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The Explanation of Life

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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Ormond
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Re: The Explanation of Life

Post by Ormond » August 3rd, 2016, 12:51 pm

Rainman wrote:What a boring Universe you live in if you conceive it as all one similar thing. Just because the Universe is made up of matter/energy etc. doesn't mean it is boringly similar.
If you're talking to me, I said nothing about being bored. If you should happen to read through some of my posts you'll see I'm actually rather wound up about the whole subject.

Also, matter is energy. It's thought that divides them in to two.
I can assume the Universe is boringly similar if I wish but that is not how I observe it.
Exactly. That is how we observe it.

If you put on sunglasses all of reality would look tinted, that would be how you observe it. If you observe reality through an inherently divisive information medium like thought, then all of reality looks divided, that is how you observe it.
Using you example of the pebble making the waves. As an outside observer, you might see the waves as being similar to the rest of the water, but if you are part of one of the waves, bouncing up and down, you see it/observe it differently.
Except, um, you don't exist either. There is no outside observer.

An example. The concepts of up and down are useful human inventions within a limited context, such as standing on the surface of a planet with gravity. Up and down seem so obvious to us that they are taken as an obvious given.

But we only have to go a few miles up beyond the reach of Earth's gravity, and up and down are revealed to be meaningless constructs. In the overwhelming vast majority of reality, there is no such thing as up and down.

Think of how utterly obvious it once was that the Earth was flat and at the center of the universe. It was the simplest thing, even a child could see it for themselves, right? In a similar way, we are trapped within a limited perspective which substantially warps our view of everything. The properties of thought influence everything we see in a profound fundamental manner. In fact, we ourselves literally are thought.

We're like the ancients who were sure beyond doubt that the Earth was flat because they had no way of escaping the limited perspective of standing on the Earth.
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Re: The Explanation of Life

Post by Belinda » August 3rd, 2016, 2:35 pm

Ormond wrote:

a lot more than the following quotation and I mainly agree with his argument,
Also, matter is energy. It's thought that divides them in to two.
There remains the problem that "matter is energy" is also a thought.

What about if existence itself is not only energy, matter, subatomic events, cows, dust, tea leaves , brain chemicals, etc. etc. but is all of those and more, and is also thoughts of all of those.

If this is the case all that exists is viewed from the aspect of thoughts and also viewed from the aspect of material events.
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Re: The Explanation of Life

Post by Rainman » August 3rd, 2016, 3:58 pm

There is only one thing that is a 100% a surety. That is "thinking is occurring". All else is less than 100% for sure. All else depends on the "sunglass lenses" provided by our brains and our senses. Even to say, "I exist" can not be a 100% surety...only that "thinking exists". I'm pretty sure I exist...but depend on my senses and my brain for that and they are not 100% reliable.

So, when someone asks you, "What do you know for sure?" In my opinion, the only answer is, "Thinking is occurring".

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Re: The Explanation of Life

Post by Greta » August 4th, 2016, 1:02 am

Ormond wrote:
Greta wrote:It's not my thinking, just an observation. Once the universe was a mess of hot plasma and now there is order. My human thinking didn't produce that.
Hmm... Are you sure?

In the beginning the universe was energy, and now billions of years later it is still energy. The human mind sees order in the relationship between apparently separate things. But there are no separate things, thus there is nothing to be ordered. Here's an example... [etc]
Orm, I personally have an intuitive impression that in a sense all life "looks through the same eyes/ears" etc. We are all innocents flying by the seats of our pants, trying to get in life by as best we can. Still, we are also all different. A poetic way of putting this is that we are both one and many. This is borne out by our bodies, to borrow your example. We are one person but also the entire world, a system of tiny ecosystems, to countless cells, bacteria, viruses and fungi. We are also not one person, being a part of a family, a social or work group, a community, nation etc. Where our identification lies obviously varies.

I think the thrust of what you are saying is that you see yourself as part of of the universe - and do not identify with your membership of Laniakea, the Local Group of galaxies, the Milky Way, the region between the Perseus and Scutum-Centaurus arms of the galaxy, the solar system, the Earth, your nation, state, city, suburb, community, and so forth. It's a perspective.

The ripples you describe are real; short lived, but not illusory. Given that waves appear to be a huge part of what makes reality what it is, they are worth taking seriously. Issues with our classifications are sensory bias and decisions made on incomplete information. For instance, if we turn out to live in a multiverse then the "universe" was prematurely named. It's would then be a supercluster of galactic superclusters. Certainly the semantic attached to the word "life" is superficial, as though nothing much of interest happened leading up to abiogenesis.

Throughout history humans have tended to assume that what they know was largely all that existed, and there seemed an expectation that there will be no major surprises in future discoveries.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated—Gandhi.

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Re: The Explanation of Life

Post by Mysterio448 » August 4th, 2016, 1:18 am

Rainman wrote:We live in an observable universe. It could not be observable if it was random and chaotic. It holds together and is predictable. There would be no "Universe' as we know it if it was otherwise. I think you must start from that point. In fact, it is hard to even imagine a chaotic universe 'existing' in any form....one second my head is on my shoulders and the next it is in the Crab Nebula? Nope...this universe we live in is predictable and observable. Give that, then all chaos is just predictable events that are beyond our current abilities to predict them.
Yes, it seems that the universe is orderly and predictable, but things are not always as they appear. It is not that the universe is chaotic and appears orderly, or that the universe is orderly and appears chaotic, rather the universe is both simultaneously. Cosmic order and chaos possess a shared identity. A gas-filled container has molecular pressure exerted equally on its inner walls, yet the molecules are zooming around randomly. The vacuum of space seems serene, but is actually filled with virtual particles randomly appearing and then annihilating at tiny intervals of time. Electrons move randomly around the nucleus at indeterminate distances away from it, yet they statistically create orderly orbital shapes. Most of the nucleus's mass is in a field of gluons which pop in and out of existence chaotically. Radioactive decay is a completely random and unpredictable process, yet statistically is predictable enough for use in archaeological dating. There is also the weirdness of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and quantum superposition. The orderly world that you are familiar with is largely based upon quantum chaos. We live in a universe where order and chaos are seamlessly interweaved.


Greta wrote: It's not my thinking, just an observation. Once the universe was a mess of hot plasma and now there is order. My human thinking didn't produce that.
I wasn't saying that your human thinking is what creates cosmic order. I'm saying that your human thinking is what makes you think that order is the primary focus of the cosmos and that chaos is merely incidental to it.


I'd agree that chaos and apparent pointlessness seem to have always featured in reality, but the universe is young with a long way to go. The sheer scale of time ahead and the extraordinary changes so far in only 13.8b years make it difficult to know what's really going on. Maybe there's a point to it all (or part of it) that we don't know? Maybe absurdity and pointlessness will reduce?
The essence of purpose is utility. With this said, I believe there is a "point to it all", in a sense. The "point" is for things to make themselves useful. The "point" of the sun is to provide light and heat to the earth. The "point" of the rain is to water the plants. The point of things is a posteriori rather than a priori, de facto rather than de jure. The point of things is what the things simply do rather than what they are "supposed" to do. The idea of an a priori, de jure purpose to the cosmos is a pipe dream.

Evolution actually is about progress. Gould was demonstrably wrong in that regard. Much is made of examples of evolutionary regression by advocates of "evolution is a bush, not a ladder", where species lose more complex features due to changes in environment.

However, the journey of life itself makes clear that, failing utter catastrophe, there is a buildup of information and complexity generally in the biosphere over time. After each extinction event life has emerged more complex and intelligent than before. Importantly, an increasing number of life forms have come to conduct their affairs in such a way that they often live to old age without being ambushed be a predator as they go about their daily business. I think of it as "the gentrification of life" :)

Note that the emergence of novel, complex forms usually comes in addition to most of the existing species rather than replacing them. So we modern humans live with modern microbes, plants, bugs and other organisms, usually more complex than their ancestors (aside from the less frequent cases of simplification), following their own line towards ever greater complexity and flexibility unless conditions go awry.
Evolution occurs only in the interest of survival. Those "novel, complex forms" are in no way better than the "existing species." The more recently evolved species evolve because they need to. Where an older, more primitive species does not evolve, it is because it does not need to. The goal is not advancement but survival. Whatever complexity we may see in a species is there in the interest of survival, not for its own sake.

You may think that enhanced intelligence is somehow the primary goal of biology, but I see intelligence as just one kind of weapon in a larger biological arsenal. Trees, fungi, and viruses seem to be getting along just fine without much intelligence. In our intelligence, we are intelligent enough to find ways to pollute our environment, drive other species to extinction, and destroy each other with weapons of mass destruction. Intelligence might be a bit overrated.

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Re: The Explanation of Life

Post by Greta » August 4th, 2016, 2:38 am

Mysterio448 wrote:
Greta wrote: It's not my thinking, just an observation. Once the universe was a mess of hot plasma and now there is order. My human thinking didn't produce that.
I wasn't saying that your human thinking is what creates cosmic order. I'm saying that your human thinking is what makes you think that order is the primary focus of the cosmos and that chaos is merely incidental to it.
Nope, greater order is objectively occurring in local areas.

Mysterio448 wrote:
I'd agree that chaos and apparent pointlessness seem to have always featured in reality, but the universe is young with a long way to go. The sheer scale of time ahead and the extraordinary changes so far in only 13.8b years make it difficult to know what's really going on. Maybe there's a point to it all (or part of it) that we don't know? Maybe absurdity and pointlessness will reduce?
The essence of purpose is utility. With this said, I believe there is a "point to it all", in a sense. The "point" is for things to make themselves useful. The "point" of the sun is to provide light and heat to the earth. The "point" of the rain is to water the plants. The point of things is a posteriori rather than a priori, de facto rather than de jure. The point of things is what the things simply do rather than what they are "supposed" to do. The idea of an a priori, de jure purpose to the cosmos is a pipe dream.
You have assumed an angle for me that is almost exactly opposite to my point. No one says that the increasing order has to do us any favours. I would suggest that, more likely, most humans will act as fodder for increasing pockets of complexity. By the same token, a growing baby doesn't have to do its cells and bacteria any favours either. In fact, animal, plant and fungi mechanisms routinely kill off their own cells in the process of growing.
However, the journey of life itself makes clear that, failing utter catastrophe, there is a buildup of information and complexity generally in the biosphere over time. After each extinction event life has emerged more complex and intelligent than before [etc]
Mysterio448 wrote:Evolution occurs only in the interest of survival.
Exactly my point.
Mysterio448 wrote:Those "novel, complex forms" are in no way better than the "existing species."
Yes they are - they out-competed them, driving most to extinction aside from some especially well-armed animals (in nature, if you don't have brains then armaments are the next best thing).

I see Gould's issue as ideology in (understandably) opposing theist claims at the time of human divinity. However, in a relatively stable environment, greater complexity means greater attention and comprehension of detail in achieving goals (mating, eating, avoiding being eaten, seeking shelter). Highly specialised animals, however, can be vulnerable to major change, with their detailed adaptations rendered pointless. Humans are the epitome of high specialisation, except that our eusocial structures and concomitant capabilities allow us to persist in situations that overcome other species. Today our numbers and empowerment are so great that only the largest of catastrophes can wipe us out.

Nature doesn't look like a Gouldian "democracy" to me, more like repeating fractal dynamics creating cycling hierarchies - complex entities controlling simpler entities.
Mysterio448 wrote:You may think that enhanced intelligence is somehow the primary goal of biology, but I see intelligence as just one kind of weapon in a larger biological arsenal. Trees, fungi, and viruses seem to be getting along just fine without much intelligence. In our intelligence, we are intelligent enough to find ways to pollute our environment, drive other species to extinction, and destroy each other with weapons of mass destruction. Intelligence might be a bit overrated.
Biology's goal is one with which we are all familiar - to survive to maturity and propagate whatever it is that one is compelled to propagate (noting that we are currently displaying our compulsion to propagate our memes). The biosphere too must surely go through its own maturing process like its ecosystems, societies and individuals. Intelligence in the biosphere has grown exponentially with large, highly connected human societies, and it is more likely to be critical than overrated.

Aside from flukey microbes enjoying a trillions-to-one possibility of panspermia, what other species has even the slightest potential to carry DNA from the biosphere to other worlds before the Earth becomes uninhabitable? Only humans, or whatever intelligent technologically-enhanced beings that follow us. Without human intelligence the entire story of the Earth and biosphere ends when the Sun expands. As you say, life is compelled to survive and only intelligence has the potential to achieve that in the longer term.
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Re: The Explanation of Life

Post by Belinda » August 4th, 2016, 4:15 am

Rainman wrote:There is only one thing that is a 100% a surety. That is "thinking is occurring". All else is less than 100% for sure. All else depends on the "sunglass lenses" provided by our brains and our senses. Even to say, "I exist" can not be a 100% surety...only that "thinking exists". I'm pretty sure I exist...but depend on my senses and my brain for that and they are not 100% reliable.

So, when someone asks you, "What do you know for sure?" In my opinion, the only answer is, "Thinking is occurring".
Rainman is right. Scepticism taken to its reasoning conclusion brings us to idealism.

There is one way out of this dilemma that thought is all that exists.

The way out is by way of neuroscience which demonstrates that thought and the material aspects of brain-mind and even of body proper correlate with each other.
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Re: The Explanation of Life

Post by Ensetveritas12 » August 4th, 2016, 5:44 am

Regarding the explanation of life that's given here I don't see how two forces in the universe (order and chaos) could actually be called the "ratio" of life itself, it rather seems to me as something taken from the doctrines of Plotino mixed-up with some Neopithagorean belief of the war of the opposite, it's something we can find already in the Heraclitean theory of the fire as founder of being.
For instance, if we understand that the essence of chaos is the absence of order we will very easily understand why it can't be called a force, as it can't be considered a being that which is only the absence of a perfection of a being.

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Re: The Explanation of Life

Post by Rr6 » August 4th, 2016, 12:14 pm

"I does exist outside the finite, occupied space Universe.

" I " is metaphysical-1, mind/intellect/concept, ergo, "I" does exist outside of our finite, occupied space Universe.

Biological life is the most complex syntropy over entropy occurring within Universe. With woman Xx being more complex than man Xy.

It occurred to me last night why so many more men than women want to become transgender, it is because of their X chromosome. Duhh!

\**/ = 2d symbolism for woman

*Y* =2D symbolism for man

( * * ) = 2D symbolism for consciousness

( * | * ) = 2D symbolism for consciousness and 2D slice 3D time/temmpora/temporlity
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Re: The Explanation of Life

Post by Rainman » August 4th, 2016, 12:15 pm

Belinda wrote:
Rainman wrote:There is only one thing that is a 100% a surety. That is "thinking is occurring". All else is less than 100% for sure. All else depends on the "sunglass lenses" provided by our brains and our senses. Even to say, "I exist" can not be a 100% surety...only that "thinking exists". I'm pretty sure I exist...but depend on my senses and my brain for that and they are not 100% reliable.

So, when someone asks you, "What do you know for sure?" In my opinion, the only answer is, "Thinking is occurring".
Rainman is right. Scepticism taken to its reasoning conclusion brings us to idealism.

There is one way out of this dilemma that thought is all that exists.

The way out is by way of neuroscience which demonstrates that thought and the material aspects of brain-mind and even of body proper correlate with each other.
I wasn't meaning that thought is all that exists. I meant that thought is the only thing we know for sure, 100% exists. Because I am only 99.9999% sure that I am not dreaming doesn't mean I think I am dreaming. I like to go with the percentages. I'm pretty sure I'm awake and wouldn't bet against it. I agree that science (neuroscience) is demonstrating to me that what I am sensing is real/existing separately from my brain. If I had to place a bet on whether there was an existing Universe outside of my thought processing then I would bet on science. But, I hold back that .oooo1% of doubt, just in case I do wake up...lol.

-- Updated August 4th, 2016, 12:28 pm to add the following --

""I does exist outside the finite, occupied space Universe.

" I " is metaphysical-1, mind/intellect/concept, ergo, "I" does exist outside of our finite, occupied space Universe."

We have a different definition of "exist". I agree that saying that something is metaphysical or a concept is okay in everyday language. But to then say it physically "exists" in our Observable Universe is not something I understand. Things that are outside the Observable Universe don't exist. They are concepts.

When I say that I know that thinking exists to a 100% surety, I am not saying I know, for sure, what is the physical cause of the thinking, or that I know, for 100% surety, much about what thinking is. I only know 100% for sure that it occurs and exists. I leave it to neuroscience to show me the science about thinking. Thinking is more than a concept or a metaphysical idea, it is a reality. It exists in our Observable Universe. It is the only thing we humans know 100% for sure exists. All else is just educated guessing.

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Re: The Explanation of Life

Post by Felix » August 4th, 2016, 12:36 pm

Belinda said: There is one way out of this dilemma that thought is all that exists. The way out is by way of neuroscience which demonstrates that thought and the material aspects of brain-mind and even of body proper correlate with each other.
What do you mean by "correlate with each other"? My pc hardware and software systems correlate with each other, they wouldn't function if they did not, but I can not understand the latter by studying the former.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: The Explanation of Life

Post by Rr6 » August 4th, 2016, 1:25 pm

---r6--" I " is metaphysical-1, mind/intellect/concept, ergo, "I" does exist outside of our finite, occupied space Universe."
Rainman--We have a different definition of "exist".
Ive been very clear since day one here at philo, and no one has offered any rational, logical common sense that invalidates those three primary kinds/types of existence;

...1a} metaphysical-1, mind/intellect/concept ex concept of Concepts, Space, God, Universe, Nature, Cosmos dogs, cats etc...,
--------line of demarcation---------------------------
..1b} metaphysical-2, macro-infinite non-occupied space, that, embraces the following,

...1c} finite, occupied space Universe aka Uni-Verse.
I agree that saying that something is metaphysical or a concept is okay in everyday language.
Ive been using dictionary for some 30 or more years in these regards.
But to then say it physically "exists" in our Observable Universe is not something I understand.
If you think I stated that " I " is phyiscal/energy then your mistatenly misinterpreting my comments, as stated.
Things that are outside the Observable Universe don't exist. They are concepts.
Yes, two kinds of existence that is outside our finite, occupied space Universe. See above. Ive been very clear since day one her at philo, and none have ever offer any rational, loigcal common sense that in any way invalidates my givens as stated. I think it is safe to add you that list also.

Please share if you think have any rational, logical common sense that, invalidates my 1a, 1b and 1c givens as stated.
When I say that I know that thinking exists to a 100% surety, I am not saying I know, for sure, what is the physical cause of the thinking, or that I know, for 100% surety, much about what thinking is. I only know 100% for sure that it occurs and exists. I leave it to neuroscience to show me the science about thinking. Thinking is more than a concept or a metaphysical idea, it is a reality. It exists in our Observable Universe. It is the only thing we humans know 100% for sure exists. All else is just educated guessing.
Many animals obviously think. The degree of their access to metaphysical-1, mind/intellect/concept is always less than humans. This makes humans the most complex enitity of Universe, barring ideas of two more humans. Woman Xx being more complex that man Xy

I believe it is the mans X chromosome that causes some men to want be woman. Makes sense.

I'm relatively sure of what I believe I know. I am sure of what I believe, irrespective of those beliefs being correct or not.

" I " is a metaphysical-1, mind/intellect/concept and all metaphysical-1, mind/intellect/concepts exist outside of i.e. beyond oru finite, occupied space Universe. imho and I have no rational, logical common sense information that would cause me to suggest other wise.

An occupied space triangle, barring gravity or dark energy, has energy, weight, mass, charge, size etc type properites.

A metaphyiscal-1, mind/intellect/conceptual triangle has none of the above ergo is energyless.

Cosmic laws/principles do not have energy, weight, mass, charge, energy etc.....

r6
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Re: The Explanation of Life

Post by Belinda » August 4th, 2016, 2:05 pm

Felix wrote:
Belinda said: There is one way out of this dilemma that thought is all that exists. The way out is by way of neuroscience which demonstrates that thought and the material aspects of brain-mind and even of body proper correlate with each other.
What do you mean by "correlate with each other"? My pc hardware and software systems correlate with each other, they wouldn't function if they did not, but I can not understand the latter by studying the former.
Yes, I should have said that mind events and brain events invariably correlate with each other, unlike pc hardware and software which are both like brain events in that computers lack the aspect of mind. Yours is a category mistake.

-- Updated Thu Aug 04, 2016 2:13 pm to add the following --

Ensetveritas12 wrote (please see the post below):
If thought explains every single phenomenon how can things exist before our thought? But we know that before we were our parents existed.
Maybe, for all you know for sure, your parents are thoughts of yours too. Also, the whole business of birth , life and death might be a thought of yours. Also, for all you can prove to the contrary this post you are reading might be a thought of yours.
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Re: The Explanation of Life

Post by Ensetveritas12 » August 4th, 2016, 2:58 pm

"Thought is the only thing that exists"
But what is thought if not the activity of a thinking being?, but if that's so how could you possibly call it the only thing existing?,
In any case idealism is not the answer to reality and much less a reality so concrete as that of life, which we clearly see flourishing before our eyes without being able to stop it.
If thought explains every single phenomenon how can things exist before our thought? But we know that before we were our parents existed.

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Re: The Explanation of Life

Post by Rainman » August 4th, 2016, 6:10 pm

Re. "...1a} metaphysical-1, mind/intellect/concept ex concept of Concepts, Space, God, Universe, Nature, Cosmos dogs, cats etc...,"

I still don't get it. How can the mere concept of say...Space...be a kind of existence? There are no "kinds" of existence. Either something exists or it doesn't. Maybe you just mean that "space" exists. I would agree with that if you could show me how we can observe its existence. Can we see space, or hear it...or measure it with a mass spectrometer or taste it or see it in an electron microscope? No. We pretend we can measure it but really we are measuring distance between objects not anything we can call space.

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