Illusion of Freedom

 
 
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srrr
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22 November 2012 03:01
 
Rami Rustom - 21 November 2012 02:46 PM

By that same argument, the hardware of that computer is receiving physical inputs and the software is “conscious” of the theories. Agreed?

No, because physically there is no hardware/software distinction. Hardware consists of particles and forces, and software does too.

Explain?

I explained that reductionism is about getting rid of misconceptions. You brought up the idea that einstein and newtons theories can exist inside computers. Even if what you said is correct (which it isnt, since only particles and forces exist inside computers), it has no relation to my argument.

No. What you’re talking about is empiricism—which is the doctrine that says that humans create knowledge via our sensations/perceptions. Its false. One example refutes it: Einstein did not create his theory of gravity by first having perceived something.

As with the previous point you made: this is unrelated to my argument, and it is also false. It is unrelated because im not a arguing that all our knowledge comes from our sensory perceptions. My argument is that our flawed perceptions can result in flawed theories (such as the notion of an atom as an indivisible unit) and that reductionism gets rid of those misconceptions.


It is false because einstein did not come up with his theory completely devoid of any sensory perceptions (after all, how could he include light, space and time in his theories if he had no knowledge those existed). Einstein was a human being with eyes and ears (etc.) and he had been observing reality for decades before he came up with his theories. Furthermore, the only way we can know if theories actually match reality is through empiricism. Einstein could have come up with the theory of unicorns on atlantis, and it might have been a brilliant theory, but observations of reality would not support it at all.

No I don’t see what you’re saying.


What do you mean when you say an atom doesn’t exist?


An atom is: A bunch of elementary particals acting together in a specific manner. Lets call this A.


Do you agree that A exists?

Notice that im talking about “atom as an undivisible unit”. People used to believe this is true. In fact, that is why they called it an atom, as “atom” is the term used for a hypothetical particle of matter so minute as to admit of no division. We now know that atoms are not indivisibly small, and that they consist of smaller particles and forces.


So when you are saying “consciousness can be reduced” you are implying that consciousness is a misconception (like that of the atom as an indivisible unit).

[ Edited: 22 November 2012 03:05 by srrr]
 
Rami Rustom
 
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Rami Rustom
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22 November 2012 07:20
 
srrr - 22 November 2012 03:01 AM
Rami Rustom - 21 November 2012 02:46 PM

By that same argument, the hardware of that computer is receiving physical inputs and the software is “conscious” of the theories. Agreed?

No, because physically there is no hardware/software distinction. Hardware consists of particles and forces, and software does too.

And so does the mind (aka consciousness). Agreed?

srrr - 22 November 2012 03:01 AM

No. What you’re talking about is empiricism—which is the doctrine that says that humans create knowledge via our sensations/perceptions. Its false. One example refutes it: Einstein did not create his theory of gravity by first having perceived something.

As with the previous point you made: this is unrelated to my argument, and it is also false. It is unrelated because im not a arguing that all our knowledge comes from our sensory perceptions. My argument is that our flawed perceptions can result in flawed theories (such as the notion of an atom as an indivisible unit) and that reductionism gets rid of those misconceptions.

Agreed.

srrr - 22 November 2012 03:01 AM

It is false because einstein did not come up with his theory completely devoid of any sensory perceptions (after all, how could he include light, space and time in his theories if he had no knowledge those existed). Einstein was a human being with eyes and ears (etc.) and he had been observing reality for decades before he came up with his theories. Furthermore, the only way we can know if theories actually match reality is through empiricism. Einstein could have come up with the theory of unicorns on atlantis, and it might have been a brilliant theory, but observations of reality would not support it at all.

That is not empiricism. Einstein created his theory by guessing, not by first having perceived something. Then decades later, his theory was tested, and the results of those tests were consistent with this theory. This is not empiricism. Empiricism says that we create knowledge *from* our senses.

srrr - 22 November 2012 03:01 AM

No I don’t see what you’re saying. What do you mean when you say an atom doesn’t exist?

An atom is: A bunch of elementary particles acting together in a specific manner. Lets call this A.


Do you agree that A exists?

Notice that im talking about “atom as an undivisible unit”. People used to believe this is true. In fact, that is why they called it an atom, as “atom” is the term used for a hypothetical particle of matter so minute as to admit of no division. We now know that atoms are not indivisibly small, and that they consist of smaller particles and forces.


So when you are saying “consciousness can be reduced” you are implying that consciousness is a misconception (like that of the atom as an indivisible unit).

Consider this.


Consciousness is: A bunch of elementary particles acting together in a specific manner. Lets call this B.


Do you agree that B exists?

 
Rami Rustom
 
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22 November 2012 07:56
 
srrr - 21 November 2012 07:38 AM
Rami Rustom - 20 November 2012 10:09 AM

Do you think that just because we don’t have a theory explaining consciousness that that means we won’t have such a theory in the future?

Personally i dont believe such a theory will come. Consciousness and physical properties share virtually no similarities (expressing conscious experiences in physical terms results in meaningless statements: how much does the number 9 weigh? How heavy is pain? Etc.), so i dont know why people so readily accept that both are the same.

Then where do you think consciousness comes from?

srrr - 21 November 2012 07:38 AM

If i told you that a rock is actually a dog, would you believe it?

No because I have criticisms of that idea. Why is this relevant?

srrr - 21 November 2012 07:38 AM

Some people use the word “physical” as a sort of containerterm that they shove everything into, but really it is very specific and it is determined by that which physics measures and identifies. As it stands, consciousness cannot be measured at all.

We also cannot measure whether or not the Big Bang happened. Right?

srrr - 21 November 2012 07:38 AM

In fact when we talk about “measuring” we are talking about empiricism, which is the basis of all science. Empiricism means “to experience”, which happens to be what consciousness is.

No. Empiricism is not the basis of all science. Its the basis of bad science. Empiricism says that humans create knowledge by their senses. Its false. One example refutes it. Einstein created his theory of gravity and that theory was consistent with absolutely none of his sensory data (and perceptions). Agreed?


Scientific knowledge is created by guesses and criticism. The guesses are hypotheses. The criticism is two ways: (A) philosophical, and (B) physical. The philosophical criticism is the kind of criticism that rules out bad theories long before any scientists decide to test the theory. If the theory passes the philosophical criticism, then and only then should scientists perform experiments in order to falsify (aka criticize using physical evidence) the theory.

 
 
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srrr
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22 November 2012 13:15
 
Rami Rustom - 22 November 2012 07:20 AM
srrr - 22 November 2012 03:01 AM

No, because physically there is no hardware/software distinction. Hardware consists of particles and forces, and software does too.

And so does the mind (aka consciousness). Agreed?

Fine with me, but the = sign works both ways. If you want to say that consciousness = particles and forces, then particles and forces = consciousness. Particles and forces exist all throughout the universe. The result would be that C does too.

Consider this.


Consciousness is: A bunch of elementary particles acting together in a specific manner. Lets call this B.


Do you agree that B exists?

Well, the problem lies with the term “specific”. Really, any configuration and interaction of particles is specific. The difference between any two configurations is always just a quantitative difference (a difference in the quantities of those particles and forces and the spacetime between them).


Some people suggest that the brain has a very specific configuration, and that this is why it is conscious. They say that objects lacking such a configuration (for example rocks), are not conscious. This cannot be the case however, because that would mean there is a qualitative difference between brains and non-brains. Yet physically, there is only a quantitative difference between brains and non-brains. So the idea that consciousness only exists when the configuration is specific/right, conflicts with basic physics.

 
Rami Rustom
 
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22 November 2012 13:28
 
srrr - 22 November 2012 01:15 PM
Rami Rustom - 22 November 2012 07:20 AM
srrr - 22 November 2012 03:01 AM

No, because physically there is no hardware/software distinction. Hardware consists of particles and forces, and software does too.

And so does the mind (aka consciousness). Agreed?

Fine with me, but the = sign works both ways. If you want to say that consciousness = particles and forces, then particles and forces = consciousness. Particles and forces exist all throughout the universe. The result would be that C does too.

I don’t understand. Are you saying that an atom is conscious? What does that mean?


What do you mean by consciousness? I think we should have defined this at the beginning.

srrr - 22 November 2012 01:15 PM

Consider this.

Consciousness is: A bunch of elementary particles acting together in a specific manner. Lets call this B.


Do you agree that B exists?

Well, the problem lies with the term “specific”. Really, any configuration and interaction of particles is specific.
The difference between any two configurations is always just a quantitative difference (a difference in the quantities of those particles and forces and the spacetime between them).

Agreed.

srrr - 22 November 2012 01:15 PM

Some people suggest that the brain has a very specific configuration, and that this is why it is conscious. They say that objects lacking such a configuration (for example rocks), are not conscious. This cannot be the case however, because that would mean there is a qualitative difference between brains and non-brains. Yet physically, there is only a quantitative difference between brains and non-brains. So the idea that consciousness only exists when the configuration is specific/right, conflicts with basic physics.

I’m going to use your argument and interchange consciousness for positive electric charge, and brain for proton.


A proton has a very specific configuration, and that this is why it has the property of positive electric charge. So, objects lacking such a configuration (for example rocks), do not have the property of positive electric charge. This cannot be the case however, because that would mean there is a qualitative difference between protons and non-protons. Yet physically, there is only a quantitative difference between protons and non-protons. So the idea that positive electric charge only exists when the configuration is specific/right, conflicts with basic physics.


Do you agree with that argument?

 
 
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22 November 2012 13:46
 
Rami Rustom - 22 November 2012 07:56 AM

Then where do you think consciousness comes from?

So far the idea that it originates in brains conflicts with physics and with how other natural phenomena work (such as evolution), and so i do not find it plausible or rational. I think it goes all the way back to the big bang.

srrr - 21 November 2012 07:38 AM

If i told you that a rock is actually a dog, would you believe it?

No because I have criticisms of that idea. Why is this relevant?

Because some people (most of them without ever having looked into the subject) have the undying faith that C is physical, even though the both share virtually no similarities.

No. Empiricism is not the basis of all science. Its the basis of bad science. Empiricism says that humans create knowledge by their senses. Its false. One example refutes it. Einstein created his theory of gravity and that theory was consistent with absolutely none of his sensory data (and perceptions). Agreed?

So how did einstein know light existed, or space, time, gravity, which are concepts that had been around long before him and which he incorporated into his theories?

Btw, even thoughts are experiences.

Scientific knowledge is created by guesses and criticism. The guesses are hypotheses. The criticism is two ways: (A) philosophical, and (B) physical. The philosophical criticism is the kind of criticism that rules out bad theories long before any scientists decide to test the theory. If the theory passes the philosophical criticism, then and only then should scientists perform experiments in order to falsify (aka criticize using physical evidence) the theory.

So what are they guessing about? Invisible purple demons living in disneyland-dimension? No, they are guessing about the world they see around them and which they are trying to make sense of. The criticism and guesses are done by conscious humans, and they hear and see eachothers guesses and criticism only through their senses. Theories are conceptual and exist only in conscious minds. The reason we are able to communicate with eachother at all is because we were taught language when we were younger. The very first step of this is when babies see and feel objects and hear the sounds others make about them. Really if you remove experiences from science, its dead. Just look at all the scientific theories and discoveries corpses come up with.

 
 
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22 November 2012 14:06
 
Rami Rustom - 22 November 2012 01:28 PM

I don’t understand. Are you saying that an atom is conscious? What does that mean?

No thats what you said. You said consciousness consists of particles and forces. Im telling you particles and forces exist all throughout the universe. They are fundamental.

What do you mean by consciousness? I think we should have defined this at the beginning.

Yes, youre right. I define it as:


Consciousness = having experiences of any kind. Examples of experiences are: seeing a color, hearing sounds, thinking, doing math, emotions, pain, etc. Anything that has any experience is conscious.

I’m going to use your argument and interchange consciousness for positive electric charge, and brain for proton.


A proton has a very specific configuration, and that this is why it has the property of positive electric charge. So, objects lacking such a configuration (for example rocks), do not have the property of positive electric charge. This cannot be the case however, because that would mean there is a qualitative difference between protons and non-protons. Yet physically, there is only a quantitative difference between protons and non-protons. So the idea that positive electric charge only exists when the configuration is specific/right, conflicts with basic physics.


Do you agree with that argument?

The proton is not an elementary particle, but i dont think it matters here. Electric charge is a fundamental property. Rocks do contain protons. When an object is positively or negatively charged it means that there is a difference in the quantity of electrons and protons of those objects. Im not sure where you find the qualitative difference, but the problem often lies in depicting a situation in terms of black-and-white opposites. For example: if there are 4 lines nicely arranged i could call it a rectangle. If i move one line a tiny bit, i could call it a NOT-rectangle. By talking in language of IS and IS NOT, it sounds like two totally unrelated opposites, whereas physically there is just tiny quantity of spacetime different between the rectangle and NOT-rectangle.

[ Edited: 22 November 2012 14:15 by srrr]
 
Rami Rustom
 
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22 November 2012 14:27
 
srrr - 22 November 2012 01:46 PM
Rami Rustom - 22 November 2012 07:56 AM

Then where do you think consciousness comes from?

So far the idea that it originates in brains conflicts with physics and with how other natural phenomena work (such as evolution),

What are you saying conflicts with evolution?

srrr - 22 November 2012 01:46 PM

and so i do not find it plausible or rational. I think it goes all the way back to the big bang.

What goes back to the Big Bang?

srrr - 22 November 2012 01:46 PM

No. Empiricism is not the basis of all science. Its the basis of bad science. Empiricism says that humans create knowledge by their senses. Its false. One example refutes it. Einstein created his theory of gravity and that theory was consistent with absolutely none of his sensory data (and perceptions). Agreed?

So how did einstein know light existed, or space, time, gravity, which are concepts that had been around long before him and which he incorporated into his theories?

No. Einstein created a new theory about what light *is*. And that theory has no resemblance to our sensory experience of light.

srrr - 22 November 2012 01:46 PM

Scientific knowledge is created by guesses and criticism. The guesses are hypotheses. The criticism is two ways: (A) philosophical, and (B) physical. The philosophical criticism is the kind of criticism that rules out bad theories long before any scientists decide to test the theory. If the theory passes the philosophical criticism, then and only then should scientists perform experiments in order to falsify (aka criticize using physical evidence) the theory.

So what are they guessing about? Invisible purple demons living in disneyland-dimension?

People in the past did make guesses like that. They lacked a lot of knowledge of physics.

srrr - 22 November 2012 01:46 PM

No, they are guessing about the world they see around them and which they are trying to make sense of.

Same for the people that believe in demons.

srrr - 22 November 2012 01:46 PM

The criticism and guesses are done by conscious humans, and they hear and see eachothers guesses and criticism only through their senses. Theories are conceptual and exist only in conscious minds. The reason we are able to communicate with eachother at all is because we were taught language when we were younger. The very first step of this is when babies see and feel objects and hear the sounds others make about them. Really if you remove experiences from science, its dead. Just look at all the scientific theories and discoveries corpses come up with.

You’re right. But that is not empiricism. According to wikipedia : Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience.[1]


Einstein did not create his theory of gravity “only or primarily from sensory experience”.

 
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22 November 2012 14:37
 
srrr - 22 November 2012 02:06 PM
Rami Rustom - 22 November 2012 01:28 PM

I don’t understand. Are you saying that an atom is conscious? What does that mean?

No thats what you said. You said consciousness consists of particles and forces. Im telling you particles and forces exist all throughout the universe. They are fundamental.

No. The configuration of elementary particles that makes an atom is not the same configuration of elementary particles that makes consciousness. So I don’t see why you think that my argument implies that an atom is conscious. Why do you think that?

srrr - 22 November 2012 02:06 PM

What do you mean by consciousness? I think we should have defined this at the beginning.

Yes, youre right. I define it as:


Consciousness = having experiences of any kind. Examples of experiences are: seeing a color, hearing sounds, thinking, doing math, emotions, pain, etc. Anything that has any experience is conscious.

Agreed. Lets be more specific though. An object that collects data from its environment, process it, then responds by reacting to that environment, is conscious. Agreed?

srrr - 22 November 2012 02:06 PM

I’m going to use your argument and interchange consciousness for positive electric charge, and brain for proton.


A proton has a very specific configuration, and that this is why it has the property of positive electric charge. So, objects lacking such a configuration (for example rocks), do not have the property of positive electric charge. This cannot be the case however, because that would mean there is a qualitative difference between protons and non-protons. Yet physically, there is only a quantitative difference between protons and non-protons. So the idea that positive electric charge only exists when the configuration is specific/right, conflicts with basic physics.


Do you agree with that argument?

The proton is not an elementary particle, but i dont think it matters here. Electric charge is a fundamental property.

No. Electric charge is not a fundamental property. The elementary particles do not have electric charge. A proton is made up of 3 quarks, none of which exhibit the property of electric charge.

 
 
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23 November 2012 01:13
 
Rami Rustom - 22 November 2012 02:37 PM

No. Electric charge is not a fundamental property. The elementary particles do not have electric charge. A proton is made up of 3 quarks, none of which exhibit the property of electric charge.

Rami, this is clearly wrong. Every quark has an electric charge.

Electrical charge indeed is a fundamental property. Without it, we would not have any electromagnetic forces.

Check out quark on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quark#Electric_charge

“Quarks have fractional electric charge values — either 1?3 or 2?3 times the elementary charge, depending on flavor.”

And checkt out electric charge on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_charge

The electric charge is a fundamental conserved property of some subatomic particles, which determines their electromagnetic interaction. Electrically charged matter is influenced by, and produces, electromagnetic fields. The interaction between a moving charge and an electromagnetic field is the source of the electromagnetic force, which is one of the four fundamental forces (See also: magnetic field).

I am not going to bother to read the rest. These topics could have been verified with one or two clicks by Rami. Unless you stop making such ludicrous claims there is no point in seriously debating with you.

 
 
 
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23 November 2012 01:32
 
Rami Rustom - 22 November 2012 02:27 PM

...Einstein did not create his theory of gravity “only or primarily from sensory experience”.

Sure he did: The theory rests on these two observations:

1. Light travels at the same speed in every frame of reference (in vacuum). Michelson-Morely experiment. (special relativity)

2. The equivalence of inertial and gravitational mass - Galileo Galilei. (general relativity)

That’s the starting point. A fundamental concept he added is the principle of relativity:

The theory must be the same in every frame of reference.

But this idea was clearly inspired by observation 1.

If Einstein hadn’t based his theory on sensory experience, then it would not have been a theory of physics.

 
 
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23 November 2012 07:39
 
kikl - 23 November 2012 01:13 AM
Rami Rustom - 22 November 2012 02:37 PM

No. Electric charge is not a fundamental property. The elementary particles do not have electric charge. A proton is made up of 3 quarks, none of which exhibit the property of electric charge.

Rami, this is clearly wrong. Every quark has an electric charge.

Electrical charge indeed is a fundamental property. Without it, we would not have any electromagnetic forces.

Check out quark on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quark#Electric_charge

“Quarks have fractional electric charge values — either 1?3 or 2?3 times the elementary charge, depending on flavor.”

And checkt out electric charge on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_charge

The electric charge is a fundamental conserved property of some subatomic particles, which determines their electromagnetic interaction. Electrically charged matter is influenced by, and produces, electromagnetic fields. The interaction between a moving charge and an electromagnetic field is the source of the electromagnetic force, which is one of the four fundamental forces (See also: magnetic field).

I am not going to bother to read the rest. These topics could have been verified with one or two clicks by Rami. Unless you stop making such ludicrous claims there is no point in seriously debating with you.

So because I was mistaken, you talk like that? WOW!


I don’t understand why so many people get emotional on this forum.

 
GenerousGeorge
 
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GenerousGeorge
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23 November 2012 18:17
 

Gosh, I wonder why. It couldn’t have anything to do with you. Right?

 
Rami Rustom
 
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23 November 2012 19:08
 
GenerousGeorge - 23 November 2012 06:17 PM

Gosh, I wonder why. It couldn’t have anything to do with you. Right?

I don’t see how it could have anything to do with me. What have I done? I haven’t cussed. I haven’t been hostile. I haven’t used sarcasm. I don’t evade people’s questions and criticism. So what did I do to cause other people to have negative emotions?

 
GenerousGeorge
 
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GenerousGeorge
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23 November 2012 19:11
 

Pray about it. Maybe. Seriously you seem kinda “slippery” in youranswers sometimes, not exactly strawman, but a close relative.