Immanuel Can wrote: ↑
Fri May 31, 2019 4:22 pm
So in this case, (the case of someone with apnea that is anesthetized) consciousness is required (for breathing). And that's interesting.
In order to establish that you would have to know whether it is impossible to remove the consciousness and retain the breathing. Since we don’t know the details of what causes consciousness, we can’t be sure that there is not some functionality, in addition to that that produces consciousness, that is also interrupted by the anesthesia.
…. let's accept that humanly speaking, there's no evidence for consciousness beyond death.
Science, then, is powerless to provide anything but "absence of evidence" in this case, and can't get us "evidence of absence."
Science does establish what we do have evidence for and also the fact that we don’t have evidence for the rest. In the context of our conversation, you were saying we don’t know what happens after death, and so there may be basically a ghost occurring, which would be a good reason to posit some separate entity on which to predicate the realities of consciousness. But until we have evidence of those ghosts that is substantial, the abstract possibility of life after death cannot be used to justify the additional posit.
…what if we accept that science is not the totality of truth?
Mathematics is a fine counter example. There are many others. In fact, science is not a truth, it is a method for establishing the truth of certain kinds of facts – basically, the facts of nature based on our sense of it.
…(Sciences) pertain only to a certain, bounded way of looking at a question..… we're going to find all physiological "answers" a bit dusty and reductive.
Science can provide us with the physiological basis for our experiencing and document what physical mechanisms are required for what types of experiencing. There is no reduction once the idea that matter can experience is accepted.
Look, imagine there is a train coming to hit you, and you see it in the distance. If I put your eye out it won’t stop the train, but it will stop your experiencing of it. It’s the same way with other meanings. I can stop you from experiencing mathematics, or aesthetics, or a history, with a simple gunshot to the head, but that does not mean I have ended mathematics, aesthetics, or history. Even if I exterminated all sentience those facts would remain. Our experiencing is a contingent set of facts that are different from some other facts which we say have “independent” existence or “are in themselves”.
There is a problem with aesthetics that is different from the other cases. The nature of good may be necessary or not. Basically, the relationship between ontology and the good (that God is good, in the old religious terms) is uncertain. It may not be necessary but rather a contingent association that evolved as part of making us desire to live. “Being is good” translates to a desire to survive which motivates action to survive, which in turn confers survival advantage biologically. Certainly it seems that way. Our desire not just for our own lives but also our desire and action to protect that cute baby, or spouse, or even our race, fellow countrymen, or species. We don’t yet know how the will, and desire, function in evolution because mechanistic biology has dominated and there is not yet a way to understand what desire and the will are physically.
Look at lizards and insects. A good question is how their survival instincts work out in their consciousness, desire and action. There certainly seems to be a kind of mammalian heritage that we have. It is possible that our aesthetics are a kind of mammalian chauvinism. Why are we so prejudiced against the Borg of Star Trek? Why are we repelled by reptiles or insects – even the tails of rats?
All of these issues can be worked by positing that matter experiences, desires and acts. They can also be worked by positing that matter does no such thing, but that there is a separate consciousness that does these things and there is a relation between the two. But since either way works, you cannot cite the realities of desire and action as a requirement for the second posit. And where only one works it is a better solution.
But one of the limitations of science is that it refuses to deal with the truly unique, un reproduceable and untestable.
But the fact is that, as in anesthesiology, ophthalmology and so on, we can do science on the ability of matter to experience and what types of experiencing are related to what types of assemblies. It is remarkably reproducible and testable. There is a lot of good science being done on it all the time.
The problem remains this: that there are realms of experience, like consciousness, morality, mind, meaning, aesthetic judgment, and so on, that everybody but hard-headed Materialists believes to exist, and in fact, upon which every human being acts every day of their lives, but about which science itself is having a great deal of trouble speaking. And that's not a reason for rejecting science, but rather a reason to question whether our science is capable of dealing with everything that really exists.
The reason science is having trouble is not predominately the small philosophical issue we are describing. Science has be remarkably un-impeded by scientism. Rather there are technical obstacles that stand in the way of mapping and recording the neuronal connections and firings. We can do only very crude activity levels. No one has a map of all of the connections that exist in a brain.
https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists ... image-ever
What it took to make that map was primarily technical and did not involve these kinds of discussions. That does not mean that we don’t need these discussions. Just that they are not the major obstacle.
The limitations of science cannot be used to establish the need for the posit of a separate entity. You seem to be arguing that science studies the mere material facts, and since there are more than the mere material facts, we need to posit some entity, separate from the brain on which to posit the non-mere material facts of experiencing. But that doesn’t follow. We can posit that matter has more than mere physical properties. We can posit that it sees, feels, thinks, acts etc. So, I don’t see how the limitations of science are relevant as the study of the structure and activity of the brain and its relationship to experiencing, feeling, thinking, acting is clearly within its capabilities. Whether there is something fundamentally not repeatable may be the case but so much is repeatable that it is basically irrelevant. It certainly cannot be used to justify the need for the second posit you advocate.
….from the human side, we are making no progress. But what about the Divine side?
Side? Side of what?
Look, basically if you want to understand God you have to understand metaphysics. You have to understand the ontological possibilities of the human being. Now that means you must understand more than nature. Not just more than natural science, but more than nature itself. But again, this is irrelevant because that does not have to do with the proper posits to make back over in the human side where we are talking. Matter, organized into the right brains, doped with the right hormones, worships. That does not mean that worship is mere matter. Only that “mere” matter is not all that matter is. Matter can worship. It can love, etc. But those facts are relevant. Look, can lizards worship? Insects? How about dogs? What kinds of devices can be constructed that worship and what are the types of worship that can be created? All of that can be understood no matter whether we posit that it is matter worshipping or whether we posit that it some consciousness worshiping with some kind of relationship to matter. But you can site religion to discriminate this. It is William Occam you need.
IF (and let us just say this as a theory for the moment, not as a fact claim) there is a God, can He (in theory) reveal something to us that science cannot discover?
Ok, if you think there is a question of whether there is a God, and that that question can be resolved by a contingent fact, like this. ”It’s possible there is a God and possible there is not. But If, in fact there is a God, blah, blah, blah…” If you think like that, you will never understand God. God is necessarily not contingently. Now understanding whether the universe is the syntax of a language, a message given, a relationship, not a message given in time but the message of time , and of eternal fact, and whether you can conceive of that giving as not being a temporal act but rather a necessary structure of being, not that the universe could not have been otherwise but rather that it could not have been other than the message, then you are onto something. Good luck with it. It’s very difficult material.
Could He, for example, reveal His own existence? Could He tell us what happens after death? Could He tell us what objective morality is? Could He explain the meaning of life?
Sure, all of it is possible if the right sense is maintained. But this is far afield from the question we are discussing. If it works out that way, and it works out that we can experience it, that does not settle the issue we are discussing for all of that can, for us, be predicated on the brain. In other words, if the religious view is true it does not mean that we are not contingent material beings. Our union with God is metaphysical and does not decide the contingent physical facts of our neurology and what it is capable of. Nor can it decide whether we can predicate it onto the physics without requiring some second, also contingent reality, you are calling a mind.
… it raises the question of how a universe without a God would be quite different from one with a God –
There can be no possible universe without God as that possibility would still have to “be”. But the issue founders in understanding the meaning of the term. Most people believe the term refers to a contingent entity. Once you believe that the issue can be determined factually, “Possibly there is a God but in fact is there one or not?”, then the answer, for that notion, is “No there is not”. Nor could there be as any contingent God would not be God but would be some creature in need of a Creator. There is more than nature, more than physics, there is the supernatural, the metaphysical. That is not a natural fact.
But again, these kinds of discussions do not decide the natural fact, that it appears that our brains are what is experiencing. That is a contingent fact of us – not of God but of our contingent natures. We gain access to those facts through our sense. Just go and look in the mirror and then go and look in a chimpanzee cage and think about it. It is your brain that is reading this after the signal entered your head through your eyes. That is a true, contingent, fact and there does not seem to me to be the need to introduce a separate conscious contingent entity. Nor can the theological arguments apply. God could easily have created a world in which matter experiences – to phrase in those troublesome theological terms.
And it would mean that human science, as great as it is, could not rationally be viewed as the totality of truth, but only as a part of truth...that is, a certain set of truths about the Material world
Better to say “a certain set of truths about the nature of the world”. The fact of matter is a whole other problem. Modern physics is in many ways no longer a material science. But it is still natural science. We are talking about one of those facts of science, not something else. The issue is the need to posit scientifically, some entity, in addition to the brain, that experiences. That is not decided by the issue of whether such a brain could experience God. It could be that all religious experiencing in the universe is done by physical brains. It could also be that that is not true. The decision is decided by the natural facts. If you can go and find two identical physical brains in which one is conscious and the other is not, if you could leave your body and return, if you look in a mirror and see that no one is there and try to feel your stomach and feel nothing, yet you continue to be experiencing then a separate posit is necessary. That does not appear to be true factually. Logically it is possible. Factually it may never occur.
What would not make sense (and this is what I'm arguing against) is if we said, "Well, one thing is one posit; and those loonies who thing there ought to be more want at least two posits, so they must be wrong.”
Why not three then? Or ten? Why not have a slew of them? See Occam.
….a human entity is plausibly comprised of two co-ordinated entities, both body and soul. It just may be, as the Bible insists it is, that "body" is not only one thing.
Oh I think many Rabbis would disagree with you on that. Can you show me where the bible says – no not just “says”, “insists”? The authors of the bible were not even aware of this question as far as I can tell. Pre-scientific.
I can't reproduce a black hole...but they are real.
On principle you can produce a black hole. You just need to gather enough matter together.
….we're trying to ….(whether) "materials" are the totality of all that is real. And that's the basic theory I'm disputing. I'm saying that Materialism is narrow and dogmatic, not inclusive of all phenomena and not grounded in reason. It's a faith position only, and in the worst sense of that word.
Fine rhetoric. Those damn materialists! But is just so unfocused. They have the advantage of focus. Focus will not make you narrow. Nor will it make you dogmatic. To say something is true does not mean you are excluding the fact that other things might also be true. If I have a dog, I may also have a cat. You are just setting up a false dilemma.
But here is the interesting part. You don’t know why you are interested in doing it. You don’t realize how your body works and why. When you consider the existence of a soul that satisfies you. You don’t understand that it is the removal of that satisfaction that threatens you. Most importantly you don’t realize that there is no threat. That the facts of our physical existence do not prevent any form of awareness.
Justintruth wrote: ↑
Fri May 31, 2019 2:28 pm
The current physics predicts zombies. That is why it needs to be fixed. David Chalmers championed this view.
Then why would you say that Materialism is all there is? .
Because, we are not talking about the current physics but how it might be modified.
If it's so clear that the present physics is predicting wildly wrongly, then it ought also to be clear that something is profoundly deficient in our present understanding of physics.
Exactly. That is the point.
Justintruth wrote: ↑
Fri May 31, 2019 2:28 pm
it could be that the matter itself so assembled experiences.
This claim …creates an "emergent" problem. How does "mind" spring from that which has no mind? That needs a very precise sort of explanation, if we are to accept it as a theory. And we have none. But it also just assumes that things "assemble" themselves, without even trying to describe what power or intelligence "assembles" these things. That's awfully close to magical thinking, and it's certainly bad explaining
Again, I refer you to Dan Dennet of design and evolution. He is not a good philosopher in my opinion but has this right. No designer is necessary, nor is magic. Its random mutation and natural selection. Evolution.
In terms of emergence, remember that you have the problem there too. How does physics emerge? The hard problem of consciousness championed by Chalmers has a twin, the hard problem of existence. Why is there any physics at all? And if there are conscious entities which are not physical, then how did they emerge.
If you think that you can ever use the existing physics to show how consciousness evolved you are wrong. The existing physics does not predict consciousness as a property of any state vector. It lacks the right operators.
Emergence. Another red herring.
…things that are genuinely random do not "design" themselves.
Sorry, but they do. This has been demonstrated both in simulations and utilizing things in the lab.
…It's (emergence of designed entities) a demonstration of the second law of thermodynamics, essentially.
Actually, that law predicts that matter cannot evolve without some energy input from outside of the system. Walla! The sun! Almost the entire biota is feeding off the sun. That which is not is feeding off of volcanic thermal energy in deep marine trenches. Find a life form that does not have some source of external energy and you will have the violation you believe is there.
So we can expect no "design" to happen by means of chaos.
Chaos is a whole other subject. Some deterministic systems evidence chaos which is the fact that a small uncertainty in the initial conditions rapidly grows. Weather works like that. But your hand does not. If I cut off your hand and mark the positions of the molecules and predict what will happen if I, then alter those positions very slightly and then run a simulation of how they will evolve on both sets of data you get nearly the same answer. If you take and glue a rack of billiard balls together and shake the table you get a very different result than if you do not use glue. The latter is chaotic not the former and our biology is not very chaotic.
So now we've got two problems: one, how did design appear, and secondly, how did the designed thing become conscious?
The design evolved. Because matter can become conscious when assembled the right way, the assembly that evolved resulted in conscious brains.
Now what you should really ask is whether and how consciousness itself conferred a survival advantage. That is a difficult question but not one that can't be answered.
… "brain" is limited to the materials. Materials don't experience.
Now who was it that was dogmatic?
It (consciousness) hasn't been "accounted for," there: instead, it's been denied by way of saying, "It's just the brain." That's mere Reductionism, not explanation, if "mind" is a real thing.
I have already told you that what I am saying is not a reduction to the current physics but an expansion of it so that there is no reduction.
…"mind" … cannot be dismissed as "materials,"
There is no dismissal if by “materials” we are not limited to the current physics.
"Primate" is a word from the old, now failed, ape-to-man theory. No present Evolutionists thinks that we are descended directly from apes.
Sorry, you just are not reflecting the facts.
… "assembly" is only complexity, not consciousness
Not if consciousness always occurs with certain types of assemblies and never without them. It is then just another property of matter.
… You are yourself a "cluster of cells," if that explanation is sufficient
It is once you realize that a cluster of the right cells, clustered in the right way thinks, feels, prays, whatever you want to put in there.
I said "supposition," not "assumption." One can have all kinds of "assumptions" for which one has no basis...but if you turn it into a "supposition," you are expecting rational persons to have to share it as a premise in an argument. You are asking them to "suppose" it too. And that brings back in their right to ask for proof.
So you need proof to suppose something is true and when you do it is not an assumption? So are we supposing that an electron has electric charge? Because if your asking me whether a human brain can think I suppose it can. You do too or you wouldn’t be worried about what happens to it. Just stop eating for a while and see what happens.