I had a theological debate with myself tonight.
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24-09-2012, 07:07 PM
RE: I had a theological debate with myself tonight.
(24-09-2012 02:17 PM)Egor Wrote:  
(24-09-2012 12:24 PM)Phaedrus Wrote:  I want a response to my discrediting of the "soul" concept.

If souls exist as described, they interact with the brain.

If they interact with the brain, that interaction is measurable.

We have not measured it.

Until we do measure it, the null hypothesis, the reasonable stance to take, is that souls probably do not exist.

Who says it has to be measurable? It is curious that the only organ of the body we don't really have a clue about is the brain, and we don't even have a decent theory of how the mind works, and yet the entire field of psychiatry (a field that pays my bills, by the way) is dedicated to treating illnesses of the mind.

I think the reason we don't understand how the mind interacts with the brain is because in our current way of analyzing natural phenomena, we will not admit into possibility anything that is not part of the physical universe.

To willfully raise my arm and pick up my coffee cup, my brain must fire neurons in exactly the right way to get exactly the right motor neurons to activate the exact muscles in exactly the right proportions. Moreover, all my other senses come into play in order to feed information to my brain, and ultimately to my mind, in order regulate the movements needed to take a sip.

Evidently, the mind is able to fire neurons. Technically, that would make it a form of telekenesis. But chemical reactions ultimately start at the quantum level, and no one fully understands the behavior of subatomic particles, which often behave in a manner that seems magical (such as the two slit experiment with photons).

There is a physical universe, but it is a manifestation of a mental universe. On one side of the coin is the physical world, on the other the world of mind, just like in a dream. In a dream there are all the trappings of a physical universe (air, ground, gravity, people, objects), but they are all just images constructed and controlled by the mind of the dreamer.

You want a physical explanation for how the mind stimulates the brain, but there isn't a physical explanation. Really, how could there be? No

We know a great deal about how the brain works, more so every day. You should subscribe to Scientific American: MIND, an actual scientific journal written at a level understandable by scientifically literate laymen devoted to neurology and the study of the mind. The stories there will blow your mind at how far science has come.

We know that the brain is based on physical processes, and we can alter humans' minds at a fundamental level by altering those physical processes. If the "soul" interacts with the brain in any meaningful way (ie, it causes you to change your mind about something) then it must affect your brain chemistry or electrical state in some way. We don't observe that. In fact, we see the brain making decisions before the conscious "mind" does. And we don't see any fundamental differences between human brains and other animal brains, other than different proportions of different areas.

Memory is physical. Thought is physical. Emotion is physical. The subconscious is physical. We've found nothing like a soul.

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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24-09-2012, 11:58 PM
 
RE: I had a theological debate with myself tonight.
I really hate this kind of amateur faith in neuroscience. We know how neurons fire, yes. We know the various areas of the brain that seem to have a connection with various areas of bodily function and even emotional responses and higher learning, but there is this thing called the mind, and it is integral to how the brain works, and frankly we don't have a clue. We know about mental illness, in that we can classify groups of symptoms. By accident, we have discovered some chemicals that seem to help with some of those symptoms (e.g., more serotonin in the synapses seems to decrease the symptoms of depression, less dopamine in the synapses seems to help alleviate the positive symptoms of psychosis, and anti-seizure medication seems to control mania), but we don't have a clue what the mind is, how it functions, nothing. There's not even an agreed upon theory of mind at this time.

The mind can apparently use the brain to control the body. The common wisdom is that the brain generates the mind through the action of neurons, but there is nothing at all anywhere to support that, it just seems like the brain and mind are connected at the cranium somehow. Current, atheistic thinking does not allow for anything except for the mind being generated by the actions of the brain, and I believe this is what keeps us from ever understanding how the mind works on a fundamental level. Science, as needs be, is atheistic in its approach, so we may never know how the mind works.

In my own studies, and microscopic observations, I have seen undeniable examples of conscious action in microbes that have no nervous system whatsoever (search Google for "discriminate learning in paramecium"). I have experienced profound examples of precognition in my own dreams (four to date). This being the case, I cannot conclude that the brain generates the mind.

THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT GOD EXISTS!

At least not in any conventional way we think of God. In fact, quite the opposite: If there is "mind" and if it is a function of the universe, this points to a kind of acosmic monism that links all the arguments for the existence of God together and presents us with a being that is the only possible thing that can existence. That being the case, there is no God. There is no God because there is only God and God does not have a God.

We will never understand the nature of reality through science--we will only understand a bit of it. We will never know anything through religion, because it is open to infinite interpretations of its symbolism. In the future, if we are to do any better than we are doing as a species, we will have to find a completely new way of understanding. I have no idea what that way is.

Right now, we simply cannot see the forest for all the trees.
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25-09-2012, 12:08 AM
 
RE: I had a theological debate with myself tonight.
(24-09-2012 04:31 PM)Vosur Wrote:  And here we have another unsubstantiated hypothesis. You can talk gibberish all day long for all I care, but don't expect anyone to take you seriously when the only evidence you have is incredibly weak anecdotal evidence (dreams of being a god, precognition, etc.).

I don't give a fuck what you believe or what you think you know. I don't care if atheism is true or if theism is true. If God exists, He is impossible to understand. If God doesn't exist, we are just chemical reactions reacting to one another in a cold unconscious universe.

You think science understands the brain and the mind, but that's only because you don't know and you have been told it does. If you were in the field, you would realize there's a difference betweent he science created by drug companies selling pharmaceuticals and the reality of the human condition. But you're on the outside, so you believe what you are led to believe.

You think there is no God; you want there to be no God, and you need there to be no God in order to maintain your lifestyle and frame of mind. Fine. I don't give a shit if there's a God. That's the difference between you and me. That's why I am more objective in my analysis of the question of whether or not God exists.
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25-09-2012, 12:09 AM
 
RE: I had a theological debate with myself tonight.
(24-09-2012 07:03 PM)Chas Wrote:  Your argument from ignorance is utterly convincing. I bow before you. Bowing

Good. Then you are right where you belong. Thumbsup
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25-09-2012, 12:10 AM
RE: I had a theological debate with myself tonight.
Your argument is still one of ignorance"

"We don't know how consciousness (a less vague term than "mind") is connected to the brain; therefore consciousness must be somehow separate from the brain, and since we haven't observed anything separate it must be somehow beyond natural means, either supernatural or a 'function of the universe'," whatever that's supposed to mean. I'm sorry, but that's not sound thinking.


The rainbow was once beyond natural means to understand.

Disease was once beyond natural means to understand.

The origins of the universe was once beyond natural means to understand.


And yet, we've licked all those problems.


Science seems to be very, very good at unveiling the supposedly unknowable. We might not figure out the consciousness problem, but we've solved a heluva lot of other tough problems and we're learning a heluva lot about the brain. Give it time before you declare it unknowable.

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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25-09-2012, 12:21 AM
 
RE: I had a theological debate with myself tonight.
(24-09-2012 07:07 PM)Phaedrus Wrote:  
(24-09-2012 02:17 PM)Egor Wrote:  Who says it has to be measurable? It is curious that the only organ of the body we don't really have a clue about is the brain, and we don't even have a decent theory of how the mind works, and yet the entire field of psychiatry (a field that pays my bills, by the way) is dedicated to treating illnesses of the mind.

I think the reason we don't understand how the mind interacts with the brain is because in our current way of analyzing natural phenomena, we will not admit into possibility anything that is not part of the physical universe.

To willfully raise my arm and pick up my coffee cup, my brain must fire neurons in exactly the right way to get exactly the right motor neurons to activate the exact muscles in exactly the right proportions. Moreover, all my other senses come into play in order to feed information to my brain, and ultimately to my mind, in order regulate the movements needed to take a sip.

Evidently, the mind is able to fire neurons. Technically, that would make it a form of telekenesis. But chemical reactions ultimately start at the quantum level, and no one fully understands the behavior of subatomic particles, which often behave in a manner that seems magical (such as the two slit experiment with photons).

There is a physical universe, but it is a manifestation of a mental universe. On one side of the coin is the physical world, on the other the world of mind, just like in a dream. In a dream there are all the trappings of a physical universe (air, ground, gravity, people, objects), but they are all just images constructed and controlled by the mind of the dreamer.

You want a physical explanation for how the mind stimulates the brain, but there isn't a physical explanation. Really, how could there be? No

We know a great deal about how the brain works, more so every day. You should subscribe to Scientific American: MIND, an actual scientific journal written at a level understandable by scientifically literate laymen devoted to neurology and the study of the mind. The stories there will blow your mind at how far science has come.

We know that the brain is based on physical processes, and we can alter humans' minds at a fundamental level by altering those physical processes. If the "soul" interacts with the brain in any meaningful way (ie, it causes you to change your mind about something) then it must affect your brain chemistry or electrical state in some way. We don't observe that. In fact, we see the brain making decisions before the conscious "mind" does. And we don't see any fundamental differences between human brains and other animal brains, other than different proportions of different areas.

Memory is physical. Thought is physical. Emotion is physical. The subconscious is physical. We've found nothing like a soul.

You don't realize how idiotic you sound. You sound like someone who's read too many popular magazines, and because atheism is your faith, there is no reason to argue with you, but let me ask you something:

How do neurons store memories? And if the brain is the harddrive, what knows the contents of the brain so that it can be searched for memories? Like when we try to remember something.

The question is rhetorical. Like I said to the last idiot: Believe whatever you want to believe. Read whatever magazines support your position. The fact is (and I realize it's useless to state facts to a religious person), we have no idea about the mind. We don't know how it works; we don't know how it can do what it does; and we damn sure don't know how it controls the brain.

Oh, and by the way, let me introduce you to a little logic: If the brain starts to react to make a decision before we are conscious of it, that doesn't mean the brain is generating consciousness, it means that something is firing the brain that we are not aware of, and the mystery simply gets deeper.

And when it comes to animals. Only a completely sheltered animal-hater would think that animals are not conscious. The animal in my avatar is not only conscious but is the queen of human manipulation.
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25-09-2012, 12:34 AM
RE: I had a theological debate with myself tonight.
And you've made a number of fallacies, strawmen, and plain old ad hominems. Classy. "Atheism is a faith" even. Nice.

You're just getting hung up on the concept of experience, of consciousness. The "I" in "I think therefore I am". And yes, that's what I'm talking about when I say science hasn't discovered just what it is yet. But to therefore say that understanding what experience/consciousness/I is is beyond the reach of science is an argument from ignorance. And when it comes to neurology, it's interesting to note that the more and more neurology discovers about the brain, the smaller and more ethereal the concept of the soul becomes. It's moving the goalposts and, if I may coin a phrase, a "soul in the gaps" argument.

The difference between consciousness and god is that we know consciousness exists, or at least I know mine does. Since everything else that exists has either been explained by science or is a scientific work in progress, I do not consider it a great leap of faith to believe that science will eventually crack the riddle of the "I". It's cracked every other riddle we've thrown at it and either illuminated reality or dispelled superstition.

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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25-09-2012, 03:22 AM
RE: I had a theological debate with myself tonight.
EGOR SMASH!!!

The more you interact with that guy, the meaner greener he gets. Ohmy

Yet his "god of this gap" contention contains an element that is attacked almost instinctively by atheists when it is something we all - or mostly - agree with. Manufactured purpose. He's got his monogod, I got my Gwynnies, Stark's got Mary Jane, Erx's got Mary Palm... Tongue

If there's any problem with the big E, it is that he has too much fun being an asshole. Big Grin

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25-09-2012, 07:03 AM
RE: I had a theological debate with myself tonight.
(24-09-2012 11:58 PM)Egor Wrote:  I really hate this kind of amateur faith in neuroscience. We know how neurons fire, yes. We know the various areas of the brain that seem to have a connection with various areas of bodily function and even emotional responses and higher learning, but there is this thing called the mind, and it is integral to how the brain works, and frankly we don't have a clue. We know about mental illness, in that we can classify groups of symptoms. By accident, we have discovered some chemicals that seem to help with some of those symptoms (e.g., more serotonin in the synapses seems to decrease the symptoms of depression, less dopamine in the synapses seems to help alleviate the positive symptoms of psychosis, and anti-seizure medication seems to control mania), but we don't have a clue what the mind is, how it functions, nothing. There's not even an agreed upon theory of mind at this time.

The mind can apparently use the brain to control the body. The common wisdom is that the brain generates the mind through the action of neurons, but there is nothing at all anywhere to support that, it just seems like the brain and mind are connected at the cranium somehow. Current, atheistic thinking does not allow for anything except for the mind being generated by the actions of the brain, and I believe this is what keeps us from ever understanding how the mind works on a fundamental level. Science, as needs be, is atheistic in its approach, so we may never know how the mind works.

In my own studies, and microscopic observations, I have seen undeniable examples of conscious action in microbes that have no nervous system whatsoever (search Google for "discriminate learning in paramecium"). I have experienced profound examples of precognition in my own dreams (four to date). This being the case, I cannot conclude that the brain generates the mind.

THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT GOD EXISTS!

At least not in any conventional way we think of God. In fact, quite the opposite: If there is "mind" and if it is a function of the universe, this points to a kind of acosmic monism that links all the arguments for the existence of God together and presents us with a being that is the only possible thing that can existence. That being the case, there is no God. There is no God because there is only God and God does not have a God.

We will never understand the nature of reality through science--we will only understand a bit of it. We will never know anything through religion, because it is open to infinite interpretations of its symbolism. In the future, if we are to do any better than we are doing as a species, we will have to find a completely new way of understanding. I have no idea what that way is.

Right now, we simply cannot see the forest for all the trees.

Your argument from ignorance is very convincing. I now believe in the soul.Thumbsup

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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25-09-2012, 07:36 AM
RE: I had a theological debate with myself tonight.
(25-09-2012 12:08 AM)Egor Wrote:  
(24-09-2012 04:31 PM)Vosur Wrote:  And here we have another unsubstantiated hypothesis. You can talk gibberish all day long for all I care, but don't expect anyone to take you seriously when the only evidence you have is incredibly weak anecdotal evidence (dreams of being a god, precognition, etc.).

I don't give a fuck what you believe or what you think you know. I don't care if atheism is true or if theism is true. If God exists, He is impossible to understand. If God doesn't exist, we are just chemical reactions reacting to one another in a cold unconscious universe.

You think science understands the brain and the mind, but that's only because you don't know and you have been told it does. If you were in the field, you would realize there's a difference betweent he science created by drug companies selling pharmaceuticals and the reality of the human condition. But you're on the outside, so you believe what you are led to believe.

You think there is no God; you want there to be no God, and you need there to be no God in order to maintain your lifestyle and frame of mind. Fine. I don't give a shit if there's a God. That's the difference between you and me. That's why I am more objective in my analysis of the question of whether or not God exists.
(25-09-2012 12:21 AM)Egor Wrote:  You don't realize how idiotic you sound. You sound like someone who's read too many popular magazines, and because atheism is your faith, there is no reason to argue with you, but let me ask you something:

How do neurons store memories? And if the brain is the harddrive, what knows the contents of the brain so that it can be searched for memories? Like when we try to remember something.

The question is rhetorical. Like I said to the last idiot: Believe whatever you want to believe. Read whatever magazines support your position. The fact is (and I realize it's useless to state facts to a religious person), we have no idea about the mind. We don't know how it works; we don't know how it can do what it does; and we damn sure don't know how it controls the brain.

Oh, and by the way, let me introduce you to a little logic: If the brain starts to react to make a decision before we are conscious of it, that doesn't mean the brain is generating consciousness, it means that something is firing the brain that we are not aware of, and the mystery simply gets deeper.

And when it comes to animals. Only a completely sheltered animal-hater would think that animals are not conscious. The animal in my avatar is not only conscious but is the queen of human manipulation.
Sorry Egor, but I'm not going to bother with this bullshit again. You've been told several times that Atheism is no religion, that it is not based on faith, that we have no need for a god and that you're not an Atheist if you believe that there is any kind of god. If you haven't understood it by now, chances are that you never will. Either way, I'm not going to waste my time by repeating what has already been said over and over again.

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