Is the possibility of life a paradox?

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Render
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 10:22 pm
So is 'the possibility of life' a paradox?
As when people feel grateful that they are alive.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 10:27 pm
@Render,
Render;165162 wrote:
So is 'the possibility of life' a paradox?
As when people feel grateful that they are alive.

There is a tendency in the modern age to view the universe as predominately a dead, inert, deterministic, machine following fixed invariate physical laws.
From this view life and mind would be a paradox.
There is another view in which the universe is perceptive and experiential to the core and based on rational intelligence (logos) in which case, life and mind are merely a difference in degree not a difference in kind.
Life and mind do not come from no life and no mind (a dead universe).
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 10:50 pm
@prothero,
prothero;165165 wrote:

Life and mind do not come from no life and no mind (a dead universe).


And you know this, how? Indeed, all the evidence we have is exactly that life arose from matter.Your intuition that life cannot arise from matter is a prime example of what is called a "counter-evidential intuition", since all of the evidence that is available to us is that what you believe cannot be true is, in fact, true. (By the way, just because something has no life, it does not follow that it is dead. Life and death are contraries, not contradictories. A stone has no life, but it is false that a stone is dead).
 
TuringEquivalent
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 11:10 pm
@Render,
Render;165162 wrote:
So is 'the possibility of life' a paradox?
As when people feel grateful that they are alive.


Sure. For me, life is quite painful. I don ` t like much of it. I try to do whatever i can to make life more bearable. So, the thought that i will die is actually very comforting. Doing things, studying, and meeting good people are also what makes life more bearable.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 11:11 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;165179 wrote:
And you know this, how? Indeed, all the evidence we have is exactly that life arose from matter.).
Matter has become a very elusive concept in the modern age. The notion that nature primarily is composed of inert insensate point particles is indeed open to serious question and is questioned by philosophers and physicists alike. In fact my point of view that quantum particles are really quantum events and that actual particles only appear from their potientality on detection is a not uncommon interpretation of quantum theory.

In addition, it has become increasingly difficult to draw the line between life and no life, and experiential and non experiential entities. So yes I am making metaphysical assumptions and so are you. I am aware of the science, I am also aware of the dominant paradigm of mechanistic determinism and materialism which arises more from Cartesian and Newtonian notions than it does from special relativity and quantum mechanics. No I do not "know" this but neither does anyone know that nature is determinsitic or that the fundamental elements of nature are not experiential and perception in some primitive fashion.

Partly, I make these assertions to present a fundamentally different mode of viewing reality which does not ignore science as you assert but challenges the dominant metaphysical paradigm of materialism. Philosophical discussion should broaden ones view of the possible. The number of philosophers and scientists who challenge the doctrines of determinsm and materialism is not insubstantial nor are they uninformed about the facts and the theories. I know which of my assertions are metaphysical assumptions or philosophical speculations, do you?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 11:22 pm
@prothero,
prothero;165189 wrote:
Matter has become a very elusive concept in the modern age. The notion that nature primarily is composed of inert insensate point particles is indeed open to serious question and is questioned by philosophers and physicists alike. In fact my point of view that quantum particles are really quantum events and that actual particles only appear from their potientality on detection is a not uncommon interpretation of quantum theory.

In addition, it has become increasingly difficult to draw the line between life and no life, and experiential and non experiential entities. So yes I am making metaphysical assumptions and so are you. I am aware of the science, I am also aware of the dominant paradigm of mechanistic determinism and materialism which arises more from Cartesian and Newtonian notions than it does from special relativity and quantum mechanics. No I do not "know" this but neither does anyone know that nature is determinsitic or that the fundamental elements of nature are not experiential and perception in some primitive fashion.

Partly, I make these assertions to present a fundamentally different mode of viewing reality which does not ignore science as you assert but challenges the dominant metaphysical paradigm of materialism. Philosophical discussion should broaden ones view of the possible. The number of philosophers and scientists who challenge the doctrines of determinsm and materialism is not insubstantial nor are they uninformed about the facts and the theories. I know which of my assertions are metaphysical assumptions or philosophical speculations, do you?


To repeat, all the evidence we have is that life arose from matter. So, to say that it did not is counter-evidential. Unless, of course, you have some new information.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 11:28 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;165195 wrote:
To repeat, all the evidence we have is that life arose from matter. So, to say that it did not is counter-evidential. Unless, of course, you have some new information.
Some of the evidence we have is that matter arises from events and that events are perceptive (non sensory) and experiential (non conscious) in nature.
Life therefore is merely more perceptive and more experiential, a matter of difference in degree, not difference in kind.
Yes I know it is a hard concept to even consider.

There is lots of evidence that events in this world are based on more unifying rational principles of order and creativity. It is not a complete abandonment of reason, experience or fact to assert that rational intelligence lies behind the universe, merely a different speculation.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 11:37 pm
@prothero,
prothero;165197 wrote:
Some of the evidence we have is that matter arises from events and that events are perceptive (non sensory) and experiential (non conscious) in nature.
Life therefore is merely more perceptive and more experiential, a matter of difference in degree, not difference in kind.
Yes I know it is a hard concept to even consider.

There is lots of evidence that events in this world are based on more unifying rational principles of order and creativity. It is not a complete abandonment of reason, experience or fact to assert that rational intelligence lies behind the universe, merely a different speculation.


That's new evidence that life does not arise from matter? Looks like a lot of metaphysical speculation to me. In the meantime, scientists in laboratories are producing complex proteins.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 11:59 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;165199 wrote:
That's new evidence that life does not arise from matter? Looks like a lot of metaphysical speculation to me. In the meantime, scientists in laboratories are producing complex proteins.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1570627681/ref=oss_product



The ultimate nature of reality and of matter is really open to question.
You could also try some Whitehead maybe Science and the Modern World.

David Skirbina "History of Panspycism in the West" is a good read.
Be careful though they all call into question, the dominant metaphysical assumption of the modern world reductionism, mechanism, determinism and materialism; along with the assumption that nature is fundamentally inert. Science is the objectification of nature, the detection of external properties not a complete picture of reality and certainly not a complete picture of human experience or human concerns.

Anyway both philosophy and science are about questioning the assumptions present in the current dominant worldview. Materialism is a metaphysical assumption about ultimate reality not a proven fact. The notion that nature is fundamentally composed of inert insensate particles is not a fact, it is an assumption and one that has a hard time with quantum reality and with mind and experience in the world.

Really I am not crazy (maybe a little) and I am not uninformed either, just a different worldview, a different take on reality (one I think is worth exploring) and presenting.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 17 May, 2010 12:20 am
@prothero,
prothero;165206 wrote:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1570627681/ref=oss_product



The ultimate nature of reality and of matter is really open to question.
You could also try some Whitehead maybe Science and the Modern World.

David Skirbina "History of Panspycism in the West" is a good read.
Be careful though they all call into question, the dominant metaphysical assumption of the modern world reductionism, mechanism, determinism and materialism; along with the assumption that nature is fundamentally inert. Science is the objectification of nature, the detection of external properties not a complete picture of reality and certainly not a complete picture of human experience or human concerns.

Anyway both philosophy and science are about questioning the assumptions present in the current dominant worldview. Materialism is a metaphysical assumption about ultimate reality not a proven fact. The notion that nature is fundamentally composed of inert insensate particles is not a fact, it is an assumption and one that has a hard time with quantum reality and with mind and experience in the world.

Really I am not crazy (maybe a little) and I am not uninformed either, just a different worldview, a different take on reality (one I think is worth exploring) and presenting.


But none of this has anything at all to do with the issue of evidence, does it? There is nothing like any physical evidence that life has come from anything other than matter, as we understand physical evidence, and all the evidence we now have, and we are acquiring now, is that the great likelihood is that love arose in some not quite fully understood way, form matter. If you were to bet, I would advise you to bet on that. There may be other possibilities (the human imagination is fertile) but when we concentrate on what is probable, there is but one way to go. "The wise man proportions his beliefs to the evidence" David Hume. Philosophy may be about the possible, but science is about the probable.
 
prothero
 
Reply Mon 17 May, 2010 12:25 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;165212 wrote:
But none of this has anything at all to do with the issue of evidence, does it? There is nothing like any physical evidence that life has come from anything other than matter, as we understand physical evidence, and all the evidence we now have, and we are acquiring now, is that the great likelihood is that love arose in some not quite fully understood way, form matter. If you were to bet, I would advise you to bet on that. There may be other possibilities (the human imagination is fertile) but when we concentrate on what is probable, there is but one way to go. "The wise man proportions his beliefs to the evidence" David Hume. Philosophy may be about the possible, but science is about the probable.

It depends on what you mean by "matter".

Generally in the materialist view matter is held to be the fundamental constituent of reality which is essentially the assertion (assumption or speculation) of materialism.

In addition matter is generally regarded as inert and insensate without perception and without experience of any kind.

The alternative metaphysical speculations revolve around the notion that reality is composed of more than just matter. My particular presentation is that of process where fundamental reality is composed of events not particles. Particles are just the result of events and events always have not only a perceptive and experiential aspect (primitive mind) but also a physical and material aspect (matter). In this view reality is fundamentally perceptive (we are not talking sense organ perception) and fundamentally experiential (we are not talking consciousness, or self awareness). Nature is also fundamentally in deterministic and probabilistic and so small degrees of novelty, creativity and freedom are inherent along with an overall structure of unity and order..

Now my personal opinion is that this worldview does not ignore science or the facts (it is coherent and logical) and that it provides a unifying principle that better accommodates the world as we experience it mind, experience and to include values, ethics, aesthetics and religious sentiment (applicable and adequate). Science offers only an external objective partial and incomplete view of reality. Materialism fails both in the realm of mental experience, human concerns and in the realm of quantum physics and experiment

I do not think materialism is more probable, in the end I think materiaism will give way to a more monistic (unification of mind and matter) in a more perceptive and experiential model for reality. Process is the best current model I know of.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Mon 17 May, 2010 06:02 am
@Render,
Render;165162 wrote:
So is 'the possibility of life' a paradox?
As when people feel grateful that they are alive.
Why should we be greatful for being alive? There's no one to thank, and most of us just sees it as a natural occurance/matter of chance, what is it we should be greatful about excatly?

Should I be greatful for being able to turn on TV and PC? ..that I have electricity? ..that I have a goverment that is somewhat competent compared to many 3rd world countries? Should I be greatful for not being born in some 3rd world country? Should I be greatful for not having my teetch knocked out by some bully?

..I don't understand much of this threads deeper purpose.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 17 May, 2010 06:15 am
@prothero,
prothero;165214 wrote:
It depends on what you mean by "matter".



The truth of what one says always partly depends on what it is one's words mean. But the other part depends on what the facts are. And it really doesn't matter what you mean unless you also have the facts on your side. (Dogs simply don't lay eggs, whatever you mean by "dogs", and whatever you mean by "eggs"). Let's keep that obvious, but sometimes neglected truth in mind.
 
prothero
 
Reply Mon 17 May, 2010 07:50 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;165256 wrote:
The truth of what one says always partly depends on what it is one's words mean. But the other part depends on what the facts are. And it really doesn't matter what you mean unless you also have the facts on your side. (Dogs simply don't lay eggs, whatever you mean by "dogs", and whatever you mean by "eggs"). Let's keep that obvious, but sometimes neglected truth in mind.
That there is a phenomena in our world that we call "matter" we both agree on. What the ultimate nature of "matter" is (a philosophical question of the first order) I would say we do not agree on. In my case "matter" is the physical pole of eventsl; events are ultimate reality ;and events entail both primitive perception and primitive experience. I suspect that is not your view but the view I am presenting has been presented both by physicists and philosophers.

Does it make a difference. Well, yes a rather profound difference in both ones view of the universe as machine versus organism and in ones notion of the mystery of the emergence or possiblity of life in the universe. For if one views the universe as machine then ultimately both life and mind are machine (or something truely miraculous has emerged from a world which is predominately deaf, dumb, blind, accidental and purposeless) but if the world is inherently perceptive and experiential than life and mind are not a difference in kind but a difference in degree (to me the more rational and likely view).

You do not have to agree, it may assault your assumptions about reality, but it does not ignore the facts of science and is a more adequate view if one does not exclude mind and experience from your worldview. Science objectifies and dwells on the external properties of acutalities even while excluding your subjective world of experience. Science is a great tool that tells half the story. The other part of the story is your subjective experience, your interior world and the notion that other "material objects" have experience too is not irrational even if a little novel in our Newtonian and Cartesian worldview. Modern physics has overthrown materialism, a good trend I think, for materialism will never be an adequate basis for explaining mind and experience IMHO.

Life and mind are paradoxes in a universe composed of inert, insensate, non perceptive, non experiential point particles. Fortunately that is not the world we actually live in only the one that arose from Cartesian dualism and Newtonian mechanics both of which are no longer in accordance with all the scientific facts and certainly not adequate to the world of mind and experience.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 17 May, 2010 08:06 am
@prothero,
prothero;165285 wrote:
That there is a phenomena in our world that we call "matter" we both agree on. What the ultimate nature of "matter" is (a philosophical question of the first order) I would say we do not agree on.


Really, at risk of utter monotony, I have to drag you back to the question, is there any evidence at all that life did not come from matter, and is not what is being done in labs to create complex proteins, not strong evidence that life can come from matter alone? Could you just answer that question so I don't have to ask it again?
 
prothero
 
Reply Mon 17 May, 2010 01:57 pm
@kennethamy,
[QUOTE=kennethamy;165287]Really, at risk of utter monotony, I have to drag you back to the question, is there any evidence at all that life did not come from matter, and is not what is being done in labs to create complex proteins, not strong evidence that life can come from matter alone? Could you just answer that question so I don't have to ask it again?[/QUOTE]What you would like me to say is the unifying principle for life, mind, and experience is matter. The notion being that they are all fundamentally material entities or reducible to the material. That is not science. It is metaphysics. In particular it is monistic materialism.

Matter is not the unifying principle as I see it.

The unifying principle for life, mind, experience and matter is process. Evolution is a process. Cosmology is a process. Life is a process. Mind is a process Even matter is a process. The most fundamental element of reality is not a particle. It is an event.

Philosophy is the search for fundamental or unifying principles. Why do I say that process is a better unifying principle than matter?

The traditional Newtonian conception of matter (the atomic conception) is of inert solid point particles, bouncing off other insensate particles, in rigid deterministic mechanical interactions. That conception is no longer tenable. It fact it is no longer even scientific. Matter is something much more elusive than that these days. Quantum particles are more like events than billiard balls. Events are experiential, dynamic, and perceptive and have some degrees of inherent freedom or unpredictability. Process is both the better conception and the more unifying conception. Life, mind, experience and matter all derive from process. Process is the unifying principle of reality. Process is experiential, perceptive and creative. The traditional concept of matter possesses none of those qualities.

"What is being done in labs is to try to reproduce a process. It is not an entirely material experiment and life is not merely complex arrangements of matter. The universe is inherently ordered, autopoeitic, and self arranging and none of these properties derive from the traditional inert, insensate point particle conception of matter. The notion that life, mind and experience arise from the inert and the insensate is more of a miraculous, and a less credible suggestion than that nature is perceptive and experiential to the core.

Materialism is a metaphysical speculation not a scientific fact, not even a scientific theory. It is only from a materialist viewpoint that life and mind are a paradox; from my point of view they are entirely in keeping with the general nature of the universe and reality.
 
Soul Brother
 
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 07:55 am
@TuringEquivalent,
TuringEquivalent;165187 wrote:
Sure. For me, life is quite painful. I don ` t like much of it. I try to do whatever i can to make life more bearable. So, the thought that i will die is actually very comforting. Doing things, studying, and meeting good people are also what makes life more bearable.




Just, [SIZE="4"]WOW![/SIZE]

I am lost for words.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 08:26 am
@prothero,
prothero;165413 wrote:
What you would like me to say is the unifying principle for life, mind, and experience is matter. The notion being that they are all fundamentally material entities or reducible to the material. That is not science. It is metaphysics. In particular it is monistic materialism.

Matter is not the unifying principle as I see it.



Philosophy is the search for fundamental or unifying principles. Why do I say that process is a better unifying principle than matter?

.


I don't see what the question, "what is the unifying principle of life" whatever that might mean, has to do with whether life can come from matter. I must be missing something.

Some philosophy may be that, as practiced by some philosophers. But not all philosophy is that, and not all philosophy as practiced by philosophers is that.

"The search for the unit is the delusion". Wittgenstein.
 
prothero
 
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 03:08 pm
@kennethamy,
[QUOTE=kennethamy;166457] I don't see what the question, "what is the unifying principle of life" whatever that might mean, has to do with whether life can come from matter. I must be missing something. [/QUOTE] Well actually metaphysics often is the search for the unifying principle of reality not just life. I suggested process as the unifying principle in the sense of process philosophy A.N. Whitehead.

[QUOTE=kennethamy;166457] Some philosophy may be that, as practiced by some philosophers. But not all philosophy is that, and not all philosophy as practiced by philosophers is that. [/QUOTE] Science is also the search for the unifying principle of objective observational reality. Hence the search for the Theory of Everything?. They do not mean everything in human experience just everything in physical science. Gravity thus unifies planetary motions with falling apples. Evolution unifies the disparate observations of biology, paleontology, etc. We are always searching for unifying ideas or principles. Philosophy at least in the grandest tradition of metaphysics and speculative philosophy is precisely the search for unifying principle.

[QUOTE=kennethamy;166457] "The search for the unit is the delusion". Wittgenstein. [/QUOTE] Do you have a reference for that quote because it does not show up on regular search? There were other interesting "is the delusion" quotes however.

"objectivity is the delusion that observations could be made without observers"
"Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another"
"how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness"

In any event analytic philosophers and particularly logical positivists always quote Wittgenstein. Historically it is interesting because Wittgenstein did not get along very well with the Vienna Circle and always claimed they misunderstood him. It is also interesting because Wittgenstein later repudiated and retracted much of the Tractatus in Philosophical Investigations.
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 06:54 pm
@Render,
Render;165162 wrote:
So is 'the possibility of life' a paradox?
As when people feel grateful that they are alive.


Wait do you mean "probability"? Theres always a possibility for life (logically mind you). Or maybe life is impossible. But that would just be plain silly (as we are living).
 
 

 
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