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Tilberian Commoner | joined 29 October 2008 | 5 posts


And another thing :) Emotion is 'just' a process? posted 30 October 2008 in NeuropathAnd another thing :) Emotion is 'just' a process? by Tilberian, Commoner

Callan, I think you and I are kind of on the same wavelength with this. My problem, reading Neuropath, was the assumption that when we understand that all our thoughts and all our moral judgments come either from society or from our evolved behaviours, this somehow renders them invalid. It's as if Bakker is starting from the theological standpoint that morality must be outside of us and present in the mind of a divine being, or at least the universe, before it can really be called morality. If morality is made by humans, he seems to be saying, then it can't really be morality. My understanding of the book is that Neil is held to be correct and justified in doing the things that he does because of the strength of his Argument.

My question is: why is human-created morality not morality? And, before we say that it is not, don't we have an obligation to show that there is some other kind? Where, in the universe, do we find the Ten Commandments? Answer: nowhere. Without people, they would not exist, nor would any other moral code you can point to. Starting with the assumption that morals must be axiomatic universal absolutes presumes that there is such a thing that exists without definition by humans. Until we find aliens and compare moral ideas with them, we have no basis for claiming that there is such a thing as a universal moral code.

So we are stuck with human-created moral codes, as changeable and error-prone and subject to the limitations of our neurology as they are. Now that we understand that human morality is merely a belch from a process evolved to guide us to eat and mate in a stone-age environment, shouldn't we discard it? Can we be justified in holding on to it?

My question would be: what are the consequences of ditching human morality? I think the book answers that quite well. Could society function if everyone were like Neil? Obviously not, the guy is completely antisocial. Interestingly, our much-maligned, stone-age morality has a perfect answer for the problem of Neil and his Argument: ostracize and kill people who think and act this way. The problem with Neil is that he puts his thoughts and theories before the imperative of survival. This is a dead end for the individual, and therefore for any Argument that he holds.

I think all of this goes to your point about emotion, Callan, because the same assumptions are made about emotion in the book. When we understand that emotion is just exchange of ions across some neurons, we see it as illusion and are tempted to ignore it. But, having seen through the illusion, what then? We are still afflicted with emotions. We could take Neil's route and turn ourselves into brain-damaged monsters for the dubious benefit of being able to act without emotion, but how has that improved anything? Shouldn't we measure consequences as well as philosophical purity? view post


I don't understand how the word 'will' is being used posted 30 October 2008 in NeuropathI don't understand how the word 'will' is being used by Tilberian, Commoner

Free will is an illusion in one sense and not in another.

1. Free will as defined by Western philosophy is an illusion. The traditional view is that the soul guides the actions of the body and that the only thing that guides the soul is the basic nature that was breathed into it by God. Later thought added the idea of Mind, and the idea that the mind could corrupt the soul or at least prevent its perfect expression in the actions of an individual. Thence came the idea of a good soul struggling in the body of a weak, evil person - the whole angel on one shoulder, demon on the other thing. Anyway, the whole idea is that the soul operates independently, in accordance with its nature, and that its action is free of interference from God or the world. Thus, a person's actions ultimately point to the quality of his soul and he can be held accountable for them.

We know, today, that there is no such thing as a soul, as defined by the traditional religions. We can account for all the energy and matter in a body, and a dead body (with the soul presumably gone) has just as much energy and matter as a live one (though the energy quickly bleeds off into the environment as cellular processes shut down). There is nowhere for an immortal soul to be and no coherent description of how such a thing might communicate with a brain. We have good models of how the brain can work the way it does using only the substance of this universe. References to the supernatural quickly devolve into incoherence. There is simply no evidence for the existence of souls, and smart people don't believe in things for which there are no evidence.

With only material processes to guide the action of the brain, it is at least theoretically possible to perfectly chart the course of action any brain will take while thinking before it happens. Thoughts are contingent because the universe is contingent. Nothing happens independently of what has happened before. If you think carefully, you can chart in your memory how every thought grows out of a thought before. Thoughts that spring unbidden into our heads are impulses from lower functions or the subconscious, which is always running and processing in the background like an operating system. These processes are following neurological pathways set down by evolution and brain development. We cannot feel or think anything without a long chain of complex causality leading to the event of the thought or feeling. In a very real sense, we are not acting independently at all. It just seems like we are because the factors contributing to our behaviour are too complex for us to analyze. However, a theoretical computer with enough processing power could process all the inputs leading to our behaviour and chart the full history of everything we have done and everything we will do from Big Bang to heat death.

As material beings, our actions are completely deterministic (yes, yes, random at the quantum level but that is irrelevant). There is no free will, everything is proceeding according to the laws of nature as set in motion at the beginning of time.

2. Free will is quite real, as it relates to a person having internal control over his actions in a specific circumstance. We do have feelings and thoughts and they are influenced by, but not controlled by external inputs. Our preexisting mental state has a big role to play. We don't have control over that mental state, maybe, but the point is that we do not simply react to our environments in predictable, programmed ways. A person who has seen a dog before is going to react differently in the presence of a dog than someone who has not. Same input, different output, because of the nature of the person involved. Some people call that free will, but I think the moniker is misplaced. view post


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


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: "Cnaiür":3g8q7k9f
How do you explain near-death experiences, where people speak of seeing themselves leave their body, such as those who die on the operating table and see their body being operated on and watch doctors electrocute them back to life, which causes them to jerk back into their own body. Are these people deluded? Dreaming? Or, is that their soul that temporarily left their physical body? [/quote:3g8q7k9f]

Yes, these people are hallucinating. It has even been defined as a particular type of hallucination that occurs when the brain is starved for oxygen (resulting in the tunnel of light etc). The wilder claims that people have seen and heard things that they could not have sensed from where their bodies were lying have been debunked or suffer from chronic lack of evidence.

Quote: "Cnaiür":3g8q7k9f

Topics of consciousness and the soul has been around for thousands of years. Modern science is still playing catch up with their gadgets and math.[/quote:3g8q7k9f]

We have made more progress in understanding brain function and consciousness with the "gadgets and math" of the last fifty years than in the entire history of humanity prior. Modern science is not playing catch-up; it is giving us real understanding where before there was only superstition, speculation and faith. And it is worth noting that the idea of a soul dates from the old methodology, not the new one.

Quote: "Cnaiür":3g8q7k9f

And black holes are just a theory, nothing more. Its amusing to witness people believe in these and not believe in a soul. Perhaps, they are just caught in the event horizon of the black hole in their conditioned brain.[/quote:3g8q7k9f]

OK, then, YOU tell me what the object is in Cygnus X-1 that is blasting out x-rays at a rate that cannot be explained any other way. As you answer, keep in mind that black hole theory predicted this discovery BEFORE it occurred. You might also want to reference the observations of black holes at the centre of galaxies eating the stars around them.

Then you will want to show me equivalent empirical evidence for the existence of souls. And present a fully fleshed-out theory, with accompanying math, describing just what a soul is.

Bottom line: there is reams of evidence, theoretical and otherwise for the existence of black holes. There is none for souls. That is why I believe the former exists and not the latter.

Quote: "Cnaiür":3g8q7k9f

Free Will is real, and one of the greatest gifts we have. Test this reality out by making a decision right now. Choose to reply or not. Choose to get up from that chair or not. Choose to recall a happy memory or a sad one or no memory.[/quote:3g8q7k9f]

But the decision was not even before me until you just put it there. The only reason I am facing a question of free will right now is because of outside input from you. Without your statement, there IS no decision. Further, you would not have placed the decision before me if we were not having this conversation. You see? Everything is contingent on what has gone before. How can free will exist in a universe of total contingency?

Even in making the decision, I am using brain states and mental tools that are only in place because of a cascade of previous causes. I might get up if I feel restless, but the feeling of restlessness comes from some unconscious place. I might decide to resist restlessness and sit still, but I will have reasons for that as well that will lie beyond my control.

Quote: "Cnaiür":3g8q7k9f

Even God made the decision to create, and made the decision to pass on free will to his creations. [/quote:3g8q7k9f]

Spare me your medieval fantasies. There is no God.

Quote: "Cnaiür":3g8q7k9f

To think free will is an illusion is to delude yourself into being powerless, and to wipe away responsibility from your own actions. Stand up and be a man. You have the free will to decide.[/quote:3g8q7k9f]

If you had read my original post to Callan you would see that I acknowledge that free will does not exist on one level, but must be deemed to exist on another. While we can see that all human actions are contingent on uncontrolled factors, and therefore not free in the absolute sense required for theological notions of good and evil, we can also see that the inputs into the human decision-making process are so numerous and so complex that we simply have no hope of ever figuring them all out. The behaviour of complex systems appears chaotic, and so it is with the human mind. Given that pre-existing mental states can resist outside input and guide human behaviour, it is a social necessity for us to create a mental state in people that will resist outside impulses to do wrong. One way in which we do this is to inculcate in children the idea that they are in control of their actions and that they must use that control to make appropriate choices between established standards of right and wrong. The idea that we are in control is a fiction, but a useful one that allows us to live together according to rules. However, once we grow up, we can look the fiction in the face and decide to follow rules because we understand the greater need for an orderly society, not because we are still slaves to a childish myth.

Quote: "Cnaiür":3g8q7k9f

You also have the free will to nullify free will as merely an illusion. The irony is amazing, isn't it. You decide.[/quote:3g8q7k9f]

I think I have shown that we can understand free will as an illusion but still see the need to treat ourselves and others as independent entities that have responsibilities. view post


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":31rkdc4m

Yes. I think we can safely dismiss the notion that religious texts are true in the same sense as scientific texts, i.e. as a sequence of exact definitions tied to observations of nature. Quite obviously, for this reason of terminology alone, before we go looking for a soul, the definition would have to be formulated in scientific terms somehow. So, you may ask, is there an invariant piece of mind which is not lost after death. Which of course would require you to define mind - a task in which science is rather bad, given the amount of suggested definitions.[/quote:31rkdc4m]

I'd define the mind as the software that is running on a brain.

Quote: "Thorsten":31rkdc4m

Strangely enough, the upcoming physics program at the CERN Large Hadron Collider is (among other things) looking for energy which 'disappears into some extradimensional realm' (see [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_extra_dimension:31rkdc4m]here[/url:31rkdc4m] for one of the suggested models). So present day particle theorists think it quite possible that the very thing you rule out actually happens.[/quote:31rkdc4m]

You are being mischevious, my friend. You know as well as I do that energy disappearing into extra dimensions is only one possible outcome of the LHC experiments, and that at least as many physicists expect it not to happen as there are those who do. If you want to use highly theoretical extra dimensions as a hiding place for souls, be my guest, but first do me the favour of explaining how they are going to get there without accessing the incredible energies that will be unleashed at CERN. Personally, I think all this extra dimensions nonsense has been a desperate gambit to get the math to work and that the real explanation for where the extra mass of the universe is will be in a weakly interacting particle that we haven't seen yet.

Quote: "Thorsten":31rkdc4m

Again, that presupposes there is any such thing as a perfectly insulated, non-conductive room. But as soon as you say 'room', you need spacetime. As soon as you have spacetime, you have gravitational waves which go right through your room because the only way to shield spacetime from vibrating is to create an event horizon - but that's a black hole, not a room. And even those radiate energy.[/quote:31rkdc4m]

Now you are just being argumentative. Either take my point or argue against it: the energy in a human body dissipates into the environment in the same way as a teapot cools off when it is taken off the stove. No energy "disappears," and the energy in a human brain is immortal in exactly the same way as the energy in a light bulb is immortal.

Quote: "Thorsten":31rkdc4m

Certainly, taking 'up to heaven' literally makes it inconsistent. The pattern being preserved somehow in the fabric of spacetime via gravitational waves, or the pattern leaking into extra dimensions and being stored in the underlying brane reality is a possibility. I don't claim I know what happens to souls or if there is one - I just know enough ways how an invariant core of mind may be preserved after death.[/quote:31rkdc4m]

Let me ask you this: is it your contention that we should admit the possible existence of anything that we can imagine unless we have proof positive that it does not exist? Perhaps you are familiar with Bertrand Russel's teapot analogy. Should I hold a belief that there is a china teapot in orbit between Mars and Jupiter? Certainly such a thing is at least theoretically possible, if astoundingly improbable.

I prefer to establish a threshold of improbability, below which I deem a thing to not exist for all practical purposes. No one has ever observed energy patterns from brains or elsewhere being preserved in gravity waves or branes. The very existence of branes is controversial. No one can even postulate how such a thing might happen. Why, for the love of Pete, would I accept, at all, the assertion that such a thing is happening? Maybe I'm terribly stogey, but I like to observe a rather strict boundary between fantasy and reality.

Quote: "Thorsten":31rkdc4m

Well, that's just your claim. But unless you prove it, it remains your opinion, no? Just repeating it doesn't make it true.[/quote:31rkdc4m]

My claim followed my presentation of the facts, which show that souls lie in the realm of the speculative and brains generating consciousness lie in the realm of empirical proof. You can repeat your refusal to accept these facts, but that does not make you right.

Quote: "Thorsten":31rkdc4m

That illustrates a very good point. While in the brain you insist that everything is electrochemical activity, for a computer you'd distinguish between hardware and software. But you wouldn't in any way insist that the software needs to run on a particular CPU - instead of an electronic CPU, it may as well be processed optically. It actually doesn't have a real CPU at all - it can be a virtual CPU simulated by another machine. So the (non-conscious) software is in fact a concept that 'transcends' the running in a particular environment (you'd probably agree that copying a program and running it on a different computer gives me the same software running on a different computer) - whereas you think it flatly impossible that the (conscious) 'software' of the brain can be realized in any way except neuroelectricity. Interesting - but not really plausible.[/quote:31rkdc4m]

You are attempting to put words in my mouth. I have never taken the position that consciousness can only be realized through neuroelectricity. In fact, my position is the exact opposite. I think the mind is perfectly analogous to software that is running on the brain. Given sufficient technology and the appropriate system architecture, I see no reason why a mind could not be created on some other substrate. I see no reason why another mind could not be "written" onto the hardware of someone else's brain (well, with errors due to differences between the originating brain and the target brain). I said the functions of consciousness are down to electrochemical activity only. It is obviously wrong to say the brain is conscious by itself; dead brains are hardly conscious.

Quote: "Thorsten":31rkdc4m

No, that's a picture of brain activity. That's not the same thing. That's like taking a snapshot of memory activity in a computer and claiming you understand what the algorithms are. That's confusing hardware and software. There is no way of telling from even the most colorful picture if the mind which is depicted is conscious or not. Try to think about it![/quote:31rkdc4m]

You try to think about it. Of course a still picture of a CAT scan is a snapshot. That is why it is called a still picture. A movie of a CAT scan would show the brain activity shifting and changing with time as different processes occur. That would be a movie of consciousness. When we look at a CAT scan we are getting a low-resolution picture of the play of energies in the brain. That is consciousness. That is all it is. BTW you are wrong: you can tell if a person is conscious or not from a CAT scan. There is no confusion between hardware and software. A photo of an exposed brain without a depiction of the energies at work in it would be a photo of the hardware. A CAT scan is a photo of the energies, a photo of the software running. What is missing from the picture? Why CAN'T that picture be a depiction of consciousness (and unconsciousness, too)?

Quote: "Thorsten":31rkdc4m

Incidentially, just last week I read an interview with Wolf Singer, a leading German neuroscientist - he wasn't prepared to take the position you are advocating here that brain activity scans answer any fundamental questions. In fact, he called the notion misleading.[/quote:31rkdc4m]

Yawn. Look hard enough and you will find someone who will say anything. The Intelligent Design creationists have been able to find biologists that claim evolution can't explain biodiversity.

Quote: "Thorsten":31rkdc4m

Define 'this universe'. String theory has plenty of hidden ones which couple only by gravity to 'this one'. In the end, it's a meaningless question, because in any scientific formulation of soul, the religious 'heaven' would in some sense have to be a part of 'this universe' - maybe a hidden one, but certainly not disconnected - how else would the soul go there?[/quote:31rkdc4m]

Are you seriously taking this to the level of asking me to define what the universe is? Are we going to debate the meaning of the word "is" next?

String theory, yay. I have another idea: let's say there's a magical box where anything we can't find goes to hide. Doesn't that sound like fun? That way, whenever we want to make something up and pretend it is real, we can just say it is in the magical box and that is why we can't find it!

Heaven was invented by goat herders in the Middle East 6,000 years ago who thought the earth was flat and disease was caused by bad thoughts. Are you trying to tell me that they knew something about string theory?

Quote: "Thorsten":31rkdc4m

No, sorry, the DVD drive in the computer in front of you is based on a quantum effect playing out macroscopically. The sun works because of quantum effects playing out macroscopically. Neither of these works in a deterministic way - it's just that randomness in large numbers allows statistics to say something about the most probable outcome, but that's not deterministic, because you can always have a different outcome.[/quote:31rkdc4m]

No, you can't. There you go again, forgetting to treat events that are sufficiently improbable as impossible and forgetting to treat entities that are sufficiently improbable as nonexistent. What does it gain us to note that, on paper, there is some chance that all the particles in the sun will spontaneously wink out of existence? Has such an event ever happened in the history of the universe? It is the sound of a tree falling in the forest: technically there, but practically nonexistent. You will have to do better than that to convince me that quantum randomness has any effect on real-world events.

Quote: "Thorsten":31rkdc4m

But the actual problem is more fundamental. It has to do with the transition from quantum state to the observed state. You can read up a bit on [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decoherence:31rkdc4m]Quantum Decoherence[/url:31rkdc4m]. To quote the main message:

Decoherence does not provide a mechanism for the actual wave function collapse; rather it provides a mechanism for the appearance of wavefunction collapse. The quantum nature of the system is simply "leaked" into the environment so that a total superposition of the wavefunction still exists, but exists — at least for all practical purposes — beyond the realm of measurement. Thus decoherence, as a philosophical interpretation, amounts to something similar to the many-worlds approach.

Funnily enough, here's the second way how present-day physics understanding generates worlds beyond our own... They are rather plentiful to find I must say.

Well, in short you are completely wrong about the universe being deterministic - but I can't give you a complete lecture in quantum field theory here.[/quote:31rkdc4m]

Take a look at the passage you just quoted: "...the waveform exists, but exists - at least for all practical purposes - BEYOND THE REALM OF MEASUREMENT." Do you understand what that means? It means the unobserved position of the waveform does not exist, for any purposes that we can possibly have. When charting the total history of the universe, we will never be able to measure the effect of the alternate position AT ALL. It exists in math, nowhere else.

To reiterate, in order for you to show that quantum theory has some relevance for the determinism/nondeterminism of the universe, you will have to show examples of quantum randomness occurring in a measurable, real way at a level that can be said to affect events. At the level we all operate on, we know that when we drop something, it falls. That, my friend, is deterministic.

Quote: "Thorsten":31rkdc4m

I do know many scientists. In fact, I am one (in case you haven't guessed, I'm making my money doing theoretical physics, applications of quantum field theory). And when they talk about God, they usually mean the traditional, personal God of religion.[/quote:31rkdc4m]

Richard Dawkins knows a lot more scientists than you do. And he says they don't mean that.

Quote: "Thorsten":31rkdc4m

Your question is ill-posed. Anything 'above the quantum level' is an effective concept how we try to cast the universe into a shape we can perceive. In nature, there is nothing 'above the quantum level' (and probably, even the quantum level is a gross approximation of reality). In its very nature, in its foundation, the universe is quantum. Regardless of how your perception creates the illusion of determinism.[/quote:31rkdc4m]

Why ignore the effects of statistics? Why focus on the irrelevant, invisible actions of things that are almost too small to be real when the topic of discussion is the nature of the whole universe and everything in it? I am saying that cars have wheels and you are pointing to the engine block and saying that it doesn't have wheels and it is part of the car therefore cars don't have wheels. I am quite aware that everything that happens in the universe is because of the mass movements of atoms, which are individually governed by quantum theory. The critical point is that I am talking about mass movements and you keep taking it back to the level of the individual particle. Why? If we were subatomic particles, I would take quite a different position on the nature of the universe. However, we are only MADE of subatomic particles, we are not actually subatomic particles ourselves. view post


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