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Author Topic:   Can't ID be tested AT ALL?
aiguy
Inactive Member


Message 250 of 304 (374009)
01-03-2007 1:09 PM
Reply to: Message 248 by TheMystic
01-03-2007 12:15 PM


Hi All -
Just to position my response here: I am very critical of "Intelligent Design Theory" as science - I believe it is scientifically vacuous, and there is no possibility of testing or falsifying its claim. I am also versed in the cognitive sciences.
However:
Mystic writes:
The first evidence any of us have is our own consciousness.
crashfrog writes:
I asked you to explain how that constitutes evidence for ID, but you completely ducked the question. The simple fact of the matter is that consciousness arises naturally from brains. It's what brains do.
Well, not so fast, crashfrog. Nobody knows what gives rise to consciousness. It would certainly appear that well-functioning human brains are necessary for human consciousness, but presently we have no scientific explanation for subjective mental experience. Consciousness research consists of trying to find neurological correlates of conscious experience, and there is movement on that front, but there is no guarantee that once we do pin down the neural structures and systems that are correlated with consciousness, we will be any closer to a material explanation of qualia.
So consciousness remains a mystery. There are contemporary scientists and philosophers of mind on every side of the issue - for example:
Dan Dennett believes any suitable information processing device can be conscious
John Searle believes consciousness is a biological function of brains only
David Chalmers believes consciousness transcends material causation
Roger Penrose believes quantum gravity will explain consciousness
Henry Stapp believes quantum physics in general explains consciousness
etc. etc.
What does this have to do with ID and testability? IF dualism were found to be true, then many (including me) believe that would be a very strong indication that mind was not limited to living humans (and other animals). There is no scientific evidence for dualism, but neither is there compelling reason to dismiss it.
In other words, the fact of our conscious awareness is the single aspect of the world that may speak against materialism, and if materialism is false, ID theory gains a modicum of credibility.
Now, that said: There is absolutely no way to test ID theory, mainly because ID theory actually doesn't make any specific claim about anything in the world that is accessible to empirical investigation, directly or indirectly.
Edited by aiguy, : typo

Science is not simply reason - it is much less than that. It is reason constrained by empiricism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 248 by TheMystic, posted 01-03-2007 12:15 PM TheMystic has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 255 by PaulK, posted 01-03-2007 1:36 PM aiguy has replied
 Message 258 by crashfrog, posted 01-03-2007 2:25 PM aiguy has replied

aiguy
Inactive Member


Message 257 of 304 (374033)
01-03-2007 2:20 PM
Reply to: Message 255 by PaulK
01-03-2007 1:36 PM


Hi PaulK,
PaulK writes:
I'd say that there was pretty strong evidence that any simple dualism which allows that an ordinary human mind can exist apart from a brain is probably false. The so-called "split-brain" operation, by severing most of the connections between the two hemispheres produces a split in consciousness. The human mind is apparently dependant on physcial connections in the brain to keep itself integrated. Obviously a disembodied human mind would lack those connections and so would presumably have the same problems - at least. And that's before we consider issues like memory or the fact that physical damage to the brain can apparently produce personality changes.
There is no doubt that well-functioning brains are necessary for human consciousness - and one doesn't need to turn to split-brain experiments to see that (try a knock on the head). On the other hand, we have no good reason to believe that any particular physical mechanism (as we currently understand physics) is sufficient for conscious awareness.
PaulK writes:
Presumably a dismebodied mind would split into two, have no memory and likely a completely different personality than if it were embodied. Dualism (or more properly substance dualism) is not exactly looking healthy from where I'm sitting.
There is actually a bit of a resurgence in non-physicalist theories within philosophy of mind. Aside from Chalmers (whose arguments I'm partial to) people like Jaegwon Kim are starting to admit that supervenience is a meaningless cop-out and there really is an explanatory gap.
But I'm afraid we're straying too far from the topic. Vis-a-vis ID, none of this helps. The experiments that have been done to show how conscious awareness can direct our voluntary actions have - rather remarkably - shown just the opposite (cf. Benjamin Libet). All of Dembski's speculations about how disembodied mind might be causal in the physical world are laughably incoherent. There is simply no science at all upon which to base a theory of "intelligent causation" that enacts contra-causal will in the physical world.
ID's credibility (and even its meaning) relies upon people's intuitive and unscientific folk psychological concepts of dualism and libertarian free will. One would think that if ID was actually a scientific discipline, they might offer some consideration of current theories of mind and the related scientific research, and even try to contribute something. But no, they avoid all serious discussion of mentality, instead relying on lay folk's popular opinions about "mind over matter" and such.

Science is not simply reason - it is much less than that. It is reason constrained by empiricism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 255 by PaulK, posted 01-03-2007 1:36 PM PaulK has not replied

aiguy
Inactive Member


Message 259 of 304 (374041)
01-03-2007 2:46 PM
Reply to: Message 258 by crashfrog
01-03-2007 2:25 PM


Hi crashfrog,
crashfrog writes:
Nonsense. The brain is the explanation. It's a pretty simple explanation - "brains are the organs that produce sensations of consciousness."
Wow - that's a very dogmatic statement. Honestly, there is no science that explains consciousness. We really have no idea why we are not "zombies" (in the way philosophers of mind use the term). If you believe that physicalist theories explain consciousness, perhaps you could cite the relevant papers, and give us a brief summary of how physical interactions in the brain give rise to conscious awareness?
crashfrog writes:
AIGUY: we will be any closer to a material explanation of qualia.
CRASHFROG: Of what?
"Qualia" are the subjective components of our perceptions. One of the essential aspects of the mind/body problem is to explain why we have subjective experience of our perceptions, rather than simply behavioral responses.
crashfrog writes:
Actually the lack of evidence is a pretty compelling reason to dismiss it, at least until there's some evidence. Why wouldn't it be? Absence of evidence is evidence of absence, after all.
The evidence for something that transcends physicalism is that our conscious awareness doesn't seem to be part of the physical world. Rather than go too deeply into it in this thread, I would suggest you read some of the arguments that go against your views (my recommendation would be to start with Nagels' classic paper here http://members.aol.com/NeoNoetics/Nagel_Bat.html, then read a book by David Chalmers).
crashfrog writes:
Now you're just repeating his assertion, and still the question I've asked is being ducked. Why is conscious awareness evidence against materialism? The fact that consciousness is only observed to exist under a specific, narrow set of material conditions seems to indicate the exact opposite. The ephemerality of consciousness is excellent evidence for materialism.
The brief answer is that there seems to be no way to reduce phenomenology to objective descriptions of physical events. The longer answer has been debated for, oh, going on about three thousand years or so.
Read what I said again, crashfrog - I'm very, very much against the notion that Intelligent Design can be viewed as a coherent scientific theory. I just like to remind materialists that the constraints of science apply to both sides of the argument, and there is certainly no settled science that shows how conscious awareness arises from brains. (Remember - the fact that neurological processes are necessary for consciousness doesn't mean that they are sufficient).

Science is not simply reason - it is much less than that. It is reason constrained by empiricism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 258 by crashfrog, posted 01-03-2007 2:25 PM crashfrog has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 260 by crashfrog, posted 01-03-2007 2:59 PM aiguy has replied

aiguy
Inactive Member


Message 261 of 304 (374045)
01-03-2007 3:07 PM
Reply to: Message 260 by crashfrog
01-03-2007 2:59 PM


Crashfrog,
If you believe that physicalist theories explain consciousness, perhaps you could cite the relevant papers, and give us a brief summary of how physical interactions in the brain give rise to conscious awareness?

Science is not simply reason - it is much less than that. It is reason constrained by empiricism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 260 by crashfrog, posted 01-03-2007 2:59 PM crashfrog has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 262 by Percy, posted 01-03-2007 3:30 PM aiguy has replied

aiguy
Inactive Member


Message 263 of 304 (374060)
01-03-2007 3:42 PM
Reply to: Message 262 by Percy
01-03-2007 3:30 PM


Hi Percy,
Percy writes:
It almost sounds like you're arguing that because we can't presently explain how consciousness emerges from brain activity that it could therefore have a non-natural origin. Sounds identical to the God-of-the-gaps argument.
No, not at all, because I am making no argument for dualism (or any explanation based on "non-natural" cause) at all. My point is simply that we have some reason to doubt that material reduction accounts for our subjective experience, and that we have no theory that explains it. All that means is that we currently have no scientific understanding of consciousness, nothing more or less.

Science is not simply reason - it is much less than that. It is reason constrained by empiricism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 262 by Percy, posted 01-03-2007 3:30 PM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 264 by Percy, posted 01-03-2007 3:53 PM aiguy has replied

aiguy
Inactive Member


Message 265 of 304 (374074)
01-03-2007 4:15 PM
Reply to: Message 264 by Percy
01-03-2007 3:53 PM


Hi Percy,
Percy writes:
Then it sounds like you should be agreeing with Crash when he says that consciousness is based upon physical activity in the brain. He isn't saying we know how consciousness emerges from that activity, only that it must and does. Scientifically there is no other possibility.
This is just what I'm talking about. ID folks - and the backlash against science in general - accuse scientists of dogmatically adhering to materialism. This charge is sometimes warranted. The scientific response to a question for which there is currently no well-supported answer is "We do not know", and not "It must be explainable in terms of physics, because everything just must be."
There are lots of people who have speculations about what might be going on inside our heads. For example, Roger Penrose (Nobel physicist) thinks that a very weird aspect of quantum physics (including a "universal platonic logic" that somehow exists in the universe) may be implicated in consciousness. Now, there is no sense in saying this is "physical" or "natural" or "non-physical" or "non-natural". It is something beyond our current understanding, and someday we may - or may not - have an empirically-based understanding of it.
Percy writes:
But from spiritual or religious or hokum perspectives there are, of course, a raft of other possibilities.
Sure, and I find these completely boring. My point is that we all ought to be willing to say "WE DO NOT KNOW" rather than cleaving to physicalist dogma on one hand, or mumbo-jumbo on the other. There is a fantastic amount of scientific knowledge that we've gained - justified true beliefs about the world that we all can experience and verify. This is a very special type of knowledge. But not everything has been explained, and for those things that haven't been, we must remain comfortable in our ignorance.

Science is not simply reason - it is much less than that. It is reason constrained by empiricism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 264 by Percy, posted 01-03-2007 3:53 PM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 266 by Percy, posted 01-03-2007 4:51 PM aiguy has replied

aiguy
Inactive Member


Message 267 of 304 (374089)
01-03-2007 5:16 PM
Reply to: Message 266 by Percy
01-03-2007 4:51 PM


Hi Percy -
Percy writes:
Hopefully it's always warranted. Science adheres to methodological naturalism, believing that all phenomena are amenable to study through their effect on the material world that is apparent to us through our senses.
First, you've muddied the difference between methodological and epistemological naturalism. Yes, science holds that all phenomena are amenable to study via materialism, but that does not mean that currently unexplained phenomena will necessarily be explainable within what we view as "natural" or "physical" today.
Percy writes:
Phenomena that are only apparent via other avenues, such as revelation or visions, are not amenable to scientific study.
Obviously.
Percy writes:
Science has no problem delivering a "we do not know" answer, but ultimately all science does reduce to physics.
Of course that is not true. Reductionism is in high disrepute, if you haven't heard, from scientists and philosophers of science alike (and I'm not talking about anti-science folks and IDers here). The truth is we simply cannot cash out most phenomena in the world in terms of physics, even in principle, and there are many reasons for this.
Please don't get me wrong (again): I am a scientist, both professionally and in my personal frame of mind. I value scientific knowledge most highly, and I do not believe that religion or "spirituality" explains anything.
I am also very aware that science does not explain everything either.
Percy writes:
Perhaps consciousness is based upon physical principles not currently known or understood, but if we do eventually know and understand them then they'll at some level be part of the field of physics. Anything that doesn't ultimately reduce to physics cannot be part of the natural universe and so is not open to study by science.
I almost agree with you here, but not entirely, and you've said something different this time. If we do eventually know and understand consciousness, then it will be an empirically-grounded scientific understanding, yes (so much is just our definition of "know and understand"). But that is not the same as saying we are sure that physics will eventually explain it, nor that we know now that all mental phenomena will reduce to physics.
Percy writes:
When you say that consciousness may not necessarily emerge from physical (i.e., natural) activity in the brain, then what else is left but the supernatural.
I have no idea what you mean by "supernatural". What else is left is this: WE DO NOT KNOW.
Percy writes:
This is the God of the gaps argument of the creationists. You've accepted the creationist argument that scientists are arrogant for adhering to methodological naturalism, and you've attempted to deflect this criticism by parting ways with methodological naturalism, thereby conceding to organizations like ICR and the Discovery Institute want they want most. In fact, the defeat of methodological naturalism is a key component of the strategy outlined in DI's wedge document.
I have done nothing remotely like what you say. I reject dogma on all sides of the debate. Saying "WE DO NOT KNOW" is simply not the same as saying "GOD DID IT" or "AN INTELLIGENT DESIGNER DID IT" - both of which constitute no explanation at all.
I'm afraid that you, Percy, have made a "physics of the gaps" argument when you say that consciousness must be reducible to physics. There are a great many scientists who disagree with that - and again I'm taking about real, red-blooded, methodological naturalist, empiricist, verificationalist scientists.
Percy writes:
If you want to be scientific then your methods and thinking have to be consistent with methodological naturalism. There's no way around it.
Once again: Methodologically, we assume naturalism (=physicalism) because that is the only aspect of the world we can investigate empirically and gain objective (or inter-subjective) verification for. Epistemologically, we concede that there may be real things that exist in the world that transcend what we currently understand as "physical".

Science is not simply reason - it is much less than that. It is reason constrained by empiricism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 266 by Percy, posted 01-03-2007 4:51 PM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 268 by crashfrog, posted 01-03-2007 5:57 PM aiguy has replied
 Message 270 by Percy, posted 01-03-2007 6:51 PM aiguy has replied

aiguy
Inactive Member


Message 271 of 304 (374148)
01-03-2007 6:54 PM
Reply to: Message 268 by crashfrog
01-03-2007 5:57 PM


Hi Crashfrog,
Crashfrog writes:
If it can be studied naturally, then how could it have a non-natural explanation? Your argument isn't coherent.
Once again, I have never said anything about a "non-natural explanation". The point you seem to have trouble understanding is that we may be incapable of providing an explanation at all.
Crashfrog writes:
And I don't know if you've heard, but philosophy of science isn't exactly a science. And just because simple explanations generally leave little room for whatever woowoo you're interested in, doesn't mean that "reductionism" - that is, a snarky name for finding out how things work - represents something that undermines our arguments.
I find your disdain for philosophy more than a little naive.
Crashfrog writes:
If you think that philosophers have the influence to cause scientific techniques to simply fall out of "vogue", just because they say they should, you're drastically overestimating the influence of philosophy in science. I work intimately with scientists in a few different fields, and let me assure you - philosophical concerns couldn't possibly be any more remote from the day-to-day prosecution of science. Most scientists have never even heard of people like Popper.
If most of the scientists you know have never heard of Popper, you have found a particular ignorant group of scientists to work with. And if Popper is the most contemporary philospher of science you can name, you seem to ignorant in this area as well.
Crashfrog writes:
What reasons?
Emergent phenomena (both ontological and epistemological), chaotic complexity, and our general inability to reduce complex dynamic interactions, for starters. Very little of what we know can actually be reduced to fundamental physics.
Crashfrog writes:
Used as a syononym for "that which isn't explainable in natural terms", it's actually up to you to tell us what "supernatural" is supposed to mean, since you're the one who brought the concept into the discussion.
You are mistaken - please show where I introduced "supernatural" into this discussion.
Crashfrog writes:
AIGUY:I'm afraid that you, Percy, have made a "physics of the gaps" argument when you say that consciousness must be reducible to physics.
CRASHFROG: He hasn't said that. I've come the closest to saying that, but obviously I can't see the future.
Hmm, let's see. You have said:
Crashfrog writes:
Nonsense. The brain is the explanation. It's a pretty simple explanation - "brains are the organs that produce sensations of consciousness."
And Percy has said:
Percy writes:
Then it sounds like you should be agreeing with Crash when he says that consciousness is based upon physical activity in the brain. He isn't saying we know how consciousness emerges from that activity, only that it must and does.
(emphasis added)
So I believe you are mistaken again.
crashfrog writes:
I can only make guesses based on what we know now, and I think I've been making a good case (that you've been ignoring) that the explanation for consciousness will be physical, because we've made progress in that direction.
As I have already pointed out:
aiguy writes:
Consciousness research consists of trying to find neurological correlates of conscious experience, and there is movement on that front, but there is no guarantee that once we do pin down the neural structures and systems that are correlated with consciousness, we will be any closer to a material explanation of qualia.
crashfrog writes:
AIGUY: Epistemologically, we concede that there may be real things that exist in the world that transcend what we currently understand as "physical".
CRASHFROG: There may be. I don't see any reason why there couldn't be. There don't seem to be any, though. None that have ever stood up to any kind of scrutiny.
There are many things science can't explain. Some of these things - such as our subjective awareness - appear to be utterly resistent to explanation within our scientific understanding, and to blithely state that consciousness arises from the brain or that it must and does emerges from physical activity in the brain is overstating our knowledge (the fact that you cannot understand the importance of distinguishing necessary and sufficient conditions in scientific explanations notwithstanding).

Science is not simply reason - it is much less than that. It is reason constrained by empiricism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 268 by crashfrog, posted 01-03-2007 5:57 PM crashfrog has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 272 by crashfrog, posted 01-03-2007 7:16 PM aiguy has replied
 Message 273 by Percy, posted 01-03-2007 7:19 PM aiguy has not replied

aiguy
Inactive Member


Message 275 of 304 (374226)
01-03-2007 9:14 PM
Reply to: Message 270 by Percy
01-03-2007 6:51 PM


Hi Percy,
Percy writes:
This doesn't just imply that in the future we'll find surprising natural phenomena, but that what we actually define as natural will change. It won't. It can't and remain scientific.
I disagree. Think about "action at a distance". Newton accepted that gravity was a force that acted unmediated across space. Einstein believed that only local causality was possible, and that action at a distance was impossible. Then quantum physics reintroduced that concept in yet an even stranger way. QM changed a great deal about what we believe is "natural", including that the physical world is deterministic (which is a very big deal indeed).
Percy writes:
If it's apparent to us via its effect on the world around us, then it is natural and is amenable to scientific study. This will never change, because we can't study things which have no effect on the natural world.
We cannot scientifically study things that have no effect on the natural world, right.
Percy writes:
Debates about philosophy are as relevant to the practice of science as arguments about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
I'm surprised at people's animosity toward philosophy. I can only believe you have not studied it. There of course would be no science at all without philosophy. Where do you think concepts like "methodological naturalism" come from?
Percy writes:
Use whatever labels you like, the fact of the matter is that science studies the natural world. Everyone concedes that we don't know everything, and no one could argue that there may be enormous unknown realms out there yet to be explored, but if they are detectable by us then they are natural. It can be no other way.
I think you have expressed merely a necessary truth (a truth by definition). Of course I agree.
Percy writes:
I don't mean that all science will be explainable via the equations of particle physics, for that obviously isn't true, most phenomena are simply too complex.
It is not merely complexity that makes this impossible. Not only can we not reduce our consciousness to physics, for example, but we can't even explain how it is that we reason. There are very difficult and currently unsolved problems in my own field, AI, and there are some very bright people who make very good arguments that thought is not algorithmic. We currently do not have very good reason to believe it is or it isn't.
Percy writes:
In other words, when you say, "But that is not the same as saying we are sure that physics will eventually explain it," I was never claiming that physics would explain it. What I mean is that at heart all natural phenomena are the result of physical interactions of matter and energy, i.e., physics. It can be no other way.
But you've said it again! You are not justified in saying this. You can only say that if we are to understand a phenomenon in terms of physical interactions, then the phenomena must in fact derive from those interactions. These are two different statements. The first - the one you made - is philosphical naturalism, and the second - what you should have said - is methodological naturalism. Only the latter is scientific.
Percy writes:
That is still my response to your claims about consciousness, where you appeared to be saying that it transcended the physical.
I have never said this. I have said it may, or it may not.
Percy writes:
It doesn't. It can't. The natural is all that is and can be apparent to us by its effect on the natural world. Anything that has an effect on the natural world is natural. Anything that has no effect on the natural world is not of this world and is supernatural and cannot be studies by science. It can be no other way.
At this point it isn't clear what you think. On one hand you say if consciousness transcends the physical, then "it cannot be studied by science", which is all well and good. On the other hand you say that consciousness does not, and can not, transcend the physical, which is simply a statement of materialist dogma.
Percy writes:
I doubt that there are many scientists out there who think consciousness involves more than interactions between matter and energy.
Roger Penrose (Nobel laureate, physics). John Eccles (Nobel laureate, physiology). Eugene Wigner (Nobel laureate, physics). David Bohm. Henry Stapp. Stuart Hameroff. Scott Hagen. Jack Tuszynski....
And many highly respected (outside of this forum, anyway) philosophers believe this as well.
Percy writes:
We agree about the "We do not know" part. Where we disagree is when you go on to conclude from "we do not know" that there may be more to the natural world than science can study.
Science can study anything that a scientist wishes to study. Whether or not that study will ever - can ever - result in an explanation is the point. If there are causes that transcend physical interactions as we understand them, then science - as we understand it - will not explain them. If WE DO NOT KNOW, then this always remains a possibility.
Percy writes:
I can only grant that science is not capable of understanding everything. I'm sure there are many things in the universe beyond the scope of human scientific understanding. But if something is natural then it can be studied by science, even if we ultimately fail to figure it out. If it isn't natural then it can't be studied by science.
And once again you say that I agree with. I would encourage you to review your statements and see that you really have vacillated between statements of epistemological and methodological naturalism. Saying that "consciousness arises from physical interactions because it must" is the former; saying that "if it doesn't then science can't study it" is the latter. These are two very different statements.
Percy writes:
If all you're really saying is that we'll learn many amazing things in the future, then fine, no argument. But despite your many statements rejecting religion and spiritualism, the phrase "transcend the physical" sounds very much like spiritualism to me.
Not to me. In any case, we do agree on what is amenable and not amenable to scientific investigation. You (and Crash) however lapse into materialist dogma when you say all things must be explainable within physicalism. Rather, you need to say "They may or may not be physical, but if they aren't, science can't study them" (until we change our physics so that we can actually have empirical investigations of them).

Science is not simply reason - it is much less than that. It is reason constrained by empiricism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 270 by Percy, posted 01-03-2007 6:51 PM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 286 by Percy, posted 01-04-2007 8:29 AM aiguy has replied

aiguy
Inactive Member


Message 276 of 304 (374232)
01-03-2007 9:18 PM
Reply to: Message 272 by crashfrog
01-03-2007 7:16 PM


Hi Crashfrog,
Crashfrog writes:
That seems obvious. But neither one of us can predict the future, and since there's no way to know what explanations can't be reached, it seems fruitless to proceed from the assumption that something can't ever be explained. What's the merit of that assumption?
I have never made that assumption - if you think I have, please show me where.
Crashfrog writes:
Sure, they're ignorant about philosophy. That was the point, didn't you understand that?
Sadly, yes.
Crashfrog writes:
Knowledge of philosophy is as irrelevant to the prosecution of science as knowledge of last night's American Idol winner, the self-important delusions of so-called "philosophers of science" notwithstanding.
I have never said that knowledge of philosophy is relevant to the day-to-day prosecution of science. If you think I have, please show me where. I do find your demeaning attitude towards the discipline disconcerting, though, and I do think that philosophy is an important part of a liberal education.
Crashfrog writes:
I think you'll find you have more success if you actually address my arguments, not strawmen.
I think I've addressed both your arguments and your snide comments about philosophy, neglecting neither.
Crashfrog writes:
I would say that heat is the most obvious emergent phenomena, easily reduced to fundamental physics.
I would say that heat is the most tractable emergent phenomena. There are really two types of emergent phenomena, sometimes called "strong" and "weak" (or ontological and epistemological) emergence. Consciousness is considered to be strongly emergent, since nobody has any idea how physical interactions can give rise to subjective experience. Weakly emergent phenomena include results of complexity theory, and properties of matter such as solidity and liquidity which emerge based on principles (e.g. symmetry) not entirely associated with constituent components (e.g. the molecules) themselves.
Crashfrog writes:
And chaos? You like to toss out accusations of ignorance but you seem to betray your own. The entire premise of chaos is that great apparent complexity can emerge from very simple rules.
Easy now. The point about chaotic complexity is that the results are epistemologically emergent, and the instances are not strictly reducible to component interactions.
Crashfrog writes:
Reductionism, as you self-importantly dub it...
Self-importantly dub it? Uh, actually I didn't make up this term, and I really don't see how this speaks to my importance one way or the other. Let's relax a bit here, shall we?
Crashfrog writes:
, has made great strides in understanding the natural forces in play around us and harnessing them to human use. Wholism and wholistic thinking have produced no knowledge whatsoever. And how could they? How could you even begin to understand something by refusing to examine it in detail?
Nobody is doubting the amazing success of the reductionist paradigm, Crash. Rather, I am suggesting that there are limits to it, which in no way detracts from its successes. And nobody has suggested that holistic thinking has produced scientific knowledge, either - if you think I have, please show me where.
Crashfrog writes:
AIGUY: please show where I introduced "supernatural" into this discussion.
CRASHFROG: I already did. Are you changing your assertions?
No, you didn't, and no, I'm not. Please simply provide the quote from my post where I introduced "supernatural" into this discussion.
Crashfrog writes:
AIGUY: Some of these things - such as our subjective awareness - appear to be utterly resistent to explanation within our scientific understanding
CRASH: "Utterly resistant?" You've already said we've made "movement on that front." (Your exact words.) Which is it? You don't seem to know, which I guess is why you're arguing out of both sides of your mouth.
Please, Crash, let's just relax a bit. If you read what I said, you'll see that the progress I've referred to has been in identifying the neurological correlates of consciousness. We have made no progress in framing an explanation of consciousness per se.
Crashfrog writes:
Nonsense. That consciousness arises from the brain is trivially demonstrated. I don't reccommend that you do, but one trivial proof would be for you to surgically remove your brain and see what happens to your consciousness.
In that case, we can demonstrate that the movement of your car arises from your ignition key (remove your key and see what happens), and that fire arises from only wood (remove the wood from a campfire and see what happens).
So you see, this distinction between necessary and sufficient causes really is important after all. There are necessary causes that are not sufficient, and there are sufficient causes that are not necessary.
Crashfoot writes:
AIGUY: (the fact that you cannot understand the importance of distinguishing necessary and sufficient conditions in scientific explanations notwithstanding).
CRASH: Sigh. Look, name-calling doesn't constitute an argument, and the fact that I disagree with you about something isn't sufficient reason for me to conclude that I'm some kind of idiot. But I'm beginning to understand that name-calling and derision is the best that so-called "philosophy" has to bring to the table.
First, you had said: "The necessary/sufficient dichotomy is not one that I find meaningful." Second, I have called you no names nor indicated that I think you are an idiot (if you think I have, please show us where). And finally, I am not a philosopher (I do commercial research in AI), so whatever you think of me ought not to reflect on your respect (or lack of same) for philosophers.
Edited by aiguy, : removed unintended frowny face made by juxtaposing colon and left paren

Science is not simply reason - it is much less than that. It is reason constrained by empiricism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 272 by crashfrog, posted 01-03-2007 7:16 PM crashfrog has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 280 by crashfrog, posted 01-03-2007 10:11 PM aiguy has not replied

aiguy
Inactive Member


Message 278 of 304 (374239)
01-03-2007 9:28 PM
Reply to: Message 274 by melatonin
01-03-2007 8:49 PM


Hi melatonin -
Yes, that's my read of Chalmers too. But his real contribution was to get people to admit that there is a "hard problem" of consciousness - an explanatory gap between what sorts of things we can explain physically and the experience of conscious awareness that we can verify inter-subjectively, but apparently not explain in objective terms.

Science is not simply reason - it is much less than that. It is reason constrained by empiricism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 274 by melatonin, posted 01-03-2007 8:49 PM melatonin has not replied

aiguy
Inactive Member


Message 279 of 304 (374240)
01-03-2007 9:32 PM
Reply to: Message 277 by Percy
01-03-2007 9:18 PM


Hi Percy,
I think you and Crash are in agreement, and that you both think we are justified in claiming that consciousness arises from nothing but physcis as we understand it.
I disagree, and believe that consciousness has no explanation at all, and appears to be a very different sort of thing than everything else that science can explain (in that it is, after all, an inherently subjective phenomenon). Thus, I claim we do not have a justification to say it will necessarily be explicable scientifically at all.
And when you say science can study consciousness - well, yes and no. Since all we can study are objectively observable things (neurology and behavior), it isn't actually consciousness that we are studying at all, but only the objectively accessible aspects of it.

Science is not simply reason - it is much less than that. It is reason constrained by empiricism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 277 by Percy, posted 01-03-2007 9:18 PM Percy has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 281 by crashfrog, posted 01-03-2007 10:13 PM aiguy has replied

aiguy
Inactive Member


Message 282 of 304 (374279)
01-03-2007 11:28 PM
Reply to: Message 281 by crashfrog
01-03-2007 10:13 PM


Hi Crashfrog,
Crashfrog writes:
AIGUY: I have never made that assumption - if you think I have, please show me where.
CRASHFROG: Just now: "The point you seem to have trouble understanding is that we may be incapable of providing an explanation at all."
I believe the words "may be" are clearly indicative that I make no assumption one way or another. It is you who assume that our understanding of physics must necessarily ultimately provide some sort of explanation for consciousness. I remain uncommited, which is why I said "may be" rather than "are".
Crashfrog writes:
AIGUY: I have never said that knowledge of philosophy is relevant to the day-to-day prosecution of science. If you think I have, please show me where.
CRASHFROG: Again, these are the exact comments you made before dinner on this very day:
"Reductionism is in high disrepute, if you haven't heard, from scientists and philosophers of science alike (and I'm not talking about anti-science folks and IDers here)."
The part about how this is supposed to affect scientists in their day-to-day work seems to be missing from this quote. Perhaps you were thinking of something else?
Crashfrog writes:
Clearly you think philosophy is of such crucial importance to science that you feel that the disdain of a philosopher is sufficient to disqualify a methodology from science.
I believe it is important to carefully articulate what distinguishes scientific knowledge from all other types. The ID movement capitalizes on ambiguities and misunderstanding of science. It is very difficult to capture the distinguishing features of science, and the ones who are most qualified to do so are trained philosophers.
Crashfrog writes:
Look, I'm not having any trouble at all here understanding your statements. Why are you having such difficulty all of a sudden remembering them? It's going to be hard to continue debate with you if you have no memory of what's come before. It's like I'm arguing with the main character from Memento.
I liked that movie, but my memory is just fine. As I've pointed out, no fair reading of what I actually wrote matches your paraphrased interpretations.
Crashfrog writes:
It's obvious to me that you've done nothing of the sort. Pretty much all you've done is level accusations of ignorance. And I'm still waiting for you to address the original question.
Sorry, but now perhaps I am forgetting. Which argument that you've made to me have I failed to respond to? As for the original question - are you referring to "Is ID Testable"? If that is what you mean, my answer is unequivocally "no".
Crashfrog writes:
So what? The idea that reductionism can be hard doesn't strike me as a mark against it - not when the alternative is simplistic, woolly thinking.
In my view, the alternative to knowing something is not knowing it, rather than pretending to know it in some simplistic, woolly(?) way. I'm not accusing you of this - I mean I agree that non-emprically-based explanations are no substitute for science.
Crashfrog writes:
Well, great. When we hit the limits, we'll let you know. So far, though, we've pretty handily walked right past every other "limit" on reductionism that has ever been proposed.
Can you point to where we've figured out abiogenesis, or how human memory works? I seem to have missed those papers. Now, please: I am NOT saying there is some reason to assume we will never answer these questions!!! The ONLY thing that I believe may turn out to be resistant to reductionist science is consciousness. Not the physical correlates of consciousness, and not the evaluation of human verbal reports of consciousness, but of consciousness itself - that inner light that we all experience, our subjective mental experience. I cannot imagine what sort of physical explanation can account for this at all.
Crashfrog writes:
I'm sorry if you don't like it as a synonym, but that's what it is - a synonym for the very concepts you've been introducing. That is, phenomenon that could be studied naturally but isn't natural. We're certainly not the ones who brought that malarkey up, surely you agree?
I said that scientists can undertake a study of whatever they choose - it's just that they may not be able to make any progress. That is the case with consciousness per se. There are some people (like Penrose) who have gone out on speculative limbs, and there are some (like Dennett) who solve the problem of consciousness by denying it exists. But there has been no progress at all in generating any sort of scientific explanation of why we have a subjective inner awareness.
Crashfrog writes:
And as I originally contended, and you have not been able to refute - the neurological correlates are the explanation, and the explanation will increase in sufficiency as our understanding of the neurology increases.
Some people agree, and some do not, and there is no settled science on the matter. What do you think these correlates are, and how do they give rise to consciousness? Are you certain that these neurological correlates are necessary, or could an appropriately configured computer also be conscious? Why couldn't we reason and behave in exactly the same we do, but be like unconsicous robots rather than conscious entities?
Crashfrog writes:
AIGUY: In that case, we can demonstrate that the movement of your car arises from your ignition key
CRASHFROG: It does arise from the key, because the car is designed to require the key as a proximate cause. It also arises from the transmission, from the engine, from the gas, and from all the other parts that, when they are absent, leave the car motionless.
I disagree. I can make my car move with no ignition key by crossing the wires, so apparently the ignition key was not actually necessary.
Crashfrog writes:
What it most definitely doesn't arise from is any kind of supernatural car-soul, or any other "naturally-studied phenomenon that isn't natural."
I don't know what you mean by car-soul, so I don't think we can evaluate that suggestion.
Crashfrog writes:
And the same techniques that allow us to conclude that about cars allow us to conclude that about people.
Maybe so, maybe not. Maybe consciousness could arise from computers, as Dennett believes. Maybe it requires actual biological brains, like Searle believes. Maybe there is a universal platonic logic that affects quantum superposition in microtubles like Penrose believes. Maybe there is a property of pre-consciousness in all matter, or maybe...
Crashfrog writes:
I've burned other things besides wood, I guess. These examples don't bear any analogous relationship to actual scientific thought processes.
Huh? Identifying necessary and sufficient conditions are essential to evaluating scientific explanations. If you concluded that fire arose only from wood in the same manner that you have decided consciousness arises only from brains, then you would simply be mistaken, having confused a sufficient cause with a necessary one.
Crashfrog writes:
If you're so concerned about my opinion of you, though, you could do much to redeem it by actually addressing my arguments.
No, I'm really not at all, but yes, I will be glad to address whatever argument you've posed that I've missed. Please be so kind as to reiterate whatever point you've made that I've failed to respond to.
Crashfrog writes:
Can science study the atom, or only the objectively accessible aspects of it?
There are no properties of the atom that we are aware of that we cannot investigate by objective experiment. The concept of an atom is well defined, and we can explain and predict all sorts of phenomena consistently. In contrast, the phenomena of consciousness is inherently inaccessible to all objective study. If this were not the case, we would be able to evaluate any particular thing and say if it was or was not conscious. As it is, we can't even do this will human beings reliably (cf Terri Schiavo). But when it comes to other things, we really have no way of telling scientifically at all.
Is a dog conscious? A lizard? A fly? Is consciousness graded? If so, what does it mean to be "sort of" conscious?

Science is not simply reason - it is much less than that. It is reason constrained by empiricism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 281 by crashfrog, posted 01-03-2007 10:13 PM crashfrog has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 283 by crashfrog, posted 01-04-2007 1:39 AM aiguy has replied

aiguy
Inactive Member


Message 284 of 304 (374313)
01-04-2007 3:55 AM
Reply to: Message 283 by crashfrog
01-04-2007 1:39 AM


Hi crashfrog,
crashfrog writes:
Again, I never said "must." Just, if I had to guess, I'd confidently guess "yes." Because the alternative guess is useless. The assumption you're not sure if you hold or not is meritless.
Well, you said "Nonsense. The brain is the explanation." (emphasis in the original)
We do, however, know that human brains are sufficient for consciousness.
That seems like a fairly clear expression of certainty to me. But if now you say it's just a guess, then we agree. I only object to dogmatic certainty on the matter, not on somebody's guess.
crashfrog writes:
AIGUY: It is very difficult to capture the distinguishing features of science, and the ones who are most qualified to do so are trained philosophers.
CRASHFROG: Clearly, though, that's nonsense. Scientists would be most qualified to capture what distinguishes their fields, since they're right there doing work in their field.
I strongly disagree - that would be a bit like saying policemen are the authorities on law. There is actually a great deal of subtlety in thinking about epistemology, logic, language, argumentation, etc., and scientists are not trained in those areas. (Also - you're a bit quick with this charge of "nonsense" - you might disagree with my view, but it certainly was not "nonsensical").
crashfrog writes:
AIGUY: The ONLY thing that I believe may turn out to be resistant to reductionist science is consciousness.
CRASHFROG: I think it won't, but neither one of us can predict the future; moreover, I find your pessimism ultimately fruitless. What's to be gained by giving up?
You do insist on putting words in my mouth, time and time again. Instead of making up my arguments for me and then deriding them, I suggest you actually read what I write. I have never said we should give up, of course.
crashfrog writes:
Patterns of neural connections exchanging neurotransmitters in response to activation thresholds. That didn't seem so hard.
That's funny. I suppose I could explain memory by... neurotransmitters and activation thresholds. And how we learn language, and how we solve the frame problem, and... Why not just say that everything is explained by the fundamental physical forces, and be done with it?
crashfrog writes:
AIGUY: But there has been no progress at all in generating any sort of scientific explanation of why we have a subjective inner awareness.
CRASHFROG: Do we have one? You keep using that term but I don't know what it refers to. And I don't see how it represents an intractable problem for science. Just because you put that word "subjective" in there?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia writes:
Mary the colour scientist knows all the physical facts about colour, including every physical fact about the experience of colour in other people, from the behavior a particular colour is likely to elicit to the specific sequence of neurological firings that register that a colour has been seen. However, she has been confined from birth to a room that is black and white, and is only allowed to observe the outside world through a black and white monitor. When she is allowed to leave the room, it must be admitted that she learns something about the colour red the first time she sees it”specifically, she learns what it is like to see that colour.
The thing that Mary learns is called the qualia of seeing color. It is what is missing, currently, from physicalist accounts of mind.
crashfrog writes:
AIGUY: I can make my car move with no ignition key by crossing the wires, so apparently the ignition key was not actually necessary.
CRASHFROG: I can't do that, so the key is necessary for me. What is necessary is some way to close the ignition switch. Either by turning the key or by shorting across the switch.
You have argued that there is no meaning in the "necessary/sufficient dichotomy", and you have argued that we know that consciousness arises from the brain because if you remove the brain, consciousness ceases. However, the necessary/sufficient dichotomy is essential to science, and so you are mistaken. To illustrate, I pointed out that although if you took the key out of the ignition of a car it would stop, this did not mean that the key was a necessary component of car motion - and of course I'm right, cars are perfectly capable of moving without an ignition key.
crashfrog writes:
Brains are clearly necessary.
Of course brains are necessary for consciousness in human beings, yes, but we do not know if they are necessary for consciousness in general, because we do not know what causes consciousness. Gasoline is necessary for motion in gasoline-powered cars, but it is not necessary for motion in electric cars.
crashfrog writes:
Probably a computer, though, could take the place of the brain, but some kind of hardware is necessary, and probably sufficient.
Would you care to say why you think a computer could replace a brain and still be conscious, given that you have just explained consciousness as the result of neurotransmitters - which do not exist inside of computers? Are you making this up as you go along?
crashfrog writes:
(This is where your necessary/sufficient dichotomy seems completely useless -...
Sorry, but it is not "my" necessary/sufficient dichotomy. Understanding the difference is essential to understanding scientific explanations, as I've tried to illustrate.
crashfrog writes:
multiple different equivalent things, only one of which is necessary. Are the rest not necessary? Are they all not necessary, since as long as one is left, you can take away as many as you like? Or are they equally co-necessary?)
Sorry, but I don't understand your question. Which multiple different things are equivalent here? Brains and computers? Neurons and transistors? Nobody knows what causes consciousness, and so nobody knows if computers can be conscious or not.
crashfrog writes:
AIGUY: Why couldn't we reason and behave in exactly the same we do, but be like unconsicous robots rather than conscious entities?
CRASHFROG: What would be the difference, exactly?
See the thought experiment about Mary, above.
crashfrog writes:
I would suggest that the majority of humans are unconscious robots, most of the time. That's not cynicism. The majority of the human experience is spent in instinctive behavior, responding passively, not in a state of conscious self-reflection. It doesn't seem like there's a lot of "subjective" consciousness or whatever to explain.
That is a very ideosyncratic view. Most people agree that human beings experience consciousness, and that we can distinguish between conscious and unconscious states in people. If you ever have surgery, I would suggest you ask the anethesiologist to make sure you are unconscious, just to be on the safe side.
crashfrog writes:
Nonsense, since science is regularly done without this "necessary/sufficient" ridiculousness. It's a useless concept as far as I can tell that has nothing to do with function in the real world.
This is getting tiresome. It is not "nonsense" of course. I have already pointed out that although by your logic you would conclude that ignition keys explain car motion (because if you remove them the car will stop) in fact they are neither necessary nor sufficient components of car motion (since we agreed we the cars could run without them, and they won't run with them if they are missing an engine). I have also pointed out that by your logic you would conclude that fire arose only from wood (because if you took the wood away the fire would go out), when in fact wood is only a sufficient substrate for fire, rather than a necessary one (because other things burn).
If you make such elementary errors with such simple examples, one can only imagine what sort of nonsense you'd come up with if you actually tried to generate scientific explanations of things without regard to this distinction.
crashfrog writes:
From what evidence do you conclude that your intelligence is not the product of natural causes?
That's what I want to know. You've repeated your conclusion - consciousness is not, in your view, the result of purely natural causes - almost to distraction, but I keep getting stymied when I ask for the reasoning. To conclude from a lack of physical explanation is to make an appeal to ignorance
Are you joking? I have never said I have concluded human intelligence is not the product of natural causes, so you are once again putting words in my mouth! I have never said that consciousness is not the result of purely natural causes either - not once! Do you not understand the difference between "maybe, maybe not" and "definitely no"? Do you not understand the difference between saying "nobody knows" and "I'm certain it is false"? What is wrong with you? Everybody can read these pages, and everybody can see that I have never said any such thing. Please stop building these straw men!
Here is what I have said in this thread:
aiguy writes:
My point is that we all ought to be willing to say "WE DO NOT KNOW" rather than cleaving to physicalist dogma on one hand, or mumbo-jumbo on the other.
We currently do not have very good reason to believe it is or it isn't.
Thus, I claim we do not have a justification to say it will necessarily be explicable scientifically at all.
I believe the words "may be" are clearly indicative that I make no assumption one way or another. ... I remain uncommited, which is why I said "may be" rather than "are".
I will gladly leave it to readers of this thread to decide if I have said "I conclude consciousness is not the result of natural causes", or if I have said "WE DO NOT KNOW".
crashfrog writes:
it isn't even accurate since we have partial explanations for how consciousness arises in the brain. To conclude from the assumption that consciousness is beyond the limits of science is, again, making an appeal to ignorance.
I have asked you several times for how you think consciousness arises in brains, and you have failed to answer:
aiguy writes:
If you believe that physicalist theories explain consciousness, perhaps you could cite the relevant papers, and give us a brief summary of how physical interactions in the brain give rise to conscious awareness?
What do you think these correlates are, and how do they give rise to consciousness?
You simply make these assertions, but you ignore my requests for you to back them up.
Since I have clearly stated many times now that the question of how consciousness arises is unanswered, and that it might or might not be answerable within our current understanding of physics, your charge of "appeal to ignorance" is utterly groundless.
crashfrog writes:
And we know of no properties of mind that can't ever be investigated the same way. There may or may not be properties we don't know how to investigate yet. You think, apparently, that subjectivity is a part of that, but I don't follow that reasoning (and can't, since you won't lay it out for me.)
We cannot investigate what it is that Mary learned when she was released from her black-and-white room. We cannot investigate what it is like to be a bat.
crashfrog writes:
As it turned out, everybody who wasn't motivated by playing politics was pretty much able to discern her lack of consciousness accurately. And, in the end, the realization that she literally had no cerebrum allowed for a completely reliable diagnosis.
And you have failed again to respond to my questions, and so I will repeat them:
Is a dog conscious? A lizard? A fly? Is consciousness graded? If so, what does it mean to be "sort of" conscious? How do you scientifically support your conclusions?
crashfrog writes:
But I find it rather amusing that consciousness, to you, is at once so simple and obvious that it need not be defined nor any rigorous method necessary to conclude that it's all over the place; yet simultaneously so complicated that any explanation is inherently impossible.
Glad you're amused. But stop putting words in my mouth, will you?
crashfrog writes:
I don't know, consciousness doesn't seem all that amazing or special to me. The question to me is not why people are conscious; the much more interesting question is - if people are supposedly conscious, why are they so generally stupid?
You seem like an angry fellow. Please don't take it out on me, OK?
Edited by aiguy, : No reason given.
Edited by aiguy, : No reason given.

Science is not simply reason - it is much less than that. It is reason constrained by empiricism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 283 by crashfrog, posted 01-04-2007 1:39 AM crashfrog has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 288 by crashfrog, posted 01-04-2007 12:29 PM aiguy has not replied

aiguy
Inactive Member


Message 289 of 304 (374406)
01-04-2007 1:29 PM
Reply to: Message 286 by Percy
01-04-2007 8:29 AM


Hi Percy,
Percy writes:
You're using the wrong definition of natural. Natural is not "currently accepted scientific thinking." Natural is that which is detectable by us because of its interactions with the world around us. The definition of natural did not change with the advent of the quantum age. It cannot change. It will never change.
Perhaps a different definition, yes. The point here is we do not know - can not know - what is or is not natural. Say I ask you, "Is it natural for something to happen for absolutely no reason whatsoever? Some inanimate thing to simply, spontaneously do something without something else causing that action?" If you were a Newtonian, he would say "No, that is impossible, and we have never detected it either. Every action is caused by an antecedent cause, so spontaneous action is supernatural". A quantum physicist would disagree.
If you were Einstein, and I asked "Is it possible for something that happens in one corner of the universe to affect what happens in another corner of the universe instantaneously?", he would say that is not natural, and we have never detected that, and we cannot detect it because it is impossible. That would be supernatural. Bohr, however, disagreed.
I suppose you could mean that in retrospect we know that these things were natural all along; well, sure.
Percy writes:
There's no hostility toward philosophy here.
LOL! I guess you haven't been reading Crash's posts.
Percy writes:
What your sensing is a rejection of approaches such as yours that argue that philosophical ruminations trump reality. You're violating the quote in your own signature by using reasoning unconstrained by empiricism. I live in the real world.
Like Crash, I'm afraid, you have cast my arguments into straw men. Saying we do not know is simply different from saying that we do know, and I don't understand how you can misconstrue this.
Percy writes:
If there is more than matter and energy in the universe, then if it is detectable because of its interactions with the rest of the universe then it is natural and amenable to scientific study.
Agreed, of course.
Percy writes:
Once again, the definition of natural is not that which science can explain. It is that which science can study. A phenomena that science can study but not explain is still natural.
Again - we don't know what is natural or not until we discover it - by your definition.
Percy writes:
And if we eventually discover phenomena in the universe based upon neither matter nor energy, it'll just be another natural phenomena, not a transcendence of other natural phenomena. You don't seem to realize that your language is very similar to creationists arguing for a role for the supernatural in science.
This is really a first for me, being cast in with creationists. Here is why you misunderstand me: You keep saying "matter and energy". Imagine we discover some other ontological class entirely, called gunderplitzen, that makes people conscious, survives the death of the body, and, oh, folds proteins too. Now, you have said "everything is matter and energy - there is nothing else!" and I have objected to this, because if we discover gunderplitzen (not mass/energy but something else entirely, maybe not conserved, etc) then you would be wrong. At that point we could turn around and say "Gunderplitzen is natural, because it effects things that we can experience and measure", but that doesn't mean you aren't wrong now when you say matter/energy accounts for everything.
Percy writes:
I've simply described the way science works and how it defines the natural. Your supposed philosophical contradictions can't change the way the world really works.
I don't know what you mean.
Percy writes:
I think you're being incredibly picky over a minor point. If you want to be incredibly precise then yes, certainly, we must concede that there may be more than just matter and energy out there. But so what? If we can detect it then it's still part of the natural world...
So what? Here's the importance: Many people believe there is something causal in the world besides matter and energy. If scientists dogmatically claim "There can be no such thing", then these people will rightly claim "You scientists are just like religious people! You are dogmatic! You believe things on faith! My faith is just as good as yours, and I say God rules the world!!!" That is the problem.
So instead of making these dogmatic statements, you need to be more careful. You need to say, "Sure, science is always open to all possibilities. Maybe there is non-physical (non-matter/energy) causality, and maybe there isn't. The day we can measure these causal effects of God, then science will adopt the God theory. Until then, keep your religion out of science, please".
Percy writes:
, and all Crash and I are saying is two basic things:
* That you can't use qualities such as complexity and difficulty of reductionism to argue for phenomena for which there is no evidence.
* That consciousness is based upon completely natural phenomena.
I have never argued for phenomena for which there is no evidence, and I have never said consciousness is not based on natural phenomena. I have said we do not know.
The difference between you and Crash on one hand, and me on the other, is this: I am a scientist, and you believe in Scientism.

Science is not simply reason - it is much less than that. It is reason constrained by empiricism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 286 by Percy, posted 01-04-2007 8:29 AM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 290 by Percy, posted 01-04-2007 2:19 PM aiguy has not replied
 Message 292 by TheMystic, posted 01-04-2007 3:49 PM aiguy has replied
 Message 299 by crashfrog, posted 01-04-2007 8:42 PM aiguy has not replied

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