Joined: Jan. 2006
|Quote (RFJE @ Feb. 11 2009,04:51)|
|This is from you Louis|
Since a major part of all our online (and possibly even offline) existences is spent engaging in debate with various types of people. I was curious about a few things.
1) What actually motivates us to do this?"
Louis, I don't if you're an atheist, but you know many evolutionists are. Forgive me if I'm wrong, and I ask these questions under no false pretense.
Assuming that you and I are just results of biochemistry, then what chemical process took place in you to motivate you toward science? I am completely sincere, this is an honest question?
Like the (cant remember his name) scientist who converted to atheism on "Expelled." He said "I realized I had no free will." Therefore whatever we do is all because of the chemistry and the biology.
What is it in us that gives us a desire to know what we don't know? It must be important, because we fight so hard to guard our perceptions of reality. But if it is just a biological process that eventually gives in to entropy then why is it so important to us?
Are there chemical processes that cause love, hope, trust? There should be somewhere in us. It should be able to be diagrammed.
Where did sacrificial motives come from? Survival to the fittest. Chemical processes in the mind? Should we not have found them by now.
What about ethical judgement--the innate sense of right and wrong?
Will, determination are these just products of digested, fats, carbs and proteins and the energy they produce.
What about a sense of fun, enjoyment, satisfaction vs. dullness, and boredom? Chemical processes?
Why do we cook and not eat our food raw like animals do? Is it not to enjoy the taste? What chemical process triggers this desire?
Where did sexual attraction come from and how did it come at the same time as the sexual organs evolved? What gene is affection associated with, or by what chemical process is it triggered? And why is it associated with sex?
Will, conscience, emotions, desire, ambitions, motivations, intentions bad and good, are all undeniably a part of our being. They are as real as the screen in front of you. They can be defined by neither mathematics, nor diagrammed by chemistry. They can not be included in cell biology for observation.
Where does music come from? Is this also a product of chemistry in the mind? I am a musician and it seems to come from elsewhere.
What other species has serial killers? Why are there people who kill for fun or fascination. Are these mutations or evil? Is evil just an idea of antiquity or is it evil--ask anyone who is on the receiving end of an evil and they will tell you.
If someone told you that affection or hate were not real because they are not perceived by the 5 senses, would tell them they were crazy? because they are perceived IN you. What is the perceiving unit? Even it is unseen and can not be defined by natural means.
What chemical process gives us the perceived sensation of knowing ourselves inwardly, but at the same time gives us the desire to project a certain image on the outside? How can we discern a fake, even when we have no proof? Isn't it because most of us are guilty of hypocrisy at one time or the other?
If all of this is just the brain, then we should have been able to detect the chemical and biological activity associated with it, if we are nothing more than chemicals.
But what if we have a soul Mr. Louis? A spirit that perceives all these things that we undeniably sense inside. And what if the Bible is true that our soul is eternal and we will give account? Is our sense of fair and unfair a shadow of God's judgement? Do we have his spiritual DNA?
Assuming the naturalist
***LENGTH WARNING, APOLOGIES TO SCROLLING FINGERS***
Good gravy! A stream of consciousness. Do you feel better yet? Is it all out? Have the goalposts moved once more? I thought evolution was false because of chemistry (it isn't), now it's wrong because of.....?
Before I continue there is one thing: learn how to quote things, please. See above the window you type your comments in there is a little button marked "Quote", it will put the quote tags into your text for you, [QUOTE ] at the start and [/QUOTE ] at the end, making things easier to read. I don't always do this myself, but it'd general good practise and helps us all. Also, please link things like old posts, just for the sake of ease. When you are quoting websites a link to what you've quoted is very useful, it allows people to see what you are quoting in detail, and explore things further themselves. It's a basic tenet of intellectual honesty.
There are also five more relevant things I want to mention before I get into all of this:
a) Just because science may or may not have concrete answer to every question yet does not mean that your (or anyone's) religious explanation is automatically the default answer. Every scientist worth his or her salt will cheerfully admit that there are things we don't yet know.
b) I am neither a biochemist nor a neuroscientist, but I do have some brief familiarity with some aspects of these fields. So, like before, rather than present you with definitive answers and direct proof (which is practically impossible over the internet anyway, I am not typing out textbooks for you or leading you into a laboratory) I'll try to provide you with a few links which you can follow to begin your own investigations.
c) "Pathetic levels of detail". One of William Dembski's (a famous, and famously dishonest, intelligent design creationist) more famous quotes, very illustrative of his mindset (and yours, judging by your questions) is:
|You're asking me to play a game: "Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position." ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it's not ID's task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC [irreducibly complex] systems that is what ID is discovering.|
Needless to say this an astounding piece of hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty on Demsbki's part. He's basically trying to say that he has to provide no detail whatsoever for his propositions. If you want to do science, and Dembski pretends he does, then the devil is in the detail. Superficiality don't cut it. Now why do I mention this? I am pre-empting a very common creationist complaint, forgive me if you are not going to make it, but judging by the tone and type of your questions I can see it galloping towards us.
As above, if science hasn't (yet) provided a detailed answer to a problem, it doesn't follow that any other explanation is automatically the answer UNLESS that answer has a sufficient level of detail, and correspondingly matches the available evidence. So "goddidit" is absolutely not an answer to anything, it is the abandonment of enquiry, it simply pushes the problem one step further back. I will not accept "goddidit" as an answer for anything, only a dishonest attempt to avoid the answer "I don't know". No sympathy for non-answers. See the god of the gaps for more detail. Again, this is a beginning point for your investigations.
d) Doubt. As the physicist Richard Feynman said:
|I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers, and possible beliefs, and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything, and in many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here, and what the question might mean. I might think about a little, but if I can’t figure it out, then I go to something else. But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn’t frighten me. |
Not knowing something, perhaps just not knowing something yet, is no crime. Not knowing something is not the end of enquiry, it is the beginning. We scientists LIKE not knowing something, it keeps us in a job! Not knowing things is WHY we try to find them out, it is for me why I became a scientist: because there are things (many, many, many, MANY things) I don't know. I don't crave certainty because I know that certainty is not possible, I am merely seeking to reduce the number of things I don' know about.
e) HUGENESS! The questions you ask are only really answerable at huge length with huge reference to the available evidence. Needless to say I i) cannot reproduce all of that here and ii) am not even going to try to! You need to do the work yourself. As I explained to Denial Smith, I am not interested in reproducing reams of textbook data. I am equally not interested in petty games of oneupmanship and trading authority figures. I couldn't care less that I have "successfully refuted a public school teacher with a B.S. Ed in biology and a minor in chemistry from Montana State University, with 8 years of science teaching in PUBLIC SCHOOLS. And also Dr. Georgia Purdom PhD, molecular genetics (Ohio State University). They wrote and edited respectively the book "Evolution Exposed." It had an endorsement from Dr. David Menton PhD, cell biology (Brown University)." It's not anything I'm interested in. If this is some pissing contest for you, then it will be strike three for me, and I'll simply retreat to mockery as is my wont!
Right, enough preamble, enough tips, on with the entertainment, I'll try and organise your stream of consciousness into themes if you don't mind:
Yes I am an atheist. I lack a belief in any god or gods. That's very different from believing god/gods doesn't/don't exist by the way, but rather than drift into philosophy, I'll leave it at that. Incidentally no one "converts" to atheism, it's not a religion, it is simply the absence of belief in a deity or deities. You too are an atheist with respect to every god except the one you believe in, I've just gone one god further. BTW "Expelled" is not a good place to get one's information from, it is a wickedly dishonest propaganda piece.
2) We/emotions/feelings/desires are "just" the results of natural processes:
Just the results of biochemistry? JUST? JUST?????? That's a pretty big "just" there my friend! I would suggest that you have no idea about the complexity and quantity of the phenomena you hand wave away with a "just". Anyway, the questions you are asking about thoughts, desires, feelings are simply huge and reduce to one overarching question: Is consciousness the product of the physical and chemical operations of the brain?
The answer to that is very simple: yes.
How do I know this? Well it's pretty simple to demonstrate that the consciousness can be altered by simple physical or chemical interventions. Don't believe me? Ok, here, take the dose of LSD. Seriously, the chemistry of neurotransmitters is very well understood. We can, and do, create drugs to manipulate the nature of people's consciousnesses and minds. We can, and do, induce hallucinations, revelations and altered states of consciousness in people by manipulating electromagnetic fields around people's heads. Obviously there's vastly more to it than this, rather than typing out textbooks for you I suggest you start with the basic things I've recommended to you and work from there.
The bigger question even than that is "HOW is the mind a product of the physical and chemical processes of the brain?". Now this is vastly more difficult to answer, and as far as I am aware this has yet to be completely solved by science. I am not the best person too ask about this since it is not my area of expertise. Some answers might be found for you here and here. Reciprocating Bill is probably one of the best people to ask here at AtBC. I can recommend the work of Dan Dennett, and in particular his book "Consciousness Explained", which I admit I haven't read in years. You might also like to read about the Hard Problem of Consciousness, something Dennett disagrees exists, but I mention it as an illustration of some of the issues that may crop up.
Another huge question. I suggest reading about the evolution of altruism and explanations for its persistence. Altruism, altruism in animals, reciprocal altruism, kin selection, competitive altruism, and empathy altruism.
Since I haven't the time to deal with the rest of this, I'll leave you to get on with your work, just as I have to get on with mine.