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What I find to be the most convincing reason for the supernatural

CollinFThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Aug. 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Hahaha. Hey, man. I worked on my tan this Summer. :) Can't help I'm German and Irish: the two whitest races on the planet.

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Aug. 28, 2012 at 9:25 am

CollinF:
 
"Reading Heathen Literature"  "Such a rebel"
 
Bad Collin.  No.
 
:P

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Aug. 28, 2012 at 10:43 am

Destinee:
 
1) Who are you to say the cat doesn't have nor can conceive a meaning?  On a more relevant note :P, I've found that having a meaning in life greatly increases my desire to stay alive.  Sounds exactly like something natural selection would cook up to me, doesn't it?
 
2) I see what you're saying about believing in the most reasonable things.  I agree there, see number 1 for reason I doubt will implies supernatural.  
 
3) Yup, I understand what you're saying about having to believe some things to stay sane.  I agree with everything you've said here.
 
Sounds like an interesting book too, I've got to get around to reading all the books you and Collin throw at me.
 
Thanks!

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Destinee replied...
Aug. 28, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Breece: 
 
1) I assumed that the cat doesn't have a meaning, and if it was lamenting about not having a meaning, I'd imagine more cats would commit suicide. :D
 
Having a meaning of life increasing your chances of survival is (sorry) not the point. The point is: Why do humans think of "why"s (purpose)? Natural selection is a how, it's not a why. 
 
2) To me will implies supernatural (not cuz of the meaning thing, that's kinda irrelevant haha) cuz freedom of will (or the aspect of 'choice' or 'self') is not something that I think is rooted in purely neurological systems. Ya catching me? Our awareness of meaning (not the fact that we need it, which I agree we need as intelligent beings, but computers are intelligent and lookit they don't need meanings nor can they conceive of 'why's) is another aspect of the same thing. 
 
Let me ask you this: Do you think that some time in the future it is possible to create a robot that has genuine free will?
 
Cheers!

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Aug. 30, 2012 at 9:52 am

Destinee:
 
My cat jumped up on my bed and started rubbing my mouse when I started reading your post :P
 
And what I'm suggesting is that perhaps the reason why humans ask "Why?" is because the long term consequences of that question increase their chances for survival.  
 
I think there might be other solutions.  I don't think having a will absolutely has to imply supernatural.  Just something we don't understand fully yet.  
 
Y'know, I guess if something is beyond our comprehension, it is "supernatural" in a sense.  At least to us.  For now.
 
As for your question about the robots, only time will tell.  :P
 
 

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Aug. 30, 2012 at 9:52 am

Destinee:
 
My cat jumped up on my bed and started rubbing my mouse when I started reading your post :P
 
And what I'm suggesting is that perhaps the reason why humans ask "Why?" is because the long term consequences of that question increase their chances for survival.  
 
I think there might be other solutions.  I don't think having a will absolutely has to imply supernatural.  Just something we don't understand fully yet.  
 
Y'know, I guess if something is beyond our comprehension, it is "supernatural" in a sense.  At least to us.  For now.
 
As for your question about the robots, only time will tell.  :P
 
 

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Aug. 31, 2012 at 9:49 pm

O my goodness I can't believe I never saw this thread before now!



Anyways, *applauds* this is a great posting, Destinee. I don't really disagree with anything you said, so, yeah... :)
BTW I seem to keep just barely missing you! Darn sophmore year with all the homework!!!!!! I need to find a way to come on more often.
 
Wait, wait, wait. Collin has a Facebook?!?!?!?!? *looks up Collin like a stalker* Holy cows!! You are really white. And you do have bieber hair! And your last name is Flake?? Huh.

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Destinee replied...
Sept. 13, 2012 at 3:41 am

HI ED!! :D Thanks :) And yeah I know! I'm so busy nowadays :(
 
Yes, Collin has FB. Add him and I'll add you :D

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Destinee replied...
Sept. 13, 2012 at 3:42 am

Breece: 
 
I wish I had a cat!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
I understand you now. I think that your reasoning is ad hoc. Also, I would like proof of your claim, otherwise we can both agree that we're just spouting claims at one another :D
 
Can you suggest other solutions? 
 
And haha at the robot thing. :D Okay.

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Destinee:
 
Evidence eh?  Well I think the theory of natural selection is pretty well supported and I think that your concept of "will" is a part of our brain's specific function and I think that natural selection being responsible for every other aspect of our physical bodies (including our brains) is pretty well supported by evidence so I think that's pretty good evidence for my claim.
 
If we accept that natural selection has sufficient evidence, and that "Will" can only be observed as a function of our brain, then I see no reason to assume it has a different origin than any other part of our brain.  
 
"Can you suggest other solutions" - You
 
Me: Nope.  I like my theory, it sounds nice and reasonable.  
 
More seriously for the robot thing, I think it's possible we'll find a physical explanation for "will" and then we can (in theory) apply it to a "robot" with the correct level of technology and application.

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DynamoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 15, 2012 at 1:19 am

Just dropping my two cents. In e.thology or study of animal behavior, we disregard a.n.t.h.r.o.p.o.m.o.r.p.h.i.s.m(or attributing human characteristics to other animals). The same is considered true while dealing with evolution and natural selcetion, for while many instincts like hunger, thirst, etc match, animals cannot (I'll explain why later) integrate information in their brain to form an idea or a thought. Most ways of animal learning(check operent conditioning and habituation) are either due an accident and the memory sticks, or because they become accustomed to it(there are other things too, but that would be digression). So why can't we say that a cat has self-confidence or is a p.r.i.g? The reason is that if animals can amalgamate thoughts and ideas, then they should have been civilized by now. Like the example: 10,000(an assumption) years ago lions hunted using their claws and teeth and things like that. At the same time, we used to hunt them throwing a javelin or a spear. Now we just push a button and hey presto! there is that enormous he.ll-of-an-elephant lying dead before you.

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Dynamo:
 
Two flaws with your reasoning I see:
 
1) Why can't we say a cat is self confident, or for that matter, please tell me specifically what thoughts humans can have that animals can't and your evidence for this.
 
2) Why does integrating information in their brain to form an idea mean they would be civilized by now?  Perhaps they have other physical obstacles preventing them from reaching our level of social progression.  Or more likely, maybe it just hasn't happened yet.  Maybe we just civilized quicker than they did.  
 
I don't see a whole lot of evidence here.  And you also have a nasty habit of not expounding on your points, like putting "(I'll explain later)" and such.  I'd like to see some concrete evidence or sources for any of this information.
 
2) 

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Oops, sorry for the random 2) at the bottom there -_-

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Destinee replied...
Sept. 15, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Breece: 
 
Responding to your post to Dynamo:
 
1) If one day we meet (please please please I hope so!! :D) and I say, "You're self-confident", it would be because of your actions, demeanour, and attitude. Cats lack the necessary result of self-confidence (or actually, of consciousness the level that humans and higher animals have; I don't even see how self-confidence is relevant to anything tbh :S ).
 
We can tell that an animal is self-aware because (and maybe someone on TI mentioned this) if we dump a mirror before it, and it responds with recognition of the self (assuming it has eyes), it is self-aware to some extent. If we go by a linear line of something like a plant to bacterium to cats to apes to humans, in humans is the perfection of consciousness and self-awareness. This is pretty evident. 
 
Responding to the post that was a response to MINE: :D
 
I have believed (or accepted) the theory of evolution via natural selection for at least the past two and a half years. That's not what I was asking evidence for. What I am asking evidence for is the following.
 
You are saying: Humans asking 'why' increases their long-term chance of survival. That is why we ask why.
 
I am saying: I agree that being able to make choices and stuff increases our chance of survival (or even if it doesn't, it makes no difference to me). But that doesn't answer the question of WHY we ask 'why' in the first place. You are telling me the usefulness of a trait while disregarding the inherent aspect of asking 'why', the fundamental part of it that is essentially looking for MEANING.
 
The difference in our answers is this: If someone's parent dies, they may say, "Why did daddy die?" It is understood that they are not asking, "How did daddy die?" The response is never, "He died because of a heart attack" or "He died because it increases the resources for the rest of us and death is an efficient way of handling resource problems [this is kinda like what you're saying--a benefit of a trait post-existence]". Rather, it is understood that the child is asking WHY, i.e. what was the purpose of his death. 
 
So what I am asking evidence for is your theory over mine. I cannot provide evidence for mine over yours. I think mine is better, from a 'why' POV. But, let us say that a person says, "We look for meaning/purpose because we developed our brains that way." Using philosophical terms, they are ASSUMING that the Accident is Meaning, and the Essence is Survival. Do you see what I mean?
 
OK. I was wondering about the robot thing. Thanks. :) 
 
Cheers.

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Destinee replied...
Sept. 15, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Breece: 
 
Responding to your post to Dynamo:
 
1) If one day we meet (please please please I hope so!! :D) and I say, "You're self-confident", it would be because of your actions, demeanour, and attitude. Cats lack the necessary result of self-confidence (or actually, of consciousness the level that humans and higher animals have; I don't even see how self-confidence is relevant to anything tbh :S ).
 
We can tell that an animal is self-aware because (and maybe someone on TI mentioned this) if we dump a mirror before it, and it responds with recognition of the self (assuming it has eyes), it is self-aware to some extent. If we go by a linear line of something like a plant to bacterium to cats to apes to humans, in humans is the perfection of consciousness and self-awareness. This is pretty evident. 
 
Responding to the post that was a response to MINE: :D
 
I have believed (or accepted) the theory of evolution via natural selection for at least the past two and a half years. That's not what I was asking evidence for. What I am asking evidence for is the following.
 
You are saying: Humans asking 'why' increases their long-term chance of survival. That is why we ask why.
 
I am saying: I agree that being able to make choices and stuff increases our chance of survival (or even if it doesn't, it makes no difference to me). But that doesn't answer the question of WHY we ask 'why' in the first place. You are telling me the usefulness of a trait while disregarding the inherent aspect of asking 'why', the fundamental part of it that is essentially looking for MEANING.
 
The difference in our answers is this: If someone's parent dies, they may say, "Why did daddy die?" It is understood that they are not asking, "How did daddy die?" The response is never, "He died because of a heart attack" or "He died because it increases the resources for the rest of us and death is an efficient way of handling resource problems [this is kinda like what you're saying--a benefit of a trait post-existence]". Rather, it is understood that the child is asking WHY, i.e. what was the purpose of his death. 
 
So what I am asking evidence for is your theory over mine. I cannot provide evidence for mine over yours. I think mine is better, from a 'why' POV. But, let us say that a person says, "We look for meaning/purpose because we developed our brains that way." Using philosophical terms, they are ASSUMING that the Accident is Meaning, and the Essence is Survival. Do you see what I mean?
 
OK. I was wondering about the robot thing. Thanks. :) 
 
Cheers.

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DynamoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 16, 2012 at 2:28 am

Animals can be considered self aware, but that is because they are not idiots. They follow certain methods of learning(like the one's I mentioned above) and thus modify or explicate their behavior. In a sense, we do not consider cats to be self-confident because we do n ot experience them thus, and all experience is immediate and the basis of our assertions. 
 
Why animals have not reached our level of civilization? Animals, like ants, follow a certain pattern that can be considered civilized, but it is instinctual. Like the digger wasp we were discussing previously. They cannot integrate thoughts and ideas to form an amalgam; a completely new thing. For instance I see a jumbled ring. I discern a pattern in the ring and try to arrange it so that I achieve the exact form of the ring(that can be a bit difficult too, with our level of understanding. Read Eldest by Paolini and you'll know why.). A cat on thee other hand cannot recognize the pattern and so it cannot arrange it. Even if this happens at a minor level, still animals are unable to do this. Again experiance muddles up everything.
 
Oh yeah, again: here it goes. I'll explain later:P

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 17, 2012 at 6:15 am

Destinee:
 
1) I think we should all get together at one of the TI summercamps and write some edgy philosophy book about our doubts and discussions and conclusions at the end of it all.  Make it really dramatic and then ask TI for the right to name it Teen Ink.  We could have the cover art be this picture of a blank notebook page with Teen Ink scribbled on it, make it look really angsty.  
 
Back on topic:
 
I don't think putting a mirror in front of something and it recognizing itself constitutes evidence for it not being sentient.  Also, some animals do that anyways.  Dogs chase their tails, cats paw at themselves in the mirror, etc.  
 
I'm not sure there is a reasonable test for sentience besides through advanced communication.
 
I think you misunderstood me.  When I said that "why" increases our survival, I meant in the way you're referring to.  When a child asks "why did  Daddy have to die?" and is searching for a purpose.  I think that makes us live longer.  I think that questioning life itself means that we have all the more vigor and determination to pursue it.  I think a better difference between animals and humans is that we have a thirst for knowledge.  We don't just sit and accept that our loved ones die, we ask why, we question why death has to exist and we fight it.  Humans are always trying to find new ways to escape death, to prolong life, to attain immortality (see: religion).  I think that asking for a purpose in life and death is what fuels that.  
 
That's the beauty of the human condition, our seeking for a purpose or higher power gives us a reason to fight death.

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CollinFThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 18, 2012 at 6:45 pm

to Breece (My new Facebook Friend): 
 
A quick thought on your thoughts about will. I recently listened to a really enlightening talk by the head of the philosophy department at Oxford via itunes u about this. 
 
She says that the theory which states all feelings and beliefs can be reduced merely to reactions in the brain (Identity Theory) has long been disproved and was in fact one of the shortest lived theories in the history of philosophy. Saul Kripke disproved it in the 70s.
 
It's this simple:
 
1) Identity theory states that all feelings and beliefs are numerically identical to the reactions we see in people's brains when they are felt or thought. If they are numerically identical (and not simply related) then they must be identical in all possible worlds.
 
2) We can imagine worlds in which the same feelings and beliefs which we experience are the result of different brain structures. If an alien with a square-shaped brain made of some odd chemical told me I was wearing green shoes, or said ouch when I poked him, then I wouldn't say he could not believe or feel those things simply because he was not undergoing the same internal reaction in his brain as mine goes through when I experience the same things. Interestingly enough, scans of dog's brains has shown that they don't even have the same nerves we do in feeling certain pains, therefore disproving that pain is numerically identical to that particular set of nerves. 
 
3) Therefore, all beliefs and feelings are not identical to reactions within the brain which coincide with them. They are independenly existing potential realities which can be discovered and experienced in an infinite number of ways.
 
 
. . . . . . Cool FB page, by the way. You're not a Gamecocks fan, are you? :/

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Breece6This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 20, 2012 at 6:07 am

Collin:
 
:D Actually, my two older brothers go to USC and I'm planning on it, so yeah, I am a gamecocks fan :P
 
Pardon me if I'm wrong, but the only real fact of substance I see in your argument is that dogs feel pain yet through different nerves than we do.
 
How do we know pain feels the same way to us as it does to dogs?  It could produce the same essential effects, but it might "feel" different.  
 
I'm going to interpret "numerically identical" as meaning that our feelings and beliefs are a direct result of our brains chemical functions.  I don't see any real evidence to disprove this.  Your hypothetical alien that has a fundamentally different brain and yet identical functions has yet to be discovered, and animals may have similar feelings with similar results on their behavior and bodies, but that doesn't mean it "feels" the same way to them.  
 
Let me ask you a counter question:  If the identity theory is false and Saul Kripke's theory is correct, explain this.  We know for sure that dogs our color blind, because of how both their eyes and brain function.  We also know that there are colorblind humans.  Colorblindness is a sensation produced from non-identical eyes and brains, unless you want to argue that a color blind person has the same eyes and brain as a dog.  The same can be said about feelings and beliefs, just because they don't come from an identical source doesn't mean they can't be similar or identical.  
 
Thanks!

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Destinee replied...
Sept. 20, 2012 at 8:26 am

I'll reply soon, but just one thing: Breece, I added you on Facebook via Collin's Facebook. :P ADD ME!! 

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