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Is awareness more basic than the material world?
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19-04-2015, 07:27 AM (This post was last modified: 19-04-2015 07:38 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(19-04-2015 06:46 AM)Th3box Wrote:  Matter creates thought
or
Thought creates matter

Thought has volition, planning capabilities, action potential, perceptive qualities.
Matter is bound by laws, without perception, planning or self-volition.

The conclusion here should be obvious...

Yes it should, and you have it precisely backward. There is NOT ONE instance of "thought" that exists in the absence of a complex healthy physical neurological system, (and you cannot name one). Thought is altered radically, depending on the health state of the physical system. Volition, planning, action potential, and perception are LEARNED abilities that do not preexist any physical system, and there is not one example of any of them observed anywhere, at any time. Certain very complex physical systems can LEARN (and do not initially possess) these functions. Some physical systems are born with *reflexes* (which can be located genetically). You are either totally ignorant of Neuro-science, its processes, or perversely determined to support your stupid nonsense because you *need* to.
You need :
a. a therapist
b. an education in Neuro-science
Does a two-day old infant know how to think ? No. It LEARNS how to think, IF its brain is capable of doing that.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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19-04-2015, 07:38 AM
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(19-04-2015 06:46 AM)Th3box Wrote:  The argument wasn't so much to prove any point in particular. I was just wondering what the responses would be like to a rational argument indicating awareness or consciousness as the thing which a skeptic has to fall back upon. I wanted a critical eye to be cast; and it has, so thanks.

I have attached my essay criticising Dawkins' immortal gene, for your amusement. I trust you will approach it with an entirely unbiased mindset Thumbsup It's not my best work but its ok, and the start has a relatively broad introduction to the unit of selection debate, which you may not be familiar with specifically, so which should help.

Although I might have been implying the primacy of awareness, the argument wasn't supposed to show that. This one is, however:

Either:

Matter creates thought
or
Thought creates matter

Thought has volition, planning capabilities, action potential, perceptive qualities.
Matter is bound by laws, without perception, planning or self-volition.

The conclusion here should be obvious...

It's a kind of first cause/fine tuning argument rolled into one I guess. Also the kind of argument which made me reconsider my decade or so of atheism. As well as some research into quantum physics, and realising that all my thoughts are reliant on lots of moving (quantum weirdness) electrons; the thought which occurred to me then was 'do you really think humans are the only energy which can think?'.

Let the battle commence Cool

You state:
Your paper Wrote:Perhaps the most intuitive level of selection is that of the organism, as an individual. In a herd of gazelle, the swiftest gazelle will have a survival advantage and therefore have a greater reproductive success rate which, so long as the traits providing swiftness are heritable, will therefore lead to a swifter population of gazelle in future generations. This is taken as an example of the individual organism being the entity which is ‘selected for’, and is therefore the unit of selection.

You have already gone completely wrong at this point. The swift gazelle was not 'selected for', swift - the genes that confer swiftness - was selected for.
Neither individuals nor groups are heritable - only genes are. The combinations of genes in a population are the result of selection, only they persist across generations.

You are confused about the mechanism of selection and the target of selection.

Your paper Wrote:Dawkins’ gene is therefore a theoretical entity which may exist as a part of a genome, rather than a specific physical entity which we can precisely define through empirical terminology.

No, Dawkins merely states that it is not important how a gene is represented in the DNA, but it definitely is there - there is no 'may' about it.

Your paper Wrote:We can even hypothesise the existence of an ideal community for Dawkins’ units of selection, where genes could exist for billions of years, without any evolution actually taking place.

-and-

Your paper Wrote:...and it is this very capability to survive unchanged for as long as possible which makes it the proper unit of selection.

Actually, no. In an unchanging environment, selection is still taking place and the unchanging genes are the successful replicators in that environment. Mutations will occur and those that are less suitable in that unchanging environment will be less successful.

You have created a straw man argument with your misunderstanding. Dawkins states, more than once, "a germ-line replicator ... is a replicator that is potentially the ancestor of an indefinitely long line of descendant replicators" (1982 p.83 - emphasis added).

Your paper Wrote:Dawkins admits that genes do blend in terms of their phenotypic effects, but maintains that they do not blend as replicators (1982, p117). This is itself an incoherent view, as he has defined ‘gene’ as something which has a particular phenotypic effect; but I shall not pursue for this for the sake of brevity.

It's good that you don't pursue that because your objection is incoherent.
What Dawkins actually says is "Selection favors those genes which succeed in the presence of other genes, which in turn succeed in the presence of them." (1982 p.117)

Your straw man is that Dawkins is ascribing immortality of genes as the point of his argument, but he is not. You have fixated on the word 'immortal' and missed the point.

Dawkins (1982 p.117) Wrote:But it is the thesis of this book that we should not be trapped into assuming that those phenotypic effects are best regarded as being neatly wrapped up in discrete bodies (or other discrete vehicles). The doctrine of the extended phenotype is that the phenotypic effect of a gene (genetic replicator) is best seen as an effect upon the world at large, and only incidentally upon the individual organism - or any other vehicle - in which it happens to sit.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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19-04-2015, 08:04 AM
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(19-04-2015 07:27 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(19-04-2015 06:46 AM)Th3box Wrote:  Matter creates thought
or
Thought creates matter

Thought has volition, planning capabilities, action potential, perceptive qualities.
Matter is bound by laws, without perception, planning or self-volition.

The conclusion here should be obvious...

Yes it should, and you have it precisely backward. There is NOT ONE instance of "thought" that exists in the absence of a complex healthy physical neurological system, (and you cannot name one). Thought is altered radically, depending on the health state of the physical system. Volition, planning, action potential, and perception are LEARNED abilities that do not preexist any physical system, and there is not one example of any of them observed anywhere, at any time. Certain very complex physical systems can LEARN (and do not initially possess) these functions. Some physical systems are born with *reflexes* (which can be located genetically). You are either totally ignorant of Neuro-science, its processes, or perversely determined to support your stupid nonsense because you *need* to.
You need :
a. a therapist
b. an education in Neuro-science
Does a two-day old infant know how to think ? No. It LEARNS how to think, IF its brain is capable of doing that.

Obviously you're equating thought with human-type thought here, which is indeed based in neuro-science. I'll disagree with perception and volition being learned; although planning may be.

I suppose that the point of the argument is that it seems incredible that matter created existence, but credible that thought (of some kind) does. Or- we know that thought, volition, perception etc. exist, and we know that those sort of characteristics are the ones which have creative potential, unlike matter which does not have those characteristics; therefore it likely that in some way the primary matter of the universe had those characteristics as well.

Also, relatively unrelated and bordering on an argument from authority, but I assume you are familiar with the beliefs of Mr Einstein, who is depicted rather amusingly in your signature? He would definitely be on my side rather than yours here; maybe we could visit the therapist together!
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19-04-2015, 08:23 AM
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(19-04-2015 07:38 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(19-04-2015 06:46 AM)Th3box Wrote:  The argument wasn't so much to prove any point in particular. I was just wondering what the responses would be like to a rational argument indicating awareness or consciousness as the thing which a skeptic has to fall back upon. I wanted a critical eye to be cast; and it has, so thanks.

I have attached my essay criticising Dawkins' immortal gene, for your amusement. I trust you will approach it with an entirely unbiased mindset Thumbsup It's not my best work but its ok, and the start has a relatively broad introduction to the unit of selection debate, which you may not be familiar with specifically, so which should help.

Although I might have been implying the primacy of awareness, the argument wasn't supposed to show that. This one is, however:

Either:

Matter creates thought
or
Thought creates matter

Thought has volition, planning capabilities, action potential, perceptive qualities.
Matter is bound by laws, without perception, planning or self-volition.

The conclusion here should be obvious...

It's a kind of first cause/fine tuning argument rolled into one I guess. Also the kind of argument which made me reconsider my decade or so of atheism. As well as some research into quantum physics, and realising that all my thoughts are reliant on lots of moving (quantum weirdness) electrons; the thought which occurred to me then was 'do you really think humans are the only energy which can think?'.

Let the battle commence Cool

You state:
Your paper Wrote:Perhaps the most intuitive level of selection is that of the organism, as an individual. In a herd of gazelle, the swiftest gazelle will have a survival advantage and therefore have a greater reproductive success rate which, so long as the traits providing swiftness are heritable, will therefore lead to a swifter population of gazelle in future generations. This is taken as an example of the individual organism being the entity which is ‘selected for’, and is therefore the unit of selection.

You have already gone completely wrong at this point. The swift gazelle was not 'selected for', swift - the genes that confer swiftness - was selected for.
Neither individuals nor groups are heritable - only genes are. The combinations of genes in a population are the result of selection, only they persist across generations.

You are confused about the mechanism of selection and the target of selection.

Your paper Wrote:Dawkins’ gene is therefore a theoretical entity which may exist as a part of a genome, rather than a specific physical entity which we can precisely define through empirical terminology.

No, Dawkins merely states that it is not important how a gene is represented in the DNA, but it definitely is there - there is no 'may' about it.

Your paper Wrote:We can even hypothesise the existence of an ideal community for Dawkins’ units of selection, where genes could exist for billions of years, without any evolution actually taking place.

-and-

Your paper Wrote:...and it is this very capability to survive unchanged for as long as possible which makes it the proper unit of selection.

Actually, no. In an unchanging environment, selection is still taking place and the unchanging genes are the successful replicators in that environment. Mutations will occur and those that are less suitable in that unchanging environment will be less successful.

You have created a straw man argument with your misunderstanding. Dawkins states, more than once, "a germ-line replicator ... is a replicator that is potentially the ancestor of an indefinitely long line of descendant replicators" (1982 p.83 - emphasis added).

Your paper Wrote:Dawkins admits that genes do blend in terms of their phenotypic effects, but maintains that they do not blend as replicators (1982, p117). This is itself an incoherent view, as he has defined ‘gene’ as something which has a particular phenotypic effect; but I shall not pursue for this for the sake of brevity.

It's good that you don't pursue that because your objection is incoherent.
What Dawkins actually says is "Selection favors those genes which succeed in the presence of other genes, which in turn succeed in the presence of them." (1982 p.117)

Your straw man is that Dawkins is ascribing immortality of genes as the point of his argument, but he is not. You have fixated on the word 'immortal' and missed the point.

Dawkins (1982 p.117) Wrote:But it is the thesis of this book that we should not be trapped into assuming that those phenotypic effects are best regarded as being neatly wrapped up in discrete bodies (or other discrete vehicles). The doctrine of the extended phenotype is that the phenotypic effect of a gene (genetic replicator) is best seen as an effect upon the world at large, and only incidentally upon the individual organism - or any other vehicle - in which it happens to sit.

Without laboring on this; Dawkins claims that immortal genes are the units of selection because they are the beneficiaries of evolution; immortal genes are the only possible candidate to survive long enough to be such a beneficiary, hence why the immortality is central.
The point of my essay is to highlight the strangeness of having these immortal genes as the unit of selection explicitly because they are unchanging; I propose that the unit of selection should be changeable, as evolution is a process of change.

Your first comment is misunderstanding the point of that section of the paragraph. I could reply to the rest of your comments, but it would be relatively fruitless. I am comforted by the fact that a published author in the field who has specifically worked on the unit of selection question for his entire career felt that the essay was worthy of placing in the top grade boundary.
I think in general you are approaching the essay from a different angle than the 'unit of selection' question takes, which is a specific question within evolutionary biology that is almost certainly unfamiliar to anyone who hasn't studied the philosophical debates surrounding natural selection.
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19-04-2015, 08:47 AM (This post was last modified: 19-04-2015 08:55 AM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(19-04-2015 07:27 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(19-04-2015 06:46 AM)Th3box Wrote:  Matter creates thought
or
Thought creates matter

Thought has volition, planning capabilities, action potential, perceptive qualities.
Matter is bound by laws, without perception, planning or self-volition.

The conclusion here should be obvious...

Yes it should, and you have it precisely backward. There is NOT ONE instance of "thought" that exists in the absence of a complex healthy physical neurological system, (and you cannot name one).

Not yet as far as we know. But it's the complexity of the system not its substrate which is responsible for the emergent behavior of consciousness and thought. I see no reason why it couldn't also emerge from a sufficiently complex system based on silicon or some other inorganic substrate, for example.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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19-04-2015, 08:51 AM
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(19-04-2015 06:46 AM)Th3box Wrote:  Either:

Matter creates thought
or
Thought creates matter

That is not necessarily a mutually exclusive proposition. Matter and thought may be so inextricably intertwined that both disjuncts hold.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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19-04-2015, 09:35 AM
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(19-04-2015 08:04 AM)Th3box Wrote:  I suppose that the point of the argument is that it seems incredible that matter created existence, but credible that thought (of some kind) does.

What you (or anyone) find credible or incredible is beside the point. What you have evidence for is. What evidence do you have that thought can exist without matter.

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19-04-2015, 10:01 AM
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(19-04-2015 09:35 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(19-04-2015 08:04 AM)Th3box Wrote:  I suppose that the point of the argument is that it seems incredible that matter created existence, but credible that thought (of some kind) does.

What you (or anyone) find credible or incredible is beside the point. What you have evidence for is. What evidence do you have that thought can exist without matter.

But I can just turn that around on you can't I. What evidence do you have that matter can exist without thought?

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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19-04-2015, 11:02 AM (This post was last modified: 19-04-2015 01:31 PM by Chas.)
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(19-04-2015 08:23 AM)Th3box Wrote:  Your first comment is misunderstanding the point of that section of the paragraph. I could reply to the rest of your comments, but it would be relatively fruitless. I am comforted by the fact that a published author in the field who has specifically worked on the unit of selection question for his entire career felt that the essay was worthy of placing in the top grade boundary.
I think in general you are approaching the essay from a different angle than the 'unit of selection' question takes, which is a specific question within evolutionary biology that is almost certainly unfamiliar to anyone who hasn't studied the philosophical debates surrounding natural selection.

At this point, I can only assume your misunderstanding is willful.

Dawkins, in The Selfish Gene Wrote:The genes are the immortals, or rather, they are defined as genetic
entities that come close to deserving the title. We, the individual survival
machines in the world, can expect to live a few more decades. But the
genes in the world have an expectation of life that must be measured not
in decades but in thousands and millions of years.

Dawkins, in The Selfish Gene Wrote:What I am doing is emphasizing the potential near-immortality of a gene, ...

Dawkins, in The Selfish Gene Wrote:It is its potential immortality that makes a gene a good candidate as the
basic unit of natural selection. But now the time has come to stress the
word 'potential'. A gene can live for a million years, but many new genes
do not even make it past their first generation. The few new ones that
succeed do so partly because they are lucky, but mainly because they
have what it takes, and that means they are good at making survival
machines.

Your straw man is based on asserting that Dawkins means that genes are literally immortal, and that is the sole reason that he chooses them as the unit of selection.

His point is that genes are the replicators - organisms are not. You have utterly missed the point.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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19-04-2015, 12:25 PM (This post was last modified: 19-04-2015 01:35 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(19-04-2015 08:04 AM)Th3box Wrote:  Obviously you're equating thought with human-type thought here, which is indeed based in neuro-science.

Provide PROOF and examples and evidence for any other sort of "thought" in the absence of a functioning brain. You have none.

(19-04-2015 08:04 AM)Th3box Wrote:  I'll disagree with perception and volition being learned; although planning may be.

Exactly. And that's perfect evidence that you KNOW NOTHING about human Neuro-science, and how babies learn to perceive the world around them, and relate them to prior stored experiences (memory).

(19-04-2015 08:04 AM)Th3box Wrote:  I suppose that the point of the argument is that it seems incredible that matter created existence, but credible that thought (of some kind) does.

Precisely. And that's your problem right there. The "same old same old" *intelligent design* argument. It's utter bullshit. More proof you do not have, in any way, the necessary scientific background to even BEGIN to discuss these matters. You indeed do need to back and start with Biology 101, and try some Physics, Math, Probability, and Chaos Theory.

No matter what you background, your assumptions have been demonstrated to be false. "I suppose that the point of the argument is that it seems incredible that matter created existence, but credible that thought (of some kind) does" is wrong wrong wrong, and wrong again. What appears to human brains to be "intuitively logical" has been proven to NOT be the way Reality (in this universe anyway) works. There are many examples of this. Since you never studied science you are unaware of them.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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