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Kevin.

Religulous

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Hmmm, so if cognitive neuroscience's approach to the mind is wrong and it does not operate like a computer this opens an interesting revelation to scientists.

What if humans actually have a soul and this is where the "knowledge and intellect" are stored and not in the brain? I look forward to the day they start acknowledging this.

https://aeon.co/essays/your-brain-does-not-process-information-and-it-is-not-a-computer

"Whereas computers do store exact copies of data – copies that can persist unchanged for long periods of time, even if the power has been turned off – the brain maintains our intellect only as long as it remains alive. There is no on-off switch. Either the brain keeps functioning, or we disappear. What’s more, as the neurobiologist Steven Rose pointed out in The Future of the Brain (2005), a snapshot of the brain’s current state might also be meaningless unless we knew the entire life history of that brain’s owner – perhaps even about the social context in which he or she was raised."

 

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On 5/20/2016 at 2:02 PM, Burn-E said:

Alden I think you're missing the VERY solid connection to God in Scouting.

What's the Scout Oath?  "On my honor I will do my duty to God and my country..."

Powell's thoughts on the purpose of Scouting might illuminate your thinking:

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Media/Relationships/ScoutSabbathServices/badenpowell.aspx

I'm well aware of the connection, the references to religion, the use of the word god, etc. And it's founder's views. I was when I said what I said. It doesn't change my point. It provides a moral structure without dependence on religion, and could be done entirely without it. I used it as an example because I figured we were both familiar with it, but I'm not sure you're really rebutting my point. Instead, you're trying to show it has the religious connection I acknowledged from the beginning.

20 hours ago, Burn-E said:

Hmmm, so if cognitive neuroscience's approach to the mind is wrong and it does not operate like a computer this opens an interesting revelation to scientists.

What if humans actually have a soul and this is where the "knowledge and intellect" are stored and not in the brain? I look forward to the day they start acknowledging this.

https://aeon.co/essays/your-brain-does-not-process-information-and-it-is-not-a-computer

"Whereas computers do store exact copies of data – copies that can persist unchanged for long periods of time, even if the power has been turned off – the brain maintains our intellect only as long as it remains alive. There is no on-off switch. Either the brain keeps functioning, or we disappear. What’s more, as the neurobiologist Steven Rose pointed out in The Future of the Brain (2005), a snapshot of the brain’s current state might also be meaningless unless we knew the entire life history of that brain’s owner – perhaps even about the social context in which he or she was raised."

 

On a metaphor level, I've always thought of the brain as RAM. It's a computer memory which only lasts for as long as it has power, and disappears the moment the power is gone. That's how you lose your unsaved word document. A computer has persistent memory (hard drive) but I've always assumed we didn't have anything like that. Just a second layer of RAM for older memories less accessed. I'm kind of surprised that this article doesn't differentiate that a computer has two types of memory. If his description is accurate, I'm also surprised that anyone noteworthy is trying to apply the way computers work to the brain so literally - to the point of bit processing. I can see why that's worth considering, but to consider it probable? Wouldn't that have to assume we operate in binary and have some binary processor? Which I think is his point. Intel is not inside.

I think it's fair to say we don't understand how the brain works. But the explanation is that it must be magic? I'm not trying to be derogatory by using that word, but I don't want to use the word soul.

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Magic, using a more medieval definition rather than the modern sleight of hand and smoke and mirrors definition is just another word for sophisticated phenomenon that science poorly understands.

Understanding how the brain works is an area marketers have examined extensively in hopes of cracking the code for how to better "influence" or better said manipulate consumers for the benefit of specific brands.  We had a neuroscience division at Nielsen when I worked there and these were some of the leading minds in understanding what you can interpret from brainwaves.  It was very clear to me from talking with them that Epstein's discussion is spot on.  The working theory is that our brains are like computers.  Think about how we describe things we remember: there's short term and long term memory.  The thinking is that experiences and items we learn are filed away into long term memory only if we go through specific actions to save them.  But have we really saved a picture (we talk about this in the context of photographic memories) or have we instead captured something more fluid?  Pretty much everything in cognitive science is focused on understanding how we are computers.  Look it up.  There are extensive articles and research bodies based on that theory.  Our own popular culture reflects that belief.  Look at The Matrix series, the concept of Singularity, the principles of how we approach education.

My statement is that the brain is a means of executing both conscious and subconscious thought and regulating the body but the actual knowledge itself, the sum of all our experiences, the personality that makes us who we are?  That is captured in that which quickens the body and departs upon death.  If we're more than just a bag of bones who live on Earth and then dissipate with the dirt as we die then a soul is the right way to characterize our existence and that which contains who we truly are.

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one could attribute the presence of God in science over the years to this as well Alain.

 

When we didn't understand the weather, it was God who made it. When we didn't understand gravity, it was God who brought things down. When we didn't understand our solar system and the planets, God held and moved everything. God has been used as a gap, per se, to explain the portion of what we know and what we don't know. Thankfully modern science no longer uses this, however it is interesting to note that God only fills in the blanks rather than creating new ideas (in these instances). The presence of God in science has significantly shrunk due to our technological revolution, one could argue that sometime in the future we wouldn't need a God to explain things anymore. I look forward to that day

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On May 22, 2016 at 3:07 PM, Burn-E said:

Hmmm, so if cognitive neuroscience's approach to the mind is wrong and it does not operate like a computer this opens an interesting revelation to scientists.

What if humans actually have a soul and this is where the "knowledge and intellect" are stored and not in the brain? I look forward to the day they start acknowledging this.

 

It's equally possible that the modern religious approach to the mind/soul is wrong as well, is it not?  

 

That's my issue with religion.  Saying iron clad everything is one way... when repeatedly as we learn more, we learn it's not.  You have to be willing to consider all the possibilities.  Especially like things we consider mythical right now like "how the brain works..." once it's proven with science by what we later learn... we find it was "because God."   

 

Look at wireless communications for example.  If you took that back just in our brief history as humans... it would be considered the power of a god.  They would have recoiled in fear as you waved your iPhone around.

 

The problem religion faces itself is that it is becoming quickly outdated.  Obsolete.  We don't need it to do well by one another.  We are finding other ways.

 

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It's funny but as much as we learn the more we realize how little we actually know.  And suddenly the simpler answers become more relevant.  Religion properly understood becomes more evident.

It's a popular view to think how much smarter we are.  The point however is that our technology is demonstrating the flaws in our thinking.

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9 hours ago, Burn-E said:

It's funny but as much as we learn the more we realize how little we actually know.  And suddenly the simpler answers become more relevant.  Religion properly understood becomes more evident.

It's a popular view to think how much smarter we are.  The point however is that our technology is demonstrating the flaws in our thinking.

 

well of course, you learn and change your way of thinking. Perhaps religion isn't the be all end all as it seems to be wanting the same things for generations and generations

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12 hours ago, Burn-E said:

It's funny but as much as we learn the more we realize how little we actually know.  And suddenly the simpler answers become more relevant.  Religion properly understood becomes more evident.

It's a popular view to think how much smarter we are.  The point however is that our technology is demonstrating the flaws in our thinking.

Relative to 200 or 600 years ago, I think we've come a long way. Definitely smarter. But are we smart? Have we reached more than 50%? Doubt it.

I dunno if it was one of you here who was telling me this, or from somewhere else but I remember hearing about a professor who asked his medical students how well understood the brain was. Was like 75% well understood? Zero? They thought very high. The professor believed it to be like 3%, and was dismayed at how overconfident the students were.

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Alain it really does bother me that with religion, if you don't understand something it must be God who does it. Instead of going out and discovering why things take place, people just don't care and stick with their old religions and traditions as an explanation. 

 

Another great question: which religion is right? How do you know yours is right? Are all of the believers in Islam going to hell forever simply because of demographics?

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1 hour ago, ErikS said:

We know very little, we should stick to the simple questions, true evidence comes by way of religion .. but only if you believe in it.

 

 

 

As I have mention previously, the one word resonance with believing in religion is *faith*. 

Just take Jesus words and the bible as the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

you seem to be lacking in this important criteria there Erik

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7 hours ago, Kevin. said:

Alain it really does bother me that with religion, if you don't understand something it must be God who does it. Instead of going out and discovering why things take place, people just don't care and stick with their old religions and traditions as an explanation. 

 

Another great question: which religion is right? How do you know yours is right? Are all of the believers in Islam going to hell forever simply because of demographics?

I'm glad that bothers you Kevin because it would bother me too if that's how I thought things worked.  Nothing you described fits my personal perspective nor how my own faith teaches we should approach knowledge, education and understanding the world around us.  We've always encouraged our adherents to seek out learning and wisdom from the best books and the best minds. To get as much education as possible.  That doesn't exactly sound like a religion afraid of gathering knowledge and learning now then does it?

I'll give you two quotes one from scripture and one from a prominent Mormon leader:

"Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.      And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.    There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated."

And the next from Henry B Eyring, an Apostle serving in the Presidency of our Church, a former Provost for Brigham Young University and the son of Henry Eyring (a chemist who most believe deserved the Nobel Prize for his development of Absolute Rate Theory for chemical reactions and who was a colleague of and close friends with Albert Einstein at Princeton):

"It is also clear that spiritual learning would not replace our drive for secular learning. The Lord clearly values what you will find in that history book. And He favors not only Spanish verbs but also the study of geography. His educational charter requires that we have “a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms” (D&C 88:79). There is also an endorsement for questions we study in the sciences. It is clear that putting spiritual learning first does not relieve us from learning secular things. On the contrary, it gives our secular learning purpose and motivates us to work harder at it…Remember, you are interested in education, not just for moral life but for eternal life."

As for your next "great question" if I thought you were sincere I'd actually have some suggestions for how to find your answer.

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A couple of you have asked how I can believe what I believe - how can I know there is a God.  I quoted Henry B. Eyring above and I think his father, who once tried to recruit my Dad who was a biochemist, to come work with him at the University, offers perhaps one of the best explanations for why religion works, especially in the face of scientific discovery.  But you have to accept the postulates:

"When a man says he will believe religion if you can prove it, it is like asking you to prove there are electrons. Proof depends upon your premises. In Euclidean geometry, you learn that three angles of a triangle total 180 degrees and that two parallel lines never meet; the whole argument proceeds very logically. But there are other kinds of geometry. In elliptical geometry, parallel lines do meet and in hyperbolic geometry, they diverge. If you go up to the north pole and draw two parallels of longitude, they will hit the equatorial plane at right angles. That makes 180 degrees, plus the angle at the pole. And the lines are perfectly parallel at the equator, and the fellow that does not know they are curving will find that two parallel lines meet. It is a perfectly good geometry. It is two dimensional on the surface but it is curving in a third dimension. Analogously we do not know whether or not this three dimensional space we live in is curving in a fourth dimension. You can build your logic perfectly, but whether your postulates apply to the world you live in is something you have to get out of either experiment or experience. Every proof in science depends on the postulates one accepts. The same is true of religion. The certitude one has about the existence of God ultimately comes from personal experience, the experience of others or logical deductions from the postulates one accepts. People sometimes get the idea that religion and science are different, but they are not different at all. There is nothing in science that does not hinge on some primitive constructs you take for granted. What is an electron? I can tell you some things about the electron we have learned from experiment, and if you accept these things, you will be able to make predictions. But ultimately you always get back to postulates. I am certain in my own mind of the truthfulness of the gospel, but I can only communicate that assurance to you if you accept my postulates."

9 hours ago, Fudge_Brownie said:

Relative to 200 or 600 years ago, I think we've come a long way. Definitely smarter. But are we smart? Have we reached more than 50%? Doubt it.

I dunno if it was one of you here who was telling me this, or from somewhere else but I remember hearing about a professor who asked his medical students how well understood the brain was. Was like 75% well understood? Zero? They thought very high. The professor believed it to be like 3%, and was dismayed at how overconfident the students were.

We agree on this to a point Alden.  The hubris of each generation is to believe they are smarter than those who came before.  The interesting question is how much have we lost or forgotten that was once known?  I'll give you one example: one of the problems with how we teach engineering is that we teach how humans have solved problems and our own approach.  What the science of biomimcry is rediscovering is that nature and the other residents of the earth (insects, animals, plants) have often come up with substantially more intelligent approaches to solving complex problems.  And many of those approaches were once understood by our ancestors because they spent more time observing the world around them rather than observing how they themselves think.  

What if instead of teaching engineers the first principles of hydraulics we first taught them a course on biology where they learned about how the heart and other natural pumps function?

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1 hour ago, Burn-E said:

People sometimes get the idea that religion and science are different, but they are not different at all. There is nothing in science that does not hinge on some primitive constructs you take for granted. What is an electron? I can tell you some things about the electron we have learned from experiment, and if you accept these things, you will be able to make predictions. But ultimately you always get back to postulates. I am certain in my own mind of the truthfulness of the gospel, but I can only communicate that assurance to you if you accept my postulates."

They are most definitely different.  One is focused on the physical world, the other the spiritual.  The physical world can be tested, the supernatural cannot.  There are very specific rules on how an electron is supposed to act under certain conditions.  That CPU allowing you to type on that computer to respond?  The power cord running to your outlet?  The power line to your house?  The transformer to the power plant?

I don't need to assume that electrons exist, or someone to tell me they exist, I know they exist independent of another's communicated assumptions.

 

 

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Oh but you are assuming they exist Erik.  Based on tested phenomenon.  No different from spiritual things.  Both operate under the scientific method. Faith is developed by testing understood phenomenon.  

Have you ever seen an electron? I guarantee the answer to that question is no.  You may have seen the motion of one but even then you're seeing a reflection of motion and not the actual particle. And yet we believe no even know they exist.  God can be found in similarly scientific personal explorations.

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