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Is the Soul a Myth?
Posted 8/28/08 , edited 8/28/08

zendude wrote:

Read this book, if you want some objective response to this question:
The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul
by Mario Beauregard (Author), Denyse O'leary (Author)
- Also check out some eastern philosophy on their ideas of the soul, just don't stick with western ideas.

Even though I am a devout Christian, I think too much in a naturalistic sense.

Here is a question:
- Have you ever felt pure nothingness while in a conscious state? I don't mean emptiness, for you have to be filled with something before to become empty. I mean purely nothing.
*Probably the closest any us got is not dreaming while asleep.


Thanks for the literature tip I am going to take a look at that for sure ^^

Answer to your question: Partly yes, I think so, that was when I had this very strong depression and break down, and after that, I felt innerly "dead", I didn't dream for at least a year, it felt like something died in me or as if that something inside of me went to sleep, and needed time to recover, I was like an empty shell, with nothing inside of me. But somehow it's gotten better, I dream from time to time again...etc. But at that time it was impossible for me to share emotions, I was not even able to feel sorry/compassion for someone...
But all in all, it was a scary feeling now that I think about it..it was as if it was not me..

Meh, don't know...that's if that's the emptiness you were speaking about, but I heard that people who never dream(are never aware of their dreams) are innerly dead...something like that



kino_neko wrote:

well anyways....i would give my honest opinion but i can already see everyone telling me why im wrong and all that shit so i'd rather not.....


Actually, it would be pretty cool if you would post your opinion, even if your opinion may be rather supporting physicalism, I mean, we're not living in a communistic society where you would need to be careful of what you're saying or not.
Besides that I wouldn't allow any flaming in this thread, for that I am going to make sure that whoever starts a flame war in here, gets reprimanded if not banned :)

Besides that, there will always people who do not share the same faith/belief, so, letting a few critics stop you from posting your opinion is pretty much disappointing D:

But of course feel free to post your opinion or not...just wanted to make sure that you know that if someone here would actually start to flame you for your opinion, I'd make sure that this was the last time he visited this thread :P


myschiefbaybee wrote:

Nice Post Flo.

I agree that a consciousness can't exist without a sensory systems (although this may open up a debate of what living beings there are without a sensory system that one might bestow a kind of consciousness/soul upon), but at least as it pertains to humans, I cannot imagine awareness without physical existence. I also understand the natural human wish to have a incorporeal entity representing our thoughts, opinions, feelings, etc. Something besides our sack of skin eh? However, I'm personally not bothered in believing that my thoughts, opinions, feelings are but a reflection of my memories, genetic makeup, perception and life experience in understanding the world around me as well as my place in it. This may be all the chemical reactions from the body to the brain that you maybe talking about, but I'm not sure. Let me know if I've misunderstood.

The term 'soul' is a loaded gun to me. I much prefer self-awareness, consciousness, state of mind, etc. There's alot of theories swirling around the definition of a 'soul.' As well as scientific studies into what 'awareness' may actually be. I've read a few philosophical works as well as scientific data delving into these mysteries, but I've found that there is no conclusive answer. The answer is what satisfies yourself. Finding that out, I surrendered any further thoughts about it. So I think this thread would enlighten me =) At least in respect to what yall believe. Thanks.


I know that the term "soul" has an endless amount of definitions, but that's not what it is about, I want everyone to post their personal opinion on what they think a soul is and why they think a soul does exist or not. Everybody has a different view on what a soul could be, and that's where it gets interesting, I want to see them formulate an opinion based on their own definition of what a soul is and its existence. I just posted a few definitions of what a soul is, so that people, who don't know at all what a soul is have at least something to use as a starter to form their own understanding of what a soul is. So it's just a little helper :P

Btw, nice post...so this means that you believe in a soul, just that our soul dies with the physical body, right?


supermalv wrote:

not sure yet.

but if they succeed in creating A.I then it's most likely *still not sure here btw* that things like soul doesn't exist.

coz like.. if they re-create an electronic device that resembles and mimic human brains in every single detail.. and somehow that thing is alive.. then we're nothing but electrical signals like that A.I there.

That's a big if though.


Yeah, interesting, reminds me of the anime Ergo Proxy, where the robots get infected with an illness which allows them to think on their own :P

But quite frankly, I doubt that the computer is able to evolve like a human brain, and to actually understand what this feelings mean, or why they feel that way, of course I guess if we would ask the android, he would know a reply, but it's not a reply based on what he "thinks on his own", it's just a program replying to your question...something like that D: More so, this would lead to another debate of the human existence itself, do we really think on our own? Aren't we philosophical zombies, who just think that we feel and think, but actually we don't?

Floetry~

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Posted 8/28/08 , edited 8/28/08

But quite frankly, I doubt that the computer is able to evolve like a human brain, and to actually understand what this feelings mean, or why they feel that way, of course I guess if we would ask the android, he would know a reply, but it's not a reply based on what he "thinks on his own", it's just a program replying to your question...something like that D: More so, this would lead to another debate of the human existence itself, do we really think on our own? Aren't we philosophical zombies, who just think that we feel and think, but actually we don't?




And you are basing this on what?
You doubt but why?

Why not? what defines a computer by the way?

Why couldn't a computer made with say, micromachines that are constructed based on genetic principles and put on a virtual environment that could put pressure on such machines by getting them exposed to similar evolutionary pressures that the brain has been exposed to; adapt itself, grow, learn, etc, and reach a level similar or equal to a human brain?


crunchypibb wrote:

As with anything there must be a purpose to life. To those who think otherwise, please commit suicide to prove your point. One's life is not worth living without a purpose or a goal. Random existence is out of the question. Honestly, I don't know how people even think that's true.
As I was saying, there is a soul. But then what is the purpose of a soul? It is to build and train it's character so that we can eventually reach God. When our bodies die our souls do not and they either go to heaven, hell, or purgatory. That's my short explaination for it.
So for those athiests who do believe in a soul, I would like to know what you think it does and what happens to it after your body dies.


Your argument does not follow.

You conclude that random existence is out of the question and your reason for this is because:

1 there must be a purpose to life.
2 One's life is not worth living without a purpose or a goal.

In regards to point one, that does not support the "out of the question" statement because it does not tell me why random existence is out of the question. There must be a purpose you say. Why is purpose A MUST? What is the purpose of the moon? just because its presence is convenient to us does not mean its purpose or goal is was to affect the magnetic fields of this planet. It just came to be. A mass of gas that cooled down and just happened to be close enough to the earth to get pulled. You might argue that you are talking about life, BUT you said 'AS WITH ANYTHING....there MUST ...."

so for point one, you need to answer why is it a must

Point 2.

Also does not add anything to make your argument valid.
Just because life is not WORTH living w/o a purpose answers why life has to have a purpose. Yeah life w/o goals sucks, so what's your point? this says nothing about why a random EXISTENCE (which is not the same as life) is out of the question.

Posted 8/28/08
okey, what if we don't have a soul, what do we exist out of then?
Posted 8/28/08 , edited 8/28/08

zendude wrote:

That wasn't the "nothingness" that was talking about. It is really hard to define the type of state that I am talking about.
I barely dream at all, maybe once or twice a month. And I am pretty normal in most social standards, no problems whatsoever.


I read about something like that..isn't it something like "living" (so, I'm stilling right now, I'm breathing, I'm watching) but while doing that, inside a sort of emptiness..as in no thoughts(which I'm not doing right now, because I'm thinking about what to write down, I'm listening to a song, I'm noticing that someone is walking downstairs etc~).(?)

I'm not sure if this is what you mean, but it's interesting what you said.

Posted 8/28/08

zendude wrote:


Poison_Of_The_Heart wrote:


zendude wrote:

That wasn't the "nothingness" that was talking about. It is really hard to define the type of state that I am talking about.
I barely dream at all, maybe once or twice a month. And I am pretty normal in most social standards, no problems whatsoever.


I read about something like that..isn't it something like "living" (so, I'm stilling right now, I'm breathing, I'm watching) but while doing that, inside a sort of emptiness..as in no thoughts(which I'm not doing right now, because I'm thinking about what to write down, I'm listening to a song, I'm noticing that someone is walking downstairs etc~).(?)

I'm not sure if this is what you mean, but it's interesting what you said.



Actually, the only thing that I could think of right now that actually gets close are people that are in the state of meditation (zen meditation), no chanting, no positioning, only breathing and their eyes being closed, thinking of absolutely nothing.

Awareness seems to drift off, and some kind of alternate sets in (maybe nothingness or maybe a dream state).

Or, again, a dreamless sleep.


yup we're talking about the same~
but I heard that ppl dream, always but that they just forget it. (father of a friend of mine said that, he is a doc. so I guess he could be right, though one never knows for sure)
Posted 8/28/08

mauz15 wrote:

And you are basing this on what?
You doubt but why?

Why not? what defines a computer by the way?

Why couldn't a computer made with say, micromachines that are constructed based on genetic principles and put on a virtual environment that could put pressure on such machines by getting them exposed to similar evolutionary pressures that the brain has been exposed to; adapt itself, grow, learn, etc, and reach a level similar or equal to a human brain?


I doubt, because even our knowledge and powers are limited. At least I don't think that any extreme revolutionary technological advances will happen in the nearest future... I'll probably die before that will happen or the world ends before that....

For me a computer is something, that has been programmed by a human being, and it's sort of a machine in which the programmer has installed certain features, informations, and of course this machine is able to evaluate the info and that just to a certain limit..but everything that is beyond that limited given information that was installed into that computer, is not accessible by the computer, unless someone would regularly update it, i.e. install updates, etc. or the computer has a photographic memory(installed cam,etc), and would be able to evaluate that information given by the taken pictures/vids on its own.
~sorry for my retarded definition..I am not a computer whizz...*flees*

Actually, I thought of a more simpler way for a computer to become similar to us, at least my idea seems to have bigger chances to be fulfilled than yours as I see it, and that would be thanks to his large memory, camera (which would register the surrounding of the computer, which would record the humans and their reactions in certain situations), and of course sort of an integrated intelligence which would allow the robot/computer to analyse and copy what the surrounding did, i.e. a person smiled in a certain situation, so the android/robot, will mimic the smile once he will be in the same situation as the person was at that time. Sensors on the body parts of the robot, so that he has the ability to feel heat, cold, etc.


Your idea seems "interesting", but I don't see how this could be done. First of all we would need to find a way of how to base micromachines on a genetic principle. Did they already find a way? If not, do you think that it will be ever possible to make this happen? Wouldn't that mean that those machines need food, or some kind of nutrition/material so that they can evolve, grow, etc and that without human help? I mean from nothing there will come nothing...so how would this be solved?


and reach a level similar or equal to a human brain?


Similar, yes. But equal? I don't deny that it would be possible for robots to act the same as us in some situations, I don't deny that you can program robots to make them cry in certain situations, all of this is possible, but is it real or just a superficial matter? Do you think that a robot can have a "heart"? Do you think that this robot would cry, because it feels sad, and it really feels that this situation is indeed sad? Do you think that a computer could eventually develop feelings other than the ones that are already integrated/installed in his system? Do you think that a computer will ever reach a state of consciousness, a state of self-awareness, do you think that a computer will ever be able to create his own emotionally filled opinion? Do you think that a computer will ever start to "believe" in something? etc etc....


zendude wrote:

That wasn't the "nothingness" that was talking about. It is really hard to define the type of state that I am talking about.
I barely dream at all, maybe once or twice a month. And I am pretty normal in most social standards, no problems whatsoever.


You mean, when your body is just doing it's basic needs, but doesn't need to full fill any emotional needs any more? Like an empty shell? Dead but alive at the same time? Could we even realise that we are in such a state? I don't know, if we were really in such an empty state, if we would be able to realise it..as we would be something like brain dead, and our body is just working after reflexes...D:

I was just being superstitious about the dream part, I like to tease people

Floetry~

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Posted 8/28/08 , edited 8/28/08

I-Killerbee-I wrote: so this means that you believe in a soul, just that our soul dies with the physical body, right?

If what you term the 'soul' is self-awareness or consciousness, then yes this 'soul' is something that can't subsist on without a medium like the corporeal body.

What I sort of wanted you to further explore was why you feel that "my existence being a mere physical phenomena makes me sad, as this would mean that all of my thoughts, opinions, feelings, etc. were merely the product of my brain" and hope that "all of my emotions and thoughts have something more profound to it, and are not solely based on some chemical reactions in my body"

I believe that what we see, feel, perceive from our sensory systems is organized and interpreted by our minds, and translates/invokes our emotions/thoughts/opinions. I think this sort of denies your belief that emotions/thoughts/opinions are an attribute of the soul, while I assign them as the end product of our interaction with the world and ourselves.
I'm not sure if my explanation left room for your definition of soul as a mental, invisible substance/spiritual essence D:

Where we may differ is that what I believe may actually fit into your statement that emotions/thoughts/etc as "based on chemical reactions in our body" or "merely the product of my brain" (a statement you refused).


I-Killerbee-I wrote:
if we would ask the android, he would know a reply, but it's not a reply based on what he "thinks on his own", it's just a program replying to your question...something like that D:

I believe what you say as the computer's "program replying to your question" is sort of like our bodies being stimulated by external input to produce a result. And I think Mauz gave a good recipe for a human being


Do you think that this robot would cry, because it feels sad, and it really feels that this situation is indeed sad?......Do you think that a computer could eventually develop feelings other than the ones that are already integrated/installed in his system?

If the robot can internalize what entails sadness (maybe watching alot korean dramas ) then it can recognize tragic situations that would stimulate its artificial tear ducts to cry.
If it was programmed to grow and integrate new data from the external environment, then it can acquire a new process, a feeling. This computer's damn well made !


Do you think that a computer will ever reach a state of consciousness, a state of self-awareness, do you think that a computer will ever be able to create his own emotionally filled opinion?

You mean a logical opinion with emotions as a significant factor in its decision? If it can recognize what emotions should be invoked from situations, it can generalize/apply precedents to new conclusions/situations. I don't know if it can ever reach a state of awareness >.<


crunchypibb wrote:
As with anything there must be a purpose to life. To those who think otherwise, please commit suicide to prove your point. One's life is not worth living without a purpose or a goal. Random existence is out of the question. Honestly, I don't know how people even think that's true.
As I was saying, there is a soul. But then what is the purpose of a soul? It is to build and train it's character so that we can eventually reach God. When our bodies die our souls do not and they either go to heaven, hell, or purgatory. That's my short explaination for it.
So for those athiests who do believe in a soul, I would like to know what you think it does and what happens to it after your body dies.

How does suicide prove that there is no purpose to life? Maybe our purpose is to die? o_o why is random existence out of the question? I see that your definition of a soul is a largely religious/spiritual entity to serve God, so you can't really apply it to atheists cuz their definition of a soul is not going to follow en suite with yours >.<


Poison_Of_The_Heart wrote: okey, what if we don't have a soul, what do we exist out of then?

Existence can be comprised of more than awareness. Things can 'exist' but are not necessarily 'aware' or have a 'soul'...........................or do they?

edited cuz flo is fast in her replies ^_^


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Posted 8/28/08 , edited 8/28/08

I-Killerbee-I wrote:

I doubt, because even our knowledge and powers are limited. At least I don't think that any extreme revolutionary technological advances will happen in the nearest future... I'll probably die before that will happen or the world ends before that....

For me a computer is something, that has been programmed by a human being, and it's sort of a machine in which the programmer has installed certain features, informations, and of course this machine is able to evaluate the info and that just to a certain limit..but everything that is beyond that limited given information that was installed into that computer, is not accessible by the computer, unless someone would regularly update it, i.e. install updates, etc. or the computer has a photographic memory(installed cam,etc), and would be able to evaluate that information given by the taken pictures/vids on its own.
~sorry for my retarded definition..I am not a computer whizz...*flees*

Actually, I thought of a more simpler way for a computer to become similar to us, at least my idea seems to have bigger chances to be fulfilled than yours as I see it, and that would be thanks to his large memory, camera (which would register the surrounding of the computer, which would record the humans and their reactions in certain situations), and of course sort of an integrated intelligence which would allow the robot/computer to analyse and copy what the surrounding did, i.e. a person smiled in a certain situation, so the android/robot, will mimic the smile once he will be in the same situation as the person was at that time. Sensors on the body parts of the robot, so that he has the ability to feel heat, cold, etc.


Your idea seems "interesting", but I don't see how this could be done. First of all we would need to find a way of how to base micromachines on a genetic principle. Did they already find a way? If not, do you think that it will be ever possible to make this happen? Wouldn't that mean that those machines need food, or some kind of nutrition/material so that they can evolve, grow, etc and that without human help? I mean from nothing there will come nothing...so how would this be solved?


Even with our limited knowledge we have made progress. Things that people who were experts in some scientific field 50 years ago would ridicule when someone proposed them are now a reality. It takes time and I bet to even come close to make a computer reach the level of the human brain is unbelievably difficult. I heard people are working on using bacteria and their genetic codes as a computer. Making genetic computers if you will.

This is also interesting.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,466789,00.html

And the field of micromachines shows huge potential. is a very fresh science so who knows what could be possible?
Posted 8/28/08
Eww Rosa...I didn't know that you could form sentences of a such a complicated nature! Seems like the chat is hiding most people's potential very well.

myschiefbaybee wrote:


I-Killerbee-I wrote: so this means that you believe in a soul, just that our soul dies with the physical body, right?

If what you term the 'soul' is self-awareness or consciousness, then yes this 'soul' is something that can't subsist on without a medium like the corporeal body.

What I sort of wanted you to further explore was why you feel that "my existence being a mere physical phenomena makes me sad, as this would mean that all of my thoughts, opinions, feelings, etc. were merely the product of my brain" and hope that "all of my emotions and thoughts have something more profound to it, and are not solely based on some chemical reactions in my body"

I believe that what we see, feel, perceive from our sensory systems is organized and interpreted by our minds, and translates/invokes our emotions/thoughts/opinions. I think this sort of denies your belief that emotions/thoughts/opinions are an attribute of the soul, while I assign them as the end product of our interaction with the world and ourselves.
I'm not sure if my explanation left room for your definition of soul as a mental, invisible substance/spiritual essence D:

Where we may differ is that what I believe may actually fit into your statement that emotions/thoughts/etc as "based on chemical reactions in our body" or "merely the product of my brain" (a statement you refused).


Meh, actually, I don't know what to believe...I am very indecisive, as well it depends on my mood, sometimes I think that our soul exists in a spiritual way, and sometimes I would say that I do have the same thoughts on that matter as you. I can't agree nor disagree with you. As I believe that everyone has their own belief, and opinion, and for them it is correct, especially if we are talking about such a metaphysical subject, we are all entitled to our own opinions/beliefs. If you believe that your soul is defined as a state of self-awareness/consciousness, then it must be right, if someone defines their soul as a more spiritual substance, then they are right, too, all from their own point of view. Why? Because you are entitled to your own belief and that means that for you it is true, while for me, it is true through you, but it isn't my belief...argh... I just lost myself in my own flow of words...I hope you got what I mean, but I won't blame you if you didn't...



I-Killerbee-I wrote:
if we would ask the android, he would know a reply, but it's not a reply based on what he "thinks on his own", it's just a program replying to your question...something like that D:

I believe what you say as the computer's "program replying to your question" is sort of like our bodies being stimulated by external input to produce a result. And I think Mauz gave a good recipe for a human being

If the robot can internalize what entails sadness (maybe watching alot korean dramas ) then it can recognize tragic situations that would stimulate its artificial tear ducts to cry.
If it was programmed to grow and integrate new data from the external environment, then it can acquire a new process, a feeling. This computer's damn well made !

You mean a logical opinion with emotions as a significant factor in its decision? If it can recognize what emotions should be invoked from situations, it can generalize/apply precedents to new conclusions/situations. I don't know if it can ever reach a state of awareness >.<


True. But we do not only reply with the adequate body reflexes, we do as well put emotions into it, something inside of you moves.. Actually, I am just talking about the artificial and the real feelings...D: robots=artificial feelings
humans=real feelings
Don't you think that there is a difference between the two? I mean, if someone is sad because a program told it to be sad...then that's just...argh, how to put this, not humane? Or do you think that a robot can ever get jealous, because it really is jealous? Or that he will be able to compose his own emotionally filled music like Beethoven, or create a painting the way Gustav Klimt did?

I guess, a robot's feelings will always remain artificial :)



edited cuz flo is fast in her replies ^_^


Nyahaha, Flo is always fast if she wants





mauz15 wrote:

Even with our limited knowledge we have made progress. Things that people who were experts in some scientific field 50 years ago would ridicule when someone proposed them are now a reality. It takes time and I bet to even come close to make a computer reach the level of the human brain is unbelievably difficult. I heard people are working on using bacteria and their genetic codes as a computer. Making genetic computers if you will.

This is also interesting.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,466789,00.html

And the field of micromachines shows huge potential. is a very fresh science so who knows what could be possible?


*checks out the link*

Floetry~
Posted 8/28/08

zendude wrote:

Dream: In a biological sense or Freudian sense?
I barely dream at all. After I fall asleep, I just wake up the next morning like time hasn't pass and nothing happened. Of course, I hit snooze once or twice, but the is beside the point. "LAWL"


lol..
I dream a lot.
but there was a time when I stopped dreaming(or didn't remember), anyway that was when I got to scared of the nightmares I had..my imagination happens to be pretty big. to big at times.

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Posted 8/28/08

I-Killerbee-I wrote: I didn't know that you could form sentences of a such a complicated nature!

You just bring it out in me ^_~ and I'm not great at bringing up topics for chat nor does ever a topic engage me as you do ><

Meh, actually, I don't know what to believe...I am very indecisive, as well it depends on my mood, sometimes I think that our soul exists in a spiritual way, and sometimes I would say that I do have the same thoughts on that matter as you. I can't agree nor disagree with you. As I believe that everyone has their own belief, and opinion, and for them it is correct, especially if we are talking about such a metaphysical subject, we are all entitled to our own opinions/beliefs. If you believe that your soul is defined as a state of self-awareness/consciousness, then it must be right, if someone defines their soul as a more spiritual substance, then they are right, too, all from their own point of view. Why? Because you are entitled to your own belief and that means that for you it is true, while for me, it is true through you, but it isn't my belief...argh... I just lost myself in my own flow of words...I hope you got what I mean, but I won't blame you if you didn't...

Ofc I understand ^_^ I guess i was inviting you to pick my logic apart xD Criticisms help me better formulate my thoughts.

I mean, if someone is sad because a program told it to be sad...then that's just...argh, how to put this, not humane? Or do you think that a robot can ever get jealous, because it really is jealous?

I think of our brains running extremely intricate programs that is conditioned to register sadness or happiness. Yep I can totally see a robot getting jealous. Say in a scenario where the owner of the robot is giving too much attention to a lover/pet, all the robot needs is to register propriety/ownership and maybe something like attention=importance=not be scrapped=needed for survival=purpose of program is to survive. Then again, you can see the direct path, and don't really know if the robot is "feeling" jealous, or just following its directives. In fact, I would go on to say that the only reason why I know that YOU feel is because I know you are a human being, thus I can say, since I feel, you feel. You can sort of extend this to all living beings, we know they have a sensory system, we know they are trying to survive, thus, we know they will exhibit certain behaviors that are telltale signs of specific emotions they maybe experiencing~we base this on what we know from being a living being ourselves. If we made a robot very much like ourselves, I would be apt to bestow it with feelings as much as any living being.

Or that he will be able to compose his own emotionally filled music like Beethoven, or create a painting the way Gustav Klimt did?

Hm. I went to the contemporary art museum in my city a few months ago and they had a computer program creating art. The memory is vague. I see this question more about creativity and expressing concepts (emotionally charged ones) within a pattern of music, paint, etc. And I think robots can create.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,466789,00.html
the swiss are making a brain :O

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Posted 8/28/08

zendude wrote:

I-Killerbee-I wrote:
Or that he will be able to compose his own emotionally filled music like Beethoven, or create a painting the way Gustav Klimt did?

Well, could you?

Her question addresses whether robots can create like humans can. So yes, WE can create like Beethoven and Klimt. I see no reason to single out Flo's artistic abilities. Besides, she's my muse ^.^
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