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LH Merlo

About life and consciousness.

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14 hours ago, iNow said:

I admittedly wasn't really sure what that was. :D

Are you making fun of my speech impediment?

That's very hurtful. :-p

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, Strange said:

I don’t think saying one is alive and the other isn’t helps very much. The problem is more about define what we mean by “aware” or “self aware” or “conscious”. For example:

The speed of a simple chemical reaction may vary depending on temperature or the nature of the substrate. Is it “aware” of its surroundings?

We can get DNA to replicate and express proteins in a test tube. Is that living or non_living?

A virus will take over cells to replicate itself. It has evolved solely for that purpose. Most scientists say it is not alive, yet it seems to have “drive” and “motivation” by your definition. 

I can build a simple robot that searches out light to recharge its batteries and runs away from loud noises. It is not alive but is it aware?

I am just presenting these as a few simple examples to show that isn’t as black & white or alive & dead as you seem to think. 

I see that you think that you learned the lesson from this thread:
 https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/118214-the-nonsense-of-antropomorphism/?do=findComment&comment=1095679
and that now you try to repeat all my arguments (not just from that thread), about vitalism, subcellular organisms on the verge of life (viruses and others), protein synthesis, artificial intelligence, etc. in order to oppose me, basically pretending that you are convincing me now of something, that already I was convincing you previously, and neither of us did forget about it, such as the fact that there is no sharp delineation between living and non living things, but despite of that, there is a clear and sharp difference between a rock and a lichen.
So yeah, you are not quite there yet, you still didn't learn enough to accomplish such a swindle.
For example, you should understand what you are saying, when you say that "many species just respond automatically to the environment", and compare that with "the speed of a simple chemical reaction that may vary depending on temperature or the nature of the substrate", "water flowing downhill", and such things. You are obviously not aware of the fact that automata theory is a study of designed systems, unlike theory of gravity for example (or electromagnetism, or chemical dynamics, ...) that is a study of physical laws. That means that one cannot fully describe and understand functioning of a mechanical automatic device just by understanding mechanical laws, or functioning of electromagnetic device just by understanding principles of electromagnetism, because that component of understanding is only necessary, but not sufficient. Because, automata contain the element of design, that is not contained in physical laws, which are merely basis for their functioning. That means that designers build their idea of how the automaton should behave into it, according to the purpose of that automaton, which is a key to its understanding, and that is the essence of the difference between things that are designed, and those that are not.


So, when you basically repeat Descartes's argument:
http://www.animalethics.org.uk/descartes.html
http://people.whitman.edu/~herbrawt/classes/339/Descartes.pdf
only in a milder form, allowing that not necessarily all non-human species are basically automata, but many of them are, and "just respond automatically to the environment", you unknowingly and unwillingly become a proponent of intelligent design, which of course for Descartes wouldn't be a problem, or a big accusation, since he was a theist and theologist, who in his theology insisted on the absolute freedom of God's act of creation, but for you, an average atheist and science lover in 21st century, that could present a serious identity crisis, since I bet you consider ID biggest possible heresy that should be eradicated from scientific circles by all means possible, and you are obviously rooting for it, unconsciously, at the same time.
So, maybe that is a difference that you are looking for, between living and non living things.

Instead of that swindle, you could have raised in that thread an argument that machine learning systems have issues with forgetting things they learned, but for that, one should study a little bit things one is talking about, and that requires a little bit of effort:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catastrophic_interference

Edited by Hrvoje1

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26 minutes ago, Hrvoje1 said:

For example, you should understand what you are saying, when you say that "many species just respond automatically to the environment", and compare that with "the speed of a simple chemical reaction that may vary depending on temperature or the nature of the substrate", "water flowing downhill", and such things. You are obviously not aware of the fact that automata theory is a study of designed systems

Who designed a termite mound or a bees nest or an ant hill or an implausibility of wildebeest?

32 minutes ago, Hrvoje1 said:

So, when you basically repeat Descartes's argument:
http://www.animalethics.org.uk/descartes.html
http://people.whitman.edu/~herbrawt/classes/339/Descartes.pdf
only in a milder form, allowing that not necessarily all non-human species are basically automata, but many of them are, and "just respond automatically to the environment", you unknowingly and unwillingly become a proponent of intelligent design, which of course for Descartes wouldn't be a problem, or a big accusation, since he was a theist and theologist, who in his theology insisted on the absolute freedom of God's act of creation, but for you, an average atheist and science lover of 21st century, that could present a serious identity crisis, since I bet you consider ID biggest possible heresy that should be eradicated from scientific circles by all means possible, and you are obviously rooting for it, unconsciously, at the same time.

Now you're just talking bollox...

When you talk on this subject your biases are exposed; "gogito ergo sum" is an explicit attempt to compensate for bias; whereas your post is an explicit attempt to enforce your bias, through conflation, fallacy and a lot more words than is necessary... 

 

 

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6 hours ago, dimreepr said:

Now you're just talking bollox...

When you talk on this subject your biases are exposed; "gogito ergo sum" is an explicit attempt to compensate for bias; whereas your post is an explicit attempt to enforce your bias, through conflation, fallacy and a lot more words than is necessary... 

 

 

Just now, huh? That’s not so bad, way better than you, you talk nonsense all the time and nobody stops you.

In not so many words: shut up.

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32 minutes ago, Hrvoje1 said:

In not so many words: shut up.

!

Moderator Note

You've been warned about being civil. This is about the rudest thing you can say on a discussion forum.

 
!

Moderator Note

This time around, it's just you attacking people instead of ideas, so take some time off and assess whether this is the right place for you.

 

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7 hours ago, dimreepr said:

Who designed a termite mound or a bees nest or an ant hill or an implausibility of wildebeest?

Nature by Time.

 

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1 hour ago, FreeWill said:

Nature by Time.

 

Define time

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6 hours ago, iNow said:

Define time

Continuous information about space.

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16 hours ago, FreeWill said:

Nature by Time.

Another point well missed... 

Nature is what happens where there's life and time is what happens where there's a universe, neither has design in mind. 

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I do not think that a single h atom is alive but I think it is part of Nature.

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11 minutes ago, FreeWill said:

I do not think that a single h atom is alive but I think it is part of Nature.

There is an obvious overlap, but so what? 

The question remains, how or what does it design?

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11 hours ago, FreeWill said:

Continuous information about space.

You should avoid seeking employment with Oxford or Merriam Websters. Your definition of time is perhaps the single worst I've ever seen.

43 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

The question remains, how or what does it design?

I thought the question was about life and consciousness. It's even right there in the thread title.

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8 minutes ago, iNow said:

I thought the question was about life and consciousness. It's even right there in the thread title.

Good catch.

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40 minutes ago, iNow said:

Your definition of time is perhaps the single worst I've ever seen.

At least it is true, I am sad you do not like it.

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On ‎8‎/‎15‎/‎2019 at 2:39 PM, dimreepr said:

Who designed a termite mound

A termite mound is not an automaton, therefore this question is pointless as a response to my post that you quoted, in which I explained that systems that are not designed, and don't require anything but physical laws for their explanation, such as clouds or rivers ("water flowing downhill"), are not automata too, and animals cannot be compared to them, if we assume that animals are automata, as Descartes did. The other important characteristic of automata is that they are "self-acting", while the termite mound is a rather passive object, built by termites. People design a lot of various objects with certain purpose in mind, that are not automata, and require manual operator, such as hammers and axes, but obviously termites didn't need to hire a human architect to design a mound for them, that's why is this question without any sense, in general.
Termite's ability to build mounds certainly doesn't prove that they are not aware of their environment, or of themselves, so I really don't know why you raised that question, and how does that disprove anything I said.

On ‎8‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 4:50 PM, iNow said:

I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

I didn't ask you to understand it for me, and you are not capable of producing a sensible explanation.
To prove the opposite, describe roughly in a few sentences an experiment that proves that plants are not self-aware. If you cannot do that, explain the logic that leads you to think that it must be so. The one presented by Strange is not convincing to me. He said, "let's assume that brain is minimum requirement for self awareness, plants don't have brain, hence plants must be not self-aware, and if any kind of nervous system is sufficient, plants don't have that either, so we are still OK". But we are obviously not, can you do it any better?
It is entirely possible that this faulty logic, has sound premises and accidentally yields correct result, ie that some of that really is a minimum requirement for self-awareness, and that animals are driven by self-preservation, and plants are not, as they don't possess notion of "self", and after all it is hard to imagine what perception of themselves plants might have, but it doesn't mean one should disregard possibility that they have some, that we only fail to detect. So how did biologists prove that they don't?

On ‎8‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 10:24 AM, Eise said:

Where it might be difficult to agree on an exact definition of consciousness, I think some of the following must at least apply. 

I would say that every being that is aware of its environment, should be aware of itself too, as that is a basic distinction related to awareness, "me" against "everything else", if that doesn't exist, it is hard to speak of any awareness.
And when I see a plant that manages to catch an insect, and eat it, it's hard for me to reason that it is not aware of its environment. How is that "more automatic" reaction that doesn't require awareness, than when an animal eats a plant, it is up to theoreticians of that "automatism" to explain.
 

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23 minutes ago, Hrvoje1 said:

you are not capable of producing a sensible explanation

Merely repeating this claim doesn’t magically render it true. 

24 minutes ago, Hrvoje1 said:

describe roughly in a few sentences an experiment that proves that plants are not self-aware

I’ve never made any claims regarding the self-awareness of plants, so no. 

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15 hours ago, Hrvoje1 said:

I would say that every being that is aware of its environment, should be aware of itself too, as that is a basic distinction related to awareness, "me" against "everything else", if that doesn't exist, it is hard to speak of any awareness.
And when I see a plant that manages to catch an insect, and eat it, it's hard for me to reason that it is not aware of its environment. How is that "more automatic" reaction that doesn't require awareness, than when an animal eats a plant, it is up to theoreticians of that "automatism" to explain.

Why would a potatoe need to be aware of its environment? It has no mechanism to do so and it would not gain an advantage if it was aware, so why would it evolve awareness?

In fact self awareness would be disadvantageous to a termite:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stigmergy

 

Quote

 Stigmergy is a form of self-organization. It produces complex, seemingly intelligent structures, without need for any planning, control, or even direct communication between the agents. As such it supports efficient collaboration between extremely simple agents, who lack any memory, intelligence or even individual awareness of each other. 

 

IOW an automaton...

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39 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

Why would a potatoe need to be aware of its environment?

It wouldn't know whether it should go green unless it was aware of the sunlight. (That is why they have eyes, I suppose.)

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17 hours ago, Hrvoje1 said:

I didn't ask you to understand it for me, and you are not capable of producing a sensible explanation.

!

Moderator Note

Please STOP the personal attacks NOW! Criticizing an explanation is allowed, criticizing a person's ability to produce one is not. If you don't understand the difference, you shouldn't be here.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Strange said:

It wouldn't know whether it should go green unless it was aware of the sunlight. (That is why they have eyes, I suppose.)

Then, I guess. the eyes have it...

Edited by dimreepr

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Perhaps consciousness in the most fundamental terms requires a rudimentary form of all these attributes collectively:

The ability to learn 

A sense of self 

A sense of the environment 

The ability to make choices 

 

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5 hours ago, MPMin said:

Perhaps consciousness in the most fundamental terms requires a rudimentary form of all these attributes collectively:

The ability to learn 

A sense of self 

A sense of the environment 

The ability to make choices 

 

That sounds reasonable to me.

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9 hours ago, MPMin said:

Perhaps consciousness in the most fundamental terms requires a rudimentary form of all these attributes collectively:

.

A sense of self 

I don't think this one is a necessary property: through meditation, certain psychedelics, certain dream states or engaging in certain activities (some say dancing or sports), it is possible to exist without a sense of self and still be conscious. Certainly a different kind of consciousness, but still consciousness. However, i can imagine a sense of self being an important evolved trait that allowed sufficiently complex beings to exist to facilitate human consciousness.

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10 hours ago, MPMin said:

Perhaps consciousness in the most fundamental terms requires a rudimentary form of all these attributes collectively:

The ability to learn 

A sense of self 

A sense of the environment 

The ability to make choices 

The question of consciousness in others is ultimately circular, because I'm not them and they can't understand "them" for me... 

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And what about the ability of abstract thoughts and a sense of mortality perhaps these are necessary attributes of consciousness or maybe I’m just setting the bar too high for what consciousness is. 

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