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Tags consciousness , materialism , subjectivity

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Old 8th February 2008, 05:18 PM   #361
Bodhi Dharma Zen
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
Your arguments are just going on to prop up the delusion you want to be true in your head.
Which are his arguments? can someone put them in an easily reading format? John? What do you believe? Which are your claims? I have read about three pages of the thread, so far, and this is unclear to me.
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Old 8th February 2008, 05:32 PM   #362
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Why is it a problem? What are these alternatives? The one you presented - the radio broadcast analogy - is an absurdity.
Ah Pixy, I have to point two fast things here. First, there are several problems with the simplistic claims that some materialists make about what we call "consciousness". I have pointed you, through the years, some of them, you always can go back to some good threads and learn a thing or two

That said, I think I agree with you about something (strange, isnt it? ) a "radio broadcasting analogy" if I understand it correctly, indeed seems to be absurd. Interesting Ian used to talk about it. Is it the same that was mentioned in this thread?

My excuses for not being able (yet) to catch all the posts
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Old 8th February 2008, 05:50 PM   #363
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
When you make a claim about reality – for example that consciousness is an emergent phenomenon in the universe – then you need something more than private experiences in order to be taken seriously. I assume this is the basic problem discussed in this thread (subjectivity and science). Experience of non-duality I probably just another brain state, I think.
Lupus,

Well, I'm not particularly concerned about being taken seriously, to be honest. It's not one of my primary motivations in discussions on JREF. I don't use words like consciousness either, least no more than I have to, not least because I have not the slightest idea what it is supposed to mean. There are things. There are things around me. There are people. There are emotions that arise from interactions with things, more from interactions with people. There are sensations. There are thoughts that arise. What consciousness is - I have no *********** clue. I figure when people start using words like "consciousness" and "emergent" they need to put the book down and find a girlfriend, ideally one who's a real bitch who won't let them read this nonsense anymore.

Non-duality IS. That's it. Viewed analytically it's a baseline state. It's not "another brain state." It's awareness of that in which all brain states arise. Thoughts arise as your conditioned belief patterns interact with sensorily experienced reality. Emotions also. The thing is to go into it. This is what I've learned. Whilst identification exists they will always appear to be "your thoughts" and "your feelings." When you go into them deep enough, when you allow and welcome the identification, then change occurs. This is the mechanism life uses to create growth - identification with thought and feeling. When it's finished growing you, the identification drops off and life is more peaceful. It's easier to make friends.

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Old 8th February 2008, 06:26 PM   #364
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Originally Posted by John Freestone View Post
PM, hi. You're amazingly good at putting ideas into categories and missing (or is it in order to miss) the point being made. We don't change paradigms, you say, we replace theories. The old geocentric model wasn't science, so somehow that invalidates the point I was making. You object to my re-using Joe's suggestion that I just 'make things up and present idle imaginings' to emphasise the imagination (often quite idle) involved in devising new theories, insisting that Copernicus worked it all out for 30 years. If he is like many scientists who report how their theories come to them, he won't. He will have worked out the details for years, but the idea will probably have hit him in a moment of idle imagination. Besides, all of this was to defend the action of positing possible cosmologies, when Joe seemed to tell me that wasn't on. Jeeez, are you being deliberately obtuse? The EXAMPLE of the Copernican revolution is just one example. It is really neither here nor there. I have hardly ever come across anyone so unimaginably literal in their reading of things. I am simply pointing out that THEORIES GET CHANGED, and before they do NEW THEORIES OFTEN COME FROM LEFT-FIELD, FLASHES OF INSIGHT, and to the uninitiated they simply LOOK LIKE RUBBISH AND ARE IGNORED.
Wrong again.

Successful theories come from people who have a deep understanding of existing theories and knowlege. Copernicus was able to revolutionise astronomy because he spent years learning what was already known.

Idle speculation looks like rubbish because it is rubbish.

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Changing the titles of particular classes of mental model from 'paradigm' to 'theory' and all the other reprocessing you do of every worthy thing put to you by a non-believer doesn't make their experience go away.
The problem is, you lack any understanding at all of how things actually happen. You're just making stuff up. I'm am attempting to provide you with that information, and to do so, I need to be specific.

"Paradigm" is a waffle-word. Theory, on the other hand, has a very specific meaning in science.

I'm not just changing titles, I'm changing meaning.

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It doesn't make them mad or bad.
It does make them wrong. If they persist, then yes, they are mad, or bad, or stupid.

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They even admit that most of what they are saying must seem wrong to you, because it comes from personal experience, subjective experimentation, and requires a post-representational, translogical condition of consciousness to resonate with it.
I'll translate that for you too: They are making it up.

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You have to get out of your head, or rather into it, to come to your senses.
What does that mean?

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Most of us also rejected such ideas for ages. But, contrary to your assertion that non-material philosophy has no evidence, there is extensive evidence of that kind from thousands of years of experimentation in consciousness - the findings are still hard for most of us to understand, but nevertheless they inform the belief systems of most of humanity.
There is no such evidence. There are indeed belief systems; none of them have any basis in evidence.

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You won't yet have much idea of the extent or appreciate the convergence of the evidence because - quite simply - you haven't been exposed to it enough.
There is no such evidence.

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You will read it and gawp at mankind's genius for nonsense.
I read the claims, and dismiss them because they are not based on evidence.

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Now, have a look at your latest computer program; imagine you haven't yet learned the language: it would be garbage, wouldn't it?
If I look at a computer program in a language I do not understand, I can work out what it does by referring to other information.

You cannot do this with your claims, because you have no such references. And that, in turn, is because you are making it up.

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Ok, I already said it probably is rather unlikely, but again you failed to take the meaning, because you have so little imagination.
It's not merely unlikely, but absurd. You're not free to just make stuff up, not if you wish to be taken seriously.

And it's not up to me to imagine alternatives to the scientific understanding of consciousness. I agree with the scientific understanding of consciousness. I have yet to see an alternative explanation that is congruent with even the most basic facts of neuroscience. If you can present such an explanation, then good for you. I'd love to see it.

Or if you can show me that there is something that consciousness does that doesn't fit with our scientific understanding of it, that would also change things. At present, there is no evidence of anything of the sort,
so there is no rational reason for me to spend time on that pursuit.

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Thanks. I appreciate it. I am completely open to understanding what material science says about consciousness, and I am always completely open to recognising that it explains it. I struggle to do so. I really turn over what I hear and read in my mind and worry that it's just too difficult for my little brain - sometimes. Mostly I get it, and it doesn't satisfy me. It doesn't square with my understanding of my subjective consciousness of being. Your machine is not conscious and you know it. You suggest that that is just a matter of complexity. I disagree. I don't think consciousness is some 'reflection' process of unconscious synapses, ever.
And I'll ask the question once again: Why don't you accept that? Consciousness does not do anything magical. It behaves just like other physical processes, and particularly like computers.

What's the problem?

I'll make another recommendation: The book Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter. It's 25 years old now, so it's not up-to-date on the latest research, but it lays the groundwork for reductionist, materialist theories of consciousness in a very entertaining manner.
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Old 8th February 2008, 06:32 PM   #365
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Originally Posted by Bodhi Dharma Zen View Post
Which are his arguments? can someone put them in an easily reading format? John? What do you believe? Which are your claims? I have read about three pages of the thread, so far, and this is unclear to me.
He seems to be arguing for some kind of dualism... that consciousness is more than a product of our brains and can, thus, exist after death. At least that is what I think he's saying. That's what people are usually referring to when they say the "hard problem" and other semantic shell games. I believe he's claiming that a materialist world view doesn't make sense (materialism being that consciousness exists so long as the brain is alive-- no brain --no consciousness --and no eternal soul...)

But people who don't like the materialistic/naturalistic world view tend to argue against that view and it's proponents without offering any evidence in favor of an alternative viewpoint... though clearly they have an emotional need or desire to believe in such.

BTW, neurologists, etc. don't have a problem with the materialistic world view... it tends to be people who derive comfort from some other alternative (be it reincarnation or heavenly bliss) that find the "problem" "hard". Neuroscience has accepted it... we are eager to find out more and going forward learning all we can about the brain and how it generates consciousness. Looking for "souls" turned out to be a failure. We're on the right track finally.

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Old 8th February 2008, 06:34 PM   #366
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
He seems to be arguing for some kind of dualism... that consciousness is more than a product of our brains and can, thus, exist after death. At least that is what I think he's saying. That's what people are usually referring to when they say the "hard problem" and other semantic shell games. I believe he's claiming that a materialist world view doesn't make sense (materialism being that consciousness exists so long as the brain is alive-- no brain --no consciousness --and no eternal soul...

But people who don't like the materialistic/naturalistic world view tend to argue against that view and it's proponents without offering any evidence in favor of an alternative viewpoint... though clearly they have an emotional need or desire to believe in such.
Amen, dammit.
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Old 8th February 2008, 06:43 PM   #367
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Originally Posted by JoeEllison View Post
Amen, dammit.
I know... it gets tiring... I can understand almost everybody all the time... except when they have that woo thing they must protect...

Naturalists (materialists) are always clear to me. But the woo start blurring the lines between evidence and faith and trying to make science sound like a faith based system... then they throw out tired worn arguments (from the same books I imagine) along with a few semantic flourishes that say nothing ...a snide implication ... an ad hom and a straw man or two.

Suddenly you are the bad guy and they are hearing things you never said and they are taking the conversation into semantic woo land.

And then my twilight zone alarm of wooness goes off. They come, not to learn and share and discover the truth that is the same for everyone... they can't even tell opinion from fact-- they're here to build up their own delusion by winning points in a game that exists only in their head by putting down others and offering nothing to counter the carefully accumulated knowledge of many very smart people. (Moreover, the woo don't seem to speak each other's woo.... they don't seem to know they ARE woo. But they all sound the same to me... just like all foreign languages sound "foreign". I just can't find the point amidst the verbiage and I conclude I've hit their woo nerve.)

I don't think anyone could be clearer than Pixy... and the woo just sound self important and clueless... They just NEVER actually say anything. Too bad you came here after Interesting Ian... he was the prototype of new-ageish woo. They are impenetrable. (John Freestone is beginning to sound a lot like him...)

All this talk of this supposed evidence for some kind of consciousness outside of a material brain... but no clue as what evidence even IS!

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Old 8th February 2008, 06:51 PM   #368
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
What is it about consciousness that you think is a problem for science? What is it that it does that makes you think it can't be the product of a material process?
It's not about what consciousness does - it is about what my consciousness IS". The problem here is that this is an experience that I can't explain to you. You seem not to recognise what I'm talking about, or you have a way of explaining your experience of existence as reflective information processing. That expression is to me utterly external, representational, modular, mathematical (Ken Wilber calls it 3rd-person or 'it'-language) and it does not bridge (in my comprehension, though I accept I may be missing something here) the gap to the 1st person, "I" that simply IS and knows that it is.

Now, you present your unconscious-matter model of how a person has the illusion of a self as if it were easy to see - like anyone should just have to hear it and they'd go "Oh yeah, of course". So maybe you're extremely smart, you and your breed of neo-zombies. But most people hear Descartes' "I think therefore I am" and go "Oh yeah" - not that they might get the detailed nuances - but it reminds them of their most absolutely undeniable reality - they ARE, they exist, they are alive.

Now, you say that all that can be caused by a machine. But I say that another theory gets my attention these days and explains more to me, but, unfortunately, I don't know how to explain it to you - even how to begin, other than to say that it reassesses the assumption that my subjective experience is a product of matter - in other words it says "What if we stop the first (or even the second) assumptions of scientific materialism?" It might involve reconsidering a dualism with mind and matter, or a monism where Mind is primary. It experiments, however, from that first experiential place of knowing I AM, and sees what else it might discover. There is a rich literature on just what people discover beyond that, which often leads to similar proposals as yours - there is the no-self of Buddhism, for instance. However, there are many Buddhisms, not one, and a lot of spiritual philosophies, and many of them include a concept of Cosmic Consciousness, or the idea that the All, the sum total of the Universe, is not dead matter, but Divine, and that that simple I AM is, were we to delve into it enough, the same thing (Atman is Brahman; Consciousness is God).

It is hard to talk about these things here, because they don't happen in representational modelling it-language; mostly, they just are in an intuitive inner space that I imagine you have not entered (and I don't mean any disrespect by that). There isn't a functional map I can put in front of us and point to. I can't tell you about this journey in English. It's an inward journey and there is a point where you have to leave explanations behind (just resign yourself to poetry and irrational prose) in order to continue. It is a continuation of the same journey that you were on as a materialist earlier, of conscientiousness, truthfulness. I'm sorry the irrationality of the ideas irritates rationalists here, and maybe I shouldn't even come here and tell you about the theories I can't tell you about rationally. But I'm moved to because this other dimension of knowledge feels so important.

It was around Descartes' time that things went one-sided and the inner, the mind got separated from the science. Science concerned itself only with what it could observe of the material world, and left the nature of mind to the Church, and in that split something got lost, which is the reality of the Subject, a reality that, of course, in our increasingly rationalist, materialist and technologically successful world, fewer and fewer take seriously...at least it was so until the intermittent reawakening of the 60s and 70s...and now, as postmodernism finds a more mature voice.

I think that your programmatic models of consciousness are symptomatic of the exterior-view trying to explain the bits it left behind - the interior experience of mind - and convincing itself that it has a workable scheme because it looks good on paper.

Why is postmodernism important? Well, because with it we began to realise that there is a big problem with language, that it isn't simply representational, and science relies on abstraction and symbolism, representation, modelling, simply language. Why are language and all forms of representation a problem - because they are not the real world and because they are contextual and because they actually originate 'internally' in a human mind and are projected onto or matched with patterns in the outside world.

Thus, science, even with its best mathematical models, really measures its own imaginary constructs, not real objects. I gave the chair-continuum as an example thought-experiment. How much can you chop off a chair before you stop calling it a chair? The boiling point of water - what exactly is 'boiling', when water molecules are evaporating and condensing variably at a wide range of temps and pressures? Fundamental particles - these are just words representing models representing realities that no-one can be sure of. The more you contemplate reality (and the science we've already got, because it does give useful data) the more it seems that we have to say, like the mystic, that there is something very strange and fluid going on, but we don't really know what.

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All it is, is reflective information processing. As I said earlier, I can build a circuit that does that with about a hundred transistors (and a similar number of passive components). Given that neurons are substantially more complex than a transistor, you'd need rather few of those, plausibly less than twenty.
You would sneer at anyone proposing that they have psychic powers and giving this kind of 'evidence'. I wonder what James Randi would make of it. He would presumably require substantial demonstration of consciousness from your circuit. Just telling me that, in your opinion, you can build a circuit that is 'conscious' demonstrates to me that you either have absolutely no idea of the normal human experience of subjectivity - the 'witness space' - the sense of selfhood - or you are deliberately merging these ideas in your mind and hoping the gap will go away.

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What, after all, does consciousness do? We perceive things, and we act. We can remember perceptions and actions. We can think about perceptions and actions, and remember those thoughts. And we can think about those thoughts.

So the components are:

Perception
Action
Memory
Thought

The last one is the big one, but it's not all that complicated once you understand that all four components feed into it, and it feeds out into all four. It's both referential and self-referential.

(Which is why Nick's notion that you can think your way out of the materially-based mind is completely wrong. There are no layers; it's a circle.)
Again, it's an IS, not a DO. Your list doesn't define consciousness to me. It is a flatland description of the possible contents of consciousness. If you experience what Nick and I have, you would know that consciousness can be empty, 'bare attention', which is when you recognise it's peculiar quality of AMness. Again, from your mindset you say Nick can't think his way out of the circle, when he said he experienced not BEING his thoughts. I couldn't mistake what he was saying because I have had the same experience. Blows your mind. The first time I had it I was about 16 and I didn't go there again for years. You see, the other thing about all this is it's really quite scary, not the soft squishy lovely place we're accused of retreating into, where anything can be real. It's waking up from symbols to REALITY. It's like switching off the TV. And even then doubt doesn't go away. I've seen through the representation, the abstraction, the symbolic living, the change humanity made when we invented language and became self-conscious that is mythologised in such stories as the Fall from Grace, but I still wonder if what is left is reality when it's so hard to say much about it or do things with it. It sucks, in fact, most of the time. But once a delusion is burst, you can't go back. Once you see the magic eye picture, or get heliocentrism, it just is.

Hope that helps
John
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Old 8th February 2008, 06:56 PM   #369
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
I know... it gets tiring... I can understand almost everybody all the time... except when they have that woo thing they must protect...

Naturalists (materialists) are always clear. But the woo start blurring the lines between evidence and faith and trying to make science sound like a faith based system... then they throw out tired worn arguments from the same books I imagine along with a few semantic flourishes that say nothing a snide implication and ad hom and a straw man or two.

Suddenly you are the bad guy and they are hearing things you never said and taking the conversation into semantic woo land. And then I realize it's one of the twilight zones of wooness. They come not to learn and share and discover the truth that is the same for everyone... they can't even tell opinion from fact-- they're hear to build up their own delusion by winning points in a game that exists only in their head by putting down others and offering nothing to counter the carefully accumulated knowledge of many very smart people. (Moreover, the woo don't seem to speak each other's woo.... they don't seem to know they ARE woo. But they all sound the same to me... just like all foreign languages sound "foreign". I just can't find the point amidst the verbiage and I conclude I've hit their woo nerve.)

I don't think anyone could be clearer than Pixy... and the woo just sound self important and clueless... too bad you came here after Interesting Ian... he was the prototype of new-ageish woo. They are impenetrable. (John Freestone is beginning to sound a lot like him...)
And, if you noticed, I've asked several times what practical differences there are between the materialist worldview, and whatever the hell it is they believe is a better alternative to materialism... no answer so far. I guess that the real answer is that non-materialist views are inherently stupid, but I don't think that is why they won't answer.

More likely, is that they don't really have any ideas, but they dislike the concept of having to learn complicated scientific ideas, and prefer the notion that any person can pretend to be brilliant by rejecting accepted ideas.
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Old 8th February 2008, 07:03 PM   #370
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Demon Haunted World is another good book. Simple and easy to read. But it becomes pretty clear to most how demons, souls, gods, angels, thetans, and all other invisible entities are cut from the same imaginary cloth despite eons of humans eager to believe otherwise and ready to explain things they didn't understand with appeals to such--until science came along and explained things better.

You Woo never really say what you believe and what support you have for it. You just build up the case for your belief in your head by knocking down those who know much more than you (and would help you understand it) on this forum. You think if science hasn't explained something, your "hypothesis" might be "the truth". So far that has never happened.
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Old 8th February 2008, 07:09 PM   #371
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Originally Posted by JoeEllison View Post
And, if you noticed, I've asked several times what practical differences there are between the materialist worldview, and whatever the hell it is they believe is a better alternative to materialism... no answer so far. I guess that the real answer is that non-materialist views are inherently stupid, but I don't think that is why they won't answer.

More likely, is that they don't really have any ideas, but they dislike the concept of having to learn complicated scientific ideas, and prefer the notion that any person can pretend to be brilliant by rejecting accepted ideas.
Yep. It's just like creationists and twofers. Whatever the woo is... they need to prop up the delusion by posting here. They think they have the truth and they must spread it here. They never have anything of their own-- just vague needling at the established theories, bluster, and semantics.

You can't really talk to them. They're engaging in sort of a mental masturbation. So I prefer to talk about them. I feel less "dirty".

And I like to let the sane people know that they really are sane and clear even though the woo cannot compute anything which might indicate their woo may not be true. There are a lot of great posters here that I find amazingly smart, funny, and clear. I admire them. But that makes me wonder if the woosters have favorite posters... and I suspect their favorite posters are themselves. They don't really seem to follow anyone else. They don't even seem to know that they have been sending out major woo vibes. (Which makes it easier to talk about them.)

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Old 8th February 2008, 07:12 PM   #372
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
You think if science hasn't explained something, your "hypothesis" might be "the truth". So far that has never happened.
That seems to be the entire foundation of this sort of woo. Because science doesn't claim to have an "ultimate truth," some people believe that it creates an opening for pretty much any nonsense that their sad little imaginations can come up with.
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Old 8th February 2008, 07:16 PM   #373
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
Yep. It's just like creationists and twofers. Whatever the woo is... they need to prop up the delusion by posting here. They think they have the truth and they must spread it here. They never have anything of their own-- just vague needling at the established theories, bluster, and semantics.

You can't really talk to them. They're engaging in sort of a mental masturbation. So I prefer to talk about them. I feel less "dirty".

And I like to let the sane people know that they really are sane and clear even though the woo cannot compute anything which might indicate their woo may not be true. There are a lot of great posters here that I find amazingly smart, funny, and clear. I admire them. But that makes me wonder if the woosters have favorite posters... and I suspect their favorite posters are themselves. They don't really seem to follow anyone else. They don't even seem to know that they have been sending out major woo vibes. (Which makes it easier to talk about them.)
The truth of all that you're saying is pretty evident in the fact that several people in this thread have corrected the wooster claim that scientists/materialists haven't given the non-materialist ideas any consideration. We keep explaining to them, and they keep ignoring it... which proves that they are, on some fundamental level, unwilling or incapable of dealing with even slightly contrary bits of reality, let alone the big stuff that has them stumped.
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Old 8th February 2008, 07:18 PM   #374
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Dualism is a failed theory. Eons of belief-- zero fruits despite much eagerness on the part of many scientists over the eons. There is nothing there. Wanting it to be true and confirming your bias by elevating anecdotes to evidence doesn't change the fact. The nice thing about true theories is that the evidence accumulates. False theories accumulate evidence as fast as human accumulate big foot fur. Never.

At one time all scientists were dualists because it "seemed" true just as the earth "seemed" flat... science has been a continual discovery about how we fool ourselves and how to do it less and understand more. Some people just hang on to the flat earth idea for a long time because it fills emotional needs, but eventually everyone gets on the same page more or less. I'm sure the flat earthers were running around making similar arguments against science and in favor of their pet delusion as the dualists make today.

How can you reason with faith?

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Old 8th February 2008, 07:28 PM   #375
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
Dualism is a failed theory. Eons of belief-- zero fruits despite much eagerness on the part of many scientists over the eons. There is nothing there. Wanting it to be true and confirming your bias by elevating anecdotes to evidence doesn't change the fact. The nice thing about true theories is that the evidence accumulates. False theories accumulate evidence as fast as human accumulate big foot fur. Never.

At one time all scientists were dualists because it "seemed "true just as the earth "seemed" flat... science has been a continual discovery about how we fool ourselves and how to do it less and understand more. Some people just hang on to the flat earth idea for a long time because it fill emotional needs, but eventually everyone gets on the same page more or less. I'm sure the flat earthers were running around making similar arguments against science and in favor of their pet delusion as the dualists make today.

How can you reason with faith?
You can't reason someone out of something they didn't reason themselves into?
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Old 8th February 2008, 07:30 PM   #376
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I'd gotten into a long and involved riposte to this, and then I pressed ctrl-I and my browser crashed. However, Firefox SAVED MY TEXT!!

Firefox. If it had boobs, I'd marry it.

Originally Posted by John Freestone View Post
It's not about what consciousness does - it is about what my consciousness IS". The problem here is that this is an experience that I can't explain to you. You seem not to recognise what I'm talking about, or you have a way of explaining your experience of existence as reflective information processing. That expression is to me utterly external, representational, modular, mathematical (Ken Wilber calls it 3rd-person or 'it'-language) and it does not bridge (in my comprehension, though I accept I may be missing something here) the gap to the 1st person, "I" that simply IS and knows that it is.
And therein lies your problem. We don't know what things are. We can't know. All we can know is what they do.

People like me, scientists and engineers, often sum this up as It is what it does.

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Now, you present your unconscious-matter model of how a person has the illusion of a self as if it were easy to see - like anyone should just have to hear it and they'd go "Oh yeah, of course". So maybe you're extremely smart, you and your breed of neo-zombies. But most people hear Descartes' "I think therefore I am" and go "Oh yeah" - not that they might get the detailed nuances - but it reminds them of their most absolutely undeniable reality - they ARE, they exist, they are alive.
Note what Descartes is saying: Mind exists, because it does something.

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Now, you say that all that can be caused by a machine.
Yep.

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But I say that another theory gets my attention these days and explains more to me, but, unfortunately, I don't know how to explain it to you - even how to begin, other than to say that it reassesses the assumption that my subjective experience is a product of matter - in other words it says "What if we stop the first (or even the second) assumptions of scientific materialism?" It might involve reconsidering a dualism with mind and matter, or a monism where Mind is primary. It experiments, however, from that first experiential place of knowing I AM, and sees what else it might discover.
That's nice. Invalid, but nice.

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There is a rich literature on just what people discover beyond that, which often leads to similar proposals as yours - there is the no-self of Buddhism, for instance. However, there are many Buddhisms, not one, and a lot of spiritual philosophies, and many of them include a concept of Cosmic Consciousness, or the idea that the All, the sum total of the Universe, is not dead matter, but Divine, and that that simple I AM is, were we to delve into it enough, the same thing (Atman is Brahman; Consciousness is God).
These are in no way similar to the scientific understanding of consciousness. Science describes what things do, and how. What things are, and why, are only meaningful if they can be translated into "do" and "how".

Why is the sky blue? is a meaningful scientific question, because it can be rephrased as How does the sky get its blue colour?


Tell me what makes the stars to shine,
Tell me what makes the ivy twine,
Tell me what makes the sky so blue,
And I'll tell you why I love you.

Nuclear fusion makes the stars to shine,
Tropism makes the ivy twine,
Rayleigh scattering makes the sky so blue,
Glandular hormones are why I love you.

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It is hard to talk about these things here, because they don't happen in representational modelling it-language; mostly, they just are in an intuitive inner space that I imagine you have not entered (and I don't mean any disrespect by that).
As I said, you are making it up. That's what "making it up" means.

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There isn't a functional map I can put in front of us and point to.
Right, because you made it up.

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I can't tell you about this journey in English.
That's another problem. Even stuff I made up I can express through language.

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It's an inward journey and there is a point where you have to leave explanations behind (just resign yourself to poetry and irrational prose) in order to continue.
Not only is it made up, it's not even rational?

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It is a continuation of the same journey that you were on as a materialist earlier, of conscientiousness, truthfulness.
It's nothing of the sort. It's just stuff you made up.

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I'm sorry the irrationality of the ideas irritates rationalists here, and maybe I shouldn't even come here and tell you about the theories I can't tell you about rationally. But I'm moved to because this other dimension of knowledge feels so important.
Whee!

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It was around Descartes' time that things went one-sided and the inner, the mind got separated from the science. Science concerned itself only with what it could observe of the material world, and left the nature of mind to the Church, and in that split something got lost, which is the reality of the Subject, a reality that, of course, in our increasingly rationalist, materialist and technologically successful world, fewer and fewer take seriously...at least it was so until the intermittent reawakening of the 60s and 70s...and now, as postmodernism finds a more mature voice.
No.

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I think that your programmatic models of consciousness are symptomatic of the exterior-view trying to explain the bits it left behind - the interior experience of mind - and convincing itself that it has a workable scheme because it looks good on paper.
Again, no. You tell me that I'm leaving something behind, but you can't tell me what, and you yourself note that your position is not rational?

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Why is postmodernism important? Well, because with it we began to realise that there is a big problem with language, that it isn't simply representational, and science relies on abstraction and symbolism, representation, modelling, simply language.
Science uses mathematics.

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Why are language and all forms of representation a problem - because they are not the real world and because they are contextual and because they actually originate 'internally' in a human mind and are projected onto or matched with patterns in the outside world.
Even if I were to grant that, why would that be a problem?

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Thus, science, even with its best mathematical models, really measures its own imaginary constructs, not real objects.
Wrong. You've already been corrected on this.

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I gave the chair-continuum as an example thought-experiment.
And as I said, there's no such thing.

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How much can you chop off a chair before you stop calling it a chair?
The question would not be relevant even if it were coherent.

[quoteThe boiling point of water - what exactly is 'boiling', when water molecules are evaporating and condensing variably at a wide range of temps and pressures?[/quote]
Boiling points are a well-defined scientific concept. Yes, they vary with pressure. We know that. There is no problem here.

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Fundamental particles - these are just words representing models representing realities that no-one can be sure of.
No.

We can detect individual subatomic particles. We can study their properties. We can build atoms, we can manipulate atoms.

We know these things. We know what these particles do. They are real.

What they "are" is not a meaningful question, unless you rephrase it in terms of what they do.

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The more you contemplate reality (and the science we've already got, because it does give useful data) the more it seems that we have to say, like the mystic, that there is something very strange and fluid going on, but we don't really know what.
No.

We know what actually happens. What you might think happens, what you might think is the reason, is irrelevant. Do you have a well-formed hypothesis? Do you have an experimental or observational test plan?

If not, why should we listen?

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You would sneer at anyone proposing that they have psychic powers and giving this kind of 'evidence'.
I wouldn't sneer, not at first. I'd simply say, show me. If they told me that they couldn't show me, because their psychic powers didn't do anything, then I wouldn't be able to sneer for laughing.

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I wonder what James Randi would make of it. He would presumably require substantial demonstration of consciousness from your circuit.
Nope. He'd just say "not a paranormal claim".

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Just telling me that, in your opinion, you can build a circuit that is 'conscious' demonstrates to me that you either have absolutely no idea of the normal human experience of subjectivity - the 'witness space' - the sense of selfhood - or you are deliberately merging these ideas in your mind and hoping the gap will go away.
Why is that relevant? I explained to you the properties of consciousness.

Again, slightly more clearly this time:

Perception
Action
Memory
Logic*

Perception is the input; action is the output. Memory... remembers stuff. And the logic processes it. The logic takes data from perception and memory and other logic, and feeds back to action and memory and other logic.**

The feedback from logic to logic and to memory is the key. Such a circuit can think about perceptions, decide to take actions, think about thinking, remember all of this, and change decisions depending on its memory.

What more can your consciousness do?

*I said
Thought previously, but the term logic is more fundamental. Here I'm using logic in its most fundamental sense; I'm not asserting that the output of a complex circuit of this type is necessarily logical in the more general sense. Particularly if we don't damp noise.

** It doesn't feed from action or to perception, as I said before. But information sent from the logic to the action can also go to memory, and memories of perception can be changed by logic.

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Again, it's an IS, not a DO. Your list doesn't define consciousness to me. It is a flatland description of the possible contents of consciousness. If you experience what Nick and I have, you would know that consciousness can be empty, 'bare attention', which is when you recognise it's peculiar quality of AMness. Again, from your mindset you say Nick can't think his way out of the circle, when he said he experienced not BEING his thoughts. I couldn't mistake what he was saying because I have had the same experience. Blows your mind. The first time I had it I was about 16 and I didn't go there again for years. You see, the other thing about all this is it's really quite scary, not the soft squishy lovely place we're accused of retreating into, where anything can be real. It's waking up from symbols to REALITY. It's like switching off the TV. And even then doubt doesn't go away. I've seen through the representation, the abstraction, the symbolic living, the change humanity made when we invented language and became self-conscious that is mythologised in such stories as the Fall from Grace, but I still wonder if what is left is reality when it's so hard to say much about it or do things with it. It sucks, in fact, most of the time. But once a delusion is burst, you can't go back. Once you see the magic eye picture, or get heliocentrism, it just is.
If it does nothing, in what sense is it anything?
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Old 8th February 2008, 07:37 PM   #377
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I can't even tell woo from a drug trip... or one from another... Freestone is sounding very Interesting Ianish...
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Old 8th February 2008, 07:43 PM   #378
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Naturalists (materialists) are always clear.
Hi articulett. Read your own sig.

I don't understand. If you're so smart and confident in your worldview, why does it get tiring? Why didn't you stop with Interesting Ian and not put yourself through all this again with me?

Quote:
...they're hear to build up their own delusion by winning points in a game that exists only in their head by putting down others and offering nothing to counter the carefully accumulated knowledge of many very smart people...:
what a strange state your mind must be in to read what I've written and think that. I appreciate science. I'm not here to build up my delusion, but discuss things with people to help me learn more and thus, if anything, reduce my delusion. I have no interest whatever in winning points in a game - I am a very conscientious person deeply interested in and dedicated to discovering truth. I occasionally challenge people and get sarcastic, but I try not to put people down, and that is not my intention. It takes a lot of guts to stay and discuss these ideas, being in the minority position, and often feeling quite rudely put down myself....especially when people misunderstand me as badly as you have - this from your other post
Quote:
He seems to be arguing for some kind of dualism... that consciousness is more than a product of our brains and can, thus, exist after death. At least that is what I think he's saying. That's what people are usually referring to when they say the "hard problem" and other semantic shell games.
In fact, That demonstrates that you don't know what I'm saying, doesn't it? It seems to me you have done most of what you accuse me of. You don't read, you fail to understand, and you put me down, generalising that I'm just like the others (and that was our first correspondence). Confident?
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Old 8th February 2008, 07:44 PM   #379
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Originally Posted by JoeEllison View Post
The truth of all that you're saying is pretty evident in the fact that several people in this thread have corrected the wooster claim that scientists/materialists haven't given the non-materialist ideas any consideration. We keep explaining to them, and they keep ignoring it... which proves that they are, on some fundamental level, unwilling or incapable of dealing with even slightly contrary bits of reality, let alone the big stuff that has them stumped.
Yes, they've come here once again to enlighten the skeptics and tell them that their woo is the true woo. Like the conspiracy theorists, there is no amount of evidence that will change their mind. Who needs evidence when you have faith. They could learn some really cool things if they weren't so damn sure they knew everything already.

I wonder if they are "afraid" of being wrong? They see all these other woos here-- and realize how billions of people have had assorted unlikely beliefs about all sorts of invisible entities over the eons... but they cannot imagine they could possibly be such a human. They can see that Tom Cruise is deluded, but they cannot hear how they sound as delusional as him to any rationalist. Freestone seems to have the same "messiah complex"-- though clearly not the Charisma nor riches so it's probably harmless. He's not swaying anyone here. Perhaps he stumbled into the wrong brand of "magic beans".

Beware the new poster who wants to jump in and teach everybody without showing any inkling of having read anything by anybody else before starting their own thread and "pedanting" (that should be a word.)

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Old 8th February 2008, 07:44 PM   #380
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
I can't even tell woo from a drug trip... or one from another... Freestone is sounding very Interesting Ianish...
See, it isn't so bad that you can't tell the difference. The problem is that they can't tell the difference either!
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Old 8th February 2008, 07:49 PM   #381
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
I can't even tell woo from a drug trip... or one from another... Freestone is sounding very Interesting Ianish...
Way back in the dawn of time, I had a rather lengthy debate here with a character by the name of Undercover Elephant, who informed me at one point that I needed to take mind-altering drugs to understand his argument.

I declined.
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Old 8th February 2008, 07:55 PM   #382
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Way back in the dawn of time, I had a rather lengthy debate here with a character by the name of Undercover Elephant, who informed me at one point that I needed to take mind-altering drugs to understand his argument.

I declined.
Oh I remember him... he used "justgeoff" too and was "into" synchronicity.

They come here pretending to want a conversation, but after awhile the same woo semantics are drawn out. Hi thread start ration to posts... new person pretending to have expertise in a subject not in evidence... no curiosity about new developments or others' areas of expertise... they don't want the facts or the truth... they just want to convince themselves science doesn't have it. It's an ego-propping thing. They never really say what it is they belief--what it is they are protecting, because they know it wouldn't stand up to scrutiny... instead they do verbal jujitsu on real and solid information with their blinders on and convince themselves that they are better than everyone else.

They are the ones not making sense and the rest of us wonder if it's us while they never imagine it's them. I believe "sir philip" is a former drug addict as well... and from his posts it appears he did not go unscathed by his experiences.

I have no interest in finding out what my brain would do on psychedelics. And even if I felt the "inner knowingness" the woo imagine they have... I'd know to attribute it to brain states and not whatever my brain happened to infer while under the influence. They believe in magic-- so their eperiences are translated through that woo filter.

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Old 8th February 2008, 08:02 PM   #383
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I feel very hurt. Why is it necessary to slag people off like this just because you perceive them having a different opinion from you? Is it all the years thinking of yourself as a machine that makes you so bad mannered?

If anyone appears to think they know everything and have nothing to learn, it seems to be you, and your sniping suggests that underneath that ill-mannered arrogance you aren't quite as confident as you make out. The last god knows how many posts between you and Joe seem to be designed to belittle and insult me, either that or you are utterly insensitive.

Still, I guess you've been through the routine before. If someone challenges your beliefs too much, you just call their sanity into question until they feel so bad they have to leave and you can celebrate another victory for rationalism. Oh well done. You clever things.
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Old 8th February 2008, 08:07 PM   #384
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There are people here who really take the time to give carefully crafted information to people in direct response to their own queries. The information is information that even the smartest human could not know 50 years ago... it's information that even the wealthiest in generations past could not purchase. It comes to them directly from all over the world... often with links on technology that no one could have imagined.

I can't tell you how many times I feel so fortunate to read such brilliant people who say things in ways that I aspire to...

But the woo ignore it for their delusions.
They treat the bringers of truth as enemies as they worship the imaginary.

That's what faith does to people.

That is sad.
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Old 8th February 2008, 08:09 PM   #385
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Originally Posted by John Freestone View Post
I feel very hurt. Why is it necessary to slag people off like this just because you perceive them having a different opinion from you? Is it all the years thinking of yourself as a machine that makes you so bad mannered?

If anyone appears to think they know everything and have nothing to learn, it seems to be you, and your sniping suggests that underneath that ill-mannered arrogance you aren't quite as confident as you make out. The last god knows how many posts between you and Joe seem to be designed to belittle and insult me, either that or you are utterly insensitive.

Still, I guess you've been through the routine before. If someone challenges your beliefs too much, you just call their sanity into question until they feel so bad they have to leave and you can celebrate another victory for rationalism. Oh well done. You clever things.
What's really sad is that you ignore the legitimate criticism pointed your way, and instead invent a false rationalization, out of your imagination and nothing else. We gave you real reasons why we reject your viewpoint, and you completely ignored them. Instead, you present a completely wrong(and seemingly dishonest) excuse, that we just can't stand differing opinions.

It is also pretty awesome how you resort to insult when people reject your views. "Awesome" meaning "sad," of course.
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Old 8th February 2008, 08:19 PM   #386
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
There are people here who really take the time to give carefully crafted information to people in direct response to their own queries. The information is information that even the smartest human could not know 50 years ago... it's information that even the wealthiest in generations past could not purchase. It comes to them directly from all over the world... often with links on technology that no one could have imagined.

I can't tell you how many times I feel so fortunate to read such brilliant people who say things in ways that I aspire to...

But the woo ignore it for their delusions.
They treat the bringers of truth as enemies as they worship the imaginary.

That's what faith does to people.

That is sad.
You know what the really bad thing is? We're having this conversation on the Internet, which gives us access to pretty much the entire expanse of human knowledge. There's no excuse for ignorance anymore: we can find out about almost anything, almost instantly, if we are only willing to look for it, and invest the required effort and time to understand it.

We don't have to create arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. We don't have to engineer each piece of gear individually, in order to get at research tools. We don't have to go back thousands of years, and research every aspect of the world for ourselves. We can build upon the knowledge of others, and save ourselves lifetimes of work.

The really sad thing is that there are people who will ignore everything we've learned, and pretend that they have some brilliant and original idea that no one has ever thought of before. The truth is that we've already though of their ideas, and rejected them as being useless and/or wrong. The truth is that their insistence that they have something new to offer is an insult to everyone who has bothered to put in the work to learn things about science and philosophy.

It is sad, and ugly, and it sometimes really does make me angry... it is such a goddamned waste!
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Old 8th February 2008, 08:23 PM   #387
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Originally Posted by John Freestone View Post
I feel very hurt. Why is it necessary to slag people off like this just because you perceive them having a different opinion from you? Is it all the years thinking of yourself as a machine that makes you so bad mannered?
You feel hurt? What about people who actually know stuff who took the time answer your questions sincerely while you ignored them? Who, other than you, finds me more "bad mannered" than you? Did I even call you anything as negative as "bad mannered"? You've hurled a plethora of epithets and, in the same post, told us what a great and conscientious guy you are! (Oh, and yes, I've read my sig... have you?) BTW, I think it's bad mannered to come to a skeptics forum "pretending" to be a skeptic but really wanting to push your woo.

Quote:
If anyone appears to think they know everything and have nothing to learn, it seems to be you, and your sniping suggests that underneath that ill-mannered arrogance you aren't quite as confident as you make out. The last god knows how many posts between you and Joe seem to be designed to belittle and insult me, either that or you are utterly insensitive.
Evidence? Appearances can be deceiving. I find the evidence of this thread indicates that the insults you give me are more fitting of yourself. You might ask whether it's insensitive to come to a forum as a know-it-all and expect to have your opinion respected without even having read or asked anyone else of their opinion! Don't confuse not believing my not believing in your "divine truths" with my thinking I know everything. I never claimed as much; that's your strawman.

Quote:
Still, I guess you've been through the routine before. If someone challenges your beliefs too much, you just call their sanity into question until they feel so bad they have to leave and you can celebrate another victory for rationalism. Oh well done. You clever things.
What beliefs do you imagine you've challenged? I'm not afraid of having beliefs challenged. I don't "believe in" invisible forms of consciousness. I don't think I have many beliefs, but if you hear one, feel free to challenge it and bring your evidence to the table for your counterclaim. Skepticism is pretty much about not believing in things until enough evidence has accumulated to warrant consideration. I am not interested in beliefs. I am interested in facts-- what is true?-- I don't "believe in" divine truths... just plain old regular truths-- facts that are the same for everyone. I'm not the one claiming to have divine truths; you are. That makes YOU the arrogant one. I WANT my erroneous beliefs challenged by intelligent honest people with evidence. Got any? I'd rather not know something than to believe things that aren't true.

And, I don't care rather you leave or stay. Usually when your kind stays it's just to get the last word on whatever they came here to sell. But occasionally one will actually be interested in skepticism and science and how it works and learn the various people you can go to for really great information on various subjects. You can learn whether your ideas have merit. But not as long as you are so smarmy and, well, like every other woo that posts here. How do you see your "beliefs" in dualism as different than conspiracy theorist beliefs? I can point to all the woos here, and you can tell me why we should respect you more than them... and why we should respect you more than you respect us. Why do you assume you have something to teach and nothing to learn without even finding out what any of us knows and how?? Would anything change your mind. Evidence is usually all that is needed to change a skeptics mind. Oh, and honesty and humility go a long way too.

So, your feelings are hurt. Other people have feelings too. You seemed to have been ignoring that while preaching and then, like all woo, you pull out the "I'm offended" card when it comes back. Not a great introduction to a group you're presumably wanting to be around, eh?

Thicken the skin. Not everyone sees you as diplomatic or as kind or as smart as you see yourself. Nor does everyone see Joe and I as nasty as you imagine us. Evolve and then join the conversation. Just quit thinking you are the one who has something to teach. Trust us, we'll discover it, if that is so.

What do you suggest people do when woos invade their forum and you cannot talk to them? What is wrong with talking about them? I don't think your method of "educating" us is doing us or yourself any favor. Why not turn lemons into lemonade?

If you want people to believe whatever magic you are selling, you ought to go try a woo forum where they respect whatever woo you are into. When you believe in things that are invisible and immeasurable and indistinguishable from a delusion, the best thing to do is treat it as a delusion, don't you think? Whether it's demons or thetans or ghosts or immortal souls. How else do you imagine we should be. How do you treat people who believe in demon possession? Do you stroke their delusions? What do you do when they have to make you into the bad guy rather lest their delusion shatter?

ETA... I just re-read... and it appears you've taken comments personally that I was not directing at you but rather at someone else in your corner of the discussion. But since you are taking it personally feel free to take this post personally as well. If I'm wrong, I will apologize. I think the fact that I hit a nerve makes me think I"m right. But time will tell, eh? Oh, and do let me know how I've gotten your beliefs wrong. You are against materialism, but you haven't really said what your alternative view is-- but that is something all woo does.

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Old 8th February 2008, 08:26 PM   #388
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Late to the thread and so many things in the OP are invalid premises. So just a quick couple comments and I'll get back to the thread when I have time to catch up.

Science does not reject the subjective experience. Though that is a common misconception when we say anecdotal evidence is not worth much.

Actually, anecdotal evidence is very important in medical science and some of the social sciences. I care if you perceive more or less pain, for example. The difference is collecting the anecdotal evidence systematically and using controls. That is how one uses subjective evidence in a meaningful way.

The second incorrect underlying premise is that science does not address consciousness. I suggest anyone under that misconception take the time to update their knowledge base on the current research in consciousness science. It is a fascinating subject and more than a few scientists are very interested in gaining a better understanding of it. It is very easy to find the research with a simple Google search.

I'll catch up on the rest of the thread conversation in a day or so.
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Old 8th February 2008, 08:28 PM   #389
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Yes... they could share and further real and useful knowledge if they weren't frittering their time away away on ego-building delusions...

aaack... I'm having Undercover Elephant flashbacks, and I've never taken a hallucinogen.

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Old 8th February 2008, 09:25 PM   #390
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
Yes... they could share and further real and useful knowledge if they weren't frittering their time away away on ego-building delusions...

aaack... I'm having Undercover Elephant flashbacks, and I've never taken a hallucinogen.
Not to worry. Hallucinogens are overrated. Maybe fun for a night, but certainly no magical mystery revelations.
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Old 8th February 2008, 09:34 PM   #391
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Originally Posted by skeptigirl View Post
Not to worry. Hallucinogens are overrated. Maybe fun for a night, but certainly no magical mystery revelations.
And, unfortunately, tons of brain damage... which is the opposite of "consciousness expanding" in my opinion.
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Old 8th February 2008, 10:22 PM   #392
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
I'd gotten into a long and involved riposte to this, and then I pressed ctrl-I and my browser crashed. However, Firefox SAVED MY TEXT!!

Firefox. If it had boobs, I'd marry it.

For PixyMisa.

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Old 8th February 2008, 10:38 PM   #393
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Congratulations PM-- clearly a match made in cyberspace... at least I think that counts...
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Old 8th February 2008, 11:06 PM   #394
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Originally Posted by John Freestone View Post
Why is it necessary to slag people off like this just because you perceive them having a different opinion from you?
You tell me.
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Old 8th February 2008, 11:13 PM   #395
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
For PixyMisa.

I'd seen that pic before, but they've mirror-flipped it from the original, so I'd never noticed how well it matches the Firefox logo.
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Old 8th February 2008, 11:48 PM   #396
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Originally Posted by John Freestone View Post
I am completely open to understanding what material science says about consciousness, and I am always completely open to recognising that it explains it. I struggle to do so. I really turn over what I hear and read in my mind and worry that it's just too difficult for my little brain - sometimes. Mostly I get it, and it doesn't satisfy me. It doesn't square with my understanding of my subjective consciousness of being. Your machine is not conscious and you know it. You suggest that that is just a matter of complexity. I disagree. I don't think consciousness is some 'reflection' process of unconscious synapses, ever.
John- You and I would here agree to disagree with PixyMisa, but I suspect for very different reasons.

Pixy believes thought simply IS information processing.
You seem to believe it simply isn't.(But you don't clarify what it is).
I believe it is a particular kind of information processing, done only by a very old biological process, vaguely known as "life", which has been operating uninterrupted for several billion years.
I feel Pixy's machine (or the true AIs of which his is a deliberately simplistic exemplar) will eventually do something analogous to, but different from thought.
But my supposition is only that; a belief, a suspicion. I have no data whatever to support it, except the fact Pixy already mentioned- wherever we find thought, we also find a brain, which is why Pixy and I don't bore each other to death having a pointless argument. Eventually the data will prove one of us wrong. He remains optimistic. I think he is (and it's a rare event) wrong.
His assumption is that thought is not hardware substrate dependant- just as some software can run on any machine. If that is correct, his arguments hold. If not, then not.
I think thought is entirely a product of biology and so take a narrower and more hardline view.
One of us may be right, or neither. But not both.

But we don't yet know which.

Can you clarify where your views fit on these terms as I find it hard to see exactly what point you are getting at generally.

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Old 9th February 2008, 12:36 AM   #397
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Originally Posted by Nick227
Non-duality IS. That's it. Viewed analytically it's a baseline state. It's not "another brain state." It's awareness of that in which all brain states arise. Thoughts arise as your conditioned belief patterns interact with sensorily experienced reality. Emotions also. The thing is to go into it. This is what I've learned. Whilst identification exists they will always appear to be "your thoughts" and "your feelings." When you go into them deep enough, when you allow and welcome the identification, then change occurs. This is the mechanism life uses to create growth - identification with thought and feeling. When it's finished growing you, the identification drops off and life is more peaceful. It's easier to make friends.
And yet everything seems to happen in the brain. It doesn’t really matter if you call it a ‘baseline state’ or just ‘another brain state’; the experience of non-duality could be just another experience without the sense on identification. You decide what meaning you apply to it in retrospect, when the experience of self is there again. When you say that “it’s awareness of that in which all brain states arise”, then that’s just one interpretation that’s meaningful for you. There are also other people who seem to have a multitude of selfs. We have also people who are rendered incapable of functioning in this society because they have lost any experience of self. I have nothing against you calling it a “baseline state,” I just don’t feel it necessary to create such an arbitrary hierarchy myself. You are only describing your self-therapy here.
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Old 9th February 2008, 02:40 AM   #398
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
And yet everything seems to happen in the brain. It doesn’t really matter if you call it a ‘baseline state’ or just ‘another brain state’; the experience of non-duality could be just another experience without the sense on identification. You decide what meaning you apply to it in retrospect, when the experience of self is there again. When you say that “it’s awareness of that in which all brain states arise”, then that’s just one interpretation that’s meaningful for you. There are also other people who seem to have a multitude of selfs. We have also people who are rendered incapable of functioning in this society because they have lost any experience of self. I have nothing against you calling it a “baseline state,” I just don’t feel it necessary to create such an arbitrary hierarchy myself. You are only describing your self-therapy here.
I agree. I merely propose the hierachy as it does offer an objective viewpoint from which to articulate a relationship. Of course all these things are simply arising.

The mind seeks processes and relationships because it dwells in the state of believing it has a personal identity. Thus it constructs objectivity because this allows the formulation of process, and processes reinforce the illusory sense of selfhood.

Of course all this is merely another formulation!

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Old 9th February 2008, 02:57 AM   #399
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
BTW, neurologists, etc. don't have a problem with the materialistic world view... it tends to be people who derive comfort from some other alternative (be it reincarnation or heavenly bliss) that find the "problem" "hard". Neuroscience has accepted it... we are eager to find out more and going forward learning all we can about the brain and how it generates consciousness. Looking for "souls" turned out to be a failure. We're on the right track finally.
Well, neuroscientists may not have a problem with materialism but they are a long way from understanding awareness itself. Thus they are more in the mindset of believing that such a thing is possible and allowing this to drive them into continuing their studies, and this is good. Personally I think they are driven by a primarily unconscious urge. There is identification with the urge and so their minds believe that if they just keep studying then they will be able to finally reinforce completely their unconscious belief in personal selfhood.

Personally I like materialism as it does offer the fastest route to becoming aware that limited selfhood is illusory. It's a prison mentality. But then all mentalities are prison mentalities, and so I figure it's best to choose the one that has the tightest walls. That way, if you really look, you can see that actually you are not in prison.

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Old 9th February 2008, 03:02 AM   #400
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Originally Posted by JoeEllison View Post
And, unfortunately, tons of brain damage... which is the opposite of "consciousness expanding" in my opinion.
Care to cite that claim, Joe?

These days scientists are back studying psilocybin, LSD, and mdma, with regard to bringing them to the market to treat psychiatric ailments.

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