Need help with suspected New Age wooer
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11-09-2017, 06:57 AM
RE: Need help with suspected New Age wooer
(11-09-2017 06:20 AM)BikerDude Wrote:  
(11-09-2017 06:04 AM)Sushisnake Wrote:  I don't see any harm in
1. Learning how to debate
2. Learning the opposing arguments to inspire and further your own learning.

I've just been set on the path to learn about the evolution of consciousness because of a theist. I'm currently reading a book about the evolution of birdsong following a book about the evolution of birds, period, again thanks to a theist.

I suppose it comes down to what you're debating for: if you're in it to win or in it to learn.

Obviously not.
Good luck with that.
Personally at this point I find the whole topic a sure fire bummer and I'm not interested in expending the energy because I'm content to let people be idiots.
There is a never ending supply. It seems a useless expense of energy and I'd rather relax.

But in the vein I give you Richard Dawkins' speech at TED Talks about "Militant Atheism".

https://www.ted.com/talks/richard_dawkin...anguage=en

Thanks for the Dawkins link - I don't think I've seen it. I watched a short video on youtube he did on the evolution of the eye way back when he was a young fella the other day: who knew Dawkins wasn't born 60? That's how I've ended up debating militant theists- they troll the videos. They're like the Tallamasca: " we watch and we are always here"

I don't do the militant atheist "there is no god" debates, just the "god's got nothing to do with (insert science branch here)" ones. Or at least, I try to - they do drag you into the theist thing. You want to talk about velociraptor feathers, they want to talk about the Meaning of Life. And they won't cop "42" as the answer.

And yeah, I do see that as a public service. Most of us come from theistic backgrounds: we had doubts, we found others who shared those doubts - finding others expressing your doubts out loud can help when you're sitting on the fence and afraid to get off.

No doubt a time will come again when I've had a gutful of 'em, but in the meantime I mine their arguments to aid my own learning.
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11-09-2017, 07:09 AM
Need help with suspected New Age wooer
(11-09-2017 03:10 AM)Gwaithmir Wrote:  
(11-09-2017 02:52 AM)onlinebiker Wrote:  Firstly?


When they start with overinflated verbiosity using words like firstly, you know you're in for a session of pulling teeth.

No amount of nitrous is going to help.

> I had a colleague at work who used to spout that New Age nonsense every day. Like the person in Sushisnake's post, she quote mined from various sources that suited her purposes. Whenever confronted with actual science, however, she would invariably reply, "I feel no need to prove/defend my beliefs!"

> People like this are comfortable in their bubble of make-believe and will not risk doing or thinking anything which might risk bursting that bubble.


People who say that they have no need to prove or defend their positions are telling you that they can’t defend their position. No need to waste time on them.
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13-09-2017, 12:34 AM
RE: Need help with theist: now it's 'science of the gaps'
Now it’s “science of the gaps”. A couple of posters noted they couldn’t comment on the other guy’s arguments because I hadn’t provided them, so I’ve posted the back and forth below.
Anyone come across this science of the gaps argument before? Seems to consist of putting words in your mouth. And yes, I did get snarky at being called “sister”: male forum members would be surprised at how often my gender is brought into the conversation, female members, not so much.
I’ve only just noticed the man who knows so much about the origins of consciousness can’t spell the word. And that was a cheap shot.



Me: You're right. I realised afterwards of course you don’t need the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehood for survival because sea sponges .You don't even need consciousness because sea sponges.

But it doesn't logically follow that because consciousness, god. That's a classic argument from ignorance. God of the gaps stuff. And it's circular: you argue because consciousness god because consciousness. And you quote mine scientists like Daniel Bor and Steven Pinker who don't share your position, and that's dishonest.

Consciousness evolved. It's your self-monitoring system's self-monitoring system and is a virtual machine.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_machine
To understand how this software system evolved, read Dan Dennett's register machine.
http://sites.tufts.edu/rodrego/

Him: With all due respect sister*, I don't think you quite understand the argument. Indeed, this argument for God's existence if one is to use it, can actually get quite complicated for someone to get their mind around. I actually had a difficult time at first understanding what was meant by the 'hard problem of conciousness' and why no biological, material, or non-material approach in explaining this phenomenon was adequate enough. But I've since had a better understanding after reading through some works.

I am not saying that just because we have conciousness, it means God must exist. But rather, what I am trying to say is that in regards to a particular aspect of conciousness (this so called 'hard problem' aspect), I would argue that a theistic approach is the best explanation for a number of reasons, which other approaches can't provide. This particular aspect of conciousness that I'm arguing for is our internal subjective conscious experiences, or phenomenal conciousness. That, in particular, is what I claim points to God's existence, and that any other philisophical or scientific approach is insufficient and flawed. If you need me to repeat what is meant by these inner subjective conscious experiences, just let me know. I don't mind reclarifying.

And as far as quote-mining and then saying that these people don't agree with me, can you clarify in what way do they not agree with me? If you mean that they don't agree that "goddunit", then I acknowledge that, but then again I never quoted them for that reason or claimed they supported a theistic approach to explaining this phenomenon.

(* at least he didn't call me "dear")

Me: Ok. I'll add the qualifier. Your argument is because subjective consciousness, god. Science can't explain the problem of "hard consciousness", so god.
It's a god of the gaps argument from ignorance. My female mind can recognise and understand it, brother.

On quote mining:
"Quote mining (also contextomy) is the fallacious tactic of taking quotes out of context in order to make them seemingly agree with the quote miner's viewpoint ...
Quote mining is an informal fallacy and a fallacy of ambiguity, in that it removes context that is necessary to understand the mined quote."
https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Quote_mining.

Him: Refer back to my latest reply I just posted to Bill. In respect to this particular argument, to expect and hope that science can eventually explain phenomenal conciousness is a form of 'science of the gaps' fallacy, as the nature of inner subjective conscious experiences is beyond science's reach, whether one wishes to acknowledge it or not. And this is for a number of reasons I gave. And for a person to maintain that science will be able to address the phenomenon some time in the future, despite the unobservable nature of subjective consciousness (first-person perspective) to possibly be observed from the perspective of the third person, then that person is, quite frankly, delusional.

That is why whoever wishes to try and tackle this argument, has to understand that you can only attempt to tackle this argument from a philisophical angle, as science has nothing to offer, nor can ever have anything to offer, for the hard problem of conciousness, by its very nature.

Me: Where did I write I hope or expect science to explain it? Nowhere. You're strawmanning again, brother.

Him: When you say that my argument is an argument from ignorance fallacy, or try to project it as being a 'god of the gaps' fallacy, then you are necessarily implying that you believe that science can ultimately provide an explanation. And I'm telling you, unequivocally, that science can't address that which is unobservable. If I am mistaken in the implications that I read from what you were saying, then please correct me.

Him: By the way, not sure why you decided to bring up Daniel Dennet before, since he denies our inner subjective experience altogether. He maintains that it is all an illusion, so thus doesn't even believe that there is a 'hard problem' that needs explaining in the first place by conveniently brushing it aside and avoiding it. He adopts what is known as Eliminative Materialism.

We are trying to figure out what best explains our subjective experiences, not attempting to dismiss it as a non-issue. To maintain what he maintains that we are all just zombies with the illusion of inner subjective experiences, is quite frankly ludicrous, and a cop-out.

Me: " When you say that my argument is an argument from ignorance fallacy, or try to project it as being a ‘god of the gaps’ fallacy, then you are necessarily implying that you believe that science can ultimately provide an explanation. "

RUBBISH! You’re putting words in my mouth and thoughts in my head that are simply not there!

To step outside of the branches of science currently under discussion and into cosmology, for example, I have zero expectation that we will ever know what caused the birth of the universe because we can’t step outside it. Doesn’t mean no Big Bang. Doesn’t mean we can’t observe and measure the Big Bang’s effects. Certainly doesn’t mean god.

Ditto chemistry and abiogenesis. I don’t fancy our chances of replicating the conditions 3.5 - 4 billion years ago, either. Still doesn’t mean god. Just means we don’t know.

As for Daniel Dennett: he thinks subjective consciousness doesn’t exist. You disagree, so you discount him. That’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it?
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13-09-2017, 01:16 AM
RE: Need help with suspected New Age wooer
Nice job on letting him have it, sister. Tongue

You may want to pay attention (and exploit in further conversation) on this:
Quote:This particular aspect of conciousness that I'm arguing for is our internal subjective conscious experiences, or phenomenal conciousness. That, in particular, is what I claim points to God's existence, and that any other philisophical or scientific approach is insufficient and flawed
Its the core of his argument from ignorance and god of the gaps.
If no other scientific approach or philosophy can explain hard consciousness (granted it even exists) then its "we dont know". "god" or "christian religion" or whatever is not a theory, science or philosophy.
He then admits he claims that it points to gods existence. You know....claims need to be supported....by something calledevidence. To bad he has absolutely nothing to support his claim i bet. He needs to demonstrate (not just claim) that hard *consciousness points toward god*. How exactly does it point towards god anyway? Because nothing else...aka argument from ignorance?!
I claim it doesnt. Drinking Beverage

Ceterum censeo, religionem delendam esse
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13-09-2017, 02:32 AM (This post was last modified: 13-09-2017 02:41 AM by Sushisnake.)
RE: Need help with suspected New Age wooer
(13-09-2017 01:16 AM)Deesse23 Wrote:  Nice job on letting him have it, sister. Tongue

You may want to pay attention (and exploit in further conversation) on this:
Quote:This particular aspect of conciousness that I'm arguing for is our internal subjective conscious experiences, or phenomenal conciousness. That, in particular, is what I claim points to God's existence, and that any other philisophical or scientific approach is insufficient and flawed
Its the core of his argument from ignorance and god of the gaps.
If no other scientific approach or philosophy can explain hard consciousness (granted it even exists) then its "we dont know". "god" or "christian religion" or whatever is not a theory, science or philosophy.
He then admits he claims that it points to gods existence. You know....claims need to be supported....by something calledevidence. To bad he has absolutely nothing to support his claim i bet. He needs to demonstrate (not just claim) that hard *consciousness points toward god*. How exactly does it point towards god anyway? Because nothing else...aka argument from ignorance?!
I claim it doesnt. Drinking Beverage

Thanks Deesse. You're right - it is indeed the core of his argument and he's invalidated it himself by using the word "claim": only took him 32 pages to get there.

And no- he has nothing to support it except lumps of guano from his quote mining. Not that the likes of Pinker or Bor produce guano- they don't! - but creationists do like to quote them out of context in a bat shit crazy way.

He hasn't got back to me yet. Probably expects my husband will send me back to the kitchen soon and save him the trouble. Or it could just be time zone difference. :-p
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13-09-2017, 05:53 AM (This post was last modified: 13-09-2017 06:07 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Need help with suspected New Age wooer
(13-09-2017 12:34 AM)Sushisnake Wrote:  Anyone come across this science of the gaps argument before? Seems to consist of putting words in your mouth.

The "science of the gaps" argument doesn't address what science actually says.

Science doesn't need to answer all questions, if the questions are themselves wrong. Consciousness is not explained by theism, it is mythologized. There is a difference. Mythology answers the question "why" when there may be no why at all.

On the other hand, scientists have:
* Correlated functions with brain structures,
* Correlated subjective states and reports with brain chemistry and activation,
* Turned consciousness on and off, and changed its state, with chemistry,
* Split consciousness in the same brain by cutting the corpus callosum in epileptics.

This means the soul theory, where the mind and brain are considered separate, is incorrect.

As for the "hard problem" of consciousness, it really is hard for theists but not so hard for materialists. We have subjective experiences because we are physical bodies with specific interests. Our bodies filter out information. We then focus on and therefore select out information which is relevant to our interests. Further, we are discrete, which means we can't directly share our subjective experiences with other discrete physical bodies. Even further, we interpret that selected information in accordance with our cultural constructs and emotional states, adding information which is not present in our original perceptions. That makes our subjective experiences our own little world.

It seems likely to me that our evolutionary history created such abilities to better serve our biological interests in indifferent and hostile environments. Our sense of self is a biological adaptation.

All this means that the personal identity aspect of our consciousness is not a separate being at all, as the soul theory maintains, but a symbolic construct created by our physical brains to process and interpret our experiences.
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13-09-2017, 06:23 AM
RE: Need help with suspected New Age wooer
(11-09-2017 01:20 AM)Sushisnake Wrote:  I'm having an online debate with a suspected New Age wooer. I think he's a New Age wooer of some kind because his online name refers to too many prophets, he's never mentioned a deity and he's posts are sciency - so he's not your standard, garden variety Abrahamic religionist.

His first premise was: "Firstly, the ability to distinguish truth from falsehood is not necessary for survival" and he goes on to argue consciousness couldn't have evolved, it had to come from somewhere else ( cue Quantum woo/ Consciousness of The Universe- insert your favourite New Age cosmic supernatural force or deity explanation here). He quote mines to argue his position, using people like Daniel Bor and Steven Pinker.

I've pointed out his first premise is demonstrably wrong, but he won't have it. Interestingly, he goes on to give examples demonstrating his first premise is wrong himself, but doesn't seem to know he's doing it.

I've also pointed out he's arguing from authorities who don't support his position that consciousness was some kind of cosmic gift from the Universe, but he chopped the end off my words and misrepresented me as merely saying he was arguing from authority.

Here are the problems I'm having and here's where I need help:

* I've run searches with terms like "evolved consciousness", "evolutionary consciousness", "evolved consciousness to distinguish truth from falsehood for survival" and I get page after page of bloody New Age woo with a bit of theist/deist woo thrown in. It's like sorting through the rubbish in the wheelie bin to find your wedding ring! I'd really appreciate some links to good references I can use and cite.

* I don't know anything much about the evolution of consciousness and less about New Age woo. The New Age woo stuff just strikes me as silly- like a trendy Pascal's Wager and an attempt to make a sow's ear out of science's silk purse, so I'd really appreciate a crash course in New Age beliefs in consciousness. I find wooers hard to debate because they use pseudoscience.

This is my first post, so I hope the forum community will help me out.

Couple of things:
1) First, this statement by the individual in question: "Firstly, the ability to distinguish truth from falsehood is not necessary for survival..." might very well be true.

For instance, the human brain is really good at convincing itself it is correct and we are good at winning arguments, but winning an argument doesn't require you to be correct about what is being argued about. What matters is whether or not you, your opponent, and those observing the argument believe you won or not. Discerning between fact and fiction in the argument doesn't necessarily mean determining who won it or not. I mean, look at how many people out there hold demonstrably wrong beliefs in spite of arguments demonstrating that they are wrong. How do they "win" arguments if they have demonstrably wrong beliefs? Maybe they are more convincing. Maybe they appeal to emotion. Maybe they are just louder. Maybe the fear of physical violence is present and the person arguing with them doesn't want to risk bodily harm and/or death.

Another example is how we as humans recognize patterns. We are pattern-seeking animals and as a consequence we will often see patterns even where none exist (meaning we mistake a falsehood for a truth). Perhaps we think we see the pattern of a predator in the woods nearby. Do you play it safe and run away? Or do you hope you're wrong about the pattern and go about your business? Those that err on the side of caution may leave unnecessarily, but the risk as they see it is greater than the reward of staying. Maybe it's 9 times out of 10 that the pattern is a false positive (not really a predator). The human that runs away 10 times out of 10 will survive. The human who only runs away a couple of times might be the unlucky one to draw the predator.

So our brains aren't wired to simply detect truth and reject falsehoods, wouldn't that be nice though? A truly intelligently designed brain (or consciousness) would be able to detect fact from fiction. So this is why we have developed the rules of logic and created science. These are to help us navigate truth and fiction as best as we are able to objectively determine.

Now, onto 2) It would appear to be a non sequitur to go from that initial statement to "therefore a consciousness was implanted in humanity." That is an assertion that requires something more than mere belief to validate (it appears to be a falsehood that your opponent has mistaken for a truth. He is indeed validating that initial statement).

3) Consciousness is a tricky thing period. It appears to be an emergent property of a brain (and/or even a more simplified centralized nervous system since humans aren't the only animal aware of the world around them). The fact that we see animals that are conscious beyond just humans, suggests it is an ancestral trait. Meaning that studying the origin of consciousness would require study of some of the more primitive animals to determine how and why consciousness has evolved. This is not a simple thing, so I imagine you would find it difficult to locate a lot of studies on it. But it appears to be a trait that has evolved via natural selection too and (as per that initial comment in pt 1) clearly the evolution of consciousness wasn't about distinguishing truth from falsehood but about processing information about the world around the individual, and then making an assumption about what this information is telling you, and then reacting accordingly. Even if that reaction is based upon incorrect information, or a bad assumption/conclusion. Just look at those "cat and a cucumber" videos. The cat is being startled because it sees something vaguely snake-like in its peripheral vision, so it becomes startled and jumps to get away. That is a good example of a conscious animal processing information about the world around them, and then mistaking a falsehood for a truth and reacting. But what is the consequence of that incorrect assumption and the following reaction? Nothing (beyond a funny video). It doesn't compromise the cat's survival. What that means is that there is no negative selection pressure for getting the assumption wrong. So the next generation will still have the capacity to make the same mistake, and the next and the next and so on and so on since there is nothing to select that from the population.

So what does that mean with respect to science? It might be a way that humans have developed to actually remove incorrect information from our collective body of knowledge. A way of preventing at least some humans from making incorrect assumptions and therefore wasting time, effort, and/or resources by reacting to these incorrect assumptions.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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13-09-2017, 06:27 AM
RE: Need help with suspected New Age wooer
(13-09-2017 05:53 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(13-09-2017 12:34 AM)Sushisnake Wrote:  Anyone come across this science of the gaps argument before? Seems to consist of putting words in your mouth.

The "science of the gaps" argument doesn't address what science actually says.

Science doesn't need to answer all questions, if the questions are themselves wrong. Consciousness is not explained by theism, it is mythologized. There is a difference. Mythology answers the question "why" when there may be no why at all.

On the other hand, scientists have:
* Correlated functions with brain structures,
* Correlated subjective states and reports with brain chemistry and activation,
* Turned consciousness on and off, and changed its state, with chemistry,
* Split consciousness in the same brain by cutting the corpus callosum in epileptics.

This means the soul theory, where the mind and brain are considered separate, is incorrect.

As for the "hard problem" of consciousness, it really is hard for theists but not so hard for materialists. We have subjective experiences because we are physical bodies with specific interests. Our bodies filter out information. We then focus on and therefore select out information which is relevant to our interests. Further, we are discrete, which means we can't directly share our subjective experiences with other discrete physical bodies. Even further, we interpret that selected information in accordance with our cultural constructs and emotional states, adding information which is not present in our original perceptions. That makes our subjective experiences our own little world.

All this means that the personal identity aspect of our consciousness is not a separate being at all, as the soul theory maintains, but a symbolic construct created by our physical brains to process and interpret our experiences.

" Consciousness is not explained by theism, it is mythologized."
Wow! That got my attention. Food for thought.

" * Turned consciousness on and off, and changed its state, with chemistry".
Of course! The engineered out of body experiences. Science has engineered states akin to religious ecstasy in subjects, too, haven't they? They've engineered all kinds of subjective visions and experiences.

"This means the soul theory, where the mind and brain are considered separate, is incorrect."
So that's the theist's skin in the game? No wonder it's so important to him!

You've shed a lot of light on the subject and given me a lot to think about. Thank you.
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13-09-2017, 06:58 AM
RE: Need help with suspected New Age wooer
(13-09-2017 06:23 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  
(11-09-2017 01:20 AM)Sushisnake Wrote:  I'm having an online debate with a suspected New Age wooer. I think he's a New Age wooer of some kind because his online name refers to too many prophets, he's never mentioned a deity and he's posts are sciency - so he's not your standard, garden variety Abrahamic religionist.

His first premise was: "Firstly, the ability to distinguish truth from falsehood is not necessary for survival" and he goes on to argue consciousness couldn't have evolved, it had to come from somewhere else ( cue Quantum woo/ Consciousness of The Universe- insert your favourite New Age cosmic supernatural force or deity explanation here). He quote mines to argue his position, using people like Daniel Bor and Steven Pinker.

I've pointed out his first premise is demonstrably wrong, but he won't have it. Interestingly, he goes on to give examples demonstrating his first premise is wrong himself, but doesn't seem to know he's doing it.

I've also pointed out he's arguing from authorities who don't support his position that consciousness was some kind of cosmic gift from the Universe, but he chopped the end off my words and misrepresented me as merely saying he was arguing from authority.

Here are the problems I'm having and here's where I need help:

* I've run searches with terms like "evolved consciousness", "evolutionary consciousness", "evolved consciousness to distinguish truth from falsehood for survival" and I get page after page of bloody New Age woo with a bit of theist/deist woo thrown in. It's like sorting through the rubbish in the wheelie bin to find your wedding ring! I'd really appreciate some links to good references I can use and cite.

* I don't know anything much about the evolution of consciousness and less about New Age woo. The New Age woo stuff just strikes me as silly- like a trendy Pascal's Wager and an attempt to make a sow's ear out of science's silk purse, so I'd really appreciate a crash course in New Age beliefs in consciousness. I find wooers hard to debate because they use pseudoscience.

This is my first post, so I hope the forum community will help me out.

Couple of things:
1) First, this statement by the individual in question: "Firstly, the ability to distinguish truth from falsehood is not necessary for survival..." might very well be true.

For instance, the human brain is really good at convincing itself it is correct and we are good at winning arguments, but winning an argument doesn't require you to be correct about what is being argued about. What matters is whether or not you, your opponent, and those observing the argument believe you won or not. Discerning between fact and fiction in the argument doesn't necessarily mean determining who won it or not. I mean, look at how many people out there hold demonstrably wrong beliefs in spite of arguments demonstrating that they are wrong. How do they "win" arguments if they have demonstrably wrong beliefs? Maybe they are more convincing. Maybe they appeal to emotion. Maybe they are just louder. Maybe the fear of physical violence is present and the person arguing with them doesn't want to risk bodily harm and/or death.

Another example is how we as humans recognize patterns. We are pattern-seeking animals and as a consequence we will often see patterns even where none exist (meaning we mistake a falsehood for a truth). Perhaps we think we see the pattern of a predator in the woods nearby. Do you play it safe and run away? Or do you hope you're wrong about the pattern and go about your business? Those that err on the side of caution may leave unnecessarily, but the risk as they see it is greater than the reward of staying. Maybe it's 9 times out of 10 that the pattern is a false positive (not really a predator). The human that runs away 10 times out of 10 will survive. The human who only runs away a couple of times might be the unlucky one to draw the predator.

So our brains aren't wired to simply detect truth and reject falsehoods, wouldn't that be nice though? A truly intelligently designed brain (or consciousness) would be able to detect fact from fiction. So this is why we have developed the rules of logic and created science. These are to help us navigate truth and fiction as best as we are able to objectively determine.

Now, onto 2) It would appear to be a non sequitur to go from that initial statement to "therefore a consciousness was implanted in humanity." That is an assertion that requires something more than mere belief to validate (it appears to be a falsehood that your opponent has mistaken for a truth. He is indeed validating that initial statement).

3) Consciousness is a tricky thing period. It appears to be an emergent property of a brain (and/or even a more simplified centralized nervous system since humans aren't the only animal aware of the world around them). The fact that we see animals that are conscious beyond just humans, suggests it is an ancestral trait. Meaning that studying the origin of consciousness would require study of some of the more primitive animals to determine how and why consciousness has evolved. This is not a simple thing, so I imagine you would find it difficult to locate a lot of studies on it. But it appears to be a trait that has evolved via natural selection too and (as per that initial comment in pt 1) clearly the evolution of consciousness wasn't about distinguishing truth from falsehood but about processing information about the world around the individual, and then making an assumption about what this information is telling you, and then reacting accordingly. Even if that reaction is based upon incorrect information, or a bad assumption/conclusion. Just look at those "cat and a cucumber" videos. The cat is being startled because it sees something vaguely snake-like in its peripheral vision, so it becomes startled and jumps to get away. That is a good example of a conscious animal processing information about the world around them, and then mistaking a falsehood for a truth and reacting. But what is the consequence of that incorrect assumption and the following reaction? Nothing (beyond a funny video). It doesn't compromise the cat's survival. What that means is that there is no negative selection pressure for getting the assumption wrong. So the next generation will still have the capacity to make the same mistake, and the next and the next and so on and so on since there is nothing to select that from the population.

So what does that mean with respect to science? It might be a way that humans have developed to actually remove incorrect information from our collective body of knowledge. A way of preventing at least some humans from making incorrect assumptions and therefore wasting time, effort, and/or resources by reacting to these incorrect assumptions.

" A truly intelligently designed brain (or consciousness) would be able to detect fact from fiction."
Funny, that's always been my take, too, yet I've had quite a few theists tell me there is no reason to expect a perfect being to create human beings, well, perfectly? because sin/free will. It would make us all robots, they say, or worse- socialists! Evil_monster

You've given me a lot to think about, Bearded Dude. Thank you.
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13-09-2017, 07:02 AM
RE: Need help with suspected New Age wooer
(13-09-2017 06:58 AM)Sushisnake Wrote:  
(13-09-2017 06:23 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Couple of things:
1) First, this statement by the individual in question: "Firstly, the ability to distinguish truth from falsehood is not necessary for survival..." might very well be true.

For instance, the human brain is really good at convincing itself it is correct and we are good at winning arguments, but winning an argument doesn't require you to be correct about what is being argued about. What matters is whether or not you, your opponent, and those observing the argument believe you won or not. Discerning between fact and fiction in the argument doesn't necessarily mean determining who won it or not. I mean, look at how many people out there hold demonstrably wrong beliefs in spite of arguments demonstrating that they are wrong. How do they "win" arguments if they have demonstrably wrong beliefs? Maybe they are more convincing. Maybe they appeal to emotion. Maybe they are just louder. Maybe the fear of physical violence is present and the person arguing with them doesn't want to risk bodily harm and/or death.

Another example is how we as humans recognize patterns. We are pattern-seeking animals and as a consequence we will often see patterns even where none exist (meaning we mistake a falsehood for a truth). Perhaps we think we see the pattern of a predator in the woods nearby. Do you play it safe and run away? Or do you hope you're wrong about the pattern and go about your business? Those that err on the side of caution may leave unnecessarily, but the risk as they see it is greater than the reward of staying. Maybe it's 9 times out of 10 that the pattern is a false positive (not really a predator). The human that runs away 10 times out of 10 will survive. The human who only runs away a couple of times might be the unlucky one to draw the predator.

So our brains aren't wired to simply detect truth and reject falsehoods, wouldn't that be nice though? A truly intelligently designed brain (or consciousness) would be able to detect fact from fiction. So this is why we have developed the rules of logic and created science. These are to help us navigate truth and fiction as best as we are able to objectively determine.

Now, onto 2) It would appear to be a non sequitur to go from that initial statement to "therefore a consciousness was implanted in humanity." That is an assertion that requires something more than mere belief to validate (it appears to be a falsehood that your opponent has mistaken for a truth. He is indeed validating that initial statement).

3) Consciousness is a tricky thing period. It appears to be an emergent property of a brain (and/or even a more simplified centralized nervous system since humans aren't the only animal aware of the world around them). The fact that we see animals that are conscious beyond just humans, suggests it is an ancestral trait. Meaning that studying the origin of consciousness would require study of some of the more primitive animals to determine how and why consciousness has evolved. This is not a simple thing, so I imagine you would find it difficult to locate a lot of studies on it. But it appears to be a trait that has evolved via natural selection too and (as per that initial comment in pt 1) clearly the evolution of consciousness wasn't about distinguishing truth from falsehood but about processing information about the world around the individual, and then making an assumption about what this information is telling you, and then reacting accordingly. Even if that reaction is based upon incorrect information, or a bad assumption/conclusion. Just look at those "cat and a cucumber" videos. The cat is being startled because it sees something vaguely snake-like in its peripheral vision, so it becomes startled and jumps to get away. That is a good example of a conscious animal processing information about the world around them, and then mistaking a falsehood for a truth and reacting. But what is the consequence of that incorrect assumption and the following reaction? Nothing (beyond a funny video). It doesn't compromise the cat's survival. What that means is that there is no negative selection pressure for getting the assumption wrong. So the next generation will still have the capacity to make the same mistake, and the next and the next and so on and so on since there is nothing to select that from the population.

So what does that mean with respect to science? It might be a way that humans have developed to actually remove incorrect information from our collective body of knowledge. A way of preventing at least some humans from making incorrect assumptions and therefore wasting time, effort, and/or resources by reacting to these incorrect assumptions.

" A truly intelligently designed brain (or consciousness) would be able to detect fact from fiction."
Funny, that's always been my take, too, yet I've had quite a few theists tell me there is no reason to expect a perfect being to create human beings, well, perfectly? because sin/free will. It would make us all robots, they say, or worse- socialists! Evil_monster

You've given me a lot to think about, Bearded Dude. Thank you.

If all it would take to achieve "perfection" is to have a brain that has been designed to detect fact from fiction, then the bar on "perfection" is pretty low I guess. The fact is that God would have to make humans gods in order to make perfect beings. So making humans as anything less than gods would be making imperfect humans. And if imperfect human beings are the ones with free will, then problem solved.

You know...except for the whole "proving a god actually exists" part Drinking Beverage

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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