The soul and the afterlife

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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Greylorn Ell
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Re: The soul and the afterlife

Post by Greylorn Ell » Sat Jul 25, 2015 7:23 am

Obvious Leo wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:The proclamation, "They EVOLVE," is irrelevant unless you can define the mechanisms behind the evolution.
If you don't understand how evolution works then there are more authoritative writers on the subject than I, even though I've studied it for much of my life. However evolution is a very complex subject and is dealt with in a number of different sciences. I suggest you read up on non-linear dynamic systems theory and many of its related fields. These include complexity theory, control theory, game theory, chaos theory and cybernetics, to name just a few. I would particularly recommend the works of Stuart Kaufman, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Norbert Weiner, Claude Shannon, Henri Poincare, John von Neuman and Benoit Mandelbrot. Once again this names only a few because complexity theory is a very big science with a host of sub-disciplines. If you read and understand Ilya Prigogine's definitive papers on molecular evolution in dissipative structures then you'll have come a long way to understanding what evolution is. With all due respect, Greylorn, you'll have to do your own homework on this because there's absolutely no way that evolution can be explained briefly. However that it is the fundamental organising principle of the universe is self-evident.
O.Leo,
I'm a touch disappointed that you think me so dreadfully ignorant that you feel a need to recommend a number of books that do not consequentially deal with Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms.

In a sense I am ignorant, having never taken formal studies in or related to biology. My studies were devoted to hard science. To remedy my deficiencies I first perused Darwin's major books on evolution, where it became obvious to me that he'd based his arguments for the evolution of new species upon mere varieties (mainly finches). Shoddy science by my standards, but as I've subsequently learned, few biologists will let mere evidence get in the way of a textbook theory.

I found my first bit of outside agreement in Arthur Koestler's "Ghost in the Machine," where he debunked Darwinian theory rather effectively, then screwed up by proposing his own ideas, which IMO mostly sucked. Over the years I've read a variety of books on either side of the debate. Most were flawed, and written for non-scientists. Lynn Margules' "Slanted Truths" was especially impressive, but requires too much biological knowledge to be commonly read. It shows clearly that Darwinism is an incompetent explanation for evolution.

Michael Behe's two books, "Darwin's Black Box" and "The Edge of Evolution" are excellent proofs of Darwinian evolution's absurdity. "Edge..." was the best, but more technical. Neither book is suitable for philosophers, who seem to be content with blowing off Behe's ideas based upon the rulings of the pinheaded judge presiding over the Dover Trial, rather than overstress whatever passes in them for minds by actually studying Behe's material.

Post Behe, I spent the better part of a year researching Darwinism via Wikipedia and various other internet sources. There I discovered "The C-value Enigma," a set of experimental observations that put the lie equally to Darwinism and Creationism. Of course, Beon Theory explains this easily.

I asked my question because it does not look to me as though the Darwinian mechanism, random mutation of germ cell DNA, is applicable. Also because your hand-waving pronouncement, "Clearly the first law of thermodynamics trumps the second when we consider our universe on the cosmological scale but when we re-define our cosmos as a non-linear dynamic system we have a natural explanation for this obvious contradiction in physics. Non-Newtonian systems operate according to a self-organising principle which is as fundamental as 1+1=2. They EVOLVE," is completely useless, except as a loud declaration of dogmatic belief.

Darwinian evolution is quite a bit more complex than 1+1=2, as you've proven by suggesting that I study Poincare, von Neumann, and Mandelbrot in order to understand it. Random changes to DNA have nothing to do with your alleged "self-organizing principle." My query was directed to finding out exactly what kind of horseshit you propose to pass off as that principle.

Greylorn

Greylorn Ell
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Re: The soul and the afterlife

Post by Greylorn Ell » Sat Jul 25, 2015 7:41 am

Obvious Leo wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:
You seem to have neglected the fact that Anaxi's "breathtaking" statement is perfectly consistent with Newtonian mechanics.
No it isn't. Evolution is exclusively non-Newtonian.
Horse pucky. The only mechanism behind Darwinian evolution is random changes to germ cell DNA. The mathematics involved is plain old probability theory. Clearly quantum effects are not involved in the transposition and exchange of large molecules like nucleotides. Likewise relativistic effects. Thinking about it, Newtonian mechanics seems irrelevant to such changes. Seems more like a chemistry problem.
Obvious Leo wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote: But has he taken the trouble to consider the beginnings, the first cause? Or have you?
You embarrass yourself. I'll remind you that this a philosophy forum in which the notion of "first cause" is a logical non-sequitur. If the notion of an eternal universe is beyond your conceptual grasp then we have no common basis for a conversation, which quite frankly would sadden and disappoint me.
I have no problem grasping infinity-related concepts. That leaves me the option to reject them, as with the many other mathematical concepts that have no place in explanations of physical reality.

I did not know that philosophy forums rejected ideas about the beginnings of things. No wonder that philosophy has become so inbred and irrelevant. I'm sorry to learn this, but it does explain why relevant conversations with religionists and philosophers are equally useless. Thanks for the insight.

This was, at least, an interesting final exchange.

Greylorn

Obvious Leo
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Re: The soul and the afterlife

Post by Obvious Leo » Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:04 am

Greylorn Ell wrote: Horse pucky. The only mechanism behind Darwinian evolution is random changes to germ cell DNA.
Darwinism is a gross over-simplification of the evolutionary mechanism but you reveal your ignorance in your own choice of words. There's no such thing as a random event so the so-called changes you refer to are not randomly determined. They are CHAOTICALLY determined and chaotic determinism is the distinguishing feature of ALL natural processes. There is no such thing as a naturally occurring Newtonian system and I challenge you to offer me an example of one. Newton's world was an artefact of intelligent design and the only Newtonian systems in the universe are those which have been designed by intelligent minds.
Greylorn Ell wrote:The mathematics involved is plain old probability theory.
Exactly. Chaotic systems can only be modelled probabilistically, as any weatherman could tell you. If this rings a bell it bloody well should because sub-atomic systems can also only be modelled probabilistically. As I said, ALL naturally occurring events are chaotically determined, including atoms, and the uncaused event is a myth of spectacular absurdity which physics has been forced to embrace because of its moronic spacetime paradigm.

Greylorn Ell
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Re: The soul and the afterlife

Post by Greylorn Ell » Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:24 pm

Obvious Leo wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote: Horse pucky. The only mechanism behind Darwinian evolution is random changes to germ cell DNA.
Darwinism is a gross over-simplification of the evolutionary mechanism but you reveal your ignorance in your own choice of words. There's no such thing as a random event so the so-called changes you refer to are not randomly determined. They are CHAOTICALLY determined and chaotic determinism is the distinguishing feature of ALL natural processes. There is no such thing as a naturally occurring Newtonian system and I challenge you to offer me an example of one. Newton's world was an artefact of intelligent design and the only Newtonian systems in the universe are those which have been designed by intelligent minds.
O.Leo,

Perhaps you'll note that I referred to random chance as the mechanism behind Darwinian evolution, which is perfectly correct. Of course that mechanism does not serve to explain jack shit, but that's the Darwinists' problem, not mine. Remember, IMO Darwinism is a stupid theory that served but one useful purpose, namely to shut up the pinheaded Bible-thumpers. In that respect it has done as well as possible.

Unfortunately, in the process Darwinism has taken on the role previously occupied by creationists, and its followers are behaving exactly like devout churchgoers, to the point where they will go to court to preclude any taint of creationism or intelligent design upon textbook presentations of their preferred dogma. Nothing's changed except the name of the bullshit and the titles of its promoters. Priest-- professor-- often hard to distinguish them.

Your challenge is pretty much wasted on me, because I'm a fairly well educated person who regards all existing beliefs about the beginnings as bullshit. None of that is relevant to this particular conversation. Moreover, I've come to learn your style of argumentation. Fundamentally, I see you as a reasonably well educated person with the potential to be an innovative and constructive thinker. However, these limited propensities have been suppressed by your need to be right, which sucks you into agreement systems, which you expend your limited mental abilities defending as if they were either relevant or important.

Please do not interpret "limited mental abilities" as anything other than a statement of fact which applies to me and everyone else on this confused planet. You could easily be twice as smart as me, and if so, so what? I'm only interested in what I might learn from you. Were you to use your excellent mind effectively, this could prove very interesting. If you insist upon using it to support the goofy ideas of some conventional professors, I'm bored.

I agree with you completely that Newtonian systems are the design of intelligent minds. This is an excellent conclusion, and I'd really like to know how you arrived at it. I'm not smart enough to get there from here, although the "there" fits my theories nicely.
Obvious Leo wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:The mathematics involved is plain old probability theory.
Exactly. Chaotic systems can only be modelled probabilistically, as any weatherman could tell you. If this rings a bell it bloody well should because sub-atomic systems can also only be modelled probabilistically. As I said, ALL naturally occurring events are chaotically determined, including atoms, and the uncaused event is a myth of spectacular absurdity which physics has been forced to embrace because of its moronic spacetime paradigm.
Decades ago I encountered a young but smart mathematician in a weight room and learned about chaos theory. It seemed interesting so I got a book, which proved less interesting. Taking my disappointments back to him, armed with a bit of knowledge, I learned more about modeling. I did not like it.

I first undertook the study of physics because I was fascinated by the clarity of its principles. I loved it! Then came QM, a theory founded upon an experimental resolution problem and explained with a mathematical scheme that cannot possibly apply to quantum effects. That terminated my interest in conventional modern physics theories, but not my interest in data, which continually confounds the theorists, because they've chosen goofy theories into which actual data does not fit well.

Modeling is their only recourse. A competent computer programmer can "model" anything and make it appear real to pinheads who are too afraid to pull the curtains and gaze behind them upon the real wizard-- mostly, these days, a potbellied slug with a knack for generating pseudo-reality from pixels. The "reality" can be colliding galaxies, hypernovas, the early moon colliding convincingly with the planet earth, or Donald Duck fucking Minnie Mouse. They're all made-up bullshit, and the intercourse scene would generate a lot more interest and controversy if it could be aired because of the large IQ range that can relate to it.

You go ahead and pretend that you live in a well-modeled universe. I'm not interested in your or anyone's models. Only reality interests me.

If you want to play dipshit philosopher and come back with a denial of reality, thereby rendering your mind about as interesting as that of any slug I might encounter in the neighborhood bar, save that crap for a "real philosopher."

Finally, how about a reference to an effective model of DNA modification based upon chaos theory? I want to see how it handles these problems:

1. Extensions to a gene require:
A. the addition of at least one base-pair triplet, simultaneous with
B. the removal of the gene's end cap to allow the triplet to be installed, and
C. the immediate replacement of that cap when the triplet's installation is complete;
D. the promise that the modified gene will enhance the survival of the critter in which it is installed.
E. the likelihood that the improved critter will mate with another member of its species whose offspring will carry the same
feature, etc.
F. the requirement that the gene modification occurs not in just any old functional DNA string, but within either a female's next-to-
be-fertilized egg, or within the one of several billion sperm cells that will actually fertilize that egg.

Until you can reference such information or produce your own cogent explanation, you are merely spouting hand-waving bullshit. I'm getting tired of dealing with it.

Moreover, I'm getting tired of being labeled "ignorant," or otherwise denigrated by someone who has resolved neither the dark energy problem nor the C-value Enigma and who won't know what the C-value Enigma is without looking it up in response to this comment. Once more, and I'm done with you.

Greylorn

Dalek Prime
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Re: The soul and the afterlife

Post by Dalek Prime » Sun Jul 26, 2015 12:38 am

Consciousness is not fundamental to the universe. It's a fluke that certainly did not exist at the beginning of it.

Obvious Leo
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Re: The soul and the afterlife

Post by Obvious Leo » Sun Jul 26, 2015 12:43 am

Greylorn Ell wrote: IMO Darwinism is a stupid theory that served but one useful purpose, namely to shut up the pinheaded Bible-thumpers. In that respect it has done as well as possible.
I'll go along with this. Darwinism merely hints at evolution and neo-Darwinism makes it even worse. Evolution is a very poorly understood theory and the worst culprits are evolutionary biologists. However the tide is slowly turning because it is gradually becoming better and better understood that evolution is an INFORMATION theory which deals with the nature of determinism.

Does the universe behave according to a divine plan or does shit just happen?
Is determinism in the natural world linear or non-linear?
Is the universe Newtonian or non-Newtonian?

These are all the same question.

I have no comment to offer on the rest of your tirade.

Obvious Leo
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Re: The soul and the afterlife

Post by Obvious Leo » Sun Jul 26, 2015 12:59 am

Dalek Prime wrote:Consciousness is not fundamental to the universe. It's a fluke that certainly did not exist at the beginning of it.
If one regards the universe as a non-linear dynamic system, as I do, then this statement is false. Such self-organising systems evolve increasingly more informationally complex sub-structures within themselves over time for the simple reason that they cannot do otherwise. This means that the evolution of consciousness in the universe is inevitable. However it does NOT mean that the evolution of consciousness is a part of some divine cosmic plan. It also doesn't mean that the evolution of homo sapiens was inevitable. You might say that we just got lucky by being in the right place at the right time.

Obviously it would be foolhardy to try and draw many conclusions from a sample size of one but given the size of the universe and the fact that it is still an infant it is perfectly reasonable to suppose that consciousness is, has been and will be ubiquitous throughout the cosmos. How commonplace it might be is impossible to say but to claim the opposite would require a gigantic leap of faith.

Obviously I agree that consciousness did not exist at the big bang but in the complexity theory modelling which I use it can definitely be regarded as a fundamental property of the universe. Such modelling also debunks the idea of the big bang as being the "beginning" of the universe but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on that one, Dalek, and assume you were just being a bit careless in your use of language. A universe with a beginning is a conceptual absurdity far too ludicrous to contemplate, even for a Canuck.

Dalek Prime
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Re: The soul and the afterlife

Post by Dalek Prime » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:11 am

I'll never claim to be a scientist Leo. But do I believe that conciousness does not persist. And do believe that, at higher levels such as humans, it's a cruel fluke of evolution that has separated us from nature.

Obvious Leo
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Re: The soul and the afterlife

Post by Obvious Leo » Sun Jul 26, 2015 2:03 am

Dalek Prime wrote:I'll never claim to be a scientist Leo. But do I believe that conciousness does not persist. And do believe that, at higher levels such as humans, it's a cruel fluke of evolution that has separated us from nature.
You're missing a substantial part of the point, Dalek. Obviously I'm not claiming that the consciousness of an individual persists beyond the lifetime of the individual because consciousness is an embodied process. All I'm saying is that consciousness as a phenomenon is a self-evident feature of the universe and to suggest that it could only arise once in a universe of this size and relatively young age simply beggars belief. Your idea of the gigantic cosmic accident falls to pieces very quickly under the scrutiny of logic.

To suggest that the evolution of consciousness has separated us from nature simply cannot be true because it evolved through perfectly natural processes which are steadily becoming better and better understood. Once life takes a foothold on a suitable planet it will continue to evolve into progressively more and more complex forms for as long as the appropriate conditions obtain. This necessarily includes the evolution of consciousness and as proof of this a sample size of one is quite sufficient.

Non-linear dynamics systems theory is a mature science with a rigorous methodology and it is able to apply exactly the same evolutionary principles to non-living systems as biologists apply to living ones. In fact molecular evolution is nowadays one of the hottest fields in science and the old dinosaurs who continue to try and make a meaningful distinction between "living" and "non-living" matter are rapidly heading for extinction.

Everything in the universe is evolving from the simple to the complex and we have 13.8 billion years worth of evidence to support this proposition. However we choose to define the big bang we should all be able to agree that it was a state of maximum informational disorder and yet here we are having a chat about it 13.8 billion years later. According to Newton this is utterly impossible because this means that the universe has organised itself into these complex structures without any divine intervention. The idiot got cause and effect back to front, that's all.

Dalek Prime
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Re: The soul and the afterlife

Post by Dalek Prime » Sun Jul 26, 2015 3:13 am

Obvious Leo wrote:
Dalek Prime wrote:I'll never claim to be a scientist Leo. But do I believe that conciousness does not persist. And do believe that, at higher levels such as humans, it's a cruel fluke of evolution that has separated us from nature.
You're missing a substantial part of the point, Dalek. Obviously I'm not claiming that the consciousness of an individual persists beyond the lifetime of the individual because consciousness is an embodied process. All I'm saying is that consciousness as a phenomenon is a self-evident feature of the universe and to suggest that it could only arise once in a universe of this size and relatively young age simply beggars belief. Your idea of the gigantic cosmic accident falls to pieces very quickly under the scrutiny of logic.

To suggest that the evolution of consciousness has separated us from nature simply cannot be true because it evolved through perfectly natural processes which are steadily becoming better and better understood. Once life takes a foothold on a suitable planet it will continue to evolve into progressively more and more complex forms for as long as the appropriate conditions obtain. This necessarily includes the evolution of consciousness and as proof of this a sample size of one is quite sufficient.

Non-linear dynamics systems theory is a mature science with a rigorous methodology and it is able to apply exactly the same evolutionary principles to non-living systems as biologists apply to living ones. In fact molecular evolution is nowadays one of the hottest fields in science and the old dinosaurs who continue to try and make a meaningful distinction between "living" and "non-living" matter are rapidly heading for extinction.

Everything in the universe is evolving from the simple to the complex and we have 13.8 billion years worth of evidence to support this proposition. However we choose to define the big bang we should all be able to agree that it was a state of maximum informational disorder and yet here we are having a chat about it 13.8 billion years later. According to Newton this is utterly impossible because this means that the universe has organised itself into these complex structures without any divine intervention. The idiot got cause and effect back to front, that's all.
Leo, I would always defer to you on physics. And I wasn't disagreeing with you on those points. I was more sticking to the OP and discussing my beliefs on consciousness, which I have strong opinions on. As to your views that consciousness has not separated us from nature, I cannot but disagree. We are the only creatures who live outside of nature, and the only ones who suffer for our consciousness by our ability to know we are thus, and to dwell on our fates, and eventual demise.

Greylorn Ell
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Re: The soul and the afterlife

Post by Greylorn Ell » Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:26 am

Dalek Prime wrote:Consciousness is not fundamental to the universe. It's a fluke that certainly did not exist at the beginning of it.
Thanks for the parroting of dogma. Conventional, and incompletely informed.

Dalek Prime
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Re: The soul and the afterlife

Post by Dalek Prime » Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:52 am

Greylorn Ell wrote:
Dalek Prime wrote:Consciousness is not fundamental to the universe. It's a fluke that certainly did not exist at the beginning of it.
Thanks for the parroting of dogma. Conventional, and incompletely informed.
Why? Because I disagree with you? Oh, boo hoo! :cry: I stand by my quote.

Btw, calling an antinatalist a conventional parroter of dogma is hilarious. Thanks for the laugh.

Graeme M
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Re: The soul and the afterlife

Post by Graeme M » Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:00 am

I've just joined this forum and am only a recent visitor to such forums. I am not a philosopher - simply someone with an interest in matters of consciousness and mind. This particular thread is one of similar threads I've seen on other forums but I haven't yet quite got a handle on what everyone means by 'soul'.

The OP suggests a 'theory' for how consciousness survives death and I must say on an initial reading, even though I don't understand what a microtubule might be, I don't get any sense that the idea has any merit whatsoever.

I enjoyed Greylorn and O. Leo's contributions especially. Original Leo, I think we've talked before somewhere? You are Australian too? Thanks for the hint re Beon theory. I've had a quick look and will read some more. More for the insight and ideas I think as again the theory itself doesn't resonate.

But to go back to the OP. What exactly does anyone mean by the soul or the consciousness? I suppose I should start a separate thread but I guess that's been done to death. Do people just mean the sense of themselves they get from talking in their own head?

Ginkgo
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Re: The soul and the afterlife

Post by Ginkgo » Sat Aug 01, 2015 8:10 pm

Graeme M wrote:
But to go back to the OP. What exactly does anyone mean by the soul or the consciousness? I suppose I should start a separate thread but I guess that's been done to death. Do people just mean the sense of themselves they get from talking in their own head?
I guess the term, 'soul' has somewhat gone out of fashion with advent of neuroscience, but it depends on who you talk to. The little voice inside the head as an explanation is consistent with neuroscience and modern philosophy of mind. The workings of the brain is the soul, is consciousness and nothing more. The soul can be reduced and explained in terms of the working of the brain.

Still others say the soul is a non-physical entity that cannot be explained by any sort of reductionist/scientific explanation. As a general rule of thumb in this day and age, soul and consciousness are one and the same. The quantum soul, or quantum consciousness, as proposed by Hameroff and Penrose has its roots in science, all be it quantum science. Naturally, their theory is a rejection of what might be termed, 'traditional science'.

Obvious Leo
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Re: The soul and the afterlife

Post by Obvious Leo » Sat Aug 01, 2015 10:15 pm

Graeme M wrote:Leo, I think we've talked before somewhere? You are Australian too? Thanks for the hint re Beon theory.
It's quite possible we've met before, Graeme, I get around a bit. I am indeed an Australian and thus culturally indoctrinated into nay-saying and contrarianism but the Beon theory is not mine. It's actually Greylorn's and I personally reckon it's a load of shit. However I agree with you that his comments are always worth reading.

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