Philosophy of chemistry
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I don't see how all that much philosophizing can be done about chemistry, which is probably why it hasn't spawned its own cult like AI has. I like the nice anti-philosophy flame though -- speaking of philosophy and AI, it reminds me of Dreyfus' critique of GOFAI when the AI-types blew him off as just a cranky old philosopher. That turned out to be a big mistake.
one could debate the moral merits of being an ionic bond vs. a covelent bond. I'm sure some salts have serious idenity crises. Am I Sodium, am I chlorine? in water I'm both but neither. what am I???
Wavefunctions tend to zero only at infinite distance, so we're all connected. Interactions between atoms are endless, and not formal, reaching out to interact at far flung distances because there's no such thing as a "bond", only electron density. There is no "you" because you're just part of the Grand Thing.
See, we can play a semantic game with "what is a substance" and where the boundaries between them are, but it would just be a semantic game and nothing more.
Even more so with the (badly understood by me) lines that "one electron is everywhere at once" or something of particle physics.
I'm so sure new agers jumped on the quantum physics band wagon the day it "came out".
That's what I thought, until I read the relevant articles and thought "no, this is still bullshitting about it, not philosophising about it". With physics you can at least no some theoretical pondering, interpretations and so on. With biology you can lead into ethics (that said, you can do ethics of researching dangerous chemical structures, or drugs for instance). But... what the fuck are these people talking about?
Yeah, it's probably why there isn't any particularly odd cult going on as far as I can see.
Actually, speaking of AI/mind and since there was a quantum consciousness talk comment, it occurs to me that if quantum effects were the thing behind free will, then there's no particular reason that the brain is conscious and everything isn't. The difference is just then in scale, not really scope. If the human mind is self-aware and has free will "because of quantum" then everything is self-aware and has free will. Do some people bother checking the research, or not?
I'm totally writing a book where a bunch of chemists form some sort of nihilistic death cult and blow all kinds of shit up! It's far from finished and if I ever become a meth addict and do finish it, I won't publish it, but the cooky chemists are one of three major factions.
Not all that on topic, except that the terrorist chemists based their beliefs on how they perceive chemistry. That's actually the whole theme of the book: how people start taking their scientific findings and turning them into doctrines. And if you haven't figured it out, in the end you learn that it's bad to do that. Yup. I've said my piece, move along now
Stenger has a good line in one of his replies where he says something along the lines of "If quantum consciousness is correct, are my toes also conscious?"
If you take the view that intelligence and consciousness of the human brain requires a body (which was the only part of the recent Horizon documentary on AI that interested me and didn't seem to completely get things apparently ass-backwards) then, yeah, toes kinda are. Because if the mind is de-localised around the brain - as opposed to just being a homunculus shaped point mass in the pineal gland - then why is it not possibly to de-localise it through the whole nervous system? Sensations and experiences are removed if you lose part of your body.
Of course, that's mostly bullshitting, but I figure is a good track to take if you want to convince people that we're all connected by magic!