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Is awareness more basic than the material world?
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19-04-2015, 05:26 PM
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(19-04-2015 12:25 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(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.

You are wrong that I have never studied science; I did do Biology 101, but in England it isn't called that; so I didn't do Biology 101, I did GCSE biology (triple science if that means anything to you). I also did the next level of biology, called A level here. But I am not going to list all my scientific studies; I think you may have jumped on my comment of ignorance of biology in regard to the argument earlier and assumed I am scientifically illiterate.

As for your other comment; I think that we might be mixing up terms of 'perception' here when you think I 'KNOW NOTHING'. I assume that the babies in question are perceiving something, light/sound/touch/food/water/mother's breasts etc. although undoubtedly the perceptions are unlike ours. Note that instinct/reflex relies on perception to be activated.

The reason I stopped being an atheist was because I actually spent long, long, hours looking at science (not quite every hour of every day, but almost) ironically whilst pursuing knowledge to give me greater certainty that the religions are wrong. Quantum mechanics and physics I found especially interesting and important in rejuvenating my worldview with an admission of the inevitably conscious being behind existence.
I think we all come to the conclusion that science is describing reality, in detail. But that doesn't mean that it explains reality; therefore my religion, of science, consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
The fact that many top scientists do believe in some supernatural designer of the universe implies that having the necessary scientific background doesn't necessarily mean disbelieving in God, as much as it is tempting to think that believing and trusting in science means disbelieving and distrusting God; to many the opposite is true, trusting in science is trusting how God made the world, learning science is learning how God made the world. The idea that they contradict one another is a myth born from the science versus organised religion debates.

As for proof that thought exists in a form apart from the brain, undoubtedly you will define thought as the processes which occur in the brain. As girlyman points out, can you prove that thought can't exist outside the brain? This might bring us back to my original argument whereby we find that we should be more sceptical of an unthinking existence than of a thinking one.

Also the fine tuning argument and first cause argument are no doubt cited a lot; but they are also the arguments which prove a real difficulty for atheism, which usually ends up in a 'we don't know why or how, but you can't prove it was God', which is the kind of reply I used to give which made me think I should research science more; it's lacking in alternative to the postulated being.

(Also girlyman, you are right the two statements are not mutually exclusive, I stated something along those lines in an earlier comment, but thanks for pointing it out. I suppose the conclusion we might gain from this is that if matter/thought are the same then we should empathise the thought side as instrumental when it comes to the creation and design of the universe.)
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19-04-2015, 07:43 PM (This post was last modified: 19-04-2015 07:48 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(19-04-2015 05:26 PM)Th3box Wrote:  I suppose the conclusion we might gain from this is that if matter/thought are the same ...

Not the same. More like iff. Codependents and shit.

#sigh
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21-04-2015, 03:02 PM
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
If my discussion hasn't been scientific enough for the naysayers, here is a recent paper reaching a similar kind of conclusion, also with replies to some of the objections which have been put forth.

Free pdf download at the top of the page;
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/art...4513001188
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21-04-2015, 03:07 PM
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
Mental masturbation is not required to understand your awareness, anymore than smaller clouds build up to a hurricane. You are nothing more than your brain in motion, just like if a car cannot speed if their is no engine with fuel in it.

Break up that structure beyond repair, it won't work anymore, you die, that's it. Our awareness is a result of evolition.

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21-04-2015, 04:49 PM
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(21-04-2015 03:07 PM)Brian37 Wrote:  Mental masturbation is not required to understand your awareness, anymore than smaller clouds build up to a hurricane. You are nothing more than your brain in motion, just like if a car cannot speed if their is no engine with fuel in it.

Break up that structure beyond repair, it won't work anymore, you die, that's it. Our awareness is a result of evolition.

I think you are voicing a popular point of view, but it's not necessarily correct. The famous and highly accomplished scientist Roger Penrose seems to agree with something similar to what I have been saying, as we see in the paper I referenced in my previous post. Many other scientists and philosophers have also held versions of this view, of some form of fundamentally conscious reality; Einstein, Bohr and Dirac included.

(Also I am pretty sure that smaller clouds or weather systems do build up to a hurricane, but I think I understand what you are trying to say, even if the analogy is wrong)
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21-04-2015, 07:24 PM
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(21-04-2015 04:49 PM)Th3box Wrote:  I think you are voicing a popular point of view, but it's not necessarily correct. The famous and highly accomplished scientist Roger Penrose seems to agree with something similar to what I have been saying, as we see in the paper I referenced in my previous post. Many other scientists and philosophers have also held versions of this view, of some form of fundamentally conscious reality; Einstein, Bohr and Dirac included.

Citations required.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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21-04-2015, 07:28 PM
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(21-04-2015 03:02 PM)Th3box Wrote:  If my discussion hasn't been scientific enough for the naysayers, here is a recent paper reaching a similar kind of conclusion, also with replies to some of the objections which have been put forth.

Free pdf download at the top of the page;
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/art...4513001188

It's pretty well debunked as a workable theory.

Quote:The Penrose–Lucas argument about the implications of Gödel's incompleteness theorem for computational theories of human intelligence has been widely criticized by mathematicians, computer scientists, and philosophers, and the consensus among experts in these fields is that the argument fails, with different authors choosing different aspects of the argument to attack.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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23-04-2015, 08:31 AM
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
Einstein's views; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_v...t_Einstein

My point was that scientific knowledge and belief in a higher entity do not contradict one another. Born, Bohr, Maxwell, Planck, Newton and Kelvin; to name a few famous scientists who had some kind of belief. Information is available for you to search out if you desire, on Google. And of course we could probably add Penrose to that list.

Science describes the detail of reality, but it does not provide the reason for reality.

Whether or not Penrose's theory is solid doesn't bear on the fact that a highly respected man of science does believe something like; consciousness is more fundamental than science is inclined to postulate.

I am not trying to provide scientific proof of such an idea; but proof that distinguished men of science do believe in such idea, which is a fact often overlooked.
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23-04-2015, 09:41 AM (This post was last modified: 23-04-2015 10:17 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
(23-04-2015 08:31 AM)Th3box Wrote:  Einstein's views; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_v...t_Einstein

My point was that scientific knowledge and belief in a higher entity do not contradict one another. Born, Bohr, Maxwell, Planck, Newton and Kelvin; to name a few famous scientists who had some kind of belief. Information is available for you to search out if you desire, on Google. And of course we could probably add Penrose to that list.

Science describes the detail of reality, but it does not provide the reason for reality.

Whether or not Penrose's theory is solid doesn't bear on the fact that a highly respected man of science does believe something like; consciousness is more fundamental than science is inclined to postulate.

I am not trying to provide scientific proof of such an idea; but proof that distinguished men of science do believe in such idea, which is a fact often overlooked.

This is the Argumentum ad Vericundiam (argument from authority) fallacy, whether you like it or not. These were smart scientists. They were not philosophers, and certainly not one of them was an expert on religion or Compartive Muythology, or in any field relevant to an examination of the gods. There is no mechanism for consciousness outside a brain, and YOU have not proposed one. The fact you can't and won't is why one can assume you know nothing about Neuro-science, as THAT is the only system we know that produces consciousness.

Einstein made may mistakes, and changed his mind on many things. You presuppose that the notion of a "god" is even a coherent one, (which it is not for many reasons, including the ones Dr. sean Carroll told WLC about in their debate). I assume you accept the Western notion of a deity, or fundamental "consciousness". There is an appaling failure right off the bat perfectly obviousl in that preposterous notion, (as well as all the details for why that particular god is completely out of the question for anyone who actually knows the origins of that deity, which I do, and you obviously don't).

(23-04-2015 08:31 AM)Th3box Wrote:  Can you prove that thought can't exist outside the brain? This might bring us back to my original argument whereby we find that we should be more sceptical of an unthinking existence than of a thinking one.

Can you prove Pink Unicorns do not exist ? Can you prove a 1957 Chevy is not orbiting Pluto ? THAT is the Intelligent Design argument and it has been debunked, in many places, many times, even by Christians. (For example Dr. Kenneth Miller, Brown Univ.) It's invalid. It's simply a "god of the gaps" argument done by non-creative people, who know nothing about how Evoluition works. You have demonstrated you are one of the non-creative, unimmaginative ones. You reverted to a default, as you had nothing better, and there is a glaring flaw in your argument. "Consciousness" REQUIRES something (besides a brain) ? What is that ? It's perfectly obvious. If THAT is not a priori IN PLACE, the entire notion is invalid.

(23-04-2015 08:31 AM)Th3box Wrote:  Also the fine tuning argument and first cause argument are no doubt cited a lot; but they are also the arguments which prove a real difficulty for atheism, which usually ends up in a 'we don't know why or how, but you can't prove it was God', which is the kind of reply I used to give which made me think I should research science more; it's lacking in alternative to the postulated being.

Thay do not pose a problem for atheim, in any way, and if you don't get why they don't, then you know nothing about the real arguments and why they are invalid, as you are a rank beginner. They are totally invalid. There is no valid "postulated being" which is, in itself, a coherent idea, which does not REQUIRE assumptions which are invalid, per se. You obviously are a beginner both at science, AND Philosophy, if you den't even know those reasons. I assumed you knew something about basic Philosophy. You're basically not worth wasting my time with at this point. I wish you luck. I suggest you go back and learn some basics in both Philosophy and science, and examine carefully your "priors" (assumptions). Obviously you've never done tha, and it appears you are projecting your desires onto scientific minds, and if you have other LATER thought by Einstein on this matter, let's see the quotes :

"I read a great deal in the last days of your book, and thank you very much for sending it to me. What especially struck me about it was this. With regard to the factual attitude to life and to the human community we have a great deal in common.

... The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them.

In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew the privilege of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision, probably as the first one. And the animistic interpretations of the religions of nature are in principle not annulled by monopolization. With such walls we can only attain a certain self-deception, but our moral efforts are not furthered by them. On the contrary.

Now that I have quite openly stated our differences in intellectual convictions it is still clear to me that we are quite close to each other in essential things, i.e; in our evaluations of human behavior. What separates us are only intellectual 'props' and 'rationalization' in Freud's language. Therefore I think that we would understand each other quite well if we talked about concrete things.

With friendly thanks and best wishes,
Yours, A. Einstein



So, as Chas requested, Let's see your references and why you think your scientists made a coherent argument for a universal consciousness. You seem to be unable to tolerate "we don't know yet". It boils down to low tolerance for "ambiguity", and a need for cognitive closure, apparently.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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23-04-2015, 03:20 PM
RE: Is awareness more basic than the material world?
I think that you are misinterpreting a quote commenting on organised religion in trying to convince yourself that Einstein didn't believe in a supreme being. You'll note that in the quote which you provided he mentions 'wonderful Spinoza'. Einstein was a firm believer in a God as Spinoza suggested, called Nature, which created the laws of the universe. If you don't want to find then don't seek, by all means, but I promise you that many other scientists, including the ones I have listed, all believe(d) in a deity of some kind. If you care about finding out whether or not they did, you can find that yourself, although do approach it open-mindedly, as it seems you have mis-interpreted the Einstein quote.
Also the idea that scientists need a detailed knowledge of mythology and religious studies before believing there is a God is outrageous. These are mostly particle physicists, in general they came to the conclusion that God existed because they saw it as impossible that the incredible order of physics which they studied had come into existence without some kind of designer. I'm not going to post more quotes and links, because I will trust that any person who wants to find out the truth of this will find it in their own time.

The point of most consciousness arguments is that they postulate it as self-sustaining, in a similar way to how God is postulated as self-sustaining by Christians, Jews and Muslims. I am more than aware of the long mythological history which has fed into the biblical stories; but I don't think there is much point in trying to convince you of anything about myself or my qualifications, seeing as you seem to have ignored or misinterpreted almost everything I have said on the matter so far, no offence meant.

Most of the arguments concerning the 'postulated being' are basically pointing out that finite existence is in itself an incoherent idea, without the idea of infinite existence, that infinite existence is usually attributed with creative powers, to explain finite existence.

I have an overwhelming feeling that you won't be swayed from your atheism by science and philosophy; but I was, and many more will be. You are perhaps right about the cognitive closure point; for many years I remained atheist by maintaining that I couldn't know. It was only when I really wanted to prove religion wrong, and I spent enough time looking at science and philosophy for the answer, that I had to radically alter my beliefs. Painful but unbelievably rewarding. And satisfying to know that almost all of the greats come to the same conclusion, in philosophy and science.
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