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Author Topic:   Does science ask and answer "why" questions?
1.61803
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Posts: 2246
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 331 of 353 (650475)
01-31-2012 4:05 PM
Reply to: Message 329 by Straggler
01-31-2012 12:40 PM


Re: Quantum Dualism..........?
Straggler writes:

Iím well aware of the views of people like Bohm and Penrose. But these are either philosophical arguments that effectively amount to dualism with wishful-thinking-quantum-knobs-on or conjectures about deeply speculative aspects of physics.

Since initial condition are inherently indeterminable, causality breaks down on the subatomic level.
Causality is dependent on prior initial conditions, it is inherently impossible to "determine" the attribute of an electron or subatomic particle fully.

randomness is natures way of maximizing entropy.

I do not think dualism exist, I think our conscious brain can not be removed from the equation of what is manifesting our thoughts. Not woo per se, but some yet unexplained phenomenon.

Edited by 1.61803, : removed the word "this"


This message is a reply to:
 Message 329 by Straggler, posted 01-31-2012 12:40 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 336 by Straggler, posted 01-31-2012 4:41 PM 1.61803 has responded

  
Taq
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Posts: 5137
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 332 of 353 (650476)
01-31-2012 4:06 PM
Reply to: Message 330 by Catholic Scientist
01-31-2012 3:57 PM


Re: More Dualism..........
But to do that to test why Grandma X chose that particular tea, we'd have to have multiple Grandma X's, or put her in the exact same situations multiple times - which is impossible.

For a valid answer to the why question we only need to understand the fundamental aspects. To use an analogy, we can't go back in time and use modern radar and satellites to measure the causes of thunderstorms. However, detailed study of some thunderstorms allows us to answer questions of why thunderstorms occur, including those that we did not observe or measure.

The same for brain activity. Once we understand the general mechanics of decision making we have the answer to the why question in specific cases.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 330 by Catholic Scientist, posted 01-31-2012 3:57 PM Catholic Scientist has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 334 by Catholic Scientist, posted 01-31-2012 4:35 PM Taq has responded

  
1.61803
Member
Posts: 2246
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 333 of 353 (650492)
01-31-2012 4:33 PM
Reply to: Message 330 by Catholic Scientist
01-31-2012 3:57 PM


Re: More Dualism..........
But to do that to test why Grandma X chose that particular tea, we'd have to have multiple Grandma X's, or put her in the exact same situations multiple times - which is impossible.

what if all possible selections where equally valid and the one that grandma X chose was actualized in this universe, but grandma Y and grandma Z in some other universe selected other teas?

Edited by 1.61803, : added quote


This message is a reply to:
 Message 330 by Catholic Scientist, posted 01-31-2012 3:57 PM Catholic Scientist has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 335 by Catholic Scientist, posted 01-31-2012 4:36 PM 1.61803 has responded

  
Catholic Scientist
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Posts: 9265
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 334 of 353 (650494)
01-31-2012 4:35 PM
Reply to: Message 332 by Taq
01-31-2012 4:06 PM


Re: More Dualism..........
For a valid answer to the why question we only need to understand the fundamental aspects.

Unless we're talking about purpose...

To use an analogy, we can't go back in time and use modern radar and satellites to measure the causes of thunderstorms. However, detailed study of some thunderstorms allows us to answer questions of why thunderstorms occur, including those that we did not observe or measure.

But you're answering the question of what conditions lead to thunderstorms, or how they are caused. That doesn't address any purpose to the thunderstorm occuring.

The same for brain activity. Once we understand the general mechanics of decision making we have the answer to the why question in specific cases.

The fundamental aspects of Grandma X's brain that lead to her decision making do not address the purpose for her picking that particular tea.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 332 by Taq, posted 01-31-2012 4:06 PM Taq has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 339 by Straggler, posted 01-31-2012 5:02 PM Catholic Scientist has responded
 Message 343 by Taq, posted 01-31-2012 6:33 PM Catholic Scientist has not yet responded

  
Catholic Scientist
Member
Posts: 9265
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 335 of 353 (650495)
01-31-2012 4:36 PM
Reply to: Message 333 by 1.61803
01-31-2012 4:33 PM


Re: More Dualism..........
But to do that to test why Grandma X chose that particular tea, we'd have to have multiple Grandma X's, or put her in the exact same situations multiple times - which is impossible.

what if all possible selections where equally valid and the one that grandma X chose was actualized in this universe, but grandma Y and grandma Z in some other universe selected other teas?

I dunno, what?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 333 by 1.61803, posted 01-31-2012 4:33 PM 1.61803 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 337 by 1.61803, posted 01-31-2012 4:44 PM Catholic Scientist has not yet responded

  
Straggler
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Posts: 9918
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 336 of 353 (650498)
01-31-2012 4:41 PM
Reply to: Message 331 by 1.61803
01-31-2012 4:05 PM


Re: Quantum Dualism..........?
Numbers writes:

Since initial condition are inherently indeterminable, causality breaks down on the subatomic level. Causality is dependent on prior initial conditions, it is inherently impossible to "determine" the attribute of an electron or subatomic particle fully. randomness is natures way of maximizing entropy.

And quantum mechanics is inherently random. So do you think your thoughts are indeterminate and random?

quote:
In modern times, J. J. C. Smart has described the problem of admitting indeterminism,

"Indeterminism does not confer freedom on us: I would feel that my freedom was impaired if I thought that a quantum mechanical trigger in my brain might cause me to leap into the garden and eat a slug".


Wiki on Freewill

Numbers writes:

I do not think dualism exist, I think our conscious brain can not be removed from the equation of what is manifesting our thoughts.

What does that even mean? Our thoughts are physical brain activity. Right? What else is there?

Numbers writes:

Not woo per se, but some yet unexplained phenomenon.

So you don't like determinism because it is....well...a bit too deterministic. You presumably don't think that your thoughts are just the product of quantum randomness. So you have decided that just the right mix of determinism and indeterminism to allow things like "free will" must be present even if you cannot see any reason for that to be true or any reason that it would be.

Numbers writes:

Not woo per se, but some yet unexplained phenomenon.

On what basis do you invoke this "unexplained phenomenon"....?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 331 by 1.61803, posted 01-31-2012 4:05 PM 1.61803 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 340 by 1.61803, posted 01-31-2012 5:20 PM Straggler has responded

  
1.61803
Member
Posts: 2246
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 337 of 353 (650499)
01-31-2012 4:44 PM
Reply to: Message 335 by Catholic Scientist
01-31-2012 4:36 PM


Re: More Dualism..........
One theory to explain how wave functions can be every possible outcome and then when observed manifest a single out come is what is known as the multiverse theory. Every possible outcome is equally valid in it's perspective universe.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 335 by Catholic Scientist, posted 01-31-2012 4:36 PM Catholic Scientist has not yet responded

  
Straggler
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Posts: 9918
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 338 of 353 (650501)
01-31-2012 4:48 PM
Reply to: Message 330 by Catholic Scientist
01-31-2012 3:57 PM


Re: More Dualism..........
CS writes:

But to do that to test why Grandma X chose that particular tea, we'd have to have multiple Grandma X's, or put her in the exact same situations multiple times - which is impossible.

Why would we "have to" do those things?

CS writes:

Actually, I wasn't. In fact, I was specifically avoiding it. Re-read my posts without this bias and see if you can make more sense out of them.

In principle (even if not remotely present technological practise) we could have recorded all of the relevant information about grandma's brain activity and sensory input. Her entire brain history if you will. And in doing so we could in principle answer why grandma chose that tea in that situation.

Question: What data is it that you think science is inherently unable to obtain such that it cannot answer "why" the person in question did what they did?

CS writes:

Presuming about people makes you look like an ass.

Dictating what it is science can and cannot do in principle based on your own prejudices makes you look like an ass.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 330 by Catholic Scientist, posted 01-31-2012 3:57 PM Catholic Scientist has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9918
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 339 of 353 (650503)
01-31-2012 5:02 PM
Reply to: Message 334 by Catholic Scientist
01-31-2012 4:35 PM


Re: More Dualism..........
CS writes:

The fundamental aspects of Grandma X's brain that lead to her decision making do not address the purpose for her picking that particular tea.

Yes they do. Unless that is you are suggesting that Grandma has a "will" or "self" that is capable of imposing purpose but which is itself not a product of her physical brain.

Dualism.......

CS writes:

The fundamental aspects of Grandma X's brain that lead to her decision making do not address the purpose for her picking that particular tea.

Whose purpose? Grandma's? But Grandma is her physical brain. Right?

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 334 by Catholic Scientist, posted 01-31-2012 4:35 PM Catholic Scientist has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 341 by Catholic Scientist, posted 01-31-2012 5:50 PM Straggler has responded

  
1.61803
Member
Posts: 2246
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 340 of 353 (650512)
01-31-2012 5:20 PM
Reply to: Message 336 by Straggler
01-31-2012 4:41 PM


Re: Quantum Dualism..........?
Everything is deterministic. Given enough data a model can be constructed.

But the snag is initial conditions are hinged on the indeterminable nature of subatomic particles.

I do not have a "problem" with determinism at all, it is how the universe operates.

It is yet to be determined if quantum discoherence in ambient media like brains can not have coherent domains like within molecules.

I do not think my thoughts are determined. I think they are products of random determinism.

On what basis do you invoke this "unexplained phenomenon"....?

On the basis that it is yet undetermined if such a thing as a human brain can act as a quantum computer.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 336 by Straggler, posted 01-31-2012 4:41 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 346 by Straggler, posted 02-01-2012 7:47 AM 1.61803 has responded

  
Catholic Scientist
Member
Posts: 9265
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 341 of 353 (650527)
01-31-2012 5:50 PM
Reply to: Message 339 by Straggler
01-31-2012 5:02 PM


Re: More Dualism..........
Why would we "have to" do those things?

Because a scientific investigation relies on running controlled experiments.

In principle (even if not remotely present technological practise) we could have recorded all of the relevant information about grandma's brain activity and sensory input. Her entire brain history if you will. And in doing so we could in principle answer why grandma chose that tea in that situation.

How are you going to control the experiment to eliminate other variables? She only did it once. You can't even repeat it.

Question: What data is it that you think science is inherently unable to obtain such that it cannot answer "why" the person in question did what they did?

Good data. Data from a controlled experiment that has eliminated variables.

CS writes:

The fundamental aspects of Grandma X's brain that lead to her decision making do not address the purpose for her picking that particular tea.


Yes they do.

Yes, they can. But I was addressing what Taq was talking about with the hurricane. I could have worded that better, and would have if I knew you were just going to quote mine me and throw it back so you could try to push me into dualism again.

Unless that is you are suggesting that Grandma has a "will" or "self" that is capable of imposing purpose but which is itself not a product of her physical brain.

Dualism.......

I'm not. Let me know now if that is that all you got is to keep repeating "Dualism" to me and I'll stop wasting my time.

CS writes:

The fundamental aspects of Grandma X's brain that lead to her decision making do not address the purpose for her picking that particular tea.

Whose purpose? Grandma's? But Grandma is her physical brain. Right?

Right. The actual purpose for Grandma X choosing that particular tea is going to have some fundamental aspect in her brain. But without the ability to set up a controlled experiment, you're not going to be able to scientifically investigate why this particular Grandma chose that particular tea in this particular circumstance. You could figure conditions that cause brains make decisions, but that's not an answer to the purpose in this situation. The purpose relies on the idividual and you can't control that. Its not about some dualistic data that science cannot touch, its about the limits of the methodology.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 339 by Straggler, posted 01-31-2012 5:02 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 342 by 1.61803, posted 01-31-2012 6:06 PM Catholic Scientist has not yet responded
 Message 344 by Taq, posted 01-31-2012 6:39 PM Catholic Scientist has not yet responded
 Message 345 by Straggler, posted 02-01-2012 7:32 AM Catholic Scientist has not yet responded

  
1.61803
Member
Posts: 2246
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 342 of 353 (650532)
01-31-2012 6:06 PM
Reply to: Message 341 by Catholic Scientist
01-31-2012 5:50 PM


Re: More Dualism..........
It's like saying if granny was born 1 million times

Could every single instance of granny from zygote to her current age be reproduced down to the atom?

Could every nerve cell firing be replicated exact?

Could it be 100 percent conclusive which tea each incarnation would choose?

Its all about initial conditions. And also every probablistic cascade downstream from every random event upstream.

Science can make good accurate predictions, thats why CAT Scans work, factoring in the randomness of particles. Schrodingers equations do just that. Wave functions propagate in a determistic fashion. The computer fills in the gaps.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 341 by Catholic Scientist, posted 01-31-2012 5:50 PM Catholic Scientist has not yet responded

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 5137
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 343 of 353 (650542)
01-31-2012 6:33 PM
Reply to: Message 334 by Catholic Scientist
01-31-2012 4:35 PM


Re: More Dualism..........
Unless we're talking about purpose...

Purpose and mechanism are one in the same. What is the purpose of Grandma choosing tea over coffee? A fundamental knowledge of how the brain works can answer that question. It can be due to reinforced positive feedback from previous cups of coffee, caffeine addiction, etc.

The fundamental aspects of Grandma X's brain that lead to her decision making do not address the purpose for her picking that particular tea.

Why not?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 334 by Catholic Scientist, posted 01-31-2012 4:35 PM Catholic Scientist has not yet responded

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 5137
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 344 of 353 (650543)
01-31-2012 6:39 PM
Reply to: Message 341 by Catholic Scientist
01-31-2012 5:50 PM


Re: More Dualism..........
Because a scientific investigation relies on running controlled experiments.

A properly controlled experiment may not be what you think it is. Controls are there so that you can trust the measurements you are making. For a brain scan, a control can be as simple as proper contrast within the imaging procedure.

The purpose relies on the idividual and you can't control that.

You don't need to control that anymore than you need to control the weather to understand how it works.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 341 by Catholic Scientist, posted 01-31-2012 5:50 PM Catholic Scientist has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9918
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 345 of 353 (650579)
02-01-2012 7:32 AM
Reply to: Message 341 by Catholic Scientist
01-31-2012 5:50 PM


Re: More Dualism..........
Grandma's purposes are a product of grandma's brain activity. With sufficient information about grandma's brain activity and the sensory inputs that cause this brain activity we can scientifically investigate grandma's purposes.

CS writes:

The actual purpose for Grandma X choosing that particular tea is going to have some fundamental aspect in her brain.

Yes. And we can, in principle, obtain all of the physical data pertaining to that can't we?

CS writes:

You could figure conditions that cause brains make decisions, but that's not an answer to the purpose in this situation.

Yes it is. Unless you are saying that grandma's purposes are not the product of her brain activity. But you can't be saying that because that would be dualism. Which you say you are not invoking.

CS writes:

Because a scientific investigation relies on running controlled experiments.

I have described to you how in principle all of the necessary data can be recorded in a controlled manner which can be subsequently analysed objectively.

CS writes:

How are you going to control the experiment to eliminate other variables? She only did it once. You can't even repeat it.

We can't repeat the Big Bang, human evolution, the formation of the Andes, the origin of the moon etc. etc. etc. etc. Most of the things science does investigate cannot be replicated and repeated in whole in laboratories. What the hell is it that you think is so special about grandma's brain that means we need more than all of the sensory input and brain activity data in order to investigate her purposes? Purposes which are themselves products of this brain activity.

CS writes:

Its not about some dualistic data that science cannot touch, its about the limits of the methodology.

On one hand you insist that we cannot discern purpose from brain activity. This seems pretty darn dualistic whether you accept it or not.

On the other hand you seem to be asserting that science can only ever investigate events which can be repeated in whole in laboratories. This later assertion is just demonstrable nonsense.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 341 by Catholic Scientist, posted 01-31-2012 5:50 PM Catholic Scientist has not yet responded

  
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