livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2020 07:27 pm
@hingehead,
hingehead wrote:

Yes I read this:
livinglava wrote:
Why can atheists interpret human actions in terms of active agency and intent, but not other kinds of actions? Could it be anthrocentrist bias?


And do you understand what I'm saying, or do you just think that consciousness/agency/intent are only attributable to humans because human nature is special in a way that all other deterministic/mechanistic systems of nature aren't?
hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2020 11:05 pm
@livinglava,
The premise of the question is false

I attribute active agency and intent to plenty of living things.

Other atheists can think what they like.

The only thing that draws us together is that we so no evidence for a god with agency or intent.
hingehead
 
  2  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2020 11:06 pm
@hingehead,
Sidepoint:

The projection that the universe can only exist BECAUSE there is a god of agency and intent is the ultimate anthrocentrism.
glitterbag
 
  4  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2020 11:50 pm
@hingehead,
Yes, but bolstered by other congregants/believers you get to indulge in the intoxicating aroma of superiority.....Sadly, too many religions act as if they are a sports team, you are either a fan or you're the enemy. It's incomprehensible for them that some people find it somewhat interesting and others never give it a thought. And both the interested and disinterested have probably spent a considerable amount of time researching all the world's religions. So they have a critical eye, not a slavish devotion to someone who claims to have all the answers. (point of order, neither the interested or disinterested are devotees of any religion....those two categories are separated from the blindly obedient who follow others as if they actually are the beacons of heaven.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Feb, 2020 01:41 am
@Leadfoot,
When there's no possible way to know the answer to a question, one perfectly rational attitude is to give it a rest. Another is to keep musing with the question for the fun of it but take a distance with the urge for answers, i.e. treat it as a puzzle. Both approaches are better than wasting time racking your brain and getting all angry and argumentative with the world, better than carrying all your 'God bagage' around. Travel light, for the last voyage too.
livinglava
 
  0  
Reply Fri 14 Feb, 2020 04:37 am
@hingehead,
hingehead wrote:

The premise of the question is false

I attribute active agency and intent to plenty of living things.

Other atheists can think what they like.

The only thing that draws us together is that we so no evidence for a god with agency or intent.

So you are not anthrocentric, but biocentric.

What I am trying to explain to you is that all living things are just little complex systems of deterministic physical/chemical mechanics, yet they appear to us as having active agency, intent, and consciousness.

We experience consciousness in the way that we do because nerve signals transmit energy from axons to dendrites and the patterns of connected signalling add up to complex correlations between present sensations/thoughts and memories of past experiences.

We don't know if other complex patterns of physical systems also add up to consciousness at some level. Everything in the universe is connected to and communicates with other things/systems in various ways. We observe light (and now gravity waves as well) from distant stars/galaxies, for example, and so we are connected with them. The sun and Earth are connected by solar wind currents that transmit energy between solar events and our ionosphere, which can also affect electronic communications.

In short, all these different forms of energy-transfer amount to communications between various aspects of the universe and how can we assume that the communication between brain cells adds up to emergent patterns of consciousness/intent/agency exclusively and that other patterns in nature aren't conscious/intentional in their own ways, or that such patterns don't always feed upward to higher levels of unification?

Whenever you look at a river or any part of the water cycle, you will always see that streams and rivers separate and re-merge, split into a delta, but then merge with the ocean; evaporate into separate clouds, but then converge into a grey rainy sky, etc. etc. The same happens with our thoughts, perceptions, memories, etc. within our conscious and unconscious minds. We just happen to be aware of the connection between our own conscious experience and our minds/brains in a way that we aren't for larger systems of nature; but that doesn't mean there isn't consciousness that emerges from other physical interactions besides brain cells.
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Sat 15 Feb, 2020 07:15 am
@Olivier5,
Quote:
When there's no possible way to know the answer to a question, one perfectly rational attitude is to give it a rest. Another is to keep musing with the question for the fun of it but take a distance with the urge for answers, i.e. treat it as a puzzle. Both approaches are better than wasting time racking your brain and getting all angry and argumentative with the world, better than carrying all your 'God bagage' around. Travel light, for the last voyage too.

Don’t read so much into my hyperbole. I don’t even get angry when those middle eastern men in robes go about shouting 'Death to America!' I know what they mean.

I guess we are very different in how we approach questions. I would never take the attitude that 'there is no way to know', that’s just defeatist. Ironically, I differ from the religious for the very same reason. **** that. (Hyperbole).
Too, there may be a basic difference in our 'need to know'. I’m not claiming superiority in this, you may have a much easier time because of it. I simply have to have at least a basic understanding of everything I see. I could no more own a television without knowing how it works than I could ignore being bitten by a snake.

Travel light you say. Good advice, I think JC said something similar. My yoke is easy and my burden light, or something like that. Answering the big questions should be fun in the long run. So far, it has been.

0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Feb, 2020 11:16 am
On The Infinite Monkey Cage, Brian Cox, off the top of his head mind you, postulated that The Bible and a lot of other religions got it wrong when they started with light.

In the beginning there was no oxygen on the planet so fire would be impossible, it wasn't until life emerged and photosynthesis started that there was enough oxygen for fire.

So Cox is saying it was let there be life before let there be light.

The Sun is a different kettle of fish because its a thermo nuclear reaction, not oxidisation.

It's just something I heard on the radio and I thought I'd put it out there. I'm not going to argue about it, but don't let that stop you.
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 15 Feb, 2020 12:54 pm
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:

On The Infinite Monkey Cage, Brian Cox, off the top of his head mind you, postulated that The Bible and a lot of other religions got it wrong when they started with light.

In the beginning there was no oxygen on the planet so fire would be impossible, it wasn't until life emerged and photosynthesis started that there was enough oxygen for fire.

So Cox is saying it was let there be life before let there be light.

The Sun is a different kettle of fish because its a thermo nuclear reaction, not oxidisation.

It's just something I heard on the radio and I thought I'd put it out there. I'm not going to argue about it, but don't let that stop you.

Particles are all waves. It's all light/energy prior to it behaving as matter in how it interacts with other particles/waves.
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  2  
Reply Sun 16 Feb, 2020 04:38 pm
Quote:
Whenever you look at a river or any part of the water cycle, you will always see that streams and rivers separate and re-merge, split into a delta, but then merge with the ocean; evaporate into separate clouds, but then converge into a grey rainy sky, etc. etc.


All explained by natural laws and not requiring agency.

I still find it amusing/confusing that while you call others anthro or biocentrist you insist on assigning bio/anthro intent and agency on all the physical world.

Not that I'm discounting the possibility - you just haven't shown any evidence for, or designed an experiment that could test, the validity of your hypothesis.
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 16 Feb, 2020 06:17 pm
@hingehead,
hingehead wrote:

All explained by natural laws and not requiring agency.

You just ignored the reason for the quote you replied to and then re-applied the uncritical distinction between agency and determination I was trying to deconstruct.

Quote:
I still find it amusing/confusing that while you call others anthro or biocentrist you insist on assigning bio/anthro intent and agency on all the physical world.

Isn't it anthrocentric to assume that the human ability to project the concept of agency/intent/consciousness onto natural systems should be limited to the human brain?

Quote:
Not that I'm discounting the possibility - you just haven't shown any evidence for, or designed an experiment that could test, the validity of your hypothesis.

What I've been trying to tell you is that if you look at the brain as a system of electro-chemical reactions, there is no reason to assume it is conscious let alone capable of intent and agency.

Those things are something we experience between we can look at our own brains and identify with our subjective experience of being conscious and having the capacity for active agency and intent.

We can just as easily interpolate intent/consciousness/agency into other natural/mechanical systems besides our brains. E.g. "that light bulb burnt out just to make me trip," can't describe something going on inside the lightbulb's brain (because it has no brain), but it can still make sense to a human brain to interpolate agency onto the (inanimate) object; and what's more it's not wrong to do so because ultimately things happen because of mechanical reasons, such as atoms in the wiring of the bulb gradually escaping until the remaining ones are no longer able to carry the current without melting down, so they short out.

What is wrong with attributing agency to the various variables/determinants in such a situation? Yes, at one level they are passively determined by physical mechanics, but so our our brains.
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  4  
Reply Sun 16 Feb, 2020 07:42 pm
Your logic is so flawed and you're so wedded to it that it's hard to see any value in pointing at the same thing over and over to you.

All your postulation DEPENDS on accepting something without needing to prove it.

Your strongest argument is 'Well, why can't it be?'. You might find that satisfying - I find it empty.
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 17 Feb, 2020 12:06 pm
@hingehead,
hingehead wrote:

Your logic is so flawed and you're so wedded to it that it's hard to see any value in pointing at the same thing over and over to you.

All your postulation DEPENDS on accepting something without needing to prove it.

Your strongest argument is 'Well, why can't it be?'. You might find that satisfying - I find it empty.

There's nothing to prove. It is a simple cultural-analysis question.

Try to follow it:

1) the human brain is a mechanical system made of physical/chemical reactions, like all other systems in nature.
2) somehow we experience consciousness/agency/intent from our perspective within the human brain
3) we have developed the ability to culturally/linguistically distinguish between agency and determinism, between intentional and unintentional actions, and between consciousness and unconsciousness.
4) we project determinism/unintentionality/unconsciousness onto non-human things because we are anthrocentric and want to think of humans as different/special relative to other natural systems.
5) we fail to consider that the agency/intent/consciousness we project onto human brains can also be projected onto other deterministic systems that make up the universe.
6) atheism/humanism are just about hardening the distinction between human and non-human aspects of the universe by denying cultural expressions that project agency/intent/consciousness onto non-human things and events.

There is nothing wrong with projecting agency/consciousness/intent onto non-human systems and events; just as there is nothing wrong with projecting them onto human brains. It is just an interpretive framework for complex mechanical systems. Just as you can interpret human choice in terms of cognitive reflexes, you can interpret non-human systems in terms of intent, will, reason, etc. e.g. "this stain is really stubborn and doesn't want to come out," or "the universe is really not on my side today," or "thank heaven for the guardian angel that made me see that car before I stepped out in front of it."

Theology/religion is just the art of interpreting the universe in terms of agency/intent/reason, and it has worked quite well for millennia despite all the people who manage to misinterpret it for bad instead of good.

Monotheism is simply a philosophical critique of the fragmentation of the universe into different realms instead of recognizing all realms as part of the same larger unified universe.

Atheism/materialism are just dumb philosophically because they want to eliminate the culture of interpreting non-human things/events in human terms, i.e. in terms of agency/intent/consciousness. It is a waste, because there is value in interpreting non-human systems in human terms, i.e. because it gives another way of looking at them that is lacking in purely deterministic frameworks.
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Feb, 2020 03:56 pm
Quote:
1) the human brain is a mechanical system made of physical/chemical reactions, like all other systems in nature


I only had to read this point to stop reading.

You're making a case that all systems are the same if they are made up of physical/chemical reactions.
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 17 Feb, 2020 04:28 pm
@hingehead,
hingehead wrote:

Quote:
1) the human brain is a mechanical system made of physical/chemical reactions, like all other systems in nature


I only had to read this point to stop reading.

You're making a case that all systems are the same if they are made up of physical/chemical reactions.

No, I'm not. All systems are different. The point I am making is that agency/intent/consciousness can be interpolated into other natural systems besides the human brain.

I was going to post the definition of 'interpolate,' but I just googled it and the definition doesn't refer to what I mean, which is the opposite of 'extrapolate,' i.e. to make something meaningful in a certain way by applying certain categories to it.

So when you observe a rain cloud and interpolate determinism into it, you do that by recognizing the charge attraction pulling the water molecules together until they condense into droplets and precipitate.

If you observe the brain and interpolate determinism, you have chains of neurons whose dendrites sense axon signals and get triggered to release their chain of action potentials, which stimulates the next neuron to fire, etc. causing patterns of 'lightning' similar to what occurs in rain storms.

With the brain, we can observe these patterns of 'lightning' flashing around inside the brain as conscious experiences, thoughts, decisions, etc.; but with clouds we can't do that because we lack the ability to identify the cloud(s) as a sentient being.

Yet it is possible for humans to look at a condensing/darkening sky of clouds with brewing sounds of thunder accompanying flashes of lightning and say, "that's an angry sky." "that tornado is coming for you," etc.

You can say these are just metaphors, because the sky, a storm, or tornado can't really think and exercise intentional/willful acts, as far as we know, but then again we can only know that human brains do this because we are on the inside of them looking out, instead of being on the outside the way we are with a storm cloud.

The bottom line is this: all things in the universe communicate with each other in various ways or we wouldn't have any knowledge of them. When you stub your toe, it communicates with your brain via your nerves. When a baby is hungry, it communicates with your brain via your ears by crying. When a storm cloud is going to rain down, it communicates with your brain visually and auditorilly.

Does your stubbed toe send out pain signals to your brain consciously/intentionally or is it a deterministic reaction of the nerves to the perturbation? We assume the latter, but at what point does the nerve signal become conscious of itself? When it reaches the brain? If so, why then? Because there are more connections forged between more complex networks of neurons there?

If grey matter is conscious and white matter isn't, i.e. because of the density of connections, then that suggests that the white brain cells are also conscious, just less so because they are more shielded from interaction with other neurons. In fact, probably all types of energetic interactions in the universe are conscious in some way or other, only to lesser degrees than our brains, so we don't acknowledge them as reaching the threshold that we recognize as 'consciousness.'

Nevertheless, all these various systems connect and communicate with each other in various ways, so just as your stubbed toe and the crying baby both communicate with your brain, there must be greater consciousness in the universe where numerous connections occur simultaneously, such as within the sun.

Now you're going to say that I'm calling the sun 'God,' but God is not limited to any one location in the universe. God is the ultimate level at which all things connect and are unified. So we can project consciousness/agency/intent onto all sorts of sub-systems of nature/the universe; but ultimately it all connects and adds up to an overall whole.

God is not just the consciousness of the universe, but the totality of creative power within it. We cannot begin to fathom what it would be like to exist at the level of God, except we can look at our own limited existence and consciousness thereof as being 'made in His image,' meaning we can understand God at higher levels by understanding ourselves at our level(s).

When you reject God, all you're really doing is rejecting all the forms of symmetry and repetition of patterns throughout the universe. Nothing is totally unique and different from everything else, including humans, our minds/consciousness/agency/intent/etc. If we grasp this, it should not be hard to understand that there is an ultimate logic/power/consciousness/agency/intentionality that permeates throughout the unified universe.

We not be able to understand that greater power any more than an ant could understand what it's like to experience life as a human, but if an ant could reflect on its own experience/consciousness/intent/agency/etc., then it could extrapolate that humans have something analogous only more powerful; so the ultimate extrapolation of this ability to recognize generalities among differences is that there is an absolute God of the unified universe of existence.

As such, there is nothing wrong with all the theological work that has been done throughout history to make sense of God and the creation. If good and bad are universal categories, then it makes sense to interpolate them onto every level of the universe, and to describe sub-ultimate agents of goodness as 'angels,' why fallen angels can be called, 'demons.'

Really all it is is a language for describing anything and everything about the universe in terms of agency/intent/consciousness and thus attributing moral logic to it all. In other words, it is a paradigm for making sense/meaning; and as a paradigm there is absolutely no reason for it to be discarded and replaced with some other paradigm.

Materialism/humanism/determinism is not superior to theology. It has borne some good fruits, but it is also limited in numerous ways. As such, it makes sense to maintain and honor traditional religion, as so many people do simply because they have experienced the positive benefits it has had for them and their families/ancestors spiritually as well as materially.
hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Feb, 2020 05:27 pm
@livinglava,
I'm not doing you just because I only get to read one line before I find something I can't let go - so I can only be honest I am not reading your long postulations

Quote:
No, I'm not. All systems are different. The point I am making is that agency/intent/consciousness can be interpolated into other natural systems besides the human brain.


You are saying that they all have the same emergent factors and YOU STILL DON'T OFFER ANY EVIDENCE EXCEPT "they're systems".

Do you really not grasp the central flaw? Proof. Evidence.
livinglava
 
  0  
Reply Mon 17 Feb, 2020 05:58 pm
@hingehead,
hingehead wrote:

I'm not doing you just because I only get to read one line before I find something I can't let go - so I can only be honest I am not reading your long postulations

Quote:
No, I'm not. All systems are different. The point I am making is that agency/intent/consciousness can be interpolated into other natural systems besides the human brain.


You are saying that they all have the same emergent factors and YOU STILL DON'T OFFER ANY EVIDENCE EXCEPT "they're systems".

Do you really not grasp the central flaw? Proof. Evidence.

Well, I certainly don't want to waste words you're not going to read.

What does proof/evidence even mean to you?

Is there proof/evidence of agency/intent/consciousness in human minds? If so, what is that proof/evidence?
hingehead
 
  2  
Reply Mon 17 Feb, 2020 06:29 pm
@livinglava,
That I'm replying to you? That A2K exists?

I have a theory that Santa Claus collects Pokemon cards. Disprove it.
hingehead
 
  2  
Reply Mon 17 Feb, 2020 06:31 pm
@livinglava,
PS Don't think I haven't missed the irony of you asking me to prove the thing that you say humans and all systems possess exists in humans.
0 Replies
 
livinglava
 
  0  
Reply Tue 18 Feb, 2020 06:07 am
@hingehead,
hingehead wrote:

That I'm replying to you? That A2K exists?

You replying to me doesn't prove to me that you are a conscious being with intentional agency and not an AI-generated discussion-bot. A perfect simulation of a human could look and act exactly like a human, but have a computer as a brain, like in the Terminator, for example.

There is no evidence to prove consciousness/intent/agency except the direct observation of it within yourself; and then we just extrapolate that because we have consciousness/intent/agency at the individual level that other individuals have it as well.

In other words, it's an estimation/assumption based on the recognition of similarity in the other. Things that are more different to us, we consider as having less consciousness/intent/agency, such as other vertebrates with eyes, noses, and central nervous systems are assumed to have more consciousness than invertebrates like insects, crabs, sponges, coral, worms, etc. It is a subjective assumption based on identification/classification of similarity/difference.

Quote:
I have a theory that Santa Claus collects Pokemon cards. Disprove it.

I can't, because Santa is a metaphorical descriptor for the Christmas spirt, which indeed inspires the collection of many Pokemon cards. I can't prove it, because I haven't directly observed anyone collecting Pokemon cards, but I've seen kids playing with them and I've seen them in the stores so I assume there are collectors. Personally, I'm skeptical why anyone would want to invest so much money as those cards cost, but I have to weigh my personal skepticism against the evidence I see that suggests (not proves) they are being collected.
 

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