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DoctorOfSpace
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18 Jul 2017 11:06

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post I don't think dualism in its general sense can be proved false.  Rather, it cannot be falsified, which is why it isn't science or a defensible model of reality.


That depends on which way someone is proposing dualism.  If they are going the scientific route as an idea they wish to propose through study, you can safely come to a conclusion that it is 99.99% improbable.  If they go the faith based route then I fall back on my materialist views.  I look at unfalsifiable claims in the same way I look at flawed and incorrect hypotheses, if it doesn't have the evidence to support it then it most likely is not true.

To me, if something cannot be backed up by evidence and is only supported by how someone feels or what they believe then it has been reliably disproven.

Marko S. wrote:
Source of the post What if soul is in fact physical thing? You know how some people had 'out of body' experience. When they would see themselves just laying.


That could just be a hallucination the brain creates after regaining consciousness and filling blanks.  Alternatively, and a bit more on the weirder side of things, the brain is still a mystery and it may be possible for it to build these complex models of reality by combining data from other senses if sight is not available.

Spacer wrote:
Source of the post souls existence will break physics laws don't them?


Don't know of anything in the laws of physics that would prohibit a cloud of conscious gas, it just seems like an extra step to explain consciousness that isn't required.  Can't think of anything that forbids an extra dimension comprised of pure consciousness either, but as far as the evidence goes none of this is required to explain what we observe so it falls into the unneeded category.  

Spacer wrote:
Source of the post why would humans have souls but animals don't?


That comes from the old anthropocentric idea that humans are somehow special.  There are plenty of religions where all things have souls, including plants and some of these religions are far older than the Judeo-Christian religions.

midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post For instance, if a test subject is asked to consider something and make a decision, and we measure the brain activity and consistently find that the decisive activity happened well before the subject himself or herself think he or she made the decision, then our thoughts and consciousness can't be quite what we think they are.


Those experiments were not accurate 100% of the time.  In fact there were instances where the frontal lobe of the brain did override choices made before the person was aware.  One could argue there is some semblance of "free will" or at least a greater ability to human choice.  At this point however I still fall under the determinism side of things, tomorrow is just as real as today, so the choices I make today are determined to guarantee tomorrow is tomorrow.  Just because a system has a billion billion little moving parts doesn't make it any less determined than a clock with only 5 gears.

midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post then our thoughts and consciousness can't be quite what we think they are.


If you haven't watched it I recommend the show Westworld, they had a pretty decent scene on that

spoiler tagged just in case
► Show Spoiler
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18 Jul 2017 13:34

DoctorOfSpace wrote:
Source of the post There are plenty of religions where all things have souls, including plants and some of these religions are far older than the Judeo-Christian religions.

This seems to be supported even by the Indo-European languages.  There is good evidence that in pre IE times (more than 6000 years ago) the language strictly distinguished between animate (live) and inanimate (dead) objects.  The remnants of this division are still seen as the neuter gender in many modern languages (originally denoting inanimate things), and the masculine gender (animate objects), whereas the feminine gender seems to have been formed from the neuter plural to create a generalised or more abstract concept based on the neuter plural (like Latin opera "work" from opus "piece of work").  Also, the nominative and accusative forms of neuter nouns are still identical in all languages that haven't lost these cases, which makes sense since inanimate or dead objects usually don't act.

Also, the brain as the seat for the consciousness or the soul is a fairly recent idea.  In antiquity the seat was the chest: the lungs or sometimes the heart.  Latin "spiritus" and "animus", fairly synonymic and both meaning "soul" or "mind", are also words for "breath".
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18 Jul 2017 15:11

In judaism beliefe when you fall asleep part of your soul leaves and part of your soul stay in your body so you will stay alive.
in this beliefe the part of the soul that leave your body, travels and thats the source for your dreams, and then when you wake up, the part of the soul that leave return to the body.
there is religious people here that when they wake up they pray and say: "I offer thanks before you, living and eternal King (god), for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great."

DoctorOfSpace wrote:
Source of the post Don't know of anything in the laws of physics that would prohibit a cloud of conscious gas, it just seems like an extra step to explain consciousness that isn't required.  Can't think of anything that forbids an extra dimension comprised of pure consciousness either, but as far as the evidence goes none of this is required to explain what we observe so it falls into the unneeded category.  

lot of people believe that souls have no physical shape. something that cannot be seen or measured. i think that if it was a physical gas (particles) we would observe it allready
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18 Jul 2017 15:24

People tend to think of themselves like a car with a driver sitting somewhere behind the eyes at the wheel, steering all of our senses and decisions. We then call this driver "consciousness". The thing is, it is a notion modelled after our own disillusioned awareness of the world where we apply mechanics to something who's nature is anything but mechanical (that is simply how we interpret the idea, much like people do with the notion of God as a man in the sky judging people, a view based on the monarchical eras of civilization from whence we imagined from).

I tend to wonder though if this isn't the state of affairs at all here, this purely mechanical, thus quite limiting, perception of who we are... Afterall, we know that we all GREW out of the same source of energy, not assembled (made), and so, what do you think that would that say about what the true nature of who we are really is? If we're all just projections out of a macro-mono-singularity of what we call "energy", wouldn't that mean that where we think we are separated, we actually are not?

In a video game, you have the player playing as a character. But the character, seemingly an object inside the game, at the most fundamental level is just as much the game itself as anything else in the game. It is the game the player is playing before conceiving that they are simply playing a character. The character's "soul", then would not be something isolated within the virtual representation of the character, but rather, as the very base programming of the entire game itself. 

So, I find myself pondering if this idea of a soul (and of "consciousness" is an inversion of the traditional sense. Perhaps we are not bags of flesh with auras of isolated spirits inside driving us like cars, but rather, we are manifestations of a macro-event grown as simply a feature from the universe. As Alan Watts as suggested, we do not come "into" this world, we are grown "out of it", like an apple grows from a tree. If I point toward a tree with apples, even if my finger is pointed in the general direction of where a single apple hangs, I am still pointing at the tree itself in the end. The tree is "apple-ing" as the Earth is "people-ing".

So perhaps consciousness is what the universe is doing rather than what a single entity is doing. What we normally associate as "us" even on the deeper levels of the idea, is more likely to simply be what Carl Jung calls the Ego, or the socially conditioned identity grown from the natural effects of human civilization, just another feature of the "people-ing" on earth.

So who is that really, behind your eyes? Can you really say?

No, I don't think you can... because that would be like expecting the video game character one plays in a video game to suddenly stop being who you play them to be, and start telling everyone else in the video game that they are the player (to which, nobody in the game will possibly be able to respond to in any sense outside of their strict programming from the game itself). In the same way, even if you really do come off it about supposedly being [insert your parentally given name here], there is no context for you to really stop playing as that person really, and be able to live this life in any coherent way. You can be logically aware of the notion, yes, and you can even go through spouts of existential awareness privately in your own experience which will be temporary, but not much else.

That is where I'm at with this idea at this point.
 
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18 Jul 2017 15:57

Spacer wrote:
Source of the post something that cannot be seen or measured. i think that if it was a physical gas (particles) we would observe it allready


Which I also covered in my post. This is just another example of Russell's teapot. The safest assumption at that point is to assume it does not exist. The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence, but when the available evidence contradicts the statement then it is safe to go with the most likely scenario that the belief is wrong.

Proteus wrote:
Source of the post So who is that really, behind your eyes? Can you really say?




Nobody and nothing. One can argue that because you feel something or experience something it is real, but that isn't how reality works. The key point to all of this is, even if consciousness/free will/self are illusions, they are real to us as individuals, we experience reality as if we have them and that is what matters in the end.

I like what Neil deGrasse Tyson had to say on the subject of free will
Being a prisoner of the present, transitioning from the past to the future, I have the illusion of free will, and I am happy to live in that illusion than in the knowledge that I don't
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18 Jul 2017 18:28

midtskogen, thanks, I just wanted to be sure to understood your meaning correctly.  Yeah, absolutely, much of consciousness is illusory, and thinking you made a choice after the choice was already made is a good example.  I once heard an apt description of conscious will as "your brain's way of estimating what it thinks it did."  Another good example is response to stimuli like immediate threats to your person.  Your reaction can occur before you are even aware of it.

The thing about consciousness is that it is clearly useful, but it is slow, resource-intensive, and many tasks can be carried out more efficiently unconsciously.  

Physicists are well aware of this.  Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to stop thinking about the problem.  Do something else and let your unconscious mind mull it over for a while.  And not just for physicists, but mathematicians, musicians, writers, programmers... anyone who has to think long and hard about a problem or doing creative work.
 
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19 Jul 2017 04:27

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post Physicists are well aware of this.  Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to stop thinking about the problem.  Do something else and let your unconscious mind mull it over for a while.  And not just for physicists, but mathematicians, musicians, writers, programmers... anyone who has to think long and hard about a problem or doing creative work.

Many times I have found solutions in my sleep to a problem I'm working on and not infrequently they are good solutions.
What we call intuition can also be thought of as the unconscious mind at work.
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19 Jul 2017 06:09

DoctorOfSpace wrote:
Spacer wrote:
Source of the post something that cannot be seen or measured. i think that if it was a physical gas (particles) we would observe it allready


Which I also covered in my post. This is just another example of Russell's teapot. The safest assumption at that point is to assume it does not exist. The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence, but when the available evidence contradicts the statement then it is safe to go with the most likely scenario that the belief is wrong.

Proteus wrote:
Source of the post So who is that really, behind your eyes? Can you really say?




Nobody and nothing. One can argue that because you feel something or experience something it is real, but that isn't how reality works. The key point to all of this is, even if consciousness/free will/self are illusions, they are real to us as individuals, we experience reality as if we have them and that is what matters in the end.

I like what Neil deGrasse Tyson had to say on the subject of free will
Being a prisoner of the present, transitioning from the past to the future, I have the illusion of free will, and I am happy to live in that illusion than in the knowledge that I don't


Yes. As we know even scientifically that there is no basic fundamental "stuff" after breaking matter down enough times and thus all we are left with is "energy" which is a happening and not a "thing" I think it's justified to say that physical reality in the realm of conventional human perception is just as much a theory as say, the afterlife. Essentially, there are no "things", only happenings, no nouns, only verbs.

As far as time goes, I don't feel there is a past or future, only the eternal present which, because of our two dimensional perception of memory, we perceive as a linear track of events. So anytime I read the words "for eternity" I read "right now" (as the present is the only part of time that is eternal to us). When I read the words "In heaven" I read "in my own bliss", and when I read "in hell" I simply read "in my own misery". So to be in heaven for eternity means to feel bliss at this time. To "be with God in heaven eternally" to me means "to become aware of the universe beyond the illusion of my physical reality through the ever-present moment and feel bliss". Buddhists call this nirvana. And Hinduism refers to it's as the Atman (the player of the game who mythologically speaking, normally pretends to not be who it is and instead plays as each of us in order to entertain itself).
 
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01 Sep 2017 14:03

DoctorOfSpace wrote:
Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post I don't think dualism in its general sense can be proved false.  Rather, it cannot be falsified, which is why it isn't science or a defensible model of reality.


That depends on which way someone is proposing dualism.  If they are going the scientific route as an idea they wish to propose through study, you can safely come to a conclusion that it is 99.99% improbable.  If they go the faith based route then I fall back on my materialist views.  I look at unfalsifiable claims in the same way I look at flawed and incorrect hypotheses, if it doesn't have the evidence to support it then it most likely is not true.

To me, if something cannot be backed up by evidence and is only supported by how someone feels or what they believe then it has been reliably disproven.

Marko S. wrote:
Source of the post What if soul is in fact physical thing? You know how some people had 'out of body' experience. When they would see themselves just laying.


That could just be a hallucination the brain creates after regaining consciousness and filling blanks.  Alternatively, and a bit more on the weirder side of things, the brain is still a mystery and it may be possible for it to build these complex models of reality by combining data from other senses if sight is not available.

Spacer wrote:
Source of the post souls existence will break physics laws don't them?


Don't know of anything in the laws of physics that would prohibit a cloud of conscious gas, it just seems like an extra step to explain consciousness that isn't required.  Can't think of anything that forbids an extra dimension comprised of pure consciousness either, but as far as the evidence goes none of this is required to explain what we observe so it falls into the unneeded category.  

Spacer wrote:
Source of the post why would humans have souls but animals don't?


That comes from the old anthropocentric idea that humans are somehow special.  There are plenty of religions where all things have souls, including plants and some of these religions are far older than the Judeo-Christian religions.

midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post For instance, if a test subject is asked to consider something and make a decision, and we measure the brain activity and consistently find that the decisive activity happened well before the subject himself or herself think he or she made the decision, then our thoughts and consciousness can't be quite what we think they are.


Those experiments were not accurate 100% of the time.  In fact there were instances where the frontal lobe of the brain did override choices made before the person was aware.  One could argue there is some semblance of "free will" or at least a greater ability to human choice.  At this point however I still fall under the determinism side of things, tomorrow is just as real as today, so the choices I make today are determined to guarantee tomorrow is tomorrow.  Just because a system has a billion billion little moving parts doesn't make it any less determined than a clock with only 5 gears.

midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post then our thoughts and consciousness can't be quite what we think they are.


If you haven't watched it I recommend the show Westworld, they had a pretty decent scene on that

spoiler tagged just in case
► Show Spoiler

Plants actually have some level of sentience, they respond to music and display some level of intelligence in many of their processes.
Actually you can say that the planet itself self-regulates.
 
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01 Sep 2017 14:06

Watsisname wrote:
Marko S. wrote:
Source of the post But, what about teleportation? There has been some talk here about would we be alive if we teleported and be ourselves. Let's say that we teleported. So all of our atoms had to be reasambled in one piece. But as we are ripped apart, that would mean we died. And let's say there is soul and we get our consciousness in some other dimension (like heaven, hell...), but everybody thinks that we are alive because we are in one piece and have functioning body. But what if we aren't even as body alive? Could we then create body without consciousness and still be as alive as any other human? Or as any other animal... Same as creating robot AI, but that would feel like normal human...

There are two ideas of mind at work here: dualism and physicalism.  Physicalism says everything is physical, in principle measurable and functioning according to laws of nature.  Dualism says some aspects of reality are separate from physics and unmeasurable.  E.g. the soul.

If one subscribes to physicalism, then the unavoidable conclusion is that teleportation doesn't kill you even if it rips you apart by the atoms and replaces them with new ones.  Actually, this process is happening to you constantly.  The person on the other side of the teleporter is you because it maintains all the information that your consciousness and sense of self are constructed from.  You are not your atoms but the pattern of the atoms.

If one subscribes to dualism, then they might worry that the person created on the other side of the teleporter actually is not you.  Just someone else who is indistinguishable from you.  You died and are replaced by a mystery person.

There was some good discussion of this subject on the old forum too. :)
http://old.spaceengine.org/forum/23-957 ... 1475737968

I thought dualism was intrinsic to physics?  But not the kind of dualism you are talking about- I mean, matter/antimatter, lefthandedness/righthandedness, positive charge/negative charge, etc.
 
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01 Sep 2017 14:10

Watsisname wrote:
Marko S. wrote:
Source of the post But, what about teleportation? There has been some talk here about would we be alive if we teleported and be ourselves. Let's say that we teleported. So all of our atoms had to be reasambled in one piece. But as we are ripped apart, that would mean we died. And let's say there is soul and we get our consciousness in some other dimension (like heaven, hell...), but everybody thinks that we are alive because we are in one piece and have functioning body. But what if we aren't even as body alive? Could we then create body without consciousness and still be as alive as any other human? Or as any other animal... Same as creating robot AI, but that would feel like normal human...

There are two ideas of mind at work here: dualism and physicalism.  Physicalism says everything is physical, in principle measurable and functioning according to laws of nature.  Dualism says some aspects of reality are separate from physics and unmeasurable.  E.g. the soul.

If one subscribes to physicalism, then the unavoidable conclusion is that teleportation doesn't kill you even if it rips you apart by the atoms and replaces them with new ones.  Actually, this process is happening to you constantly.  The person on the other side of the teleporter is you because it maintains all the information that your consciousness and sense of self are constructed from.  You are not your atoms but the pattern of the atoms.

If one subscribes to dualism, then they might worry that the person created on the other side of the teleporter actually is not you.  Just someone else who is indistinguishable from you.  You died and are replaced by a mystery person.

There was some good discussion of this subject on the old forum too. :)
http://old.spaceengine.org/forum/23-957 ... 1475737968

If teleportation results in the destruction of the original, then it is death either way.  The clone that is created is more like an identical twin.  It might be possible to teleport without destroying the original though.
 
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01 Sep 2017 14:11

DoctorOfSpace wrote:
Spacer wrote:
Source of the post what make a human this human?


As a devout materialist there is a simple explanation for this.

You can only ever be you because you are a product of previous events and current data processing within the brain.  Current neuroscience suggests that consciousness is not some continual "i" but a fluid progression from moment to moment of a new i being constructed from sensory input.  You are no more you from a second ago as you are you from a second from now, the illusion of the continuation of self is just that, an illusion.

what if we someday learn to transplant the brain?
 
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01 Sep 2017 14:13

Watsisname wrote:
Yeah, my thoughts are in line with DoctorOfSpace.  Consciousness is an emergent phenomena from brains trying to model the world in order to understand and interact with it, based on information coming in from the senses.  Dreams are what happen when a conscious brain tries to do the same thing without access to that external information -- the world it constructs is its own, with no basis in or reinforcement from external stimuli.  This makes the dream environment very fluid, surreal, unstable, and not bound by the laws of physics, although the processes occurring in the brain that produce the dream are of course physical.

This is fairly testable.  We can study the neural activity of people during sleep and dream states and figure out some things about what the brain is doing.  We can also see what happens when the brain's ability to correctly model the world is affected, whether by damage or direct stimulation.  A case study I find particularly interesting lies in patients with hemineglect, which I discussed a bit in the science Q&A thread.

Well, I would say that dimensions are also an emergent phenomena.  About consciousness, using this framework you can say that the universe itself has consciousness in how it works.
 
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01 Sep 2017 14:48

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post Plants actually have some level of sentience, they respond to music and display some level of intelligence in many of their processes.

Many plants do clever things, but that can be explained by trivial consequences of evolution.  I'm pretty sure that experiments showing different plant reactions under exposure to various music suffer from small sample sizes!
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01 Sep 2017 15:03

midtskogen wrote:
A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post Plants actually have some level of sentience, they respond to music and display some level of intelligence in many of their processes.

Many plants do clever things, but that can be explained by trivial consequences of evolution.  I'm pretty sure that experiments showing different plant reactions under exposure to various music suffer from small sample sizes!

But human intelligence can also be explained by evolution.  As far as the higher primates are concerned, bonobos, chimps, etc., have some of the same (and also express feelings) as do other animals like elephants which bury their dead and dogs and other animals like parrots.  Even ants have complex social structures and keep aphids as pets they "milk."  Even human being technological structures can be explained by the same network theory that explains how slime molds grow.

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