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Old 04-04-2013, 06:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
That is a very good point, Gazza. And in fact is a side issue of the debate - and relevant for evolution -theory, too. Why do humans have this art -appreciation factor and animals don't? Well, given that our problem- solving is of an extraordinary order to that of animals - and their problem - solving can be amazing - it is, like other evolved abilities, quite remarkable, but (perhaps) evolved to suit our survival -needs like organizing pack-hunting by dolphins and wild dogs, and colour -changing by cuttlefish and chameleons.

I don't want to get into a side -debate on evolution, but I'd say that what we have is adapted to us, just as survival -traits are adapted to other animals.

Dogs don't have fear of shapes in the dark they do have fear of someone standing up with a boot in their hand. They don't have an appreciation of a ripe Rubens nude, but find a wealth of meaning in stuff we wouldn't want to put our boot into.

Succinctly, if evolution theory is correct (rhetorical remark ) if it wasn't evolutionarryllrrayy necessary, we wouldn't have it - at basic level,of course.There is a lot of stuff that we have derived from that by an ability to reason and communicate in a way which is far beyond anything that animals have, I must confess. And the theists can find God in that if they want.

I (and my pal off the boards) are waiting for Gaylen's comments. If evolution gives us the qualia that computers (and zombies,who have been disassociated from their instincts, shall we say) don't have and this hypothesis seems to make sense to my Mentor, Gaylen Moore, he had better hurry up with his Paper if he wants that Nobel prize.
Its amazing, no matter what topic or subject -everything argues against these unusual and breaking idea's. Anyway if the approach can come up with one , just one interesting idea in its favor I will be surprised. Well I guess I better get back to some things for now.

Last edited by stargazzer; 04-04-2013 at 06:44 AM..
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Old 04-04-2013, 07:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissionIMPOSSIBRU View Post
I've heard this being stated by a number of atheists here, as well as claims that eminent theistic scientists are theists because they are 'selectively unintelligent' in those areas of critical reasoning that concern theistic belief. This is not a popular view in academia, especially given that academia itself has gone against expected trends and has become desecularised over the past 30 years.

Therefore, it would be interesting to see what arguments and evidence can be offered in this forum to defend such a statement.

Some key points and reminders before getting the discussion rolling:

1. The statement is based upon the standardised philosophical definitions of classical theism and atheism, as appealed to in specialty level philosophical discourse:

Classical Theism: Belief in God as a personal being that is 'causally prior' to the existence of the universe (space-time and its contents).

This is consistent with the Abrahamic monotheisms and deism; but not pantheism, panentheism nor eastern mystical and early greco-roman polytheisms.

Atheism: Belief that "theism is false"; the denial of the existence of God, or any person such as God.

This should be distinguished from agnosticism, as well as alternative, popular-level, definitions of atheism as simply an "absence of belief" in God. The latter is a redefinition originally coined by Antony Flew in the 1970s, eventually abandoned on the basis that it provoked in a number of epistemic problems, though it still persists in non-specialty literature.

2. The statement cannot be demonstrated to be true simply as a "brute fact".

The axioms of classical logic and the logical rules of inference are essentially metaphysically neutral with regard to the existence or non-existence of God, or the dichotomy of naturalism/supernaturalism. In other words, atheism is not corollary to the foundational rules of logic.

3. In defending atheism, absence of evidence is not evidence for absence, unless you can demonstrate, using epistemological arguments, that we would see more evidence of the truth of theism beyond the classical defences of theism in literature.

4. Be careful not to appeal to Verificationism; the position that 'sense data' (observational evidence) is the only meaningful criterion of knowledge.

This is a philosophy that was popular for much of the early 20th century, but collapsed spectacularly in the 1960s after it was demonstrated to be seriously defective. It is now more or less unanimously regarded to be indefensible among philosophically trained specialists; though it persists, however, among the philosophically illiterate and the "New Atheism".
Atheism is defended by a lot of scientists around the world. Stephen Hawking gives proofs, not absolutely proofs but proofs in his last book.
The being can be created by the nothingness, and the big bang came from something similar to a black hole.
Is something curious, but i think even the existence of god would be proved in a very strong way there will be a lot of believer people.
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Old 04-04-2013, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,191 posts, read 9,080,735 times
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Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
...you will never get agreement from me on anything that uses the euphemism of "emergence" as if it explains anything.
I am quite comfortable with it as it is observable even apart from consciousness -- unless you ascribe consciousness to computer programs, where finite state automata and neural nets evolve patterns of behavior that have not been designed into them. These patterns simply fall out of the statistical probabilities of random interactions.

Drop the word "emergent" from my sentence if it makes you happier -- it's not really needed. My essential point is that an intellect wants to be occupied (even, as with meditation, it's occupied with observing its own activity) and so if its attention is not demanded by survival and protection all the time and it has sufficient processing power and connections, it will develop aesthetics and art and philosophy as a matter of course.

People with Asperger's Syndrome and similar conditions are "other-enabled" in this regard, certain mental circuitry cabinets are apparently unplugged and depending on the severity they may have diminished or no ability to appreciate anything from subtle facial expressions to the awe of that waterfall that we were talking about earlier. Yet they may be quite talented at certain things like quality control inspection, system administration, some kinds of computer programming, etc. -- precisely because their lack of distraction by all those other inputs allows a laser-like focus, better memory, etc. In other words they are not stupid, but their intelligence is compartmentalized differently from what's typical. Thus if there is a qualia somewhere of what it's like to be "typically human", it would not apply fully to them. Apparently there would have to be a qualia of what it's like to be, say, Mordant or MysticPhd specifically that is probably a compound of qualia such as what it's like to experience various things when wired up a certain way. To me this seems redundant. Why not just say that Mordant and MysticPhd experience certain inputs, process them or not in certain ways according to their mental equipment as influenced by biochemistry and experience, and the outcome just is what it is?
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Kent, Ohio
3,424 posts, read 2,114,420 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post

uhhh....I hate to be pushy, but could the fact that I suspect that the Hard Question may now have been answered have been overlooked?

Precis;

why do computers (or zombies) not perceive things the way humans do?

Because computers haven't evolved and zombies have forgotten that they have. Or is that too simple?
I'm probably misunderstanding you, but here is what I'm thinking: You seem to be suggesting that we can solve the hard problem by pointing to the principles of biological evolution. We experience qualia because organisms that experience qualia have an advantage over those that don't. In a certain way, I think you are absolutely right. I believe that qualia are the ultimate explanation for behavior, so if our behavior increases our reproductive fitness, and qualia is the reason for this behavior, then it makes sense that we have evolved in such a way as to maximize the best use of qualia. If we had a qualitative version of materialism, all would be well. The problem is that materialism, in its current form, has no room for qualia.

You cannot use the qualitative feeling of a desire for sweetness in an objective materialist description of a person eating cake. You can list the various biochemical processes involved in the central nervous system triggering muscle movements, but you cannot mention anything about what it is like to experience the sweet taste of sugar. The person does not eat cake because she like the flavor, she eats cake because, according to the laws of physics, when you have a collection of atoms is in a particular state, electromagnetic forces will follow a thermodynamic gradient in such as way that the collection of atoms will shift to a new state, which will trigger another new state, etc., until the atoms of the cake are in the belly of the person who ate it. The "sweetness" of sugar has nothing to do with this process at any point. The atoms composing the body of a zombie would do exactly the same things for exactly the same physical reasons, but the zombie would have no experience of the sweetness of cake (or any other experience). Now, concerning evolution: The only things that evolution can select directly are behaviors. If zombies act just like us, then evolution won't know the difference between us and zombies. Zombies would evolve exactly as we did. The selection process cares only what you do, not how you feel while you're doing it. To many materialists, this is all well and good. As they see it, the real explanation for why we eat cake is in the unfolding of the objectives laws of electromagnetism, etc. "Qualia" are just some sort of philosophical scam aimed at confusing us. They simply push any concern for the understanding of qualia out of their minds and proceed with their calculations. Personally, I think this is a willful denial of that which we ought to realize is, in fact, the very thing that we know most directly and with absolute certainty. Personally, I believe that I eat cake because I want to; because it tastes good. I think that these feeling are essential to any real explanation for my behavior.

Those who accept that qualia are real will want to find correlations between physical processes and qualitative experiences. The idea is to identify some physical processes that serve as markers for qualitative experiences. As I see it, this is exactly the right thing to do. We acknowledge the reality of qualia, but we also want to know how our qualitative experiences relate to the physical processes in our bodies. For some people, a correlation is good enough. If process X correlates with a certain qualitative experience, then process X just is the qualitative experience. End of story. But, for me, this is not the end of the story. The discovery of the correlation just raises another question: Why is process X correlated with THIS experience? Now that we know about this correlation, can we apply some hindsight and imagine how we could have predicted this correlation before actually discovering it by trial and error? No. Why not? Because all we have at this point are correlations discovered by trial and error. To make predictions we need a theory. That's what theories are for. So how do we make a theory to predict qualitative experience? I don't know, exactly, but I have a suggestion: If you are trying to make a theory that is able to predict qualitative experience, your theory needs to include terms that make reference to the qualitative experiences you want to predict. You wouldn't start out to construct a theory that predicts solar eclipses by saying: "I need to make this theory in such a way that I make no reference to the sun." No, that would be silly. But I'm saying it is just as silly to try to make a theory that can predict qualia without allowing your theory to reference qualia.

The problem, of course, is that qualia are subjective. This makes it difficult to reference them in a purely objective scientific theory. Just as natural selection is seemingly blind to qualia because it can only operate on objectively expressed behavior, objective materialistic physics is blind to qualia for essentially the same reason. I'm saying that if we want a theory of consciousness that can explain qualia, then we need a paradigm shift. The broadly materialistic aspect of physics is okay, but we need to drop the blind devotion to objectivism, at least for the purposes of creating a theory of consciousness. The objective approach works great for basically everything else that science might ever want to do, but we need a "special exemption" for theories of consciousness because, in this case, we are trying to construct a theory to explain something that has some unavoidably subjective aspect.

Last edited by Gaylenwoof; 04-04-2013 at 09:32 AM..
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:53 AM
 
39,039 posts, read 10,831,421 times
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Damn. I can't help feeling a bit let down. I thought I'd understood the Question and spotted the answer. It obviously was a bit too simple and qualia is something even more subtle than the likes and dislikes and the preferences and resultant art, music and food appreciation that results from that that derive,essentially, as you say, from adaptations that give a survival advantage.

Yes, I thought for a moment the Hard Question could be answered thus, but it was too simple.

And I am at a loss again.

"The person does not eat cake because she likes the flavor, she eats cake because, according to the laws of physics, when you have a collection of atoms is in a particular state, electromagnetic forces will follow a thermodynamic gradient in such as way that the collection of atoms will shift to a new state, which will trigger another new state, etc., until the atoms of the cake are in the belly of the person who ate it."

The 'common sense' response i suppose would be...that isn't why she eats the cake,that explains what happens when she does. WHY she eats it is because of a biological need for sustenance linked to a preference for various types of food -and as I suggested that seem probable to be linked to evolutionary adaptations.

But evidently it isn't as simple as that. Well, I'll lift your post and back to the discussion.

P.s reading your post,I wonder whether you read mine or just the precis. I thought my post #209 did indicate how evolution would rely on tweaking preferences in order to get us doing what helps us survive - as is the case with other animals of course (1) and that did link up with the experience of tasting, seeing and hearing and the liking or disliking of it.

"You wouldn't start out to construct a theory that predicts solar eclipses by saying: "I need to make this theory in such a way that I make no reference to the sun." No, that would be silly. But I'm saying it is just as silly to try to make a theory that can predict qualia without allowing your theory to reference qualia."

Of course. I thought I'd 'got' qualia and the explanation - not that I was arguing that there wasn't any (2). It looked as though you were hinting at the inability to communicate one experience to another person, but I'm sure that isn't the point. It is to do with the actual experiencing of tactile, auditory, visual etc. input (qualia). And again I'm groping to find something between what evolution can theoretically explain (why we have qualia) and what we might expect physiological research eventually to explain (how we have qualia). And I'm finding it hard to find something in between the two so reliably factual that it dislodges naturalist materialism as the default. But I'm still assuming this is because I'm failing to grasp something.

(1)this is of course shorthand for a process that is genetic adaptation of physiological processes that cause that strain of the species to out -perform the others. Evolution is not a being that 'knows' or doesn't know the difference between us and zombies.

(2) though it may have looked like it when I suggested that the theory didn't need a qualia -field to enable us to experience the qualia.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 04-04-2013 at 10:44 AM..
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:24 AM
 
40,046 posts, read 26,730,521 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
They don't . . . as they can be verified personally by each person experiencing their "Self" (instead of individual brain activity) and the resonant neural field view of consciousness can be verified elsewhere.
The more expansive view of energy is supported by Einstein and many other prominent physicists . . . so there is no need for me to list their accomplishments using that understanding (to include nuclear bombs and energy).
Quote:
Originally Posted by KCfromNC View Post
Sure, he derived an equation. The problem is you haven't successfully copied and pasted it here. I'll give you a few days to see if you understand enough physics to fix your mistake. If not I'll jump in and show you a simple, high-school level physics way to see that as written it can't possibly be correct.
Suit yourself. I imagine Hermann would be quite amused by someone trying to show him he is wrong using High School physics.
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
Suit yourself. I imagine Hermann would be quite amused by someone trying to show him he is wrong using High School physics.
Well, I am amused, and I suspect "Hermann" would as well. Minkowski didn't screw up and no one but you is saying he did. You have copied the equation incorrectly.

KC's point is that if you have even a high school trig understanding of what it is actually saying, you should be able to correct your mistake. I noticed this the other night, as I was trying to puzzle out what you were saying.

That being said, I don't think the correction has any bearing on your interpretation. I think there are a host of other factors that make your interpretation seem really off. Maybe this would be better off in another thread, becasue I would hate for an interesting discussion of Qualia turn into an argument over whether or not you have to actually understand the physics to make correct philosophcal inferences from it, which is where this one would head quickly.


-NoCapo
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:03 AM
 
40,046 posts, read 26,730,521 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
Suit yourself. I imagine Hermann would be quite amused by someone trying to show him he is wrong using High School physics.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Well, I am amused, and I suspect "Hermann" would as well. Minkowski didn't screw up and no one but you is saying he did. You have copied the equation incorrectly.
I didn't copy it . . . I used my memory. It is conceivable that there is some error due to Senioritis . . . that has nothing to do with interpreting the equation philosophically? When I have nothing better to do, I will find the original source and check it out. Meanwhile, lets' do stay on topic and not allow KC to derail things with his high school physics focus.

Ah . . . I suspect it is the confusion of three dimensional metrical invariance with the four dimensional topological invariance of Minkowski's "world interval" that is confusing your view of the equation. The time "coordinates" involve i or the squareroot(-1) that have to be factored out in the derivation.

Last edited by MysticPhD; 04-04-2013 at 11:15 AM..
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Kent, Ohio
3,424 posts, read 2,114,420 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
The 'common sense' response i suppose would be...that isn't why she eats the cake,that explains what happens when she does. WHY she eats it is because of a biological need for sustenance linked to a preference for various types of food -and as I suggested that seem probable to be linked to evolutionary adaptations.
Maybe this will help: Psychology is an example of a science that employs qualitative elements in it theories. So, to the extent that you can use psychological terms when talking about evolution, all is well. I, personally, am happy to use psychological terms. No problem, for me. The problem is that, in principle, psychology should reduced to chemistry - e.g., "Joe is depressed because his serotonin levels are abnormal." It would be silly to study the chemical properties of serotonin and expect to see "causes depression" somehow emblazoned into the molecular structure. The best you can do is describe how these molecules effect neural firing patterns, then link these firing patterns to certain behaviors. When speaking in the terms of chemistry, you can only use the word 'depression' in purely objective behavioral terms. You are not allowed to reference anything that has anything to do with what it feels like to be depressed. In reality, of course, we do use the qualitative terms, but when we do this, we are technically breaking the rules of objective materialism. And even if you could somehow sneak some qualitative terms into chemistry, you still face a challenge because chemistry is supposed to reduce to physics where, once again, no qualitative language is technically allowed.


So, if you want to talk about "biological need," that's fine, but you have to be prepared to understand that, according to objective materialism, this "need" must ultimately be stripped of anything qualitative. There is no desire, there are no fears, there are no drives, except to the extent that all of these things supposedly reduce down to purely objective behaviors with no qualitative aspects at all. Everyone in this thread constantly sneaks qualitative terms into their defenses of objective materialism, but this is cheating. As an objective materialist, you are not allowed to use these terms unless you can show - or at least give some rough idea, in principel - how they can be understood in purely objective terms (i.e., physical behavior). So "a desire to eat cake" is really "atoms following a thermodynamic gradient." I'm not denying the validity of the atomic description, so far as it goes, but I'm am denying that a description of this sort, no matter how detailed and complex, counts as a full description of my desire to eat cake. Why? Because such descriptions are ultimately never allowed to employ qualitative (or even “pre-qualitative”) terms, but my desire is a qualitative event.
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:19 PM
 
5,462 posts, read 5,937,202 times
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Originally Posted by Gaylenwoof View Post
The atoms composing the body of a zombie would do exactly the same things for exactly the same physical reasons, but the zombie would have no experience of the sweetness of cake (or any other experience).
Only if you assume that there's more to experience than physical reactions in the brain. Considering that PZombies are used to establish the need for dualism, that seems a bit circular.

Quote:
[color=black][font=Verdana]Those who accept that qualia are real will want to find correlations between physical processes and qualitative experiences. The idea is to identify some physical processes that serve as markers for qualitative experiences. As I see it, this is exactly the right thing to do. We acknowledge the reality of qualia, but we also want to know how our qualitative experiences relate to the physical processes in our bodies. For some people, a correlation is good enough. If process X correlates with a certain qualitative experience, then process X just is the qualitative experience. End of story. But, for me, this is not the end of the story.
Are you consistent in this approach? For instance, some people say that since our moon blocking out the sun is correlated with an eclipse, it just is the eclipse. Or that since slow moving vehicles are correlated with traffic, it just is the traffic. But is that the end of the story for you?

Now sure, a materialist theory won't align with your subjective experience that subjective experience is a fundamentally different class of stuff. But the only reason you'd find that a failing is if you expect that your subjective experience is a reliable indication of how the brain is actually functioning. Research shows that at best, we need to be very careful not to confuse what consciousness thinks is happening with what is really going on in the brain.

Quote:
The problem, of course, is that qualia are subjective. This makes it difficult to reference them in a purely objective scientific theory.
Given the currently open nature of this question regardless of metaphysical background, it seems to be difficult to reference them in any sort of theory. Which goes back to the point that given our limited knowledge it is premature to start ruling out whole classes of solutions when all of them share this same problem.
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