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When will Jesus come back ? Options
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2018 5:19:46 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:

This statement illustrates the problem with using computer metaphors for human mentality. There is no analogous mental function of the brain to software, the brain/mind, and all of it's behaviors are wetware. If a behavior changes permanently as a result of experience there is a structural change in the architecture of the brain, if a behavior demonstrates variability in response to various external stimuli, and internal activation, it is the result of differing levels of excitation along the responsible circuits, or a different set of circuitry activation. Dementia, like any other physical trauma to the brain results in permanent changes to the brain/minds abilities.

Behavioral development, and learned behaviors of the brain/mind can be seen as a form of programming; however, it cannot be seen as software installation that is not how it works. No matter what software I install on my computer the chips remain the same, this is not true in the brain.

Besides this it seems that there is some strange mix of dualism and monism in this argument that I can not quite put my finger on.



Hello, Epi. Thank you very much for these explanations. This input from a knowledgeable biologist (that I understand you are) is of great value, I am sure, to all of us.

Like Y111, I also often use the analogy with "software" when thinking about human mentality. So let me tell you why I do this, and then I would appreciate it enourmousy if you could kindly tell me if and where I miss or overlook something important.

I am not a biologist, but I do understand, as you say, that human-made IT systems are, of course, very primitive compared to human brain. Exactly for what you mention - in human-made IT systems hardware is a fixed structure, so software can only operate within the limits that the hardware sets.

In human brain (if I understand your explanations correctly) software and hardware truly work in concert with each other: for example, sustained development by an individual of certain mental skill leads to not only the software part "learning" the skill, but to the hardware itself (physical structure of the brain) evolving, too, in a way that facilitates perfroming of the said skill. This is like if a computer software could alter the architecture of the computer in response to its varying needs... Is this understanding correct?

This is of course because psyche ("software") operates on living cells that can alter... Compared to unbelieable complexity of this system, human-made computers are, of course, "stone age" technology... However, in my view they do represent the closest analogy we can use. And we need this analogy, because it allows to bring the discussion about "soul" versus "body", "material" versus "ideal" and other such long-futilely-debated questions from irrational into the rational / scientific domain, where accurate arguments can be exchanged, as opposed to just trading prejudices and beliefs, as it has been the case for centuries up to now. There is simply no closer analogy at this stage of history anyway, so I personally find it useful.

And I guess it is much closer to reality than whatever analogies had to be made by those who wrote Bible and other books that intended to explain the world to people thousands of years ago, when humans didn't know anything at all, so it should have been quite a task. This is what I attribute the religious stress on faith and believing to. Some things people just had to believe before they could know. Now we know much more, so maybe it's time to make a new step and try to come to understand at least some of those long-debated philosophical issues. With a reservation though that we still know little.Angel And exactly how little we know we can easily see by comparing the complexity of even most primitive living beings to that of the most advanced examples of what we the humans can make at this stage. So maybe the time has come when we can only begin to understand what the physical world is, who we are... etc.
Absinthius
Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2018 6:59:14 AM

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Maybe it's just me, but I'm really not seeing the value of this analogy.

As far as I am concerned analogies can very useful as long as there are factual points on which you can demonstrate the similarities. Comparing a 'soul' to a computer program in no way helps you define what a soul is, you have still no way of demonstrating this comparison is valid.

What it comes down to in my opinion is that if the only way to explain something is by explaining something else... it's not much of an explanation.

Look, how about this? Let's pretend we've had the row and I've won. See? It saves a lot of effort.
hedy mmm
Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2018 9:07:21 AM

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Oh, He's coming back all right..

He will come as a "thief in the night" to many...to the rest of us who have a relationship with our Lord "know the season" of His return...for we have many clues...same as when you know that Fall is approaching...temperatures drop, (even the trees have a clue and prepare for Winter)... the bible says, "my sheep know my voice"...

He's coming soon...if you're really curious read His ''instructions" as to the 'season' of His return...

Absinthius, if you want to pretend and/or remain 'clueless', do so...my question is, where will you spend eternity? Think

hedymmm


"God graced us with today....don't waste it." hedy
Absinthius
Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2018 10:10:00 AM

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I am not pretending Hedy, and how very 'christian' of you to seemingly take pleasure in the prospect of eternal torture for those you disagree with.

If your God were to exist and he would take disbelief as sufficient reason for eternal torture, he is a vile, petty, malevolent and evil being that does not deserve my respect or worship.

So let's rejoice in the fact its all nonsense. Feel free to join us! No torture, just beer and cookies.

Look, how about this? Let's pretend we've had the row and I've won. See? It saves a lot of effort.
Y111
Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2018 1:02:09 PM
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Epiphileon wrote:
Behavioral development, and learned behaviors of the brain/mind can be seen as a form of programming; however, it cannot be seen as software installation that is not how it works. No matter what software I install on my computer the chips remain the same, this is not true in the brain.

The chips remain the same but the code of the program can change. If virtual devices are possible, why not virtual brains? The brain is much more complex than a CD drive, but it's not infinitely complex. Or is it? Or do you think there is some unknowable element in the human brain/mind that makes building its precise software model impossible?
leonAzul
Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2018 7:58:22 PM

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Kirill Vorobyov wrote:

One line of this discussion that stemmed from assertions by some that there can be no place for god(s), because they know physical universe is all that exists, and if God created it than who created God, etc... has come to a stalemate anyway. At least for now.

Yet there will always be a place for telling stories, because that is what we do and who we are.



"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Friday, August 31, 2018 7:22:45 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:

... There is no analogous mental function of the brain to software, the brain/mind, and all of it's behaviors are wetware. If a behavior changes permanently as a result of experience there is a structural change in the architecture of the brain, if a behavior demonstrates variability in response to various external stimuli, and internal activation, it is the result of differing levels of excitation along the responsible circuits, or a different set of circuitry activation.


So it is a combination of signals ("different levels of activation", "different set of circuitry activation") that runs in our brains. How is it different from software then?

It is another matter that we may not know the code (unless we do under some Los Alamos project) and be unable to decode and make exact sense of these signals, but this is no different from a man two hundred years ago having no clue whatsoever to how the binary digital flow in modern computers in some mysterious way leads up to producing meaningful results.
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, September 2, 2018 5:00:04 AM

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Kirill Vorobyov, and Y111,
First of all yes it is not disprovable that our experience is a simulation; however, my point is that saying the behavioral repertoires of the brain/mind are analogous to anything currently known as software is misleading. Even if we someday develop the capability to perfectly model the human mind it will not be called software, for as Kirill pointed out the technology would have to be able to reconfigure the physical characteristics of the structure upon which it runs. Nothing like that currently exists, and even when it does the task of recreating the number of internal micro-components, (the local neural circuit) to which this must be happening, simultaneously, while utilizing those micro-components in massive independent, codependent, and actively interacting circuits, that still represent only the very lowest level of the construction process of the code that eventually leads to the macro phenomenon of a mental behavior, is even for the most optimistic of researchers an inconceivable task.

We may someday actually invent a technology capable of attaining self-awareness but, it will not operate like the human brain does. This is one of the problems I have with the reality is a simulation proposal if reality were a simulation it would be much easier to understand how the brain works. Well at least it seems to me it would, it seems it would have to be.

More to the point Y111, even if reality is a simulation, I do not see how it is an argument for a god in any traditional sense of the word, or that there is a reality beyond the one which we live in. After all, even if we are a simulation, we are still part of the same reality that the simulation is generated in.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
leonAzul
Posted: Sunday, September 2, 2018 10:54:38 PM

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Kirill Vorobyov wrote:

In human brain (if I understand your explanations correctly) software and hardware truly work in concert with each other: for example, sustained development by an individual of certain mental skill leads to not only the software part "learning" the skill, but to the hardware itself (physical structure of the brain) evolving, too, in a way that facilitates perfroming of the said skill. This is like if a computer software could alter the architecture of the computer in response to its varying needs... Is this understanding correct?

This is of course because psyche ("software") operates on living cells that can alter... Compared to unbelieable complexity of this system, human-made computers are, of course, "stone age" technology... However, in my view they do represent the closest analogy we can use. And we need this analogy, because it allows to bring the discussion about "soul" versus "body", "material" versus "ideal" and other such long-futilely-debated questions from irrational into the rational / scientific domain, where accurate arguments can be exchanged, as opposed to just trading prejudices and beliefs, as it has been the case for centuries up to now. There is simply no closer analogy at this stage of history anyway, so I personally find it useful.


Although I recognize that the software analogy to human brain function can be useful, and I appreciate the attempt to wrest these important questions from the clutches of speculative philosophers and bring them under the scrutiny of evidence-based science, I very much agree with Epiphileon that a great deal of skepticism needs to be applied whenever it is invoked. As an analogy, it is only meaningful for those who have gone through the process of developing and maintaining software and can properly understand the limits of the model. The concept of "engrams" in Scientology springs immediately to mind as an ignorant application of the model.

Since the time when such a model was first tested and attempts to "calibrate" it to the data available on human brain function were tried, its only success has been to demonstrate how different software is from real, living, human brains.

The one notable attempt to use the language of computer science to model the processes of the human brain was a series of books by John C. Lilly. The Wikipedia entry is generally reliable, but if you really want to understand, I strongly recommend you read the writings themselves critically, although they are more of historical interest than valuable as state of the art concepts.



"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Y111
Posted: Monday, September 3, 2018 7:17:32 AM
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Epiphileon wrote:
More to the point Y111, even if reality is a simulation, I do not see how it is an argument for a god in any traditional sense of the word, or that there is a reality beyond the one which we live in.

But I wasn't trying to make such an argument. Nor was I advocating the existence of another reality. My idea (or fantasy if you prefer) was that a human personality (or a "soul") can be implemented as a self-modifying program and run on a computer. And since I was talking about Jesus, a god, naturally the question whether it is feasible for an engineer of our days didn't bother me. What is relevant is whether it's possible in principle. The only counterargument from you has been that the chips remain the same. But I don't see why the elements that are supposed to change have to be chips. Why can't they be also software? Software can change, so what's the problem?
will
Posted: Monday, September 3, 2018 7:23:32 AM
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Absinthius wrote:
Maybe it's just me, but I'm really not seeing the value of this analogy.

It’s not just you. Shhh

Quite apart from misrepresenting and overstating the complexity of life (and specifically the human brain) the analogy is missing a significant detail: Life on Earth has been evolving for roughly 4 billion years, while the first computers are less than 200 years old. For this analogy to be a true comparison it would need to compare the complexity of life to a computer (or anything humanity could create) in 3 999 999 800 years time.

In just the last few centuries science has enabled humanity to improve our existence immeasurably, freeing us from many ‘evils’, such as disease, famine and poverty – evils that are themselves a paradox to the supposed existence of omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient creationist gods. It’s impossible to imagine what the next thousand years will hold – never mind millions or billions.

Although the traditional methods still remain a ‘mystery’, humanity already has the (god-like) ability to create new life and synthetic biology. There is no good reason to shoehorn an endless stream of mutually exclusive creator gods – or spurious analogies – into the gaps of personal ignorance.

There is even less reason to attribute humanity’s knowledge and (god-like) creative abilities to a supernatural creator, or programmer, not least because the unavoidable issue of infinite regression remains unanswered.

And while we're crediting the human brain with some extraordinarily complex sophistication, let's not forget that, although we have the ability to save billions from death and suffering, we have also collectively given Donald Trump access to enough weaponry to wipe us all out several times over. Eh?

And besides… where do aardarks and zebras fit in to this analogy? Are they ‘complex’ enough to need a programmer? What about dolphins and other animals with highly developed cognitive faculties? What about humans with mental disorders? What about the countless microorganism that are either vital to keeping us alive or are potentially fatal to our existence? Think

.
will
Posted: Monday, September 3, 2018 7:29:54 AM
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leonAzul wrote:
Kirill Vorobyov wrote:

One line of this discussion that stemmed from assertions by some that there can be no place for god(s), because they know physical universe is all that exists, and if God created it than who created God, etc... has come to a stalemate anyway. At least for now.

Yet there will always be a place for telling stories, because that is what we do and who we are.

I’m slightly baffled by this post.

For a start, as Lotje1000 has already pointed out, that quoted section of Kirill Vorobyov’s post doesn’t accurately describe anything anyone has ‘asserted’. It stems from Kirill Vorobyov’s assertion that “there is a reality beyond the physical universe and time, and that's a known fact, people only have to realize it.” Several people challenged this, you can check every one, no one asserted ‘ they know [the] physical universe is all that exists’ nor even that there ‘can be no place for god(s)’.

Basically, as Karl Popper put it: In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.

Secondly, the question of infinite regression has not ‘come to a stalemate’, the issue was simply not addressed by Kirill Vorobyov.

Sorry to be so pedantic, but it strikes me that if people go to the effort of entertaining such patently ludicrous arguments – for the benefit of wider discourse – it’s only right that those efforts are not dishonestly represented by others.

Finally, your response – that doesn’t appear to me to address the quoted section anyway – seems highly disingenuous, particularly in relation to the section quoted. The issue being discussed was the degree to which some people twist objective realities in order to justify supernatural beliefs. Of course, you and I might casually refer to such beliefs as ‘stories’, but to theists they are ‘truth’, with immovability as a positive virtue.

We all know people comfort themselves with stories; my point, at least, is that large numbers in a population choosing subjective ‘truths’ rather than more accurate explanations is a threat to humanity as a whole.

On which point...
hedy mmm wrote:
Oh, He's coming back all right..

You go, girl! It’s refreshing to see a theist with true courage of conviction. If there’s anything worse that personal Faith, it’s that wishy washy liberal multi-faith tolerance. There’s no two ways when it comes to death cults; if you’re going pick a side, it should be all or nothing. Applause


.
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Tuesday, September 4, 2018 8:26:58 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:

<...> Even if we someday develop the capability to perfectly model the human mind it will not be called software, for as Kirill pointed out the technology would have to be able to reconfigure the physical characteristics of the structure upon which it runs. Nothing like that currently exists, and even when it does the task of recreating the number of internal micro-components, (the local neural circuit) to which this must be happening, simultaneously, while utilizing those micro-components in massive independent, codependent, and actively interacting circuits, that still represent only the very lowest level of the construction process of the code that eventually leads to the macro phenomenon of a mental behavior, is even for the most optimistic of researchers an inconceivable task.


This is what I call a truly advanced technology Angel
Incredibly complex from our standpoint, and yet it exists, and it works. It's a fact.Think
Thanks, Epi.
Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, September 6, 2018 4:25:54 AM

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Evolved biological systems like the human brain/mind are not usually referred to as technology but, it is a fact that they exist. If this is what you're referring to above, then I agree, If however, you are claiming that we are in fact a simulation then you would be in error calling that a fact.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Thursday, September 6, 2018 5:15:30 AM

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Yes, I mean this (human brain / mind) is a system that de-facto exists and works.

I called it a "technology" to trigger comparison with human-developed technologies - to demonstrate how far behind we (the humans) still are, compared to what is potentially possible.

So we've a long road ahead and quite possibly a great and bright future. I am optimistic, anyway. Angel
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, September 6, 2018 3:38:18 PM

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Hope123 wrote:

FounDit wrote: My opinion doesn't need to be "scientific" to be valid, (Huh? We are discussing science! So you've reviewed every abstract written about it? No? A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing!) and until there is absolute proof presented to the general public, and particularly to me, my opinion is just as valid as that of anyone else on the topic, especially when I have examined the evidence presented so far. If my opinion differs, then it is they who have failed to present convincing evidence.

Back to absolute proof again! lol

Your opinion is as good as anyone else on the topic? Like researchers who have spent a dozen years in post-doctoral studies specific to climate change and many years working in the field?

Huh? Wow. What arrogance. What hubris! If we can't convince you with the arguments of climate researchers, our and their argument fails. That says nothing about your abilty to be able to be flexible or even understand the arguments

It would really help if you applied just the tiniest bit of reasoning to your responses. Yes, my opinion is just as valid as yours because we are both members of the public, and neither of us are scientists. Both of us have to rely on real scientists to show us why we should believe what they tell us.

Since there are many climate scientists who DO NOT believe humans are responsible for any warming that takes place, I remain skeptical. You believe, apparently, because it suits your political philosophy. I am skeptical because the science isn’t settled.

And yes, I want absolute proof before we run off half-cocked and make laws that affect all of us before we know what we’re doing. What proof would I require? Easy.

1). Just provide a list of ALL the sources of greenhouse gases that may raise the temperature of the planet.

2). List how much of each source is responsible for raising the temperature.

3) Eliminate all sources that are not human made.

4). Once you identify exactly how much humans are responsible for, then show a direct line of cause and effect on how much the temperature has been raised by human activity.

Should be easy to do, right? So if you find those sources and numbers, I will then gladly agree with you and those scientists that say global warming is anthropogenic.

I look forward to reading your data with eagerness and anticipation.



We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Lotje1000
Posted: Friday, September 7, 2018 2:36:25 AM

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FounDit wrote:
It would really help if you applied just the tiniest bit of reasoning to your responses.

Ad hominem

FounDit wrote:
Since there are many climate scientists who DO NOT believe humans are responsible for any warming that takes place, I remain skeptical. You believe, apparently, because it suits your political philosophy. I am skeptical because the science isn’t settled.

Misrepresentation of facts and opinions.

FounDit wrote:
And yes, I want absolute proof before we run off half-cocked and make laws that affect all of us before we know what we’re doing. What proof would I require? Easy.

Misplaced burden of proof.
will
Posted: Friday, September 7, 2018 3:15:29 AM
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FounDit wrote:
It would really help if you applied just the tiniest bit ...

Since there are many climate scientists who DO NOT believe ...

And yes, I want absolute proof...


Jesus Christ!



.
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, September 7, 2018 4:49:09 AM

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will wrote:
Jesus Christ!


Where!?! Well, I guess that answers the OP's question hey?

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Friday, September 7, 2018 5:29:29 AM

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FounDit wrote:
<...> before we run off half-cocked <...>



Wow, how much I love this expression! Applause
It reminded me this is primarily a linguistic forum after all, though a great one in other respects, too. Thank you all.
Hope123
Posted: Friday, September 7, 2018 3:55:18 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
will wrote:
Jesus Christ!


Where!?! Well, I guess that answers the OP's question hey?


Good one, guys!

The past is to be respected/acknowledged, not worshipped. It is in our future we will find our greatness. Pierre Trudeau
Hope123
Posted: Friday, September 7, 2018 5:16:21 PM

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http://forum.thefreedictionary.com/postsm1059124_Climate-change-global-warming.aspx#1059124

I moved the climate change discussion to a more appropriate thread.

The past is to be respected/acknowledged, not worshipped. It is in our future we will find our greatness. Pierre Trudeau
leonAzul
Posted: Friday, September 14, 2018 10:14:15 AM

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will wrote:
leonAzul wrote:
Kirill Vorobyov wrote:

One line of this discussion that stemmed from assertions by some that there can be no place for god(s), because they know physical universe is all that exists, and if God created it than who created God, etc... has come to a stalemate anyway. At least for now.

Yet there will always be a place for telling stories, because that is what we do and who we are.

I’m slightly baffled by this post.

Finally, your response – that doesn’t appear to me to address the quoted section anyway – seems highly disingenuous, particularly in relation to the section quoted. The issue being discussed was the degree to which some people twist objective realities in order to justify supernatural beliefs. Of course, you and I might casually refer to such beliefs as ‘stories’, but to theists they are ‘truth’, with immovability as a positive virtue.

We all know people comfort themselves with stories; my point, at least, is that large numbers in a population choosing subjective ‘truths’ rather than more accurate explanations is a threat to humanity as a whole.



It would seem that I have missed you.

This response is much more radical and to the point than you have understood.

Have you never considered why one story prevails over another? Could it be that there is evidence that some stories enable greater fecundity over others experientially and historically? This is beyond good or evil, right or wrong, pleasure or pain, objective or subjective. It gets to the core of human existence, and offers an understanding of how someone could state the OP in this form. The stories that prevail are those that successfully replicate.

Perhaps if I were to use the word "narrative" my meaning would be more clear.


"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Hope123
Posted: Friday, September 14, 2018 10:33:44 AM

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"The stories that prevail are those that successfully replicate."

Yes. There must be many reasons why some stories replicate and even last for centuries.

One reason, I would think, would be the many differences in humans. For example:

...Rand and his colleagues used the Cognitive Reflection Test, which measured a person’s levels of intuition or deliberation by how they answered questions. Intuitive answers were compelling but often not correct. (For example, in the riddle of whether a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks is heavier, the intuitive person might see the weight disconnect between bricks and feathers, hone in on it immediately and answer that the bricks are heavier. The deliberative person might step back, consider the question, notice that both options are measured at a pound and deliver the correct answer: neither.)

People who gave more intuitive answer were found to have a stronger belief in God.


Of course, this is only one hypothesis of many.

http://time.com/4038407/religion-intuition-deliberation/

The past is to be respected/acknowledged, not worshipped. It is in our future we will find our greatness. Pierre Trudeau
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