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Question for materialists

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posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 07:30 PM
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Does anybody still hold the viewpoint that the fundamental constituents of the universe are non-conscious matter and energy (or just energy, for modern physics purists)? In other words, are there any strict materialists on ATS? If so, I have a question.

How, in principle, might raw conscious experience arise from mechanical interaction of matter and energy in the human brain?

I am not asking for the answer. I am asking for an hypothesis. How in principle is this possible?

Treating this as a kōan (that is, essentially saying "I don't know") is an acceptable answer, but please understand it has no convincing power.

edit on 3-2-2011 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 07:40 PM
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Formulating a good answer to your question will require time, so I will post that in a bit if someone else does not beat me to it.

But I have a quirky question for you, if you do not mind my asking.

Is spirit something, or nothing?

If spirit is something, than this means it is a material that exists. Correct?




posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 07:41 PM
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Originally posted by NewlyAwakened

How, in principle, might raw conscious experience arise from mechanical interaction of matter and energy in the human brain?


It doesn't, I think the opposite to be true.

Matter comes from consciousness. For matter is almost entirely made of empty space anyway.



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 07:54 PM
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Originally posted by muzzleflash
Formulating a good answer to your question will require time, so I will post that in a bit if someone else does not beat me to it.

But I have a quirky question for you, if you do not mind my asking.

Is spirit something, or nothing?

If spirit is something, than this means it is a material that exists. Correct?

I see what you did there.

Here's the thing. If we define "everything that exists" as "material", then materialism has to win, but also it becomes meaningless and tautological.

If, however, there is something called "spirit", that either does not exist in the materialist's framework at all or is a composition of more fundamental matter and energy, then it's actually possible to have a non-meaningless discussion. Of course, this necessarily restricts the scope of the name materialism, which I have done by defining it for purposes of this thread in my first paragraph.

I would be interested in reading your answer.

edit on 3-2-2011 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 08:51 PM
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Our preferences and beliefs will determine what we focus most of our energy on in the material world in an attempt to gain as much power as possible, to survive and be efficient, because psychic well-being, philosophical order, and the ability to organization objects in the physical must grow simultaneously. The metaphysical reality of worlds of consciousness that are interconnected between individuals cannot be denied although the fundamental level of reality begins with the body. Everything exists in a state of constant motion and chaos so consciousness could have evolved as a stable anchoring of the "self" to the world.



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 08:57 PM
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reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 


Does anybody still hold the viewpoint that the fundamental constituents of the universe are non-conscious matter and energy?

Why, is it going out of fashion?

On the contrary, as neuroscience goes from strength to strength, the Ghost in the Machine grows fainter and more transparent. Soon it will be gone for ever, fading away into the archetypal night.

As to your question,


How, in principle, might raw conscious experience arise from mechanical interaction of matter and energy in the human brain?

it must surely depend on a definition of what 'raw conscious experience' is. An important aspect of this definition, as I am sure you will allow, is that it must contain nested within it a well-defined concept of what is conscious. Muzzleflash has already noted this, hence his 'quirky question'.

Provide a workable definition or raw conscious experience, then we'll talk.


edit on 3/2/11 by Astyanax because: of details.



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 08:59 PM
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Originally posted by NewlyAwakened

Originally posted by muzzleflash
Formulating a good answer to your question will require time, so I will post that in a bit if someone else does not beat me to it.

But I have a quirky question for you, if you do not mind my asking.

Is spirit something, or nothing?

If spirit is something, than this means it is a material that exists. Correct?

I see what you did there.

Here's the thing. If we define "everything that exists" as "material", then materialism has to win, but also it becomes meaningless and tautological.

If, however, there is something called "spirit", that either does not exist in the materialist's framework at all or is a composition of more fundamental matter and energy, then it's actually possible to have a non-meaningless discussion. Of course, this necessarily restricts the scope of the name materialism, which I have done by defining it for purposes of this thread in my first paragraph.

I would be interested in reading your answer.

edit on 3-2-2011 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)

What I took away from the later part of muzzleflash's post, is that "spirit" is not a valid explanation for consciousness because it explains nothing. Why is it easier to believe that some spiritual process you don't understand is responsible for consciousness than it is to believe that some material process you don't understand is responsible?



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 09:17 PM
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reply to post by muzzleflash
 


The Buddhists only say that "it's not nothing" or better yet "nothing special" wherein only if nothing is special is everything.

Nothing more can be said about spirit, which like the wind blows wherever it likes, yet no one say from wither it comes or whatever the wither it goes (something like that.. lol)

Matter is insubstantial and inconsequential, just infrastructure nothing more, not the nothing that is everything in itself, or at best a bowl of sorts to contain spirit as the real reality or whatever is left when there is nothing in particular, and only the everything already always now and forever recognized or re-cognized in eternity.

And consciousness is non-local, holographic, and therefore of a quantum cosmological nature, as much as it is some noodly mush inside your head.

Who after all, from the perspective of their own self, can in all honestly, call themselves an "It"..? lol

For that is neither congruent with my reality as a human being-experience, nor something that it feels even remotely appropriate to suffer the indignity of, nothing but a machine, no personal experience, no freedom, a prisoner in matter, as an "it" nothing more, that's ABSURD!


edit on 3-2-2011 by NewAgeMan because: typo fixed, lol added for fun and self expression.



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 09:26 PM
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Originally posted by Tearman
What I took away from the later part of muzzleflash's post, is that "spirit" is not a valid explanation for consciousness because it explains nothing.

If however it actually explains nothing then it's a valid explantion for consciousness.

Like the Buddhists say (but no more) is - it's not nothing but it's not any THING in particular either, a mystery, like blowing wind you can feel and hear but cannot see.

What's wrong with that?

It's good to be a nothing or an aspect of the everything already always as nothing recognized in God as consciousness itself, universal consciousness, as the very gorund of all being and becoming.

This would suggest then that peace, love, joy, is the ONLY thing of any significance whatsoever in the final analysis, and that's a real load off, particularly as a point of liberation from this materialist monist paradigm and civilization we found ourselves in (note I put that in the past tense).



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 10:02 PM
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Originally posted by muzzleflash
Is spirit something, or nothing?

If spirit is something, than this means it is a material that exists. Correct?



"Materialism" as it is being described in the OP is the traditional way (circa 1800's) of seeing the universe in terms of mechanical interactions, and assuming that everything breaks down into orderly mechanical action of some sort.

If everything arises out of a single "spirit" that you want to call a "material," that would be a semantic relation to what the OP is referring to only.



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 10:05 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
Provide a workable definition or raw conscious experience, then we'll talk.


Why do you need a definition for a conscious experience if you are alive? Do you think you're actually dead?



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 10:23 PM
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reply to post by bsbray11
 


Even if you were in fact dead, that you were thinking at all would still require consciousness. If the phenomenon does remain after the physical dies that would be proof it is immaterial in a way and not dependent, therefore more fundamental, than the physical. If however we assume at this moment everyone in this thread is alive then the argument for materialism in the strictest sense is strengthened.



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 10:43 PM
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Originally posted by bsbray11

Originally posted by Astyanax
Provide a workable definition or raw conscious experience, then we'll talk.

Why do you need a definition for a conscious experience if you are alive? Do you think you're actually dead?

Perhaps we're not unlike Shrodenger's Cat being neither dead nor alive, so for God's sake man give me that working definition, lest I suddenly vanish in the twinkling of an eye!



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 11:03 PM
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The other really quirky thing about consciousness and conscious experience is that it's been proven, by Roger Penrose I believe, and others, that it will NEVER be possible, with any amount of instrumention external to the self to "measure" consciousness, ever. And for some reasons that's amuzing I but I can't say why.

edit on 3-2-2011 by NewAgeMan because: was going to remove the additional and offending "I" in the last sentence, but perhaps it's more meaningful to leave it there as some sort of freudian typing slip - see there's always too many I's, but it's all fun and games until someone loses one, or maybe that is precisely when the fun and games really begin..! : )



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 11:12 PM
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reply to post by bsbray11
 

Your temerity does you credit. However, it is the OP's view I am interested in, since I know that he is neither a woo merchant nor a butterfly chaser. I await his reply.



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 11:13 PM
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most bio-molecular processes are actually nothing more than feedback mechanisms.....like your flush-toilet, only more sophisticated.

your toilet is able to "sense" the level of water in the tank, and this sensory input is coupled to a self-modifying behavioral program of water on/off. so, the first thing to recognize is that there is nothing magical about purely mechanical information processing.

the next thing to do is take a video camera and a television and direct the input of the camera to the output of the television. you will see quite easily that when a sensory apparatus becomes highly developed enough to detect itself as a categorical unit, this produces a type of "infinity" effect which is so very often associated with living consciousness. a video camera is not alive, but certainly has no difficulty producing this illusion of boundlessness. another significant artifact of the video feedback loop is that, given a proper sensory interruption (like the hand in the photo below), it can produce stationary regularities. if the video feedback were alive, then it might consider these stationary regularities to be "ME".




so, finally, all we must do is combine the two above examples wherein a self-detecting sensory mechanism creates a feedback loop which is coupled to self-modifying behavioral program.


the "I" of conscious experience, then, is simply a stationary regular artifact of the feedback mechanisms of your bio-sensory apparatus which has been enabled to modify its own parameters.


...a really great question, OP.



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 11:17 PM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 


How would this relate to the quantum measurement paradox..?



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 11:35 PM
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Originally posted by NewAgeMan
Perhaps we're not unlike Shrodenger's Cat being neither dead nor alive, so for God's sake man give me that working definition, lest I suddenly vanish in the twinkling of an eye!


Well alright. I'll define consciousness as the experience of being alive.

How does the experience of being alive evolve from purely mechanical processes?



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 11:36 PM
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The substance that makes up the universe is, what they eyes perceive as nothing, a matter less form that fills the empty spaces. Naturally it looks to expand the consciousness of the living through creation, to that which aids the ever expanding role of subconsciousness which purpose is to create and expand. The matter less substance knows all truth and your mind only knows what it has learned and does not know all truth but can only learn to perceive truth in order to expand consciousness.

Through the act of creation you can bridge the gap between the subconscious and material, thus creating a sort of union where the truth of the matter less form can in fact communicate to the subconscious which is the driving force of life which is to create which is in fact to give in order to spread consciousness among all other living things made available to consciously be able to perceive to expand and create. Also by being grateful to the life giving source you can also bridge the gap which can in fact get you in touch with the truth which is the matter less form that makes it all possible.



posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 12:22 AM
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reply to post by NewAgeMan
 


i suppose you might think of the refresh-rate of the video encoder as quantum frequency oscillations. if you imagine the video feedback setup with no interruptions, it would just be a black screen with no activity. this is the "virtual state" of the system.

but even a single interruption introduced will echo through the system and create what might appear to be a "particle".

but the video camera itself does not see the regularized form as a static "thing". the system requires a higher level of interpretation (an observer) to reconcile the oscillations and the regularized form into a single interpretable unit.

i do not personally regard the SELF as merely an epiphenomenon. i am only trying to show how it might be possible to argue this point of view.








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