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tama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 06:30 AM
Original message
Mind over matter
The materialistic paradigm or ideology states, AFAIK, that world is monistic, not dualistic, and that mental phenomena reduce only to processes of classical neurological mechanics or in other words, mental processes are a mere emergent epiphenom of classical mechanics - which is based on notion of unilinear time and causality in the local topology of 4D space-time.

To my understanding according to materialistic paradigm "mind over matter" phenomena should not be possible or it fails to explain such phenomena as the arrow of causality goes only from classical mechanics towards "epipnhenomenal" mental processes.

In other words, mental believes should not have e.g. healing causative power over supposedly purely classical physical systems like biological organisms and if someone would suggest that mental belief has power to heal to a group of strong supporters of materialistic ideology he would likely be mocked and called ignorant of correct science etc.

Now, what might be the best attested scientific anomaly that falsifies the materialistic position as described here? The most obvious answer is the healing causal power of a mental belief called 'placebo effect'.

Can the placebo anomaly be explained by materialistic paradigm? It could be argued that the mental belief (of the patient that he has received healing substance instead of non-effective substance) is caused by classical mechanics in the first place, but that does not solve the problem of what classical mechanism then and how causes the effect of placebo healing, as outmost care is taken in double blind tests to exclude such causation.

So I cannot but conclude that the materialistic paradigm as described here is empirically falsified and should be abandoned or redifined.
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iris27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
1. It's not mind over matter, but mind working with matter.
Edited on Wed Mar-24-10 11:10 AM by iris27
I've never seen the placebo effect cure cancer or regenerate a severed limb. It works only with the abilities the body already has - adjusting the levels of neurotransmitters that relieve pain or reduce depression, slowly regrowing tissue to close a wound, etc.

Moreover, it's fairly unreliable. If you give four people a sugar pill that's supposed to relieve headaches and one experiences relief, the other three are still out of luck.

It also can only be accessed unconsciously -- tell someone they've only been given a sugar pill and the possibility of relief disappears. This is why "if someone would suggest that mental belief has power to heal to a group of strong supporters of materialistic ideology he would likely be mocked and called ignorant of correct science etc". Just ask all the Christian Scientists who've died while firmly convinced that their belief and prayer would heal them.

"So I cannot but conclude that the materialistic paradigm as described here is empirically falsified and should be abandoned or redifined.

Nope, sorry. The same approach I apply to deities applies here. Just because we may not know (yet) "what classical mechanism then and how causes the effect of placebo healing" doesn't mean our entire working concept of human physiology is bogus and should be thrown out the window. (Not unlike how the idea of natural selection isnt invalidated just because were still working on abiogenesis.) A current lack of answers in one area of a field doesnt invalidate the answers we do have in that field, nor does it invalidate the process by which those answers were discovered.
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tama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 12:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Good points
Even though Newtonian mechanics fails to explain anomaly of Mercury's orbit which Einsteinian mechanics can explain, we can still travel to moon with nothing by good old Newtonian math.

All healing methods are more or less propabilistic, medicine is not fully deterministic field but very fuzzy.

If and when materialistic paradigm is of limited scope in regards to its explanatory power similarly as Newtonian mechanics was, though it was widely considered universal before Einstein, e.g. healing methods based on materialistic paradigm don't loose validity when it is accepted that the materialistic paradigm has limited explanatory power when compared to a "TOE" with wider explanatory power.

But the conservative insistence that "materialistic paradigm is really the only universal truth that can explain everything if we just remain patient and do not question it" is not logical nor empirical position. It's the old fart position and for believers (and wannabes) in authority of old farts, xcuse my French.

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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Placebos may work even when the subject is aware they are a placebo
But what if you just come right out and tell somebody, without any ambiguity, that they are taking a placebo? One classic study from 1965 offers a clue, although it was small and without a control group, so once again, buyer beware.

They gave a pink placebo pill three times a day to patients they termed "neurotic", and the explanation given to the patients was startlingly clear about what was going on.

Here is the standardised script which was prepared, and carefully read out to each patient:

"Mr Doe ... we have a week between now and your next appointment, and we would like to do something to give you some relief from your symptoms. Many different kinds of tranquillisers and similar pills have been used for conditions such as yours, and many of them have helped. Many people with your kind of condition have also been helped by what are sometimes called 'sugar pills', and we feel that a so-called sugar pill may help you, too. Do you know what a sugar pill is? A sugar pill is a pill with no medicine in it at all. I think this pill will help you as it has helped so many others. Are you willing to try this pill?"

They got good results. Go figure, or rather: go buy shares in the homeopathy industry. Sugar pills are the future, if only there was a way to give them with integrity, and a straight face.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/mar/01/medicalre...
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iris27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-26-10 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #4
14. Interesting; I'd never heard that before.
Still, though, placebos obviously have their limits whether or not one is aware they're placebos. Otherwise all we'd need to dose anyone with would be sugar pills, and Christian Scientists would never die of cancer.
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 01:27 PM
Response to Original message
3. The placebo effect is more mind over body than mind over matter.
Edited on Wed Mar-24-10 01:28 PM by Jim__
Here's a brief article from Time on what might cause the placebo effect:

It has been well documented in medical literature that when people believe they are receiving treatment, they will actually experience a reduction in symptomseven if their "treatment" is an inactive placebo. This is particularly true when it comes to pain reduction, or analgesia; patients who believe they are being given powerful medication for pain will actually experience a drop in discomfort, even if no active pain medication has been administered. Yet what is it about how the brain is wired that causes this effect?


A group of neuroscientists and psychologists from Hamburg, Germany believe that patients' expectations of pain relief in part cause the brain to produce its own natural painkillerprevious studies have shown that expectation increases the production of endogenous opioids, which are generated in sophisticated frontal parts of the brain associated with pain regulation. Yet, in addition to this, the researchers found that a more primitive pain processing network was also employedthe opioidergic descending pain control system, which links up to the deeply seated amygdala, hypothalamus and other regions and can inhibit pain processing in the spinal cord, thereby minimizing pain responses in the brain.

In a study published in the August 27 issue of the journal Neuron, the researchers recruited 48 men for a three day trial, during which they were given a cream, applied to the forearm. Half of the participants were told that the cream was a painkiller, while the other half weren't (presumably they thought it was just a moisturizer). On the first day, the subjects were exposed to mild pain stimulation on the region of the arm where the cream had been applied. Each day after, they underwent the same stimulation, but the researchers secretly lowered the intensity. Through all of this, researchers kept track of brain activity using a technique called pharmacological functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

In addition to the cream, participants were also given an injectioneither with a control saline solution, or with the drug naloxone, which has been shown to block the body's opioids, or painkillers. What they found was, among patients led to believe they'd been given an analgesic cream, there was a marked placebo effectthey reported an average pain reduction of 23% compared with the control group (who, again, actually had the same cream). Yet they also found that, in the group whose pain reduction capacity was blocked by the naloxonein contrast with those given salinethe placebo effect was much less powerful. Those who received saline experienced a 36% reduction in pain, compared with only a 10% reduction on the naloxone. There was no significant difference among the control group, with or without naloxone.

a little bit more ...


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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 11:31 PM
Response to Original message
5. The Placebo effect is simply the tricking of the parasympathetic nervous system.
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tama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-25-10 08:00 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. Maybe so
but what tricks it of if not mental causation?

To me the most logical answer to the mind-body -problem seems aspectual differentation into mind-like aspect and matter like aspect from some "superposition" of both aspects - instead of ontological dualism or binary reduction either way.


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ironbark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-25-10 05:07 AM
Response to Original message
6. Pointing the bone


The most obvious answer is the healing causal power of a mental belief called 'placebo effect'.

The opposite end of the spectrum from the 'placebo effect' would be phenomena such as Pointing the bone-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdaitcha

As I understand it is difficult to believe or will oneself to death and yet Aboriginals who have had the bone pointed at them do so even in spite of medical intervention. ie. There is no physiological reason for the patient to die other than their belief that they must.

I have no more to add on the subject of mind over matter but did want to take the opportunity to thank you for bringing Sheldrake to my attention.

I watched the Google video, found the dogs going to the window experiment interesting but the images of birds and fish in motion was most compelling.

I was reminded of an article in Scientific American Scientist in the 60s regarding colonies of Army Ants.
I think this is the link but cant be sure-
Army Ants: A Collective Intelligence, Franks, Nigel R.
http://connection.ebscohost.com/content/article/1024300... ;jsessionid=95888DC838A82BBD83912D4619AC9F9B.ehctc1

Army ants communication is completely dependent on chemical messaging and trail pheromones. These methods of communication act as a stimuli for changing behavior patterns. Unlike other ants, army ants do not have compound eyes, but instead have single eyes. Army ants are also blind and have to use their antennae to sense smell and touch. The army ants use these senses to communicate in nesting and raiding.
The researchers had determined the time it took for a message to be sent from column to nest by either chemical messaging or touch signal and yet the nest responded to interruptions in the column well under the time it took for a signal to be sent. This led to speculation that individual ants may represent cells in a single organism.
If so, with ant nests known to stretch over kilometers, it would make them the largest organism on earth

Unless
Sheldrake and others are right about the Morphic Fieldin which case, if demonstratedcould we humans be considered cells in the body of humanity?

;-)

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tama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-25-10 07:42 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Interceonnected
"could we humans be considered cells in the body of humanity?"

Google "Recursion" :)

Fractality, recursion, holography are catchwords of contemporary science.

I've often wondered why new inventions seem to occur in many places simultaneously, (seemingly) independently from each other.
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ironbark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-25-10 11:00 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. 

One people, Humanity.

If so I would like to explore the factors that bind us as such.
Because Im not sure/at all convinced that recognition of such is facilitated as much by science (DNA, morphic field) or shared geography (a planet) as it is by the narrativethe story/ies we tell ourselves and how we tell them.

Jiddu Krishnamurti* dedicated a great deal of time to discussing the observer and the observed and how perception can be inhibited by the very act of language and labeling. At one level this labeling operates as an inhibitor to perceptiona childs capacity to see the world with awe and wonder is steadily diminished by labels and knowing through labels. This gives rise to the potential for psychotropics to be inhibitors of language centers and facilitators, back through the doors of perception, to seeing without the imposition of language/labels.
On a more commonplace and mundane level such labels are the identifiers-
I am an Australian, They are the Americans, the Moslems, the atheists, the other.
Very few respond to Who are you with Earthling and only some indigenous societies identified We are the Human Beings.

I love the science, the science informs and expands the story. But in the end it is the story, I believe, that has power, conveys and changes perception of who we are.
Most potent, for me, is when science, story and art overlap.

The most important science we possess is the art of Community Building, it necessitates allowing the most important stories to be told.

True Community is what one sees during disaster, neighbors that hardly know each other will make immense sacrifice, likewise nations that are largely ignored become a focus of attention and aid in disaster. The bond between returned servicemen is only related to war in that it was an immense disaster that drove them together. True community is also often found in hospitals, psychiatric wards or rehab unitsin each case the disaster is ever pending.
True community can either be induced by accident disaster or by the conscious, deliberate application of Community Building principles and understanding.

If the organism is inclusive but does not know it, if it is one people and does not perceive itshall we await the accidentor apply a creative science?

Recursion

If you still don't get it, see: "Recursion".
Yea, very funny tama ;-)


*Krishnamurti- Life story worth reading for a number of reasons.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-25-10 06:44 AM
Response to Original message
7. Go apply for your Nobel prize!
:rofl:
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ironbark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-25-10 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. And you for your ignobel.
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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-25-10 08:35 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. Shouldn't this be in the "Science" forum, not R/T?
:evilgrin:
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-26-10 06:47 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Well whatever this thread is, the one thing I'm sure it's NOT... is science.
:P
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tama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-28-10 04:36 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. Forrest Gumplogy
science is as science does
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