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Dead Zone => The Bottomless Pit => Topic started by: Immediacracy on June 08, 2010, 09:55:11 PM

Title: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 08, 2010, 09:55:11 PM
i vs i
(http://www.stationlink.com/art/ii.jpg)
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Operator_A25 on June 08, 2010, 10:08:59 PM
You should be able to edit the poll. What do you need edited?

If you look to the far right, bottom corner of the poll frame you should see the edit link.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: alihaymeg on June 08, 2010, 10:10:25 PM
I chose: Purpose is a human construct and therefore is an illusionary interpretation of non-purposeful evolutionary processes.

And Other: To give an animal that has evolved past operating on pure instinct the necessary motivation to continue performing essentially arbitrary tasks.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Emily on June 08, 2010, 10:17:28 PM
You should be able to edit the poll. What do you need edited?
I was just going to correct aberration and see if there was anything I could do to linebreaks to make it look cleaner. How does it work? When I try I just get the text box below to edit.

I think polls are only editable prior to a first vote. If someone has posted then you are no longer able to edit the poll. If you wish to have the poll change you have to ask a mod.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 08, 2010, 10:21:07 PM
I think polls are only editable prior to a first vote. If someone has posted then you are no longer able to edit the poll. If you wish to have the poll change you have to as a mod.
Thanks. Makes sense. Polls usually are squirrely like that, just hadn't done one here before.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: alihaymeg on June 08, 2010, 10:23:05 PM
Sorry about that! I guess I was a little too quick on the draw.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Operator_A25 on June 08, 2010, 10:41:43 PM
Thanks. Makes sense. Polls usually are squirrely like that, just hadn't done one here before.

I suppose that is to keep people from dishonestly editing the poll entries out from under people who have already voted.

Anyway, I fixed your spelling aberration, but didn't feel too confident on the linebreaks issue.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Emily on June 08, 2010, 10:48:35 PM
I suppose that is to keep people from dishonestly editing the poll entries out from under people who have already voted.

I read on an SMF forum that that is exactly why. It's a way of keeping the integrity of the poll.

Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: dloubet on June 09, 2010, 12:47:38 AM
The purpose of purpose is to focus the intent of the purposer.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: plethora on June 09, 2010, 05:00:06 AM
I voted "other" because none of them fit IMO.

Purpose is a human construct. I think it is a by-product of the evolution of the human brain as it became capable of abstract thought and of creating complex conceptual models of reality. Consciousness beyond ourselves, so to speak.

Evolution has given us a natural instinct to survive. We fear death as a result. As our perspective as humans widened, we gradually constructed purpose for ourselves in order to cope with the prospect of our own inevitable death as individuals and as a species.

The prospect of the universe culminating in complete annihilation of life as we know it can only be concieved by humans (without speaking of possible intelligent life elsewhere in the universe) and it goes against our evolutionary motivation and instinct for survival. Therefore, we tend to reject it.

In an attempt to maintain the motivation to live, we embrace the purposes our families/communities/societies have given us and/or create our own purposes.

Hence, the purpose of purpose is to cope with reality and maintain the will to live and prosper as long as we can.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: One Above All on June 09, 2010, 05:06:57 AM
I agree with plethora
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 09, 2010, 08:26:01 AM
Purpose is a human construct.
Are beaver dams, beehives, and anthills not purposeful? If not, what makes them ontologically different from our dams, buildings, and cities?

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Evolution has given us a natural instinct to survive.
It seems to me that every mobile organism at least exhibits some behaviors consistent with having an instinct to survive, to move toward food/life supporting conditions and away from pain/life threatening conditions which it can recognize. Even plants bend and grow toward the sun. The survival instinct doesn't evolve at all, it is the subjective definition of life.

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We fear death as a result. As our perspective as humans widened, we gradually constructed purpose for ourselves in order to cope with the prospect of our own inevitable death as individuals and as a species.
It doesn't make sense to me. I see a fallacy in using purposeful logic to explain that purposeful logic didn't exist until we gradually constructed it for a logical purpose (to cope with our awareness of death). If the construction of purpose fulfills any sort of purpose whatsoever, then purpose exists a priori to it's supposed construction, no? This is actually the main point I wanted to get into with this whole poll. How can you explain purpose without resorting to purpose?

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The prospect of the universe culminating in complete annihilation of life as we know it can only be concieved by humans (without speaking of possible intelligent life elsewhere in the universe) and it goes against our evolutionary motivation and instinct for survival. Therefore, we tend to reject it.
I don't see this as a very compelling explanation. Why would the knowledge of annihilation necessarily have a negative effect on our evolutionary motivation? Just as atheism doesn't inhibit motivation or instinct, it seems like a weak argument to say that humanity had to invent purpose because evolution backed them into a philosophical corner with the capacity for abstract thought (which itself, is sort of indistinguishable from purposeful thought, isn't it?).

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In an attempt to maintain the motivation to live, we embrace the purposes our families/communities/societies have given us and/or create our own purposes.
Except that, according to your first statement, we are the only species to have ever required purpose to maintain our survival instinct. Our huge brain power doesn't make us embrace pain and suffering, so I don't see why any species motivation to live would be compromised by intelligence. If intelligence is even possible without purpose...I don't think that it is.

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Hence, the purpose of purpose is to cope with reality and maintain the will to live and prosper as long as we can.
So calculus is sort of a crutch which enables us to do what cockroaches already do effortlessly? Intelligence is actually an obstacle to evolutionary efficiency which must create an excuse for itself to be a more successful cockroach?

Do you see why someone might find this explanation unlikely?

Edit: "Why would the knowledge of annihilation necessarily have a negative effect", typos
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 09, 2010, 08:33:05 AM
Anyway, I fixed your spelling aberration, but didn't feel too confident on the linebreaks issue.
Thank you. 'ppreciate it, as they say.

Of course, it occurs to me that the idea of misspelling aberration is itself revealing of another aspect of this thread. Mistakes vs statistical aberrations, coincidence vs serendipity. Are humans the only thing in existence to experience mistakes? Are successful mutations mistakes? 
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 09, 2010, 08:38:32 AM
The purpose of purpose is to focus the intent of the purposer.
Interesting but I think semantic. Intent is already purposeful, if not functionally the same as purpose depending on the context? Couldn't you say 'the intent of intent is to focus the purpose of the intender'?
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Noman Peopled on June 09, 2010, 09:13:54 AM
bm
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: plethora on June 09, 2010, 09:29:51 AM
@Immediacracy

My bad for not defining "purpose" or asking for it to be defined.

I was using purpose in the sense of an ulterior motive or reason for us to exist at all. Something that makes our lives meaningful in some way rather than pointless.

I didn't mean purpose only in the sense of utility. Of course a beaver's dam has a purpose.

However, a beaver is not asking itself why it exists in the first place and what the point is of spending his life meaninglessly building and maintaining dams to ultimately end up dead. Hence it doesn't need to assign purpose to anything it does.

Let me see if I can organize my thoughts here...

I think our human need to assign purpose to our lives (i.e. overall meaning) has a purpose as a coping mechanism. We have come unto a realization that the beaver could never come to. However, that doesn't mean the process by which these purposes arose has a purpose in itself.

Think about the process of evolution. Evolution itself has no purpose, no goals and no intent. However, the process results in lifeforms with parts that serve a purposes and behaviors that serve purposes... and also complex enough beings like us who actually assign purposes.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 09, 2010, 10:09:55 AM
I was using purpose in the sense of an ulterior motive or reason for us to exist at all. Something that makes our lives meaningful in some way rather than pointless.
Oh, yeah, I don't generally try to get into philosophical-conceptual stuff like that. Mainly I'm interested in getting the broadest, most elemental grasp of the cosmos that I can.

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However, a beaver is not asking itself why it exists in the first place and what the point is of spending his life meaninglessly building and maintaining dams to ultimately end up dead. Hence it doesn't need to assign purpose to anything it does.
I agree, although it's just because of the degree of the complexity of their neurology and not because there's something special about humans.

Additional food for thought on non-human intelligence/purpose. Prairie Dog language (http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8493000/8493089.stm).

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Evolution itself has no purpose, no goals and no intent. However, the process results in lifeforms with parts that serve a purposes and behaviors that serve purposes... and also complex enough beings like us who actually assign purposes.
Evolution depends not only on it's own purposeless teleonomy, but on the highly ordered properties and dynamics of what it is that's evolving. That's why I say that teleology and teleonomy are two sides of an inseparable whole.

Teleology really has the advantage if you think about it. There's no way to get order out of an utter ontological void of order or pattern (it wouldn't even be able to get to step one), but you could get randomness out of order. I think this is why theism is the anthropological default and not materialism. Nonsense is more likely to be a kind of sense than the other way around.

To me, theism doesn't help explain anything though. It just personifies order/purpose/teleology, when in fact, it's not necessary. Why not just let order be what it is?
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: penfold on June 09, 2010, 01:39:48 PM
Interesting poll Imm. I hope you get enough votes to show a pattern; will be interesting to see the results.

The distinction between teleology and teleonomy is instructive:

Are beaver dams, beehives, and anthills not purposeful?

The traditional answer to this is that a beaver dam is teleonomic. The modern zoologist would say that:
“The beaver's dam building behaviour provides it with shelter” [teolonomic]
rather than:
“The beaver builds dams in order to obtain shelter” [teleological]

The former implies that the behaviour is pre-programmed; the beaver builds because of its evolutionary history, ie it is backward looking. The latter implies that the beaver behaviour is purposive, ie it is forward looking.

However that same zoologist would use the latter (teleological) formulation to refer to a human dam.

Which leads us to your question:
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If not, what makes them ontologically different from our dams, buildings, and cities?

I think though that question is wrong in presupposing that 'purpose', as we understand it, corresponds to anything ontological. It seems to me that the teleological/teleonomical distinction can be understood as epistemological thus relating to the phenomenal not the ontological.

At the level of the epistemological the teleological/teleonomical distinction makes sense. We call a beaver dam building teleonomical because our explanation for it is evolutionary; that is how we understand it. We call human dam building teleological because our explanation for it is purposive; that is how we understand it. At an epistemological level the distinction between conscious purpose and unconscious behaviour is easily apparent. There are of course grey areas; the play of an infant can be understood in both teleological and teleonomical terms; however as this distinction is at an epistemological level that is not a problem (ie it points to ambiguity in how we understand the world, not an ambiguity in the world itself).

However, we could presuppose an ontology that is either teleological or teleonomical. In fact many people do. The teleological ontos we call god, and is the position of the theist. The teleonomical ontos we call the cosmos, and is the position of the atheist. The problem is that ontological structure is not accessible to us. All we can know is the phenomenal. The ontological may have purpose it may not. We cannot possibly know either way. Wittgenstein realised this, for him not just 'purpose' but ALL MEANING must reside in us not out there. So on the question of whether the ontological is teleological or teleonomical we should follow his great dictum: “What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.”

Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 09, 2010, 02:52:25 PM
However, we could presuppose an ontology that is either teleological or teleonomical. In fact many people do. The teleological ontos we call god, and is the position of the theist. The teleonomical ontos we call the cosmos, and is the position of the atheist.
I wouldn't restrict the teleological ontos to 'god' necessarily (although it's a valid example) - it could be 'life, freewill, orderly sequence, etc', and the teleonomical ontos I might describe as 'material substance, coincidence, reactive consequence'. I think that only through the combination of teleonomy and teleology that there can be an experience of cosmos.

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The problem is that ontological structure is not accessible to us. All we can know is the phenomenal. The ontological may have purpose it may not.
The ontological structure of the cosmos isn't accessible to us but what is accessible to us directly is our own phenomenal teleology. The Self, as a part of the cosmos, demonstrates that teleology is as much of a phenomenal reality as teleonomy, at least locally to this organism. Obviously there is a lot of interplay - consciousness has both material substrates and subjective capacities which have complex relationships to each other, but each side of the coin has a coherent reality which is very different from the other on a phenomenal level.

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We cannot possibly know either way. Wittgenstein realised this, for him not just 'purpose' but ALL MEANING must reside in us not out there. So on the question of whether the ontological is teleological or teleonomical we should follow his great dictum: “What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.”
For me, it's not a matter of seeking to explain a truly nuomenal ontology, but rather a reconciliation of the full phenomenal range of the cosmos, whether interior and subjective or exterior and objective. I think that everything that's in us came from out there in the first place, so in a sense, our expression of purpose is putting back into the cosmos an anthropomorphically transformed subset of what the cosmos puts into us.

As for beavers and bees, did you see the Prairie Dogs? I think that the only reason we don't give these behaviors the teleological benefit of the doubt is because we can't know what it's like to be them. I'm not positing that beavers are capable of the kinds of abstract reasoning of human beings but I wouldn't say that the teleonomy distinction applies in a truly definitive way. Abstract reasoning seems to me to be an elaboration, refinement, and conditioning of animal instinct rather than a completely novel capability.

Losing our body hair as homo sapiens is teleonomy. Shaving regularly is teleology. Cleaning our hair when it feels dirty, well, that's something we probably share with a lot of mammals. It's a continuum rather than a binary distinction, don't you think?
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: nogodsforme on June 09, 2010, 07:16:46 PM
The purpose of purpose is to make us think it is a dolphin, Young Jedi.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 09, 2010, 08:09:42 PM
The purpose of purpose is to make us think it is a dolphin, Young Jedi.
It's ceotainly a cetacean situation (with a Three Stooges pronunciation).
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: penfold on June 10, 2010, 04:43:59 PM
Losing our body hair as homo sapiens is teleonomy. Shaving regularly is teleology.

:-)

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The ontological structure of the cosmos isn't accessible to us but what is accessible to us directly is our own phenomenal teleology. The Self, as a part of the cosmos, demonstrates that teleology is as much of a phenomenal reality as teleonomy, at least locally to this organism.

[...]

 I think that everything that's in us came from out there in the first place, so in a sense, our expression of purpose is putting back into the cosmos an anthropomorphically transformed subset of what the cosmos puts into us.

This is a pleasing idea. As the much missed Carl Sagan said the mind is the universe's way of realising itself. It is undeniable that to try and separate the observed from the observer is a mistake; but science tries to and so the quantum physicist loses sleep over the measurement problem.

However, I think you are making a mistake in assuming that our phenomenal epistemic structures bear any relation to the ontological structures of the cosmos. While we are as much a part of the universe as any stella object, it does not follow that we can read back from 'in us' to 'out there'.

Whether we see something as teleological or teleonomical depends upon our structure. Let us take the example of astrology. Here a mind sees purposive structure (whether it be teleological or teleonomical) in the correlation between stars and people. It is true to say that a bit of the universe, (that bit which is the mind), contains that purposive structure. It is only by inference that we claim that the bit of the universe which contains the stars and the people has that same purposive structure.

The problem with that inductive leap is that there is no way to substantiate it. Moreover there is historical precedent to show the danger of making such inductive leaps. Whether it be the Pythagoreans' suppression of irrational numbers; the Catholic Church's insistence upon the anthropocentric universe; or Einstein's resistance to quantum physics; it turns out that not even the phenomenal universe corresponds to our intuitions as to its structure. Why on earth would you suppose that the ontological does?

Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Nam on June 10, 2010, 05:37:33 PM
I dislike polls where I have to participate to see the results.  Sometimes I do not have an answer, and I wish to see what others think and mold that over my mind, and perhaps I would have an answer.  Can't do that here.

Oh well.

-Nam
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 10, 2010, 08:09:59 PM
However, I think you are making a mistake in assuming that our phenomenal epistemic structures bear any relation to the ontological structures of the cosmos. While we are as much a part of the universe as any stella object, it does not follow that we can read back from 'in us' to 'out there'.
Right. I understand what you're saying and I agree as far as not being able to translate or project the subjective onto the objective. Where I differ is that I think that the worldview most of us in the West are using unintentionally conflates objective phenomenon with the ontology, or gives it much more of the benefit of the doubt. I see the subjective and objective as two ends of a phenomenological continuum, which maps fairly smoothly in the middle (sensation vs perception) but is radically dimorphic at the extreme (quantum physics vs mythology).

We both agree the ontology is unknowable, and more to the point, irrelevant. It's the phenomenal politics that we disagree on. We can and do know what's in here, and while we also know that what's out there is very different and supervenes upon the in here in objective matters, we also know that we don't know about what's in there and that in our voluntary control of own Selves at least, our subjective will does supervene upon the exterior Universe.

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Whether we see something as teleological or teleonomical depends upon our structure. Let us take the example of astrology. Here a mind sees purposive structure (whether it be teleological or teleonomical) in the correlation between stars and people.
No, that's a caricature of astrology. It's okay, I'm not trying to say it's something people should be expected to know about, it's just an fyi - astrology has nothing to do with stars (other than the celebrity kind). It's just about the apparent orbits of the planets. It's an illustrated analog clock with eleven hands.

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It is true to say that a bit of the universe, (that bit which is the mind), contains that purposive structure.
:)

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It is only by inference that we claim that the bit of the universe which contains the stars and the people has that same purposive structure.
That's exactly what I thought was the most relevant thing about it before I looked into it and found that how it 'works' isn't really the important thing - as insane as that sounds, and I know it sounds insane, but you have to remember that this is at the intuitive - far subjective end of the spectrum. Infra-red. UHF. In that range, it's not a how, it's a who - a when and where. Animal archetypes. Stories and histories. I'm not expecting you to believe me, I'm just trying to explain it in case someone is interested.

Anyways, it 'works' not because the planets and their orbits are purposive, but because our lives are subject to changing temporal influences which can be projected, Rorschach-like onto the firmament of a massive, and massively consistent pattern like the solar system. In the micro, you have I Ching, Tarot cards, tea leaves, etc; in the meso there's graphology, palmistry, automatic writing; in the macro there's astrology, numerology, alchemy.

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The problem with that inductive leap is that there is no way to substantiate it. Moreover there is historical precedent to show the danger of making such inductive leaps. Whether it be the Pythagoreans' suppression of irrational numbers; the Catholic Church's insistence upon the anthropocentric universe; or Einstein's resistance to quantum physics; it turns out that not even the phenomenal universe corresponds to our intuitions as to its structure.
I totally agree. Projecting subjective architecture onto the objective part of the universe is only useful as a starting place. To know about the exterior cosmos you must use your physical body and practical mind - build tools, use them to improve your objective knowledge, build more tools, etc.

I have no problem with that at all. Science and technology is more miraculous than religion and art ever dreamed of being (ironically). What the problem is now, is that we've been so successful at suppressing the subjective suppression of the objective that we have lost touch with it altogether. We imagine ourselves transparent vessels of pure logic uncontaminated by subjective woo. We identify with the physical universe of unconsciousness and see ourselves - our own living, breathing, thinking beings as a coincidence, an aberration. Seen from that distorted perspective, everything makes sense only when we aren't in the picture. As if every pattern we observe and every thought we have comes from some alien wonderland and not from the very same stuff that the cosmos is made of when we look at it through a microscope or a telescope.

Yes, it's important to guard our scientific worldview and to remain skeptical of applying interior subjective architectures to exterior objective realities, but you know, the Inquisition is over. The greater threat now is that the world is so divorced from it's own humanity, it's own subjective values, that it has literally transformed civilization into a kind of automated, idiot proof Hell. This is the reason that people won't let go of God - not because they are just all too stupid or lazy to think about it logically, but because they don't see the benefit of losing their own subjective significance and trading it for WalMart. The richness of the psyche can no more be addressed from the outside than RNA transcription can be predicted by the I Ching. That fact doesn't make one side of the continuum more real than the other, it just puts warm and fuzzy meaning at one end and cold hard facts at the other.

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Why on earth would you suppose that the ontological does?
I don't. We agree, the ontological is something we are never likely to be acquainted with directly. If we were, we wouldn't be us anyways.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: penfold on June 11, 2010, 01:43:28 AM
Fair enough Imm, phenomenal politics it is...

I disagree with your assessment on two points. Firstly on the issue of looking inward the interpretation of pattern. Secondly in terms of the contemporary situation.

We can and do know what's in here, and while we also know that what's out there is very different and supervenes upon the in here in objective matters, we also know that we don't know about what's in there and that in our voluntary control of own Selves at least, our subjective will does supervene upon the exterior Universe.

We do not know what is in here. Our minds are not readily accessible to us; as you point out we are not “transparent vessels of pure logic uncontaminated by subjective woo”; we are complex. While the strict dichotomy of Freud's ego and id is perhaps overzealous but there is no denying the truth of his central thesis, that the vast majority of our mental processes are dark to us. Consider the sensation of solving a puzzle, how the answer arrives fully formed in your mind. Or how a smell can invoke an unlooked for memory of shocking intensity. More subtle, but more profound, is how our sense data arrives in our conscious 'pre-interpreted' [if you doubt this consider the potent effects that can be exerted upon this subconscious sense interpretation by the ingestion of chemicals like psilocybin].

One of the great feats of the mind is the creation of pattern and symbol. It is this capacity that gave rise to language and changed our prehistoric grunts to the poetry of Ginsberg. The fact that our language is symbolic is symptomatic of how our minds, and especially the processing in our subconscious, work. The problem is that we have no access or control over this subconscious pattern formation. A good example of this in action is how even after we have had an optical illusion explained to us we cannot help but still see it as an illusion. The power of the subconscious to supervene upon the conscious is clear. It is important to realise that because this pattern formation is opaque to us we have no way of assessing its truth or utility. Moreover we have countless examples of erroneous pattern formation (think optical illusions again). So we know the process is flawed, in that correlation to the way things actually are (at the measurable phenomenal level) is not guaranteed.

That is not to say that patterns we intuit have no use or interest. It is our capacity to find structure and pattern, even in the random, that allows us to be creative. It is the wellspring of humanity's most quixotic labour: art. It also allows us to be fooled; our unconscious finding of pattern explains how the Barnum statements of the 'psychic' or astrologer work. It explains why ritual behaviour develops: rain dances, burial rituals, doctrine, etc... To my mind there is a real danger in elevating this uncontrollable pattern finding behaviour to the status of knowledge.

Which brings me to the second point:

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Yes, it's important to guard our scientific worldview and to remain skeptical of applying interior subjective architectures to exterior objective realities, but you know, the Inquisition is over. The greater threat now is that the world is so divorced from it's own humanity, it's own subjective values, that it has literally transformed civilization into a kind of automated, idiot proof Hell.

Here we profoundly disagree. We live in a world where almost everyone knows their star sign but where few could tell you that a good approximation for the force of gravity between two masses is the multiplication of these masses and the gravitational constant all divided by the square of their separation. We live in a world where people buy homoeopathic remedies in record numbers and yet are sceptical of the MMR vaccine. In Africa and South America religion is a growing force. In the middle east superstition and ritual keeps neighbours at war. In India Brahmin can demand food from the straving poor by virtue of tradition. In many dark corners of the world your beleifs, or lack thereof, can get you killed. The inquisition may have gone but things are not much improved.

I do have sympathy for what you are saying. It is a shame that, in the west, we have lost the shaman, that we channel the most creative and gifted into conventional moulds, that, as Thomas G Sanders pointed out, education systems are "more preoccupied with the transmission of knowledge than with the creation among other values, of a critical spirit”. Yet the idea that somehow some bleak materialism has emerged victorious is just wrong. If anything the balance is too far towards superstitious thinking; and this is no benigin social force.

Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 11, 2010, 08:23:13 AM
So we know the process is flawed, in that correlation to the way things actually are (at the measurable phenomenal level) is not guaranteed.
I agree with almost everything up to here, where I would offer that there are a lot of black box nooks and crannies in the psyche, just as there are glitches in our exterior cosmology still - like dark matter and qualia, but that just means it's an exciting place to try to explore. There is a lot we don't know now and maybe can't know ever, but my point is that we do have evidence that this part of the cosmos in here has managed to project something beyond unfeeling, unconscious randomness. To me this means that either all parts of what the cosmos is made of potentially contains something which can develop in similar directions, or, it means that the human brain has somehow managed to utterly transcend the entire rest of the cosmos (seems much less likely).

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To my mind there is a real danger in elevating this uncontrollable pattern finding behaviour to the status of knowledge.
Absolutely. I wouldn't elevate it, rather accurately locate it on the bleeding edge between insight and delusion. The air there is too thin to breathe but being that high provides an interesting view.

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Here we profoundly disagree. We live in a world where almost everyone knows their star sign but where few could tell you that a good approximation for the force of gravity between two masses is the multiplication of these masses and the gravitational constant all divided by the square of their separation. We live in a world where people buy homoeopathic remedies in record numbers and yet are sceptical of the MMR vaccine. In Africa and South America religion is a growing force. In the middle east superstition and ritual keeps neighbours at war. In India Brahmin can demand food from the straving poor by virtue of tradition. In many dark corners of the world your beleifs, or lack thereof, can get you killed. The inquisition may have gone but things are not much improved.
Well, no. I don't disagree with you there either. Both dystopian movements are afoot, and I think mutually reinforcing. My only point to make is that I think that the persistence of, and in some cases rising retrograde orthodoxy is partially due to the incomplete nature of the Western SEW. The political dimension of a worldview of nations privileged technologically and materially vs the rest of the world who have suffered setbacks, exploitation, colonization, genocide, and enslavement is a big part of it, but there is I think more than that.

It's great to believe that the world is your oyster, when, in fact, it is. But enlightening Somalian peasants to a worldview which strips them of all that they ever had - a spiritual connection to themselves and their lives, in favor of one where they are defined by the negligible market value of their labor, is not a solution. We can't expect the great and awful ideas which have occupied humanity for tens of thousands of years to just fold up shop because the temple mount looks like a convenient place for a gas station. If humanity is going to be saved, it's probably going to have to be a better idea than what we've seen - one which addresses both the completely realistic and the completely fantastic.

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Yet the idea that somehow some bleak materialism has emerged victorious is just wrong. If anything the balance is too far towards superstitious thinking; and this is no benigin social force.
Well it depends where on the pyramid you are. I'm here, on a forum like this, to talk to other people who might potentially relate to what I'm talking about. I appreciate that people here are fighting the good fight against the forces of socially sanctioned woo, and I enjoy participating in that occasionally too. It's just that I don't have anything particularly new or interesting to offer on that front.

What I see is that if more people at the top of the pyramid were more fully re-enlightened, there would be a positive effect of movement overall. It might be that the superstitious thirdworlders become more SEW oriented, or maybe they'd leapfrog SEW like they did the wired phone network and go straight into an integral worldview? Donno, either way, this type of stuff is what I seem to have been thinking about all my life, so it's just a matter of finding others who are interested too.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Omen on June 11, 2010, 08:29:11 AM
Purpose=magic
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 11, 2010, 08:42:17 AM
Purpose=magic
If there's a point to that, then you're a magician.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Omen on June 11, 2010, 08:53:02 AM
Purpose=magic
If there's a point to that, then you're a magician.

As about as magical as:

There is a lot we don't know now and maybe can't know ever, but my point is that we do have evidence that this part of the cosmos in here has managed to project something beyond unfeeling, unconscious randomness.

You're a better magician then me obviously, retreat into ignorance and plead about evidence without evidence using emotive subjective descriptions which amount to no description of anything at all.

See, I can have a discussion about purpose and teleology, but I draw the line at using absurd rhetorical language just to reach a personal woo filled conclusion you've wanted to make from the very beginning.  It makes all the discussion surrounding purpose and teleology utterly meaningless, since we never actively discuss it at all in terms that anyone here accepts.  Just like many people here have to vote 'other' rather then being confined into the descriptions you want to project upon others with your choices above.  For you, purpose is magic, and you use it just like that.

Claimed without explanation, asserted without evidence, and concluded upon ignorance.  Effectively, you might as well say,"I don't know, but I do know."  You have a biased supernatural claim you want to make, without any reason to do so and effectively have to hide behind rhetoric in order to reach the conclusion you want to make.  That is rather then just admit you make it up as you go along, since none of the logic actually follows into the conclusion you want to make.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Omen on June 11, 2010, 09:07:42 AM
For example:

Purpose is a human construct.
Are beaver dams, beehives, and anthills not purposeful? If not, what makes them ontologically different from our dams, buildings, and cities?

Notice that, without any useful meaning or definition for 'purpose' you can always plead it in a question where you presume it still exists.  You can always use it like a tautology, because you give it no adequate explanatory meaning.

Hence, the purpose you claim is some 'magical' attribute that exists as both part of and above 'existence'.   Yet, when you claim it you do so in a means so arbitrary that the only reasonable conclusion is that you 'know' something 'specific' that we do not, that you never quite share beyond only responding in a way based on premises that no one here actually accepts.

So where did the 'purpose' begin in the beaver that built the dam?
1. A single quark in the tail of the beaver?
2. An atom in the tail of the beaver?
3. The molecule in the tail of the beaver?
4. The protein in the tail of the beaver?
5. The cell in the tail of the beaver?
6. A patch of skin in the tail of the beaver?
7. The tail of the beaver?
8. and on and on and on, both fowards and backwards.

Where does this 'magical' state begin for you? ( Note I say 'magical' because it is claimed in such a way to be inseparable from well.. magic, the supernatural, superstition, bullshit, nonsense, etc. )

How do you know it?

Where is it?

Why is it?

Why do you respond to other people by presuming that this 'magical' state of purpose exist at all without explanation?
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 11, 2010, 12:32:46 PM
There is a lot we don't know now and maybe can't know ever, but my point is that we do have evidence that this part of the cosmos in here has managed to project something beyond unfeeling, unconscious randomness.

You're a better magician then me obviously, retreat into ignorance and plead about evidence without evidence using emotive subjective descriptions which amount to no description of anything at all.
Why would a description amount to nothing just because it's emotive and subjective?
What about the commonsense fact that we subjectively experience feeling and conscious purpose seems emotional to you?

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See, I can have a discussion about purpose and teleology, but I draw the line at using absurd rhetorical language just to reach a personal woo filled conclusion you've wanted to make from the very beginning.
Where is your evidence?
What's a 'personal woo filled conclusion'?

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It makes all the discussion surrounding purpose and teleology utterly meaningless, since we never actively discuss it at all in terms that anyone here accepts.  Just like many people here have to vote 'other' rather then being confined into the descriptions you want to project upon others with your choices above.
 
Eight people checked off the other box. That's why I put it there, because I figured that I could only put down the options I've considered myself and those I remember others bringing up. I'm not sure but it sounds like you are saying that my topic is unfair because it doesn't have some unspecified option in the list. Fine. What are some options that are missing?

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For you, purpose is magic, and you use it just like that.
I use purpose like magic? Tell me the origin and purpose of purpose, and how it differs from what you imagine is 'magic'.

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You have a biased supernatural claim you want to make, without any reason to do so
Let's look at that biased supernatural claim right there. How is it possible for someone to make a claim without any reason to do so? What would be the point of arguing against such a hypothetical claim. It's like your glee in attacking me personally actually gets in your own way of doing it. You trip over your own epithets. Am I an idiot or am I a wily charlatan? How can I make it up as I go along and at the same time telegraph my conclusions? How can my ideas be meaningless and illogical yet worthy of continuous effort to discredit?

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That is rather then just admit you make it up as you go along, since none of the logic actually follows into the conclusion you want to make.
This sounds like exactly what you are doing now. Your conclusion, I know, in all future discussions with me is as follows: You're an idiot, you're full of subjective woo, everything you say is both meaningless and wrong, you don't admit this is the case so therefore you are even doubly guilty and wrong.

You are looking in a funhouse mirror, man. I'm not the one pleading to be accepted. I don't care if anyone here believes me at all. I'm just telling it like it seems to be for me, and that's all you're doing too, except that you literally believe that your intellect is constructed of immaculately objective and dispassionate logic, even in the face of your obvious tendency toward sadistic tantrums.

I just say this to give you some insight into how one-sided and biased your criticisms of me are. I'm not trying to target you personally - I don't know you, and I don't care to. If you can talk about issues in a civilized way, then I'm usually interested in doing that, but if you insist on trying to discredit me personally, then I take that to mean that you want me to share my opinions of you as well.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 11, 2010, 12:49:41 PM
Notice that, without any useful meaning or definition for 'purpose' you can always plead it in a question where you presume it still exists.  You can always use it like a tautology, because you give it no adequate explanatory meaning.
Then let's use your definition of purpose. Which is?

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you never quite share beyond only responding in a way based on premises that no one here actually accepts.
You never quite share beyond only making emotional accusations based on premises that are only applicable in a formally structured debate. Which this is not.

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So where did the 'purpose' begin in the beaver that built the dam?
1. A single quark in the tail of the beaver?
2. An atom in the tail of the beaver?
3. The molecule in the tail of the beaver?
4. The protein in the tail of the beaver?
5. The cell in the tail of the beaver?
6. A patch of skin in the tail of the beaver?
7. The tail of the beaver?
8. and on and on and on, both fowards and backwards.

1. Within the beaver itself. It's conscious-instinctual intent.
2. Within the beaver's apprehension of it's needs and available materials.
3. From the beavers memories, and social conditioning - imitation of other beavers.
4. From the beaver's response to the changing seasons, the light and movement of the sun and moon.
5. The history of rodents adaptations to their environment, burrowing, etc.
6. The history of animal life, the manifestations of purpose as animal families on Earth
7. Biological life, the teleos of cellular growth and survival
8. Chemical dynamics, the teleos of molecular synergy and emergent properties.

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Where does this 'magical' state begin for you? ( Note I say 'magical' because it is claimed in such a way to be inseparable from well.. magic, the supernatural, superstition, bullshit, nonsense, etc. )

How do you know it?

Where is it?

Why is it?

Why do you respond to other people by presuming that this 'magical' state of purpose exist at all without explanation?
I don't believe that you do not know what purpose is. What is your evidence that you believe that?
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Omen on June 11, 2010, 01:09:34 PM
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Why would a description amount to nothing just because it's emotive and subjective?

It is inseparable from make believe and conveys no information to be understood.  More importantly, there is no effort on your part to convey that it means anything where the logic follows into the conclusions being made.  It is essentially a tangled mess of rhetoric, just like your description of 'unfeeling, unconsciousness, randomness' has absolutely nothing to do with the implied dichotomy you're trying to make.

In fact, even the description you make is one from nothing more then your own personal incredulity. ( argument from ignorance )  You seem to think that somehow describing something as what are 'pejoratives' in your mind, somehow makes a valid logical statement against that position.. that is when we ignore that what you're arguing against is largely a strawman of your own creation.  Even if given the benefit of the doubt, your reasoning is still fundamentally flawed.

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See, I can have a discussion about purpose and teleology, but I draw the line at using absurd rhetorical language just to reach a personal woo filled conclusion you've wanted to make from the very beginning.

Where is your evidence?
What's a 'personal woo filled conclusion'?

I've already cited an example, as I've pointed out examples in the past.  Where you fall back on subjectively pleaded terms and strawmen that are never adequately explained, not to mention a complete avoidance of questions that would require you to at least be more informative about the things you do claim.  Not to mention that when challenged on your nonsense, you then begin to obfuscate in turn constantly providing more red herrings and further reducing the subject into a type of sophistry.

As I've pointed out before and I'm pointing out again, this is all about the ability to 'know'.

Make believe VS What can I know

What you claim represents make believe, ie you claim it in such a fashion that it cannot be separated from fantasy, imagination, make believe, and is completely asserted without any reasonable cause.

I, don't need to assume or hold on presumptive in my position any premise to point it out, I simply have to ask how do you know.  Which will and already has lead to the inevitable collapse of the any information that leads us to knowing.  Your responses become dismissive.

"Woo" is a popular term used to describe, well nonsense.

Woo-woo (or just plain woo) refers to ideas considered irrational or based on extremely flimsy evidence or that appeal to mysterious occult forces or powers.

You make a series of assertions that extend as fallacies and often without evidence, not to mention offer to defend such absurdities with equally more obscure behavior.

Examples include deepak chopra, yuri geller, flat-earthers, creationist etc.


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For you, purpose is magic, and you use it just like that.
I use purpose like magic? Tell me the origin and purpose of purpose, and how it differs from what you imagine is 'magic'.

Purpose is a subjective construct, it does not originate from or represent anything at all.  It is a word.

You, use it as if it were an attribute of existence, without meaning or explanation.  Falling back on this in the form of a tautology, just like when you ask this stupid question above.

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You have a biased supernatural claim you want to make, without any reason to do so

Let's look at that biased supernatural claim right there. How is it possible for someone to make a claim without any reason to do so?

The bias is the cause, without reason means without any rational or logical reason.  You're right I should have clarified, but I assumed that pointing out your bias would obviously follow into a dichotomy between what your bias is and lacking any reason beyond your bias.

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What would be the point of arguing against such a hypothetical claim.

Nonsense.  The same way I argue against racism, pseudoscience, or other kinds of bullshit.  They can cause relevant harm to society, not to mention that you do not have the right to have your ideas/claims unmolested.  Not to mention that you disparage the 'imagined' opposite position, as you argue for your fantasy bullshit.

Are you admitting that what you claim is essentially make believe, asserted without any rational reason except your own wishful thinking?

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It's like your glee in attacking me personally actually gets in your own way of doing it. You trip over your own epithets. Am I an idiot or am I a wily charlatan? How can I make it up as I go along and at the same time telegraph my conclusions? How can my ideas be meaningless and illogical yet worthy of continuous effort to discredit?

Its fun, but you purposefully interpret arguing against your position as a direct attack on your persons.  That's not my fault and has more to do with your own emotional bias, just like you have to use pejoratives to describe individuals like Randi ( myself ) or skepticism in general.   The fact that someone doesn't believe your claim is as offensive as arguing against your claim.  Hence the double speak and rhetoric, identifying my counter claim as a personal.

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That is rather then just admit you make it up as you go along, since none of the logic actually follows into the conclusion you want to make.

This sounds like exactly what you are doing now. Your conclusion, I know, in all future discussions with me is as follows: You're an idiot,

I've never started an argument off with, you're an idiot.

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you're full of subjective woo,

True, there is no difference between you and some random person babbling about how smurfs are real.  The only exception is that you want to be taken seriously, as you babble about nonsense and offer to disparage those who do not believe your claim.

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everything you say is both meaningless and wrong,

Havn't done that either, without explaining how you're wrong and asking you questions.  I never declare myself the winner or you wrong by default, without adequate explanation.

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you don't admit this is the case so therefore you are even doubly guilty and wrong.

Never done that either.

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You are looking in a funhouse mirror, man. I'm not the one pleading to be accepted. I don't care if anyone here believes me at all. I'm just telling it like it seems to be for me, and that's all you're doing too, except that you literally believe that your intellect is constructed of immaculately objective and dispassionate logic, even in the face of your obvious tendency toward sadistic tantrums.

Ad hominem.

See, you've interpreted a counter claim against your claim as a personal attack.  Albeit, I do examine the reasons you do make claims, such as personal emotive bias.  That in itself doesn't mean you have to interpret it as hostile and the fact that you do tells us more about the reasons you do anything at all.  Just like constructing the strawman about,"you literally believe that your intellec" has absolutely nothing to do with anything I've asserted in any thread thus far.  I do not need to claim to be smarter or more logical, I simply point out the problems, ask the questions, and watch the show.

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I just say this to give you some insight into how one-sided and biased your criticisms of me are.

So exaggerate about my own statements, completely ignore all the problems with your own claims, make an appeal that essentially admits that you want the freedom to make up whatever you want ( without admission that that is what you want ), and generally insist that arguing against you is tantamount to a personal attack.

Gotya.

So what bias?
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 11, 2010, 02:19:44 PM
Why would a description amount to nothing just because it's emotive and subjective?
It is inseparable from make believe and conveys no information to be understood. [/quote]
Saying that we feel things and are conscious conveys no information? Is inseparable from make believe?
Prove that you believe that. I think it's a make believe opinion.

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More importantly, there is no effort on your part to convey that it means anything where the logic follows into the conclusions being made.
^^ Pretends to know the extent of my subjective effort.


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It is essentially a tangled mess of rhetoric,

ad hominem

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just like your description of 'unfeeling, unconsciousness, randomness' has absolutely nothing to do with the implied dichotomy you're trying to make.
you're accusing me of something but you don't even mention what your talking about. What dichotomy am I trying to make? Why do you think that my description has nothing to do with it? It seems like your accusations are complete strawman - there's not even a man there, it's just the smell of straw you announce is evidence of a scarecrow factory.

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that is when we ignore that what you're arguing against is largely a strawman of your own creation.  Even if given the benefit of the doubt, your reasoning is still fundamentally flawed.
That statement proves nothing. It's your opinion of my opinion pretending to speak from authority.

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Where is your evidence?

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Where you fall back on subjectively pleaded terms and strawmen that are never adequately explained,

which is where?

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not to mention a complete avoidance of questions that would require you to at least be more informative about the things you do claim.
claiming that evidence exists is in no way evidence. Show me.

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Not to mention that when challenged on your nonsense, you then begin to obfuscate in turn constantly providing more red herrings and further reducing the subject into a type of sophistry.
Then it should be easy to come up with at least one specific example, no?

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As I've pointed out before and I'm pointing out again, this is all about the ability to 'know'.
Make believe VS What can I know
To me, everything that you know is make believe. That's how subjectivity works.

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What you claim represents make believe, ie you claim it in such a fashion that it cannot be separated from fantasy, imagination, make believe, and is completely asserted without any reasonable cause.
I can separate it fine. What specifically of what I've said here can you not separate from fantasy?

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I simply have to ask how do you know.  Which will and already has lead to the inevitable collapse of the any information that leads us to knowing.  Your responses become dismissive.
How do you know?

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You make a series of assertions that extend as fallacies and often without evidence, not to mention offer to defend such absurdities with equally more obscure behavior.
Produce one of these series if you want to discuss it. Happy to do so.

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Purpose is a subjective construct, it does not originate from or represent anything at all.  It is a word.
Does the word have any meaning? Or when people ask if you did something 'on purpose', do you think that they could have just as well asked if you did it 'on woogick'.
Again - made up opinion. I don't believe it for a second, and you have no evidence to back it up.

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You, use it as if it were an attribute of existence, without meaning or explanation.
I almost see the glimmer of a legitimate point in there somewhere. Pretty hazy though.

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The bias is the cause, without reason means without any rational or logical reason.
What's a rational or logical reason? Is that like a purpose?

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Nonsense.  The same way I argue against racism, pseudoscience, or other kinds of bullshit.  They can cause relevant harm to society, not to mention that you do not have the right to have your ideas/claims unmolested.  Not to mention that you disparage the 'imagined' opposite position, as you argue for your fantasy bullshit.
But those things are all meaningful. You accuse me of a meaningless point of view. You say that my logic doesn't match my conclusions - that what I say is incomprehensible.

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Are you admitting that what you claim is essentially make believe, asserted without any rational reason except your own wishful thinking?
What do you claim that I claim? You never really mention anything that I have actually said, you mainly comment about my failure to say or mean something else.

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The fact that someone doesn't believe your claim is as offensive as arguing against your claim.  Hence the double speak and rhetoric, identifying my counter claim as a personal.
Not at all. I don't make a claim, and I don't believe anything if I can help it. I certainly don't mind if others don't believe me, but just say 'I don't believe you', not 'you're an idiot liar and your views are meaningless.

There is no way to be called an idiot and a jerk off without interpreting it as offensive. To suggest otherwise is the oldest bullying tactic in the world. Break into someone's house and take a dump on their dinner table and then, when they attack you with a butcher knife, 'he overreacted. He's overly sensitive'.

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That is rather then just admit you make it up as you go along, since none of the logic actually follows into the conclusion you want to make.
Are you saying you aren't making this up as you go along? Do you have this planned out in advance?

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I've never started an argument off with, you're an idiot.
So if you don't start off an argument by saying that, it means you can say it and it doesn't count?

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I never declare myself the winner or you wrong by default, without adequate explanation.
Haha, 'adequate explanation', meaning whatever you judge to be adequate for you to feel like the other person is wrong - which is pretty much anything.

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See, you've interpreted a counter claim against your claim as a personal attack.
I'm not trying to have any claim. Your claim seems to be that whatever I say can only be wrong, meaningless, and deliberately disguised. My pointing out that your pseudoskepticism is nothing but your personal opinion is not a counter claim, it's a witness testimony. I don't see any kind of intellectual issue being presented for discussion, just repeating the accusations. Immediacracy on trial for being Immediacracy round XIII.

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I simply point out the problems, ask the questions, and watch the show.
Just because you configure your accusations with a question mark doesn't mean they are questions.

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generally insist that arguing against you is tantamount to a personal attack.
Arguing against someone is a form of personal attack. There was just that excellent video posted here last week http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeJSXfXep4M (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeJSXfXep4M) where he mentions that having your credibility questioned is indistinguishable in the brain from a physical attack on the body.

Instead, people can discuss, disagree, resolve conflicts, come to mutual understandings, without resorting to the taking-a-dump-on-the-kitchen-table-and-accusing-the-table-of-being-dirty method.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Omen on June 11, 2010, 02:44:02 PM
Imm, you're obfuscating and constantly using red herrings that only further the sophistry game you're trying to play.  I will not be part of your idiotic stonewalling.

For example:

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Saying that we feel things and are conscious conveys no information?

Is responding to my statement out of the context of the original discussion.  In fact, you even go out of your way to omit the original discussion point, breaking it up to avoid the explanations.  Trying to disconnect the fact that I point out that your claims do not convey meaning or understanding, when asserted upon subjective pleading.  You instead respond to 'do not convey meaning or understanding' and completely pass over the explanation.

In fact, there is no need to ask the question because my explanation already answers it.

More importantly, there is no effort on your part to convey that it means anything where the logic follows into the conclusions being made.  It is essentially a tangled mess of rhetoric, just like your description of 'unfeeling, unconsciousness, randomness' has absolutely nothing to do with the implied dichotomy you're trying to make.

In fact, even the description you make is one from nothing more then your own personal incredulity. ( argument from ignorance )  You seem to think that somehow describing something as what are 'pejoratives' in your mind, somehow makes a valid logical statement against that position.. that is when we ignore that what you're arguing against is largely a strawman of your own creation.  Even if given the benefit of the doubt, your reasoning is still fundamentally flawed.


I've obviously addressing a context of different assertions you make and at no point do I ever say that emotions/subjective appeals do not convey information.  It is pointed out that it doesn't do so in conveying information as it relates to the claims YOU made.

You actually fill much of your posts with the same kind of rhetoric, that is just a language of obfuscating material that doesn't convey an informative basis for which to work from.  Just like there is no effort to convey reasonably what purpose is when you responded to plethora when he points at 'purpose' is just a human construct.  Its a word in a context of a definition, that can be applied to many different situations.  Yet, your question obfuscates:

Are beaver dams, beehives, and anthills not purposeful? If not, what makes them ontologically different from our dams, buildings, and cities?

Plethora didn't say purpose was nothing, or limited to a just humans.  Only that it was a construct, as in a word used to describe something in a context.  Its still a human construct when assigned to beavers, because it is a subjective word with a definition that can apply in many context.  Yet again, your response is one that presumes that 'purpose' is something beyond just a subjective word to describe something.  No reason, no explanation, no evidence, nothing.. just a question to obfuscate and side step.

Just like you attempt to side step me pointing it out:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=14575.msg323298#msg323298

Notice that, without any useful meaning or definition for 'purpose' you can always plead it in a question where you presume it still exists.  You can always use it like a tautology, because you give it no adequate explanatory meaning.
Then let's use your definition of purpose. Which is?

See, you omit the first part of the discussion regarding your response to plethora.  Not to mention that your question in response is used in the manner of a fallacy ( a tautology ).  You're not even concerned that you did so, only that you provide a response as quick as possible to obfuscate deeper into nonsense.

My definition is not even required, I'm just pointing out the problem with your assertion and response.  You treated 'purpose' in a certain manner that begs the question, you responded to others as if they needed to treat 'purpose' like the 'magical construct' you imply it to be.  They don't, I don't, none of us do.. until you properly argue that we should.  ( btw, once I noticed you ignoring the points being made, I promptly ignored your definition request )

I completely agree with plethora.

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It is essentially a tangled mess of rhetoric,

ad hominem

That's not the definition of an ad hominem ( which this is the second time this has to be pointed out to you ).  Describing it as 'rhetoric' means that the language you use is purposefully made in a way not to convey any useful understanding.  Notice that I had to ask questions of the very basic components of the claims you make in the following posts:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=14575.msg323205#msg323205

Which you didn't answer a single god damn question.

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=14575.msg323298#msg323298

Which leads me to reasonably conclude that you are knowingly obfuscating, presenting red herrings, and actively working to do nothing more then troll the forum.  Not to mention that it further backs up my description of the type of language you use, in that its a type of rhetoric not meant to convey any useful content.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Omen on June 11, 2010, 02:49:14 PM
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just like your description of 'unfeeling, unconsciousness, randomness' has absolutely nothing to do with the implied dichotomy you're trying to make.

you're accusing me of something but you don't even mention what your talking about.


I quoted you:

"your description"

That's you.

'unfeeling, unconsciousness, randomness'

That's something YOU said in a context of COMPARISONS, that you rejected out of personal incredulity.

Do you have a problem with reading comprehension?

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What dichotomy am I trying to make?

The only one implied by your very words.

'unfeeling, unconsciousness, randomness' in comparison to what?

OH WAIT! A DICHOTOMY!

Do you not know what a dichotomy is?

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Why do you think that my description has nothing to do with it? It seems like your accusations are complete strawman - there's not even a man there, it's just the smell of straw you announce is evidence of a scarecrow factory.

Your straw man is the 'unfeeling, unconsciousness, randomness' etc.  Its your defacto straw man description of your OMM bullshit.  In this case its a descriptive pejorative that you reject out of your own personal incredulity, in order to claim a completely unsupported assertion in the next breath.

You don't remember the OMM discussion?

You don't remember dismissing and pleading responses away with,"Oh thats just OMM.."?
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Omen on June 11, 2010, 02:53:13 PM
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that is when we ignore that what you're arguing against is largely a strawman of your own creation.  Even if given the benefit of the doubt, your reasoning is still fundamentally flawed.
That statement proves nothing. It's your opinion of my opinion pretending to speak from authority.

It accurately describes your behavior.

Fact: You ignore questions.
Fact: You perceive antagonism in simple rebuttals.
Fact: You dismiss perceived opponents with pejoratives, pleading.
Fact: You've constructed false positions of your opponents.

What all that amounts too is well.. rhetoric, a game of bullshit.  You have bullshit you really want to believe, for some unknown reason you really want to tell everyone, and then you don't want to be accountable.  You want an audience of silence and even seem to find it contemptible that I respond to you at all.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Omen on June 11, 2010, 02:55:15 PM
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Not to mention that when challenged on your nonsense, you then begin to obfuscate in turn constantly providing more red herrings and further reducing the subject into a type of sophistry.

Then it should be easy to come up with at least one specific example, no?

This is another example.

I've already provided examples, over multiple threads now.  

Are you pretending as if previous discussions had never taken place?

Are you pretending as if in this very thread you did not just ignore half a dozen questions?

Are you pretending as if in this very thread you did not begin breaking posts apart and respond out of the context they are presented in?

Notice the questions pertain to examples we all already have.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Omen on June 11, 2010, 03:01:43 PM
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As I've pointed out before and I'm pointing out again, this is all about the ability to 'know'.
Make believe VS What can I know

To me, everything that you know is make believe. That's how subjectivity works.

Then your appeal is purely to sophistry in such terms that makes knowledge meaningless.  There is no point having a discussion with you whatsoever, just as there is no point in you making assertions at all because nothing you claim is known or can be called 'knowledge'.   We might as well not even acknowledge these words we are typing mean anything at all in a shared context of understanding.

That is.. unless.. you have no choice but to be in a shared existence to some degree where the words on this forum do mean something in a language you do understand in a context that is shared despite our subjective experiences?

Oh wow.. look at that. 

See, I'm honest and responsible enough to admit what I can know and what I can't know.  That is, I am only limited to the information I receive through my senses.  Now, that doesn't mean that anything in that 'information' exists at all, but it is the ONLY information to draw from, to work from, and to make conclusions from.  I don't have to retreat into ignorance or sophistry, to pretend as if all things are unknowable because no matter what I do.. I only have the information that comes through my senses.  At no point do I randomly begin making assertions up, nor do I claim to have information that others are not privy too.  I don't have to obfuscate into the unknown, in order to qualify making shit up.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Omen on June 11, 2010, 03:05:50 PM
Quote
I simply point out the problems, ask the questions, and watch the show.
Just because you configure your accusations with a question mark doesn't mean they are questions.


lol.

Almost all the questions I ask are because you 'beg the question'.

Here, let me help you out:

Begging the question (or petitio principii, "assuming the initial point") is a logical fallacy in which the proposition  to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in the premise. The word beg, when used in this phrase, does not mean "asking for something", instead it means to dodge or avoid.[1]  Begging the question is related to circular argument, circulus in probando (Latin for "circle in proving") or circular reasoning but they are considered absolutely different by Aristotle.[2]  The first known definition in the West is by the Greek philosopher Aristotle  around 350 BCE, in his book Prior Analytics, where he classified it as a material fallacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question

Now let me spell it out to you.

YOU ASSUME THAT "PURPOSE" MEANS SOMETHING ABOVE AND BEYOND JUST A WORD WITH CONTEXTUAL DEFINITION.  THIS BEGS THE QUESTION.

YOU RESPOND TO SOMEONE ELSE IN A WAY THAT ASSUMES THAT "PURPOSE" HAS SOME MEANING ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CONTEXT THEY JUST PROVIDED.  THIS BEGS THE QUESTION

Just like your claims and the manner you make them beg all the questions asked in this thread:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=14575.msg323205#msg323205

Which I made it quite clear:

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Where does this 'magical' state begin for you? ( Note I say 'magical' because it is claimed in such a way to be inseparable from well.. magic, the supernatural, superstition, bullshit, nonsense, etc. )

How do you know it?

Where is it?

Why is it?

Why do you respond to other people by presuming that this 'magical' state of purpose exist at all without explanation?

Which you completely ignored, per the typical Imm response.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Omen on June 11, 2010, 03:12:09 PM
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The fact that someone doesn't believe your claim is as offensive as arguing against your claim.  Hence the double speak and rhetoric, identifying my counter claim as a personal.
Not at all. I don't make a claim.

Claim:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=14575.msg322607#msg322607

Claims:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=14575.msg322674#msg322674

Claim:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=14575.msg322677#msg322677

Claim:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=14575.msg322680#msg322680

Claims:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=14575.msg322709#msg322709

Claims:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=14575.msg322750#msg322750

Claims:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=14575.msg323099#msg323099

More claims:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=14575.msg323190#msg323190

Claim:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=14575.msg323196#msg323196

And on and on and on and on.

Clearly, Imm.. you make claims.  There is no way to avoid making claims, just like when you claim:


There is a lot we don't know now and maybe can't know ever, but my point is that we do have evidence that this part of the cosmos in here has managed to project something beyond unfeeling, unconscious randomness.

You do so in a way based on fallacies, in this case an argument from ignorance and of course the argument from your own personal incredulity.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Graybeard on June 11, 2010, 04:45:02 PM
First it must be admitted that we are just another life-form on the planet along with plants, microbes, insects and sponges. We are not a particularly special animal. We share 50% of our DNA with a banana.

There is only one purpose to life. It is the only thing that all life forms have in common at the basest level. The search for water, food, shelter, protection from danger, etc., is only there so that we may stay alive and be fit enough to reproduce.

Some say it is driven by a desire to have your genes vicariously provide immortality. That’s as may be.

Searches for a deeper, mystical meanings to life are all airy-fairy nonsense that involve navel-gazing.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 12, 2010, 08:33:33 AM
Imm, you're obfuscating and constantly using red herrings that only further the sophistry game you're trying to play. 
Honestly, I'm not playing any games, using red herrings, or deliberately engaging in any kind of sophistry or obfuscation at all. It's easy for me to go on and on precisely because I don't have to go through any kind of logical contortions, I just ask myself what the truth is and then say it as accurately as I can. I don't expect you to believe that but since I know that I'm being sincere and you sound as if you too believe that you are being truthful, then I'd say that we have innately divergent characters. There are probably a lot of ways which we differ in our personalities, values, and life experiences. You see me as one type of person, I see you as another type of person.

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Just like there is no effort to convey reasonably what purpose is when you responded to plethora when he points at 'purpose' is just a human construct.  Its a word in a context of a definition, that can be applied to many different situations.  Yet, your question obfuscates:

Are beaver dams, beehives, and anthills not purposeful? If not, what makes them ontologically different from our dams, buildings, and cities?

Plethora didn't say purpose was nothing, or limited to a just humans.
 
I'm really trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here - to see it from your POV, but how is saying that 'purpose is a human construct' not saying purpose isn't limited to humans?

I asked him about other animals to try to find out just that, did he really mean that purpose itself is only something which is constructed psychologically by human beings - not by animals, not a human discovery of something which is common to other phenomena...

Then he answers: "I didn't mean purpose only in the sense of utility. Of course a beaver's dam has a purpose.

However, a beaver is not asking itself why it exists in the first place and what the point is of spending his life meaninglessly building and maintaining dams to ultimately end up dead. Hence it doesn't need to assign purpose to anything it does."


He's not accusing me of obfuscating at all. He even starts off with "My bad for not defining "purpose" or asking for it to be defined.". It was actually a productive interchange. We both got a little closer to each other's meaning. No attempt to wriggle out of answering a question, just trying to clarify what we're discussing.

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Only that it was a construct, as in a word used to describe something in a context.
 
We're not talking about the word purpose as a word, we're talking about what the word means - the concept(s) of purpose. I'm saying purpose isn't a construct at all, but an underlying elemental property of some aspects of the Cosmos - whether it's called purpose, teleology, desire, instinct, will, voluntary movement, or volition,  it can all be seen as part of the same phenomenal principle which drives or motivates living beings (and potentially inorganic processes).

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Its still a human construct when assigned to beavers, because it is a subjective word with a definition that can apply in many context.
So would you say that anything exists which is not a human construct? Is matter a human construct? Is iron? Is a specific piece of iron which actually exists in front of you? Aren't all words subjective?

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Yet again, your response is one that presumes that 'purpose' is something beyond just a subjective word to describe something.  No reason, no explanation, no evidence, nothing.. just a question to obfuscate and side step.
Or, yet again your response to my response reflects your own confirmation bias, with you reading into it a lot of prejudice, paranoia and hostility. It could be that too.

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Just like you attempt to side step me pointing it out:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=14575.msg323298#msg323298

Notice that, without any useful meaning or definition for 'purpose' you can always plead it in a question where you presume it still exists.  You can always use it like a tautology, because you give it no adequate explanatory meaning.

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Then let's use your definition of purpose. Which is?

See, you omit the first part of the discussion regarding your response to plethora.
No, the first part you accuse me of not having a definition for purpose so I'm inviting you to provide one. Which you ignore.

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Not to mention that your question in response is used in the manner of a fallacy ( a tautology ).  You're not even concerned that you did so, only that you provide a response as quick as possible to obfuscate deeper into nonsense.
The only tautology or obfuscation present is what you are projecting into it as far as I'm concerned. People ask me questions, I try to answer them truthfully. I ask people questions, they sometimes answer them but usually they get mad or go away.

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My definition is not even required,
Ohhh, of course not. Only my definition is required. Not hypocritical at all. This is the very definition of pseudoskepticism.

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I'm just pointing out the problem with your assertion and response.  You treated 'purpose' in a certain manner that begs the question, you responded to others as if they needed to treat 'purpose' like the 'magical construct' you imply it to be.  They don't, I don't, none of us do.. until you properly argue that we should.  ( btw, once I noticed you ignoring the points being made, I promptly ignored your definition request )
There is no assertion. There is no argument on my end. I don't demand that others see purpose as I do at all, I'm just presenting that 'here is a way to understand purpose that I think might help resolve some important cosmological problems.' If you see a particular reason why that doesn't work, then by all means, share that, but if you only see reasons why my ideas don't fit into a parliamentary model of debate someone may imagine to be relevant, I say 'who cares?'

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Quote
It is essentially a tangled mess of rhetoric,

ad hominem

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That's not the definition of an ad hominem ( which this is the second time this has to be pointed out to you ).  Describing it as 'rhetoric' means that the language you use is purposefully made in a way not to convey any useful understanding.
'A tangled mess' is unquestionably ad hominem - language you use purposefully to insult your opponent rather than convey any useful understanding. wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem) - Ad hominem abusive usually involves insulting or belittling one's opponent, but can also involve pointing out factual but ostensible character flaws or actions which are irrelevant to the opponent's argument. Your use of rhetoric is the opposite of the literal definition Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetoric) - "Rhetoric: the art of using language to communicate effectively", but I don't obsess on literal definitions or insult people when they use words in colloquial or vernacular ways. This is why I don't argue definitions. They detract from conversation and make it into ideas about words instead of words about ideas.


Quote
Notice that I had to ask questions of the very basic components of the claims you make in the following posts:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=14575.msg323205#msg323205

Which you didn't answer a single god damn question.
I didn't answer them because they are rhetorical questions. You are trying to make the point that your view of my use of purpose is impossible - hence all of the god damn 'questions' are loaded questions begging a category error. You know perfectly well that purpose of a Beaver's dam doesn't begin in a quark, atom, molecule, protein, cell, skin, or tail and I've never claimed that purpose is a physical substance at all - quite the contrary.

Your other god damned questions are also loaded questions begging a category error - ascribing ad hominem qualities of "magic, the supernatural, superstition, bullshit, nonsense" to my straightforward use of purpose (for short: a phenomenal principle which drives or motivates living beings, and potentially inorganic processes)

Notice how your questions: "How do you know it?, Where is it?, Why is it?" are predicated upon a straw man caricature of my use of purpose.

How do you know truth? Where is it? Why is it?
How do you know sleep? Where is it? Why is it?
How do you know green? Where is it? Why is it?
How do you know yourself? Where is it? Why is it?

It's doesn't matter if I answer any of your questions, because you have already determined in your mind that if you try to drown me and I float, I'm a witch and must be burned at the stake, and only if I die at the bottom of the lake can I be innocent.

Quote
Which leads me to reasonably conclude that you are knowingly obfuscating, presenting red herrings, and actively working to do nothing more then troll the forum.  Not to mention that it further backs up my description of the type of language you use, in that its a type of rhetoric not meant to convey any useful content.
Haha, what a shocker. So reasonable, and not at all clouded by hostility.

I notice that you avoided my question:
"I don't believe that you do not know what purpose is. What is your evidence that you believe that?"
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 12, 2010, 08:43:25 AM
There is no way to avoid making claims,
Now THAT is a claim. Totally without a shred of evidence.

Claim is just a word, and a word about the use of words no less. Highly subjective, conceptual, an invitation to argumentation in the Analytic or Continental schools of Western philosophy. Not at all what I'm interested in. I'm looking at both Western and Eastern thought.

You can say that everything anyone says is a claim, but so what? You say claim, I say idea. Who cares? You don't like my ideas, great, let's hear some of yours. The fact that you don't like my ideas doesn't count as an idea. I get it, I'm super dumb and bad and am guilty of the same things that you and every other person who has ever used language are guilty of, only totally different because I'm the bad person so I do everything int the bad way. Whatever.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 12, 2010, 09:05:33 AM
First it must be admitted that we are just another life-form on the planet along with plants, microbes, insects and sponges. We are not a particularly special animal. We share 50% of our DNA with a banana.

There is only one purpose to life. It is the only thing that all life forms have in common at the basest level. The search for water, food, shelter, protection from danger, etc., is only there so that we may stay alive and be fit enough to reproduce.
I don't see it as cut and dried as that. Blue-green algae is the oldest and possibly most prolific form of life and it doesn't search for anything - it just soaks up the sun and nutrients, and makes more of itself. If we're looking for a universal 'stem cell' of life, cyanobacteria would have to be it.

It might be fair to say that there is only one biological purpose to life, but living organisms devote time and effort to lots of different kinds of purposes other than strictly biological ones. I think it's misleading to try to reduce all psychological purposes to some distant evolutionary mechanism, because it collapses all of the layers of emergent properties in between. If it were true that survival issues were all that life is about, then the most sought after fashions in the world would be those that have beef jerky sewn into the lining.

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Searches for a deeper, mystical meanings to life are all airy-fairy nonsense that involve navel-gazing.
Even if that were true, they are anthropologically universal and deserve a legitimate explanation.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Agga on June 12, 2010, 09:10:11 AM
There is no way to avoid making claims,
Now THAT is a claim. Totally without a shred of evidence.
What?  There are several, very clear examples (evidence) of you making claims in this thread.

How can you claim that there isn't any evidence?
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 12, 2010, 09:27:03 AM
There is no way to avoid making claims,
Now THAT is a claim. Totally without a shred of evidence.
What?  There are several, very clear examples (evidence) of you making claims in this thread.

How can you claim that there isn't any evidence?
I'm saying that he's not providing evidence for the claim that "There is no way to avoid making claims".

I don't know whether or not I make claims, but I try not to. Whatever I present, I intend to present as an opinion, an idea, or an expression of my own reasoning. I'm not doing a formal thesis here. I'm not making conclusions, I'm stating a hypothesis. If a hypothesis is a claim, then fine, I make claims...and so does everyone else. So what?
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Agga on June 12, 2010, 09:49:10 AM
I'm saying that he's not providing evidence for the claim that "There is no way to avoid making claims".
Gotcha.

However, if you express an idea, at the least you've made a claim to that idea; you've claimed that you have an idea; you've claimed that it is your idea.


Quote from:  Immediacracy
I don't know whether or not I make claims, but I try not to.
^^Yet below you say:
It seems to me that every mobile organism at least exhibits some behaviors consistent with having an instinct to survive, to move toward food/life supporting conditions and away from pain/life threatening conditions which it can recognize. Even plants bend and grow toward the sun. The survival instinct doesn't evolve at all, it is the subjective definition of life.
^^That's an assertion (claim).  Plain and simple.

Quote from:  Definition of "claim"
•an assertion of a right (as to money or property); "his claim asked for damages"
•assert or affirm strongly; state to be true or existing; "He claimed that he killed the burglar"
•an assertion that something is true or factual; "his claim that he was innocent"; "evidence contradicted the government's claims"
•demand as being one's due or property; assert one's right or title to; "He claimed his suitcases at the airline counter"; "Mr. Smith claims special tax exemptions because he is a foreign resident"
•demand for something as rightful or due; "they struck in support of their claim for a shorter work day"
•ask for legally or make a legal claim to, as of debts, for example; "They claimed on the maximum allowable amount"
•an informal right to something; "his claim on her attentions"; "his title to fame"
•lay claim to; as of an idea; "She took credit for the whole idea"
Source (http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&defl=en&q=define:claim&sa=X&ei=o5QTTNbyD4K64Qa3iYiJDA&ved=0CBoQkAE)

The linked posts certainly qualify as claims.  Or, are you saying that your ideas are all wrong?  Can't have it both ways.

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Whatever I present, I intend to present as an opinion, an idea, or an expression of my own reasoning. I'm not doing a formal thesis here. I'm not making conclusions, I'm stating a hypothesis.
Which is a claim that "X" may be possible.  If you present opinions, your claims are that your opinions are valid, otherwise you wouldn't be presenting them.  Either that or you're in the habit of stating opinions that you believe are wrong.


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If a hypothesis is a claim, then fine, I make claims...and so does everyone else. So what?
So start being honest about it and acknowledge that you're making claims.

Anyone can make claims and then deny that they've made them by redefining the meaning of words.  It's called being slippery.

Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 12, 2010, 01:46:12 PM
However, if you express an idea, at the least you've made a claim to that idea; you've claimed that you have an idea; you've claimed that it is your idea.
This is why I don't like to get into semantics and definition rattling. What's the difference whether we call an idea an idea or call it a claim? Why is it important that we define all ideas in possessive terms, especially when it detracts from the idea itself?

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Even plants bend and grow toward the sun. The survival instinct doesn't evolve at all, it is the subjective definition of life.
^^That's an assertion (claim).  Plain and simple.
It can be interpreted as an assertion, sure, but again, it's semantic. Assertion not a neutral term. It's a term which attaches an unbidden presumption of argumentative formalism. I would categorize a statement like that in a lot of other ways before assertion: an observation, a description, a thought, an analysis, an understanding, etc.

Quote from:  Definition of "claim"
Quote
•an assertion of a right (as to money or property); "his claim asked for damages"
•assert or affirm strongly; state to be true or existing; "He claimed that he killed the burglar"
•an assertion that something is true or factual; "his claim that he was innocent"; "evidence contradicted the government's claims"
•demand as being one's due or property; assert one's right or title to; "He claimed his suitcases at the airline counter"; "Mr. Smith claims special tax exemptions because he is a foreign resident"
•demand for something as rightful or due; "they struck in support of their claim for a shorter work day"
•ask for legally or make a legal claim to, as of debts, for example; "They claimed on the maximum allowable amount"
•an informal right to something; "his claim on her attentions"; "his title to fame"
•lay claim to; as of an idea; "She took credit for the whole idea"
Source (http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&defl=en&q=define:claim&sa=X&ei=o5QTTNbyD4K64Qa3iYiJDA&ved=0CBoQkAE)

I've bolded the above pronouns to point out that the term 'claim' expressly emphasizes not merely possession but assertion of possession. To characterize someone's ideas, expressions, or logic as 'claims' is to focus the discussion on their right to communicate those thoughts in the first place and away from the thoughts themselves. It's a way to frame the conversation so as to question the authority of an opponent, and introduce doubt indirectly and personally rather than to address ideas from a neutral, unbiased point of view. It's a semantic trick, and I completely see through it.

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The linked posts certainly qualify as claims.  Or, are you saying that your ideas are all wrong?  Can't have it both ways.
This is, of course, the classic loaded question fallacy. Either I agree with you that I'm wrong or I disagree with myself that I'm right. I don't want it either way. Call them claims if you like. Or understand what I'm saying and be illuminated instead. You can have it both ways, or neither if you like.

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Which is a claim that "X" may be possible.  If you present opinions, your claims are that your opinions are valid, otherwise you wouldn't be presenting them.
The superfluous attachment of the term 'claim', as I've explained above, adds nothing to the understanding about the validity of opinions. It just projects a defensive stigma on an opponent. Opinions are opinions. You can call them claims if you want, but again, so what? How does it change what I'm saying/thinking/communicating?

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Either that or you're in the habit of stating opinions that you believe are wrong.
What does it matter what I believe about my own opinions? What business is it of anyone else's?

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So start being honest about it and acknowledge that you're making claims.
If I translate claim into German, one of the translations is "Anforderung", meaning "claim, lawsuit; plea; requisition, demand, requirement; command, order; written order for goods or supplies; act of demanding, act of requiring". By that translation, I would say that no, I make no commands or orders, no pleas, demands, or requirements. I ask nothing. I just express what's on my mind - anything you want to read into that reflects what's on your mind, not mine.

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Anyone can make claims and then deny that they've made them by redefining the meaning of words.  It's called being slippery.
It could also be called being clear and effective.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Graybeard on June 14, 2010, 04:29:00 PM
[...]Blue-green algae is the oldest and possibly most prolific form of life and it doesn't search for anything - it just soaks up the sun and nutrients, and makes more of itself.
Yes, that's right, it's looking for food (sun and nutrients) and reproduces.

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I think it's misleading to try to reduce all psychological purposes to some distant evolutionary mechanism, because it collapses all of the layers of emergent properties in between.
Nothing misleading about it at all. If we are looking for a purpose, reproduction (and the creation of an environment for reproduction) seems to be the answer

Quote
If it were true that survival issues were all that life is about, then the most sought after fashions in the world would be those that have beef jerky sewn into the lining.

humorous but vacuous.

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Searches for a deeper, mystical meanings to life are all airy-fairy nonsense that involve navel-gazing.
Even if that were true, they are anthropologically universal and deserve a legitimate explanation.
No, no they do not. You asked a question, I gave an answer that you cannot refute. They are not universal, some people do it. Some people navel-gaze. We humans have too much time on our hands, so we go off and "find ourselves."

Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Azdgari on June 14, 2010, 04:48:14 PM
Quote
Anyone can make claims and then deny that they've made them by redefining the meaning of words.  It's called being slippery.
It could also be called being clear and effective.

Are you trying to be ironic here?[1]
 1. As in, redefining "clear" and "effective" in your post so that you're not lying?
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 14, 2010, 06:18:47 PM
Yes, that's right, it's looking for food (sun and nutrients) and reproduces.
Since the organism can't voluntarily move (http://bit.ly/ahrsUv), I have a hard time imagining that they can look for anything. Sun, nutrients, and algae bump into each other but I don't think there's any looking going on.

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Nothing misleading about it at all. If we are looking for a purpose, reproduction (and the creation of an environment for reproduction) seems to be the answer.
It doesn't seem that way to me at all. Not the psychological purpose. Biological, sure.

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humorous but vacuous.
Vacuous how? I'm making the point that our survival needs aren't the only motivation we have for living. Some kind of a hierarchy makes more sense:
(http://tutor2u.net/business/images/maslow_hierarchy.gif)
Our minds are filled with purposes, not all of them are best understood by relating them to survival. To me it's tortured reasoning.

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No, no they do not. You asked a question, I gave an answer that you cannot refute. They are not universal, some people do it. Some people navel-gaze."
By anthropological universal I mean that there has never been a culture discovered which did not have a concept of spirituality or religion. Individual people may not be drawn to it or reject it, but no group of people are unfamiliar with it.

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We humans have too much time on our hands, so we go off and "find ourselves.
I think that other species have just as much, if not more time on their hands than modern humans. It doesn't follow logically to me that more free time would give rise to a nonsensical urge in every society on the planet. A robot wouldn't turn free time into spirituality.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 14, 2010, 06:30:06 PM
Are you trying to be ironic here?[1]
 1. As in, redefining "clear" and "effective" in your post so that you're not lying?
No, I'm saying that I'm being clear when I say that I'm not making any claims, and that it's effective rather than slippery to make that clarification.

To claim is to deliberately take ownership. I try not to do that. Much of my understanding comes from many different sources over the years so I couldn't claim them personally even if I wanted to. I try to offer these ideas here so that people can examine and consider them, correct them or contribute, but I don't have any interest in forcing them on anyone or defending my right to express them freely without being put on trial.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Azdgari on June 14, 2010, 06:48:52 PM
Quote
To claim is to deliberately take ownership.

That is one usage of the word "claim".  It is not the kind that is being used on this forum when people say that you are making claims.  When others here use the term, in the context of your words, they are referring to a claim in sense of an assertion of truth, rather than an assertion of ownership.

Have you been operating under the opposite impression for the duration of your time on this forum?
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Graybeard on June 14, 2010, 07:26:46 PM
[...]I have a hard time imagining that they can look for anything.
I do not wish to be flippant, but in a post elsewhere, you were imagining the entire universe. As it is
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Sun, nutrients, and algae bump into each other but I don't think there's any looking going on.
May I ask if you are being deliberately obtuse? The algae survives and does so by creating (or inhabiting) an environment suitable for reproduction. Where is the problem.

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Graybeard:Nothing misleading about it at all. If we are looking for a purpose, reproduction (and the creation of an environment for reproduction) seems to be the answer.
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It doesn't seem that way to me at all. Not the psychological purpose. Biological, sure.
"psychological purpose"? Could you explain that?

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Vacuous how? I'm making the point that our survival needs aren't the only motivation we have for living. Some kind of a hierarchy makes more sense:
(http://tutor2u.net/business/images/maslow_hierarchy.gif)
All you seem to have done is explain some of the conditions required for successful reproduction.
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Our minds are filled with purposes, not all of them are best understood by relating them to survival.
You suggest a species could be exceptionally successful if it gave no regard to its survival? I hear the Dodo virtually gave itself up to be eaten. What else does life want to do other than to survive to breed?

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To me it's tortured reasoning.
I'm sorry about that, perhaps you should consider it a little deeper. If we wish to know how a skyscraper manages to stand upright, we should first look at the foundations. We can bother about the color schemes on the 4th floor later, when we have time.

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By anthropological universal I mean that there has never been a culture discovered which did not have a concept of spirituality or religion.
That statement is not true. I suggest you read "Don't Sleep there are snakes" by Daniel Everett http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/dont-sleep-there-are-snakes-by-daniel-everett-1017101.html
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Individual people may not be drawn to it or reject it, but no group of people are unfamiliar with it.
You are quite simply wrong.

I frankly confess that I do not have the faintest idea what you might consider "The Meaning of Life." I cannot make out if you mean to imply that goldfish should have "a meaning" or believe in gods.

The world is a wonderful and complex place, but we are merely animals - we have no greater "meaning" at all. Why should we?
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 14, 2010, 07:35:07 PM
Have you been operating under the opposite impression for the duration of your time on this forum?
No, I understand that on this forum it's intended as a neutral term of scholarly examination, but I also observe that there is a subtext of submission that the term carries. I think that the prevailing worldview on the forum (as this poll indicates) is weighted toward the objectifying end of the spectrum I describe and therefore concepts related to subjectivity are treated with prejudice. Since I see nothing 'claimlike' whatsoever in what I write, calling it that reminds me of "Mind if we call you Bruce to avoid any confusion?".

If the forum had a formal academic structure, where people presented a thesis for evaluation, then I would only present something if I had thoroughly researched the subject. That would be a claim. I feel like this forum is casual enough that people feel comfortable expressing their ridicule openly, so I don't think that this discourse requires that kind of preparation.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 14, 2010, 08:14:32 PM
I do not wish to be flippant, but in a post elsewhere, you were imagining the entire universe. As it is
Exactly, that's why it's surprising to me. I can't imagine square circles either.

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Sun, nutrients, and algae bump into each other but I don't think there's any looking going on.
May I ask if you are being deliberately obtuse? The algae survives and does so by creating (or inhabiting) an environment suitable for reproduction. Where is the problem.
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?
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"psychological purpose"? Could you explain that?
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.

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All you seem to have done is explain some of the conditions required for successful reproduction.
How is self-actualization required for successful reproduction?

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You suggest a species could be exceptionally successful if it gave no regard to its survival? I hear the Dodo virtually gave itself up to be eaten. What else does life want to do other than to survive to breed?
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, but it has emergent properties of awareness. We don't want only what life wants, we want what the psyche wants. The archetypes of anima, animus, and shadow - ego, the unconscious, collective unconscious.

These are descriptions of our inner phenomena. Drama, stories, characters. They are as real as the body is, only very different. It's a mistake to turn them into brain exhaust. It's inverted. In my opinion anyways. It's perfectly fine to see it the other way around, I just don't relate to it personally. Plenty of room on the spectrum for people to specialize in whatever part of it makes sense to them.

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We can bother about the color schemes on the 4th floor later, when we have time.
There is no later. Let the builders worry about the foundation and let the decorators design the interiors.

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You are quite simply wrong.
It's not me, I'm just quoting Wiki Answers (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_religion_a_human_universal). "Yes. Religion is a universal concept in human history, convexing race, geography, and time. In every culture studied, religion expression has been documented." I'm sure there are people who would argue that, but the fact that it's even debatable makes a good case for the notion that it's at least a nearly universal feature of human cultural development. If you're saying that we don't need religion anymore, that's something else. That I would agree with.

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I frankly confess that I do not have the faintest idea what you might consider "The Meaning of Life." I cannot make out if you mean to imply that goldfish should have "a meaning" or believe in gods.
There's all kinds of meanings. Why just one?

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The world is a wonderful and complex place, but we are merely animals - we have no greater "meaning" at all. Why should we?
What's wrong with being an animal. 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. If anything has meaning in the cosmos, our experience as domesticated primates seems valid enough.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: One Above All on June 15, 2010, 03:31:03 AM
Successful reproduction explained as simply as possible:
Guy has sex with girl
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: dloubet 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.

Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Graybeard 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 (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_religion_a_human_universal). "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.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy 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.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy 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.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy on June 15, 2010, 08:28:24 AM
Food for thought.
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/29/Diatom2.jpg)
Diatoms. What the bottom of the food chain looks like.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Graybeard 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 (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.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy 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 (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 (http://"http://www.wunderkabinett.co.uk/damndata/index.php?/archives/272-What-the-Pirah-saw.html)
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 ;)
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Graybeard 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’.



Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy 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.
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Graybeard 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/ (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?
Title: Re: Teleology 101
Post by: Immediacracy 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/ (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 (http://ling.auf.net/lingBuzz/000411) (long pdf) (http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/@WbapTYGMaZybLPgN) 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.