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I don't understand how the word 'will' is being used posted 03 November 2008 in NeuropathI don't understand how the word 'will' is being used by Tilberian, Commoner

Quote: "Thorsten":n4dihajb

No, we don't really know that. Some people believe it, because they haven't seen it. But then, neuroscientists or psychologists do not even have a viable definition of what soul is (neither is there any real concept of how to precisely define consciousness by the way) - so how do you look for something in an experiment when you can't even define it?[/quote:n4dihajb]

Actually, souls are quite well defined in dictionaries and reams of religious text. That is, the idea of a soul is quite well defined. What is missing from all those definitions is any description of the soul as a real, natural entity. All definitions of the soul make reference to the supernatural, which is not testable nor even a coherent concept. So you are right in saying that natural science will never even be able to start looking for a soul. I interpret that fact to indicate that souls are imaginary and do not exist in any meaningful sense of the word.

Quote: "Thorsten":n4dihajb

As you notice yourself, the dead body loses energy. There is an amount of energy stored in neuroelectrical processes which is not there any more after death - so the dead body has less energy than the life one. This does neither prove nor disprove the notion of a soul leaving the body. Quite obviously, consciousness leaves the body after death, so if your point were true, would the fact that we account for all matter and energy disprove consciousness? I think rather not. Consciousness seems to be a pattern rather than an energy form - and the soul may be as well.[/quote:n4dihajb]

My point was that the energy does not disappear into some extradimensional realm. It is still there, in the environment. If a person died in a perfectly insulated, non-conductive room, the amount of energy in the room would not change after his death. This is not consistent with the idea of a soul leaving the body and flying up to heaven. If it is your claim that the soul is made of an energy pattern in the body, then I guess it is also your belief that souls die after the body does, since all the energy in the brain becomes disorganized and returns to the environment. This would not actually fit any of the traditional definitions of a soul, since souls are supposed to be immortal. I think it is quite plausible that consciousness is best described as an energy pattern in the brain, and that the dissolution of that pattern after death is the death of consciousness. In fact, this is what I believe happens to us after we die.

Quote: "Thorsten":n4dihajb

Then again, we have no coherent description of how consciousness ties with brain activity. Just because we don't understand something, it doesn't mean it isn't there.[/quote:n4dihajb]

This complaint only arises when we insist that consciousness must be more than just the brain activity itself. People get hung up on this because they are fixated on the idea of a soul. There is no soul and there is no consciousness outside of the electrochemical activity in a brain. You might just as well marvel at the fact that a computer is able to perform calculations.

Quote: "Thorsten":n4dihajb

I have yet to see one good model which explains how the brain can generate consciousness. I have read arguments from philosophers, neuroscientists, psychologists, AI researchers - the only one who came close to giving a definition which seemed to be on the right track happened to be a mathematician. We do have models how neurons and neuron networks work - but they don't explain anything relevant. They don't explain why I am a conscious, individual person. So if you are aware of a good model, please tell me where to look. I have been looking for the best part of 10 years, and I haven't found it anywhere.[/quote:n4dihajb]

Look up a picture of a CAT scan. Your search is over: that is consciousness.

Quote: "Thorsten":n4dihajb

Given the actual experimental evidence, you state a belief here, not a fact. [/quote:n4dihajb]

The only way in which it would not be theoretically possible to chart the action of the brain would be if the brain were not a macroscopic part of this universe. Since it demonstrably is, my statement is fact.

Quote: "Thorsten":n4dihajb

The interesting thing is that you would dismiss the quantum level as irrelevant. Why? The large scale structure of the universe is driven by quantum fluctuations in the early state after the big bang for starters - so how can you possibly claim that everything since the beginning of time is deterministic? In what sense? The quantum state certainly follows deterministic evolution - but the observable state doesn't. So in essence, what you claim to know here is how quantum physics ties with the phenomenon that generates conscious observation - and you don't actually know that. No one does.[/quote:n4dihajb]

At the time that quantum fluctuations might have had some effect on the universe, the universe was compressed to a point smaller than the diameter of an atom. Time was not even really in existence then, as space lacked dimension. Things are a little different now.

Everything since then is deterministic in the sense that effect follows cause, invariably, and in perfectly predictable ways. Quantum effects do not count at the macroscopic level. We can ignore them for the sake of this discussion.

Quote: "Thorsten":n4dihajb

That's rather snobbish. The very notion of belief implies that there is not necessarily evidence. If I have evidence, I don't have to believe, I know. So - Einstein believed in god, but he didn't have any evidence. Does that mean Einstein was not a smart person? You believe in a deterministic universe, although there is plenty of evidence to the contrary (as far as the observable universe is concerned, as I said, not on the level of quantum states) - does that mean you are not a smart person?[/quote:n4dihajb]

Not that old lie. Einstein stated over and over that he did not believe in God. He made use of the term God from time to time as a rhetorical device to illustrate points to people who were not as smart as him. Many scientists refer to God when they are trying to talk about the larger structure of the cosmos. This almost never means they believe in one of the traditional, personal Gods of religion.

It is certainly not snobbish to insist that people have evidence before they believe something and nothing about the phenomenon of belief implies in any way that it should take place in the absence of evidence. You are confusing belief with faith, and they are two very different things.

Please point to one particle of evidence that shows that the universe is non-deterministic above the quantum level. Good luck. For my evidence that the universe is deterministic, I'll point to the entire edifice of science as it exists today and its ability to make useful predictions. view post


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