Thursday, January 6, 2011

293: A summary

Welcome to you all again in 2011. I hope that it will be an instructive year again. A year in which we soon will pass the 300 mark regarding the number of lectures

And a year that will show that it makes a lot of sense to add at least another 300 lectures to our philosophical quest of which I'll give a summary of what we have found so far and an impression of where we are heading for.

In my introduction of the project in September 2010 I said, that the lectures and the research for them will be more of a test, a searching for the answer whether the materialist view is tenable or not, to clarify the arguments in favor and against this view.

For now we will not discuss materialism, but take it for granted. First we started our the Mystery of the Brain from the point of view, that I am my brain.

Although this means that only nature has real (scientific) meaning for me, we all know that our beliefs are not only derived from science. A lot are derived from religious ideas or supernatural ideas like reincarnation, astrology, clairvoyance, tarot readings and so on.

It confronted us with the question "Why do we believe the Unbelievable?" I asserted that beliefs which rely on mechanisms and phenomena that go beyond our understanding of nature belong in the realm of supernatural beliefs. Beliefs that defy any test of their truth, like we can test scientific beliefs and hypotheses by falsifying them.

Because I am my brain, supernatural beliefs can only be generated by my own brain; that is the real source. Based on that conclusion some thinkers even plead for abolishing any religious education. You know the names …..Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and others.

However, if our brain is a product of evolution and has been our sole means to survive, then upholding supernatural beliefs must have been part of this evolutionary process.

Bruce Hood questions the necessity of trying to ban all supernatural beliefs, and in this I agree with him. It is part of the wiring of our brain and it must have had a function in evolution. And it still has. To be honest…I love weird supernatural beliefs. They are the poetry in our life.

The human species is a social animal. We need the group to survive and a group is only a group, if the individuals share certain beliefs with each other. As history shows, supernatural beliefs played and still play an important role in establishing cohesion in a group.

Our next station was the fifth revolution. Through history a number of revolutions have completely transformed the view on ourselves.

We were not the center of the universe. We were not created as we are now, but the result of millions of years of evolution. We are not such rational beings as we believed. It showed that we are controlled by all kinds of subconscious drives.

We were not who we are by coincidence. Our DNA contains the perfect set of building blocks that makes us who we are and which can be modified decisively by genetic manipulations. We are makeable…

And now the realm of the supernatural has fallen in the hands of science. We learn, that we are our brain, that a lot of ideas of which we believed had real existence are only the product of the brain.

First we looked deep into space with a telescope,, then we were dug deep in the ground on archeological sites, next we looked inward into ourself. The microscope was our next resting place and now we lay in fMRI-scanners and PET-scanners.

Now we follow the lead of the biology of the brain. What was regarded as spiritual experiences can be reproduced by magnetically stimulating the brain.

Our moral beliefs and convictions are put under the fMRI - scanner and moral decision processes are mapped in the brain. It appears that from our birth on we posses a series of universal principles, which then are molded by cultural influences.

Moreover there seems to be increasing evidence that the two hemispheres of the brain ( the rational and the emotional) are competing with each other, when we make moral decisions.

Our next station will be the question how feeling happy is wired into our brain and we'll discuss a number of other neurological discoveries, but do't think that this is the science of mind and the end of the philosophy of mind.

Philosophy in this field has become an interdisciplinary operation and believe me, in spite of all great scientific discoveries and insights, at the end we'll left behind with fundamental philosophical questions.

But I want to show you what insights have been reached in the past 30 years. It is too exciting. Only in 1986 the term 'neurophilosophy' was coined. We have to looking that…ind int so many other things still.

I am glad they opened up a whole new year for us, for we gonna need it!

The Discussion

[2011/01/04 13:27] herman Bergson: Sorry for the lengthy text...:-)
[2011/01/04 13:28] herman Bergson: Thank you
[2011/01/04 13:28] herman Bergson: It seemed to have killed Alexia :-)
[2011/01/04 13:28] BALDUR Joubert: smile .. if you said the more we know the more we know what we don't know i agree with you herman
[2011/01/04 13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): good summation
[2011/01/04 13:28] herman Bergson: thank you Gemma
[2011/01/04 13:29] herman Bergson: Yes Baldur....
[2011/01/04 13:29] herman Bergson: When we come to the real philosophical questions...really...we dont have the answers
[2011/01/04 13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): It is in my mind often now as to how the enormous changes in technology and the use of all the new gadgets will affect evolution of the mind
[2011/01/04 13:29] BALDUR Joubert: and i agree that philosophy has to deal with interdisciplinary science..
[2011/01/04 13:30] herman Bergson: Well..I think that our knowledge of evolution causes a problem...
[2011/01/04 13:30] BALDUR Joubert: 4 years ago i discussed with a philosopher the importance of historical knowledge
[2011/01/04 13:30] herman Bergson: We live fast and we think fast....
[2011/01/04 13:30] herman Bergson: but evolution needs tenthousands of years to establish a single change...
[2011/01/04 13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): are we sure ... that that time will not also speed up
[2011/01/04 13:31] BALDUR Joubert: did man -genetically-change inthe last 50000 years?
[2011/01/04 13:32] herman Bergson: I don't know Baldur
[2011/01/04 13:32] herman Bergson: But maybe he did
[2011/01/04 13:32] BALDUR Joubert: well.. there are few indices for that.. so its not evolution of man.. but evolution of culture.. to say knowledge and society
[2011/01/04 13:32] herman Bergson: Longlivety for instance is a genetically determined matter
[2011/01/04 13:33] Alexia Rodeyn: people might have seen progress running that fast in past times too
[2011/01/04 13:33] BALDUR Joubert: well from what i know its not genetic but medicine.. food..environment
[2011/01/04 13:33] herman Bergson: if the number of people increase with that quality....reaching ages like 88 to 95....
[2011/01/04 13:34] herman Bergson: Yes Alexia...but in relation toevolution these are only marginal and only technological changes
[2011/01/04 13:34] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yesterday i heard they have found a woman who may be 157 years old
[2011/01/04 13:34] BALDUR Joubert: poor
[2011/01/04 13:34] Beertje (beertje.beaumont): how can they tell she is that old?
[2011/01/04 13:34] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ‚ô• LOL ‚ô•
[2011/01/04 13:34] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i say so too
[2011/01/04 13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): they are studying
[2011/01/04 13:35] herman Bergson: such an individual instance is irrelevant...nice for the News media...that is all
[2011/01/04 13:35] BALDUR Joubert: as for cultural evolution..just study the behaviour of our ancestors 30 000 years ago and today.. tribalwars.. religious wars.. power structures.. nothing new for mankind
[2011/01/04 13:35] Beertje (beertje.beaumont): looking at her teeth???..
[2011/01/04 13:36] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ‚ô• LOL ‚ô•
[2011/01/04 13:36] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): beertje
[2011/01/04 13:36] herman Bergson: You are right to some extend Baldur...
[2011/01/04 13:36] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): her family
[2011/01/04 13:36] herman Bergson: In fact you see all stages of social evolution in this world....
[2011/01/04 13:36] herman Bergson: from primitive tribal behavior to rational individualistic behavior
[2011/01/04 13:37] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yes from the jungles of south america to the thinking capitals of the work
[2011/01/04 13:37] BALDUR Joubert: glad you call the bush policies primitve tribalbehaviours:)
[2011/01/04 13:37] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ‚ô• LOL ‚ô•
[2011/01/04 13:37] herman Bergson: lol..ok..Baldur...
[2011/01/04 13:37] Beertje (beertje.beaumont): lol
[2011/01/04 13:37] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): very true
[2011/01/04 13:37] Alexia Rodeyn: i will have to agree with Baldur on that , i feel that only the tools and technologies have changed
[2011/01/04 13:38] herman Bergson: I dont agree with that Alexia....
[2011/01/04 13:38] BALDUR Joubert: no.. there i disagree.. we a re a learning species..
[2011/01/04 13:38] herman Bergson: Our social behavior has changed too
[2011/01/04 13:38] BALDUR Joubert: cause we have a memory..
[2011/01/04 13:39] herman Bergson: not globally, but certainly insocieties which are science oriented
[2011/01/04 13:39] BALDUR Joubert: aren't we the result of what has been said and thought bevore us'
[2011/01/04 13:39] herman Bergson: Certainly Baldur....the better scientific insights the better we understand the world
[2011/01/04 13:40] BALDUR Joubert: memory. language and then writing are what we are made of.. brainwise:)
[2011/01/04 13:40] herman Bergson: Sure....what counts is what is in that memory and what is written down....
[2011/01/04 13:41] herman Bergson: and in that respect scientific insights shape a lot of our world perception
[2011/01/04 13:41] BALDUR Joubert: and what is transferred to new generations
[2011/01/04 13:41] herman Bergson: That has been shown by history Baldur...
[2011/01/04 13:41] BALDUR Joubert: scientific inside is of no value for someone who was taught that the world was created 5600 years ago
[2011/01/04 13:41] herman Bergson: The scientific revolution began in the 17th century....
[2011/01/04 13:42] herman Bergson: when religious explanations of relaity were abandoned
[2011/01/04 13:42] BALDUR Joubert: should we say questionned
[2011/01/04 13:43] herman Bergson: on the one hand now we have people that believe that the world will be a better place
[2011/01/04 13:43] herman Bergson: with more medical car, education, ecological production of food....
[2011/01/04 13:44] herman Bergson: and on the other hand we have people who believe the world will be a better place by blowing up themselves in a marketplace or in a church
[2011/01/04 13:44] BALDUR Joubert: smile.. the problems the philosophers never dared to touch are emotions.. love.. laughter.. and more
[2011/01/04 13:44] herman Bergson: Well...if it is about laughter....Aristotle already wrote about it...
[2011/01/04 13:45] BALDUR Joubert: we don't have the text.. just that he wrote about it or am i wrong
[2011/01/04 13:45] herman Bergson: To keep that secret the monestary in The Name of the `rose burned down ^_^
[2011/01/04 13:46] BALDUR Joubert: i think it was a interesting subject of the book-and film
[2011/01/04 13:46] herman Bergson: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Ecco....also a great movie staring Sean Connery!
[2011/01/04 13:46] BALDUR Joubert: church and love and laughter.. just a thing for the popes in the middle ages and even later..
[2011/01/04 13:47] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): seems i read that
[2011/01/04 13:47] BALDUR Joubert: well..they didn't have a condom problem lol
[2011/01/04 13:47] herman Bergson: Well..let's look into the future....
[2011/01/04 13:48] herman Bergson: some people hope that there will be no church anymore....
[2011/01/04 13:48] herman Bergson: no monotheistic fanatism...
[2011/01/04 13:48] herman Bergson: but real insight in the human condition
[2011/01/04 13:48] BALDUR Joubert: empathy.. mirror neurons:)
[2011/01/04 13:49] herman Bergson: GREAT Baldur...!!!! The right words
[2011/01/04 13:49] herman Bergson: Empathy IS wired into our brain!!!!
[2011/01/04 13:49] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): yes it is
[2011/01/04 13:49] BALDUR Joubert: i agree.. and not just ours
[2011/01/04 13:49] herman Bergson: OK…Next lecture will be about altruism....
[2011/01/04 13:50] herman Bergson: is it a product of education or is it a real part of the organism....
[2011/01/04 13:50] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): hmmmm
[2011/01/04 13:50] herman Bergson: Yes..fascinating question....
[2011/01/04 13:50] BALDUR Joubert: thank you herman.. sorry i was overpresent tonight.. just too much time over the holidays to think:)
[2011/01/04 13:50] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ‚ô• Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ‚ô•
[2011/01/04 13:50] herman Bergson: smiles...
[2011/01/04 13:50] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): see you thursday I hope i get home in time
[2011/01/04 13:51] BALDUR Joubert: snow gemma?
[2011/01/04 13:51] herman Bergson: thank you Baldur....You get your lecture next Thursday!
[2011/01/04 13:51] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye „ã°
[2011/01/04 13:51] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): all
[2011/01/04 13:51] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ‚ô• Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ‚ô•
[2011/01/04 13:51] herman Bergson: Bye Gemma...I am moved by your loyalty to the class
[2011/01/04 13:51] herman Bergson: :-(.... and that remark she missed...
[2011/01/04 13:52] Beertje (beertje.beaumont): sorry that i didn't say much..i needed my dictionary
[2011/01/04 13:53] BALDUR Joubert: now you can talk beertje:)
[2011/01/04 13:53] Beertje (beertje.beaumont): lol..
[2011/01/04 13:53] herman Bergson: It is not primarily important what you say, Beertje....what is important is what you think...:-)
[2011/01/04 13:53] herman Bergson: But if you want to tell us what you think...go ahead
[2011/01/04 13:53] Beertje (beertje.beaumont): no..i have to think about that
[2011/01/04 13:54] herman Bergson: smiles..
[2011/01/04 13:54] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your paricipation...
[2011/01/04 13:54] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thanks herman: -) for, 2009, 2010 and 2011: -) it is good to think WITH you
[2011/01/04 13:54] Beertje (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[2011/01/04 13:54] bergfrau Apfelbaum: byebye all :-) see u!!
[2011/01/04 13:54] herman Bergson: See you next Thursday in a lecture on Altruism...dedicated to Baldur :-)
[2011/01/04 13:55] herman Bergson: Bye Bergie
[2011/01/04 13:55] Alexia Rodeyn: is the class at the same time on Thursday ?
[2011/01/04 13:55] BALDUR Joubert: thank you.. and i'll follow up with egoism lol
[2011/01/04 13:55] Alexia Rodeyn: lol
[2011/01/04 13:56] herman Bergson: Yes Alexia..
[2011/01/04 13:56] herman Bergson: every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 PM PST
[2011/01/04 13:56] Alexia Rodeyn: Baldur gave me the link to your blog
[2011/01/04 13:56] BALDUR Joubert: isn't he a nice guy:)
[2011/01/04 13:57] herman Bergson:
[2011/01/04 13:57] Alexia Rodeyn: i have still very much to read about your previous topics
[2011/01/04 13:57] herman Bergson: yes...30 lectures :-)
[2011/01/04 13:57] BALDUR Joubert: i thought we were close to 300
[2011/01/04 13:57] Alexia Rodeyn: but that will be a nice dare for me as a person who calls her a tech nerd
[2011/01/04 13:57] Alexia Rodeyn: »ò)
[2011/01/04 13:58] herman Bergson: ok..:-)
[2011/01/04 13:58] herman Bergson: Give it a try Alexia
[2011/01/04 13:58] BALDUR Joubert: don;t dare her herman..she might lol
[2011/01/04 13:59] Alexia Rodeyn: i will
[2011/01/04 13:59] herman Bergson: She is welcome Baldur :-)
[2011/01/04 13:59] Alexia Rodeyn: was nice meeting you , see you on thursday then
[2011/01/04 13:59] Alexia Rodeyn: bye
[2011/01/04 13:59] BALDUR Joubert: yes..but when she is acquainted with the topics..its propably the moment i have to retire lol
[2011/01/04 14:00] herman Bergson: You are welcome Alexia
[2011/01/04 14:01] BALDUR Joubert: pity we have never enough time to discuss details..but -a compliment to you.. i might go back to university and take some history and philo classes:)
[2011/01/04 14:02] herman Bergson: thank you Baldur...
[2011/01/04 14:02] herman Bergson: You arent getting rusty are you....???!!!
[2011/01/04 14:02] BALDUR Joubert: lol.. i am.. that's why i thought of that..
[2011/01/04 14:03] BALDUR Joubert: ok.. got to go and talk to my friend.. see you thursday.

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment