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Conscious Purpose in Evolution?

  1. Jun 2, 2004 #1

    loseyourname

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    Either Sleeth or Canute, please flesh out your ideas fully here. I'm really curious about them. What is it that you think is the driving force behind the inception of life and what makes you believe this?
     
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  3. Jun 24, 2004 #2

    Les Sleeth

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    Sorry, I just saw this. Does my thread on panpsychism answer you? I'll try to give the most synoptic answer here I can.

    My concept is that consciousness is a force of progressive change, existing prior to physics. My reason for theorizing this is base on two observations:

    1. Watch non-living physical processes. In this universe, you cannot (without the intervention of consciousness) observe physical processes spontaneously self-organizing beyond several steps. In fact, probably the most impressive series of self-organizing steps one can observe is a star (which is a lot more impressive than the consciousness-manipulated Miller-Urey experiment).

    2. Next, compare non-living to living physical processes. Nothing comes remotely close to life's self-organizing enthusiasm. It goes, keeps going, and leads to functioning systems, each built on top of the one before, and each contributing to the overall functioning of the whole system. It involves repetitive processes yet, unlike non-living physics, is able to escape mere repetitiveness and creatively adapt when the environment demands it (given sufficient time). Further, very early on the living system developed a nervous system. That particular system appears to have dominated the path of progressive change, leading finally to the human nervous system.

    To summarize, my reason for believing something other than physicality is involved in life is because of the unusual behavior of matter that's associated with life, and the apparent evolutive priority given the biological system that manifested consciousness (CSN). I say, if someone is pre-committed to a physical explanation, they are going to do intellectual cartwheels to try to show how physics can explain this whether the facts are there are not. But if one is unbiased and only concerned to find out the truth, then they will have to admit matter is behaving abnormally in life, and therefore some unrecognized force may be present.

    As far as a purpose is concerned, I've modeled that as due to the inherent nature of the evolving force. It's "purpose" is to manifest as self-organizing enthusiasm, which to me is exactly what (healthy) conscious is an expression of. From your other posts, I think I understand your skepticism is due to silly religious dogma, blind faith and beliefs about this topic. But just because people have illogical views of a subject doesn't mean the subject is what you should suspect; maybe what should be questioned instead is people's reasoning abilities.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2004
  4. Jun 24, 2004 #3

    loseyourname

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    To be fair, my skepticism regarding this idea is not only based on the fact that most (or at least the most vocal) dualists operate from a religious perspective and have a tendency to ignore the facts. It is also due to the fact that the hypothesis itself does not seem to make any testable predictions. If it does, please correct me, but otherwise, it doesn't seem possible to either confirm or falsify the hypothesis, even just in principle. If this is the case, then the hypothesis becomes factually meaningless.

    I realize there is more to it than that. For one thing, the scientific method of testing hypotheses is a model most frequently applied to physical phenomena, although I don't think this has to be the case exclusive of all non-physical phenomena. In this particular case, the non-physical entity being postulated clearly has a physical manifestation in all of this planet's biota, and particularly in conscious organisms. Even before we had any idea what gravity was, and for all purposes it appeared to be a wholly non-physical entity, we were still able to measure its strength and predict its behavior based on the way it manifested itself in the effects it had on massive objects. To truly be able to take this hypothesis seriously, I would either have to see some way laid out in which it could be tested, as well as the predictions it makes that the test is attempting to confirm, or be given a damn good argument that it can't be tested followed by a damn good argument that its truth can at least be induced from the given evidence. I would also like to add that I do not believe your empirical inductive method, as thoughtful as it is, could be applied to this particular problem. You have argued well for its use in investigating the nature of consciousness, but remember that the hypothesis induced from the investigation about the specific nature of consciousness is really just a hunch. You probably can conclude a) that consciousness has a non-physical source and b) that this source exists independently of your body, but I do not see how you would be able to conclude either a) that this non-physical source preceded the existence of the physical universe or b) that it is responsible for the self-organizing capability of living matter. You would first need to quantify this force, both in the properties of living matter and in the properties of consciousness, before you could even begin to draw a link between the two.

    I will agree with you that living matter does prima facie seem to behave differently from any other form of matter, but to conclude that this behavior is due to anything more than the known laws of physics would first require an exhaustive computation of exactly how we would expect the given chemicals to behave given the circumstances present when they first began to organize, according to the known laws of physics. This is clearly not possible due to the limits of our computing abilities. But perhaps when abiogenesis research has progressed further, along with our ability to apply quantum mechanics to organic chemistry, and we have developed quantum computers capable of digesting the enormous amounts of information contained in living systems at the atomic level, we can then begin to truly address this matter. Until then, it is certainly fun to speculate.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2004
  5. Jun 24, 2004 #4

    loseyourname

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    By the way - I would argue that our own solar system is the best example we have of non-living matter self-organizing into a complex entity.
     
  6. Jun 25, 2004 #5

    Les Sleeth

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    Okay, I will buy that. But it still can't hold a candle to the organizational sophistication of life.

    I will answer your prior post. I liked your response a lot . . . it was very thoughtful. Right now I am a bit embroiled in my thread on induction and panpsychism. I was tempted to ask you to post your response there because it seems relevant to what we are talking about. I'd enjoy your participation in that discussion.
     
  7. Jun 26, 2004 #6

    Eh

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    To be fair, no metaphysical claim is testible. This includes physicalism. That is the whole reason it is possible for people to believe in very strange ideas.
     
  8. Jul 27, 2004 #7
    Intelligence vs Structure

    Consciousness is merely the final outcropping of a structured Universe. In other words, when God rolled out his magic carpet, the whole Universe came into being, through the course of evolution, resulting in intelligent life. Think about it, would we in fact be here if there were no structure at all? In fact that's all intelligence is, the ability to acknowledge structure. :wink: In which case what we may need to ask, is has the Universe always been intelligent?
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2004
  9. Jul 27, 2004 #8
    as far as those theories about conscious purpose go, i find the argument about the unusual complexity of life as "evidence" of conscious purpose to be a very long shot... there are lots of things that are very unusual and inexplainable yet, like the simple double slit problem... i don't hear anyone questioning that a physical explanation for that will be found, but when it's about humans, oh, well then it is suddently different from all other complex problems in the universe, because we are so special...
    that's just arrogance and a desperate attempt at finding some purpose in life...
     
  10. Jul 27, 2004 #9
    Actually, the double slit experiments and quantum physics, in general, have indeed caused a lot of people to postulate some very off the wall, super natural things about the universe.

    And unlike most other knowledge gaps, there are sound arguments as to why the consciousness gap cannot be closed by physics.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2004
  11. Jul 27, 2004 #10
    A Single Thought?

    Hey, did you know that the whole Universe is contained within the moment? Hmm ... Now what might that give rise to? The possibility that the whole Universe can be coordinated with a single thought? Hey, don't look at me, I'm not God! :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2004
  12. Jul 27, 2004 #11

    loseyourname

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    Come on, man. Don't ruin a perfectly good thread.
     
  13. Jul 28, 2004 #12
    What is the point of this thread then? To dispell the notion of God? Sorry. :wink:
     
  14. Jul 28, 2004 #13

    loseyourname

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    This thread has nothing to do with anything supernatural.
     
  15. Jul 28, 2004 #14
    Or, maybe it was the notion of purpose, since it's merely relative and doesn't exist outside of the human realm, according to the relativists that is. In which case it couldn't possibly contain the notion of God, right? But then again if purpose was only exclusive to humans, what does that say about the rest of the Universe, that it's non-relevant? Hello, anybody there? :wink: Which, is the whole point, for if we didn't understand that purpose is derived from our relationship with the Universe, there would be no purpose at all. In which case I suggest that purpose must exist in the Universal sense.

    And, just because something is relative, does not mean it's not relative to something else, in fact it would have to be (i.e., relative to an absolute), othewise it would be relative to nothing which, is impossible. :wink: In which case purpose is merely derived from the fact that we're here (is reality not absolute?) and, our awareness of this fact.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2004
  16. Jul 29, 2004 #15

    loseyourname

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    And what does any of this have to do with what was said in this thread? Can't you start your own thread and fill that with babbling nonsense?
     
  17. Jul 29, 2004 #16
    The driving force behind the inception of life? Gosh, what could that possibly mean? But hey, that's okay, I'm from a different planet, we live by different precepts than you do. But then again, if you'd ever like to know what it's like on our side of the Milky Way, give us holler. :wink:
     
  18. Jul 29, 2004 #17
    I am just quoting.

    :rofl: :yuck: :mad:
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2004
  19. Jul 29, 2004 #18
    Yes, and conscious pupose to boot! In which case we have to ask, is purpose merely relative or, is there some underlying theme throughout the Universe which gives purpose to all things? There's only one Universe isn't there? What makes human beings so different that they should exist in a Universe unto themselves? It doesn't make a lick of sense. Could it be that maybe they forgot the ground rules or something?

    By the way, if purpose is merely relative, what is it relative to? Nothing? Or, would that be relatively nothing? :wink:
     
  20. Jul 29, 2004 #19
    There's no doubt that my being here is inciteful enough as it is so, I'm not going to ask you to elaborate. :wink:
     
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