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Author Topic:   What we must accept if we accept evolution Part 2
Faith
Member
Posts: 31616
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 256 of 301 (284029)
02-04-2006 8:35 PM
Reply to: Message 255 by Omnivorous
02-04-2006 8:30 PM


Re: on Belief
I would guess that the correspondences could be pretty accurate -- though face it, how often are they? But surely evolution selected according to the accuracy of the thoughts -- not the engine, but the thoughts -- since it is the thoughts that make the difference, direct the actions. In any case, even if they are accurate, they are still "accidental" in the sense that there is no *I* thinking them, they are merely automatically produced.

This message has been edited by Faith, 02-04-2006 09:24 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 255 by Omnivorous, posted 02-04-2006 8:30 PM Omnivorous has responded

Replies to this message:
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nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 257 of 301 (284039)
02-04-2006 9:10 PM
Reply to: Message 254 by Faith
02-04-2006 7:54 PM


Re: on Belief
This much I think I get: Because there is no actual self or *I* that is the generator of the idea, thought, belief. It's all an illusion.

Maybe that is what robin intended. Still, it is not satisfying. There is a huge leap from physical causation to "there is no actual self or *I*".

It is looking to me like an argument from ignorance. "I cannot understand how physical causation can result in an 'I'; therefore it doesn't."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 254 by Faith, posted 02-04-2006 7:54 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 258 by Faith, posted 02-04-2006 9:15 PM nwr has not yet responded

Faith
Member
Posts: 31616
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 258 of 301 (284042)
02-04-2006 9:15 PM
Reply to: Message 257 by nwr
02-04-2006 9:10 PM


Re: on Belief
It is looking to me like an argument from ignorance. "I cannot understand how physical causation can result in an 'I'; therefore it doesn't."

That reads like an argument from common sense to me, as neither you nor anybody else can understand how physical causation can result in an *I* either. On the face of it, the idea is absurd.


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Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 1130 days)
Posts: 3808
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 259 of 301 (284045)
02-04-2006 9:28 PM
Reply to: Message 256 by Faith
02-04-2006 8:35 PM


Re: on Belief
but surely evolution selected according to the accuracy of the thoughts -- not the engine, but the thoughts, since it is the thoughts that make the difference. In any case, even if they are accurate, they are still "accidental" in the sense that there is no *I* thinking them, they are merely automatically produced.

Sure, evolution would select according to the thoughts, but the quality of thought depends on the quality of the engine: bad engine, bad thoughts; good engine, good thoughts.

The thoughts are produced via interaction between the environment, the engine, and the engine's past experiences; the engine must be able to see itself in possible consequent scenarios. These interactions ultimately produce the I, the unique perspective of that engine with that history having that particular interaction.

The process is responsive, but I see no reason to describe it as automatic. The ability to imagine multiple possible scenarios, and the ability of the thought engine to be aware of itself and its capabilities/outcomes in those scenarios, would both be an immediate advantage: the ability to see what might happen. Once that evolves, another layer of reflection and accuracy-testing kicks in: how accurately are the scenarios imagined? How accurately are others' responses predicted?

To me, the metaphor of critical mass would be useful; consider increasing numbers of neural connections rather than colliding particles. Once a threshold of accurate reflection is crossed, one can not only consider multiple scenarios in which one is a player but also inquire of others about other possible scenarios--not only experience but the experiences of others become grist.

Further, one can learn algorithms (like formal tests for validity and soundness) that promote accuracy: I tend to underestimate the duplicity of others, so if I memorize a little saying about that ("Everyone's queer but me and thee/and I'm not sure of thee"), and invoke it despite my tendency to ignore the issue, I'll do better.

As a sufficient mass of fissile material erupts into a thermonuclear explosion, a sufficient mass of self-awareness/imagination/self-reflection, memory, etc., creates a consciousness that can study it's own engine and say,

"Where did all this come from? Am I real? Am I a ghost in the machine or the illusion of a ghost in the machine?"

Once you can ask those questions, if not before, you are more than an automatic responder.

Complexity builds on complexity, and at some threshold the difference becomes qualitative, not just quantitative.

That's an abstraction of how I envision a more-than-automatic consciousness arising, and I don't intend it as a proof.

This message has been edited by Omnivorous, 02-04-2006 09:31 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 256 by Faith, posted 02-04-2006 8:35 PM Faith has responded

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Faith
Member
Posts: 31616
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 260 of 301 (284048)
02-04-2006 9:39 PM
Reply to: Message 259 by Omnivorous
02-04-2006 9:28 PM


Re: on Belief
Well, I suppose that's about as plausible and sophisticated a theory as we're going to get for how it could have happened.

But I always feel impatiently like saying: Do you really not just KNOW that you are an immortal soul?

But that's off topic.

And getting back on topic means recognizing that this thread was supposed to be detailing what we have to believe if we believe evolution.

And believing that the *I* came up from the icky ooze is one of the things we have to believe.

And your theory is as good as any I guess.


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 Message 259 by Omnivorous, posted 02-04-2006 9:28 PM Omnivorous has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 261 of 301 (284050)
02-04-2006 9:44 PM
Reply to: Message 260 by Faith
02-04-2006 9:39 PM


Re: on Belief
But I always feel impatiently like saying: Do you really not just KNOW that you are an immortal soul?

Yes. Do you remember things that happened before you were born? Doesn't basic symmetry indicate that you won't remember things that happen after you die?


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Faith
Member
Posts: 31616
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 262 of 301 (284063)
02-04-2006 11:03 PM


If life was made for woe and death
How hard it's then to think it sweet,
What stood the man up on his feet,
Infused with his Creator's breath.

What Maker'd cause the blood to pound
And fill him ruddy, made for love
Reflected back to God above,
But then would spill it on the ground

As Cain did Abel's? No, as it spilt
God mourned its cry. It stained the earth --
Since red with crying death and birth.
Though it is man's, God's borne the guilt.

Or was it wordless bleeding stuff
That wrote the patterns in the germs,
Connecting, unconnecting terms,
Trying, failing, now the rough

Draft finds its voice? A bloody muse
Without a choice then sighs. Though blind,
Mere matter did in fact make mind,
Without intending I's and you's.

So there you have it, Flesh made word
Or Word made flesh? Which more absurd?

This message has been edited by Faith, 02-06-2006 11:53 AM


Replies to this message:
 Message 278 by Omnivorous, posted 02-06-2006 10:37 AM Faith has responded

  
AdminPD
Inactive Administrator


Message 263 of 301 (284114)
02-05-2006 9:55 AM


37 Posts Until EOT
Ladies and Gentlemen,

This thread is approaching the checkered flag (300 posts).

It is a good time to start cleaning up any loose ends before the finish unless you intend to take this topic on another lap.

See you at the finish line.

Carry on. Purple


Modulous
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 264 of 301 (284116)
02-05-2006 10:28 AM


What has been resolved
I'm still yet to see any of the following being necessary:

Materialism
Determinism
Atheism
Nihilism

The only thing that seems to have been resolved is that accepting evolution (in the broad rather than the theory) does mean rejecting the God of creationism... which seems fairly apparant.

Any other god is fair game, unless that god also specially created life as-is. A good god can still be behind it, working on a 'for the Greater Good' idea that we are ignorant of. A cruel god could be behind it. An indifferent god could be behind it.

Materialism isn't necessary, evolution doesn't mean rejecting spirits, djinn, avatars, angels, mind as incorpereal entity, most gods etc.


robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 265 of 301 (284118)
02-05-2006 11:02 AM


A self is not possible without incorporeality. No self, no thinking. Just automatic physical reactions to stimuli. Water does not freeze at 32 degrees Farenheit as a result of a logical process.

Abstractions such as the #5 do not exist. You never see the #5 lying around in the yard or walking down the road. You can't cut up the brain and find #5 in there anywhere. You can't find our thoughts because our thoughts don't exist except in the sense of an electro-chemical impulse in the brain. This brain evolved. Our ancestors had no brains. The physical can only produce the physical. Therefore, we have no minds.

Evolution explains our origins naturalistically. Before evolutionary ideas came along, there was no way to explain the creatures of the earth being here except by invoking gods. There is now no logical need for god.

Evolution, being a very cruel process, tells us that no good, all-powerful God would operate in this fashion. You can talk about the "greater good" all you like--and then imagine some particularly gruesome birth defect--and ask yourself if there can be any greater good that would justify that. An indifferent god is a cruel god. A cruel or weak god is inconceivable. That's why nobody believes in such a being. Other entities, demi-gods and such, are really just Aliens, since they sprang out of nature and are thus natural creatures. To speak of aliens solves nothing; it just removes the question to another step in the evolutionary process.

Darwinism is ultimately a nihilistic idea. We are here for no reason. We just happen to be here. All subjective purposes we might come up with are ultimately arbitrary. There's no reason to choose one purpose over another. There's no ground for any purpose. There's no ground for any moral system. There's no ground for logic.

TOE is not an innocuous liitle idea about population changes: it is an idea that shakes the foundations of the traditional concept of humanity.

This message has been edited by robinrohan, 02-05-2006 10:04 AM

This message has been edited by robinrohan, 02-05-2006 10:56 AM


Replies to this message:
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 Message 271 by Modulous, posted 02-05-2006 1:17 PM robinrohan has responded

robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 266 of 301 (284121)
02-05-2006 11:22 AM


a personal note on the term "nihilism"
Back in my twenties I called myself an "aesthete," but then I decided that "aesthete" sounded rather effeminate, remindful of Oscar Wilde and that ilk, so I changed the label to "nihilist," which has a rugged masculine ring to it. I figured that fit me better.

But the two ideas, despite the different labels, are really the same in my view.

This message has been edited by robinrohan, 02-05-2006 10:22 AM


Replies to this message:
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ramoss
Member
Posts: 3110
Joined: 08-11-2004
Member Rating: 7.7


Message 267 of 301 (284124)
02-05-2006 11:28 AM
Reply to: Message 243 by Faith
02-04-2006 2:05 PM


Re: Is the concept of a "Fall" not a viable excuse?
well, that sound really really vague to me. First of all, the 'great dragon' better fits the levatian than the serpent in genesis. And, 'revealed' to me sounds like a fancy term for 'reinterpret'.

Sometimes , a cigar is only a cigar, and a snake is only a snake.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 243 by Faith, posted 02-04-2006 2:05 PM Faith has not yet responded

NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 268 of 301 (284131)
02-05-2006 12:27 PM
Reply to: Message 265 by robinrohan
02-05-2006 11:02 AM


traditional concepts
TOE is not an innocuous liitle idea about population changes: it is an idea that shakes the foundations of the traditional concept of humanity.

Can't really help that can we? It's happened before and we can expect it will happen again. I guess the traditional concepts will have to be replaced with more robust concepts; something that many have no problem with. For those that can't grow up it remains a problem.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 265 by robinrohan, posted 02-05-2006 11:02 AM robinrohan has not yet responded

nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 269 of 301 (284134)
02-05-2006 12:39 PM
Reply to: Message 265 by robinrohan
02-05-2006 11:02 AM


A self is not possible without incorporeality.

For some meanings of "incorporeality." The self is an abstraction. If abstractions are taken as inorporeal, then you are correct. But this has no important implications.

Abstractions such as the #5 do not exist.

This depends on what you mean by "exist." To mathematicians, numbers certainly exist. Nothing could be more certain. But I can agree that "exist" has a special meaning in mathematics, and is not the same as physical existence.

You can't find our thoughts because our thoughts don't exist except in the sense of an electro-chemical impulse in the brain.

Thoughts are abstractions. Thinking is a process, and we invent thoughts as abstraction, in order to account for what thinking does. This isn't much different from inventing gravitational fields. Sure, you can say that thoughts don't exist, simply by denying the existence of abstractions. But this has no important consequences.

Evolution explains our origins naturalistically.

It doesn't really explain our origins. That is, it explains our origins in terms of other unexplained things. It pushes the problem of origins further away, but does not completely solve it.

There is now no logical need for god.

There was never a logical need for god.

Evolution, being a very cruel process, tells us that no good, all-powerful God would operate in this fashion.

The deist has no problem with evolution. At worst, it is only a problem for belief in a God who is concerned with individual lives. But even that isn't so clear. A person can hold that God cares about the soul, and the cruelty is only to the body and not the soul.

Darwinism is ultimately a nihilistic idea. We are here for no reason.

That is how you see it. The deist need not see it that way. The theistic evolutionist does not see it that way.

All subjective purposes we might come up with are ultimately arbitrary. There's no reason to choose one purpose over another.

That's a positive. That's the basis for free will. If it were not thus, then we would be mere slaves.

There's no ground for any moral system.

Evolution provides the grounds for a moral system, in that we evolved as a social species.

There's no ground for logic.

Logic is a human invention. As such, it is grounded in human culture.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 265 by robinrohan, posted 02-05-2006 11:02 AM robinrohan has not yet responded

nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 270 of 301 (284135)
02-05-2006 12:44 PM
Reply to: Message 266 by robinrohan
02-05-2006 11:22 AM


Still confused about "nihilism"
Back in my twenties I called myself an "aesthete," but then I decided that "aesthete" sounded rather effeminate, remindful of Oscar Wilde and that ilk, so I changed the label to "nihilist," which has a rugged masculine ring to it. I figured that fit me better.

But the two ideas, despite the different labels, are really the same in my view.


I looked up "aesthete" on google. The responses were all pretty much the same, and all fitted well with what one would guess based on the etymology of the word.

I looked up "nihilism". The answers are all over the map. None of them seemed to have much of a relation to "aesthete".


This message is a reply to:
 Message 266 by robinrohan, posted 02-05-2006 11:22 AM robinrohan has responded

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