This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comments by Steve Zara

Go to: Classroom Clashes: Teaching evolution

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 226 by Steve Zara

Comment 221 by Rob W.

Ah, Phil, ouch! You really got me there, man! Of course I care about truth. It's just that there are factual ways of talking about truth, and then there's that other stuff that's more subjective and personal.

No there aren't. There never have been. There is a wonderful and terrifying world of subjective feelings that is open to us to explore if we want to, but there is no truth there other than the feelings. Feelings aren't truths, and to believe that they are is a profound mistake. There is nothing deep about subjective experience. It's all shallow, only the thickness of the cells of our cortex. The mind is a flowing weave on a tapestry of grey cells, and the pictures on that tapestry may be real or they may not be, but they are only flickering images, transient, changed with each viewing. Until we accept the absence of depth of our subjective self, we will leave ourselves open to delusion. Delusion may not do that much harm, for sure, but when delusion is considered a virtue, and delusion is praised as a fount of morality, then it is dangerous.

The only way to get to truth is through reason, through logic, through understanding. The only way to get to the truth of what's real, and to find out which truths are real, and that is science.

Fri, 17 Aug 2012 17:41:21 UTC | #950963

Go to: Refuting supernatural

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 184 by Steve Zara

Comment 182 by Schrodinger's Cat

'The supernatural' is really an utterly meaningless term.

I have, in a philosophical paper, seen it given a very clear definition: that which is beyond science.

However, this doesn't mean that it actually refers to anything real. It is in the same category as the word 'unknowable'.

I believe there is considerable confusion because 'supernatural' is assumed to be a valid property of something. It's not. It's an attribute that can never be justifiably used because that something is beyond science can never be demonstrated - it is impossible.

It is impossible to demonstrate that something is beyond 'natural laws' because we cannot in principle determine the limit of natural laws; what we call natural laws are provisional and could be changed at any time by the next observation.

The whole business of 'natural' and 'supernatural' is a distraction. It would be better if the terms were not used. What we have is a world in which we see things happen, and we use science to try and investigate. There is no other way to find out what is real and what is illusion and delusion.

Fri, 17 Aug 2012 13:26:56 UTC | #950945

Go to: Tired of arguing

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Steve Zara

I have given up that kind of debating. It achieves little. What you usually end up doing is annoying others, and I don't find that a good idea. For better or worse, I have put away my militancy.

Change in view will come, but it will come through education, primarily of the young. There is little if anything that can be done to change the views of most adults about religion.

Don't get frustrated; do something else that is productive. For example, one can campaign or work in some way for freedom of belief, including atheism, and equality without getting into a mess about religion.

Tue, 14 Aug 2012 06:15:06 UTC | #950773

Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by Steve Zara

Comment 13 by Rawhard Dickins

Humanity has to be allowed to have a "sharp end" even if some are starving, unfortunately there will always be some on the fringes of survival, it's fundamental to how evolution works.

This isn't true. It absolutely is not a choice between funding Mars missions and leaving some on the fringes of survival, and that has got nothing whatsoever to do with evolution. The annual cost of this Mars mission is less than the annual budget of McDonalds for advertising Happy Meals. I don't see great moral anguish about humankind's choice between fast-food advertising and starvation.

If there really was a great desire to get rid of starvation in the world it could easily be done by halving defence budgets and putting taxes on the rich back to what they were only decades ago. The amount of money tucked away overseas in tax havens is trillions of dollars.

Tue, 07 Aug 2012 00:15:15 UTC | #950471

Go to: Para-naturalistic theories cannot lead to practical engineering

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Steve Zara

So the next time someone complains to you that evolutionary theory might be leaving something out by dismissing the supernatural, ask them how the supernatural might be of any use to the many scientists around the world daily developing new life-saving medicines.

The complaint makes no sense. The supernatural, or magic, is supposedly beyond the reach of science. So it makes no sense to insist that a scientific theory should take into account something that is by definition beyond its reach.

There is no magic. It is impossible. There isn't an property called 'magical' that makes anything other than poetic sense. There isn't a property of being forever beyond the reach of any scientific investigation that can be applied to anything, because the whole idea of the natural and the supernatural is an irrelevance and confuses things. There are phenomena that happen and that's it. There is no possible test to see if a phenomenon is supernatural, or not, magical, or not. We can only try and explore what happens and see if we can find what looks like useful and meaningful explanations.

Mon, 30 Jul 2012 03:02:56 UTC | #950301

Go to: Against All Gods

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 87 by Steve Zara

Comment 85 by Mignostic

But only if we assume that everything needs to have an origin.

That's doesn't really help. Even if something doesn't need to have an origin, it still doesn't explain why it exists.

It is often said that by revealing to us the nature of the constituents of matter, physics is helping to answer the question of why there is anything at all. But that isn't the case. Imagine for the sake of argument that existence was actually a physical property, like length. Any object will be a certain distance in the direction of existence. If we break the object down into pieces, then into atoms, then into sub-atomic particles, we aren't moving the object at all in the direction of existence. The question of existence applies as much to an electron as it does to a rock. What we get if we find out the constituents of matter is an explanation of the origin of complexity, of structures. We don't get any closer to answering the question of why is there anything at all.

I suspect we can never know the answer to this.

Sun, 29 Jul 2012 23:17:10 UTC | #950299

Go to: Why Jehovah's Witnesses won't mourn the Aurora victims

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Steve Zara

Comment 5 by Corylus

What I find unforgivable about the official attitude of the Catholic Church towards HIV, and what was said above by the Elder, is that they seem happy to accept collateral damage. Of course no-one would catch HIV if everyone only had one partner, but that does not mean that you can avoid HIV by only having one partner. If your partner has had sexual experience before they meet you, or is not monogamous with you, then you can of course catch HIV. The Church is prepared to let the partners of the HIV-infected die rather than use a condom. The Elder seems to think somehow that the children share the blame for what he believes are the sins of the parents.

I truly detest such dehumanizing of others, the partners of the HIV-infected and the children. There seems no room for the slightest bit of empathy.

Sun, 29 Jul 2012 01:38:26 UTC | #950261

Go to: Against All Gods

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 74 by Steve Zara

Comment 68 by Mignostic

The question is about ultimate origins because, I guess, people are after ultimate answers! We want to solve the mystery of the crime of creation, like a detective. What would a satisfying answer be like?

My view is that we can't get an ultimate answer, because there isn't one, because there can't be one. That's my philosophical position.

However, we should always look for ever-simpler answers where we can.

Sat, 28 Jul 2012 23:53:29 UTC | #950259

Go to: Against All Gods

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 64 by Steve Zara

Comment 48 by Ignorant Amos

You've peaked an interest here, I'd like to look into this further, can I ask where you made you're discovery?

I heard this on a documentary which suggested that T.Rex was a scavenger. I think it was said by the paleontologist Jack Horner.

Sat, 28 Jul 2012 20:38:35 UTC | #950243

Go to: Against All Gods

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 45 by Steve Zara

Comment 44 by Schrodinger's Cat

Thus the very laws of nature have a tendency to produce creatures who find the laws of nature a bit odd.

What a fascinating observation! I suspect you are right. Because science will probably always extend the mind of a creature beyond what it has evolved to find familiar.

That is quite a thought though - the universe possibly filled with beings who all are in a state of puzzlement.

It reminds me of this Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy dialogue:

Arthur: All my life I've had this strange feeling that there's something big and sinister going on in the world. Slartibartfast: No, that's perfectly normal paranoia. Everyone in the universe gets that.

Sat, 28 Jul 2012 02:47:33 UTC | #950201

Go to: Against All Gods

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 43 by Steve Zara

Comment 42 by Schrodinger's Cat

If one envisages an entire universe populated with suffering, struggling creatures......one of countless universes populated with suffering, struggling creatures.....it does start to seem a bit remiss of the entirety of existence to just 'happen' to be that way. Mere 'indifference' scarcely begins to describe an infinitude of this.

That's a point of view. I'm sure you would expect me to say I don't agree with, and I don't! I don't believe one can talk about the universe being indifferent, because indifference is an attitude, and as far as I know, universes don't look like the kind of thing that can have attitudes, unless you are a deist or pantheist of some kind. Being remiss is the kind of things brains do. I consider that describing existence to be remiss is a case of 'meaning leak', assuming that what goes on inside our heads can somehow leak out and be real elsewhere.

I did discover something recently which surprised me, which is that there is not nearly as much suffering in Nature as I thought. I discovered that an awful lot of animals die of old age, not by predation. This is why scavenging is such a good way for carnivores to survive. I hope this is true!

I have to say I'm quite pleased that the universe doesn't have any ability to care about things. What an awful thought! I don't want a life filled with meaning, I want there to be plenty of room for my own meaning. I don't want cosmic purpose, I want to be free to make my own direction in life.

Although it gives many people comfort, the idea of theism, deism or even pantheism seems terribly intrusive to me. I prefer to not be owned by a creator, or be part of some wider essence of mind. It makes reality seem awfully claustrophobic!

Sat, 28 Jul 2012 02:09:10 UTC | #950199

Go to: Against All Gods

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 41 by Steve Zara

Comment 12 by Maariya

If one took something so seriously then they wouldnt attempt to critically examine it, because its religion not science.

Religion isn't science, but believers are people. Science can, and does, study people. The idea that religion is beyond science doesn't work because believers aren't beyond science, and the reasons for beliefs and the very nature of belief itself can be investigated, and they certainly should be because religious belief is an important and interesting aspect of human nature.

The thoughts of believers are a proxy in the physical world for the supposedly supernatural object of their beliefs, making that object accessible to science.

Sat, 28 Jul 2012 01:06:09 UTC | #950195

Go to: Against All Gods

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 40 by Steve Zara

Comment 35 by holysmokes

You point out that there may have been endless universes beginning and then fizzling out. Each time the remnants of the prior fuels the new one. Not your words to be sure, however I think that is the general idea of your comments. One could try to imagine this going on for eternity, past & future. If that is the case, then why couldn't a super-duper, all-knowing, all-powerful, being like a god, or at least like the Q on Star Trek TNG manifest itself over these countless trillions of centurys? Perhaps a creature that has learned to survive from one universe to the next unscathed? Sufficient time would not be an issue and we would certainly look at this being as if he/she/it were a god. I think it makes the "who created the creator" argument a moot point. Your thoughts?

This is, in my view, a very interesting point. It doesn't get rid of the "who created the creator" problem though, because the problem is one of complexity. If we want to try and explain some complexity in the universe by saying it was created, then we are stuck with having to explain the complexity of a creator. We still have the question of the creator even if that creator has been around for a very, very long time. The question is, or at least should be, about ultimate origins.

It could be quite feasible for a being with god-like powers to appear, but the only way we can sensibly explain how such a being got started is through a self-generating process - evolution. Evolved "gods" are perfectly scientifically reasonable, although I don't think it's reasonable to call them true gods.

Your question does have a connection to the question of why we haven't seen aliens yet - the 'Fermi Paradox' - if they are there, we should see them, it goes. Your question reveals that there is another form of this question - I call it the 'Temporal Fermi Paradox' - if beings could survive the end of one universe and the origin of another, somehow 'pass through' a Big Bang, we should see them.

So, the lack of evidence for gods is also lack of evidence for the idea of there being a previous universe with beings able to survive its end.

Sat, 28 Jul 2012 00:59:23 UTC | #950194

Go to: Against All Gods

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Steve Zara

I love the argument from complexity, I honestly do. I'm not being ironic, I really do find it the most fascinating argument for gods that there is, because it's actually the only argument that has ever made any kind of sense - although in retrospect, it never did. Here is something so strange, so detailed, so complex, that it could never have just turned up by itself. It had to be made, and being made means there must be a maker. It feels like a good argument. It is a pretty good argument generally, but it fails in one critical situation, which is when we are trying to explain ultimate origins.

Complexity seems to have a cost of explanation which needs to be funded by a creator. But it doesn't. Even if we put aside natural selection, complexity still doesn't need funding. Thanks to the work of the mathematical physicist Ludwig Boltzmann we know that complexity may only need time:

Take one universe. Add particles of various sorts. Mix thoroughly. Put into a sealed heat-proof container, and simmer. Wait. Eventually anything and everything will appear. You get complexity for free.

This isn't magic. The second law of thermodynamics, that everything falls apart, isn't actually a law. It's more of a guideline. It isn't a guideline for the world, it's a guideline for our understanding, written by us. Given enough time the second law just gives up and walks away.

This is seriously important for cosmology. It means that if you have a vast dull nearly-empty universe, you will eventually get a Big Bang. If quantum gravity exists, then this is pretty much inevitable. It needs no explanation, just time. We get a new universe, in fact an endless number of them, for free.

Now lets add in the work of Darwin. Darwin showed how complexity can appear quickly, by a form of dodgy gambling. You fund your bet with the complexity of a genome, make countless small bets through mutation, and Natural Selection will pay you back handsomely. Well, apart from when the casino of life is burnt to the ground by an asteroid. So we get complexity for free anyway. It's not just natural, it's guaranteed.

That's not good enough for many believers, as they want there to be a creator. A creator messes things up, though, because what is wanted is a heavenly self-portrait of the believer, a creator who shares the same loves, the same hates, the same morals. Portraits are hard to paint. They are full of detail. And so, a creator is necessarily complex, even if the picture is crude. A creator is also fearfully self-defeating as a kind of beginning of everything. If we want to explain the origin of human attributes through a creator, then we have to explain where those complex attributes came from:

If they came from a complex creator, then we haven't explained anything; we are just facsimiles of that being.

If the creator is not complex then the creator can't be the source of the complexity, it has to be added somehow, so adding a creator doesn't help.

There is also the problem, and it is a huge one, of how the creator created. Unless we know what happened, we can't say who did it. We have to let off any being suspected of the crime of creation because of lack of method and opportunity. We have to say reasonable doubt.

So-called irreducible complexity is never an argument for a creator, because a creator isn't the kind of thing that helps us understand ultimate origins. It's not just wrong, it's irrelevant.

Thu, 26 Jul 2012 16:42:58 UTC | #950112

Go to: Religious Olympics

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Steve Zara

For theologists: the ontology races.

No-one actually races, but each participant has to come up with an argument using modal logic that convinces the judges that the fact of them having won is a necessity.

Tue, 24 Jul 2012 00:34:53 UTC | #949946

Go to: Religious Olympics

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Steve Zara

Christian water polo. ON the water.

Mon, 23 Jul 2012 22:41:43 UTC | #949931

Go to: Religious Olympics

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Steve Zara

The Metaphysical Sprint. Faced with questions about Biblical accuracy and evidence the winner is the first one to run to the metaphysical, such as by insisting that god isn't an answer but a question, or that god is beyond questions of existence.

Mon, 23 Jul 2012 17:52:44 UTC | #949909

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 272 by Steve Zara

I have just realised: non-functionalism is a form of supernaturalism. It insists that there are truths that we can know that are beyond the reach of science. It says that it is acceptable to believe without evidence.

The parallels are fascinating.

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 21:33:52 UTC | #949864

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 265 by Steve Zara

comment 264 by Schrodinger's Cat

And I've been stating that my view of consciousness was physical, right here on this forum, for well over a year now !

I'm just attempting to make clear what stage of the cycle of argument you are currently at.

I have no intention of going around another cycle right now. I'm sure friends will let me know if you ever manage to post answers to these questions, rather than going into evasions and red herrings:

1) Any idea for how we can test for your physical extra bit of consciousness. 2) How your physical extra bit of consciousness has physical consequences.

I'm bored of endless assertions about why dualists must be right and why I simply must accept what they say about their own minds, and how it's simply absurd to hold any other view.

I'm only interested in answers.

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 18:31:11 UTC | #949855

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 261 by Steve Zara

comment 260 by Schrodinger's Cat

I've shown that you own epistemological loop demands that awareness itself is a physical and causal phenomenon.

There is nothing of consequence here. Of course I believe that awareness itself is a physical and causal phenomenon. I believe awareness is the functional result of neural activity. To be precise, I believe that awareness is patterns of neural activity that is involved in self-modelling. What I don't believe is that there is anything more, nothing additional in the physical realm. Perhaps the best analogy I can come up with is that awareness is equivalent to software. Software is patterns of activity in computers. It is caused and it has causal effects. It's functional. No-one insists that because there is software that there must be some extra physical presence called 'softwareness' that is non-functional and follows software around wherever it goes.

You are mixing up my position that awareness is physical with your (current) position that awareness is physical and involves something extra.

You have finally accepted that David Chalmers is wrong. You have finally conceded that your view of consciousness is physical and must have physical consequences. What you haven't yet provided is

1) Any idea for how we can test for your physical extra bit of consciousness. 2) How your physical extra bit of consciousness has physical consequences.

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 17:01:10 UTC | #949851

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 259 by Steve Zara

Comment 257 by Zeuglodon

Agreed, which is why I hope my sidenote for you in Comment 253 helps out a little. You mentioned you needed a formal proof, and I noticed a little overlap, if it gives you food for thought. Here, I'll save you the bother of fishing my old comment and copy it here:

I see your point, but I believe that the argument against non-functionalism is even stronger. It's not just that any non-functional parts are beyond the reach of direct evidence, but that we can see that none of the evidence we have need be interpreted as to indicate non-functionalism.

To put this in terms of your 'event horizon' argument, there was for a while a belief in something called 'dark flow', a general drift of galaxy clusters which seemed to indicate that there was some huge mass beyond the visible universe, a huge mass that had earlier on been close enough to have a gravitational influence. However, the evidence (I think) has now faded. What people thought was evidence for the huge mass turns out not to be so. Of course, some huge mass could still exist, but we have no reason to believe it does.

The problem for non-functionalism that it concedes that in terms of reasons for our thoughts, it's possible for us to get a complete understanding that does not include anything non-functional.

This also means that non-functionalists have to accept that we can't be experts about our own thoughts, because to be an expert means to have justified wisdom, and yet no thoughts about non-functionalism can be justified.

We really are into invisible pink unicorn territory!

To be honest, I think non-functionalists are asking the wrong questions. The question of non-causal aspects of mind is very strongly linked to the question of existence in general. They seem to me to be confusing the question of why they have experiences with the question of why the and their thoughts exist.

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 16:34:55 UTC | #949848

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 255 by Steve Zara

Comment 253 by Zeuglodon

Note non-functional. Steve Zara's point is that (though I hope he can clarify this), if you think consciousness is non-functional, you say that it doesn't do anything. However, if it doesn't do anything, it can't cause anything because to do something is to cause something, by whichever means. It can't cause you to talk about it any more than a deistic god can cause you to have revelations while remaining outside the universe. You can only make a guess. And your guess is unjustified by the evidence provided within the universe. You couldn't talk about non-functional consciousness because you haven't identified a link between it existing and you talking about it.

Absolutely. That means that nothing that has ever been said, or written about non-functional consciousness can be because of it. None of the (most likely) millions of words about it can be because of it. Non-functionalists are in exactly the same position as Russell Teapotists, as those who insist that belief in God is acceptable because they say we can't prove that he doesn't exist.

Another way to look at the situation is to consider that any argument for believing in non-functionalism hits a singularity just like a hidden division by zero in mathematics. You end up with a point where a proof becomes undecidable. What you are trying to prove may be true, but your argument can't reach the proof.

The question is whether or not it is reasonable to believe that something is real when it is impossible to come up with evidence for it even in terms of your own thoughts.

I think not.

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 15:44:56 UTC | #949842

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 251 by Steve Zara

comment 249 by Schrodinger's Cat

Nobody is better qualified to comment on the nature of my actual conscious experience itself than I am.

Seeing as you have not been able to give a single reason why we should accept what you say, not a single reason as to how this physical/non-physical aspect of consciousness should result in anything physical, such as your words, then you can provide no justification at all for that statement.

This is yet another example of attempting to show you are true by assertion.

What we see here is equivalent to theology: after so many thousands of words insisting that something must be the case but refusing to provide any evidence for it, then the fact that you continue to argue without evidence is itself evidence for that what you say is not true.

If you had anything to offer, you would have surely done so. You haven't.

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 15:09:35 UTC | #949837

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 246 by Steve Zara

Comment 233 by Bernard Hurley

I have a computer that can print stuff out but it has no scanner or ocr software so it cannot read the stuff. It can print out a spreadsheet and then print out the message 'This is a print out of a spreadsheet'. It can go on and then print out a pie chart based on this information and print out 'This is a print out of the a pie chart based on the print out of the spreadsheet'. Now just how did the printout's knowledge about itself get into the printout?

That's not the argument. That is a coincidental truth. You will see that for much of the time I have been using the phrase "justified belief", a belief based on evidence and reason, not one that is co-incidentally true.

For me, this whole argument is about beliefs and why we have them, and how we can justify positions based on evidence and reason. We base beliefs about consciousness on introspection. That would be equivalent to the computer using its scanner and ocr software.

In order for the system to justifiably have a belief that there is a print out of the pie chart, it would have to have evidence that the print out actually came into existence - it would have to have used the scanner and ocr software.

The only way we can have any confidence that something is (1) real and (2) what we think it is is to have actual evidence for it.

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 13:54:36 UTC | #949832

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 244 by Steve Zara

comment 243 by Zeuglodon

No it isn't! You claimed it was something physical. That means you should have no trouble pointing out where it is or how to scientifically investigate it.

It might save you time to find out that Quine and I have been through this particular argument many, many, many times, and nothing has been produced.

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 13:34:20 UTC | #949830

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 239 by Steve Zara

Comment 231 by Bernard Hurley

You are missing the key point of my argument. I'm not arguing that epiphenomenalism is provably false. I'm not trying to prove that other aspects of mind don't exist. What I'm trying to show is that other aspects of mind might as well not exist, because nothing we say about them has any certain truth value. That epiphenomenalism is a rather silly view, equivalent to deism.

It's not a weak argument or a strong argument: it's a logical deduction.

I am pretty sure that epiphenomenalism can be proven to be wrong, but I'm not up to it!

Another point of my argument which you have neglected, and which is beyond the stultification argument is the conceivability of determining convincing reasons for the beliefs in ephiphenomenalism which are clearly physical. This would remove any reasons for belief in the epiphenomenal.

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 13:14:38 UTC | #949825

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 227 by Steve Zara

comment 224 by Schrodinger's Cat

But I'm not arguing there's a non physical aspect ! I'll quite happily state that dualism is a complete and utter load of nonsense.

Brilliant. It's nice to see you refute Chalmers.

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 05:10:13 UTC | #949810

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 225 by Steve Zara

What I do believe in ironically comes from your own causal chain. It is self evident and stands out like a sore thumb. If the entire chain must be physical, then, inescapably, awareness must be physical too. That is to say, awareness is a physical thing in its own right.

OK then, how does it result in knowledge about itself ending up in your words? This is where physical dualism, non-physical dualism, supernaturalism, panpsychism and so many other philosophical positions fail. They fail to show how we can have knowledge of them.

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 04:55:34 UTC | #949808

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 222 by Steve Zara

Comment 220 by Schrodinger's Cat

I don't see any panpsychist dualism....all I see is some very sensible responses.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/panpsychism/

"Although not providing full scale defences of panpsychism, several other writers have recently approached the problem of consciousness in ways sympathetic to panpsychism. See for example chapter eight of Chalmers (1996), or the articles by Piet Hut and Roger Shepard, Gregg Rosenberg, and William Seager, all in Shear (1997)."

As I said, you have never really understood Chalmers.

And as you keep diverting away from actually giving answers yourself, I'm giving up :)

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 04:22:19 UTC | #949803

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 219 by Steve Zara

comment 218 by Schrodinger's Cat

Now you are backtracking. Your original argument was that the entire process from qualia to report has to be physically causal in order for there to be a report. You even described this as an 'epistemological loop'...so it even feeds back on itself. Your argument is thus that there aren't and cannot be any non-physical aspects of this causal chain.

No, I'm not backtracking. My belief is that there aren't any non-physical aspects of this causal chain.

What I'm doing is asking you, who believes that there is a non-physical aspect of this causal chain, to explain how it works.

What you are confusing is what I insist is true, and the argument I am using to show that this is true. Arguments can be based on hypotheticals you see. You can argue based on 'what ifs'.

So, having dealt with that diversion, are you going to answer the question of how non-interactive aspects of consciousness can result in epistemic transfer or not? Actually, I know the answer from considerable experience: It's 'not'. However, I believe it's now far clearer exactly why the position of non-interactive dualism fails.

As I said, if you can't say how what you believe to exist results in you saying that it exists, then you have utterly lost the argument, as you concede that your words are meaningless, as your words could just as well have come from zombie-you.

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 03:54:58 UTC | #949800