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A discussion about the brain.

  1. May 4, 2003 #1
    [SOLVED] A discussion about the brain.

    If there is no such thing as 'purpose' in the whole universe, then how can we say that the universe has bestowed us with our own sense of purpose?
    We have purpose in life. Even if that purpose is just to stay alive and enjoy life. So where does this purposeness come from? A purposeless universe? I think not. If the effects of this universe are all determined to move in a specific fashion - in accordance with physical-law - then how can they create a mind which understands 'purpose' (will)?
    We understand what 'purpose' and 'will' are, because we have them. But nothing we are observing has such 'purpose' (except other organisms).
    All the world (of matter) is a slave to forces of law. Yet here we are with our free-will and purpose, and with the ability to manipulate those laws (and matter) for our own purposes and needs. And to imagine worlds which don't exist. And to understand the universe before us with reason. And to have emotions in response to that universe.
    How can you even believe that matter created our minds? I'm amazed.
    What possible explanation can make sense of believing that purposeless-matter created a purposeful-brain? Or an 'emotional' and 'reasoning' brain? Or an 'imaginative' brain? Do any of you have a reasonable explanation for this dramatic creation (the brain), which can make-sense of a "lump of matter" (the brain), having all of the aforementioned attributes - least of all awareness of sensation?
    I'd like to hear why most of you buy this theory. What are your reasons for doing so? Do you have any, or do you just believe this to be fact? I'd like to put the ball in your court for a change.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 4, 2003 #2
    Evolution has bestowed that we should have a purpose to stay alive and have children for obvious reasons.

    Similarly, a self replicating molecule has to keep replicating, otherwise the species would not exist.

    Once you have consciousness and evolution, then you have such a purpose as defined in LG post.
  4. May 4, 2003 #3
    The Universe is endowed with the ability to question itself. Hmm ... How unique.

    But why would that be necessary? Wouldn't that imply that the Universe is "conscious" as whole?
  5. May 4, 2003 #4
    That's not a reason. It's a statement. How do physical-processes (slave processes) ~evolve~ into a "lump of matter" with the aforementioned attributes, which are all free from slavery?
    I'm interested in hearing a rational explanation to show how "the slave" became free and 'different'.
    Most materialists like to hide behind complexity when it comes to this crunch question. They hide behind the complexity of the brain, and hope the question will dissolve-away. But not this time. For no matter how complex the brain is, at the end of the day, it's just a "lump of matter" that can only act in accordance with physical-law.
    All of it. No matter how complex.
    So; how can slave-processes yield the aforemetioned attributes of the Mind? It's just impossible that slave-processes can give the impression of purpose and will, least of all the awareness of a reality beyond matter's enslaved-existence (imagination).
    That's why it's impossible for us to create a computer "in our image". The computer will always be a slave, no matter how complex the electronics become.
    Such a molecule replicates via physical-processes alone. Its replication is not its own choice. I know that human-replication is a physical-process. But the laws of physics shall not dictate whether I have a child - for if I choose not to, I shall not have a child.
    If I blindly-believe your first statement, then you don't have to answer my questions. But I'm not going to do that. Why should I? Where's your reason?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2003
  6. May 4, 2003 #5

    Lifegazer, you may want to define the word and the concept of "purpose" before you go much further.

    It could get fairly semantic in here.

    Purpose, from my perspective, is relative. I don't think it stands up as a concept under the laws associated with string or quantum theory.
  7. May 4, 2003 #6
    Re: definition

    Matter is a slave to physical-law. That's my point. So any 'thing' which acts, does so without choice.
    But when it comes to life - humanity especially - 'choice' becomes an option, since our actions are not determined by physical-law, but by desire and will (self-purpose).
    You can argue that our manifest-choices are restricted by physical-laws; but you cannot argue that our choices are determined by physical-law.
  8. May 4, 2003 #7


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    Prove it.
    Prove it.
    If I assume numero uno, I think I can argue that quite easily. And that arguement would be non-disprovable.

    What you are doing here is an incorrect argument. You are assuming a deterministic universe, and then using the concept of free will. But the principle of an absolutely deterministic universe implies that free will does not exist, and so you cannot combine the two in this way. Rather, you have set up a straw man argument, where you set up the scenario to force them to be mutually contradictory. And there is no relevance between determinism and materialism - some believe free will exists, and so matter has some degree of freedom and randomness, and others believe that free will does not exist, and everything is fundamentally pre-determined from the definition of universal laws. This is also reflected in spiritualism - eg. fate. Your generalisation is completely off.
  9. May 4, 2003 #8
    Well if I concede, then the conclusion is that matter chooses its own future. You obviously cannot support such a stance.
    What physical-law has dictated that I should declare 'God' as real?
    What physical-law has dictated that I should respond to your post in this manner?
    No physical-processes can express 'choice'. Therefore, the diversity of my opinion, and the manner in which I have chosen to express my opinion - let-alone the fact that I have decided to respond - are exhibits of 'choice'.
    I am free to think as I feel. I am even free to challenge my feelings. And so are you. No physical-process of a singular mechanism could ever achieve such diversity of 'product' if that mechanism was restricted by design & structure. That's why my Fiat-Brava cannot fly. It just drives across suitable terrain. Just like everybody elses Fiat-Brava. [this is in reference to my post in the 'beautiful' topic, where I metion that all cars of the same-make produce predictable results, if working.]
    If you like, I will assume a universe with free-will. But that assumption takes me to the same conclusion: that the universe is a sentient being.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2003
  10. May 4, 2003 #9
    How about probability? Isn't that based on choice?
  11. May 5, 2003 #10
    This thread is not philosophy. It's pseudo-science yet again.
  12. May 5, 2003 #11
    I think that Antonio Damasio gives a very plausible account of what you deny. I could reply with my synopsis of his explanation but it's much easier to tell you to read "The Feeling of What Happens". It should only take you a couple of days and all your doubts should evaporate. :smile:
    Last edited: May 5, 2003
  13. May 5, 2003 #12
    Actually, this thread gives people such as yourself the opportunity to explain to crackpots such as myself why 'the brain' is a product of matter + universal-forces.
    ... Still waiting.
  14. May 5, 2003 #13
    Roll a die. The odds that you will roll a '6' are 1-in-6 throws. But the die doesn't 'choose' what number shall come up. When you roll the die, physical-forces and considerations such as 'friction', etc., are responsible for how the die will fall.
  15. May 5, 2003 #14
    Re: Re: A discussion about the brain.

    I'll try to remember the recommendation. But in the meantime - for discussion's sake - I would like to hear your synopsis.
  16. May 5, 2003 #15
    Some people don't belief religion, and put their trust in scientific theories instead.
  17. May 5, 2003 #16
    If the die was a living thing and only number 6 can reproduce, then you would only see a die with number 6 coming up.
    How strange!
  18. May 5, 2003 #17
    Whatever you are mentioning as 'reason' are statements too. Only difference is, your statements are false.
  19. May 5, 2003 #18

    Another God

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    All of them
    Well, my belief tends towards that of a deterministic universe, without free will. I am not certain in any way, but thats where my belief tends. AS such, your choices, are illusions. The laws (PLURAL) of the universe, combined with whatever given state preceded whicheve moment you wish to analyse dictate exactly what will happen next.

    Involved in that, is the process occuring in your brain right now, which makes it so that you are imperfectly recalling a variety of previous experiences from you life, and reconstructing them in a novel way, producing this argument. You are recalling 'memories' of previous conversations, previous concepts, previous ideas, previous sights, smells, sounds etc, and recombining those experiences into a whole new 'idea', and you are now attempting to communicate that idea.

    You are not 'choosing' to do this any more than the dice chose to roll a 3. You are simply a consequence of the genetic programming that dictates the functions of your brain, combined with the experiences had thus far.

    Now, don't go and ask something quite so stupid as 'What LAW allows you to make choices.' Because you aren't that stupid. You are much more intelligent than someone who would think for a fraction of a second that there is a law dedicated to such a redicules concept. Your 'choices' are a consequence of EVERYTHING coming together at that particular moment.

    So no, I am not going to tell you how each choice is made. Because there are essentially an infinte number of things for me to describe.
  20. May 5, 2003 #19
    Free Will vs Evil

    Fromt the thread, https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=493&perpage=15&highlight=evil&pagenumber=2" ...

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
  21. May 5, 2003 #20

    Notable/meritable effort on this thread. My response is that you are not taking complexity into account. The universe is full of chaotic/near-random/follow-the-path-of-least-resistance reactions. That is how it works, according to current scientific understanding. However, when you get a "lump" of that matter together, and manipulate the energy contained therein, you can produce "programs". A PC is programmed, and so is a human. Humans have a much more complex programming, and are thus more consious and infinitely more emotional, then a PC, however the principle is the same.
  22. May 5, 2003 #21
    Your reasoning contains two major mistakes.
    1. Even the smallest "lump" of matter is not completely deterministic. Look at the uncertainty principle and quantum mechanics. There is some flexibility even on the lowest possible level of existence. Your "belief" in the deterministic way in which the material world functions, therefore has no ground in physical law itself. So you attack materialism on the basis of arguments, which are not materialist assumptions, but purely your own "belief".

    2. You argue that the complex functions a human mind/brain can perform, can not be brought back to the way matter behaves. You therefore "believe" that instead of the material world "God almighty" gave you your free will and so. Humans can make choises. At least we think we can, and in one or more ways we have choice. That is: we can make conscious decissions, exactly because we have knowledge about how the world functions. But where is the argument that therefore the brain and the human being is not material, and is not a product of the material world? The only argument brought in is from a misconception about how the material world in fact works. The material world is not deterministic. Materialism neither science claims that the material world is deterministic.
  23. May 5, 2003 #22
    The point of this thread is to actually give you guys a chance to put me straight, and show how slave-processes can yield the aforementioned attributes of the mind/brain.
    I want to hear some reasons for me to change my mind. I'm being open to your explanations. So where are they?
  24. May 5, 2003 #23


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    Yes I can, if I should wish to do so.

    Let's re-clarify.

    There are available three relevant assumption-systems dealing with free will.

    1. Absolute determinism. All of the universe is a system of cause and effect, and physical laws are absolute. Objects and existence exist in discrete form, and no opportunity for choice. This implies Free will cannot exist, and what we call choice is an illusion. Real causes and laws exist beneath the workings of the brain, and are only apparently random due to being hidden by the complexity of the system. If you trace back every impulse, you can find the source of thought.

    This is reasonable and consistent.

    2. Partial determinism. Everything has choice and capacity for random "will", but is restricted by absolute laws of the universe. But not determined. Reality and existence is only existant in terms of a probability matrix, and random fluctuation make up existence itself. Hence, all matter has choice - but the degree of fluctuation allowed is small - on the quantum scale. Free will is possible as small fluctuations cumulate in a complex and unstable system such as a brain, yielding greater randomness and hence choice.

    This is reasonable and consistent.

    3. Non-determinism. The universe is fundamentally random. No laws exist in reality, but rather are subjective notions placed by the mind to allow understanding. Physical laws have no power, but are merely effects of general, transient trends. Free will is not merely possible, but neccessary - will represents universal order, and hence every thing has conciousness.

    This is reasonable and consistent.

    Now, numero 3 gives the neccessity of universal consciousness to contain order. 2 gives the possibility of such consciousness, depending on the limits of the system. 1 implies that such consciousness cannot exist. Each of them represents an assumption to the nature of the universe. Other options are not logically viable.
  25. May 5, 2003 #24
    Without "matter + universal-forces" there is no brain. There could never be a brain.

    Universe not here... brain not here. Get over it.

    Everything we know of and more, including brains, are under the "direction" of physical laws... and other laws which we are, for the most part, unaware of... therefore, I propose:

    Just as free will is a product of the universal laws of matter etc...

    then the product of free will is a part of those same laws of the universe. If the product is faulty (by definition of those laws of the universe), the product is recycled.

    Which brings me to the conclusion... there is no free will... (but, one can freely free Willy(:
    Last edited: May 5, 2003
  26. May 5, 2003 #25
    Actually, computer programs and artificial nueral nets have already proven that an artificial system is capable of making decisions that we do not include in their programing. This is a sort of "byproduct" of complexity theory, called emmergence. The question of whether such concious systems have freewill or not hasn't been answered, but they have shown apparent choice isn't necessarily generated by the animal/human mind alone.

    Models of the human brain have been constructed quantum mechanically, treating individual neurons as though they were quanta. It's only an estimation for sure, but it too has demonstrated how the complexity of learning/thought is similar to the process of a rock rolling down a hill. Searching out the most efficient path.
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