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Discussion Areas => Theories, Articles, and Philosophy => Topic started by: Lakshmi on January 27, 2016, 08:17:33 AM

Title: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Lakshmi on January 27, 2016, 08:17:33 AM
I tried to delete this topic, as I realised my previous thoughts were not clear at all!

But I don't seem to be able to delete, so I will try to re-phrase:

Where do you think thoughts come from? Do they originate within your brain, based on your experiences (ie like the outputs of a biocomputer program)? Or do you think they originate outside the brain (ie, the brain as receiver model)? Or somewhere between the two?

I am genuinely interested in your thoughts - there seem to be a lot of interesting and knowledgeable people on this forum! :)
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Steve on January 27, 2016, 04:00:56 PM
Thoughts come from the brain. As a bunch of brain activity happens in whatever patterns, thoughts occur. Stop the brain activity, thoughts cease. Stop thinking, brain activity continues but in an altered manner (as shown by MRIs and whatnot).

However, for me, the real challenge is trying to understand where/what the little "television or computer monitor" inside your head is at, such that you can visually imagine objects and whatnot ;)

Second to that, I do think there's a "Mind" which is somewhat distinguishable from the brain, in much the same way that an magnetic field is distinguishable from the magnet that produces it. But then there's the questions of what exactly the mind is, and how it works as different from the brain, and where the brain and mind connect and overlap, and whatnot.

~Steve
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Mind_Bender on January 28, 2016, 11:23:44 PM
Thoughts definitely come from the brain - neurons flying around your bio-computer - and are translated by the mind (whatever that really is), but thoughts of others (be they terrestrial or extra-dimensional) can enter your consciousness from an external source.
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Lakshmi on January 29, 2016, 03:21:54 AM
Okay, so you think some thoughts are internally generated by the brain as biocomputer, and some received from external sources?

What is the Mind then, and where does it come from, and how does it fit in with thoughts as perceived or generated by the brain?
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Lakshmi on January 29, 2016, 08:37:18 AM
One of the reasons I ask is that I notice three different kinds of thoughts (at least)

1 is the kind that definitely seems to come from my brain - the sort of problem-solving, goal-oriented, internal-dialogue kind of thought

2 is the observational mode, as in certain meditation practices - ie you are observing something which may well be something external to yourself (any judgements arising from this observation would be closer to a type 1 thought, in my view)

3 are the thoughts that give every appearance of springing up from nowhere, and can often turn out to have a coincidental or even (if you will) prophetic nature to them.

As an example of 3 - I had a dream about a friend the night before last. I met her for dinner last night. Now, you might think that I had the dream, in anticipation of seeing my friend. But in the dream, I was overhearing a conversation she had with her doctor. And last night I told her about it, and it turned out she had had that exact discussion with her doctor. I didn't even know she was going to see her doctor.

so, where did that last thought / dream come from? Did my brain generate something that just happened to mirror something that was happening in someone else's brain? And if so, how does that happen? Surely there has to be some external source, that created that image / thought in my brain?
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: ActionOfAll on February 22, 2016, 01:06:21 PM
Thoughts come from the brain. As a bunch of brain activity happens in whatever patterns, thoughts occur. Stop the brain activity, thoughts cease. Stop thinking, brain activity continues but in an altered manner (as shown by MRIs and whatnot).

However, for me, the real challenge is trying to understand where/what the little "television or computer monitor" inside your head is at, such that you can visually imagine objects and whatnot ;)

Second to that, I do think there's a "Mind" which is somewhat distinguishable from the brain, in much the same way that an magnetic field is distinguishable from the magnet that produces it. But then there's the questions of what exactly the mind is, and how it works as different from the brain, and where the brain and mind connect and overlap, and whatnot.

~Steve

Thoughts definitely come from the brain - neurons flying around your bio-computer - and are translated by the mind (whatever that really is), but thoughts of others (be they terrestrial or extra-dimensional) can enter your consciousness from an external source.

The notion that thoughts come from the brain is not definite or factual, as you two make it out to be. To say thoughts come from the brain is to suppose a causal link, yet then you cite mere correlational evidence. Furthermore, examine it in this way: What is a thought? Let's define it as non-physical experience. By non-physical I mean that which does not phenomenologically possess all the characteristics of physicality. Those characteristics being "extension, cohesion, caloricity, and vibration" (Moore, 1968). The brain, as a physical object, must possess these four characteristics. Thoughts, being nonphysical, do not possess these characteristics. Therefore, to assert that thoughts "definitely" arise from the brain is to assert that something defined by these characteristics produces something devoid of these characteristics.

When I say that the brain possesses these characteristics, I don't mean that there is some fundamental object which "possesses" these characteristics. Rather, the specific way in which these characteristics are realized IS the brain. The brain is not something beyond these characteristics which simply possesses them. The brain is a specific amalgamation and interaction of them. To propose that the brain is the cause of thoughts, then, is to use correlational evidence to attempt to substantiate an argument for nothing short of a miracle; a logical leap.

Moreover, thoughts are characteristically subjective. To suppose that thoughts come from somewhere before we experience them is to suppose that thoughts are at one point non-subjective; unexperienced. By definition, a thought must be experienced. So you are essentially supposing unexperienced experience - an oxymoron.

Immanuel Kant (you're probably familiar with the name) is a philosopher who revolutionized western metaphysics. He argued that causality is a way of perceiving things (in conjunction with linear time). It is a function of the "intellect" which is the word he uses to describe the perceptual organizing factor; that which creates perception. It is not a mere passive receiver of information, but an active creator. Thus, the intellect itself, as the creator of causality, is outside the causal system. In other words, the intellect produces causality but is not itself subject to the same laws, in the same way that one can build a machine that is constrained by certain rules but is not themselves constrained by the rules of their invention. As such, the mind is a creative center not subject to causality, though it creates perception, and causality is one of the constraints that consists of the perception it creates. This is my interpretation of Will Durant's chapter on Kant in his The Story of Philosophy. (Durant, 1961).

Work Cited

Durant, W. (1961). The story of philosophy: The lives and opinions of the great philosophers of the western world. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Moore, Charles A. (Ed.). (1967). The Indian Mind: Essentials of Indian Philosophy and Culture.University of Hawaii, Honolulu: East-West Center Press.
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Mind_Bender on February 22, 2016, 04:39:37 PM
"The brain is the primary mover and shaper of the mind."

"The mind and brain interact with each other so profoundly that they're best understood as a single, co-dependent, mind/brain system."

Just to show how powerful the brain itself is:

The number of possible combinations of 100 billion neurons firing or not is approximately 10 to the millionth power, or 1 followed by a million zeros, in principle; this is the number of possible states of your brain. To put this quantity in perspective, the number of atoms in the universe is estimated to be 'only' about 10 to the eightieth power."

Buddha's Brain - Rick Hanson, PH.D. with Richard Mendius, MD

"...there are units of knowledge that make up the components that work together to process information and create thought. There are three basic units of knowledge: concepts, prototypes, and schemata."

"Concepts are building blocks, so your brain uses them to build. Concepts are put together to create propositions, which are units of meaning expressing a single idea. Come up with a sentence, any sentence. This is a proposition. Propositions that are related are linked and create a network of knowledge and information that makes up a schema. A schema is basically a mental model of what you expect from a particular encounter. These schemata rare built using your experience and concepts and allow you to have certain expectations when you encounter ideas, beliefs, situations, or people in your environment. You can create schemata about anything from a jog in the part to a particular religion to a race of people."

Essentials of Psychology -  Pgs. 101-102, Kendra Cherry

As you can see the brain is quite powerful and an enigma in itself, so it is highly likely, almost beyond a reasonable doubt, that our thoughts, that only we can see within our own subjective perception, arise from the brain.
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: ActionOfAll on February 22, 2016, 06:34:17 PM
Quoting numerous people who make a claim does not make the claim any more powerful. The fact that the brain is itself an enigma does not lend credence to the proposition that thoughts create the brain. All I see is an appeal to numbers fallacy and an unsound argument.

As you can see the brain is quite powerful and an enigma in itself, so it is highly likely, almost beyond a reasonable doubt, that our thoughts, that only we can see within our own subjective perception, arise from the brain.

The fact that the brain is an enigma in itself does not in any way suggest that our thoughts arise from the brain. The conclusion that it is likely that that thoughts arise from the brain does not follow from the premise that the brain is powerful and an enigma. This is an unsound argument.
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Mind_Bender on February 22, 2016, 10:49:23 PM
What is sound is neurologists having an exact premise for why and how thoughts are created. Take out the enigma, the brain having the processing power that it does lends to reason thoughts arise from the brain. These are from studies done on the brain itself not from people thinking about where thoughts come from. That, my friend, is illogical.
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: ActionOfAll on February 23, 2016, 04:43:36 AM
Incorrect usage of the term "sound". Also, in that same sentence, you're committing an appeal to authority (another fallacy).

What is sound is neurologists having an exact premise for why and how thoughts are created. Take out the enigma, the brain having the processing power that it does lends to reason thoughts arise from the brain. These are from studies done on the brain itself not from people thinking about where thoughts come from. That, my friend, is illogical.

 Neurologists are experts on the brain. What they're not experts on, by default, is neurophilosophy. Studies done on the "brain itself" are studies done collecting third person data. The collection of third person data does not currently support this third person phenomenon causing the existence of the first person perspective.

Take out your premises about processing power and enigma, and your argument then becomes: These people are experts on the brain, they say the brain causes the mind, therefore the brain causes the mind. Yet, this is an illogical argument, because although your conclusion COULD be true, the premises do not absolutely NECESSITATE it. This is simple informal logic.
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Mind_Bender on February 23, 2016, 12:28:53 PM
Incorrect usage of the term "sound". Also, in that same sentence, you're committing an appeal to authority (another fallacy).

sound - adjective - based on valid reasoning, sensible; thorough.

Your first post is also appealing to authority by quoting resources (Immanuel Kant), making your quote hypocritical and your argument null.

Neurologists are experts on the brain. What they're not experts on, by default, is neurophilosophy. Studies done on the "brain itself" are studies done collecting third person data. The collection of third person data does not currently support this third person phenomenon causing the existence of the first person perspective.

Take out your premises about processing power and enigma, and your argument then becomes: These people are experts on the brain, they say the brain causes the mind, therefore the brain causes the mind. Yet, this is an illogical argument, because although your conclusion COULD be true, the premises do not absolutely NECESSITATE it. This is simple informal logic.

Yes, they are experts on the brain through scientific research, and correct, they are not experts in neurophilosophy because they are not philosophers, they are scientists, but they still utilize philosophy by the action of theory. They do not ponder the existence of thought by reading a bunch of ancient manuscripts or holy books or listen to modern philosophers, or spend hours meditating, doing qigong, and reading tea leafs and writing their discoveries on the dried skin of goats... they work in a lab with advanced technology that measures the brain and as far as they can tell from decades of research is thoughts emerge from the brain. Different phases of consciousness are measured by brain waves (Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta), and thoughts come from consciousness, and on a neurological level, consciousness, as far as they can tell, emerges from the brain.

True, no one really knows what mind is or how consciousness works, but according to experts in the field of brain science, the logical conclusion (a sound conclusion) is that they stem from the brain. Studies have shown that religious experiences can be duplicated by connecting electrodes to the scalp that manufacture visions of spirits and feelings of ecstacy (God or Koren Helmut), thus providing another argument for the power of the brain as an enigma that counteracts the altruistic and metaphysical perception of divine interaction.

I am not saying these discoveries are concrete, but that they are more viable than thoughts solely emerging from a metaphysical source. I practice various forms of metaphysics and have my own theories on how things work and understand them from a basic Western occult and Eastern holistic medical and mystical perspective, but science is on the leading edge of discovery that makes a lot of the old theories of magic and internal alchemy seem dogmatic, out dated, and even useless and harmful.

To get the point across, in my new qigong class we are learning to 'speak with the spirits' of our organs. To some this is literal, as if entities really do exist in each organ, to others it merely represents a way of communication with our visceral selves. Neither is correct and neither is false, because it depends on ones beliefs and experiences.

What we can both agree on, I would hope,  is that no one really knows where thoughts come from. I do not believe in absolutes, but I cannot deny what science has discovered, and neither can I deny what I have experienced first hand and with groups of people that defy logic and scientific explanation. What they cannot explain I have my own theories, what I cannot fully inteleccutually comprehend, I have my experiences and do my best to understand.

I always return to the wisdom of Eliphas Levi - Faith and Reason must meet in the middle for there to be lasting progress of humanity and planetary evolution.
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Lakshmi on February 23, 2016, 12:55:53 PM
Well, here's another bit of totally unsubstantiated, unscientific information to throw into the mix- but it's this sort of thing that makes me think that thoughts might exist outside of the brain:

I have hives. I hate going to the doctor, if I can avoid it. I was going to google on "natural antihistamines", but then something came up and I forgot about it. I did not Google at all. A few hours later, I was looking for something totally unrelated on Amazon (lipstick in fact, so genuinely not related in any way). And it kept recommending quercetin to me. Every damn page was flashing quercetin. I'd never even heard of quercetin before, and the product page gave no clues as to why anyone would want it. So I googled it, and ... quercetin is a natural antihistamine.

I know, I know, could be coincidence. But this kind of thing happens so often, it sort of suggests that the thought, "must find natural antihistamine" was existing somewhere outside of my brain. And if it had been a human that suddenly felt compelled to tell me about quercetin rather than an Amazon bot, would the idea have come from my brain or theirs?
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Explorer on February 23, 2016, 01:46:15 PM
Thoughts come from the brain. As a bunch of brain activity happens in whatever patterns, thoughts occur. Stop the brain activity, thoughts cease. Stop thinking, brain activity continues but in an altered manner (as shown by MRIs and whatnot).


Hi steve :)

Would it not work the same way if you consider brain as a radio and thoughts as signals   ?

Stop the radio , signal will look as if it has ceased

Stop the signal or rather "block/ignore signal"/"change to a vacant signal" , radio will continue to function but in an altered manner
( like low background white noise instead of playing the music )

As above so below ?

Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: ActionOfAll on February 23, 2016, 01:56:55 PM
Incorrect usage of the term "sound". Also, in that same sentence, you're committing an appeal to authority (another fallacy).

sound - adjective - based on valid reasoning, sensible; thorough.

Your first post is also appealing to authority by quoting resources (Immanuel Kant), making your quote hypocritical and your argument null.

Actually it isn't an appeal to authority, because I'm not claiming that what Kant says must be true. I was merely suggesting an alternative, whereas you were implying that we should accept the neurologist's assertions simply because they are a neurologist. Of course, being an expert makes an idea put forth by said expert more credible than a non-expert's assertions, but by itself it is insufficient (especially with a subject so disputed even within the neuroscientific community).

Also, your usage of sound is again incorrect, because your reasoning isn't valid. The conclusion that thoughts "stem" from the brain is not substantiated by correlational evidence. This evidence could equally suggest that the brain and the subjective experience of thoughts both arise as different extensions of some other "thing".

True, no one really knows what mind is or how consciousness works, but according to experts in the field of brain science, the logical conclusion (a sound conclusion) is that they stem from the brain. Studies have shown that religious experiences can be duplicated by connecting electrodes to the scalp that manufacture visions of spirits and feelings of ecstacy (God or Koren Helmut), thus providing another argument for the power of the brain as an enigma that counteracts the altruistic and metaphysical perception of divine interaction.

I am not saying these discoveries are concrete, but that they are more viable than thoughts solely emerging from a metaphysical source. I practice various forms of metaphysics and have my own theories on how things work and understand them from a basic Western occult and Eastern holistic medical and mystical perspective, but science is on the leading edge of discovery that makes a lot of the old theories of magic and internal alchemy seem dogmatic, out dated, and even useless and harmful.


My academic program of study is titled "Wellness and Alternative Medicine". As such, we spend a lot of time evaluating alternative paradigms, because the healing modality extends from the paradigm within which the healer thinks.  I was not arguing that thoughts emerge from a metaphysical source, and my allusion to Kant was supposed to suggest that there is an alternative way of thinking, where thoughts do not emerge from anywhere. Refer to my first post in which I outlined (in a rudimentary fashion... and in a way that I'm sure both Durant and Kant would be disappointed about) Kant's general notion of the mind being outside the causal operations.


To Rayn's refutation of my use of the fallacy:

Within the context of the argument, the usage of the fallacy was correct. This is because a neuroscientist is not qualified to make a philosophical claim, unless they are an expert not only in neuroscience but also in psychology and philosophical method. Moreover, because there is serious debate and a lack of general consensus within the field itself, one expert's opinion is different than another expert's opinion (within the same field). Therefore, the usage of an expert's ideas on the subject of mind-brain relationship as a way to convince the opposition that the idea should be accepted, is fallacious. If, however, the scientist in question was properly trained in philosophical and psychological method, and if the experts in the field agreed, this would be different.

Moreover, I am not the one who argued for a causal link - Mind_Bender did. My refutation was that if someone puts forth an argument proposing causality, then one should explicate the causal link. Mind_Bender's original argument is unsound, because the conclusion that thoughts arise from the brain is not necessitated by the premises.

All we need is one example, as you explicitly point out, of thoughts accompanying something other than a brain, to show that the brain is not what necessitates thought. It could be that both thoughts and brain are simply extensions of some superset. Although, I would disagree with you when you say: "You would say both thoughts and brains are subsets of some physical superset" because thoughts are characteristically nonphysical. Therefore, the superset would have to be composed of criteria other than physical, of which both thoughts and brains would still be extensions. Moreover, your assumption that thoughts are predicated by physical is also questionable.

Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Mind_Bender on February 23, 2016, 02:03:44 PM
Well, here's another bit of totally unsubstantiated, unscientific information to throw into the mix- but it's this sort of thing that makes me think that thoughts might exist outside of the brain:

I have hives. I hate going to the doctor, if I can avoid it. I was going to google on "natural antihistamines", but then something came up and I forgot about it. I did not Google at all. A few hours later, I was looking for something totally unrelated on Amazon (lipstick in fact, so genuinely not related in any way). And it kept recommending quercetin to me. Every damn page was flashing quercetin. I'd never even heard of quercetin before, and the product page gave no clues as to why anyone would want it. So I googled it, and ... quercetin is a natural antihistamine.

I know, I know, could be coincidence. But this kind of thing happens so often, it sort of suggests that the thought, "must find natural antihistamine" was existing somewhere outside of my brain. And if it had been a human that suddenly felt compelled to tell me about quercetin rather than an Amazon bot, would the idea have come from my brain or theirs?

I see it as the thought existed in your mind-brain, but because you needed an antihistamine your will projected it, and according to the Law of Attraction (Abraham material) manifestation happens in the crack of least resistance. Using experience over science with magical connections, your need became an emotional link and that emotional link became a causal link leading to manifestation.

In meditation a few years back I discovered, at least for me, when performing manifesting magic need often comes before want - both are desires, but the emotion that is linked with need is often stronger than the emotion linked with want. Your need to get a job feels almost life threatening on a certain level, so the emotional output is high, in a magical sense, that life or death feeling creates a raw purity of magical force, where the desire to find a sexual partner may have emotional links, it is more of a sensual feeling over a high emotional drive. Your health may not be dire, but having hives I'm sure causes a strong emotional charge and a need for wholeness.
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: ActionOfAll on February 23, 2016, 02:04:03 PM
Rayn: I already qualified my citation of Kant, as I am relying on Will Durant's sub 100 page exposition on the ideas of a man who wrote thousands of pages. Moreover, I don't even have the book anymore, so I'm relying purely on memory.

The goal which should be shared is to reduce the ambiguity as much as possible, and if not, don't talk about it.

You're not the only academic on this forum. I'm presenting at a conference in a few months... I'm the last one to suggest or support the disregarding of science - it's my field!
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Mind_Bender on February 23, 2016, 02:29:58 PM
Actually it isn't an appeal to authority, because I'm not claiming that what Kant says must be true. I was merely suggesting an alternative, whereas you were implying that we should accept the neurologist's assertions simply because they are a neurologist. Of course, being an expert makes an idea put forth by said expert more credible than a non-expert's assertions, but by itself it is insufficient (especially with a subject so disputed even within the neuroscientific community).

Neurologists spend their lifetimes in a laboratory studying the brain-consciousness connection, where philosophers simply philosophize about it, so yeah, I think it is appropriate to accept studies done by current scientists not long dead philosophers.

Also, your usage of sound is again incorrect, because your reasoning isn't valid. The conclusion that thoughts "stem" from the brain is not substantiated by correlational evidence. This evidence could equally suggest that the brain and the subjective experience of thoughts both arise as different extensions of some other "thing".

The term is used in the correct context because I am referring to the neurologists thorough and sensible studies of the human brain. Your disagreement with me has nothing to do with the usage of the term but with your disagreement.

Look back at the first set of quotes - thoughts arise because of three points of knowledge that emerge from the brains processing power. Our subjective views come from our thoughts about things, and once again, thoughts come from the three points of knowledge that come from the brains processing.

Honestly, I really don't now, but the neurological perspective makes the most sense to me. Consciousness is debated the world over by spiritual masters and scientific geniuses the world over and neither of us are going to accept the other's argument. And debates derail threads, which is lame.  :)
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: ActionOfAll on February 23, 2016, 03:17:31 PM
There are plenty of currently-alive philosophers of mind and brain.

Moreover, the neuroscience field is heavily divided in terms of what the experts believe, which is why the reliance on their comments alone is insufficient; your conclusion would rely almost entirely (if not entirely) on whichever expert you chose to listen to that day.

Also, the term is not actually used in the correct context as I said, because once again, your conclusion does not follow from your premises...

" Look back at the first set of quotes - thoughts arise because of three points of knowledge that emerge from the brains processing power. Our subjective views come from our thoughts about things, and once again, thoughts come from the three points of knowledge that come from the brains processing."

Wow, that logic is just one big question begging Lol!

1. The brain has 3 points of knowledge
2. These three points of knowledge create thought
3. That the brain has 3 points of knowledge which create thought IS itself a thought
4. Therefore the thought comes from the brain because the brain creates 3 points of knowledge which creates thought

the conclusion is just the premises re-stated.
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Steve on February 23, 2016, 07:13:02 PM
Quote from: ActionOfAll
The notion that thoughts come from the brain is not definite or factual, as you two make it out to be. To say thoughts come from the brain is to suppose a causal link, yet then you cite mere correlational evidence. Furthermore, examine it in this way: What is a thought? Let's define it as non-physical experience.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsjDnYxJ0bo From 2011.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/01/mind-reading-brain-reconstruct-face_n_5049255.html From 2014. Great strides :)

You cited stuff from the 1960s. That's outdated and outmatched by modern research that can definitively provide a direct re-creation of human thoughts (they re-created visual thoughts for the time being, as that's probably the easiest to portray; I mean, after all, how do you portray a re-creation of the "thought" of a cat without the visuals?) :)

~Steve
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: ActionOfAll on February 24, 2016, 06:23:35 AM
Quote from: ActionOfAll
The notion that thoughts come from the brain is not definite or factual, as you two make it out to be. To say thoughts come from the brain is to suppose a causal link, yet then you cite mere correlational evidence. Furthermore, examine it in this way: What is a thought? Let's define it as non-physical experience.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsjDnYxJ0bo From 2011.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/01/mind-reading-brain-reconstruct-face_n_5049255.html From 2014. Great strides :)

You cited stuff from the 1960s. That's outdated and outmatched by modern research that can definitively provide a direct re-creation of human thoughts (they re-created visual thoughts for the time being, as that's probably the easiest to portray; I mean, after all, how do you portray a re-creation of the "thought" of a cat without the visuals?) :)

~Steve

Once again, correlational evidence... I've seen that study (the actual study, not the pop-sci report of it ). The brain obviously has activities which correlate to subjective reports. Therefore, if someone has a person think of a large array of images, mapping these correlates. They can have the person think of an unknown image, and, using the previously stored correlates, construct a very accurate guess. This is in no way causation, and it's disappointing that it has been interpreted that way...

Rayn:

The empirical data can be interpreted via whichever dialectic that scientist operates within. Empirical data does in fact mean two different things to two different scientists. Of course there is convergence as the body of available data grows... But when scientists themselves begin to make metaphysical claims about their discoveries (which they do, even in the sense that they take positivism for granted) they are blurring the lines between philosophy and science. The claims about the nature of reality collected via third-person experimentation (empirical data) are ontological (obviously). The difference is that the typical scientist will take for granted such ontological beliefs, rather than critically examining them.

In so far as scientists make claims about what their empirical data means about reality, they are making metaphysical claims. This is what happens when discussions of consciousness occur. As such, the authority should be an expert in philosophy of science, not a scientist. A philosopher of science would examine, in a second-order fashion, the ways in which the scientist comes to know, and the ways in which these support (or not) ontological claims. A scientist operates within their respective dialectic (usually positivist), whereas the philosopher examines it.

The layperson may have the tendency to drift towards the conceptual, but the conceptual is not necessarily the philosophical. The philosophical requires the appreciation and command of a meta-methodology, which is a skill that requires the habitual learning of particular methods of analysis and formulas, as well as the development of a large body of knowledge, and finally, development of meta-cognitive habits in day-to-day thinking.
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Steve on February 24, 2016, 08:06:25 AM
Quote from: ActionOfAll
Once again, correlational evidence... I've seen that study (the actual study, not the pop-sci report of it ). The brain obviously has activities which correlate to subjective reports. Therefore, if someone has a person think of a large array of images, mapping these correlates. They can have the person think of an unknown image, and, using the previously stored correlates, construct a very accurate guess. This is in no way causation, and it's disappointing that it has been interpreted that way...
On the other hand, what's the evidence, not the philosophy, that says otherwise? After all, 1) the scientific advancements are still underway, and 2) causation is a subset of correlation (that has to be proven to a higher standard than correlation. In other words, what is seen as correlation now could turn into causation with more experiments and evidence).

Good reasoning would have us use less absurd rationale when trying to consider and explain things that haven't been proven yet. We currently have definitive evidence that shows we can see into the "minds" of people using purely physical instrumentation and methodologies. Ignoring that while trying to postulate an entire new set of physics, an entire new force, an entire new level of reality, or an entire new universe to try and explain how "mental stuff" is distinct from the brain... all of that is way overboard compared to what's necessary. Recognizing the very real and very simple possibility that the "mind" is just the complex actualization of the neural network of the brain, is far more rationale and reasonable (and far more likely).

I understand that a lot of metaphysical systems like to portray their stuff as being metaphysical, in other words outside the physical laws, but those concept are for ease of understanding rather than proper relation to the real world, and science has no reason to accept them at face value, especially when science can show that phenomenon do exist within the normal physical realm. For those abilities and phenomenon that haven't been shown to exist within the physical realm yet, those are still viewed by metaphysicalists as being metaphysical, but one day, with better experiments and stronger evidence, it might yet be proven that they are all purely and completely within the physical domain.

~Steve
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: ActionOfAll on February 24, 2016, 11:13:11 AM
Rayn, it's laughable that you don't see the mind-brain problem as ontological. It's also laughable that you don't see it as a problem of causation.

You submit that anesthesia disrupts consciousness. This implies a causal connection, where the neurological-signaling changes which take place in the brain are causally responsible for the loss of consciousness. You also, in the same response, deny any problem of causality. Yet there is a problem, because the first person experience of consciousness is fundamentally a different type of phenomenon than the neural signals. The neural signals are empirical, whereas the first person consciousness experience is not. From a behavioral-functional perspective, there would be no explanatory problem, because the person under anesthesia stops behaving (an empirical observation) and neural signals are also blocked (an empirical observation).

However, to submit that an empirical phenomenon is the cause of a characteristically non-empirical phenomenon, without also supplying us with any sort of explanation to bridge this causal gap, is to simply suggest that a miracle occurs. So here comes the question, Rayn: are you submitting, as the qualified scientist that you are, that it's simply by some miracle that the signaling interruptions caused by anesthesia are responsible for loss of first person consciousness?
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Steve on February 26, 2016, 03:02:12 PM
Rayn
Quote from: Steve
causation is a subset of correlation (that has to be proven to a higher standard than correlation. In other words, what is seen as correlation now could turn into causation with more experiments and evidence).
Quote from: Rayn
Both of you are wrong... A correlation is pretty much a relationship, and a relationship, in that sense, is a function where there is some sort of variable difference unless you get something that is constant where something increases or decreases as a function of something.
Actually, what I said is not wrong, Rayn.

All causations are correlations that have one additional piece of information; the linking mechanism. If you have a causation, and then remove the knowledge of the linking mechanism, you still tend to have a strong positive correlation. You cannot have a causality without a correlation, and all information found in the correlation of that same causality is also found in the causality itself, ergo causality is a subset of a correlation. Squares and rectangles.

I do agree that causality is not the important thing in this topic, of whether the mind is distinct from the brain and how it is distinct from the brain, however. After all, it doesn't matter when the scientists can literally subvert the entire topic by simply reading a person's brain and showing that thoughts exist within the brain, where we still have no evidence that a mind supposedly exists apart from the brain.

Quote from: Rayn
Yes, like one day we'll find out fairies make flowers bloom, the moon is really made of cheese, and that Jesus Christ was at Wood Stock. Here is the thing, though, within an unbounded probability domain, these things could be true inductively; however, the chances are so infinitesimal prima facie that we can practically ignore the possibility abductively. In other words, by virtue of it possibly being true can you not reject something that as a measurable likelihood, for if you do this, you pretty much state that everything in science can be treated arbitrarily, which it is not.
Wow, and here I thought after a few days you'd have realized how stupid that was and removed it. Oh well. For ease of reference, let me quote what I said that prompted your response:
Quote from: Steve
For those abilities and phenomenon that haven't been shown to exist within the physical realm yet, those are still viewed by metaphysicalists as being metaphysical, but one day, with better experiments and stronger evidence, it might yet be proven that they are all purely and completely within the physical domain.
There's really nothing wrong with what I said that should draw such a poor reference to fairies making flowers bloom; in fact, that's the exact kind of superstitious nonsense that science originally sprang up to kill. And science has done a good job doing so purely within the physical domain. Doesn't mean that the whole world is necessarily physical, but the so-called evidence that psi might be non-physical (primarily, I assume, your beliefs regarding ITCC?) aren't necessarily what they seem either; in other words, your apt for inferencing might be, instead, jumping to unwarranted conclusions (do you know what the difference between "an inference" and "jumping to a conclusion" is? It's whether you still hold open the doors of other possibilities, or whether you decide to prematurely close them in favour of your favoured belief).


ActionofAll
As I said above to Rayn, I don't think the causality is what matters here. We have people who've definitively looked into the brain activity of humans, and reproduced the thoughts that were found there. Certainly, they've only reproduced the simpler kinds of "sensory thoughts", and even then only for one of the senses for now, and not the more complex types of conceptual thoughts that people can have, but once again there isn't any evidence suggesting that we have a mind as distinct from a brain. But since you're talking a Philosophical slant on this rather than an Empirical Evidence slant, I'll respond mostly from that direction.

Mind-as-distinct-from-brain.
This is what you're proposing in order to argue that thoughts might emerge initially from the mind and then become represented in the brain. So far no evidence of such, yet still it is proposed as a thing to ponder over, since ancient times. It's a nice mental exercise, but we would be remiss to not mention the other possible view (than the one already mentioned).

You seem to take a top-down ideology, where the mind/consciousness exists first and it then somehow communicates itself to the brain. Hence the analogy someone else made about radio waves; if the consciousness is the radio antenna that produces the waves, and the brain is the radio in your car that picks up the radio waves and play them, then turning off the radio in the car merely seems to stop the radio waves in the air that were produced by the radio antenna. This is one way to look at it... except where would the mind or consciousness reside? An entirely new level of reality? At Tom and Dot's Diner in Milwaukee? What's it been doing the whole billions of years that existed prior to your physical body existing, or did it only come into existence at about the same time as your body? Is your physical body only picking up a tiny fraction of a much grander consciousness? What exactly causes this previously disconnected consciousness to attach itself to your physical body such that it would want to communicate via your brain? There's a lot of unanswered questions regarding the consciousness-first side of mind-as-distinct-from-brain ideologies, and as such adhering to the concept, rather than merely contemplating or debating it, would almost appear more as an exercise in Religion than in Philosophy.

The bottom-up ideology would be more where science comes in. Science holds, for instance, that all life on earth used to be incredibly simplistic single celled organisms, and that it grew more complex from there; that complexity grew from simplicity. We have many simple things still in the world today, and then we have a few extra-ordinarily complex things in the world such as brains. From studying other brains and the mental capabilities of other creatures, we can pretty definitively show a correlation between brain complexity and intellectual capacity. Now, to be sure, even simple brains from tiny organisms that are limited in the number of neural pathways that could be produced, can still produce some amazingly intelligent workings; bees and ants and their societies, for instance. However, even from this point of view, the mind-as-distinct-from-brain has never been shown to exist, but if a person were to continue pondering the idea anyway, the brain-first-then-mind ideology would be something like the brain creating an "aura"-like presence that we could call the mind, in much the same way that electrons create an electromagnetic field. The benefit of this way of looking at it is that it can still fit with the scientific understandings that we have so far found in neurology.

Now, back to the thing you said about "characteristically non-empirical phenomenon": this isn't necessarily true. The human brain is incredibly complex, as someone pointed out the number of potential neural pathways and whatnot, and there's a lot of different aspects that go into the human brain, to the point where neurologists are still learning a lot each year; remember that the neurological field(s) is still in it's child stages, and as it progresses more and more it will discover more and more information and reveal the truths behind more and more mysteries. And consciousness is certainly a mystery; as I said before with the psi abilities, it might end up being that consciousness exists outside the physical domain, but we still have so much left to test and search out that it's far to early to definitively say such a thing, especially when the possibility of the consciousness being seated very firmly within the brain is still a very solid possibility.

~Steve
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: ActionOfAll on February 26, 2016, 05:42:15 PM
I haven't read Steve's post yet because frankly I'm too tired, but Rayn, I really appreciated that explanation and I appreciate you pointing out that implicit assumption in my reasoning.

That's why I love these debates; they keep me in check!
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Steve on February 27, 2016, 01:32:03 AM
Ah shit. I put it backwards from the beginning. Correlations would be subsets of causation.

~Steve
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: ActionOfAll on February 27, 2016, 08:38:14 AM
Rayn, what would you recommend as a good resource to learn more about the philosophy of causality? Perhaps a non-mathematicians resource to becoming adequately acquainted with causality, thermodynamics, and statistical analysis in general?

This is not my area of study. Preferably something more advanced than a source for laymen, but not something for the advanced scholar who is an expert in that particular field.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Steve on February 28, 2016, 07:52:59 AM
Causations have the following elements -> {two things being related, modify one thing and measure a modification in the other thing, linking mechanism} <- Correlations have the italicized elements.

[EDIT]
Ergo, we can rewrite it as such: Causation -> {Correlation, linking mechanism}

Unless you can provide an example of an essential element found in correlation that isn't found in causation? To be clear on this, I'm not asking for several paragraphs of your understanding of the subject. I'm asking for a property of correlation; nice and simple, shouldn't take more than 20 words.
[/EDIT]

~Steve
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Steve on February 28, 2016, 02:35:18 PM
That's more than 20 words and didn't satisfy my requirements. I'm ignoring it.

~Steve
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Steve on February 28, 2016, 03:17:47 PM
Quote
but it is pretty much consensual within academia that correlations do not mean causality
If you think that's what I was proposing, then you're once again straw manning it. Never did I say that correlations imply causation.

And since we're on things that the other does that we find annoying, I find it annoying that you have never once acknowledged when you were wrong about anything, not even a simple thing. Instead, you either drop it entirely, or you ignore it for a post or two and them turn around and act like you were right about it the whole time even to the point of offering condescending messages about how I was wrong the whole time.

The reason for the 20 words or less is because it's not that hard of an argument. If you can't do it in 20 words or less, then maybe try linking a resource. After all, I don't exactly trust you at your word when you say something is true, because of the above.

Here, here's your post summed up in 20 words or less:
Correlation has intervals. Causation doesn't. Correlation can't be a subset of causation.
12 words.

As for "linking mechanism" having no lexical meaning, then try causal mechanism? http://www-personal.umd.umich.edu/~delittle/Encyclopedia%20entries/Causal%20mechanisms.htm Did you even try to understand what I said, or are you just too hopped up on your own ego and desire to prove others wrong to bother trying to understand what they have to say?

~Steve
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Steve on February 28, 2016, 06:39:47 PM
Quote
This means correlations are implied by causality.
Yes, that one I meant to say from the beginning. I accidentally said it the other way around, and then corrected myself. So I am not saying that correlations imply causality, but I will say that causation implies correlation, because it kind of has to. How do you have a causation effect, where influencing one thing literally affects something else directly, and say that there's no correlation between them, where correlation is the observation that influencing one thing somehow affects another thing?

Quote
It is only lexical, in terms of that link, in Hume's paradigm, but that is not what is being discussed, so giving me that link does nothing to support your stance.
You don't get to tell me what I'm discussing. If I'm discussing causation in terms of there being a causation/linking mechanism then that's what I'm discussing. You get to tell me what you are discussing. But if you're going to jump in on my conversation and tell me I'm wrong about something, then you need to acknowledge that you're not in control of what definitions I'm using, nor of what overall topic I'm discussing it from. We've been over this time and time again.

Quote
Why do you think people are still trying to figure it out?
Because they're trying to get more accurate than is needed to have a discussion about causality at a certain level. Just like with, oh, I dunno, gravity? At a basic level we all know what gravity generally is, but then some people decide they want to get to know it at a more technically precise level. It doesn't mean that the basic level is wrong, just that it could be more accurate.

At a certain level of discussion, causality is not rocket science. I can distinctly say that a wrecking ball hitting a wall is the cause of the wall crumbling, and that's a clear example of causality at that level of discussion. Then people want to get more technical and be like "well, it's the combination of the mass and the velocity of the ball, and the transfer of energy upon impact, where a greater amount of energy is transferred than the wall can withstand, etc" and then others want to get even more technical and be like "well, speaking of energy and impacts, what we're really looking at is the 'impact' of molecules against one another, so we need to look at the interactions of atoms and electromagnetic forces and whatnot", and then someone else comes along and is like "yeah.. but... what put the wrecking ball up there in the first place? I mean, it's kind of the operator of machine that caused the ball to smash into the wall, so we have to say that he's involved in it too since the ball wouldn't do that all on its own without someone else first acting upon it" etc etc.

Quote
That is actually not true. I actually know off the top of my head a thread where I told you I was wrong and you were right. It was the discussion about the Spanish translitteration of the Tettragrammaton.
Oh, wow. I was wrong again. You did manage to acknowledge you were wrong once. Was that only a year and 3 months ago? Time sure flies. Of course, that's when you were dealing with kobok instead of me, but whatever.

Quote
But, really, this conversation has hit its end.
This conversation hit its end a long time ago. You just didn't seem to see it.

EDIT:
Oh, but I guess I also have to add that you did indeed send me a link. And... it's pretty much the same concept in different words. Interpretation for words, subset for numbers, whatever. It's not the words I'm using that you should be fretting over, but the concepts being discussed. If you know I'm using the "wrong word for your mathematical lexicon" but you understand the concept I'm trying to talk about none-the-less, then maybe don't make a big deal out of words and definitions that are found in mathematics when I'm not talking in terms of mathematics?

~Steve
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Steve on February 29, 2016, 09:51:49 AM
Quote
You said correlation, so I can expect you to use terms properly in that context.
Oh, well there's the a problem.

correlation
noun
1.
mutual relation of two or more things, parts, etc.:
Studies find a positive correlation between severity of illness and nutritional status of the patients.
Synonyms: similarity, correspondence, matching; parallelism, equivalence; interdependence, interrelationship, interconnection.
2.
the act of correlating or state of being correlated.
3.
Statistics. the degree to which two or more attributes or measurements on the same group of elements show a tendency to vary together.
4.
Physiology. the interdependence or reciprocal relations of organs or functions.
5.
Geology. the demonstrable equivalence, in age or lithology, of two or more stratigraphic units, as formations or members of such.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/correlation

You assumed we should use definition 3. I was using definition 5. [/sarcasm] (more on using definitions below)

Quote
I also just asked a Logic and Philosophy professor about what you sent me.
Seems I need to address the link I sent you: I sent it solely because you were whining about "linking mechanism" not being a proper term, so I linked something that used the term "causal mechanism" instead, which is what I was talking about ("synonym" http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/synonym?s=t ). I didn't even read the rest of that link. It was purely because you were going on about terminology (more on this below).

Quote
In the case of math and science, textbooks and journals normally have a glossary. He said you can't really go with a general dictionary. If you are talking science
There's another problem. Well, actually it's two problems, and we've been over both of these multiple times before. I provide a definition for the way I'm using a term (okay, in this thread I didn't. I just used the term without defining it), and you try to force me to use a different definition. I'm talking about a topic in a completely non-mathematical manner, and you try to force it into a discussion of math. Hi, I'm having tea and crumpets over here; why don't you come join me at my table once in a while, rather than constantly demanding that I come to your table.

Quote
Between the two of us, Steve, I am the one with credentials, so I am more of an authority than you.
I don't recognize you as being An Authority in any scientific field. That would be like a 15 year old telling a 12 year old "I'm smarter than you, so I'm right." Just because you have "more credentials" doesn't mean you're an authority.

Also, in regards to that long ago thing where you mentioned your credentials and told me to trust you because of your credentials, and I said that's a logical fallacy, and you said you laugh whenever people mention logical fallacy whenever someone mentions credentials: the Appeal to Authority is not about just mentioning the credentials; it's about using your credentials as a way of cheating, of trying to say "I don't need to provide arguments or evidence for what I'm saying, because I/this-authority says it's true". So mentioning your credentials is fine; requiring that I believe you because of your credentials is not fine.

Quote
Also, please don't type out an obnoxious post to him. I'm referencing him; however, he is not included in the conversation nor is he on the forum, so it is kind of over the top and obnoxious to do(my math professor did not see the other obnoxious post you typed for the record).
If you bring him into the discussion by showing him the discussion and asking him about it and then using his statements as a reply, and use him as an authority figure, then he's now part of the conversation. Or at least he could be, if I wanted to speak to him. I don't think I do, though.

Quote
I am actually concerned with what is true and what is false
You mean what is "probably" true and "probably" false?


A couple more things regarding the topic at hand, because you've made references to these things previously and in the last post:
Quote
The point of view that correlation implies causation may be regarded as a theory of causality, which is somewhat inherent to the field of statistics. Within academia as a whole, the nature of causality is systematically investigated from several academic disciplines, including philosophy and physics.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation#Determining_causation
So, as your professor so nicely pointed out, if you want to know which definition to use, you first check which discipline you're talking about.

(I have to use wikipedia because so few people seem to be willing to comment on even the basic nature of recognizing when you have causation from correlative data, since causation is such a huge topic still being hashed out (partially because some people are being stupid and trying to say there's no such thing as causation, or trying to raise the bar for proving causation to impossible standards). Plenty of sources want to caution to confirm whether you really have a causative effect, or whether it's only correlative, but so few want to say how to determine one from the other. More on this below)

Quote
Outside the field of philosophy, theories of causation can be identified in classical mechanics, statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, spacetime theories, biology, social sciences, and law.[15] To establish a correlation as causal within physics, it is normally understood that the cause and the effect must connect through a local mechanism (cf. for instance the concept of impact) or a nonlocal mechanism (cf. the concept of field), in accordance with known laws of nature.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation#Determining_causation
Did you attempt to discern which definition from which discipline ActionOfAll or I were using before you jumped in and assumed mathematics/statistics? No, you assumed we would be talking about a subject from within your personally preferred field(s) despite neither of us mentioning statistics or mathematics at all. Maybe ActionOfAll was talking about it from statistics: I can't speak for him, but he never said (granted, I never said either, mostly because I attempted to subvert the entire discussion with an incredibly simplistic argument).

Secondly, the "linking mechanism" once again crops up but this time as "local mechanism" rather than "causal mechanism". Wow, so many different terms for one thing, it's almost like scientists/academics love using synonyms for no other purpose than to confound people. Assholes. ¨_¨

Back to determining one from the other: How to determine causation from correlation, because contrary to what you said before, causation actually does have the increase in relation that you mentioned earlier (unless I'm misunderstanding what you meant by increase, in which case I'd say that your version of it is specific to statistics and not necessary in the other definitions found in other disciplines)? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradford_Hill_criteria Determining causation from correlation. There's other things as well that you probably know off the top of your head, so I'm listing this more for anyone else than for you, but the point being that if we go from correlation to causation by testing and confirming causation, then we come right back to my statement that we can see correlation as being a subset of causation (did I get that right this time? Causation has everything that correlation has, plus the local/causal/linking mechanism. I don't even remember which site I picked up the term "linking mechanism" from).

Not that my statement really mattered in the first place. It should never have spawned a debate. Even if we wanted to get into the topic of correlation versus causation in terms of whether thoughts first crop up in the mind and then are reflected in the brain, or whether they are created in the brain first (and then it doesn't matter whether there's a mind for them to become reflected in), this could have been discussed and debated from a much better direction than "correlation is not a subset of causation" (once again, I will acknowledge that I stated it wrong in the first place, so I can see why you'd have wanted to respond to that, but that could have been dealt with so much quicker if you'd just told me I had it backwards rather than going into all that rambling you did), if you really cared. Hence why I posted the simple link about recreating thoughts directly from looking at the brain, and then asked for any evidence that thoughts might come from the mind first, or at all.

We have direct evidence of reading thoughts in the brain. What do we have regarding reading thoughts from the mind? (some theories of Psychicism, but that could just be anecdotal evidence, and it could turn out to actually be from the brain as well, through some "weird-ass applications that we haven't discovered yet" of "physics that we have discovered already". Don't know. Do care. Time and experimentation will tell better than arguing about it will)

~Steve
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Steve on February 29, 2016, 01:14:08 PM
Maybe I should come at it from a different angle instead.

Everything I've read about properly establishing causation in a pragmatic sense (as opposed to theoretical) starts off with the assumption of having a correlation, and then you add more information (the causal mechanism) in order to establish a causative relationship between the previously correlated variables. Nowhere does anyone remove information in order to go from correlation to causation.

So what I can't wrap my head around, is where you are coming from when you say that a causation is not a superset of a correlation, or that a correlation is not a subset of a causation (unless it's a purely definition based objection; saying that the terms subset and superset come from math, and therefore are inappropriate terms to use here). You are saying that causation does not have intervals. Is it my imagination or are you assuming that you could get values that don't exist in the real world?

For instance, when discussing the relationship between "distance from sea level" to "temperature": you can't get a to height of 1 million miles (because the limit of the relationship is within atmosphere), nor can you get a temperature of -500F if you just keep going further and further up. And yet these two are strongly negatively related (increase in height, decrease in temperature, within limits). http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/air-altitude-temperature-d_461.html there for a chart

The causal relationship between them has to do with air pressure and the way that temperature works in different densities, but that's a different discussion. The point here being that there is a causal relationship between them, which someone can show to be causal, and it's still a correlative relationship as well. The correlation did not disappear with the observation of a causal relationship.


Quote
In something like -2x+1=3 or 2x+1<3, you have a conditional statement that can be read that if x=-1, you -2x+1 will equal 3 for the equation. All the definitions you gave me would be modeled as such, period.

In other words, if we say the antecedent is cause and the consequent is effect, you will get a conditional -2x+1=3 being true only if x=-1; however, that will just give you an element of the interval of the function.
Cause this part, I don't get. Why are you limiting it to just one value? If x=-3 then -2(-3)+1=7. That's another point along the graph. However, real life correlations are not graphs first that then get put into real form; they are points of real world observational or experimentally collected data that get plotted on a graph. So you *first* start with plot points of: "temperature of 59F" and "at Sea Level", "51.9" at "2000 feet above sea level", "44.7" at "4000 feet", 37.6 at "6000 feet", etc. You then graph those points, and then you ... what's the correct term here... approximating an average? Is that the right term? It's been a while. Where you draw a line that averages out the plot points at the various intervals along the x and y axis (which, there's a couple of ways to do it, depending on what you want to illustrate). Ie, the lines in the middle of the scattergram here http://www.simplypsychology.org/correlation.html

So, we have plot points, a scattergram, a graph. Now, how do we establish causation from there? Do we remove plot points? Do we kill the graph? Do we alter the slope? What do we lose when we go from correlation to causation, where both are in the pragmatic sense of having collected real world data?

When we establish causation, does x=-3 (or "temperature 51.9F at 2000 feet above sea level") suddenly become impossible, if it were already established as a real world plot/data point during the correlation?

------
Quote
In other words, it does not matter if you don't acknowledge it, society will do it for you. Society says you are a layperson. Society says I am not. This means the societal consensus is I am more of an authority than you because I have more credentials; it doesn't matter if you reject this, for that is the consensus. I could actually teach(you can actually get degree in something like Biology which a teacher certification in terms of particular programs). You can't.
So an appeal to popularity and an appeal to authority. Two in one, not bad. Now the objective question: What does it really take to become established as An Authority in a scientific field? Stephen Hawking isn't an authority in (his discipline in) science just because people love his synthesized voice.

Further, I could actually teach. Not in biology, but in "computer stuff". I'd need another diploma or degree related to actual teaching, ie Bachelor of Education, but then you'd need that too, depending on your state. But once again, my bachelor degree does not make me An Authority in Computer Information Systems (or "Technology" as it's titled here in Canada) anymore than your degree in Biology makes you An Authority (the lay people who would hold you as an authority are idiots and not to be trusted as to what they consider to be An Authority. After all, they don't know anything about the subject matter; how could they possibly know what makes Person A An Authority but not Person B?). And then pass the tests

https://www.teach.org/teaching-certification (that's an american site, since you're american).
1. Obtaining a bachelorís degree
2. Completing a teacher preparation program, which includes either an undergraduate, masterís, or alternative program
3. Getting state or national certification to teach by completing all requirements

So we both have step 1 in our respective fields. Next we'd need steps 2 and 3, and then any specific state requirements (assuming I wanted to teach in america. Obviously I would need to fulfill the Canadian requirements if I wanted to teach here)

~Steve
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Steve on February 29, 2016, 01:22:20 PM
Double post since we're both here and you're editing your post:

OH, and since we're on the topic of our degrees and authority derived from those degrees: You have a Bachelors in Biology, not mathematics nor statistics. If you really wanted to push the idea that I have to accept what you say at face value, in the discipline of your degree, then that would be in topics of Biology, not mathematics nor statistics.

~Steve
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Steve on March 04, 2016, 04:58:17 AM
Quote from: Rayn
There are plenty of studies that show there is a correlation between things; however, they can't tell you what is causing it. You typically have to encapsulate that into some sort of theory where you then deduce a causal thing. They show one thing being a function of another; however, they don't show, in themselves, what causes it.
Finally, you come to the point of it all (you're treating it like it's a side issue, because you once again incorrectly assume that any of what I said has to do with your obsession with math). But apparently you're still not intelligent enough to realize you merely said what I already said.

"Encapsulate the correlation in a theory" <- "add causal mechanism" or "add more information". The correlation still exists, so therefore the interval, the slope, the data points all still exist. When you go from correlation to causation, you do not dismiss any of the data that goes with it (to do so would defeat the basis for establishing a causation and wipe out the causation), which means the interval automatically goes with the rest of the correlative data as it now becomes recognized as a causative effect via extra variables/factors.

----

As for your so-called authority: don't confuse your abounding arrogance for authority in a field. By your lame-ass logic of "I know more than you so therefore I'm more of an authority", then I'd be an authority in every field on earth for the past two decades running due to having young nephews and nieces that know jack shit compared to what I know. Do you forget that you have the lowest form of "higher education" in your fields, combined with a bit of work experience? I asked before what the objective standard to be An Authority in a Field is, but you ignored/missed that, maybe because in answering it you'd have to admit you're not one.

Or, if you won't agree with me because I'm beneath you(r abounding arrogance), then why not take your statements here and go show your professors and employers your posts about your supposed authority and ask them their views on that? You know, go ask them something for your own benefit rather than going to them to ask them to agree with you about how I'm wrong about stuff that I've already abundantly acknowledged I'm not an authority in? I'm really curious as to how the people who know more than you do, and who've spent so many more years than you have working in their fields, will respond to you claiming something most of them won't even have.

Being an authority is a great title and and carries great status; you're either desperately over-exaggerating your own accomplishments, or you're extremely undervaluing what it means to be an authority.

Here, here's something to read that might help you understand what I'm talking about http://thefederalist.com/2014/01/17/the-death-of-expertise/ and before you bother quoting even one word of it at me in order to try and put me down, I'm going to preemptively acknowledge that I already know the bits that apply to me. Look for the bits that apply to you, and keep reading until you realize what his credentials are, and what makes him an authority.

[EDIT]
<<<<
http://scienceornot.net/2012/01/31/science-is-built-on-the-contributions-of-scientists-not-on-their-authority/
In shortÖ
The work of scientists, no matter how eminent or influential, is always judged by the quality of their evidence and reasoning , not by their authority.

What is the role of authority in science?
There is limited room for authority in science.  The scientific community takes particular notice of the work of eminent scientists, who consequently influence the direction taken by scientific research, but they do not have any influence over the data. A model survives or perishes according to the evidence, no matter who proposes it.

One way of identifying authoritative scientists is to consult the body that represents scientists working in the relevant field. For example, the Institute of Physics  is a worldwide organisation representing physicists. If a scientist is prominent within a field, itís probably because of a history of presenting reliable evidence and analysis.


http://scienceornot.net/2012/03/28/stressing-status-and-appealing-to-authority/
Whatís wrong with this tactic
Thereís nothing wrong with mentioning an expertís position, awards, qualifications etc. Itís when this is not followed by real evidence that thereís a problem. You are expected to defer to their opinion simply because of their authority. If their expertise is not within the field being discussed, their opinion is worth no more than anyone elseís. Science does not work on the authority of scientists. Only real-world evidence counts.
[I, Steven, bolded the above to point out what an appeal to authority rests upon due to discussions we've had on the matter. Rayn has provided evidence and resources sometimes, and some other times has used statements about trusting in him because of his credentials.]

What to do when confronted by this tactic
...
If you have to place your trust in someone, first look at their qualifications and publications. Are they relevant to the field of study? If not, you can disregard the opinion. If they are relevant, ask to see evidence. There may be possible conflicts of interest or ideological positions that may colour their opinion. Also ask how this expertís stance fits with the accepted science in the field. If it doesnít fit, they should be able to supply some extraordinary evidence in support.
>>>>

I'm harping on the authority thing because I personally know people who have Masters degrees in their related fields and they still are not considered authorities, nor do they consider themselves authorities.
[/EDIT]

~Steve
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Lakshmi on March 05, 2016, 04:31:36 AM
Edit: changed my mind and decided not to get into it :)
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Steve on March 07, 2016, 09:03:31 AM
Well, I don't want to tell you to "stay out of it", because it's an open-discussion forum and anyone can join in, but Rayn and I do tend to get rather snippy with each other, so I can understand why others might want to avoid that.

However, this is your thread, so if you want to get back to the original line of questions that you had, regarding where thoughts originate from, then by all means please do so :) Rayn and I are the ones who are on a side-topic after all.

~Steve
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Lakshmi on March 08, 2016, 01:57:12 AM
No, no - I'm happy for you and Rayn to keep debating :)

I only pipped in to ask why the obsession with mathematical arguments, as if they are the only valid means of discussing metaphysical concepts.

Then I thought this would provoke a backlash along the lines of "well, if you understood maths, you would see why it's the only way" - so I included a bit of background to say that I used to be obsessed with maths too, also did a very mathematically rigorous undergraduate and PhD (I think maybe even in the same area as Rayn, judging by the hints he/she has dropped), and used to teach mathematics to undergraduates at a fairly prestigious university - so the issue is not at all that I don't like or understand maths.

But essentially - the primary value of mathematics is that it is a very narrow language. The rules are concise, so it is easy to identify correct or incorrect statements using mathematical language. But I think it is too narrow a language for these discussions. Personally, I am interested in what works. And when you start bringing in all sorts of dependent variables and unmeasurable and confounding factors, maths becomes increasingly less reliable as a tool for showing anything other than that you don't know what you don't know.

So, I bipped in to ask why maths is repeatedly brought in, as if it's the only way of discussing this. Then I decided that I didn't want to get into the argument, and deleted it.

I'm happy for you and Rayn to carry on though :)
Title: Re: Consciousness and thoughts
Post by: Steve on March 08, 2016, 10:07:00 AM
Ah, well in that case I'd asked him about that as well at one point, and basically his response (and he can, of course, reply again for himself if he wants) was that because he likes the precision of mathematics, he has decided to use that as the basis of how he views and understands the world.

I agree with you, though. The precision of mathematics doesn't always translate well to the complexity of life in general. Even if you go from the exactness of the pure mathematical numbers and equations, to the mathematical conceptual understandings of such, there's still the problem that math is itself only one means of attempting to understand and communicate an understanding of the world; mathematics is not itself a substitute for exploration and discovery of the world itself.

~Steve