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Old 05-27-2008, 08:43 PM   #41
Achilles
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Originally Posted by EnderWiggin View Post
Yeah, I understand that. That's kind of what I mean. If it were just the levels of oxytocin in the brain, then wouldn't it be quite easy to see that?
Perhaps yes and perhaps no.

Suppose you one day found the cure for cancer scribbled out in a language that you didn't recognize. Would you immediately know what it was or would you first need to spend years learning the language, then years learning the science before you could then truly understand what was being said?

If you've seen the movie Contact, perhaps you could draw a similar analogy with the message, blueprints, and eventual "ship".

This is a poor analogy because it suggests that someone else first had the answer and wrote it down, but I'm hoping you'll overlook this in order to see the point.

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I think the reason that we don't understand the brain better may be just that. There may be more to it then just chemicals.
I would tend to agree with the words, however since I'm not quite clear on the sentiment I'll have to hold off on providing my endorsement

Think about it this way: What part of the flashlight is light? None of it. Combine the right components in the right way and you have a piece of hardware capable of producing light but to say that the light is "more" than the flashlight is false because without the flashlight, the light doesn't exist.

We see the light and we see the flashlight but we refuse to accept that the light we see is a product of the flashlight itself.

My 2 cents.
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Old 05-27-2008, 08:51 PM   #42
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Perhaps yes and perhaps no.

Suppose you one day found the cure for cancer scribbled out in a language that you didn't recognize. Would you immediately know what it was or would you first need to spend years learning the language, then years learning the science before you could then truly understand what was being said?

If you've seen the movie Contact, perhaps you could draw a similar analogy with the message, blueprints, and eventual "ship".

This is a poor analogy because it suggests that someone else first had the answer and wrote it down, but I'm hoping you'll overlook this in order to see the point.
Yes, I understand what you're saying, but along those lines: After you researched and studied and learned some about the language, wouldn't you think you'd pick up on enough to give you an inkling that it's the cure for cancer - or for that matter, just a recipe for soup?

I'm under the impression that we know enough about the brain to say more about love than "Dunno" and shrugging our shoulders. I think that if it was just the oxytocin levels, we'd know that by now.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
I would tend to agree with the words, however since I'm not quite clear on the sentiment I'll have to hold of on providing my endorsement
What do you mean?

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Think about it this way: What part of the flashlight is light? None of it. Combine the right components in the right way and you have a piece of hardware capable of producing light but to say that the light is "more" than the flashlight is false because without the flashlight, the light doesn't exist.

We see the light and we see the flashlight but we refuse to accept that the light we see is a product of the flashlight itself.
I understand your points. I recognize your analogy. However, since neither of us know whether or not it's veritable, it doesn't really convince me all that much. And I'd dispute the point that the light is 'more' than the flashlight itself. I think it's a product of the components, which is something more.

Again, that's working in the analogy. I personally don't think our brain is as simple as a light bulb.


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Originally Posted by Achilles
My 2 cents.
And mine as well. Thanks for reading.

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Old 05-27-2008, 09:05 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnderWiggin View Post
Yes, I understand what you're saying, but along those lines: After you researched and studied and learned some about the language, wouldn't you think you'd pick up on enough to give you an inkling that it's the cure for cancer - or for that matter, just a recipe for soup?
Yes, but you're assuming that we're at the end of that process instead of somewhere in the middle (which is where the expert guess they are, not knowing where the finish line is and all ).

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I'm under the impression that we know enough about the brain to say more about love than "Dunno" and shrugging our shoulders. I think that if it was just the oxytocin levels, we'd know that by now.
I suppose I can't force you to abandon your assumptions, however I will point out that progress is not hitched to your expectations

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What do you mean?
It means that I might agree with the sentiment "there may be more to it than just chemicals", but not in the same sense that you meant it. Clearly the light is the product of the flashlight, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is "more" than the flashlight.

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Originally Posted by EnderWiggin View Post
I understand your points. I recognize your analogy. However, since neither of us know whether or not it's veritable, it doesn't really convince me all that much.
It's not my job to convince you

And yes, I recognize that my thinking on the matter is still largely speculative (at least speculative within my range of understanding as a former a psych major. The experts might say that I'm pretty much on track), however I will challenge you to ask yourself which line of thinking makes more sense.

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Originally Posted by EnderWiggin View Post
And I'd dispute the point that the light is 'more' than the flashlight itself. I think it's a product of the components, which is something more.
Feel free to dispute any thing at any time

Would you mind expanding on your argument?

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Again, that's working in the analogy. I personally don't think our brain is as simple as a light bulb.
Neither do I, as the lightbulb is only one component of the flashlight

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And mine as well. Thanks for reading.
Great post, EW. Thanks for your reply.
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Old 05-27-2008, 09:25 PM   #44
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Yes, but you're assuming that we're at the end of that process instead of somewhere in the middle (which is where the expert guess they are, not knowing where the finish line is and all ).

I suppose I can't force you to abandon your assumptions, however I will point out that progress is not hitched to your expectations
Both good points.

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Originally Posted by House
Cuddy: "How is it that you always assume you're right?
House: "I don't, I just find it hard to operate on the opposite assumption.
That quote comes to mind. It just makes more sense to me that way.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
It means that I might agree with the sentiment "there may be more to it than just chemicals", but not in the same sense that you meant it. Clearly the light is the product of the flashlight, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is "more" than the flashlight.
So you're saying you think it might be more than chemicals, but only in the sense that hydrogen and oxygen gas combine with electricity to form water? And you furthermore think that the water is neither more nor less than the hydrogen and oxygen apart from one another? Just trying to clarify for my own sake.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
It's not my job to convince you
Doesn't stop you from trying

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Originally Posted by Achilles
And yes, I recognize that my thinking on the matter is still largely speculative (at least speculative within my range of understanding as a former a psych major. The experts might say that I'm pretty much on track), however I will challenge you to ask yourself which line of thinking makes more sense.
Didn't realize you were a psych major, but looking back on it (and the fact that you bring up fallacies of logic sometimes) it's a bit more obvious now.

I think that the reason we disagree here is the same reason we disagree about religion. You don't believe that there's something bigger out there, and the same is true here. Whereas I believe in God and the belief that love is 'bigger' than the brain itself.

Not really sure what the reason actually is, however.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Would you mind expanding on your argument?
Sure. In my opinion, the light produced by the flashlight is something that is unconnected to the components of the flashlight itself. The components allow the light to be created, but the light itself is something more than just the components - it takes the flow of electrons, which in my eyes, is the higher existence of love that we don't understand.

Hmm. Now I'm starting to confuse myself.

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Neither do I, as the lightbulb is only one component of the flashlight
Semantics. You knew what I meant.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Great post, EW. Thanks for your reply.
To you as well.

_EW_



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Old 05-27-2008, 10:00 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by EnderWiggin View Post
So you're saying you think it might be more than chemicals, but only in the sense that hydrogen and oxygen gas combine with electricity to form water? And you furthermore think that the water is neither more nor less than the hydrogen and oxygen apart from one another? Just trying to clarify for my own sake.
I think you might be able to use the word "more" in the context of synergy, but not in the sense of there being something "separate" or "independent" that transcends. I hope that helps to clarify.

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Didn't realize you were a psych major, but looking back on it (and the fact that you bring up fallacies of logic sometimes) it's a bit more obvious now.
If the topic change to law/criminal justice, or information systems, we can touch on some of my other majors as well

I was in school for a looong time before I finally decided what I wanted to be when I grew up.

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I think that the reason we disagree here is the same reason we disagree about religion. You don't believe that there's something bigger out there, and the same is true here. Whereas I believe in God and the belief that love is 'bigger' than the brain itself.
Probably. The same standards of evidence still apply though. You can't run from them by changing the subject

In order to present a viable argument for love being "more", you have to be able to rule out what it is not (much the same way that detective rules out suspects rather than builds a case against just one at the beginning). While intangible explanations aren't really testable (and therefore guesswork by default), explanations that have some foundation in the physical world can be tested and therefore more useful.

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Sure. In my opinion, the light produced by the flashlight is something that is unconnected to the components of the flashlight itself.
So what happens when you hit the button but the battery is dead? Can you still produce light? (i.e. can a dead person feel love).

What about if the bulb is manufactured with a flaw (such as a bad filament) and the flashlight cannot produces light? (i.e. do sociopaths feel love?).

If love is more than the product of chemical reactions in the brain and light is more than the product of component in a flashlight, then we should have pretty good explanations for where "love" goes when someone dies or where "light" goes when the juice runs out.

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The components allow the light to be created, but the light itself is something more than just the components - it takes the flow of electrons, which in my eyes, is the higher existence of love that we don't understand.
We have evidence for electrons

Try again

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Semantics. You knew what I meant.
Indeed I did, but I think you may have missed my meaning
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:28 PM   #46
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I think you might be able to use the word "more" in the context of synergy, but not in the sense of there being something "separate" or "independent" that transcends. I hope that helps to clarify.
I think I agree.

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If the topic change to law/criminal justice, or information systems, we can touch on some of my other majors as well
I was in school for a looong time before I finally decided what I wanted to be when I grew up.
All three interesting fields.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Probably. The same standards of evidence still apply though. You can't run from them by changing the subject

In order to present a viable argument for love being "more", you have to be able to rule out what it is not (much the same way that detective rules out suspects rather than builds a case against just one at the beginning). While intangible explanations aren't really testable (and therefore guesswork by default), explanations that have some foundation in the physical world can be tested and therefore more useful.
For right now, I'm going to have to let this be. I realize what you're saying about burden of proof, but I'm going to go to bed now instead.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
So what happens when you hit the button but the battery is dead? Can you still produce light? (i.e. can a dead person feel love).
Ready for this cop out? I think that once a person dies, their soul doesn't need the earthly components of the brain to produce the 'light' of love.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
What about if the bulb is manufactured with a flaw (such as a bad filament) and the flashlight cannot produces light? (i.e. do sociopaths feel love?).
IMHO, they do - it's just flawed.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
If love is more than the product of chemical reactions in the brain and light is more than the product of component in a flashlight, then we should have pretty good explanations for where "love" goes when someone dies or where "light" goes when the juice runs out.
.... I'll work on this later.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
We have evidence for electrons

Try again
Hmm. I feel like we were talking in an analogy, and you totally ruined it. I'm not sure what you're trying to say here, but I don't think it's relevant.

Maybe you could explain further, however the counterargument "no" just doesn't resonate with me all that well.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Indeed I did, but I think you may have missed my meaning
Well then. Please enlighten me.

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Old 05-27-2008, 10:46 PM   #47
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Ready for this cop out? I think that once a person dies, their soul doesn't need the earthly components of the brain to produce the 'light' of love.
Okay, but where does it go? What evidence do you have that it goes there?

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IMHO, they do - it's just flawed.
That's fine too, but what does the research say?

Nevermind. Scratch that. Let's ignore what the research says and instead focus on why you think it's flawed. Because god infuses them with love differently or because they have some physiological abnormality? If we can show that all sociopathic people share a physiological abnormality, is it more likely that this is just a bizarre coincidence or might we feel comfortable proceeding with our research as though a causal relationship might exist?

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... I'll work on this later.
Okay.

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Hmm. I feel like we were talking in an analogy, and you totally ruined it. I'm not sure what you're trying to say here, but I don't think it's relevant.
I took your comment to mean that just as electricity powers the lightbulb to create light, god powers the soul to create love (or something like that). My point was we have evidence for electricity (and by way of comparison, we do not have evidence for god).

Rest well. Talk to you later.
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Old 05-27-2008, 11:08 PM   #48
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I'm sure it's possible there are other chemicals and horomones involved as well.
Possible? Try estrogen, testosterone, dopamine, serotonin, adrenaline/norepinephrine, vasopressin....However, chemistry levels alone are inadequate to explain love. If that were the case, if we had the same chemistry levels we would expect people to exhibit the same level of love. You can have people with the same amounts of brain chemicals, but they aren't going to experience emotions or love the same way. That's because the brain pathways, the neuroanatomy, is laid down differently in each individual's brain. The neuroanatomy has as much an influence as the chemicals, and possibly more. Let me give you an eye example since I know that best. Children develop 'lazy eye', or amblyopia, because early in life the eye did not receive a clear picture. That could be because of a cataract, a turned eye that didn't allow the picture to focus on the macula (which is the part of the retina where we normally have our best vision), or a very different prescription in that eye so that the picture in that eye was always blurred. In order for the vision centers in the brain to develop properly, there has to be a clear picture coming from the eye. For reasons we don't completely understand yet, the clear picture allows the neurons to branch out and make more connections with other neurons. The more branches we have, the better our vision becomes as our brains mature. People with one normal eye and one amblyopic eye have a normal amount of neuronal branching in the visual centers for that eye, and a much lower amount of branching in the part of the brain that handles the amblyopic eye. So in this case, the brain chemicals are the same for both eyes, but the neuroanatomy is not, and the resultant vision is not. In the case of love, 2 people could have the same exact amount of neurochemicals, but they aren't going to have the same level of love if their brain anatomy is different.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Why not? On what basis can you objectively rule out these other factors (which you would have to do in order to establish that there is "more")?
Minnesota twin study. Identical twins, who have the same genetic makeup and very similar environmental influences if raised together, and thus would have nearly identical anatomy, physiology and biochemistry, are no more likely to pick similar mates than random pairs of non-twins. If they experienced love identically or nearly so, they would pick similar mates.
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Originally Posted by Achilles
Perhaps being exposed to affection (love isn't a tangible thing) helps the emotional centers in the brain to develop. If that were the case, then that would explain why affection and bonding are critical to child development while keeping it within the explorable boundaries of biochemistry and anatomy, would it not?
I don't know that I'd separate affection and love--I think affection is a level of love. Can you show true affection without loving someone?

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Originally Posted by Achilles
While that is lovely, I wonder why I should consider Paul an authority on love.
Why do we need to be 'an authority' to be able to express our thoughts and feelings about love? Do PhDs know anything more about love than the rest of us who have experienced it? I've seen kids who are able to show love to others better than some college professors.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
I don't know about that
It's my opinion on it.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Empathy, duty, and even ego are explanations as well.
What is empathy, but love for humanity allowing you to put yourself in their shoes? What is duty, but love for one's country/freedom/family/ideal? What is ego, but love for oneself?

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Originally Posted by Achilles
The reasoning seems circular, but I like the image that the sentiment creates. Thanks for sharing it!
It would appear circular stating it that way. Any number of medical and marriage studies show that giving and receiving love both are necessary for personal (physical, mental, and psychological) and marital health. Humanity needs love, we as individuals need to give and receive love. Perhaps love isn't subject to the sterile emotionless rules on circular logic.


Flashlights--they're just vehicles for changing electrical energy to light energy (or chemical to electrical to light if you're including batteries). All the flashlight did was convert one type of energy (electric or electrochemical) to another type (electromagnetic energy) that our eyes happen to be able perceive. It's also an inadequate analogy for the brain.

We're in the middle of our understanding of brain? Hubel and Wiesel have done a lot of work on the visual cortex and visual processing. What did they get their Nobel prize for in '81? They received it for learning how cats and monkeys are able to perceive the orientation of one single line. We're just starting to learn how genetics code pigments in the eye incorrectly leading to color blindness, or how genetics incorrectly code a chemical in retinal cells that lead to the development of retinitis pigmentosa. We still don't completely understand how the brain processes color vision, binocular vision/depth perception, or how it takes all these lines from the ocular dominance columns and actually turn those into what we perceive as 'sailboat' vs. 'book' vs. 'dad'. We still don't completely understand all the biochemistry, neuroanatomy, or electrophysiology. We've learned a lot, but we have so much farther to travel than the distance we've already covered.


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Old 05-28-2008, 12:05 AM   #49
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Possible? Try estrogen, testosterone, dopamine, serotonin, adrenaline/norepinephrine, vasopressin....However, chemistry levels alone are inadequate to explain love.
I'm still waiting for an explanation as to why this is true.

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If that were the case, if we had the same chemistry levels we would expect people to exhibit the same level of love.
The reasoning seems sound. How would we measure love though? Kinda makes it tough to test your hypothesis

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You can have people with the same amounts of brain chemicals, but they aren't going to experience emotions or love the same way.
While this is probably true, I'd like to know what evidence you have to back up your assertion. If this experience is completely subjective, then I'm sure it's possible that two people could experience it the same way. Even if they don't, how do we measure differentiation? How do we determine what degree of variation is statistically significant? Is knowing any of this even slightly important? If your answer is "no", then I have to ask why you would choose to pick that battle by presenting this argument.

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That's because the brain pathways, the neuroanatomy, is laid down differently in each individual's brain. The neuroanatomy has as much an influence as the chemicals, and possibly more.
Yet somehow we all manage to associate "smiling" with "happy", etc.

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In the case of love, 2 people could have the same exact amount of neurochemicals, but they aren't going to have the same level of love if their brain anatomy is different.
Just so I'm understanding this correctly, are you positing that the variation in "love" of two "normal" people is as pronounced as someone with two normal eyes compared to someone with a lazy eye?

Surely people that that have two normal eyes have roughly the same development process even though their brains are not precisely the same in every way, right?

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Minnesota twin study. Identical twins, who have the same genetic makeup and very similar environmental influences if raised together, and thus would have nearly identical anatomy, physiology and biochemistry, are no more likely to pick similar mates than random pairs of non-twins. If they experienced love identically or nearly so, they would pick similar mates.
I'm afraid the example does not address the question. Nothing here rules out naturally occurring physical processes (which was the argument that you made when you said that it had to be more than naturally occurring physical processes).

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I don't know that I'd separate affection and love--I think affection is a level of love. Can you show true affection without loving someone?
Sticking with the example I provided, yes I would argue that newborns are not instinctually affectionate. They instinctually know to be close to us, etc, but that isn't the same thing. Case in point: I'm sure you remember the first time that your children gave you a hug or a kiss. By demonstrating the behavior for our offspring, their development is affected (much the way you outlined with lazy eyes vs non-lazy eyes above), and they subsequently learn how to be affectional/feel love.

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Why do we need to be 'an authority' to be able to express our thoughts and feelings about love? Do PhDs know anything more about love than the rest of us who have experienced it? I've seen kids who are able to show love to others better than some college professors.
You were the one that presented his comments as though they should have some significance. If you find the words of a child or someone with a Ph.D more profound, then perhaps you should have posted those instead (however I'd probably ask for their qualifications as well).

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It's my opinion on it.
Fair enough

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What is empathy, but love for humanity allowing you to put yourself in their shoes?
Love is not prerequisite for empathy. Empathy is the ability to put oneself in another shoes. Whether love is a motivation for doing so or not is a completely separate question. Have you ever noticed that incredibly manipulative people tend to be pretty empathetic?

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What is duty, but love for one's country/freedom/family/ideal?
Sometimes duty is just duty. Sometimes it is motivated by love but sometimes it is motivated by a the knowledge that failure to perform one's duty will result in harm, punishment, loss of prestiege, etc.

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What is ego, but love for oneself?
While ego can lead to narcissism, that isn't always the case. If ego (or being the big shot) can motivate someone to act selflessly then I don't think your example applies.

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It would appear circular stating it that way. Any number of medical and marriage studies show that giving and receiving love both are necessary for personal (physical, mental, and psychological) and marital health. Humanity needs love, we as individuals need to give and receive love. Perhaps love isn't subject to the sterile emotionless rules on circular logic.
Indeed it makes a great deal of sense that if we developed emotional centers in the brain that relationships that stimulated those centers would be preferable.

The argument that we have love because we need love because we have love (because we need love because we...) seems circular. Again, I could also just be missing something in the translation too, which is why I said "seems" before.

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Flashlights--they're just vehicles for changing electrical energy to light energy (or chemical to electrical to light if you're including batteries). All the flashlight did was convert one type of energy (electric or electrochemical) to another type (electromagnetic energy) that our eyes happen to be able perceive.
Brains--they're just highly evolved nerve centers capable of transmitting and interpreting a vast number of signal which are transmitted via chemical reactions. All the brain has done is register a certain chemical reaction in one region and associate it with a physiological response that current language happens to associate with the word "love". It works when I do it too

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It's also an inadequate analogy for the brain.
Why is that? We have physical components and chemical reactions. The two working together are capable of producing something that is not "inherent" (not sure what word to use here) to the components or the ingredients themselves (consciousness, emotions, light, etc.). I'm rather fond of the analogy and would hate to get rid of it, however if it truly does not work, then I need to find a new one ASAP.

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We're in the middle of our understanding of brain? Hubel and Wiesel have done a lot of work on the visual cortex and visual processing. What did they get their Nobel prize for in '81? They received it for learning how cats and monkeys are able to perceive the orientation of one single line. We're just starting to learn how genetics code pigments in the eye incorrectly leading to color blindness, or how genetics incorrectly code a chemical in retinal cells that lead to the development of retinitis pigmentosa. We still don't completely understand how the brain processes color vision, binocular vision/depth perception, or how it takes all these lines from the ocular dominance columns and actually turn those into what we perceive as 'sailboat' vs. 'book' vs. 'dad'. We still don't completely understand all the biochemistry, neuroanatomy, or electrophysiology. We've learned a lot, but we have so much farther to travel than the distance we've already covered.
This part of your post is simply awesome. Thanks for helping to keep our current progress in perspective.
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Old 05-28-2008, 12:25 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles View Post
Love is not prerequisite for empathy. Empathy is the ability to put oneself in another shoes. Whether love is a motivation for doing so or not is a completely separate question. Have you ever noticed that incredibly manipulative people tend to be pretty empathetic?
If empathy is little more than the ability to place yourself in another's shoes, what value as a basis for a moral code? One could easily imagine themself in someone else's postion and still do horrible things to that person, manipulating even themselves into rationalizing their own behavior.

Quote:
While ego can lead to narcissism, that isn't always the case. If ego (or being the big shot) can motivate someone to act selflessly then I don't think your example applies.
If ego is the motivation, then it's entirely all too possible that the act only appears selfless to the uninformed.


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