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What Are Thoughts?


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#1 Arch

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 04:46 PM

<Edit = Adam Nagy - this thread was split from here: FRDB Thread>





Hey guys, really love where this thread has taken off to, but before we go too much further could someone answer the question I posted last page?

Do we all agree that with current evidence, 'thoughts' are physical and not metaphysical? It's just this point has been brought up a few times before and I'd like to make sure we've clarified it.

Regards,

Arch.

#2 Adam Nagy

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 04:52 PM

Do we all agree that with current evidence, 'thoughts' are physical and not metaphysical? It's just this point has been brought up a few times before and I'd like to make sure we've clarified it.

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I'll tell you what, Arch, gather me a jar of love and I'll believe you. If love is not technically real, because it's not physical, then what is it worth? And why do we spend so much time pursuing an illusion?

#3 JudyV

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 05:22 PM

I'll tell you what, Arch, gather me a jar of love and I'll believe you. If love is not technically real, because it's not physical, then what is it worth? And why do we spend so much time pursuing an illusion?

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Can love exist independently of the entity who experiences it?

Or fear? Or anger? They're all emotions, Adam, and they exist because our minds create them. They're not magical things.

#4 Adam Nagy

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 05:41 PM

Can love exist independently of the entity who experiences it?

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In the scientific sense, either answer; yes or no, would be an assertion wouldn't it?

Or fear?  Or anger?  They're all emotions, Adam, and they exist because our minds create them.  They're not magical things.

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So regardless of how you define these, you agree that thoughts of love, thoughts of fear or thoughts of anger aren't physical, ergo thoughts aren't physical. Regardless of the empirical and physical effect they have, thoughts themselves aren't physical.

Okay, we're in agreement.

#5 JudyV

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 06:17 PM

In the scientific sense, either answer; yes or no, would be an assertion wouldn't it?
So regardless of how you define these, you agree that thoughts of love, thoughts of fear or thoughts of anger aren't physical, ergo thoughts aren't physical. Regardless of the empirical and physical effect they have, thoughts themselves aren't physical.

Okay, we're in agreement.

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No, they are very much physical. They are the result of electrical impulses within your brain. Unless you'd like to assert that electricity itself is not physical, because you can't "see" it, only its results.

Did you know, Adam, there are actually machines that can measure electrical impulses in your brain? Maybe you were unaware of this fairly recent scientific development.

#6 Adam Nagy

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 06:25 PM

No, they are very much physical.  They are the result of electrical impulses within your brain.

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So please tell us. Do thoughts control the electrical impulses or do the electrical impulses dictate what thoughts are?

#7 Arch

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 06:32 PM

So please tell us. Do thoughts control the electrical impulses or do the electrical impulses dictate what thoughts are?

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The thoughts are the electronic impulses. You're asking me whether electrical impulses control other electrical impulses. So the answer would be yes.

Unless you can demonstrate that thoughts are independent of these impulses then you are arguing that they are physical.

As for a jar of love, I don't think you want me to send you a chopped up human brain. That would be kind of weird. And it's worth? Like anything else, whatever worth you choose to give it. Diamonds are only worth so much because we agree on a common price.

And finally, who says its an illusion? We can pinpoint a physical cause for love. How is that an illusion?

Regards,

Arch.

#8 Adam Nagy

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 05:52 AM

The thoughts are the electronic impulses. You're asking me whether electrical impulses control other electrical impulses. So the answer would be yes.

Unless you can demonstrate that thoughts are independent of these impulses then you are arguing that they are physical.

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We are talking about simple cause and effect here. You agree that there are such things as thoughts and I agree that there are such things a electrical impulses. The two are not synonymous and you know it. I have electrical impulses running through the wiring in my house and those impulses are not thoughts.

So thoughts exist and electrical impulses exist. A thought is either the result of electrical impulses manufacturing it or a thought will arrange electrical impulses to carry a message to either a mental storage, vocal transmission, physical activity or dispersed and forgotten.

So focus now. Electrical impulses either cause thoughts or thoughts cause electrical impulses. Please choose one.


As for a jar of love, I don't think you want me to send you a chopped up human brain. That would be kind of weird.

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Since when does a chopped up human brain demonstrate love. How could I even begin to tell if that brain was from a loving person, a hateful person, or a conniving person who pretended to be loving?

And it's worth? Like anything else, whatever worth you choose to give it. Diamonds are only worth so much because we agree on a common price.

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Since love isn't empirical or material, then to remain consistent with your approach, it's an illusion, right?

#9 JudyV

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 07:12 AM

We are talking about simple cause and effect here. You agree that there are such things as thoughts and I agree that there are such things a electrical impulses. The two are not synonymous and you know it. I have electrical impulses running through the wiring in my house and those impulses are not thoughts.

So thoughts exist and electrical impulses exist. A thought is either the result of electrical impulses manufacturing it or a thought will arrange electrical impulses to carry a message to either a mental storage, vocal transmission, physical activity or dispersed and forgotten.

So focus now. Electrical impulses either cause thoughts or thoughts cause electrical impulses. Please choose one.
Since when does a chopped up human brain demonstrate love. How could I even begin to tell if that brain was from a loving person, a hateful person, or a conniving person who pretended to be loving?
Since love isn't empirical or material, then to remain consistent with your approach, it's an illusion, right?

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I think you underestimate how much our personalities depend upon the workings of our brain. A person can get hit on the head, and it will change their entire personality forever. So which came first, the thought, or the electrical impulse? It's pretty obvious to me that without that electrical impulse, the thought would not exist.

Children's brains give off different impulses than adult brains. That's why they behave and think differently. An Alzheimer's patient's brain is slowly losing its abilities to produce the right kinds of electrical impulses to produce human thought. Brain damaged people can no longer think the way you and I do. Our thoughts are all very dependent upon the physical nature of our brains.

#10 Arch

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 06:34 PM

The two are not synonymous and you know it. I have electrical impulses running through the wiring in my house and those impulses are not thoughts.

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Lol, sorry Adam, just simply saying "you know it" doesn't make it so. I still disagree. The two are just different names for the one.

So focus now. Electrical impulses either cause thoughts or thoughts cause electrical impulses. Please choose one.

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I'd love to do as you request Adam, but I'm afraid I would be telling you lies. I can't pick one because I don't think either are correct.

Since when does a chopped up human brain demonstrate love. How could I even begin to tell if that brain was from a loving person, a hateful person, or a conniving person who pretended to be loving?

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Good point. The brain would have to still be in tact. Then we could test it's electronic impulses and try and figure out whether this feeling of love is real or faked.

Since love isn't empirical or material, then to remain consistent with your approach, it's an illusion, right?

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You're still not understanding my position Adam. I'm saying love is material, therefore it's not an illusion. It's a complicated arrangement of chemicals and impulses within the brain. Although I think our technology is a limiting factor at present, I believe it can be measure and quantified.

Regards,

Arch.

#11 de_skudd

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 09:42 AM

You're still not understanding my position Adam. I'm saying love is material, therefore it's not an illusion. It's a complicated arrangement of chemicals and impulses within the brain. Although I think our technology is a limiting factor at present, I believe it can be measure and quantified.

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Oh good Arch, a comprehensive (although incorrect) answer. If love is material, then paint one in multihued pigments and show us what it looks like. You’ll have a lot better chance of doing that than in providing any evidence of your chemical theory.

I think Adam fully understands the corner you're painting yourself into.

#12 de_skudd

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 09:46 AM

Hey guys, really love where this thread has taken off to, but before we go too much further could someone answer the question I posted last page?

Do we all agree that with current evidence, 'thoughts' are physical and not metaphysical? It's just this point has been brought up a few times before and I'd like to make sure we've clarified it.

View Post


No arch, there is no such agreement. But if you’re attempting to paint thoughts as physical as well, then please paint one pink and provide a photograph of it here.

#13 A.Sphere

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 09:50 AM

No arch, there is no such agreement. But if you’re attempting to paint thoughts as physical as well, then please paint one pink and provide a photograph of it here.

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Animals think - so are their thoughts magic as well?

Thoughts are the outcome of neurons transmitting and processing information via electrochemical signaling. Or are you saying otherwise?

I'll give you a photo of a thought if you give me a photo of an electron.

Edit: Thoughts are combinations of qualities that form a characteristic arrangement. I can give you a picture of that arrangement (neural network) but to ask for a picture of it is a bit like asking for a picture of what Portuguese sounds like.

#14 de_skudd

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 09:51 AM

No, they are very much physical. 

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Then show me a picture of a thought. This physical thought entity that you are speaking of. Not a picture of a brain, but a picture of a singular thought itself. Give the evidence of what you are attempting to describe.

#15 A.Sphere

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 09:57 AM

Then show me a picture of a thought. This physical thought entity that you are speaking of. Not a picture of a brain, but a picture of a singular thought itself. Give the evidence of what you are attempting to describe.

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I edited after you posted so you might have missed this:

Thoughts are combinations of qualities that form a characteristic arrangement. I can give you a picture of that arrangement (neural network) but to ask for a picture of it is a bit like asking for a picture of what Portuguese sounds like.


To expand on what I am saying - you can't take a picture of emergent behavior of a system - that doesn't mean its not physical - it means that it is the emergent behavior of a physical system.

#16 de_skudd

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 10:11 AM

Animals think - so are their thoughts magic as well? 

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Are you attempting to assuage certain members of this thread that it’s perfectly fine to label other members on this community as believers that thoughts are magic sphere?

I’ll tell you what though, if you can show me a photograph of love (not its effect), a memory (not a photo that brings on memories), your mind (not your brain), and I’ll show you a photo of an electron.

But, if your intent is to slander Christians because you have no refutation for a legitimate statement, answer, question or counter-refutation, then I believe there are forum rules that prohibit this kind of behavior.

#17 Adam Nagy

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 10:32 AM

I'd love to do as you request Adam, but I'm afraid I would be telling you lies. I can't pick one because I don't think either are correct.

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I agree with De_skudd that you may be recognizing the implications of what I am saying but are reluctant to belly up to the proposition.

Still, I'll give it one more shot, just in case you really don't get it.

We all make choices. Now we would both agree that angry people are noticeably different then pleasant people. We would both agree that, from daily behavior through to the brain wave images, we could empirically demonstrate which people are angry and which people are pleasant. Agreed?

I don't know about you but I know many people who have made the switch from one demeanor to the other. Angry people becoming pleasant people and pleasant people becoming angry people. Now I'm not talking about individual actions, I'm talking about the general personality of the person. Do you know any cases where this has happened?

Now here is the question; were these mood altering episodes the result of atoms, electrons and chemicals doing what they do or is it quite reasonable to infer that these changes were the result of an immaterial and very real part of reality that changed the empirical data?

You see if you really think that chemicals and brain waves are the physical demonstration of thoughts (cause and effect) and that our personalities are just a result of very complex chemical reactions, then you and William Provine are in agreement. Well, are you?

0rugGS4B5Gs

From what I can tell, William Provine is rather content believing that his life is a wonderful short lived meaningless episode that ultimately is an illusion of emotions and choices. I haven't seen him say it just like that but its very easy to infer from his perspective of freewill.

#18 A.Sphere

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 10:34 AM

Are you attempting to assuage certain members of this thread that it’s perfectly fine to label other members on this community as believers that thoughts are magic sphere?

I’ll tell you what though, if you can show me a photograph of love (not its effect), a memory (not a photo that brings on memories), your mind (not your brain), and I’ll show you a photo of an electron.

But, if your intent is to slander Christians because you have no refutation for a legitimate statement, answer, question or counter-refutation, then I believe there are forum rules that prohibit this kind of behavior.

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Its not a legitimate statement. To ask for a picture of thought is no different than asking for a picture of temperature or entropy - both are emergent properties of a physical system and thus are real physical phenomenon. You can give me a picture of how temperature effects a physical system but you cannot give me a picture of the quantity that is temperature because it is a measure of heat flow which is a bulk property of interacting matter - but you cannot take a picture of heat flow. You could give me pictures of boiling water, or hot gas moving to cold gas but you could not give me a picture of the flow of energy - just its effect on matter.

#19 Adam Nagy

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 10:39 AM

Its not a legitimate statement.  To ask for a picture of thought is no different than asking for a picture of temperature or entropy - both are emergent properties of a physical system and thus are real physical phenomenon.

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Isn't it interesting though that here the tables are turned. Something immaterial is causing the emergent properties of the physical.

I would like your opinion on the proposition that I gave Arch. It's a simple cause and effect argument that is empirical and demonstrable.

http://www.evolution...indpost&p=35229

#20 A.Sphere

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 10:49 AM

Isn't it interesting though that here the tables are turned. Something immaterial is causing the emergent properties of the physical.

I would like your opinion on the proposition that I gave Arch. It's a simple cause and effect argument that is empirical and demonstrable.

http://www.evolution...indpost&p=35229

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The reason that electrical wires in your house do not simulate an emergent behavior like thought is because the electrical wires in your house to not form a complex system. Emergent properties arise in complex systems - like neural networks. You cannot measure the temperature of an atom because temperature is also and emergent behavior of a system of atoms.




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