I would like to post a conversation I just had on Google+. I understand how my statements may sound offensive but I see things as I see it. My opinion is not unheard of but I am not saying it is fact. However, my issue really isnt about what I said it is about the response it received from a guy who didn't like what I said but posted his opinions. I don't understand them and I was wondering if someone could explain what he means by his definition of consciousness and "objective reality"
Me-Many people are superstitious and will have their religions. They will believe things and blindly "drink the koolaid" if they are offered anything that is better than everlasting death of themselves and their loved ones. This is just my opinion. Just think about it. You, the very essence of you has a finale. And some people don't want to believe that. Some people will appear to claim to have telepathy and can speak to this invisible person (hallucination) they believe watches over them and what they do (paranoia) which by the way is the same theme as Santa Claus. Key in "You better watch out. You better not cry" . And some make bargains (prayer/telepathy) to obey and be good so it wont send them to the scary place. Oh and get no gifts like a mansion in the clouds. Looks cool but i don't know how that works. My point is it keeps me in awe how weird our culture is and how far behind we are from other cultures (overseas) who understand evolution and will accept it as a more factual explanation of we became and how we die."
Him-Personality and memory will (almost certainly) end. Those things are not "the very essence of you." Nor are they consciousness.
What I was talking about before, which was different from that, was the fact that we cannot model consciousness and so have no business thinking we know much about it. There's an unbridgeable qualia gap. We have no reason, looking at objective reality and all its processes including those occurring in the brain, to conclude that subjective consciousness should be occurring at all. As I said, in objective reality there is no I and there is no You -- there is only he, she, and it. We can describe all kinds of things about how the brain functions, but no one has ever posited any hypothesis about how any of this gives rise to someone inside -- an "I" -- experiencing anything subjectively. And I would suggest that no one ever will, that it is impossible.
As consciousness cannot emerge from brain activity by any conceivable mechanism, it must pre-exist brain activity, at least as a potential, and be a fundamental characteristic of existence comparable to space or time.
Do I believe that consciousness (although not memory or personality) endures beyond death? Yes. I as an individual will not, but I as an individual am an illusion anyway, a kind of distorted mirror thrown up by my brain. I -- the real I -- am the cosmos, and the cosmos was here before this body was born and will still be here, experiencing reality through all vehicles available (of which at the moment this body is one), after this body dies.
What is he talking about? Thanks.
Damn, beat me to it.
"As I said, in objective reality there is no I and there is no You -- there is only he, she, and it."
Hmmmmm... I think someone once said, I think therefore I am. That's kind of hard to refute philosophically.
"As consciousness cannot emerge from brain activity by any conceivable mechanism, it must pre-exist brain activity, at least as a potential, and be a fundamental characteristic of existence comparable to space or time."
This is total bullshit. "I can't conceive how consciousness can arise form the brain so it must exist beyond it!" It's like saying, "I don't understand how planes fly so it must be magic."
"Do I believe that consciousness (although not memory or personality) endures beyond death? Yes. I as an individual will not, but I as an individual am an illusion anyway, a kind of distorted mirror thrown up by my brain. I -- the real I -- am the cosmos, and the cosmos was here before this body was born and will still be here, experiencing reality through all vehicles available (of which at the moment this body is one), after this body dies."
And this is where you can tell he's just making shit up as he goes along! Seriously, anthropomorphizing the universe as a supernatural cosmic entity who comes to earth and shares the experience of life with all things before returning to it's "parent" being? Sounds like someone never really let go of their Christian background.
As many of the other posters explained, it sounds like woo woo.
Here are my thoughts and reasoning about disembodied spirits.
One thing that is known because of information theory is that it takes energy to manipulate information. Where is the power to come from for a disembodied spirit (or a soul if you will) if there is such a thing? Anyone who makes such a claim should answer this objection and show where the power is coming from. The fact is that it takes power (energy) to manipulate information. A mind existing outside of and away from the body can't exist for the same reason perpetual motion machines can't exist. Either would take a power source that can’t be explained in terms of modern physics. It isn't because we don't understand what powers a perpetual motion machine that makes its existence untenable it is the fact that it takes energy to power a machine. Just so the human mind which gets its energy from the human body. When the body stops working so does the mind. No mind, no soul, spirit or afterlife. It seems like a simple concept to me.
My point about a soul was then if we don’t have and can’t have a soul that exists outside of the human body then there can be no afterlife. Information theory explains that it takes energy to manipulate information, for a person to think or have any brain activity. The energy that powers the brain dies with the body, no 15 watts or more to power the biological computer we call the brain. Just because someone is apt at expounding on bullshit doesn’t make that bullshit true. The only way we can know that something is true is if it is constant with the evidence and the laws of the natural world. Perpetual motion machines are not and neither is a disembodied spirit.
When I read what he wrote I thought of Dennis Hopper:
Hey, man, you don't talk to the Colonel. You listen to him. The man's enlarged my mind. He's a poet-warrior in the classic sense. I mean, sometimes he'll, uh, well, you'll say "Hello" to him, right? And he'll just walk right by you, and he won't even notice you. And suddenly he'll grab you, and he'll throw you in a corner, and he'll say "Do you know that 'if' is the middle word in life? 'If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you'..." – I mean, I'm no, I can't – I'm a little man, I'm a little man, he's, he's a great man. I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas – I mean –...(Note: This is a variation on T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, with the 'If you can keep your head...' a quote from Rudyard Kipling's If)
He sounds like he may be Buddhist. If you look up Buddhism, this might shed some light on what he's saying. He seems to be alluding to the Brahman.
However, he has a fatal flaw. In his argument he confuses the unexplained with the unexplainable. We don't know the mechanism now - but that does not mean we cannot know it. So to insert a baseless theory ('Consiousness lives on.' or 'We can't know, so God did it.') is ridiculous.
At first I thought so, too, but then he gets to some essential, beyond-death, cosmic being, and it's one of the immutable ideas, maybe the only immutable idea of Buddhism that all things are impermanent. Saying that your consciousness exists before you and will exist after you is pretty contrary to Buddhist philosophy.
oh my goodness. now he says atheist and theist are like two peas in a pod. two sides of the same coin and then he ended with this
"Even more, they're (atheist)obsessed with the same essentially irrelevant question: whether one particular religion's simplistic and naive model explaining spiritual experience is literally true.
On that question, I'm firmly convinced the atheists are right and the fundies are wrong, but I'm even more firmly convinced that anyone with any real understanding of the subject doesn't give a rat's ass. Having established that that particular religion's simplistic and naive model explaining spiritual experience isn't literally true, you really haven't established anything of importance and all the questions remain to be answered. You're not done. You've barely begun."
I truly believe he is a very confused man.
Not confused, just misunderstood.
Basically it's an argument from ignorance. It's better worded like this.
"As we do not know any conceivable mechanism to explain consciousness...GAWD did it"
There are several fallacies here.
1. Argument of Ignorance
2. God of the Gaps
3.Begging the question
Read the new book Super Brain by Depak Chopra. This guy is essentially saying the same thing that Depak and a Neuroscientist who co-authored the book are saying. I know this, because I recently read the book. There is a lot of interesting information in there, which is very much science based in terms of quantum reality, brain function, and understanding consciousness. Just a warning: they are approaching it from the opposite camp you most likely fall in: I presume you think consciousness is a function of the brain, whereas they would say that the brain is controlled by consciousness and not the other way around. It's a good book to read - whether you agree with them or not - and it will definitely give you an understanding of exactly where this guy is coming from.
I deleted everything I wrote and started over because some days I'm a nice guy.
Barry if you wish to have your posts taken seriously, don't promote the King of WooWoo.
You expose a very closed mind, Gregg.
I never said I agreed with Depak nor did I promote him, I said what he had to say was interesting and could provide perspective into what the guy Shana was having a conversation with. What Depak has to say has scientific merit in terms of hypothesis and theory, however, there are a lot of things in the book that have yet to be proven - which can also be said regarding Depak's skeptics. I choose to keep an open mind on things and listen, rather than dismiss it because there is something to be learned in every point of view even if you don't agree. You should try it sometime. Or are you afraid to expand your mind?