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An Entirely Imaginary Entity

Jarhyn

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So, this thread is a little weird insofar as... Well, I imagine you all lack beliefs in afterlife.

It may be an interesting thing to consider: imagine there was some entity. I call it an entity because I have no better word for it, other than "god" but people around here don't like to call entities that, and it's dreadfully imprecise at any rate!

I'd rather be precisely imprecise about it.

But now let's imagine more about this totally made up and not at all real entity.

This imaginary entity has two parts. It has some meat that can host it, and it has some other material or stuff that is couldn't even possibly be describable in physical terms so please don't make the attempt for which to host the other component.

I mean, imagine it in all the human genomes, or at least well distributed among all the human populations to which 'genome' is a rough descriptor. Just... Imagine that not every human ends up getting "precipitated" from that genome in such a way that it is really capable of "picking up what is laid down", and not every such that is is interacted with by this material or stuff sufficiently to trigger it's awareness of what it is and how interacts with that stuff to survive and continue doing what it does.

And let's imagine that sometimes the meat itself just somehow manages to accidentally spark into the necessary phenotype extemporaneously. It's a lot more rare, like an amnesiac who still has their core functions, a disconnected island that... Somehow manages to interact with the stuff that I'm not describing for whatever reason.

Now, this is quite a conundrum. Whatever this kind of entity is, there are obviously a number of ways such a thing could be killed. I would imagine if entities like this were not totally imaginary someone would have figured out something was going on, if not exactly what, and decide they didn't like it and were going to do something about it.

It has a particular kind of host it would likely need, it has some material or stuff that it uses to retain itself outside the host, almost like an egg.

There's a lifecycle there and we know lifecycles can be disrupted.

I know you lot are skeptics, but what is your reaction to the purely imagined existence of such a thing?

One of my thoughts is "it isn't worthy of worship."
Another thought is "what if it's evil?"
Yet another thought is "what gives anything the right to cheat death?"

Of course, this is merely one concept of an entirely imaginary immortal entity.

What are your thoughts about it?

Might there be other paradigms of immortal entities that are equally as entirely imaginary as this?
 

steve_bank

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The universe is an entity that never dies, it is immortal.

I don't believe in an afterlife. We start as egg and sperm to fetus to life outside the womb....to life without a b body!!!

Eureka!! I figured it out!!! What joy what rapture as the Scarecrow said. I will sleep much better now without any worries.
 

skepticalbip

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It may be an interesting thing to consider: imagine there was some entity. I call it an entity because I have no better word for it, other than "god" but people around here don't like to call entities that, and it's dreadfully imprecise at any rate!
I have one of those living in my tool shed. It occasionally sneaks into the house and hides things like my keys or wallet. It's frustrating because it always takes me a while to find where it hid them.
 

steve_bank

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Someone in my building claims things move around in his apartment. I chalk it up to his being a heavy daily consuner of pot edibles.
 

Bronzeage

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Such a being could only exist in the lower left quadrant of a Cartesian graph.
 

rjh01

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If you want to know one possibility of what life would be like if a God did exist watch Star Trek Deep Space 9. In their case the God was an Alian race.
 

Jarhyn

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Man, you guys don't even know what I'm talking about, and it's kinda funny.

But seriously, let's imagine there's a kind of person who figures out a way to guarantee someone like them comes back into the world kind of like a lich only less immediate and less direct. let's assume a lot of who they are dies every time their body does. Maybe loses 50% of their memories and mostly the shitty ones they have to re-experience anyway.

God it sounds almost like a fucking video game.

And the hubris of it all!

But let's imagine just for a moment.

This IS the pseudoscience forum ya?

Y'all know how to play pretend make believe?

I said right in the first post it's all pretend.

That there's no way this could be a thing, ya?



Now let's get into pretend land and pretend for a moment that it is, just by some miracle of absurd stupidity.

What do you do, how do you decide, what reaction do you have to such a thing, assuming you knew how it functioned and that it existed?
 

Jarhyn

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Man, you guys don't even know what I'm talking about, and it's kinda funny.
Include me in this group. Whose fault is it that we don't know what you're talking about?
Well, I'm asking about this from the perspective of "take these qualities and assume they exist in some entity and let's figure out a bit of silly game theory concerning it."

I want to play a thought experiment, not deal with a bunch of skeptics just shitting on the floor because they don't understand why I could possibly want to play the thought experiment.

Consider that it may just be for fun! That it's the sort of thing I LIKE pointing my analytical mind at, have pointed at it for a while, and now maybe I'm seeking other opinions because even when it's a "silly game" I like to check my work against unspoiled opinions of people whose game theory while not formal is generally pretty intuitive and high-quality.
 

Swammerdami

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Man, you guys don't even know what I'm talking about, and it's kinda funny.
Include me in this group. Whose fault is it that we don't know what you're talking about?
Well, I'm asking about this from the perspective of "take these qualities and assume they exist in some entity and let's figure out a bit of silly game theory concerning it."
I got that. I just found your exposition much too vague and discursive to make sense. Start with a brief paragraph using simple words to describe what "superpowers" your "entity" has. — If it even has superpowers: I've no clue.

Here's an arbitrary paragraph from OP. Did Google use to have an English-to-Basic English translator? Would that help?

And let's imagine that sometimes the meat itself just somehow manages to accidentally spark into the necessary phenotype extemporaneously. It's a lot more rare, like an amnesiac who still has their core functions, a disconnected island that... Somehow manages to interact with the stuff that I'm not describing for whatever reason.

ETA: To be clear, I am NOT complaining that "extemporaneously" is an overly long word. I just wonder what relevance the word has. Can I cross it out? If I cross out all the non-essential words in this paragraph, what am I left with?
 

skepticalbip

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I'd rather be precisely imprecise about it.
Well you certainly did that...
But now let's imagine more about this totally made up and not at all real entity.
There are thousands of such entities already in the lore of cultures around the world. Is your point to make up a new one? If so, are you looking for something in the realm of trolls or goblins or more like fairies or sprites?
 

Jarhyn

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I'd rather be precisely imprecise about it.
Well you certainly did that...
But now let's imagine more about this totally made up and not at all real entity.
There are thousands of such entities already in the lore of cultures around the world. Is your point to make up a new one? If so, are you looking for something in the realm of trolls or goblins or more like fairies or sprites?
No, nothing like that.

I mean, if I knew much about faeries, I don't think I would actually tell anyone here very much about them.

I mean look at the lore about them. They are NOT something most people would benefit much from interacting with if they existed in some manner. Even if they were "real", telling someone of academic mind what "material or stuff that couldn't even possibly be describable in physical terms so please don't make the attempt" were, with academic precision, would not end very well for anyone.

I'm talking more about something that functions more or less like the D&D concept of a "lich" but without any special powers beyond "coming back from the dead at intervals by possessing a particular kind of person at a young enough age who is otherwise amenable, retaining much of their memories by some means that will not be described."
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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I'm not versed in D&D. But I seem to recall experiments wherein worms were conditioned to learn a maze to find food, get a reward. Worms that had learned the correct route were then fed to worms that did not know the correct path. These worms that had eaten intelligent worms learned the maze faster than worms that had not eaten intelligent worms. So there was some kind of memory transfer that occurred because of having eaten the smart worms.

Your "entity" could function similarly. It would have to eat some part of a person to enable it to get the person's memory, preferably that person's brain.
 

lpetrich

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QUOTE="T.G.G. Moogly, post: 979278, member: 106"]
I'm not versed in D&D. But I seem to recall experiments wherein worms were conditioned to learn a maze to find food, get a reward. Worms that had learned the correct route were then fed to worms that did not know the correct path. These worms that had eaten intelligent worms learned the maze faster than worms that had not eaten intelligent worms. So there was some kind of memory transfer that occurred because of having eaten the smart worms.
[/QUOTE]
Sources?

Are you sure that you are not mixing up worms and rats? I've never heard of worms learning mazes, but I know that rats can learn mazes. But I'll stick with your statement for now.

One has to control for diet and mazes learned. Francesco Redi's experiments on flies and rotting meat are classic examples of controlled experiments, so you may want to review that.

So we have these sets of worms:
  • First set
    • Untrained worms
    • Trained and more competent worms
    • Trained and less competent worms
  • Second set
    • Worms not fed other worms
    • Worms fed worms from each of the three subsets of the first set
    When assessing second-set worms, one should assess them on different mazes as well as the same ones that the first-set worms were trained on.

    Did the learning of some maze get eaten? Or a more general ability to learn mazes? Did being well-fed make a difference?
 

lpetrich

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The memory-transfer episode
It’s March 1960, and James V. McConnell, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, is convinced that planarians — common flatworms — hold the key to unraveling the mystery of memory. He has decided to condition them to scrunch when a bright light is flashed. Then, he plans to chop them into pieces, feed them to their cannibalistic brothers and see whether the learned behavior is transferred from the trained victim to the naïve recipient. His eventual goal is to demonstrate that the engram — the physical representation of memory — is encoded in the structure of unique forms of RNA much as inherited traits are encoded in one’s DNA.
Not quite running a maze.
But folklore tends to caricature people and events and is lousy history. Although, in the long run, the work did not stand up to the exacting scrutiny of those working in the area of memory research, McConnell’s planarian studies spawned a 15-year episode that tells us much about the workings of science when it is confronted — as it always is — with claims that depart in significant ways from prevailing views. Equivocal results are typical in such episodes and to jump to the conclusion that those who championed a losing cause must be poor scientists is hazardous at best. In fact, by the time the dust had settled roughly 200 independent research teams — many in the upper tiers of science — conducted memory transfer experiments, using dozens of learning paradigms and 23 types of subjects including, in addition to the flatworm and standard lab rat, octopuses, praying mantes, baby chicks, kittens and honey bees. Government agencies granted more than $1 million (in 1960s dollars) to conduct such experiments, and 247 research reports appeared in print. Clearly, something was going on here; there were enough encouraging results to beckon others to try their hand.

,,,
Everything changed when, in late 1965, four independent labs reported successful memory-transfer experiments using rats (and in one case, cross-species transfer between rats and mice). Two of these reports appeared in the high-impact journals Science and Nature.

No one could argue that rats cannot learn. Within a few months, more than 50 labs, including teams at Berkeley, Harvard, MIT and Yale, conducted transfer experiments. McConnell, after failed attempts using salamanders and mynah birds, also turned to rats.

And then things got really interesting.
The article ends there.
 

lpetrich

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Memory Transferred between Snails, Challenging Standard Theory of How the Brain Remembers - Scientific American
Glanzman’s experiments—funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation—involved giving mild electrical shocks to the marine snail Aplysia californica. Shocked snails learn to withdraw their delicate siphons and gills for nearly a minute as a defense when they subsequently receive a weak touch; snails that have not been shocked withdraw only briefly.

The researchers extracted RNA from the nervous systems of snails that had been shocked and injected the material into unshocked snails. RNA’s primary role is to serve as a messenger inside cells, carrying protein-making instructions from its cousin DNA. But when this RNA was injected, these naive snails withdrew their siphons for extended periods of time after a soft touch. Control snails that received injections of RNA from snails that had not received shocks did not withdraw their siphons for as long.

“It’s as if we transferred a memory,” Glanzman said.
The RNA possibly codes for nervous-system connection strengths, and those strengths may be changed as a result of that learning.
Glanzman’s group went further, showing that Aplysia sensory neurons in Petri dishes were more excitable, as they tend to be after being shocked, if they were exposed to RNA from shocked snails. Exposure to RNA from snails that had never been shocked did not cause the cells to become more excitable.

The results, said Glanzman, suggest that memories may be stored within the nucleus of neurons, where RNA is synthesized and can act on DNA to turn genes on and off. He said he thought memory storage involved these epigenetic changes—changes in the activity of genes and not in the DNA sequences that make up those genes—that are mediated by RNA.
Seems like adjusting the activity of those neurons.
 
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