> Science vs Religion > Scientific Research > Bridging the Gap
  #1  
Old 12-09-2004, 09:24 AM
Default What is reality?

In order to prevent derailing this Vision of Jesus thread, I will answer Iacchy's request to define what I mean by "reality".
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iacchus32
If goozleberry wishes to play the reality card, in her usual but condescending way, then she can define what she means by it. You folks really shouldn't be so quick to bastardize another person's experience.

Reality is that which is at least potentially acessible to the senses.

Reality is independant of the observer, but it must be observable.

Thus, distant planets may exist in reality, even though we cannot currently observe them, but because they are potentially observable.

Although we do not and cannot know everything about reality, it must be possible to know it. Thus, things that a person sees in a dream or vision are not reality, because it is impossible for another person to observe them.
***
That will do for now. I'll wait for responses.
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  #2  
Old 12-09-2004, 09:50 AM
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None of which, of course, means a thing without a mind to observe it. Also, everybody maintains their own belief system, and it's these very belief systems that determine how people are going to think, feel and react towards this (so-called) static reality you seem to be referring to here. So, the fact of the matter is, this living experience is very much a reality in and of itself ... Indeed, the only reality we will ever know.
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So when the body dies, and consciousness departs, where do "we" go? ... Off to define another "reality" perhaps?
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  #3  
Old 12-09-2004, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iacchus32
None of which, of course, means a thing without a mind to observe it.
As you read, my definition of reality is independant of the observer. It exists whether observed or not. do you deny that a peanut exists inside the shell, simply because you have not yet opened and observed it?

Your definition of reality is, at best, a solecism.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iacchus32
Also, everybody maintains their own belief system, and it's these very belief systems that determine how people are going to think, feel and react towards this (so-called) static reality you seem to be referring to here.
No, apparently not, but you asked me to tell you what I meant by reality, and I'm doing so. I think it is more... um... realistic than a concept which allows multiple "realities". The concept of multiple realities seems to me to be a contradiction in terms. If it is not true for everyone, then how can you call it true?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iacchus32
So, the fact of the matter is, this living experience is very much a reality in and of itself ... Indeed, the only reality we will ever know.
It may be all you know of reality, but it will not be the only part of reality that exists. Believe it or not, there are some things that have a real existence but which are beyond your knowledge. Surely there are many (most?) things that exist beyond anybody's knowledge.

However, once a thing is shown to exist, it must be possible to show anybody that it exists. After I open the shell and verify that the peanut exists, I am able to show that peanut to others.

Last edited by goozleberry : 12-09-2004 at 10:21 AM.
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  #4  
Old 12-09-2004, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goozleberry
As you read, my definition of reality is independant of the observer. It exists whether observed or not. do you deny that a peanut exists inside the shell, simply because you have not yet opened and observed it?

Your definition of reality is, at best, a solecism.
Of course in order for a peanut to exist, it has to participate in the reality of being a peanut. Are you saying reality doesn't require particpation?

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No, apparently not, but you asked me to tell you what I meant by reality, and I'm doing so. I think it is more... um... realistic than a concept which allows multiple "realities". The concept of multiple realities seems to me to be a contradiction in terms. If it is not true for everyone, then how can you call it true?
And what is reality without the ability to look at it from multiple views? Would you say that the reality of a bug is different from that of a human being? I don't see why it shouldn't. And yet each constitutes a specific aspect (interpretation) of reality now doesn't it? What is the reality of the blood sucking mosquito that just bit into your neck? Not the same as yours don't you think? Yet the mosquito has an effect on your reality just as you have an effect on its when you squash it.

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It may be all you know of reality, but it will not be the only part of reality that exists. Believe it or not, there are some things that have a real existence but which are beyond your knowledge. Surely there are many (most?) things that exist beyond anybody's knowledge.
No, I don't believe it's possible to know everything.

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However, once a thing is shown to exist, it must be possible to show anybody that it exists. After I open the shell and verify that the peanut exists, I am able to show that peanut to others.
No, it's quite possible to experience something in isolation, and not be able to convey it to others strictly because of that.
__________________
So when the body dies, and consciousness departs, where do "we" go? ... Off to define another "reality" perhaps?
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  #5  
Old 12-09-2004, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iacchus32
Of course in order for a peanut to exist, it has to participate in the reality of being a peanut. Are you saying reality doesn't require particpation?
LOL! I've heard you say some bizarre things before, Iacchy, but that one has to take the cake. No, I am not aware of peanuts "participating" in anything, (other than perhaps the activities of your brain. ) The peanut simply exists, whether you or anyone is aware of it.
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And what is reality without the ability to look at it from multiple views? Would you say that the reality of a bug is different from that of a human being? I don't see why it shouldn't. And yet each constitutes a specific aspect (interpretation) of reality now doesn't it?
YES! BREAKTHROUGH! Same reality. Different interpretations. Not different realities.
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What is the reality of the blood sucking mosquito that just bit into your neck? Not the same as yours don't you think? Yet the mosquito has an effect on your reality just as you have an effect on its when you squash it.
The mosquito exists in reality. You exist in reality. Your blood exists in reality. The mosquito views your blood as food (actually this is not completely true) and you regard your blood as an essential organ of your body. But the blood is the same for both of you, only how you regard it is different, but that doesn't alter the single reality in any way.

It seems to me that you define reality as "viewpoint". Am I correct in that?
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No, I don't believe it's possible to know everything.
That's good. Do you also agree that there are certain things that it is impossible to know, like another person's dreams? Sure, you can tell me about them, but you cannot show them to me. The same is not true of peanuts.
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No, it's quite possible to experience something in isolation, and not be able to convey it to others strictly because of that.
LOL. Nice try, Iacchy, but I already covered that possibility. I said it must "potentially" be observable. Even if you lived in total isolation from others, the real things are potentially observable, like the case of the distant planet I mentioned. Dreams and visions are not even potentially observable by others, even if they were in the same room with you.
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  #6  
Old 01-28-2005, 04:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goozleberry

Reality is that which is at least potentially acessible to the senses.

Reality is independant of the observer, but it must be observable.

Thus, distant planets may exist in reality, even though we cannot currently observe them, but because they are potentially observable.

Although we do not and cannot know everything about reality, it must be possible to know it. Thus, things that a person sees in a dream or vision are not reality, because it is impossible for another person to observe them.
***
That will do for now. I'll wait for responses.

Not everything that is reality is possible to be observed. The uncertainty principle states for example that a particle's velocity and position cannot be both known at the same time, thus no particle can have a temperature of absolute 0. Dreams are reality, because they are observed by a person who sees/hears/smells/tastes(usually not)/feels something that his brain has recorded. However since if I hit Iaachus' head with a chair, in the dream he wouldn't be hit by a chair; he would most likely black out, or die.

An observer is not necessarily a person, it is the objects upon which there can be a force exerted upon due to an action of the even happening. That's why asteroids hit each other when we don't see them.
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  #7  
Old 01-30-2005, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protos
Not everything that is reality is possible to be observed. The uncertainty principle states for example that a particle's velocity and position cannot be both known at the same time, thus no particle can have a temperature of absolute 0.
But you can have evidence that the particle exists. And you can know the velocity or the position. You are right about absolute zero, but (as I have argued with Iacchy before) that means that absolute zero is a theoretical minimum which no real thing can actually reach.

Lots of things mathmatical aren't "real". But let's not confuse mathmatics with physical reality.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Protos
Dreams are reality, because they are observed by a person who sees/hears/smells/tastes(usually not)/feels something that his brain has recorded. However since if I hit Iaachus' head with a chair, in the dream he wouldn't be hit by a chair; he would most likely black out, or die.
Dreams are a physical reality, in that they are generated by the very physical actions of your brain. The things in them, though, aren't usually real, however, it is possible for reality to intrude into dreams. For example, you might hear a loud noise in your dream, and as you gradually wake up, realize it was your alarm clock.

Then there is the example of the man who dreamed he was eating a giant marshmallow, and when he woke up, his pillow was missing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Protos
An observer is not necessarily a person, it is the objects upon which there can be a force exerted upon due to an action of the even happening. That's why asteroids hit each other when we don't see them.
I agree with this completely. Anything that undergoes a change because of an event has, in my opinion, "observed" that event. As a geologist, this sort of inanimate observation is critical to unravelling the history of rocks.

But nothing is changed by the events in another person's dream. True, actions by that person related to the dream may have long-reaching consequences(e.g. Martin Luthor King's "I have a dream"), but those actions are not themselves part of the dream.
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  #8  
Old 01-30-2005, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goozleberry
As you read, my definition of reality is independant of the observer. It exists whether observed or not. do you deny that a peanut exists inside the shell, simply because you have not yet opened and observed it?
There's nothing about reality that doesn't require some sort of interaction between one thing or another. So in that sense, as Protos suggests about the asteroids, nothing goes unobserved ... as it either affects or, is affected by something else. Whereas when you refer to the conscious observer, who also interacts with the environment, you're referring to the highest level of interaction, not the lowest. So guess what? The whole Universe, hence reality, is entirely interactive, and there's nothing "static" about it. Take for example the reality that exists between one human being and another.

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No, apparently not, but you asked me to tell you what I meant by reality, and I'm doing so. I think it is more... um... realistic than a concept which allows multiple "realities". The concept of multiple realities seems to me to be a contradiction in terms. If it is not true for everyone, then how can you call it true?
From the multiplicity of interaction that takes place, each has its own unique perspective, and therefore represents a unique view.

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LOL! I've heard you say some bizarre things before, Iacchy, but that one has to take the cake. No, I am not aware of peanuts "participating" in anything, (other than perhaps the activities of your brain. ) The peanut simply exists, whether you or anyone is aware of it.
And when the peanut shrivels away, it ceases to participate and/or interact with reality as a peanut.
__________________
So when the body dies, and consciousness departs, where do "we" go? ... Off to define another "reality" perhaps?
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  #9  
Old 01-31-2005, 02:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iacchus32
There's nothing about reality that doesn't require some sort of interaction between one thing or another. So in that sense, as Protos suggests about the asteroids, nothing goes unobserved ... as it either affects or, is affected by something else. Whereas when you refer to the conscious observer, who also interacts with the environment, you're referring to the highest level of interaction, not the lowest.
I believe that to be a bit egotistical to suggest that our consciousness makes human interactions somehow more important than others. The universe and the earth were interacting with each other long before our species (or our consciousness) existed, so you could say that our observations are subordinate to those previous interactions which made our existence possible.

I know I've asked you this in many ways, but you've never given a satisfactory answer: Why do you think humans and human consciousness are so important in the larger picture of the universe?
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From the multiplicity of interaction that takes place, each has its own unique perspective, and therefore represents a unique view.
If inanimate objects can be said to have a "view" that is perhaps true. But it is not a particularly compelling revelation. It does not tell us anything about the nature of those "views" or anything about how they interact. Science, on the other hand, tells us a great deal about how things interact. It is a pity that you scorn it so in favor of your hollow, if poetic, statement of the obvious.
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And when the peanut shrivels away, it ceases to participate and/or interact with reality as a peanut.
Which is of course, a complete non-sequitur (though I'm pleased that you have borrowed my peanut metaphor). But since you bring it up, I will continue, even with full knowledge that you most likely will use it as an OMRI to completely avoid answering questions or providing evidence for your claims. Ah well, it is my nature to respond to what people say, and we can't go against nature, can we?

What makes a peanut a peanut? Is it the DNA? Well, peanut plants have peanut DNA, but usually only farmers call the plants "peanuts". Is it the viability of the peanut fruit to provide other peanuts? Hardly. We still call them "peanuts" even if they are roasted past any viability. So you see, it is in the definition of what we call a peanut that makes it a peanut. We might describe it as a nut-like legume (peanuts are not actually nuts, but peas) that grows underground and has a woody outer shell, containing usually one to three edible kernels. I'm sure we could elaborate if we wish. Is a shriveled peanut still a peanut? It is as long as we can recognize it as such. If it becomes inedible, we might call it a "shriveled peanut". If it becomes decayed beyond recognition, few of us would call it a peanut, though botanists might be able to recognize it as such long after the average person could not. That is because their definition of "peanut" is much broader than ours.

At some point, it will cease to be recognized as a peanut to anybody. In fact it will be pretty much absorbed by the environment and recycled. But do any parts of the former peanut cease to interact with reality? They do not. They simply interact in "non-peanut" ways.

So you see, I have brought this discussion back to the original discussion of "what is reality". As you were.
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  #10  
Old 01-31-2005, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goozleberry
I believe that to be a bit egotistical to suggest that our consciousness makes human interactions somehow more important than others. The universe and the earth were interacting with each other long before our species (or our consciousness) existed, so you could say that our observations are subordinate to those previous interactions which made our existence possible.
I'm suggesting that consciousness is at the apex of all those interactions which occur in the Universe ... in the sense that it is most complex.

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I know I've asked you this in many ways, but you've never given a satisfactory answer: Why do you think humans and human consciousness are so important in the larger picture of the universe?
And why is it that "we" bestow everything upon our children?

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If inanimate objects can be said to have a "view" that is perhaps true. But it is not a particularly compelling revelation. It does not tell us anything about the nature of those "views" or anything about how they interact. Science, on the other hand, tells us a great deal about how things interact. It is a pity that you scorn it so in favor of your hollow, if poetic, statement of the obvious.
It's this full complexity of interactions, however, that builds up to consciousness.

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Which is of course, a complete non-sequitur (though I'm pleased that you have borrowed my peanut metaphor). But since you bring it up, I will continue, even with full knowledge that you most likely will use it as an OMRI to completely avoid answering questions or providing evidence for your claims. Ah well, it is my nature to respond to what people say, and we can't go against nature, can we?
Does a peanut have free will? I don't think so? So I'm not sure it's within its nature to do anything other than what a peanut does. Nonetheless, it still participates within the "dynamics" of reality as a peanut.

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What makes a peanut a peanut? Is it the DNA? Well, peanut plants have peanut DNA, but usually only farmers call the plants "peanuts". Is it the viability of the peanut fruit to provide other peanuts? Hardly. We still call them "peanuts" even if they are roasted past any viability. So you see, it is in the definition of what we call a peanut that makes it a peanut. We might describe it as a nut-like legume (peanuts are not actually nuts, but peas) that grows underground and has a woody outer shell, containing usually one to three edible kernels. I'm sure we could elaborate if we wish. Is a shriveled peanut still a peanut? It is as long as we can recognize it as such. If it becomes inedible, we might call it a "shriveled peanut". If it becomes decayed beyond recognition, few of us would call it a peanut, though botanists might be able to recognize it as such long after the average person could not. That is because their definition of "peanut" is much broader than ours.
Well, you know what they say. Peanuts come and peanuts go.

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At some point, it will cease to be recognized as a peanut to anybody. In fact it will be pretty much absorbed by the environment and recycled. But do any parts of the former peanut cease to interact with reality? They do not. They simply interact in "non-peanut" ways.
At which point it no longer "participates" as a peanut.

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So you see, I have brought this discussion back to the original discussion of "what is reality". As you were.
Is reality inert? No.
__________________
So when the body dies, and consciousness departs, where do "we" go? ... Off to define another "reality" perhaps?
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  #11  
Old 01-31-2005, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iacchus32
I'm suggesting that consciousness is at the apex of all those interactions which occur in the Universe ... in the sense that it is most complex.
I'm sure your ego wants to believe that, yet the earth has many more componants, including all the conscious beings. Would you not then say that the earth is more complex than consciousness?

"Oh no", you might object, "The earth is a composite of many things. It is not a single thing!"
Well guess what, Iacchy. Consciousness is not a single thing either. Remove half your cells and your consciousness would change. Restrict the blood flow to your brain and your consciousness would change. You see, the notion of complexity is... well... complex.
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And why is it that "we" bestow everything upon our children?
And as I suspected you would, you ran away from that question, as you run away from all questions.

By the way, we don't bestow everything upon our children. We only bestow a few selected things. So even your OMRI is wrong.
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It's this full complexity of interactions, however, that builds up to consciousness.
You have demonstrated numerous times that you understand neither consciousness nor complexity. Throwing together two words you don't understand doesn't clarify your point.
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Does a peanut have free will? I don't think so? So I'm not sure it's within its nature to do anything other than what a peanut does. Nonetheless, it still participates within the "dynamics" of reality as a peanut.
And you are incapable of doing anything other than what humans do. So you don't have free will either, by your own definition.
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Well, you know what they say. Peanuts come and peanuts go.
Oh, you're so cute when you ignore a detailed explantion of my position by responding with a trite remark. Do it make you feel smarter when you do that?
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At which point it no longer "participates" as a peanut.
And as I explained (but you ignored) the definition of "peanut" depends on the person. So the point at which it stops participating as a peanut is somewhat arbitrary, wouldn't you say?
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  #12  
Old 02-05-2005, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goozleberry

But you can have evidence that the particle exists. And you can know the velocity or the position. You are right about absolute zero, but (as I have argued with Iacchy before) that means that absolute zero is a theoretical minimum which no real thing can actually reach.

Lots of things mathmatical aren't "real". But let's not confuse mathmatics with physical reality.


The inability to know both the position and velocity of a particle limits reality and has long term effects. Absolute zero cannot be reached simply because both the position and velocity of the particle would be known and if that is known, then the particle is in 0 space and time, thus the paradox. The gravitational constant depends on the particle's 1/2 spin so that it produces gravity which otherwise wouldn't exist if the particle stopped.

The lack of scientific observation only confirms the uncertainty principle which is more than a theoretical value of -273 C being the "light barrier" of the temperature of particles.

Physical reality is an application of mathematics.
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  #13  
Old 02-05-2005, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protos
The inability to know both the position and velocity of a particle limits reality and has long term effects. Absolute zero cannot be reached simply because both the position and velocity of the particle would be known and if that is known, then the particle is in 0 space and time, thus the paradox. The gravitational constant depends on the particle's 1/2 spin so that it produces gravity which otherwise wouldn't exist if the particle stopped.
There is another, more easily understood reason why nothing can reach absolute zero. How do you chill something? You chill it by putting it next to something colder. So how do you chill something to absolute zero? You must put it next to something colder than absolute zero. It is easy to see why this is impossible. But your answer is correct too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Protos
Physical reality is an application of mathematics.
I believe that mathematics is a way of describing physical reality, as well as non-real things, like imaginary numbers. (e.g. the square root of negative one.)
(That was for others who may be reading, Protos. I realize that you know what imaginary numbers are.)
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  #14  
Old 02-05-2005, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goozleberry
There is another, more easily understood reason why nothing can reach absolute zero. How do you chill something? You chill it by putting it next to something colder. So how do you chill something to absolute zero? You must put it next to something colder than absolute zero. It is easy to see why this is impossible. But your answer is correct too.

Yes, that's best understood, but people might ask if some particles started out at absolute 0 in the formation of the universe, that it's contradictory for even under such conditions.

As for the math vs. science debate, it's been going on for decades whether math was man-made or whether we are just discovering it. I believe in order for pure and applied mathematics to both co-exist, that it was already there.
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  #15  
Old 02-06-2005, 12:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goozleberry
I'm sure your ego wants to believe that, yet the earth has many more componants, including all the conscious beings. Would you not then say that the earth is more complex than consciousness?
Yes, and would we even be speculating upon this if it weren't for the fact that we were conscious?

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And as I explained (but you ignored) the definition of "peanut" depends on the person. So the point at which it stops participating as a peanut is somewhat arbitrary, wouldn't you say?
Was merely responding to your reply which, seemed to be your final summation. In which case you may wish to re-read it ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by goozleberry
At some point, it will cease to be recognized as a peanut to anybody. In fact it will be pretty much absorbed by the environment and recycled. But do any parts of the former peanut cease to interact with reality? They do not. They simply interact in "non-peanut" ways.
__________________
So when the body dies, and consciousness departs, where do "we" go? ... Off to define another "reality" perhaps?
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  #16  
Old 02-06-2005, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iacchus32
Yes, and would we even be speculating upon this if it weren't for the fact that we were conscious?
This seems to be your all-purpose statement to divert attention when you have shown to be dead wrong. You said in effect that the brain was the most complex thing in the universe. I gave you clear examples to show how very wrong this is.

You really need to grow beyond that thumb-and-blanket protection of your meaningless "we wouldn't know this if we weren't conscious" statement. It is stunting your growth.
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Was merely responding to your reply which, seemed to be your final summation. In which case you may wish to re-read it ...
You responded, but you did not address anything I said Instead you chose to make unrelated, quasi-philosophical statements. That is called "ignoring", and it is somewhat rude. I always try to address the issues you raise.
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  #17  
Old 02-06-2005, 05:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protos
Yes, that's best understood, but people might ask if some particles started out at absolute 0 in the formation of the universe, that it's contradictory for even under such conditions.
I think it would not make sense to assume that any particles started out at absolute zero in the formation of the universe. Perhaps I am wrong, but it seems like the general trend has been expansion and cooling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Protos
As for the math vs. science debate, it's been going on for decades whether math was man-made or whether we are just discovering it. I believe in order for pure and applied mathematics to both co-exist, that it was already there.
I suppose it is a matter of definition. Certainly not worthy of heated debate.
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  #18  
Old 02-06-2005, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goozleberry
You really need to grow beyond that thumb-and-blanket protection of your meaningless "we wouldn't know this if we weren't conscious" statement. It is stunting your growth.
Can a tree grow without the light of the sun? No.
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So when the body dies, and consciousness departs, where do "we" go? ... Off to define another "reality" perhaps?
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  #19  
Old 02-06-2005, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iacchus32
Can a tree grow without the light of the sun? No.
To save Gooze the trouble, allow me to say....

How incredibly rude, Iacchus. Gooze does try to address your points. Common courtesy dictates you should endeavor to do the same.
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