Taking emergence really seriously

From what I've gather from their posts that caveat is lip service only.
I can't help but feel like the standard model and quantum fielt theory seem to suggest a progression towards "harder and hard to detect". Then when atheists say, "these are not the droids you're looking for ... the universe came from nothing", red flags go up. It seems most likely that the universe, it's physics constants and laws, came from something that we can't detect. Can we all agree upon that?
 
I can't help but feel like the standard model and quantum fielt theory seem to suggest a progression towards "harder and hard to detect" It seems most likely that the universe, it's physics constants and laws, came from something that we can't detect. Can we all agree upon that?
Yes. I have hope we will, but I don't won't assume it's God.
 
On the topic of emergent consciousness, it is probably true that memories can only form if consciousness is present. Since consciousness can be present, but no memories form (since some people have crappy memories), then consciousness is not the memory system. It might be true that consciousness engages the memory system, even if the memory system isn't working.

Strangely enough, memories can form even if consciousness is not displayed outwardly, like when we dream and near death experiences.
 
On the topic of emergent consciousness, it is probably true that memories can only form if consciousness is present. Since consciousness can be present, but no memories form (since some people have crappy memories), then consciousness is not the memory system. It might be true that consciousness engages the memory system, even if the memory system isn't working.

Strangely enough, memories can form even if consciousness is not displayed outwardly, like when we dream and near death experiences.
I'm not sure what you mean when you use the word consciousness nor when you use the term memory system. It seems to me that you equate consciousness to the state of being aware (as in awake, not unconscious). The other use has consciousness equivalent to "mind stuff" which would include the so-called unconscious, sub-conscious and everything down to fundamental consciousness which is, according to idealism, all there is.

Is the "memory system" you speak of the mechanics of recall, the memories themselves or both? I've mentioned elsewhere that the word memory is sometimes used when we mean recall, as in "my memory is so poor" while meaning "my ability to recall that memory is so poor".
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

I think this relates to the original topic as well as tying in the evolution stuff, as Plantinga is basically saying that emergence - even if true - is not something we could ever be sure of given the arbitrary quality of reasoning faculties under that assumption.

Plantinga gives an extended version of Lewis's Argument from Reason. Probably not the most convincing argument for God but I do think it is an interesting challenge as it calls to mind Hoffman's idea that natural selection works against true perception:

Evolution vs. naturalism: why they are like oil and water

What we learn from Crick and Churchland (and what is in any event obvious) is this: the fact that our hypothetical creatures have survived doesn’t tell us anything at all about the truth of their beliefs or the reliability of their cognitive faculties. What it tells us is that the neurophysiology that produces those beliefs is adaptive, as is the behavior caused by that neurophysiology. But it simply doesn’t matter whether the beliefs also caused by that neurophysiology are true. If they are true, excellent; but if they are false, that’s fine too, provided the neurophysiology produces adaptive behavior.
Ulrich J Mohrhoff presents some comments on the argument, bringing in the ideas of Sri Aurobindo.

It seems the ideas of Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin had at least some overlap with respect to teleology. The idea that
“man is a middle term of the evolution, not its end, crown or consummating masterpiece", and that man is only a stepping stone toward something reminds me of the hopeful gnostic interpretation of Cormac McCarthy's seemingly nihilistic Blood Meridian. As such, even if we only take these ideas to be metaphors, I think there's some poignancy in the hope that whatever his origins Man's destiny is more than war, division, and violence.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

Thomas Nagel: Thoughts Are Real


Since neither physics nor Darwinian biology—the concept of evolution—can account for the emergence of a mental world from a physical one, Nagel contends that the mental side of existence must somehow have been present in creation from the very start. But then he goes further, into strange and visionary territory. He argues that the faculty of reason is different from perception and, in effect, prior to it—“an irreducible faculty.” He suggests that any theory of the universe, any comprehensive mesh of physics and biology, will need to succeed in “showing how the natural order is disposed to generate beings capable of comprehending it.”

And this, he argues, would be a theory of teleology—a preprogrammed or built-in tendency in the universe toward the particular goal of fulfilling the possibilities of mentality. In a splendid image, Nagel writes, “Each of our lives is a part of the lengthy process of the universe gradually waking up and becoming aware of itself.”

In effect, the universe tends toward maximizing certain goals and places “value in the result toward which things tend”—and Nagel assimilates this metaphysical tendency to human morality, which would mesh, gradually and incrementally (with backward as well as forward steps) with the value that inheres in the universe. In this view, the discovery of those values is inextricable from the understanding of what the universe is. Physics and metaphysics, biology and moral philosophy join together in Nagel’s vision of a distant, eventually unified-field theory of the universe, of existence. His cosmic, overarching vision is remarkably anthropocentric—anchored in an idea of practical progress at a scale of human experience, with human history echoing the history of the universe.
 

Bart V

straw materialist
Member
I think this relates to the original topic as well as tying in the evolution stuff, as Plantinga is basically saying that emergence - even if true - is not something we could ever be sure of given the arbitrary quality of reasoning faculties under that assumption.

Plantinga gives an extended version of Lewis's Argument from Reason. Probably not the most convincing argument for God but I do think it is an interesting challenge as it calls to mind Hoffman's idea that natural selection works against true perception:

Evolution vs. naturalism: why they are like oil and water



Ulrich J Mohrhoff presents some comments on the argument, bringing in the ideas of Sri Aurobindo.

It seems the ideas of Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin had at least some overlap with respect to teleology. The idea that
“man is a middle term of the evolution, not its end, crown or consummating masterpiece", and that man is only a stepping stone toward something reminds me of the hopeful gnostic interpretation of Cormac McCarthy's seemingly nihilistic Blood Meridian. As such, even if we only take these ideas to be metaphors, I think there's some poignancy in the hope that whatever his origins Man's destiny is more than war, division, and violence.
Is there, outside apologetics, anyone who takes Plantinga's argument seriously?
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

Is there, outside apologetics, anyone who takes Plantinga's argument seriously?
I doubt it. But while question reasoning is less than convincing, the question of perception and falsity remains an interesting one.

Seems like only a matter of time before he ends up at deism or panentheism or something.
Well he's basically arguing for at least panpsychism to be true, but he's said numerous times he can't just feel that there's a god.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

Thinking Meat?

A materialist might argue as follows. Although we cannot at present understand how a hunk of meat could feel and think, what is actual is possible regardless of our ability or inability to explain how it is possible. The powers of certain configurations of matter could remain hidden for a long time from our best science, or even remain hidden forever. What else would be doing the thinking and feeling in us if not our brains? What else could the mind be but the functioning brain? The fact that we cannot understand how the brain could be a semantic engine is not a conclusive reason for thinking that it is not a semantic engine.

It is worth noting that the reverent gushing of the neuro-scientistic types over the incredible complexity of the brain does absolutely nothing to reduce the unintelligibility of the notion that it is brains or parts of brains that are the subjects of intentional and qualitative mental states. For it is unintelligible how ramping up complexity can trigger a metabasis eis allo genos. Are you telling me that meat that means is just meat that is more complex than ordinary meat? You might as well say that the leap from unmeaning meat to meaning meat is a miracle. Some speak of 'emergence.' But that word merely papers over the difficulty, labelling the problem without solving it. You may as well say, as in the cartoon, "And then a miracle occurs." But then it's Game Over for the materialist.
 
And yet here we are, a collection atoms and molecules arranged is specific ways following the laws of physics, biology and chemistry philosophizing why a collection of uniquely arrange atoms and molecules following the laws of physics, biology and chemistry can't think. Oh, the irony. This argument has as much sound logic in it as arguing why atoms and molecules arranged in specific ways can't be alive. This is what I "like" about logical argument. One can make a logical argument and never have to worry about being called to task to prove the logical argument experimentally.
 
And yet here we are, a collection atoms and molecules arranged is specific ways following the laws of physics, biology and chemistry philosophizing why a collection of uniquely arrange atoms and molecules following the laws of physics, biology and chemistry can't think. Oh, the irony. This argument has as much sound logic in it as arguing why atoms and molecules arranged in specific ways can't be alive. This is what I "like" about logical argument. One can make a logical argument and never have to worry about being called to task to prove the logical argument experimentally.
You're so adorable.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

On the Origins of the Mind

Criticism of minds being biological computers, as well as problems with evopsych in general. As a biologist and mathematician Berlinski reveals potential flaws in the materialist account via both disciplines.

If nothing else I think he shows the obstacles materialist emergence must overcome to be shown as a genuine account of why we are who we are.

...“there appears to be something hard-wired into humans that gives special attention to negative information.” There followed what is by now a characteristic note: “I think it’s evolutionary biology.”

Negative campaign advertisements are the least of it. There is, in addition, war and male aggression, the human sensitivity to beauty, gossip, a preference for suburban landscapes, love, altruism, marriage, jealousy, adultery, road rage, religious belief, fear of snakes, disgust, night sweats, infanticide, and the fact that parents are often fond of their children. The idea that human behavior is “the product of evolution,” as the Washington Post puts the matter, is now more than a theory: it is a popular conviction.

It is a conviction that reflects a modest consensus of opinion among otherwise disputatious philosophers and psychologists: Steven Pinker, Daniel Dennett, David Buss, Henry Plotkin, Leda Cosmides, John Tooby, Peter Gärdenfors, Gary Marcus. The consensus is constructed, as such things often are, on the basis of a great hope and a handful of similes. The great hope is that the human mind will in the end find an unobtrusive place in the larger world in which purely material causes chase purely material effects throughout the endless night. The similes are, in turn, designed to promote the hope.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

Meat as a filter/transmitter/receiver is more plausible? Certainly appears less testable/investigable.
I would agree filter/transmitter seems difficult to falsify, but there are other options like Idealism or Panpsychism. The latter is being taken up by Tegmark and other physicists are apparently excited about it, and it seems plausible this explains the observer-participancy observed last year.

I think the outstanding issue would be the question of realism, though it's possible that makes sense under panpsychism as well. According to Kaku you don't get to pick your reality via observation, observation simply sets reality into a firm position. (I don't have the book handy, but it's covered in the QM & Consciousness appendix.)
 
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