Consciousness: Egnor on determinism and free will (General)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 17:39 (287 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE:"There are no objective facts in the world. This isn’t a statement about fake news. Rather, it is the implication of an experiment that suggests the nature of reality depends on who is looking".

dhw: Well, well, well. If humans and animals weren’t here, there would be no stars, no planets, no universe, because “there are no objective facts in the world”. Here is my sensational counter-hypothesis: if there were no minds in the objectively existing universe, there would be no minds to observe and interpret the objectively existing universe.
And from “Transmitting sound waves”

QUOTE: "Without brains of human and animals to interpret the air vibration into sounds that we experience, there is no sound at all, only soundless air vibration. The entire universe is in fact ‘silent’. Sound only really exists in human’s and animals’ minds".

dhw: I suggest that if there were no minds to hear the sound of thunder, there would be no minds to hear the sound of thunder. By the same token, I do not believe that if there were no minds to see the universe, the universe would consist of nothing but light waves.

DAVID: It is like if 'a tree falls in the forest and no one around to hear it' was there sound (?), and the answer is no. It takes a mind to hear it but the bacteria in the soil would feel the vibrations. Hot, cold, rough, smooth, sweet, sour, etc. are all living interpretations of physically inert properties.

dhw: Yes, it takes a mind to hear it, so if there is no mind, no one can hear it. Your question is believed to have been asked way back in the 19th century by George Berkeley, who at least had the good sense to argue that “the nature of reality depends on who is looking” but this did NOT mean there are no objective facts. I have found a delightful quote in Wikipedia:
Albert Einstein is reported to have asked his fellow physicist and friend Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics, whether he realistically believed that 'the moon does not exist if nobody is looking at it.' To this Bohr replied that however hard he (Einstein) may try, he would not be able to prove that it does.

I would add that nobody can possibly prove that the tree does not make a sound or the moon does not exist, and I would also add my usual proposal that anyone who believes there are no objective facts should step in front of a bus travelling at, let’s say 50 miles an hour.

So the question really is: if original and many subsequent organisms until presumably the Cambrian could not recognize sound or in any way be aware of its possible existence, how could cell committees from the Ediacaran invent it in the Cambrian? My usual question. It takes a mind to visualize what is needed or available to evolve anything.


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