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Author Topic:   My problem with evolution
robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 16 of 120 (23125)
11-18-2002 5:21 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by John
11-17-2002 7:53 PM


It doesn't matter if is electrical or chemical or atomic or subatomic--it's still physical. It's not a bunch of thoughts.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by John, posted 11-17-2002 7:53 PM John has not yet responded

  
robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 17 of 120 (23130)
11-18-2002 6:42 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by John
11-17-2002 7:53 PM


John, it doesn't matter if it is electrical or chemical or atomic--it's still physical. Software does not consist of "thoughts."
This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by John, posted 11-17-2002 7:53 PM John has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by John, posted 11-18-2002 10:17 PM robinrohan has responded

  
Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3140 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 18 of 120 (23132)
11-18-2002 6:44 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by robinrohan
11-17-2002 5:52 PM


Is genetic variability discontinuous fundamentally or only any appearing so etc becuase we only *know* it emprically in your mind?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by robinrohan, posted 11-17-2002 5:52 PM robinrohan has not yet responded

    
John
Inactive Member


Message 19 of 120 (23154)
11-18-2002 10:17 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by robinrohan
11-18-2002 6:42 PM


quote:
Originally posted by robinrohan:
It doesn't matter if is electrical or chemical or atomic or subatomic--it's still physical. It's not a bunch of thoughts.

So thoughts are not physical then? Now we are getting somewhere. Thoughts are what, exactly?

------------------
www.hells-handmaiden.com


This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by robinrohan, posted 11-18-2002 6:42 PM robinrohan has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by robinrohan, posted 11-19-2002 8:16 AM John has responded

  
Quetzal
Member (Idle past 3979 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 20 of 120 (23186)
11-19-2002 3:55 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by robinrohan
11-18-2002 5:17 PM


quote:
Quetzal, what I am saying is that "mind" and "spirit" are the same thing. We know what mind is--we've got one--but if spirit is something different, then there's no evidence that there is any such thing as spirit. "Mind" means self-awareness, the ability to imagine, the process of logic, memory--the usual qualities we associate with "mind."

Okay, I think you’re confusing a couple of concepts, here. Mind is much more than self-awareness. After all, there are numbers of other species – at least primates – that are self-aware. I don’t think you mean that. In addition, there are huge numbers of species that have memory – learned responses are quite common, which is one of the tests of memory. After all, how many bears do you see riding bicycles through the woods or seals balancing balls on their noses in the Arctic? These behaviors are taught them by (learned from) their trainers – and they remember them. Any time you see an organism that shows variation in behavior patterns based on learned behavior – for example “dialects” in songbirds based on paternal imprinting, or potato washing in Macaca fuscata - you are observing memory. From the standpoint of “logic”, or the cognitive ability to extrapolate relationships based on differential experience, chimpanzees show an ability to assess, plan, and form “strategic alliances” within a troop – which would indicate at least some form of abstract reasoning. They also have demonstrated the ability to “consider” optional behaviors before acting, another indicator of the ability to reason (although a case could be made that the observed behavior was equivocal). Obviously, unless you’re willing to postulate that all these organisms also have whatever you’re defining as “spirit”, then I’d say that that piece of your argument is falsified.

This is why I asked you for a definition of spirit. Is it a mental affect? Is it some intrinsic property of an organism (or even only humans)? How can you determine whether or not an organism that otherwise shows evidence of “mind” as you’ve defined it has a spirit?

quote:
Now mind is something quite different from the physical, or at least appears to be.

You’ll be hard pressed to show this is the case. Please provide a specific reference that supports your assertion. Or at least more of an explanation of how “mind” is non-physical.

quote:
Thoughts are no doubt events, but they are very peculiar events. For one thing, they are always "about" something. Objects are not "about" anything until a mind comes along and invests them with significance.

Hunh? I don’t follow you. Please clarify.

quote:
The only thing we know of that is not physical, the only other type of reality--is "mind." That is the only evidence of the spirit-world.

You have not shown that mind is non-physical, nor that it represents some “other type of reality”. If this is the only evidence of spirit, then without further explanation and evidence, I’d have to say that “spirit” doesn’t exist.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by robinrohan, posted 11-18-2002 5:17 PM robinrohan has not yet responded

  
robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 21 of 120 (23205)
11-19-2002 8:16 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by John
11-18-2002 10:17 PM


John, traditionally, there are 3 different beliefs you can have about the nature of reality (and only 3): You can believe that nature consists of one type of reality, the mental (or spiritual)--that is idealism. You can believe that reality consists of two kinds, the mental and the physical (that is dualism). Or you can believe that reality is totally physical (that is materialism).

The problem with dualism is that, if there are 2 types of reality, what is the relationship between these two types? Did matter create mind or did mind create matter?

The problem with materialism is that there does seem to be a mental world that is quite different from the physical and we are all aware of it. It is in this world that we have a sense of self-identity. A computer, being purely physical, presumably has no self-awareness.

To tell you the truth, I think quantum physics has struck a blow for idealism with its weird interaction between perceiver and perceived.

As far as there being a difference between the physical and the mental, I can't conceive of an electrical impulse in the brain being the same thing as a thought, even though without the electrical impulse there would be no thought. Light bulbs have no thoughts.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by John, posted 11-18-2002 10:17 PM John has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by robinrohan, posted 11-19-2002 8:24 AM robinrohan has not yet responded
 Message 23 by Karl, posted 11-19-2002 8:30 AM robinrohan has responded
 Message 28 by John, posted 11-19-2002 10:45 AM robinrohan has responded
 Message 31 by Brad McFall, posted 11-19-2002 11:40 AM robinrohan has responded
 Message 36 by nator, posted 11-19-2002 2:38 PM robinrohan has responded

  
robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 22 of 120 (23206)
11-19-2002 8:24 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by robinrohan
11-19-2002 8:16 AM


About other species being self-aware. I have my doubts about that. Because an animal learns in rote fashion does not necessarily indicate self-awareness. But chimps might be self-aware in some primitive sense. There's no way to know for sure, since we can't get inside the head of a chimp.

In my view, higher animals have feelings but not thoughts. For example, if you leave your pet for awahile he will feel something--a lack. But he will not be consciously thinking, "Where is he? When is he going to come back?"


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by robinrohan, posted 11-19-2002 8:16 AM robinrohan has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by Quetzal, posted 11-19-2002 9:34 AM robinrohan has responded

  
Karl
Inactive Member


Message 23 of 120 (23207)
11-19-2002 8:30 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by robinrohan
11-19-2002 8:16 AM


quote:
Originally posted by robinrohan:
John, traditionally, there are 3 different beliefs you can have about the nature of reality (and only 3): You can believe that nature consists of one type of reality, the mental (or spiritual)--that is idealism. You can believe that reality consists of two kinds, the mental and the physical (that is dualism). Or you can believe that reality is totally physical (that is materialism).

The problem with dualism is that, if there are 2 types of reality, what is the relationship between these two types? Did matter create mind or did mind create matter?


I think you've simplified this to the point of absurdity. I've already suggested that there is more than one type of mind, and that one may create matter that creates mind.

[b][quote]The problem with materialism is that there does seem to be a mental world that is quite different from the physical and we are all aware of it. It is in this world that we have a sense of self-identity. A computer, being purely physical, presumably has no self-awareness.[/B][/QUOTE]

What we don't know is whether that's because it's purely physical, or because it is not complex enough. Is a platyhelminth self-aware? What about a fish? A monkey? At some point you're going to say yes, and we can look back and note that it's the less complex organisms that are not self-aware. Could Commander Data exist in theory? We don't know.

[b][quote]To tell you the truth, I think quantum physics has struck a blow for idealism with its weird interaction between perceiver and perceived.

As far as there being a difference between the physical and the mental, I can't conceive of an electrical impulse in the brain being the same thing as a thought, even though without the electrical impulse there would be no thought. Light bulbs have no thoughts.[/B][/QUOTE]

Again, they have only very simple electrical impulses. A thought is not a simple electrical impulse; it is an interaction of any number of synaptic circuits.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by robinrohan, posted 11-19-2002 8:16 AM robinrohan has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by robinrohan, posted 11-19-2002 9:12 AM Karl has not yet responded

  
robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 24 of 120 (23213)
11-19-2002 9:12 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by Karl
11-19-2002 8:30 AM


Karl, I agree totally with your comment that we don't know if sheer complexity can produce "mind" or not. And if more advanced computers will have "minds." Of course, if that happened, it would mean that the physical can produce the mental. There's only one catch. It took a mind to manufacture these computers. In evolution it happened naturally--which to me is the main difficulty of evolutionary theory. Not that I'm disputing it--but that is something difficult to imagine.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by Karl, posted 11-19-2002 8:30 AM Karl has not yet responded

  
Karl
Inactive Member


Message 25 of 120 (23215)
11-19-2002 9:34 AM


Fortunately, evolution is not limited to what you or I can imagine.
  
Quetzal
Member (Idle past 3979 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 26 of 120 (23216)
11-19-2002 9:34 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by robinrohan
11-19-2002 8:24 AM


You're invoking several strawmen and/or misunderstandings of what I wrote. Please re-read the post to which you were responding, and be more careful in the future. You also failed completely to either answer my questions or object to any of my points. Try again.
quote:
About other species being self-aware. I have my doubts about that. Because an animal learns in rote fashion does not necessarily indicate self-awareness. But chimps might be self-aware in some primitive sense. There's no way to know for sure, since we can't get inside the head of a chimp.

You "may have doubts about" self awareness in other animals, but that merely shows you haven't read much recent literature on animal behavior. Mirror self-awareness (MSR) - probably one of the better objective tests - has been known in chimps for 30 years, and a number of recent studies have shown provocative results for bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Even human infants don't respond positively to MSR until about 18 mos-2 yrs of age. Moreover, studies using distorted mirrors with chimps show an ability for abstract reasoning - the importance here is that the distortion must be rationalized before self-recognition occurs, and the chimps tested showed this ability. The same ability to a lesser extent has been observed in MSR studies on gorillas and orangutans (as I said, higher primates...).

The bear/seal example shows not self awareness, as you would know if you read my post, but rather the operation of memory - which you stated was another quality that defines "mind".

quote:
In my view, higher animals have feelings but not thoughts. For example, if you leave your pet for awahile he will feel something--a lack. But he will not be consciously thinking, "Where is he? When is he going to come back?"

This is a complete non sequitor that has nothing to do with my post. In addition, you've now introduced two NEW terms that you're going to have to define: "thought" and "feeling". In any case, no one was talking about pets. My dog always greets me ecstatically when I come home from work (she's more demonstrative than my kids!), but I would in no way attribute her behavior to cognition, rather to an associative memory of daddy=pack leader {safety, food, petting, walkies, etc}.

Please respond substantively to my posts, thanks.

[This message has been edited by Quetzal, 11-19-2002]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by robinrohan, posted 11-19-2002 8:24 AM robinrohan has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by robinrohan, posted 11-19-2002 10:31 AM Quetzal has responded

  
robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 27 of 120 (23226)
11-19-2002 10:31 AM
Reply to: Message 26 by Quetzal
11-19-2002 9:34 AM


Quetzal, don't get so bent out of shape. There are two points you brought up earlier that I will try to address.

"spirit"--yes, spirit, being equivalent to mind, could be present in higher animals such as chimps. My point about spirit was to suggest that the recognition of mentality as something different from physicality might have given rise to religious beliefs. But Pavlov's dogs do not suggest that they have memory in the sense I mean it. I mean conscious memory.

thoughts-- I said thoughts are "about" something. You can't have a thought that doesn't have a topic. Now physical events have no topic. A leaf falls from a tree--that's a physical event but it's not about anything. A mind comes along and has a thought about the leaf falling--It means, say, the beginning of Fall. A thought is not a physical object obviously--it doesn't have a certain size or width or length or any other physical attribute. It doesn't have a positive or negative charge. It has no mass or velocity. Time, of course, is another matter. Thoughts presumably take time to happen. So thoughts are present in time but not in space. That makes them peculiar, and unlike physical things.

"feelings"--an emotion as opposed to an abstract idea. My dog whimpers because it feels sad. But I don't think the dog is thinking. It doesn't know why it feels sad. I think a dog's whole consciousness is one feeling after another--feelings of comfort, pain, lacks, cosiness, etc. Without language, we cannot think.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by Quetzal, posted 11-19-2002 9:34 AM Quetzal has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by John, posted 11-19-2002 11:03 AM robinrohan has not yet responded
 Message 41 by TechnoCore, posted 11-19-2002 7:58 PM robinrohan has responded
 Message 48 by Quetzal, posted 11-20-2002 4:02 AM robinrohan has responded

  
John
Inactive Member


Message 28 of 120 (23229)
11-19-2002 10:45 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by robinrohan
11-19-2002 8:16 AM


quote:
Originally posted by robinrohan:
John, traditionally, there are 3 different beliefs you can have about the nature of reality (and only 3):

I'm sorry, the dogmatism of this just stopped me in my tracks. Very amusing.

quote:
The problem with materialism is that there does seem to be a mental world that is quite different from the physical and we are all aware of it.

And here you crash and burn, unless you can support this statement. If your shole case is that there seems to be amental world, then your case is pretty insubstantial.

quote:
It is in this world that we have a sense of self-identity. A computer, being purely physical, presumably has no self-awareness.

Someone has already posed the question of whether Commander Data could exist. You agreed that it is possible, but we don't know for sure. This undercuts your statement above, which you need to be true-- absolutely. Modern computers are nowhere near as complex as a brain, and I suspect brains run on software not yet imagined for man-made machines.

quote:
To tell you the truth, I think quantum physics has struck a blow for idealism with its weird interaction between perceiver and perceived.

You mean the part about not being able to know both the position and the momentum of a particle? I don't see what this has to do with mind.

quote:
As far as there being a difference between the physical and the mental, I can't conceive of an electrical impulse in the brain being the same thing as a thought

What you can concieve isn't all that relevant, thankfully.

Besides which, the brain doesn't work one impulse at a time. It functions in patterns of impulses. I think neuro-science has proven that much about the brain.

quote:
even though without the electrical impulse there would be no thought.

What?????

quote:
Light bulbs have no thoughts.

And light bulbs are damn similar to brains and to computers?????

------------------
www.hells-handmaiden.com


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by robinrohan, posted 11-19-2002 8:16 AM robinrohan has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by robinrohan, posted 11-19-2002 11:07 AM John has responded
 Message 32 by Brad McFall, posted 11-19-2002 11:43 AM John has not yet responded

  
John
Inactive Member


Message 29 of 120 (23233)
11-19-2002 11:03 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by robinrohan
11-19-2002 10:31 AM


quote:
Originally posted by robinrohan:
But Pavlov's dogs do not suggest that they have memory in the sense I mean it. I mean conscious memory.

You've introduced another term which now needs clarification. Really, this is starting to remind me of the "do chimps have language debates" Essentially, everytime a chimp meets a criteria for language, another researcher redefines the criteria.

quote:
I said thoughts are "about" something. You can't have a thought that doesn't have a topic.

Memories have topics, yet are not thoughts according to you. Isn't that what you said earlier? It looks like it is time for more clarification.

quote:
A thought is not a physical object obviously--it doesn't have a certain size or width or length or any other physical attribute. It doesn't have a positive or negative charge. It has no mass or velocity.

This is essentially assuming what you wish to prove. If thoughts are artifacts of the brain, this is all false. No fair assuming what you wish to prove.

quote:
Time, of course, is another matter. Thoughts presumably take time to happen. So thoughts are present in time but not in space. That makes them peculiar, and unlike physical things.

Again, assumming what you wish to prove.

quote:
"feelings"--an emotion as opposed to an abstract idea.

Feelings seem pretty much on par with thoughts to me. How are they different in essense?

quote:
My dog whimpers because it feels sad. But I don't think the dog is thinking. It doesn't know why it feels sad. I think a dog's whole consciousness is one feeling after another--feelings of comfort, pain, lacks, cosiness, etc.

I think you need to read up on animal cognition research.

quote:
Without language, we cannot think.

Is that so? Why?

------------------
www.hells-handmaiden.com


This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by robinrohan, posted 11-19-2002 10:31 AM robinrohan has not yet responded

  
robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 30 of 120 (23236)
11-19-2002 11:07 AM
Reply to: Message 28 by John
11-19-2002 10:45 AM


John, it's not dogmatism, it's logic. Either reality is mental or physical or both. What else can it be?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by John, posted 11-19-2002 10:45 AM John has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by robinrohan, posted 11-19-2002 11:46 AM robinrohan has not yet responded
 Message 34 by John, posted 11-19-2002 1:08 PM robinrohan has responded

  
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