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Author Topic:   Biology is Destiny?
caffeine
Member (Idle past 14 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 46 of 129 (641883)
11-23-2011 8:29 AM
Reply to: Message 45 by Larni
11-23-2011 5:01 AM


I've always though that maybe the only way a brain could deal with reality is to model it (this would be our experience) and react to the model (this is our violition).

This would be our consciousness. A bit like running virtual weather patterns and making decisions based on the model.

Perhaps the close approximation model we react to is close enough to reality to keep us functioning but not too overburden with 'too much reality' .

I can't support this in any way, however.

My problem with this sort of explanation is that I'm not clear why you'd need consciousness for this to work. We can create computer programs which model outcomes and then make decisions based on this - like game playing programs, for instance. As far as we know, this doesn't require the computer to have any conscious awareness of what's happening.

If the self is wholly a product of the physcial interactions within the brain, then the chemical and electrical interactions producing the model would be the same without some subjective experience of them. When Deep Blue plays somebody at chess, it can run through a potential variation and 'decide' to reject a move as flawed without any conscious mind reviewing the process.

I'm not sure if I'm expressing myself very well here.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 45 by Larni, posted 11-23-2011 5:01 AM Larni has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 47 by Larni, posted 11-23-2011 9:46 AM caffeine has acknowledged this reply
 Message 48 by Tangle, posted 11-23-2011 11:15 AM caffeine has responded

  
Larni
Member
Posts: 3999
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 47 of 129 (641892)
11-23-2011 9:46 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by caffeine
11-23-2011 8:29 AM


Yeah, no, I totally see where you are comming from and I guess consciousness is not required for things to work.

Could consciousness not simple be an emergent property of a sufficiently complex brain? Not actually required but an inevitable result of sufficient complexity.

Or maybe our entire concept of being conscious is based on reviewing our memory and believing we made a free choice but in actual fact we would make the same choices 100%.

We could be fooling ourselves about free will. We could be automatons but because we can review what we did in our memories, we kid ourselves to thinking we had any choice in the matter.


The above ontological example models the zero premise to BB theory. It does so by applying the relative uniformity assumption that the alleged zero event eventually ontologically progressed from the compressed alleged sub-microscopic chaos to bloom/expand into all of the present observable order, more than it models the Biblical record evidence for the existence of Jehovah, the maximal Biblical god designer.
-Attributed to Buzsaw Message 53

Moreover that view is a blatantly anti-relativistic one. I'm rather inclined to think that space being relative to time and time relative to location should make such a naive hankering to pin-point an ultimate origin of anything, an aspiration that is not even wrong.

Well, Larni, let's say I much better know what I don't want to say than how exactly say what I do.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by caffeine, posted 11-23-2011 8:29 AM caffeine has acknowledged this reply

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8200
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 48 of 129 (641897)
11-23-2011 11:15 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by caffeine
11-23-2011 8:29 AM


quote:
My problem with this sort of explanation is that I'm not clear why you'd need consciousness for this to work

It seems self-evident to me. Our consciousness has allowed us to out-compte pretty much anything on the planet and could take us to others. Surely consciousness - along with intelligence, our ability to plan ahead, empathise, speak and understand others and to put ourselves in their heads is such an obvious competitive advantage it barely needs thinking about? (Even if it does simply emerge fro the development of another useful feature such as language).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by caffeine, posted 11-23-2011 8:29 AM caffeine has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by caffeine, posted 11-23-2011 11:47 AM Tangle has responded

  
caffeine
Member (Idle past 14 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 49 of 129 (641902)
11-23-2011 11:47 AM
Reply to: Message 48 by Tangle
11-23-2011 11:15 AM


It seems self-evident to me. Our consciousness has allowed us to out-compte pretty much anything on the planet and could take us to others. Surely consciousness - along with intelligence, our ability to plan ahead, empathise, speak and understand others and to put ourselves in their heads is such an obvious competitive advantage it barely needs thinking about? (Even if it does simply emerge fro the development of another useful feature such as language).

Unless I'm missing something, there's a gap in your line of reasoning.

If I've understood what you've posted so far, you share the view that your mind is wholly the product of the physical interactions within your brain. If we had access to sufficient knowledge and computational power, we would be able to explain thought processes and behaviour purely by referring to the chemical and electrical behaviour of the brain. All the planning, emphasising, and computing which you engage in is produced purely by these deterministic processes.

Given that the work needed to produce human behaviour, with its competitive advantages, is all done by these physical processes, why do we need to be aware of doing it? Why do we need to feel the urge to do something, when what we're arguing is that both the feeling and the reaction to it are produced purely by the physical nature of our brains.

If the mind is not some spirit responding to urges and emotions originating in the physical matter of our brain, then it's unclear to me why there should be the perception of anything responding.

Edited by caffeine, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by Tangle, posted 11-23-2011 11:15 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 50 by Tangle, posted 11-23-2011 12:11 PM caffeine has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8200
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 50 of 129 (641906)
11-23-2011 12:11 PM
Reply to: Message 49 by caffeine
11-23-2011 11:47 AM


quote:
Given that the work needed to produce human behaviour, with its competitive advantages, is all done by these physical processes, why do we need to be aware of doing it? Why do we need to feel the urge to do something, when what we're arguing is that both the feeling and the reaction to it are produced purely by the physical nature of our brains.

Nope, I'm not getting this. There is an old argument that consciousness is not needed to do what we do ie. there's no competitive advantage of being conscious. But that's just silly - does anyone think that it's possible to build a hospital without consciousness (with all that means)?

quote:
If the mind is not some spirit responding to urges and emotions originating in the physical matter of our brain, then it's unclear to me why there should be the perception of anything responding.

Everything about our consciousness happens in our brain - there's nowhere else for it to happen and MRI shows it happening.

As consciousness means more or less that we are self aware (our brain telling us who we are - the internal conversation) we know we have it and it's an incredibly useful thing to have.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by caffeine, posted 11-23-2011 11:47 AM caffeine has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by caffeine, posted 11-25-2011 4:35 AM Tangle has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 51 of 129 (641909)
11-23-2011 1:32 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by caffeine
11-23-2011 3:25 AM


Re: Neurology kills Free Will
Whilst I'm in no sense a dualist, I don't think we can be quite as flippant as that. We are still no closer to explaining the subjective experience of consciousness. We have no idea whatsoever what mechanism could create it, nor any adaptive explanation for its purpose.

It is true that the Hard Problem Of Consciousness is ... hard. But damage to various bits of the brain stops us from being conscious of various things. The problem is, therefore, how the brain produces consciousness.

Again I ask: what is left over for the "spirit" to do?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by caffeine, posted 11-23-2011 3:25 AM caffeine has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


(2)
Message 52 of 129 (641912)
11-23-2011 3:46 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by caffeine
11-23-2011 3:25 AM


Re: Neurology kills Free Will
Whilst I'm in no sense a dualist, I don't think we can be quite as flippant as that. We are still no closer to explaining the subjective experience of consciousness. We have no idea whatsoever what mechanism could create it, nor any adaptive explanation for its purpose.

The invocation of "spirit" in this case is a special case of what I think of as the Invisible Man Hypothesis.

Got something that you can't explain? Then hypothesize the existence of an invisible man having the property of explaining it.

Can't explain the lightning? We've got you covered. There's an invisible man having the property of explaining the lightning. Hoorah!

Why are species well-adapted to their environment? There's an invisible man having the property of adapting them to their environment. So we're done here.

(You will note that this has never been right so far.)

And so we come on to consciousness. Can't solve the Hard Problem Of Consciousness? Well, in that case I myself am an invisible man having the property of solving the Hard Problem Of Consciousness.

Now this is even worse than the usual application of the Invisible Man Hypothesis. Because I am, verifiably, a visible man. And the Invisible Man shares nearly every property with the visible man (i.e. my brain). It would be silly, for example, to suppose that this Invisible Man is left-handed when my brain is right-handed, or that it's a Republican while my brain is a Democrat. The Invisible Man shares every property with the visible man except two: first, it is invisible, intangible, and unevidenced, and second, it has the property of solving the Hard Problem Of Consciousness.

How does it do that? Well, it just has that property. 'Cos we defined it that way. And of course the hypothesis fits the facts perfectly, because, hypothetically, an Invisible Man having the property of solving the Hard Problem Of Consciousness would, if he existed, solve the Hard Problem Of Consciousness. Who can deny that?

Well I'm glad we sorted that out.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by caffeine, posted 11-23-2011 3:25 AM caffeine has acknowledged this reply

  
Parasomnium
Member
Posts: 2197
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 53 of 129 (641913)
11-23-2011 3:50 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by Tangle
11-22-2011 10:37 AM


Re: Neurology kills Free Will
Tangle writes:

We must all have different starting positions in dealing with moral problems, for some of us it will be easier than others to behave morally.

Tangle, what do you mean by 'to behave morally'? If we all have different moral compasses, as you suggest, then how can we speak of behaving morally without reference to a specific set of moral concepts? Yet you do it without giving it a second thought.

I think you have unwittingly shown that we all adhere to a certain core of common moral principles. It's not a God-given, absolute set of morals, but it's still more or less universal. And it came from people living together, first in families and bands, then larger communities, then even more sophisticated cultures, and now in a more or less global community.

In other words, morality evolves, isn't absolute and is, at any level, an average of the individual moral concepts of the members of its constituent group.


"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." - Charles Darwin.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by Tangle, posted 11-22-2011 10:37 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 55 by Tangle, posted 11-23-2011 5:35 PM Parasomnium has responded

  
1.61803
Member (Idle past 494 days)
Posts: 2928
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004


Message 54 of 129 (641915)
11-23-2011 4:57 PM


In my opinion.
Everything affects everything. The big bang effects my wardrobe decision this morning to wear a suede jacket. The determistic effects of physics are undeniable on future events. However things can happen and play out in a myriad of ways all dependent on cascades of other outcomes. In short we are who our brain is.
Our brain is a product of both nature and nurture. Those things shape our minds and personalities. If someone has a sick brain then
He will possibly do sick things. But that does not mean someone born with deficits can not overcome them.

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8200
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 55 of 129 (641916)
11-23-2011 5:35 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by Parasomnium
11-23-2011 3:50 PM


Re: Neurology kills Free Will
quote:
I think you have unwittingly shown that we all adhere to a certain core of common moral principles.

Not so much with the unwittingly, already.
Of course we all adhere to a set of common moral principles. It's only when the brain is damaged or religions get involved that we vary. You'd be hard pressed to find any society on the planet at any point in history that thought rape, murder, theft, lying etc was a good thing to be encouraged amongst its own tribe.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by Parasomnium, posted 11-23-2011 3:50 PM Parasomnium has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 56 by Rahvin, posted 11-23-2011 5:58 PM Tangle has responded
 Message 58 by Parasomnium, posted 11-24-2011 1:57 AM Tangle has responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 56 of 129 (641917)
11-23-2011 5:58 PM
Reply to: Message 55 by Tangle
11-23-2011 5:35 PM


Re: Neurology kills Free Will
rape, murder, theft, lying

The definition of what counts as that sort of thing has differed quite a bit from one society to the next.

Spousal rape, for example, was considered morally acceptable even in Western culture until just a few decades ago.

Many cultures have considered human sacrifice to be a form of homicide that is not murder.

Some cultures today believe that execution as a punishment for crime is morally wrong and akin to murder, while other cultures accept it as an everyday practice.

I could go on, but it's blatantly clear that it's not difficult at all to find differences in the moral acceptability of the "big rules" you listed across multiple cultures.


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers


This message is a reply to:
 Message 55 by Tangle, posted 11-23-2011 5:35 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
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Tangle
Member
Posts: 8200
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 57 of 129 (641919)
11-23-2011 6:28 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by Rahvin
11-23-2011 5:58 PM


Re: Neurology kills Free Will
quote:
blatantly clear that it's not difficult at all to find differences in the moral acceptability of the "big rules" you listed across multiple cultures.

You're fluffing the general point.

You won't find any societies that practice those behaviours as general principles, as 'good' things that all should do on a day to day basis. We all know it's wrong to steal your neighbour's sheep, rape his wife, murder the husband and lie to the police about it later.

No society could survive it it tolerated those behaviours.


This message is a reply to:
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Parasomnium
Member
Posts: 2197
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 58 of 129 (641926)
11-24-2011 1:57 AM
Reply to: Message 55 by Tangle
11-23-2011 5:35 PM


Re: Neurology kills Free Will
Tangle writes:

Not so much with the unwittingly, already.

Nah, I didn't really think so, I was teasing you a little. Basically we agree, but I am trying to get at the details of the argument.

It's only when the brain is damaged or religions get involved that we vary.

I think the variation is greater than you think. We all vary in height, weight, et cetera, but also in brain structure and thus in mental makeup. You don't have to be brain damaged or religious to differ in morality from the next person.

You'd be hard pressed to find any society on the planet at any point in history that thought rape, murder, theft, lying etc was a good thing to be encouraged amongst its own tribe.

You'd be surprised. There are tribes in the Amazon who have not truck with killing an infant if it suits them. They reason that, since the child does not speak yet, it's not a person yet, but more like a thing. You can simply get rid of the thing if you want to.

And I bet there are even examples closer to home.


"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." - Charles Darwin.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 55 by Tangle, posted 11-23-2011 5:35 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 60 by Tangle, posted 11-24-2011 2:48 AM Parasomnium has not yet responded

  
Chuck77
Inactive Member


Message 59 of 129 (641927)
11-24-2011 2:19 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by Tangle
11-20-2011 6:36 AM


Tangle writes:

I think you're in an impossible position here.

You think im in an impossible situation here because you referenced a man (Fred) who was "normal" them got a brain tumor, then commited a crime(s) then got the brain tumor removed, then became "normal" again, then the brain tumor returned, then he commited a crime(s) again, then got it removed then went back to normal. Arguining against that that that alone doesn't disprove that that affects our moral compass leaves me in an impossiboe situation here?

Well if you say so. Also, just for laughs, do you have this mans entire history?

Do you know 100% that he never looked at child porn before the tumor?

This is a yes or no question Tangle. Yes or No?

Until he was 40 Fred behaved normally.

Are you Fred? If you're not Fred then excuse me for saying this but...how the hell do you know? Rahvin, feel free to jump in here...

he started looking at child porn - something he had not previously done and something we must suppose he found abhorrent both before the tumour grew and after it was removed.

I think i'll stick with this for a moment, not arguing that criminal activity doesn't mean you have no morals, just that this tumor COULD have caused him to DISMISS his moral compass for a time still KNOWING it was wrong. People williningly do things they know are wrong all the time. It doesn't mean the brain eliminates this with abnormalties.

Anyway, the quote above says:

must suppose he found abhorrent both before the tumour grew and after it was removed

Wow. Who says we MUST suppose this? You? On what grounds exactly? Im all ears Tangle.

So we know for sure that his brain made him do it.

Holy smokes dude. Even the greatest scientists who ever lived try to stay away from phrases like "we know for sure". Don't they?

We aren't dealing with geology here or math...It NOT for sure by any stretch.

This very strongly suggests that his moral compass (whatever that is) changed along with his brain

Really? Ok, well people do things all the time they don't agree with don't they? The married guy at the bar who's a little drunk who loves his wife more than anything is being tempted by an unbelieveibly beautiful woman who he ends up sleeping with against his better judgement...did his moral compass change because he did something "wrong"? Or did he just tune it out for the time being? The same with commiting crimes can apply.

how else could it have happened.

Seriously? Are you that much of a stand up flawless guy that you cannot fathom a person doing something against their better judgement unless their brain chemistry is altered by an abnormaility? Really? Seriously? It seems like you are the one arguing absolutes here.

If his morality did not change ie he knew that the thing he was doing was wrong but he did it anyway, why? And how?

Again, are you flawless? We're human after all aren't we?

In psychopathy, we know that they don't have whatever it is that makes normal people empathise, this results in them not understanding why it could be wrong to murder someone and eat their liver. Compass pointing exactly due South?

So you left this little tidbit out about Fred. Fred ate someone's liver too? Or are we on another subject all of a sudden like psychopathy and why some people end up this way?

Are we talking about Fred or this? Was Fred a psychopath? Why are you veering off course?

Edited by Chuck77, : No reason given.

Edited by Chuck77, : No reason given.

Edited by Chuck77, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by Tangle, posted 11-20-2011 6:36 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 61 by Tangle, posted 11-24-2011 4:17 AM Chuck77 has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8200
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 60 of 129 (641928)
11-24-2011 2:48 AM
Reply to: Message 58 by Parasomnium
11-24-2011 1:57 AM


Re: Neurology kills Free Will
quote:
I think the variation is greater than you think. We all vary in height, weight, et cetera, but also in brain structure and thus in mental makeup. You don't have to be brain damaged or religious to differ in morality from the next person.

I'm happy to agree as I said pretty much exactly the same thing in message 13.

But we do all have those gross moral fixtures are fittings. They can vary by culture and by individual but we know that they exist. The point I'm trying to make is that if the brain and how it's wired is responsible for how an indivual feels about right and wrong and if it does vary as significantly as say, height and weight varies, then we are not equally culpable for our actions.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by Parasomnium, posted 11-24-2011 1:57 AM Parasomnium has not yet responded

  
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