Dawkins slap down


By thunderlips11   Follow   Wed, 24 Apr 2013, 8:02am   1,364 views   45 comments
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"Science works... bitches!"

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  1. APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch


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    6   4:19am Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    Imagine Dawkins, instead of laughing at a hillbilly jesufascist, debates Moynihan about why he shouldn't be stuffed into a supermax to provide a dewy prison bride to neonazi cannibals.

  2. thunderlips11


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    7   9:11am Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Heraclitusstudent says

    All these logical arguments only eliminate the roughest forms of dogmatism and leave the real content of religion and spirituality mostly untouched.

    What is spirituality?

    You may enjoy this segment:

  3. Heraclitusstudent


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    8   12:32pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (2)  

    I love this video.
    It hits exactly the nail on the head: This is about the experiences people have.
    What is spirituality? It is something about the experience of life.

    You see, Dawkins is right: we live in an objective world where physical laws reign supreme and where there is nothing magical.

    He is right that religions are full of stupid dogmas. The Bible and other books are mostly useless rants and there is no objective way to separate the childish superstition from the wisdom they may contain.

    And he's finally he's right that a religious experience happens ultimately in the brain, and the brain being a sometimes flawed physical instrument, aberrations can come out of it. Especially if you induce them.

    So essentially, just like this video, he discards any religious experience as some kind of bizarre idiosyncrasy of the human brain.

    But there's the rub: everything we experience in life comes from our brain. Our experience is all encompassing. And our experience is not something objective, it is something subjective by nature. It cannot be reduced or discarded.

    Let's take an example: what is pain?: it is a signal following nerves and triggering some neurons. But is understanding this the same as understanding the experience of pain? Nope. Absolutely not. Experience cannot be reduced.

    It cannot be discarded as irrelevant either, unless you want to discard the experience of food, the experience of love, fresh air in your lungs, and everything that makes life worth living. You could analyze any of these things down to each individual atom of your brain, that would be totally irrelevant to understand them. And this is not because I'm seeking god in the gaps of our scientific understanding, it's because science doesn't apply here.

    This is why Dawkins is wrong. Our reality simply is not something that can be reduced to scientific knowledge.

  4. Dan8267


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    9   1:04pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Heraclitusstudent says

    All these logical arguments only eliminate the roughest forms of dogmatism and leave the real content of religion and spirituality mostly untouched.

    Examples, please. What is the real content of religion other than non-spiritual, non-superstitious, natural, atheistic, philosophy?

  5. Dan8267


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    10   1:05pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    APOCALYPSEFUCK is Shostakovich says

    If he's so smart, he should figure out a way to put bankers, realtors and mortgage brokers in prison.

    You're thinking of William Black. Elect him as Elizabeth Warren's VP, and we'll see bankers in prison.

  6. Dan8267


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    11   1:09pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    John Bailo says

    As such, like Hawking, he is a darling of the Middlebrows.

    Question: How do we justify belief in the Scientific Method.

    Answer: It works. Planes fly, medicine saves lives, GPS is accurate to feet, astronauts land on the moon and return safely.

    Are you saying that Dawkins is wrong? Are you saying that the Scientific Method has not empirically proven its worth and ability a million times over? If so, please go into detail. If not, then isn't what Dawkins said in the above video 100% on mark?

  7. Dan8267


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    12   1:20pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    Heraclitusstudent says

    What is spirituality? It is something about the experience of life.

    Spirituality is the fictional stories the people make up to explain emotional experiences. However, they fail at explaining the experiences and the hinder rational, natural explanations. As such, spirituality is nothing but lies that prevent discovery of the truth.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Our reality simply is not something that can be reduced to scientific knowledge.

    Every time someone has named a specific phenomenon that could not be explained by science, that person has been wrong. Here's a short list of things that science could not possibly explain, but then did.

    1. Life
    2. Sentience
    3. Electricity
    4. Earthquakes
    5. Comets
    6. The planets moving in retrograde.
    7. The sun.
    8. The tides (Bill O'Reilly still thinks this is unexplainable).
    9. Where humans came from.
    10. How the Earth and the stars were created.
    11. The diversity of life on the planet.
    12. Mountains.
    13. Why we age.
    14. Death

    So, what exactly in your life do you think cannot be explained rationally and explicitly using only nature and human language?

    I think you underestimate the power of
    - rationality
    - science
    - the human mind's ability to understand
    - language's ability to express ideas

    Even more importantly, you fail to recognize that explaining things like the creation of human life in a mother's womb in scientific terms does not reduce the subject matter but rather enhances it by showing us the beauty and details that would be invisible otherwise. Knowing exactly how babies form does not make it less spectacular, but more.

  8. thunderlips11


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    13   1:40pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Heraclitusstudent says

    And our experience is not something objective, it is something subjective by nature. It cannot be reduced or discarded.

    I'm not so sure I go for that. Here's why:

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Let's take an example: what is pain?: it is a signal following nerves and triggering some neurons. But is understanding this the same as understanding the experience of pain? Nope. Absolutely not. Experience cannot be reduced.

    I would rather say that:

    "What is pain? it is a signal following nerves and triggering some neurons. But is understanding HOW pain works the same as experiencing pain itself?"

    I wold say yes, both types of knowledge are objective. The neurons are indeed stimulating the sensation of pain in an attempt to alert to body to avoid the source of the problem. Over and over again, people who touch hot ovens report pain in their fingers, and those who persist in touching the oven develop damage to the skin and sometimes even lose a finger.

    Move your finger, dammit! And as one would expect from an imperfect reality that arose and developed by chance, pain isn't perfect. You will also feel pain over things you can't fix by repositioning your body to avoid stimuli. Not just ovens and spears, but also cancer and arthritis.

    Our desire to think about alternatives to death and another reality (through heaven, rebirth, or even becoming one with the universe) is a self-defense mechanism evolved by the brain, otherwise constant anxiety about death could prevent us from reproducing as a species. Just like pain evolved to warn animals to avoid certain body-damaging stimuli.

  9. APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch


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    14   2:36pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Dan8267 says

    APOCALYPSEFUCK is Shostakovich says

    If he's so smart, he should figure out a way to put bankers, realtors and mortgage brokers in prison.

    You're thinking of William Black. Elect him as Elizabeth Warren's VP, and we'll see bankers in prison.

    Oh, yes. My guy. Bought his latest book for a guy I knew who worked at the CBO and he raved at his command of the macroeconomics of underwriting abuse. Don't have to convince moi. Have had email exchanges with him on control fraud. A really nice guy! But just the kind of guy you'd want stomping Moynihan's teeth down his throat.

  10. Heraclitusstudent


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    15   2:51pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (2)  

    Dan8267 says

    you fail to recognize that explaining things like the creation of human life in a mother's womb in scientific terms does not reduce the subject matter but rather enhances it by showing us the beauty and details that would be invisible otherwise.

    I totally recognize that.
    By "reduce" I mean: decompose a phenomenon into its parts to show how the behavior of these parts logically create this phenomenon. You can't do that with the experience of pain. You can explain pain but this is not the same as the experience of pain.
    You missed my whole point, read again.

  11. Heraclitusstudent


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    16   3:02pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (2)  

    thunderlips11 says

    I wold say yes, both types of knowledge are objective. The neurons are indeed stimulating the sensation of pain in an attempt to alert to body to avoid the source of the problem.

    It is not objective in the sense that it can't be measured. If you could observe pain going from the fingers to the brain of a person, you can't be sure of what this person is feeling. You can understand *why* pain exists, and get a raw sense of how it works. This won't help you the next time you feel pain.

    The feeling of pain is irremediably attached to the point of view of one person and cannot be separated from this point of view. The same goes for almost everything in life: our taste of food, sex, the feeling of the sun on the skin, etc, etc... Our whole experience as human being escapes the scope of science.

  12. Heraclitusstudent


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    17   3:11pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (2)  

    thunderlips11 says

    Our desire to think about alternatives to death and another reality (through heaven, rebirth, or even becoming one with the universe) is a self-defense mechanism evolved by the brain,

    That's your *belief*. I don't think there is any proof of that, is there?

    And as far as other realities... define real.
    If you experience it, is it real?
    Or is it exclusively real if you can explain it as something outside your brain?

  13. Heraclitusstudent


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    18   3:31pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    Dan8267 says

    So, what exactly in your life do you think cannot be explained rationally and explicitly using only nature and human language?

    I think you underestimate the power of

    - rationality

    - science

    - the human mind's ability to understand

    - language's ability to express ideas

    Let's be serious: science can't explain why there is something instead of nothing. It can't explain why the laws of physics are what they are. Therefore it can't "explain" anything I experience in this life, starting with gravity, except at a very superficial level.

    Furthermore there are good reasons to think it can never explain these things.
    Take gravity for example: you can describe it quantitatively like Newton did. That's not the same as "explaining" it, as in "knowing why it's here". You can say the curvature of space-time causes gravity as Einstein did, but it just pushes the problem one step back: Why does mass distort space-time? And even if tomorrow we find cause X for this distortion, then my question will be: "What causes X"? At the end of the day, the laws of physics are just quantitative patterns. They are just observations.

    And btw the goal of science is not to explain everything. It's to observe a few rocks and learn a few bits within an ocean of ignorance.

    For all of us, human beings observing the universe, we can say we are confronted to a mystery. It would be very arrogant to pretend otherwise.

  14. Dan8267


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    19   4:30pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Heraclitusstudent says

    By "reduce" I mean: decompose a phenomenon into its parts to show how the behavior of these parts logically create this phenomenon. You can't do that with the experience of pain. You can explain pain but this is not the same as the experience of pain.

    You missed my whole point, read again.

    I disagree with that point. Of course, anything that exists in nature, even "subjective" human experiences like "pain", can be explained without loss of information or understanding in terms of the parts and the interactions of the parts of the system.

    Even if this were not true, even if the "experience" of pain could not be described by language or understood by the rational mind, does not mean that there exists anything "supernatural" or beyond nature and therefore would not give any credence to "spiritual" experiences or religions.

    However, I would submit that simply because one does not have the language to describe an experience does not mean that such a language could not be invented. History if rife with examples of this very thing. Pascal and Fermat did not have the language to discuss the mathematical predictions of the future. That language was latter invented and called statistics. Newton, having invented calculus, still lack the language to talk about infinities and infinite smallness. Today we use such language with ease in Calculus classes.

    The experiences you say cannot be described in pure logic will, someday, be written in source code with by high school students on computers cheaper than a Starbucks coffee.

  15. Dan8267


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    20   4:30pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Let's be serious: science can't explain why there is something instead of nothing. It can't explain why the laws of physics are what they are. Therefore it can't "explain" anything I experience in this life, starting with gravity, except at a very superficial level.

    Prove any of those assertions. Remember, history is full of examples of things that "science can't prove" that science later proved. Just because we don't understand something now, does not mean we won't understand it later. The god of the gaps is ever shrinking. Given how much science and engineering has progressed in the past one hundred years, are you really that certain it won't answer all of those questions in the next thousand or the next million years? If you are so certain, please explain why.

    I have no reason, whatsoever, to believe that the universe is, at a fundamental level, unintelligible. Modern science has answered questions that a mere century ago no human being ever even thought to ask or could have even imagined asking. The most bizarre and alien aspects of the universe have been predicted by mathematics and physical theory even before anyone imagined such things could exist: black holes, the Big Bang, Calabi-Yau manifolds. Are you telling me that the human mind can understand and predict those things but no mind could possibly be built to understand the universe itself? I would call that a very strong statement and as such, the burden of proof is on you.

    And in any case, if there were to be anything that science, mathematics, and logic could not explain, than such a thing could not be explained by any other means including religion and art.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Therefore it can't "explain" anything I experience in this life, starting with gravity, except at a very superficial level.

    Well, for being superficial, science's explanations have certainly accomplished a lot of practical goals. Our superficial understanding of aerodynamics have created super-sonic jet aircraft. Our superficial understanding of disease has eliminated smallpox and double the lifespan of humans. Our superficial understanding of nuclear physics has created nuclear weapons -- for better or worse. Our superficial understanding of electricity has created computers, television, radio, the Internet, and all the software from games to international banking systems. If the understanding of nature provided by science is superficial, you are welcome to show us anything deeper.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Furthermore there are good reasons to think it can never explain these things.

    Religion and mysticism have been around for 200,000 years and have yet to explain one damn thing. Science, as we know it, has only been around for a few hundred and is the lowest funding priority for all nations, yet it has produced amazing results. How could you possibly be able to image what science could do in 200,000 years?

    But then again, if you have a better alternative, feel free to share.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Take gravity for example: you can describe it quantitatively like Newton did. That's not the same as "explaining" it, as in "knowing why it's here". You can say the curvature of space-time causes gravity as Einstein did, but it just pushes the problem one step back: Why does mass distort space-time? And even if tomorrow we find cause X for this distortion, then my question will be: "What causes X"? At the end of the day, the laws of physics are just quantitative patterns. They are just observations.

    Infinite regression of causality is a copout. There is no reason to believe that causality can infinitely regress any more than there is that space and time can be infinitely divided. Even causality takes time, and since time occurs in discrete packets, an infinite chain of causality would take infinitely long to propagate and therefore, no matter where you are in the chain, your phenomenon could never "be caused" and therefore could never exist. Nothing could exist. This is the same problem with time extending infinitely backwards. The present could never exist for any time. Therefore, nothing could exist.

    But even if infinite regression existed, that would just mean that the scientific method is a non-halting process. It would still be the best, and the only real, way to understand the universe.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    That's not the same as "explaining" it, as in "knowing why it's here".

    To understand what a thing is, is simply to understand its properties. To know what a ball is, is to know that a ball has the properties: shape, mass, location, color, bounciness, weight, texture, taste, rolling, etc. To understand a particular ball is to know the values of these properties within a certain error. This is the meaningful definition of understanding. And yes, understanding can be explicit.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    And btw the goal of science is not to explain everything.

    Science doesn't have goals. Only decision making entities like people have goals. And I, for one, see nothing objectionable about explaining anything and everything unknown. Explaining exactly how a tiny conglomeration of molecules goes from a fertilized egg to a human being makes the process far more spectacular than ignorance does.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    For all of us, human beings observing the universe, we can say we are confronted to a mystery. It would be very arrogant to pretend otherwise.

    Mysteries exist to be solved. What is arrogant is saying that religion explains mysteries or that only a "god" can understand them and no one else should try.

    I have read nothing in your arguments that presents a good reason to limit scientific inquiries or to respect the lies of religions. Nothing you have written suggests that there exists a better alternative to naturalism and rationality. Nor does anything you wrote support the opinion that science should be less respected by our society. I would argue that given the accomplishments of science, it should be far more respected by our society.

    These are the only things that you and I appear to disagree upon, but if you still think I've missed your point, feel free to provide a concise and precise thesis to debate.

  16. Heraclitusstudent


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    21   4:48pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    Dan8267 says

    I have read nothing in your arguments that presents a good reason to limit scientific inquiries or to respect the lies of religions. Nothing you have written suggests that there exists a better alternative to naturalism and rationality. Nor does anything you wrote support the opinion that science should be less respected by our society.

    That's because I said nothing of the sort. Science is great at doing what it does. I don't think we need an alternative.
    I also agree that religions are full of lies.
    This doesn't mean spirituality doesn't make sense and should be rejected as "delusion" (Dawkins's premise), which is the claim I attacked.

  17. Heraclitusstudent


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    22   5:08pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    Dan8267 says

    Prove any of those assertions.

    It's a simple observation: there currently exists no scientific theory that explains why there is something instead of nothing. And there no scientific explanation either of why the laws of physics are what they are.

    Infinite regression of causality is a copout.

    Absolutely not. This is a simple observation that the nature of the universe is certainly not revealed by listing quantitative patterns verified in this universe.

    I have no reason, whatsoever, to believe that the universe is, at a fundamental level, unintelligible.

    I have many simple reasons to believe that there is no explanation for the existence of the universe as a whole.

    Here is one more: To seek an explanation is ultimately to seek a cause. And physical causes by nature are part of the universe. Therefore you can't find a physical cause to the existence of the universe because this cause would be 'in' the universe.

    Religion and mysticism have been around for 200,000 years and have yet to explain one damn thing.

    Agreed. So what? So far I claimed human experience could not be explained by science or discarded as a delusion, and I claimed the laws of physics provide no explanation for the universe outside a superficial level. If you want to debate, at least answer my points.

  18. Heraclitusstudent


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    23   5:40pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    Dan8267 says

    The experiences you say cannot be described in pure logic will, someday, be written in source code with by high school students on computers cheaper than a Starbucks coffee.

    This is where I think you still missed my point.
    Let's say you write a program that "experiences pain". What will you write exactly? That the program will try to avoid certain situations? Is that the same as "experiencing pain"? clearly that wouldn't be enough.

    Even if you were to write a sentient program (And disclaimer: I believe this is possible), how could you ever be sure that the program is "experiencing pain" in the same sense that I am. You could never be sure of what the "experience" from the program's perspective is.

    I repeat what I said: the experience of pain, as other human experiences, is irreducibly attached to a unique point of view. This is why also this is not a question of language. This is not a question of how you communicate. It's a question of point of view.

    Having an experience is not the same thing as having knowledge. Having knowledge doesn't imply that you have the experience.

    Even if this were not true, even if the "experience" of pain could not be described by language or understood by the rational mind, does not mean that there exists anything "supernatural" or beyond nature [...]

    Well... it means just that human experiences are beyond the scope of scientific knowledge. Once you admit it true for pain, you will see it is true as well for pleasures, and in fact the complete range of human experiences. We live in a world made of these experiences.

    [...] and therefore would not give any credence to "spiritual" experiences or religions.

    We also know some people have spiritual experiences. Can we say they are not real?
    Define real.

    If someone has an experience, in what sense could you say "it is real", "it is not real"?
    It is real for this person, in the same sense that pain is real, is it not?

  19. rooemoore


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    24   6:00pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    John Bailo says

    Dawkins is smart on the Woody Allen sophomoric level of sophistication.

    The arguments are those made are those that you come upon as an undergrad and then sit, dazzled, by their brilliance, yet not aware enough to imagine they have been propounded, and argued, many times before.

    As such, like Hawking, he is a darling of the Middlebrows.

    Bailo - now I know where I've seen you before! I didn't realize you were a professor.

  20. Dan8267


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    25   6:39pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Heraclitusstudent says

    It's a simple observation: there currently exists no scientific theory that explains why there is something instead of nothing

    1. In 1800, there was no scientific theory that explained why the sun shown. That doesn't mean in the future, there won't be.
    2. The lack of theory as to why there isn't just nothing is hardly a justification that "spirituality" has any merit.
    3. A thing is held together by its opposite. In order for nothing to exist, it's opposite, something, must exist. That is why there is something instead of nothing.
    4. http://www.amazon.com/Universe-Nothing-There-Something-Rather/dp/145162445X

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Absolutely not. This is a simple observation that the nature of the universe is certainly not revealed by listing quantitative patterns verified in this universe.

    I have given the reason why we can discredit infinite regression of causality. Feel free to argue the reason, but don't ignore it or the discredit stands.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    I have many simple reasons to believe that there is no explanation for the existence of the universe as a whole.

    Here is one more: To seek an explanation is ultimately to seek a cause. And physical causes by nature are part of the universe. Therefore you can't find a physical cause to the existence of the universe because this cause would be 'in' the universe.

    I disagree with the premise that to seek an explanation for the universe is to seek a cause of the universe. Causality, by the layman's definition, requires linear time. A cause must precede its effect. Our notion of linear, infinite time breaks down at singularities and therefore the concept of causality does as well. Asking what occurred one second before the Big Bang is like asking what is located one mile north of the north pole. It is a meaningless question. This does not mean that the universe itself isn't intelligible and understandable, only that notions serving the evolution of creatures on Earth aren't necessarily sufficient.

    To state that there can be no explanation is a far stronger statement.

    And even if I did buy that there can be no explanation, that still does not justify the belief in supernatural entities as such things are simply lame attempts at explaining things anyway.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Agreed. So what? So far I claimed human experience could not be explained by science or discarded as a delusion, and I claimed the laws of physics provide no explanation for the universe outside a superficial level. If you want to debate, at least answer my points.

    I will gladly debate your points, however, you must make them clear. I am doing my best to discern exactly what those points are. It is the responsibility of the writer to clarify his own points. You may assume that I will sincerely work towards understanding what your points are regardless of whether or not I agree with them.

    As for the claim that human experience cannot be explained by science, I challenge you to give one example which, in principle, cannot be explained rationally and naturally. I'm not asking for an example of something yet unexplained, but something that cannot be explained. And please, explain why that is unexplainable, if doing so is possible.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Let's say you write a program that "experiences pain". What will you write exactly? That the program will try to avoid certain situations? Is that the same as "experiencing pain"? clearly that wouldn't be enough.

    If human beings "experience pain" by some criteria X that you provide, it is clearly possible to write software that "experiences pain" by criteria X when executed by hardware. This is empirically true since the human brain is a neural network built by genetic instructions.

    Furthermore, any physical neural network can be represented by a virtual neural network executed by a sufficient Turing Machine. [As a side note, the converse of this statement is also true. Any Turing Machine can be executed by a sufficient neural network simulating that machine.] Therefore, anything the human brain, one particular example of a neural network, can experience, so too could a virtual human brain on a cluster of computers.

    By logical extension, any "sentience" experience by human beings according to some criteria Y you provide could also be met by a Turing Machine executing a virtual neural network. This is simply a cold, hard fact.

  21. Dan8267


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    26   6:39pm Tue 30 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Even if you were to write a sentient program (And disclaimer: I believe this is possible), how could you ever be sure that the program is "experiencing pain" in the same sense that I am. You could never be sure of what the "experience" from the program's perspective is.

    How can you be sure, or even "confident", that anyone "experiences" the color blue like you do? In order to address such issues, you have to understand what color is and how it works. I happen to do so because it's relevant to what I do for a living, and I'm damn good at what I do for a living. I understand the differences in the experiences of color among monochrome, bichrome, and trichrome species. What enables me to understand this is a deep understanding of the mathematics, physics, biology, and neural science involved in sight. I can explain how our ancestors transitioned from bichrome to trichrome (a very interesting story) and how the brain used interpolation to compensate for the additional dimension, which is where we get the color pink. I can also show you how we, as a species, appear to be in the transition from 3D color to 4D color and how the brain might make such an adjustment. These things are understandable.

    And it is because these things are understandable that we can understand how other species would see things even if they are different from our own experiences.

    In fact, I have no problem imagining five dimensional graphs or playing six dimensional tic-tac-toe. You just have to open your mind to the experience.

    A side note: Not to be picky, but just to clarify to others listening in on this conversation… Of course, the "program" isn't sentient. It is the execution of the program that produces the emergent property we call sentience. A print-out of the source code is no more going to be "sentient" than a DNA chart is a life form.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    I repeat what I said: the experience of pain, as other human experiences, is irreducibly attached to a unique point of view.

    Ah, but no point of view is unique. If I take a collection of atoms and arrange them, one by one, to form an exact copy of your body, including your brain, then I have recreated you as a person with all the shared experiences.

    Furthermore, I don't even need to do this in actual reality. I could do it in virtual reality, in principle if not in practice today, and I would have achieved the same goal. I could create as many duplicates of you as I wanted. There is nothing unique about your point of view.

    Once I reconstructed you virtually, I could trace through the reactions of your virtual brain to stimulus and understand exactly why you do everything you do.

    And here's the kicker. You're actually body, including your brain, is composed entirely of atoms which do nothing but obey the laws of physics. As such, your actual self has no more free real than your virtual copies. Sure, both are equally complex decision making machines, but neither deviates from the laws of physics. Everything you have ever done or will ever do has already been determined, regardless of the flawed Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics.

    Humbling, isn't it? Yet, people call me arrogant when I believe the above statement apply to me and everyone else just as much as they do to you.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Having an experience is not the same thing as having knowledge. Having knowledge doesn't imply that you have the experience.

    Semantics. Those virtual copies of you didn't have the experiences of your life, but as far as they are concerned, they did. Even more importantly, you didn't have the experiences you think you had. How many of the atoms in your body need to be replaced by equivalent atoms (hydrogen for hydrogen, carbon for carbon) for you to be a different person? If the answer is that it doesn't matter, then why shouldn't an atom-by-atom copy of you, or for that matter a virtual copy of you, be as much you as you are?

    Heck, if I take your body, and replace every atom, one by one, with an equivalent atom while using the replaced atoms to construct a copy of your body, which is the original? Is it even a meaningful question?

    Heraclitusstudent says

    This doesn't mean spirituality doesn't make sense and should be rejected as "delusion"

    Heraclitusstudent says

    We also know some people have spiritual experiences. Can we say they are not real?

    Define real.

    OK, this seems to be the heart of the discussion.

    If I think I am Napoleon and I invaded Russia, that doesn't make it real. Real is what has actually happened.

    The real question is, what do you mean by "spiritual"? I have been using the term as it is used colloquially, to mean something supernatural like a "god experience".

    When people talk about having a spiritual experience, what they should be saying is that they had an emotional experience. Even if it was life-changing, the experience was natural, not supernatural. As, thunderlips11 pointed out, even the experience of "feeling god's presence" can be induced by the gold helmet. Everything that people attribute to a "supernatural" experience occurs entirely in the brain. It is not a supernatural experience, but rather a natural one, and as such is fully subject to scientific and natural explanation.

    Now, if you want to define "spirituality" for the sake of making a proposition, you are free to do so. However, I am free to point out if your definition of spirituality has no bearing on what everyone else is using the term to describe. Hell, if you define "god" as a four legged animal often kept as pets by humans, then I am no atheist by that definition. However, that doesn't mean I'll accept the existence of what other people call god.

    Finally, I propose that mysticism, even in the absence of religion, is still a bad thing and a lie. Naturalism, the acceptance of verifiable natural explanations, is a far better and more useful philosophy.

  22. rooemoore


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    Dan8267 says

    Finally, I propose that mysticism, even in the absence of religion, is still a bad thing and a lie. Naturalism, the acceptance of verifiable natural explanations, is a far better and more useful philosophy.

    Game. Set. Match.

  23. Heraclitusstudent


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    Dan8267 says

    I disagree with the premise that to seek an explanation for the universe is to seek a cause of the universe. Causality, by the layman's definition, requires linear time. A cause must precede its effect. Our notion of linear, infinite time breaks down at singularities and therefore the concept of causality does as well. Asking what occurred one second before the Big Bang is like asking what is located one mile north of the north pole. It is a meaningless question. This does not mean that the universe itself isn't intelligible and understandable, only that notions serving the evolution of creatures on Earth aren't necessarily sufficient.

    I think you just established that there is no cause to the big bang in the traditional sense of cause and the question of its cause is in fact meaningless.

    And as to whether causes are necessary for 'understanding': obviously if events happened without cause we wouldn't have a very good understanding of these event.

    All we know of the big bang is that it happened. As to why the universe was condensed in one point...there is no why, no cause and no understanding. And contrary to your optimistic notions, it's not a question of more science and more inquiry, it's simply that there are things that are beyond our brains.

    You seem to in fact agree that our brains may not be sufficiently evolved to understand some notions. But this goes well beyond the question of evolution. We understand causal things because our brains are based on matter that acts causally too and can simulate physical states. When things are not causal, logic doesn't apply, deductions are useless, the whole edifice of human reasoning collapses. Questions like "why is there something instead of nothing?" simply are beyond reasoning for humans. (In spite of people generously selling books about the matter).

    I brought this question simply to show that your idea that "we can understand anything with enough inquiry is way too optimistic. You may not agree but there are strong reasons to think this is not the case.

    In any case I'm not trying to claim that God created the big bang, simply that there are things beyond our understanding and I stick to that.

  24. Heraclitusstudent


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    Dan8267 says

    Ah, but no point of view is unique. If I take a collection of atoms and arrange them, one by one, to form an exact copy of your body, including your brain, then I have recreated you as a person with all the shared experiences.

    If you did that you would create a copy of me with my memories but it's current experience from the moment you activate it would be different. You would create a different person with a different experience. Once again the experience cannot be detached.

    Dan8267 says

    Having an experience is not the same thing as having knowledge. Having knowledge doesn't imply that you have the experience.

    Semantics. Those virtual copies of you didn't have the experiences of your life, but as far as they are concerned, they did.

    This is not semantics. This is the heart of the question: observing a color is one thing, understanding color perception is something totally different. You may have a raw understanding of how a cat perceives red, it doesn't mean that you have the experience this cat is having.

    If you don't see the difference then there is nothing I can do for you.

    Having the experience of the cat is beyond the scope of science. It cannot be extracted from the cat.

  25. Heraclitusstudent


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    Dan8267 says

    If I think I am Napoleon and I invaded Russia, that doesn't make it real. Real is what has actually happened.

    Saying that you think you are Napoleon doesn't mean you have the experience of being Napoleon. Sorry, you can't have an experience that you know you don't have simply by claiming you have it or imagining it.

    And for these people who truly have an experience, again, how do you claim it's not real?
    If Buddha claimed he vanquished pain, how do you know he didn't?

    Dan8267 says

    The real question is, what do you mean by "spiritual"? I have been using the term as it is used colloquially, to mean something supernatural like a "god experience".

    I mean what people usually mean by it.

    And it comes down to psychology. But it doesn't mean it is *just* psychology as in an idiosyncrasy of the brain. You can call that *emotional* if you want, but it is all encompassing. Everything in our lives we experience through psychology. The question ultimately is how do you live your life, how do you experience it.

    Dan8267 says

    Finally, I propose that mysticism, even in the absence of religion, is still a bad thing and a lie. Naturalism, the acceptance of verifiable natural explanations, is a far better and more useful philosophy.

    You are still trying to frame this as a question of explaining the outside world. It is not. Science is there to explain the world. I don't need mysticism for that. The mind is there for that. But the brain is only one organ and life is a full body experience. Before saying spirituality is a bad thing you should at least understand what it is.

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    Heraclitusstudent says

    The feeling of pain is irremediably attached to the point of view of one person and cannot be separated from this point of view. The same goes for almost everything in life: our taste of food, sex, the feeling of the sun on the skin, etc, etc... Our whole experience as human being escapes the scope of science.

    I think pain is universal. That particular degree of pain in the particular person and whether they react by going "Argh" or "Ugh" may be unique to that person, but the general concept is the same in everybody.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    And as far as other realities... define real.

    If you experience it, is it real?

    Or is it exclusively real if you can explain it as something outside your brain?

    How does one falsify the proposition that reality exists only in one's brain? If it cannot be conceivably falsified, then how can it conceivably be true.

    Also, I'll claim the burden of proof applies to the position that the brain encompasses reality. That the idea of reality existing only in our minds and the outside world is not proven to exist adds a great deal of complexity to what is apparently happening: how humans communicate and react to each other, the march and progress of science over time, the universality of physical laws, etc.

    I think it's safe to assume the world is real outside of the brain, and continue on the basis that reality-in-the-brain-only is a more complicated explanation and extraordinary to boot, that it requires extraordinary evidence to be considered.

    In fact just putting it that way is bizarre. If only the mind exists, and I don't come up with the evidence, who besides me is proving or disproving anything?

    Also, I think there is a "This is not a Pipe" business going on with the "Mind is Reality" proposition. Confusing our feedback and interpretation of the world using the brain, for reality itself. The instrument for the representation, the concrete for the abstraction.

    Anybody ever play Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri?

  27. Heraclitusstudent


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    thunderlips11 says

    I think it's safe to assume the world is real outside of the brain, and continue on the basis that reality-in-the-brain-only is a more complicated explanation and extraordinary to boot, that it requires extraordinary evidence to be considered.

    I agree that there is a reality outside our brain that is shared with other people. Otherwise I wouldn't be talking to you now would I? :-)

    It is not incompatible with the assertion that everything we experience, we experience through the brain. Part of what we experience is just an echo of the outside world through the senses. But part of the experience is created by the brain. This is the case for pain in particular. There is nothing in the outside world called pain that we can observe.

    I didn't say either that the brain encompasses every aspect of the outside world. But it encompasses every aspect of *our* reality as we experience it. I think we will agree this is the case, unless you can find something that you experience outside the brain.

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    thunderlips11 says

    I think pain is universal. That particular degree of pain in the particular person and whether they react by going "Argh" or "Ugh" may be unique to that person, but the general concept is the same in everybody.

    You can reasonably assume that other people experience pain as something close as what you experience with pain.
    Is it the same as experiencing pain yourself?

    No it is not.
    Knowledge is not experience. And experience cannot be described as knowledge, as in something that can be written in a book. Either you have it, or you don't.

  29. Dan8267


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    Heraclitusstudent says

    If you did that you would create a copy of me with my memories but it's current experience from the moment you activate it would be different. You would create a different person with a different experience. Once again the experience cannot be detached.

    The fact that the experiences of the copy and yours would diverge when subject to different environments is irrelevant. The point remains that his "experiences" at that moment would be indistinguishable from yours.

    Furthermore, we could expand the scope to not only copy you but also your environment for say, 80 light-years. If I copy everything in your light-cone for up to 80 years, then every copy of you would behave in exactly the same way you do and will die in the same manner in the same minute. Once again, free will is an illusion. There is nothing other than nature.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    observing a color is one thing, understanding color perception is something totally different.

    Irrelevant. No one has made a claim contradicting this.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    You may have a raw understanding of how a cat perceives red, it doesn't mean that you have the experience this cat is having.

    Also irrelevant. No one has made a claim contradicting this either. The claim I made is that one can understand what the cat is experiencing, not that one's mind will have the same emotional response as a cat. The claim that you have been attempting to refute is whether or not the experience of the cat can be understood without resorting to mystical bullshit. Of course, it can. It can be understood in purely natural terms.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    If you don't see the difference then there is nothing I can do for you.

    For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.

    Sounds great, doesn't it? It's still bullshit. This lie was made popular by a movie about Bernadette Soubirous, a mentally ill peasant girl having delusions about seeing the virgin mother of Jesus. At first the Catholic Church, considering this loon to be a threat, attacked her. Later, the Church realized its political power was best served by co-opting her story and controlling it. Soubirous was used as a pawn to increase Church prestige. She died at 35, her life nothing but a lie to serve a corrupt power structure.

    At the end of the movie, to cater to the religious, the quote "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible." is used to basically say, "If you think this is bullshit, you're wrong but we can't prove it, so we'll imply that it's your failing for not accepting our assertions.".

    Essentially, you have done the same here.

    I can guarantee you that there is nothing meaningful you can say that I cannot understand should you say it in a clear manner. If I don't accept one of your arguments, it is because you have not sufficiently supported it or answered the counter-arguments I or others have levied against it.

    You want to know the difference between software development and philosophy? Philosophers will bullshit for thousands of years being wrong about everything and no one is the wiser. When a developer is wrong, he gets a core dump, an access violation, a blue screen of death, or a null pointer reference exception in a millisecond, which is about as subtle as being hit on the head with a fifty pound giant purple dildo. Software engineers, unlike philosophers, don't have the luxury of remaining ignorant of their mistakes for years or millennia.

  30. Dan8267


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    Heraclitusstudent says

    And for these people who truly have an experience, again, how do you claim it's not real?

    If Buddha claimed he vanquished pain, how do you know he didn't?

    I can kick him in the nuts.

    All religious miracles are subject to scientific analysis. Catholics believe and are taught by church doctrine that the Eucharist literally becomes the body and blood of Christ. I think NCIS has a test for that.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Everything in our lives we experience through psychology.

    Psychology is a natural study. It has nothing to do with spirituality. The mind is the brain. There is nothing about the mind that exists outside the brain. The mind is natural, not supernatural, and so are all psychological experiences.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    You are still trying to frame this as a question of explaining the outside world. It is not. Science is there to explain the world. I don't need mysticism for that. The mind is there for that. But the brain is only one organ and life is a full body experience. Before saying spirituality is a bad thing you should at least understand what it is.

    Your brain is part of the natural universe and subject to all the laws of physics just like any other part of the universe. Science is the one and only effective way of studying the universe including your brain. Hell, there is a science devoted solely to that organ. It's called neuroscience. And yes, it's a natural, not supernatural, study. Neuroscience explains how the brain works using electrical signals, chemical reactions, and other physical, verifiable phenomenon. Just because this science is in its infancy doesn't mean there is any room for spirituality.

    The spiritual explanation for mental disorders is "Demons have infected this child!" and the cure is called exorcism.

    Are you seriously telling me that I should have as much respect for this exorcist as I have for a neuroscientist? Are you claiming that this woman is better off under the exorcist 's care than under the care of modern medicine? This is not an academic question. My mother has Alzheimer's. I'm not going to take her to an exorcist, and I'm not going to pray for her to get better. I'm going to support the Obama brain mapping initiative because that shit can actually help my mother, and if not her, then at least future generations of the elderly who suffer from this terrible disease. An ounce of science is worth more than an infinitude of spirituality.

    Yes, "spirituality" is bad. The belief that our experiences come from supernatural entities rather than natural causes has held back the advancement of science for over a thousand years. We would literally be one thousand years more advanced if it weren't for the Dark Ages alone, the hole left by Christianity, just one spiritual institution. If it wasn't for this hole, Alzheimer's would already be cured.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    But it encompasses every aspect of *our* reality as we experience it.

    There is only one reality. Despite what marketing people will tell you, reality is not perception. Anyone can have his own opinions, just not his own facts. Facts are either correct or incorrect.

    Why do philosophical debates always end up sounding like this?

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    36   3:12pm Wed 1 May 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    Dan8267 says

    The fact that the experiences of the copy and yours would diverge when subject to different environments is irrelevant. The point remains that his "experiences" at that moment would be indistinguishable from yours.

    Are you saying that I would perceive through the eyes of this "clone"?
    Are you saying it would experience pain when I do, or I would experience pleasure when it eats?
    Obviously I would not have its perceptions and it would not have mine. It would be a separate person in separate position having separate experiences.

    The same if you would copy 80 light years of universe for 80 years. Separate solar system, separate person and separate experience. Doesn't change anything. Just because it duplicates mine is irrelevant, it wouldn't be mine.

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    37   3:33pm Wed 1 May 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (2)  

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Are you saying that I would perceive through the eyes of this "clone"?

    Are you saying it would experience pain when I do, or I would experience pleasure when it eats?

    No, the point was that the copy's experience would be identical to yours, a point that you have not refuted.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    The same if you would copy 80 light years of universe for 80 years. Separate solar system, separate person and separate experience. Doesn't change anything. Just because it duplicates mine is irrelevant, it wouldn't be mine.

    The point is that the decisions you and your copy makes would be the same. You would not deviate in decision making if the environments were identical. Hence, your behavior is deterministic and free will does not exist.

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    Dan8267 says

    Heraclitusstudent says

    You may have a raw understanding of how a cat perceives red, it doesn't mean that you have the experience this cat is having.

    Also irrelevant. No one has made a claim contradicting this either. The claim I made is that one can understand what the cat is experiencing, not that one's mind will have the same emotional response as a cat. The claim that you have been attempting to refute is whether or not the experience of the cat can be understood without resorting to mystical bullshit. Of course, it can. It can be understood in purely natural terms.

    Nope, you still missed my point. This is not irrelevant, it's the whole point I've been making since the beginning of this thread.

    Look, when you go to the restaurant, do you:

    - (A) analyze the exact chemical composition of the food, understand the exact mathematics, physics, biology, and neural science involved in the tasting of food, and leave the restaurant without eating satisfied for yourself?

    - (B) create a clone of yourself, give him the food, and leave the restaurant without eating?

    - (C) eat the damn food and enjoy it?

    If you answer (A) or (B), I'm sorry something is very wrong with you.
    If you say that in (A) or (B) you actually understood the experience of the food, so you didn't need to eat it, then something is wrong with you.
    If you say the difference between (A) and (C) is just semantic, or irrelevant because (C) can be explained without loss of information from (A), then something is very wrong with you.

    Dan8267 says

    Software engineers, unlike philosophers, don't have the luxury of remaining ignorant of their mistakes for years or millennia.

    Yes. In fact I'm a software engineer too, and I thought like you before I spent a long time thinking about it.
    I'm stating a fact, that should be obvious, that experiencing pain, color or food is something different than reading about these experiences in a book. And I made no claim that violates any known laws of physics.
    But all I'm getting is patronizing about how mysticism and spirituality are bad by someone is not making an honest attempt to understand what I'm talking about.

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    39   4:05pm Wed 1 May 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Nope, you still missed my point.

    If we keep missing each other points then it sounds like we're arguing about nothing but silly semantics. Either stake out specific, precise ground or there's really no purpose to continuing this conversation.

    The original post of this thread states that we can have a high degree of confidence in the Scientific Method because it freaking works as oppose to superstition which does not. My only positions in this thread have been that the original post is right and that the universe is intelligible. If you don't disagree with that, then why are you arguing with me?

    Every specific comment of yours that I countered, I gave precise and clear reason why the statement was wrong. If those counter-arguments miss the point, then you need to clarify exactly what your thesis is and what the fuck it has to do with this thread.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Yes. In fact I'm a software engineer too, and I thought like you before I spent a long time thinking about it.

    It's amazing that whenever someone with a girl's name and a pretty photo says "I like firemen, they are so brave." in a chat room, all of a sudden, every guy in the chat room is a fireman.

    But let me see if I'm interpreting what you are really saying. You used to think like me, but you thought about the subject matter, and now you don't; therefore, clearly I am wrong even though you can't even tell me what we are disagreeing about.

    Well, honey, that's just bullshit.

    1. I've thought about metaphysics a lot too, dear.

    2. Coming to the correct answer isn't a function of how long you think about a problem. You can keep thinking along the wrong lines indefinitely, so the amount of time you spend on a problem doesn't indicate how close you are to solving it.

    3. You clearly did not "use to think like me" when you clearly don't understand what I've written.

    4. Even if you did "think like me" -- whatever that means -- and no longer do so, it doesn't mean you've moved in the right direction.

    So cut the conceit. Like the guy said to the bomb, it doesn't matter where the concept originates.

    Heraclitusstudent says

    But all I'm getting is patronizing about how mysticism and spirituality are bad by someone is not making an honest attempt to understand what I'm talking about.

    I have been nothing but honest and sincere in my arguments and I have made the utmost attempt to understand everything you have said regardless of whether or not I agree with it. So you have just painted yourself in a corner with such an asinine statement. Either you are a complete idiot for not seeing that I have bent over backwards to give every possible due diligence in understanding your arguments, or you are a liar. And I don't know which is worse.

    Still, it's not too late, as long as you don't double down on stupidity like most people do. You can still save face by saying something like
    I'm sorry. I made unfounded assumptions about you and why you wrote the things you did. Going back over them, I realize that you addressed every specific point I made, and although I do not agree with much of what you said, I can now clearly see that there was thoughtful analysis your writing.

    [Side note: I'm taking bets that he'll still double down on stupidity.]

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    40   7:40pm Wed 1 May 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    If you want to be an arrogant jerk, fine, let's end this conversation.

  36. thunderlips11


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    Heraclitusstudent says

    Knowledge is not experience. And experience cannot be described as knowledge, as in something that can be written in a book. Either you have it, or you don't.

    This is where I get confused.

    If I put my finger on a hot stove and burn myself every time I do it, I am gathering information, albeit in a painful way. After a while, even the dimmest bulb will perceive that hot stoves are hot, and touching them is a painful process.

    Therefore, knowledge can come from experience.

    I can also observe other people touching hot stoves and burning themselves just like I did, and reacting in similar ways. Even if I never personally touched the hot stove, I can reasonably gain the knowledge that stoves are painful when hot to people.

    Therefore, knowledge can come from others' experiences.

    So while I may not have the exact experience to the letter, I can certainly use it to know things, even if the experience happens to others. Subject to verification of course - Travis Walton on TV claiming he was beamed aboard a UFO in a NM Desert is not the same as seeing my wife grab a hot pan handle and yell "OWWW".

    We can't use people's experiences to increase knowledge? The scientist in the God Helmet is doing just that - he's evaluating person after person, getting them to describe their experiences to him. He's noting that almost everybody has the same basic experience, and he's concluding that stimulating this part of the brain makes people fantasize they are being "visited" by various other worldy entities - aliens, angels, dead ancestors, etc.

    Is Dorje Shugden a malevolent or benign presence? It depends on, the day you have an electrical storm in the brain, if you ate breakfast or not; if you ate pepperoni before falling asleep and dreaming. Then people go argue and make political-theological alliances and even engage in violence over it.

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    42   11:54am Thu 2 May 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    thunderlips11 says

    Even if I never personally touched the hot stove, I can reasonably gain the knowledge that stoves are painful when hot to people.

    I agree that knowledge can come from others people experience.

    So let's say you read a scientific paper that says that when people put their hand on a hot stove they will feel pain, and also give a description of the pain (as good as one can make it), including what nerves, neurons are involved, etc...

    Now when you read that paper, is it the same as having the experience of pain yourself?

    No. You don't feel pain by reading a paper.

    When you read a paper (or otherwise obtain knowledge from other people) this information goes in one part of your brain circuitry, let's call it [conscious intellect].

    When you have the experience of pain yourself, a different circuitry of your brain is activated, let's call it [pain experience generator].

    1 - Do we agree that they are different?
    2 - Do further agree that any knowledge about pain coming to you, could activate only your [conscious intellect], and not your [pain experience generator]?
    3 - Do we agree that as a result there is no way to capture the experience caused by the [pain experience generator] of person A and inject it in the [pain experience generator] of person B? All you can do is send a description of person A [pain experience generator] to person B's [conscious intellect].

    The distinction may seem trivial, but it opens an entire world. It makes you realize that even if you have a perfect scientific description of the world it will not go further than your [conscious intellect]. This is not how you actually experience the world. The world comes to you in your various [experience generators]. Scientific descriptions of this or that are pretty much irrelevant as far as how you experience life.

    You can explain exactly what part of the brain is activated with the God helmet and why. But if people have this experience in their lives as normal human beings (without helmets), and if this experience impacts them, then why should they ignore it? You could claim it is not "real" as a part of the physical world, but it is *real* for them as they experience it.

    On the other side of this argument, I'm not claiming that there is something supernatural at work here. I just don't need to.

  38. Dan8267


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    43   12:13pm Thu 2 May 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    thunderlips11 says

    This is where I get confused.

    If you can translate what the hell he's trying to saw, please do so. As best as I can tell, he's arguing nothing for the sake of arguing. If there are practical, ethical, or moral implications of anything he's postulating that would be different, but it seems like philosophical masturbation, all fluff, no substance. Perhaps you can do better with him than I can.

  39. Automan Empire


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    44   1:29pm Thu 2 May 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    It's like trying to tell a stranger about rock and roll.

    The movie Contact is a good treatment of science versus faith, and convincing skeptical others of a new explanation of reality, with only their own subjective experience as proof.

    How to define and understand "reality" when everyone's experience is inherently subjective? My best working explanation is, "that which exists, independent of human notions or beliefs about it." Think of the parable of three blind men examining and defining an elephant, and the reality of the elephant versus their subjective experience thereof.

  40. freak80


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    45   7:52am Wed 24 Jul 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Dan8267 says

    If you can translate what the hell he's trying to saw, please do so.

    I think what heraclitusstudent saying is very simple: there's a difference between observing the reaction of others to touching a hot stove and feeling the pain for yourself. Right?

    It's that age-old philosophical problem of wondering whether my subjective experiences actually correspond to an objective reality. It's where scary ideas like Plato's Cave, solipsism and simulated-reality come from.

    Reaching for my Clonazepam...

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