Class Warfare Blog

January 6, 2021

A Slight Difference in Approach

Filed under: Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 8:18 am
Tags: , , ,

In a online video (Mister Deity) one of the presenters being critiqued brought up a valid question—where did human consciousness, imagination, introspection abilities come from?

Science has an answer and some religions do, too.

Both see the same question. Humans are made of organs, the organs made of cells, the cells made of molecules, and the molecules made of atoms. In this there is no dispute. But all animals show these same characteristics, so why is man the animal different?

The religions, those which have an opinion (setting aside the Buddhists, et. al.) any way, claim that their god has injected something they call a soul into us at birth (exactly when this happens varies with the religion) and it is the soul which has these amazing abilities. The other animals lack this soul, you see, and so lack these abilities. This soul continues to exist after we die and goes on various adventures depending upon the religion.

Science’s answer to the main question is simpler. It is “We do not know, yet.” Science’s answer also has the advantage of science being how we found out that humans are made of organs, the organs made of cells, the cells made of molecules, and the molecules made of atoms. Since science has discovered every previous step in the chain, it seems more likely that it will continue to unravel this puzzle, and unravel the last bit.

The religious say, no, science will be confounded and the truly mysterious will happen, all orchestrated by a god that no one can provide any physical evidence of its existence.

So, what say you. If you had to bet on which approach is correct, which would it be?

For me, to abandon the scientific approach and favor any of the religious approaches is a little like taking a trip via horseback and when you had gone three quarters of the distance, abandon the horse and claim that a flying carpet will take you the rest of the way, having neither a carpet, nor any evidence that there has ever been a flying carpet.

I guess you just have to have faith.

24 Comments »

  1. The flying carpet analogy is fantastic!

    Like

    Comment by Nate — January 6, 2021 @ 11:16 am | Reply

    • Thank you, thank you very much! ( … Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis has left the theater!)

      :o)

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 6, 2021 @ 11:19 am | Reply

  2. You know … believers try sooo hard to discount science, yet without it we would be no more than any other organism on this planet. Just doing what’s necessary to survive. I mean, think about this … and imagine what our lives would be like without the knowledge that scientific discoveries have given us.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Nan — January 6, 2021 @ 11:33 am | Reply

    • Ugh, me Tarzan, you Jane ,,, you Catholic or Ptrotestant?

      On Wed, Jan 6, 2021 at 11:33 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 6, 2021 @ 1:30 pm | Reply

  3. I don’t know what people call it a hard problem. Emergence explains it perfectly.

    Like

    Comment by john zande — January 6, 2021 @ 3:24 pm | Reply

    • Amazing! You and I agree! (But it doesn’t explain it, just sources it.)

      You and I are in agreement astonishingly often. One of us, I believe is superfluous.

      On Wed, Jan 6, 2021 at 3:24 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 6, 2021 @ 9:36 pm | Reply

      • What do you mean by ‘just sources it’?

        I’d say ‘explains it’ by virtue that we can see the physical properties and their direct correlation to the presence (or absence) of the supposedly hard-to-explain things.

        As you said a few years ago, and I used in my book, “nature organises itself. It cannot help but organise itself.”

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by john zande — January 7, 2021 @ 3:15 am | Reply

        • Because it is a matter of degree and not kind. Other animals have the same equipment but not the same abilities. Those abilities are emergent ones, but emergent abilities cannot be linked to causes before the emergence. There is a causal break there. (At least that is what I was led to believe … and I have been known to be wrong from time to time. :o0

          So, we need to winkle out the details, which is what we are doing. Problem hard, tho, bro.

          On Thu, Jan 7, 2021 at 3:15 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Comment by Steve Ruis — January 7, 2021 @ 9:15 am | Reply

          • Noooo, no other animal has a prefrontal cortex like ours. Not even close, and that’s where much of the magic (like introspective and predictive and creative thought) happens.

            Liked by 1 person

            Comment by john zande — January 7, 2021 @ 12:55 pm | Reply

            • So, you think that is the case, no? I still argue that it is a matter of degree. I was told that dogs “lived in the present.” Then my wife got a dog (I was a cat person in my life prior to that point). The dog goes apeshit when the idea of a walk is in the offing. He3 runs back and forth to make sure I am getting my walking shoes on (or whatever) … he is clearly anticipating what is going to happen. He pulls on his leash as we near the park, etc. Lives in the present my ass. Dogs and other animals possess some kind of imagination. Crows solve puzzles, etc. So, what limits their “higher-level” cognitive abilities and what elevates ours? Nature is the great recycler/reuser. So many strands of DNA are used over and over for the same purpose in many, many species. So, we share some of our intellectual pizzazz with other animals … the question is why do we have more than they? One answer is we have a supercharged prefrontal cortex … okay, how does that help us? (Sure, size does matter, but is not the sole determinant.)

              I was just struck how friends can have a lively discussion while living halfway around the world from one another. We do live in an amazing time. Btw, can I offer you a used president? We have no further need of him. He is quite entertaining and only mildly dangerous (he is too incompetent to be truly dangerous). Fire sale going on right now, as in “You’re fired!

              On Thu, Jan 7, 2021 at 12:55 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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              Liked by 2 people

              Comment by Steve Ruis — January 7, 2021 @ 1:05 pm | Reply

              • Aren’t “degrees” the same as “emergence”?

                That’s what I’m saying. When the physical hardware is in place, the behaviours become possible. No massive prefrontal cortex, no great depth of imagination or predictive thought. All mammals have a prefrontal cortex, and all can do what we do, but we just do it waaaaaaay better because we have the extra hardware.

                Sure, send the orange stain down here. He can live in the warehouse where Bolsonaro is storing the 80 FUCKING YEARS OF HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE he brought from Trump in 2020.

                (and no, I’m not kidding)

                Liked by 1 person

                Comment by john zande — January 7, 2021 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

                • Sounds like you have caught your limit of idiots down there. We will find a suitable home for ours, preferably one with bars.

                  If it just a matter of “extent” then there should be proportional properties, but at a certain level of development, new abilities spring into being. I think this is what we are addressing in consciousness studies.

                  On Thu, Jan 7, 2021 at 1:20 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                  Liked by 1 person

                  Comment by Steve Ruis — January 7, 2021 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

                  • Abilities like what? Can you give an example.

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                    Comment by john zande — January 7, 2021 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

                    • Oh, say mental introspection … observing how our minds work. We are still operating without an acceptable definition of consciousness, so I do not claim special knowledge here. It is very interesting and the “higher” functions of our brains do seem to be unique, at least in their extent. And we are still discovering a great deal about the capabilities of other animals. We just recently discovered the amazing abilities of crows to solve puzzles.

                      Also, and tangentially, I abhor the use of the word “higher” in this topic (and in religion). It comes, I believe, from our tendency to map axes onto an up-down axis, the only axis we all share in conversation. So great and small are often mapped onto a “high-low” axis. I think this is how god got to be “up” from here as he is so much greater than we are. Higher functions of the mind could be characterized as being “less common, or unusual, or unique, or … you name it,” but we prefer higher because that puts us above “other” animals, from which position we can lord it “over” them, etc. This is why throbnes are on platforms, not just so the royal can be seen, but so he can be seen as being above the rest of us, closer to heaven, yada, yada, yada.

                      On Thu, Jan 7, 2021 at 3:56 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 8, 2021 @ 9:41 am

                    • Right, but all you’re describing here is us using the extra processing power we have, and other mammals don’t.

                      I think we’re saying the same thing.

                      Liked by 1 person

                      Comment by john zande — January 8, 2021 @ 9:49 am

                    • Uh … ah, shit. It may not come down to just processing power. Our hardware and software is self-programming, so the “supports” for our NI (the opposite of AI) are not “designed” by an agency, but by a process. It may come down to a system similar to our full color vision, the result of a genetic mutation of a system that was “designed” to view things as duotones.

                      On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 9:49 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Liked by 1 person

                      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 8, 2021 @ 11:10 am

                    • Could do, but I still don’t see it as an especially challenging problem. Go for a walk, you’ll see people ‘using’ their available hardware in all sorts of different ways and depth.

                      Like

                      Comment by john zande — January 8, 2021 @ 11:17 am

                    • If it were that easy, why are babies so difficult to program?

                      On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 11:17 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 8, 2021 @ 11:19 am

                    • Because people aren’t beating them hard enough 😉

                      Liked by 1 person

                      Comment by john zande — January 8, 2021 @ 12:01 pm

                    • Abuse of babies jokes are always welcome, as a fan of the comedian Anthony Jeselnik I favor such things.

                      On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 12:01 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Liked by 1 person

                      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 8, 2021 @ 12:16 pm

                    • Some babies had it coming. They know what they did.

                      Like

                      Comment by john zande — January 8, 2021 @ 12:20 pm

                    • If I wanted a pet that could only eat, squawk, and shit, I would have acquired a seagull.

                      On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 12:20 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Liked by 1 person

                      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 8, 2021 @ 1:20 pm

                    • You win!

                      Like

                      Comment by john zande — January 8, 2021 @ 3:46 pm

                    • ‘s a tie, mate! (Always!)

                      On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 3:46 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Like

                      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 8, 2021 @ 7:18 pm


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