Poll

What is the purpose of purpose?

God only knows
Purpose is a human construct and therefore has no purpose.
Purpose is a human construct and therefore is an illusionary interpretation of non-purposeful evolutionary processes.
Purpose is an essential property of the cosmos which manifests in different ways existentially.
It's unknowable and therefore irrelevant.
It's an ordinary part of life. Beaver dams and bee hives are no less purposeful than human constructs.
Only human consciousness is capable of purpose. It's an aberration in the Universe, arrived at randomly, and not really real like atoms and molecules.
Even God doesn't know, since creating purpose requires that purpose already exists.
Purpose is just the sad delusion which humans cling to while they block out the horror of the existential catastrophe of their own meaningless mortality.
It's to teach us a lesson. To help us grow.
To help us grow subjectively toward a next incarnation/state of being.
Purpose doesn't need a purpose because it's not really a thing, it's just a word.
Purpose? What purpose? There is no evidence that purpose exists, therefore asking the question is really a special pleading strawman..
Purpose or teleology is the complement to teleonomy - both crucial to understanding our role in the cosmos.
other

Author Topic: Teleology 101  (Read 8212 times)

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Offline dloubet

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Re: Teleology 101
« Reply #58 on: June 15, 2010, 04:15:18 AM »
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No, not trying to be obtuse. I just think that the idea of subjectively looking for food probably corresponds to an ability to voluntarily move toward it. What would be the point of looking for something if you can't do anything about getting closer to it?

The algae has no volition. It moves according to the chemical gradients in its environment. It's a machine. It has evolved to follow those chemical gradients because they lead towards food. Any version of the algae that didn't follow those chemical gradients would starve and die, and that is why we don't see any of them.

You're not seeing purpose, you're seeing what's left after the other versions have starved and become extinct.

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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Teleology 101
« Reply #59 on: June 15, 2010, 05:13:52 AM »
[…]
No, not trying to be obtuse. I just think that the idea of subjectively looking for food probably corresponds to an ability to voluntarily move toward it. What would be the point of looking for something if you can't do anything about getting closer to it?

I do not think that you have considered sufficiently your stance. A coral, a tree, etc., are all unable to move of their own volition, yet, live to reproduce and for no other reason. They, like blue-green algae, manipulate their environment to increase the chance of reproduction. A tree does it by casting shade and may be dripping sap to kill off competition; blue green algae do it by producing toxins. You may argue that neither does it wilfully, yet both have adapted thus, over millions of years, as it helps survival and thus, reproduction.

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Just as a biological purpose relates to the processes of a living organism - metabolism, reproduction, a psychological purpose relates to the processes of a conscious mind or Self - feeling, thinking, communicating.
Now why would the mind do that, were it not to enhance the chances of survival and thus breeding?

 
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[…]I agree that survival is a defining characteristic of only the outside of what we are - the body. What we are on the inside is rooted in life, rooted in survival,


The “inside” and the “outside" are different? (I admit that there seems to me to be no distinction) What is that difference? Are you suggesting 2 distinct creatures within us each with competing goals?

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The archetypes of anima, animus, and shadow - ego, the unconscious, collective unconscious.
These are very much fuzzy ideas, poetic rather than scientific, few can agree on their boundaries. Which one on them does not contribute towards survival and reproduction?

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These are descriptions of our inner phenomena.

“Inner phenomena”? You make it sound like thoughts are not part of us. Do you mean that?

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Plenty of room on the spectrum for people to specialize in whatever part of it makes sense to them.
This is a delusion. “Making sense to you" does not imply at all that your idea is correct. Goodness me, there are people who think gods make sense.

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It's not me, I'm just quoting Wiki Answers. "Yes. Religion is a universal concept in human history,
I have handed you the evidence by a reliable expert in the field and yet you do not admit you are wrong? You say Wiki is correct?

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I'm sure there are people who would argue that, but the fact that it's even debatable
It is not debatable. If anyone claims that all societies have some religion, they are wrong. Remember “All swans are white”?

Read the book, you are wrong and so is Wiki.  

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If you're saying that we don't need religion any more, that's something else. That I would agree with
I cannot see how you drew that implication. As it happens, I believe that we never needed it and never will. Too many people are afraid to say, “I don’t know.”

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Re: "The Meaning of Life."… […]There's all kinds of meanings. Why just one?
Really? “all kinds of meaning”?  Can you explain why there has to be a meaning? (as opposed to a purpose?)

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[…]What's wrong with being an animal.
Absolutely nothing. And even if there were, we could do nothing about it. What made you think there was?

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We control our bodies and use it to voluntarily manipulate our environment. We experience and create beauty that exists nowhere else. Pretty impressive compared to everything else we've ever observed.
Not at all. You seem to ignore all other creatures and life forms that do this. You are holding a position that says that, in some mysterious way the life of Mankind is “special.” I suggest that this is untenable.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2010, 05:17:48 AM by Graybeard »
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline Immediacracy

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Re: Teleology 101
« Reply #60 on: June 15, 2010, 06:37:02 AM »
The algae has no volition. It moves according to the chemical gradients in its environment. It's a machine. It has evolved to follow those chemical gradients because they lead towards food. Any version of the algae that didn't follow those chemical gradients would starve and die, and that is why we don't see any of them.
Yes, that's what I'm saying too. Algae doesn't move by itself, it's a machine that has evolved to be somewhat optimized to allow it to be moved, but not to look for or move towards food.

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You're not seeing purpose, you're seeing what's left after the other versions have starved and become extinct.
Right, I'm not talking about Creationist BS that species were purposefully designed, I'm just saying that the whole idea of a bunch of molecules arranging themselves into a living machine may have a sliiiightly subjective dimension.

It's a group of cells, but if that group is arranged as a cell and that cell is functioning, then the cell itself takes on a purposeful role of it's own - it becomes a sunlight>oxygen machine. The molecules are doing something else - they are functioning as a cell machine.
"That which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes–no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and that this is a participatory universe."
- John Archibald Wheeler

Offline Immediacracy

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Re: Teleology 101
« Reply #61 on: June 15, 2010, 07:42:48 AM »
I do not think that you have considered sufficiently your stance.
I think that you have not considered your stance sufficiently also, but I don't deem it necessary of making a point about it. I consider it rude and adds nothing to the cause of understanding.

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A coral, a tree, etc., are all unable to move of their own volition, yet, live to reproduce and for no other reason.
Coral also lives to provide a home for other organisms which in turn nourish and protect it. Coral may also live to express it's unique form and structure, which adds to a possible subjective dimension of beauty and acts as a memetic template for other phenomena. For all we know, Coral might live to produce some kind of collective symphony of subjective experience that it enjoys as much as we enjoy music. Just because speciation is dictated by genetic selection doesn't mean that reproduction is the only reason to live.

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They, like blue-green algae, manipulate their environment to increase the chance of reproduction.
Blue-green algae doesn't manipulate anything, subjectively it's completely passive.

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A tree does it by casting shade and may be dripping sap to kill off competition; blue green algae do it by producing toxins. You may argue that neither does it wilfully, yet both have adapted thus, over millions of years, as it helps survival and thus, reproduction.
Right. I don't think anyone can argue that it a tree casts shade willfully. Physical evolution is a teleonomy, but subjective evolution is also teleological. We do things willfully - we have will.

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Just as a biological purpose relates to the processes of a living organism - metabolism, reproduction, a psychological purpose relates to the processes of a conscious mind or Self - feeling, thinking, communicating.
Now why would the mind do that, were it not to enhance the chances of survival and thus breeding?
Because the mind and the self extend beyond the monkey body. Ideas breed and survive independent of individual carriers. The body serves the mind as much as the mind serves the body.

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The “inside” and the “outside" are different? (I admit that there seems to me to be no distinction) What is that difference? Are you suggesting 2 distinct creatures within us each with competing goals?
The difference is that on the outside, brain activity looks like biochemistry, but on the inside it looks like our lives and ourselves. It's one creature with two distinct, yet overlapping agendas.

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These are very much fuzzy ideas, poetic rather than scientific, few can agree on their boundaries
Why wouldn't they be? Subjectivity is made of fuzzy ideas and poetry as well as science. This is literally the nature of consciousness and freewill. Why would you expect something which produces Shakespeare and Einstein to work only like a machine?

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Which one on them does not contribute towards survival and reproduction?
They contribute to survival and reproduction no more than survival and reproduction contribute to them. You can't have an iron clad axiom that survival and reproduction are the only purpose of life and then be surprised that you can prove to yourself that everything can be related directly to it. Racists think that life is all about race. Religious people think that life is all about God. Our worldviews bias our view of the world. My worldview is biased too, but it tries to take that into account.

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“Inner phenomena”? You make it sound like thoughts are not part of us. Do you mean that?
To me, 'inner' means 'inside' of us. How is that not a part of us? It's the essence, the heart, the core of what 'we' are. Not the trillion cell monkey body. That's our host - our patron. The entity writing this sentence is not a body. It doesn't care about survival and reproduction, it cares about words and meanings at the moment.

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Plenty of room on the spectrum for people to specialize in whatever part of it makes sense to them.
This is a delusion. “Making sense to you" does not imply at all that your idea is correct. Goodness me, there are people who think gods make sense.
Delusions and Gods do make sense. They just aren't objectively real. They are interior archetypal complexes. Square circles don't make sense. Colors you've never seen don't make sense. Those things are unimaginable. Imaginary things are fuzzy, ephemeral phenomena of interiority which are as real as the charm of a quark or the refractive index of a diamond.

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I have handed you the evidence by a reliable expert in the field and yet you do not admit you are wrong? You say Wiki is correct?
You haven't handed me anything except a demand that I seek out your authority, which I presume will reinforce your worldview. If there's something important from your source which you think will enlighten me on this matter, by all means cite it here.When I Google the subject of religious universality, I'm not seeing anything which contradicts the Wiki observation. I have no way of knowing whether it's true, and neither do you, but it's not even important. It's a quibble.

Every society I can think of has an ancestral religion. That answers my question sufficiently in itself. No society has an ancestral imaginary color, so obviously there's something significant about the idea of spirit which makes it very very popular, wouldn't you say? Doesn't mean the idea is true, but it probably does mean that the existence of the idea reveals some kind of important truth. If you can deny that, then congratulations on disproving yourself. Enjoy your mechanical survival and reproduction.

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It is not debatable. If anyone claims that all societies have some religion, they are wrong. Remember “All swans are white”?
"Most swans are white" is good enough to make my point.

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Read the book, you are wrong and so is Wiki.
 
Please give me an Executive Summary of the book. Thanks.

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Really? “all kinds of meaning”?  Can you explain why there has to be a meaning? (as opposed to a purpose?)
That's the thing, there doesn't have to be meaning, but yet there is. That's the other half of the cosmos. Some of it acts like an involuntary machine, and some of it recognizes meaning.

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Absolutely nothing. And even if there were, we could do nothing about it. What made you think there was?
You were saying that we're 'just animals', so I say why the 'just'.

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You seem to ignore all other creatures and life forms that do this. You are holding a position that says that, in some mysterious way the life of Mankind is “special.” I suggest that this is untenable.
No, I specifically include all other creatures and life forms. That's why I suggest that interiority if not subjectivity may be universal. My position says that the life of Mankind has much in common with the life of a cell, maybe even the 'life' of an atom.  It's you who are saying that man's meaning and sense of self is some unique delusional aberration - an irrelevant byproduct of arbitrary biological meaninglessness. I'm suggesting that mind and matter are essentially the same thing, but existentially distinct - as in, they appear very different in how they manifest phenomenologically on the outside from how they seem on the inside.
"That which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes–no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and that this is a participatory universe."
- John Archibald Wheeler

Offline Immediacracy

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Re: Teleology 101
« Reply #62 on: June 15, 2010, 08:28:24 AM »
Food for thought.

Diatoms. What the bottom of the food chain looks like.
"That which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes–no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and that this is a participatory universe."
- John Archibald Wheeler

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Teleology 101
« Reply #63 on: June 17, 2010, 06:29:10 AM »
Coral also lives to provide a home for other organisms which in turn nourish and protect it.
You are confusing cause and effect.

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Coral may also live to express it's unique form and structure, which adds to a possible subjective dimension of beauty and acts as a memetic template for other phenomena.
There is not the slightest chance that this is valid.

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For all we know, Coral might live to produce some kind of collective symphony of subjective experience that it enjoys as much as we enjoy music.
I would ask you to re-read what you wrote; see if you can do it without being embarrassed.

I could equally well make the baseless and delusional claim that corals are masters of the universe biding their time in a plan to reveal their true power.

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Just because speciation is dictated by genetic selection doesn't mean that reproduction is the only reason to live.
You dispute my claim with, “It might not be”? Suggest something more sensible, more logical, more in tune with the evidence.

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They, like blue-green algae, manipulate their environment to increase the chance of reproduction.
Blue-green algae doesn't manipulate anything, subjectively it's completely passive.
Oh dear… you chose the wrong organism to defend your theory. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/water-eau/cyanobacter-eng.php The production of toxins may be a by-product but it also serves as a means of the things not being ingested, thus destroying their chances of reproducing.

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Right. I don't think anyone can argue that it a tree casts shade wilfully.
No, but it does aid its survival and thus its ability to reproduce – it evolved that way, trees that cast less shade have to compete with other life forms and thus waste energy.

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We do things willfully - we have will.
Your point being? I suggest we (in common with other similar life forms) are merely in a better position to combat the adversity that may prevent us from reproduction.

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The mind and the self extend beyond the monkey body. Ideas breed and survive independent of individual carriers.
Ideas do not breed – a false analogy. We learn by experience, sometimes direct, sometimes indirect. I fail to see why using this experience to improve our chances of breeding is at all against my proposition.

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The difference is that on the outside, brain activity looks like biochemistry, but on the inside it looks like our lives and ourselves.
Yes, but if we say that bio-chemistry makes it look like ourselves, have we not just clarified the idea?

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[…] Why would you expect something which produces Shakespeare and Einstein to work only like a machine?
Why would I expect a system to operate like a machine? Obviously, systems do operate like that.

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Which one on them does not contribute towards survival and reproduction?
They contribute to survival and reproduction no more than survival and reproduction contribute to them.
Your reply is meaningless.

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[…] Racists think that life is all about race. Religious people think that life is all about God.
The difference is that they are simply wrong. No view of the evidence would support them.
You have done absolutely nothing to refute my proposition. Please try harder.

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“Inner phenomena”[is]  the essence, the heart, the core of what 'we' are. Not the trillion cell monkey body. That's our host - our patron. The entity writing this sentence is not a body. It doesn't care about survival and reproduction, it cares about words and meanings at the moment.
You contend that there is some sort of “soul”? Amazing.

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Delusions […] do make sense. They just aren't objectively real.
No comment.

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I have handed you the evidence by a reliable expert in the field and yet you do not admit you are wrong? You say Wiki is correct?
You haven't handed me anything except a demand that I seek out your authority,
I do not demand it, I suggest if you wish to be disabused of a common misconception, do some research.

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I have no way of knowing whether it's true, and neither do you, but it's not even important. It's a quibble.
If your claim is that no one has any means of knowing whether anything is true, this, itself, might be true but we have no way of knowing it.

There comes a point at which closing your eyes and screaming, “I’m not listening.” fails to get you top marks in the exam.

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It is not debatable. If anyone claims that all societies have some religion, they are wrong. Remember “All swans are white”?
"Most swans are white" is good enough to make my point.
No, it’s not. If you had not been wilfull and refused to research as I suggested, you would have found that the book is a well-researched, authoritative and dispassionate  insight into the basic human condition.

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Please give me an Executive Summary of the book. Thanks.
The Pirahã have no concept of anything but the present. They have no gods.

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That's the thing, there doesn't have to be meaning, but yet there is. That's the other half of the cosmos. Some of it acts like an involuntary machine, and some of it recognizes meaning.
You have merely imbued it with a meaning.

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My position says that the life of Mankind has much in common with the life of a cell, maybe even the 'life' of an atom. 
Oh. Other than a strain analogy made up on the hoof, I can see no support whatsoever for that.

I could say that bat’s piss is like genius – both are golden streams in the darkness. Yet, I fear that it progresses us not a jot in the search for anything.

The picture of diatoms is nice.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline Immediacracy

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Re: Teleology 101
« Reply #64 on: June 17, 2010, 10:36:08 AM »
Since I assume in advance that you disagree with me and that you automatically dismiss what I say, I'm going to go ahead and strike out all of your comments where you tell me what to do rather than supply a specific reason for your objection. Anyone can sit there and say 'you're wrong' over and over.

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Coral also lives to provide a home for other organisms which in turn nourish and protect it.
You are confusing cause and effect.
Cause and effect are irrelevant categories in a mutual symbiosis.
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There is not the slightest chance that this is valid.
I would ask you to re-read what you wrote; see if you can do it without being embarrassed.
Suggest something more sensible, more logical, more in tune with the evidence.

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Oh dear… you chose the wrong organism to defend your theory. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/water-eau/cyanobacter-eng.php The production of toxins may be a by-product but it also serves as a means of the things not being ingested, thus destroying their chances of reproducing.
I didn't say blue-green algae isn't a teleonomy or a teleology, I just said "subjectively it's completely passive". It doesn't have a subjective need to look for anything because it can't move voluntarily. I understand that it's subject to evolutionary pressures, just that they can't search for food or shelter so that they have no reason to develop a subjective desire to do so.

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No, but it does aid its survival and thus its ability to reproduce – it evolved that way, trees that cast less shade have to compete with other life forms and thus waste energy.
Makes sense to me, for sure. It's doesn't have anything to do with subjectivity though.

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I suggest we (in common with other similar life forms) are merely in a better position to combat the adversity that may prevent us from reproduction.
Better than algae? That life form seems to be able to reproduce pretty easily.

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Ideas do not breed – a false analogy. We learn by experience, sometimes direct, sometimes indirect. I fail to see why using this experience to improve our chances of breeding is at all against my proposition.
Mickey Mouse is an idea. It is reproduced/proliferated/bred. If it encourages human reproduction on one level of analysis, through a rube goldberg of tortured mechanistic leaps, fine, but if you want to understand Mickey Mouse, you need to understand animation, icons, Disney, merchandising, etc. It's a feature of our subjective experience and has no meaningful exterior function related to our physical survival/reproduction.

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The difference is that on the outside, brain activity looks like biochemistry, but on the inside it looks like our lives and ourselves.
Yes, but if we say that bio-chemistry makes it look like ourselves, have we not just clarified the idea?
Absolutely. It also clarifies the idea to say we how the biochemistry behaves as well. Our world exists on our terms as well as on biochemical terms. Both are real, both influence each other.

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[…] Why would you expect something which produces Shakespeare and Einstein to work only like a machine?
Why would I expect a system to operate like a machine? Obviously, systems do operate like that.
So you do expect creative genius to behave in a strictly deterministic manner. Fine by me. I don't buy it at all, but that's just me I guess.

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Your reply is meaningless.
You have done absolutely nothing to refute my proposition. Please try harder.

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You contend that there is some sort of “soul”? Amazing.
No soul. Inner phenomena. Thoughts, feelings, images, etc. You may have heard of them.

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I do not demand it, I suggest if you wish to be disabused of a common misconception, do some research.
I took your suggestion, but wound up being disabused of your uncommon misconception. See below.

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If your claim is that no one has any means of knowing whether anything is true, this, itself, might be true but we have no way of knowing it.
I don't claim anything. Certainly not that there is no truth.

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There comes a point at which closing your eyes and screaming, “I’m not listening.” fails to get you top marks in the exam

No, it’s not. If you had not been wilfull and refused to research as I suggested, you would have found that the book is a well-researched, authoritative and dispassionate  insight into the basic human condition.

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The Pirahã have no concept of anything but the present. They have no gods.
Don't they? Can you explain this?

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Religion among the Pirahã consists principally in talking to, dancing for, and imitating various types of spirits in dress and behavior during certain phases of the moon (usually full moon). Villages usually have one or two men who speak frequently to and for the spirits. When speaking for (what might be called 'possession by' or 'channelling for') spirits, men (never women) speak in a falsetto. They calls this speaking like a 'fast mouth' (the most common type of spirit) kao??bog? 'igia?bi?. They do not describe what they are doing as 'speaking for' spirits, nor does anyone else so describe it. Men speaking in this way will deny any knowledge of having so spoken if asked about it afterwards, saying simply something like t?i kosaag?, kobaihiaba 'I don't know, I didn't see it.'


There are a wide variety of spirits
, determined by their behavior, appearance, and normal place of residence. For example, the h?o?'iai 'he is high' live in the sky, while the b??gip?hoai live in trees. The kao??bog? live in holes in the ground. People talk alternatively of fearing and respecting these spirits. But no one prays to or makes offerings to any of them. No one is considered an expert in spirits (or anything else in the culture), however great their relative interest or ability to the outside observer.
source
Glad I didn't have to read the whole book...

I look forward to what condescending excuse you might offer in lieu of an apology. I repeat: "religion is an anthropological universal as far as we know", and I do have a degree in Anthropology.

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That's the thing, there doesn't have to be meaning, but yet there is. That's the other half of the cosmos. Some of it acts like an involuntary machine, and some of it recognizes meaning.
You have merely imbued it with a meaning.
So what? I'm part of the cosmos too. It's my meaning or our meaning depending if it means something to you. Regardless, some of the universe (me for sure) recognizes meaning.

Oh. Other than a strain analogy made up on the hoof, I can see no support whatsoever for that.
Yet, I fear that it progresses us not a jot in the search for anything.

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The picture of diatoms is nice.
Thanks, although you have no evidence to support that ;)
"That which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes–no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and that this is a participatory universe."
- John Archibald Wheeler

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Teleology 101
« Reply #65 on: June 17, 2010, 01:30:23 PM »
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Coral also lives to provide a home for other organisms which in turn nourish and protect it.
You are confusing cause and effect.
Cause and effect are irrelevant categories in a mutual symbiosis.
Coral does not ‘live’ to provide a home for other things. One of the consequences of its evolution is that its environs can provide a home. I ask you to see the distinction.

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[re; Blue green algae] No, but it does aid its survival and thus its ability to reproduce – it evolved that way, trees that cast less shade have to compete with other life forms and thus waste energy.
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Makes sense to me, for sure. It's doesn't have anything to do with subjectivity though.
However, the point was that it aids its ability reproduce.

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I suggest we (in common with other similar life forms) are merely in a better position to combat the adversity that may prevent us from reproduction.
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Better than algae? That life form seems to be able to reproduce pretty easily.
You are, I suspect, being genuinely obtuse. We are different species and our rates of reproduction are determined by different things. But, yes, it does reproduce easily, which is what it has evolved to do.

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Our world exists on our terms
Do you mean, “in" our terms”?

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You contend that there is some sort of “soul”? Amazing.
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No soul. Inner phenomena. Thoughts, feelings, images, etc. You may have heard of them.
From your post #61
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To me, 'inner' means 'inside' of us. How is that not a part of us? It's the essence, the heart, the core of what 'we' are. Not the trillion cell monkey body.
Walks like a soul, sounds like a soul.

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The Pirahã have no concept of anything but the present. They have no gods.
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Don't they? Can you explain this?

[a description of “spirit talking”]
Spirit talking is a way of allowing a member of the tribe to make a general announcement. It is important that the member is not identified. It’s rather like posting anonymously, you can speak your mind freely. There is no real spirituality here.

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[…] People talk alternatively of fearing and respecting these spirits. But no one prays to or makes offerings to any of them.

No one is considered an expert in spirits (or anything else in the culture), however great their relative interest or ability to the outside observer[/b

Glad I didn't have to read the whole book...
Yes I bet you are, you might have had to admit you were wrong. No one prays, no one sacrifices, there are no religious leaders, there is no religious ceremony.

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and I do have a degree in Anthropology.
Please send it back. You are glad that you did not extend your knowledge. They cannot have gods because they cannot comprehend anything other than the immediate and personal experience.

The author went as a missionary and (de)converted to atheism after his experiences with them. He tried to tell them of Jesus, they replied, “Have you met him?”
He replied, “He died 2,000 years ago”
They just laughed and walked off – they could not see that there was anything to accept or understand – there was no personal experience of anything for them. It’s rather as if I held out an empty hand and said, “I had something in this once, isn’t it beautiful?”

There are no gods for the Pirahã. There is no religion. The extracts are merely that – extracts.

You believe in ‘order’ that seems nebulous to me – you can ‘see’ it but I can’t. Yet I do not say you are religious, you have no gods, you have no ceremonies related to your belief in ‘order’.



RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline Immediacracy

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Re: Teleology 101
« Reply #66 on: June 17, 2010, 02:43:37 PM »
Coral does not ‘live’ to provide a home for other things. One of the consequences of its evolution is that its environs can provide a home. I ask you to see the distinction
The other things provide services to help the coral survive, just as bees do for flowers. It's symbiosis.

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We are different species and our rates of reproduction are determined by different things.
What would be the advantage of evolving into a different species if the one you already has reproduces better than the one it evolves into?

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Do you mean, “in" our terms”?
Yes.

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It's the essence, the heart, the core of what 'we' are. Not the trillion cell monkey body.
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Walks like a soul, sounds like a soul.
It's not a separate thing independent of the nervous system, it's the subjective coherence of the nervous system as experienced from the inside. What we call "I", "Me", "You", "Us", "We", etc.

"People talk alternatively of fearing and respecting these spirits."

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No one prays, no one sacrifices, there are no religious leaders, there is no religious ceremony.
Dude. Give it up. They dress up like spirits. They dance for them. They speak in tongues to channel them.

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"There are a wide variety of spirits, determined by their behavior, appearance, and normal place of residence. For example, the h?o?'iai 'he is high' live in the sky, while the b??gip?hoai live in trees. The kao??bog? live in holes in the ground...."
.

It's straight up animism. They ARE a spiritual, religious culture, so much so that they have taboos on speaking about their spirits:
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"They do not describe what they are doing as 'speaking for' spirits, nor does anyone else so describe it. Men speaking in this way will deny any knowledge of having so spoken if asked about it afterwards, saying simply something like t?i kosaag?, kobaihiaba 'I don't know, I didn't see it.'"

These are not devout physicalsts. They are spiritualists. They hold spirits in high esteem.

If it had been me trying to make your 'claim' I would be hounded and scorned on here for days.

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They cannot have gods because they cannot comprehend anything other than the immediate and personal experience.
Talk about utterly unsupported. You expect me to believe that your interpretation of this book constitutes evidence that there is a remote tribe in Brazil who have no capacity for memory? That can't have gods but they dance for them? Whatever. The have unusual linguistic practices but otherwise I see no significant departure from the norm of spirituality/religion as an anthropological universal.

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There are no gods for the Pirahã. There is no religion. The extracts are merely that – extracts.
They just laughed and walked off, and so will I.
"That which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes–no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and that this is a participatory universe."
- John Archibald Wheeler

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Teleology 101
« Reply #67 on: June 17, 2010, 03:42:43 PM »
What would be the advantage of evolving into a different species if the one you already has reproduces better than the one it evolves into?
Is that a serious question? I can only assume that it is… although I find it hard to believe that you are that uninformed.

 The advantage of evolution is that it allows life to exploit more environments. If you are able to exploit a new and (to you) beneficial environment, your breeding is unrestricted by competition from ex-fellows and advantaged by an abundance of food.

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These are not devout physicalsts. They are spiritualists. They hold spirits in high esteem.
Read the book and read the research that goes with it. Correspond with the author. I did. Whether you accept anything I say is entirely inconsequential. If you are indeed a student of anthropology, you will be interested in something that adds new light to your knowledge.

Strangely, the author was most heavily involved in a linguistic argument with Chomsky, which, in relative terms, is the same as an (alleged) anthropologist of your persuasion, being presented with evidence countering the claim that religion is common, without exception, to all human society.

Read this: it’s longish, so concentrate. http://www.ffrf.org/publications/freethought-today/articles/the-pirahae-people-who-define-happiness-without-god/

I note you have not responded to my comparisons of your belief system and that of the Pirahã.

Right! Where's your 101?
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline Immediacracy

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Re: Teleology 101
« Reply #68 on: June 17, 2010, 06:40:47 PM »
The advantage of evolution is that it allows life to exploit more environments. If you are able to exploit a new and (to you) beneficial environment, your breeding is unrestricted by competition from ex-fellows and advantaged by an abundance of food.
Of course. But I'm not talking about a new environment, I'm talking about new species in the same environment. It's actually the life itself which creates new environments. Algae pumps out oxygen and transforms the atmosphere, a bit like the coral provides a supportive structural atmosphere for other life forms.

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Strangely, the author was most heavily involved in a linguistic argument with Chomsky, which, in relative terms, is the same as an (alleged) anthropologist of your persuasion, being presented with evidence countering the claim that religion is common, without exception, to all human society.
Why strangely? Most of his inferences are based on his translations of their language.

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Read this: it’s longish, so concentrate. http://www.ffrf.org/publications/freethought-today/articles/the-pirahae-people-who-define-happiness-without-god/

I liked the article, and I do see some similarities of his ideas about their culture and my ideas (Immediacy and Immediacracy are not that far apart in some respects). I'm more convinced so far though but the findings (long pdf) of the crew from Harvard, M.I.T., and University of Brasilia:
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Likewise, we find no evidence that Pirahã lacks quantifiers, as claimed by Everett (2005). Furthermore, most of the actual properties of the Pirahã constructions discussed by Everett (for example, the ban on prenominal possessor recursion and the behavior of wh-constructions) are familiar from languages whose speakers lack the cultural restrictions attributed to the Pirahã. Finally, following mostly Gonçalves (1993; 2000; 2001), we also question some of the empirical claims about Pirahã culture advanced by Everett in primary support of the "immediate experience" restriction. We are left with no evidence of a causal relation between culture and grammatical structure. Pirahã grammar contributes to ongoing research into the nature of Universal Grammar, but presents no unusual challenge, much less a "severe" one.

They go on to debunk the 'no myth' claim on p. 44-45,

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"Recall now that the property of Pirahã culture allegedly responsible for such gaps as the
"absence of creation myths and fiction" (or the "absence of myths and fiction" more generally; see
footnote 3) is "the restriction of communication to the immediate experience of the interlocutors" —
the principle that we have called here IEP. In this light, what are we to make of such Pirahã narratives
as the following?

In the beginning of the world, the first level immediately above that of the Pirahã was situated
much lower than it is today. It was situated very close to the level in which they live. The moon,
when it rose, appeared very low. One day, at night, a man decided to shoot arrows at the moon.
He climbed a high tree and released the arrow"....etc

"...From this narrative, one can observe that the myth is not about the origin of the world proper,
but about the recreation of the world. Igagai recreated the world, permitted the ibiisi to
reproduce, and created the animals. There is no reference to the origin of Igagai and the other
abaisi that inhabit the cosmos. They are as a given, created eternally."

The thing is, I'm not opposed to the idea of there being an OMM tribe out there. There could be such a thing. The Pirahã are only like 350 people. I'm sure that there's more people on this forum than that. There's at least a few people on Earth that walk on all fours. It doesn't change the observation that spiritual awareness is overwhelmingly common among all cultures.

I'm not even saying that means that spiritual awareness means what all of these people think it means, I'm just saying it reflects a basic human awareness - like colors or numbers, which Everett also claims of the Pirahã (but is probably based on wishful interpretations of their 'special' language). I vote no. No on Pirahese exceptionalism. I honestly think they're just a regular old group of backforest fishbillies who a wide-eyed American anthropologist fell in love with. The noble savage, with an atheist twist.
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I note you have not responded to my comparisons of your belief system and that of the Pirahã.
Sorry, I only glanced at them and now I don't want to look for them again.
"That which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes–no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and that this is a participatory universe."
- John Archibald Wheeler