Poll: Did I create my liver?

Into statistics? Curious what everyone else thinks? Then start a poll here.

Did Angela create her liver?

yes
3
23%
no
7
54%
maybe
3
23%
 
Total votes : 13

Poll: Did I create my liver?

Postby Angela » Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:11 pm

Couldn't resist clicking on this topic, could you? :smt004

Mitch and I have a disagreement about whether or not I created my liver. (For some reason, our discussions tend to go places like this :chat: )
So, I thought it would be fun to see what everyone else thinks. Did I create my liver? After you've voted, you can post a reply explaining your choice. And, hey, don't scroll down and read the other explanations before you vote. Then if someone posts something that changes your mind, you can explain that too.
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Re: Poll: Did I create my liver?

Postby NH Baritone » Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:22 am

I haven't been following your dialogue, but your question is a bit odd out of that context. It has the feel of a zen koan, which by its nature is not answerable.

But from a naturalistic viewpoint, in many ways you are your liver. Additionally, since liver cells are not immortal (or even that long-lived), your liver's current incarnation formed in your body long after your birth. (It will be a different liver in about a decade, assuming the rest of you lives so long.)

Everything is a process. Your body's processes, in interaction with your environment, create your liver, in the same way that they create your thoughts, feelings, and actions. This of course suggests an additional question: Did you create my liver? (After all, you helped to create this thought I'm typing right now.)
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Re: Poll: Did I create my liver?

Postby tirtlegrrl » Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:40 pm

I also think the question is weird, but here's my take:

Angela, described as a conscious being that makes choices, did not create her liver as she was born with it. As she matured, the effect of her environment and what she put in her body affected the way her liver is today. So in a way Angela is responsible for the current state of her liver, but I highly doubt she manufactured her current liver from its constituent atoms and then put it in her body. So in a literal sense no, but if you look at it a different way sort of yes.
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Re: Poll: Did I create my liver?

Postby Angela » Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:47 pm

NH Baritone wrote:I haven't been following your dialogue, but your question is a bit odd out of that context. It has the feel of a zen koan, which by its nature is not answerable.

But from a naturalistic viewpoint, in many ways you are your liver. Additionally, since liver cells are not immortal (or even that long-lived), your liver's current incarnation formed in your body long after your birth. (It will be a different liver in about a decade, assuming the rest of you lives so long.)

Everything is a process. Your body's processes, in interaction with your environment, create your liver, in the same way that they create your thoughts, feelings, and actions. This of course suggests an additional question: Did you create my liver? (After all, you helped to create this thought I'm typing right now.)


Oh yes, I'm aware it's an odd question (it was actually pretty odd even within the context of the dialogue). :smt004 I ask it without explanation or context because I'm as interested in everyone's interpretations of the question as in their answers.

So, if my body's processes create my liver, is that the same as saying I create it? Am I the sum of my body's processes?

Pretty cool how quickly a silly question can lead to profound phisosophical inquiry, huh? Or perhaps they amount to the same thing in the end.

No, I don't think I can take any credit (or blame) for :D your liver, NH.
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Re: Poll: Did I create my liver?

Postby Angela » Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:13 pm

tirtlegrrl wrote:I also think the question is weird, but here's my take:

Angela, described as a conscious being that makes choices, did not create her liver as she was born with it. As she matured, the effect of her environment and what she put in her body affected the way her liver is today. So in a way Angela is responsible for the current state of her liver, but I highly doubt she manufactured her current liver from its constituent atoms and then put it in her body. So in a literal sense no, but if you look at it a different way sort of yes.


Yes, I agree, weird question. (Maybe I should do another poll: Is the question "Did I create my liver?" weird?) :twisted:

My take is pretty much the same as yours, tirtlegrrl.
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Re: Poll: Did I create my liver?

Postby mitchellmckain » Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:50 pm

This question seem to me to be highly related to the question of where our identity lies? Is it in the biological organism or something else. The biological organism created the liver just as much as tomato plants make tomatoes and sheep make wool. Interestingly enough I DO NOT think that our identity is to be found in our biology. I believe that instead that this is found in our mind, which I believe is a living organism in its own right, and so in that sense I would agree with Angela that she did not create her liver. In those terms, I feel like I win either way. LOL However, I am also very well aware that things are not quite that simple and that the mind and body are difficult to seperate and we really do not know where the biology leaves off and the mental begins, so we usually do not distinguish the two as seperate living organisms that are not responsible for what the other one does. If Angela could prove me wrong on this point, I would be completely delighted actually. LOL

There is a deeper issue here of homo-sapien-centrism, where human beings see themselves as occupying a privelidged position in the KNOWN universe as the only living organisms capable of creating anything and that apple trees and cows are inanimate processes which produce apples and milk much the same way that the earth produces gravity by no will of its own but simply by the operation of natural law. Interestingly enough I DO think that human being occupy a privelidged position among the living things of the earth, but I think it is a quantitative difference rather than a qualitative one. We are so much more creative, aware and able learn than any other form of life that by comparison we certainly can be cast in the role of the consciousness of the earth. On the other hand because it is a quantitative difference only I think that things like awareness, creativity, and learning are applicable to ALL living things to their own degree. In all living things there is to be found will, desires, purpose, creativity, effort, awareness, and intention as part of the biological process of biological organisms in much the same way that they are part of the mental process of the human mind.
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Re: Poll: Did I create my liver?

Postby Angela » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:32 am

mitchellmckain wrote:This question seem to me to be highly related to the question of where our identity lies? Is it in the biological organism or something else. The biological organism created the liver just as much as tomato plants make tomatoes and sheep make wool. Interestingly enough I DO NOT think that our identity is to be found in our biology. I believe that instead that this is found in our mind, which I believe is a living organism in its own right, and so in that sense I would agree with Angela that she did not create her liver. In those terms, I feel like I win either way. LOL However, I am also very well aware that things are not quite that simple and that the mind and body are difficult to seperate and we really do not know where the biology leaves off and the mental begins, so we usually do not distinguish the two as seperate living organisms that are not responsible for what the other one does. If Angela could prove me wrong on this point, I would be completely delighted actually. LOL

There is a deeper issue here of homo-sapien-centrism, where human beings see themselves as occupying a privelidged position in the KNOWN universe as the only living organisms capable of creating anything and that apple trees and cows are inanimate processes which produce apples and milk much the same way that the earth produces gravity by no will of its own but simply by the operation of natural law. Interestingly enough I DO think that human being occupy a privelidged position among the living things of the earth, but I think it is a quantitative difference rather than a qualitative one. We are so much more creative, aware and able learn than any other form of life that by comparison we certainly can be cast in the role of the consciousness of the earth. On the other hand because it is a quantitative difference only I think that things like awareness, creativity, and learning are applicable to ALL living things to their own degree. In all living things there is to be found will, desires, purpose, creativity, effort, awareness, and intention as part of the biological process of biological organisms in much the same way that they are part of the mental process of the human mind.


Your way of thinking here, Mitch, is creative and interesting, and for that reason it has a lot of appeal to me. I'm having fun looking at things from this perspective, similar to the fun of reading a science fiction novel. But at the end of the day, in the real world, I think your stretching of concepts such as creativity, awareness, and effort so that they can apply to any living thing, rather than only conscious living things, makes the concepts less, rather than more, useful. We have other words for what a tomato plant does that are more descriptive of the actual process of fruit production than "create." To insist on using that word waters down the meaning of it.

Take the words run and walk. You could argue that there is only a quantitative difference. Running is faster. Why should we privilege runners by claiming they are doing something qualitatively different that walkers? "Maybe you thought I walked to the mail box this morning, but really, I just ran real slow. :D
There is a useful distinction between the words walk and run, as there is between produce and create. Tomato plants produce tomatoes. A painter creates a painting. You could substitute one word for the other in each sentence, but the result is less meaningful, not more.
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Re: Poll: Did I create my liver?

Postby mitchellmckain » Mon Oct 19, 2009 1:55 pm

Angela wrote:Your way of thinking here, Mitch, is creative and interesting, and for that reason it has a lot of appeal to me. I'm having fun looking at things from this perspective, similar to the fun of reading a science fiction novel. But at the end of the day, in the real world, I think your stretching of concepts such as creativity, awareness, and effort so that they can apply to any living thing, rather than only conscious living things, makes the concepts less, rather than more, useful. We have other words for what a tomato plant does that are more descriptive of the actual process of fruit production than "create." To insist on using that word waters down the meaning of it.

Then perhaps you will think that my studies of physics has destroyed my "common sense" for that is where we learn that science truth is much stranger than science fiction. No matter how much it may not seem like the "real world" to you, it IS the real world as I see it.


Angela wrote:Take the words run and walk. You could argue that there is only a quantitative difference. Running is faster. Why should we privilege runners by claiming they are doing something qualitatively different that walkers? "Maybe you thought I walked to the mail box this morning, but really, I just ran real slow. :D
There is a useful distinction between the words walk and run, as there is between produce and create. Tomato plants produce tomatoes. A painter creates a painting. You could substitute one word for the other in each sentence, but the result is less meaningful, not more.

I know very well that running roughshod over distinctions annihilates meaning, but drawing connections past artificial and contrived boundaries does not destroy meaning but greatly enhances it.
Last edited by mitchellmckain on Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Poll: Did I create my liver?

Postby whoosanightowl » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:16 pm

I voted no because I believe to create something requires consciousness, a willful desire, and an intentional action. Sheep do not desire to grow wool, apple trees do not consciously grow apples, and cows do not intentionally produce milk.
Since Angela did not intentionally to grow a liver, she is not the creator of it.
That's my opinion anyway. :D
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