshine light with them always. Fine. Not here, pal. This is a tougher crowd.

 

*sigh* By the way, you're ugly as sin.


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OM, have you ever heard of

OM, have you ever heard of "emergent properties"? That's where complex system arise from a series/system of simple interactions. Consciousness is an emergent property of the brain.

It's not a physical property itself. It requires the presence of a physical system, however. Once that physical presence/system fails or stops, so does the emergent property consciousness.

To put it at its simplest: To believe consciousness survives the wreck of the brain is like believing that 75mph survives the wreck of the car.

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


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JillSwift wrote:OM, have you

JillSwift wrote:

OM, have you ever heard of "emergent properties"? That's where complex system arise from a series/system of simple interactions. Consciousness is an emergent property of the brain.

It's not a physical property itself. It requires the presence of a physical system, however. Once that physical presence/system fails or stops, so does the emergent property consciousness.

To put it at its simplest: To believe consciousness survives the wreck of the brain is like believing that 75mph survives the wreck of the car.

By 75 mph, are you referring to the force generated by the car traveling at that speed? If so, yes, it survives, but in a different form, namely in the effect it had on whatever it hit, and the infinite chain of events which follows.


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OM wrote:By 75 mph, are you

OM wrote:
By 75 mph, are you referring to the force generated by the car traveling at that speed? If so, yes, it survives, but in a different form, namely in the effect it had on whatever it hit, and the infinite chain of events which follows.
Not at all what the term means, hon. Once the energy is dissipated and transformed, "75mph" ( a property of 'the car' ) simply no longer exists.

As in the case of consciousness: Once the system is destroyed, the emergent property simply vanishes. The property was never a separate phenomenon in the first place.

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


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JillSwift wrote:Not at all

JillSwift wrote:

Not at all what the term means, hon. Once the energy is dissipated and transformed, "75mph" ( a property of 'the car' ) simply no longer exists.

As in the case of consciousness: Once the system is destroyed, the emergent property simply vanishes. The property was never a separate phenomenon in the first place.

I agree. Just as with 75mph, consciousness is dissipated and transformed.


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OM wrote:I agree. Just as

OM wrote:
I agree. Just as with 75mph, consciousness is dissipated and transformed.
75mph is not what is dissipated and transformed. The energy that makes 75mph possible for the car is what is dissipated and transformed. Velocity is a property of energy and matter, not energy or matter itself.


 

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


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OM wrote:I'm curious to see

OM wrote:

I'm curious to see the opinions of board members, theist and non theist, in relation to the law of cause and effect, particularly regarding consciousness, conscious actions ("moral" or not).

What Law of Cause and Effect? So far in this thread you've referenced the idea that to any action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, but that's not a law of 'cause and effect', it's Newton's Third Law of Motion.

Regardless, let us play the game.

Quote:
Is there a direct effect which will be manifested in the future or present of every action and thought we experience? If so, what is the relationship between the cause and the effect? Or do these laws only apply to the strictly material universe?

To the first question: Yes. To the third question: Yes, until you can demonstrate the existence of an immaterial universe.

To the second: The relationship between the cause and effect would, by definition, be a causal one. Smiling

Quote:
If man is purely composed of and sustained by matter/energy, and we know that these things cannot be created or destroyed, only changed, then does this not extend to our consciousness? If so, what does this mean for our consciousness after death?

No, because the consciousness is not matter or energy. The consciousness, rather, is the interaction of matter and energy through time. You're looking at patterns of energy, no single one of which is consciousness itself. Consciousness is only the aggregate and continued progression from one pattern to the next, and when we die, the mechanism for forming these patterns alters, and no longer serves that function. Instead, our brains rot (even more than from watching TV!) and our consciousness ceases to be.

Note that neither the matter, which changes form as it is digested by the agents of decay, nor the energy, which converts to heat and dissipates into our surroundings, is destroyed. But our consciousness is neither of these things, and both the matter, and energy, are no longer interacting with one another in the manner required to create consciousness.

Think of a kaleidescope. As you look in and turn it, the small pieces at the bottom (matter) and movement (kinetic energy) interact to produce patterns. If, however, you smash the kaleidescope and scatter the pieces... while both movement and the matter of those pieces still exist, they are no longer interacting to produce those patterns.

You've cited jellyfish and other non-chordate animals as having consciousness without having brains. I'd posit to you that those creatures do not exhibit consciousness, no decision-making process whatsoever, but rather only stimulus-response behavior in much the same manner as single-celled organisms (with slightly more complex expression due to the size of the organism), and I would also remind you that while not having a brain, they do have nervous systems of one degree of complexity or another.

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OK. The energy that makes

OK. The energy that makes consciousness possible. Same difference. It still remains energy which makes consciousness possible, yet changed.


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OM wrote:OK. The energy that

OM wrote:

OK. The energy that makes consciousness possible. Same difference. It still remains energy which makes consciousness possible, yet changed.

The energy remains energy, no longer in the form that made consciousness possible. It also remains not consciousness.

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


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OM wrote:JillSwift wrote:Not

OM wrote:

JillSwift wrote:

Not at all what the term means, hon. Once the energy is dissipated and transformed, "75mph" ( a property of 'the car' ) simply no longer exists.

As in the case of consciousness: Once the system is destroyed, the emergent property simply vanishes. The property was never a separate phenomenon in the first place.

I agree. Just as with 75mph, consciousness is dissipated and transformed.

 

It does not dissipate or transform, the consciouses ceases to exist, it's stops being once the brain stops working, it's not like consciousness can function/survive if the brain does not function/survive, it's a property per se of the brain, no functioning brain no consciousness. It does not or cannot exist once the brain stops functioning, eg: not surviving an accident at 75 mph. it is much like a harddrive/cpu combo, think that both are built together, but biological form, if the CPU/harddrive stop functioning or get destroyed somehow any software ceases to work or exist as well per se, you will find parts of files (memories) on the harddrive but you will not find a functioning working software. (I think this makes sense then again it's too early in the morning for me.)


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OM wrote:OK. The energy that

OM wrote:
OK. The energy that makes consciousness possible. Same difference. It still remains energy which makes consciousness possible, yet changed.

Same difference? Not even close. Consciousness is an emergent property of a system of simple interactions. The energy that makes that possible is not itself consciousness any more than velocity is itself energy.

Dissipate the energy or randomize the matter of the car, and 75mph is no longer there.

Dissipate that energy or randomize the matter and the consciousness is no longer there.

In both cases because the system it emerged from is no longer there.

 

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


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OM wrote:OK. The energy that

OM wrote:

OK. The energy that makes consciousness possible. Same difference. It still remains energy which makes consciousness possible, yet changed.

What makes consciousness possible is a very specialized physical structure which guides the flows of energy in a very complex pattern. Even while you are conscious, there is nothing about the energy itself that is in any way conscious. The energy flowing through your brain is continuously flowing in from the metabolism of your food and dissipating as heat. That heat energy dissipating from the conscious processes in your brain carries no aspect of consciousness, even while your brain is alive. Heat energy, by definition, is the lowest form of energy, just the disorganised energy of the molecules of the material containing it, the very antithesis of consciousness.

Energy has no identity in itself, no structure apart from the matter it is associated with. It is the process, controlled by the structure of the brain, that is conscious, not the energy.

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OM seems to be ignoring

OM seems to be ignoring BobSpence1's excellent points, so I will underscore them.

OM, you seem to have a misconception of modern materialism. You seem to think that it claims that only matter/energy exist. This is not accurate. In fact, this is the major reason for modern materialists switching to the more recent label of 'physicalism'.

In physicalism, we claim that whatever is discovered by physics to exist exists, and nothing else does, until later discovered by physics. So, what has physics discovered that exists? Well, matter/energy for one thing. But also space-time, fundamental forces (or interactions), and something called 'information'.

Information has a specific mathematical meaning in physics which I'm going to gloss over. Simply put, information can be thought of as the 'state' of the universe. Other concepts that reduce to information are structure, form, relation, identity, etc. One way to think about information that I find useful is 'physical relations between matter/energy in space-time'.

You see, while information requires matter/energy to be embodied, information is also independent of which particular body it may be embodied in. Think of an email. An email exists. It exists as a particular state/structure/form on your computer. If your computer gets destroyed, your email gets destroyed. No more email. The email does not exist anymore.

However, you can send an email over a computer network, and voila, now the email exists on someone else's computer. In fact, now there are two copies of the email. Does this violate energy conservation? No, because information is not matter/energy. Information can be created and destroyed. In fact, you can replicate information, such that where there was one, now there are two.

Not only that, but information can be embodied in different kinds of bodies. If I print out the email, now that email also exists on a sheet of paper as a particular structure/form/state of ink on the paper. It exists both on the computer and on the paper.

One outgrowth of the idea of information is a 'process'. A process is a stable transformation of information over time. Think of a computer program, running on your computer. You can start the program, and it will run until it terminates, it is a process. While it is running, it exists as a process. When it stops running, it no longer exists as a process.

Your concscious mind is a process. It is a stable transformation of information (your identity and experiences) over time. This process can only run on your brain. We are working on artificial intelligence, but so far, no luck. As of today, the only place that *your* consciousness can exist is in *your* brain. When you were born, your consciousness began existing. When you die, it will cease existing. Your harddrive will be formatted, so to speak. All information in your brain will be destroyed by decay. As yet, we have no way of preserving your identity.

However, in theory, it could be possible to replicate your mind into an artificial brain, a computer that runs the same process as a human brain does. In this way, you could continue your conscious experience in a non-human body. We're nowhere close to this, but it is theoretically possible given sufficient technology.

As for how our consciousness affects the world after we die: Of course it does. That's no surprise. People will remember me, and may attend a funeral or some other service in remembrance of my consciousness. Some of the software I wrote will continue to support the businesses I worked for. The garbage I created will continue to fill the landfills. Any children I might have had would continue to live their lives. Etc.

But my consciousness, i.e. my awareness of these effects, and my awareness of my own awareness, will no longer exist. That is because the only place my consciousness can currently run is on the brain in my head, and once that dies, so does my consciousness. Only if I'm lucky enough to live long enough to upload my mind into a computer would I be able to survive my biological death.

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I'm worried that we've

I'm worried that we've chased OM off.

I had a very hard time dealing with the knowledge that death means the end of "I", due primarily to being raised with the ideas of dualism (soul/mind being separate from body) and Catholic heaven. I had to accept the inevitable, and take the advice of many an outspoken atheist and skeptic and learn to concentrate on living rather than on dying and take some solace from the fact that once dead I won't be around to worry about it.

I had to deal with having my very irrational ideas about "afterlife" being exposed to the harsh light of evidence based reasoning, and I always ran from it.

That's not to say it wasn't, in the end, a big help in getting over the irrationality. And I'm hopeful that this same thing will help OM re-think his ideas as well.

Still, perhaps there's a better way about it... some manner in which the blow can be softened without dimming the harsh light in the process. I'm usually pretty good with this behavioral stuff, but this confounds me.

Ideas?

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


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JillSwift wrote:Still,

JillSwift wrote:

Still, perhaps there's a better way about it... some manner in which the blow can be softened without dimming the harsh light in the process. I'm usually pretty good with this behavioral stuff, but this confounds me.

Ideas?

OK, bear in mind that dear friends of mine have told me that I possess the subtlety of a hand grenade. I should also mention that I lost my sense of humor in a tragic accident during a full contact chess tournament.  A team of neurosurgeons and Monty Python fans managed to replace it with one taken from  the lost & found bin at a local Walmart, but it has never worked quite right.  So, with that out of the way, here are my suggestions.

1. Singing kittens: In the same vein of the viking kittens singing Zeppelin's Immigrant Song, we could put together a  CG vid with kittens breaking the news to them with a catchy tune.

2. Offer them chocolate.

3. Shoot them in the leg first, letting the physical pain supercede the mental anguish.

4.  Have a stripper tell them during the act.

5. Indoctrinate them slowly, starting in early childhood, ala religion.

6. Cartoons: Something along the line of Veggie Tales.

7. Matrix style. Red pill=reality, blue pill=being slapped alongside the head. Repeat offer as needed.

8. Komodo dragon: Place them in front of a chained komodo, act as though you are going to release the komodo, and yell " Do you think you're going to live, mother******? Do you? Do you think your ******* consciousness is going to survive this? ".

9. Daub the back of their neck with a composite gel of ativan, benadryl, and haldol 15 minutes prior to telling them.

10. Promise to not subject them to hours of William Shatner's musical ventures.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

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Desdenova wrote:4.  Have a

Desdenova wrote:

4.  Have a stripper tell them during the act.

 

Can this come outta the RRS donation funds?

 

 

 


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Desdenova wrote:OK, bear in

Desdenova wrote:
OK, bear in mind that dear friends of mine have told me that I possess the subtlety of a hand grenade. I should also mention that I lost my sense of humor in a tragic accident during a full contact chess tournament.
I hate it when that happens.
Desdenova wrote:
A team of neurosurgeons and Monty Python fans managed to replace it with one taken from  the lost & found bin at a local Walmart, but it has never worked quite right.  So, with that out of the way, here are my suggestions.

1. Singing kittens: In the same vein of the viking kittens singing Zeppelin's Immigrant Song, we could put together a  CG vid with kittens breaking the news to them with a catchy tune.

I like this one. Kittens dancing about singing in falsetto "Disney-esque"  voices: "You're fucked! You're fucked! You're well and truly fucked! You're emergent from your meaty brain and when that's shot no-thing remains! You're fucked! You're fucked!"
Desdenova wrote:
2. Offer them chocolate.
Worked for me.
Desdenova wrote:
3. Shoot them in the leg first, letting the physical pain supercede the mental anguish.
This one's promising.
Desdenova wrote:
4.  Have a stripper tell them during the act.
No, Cappy, we can't take this out of the RRS donations. Would you volunteer for the position?
Desdenova wrote:
5. Indoctrinate them slowly, starting in early childhood, ala religion.
Bit late for that.
Desdenova wrote:
6. Cartoons: Something along the line of Veggie Tales.
Too cruel.
Desdenova wrote:
7. Matrix style. Red pill=reality, blue pill=being slapped alongside the head. Repeat offer as needed.
I'm not sure Laurence Fishburn is available.
Desdenova wrote:
8. Komodo dragon: Place them in front of a chained komodo, act as though you are going to release the komodo, and yell " Do you think you're going to live, mother******? Do you? Do you think your ******* consciousness is going to survive this? ".
I'm not sure... how do you pronounce "*******"?
Desdenova wrote:
9. Daub the back of their neck with a composite gel of ativan, benadryl, and haldol 15 minutes prior to telling them.
The information never gets there, but DAYUM what a nap.
Desdenova wrote:
10. Promise to not subject them to hours of William Shatner's musical ventures.
Like shooting them in the leg first, this one may cause unconciousness before you get around to telling them.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

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


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JillSwift wrote: No, Cappy,

JillSwift wrote:

 No, Cappy, we can't take this out of the RRS donations. Would you volunteer for the position?

 

 

If I did we would be flooded with agnostic Diest Theists

 

 

 


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Cpt_pineapple wrote:If I did

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
If I did we would be flooded with agnostic Diest Theists
Nobody's perfect. Eye-wink Laughing out loud


 

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


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OM wrote:No real argument

OM wrote:
No real argument here 'cept of a bit of the good ol' ad hominem. Am I then dust after I am cremated? No. Read below.

No, you're burnt human after you're cremated.

OM wrote:
Why stop there with gross generalizations? Earth is part of a solar system, which is part of a galaxy, which is part of a universe. This universe may or may not be part of a multiverse. My identity is multiverse. Furthermore, if we really were to look at this from a new age perspective, there's no telling what in kinds of places I've been incarnated in the past. I guess "from a new age perspective", I'm not "but a part of the Earth."

Okay, you're a part of the matter of the entire universe. More locally and recently, you're a part of the earth. Does that help?

OM wrote:
I thought you said we are the body?

We are. Or a configuration of matter that was formerly something else, and a subset of all matter, to reiterate my earlier point.

OM wrote:
Anyway, identity cannot be "decided" upon. It is extremely large and complex. Part of my identity is everything I have ever thought, felt, done, what my capabilities are, the reason these things are the way they are, and much more, and it cannot be decided or comprehended a mere whim - as it already exists within itself.

Yes, you're very special. I meant your concept of your own identity is your interpretation of a variety of factors.

OM wrote:
It is not arbitrary.

No, it's not - you're quite right. A lot of it is genetic, which means that you're part of a vector in the development of the human species. That is, unless you have traits that will get you killed before you reproduce. Then your uniqueness bows out.

OM wrote:
HisWillness wrote:
Pray tell where else one might produce consciousness.

I only spoke of consciousness relating to the body.

Sorry, what? So are you okay with the idea that consciousness is material and an emergent property?

OM wrote:
Abstracts such as ideas, beliefs, knowledge, habits which exist independent of my body. Perhaps in the minds of others, or in  something  I wrote, etc.

Oh, I see what you mean. But those memes have to be stored by people (or in the case of written works, understood by people). You can't have those memes without physical bodies to transport them. So how do they exist independently?

OM wrote:
HisWillness wrote:
You're either making things up, or regurgitating things other people have told you.

Elaborate as to why you think this.

Because there's no evidence that anything but the physical exists. If something is found to exist (like magical flying ponies, should we discover them) then I'd accept that as physical. Thus far, dualism remains a weak hypothesis specifically because it cannot be falsified. The immaterial "extra" of which you speak is, by definition, undiscoverable, and more easily explained as an emergent property.

OM wrote:
*sigh* By the way, you're ugly as sin.

If only I could be as invisible as whatever it is you're talking about, then maybe I would offend fewer people with my appearance. As it is, we're both stuck with the way things are.

 

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


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Cpt_pineapple wrote:If I did

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

If I did we would be flooded with agnostic Diest Theists

But would the magnificence of your stripping performance be enough to counteract the harsh repellant that is my aforementioned hideousness? Somehow, I doubt it.

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


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JillSwift wrote:not sure...

JillSwift wrote:

not sure... how do you pronounce "*******"?

 

With heavy emphasis.

 

Being new to the board, was unsure of the reception of certain vernaculars. Decided to watch my ******* mouth until I knew the water was safe.

 

I gotta say though, that little jingle of yours has a certain charm. I can picture a pair of kittens in pope hats singing it to a flock of animated sheep.

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JillSwift wrote:1. Singing

JillSwift wrote:

Quote:

1. Singing kittens: In the same vein of the viking kittens singing Zeppelin's Immigrant Song, we could put together a  CG vid with kittens breaking the news to them with a catchy tune.

I like this one. Kittens dancing about singing in falsetto "Disney-esque"  voices: "You're fucked! You're fucked! You're well and truly fucked! You're emergent from your meaty brain and when that's shot no-thing remains! You're fucked! You're fucked!"

I'm gonna suggest William Shatner's "You're Gonna Die" off of the Has Been album.

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


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 Quote:Is there a direct

 

Quote:
Is there a direct effect which will be manifested in the future or present of every action and thought we experience?

You  may not like this, but it depends on what perspective you're coming from.  Our consciousness is an emergent property of our bodies, and specifically our brains.  Our bodies are composed of atoms, which do operate within the system of cause/effect, so any thought we have is a direct result of something material.  Any effect on the universe with a causal link to our own participation in the universe is therefore caused by us as a conscious being.

The thing is, even if we weren't conscious, it would be the same.  Consciousness is not nearly as relevant to the universe as most people like to believe.  That is, a stick laying on the forest floor causes an ant to change its course, and is therefore "responsible" for the ant's change in behavior, just as a human who consciously puts his foot down in front of an ant with the intention of causing the ant to change course is responsible.

"Responsibility" as it applies to humans and morality is a dependent concept.  That is, if there is no human, there is no responsibility.  It is a mind-dependent construct.  As such, we're free to conceptualize it in whatever way we can justify.

Quote:
If so, what is the relationship between the cause and the effect? Or do these laws only apply to the strictly material universe?

I think I've already explained this, but I'm not a hundred percent sure what you're asking.  Humans are a part of the material universe, so yeah, these laws apply only to the material universe.  To be clear, the "law" that you're referring to can be colloquially referred to as the "Law of Survival of the Stable."  That is, matter moves from instability to stability, and when matter/energy interacts with other matter/energy, we can see a chain of material reactions which necessarily precede and follow from one another.

Quote:
If man is purely composed of and sustained by matter/energy, and we know that these things cannot be created or destroyed, only changed, then does this not extend to our consciousness?

No, because consciousness is an emergent property of a transient state of material organization.  When that particular state of organization ceases to exist, so does the consciousness that emerged from it.

Quote:
 If so, what does this mean for our consciousness after death?

There is no such thing.

Please read the following essays, which deal directly with your questions in much more detail:

For New Atheists: Is This Really All There Is?

Free Will: Why we don't have it, and why that's a good thing.

What Does Sugar Have To Do With Murder?!

 

 

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OM wrote:I'm curious to see

OM wrote:

I'm curious to see the opinions of board members, theist and non theist, in relation to the law of cause and effect, particularly regarding consciousness, conscious actions ("moral" or not).

 

Is there a direct effect which will be manifested in the future or present of every action and thought we experience? If so, what is the relationship between the cause and the effect? Or do these laws only apply to the strictly material universe?

 

I think the answers to your question would become cumbersome to answer your query. If you're asking whether any action I take today will affect tomorrow then that would depend on if you believe in fate. For instance, I could normally take one way to work, change my routine one day and get hit by a truck. If I had taken my normal route would I have been killed as well? I don't believe in fate or kharma or any other meta-physical thinkings so my answer is NO. Cause and effect in this setting is speculative. The reactions of others to our actions must also be taken into account.

OM wrote:

If man is purely composed of and sustained by matter/energy, and we know that these things cannot be created or destroyed, only changed, then does this not extend to our consciousness? If so, what does this mean for our consciousness after death?

As an atheist I have no reason to believe that any of our conciousness survives death.

"Always seek out the truth, but avoid at all costs those that claim to have found it" ANONYMOUS


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Hello all.I am new to this

Hello all.

I am new to this site so forgive me if I make an error trying to figure out how to post things.  I have been reading these posts and have found this to be an extremely interesting subject so I have to weigh in with some questions.  However, before the asking, in full disclosure I am a Christian and I am not seeking by any means to insult or ridicule any of you who are not.  You all seem quite intelligent, moreso than me I suspect and I just like the debate and am seeking intellectual honesty and maybe along the way make a few friends.

 

With that said I ask you:

Why do you all assume consciousness is in or of the brain?

I agree to your descriptions as to the interworkings of the brain.  Yet I wonder for all its compexities and billions of neurons have each of them been labled or numbered?  Can you pinpoint to me with accuracy which of these neurons are responsible for consciousness? 

If matter and energy(the brain) can create somethng that is not matter or energy (consciousness) and all matter follows the same physical laws, how then do you account for choice/will and the variations therein?

Are not properties measureable?  If then the conscious is a property how can it be measured?

Respectfully, why would you say, people of science, the conscious no longer exists when the brain dies?  Are you able to prove such a thing?  I cannot say that I am able to prove the reverse.

 

 

 

 


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Hallo!Fearless Freep

Hallo!

Fearless Freep wrote:
Why do you all assume consciousness is in or of the brain?
Assume? No need to assume, the evidence leads us there.

Fearless Freep wrote:
I agree to your descriptions as to the interworkings of the brain.  Yet I wonder for all its compexities and billions of neurons have each of them been labled or numbered?  Can you pinpoint to me with accuracy which of these neurons are responsible for consciousness?
Why would one "number" neurons? It's the interaction between the billions of neurons that emerges as consciousness. No one neuron is responsible for anything in particular.

Fearless Freep wrote:
If matter and energy(the brain) can create somethng that is not matter or energy (consciousness) and all matter follows the same physical laws, how then do you account for choice/will and the variations therein?
First, there is significant variation of structure from brain to brain. Second, read Hambydammit's article "Free Will: Why we don't have it, and why that's a good thing.".

Fearless Freep wrote:
Are not properties measureable?  If then the conscious is a property how can it be measured?
Consciousness is measured primarily via behavior.

Fearless Freep wrote:
Respectfully, why would you say, people of science, the conscious no longer exists when the brain dies?  Are you able to prove such a thing?  I cannot say that I am able to prove the reverse.
As I mention above, as the evidence leads us to consciousness as an emergent property then the evidence similarly leads us to consciousness being destroyed when the system it emerges from is destroyed.

By the way: Register your posting account so that your posts will bring threads up to the top for others to note. Unregistered posts don't elevate threads and the moderators need to approve the post as a method of controlling spamination.

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


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Thanks for your input

Thanks for your input Jillswift.  I am not sure I want to register at this time so hopefully you will forgive me for my inefficiencies in posting in this manner.

 

-you wrote

"Assume? No need to assume, the evidence leads us there."

With regards to your first rebuttle.  I read a good part of the paper you supplied and with respect found it to be void of proof, and with reguards to evidence I must say I struggled to see it.  The  paper was conjecture. In fact within the first few pages the phrase "it seems" occurs several times.  I will also take the liberty to  quote directly from the article:

"In these conjectual areas where the concepts are still beyond any direct experimental verification, the next best test is to put them in the market place to be churned over by hundreds of minds from all different angles."

In addition I noted that he states his theory has gained acceptance mostly by Humanists groups which is hardly fair nor objective.

There are litterally dozens of theories on emergentcy alone, but I have yet to see much evidence.  In fact Dr. Kim of Brown University does something of a mathmatical refutation of one type of emergence and he is not the only one.  That is not to say I agree with him but it does suggest that the idea of Emergentcy is just an idea and is still a contested debate.  Of course there is nothing wrong with such debates as this is how science works.  But why cant we agree that science has limits in explaning the supernatural (consciousness for example).  I am not convinced the scientific method is a useful tool in this realm.  Therefore we use thouht experimentation and conjecture because natural proof is fleeting. Why use a hammer when a saw is required?

 

-your second comment

"Why would one number neurons?  It is the interaction between billions of neurons that emerges as consciousness. No one neuron is responsible for any one thng in particular."

Forgive me Jill, but with no malintent, this was a bit of a trick question and I think the point has been missed here.  If you cant show/categorize which neurons are responsible for consciousness how can you say they are the cause for consciousness?  On the other hand if you say they are all acting in concert responsible for consciousness then how can you prove it?If a neuron exists it must be responsible for something and if you cant define what that "something" is how can you take such leaps in logic.  To put it kindly me thinks your cup of logic has sprung a leak.

-3rd comment

Yes I am familiar with different variations in brain structures. However I was trying to determine why Athiest think that the idea of  consciousness comes from matter is so much more plausible than matter comming from consciousness.  Heres a thought experiment for you.  If you take 100 individuals with exactly the same brain structure and life experiences.  Do you think all of them would say consciouslness came from matter?  (ill try and read Hambydammits article another time.)

-4th comment

"consciousness is measured primarily via behavior"

Interestng answer to say the least.  When you say primarily are yo implying there are other methods?  If so what are they?  Flora and perhaps fauna exibit consistent behaviors but can can you prove they have a conscious?  To say the least Humans can change their behavior at will.  Can properties change at will?

-5th comment

I would conceed your statement to be true if you could prove that consciousness came from matter.  it is not enough for me personally to put my faith in such conjecture, and since I see no proof the question remains.

In closing I thank you for your reply and hope to hear from you again.  Again it was not my intent to create strife.  I just have alot of questions and theories.  The Athiests say the onis is on the believers and the believers say the onis is on the athiests, but the FACT is its on us both.  I find it very interestng that SOMETHING is compelling US to listen.

 


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 Hi Fearless Freep,

 

Hi Fearless Freep, welcome. Thanks for being polite.

There are others in this forum that will answer your arguments much better than I ever could. I do feel I have to reply to this one line though

Fearless Freep wrote:

 But why cant we agree that science has limits in explaining the supernatural (consciousness for example). 

What makes you presume consciousness is supernatural? If consciousness it is supernatural (existing outside the natural world) how can drugs change it? Also, why does brain damage change our consciousness?

We know consciousness can exist when a physical brain exists. Can you show ANY evidence of consciousness to exist without a physical brain?

100% v 0%

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BMcD
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Fearless Freep wrote:With

Fearless Freep wrote:

With regards to your first rebuttle.  I read a good part of the paper you supplied and with respect found it to be void of proof, and with reguards to evidence I must say I struggled to see it.  The  paper was conjecture. In fact within the first few pages the phrase "it seems" occurs several times.  I will also take the liberty to  quote directly from the article:

"In these conjectual areas where the concepts are still beyond any direct experimental verification, the next best test is to put them in the market place to be churned over by hundreds of minds from all different angles."

Well, one thing that leaps out at me when I look at the essay Jill's offered you is: it's not actually a thesis, it's a commentary essay on another work. Another thing is: it's a commentary on work that is, at this point, 30 years old.

We've come quite some distance in those 30 years. For example, we can see decisions being made before the 'conscious' mind knows it: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/04/mind_decision

In addition, hardware such as the emotiv headset ( http://www.emotiv.com/ )  functions pretty much on the basis of consciousness and decision-making being a product of brain activity.

Quote:

-your second comment

"Why would one number neurons?  It is the interaction between billions of neurons that emerges as consciousness. No one neuron is responsible for any one thng in particular."

Forgive me Jill, but with no malintent, this was a bit of a trick question and I think the point has been missed here.  If you cant show/categorize which neurons are responsible for consciousness how can you say they are the cause for consciousness?  On the other hand if you say they are all acting in concert responsible for consciousness then how can you prove it?If a neuron exists it must be responsible for something and if you cant define what that "something" is how can you take such leaps in logic.  To put it kindly me thinks your cup of logic has sprung a leak.

Which atom makes water wet? Neurons are responsible for the transmission of signals. The combination of enough signals in recognizable patterns is what gives rise to what we call consciousness. Really, it's all just incredibly, incredibly complex stimulus-response behavior, with each individual response becoming part of the aggregate stimuli, and cascading through, much in the same way life itself is really just a complex cascade of chemical reactions.

Quote:

Yes I am familiar with different variations in brain structures. However I was trying to determine why Athiest think that the idea of  consciousness comes from matter is so much more plausible than matter comming from consciousness.  Heres a thought experiment for you.  If you take 100 individuals with exactly the same brain structure and life experiences.  Do you think all of them would say consciouslness came from matter?  (ill try and read Hambydammits article another time.)

If you take 100 individuals with exactly the same brain structure, and exactly the same life experiences, and exactly the same physiologies (which they should have already, to ensure exactly the same life experiences), and ask them any question, yes, you will get the exact same response every time. Unfortunately, the experiment can't be carried out, because you can't find those hundred people, or even two of them, unless you were to conduct long-term experiments under extremely controlled conditions, using human beings as fruit flies, right down to making them more or less incapable of effective function outside of the experiments.

Quote:

"consciousness is measured primarily via behavior"

Interestng answer to say the least.  When you say primarily are yo implying there are other methods?  If so what are they?  Flora and perhaps fauna exibit consistent behaviors but can can you prove they have a conscious?  To say the least Humans can change their behavior at will.  Can properties change at will?

Well, as indicated above, there's mounting evidence to suggest that in fact, we don't change our behavior 'at will', but rather rationalize our changes in behavior (and those rationalizations, by extension, would be largely dictated by the stimuli involved, as well). Which would mean that our changes in behavior are no different, in the long run, than the tendency of flowering plants to turn toward the sun, or even erosion or radioactive decay: an inevitable result of specific conditions, be those conditions a structural instability, an external pressure, or a subtle interaction of millions of electrochemical and physical reactions.

Quote:

I would conceed your statement to be true if you could prove that consciousness came from matter.  it is not enough for me personally to put my faith in such conjecture, and since I see no proof the question remains.

It's not necessarily an issue of 'faith'. Rather, consider this: We can demonstrate that matter exists. We can demonstrate that energy exists. Matter and energy, as far as our theory and experimentation can tell us, appear to be fundamentally the same thing expressed in different forms.

Other than matter and energy, is there anything else that can be demonstrated to exist? If not, then until such time as something else can be demonstrated to exist, then it would seem a reasonable position to accept (note: not 'put faith in', just 'accept') the likelihood of consciousness arising from matter, while still remaining open to new evidence.

Quote:

In closing I thank you for your reply and hope to hear from you again.  Again it was not my intent to create strife.  I just have alot of questions and theories.  The Athiests say the onis is on the believers and the believers say the onis is on the athiests, but the FACT is its on us both.  I find it very interestng that SOMETHING is compelling US to listen.

True enough; the burden of proof rests squarely on the shoulders of anyone who makes an assertion. As for listening... maybe that's just another response to the aggregate stimuli. Eye-wink

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


Hambydammit
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 Quote:Forgive me Jill, but

 

Quote:
Forgive me Jill, but with no malintent, this was a bit of a trick question and I think the point has been missed here.  If you cant show/categorize which neurons are responsible for consciousness how can you say they are the cause for consciousness?  On the other hand if you say they are all acting in concert responsible for consciousness then how can you prove it?If a neuron exists it must be responsible for something and if you cant define what that "something" is how can you take such leaps in logic.  To put it kindly me thinks your cup of logic has sprung a leak.

So I suppose you're ready to defend the proposition that since no individual air molecule is responsible for the sound of a Beethoven Symphony that music is supernatural?

You seem to have a problem understanding reductionism.  It gets a bad rap from a lot of theists.  Reductionism is not taking things apart, believe it or not.  It's putting things together.  Think of it this way.  I can look at a skyscraper and see that it is made of various materials -- glass, concrete, marble, steel, paint, wood, etc.  However, even if I went through the entire building and made a complete listing of every single component, I would be incapable of building an exact replica of the building.

Why?  Because observing the whole does not give me working knowledge of how each part works.  This is where reductionism comes in.  Someone skilled in construction understands the way the constituent parts of concrete work together to create something entirely new.  Similarly, someone knows how to refine ore, and someone else knows how to create metal alloys.  Even still, knowing how to make each constituent part, even down to the raw elements, will not allow you to make a building.  You must understand physics so that the constituent parts can be arrayed in such a way as to stand upright even when under considerable stress.  You must understand geology so that you are aware of how the rocks beneath the foundation will behave.  And so on, and so on.

It would be silly to say that a piece of wood makes a building happen.  So it is with consciousness.  No single neuron makes consciousness, yet neurons are an integral part of consciousness, just as wood is an integral part of a building.

The difference between consciousness and a building is not as stark as you might think.  True, evolution is an unconscious mathematical process, but by understanding each element of an organism -- by reducing it to its barest components, we can build a picture of how consciousness is "constructed."  You need to know an awful lot to create a complete picture.  Atoms form bonds with each other to create molecules.  To understand this fully, you need an advanced degree in Chemistry.  Carbon atoms have unique properties and form bonds unlike any other element.  To understand this fully, you need an advanced degree in organic chemistry.  (Very hard stuff, by the way.)  Once organic compounds have been formed, they get together to make the building blocks of life, for which you need an advanced degree in biochemistry.  All of these disciplines are beholden to the discipline of physics, by the way, so it wouldn't hurt to have an advanced degree there, either.

Once you understand all of that, you need a thorough understanding of the theory of evolution, so you need an advanced degree in evolutionary biology.  Once you've got that under your belt, you're going to need to understand Game Theory and probability, so advanced degrees in math, statistics, and economics wouldn't hurt.  (Game Theory came from economics, by the way.)  Once you've got all that down, you're going to need to spend a few decades mastering neurology.

I'm leaving a bunch out, but I'm doing this for illustration.  The point is, you're not going to get a complete understanding of consciousness by reading a few net forums.  It's fucking complicated, and incredibly cross-disciplinary.

The thing is, each one of these scientific disciplines reduces their own focus down to its bare essentials and learns how they all work together.  The explanations are hard to understand because science is hard.  Remember please that just because YOU don't understand something, it doesn't mean nobody understands it.  Just as a building needs architects, bricklayers, glassmakers, sheetrockers, and a hundred other disciplines, a complete understanding of consciousness would need thorough understanding of dozens of scientific disciplines.

It's not that you can't learn something.  I would recommend several books, each of which is going to take you a long time... but hey, if you want answers, they're out there.

How the Mind Works, Steven Pinker.

Consciousness Explained, Daniel Dennett.

Kinds of Minds: Towards Understanding of Consciousness, Daniel Dennett

The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins

Climbing Mount Improbable, Richard Dawkins

If you can get through all of these, you'll have a basic (very basic) understanding of how evolution creates complexity, how emergent properties work, how we know the mind is material, why the supernatural is not an explanation for anything, and what we can and cannot say about things like free will and self-control.   Bear in mind, this is about two thousand, maybe three thousand pages of writing about science.  It's not a step-by-step explanation of every scientific experiment ever conducted to come to the conclusions in the books.  If you want to know those, you need to get yourself to a university -- and fast -- you're going to be in school for a couple hundred years, at a minimum.

That, you see, is why we have different scientific disciplines.  So we can get answers that would be impossible for one person to ever give.

 

 

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

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