0659: "Lego"

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ACEfanatic02
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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby ACEfanatic02 » Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:18 am UTC

SocialSceneRepairman wrote: I think you can get paid for blood if you look, but most people are willing to give for free; if they find out money's changed hands over an organ, it's straight to the garbage. The only things that they'll pay for are eggs and sperm, and I'm not even totally sure about those.

Uh, no. IIRC, blood is considered an organ for legal purposes and therefore you can't be paid for donating. Blood plasma, on the other hand...

Also: comic is deep.

Also (OT), why the hell can I not log in via Firefox? Anyone else have this problem?

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby LSN » Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:19 am UTC

Editer wrote:
rgoomh wrote:Randall, get out of my head!


I'm imagining someone who gets a great big kick out of saying "Randall, get out of my head!" finding themselves a transplant recipient of one of Randall's corneas.

And thus never able to say it again.

/nothing against the "out of my head" comments, just enjoying the thought


wow. just wow.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby DieJay » Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:22 am UTC

Omegaton wrote:Not that I claim to know much about religion, but I thought that the soul was not an exclusively Christian idea.


Didn't you know? Christianity copyrighted souls during the 5th century. Open-source spiritual entities are so much better anyway, you can reincarnate with them.

On a more serious tone, that was a great comic. That's curiously a subject I find myself thinking about quite often actually, namely, the link between concepts and objects and how they survive through time. Would I dare say "Get out of my head, Randall"...?
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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Kyrn » Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:27 am UTC

Back to religion + topic, the house only no longer physically exist in the present. Nothing is said about the fallibility of time (which we make far too much assumptions of), nor the possibility that the instructions (and hence idea/metaphysical presence) of the house still exists regardless. (a similar analogy would compare the house instructions to your DNA)

Then again, instructions and actual being isn't the same, just as two clones aren't the same even if derived from the same instructions.
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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Lendges » Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:27 am UTC

Kilroy(ZTC) wrote:
Lendges wrote:Feeling existentialist now anyone?


That's basically the only reason I posted, haha. Although to your other observations, I have to say that all values are pre-rational and hence it doesn't make sense to describe any single value (like looking snazzy) as illogical. Values can only be illogical in the sense that a value system can be internally inconsistent. Which now that I think about it is kind of funny, because it means highly singular people are technically logical.


Yeah, true. I think the inherent logic of a value system that appears "illogical" (mainly referring to superficial things like style here) is that it reveals those who can and will follow the rules. Those who follow the rules well tend to hold prestigious positions in society and be regarded highly.

Still, though, you have to ask, why do those rules matter after death? Both believers and atheists assume there's no need for one's postmortem shell. For one thing, I think it's because we value legacies, and a well-to-do last impression might be important for how family and friends remember the deceased.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby ballos » Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:30 am UTC

or, perhaps, the house, as an arrangement, never existed. if it never existed, therefore, it does not disappear.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby wdfarmer » Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:30 am UTC

What's important to note is that the "arrangement" of the house was just an implementation of the child's idea or "design" of a house. Saying that the arrangement "goes away" is a little too harsh and doesn't tell the whole story; the design of the house still remains, and it could be implemented again as a new arrangement.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby GlassesHalf » Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:37 am UTC

:shock: Wow!
Have a kidney transplant and been watching the strip for a while.
Thanks so much for making this. Really cool! :D

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby BlueEyedGreen » Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:46 am UTC

I'm pretty sure that it's supposed to be that she decides that she will donate her organs, actually. You'll notice that both checks and Xs indicate an affirmation of that statement, and only a blank in such a form will compute to an answer of "no". She made a sloppy X to indicate that she will, in fact, donate her organs, because she will have no use for them after she is gone.

In terms of the Christian connotations (big sigh)... Oh, boy. First of all, not all Christian sects have the same beliefs about the soul. I'm going to say "Christian", however, because I'm fricking tired and don't want to be too elaborate. Well, it's not anti-Christian. It agrees with Christianity in many ways: your soul is not your body and is not contained within your body, as it is immaterial. If your body is the lego house, indeed, when it is disassembled, it will no longer be a house. This comic implies that the house is also the soul -- so that when life is gone, so are you. This interpretation does, of course, disagree with Christian doctrine of eternal life (not that all Christian sects even believe in eternal life), but that doesn't make it anti-Christian.

If you want to know who I am to talk about Christianity, I was raised Catholic, and I'm friends with a number of theologians who are not crazy. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll say that I've lived mostly as a secular agnostic, throughout life, although I lately feel more drawn towards the Church than I ever have.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby rpgamer » Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:48 am UTC

I really don't get how this went from organ donors to soul discussion. Can we donate souls now?

It seemed more to imply that the idea of "you" continues to exist, regardless of the location of your individual parts.

Didn't find it very amusing or anything, myself.
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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby BlueNight » Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:56 am UTC

I have always struggled with the concepts of soul and spirit. I am a mind program running in a meat computer, powered by burning sugar.

I watched a friend's brain degrade during the first minutes of a stroke, alerted those around me, and saw it come back to full capacity after we quickly got her to a hospital. I have seen several people suffer seizures, and have seen the brain reboot itself slowly afterward. I ached inside when my grandmother, a world traveler, a violist, a researcher, turned into that woman who could not speak, who yelled in the afternoons about how awful it all was, and watched nothing but Law & Order in the evenings. I have seen brains broken.

But I believe the brain only holds the mind, that the mind's functions are the essence of a person. Personality and character, hopes and fears, wit and wisdom, these are merely contained by neurons, as words convey meaning and significance using only 26 letters (in English).

I believe that sapience is the "image of God" and that He cares enough to ensure nobody will be lost to oblivion once they have begun to exist. I even believe His free offer of salvation is extended to sapient AI (self-experiencing, rational, tool-and-language-using), if we manage to make such a thing.

(In Christian theology, salvation from oblivion and salvation from Hell are two entirely different things. Everyone is saved from oblivion due to being "in the image of God", but are then judged for every bit of entropy they brought into a once-perfect creation. By accepting Jesus's sacrifice in their place, a person asks for their character to be absolved from harm they have done to others. In addition, their character is supernaturally enhanced by the Holy Spirit dwelling in their heart (like a Trill symbiote), to be motivated by love for all people from then onward. But, also like a Trill bonded pair, the person can still choose to hurt and to hate, hence godhatesfags.com.)

(My thoughts on this subject have been heavily influenced by an Isaac Asimov story about a man who finds himself mentally resurrected by a god-like being who wishes only to die.)
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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Eternal Density » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:05 am UTC

I don't see how this relates to souls. Lego houses don't have souls, so what?
When the house is broken into blocks, the house is gone. When a body decays, the body is gone. Whether or not the body has a soul does not strictly relate to this analogy.

However, the interesting question to me is not where did the house go, but where did it come from?
It didn't come from the blocks. The house came from the mind of the human who created it by organising the blocks. The human also created or learned the concept of what is understood to be a house.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby sje46 » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:13 am UTC

Eternal Density wrote:I don't see how this relates to souls. Lego houses don't have souls, so what?
When the house is broken into blocks, the house is gone. When a body decays, the body is gone. Whether or not the body has a soul does not strictly relate to this analogy.

However, the interesting question to me is not where did the house go, but where did it come from?
Hint: it didn't come from the blocks.

A Lego house is just a bunch of parts put together. A computer is just a bunch of parts put together. A human is a bunch of parts put together as well. A computer can, to some extent, think. It can compute! Yet does it still computer when you unplug it? No, because the thinking is an illusion. Same with humans. Consciousness is just the result of chemicals crossing synapses. When you take apart the pieces, you can no longer think. When the mechanism died, you die. There is no everlasting soul.
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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Amarantha » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:16 am UTC

I don't think I fully got this one. I kind of get it, but I'm not sure. I think I get the atmosphere of it, but not the joke, if that's possible.

kdrive113 wrote:This just reminds me of Early in Firefly talking about River's room, when he asks if it is still her room when she isn't in it.
Does that seem right to you?

DieJay wrote:Christianity copyrighted souls during the 5th century.
Oh, of course! That must have been around the same time they copyrighted marriage, to protect it from teh ghey.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby inhumandecency » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:20 am UTC

wdfarmer wrote:What's important to note is that the "arrangement" of the house was just an implementation of the child's idea or "design" of a house. Saying that the arrangement "goes away" is a little too harsh and doesn't tell the whole story; the design of the house still remains, and it could be implemented again as a new arrangement.


That's my thinking as well. The pattern remains in the mind and hands of the person who made the house.* But it's not as if the pattern leaves that person's head when they make the house, and goes back to it when they disassemble it. When you build a lego house you create a specific instance of the "house" pattern, which doesn't reside in the bricks, but which disappears once the bricks are taken away. So I think it's still fair to say that that instance of houseness is gone, and isn't coming back.

You could also argue that the house pattern resides partly in the people who see that configuration of bricks and know to interpret it as a house.


* unless they made it through an algorithm with high sensitivity to difficult-to-replicate conditions, in which case they could repeat the algorithm and get something different.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby wormywyrm » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:24 am UTC

This is one of my favorite xkcd comics. But I love philosophy, and am not very religious, so I can see why others dont enjoy the way it makes them think.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Whyareall » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:27 am UTC

sje46 wrote:
Eternal Density wrote:I don't see how this relates to souls. Lego houses don't have souls, so what?
When the house is broken into blocks, the house is gone. When a body decays, the body is gone. Whether or not the body has a soul does not strictly relate to this analogy.

However, the interesting question to me is not where did the house go, but where did it come from?
Hint: it didn't come from the blocks.

A Lego house is just a bunch of parts put together. A computer is just a bunch of parts put together. A human is a bunch of parts put together as well. A computer can, to some extent, think. It can compute! Yet does it still computer when you unplug it? No, because the thinking is an illusion. Same with humans. Consciousness is just the result of chemicals crossing synapses. When you take apart the pieces, you can no longer think. When the mechanism died, you die. There is no everlasting soul.


Taking this from your previous experience? No? Then please stop saying yes, this is definitely true, and you are wrong until you have some proof. Not strong evidence, proof. But then, if you are arguing the point there is no soul, you can never have proof, because once you die, you can neither perceive the oblivion nor tell anyone about it, if there is no soul.
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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Red Hal » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:29 am UTC

I was born in the unimaginable heat of creation. The atoms of my body were fused in the heart of stars. I am in, of and part of this universe. These molecules will, while life exists on this planet, become part of many life-forms over the aeons before the earth's eventual destruction returns me to the star's forge again, to become anything you can imagine, and some you can't!

Why the hell wouldn't I want to let someone else have my organs after I die?

I liked today's comic, and laghed at the alt-text, because I have been in that precise situation.
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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Kyrn » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:48 am UTC

sje46 wrote:A Lego house is just a bunch of parts put together. A computer is just a bunch of parts put together. A human is a bunch of parts put together as well. A computer can, to some extent, think. It can compute! Yet does it still computer when you unplug it? No, because the thinking is an illusion. Same with humans. Consciousness is just the result of chemicals crossing synapses. When you take apart the pieces, you can no longer think. When the mechanism died, you die. There is no everlasting soul.


My opinion of what exactly forms our soul/sapient thoughts, is explained by Copenhagen interpretation.

Copenhagen interpretation would indirectly imply that our existence/experiences are not just based on pure chemicals, but by observation/measurement as well. The question then, is: how do electrochemical processes decide what is observed/measured? It is entirely possible that an external sapient force is what locks our thoughts to specific observed states, as opposed to electrochemical reactions. (though not discounting the possibility that said chemicals may influence thoughts, in the form of memories and experiences)

Or to put simply, our thoughts are the result of spontaneous(?) wavefunction collapse, though that would lead to the question of the cause of said spontaneous wavefunction collapse, since everything has to have a cause and effect.

Who watches the watchmen? (or the observer, being us)

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Hamsvlekiss » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:54 am UTC

Editer wrote:
I'm imagining someone who gets a great big kick out of saying "Randall, get out of my head!" finding themselves a transplant recipient of one of Randall's corneas.

And thus never able to say it again.



Technically, wouldn't they now be able to say it whenever they felt like it - what with a piece of Randall literally being in their head, and all?

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Longshanx » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:03 am UTC

thret wrote:If you re-create the house later in the same pattern, is it the same house?


Good question, this is what always bothered me about teleportation :)

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby JamesGecko » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:04 am UTC

sje46 wrote:
Comic JK wrote:This is pretty overtly anti-Christian (the doctrine of the immortal human soul). Can't say I care for it.

If it gets people to become organ donors, though, that counts more.

Not so much anti-Christian as it is anti-supernatural nonsense.

Instead of complaining because a comic makes a good point against your religion, you should consider that good point and reconsider your own beliefs. Just a thought.

Technically, the comic didn't make a good point against Christianity. It defined an arbitrary model and made a statement based on this model. If the model is incomplete, the statement isn't necessary true.

Side note, I tend to think that a Christian who reads XKCD has probably done a lot of consideration of their faith.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:08 am UTC

Red Hal wrote:I was born in the unimaginable heat of creation. The atoms of my body were fused in the heart of stars. I am in, of and part of this universe. These molecules will, while life exists on this planet, become part of many life-forms over the aeons before the earth's eventual destruction returns me to the star's forge again, to become anything you can imagine, and some you can't!

I'm a philosopher and I have to say, while I found today's comic brilliantly simple and to the point, I find most of the conversation in this thread annoyingly banal, with the sole exception of the above quoted passage, which is beautifully poetic.
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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby sje46 » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:10 am UTC

Whyareall wrote:
sje46 wrote:
Eternal Density wrote:I don't see how this relates to souls. Lego houses don't have souls, so what?
When the house is broken into blocks, the house is gone. When a body decays, the body is gone. Whether or not the body has a soul does not strictly relate to this analogy.

However, the interesting question to me is not where did the house go, but where did it come from?
Hint: it didn't come from the blocks.

A Lego house is just a bunch of parts put together. A computer is just a bunch of parts put together. A human is a bunch of parts put together as well. A computer can, to some extent, think. It can compute! Yet does it still computer when you unplug it? No, because the thinking is an illusion. Same with humans. Consciousness is just the result of chemicals crossing synapses. When you take apart the pieces, you can no longer think. When the mechanism died, you die. There is no everlasting soul.


Taking this from your previous experience? No? Then please stop saying yes, this is definitely true, and you are wrong until you have some proof. Not strong evidence, proof. But then, if you are arguing the point there is no soul, you can never have proof, because once you die, you can neither perceive the oblivion nor tell anyone about it, if there is no soul.
Tell almost every famous philosopher ever that.
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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Al-pocalypse » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:12 am UTC

Am I the only one who doesnt get this comic? what's going on? what does lego have to do with organ donation?

Randall give us something funny please!
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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby error_frey » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:20 am UTC

Just registered to say this comic remembered me of a philosophy lecture I had about 10 years ago:

"Take this book. Tear all the pages apart, cut them in little pieces. Is the book still there?"

It was about Aristotle's formal cause. Different concepts, but in some way similar...

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Lendges » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:31 am UTC

Lendges wrote:Feeling existentialist now anyone?

As logical as it may be to sign up as an organ donor, we have to remember that people rarely behave logically. There is a certain dignity to looking sharp all the time. Plus, even with medical technology as precise as it is, there's always that chance that they'd mistakenly pronounce a barely-living organ donor dead on the scene. You never know...

How many people will die a premature death because they are an organ donor? 1 in 200K? How many people are waiting for organs in the hospital? You're just being selfish at that point.


I was acting mostly facetiously saying that. One is probably more likely to be struck by lightning right after winning the lottery than be killed during a mistaken organ collection. Being a donor is without a doubt the honorable choice in the matter.

Still, the existence of the "safety coffin" idea hints that the fear of dying prematurely does exist. Also, many people believe to some extent that the human body should remain intact even after death, hence all the preservatives.

Longshanx wrote:
thret wrote:If you re-create the house later in the same pattern, is it the same house?
Good question, that is always what bothered me about teleportation :)


I wonder the same thing. Opinions on Star Trek notwithstanding, did Capt. Picard lose his consciousness forever the first time he teleported? The matter in the departure area is completely obliterated. Does a new consciousness, with an identical mind and set of memories, spawn into existence, or does the same one return? Or maybe a person is reduced to a soulless automaton ("zombie") after just one beaming?

Edit: It's also possible that the re-materialized person would be lifeless - even if the teleporter created a duplicate perfect to the subatomic level. That would be the probable case given the existence of a soul.
Last edited by Lendges on Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:43 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Bumnut » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:38 am UTC

I could get into the whole soul debate, but I find arguing with people over the internet to be ineffectual.

My question: Is the second row of panels implied to take place shortly after the first row, or some years later.

i.e. the top row is a little girl playing with legos (not "legos". that annoys me for some reason) when someone (Grandad?) comes along and poses some thoughtful questions.

Cut to many years later when now-not-as-little girl is older and filling out the form for a driver's license (or whatever it is in the states), and thinks of the previous encounter when deciding about organ donation. (I don't understand the shape of the cross though)

I'd say that the message of the comic is that the perception of a continuance of self after death is a major factor in keeping organ donation rates low.

I don't know if it's correct.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby ln|mower|+c » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:38 am UTC

This comic is a piece of art. I really appreciate this.
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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby MathArt » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:43 am UTC

wow. Surprisingly buddhist. (See Questions of King Milinda)

In it, the King was asked the same question by a teacher, on whether a horse chariot exists, when it is broken down to its part.

New favourite for me!
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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Kaijyuu » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:53 am UTC

Why do people think this has anything to do with religion or anything like that? It doesn't. You're really twisting it to take this as something for/against/whatever the concept of souls.


Where does the house go? You remember it, don't you? So it still exists in some form. There will always be evidence that it existed, however subtle it may become, therefore it is immortal.
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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Hidoshi » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:57 am UTC

re: "It's not a religious comment".

Maybe it's not, but it certainly speaks about metaphysical issues connecting to physical ones. The comic is making a statement about existence, and the audience is correct in wanting to debate that. There's no sense being an apologist. I'm sure Randall doesn't need any help defending his opinion.

re: Religious Argument

I don't think this is incompatible with the idea of the Soul at all. I personally take the view that the Soul is migrative (re: reincarnation) and progressive (re: General Hindu, Vajrayana, and Theosophist view of reincarnation), and that when the Soul departs the body, there's no point in worrying about its remains.

There are cases, at least spiritually, for preservation. There's a fairly pervasive Tibetan belief that great Buddhist Masters can reincarnate spontaneously into their old bodies if a new one which has suitable qualities in the region is not available. But for the standard person, the Tibetan custom is to make sure the consciousness has departed, powder your bones or use them to make instruments and tools, cut off the flesh, and feed you to the vultures and other wild animals. What exactly do you need your body for now that whatever comprises "you" has moved on?

If I were in a Christian's shoes (and I sometimes am), I would argue that the message still isn't conflicting. If your Soul is with God, what use is it to worry about your body? If your Soul is not with God, then... Well, I suppose you've been quite a heinous person. Not like you'll need that old fleshy vehicle anyway, regardless.

My point is this: Randall isn't necessarily challenging anyone's religious viewpoints, nor encouraging an atheistic or anti-something opinion. What I do believe Randall's on about is challenging one's view of possessiveness and materialism. If there's anyone this comic rails against, it's irrational and paranoid materialists (of which there are many, both theistic and atheistic). I personally have no qualms with that.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby sora » Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:06 am UTC

Yes, it looks more like she changed the tick into a cross to me; than marking a cross for applying to be an organ donor;

or else, this comic would make no sense what-so-ever//
Last edited by sora on Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:10 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Bumnut » Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:06 am UTC

For me, the existence of chimeras (two genetically distinct zygotes creating a single functional individual) and split-brain syndromes (e.g. alien hand syndrome) pretty much put to rest the idea of dualism.

But that's just me.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby birkett » Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:14 am UTC

Whyareall wrote:
sje46 wrote:
Eternal Density wrote:I don't see how this relates to souls. Lego houses don't have souls, so what?
When the house is broken into blocks, the house is gone. When a body decays, the body is gone. Whether or not the body has a soul does not strictly relate to this analogy.

However, the interesting question to me is not where did the house go, but where did it come from?
Hint: it didn't come from the blocks.

A Lego house is just a bunch of parts put together. A computer is just a bunch of parts put together. A human is a bunch of parts put together as well. A computer can, to some extent, think. It can compute! Yet does it still computer when you unplug it? No, because the thinking is an illusion. Same with humans. Consciousness is just the result of chemicals crossing synapses. When you take apart the pieces, you can no longer think. When the mechanism died, you die. There is no everlasting soul.


Taking this from your previous experience? No? Then please stop saying yes, this is definitely true, and you are wrong until you have some proof. Not strong evidence, proof. But then, if you are arguing the point there is no soul, you can never have proof, because once you die, you can neither perceive the oblivion nor tell anyone about it, if there is no soul.


Real life isn't mathematics, and you can never prove that something does not exist. But that doesn't mean you have to abandon thinking about it. The more we learn about the functioning of the brain the less plausible the idea of a soul becomes, but even without modern neuroscience (which I do not pretend to understand) there have always been strong arguments against the notion of a soul. As someone has previously mentioned, elderly people all too commonly suffer dementia, and along with brain damage and other forms of mental illness, this provides much insight into the nature of conciousness.

Having experienced my grandmother's mental decline, I cannot see how one reconciles this with the notion of a soul. Is the strong minded loving woman she used to be still trapped inside somewhere, no longer in control of herself? What about the famous case of Phineas Gage, the railway worker who survived an iron bar piercing his skull and destroying much of his temporal lobe, whose personality was drastically altered by the injury? What became of his soul? Was his soul changed by the accident? Will he go to the afterlife thinking and feeling as he did before or after the accident? If the soul is unchanged it seems to me that the soul must be so independent of the man's mind and behaviour that the concept is meaningless.

I hope you can see why the sceptics among us believe that the mind is a consequence of physical processes in the brain, and not an immaterial soul. It fits the observations better.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Kaijyuu » Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:18 am UTC

If the soul is unchanged it seems to me that the soul must be so independent of the man's mind and behaviour that the concept is meaningless.

The counter argument here would be that the brain is the (for lack of a better term) user interface. You can bust a user interface badly enough that it doesn't work the way you want it to anymore, and it can go totally haywire. They can still be separate without being "meaningless."
The cake is a lie, but truth is in Pi.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby H2SO4 » Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:27 am UTC

Kyrn wrote:Copenhagen interpretation would indirectly imply that our existence/experiences are not just based on pure chemicals, but by observation/measurement as well. The question then, is: how do electrochemical processes decide what is observed/measured? It is entirely possible that an external sapient force is what locks our thoughts to specific observed states, as opposed to electrochemical reactions. (though not discounting the possibility that said chemicals may influence thoughts, in the form of memories and experiences)

This sort of thinking has always been kinda interesting for me. So our brain holds memories (more specifically the hippocampus). How? I'd imagine it recreates them through firing the same synapses. Where does it store the information on which synapses to fire at what moment? How does it store this information? How does it remember "This person's shirt was yellow, he was taller than this other person, and he was saying this with this tone of voice." How does it remember words and languages? It's all a grand mystery.
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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby sophomore » Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:31 am UTC

To be honest, I thought the point of the title text was to leave the religious aspect of the debate openly untouched or at least unanswered by the author. I thought that introducing the concept and then deliberately not answering it after plausibly (but loosely) comparing the body to a house made up of building blocks was a great way to sidestep the issue.

I'd probably be a donor but they won't let me for another two years. Yay for certain tropical third-world countries.

Ah - I'm tired. I just had the amusing thought - relating non-sentient objects to human considerations makes me wonder how many pieces of Halloween candy I have sent to their respective heavens over the years. I am staging a genocide against Reese's.

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby SparkOut » Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:31 am UTC

Al-pocalypse wrote:Am I the only one who doesnt get this comic? what's going on? what does lego have to do with organ donation?

Randall give us something funny please!

The girl is told that the house "arrangement doesn't stay with the pieces" so when the house is gone, the pieces can be used to make something else.
Later, when she goes to get a driving licence, she remembers that when she is dead and gone, the arrangement of her pieces doesn't stay with her, so her pieces (organs) can be used to make something else (save another life).
It's actually slightly ambiguous whether or not Randall is saying there is or is not a soul. He says (of the house) "it's just gone" which (I think) implies that he means it's ended existence, not moved into another plane. He doesn't actually refute that there is continued existence though - I think his point is more that once the bits of the house or your body don't have an arrangement to support, they can easily be used to support another arrangement. So check the box on the organ donor section of the licence.

[edit]and yes, sophomore, that's what I think too - Randall has made some implicit suggestions, but left it unanswered... on purpose.[/edit]

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Re: "Lego" Discussion

Postby Red Hal » Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:37 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Red Hal wrote:I was born in the unimaginable heat of creation. The atoms of my body were fused in the heart of stars. I am in, of and part of this universe. These molecules will, while life exists on this planet, become part of many life-forms over the aeons before the earth's eventual destruction returns me to the star's forge again, to become anything you can imagine, and some you can't!

I'm a philosopher and I have to say, while I found today's comic brilliantly simple and to the point, I find most of the conversation in this thread annoyingly banal, with the sole exception of the above quoted passage, which is beautifully poetic.
Thank you. It was written off the cuff, and on a mobile device, while sitting on the bus on the way to work. The journey that led me to those beliefs was far longer.
Lost Greatest Silent Baby X Y Z. "There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain..."


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