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Old 2nd January 2018, 02:58 AM   #201
IanS
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
IIUYC, then your idea is that consciousness is the inevitable result of our sensory inputs to our brain. The brain interprets those inputs as its environment. Not only does this explain consciousness, but if true, no other explanation is even necessary.

I like this.

To provide a shorter reply than my previous ones .... YES!
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Old 2nd January 2018, 04:16 AM   #202
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Well then, perhaps you should be more clear.

You seem to be arguing that human's shared reality is an illusion and no more than electrical pulses. And what we experience is merely an illusion. And perhaps you are right. But you will never know from inside the matrix. You also seem to be arguing that quantum mechanics proves this. But from my perspective, that is just special pleading.

Feel free to clarify.
Quantum mechanics does prove this, along with the classical sciences of course. Quantum physics experiments prove that the fundamental building blocks of reality don't share the attributes of the macro world. Sub-atomic particles are not objects as we define objects in the macro realm. They can only be described using mathematics. When we talk about an electron being a particle that travels from A to B we are imposing macro terminology on the quantum world, and whilst it gives us an idea of what's happening, it is not correct. An electron is not an object in the classical sense, it does not 'travel' anywhere, its behaviour can only be predicted in aggregate with other electrons based on mathematics.

Quite how you imagine this situation is accurately reflected in our daily perception is unclear. What's more, the very notion of us observing the world is flawed and we don't need quantum mechanics to demonstrate this. The world we experience is built from scratch inside our brains. As I've explained, it is an interpretation of a minuscule subset of reality designed to aid our evolutionary survival. There is no light out there, no colour, no sound, no solidity, just fields and potential.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 04:21 AM   #203
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Of course you are. You mentioned science several times during the discussion.
I am not debating science. Thank you.

Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post

Maybe you should tell this guy:

...because apparently he thinks that one has to do with the other.

Materialism is about matter, something science quite assuredly concludes exists. Ergo, science espouses the materialist philosophy.
If you read past the second sentence of your very own link you would see your argument, such as it is, destroyed:

Originally Posted by wiki
More generally, however, in (modern) physics, matter is not a fundamental concept because a universal definition of it is elusive
Instead of trying to live up to your username, why not engage in the debate in an honest fashion? Ever thought of doing that?
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Old 2nd January 2018, 05:21 AM   #204
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
I am not debating science. Thank you.
Of course you are. You mentioned science several times during the discussion.

Quote:
If you read past the second sentence of your very own link you would see your argument, such as it is, destroyed:
That doesn't destroy anything. You're simply looking for any reason to ignore reality and science. "Ooh! They said it's not a fundamental concept, so I can ignore it!" is childish cherrypicking. It's still a concept.

Quote:
why not engage in the debate in an honest fashion? Ever thought of doing that?


You haven't made a single argument in this thread. You claim to have superior knowledge but every post you make demonstrate that you're entirely out of your depth.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 05:42 AM   #205
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Of course you are. You mentioned science several times during the discussion.



That doesn't destroy anything. You're simply looking for any reason to ignore reality and science. "Ooh! They said it's not a fundamental concept, so I can ignore it!" is childish cherrypicking. It's still a concept.





You haven't made a single argument in this thread. You claim to have superior knowledge but every post you make demonstrate that you're entirely out of your depth.
Your persistent and content-free sniping is embarrassing. You refuse to honestly debate and therefore please don't waste your time goading me any further, you will not receive a reply.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 05:49 AM   #206
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Your persistent and content-free sniping is embarrassing. You refuse to honestly debate and therefore please don't waste your time goading me any further, you will not receive a reply.
You're the one refusing to honestly debate. You've been proven wrong, and are instead desperately trying to find justifications to ignore that proof, such as a single word in an article. Your own content-free responses are nothing if not entirely ironic and hypocritical.

Why don't you make an effort to address what people post instead of just stroking your own ego?
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Old 2nd January 2018, 08:14 AM   #207
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Quantum mechanics does prove this, along with the classical sciences of course. Quantum physics experiments prove that the fundamental building blocks of reality don't share the attributes of the macro world. Sub-atomic particles are not objects as we define objects in the macro realm. They can only be described using mathematics. When we talk about an electron being a particle that travels from A to B we are imposing macro terminology on the quantum world, and whilst it gives us an idea of what's happening, it is not correct. An electron is not an object in the classical sense, it does not 'travel' anywhere, its behaviour can only be predicted in aggregate with other electrons based on mathematics.

Quite how you imagine this situation is accurately reflected in our daily perception is unclear. What's more, the very notion of us observing the world is flawed and we don't need quantum mechanics to demonstrate this. The world we experience is built from scratch inside our brains. As I've explained, it is an interpretation of a minuscule subset of reality designed to aid our evolutionary survival. There is no light out there, no colour, no sound, no solidity, just fields and potential.

You are waaaaaay overstating the case, to the point where Johnson's refutation of Berkeley, despite your previous disclaimer, comes easily into play. For instance, it is one thing to point out that electrons don't always have a well-defined position or trajectory, such as in a double slit experiment or STM; it is quite another to claim that they never have individual well-defined positions or trajectories, a claim which if true would make CRTs, synchrotrons, the Millikan Oil Drop Experiment, and even photosynthesis impossible.

There is no light out there? Then how are you reading this post? There is no solidity? Yet my breakfast dishes never fall through my kitchen table; how strange! Or rather, not strange at all, when one considers that being made of component parts that have the same characteristics of the whole thing is not and never was a requirement for a thing or its characteristics being real.

An Instagram photo of Justin Bieber is still a photo of Justin Bieber, despite being made of digital electrical potentials on a disk or memory chip rather than, say, chopped up little bits of Justin Bieber. A sound is still a sound, despite being made of statistical variations in the local density of air molecules rather than say, a legion of tiny singing air spirits. A rock is still a rock, and still has e.g. solidity, position, composition, shape, temperature, and a whole lot of other real reproducibly measurable qualities despite being made of fields and potentials rather than, say, irreducibly tiny rocks. It is unnecessary and counterproductive to declare either set of properties, macroscopic or microscopic or quantum, real at the others' expense; they are all real; or if you prefer, all valid though necessarily incomplete descriptions of the same real thing.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 08:43 AM   #208
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Yes. For me, this is actualism.
Well it ain't materialism then. Define actualism. By your earlier statement "If I can see it, touch it, smell it, hear it or taste it, or any combinations of these, or if I can see, or perceive or be shown its effects, e.g. quantum physics, gravity, etc, then its real" it would seem to be the same as materialism, and hence you'd be this one: "L -> LF, LLLL, and L is a really real thing"

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This is philosobabble
Yes that's been exactly my point, they're all philosobabble - including materialism.

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and I cannot even begin to parse it
How's that hard to parse?
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Old 2nd January 2018, 08:49 AM   #209
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
It doesn't "lead" to consciousness. Instead what I'm suggesting (it's only a suggestion), is that, that is what consciousness actually is. That is ...

... what we call "consciousness" is just that continuous rapidly updating set of sensations and responses that we experience/undergo as a result of the chemical, electrical and physical changes from the sensory input, to reactions in the brain, to signals going back from the brain to the muscles and other organs and back to the sensory system in a continuous cycle ... the effect of that is what we call "consciousness".

If you don't understand how that could be what you think of as consciousness as you perceive it in your own daily life, then that may simply be because the effect has become so refined and so efficient in humans after billions of years of evolution, that to us as functioning apes, it now seems like “magic” … as if there must be some other reason different from the purely physical/chemical reactions that define how all living things function …

… but since all known evidence is against such “magic”, I expect the explanation for the effect that we call “consciousness”, is indeed just a highly evolved and very efficient (seemingly “very efficient” on out time scale at least, and where we are unaware of the underlying chemical, electrical processes that go on all the time in our cells and nerves etc.) sequence of perfectly natural chemical and electrical changes that occur in all “living things” (they occur to different extents, and with more or less complexity going from simple organisms such as plants, to the most complex such as mammals inc. apes and humans).

You could think about it another way – if you were able to travel back to the time when the first living things appeared on the Earth (e.g. you are the only human alive, but you actually know nothing about modern science or the modern world … all you can detect is what your senses see, hear, smell etc., and what your thinking human mind says to you about the single-celled “life” before you and the landscape of the planet that you perceive), then you would probably think it was impossible, even completely unimaginable, that a process of evolution would lead eventually (after billions of years) to humans that could make aircraft, computers, discover quantum field theory, develop language etc., or indeed experience an effect that we call “consciousness” …

… but the explanation for how humans came to have all those characteristics & abilities today (inc. “consciousness”), is certainly that it has been the inevitable result of 3 billion years of evolving life becoming more and more highly developed, more sophisticated, refined and more capable in everything associated with our life and existence.
At first glance your analogy is useful - given a snapshot of planet earth 2 billion years ago one could not predict evolution . . . yet given a series of snapshots, someone could - someone named Darwin did just that.
However, given 'chemical, electrical and physical changes' - can one predict a rich 1st person experience? That's what it really boils down to . . . given what we know about the nervous system, is there any way or mechanism that predicts consciousness? I'm not aware of any such theory, hypothesis or even a wild-eyed guess.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 08:52 AM   #210
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
You are waaaaaay overstating the case, to the point where Johnson's refutation of Berkeley, despite your previous disclaimer, comes easily into play. For instance, it is one thing to point out that electrons don't always have a well-defined position or trajectory, such as in a double slit experiment or STM; it is quite another to claim that they never have individual well-defined positions or trajectories, a claim which if true would make CRTs, synchrotrons, the Millikan Oil Drop Experiment, and even photosynthesis impossible.
Heisenberg believes you are wrong, and I'll go with him.

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
There is no light out there? Then how are you reading this post? There is no solidity? Yet my breakfast dishes never fall through my kitchen table; how strange! Or rather, not strange at all, when one considers that being made of component parts that have the same characteristics of the whole thing is not and never was a requirement for a thing or its characteristics being real.
I don't know if you're being deliberate obtuse or not. I hope so. You maintain that we observe reality. This is categorically not so. We observe a 100% internally generated model of the information necessary to permit us to survive in this world long enough to reproduce. We could construct this model in a billion different ways using a billion alternative input protocols but that doesn't mean any one of which is objectively real.

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
An Instagram photo of Justin Bieber is still a photo of Justin Bieber, despite being made of digital electrical potentials on a disk or memory chip rather than, say, chopped up little bits of Justin Bieber.
The latter sounds appealing.

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
A sound is still a sound, despite being made of statistical variations in the local density of air molecules rather than say, a legion of tiny singing air spirits.
I don't know what you mean. Sounds are generated entirely by the brain. There is no external quality of 'sound'. 'Sound' does not exist 'out there', just the compression and rarefaction of air molecules. If our bodies were organised differently we might see sound as objects, or sense it as smell, or in ways we cannot currently conceive of.

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
A rock is still a rock, and still has e.g. solidity, position, composition, shape, temperature, and a whole lot of other real reproducibly measurable qualities despite being made of fields and potentials rather than, say, irreducibly tiny rocks. It is unnecessary and counterproductive to declare either set of properties, macroscopic or microscopic or quantum, real at the others' expense; they are all real; or if you prefer, all valid though necessarily incomplete descriptions of the same real thing.
Then you're in favour of reality being subjective, which is absurd. You state a rock is solid and that solidity is real, but to a neutrino that rock has no more solidity than a wisp of fog. You're taking your own specialised, limited model of reality that you find in your head and declaring it's objective real. Nothing could be further from the truth.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 09:00 AM   #211
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Your persistent and content-free sniping is embarrassing. You refuse to honestly debate and therefore please don't waste your time goading me any further, you will not receive a reply.
I am confused by your posts as well.
What is your definition of materialism? It seems to be weird.

I simply see it as "matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all things, including mental aspects and consciousness, are results of material interactions".

As science progresses our understanding of what matter is and how it works will obviously change, that does not make any difference to materialism at all.
Whether matter consists of little balls or insubstantial forces or particles that don't even exist except when interacting with one another, its still matter and falls under materialism.

All of GR and all of QM is materialism, per definition, also any scientific theory that might replace/combine them.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 09:18 AM   #212
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
I am confused by your posts as well.
What is your definition of materialism? It seems to be weird.
There is no sensible definition of materialism, as I've explained.

Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
I simply see it as "matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all things, including mental aspects and consciousness, are results of material interactions".
In that case it's easy to prove it wrong. It has been long known that matter (as popularly described) is not fundamental. I doubt that any modern-day materialist scientist maintains that it is. We know that entities exist with no mass, with no dimensions, with no attributes that can be represented in any other way than by mathematics (and indeed, in the case of 90% of our universe, no directly observable attributes whatsoever). Even putting the quantum world aside we have fields, we have gravity, we have forces, none of which are in themselves functions of 'matter'.

Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
As science progresses our understanding of what matter is and how it works will obviously change, that does not make any difference to materialism at all.
It does, it shows clearly that materialism is no longer a valid concept.

Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Whether matter consists of little balls or insubstantial forces or particles that don't even exist except when interacting with one another, its still matter and falls under materialism.
Why would it? If materialism now means 'everything' then why not say 'everything'? And what is the point of saying you believe in everything, but nothing more? That's pretty obvious, by definition.

Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
All of GR and all of QM is materialism, per definition, also any scientific theory that might replace/combine them.
It's not, it's really not. Materialism is a philosophy that science has proved not just false, but meaningless. I'll leave you with a quote from Heisenberg

Originally Posted by Heisenberg
The ontology of materialism rested upon the illusion that the kind of existence, the direct 'actuality' of the world around us, can be extrapolated into the atomic range. This extrapolation, however, is impossible... atoms are not things.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 09:30 AM   #213
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
This is not me trying a "aha but what does 'is' mean?" But to be able to answer your question properly you need to provide the definition you are using for "consciousness" in your question.
I don't think my current point really hinges much on the definition. The processes that IanS described as being responsible for consciousness happen in both conscious processes and unconscious processes. That point remains true regardless of whether conscious means merely "awake" or "self aware with a sense of self". Also the same for "unconscious". Define it as "not fully aware at the moment", or "asleep" or, at the extreme, "nearly comatose" and it still remains true.

Despite that though, IMO the most interesting/useful definition to use in these discussions is "sense of experience/conscious awareness".
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Old 2nd January 2018, 09:54 AM   #214
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
There is no sensible definition of materialism, as I've explained.
Stated, not explained. You're confused by QM and materialism, and are trying to blame others for your confusion.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 10:16 AM   #215
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
There is no sensible definition of materialism, as I've explained.



In that case it's easy to prove it wrong. It has been long known that matter (as popularly described) is not fundamental. I doubt that any modern-day materialist scientist maintains that it is. We know that entities exist with no mass, with no dimensions, with no attributes that can be represented in any other way than by mathematics (and indeed, in the case of 90% of our universe, no directly observable attributes whatsoever). Even putting the quantum world aside we have fields, we have gravity, we have forces, none of which are in themselves functions of 'matter'.



It does, it shows clearly that materialism is no longer a valid concept.



Why would it? If materialism now means 'everything' then why not say 'everything'? And what is the point of saying you believe in everything, but nothing more? That's pretty obvious, by definition.



It's not, it's really not. Materialism is a philosophy that science has proved not just false, but meaningless. I'll leave you with a quote from Heisenberg
Oh, I see, you don't actually have a problem with materialism per se, you have a problem with matter.
You don't seen to like the fact that it could consist of particles with no mass as well as 'immaterial' fields.
How can you argue about materialism, which is based on matter and how it behaves, if you use an incorrect definition of matter?
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Old 2nd January 2018, 10:24 AM   #216
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Heisenberg believes you are wrong, and I'll go with him.

Heisenberg does't appear to be preventing Amazon from being able to track my packages. Nor preventing the innumerable precise chemical reactions, some (such as in respiration) involving the transfer of single electron charges between specific individual molecules, that are necessary for life to occur.

So perhaps Heisenberg's discoveries don't have the implications you impute to them.

Quote:
I don't know if you're being deliberate obtuse or not. I hope so. You maintain that we observe reality. This is categorically not so. We observe a 100% internally generated model of the information necessary to permit us to survive in this world long enough to reproduce. We could construct this model in a billion different ways using a billion alternative input protocols but that doesn't mean any one of which is objectively real.

You are invoking an evolutionary origin of the faculties we possess. Presumably this means that you accept that the world contains hazards jeopardizing successful reproduction that can be avoided and opportunities facilitating successful reproduction that can be exploited, as these are necessary components to evolution.

In a world containing actual hazards and opportunities, a more accurate model is more useful to survival than a less accurate one. Therefore the former will be preferentially selected and will tend to evolve.

It is in fact completely contradictory to claim that our models of the world evolved to facilitate our survival, and that they do not reflect reality with any degree of reliability.

There are known exceptions. Differences that don't bear on survival, such as whether the sun circles or the earth rotates, are less likely to be perceived accurately. And perception will tend to err on the side of oversensitivity to potential threats (especially in an environment where many potential threats are themselves thinking perceiving beings able to deliberately attempt to conceal themselves). But we know about these exceptions.

Those exceptions are a far cry from rocks, which in actual reality can be climbed, fallen from, thrown, injurious when thrown, hidden behind, and stacked to build shelters, among numerous other opportunities and hazards, only being solid because we imagine them being so inside our heads.

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I don't know what you mean. Sounds are generated entirely by the brain. There is no external quality of 'sound'. 'Sound' does not exist 'out there', just the compression and rarefaction of air molecules.

The compression and rarefaction of air molecules is also called sound. Look it up in a physics book. There's a whole science called "acoustics" studying the behavior and manipulation of sound; and it's not redundant with a music appreciation course.

If sounds are generated entirely by a brain in the waking state, in the absence of the accompanying external physical phenomenon of compression and rarefaction of air molecules, then that brain is not functioning correctly and might benefit from medical treatment. Exceptions can be made for dreams, synesthesia, and the influence of certain hallucinogenic substances.

Quote:
Then you're in favour of reality being subjective, which is absurd. You state a rock is solid and that solidity is real, but to a neutrino that rock has no more solidity than a wisp of fog. You're taking your own specialised, limited model of reality that you find in your head and declaring it's objective real. Nothing could be further from the truth.

"Your baryon-centric assertion of the solidity of rocks is erasing my neutrino culture!"

Looks like we should take this part of the discussion to Social Issues.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 10:32 AM   #217
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
It has been long known that matter (as popularly described) is not fundamental.
And by "long known" you mean "from this morning", when you found your "not fundamental" cop out term from a (as popularily described) wiki article. You've got some nerve pretending that it's been an issue for a long time.

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We know that entities exist with no mass, with no dimensions, with no attributes that can be represented in any other way than by mathematics
If they can only be desribed mathematically, how do we know they exist? We didn't know the Higgs existed until we, you know, detected it.

Quote:
(and indeed, in the case of 90% of our universe, no directly observable attributes whatsoever).
Ok, I'll add dark matter to the list of things you are utterly ignorant about. Here's the thing: dark matter is observable directly. It's called gravity. Obviously it interacts with matter, otherwise we wouldn't even know it exists.

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Even putting the quantum world aside we have fields, we have gravity, we have forces, none of which are in themselves functions of 'matter'.
What a strange thing to say. Several of those forces (perhaps all of them) are mediated via the exchange of particles. I'd call that a function of matter, wouldn't you?

You seem to have an entirely different understanding of physics than the physicists, and then spent a whole lot of time telling others that they don't understand physics.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 10:43 AM   #218
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Correct me if I'm wrong Baron, but you seem to want to take the 'material' of materialism and redefine it in such a way so as to exclude some natural phenomena, thereby proving materialism wrong?

That could never work, it defeats what materialism really means*, it won't be materialism any more.


*spirit of the law and all
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Old 2nd January 2018, 10:44 AM   #219
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
At first glance your analogy is useful - given a snapshot of planet earth 2 billion years ago one could not predict evolution . . . yet given a series of snapshots, someone could - someone named Darwin did just that.
However, given 'chemical, electrical and physical changes' - can one predict a rich 1st person experience? That's what it really boils down to . . . given what we know about the nervous system, is there any way or mechanism that predicts consciousness? I'm not aware of any such theory, hypothesis or even a wild-eyed guess.

It's not just that 3 billion years ago it would not have been predicted. It's more the case that it would have been literally beyond all possible imagination ... you could not have even conceived of how an eye (for example) could possibly ever appear and then become vastly more advanced and effective over the passage of time. You would not even have any concept of what sight or vision ever could be.

As far as the Darwin analogy is concerned - he was not around 3 billion years ago to predict evolution. He was only able to finally verify that process because by the 1830's when Darwin was gathering his data, huge strides were already being made across all areas of science, inc. iirc earlier descriptions of something very similar to evolution.

On the issue of why nobody has yet published a complete explanation of exactly how our sensory system along with the brain, produces the effect that we call “consciousness”, I suspect that is because the most advanced and sophisticated areas of science are not concerned with debates about “consciousness” (it's not part of what physicists, chemists, mathematicians, or even most biologists normally concern themselves with). And it's also an area that has got a lot of attention from philosophy and religion where they have been debating it for thousands of years … mostly in the context of claims for it being evidence of a soul and hence evidence for God … and that sort of religious-philosophical debate is not something that many scientists want to waste their time getting drawn into.

But, I have just given you the basic outline of a “theory” for what consciousness actually is and what causes it. And if we look in the research literature for recent papers (the last 30 years, say), I would not be at all surprised to find quite a large number of papers from psychology, medicine, neuroscience and similar fields describing something essentially similar to what I just described … i.e. describing how continuous exchanges of large amounts of information between the sensory system and the brain, are probably responsible for the effect that we call “consciousness”.

Certainly you will find loads of papers describing (for example) how the functioning of the brain is clearly the principal causal component producing what we call “consciousness” (mainly because we know that if areas of the brain are prevented from working, then certain parts of consciousness also stop … and conversely, if certain parts of the brain are deliberately stimulated with drugs or electrical impulses etc., then the patient experiences specific conscious effects and experiences, albeit the “conscious” experiences are being stimulated entirely by that artificial use of drugs and electrical impulses … i.e. the patient reacts as if experiencing real events going on around him/her, but actually it's just an effect caused by the application of electrical signals or certain drugs).
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Old 2nd January 2018, 11:27 AM   #220
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Well it ain't materialism then. Define actualism. By your earlier statement "If I can see it, touch it, smell it, hear it or taste it, or any combinations of these, or if I can see, or perceive or be shown its effects, e.g. quantum physics, gravity, etc, then its real" it would seem to be the same as materialism, and hence you'd be this one: "L -> LF, LLLL, and L is a really real thing"
Actualism... what I see is real and it exists

When I look at my morning cup of coffee sitting on the desk in front of me, it is there. I see it, smell it taste it and can touch it.

It is not a figment of my imagination.
Its not there merely because I see it.
Its is not a non-existent construct of my brain or my consciousness.

Its real
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Old 2nd January 2018, 11:33 AM   #221
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
At first glance your analogy is useful - given a snapshot of planet earth 2 billion years ago one could not predict evolution . . . yet given a series of snapshots, someone could - someone named Darwin did just that.
However, given 'chemical, electrical and physical changes' - can one predict a rich 1st person experience? That's what it really boils down to . . . given what we know about the nervous system, is there any way or mechanism that predicts consciousness? I'm not aware of any such theory, hypothesis or even a wild-eyed guess.
Again what is the definition of consciousness that you are using?
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Old 2nd January 2018, 11:35 AM   #222
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
It's not just that 3 billion years ago it would not have been predicted. It's more the case that it would have been literally beyond all possible imagination ... you could not have even conceived of how an eye (for example) could possibly ever appear and then become vastly more advanced and effective over the passage of time. You would not even have any concept of what sight or vision ever could be.

As far as the Darwin analogy is concerned - he was not around 3 billion years ago to predict evolution. He was only able to finally verify that process because by the 1830's when Darwin was gathering his data, huge strides were already being made across all areas of science, inc. iirc earlier descriptions of something very similar to evolution.

On the issue of why nobody has yet published a complete explanation of exactly how our sensory system along with the brain, produces the effect that we call “consciousness”, I suspect that is because the most advanced and sophisticated areas of science are not concerned with debates about “consciousness” (it's not part of what physicists, chemists, mathematicians, or even most biologists normally concern themselves with). And it's also an area that has got a lot of attention from philosophy and religion where they have been debating it for thousands of years … mostly in the context of claims for it being evidence of a soul and hence evidence for God … and that sort of religious-philosophical debate is not something that many scientists want to waste their time getting drawn into.

But, I have just given you the basic outline of a “theory” for what consciousness actually is and what causes it. And if we look in the research literature for recent papers (the last 30 years, say), I would not be at all surprised to find quite a large number of papers from psychology, medicine, neuroscience and similar fields describing something essentially similar to what I just described … i.e. describing how continuous exchanges of large amounts of information between the sensory system and the brain, are probably responsible for the effect that we call “consciousness”.

Certainly you will find loads of papers describing (for example) how the functioning of the brain is clearly the principal causal component producing what we call “consciousness” (mainly because we know that if areas of the brain are prevented from working, then certain parts of consciousness also stop … and conversely, if certain parts of the brain are deliberately stimulated with drugs or electrical impulses etc., then the patient experiences specific conscious effects and experiences, albeit the “conscious” experiences are being stimulated entirely by that artificial use of drugs and electrical impulses … i.e. the patient reacts as if experiencing real events going on around him/her, but actually it's just an effect caused by the application of electrical signals or certain drugs).

IanS, a lot of this sounds far too certain. You know that Philosophers will never accept this intrusion of commonsense into their area of expertise. They "demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty"
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Old 2nd January 2018, 11:47 AM   #223
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
I don't think my current point really hinges much on the definition. The processes that IanS described as being responsible for consciousness happen in both conscious processes and unconscious processes. That point remains true regardless of whether conscious means merely "awake" or "self aware with a sense of self". Also the same for "unconscious". Define it as "not fully aware at the moment", or "asleep" or, at the extreme, "nearly comatose" and it still remains true.

Despite that though, IMO the most interesting/useful definition to use in these discussions is "sense of experience/conscious awareness".


I think you are talking about states, not processes. That is I think you meant to write something like "The processes that IanS described as being responsible for consciousness happen in both conscious processes states and unconscious processes states". Otherwise your sentence would make no sense in English language. But therein lies/exposes the mistake of course ...

... because the processes that I described as information exchange between the sensory system and the brain, are certainly NOT the same in both a normal conscious "aware" state and in a genuinely "unconscious" unaware state ...

... if you are truly fully unconscious, as in for example a brain-dead vegetative state, then although your sensory system might still be working or capable of working (assuming you are being artificially kept alive in a hospital), your brain is no longer exchanging any of that information with your sensory system.

Even if you are just minimally "unconscious, e.g. during normal sleep, your senses are afaik still working, but your brain is not processing and responding to that information as efficiently or as accurately and persistently as when you are fully awake ... you are not seeing clearly with your eyes for example, and you are not aware of quiet sounds. You are still aware to some extent, but not so efficiently as in the fully conscious awake state.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 11:56 AM   #224
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Oh, I see, you don't actually have a problem with materialism per se, you have a problem with matter.
You don't seen to like the fact that it could consist of particles with no mass as well as 'immaterial' fields.
How can you argue about materialism, which is based on matter and how it behaves, if you use an incorrect definition of matter?
Small aside, all matter is energy.

And I am not sure what the hang up baron is having with materialism.

It pretty much translates to philosophical naturalism, that world is as it appears.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 11:56 AM   #225
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Actualism... what I see is real and it exists

When I look at my morning cup of coffee sitting on the desk in front of me, it is there. I see it, smell it taste it and can touch it.

It is not a figment of my imagination.
Its not there merely because I see it.
Its is not a non-existent construct of my brain or my consciousness.

Its real
Philosobabble then? Your appeal to Occam's razor fails, when required to reproduce the data ("LFLFLFLF") then "L -> LF, LLLL" is shorter than "L -> LF, LLLL, and L represents something real and not a figment of my imagination".
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Old 2nd January 2018, 12:03 PM   #226
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
IanS, a lot of this sounds far too certain. You know that Philosophers will never accept this intrusion of commonsense into their area of expertise. They "demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty"

Unfortunately ... yes, you are right!
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Old 2nd January 2018, 12:30 PM   #227
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Quantum mechanics does prove this, along with the classical sciences of course. Quantum physics experiments prove that the fundamental building blocks of reality don't share the attributes of the macro world. Sub-atomic particles are not objects as we define objects in the macro realm. They can only be described using mathematics. When we talk about an electron being a particle that travels from A to B we are imposing macro terminology on the quantum world, and whilst it gives us an idea of what's happening, it is not correct. An electron is not an object in the classical sense, it does not 'travel' anywhere, its behaviour can only be predicted in aggregate with other electrons based on mathematics.

Quite how you imagine this situation is accurately reflected in our daily perception is unclear. What's more, the very notion of us observing the world is flawed and we don't need quantum mechanics to demonstrate this. The world we experience is built from scratch inside our brains. As I've explained, it is an interpretation of a minuscule subset of reality designed to aid our evolutionary survival. There is no light out there, no colour, no sound, no solidity, just fields and potential.
Sorry, this is philosophical nonsense. If the world was built from scratch inside our brains, then why do so many different brains perceive the same things?

While I grant you that are perception is dictated to us through are senses which produce electrical impulses sent to our brain to make sense of reality, it doesn't make reality any less real.

Thanks for the response Baron. But you'll excuse me when i say your theory is interesting, but essentially meaningless to us all...including you.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 01:12 PM   #228
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Sorry, this is philosophical nonsense. If the world was built from scratch inside our brains, then why do so many different brains perceive the same things?
So if I gave the instructions to build a house to a dozen people, and they build comparable houses, would you deny that they had been built from scratch because they all looked the same? What kind of logic is that?

And would you maintain that the houses were literally the same thing as the instructions, because one had engendered the other?




As to the other replies, I can't work up the enthusiasm to restate my case. There are some people who simply do not get it. I know what it's like, I was once one of them. Research and education is the key. How many here have even read a book on materialism? On the workings of the brain? On consciousness? On quantum mechanics? Seriously, do the research.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 01:29 PM   #229
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
So if I gave the instructions to build a house to a dozen people, and they build comparable houses, would you deny that they had been built from scratch because they all looked the same? What kind of logic is that?

And would you maintain that the houses were literally the same thing as the instructions, because one had engendered the other?
That's a false analogy. People are perceiving what they sense. And their minds process those senses in the same way. You're suggesting that those senses are false even though your own perceptions match the people around you. I see no reason to question them as my perceptions are also shared by others.

Originally Posted by baron View Post
As to the other replies, I can't work up the enthusiasm to restate my case. There are some people who simply do not get it. I know what it's like, I was once one of them. Research and education is the key. How many here have even read a book on materialism? On the workings of the brain? On consciousness? On quantum mechanics? Seriously, do the research.
Ahhh, the I am smarter then the rest of you argument. Does this actually work on anyone?
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Old 2nd January 2018, 01:43 PM   #230
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Again what is the definition of consciousness that you are using?
consciousness is 'being present, being aware'.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 01:46 PM   #231
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
That's a false analogy. People are perceiving what they sense. And their minds process those senses in the same way. You're suggesting that those senses are false even though your own perceptions match the people around you. I see no reason to question them as my perceptions are also shared by others.
My analogy was accurate. Yours is a logical fallacy. There is no reason why the similarity of interpretation of similar machines is proof that these machines are correctly interpreting their inputs.

As I've already described, we are not correctly identifying inputs, nor would such a thing be possible. Have you not heard of decoherence? The observer effect? Not familiar with Young's famous experiment? These demonstrate that by its very nature, fundamental reality cannot be observed.

Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Ahhh, the I am smarter then the rest of you argument. Does this actually work on anyone?
I merely suggested doing a bit of research. Sorry if the idea offends you.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 02:10 PM   #232
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
My analogy was accurate. Yours is a logical fallacy. There is no reason why the similarity of interpretation of similar machines is proof that these machines are correctly interpreting their inputs.

As I've already described, we are not correctly identifying inputs, nor would such a thing be possible. Have you not heard of decoherence? The observer effect? Not familiar with Young's famous experiment? These demonstrate that by its very nature, fundamental reality cannot be observed.
Here's the problem baron. You're arguing that everything we experience is an illusion even though you yourself share that illusion. Now, hypothetically, what you are arguing may be true as anything may be true. But it is inherently unfalsifiable and from a scientific perspective borders on useless.

Originally Posted by baron View Post
I merely suggested doing a bit of research. Sorry if the idea offends you.
That isn't actually what you are doing. There is a subtext to your suggestion and you know it.

Now, I'm not a theoretical physicist, but I have watched several lectures on quantum mechanics and not during a single one of those lectures have they ever suggested that our physical world is not real, just that at a subatomic level, physics behaves differently.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 02:29 PM   #233
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
As I've already described, we are not correctly identifying inputs, nor would such a thing be possible. Have you not heard of decoherence? The observer effect? Not familiar with Young's famous experiment?
So what? Reality existed well before conscious brain observation did. A conscious brain observes reality (regardless of how poorly), it doesn’t create it.

Originally Posted by baron View Post
These demonstrate that by its very nature, fundamental reality cannot be observed.
“Cannot be observed completely and totally correctly” isn’t the same as “cannot be observed”. Only one of these statements is correct. Please tell us all which one it is . . .
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Old 2nd January 2018, 02:29 PM   #234
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
So if I gave the instructions to build a house to a dozen people, and they build comparable houses, would you deny that they had been built from scratch because they all looked the same? What kind of logic is that?
If you think they're analogous then you have no idea what's beign discussed.

Quote:
As to the other replies, I can't work up the enthusiasm to restate my case.
That would require you to make a case in the first place.

Quote:
There are some people who simply do not get it. I know what it's like, I was once one of them. Research and education is the key. How many here have even read a book on materialism? On the workings of the brain? On consciousness? On quantum mechanics? Seriously, do the research.
I have. The problem is that, just like with the wiki article, you "researched" just long enough to find the words and concepts you wanted to accept and imagined your grasp of the topic to be complete. A textbook exaple of Dunning-Kruger.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 02:31 PM   #235
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
As I've already described, we are not correctly identifying inputs, nor would such a thing be possible. Have you not heard of decoherence? The observer effect? Not familiar with Young's famous experiment? These demonstrate that by its very nature, fundamental reality cannot be observed.
And yet you are presumably using a computer that is built upon QM principles to tell us that. Amusing.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 02:43 PM   #236
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Have you not heard of decoherence? The observer effect? Not familiar with Young's famous experiment? These demonstrate that by its very nature, fundamental reality cannot be observed.
Decoherence does no such thing. Instead, it describes an observed phenomenon of wave function collapse.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_decoherence

Young's "famous experiment" (I assume you mean his double-slit experiment) does no such thing. Instead, it produces the observations that "fundamental reality" has both wave-like and particle-like properties.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young%...nce_experiment

The observer effect demonstrates no such thing. Instead, it demonstrates (as we know through repeated rounds of hypothesis, testing, and observation) that "fundamental reality" can be both observed and changed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observ...ntum_mechanics

At this point it seems like "fundamental reality" in your usage is just weasel words, designed to set up a "fundamental reality of the gaps" excuse for rejecting actual observations.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 02:45 PM   #237
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
And yet you are presumably using a computer that is built upon QM principles to tell us that. Amusing.
You see, the computer works, but until Science can give us a Philosophical Principle that underlies all of reality, we can't really explain it, and any observations about it don't count.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 02:46 PM   #238
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Here's the problem baron. You're arguing that everything we experience is an illusion even though you yourself share that illusion. Now, hypothetically, what you are arguing may be true as anything may be true. But it is inherently unfalsifiable and from a scientific perspective borders on useless.
Quantum physics falseifies it. If you won't read a book, at least Google 'materialism' and 'quantum mechanics' or something. You seem to be stuck in a groove and I don't have the motivation to engage much further.

Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
That isn't actually what you are doing. There is a subtext to your suggestion and you know it.

Now, I'm not a theoretical physicist, but I have watched several lectures on quantum mechanics and not during a single one of those lectures have they ever suggested that our physical world is not real, just that at a subatomic level, physics behaves differently.
I never suggested the physical world is not real, either. I said our model of it does not and cannot reflect reality.

Originally Posted by ynot View Post
So what? Reality existed well before conscious brain observation did. A conscious brain observes reality (regardless of how poorly), it doesn’t create it.
Who are you even replying to? If you got that from my post then your model of reality is more skewed than I can even imagine.

Originally Posted by ynot View Post
“Cannot be observed completely and totally correctly” isn’t the same as “cannot be observed”. Only one of these statements is correct. Please tell us all which one it is . . .
Fundamental reality cannot be observed. HTH.

Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
If you think they're analogous then you have no idea what's beign discussed.

That would require you to make a case in the first place.

I have. The problem is that, just like with the wiki article, you "researched" just long enough to find the words and concepts you wanted to accept and imagined your grasp of the topic to be complete. A textbook exaple of Dunning-Kruger.
I genuinely pity you.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 03:20 PM   #239
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Decoherence does no such thing. Instead, it describes an observed phenomenon of wave function collapse.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_decoherence

Young's "famous experiment" (I assume you mean his double-slit experiment) does no such thing. Instead, it produces the observations that "fundamental reality" has both wave-like and particle-like properties.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young%...nce_experiment

The observer effect demonstrates no such thing. Instead, it demonstrates (as we know through repeated rounds of hypothesis, testing, and observation) that "fundamental reality" can be both observed and changed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observ...ntum_mechanics

At this point it seems like "fundamental reality" in your usage is just weasel words, designed to set up a "fundamental reality of the gaps" excuse for rejecting actual observations.
Gee, you almost get the idea that baron doesn't know what he's talking about.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
You see, the computer works, but until Science can give us a Philosophical Principle that underlies all of reality, we can't really explain it, and any observations about it don't count.
Ooohhh! Deep stuff, man!
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Old 2nd January 2018, 03:23 PM   #240
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
I genuinely pity you.
I believe you. It's clear that you believe yourself superior to everyone else. As shown by your poor grasp of physics, however, it's unearned.

I'd like to point out that this response of yours is content-free, by the way, something I thought you disliked.
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