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Atheist Community of Austin
Mind/ body problem

I love the show and am currently watching a bunch of youtube download that I stumbled upon while watching george Carlin. I am a philosophy student and wonder what is answer to the mind body problem if you feel everything is of a physical nature? Do you think dreams are just off shoots of energy? How can I have a thought which is not physical in nature and that creates movement of my body whic is physical in nature? I think you'll are great. I do not believe in a GOD perse but I do believe that there is a spiritual component to people. Let me know what you think and I love the show. Keep up the good work.

The new book (The Accidental Mind: How Brain Evolution Has Given Us Love, Memory, Dreams, and God) by David J. Linden. Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University (I asked them to order this at my library.) I read a review that states there are chapters on brain assembly; sensation and emotion; learning, memory, and individuality; sleep, dreams, and their possible functions; and sex, love, and some of their varieties, the religious impulse. He proposes and discusses a potentially important neurobiological contribution to the lively and odd topic of the roots of religion--that the human brain, which has become particularly adapted to creating gap-free stories, predisposes us to religious thought.

HERE IS WHAT I ALREADY KNOW: One of the arguments against evolution is that 'natural selection' could not have evolved cognitive skills (intelligence.) Intelligence evolved as a cognitive strategy in humans to meet the complex demands of their survival. The more difficult it is to survive the more intelligent the organism. Intelligence has to evolve, because evolution is how new traits appear and intelligence is definitely a new trait that evolved well after the basic original bacterium. Evolution operates by natural selection: traits that help an organism survive to reproductive age, and that help it to produce offspring that do the same, will be in evidence in those succeeding generations. Traits that did not do this will disappear with the organisms that died before they could pass them on.

The prolonged action of 'natural selection' can be expected to leave traces behind in the structure of modern organisms. And when scientists go looking for those traces they invariably find them in droves. Recall that natural selection operates by preserving small, favorable variations that occur naturally in any population of organisms. Over time these variations accumulate to the point that large-scale change is the result. This implies that natural selection works by modifying structures already present in the organism. It does not craft new, complex systems from scratch.

Intelligence (abstract thinking) evolved specifically to allow our ancestors to deal with evolutionary novel problems. Demonstrating that performance on an evolutionary novel problem (an abstract reasoning task.) What modern man is learning (from birth) is what it has taken mankind to learn for millions of years. So, our intelligence is also based on the fact that we are learning what it has taken millions of years to develop in terms of knowledge.

None of the so-called Intelligent Design (creationist) theories have been proven; all of the arguments to date against evolution have been proven wrong, and no new theory has been presented by anyone.

The fact that the brain can dream, love, hate, and create religion (my opinion) through investigation is through a long process of evolution. It is the way man copes (coping mechanism) that has evolved in human brain.

A Federal district Judge John Jones III ruled that it was unconstitutional for a school board in Dover, PA to force the teaching of intelligent design (ID) theory (creationism) on a public high school science class. The decision was stunning to the ID movement; they lost on every front. Jones declared the ID movement's science bogus, their tactics corrupt and their religious motivations transparent. Intelligent design, Jones said, is the most recent species in the highly adaptive lineage known as American Creationism.

In 2008, legislators in Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan, and Missouri have tried to require that classrooms teach both "the scientific strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian theory," code for disputing evolution through (creationism) which is not science and has produced no testable theory. Similar legislation passed both houses of the Louisiana legislature this month and is coming perilously close to passing in Texas.

In my opinion, mind is the name we give to the sensation we have of our brains working. Dreams are not "off shoots of energy", but rather our minds operating and causing us to experience sensations. None of this requires anything immaterial, which means that thoughts are themselves physical processes within the brain. Note that it is possible to ablate portions of one's brain and drastically alter the way one experiences even the most fundamental things. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyyjU8fzEYU for a case in point.

I studied computer engineering and have also pondered on this question. I have come to the belief that it does necessitate some additional meta-physical nature that is evident by our mind and perception.

I think of it, as I do with everything, in terms of computers. The current scientific understanding is that the mind is a product of the brain through lobotomy. And the brain is driven by electrical activities in the brain (correction/confirmation?). However, electrical activity can be found naturally in inorganic things. We do not consider thunder in the sky; or an electrical generator as having "mind" for example. So I have come to the unhappy conclusion that there should exists something else to the model.

My view is that our "mind" is closer to a software program. It runs on our "brain", which facilitates the hardware. This model, while, similar to the religious/spiritual "body and soul" concept, has the key difference that once the body dies, the mind dies with it. Where as the "soul" or "ghost" in this case is independent of the body, capable of "moving" to heaven or hell, I believe that our "mind" is heavily dependent on our body.

I've come to this view after coming across neurology studies where emotions are mapped to brain activity in specific regions, and I thought it was remarkably similar to studying a computer process by examining memory states. A computer process is an entity of inputs and outputs, and has no physical manifestations. It requires a platform to run, but it is not the platform, nor even any particular outputs or state. It is virtual. So I'll disagree with you on the "shooting off energy" thing.

While I will acknowledge the similarities in the concepts; I really hate the words "soul", "spirit" or "ghost" largely because it is tied to too many folktales and they've accumulated too much extra questionable implications over the years.

I believe that the mind-body-duality is connected to the wave-particle-duality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle

I don't know if I can quote that here (copyright reasons, I hate those). The first paragraph explains the most important part: As an example, position and momentum of quantum objects (e.g. electron) cannot *both* be know with arbitrary precision at the same time. The reason is not that the measuring apparatus reach physical limits. The reason is that the object behaves like a wave and it is a *logical* (or mathematical) problem to know both momentum *and* position precisely. Nature itself *is* kinda blurry in the realm of the smallest.

It could be that the primary element of existence is not matter but consciousness=spirit. And everything that we call nature, that we perceive and study, the whole world - might just be a *side-effect* of more than one spirit=consciousness existing at the same time. This chaos-space that is wrapped around the minds and maybe even around God's mind, matter, might just be a kaleidoscopic effect of more than one living phantasies existing at the same time.

So, let's assume there is a nothingness, not empty space but just... nothing. And that's God. And then it warps itself, looks at itself, tries to imagine not to be just one but two or even more consciousnesses. All matter, space, forces might be just a side-effect, an expression of that. Emerged automatically. Like the door to your bathroom kinda opens itself when you really want to go in and do whatever you do in there.

How does wave-particle-duality lead anyone to assume? QUOTE - "primary element of existence is not matter but (CONSCIOUSNESS) conciousness =spirit"

WAVE-PARTICLE-DUALITY IN LIGHT: Matter and light exhibit the behaviors of both waves and particles, depending upon the circumstances of the experiment. Albert Einstein (early part of the twentieth century) published a paper to explain the photoelectric effect: light traveled as discrete bundles of energy. The energy contained within a photon was related to the frequency of light. The photon theory of light, a photon is a discrete bundle (or quantum) of electromagnetic (or light) energy. Photons are always in motion and, in a vacuum, have a constant speed of light to all observers, at the vacuum speed of light (more commonly just called the speed of light) of c = 2.998 x 108 m/s. move at a constant velocity, c = 2.9979 x 108 m/s (i.e. "the speed of light"), in free space have zero mass and rest energy. Carry energy and momentum, which are also related to the frequency nu and wavelength lamdba of the electromagnetic wave by E = h nu and p = h / lambda. Can be destroyed/created when radiation is absorbed/emitted. Can have particle-like interactions (collisions) with electrons and other particles. This theory is known as the photon theory of light. Still they didn't know why wave behavior was observed. As experiments continued it became clear that light functions as both a particle and a wave, depending on how the experiment is conducted and when observations are made.

Then came the WAVE PARTICLE DUALITY IN MATTER (the question of whether such duality also showed up in matter) was undertaken by de Broglie hypothesis, which extended Einstein's work to relate the observed wavelength of matter to its momentum. Experiments confirmed the hypothesis in 1927. Just like light matter exhibited both wave and particle properties under the right circumstances. Enormous objects exhibit very small wavelengths, and tiny objects wavelength can be observable and significant.

The wave particle duality is that all behaviors of light and matter can be explained through the use of a differential equation, which represents a wave function, generally in the form of the Schrodinger equation. This ability to describe reality in the form of waves is at the heart of quantum mechanics. The wave function represents the probability of finding a given particle at a given point. These probability equations can diffract, interfere, and exhibit other wave-like properties, resulting in a final probabilistic wave function that exhibits these properties as well. Particles end up distributed according to the probability laws, and therefore exhibit the wave properties.

In other words, the probability of a particle being in any location is a wave, but the actual physical appearance of that particle isn't. While the mathematics makes accurate predictions. To explain what the wave particle duality means is a key point of debate in quantum physics. Many interpretations exist to try to explain this, but they are all bound by the same set of wave equations, and must explain the same experimental observations.

Quote "So, let's assume there is a nothingness, not empty space but just... nothing. And that's God." This conclusion must be on faith because reason wouldn't lead you to it.

Most pseudo-scientists head straight for the theory of parallel universes to prove there is a god and a heaven - worlds that exist side-by-side along with our own - is not new there was something called the mirror theory long ago that was the equivalent. The concept involving the tiniest subatomic matter: QUANTUM PHYSICS - the physics that governs the behavior of atomic and sub-atomic matter. Matter is seen in a very different light; its properties depended on how it is observed. The actions of observation play a role in the atomic world that was completely unsuspected by the pre-modern scientists. That role is now suspected to even affect macroscopic matter in subtle ways that could change cosmology and indeed our concept of just what a universe is.

A parallel universe is like an everyday universe; it is a region of space and time containing matter, galaxies, stars, planets and living beings. In other words, a parallel universe is similar and possibly even a duplicate of our own universe. Not only in a parallel universe must there be other human beings, but these may be human beings who are exact duplicates of us and who are connected to ourselves through mechanisms only explainable using quantum physics concepts. (Some people would believe that's who opened the door to the John.)

Relativity, including both the special and the general theories, deals with the relationships between matter, energy, space and time. It includes many abstract ideas such as gravity being the bending of time and light particles - photons - traveling across the universe without spending anytime on their own or going anywhere as viewed from their point of view.

These theories indicate that our universe must contain regions of matter that strongly distort the space-time surrounding them. These regions, called black holes, were at first suspected to contain places where the laws of physics would no longer hold. Now we believe that the laws of physics hold everywhere. Consequently these singular regions turn out to be map-able and turn out to be topological holes leading to parallel universes.

Albert Einstein was undoubtedly referring to the mathematical laws of quantum physics, that these laws only describe possibilities of reality, but never reality itself when he wrote: "As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and so far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality,"

Creation science. My take on this exactly.

Hi Matthew Washington:

You REALLY need to watch this short video. I began to write to you about how consciousness is NOT a spiritual, but is actually physical, even in the interpretation of consciousness. The dilemma in understanding consciousness is the label placed on what is physical and what is spiritual. Awareness, for example, is also physical. However, awareness provides an illusion of what is physical and because we interpret the illusion from "first-person," "second-person" and "third person" experience, we tend to call it "spiritual." The fact of the matter is, there is no such thing as "spiritual." All manifestations/interpretations take place within a closed brain. Conssciousness does not take place outside of the brain. Many assume that it does. Because consciousness (as being spiritual) is the illusion of the awareness (which is consiousness) and humans do not regognize the illusion and give it an illusory definition outside of where the actual definition belongs. It is physical and not spiritual. Anything spiritual actually does not exist. It is always an illusion.

Now, having said that. Please watch this short video because science has actually proven this to be a fact through mathematics and field studies! It will explain the power behind consciousness and awareness. And when I say "Power" I mean actual physical power! If you think an atomic bomb is powerful, take a look at this video. The thing s, if we ever learn to harnes consciousness... I hate to even imagine. This short video is incredibly informative and I think it might helpt to narrow down the answer to the question you are asking. I don't think you are going to find any One single answer. Science is still in the asking phase of discovery to the very question you are asking. This video, however, is on the correct path to finding the truth.

Here is the link to the video(copy and paste it in your browser search box): http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&source=hp&q=what%20is%20consciousness&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv#hl=en&source=hp&q=what+is+consciousness&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv&qvid=what+is+consciousness&vid=7858207036443997825

Hal said, "It will explain the power behind consciousness and awareness. And when I say "Power" I mean actual physical power! If you think an atomic bomb is powerful, take a look at this video. The thing s, if we ever learn to harnes consciousness... I hate to even imagine."

Did you mean HARNESS consciousness? If so, there is nothing about consciousness or awareness that has that kind of power. The physical part of consciousness is to see, taste, touch and smell.

A theory that consciousness has the kind of powerful that you are referring to as in an (atomic bomb) is like thinking that prayer has power or any other kind quackery or pseudoscience.

I'd like to add I find a huge discrepancy in power between the mind and body. The body is fragile, and limited. It is restricted compared to what our imaginations can envision and what our will desires. This restriction leads me to believe that free will MUST be a gift from God, but the Lord has restricted us to these fragile and limited bodies to test us.

Mr. T,

These kinds of arguments that you are constructing to support your belief in a supernatural being do not prove a thing about the existence of any god. The fact that man developed an "imagination" does not prove that anything exists outside of the Universe or the natural world. Man's intelligence evolved in order to allow us to overcome our physical limitations.

Without any doubt a supernatural being did not create the Universe, or life in the Universe. Life forms developed through evolutionary means DNA and RNA - a natural process. A creator who created everything is not a testable theory. If you think that mans physical inadequacy limits what man can do you are wrong. Man is not limited by what he can physically do, because man has always devised ways to overcome physical limitations. I guess birds can fly because god wanted them to fly, but man cannot physically fly because god didn't want man to fly. People who want to believe that man can not do anything without supernatural intervention are truly limited. If god had wanted man to fly he would have given us wings. The only way man could be limited by "god" is if man believes in one. Man has invented flying machines that are far superior in flight than any bird. Man has gone to Mars, due to fact that he has not allowed his physical limitations or (imaginary beings) to stand in the way of what he wanted to do.

There is a very big difference in physical and cerebral traits. There is a reason why man evolved more intellectually than physically. Our intelligence has evolved to overcome what we were physically incapable of doing. Intelligence evolved more in humans for that reason. Traits that are needed for a species to survive develop, and those traits that are not needed do not continue to evolve. Our brains have gotten bigger over time, and our bodies have gotten smaller, because our brains were more important for our survival. The human brain developed more because we had to solve problems for our survival. Man needed to solve theoretical problems in order to survive. Humans had to mentally conceive of various imaginary hazards (that were possible) in order to be prepared in advance. Humans were using theoretical (highly evolved) thinking in order to survive.

It sounds like you think our "imaginations" prove that there is a god. The ancient man had a very active imagination because he didn't have much knowledge. He used mythology (fantasy) to explain things in the world that he didn't understand. This would increase the ability to use the imagination, because man just didn't have enough information to rationalize or explain things about the world logically. These myths were not factual or logical - they were imaginative - and this is where all of the god myths came from. Ancient man used their imaginations (myths) instead of knowledge or logic to explain certain things that were beyond their intellectual capabilities. They simply had not acquired enough knowledge to answer questions about life or the world. That is how we got our man made-up "god of the gaps." The concept of a personal "god" may have served a practical purpose in ancient civilizations. Religion may have given an identity to groups of people, and kept them together under one leader's control, but god myths didn't explain anything, and they no longer serve any purpose.

Our brain has evolved by doing physical and psychical (mental) activities, but the brain is not as "incomprehensible" as you seem to think. Traits evolved for a reason.

The proponent of religion (in ancient times) tried to stop science from progressing because they realized that science could answer questions that religion never would, but they couldn't halt progress permanently.

A god has nothing to do with man having free will. We should all be free to decide what we want to believe, but many people are not.

Now take the discoveries and breakthroughs of humans and compare them to the breakthroughs achieved by the 2nd most intelligent creature on the planet. Heck compare our discoveries to the neanderthals. In a short period of 3000 years we've made HUGE advancements in technology. What happened before that? Where was the technology? Why did it take 100,000 years to invent such simple tools? Don't you notice huge discrepancies in power with us, the neanderthals and all other animals on the planet?

It appears blatantly obvious that a powerful God intended for us to be vastly superior to all other life on the planet. Not just superior, vastly superior. The 2nd most intelligent animal on the planet (whatever it is) has also had thousands of years to develop any sort of technology even somewhat close to ours but they can't.

Now if you compare the 2nd most intelligent creature on the planet to the 3rd most intelligent creature you won't see a discrepancy in power.

We are special. 6,692,030,277 people on this planet ponder where they go when they die. All of them. There will never ever be a case of a human not wondering where they go when they die. This has obviously been programmed into us.

Linda said **** "Without any doubt a supernatural being did not create the Universe, or life in the Universe. Life forms developed through evolutionary means DNA and RNA - a natural process." ****

Atheists pride themselves on logic and reason, but as soon as reason/thought process becomes the explanation for our existence you reject it because you fear a higher power ruling over you. Natural process? Are you kidding me? I find it very laughable when anyone uses the world natural or nature. These are words used to explain a highly complex process without acknowledging a highly complex creator.

Mr. T.,

Your creation science theories have everything except evidence. Therefore, they are not testable. If there is no falsifable hypotheses it is not science. A real scientific theory requires all of that.

This is creation apologetics, it's is not science, and it is full of errors that are found in most apologist and creationist writings. There is no "design theory", so there is no testable hypotheses. "Intelligent Design" or "theistic evolution" is creationism trying to be science. It is meant to convince us that natural processes couldn't have been responsible for the beginning of the Universe or life in the Universe, but they have no scientific theory that proves otherwise, and they don't understand evolution.

I have read most of the apologist's positions, including assuming a "Designer", but not calling the designer god. It doesn't matter what they call the designer if he is undetectable. The "theory" is useless to science.

The evolution of life began in the oceans, which evolved into reptiles and then mammals. There are all kinds of examples of forms of life (variations) that became extinct because they were not capable of evolving to a higher form of life. Neanderthals weren't superior to Homo Sapiens. Their brains were larger, but their frontal lobes were smaller. They went extinct because Homo Sapiens overwhelmed them. Neanderthals were fewer in number, and inferior to Homo Sapiens. Neanderthals were a form of life evolving toward human, but went extinct. This is an example of evolution.

During the Miocene epoch the family Hominoidea diverged into two sub-families the Pongidae (apes) and the Hominidae (humans). The exact point of divergence between the ape line and the human line is debated, but not the evolutionary fact that it did occur. In general Dryopithecus is considered to be ancestor of both apes and humans.

More recent than Neanderthal, Homo Florensiensis was another form of human. Homo Florensiensis were much smaller than Homo Sapiens and had a much smaller brain. They may have been less intelligent, but the brain size is not necessarily the determining factor in intelligence.

A greater capacity to learn from experience has reached its highest development in the human species. An animal's brain and the Homo Sapien's brain capacity evolved differently.

Your ideas about how we became so smart leaves out the fact that it has taken millions of years to acquire the knowledge that modern humans are learning from birth today.

You have presented us with a theory that does not provide any evidence, hypothesis, experiments, or a damn thing to test. I'm not interested in doing the work for you. You don't know a damn thing about science.

I think that you should come up with a testable theory that proves a "Designer." Your arguments are not valid, since there is no evidence.

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