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Old 04-21-2013, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Ohio
19,953 posts, read 14,256,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
The problem is NOT the lack of evidence for something (God) . . . but the abundance of evidence for something (Consciousness) that is posited to NOT exist in the initial premise of atheism. That is what makes it illogical . . . the initial premise is unsupportable.
Sigh….Consciousness is nothing more than an electrochemical reaction --- neurotransmitters like Acetylcholine, Dopamine, Serotonin, Norepinephrine, Epinephrine and Endorphins --- moving across synapses in the brain.

Destroy the synapses, dendrites, nodes, axons and presynaptic terminals and you punch holes in Consciousness; destroy enough and you create lapses in Consciousness; and if you destroy too many, then you destroy Consciousness.

Consciousness is subjective, because the brain has plasticity, meaning the brain can be altered physically and chemically by experience.

Weak synaptic contacts are pruned, while strong ones are strengthened, thus Consciousness is constantly being altered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
This is clearly the preferred argument by the atheist . . . attack a specific God (Abrahamic bible God) for obvious reasons. But atheism cannot stand or fall on the refutation of specific weakly presented versions of God.
You mean absurd versions of God.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
It stands or falls on the generic concept of God, period . . . and to date it is an epic FAIL The illogic has been shown above because of its lack of support for an initial premise essential to its desired conclusion. The consistent harping on lack of ANY evidence for God conveniently ignores and rules out the most powerful evidence of all . . . the existence of consciousness.
But Consciousness is nothing more than electrochemical reactions.

Theoretically, I could create Consciousness in a test tube.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
If atheism cannot rule out a conscious reality and establish the initial premise of a non-conscious reality . . . the logical syllogism for God will be easy to produce from a premise of a conscious reality . . . the opposite is not true for atheism.
Atheism can rule out a Conscious Reality, since Conscious Reality is an human construct, just like all gods are human constructs.

Your argument lacks universality. The Earth existed before Humans existed, and it will exist after Humans are gone.

Lower level life forms lack the electrochemical properties to experience Consciousness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
The insurmountable problem for atheism as the logical default is that it has no a priori premise that is NOT in conflict with extant knowledge about reality (consciousness).
That isn’t true at all, since no god existed before Humans existed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oleg Bach View Post
There was a time when it was considered impossible by the theists and atheists that man could not send an object to Mars or that it was impossible for man to walk on the moon- and man did. To say we will never find proof of God is absolutely ignorant.
That’s Strawman Fallacy, even more so since the Moon and Mars exist, but gods do not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KCfromNC View Post
Please explain how a feeling is supposed to be evidence of how physical brain functions work.

References to peer reviewed literature, please.
That’s standard physiology.

The sensory thalamus receives emotional stimuli. That sends neurotransmitters to the amygdala which produces an emotional response. Since the amygdala is part of the primitive brain, it governs the Fight/Freeze/Flight response.

Simultaneously, neurotransmitters are moving to the sensory cortex which controls higher functions.

In a normal brain, the sensory cortex will send neurotransmitters to the hippocampus and both the hippocampus and sensory cortex will promptly send neurotransmitters to the amygdala to shut it down.

Since I have PTSD and a TBI (traumatic brain injury) my brain doesn’t work that way. The neurotransmitters that are supposed to shut down the amygdala do not function, in part because synapses were destroyed by the brain injury, and in part due to the plethora of new synapses that were created by the flood of chemicals.

Since I was alone and trapped on a bridge with Panamanian Defense Forces, flight was not was not an option, so the neural paths to those synapses were either destroyed by the brain injury or pruned by chemical reactions, consequently, the only response the amygdala provides for me is fight or freeze.

Anyway, the emotional stimuli comes from sound, smell, sight, taste, or touch. Your reaction to that stimuli is based on a learned response.

So Appalachian Spring (Copland) and Supper’s Ready (Genesis) are both pleasing, but the elicit different emotions, in the same way that Donna Summer or Pink are revolting.

Same with taste. I like snails, octopus, squid, mussels, clams, scallops, pork brains, hog maws, and tripe, but oysters are disgusting.

Smell, touch and sight are the same way. The smell of blood and burnt flesh is neither pleasing nor revolting, but burning hair is nasty.

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?

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?
For “Zombies” the brain is dead, and so not functioning --- except for perhaps the medulla oblongata (like in the Walken Dead).

For computers, the electrical conduit is there, but not the chemical conduit, and it is the chemicals that actually produce the emotions, since they activate the relevant synapses where information is stored telling you “how” to respond……everything you’ve learned and experienced to that point in your life.

A computer is basically a zombie that doesn’t try to kill you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
The MOST extraordinary claim materialists make is that our reality is and was basically a dead objective mass of energy devoid of consciousness and its subjective elements. You make this claim in the face of the evidence and existence of the very consciousness and subjective inferences you are using to claim they did NOT exist. Then you want to establish this outrageous claim as the default for any and all further uses of this consciousness and subjectivity in investigating our reality! Talk about extraordinary claims! We are to believe that what we are using to have these conversations just appeared out of a lifeless objective reality devoid of any sign of it.
You’re no different than Ignorant Man.

You’re ignorant of the world around you, and the only way you can explain it is by conjuring up a supernatural being or force.

The river didn’t flood, so the fields weren’t watered, the crops didn’t grow and people died of starvation.

Whose fault is that? No one’s fault…it’s just what happens.

But Ignorant Man cannot accept Reality, so he conjures up an alternate Reality --- the gods were mad.

That leads Ignorant Man to start offering grain as a sacrifice to the god who controls the river, and that works for a while, but it isn’t enough and so Ignorant Man starts offering animal sacrifices, and engaging in elaborate rituals and then sacrificing humans and then slaughtering to humans to please a being who never existed….

….and it’s all through ignorance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
We are to believe that what we are using to have these conversations just appeared out of a lifeless objective reality devoid of any sign of it.
It is your claim that is extraordinary. There are many things in the Universe that are life-less, yet they exist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
I realize it is difficult for my antagonists to extract the core issues we are actually discussing from my complete synthesis which contains many more issues and aspects to it than those under discussion here. But do try!
The core issue is ignorance.

Consciously....


Mircea
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:15 AM
 
Location: Kent, Ohio
3,424 posts, read 2,118,111 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
But Sensei, didn't I suggest that evolution accounted for that and, when you said that was the behaviour, but not the experience, you shifted to the mechanics of atoms of swetness or in this case particles of light from object to bod and stll wanted to know what this experience actually was. And didn't I suggest that it actually wasn't anything more than a label?
I've tried everything I can think of, so for now it seems all I can do is repeat myself. Qualia are not really a hypothesis. I assume that you are sentient, and since you can distinguish red from blue, there is no possible way that you can fail to experience red and blue qualia. The only question is to determine the best way to characterize the nature of the qualia that you obviously experience. I don't think you've directly addressed the problem of radical skepticism. Until you confront this problem head-on, there is really nothing much more that I can say. Somehow you need to come to grips with the idea that experience is complex, and when something is complex, this means it is composed of parts. (That's just what is means to say that something is complex.) Qualia are the elements that compose your experience.

Even the most radical of radical skeptics cannot rationally doubt the existence of qualia, once the term 'qualia' is understood. Even if you truly believed that you were the only being in existence, and even if you believed that this moment is the only moment in all of existence (i.e., there are no other moments past or future) - even if you truly and fully believed this radical form of skepticism with all of your heart - nevertheless you could not rationally doubt the existence of qualia. Why not? Because even the radical skeptic can't help but notice that this moment of experience - this exact moment here and now, is complex. You see more than one color. You hear sounds. You have tactile sensations, etc. The question is how to account for qualia in terms other than behavior. (Because behavior does not logically imply qualia. If behavior logically implied qualia, we could not conceive of the possibility of zombies.) Evolution only selects behaviors. It cannot account for qualia. If you already accept the existence of qualia, then you could say that qualia cause the behaviors that evolution selects, so in this way evolution indirectly selects for qualia. I would be ok with that. But this wouldn't account for the existence of qualia in the first place.

Last edited by Gaylenwoof; 04-21-2013 at 10:31 AM..
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:45 AM
 
40,107 posts, read 26,772,494 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
This seems to be the part of the whole qualia issue that you do NOT get. IF reality only consists of whatever "substance" comprises our material world . . . as your naive materialism asserts. Then everything that exists including consciousness must exist in it. But atheism asserts as its initial premise that reality is NOT conscious . . . removing the most ubiquitous and direct of our experiences of reality. THAT is what Gaylen is trying to resolve. Postulating some kind of material aspect to the known building blocks of our reality that relates to consciousness experienced as qualia.
I am quite satisfied to consider ALL of our consciousnesses as PART of our God. Then stop doing it. Asserting an initial premise for our reality that has no consciousness in the face of our own subsequent manifestations of consciousness can be dismissed because you have no reason for it.You really still don't get it. I am witnessing to my understanding. No one is compelled to accept it or feel any burden to do so. YMMV.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Let's do the terms replacement bit..

"IF reality only consists of whatever "substance" comprises our material world . . . as your naive materialism asserts. Then everything that exists including music must exist in it. But atheism asserts as its initial premise that reality is NOT musical . . . "

"IF reality only consists of whatever "substance" comprises our material world . . . as your naive materialism asserts. Then everything that exists including apples must exist in it. But atheism asserts as its initial premise that reality is NOT fruity . . . "

"IF reality only consists of whatever "substance" comprises our material world . . . as your naive materialism asserts. Then everything that exists including sheepdip must exist in it. But atheism asserts as its initial premise that reality is NOT sheepdip . . . "

Yep, that seems to work. can you see, Mystic, how your argument is a special -pleading fallacy?
Sorry Arequipa . . . these examples only reveal that you do not see the actual issues. I have confronted this kind of concrete thought process frequently enough to know that the abstract thought processes necessary to see the real issues is not likely to exist. You can see the frustration in Gaylen's response to you as well. It is not a criticism of you in any way . . . it is simply an acknowledgement that we are describing the importance of color to a color-blind person. I have even used melody and music as phenomena in my attempts to show that their essential characters only exist as abstractions apprehended by a consciousness . . . to no avail. The material components that we can measure exist only as individual sound waves . . . but the phenomena themselves exist as abstract composites we cannot measure. I can only join Gaylen in complete frustration at our failure to communicate the real issue of qualia and consciousness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaylenwoof View Post
I've tried everything I can think of, so for now it seems all I can do is repeat myself. Qualia are not really a hypothesis. I assume that you are sentient, and since you can distinguish red from blue, there is no possible way that you can fail to experience red and blue qualia. The only question is to determine the best way to characterize the nature of the qualia that you obviously experience. I don't think you've directly addressed the problem of radical skepticism. Until you confront this problem head-on, there is really nothing much more that I can say. Somehow you need to come to grips with the idea that experience is complex, and when something is complex, this means it is composed of parts. (That's just what is means to say that something is complex.) Qualia are the elements that compose your experience.

Even the most radical of radical skeptics cannot rationally doubt the existence of qualia, once the term 'qualia' is understood. Even if you truly believed that you were the only being in existence, and even if you believed that this moment is the only moment in all of existence (i.e., there are no other moments past or future) - even if you truly and fully believed this radical form of skepticism with all of your heart - nevertheless you could not rationally doubt the existence of qualia. Why not? Because even the radical skeptic can't help but notice that this moment of experience - this exact moment here and now, is complex. You see more than one color. You hear sounds. You have tactile sensations, etc. The question is how to account for qualia in terms other than behavior. (Because behavior does not logically imply qualia. If behavior logically implied qualia, we could not conceive of the possibility of zombies.) Evolution only selects behaviors. It cannot account for qualia. If you already accept the existence of qualia, then you could say that qualia cause the behaviors that evolution selects, so in this way evolution indirectly selects for qualia. I would be ok with that. But this wouldn't account for the existence of qualia in the first place.
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Old 04-21-2013, 12:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Citizen401 View Post
The causal axiom (which the concept of 'singular causation' describes) clearly does provide explanatory power to the extent that it can explain that the universe, a discernibly contingent body, has a cause with certain properties. However, the extra-natural process by which this occurs obviously cannot be described to the extent that empirical knowledge can, given that it occurs beyond the natural world. That's a limitation of epistemology, not the argument.
That's not the explanation I am looking for - saying that the universe has an absolute begining (which is by no means clear or certain) is not being challenged. What is being challenged is the cause with certain properties, as you say, actualizing this universe from nothing. You have no theory of immaterial causation that makes any sense in light of these Christian properties of God and creatio ex nihilo. You invoke the 'extra-natrual process' as fulfilling this role - but this is just mere assertion of language. On what basis, other than metaphysical games, do you invoke such a concept?

Quote:
Note the form of your own argument:

• Singular causation beyond the natural world cannot be empirically described and lacks 'explanatory power'.
• Therefore, singular causation is metaphysically untenable.

This is the non-sequitur fallacy; meaning that the premise, expressed as a criticism, is a red herring. In order for my position to be argumentatively sufficient, all I need to show is that it is metaphysically possible for a singular cause to give rise to the universe. This can be done simply by demonstrating that it does not violate the central causal axiom: "ex nihilo nihil fit".
This is not my argument, the point is that hiding in metaphysics does us no good since things that are coherent are not necessarily correspondent. Saying that there is God and nothing else and then the universe comes into being is not illogical. It is the way in which the universe is actualized from the stated properties of that God. You hint that because God exist and he is the cause means that this does not violate ex nihilo nihil fit, as if to suggest that something exist from which something else comes therefore it is not violated. The problem is that the properties of this God mean that one must commit to creatio ex nihilo not creatio ex deo. As such, without a theory of immaterial causation to bridge the gap from God's potentiality to the actualization of this creation, the concept fails. You are basically reduced to - 'God is all powerful so anything is possible so I don't have to say anything else about the matter.' And since this is not illogical it has some sort of metaphysical explanatory power that satisfies me as to what is actually real or really possible. Well I am not satisfied with that as having any worth to what is real or not - it seems wholly unecessary to invoke such concepts as an explanation - there are better models that are just as logical without the need for God/s.

Quote:
As of yet, I don't even need to specify God, given that you're still floundering at step one by insisting upon applying a contorted Aristotelian thesis of causality where it does not apply. All the belly-aching over "explanatory power" is a distraction, and belies your naive view of the nature of metaphysics and epistemology as a whole.
You don't need to specify God because the OP has already done so and you are arguing on his behalf. I am not insisting on anything, I am waiting for you to offer a viable immaterial theory on causation that bridges that gap without appeals to a material one or just so stories of magic (after all magical theories can be logical to) - until then it is a place holder for talking about causality in general especially when Christian apologists use material causation as support for their cosmological arguments - see the KCA.

Quote:
This appears to be the crux of your problem as far as epistemology is concerned.

• Insisting that a priori knowledge should have the same properties and justification theory standards as empirical knowledge.
• Claiming that knowledge can only be useful or meaningful if it can be subject to a posteriori confirmation/verification.
• Dismissing metaphysics as 'semantics', 'playing with definitions', or as being 'intellectually unsatisfying' (whatever that means).

This is simply a philosophically ignorant position, or the kind of thing a Verificationist might say, which is worse than philosophically ignorant. Note the OP's warning against 'appealing to Verificationism'; or even better, read up on the history behind why such claims as yours are now universally regarded to be untenable among academics (I recommend Oswald Hanfling's book "Logical Positivism").
1) I am not insisting that at all - I am suggestiong that a priori metaphysical games do not get us anywhere without any further justification and that hiding in this realm of possibilities is a faulty methodology for figuring out what is actually real despite its coherence or logical nature.

2) I never claimed a priori knowledge to be useless, just that it is a starting point and that one should not remain there removed from a posteriori methods.

3) I never dismissed metaphysics per-se.

Quote:
If I had appealed to a natural example of singular causation as proof that it would apply beyond the natural world, that would not be equivocation, but the 'fallacy of composition'. However, that is not what I did. All it serves is to refute your broadly inept claim that singular causation is wholly absurd (ie. untenable in any situation) or 'at odds with reality'.
Well you did appeal to a natural example - see post #336 'Any claim that this is metaphysically absurd can be easily refuted, simply by citing verifiable examples in which the full potentiality for an effect exists within the cause: A radioactive isotope releasing gamma radiation, or an explosion produced by the detonation of a time-bomb in the vacuum of space.'

Secondly, it is Christian apologists who do this, see the KCA, when they hide immaterial causation and material causation in the term 'cause' when formualting their argument.

Lastly, once again I never said singular causation was wholly absurd.

Quote:
In comparison, you continue to insist on applying your rule-of-thumb thesis on causality (it doesn't really matter what you call it), to the causal boundary of space-time, even when you've been told, numerous times, that that is an untenable position to take. Ironically, this is a textbook example of the composition fallacy.
No I don't insist on it. As stated before I am waiting for you to offer, beyond mere assertion and just-so stories, a theory of immaterial causation that can bridge the gap between God's properties, as stated in the OP, and the actual creative act that brought the universe out of nothing - creatio ex nihilo. Borrowing my materialist capital to pay for your immaterial story does not fly with me. You seem to be stuck in a world of just-so stories simply because you define God as all potentiality or all powerful - yet ontologically wholly separate from this creation - and you seem to think that settles it by invoking logical metaphysical statements like extra-natural processes or an all-powerful being.

Quote:
What are the components of your thesis? Some selective semblance of Aristotelian metaphysics married to a vague allusion to the First Law of Thermodynamics - which is dawkinsnet philosophy at best.
I have never read Dawkins but if my point were similar it would still be more than you have to offer - your just playing in your metaphysical sandbox and acting like nothing else is needed. That is the only semblance of components you have - if I dare call them components of anything other than your mind playing abstract linguistic games.

Quote:
If you posit that either component (both derived from observations of the natural world) should be pertinent to causal processes beyond the natural world, and that it raises tangible 'problems' regarding the possibility of singular causation in that situation, then the onus is upon you to demonstrate why, not for me to 'define it away', as you put it.
But I don't posit it, I merely show that if done so it causes problems and you are stuck wallowing in metaphysics with nowhere else to go. You are the one invoking metaphysical possibilities so the onus is on you not just to logically state these propositions but to coherently incorporate them into a theory of immaterial causation and show that they work given the Christian properties of God and his creation from nothing.

Quote:
I thought you might allude to panentheism, but it's a false analogy.

Even if the universe was created from the very substance of God (which I don't personally believe), classical theism is not violated as long as there is ontic separation achieved between God and creation - a concept that is metaphysically and logically coherent.
I am not making the analogy but pointing out that this is really what you are getting at even though you deny it. It is the very concept of ontic seperation that causes the probelms I mentioned above. As an aside - coherence does not necessitate correspondence. Yet given the properties of this God and a lack of any coherent extra-natural process to bridge the gap between them - creatio ex nihilo fails. Just defining into existence this ontic separation and some vague extra-natural process and remaining there is really unsatisfying even if that is logical.
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Old 04-21-2013, 02:16 PM
 
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How could any area of the brain not, play a role or fully supporting role, in the building blocks of Quaila.

You would think with the dynamic evolution of the quaila function, that every happening of development in both the brain and body over time self supports this outcome of quaila 100%, because it happened, a dedication to the goal in survival itself, as an entropic system.

Otherwise value in the quality seems to be lost.

If there is a football game, there are two teams. There is no quaila game without one of the two teams, experience out of the game. In this, one team is the individual and the other is the setting and or unfolding experience involving two teams. So how can the building blocks for a football game be apprehended with only one team, in this case the brain. So then whats left is not potencial but a compliance for the outcome in quaila.

It can't be potencial...because theres no potencial for a football game in the team warming up or getting ready for the game, why...because the challenge is not in motion, the experience of the game has not happened. So its only an available compliance through the anticipation, or DNA and whatever out of experience in Quaila and memory. Compliance for the setting, a setting all about entropy and survival. Gravity being the fundamental force.

Other then that the only thing left is this ..i..thing and the common ground associations with the setting. And trying to show building blocks for that is no different then trying to get a lock on the setting of order, allowing for 2+2=4..our 'ability' to grasp even the finite world...maybe thats the quest and if it is, its again probably got to do with every single evolving happening in human, getting to know the environment, the rules and order out of consequence.. the challenge against the force's in survival to win the game, but an always loss in the end. This is not meant to be critical, its just getting it down.

If this is not understood which seems to be a going thing...no biggy. Its a good exorcise getting it down. If its wondered then well u don't know what Quaila is...well hold on, theres been at least 20 different explanations for quaila, including one the other day comparing the involuntary wiggling of a fish and so on. So fair is fair and no biggy. Now the thread has been apparently saved by the new thundering voice, and still nothing interesting, just the same ole century old junk. Maybe I can take an opportunity to apologies for some of my street style language..I don't swear normally and this style is part of my make-up..so seeing it in print after I post makes no sense as something read...So I will show more attention to being exquisite and eloquent like a very polished well to do thinker in todays world...( who I really want to stay clear of...maybe thats the root of it...so instead of century ole junk..maybe very interesting but tiresome old stuff with nothing new or creative.

Last edited by stargazzer; 04-21-2013 at 03:41 PM..
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Old 04-21-2013, 02:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by stargazzer View Post
How could any area of the brain not, play a role or fully supporting role in the building blocks of Quaila. You would think with the dynamic evolution of the quaila function that every happening of development over time self supports this outcome, by dedication to the goal in survival itself, as an entropic system. Otherwise value in the quality seems to be lost. If there is a football game, there are two teams. There is no quaila game without one of the two teams, experience out of the game. In this, one team is the individual and the other is the setting and or experience. So how can the building blocks for a football game be apprehended with only one team, in this case the brain. So then whats left is not potencial but a compliance for the outcome in quaila.

It can't be potencial...because theres no potencial for a football game in the team warming up or getting ready for the game, why...because the challenge is not in motion, the experience of the game has not happened. So its only an available compliance through the anticipation, or DNA and whatever out of experience in Quaila and memory. Compliance for the setting, a setting all about entropy and survival. Gravity being the fundamental force.

Other then that the only thing left is this ..i..thing and the common ground associations with the setting. And trying to show building blocks for that is no different then trying to get a lock on the setting of order, allowing for 2+2=4..our ability to grasp even the finite world...maybe thats the quest and if it is, its again probably got to do with every single evolving happening in human.

If this is not understood which seems to be a going thing...no biggy. Its a good exorcise getting it down. If its wondered then well u don't know what Quaila is...well hold on, theres been at least 20 different explanations for quaila, including one the other day comparing the involuntary wiggling of a fish and so on. So fair is fair and no biggy. Now the thread has been saved by the new voice of god and still nothing interesting, just the same ole century old junk. Maybe I can take an opportunity to apologies for some of my street style language..I don't swear normally and this style is part of my make-up..so seeing it in print after I post sometimes horrifies me...So I will show more attention to being exquisite and eloquent like a very polished well to do thinker in todays world...so instead of century ole junk..maybe very interesting but tiresome old stuff.
I admit that your posts are not easy for me to grasp, Stargazzer . . . but I almost think I understand some of what you are saying here and I might agree. It illuminates the major problem Gaylen faces in trying to "componentize" qualia. Subjectivity is inherently individual and cannot be reduced to a generic universal component of reality.
(BTW: If I missed your point, stargazzer . . . leave me to wallow in my ignorance because it is unlikely I would understand any attempt at clarification )
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Old 04-21-2013, 02:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
I admit that your posts are not easy for me to grasp, Stargazzer . . . but I almost think I understand some of what you are saying here and I might agree. It illuminates the major problem Gaylen faces in trying to "componentize" qualia. Subjectivity is inherently individual and cannot be reduced to a generic universal component of reality.
(BTW: If I missed your point, stargazzer . . . leave me to wallow in my ignorance because it is unlikely I would understand any attempt at clarification )
thanks and i think its completely understandable...i guess communication will always have these things.

Last edited by stargazzer; 04-21-2013 at 03:15 PM..
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Kent, Ohio
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Originally Posted by Mircea View Post
Sigh….Consciousness is nothing more than an electrochemical reaction --- neurotransmitters like Acetylcholine, Dopamine, Serotonin, Norepinephrine, Epinephrine and Endorphins --- moving across synapses in the brain.

Destroy the synapses, dendrites, nodes, axons and presynaptic terminals and you punch holes in Consciousness; destroy enough and you create lapses in Consciousness; and if you destroy too many, then you destroy Consciousness.
I love reading books on neuroscience. This is roughly the sort of stuff I have in mind when I talk about tracking down the neural correlates of consciousness. My hope is that someday we will be able to translate the qualitative nature of experience into neural processes, and then maybe from these correlations we can get a grip on the physics of consciousness. I have the impression, however, that most of the people here would think that neural correlates are enough. My experience of blue just is this neural pattern; end of story. I am confident, however, that this simply won't be sufficient for a full theory of consciousness, for all of the various reasons I've been detailing in this thread.

I am curious about something. Would ya'll be willing to list the books you've read relating to the philosophy of mind? Or, if not books, then maybe post links to some articles that have heavily influenced your thinking about the nature of consciousness and/or the debate over the nature of qualia? I'm thinking that maybe if I understand which philosophers appeal to you, I can use the arguments and ideas of those philosophers in order to communicate my own ideas (since it seems that me just talking about my own ideas in my own voice is getting me nowhere). If some of you have not read anything in philosophy of mind, then that might be helpful for me to know as well. Maybe then I will just post some quotes so that you can hear the basic arguments presented in different ways.

As I've said before, I would really love to reach a point in this conversation where one of us gets an "ah-ha!" experience. I am deeply puzzled about why you don't see the hard problem and/or why I seem to see a hard problem if, in fact, there is no problem. I'd like to find a "Rosetta stone" to help translate between your way of thinking, and mine.
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Gaylenwoof View Post
I've tried everything I can think of, so for now it seems all I can do is repeat myself. Qualia are not really a hypothesis. I assume that you are sentient, and since you can distinguish red from blue, there is no possible way that you can fail to experience red and blue qualia. The only question is to determine the best way to characterize the nature of the qualia that you obviously experience. I don't think you've directly addressed the problem of radical skepticism. Until you confront this problem head-on, there is really nothing much more that I can say. Somehow you need to come to grips with the idea that experience is complex, and when something is complex, this means it is composed of parts. (That's just what is means to say that something is complex.) Qualia are the elements that compose your experience.

Even the most radical of radical skeptics cannot rationally doubt the existence of qualia, once the term 'qualia' is understood. Even if you truly believed that you were the only being in existence, and even if you believed that this moment is the only moment in all of existence (i.e., there are no other moments past or future) - even if you truly and fully believed this radical form of skepticism with all of your heart - nevertheless you could not rationally doubt the existence of qualia. Why not? Because even the radical skeptic can't help but notice that this moment of experience - this exact moment here and now, is complex. You see more than one color. You hear sounds. You have tactile sensations, etc. The question is how to account for qualia in terms other than behavior. (Because behavior does not logically imply qualia. If behavior logically implied qualia, we could not conceive of the possibility of zombies.) Evolution only selects behaviors. It cannot account for qualia. If you already accept the existence of qualia, then you could say that qualia cause the behaviors that evolution selects, so in this way evolution indirectly selects for qualia. I would be ok with that. But this wouldn't account for the existence of qualia in the first place.
Somehow we are missing each other. If I suggested that I thought that qualia was only hypothetical, that was not what I had in mind. I thought that I explained that the human and indeed perception - experience is real and indeed measurable, as language, music, mathematics, car -driving, law and religion is real. But apart from the the why we do it and how we do it, these things have no existence as a field, force or particles of anything in themselves. That is what I mean by 'qualia' being no more than a label pasted over where evolutionary- behaviour 'why' meets physical -atomic 'how'.

As to the hypothesis, I believe that was your term to refer to the whole argument for dualism in which qualia (real enough in monist - materialist terms) are hypothetical as an entity independent of human and animal bods.

I am of course out of my comfort -zone here and it is monumental cheek for me to debate with someone who has a masters degree in this stuff. If it were not being used (not by you, of course) by theists to try to 'prove' 'God' either as a cosmic field proven as a fact (as distinct from a hypothesis) by Chalmers zombies (which I still find a very imprecise model far too prone to being fiddled to be whatever the 'proof' needs - especially in view of the possible residual evolutionary mechanisms that a zombie might have. I much prefer a walking computer) or by trying to shift the burden of proof to atheism by unseating materialism as the default by 'proving' dualism, I would bow out and leave the matter to the experts.

Until I can get some answers to questions that bother me considerably, I suppose I have to keep worrying at this particular bone.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 04-21-2013 at 08:13 PM..
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
Sorry Arequipa . . . these examples only reveal that you do not see the actual issues. I have confronted this kind of concrete thought process frequently enough to know that the abstract thought processes necessary to see the real issues is not likely to exist. You can see the frustration in Gaylen's response to you as well. It is not a criticism of you in any way . . . it is simply an acknowledgement that we are describing the importance of color to a color-blind person. I have even used melody and music as phenomena in my attempts to show that their essential characters only exist as abstractions apprehended by a consciousness . . . to no avail. The material components that we can measure exist only as individual sound waves . . . but the phenomena themselves exist as abstract composites we cannot measure. I can only join Gaylen in complete frustration at our failure to communicate the real issue of qualia and consciousness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaylenwoof View Post
I love reading books on neuroscience. This is roughly the sort of stuff I have in mind when I talk about tracking down the neural correlates of consciousness. My hope is that someday we will be able to translate the qualitative nature of experience into neural processes, and then maybe from these correlations we can get a grip on the physics of consciousness. I have the impression, however, that most of the people here would think that neural correlates are enough. My experience of blue just is this neural pattern; end of story. I am confident, however, that this simply won't be sufficient for a full theory of consciousness, for all of the various reasons I've been detailing in this thread.

I am curious about something. Would ya'll be willing to list the books you've read relating to the philosophy of mind? Or, if not books, then maybe post links to some articles that have heavily influenced your thinking about the nature of consciousness and/or the debate over the nature of qualia? I'm thinking that maybe if I understand which philosophers appeal to you, I can use the arguments and ideas of those philosophers in order to communicate my own ideas (since it seems that me just talking about my own ideas in my own voice is getting me nowhere). If some of you have not read anything in philosophy of mind, then that might be helpful for me to know as well. Maybe then I will just post some quotes so that you can hear the basic arguments presented in different ways.

As I've said before, I would really love to reach a point in this conversation where one of us gets an "ah-ha!" experience. I am deeply puzzled about why you don't see the hard problem and/or why I seem to see a hard problem if, in fact, there is no problem. I'd like to find a "Rosetta stone" to help translate between your way of thinking, and mine.
There is a way of abstract thinking and relating to reality that is NOT commonplace, Gaylen. Those of us who engage in it assume it is a natural part of thinking . . . but it is not. There are many things about the way we perceive and think about reality that do not come as standard equipment. We don't often think about literally building the way we perceive and think about the world through training and education . . . but that is what we do. It is funny that we don't wonder why everyone can't hear the mistakes in a classical piano rendition . . . yet we do wonder why everyone can't see the deeper abstractions about reality that puzzle philosophers. The reasons are similar.
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