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|Pascal's Wager converted me from Catholicism to Agnosticism!|
I’m sorry if I’m just playing with semantics, but it REALLY depends on how you define the soul. BUT, more that just semantics, it matters about what bumumptions you make about the world when you DO define it.
You CAN’T go mixing world views what you start to talk about the soul. You can’t talk about an “atheistic soul” and then switch to a “Christian soul.” The word view is TOO different on the matter of something like a “soul” to make any sense mixed.
Christians do think that other stuff is alive. The reason humans have souls and other stuff does not is not because we are the only things alive, its because we are the only things with Free Will, in their world view. Which is why switching between them is just going to mess you up. To Christians, having a soul has nothing to do with being “alive,” and everything to do with being able to CHOOSE between right and wrong, heaven and hell.
What I did not include in my definitions was one including an idealism world view, but, I have never had an idealism world view, myself. (I went right from spiritualism to physicalism) So, someone else should probably do that if it is to be done.
|Posted On: 02/09/2010 9:20AM||View SoronTheBeast's Profile | #|
Of course you can’t…Think about it. Log in to see images!
But, setting the possibility of “unthinkables” aside for a moment: having the ability to translate from, say, Japanese to Spanish doesn’t mean Japanese and Spanish are the same.
That is why I do not conflate thought with other forms of computation, while I am fairly comfortable calling thought a type of computation.
It’s interesting sometimes, but most of the time you just end up reinventing the wheel with a different name and a different number of spokes. Everything I do has to satisfy a constructivist . . . it all has to be mathematically provable from the bumumptions. A lot of computer science is like: “Yeah, we can’t prove it, but you can see where it goes, right?”. Indirect proofs are rarely allowed.
Still sounds like a neat job.
But yeah, looking forward to your answer.
Sorry about the delay, been distracted lately.
One must be careful with the hardware/software analogy, useful though it is…A brain with its particular set of connections between neurons is hardly a tabula rasa.Anansi edited this message on 02/09/2010 9:37AM
|Posted On: 02/09/2010 9:35AM||View Anansi's Profile | #|
While in the argument there, I was saying that the connections in the brain were the internal state.
So i was talking about just having a lump of non-connected neurons as being a blank state.
I may be wrong there, (some evidence suggests that the neurons may change their DNA to store information . . after all, they don’t use it), but for now i believe that the arrangement and connections of the neurons are the programming/storage/etc. The data.
Take in mind how little I know about biology/biochem/the brain in an academic sense, though.
And @soron, mentioning MacDouglas . . . define the time of death, please? Even if, can you guarantee that no gases leave the body? That study clearly has no merit, in that time of death is ill-defined, and the bodies were not weighed in an air-proof chamber.
And I’m sure if I really cared, I could raise half a dozen other valid objections.
Sorry, that study always bugs me when someone tries to bring it up.
@anasi again: True enough, that I wouldn’t be able to think of a non-thought. Let me get back to you on that.Duncecap edited this message on 02/09/2010 12:08PM
|Posted On: 02/09/2010 12:03PM||View Duncecap's Profile | #|
Brain transplants? Not that I’ve heard of… quite aside from immune rejection, the problem of connecting the brain stem to a foreign spinal cord in such a way that it actually had sensible control over a new body… that is a little beyond current science insofar as I’m aware of it. Maybe eventually we’ll standardise the brain/spine connection onto USB 5.0 and be able to hot-swap brains and bodies (or plug ourselves into immersive virtual worlds, Matrix style) but not yet…
The unique pattern of neuronal connections and chemical influences contained in the brain. At birth there’s a certain level of predetermined templating, to define where the various regions of the brain go (don’t want the optic nerve at the back, that kind of thing) but considering the billions of neurons available, there’s more possible ways of wiring a person up than … well I don’t know the number, but it’s on the order of a metric ****-tonne. Far more than enough for 7 billion unique human minds.
It’s not so much the individual neurons, as the patterns they instantiate – you can lose some of the individual cells and the patterns survive, but lose too many (to oxygen starvation, brain damage, anything that kills cells or disrupts their connections to one another) and the pattern is destroyed. Maybe that kills you, maybe it just impairs some part of your cognitive function, maybe you just lose a couple of memories… there’s constant rewiring in progress, so losing a pattern here or there is only to be expected, but you don’t want the important ones being lost.
You do want to be careful with that analogy – take the “bare metal” of a brain with no connections or arrangement and you don’t have a working brain at all. By the time you’ve got it connected up enough to be functioning there could well be some fledgling elements of personality in there. That, and in a normal brain the parts that make you ‘you’ aren’t distinct from the ‘hardware’ – you couldn’t take the same brain and use it to run a different ‘program’. Your personality, your consciousness, all those things that define a person, are present in the very solidly physical state of the brain, not some abstract ‘internal state’ that could be separated from the neurons.
There may seem to be a ghost in the machine, but it’s a ghost made out of machinery.
I don’t know whether I think this scientific soul is worth calling a soul; I take the word as strongly implying a separate entity from the body, one that’s generally believed to survive the death of the body. The scientific equivalent is more like a convenient shorthand for the particular state of a brain and body (the body affecting the brain via hormones and chemical signals and the like), the combination of which make a unique person. I agree in the broad strokes with what you’re saying – a personality is in the chemicals and impulses, not a magical non-physical spirit, but calling the chemicals and impulses a soul seems to me to carry too many excess connotations.
I’d still consider it short of the definition of soul, but we may be working to different definitions; I consider the ‘survives death’ part to be the main characteristic of a soul. I don’t believe such a thing exists, so I don’t think there is a ‘scientific soul’. Granted though, there are physical patterns of chemicals and neurons that keep a body alive and instantiate a personality. If you want to call it a soul then carry on…
[and then I see that in your later post you’ve said much the same as I just did – mixing definitions is a Bad Idea™. As for world views, you may be able to tell I’d count myself a materialist. There are some very interesting ‘high level’ properties to matter, but nothing that isn’t founded on physical stuff. By high level, I mean that thoughts and memories are high level features of brain cells in the same way as “wetness” is a high level feature of water molecules – you can’t satisfactorily describe what “wet” means in terms of water molecules, even though there’s nothing causing the wetness except for those same molecules, just as you can’t really describe a thought in terms of brain cells, even though there’s nothing but brain cells involved in thought.
I sometimes tend towards materialistic functionalism; that thinking can be seen as a function of the brain in the same way as digestion is a function of the stomach, but functionalism as a theory doesn’t really say a great deal. It’s hard to find a part of it to disagree with, but that’s largely because it’s an ‘anything goes’ kind of theory.man-man edited this message on 02/09/2010 12:29PM
|Posted On: 02/09/2010 12:28PM||View man-man's Profile | #|
Actually, a monkey’s head was removed and transplanted onto another one’s body once, and they managed to wake it up. It was paralyzed from the neck down, but responded to them by snapping at their fingers with its teeth and following them with its eyes. It was clearly alive, just paralyzed. It didn’t survive for very long though.
Afraid I have no source, but I did read about this once.
|Posted On: 02/09/2010 12:38PM||View Drakodan's Profile | #|
Sounds to me like they managed to hook up the blood vessel connections to keep the brain alive (at least for a while), but not the nervous connections to give it control of the body.man-man edited this message on 02/09/2010 12:46PM
|Posted On: 02/09/2010 12:46PM||View man-man's Profile | #|
Right, the ‘scientific soul’ would be the “best” definition of a soul under a purely physicalism world view, which is the world view I have. If you’re saying that the ‘scientific soul’ is not “good enough” to be a ‘real’ soul, I would argue that under a materialism world view there IS no definition of a ‘soul,’ as in, one does not exist.
Now, it seems some people here would disagree with that, but I would argue that they do NOT have a materialism world view, but an idealism world view. However, I have never had an idealism world view, and as such don’t understand it as well as I could.
I was hoping that people might start stating their own definition of a “soul.” As I said, when talking about a “soul” you really can’t go mixing an matching bumumptions. I would like to know what others think so this can be discussed better.
|Posted On: 02/09/2010 12:53PM||View SoronTheBeast's Profile | #|
Pretty much. The fact that it was alive and conscious certainly validates something, though. It still had its consciousness after its head was removed. I don’t think you can compare headless chicken to this, since that’s just motor functions gone wild.
|Posted On: 02/09/2010 1:02PM||View Drakodan's Profile | #|
Maybe I’m misunderstanding the experiment. But if you take a head, and attach it to a different body, so long as the ‘host’ body can keep the head alive for a while I’d expect it to continue functioning as a head (and hence by the fact that the head contains the brain, be conscious).
If you removed a monkey’s head, and the rest of its body continued responding to anything more than basic reflex responses (or the headless chicken style motor functions) then it’d be odd, but I was reading this as “monkey’s head continues consciousness for a while, even when attached to a different body”, not “monkey’s body continues consciousness without a head”.
|Posted On: 02/09/2010 2:17PM||View man-man's Profile | #|
Okay, you see my post up there? Where I talked about scientists from Ohio had faked some results for attention and money?
THIS IS THAT EXPERIMENT.
They hooked the head’s blood vessels up to a basic dialysis machine, oxygenated the blood, pumped it around. Basic life support stuff. At first the monkey head responded, (as you would expect), then it stopped responding, (after no more than an hour), but showed signs of life, (brainwaves, blood vessel constriction/dilation, etc.), and then died, definitively, after 6 days.
To another monkey body? No. They’ve had to hook up its lungs nerves/controls and its heart’s nerves/controls to the correct places to do that, which would be just as difficult as connecting, say, its arms, or legs.
Basically, to say that the monkey was alive, but paralysed just fits in that crack where any thinking person should realize “why so far and no farther?”
|Posted On: 02/09/2010 3:03PM||View Duncecap's Profile | #|
Duncecap Posted:I guess I should respond to this.
I’m sorry, I was unclear. When I said “Results were… inconclusive” I meant “He was full of ****.”
|Posted On: 02/09/2010 3:31PM||View SoronTheBeast's Profile | #|
I got that impression, I just had to clarify further. Log in to see images!
That research is like that senator who claimed that the ‘soul pictures’ of black and white people were different from his examination of research data, when
1) X-rays are a far cry from ‘soul pictures’.
2) He didn’t have access to the personal info of the patients, nor was racial information stored in the research data, or even in the personal info.
Merely an idiot trying to use ‘science’ to ‘prove’ his own pre-existing beliefs.
But at least the soul weight guy was speciest, not racist.
|Posted On: 02/09/2010 10:57PM||View Duncecap's Profile | #|