Author Topic: Is there a supernatural?  (Read 10180 times)

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Offline Gill

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #261 on: June 11, 2012, 04:21:53 PM »
I said knowledge about them can't be derived from physical measurement.

Which has already been proven wrong. We can translate thoughts into images, as was pointed out by Graybeard, and that's only from electrical patterns. With more information we could easily make other people feel what we feel and vice-versa. Why do you insist on sticking to something that has been proven wrong? Try some evidence instead.

And I can translate my thoughts to words.  I can draw a painting.   I can tap someone on the head and expect them to feel pain.   Got it.  That has nothing to do with the knowledge argument.

Online One Above All

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #262 on: June 11, 2012, 04:23:30 PM »
And I can translate my thoughts to words.  I can draw a painting.   I can tap someone on the head and expect them to feel pain.   Got it.  That has nothing to do with the knowledge argument.

You said it was unknowable to anyone except the person feeling them. I proved you wrong. Your move.
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Offline Gill

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #263 on: June 11, 2012, 04:44:08 PM »
And I can translate my thoughts to words.  I can draw a painting.   I can tap someone on the head and expect them to feel pain.   Got it.  That has nothing to do with the knowledge argument.

You said it was unknowable to anyone except the person feeling them. I proved you wrong. Your move.

You haven't proven anything.  We're comparing apples and oranges.   I never argued people can't know qualia from their own internal perspective.   


Offline Gill

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #264 on: June 11, 2012, 04:53:03 PM »
You should see it as meaning more than you do, Gill.  Especially when you're proposing the idea that the universe is fundamentally incoherent and nonsensical (ie. that the supernatural exists).

I don't see how a supernatural thing makes it incoherent.  It just means naturalism cannot fully account.

How many appeals to ignorance are you going to make before you figure out why an appeal to ignorance in't a good reason to believe in something?

Nothing to do with appeals to ignorance.   Some things are inherently beyond the scope of certain discipline.   I.e. not everything can be measured and quantified;  that doesn't mean that which cannot does not exist....

Offline Gill

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #265 on: June 11, 2012, 05:11:44 PM »
...and if there are things we can't ever know, then they're 100% irrelevant to our existence as a result.
Yeah I agree.  Except; I was referring to what can be known using naturalism.   Not simply, 'what can be known' in general...

If it can be known then it is natural.  Regarding qualia - what is unknowable about it, in principle?  Your brain state is objective.  It can be observed.  It is knowable.

What if I could take a piece of brain tissue out of my skull; which contained a memory, M,  of an experience, Q,, then put that into your brain.   Before it goes in your brain; we have tissue, neurons, chemicals, etc.   We can't detect or know Q though from examining M out of the brain.  M goes in your brain; and maybe you now have access to Q.    But if Q is physical;  then it isn't logical why it would have to be in your physical brain before you could access it.

Some people use a computer analogy and  say something like;  M is like 1s & 0s on a disk; Q is the information extracted from processing.   I don't think that's a valid analogy though; because unless there's a conscious mind to view the information; then it might as well still be 1s and 0s.

 

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #266 on: June 11, 2012, 05:14:44 PM »
The memory-retrieval process is physical/chemical.  That retrival process can in principle be simulated without plugging it into an actual brain.

Regardless...are you seriously claiming that memories, encoded in brain tissue, are supernatural?
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Offline Gill

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #267 on: June 11, 2012, 05:22:45 PM »
The memory-retrieval process is physical/chemical.  That retrival process can in principle be simulated without plugging it into an actual brain.

Regardless...are you seriously claiming that memories, encoded in brain tissue, are supernatural?

Did I ever say that?  No, I said qualia can't be measured/quantified, and that's an inherent limitation of naturalism, yet, they exist.   Which, IDK why, seems controversial to some....

Offline jeremy0

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #268 on: June 11, 2012, 08:35:21 PM »
Is there a supernatural?

No, dammit!  Supernatural implies that it exists outside of natural occurring things, and nothing exists outside of nature.  So there is no supernatural.  9 pages of debate on this topic is confounding.  Holmes!  What have. you done?
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #269 on: June 11, 2012, 10:19:42 PM »
Did I ever say that?  No, I said qualia can't be measured/quantified, and that's an inherent limitation of naturalism, yet, they exist.   Which, IDK why, seems controversial to some....

Probably because it's false, for reasons that have been explained to you already.  Yet, deliberately making yourself believe in known falsities is a virtue to the faithful.
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Offline Gill

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #270 on: June 11, 2012, 10:29:14 PM »
Is there a supernatural?

No, dammit!  Supernatural implies that it exists outside of natural occurring things, and nothing exists outside of nature.  So there is no supernatural.  9 pages of debate on this topic is confounding.  Holmes!  What have. you done?

So...

(1) No thing exists outside of nature
(2) Supernatural things are outside of nature
(3) Therefore; supernatural things don't exist?

That leaves a lot of open questions...

Offline Gill

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #271 on: June 11, 2012, 10:31:20 PM »
Did I ever say that?  No, I said qualia can't be measured/quantified, and that's an inherent limitation of naturalism, yet, they exist.   Which, IDK why, seems controversial to some....

Probably because it's false, for reasons that have been explained to you already.  Yet, deliberately making yourself believe in known falsities is a virtue to the faithful.

What known falsity?

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #272 on: June 11, 2012, 10:34:11 PM »
The supposed impossibility of observing the stuff that we experience as qualia.
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Offline Gill

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #273 on: June 11, 2012, 10:36:40 PM »
Depends on what is meant by 'observing' .

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #274 on: June 11, 2012, 10:57:23 PM »
Depends on what is meant by 'observing' .
'

I think the observation is actually the qualia. You don't have consciousness without qualia. And as to where the qualia come from: you can tell that they are generated by the brain, because of things like dreams, and strange phenomena within drug trips.

http://miqel.com/entheogens/dmt_first_time_report.html

This guy is reporting his first time DMT trip. He is sure that during the main part of the trip, that he is seeing the real universe, however, to start the trip, his cat goes fractal. Unless you are will to accept that cats are fractal, and that the real universe can partly show itself in his cat, you have to accept that his brain is the thing that is making it all happen, using a process of induction. At the end of the trip, it all goes cartoony, hallucinatory. Is the universe cartoony? Does he really hear 600 violin parts, or does his brain just tell him that he does?

If you experience things that are actually possible, then there is room to believe that it's something supernatural, but ironically, it's the experience of quite mundane impossible things, that shows your brain is set up to believe anything.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Grey_square_optical_illusion.PNG

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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #275 on: June 13, 2012, 07:14:02 AM »
Depends on what is meant by 'observing' .
Here are a couple of definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary on-line, do you agree with either? Or will you provide your own definition?

to observe:

(i) To heed, pay attention to, watch, or notice (often with the implication of "carefully".
(ii) (a). trans. To take note of or detect scientifically; to watch or examine methodically, esp. without experimental or therapeutic intervention;
(b) to perceive or learn by scientific inspection or measurement; (spec. in early use) to make an astronomical measurement of the altitude of a celestial object in order to ascertain latitude or longitude; to measure (an altitude) in this way.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline Gill

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #276 on: June 13, 2012, 01:45:17 PM »
Depends on what is meant by 'observing' .
Here are a couple of definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary on-line, do you agree with either? Or will you provide your own definition?

to observe:

(i) To heed, pay attention to, watch, or notice (often with the implication of "carefully".
(ii) (a). trans. To take note of or detect scientifically; to watch or examine methodically, esp. without experimental or therapeutic intervention;
(b) to perceive or learn by scientific inspection or measurement; (spec. in early use) to make an astronomical measurement of the altitude of a celestial object in order to ascertain latitude or longitude; to measure (an altitude) in this way.

I agree with all those.   So then, qualia cannot be observed.   We can't see it or measure it.  And the prior example mentioned of trying to simulate parts of someone's vision on a computer by measuring electrical and having people observe it on a screen doesn't count as observing qualia;  it's observing a supposed representation of qualia, like a realist painting....

Offline Gill

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #277 on: June 13, 2012, 01:48:42 PM »
Depends on what is meant by 'observing' .
'

I think the observation is actually the qualia. You don't have consciousness without qualia. And as to where the qualia come from: you can tell that they are generated by the brain, because of things like dreams, and strange phenomena within drug trips.

I don't disagree there's an apparent mind/body interaction.   But this opens the question of how qualia causally interact if there is no way to directly measure physical properties of qualia.

Offline monkeymind

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #278 on: June 13, 2012, 02:29:03 PM »
I don't disagree there's an apparent mind/body interaction.   But this opens the question of how qualia causally interact if there is no way to directly measure physical properties of qualia.

Mind (concept) can not interact with body (object). Only objects can interact.

If by qualia you mean 'subjective conscious experience', then of course one can not measure their physical properties as there are none. Qualia are concepts. Only objects have physical presence. Concepts are the relationships between objects.

Consider 'neurons firing'. Neurons have physical properties and can interact with other neurons. Firing is not what neurons are, it is something that neurons do. Your difficulty is separating concepts from objects, and nouns from verbs.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 02:31:50 PM by monkeymind »
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Offline Gill

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #279 on: June 13, 2012, 03:31:03 PM »
If by qualia you mean 'subjective conscious experience', then of course one can not measure their physical properties as there are none. Qualia are concepts. Only objects have physical presence. Concepts are the relationships between objects.

The question is then; where do qualia exist? 

Offline monkeymind

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #280 on: June 13, 2012, 03:58:42 PM »
Exist = physical presence; object + location
Truthfinder:the birds adapt and change through million of years in order to survive ,is that science, then cats should evolve also wings to better catch the birds
Mailbag:On a side note, back in college before my conversion, I actually saw a demon sitting next to me in critical thinking class.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #281 on: June 13, 2012, 04:00:54 PM »
If by qualia you mean 'subjective conscious experience', then of course one can not measure their physical properties as there are none. Qualia are concepts. Only objects have physical presence. Concepts are the relationships between objects.

The question is then; where do qualia exist?
No, that's your question - they have no physical existence. They don't (in the proper uses of the verb "to exist") exist. They are "thoughts" - thoughts do not have an existence, do they? You can't have "a pound of thoughts".

I did hope that I had already taught you the difference between concrete and abstract. Did I fail? Read what Monkeymind said, "Qualia are concepts. Only objects have physical presence." Have you forgotten already?

All you are doing it using words wrongly. Please try and think in straight lines.

Edit: PS deleted
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 04:09:56 PM by Graybeard »
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline Gill

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #282 on: June 13, 2012, 11:10:26 PM »
If qualia have no physical existence then how could my brain have any effect on qualia?

Offline Gill

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #283 on: June 13, 2012, 11:16:23 PM »
Exist = physical presence; object + location


So your thoughts don't exist according to you?
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 11:18:49 PM by Gill »

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #284 on: June 14, 2012, 12:06:43 AM »
If qualia have no physical existence then how could my brain have any effect on qualia?

What effect are you talking about?  Be specific.  Very important that you be specific, and talk about the actual effects being observed.
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Offline Gill

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #285 on: June 14, 2012, 12:11:56 AM »
If qualia have no physical existence then how could my brain have any effect on qualia?

What effect are you talking about?  Be specific.  Very important that you be specific, and talk about the actual effects being observed.

 :?

I'm looking at the computer screen; there's colors I see.  The experience of seeing colors would be qualia.


Offline Azdgari

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #286 on: June 14, 2012, 12:33:17 AM »
...which is basically brain activity.  Qualia is just another way of observing the brain activity.
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Offline Gill

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #287 on: June 14, 2012, 12:43:33 AM »
Yeah, we could say that.  What's interesting is that only the person who 'owns the brain' has access to it.    I mean, even if I could shrink myself down to the size of atoms and explore around someone's brain; I still wouldn't observe the qualia.   It would seem to not exist from the 3rd person perspective; yet does exist from the 1st person...

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #288 on: June 14, 2012, 12:48:28 AM »
And only the computer that has the CD in it can interpret it and put it on the screen.  So what?
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Is there a supernatural?
« Reply #289 on: June 14, 2012, 04:56:32 AM »
Gill,

You are basically discussing the nature of perception. Perception is all that we have to interpret the world around us. We know that perception can be altered by mental illness and drugs (famously, LSD and the related ergot – a fungus on wheat[1].

Have a look at http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/brain-religion.htm and see the comments on St Paul. His symptoms – flash of light, falling down and hearing voices, are now instantly recognisable, not as a miracle but as temporal lobe epilepsy that distorted his reality, probably in line with guilt feeling about persecuting people.  In the cases of drugs and mental illness, the qualia that a person experiences are erroneous; men from Mars are not beaming radio waves at them, the voices they hear do not exist and the subject does not have the ability to fly, no matter what their brain tells them.

Then there is the second issue with qualia; misinterpretation. Our brain, which controls the qualia, is designed to find reasons for, and patterns in, the events that qualia reveal to us. If we do not know the answer, the brain will come up with its "best guess". We have a tendency to trust some people when they give explanations, although those explanations might be wrong. Also, we like to give things names so we can discuss them with others.

As an example, I suffer from long-sightedness. It is not uncommon but one effect is that, in dark conditions, the pupils open up, to gather light. This means that I do not focus well on things at a distance, although nearer and brighter things are seen perfectly. I discovered I was long-sighted when driving at night. Out of the corner of my eye, I would see shadowy people in bushes, posts that would move, etc. Were these ghosts? “No.” Once I had a pair of glasses, there was no longer a problem. But 2000 years ago, there were no glasses, but people still had long- or short-sightedness, and interpreted what they saw as ghosts, demons, spirits, etc. Others had similar experiences and this misinterpretation of qualia provided  an explanation. We know better now, but some people stick with the wrong idea. Once they start to believe erroneously, they have a personal difficulty rejecting their idea. This is known as cognitive dissonance. They know it is wrong, but will not admit it to themselves. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

Finally, think of a blue hippopotamus.. OK? Now think of an invisible hippo... OK? We can think of [anything + any attribute.] You will agree that just because we have an image of something in our mind, does not mean that it exists or has ever existed.

I hope now, that you understand how erroneous qualia and the erroneous interpretation of qualia leads to erroneous conclusions. 

At the end of the day, it does not matter if qualia are measurable in units, they are measurable against normality.
 1. Do follow the link, it is interesting particularly as Biblical society grew wheat and did not know of the dangers of ergot. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergot#Effects_on_humans_and_other_mammals)
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce