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Diogenes The Cynic

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A Question for the Athiests, and Theists
« on: February 10, 2011, 07:29:14 PM »

Lets suppose there is no metaphysical world. We are then a combination of chemical reactions. Whats amazing about us is that we are then a grouping of chemicals that's self-aware. We know how each of us is self aware as well, as we can each imagine easily that other people are also a group of chemical reactions, and equally self-aware.


But then, we can't imagine the self awareness of other animals. We cannot say for certain that a primate is self-aware the way we are, given that none of us has even consciously been a primate that's not a person. We can however say that they are also a collection of chemicals, and so they too have at least some form of self-consciousness. They know that THEY INDIVIDUALLY might be hungry, or tired, or full. So too a plant "wants" on whatever level its will exists on to have water, to be rooted, and to grow. It is capable of leaning its leaves to maximize sunlight because at whatever level it "wants" sunlight, there is a chemical reaction to make it react to sunlight because it "wants" to maximize its growth. Its no different from us wanting to eat because our stomachs growl. Each is acting as a result of chemical processes within it.

If the only definition of life is that of conscious non-stasis, then not only is a man alive, but also an ape, and a dog, and an urchin, and a plant, and a virus, and a prion.

Why stop there? If the conception of self-awareness occurs in any body of thing that has ongoing chemical processes in it, then why shouldn't the ocean itself be a living thing? You might argue that its disqualified because it has component living things inside of it, but I counter that the cells in my body do as well. Why also wouldn't my different body parts have their own thoughts and feelings? If my brain is significant because its a large lump of nerves, then the base of my spine might think I'm a jerk on a deeply subconscious level, because it too is a lump of nerves.The brontosaurus was once thought to have a second brain where a lump of nerves was thought to have been. In this conception, my liver would undoubtedly hate me.

Maybe the sun too has its thoughts. I wonder what they are.

Your thoughts?
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I am looking for an honest man. -Diogenes The Cynic

Dude, I thought you were a spambot for like a week. You posted like a spambot. You failed the Turing test.

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Zhwazi

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Re: A Question for the Athiests, and Theists
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 09:12:44 PM »

Well it's obviously baseless to say that arrangements of chemicals that match the human genome to a 99% confidence level are self-aware sentient beings. Self-replicating, self-repairing, self-aware systems are so general that we should expect to find them in forms we wouldn't imagine. If we discovered a self-aware thunderstorm on another planet, I'd be amazed, but not mindblown. Though I don't think body parts are sentient, they're not independent units where such intelligence would be useful, and dissent would be detrimental to the survival of the host.
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dalebert

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Re: A Question for the Athiests, and Theists
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2011, 10:12:11 PM »

The sun's thoughts: "OH MY GOD I AM SO HOT, FUCK SHIT THIS HURTS SO BAD WHY OH WHY IS THIS HAPPENING, ALL I KNOW IS HEAT AND PAIN AND PAIN AND HEAT AND... wait, what's happeni-" and then it's a black hole.
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The ghost of a ghost of a ghost

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Re: A Question for the Athiests, and Theists
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2011, 11:45:27 PM »

Chemical reactions are not the only requisite for self-awareness.  A brain is required.  Specifically a complex, highly evolved brain.
Common thought is 99% of animals due not have self awareness.
Apes, dolphin, and  elephants have all demonstrated they understand the concept of self. 

Plants do not "want" sunlight and therefore turn.  They have evolved so that individual plants that turned to face the light survived whereby plants that didn't died off.  They do not make a conscious decision to turn as we make conscious decisions to eat or to go on a hunger strike.  Why?  They aren't self-aware.

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Rillion

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Re: A Question for the Athiests, and Theists
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2011, 02:32:16 AM »

Holy hell, it's annoying when people without the barest conception of what is required for consciousness and self-awareness decide to make pronouncements on the subject. 
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Zhwazi

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Re: A Question for the Athiests, and Theists
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2011, 02:33:32 AM »

Holy hell, it's annoying when people without the barest conception of what is required for consciousness and self-awareness decide to make pronouncements on the subject. 
What qualifies you and your opinion?
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The ghost of a ghost of a ghost

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Re: A Question for the Athiests, and Theists
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2011, 09:50:45 AM »

Holy hell, it's annoying when people without the barest conception of what is required for consciousness and self-awareness decide to make pronouncements on the subject. 
What qualifies you and your opinion?

Probably HER years of Philosophical inquiry into all things "mind" and her fucking LARGE-GIGANTIC-BRAIN sitting atop her shoulders.


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Diogenes The Cynic

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Re: A Question for the Athiests, and Theists
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2011, 10:45:12 AM »

Holy hell, it's annoying when people without the barest conception of what is required for consciousness and self-awareness decide to make pronouncements on the subject. 


 :cry:
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I am looking for an honest man. -Diogenes The Cynic

Dude, I thought you were a spambot for like a week. You posted like a spambot. You failed the Turing test.

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Diogenes The Cynic

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Re: A Question for the Athiests, and Theists
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2011, 09:56:37 PM »

I wasn't entirely serious in making this thread, but its my tar baby now. I don't really know what I was thinking, really.I'm a bit disappointed no one picked up the joke about my liver.  But, we do have the opportunity to talk about a pretty cool subject, so lets.

For the purposes of this discussion, I will check my religion at the door, and even though everyone is welcome to contribute, I think it would be detrimental to the discussion to introduce the concept of souls on top of the current topic. The general topic is what constitutes life.

Depending on how we define life, we get different answers. If its only "a self replicating thing that consumes energy and moves", then fire is alive. In the Middle Ages, the argument over the life of a fire did exist, and although I haven't read up on it, I would imagine that those who supported the idea of fire being alive did so like modern proponents on the aquatic ape theory; not from conviction, so much as from a desire to point out absurdities in current theories.

Any single theory would have problematic points. Cell theory would exclude mold spores. DNA would ignore virons. Prions would need some sort of explanation.

I would like to hear what the rest of you think about all this.
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I am looking for an honest man. -Diogenes The Cynic

Dude, I thought you were a spambot for like a week. You posted like a spambot. You failed the Turing test.

                                -Dennis Goddard

Zhwazi

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Re: A Question for the Athiests, and Theists
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2011, 10:14:55 PM »

As I said:

Self-replicating, self-repairing, self-aware systems

This is my working definition of life. Self-repairing is probably optional, but it has to be able to sustain itself by its actions. This is probably a redundant prerequisite for such a system occuring naturally as it would never become self-replicating and self-aware without the amount of time offered by self-sustenance. It would come into play with artificial systems though.
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The ghost of a ghost of a ghost

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Re: A Question for the Athiests, and Theists
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2011, 12:51:23 AM »

I wasn't entirely serious in making this thread, but its my tar baby now. I don't really know what I was thinking, really.I'm a bit disappointed no one picked up the joke about my liver.  But, we do have the opportunity to talk about a pretty cool subject, so lets.

For the purposes of this discussion, I will check my religion at the door, and even though everyone is welcome to contribute, I think it would be detrimental to the discussion to introduce the concept of souls on top of the current topic. The general topic is what constitutes life.

Depending on how we define life, we get different answers. If its only "a self replicating thing that consumes energy and moves", then fire is alive. In the Middle Ages, the argument over the life of a fire did exist, and although I haven't read up on it, I would imagine that those who supported the idea of fire being alive did so like modern proponents on the aquatic ape theory; not from conviction, so much as from a desire to point out absurdities in current theories.

Its been years for me in the BIO classroom, I'd like to hear peoples opinions that have a better grasp of Biology and life than I do.

Any single theory would have problematic points. Cell theory would exclude mold spores. DNA would ignore virons. Prions would need some sort of explanation.

I would like to hear what the rest of you think about all this.

First of all, I thought the liver joke was funny, no lulz, but I had a big grin.

Secondly, I understood your thoughts were meant to garner conversation so...

Viruses are fucking trippy little bastards.  They don't meet the criterion for "life" as an organism, but they are "alive" in the way they reproduce once in the host cell.  To me that either means they are life to begin with....OR you just witnessed life come from an inanimate object?

The definition you use of life to include things other than organisms seems blatantly wrong to me. 
Chemical processes such as consuming does not constitute life.
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Diogenes The Cynic

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Re: A Question for the Athiests, and Theists
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2011, 01:11:28 AM »

I wasn't entirely serious in making this thread, but its my tar baby now. I don't really know what I was thinking, really.I'm a bit disappointed no one picked up the joke about my liver.  But, we do have the opportunity to talk about a pretty cool subject, so lets.

For the purposes of this discussion, I will check my religion at the door, and even though everyone is welcome to contribute, I think it would be detrimental to the discussion to introduce the concept of souls on top of the current topic. The general topic is what constitutes life.

Depending on how we define life, we get different answers. If its only "a self replicating thing that consumes energy and moves", then fire is alive. In the Middle Ages, the argument over the life of a fire did exist, and although I haven't read up on it, I would imagine that those who supported the idea of fire being alive did so like modern proponents on the aquatic ape theory; not from conviction, so much as from a desire to point out absurdities in current theories.

Its been years for me in the BIO classroom, I'd like to hear peoples opinions that have a better grasp of Biology and life than I do.

Any single theory would have problematic points. Cell theory would exclude mold spores. DNA would ignore virons. Prions would need some sort of explanation.

I would like to hear what the rest of you think about all this.

First of all, I thought the liver joke was funny, no lulz, but I had a big grin.

Secondly, I understood your thoughts were meant to garner conversation so...

Viruses are fucking trippy little bastards.  They don't meet the criterion for "life" as an organism, but they are "alive" in the way they reproduce once in the host cell.  To me that either means they are life to begin with....OR you just witnessed life come from an inanimate object?

The definition you use of life to include things other than organisms seems blatantly wrong to me. 
Chemical processes such as consuming does not constitute life.


Did you put words in my mouth by misquoting me?

One thing I totally forgot to add was about function. If two things work the same way, aren't they the same thing?

The example is the way I experience pain, and the way other animals experience pain. An interesting video I once saw in a Bio class had a guy in scuba gear poking some animal attached to a coral reef. I don't know what it was, but we were told it had a single nerve cell. After a half-dozen pokes, the plant-like thing detached itself from where it was, and "wiggled" into a new spot on the coral reef. I can't understand why those pokes couldn't constitute pain for that animal.

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I am looking for an honest man. -Diogenes The Cynic

Dude, I thought you were a spambot for like a week. You posted like a spambot. You failed the Turing test.

                                -Dennis Goddard

Diogenes The Cynic

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I am looking for an honest man. -Diogenes The Cynic

Dude, I thought you were a spambot for like a week. You posted like a spambot. You failed the Turing test.

                                -Dennis Goddard
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