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Determinism?

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posted on Jun, 24 2011 @ 06:29 AM
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Originally posted by sirnex
How do you possibly not understand it? Do you not agree that hunger is something you experience, something that leads to a decision making process? Do you not agree that prior physical events take place that lead to hunger?

Name any other experience and we can reduce it enough to show that the experience stems from previous physical root causes and effects.

Yes. Through my senses I perceive what happens to me, such as hunger. When this happens there is an experience of hunger. I can then decide what to do about it, which probably means eating (but can also, for example, mean serenely observing the sensation in the case of fasting).

Yet you are still missing the meat of this. Let me try it this way.

Suppose you had never experienced hunger before because you lived your entire life with a feeding tube that kept you nourished and prevented you from ever experiencing hunger. Suppose, too, that you became a scientist and studied everything science knows about hunger. The biology of the stomach, the neural connections to the brain, etc. You are a top-notch expert on the subject of hunger. You know everything in the literature about it.

Now suppose you have your feeding tube removed and don't eat for 10 hours. Do you learn something new?

See, I am on the same page with you on the fact that the experience is caused in time by a physical event. Perhaps I had been asking the question poorly, but that's not what I meant by "cause". What I mean is, whatever is going on in the brain that, say, "represents" the experience of hunger, is correlated with the experience itself. How does this correlation work? How does the experience part of it work? Why the apparent distinction between the externally observable neural events, and the subjective "raw sensation" of hunger?

If you understand the question, then congratulations, you now understand what "qualia" means.

And if you can come up with an answer amenable to the scientific method, there's a Nobel Prize waiting for you.


edit on 24-6-2011 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 24 2011 @ 06:58 AM
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reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 



What they (including Harris in the case of your video) do is distract you from this fact by discussing how even if "free will" is an "illusion", it's still an important illusion, and thereby drawing their pseudo-distinction between determinism and fate.


I don't think they "distract" from that at all:-

See the video i mentioned

www.youtube.com... - @ 06:12

TRANSCRIPT:


Trains of thought like "what should i get my daughter for her birthday"

"I know i'll take her to a pet store and have her pick out some tropical fish" convey the apparent reality of choices freely made, but from a deeper perspective, speaking both subjectively and objectively, thoughts simply arise - What else could they do? Unauthored and yet authored to our actions.

As Daniel Dennett has pointed out, many people confuse determinism with fatalism. This gives rise to questions like "If everything is determined, why not should i do anything? Why not just sit back and see what happens"



posted on Jun, 24 2011 @ 07:32 AM
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reply to post by ExistentialNightmare
 

It's a distraction in that they pull your attention away from determinism before you get a chance to wrap your head around it and discover the fundamental incompatibility of materialistic determinism and qualia, and draw you into "life advice" about how just because your brain is deterministic, that doesn't mean you have to have a fatalistic attitude.

Our disagreement on this particular point may be a semantic one; I suspect we are operating under slightly different definitions of "fatalism". When it comes to fatalism the attitude, we are in agreement, as I hope I made clear in my previous reply to you. But fatalism as fate is synonymous with determinism, or at the very least a direct consequence of it.


edit on 24-6-2011 by NewlyAwakened because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 24 2011 @ 08:52 AM
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reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 


I'm still unsure on our semantical disagreement;

Again, i think this excerpt from the video highlights this synomous link you associate between determinism and "fate"


Why did i use the term "inscrutable" in the previous sentence? I must confess that i do not know, was i free to do otherwise? What could such a claim possibly mean? Why, afterall, didn't the word "opaque" come to mind? Well it just didn't...Am i free to feel that "opaque" is a better word when i just do not feel that it is a better word? Am i free to change my mind? Of course not; it can only change me; it means nothing to say that "a person would have done otherwise had he chosen to do otherwise" because a person's choices merely appear in his mental stream as if sprung from the void.


Perhaps you'll further explain the semantics as i am misunderstanding your "fate" semantics.

Also, where's your avatar gone!? I liked it.
edit on 24-6-2011 by ExistentialNightmare because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 24 2011 @ 12:46 PM
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reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 



See, I am on the same page with you on the fact that the experience is caused in time by a physical event.


Awesome! So qualia/experience has a physical root cause, just being that the inner workings and physical mechanisms is unknown in full at this moment in time.

So now we know that, we can move on to try and understand determinism and how it relates to qualia/experience stemmed from physical root causes and how that leads to different decision making processes dependent upon the initial causation. Simply dropping all variables that lead to a final effect will lead you no where in understanding.



posted on Jun, 24 2011 @ 04:25 PM
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Originally posted by NewlyAwakened

See, I am on the same page with you on the fact that the experience is caused in time by a physical event. Perhaps I had been asking the question poorly, but that's not what I meant by "cause". What I mean is, whatever is going on in the brain that, say, "represents" the experience of hunger, is correlated with the experience itself. How does this correlation work? How does the experience part of it work? Why the apparent distinction between the externally observable neural events, and the subjective "raw sensation" of hunger?

If you understand the question, then congratulations, you now understand what "qualia" means.


Maybe another analogy that brings this out is my video cards that have been giving me problems.

My computer can actually record the temperature of the cards and, if they get too hot, the computer will shut down, much to my dismay. As the temperature goes up, the computer will decide to notch the fan speed up. The computer is making all sorts of decisions on what to do given a certain temperature, and it actively tries to keep itself cool.

But, does the computer experience heat? Does it think, "I am hot", or does it start dreaming of the cool glass of delicious lemonaid it had last week. Does the computer turn up the fans because it is uncomfortable?

No, it doesn't.

But, we do all that. Why? Nobody knows, in scientific terms, why this happens. And, I suspect that, as we conduct science today, under the materialistic/reductionistic paradigm, we won't be able to.


edit on 24-6-2011 by EthanT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 24 2011 @ 04:34 PM
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Although you could argue my computer does experinece a sense of malicious humour ....

since it always crashes when I am in the middle of some work I have not saved yet



posted on Jun, 24 2011 @ 10:20 PM
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reply to post by EthanT
 



But, we do all that. Why? Nobody knows, in scientific terms, why this happens. And, I suspect that, as we conduct science today, under the materialistic/reductionistic paradigm, we won't be able to.


It's an alright analogy, but rather simplistic in my opinion. The wiring and programming of a computer is not set up the same way as a brain, so comparing the two and assuming that one is somehow better than the other is rather moot. The operation is just too different.

Our brains posses the capacity to process noises into language, both inner and outer. We can communicate with one another and process internal thought. We can tap into the brain and see where this process occurs. We can monitor it, and we're even getting to the point where we can intercept and decode it and view it on a computer terminal.

We can induce fear, visions of God, etc. We may not understand the full workings as of yet, but all signs point to physical causation.



posted on Jun, 24 2011 @ 11:34 PM
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Originally posted by sirnex
It's an alright analogy, but rather simplistic in my opinion. The wiring and programming of a computer is not set up the same way as a brain, so comparing the two and assuming that one is somehow better than the other is rather moot. The operation is just too different.


Well, and that's kinda the point of the analogy. There are good arguments for considering the fact that consciousness might be a non-computable phenomenon, i.e. it cannot be reduced to an algorithm. This has serious implications for the success of AI, and also challenges the idea of viewing the brain as just a "fancy" computer.

Roger Penrose is one of the leading thinkers on this, and first presented the idea back in his book "The Emperor's New Mind", IIRC.


Originally posted by sirnex
Our brains posses the capacity to process noises into language, both inner and outer. We can communicate with one another and process internal thought. We can tap into the brain and see where this process occurs. We can monitor it, and we're even getting to the point where we can intercept and decode it and view it on a computer terminal.


Nothing has been decoded, if you meant that literally. We just view areas of the brain lighting up on fMRI scanners and things along those lines. We don't really have a clue how consciousness arises, or works. Really, the brain and consciousness is probably the least understood thing in science today.


edit on 24-6-2011 by EthanT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 25 2011 @ 12:38 PM
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reply to post by EthanT
 


I like your mind. (sorry; that sounds creepy)




Well, and that's kinda the point of the analogy. There are good arguments for considering the fact that consciousness might be a non-computable phenomenon, i.e. it cannot be reduced to an algorithm. This has serious implications for the success of AI, and also challenges the idea of viewing the brain as just a "fancy" computer.


I don't think a "Grey goo" situation is so unbelievable (perhaps the Matrix/Animatrix storylines are more prophetic than we think)

en.wikipedia.org...

Maybe there'll come a point where a computer can design a better computer than a man can.
And it's won't be just a case of "GIGO".
edit on 25-6-2011 by ExistentialNightmare because: (no reason given)

edit on 25-6-2011 by ExistentialNightmare because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 25 2011 @ 01:55 PM
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reply to post by EthanT
 



Well, and that's kinda the point of the analogy. There are good arguments for considering the fact that consciousness might be a non-computable phenomenon, i.e. it cannot be reduced to an algorithm. This has serious implications for the success of AI, and also challenges the idea of viewing the brain as just a "fancy" computer.


I disagree. There are no good arguments for such a notion. Saying it's non-computable and pointing out our failings in AI then claiming it must be immaterial is just wishful nonsense. Yes, we don't understand consciousness. Yes, our AI research and technology is limited. Lack of knowing or being able to reproduce through computers doesn't negate the issue that consciousness can be physically altered through various means. It has a physical cause and can be impaired by physical causes. There is no indication at all that it's something else.


Nothing has been decoded, if you meant that literally. We just view areas of the brain lighting up on fMRI scanners and things along those lines. We don't really have a clue how consciousness arises, or works. Really, the brain and consciousness is probably the least understood thing in science today.


No, they can actually view images directly from the brain. I remember seeing a video on youtube where they transmitted wireless images of what a cat was seeing, the actual images from the visual processing part of it's brain. There was also another article floating around where images of words were decoded from humans as the person was picturing them. Really interesting stuff if you want to search for it and learn more about it. Kind of scary really!



posted on Jun, 25 2011 @ 02:20 PM
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reply to post by sirnex
 



I disagree. There are no good arguments for such a notion. Saying it's non-computable and pointing out our failings in AI then claiming it must be immaterial is just wishful nonsense. Yes, we don't understand consciousness. Yes, our AI research and technology is limited.


I think I understand your disagreement. Apologies in advance but perhaps I'm misunderstanding the anology or you're taking it quite literally. I don't think our brains can be comparable to the standard model of computing (I/O) but i do thinks it's a good anology for determinism, and of course much is still unknown about conscioussness. Perhaps our minds are more similar to that of Quantam computers that we are starting to dabble in?

Perhaps such quantam theorems could explain conscioussness further? Obviously any grand-unification theory would have to emcompass conscioussness as well as "particle" theory as such like.

You're point is well noted that machines don't reproduce (at least at the moment!
)

Forgive me if i have misunderstood you.
edit on 25-6-2011 by ExistentialNightmare because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 25 2011 @ 03:05 PM
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Originally posted by sirnex
reply to post by EthanT
 



Well, and that's kinda the point of the analogy. There are good arguments for considering the fact that consciousness might be a non-computable phenomenon, i.e. it cannot be reduced to an algorithm. This has serious implications for the success of AI, and also challenges the idea of viewing the brain as just a "fancy" computer.


I disagree. There are no good arguments for such a notion. Saying it's non-computable and pointing out our failings in AI then claiming it must be immaterial is just wishful nonsense. Yes, we don't understand consciousness. Yes, our AI research and technology is limited. Lack of knowing or being able to reproduce through computers doesn't negate the issue that consciousness can be physically altered through various means. It has a physical cause and can be impaired by physical causes. There is no indication at all that it's something else.


Did I claim consciousness has to be immaterial becuse of that? No, you added that in. Claiming so would not be "wishful nonsense". It would be unscientific (that is, making a claim without any evidence to back it up). But, it is equally unscientific then to say that consciousness is definitely only material, since we have no evidence for that either. The only real reason to claim that is dogmatic - that is, to claim that the only way to view things is under the current materialistic paradigm.

Just because we can alter consciousness via physical alterations of the brain does not at all mean it is sourced by the brain. It would be like smashing your TV with a sledgehammer and saying you destroyed Gilligan's Island, withouth realizing the signal is being broadcasted all around you in the air via EM waves. Once again, it is unscientific to make a claim either way without having a full working model of consciousness (like we have for a TV). But, in the meantime it is okay to say what your gut is telling you ... but remember, that's all it is.

Computability and (non-computability) are well established mathematical ideas:

en.wikipedia.org...

Alan Turing himself showed there are known "problems" that cannot be reduced to an algorithm.

So, to say that the brain can definitely and fully be modeled by algorithms/computers, as we understand them today, seems naive at best.

Also, if you want to give NDEs and OBEs a honest scientific look, you'll see that there are consistent (and to some extent repeatable) observations that cannot be explained by the current materialisitic model of consciousness. And, isn't science supposed to be about explaining observation?


edit on 25-6-2011 by EthanT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 25 2011 @ 06:41 PM
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Originally posted by sirnex
reply to post by NewlyAwakened
 



See, I am on the same page with you on the fact that the experience is caused in time by a physical event.


Awesome! So qualia/experience has a physical root cause, just being that the inner workings and physical mechanisms is unknown in full at this moment in time.

So now we know that, we can move on to try and understand determinism and how it relates to qualia/experience stemmed from physical root causes and how that leads to different decision making processes dependent upon the initial causation. Simply dropping all variables that lead to a final effect will lead you no where in understanding.


The physical mechanisms that cause experience are known, though. But the problems of experience and the "inner workings" are unexplainable, and by necessity, will continue to unexplainable with strict determinism.



posted on Jun, 25 2011 @ 07:21 PM
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reply to post by ExistentialNightmare
 



Perhaps such quantam theorems could explain conscioussness further? Obviously any grand-unification theory would have to emcompass conscioussness as well as "particle" theory as such like


It's possible, but it still leaves a physical explanation for consciousness.

reply to post by EthanT
 



Did I claim consciousness has to be immaterial becuse of that? No, you added that in. Claiming so would not be "wishful nonsense". It would be unscientific (that is, making a claim without any evidence to back it up). But, it is equally unscientific then to say that consciousness is definitely only material, since we have no evidence for that either. The only real reason to claim that is dogmatic - that is, to claim that the only way to view things is under the current materialistic paradigm.


We have plenty of evidence that consciousness arises from physical biological processes. We have utterly no evidence that it arises from anything else, unless you follow some spiritualistic or religious dogma arbitrarily invented by man and fully adhere to it by faith alone.


Just because we can alter consciousness via physical alterations of the brain does not at all mean it is sourced by the brain. It would be like smashing your TV with a sledgehammer and saying you destroyed Gilligan's Island, withouth realizing the signal is being broadcasted all around you in the air via EM waves. Once again, it is unscientific to make a claim either way without having a full working model of consciousness (like we have for a TV). But, in the meantime it is okay to say what your gut is telling you ... but remember, that's all it is.


That's a poor analogy. EM waves are quantifiable, we know they exist, we can measure them, etc. There is no known "transmitter of consciousness" Nor any known "receiver of consciousness". No proponent/follower of such a notion can even bother to offer up any mechanism that can be verified/tested for such a thing.


So, to say that the brain can definitely and fully be modeled by algorithms/computers, as we understand them today, seems naive at best.


Right, I thought I basically agreed that current knowledge/research is lacking. That is not to say that further research will be unable to reproduce sentient consciousness just because some want to believe consciousness resides in some magical dimension that transmits itself into a physical vessel that contains some elusive receiver of consciousness.


Also, if you want to give NDEs and OBEs a honest scientific look, you'll see that there are consistent (and to some extent repeatable) observations that cannot be explained by the current materialisitic model of consciousness. And, isn't science supposed to be about explaining observation?


Most NDE's occur in heart attack patients, which I assume some processes, biochemical in nature still are active in there mere seconds to minutes after the heart stops. These people don't actually die, they're still alive, hence why they are alive today. Death is an irreversible state of existence. You just don't come back from being dead. With that said, no person who has DIED, has came back to report anything of an afterlife.

Let's not also forget that NDE's vary from culture to religious belief to mental state of mind. Or that we can chemically induce NDE's in people who are very much alive and healthy. They don't die and still experience them via physical chemicals. There was even an experiment done where they used electromagnetic fields to induce visions of god or alien abduction experiences.

reply to post by AlphaZero
 



The physical mechanisms that cause experience are known, though. But the problems of experience and the "inner workings" are unexplainable, and by necessity, will continue to unexplainable with strict determinism.


I disagree. There is no such thing as chance or randomness in our universe. Everything is proceeded by a cause.



posted on Jun, 25 2011 @ 07:54 PM
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Originally posted by sirnex
We have plenty of evidence that consciousness arises from physical biological processes.


You are confusing the sensation for the perception.

The biological processes create the experience but not that which experiences.


Originally posted by sirnex There is no known "transmitter of consciousness" Nor any known "receiver of consciousness".


The brain is the receiver.



posted on Jun, 25 2011 @ 08:33 PM
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Originally posted by sirnex
reply to post by ExistentialNightmare
 

We have plenty of evidence that consciousness arises from physical biological processes


No, we don't. We don't even have a viable model on how consciousness works, let alone evidence to back that model up.


Originally posted by sirnex
There is no known "transmitter of consciousness" Nor any known "receiver of consciousness". No proponent/follower of such a notion can even bother to offer up any mechanism that can be verified/tested for such a thing.


Nor, can that be done for the materialistic idea of the brain sourcing consciousness.


Originally posted by sirnex
Most NDE's occur in heart attack patients, which I assume some processes, biochemical in nature still are active in there mere seconds to minutes after the heart stops. These people don't actually die, they're still alive, hence why they are alive today. Death is an irreversible state of existence. You just don't come back from being dead. With that said, no person who has DIED, has came back to report anything of an afterlife.


There are plenty of NDEs with not only a stopped heart but a flat-lined brain, for some time.


Originally posted by sirnex
Let's not also forget that NDE's vary from culture to religious belief to mental state of mind. Or that we can chemically induce NDE's in people who are very much alive and healthy. They don't die and still experience them via physical chemicals. There was even an experiment done where they used electromagnetic fields to induce visions of god or alien abduction experiences.


Negative. Conventional explanations of chemicals, drugs, oxyen deprivation etc, do not fully explain the observations from NDEs or OBEs, nor have they fully induced them.

You may want to read these at the very least:

IANDS

Noetic


Originally posted by sirnex
I disagree. There is no such thing as chance or randomness in our universe. Everything is proceeded by a cause.


Ever heard of quantum mechanics?

Cause and effect is not the same thing as determinancy.


edit on 25-6-2011 by EthanT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 25 2011 @ 09:25 PM
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reply to post by EthanT
 



No, we don't. We don't even have a viable model on how consciousness works, let alone evidence to back that model up.


Right... And the physical process of reproduction, genetics, brain development in a fetus mean nothing at all. Or drugs, strokes, or any other physical impairment that affects consciousness means nothing either. If there were indeed this magical receiver that was effected, we would have seen it by now, considering it would need to be affected in order to impair consciousness. Just saying.



Nor, can that be done for the materialistic idea of the brain sourcing consciousness.


Sperm enters egg. Egg utilizes DNA to create a fetus. Fetus grows and develops brain. etc... etc... etc.. I don't see any other mechanisms for consciousness explained. Simple exclaiming it ain't material because we lack full knowledge of how it works isn't going to fly with me. I don't put up with god of the gaps arguments.



There are plenty of NDEs with not only a stopped heart but a flat-lined brain, for some time.


Flat lined to the limits of our technology to monitor brain activity. Wasn't that long ago we had to let people who were clinically "dead" lay out for a couple days because people who were thought to be dead were indeed alive, again... due to limit of technologies for knowing that. We test for electrical activity alone. Obviously there is something more. Dead is dead and there is no coming back from dead, use that noodle man.


Negative. Conventional explanations of chemicals, drugs, oxyen deprivation etc, do not fully explain the observations from NDEs or OBEs, nor have they fully induced them.


Pure utter bullcrap. They have been fully induced in healthy fully alive individuals. Sorry, do your research instead of looking up sources for confirmation bias purposes. It's nice to have a dream and a hope and all, but reality is reality, there is no escaping it with wishful thinking that our narcissistic species is super awesome and magical in nature.


Ever heard of quantum mechanics?


Yea, heard of it. Know and understand a little of it. Says nothing of these magical wishful notions that people like "what the bleep do we know" claim it says. Science is science man, it isn't religion, it isn't spirituality, it isn't mysticism, it isn't magical. It's observing physical things that exist within a physical reality. Like it or not.



Cause and Effect is not the same thing as determinancy.


Sure.. if you exclude all variables. I personally dislike such a practice because it's somewhat impossible to follow every variable.



posted on Jun, 25 2011 @ 09:28 PM
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reply to post by Jezus
 



You are confusing the sensation for the perception.

The biological processes create the experience but not that which experiences.


OK, describe the difference between the experience of pain and the perception of pain. Should be a fun thing.


The brain is the receiver.


Really? Exactly how does it "receive" consciousness? Where does it come from? How is it transmitted?

Really now? Can we just be the slightest bit honest here instead of emptily and arbitrarily exclaiming utter baseless garbage?



posted on Jun, 25 2011 @ 10:05 PM
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Originally posted by sirnex
reply to post by Jezus
 



You are confusing the sensation for the perception.

The biological processes create the experience but not that which experiences.


OK, describe the difference between the experience of pain and the perception of pain. Should be a fun thing.


The brain is the receiver.


Really? Exactly how does it "receive" consciousness? Where does it come from? How is it transmitted?

Really now? Can we just be the slightest bit honest here instead of emptily and arbitrarily exclaiming utter baseless garbage?


Observing the physical mechanisms that cause pain tell you absolutely nothing about what the pain actually feels like. Again, you keep ignoring the problem of qualia. And please do not tell me that qualia don't exist.

Unless you are literally a zombie, you know that qualia exist. Physical mechanisms do not equal the actual experience.


Originally posted by sirnex

Yea, heard of it. Know and understand a little of it. Says nothing of these magical wishful notions that people like "what the bleep do we know" claim it says. Science is science man, it isn't religion, it isn't spirituality, it isn't mysticism, it isn't magical. It's observing physical things that exist within a physical reality. Like it or not.



What does this have to do with anything in this thread?
edit on 25-6-2011 by AlphaZero because: (no reason given)



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