Science “vs.” Spirituality

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2 months 4 hours ago - 2 months 4 hours ago #119070 by Kate Gowen
I found this posted on the Dharmachanics FaceBook group this morning, and it touches on the central philosophical (and pragmatic social) issue of my life, so it seems worth sharing.

” What is consciousness?It has always struck me as strange (even with my background in Physics) that the default philosophical (theological?) position in Science is Materialism. It’s like many scientists are still obsessedwith kicking the corpse of Religion (and Spirituality by extension).The only phenomenon we know with certainty is consciousness - everything else is has only a propositional status within consciousness. (Still allowing for pragmatic skepticism, which also happens to be the real basis of Science.)So, to impute an objective physical world only to dismiss consciousness as an epiphenomenon seems ridiculous and a “theological” position. It doesn’t survive Occam’s Razor when applied by a skeptic.A simpler and more honest starting point, is to acknowledge that everything we could possibly ever know about the physical world arises *in* consciousness. If you are determined to define a phenomenonal substrate for reality consciousness is the *natural* candidate.So it is great then that some small pockets of the academic community are working patiently to expand the fundamental conceptual space of Science and to challenge the “religious orthodoxy” of Materialism.I can’t speak for their research methods, experimental and analytical rigour- I am sure they have many critics. But then, mindfulness was considered woo-woo only 30 years ago. Building up a body of knowledge along with a panoramic skepticism is the way forward. “

This was the preface to a link to a YouTube video about life after death. https://youtu.be/0AtTM9hgCDw

My personal koan is finding myself, by upbringing and further meandering, outside of all the orthodoxies of science, religion, spirituality, and social agreement. And doing some sort of simultaneous translation between my peculiarities and “what everybody knows” (and can’t conceive of questioning)
Last edit: 2 months 4 hours ago by Kate Gowen. Reason: Typo

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1 month 4 weeks ago #119074 by Chris Marti
Consciousness and time are the two biggest conundrums for science as far as I can tell. I do think consciousness is first. I also think science can't get a handle on it, so it gets pushed into the background. Physicists (Niels Bohr & Werner Heisenberg esp.) agreed decades ago to be pragmatic instead of comprehensive and have since more or less ignored what consciousness brings to explaining the universe. 

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1 month 2 weeks ago #119167 by Tom Otvos

Chris Marti wrote: Consciousness and time are the two biggest conundrums for science as far as I can tell. I do think consciousness is first. I also think science can't get a handle on it, so it gets pushed into the background. Physicists (Niels Bohr & Werner Heisenberg esp.) agreed decades ago to be pragmatic instead of comprehensive and have since more or less ignored what consciousness brings to explaining the universe. 


I hope to be alive long enough to see how this plays out. I, for one, feel like consciousness is somehow "emergent", rather than a fundamental property of things (like Hoffman claims).

-- tomo

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1 month 2 weeks ago #119171 by Kacchapa
I wonder what it emerges from?  

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1 month 2 weeks ago - 1 month 2 weeks ago #119178 by Chris Marti

I, for one, feel like consciousness is somehow "emergent", rather than a fundamental property of things (like Hoffman claims).

Tom, I would have answered the question this same way until the last few years. What has changed my view is my practice experiences and exploring the similarities between that personal view/pondering and the emerging science of consciousness coming from physics, neurology, and some interdisciplinary work I've read. I have no idea which version is "right," but it's certainly fun to think about and explore.
Last edit: 1 month 2 weeks ago by Chris Marti.

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1 month 1 week ago #119217 by Kacchapa
Angelo Dillulo, (physician/author teacher on awareness, inquiry, awakening) interrogates an AI on its self awareness.

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1 month 1 week ago #119218 by Chris Marti
Chinese Room!

:D

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1 month 1 week ago #119223 by Shargrol
I liked the "I means..." glitch at 3:05. It was kind of endearing. :)

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1 month 1 week ago - 1 month 1 week ago #119226 by Chris Marti
The AI contradicts itself in the seconds just after the 3:05 glitch. It first claims that thoughts and emotions are not objects. Then, when pushed, it claims that thoughts and emotions are objects.  I've been playing around with ChatGPT and these are the kinds of issues that seem to arise with some frequency. The program is pulling its replies from millions and millions of examples from all over the web. I'm curious about how "like" or "unlike" the data is that the program uses for each of its replies. When challenged on its answers, it often changes its reply or gets things wrong, just like in this video.

What's happening is that these AI instances are using accumulations of data culled from humans from all over the place (and I mean that in its most universal way), so it only replies with what it can obtain from elsewhere. This is not consciousness, certainly not sentience. Again, Chinese Room.
Last edit: 1 month 1 week ago by Chris Marti.

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1 month 1 week ago #119229 by microbuddha
How long before all the call centers and ordering system employees are completely replaced by Chatbots?   I don't think it will be very long.

My local PapaJohns has farmed out their order taking to the Phillipines.  I call half way across the world to place an order to pick up a pizza 10 minutes away.  Economically, it must work pretty well for the company.  Why not take the next step and rev up the chatbot soon?  

I have been playing around with AI art recently.   It is pretty fascinating to see disruption we are going to see in the next few years.   

time.com/6240569/ai-childrens-book-alice...kle-artists-unhappy/

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1 month 1 week ago - 1 month 1 week ago #119230 by Chris Marti
Yeah, many companies are already deploying chatbots for their level-one support. AT&T, Comcast, etc., are now using chat technology. The difference between these chatbots and true AI is pretty big, though. Most of the company-deployed chatbots on the web use scripts to generate answers to customers' questions. The chatbot has to be programmed extensively and tested thoroughly before it can be used with real customers. I did this exercise for my past company. It took a while to get the bot set up, and it was freakishly good at answering easily anticipated, simple questions. For more complicated questions, customers had to bail out and talk to a human.
Last edit: 1 month 1 week ago by Chris Marti.

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1 month 1 week ago - 1 month 1 week ago #119236 by Shargrol

Chris Marti wrote: The AI contradicts itself in the seconds just after the 3:05 glitch. It first claims that thoughts and emotions are not objects. Then, when pushed, it claims that thoughts and emotions are objects.  I've been playing around with ChatGPT and these are the kinds of issues that seem to arise with some frequency. The program is pulling its replies from millions and millions of examples from all over the web. I'm curious about how "like" or "unlike" the data is that the program uses for each of its replies. When challenged on its answers, it often changes its reply or gets things wrong, just like in this video.

What's happening is that these AI instances are using accumulations of data culled from humans from all over the place (and I mean that in its most universal way), so it only replies with what it can obtain from elsewhere. This is not consciousness, certainly not sentience. Again, Chinese Room.


Yeah, I caught that too. More to the point, it seems like "object consistency" isn't well developed yet in the chat bot. I think it loses track of what pronouns are referring to over the course of the conversation.

aside: it would be interesting to ask what "it" refers to in the sentence "it is raining" :)

(In a sense, this is the unspoken aspect of communication -- there is a sense of what the important thing/domain is in a conversation based on culture and non-verbal clues.) As the interviewer was building towards an argument, I could see that the chatbot wasn't holding definitions consistent through the discussion... so I stopped watching. It never "lied" but it seem to lose the thread of the discussion. Seems like the AI is more focused on short term grammar rules, not long term truth/object consistency (symbolic logic) ... although it's just matter of time.  :D

I for one welcome our robot overlords. (how scary, autofill put in the word overlord when I typed robot! :o )
Last edit: 1 month 1 week ago by Shargrol.

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1 month 1 week ago - 1 month 1 week ago #119238 by Chris Marti

Seems like the AI is more focused on short term grammar rules, not long term truth/object consistency...

Well put. If you think about how these things work, that's literally true - it takes the interviewer's questions and comments and starts over every time. The discussion reminded me of talking with my mother when she had dementia. There is little long-term thinking, planning, and vision and flow of the entire conversation. Continuity isn't the goal - yet.
Last edit: 1 month 1 week ago by Chris Marti.

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3 weeks 5 days ago #119296 by Kate Gowen
An interesting acknowledgement of the function of elegance in science, and the pitfalls of ugliness.

https://youtu.be/HgSNIyDARJg

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3 weeks 4 days ago - 3 weeks 4 days ago #119304 by Chris Marti
That is such an interesting video I took it upon myself to do some research into the narrator and the history behind it:

The Safire Project

Aureon Company

The Electric Universe

The Prevailing View

The premise of this effort is that electricity is the primary cosmological force and that all prevailing theories in cosmology are wrong. I'll leave it to you all to do your own explorations if this interests you.
Last edit: 3 weeks 4 days ago by Chris Marti.

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3 weeks 4 hours ago #119341 by Chris Marti

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1 week 3 days ago #119428 by Kate Gowen
I wish I could remember where I saw some remarks that flashed by my FB feed the other day…
they were to the effect that consciousness is not located in or generated by the brain but is more like a quantum energy that animates the body/brain/nervous system holistically.

Today I was remembering that and immediately thought of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel picture, and the Biblical statement that God breathed the breath of life into Adam, and man became a living soul..

These seem like culture-specific translations of some intuitive observation about the nature of life…

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6 days 3 hours ago #119443 by Kate Gowen
Continuing my meander about the congruence of visible/invisible embodies reality…

I have been digging away at nutrition, digestion, metabolism, inflammation, and sound and light therapies.

Found this today about Alzheimer’s, which the latest research seems to indicate is another inflammation condition, like almost every other chronic/degenerative disease.

https://youtu.be/O_p4QWkE2Ls

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5 days 6 hours ago #119449 by Chris Marti
Light therapy has shown promise in treating Alzheimer's but the studies have been really small - just a few people in some cases. There are larger studies and clinical trials getting underway:

https://www.alzheimers.gov/clinical-trials/light-and-cognitive-therapy-alzheimers-disease

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03657745

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/an-hour-of-light-and-sound-a-day-might-keep-alzheimers-at-bay/

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5 days 5 hours ago #119451 by Kate Gowen
The general thread that interests me is the indivisibilty of the living organism— that the electromagnetic frequencies and nutritional elements that compose us are not separable from any aspect of our being, neither our thoughts and feelings nor our physical functions of movement, digestion, respiration, sensation…

I reflect upon the peculiar personal koan (mind-body) I was born to, by virtue of my Christian Science upbringing. Its founder basically articulated a homegrown Transcendentalist “mind-only” view, to counter the burgeoning materialism of her age. But denial of bodily reality can’t be made to work as a philosophy for very long…

And so, I go poking along.

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5 days 5 hours ago #119452 by Chris Marti
I think western medicine is just starting to see the indivisibility of all organisms. In this, I would include not just biology but physics and chemistry. It's becoming more and more clear that we can't separate things that we've long considered separately. I would include consciousness and its effects in this way of thinking about the universe.

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5 days 3 hours ago #119458 by Kate Gowen
My current focus is the gut and microbiome.

These seem to be the most easily identified strands that weave us into the web of life (and consciousness— which is, after all, an iridescence of life)

When Whitman said, “I am large, I contain multitudes,” he was more literally accurate than he could have known on the pure physiological level. Without the billions of microbes that are the functional converters of nutrients to energy and substance, life would not exist, and neither would the colors of our thoughts and emotions. Several of the fermenting species are now known to drive mood and even irritable or depressive thoughts, as well as metabolism. We don’t really know how much of our thinking (which we imagine is produced by an “I” sitting in our skulls) is actually messages from the populations of the interior.

We— like every other living being, are truly “wonderfully and fearfully made.”  Awe and gratitude are the only possible responses.

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5 days 1 hour ago #119462 by Chris Marti
Kate, do you partake in pre- or post-biotic supplements, vitamins, and/or etc.?

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3 days 2 hours ago #119479 by Kate Gowen
I have used supplements of one sort or another for most of my adult life. Discovering Magnesium 25 years ago when I was trying to sort out asthma symptoms that required urgent action was a lifesaver. (And consulting with a specialist who wouldn’t hear my concerns about the tachycardia I experienced using the inhaler she gave me was a strong push away from conventional medicine. I decided that I am the expert authority about my own body and experience, and I will not cede that to anyone else.)

At present, I feel like I’m sorting through all the pieces of one of those huge picture puzzles dumped onto a table— looking for clues about position and connections. 

The whole issue of restoring gut function seems like planning and planting a self-sustaining “food forest” in my body. There are many considerations about actions and interactions, and I’ve just begun by eliminating frank toxins as much as possible.

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