Eise

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About Eise

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    the old world
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    Physics, Astronomy
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    University degree philosophy, subsidary subject physics
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    Database administrator, a bit of Linux too

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  1. Where it might be difficult to agree on an exact definition of consciousness, I think some of the following must at least apply. For an organism, or more general, a system, to be conscious, it must have some 'mental picture' of the environment it must be able to see its position in this environment It can anticipate the future, i.e. have a notion of what can happen (soon), dependent on its 'mental picture' It can anticipate the future dependent on different actions it can do It is difficult to see that a system is conscious, but has none of these capabilities. Now you can decide if a stone, a lichen, a potato, a spider, a rabbit, a crow, or a human has consciousness. There is a fifth point, which is not quite as clear for me, but think might be essential for a system not just to imitate consciousness, but to be conscious: that it is, as I call it, a universal anticipation machine. As an example, one could defend on basis of the above 4 points, that a chess computer is conscious. But the environment of a chess computer is of course very limited. And then there is a sixth point, namely that the system can report about its inner states: e.g. it can report about reasons why it thinks something is the case ("I've seen it"), or why it acts as it does. Maybe, all the six points taken together, we can say a system is conscious, i.e. these six conditions are not just necessary, but sufficient. But here I hang a little out of the window...
  2. Kant proved it two ways: logically he proved that the universe is limited in time and space, and he also gives a proof that time and space are unlimited. His conclusion: one cannot apply such concepts in science. It belongs to the domain of metaphysics. (I don't know to which conclusions Kant would come if he would have lived in these days.) Point: your 'logic' is not as logical as it seems to you.
  3. A thread about consciousness has as topic amongst others, what experience and intuitions are. That is something completely different than taking the contents of your experience and intuitions as truth claims. It is like the difference between talking about consciousness, and 'consciousness'. Example of the latter is 'consciousness' has 13 letters. You could pickup the discussion about consciousness, by looking up which arguments I gave in the thread, and finally would react on them. I promise you, as long as you are keeping polite, you will have no problems with the moderators.
  4. Me too. But if I think your way of thinking does not lead to truth claims, or if they do, are badly argued, I may react. That is also freedom of speech. You may say what you want, as long it does not offend anybody, but if you want to make methodologically valid truth claims, you should be prepared to give arguments that transcend your own experiences. The only methodology I recognise with you is, 'I experienced it', or 'my intuition tells me so'. And this methodology is debunked by the simple arising of science and the technology derived from it. You are not offending me, so I did not give you neg rep points, and as you might notice, no moderator has intervened in this thread, not in his function as moderator (then you see green or red text boxes). So keep polite, and we can make this thread endless. Except when you start repeating the same argument over and over again.
  5. Ehm, yes. I just copy/pasted your comment in between, and forgot that it disturbs the text flow of the posting. I'll correct it.
  6. You exactly make my point. When what you now call 'metaphysics' leads to technology, then this 'metaphysics' will have turned into physics. There's no reason to assume that... Do you agree now? With his remark about technology Wulphstein made pretty clear what he thinks about 'metaphysics'. Further, Wulphstein, I am still waiting for your reaction on my arguments in this posting. The profundity of your thoughts are not for you to decide. Exactly. Profound feelings may be subjective (e.g. the awe you feel when hearing a beautiful piece of music, or are in a sublime landscape). But a thought, when it claims not be just subjective, is open to scrutiny by others. As long as you do not distinguish between the experience, and the objective truth that it possibly contains (or not) you will feel this way. Pretty much, I think, you are in the philosophy section. Personally however, I think you should give arguments, why your profound 'thoughts' should be valid for others. Otherwise your thoughts are just descriptions of how you experience the world. There is nothing wrong with telling us, but without arguments that might be valid for others, your 'thoughts' contain no truth-claim, and therefore have nothing to do with philosophy and even less with science. Yes. Therefore I compensated them for you . Giving negative reputation points, just because one does not agree with a posting, is bad practice. But if somebody trolls, repeats the same argument ad nauseam, yells, gives very bad arguments, or offends other posters, then neg reps are justified.
  7. What you call metaphysics will be physics by then. Or refuted by it... Argued by whom? You? Instead of just venting some ideas, nearly not related to this thread, would you mind to continue the discussion? Or do you prefer to close your eyes and keep sticked in your comfort zone of ideas?
  8. Thanks, Studiot! +1 I like it: the fact that the first 2 laws are in fact definitions. You should have posted this a few years ago (-1), when I was heavily attacked by suggesting that at the bottom of Newton's laws is a circularity, and one of the reasons is that the laws partially are definitions. OK, +1, and take an Advocaat from me.
  9. No, I think he thinks you want to live in a comfort zone, but instead feel pressured (uncomfortable) to be correct; relax, you and I can't be, so be comfortable in that knowledge... I think you are on the right track: Wulphstein has created a comfort zone of knowing things better than others, even better as specialists, such as physicists and academic philosophers. This helps him for his self esteem. This is on the limit of fringe science: on one side, I am also sure that OBEs exist. But the same as for NDEs: experiencing something is one thing, to correctly interpret them another. You seem to take every experience as proof of the subject-independent existence of what is experienced. For lucid dreaming it is obvious that it needs no additional metaphysical categories. Everybody dreams, the only difference is that in lucid dreaming one can act consciously. (a friend of mine (with btw a very similar world view as I have) once had the same disturbing dream again and again. A psychotherapist learned him lucid dreaming, and by consciously acting differently in his dream, he got rid of this dream). So why should we draw any metaphysical conclusions from this? In my student time, I have done a regression session under hypnosis. I returned to a previous life, and told the therapist many details of my last moments in that life. (Of course, a violent death. But not some famous or important historical person.) How impressive the experience was for me, I am sure this previous life was constructed by my brain, based on feelings and real memories from this life. I can trace them back to these, so there is no reason for me to believe that I really remembered a previous life. Never accept experience 'as is'. Always take your biases in account. Or just enjoy your experiences, without drawing any metaphysical conclusions from them. At least I enjoyed the moment I was stoned and could see sound. Don't you understand my example, or are you just avoiding to react? Instincts are in no way proofs. Instinct might be a source of hypotheses, but without the capability to put these hypotheses in a working theory with testable predictions they are worth next to nothing. So your 'smacking down' was methodologically justified. And to add, these instincts (or what I prefer, intuitions) can be developed by intense training. Scientists who are well trained in their disciplines have more intuitions that might prove useful. But still, the proof of the pudding is in the eating... Science amateurs, who have no intensive training in some discipline, overestimate the worth of their intuitions by many factors. Then one gets postings of the kind 'I have a theory, but I need somebody to do the math'. Or 'I have a theory, but I am not quite ready with the math', followed up by a terrible misuse of the mathematical concepts of a not-understood theory. And last but not least: QM and relativity are very none-intuitive for the layman, so how could his intuitions ever lead to useful ideas? I agree with your first sentence. Pity enough, I do not agree with the second: civilisation is not balanced, and we suffer. Our wisdom lags far behind our technical capabilities. Einstein...
  10. It doesn't have to. But as Strange already notices a lot of people like to understand their world and themselves. I belong to these kind of people. Fully agree. But I do not see why that contradicts the will to understand consciousness. For me it is just the opposite. Depends on the subject: but if people as a group want to decide on actions they should agree on the facts and the norms, and be able to distinguish them. And science is the most objective search for facts. Just think about climate change deniers. I definitely want to hear what science has to say here, and I am disgusted by the science denial of the so called 'climate skeptics'. That is what happens if you follow gut-feelings. It is very comforting 'to know' there is a fire ladder when the building burns. Except that objectively there does not exist one, it was just your gut-feeling. When the fire breaks out, it would have been good for you to know you shouldn't have gone that way to escape the fire. No. However, I would prefer that people act from the best knowledge we have available. See climate denial again. Why would you think I do not grasp the immediate reality of death? I dismissed nothing, except the categorising as 'metaphysical'. I agree that such experiences can change your gut-feelings. Ideally you develop your gut-feelings in such a way that they correspond with what we know to be objectively the case. But that requires a lot of training, but staying in your comfort zone, you will never get there. Your life will be a lie. Me neither, but in a different way you do. Physical reality is able to produce such beautiful things like galaxies, paintings, music and humans. The problem is that some of these (except maybe galaxies), cannot be understood from their basic building blocks. Even the essence of certain things is independent from the exact way it is implemented in the physical world. A house is a house, but it can built it with concrete or wood. Being human, however I agree that our essence is not that we are built up of matter: it lies in the ways processes take place in this matter. And to know these, both from the inside (studying my own mind) as from the outside (science) might be the best way to live a balanced life: accept what just is so, change what can be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish between the two (paraphrasing I think an Irish prayer). Yes, you are afraid to leave your comfort zone. And the closed mind is yours, and is exactly what I named it here: your comfort zone. But be sure, nobody got enlightened by staying in their comfort zone. It is, to use another dangerous word, not very spiritual not to accept ideas because you do not like them. Physical reality is the ocean. And the truth at the bottom of the mind might be emptiness. As practicing Zen Buddhist, I think that would be the last truth (not experienced myself, therefore 'I think' and not 'I know'). Which you of course you do not like, and therefore you refuse to accept reality.
  11. Not just mass, energy also. Matter and energy bend spacetime, and in spacetime, objects take the shortest path in spacetime, which because of the its curvature move in curved trajectories. We experience this as gravity. When you are new to this topic, this article might be a good introduction.
  12. Cannot explain? Or cannot explain yet. How would you know? Or maybe consciousness is explained already, but most people do not accept it because it goes against their gut-feeling? (I know at least one philosopher who claims this. And I think he is grosso modo right. The main problem with his explanation is that it is not quite easy to understand, and goes so strong against our gut-feelings, that most people do not accept it.) That is an escape-route, leading nowhere. If the transcendental or metaphysical exist objectively (I doubt it, but just for the sake of argument), then you are just moving the problem to another sphere. And very comforting, you state that science cannot say anything about this sphere. But can something be objectively true, and not open to investigation at the same time? There is a huge difference between what people experience, and what is objectively true (and a reason why science can be so difficult). Once, when I was stoned, I saw sound. Does that mean one can see sound? Or was my brain playing a game with me? How do you know NDEs are also not caused by brains playing games with people with their brain under severe stress? I do not deny NDEs. I do not even deny that they, at least for the NDE'er herself can give some life-changing insights. But I deny that everything NDE'ers experience really is what it seems to be.
  13. That would make a nice definition of what philosophy is: joyfully entering intellectual rabbit holes. (at least much better than 'philosophy is what we don't know' or 'philosophy is asking why'...). Let me show a great place in this rabbit hole (you opened it!): How does a perfect imitation differ from that what is imitated? This is a cosy place in the rabbit hole: As a 'functionalist', I would say, yes, such a robot is conscious. In the end, the question is if the substrate in which consciousness is implemented matters. To make a 'science fiction intuition pump': in the course of the research in preventing Alzheimer's, neurotechnologists found a way to replace neurons that are on the brink of degenerating with neurochips. These neurochips react exactly the same as the neurons they replace: depending on the inputs, they generate exactly the same outputs in the neural tissue of the brain. Now imagine that after a few years all neurons are replaced. The person reacts exactly the same as before, but his brain is now completely made up of artificial neurons. We can then even go a step further: these neurotechnologists designed a much compacter way of implementing computers, even compacter than the brain itself, so it fits completely in the skull of a human body. In the artificial neurons as described before, the possibility is build in to make a 'brain dump'. This brain dump can be implemented in the 'compact skull sized computer'. The output of this superduper computer is exactly the same as the brain. Now, is the person with this computer in his skull conscious? Welcome in the rabbit hole! (And if you think this is off-topic, feel free to move it to a (new) thread).
  14. That is 'begging the question': you put F = ma as only valid equality, and oh miracle, you also get it out! Further, dm/dt = 0 is not valid for a rocket, because it loses mass. Say a rocket burns constantly 1 kg fuel per second, so dm/dt = -1 kg/s. Further you say for rockets F = m(dv/dt) = –ve(dm/dt) But the factor dm/dt shows that m is not constant, it is a function of time. For a constant mass dm/dt would be zero, so F would be too. Your rocket keeps standing on the ground... I am still waiting for an answer on my questions: And of course, do not use F = dp/dt, not even implicitly.
  15. So you are using dp/dt. And you did not quite answer my question, which was: As said, for simplicity, assume a constant thrust, a homogeneous gravitational field, no air resistance etc etc.