Question was inspired by this user from Yahoo, thought I'd get some opinions on this on Think Atheist.

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So thinking = pissing into the wind? If everyone thought that we'd still be living in caves.

We know sonic mechanics exist. We know abstract ideas exist. Does that make consciousness superfluous to both? Sonic mechanics exist in the physical world. Where do abstract ideas exist?

I said: "I fail to see how you could ever prove your deductions were correct. But if you enjoy pissing into the wind, far be it from me to stop you."

Could you enlighten me as to how your ability to prove your deductions would in any way facilitate or prevent our living in caves? I'd just like to understand how your mind is capable of making such a connection.

You've spent a lot of time throwing around E=MC2 - what would you call that, an abstract idea?

I'm not talking about my deductions per se, I'm talking about thinking in general. It has merit, thinking that is, and is not just 'pissing into the wind'.

Yes I would call E=mc2 an abstract idea. Wouldn't you?


E+MC2, combined, as they one day will be, with yet-to-be discovered principles of quantum mechanics, operated the Universe long before Man permanently leaped down from the trees, and will continue to do so long after the trees themselves are gone. Our "abstract idea," regarding E+MC2, was nothing more than our perception of its effects, much as we derive our concept of what causes wind by watching its effect on the objects around us.

Have you another explanation?

Yes, they operate the universe, but my question is where do they exist? Everything else we perceive exists somewhere. I can see the table. It is there. Where is E=mc2? If E=mc2, what does E+mc2=?

Where does the number 1 or 2 exist? As Sagacious Hawk suggested, and against my better judgment, am reposting this in the philosophy forum under the title "Dualism and Monism - An Atheist Viewpoint". I've tried to order some of the questions I think are appropriate, and hopefully bring some structure to this tangled thread. I just want to state again, AGAIN, that I am not offering answers, since I don't even have a position to argue from. I'm just posing questions I think are interesting. Thanks

Anon, you're confusing the forces with the concepts defining them - the forces exist everywhere, the concepts exist in the minds of Man and possibly other sentient beings throughout the universe.

Yes that is true, but still doesn't resolve the problem of where the pure concepts exist, if no-one is there to see them? The effects of these concepts exist, we can perceive the effects, but everything that we can perceive having an effect, has a place. Where do the pure concepts exist?

Do you think we could possibly move this discussion here? Will add the response you posted since it answers some of the questions I posed. Thanks.

The tree falls, and we both agreed that the sonic particles exist. Where do the pure concepts exist?

Just by asking each other questions and answering each other. We are refining the original question. Beautiful.

Anon, you're confusing the forces with the concepts defining them - the forces exist everywhere, the concepts exist in the minds of Man and possibly other sentient beings throughout the universe.

Yes, I repeated my comment, because you rephrased, then repeated your question, the very thing that Heather found so irritating.

The concepts don't exist, except in the minds of sentient beings capable of conceiving them - the phenomena which the concepts describe, exist in their appropriate places. By this, I mean that if a tree fell in space, of course it would make no sound, but within an atmosphere, it would produce sound waves, regardless of whether or not there was a listener. The falling tree existed, until it finished falling, then it was no longer a falling tree. The sound waves existed, and they will continue to spread further and further from their source until, bit by bit, they are absorbed by objects they encounter, but these are phenomena that are described by concepts, not the concepts themselves.

The concepts do not exist except in the minds of sentient beings capable of observing phenomena and describing them with said concepts. I might have mentioned that a time or two --

Now, by all means, rephrase your question and repeat it again, then we can both continue wasting our time.

Anon, there's definitely a huge difference between living and non-living material. It didn't just happen overnight with a "poof"; it took over a billion years for complex life to evolve, and we're only just now (as humans in the past few hundred years) able to understand much of how it really transpired.

We're up against thousands of years of all kinds of conjecture and myth--pick your favorite--that has tried to explain "life" and humanity before knowledge and science started accumulating. It's difficult for me to comprehend, much less accept my own death, and I avoid thinking about it. I just hope that some positive part of me lives on in others, after the real me is really gone forever. That's all the dualism I can get.

Yeah I totally get that, all things that "live" are immortal through their actions i.e. they act on the world and change it in a way that something that is not alive doesn't. So each living things' tiniest actions of respiration, locomotion etc alter the world. They are immortal because of the effect of those actions however minute are part of a chain reaction which continues forward and backward through time.

Of course, in the traditional conscious sense of immortality we are not immortal. I absolutely accept that when we die, it is over, I never said otherwise. In this sense it is the material world NOT our consciousness which is immortal, a reversal of traditional theological thinking.

I just asked was there something about life which is distinct from matter, some quality that makes it different. Heather Spoonheim stated that it is a form of matter, a temporary equilibrium between chemical/electrical processes. Which explains it.


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