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Author Topic:   Does science ask and answer "why" questions?
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9964
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 346 of 353 (650580)
02-01-2012 7:47 AM
Reply to: Message 340 by 1.61803
01-31-2012 5:20 PM


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

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

Which would make your thoughts ultimately random rather than the result of anything remotely recognisable as the common concept of "free will".

Have a look at Wiki On The Dilemma of Determinism

Numbers writes:

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

And even if it can is there any reason to think it will provide a basis for freewill as commonly conceived?

The question of this thread pertains to the questions science cannot answer. Even if we accept that there is this as yet unknown quantum effect going on in human brains there is no reason to think that this effect is somehow unable to be investgated or understood by science is there?

Human purpose is not inherently beyond the scope of science to investigate unless one takes a dualistic approach. Do you disagree?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 340 by 1.61803, posted 01-31-2012 5:20 PM 1.61803 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 347 by 1.61803, posted 02-01-2012 9:43 AM Straggler has responded

  
1.61803
Member
Posts: 2332
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 347 of 353 (650584)
02-01-2012 9:43 AM
Reply to: Message 346 by Straggler
02-01-2012 7:47 AM


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

And even if it can is there any reason to think it will provide a basis for freewill as commonly conceived?


I don't know. Because we are a intimate part of the mosaic of what makes up our reality we do participate and make actual choices. I believe the universe operates on a probablistic matrix. Some say our "freewill" is illusory but then again what is not? As Bluegene has stated, science can and will study anything that is real. And science is working on developing a quantum computer. Science has already developed and embraced the random nature of QM and it poses no barrier to human ingenuity. It is yet to be fully understood, but never the less we always seem to find a work around.

Straggler writes:

Human purpose is not inherently beyond the scope of science to investigate unless one takes a dualistic approach. Do you disagree?

I do not disagree. Science is a way to obtain knowledge and someday a grand unifying theory of everything will be discovered and dualism will prove to be false. But that does not mean there will still be no mysteries to solve imo.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 346 by Straggler, posted 02-01-2012 7:47 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 348 by Straggler, posted 02-01-2012 11:26 AM 1.61803 has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9964
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 348 of 353 (650603)
02-01-2012 11:26 AM
Reply to: Message 347 by 1.61803
02-01-2012 9:43 AM


Re: Quantum Dualism..........?
Nobody is disputing that there will always be mysteries to be solved.

But beyond the feeling that we have free-will and the subjective need to have an explanation that allows for this I am not sure what the point of these mysterious and as-yet-unavailable explanations is. All the evidence indicates that the entire notion of us consciously making non-deterministic choices is simply false rather than something that demands a mysterious explanation.

Numbers writes:

And science is working on developing a quantum computer.

Do you think quantum computers will have free will?

Numbers writes:

Science has already developed and embraced the random nature of QM and it poses no barrier to human ingenuity.

Why would it?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 347 by 1.61803, posted 02-01-2012 9:43 AM 1.61803 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 349 by 1.61803, posted 02-01-2012 11:52 AM Straggler has responded

  
1.61803
Member
Posts: 2332
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 349 of 353 (650610)
02-01-2012 11:52 AM
Reply to: Message 348 by Straggler
02-01-2012 11:26 AM


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

All the evidence indicates that the entire notion of us consciously making non-deterministic choices is simply false rather than something that demands a mysterious explanation.


It is determined up to a point. The brain activity propagates before consciousness dictates a choice. However who's not to say some quantum entanglement is not going on? That there is indeed some spontaneous collapse of the wave form once a "observation is made" and a choice is made. It is still deterministic, but novel and spontaneous as well. Rather than completely dependent on prior conditions, the choice is chosen by the thinker/observer/subject/person/dude/conscious mind.
So even though it looks on the surface like the choice precedes consciousness, it is in fact spook action at a distance and the apparent time lag is simply our biological hard ware trying to catch up.

Do you think quantum computers will have free will?

Yes.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 348 by Straggler, posted 02-01-2012 11:26 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 350 by Straggler, posted 02-01-2012 11:58 AM 1.61803 has acknowledged this reply

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9964
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 350 of 353 (650614)
02-01-2012 11:58 AM
Reply to: Message 349 by 1.61803
02-01-2012 11:52 AM


Re: Quantum Dualism..........?
Whatever you need to believe to get you through the day with your subjective notions intact I guess.....

Numbers writes:

However who's not to say some quantum entanglement is not going on?

Why would anyone say that is going on?

Straggler writes:

Do you think quantum computers will have free will?

Numbers writes:

Yes.

Cool!!! I feel a new thread coming on.....


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 Message 349 by 1.61803, posted 02-01-2012 11:52 AM 1.61803 has acknowledged this reply

  
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 50 days)
Posts: 2812
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 351 of 353 (650646)
02-01-2012 3:20 PM


Summation time.
Apparently, it's summation time.

I'll stick mainly to my points about language, and probably leave the other (very interesting) stuff that's come up to other participants.

I object to this: Science doesn't ask/answer "why" questions, because it's a completely false statement, and I hope we won't see it again on EvC!

Equally to this: The proper use of "why" is for questions of purpose.

Again, that's demonstrably wrong, and I hope this thread has destroyed the misconception for all time in our little community.

I hope I and others have succeeded in explaining why those statements are wrong to the doubters (who were few, as I expected).

Initially as a side point, I mentioned that, as well as addressing why questions concerning reason and cause, science actually does address questions relating to purpose in a number of fields. Archaeology is an obvious example, but the cognitive sciences are certainly concerned with purpose, including questions about intent and purpose themselves, what they are, and how and why they came about in our species and others.

It was things related to that side point that have produced a lot of interesting discussion, and could perhaps merit a spin off thread.

So, over to you "questions about purpose in science" debaters, and thanks to all who participated in the thread in any way from any angle.


  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9964
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 352 of 353 (651345)
02-06-2012 3:23 PM


Summary
As my summary for this thread I am simply going to quote the best parts of those who have already made the same arguments better than I have.

Mr Jack writes:

Science can answer why questions unless:

a) You have a silly notion of reality (dualism) or
b) You have a silly definition of why (purpose only)

Cavediver writes:

Thinking that "why" is something different to "how" (other than mere depth of observation) is begging the question. Stating that science cannot ascertain "purpose" is begging the question. Until evidence is forthcoming, God, "purpose", and teleology are merely hypotheses, and I refer you to the comments made by our mutual predecessor, Laplace.

Cavediver writes:

It is assuming that there is something (purpose?) that makes "why" a different question to "how", in order to take "why" outside the realm of science - and it is assuming that "purpose" is something more than emergent behaviour of certain complex systems.

Cavediver writes:

There is no teleology other than that dreamt up by theologians and philosophers. And the mindsets that produced these dreams of teleology are very much within the realms of science.

If there is no "purpose", there is only the natural world, and then all concepts are ultimately reducible to science. To claim that questions of teleology are outside the realm of science is to claim that there exists a relam outside of science...

Mod writes:

Unless you are a substance dualist, the reason why you had a thought is an empirical question, being as it is based on physical phenomena. It is a difficult thing to study, but it is not in principle necessarily impossible.

Booyaka.


  
Mr Jack
Member
Posts: 3480
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 353 of 353 (651373)
02-06-2012 6:07 PM


I repeat
I summarised this thread back in message 209, I don't think anything of substance has been posted since then that needs me to expand, so I'll simply repeat:

Science can answer why questions unless:

a) You have a silly notion of reality (dualism) or
b) You have a silly definition of why (purpose only)

Actually, I will change something, my last message finished "have I missed anything?" but since the collected posts of the silly side haven't managed to scrape together anything that would challenge either point I don't think it's necessary any more.


  
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