Debate and Discussion

does love exists?
isukun at 10:13AM, Feb. 12, 2007
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I can see where you're coming from, I just can't view it that way. I don't pull this stuff out of my ass, either. Most of it comes from real world psychology and observations I've made when studying anthropology. We are obviously coming from two very different branches of psychology, here.
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mlai at 10:05AM, Feb. 15, 2007
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Humankind is the apex of intelligence and sentience on this planet; you can't delegate parental bonding to either instinct or culture - it's both, as is with most things when it comes to humans.

When ppl take offense to “love is chemicals,” what they're really objecting to is “there is no soul/Heaven/God.” This is a completely irrelevant association. Discounting whether or not there is soul/God, what does love have anything to do with that? Is it going to be as objectionable to you if I said “hate/anger/greed/schizophrenia/paranoia/psychosis is chemicals” rather than “love is chemicals”? Is criminal psychosis any less of a credible human state of mind than love?

As for true love. Never had it, and I doubt I ever will. I'm a slacker and I don't look very hard, and we know nothing falls out of the sky and into your lap, true love included.

Ah I envy the fools in our stories… a (or many) beautiful maiden/alien/goddess/mermaid/fembot/whatever falls out of the sky and into the hero's unsuspecting lap, and all he has to do is risk his life and kill a few villains and TADA, true love.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
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ozoneocean at 10:45AM, Feb. 15, 2007
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mlai
When ppl take offense to “love is chemicals,” what they're really objecting to is “there is no soul/Heaven/God.” This is a completely irrelevant association.
No. What most people object to with the “love is chemicals” idea is that it's irrelevantly, misleadingly, and ignorantly reductionist. “cars are metal”, “trees are fibrous masses”, “Bones are calcium”, “radioactivity is evil”: all of those statements have some truth in them in certain contexts, but it simply doesn't matter because they're such stupid, trivial things to say. Almost everything on the earth is “chemicals”, except energy… And then basically everything on the earth IS energy in varying states, so why don't we just say “love is energy”? It satisfies the reductionists and it also sounds spiritual enough to appease people who prefer more metaphysical explanations. :)

I think we need to kill that one dead… And it's not nice to ascribe other people's motivation to religion all the time in such a derogatory way, unless they actually claim to be coming from that viewpoint.

But that does bring up another good point: the Christian religion is very big on using “love” in it's literature and sermons, especially the “younger” varieties of Christianity, love is one of their primary themes. Christianity actually has quite a few of its own definitions for “love” too if I remember rightly. That seems be be more about the socially constructed ideas surrounding “love” that Iskun was talking about, and it's actually very important because due to Christianity's primary guiding influence on Western thought over the millennia it has influenced how most of us (from a primarily Western background) come to terms with the idea of “love” in a social and cultural context. What a fascinating perspective!
 
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mlai at 1:10PM, Feb. 15, 2007
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ozoneocean
No. What most people object to with the “love is chemicals” idea is that it's irrelevantly, misleadingly, and ignorantly reductionist.
My use of 3 words is merely a, um, “thumbnail” illustrating a more detailed subject. I'm not about to type out a paper on which regions of the brain are stimulated and which neurotransmitters fire up when an infant sees his mother. Therefore what I'm saying is, when ppl take offense to the scientific explanation of what love is.

Someone
I think we need to kill that one dead… And it's not nice to ascribe other people's motivation to religion all the time in such a derogatory way, unless they actually claim to be coming from that viewpoint
.
Oh, I think I saw quite a few “soul,” “God,” and “spiritual” in this thread.
Anything pertaining to the idea of “soul” or “spirit” is religious. Or should I say superstitious. Doesn't have to be Christian or even a recognized religion.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
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ozoneocean at 2:05PM, Feb. 15, 2007
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The problem is; it's not a “scientific explanation of what love is”. :) Not even a thumbnail.
I believe I've explained why. Iskun and I have approached different angles of the science involved, it's quite complicated and we disagree. Words like “soul”, “spiritual”, and “spirit” are not necessarily religious, they are evocative words (poetic if you will), that people use to try and express something other, to hint at emotional complexity- sort of like what you say you'd be trying to do by saying “love is chemicals”, although it wasn't you who brought up that hamfisted phrase so I won't reproach you for it. :)

But there isn't anything wrong with approaching the question from a religious perspective since religion has been quite fundamental in our understanding of the concept in the West…

If you do prefer a purely science based tack, I'd suggest that you go a bit more in-depth. Biochemistry is only one of many factors, and it's a little too basic. It's like: “the Mona Lisa is just paint”, well yes, but so what? That doesn't help anyone understand it better and it's not a very clever analysis.
 
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isukun at 2:20PM, Feb. 15, 2007
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Christianity actually has quite a few of its own definitions for “love” too if I remember rightly. That seems be be more about the socially constructed ideas surrounding “love” that Iskun was talking about

I have yet to see ANY Christian sects which have the same views about love that I do. To those Christian sects you mention love is a constant, more in line with your claims that it is instinctual, but mankind can be pulled away from it by outside forces (the devil, society, etc). Love is not something that is learned, it is something we are born with, hence the “innocence” of children. That would be the exact opposite of everything I've said up to this point (and goes against everything I've experienced and observed as a human being).
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ozoneocean at 3:22PM, Feb. 15, 2007
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I didn't say they have the same idea as you Iskun, I said their concepts are socially constructed (i.e. ALL love comes from god, etc), as you say the concept is socially constructed. -I'm very surprised that you missed it.

But both that and your summation are gross simplifications.
And I'm not talking about individual sects, obviously, I'm talking about the philosophy regarding the subject that has come out of the Christian movement as a whole. One could almost suspect you of wilful adversarial obtuseness… ;)
 
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isukun at 12:42PM, Feb. 16, 2007
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I'm very surprised that you missed it.

It was pretty easy considering how you worded it.

But both that and your summation are gross simplifications.

So it's less of a simplification to say that love is the result of some embedded code in our being than it is to say that it is the result of years of observation and behavioral modification as one matures? Sorry, but that's a load of BS if I ever heard it. Quite honestly, I think much of what we think is instinct among members of the animal kingdom is an oversimplification of the learning process animals go through. It is another vain attempt to differentiate ourselves from nature by removing the element of free choice from the psyche of lower life forms.

And I'm not talking about individual sects, obviously, I'm talking about the philosophy regarding the subject that has come out of the Christian movement as a whole.

I only mentioned sects since you seemed to be focusing on “the ‘younger’ varieties of Christianity” in your post.
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ozoneocean at 1:28PM, Feb. 16, 2007
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isukun
So it's less of a simplification to say that love is… blah blah blah
Again: adversarialy obtuse. I was talking about both of our summations of the Christian definitions of love. Ho hum.

What I said about our debate about the science of subject still stands: I have ceased.
 
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LilyRose at 6:44PM, Feb. 16, 2007
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you guys are both getting fundamentalist. AS if the boundaries between your viewpoints are set and inviolable.

forgive me if I'm reading that wrong, but it does look that way to me.


Look at this thread: if it's proved one thing it's that the word Love" is meaningless except as a broad category within which many definitions of many varied states of being - both psychological/emotional, and biochemical, [i\and evolutionary/instinctual - exist.


When people debate this chemical-vs-instinctual-vs-environmental etc etc they work too hard to prevent the edges of their respective arguments to bleed into each other. These things aren't mutually exclusive of each other.

Look; technology has allowed us to ascertain that psychic and emotional states have clear, discernible, and predictable analogs in the physical, biochemical unit. Regions of the brain that are set off. Neurotransmitters and hormones. Even things like blood sugar and the way oxygen is being processed.

The problem here, as I see it, is that there are those who make the leap from coincidental phenomena to cause and effect. Just because an emotional state is accompanied by certain endogenous chemicals doesn't mean that it was caused by those chemicals pre se. In many cases, it is just as likely that the chemicals were the secondary effect, following the initial emotional state.

What I'm saying is that its illogical and intellectually lazy to ascribe cause when all you can really observe is co-incidence. You can give a person a shot of epinephrine and induce a severe fight-or-flight response. But you can also put a serious scare-shock into someone and induce a rush of epinephrine. What does that tell us about cause and effect? That it can swing in more than one direction, that's what.

Well, same goes for love. The arguments in favor or evolutionary psychology, of biodetermisism, of spirituality, of learned responses in a proper environment - all of them have validity, just not always in the same case. When you start thinking that one explanation covers everything - at least when we're talking about our psycho-spiritual-emotional selves - that's when you start that slide toward fundamentalism.
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ozoneocean at 11:21PM, Feb. 16, 2007
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Nicely put Rose. :)
I have no problem with the biochemical idea though, my only contention is that it's simply too fundamental to be relevant. The debate between Iskun and myself concerns the largely natural and “instinctual” (and all that entails) VS something that is largely a product of human culture (or however he would prefer to define his position, suffice to say it differs from mine). I would contend that the instinctual nature of the phenomena would precede any cultural aspect both in origin and importance, but not preclude it.
 
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LilyRose at 12:16AM, Feb. 17, 2007
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yeah, Oz; I noticed your comment vis-a-vis evolutionary psychology and kind of figured where you're thinking was coming from.


I used to really rant against E.P., but I've gotten down off my high horse and taken a more sober look and have had to admit there's a lot to it, just as there's a lot to the biodeterministic stuff that I also have an almost instinctual aversion to. I really didn't want to buy into it. But that's because I was thinking in the extreme of what it might imply.


It's the way people use it. I mean, Evolutionary Psychology has been used to provide an historical and evolutionary defense of rape, for example. On the surface it's actually a logical argument until you scratch its surface. It's posturing masquerading as science. Like Kyupol's sig-line lol!

Because it's all about looking at our current behaviors and attitudes and trying to find “reasons” for them that relate to some kind of Darwinian progression. If “Love” exists, then it must exist because it historically served an evolutionary purpose toward propogating the species - the Prime Directive in Darwinian Thought.


On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for social constructivism. It's too obvious that social norms and behaviors change over the generations and are largely induced through a social learning process.

But - like what Iskun said: that without early and frequent contact with a nurturing human, a baby will grow up severely emotionally damaged. So Iskun, if I understand aright, says this is evidence that “love” and “bonding” are primarily learned traits. Because without learning them, they more often than not won't develop in the child.

But that sidesteps an issue. It's one thing to not do something if it isn't learned. It's quite a different thing to not learn something and become emotionally crippled by it - and these people are emotionally crippled, and often have a very difficult time getting by in the world wirthout real problems. If it were only a matter of learning, then loveless people would still be able to derive, from the world around them, the other social skills necessary to get by in this world. But they become amoral, or sociopathic, or manipulative users.

To me, that suggests that love and bonding are a combination of both an instinctual need, and the mechanism of developing that instinct through interactive behavior. Wolf pups are born with an instinct to hunt but if they don't engage in the kind of play that is the learning process for this behavior, they don't develop that instinct. They have to learn it. But it's still an instinct. Just because something needs to be learned in order for it to manifest in our psyches doesn't mean that we don't start off with an instinct.

It's like genetics. There are genetic traits that we really don't know why or how they get set off in some people and not in others. Environmental?


And for me, there's the spiritual dimension to it all. All that science , no matter what kind, often tends to give short shrift to that part of it.


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blackhatpirate at 11:31AM, Feb. 17, 2007
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aparently its something that hapens to those who dont have a social awkwardness ,the same awkwardness that i suffer from. i do however do truely belive that it does exsist. just not for me mainly beacuse i have become somewhat of a hermit in my age… im not even that old but i have seen love in the eyes of those arround me perhaps one shpould venture out and seek it ..:(
im not a bad pirate, im just bad at being a pirate..
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Priest_Revan at 11:37PM, Feb. 18, 2007
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Technically, love exists, but it is very difficult to prove love.

If I was to ask someone to prove that he/she loves his/her mother, how can he/she prove it?
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:48PM
isukun at 2:21AM, Feb. 19, 2007
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But that sidesteps an issue. It's one thing to not do something if it isn't learned. It's quite a different thing to not learn something and become emotionally crippled by it

I really don't see how the necessity of a particular learned knowledge makes it instinctual or even an instinctual need. You could really say the same thing about any number of things. It is necessary for children to learn that physical violence is wrong. To not do so will leave them emotionally crippled later in life (at least by our standards). Still, there is no instinctual need for them to learn this.

Also, try not to copy ozoneocean's inexplicable need to mispell my username.
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ozoneocean at 4:45AM, Feb. 19, 2007
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isukun
Also, try not to copy ozoneocean's inexplicable need to mispell my username.
I'm sorry for that Isukun, you should have corrected me as soon as you noticed I'd done it… I really thought “Iskun” was your username, I'm so embarrassed now :(
 
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isukun at 10:17AM, Feb. 19, 2007
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I thought I did, way, WAY back when you started doing it. I can't really remember too well, though. I just know you've been doing that at least since before the move to Platinum. I aways just figured it was some sort of “in joke” that neither my friends nor myself were getting. It didn't bother me too much, I just didn't want LilyRose to get confused by it.
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LilyRose at 12:41PM, Feb. 19, 2007
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isukun
But that sidesteps an issue. It's one thing to not do something if it isn't learned. It's quite a different thing to not learn something and become emotionally crippled by it

I really don't see how the necessity of a particular learned knowledge makes it instinctual or even an instinctual need. You could really say the same thing about any number of things. It is necessary for children to learn that physical violence is wrong. To not do so will leave them emotionally crippled later in life (at least by our standards). Still, there is no instinctual need for them to learn this.

Also, try not to copy ozoneocean's inexplicable need to mispell my username.


Sorry. I was copying Oz's misspelling. Andf it's funny, because I wasn't sure if I was spelling it right, but I got lazy and just checked Oz's response to you instead of your actual post.


Incidentally, it's not necessary for children to learn that physical violence is wrong, and those who don't learn so often become highly successful in life due to their willingness to use any brutality to triumph over an adversary. The rest get killed off (literally or metaphorically) by the more violent. It's a solid, Darwinian system of survival of the toughest and it's been working for hundreds of millions of years.

The instinct is to become violent. Non-violence is against our instinctual natures. That's why the violent win. And the ones who aren't mano-a-mano violent are still violent, brutal thugs. They just perpetrate their violence from executive suites.

But they still win.


And seriously now - where is the more powerful and pervasive socialization - toward violent behavior and the attitude that violence is an acceptable solution to a problem, or away from violence, encouraging cooperation and peaceful co-existence?


WHy do you find the idea of a symbiosis of instinctual need and societal/cultural augmentation of that need to be an objectionable explanation?
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isukun at 4:28PM, Feb. 19, 2007
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Incidentally, it's not necessary for children to learn that physical violence is wrong, and those who don't learn so often become highly successful in life due to their willingness to use any brutality to triumph over an adversary.

Generally not. Aggressive behavior and the use of physical violence are not one and the same. Children who don't learn the consequences of physical violence or at least learn that it is wrong tend to become psychopathic, not successful.

The rest get killed off (literally or metaphorically) by the more violent. It's a solid, Darwinian system of survival of the toughest and it's been working for hundreds of millions of years.

Actually Darwin's principle was “survival of the fittest,” not “toughest” and there is a huge difference between the two. A species' ability to survive is based on their ability to procreate. If you want to look at it on an individual level, it's not one's ability to destroy life that determines their fitness, but their ability to create it. In nature this can translate to any number of things from a bird's mating ritual, to a mutation which makes a necessary change in diet possible. It isn't limited to the strength and aggression of the animal.

The instinct is to become violent.

There is an instinct towards survival and by extension self-centered behavior. Violence is a quick and easy means to get what we want and children learn this early in life. After all, the first lessons we give our children is that misbehavior will be punished with physical discomfort or pain. It isn't such a stretch that kids would apply that lesson to others in the same way.

And seriously now - where is the more powerful and pervasive socialization - toward violent behavior and the attitude that violence is an acceptable solution to a problem, or away from violence, encouraging cooperation and peaceful co-existence?

It depends on where you look. Social trends vary greatly between races, cultures, geography, and time periods. What is considered normal in one society is an atrocity in another. There have been societies which condemned violent activity, both on the larger and smaller scale and promoted co-existance. One's ability to encourage cooperation, gather people, and promote mutual respect can be just as powerful a tool as one's lack of scruples and willingness to exploit others when it comes to seeking social and financial success. Society rewards both extremes.

WHy do you find the idea of a symbiosis of instinctual need and societal/cultural augmentation of that need to be an objectionable explanation?

I find instinct to be a cop out. As we learn more about the mind and psychology in general, we find that so much of what we thought was natural occurance is actually the result of years of observation and behavioral moulding. Our understanding of the human psyche has gotten so advanced that most elements of a person's personality can be traced to past events.

I find the term instinct is thrown about quite often to do one of two things. The first is to explain the unexplainable. Instinct, much like God, has little to back it up scientifically. Since we don't fully understand instinct, we assign any currently unexplainable behavioral traits to the category.

The other use for the instinct argument is that it helps to separate us further from the animals. Like your example of wolves who learn to hunt by fighting with each other, this is initially a response to hunger. Wolf cubs learn early on that if you want to eat, you must be strong enough to beat out your siblings for the better portions. There is no deep seeded instinct to fight, just a desire not to starve. And when it is all you know of physical activity, when you've got the energy to burn, it makes sense to wrestle. Still, it sounds better to claim it's instinct. That way we can continue to believe that our mental facilities far outweigh those of the animal kingdom.
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suzi at 1:08PM, Feb. 20, 2007
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I learned in psychology class last year that basically the only thing we can say for sure as being instinctual in humans are the “rooting” and “sucking” reflexes newborn babies have. If you put something in a baby's hand, their hands with clench as if to grab it, no matter how young; similarly, if you press something lightly against a baby's cheek, it will turn and make a sucking motion. Neither motions are necessarily successful at first, but the reflex itself is an instinctual thing that is replaced with more controlled, learned behavior.

Besides that, it's pretty much debatable…even with other animals. For example, people used to think bird calls were completely instinctual; however, younger birds copy their parents and aren't as good at first, and there are slight “dialects”, if you will, from region to region, within a single species. Also, birds raised in captivity from birth who don't get a chance to learn complicated songs often develop their own unique strain somewhat different from wild birds. The genes may be there for singing, and the physical materials for making a certain type of sound from the throat, but birdsong is more learned than people used to think.

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ozoneocean at 1:55PM, Feb. 20, 2007
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Blarg, your concepts of “instinct” are too narrow. Think about it. ;)
That's likely the main problem. I find it usually is… Most people start of seeing a problem in terms of black and white, then if they're smart they'll introduce a bit of grey. The reality is often more complex though, almost everything in life is governed by influences, to greater or lessor extent: the whole silly idea of a butterfly in the Amazon starting a hurricane halfway around the world. That's a nonsensical simplification, but it hints at the idea; there are so many, many things that have bearing on the creation of a hurricane, not merely the weather patterns in the intimidate vicinity, but the directions of sea currents and the temperature of water they carry, the amount energy soaked up and radiated back by the land around over the year , the weather history of decades, the shapes of the coast and mountains, the amount of forest (or lack of it), and so on.

Similarly, the way a baby and its patent interact are determined by factors more complicated than grabbing reflexes and a constructed cultural bias for caring for our young. We react to smells, studies have shown that even the appearance of young has a bearing on our innate reactions to them (in other animals too, not just size, but “cuteness” ), all the sounds that are produced (heart beats, breathing, crying, squeaking, by both parent and child), even the way we cope with our own body shapes and those of others (how they fit together, how certain holds feel so “natural” ), then there's reactions to certain textures -soft baby hair, the smoothness of the skin, any pheromones that are secreted through sweat, breast milk, licks, kisses, urine… All these and far more are wrapped up in the nebulous concept of “instinct”. It would do well to consider such things before dismissing it as just an airy fairy cop-out. It's more of a cop-out to dismiss what you can't understand.
 
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vgman at 8:08AM, Feb. 22, 2007
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im not sure about this one both sides of the feild have good advantages. on the on hand we may have love just because its been around so long. on the other hand there really isnt a logical explanation for it besides all the chemicals and crap. if any thing i think the chemicals may have it and love may not exist. after all if our brain never released thughs chemicals we wouldent know the emmotion.

(ps: when i saw that everyones post was like 5 pages long i just skipped it and wrote a replie cause im lazy so if im repeating anything alredy said ignor me then)
RIP TD :cry2:
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reconjsh at 11:16AM, Feb. 22, 2007
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Love is an observable emotion. To argue it doesn't exist is futile since we can see it.

Let's say for a moment, it doens't exist because it's just a programmed response to stimulae that is decoded chemically by a chemically funcitoning brain. If that's that case, then nothing exists. It's all chemically created.

And I agree… it's all chemical. Love is the name of what we put on a particular biochemical reaction. But that reaction we've labeled as love DOES exist. So love exists.

To use the above computer porgrammer example. Just like human emotion can be broken down into chemical synapses… so can a programming language be broken down into binary, bits, elctricty, etc…

So, if your arguement is everything in the brain is chemical and thus emotions don't exist, then your arguement must also be that software, programs, loops, if-thens, statements, etc must also NOT exist… since they can also be broken down into smaller, simplier blocks.

Just because something can be broken down into smaller building blocks, doesn't negate it's existance. Does a computer exist? By the above reasoning, it doesn't because it's REALLY just a colletion of atoms. Then again, atoms don't exist either because they have simplier building blocks.

Oh my! we're in a black hole of failing logic. This arguement was about emotion. If love doesn't exist, then none exist. If none exist, why do I experience them and cry so much?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:02PM

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