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Thread: Figuring out the brain - latest nobel peace prize

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    Default Figuring out the brain - latest nobel peace prize

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29504761


    "The Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine has been awarded to three scientists who discovered the brain's "GPS system".

    UK-based researcher Prof John O'Keefe as well as May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser share the award.

    They discovered how the brain knows where we are and is able to navigate from one place to another.

    Their findings may help explain why Alzheimer's disease patients cannot recognise their surroundings.

    "The discoveries have solved a problem that has occupied philosophers and scientists for centuries," the Nobel Assembly said."


    I am curious if you have any opinions on science working out how our brain works. For instance the above would be described as a process of ''intuition' but it can be explained. I suppose in socionics is would be called a lot of things, possibly sending and intuition.

    On the one hand this is a good thing as it can help cure various diseases (eg in this one possibly treat alzeihmers), but others perhaps see it as an infringement of what they are as an individual? Would rather leave certain things mystified rather than de-mytified?

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    I'm okay with science figuring out stuff like this so we can augment our own evolutions and cure diseases and what not. I just don't think it's okay when scientists try to say we are only a collection of chemical processes when the nature of our consciousness is more (philosophically) complicated than that; to assert such a thing devalues an appreciation for life by giving little or no importance to our subjective experiences of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowball View Post
    I'm okay with science figuring out stuff like this so we can augment our own evolutions and cure diseases and what not. I just don't think it's okay when scientists try to say we are only a collection of chemical processes when the nature of our consciousness is more (philosophically) complicated than that; to assert such a thing devalues an appreciation for life by giving little or no importance to our subjective experiences of it.
    Scientist could not say that in the role of a scientist, just like they can't deny the existence of god in that role. When a big portion of your time is spent wondering the measurable things in brain, they tend to have explanations of it that fulfills their needs, not much more. They are often scientists because they preferred an empirist approach. Maybe they are thus are less likelier to wonder about the effects of things like free will and soul in their life. They still recongnize that they have unique and unquantifiable experiences every day, some of those might be of spiritual nature.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquagraph View Post
    Scientist could not say that in the role of a scientist, just like they can't deny the existence of god in that role. When a big portion of your time is spent wondering the measurable things in brain, they tend to have explanations of it that fulfills their needs, not much more. They are often scientists because they preferred an empirist approach. Maybe they are thus are less likelier to wonder about the effects of things like free will and soul in their life. They still recongnize that they have unique and unquantifiable experiences every day, some of those might be of spiritual nature.
    You're mistakenly giving in to the original argument. There is no distinction to criticize in the first place. Human beings are a collection of chemical processes. There is no reason to assume there is anything beyond that.

    The romantic idea that experience is divorced from the physical substrate is just an act of denial. Our emotions are chemical discharges and there is nothing demeaning to it. What people misses is the concept of complexity. If they compare basic lab chemistry to the operation of the brain, there is surely something missing. But it's easier to understand it if you become a little more aware of what you have in front of right now: your computer. Do people understand that it's just electrons flowing here and there? Given enough complexity, a computer plays movies, ray traces them, does spell checking, allows you to talk to people in the other side of the world... would it be really demeaning to say it's just electronics?

    People criticize me for being harsh but they don't understand that I have an accute perception of (and dislike for) falsity. Here @Snowball talks about "Philosophy" without having the faintest idea of what it means. If there was something beyond chemistry, it would necessarily constitute the basis for a metaphysics system. And anyone who knows the historical relationship between Science and Philosophy knows that Metaphysics is just a temporary name until it becomes empirically proven Physics. Philosophy is not just a fashion term to you throw when you don't care to explain something in depth; it's a more flexible quest on knowledge that is necessary when the more restrictive (and orderly) methods such as Science don't provide satisfactory answers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquagraph View Post
    Scientist could not say that in the role of a scientist, just like they can't deny the existence of god in that role. When a big portion of your time is spent wondering the measurable things in brain, they tend to have explanations of it that fulfills their needs, not much more. They are often scientists because they preferred an empirist approach. Maybe they are thus are less likelier to wonder about the effects of things like free will and soul in their life. They still recongnize that they have unique and unquantifiable experiences every day, some of those might be of spiritual nature.
    Oh, I know there are scientists like this (I consider myself one for the most part), but well looks like Mikemex decided to grace this thread with a seemingly perfect example of what I was referring to. Was really not expecting that at all, lol. Now I don't have to explain myself.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemex View Post
    You're mistakenly giving in to the original argument. There is no distinction to criticize in the first place. Human beings are a collection of chemical processes. There is no reason to assume there is anything beyond that.
    No empirical reason, that is.
    Quote Originally Posted by mikemex View Post
    The romantic idea that experience is divorced from the physical substrate is just an act of denial. Our emotions are chemical discharges and there is nothing demeaning to it.
    My spirituality acknowledges the complete mind-body connection. However, my experiences of something else are still real, even if they'd be illusions. What is illusion anyways. There's no reason to assume we are in a computer simulation but it might be so.


    Quote Originally Posted by mikemex View Post
    What people misses is the concept of complexity. If they compare basic lab chemistry to the operation of the brain, there is surely something missing. But it's easier to understand it if you become a little more aware of what you have in front of right now: your computer. Do people understand that it's just electrons flowing here and there? Given enough complexity, a computer plays movies, ray traces them, does spell checking, allows you to talk to people in the other side of the world... would it be really demeaning to say it's just electronics?
    I like this way of thinking and will, in the role of an empirist, say that it is so.

    And anyone who knows the historical relationship between Science and Philosophy knows that Metaphysics is just a temporary name until it becomes empirically proven Physics.
    Are you sure that we have everything necessary to quanitify, measure and generally prove everything in the reality of nature? Even if we would apparently be able, a trickster god might be just fooling us. It wouldn't be my first guess of how things are but there are no ways to refute it and as such, the question of a trickster god is unscientific/non-empirical. (Unknown) unknowns hold a huge potential for gods. Even potential for a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Sorry, I know it can be bitchy to talk with a metaphysical skeptic.

    "X is true according to this research."
    "Well, it appears that what happened in your given setting happened just like X predicts it and the seeming creatures around me look as if they'd agree. Hmm, I'm not sure of it."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquagraph View Post
    Are you sure that we have everything necessary to quanitify, measure and generally prove everything in the reality of nature? Even if we would apparently be able, a trickster god might be just fooling us. It wouldn't be my first guess of how things are but there are no ways to refute it and as such, the question of a trickster god is unscientific/non-empirical. (Unknown) unknowns hold a huge potential for gods. Even potential for a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Sorry, I know it can be bitchy to talk with a metaphysical skeptic.

    "X is true according to this research."
    "Well, it appears that what happened in your given setting happened just like X predicts it and the seeming creatures around me look as if they'd agree. Hmm, I'm not sure of it."
    It's unlikely that we will ever know everything that can be known and if we don't know everything, there is always a chance of unexpected aspects of reality showing up as you well said.

    But my critic is far less complicated, it's simply after the fact that there is a lot of people (like @Snowball) who doesn't like clarity. They expect the world to be obscure and mysterious, because they think that it's more interesting that way. It's the kind of people who thinks that if you rationalize love it takes away the fun. But I still enjoy petting my cat long hours even after becoming aware that electrostatic charges prevent me from really touching her. Really, anyone who has seriously considered Science and Philosophy knows that no obscure and fictitious fantasy ever comes close to the marvelous reality around us. They say Science demeans, but we have Mendel as an example that the scientist sees the wonderful self replicating machine a "simple" pea is when others just see an ingredient of a salad or a soup.

    All in all, they fail to understand that Science doesn't give anything meaning, it's purely descriptive. It's people giving anything a meaning. And well informed people, accepting reality as it is, will always understand meaning better than the rest.
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    @mikemex, I think we agree on this though we have different preferences of lenses to view the world. I think obscure and mysterious is beautiful. It's a simple method for sure, but I can not ever comprehend a major portion of science in my life time anyways. Just because a body of experts can confirm it doesn't make it part of my perception of reality. The obscure and mysterious makes it beautiful and no true scientist will ever run out of that feeling as every answer can invoke ten more questions. The drive to understand is a mutual one in both the mystic and the scientist. The mystic just focuses on the inner world whereas the scientist hopes that others can confirm his/her views in the world we very apparently share.

    I'm fairly drunk right now so sorry if this went to the realm of vague bullshit.
    “I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people in — and the West in general — into an unbearable hell and a choking life. - Osama bin Laden

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemex View Post
    You're mistakenly giving in to the original argument. There is no distinction to criticize in the first place. Human beings are a collection of chemical processes. There is no reason to assume there is anything beyond that.
    What about the issue of qualia? How do you reduce qualia to the physical? That is, how do you reduce and identify subjective experience, consciousness, or whatever word you want to use for the philosophical notion of experience as being experienced, to nothing else other than physical entities? How do yo bridge the "explanatory gap?"
    "To become is just like falling asleep. You never know exactly when it happens, the transition, the magic, and you think, if you could only recall that exact moment of crossing the line then you would understand everything; you would see it all"

    "Angels dancing on the head of a pin dissolve into nothingness at the bedside of a dying child."

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemex View Post
    It's unlikely that we will ever know everything that can be known and if we don't know everything, there is always a chance of unexpected aspects of reality showing up as you well said.

    But my critic is far less complicated, it's simply after the fact that there is a lot of people (like @Snowball) who doesn't like clarity. They expect the world to be obscure and mysterious, because they think that it's more interesting that way. It's the kind of people who thinks that if you rationalize love it takes away the fun. But I still enjoy petting my cat long hours even after becoming aware that electrostatic charges prevent me from really touching her. Really, anyone who has seriously considered Science and Philosophy knows that no obscure and fictitious fantasy ever comes close to the marvelous reality around us. They say Science demeans, but we have Mendel as an example that the scientist sees the wonderful self replicating machine a "simple" pea is when others just see an ingredient of a salad or a soup.

    All in all, they fail to understand that Science doesn't give anything meaning, it's purely descriptive. It's people giving anything a meaning. And well informed people, accepting reality as it is, will always understand meaning better than the rest.
    btw,
    I don't care much about your type, but from what you've been posting lately, you seem to really appreciate Ti. It's just very odd that that's supposed to be your PoLR when it's in such a stark contrast with what you actually write. so, ummm, yeah, ignore or whatever, but I think it's odd.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowball View Post
    btw,
    I don't care much about your type, but from what you've been posting lately, you seem to really appreciate Ti. It's just very odd that that's supposed to be your PoLR when it's in such a stark contrast with what you actually write. so, ummm, yeah, ignore or whatever, but I think it's odd.
    What exactly? And why do you think it's Ti?
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    Mainly because you're replacing an evaluation of states of mind with a detached thinking that reduces dynamic thinking to static principles.

    For example, you said,
    The romantic idea that experience is divorced from the physical substrate is just an act of denial. Our emotions are chemical discharges and there is nothing demeaning to it. What people misses is the concept of complexity. If they compare basic lab chemistry to the operation of the brain, there is surely something missing. But it's easier to understand it if you become a little more aware of what you have in front of right now: your computer. Do people understand that it's just electrons flowing here and there? Given enough complexity, a computer plays movies, ray traces them, does spell checking, allows you to talk to people in the other side of the world... would it be really demeaning to say it's just electronics?
    "Computers are just flowing electrons" (Ti <-> Te)
    Electrons are quite complicated when used in semi-conductors; they can be involved with electromagnetic fields to make different kinds of transistors and nano sized capacitors/parts, as well as utilize quantum tunneling for regulating voltages, making variable resistors, and interacting with other components dynamically through radio waves. This doesn't even get into conducting shells and doping, which drastically changes the conducting properties of various materials by going into the atomic alignments, all effected by temperature and pressure as well. Saying it's all just flowing electrons doesn't really illuminate a process of what's actually going.

    "emotions are chemical discharges" (Ti <-> Fi)
    That's philosophically debatable. I could look at the chemical processes of a human brain, but it doesn't tell me the collective thoughts that brain has from them; it only tells me what chemical reactions are involved for a given process. Of course, I could infer what the chemical reactions mean on a subjective level, but it wouldn't be objective anymore as I'd be perceiving what that interaction was supposed to mean. So I could argue that certain chemicals produce say sadness, yet some people may not feel sad when their brain produces those chemicals. So to say that the brain is just chemicals is really more of a belief than necessarily true.

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