We’ve covered these a few times. The first three are fun, but not so impactful on my daily existence. The one about what is science, kinda defines the culture wars right now. I listened to a course on “bullshit” a while back. I might revisit that.
The article was about the so-called “hardest unsolved problems of science.”
But, it’s more about philosophical tropes than understanding what science is.
And to me it occurs that it also begs the question, is philosophy for the most part a sort of religion?
I ask this because it so often seems that we put our minds into a exalted position, like that construct Chalmers built - simply because the physical sciences hadn’t resolved all mysteries of how matter creates consciousness, we must assume they never will and therefore that only through logic and mind power can we understand mind. It’s maddeningly bizarre, and an example of how most of our thinkers are still trapped within their egos. (Hoffman is another example of this illness)
As an evolved biological sensing creature, I approach from this from a slightly different perspective and deeply appreciate how my mind is the inside reflection of my body interacting with itself and the environment it finds itself in. No hard problem there.
Gratifyingly scientific research continues filling in more internally consistent details, those folds within folds. I don’t need an imaginative answer to satisfy any contrived question, I appreciate that evolution did all the hard lifting and that I only understand a fraction of it.
Mine is to observe and appreciate with aid of ever increasing understanding, based on increasing knowledge, but certainly not to presume the authority to define it. Sure we’re human, we want to define and we want to take bets on it, that’s okay, I do it all the time. It’s a matter of how seriously we take our selves, and to me Chalmers is an example of someone who’s been way more interested in exercising his mind to the max, with audacious question and lots of talk. But I don’t get the feeling he’s got a feel for the actual factual viceral flow of deep time evolution on this Earth and what that has to teach us. He believes, we can do it all from inside our heads.
Now that is religion and not science.
The hard problem of consciousness
( The hard problem of consciousness asks why any physical state creates conscious mental states at all. While we can understand physical systems very well, the hard problem goes further than merely asking “how” questions: “ Why is the performance of these functions accompanied by experience?”)
A question that only a master of the universe could conceive. And it comes from a very ego centric, god given mentality, that we should have ultimate insight.
Chalmers believes the body and nerves and bio-electrical emanations and interacting with the environment is insufficient. Period. And that a better answer is required. Yet since his paper, biology is making all sort of advance that do show how the physical body itself creates our consciousness - but since it isn’t 100% complete, we get to play with weird egotistical notions that make for better talking points than simply focusing on learning about he biology and evolution and iteractions of all living thing within this planetary web of life
Why is there something rather than nothing?
(The fundamental problem of metaphysics, argued Martin Heidegger, was why there was anything at all rather than nothing.)
This seems totally self-indulgent mind game. If there were nothing, there’d be nobody to wonder about it, so why does it matter?
Besides aren’t “Why questions” the purview of religion and faith?
Science is a set of rules for studying the physical world we exist within, as objectively as we can, cutting out as much human ego & bias as possible.
The Ship of Theseus
(As the parts on the ship break down, they are replaced, one at a time. At what point does the vessel stop being the ship of Theseus and start being another ship?)
Again, this is the metaphysical realm of labels and meanings.
Why use a ship? Our bodies are constantly changing out cells and aging. I can’t pretend I have the same body I had as a child, or even that I’m the same person I was as child. But then again, I am the same personal I was as a child, only with the addition of the TIME and experiences and aging factors.
The demarcation problem
( The question of how to distinguish science from non-science)
Great example of, nothing is so simple that a philosopher can’t tie it into mind bending pretzels.
Science seeks to objectively learn about our physical world, but we ought to still recognize all our understanding is embedded within and constrained by our mindscape and the bubble our personal ego creates.
Indeed it is mis-labeled, which adds to the irony of the fourth question (which is not hard - the article suggests the right answer - falsification via the scientific method makes an issue “science”). By that standard, the first two issues are “science” in my book. The hard problem of consciousness is hard because we do not yet understand the wiring of the neurons and how they work, but folks will figure that out within a few decades. The something-from-nothing is some sort of quantum issue that folks will also figure out within a lifetime or two. The “what is the ship” issue (a version of “what is the self”) has been probed with science (Harris) and pseudo-science (Hoffman) but seems a semantic game to me.
If you skipped my post and went straight to the article, and decided how you would label the thread, sure. The article has 4 items, and I said I was mainly interested in the 4th.
You two are demonstrating the problem of the question. Science is a philosophy. You have to decide what not to address, like existence itself, causality, or the limitation of our senses and brains. Then you can pick a starting point, something to build on. After getting started, you can go back and revisit those earlier assumptions, and refine the starting point.
This is where the culture wars are now because there are still a lot of people doing that, but doing it with dogma. If you look at something like how they used to determine who was a witch, they started with a couple of assumptions about what a witch is, then they proceeded with reason and logic to prove someone fit that definition.
Ken Ham is successful because he can imitate science, with the slight difference that he says his basic facts are 100% true. people are comforted by that, and willing to memorize a few talking points, rather than dig into the theories and live with the open questions that we have.
Let’s begin with this axiom. The universe is made up of relational values. All physical objects interact via specific mathematical functions, depending on the environmental conditions. Consciousness of these physcal interactions is an emergent phenomenon of complex mathematical patterns. This is explained by Max Tegmark;
That simply isn’t true.
(6.01) Dr. Mark Solms demystifies Chalmers’ “Hard Problem” of Consciousness.
(6.02) The Other Side of Mark Solms PhD, farmer, vintner, humanitarian.
(6.03) Students’ Resource: A representative cross-section of Dr. Mark Solms’ scientific publications.
Since then every few months I’m blown away by another new aspect of our understanding, via hard science biology, neuroscience, evolution, what we are learning from other species, etc. It’s way more mind-blowing than philosophy kwatsch.
The quality of our answers are limited by the quality of our questions.
Chalmers’ construct and challenge offers nothing, especially since he’s never, that I know of, entertained Evolution’s roll in all this, and what that has to teach us about our consciousness and how to approach understanding it.
It’s all about mind - so simply something to kwatsch about.
Pretty soon I hope to share an updated bibliography of recent science books I’ve stumbled across and that are worth learning from, getting up to date on current knowledge. Biology and Evolution understanding are finally offer the solid evidence that will allow us to escape the two dimensionality of Chalmers & and other talking head philosophers that I’ve listen to on YouTube.
But people need to be curious enough to proactively learn about it.
No I read that, or I wouldn’t have open the link.
Then the article took over, add to that my state of active musing about interactions and substance of a philosophy club, including one aspect being a professor who reminds me of my Lutheran catechism priest, rather than an intellectual explorer, so I guess I couldn’t help go after the whole thing.
Going through it again, that last question seems of a kind with the others. Topped off with this,
A more recent theory put forward by Victor Moberger centers on the bluntly expressed notion of bullshit . Essentially, bullshit is a lack of concern for truth. Pseudoscience and pseudophilosophy are defined by that lack of concern. For example, while the idea that the Earth is flat has long been debunked, many of the people pushing it are unconcerned with facts, logic, or evidence. The same can be said for a number of other pseudosciences.
If you can help me make any sense out of that, please do try.
When I think of “what science is”, I’d rather think of real science in action and wrestle with what makes that different from the nonsense.
And, that paragraph is like walking into a fun house hall of mirrors, I don’t get the point. Or the interest it evokes.
It would take a while. And like the paragraph, not sure it really helps.
Here’s a syllabus: Calling Bullshit — Syllabus
I’ll keep an eye out for the audio of the lectures.
The place to start though, might be expanding on the paragraph before. There are some good critiques of the limitations of falsification. It has advanced science, but might not work for quantum physics or some neuroscience. Popper had a massive effect on culture. We’re due for another leap like that.
Wasn’t there a book by that name years ago? I listened to most of it, but it just got to the point I felt like he was pulling my leg and I wasn’t getting much out of it anymore. Some interesting thoughts though.
This too takes me back to fundamentals such as, I am an evolved biological sensing creature.
I see the world through my senses, body processes, processed by my particular brain, my own survival being my body’s imperative and it is concerned with information it needs.
I definitely feel a duality of sorts between my body - and me, my mindscape. I would think that’s true of most. Is it?
That greater reality of countless creatures interwoven in the Evolutionary flow of Earth ought to make it obvious that trying to find or define, “Truth” is like trying to catch a mirage.
Seems to me, HONESTY, is the thing we should be talking about and trying to define.
Honesty is a subjective quality. You can be subjectively honest and objectively wrong, and subjectively dishonest and objectively right. Even as our analytical abilities are extremely complex , our experience of reality is extremely narrow and limited.
That’s why there are still so many “unanswered questions”.
Yep. So, yes, that fuzzy skill of seeing who sounds legit is important. We saw the consequences of not doing it, not even caring to do it, with Trump. He’s an obvious huckster but people followed him based on something, idk.
Yep, they followed him based on falsehoods cloaked in mathematical subterfuge.
perhaps the tale of the Pied Piper is relevant.
with promises of …???
Remember Trump’s suggestion that the Covid pandemic could be cured with the use of household bleach…saving so much worry and despair of concerted scientific efforts.
In the mean time 1 million people died from Covid, until science developed an antidote
I don’t buy that. Or at least we hold to two different definitions of honesty.
Accurately relating observed experience, without manipulation by personal bias.
Fact driven, and such.
“Subjective quality” - is the crux of the problem. Soberly recognizing the temptation is one anecdote.
Of courses like everything else human touch, it can be hair slit into silliness.
You have answered the question.
That is what we have science for. To offer humans a “workable” model of reality, based on known and demonstrable truths.
What is interesting though is the remark of the head engineer, on the landing of the Mars Rover .
He said; “we don’t need to be right”, we need to be “right enough”.
That scientific relative flexibility kinda caught my attention.
I think the two of you are narrowing the focus, nearing a consensus.
I like the definition by CC, and, how do you evaluate when someone is doing that? That’s the subjective part. Take the Tucker Carlson example, we could be pretty sure he wasn’t believing his own rhetoric, but until the memos were made public, there wasn’t proof.
And as Write says, science is the tool for moving toward truth. We could evaluate Tucker’s claims and demonstrate their falsity. It doesn’t matter at that point if he is passionate about them or not. That is, if you accept the scientific method of demonstrating the probability of truth.
This takes us back to the unsolved problem, the demarcation of science from non-science. People who watched Tucker barely dipped their toes into what science is, let alone apply a litmus test to check if any given story had merit. Instead, they went with a feeling of compatibility with his general thesis of how the world works and took his statements as good enough.
Thanks for alerting me to Solms, but it sounds like we are saying the same thing. Solving how consciousness works is a matter of science rather than philosophy. It sounds like Solms is on the right track (as opposed to Harris and Hoffman) but obviously we have a ways to go.
You may also want to check out : Microtubules the seat of Consciousness
Thanks - Microtubules is wild stuff - wish I had the brainpower to tell whether the relationship to consciousness is science or pseudo.
I can easily imagine there’s some connection there,
but fine structure of mechanisms may help us understand fine detail.
Still in the end consciousness is an interaction within the macroscopic world, where microtubules are lost in the sauce, so to speak.
Roger Penrose believes so and he is no pseudo-scientist. He wrote a book “The Emperor’s New Mind”, where he proposed that consciouses resides in some quantum field within the brain. He just did not have the biological knowledge to identify the actual processor small enough that it could process fine spacetime structure information.
Stuart Hameroff, a practicing anesthesiologist read the book and believed that microtubules might be just the thing Penrose was looking for. As anesthesiologist, he dealt every day with rending people unconscious and then conscious again. This involved the disabling of microtubules in the “conscious” part of the brain, a very delicate procedure.
He wrote Penrose that the microtubule network in the brain might be the very thing he was looking for, being that every cell in every living Eukaryotic organism contains cells and that even single-celled organisms already showed rudimentary cellular communication abilities and were capable of concerted behaviors.
Based on some of those basic organic behaviors that always involved microtubules for processing and information distribution, they invented ORCH OR (Orchestrated Objective Reduction) . I have posted this before but it bears refreshing.
While I am skeptical of the cosmic consciousness idea, I am very much persuaded of the neural (microtubule) network’s ability to process enormous amounts of electrochemical information.
And this concept is reinforced by the sheer amount of microtubules in the brain and body of all living organisms.
The brain alone houses some 100 billion microtubules, connected by 100 trillion synapses, all involved in information processing. There simply is nothing else that can compare to the information potential inherent in the microtubule network.
100 trillion synaptic connections
The human brain consists of 100 billion neurons and over 100 trillion synaptic connections. There are more neurons in a single human brain than stars in the milky way!
Overview < Colón-Ramos Lab
The value of large numbers of shared connectivity is already showing in the science of AI where the new “intelligent” GPT series is capable of really astounding feats of autonomous “logical” information processing and creative expression.