"Free will was given to man by god."

Is there a God? If so, what is She like?

Moderators: AMod, iMod

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 6385
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: "Free will was given to man by god."

Post by Immanuel Can » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:58 pm

Justintruth wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:46 am
...because we find that functioning brains are experiencing and we don't find experiencing without functioning brains, we can posit that experiencing is an additional property of a functioning brain.
This falls afoul of the old correspondence-identity or correspondence-causality fallacies. We do not know whether a) the mind causes the brain to exist, b) the brain causes the mind to exist, or c) some third thing causes both to exist. All we can safely say is that both exist.

What I'm arguing against, then, is the reducing of one into the other without logical warrant for doing so.
Contingent being cannot be derived like a proof without the right assumptions.
I'm not sure I understand this statement, JT. Can you explain or expand on it a bit?
The original question is whether there is some objective to positing that brains experience.
Not quite. There is a sense in which a brain "experiences," that does not do enough to explain the mind. There is a sense in which a tree or a rock "experiences," too. But that clearly won't do in regard to human brains. So we need a more precise meaning for "experience."

I think that word has to account for the subjective and interpretive actions that take place in the brain, not just for the physical structures in the brain. And "experience" after all, is not merely something "undergoing" something, but that same experiencer doing operations like perceiving, recognizing, remembering, processing, interpreting, analyzing, comparing, and so on. Real "experience" is a function of the "ghost" in the "machine," not merely of the circumstances or arrangement of the "machine" itself.
Perhaps more fruitful would be to examine whether you think there is some connection of the idea that brains could be conscious with something to do with religion. Do you have a religious implication you are trying to avoid?
Not at all.

I think that's likely to have some implications for religion, but I think the case for the soul stands on its own merits, and doesn't at all require someone to believe in anything religious. In fact, I think almost everyone ACTS as if the "spooky stuff" like mind, consciousness, identity and so on are real; it takes an extraordinary backflip of Materialist ideology to convince oneself that no such things can exist. So perhaps we might say there's a Materialist motive for believing only in the brain, and it's essentially "religious" too.

I see an additional motive. If I'm right, then it would seem that AI is a literal impossibility. And many, many people are enchanted with the idea of AI, drunk with its perceived potential. Those people would have a very strong "religious" (loosely conceived) motive for believing in only the brain, and in defying contrary facts as long as it was possible for them.

So I think the "what are your motives" argument over this issue isn't a very important one.
You need also to look at what you mean by "sufficient explanation" also. No contingent being has a "sufficient explanation" without some existential posits.
Flesh that thought out for me, if you would. I'm not sure I see it yet.

Justintruth
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:10 pm

Re: "Free will was given to man by god."

Post by Justintruth » Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:34 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:58 pm
.... We do not know whether ....... b) the brain causes the mind to exist.... All we can safely say is that both exist.
This is false. A mind will be eliminated by destroying your brain or otherwise causing it not to function. A mind can be created by creating a brain as we do now by having sex. These are facts which we express using causality. Even when we kill animals for food we demonstrate awareness of this by disabling their brains as quickly as we can to prevent suffering.

There are numerous things we can discus about causality, about whether it even exists etc. What I am saying is that even if you give up causality you still have these facts. So even if I say "We do not know that shooting someone in the head will cause their minds to cease", we are still left with the facts of the correspondence. I do not base anything I am saying on causality in the sense that is is used metaphysically. I am talking about the essential relationships that exist in fact contingently that can be interpreted causally as we usually speak. You can't tell whether turning your key in the ignition of your car is actually what causes it to start. It is just the old correspondence fallacy and ok, I get Hume's point but really, in fact, tomorrow I will turn the key and make the car work. So it is the normal sense of "...causes..." you seem to misinterpret. Surely you believe that if I shoot you in the head your consciousness will cease. That kind of thing.
What I'm arguing against, then, is the reducing of one into the other without logical warrant for doing so.
There will never be a logical warrant for doing so. It is impossible. When you have two theories with two sets of posits and both can be used to explain the same facts then there is no logical way to distinguish them. Even a simple statement like "All dogs are red" cannot be established logically. It takes observation and then, unless you examine each dog, a posit. What is used is a principle that requires you to justify any additional posit. So if you say I must have a spirit in my theory that is associated with the brain then you must provide a reason for that additional posit. That reason will not -cannot- be a logical one. It will be some contingent fact that requires it. Else you should stick to the simpler theory. Not for a logical reason. But to keep our theory as simple as possible and as general. It will prevent things like sitting in a room trying to create a ghost by meditation instead of trying to do one by assembling components. Occam's razor is not a principle that can be derived logically. But if you give it up you have all kinds of explanations. The earth is here because invisible dragons make it so etc.
Contingent being cannot be derived like a proof without the right assumptions.
I'm not sure I understand this statement, JT. Can you explain or expand on it a bit?
Just take a ball and hold it at arms length. Now predict what will happen using a logical proof that does not have any assumptions based on facts like "there is gravity" or "two objects attract". You cannot make any scientific prediction based on logic alone. It requires certain facts and factually derived relations to be posited based on observations in experiments. Only once those facts are established can logic be used, among other things, to assert, "The ball will fall down". If I understand the posits of gravity and the earth and a ball then logically I can assert that it will fall. I can derive from the general principle a specific case.

Same with consciousness. If you understand that breathing ether will cause humans to loose consciousness then logically you can say that if I am human and enter a room full of ether, entirely physical facts, then I will loose consciousness. Further you can claim that the fact that I breathed ether explains that I lost consciousness. Now in the sense that it is meant it is true. You can always pervert that sense in order to maintain your position and say that I don't really know that the ether caused it. It could be the mind that is causing the ether, or some third thing. In some sense that also is true but it is a distortion of what is meant by something like "The reason I lost consciousness was that the room was full of ether" You just miss the point about the ether and what happened to me that I was trying to convey.
There is a sense in which a brain "experiences," that does not do enough to explain the mind. There is a sense in which a tree or a rock "experiences," too. But that clearly won't do in regard to human brains. So we need a more precise meaning for "experience."
You cannot see the difference between those cases? You do not know what experiencing means? I think you do. Yes, there are all kinds of senses of words. But there is a way that pointing it out at exactly the right time in a way that serves your argument just doesn't work. It is very distracting when what we need is focus.
I think that word has to account for the subjective and interpretive actions that take place in the brain, not just for the physical structures in the brain.
As if I didn't. As if we all don't. As if this was unique to your way of thinking and not in mine?

"Subjective and interpretive actions that take place in the brain" ... like just coincidentally they happen there? What evidence do you have that it is not the brain that is interpreting and is the subject? Why do you think that there is some other entity there? One that must be there to explain? No theory will explain ultimately. It is just derivation from premises. But you can do that without positing a second entity on which to predicate the subjectivity and interpretation.

Do you think electric charge is there somewhere "in" the electron? Maybe right next to its mass? Just to the right of it, perhaps? You see the problem?
And "experience" after all, is not merely something "undergoing" something, but that same experiencer doing operations like perceiving, recognizing, remembering, processing, interpreting, analyzing, comparing, and so on. Real "experience" is a function of the "ghost" in the "machine," not merely of the circumstances or arrangement of the "machine" itself.
Ok, you are making that conclusion. So instead of just making it defend it. Why can't real "experience" meant exactly as you have said it "...perceiving, recognizing, remembering, processing, ...." be a function of the "machine" itself. How do you know it is not it that is experiencing? All you need is a basic physical posit that machines can think etc and you you have it. Brains not only have charge, mass etc as currently described. Rather they also think and feel once assembled. And disasembling them? Do you want your brain taken apart? Why not? the ghost will still be there? You don't need to introduce a second posit a "ghost" and then locate it next to the brain coincidentally and say there is some complex connection. You can just say that when machines such as a brain are built they experience.
... In fact, I think almost everyone ACTS as if the "spooky stuff" like mind, consciousness, identity and so on are real;


Of course they are real! But almost everyone will duck a chucked rock too. And boxers protect their heads, and we send electric shock first into the brains of cattle when killing them, or hit them in the head, or shoot them in the head. We act as if brains experience.

Imagine some poor parents who find that their child will not be able to walk as they have no feet. Now imagine other parents that find their child has no brain. Don't you think they would prefer the former?
it takes an extraordinary backflip of Materialist ideology to convince oneself that no such things can exist.
No one is doubting what can exist. It is what does exist that is the question. You are the one back flipping in order to insist there MUST be something else, some soul in there. And you constantly equivocate that with the reality of experiencing. Of COURSE WE ARE EXPERIENCING! That fact exists. But we seem also to have these brains and when we mess with them even a little we loose consciousness. Do me a favor. Find me someone normally sighted who can look into a mirror and find that there is not some primate looking back at them. Why can our souls move outside of our bodies and go to some other place?
So perhaps we might say there's a Materialist motive for believing only in the brain, and it's essentially "religious" too.
You can say it but it would be false. Materialism is mostly a-scientific. Physics has discovered that the world is not material in the usual sense it is thought but that is to quibble. The fact that I think that brains experience is not a religious belief. It is an interpretation of the essential, natural facts. It is based on the evidence we have in our lives and in sciences like anesthesiology.

It is a false understanding of religion that is behind your statement. The kind of statement I am making is not religious.
I see an additional motive. If I'm right, then it would seem that AI is a literal impossibility. And many, many people are enchanted with the idea of AI, drunk with its perceived potential. Those people would have a very strong "religious" (loosely conceived) motive for believing in only the brain, and in defying contrary facts as long as it was possible for them.
To the extent to which they are "drunk with the possibility" and if you interpret religion very loosely you have a point. But only to that extent. And frankly, most of the people I know that think this way are not "drunk with the possibility". There are real ethical concerns. I just did a rough design of an electronic brain with someone. It is a three dimensional substrate of transistors that function like a neural network but do not have layers. Instead the individual nodes are connectable on an addressable data bus and part of the training is to make network connections.

I assure you neither of us is "drunk with the possibility". There are really difficult ethical problems. If you believe you can manufacture a kid you don't willy nilly do it.

Well, actually we can manufacture kids. See what I mean? The artificial part of AI is irrelevant. All of the ethical issues apply to having children. No one is going to breed a bunch of kids to use to pick cotton more efficiently. At least I hope not in this day and age. So the same will be true if we can make experiencing beings in other ways. We do have a lot to think through. Bees for example. The non-human is a real issue.

On "sufficient explanation": Repeatedly you misinterpret what I am saying as an "explanation". I propose a posit and you seem to think that I want it in order to explain something. I can tell you exactly where I was when I was disabused of this notion. I was a sophemore in high school and was told about Einstein in a history class. I was thinking about the way physics works and realized it explained nothing except based on things that it could not explain. It cannot explain the fact of existence for example. Or experiencing. I went into a math teacher and was puzzled and tried to tell him that as far as I could see the physics did not have an explanation. Everything in it was based on observations which we assume would hold. Once we have those laws you can make a physcical explanation but it will never be able to establish a fact on first principles. The math teacher took a pen and held it and wiggled it and then dropped it and said: "They don't even know why that occurs"

Now in fairness to them in a sense they do. They have a theory that posits gravity as a force of matter or a curvature of space time or a property of entropy and with those posits they can explain a lot. It works. So I am not against it. But it does not provide any explanation on first principles. Nor will it in the case of experiencing. But that does not mean that we should not use as few posits as necessary and that you are trying to introduce one that is unnecessary I think. The reason you are trying to do it is probably because you fear that if it is introduced it has something to do with human value or something. I do not think you are unbiased in this. I also do not think I am drunk with the notions of AI.

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 6385
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: "Free will was given to man by god."

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:58 pm

Justintruth wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:34 pm
A mind will be eliminated by destroying your brain or otherwise causing it not to function.
A brain will be a lump of meat, without a mind. It will not function either.
A mind can be created by creating a brain as we do now by having sex.
A brain is constituted by having a mind "in" it. A brain associated with no mind is a lump of meat.
There are numerous things we can discus about causality, about whether it even exists etc. What I am saying is that even if you give up causality you still have these facts. So even if I say "We do not know that shooting someone in the head will cause their minds to cease", we are still left with the facts of the correspondence.
But this is the fallacy. "Correspondence is not causality," goes the axiom. Nobody, then is denying that there is a "correspondence" between brain and mind; what remains unknown is whether or not this "correspondence" is a "causality."

Remember the joke about the woman with the tea? In her case, she had a 100% correct correspondence, but a 0% causality.
What I'm arguing against, then, is the reducing of one into the other without logical warrant for doing so.
There will never be a logical warrant for doing so. It is impossible.
In the case of brain-mind? You may be right. But if so, that's an excellent reason for never doing it. Manifestly, you cannot safely say that the brain is all there is, and that mind is merely an epiphenomenon of the meat.
When you have two theories with two sets of posits and both can be used to explain the same facts then there is no logical way to distinguish them.
That's only temporarily true, in some cases. Sometimes it's the lack of "facts" that is causing the problem, and a few new or better "facts" clear the situation up considerably. So just because we haven't presently a test to distinguish mind and brain decisively does not imply we should give up the acquisition of facts, and arbitrarily rule in favour of one theory or the other. It argues we should keep getting facts, and reserve our judgment, does it not?
...if you say I must have a spirit in my theory that is associated with the brain then you must provide a reason for that additional posit.

I think I have.

One thing would be the universal practice of humans acting as if the "spooky stuff," like mind, consciousness, identity, etc. exist. All human and intellectual activity is predicated on it. And one powerful evidence of its necessity is that it works...it really, really works well...and trying to act as if "brain" is all there is turns out to be impossible. In fact, even the claim "I am just a brain" is a claim that can only be made by a mind, by a person who is conscious and communicating some intelligence to a community of cognitive recipients..all functions that are not "meat."
Occam's razor is not a principle that can be derived logically.
It's not only not logically derivable, but it's a ceteris paribus principle, and conditional as well. It's an extremely poor guideline in this case.

But as it is, the "mind" passes Occam's test. A "brain" is too few entities to explain intelligence, personhood, creativity, imagination, etc. It's just a lump of meat.

He only argued that we ought not to multiply attributions of cause beyond necessity. But the vexed questions between us have to do precise with how many entities are necessary to explain human cognition. You think it's just one, and I say it's at least two. Occam cannot only not settle that one; he can't even make a relevant comment until we know how many entities are necessary to posit.
You cannot make any scientific prediction based on logic alone.
Oh. I see. Yes, that's true. But that's not what logic does. It doesn't provide information about the empirical world; it's a method or organizing thought. The information has to be derived empirically, and thus is, in the sense you say, "contingent."

That's not controversial. Nobody who knows epistemology at all is going to say "Science is logic." They're going to say something like, "Ideally, science is a logical way of organizing empirical findings so as to arrive at good interpretations of contingent phenomena."
There is a sense in which a brain "experiences," that does not do enough to explain the mind. There is a sense in which a tree or a rock "experiences," too. But that clearly won't do in regard to human brains. So we need a more precise meaning for "experience."
You cannot see the difference between those cases?
Of course I can. That's why I'm arguing for a better definition of "experience." I'm saying the former is inadequate. People do use the word "experience" that way, at times; but in reference to brains, this would not be a correct usage.

We might say, "The house experienced collapse." But houses don't "experience" in the relevant sense. They simply "undergo," but have no conscious processes associated with it. That is surely not what we mean when we say, JT "experienced" frustration at IC. You don't simply "undergo" it, but have qualia and emotions associated with it, you process it, think about it, assimilate it, remember it...and so on.
Do you think electric charge is there somewhere "in" the electron? Maybe right next to its mass? Just to the right of it, perhaps? You see the problem?

I see the problem: if you are speaking without irony, it would be that the speaker has misunderstood what an "electron" is.

However, brains are not like electrons. Brains are mass-having, lumps of tissue. The question is how they have any of the dynamic "electron-like" properties like perception, consciousness, identity and so forth associated with them.
And "experience" after all, is not merely something "undergoing" something, but that same experiencer doing operations like perceiving, recognizing, remembering, processing, interpreting, analyzing, comparing, and so on. Real "experience" is a function of the "ghost" in the "machine," not merely of the circumstances or arrangement of the "machine" itself.
Ok, you are making that conclusion.
No, I'm offering it as a more relevant way of defining "experience." And it coheres with what most people mean when they say, "I experienced..."
So instead of just making it defend it. Why can't real "experience" meant exactly as you have said it "...perceiving, recognizing, remembering, processing, ...." be a function of the "machine" itself.
No computer programmer believes it can be. They all know the difference between "hardware" and "software." The hardware without the software is not a "computer," actually. It does not "compute" anything, and never will.

The software is not a component of the hardware; it's a supplement to it. But software is not "intelligence" either, but merely the product of a human intelligence. Software never, in the strictest sense, "created" anything, and certainly did not generate itself. It only exists because an intelligent human inventor, using his intelligence, put it together. Afterward, he could get it to generate patterns, or "do" mathematical functions, or "play" chess...but it would never be anything but a projection of his mind.

This will be true of all computers forever. No matter how many there are, and no matter how we program them to design further computers, the buck stops with a creative human originator -- a "Bill Gates" type, if you will. Call it "Babbage," maybe. But computers are eternally derivative of human intelligence.
All you need is a basic physical posit that machines can think etc and you you have it.
But that would be a gratuitous presumption. As you say, there is no way to know, when "artificial intelligence" gets sophisticatedly "artificial," whether it has any real "intelligence" at all. But I think Searle's Chinese Room blows away any sanguine confidence we can ever have that if something can fool us, or pass the Turing Test, it will be "intelligent." It's just as likely to be completely devoid of intelligence.
Do me a favor. Find me someone normally sighted who can look into a mirror and find that there is not some primate looking back at them.

That would be me. I see no "primate."
Why can our souls move outside of our bodies and go to some other place?
What are you thinking of?
The kind of statement I am making is not religious.
Well, the word "religious" is one of the most hotly-contested and ill-defined terms we have, so we could argue forever about that. But one definition that people try is to say "religious means believing in something by a leap of faith." If that's the definition, then Materialism is a "religion." People believe it's telling them the truth, even when they don't know it is, or suspect it's not. And they believe in it when they want to, even when contrary evidence is supplied. They often have personal reasons for wanting to do so, that have nothing to do with science or the rationality of Materialism, sometimes. For example, some love Materialism because it makes morality irrelevant and gives them moral freedom; some love it because it grants physical science the highest spot on the ladder of knowledge; some love it because it allows them to disbelieve in God; some love it because they want to do AI...

But wanting moral license, wanting to make your discipline tops, avoiding thoughts of God, aspiring to do AI, these are not rational grounds for believing in Materialism, but metaphysical goals one hopes to eke out of Materialism. They are "religious," in the aforementioned definition, not rational grounds.

So it does fit.
I just did a rough design of an electronic brain with someone. It is a three dimensional substrate of transistors that function like a neural network but do not have layers. Instead the individual nodes are connectable on an addressable data bus and part of the training is to make network connections.

Ah. Am I fair in deducing from this that AI is your reason for preferring Materialism, in spite of the possibility of mind existing? Am I fair in suggesting it would call your work into question, and so is an uncomfortable postulate for you?

Just asking.
Well, actually we can manufacture kids. See what I mean? The artificial part of AI is irrelevant.
Heck, no.

The problem with "artificial" anything is that the better it's done the less anyone is able to see that it's not genuine. The "artificial" bit is easy to get: it's the genuine "intelligence" that we are totally likely to misread.
...it does not provide any explanation on first principles.
Of course. Because "first" principles are, by definition "first." If there were prior principles, then they would be "first."
I do not think you are unbiased in this. I also do not think I am drunk with the notions of AI.
Interesting. What do you think my "bias" might be? Why would I be concerned with contending for an entity in which I did not think I had reason to believe?

Justintruth
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:10 pm

Re: "Free will was given to man by god."

Post by Justintruth » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:05 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:58 pm
A brain associated with no mind is a lump of meat. Brains are mass-having, lumps of tissue.
Brains are mass-having lumps of tissue that can be experiencing.

Just saying either what you said or what I said establishes nothing. You have to get to some basis

Here is the argument in this post:
Manifestly, you cannot safely say that the brain is all there is, and that mind is merely an epiphenomenon of the meat.
"Manifestly". Not to me.
...if you say I must have a spirit in my theory that is associated with the brain then you must provide a reason for that additional posit.

I think I have.
One thing would be the universal practice of humans acting as if the "spooky stuff," exist.
Irrelevant. People act all kinds of crazy ways and I could make an equivalent argument pointing out how they duck chucked rocks so their brains are not damaged, or how anxious parents in a head injury are to find out if there is brain injury.
All human and intellectual activity is predicated on it.
False. Al human activity is certainly not. All intellectual activity is predicated on thinking existing not on it requiring it be predicable exclusively on a soul.
And one powerful evidence of its necessity is that it works...it really, really works well...and trying to act as if "brain" is all there is turns out to be impossible.
Just false. You have failed to name even one thing that could not possibly be done by a brain and say why it could not be done by it. How about seeing red in the qualia sense? Just try to say why it is impossible for a brain to do that.

Your idea doesn't work that well. It doesn't explain anesthesia, brain death, instinctive knowledge, procreation and many other facts. It also has no fact requiring an additional posit. No example to establish that it is not ceteris paribus and so requires an additional posit.

My mother used to say when said "Everyone is doing it", "If everyone were to jump off a cliff would you?" Doesn't really matter what "everybody" does.
In fact,I'd even the claim "I am just a brain" is a claim that can only be made by a mind, by a person who is conscious and communicating some intelligence to a community of cognitive recipients
I agree with that.

[/quote]
..all functions that are not "meat."
[/quote]

Looks to me that it is meat that is doing all of those functions. Meat - the right kind - is a mind. Can't find one example of those functions not associated with some neuro-biology. If you know of even one case of that happening, one of the things you are describing happening without a body say so and if I can verify it I will yield. You can have the Nobel that will result.

You say: "Not meat as it is currently defined by the material sciences" and I will agree. Irrelevant without that qualification. If in addition you can come with a reason it could not be incorporated into the material sciences then I will also yield.
Occam's razor is not a principle that can be derived logically.
It's not only not logically derivable, but it's a ceteris paribus principle, and conditional as well. It's an extremely poor guideline in this case.

But as it is, the "mind" passes Occam's test. A "brain" is too few entities to explain intelligence, personhood, creativity, imagination, etc. It's just a lump of meat.
Again the bald assertion. It is a lump of meat that *experiences*, not just some garden variety lump, and we need to recognize that and define its implications. We can't be declared "knee dead" in a hospital.
You think it's just one, and I say it's at least two. Occam cannot only not settle that one; he can't even make a relevant comment until we know how many entities are necessary to posit.
Let's just say only one is necessary, hypothetically. What would your opinion be then? Answer this if nothing else in my post ok?
Nobody, then is denying that there is a "correspondence" between brain and mind; what remains unknown is whether or not this "correspondence" is a "causality."
This argument is about all causality. Do you subscribe to Hume's idea that causality does not exist? Do you believe that in any case it is impossible to prove? What is your idea of causality independent of the mind and brain problem because you keep deploying this argument and it is irrelevant here. Its an argument about the nature of causality not about the nature of posits.
What I'm arguing against, then, is the reducing of one (mind) into the other (brain) without logical warrant for doing so.
There will never be a logical warrant for doing so. It is impossible.
In the case of brain-mind? You may be right. But if so, that's an excellent reason for never doing it.
I am not doing it. I do not believe that the brain can experience because of a logical argument. I am not asserting a logical warrant. Another straw man!
When you have two theories with two sets of posits and both can be used to explain the same facts then there is no logical way to distinguish them.
That's only temporarily true, in some cases. Sometimes it's the lack of "facts" that is causing the problem, and a few new or better "facts" clear the situation up considerably. So just because we haven't presently a test to distinguish mind and brain decisively does not imply we should give up the acquisition of facts, and arbitrarily rule in favour of one theory or the other. It argues we should keep getting facts, and reserve our judgment, does it not?
I agree completely. But we are discussing whether there are any "facts" known *now* that cause a problem and we are discussing whether *if* there are no facts that would ever emerge to cause a problem, whether we can then posit that the brain experiences. Always we are subject, as in any other empirically derived conclusion to potential falsification a la Popper. But it is just not relevant to what we are discussing. Are their facts that prevent us now from validly saying that it is the brain that thinks? Should there not be not only now but in the future, is it then possible to posit that brains think?

Obviously if we find some fact that prevents it I would yield. But I am interested, given the absence of such facts, and an assumption that not will emerge, whether we could do that kind of posit. It is interesting because it establishes a new type of posit and so I am looking for objections to that. So saying that we don't know enough is just not relevant. Of course we don't know enough. But if it turns out as I describe then is it possible to make the posit as I suggest? And isn't it simpler to do so? And if both those are true why do you insist we must introduce the second posit of a soul?
We might say, "The house experienced collapse." But houses don't "experience" in the relevant sense.
I agree completely. So we can drop this part.
...Software never, in the strictest sense, "created" anything, and certainly did not generate itself.
I agree and have moved this as it is similar to another point you made. We can also drop this

BTW...this...is completely different
....It only exists because an intelligent human inventor, using his intelligence, put it together.
We disagree on this because I think it is possible for software to evolve. Many consider DNA to be software. I think that is correct actually. I also think DNA itself evolved but I do not want to get into this issue and it's like hijacking the thread.
Do you think electric charge is there somewhere "in" the electron? Maybe right next to its mass? Just to the right of it, perhaps? You see the problem?

I see the problem: if you are speaking without irony, it would be that the speaker has misunderstood what an "electron" is.
I am speaking without irony but do not think you have my point. Assume I completely understand the electron and it is as described in classical theory - a particle having both charge and mass. My point is that you could say that the electron as a particle cannot have electric charge because it, electrically speaking, is just meat. You can then force me to posit a second object, an "electrasoul" which I further posit is capable of exerting an electrical force.

As an example of an argument against what I am saying, one could say that the source of the force is electrical but it is still just a force, as described in the mechanical part - vice gravitational part - of the theory. So there may be an objection to positing a property that is non physical meaning it has no basis anywhere else in the theory. The problem I have with this objection, is that I can't find a reason for it.
However, brains are not like electrons. Brains are mass-having, lumps of tissue. The question is how they have any of the dynamic "electron-like" properties like perception, consciousness, identity and so forth associated with them.


I agree. I am asking whether, under certain factual circumstances summarized by "no ghosts, no zombies", that relationship might be that it is the assembly of physical particles in the brain that is experiencing, and no need for an additional soul posit is required.

You seem to be arguing that I would need some explanation as to how a physical system becomes conscious that would be constructed from the physical properties. I assure you that I think I can actually prove that that is impossible. Just as it is not possible to show how electrical charge can emerge from a theory of mechanics or gravity like Newton's. The analogy is complete except for one thing. The posit of experiencing, unless one were to introduce certain notions of the will, does not produce an effect that is there originally in the theory. In other words, charge produces a force which is present in the mechanical part of Newton's theory in the sense that forces can occur. So what is produced has a kind of general description in the mechanical part of Newton's theory. Both the gravitational part and the electric part produce forces. But if we posit that matter experiences, that in and of itself, is not a product mentioned in the mechanical part of the existing theory. The problem is so what? We can still include it by augmenting the mechanical part with the fact that matter experiences whenever it is assembled and that experiencing then is a property of matter so assembled. So it seems to work and not be an objection.

If such a theory were posited then any statement like "Brains are just meat" would become demonstrably false.
No computer programmer believes it can be. They all know the difference between "hardware" and "software." The hardware without the software is not a "computer," actually. It does not "compute" anything, and never will.
Well I can tell you need a course in computation. Any program written and stored in a machine can be built into a software-less automata that would perform the same function.

Software cannot exist except in some hardware instance. It is true that some machines like your typical computer on your desk, will not compute if you clear certain memory. It is also true that the function performed by a machine like the one on your desk is different depending on how its program register is filled from stored software, but that does not be that hardware "never will" compute. A simple set of gates contradicts you.

But forget it, its just a small point of computer science and not relevant.
All you need is a basic physical posit that machines can think etc and you you have it.
But that would be a gratuitous presumption. As you say, there is no way to know, when "artificial intelligence" gets sophisticatedly "artificial," whether it has any real "intelligence" at all. But I think Searle's Chinese Room blows away any sanguine confidence we can ever have that if something can fool us, or pass the Turing Test, it will be "intelligent." It's just as likely to be completely devoid of intelligence.
Sure. I agree that the Turing test will fail in Searle's Chinese Room.

However, that is not the same thing as saying that computers can not produce intelligence. I do not claim that they do, nor do I claim that the brain is a computer only. I do think that the brain does compute, but, like Searle I believe that it does other things.

But I think that computation has not been ruled out as being that which has the causal power that Searle speaks about. In other words, I do not think that it has been ruled out that if a material system is configured so as to do a certain kind of computation then it will be experiencing and what it will experience is independent of the way the computation is instantiated. I do not think it has been ruled out, nor has it been shown to be true.

I do think that if a computing device of a certain program experiences then it will no longer "just" be a computer in the sense of a Turing machine or other computational model as currently defined. Additional posits will be needed just as they are with the brain to revolutionize our idea of computing and bring it into alignment with reality if that is true. Computing can experience is non-sense if by computing you mean a Turing machine. But it might be that we must mean something different because certain Turing machines do, in fact, experience.

Remember, that Searle's Chinese room lacks any semantic input. It's inputs are purely syntactic. Remember also that many existing computers, your own most probably, contain semantic information recorded by sensors. Remember also that our brains have sensors. Coincidence? Probably not. Our brains have the ability to experience semantic information because, in part, they have senses. That information can be associated with the syntax of a language. A computer that had this property and could pass the Turing test would not necessarily experience anything, and so Searle's Chinese room objection fails. It is not the distinction between syntax and semantics that matters. It is Searle's other idea, about the need for "causal power" that makes sense. His statement that believing that simulating a human brain's computation on a computer will cause consciousness is about as useful as believing that simulating an airplane flying to Europe will result in transportation of goods there is very powerful. It highlights the fact that we do not know that it is computation itself that provides the causal power.

The problem of knowing whether a machine is thinking is similar to me knowing that you are thinking. I can know in that sense.

But there is one other option that has to do with advance interfaces that will allow me to experience and remember the experiences of another device. That is a long way off.

Further even if that does occur that does not get us out of the woods. Even now you can imagine that your memory is false and you were created five seconds ago by something. All of those kind of radical skeptical ideas are there still and still need to be dismissed, not in the sense of being dis-proven, but in the sense of having the realization that in spite of them there are additional differences that need to be distinguished in a way that the statement "My bed is in my room" works to do. My bed might not be real but that does not mean that there isn't a fact that when I go home tonight I will sleep in it and so: "Every time I enter my room everything is different there", and "Every time I enter my room my bed is there". There is a kind of temporal symmetry that is the real meaning of "my bed exists in my room" that cannot be dismissed by radical skepticism. Only the certainty of the claim can be attacked and rightfully so, but the interpratabiliy of my experiencing as an object to some degree and kind is not dismiss-able by radical skepticism. The result that we have is consistent with the fact that it does exist and so the world is different that it would be if that were inconsistent. This is the basis of empirical science.

So the radical skeptic fails and we are left with the same ability that I have of determining that you are experiencing.

An analogy exists in thermodynamics. The average properties of the average macroscopic objects are so astronomically probable of be within a very small tolerance the actual value that we can dismiss statements like: "You cannot say the temperature of this liquid is 10 degrees everywhere, it is possible that right after you measured it the right side became 15 degrees and the left side 5 degrees." Yea, technically right, but saying it is true in the average context is dysfunctional. In some sense saying "There is a bed in my bedroom" is a kind of statistical statement. On that statistical statement the validity, falsifiable as it is, of the ontological claim is based. But it is still a true statement in some context.

All of this is not about mind body per se but is relevant for defeating your objections. In some sense you are right. It is a "gratuitous assumption" that brains can think, but in that same sense, exactly that sense, it is a "gratuitous assumption" that there is a bed in my bedroom. Right. But let's move on.
Do me a favor. Find me someone normally sighted who can look into a mirror and find that there is not some primate looking back at them.

That would be me. I see no "primate."
Oh, I bet you just don't recognize what you see or know what a primate is...Here is the human taxonomy:

Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Mammalia, Order: Primates, Suborder: Haplorhini, Infraorder: Simiiforme, Family: Hominidae, Subfamily: Homininae, Tribe: Hominini, Genus: Homo, Species: Homo Sapien

You disagree that what you see should be placed in the Order "Primate". Why? Let's correct the biologists.
Why can our souls move outside of our bodies and go to some other place?
What are you thinking of?
The fact that there are no ghosts is not explainable by your theory.
The kind of statement I am making is not religious.
Well, the word "religious" is one of the most hotly-contested and ill-defined terms we have, so we could argue forever about that. But one definition that people try is to say "religious means believing in something by a leap of faith." If that's the definition, then Materialism is a "religion." People believe it's telling them the truth, even when they don't know it is, or suspect it's not. And they believe in it when they want to, even when contrary evidence is supplied. They often have personal reasons for wanting to do so, that have nothing to do with science or the rationality of Materialism, sometimes. For example, some love Materialism because it makes morality irrelevant and gives them moral freedom; some love it because it grants physical science the highest spot on the ladder of knowledge; some love it because it allows them to disbelieve in God; some love it because they want to do AI...

But wanting moral license, wanting to make your discipline tops, avoiding thoughts of God, aspiring to do AI, these are not rational grounds for believing in Materialism, but metaphysical goals one hopes to eke out of Materialism. They are "religious," in the aforementioned definition, not rational grounds.

So it does fit.
Actually I don't think so.

We are not talking about what people can conclude. Only legitimate basis should be considered. The basis for materialism, and I am not a materialist from a scientific point of view based on my interpretation of quantum mechanics and relativity theory, has to do with certain time symmetries in nature, not in the supernatural, therefore it is not religious. Said another way, have what religion you want, the way the world is determines whether it is material, not how it was created, or by who. God could have created a material world or an immaterial world and an examination of the nature of the world is the only way to get the answer.

In my opinion based on physics he created an immaterial world. Not all may agree and the definition has flexibility but in no sense is the issue resolvable based on religion in the usual sense of the word. It is a fact available to the senses and therefore proper to natural science. Further the answer is not Yes or No. It is possible that it is somewhat material. I am willing to subscribe to that fully.

Unless God has specifically revealed this to you directly, and I don't mean in a document written by a human, and frankly, if you say he has I will almost certainly disbelieve you. Don't think its consistent with my religious experience at all and I frankly doubt it is possible given God's nature. If you believe it was God that spoke to you and told you that the world was material you must state what happened so we can examine whether we it was God or even whether it was possible for it to have been. I have not done the theology but I suspect not. You would also have to explain certain aspects of quantum mechanics to know what he meant even if you got some message.

A conclusion that the world is not material, based on any kind of leap of faith, or any other religious principle, is not just a scientific failure. It is a species of blasphemy with very high confidence. And anyone holding those ideas blasphemes God even if it is not deliberate. It is certainly a taking of the name of God in vain. The key is to understand that it is not just a scientific failure. It is a religious failure. It is related to the failure that is fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is not religious at all. It is just bad science. It is taking the name of God in vain.
I just did a rough design of an electronic brain with someone. It is a three dimensional substrate of transistors that function like a neural network but do not have layers. Instead the individual nodes are connectable on an addressable data bus and part of the training is to make network connections.

Ah. Am I fair in deducing from this that AI is your reason for preferring Materialism, in spite of the possibility of mind existing? Am I fair in suggesting it would call your work into question, and so is an uncomfortable postulate for you?


No, not even close. Computation is only a minor interest of mine. BTW my design failed. Neurology is so much more complicated than my first naive model. I am pretty much describable as a sophmoric religious mystic who can't stand how poor our culture is in parsing these issues and is trying to parse it out for himself in forums like this. Actually, in some sense I am impressed at the thinking of the "greats" but feel it needs advancement and no contemporaries that I see are doing it.
Well, actually we can manufacture kids. See what I mean? The artificial part of AI is irrelevant.
Heck, no.

The problem with "artificial" anything is that the better it's done the less anyone is able to see that it's not genuine. The "artificial" bit is easy to get: it's the genuine "intelligence" that we are totally likely to misread.
Yes but I am trying to show you that the "artificiality" is not the issue. The reality case is what you need to look at. I am trying to get you to see that we make conscious experience all the time by purely physical means - coitus to be specific. Oh, my Turrets is acting up - "fucking" - ok said it. Wish I could figure out what I get out of it and stop it. ;) Anyway. We make children. It is a fact. And we do it physically just like other primates...err...what was that other group you wanted to put us into?
I do not think you are unbiased in this. I also do not think I am drunk with the notions of AI.
Interesting. What do you think my "bias" might be? Why would I be concerned with contending for an entity in which I did not think I had reason to believe?
I of course do not know as you have avoided saying so but my guess is you are a fundamentalist of some kind. Not that it matters for this argument. Religion is irrelevant here I think. Even a religious fundamentalist would have to justify his belief that there were two substances required. Certainly Genesis does not require that interpretation. God did not form man of clay and then something else, a soul, and then breathe life into the soul and install it in the clay. So even a fundamentalist has got big problems on this.

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 6385
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: "Free will was given to man by god."

Post by Immanuel Can » Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:35 pm

Justintruth wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:05 pm
Brains are mass-having lumps of tissue that can be experiencing.
I'm sorry, but that's just a question-begging claim.

We have not shown that, nor have we the means even to indicate it's likely to be true. In fact, the evidence that the meat is nothing by itself is far more compelling.
And one powerful evidence of its necessity is that it works...it really, really works well...and trying to act as if "brain" is all there is turns out to be impossible.
Just false.
It can't be. You're doing it at this very minute. You are not present with me in your body. And you are not present to me, in body. We are two minds talking. And in attempting to "change my mind," you're attempting to "change" something you claim does not even exist.
In fact,I'd even the claim "I am just a brain" is a claim that can only be made by a mind, by a person who is conscious and communicating some intelligence to a community of cognitive recipients
I agree with that.
Well, there it is, then.
..all functions that are not "meat."
Looks to me that it is meat that is doing all of those functions.
Okay. You must have a better butcher than I have. Where I live, the meat does nothing by itself. It seems to need a life in it.
Occam's razor is not a principle that can be derived logically.
It's not only not logically derivable, but it's a ceteris paribus principle, and conditional as well. It's an extremely poor guideline in this case.

But as it is, the "mind" passes Occam's test. A "brain" is too few entities to explain intelligence, personhood, creativity, imagination, etc. It's just a lump of meat.
Again the bald assertion. It is a lump of meat that *experiences*, not just some garden variety lump, and we need to recognize that and define its implications. We can't be declared "knee dead" in a hospital.
But you won't be declared "brain dead" so long as the mind inhabits it. The minute it doesn't, then that very same meat...every molecule the same...will be "brain dead."
You think it's just one, and I say it's at least two. Occam cannot only not settle that one; he can't even make a relevant comment until we know how many entities are necessary to posit.
Let's just say only one is necessary, hypothetically. What would your opinion be then? Answer this if nothing else in my post ok?
I'd say that we know of no one entity that is sufficient to explain the observed phenomenon. So at least two entities are necessary, and even Occam would think so. His question would start at three, but only if the third posit repeated some function of the explanation served by one of the other two. Then he'd say we should quit. But not before.
This argument is about all causality. Do you subscribe to Hume's idea that causality does not exist?
No. I think he overreaches there.

But I do grant him this: causality is not absolutely provable, only indicatively and probabilistically evident.

And is that enough? I think so.
BTW...this...is completely different
....It only exists because an intelligent human inventor, using his intelligence, put it together.
We disagree on this because I think it is possible for software to evolve. Many consider DNA to be software.
Then they have made an obvious mistake. They are taking something that is a late invention (software) and using it to explicate DNA. It would be like saying, "Abraham Lincoln was a humanoid figure of white marble that was in Washington."
Do you think electric charge is there somewhere "in" the electron? Maybe right next to its mass? Just to the right of it, perhaps? You see the problem?

I see the problem: if you are speaking without irony, it would be that the speaker has misunderstood what an "electron" is.
I am speaking without irony but do not think you have my point. Assume I completely understand the electron and it is as described in classical theory - a particle having both charge and mass.
But we know now that the term "particle" is very misleading and incorrect. What it really describes is a kind of energy field.
The posit of experiencing, unless one were to introduce certain notions of the will, does not produce an effect that is there originally in the theory. In other words, charge produces a force which is present in the mechanical part of Newton's theory in the sense that forces can occur. So what is produced has a kind of general description in the mechanical part of Newton's theory. Both the gravitational part and the electric part produce forces. But if we posit that matter experiences, that in and of itself, is not a product mentioned in the mechanical part of the existing theory. The problem is so what? We can still include it by augmenting the mechanical part with the fact that matter experiences whenever it is assembled and that experiencing then is a property of matter so assembled. So it seems to work and not be an objection.
I think you've confused categories of explanation.

There are different modes of "explaining." For example, To say "These cookies are explained by flour, sugar, butter, salt, chocolate and heat" is one category of explanation. To say, "These cookies are explained by my wife's love for her husband," is quite another. You are giving material explanations (which is more like the first category, and suggesting they do something for volitional explanations (which is more like the second). To say "We have brains and they have material effects in them whenever we have volition, is not to explain at all what it means for a sentient being to have a volition.

To speak about brain effects is to leave dangling wide open why those effects occur in some circumstances and not in others, and why they appear to differ qualitatively, perhaps for every person on the planet.

It's like explaining that you love someone by saying, "Darling, I'm neutrophin-addled by you." It's certainly not the category of explanation relevant to your situation.
All you need is a basic physical posit that machines can think etc and you you have it.
But that would be a gratuitous presumption. As you say, there is no way to know, when "artificial intelligence" gets sophisticatedly "artificial," whether it has any real "intelligence" at all. But I think Searle's Chinese Room blows away any sanguine confidence we can ever have that if something can fool us, or pass the Turing Test, it will be "intelligent." It's just as likely to be completely devoid of intelligence.
Sure. I agree that the Turing test will fail in Searle's Chinese Room.
That's not what I said. What I said is that the Turing Test is pretty useless anyway, and Searle's Chinese Room shows us we can be fooled incredibly easily about what is "intelligent" and what is not.
However, that is not the same thing as saying that computers can not produce intelligence.
No. But it's saying we must be very, very careful in allowing ourselves to imagine they can. For it is surely very, very clear that we can be easily fooled into thinking something is "intelligence" when no element of that is present at all. It warns us that scientists will naturally be inclined to think they are making progress on, or even achieving artificial intelligence when, plausibly, they've done nothing of the kind at all. And ordinary folks will be likely to be even more easily fooled than that.
I do not think it has been ruled out, nor has it been shown to be true.
True. But we have a very serious problem: we have no tests for it, no criteria, even, for designing the test, plus a very high probability we will be fooled. Searle showed that much, for sure. And Joseph Weizenbaum's experiences with the " Eliza" project definitely demonstrated it.
But there is one other option that has to do with advance interfaces that will allow me to experience and remember the experiences of another device. That is a long way off.

Further even if that does occur that does not get us out of the woods. Even now you can imagine that your memory is false and you were created five seconds ago by something.
Right. There's an additional problem, and an additional phase for which we lack both criteria and material testability.
All of this is not about mind body per se but is relevant for defeating your objections.
I'm not seeing how those considerations do that. What I'm seeing is that you're shifting the burden off proof off the person who says, "I've invented artificial intelligence," and onto the person who says "Maybe not." And of course, that's not legit: the burden of proof rests on the person who says, "I've done it." It's his obligation to prove that what he's created is authentic intelligence. Until then, we should all remain skeptical, unless we want to be fooled easily.
Do me a favor. Find me someone normally sighted who can look into a mirror and find that there is not some primate looking back at them.

That would be me. I see no "primate."
Oh, I bet you just don't recognize what you see or know what a primate is
You lose your bet.
The fact that there are no ghosts is not explainable by your theory.
To say that a brain is necessary for consciousness is not to say that a brain is sufficient for consciousness. Nobody denies the first part of that, but we have every reason not to presume the second.

For example, a dead person has a brain. It's just isn't housing whatever it is that other thing is we're looking for.
The kind of statement I am making is not religious.
Well, the word "religious" is one of the most hotly-contested and ill-defined terms we have, so we could argue forever about that. But one definition that people try is to say "religious means believing in something by a leap of faith." If that's the definition, then Materialism is a "religion." People believe it's telling them the truth, even when they don't know it is, or suspect it's not. And they believe in it when they want to, even when contrary evidence is supplied. They often have personal reasons for wanting to do so, that have nothing to do with science or the rationality of Materialism, sometimes. For example, some love Materialism because it makes morality irrelevant and gives them moral freedom; some love it because it grants physical science the highest spot on the ladder of knowledge; some love it because it allows them to disbelieve in God; some love it because they want to do AI...

But wanting moral license, wanting to make your discipline tops, avoiding thoughts of God, aspiring to do AI, these are not rational grounds for believing in Materialism, but metaphysical goals one hopes to eke out of Materialism. They are "religious," in the aforementioned definition, not rational grounds.

So it does fit.
Actually I don't think so.

You're free not to think so. But that would be redefining "religious" in a way that does not conform to what I've said above. If you want to redefine "religion" not to include such exercises of faith, you may, of course.
Unless God has specifically revealed this to you directly, and I don't mean in a document written by a human, and frankly, if you say he has I will almost certainly disbelieve you.
You appear inclined not to believe me, whatever I offer. But if you can specify the test you'd accept, maybe it could be met.
I of course do not know as you have avoided saying so but my guess is you are a fundamentalist of some kind.

I don't know how to answer that. That term gets thrown around so wildly these days that it refers to nothing in particular. The "fundamentalists" of ISIS are pretty different from "fundamentalist Jews" and "fundamentalist Mennonites."

Interestingly, I once went to a secular university lecture on the subject of "Fundamentalist Atheism."
Certainly Genesis does not require that interpretation.
Well, tell me how you read Genesis 2:7.

But in point of fact, it was not religious but philosophical considerations that walked me into this issue. For a Philosopher, his chief tool is his mind. One of the most interesting questions is about identity. Ethicists study morals. Aesthetics is associate with perception, personhood and individuality. Epistemology requires consciousness, as does knowledge and wisdom...The entire discipline of Philosophy deals not with the brain per se (that would be brain science of some kind) but with the operations that go on within that meat-globe. So to deny them any reality is essentially to reduce Philosophy to mere Physiology. And I found that an intriguing move, with lots of bad consequences in all these areas.

So if I have any "bias," that might be it.

Justintruth
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:10 pm

Re: "Free will was given to man by god."

Post by Justintruth » Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:12 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:35 pm
Justintruth wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:05 pm
Brains are mass-having lumps of tissue that can be experiencing.
I'm sorry, but that's just a question-begging claim.

We have not shown that, nor have we the means even to indicate it's likely to be true. In fact, the evidence that the meat is nothing by itself is far more compelling.
Look more carefully. I did not say it was experiencing, nor did I say it was a compelling statement. I said that it "can" be experiencing.

Evidence cannot be used to support that claim unless you have evidence that it *cannot*. If you have evidence that it *cannot*, then it is you that would need to show it.

And one powerful evidence of its necessity is that it works...it really, really works well...and trying to act as if "brain" is all there is turns out to be impossible.
Just false.
It can't be. You're doing it at this very minute. You are not present with me in your body. And you are not present to me, in body. We are two minds talking. And in attempting to "change my mind," you're attempting to "change" something you claim does not even exist.
Aren't you missing the signal required for us to communicate. At this moment electro-chemical signals originating in my brain are traveling down my motor neurons to my keyboard. From there, by standard engineering, they make it to your screen which generates light that strikes your retina and then the optic nerve, V1->V4 in the back of your brain etc. So although my body is not present a mechanical signal connects our brains and I certainly expect my typed words to have the effect of changing your brain. Further I agree that we are two minds talking so I am not attempting to change something that I do not think exists. I just think that it might be your brain that is examining what I am saying and evaluating it. Here, when I say that your brain is examining and evaluating I do not mean that it's meat responds to the impulse from the optic nerve. Its meat does respond to it but more than that happens in examining and evaluating. Can it be that those minds are those brains where brain here does not mean something that we normally, in our current ideas, think brains can do - like react to a physical impulse with electro-chemical behaviour.

Now, again, since you don't seem to want to engage me on it let me make another attempt to discredit my own argument. Since you and I say that "minds" are involved, then perhaps an argument can be made like this: Any physical process will have its result determined, at some high probability and high accuracy, by the physical laws. But the outcome of a thought process must proceed based on the validity of the ideas experienced - it must have its own determinism. So, unless there is a very unlikely relationship between physics and the validity thought, then it cannot be true that the results obtained by thinking are generated by the physical laws. In that case there must be something else generating them. This would mean that the brain would need to achieve states that are not physically determinable and are physically determinable which is a contradiction

That is an argument for sure against what I am saying. Now does it hold water. I am not sure. Certainly for computation it does not hold true, computation can take place in a way that the computation done by a mind are overlaid on the physics and it works very well. But we both agree that computation is irrelevant because minds are not just computers. So, if minds only computed then we could maybe get away with this. But what about, ethics for example. It is true that an ethical conclusion must flow from ethical principles not determinable from not only the current laws of physics, but future ones? In other words that conclusions must be drawn from premises by a mind in a way where the result is determined by the premises by laws other than any physics which, intellectual laws of some kind that are not logical. If, as I propose, the brain is thinking it would have its result, its answer seemingly determined both by a thought process and a physical process. In some cases this can clearly be done but is there even one where it cannot.

Now to the extent that there is some logic to ethics, a kind of de-ontic logic and it is certainly possible for a physical device to derive statements using it, but are those statements true based on the derivation. In the case of sense data it is true that many valid statements are made based on observation and then empirical laws are formed and we do logical deduction. How the brain gets that information is clear: sensation. How about ethics? Can we claim there can be some "ethics sensor" and if it is and is running on physical principles alone the how do we know that what we perceive as being good "really is". Or that what we believe to be true really is. So we have some kind of interaction between the notion of "really is" and notions of "good" that are at least possibly distinct from our notions of the way "really" and our notion of "sensed" works.

Some will say that good simply does not exist and all we have is the fact that a brain experiences something that we label good and that seems to be consistent across individuals to a remarkable degree. But that, in a sense, means that good is not real . In the case of sensation we have a correspondence between sense and our ideas. How are we to establish that beyond our mutual agreement for good? Is it necessary we do?

That is one possible illustration of the kind of objection that is required. It states that notions like validity and reality, where reality is beyond sense data and can be extended to the internal experiences produced by our brains, do not have the right structure to allow truth, or some other aspect, to work if it is also physical.

Other notions involving action can also be cited.

On the other hand:

I am not convinced that a sensory model of eternal being, one that includes the good, could be shown to be incompatible with a brain thinking those things. The very basis of experiencing is surely interruptible by anesthesia and that includes all experiencing. And we have no cases of individuals who are ethical without benefit of the brain. There are also cases where individuals have damage frontal lobes and their ethical structures and perceptions were changed.

But I am still concerned with any process that is determined physically, and that is determined in any other way, in the sense that one idea, or state of experience flows from another in a determinism that is not the physical one and simultaneously is the physical one.

Can't quite parse that.

Moving on:
In fact,I'd even the claim "I am just a brain" is a claim that can only be made by a mind, by a person who is conscious and communicating some intelligence to a community of cognitive recipients
I agree with that.
Well, there it is, then.
..all functions that are not "meat."
Looks to me that it is meat that is doing all of those functions.
Okay. You must have a better butcher than I have. Where I live, the meat does nothing by itself. It seems to need a life in it.
I can just as baldly say: "No it doesn't - If you are talking about that meat that is between your ears, it is seeing right now and there doesn't need to be anything else 'in' it."

Why? Why does it seem that way to you? I think that you have a failure to consider what I am saying. Not to resolve it but to be able even to consider it. If I say "Meat sees", you seem to think about what you already conceive of as "meat" - maybe even some muscle, or else a brain that is dead or not functioning, or even the "meat" of a brain that is functioning but including only its physical properties when you think of it, (for to you the meat of a dead brain is the same as a live one - which is false. The particles involved may be the same but their action is very different and their actions are part of what is meant currently by the "physical state of your brain". Two identical satellites in exactly the same place, one with a velocity, and one without will move very differently. You must consider the energy of the particles etc as part of what you describe as "meat") and then, based on your own idea of "meat" find it incompatible with your own conception of "seeing". But you fail to see that I also see the incompatibility between your conception of meat, and seeing. I am just asking you to consider re-conceiving what you mean by "meat". Instead of saying that what you already conceive of as "meat" is incompatible with what you conceive of as "seeing", see if you can't *change* what you mean by "meat" so it includes the possibility of something that can see. And if you cannot say why. Then go a little further and realize that no, I don't think that we can say that my arm muscle meat is seeing, nor can we say that a dead brain is seeing. But a functioning brain? Aren't they the only things that see? Can't you see that we can't find any instance where there isn't a functioning brain there. If you can find me one- only one- I yield. Can you find any other case? I do not mean a video recording. We already agree that I do not mean by "seeing" some physical response. Rather we mean the experiencing we call seeing predicated along with the other properties of mean on a functioning brain. So do not straw man me.

Can you not conceive that it is the brain seeing and if not why? Please do not re-describe what you already mean by "meat" and "seeing" again. I already know what you think they are and that the notions are incompatible. I am asking whether you can't, in order to better describe the facts, mean by "meat", something that can see given it is the right kind of meat and is working - not dead. Here by "dead" I mean only the current normal physical properties of a working brain are no longer happening. Do you think the experiencing goes on when death occurs? Then why doesn't it under anesthesia?

And don't even consider whether *in fact* there are brains that can see. Just see if you can *hypothetically* conceive of one.

It's not only not logically derivable, but it's a ceteris paribus principle, and conditional as well. It's an extremely poor guideline in this case.

But as it is, the "mind" passes Occam's test. A "brain" is too few entities to explain intelligence, personhood, creativity, imagination, etc. It's just a lump of meat.
Again the bald assertion. It is a lump of meat that *experiences*, not just some garden variety lump, and we need to recognize that and define its implications. We can't be declared "knee dead" in a hospital.
But you won't be declared "brain dead" so long as the mind inhabits it. The minute it doesn't, then that very same meat...every molecule the same...will be "brain dead."
Sorry, but there is no evidence of something leaving when someone dies. If I shoot you in the head the material will still be there but it will be very changed. Are you saying some other thing has to happen? Like some soul has to un-inhabit? We certainly can say that the brain ceases to experience. But how can you say that that was caused by a inhabitation of some kind. Do doctors examine looking for something leaving? Non sesnse. The Tibetian Bhudists have elaborate theories about the leaving and claim to tell from the snot coming out of the nose. Even in their unlikely case they don't look for or experience and other "leaving".
You think it's just one, and I say it's at least two. Occam cannot only not settle that one; he can't even make a relevant comment until we know how many entities are necessary to posit.
Let's just say only one is necessary, hypothetically. What would your opinion be then? Answer this if nothing else in my post ok?
I'd say that we know of no one entity that is sufficient to explain the observed phenomenon.
Yes, but suppose the "observed phenomenon" were not as you claim they are. Can you conceive of a phenomenal situation that is not in fact in effect but which would mean that there was only one entity seeing.

Now if you cannot, then please NEVER quote evidence again as your basis, because your claim is not based on factual evidence, but is not realizable in any factual case. Then say why, without saying it is unlikely, or we have no evidence, or anything like that. Say why you think it is impossible.

Or, if you think it is possible, describe what it is about our circumstances that are different from what you think is required for the now possible circumstances of a seeing brain to occur.

So at least two entities are necessary, and even Occam would think so.
Can't you say why when you say such outrageous claims? How do you know what he would think in this case?
His question would start at three, but only if the third posit repeated some function of the explanation served by one of the other two. Then he'd say we should quit. But not before.
We disagree on where he would start. I believe he would start at zero, then posit two, then reconsider and realize that one is enough.
This argument is about all causality. Do you subscribe to Hume's idea that causality does not exist?
No. I think he overreaches there.

But I do grant him this: causality is not absolutely provable, only indicatively and probabilistically evident.

And is that enough? I think so.
Ok, then we need to refrain from arguing that causality itself is a problem and when I say shooting someone in the head causes a loss of consciousness you can object to that but not by saying it could just be a coincidence and that coincidence does not imply a causal connection. Why? Because as you say above "And is that enough? I think so". The epistemic problems with causality are irrelevant.

Then they have made an obvious mistake. They are taking something that is a late invention (software) and using it to explicate DNA. It would be like saying, "Abraham Lincoln was a humanoid figure of white marble that was in Washington."
Not really. Software in general is a set of physically instanced instructions that cause a change of function in another part of the device based on their content. The assembly of proteins from amino acids can be done at a ribosome by the process of using transfer and messenger RNA. The sequence of proteins assembled is determined by the sequence of nucleic acid in the DNA, which is transcribed onto the messenger RNA. Transfer RNA binds to specfic amino acids and then attaches to the messenger RNA at a codon that matches its three nucleic sequence. That causes the assembly to assemble a different sequence. In fact the word "codon" is not unrelated to the word code. In every way a DNA codon is a code for a specific amino acid and there are translation tables you can get. In that sense it is precisely software and it is correct to talk about "reading" DNA, or copying it etc. I am sure you don't think DNA is a "late invention" only that it is not "software". But, as I have described, that is exactly what it is. The varieties of species and also individual differences within a species are the result of a single type of mechanism running two different programs. If I could change that code in your DNA your body could be made to change its eye color.


But we know now that the term "particle" is very misleading and incorrect. What it really describes is a kind of energy field.


Fine, but that energy field has geometric properties determined by its particle nature. Further, there are operators available that we can use on the energy field to determine the location and energy of a coupling. I prefer to refer to it as a quantum field because it requires another operator to determine the probability of an energy measurement and the result is just a measurement of the probability of occurance of the energy measurement. We can still speak classically in most cases and it simplifies the philosophical conversation.

You failed to answer the question in classical terms. Here it is again in modern physics: Assume I completely understand the electron as it is as described in quantum mechanics - having both charge and mass, do you think that you need some other entity, an "electro soul" on which to posit that it has charge and have it be there next to the mass or, in your terms maybe "the mass-meat" of the electron? Or can't we just say that an electron has charge and mass. Remember that charge is not mass. You cannot derive that the electron is charged from it's mass. In fact, the positron has the same mass and is in every way the same except this extra property has is positive instead of negative. Still we posit the electron, or the positron, is what has charged and what has mass without needing those intermediate posits. Can you see how many entities we would need? The standard model would require a lot of modification.

Ok, fine, let's not get into the rocket science yet. Let's take an ordinary experiencing of the color red. First, I am not saying that the "meat" as you think of it explains in any way that "meat will see red". You keep accusing me of that and I keep telling you that I not only don't think that I actually think I can prove it is impossible. What I am saying simply, is that "meat", the meat of a functioning brain, may not be as we currently conceive of it. It may be that that meat sees. We can work on the other stuff latter. First you have to determine whether a simple thing like seeing red can be predicated onto a device. Perhaps we can make a device that sees red, again don't straw man me, I do not mean frequency determination, I mean the experiencing of a color. Perhaps we can make a device that just sees red and is incapable of marriage, or thinking, and the rest. What then?


It is not relevant except to the fact of whether something is intelligent. The issue is not whether I can be fooled easily. The question is whether a device can actually see is possible, not whether I am easily fooled by its signal processing to believe that it does. If I know it can discriminate primary color frequencies and display them on a CRT like any computer can, there is still the question of whether in fact red experiencing is occurring. I think not in that case. That question has nothing to do with whether I can determine whether it can. BTW I can determine that I can see color very easily and you should also be able to determine that you can too. Look at a stoplight. Yes, your red experiencing might be different than mine but we are not talking about that we are just talking about whether your brain is color experiencing at all or not. When you experience the red of the light just put your hands over your eyes and see what happens. Your "soul" no longer sees. Perhaps that is because it is your brain that is seeing and you just blocked the light from causing the chain of events that causes that physical state that is red seeing to occur.



Ok, then you agree they might be intelligent or might not be and it's just hard to tell. But you have already said it is impossible for them to experience. It takes a soul right? So why are you so concerned about being fooled? You already know it can't occur. The question is not whether we can tell whether it can happen. The question is whether there is some contradiction in saying that it can. So we are free to imagine as we like. Indeed we must imagine. Then we must be careful, once we can imagine that a brain might be seeing, to determine in fact whether it is. Ok? And then we should stop saying its impossible and just say it's hard to tell. In some sense I would agree it's hard to tell...but then I remember the doctor having me count out loud backwards from 100. Damn if he wasn't able to tell very easily by that, that I was not experiencing. I know I wasn't because I woke up in the recovery room as soon as I got to 97 or so. Hours had passed.

I had a dentist scare the hell out of me by telling me they had a new anesthetic that causes you to forget everything. What I thought? He is going to perform surgery on a conscious but immobilized patient who is feeling everything and then make him forget it happened? Not a confidence builder.




What? Do you think I am claiming anything like I ave created artificial intelligence? I am just saying that we can now create actual experiencing beings solely with physical means. Right now we can do that. And maybe in the future we will be able to make them out of silicon or something.

At least you are thinking that it is possible. Else how can you be fooled into thinking that it happened. After all, a few lines ago you had Occam stating that two was the minimum. Did he say that because it's hard to keep from being fooled as to whether there are two or just one? How can you be fooled if you already know before you see the evidence that there can be at a minimum two.

Could the world have been that a brain saw red but it is too hard to tell? If not why bring it up?

Sorry, it wasn't me who deleted some of your words it was the Preview button.... but reading I think you can get the gist of it.

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 6385
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: "Free will was given to man by god."

Post by Immanuel Can » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:59 pm

Hmm...let me think.

We seem to have stated our cases, and now be working over some of the same ground again.

Essentially, one of our basic differences is that you believe physical entities can "experience" in a non-metaphorical, "mental" kind of way. I believe there's no evidence for that, but that mental phenomena are obviously real. How we get beyond that difference would be a good question.
Justintruth wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:12 pm
Evidence cannot be used to support that claim unless you have evidence that it *cannot*. If you have evidence that it *cannot*, then it is you that would need to show it.
Well, I could point out that the burden of proof rests on the one who says that physical "meat" can experience, and that the one who doubts that has no burden until some sort of evidence is provided. But as you have noted, that's not likely to happen, because such things can't really be demonstrated. So again, I think we've got a bit of an impasse there.
Now, again, since you don't seem to want to engage me on it...
I'm sorry...I can't tell to what "it" this phrase refers.

I don't know anything on which I've refused to engage you so far. You might have to specify that.
...let me make another attempt to discredit my own argument. Since you and I say that "minds" are involved, then perhaps an argument can be made like this: Any physical process will have its result determined, at some high probability and high accuracy, by the physical laws. But the outcome of a thought process must proceed based on the validity of the ideas experienced - it must have its own determinism. So, unless there is a very unlikely relationship between physics and the validity thought, then it cannot be true that the results obtained by thinking are generated by the physical laws. In that case there must be something else generating them. This would mean that the brain would need to achieve states that are not physically determinable and are physically determinable which is a contradiction
I'm uncertain whether here, you don't sometimes mean "determination," not Determinism. That makes it hard for me to be sure I'm reading this as you would intend. However, it does seem an interesting line of argument, if I understand it aright, and yes, I agree, it would then seem to be an argument against the suggestion that physics (or physiology) can account for cognition. They do seem to "respond" to very different "criteria."

Have I got your argument right, there?
...we both agree that computation is irrelevant because minds are not just computers...
I think we could potentially go much further, too, and it wouldn't turn out well for Physicalism.

Computers are not only not minds, they are entities that would not even exist without the pre-existence of the human mind of whatever "Bill Gates" invents them. Likewise the software: it only exists because some intelligent programmer created it. And it has never happened, since the foundation of the world, that a computer or computer program has been created by spontaneous generation, chance, or evolution. The design features of both bespeak to us certainly the existence of an ultimate designer.

So if we were to suppose too close an identity between computers and minds, we would have to say that minds too have to have an intelligent creator. That would definitely undermine Materialism, so I doubt that argument would make any Materialists or Physicalists happy. Perhaps, then, we'd best not push that analogy very far, at least not in hopes of getting a footing for monist Physicalism about the brain.
But what about, ethics for example. It is true that an ethical conclusion must flow from ethical principles not determinable from not only the current laws of physics, but future ones? In other words that conclusions must be drawn from premises by a mind in a way where the result is determined by the premises by laws other than any physics which, intellectual laws of some kind that are not logical. If, as I propose, the brain is thinking it would have its result, its answer seemingly determined both by a thought process and a physical process. In some cases this can clearly be done but is there even one where it cannot.
If physics were all that were in play, it should be possible, at least in principle, to have a perfect Consequentialism. That is (admitting that we don't know all the necessary variables) if we DID have a way of calculating all of the relevant variables, we would know what consequences were absolutely predetermined to issue from any particular ethical choice we made. And we could calculate what was ethical based on that.

However, then we would not need ethics. For ethics are the kind of things you only need when you DON'T know what is "best" to do. They are designed to guide and inform the process of making the right decision among different possibilities. So ethics themselves would disappear.

However, we do not live in that kind of world, obviously. We do not know the consequences of our choices, and have to rely on probability calculations based on our incomplete knowledge. Hence, Consequentialism is permanently troubled, and ethics remain necessary. You are correct: ethics involve a mental, not a physical operation. And they cannot me merely physical unless we did possess all the relevant variables, at which time ethics would not be a thing anyway. So if ethics are real, monist Physicalism would again be problematic.
How the brain gets that information is clear: sensation. How about ethics? Can we claim there can be some "ethics sensor" and if it is and is running on physical principles alone the how do we know that what we perceive as being good "really is". Or that what we believe to be true really is. So we have some kind of interaction between the notion of "really is" and notions of "good" that are at least possibly distinct from our notions of the way "really" and our notion of "sensed" works.
I think that's right.
Some will say that good simply does not exist and all we have is the fact that a brain experiences something that we label good and that seems to be consistent across individuals to a remarkable degree. But that, in a sense, means that good is not real . In the case of sensation we have a correspondence between sense and our ideas. How are we to establish that beyond our mutual agreement for good? Is it necessary we do?
This gets into a very deep question about what we mean by "good."

There are instrumental goods, like "X is good for doing Y," as in "a hammer is good for pounding nails." There are also physical goods, like "Eat your vegetables, because they're good for you." And there are other kinds of "good" as well. But there are also moral goods, which often are neither instrumentally expeditious (as in, "Share with your brother, even if you don't want to.) and aren't even particularly healthy (as in, "How sweet it is to die for the good of one's fellow men.") If physics are all that's in play, how do we account for non-instrumental, non-survival-serving "goods" existing at all?

That is a good question...and not merely instrumentally good. :wink:
I am not convinced that a sensory model of eternal being, one that includes the good, could be shown to be incompatible with a brain thinking those things. The very basis of experiencing is surely interruptible by anesthesia and that includes all experiencing. And we have no cases of individuals who are ethical without benefit of the brain. There are also cases where individuals have damage frontal lobes and their ethical structures and perceptions were changed.

But I am still concerned with any process that is determined physically, and that is determined in any other way, in the sense that one idea, or state of experience flows from another in a determinism that is not the physical one and simultaneously is the physical one.

Can't quite parse that.
Yeah, I see the problem.
Why? Why does it seem that way to you? I think that you have a failure to consider what I am saying. Not to resolve it but to be able even to consider it. If I say "Meat sees", you seem to think about what you already conceive of as "meat" - maybe even some muscle, or else a brain that is dead or not functioning, or even the "meat" of a brain that is functioning but including only its physical properties when you think of it, (for to you the meat of a dead brain is the same as a live one - which is false.
Well, the "meat" part is certainly the same. But the other stuff going on "in" it, I agree, has changed.

But I think we're back to the same problem I mentioned at the beginning. Your assertion seems to be that a purely physical entity can "think." And as you've pointed out, there's no way to verify that.
Instead of saying that what you already conceive of as "meat" is incompatible with what you conceive of as "seeing", see if you can't *change* what you mean by "meat" so it includes the possibility of something that can see.
I can't see how to do that without attributing the non-physical phenomena like consciousness, personhood, identity, morals, rationality, science, cognition, remembering, problem-solving...etc. to an entity you wish me to say is purely physical -- and that, without having any reason to believe the physical can issue in such things, other than the (possible) correspondence fallacy.

So if I want to take your postulate with all the seriousness it deserves, I have to believe that physical means only physical. And I honestly can see no way we can attribute physical properties to these mental phenomena. To use a somewhat frivolous analogy, it's almost as if you seem to want me to see the brain as a sort of elaborate Rube Goldberg machine, in which falling marbles (or molecules) end up trapping the "mouse" of thought. And honestly, I can't get there. How would that even work?
And if you cannot say why.
As above.
Do you think the experiencing goes on when death occurs? Then why doesn't it under anesthesia?
We don't really know what goes on during anaesthesia. We do know that people seem suspended in some way; but is it their thoughts that are suspended, or only their memories of their thoughts? Their autonomic nervous systems continue to function; what else does? We can't really ask them, can we? They don't remember.
Again the bald assertion. It is a lump of meat that *experiences*, not just some garden variety lump, and we need to recognize that and define its implications. We can't be declared "knee dead" in a hospital.
But you won't be declared "brain dead" so long as the mind inhabits it. The minute it doesn't, then that very same meat...every molecule the same...will be "brain dead."
Sorry, but there is no evidence of something leaving when someone dies.
But aren't you blaming a non-physical phenomenon for not being physical? You're thinking that the mind has to have some sort of weight, mass, colour, shape, or something that could be detected as "evidence" physiologically, aren't you? Because if you're not, then there's plenty of evidence that when the non-physical phenomenon of mind leaves the body, the person is dead: in fact, it's pretty much definitionally so.

So your objection is like, "How much does rationality weigh," or "How many intellects can dance on the head of a pin?"
Let's just say only one is necessary, hypothetically. What would your opinion be then? Answer this if nothing else in my post ok?
I'm not sure how to answer this. I'm not sure what it's asking, actually.

Are you asking me to imagine what I think is not so, and then to extrapolate from that?
Can you conceive of a phenomenal situation that is not in fact in effect but which would mean that there was only one entity seeing.
If I could, why would I be debating this question?
Now if you cannot, then please NEVER quote evidence again as your basis, because your claim is not based on factual evidence, but is not realizable in any factual case.
Oh, I don't think that's remotely true. In fact, I think the preponderance of the evidence -- even physically -- is on the side of a non-physical view of mind. Let me give you just one example: people think that when they decide something, they can move their limbs to accomplish it. So their physical actions are physical manifestations of a purely cognitive process. Or when someone dies, they stop moving. Why, if physicality is all there is? Conversely, when someone is in a particular cognitive state, such as "being in love," they experience detectable physiological effects, such as rises in testosterone or endorphins, that were not present before, when they were in the presence of the same person, but not "in love" with her, and which another person who was not "in love" with her would still not experience, even in the same proximity and situation.

That's what makes it so funny for someone to say, "Hey, baby; I really get an endorphin rush in your presence," instead of "I love you." The former is likely to get you to be alone, whereas the other might get you married.

Cognitive states produce myriad physiological effects. But they are not themselves physiological. And that's really intriguing.
So at least two entities are necessary, and even Occam would think so.
Can't you say why when you say such outrageous claims? How do you know what he would think in this case?
I know because his rule is that we should not multiply causal explanations beyond necessity. He left himself the wiggle room that sometimes more than one entity being posited is way better than a one-entity explanation.

I think I gave you this example before: science used to speak of "matter." Things were said to be "made of matter." And that's a one-posit explanation. But would you honestly think it was a better, or more "Occam" explanation than an explanation involving atoms? But the latter explanation has more posits than the former: it requires belief in protons, neutrons, electrons, energy fields, etc. Can you suppose that Occam would insist that "matter" was a better explanation, for no other reason than that is has only one posit?
Ok, then we need to refrain from arguing that causality itself is a problem and when I say shooting someone in the head causes a loss of consciousness you can object to that but not by saying it could just be a coincidence and that coincidence does not imply a causal connection. Why? Because as you say above "And is that enough? I think so". The epistemic problems with causality are irrelevant.
I'm not a Humean. You needed to pay closer attention to my answer.

I do not think that probabilistic calculations of cause-and-effect are necessarily wrong, or impossible. I think they're probabilistic. And that's vastly different.

Your doctor's estimation that you may have a cold is probabilistic. That does not mean it's impossible to say that the doctor "knows" you have a cold. He "knows" it as well as any doctor can know anything, and perhaps, if he's a good doctor, with 99.999% probability.

Could he be wrong? Yes. Does that mean he IS wrong? No. But it does mean we have to give Hume his due: it is not possible to say for certain that we can close that .001% probability gap.

But so what? Does that need to trouble us? Does it render doctors useless? No.


But we know now that the term "particle" is very misleading and incorrect. What it really describes is a kind of energy field.
First you have to determine whether a simple thing like seeing red can be predicated onto a device. Perhaps we can make a device that sees red, again don't straw man me, I do not mean frequency determination, I mean the experiencing of a color. Perhaps we can make a device that just sees red and is incapable of marriage, or thinking, and the rest. What then?
That's not an easy thing to do. If "seeing" isn't mere "detecting," then we can make machines to do the latter, but have no way of saying the same machine is doing the former.

A laser scanner at a checkout counter detects bar codes. But it does not "see" or "read" them, in a literal sense. There is no system within the machine capable of cognition or of "experiencing" a bar code. The machine will not say to itself, "Hey, that looks like zebra striping," or remark to itself, "You know, this is the third barcode in a row with a double three in it...what are the chances?" But those are exactly the kinds of cognitions it would have if it were "experiencing" in the way human beings do. Laser scanners don't do those things, though. However, they are great at detecting when a bar code is near, and turning that into an expression of data.
Ok, then you agree they might be intelligent or might not be and it's just hard to tell. But you have already said it is impossible for them to experience. It takes a soul right? So why are you so concerned about being fooled?
AI.

AI makes it look like entities that cannot have cognitions actually do. And people are incredibly credulous about that. They anthropomorphize computers, and even trust them to perform functions that only human beings can. People have electronic conversation partners, and even electronic therapists; some have electronic "girlfriends," as if that weren't totally creepy.

Some people want to speak of AI "rights," now...there was just an article on it in PN a couple of months ago. And some lunatics even want to sublet our cognitive functions, or even our whole consciousnesses, to computers (like "Extropians") do. At minimum, we have begun to regard "intelligent" computer functions as not insidious, not directed by anybody else's purpose. We forget that everything in the world of computers is a construct -- a fabrication of the fancy or purposes of another human being. And we think we're in charge when we're not.

So what I want to ask is, "How would we know if we ever did create AI?" For certain, we will be able to fool ourselves about that long, long before we can actually do it. We already have. And we're starting to trust programmed entities, computers programmed by other people and according to their purposes and imaginings, as if they were neutral relative to us, and not coercive.

That's the tip of the iceberg. Where else this goes, who knows? But my argument is simply for less credulity.
At least you are thinking that it is possible.
For us to fool ourselves? Yes. I'm not so certain AI is possible. I think it may well be impossible to do anything more than create a series of ever more elaborate fakes of consciousness. And one thing we agree on: there's no absolute test we have. So it's very likely that in future we are going to be way, way too easily fooled.
Sorry, it wasn't me who deleted some of your words it was the Preview button.... but reading I think you can get the gist of it.
No problem.

I hope I got that gist right.

Justintruth
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:10 pm

Re: "Free will was given to man by god."

Post by Justintruth » Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:41 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:59 pm
Hmm...let me think.

We seem to have stated our cases, and now be working over some of the same ground again.
Ok, so I can summarize then:

The main question is whether experiencing can be predicated onto a physical entity making the concept of the entity not just what is currently defined in science but rather what is described in the current physical science with additional posited properties – namely the fact physical systems can experience when assembled properly. And also we must agree that, in fact, the modified description, not the current one, might be true.
Let's just say only one (posited entity) is necessary, hypothetically. What would your opinion be then?
I'm not sure how to answer this. I'm not sure what it's asking, actually.
Several points need to be clarified for you to see what it’s asking,

With respect to the nature of a posit in physics you keep asking what evidence there is for an additional posit. It is important to understand how posits work in physics to see why it is uneccessary. Entities and their properties are described. Then predictions are made based on these, and then experiments are done that are designed to detect whether the predictions are correct. If the predictions are not correct, then the theory fails.

In the case of the current physics, no prediction is made that there will be experiencing of any kind. Experiencing is presumed as a basis for experiment in the current science and many facts of experiencing, like you have to look into a telescope at one end to be able to see, are presumed but the theory itself offers no predictions that the assembly of a scientist will, or will, not result in experiencing at all.

So the question arises, can we modify it to do so?

No, evidence that it does so is required to modify the theory to say that it does. Rather, after the theory is constructed one can predict with it that a certain kind of experiencing will, or will not, occur and check whether it does.

Here is a very simple example. If you add the posit that matter assembled as it is in your brain and optical system is exposed to a certain frequency of light, then it will “red see”. I can set up a simple set of experiments to test this.

I am assuming that prior to this you have reported some experiencing that we agree to call “red seeing”. We both notice the physical conditions under which it occurs. Then we hypothesize that whenever light of some frequency is shined with some intensity into matter arranged as your brain and optical system is, a signal will proceed along the optic nerve to the brain and it will “red see”.

Notice that I am not offering any evidence that brains red see. I am only hypothesizing that they do. I do make this hypothesis based on the anecdotal evidence that when we shine a red light in your eye and take it away it changes your experiencing.

I say “red see” instead of “see red” in order to distinguish from the reaction of the that the current physical science describes, the electrochemical facts, and also to distinguish from any notion that what is outside of your body, say a stoplight, is red and what you see. The phrase “red seeing” refers to the experiencing not to anything experienced. It is an experiencing of type red. The term “red” modifies the term “experiencing”. It is an adverb not the object of the sentence. All issues that might say something like, “A rock also sees in a sense” are removed and we agree on what we are describing.

We both agree that red seeing will occur. But you will object and say that not the brain, but some other entity, the soul, is what red-sees. The soul is there “in” the brain and it is what red sees, There is a relation of correspondence, not necessarily causal, between some facts that are true about the brain always and only when red-seeing occurs but those facts are not describing what the brain is doing but are describing what is happening to another entity, the soul, that is somehow attached to your brain and correlated with it.

Further you assert that it is impossible for a brain to see because it is “just meat”.

If you look at what I am saying, we agree on this given my interpretation of your words. I interpret your phrase “just meat” to mean “just something like what is described in the current physics”. Admittedly it is a special arrangement, but that does not keep it from doing what the physics says, and the “just” in “just meat” means it does only that. By physical science we mean the physical sciences so some chemical rule for example, that is not strictly “in physics” in the academic sense but is in something like chemistry is also included. So, we agree that anything that is “just meat” cannot experience. Why? Well it is a contradiction because I just said it was “just meat”. The “merely physical”, if we think of it strictly in accordance with the models and laws currently in place will not be expected to experience. We cannot therefore form a prediction that it will on that basis. Let me be unequivocal. I agree completely and believe that this can be proven by examining current physical theories.
However, you must note that while I agree with this, I also think we are not stuck with that description. We can add a posit to the physics that a body configured as you are, not only can see but will see. Now we have a new model and we can predict in the case of you that you will see if I shine a lite in your eyes. The model is the old model with one additional posit, that it will experience under certain condition.

I point out to you also that you never seem to red see unless light is shined into your eyes and some physical signal gets to your brain somehow. We further see, via thought experiment only, that if I sever the optic nerve the seeing stops, if I damage the brain in the back of the head, the seeing stops, if I anesthetize you, the seeing stops etc. There are a host of other facts we look at that are not related just to seeing but have to do with tasting, touching hearing etc. In all cases we find neural pathways that terminate in the brain and signals on those pathways correspond with experiencing of various types. In all of these cases, it is doing something to the brain that corresponds to the red seeing.

So, I assert that there is something wrong with our theory of meat. What if you are not “just meat” as currently described but rather that you are “just meat” according to a new idea of what that means and that your meat actually can see? What if there is something wrong in that description original description and we then fix it. From now on, when I say “just meat” I will mean only the old theory not the new one. If I said “just meat” can see, that means something very different from “meat can see” for in the former I mean meat conceived as something that only can move, and in the latter something that also can move but can see as well.

You write:
Essentially, one of our basic differences is that you believe physical entities can "experience" in a non-metaphorical, "mental" kind of way. I believe there's no evidence for that, but that mental phenomena are obviously real. How we get beyond that difference would be a good question.
The first thing we have to do to “get beyond that” is for you to recognize certain facts that I am referring to that, in fact I think we agree on.
So, all of this about optic nerves, and eyes, and what you see in the mirror etc. I will presume that there is no problem here and you actually agree with me here. So, I am presuming that you agree that all red experiencing is accompanied by a brain undergoing certain purely physical reactions. There is always a certain kind of meat doing a certain kind of thing whenever you red see. I further presume that you will agree that it is the brain behind the face in the mirror that accompanies this red seeing you do. Unless certain purely physical conditions are present in your brain you will not red see (no ghosts) and whenever those conditions are there you do red see (no zombies). If I anesthetize you for example, I assume you will agree that you stop red seeing. And I presume you think you cannot leave your body and go on vacation somewhere seeing everything their while your body is back in bed.

So, that part you agree with. But you say that is because a soul, your soul, is present there in the brain along side the meat. As long as it is present, and your brain behaves in some purely physical way, then because there is a correspondence between this brain of yours and your soul’s red seeing then your soul red sees.

So, you too have a theory. There is a second kind of entity, a soul, that sees. That entity is there in my brain, it is me, and I am attached in some way of correspondence so that if, and only if, certain purely physical conditions exist in my brain then my soul red sees and that is my red seeing.

So, we have two theories. Both predict what will happen under certain purely physical stimulations

I hope you will agree that, in the case of a simple experiment of shinning red light in your eyes, what happens cannot distinguish between these two theories. So saying, “there is evidence or no” for my theory fails immediately as the evidence goes both ways.. There is also no evidence for your theory. You have no evidence for the existing of a soul that sees and a relationship with the facts of experiencing. You only know that you red see under certain conditions. Same for my theory. There is no evidence that can say that there is *not* some entity in addition to the brain there.

When I say this, I do not mean that there is no factual information at all. We can say that there is not some entity separable from the brain that flies around and can see without having the brain seeing. The fact is there is no evidence for that and there could be. But just the fact that you see red is not evidence that your theory or mine is right. There could be. For example if I could map your brain completely and I find sometimes in is in a state when you red see and sometimes it is in that same state but is not red seeing (red zombie), or if there were cases whey your brain was not in the state where it red sees usually but was in some random state that usually does not red see, or, in an extreme case I blow your whole body up but you continue to see and maybe we even continue to hear each other. But nothing like that is a fact. If those were facts your theory would work and mine would fail. But we agree no such facts exist. At least I think we agree.

What is true is that the fact that there is a brain there inside your head and its state can be used to predict your red seeing. That fact allows me to say that it is your brain red seeing. Brains can red see and I can demonstrate it by shining light in your eyes. You can also say that these facts also are consistent with there being a soul there accompanying the brain and correlated with it in minutiae.

I certainly agree that that is the case. That no evidence will ever decide the issue. I offer the analogy of an electron. If I posit that there is there, in addition to the object that has mass, an additional object that has charge, then all of the facts are as explained as if I said that there is a single electron that has both mass and charge.

Now here we get to our disagreement. You think that I must offer evidence for the fact that it is not the soul that sees but is rather the brain, and that everyone thinks it is the soul, so therefore it is true. You claim it is impossible to think otherwise. You cannot conceive how meat can see, so the idea is inconceivable.
There are several issues:

I believe that this inability to see that it is possible, not that it is the case but that it is possible, stems from an attempt to imagine the current physics in some state which, by viewing it in your mind or in practice, will allow you to see how it is red seeing and do so without equivocating on the term. Failing that, and assuming I will never ever be able to provide it such a description, or that I am just promising it perhaps in the future, you declare your inability to conceive of what I am saying even as a possibility.

I also agree that I will never be able to provide it. It cannot be done on principle, for here again you are imagining meat with merely physical properties and trying to see a way that they could move that would allow you to see, just from imagining that state, that they see.

That is impossible. But we can posit that that state that we do imagine, without possibly providing some view of its structure that would be such that the seeing was a consequence of the physical facts, does in fact see and that the facts of certain physical assemblies is not just the physical facts of where the molecules are etc. but rather also additional facts about the experiencing it is doing. We further stipulate that the mere physical facts cannot be used to derive whether seeing is going on until and unless those additions are made. Once they are made it can. As I said I think we can prove it cannot without the additions. So, then if I imagine a knee, I might realize that when I examine it’s molecules I do not see any seeing going on and so conclude that the knee doesn’t see and also when I examine the molecules of the brain, perhaps as Descartes did by shrinking himself down, I also see not any seeing going on I conclude the same thing.

I agree fully that that is impossible. That is Dan Dennet’s program and it is just hopeless in my opinion.

But a knee is not a brain. We have all of these facts that say that occurrences in a brain are correlated with experiencing in a way, that you will agree I think, events in a knee, or a door are not. Shining a red light on your knee, or in my eyes, is not correlated with red seeing by you.

So the first thing you have to do for us to close on this, is to be able to imagine “meat” in the form of your brain, doing its thing just like the current physics says, recognize that you will never see how it sees by looking at the kinds of arrangement and motion it has, and realize that just because the mere physical facts cannot cause us to predict a seeing of any kind, that does not mean that that entity might not still be the entity that sees.

To me this is the biggest disagreement we have. I, being biased to my own position 😉 believe that you must change something….

To do this you must see that multiple properties can be assigned to a single entity and that those properties do not have to be derivable, or supervene on, the other properties. Just like electric charge and gravitational mass cannot be reduced to each other and seeing an electron fall in gravity will not allow you to conclude that it is charged, does not mean that you cannot posit that it is the electron that has both mass and also has charge. You cannot look at the properties of “just meat” and say that because you cannot see from them that meat sees, conclude that mead does not see. You cannot derive, by imagining the device that is your brain moving around in some way, that it will be seeing, but that does not mean that it is not that assembly that is seeing, for you can posit that it is in*addition* to its other properties. You can do that only because of the “if and only if” that exists between that certain class of physical organization and red seeing.

Once you do have that accomplished. Once you can see what that means you can test the theory by shining a light in your own eyes. Until you do that no use in moving on. Remember we are not asking whether meat sees. Here we are just asking whether it is a possible state of affairs.

So, now I am going to assume that you can see that, something that you have not shown evidence of doing I admit. I am going to assume that you can see that it is possible that it is the brain seeing and that if it is, and brains in general red see along certain principles, you will now be able to predict that if you shine the red light into your eyes you will red see and do it and test it.

But wait, there is still another issue. Just because it possibly can does not mean it does. What about your theory? It also predicts this same seeing, but it says that in addition to the brain there is a soul and that it is the soul that red sees.

Ok, I agree that if there is a soul, in relation to the brain as you describe then the experiment will also confirm the predictions and we can predict that when I stimulate this brain in a certain way a corresponding event will occur in some other object called the soul and it is that that is my seeing.

We have an issue because sometimes you say that there are facts that the brain sees does not explain and so Occam’s principle does not hold because all things are not equal. But you fail to provide any of those facts. My opinion is that the reason is that you look at the meat and can’t imagine it moving or being arranged so that you can see how it is seeing and then conclude that there are additional facts. I agree that there is additional but not additional posit of the soul but actually additional facts – the fact of seeing. I already agree that those facts are additional. That they cannot be predicted by the mere physical arrangement as physics describes now. I further say that no future proposed design will allow you to see that it does. But as described above that does not mean that it is not that arrangement that is seeing. So, there is no additional fact introduced. Only the posits change. You have never been able to come up with anything, like the presence of a ghost or a zombie to refute it.

Memory is a deep problem in all of this and I deliberately set it aside noting that if your argument rests on memory then you cannot conclude that we have ever corresponded – fake news - and you know nothing as all your knowledge, or virtually all of it, certainly all science is based on memory. I assume intact memory.

So we get to the final issue. You request an additional posit. Doing that requires you to justify it in my opinion. The posits required for the existence of seeing or of the existence of the meat or the correlation between them is not what is being spoken of here. In both theories the facts of experiencing cannot be derived from the meat and something needs to be added. In both theories the correlations between the meat and the experiencing need to be added. So, the additional posit I am referring to is the soul. You posit in addition to these correlations, that there needs to be an additional entity you call a soul to which the types of experiencing are ascribed, and that entity must then be in a complex relation with both experiencing and the brain. The other theory also requires the additional positing of the facts of experiencing and of the correlations between the state of the meat and that experiencing but does not posit an additional entity, the soul, that is required in order to do the posits.

So, the second thing we would have to do is to agree that the idea of the soul is superfluous to the predictions required. It is an unnecessary assumption.

That you need to justify additional assumptions like this in a theory is something we would have to agree upon also. This cannot be done base on any evidence for the experimental basis is the same for both.

There are other points of disagreement. On whether evolution of physical systems can result in software, whether DNA is software, whether some way other than normal human reproduction will be found, whether silicone-based experiencing can be produced in a system etc. These are not minor but must be resolved only after the above issues are understood and gotten beyond.

There are also epistemic issues that have to do with the fact that seeing for me is objective fact in you but subjective fact for me and vice versa, but we cannot parse these, let alone memory, without initial agreement.

There are also certain religious notions having to do with fundamentalism that we could disagree on. I do not think Genesis says that it is a soul that was breathed into and that was there lifeless in Adam, nor the God first created Adam's soul, then gave it life and breathed it into him. Rather it is consistent with God causing Adam's body to start to see, to become alive, to change its physical state from alive to dead. If I have a bowling ball and a very strong wind I can breathe on it and make it move. In this case it could be that Adam was dead, that he was either a Zombie, or a normal human but his brain was not moving but rather dead. God fixed that. But again it would be hijacking the post

Justintruth
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:10 pm

Re: "Free will was given to man by god."

Post by Justintruth » Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:42 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:59 pm
Hmm...let me think.

We seem to have stated our cases, and now be working over some of the same ground again.
Ok, so I can summarize then:

The main question is whether experiencing can be predicated onto a physical entity making the concept of the entity not just what is currently defined in science but rather what is described in the current physical science with additional posited properties – namely the fact physical systems can experience when assembled properly. And also we must agree that, in fact, the modified description, not the current one, might be true.
Let's just say only one (posited entity) is necessary, hypothetically. What would your opinion be then?
I'm not sure how to answer this. I'm not sure what it's asking, actually.
Several points need to be clarified for you to see what it’s asking,

With respect to the nature of a posit in physics you keep asking what evidence there is for an additional posit. It is important to understand how posits work in physics to see why it is uneccessary. Entities and their properties are described. Then predictions are made based on these, and then experiments are done that are designed to detect whether the predictions are correct. If the predictions are not correct, then the theory fails.

In the case of the current physics, no prediction is made that there will be experiencing of any kind. Experiencing is presumed as a basis for experiment in the current science and many facts of experiencing, like you have to look into a telescope at one end to be able to see, are presumed but the theory itself offers no predictions that the assembly of a scientist will, or will, not result in experiencing at all.

So the question arises, can we modify it to do so?

No, evidence that it does so is required to modify the theory to say that it does. Rather, after the theory is constructed one can predict with it that a certain kind of experiencing will, or will not, occur and check whether it does.

Here is a very simple example. If you add the posit that matter assembled as it is in your brain and optical system is exposed to a certain frequency of light, then it will “red see”. I can set up a simple set of experiments to test this.

I am assuming that prior to this you have reported some experiencing that we agree to call “red seeing”. We both notice the physical conditions under which it occurs. Then we hypothesize that whenever light of some frequency is shined with some intensity into matter arranged as your brain and optical system is, a signal will proceed along the optic nerve to the brain and it will “red see”.

Notice that I am not offering any evidence that brains red see. I am only hypothesizing that they do. I do make this hypothesis based on the anecdotal evidence that when we shine a red light in your eye and take it away it changes your experiencing.

I say “red see” instead of “see red” in order to distinguish from the reaction of the that the current physical science describes, the electrochemical facts, and also to distinguish from any notion that what is outside of your body, say a stoplight, is red and what you see. The phrase “red seeing” refers to the experiencing not to anything experienced. It is an experiencing of type red. The term “red” modifies the term “experiencing”. It is an adverb not the object of the sentence. All issues that might say something like, “A rock also sees in a sense” are removed and we agree on what we are describing.

We both agree that red seeing will occur. But you will object and say that not the brain, but some other entity, the soul, is what red-sees. The soul is there “in” the brain and it is what red sees, There is a relation of correspondence, not necessarily causal, between some facts that are true about the brain always and only when red-seeing occurs but those facts are not describing what the brain is doing but are describing what is happening to another entity, the soul, that is somehow attached to your brain and correlated with it.

Further you assert that it is impossible for a brain to see because it is “just meat”.

If you look at what I am saying, we agree on this given my interpretation of your words. I interpret your phrase “just meat” to mean “just something like what is described in the current physics”. Admittedly it is a special arrangement, but that does not keep it from doing what the physics says, and the “just” in “just meat” means it does only that. By physical science we mean the physical sciences so some chemical rule for example, that is not strictly “in physics” in the academic sense but is in something like chemistry is also included. So, we agree that anything that is “just meat” cannot experience. Why? Well it is a contradiction because I just said it was “just meat”. The “merely physical”, if we think of it strictly in accordance with the models and laws currently in place will not be expected to experience. We cannot therefore form a prediction that it will on that basis. Let me be unequivocal. I agree completely and believe that this can be proven by examining current physical theories.
However, you must note that while I agree with this, I also think we are not stuck with that description. We can add a posit to the physics that a body configured as you are, not only can see but will see. Now we have a new model and we can predict in the case of you that you will see if I shine a lite in your eyes. The model is the old model with one additional posit, that it will experience under certain condition.

I point out to you also that you never seem to red see unless light is shined into your eyes and some physical signal gets to your brain somehow. We further see, via thought experiment only, that if I sever the optic nerve the seeing stops, if I damage the brain in the back of the head, the seeing stops, if I anesthetize you, the seeing stops etc. There are a host of other facts we look at that are not related just to seeing but have to do with tasting, touching hearing etc. In all cases we find neural pathways that terminate in the brain and signals on those pathways correspond with experiencing of various types. In all of these cases, it is doing something to the brain that corresponds to the red seeing.

So, I assert that there is something wrong with our theory of meat. What if you are not “just meat” as currently described but rather that you are “just meat” according to a new idea of what that means and that your meat actually can see? What if there is something wrong in that description original description and we then fix it. From now on, when I say “just meat” I will mean only the old theory not the new one. If I said “just meat” can see, that means something very different from “meat can see” for in the former I mean meat conceived as something that only can move, and in the latter something that also can move but can see as well.

You write:
Essentially, one of our basic differences is that you believe physical entities can "experience" in a non-metaphorical, "mental" kind of way. I believe there's no evidence for that, but that mental phenomena are obviously real. How we get beyond that difference would be a good question.
The first thing we have to do to “get beyond that” is for you to recognize certain facts that I am referring to that, in fact I think we agree on.
So, all of this about optic nerves, and eyes, and what you see in the mirror etc. I will presume that there is no problem here and you actually agree with me here. So, I am presuming that you agree that all red experiencing is accompanied by a brain undergoing certain purely physical reactions. There is always a certain kind of meat doing a certain kind of thing whenever you red see. I further presume that you will agree that it is the brain behind the face in the mirror that accompanies this red seeing you do. Unless certain purely physical conditions are present in your brain you will not red see (no ghosts) and whenever those conditions are there you do red see (no zombies). If I anesthetize you for example, I assume you will agree that you stop red seeing. And I presume you think you cannot leave your body and go on vacation somewhere seeing everything their while your body is back in bed.

So, that part you agree with. But you say that is because a soul, your soul, is present there in the brain along side the meat. As long as it is present, and your brain behaves in some purely physical way, then because there is a correspondence between this brain of yours and your soul’s red seeing then your soul red sees.

So, you too have a theory. There is a second kind of entity, a soul, that sees. That entity is there in my brain, it is me, and I am attached in some way of correspondence so that if, and only if, certain purely physical conditions exist in my brain then my soul red sees and that is my red seeing.

So, we have two theories. Both predict what will happen under certain purely physical stimulations

I hope you will agree that, in the case of a simple experiment of shinning red light in your eyes, what happens cannot distinguish between these two theories. So saying, “there is evidence or no” for my theory fails immediately as the evidence goes both ways.. There is also no evidence for your theory. You have no evidence for the existing of a soul that sees and a relationship with the facts of experiencing. You only know that you red see under certain conditions. Same for my theory. There is no evidence that can say that there is *not* some entity in addition to the brain there.

When I say this, I do not mean that there is no factual information at all. We can say that there is not some entity separable from the brain that flies around and can see without having the brain seeing. The fact is there is no evidence for that and there could be. But just the fact that you see red is not evidence that your theory or mine is right. There could be. For example if I could map your brain completely and I find sometimes in is in a state when you red see and sometimes it is in that same state but is not red seeing (red zombie), or if there were cases whey your brain was not in the state where it red sees usually but was in some random state that usually does not red see, or, in an extreme case I blow your whole body up but you continue to see and maybe we even continue to hear each other. But nothing like that is a fact. If those were facts your theory would work and mine would fail. But we agree no such facts exist. At least I think we agree.

What is true is that the fact that there is a brain there inside your head and its state can be used to predict your red seeing. That fact allows me to say that it is your brain red seeing. Brains can red see and I can demonstrate it by shining light in your eyes. You can also say that these facts also are consistent with there being a soul there accompanying the brain and correlated with it in minutiae.

I certainly agree that that is the case. That no evidence will ever decide the issue. I offer the analogy of an electron. If I posit that there is there, in addition to the object that has mass, an additional object that has charge, then all of the facts are as explained as if I said that there is a single electron that has both mass and charge.

Now here we get to our disagreement. You think that I must offer evidence for the fact that it is not the soul that sees but is rather the brain, and that everyone thinks it is the soul, so therefore it is true. You claim it is impossible to think otherwise. You cannot conceive how meat can see, so the idea is inconceivable.
There are several issues:

I believe that this inability to see that it is possible, not that it is the case but that it is possible, stems from an attempt to imagine the current physics in some state which, by viewing it in your mind or in practice, will allow you to see how it is red seeing and do so without equivocating on the term. Failing that, and assuming I will never ever be able to provide it such a description, or that I am just promising it perhaps in the future, you declare your inability to conceive of what I am saying even as a possibility.

I also agree that I will never be able to provide it. It cannot be done on principle, for here again you are imagining meat with merely physical properties and trying to see a way that they could move that would allow you to see, just from imagining that state, that they see.

That is impossible. But we can posit that that state that we do imagine, without possibly providing some view of its structure that would be such that the seeing was a consequence of the physical facts, does in fact see and that the facts of certain physical assemblies is not just the physical facts of where the molecules are etc. but rather also additional facts about the experiencing it is doing. We further stipulate that the mere physical facts cannot be used to derive whether seeing is going on until and unless those additions are made. Once they are made it can. As I said I think we can prove it cannot without the additions. So, then if I imagine a knee, I might realize that when I examine it’s molecules I do not see any seeing going on and so conclude that the knee doesn’t see and also when I examine the molecules of the brain, perhaps as Descartes did by shrinking himself down, I also see not any seeing going on I conclude the same thing.

I agree fully that that is impossible. That is Dan Dennet’s program and it is just hopeless in my opinion.

But a knee is not a brain. We have all of these facts that say that occurrences in a brain are correlated with experiencing in a way, that you will agree I think, events in a knee, or a door are not. Shining a red light on your knee, or in my eyes, is not correlated with red seeing by you.

So the first thing you have to do for us to close on this, is to be able to imagine “meat” in the form of your brain, doing its thing just like the current physics says, recognize that you will never see how it sees by looking at the kinds of arrangement and motion it has, and realize that just because the mere physical facts cannot cause us to predict a seeing of any kind, that does not mean that that entity might not still be the entity that sees.

To me this is the biggest disagreement we have. I, being biased to my own position 😉 believe that you must change something….

To do this you must see that multiple properties can be assigned to a single entity and that those properties do not have to be derivable, or supervene on, the other properties. Just like electric charge and gravitational mass cannot be reduced to each other and seeing an electron fall in gravity will not allow you to conclude that it is charged, does not mean that you cannot posit that it is the electron that has both mass and also has charge. You cannot look at the properties of “just meat” and say that because you cannot see from them that meat sees, conclude that mead does not see. You cannot derive, by imagining the device that is your brain moving around in some way, that it will be seeing, but that does not mean that it is not that assembly that is seeing, for you can posit that it is in*addition* to its other properties. You can do that only because of the “if and only if” that exists between that certain class of physical organization and red seeing.

Once you do have that accomplished. Once you can see what that means you can test the theory by shining a light in your own eyes. Until you do that no use in moving on. Remember we are not asking whether meat sees. Here we are just asking whether it is a possible state of affairs.

So, now I am going to assume that you can see that, something that you have not shown evidence of doing I admit. I am going to assume that you can see that it is possible that it is the brain seeing and that if it is, and brains in general red see along certain principles, you will now be able to predict that if you shine the red light into your eyes you will red see and do it and test it.

But wait, there is still another issue. Just because it possibly can does not mean it does. What about your theory? It also predicts this same seeing, but it says that in addition to the brain there is a soul and that it is the soul that red sees.

Ok, I agree that if there is a soul, in relation to the brain as you describe then the experiment will also confirm the predictions and we can predict that when I stimulate this brain in a certain way a corresponding event will occur in some other object called the soul and it is that that is my seeing.

We have an issue because sometimes you say that there are facts that the brain sees does not explain and so Occam’s principle does not hold because all things are not equal. But you fail to provide any of those facts. My opinion is that the reason is that you look at the meat and can’t imagine it moving or being arranged so that you can see how it is seeing and then conclude that there are additional facts. I agree that there is additional but not additional posit of the soul but actually additional facts – the fact of seeing. I already agree that those facts are additional. That they cannot be predicted by the mere physical arrangement as physics describes now. I further say that no future proposed design will allow you to see that it does. But as described above that does not mean that it is not that arrangement that is seeing. So, there is no additional fact introduced. Only the posits change. You have never been able to come up with anything, like the presence of a ghost or a zombie to refute it.

Memory is a deep problem in all of this and I deliberately set it aside noting that if your argument rests on memory then you cannot conclude that we have ever corresponded – fake news - and you know nothing as all your knowledge, or virtually all of it, certainly all science is based on memory. I assume intact memory.

So we get to the final issue. You request an additional posit. Doing that requires you to justify it in my opinion. The posits required for the existence of seeing or of the existence of the meat or the correlation between them is not what is being spoken of here. In both theories the facts of experiencing cannot be derived from the meat and something needs to be added. In both theories the correlations between the meat and the experiencing need to be added. So, the additional posit I am referring to is the soul. You posit in addition to these correlations, that there needs to be an additional entity you call a soul to which the types of experiencing are ascribed, and that entity must then be in a complex relation with both experiencing and the brain. The other theory also requires the additional positing of the facts of experiencing and of the correlations between the state of the meat and that experiencing but does not posit an additional entity, the soul, that is required in order to do the posits.

So, the second thing we would have to do is to agree that the idea of the soul is superfluous to the predictions required. It is an unnecessary assumption.

That you need to justify additional assumptions like this in a theory is something we would have to agree upon also. This cannot be done base on any evidence for the experimental basis is the same for both.

There are other points of disagreement. On whether evolution of physical systems can result in software, whether DNA is software, whether some way other than normal human reproduction will be found, whether silicone-based experiencing can be produced in a system etc. These are not minor but must be resolved only after the above issues are understood and gotten beyond.

There are also epistemic issues that have to do with the fact that seeing for me is objective fact in you but subjective fact for me and vice versa, but we cannot parse these, let alone memory, without initial agreement.

There are also certain religious notions having to do with fundamentalism that we could disagree on. I do not think Genesis says that it is a soul that was breathed into and that was there lifeless in Adam, nor the God first created Adam's soul, then gave it life and breathed it into him. Rather it is consistent with God causing Adam's body to start to see, to become alive, to change its physical state from alive to dead. If I have a bowling ball and a very strong wind I can breathe on it and make it move. In this case it could be that Adam was dead, that he was either a Zombie, or a normal human but his brain was not moving but rather dead. God fixed that. But again it would be hijacking the post

Justintruth
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:10 pm

Re: "Free will was given to man by god."

Post by Justintruth » Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:43 pm

Sorry, second hit on the Submit button I guess.

waxberry4@gmail.com
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:56 pm

Re: "Free will was given to man by god."

Post by waxberry4@gmail.com » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:01 pm

Belinda wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:17 am
God determines everything that has happened or will ever happen. So that men could choose to obey God, or not as the case may be, God gave men Free Will by special dispensation so that men apart from all other created things could choose to obey God and not have to act from necessity like plants and cows and things.
This is entirely nonsense. First of all, belief is not a choice. If someone believes there is a God, then he/she is compelled to obey in fear of punishment.

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 6385
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: "Free will was given to man by god."

Post by Immanuel Can » Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:30 pm

waxberry4@gmail.com wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:01 pm
If someone believes there is a God, then he/she is compelled to obey in fear of punishment.
Not at all.

It's not automatic that if a person believes in God, he or she is going to think "punishment" instantly. Why would that follow? One would also have to have some apprehension of one's own sin, and of alienation from God, and of divine judgment to get any sense that "punishment" was possibly an outcome of the existence of God.

But let's grant that some measure of apprehension of that might be possible. Still, why is "fear of punishment" the only motive you would entertain? Could not "admiration," or "love," or "gratitude" play into a person's motivation for seeking to please God? What would be the reason for thinking the former a better or more likely motive than any of the latter?

And if God Himself were to offer something far better than punishment, and a person could take it and have no fear at all thereafter, then not only would fear not be part of the motive, it wouldn't any longer be any part of it.

Or, as the Bible puts it, "Perfect love casts out fear."

waxberry4@gmail.com
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:56 pm

Re: "Free will was given to man by god."

Post by waxberry4@gmail.com » Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:30 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:30 pm
waxberry4@gmail.com wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:01 pm
If someone believes there is a God, then he/she is compelled to obey in fear of punishment.
Not at all.

It's not automatic that if a person believes in God, he or she is going to think "punishment" instantly. Why would that follow? One would also have to have some apprehension of one's own sin, and of alienation from God, and of divine judgment to get any sense that "punishment" was possibly an outcome of the existence of God.

But let's grant that some measure of apprehension of that might be possible. Still, why is "fear of punishment" the only motive you would entertain? Could not "admiration," or "love," or "gratitude" play into a person's motivation for seeking to please God? What would be the reason for thinking the former a better or more likely motive than any of the latter?

And if God Himself were to offer something far better than punishment, and a person could take it and have no fear at all thereafter, then not only would fear not be part of the motive, it wouldn't any longer be any part of it.

Or, as the Bible puts it, "Perfect love casts out fear."
You still fail to demonstrate any part of the process is free.
In part one you pointed out that one can disobey God in ignorance of the consequence, but ignorance is not freely chosen.
Once someone apprehends the consequence of disobedience, one will be compelled to obey due to fear, and fear is not freely chosen.
Then you mentioned that love can overcome fear. Assume that's true, but love is not freely chosen either.
In any event if one obeys due to love or fear, it's a result of things beyond one's control, and I don't see how one can disobey in either case.

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 6385
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: "Free will was given to man by god."

Post by Immanuel Can » Mon Nov 18, 2019 1:58 pm

waxberry4@gmail.com wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:30 am
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:30 pm
waxberry4@gmail.com wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:01 pm
If someone believes there is a God, then he/she is compelled to obey in fear of punishment.
Not at all.

It's not automatic that if a person believes in God, he or she is going to think "punishment" instantly. Why would that follow? One would also have to have some apprehension of one's own sin, and of alienation from God, and of divine judgment to get any sense that "punishment" was possibly an outcome of the existence of God.

But let's grant that some measure of apprehension of that might be possible. Still, why is "fear of punishment" the only motive you would entertain? Could not "admiration," or "love," or "gratitude" play into a person's motivation for seeking to please God? What would be the reason for thinking the former a better or more likely motive than any of the latter?

And if God Himself were to offer something far better than punishment, and a person could take it and have no fear at all thereafter, then not only would fear not be part of the motive, it wouldn't any longer be any part of it.

Or, as the Bible puts it, "Perfect love casts out fear."
You still fail to demonstrate any part of the process is free.
I wasn't trying to. I was simply suggesting that what you implied was a "compelled" reaction to belief in God isn't "compelled" at all. There are other ways of thinking things through. And it is these other ways that Theists like me take, not the one you supposed we ought to take.
In part one you pointed out that one can disobey God in ignorance of the consequence, but ignorance is not freely chosen.
I'm sorry...I must have missed the line to which you are aiming to refer. Can you quote the "part" to which you are alluding?
... love is not freely chosen either.
Some people think that. But they're not thinking carefully. When you agree to date, or agree to marry someone, do you not choose it freely?

User avatar
henry quirk
Posts: 4975
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:07 pm

"If someone believes there is a God, then he/she is compelled to obey in fear of punishment."

Post by henry quirk » Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:53 pm

I'm a deist. My god has issued no marching orders, so there's nuthin' for me to obey, and no deific punishment to fear.

There, some tobacco for you to put in your pipe.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests