Do humans have a soul?

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

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:07 am

Justintruth wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:56 pm
In order to establish that you would have to know whether it is impossible to remove the consciousness and retain the breathing. Since we don’t know the details of what causes consciousness, we can’t be sure that there is not some functionality, in addition to that that produces consciousness, that is also interrupted by the anesthesia.
Indeed so. But what we would not be warranted in doing is jumping to the conclusion that, because we "can't be sure" of that, we can be sure that there is no such third "functionality," or that consciousness does not actually exist except as an element of the merely physical. We would have to admit that we did not know what was causing consciousness, or whether or not consciousness was an entity beyond the physical.
Science does establish what we do have evidence for and also the fact that we don’t have evidence for the rest.
Not quite. As Michael Polanyi and others have argued, the discipline we call "science" dictates what will be allowed to count as evidence; it does not establish that no other things, and no other kind of evidence exist...just that we won't count them.

So, for example, if something is unique and unreproducible in a person's experience, it is not allowed to count as evidence in a scientific explanation. That, of course, does not mean that people do not have unique and unreproducible experiences -- in fact, one could argue that ALL personal experiences are, in some measure, unique and unreproducible -- but science determines to know nothing about these, and concentrate strictly on the reproducible elements of them, or not at all.
In the context of our conversation, you were saying we don’t know what happens after death, and so there may be basically a ghost occurring,

No, no ghosts. The Biblical account is of re-embodied entities, not of "spirits." The vexed question is really whether there is an afterlife. But this life is not described as disembodied.
There is no reduction once the idea that matter can experience is accepted.

Yet there is no reason to accept it, and good reasons not to. For one thing, we can't find "experience" in most kinds of matter. And the sort of "experience" humans have, that is, self-conscious experience, is certainly of unique quality in us. For another thing, there is no plausible progressivist or evolutionary account of how consciousness can "evolve." Even evolutionary philosophers of mind prefer to speak of "emergent properties," since the mechanics of progressive development of it look impossible. So the "matter can experience" hypothesis commits us to show something we just can't, and can't even think of how to show.
There is a problem with aesthetics that is different from the other cases. The nature of good may be necessary or not. Basically, the relationship between ontology and the good (that God is good, in the old religious terms) is uncertain.
That's an epistemological issue, not an ontological one. There's a world of difference between "We don't know X for sure," and "We can therefore be sure X does not exist." If God is good, and good is a reality, it does not matter if some (or many) people do not know that fact; it would be true anyway.
“Being is good” translates to a desire to survive
Actually, the opposite is often demonstrably true. Many "moral" behaviours endanger the individual's survival. It is this problem that has led some speculators to posit "selfish gene" type explanations, in which the failures of the individual to act towards survival are explained away with reference to some supposed impersonal imperative toward genetic perpetuation.

(Ironically, such explanations suggest anthropomorphized "genes" are more intelligent and important, and more in control of their destiny, than are "conscious persons"; how bizarre is that? But people will go to great lengths to try to patch up a bad theory, and that would be one such case.)
The problem remains this: that there are realms of experience, like consciousness, morality, mind, meaning, aesthetic judgment, and so on, that everybody but hard-headed Materialists believes to exist, and in fact, upon which every human being acts every day of their lives, but about which science itself is having a great deal of trouble speaking. And that's not a reason for rejecting science, but rather a reason to question whether our science is capable of dealing with everything that really exists.
The reason science is having trouble is not predominately the small philosophical issue we are describing.
Small? Surely not.
Science has be remarkably un-impeded by scientism.
Since Polanyi, Feyerabend and Kuhn, it's pretty much generally acknowledged that this isn't true. Science is susceptible to ideological misdirection, just like any human enterprise.
The limitations of science cannot be used to establish the need for the posit of a separate entity.
They can be used to deny that science has any basis for ruling out such an entity...particularly one so generally phenomenologically and existentially recognized.
...to justify the need for the second posit you advocate.
You seem to be much taken with the idea that simpler is always better, when it comes to explanations. I've suggested good reasons why this is obviously not so...so I'm surprised to see you repeating that supposition. "Adequacy" is the primary virtue of a good explanation: and materialism its manifestly not adequate to the phenomena it is trying to describe.
It is William Occam you need.
You've misread Occam, I'm afraid.

His "rule" is only a probabilistic one, is ceteris paribus only, and contingent upon one having enough posits in a theory to account for the phenomena in question. It's certainly no reason to think Materialism is a sufficient explanation for all things. Not much rests on Occam.
Look, basically if you want to understand God you have to understand metaphysics. You have to understand the ontological possibilities of the human being. Now that means you must understand more than nature. Not just more than natural science, but more than nature itself.
Yes.
IF (and let us just say this as a theory for the moment, not as a fact claim) there is a God, can He (in theory) reveal something to us that science cannot discover?
Ok, if you think there is a question of whether there is a God, and that that question can be resolved by a contingent fact, like this. ”It’s possible there is a God and possible there is not. But If, in fact there is a God, blah, blah, blah…” If you think like that, you will never understand God.
Heh. No, I'm not saying that.

Note the capital "IF." I was asking you to consider the logical consequences of the hypothesis that God exists, not using that to argue that God exists.
Could He, for example, reveal His own existence? Could He tell us what happens after death? Could He tell us what objective morality is? Could He explain the meaning of life?
Sure, all of it is possible if the right sense is maintained.
That was all I was asking.
...if the religious view is true it does not mean that we are not contingent material beings. Our union with God is metaphysical and does not decide the contingent physical facts of our neurology and what it is capable of. Nor can it decide whether we can predicate it onto the physics without requiring some second, also contingent reality, you are calling a mind.
"Contingent?" That's not at issue, of course. Created beings are, by definition, contingent (not necessary) beings. But "material"...that's only partly true. We are, indeed, material beings in some senses also not in question: like that we have bodies. But it that ALL we are? That's the real question. And the answers is that there are elements to the things we call "me" that are not material, and yet essential...like consciousness.
… it raises the question of how a universe without a God would be quite different from one with a God –
There can be no possible universe without God as that possibility would still have to “be”.
Philosophically, you are correct. An ultimate "Necessary Being" would, by definition, have to exist in all possible worlds, including this one. But that point will be a bit too advanced for what I'm suggesting. I'm merely having us think theoretically about the differences between this world with a God, and this world without.
But again, these kinds of discussions do not decide the natural fact, that it appears that our brains are what is experiencing.

It doesn't, though. Our brains are capable of being kept viable with no "experiencing" demonstrated. The "brain dead" have their brains, and their brains operate as called upon to do by mechanics; but the bearer of the brain is dead. Consciousness, identity, the essence of the person is gone, though the physiology remains in place and can be operated.

But my point was much simpler: in a universe in which God exists, there is no sense to assuming "science" is the totality of truth, the totality of knowledge. And for that matter, it wouldn't even make sense to suppose it in a world without a God, because from whence would come our certitude that when we did this humanly-invented thing called "science" we were being promised access to all truth? There'd be no such promise written into the indifferent universe, for sure.

What would not make sense (and this is what I'm arguing against) is if we said, "Well, one thing is one posit; and those loonies who think there ought to be more want at least two posits, so they must be wrong.”
Why not three then? Or ten? Why not have a slew of them?
Quite so! Why not? In fact, if there was no way for us to explain consciousness without reference to three or four, then that's what we'd need.
See Occam.
I did. He says I'm right. He wrote: "pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate," or “plurality should not be posited without necessity.” But when it is necessary, it should be. Sometimes, it genuinely is necessary.
….a human entity is plausibly comprised of two co-ordinated entities, both body and soul. It just may be, as the Bible insists it is, that "body" is not only one thing.

Oh I think many Rabbis would disagree with you on that. Can you show me where the bible says – no not just “says”, “insists”? The authors of the bible were not even aware of this question as far as I can tell.

Modern Rabbis have a different opinion about this from ancient ones. But Job, the oldest book in the Bible, is quite clear on this point (Job 19:26). Also, the Pharisees (ancient Rabbis) held tenaciously that the soul exists; and Christ Himself pointed out that no tenable Judaism would ever make God only "the God of the Dead." (Mark 12:27)
….we're trying to ….(whether) "materials" are the totality of all that is real. And that's the basic theory I'm disputing. I'm saying that Materialism is narrow and dogmatic, not inclusive of all phenomena and not grounded in reason. It's a faith position only, and in the worst sense of that word.
Fine rhetoric. Those damn materialists!

Not at all. Materialism is a creed. That's all.
But here is the interesting part. You don’t know why you are interested in doing it. You don’t realize how your body works and why.
Who doesn't? The Materialist, the Dualist and whatever, are equals in the level of knowledge they have of the workings of the body, because they only concern the workings of the body. But in explaining the consciousness, the identity, meaning or morals, the Materialist is decidedly at a disadvantage, because the resources to which he limits his own access are not capable of yielding credible explanations.

You said it yourself: he needs to start believing wild things, like "materials experience," over and against the plain observation of materials that obviously don't.
Justintruth wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:28 pm
it could be that the matter itself so assembled experiences.
This claim …creates an "emergent" problem. How does "mind" spring from that which has no mind? That needs a very precise sort of explanation, if we are to accept it as a theory. And we have none. But it also just assumes that things "assemble" themselves, without even trying to describe what power or intelligence "assembles" these things. That's awfully close to magical thinking, and it's certainly bad explaining
Again, I refer you to Dan Dennet of design and evolution.
Oh. Dan Dennet. Yes, I know of him.
He is not a good philosopher in my opinion but has this right.

Right first time, wrong the second, I would say.
No designer is necessary, nor is magic. Its random mutation and natural selection. Evolution.
Well, then, I'd be grateful if you'd explain the mechanics of that, please, because Dennet's explanations are, in my estimation, pretty bad. I would assume you have a better one?
In terms of emergence, remember that you have the problem there too. How does physics emerge? The hard problem of consciousness championed by Chalmers has a twin, the hard problem of existence. Why is there any physics at all? And if there are conscious entities which are not physical, then how did they emerge.
It's not a problem one has to address if one is not an "emergentist," and I'm not, of course.
If you think that you can ever use the existing physics to show how consciousness evolved
I do not. I don't think it evolved at all.
…things that are genuinely random do not "design" themselves.

Sorry, but they do. This has been demonstrated both in simulations and utilizing things in the lab.
Example?
…It's (emergence of designed entities) a demonstration of the second law of thermodynamics, essentially.
Actually, that law predicts that matter cannot evolve without some energy input from outside of the system.
No, it predicts "the state of entropy of the entire universe, as an isolated system, will always increase over time." Another way of putting this is to say that the universe is "running down," or "tending from a state of higher order to disorder," or simply, "order decays." The Sun itself, the thing upon which your response depended, is a feature of the universe that demonstrates this decay process.
So now we've got two problems: one, how did design appear, and secondly, how did the designed thing become conscious?
The design evolved.
Swimming upstream, against the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics all the while?
… "brain" is limited to the materials. Materials don't experience.
Now who was it that was dogmatic?
It's not a dogmatic statement...it's a scientific observation. The base elements of which the brain is composed can all be isolated, and none of them "experiences."
There is no dismissal if by “materials” we are not limited to the current physics.
We can think so; but if we do, we will have to abandon Materialism as it is currently understood too. And to say that our answer relies on a physics that, at present, we just don't have, is to rely on a faith statement far wilder than most religions will ever venture.
… "assembly" is only complexity, not consciousness
Not if consciousness always occurs with certain types of assemblies and never without them. It is then just another property of matter.
You could prove that if you could create some such "assembly" -- without involving your own consciousness, of course, because otherwise you'd be contaminating the quantity you were trying to produce by adding in your own -- and then from this spontaneous assemblage witness consciousness spring spontaneously...for that is the process you seem to be positing at present.

Evolution, that unguided process, accidentally assembled multiple complexities, assemblages of matter from which self-consciousness suddenly and inexplicably sprang.

Really?

Justintruth
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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Justintruth » Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:18 pm

Ok, to focus:

1) You have claimed that: "…materialism its manifestly not adequate to the phenomena it is trying to describe." You have repeatedly straw manned me conflating the distinction between “mere” materialism and a modified materialism that allows experiencing to be predicated on it. So please, *without straw manning me again*, can you tell me why you think such a modified materialism is inadequate to allow the predication I am suggesting? What phenomena are left out? Please, without the straw-man!

2) Do you believe that “self-conscious experience” is limited to humans? Do you think that self conscious experience is limited to organic biology or can one of the conscious entities you believe exist become attached to a synthetic device?

3) Ignoring consciousness, do you believe that gradual physical evolution of a complex functioning device is possible, or do you believe that all complex functioning devices require a designer?

4) Given that there are two entities, the physical device and the conscious entity that you believe in, do you believe that at some point in history such a conscious entity occurred, and when it occurred it was related to some specific physical device?

5) Is/was the nature of conscious experiencing in the conscious entities you envision correlated with the merely physical nature of the device to which they are associated?

6) Do you believe that there are two classes of devices physically, those devices that the conscious entities you believe in are associated with (like functioning brains), and those classes of devices that the conscious entities you believe in are never associated (like rocks, or garage door openers).

7) Do you believe that the conscious entities that you believe in can become separated from the devices to which they are attached?

'8) Do you believe that scientism prohibits all genuine science from occurring?

9) Do you believe that the necessity of God is an epistemological issue or do you believe necessity is essential to the nature of God?

10) Given that a theory must be adequate to explain the phenomena that are experienced, how do you explain the attachment of conscious entities to physical devices?

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:37 pm

Justintruth wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:18 pm
Ok, to focus:

1) You have claimed that: "…materialism its manifestly not adequate to the phenomena it is trying to describe." You have repeatedly straw manned me conflating the distinction between “mere” materialism and a modified materialism that allows experiencing to be predicated on it.
No, I'm not trying to "straw man" you.

But I would point out that the "modified Materialism" of which you speak seems (assuming I have read you aright) DOES NOT PRESENTLY EXIST. In fact, it seems to depend on a faith claim that IN FUTURE some sort of "new Materialism" will appear, and that it will achieve what "old Materialism" has clearly failed to achieve.

My question would be this: what's your warrant for believing that?

If my reading above is correct, it's nothing but a prophecy, and one premised merely on the abject failure of the old Materialism. So feel free to tell my why I'm wrong, and this "new Materialism" can be expected to come about.
2) Do you believe that “self-conscious experience” is limited to humans?
Self-awareness, if it exists at all in lower animals, is of a very cloudy and ambiguous sort. It's pretty much submerged by mere instinct, and its manifestations are likely merely habitual performances achieved by reward-and-punishment conditioning. We really can't establish that animal self-awareness exists at all, and if it does, it is manifestly in a degree so small relative to human self-awareness that a Grand Canyon of explanatory inadequacy attaches to any explanation that tries to derive our self-awareness from lower-animal evolution.

Somewhere, there may be a high-functioning orang that can attain to the cognitive performance of a human infant of limited capacities; there are no apes the performances of which reach beyond that level...and there are no ape Shakespeares, Mozarts, Luthers or Kants. That massive, massive consciousness gap needs explanation.
Do you think that self conscious experience is limited to organic biology or can one of the conscious entities you believe exist become attached to a synthetic device?
I think we are very, very credulous when it comes to attributing consciousness to entities -- both animals and synthetic things -- that are programmed to repeat performances we have come to associate with consciousness. We think our dogs are "talking to us," and we think language processing programs are Rogerian therapists. We are easily, easily fooled.

So we would be wise to remain as skeptical as possible of any claim to have achieved AI, until a test far better than the Turing Test is available. And it may never be, since we can't presently imagine what an incontrovertible test for self-consciousness would look like. However, one must not prophesy...perhaps such a thing may one day appear. But maybe not.
3) Ignoring consciousness, do you believe that gradual physical evolution of a complex functioning device is possible, or do you believe that all complex functioning devices require a designer?

I don't ignore consciousness in answering such a question, because it's the big "fly in the ointment" of any Materialist theory. Complex entities like snowflakes can appear and "function" in their roles, apparently on the pure basis of the mechanical laws present in the universe. (How such laws came to obtain in the first place is also a serious question: can "laws" exist without a "Lawgiver" is another good question...I think not.) But put in the element of consciousness, and I think it's very evident that "designlessness" is utterly implausible as an explanation.
4) Given that there are two entities, the physical device and the conscious entity that you believe in, do you believe that at some point in history such a conscious entity occurred, and when it occurred it was related to some specific physical device?
The wording here is a little opaque to me. "Physical device"? Do you mean the human body?

I can say that consciousness and physical incorporation were two aspects of the same creative act of God. Genesis 2:7 covers this.
5) Is/was the nature of conscious experiencing in the conscious entities you envision correlated with the merely physical nature of the device to which they are associated?
No...see Genesis 2:7.
6) Do you believe that there are two classes of devices physically, those devices that the conscious entities you believe in are associated with (like functioning brains), and those classes of devices that the conscious entities you believe in are never associated (like rocks, or garage door openers).
Your term "device" is potentially misleading. The only similarity lies in that they are both types of created entities and products of a pre-existing intelligence...but they are not items in the same category in other ways, so it would be misleading to conflate them. We can't generalize from garage door openers to human beings.

Garage door openers are manifestly products of human intelligence and engineering, and also have no consciousness. I think we're both satisfied on that point. But human beings are the unique creations of God, and are endowed with consciousness. There, you and I differ. Unless I have your position wrong, you prefer to think of human beings as complex assemblages of materials accidentally accumulated over time, and which inexplicably sprang into self-awareness at some undefined time and in an undefined way in the past.

Or have I missed something you would say about that?
7) Do you believe that the conscious entities that you believe in can become separated from the devices to which they are attached?
Both by empirical observation and per Genesis 2:7, to be human is both to be embodied and to have a "soul" or consciousness. There are no ghosts. But not all bodies are the same, either.
'8) Do you believe that scientism prohibits all genuine science from occurring?
Not at all. Science can proceed, but would proceed better and faster without Scientistic claptrap being attached to it. Scientism is an ideology that no real scientist ought to adopt. So long as a scientist does not become Scientistic in his thinking, he can remain a real scientist...that is, he has a sane, balanced view of what science is and is not, what it can and cannot do, and what it proposes to do and does not propose to do. Such a person is not merely a scientist, but a good philosopher of science as well.

But the person who believes in the universal applicability of science and its universal efficacy is guilty of Scientism, the naive belief that science can do anything, and that only questions that science addresses can be "real." And that is mere ideology.
9) Do you believe that the necessity of God is an epistemological issue or do you believe necessity is essential to the nature of God?
Epistemology has to do with what we know, and ontology has to do with what actually exists. When we didn't know America existed (limited epistemology), it still did exist, and was awaiting discovery (ontologically). So there are two separate issues here: "Does God exist?" and "What do we know about God's existence?" The ontological always precedes the epistemological question.

God, by definition, is the lone absolutely necessary Being. All else is contingent, including the universe itself.
10) Given that a theory must be adequate to explain the phenomena that are experienced, how do you explain the attachment of conscious entities to physical devices?
That is the real question of the moment: what is the relationship between the physical being and the consciousness that, so to speak, seems to "inhabit" it? How are they related, when an impact on one is an impact on the other?

That's very interesting, and I don't profess to have the answer -- only to be interested in the question, and to feel certain of my ground that there are two coordinated considerations that must be answered, two phenomena or issues that must be encompassed in a satisfying explanation.

So far, so good?

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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Justintruth » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:09 pm

Ok, to focus even more:
First you had a question for me:
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:37 pm
My question would be this: what's your warrant for believing that (a new materialism might succeed)?
The primary reason is recent progress in mapping brains and the way neural networks are succeeding in computer science. I do not conflate the success of neural networks in image recognition with the notion of being conscious but I think that the brain is doing more than being conscious. I think it is processing information and presenting it in the content of its experiencing. The progress in computer science I think will help us distinguish machine task implementation from those parts of the brain that are experiencing. Once we have a complete brain map we can look for that activity that does not just do computation, meaning we can search for any “additional” activities that the brain is doing that could be experiencing. We might selectively interrupt those while leaving the former intact. For example it might be possible then to have a human play the game of go while unconscious. That would eliminate a lot of extraneous activity that we speak of loosely in conscious suggesting terms. When we say that a computer knows the state of the board and is playing go we are only speaking very loosely. No one credible is making the case yet that they are in fact go-playing experiencing.

Remember that I believe that we have always had the proto-science in place and we also have a lot of science in place for this already. Galileo pointed one end of the telescope at his eye, not his knee. He knew something of what part of his body was experiencing. You are factually incorrect that there is no current theory that can describe what is conscious and imply everything is in the future. We know that it what is conscious in humans and many animals is in the head. We know that it does not occur with anesthesia, we can anesthetize not just humans but animals, we also can block neural signals using local anesthetics, also we know what neural pathways lead to pain, we know many areas that are associated with sensations. We know something about short and long term memory and their association with the chemistry of the synapses and the growth of neural pathways respectively. We know something about synesthesia. And that is just a casual list.

The notion that Galileo had access to an MRI is crazy as it was developed in my lifetime. Look at the map of the fly’s brain I sent you. That was unavailable when I was born.

I want to be very clear on the “explanatory gap” that exists between current mechanistic biology and experiencing. I have already said that I believe that this gap exists and that it cannot be crossed. Many people think you need to cross it to have a physical explanation. This is just false. The explanatory gap is why many people think positing that the brain sees is impossible.

I would like to illustrate a point using an electron under classical physical theory. The electron is characterized by a mass. There is no way to determine the charge of an electron from its mass, in other words the dynamic properties of the electron and its gravitational properties, that it will fall and how fast, how it will accelerate when placed in a gravitational force field cannot be used to predict the fact that the electron will deviate from the motion predicted solely on inertial and gravitational physics, nor to explain it if it does.

This inability to describe what happens due to an electron’s electrical properties by using its dynamic and gravitational properties exclusively is an “explanatory gap” for a theory that does not include electricity. In other words, you cannot possibly derive electrical properties solely based on dynamic and gravitational properties. So what happens instead is we “posit” that there is something else and give it a name, “electric charge”, and describe it and then posit that all electrons have such a charge and then using that posit we can predict and explain what happens to an electron in the presence of an electric field.

It is not that we somehow failed, so far, to use the inertial and gravitational physics to explain the electron – it’s that it cannot be done on principle, and a new posit was needed.

Something like that happening here. You cannot use the current physics. Why it fails is because it does not posit that matter can experience at all. It is silent on any experiencing. There are no operators that predict whether a given device will experience. If however we introduce the right operators as fresh posits then we could describe conscious experiencing of a given type as a property of matter and because there are no ghosts and no zombies – the equivalent of the fact that there are no electric charges floating around without particles (electric ghosting) nor can you strip the electric charge from an electron and leave it bare (an electric zombie), then we DO NOT need to posit some separate entity. We can use the brain in the same way the electric charge is used on the electron. So the assembly of the brain, if it is in the right configuration, can be predicted to be red-seeing and we might even get good enough to know what other machines, including what other animals, are experiencing.

Now there is a difference between the electric and conscious cases and the analogy can be drawn too far. The difference is that the need for the electric properties can be seen by deviations in the dynamics of a particle. However, conscious experiencing does not necessarily cause, we have not yet demonstrated whether it does cause and so it might not, a change in the dynamic particles of the system e.g. in a functioning brain’s motion.

It is a non-sequitur to assert that the fact that it does not cause such a change prevents us from positing experiencing as property of the brain for there is no logically necessary relation between what the brain does and what experiencing occurs - only a physical one. Absent new posits the theory will remain silent. But we can build the correlations and install those posits in our theory either way.

So I can find that brains obey current physical laws completely, but that if a given type of assembly is there then experiencing will occur, and I can also find out that brains do not obey current physical laws completely, but still have the case that if a given type of assembly is there, then experiencing will occur.

No matter how that turns out it is still possible to predicate experiencing on the matter directly, as long as there are no ghosts / no zombies. If there are cases of either, then it is impossible, and we will need an additional entity like consciousness.

I say all of this so you don’t think that the impossibility of using the current physics has any bearing as to whether a theory can be developed. The “explanatory gap” is just irrelevant to this issue.

You have written:
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:37 pm
“Unless I have your position wrong, you prefer to think of human beings as complex assemblages of materials accidentally accumulated over time, and which inexplicably sprang into self-awareness at some undefined time and in an undefined way in the past.”
You do have my position wrong. I think of human beings as complex assemblages of materials accumulated over time, which sprang into self-awareness when the evolution of the dynamical system that is current physics caused an assembly qualified, because of its quantum state vector, to be experiencing. I *posit* that some assemblies, will be conscious no matter if they evolved to due random mutation or whether they are deliberately assembled by God or by man and then can *explain* the fact that it happened using evolution and those posits. Not a logical necessity, but a posit of the fact. I believe that they did, as a matter of fact, evolve to some of those states here on the earth, through random mutation and natural selection.

Also, the time in the past is not wholly undefined. It can be bounded by studying the history of life. It also can be bounded in the womb. This does not just happen “way in the past”. It happens every time a baby grows to a point where its nervous system starts experiencing. We may be able to make this happen in a lab soon. We know we can do it with sex now.

Now I asked a question that did not get answered and I will repeat it:

You have said that:
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:37 pm
…materialism its manifestly not adequate to the phenomena it is trying to describe.
I asked: Why? What phenomena are left out? Can you answer that?

Here is Genesis 2:7: “Then the LORD God formed a man[a] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

How do you know that those words don't mean that when he breathed into him, he caused the material he had formed to begin to experience? How do you know that instead of meaning that, that he caused some other, conscious entity, say a mind or a soul, to begin to experience, and then bound that entity to the body he had formed before? Certainly, your belief is not justified by the text. Shouldn’t we assume the simplest case? Why would God be unnecessarily complex?

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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Belinda » Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:39 pm

Here is Genesis 2:7: “Then the LORD God formed a man[a] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

How do you know that those words don't mean that when he breathed into him, he caused the material he had formed to begin to experience? How do you know that instead of meaning that, that he caused some other, conscious entity, say a mind or a soul, to begin to experience, and then bound that entity to the body he had formed before? Certainly, your belief is not justified by the text. Shouldn’t we assume the simplest case? Why would God be unnecessarily complex?
That ancient creation myth is about how the creator made everything complete all at once and as complete as it was ever going to be. Therefore if the man in the Genesis myth was supposed to have a soul then he would have it, and have it all at once and not as an evolved attribute.

The Creator of the Genesis myth did not add anything such as a soul as a separate add-on, but made the man all at once. complete

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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:39 pm

Justintruth wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:09 pm
Ok, to focus even more:
First you had a question for me:
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:37 pm
My question would be this: what's your warrant for believing that (a new materialism might succeed)?
The primary reason is recent progress in mapping brains and the way neural networks are succeeding in computer science. I do not conflate the success of neural networks in image recognition with the notion of being conscious but I think that the brain is doing more than being conscious....
I find your answer thoughtful and carefully explained. You're also duly modest in the way you frame your case. That's unusually gracious for a site like this, but I appreciate it.

I think I understand a bit better now. I retain some reservations, but I think I see, at least partly, what draws you in the direction you take. You're not per se a Materialist, but perhaps more of a Functionalist, perhaps? You seem attracted by analogies between computers and brains. Is that fair to say?

I wonder what you'd think of the analogy between hardware and software, with brains and minds. That's the one that most Functionalists like best. I think there are still problems in Functionalism, but it has this strength: that it doesn't try to make the software part merely a part of the hardware, but suggests a difference of quality. Unfortunately, both are still merely physical, so that advantage breaks down at some point -- but at least the Functionalist view has a sense of the real existence of two different sorts of things.

For me, Functionalism is an analogy taken too far. And it's a sort of retrospective analogy too, because computers are a product of human ingenuity, and wouldn't even exist apart from their production by an existing body/brain and mind. So Functionalism is like trying to explain the existence of sheep by reference to wool sweaters -- it gets things entirely backward.

But I digress...perhaps Functionalism isn't quite your view. I shall wait patiently to see what you say about that.
I say all of this so you don’t think that the impossibility of using the current physics has any bearing as to whether a theory can be developed.

This admission is seriously problematic, though. If one says, "it's impossible to use present physics to do this," that's clear enough. But to say, "A New Physics is going to appear" is prognostication, not science. And while perhaps we cannot not rule out that (under some admittedly currently-unimagined circumstance) some new theory could appear, it gives us no reason whatsoever to suppose it will or must. So we are now in the realm of imagination, not science, since the existing physics gives no reason for this hope.

Something is missing there.
The “explanatory gap” is just irrelevant to this issue.
I don't think it is. An explanatory gap is often the first indicator that one's presumed paradigm is flawed. If this explanatory gap persists, in spite of one's best efforts to close it using the current paradigm, it's the best indicator one is going to get that a paradigm shift is necessary.
You have written:
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:37 pm
“Unless I have your position wrong, you prefer to think of human beings as complex assemblages of materials accidentally accumulated over time, and which inexplicably sprang into self-awareness at some undefined time and in an undefined way in the past.”
You do have my position wrong. I think of human beings as complex assemblages of materials accumulated over time, which sprang into self-awareness when the evolution of the dynamical system that is current physics caused an assembly qualified, because of its quantum state vector, to be experiencing.
So I had it partly wrong.

I was right on a number of scores, you say. You took out the word "accidentally"; do you mean you believe the universe was assembled "on purpose"? Because that's the obvious alternative. Then you took out the word "inexplicably"; but you have yourself said that current physics fails to provide the explanation; so it seems "inexplicable" is exactly the right word, at the moment. I'm not sure I understand your evocation of "quantum" physics, or how it is supposed to help the explanation, and I know that evolutionary progressivism, like the present physics, has no explanation not marred by a massive, massive explanatory gap -- and this fact is so generally recognized that "emergent" explanations have had to be invented in order to gloss over them. But these are very serious failures of the paradigm, I would suggest, and evolutionary progressivism needs re-evaluation in light of its obvious failure in this area.
I believe that they did, as a matter of fact, evolve to some of those states here on the earth, through random mutation and natural selection.
Well, you see, this is easily said -- but not easily delivered. The precise description of how consciousness can just "emerge" from matter is a huge philosophical and scientific problem. So to say "well, evolution did it...with natural selection...by random mutation..." is not to say anything, really.

"How?" is the key question. By what specific, progressive, evolutionary steps did non-sentient matter become sentient? And when one tries to give a description of that, the whole theory goes dusty.
Now I asked a question that did not get answered and I will repeat it:

You have said that:
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:37 pm
…materialism its manifestly not adequate to the phenomena it is trying to describe.
I asked: Why? What phenomena are left out? Can you answer that?
Sure. Sorry...I wasn't trying to skip the question: I just thought the "phenomena" to which I was alluding were obvious, having been mentioned earlier in our discussion. But for clarity's sake, I'll list some again here: consciousness, identity, morality, mind, meaning, rationality, self-awareness, philosophical reflection, science itself, conceptual abstraction, aesthetics...in short, all the things that make a human being more than a meat-machine.
Here is Genesis 2:7: “Then the LORD God formed a man[a] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
Yes, that is it.

What I note from it is this: in the creation of mankind (both male and female), what is described is the creation both of a body and of a spirit. But it is not that one was primary and the other was dispensable; rather, they are put together from the very start. A human being, then, cannot be just a body, and cannot be just a mind.

Christianity is, to use the theological word, "incarnational," meaning "dedicated to the proposition that human beings are both body and soul, not merely one or the other.

God doesn't just value your body. He values the consciousness that inhabits that body. But he doesn't just call your soul "good," and ignore the body. God is not a gnostic. Humankind was made both to be capable of conscious relationship with God (mind or soul) AND to have a physical instrument by which to enact their creative participation in the world (physical body). To be fully human is to exist as both.
How do you know that those words don't mean that when he breathed into him, he caused the material he had formed to begin to experience?
Well, there's a two-stage creation there, isn't there? "God formed...God breathed...man became a living being." So you have a firm affirmation of the goodness of the body, and also a firm affirmation of the necessity of the inspiration (in-breathing) of God to inhabit that body.
How do you know that instead of meaning that, that he caused some other, conscious entity, say a mind or a soul, to begin to experience, and then bound that entity to the body he had formed before?
That would reverse the order of description, wouldn't it? That would be, "God breathed...then God formed."
Shouldn’t we assume the simplest case? Why would God be unnecessarily complex?
I actually think the plain reading of the text favours my view. But there's no reason to suppose we must opt for the simplest case, if doing so chops off one half of the process entirely, I would say.

Again, thank you for such a lengthy, careful and thoughtful response. As interlocutors on this site, we could all learn from it.

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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by -1- » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:27 pm

Belinda wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:39 pm

That ancient creation myth is about how the creator made everything complete all at once and as complete as it was ever going to be.
I don't know... I don't get it. If the world was complete, then why was there change in the world? From one pair of humans, many pair formed; from a simple, pure being that Adam and Eve were, became two sinners. If the world is complete, then there ought to be no change.

Even the change of day to night, or metabolism, such as eating and breathing, signify incompleteness.

No, the Lord of the Bible did not create a complete world. Was this said in the bible, "The Lord created a complete world, as complete as it was ever going to be"?

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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:53 pm

-1- wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:27 pm
Was this said in the bible, "The Lord created a complete world, as complete as it was ever going to be"?
No, but Torah does say, "And God saw that it was good."

How it then became not-good is the next question, of course.

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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Justintruth » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:30 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:39 pm
Justintruth wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:09 pm
Ok, to focus even more:
First you had a question for me:
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:37 pm
My question would be this: what's your warrant for believing that (a new materialism might succeed)?
The primary reason is recent progress in mapping brains and the way neural networks are succeeding in computer science. I do not conflate the success of neural networks in image recognition with the notion of being conscious but I think that the brain is doing more than being conscious....
I find your answer thoughtful and carefully explained. You're also duly modest in the way you frame your case. That's unusually gracious for a site like this, but I appreciate it.

I think I understand a bit better now. I retain some reservations, but I think I see, at least partly, what draws you in the direction you take. You're not per se a Materialist, but perhaps more of a Functionalist, perhaps? You seem attracted by analogies between computers and brains. Is that fair to say?

I wonder what you'd think of the analogy between hardware and software, with brains and minds. That's the one that most Functionalists like best. I think there are still problems in Functionalism, but it has this strength: that it doesn't try to make the software part merely a part of the hardware, but suggests a difference of quality. Unfortunately, both are still merely physical, so that advantage breaks down at some point -- but at least the Functionalist view has a sense of the real existence of two different sorts of things.

For me, Functionalism is an analogy taken too far. And it's a sort of retrospective analogy too, because computers are a product of human ingenuity, and wouldn't even exist apart from their production by an existing body/brain and mind. So Functionalism is like trying to explain the existence of sheep by reference to wool sweaters -- it gets things entirely backward.

But I digress...perhaps Functionalism isn't quite your view. I shall wait patiently to see what you say about that.
I am not a functionalist. I do not think that the function of a machine as defined in the current physics, a "mere" machine can possibly have the function of being conscious. The "mere" of "mere machine" and being conscious are exclusive sets. But it is irrelevant. A red herring.
I say all of this so you don’t think that the impossibility of using the current physics has any bearing as to whether a theory can be developed.
This admission is seriously problematic, though. If one says, "it's impossible to use present physics to do this," that's clear enough. But to say, "A New Physics is going to appear" is prognostication, not science.

And while perhaps we cannot not rule out that (under some admittedly currently-unimagined circumstance) some new theory could appear, it gives us no reason whatsoever to suppose it will or must. So we are now in the realm of imagination, not science, since the existing physics gives no reason for this hope.
It is not a scientific theory yet. But there are two things you miss. First there is the details that I am offering: first that the set of possible experiencing be defined as best we can. This is Husserl's program straight on and I think he is right. We need to work at defining the topology of the experiencing we have. Second there are the operators that would define the state vectors. It is a framework for a theory.

The second is the massive degree to which we already have knowledge in this area. Even if no further knowledge is obtained and we do not evolve the operators I think we can conclude anyway that our physics is wrong and that matter experiences. We need only look at the ordinary facts I keep re-pointing to like Galileo's telescope and the screens at CERN and anesthesia etc. The issue does not hinge on having the physics modified as there is all of the physical knowledge on top of it. No chemist works with solely with raw physics, nor do biologists, certainly not neurologists and so there is plenty of knowledge and physics in the "physical sciences" that suffices.

It is not problematic therefore.
Something is missing there.
If I didn't think that something was missing I wouldn't be saying something is needed. You are not recognizing how much is there already, nor are you seeing the scientific possibility.

You are the one who was saying such science could not possibly develop or we have "no reason" to believe it will. But we already have so much we know ...ever since the first caveman ducked a chucked rock.... evidencing he knew the implication of a physical event on his precious experiencing. We declare people brain dead not arm dead etc etc etc. No, I think that the prospects are very good for us to improve our knowledge of the details of what is happening when a brain experiences, But the issue of whether conscious experiencing can be predicated on matter does not hinge on a new physical theory being presented - just an admission that the old theory is inadequate and then the use of our higher level constructs like neuro- science, celular biology etc. Even a simple eye chart in ophthalmology correlates the experiencing done by a brain with certain merely physical facts like size of the characters in a row of the chart.
The “explanatory gap” is just irrelevant to this issue.
I don't think it is. An explanatory gap is often the first indicator that one's presumed paradigm is flawed. If this explanatory gap persists, in spite of one's best efforts to close it using the current paradigm,

You cannot close an explanatory gap using the current paradigm. If you can close it it is not a gap,

....it's the best indicator one is going to get that a paradigm shift is necessary.
You do not need a paradigm shift. Physics is loaded with other postulates. You can say you need another postulate, but that is well within the capabilities of the current sciences paradigm.
You have written:
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:37 pm
“Unless I have your position wrong, you prefer to think of human beings as complex assemblages of materials accidentally accumulated over time, and which inexplicably sprang into self-awareness at some undefined time and in an undefined way in the past.”
You do have my position wrong. I think of human beings as complex assemblages of materials accumulated over time, which sprang into self-awareness when the evolution of the dynamical system that is current physics caused an assembly qualified, because of its quantum state vector, to be experiencing.
So I had it partly wrong.

I was right on a number of scores, you say. You took out the word "accidentally"; do you mean you believe the universe was assembled "on purpose"?
Did you know that heat sometimes flows from a colder body to a hotter one? Or that there are systems where if you ad heat the temperature falls? The notion of primordial entropy is made so much harder by gravity. You know that with a small fraction of a second we believed that the universe was in an equilibrium? The whole notion of "accident", the assignment of equal probabilities to each outcome is perilous. The spectrum needs to be developed first, and the counting established. Are you aware of the physics of a Bose-Einstein distillate? The statistics underlying it are very weird. Imaging that I have 1,000,000 black balls in a bag and one white ball and I randomly draw a ball out and replace it. Do you think all physics works like 1 in a million you get the white ball? Wrong. Sometimes you get the white ball every other time because there are two equi-likely colors. Counting is not superficial You bandy the ideas like they are simple we would have to talk a lot to understand each other on the nature of "accident". A very big conversation.

Do you know Jung's theory of synchronicity? Do you understand that what many people experience as the vox dei is related?

Imagine someone hearing their name called in an empty room and he says, "Wow, sounds like there is a statisitcal anomaly in the pressure gradients of the air. A true statement but.... no this notion expands very rapidly and it is connected with the necessity issue. None of the "coincidences" are necessary. That must be parsed. It is way more than I can address with you right now.

But it is not relevant to the issue for the question is not how a thinking device got there. Maybe it was created by someone, maybe it evolved, maybe it was a very rare circumstance. The question does not hinge on it. Only whether experiencing can be predicated on matter itself or requires a separate "conscious entity" like a soul. We must stick to the issue not hijack the post.
Because that's the obvious alternative. Then you took out the word "inexplicably"; but you have yourself said that current physics fails to provide the explanation;


Yes it does. It's broke. We still have the question.

so it seems "inexplicable" is exactly the right word, at the moment.


Wrong. I can at this moment say to you that it is my theory that if you smash your head in with a gunshot your conscious experiencing will cease. A crude theory yes, but one that correlates the facts of a particular consciousness experiencing with a particular physical event. If I throw in the no ghost no zombie as a presupposition, and a statement that the simplest explanation is the one we will adopt, then already we have that the brain thinks and if I destroy it it will stop thinking. Now you can say that, that is not true because the physics does not predict that the brain will think but I can just say yes, but that is because it is obviously wrong. I don't need to get the physics right to have a theory that the brain is what thinks and that arguing that a conscious entity is required because we don't yet have the physics just doesn't fly. We already have enough. Your insisting that I need to get the theory or we do not have the predictability is a non sequitur. I still think we will get a theory but independent of that I hold that what we already know, and the additions I have specified in this paragraph yield that "the brain is what experiences" is the best way to state the facts.
I'm not sure I understand your evocation of "quantum" physics, or how it is supposed to help the explanation,
It is not critical to what I am saying. I use it only because it is the latest theory and has a natural mechanism, state vectors and operators, to say what is needed
...and I know that evolutionary progressivism, like the present physics, has no explanation not marred by a massive, massive explanatory gap -- and this fact is so generally recognized that "emergent" explanations have had to be invented in order to gloss over them.
Emergence is not glossing over. It just means novel posits are required. Is it glossing over the "massive problem in gravity and inertia" to posit electricity?
But these are very serious failures of the paradigm, I would suggest,
No, there are natural ways to proceed within the paradigm by specifying the phenomenal spectrum and defining what state vectors will experience. I am telling you where in the current paradigm we can look. Can you justify a paradigm shift? What if I called that shift a promissary note that you are failing to deliver on and that until you can deliver on it you should not expect it to be there. That is what you are doing to me.
and evolutionary progressivism
The progressivism is in the "mere physics". It is clear and easy to see how this works as DNA suffers one mutation after another. There is not progressivism of the phenomenology. Once a state is achieved that is conscious then it is there. One step earlier it is not there even though there were numerous gradual steps to get to one step before.
needs re-evaluation in light of its obvious failure in this area.
I believe that they did, as a matter of fact, evolve to some of those states here on the earth, through random mutation and natural selection.
Well, you see, this is easily said -- but not easily delivered. The precise description of how consciousness can just "emerge" from matter is a huge philosophical and scientific problem. So to say "well, evolution did it...with natural selection...by random mutation..." is not to say anything, really.
[/quote]
Evolution does nothing. It is the dynamics of the system, the action of the physics that does it. Evolution is just a term we use for how the physical system can, in the case where energy is supplied from some source, like the sun, can develop structures with temporal symmetry that admit higher level functional description. That is NOT scientifically controversial. You cannot get away with saying that the fact of physical evolution occurring is a big problem right now. It is not. The emergence of consciousness is waiting on our ability to specify the brain. It is SO MUCH more complicated than the solar system of a molecule. And there is the added problem of the 1st person character of the new posits, and the fact that defining them is equally as hard.

Just look at one question: How many primary colors can be produced in a arbitrary device?

That question alone shows why the brain is last. Because it is the most highly organized and because we can't exactly strap someone down and start playing with them...at least in humans. People are trying to do that with ants.

"How?" is the key question. By what specific, progressive, evolutionary steps did non-sentient matter become sentient? And when one tries to give a description of that, the whole theory goes dusty.
Well, it started in the big bang, then there was the hydrogen and the helium coming out in proportions that are just right based on what we measure, then there is gravitation, the collapse and heating, the nucleo synthesis ....oh don't make me repeat it. Get a book or get on youtube. Your characterization of us not knowing is just wrong. We do know a lot. We just don't know at some level of detail.

Remember though, that the progression is slow and takes a long time just to get to single cell life. Also remember that consciousness does not need to be there until evolution is almost complete compared to where it is now. Once neurology developed. That is, oh what is it from bible studies, "terminus ad quem?" anyway, after that time and before large mamallian vertebrates. It is largely defined we can resolve it probably to a few million years I would guess.

Also, remember that the how will never close the explanatory gap. The fact that some state is finally conscious in some way cannot on principle be explained on the current physics. We can only posit that certain mechanisms of certain types are conscious and then see when mechanisms of that type evolved.

Our immediate ancestors and the other hominems were surely conscious.
Now I asked a question that did not get answered and I will repeat it:

You have said that:
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:37 pm
…materialism its manifestly not adequate to the phenomena it is trying to describe.
I asked: Why? What phenomena are left out? Can you answer that?
Sure. Sorry...I wasn't trying to skip the question: I just thought the "phenomena" to which I was alluding were obvious, having been mentioned earlier in our discussion. But for clarity's sake, I'll list some again here: consciousness, identity, morality, mind, meaning, rationality, self-awareness, philosophical reflection, science itself, conceptual abstraction, aesthetics...in short, all the things that make a human being more than a meat-machine.

Ok, now I think that all of those can be posited as properties of a meat machine. Not a meat machine made of meat that behaves only according to current physcial law but one that has additional properties, namely that it does what you are enumerating once assembled properly. So, machines can be conscious, be identified, etc.
Here is Genesis 2:7: “Then the LORD God formed a man[a] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
Yes, that is it.

What I note from it is this: in the creation of mankind (both male and female), what is described is the creation both of a body and of a spirit.
Read it again. It does not say a spirit was created. Rather it describes the matter becoming alive, being able to experience. Read it again.

But it is not that one was primary and the other was dispensable; rather, they are put together from the very start. A human being, then, cannot be just a body, and cannot be just a mind.

Christianity is, to use the theological word, "incarnational," meaning "dedicated to the proposition that human beings are both body and soul, not merely one or the other.

God doesn't just value your body. He values the consciousness that inhabits that body. But he doesn't just call your soul "good," and ignore the body. God is not a gnostic. Humankind was made both to be capable of conscious relationship with God (mind or soul) AND to have a physical instrument by which to enact their creative participation in the world (physical body). To be fully human is to exist as both.
How do you know that those words don't mean that when he breathed into him, he caused the material he had formed to begin to experience?
Well, there's a two-stage creation there, isn't there? "God formed...God breathed...man became a living being." So you have a firm affirmation of the goodness of the body, and also a firm affirmation of the necessity of the inspiration (in-breathing) of God to inhabit that body.
There is two stages but only one entity. No "consciousness'" is mentioned. Go read it again!


No. Just that the breathing caused the original to experience and did not create a new entity attached.



need to submit without preview sorry

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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by -1- » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:49 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:53 pm
-1- wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:27 pm
Was this said in the bible, "The Lord created a complete world, as complete as it was ever going to be"?
No, but Torah does say, "And God saw that it was good."

How it then became not-good is the next question, of course.
Thanks, Immanuel. "Good" as in "And God saw that it was good" is not the best. It's not perfect. It's just good. Nothing that can't be improved. Good is not good enough sometimes, and it turns out that the Bible was right just one more time: God did not create a good enough world.

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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:32 am

Justintruth wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:30 pm
I am not a functionalist. I do not think that the function of a machine as defined in the current physics, a "mere" machine can possibly have the function of being conscious.
Functionalists don't necessarily believe it can. They do believe that it is a reasonable analogy for what is the case in the mind-brain paradox.
...to say, "A New Physics is going to appear" is prognostication, not science.

And while perhaps we cannot not rule out that (under some admittedly currently-unimagined circumstance) some new theory could appear, it gives us no reason whatsoever to suppose it will or must. So we are now in the realm of imagination, not science, since the existing physics gives no reason for this hope.

It is not a scientific theory yet.

Right. But why the "yet"? What's our assurance that it will ever be more than a speculation?
The second is the massive degree to which we already have knowledge in this area.
in regards to "brain," I agree. But in regards to "mind," we have none. We actually have no idea what we're really dealing with there. And it isn't a rational move to simply say, "Well, because we can't seem to work on it with science, the way we can with materials, therefore it's not important and can't exist." Because everybody -- you included -- acts every day like it does, and depends on it for everything...including the doing of science.
You are the one who was saying such science could not possibly develop or we have "no reason" to believe it will.
No, I'm saying the second part, not the first. I have no way to know science what science will not do. But what I can safely say (and you agree, apparently, since you feel compelled to reduce "mind" to some kind of physiology, it's so problematic to your Materialism) is that the science we have isn't getting the job done. As I say, it seems to work on "brain," but does nothing for "mind."
The “explanatory gap” is just irrelevant to this issue.
I don't think it is. An explanatory gap is often the first indicator that one's presumed paradigm is flawed. If this explanatory gap persists, in spite of one's best efforts to close it using the current paradigm,

You cannot close an explanatory gap using the current paradigm. If you can close it it is not a gap,
Some gaps can be closed.

Science often looks for gaps, and then finds supplementary theories to address them. But when a gap is persistent, and the current paradigm is making no progress, then that's when we need to question how long we can reasonably pursue a paradigm that is clearly, repeatedly, not working to answer the problem.

An example from history: phlogiston theory couldn't explain the existence of certain features of vacuums, combustion and corrosion. It covered some of them, but there were serious gaps. Yet, at one time, phlogiston was thought to be a mainline scientific reality. Oxygen theory was the paradigm needed to close those gaps: but so long as phlogiston theory persisted, there was going to be no progress.

Materialism is the same. So long as we hold to it, there will be gaps we cannot close -- the phenomena I listed in my last message are good examples. At some point, we need that paradigm shift.
Do you know Jung's theory of synchronicity?
Jung has his uses. But a lot of what he said was mere mythology. One has to be selective, with Jung.
Your insisting that I need to get the theory or we do not have the predictability is a non sequitur.
I never said these words, so I hardly "insisted." I'm not sure where you got this interpretation from, actually.
Emergence is not glossing over. It just means novel posits are required.
I think not. "Emergence" is by definition non-progressive, non-evolutionary. In fact, it's the dead opposite. It's sudden, and uncaused. It says something "emerges" in a way it does not explain, when an entity reaches a certain level of complexity. But not only has this never been observed in the lab, it's never been observed in history either. There's nothing "scientific" about such an answer.

Now, why didn't people just opt for a progressivist, evolutionary answer instead of "emergence" theories? The answer is that it was impossible to suggest any plausible progression or evolutionary phases by which such a thing would appear. Hence the need for a "voila" type of theory.

Emergent properties (like "mind") are said to have causal powers. But how is this possible, on Materialism? Something that has no previous existence in the evolutionary process (the meaning of "emergent") suddenly appears and has causal powers over the material (body)? That's about as non-evolutionary a kind of theory as one can get -- it approaches a kind of Idealism, because this emergent "mind" thing is supposed to be dictating to the material, outside of the natural process?

This is what is called "the problem of downward causation," and I can only point you to the stellar work of Jaegwon Kim in expositing this one.

Again, I think "emergence" theories are about as clear an admission of failure as one is likely to get from Materialism/Gradualism.
What if I called that shift a promissary note that you are failing to deliver on and that until you can deliver on it you should not expect it to be there.
You'd be wrong. When the need for a paradigm shift is indicated, it does not specify the new paradigm to which the shift can be made. That has yet to be decided. What has become clear, however, is that the old paradigm is dead, and there's a need to start the search.

So to speak, we must "give up phlogiston," even if we haven't yet discovered oxygen theory, or oxygen theory will never be discovered.

But there's no promise of what will be the right answer. Only certainty that the old answer is no good anymore.
I believe that they did, as a matter of fact, evolve to some of those states here on the earth, through random mutation and natural selection.
Well, you see, this is easily said -- but not easily delivered. The precise description of how consciousness can just "emerge" from matter is a huge philosophical and scientific problem. So to say "well, evolution did it...with natural selection...by random mutation..." is not to say anything, really.

Evolution does nothing. It is the dynamics of the system, the action of the physics that does it. Evolution is just a term we use for how the physical system...etc.
You can say, "the physics did it," or "the dynamic of the system did it," or "evolution did it," and use which ever term you prefer. You're still going to face the same problem: the impossibility of specifying the "steps" or "phases" by which the thing is alleged to have taken place. The problem is so severe that "emergence" explanations are now being tried, because all those sorts of explanations have already been tried and failed.

Try it yourself. Explain how non-sentient matter gradually became conscious persons. List the steps. See if you don't find yourself depending on suddenly-emerging properties, rather than gradual progressions. That's why I wrote:
"How?" is the key question. By what specific, progressive, evolutionary steps did non-sentient matter become sentient? And when one tries to give a description of that, the whole theory goes dusty.
What I note from it is this: in the creation of mankind (both male and female), what is described is the creation both of a body and of a spirit.
Read it again. It does not say a spirit was created. Rather it describes the matter becoming alive, being able to experience. Read it again.
I didn't say that either. What I said was that it is a creation implicating both a physical construction and a Divine "inspiration" or "breathing into." There are two distinct phases...that's the essential point. The body and the soul are together made into a living man. But nowhere do we find zombies or ghosts in the account. The two are incorporated into the essence of the single being.

Think of it this way: what's so appalling about zombies or ghosts (as fictive ideas, of course)? Is it not that in both cases you have an entity which seemingly ought to have the complete capacity for humanity (body and soul in one) but in the former case has only the body, and in the latter, only a "soul" or "spirit"? We call them "the walking dead." They are instinctively vile to us because genuine humanity is comprised of both, always. We might say they are a kind of walking blasphemy, a twisted representation or defilement of what it means to be a human being. So even in our fictions, we have a strong sense that body and soul are sine qua nons of humanity.
No "consciousness'" is mentioned.

No, of course the word "consciousness" was not used. It had not been invented yet. But let's see if the concept was present...

"Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Two phases: first, physicality, the body, then spirituality, the "breath of life". What's that, if not consciousness? The body came first, then the life in it. And only when the two were together, was man "a living being." Seems pretty clear.
Last edited by Immanuel Can on Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:40 am

-1- wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:49 pm
God did not create a good enough world.
"Good enough" for what? Are you criticizing ha Shem's judgment in such matters? Surely not. "Good" must have been "good for" the specific purpose, no?

But what, then, was the world not "good enough" for, in your estimation?

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henry quirk
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Crom created the world as 'good enough' (but not perfect) cuz he knew we'd need sumthin' to do...

Post by henry quirk » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:12 am

...in other words: Reality, the ultimate fixer-upper.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Crom created the world as 'good enough' (but not perfect) cuz he knew we'd need sumthin' to do...

Post by Immanuel Can » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:15 am

henry quirk wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:12 am
...in other words: Reality, the ultimate fixer-upper.
Yeah.

But who does the fixin'?

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henry quirk
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If I'm right and Crom is the Big Cheese, then the renovations are all on...

Post by henry quirk » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:34 am

...us.

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