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  1. Consciousness and Evolution

    Tar; Sharing insights and attempting to find answers to difficult questions is what Philosophy forums are for, so I also wish there were more people interested. When I get an up vote, it means that someone agrees with me, so I start thinking that I am right; but I may not be. When I get a down vote, it means that someone disagrees with me, but I don’t know WHY they disagree. It may be that my information is wrong, or my reasoning and logic are wrong, or they just don’t agree or they dislike my thoughts. So the “click-it squad” is more like an opinion poll that gives no reason for the opinion. This makes it useless in Philosophy because nothing is learned. I am pretty sure that you put the up vote on my post to counter the down vote, which I appreciate. With the two warnings that I already have, a serious accumulation of down votes would shred my reputation to the point where I would lose all credibility. I would have to leave this forum -- as many others have done. Probably, the easiest way to divide them is by what is private and what is shared. Your thoughts, memory, and knowledge are only known to you, and can only be known to me if you choose to share them with me -- this is the first division -- the private division. Your awareness, feelings, and emotions are not private. Awareness works between things, and feelings and emotion are shared physically and materially through your body language and pheromones, and they are shared mentally through your moods, your attitude, and your personality. More than that, they actually work between things, so you can “feel” the atmosphere when you walk into a room where people share an emotion, you can “feel” the life when you walk through a forest, you can “feel” the love or hatred aimed at you from another person. You can recognize it even if they don’t say one word. Even if you are able to know that someone hates you, you will not know why unless they tell you, because their thoughts are private and not known to you. This second division is something that we use every day, but do not question how or why it works the way it does. I think I was reading a novel when I first considered it. I read that a newly wed couple “radiated” joy (emotion). But I have never read that someone “radiated” plans (thoughts). That would be kind of silly. I have also read novels where it was described that “fear rolled off of him in waves”. But I have never read that “calculation rolled off of him in waves”. As that would also be silly. Pick up any novel and you will find examples of how we describe, and think of, feeling and emotion. It is always characterized as being in motion, as working between life forms or things of great beauty or ugliness; such as, “My mind recoiled from the horror.” People don't actually have to move for their minds to "recoil", but we describe it this way. Science may find that there are physical and material reasons that cause these feelings and emotions to be shared, but it does not change the reality that this division of consciousness, this communication, works outside the body and between us. We long ago recognized that emotion (e-motion) came first, so it was the mover and shaker that shook out thought, and this idea is confirmed in evolution -- the rational mind came last. To my mind, emotion is a force, like gravity is a force, so that makes it physical even if it is not material. This is where it becomes difficult to explain. (This is also where the ‘can of worms’ can open through anthropomorphism.) When you talk about focus consciousness emerging, you seem to be talking about something that already exists, or like human consciousness. Do you really believe that the bacteria that inhabited this planet for millions of years had a “focus consciousness” that was anything like ours? I don’t think so. At best, they had a very primal awareness of themselves, their immediate surroundings, and the knowledge of the need to survive -- much like they have today. I don’t think that the force that we call emotion actually had consciousness before it became part of life. I think that becoming life turned it into consciousness by giving it a focus. Also consider that we know that knowledge accumulates, so is there any reason to consider that it did not accumulate in evolution? That much of the knowledge and thought was simply not there at the beginning? I didn’t know what “ghost in the machine” was and had to look it up. (chuckle) I never saw the movie, but learned that this was an argument against Descartes dualism. So I assume that this argument favored monism. I never put much store in either argument. All philosophers, even bad philosophers, know that one needs a valid premise to use for their considerations. I chose mine long ago. As I child, I saw these words written on a building, “We are physical, mental, and spiritual beings”. Since that time, I have checked with Philosophy; and with Religion, Eastern and Western; and with Science. No one disputed the validity of these words, and this idea is thousands of years old, so it is as valid a premise as can be found. I am going with trioism, one part material and two parts intangible. I am not sure what your meaning is here. You could be talking about reincarnation, or maybe the theory that we are in consciousness rather than consciousness being in us, or maybe you are talking about emotion. Not sure. That’s fine. Maybe you could consider that if hormones cause homeostasis within a body, that pheromones can cause it within an ecosystem. Even though pheromones are outside of the body, you could consider that they are within the “body” of the ecosystem. If I remember correctly, you do a lot of work with people, who have addiction problems. Have you ever wondered what addiction actually is? I suspect addiction is caused by a chemical that is introduced to the body and causes a "want", much like hormones and pheromones do. But the "want" is not temporary, so this tells me that the chemical is actually causing a bond. Emotion causes bonding, but emotion also works through chemicals, so I suspect that addiction is an artificial and unnatural bonding caused by chemistry. It would be very difficult to defeat by willpower alone, so I suspect that is why we are using alternative drugs to defeat this bonding. You might want to consider that a hurricane is physical, which would be why it is affected by heat and air. Consider that an ecosystem has boundaries. These boundaries encapsulate what is part of the ecosystem and what is not, much like our bodies separate our consciousness. What makes up the boundaries of an ecosystem? Mountains, large bodies of water, moisture, temperature, maybe electromagnetic forces -- all physical things. So I think that it is reasonable to question whether or not the homeostasis, or the self-balancing nature, of an ecosystem is also affected by physical influences and parameters. Hormones and pheromones are both physical, and they react to or cause a reaction that shows itself in feeling and/or emotion, so how can emotion not also be physical? I don't know that thought is physical and have not yet decided on that. Gee
  2. Consciousness and Evolution

    Tar; If this post were from anyone else, I would not respond to it. But it is from Tar, so I will address this one and your last post at the bottom of this page. I owe you big time for your friendship and your help in this thread, and I know you well enough to know that your mind will continue to churn over ideas that were presented here. Ideas cause questions that lead to more ideas and more questions until you eventually open up that "can of worms" that is the vast complexity of consciousness. When discussing consciousness, I have found that it is necessary to parse out the information because too much truth is like offering a feast to a starving man suffering from malnutrition. He will not be able to digest it, and will throw it all out. It was great to be able to discuss consciousness and show the connection between consciousness and evolution through chemistry, without ruining my reputation or getting into debates with people, who have no idea of what they are talking about -- but insist that they are right. (chuckle) So please consider the following, and let's hope we can keep a lid on the "can". So what we are talking about here is the definition of consciousness, or what it is. Breaking down consciousness into components helped me to understand it better, but there is still a great deal I don't know. What you describe above would fit the definition under the first division of consciousness, which is knowledge, thought, and memory. The "system" you describe has knowledge; if there is a computer, it could be said that there is thought; and there is memory. This fits with most people's definition of consciousness, so when you add the ability to sense, or be aware, it seems like a reasonable facsimile of consciousness. But what about the power? What is the power source of this system's "consciousness"? If you break the circuits or cover the solar panels, what then? If there is no outside power source coming to it, then it loses it's consciousness. Life seems to have it's own power source, and we call that source, consciousness. A person can be alive one minute and dead the next, and what do we take that to mean? They have lost their life, their consciousness, and their power. The second division of consciousness, awareness, feeling, and emotion, seems to be the power source. Awareness acts as a focusing agent almost like a pipeline that feeling and emotion flow through. As stated before, awareness requires focus, and focus requires a point to focus from and a point to focus on, so it requires two points, so it requires matter, time, and space. I don't know if what we call feeling and emotion require physical matter, but suspect that emotion actually is physical. Emotion interacts with our bodies too well for it to not be physical, and I think that all forces are actually physical. I need some physics genius to let me pick their brain, as I don't know nearly enough. I also don't know if emotion requires the pipeline from awareness in order to move, or if it is motion itself and is only directed by the pipeline -- I suspect it is the latter. The reason I state this is because emotion is not like a magnet, as it does not have only one direction. It also causes bonding. Do you remember when you told me the analogy of the clock in order to explain digital v analogue? Afterward I stated that I had the divisions backward. Like the rest of you, I think with the rational aspect of mind -- the digital aspect. My thoughts, memories, and knowledge are all digital. So, since this is my perspective, I automatically designated the digital as the first division, and the analog as the second. Once I understood your analogy, I realized that no matter how many digital dots are put on the clock to mark out time, they will never fill all of the spaces. There will always be room to make more dots because digital can not cause analogue. Thought does not cause emotion; the conscious rational mind did not cause the unconscious mind; matter did not cause energy. Analogue came first and digital was pulled from analogue. Actual consciousness is analogue, so when you take a machine that can know, think, remember, and be aware, and state that it could be conscious, what you are doing is trying to convince me that digital can become analogue. I don't see it, or think it is possible. I remember when the "complexity" theories about consciousness came out, and people were promoting them in various forums. I asked one person, "Just how complex does AI have to be before it can equal the conscious awareness of a blade of grass?" I have company coming now, so I will address your other post -- maybe tomorrow. Gee
  3. Exploring the Ultimate Truth

    Glen Willson; I have been studying truth for a very long time and came to the conclusion that there is no such thing as Ultimate Truth. Every time that I come across the words "Ultimate Truth", I find that someone is trying to sell me something. So what are you trying to sell, Glen?? Gee
  4. Consciousness and Evolution

    Mordred; Welcome to my merry-go-round. Roamer; If you look at the OP, you will see that I find the idea that consciousness and evolution are not connected as very unlikely. A few years ago, I was nosing through the Evolution forum of this site and found threads there where people insisted that consciousness had nothing to do with evolution. I remember thinking at that time that the reason why they thought that was because they had no idea of what consciousness actually is. So I have been considering this idea for a few years. You may also note that most of the first seven pages of this thread are simply trying to convince people that all life is conscious. Even though science and philosophy, both, agree that all life is conscious, it is a little difficult to explain that every cell in our bodies is alive and also conscious. Every cell in our bodies works to maintain itself and to reproduce itself -- these are survival instincts -- which qualifies cells as life. But each cell also works to maintain whatever system that it is part of; such as, blood, tissue, bone, organ, etc., and these systems work to maintain the whole body. So you could reasonably state that cells have a sort of hive mentality. But it is the hormones that cause homeostasis and regulate the systems that help to preserve the body. On a larger scale, every life form in an ecosystem works to maintain itself and to reproduce itself -- these are survival instincts. But each life form also works to maintain it's specie; such as, trees, fish, insects, animals, and these species work to maintain the whole ecosystem. So you could reasonably state that life forms, on a fundamental level, have a sort of hive mentality. It is not hormones, but pheromones, that regulate these species and help to preserve the ecosystem. So all life balances itself, whether you call it homeostasis or self-balancing ecosystems, it has the same effect and works through hormones, pheromones, and survival instincts. Then if you consider Freud's divisions of mind, you will find that the Id holds the 'drives' that motivate us and reflect the same issues as survival instincts. Then if you consider that the Id's 'drives' and survival instincts are all activated by feelings/emotion, you find that there is a connection between hormones, pheromones, and mind that comes together through the second division of consciousness -- awareness, feeling, and emotion. Hormones have the following effects on the body: stimulation or inhibition of growth wake-sleep cycle and other circadian rhythms mood swings induction or suppression of apoptosis (programmed cell death) activation or inhibition of the immune system regulation of metabolism preparation of the body for mating, fighting, fleeing, and other activity preparation of the body for a new phase of life, such as puberty, parenting, and menopause control of the reproductive cycle hunger cravings A hormone may also regulate the production and release of other hormones. Hormone signals control the internal environment of the body through homeostasis. This is not entirely true. Although most evolution happens rather slowly, sometimes it is very rapid. This link talks about rapid evolution under Speciation, and in other areas. While nosing through the Evolution forum, I ran across a post that was talking about changes in DNA that caused mutations. (Don't know where, as I have been looking for a week and can not find which thread it was in.) Anyway, since I know very little about evolution, my first thought after reading that post was, "like Thalidomide". For those of you who don't know, or were too young, Thalidomide was a drug used in the mid 1950's. It was very good at relieving nausea and improving appetite, so it was given to a lot of pregnant women for morning sickness with disastrous results. Conservative estimates say that 10,000 babies died from the horrible mutations, other estimates are much higher. Only a small fraction of the babies reached adulthood. You can learn about it here: No one is going to call Thalidomide evolution, as it was more tragedy than anything else. But it did teach us a few things: Chemistry can radically alter DNA and it can do it in one short gestation period. So if we are going to discount "God" and magic, it seems to me that the only thing that could have caused the rapid transformations that happened in bursts in evolution, it has to be chemistry that caused it. These rapid transformation were usually preceded by a change in environment, so we are looking for a chemical that would be readily available in all species, would react to the awareness of the new environment and emotions of the life form, and have the capacity to change DNA in a way that would improve the specie's ability to survive. To me, this screams hormones. I don't see what else could possibly do it. We know that hormones can cause emotion; we also know that emotions can cause the production of hormones; it is circular. We know that hormones can substitute for each other and can cause the production of other hormones. We know that hormones can turn off and on switches in DNA. I don't think that reaction itself was "selected for" and suspect that it is a by-product of life. I tend to look at it like I would a magnet. First it is just a rock, then something happens to it that polarizes some electrical something within it, and it becomes a magnet. The second division of consciousness, awareness, feeling, and emotion is a force or collection of forces that activate with life, just like the force of the magnet activates when it becomes a magnet. But this is just my guess, because I really don't understand magnets. Gee
  5. Consciousness and Evolution

    Hikinmike; Welcome to my thread, and welcome to the forum. Well, I have been studying consciousness for five decades, although I did not call it that when I started out. As a teen, I questioned the "God" ideas, and looked to different religions, then in the 1960's, I looked into psychic phenomenon and realized that it had much in common with the religious ideas. After that I looked at ecosystems, homeostasis, the self-balancing nature of Nature, and Psychology, then threw in ideas from Science and Philosophy. Like you, it was not until retirement that I really got to study these ideas and the other ideas from Philosophy. What I found was that there are way too many theories of consciousness, but not one of them explained all of the truths that were in the assorted theories. That was the problem, each theory had some bits of truth that would conflict with other theories with some bits of truth. How is that possible? Conflicting truths can not be true. Over the years, I developed an understanding of consciousness based upon these conflicting truths. I realized that water can cause a fire, as in barn fires, but can also put out a fire; water can be solid, liquid, or gas; water can drown me if there is too much, but I can not live without it. Conflicting truths. As my understanding developed, I realized that consciousness and water seem to share properties -- if one thinks of consciousness as a physical reality in our world. My conclusion was that what we call consciousness is way more complex than we realize, because like water, it can change with temperature, density, and whatever it is mixed with, but each theory was trying to reduce it to a concept that is more easily understood. So I decided that a new approach was necessary. Instead of accepting the "God" ideas, brain ideas, or illusion/dream/holograph ideas, I decided to break down consciousness into it's components to study them individually. This led to the divisions of consciousness, the first being knowledge, thought, and memory, which is the static and private division; and the second being awareness, feeling, and emotion, which is the fluid and shared division. You could think of the first division as being the subject of a sentence and the second as being the verb -- the action, happening, or state of being. Of course, since this is my idea and not known to others, there is going to be a great deal of "definitions, semantics, and phenomena" to dispute. (chuckle) I understand that and have been trying to be patient. As I stated to Roamer, a lot of things are called instincts, that may or may not be actual instincts. But I think that survival instincts are very relevant to evolution; survival instincts are all activated by feeling or emotion, and work through hormones and/or pheromones. It is interesting to note that hormones can turn off and on different aspects of DNA. Interesting. This question has been asked many times and answered by things like Plato's "forms" and "God" ideas, but I avoid it. To answer this question would require me to speculate, as I know of no clear evidence. If I speculate a conclusion, then I am likely to fall into the confirmation bias that others have succumbed to with theories of consciousness. So no thanks. Gee
  6. Consciousness and Evolution

    Tar; Good post. +1 Roamer; You brought up some good points. Some of them were addressed in Tar's post, but others need to be addressed by me, so please consider the following: Agreed. As far as we can tell, the simpler life forms have less conscious awareness than more complex life form, and this awareness seems to advance as life forms advance, and seems to be dependent upon the physical aspects of the life form -- specie. As stated before, awareness seems to be dependent upon physical matter in order to even exist. It must also be considered that all life forms are conscious to some degree, and as far as we know there is no consciousness that exists without life forms -- so the two do seem to be interrelated. This does not necessitate a causal relationship with regard to evolution, but it also does not exclude a causal relationship. More information is needed. Everything that I have ever read about evolution in species states that the evolution caused the specie to advance or improve it's survival ability. This is where I see a connection between consciousness, species, and evolution -- in survival instincts. Instincts is a very controversial subject. I know this because I did a thread on it in another forum and was amazed at all of the different ideas that are called correctly, or incorrectly, instincts. I suspect that you are a science person, as you mentioned some of these ideas in your post, and they should be considered. While working in the Instincts thread, I remember thinking that we need a person with the mental acuity of Einstein, but with the training in Biology, Neurology, Psychology, and Consciousness in order to untangle that mess. For that reason, my thoughts in this thread are mostly related to survival instincts, because it is something that can be verified and known to be somewhat accurate. I am tired now, so I will consider your other comments either tomorrow or the next day. Welcome to the thread. Gee
  7. Consciousness and Evolution

    Dimreepr; Maybe, or maybe you don't see my point. If we take every cognitive tool, like pattern recognition, and throw it out because it can be abused, then very soon we will have no cognitive tools left -- because they can all be abused. It is Philosophy's goal to achieve clarity of thought, so when I find a negative opinion regarding some tool of thought, I am likely to try to learn more about that tool. There is a way to use it well, and a way to use it poorly, so learning the difference is paramount if one wants to achieve clarity of thought. Why would I bother to do that for people, who are not going to read the link? I had already explained 'pattern recognition' twice. The only time that I will usually post a link, is when I think there is a great deal of interest, the idea is complex and needs to be read, and the link might be difficult for others to find. Otherwise I will just tell them where the information can be obtained and leave it to them to look or not look. If they are not interested enough to look, or if they are too lazy to look, then they are worthless in the discussion anyway. No. "Collecting observations/data and extrapolating a conclusion" is not a reasonable definition of science. It is a reasonable definition of pattern recognition, which is a tool that Science and Philosophy both use. Pattern recognition can also be pure speculation, and only becomes Science when testing and proofs are used and then repeatability and peer review confirm the testing and proofs. Pattern recognition becomes Philosophy when the conclusion is corroborated with a valid premise and then peer reviewed. Scanning gives information, but does not give understanding. So you don't know enough. This is why you need understanding. I didn't move the goal posts, you just haven't found them yet. I rarely use citations and will most often look up the information before posting if I have any doubts about what I am stating. I will also check my facts if someone disputes them, so I do a lot of research while writing these threads. If you doubt something that I state as being true or factual, you can always look it up and dispute it. Philosophy does a lot of interpreting the facts and evidence, so it is important for me to get feedback on my reasoning and logic, as that it what I am actually working on. The facts are easy to confirm, interpretation of the facts is what is difficult, but understanding is necessary for that interpretation. Gee
  8. Consciousness and Evolution

    Dimreepr; I see your point. On the other hand, brains, minds, thoughts, and memory are also responsible for "people seeing Jesus in a piece of toast", so maybe we should throw out all of those also? After all, they are "tenuous at best". Or, we could go in the other direction. We could go to Wiki, type "pattern recognition" into the search box and select the item from the drop-down menu that reads; Pattern recognition (Psychology). Then we could page down to the section that is labelled, "False Pattern Recognition", and read it. (I know you don't like to read much, but it is just one paragraph.) You can learn a brand new word there that you can show off to all your friends and relatives, because there is a word that labels what "Jesus finding" actually is and explains that it is not actually pattern recognition. Yes. That is a reasonable definition for pattern recognition. If you don't read most of my posts, then how could you possibly know if they contained any evidence? I suspect that you are not really looking for evidence, and may not recognize it when you see it; you are looking for links that validate what I am saying, because that is what you find to be evidence. This implies that in your opinion my words require validation, so I am either stupid or a liar. I am neither. I did not find your posts derailing my "train of thought"; I found them disheartening. After considering that a number of the click-it squad liked your posts regarding pattern recognition, it occurred to me that there were more than a few people, who were reading this thread, that were not bright enough to outsmart a box of rocks. Because I am trying to have a discussion about a very complex and abstract subject, this was not good news. iNow; No. That neg rep was because you seem incapable of treating Tar with even a modicum of respect. It seems to be your intention to run him out of this thread, but he is the ONLY other person in this thread who has any understanding of what I am trying to convey. So I don't really want to see him gone -- as there is no one to discuss the matter with without him. The rest of you seem to be clueless -- or at least, that is the feedback that I am getting. Not emotions (pleural) but emotion -- what it is, how it works, it's parameters. When you were a kid, I bet that either you or one of your friends took a 9V battery and held it to your tongue to experience the charge. I think most of us did it, or knew someone who did. It was a common dare when I was young. So afterward, if someone asked what electricity was, would you state that it is a sharp tingling on your tongue? No, of course not. That is what it felt like, not what it is. When people use the word, emotions, they are talking about what emotion feels like -- like the battery charge. I want to know what emotion actually is -- like the electricity. Most people will not dispute that emotion is part of our consciousness, but they see it as something that is secondary to thought, maybe even dependent upon thought. I suspect that the opposite is true, that thought is dependent upon emotion. I have learned a lot about emotion, but not nearly enough. It is part of the second division of consciousness, and may be responsible for life. I am pretty sure that it is responsible for evolution in life. Gee
  9. Eise: I apologize for being so late in responding. I tried to answer your post several days ago, but lost my response half way through. Please consider my following thoughts when you have time. You say, "investigation in our way of thinking"; I say, "interpreting knowledge". I suspect that we are both talking about the same thing, but using different words. This is not where our difference of opinion exists; the difference is where and how we divide what is Philosophy and what is Science. You divide it by subject matter, the empirical; I divide it by methodology, procedure. Instead of trying to turn this into a silly debate of Philosophy v Science, let us just talk about Philosophy. I think that we can both agree that in order to work Philosophy, one requires a premise. So please consider the next three questions. 1) How does one go about formulating a premise if they are not allowed to use the empirical which would include observation and/or experience and also evidence and fact? 2) How does one go about determining if said premise is a reflection of something real, or if it is just imagining? 3) What is real? If you can answer all three questions, and give examples, without using the empirical, then I will consider that the empirical may have nothing to do with Philosophy. Capra is the godfather of nothing. What you don't seem to understand here is that the key word is "consciousness". In my studies of consciousness, I learned that Spinoza (17th Century Philosopher) had a concept of "God" that was very close to mine and reflected a Universal understanding of consciousness. Spinoza's ideas have been compared to the Vedanta tradition of India -- so this is not anywhere close to a "new" idea. Because of Spinoza's work, I now have an interest in the Vedanta, and because QM has been related to consciousness, I also have an interest there. No doubt Capra also saw these ideas and is comparing them -- as many other people are doing. Do not confuse a study of consciousness with a new age religion. As for the book, Quantum Enigma, I finally browsed through it and found no reference to Capra. What I did find were references to Galileo, Newton, Planck, Einstein, and other physicists. There was a lot about Einstein, as one of the authors, when he was a student, actually visited with Einstein. He stated that he was so awed by the great man, that it took years before he finally realized what Einstein was trying to discuss with him. (chuckle) I also found the following on Page 251. "Does Quantum Mechanics Support Mysticism? It is sometimes implied that the sages of ancient religions intuited aspects of contemporary physics. The argument can go on to claim that quantum mechanics provides evidence for the validity of these ancient teachings. Such reasoning is not compelling." In that chapter, it goes on to state that physicists are often "embarrassed" by similar comparisons. So I suspect that you owe an apology to the authors of Quantum Enigma. Everything that we think we know is a kind of knowledge. What is your point? It did not escape my notice that you used theories of physics as an example, knowing full well that wannabe philosophers and wannabe scientists are constantly questioning theories of physics. Are you trying to throw me in with that lot? I can assure you that I have never in my entire life questioned theories of physics. I don't know enough about physics to even consider it. I suggested no such thing. I said that Philosophy interprets knowledge. If I meant that it interpreted theories, I would have stated that it interprets theories. I did not state that because it is a ridiculous idea. You are trying to make something very simple into something more. What is knowledge? It is what we know. Or is it what we think we know? Maybe it is what we believe or imagine or assume. How can we know that it is actual knowledge? How can we know that it is true? This is what Philosophy interprets -- truth. If "knowledge" is not true, then it is not knowledge. Sure. I will use a topic that I know well -- consciousness. Religion has decided that consciousness comes from "God" and this "knowledge" has produced theories and ideas to support their position. Science has decided that consciousness comes from us and this "knowledge" has produced theories and ideas to support their position. Both Disciplines have produced enough evidence for this Monism v Dualism debate to go on for more than a thousand years. Yet, there is still no comprehensive theory of consciousness. Why? Because both disciplines based their premises on assumption -- not knowledge. We don't even know what consciousness is, and they are arguing over where it came from. (chuckle) An invalid premise based on anything but true knowledge will corrupt the theory. I can understand your perspective and even appreciate your position. Having been academically trained, you tend to put things into their historical positions as related by your training. That is fine. I am just a simple philosopher looking for simple truths. Russell's statement is a summation given for the understanding of laymen, and as such it is true. I don't really care if it is right or wrong, or if it is relevant or irrelevant to the times. I just care if it is true. I could state, Philosophy is the beginning; Science is the ending. It also would be true. Like Russell's statement, it would not explain Philosophy or Science, as it would just be a summation. That does not affect the truth of it. It is a statement that is true now and will always be true. But I would not generally make that statement because people will misunderstand it. They will think that Philosophy starts things off, and Science finishes them, or that Science is the new and improved Philosophy -- which is not true. Philosophy puts it trust in the premise at the beginning of constructing new knowledge; Science puts it trust in the testing at the ending of constructing new knowledge. Both are necessary. Consider it like house construction. Philosophy would provide the water level to start the foundation and ensure that it is level, then it would provide the plumb line and square to ensure that it stays level and square. Science would come in and make sure that the windows and doors open and close as they should, that the plumbing does not leak, the electricity works, the roof does not leak, and the furnace is adequate. Between them, they can construct something that will last for ages. Without Philosophy there is a good chance that it would not start off well, and without Science there would be no one to ensure that it stayed level and square and was in working order. Both are necessary. Gee Eise; No. I did not at any time call "established theories 'bits of information'". You are putting ideas together that don't belong together and making me wonder if you are truly a philosopher. Every philosopher that I have ever met, or read about, has a passion for truth and an ability to recognize it. What I was talking about was the weakness that is inherent in any strength. The strength in Science lies in the scientific method, and the strength in the scientific method lies in it's ability to isolate one component so that the testing will show the attributes of that one component without influence by other things. So it has to turn things into "bits of information" in order to be sure of them and study them properly. This kind of study and testing has resulted in reliable information that is so valid, it was impossible to know before Science formed. But this is also a weakness, as these "bits" have to be reorganized and reformed into whatever they were beforehand. This also limits Science in areas where the information can not be broken down into bits. This is the reason why studies like Psychology, Animal Behaviorism, and Archeology are known as "soft" sciences, as they will not break down for study by the scientific method. Although there are some parts that can be helped along with the scientific method, a large part of these studies are a combination of Science and Philosophy. Studiot; I agree. The only problem that I see is that reality is not always rational. (chuckle) Gee
  10. Area54; Hello at last. Please consider my responses below: "A variety of sins"? Have you considered writing fiction? You have a wonderful flare for words. I often failed to use context to distinguish between them -- Because. There. Is. No. Between. Them. It does not exist. Is that clear? Probably not. Do you remember when I finally listed the "supposed" levels of consciousness? Sentience, awareness, consciousness, self-awareness, and the new control something? I said that sentience was applied to things like skin cells and bacteria? That it meant aware, but mindless? I stated that this designation for consciousness was emotional because we do not want to think that bacteria has mind. It is emotional because it is an invalid distinction made for emotional reasons. Do you know how I know that it is invalid? Because we can not know if skin cells have minds or if they don't -- we don't even know what mind is -- and can not even prove that other people have subjective minds. This designation is nonsense. It is not true. I also explained that self-awareness was designed to distinguish human superiority, and that the new designation, control something, was made because we are starting to learn that other species are self-aware. (chuckle) This is another emotional designation as we have no way of knowing how many other species are self-aware, or even if they all are self-aware. This designation is nonsense. It is not true. The difference between awareness and consciousness seems to be that people think that consciousness includes thought. There might be some truth to this, as it appears that the brain processes thought, but that would mean that spiders, ants, flies, and maybe fleas think. No one wants to admit that possibility, so we are stuck with another invalid, emotionally distorted designation. All life is conscious. This is true and it is how we distinguish life from non-life. Philosophy cares about what is true. If you want to have levels of consciousness, then assign a level to each and every specie, as it appears that consciousness, or the ability to be conscious of something, depends on the physical life form. Have a good time with that, as there must be thousands or tens of thousands of levels. This surprises me. How many varieties of meaning are there for "known"? I know of only one. Philosophy has no power in this forum. It has no support. It has no understanding. Most members view it as a "helper" to science or a kind of religion or emotional crutch. I doubt that there are any moderators, who are also philosophers, so I don't see how I can do it much damage. People, who think deeply, are always interesting, but sometimes hard to follow, especially if the listener has no background on the topic. If you want to follow the argument, then first you will have to open your mind. Have you viewed the following link regarding Richard Feynman and magnets? First he says that it is electricity that makes magnets work, but we know that is not true because you do not get an electrical charge when you put them on your tongue like you do a 9V battery, and there is no lightening coming out of it. Then he talks about ice and the chair arm and says that it is all related and that there are some things that he does not even know. Do you think that he is "obfuscating"? Is it a "characteristic of his style"? No. He explains that you could only understand him if you were one of his students, that you need enough background in order to understand it. So I will take a page out of Feynman's book and explain: Consciousness is emotion. There is that better? Do you understand now? Do you even believe me? My guess would be No, No, and No. Then you are doomed to failure. Philosophy is like dancing or sex; in that, what you get out of it directly relates to how much effort you are willing to put into it. You have to "work it". Oh, you were clear. Do you have any idea of how many hours I researched amino acids and prions because you implied that they might be related to consciousness? Too many. I learned a lot, but nothing about consciousness. I have a new idea to try out on you. If it works, let me know and I will post it in the other thread. Imagine that consciousness is the electricity wired into your house. There is a nightlight plugged into a wall outlet, and we will say this light represents bacteria. There is a computer plugged into another outlet, and we will say this computer represents humans. There are other appliances and lights that represent other species. You are viewing reality from inside the computer. So someone tells you that the nightlight has the same power that you do. "No way." you say, "As I have so much more power. I can do so much more. I can think." Yet, if we unplug the nightlight and the computer and switch them to the other outlets, they will not change. I do not think that consciousness itself has levels, as there seems to be no evidence to support this. Only the different species have levels or degrees that allow them to be conscious or aware of more things. The plug that plugs these appliances in is chemistry, hormones in particular. This is not a full explanation, but it shows that I do not see consciousness as being different, I see the way it is used as being different. I see consciousness as simply something that is part of reality, a force that happens to empower life. Gee iNow; When I first came to this forum, I thought that maybe you were the daughter of the owner of the forum. Some spoiled princess, who was allowed to make rude comments and sometimes stupid remarks because you were protected. That was before I learned about the Leaderboard and the emotional and sometimes dimwitted reactions of the click-it squad. Now I understand that you just want to stay on top and are willing to sacrifice your intelligence to do it. Pity, that. My last post should give you lots of ammunition. Gee
  11. Beecee; After reviewing your previous post, I have decided to not respond to it. You obviously have some very strongly held beliefs and opinions, which you have every right to hold. There seems to be nothing that I absolutely have to address in that post, but the following deserves and requires a response as it is very insulting to Philosophy and philosophers. I did not know who Henry Louis Mencken was, so I went to Wiki for answers. Please consider the following from Wiki. If you look at the last paragraph, you will note that he was a racist and anti-Semite, but he hid it from the public. He also thought that war was a "good thing", but did not want the US to enter World Wars l and ll. I suspect that theoretically, he found the idea of war valid, as long as it did not affect him or his. In short, he was a hypocrite. Philosophy studies truth, so it is not terribly surprising that a hypocrite would not like philosophers. Also, if he had hidden Nazi leanings, he would not want any deep thinkers looking too closely at him. Arguing is for drunks, idiots, children, and angry people. It is mostly "I am right and you are wrong" and serves no purpose except to enrage people. Philosophers do not argue, they make an argument. So what is the difference? In a philosophical argument, a philosopher takes his/her observations, experiences, any evidence and facts, and sets them into a well reasoned and logical format. Anyone reading this "argument" can learn why the philosopher holds that opinion or position. This "argument" serves two purposes: First it shares the philosopher's knowledge and information and may help others to learn and see the philosopher's point of view. Second, since the facts and evidence are set out in a logical format, if there is a mistake in evidence or fact, or if there is a mistake in logic or reasoning, others can point it out, so the philosopher can learn. Gee
  12. It does. You were next on my list. After you is Beecee and then Area54. I got five responses together in a very short time, so I am going through them one by one. I can only write one post per day, and only on good days, so you must be patient if you want to discuss something with me. Be nice to the old, slow, boring people. Regarding Philosophy, I do not agree. If one decides that the empirical and fact fall under the domain of Science, then Philosophy has to do it's work without using experience, observation, or fact. That leaves nonsense and fluff, unless I am missing something. Studiot; Please consider: Fine, it is ridicule, but I was not ridiculing Van Leeuwenhoek. I was attempting to show how people would react to his discovery and what he would have to deal with. If you know anything about human nature, then it was not only possible, it was probable that he would be ridiculed in this way. Let's see what Wiki says about it: Please note the sections that I underlined. Van Leeuwenhoek's credibility was questioned, his microscopic life was viewed with skepticism, and his relationship with the Royal Society became severely strained -- and these were people who greatly respected him because of his development of a superior lens. It took four years, from 1673 to 1677, to get acknowledgment from the Royal Society. Why? Because people do not like to change their minds, and because of the "Royal Society's theories of life that might require reform." He also "strongly preferred to work alone" which would just add to the secretive nature of his work. Can you not understand that people, who did not know and respect him, might resort to ridicule when faced with the idea of his wee little invisible animalcules that he likes to play with, but can only be seen through the magic glass? When no one else is looking? This would appear to be very much like the supernatural to most people, and it would be treated with the same regard. No. I made an all embracing and correct claim about knowledge, and that it was Philosophy that studied knowledge. You decided that it was an insult to Science. Just as my experience extends to situations and circumstances beyond yours. Most of my life, I have studied what we can know, and how we can know it -- Philosophy. I have applied this to the study of consciousness. I have read the theories, studied the Religions, even looked at the supernatural, and considered what Science has to say. Do you want to know what I have learned? I have learned that we do not know WTF it is. This is why Philosophy is the discipline that studies consciousness, because they are trying to learn WTF it is. That is what Philosophy does, makes the unknown known. Science tries to study consciousness by studying the brain, but they are in fact studying the brain -- not consciousness. Science can not study consciousness because they do not know WTF it is. You can not apply the scientific method to something if you do not know WTF it is. When Van Leeuwenhoek discovered his animalcules, he categorized them and classified them as life forms. This is ontology -- Philosophy. The methodology that he used is Philosophy. When he repeated his tests, he was working Science, because that is the scientific method. Philosophy and Science are not different people, they are different methodologies. Nobody gets it right every time, but that inbuilt correction mechanism did not do much for poor women and women of color that I talked about in my response to Ten oz. To this day, poor women and women of color are thought to be baby makers, although I have seen no reference to this prior to the "Doctor's Plague". Large v small is not the difference. The difference is in methodology and what is studied. Philosophy studies knowledge. Science takes that knowledge and studies everything that it applies to. The methodology of Philosophy also deals with the "what" answering the questions of what it is, to make the unknown known. Can't agree here. I think that statistics and city planning would fall to Science, though Philosophy might have some input on city planning. What did Eise call it? A lust for understanding? Philosophy and Science are both very lusty. Gee
  13. Ten oz; Hi. Please consider my comments below. No. Truth and fact are not interchangeable. Truth does not always lead to fact, and fact does not always give us truth. You can go to any Court, tell your absolute truth that you know to be a fact, but if you can not prove your truth, it will be taken for a lie. The fact will be that you are guilty, and it will have no relevance to the truth of the situation. Why is this so? Because truth is subjective, and is known only by the subject. Fact is objective. But fact gives us truth, right? No. The easiest way to explain this is with illusion. If twenty people witness the same illusion and all agree on what they saw, it will be taken for objective fact. But if it was illusion, then there was no truth in it. So each subjective truth of the twenty people was false leading to a false fact. The objective is always dependent upon the subjective. But there are facts that can stand alone because we have known about them for years, right? So they lead to truth. Not necessarily. Take the case of Van Leeuwenhoek and his animalcules. That was in the mid 1600's, and by the 1800's we knew a lot about bacteria and it's role in infections. Yet, in the late 1800's, a country doctor would think nothing of sewing up a man, who had an accident, then riding across town on a sweaty horse, arriving in time to have a meal and use the outhouse before delivering a woman's baby -- all without even washing his hands. Three days later, he would come back to the woman's house and think that it was a shame that she was dying of "childbirth fever" and her children would be motherless, that "God" had made women weak and that it was a shame that women had to pay for Eve's sin in the Garden of Eden. Two hundred years, 200 years, after we knew the facts, we still did not have any truth in this matter. Review what Wiki has to say on this under Postpartum Infections: So for all the facts at our disposal, very little truth came out of this. Note that women, who gave birth at home fared much better. This actually led to more disinformation, because it became apparent that country women and poor women were a hardier bunch, and with all of those children, it appeared that they also were more amenable to sex. So this evidence confirmed the "Farmer's Daughter" jokes and the idea that the classes were different, with the more "refined" ladies of quality being more virtuous. (Because they could afford doctors, who were killing them.) Remember that this happened for hundreds of years, more than enough time for people to speculate about the cause. The wealthy women, who martyred themselves on the birthing bed, seemed to bring out the Virgin Mary Complex in many of us, so we saw their sacrifice as pure; whereas, we saw the poor, less refined, women as more animalistic. A few years back, I was reading the arguments that were made regarding the freeing of slaves in America, and I think this was one of the points mentioned. It was argued that the slaves produced progeny in much the same way animals did without the difficulty that white women had, which lent credence and evidence to the argument that they were not really human, just high-level, trainable animals. It sometimes amazes me how quickly facts and evidence can become such nonsense when interpreted badly. By the 1900's doctors started taking "germs" seriously, but did not take the blame for the problems. Instead they decided that women were unclean, so they disinfected women, while they were in labor, and shaved them in a very private area to ensure that they were germ free. This went on in Michigan until the 1970's and was an uncomfortable and humiliating experience, not to mention afterward when the body was trying to heal, stiches were itchy, and hair was growing back. So after 300 years, all is well. No one is going to disinfect you, no one is going to shave you, and no one is going to infect you. It is OK to have a baby at a hospital. Now if we could just get some physicists to talk to the doctors about gravity, it could be perfect. OB doctors still like to put women on their backs in delivery with their legs in the air, which makes it awkward for the baby, who not only has to make it's way out, but also has to defy gravity to do it. It is also humiliating and uncomfortable for the mother, but I think it is pretty comfortable for the doctor. Aristarchus theorized that the Earth revolved around the Sun around 300 BC. Copernicus confirmed It mathematically in the 1500's. Robert Hooke identified the cell in 1665. Math was used in Babylon and by Egypt in 3,000 BC. The Scientific Method was first worked out by Galileo around 1600 and did not become the Science we know today until the 1700's and 1800's. I do not understand this competition between Science and Philosophy -- it makes no sense. Science with all of it's facts is nothing but disassociated bits of information without purpose or point. Philosophy with all of it's logic and reasoning is nothing but musing and imagining without purpose or point. But when they work together, Science's facts can be interpreted in ways that bring us knowledge and understanding, and Philosophy's musings can be given reality and substance in ways that bring us knowledge and understanding. They are a damned team -- why can no one see that? Gee
  14. Eise; Thank you for your response. Please consider my thoughts. No, we can not philosophize about everything, but can we philosophize about anything? Empirical means: What we observe and what we experience. If we remove the empirical and facts from philosophy, what is left? Imagination? I think that a lot of people have come to this conclusion, which would be why no one respects philosophy anymore. I am not about to hand my personal observations and experiences over to Science for testing. I will use them along with any facts that Science can provide to do my work in Philosophy. That is what I meant when I said that I was "keeping it real". Well, I am not sure who Fritjof Capra is, so that is not what I was talking about. I was referring to books like, "Quantum Enigma, Physics Encounters Consciousness" where the consciousness is more closely related to Eastern Religion's ideas than it is to the Christian "God" idea -- or more abstract than physical. I suspect we are talking past one another. I went back and checked in the thread, and your response was to my post about "knowledge", not physics. I stated that Philosophy was good at interpreting knowledge. I was also not talking about "theoretical" interpretation of experiments, just simple knowledge in general. In order for something unknown to become known, it has to process through a subjective mind. Whether that process takes a half of a second or a half of a month, the process itself is Philosophy. Philosophy is the study of what we can know and how we can know it -- or what is real and true. Maybe because it is my philosophy? As I stated earlier, I did not have a formal education in Philosophy, so I worked from my own ideas for a very long time. In my late teens and early twenties, I started to develop a philosophy about what "should be" in relation to what "is". Recently I found Hume's "Is and Ought", which is similar in some ways and overlaps, but is not quite the same thing. The "Should Be's" become problematic when someone decides that what "is" is not good enough and "should be" changed. In many circumstances, change can be very good, but when that change is motivated by idealism and/or human arrogance and is also directed toward the natural order of Nature, then, sooner or later, it will become a problem. Although the examples were of a technological nature, this philosophy is not limited to technology and seems to be relevant in human and family interactions, ecosystems, and some schools of thought. You could call it a very conservative opinion when it relates to Nature. Well, if you think so, I am sure you will make an argument and explain why you think so. I don't see it, and Bertrand Russell was a well respected philosopher. I don't like to say that any respected philosopher or scientist is wrong, without a good reason -- except for Dennett -- I have no problem saying that he is wrong. (chuckle) Gee
  15. Studiot; I don't see the problem here. Yes, the hypotheses were known, metaphysics had long been established, math had long been established, the scientific method was established or well on it's way (I don't know the time frame here). So the only thing missing was a person bright enough to ask the right question and find a method to test the answer. This is science. Is there a chance that you have the idea, that it is my position, that science does not seek knowledge? If so, then get that idea right out of your head. Philosophy and Science both seek knowledge. Philosophy seeks subjective knowledge -- truth. Science seeks objective knowledge -- facts. Objectivity is garnered through a consensus of subjective opinions, so if the subjective knowledge is invalid, then it will invalidate the objective knowledge. That is my only point! If anyone wants to argue that Science tests and proves it's work, so it is never wrong, I would like to suggest that you get yourself a 100 year old science book and compare it to a current science book. You will find that indeed Science can be wrong. Knowledge is accumulative, so the more we learn, the better our understanding and knowledge. The problem here is that I was not attempting to ridicule, so I wonder how you got that idea. A little confirmation bias maybe? What I was attempting to do was to put you into the time, or the now, of the discovery. Apparently, I did not do this very well. Do you really think that Van Leeuwenhoek looked through his microscope and said, "Wow. Look at the animalcules. I have made a great discovery!" Or do you think it more likely that he said, "What is that?" then leaned back, rubbed his eyes, and looked again? It would have taken some time for him to examine his discovery and be sure of it before he would have shared the information with peers. This 'time' is when the unknown became the known in his subjective mind. (philosophy) Then repeatability and peer review would have established the objective fact of this knowledge. (science) What I tried to point out above, and I am sure you know, is that subjective knowledge is not always knowledge. It is often opinion, bias, belief, assumption, imagination, or even outright lies and manipulations. Science knows this and does not trust subjective knowledge, which would be why Science insists on repeatability and peer review, which does a fine job of turning up subjective fallacies. But what of objective fallacies? Is there such a thing? Yes. Objective fallacies are caused by a whole group or society of subjective opinions that are based on assumptions, biases, or beliefs. Can the Scientific Method disprove these fallacies? No. Repeatability becomes confirmation bias and peer review is useless if everyone believes the same thing. Philosophy is our only effective weapon against this kind of ignorance. Examples: Burning witches for consorting with the Devil. My "God" is better than your "God" wars. The Spanish Inquisition. Nazi Germany and the torture and experimentation on Jews. Slavery in the early US history. Here is one related to Science: Consciousness is thought. AI will miraculously become conscious. We will always need Science, and we will always need Philosophy. Gee Area54; Well, I am beginning to have a problem. This sounds personal. My problem is that in the thread, Consciousness and Evolution, I have tried to establish some very simple facts: All life is conscious to some degree and the thread is about life forms. All life is at least sentient (conscious) is accepted acknowledged information in both, Philosophy and Science. I have repeatedly stated that I only wish to discuss accepted acknowledged information, yet after nine pages, your last post was still waffling between the Universe is alive or life is just a chemical reaction. What the hell am I supposed to do with that speculation? Gee