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29 Responses to “My Debate with a Solipsist/Taoist/Advaitin”
I understand your position, I would say just don’t believe any thing until you are convinced that it is true, first you will need to doubt and find out things for yourself. Is there a soul ? , the materialistic view is that there no consciousness or soul apart from the function of matter. That is all is there why should we think of any soul. In order to resolve this conflict it is better to find out if there is such a thing or not. If it is verified in ones own experimentation and exploration. I would say don’t bother about any philosophies or any thing if you are satisfied with your own philosophy do not bother. If you are trying to explore and find out something then it is different, you can explore and find out, if you are just curious then you are just collecting information.
My objection is that you seem to want to throw out all certainties and rest your entire worldview on the idea of a soul and from there only explore/define the world.
I agree that knowledge is a difficult question, but I don’t see why the idea of a soul should have any special place in ontology. To me there is no difference between a soul and the easter bunny and I dont see the point in wasting time on figuring out if they are real or not. Obviously I have spent a lot of time thinking about the existence of the soul because it is part of many religions and philosophies going back several thousand years. But that doesn’t make it special and singled out so that you suddenly don’t need to apply the standard principles of epistemology to this axiom of yours.
I can perhaps give you some reasons for not believing in a soul. Firstly we have the idea of a free will, which contradicts the law of cause and effect. There is plenty of evidence for material causes to desires, feelings, actions, memories et cetera. There is no evidence for a supernatural will that interacts with the ongoing processes of cause and effect in the brain.
Do trees have souls? Do animals have souls? When was your soul created? How was it attached to your body? When did that happen? When the sperm met the egg, when the cells copied to 64, when they were 1 million, when the heart started beating, when the fingers developed, when you exited the womb, when you celebrated your first birthday, when you referred to yourself as “I” for the first time?
People have used immaterial causes to explain things for a long time, including thunder and lightning, bacterial infections, animal behaviour, self-consciousness, the universe et cetera. So far, no definition of a soul has been supported by credible evidence. Obviously you know so much more about this than I do (hell, I’ve only spent a few decades studying this), so you’re just gonna ignore what I say and retreat to the comfort of believing in an eternal essence.
You ask me if tree have soul ? Do animals have souls ?do they I don’t know, Besides you are the one making the claim not me. I will still stick to I don’t know. Can desires and mental activity be independent of matter ? To this I still say I don’t know. Suppose you say thoughts are nothing but electrical impulses in our brain then another question can be can we know the electrical impulses with out thought. So what comes 1st the thought or electrical impulse. Ok if the neuronical impulse comes 1st then how did I know it ? through thought.
So what if you have spent decades studying it that doesn’t mean anything just as you will tell a priest saying I have studied the scriptures for decades and you still tell the priest it means nothing. Even scientists abandon theories they have worked for decades if you find me pissing off I won’t bother you.
No, you don’t piss off. Quite the opposite, I find this conversation stimulating.
I’m not making the claim. Someone invented the idea of a soul, whoever believes in the existence of a soul is the one who has to prove it exists.
Ya, I know that “decades studying” something isn’t relevant to the matter itself.
On to the question: Do electrical impulses come before or after thought? The answer is that they are the same thing. Thoughts are electrochemical flows. Since they are the same thing, the one doesn’t occur before or after the other. In other words, “thought” is the name we give to the flows in the brain that we had no way of watching until the 20th century.
But, I can give you more. E.g. a tennis player serves at like 200 km/h or something like that at a distance of maybe 20 meters. It only takes like 200 nanoseconds for the neural current to travel from the eye to the visual centre and then another 200 for the signal to be interpreted and via the motor cortex send the signal to the arm and leg muscles for an appropriate response. I’m only giving you rough numbers here, but the command to move is sent at the same time as the signal is sent to the awareness centre, so by the time you become aware that the serve is coming towards you, you have already hit the oncoming ball. This is true for everything, in essence we are not aware of the present, rather, we live a few milliseconds after the present.
There’s a study that shows that we can predict whether someone will spontaneously choose, on the spot, between two simple choices, just by looking at their brain activity 10 seconds before the choice even when they are neither already determined or even know the question/choices. I that doesn’t put the final nail in the free will-coffin I don’t know what will. I can find a link for you if you like.
i have not said that the soul exists neither did I say that it did not exist, I simply said I do not know. I know all the arguments from the materialistic point of view. There are still certain things which are not explained like for example Deja Vu how does that occur ? So may be you’re right I do not know may be your wrong I do not know. There are experiments which show that some times people are able to know who is looking at them from the back. The materialist view does not seem to explain this. But neither can any one give answers to the questions of materialists also does not seem so. For example how does the immaterial mind interact with the material brain ?
That is the reason I said you are the one making the positive claim not me I have not made any claim so far. Neither can you prove that I have. Coming to thought and electrical impulses, I am simply trying to define thought here, you said electrical impulses and thoughts are the same thing. But the argument is also that the brain makes consciousness in the sense the function of the brain makes consciousness so I will be right in saying that electrical impulses are the cause for thought. But even to know the electrical impulse I need thought. Also can we say that all electrical impulses are thought ?. Only the electrical impulses in the brain are thought. So it will be rightly said that the electrical impulses in the brain are regarded as the cause for thought.which is the position of the materialist. Also I really don’t understand that by saying I do not know how am I making a positive claim.
Whereas you are saying that there is no soul that is a positive claim. Also it does not even tell me what is experiencing all of this. I know that something is receiving all of this input what is it ?. One more question I have is that how will I know if something is conscious what is this consciousness. Do I say a computer is conscious or a robot is conscious ? how will I get to know if it is conscious or not ? What is this consciousness ? Who is experiencing all of this ?
The materialist view does explain many things but does not explain to be the above questions asked by me. You can give explanations but there always remain more questions. So I can fairly say I do not know.
I’m not making a positive claim. It’s other people who put forward the idea of the existence of a soul, I am simply not convinced by their evidence. They’re making the claim, I’m simply rejecting it, not making a claim of my own.
You’re making the claim that there is an immaterial mind and so you’re facing with the problem of finding an explanation for the interaction between the material brain and the immaterial mind. I don’t believe the evidence for an immaterial mind, I have only seen evidence for a material brain so I’m not gonna assume that there “has to be something more”, like I did when I was a kid.
I’m glad you brought up deja vu, it’s on of the example I am fond of using. I’ve had a few deja vu-experiences myself and it seems that the majority of people have. The sensation is that you feel like what is happened has already happened before or that you’ve seen or dreamt of it happening before. This is an illusion caused by a glitch in the brain. The working memory works by repeating the same neuronal activity pattern (i.e. thinking of the same thing) over and over, hundreds of times per second, but we perceive it as only one thought. Every time the thought is repeated, it is copied over to the long-term memory, duplicating the path so it can be walked again. The longer and more times you repeat a thought, the better you will remember it. One of the structures of the working memory is called the phonological loop. Auditory stimuli is repeated here and this is the cause for why you sometimes get pieces of a song stuck in your mind and keep repeating the same few chords or parts of the lyrics even when you haven’t heard the song for some time. Deja vu occurs when the repetition is still in progress and some of the pattern has been imprinted on the long-term memory. I’m not sure about the cause of the glitch myself, I’m not a neurologist, but for some reason the brain forgets the connection between the short and long term memory. When it forgets this higher level overview, for a few seconds, the brain will make some assumptions. Let’s say you are watching a shoe. The image of the shoe is repeated in your working memory. The image of the shoe is also being copied to the long term memory. Now the brain loses track of this connection. It will look at the long term memory and see the shoe and everything else around it because it has already been copied to the long term memory a number of times. It will erroneously draw the conclusion that this shoe belongs to the past, to a past experience, why else would it be in the long term memory? It will then compare the “memory” to what is occurring at present (the shoe in the short term memory) and draw the further conclusion that you must have foreseen the future sometime in the past. Since this conclusion is false, the brain has no context or date for when the supposed vision occurred, but the sensation of the experience overshadows this lack.
You keep making assumptions of the existence of immaterial things. Thought you say is immaterial, consciousness, the mind, emotions, desires, memories, personalities perhaps as well. I’m not making the claim that they are material, I am simply rejecting the proposition that these immaterial things exist. They are little more than remnants of an uninformed language. Today it would seem silly to metaphorize or sum up the quadrillion electrochemical reactions in the brain with a single word. The very word “I” becomes superficial and impractical with an understanding of the interaction between molecules in and around the body.
You didn’t bring this up, but it’s my favourite example, so I’ll relate it anyway. Photons are packets of energy. Photons are biproducts of the fusion reaction in stars. When photons hit an atom or molecule it can excite an electron to a higher electron shell level and when the atom or molecule regains its balance it sends off the energy as another photon with a specific wavelength depending on the object that reflected the photon. Different amounts of energy correlate to the perception of different colours. In the retina, three types of cones react to three different spectrums of photon energy level. A “blue” cone will respond to a photon of “blue” energy or “blue” wavelength. At the back of the blue retinal cell, there is a molecule with an electron shell that needs exactly the blue amount of energy to excite an electron. When the electron is excited, the molecule’s electrical balance is shifted and the protons and electrons reconfigure their relative distances between each other. The effect is that the molecule changes shape. This molecule is a gate, when it changes shape, it opens a physical path for the ions to flow through. Just like in all of the nervous system, the positive and negative ions flow into new compartments and create a magnetic field that generates the electrical current that opens new gates and the flow of charged ions and molecules (like adrenalin, serotonin etc) propagates the signal from synapse to synapse from the retina, via the optic nerve all the way to the back of the brain where visual stimuli are processed.
You’re asking the wrong questions. You’re contemplating the existence of metaphysics and from that point of view only are you trying to make the material world make sense. Instead, make no assumptions, just look at the material world and it makes sense on it own. Don’t let yourself be led by people who have invented the immaterial concepts. And you keep repeating that you don’t know, and yet you return to the immaterial concepts as if they were somehow inescapable. You’re equating believing in the existence of a soul with believing in the existence of the eye and you’re doing it on the sole basis of ignorance. We can’t know that the eye exists with 100% certainty therefore the eye and the soul are both exactly equally likely. I could say the same thing about the invisible unicorn in my ear. Since I can’t know for certain, the existence of the unicorn is exactly as likely as the existence of my eye. The soul is not some kind of special category idea that exempts it from the epistemology we use for determining the truth about other things. You believe the soul is special, but everybody who believes in a supernatural phenomenon believe that their specific phenomenon is special.
To paraphrase Terry Pratchett “You can’t get into a box by using the crow bar that’s inside it.” I understand that it is difficult to accept that your are a material being, the dissonance between your “inner world” and the “outer world” means you can’t look at yourself and the world objectively and that leads to a long list flawed assumptions about who we are and where we are, but when you think about it, being material is no stranger than being immaterial and it is no less amazing.
You keep saying that you don’t know and at the same time keep bringing up specific concepts like soul and mind without justifying their relevance to the truth about the universe. That is not an intellectually honest mode of conduct. Maybe this can give you an idea of how to deal with the “hard problem” using only materialism: https://enleuk.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/can-materialism-explain-marys-room/
Following is your statement.
“You keep making assumptions of the existence of immaterial things. Thought you say is immaterial, consciousness, the mind, emotions, desires, memories, personalities perhaps as well. I’m not making the claim that they are material, I am simply rejecting the proposition that these immaterial things exist.”
show me where I had made the assumption, that is why I am saying you are making the positive claim. Even if I were to accept your explanation on Deja vu, it tell me nothing about precognitive dreams. They are a phenomenon which I have experienced. So based on this do I say that there is an immaterial mind no, I also say that the mind is material. And even the phenomenon of deja vu is physical but some thing not explanable by the current materialistic view. That is all that is the confusion here.
The reason you say that “I “am claiming the existence of an immaterial mind is because you need a reason to continue the discussion that is all. I have the claim that the immaterial mind does exist, show me where I have made such a claim ?
So you are making 2 positive claims
1. That “I” posit an immaterial mind exists.
2. The immaterial mind does not exist.
So according to you if some one says they do not know such and such a thing have heard the arguments on both sides and still say this is some thing I do not know are people making positive claims.
1. You’re right that I made that claim to force a response, but you did say e.g. “how does the immaterial mind interact with the material brain”, which presupposes the existence of an immaterial mind. 2. To deny the existence of an immaterial mind until there is evidence for it is not a positive claim. Just as denying a blue unicorn until there is evidence for it is not a positive claim. You’re not responding to the actual problem; that you keep returning to the same immaterial concepts (instead of e.g. unicorns, ghosts, aliens etc) despite claiming that you don’t know.
(As a side-note, to some extent, materialism is just the go-to-word I use for when nothing immaterial has been demonstrated. I simply retreat to what is known and put the label materialism on it and sometimes physicalism. I would have simply said “knowledge” or “truth” or something if nobody had ever suggested the existence of immaterial, supernatural or metaphysical things. If nobody believe in gods I wouldn’t call myself an atheist. If the majority of people believed in directed panspermia I might’ve labelled myself with an ism meaning “earth-life came from earth”.
There are unexplained things, I agree, however, that doesn’t lead to any conclusions at all, that just means we don’t know once more. To conclude anything or to make a positive claim based on the fact that our knowledge is incomplete is called an argument from ignorance. Placing a god in that conclusion is called god of the gaps. You haven’t done so, let me stress that. I would be very interested in hearing about your personal experience of precognitive dreams if you don’t mind sharing. Also, could you link me to the thing about knowing who was behind you without looking?
Further more you analogy does not work here with the eye, If I am presenting arguments from the side which claims that does not mean I am supporting them I am merely presenting the arguments that is all. Similarly I have presented arguments from the materialists about the impossibility of interaction between some thing material and immaterial. Presentations of arguments is not to support them. You on the other hand want to take this as challenge saying thinking “hey this guy is challenging my position”. So you some how have to prove that I am supporting the case for the existence of some thing immaterial.
Ok suppose the immaterialist is not able to give the relevance for an immaterial mind does that mean his argument is wrong. This is a stupid argument.
You can only ask “show me proof, if there is no proof for your claim I do not accept it” this is a valid argument. Or “show me a reason to believe in it”. This is also a valid argument. I am not giving you any reasons to believe in the existence of an immaterial soul I am simply presenting the arguments I have encountered that is all. But you on the other hand will have to assume that I am doing so to continue this and also try to make further arguments.
There was no one behind me on this my mistake was that I thought you were some one who is searching for something. That is all. There are a few instances but one of them is very specific where a girl is speaking about a story in a particular place which I have never been to. After I awoke this dream was still in my memory but after someone wakes up no one takes the dream to be true but something false. It happened such that I went to camp and at one instance the same story was repeated in the same location. It was at this instance that I remembered that I dreamed of this exact situation. It would be interesting if scientists could explain this since every thing must have a cause. There must be some cause for me to have such a precognitive dream.
One more thing when I presented the argument “how does an immaterial mind interact with something material,” I was simply presenting the argument from materialists who by the force of this logic prove the non-existence of the immaterial mind as they prove that something immaterial cannot interact with something material. So when the atheist is making such an argument that does not mean he posits the existence of an immaterial mind. Obviously not I am merely presenting the arguments that were made by materialists.
Now you cannot immediately jump to the conclusion that such things(precognitive dream) although not explained does not posit the existence of something immaterial as I have not said that. I am merely saying that there are certain things not explained by the current science and the present model of materialism does not explain this, that is all. So there must be a cause for such phenomenon we do not know. I am unable to dismiss such precognitive dreams as simply chance since this has occurred more than once. So I will have to accept this as a phenomenon. What causes this I really do not know. But if I accept the current neuroscience I cannot find the explanation of such a phenomenon. Hence I seek.
“There was no one behind me on this”
I don’t understand this. I was referring to this: “There are experiments which show that some times people are able to know who is looking at them from the back.”
I asked if you could perhaps give me a link to this as I’m not sure how to find it through google.
“It happened such that I went to camp and at one instance the same story was repeated in the same location. It was at this instance that I remembered that I dreamed of this exact situation.”
This is identical to my description of a deja vu.
Either way, let’s agree that there are things that are unexplained. That doesn’t mean that what we know so far is incorrect, so you can’t say “I can’t accept the current models because we haven’t found an answer to phenomenon x”. Well, you can of course say it, but if your reason for assuming that the current models are wrong is that there are unexplained phenomena then you’re just making an argument from ignorance. As long as we’re dealing with an unexplained phenomenon a material explanation and an immaterial explanation are both equally plausible. They are both equally plausible since we don’t know what the explanation is. And so far, for all the previously unexplained phenomena we have only found material explanations and so far never an immaterial explanation. The remaining unexplained phenomena may have immaterial causes, but they may equally well have material causes, so the fact that there are unexplained phenomena neither supports immaterialism nor materialism. We can draw no conclusions from unexplained phenomena. I instead look at the explained phenomena to find answers and so far, all the explained phenomena have material causes. That doesn’t mean we should stop searching or that materialism is a certainty, but it does mean that materialism is statistically more probable than immaterialism and as long as there is no evidence for immaterial things I will stick to not believing in metaphysics. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped searching for more knowledge though and I try my best to be as open-minded as possible.
I googled for “experiment sensing who is looking at them backs” and maybe I found what you were referring to, something called the “psychic staring effect”, this is from the wikipedia article:
“Psychologist Edward B. Titchener reported in 1898 that some students in his junior classes believed that they could ‘feel’ when they were being stared at from behind, and a smaller proportion believed that by staring at the back of a person’s neck they could force them to turn around… He conducted laboratory experiments with people who claimed to be able to sense the stares of others and those who claimed to be capable of ‘making people turn round’, finding in both cases that the results were ‘invariably’ negative.”
Between 1900 and 2000 more experiments were conducted with negative results.
“Parapsychologist Rupert Sheldrake carried out a number of experiments on the effect in the 2000s, and reported subjects exhibiting a weak sense of being stared at, but no sense of not being stared at… Sheldrake’s experiments were criticised for using sequences with ‘relatively few long runs and many alternations’ instead of truly randomised patterns, which would have mirrored the natural patterns that people who guess and gamble would tend to follow, and may have allowed subjects to implicitly learn the patterns… In 2005, Michael Shermer expressed concern over confirmation bias and experimenter bias in the tests.”
“he found a hit rate of 53.1%, with two subjects ‘nearly always right, scoring way above chance levels'”
So, even if his methodology had been flawless, 53% and 2 subjects above (and others below) 50% is still in the realm of chance. Sheldrake hasn’t demonstrated the existence of this phenomenon. More importantly, even if he does, we still don’t know whether the cause is material or immaterial.
If current models are unable to explain some phenomenon either something has to be added to them or something else has to be found that dismisses the current model and explains the existing things better than the current model. This is the progress of science.
Also I am just saying that materialism also has it’s own limitations. This does not mean that I am saying “therefore something immaterial exists” since to establish such a claim it will require a certain means of knowledge that will need to be verified.
The current model of neuroscience does not explain my own experience with precognitive dreams, hence either some other element has to be added to the existing model or something new has to be found. But in either case if I take the current model as it is , it will not explain this.
I just watched the episode and found that the phenomenon you were talking about was the research of Rupert Sheldrake, the very parapshychologist I found when googling and whose work has been criticized as lacking in the scientific method.
I just explained your precognitive dream using the existing scientific model. Why then are you saying the existing scientific model cannot explain your precognitive dream?
The answer is that since it does not give the explanation. You can keep assuming that it does. In either case I am the one who has to say “that makes sense it is a very good explanation” since I am the one who experienced it ,but that is not the way I get it. I have also looked for other explanations they also do not explain it.either.
But perhaps the answer that is a satisfactory answer to this may explain the relationship between us and the world better. It seems more true that reality is beyond our “isms” , philosophies and religions. In my opinion trying to fit reality into our “isms” is a very shallow way to approach it, according to me such an approach is no approach at all.
I’m not assuming that I have found the explanation. I’m assuming that I have found a potential explanation and that I’m lacking an alternative explanation. I can’t know how probable this explanation is, but I don’t know if I need to know either, since I don’t know that your experience is relevant to objective ontology or even to epistemology. Instead of assuming anything, I’m asking you why you don’t think this is the explanation. If you don’t tell me after five tries, I’m gonna assume that you are ignoring the matter on purpose and assume that your story has no creditability and I will once again be back at square one, where nobody has ever been able to demonstrate an immaterial phenomenon, which leaves me with no choice but to accept materialism for the time being.
What is your approach then? Nonismism? There is no way of uncoupling yourself from the categories of your mind and retain anything sensible and you can never justify a nonsensical proposition. Or are you just ignoring the ultimate questions on purpose? Your approach is already flawed if you assume in your premise that there is a difference between “us” and “the world”. This presumption can only lead to a circular argument for the idea that we are different from the material world, i.e. that we have an immaterial soul. Likewise, the very presumption of the categories “I” and “the world” can lead you through circular reasoning to the idea that I = the world. Making no presumptions, the worlds of physics, chemistry and biology instead tell us that there is no clear border between I and the world; it is a continuous existence of behaviours, chemical reactions and subatomic forces. Reality is much too complex for us to simply say I.
I’m gonna give you something more to ponder and not just offer sceptical refutations of your own thoughts.
Imagine the mind as being a mirror. At the edges of the nervous system, your mind interacts with the outside world. This interaction takes the shape of the nervous system reacting to everything that is flowing towards it. Because it is directly reacting to the environment, it becomes an inverted copy of the environment. This means that what we have in our minds, is in one aspect identical to everything else in the universe; our mind is identical to the universe. If you think about it, your mind contains all of the universe. Think of Venus, the Andromeda galaxy, every single quark in the universe; all of it exist only in your mind. Of course, that is only how it appears from our point of view, in reality, there is a source for the things in your mind, your mind is not the universe, but a mirror on the universe.
The mind is a metaphor. Thoughts, desires, personalities are metaphors containing vast amounts of complex processes, sometimes contradictory, that change over time. No one word can capture all of this. Instead, we must form our understanding from the details. A bottoms-up approach as I like to call it (as opposed to e.g. 1 single God, from which an increasing complexity emanates). Thoughts are not Dings an Sich, not things in themselves. They are complexes of details inseparable from their environment. In your mind, they represent Dings, but this knowledge, each perceived Ding in your mind is relative to everything else you know and is therefore dependently-arisen, empty of substance and existing only as relations between the empty things. This emptiness, sunyata, is a common belief is Eastern philosophy. To me, it makes more sense to say that epistemology is relative and empty. Our knowledge is empty, because the nervous system does not contain Dings, but a thoroughly relative network of parts of things. These parts correspond in some way to the parts of the universe, both the parts without the body and the parts within, including the nervous system itself. The categories we use for separating the self from the rest of the universe is better understood as a relationship between two empty concepts. To understand all the parts of the universe is impossible, the universe is simply bigger than the brain; its parts and the relationship between the parts simply does not fit inside the brain. Nonetheless, this is the most honest approach to understanding.
Consciousness is not an eternal Ding, like e.g. a soul. It is instead a product in the now. The brain produces in each instance of time a new mind. However, we don’t perceive it as being reborn each millisecond and the reason is that each new state of flow in the brain is continuously passing through the network, which contains all our knowledge of our self and all our memories, bridging the gap between each new mind, creating the illusion of something eternal. But, simply comparing your present self with yourself at the age of 1 year reveals the falsehood of the illusion. With the illusion of an unbreakable chain going back in time, the idea of an unbreakable chain projecting into the future arises, leading some people to believe an eternal substance will continue on, maybe even independent of the brain, but unfortunately, if the brain flow ceases, no new minds will be created and we will cease to be.
All I can see is your knee jerk reaction to saying that oh you are promoting immaterialism that is all. You can assume my story is not true, this is not going to make any difference to me, for how can you know if it is true or not, only I can.
Ok fine as per your theory consciousness is produced every moment so what, that does not explain to me what caused my dream , you are just stating your own position that is all.
Now you are asking me if I am promoting “Nonismism?”,
Fact of the matter is that when we are trying to find out something we should first of all be free from all biases, then take all points of view and investigate further if necessary.
If you are giving it such a name be my guest, I do not care for names.
Now as per your explanation for a precognitive dream, you are saying that it is derived from a working memory, I say no.
Since this is a place I have never been to, this is a person I have never met and also this a story I have never heard. Hence I can conclude memory is not the cause for my precognitive dream.
In short your model for mind or consciousness does not explain this hence I discard it and I seek further.
You misunderstood. Working memory or short-term memory is not exactly memory, it is what you are experiencing in the present, it’s called a memory because the thought lingers there for a few seconds up to ten mins. The current thought in the present is in a loop, you are conscious of it as a single fact or sequence of stimuli, but in reality it is repeated many times per second. This thought is copied to your long-term memory (memory in the everyday sense of the word) through repetition many times per second. This copying is ongoing while you’re experiencing what you’re experiencing in the present so whatever you are currently experiencing is also already in your long-term memory.
Deja vu occurs when the brain makes an error and forgets that the copying is currently ongoing. This seems to happen to most people. It’s happened to me a few times and I just asked my brother who said the same thing. The brain then looks at the long-term memory, seeing the place, person and story in the long-term memory, compares that to the place, person and story in the working memory and find that they are identical, then wrongly concluding that what is happening in the present, in the working memory, has also happened before. Since the thought in the long-term memory is not connected to a different date (it can’t be since it’s in fact happening in the present), the brain usually assumes that the memory is from a half-forgotten dream of unknown date.
Do you understand what I’m saying? There is no memory involved at all, everything is happening in the present, but the brain erroneously thinks there is a link to a memory from the past, but that memory is in fact something that is only happening in the present; there is no actual memory. I realize that I’m not great at explaining this, but if there are question marks, ask and I will clarify, or just search for yourself for a description of deja vu. You say you seek further, but you still haven’t sought out an actual book on neurology to avoid having to rely on my amateur description.
I don’t care much for labels either, but scepticism is a well-used label for what you’re describing as your attitude towards knowledge. I don’t think your method is as you describe it though, rather I think you’re filling in the gaps in your knowledge with unfounded assumptions about an immaterial plane of reality. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be 50% promoting agnosticism (I don’t know) and 50% promoting immaterialism (there must be something else out there).
That’s why I wrote about my own view of reality. Not to address the topic of precognitive dreams/deja vus, but because I wanted to give you something more substantial concerning the broader topic of immaterialism than just refutations of a single phenomenon. I was hoping you would ponder my view and reconsider your 50% agnosticism, 50% immaterialism position.
So in short you are saying is that the phenomenon does not exist and that the brain is trying to connect the present moment to something in the past and that this is not done consciously but subconsciously giving the illusion of deja vu. So this amounts so saying that having the precognitive dream was chance.
However the chance theory even if considered fails due to probability itself so I am sorry I am unable to dismiss this as chance.
Coming to 50% agnosticism and 50% immaterialism that is also not my position, I am simply saying that I explore.
I have no position, but you do hence you make the claims or assertions that there is no soul. I have carefully considered everything and every possible argument in materialism plus also looked at the various research supporting it. But after exploring things myself I see this is also not the final word as you claim. Hence I say that there is something beyond the known realm as well. Is it material or immaterial also is something I do not know either.
Besides you have yourself said that there are certain things that are unexplained so I see this is one of them.
Your second statement was that it is more probable that the explanation is going to be materialistic and sited examples. Actually I say that the explanation will be much more rational. Also rational explanations for any phenomenon have always super ceded irrational explanations. For example the falling of an apple is due to the law of gravity this is a rational explanation.
Now considering all explanations with the materialistic model to the phenomenon I discard it since it does not explain the phenomenon. So in short it is not the final word.
Perhaps this is the reason why you say I am an immaterialist since I am discarding materialism and you are calling it a refutation.
It is strange that you call me that since a fanatic Christian called me a communist since I told him that I do not accept heaven or hell.
In either case atleast we can agree to disagree that you take materialism to be the final page and I say it is not the final page.
“So in short you are saying is that the phenomenon does not exist and that the brain is trying to connect the present moment to something in the past and that this is not done consciously but subconsciously giving the illusion of deja vu. So this amounts so saying that having the precognitive dream was chance.”
No, that’s not at all what I’m saying. I’m saying that you never had the dream, that memory is the thing that does not exist. When you are experiencing something in the present, that thought gets instantly stored in the long-term memory. What’s happening in the present exists in 2 places in the brain, in the working memory and the long-term memory at the same time. If for some reason the brain forgets this fact, it will compare what’s going on in the working memory and the long-term memory, see that they are identical (they’re identical since they’re both what’s happening in the present) and it will go “Hey, this is in my long-term memory, that must mean I’ve experienced this before, but I can’t remember when, so maybe it was in a dream”.
You also misunderstood what I meant by refutations. I refuted your claim to having a precognitive dream, I didn’t say you had refuted anything.
To clarify again, I’m a materialist because there are thousands of phenomena that have been demonstrated to have material causes, including why apples fall down. There have not been any phenomenon at all that has been demonstrated to have an immaterial cause. For each claim about an immaterial phenomenon the person making the claim has to provide the evidence. The default position is to disbelieve any claim, material or immaterial, before there is sufficient evidence to support it. In my view nobody has provided sufficient evidence for any immaterial claim, be it ghosts, reincarnation, a soul or god. Meanwhile there are lots of evidence for material claims. When it comes to the phenomenon of a soul, I am not the one making a claim. The soul is an immaterial claim and the default position is to disbelieve it until someone provides evidence for it. I’m not making a claim of my own so I don’t have to provide evidence for my claim, I am simply disbelieving claims of a soul on the basis that they’re lacking evidence.
You say you don’t believe in an immaterial plane of existence, yet you persist in saying materialism has failed and therefore should be dismissed altogether, that materialism is not enough and that there is something beyond the material realm. If you would have said that you “don’t know”, that you are gonna wait for evidence before believing this, then I would have accepted it. But you claim that there is something immaterial and therefore you have to provide evidence for this position or it’s just a baseless assumption.
So, yes, you are an immaterialist because you say there is something “beyond”. That does not compare to calling you a communist for not believing in heaven since communism is a political doctrine and not a position on the claims in the Abrahamic religions. I mean, you can be a communist and still be a Christian, but you can’t be an immaterialist and still be a materialist.
yes I know that you’re a materialist because you see material causes to the phenomena that does not there is nothing beyond what is known. Further more I did have the dream since I remembered it once I got up. So no your theory fails.
Now you are refuting my claim that I had a dream, but it is something within my experience so in either case your refutation is not valid, all you can do is either disbelieve it or believe it. It is like me telling you that you do not have any experience of your life.
Just as my experience is mine your experience is yours. And I can definite say I did have the dream, and I also remember that I woke up early in the morning after the dream and recalled it also, I remember the morning I did.
Also please study communism, no one can be a communist and be a Christian.
According to you if I say that there is something beyond what is known then I am an immaterialist. So many scientists have the same view that there is something beyond what we know. They will also have to accept that their knowledge is insufficient to explain what exists.If such people are immaterialists then yes you can call me one also.Such people are not dedicated to any idea let it be materialism or immaterialism.
Again I can see knee jerk reactions “oh you are an immaterialist”. The reason why you have to say this and dismiss what I told you is because you want to fit everything into your own convictions and if something is not in your conviction you want to dismiss it.
You are using the logic of “either you are with materialism or against materialism there is no middle way.” If that is the way you think then I am sorry I disagree with that.
I really feel that I am talking to a computer since I see you repeating the same pattern of response over and over again. Personally I am just seeing this as a defense mechanism. This how I see it ” I am a materialist these are my convictions, these are the reasons for my convictions, you cannot disprove me.” Now all I see is that you have used your convictions so that you get some kind of stability. This is absolutely fine if your convictions give you stability it is totally ok with me. I am not here to convince you of anything.
You can go ahead and have your last word, please note that I will not be commenting any further. For I am convinced that I have disturbed you so not planning on disturbing you any further, will not be answering any further questions since I am not convinced that I have not disturbed you.
I’m an anarcho-communist, let’s talk isms for a while shall we? No, let’s not.
It’s fine, you don’t “disturb” my materialist world-view. I’m not gonna start believing in werewolves, don’t worry about it.
You’re talking about a single phenomenon, I’m talking about the broader topic of metaphysics. You didn’t get my explanation of deja vu, I’m sorry about that, but you also keep defending yourself, I’m not the one on the defensive here, but I admit I’ve been repeating myself. I simply find it a fascinating aspect of how the brain works.
You don’t even believe what I’m writing, but I’m telling you that you didn’t have the dream and you didn’t remember it as soon as you woke up. I understand if you’re defensive about something personal. Just relax a bit. Keep it chill 😉
You said yourself “It was at this instance that I remembered that I dreamed of this exact situation.”
So, it didn’t happen until that instant, you didn’t have it in your long-term memory when it happened, because it didn’t get there until you experienced the scene and story right then. It’s not counter-intuitive even to think that the moment a thought gets stored in the long-term memory is obviously at the time we’re having the experience in the present. We have to think about something, consciously or subconsciously, to record it into the long-term part of the brain. Normally, the brain knows why the present has a copy in the long-term memory, otherwise we’d have deja vus constantly. But the brain sometimes glitches.
Or, there is actually another hypothesis. The sense of familiarity is an emotion where chemicals are released from the center of the brain.
“Familiarity occurs quickly, before the brain can recall the source of the feeling. Conscious recollection depends on the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, whereas familiarity depends on regions of the medial temporal cortex.
When these cooperating processes get out of sync, we can experience déjà vu, the intense and often disconcerting feeling that a situation is familiar even though it has never happened before. This feeling can occur when a brand-new situation is very similar to other events stored in our memory. For example, a Texas airport may seem vaguely familiar to you even though you have never been to Texas. It is possible the airport is strikingly similar to a single event stored in memory—perhaps you recently saw the airport in a movie or magazine. It is also possible that many memories of visiting similar airports create the sensation that you have been to this one. Déjà vu is a stronger version of this kind of memory error.
The best evidence for a neural mechanism for déjà vu, which around 60 percent of people experience at least once, comes from studies of patients who experience it chronically. In 2005 cognitive neuropsychologists at the University of Leeds in England described two patients with recurring and persistent feelings of déjà vu. The patients refused to read a newspaper or watch television because they felt as if they had already seen it all before. They found it difficult to shop for groceries because they thought they had just purchased those items. The researchers discovered that these patients had damage to their frontal and temporal regions. Harm to these areas likely caused the patients’ familiarity circuitry to fire frequently, even when they were in a novel situation. In undamaged brains, déjà vu likely occurs because of processing errors in these same regions.”
I don’t want the last word, I’d rather we just kept discussing it. I’m not gonna linger on the topic of immaterialism. I’m not saying that I can prove that souls don’t exist. I’m saying the burden of proof is on the person saying “there is something beyond”. Until somebody shows proof, I’m gonna stay at the neutral position of saying “I will believe claims that are supported by evidence.” So far, I only believe in material claims. I have yet to see evidence for a metaphysical phenomenon. Hence I disbelieve. It’s the same with atheism. I don’t have evidence that God doesn’t exist, but the burden of proof is not on me. The burden of proof is on the one claiming that Buddha is God, that Jesus is God, that everyone is God, that the universe is God. As an atheist, it is not up to me to prove that Quetzalcoatl didn’t create the universe. I’m simply taking the neutral stance of waiting for evidence. Materialism is just a label.
“Also please study communism, no one can be a communist and be a Christian.”
I have read this discussion with great interest and would like to challenge the idea you have that you are the body, and thereby test my own conviction of the opposite, that you and I are not the body.
My own conviction that I am not the body springs from the insight that an entity cannot observe itself, just as a knife cannot cut itself and a scale cannot weight itself. Therefore anything that can be observed cannot be our self. Since we can observe our bodies, we cannot be our bodies: we cannot simultaneously be the subject and object of the same experience.
We can see our own bodies: arms, legs, torso. I can see my own lips and tongue… sorry I got carried away there for a second. Anyhow, we cannot see our own head with our eyes, so perhaps you would say that we are our heads. Until you close your eyes and touch your head and eyes with your hands. You will notice that your head is being observed through the sense of touch. Are we our brains then? Or whatever is inside our head? Perhaps, but I would love to hear what you have to say since you get the idea and probably sense that we can take this argument further to include any material phenomena that we can observe or make observable.
It challenges our identification as a material entity and I would love to hear how this argument fits in your worldview, since I cannot imagine that you can maintain that you are your body after pondering it with some earnestness. I have a very limited imagination, but nonetheless…
It doesn’t fit with my worldview. I don’t see how it would be a logical necessity that an entity can’t see itself. not sure that you can compare it to a knife.
You’re right that the eyes cannot see themselves (except in photos, mirrors, videos etc), but you can still touch your eyes, and smell your butt. I mean, I’m looking at my fingers as I type this. The nervous system can’t experience itself, the nervous system is the experience of its surroundings.
there is however internal processing as well. the brain is not disconnected from the universe like a soul is. the chemicals and neurons are connected to the surrounding universe and to each other, through the chemical, biological and electrical fluctuations. we’re like waves in the water more or less, just a very self-aware arrangement of molecules in a vast space of elements.