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Question for materialists

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posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 03:19 AM
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narcissism, that's what all this is.

narcissism, what the hell is consciousness anyways? you mean being aware?

you keep falling back on experience, which gives you absolutely no ground btw.




posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 08:12 AM
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Originally posted by bsbray11
If this was factually correct then you would be able to describe how the brain goes from unconscious cells to an experience of being alive and conscious, just like it's completely possible to explain how a website manifests in terms of electronics engineering.

Instead, this is something for which science has not achieved such an understanding.

Thank you!

This is something I don't think I was too clear on when I said the materialists can "prove" that consciousness doesn't exist within the framework of materialism, but you put it excellently. They cannot actually prove it, of course. They think they do by assuming from the get-go that the brain is deterministic. The brain has never been proven to be a deterministic machine. It is almost universally assumed to be one due to observation of the effects of behavioral conditioning, plus a little bit of "oh, this part has activity when he's thinking about this!" People don't seem to realize how little this actually proves.

I once, in my materialist days, wrote an argument for multiple universes that went along this line: The brain is an information-processing machine (I justified this by referencing the Hodgkin-Huxley equations) and nothing but. Information processing can be done in real time by a brain, but also in simulation by a computer. Thus you can create real, bona fide consciousness in an ordinary electronic digital computer. But wait, information processing can be done on pencil and paper as well. Really it all shows that conciousness is in the math, and therefore every mathematically possible consciousness actually exists. Therefore, infinite universes. In the end the conclusion was similar to Max Tegmark's Ultimate Ensemble.

Of course it was plagued by the personal identity problem brought up by Deaf Alien as well as the problems discussed in this thread. Problems such as the whole assumption that consciousness is deterministic, you know, "what the heck is a 'mathematically possible consciousness?'", and the problem of what's happening when we are having a discussion about conscious experience, in which I suggested some sort of "creation" was happening, which was apparently too "woo-woo" and contemptible for the materialists (or too uncomfortable) because they completely ignored it.

But at the time I didn't like to think about these problems because I was too impressed with how clever I was. It was only until my computational neuroscience professor in grad school straight up said in lecture the first day of class "Okay, first off, we don't know a damn thing about the brain. Don't listen to what they tell you on the Discovery Channel. We don't.", and constantly pointed out why throughout the entire semester, that my own intuitive misgivings about materialism started to take center stage in my mind. After my near-psychosis of last year, I no longer had any doubt that my worldview had to change.

Enough about my narcissism though (by the way, good job pointing it out vjr1113, but it proves nothing). The point is, awesome post bsbray11.


edit on 8-2-2011 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 09:01 AM
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Originally posted by Student X
Has anyone read this?

The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together

I haven't, but I'm a bit of a bookworm. Care to make a pitch?



posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 11:06 AM
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Originally posted by NewlyAwakened
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)


Through biochemical interactions.



posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 11:08 AM
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Originally posted by sirnex
Through biochemical interactions.

That does not answer the question.



posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 11:17 AM
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Originally posted by NewlyAwakened

Originally posted by sirnex
Through biochemical interactions.

That does not answer the question.



Ah but it does. I'm not able to teach you every aspect of the inner biochemical workings of the human brain, that's an arduous task. I can only merely give you a starting point in which, if your truly interested, you can learn for yourself. I'm not responsible for your education, nor can I be held accountable for your lack of initiative to look this information up.

Before you get ready to jump down my throat and demand I prove a claim that I myself alone have not made, a claim I have gotten from science itself in which many many articles exist on the internet... allow me to repose your question.

If technology get's sufficiently advanced in which we can create raw conscious experiencing AI, would that be enough evidence that raw conscious experience can indeed exist and be processed by non conscious matter?
edit on 18-4-2011 by sirnex because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 11:22 AM
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Originally posted by sirnex
Ah but it does. I'm not able to teach you every aspect of the inner biochemical workings of the human brain, that's an arduous task. I can only merely give you a starting point in which, if your truly interested, you can learn for yourself. I'm not responsible for your education, nor can I be held accountable for your lack of initiative to look this information up.

You underestimate my education and background. You might try reading this entire thread. Astyanax has so far been a much more worthy adversary than you. Can you do better?



Originally posted by sirnex
Before you get ready to jump down my throat and demand I prove a claim that I myself alone have not made, a claim I have gotten from science itself in which many many articles exist on the internet... allow me to repose your question.

If technology get's sufficiently advanced in which we can create raw conscious experiencing AI, would that be enough evidence that raw conscious experience can indeed exist and be processed by non conscious matter

Um, yes? It's hard to say how we would exactly test that though. I do fully support the attempt, in any case.



posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 11:35 AM
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reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 



You underestimate my education and background. You might try reading this entire thread. Astyanax has so far been a much more worthy adversary than you. Can you do better?


Well, when I get the time to read through the entire thread I will. I am not underestimating your education or background, simply stating that I am not responsible for your lack of initiative to research. I personally can't explain in one quick response why it's the answer or how it all works. I do know there's articles about it though, so start at google and go from there.


Um, yes? It's hard to say how we would exactly test that though. I do fully support the attempt, in any case.


So, it's a yes then? Raw conscious experience could indeed exist in non conscious matter? How can we test that anyone at all is conscious? How do I even know your conscious? If consciousness is only a subjective matter, then I have no reason to believe you are a conscious entity simply because you tell me so. At some point we have to give in to the idea that perhaps consciousness as we define it doesn't really exist at all. Like our concept of what time itself is.

Perhaps, just perhaps we react and act on various internal/external stimuli that give the illusion of one being self aware. Sort of like how a robotic cockroach will react to a source of light. The main difference being that we evolved a sort of natural biological AI that allows us to ask... WHY.



posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 12:53 PM
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reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 


If consciousness is not a material phenomena born from material interactions, then what is consciousness exactly? If materialism is nothing more than an illusion born from consciousness, this still does not answer what consciousness is, how it arose, where it resides, how it functions. It opens more questions and answers nothing in return for supporting such a notion. Supporting such a concept leaves one's mouth dry, thirsting for more answers, whereas a materialist explanation offers numerous theories upon consciousness, where it comes from, how it functions, why we have it, etc.

The claims that information is the only thing that exists implies that information can exist regardless of thing's existing in and of themselves. This neither explains what information is exactly, no more than does saying only consciousness exists on it's own. With a materialist explanation, information is either the physical properties differentiating atoms from one another, or abstract forms of complex strings of information stored in bits or qubits. Matrix has this crazy idea that qubits are magical things of information, regardless of me posting what a qubit actually is.

Without materialism, where does information or consciousness come from? No one to date has offered up any evidence that such a concept is even possible, no definition of what this magical realm is or looks like or how it even functions. The idea alone and the entertainment of the idea itself is wholly unscientific. It's an empty statement that provides no means of testing it experimentally.



posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 05:22 PM
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Originally posted by sirnex
If consciousness is not a material phenomena born from material interactions, then what is consciousness exactly? If materialism is nothing more than an illusion born from consciousness, this still does not answer what consciousness is, how it arose, where it resides, how it functions. It opens more questions and answers nothing in return for supporting such a notion. Supporting such a concept leaves one's mouth dry, thirsting for more answers, whereas a materialist explanation offers numerous theories upon consciousness, where it comes from, how it functions, why we have it, etc.

These are all excellent questions, and asking them, admitting to the uncertainty, is the beginning of wisdom. Clinging to outdated dogmas gets us nowhere, whether it's projected, fairy-tale theology, or deterministic materialism.

You are correct; I have not explained what consciousness is. All I have done in this thread is demonstrate the insufficiency of materialism to explain consciousness (in one post I believe I have shown that the materialist assumption results in contradiction), and invite anybody who wishes to challenge this position with a viable materialistic explanation for consciousness to present one.

So far, nobody has. You are welcome to tell me to do the research, and I will tell you I have, and it has been found lacking. If you can show me the research, then let's talk.

I understand that this thread leaves the question of consciousness unanswered. It was not intended to answer the question, only to challenge a very common answer.

As for an answer to the question, I suggest spirituality (and if repenting and prayer turn you off, try meditation).

You also might find the works of Carl Jung fruitful.


edit on 18-4-2011 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 05:41 PM
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reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 



These are all excellent questions, and asking them, admitting to the uncertainty, is the beginning of wisdom. Clinging to outdated dogmas gets us nowhere, whether it's projected, fairy-tale theology, or deterministic materialism.


How can one abhor one dogma in favor of another as if one outdated dogma is more valid than the other? Materialism and idealistic approaches are both very very old, yet one has provided usable answers whereas the other has not. Should we not choose to believe in that which produces the most verifiable results? Materialism may not yet have full understanding of WHY we are aware of what causes the experience of pain, but it does give answers as to what occurs when we do experience pain. Materialistic belief is what drives technological progress, this is something that idealistic beliefs has never since it's inception done, not once.

I choose what the evidence fits best and I don't back out of that belief simply and arbitrarily because it fails to answer everything in existence.


You are correct; I have not explained what consciousness is. All I have done in this thread is demonstrate the insufficiency of materialism to explain consciousness (in one post I believe I have shown that the materialist assumption results in contradiction), and invite anybody who wishes to challenge this position with a viable materialistic explanation for consciousness to present one.


Can you link me to the specific post? I don't really have the time right this moment to go hunting for it, but if you link it I can attempt my best to answer it.


So far, nobody has. You are welcome to tell me to do the research, and I will tell you I have, and it has been found lacking. If you can show me the research, then let's talk.


In the same light, what evidence is there for an idealistic consciousness that exists or can exist without a material body? Please don't utilize personal experience forms of explanations either.


I understand that this thread leaves the question of consciousness unanswered. It was not intended to answer the question, only to challenge a very common answer.


Challenge what exactly? Saying something is conscious is just another way of saying something is self-aware. We can demonstrate self awareness in a human and certain animals, but we can not for a rock. We can demonstrate what processes occur in the body for various experiences and we can reproduce the feelings of these experiences quiet readily. What science has not done as of yet is explain WHY we are self aware. Not to a full extent at least.


As for an answer to the question, I suggest spirituality (and if repenting and prayer turn you off, try meditation).


I meditate, not as regularly as I'd like, but I've never came across any profound idealistic answers to life through it. Personal experience answers are moot and pointless. We all experience things differently, so these experiences should never be utilized in argument.



posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 06:18 PM
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Originally posted by sirnex
Can you link me to the specific post? I don't really have the time right this moment to go hunting for it, but if you link it I can attempt my best to answer it.

Better idea. I'll restate it briefly. However if you would like the full analysis I recommend reading the thread (or reading it better, if you are implying you read it).

In short, by assuming strict deterministic materialism, you can prove that what I am calling "raw conscious experience" does not exist (incidentally if you have not read Dennett's Consciousness Explained, I recommend it; you of all people would really enjoy it). This is all well and good, except that raw conscious experience does exist (this, however, is intuitive, so don't ask me to prove it, especially using materialism - this was my impasse with Astyanax). Therefore there is a contradiction. The materialist premise falls. QED.



Originally posted by sirnex
Personal experience answers are moot and pointless. We all experience things differently, so these experiences should never be utilized in argument.

Ah, so when debating materialism only arguments rooted in materialism are valid. I see how this game is played.


I did not answer the other stuff because it is irrelevant. I studied engineering. You don't need to convince me there. Material science is great for building things like cars and computers or even tinkering with people's minds via the obscure mind-matter connection (drugs, neurosurgery, etc.)

What it does not do is answer the deeper riddles. And it cannot in principle, due to its subordinate nature to raw experience, which is primary.

But there are ways to explore the deeper riddles.


edit on 18-4-2011 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 07:06 PM
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reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 



Better idea. I'll restate it briefly. However if you would like the full analysis I recommend reading the thread (or reading it better, if you are implying you read it).


I have yet to read the entire thread, I will when I get home from work, especially that particular post.


In short, by assuming strict deterministic materialism, you can prove that what I am calling "raw conscious experience" does not exist (incidentally if you have not read Dennett's Consciousness Explained, I recommend it; you of all people would really enjoy it). This is all well and good, except that raw conscious experience does exist (this, however, is intuitive, so don't ask me to prove it, especially using materialism - this was my impasse with Astyanax). Therefore there is a contradiction. The materialist premise falls. QED.


For the sake of argument, you can neither prove nor disprove that an entity is truly conscious. You or I can say we are conscious, we can think we are conscious, we can pass all self awareness tests.

A computer can be programmed to do the same. Is the computer conscious is it passes all tests, says it's conscious and acts as a conscious entity, if consciousness is not a material thing?

So perhaps it's our language and definition of consciousness that is lacking. It's akin to saying time exists because the sun goes up, the sun goes down, a new day is born. This sequential event gives rise to the illusion of thing's moving through time as our daily lives and circadian clocks are synced to this sequential movement.

So too must consciousness as we define it equally be an illusion. We get pricked by a needle, we react as it causes pain. We experience pain as a self defense, self preservation reaction. We can create tools, culture, language, art, but this is not unknown at all in what we deem lower forms of life compared to ourselves. The difference being the level of complexity, and that's the difference alone. Nature can erect a wall as easily as we, so the act of creating is not solely a conscious phenomenon.

We've evolved to a point where we can ask the how's and why's and in the process of over thinking or thinking we're special, we lose focus in the answers that are there. If you nor I can prove an entity is conscious, then consciousness as we define it simply doesn't exist at all. Be it material or idealistic.



posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 07:10 PM
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reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 



Ah, so when debating materialism only arguments rooted in materialism are valid. I see how this game is played.


Not at all, I simply asked that we not use personal experience as a form of validation. If we do that then we must assume every religion on the planet as well as their respective deities are very real and all the creators of the universe regardless of the blaring contradiction between all the various faiths that proclaim only a singular creator exists.


I did not answer the other stuff because it is irrelevant. I studied engineering. You don't need to convince me there. Material science is great for building things like cars and computers or even tinkering with people's minds via the obscure mind-matter connection (drugs, neurosurgery, etc.)


If material science is useful to such a degree, it's theories utilized on a daily basis, then how can it possibly be wrong at all?


What it does not do is answer the deeper riddles. And it cannot in principle, due to its subordinate nature to raw experience, which is primary.


raw experience is not primary, it's secondary. The universe did not need us to experience it for it to exist. We're not the center of all creation.



posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 07:28 PM
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Originally posted by sirnex
If you nor I can prove an entity is conscious, then consciousness as we define it simply doesn't exist at all. Be it material or idealistic.

I can prove that I am conscious, but only to myself.

You can call that an illusion, but all you have done is rename it.

We cannot begin to debate on common ground unless we both agree that we are conscious. I cannot prove that you are conscious, and you cannot prove that I am conscious. Thus, if there is no agreement, we must agree to disagree and not continue to debate in circles.

If we do both agree that we are conscious (in the sense of having raw conscious experience), then we are faced with some pretty pertinent questions, which are brought up in the thread (but never answered as we essentially agreed to disagree).

For one, the personal identity question. Why am I me and not you? What is it that makes this question meaningful?

For another, what is happening when we are having a discussion about consciousness? Obviously physical matter is being set in motion (vibrations in the air for a face-to-face chat, or electronic signals in our case). What is its cause? The muscle movements are traced back to the brain. But what's happening in there? Somehow, the raw conscious experience is being translated into physical reality. Some sort of very miniscule creation is happening. Otherwise there would be nothing to discuss. If raw conscious experience did not really exist, discussion boards would not have debates on the nature of it. They might have chats on seeing and hearing and smelling but not on the very nature of consciousness itself. The word "qualia" would never have been coined.

You don't have to field these questions. In fact you shouldn't if you persist in your belief that consciousness is an illusion, as then there is no point in fielding those questions because I know what your answers will be before you say them.

Materialism cannot answer the deeper questions. The way to answer them is through introspection. In that vein, another book I'll throw out there (being the bookworm that I am who likes to spam recommendations) is Our Inner Conflicts. It's simply psychology; there's no need to give up materialism to read this book. But the insights contained in it might just be the first step on a long journey of self-exploration.



Originally posted by sirnex
raw experience is not primary, it's secondary. The universe did not need us to experience it for it to exist. We're not the center of all creation.

Again, missing my point. It doesn't matter if the universe came first. Experience is primary to us. Everything we know about the universe, yes even all the observations that make up science, is necessarily filtered through it.


edit on 18-4-2011 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 08:06 PM
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Anyway, I think I'm done for the time being, in case you're wondering why I don't post a reply. I don't do ATS much anymore because I find it stressful and it brings out my ego and all sorts of aggressive feelings. I apologize if my tone was aggressive. I don't mean you nor anybody else any harm. I enjoy discussing the world as I see it, and wish I could do it without my emotions flaring up in a negative manner and ruining my peace. That's narcissism for ya. Someday I'll get over it. For now, this isn't good for me.

I'll be back next time I change my mind.



edit on 18-4-2011 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 19 2011 @ 05:33 AM
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reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 



I can prove that I am conscious, but only to myself.


Or, it's an illusion born from clever programming.


You can call that an illusion, but all you have done is rename it.


You agreed that non conscious matter could have the illusion of consciousness through advanced AI. Why would it be any different, be it a computer or a human brain? What makes the brain so much more special?


We cannot begin to debate on common ground unless we both agree that we are conscious. I cannot prove that you are conscious, and you cannot prove that I am conscious. Thus, if there is no agreement, we must agree to disagree and not continue to debate in circles.


It's not a matter of being able to prove on or the other wrong or right here. Your claiming consciousness is not a material phenomenon whilst agreeing that non conscious matter can show signs of consciousness if programmed to do so.

So why the contradiction?


If we do both agree that we are conscious (in the sense of having raw conscious experience), then we are faced with some pretty pertinent questions, which are brought up in the thread (but never answered as we essentially agreed to disagree).


Just got home from work, so it'll be awhile before I can read the entire thread.


For one, the personal identity question. Why am I me and not you? What is it that makes this question meaningful?


How is personal identity an issue? I'm not following on that one. Why is a hydrogen atom not a cesium atom?


For another, what is happening when we are having a discussion about consciousness? Obviously physical matter is being set in motion (vibrations in the air for a face-to-face chat, or electronic signals in our case). What is its cause? The muscle movements are traced back to the brain. But what's happening in there? Somehow, the raw conscious experience is being translated into physical reality. Some sort of very miniscule creation is happening. Otherwise there would be nothing to discuss. If raw conscious experience did not really exist, discussion boards would not have debates on the nature of it. They might have chats on seeing and hearing and smelling but not on the very nature of consciousness itself. The word "qualia" would never have been coined.


I disagree. Physical reality is being translated into meaningful information that allows the physical body to act and react. In order to experience anything, all external information from physical reality must go through the five sensory organs and then that information is processed by the brain which produces certain biochemicals and electrical signals that give further information and instruction.


You don't have to field these questions. In fact you shouldn't if you persist in your belief that consciousness is an illusion, as then there is no point in fielding those questions because I know what your answers will be before you say them.


All I am attempting to show is if you can't prove consciousness to be a non material phenomenon, then how can you prove consciousness is real at all?


Again, missing my point. It doesn't matter if the universe came first. Experience is primary to us. Everything we know about the universe, yes even all the observations that make up science, is necessarily filtered through it.


Nothing first filters through consciousness alone. Everything we know about the universe is first filtered through our sensory organs.



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 04:17 AM
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reply to post by sirnex
 


Instead of trying to get people to prove consciousness to you, read a book about it or check out this:
youtu.be...
youtu.be...

These people are investigating consciouness.

Your signature: “Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.” - Nikola Tesla.

Tesla is saying:
No equation or experiment will reveal reality.
Only seeing (experiencing) will reveal reality.



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 05:31 AM
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reply to post by Itisnowagain
 



Instead of trying to get people to prove consciousness to you


If people are claiming consciousness is an idealistic phenomena that science can't explain through materialism, then it is upon the claimants to prove their case if they are claiming there case to be true.

If you can't prove consciousness exists, then how can you bash science for not having arrived at an answer at his point in time? We can't explain gravity, do you disbelieve in gravity as well?

And no, that's not what Tesla is saying in that quote, not even close. Read it again.
edit on 20-4-2011 by sirnex because: (no reason given)



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