Non Biological Conciousness
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10-02-2013, 01:32 PM
Non Biological Conciousness
Has it been irrefutably proven that consciousness is entirely a biological function, with no soul or spirit to speak of?, if so, how can any afterlife believing theist continue to defend their faith, when this would destroy the idea of a spirit, and therefore an afterlife, and therefore said faith completely?
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10-02-2013, 01:39 PM
RE: Non Biological Conciousness
It's not proven that there isn't, and there is no evidence that there is, either.

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10-02-2013, 02:43 PM
 
RE: Non Biological Conciousness
Well, except for trainable paramecia, psi experiences, NDE's and the nonlocality of quantum mechanics, aside from all that irrefutable evidence for non-neurologic consciousness, yeah--then there's no evidence.

Oh, and the complete lunacy that neurons could allow the mind to function as it does--aside from that, there's no evidence.
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10-02-2013, 02:54 PM
RE: Non Biological Conciousness
(10-02-2013 01:32 PM)TheLastEnemy Wrote:  Has it been irrefutably proven that consciousness is entirely a biological function, with no soul or spirit to speak of?, if so, how can any afterlife believing theist continue to defend their faith, when this would destroy the idea of a spirit, and therefore an afterlife, and therefore said faith completely?
In simple terms, the scientists don't know everything. though a few sort of think they do!
The ineffable cosmos may hold some surprises we haven't even dreamed of.................... Consider
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10-02-2013, 02:55 PM
RE: Non Biological Conciousness
Duh, how else do you think they have furniture and other material objects in heaven...

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10-02-2013, 03:00 PM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2013 11:46 PM by Free Thought.)
RE: Non Biological Conciousness
(10-02-2013 01:32 PM)TheLastEnemy Wrote:  Has it been irrefutably proven that consciousness is entirely a biological function, with no soul or spirit to speak of?, if so, how can any afterlife believing theist continue to defend their faith, when this would destroy the idea of a spirit, and therefore an afterlife, and therefore said faith completely?


No, it has not been "proven" that consciousness is an entirely biological function. Nor have spirits or souls have been disproved. Then again, Chupacabra, Bigfoot, the Yowie and countless others myths and Cryptids have yet to be disproved either.

The fact of the matter is simply thus: There is no evidence to suggest a soul or spirit, is in control of, or habiting, humans and other things. Logically, if something can interact with the physical world, it would require a force of some kind, even if the thing itself was undetectable, we'd still be able to find the force and back-track it to it's source. If we could do that, it might be a start, but we've yet to be able to achieve this. As such: There is no evidence to support the belief in souls or spirits, ghosts nor ghouls, chakras or "essential energies", or any other Woo that one may do.

A person will be changed entirely if sufficient damage is done to the brain, doesn't seem much like the work of some intangible spook, does it?

We can be reasonably assured however that:

Consciousness (the mind) is the by-product of a sufficiently complex neurological network, fuelled by electro-chemical energy used to release chemicals (commonly known as neurotransmitters) to pass information and instruction to nerves elsewhere in the body, which responds to external stimuli, which is interpreted into understandable and recognisable patterns.

For short: consciousness is proof of the brain it rests in, and is dependant on the continued, undamaged existence of the brain for it's existence.


Edit for misspelling.

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
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10-02-2013, 03:10 PM
RE: Non Biological Conciousness
(10-02-2013 03:00 PM)Free Thought Wrote:  
(10-02-2013 01:32 PM)TheLastEnemy Wrote:  Has it been irrefutably proven that consciousness is entirely a biological function, with no soul or spirit to speak of?, if so, how can any afterlife believing theist continue to defend their faith, when this would destroy the idea of a spirit, and therefore an afterlife, and therefore said faith completely?
So while a spirit hasn't been disproven, there's nothing to suggest it's there?



No, it has not been "proven" that consciousness is an entirely biological function. Nor have spirits or souls have been disproved. Then again, Chupacabra, Bigfoot, the Yowie and countless others myths and Cryptids have yet to be disproved either.

The fact of the matter is simply thus: The is no evidence to suggest a soul or spirit, is in control of, or habiting, humans and other things. Logically, if something can interact with the physical world, it would require a force of some kind, even if the thing itself was undetectable, we'd still be able to find the force and back-track it to it's source. If we could do that, it might be a start, but we've yet to be able to achieve this. As such: There is no evidence to support the belief in souls or spirits, ghosts nor ghouls, chakras or "essential energies", or any other Woo that one may do.

A person will changed entirely if sufficient damage is done to the brain, doesn't seem much like the work of some intangible spook, does it?

We can be reasonably assured however that:

Consciousness (the mind) is the by-product of a sufficiently complex neurological network, fuelled by electro-chemical energy used to release chemicals (commonly known as neurotransmitters) to pass information and instruction to nerves elsewhere in the body, which responds to external stimuli, which is interpreted into understandable and recognisable patterns.

For short: consciousness is proof of the brain it rests in, and is dependant on the continued, undamaged existence of the brain for it's existence.
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10-02-2013, 03:15 PM
RE: Non Biological Conciousness
(10-02-2013 03:10 PM)TheLastEnemy Wrote:  
(10-02-2013 03:00 PM)Free Thought Wrote:  No, it has not been "proven" that consciousness is an entirely biological function. Nor have spirits or souls have been disproved. Then again, Chupacabra, Bigfoot, the Yowie and countless others myths and Cryptids have yet to be disproved either.

The fact of the matter is simply thus: The is no evidence to suggest a soul or spirit, is in control of, or habiting, humans and other things. Logically, if something can interact with the physical world, it would require a force of some kind, even if the thing itself was undetectable, we'd still be able to find the force and back-track it to it's source. If we could do that, it might be a start, but we've yet to be able to achieve this. As such: There is no evidence to support the belief in souls or spirits, ghosts nor ghouls, chakras or "essential energies", or any other Woo that one may do.

A person will changed entirely if sufficient damage is done to the brain, doesn't seem much like the work of some intangible spook, does it?

We can be reasonably assured however that:

Consciousness (the mind) is the by-product of a sufficiently complex neurological network, fuelled by electro-chemical energy used to release chemicals (commonly known as neurotransmitters) to pass information and instruction to nerves elsewhere in the body, which responds to external stimuli, which is interpreted into understandable and recognisable patterns.

For short: consciousness is proof of the brain it rests in, and is dependant on the continued, undamaged existence of the brain for it's existence.
So while a spirit hasn't been disproven, there's nothing to suggest it's there?


To my very limited knowledge, that is correct, there is nothing solid to suggest spirits or souls.


You might want to be a little bit more careful with your replies, I had to separate my post from yours, just a note.

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
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10-02-2013, 03:35 PM
RE: Non Biological Conciousness
(10-02-2013 03:00 PM)Free Thought Wrote:  No, it has not been "proven" that consciousness is an entirely biological function. Nor have spirits or souls have been disproved. Then again, Chupacabra, Bigfoot, the Yowie and countless others myths and Cryptids have yet to be disproved either.

Right on man, you had me at Yowie.


Uh... what the fuck is a Yowie? Unsure

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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10-02-2013, 03:54 PM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2013 03:58 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: Non Biological Conciousness
(10-02-2013 01:32 PM)TheLastEnemy Wrote:  Has it been irrefutably proven that consciousness is entirely a biological function, with no soul or spirit to speak of?, if so, how can any afterlife believing theist continue to defend their faith, when this would destroy the idea of a spirit, and therefore an afterlife, and therefore said faith completely?
There are no absolutes in scientific conclusions. Nothing is irrefutable. That said, if there is strong evidence that A (a material and biological basis) is necessary and sufficient to explain a phenomenon (consciousness), and if there is only weak evidence, no evidence, or contradictory evidence of the hypothesis that B (a spiritual, immaterial basis) is instead the explanation, then the reasonable approach is to accept A and reject B as the explanation, until such a time as the balance of evidence shifts. In particular, if A is sufficient and necessary and there is no evidence of B, Occam's Razor suggests that we should adopt A as the sole explanation, rather than holding out for some fusion of both.

Regarding consciousness, there is strong evidence that it is manifested from the material. As we engage in different types of thinking, or enter different states of consciousness, the brain behaves in different ways as observed through ECG. Damage certain parts of the brain, or subject it to certain chemicals, and behavior, personality, intelligence, and memory can all be impacted, which implies that there is a definite material element in consciousness. Even if we have yet to pin down exactly "stimulating this neuron does this, that neuron does that", the basic theory is sound and all observations support it.

There is very little if anything to the phenomenon of consciousness that needs an immaterial spirit or soul as an explanation. Many elements have been pointed to, but quite often a material explanation suffices. The tunnel of light experienced in near death experiences, for example, can be explained by the functions of the visual cortex. Emotions can be explained (and even triggered or controlled) with hormones and endorphins. We've carved away both the need for, and the evidence for, an immaterial soul... at least when it comes to explaining what we observe.

However, when we cut to the root, the hypothesis is impossible to outright disprove. It is not falsifiable, for the simple reason that if it is false, there would be no evidence of its falsehood. Can we prove that there is no soul separate from the material brain, even if it is just one that works in parallel, and some how endures after the final death of the body in a realm inaccessible to our senses and instruments? Of course not. This is Russell's Teapot. We can't prove it isn't there, but there's damn-all reason to think it is. At least, not in terms of providing explanations.

Which isn't to say that there isn't a reason.

The familiar comforts us and reassures us, and change frightens us. These are basic instincts. Like any being with good survival instincts dependent upon stability in our environment for survival, we wish this stability to continue and are worried by evidence that we will not. That evidence is provided whenever we become aware of the death of another person. The prospect that our existence somehow continues much as we have known it following death is familiar, comforting, and reassuring. The prospect that it ends is not. Furthermore, our intelligence is based largely on recollection of and extrapolation from past experience. When we hypothesize about what the future holds (including what any afterlife might hold), we do so by assuming our present state, perhaps with some changes, but overall in a form or assemblage of familiar, understood sensations and concepts. That we should think of our consciousnesses, much as they are now, continuing beyond death, is itself a natural extrapolation, albeit one with little to support it.

Finally, the human thought process isn't logical. Rather than weighing evidence and rationally choosing the best-supported theory, we choose the theory we want to be true and assemble evidence in support. The best of us either find a way to either distance ourselves from the choice (so that we don't want one theory over another), or to abandon with some reluctance the myths we wish to be true (once our self-honesty has forced us to examine evidence and realize that they're myths) and embrace reality. But that doesn't make us immune to the phenomenon. It just means that some of us have learned to work through it. Some of the time.

Which brings us to the question of why people still believe it. First, it is a naturally-occuring idea. (And if it doesn't occur to us naturally, it will be introduced by our culture.) Second, it is difficult or impossible to outright disprove. Third, questioning it is often the subject of threats of punishment in that immaterial afterlife, and actual punishment by society in this life. And fourth? People want to believe, because it is more familiar, more comfortable, more reassuring. And in wanting to believe, they'll gather together all the faulty arguments and questionable evidence they need to make themselves believe, and believe despite the flaws in those arguments and evidence.

As a final note, it's useful to realize that we defend things valuable to us only when we feel that there might be a threat to them. The harder someone defends Christianity, the more threatened they feel Christianity is. Why would a theist defend the notion of the afterlife (btw, one doesn't imply belief in the other) in the face of ever-increasing skepticism and reason for skepticism? Because there is increasing skepticism and reason for skepticism, of course.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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