babble home
rabble.ca - news for the rest of us
today's active topics


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
FAQ | Forum Home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» babble   » rabble content   » babble book lounge   » More on the God Delusion

Email this thread to someone!    
Author Topic: More on the God Delusion
DonnyBGood
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4850

posted 23 September 2007 06:16 AM      Profile for DonnyBGood     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In the September 7 issue of the TLS Richard Dawkins reviewed Christopher Hitchens' book "God Is Not Great". The result was that a number of enlightened religious scholars replied that the the scholarship of both of these guys left something to be desired.

I am currently reading through Dawkins book and do not find it a smooth read. It is fascinating. By his definition I would be an atheist but there is this nagging doubt that he isn't addressing some fairly important ideas about causality and evolution.

Evolution as I understand it is the process whereby existence organizes itself into increasingly more complicated and sophisticated organisms, hallmarks of which are intelligence and conciousness. Devolution can occur but it would seem that this occurs only as a result of some anomalous catastrophe. Ok so let us thenm look down the road say a few million years. If we avoid annihilating ourselves and continiue to evolve then down the road humans will have very God-like attributes as may cockroaches and armadillos. Of course some species have changed very little in hundreds of millions of years.

Another point about this in the Galapos one species - finches - filled many nitches in the enviroment. I there a "demi-god" nitch for humans in the universe in the same way?

What is the "role" of human existence in the evolutionary process? Is it simply the aggragate of a series of chemical interactions or, like "entropy" or the "Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle", is life an overarching feature of the universe?

To read Dawkins Review check out TLS September 7, 2007 issue.

In the mean time here is a review from Flak magazine:

God is Not Great


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Alexandra Kitty
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 14514

posted 23 September 2007 07:30 AM      Profile for Alexandra Kitty   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hitchens is one of those writers that everyone else seems to like more than I do. I read him, I get what he is saying, but he comes off as something of a sophist to me. I see flaws in his arguments; so I end up not agreeing with his conclusions.

But to each his own.

I still plan on reading this book, but I am interested to know how much of his rivalry with his brother is influencing his thinking and how much is based in rationality. Because I don't see a problem with being both scientific and if not religious, at least spiritual.


From: Hamilton, Ontario Canada | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4117

posted 23 September 2007 07:34 AM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I still plan on reading this book, but I am interested to know how much of his rivalry with his brother is influencing his thinking and how much is based in rationality. Because I don't see a problem with being both scientific and if not religious, at least spiritual.


Hitch has a brother?


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
TemporalHominid
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6535

posted 23 September 2007 07:42 AM      Profile for TemporalHominid   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I read some of this autobiography yesterday:

Infidelby Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a feminist and political writer.


From: Under a bridge, in Foot Muck | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4117

posted 23 September 2007 08:35 AM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Why don't people write books about Muslim moderates and the humanitarian aspects of Islamic practice? Intellectuals tend to go and on about anti semitic Imams, public beheadings and mysoginist theocracies, but they never discuss all the decent people living in places like Saudi Arabia.

[ 23 September 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Alexandra Kitty
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 14514

posted 23 September 2007 01:30 PM      Profile for Alexandra Kitty   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:

Hitch has a brother?


Oh, yeah...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/newscomment.html?in_article_id=459427&in_page_id=1787&in_a_source

and

http://news.independent.co.uk/media/article2640860.ece


From: Hamilton, Ontario Canada | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 23 September 2007 02:40 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DonnyBGood:
If we avoid annihilating ourselves and continiue to evolve then down the road humans will have very God-like attributes as may cockroaches and armadillos. Of course some species have changed very little in hundreds of millions of years

Are we evolving? Or have we stopped evolving to any significant degree since dominating natural surroundings so utterly and thoroughly ? Some scientists and futurists are saying the next step in our evolution will be the emergence of human-machine hybrids. And eventually, a new species of being will be introduced to the planet in the form of artificially intelligent machines. Synthetic intelligence is predicted to be able to think and reason millions of times faster than the cleverest people. They just have to figure out how to duplicate human consciousness first before creating this new species. Ahhhem ...


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
B.L. Zeebub LLD
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6914

posted 24 September 2007 02:00 AM      Profile for B.L. Zeebub LLD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Verifying the notion that we cannot "devolve" outside of some kind of catastrophe would require a God-like consciousness of the purposes and possibilities of the universe. There is no evidence, at all, that we are getting "better"; just "different". We don't adapt to everything in our environment, just some things. "Advantageous" implies a non-scientifically provable heirarchy of values, and mere survival is not evidence that we have "improved". Why some things are adapted to and not others is still (and will remain) a mystery.

[ 24 September 2007: Message edited by: B.L. Zeebub LLD ]


From: A Devil of an Advocate | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
B.L. Zeebub LLD
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6914

posted 24 September 2007 02:10 AM      Profile for B.L. Zeebub LLD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Fidel:
Synthetic intelligence is predicted to be able to think and reason millions of times faster than the cleverest people. They just have to figure out how to duplicate human consciousness first before creating this new species. Ahhhem ...

This discounts the role of consciousness in human cognitive abilities. There is also lots of existing (not predicted) evidence that an increase in consciousness and concentration of attention (by way of meditation, for example) can lead to stunningly fast insights - i.e. what we call "intuitions" - which are incredibly accurate though, by definition, unscientific.


Science likes (much like grade 10 math teachers) to focus on the "work" of getting right answers and dismisses answers - often equally right - produced by "intuition".

As a child I was often able to produce correct answers to multiple-stage "problem solving" exercises in math with little to no systematic written or mental work. I would glance at the problem, doodle a little, make a few completely erroneous (by mathematical standards) "formulas" that only made sense to me and quickly get the correct answer more often than many of my hardworking classmates.

Couldn't back it up - but I was right.

Furthermore, to the question of human consciousness and unconscious machines: How can consciousness evolve from unconciousness?

[ 24 September 2007: Message edited by: B.L. Zeebub LLD ]


From: A Devil of an Advocate | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Geneva
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3808

posted 24 September 2007 05:51 AM      Profile for Geneva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
[QUOTE]Originally posted by DonnyBGood:
In the September 7 issue of the TLS Richard Dawkins reviewed Christopher Hitchens' book "God Is Not Great". ...

isn't that a bit like Edward Herman reviewing Noam Chomsky, or David Frum reviewing Karl Rove ??

unlikely to really press on the contradictions in a fellow-traveller's case, whatever their convictions

[ 24 September 2007: Message edited by: Geneva ]


From: um, well | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Geneva
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3808

posted 24 September 2007 06:05 AM      Profile for Geneva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:

Hitch has a brother?

yes, and they are book-ends, ideologically:
http://tinyurl.com/yootd7

We disagreed about the Iraq War – he was for it, I was against it. Despite the occasional temptation, I have never reviewed any of his books until today.

But now, in God Is Not Great, he has written about religion itself, attacking it as a stupid delusion.

This case, I feel, needs an answer. Most of the British elite will applaud, since they see religion as an embarrassing and (worse) unfashionable form of mania.

And I am no less qualified to defend God than Christopher is to attack him, neither of us being experts on the subject.

People sometimes ask how two brothers, born less than three years apart, should have come to such different conclusions.

To which I’d answer that I’m not sure they’re as different as they look, and that it’s not over yet.

Christopher has quite often written and spoken about our upbringing and background, whereas I haven’t, but I think I’m now entitled to give a small account of what we have in common.


.

[ 24 September 2007: Message edited by: Geneva ]


From: um, well | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 24 September 2007 07:11 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Brits have no reason to feel superior to anyone. Afterall, they voted for Maggie. Three times.

[ 24 September 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
CharlotteAshley
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11393

posted 28 September 2007 04:04 AM      Profile for CharlotteAshley   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Evolution as I understand it is the process whereby existence organizes itself into increasingly more complicated and sophisticated organisms, hallmarks of which are intelligence and conciousness. Devolution can occur but it would seem that this occurs only as a result of some anomalous catastrophe. Ok so let us thenm look down the road say a few million years.

One of the key points evolutionary biologists will make repeatedly is that evolution is NOT a process where organisms become more complicated, sophisticated, more intelligent or more conscious. It is NOT a linear process because states of life have no heirarchy. Evolution selects for survivability and reproduction - that's it. There's no guarantee that complexity, sophistication or intelligence will make for easier survival or better chances at reproduction.

Some of the most effective lifeforms on the planet are, in fact, extremely simple - bacteria jump immediately to mind. Others have evolved very little in millenia because they are simply that good at what they do - sharks, bugs. Humans might have the whole brains-and-technology thing going, but we're a comparatively new species on this planet, and the evidence that we have the best survival skills out there is not very compelling - we can only survive an a fraction of the planet, for starters, and our current levels of success are based on a survival structure which is much more precarious than that of, say, algae. "Society on stilts" and all that.

Anyway, Steven Jay Gould says it better than me in any number of his essays.

Charlotte


From: Toronto | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8312

posted 28 September 2007 07:04 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
One of the key points evolutionary biologists will make repeatedly is that evolution is NOT a process where organisms become more complicated, sophisticated, more intelligent or more conscious. It is NOT a linear process because states of life have no heirarchy. Evolution selects for survivability and reproduction - that's it. There's no guarantee that complexity, sophistication or intelligence will make for easier survival or better chances at reproduction.

What you are addressing, so well, is one of the conceits of humankind, that we are the pinnacle, the apex, of evolution. Thus, having reached evolution's culmination, we shall evolve no further and no other species shall be recognized as capable of further evolution so extinctions, regrettable as they are but necessary for the economic development of humans (the only evolutionary process that now matters), is of little consequence except in the potential material or scientific loss.

From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
quelar
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2739

posted 28 September 2007 10:36 AM      Profile for quelar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Humans are doing a great job of stagnating evolution for ourselves and for any other creatures on earth.

As you know evolution only sees positive benefits when coupled with natural selection, however we have decided (rightfully so as well) that we should cure disease other than letting it wipe out the weaker people, we allow everyone to breed (some exceptions of course) whether they're superior in looks, intelligence, skills, or nothing. And we use medical technology to help people with fertility problems have kids.

All of these things are completely contrary to natural selection, and therefore help spawn a sort of 'genetic mediocrity'. I apologise if I sound like a eugenist, I'm not supporting the idea, just saying this is the genetic reality.

As for nature, we're stumping it's ability to evolve by being so directly invasive in almost every level of it's 'nature' by mass land changes and environmental inputs we change their habits too frequently to allow any sort of natural progression to things, the only real chance they have of evolving is through some really random environmental input that warps them in a way that helps them in this ever polluted environment, however that's a longer shot than normal evolution.


From: In Dig Nation | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1425

posted 28 September 2007 11:25 AM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Evolution is merely the change in gene frequencies within a population over time. The concept of "genetic information" is just about as stable as the rationales for the war in Iraq. It has always been defined in such a way so as to perpetuate the conceit that humans are somehow "better" than everything else. One fo the earlier hopes was that humans had more DNA than everything else. Sorry, largest genome size currently belongs toAmoeba dubia , a single-celled organism, at 700pg, about 200 times larger than ours. Another single-celled orgnaism,Tetrahymena thermophila, is believed to have roughly the same number of genes as we do (~30,000 based on the current definiton of "gene" and inferences from the Human genome Project results).

The corn plant genome is believed to have double the number of genes as the human genome.

Thus ideas of "genetic information" increasing or decreasing are meaningless in scientific discussions of evolution. Ditto for ideas of "linear direction", increases in "complexity" or notions of "progress". These are philosophical baggage that people implicitly convinced of our "superiority" try to load on the science of evolutionary biology.

Nothing living ever stops evolving. However, natural selection in human evolution may be losing its power to affect allelic frequencies and it may be group selction (mediated by the effects of culture for example), genetic drift caused not so much by geographic isolation as by socio-economic isolation, and sexual selection that are causing a bias in the re-shuffling of our genes.

Equally true, is that everything else on the planet is eveolving pretty much as it always did, except that human effects on prey/competitor populations and habitat/climate will be crucial in determining which species/alleles survive. Zebra mussels, the AIDS virus and algae must love us; cod, whales, tigers and smallpox virus, not so much.

As to human claims to superority: Richard Lewontin has written that the fossil record reveals an average lifespan of about 10 million years for a mammalian species. If we die out in the next eight million years or so, our successors may remark "They were cute, those bald primates, but as species go, below average."

[ 28 September 2007: Message edited by: Sisyphus ]


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
quelar
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2739

posted 28 September 2007 11:39 AM      Profile for quelar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sisyphus:
If we die out in the next eight million years or so, our successors may remark "They were cute, those bald primates, but as species go, below average."


*PSSSHSTTHHEBBBTT!!* Whatever!! Those successors are going to remark something more along the lines of "HOLY CRAP look at how much damage they did over such a TINY period of time!"

If only because of our nuclear usage, we will be remembered for 10's of millions of years.


From: In Dig Nation | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 28 September 2007 01:36 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Evolution as I understand it is the process whereby existence organizes itself into increasingly more complicated and sophisticated organisms, hallmarks of which are intelligence and conciousness. Devolution can occur but it would seem that this occurs only as a result of some anomalous catastrophe.


This idea of evolution is entirely incorrect, and is itself a throwback to 19th century doctrines which replace God with the march of history.

Evolution does not have any direction at all. AT ALL. The same mollusks which were here 150 million years ago are still here, as are many smaller organisms.

As for many other organisms, there is no reason whatever to believe they are becoming more intelligent.

Chimpanzees are no more intelligent than the were when they branched off from the proto-human family, nor are hippos, hawks or worms increasing in intelligence. We share the world with all of these, and no pattern of advance is detectable.

Intelligence may be ADAPTIVELY USEFUL; if so, artificial selection may select for it. However, for many, many species, no reachable intelligence level will assist in the lifestyle of surviving on dirt, microbes, or tree canopy.

A basic understanding of evolution can be gotten from writers like Stephen J. Gould. Until you have done the reading, it is idle to be finding problems with a theory whose fundamentals you have completely misunderstood.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 214

posted 28 September 2007 01:50 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There will always be finer points of philosophy to quibble over (this seems to me the major selling point of Atheism, and therefore why organizing them is as Dawkins described like hearding cats) but the main thrust of both Dawkins and Hitchens if for Atheists to come out of the closet.

And not because we know so much better than the true belivers. But because we merit having our voices heard, also. Part of the reason whey religion has enjoyed so much ascendancy over the last few decades is because we abandoned the field.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8273

posted 28 September 2007 06:58 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Gould’s definition of progress, calculated to deliver a negative answer to the question whether evolution is progressive, is "a tendency for life to increase in anatomical complexity, or neurological elaboration, or size and flexibility of behavioral repertoire, or any criterion obviously concocted (if we would only be honest and introspective enough about our motives) to place Homo sapiens atop a supposed heap."

My alternative, ‘adaptationist’ definition of progress is "a tendency for lineages to improve cumulatively their adaptive fit to their particular way of life, by increasing the numbers of features which combine together in adaptive complexes."

- Richard Dawkins


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 28 September 2007 09:56 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by B.L. Zeebub LLD:
Furthermore, to the question of human consciousness and unconscious machines: How can consciousness evolve from unconciousness?

[ 24 September 2007: Message edited by: B.L. Zeebub LLD ]


That's the caramilk secret, isn't it?


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1425

posted 29 September 2007 09:52 AM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Furthermore, to the question of human consciousness and unconscious machines: How can consciousness evolve from unconciousness?

That is one of the "science-meets religion"-type questions, innit?

Perhaps consciousness is the unavoidable by-product of central nervous systems having a particular level of complexity.

Neurologist Antonio Damasio tends to think that there is an adaptive function to consciousness, that permits the use of feelings as rapid, ultra-efficient decision-making tools. His experimental work suggests that states of consciousness (feelings)are bound up --perhaps even, produced by-- somatosensory maps created by the integration of enormous amounts of internal and external sensory information, ranging form the contractile state of capillaries to the orientation of the body in space.

The presence of "higher" brain centres that integrate inputs from many other lower-level neural structures is the "hardware" required. More thorough and extensive integration produces a stronger and more defined consciousness.

Injuries to integrating components cause deficits in elements of consciousness such as sense of "self", for example.


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8312

posted 29 September 2007 10:09 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
That is one of the "science-meets religion"-type questions, innit?


If the answer is, "we don't know so it must be God," I suppose you are right. Of course, we could ask, how does something evolve out of nothing? How does life evolve from lifelessness? Any number of questions can lead to dead ends that do not necessitate the invention of God to answer. We could just answer, "we don't know". But then maybe that would lead to more questions that could lead to rational answers such as, for example, over how many centuries did it take for consciousness to evolve? What role in human survival does consciousness play? Would humans have survived and thrived in the wild without the development of consciousness?

From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
DonnyBGood
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4850

posted 29 September 2007 11:51 AM      Profile for DonnyBGood     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The discounting of the evolutionary "success' of humans as some kind of hubris discounts the entire Arthur C Clarke take on species development.

Sharks, amoeba, ferns and an entire host of things have not substantially changed in 100s of millions of years but they are infinitely more complex than the constituent chemistry. How is this possible in a universe where entropy and the laws of conservation of energy prevail?

Life is more complex than it was a billion years ago. Why?

There is no reason to assume that simply because humans behave socially we wil not evolve. There are theories of group behavior and Dawkins discusses this in his book. Do groups themselves "evolve"?

quote:
One of the key points evolutionary biologists will make repeatedly is that evolution is NOT a process where organisms become more complicated, sophisticated, more intelligent or more conscious. It is NOT a linear process because states of life have no heirarchy.

There is no heirarchy I agree. But there is complexity, order and randomness. Life is a form of ordering reality. Out of this ordering come conciousness and this self awareness creates behaviour modifications which effect the environmental conditions of evolution.

One has to only go to the museum and see the 5'5" armour of the 16th century to realize that we are taller and stronger and longer lived than our ancestors. The world heavyweight champion in 1895 was considered a big man at 6' and 195 lbs. Today the world champs are 6'6" and weigh 250lbs.

Nutrition, lifestyle, medicine improve our lot but we even the most disadvantaged live twice as long as their middle age counterparts.

If a finch were just a finch why would it instinctively, through some unknown process learen how to mimic the behaviour of diving birds or woodpeckers as they do on the Galapagos? They actually appropriate pine needles and use them to spear grubs from beneath the bark! Gaea is selecting them for the woodpecker's nitch in the web of existence.

So it may be that the cold virus is the most successful by some impirical measure but that measure misses the point of what is going on...

quote:
posted 28 September 2007 01:36 PM
quote:
Evolution as I understand it is the process whereby existence organizes itself into increasingly more complicated and sophisticated organisms, hallmarks of which are intelligence and conciousness. Devolution can occur but it would seem that this occurs only as a result of some anomalous catastrophe.

This idea of evolution is entirely incorrect, and is itself a throwback to 19th century doctrines which replace God with the march of history.

Evolution does not have any direction at all. AT ALL. The same mollusks which were here 150 million years ago are still here, as are many smaller organisms.


Yes but that completely ignores the fact that 150 million years ago they weren't talking aboout it!


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 29 September 2007 12:04 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:

Any number of questions can lead to dead ends that do not necessitate the invention of God to answer. We could just answer, "we don't know"

I think that's good enough for this stage of the game. In his 1930's book, The Mysterious Universe, Sir James Jeans sensed that scientific understanding was headed toward a belief in "a non-mechanical reality - the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter - we are beginning to suspect that we ought to hail it as the creator and or governor of matter."

And there were more, from Sir John Eccles to Canadian Wilder Penfield who realized that consciousness seems to be more than the sum of parts of the mechanical brain. Some have even likened the brain to a transformer of sorts.

quote:
"As far as what's really going on in the world, I don't have a clue, except that it's much stranger than we once thought, and somehow consciousness seems to be involved," -- Kuttner & Rosenblum , Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness

From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
DonnyBGood
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4850

posted 29 September 2007 03:05 PM      Profile for DonnyBGood     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Excellent citation Fidel. Seems as if this debate has been done before. Dawkins critiques these cosmic design ideas but does not address the questions raised here...

For example, and this cues in with the AI debate, will programmers ever discover a mathematical code that is self replicating... In other words as we see how humans skew reality and evolution by being concious is there a point where the computer code comes alive and starts to write itself?

Is the mathematics of the Universe concious? And one more thing. As I have been a fan of Dr Who for many years and the there are many stories that are fairly mainstream that deal with the paradoxes of time travel, will our decdendants a billion years from now have access to time travel? Are we moving toward "Godhood"?

This is how moderm science has it backwards. Why concentrate on the beginning of time? Perhaps theories about the end of the universe would be more interesting.

Jared Diamond's book, Collapse is very interesting as a planetary metaphor and object lesson in this regard.

[ 30 September 2007: Message edited by: DonnyBGood ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 30 September 2007 02:00 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DonnyBGood:
Excellent citation Fidel. Seems as if this debate has been done before. Dawkins critiques these cosmic design ideas but does not address the questions raised here...

Consciousness. There are many descriptions of what it is. Consciousness is self-awareness. It's having memories of the past, present and thoughts about the future. Consciousness is the ability to question your own understanding, and so on. They still haven't built a computer as bright as a HAL9000. But the experts are saying it will happen. Maybe 20 or 30 years from now during a time of "technological singularity." At that point in time, technological progress and understanding of everything could become so rapid that nobody will be able to predict the rate of advancement. Superhuman intelligence. Scientists have balked at the notion until recent years with advances in nanotechnology and microprocessor advancements.

Richard Dawkins apparently is a respected theorist in the field of evolutionary science. In fact, David Deutsch is one of the more conservative of today's theoretical physicists wrt quantum mechanics, string theory etc. Deutsch's interpretation (see video lectures) of the "fabric of reality" makes use of Dawkins' refinement of Darwinian evolution as well as Hugh Everett's many world's interpretation of quantum physics. One of the ways in which it is proposed to prove the existence of other dimensions, dimensions other than the four dimensions known about since Einstein, is to build a quantum computer. A quantum computer, if it works, is said to work by interacting with matter that can only exist in the "multiverse" or multiple other universes. Ensuring that such a computer is even stable and error-free is the largest task at hand by what I've read. And, what kinds of information would they want to compute the answers to with such a powerful computer ?


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
B.L. Zeebub LLD
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6914

posted 02 October 2007 09:24 AM      Profile for B.L. Zeebub LLD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sisyphus:
[QB]

That is one of the "science-meets religion"-type questions, innit?


To me it's just a necessary problem to be answered by those who talk of "mechanical consciousness" or even of the "evolution of consciousness" in humans. I pose the question to both (and not exclusively to) scientists and religionists/spiritualists.

quote:
Perhaps consciousness is the unavoidable by-product of central nervous systems having a particular level of complexity.

Perhaps?

quote:
Neurologist Antonio Damasio tends to think that there is an adaptive function to consciousness, that permits the use of feelings as rapid, ultra-efficient decision-making tools.

Hmmmm...I think there's a dangerous equivocation of "feelings" and "consciousness" there. To paraphrase the religious types (specifically the Buddhists) "who is the I who has feelings".

I'm not familiar with Damasio, but what you've said makes me VERY interested in his work.


From: A Devil of an Advocate | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
B.L. Zeebub LLD
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6914

posted 02 October 2007 09:34 AM      Profile for B.L. Zeebub LLD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:
[QB]
If the answer is, "we don't know so it must be God," I suppose you are right.

I don't know if that is the answer or not. I'm certainly not suggesting it is.


quote:
But then maybe that would lead to more questions that could lead to rational answers such as, for example, over how many centuries did it take for consciousness to evolve?

First we'd need to know what consciousness is. This would then bring us to the question of defining consciousness against unconsciousness. Unfortunately, the experience of "unconciousness" by a "conscious" being, is impossible. We can only tell where it starts and ends, if we're lucky. We might be able to empirically demonstrate that certain mechanical/chemical processes occur when consciousness is being experienced, but that would only give us correlation, not cause.

Of course, even if we could settle that, then we'd need to know when human consciousness started - which brings us back at the problem of "how does consciousness come out of unconciousness?"


From: A Devil of an Advocate | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4140

posted 02 October 2007 10:15 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just to stir the pot a little, it's noteworthy that there are some churches that promote a scientific world view with the same energy that some promote an anti-scientific world view. The Unitarians, e.g., have a tradition of promoting the understanding of evolution by natural selection.

Thank God for evolution!

My own UU church has divided views on the use of the term "God" however, and it is used hardly at all.

Here's a link to the book by Unitarian Rev. Michael Dowd about evolution:

"All of reality is sacred and science is our method of comprehending it".


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 02 October 2007 01:54 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've read a couple of Canadian Tom Harpur's books. He's a Rhodes scholar and former Anglican priest. In his view, Jesus was most likely a mythical person. For Harpur, it's not important to his faith whether Jesus was or wasn't real. I think what's important is that different cultures have held people like Jesus in such high regard.

"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." -- King James Bible


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1425

posted 03 October 2007 12:25 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
B.L. Zeebub LLD, I'm only halfway through Damasio's book and he's hinting that he may reunite the concept of "feeling' with that of "emotion", but currently the terms are defined separately.

The former represents the subjective sensations associated with particular patterns of neural firing, particularly those patterns associated with constructions of "somatosensory maps". He hasn't yet clarified the relation between feelings and consciousness, though I expect he will. So far, it seems as though one can have feelings without a defined sense of "self", but that one's sense of self at any given moment will be influenced by one's feelings.
"Emotions" as defined by Damasio are behaviours in response to stimuli that have a more-or-less complex relationship to feelings, but can exist in the absence of feelings and are present in fairly simple organisms.

I have always been very sceptical of the idea of true AI coming from a non-biological substrate but I can't think of any reason, in principle, why a 3-D analogue to the human mind --which would reproduce the ebb and flow of voltages, currents and excitation and inhibiton responses to varied inputs-- couldn't be built.

quote:

Perhaps consciousness is the unavoidable by-product of central nervous systems having a particular level of complexity.

Perhaps?


Yeah, perhaps. I see no logical reason to view it as inevitably unavoidable . I imagine that we will be able to increase computing power perhaps eventually in decreasing amounts forever, without producing self-aware computers. I believe that individual brains tend towards self-awareness, but it's as close as I come to a religious belief these days.

Frustrated Mess, I don't think we have to get all theistic in order to get religious, but that's my take on things at the moment. I think that when we're discussing the subjective aspects of consciousness, we've hit a barrier through which the scientific method can't venture. We are all ultimately alone in our subjective universe. We can't share the experience of our own death and I'll never know if your "red" looks more like my "orange", for example.

That doesn't imply that we can't treat many questions about consciousness scientifically, and determined which brain areas normally produce self-awareness and how is this changed during altruistic behaviours, mystical contemplation or when listening to music we ,like versus music we hate, to name but a few examples.

N. Beltov. Most of my fellow Unitarians in the Fellowship I attend are atheists, near as I can tell and we are quite occupied with trying to find a level of "God-talk" that suits those who are more theistic in outlook as well as the more militant ahteists.

Tom Harpur has expressed the dilemma particulalry well in an essay on Unitarians:

quote:
But, speaking for myself and them [Unitarians], they're not looking just for a debating society or for membership in a group of do-gooder, would-be intellectuals. They want, in the midst of all the other good things you have to offer, a truly living experience of God. They want meaning and a future hope.

Fidel, as I understand Harpur's Christianity, I think an important point for him is that the Christ-myth not only offers a guide to living responsibly as a humanist, but offers an orientation to other people that permits a figurative "resurrection" from the death and isolation of self-centred individualism to a rebirth into the eternal world of the spirit of humanity. I think this Joseph Campbell-y reading is where he draws inspiration from the Gospels, whose historical authenticity he dismisses in favour of the larger truths about the meaning of human life that he extracts from the Christian faith.

I found his ability to find this kind of inspiration in his re-vitalized Christianity to be the most remakable aspect of The Pagan Christ.

[ 03 October 2007: Message edited by: Sisyphus ]


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 07 October 2007 10:51 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sisyphus:
I have always been very sceptical of the idea of true AI coming from a non-biological substrate but I can't think of any reason, in principle, why a 3-D analogue to the human mind --which would reproduce the ebb and flow of voltages, currents and excitation and inhibiton responses to varied inputs-- couldn't be built.

I can only think it will be a monumental and immensely difficult task. But I can't help but enthusiastic along with the optimism of people like Ray Kurzweil when he suggests that the technology to achieving it is in the basic research stages today. Kurzweil himself believes that before a possible new species of intelligent machines, silicon based life or otherwise, is introduced to the planet, there will be a merging of intelligent machines and human biology. And although he says there are multiple scenarios for it happening, Kurzweil points to nanotechnology as being key. I think his comments on nanotech and solar energy are very interesting as well.

quote:
There are multiple scenarios. But one that I find compelling is that we will send intelligent nanobots (robots the size of blood cells with nano features) into the human body and
brain through the capillaries. One application is to keep us healthy from inside. If this sounds
very futuristic I would point out we're doing this already in animal experiments. One scientist cured type I diabetes in rats with blood cell sized devices with 7 nanometer pores that let insulin out in a controlled fashion and block antibodies.

From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
DonnyBGood
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4850

posted 07 October 2007 02:18 PM      Profile for DonnyBGood     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Of course, even if we could settle that, then we'd need to know when human consciousness started - which brings us back at the problem of "how does consciousness come out of unconciousness?"

The logic of all this is that maachines will become aware in the same way conglomerates of amino acids did. But let us suppose it is working the other way - that theultimate end of the universe is some type of infinite ordering of time and space. Where does life fit in this scheme?

Maybe God did not create the Universe but rather the Universe is creating God.


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 07 October 2007 03:17 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DonnyBGood:

The logic of all this is that maachines will become aware in the same way conglomerates of amino acids did.


Isn't this a chicken and egg paradox? People may well have origins in pond scum. And we have sub-human intelligence with computer technology now. Some software was tested and shown capable of fooling psychiatrists into believing they were speaking with a mildly psychotic person hidden from view.

I have a hard time believing AI will happen without the intervening hand of man.

Next will come advanced but still sub-human AI. Then we'll approach near human AI, and then "AI." And then at some point something really strange is going to happen. Next may well come superhuman AI, a new and distinct species of self aware machines capable of thinking and solving problems many-many times faster than people using computers are capable of today.

"Skynet has become self aware. In one hour it will initiate a massive nuclear attack on its enemy." -- Arnold the terminator, T3: Rise of the Machines


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
DonnyBGood
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4850

posted 08 October 2007 01:36 PM      Profile for DonnyBGood     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The AI debtae is interesting because here we have humans acting like Gods and trying to create thinking machines. The idea is that we humans will eventually suceed. But on the other hand we may not suceeed at all. The only way we could help the process would be creating the cybernetic equivalent of "pond scum' a spoup of interelated systems that began to spontaneously become more complex, Once the evolutionary logic sets into such an environment then life might spontaneously generate in the computer.

Of course how would we know it? Some very tricky issues of cyberlife would have to be duiscussed.

When does the 42 level mage in the Consquest of Ganymede satrt acting on its own if ever?


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
B.L. Zeebub LLD
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6914

posted 08 October 2007 01:42 PM      Profile for B.L. Zeebub LLD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DonnyBGood:


The logic of all this is that maachines will become aware in the same way conglomerates of amino acids did.


Well, we were talking about human consciousness in that particular sequence.

[ 08 October 2007: Message edited by: B.L. Zeebub LLD ]


From: A Devil of an Advocate | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4140

posted 08 October 2007 06:43 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Consciousness came into being among humans as the result of social interaction. It makes sense to me that further forms of consciousness, AI, or anything else for that matter, will also have a social genesis. It will not be a machine but rather a group of machines through which AI will evolve. A network. The internet, perhaps.
From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 08 October 2007 06:45 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Maybe we can liken our brain to a computer. Without software to instruct the computer to operate, the computer doesn't work. I think that's similar to what Donny is saying. At some point the software needs to become creative and develop its own purpose within the bounds of the computer's physical hardware.

A theoretical physicist, Fritjof Capra, has developed his own view based on string theory and multiple universe theory. He thinks the human mind is interconnected with energies existing throughout different universes. And multiple universes are interconnected with each other and the mind. Capra says it's possible that we interact with these multiple universes at a physical level(this one), as well as an imaginary level, an intuitive level, semi-conscious sleep-dream level, creative and even psychic levels.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 08 October 2007 06:48 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by N.Beltov:
It will not be a machine but rather a group of machines through which AI will evolve. A network. The internet, perhaps.

Some scientists believe this is taking place now, and that Google will provide a database of knowledge for some future AI to use as its reference library. Or something like that.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4140

posted 08 October 2007 07:00 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
String theory has some serious problems. I wouldn't rely upon it for a theory of consciousness until, if it ever happens, string theory itself is substantiated more thoroughly.
From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 08 October 2007 07:31 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh I'm not relying on it for very much in my life time. But unified field theory is considered a leading branch of theoretical physics today. People like David Deutsch may not have any use for string theory, but I think he's off on a similar tangent trying to prove the existence of parallel universes with quantum theory. And not many scientists are challenging this notion.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Eduard Hiebert
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 14558

posted 09 October 2007 08:45 AM      Profile for Eduard Hiebert   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Fidel, with appreciation, I have your post on Ontario's" target="_blank">http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.cgi?[URL=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=31&t=000663]Ontario's coming referendum on voting reform to thank for being introduced to this thread! My thanks!

As my exposure to Rabble heretofore was exclusively to public copy of socially responsible articles I had seen before, the Forum's content, after I posted my first reader's comment since "sign-on" became mandatory was and continues to be quite a surprise.

In a heart-beat I read a qualitative spark in yours I had not seen before in any of the other very limited posts I have now seen since my first post and this thread by a huge margin, I found fascinating from beginning to end!

A short list of a longer list that I made of a number of concepts that I found new and provocatively stimulating would include:

(I should add I posit these as of my interest, as in "a personalistic truth" in contrast to a "propositional truth", with the these two not necessarily in harmony nor in keeping with each other, yet the one does not contradict the other...)

1 "we can only survive an a fraction of the planet, for starters, and our current levels of success are based on a survival structure which is much more precarious than that of, say, algae. "Society on stilts" and all that."

2 "Equally true, is that everything else on the planet is eveolving pretty much as it always did, except that human effects on prey/competitor populations and habitat/climate will be crucial in determining which species/alleles survive. Zebra mussels, the AIDS virus and algae must love us; cod, whales, tigers and smallpox virus, not so much."

3 Then on humans special mark on planet earth: "PSSSHSTTHHEBBBTT!!* Whatever!! Those successors are going to remark something more along the lines of "HOLY CRAP look at how much damage they did over such a TINY period of time!"

If only because of our nuclear usage, we will be remembered for 10's of millions of years."

4 "Evolution does not have any direction at all. AT ALL. The same mollusks which were here 150 million years ago are still here, as are many smaller organisms. As for many other organisms, there is no reason whatever to believe they are
becoming more intelligent...

Intelligence may be ADAPTIVELY USEFUL; if so, artificial selection may select for it. However, for many, many species, no reachable intelligence level will assist in the lifestyle of surviving on dirt, microbes, or tree canopy.

(and a befitting well put concluding qualifier) A basic understanding of evolution can be gotten from writers like Stephen J. Gould. Until you have done the reading, it is idle to be finding problems with a theory whose fundamentals you have completely misunderstood."

5 "I found his ability to find this kind of inspiration in his re-vitalized Christianity to be the most remakable aspect of The Pagan Christ."

6 "What you are addressing, so well, is one of the conceits of humankind, that we are the pinnacle, the apex, of evolution...."!

7 "How can consciousness evolve from unconciousness?"

Reply: "That's the caramilk secret, isn't it?" ))

My thanks for these and many more! Also how, without the need of a moderating intervention, how disciplined this thread appears to be in focusing on thoughts and ideas, and not bedevilling the person!

8 As another thought offered in contrast to or in addition to #7, people of faith routinely accept that as "fact" when as but one of many examples; for example, the cycle from birth to death is summarised as "from earth to earth, ashes to ashes..."

9 I was reluctant at first to wade in, as much of the physics and biology was not even "invented" when I went to school, however stimulating it might now be.

Then after seeing #6 a further corresponding thought came back to me that I heard directed at self-absorbed people of faith having achieved their climax, "If you would find the perfect church, would you join and thereby but its perfection at risk?".

10 I leave you with two thoughts from Soren Kierkegaard:

a) "God creates out of nothing, wonderful, you say: yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners."

b) "In relation to their systems most systematisers are like a man who builds an enormous castle and lives in a shake close by; they do not live in their own enormous systematic buildings. But spiritually that is a decisive objection. Spiritually speaking a man's thought must be the building in which he lives--otherwise everything is topsy-turvy."

Again my thanks for a provocative and stimulating experience.

And as I am still not familiar with all the mechanics of how to turn certain options on and off, though in time I intend to be back, instead of subscribing to this thread with so much activity and the "notices" only provide notice not content (and why in this age of automation such notices are so challenged, I do not understand) should a direct post be made to mine, would you mind sending me the information through Rabble's back door or even more privately through my site? And no personal comments will be made public.

Sincerely,

Eduard


From: St Francois Xavier MB | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged
pogge
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2440

posted 09 October 2007 09:31 AM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Posting to restore format on TAT.
From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Eduard Hiebert
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 14558

posted 10 October 2007 09:46 AM      Profile for Eduard Hiebert   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Did I somehow rain on the parade and the fun and party are now over?

And what does TAT mean in the previous post?


From: St Francois Xavier MB | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged
oldgoat
Moderator
Babbler # 1130

posted 10 October 2007 10:19 AM      Profile for oldgoat     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
First Eduard, the rain does not exist which could dampen the fun and party around here. I find your opining to have some entertainment value on any media that I can readily switch off, though I admit to being fearful at any prospect of being stuck in a elevator with you. I refer in this only to your delightful style of prose and make no judgement on content.

TAT refers to the Todays Active Topics page. If someone posts a long ULR, it causes sidescroll on the TAT on some computers. Posting directly under it solves the sidescroll problem.

If you're interested, I would be happy to show you how to make shorter links.

[ 10 October 2007: Message edited by: oldgoat ]


From: The 10th circle | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Eduard Hiebert
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 14558

posted 10 October 2007 05:10 PM      Profile for Eduard Hiebert   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the reply Old goat and having some fun while you were at it!

Re reducing the impact on TAT, of which I was unaware, sure, go for it and pass on the instructions how.

Lastly how do I turn the switch on and later off if I want to get notices of postings in a thread?

Eduard


From: St Francois Xavier MB | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged
DonnyBGood
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4850

posted 11 October 2007 04:41 PM      Profile for DonnyBGood     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think Eduard;s comments are too verbose and wildly off topic. But that's fine. I am just too stupid to turn the light on when I type so that slows me down somewhat. And the typos!


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Eduard Hiebert
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 14558

posted 12 October 2007 07:48 PM      Profile for Eduard Hiebert   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hi oldgoat,

1 By way of reminder, you volunteered earlier to provide me with information so that when I use long url's they don't cause problems on some screens. Would you please? Please do via the back door or eh-rabbleATnetscapeDOTca as I am not signed up to this thread and having to keep looking with no answer is kind of futile.

I would also much appreciate if you would clarify the following additional technicals.

2 I have also asked how to turn the notice switch on and off when something is posted. How, and where is it?

3 Without repeating it all, in http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=31&t=000663
Ontario's coming referendum on voting reform

I am having difficulty finding some active forums. Would you please round out this email and advise what link I need to be able to see all active forums within the last 5 days. 5 days is my defining preference.

4 In that forum not all urls get entered corretly, What went wrong?

Eduard


From: St Francois Xavier MB | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged
DonnyBGood
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4850

posted 13 October 2007 05:36 AM      Profile for DonnyBGood     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hi Eduard Hiebert.

These communications of an administrative nature are off topic Could you not send the via the private message facility?

It would be appreciated.

Now where were we?

quote:
"Evolution does not have any direction at all. AT ALL. The same mollusks which were here 150 million years ago are still here, as are many smaller organisms. As for many other organisms, there is no reason whatever to believe they are
becoming more intelligent...

Intelligence may be ADAPTIVELY USEFUL; if so, artificial selection may select for it. However, for many, many species, no reachable intelligence level will assist in the lifestyle of surviving on dirt, microbes, or tree canopy.


I disagree that evolution has no direction. It is a powerful force is a causal universe and a universe that is ordered in time and space to varying degrees.

How exactly does evolution select for intelligence if the process is "blind".? It would seem that almost from the beginning of life some form of intelligence - a grasp of external knowledge - is present.

An amoeba knows what to ingest identifies foood , etc.

Moreover recent studies in Epigentics demonstrate that environmental conditions like food and toxins affect growth and development on a cellular level.

Mice twins

This implies that genetic complexity is not deselected but actually put on hold. Experiments with twin mice that had genetic disorders were cured by diet supplements or some type of drug therapy and the cure was transmitted to their offspring. So this is an extremely intelligent way of dealing with delimiting environmental conditions.

Brute statistical selection might simply eliminate more complex systems of life. These systems however, appear to have ways of preserving their genome.

One theory is that aging itself is in part an epigentic selection to assist in reducing the pressure of pop[ulation growth in a species. Isn't this incredibly ingenius?

aging

Dawkins would criticize the "God's Design" theorists who might use these arguments by saying that why do we need to resort to "Old Whitebeard" for an explantion.

I would have to agree.

[ 13 October 2007: Message edited by: DonnyBGood ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Rod Manchee
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 290

posted 14 October 2007 06:23 AM      Profile for Rod Manchee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Intelligence being defined as a) the ability to avoid being eaten too quickly and/or b) the ability to reproduce more quickly.
From: ottawa | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
DonnyBGood
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4850

posted 17 October 2007 05:08 PM      Profile for DonnyBGood     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
carlin
From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 18 October 2007 10:28 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DonnyBGood:
carlin

Ha! Reward of afterlife, promise of an economic long run, same thing. Carlin's a laff riot.

Actually, Tom Harpur had something to say about religion's promise of an afterlife. On the flip side of that argument, most powerfully rich people have no interest in an afterlife, or that there is something more important than themselves. At least not until their end of days arrives. They sometimes have second thoughts in their last hours of life.

And then there is the finality of death, the end of life. Medical experts say clinical death occurs when brainwaves and vital signs no longer register. And sometimes the clincally dead come back from the "other side" and describe what are very similar experiences. Near death experiences from around the world increased at a time when heart resuscitation techniques were improving. Are these people seeing flashes of light in their brains as a result of oxygen starvation and dying neurons? Or is it something else, something "immaterial" to science?

[ 18 October 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
DonnyBGood
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4850

posted 19 October 2007 02:38 PM      Profile for DonnyBGood     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Are these people seeing flashes of light in their brains as a result of oxygen starvation and dying neurons? Or is it something else, something "immaterial" to science?

I think one scientist talked about conciousness - I think it was Rutherford. He said that science and conciousness were intertwined aand that it was impossible to imagine the end of a powerful intellect seated in a sound conciousness.

The only quote I can find is

quote:
Of all created comforts, God is the lender; you are the borrower, not the owner.

Pretty socialistic concept in a way...


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Noise
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12603

posted 31 October 2007 09:24 AM      Profile for Noise     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Good thread. Has anyone challenged the assumption that life started here on earth yet?


Fidel:

quote:
"As far as what's really going on in the world, I don't have a clue, except that it's much stranger than we once thought, and somehow consciousness seems to be involved," -- Kuttner & Rosenblum , Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness

Good book... Ken Wilbur in a 'Brief History of Everything' introduces the term Holon to describe nearly everything as a whole on its own. This whole can be broken into it's parts (which are wholes themselves) or assembled as parts in a new whole. There seems to be a consciousness or will that takes these wholes and creatively assembles these parts. With this view, Evolution becomes a self-trascending process. As Whitehead puts it 'The ultimate metaphysical ground is the creative advance into novelty' (though I personally prefer the modified 'Creative emergence into novelty' version of the quote). The Quantum Enigma really plays well into this line of thought.

Any other authors along these lines that you follow Fidel? Always interested in increasing the span of my reading.

[ 31 October 2007: Message edited by: Noise ]


From: Protest is Patriotism | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8312

posted 31 October 2007 09:33 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Has anyone challenged the assumption that life started here on earth yet?

Yes, life started in heaven inside the workshop of the giant, beloved, but violently jealous, watchmaker.

From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Noise
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12603

posted 31 October 2007 09:40 AM      Profile for Noise     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Yes, life started in heaven inside the workshop of the giant, beloved, but violently jealous, watchmaker.

Never sure of FM... But is this suggesting we were genetically engineered in some unearthly 'heavenly' environment and put here?


From: Protest is Patriotism | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
GOD
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2781

posted 31 October 2007 09:42 AM      Profile for GOD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
er...well, it wasn't quite like all that.

Never made a watch in my life really, and that's a pretty long time.


From: I think therefore you are. | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Noise
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12603

posted 31 October 2007 10:47 AM      Profile for Noise     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"We think therefore You are"


So is highspeed common there, or should I request to be cremated with my wireless router?


From: Protest is Patriotism | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
GOD
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2781

posted 31 October 2007 10:56 AM      Profile for GOD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The interface with all conceivable sources and entities is as fast and intuitive as you are yourself*, no more and no less.

*on a good day


From: I think therefore you are. | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Albireo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3052

posted 31 October 2007 11:04 AM      Profile for Albireo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Listen, dude, if you are really GOD, how come your Babbler Number is 2781? Shouldn't you have held out for either 1 or 0?
From: --> . <-- | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
GOD
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2781

posted 31 October 2007 11:11 AM      Profile for GOD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If you can give me an justification of why any given numeral or series of numerals has a greater qualitative value or more goodness than another, I shall make it thus.

Numerals and ordinals are for linear thinkers. I know it's difficult for you to function outside of your four dimentional box, but I am pleased when you try.


From: I think therefore you are. | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
spillunk
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 14242

posted 01 November 2007 08:07 AM      Profile for spillunk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How is the word "dimensional" spelled in the 5th dimension and higher?

Or did God just make a typo.


From: cavescavescaves! | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8312

posted 01 November 2007 08:48 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
GOD messed up. Again.
From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
kropotkin1951
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2732

posted 01 November 2007 09:55 AM      Profile for kropotkin1951   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
FM stop that blasphemy. It is obvious you are not smart enough to see the intelligent design behind the spelling.
From: North of Manifest Destiny | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8312

posted 01 November 2007 09:58 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You're right! Finally I see the lyte.
From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
GOD
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2781

posted 01 November 2007 10:36 AM      Profile for GOD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Actually, my way is correct. Everyone else has it wrong. Even the good people at Oxford and Webster are wrong, but they are good, earnest and sincere people, and I forgive them.

Come to think of it I pretty much forgive most stuff.


From: I think therefore you are. | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Noise
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12603

posted 02 November 2007 08:01 AM      Profile for Noise     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Any way your intelligent design can include a reminder for me to ask for the forgiveness on my deathbed but not a moment before?

[ 02 November 2007: Message edited by: Noise ]


From: Protest is Patriotism | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
GOD
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2781

posted 02 November 2007 08:29 AM      Profile for GOD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Meh..what's to forgive? You've certainly never offended me. Try and work it so that there aren't too many others who's forgiveness you might think of seeking and you'll be fine. So far you're doing ok. Fortunately I don't expect the same burden of perfection that many seem to place on me. I bet I'm the only poster here who gets spelling flames.

BTW, thanks for describing the design as intellegent. Some time I'll have to tell you how it really all went down way back then.


From: I think therefore you are. | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Geneva
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3808

posted 02 November 2007 08:33 AM      Profile for Geneva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Noise:
Any way your intelligent design can include a reminder for me to ask for the forgiveness on my deathbed but not a moment before?

that is like the alleged deathbed quip of Voltaire, who was asked by a priest if he was "ready to renounce the devil", to which he replied:
"Now is not the time to be making enemies! "


From: um, well | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Noise
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12603

posted 02 November 2007 12:13 PM      Profile for Noise     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Heh, thanks Geneva... I knew I stole that from somewhere

quote:
I bet I'm the only poster here who gets spelling flames.

Meh, if God doesn't play dice why must God use a spell check?


From: Protest is Patriotism | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 03 November 2007 10:50 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Noise:
Good thread. Has anyone challenged the assumption that life started here on earth yet?

I think there are scientists who would say without a doubt that life exists and has evolved out there a long time ago in a galaxy far-far away. Hey I once shook hands with Obi Wan Kenobi(Alec Guiness really) when I was a kid, and it affected me. I like what one person said on the subject, that we are proof that life exists in outer space.

A Quantum Theory of Dreams

quote:
A physicist claims to have come up with the first successful use of quantum theory to explain features of consciousness in research hailed as a landmark in efforts to bring mathematics to bear on the mysteries of the human mind.

Some say it's possible evidence for quantum underpinnings of human consiousness. And there are skeptics as usual. A York University(Ontario) professor says the brain is a macroscopic machine not a microscopic one where quantum theory rules. How does he know for sure?

eta: If you ever have the opportunity to try a virtual reality "VR" computer simulation, you'll notice something weird. The headset has to be adjusted for the individual wearer, because not everyone has the same peripheral range of vision. Your eyes are arranged in your head differently than the next person. And it gives a different, what is referred to as, binocular parallax visual experience. I have no idea what that may or may not have to do with quantum consciousness, just that if the headset isn't adjusted right, you'll become nauseous viewing a different image projection in each eye.

[ 04 November 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 214

posted 04 November 2007 05:30 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'd be willing to bet that if a person wore an uncorrected VR for a long enough period of time, his or her brain might correct the double image to produce a single one.
From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
jrootham
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 838

posted 04 November 2007 07:27 PM      Profile for jrootham     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Absolutely, there was an experiment where people wore glasses that flipped the world upside down. I recall it took less than 2 days for them to start seeing the world normally. When they took the glasses off it took the same amount of time for them to see normally again.
From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Noise
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12603

posted 05 November 2007 06:23 AM      Profile for Noise     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was watching the Race to Mars crap on the discovery channel yesterday, which was centered on finding life on Mars... Brings up a few potentials as far as the 'life started on Earth' view goes.

It's possible we'll find signs of life (fossils) but no actual life. Not quite sure what we info we can get from that, except comparissons to life here on Earth.

Possible we'll find dead life on Mars (instead of fossils, actual 'dead' life forms like bacterias an so on). This would allow us to compare the genetic make-up of the life and see if it follows the same as life here. The major distinction would be to say life on earth and mars are related and came from the same source.

Final option would be to find live bacterias and other life forms... Which opens more possiblities as to how that life relates to life on Earth.

From what I see/read/know, I would expect any life on Mars to be related to life on Earth (I'm under the belief that Earth is a seeded planet and didn't create life on it's own)... But I'm sure there will be many other opinions on that.

I guess the final option would be to find no life what-so-ever, but of all the possibilities, I now think thats the least likely.

quote:
Absolutely, there was an experiment where people wore glasses that flipped the world upside down. I recall it took less than 2 days for them to start seeing the world normally. When they took the glasses off it took the same amount of time for them to see normally again.

The human mind is an amazing thing... I know people that have trained themselves to read upside down. For the first little while it's exceedingly difficult, but once you've trained yourself you can easily flip it over in your mind. If you haven't done it yet... flip your mouse to the other side and see how long it takes to your mind to train your off hand on mouse use.

[ 05 November 2007: Message edited by: Noise ]


From: Protest is Patriotism | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged

All times are Pacific Time  

Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | rabble.ca | Policy Statement

Copyright 2001-2008 rabble.ca