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Author Topic:   Biology is Destiny?
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8200
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 61 of 129 (641929)
11-24-2011 4:17 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by Chuck77
11-24-2011 2:19 AM


We don't have to know everything to know something important
chuck77 writes:

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?

{edit} etc etc including the other handwaving and smoke blowing that follows

I guess you didn't read the case history that is included in the paper that I posted. This is what we know.

http://www.ahealthymind.org/...y/right%20OFC%20pedophile.pdf

You will see that he denies any interest in children before his tumour, but you will also see that he admits to an interest in pornography going back to adolescence. You will see that when he was 16 he suffered a head injury with 2 minutes of unconsciousness followed by 2 years of migraines. You will see his documented extreme behaviour change leading up to his tumour, the MRI scans showing the (enormous) size and position (orbitofrontal cortex) of the tumour and you will see how Fred's behaviour changed after its removal.

You'll also want to take particular note of this:

quote:
Functional MRI indicate that orbitofrontal, dorsolateral prefrontal and subcortical limbic structures are involved in behavioral deregulation and response inhibition, including the conscious regulation of sexual urges.

It simply doesn't get any clearer than that. So yes, I, like the authors of the paper, are SURE that the tumour caused Fred's extreme behaviours.

Now, perhaps if you wish to say that it didn't, you'll explain why.

Edited by Tangle, : just fixing chuck's problem so he can't complain anymore about something he has no need to complain about anyway ;-)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 59 by Chuck77, posted 11-24-2011 2:19 AM Chuck77 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 62 by Chuck77, posted 11-24-2011 4:54 AM Tangle has responded

  
Chuck77
Inactive Member


Message 62 of 129 (641934)
11-24-2011 4:54 AM
Reply to: Message 61 by Tangle
11-24-2011 4:17 AM


Re: We don't have to know everything to know something important
For starters I didn't say this:
etc etc including the other handwaving and smoke blowing that follows

You have me quoting that in my response to you..if your going to add to my responses atleast make note of it that you're adding something to it that you think im insinuating. Try not to misquote me.

Are you going to address any of my points in my post? Or just this:

quote:
Functional MRI indicate that orbitofrontal, dorsolateral prefrontal and subcortical limbic structures are involved in behavioral deregulation and response inhibition, including the conscious regulation of sexual urges.

quote:
Now, perhaps if you wish to say that it didn't, you'll explain why.

Geez, I thought I did? How about actually responding to my post where in fact I DO explain my reasons.

Instead of misquoting me put my actual quotes in order like I did yours and proceed to answer them one by one like I did your post. Not citing the authors paper (we try to debate in our own words here, it makes for better debating) as to why you think im wrong without addressing my actual points.

Don't skip over my entire post and then quote from the paper and ask me to explain my reasoning AGAIN.

Here it is again: Message 59 If you don't want a back and forth say so and i'll stop posting wasting my time and yours. This is how it works. Not, "here...this is what the paper says."

Edited by Chuck77, : No reason given.

Edited by Chuck77, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by Tangle, posted 11-24-2011 4:17 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 63 by Tangle, posted 11-24-2011 5:30 AM Chuck77 has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8200
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 63 of 129 (641938)
11-24-2011 5:30 AM
Reply to: Message 62 by Chuck77
11-24-2011 4:54 AM


Re: We don't have to know everything to know something important
I have fixed your quote so that it is clear that I added the fact that you were blowing smoke an handwaving - although it's a little puzzling to me why you think it might be read otherwise.

So, after blowing away the smoke, I take it that this is your core point?

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 abnormalities.

If so, you'll find it answered in the paper. However, as you obviously haven't read the paper, here's what it says about it:

Orbitofrontal lesion research suggests that sociopathic behaviour results from a loss of impulse control rather than a loss of moral knowledge.

In other words, he knew it was wrong (which is why he turned himself in) but he couldn't prevent his behaviour.

Not citing the authors paper (we try to debate in our own words here, it makes for better debating) as to why you think im wrong without addressing my actual points.

I have sited papers, summarised them (in my own words) and debated in my own words. I note that "here" - i.e. the Science Forum - we like to include evidence as well as opinion.

So do you still feel that Fred could have stopped himself and how could he have done so? If he couldn't have stopped himself, how is he culpable?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 62 by Chuck77, posted 11-24-2011 4:54 AM Chuck77 has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8200
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 64 of 129 (641974)
11-24-2011 12:37 PM


The split brain
Reading around this subject a little is quite an eye opener. Current thinking is that morality appears to be a competition between different modules of our brain - parts that deal with emotion and parts that deal with logic. It's the logic or utilitarian part that was damaged (prefrontal cortex) in Fred and it's a fairly recent evolutionary development.

The Slate has a reasonable take on a Nature paper;

Three years ago in the journal Neuron, the neuroscientists illustrated their point. Using brain scans, they showed that utilitarian decisions involved "increased activity in brain regions associated with cognitive control." From this and other data, they surmised that the moral debate "reflects an underlying tension between competing subsystems in the brain." On one side are "the social-emotional responses that we've inherited from our primate ancestors." On the other side is a utilitarian calculus "made possible by the more recently evolved structures in the frontal lobes." The war of ideas is a war of neurones.

http://www.slate.com/...nature/2007/03/mind_makes_right.html

This appears to be exactly the opposite of the position you'd expect to find if you were a believer; surely you'd think that the emotional (i.e. moral) response would come latest in the development of mankind - the thing that makes him human. But it actually the rational that seems to have made us different. And it's the rational that makes us do immoral things when our control over it is lost. It becomes rational to do hideous things - which seems to be what Fred was struggling with.


  
caffeine
Member (Idle past 12 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 65 of 129 (642050)
11-25-2011 4:35 AM
Reply to: Message 50 by Tangle
11-23-2011 12:11 PM


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)?

But what is it that you're implying that consciousness actually does?

Let me try a different approach. Imagine a robot that had been programmed to behave like a human. It could receive the same external stimuli as we do, and had an adaptive programming which could respond to this. It was programmed with certain drives and tendencies to mimic our instincts and biological drives. The programme could learn, it could analyse cost-benefit scenarios and perform calculations. It behaves exactly the same as a human - it can communicate, it can pan rationally, and it can have irrational emotial responses, since these are included in its programming. Being a computer, however, at no point would it have any awareness of its behaviour or the calculations being performed in its electronic brain.

In what way would the behaviour of this robot differ from the behaviour of a human? If it wouldn't, then what is the adaptive basis for consciousness?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by Tangle, posted 11-23-2011 12:11 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by Percy, posted 11-25-2011 7:13 AM caffeine has responded
 Message 69 by Modulous, posted 11-25-2011 11:10 AM caffeine has not yet responded
 Message 70 by Tangle, posted 11-25-2011 1:45 PM caffeine has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20219
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.8


Message 66 of 129 (642053)
11-25-2011 7:13 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by caffeine
11-25-2011 4:35 AM


Hi Caffeine,

I don't understand why you think you're asking a meaningful question. Rephrasing it: Imagine we build a robot that behaves and learns identically to a human being except it has no self-awareness. Given this robot, what is the adaptive basis for consciousness?

How is any stunning technical achievement on our part in the building of the robot related to whether consciousness provides any adaptive benefits?

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by caffeine, posted 11-25-2011 4:35 AM caffeine has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 67 by caffeine, posted 11-25-2011 8:57 AM Percy has responded

  
caffeine
Member (Idle past 12 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 67 of 129 (642057)
11-25-2011 8:57 AM
Reply to: Message 66 by Percy
11-25-2011 7:13 AM


The point is not about the stunning technical acheivement involved. The point of bringing up the robot was to make clear that all the processes involved in creating our behaviour are, by Tangle's own argument, purely physical processes. They're the complex results of interactions within the brain.

What is consciousness supposed to be doing, exactly? If we're abandoning the concept of a spirit, or a soul, then there is no mechanism whereby your consciousness decides something and influences the physical processes which produce your behaviour. Your behaviour and, presumably, your consciousness, is produced by deterministic physcal processes in your brain - it does not direct these processes.

This is what I mean when asking what purpose consciousness could possibly be serving.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by Percy, posted 11-25-2011 7:13 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by PaulK, posted 11-25-2011 9:15 AM caffeine has not yet responded
 Message 71 by Percy, posted 11-25-2011 5:38 PM caffeine has not yet responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16962
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 68 of 129 (642059)
11-25-2011 9:15 AM
Reply to: Message 67 by caffeine
11-25-2011 8:57 AM


quote:

What is consciousness supposed to be doing, exactly? If we're abandoning the concept of a spirit, or a soul, then there is no mechanism whereby your consciousness decides something and influences the physical processes which produce your behaviour.

I think you're confusing yourself here by assuming that there SHOULD be a clear distinction between the two. If physicalism is true, then the mind - including consciousness - is simply a different view of those processes - it's how it looks to us.
(And dualism doesn't actually offer a mechanism for the mind to actually interact with the body at all - that's one of it's weaknesses).

quote:

Your behaviour and, presumably, your consciousness, is produced by deterministic physcal processes in your brain - it does not direct these processes.

Think of it from the point of view I'm giving you. Some processes can direct the outcome of other processes, so on that view there certainly can be direction. (And again dualism doesn't have anything better to offer. A "spirit" or "soul" still has to operate in some way).

Indeed, we can ignore the whole question of physicalism versus dualism to deal with the concept of libertarian free will.

Either the sum of external circumstances (external to the mind), your current mental state and the nature of your mind are sufficient to dictate your decision or it is not.

In the first case then we have determinism, in the second we merely have a random element, which is not a part of your current mental state or the nature of your mind (the presence of a random element might be, but it's effect on your decision making is not).

Neither gives us meaningful libertarian free will. Indeed, determinism seems to be the least bad option. For we cannot be responsible for a random element within our minds.

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 1091 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


(1)
Message 69 of 129 (642066)
11-25-2011 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by caffeine
11-25-2011 4:35 AM


In what way would the behaviour of this robot differ from the behaviour of a human?

The Zombie argument. This is often refuted by suggesting that if you created a robot that did everything a human did, in the same ways, then it would be conscious.

That is to say, if you create something that is exactly equivalent to a conscious human, you have something that is exactly equivalent to a conscious human. Including the conscious part. Another angle would be to suggest that if such a robot/zombie was not conscious, then neither are we.

what is the adaptive basis for consciousness?

We don't know. In fact we don't even know there has to be an adaptive basis for it. Indeed, it might be a spandrel.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by caffeine, posted 11-25-2011 4:35 AM caffeine has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8200
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 70 of 129 (642071)
11-25-2011 1:45 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by caffeine
11-25-2011 4:35 AM


What does consciousness do?
caffeine writes:

Let me try a different approach. Imagine a robot that had been programmed to behave like a human. It could receive the same external stimuli as we do, and had an adaptive programming which could respond to this. It was programmed with certain drives and tendencies to mimic our instincts and biological drives. The programme could learn, it could analyse cost-benefit scenarios and perform calculations. It behaves exactly the same as a human - it can communicate, it can pan rationally, and it can have irrational emotial responses, since these are included in its programming. Being a computer, however, at no point would it have any awareness of its behaviour or the calculations being performed in its electronic brain.

In what way would the behaviour of this robot differ from the behaviour of a human? If it wouldn't, then what is the adaptive basis for consciousness?

Well that's essentially the Turin test which I suppose is abbreviated to 'if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck.

Whether or not it's necessary to be aware of our own selves in order to do what we do, is an interesting a mind game (because we can do mind games) but is it a useful question? If we hadn't pre-invented the explanation of a soul to explain all sorts of things without evidence, would it concern us as a question? I suspect not.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by caffeine, posted 11-25-2011 4:35 AM caffeine has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 72 by Parasomnium, posted 11-25-2011 5:55 PM Tangle has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20219
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.8


Message 71 of 129 (642081)
11-25-2011 5:38 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by caffeine
11-25-2011 8:57 AM


Hi Caffeine,

PaulK's response and Modulous's addendum were pretty good answers to your question, so I'll just address this:

If we're abandoning the concept of a spirit, or a soul...

We're in a science thread. Science has never embraced the concept of a spirit or soul due to lack of evidence and so cannot abandon them. Within science the spirit or soul and all other concepts lacking evidence have no place in defining consciousness.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by caffeine, posted 11-25-2011 8:57 AM caffeine has not yet responded

  
Parasomnium
Member
Posts: 2196
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 72 of 129 (642086)
11-25-2011 5:55 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by Tangle
11-25-2011 1:45 PM


Re: What does consciousness do?
Tangle writes:

Well that's essentially the Turin test

No, I believe the Turin test is reserved for things 'shrouded' in mystery.

Joking aside, I think the question of consciousness is hugely important with regard to an explanation of why we do what we do. After all, the very act of being conscious itself is one of the things our brains do. And it enables the brain to do all kinds of other things nonconscious brains can't do, like plan our own future, or predict other people's behaviour and that sort of thing.


"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 70 by Tangle, posted 11-25-2011 1:45 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
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Hyroglyphx
Inactive Member


Message 73 of 129 (642106)
11-25-2011 8:06 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
11-18-2011 9:39 AM


Biology is Destiny? Discuss

To a degree, studies indicate that some people might be predisposed to hyper-aggresion, but that nurture still plays a vital role in, say, creating homicidal sociopaths who cannot feel empathy.

As for the OP's cured pedophilia, his hiding of it would indicate his understanding of its societal "wrongness."


"Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it" -- Thomas Paine

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tangle, posted 11-18-2011 9:39 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 74 by Omnivorous, posted 11-25-2011 10:10 PM Hyroglyphx has responded
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Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 596 days)
Posts: 3811
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 74 of 129 (642139)
11-25-2011 10:10 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by Hyroglyphx
11-25-2011 8:06 PM


Does the fox enter the hen house stealthily because he is aware of the wrongness of it?

"If you can keep your head while those around you are losing theirs, you can collect a lot of heads."

This message is a reply to:
 Message 73 by Hyroglyphx, posted 11-25-2011 8:06 PM Hyroglyphx has responded

Replies to this message:
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Hyroglyphx
Inactive Member


Message 75 of 129 (642141)
11-25-2011 10:17 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by Omnivorous
11-25-2011 10:10 PM


Does the fox enter the hen house stealthily because he is aware of the wrongness of it?

Two entirely different circumstances. If someone intentionally conceals the fact that they're a pedophile, they must on some intellectual level understand that society would frown upon that. That would indicate that they're not hapless victims of circumstance.


"Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it" -- Thomas Paine

This message is a reply to:
 Message 74 by Omnivorous, posted 11-25-2011 10:10 PM Omnivorous has responded

Replies to this message:
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