Author Topic: Consciousness and thoughts  (Read 13356 times)

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February 29, 2016, 09:51:49 AM
Reply #30

Steve

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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)

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:
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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)

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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
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

February 29, 2016, 01:14:08 PM
Reply #31

Steve

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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.


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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?

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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
« Last Edit: February 29, 2016, 01:17:49 PM by Steve »
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

February 29, 2016, 01:22:20 PM
Reply #32

Steve

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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
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

March 04, 2016, 04:58:17 AM
Reply #33

Steve

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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
« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 04:19:27 PM by Steve »
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

March 05, 2016, 04:31:36 AM
Reply #34

Lakshmi

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Edit: changed my mind and decided not to get into it :)
« Last Edit: March 06, 2016, 05:38:47 AM by Lakshmi »

March 07, 2016, 09:03:31 AM
Reply #35

Steve

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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
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

March 08, 2016, 01:57:12 AM
Reply #36

Lakshmi

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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 :)

March 08, 2016, 10:07:00 AM
Reply #37

Steve

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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
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?