Morphic Resonance (not so popular...)

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Morphic Resonance (not so popular...)

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1AMZoltai
feb. 12, 2013, 10:43 pm

Anyone familiar with Rupert Sheldrake's work?

2BTRIPP
feb. 12, 2013, 11:01 pm

I've read a few of his books ...

3wester
feb. 13, 2013, 3:12 am

I used to be fascinated when I saw him on Een schitterend ongeluk, over 20 years ago. But unlike many others on the program (Stephen Jay Gould, Oliver Sacks,...) the fascination has not held.

Morphic resonance is a lovely idea. But to use it as a part of science, I think is not very productive. Like the idea of God, when you let it into science, it makes it seem you have already answered the question when there is much to be investigated. Which does not mean it is necessarily untrue, you just have to exhaust the other possibilities first.

4AMZoltai
feb. 13, 2013, 9:40 am

wester,

I think I know what you mean about morphic resonance not being "productive"...

Yet, Sheldrake provides many possible experiments to check the predictions of his hypothesis...

To me, there is still much to "exhaust" concerning his ideas...

5FrankHubeny
feb. 22, 2014, 9:24 pm

I like the biological approach that Sheldrake takes. It does run counter to the reductionist materialistic (machine) approach that believes everything can be reduced to subatomic particles with chance and deterministic laws causing change.

Since quantum mechanics forced uncertainty on physics, this reductionism to the physical-chemical level is likely wrong. Pulling back from that to the biological level seems more reasonable. However, that does mean that we are agents (with some free will) rather than machines (with no free will). If one looks at it like that, I don't see anything wrong with it.

6Mr.Durick
feb. 22, 2014, 9:32 pm

How do you get free will out of that?

Robert

7waitingtoderail
feb. 22, 2014, 11:03 pm

If he has many possible experiments to check the predictions of his hypothesis, he should conduct them and submit them to a reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal for publication.

8FrankHubeny
feb. 23, 2014, 8:10 am

Mr.Durick: If something can make a choice, then it would be conscious enough to make that choice. To the extent that choice was possible the chooser had free will.

There seems to be at least two basic paradigms at issue here which can be summarized by asking the question whether we are machines or whether we are organisms. A machine does not have free will and it is totally determined. An organism would not be so constrained. I think it is evident, based on our own experience, that we have enough free will to type our posts. So the machine model fails even without knowing Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.

waitingtoderail: I don't know what Sheldrake has published for peer-review, but he also has a text about dogs knowing when their owners are coming home. I think there was research associated with that.

9Mr.Durick
feb. 23, 2014, 2:42 pm

How is an organism not a machine? How is it not limited by the same constraints as a machine?

Can, say, quantum effects not introduce randomness into the behavior of a machine? How is it that the behavior of a machine is fully determined?

If a behavior is not fully determined how does that confer free will?

Robert

10FrankHubeny
feb. 23, 2014, 8:23 pm

If behavior IS fully determined there is no free will. I think we would agree on that. However, with quantum uncertainty even machines will not be completely determined.

Then the question is do machines make a choice? That would be the basis for their consciousness and enough freedom to make that choice. I think only organisms can make choices.

11Mr.Durick
feb. 23, 2014, 8:43 pm

How does quantum randomness confer freedom?

Robert

12jjwilson61
feb. 23, 2014, 9:49 pm

10> How do you know that you're actually making choices? How do you know that you're choices aren't predetermined (or at least as far as quantum mechanics allows).

13FrankHubeny
feb. 23, 2014, 10:43 pm

How do you know that we are not making choices?

We need to trust the evidence of our experiences unless there is better evidence to convince us otherwise. The evidence is what counts, not the theory. if the evidence isn't primary then no theory can be falsified because someone can always say we are deluded if our experience counters the theory (or beliefs) they are promoting.

For example, did I choose to response in at least some minor way to this post? If I did, and that is indeed my experience, then I made a choice. If I made a choice, then I have enough consciousness and free will to make that choice. That falsifies any theory claiming that I have no free will and cannot makes choices.

14Mr.Durick
feb. 23, 2014, 11:43 pm

You think you made a choice so you have made a choice, and it was not determined. That's a little bit of putting the hypothesis before the evidence.

Robert

15FrankHubeny
feb. 24, 2014, 2:06 am

No, I experience myself making a choice. That is the evidence. And that is why I think I make a choice.

If that is not true, that evidence has to be countered by other evidence, not a competing theory that claims my actions are determined.

As I think about it, the claim that I do not make any choices is putting an hypothesis before the evidence.

16Mr.Durick
feb. 24, 2014, 2:34 am

All of your evidence is your assertion. You have no evidence of free will in the matter.

Robert

17FrankHubeny
feb. 24, 2014, 10:04 am

Actually, you are the one who has not provided evidence that we do not.

18Mr.Durick
feb. 24, 2014, 7:04 pm

Actually, I have mostly asked questions. The only assertion I have made is that you have offered no evidence. The evidence for that is in your posts.

Robert

19FrankHubeny
feb. 24, 2014, 11:53 pm

So we are in a stalemate. That is fine. I will continue to believe in adequate free will since that is what I experience and my experience is my evidence. My theory has not been falsified.

20jjwilson61
feb. 25, 2014, 9:25 am

That's the same "evidence" that those who believe in a God choose. Of course some people just call it faith.

21FrankHubeny
feb. 25, 2014, 7:37 pm

>20 jjwilson61: If you experience something that is evidence whatever else it might be.

On top of that I create a theory that I have adequate free will to make at least a limited choice. That theory is open to be falsified, but it takes evidence to falsify it, not more theory.

22southernbooklady
feb. 25, 2014, 8:34 pm

>21 FrankHubeny: If you experience something that is evidence whatever else it might be.

Specifically, it is anecdotal evidence.

Anecdotal evidence is very attractive because it is founded on an assumption of honesty of the person who has it. But it is not testable because it is not reproducible, so anecdotal evidence is not useful as scientific evidence.

23FrankHubeny
Editat: feb. 26, 2014, 9:55 am

>22 southernbooklady: The evidence itself is not what needs to be tested. Rather a theory needs to be tested by collecting evidence that will either confirm or falsify it.

Since what we are talking about is whether we have free will in even a tiny amount, are you trying to argue that my experience of making a free choice when I post a comment is an illusion?

If that is what you are claiming then that would be a theory that my experience as evidence falsifies. However, I doubt that you actually believe that your posts are totally determined by some state vector and laws (perhaps still unknown) that made you post a comment, or do you?

24southernbooklady
feb. 26, 2014, 10:14 am

>23 FrankHubeny: Rather a theory needs to be tested by collecting evidence that will either confirm or falsify it.

And evidence has to meet certain criteria for it to be accepted as a valid outcome of the theory. In science this means that experiments designed to test the theory have to be reproducible. Since anecdotal evidence is not, it is not used to test theories.

It's useful in determining the character of our relationships with others, but as our experiences always remain locked in our own heads, we can never really know what another has experienced.

That not knowing limitation has its uses. It forces us to develop a capacity for trust, for example. But when it comes to determining "truth" about something that we claim has an objective existence -- like the moon, or the sun, or God, or Beauty -- then anecdotal evidence is, as others have suggested, a version of faith.

Since what we are talking about is whether we have free will in even a tiny amount, are you trying to argue that my experience of making a free choice when I post a comment is an illusion?

Ah, now this is apropos because I just answered this question on the other thread about evolution and programmatic language.

Yes, I think our experience of free will is biologically based. I don't see any scientific evidence that suggests otherwise.

25FrankHubeny
feb. 26, 2014, 11:42 pm

>23 FrankHubeny: Our experiences are biologically based, but do you really believe that you have no free will whatsoever?

In a sense all evidence is anecdotal. One performs an experiment that generates evidence at a particular time and place. The next experiment providing evidence is performed at a different time if not also a different place. The theory, however, is what is either confirmed or falsified. It does not depend on time and place. I know I'm just repeating what I said earlier.

People sometimes accept or reject evidence based on the theories that they favor. That is when you hear people talk about someone else's "illusions". A more honest approach would be to modify the theory to account for the new evidence and see if it can be falsified.

26southernbooklady
feb. 27, 2014, 7:57 am

Our experiences are biologically based, but do you really believe that you have no free will whatsoever?

You'll have to clarify what you mean by "whatsoever." As I said, I think we experience something we call free will, but it is dependent on biology. I do not think it exists a priori. Or, perhaps I should say that its a priori existence is irrelevant. But I have not thought very deeply about it so I'm posing a very general proposition.

But our supposed free will is always bounded by our capacity to act. Our choices and our ability to choose become limited by any number of factors--if we are sick, or hungry, or high, or tired, or in love, or just horny. And a choice to resist an instinctual drive or craving is not de facto evidence of free will in action. We can resist something, or behave altruistically, for selfish reasons that in the long term may be just as useful as an adaptation from an evolutionary standpoint as indulging in those drives.

In a sense all evidence is anecdotal. One performs an experiment that generates evidence at a particular time and place. The next experiment providing evidence is performed at a different time if not also a different place. The theory, however, is what is either confirmed or falsified.

Well in that case you are arguing that time and place have no connection. (which is not what the theory of relativity says) In which case no theory could be falsified.

Theories are not "confirmed," scientifically, they are just possible explanations to account for the observed evidence. The more evidence falls in line with the theory's predictions, the more plausible it is deemed to be. The theory of evolution is accepted with a high degree of confidence because to date, all the evidence fits with it.

And while it is true that people tend to accept or reject the evidence they like the only end result of this is habit is bad science. (And as an example of "free will" in action, this habit is unimpressive in the extreme). Nature will out. It doesn't really matter how important it is to you that the sun goes around the earth, or that Genesis is an accurate picture of creation, or that HIV kills immoral people who have it coming, or that global warming is not causing sea levels to rise and thus threaten the beach house you just bought. Nature is indifferent and apathetic to human priorities. We only waste time and cause more suffering by imposing our own agendas over the observed evidence. That beach house is going to lose beachfront property, whether you are politically against climate change or not.

27FrankHubeny
Editat: feb. 27, 2014, 9:17 am

>26 southernbooklady: You'll have to clarify what you mean by "whatsoever."

Whatever means at all in a reductionist sense--everything we do can be reduced to deterministic laws at the atomic level excluding quantum uncertainty.

I don't deny that there are many constraints that force the way we act. The question is can we (humans) make a choice? Now, I suspect I believe there are more constraints on us than you would acknowledge. For example, I don't think our consciousness is totally generated by our individual brain. That would mean we have influences on us to act in a collective manner.

So, I think we are very constrained, but still can make a choices.

And a choice to resist an instinctual drive or craving is not de facto evidence of free will in action.

Even the choice to give in to the craving or instinctual drive is a choice. Free will does not require that we resist an opportunity that presents itself.

Theories are not "confirmed," scientifically, they are just possible explanations to account for the observed evidence. The more evidence falls in line with the theory's predictions, the more plausible it is deemed to be. The theory of evolution is accepted with a high degree of confidence because to date, all the evidence fits with it.

I agree that theories are best resolved by falsifying them. Those that remained are provisionally confirmed.

I also agree with the evolutionary process and natural selection. I just don't think it can happen without agents moving it along.

That beach house is going to lose beachfront property, whether you are politically against climate change or not.

When have I ever said I was opposed to the ideas that humans are changing the climate through global warming?

28southernbooklady
Editat: feb. 27, 2014, 9:33 am

>27 FrankHubeny: Your formatting is a little confusing (you've missed closed tag there somewhere), but let me see if I can decipher what you're saying.

I don't think our consciousness is totally generated by our individual brain. That would mean we have influences on us to act in a collective manner.

Now this is something I don't know much about. I think the evidence shows that consciousness is a product of neurological activity, but as that activity is electro-chemical, and as electrical fields extend beyond the bounds of the device that generates them, the possibility of "outside" influence is not zero.

I would not be prepared to say, for example that the Jungian idea of archetypes are manifestations of a collective consciousness, or simply the result of the fact that human beings tend to think along similar patterns just by virtue of being in the same species. In Occam's Razor fashion, I lean towards the latter.

Those that remained are provisionally confirmed

A better word would be "accepted."

I also agree with the evolutionary process and natural selection. I just don't think it can happen without agents moving it along.

So you have said. But this remains a non-falsifiable theory, a statement of faith.

When have I ever said I was opposed to the ideas that humans are changing the climate through global warming?

You didn't. I used it as an example to illustrate your statement that "people accept or reject evidence based on the theories they favor." So in that statement the "you" was generic.

It's an example that comes easily to mind for me, however, since I live on the coast and my state legislators recently passed a bill that specifically bars the state from using the most recent scientific and environmental impact studies when assessing coastal properties for potential development.

ETA: Ah, you fixed the formatting

29FrankHubeny
Editat: feb. 28, 2014, 9:42 am

>28 southernbooklady: "I think the evidence shows that consciousness is a product of neurological activity, but as that activity is electro-chemical, and as electrical fields extend beyond the bounds of the device that generates them, the possibility of "outside" influence is not zero. "

I am thinking more along the lines of species such as fish that form schools that seem to behave as a group. Their consciousness has a strong communal aspect. Since as species evolving from each other we are all related, something similar probably influences our species as well although in a different way. If one looks at reports of psychic phenomena one could see hints of this. I don't know of any other way to explain such phenomena except to deny it exists which doesn't really explain it.

This would be in contrast to a belief that our individual brain completely generates our individual consciousness and is isolated from every other consciousness. I think that is too individuated to account for our communal nature as a species. And that means we have perhaps very powerful constraints on us that would appear more psychological. These influences make me wonder just how free I really am although I would not claim that I make no choices whatsoever.

30southernbooklady
feb. 28, 2014, 10:16 am

>29 FrankHubeny: I am thinking more along the lines of species such as fish that form schools that seem to behave as a group. Their consciousness has a strong communal aspect.

Well in that case I'd be careful about how you use the word "consciousness" -- sure, ants and schools of fish, and flocks of birds, etc exhibit collective behavior and can be thought of as a "supraorganism." But in the context of what it means to be self-aware--what we usually attribute to a state of consciousness-- to say they have a collective consciousness is probably misleading.

31jjwilson61
feb. 28, 2014, 11:16 am

The behavior of fish in schools is perfectly explainable by their just reacting to the fish next to them. There is no need to pull some sort of collective consciousness out of your hat to explain it.

32southernbooklady
Editat: feb. 28, 2014, 11:21 am

>31 jjwilson61: The behavior of fish in schools is perfectly explainable by their just reacting to the fish next to them.

Something about "the lateral line" I think? A sensory organ that detects changes in pressure--like a motion detector for underwater.

33FrankHubeny
març 1, 2014, 6:28 pm

>30 southernbooklady: "Well in that case I'd be careful about how you use the word "consciousness" -- sure, ants and schools of fish, and flocks of birds, etc exhibit collective behavior and can be thought of as a "supraorganism." But in the context of what it means to be self-aware--what we usually attribute to a state of consciousness-- to say they have a collective consciousness is probably misleading."

The word "consciousness" has many meanings. Other species that do not have sensory organs to hear or see would not have our type of experiences or awareness. Their consciousness would be different, but they would still have some faculty of consciousness.

The point I am trying to make is that these other species are composed of similar individuals that can not be considered machines. Not only are they not machines individually, but there is a communal aspect about them that should not be ignored when describing their forms of consciousness.

It is this communal consciousness, coupled with our participation in evolutionary change, that makes me think we have this as well.

34FrankHubeny
març 1, 2014, 6:30 pm

>31 jjwilson61: "The behavior of fish in schools is perfectly explainable by their just reacting to the fish next to them. There is no need to pull some sort of collective consciousness out of your hat to explain it."

Is it perfectly explainable? Then explain how this happens.

What I think you mean is that there is a hope that this can be explained in the future through some mechanistic law.

35southernbooklady
març 1, 2014, 6:36 pm

>33 FrankHubeny: The point I am trying to make is that these other species are composed of similar individuals that can not be considered machines.

A declarative statement is not an argument. It need a defense. From a certain perspective a biological organism may indeed be considered a machine. If the processes of evolution are built around reproduction, then they are machines for reproduction.

36StormRaven
març 1, 2014, 11:41 pm

Is it perfectly explainable? Then explain how this happens.

Why don't you read some science?

37FrankHubeny
març 2, 2014, 7:01 pm

>35 southernbooklady: I'm going to make a declarative statement and I know it is not an argument, but I think the view that a biological organism is a machine is more of a belief or assumption or theory than a scientific fact. By accepting such a belief, one puts oneself in a conceptual mindset that just might hide reality.

38southernbooklady
març 2, 2014, 7:13 pm

>37 FrankHubeny: I think the view that a biological organism is a machine is more of a belief or assumption or theory than a scientific fact.

Actually, it is a theory. And as such, it could be disproved, or supplanted by a hypothesis which, when tested, provides a better explanation and accounts for more of the observed evidence.

39FrankHubeny
Editat: març 3, 2014, 8:56 am

>38 southernbooklady: I was thinking about evolution more and one of the places where disagreements come into play is not whether evolution occurred but what does each side think is evolving. Do machines evolve? Or do organisms evolve?

As you are probably aware, I don't think machines can evolve. Ultimately, if we are all machines governed by deterministic laws affecting atomic-level particles, evolution in any form is an illusion since it is at a higher level than these particles and their laws.

40StormRaven
Editat: març 3, 2014, 9:11 am

Ultimately, if we are all machines governed by deterministic laws affecting atomic-level particles, evolution in any form is an illusion since it is at a higher level than these particles and their laws.

There is no higher level. You seem to think there is some sort of guiding ontology to evolution or something similar. There isn't. It really is just chemistry and physics.

41jjwilson61
març 3, 2014, 10:22 am

A mechanism has been proposed to explain how "machines" can evolve and a lot of pretty smart people think it can work. You apparently don't agree but you offer no argument other than assertion.

42FrankHubeny
març 6, 2014, 9:06 am

>41 jjwilson61: "A mechanism has been proposed to explain how "machines" can evolve and a lot of pretty smart people think it can work. You apparently don't agree but you offer no argument other than assertion."

It doesn't seem like you are making an argument either. What you said sounds like an assertion with an appeal to anonymous authority without even a link to check.

43StormRaven
març 6, 2014, 9:19 am

What you said sounds like an assertion with an appeal to anonymous authority without even a link to check.

He's making an assertion backed by literally thousands of experimental checks verifying that it is supported. You're pulling stuff out of your nether regions.

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