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A critique of dualism and the notion of free will.

 
 
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 04:06 pm
Over the past few centuries, monism has given away to dualism.

For those unfamiliar with the terms, monoism is the belief that at the core, everything in the universe is composed one elemental substance. A substance that is fully subject to laws of physics and accounts for all the phenomena that we observe. First we thought that that elemental substance was the atom for example and then we opened up the atom and found quarks. No one is sure how deep it goes, but monists believe that eventually as we go deeper and deeper, we will find the elemental ingredient for everything in the universe. And this element will be governed by laws of physics.

The difficulty many people have with monoism is that the theory means that everything in the universe is governed by laws of physics, at the core, energy and matter are two states of the same substance (something later proven by e=mc2), there is no god (a belief that was growing more and more popular even then), no such thing as a soul (there wasn't any evidence for it anywhere and this remains true even today), or free will. The free will debate was the only common belief that was at odds with philosophers and scientists at the time. But it was enough to push people away from monoism.

So to contradict this, the theory of dualism was proposed, and widely became the more popular belief. Dualism is the theory that there are actual two elemental particless. One that accounts for everything in the universe that we can see observe and is governed by the laws of physics, and another element, a spiritual element, that accounts for the human mind, free will, god, our soul, and that differentiates life from nonlife. This element isn't governed by the laws of physics, and thus doesn't interact with the physical world at any level that we can observe.

A major problem with this theory is that this second particle can't be tested. And there is no evidence of it anywhere. We just made it up to account for things we don't yet understand. Just like people made up god to account for phenomena such as lightning and rain that they couldn't account for and even brilliant scientists made up the ether to account for physical phenomena they didn't yet fully understand.

This is another problem with dualism. This second particle would somehow have to associate with the physical world that we see and observe. How else could this spirit particle be associated exclusively with living organisms (organisms with very specific arrangements of the phy rather than with everything? If this spirit particle had no way to interact with the physical world and yet accounted for sentience. Whereever it would be found, whether it was randomly found next to a rock, or a dead corpse, that object would possess sentience. But we associate this soul type entity with particles that have very specific anatomies and functioning. If this second particle couldn't in any way interact with the physical world, then it would have no way to exclusively associate with what we consider living organisms.

And if this second particle can interact with the physical world at any level, shouldn't we have been able to experimentally observe the effects of this interaction somehow. We split atoms down to quarks for godsake. And we still haven't found any difference between living and nonliving tissues in regards to fundamental laws of physics. They behave identically in terms of physics in every situation where as if this spirit matter could somehow interact with living matter, then there should be some difference, however minute, in the physical behavior of living versus nonliving matter.

So, we are faced with monism again, and the difficulty it poses regarding the absence of a free will. But the more we learn about the functioning of the brain, of the organization of neurons and synapses and chemicals and the changes they undergo based on the stimuli they recieve and how this in turn produces specific responses in the person, (now for example, a well read neurosurgeon could envoke a variety of specific memories, thoughts, or actions in a patient under anesthesia by chemically or electrically stimulating specific parts of the brain), the more clear it becomes that all our thoughts and actions are accounted for by neurochemicals. And the more and more likely it seems that there is no such thing as free will, just a complex interaction of neurochemicals. When by electrically or chemically stimulating the brain, we can produce many specific actions, thoughts, memories or emotions in a person, how much longer can we continue to assume that these thoughts and actions are governed by something other than neurochemicals, chemicals that are fully governed by laws of physics and in turn govern every aspect of our so called mind, chemicals that we can't simply will away, chemicals that behave in a predictable fashion and are fully dependent on cause and effect relationships? How much longer can we accept this illusion of free will that is standing in the way of accepting monoism?

All thoughts, emotions, decisions and actions are ultimately based on preceding factors. Everything is governed by cause and effect relationships. Thus we are machines. Incredibly complex machines. Machines with so many complex and specific simulatanous causal relationships that no computer, even a 100 years from now, will be able to process all these relationships and interactions in order to predict our behavior. But that doesn't change what we are. When we look at any living organism in it's component parts, there is nothing seperating them from any nonliving thing such as say pool of chemicals that reacts to things such as the oxygen in the air and the sodium in the ground to evolve and change.

There is no evidence of another substance that can't be measured interving and changing/influencing the behavior of objects in any measureable way. Even if such a substance exists, if it has no way of interacting with the physical world, it would have no way to incorporate itself exclusively with entities with very specific and distinct anatomical makeups grounded in the physical world. On this basis, one can reject dualism. And when we turn to dualism, we run once again into the fact that there is no evidence of any component found in living organisms not found in non living organisms. There is no magic, no spirit, no soul, that accounts for life, and we've been looking, very hard. The "mind, the soul" are not things seperate from the physical world we observe, thus they are fully governed by the laws of physics and are at their core a byproduct of the interact of neurochemicals.

This isn't just some theoretical belief. It's one grounded in reality. The person who headed up Celera genomics (the private company that challenged the US government to race it to sequence the human genome) is undertaken a project even more significant. He is currently attempting to create a very simple basic living bacteria from scratch strictly from it's component parts to be used to mass produce enzymes far more efficently than we do using e. coli. He is making the dna from component amino acids, and injecting it with basic amino acid enzymes that help sequence the dna to make all the proteins needed for life. It's a multibillion dollar endeavor that his project leaders all believe can be realistically achieved within a decade. They already succeded in creating a virus from scratch.

Living things are just very very complex congregations of nonliving things. Living things initially arose from nonliving matter. Aleksandr Ivanovich Oparin and John Burdon Sanderson Haldane proved (or atleast provided strong evidence that has yet to be refuted for) this "chemical evolution" over 80 years ago. All things we consider evidence sentience, thoughts, memory, emotion is stored in physical, neurochemical form. It can be invoked by stimulating certain parts of the brain. This has been proven.

Just behave our emotions, thoughts and behavior seem so unpredictable and adaptable that they give us an illusion of free will, it doesn't mean that such a concept exists. Think of a random number generator on a computer. It seems to output numbers at random. The same way we seem to act at random (which is what we use to claim possess free will). Thus we could state just as easily state that a computer has free will. But when we break it down and look at the actual mechanism behind the random number generator, we can see that the numbers are not truly random though they seem to be. They are often based on the precise millisecond of the internal clock found in the computer when the command was requested.

Similarly, when we look at the actual mechanisms that make life possible, we can see that our thoughts, emotions and actions are precise calculated and carried out based on a set of specific chemical reactions. Thus these things that suggest that we have free will are merely illusions, atleast until we can find a chemical, physical, or biological component or property that we possess that nonliving things do not. the only difference was the present of a soul in the "living organism" and it's absence from the "noliving object".

As epic posted "if the mind and thought are not an emergent property of the brain and the firing of neurons, then what are they? in what manner can we say they "exist" in the materialistic universe? where do they exist? I would offer that all things, all decisions, all actions are directly caused by preceding factors. nothing just arises out of nowhere. for example, while we don't have any idea whether it will rain on july 4th this year, or we don't know the outcome of the numbers appearing on a roll of some dice, i would still offer that, the weather on july 4th, or the numbers that DO appear after rolling them, could not have been any other way. the weather on july 4th would have been directly related to the preceding weather conditions, the air pressure, wind, etc, or the speed of the roll of the dice, the angle in which the dice are propelled, etc, and they, in turn, would have been reliant on factors preceding that, and so on. if all things are reliant on preceding factors, and nothing spontaneously arises out of nowhere, one can say that everthing is linked, cause and effect, the combination of both nature AND nurture, right back to, as far as i can tell, the beginning of time itself. thus determinism.

The usual objections of quantum factors, are also determined, in fact. they may only appear random and spntaneous as a result of the infallibilily of man, that what appears as random is due to a lack of knowledge, that either may one day be found out, or, in fact, may never be found out due to factors beyond the capabilities of our human brains. there are other more eleoquent defences that i've read but that's somewhat of the gist of it."

So determinism as well as monoism were right all along. This doesn't mean that our future is predetermined (since no one determined it) or even neccesarily determinable by any device in the future (the amount of information that would need to be acquired and processed in order to predict the future in essentially infinite) but it does mean that there is one linear chain of events that the future will take, a path thats the result of the cause and effect relations of millions of interactions already in motion.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 09:42 pm
Re: A critique of dualism and the notion of free will.
Centroles wrote:
The difficulty many people have with monoism is that the theory means that everything in the universe is governed by laws of physics, at the core, energy and matter are two states of the same substance (something later proven by e=mc2), there is no god (a belief that was growing more and more popular even then), no such thing as a soul (there wasn't any evidence for it anywhere and this remains true even today), or free will.

How does a belief in monism negate free will?

Centroles wrote:
So to contradict this, the theory of dualism was proposed, and widely became the more popular belief. Dualism is the theory that there are actual two elemental particless.

Absurd. Who on earth holds that dualism involves two types of particles?

Centroles wrote:
A major problem with this theory is that this second particle can't be tested.

No, the major problem with that theory is that no one actually believes it.

Centroles wrote:
This is another problem with dualism. This second particle would somehow have to associate with the physical world that we see and observe. How else could this spirit particle be associated exclusively with living organisms (organisms with very specific arrangements of the phy rather than with everything? If this spirit particle had no way to interact with the physical world and yet accounted for sentience. Whereever it would be found, whether it was randomly found next to a rock, or a dead corpse, that object would possess sentience. But we associate this soul type entity with particles that have very specific anatomies and functioning. If this second particle couldn't in any way interact with the physical world, then it would have no way to exclusively associate with what we consider living organisms.

How do you know that?

Centroles wrote:
When by electrically or chemically stimulating the brain, we can produce many specific actions, thoughts, memories or emotions in a person, how much longer can we continue to assume that these thoughts and actions are governed by something other than neurochemicals, chemicals that are fully governed by laws of physics and in turn govern every aspect of our so called mind, chemicals that we can't simply will away, chemicals that behave in a predictable fashion and are fully dependent on cause and effect relationships? How much longer can we accept this illusion of free will that is standing in the way of accepting monoism?

Don't tell me that you're digging up the "Sentient Corpse" again, Centroles.

Centroles wrote:
All thoughts, emotions, decisions and actions are ultimately based on preceding factors. Everything is governed by cause and effect relationships.

Cause and effect? And exactly what kind of particles are those?

Centroles wrote:
All things we consider evidence sentience, thoughts, memory, emotion is stored in physical, neurochemical form. It can be invoked by stimulating certain parts of the brain. This has been proven.

And what does that prove?

Centroles wrote:
Think of a random number generator on a computer. It seems to output numbers at random. The same way we seem to act at random (which is what we use to claim possess free will). Thus we could state just as easily state that a computer has free will. But when we break it down and look at the actual mechanism behind the random number generator, we can see that the numbers are not truly random though they seem to be. They are often based on the precise millisecond of the internal clock found in the computer when the command was requested.

That sequence (command plus internal clock equals random number) is only non-random when viewed ex post. As I've explained elsewhere, such a view does not vitiate the notion of randomness.

Centroles wrote:
I would offer that all things, all decisions, all actions are directly caused by preceding factors. nothing just arises out of nowhere.

How do you know that?

Centroles wrote:
if all things are reliant on preceding factors, and nothing spontaneously arises out of nowhere, one can say that everthing is linked, cause and effect, the combination of both nature AND nurture, right back to, as far as i can tell, the beginning of time itself. thus determinism.

Non sequitur. If everything is reliant on what preceded it, then where does determinism start?
0 Replies
 
val
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 06:08 am
Re: A critique of dualism and the notion of free will.
Centroles

First, I disagree with your conception of monism and dualism. Monism has to do with a conception where there is no distinction between subject or object (Spinoza), or that distinction can be solved in a dialectic process (Hegel). Dualism, like cartesian philosophy, establishes the distinction between subject and object. More that that, establishes the distinction between spirit and matter.

About free will. If you look from your present to the past, all events appear as necessary. In this case, you see a linear sequence of events. But the reason is that you are seeing what happened.
If you think the problem, from your present to the future, the same reasoning cannot be applied. Not because causal relations do not exist, but because from a given event you have a multiplicity of possible events.That means that the event A can produce a certain number of possible events, B,C,D ... - the possibility is defined according to the initial conditions of the system in observation. Only one of those possible events will occur - but the others had also that possibility- but you cannot (from the present) predict which of those "possibles" will occur, at least in a long term.
The past is seen as a linear sequence of events, but not the futur. No one can predict - it is impossible - the consequences in 30 years of the present Bush politic in Iraq. Now, you can imagine a certain number of consequences, any of them creating a large number of other possibilities and so on. All they must do is respect the initial conditions of the studied system - an example: the Bush politic in Iraq will not interfere with the physical situation of the planet Jupiter, because this is not included in the initial conditions of the problem.

So, if the future cannot be predicted - I mean it is IMPOSSIBLE to predict it - free will is possible.

You see, when we say that Goethe wrote Faust, we think he had to write Faust because ... because he wrote it. But that is a false perspective. The perspective of the present. We only see, from the multiplicity of possible events, the one that took place.
0 Replies
 
Ray
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 10:38 am
Quote:
Non sequitur. If everything is reliant on what preceded it, then where does determinism start?


Good point, there might not be a first cause as it is illogical for us to conceive taht effect can sprung out of nothing.
0 Replies
 
Ray
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 10:38 am
Quote:
Non sequitur. If everything is reliant on what preceded it, then where does determinism start?


Good point, there might not be a first cause as it is illogical for us to conceive that effect can sprung out of nothing.
0 Replies
 
Centroles
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 05:49 pm
It sounds like you guys didn't understand my post.

First, you're using a different definition of dualism. Perhaps I should have been more specific. But if you read my post, it's adamantly clear that I am referring to substance dualism.

I'm not saying that we could ever predict the future. There are simply too many variables.

But this doesn't mean that the future isn't linear. Because every thing in the universe is dependent upon causal relationships with everything else according to everything we know aboutcertain fundamental laws of physics and their role in governing every particle of the physical world. And if the interaction between fundamental laws (laws that produce one specific result, not numerous possible ones) governs the behavior of all particles in the universe, then everything in the universe is in a complex causal relationship with everything else. Just because there are so many particles interacting that to us, it may appear random, that behavior my appear free, doesn't make it the case. Not until we find a scientific basis for this randomness.

As jonat stated quite succintly "If you do not believe that the universe consist of either matter or energy, it would be quite useless to argue with you. You may even be right, that there may be a 3rd mysterious force out there, but nothing points to that."

And everything also points to the notion that matter and energy are bound by certain laws to behave in certain ways. Thus there is no scientific basis to suggest that multiple consequences may arise from the same event. The only way around this is a dogmatic, unscientific belief in substance dualism. And my argument above illustrates why that too fails.

And joe, your insistance in sentience when there is absolutely no evidence to back it up reeks of dogma. Science has failed still to find any basis for sentience. Sentience inherently requires a soul or a mind or god, or some other irrational belief for which there is absolutely no evidence, unless you consider the bible or some other religious book to be evidence. If you disagree, I would love to hear your theory on what the inherent basis of this sentience property is. Afterall, you can't have a property exclusive to only certain things, living things for example, unless their is a basic particle or property inherent to those things and those things alone.

In fact, I am curious to hear how you believe this sentience spontanously developed. You do believe in evolution don't you? Evolution states that at some point, living things evolved out of nonliving things. So how did these living things suddenly acquire the property (be it a mind, soul, god, whatever) that nonliving things didn't possess?

The person who headed up Celera genomics (the private company that challenged the US government to race it to sequence the human genome) is undertaken a project even more significant. He is currently attempting to create a very simple basic living bacteria from scratch strictly from it's component parts to be used to mass produce enzymes far more efficently than we do using e. coli. He is making the dna from component amino acids, and injecting it with basic amino acid enzymes that help sequence the dna to make all the proteins needed for life. It's a multibillion dollar endeavor that his project leaders whose area of studies and expertise (probably far more so than yours) all believe can be realistically achieved within a decade. They already succeded in creating a virus from scratch. And they are convinced that a bacteria can be created from scratch as well once and for all proving me correct that there is no characteristic unique to living things that nonliving things possess, living things can be created from nonliving things, or dead things.

I challenge you to find even a handful of credible experts in the field that don't believe that a living thing could ever be generated from nonliving or dead components, as celera is attempting to do.

Actually it's a moot point. As evolution, now essentially considered a scientific fact, requires that at some point, living things evolved from nonliving components.

Aleksandr Ivanovich Oparin and John Burdon Sanderson Haldane proved (or atleast provided strong evidence that has yet to be refuted for) this "chemical evolution" over 80 years ago. So yes, so called nonliving chemicals can in fact evolve into so called living organisms. So your continual denial of my assertion that living things can be created from nonliving things, or from dead things, you are 85 years behind the times.

I suggest you do more research into the area. Life did and can arise from nonliving matter (and if it can arise from nonliving matter, it can arise from dead matter as well). It had to at some point, and it's already been demonstrated how. So as for as the sentient argument goes, you're still wrong. The mountain of scientific evidence points to no such sentience.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 09:13 pm
Centroles wrote:
I'm not saying that we could ever predict the future. There are simply too many variables.

What is the difference between a world in which there is free will and a world where actions are determined but unpredictable?

Centroles wrote:
But this doesn't mean that the future isn't linear. Because every thing in the universe is dependent upon causal relationships with everything else according to everything we know aboutcertain fundamental laws of physics and their role in governing every particle of the physical world.

How do you know that?

Centroles wrote:
And if the interaction between fundamental laws (laws that produce one specific result, not numerous possible ones) governs the behavior of all particles in the universe, then everything in the universe is in a complex causal relationship with everything else. Just because there are so many particles interacting that to us, it may appear random, that behavior my appear free, doesn't make it the case. Not until we find a scientific basis for this randomness.

A scientific basis for this randomness? I thought you just said that there is no randomness in the universe. Which is it?

Centroles wrote:
As jonat stated quite succintly "If you do not believe that the universe consist of either matter or energy, it would be quite useless to argue with you. You may even be right, that there may be a 3rd mysterious force out there, but nothing points to that."

Yes, jonat3 certainly said some goofy things, e.g. that love is a material process. Do you agree?

Centroles wrote:
And everything also points to the notion that matter and energy are bound by certain laws to behave in certain ways. Thus there is no scientific basis to suggest that multiple consequences may arise from the same event. The only way around this is a dogmatic, unscientific belief in substance dualism. And my argument above illustrates why that too fails.

Apart from repeating that the laws of physics govern all particles, and all particles are of a single kind, you have proferred no explanation for why (your version of) monism rules out free will. Your argument has an unexplained gap between particles being governed by laws and particles being determined. The two are not identical, even though you assume that they are. You need to provide the explanation of why being governed by laws is the same thing as being determined.

Centroles wrote:
And joe, your insistance in sentience when there is absolutely no evidence to back it up reeks of dogma.

I suppose I could debate the possibility of sentience with you, but I'm not sure I could endure the sustained irony. If sentience is not possible, then who is doing your thinking, Centroles?

Centroles wrote:
Science has failed still to find any basis for sentience.

What sort of scientific evidence would satisfy you that sentience exists?

Centroles wrote:
Sentience inherently requires a soul or a mind or god, or some other irrational belief for which there is absolutely no evidence, unless you consider the bible or some other religious book to be evidence. If you disagree, I would love to hear your theory on what the inherent basis of this sentience property is.

The "basis" of sentience? Well, I think a functioning brain is a prerequisite. Why is that such a mystery?

Centroles wrote:
Afterall, you can't have a property exclusive to only certain things, living things for example, unless their is a basic particle or property inherent to those things and those things alone.

How do you know that?

Centroles wrote:
In fact, I am curious to hear how you believe this sentience spontanously developed. You do believe in evolution don't you? Evolution states that at some point, living things evolved out of nonliving things. So how did these living things suddenly acquire the property (be it a mind, soul, god, whatever) that nonliving things didn't possess?

I have absolutely no idea how life first appeared. I am, however, reasonably confident that it did.

Centroles wrote:
And they are convinced that a bacteria can be created from scratch as well once and for all proving me correct that there is no characteristic unique to living things that nonliving things possess, living things can be created from nonliving things, or dead things.

That will certainly be a feather in their caps.

Centroles wrote:
I challenge you to find even a handful of credible experts in the field that don't believe that a living thing could ever be generated from nonliving or dead components, as celera is attempting to do.

As I've explained to others, if you have an argument, it is your job to come up with the evidence. Besides, if I were to set off on this wild goose chase, I'd first want to know why I was doing it, and I have no clue why you are talking about creating life in a thread ostensibly devoted to free will.

Centroles wrote:
Aleksandr Ivanovich Oparin and John Burdon Sanderson Haldane proved (or atleast provided strong evidence that has yet to be refuted for) this "chemical evolution" over 80 years ago. So yes, so called nonliving chemicals can in fact evolve into so called living organisms. So your continual denial of my assertion that living things can be created from nonliving things, or from dead things, you are 85 years behind the times.

I'm not sure I ever denied your assertion that living things can be created from dead things, let alone continually denied it. Can you link to one instance where I did?

Centroles wrote:
I suggest you do more research into the area. Life did and can arise from nonliving matter (and if it can arise from nonliving matter, it can arise from dead matter as well). It had to at some point, and it's already been demonstrated how. So as for as the sentient argument goes, you're still wrong. The mountain of scientific evidence points to no such sentience.

You've equated sentience and life, yet you've once again provided no basis for bridging the logical gap. How is being sentient equivalent to being alive?
0 Replies
 
val
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 04:56 am
Centroles

You have a notion of causality that seems to me more adequate to Laplace theories, in the early XIX century, that to modern physics.
What is your criteria to say that physic laws impose one only effect to a given cause?
About randomness: you suppose randomness would be explained by further scientific research. That means, randomness will become linear causality. But that is nothing but a metaphysical assumption.
What do you say about Prigogine or Atlan theories?

I think you are trying to establish a pseudo-scientific basis, in order to
justify a materialism similar to Lenin's "Materealism and empirocriticism"
. Ok, but why not do that in your own philosophic terms?
0 Replies
 
Centroles
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 10:26 am
The standard rule of thumb for any theory is, the simplest explanation is usually the best one.

So if you want argue for a more complex explanation, such as a soul, or god, or some other thing that can defy the laws of physics by influencing objects without being influenced themselves, the standard interpretation of will, then the burden of proof rests on your shoulders.

My explanation is simple. There is no evidence for free will, or a soul, or anything that isn't governed by laws of physics and causality. Thus these things don't exist. And until you can demonstrate to me some evidence that they do, your more complex theory is inherently flawed, arising more from dogma than scientific facts.

To get a better grounding as to what I'm talking about. Read Beyond Good and Evil Chapters 1 and 2 by Nietzsche. In it, he lays the groundwork for my assertion far better than I can explain it, and quite ahead of his time I might add.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 10:35 am
Centroles wrote:
The standard rule of thumb for any theory is, the simplest explanation is usually the best one.

So if you want argue for a more complex explanation, such as a soul, or god, or some other thing that can defy the laws of physics by influencing objects without being influenced themselves, the standard interpretation of will, then the burden of proof rests on your shoulders.

My explanation is simple. There is no evidence for free will, or a soul, or anything that isn't governed by laws of physics and causality. Thus these things don't exist. And until you can demonstrate to me some evidence that they do, your more complex theory is inherently flawed, arising more from dogma than scientific facts.

To get a better grounding as to what I'm talking about. Read Beyond Good and Evil Chapters 1 and 2 by Nietzsche. In it, he lays the groundwork for my assertion far better than I can explain it, and quite ahead of his time I might add.



You are not arguing that absence of proof is proof of absence...are you???
0 Replies
 
Centroles
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 10:41 am
I'm argueing that a more scientific approach be taken.

In science, the simplest explanation is always picked over a more complex one that has no evidence backing it up.

It's a principle pretty easy to understand. And it's logical. The only reason to not follow it is due to dogmatic beliefs.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2005 09:04 am
I think that centroles is arguing that the absence of meaning is the meaning of absence.
Dualism according to Dr Tim Crane is the theory that mind and matter are distinct things.
The official position of the Catholic Church is that dualism consists of two conflicting principles which are eternal;namely good and evil or dark and light.This is called Manichaeism.The rejection of evil or dark as being synonymous with the world is Gnosticism.Both these are heresies to the Church.
There are also Double Aspect theories,Property dualism and Substance dualism.Basically they are a work avoidance scheme associated with the "belief" that manual work is odious and a low caste signifier.
Materialism consists of seeing everything as an interplay of matter which has always existed.A full-blown materialist would reward garbage collectors on a higher salary band than philosophers but on a lower one than crane drivers and test pilots.

spendius.

PS I forgot bundle dualism.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2005 09:37 am
Centroles wrote:
I'm argueing that a more scientific approach be taken.


I have no problem with that...but that was not what I was questioning. More about that in a second.


Quote:
In science, the simplest explanation is always picked over a more complex one that has no evidence backing it up.


Be careful of that word "always." In my opinion, you make way too many blanket statements. I suspect it because of "dogmatic beliefs" on your part.

Quote:
It's a principle pretty easy to understand. And it's logical.


Yes...Occum's Razor is "pretty easy to understand"...and it does seem logical (although, not always correct).


Quote:
The only reason to not follow it is due to dogmatic beliefs.


Another one of those blanket statements. It is NOT the ONLY reason.




In any case, in the post that I questioned, you wrote:

Quote:
...My explanation is simple. There is no evidence for free will, or a soul, or anything that isn't governed by laws of physics and causality. Thus these things don't exist.


In response, I asked: "You are not arguing that absence of proof is proof of absence...are you??? "

If you are insisting that they do not exist....which your declarative sentence certainly does...then you must be basing that insistence on the fact that there is no evidence for it...THEREFORE it doesn't exist.

Do you follow?



You then went on to say:

Quote:
And until you can demonstrate to me some evidence that they do, your more complex theory is inherently flawed, arising more from dogma than scientific facts.


Well...until you can demonstrate that a lack of evidence or a lack of proof...is evidence that something doesn't exist...or proof that it doesn't exist...

...your theory is inherently flawed.


ASIDE:

There is absolutely no proof or evidence that there is sentient life anywhere else in this universe.

Which of the following two statements makes more sense as an inference of that:

a) There is no sentient life anywhere else in this universe.

b) We do not know if there are any sentient life anywhere else in this universe.
0 Replies
 
miguelito21
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2005 12:23 pm
Centroles wrote:
all our thoughts and actions are accounted for by neurochemicals. And the more and more likely it seems that there is no such thing as free will, just a complex interaction of neurochemicals. When by electrically or chemically stimulating the brain, we can produce many specific actions, thoughts, memories or emotions in a person, how much longer can we continue to assume that these thoughts and actions are governed by something other than neurochemicals, chemicals that are fully governed by laws of physics and in turn govern every aspect of our so called mind, chemicals that we can't simply will away, chemicals that behave in a predictable fashion and are fully dependent on cause and effect relationships? How much longer can we accept this illusion of free will that is standing in the way of accepting monoism?



thats a good point.

however, my knowledge about neurochemicals is kinda limited, so i'd need some explanations.

what makes these neurochemicals move ? what makes them travel in my brain ?
what's the initial spark that makes them active ?

if the laws of physics are behind it, then can you tell me which ones exactly ?


lets take a very concrete situation :

im standing in front of a dude.

he calls me a spic.

i get mad.

so this state of mind, the angry thaughts runing through my mind are the result of the activity of neurochemicals.
ok. i agree.

but what made these specific neurochemicals become active ?

why did those ones become active, and not others ?

my state of mind is necessarily a reaction to the dude's word right ?

so what law of physic translated the word "spic" into neurochemical activity making me angry ?

what particles ?

had he been joking, maybe i'd be laughing. the laws of physics remain the same, but my reaction changes. why ?




sorry if those are silly questions by the way.
0 Replies
 
Centroles
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2005 05:45 pm
No those are certainly not silly questions. Lack of understanding into the precise mechanisms behind thoughts and emotions in our brain is precisely the reason people still believe in the notion of the mind that is seperate from chemical interactions.

"what makes these neurochemicals move ? what makes them travel in my brain ? "

mainly, entropy (aka. diffusion), and electromagnetism. essentially, all thoughts are caused by the movements of ions across neurons. Once enough positive ions acculimate inside the cell, certain proteins that span the cell membrane are induced by this change in charge to change their shape to have more of their negative amino acids exposed to this side. In doing so, they allow more + ions to flow in, especially calcium ions. This calcium binds to a protein called calmodulin, which induces the release of neurotransmitters via exocytosis. These neurotransmitters bind to proteins on near by neurons, causing more ions to flow in to them, and repeating this process.

"what's the initial spark that makes them active ? "

in the brain, all your senses are receptors. your eyes have photoreceptors which when hit by photons stimulate the process described above. The same goes to your nose, hair cells in your ears, etc etc. Based on how they are connected, (how they are connected is what makes us react differently), they cause a causal relationship that eventually leads to your reaction. This process is a lot more complicated than i described it. It's very well understood. We can trace the precise flow of these chemicals from seeing a ball flying at your eye all the way to moving your arm to block the ball and many other reflexes, on chemicals alone. In essence, every thing we do is a reflex. Some are more simple ones, like the moving the arm to block the ball while others, such as the frequency pattern for a "bad word" leading to a bad reaction, are much more complex though still well understood.


lets take a very concrete situation :

im standing in front of a dude.

he calls me a spic.

i get mad.

so this state of mind, the angry thaughts runing through my mind are the result of the activity of neurochemicals.
ok. i agree.

but what made these specific neurochemicals become active ?

"like i said, your reaction is a reflex, just a very interconnected one. One that depends on not just what you hear, but what you see, and preprogrammed reactions based on past events"

why did those ones become active, and not others ?

"because, these flow of chemicals constantly change the make up of our neuron connections. Based on how they are connected, determine what our output is. It's fairly more complicated and to explain it step by step would take about a 100 pgs are so. If you're interested, pick up a good advanced neurology book."

my state of mind is necessarily a reaction to the dude's word right ?

so what law of physic translated the word "spic" into neurochemical activity making me angry ?

"read above, it's a reflex."

what particles ?

"the flow of ions"

had he been joking, maybe i'd be laughing. the laws of physics remain the same, but my reaction changes. why ?

"because it's not just neurons from what you hear, but neurons from what you see, neurons from the pattern of the guys face, which may already be connected to produce a positive response, etc. If you really want to understand it, I recommend Fundamental Neuroscience by Haines, it's a pretty easy read, but it explains the basics well. Then you can move on to more advanced literature."
0 Replies
 
Centroles
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2005 05:48 pm
If you have trobue following that, and don't want to take the time to read Haines book followed by more advanced literature.

It might help to think of our operation like how a computer operates. But a computer whose circuits changes each time they transmit info, and which recieves input not just from a keyboard but from photons, frequency of air molecules, vibrations, etc. etc.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2005 06:33 pm
Well, Centroles...since you did such a good job with Miguelito...I sure hope you get a chance to respond to some of the items I raised in my post.
0 Replies
 
miguelito21
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2005 06:57 pm
Centroles wrote:
If you have trobue following that


well ....


centroles wrote:
mainly, entropy (aka. diffusion), and electromagnetism. essentially, all thoughts are caused by the movements of ions across neurons. Once enough positive ions acculimate inside the cell, certain proteins that span the cell membrane are induced by this change in charge to change their shape to have more of their negative amino acids exposed to this side. In doing so, they allow more + ions to flow in, especially calcium ions. This calcium binds to a protein called calmodulin, which induces the release of neurotransmitters via exocytosis. These neurotransmitters bind to proteins on near by neurons, causing more ions to flow in to them, and repeating this process.



i gotta admit this one gave me a hard time (english is a language i learn in school so sometimes i have trouble understanding some words)

but i thik i fairly understood what you wrote.

thanks Idea


centroles wrote:
It might help to think of our operation like how a computer operates. But a computer whose circuits changes each time they transmit info


yes it does help Exclamation Idea


but i still got a lot of thinking to do ....
0 Replies
 
Centroles
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2005 12:39 am
Frank, this answers your questions too.

That's the thing most people don't realize. I mean, unless it's your field of interest and livlihood and thus have really studied the subject indepth, you never get to learn the underlying chemical reactions that account for essentially every aspect of what makes us human. The organization of neurons in the hippocampus for memory and how they are associated with neural circuits in the amygdala associated with our emotions, is incredibly complicated, but it's mindblowing just how much we know about it, how much we can trace a memory or emotion down the the chemical components that make it up.

All the seemingly magical processes behind life, the mind, memories, emotions, reflexes, drives, the idea of self, all of them are at their root neurochemical circuits. We even know the precise structure of many of the chemicals that make this all possible. We understand many of the chemical processes underlying going from a clump of cells to a new "living" life form.

And yet, inspite of all the progress we made, much of it just in the last decade or so (a lot of progress came once we sequenced the human genome in 99, and thus could detremine the amino acid sequence behind many proteins and reverse engineer them to determine their structure, how they clump based on the charges of the amino acids, how they are effected by the flow of ions).

Shocked It really does blow my mind. And yet, inspite of how deep into the fundamental processes driving thoughts, memories, emotions etc, that we have gone, all we found of chemical reactions, ion movements following strict laws of physics, from making new proteins to processing food proteins and making them into new cells, and even a new life form, all we see are just chemical reactions following laws of physics. The same chemical reactions that they found aggregated into masses in muddy water when catalyzed by lightning. Over 80 years ago, they found that given enough time, some mud, some water, and some lightining, and some uv rays, can create circular clumps of clay inside of which aggregates many amino acids and even some of the simpler enzymes driving life. No evidence of some magical spirit only found in living things, no evidence of any thing that accounts for an actual mind, or a soul, or free will, just chemical reactions.

Surely Frank, you accept evolution, since it's the simplest explanation for the varieties amount "living" things and there has yet to be any evidence whatsoever of a god that intervenes in our world to create things.

This is the same thing, the simplest explanation, the explanation that doesn't require some entity that we have no evidence for, no understanding of, no basis for, this simple explanation must be accepted as the most logical explanation atleast for the time being.

This is the basis of all science and scientific endevors.

You're essentially argueing that, inspite of the fact that there is no evidence that a soul, or a mind, or free will exist when we examine their underlying processes in depth, inspite of all this, we should belief that these things do exist. This isn't just logically flawed, it's also a dogmatic belief. Just like how creationists argue that god created all life forms even though there is no evidence of god, we don't understand the basis for god, don't understand where this god comes from, and have no reason to believe in a god that created all the variety of life forms, inspite of all the evidence suggesting that different speicies weren't created but evolved over time from one another. Yet creationists ignore the most logicial, simplest explanation, the one that all the evidence suppots, for a different more complext theory that has no evidence to back it up. You would agree that that's dogmatic don't you. That's precisely what you're doing as well.

Here's what we know. We know the underlying neurochemical mechanisms and processing underlying all mental actions, thinking, feeling, remembering, reacting etc. All the research we have points to anything that could be the basis for a soul or spirit or anything like that. Just like all the research points to evolution. It's absurd to argue that giving an explanation of how something works and providing ample evidence for it, isn't sufficent to embrace it over other theories, that have absolutely no evidence of or basis for in reality. There is no evidence that ghosts exist. Yet people believe in them. It's ridiculous for you to demand that one prove that ghosts don't exist. How would one go about doing that exactly? No one can explore every crevice of the universe or even earth and prove that none of them have a ghost. Simply, the lack of evidence for ghosts, suffices in sceintists being able to say that ghosts are figmenst of our imagination. So how is it that you don't see a problem with making the same demand of me, to search every crevice in the universe?

If you think by demanding science to disprove everything it rejects on the basis of lack of evidence is fair, you are logically flawed. You are the one making this theory (of a soul) for which there is currently no proof. Thus, the burden of proof lies squarely on your shoulders.

Your example is flawed, we haven't explored all of the universe. We have explored all of the brain and body, down to every last gene or protein. Thus we are in a position to say that there is no basis for a soul or of for a mind, or for true free will in humans.

Stop making logical mistakes in order ot prove something that has no evidence to support it.
0 Replies
 
val
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2005 06:20 am
Centroles

I wasn't speaking about God or soul. To me those are words with no real meaning, as I have stated several times in this forum.
But when you say that "there is no evidence of anything that isn't governed by laws of physics and causality" I strongly disagree.
Before making such a statement you should think of what are "physical laws" and "causality". I think you will agree that those are not scientific questions, but philosophical ones.
You see, men make the laws of physic, and causality is a mental process, not an empirical one. You don't see or touch causes. Only events that occur in time. It is your mind that establishes the relation between them.

By the way: what I have just said can also be found in Nietzsche works.
0 Replies
 
 

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