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Author Topic: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?  (Read 309646 times)

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1300 on: 16/12/2013 17:41:22 »


Cheryl : Most materialists do still view the world through the fundamentally incorrect Newton's classical physics on which sand castles 19th century outdated and superseded false materialism was built :
Quantum mechanics have been changing all that ,also by revolutionizing our conventional classical conception of matter .....
That all has serious implications for the Newtonian materialist determinism : see below :

"So, Are We Free ?":


And what does all this imply about free will? Sperry writes that “the proposed brain model provides in
large measure the mental forces and abilities to determine one’s own actions. It provides a high degree
of freedom from outside forces as well as mastery over the inner molecular and atomic forces of the
body. In other words, it provides plenty of free will as long as we think of free will as selfdetermination.”
32 So, accordingly, a person does indeed determine with his own mind what he is going
to do from a range of alternatives, but the ultimate choice is restricted by a variety of factors,
including available information and mental acuity. Perhaps the ultimate form of free will would not be
complete freedom from all causal factors but rather unlimited causal contact with all relevant
information, scenarios, choices, and possible results.
And, of course, our choices are in large part determined by our personal preferences, experiences,
and cultural and inherited factors. It could be argued that this is a form of determinism, but do we
really wish to be free from ourselves? As Arthur Schopenhauer wondered, “We may be free to do as
we please, but are we free to please as we please?”
With this conception of free will it could be argued that the more we learn, the wider the experience
we gain, the more logical we become, the greater our knowledge of ourselves and of history, the more
our sciences advance, the greater then the extent of true human freedom. However, an interesting
experiment was performed by a psychologist in the late 1980s that seems to have bearing on the
subject of free will and may imply a different conclusion.
Benjamin Libet, at the University of California at San Francisco, asked subjects to push a button at
a moment of their choosing while they noted the moment of their decision as displayed on a clock. He
found that subjects on average took about a fifth of a second to flex their fingers after they had
decided to do so. But data from an electroencephalograph monitoring their brain waves showed a
spike in electrical activity about a third of a second before they consciously decided to push the
button. Some have interpreted this result as implying that our decisions may be unconsciously
determined for us before we are aware of the decision, and thus free will is only an illusion.
Before we jump to this conclusion, however, we immediately recognize that we do not typically
make our decisions the way these subjects arbitrarily decided to flex their fingers. Decisions on
anything important are usually made by gathering information and mulling over the different
possibilities and their implications. The decision to push a button at the moment of our choosing, by
contrast, seems to involve waiting for the trivial urge to strike us, a rather random, indeterminate
process.
Libet himself believes that one implication of his work is an altered view of how we exercise free
will:
The role of conscious free will would be, then, not to initiate a voluntary act, but rather to control whether the act takes place.
We may view the unconscious initiatives for voluntary actions as “bubbling up” in the brain. The conscious-will then selects
which of these initiatives may go forward to an action or which ones to veto or abort, with no act appearing. . . . The existence
of a veto possibility is not in doubt. The subjects in our experiments at times reported that a conscious wish or urge to act
appeared but that they suppressed or vetoed that. . . . All of us, not just experimental subjects, have experienced our vetoing a
spontaneous urge to perform some act. This often occurs when the urge to act involves some socially unacceptable
consequence, like an urge to shout some obscenity at the professor.33
He also considers and rejects the possibility that the conscious veto itself may have its origin in
preceding unconscious processes, writing that
the conscious veto is a control function, different from simply becoming aware of the wish to act. There is no logical imperative
in any mind-brain theory, even identity theory, that requires specific neural activity to precede and determine the nature of a
conscious control function. And, there is no experimental evidence against the possibility that the control process may appear
without development by prior unconscious processes.
Popper would take this as another example of downward causation, as nonrandom selection from a
choice of random alternatives: “The selection of a kind of behavior out of a randomly offered
repertoire may be an act of choice, even an act of free will.”34 If quantum phenomena have any real
effect in the brain, then perhaps their random influences are accepted when they fit into the higherlevel
structure; otherwise they are rejected.
But there is another interpretation, due to another of Libet’s experiments. In 1973 Libet found that
electrical stimulation of the sensory cortex—that part of the brain’s surface primarily responsible for
processing tactile information from the skin—did not result in conscious sensation unless the
stimulation was prolonged for at least 500 milliseconds (0.5 second). The necessity of 500
milliseconds of cortical stimulation before the signal was felt also held for stimulation of the skin: in
both cases, if the signal as recorded in the cortex was less than half a second long, it was not
consciously experienced. This does not mean that the signal at the skin must last half a second, but
rather that the secondary signals at the surface of the brain must last at least half a second before they
can be consciously experienced.
However, Libet found that patients experienced their finger shocks almost immediately, between 10
and 20 milliseconds after the shock was applied. Typical reaction time—the time it takes to perceive a
shock and push a button—is about 100 milliseconds (0.1 second). So how can Libet’s observation that
500 milliseconds of neural activity is required before a shock can be felt be reconciled with the fact
that we can perceive and respond to such shocks in about one-fifth the time they apparently require to
become part of conscious experience?
In a series of ingenious experiments involving electrical stimulation of both skin and cortex, Libet
resolved this paradox. What appears to happen is that the tactile signal reaches the cortex in about 10
milliseconds but is not consciously perceived. However, the arrival time is unconsciously marked in
some manner. Then, if the cortical activity due to the skin response is not interrupted but allowed to
continue for at least 500 milliseconds, the shock is felt. But it is not felt half a second late: rather, it is
“backdated” to the original arrival time of the signal.
These surprising results seem to refute the idea that every mental experience is directly correlated
with a physical process in the brain. Or, as neuroscientist John Eccles put it, “there can be a temporal
discrepancy between neural events and the experiences of the self conscious mind.”v
Dean Radin takes this idea a step further: He notes that the equations of both classical and quantum
physics are neutral with respect to the direction of time and so do not rule out the possibility of future
events causing events in the past. In addition, he has presented some experimental evidence that
individuals can subconsciously react to future events.
At the University of Nevada, people were shown a series of pictures on a computer screen. Most of
the images were of an emotionally calming nature, such as images of landscapes and various nature
scenes, but some were meant to be arousing or disturbing, including pornographic photos and pictures
of corpses. At the beginning of each trial, the screen was blank. The participant would start the trial by
pressing a mouse button. After five seconds, one of these images, calm or emotional, was shown for
three seconds, and then the screen would go blank again. Ten seconds later, a message informed
participants that they could press the mouse button again whenever they felt ready for the next trial.
Five seconds after pressing the mouse button, another picture would be displayed, and the session
would continue until forty pictures had been shown. The order in which the pictures were displayed
was chosen randomly by the computer. Throughout the session the participants’ heart rate, skin
resistance, and blood volume in the fingertips were monitored.
Not surprisingly, dramatic changes in all three physiological measures were recorded when the
emotional pictures were shown. But what was remarkable was that the arousal began before the
emotional picture was displayed, even though the participants could not have known by any normal
means what sort of picture was going to be displayed next. This effect, of unconsciously preparing for
a reaction to an impending event, has been labeled “presentiment” and has been replicated
independently by a laboratory in Holland.35
As Radin notes, if we allow “for the possibility of signals traveling backward in time, then what
Libet saw [in the experiment involving deciding when to push a button] may be the brain’s response to
its own decision taking place a third of a second in the future.”36 In other words, given the apparent
temporal discrepancy between neural events and the experiences of the self-conscious mind, the
subconscious mind may generate neural activity in order to prepare the brain for the execution of an
impending decision. The second experiment described may be an example of the reverse: the mind
may experience and respond to a sensation because of a signal from the future state of the brain.

Chris Carter


« Last Edit: 16/12/2013 18:35:11 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1301 on: 16/12/2013 18:02:17 »
My best understanding of Stapp’s theory and other rival ones is that quantum mechanics may provide some freedom of choice, a yes/no selection of options or brain states. If this is true, as I said, I’m delighted. It certainly breathes new air into the free will discussion, which the determinists have been winning.
My concern is freedom of choice by what, and how? Given a number of potential actions, why is it not sufficient to select the most appropriate by matching with one's predilections? why invoke any unexplained phenomena to make a selection in an unexplained way?

It seems to me that not only is the popular concept of free will incoherent, it is being used in two quite different ways - as the driver for a subjective sense of volitional agency, and as the basis for the objective cultural attribution of moral responsibility. 

Quote
... Here is a brief explanation of top down control from an article in the journal Neuron: ...
How else can we reasonably account for the influence of expectation on perception and experience?
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1302 on: 16/12/2013 18:14:27 »
...Sperry writes that “the proposed brain model provides in large measure the mental forces and abilities to determine one’s own actions. It provides a high degree of freedom from outside forces as well as mastery over the inner molecular and atomic forces of the body. In other words, it provides plenty of free will as long as we think of free will as self-determination.”
So, accordingly, a person does indeed determine with his own mind what he is going to do from a range of alternatives, but the ultimate choice is restricted by a variety of factors, including available information and mental acuity. Perhaps the ultimate form of free will would not be complete freedom from all causal factors but rather unlimited causal contact with all relevant information, scenarios, choices, and possible results.
And, of course, our choices are in large part determined by our personal preferences, experiences, and cultural and inherited factors. It could be argued that this is a form of determinism, but do we really wish to be free from ourselves? As Arthur Schopenhauer wondered, “We may be free to do as we please, but are we free to please as we please?”
With this conception of free will it could be argued that the more we learn, the wider the experience we gain, the more logical we become, the greater our knowledge of ourselves and of history, the more our sciences advance, the greater then the extent of true human freedom. However, an interesting experiment w

I don't disagree with the bulk of that quote of Sperry (except for "mastery over the inner molecular and atomic forces of the body" which needs explanation). However, although it's possible that quantum mechanics may play a part in it, nothing in there that requires it. Classical computation is quite sufficient.

Also bear in mind that classical and quantum physics are not in opposition, each is useful at its respective scale; and Newtonian physics has been superseded by the more precise relativity of Einstein as the classical model.
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1303 on: 16/12/2013 18:30:31 »
Cheryl :
"Mind-Body Interaction" :



............In the brain model proposed here the causal potency of an idea, or an ideal, becomes just as real as that of a molecule, a cell, or
a nerve impulse. Ideas cause ideas and help evolve new ideas. They interact with each other and with other mental forces in the
same brain, in neighboring brains, and thanks to global communication, in far distant, foreign brains. And they also interact
with the external surroundings to produce in toto a burstwise advance in evolution that is far beyond anything to hit the
evolutionary scene yet.

Mind-Body Interaction:


Critics of mentalism and dualism often question how two fundamentally different properties, such as
mind and matter, could possibly interact. How can something nonspatial, with no mass, location, or
physical dimensions, possibly influence spatially bound matter? As K. R. Rao writes:
The main problem with such dualism is the problem of interaction. How does unextended mind interact with the extended
body? Any kind of causal interaction between them, which is presumed by most dualist theories, comes into conflict with the
physical theory that the universe is a closed system and that every physical event is linked with an antecedent physical event.
This assumption preempts any possibility that a mental act can cause a physical event.28
Of course, we know now that the universe is not a closed system and that the collapse of the wave
function—a physical event—is linked with an antecedent mental event. The objection Rao describes is
of course based on classical physics.
Furthermore, by asking “How does unextended mind interact with the extended body?” Rao is
making the implicit assumption that phenomena that exist as cause and effect must have something in
common in order to exist as cause and effect. So is this a logical necessity? Or is it rather an empirical
truth, a fact about nature? As David Hume pointed out long ago, anything in principle could be the
cause of anything else, and so only observation can establish what causes what. Parapsychologist John
Beloff considers the issue logically:
If an event A never occurred without being preceded by some other event B, we would surely want to say that the second event
was a necessary condition or cause of the first event, whether or not the two had anything else in common. As for such a
principle being an empirical truth, how could it be since there are here only two known independent substances, i.e. mind and
matter, as candidates on which to base a generalization? To argue that they cannot interact because they are independent is to
beg the question. . . . It says something about the desperation of those who want to dismiss radical dualism that such phony
arguments should repeatedly be invoked by highly reputable philosophers who should know better.29
Popper also rejects completely the idea that only like can act upon like, describing this as resting on
obsolete notions of physics. For an example of unlikes acting on one another we have interaction
between the four known and very different forces, and between forces and physical bodies. Popper
considers the issue empirically:
In the present state of physics we are faced, not with a plurality of substances, but with a plurality of different kinds of forces,
and thus with a pluralism of different interacting explanatory principles. Perhaps the clearest physical example against the thesis
that only like things can act upon each other is this: In modern physics, the action of bodies upon bodies is mediated by fields
—by gravitational and electrical fields. Thus like does not act upon like, but bodies act first upon fields, which they modify, and
then the modified field acts upon another body.30
It should be clear that the idea that only like can act upon like rests upon an obsolete, billiard-ball
notion of causation in physics.

Chris Carter
« Last Edit: 16/12/2013 18:32:48 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1304 on: 16/12/2013 19:32:45 »
Cheryl :
Application to Neuropsychology:




The most direct evidence pertaining to the effects of conscious choices
upon brain activities comes from experiments in which consciously
controlled cognitive efforts are found to be empirically correlated to
measured physical effects in the brain. An example is the experiment of
Ochsner et al. (2001). The subjects are trained how to cognitively reevaluate
emotional scenes by consciously creating and holding in place
an alternative fictional story of what is really happening in connection
with an emotion-generating scene they are viewing.
The trial began with a 4-second presentation of a negative or
neutral photo, during which participants were instructed simply
to view the stimulus on the screen. This interval was intended to
provide time for participants to apprehend complex scenes and
allow an emotional response to be generated that participants
would then be asked to regulate. The word ‘attend’ (for negative
or neutral photos) or ‘reappraise’ (negative photos only) then
appeared beneath the photo and the participants followed this
instruction for 4 seconds.
To verify whether the participants had, in fact, reappraised in
this manner, during the post-scan rating session participants
were asked to indicate for each photo whether they had reinterpreted
the photo (as instructed) or had used some other type
of reappraisal strategy. Compliance was high: On less than 4%
of trials with highly negative photos did participants report
using another type of strategy.
Reports such as these can be taken as evidence that the streams of
consciousness of the participants do exist and contain elements identifiable
as efforts to reappraise.
Patterns of brain activity accompanying reappraisal efforts were
assessed by using functional magnetic imaging resonance (fMRI). The
fMRI results were that reappraisal was positively correlated with increased
activity in the left lateral prefrontal cortex and the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (regions thought to be connected to cognitive
control) and decreased activity in the (emotion-related) amygdala and
medial orbito-frontal cortex.
How can we explain the correlation revealed in this experiment
between the mental reality of ‘conscious effort’ and the physical reality
of measured brain behavior?
According to the precepts of classical physics, the subject’s behavior
is controlled by physically described variables alone, and his feeling
that his ‘conscious effort’ is affecting his thinking is an illusion: the
causal chain of physical events originating in the instructions being
fed to the trained subject is controlling the brain response, and his
feeling of ‘conscious effort’ is an epiphenomenal side-effect that has no
effect whatever on his brain.
The validity of that picture cannot be empirically verified or confirmed:
it is an unverifiable conjecture. Nor has this conjecture any
rational foundation in science or basic physics. The conjecture originates
from the classical principle of the causal closure of the physical,
which does not generally hold in quantum theory. That principle rests
on a classical-physics-based bottom-up determinism that starts at the
elementary particle level and works up to the macro-level. But, according
to the quantum principles, the determinism at the bottom (ionic)
level fails badly in the brain. The presumption that it gets restored at
the macro-level is wishful and unprovable.
According to quantum mechanics, the microscopic uncertainties
must rationally be expected to produce, via the Schroedinger equation
(of brain plus environment), macroscopic variations that, to match
observation, need to be cut back by quantum reductions. This means
process 1 interventions. This leads, consistently and reasonably, to
the entry of mental causation as described above, where the subject’s
conscious effort is actually causing what his conscious understanding
believes, on the basis of life-long experience, that effort to be causing.
There is no rational explanation for the existence of the ‘illusion of
conscious influence’ when no such influence exists, but a completely
reasonable explanation for the subject’s believing that his conscious
effort has an influence when that experienced effort has an influence
that incessantly demonstrates itself to the subject.
As regards causation, the structure of quantum theory effects a
replacement, within the dynamics, of what is unknowable in principle,
namely the empirically inaccessible microscopic features of the
brain, by data of a different kind, which are knowable in principle,
namely our efforts. This replacement of inaccessible-in-principle data by accessible-in-practice data leads to statistical predictions connecting
empirically describable conscious intentions to empirically describable
perceptual feedbacks. The psychologically described and mathematically
described components of the theory become cemented together
by quantum rules that work in practice.
What is the rational motivation for adhering to the classical approximation?
The applicability of the classical approximation to this phenomenon
certainly does not follow from physics considerations: calculations
based on the known properties of nerve terminals indicate that quantum
theory must in principle be used. Nor does it follow from the
fact that classical physics works reasonably well in neuroanatomy and
neurophysiology: quantum theory explains why the classical approximation
works well in those domains. Nor does it follow rationally from
the massive analyses and conflicting arguments put forth by philosophers
of mind. In view of the turmoil that has engulfed philosophy
during the three centuries since Newton’s successors cut the bond between
mind and matter, the re-bonding achieved by physicists during
the first half of the twentieth century must be seen as a momentous
development. Ignoring in the scientific study of the mind–brain connection
this enormously pertinent development in basic science appears
to be, from a scientific perspective, an irrational choice.
The materialist claim is that someday the mind will be understood
to be the product of completely mindless matter. Karl Popper called
this prophecy “promissory materialism”
. But can these connections
reasonably be expected to be understood in terms of a physical theory
that is known to be false, and, moreover, to be false because it is an
approximation that eliminates a key feature of the object of study,
namely the causal effects of mental effort upon brain activity.
The only objections I know to applying the basic principles of orthodox
contemporary physics to brain dynamics are, first, the forcefully
expressed opinions of some non-physicists that the classical approximation
provides an entirely adequate foundation for understanding
mind–brain dynamics, in spite of quantum calculations that indicate
just the opposite; and, second, the opinions of some conservative
physicists, who, apparently for philosophical reasons, contend that the
practically successful orthodox quantum theory, which is intrinsically
dualistic, should, be replaced by a theory that re-converts human consciousness
into a causally inert witness to the mindless dance of atoms,
as it was in 1900. Neither of these opinions has any rational basis in
contemporary science, as will be further elaborated upon in the sections that follow. And they leave unanswered the hard question: Why
should causally inert consciousness exist at all, and massively deceive
us about its nature and function?

Source : Henry P. Stapp
MINDFUL
UNIVERSE
Quantum Mechanics
and the Participating Observer
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1305 on: 16/12/2013 19:36:11 »
Cheryl :   Nerve Terminal and the Need to Use Quantum Theory:


Many neuroscientists who study the relationship of consciousness to
brain processes want to believe that classical physics will provide an
adequate rational foundation for that task. But classical physics has
bottom-up causation, and the direct rational basis for the claim that
classical physics is applicable to the full workings of the brain rests on
the basic presumption that it is applicable at the microscopic level.
However, empirical evidence about what is actually happening at the
trillions of synapses on the billions of neurons in a conscious brain
is virtually nonexistent, and, according to the uncertainty principle,
empirical evidence is in principle unable to justify the claim that deterministic
behavior actually holds in the brain at the microscopic
(ionic) scale. Thus the claim that classical determinism holds in living
brains is empirically indefensible: sufficient evidence neither does, nor
can in principle, exist.
Whether the classical approximation is applicable to macroscopic
brain dynamics can, therefore, only be determined by examining the
details of the physical situation within the framework of the more general
quantum theory, to see, from a rational perspective, to what extent
use of the classical approximation can be theoretically justified. The
technical questions are: How important quantitatively are the effects
of the uncertainty principle at the microscopic (ionic) level; and if they
are important at the microscopic level, then why can this microscopic
indeterminacy never propagate up to the macro-level?
Classical physical theory is adequate, in principle, precisely to the
extent that the smear of potentialities generated at the microscopic
level by the uncertainty principle leads via the purely physically described
aspects of quantum dynamics to a macroscopic brain state
that is essentially one single classically describable state, rather than
a cloud of such states representing a set of alternative possible conscious
experiences. In this latter case the quantum mechanical state of
the brain needs to be reduced, somehow, to the state corresponding to
the experienced phenomenal reality.
To answer the physics question of the extent of the micro-level
uncertainties we turn first to an examination of the quantum dynamics
of nerve terminals.
4.1 Nerve Terminals
Nerve terminals lie at the junctions between two neurons, and mediate
the functional connection between them. Neuroscientists have developed,
on the basis of empirical data, fairly detailed classical models
of how these important parts of the brain work. According to the
classical picture, each ‘firing’ of a neuron sends an electrical signal,
called an action potential, along its output fiber. When this signal
reaches the nerve terminal it opens up tiny channels in the terminal
membrane, through which calcium ions flow into the interior of the
terminal. Within the terminal are vesicles, which are small storage areas
containing chemicals called neurotransmitters. The calcium ions
migrate by diffusion from their entry channels to special sites, where
they trigger the release of the contents of a vesicle into a gap between
the terminal and a neighboring neuron. The released chemicals influence
the tendency of the neighboring neuron to fire. Thus the nerve
terminals, as connecting links between neurons, are basic elements in
brain dynamics.
The channels through which the calcium ions enter the nerve terminal
are called ion channels. At their narrowest points they are only
about a nanometer in width, hence not much larger than the calcium
ions themselves. This extreme smallness of the opening in the
ion channels has profound quantum mechanical import. The consequence
of this narrowness is essentially the same as the consequence of
the squeezing of the state of the simple harmonic oscillator, or of the
narrowness of the slits in the double-slit experiments. The narrowness
of the channel restricts the lateral spatial dimension. Consequently,
the uncertainty in lateral velocity is forced by the quantum uncertainty
principle to become non-zero, and to be in fact about 1% of the
longitudinal velocity of the ion. This causes the quantum probability
cloud associated with the calcium ion to fan out over an increasing
area as it moves away from the tiny channel to the target region where
the ion will be absorbed as a whole on some small triggering site, or
will not be absorbed at all on that site. The transit distance is estimated
to be about 50 nanometers (Fogelson & Zucker 1985; Schweizer,
Betz, & Augustine 1995), but the total distance traveled is increased
many-fold by the diffusion mechanism. Thus the probability cloud becomes
spread out over a region that is much larger than the size of the
calcium ion itself, or of the trigger site. This spreading of the ion wave
packet means that the ion may or may not be absorbed on the small
triggering site.
Many different calcium ions contribute to the release of neurotransmitter
from a vesicle. The estimated probability that a vesicle on a
cerebral neuron will be released, per incident input action potential
pulse, is far less than 100% (maybe only 50%). The very large quantum
uncertainty at the individual calcium level ensures that this large
empirical uncertainty of release entails that the quantum state of the
nerve terminal will become a quantum mixture of states where the
neurotransmitter is released, or, alternatively, is not released. This
quantum splitting occurs at every one of the trillions of nerve terminals
in the brain. This quantum splitting at each of the nerve terminals
propagates, via the quantum mechanical process 2, first to neuronal
behavior, and then to the behavior of the whole brain, so that, according
to quantum theory, the state of the brain can become a cloudlike
quantum mixture of many different classically describable brain states.
In complex situations where the outcome at the classical level depends
on noisy elements the corresponding quantum brain will evolve into a
quantum mixture of the corresponding states.
The process 2 evolution of the brain is highly nonlinear, in the
(classical) sense that small events can trigger much larger events, and
that there are very important feedback loops. Some neurons can be
on the verge of firing, so that small variations in the firing times of
other neurons can influence whether or not this firing occurs. In a system
with such a sensitive dependence on unstable elements, and on
massive feedbacks, it is not reasonable to suppose, and not possible to
demonstrate, that the process 2 dynamical evolution will lead generally
to a single (nearly) classically describable quantum state. There
might perhaps be particular special situations during which the massively
parallel processing all conspires to cause the brain dynamics to
become essentially deterministic and perhaps even nearly classically
describable. But there is no likelihood that during periods of mental
groping and uncertainty there cannot be bifurcation points in which
one part of the quantum cloud of potentialities that represents the
brain goes one way and the remainder goes another, leading to a quantum
mixture of very different classically describable potentialities. The
validity of the classical approximation certainly cannot be proved under
these conditions, and, in view of the extreme nonlinearity of the
neural dynamics, any claim that the large effects of the uncertainly
principle at the synaptic level can never lead to quantum mixtures of
macroscopically different states cannot be rationally justified.
What, then, is the effect of the replacement of a single, unique, classically
described brain of classical physics by a quantum brain state
composed of a mixture of several alternative possible classically describable
brain states, each corresponding to a different possible experience?
A principal function of the brain is to receive clues from the environment,
then to form an appropriate plan of action, and finally to
direct the activities of the brain and body specified by the selected
plan of action. The exact details of the chosen plan will, for a classical
model, obviously depend upon the exact values of many noisy and uncontrolled
variables. In cases close to a bifurcation point the dynamical
effects of noise might, at the classical level, tip the balance between
two very different responses to the given clues: e.g., tip the balance
between the ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response to some shadowy form, but in
the quantum case one must allow and expect both possibilities at the
macroscopic level a smear of classically alternative possibilities. The
automatic mechanical process 2 evolution generates this smearing, and
is in principle unable to resolve or remove it.
According to orthodox (von Neumann) quantum theory, achievement
of a satisfactory reduction of the smeared out brain state to a
brain state coordinated with the subject’s streams of conscious experiences
is achieved through the entry of a process 1 intervention, which
selects from the smear of potentialities generated by the mechanical
process 2 evolution a particular way of separating the physical state
into a collection of components, each corresponding to some definite
experience. The form of such an intervention is not determined by the
quantum analog (process 2) of the physically deterministic continuous
dynamical process of classical physics: some other kind of input is
needed.
The choice involved in such an intervention seems to us to be influenced
by consciously felt evaluations, and there is no rational reason
why these conscious realities, which certainly are realities, cannot have
the sort of effect that they seem to have.

Source : Henry P. Stapp
MINDFUL
UNIVERSE
Quantum Mechanics
and the Participating Observer
« Last Edit: 16/12/2013 19:40:34 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1306 on: 16/12/2013 20:37:07 »
Why the Newtonian 19th Century outdated and superseded Materialism is False ? :
Cheryl : This Nobel prize Winner Neurobiologist Roger Sperry might interest you , since you are so fond of neurobiology :



........in the 1960s, the concept of mentalism began to spread in acceptance among
cognitive scientists, mostly due to the writings of neurobiologist Roger Sperry. Sperry, who won the 1981 Nobel Prize in medicine for his work on the functions of the two hemispheres of the brain,rightly recognized that the profound mystery of consciousness makes a choice between the alternatives difficult:
Once we have materialism squared off against mentalism in this way, I think we must all agree that neither is going to win the
match on the basis of direct, factual evidence.
 The facts do not simply go far enough. Those centermost processes of the brain
with which consciousness is presumably associated are simply not understood. They are so far beyond our comprehension at
present that no one I know of has been able even to imagine their nature.
Apart from the dwindling number of pure materialists who still deny the existence of
consciousness, and the dwindling number of researchers in the field of artificial intelligence still trying to raise money for the construction of “thinking machines,”this position is reflected in the writings of most serious scientists. Nobel laureate Eugene Wigner writes, “We have at present not even the vaguest idea how to connect the physiochemical processes with the state of the mind.”
Physicist Nick Herbert concurs:
Science’s biggest mystery is the nature of consciousness. It is not simply that we possess bad or imperfect theories of human
awareness; we simply have no such theories at all. About all we know about consciousness is that it has something to do with
the head, rather than the foot.24
Materialists sometimes claim to represent the scientific viewpoint. But materialism is in no sense a
more “scientific” hypothesis than the alternatives, as it does not draw stronger support from current
scientific thinking. Materialism is a legacy of classical physics, which actually had two ways of
dealing with the problem of consciousness and free will. The first, followed by Descartes and Newton,
was to place mind outside of the scope of physics and consider it the sole exception in an otherwise
deterministic, mechanistic universe. The other approach, followed by popularizers of Newton’s work,
such as Diderot and Voltaire, was to assume that the physics of the time was a complete description of
the world, and to argue that consciousness must then be epiphenomenal. But we now know that
classical physics is fundamentally incorrect, and so any worldview based upon it must be flawed.
Sperry writes:
To conclude that conscious, mental, or psychic, forces have no place in filling this gap in our explanatory picture is at least to
go well beyond the facts into the realm of intuition and speculation. The doctrine of materialism in behavioral science, which
tends to be identified with a rigorous scientific approach, is thus seen to rest, in fact, on an insupportable mental inference that
goes far beyond the objective evidence and hence is founded on the cardinal sin of science.25
Our common sense would certainly seem to suggest that mental events such as perceptions, beliefs,
emotions, intentions, and so forth all have causal effects. We normally speak and think as if our
thoughts, feelings, and values do determine our course of action. And, of course, our moral judgments
also presuppose that these things have a real impact on human behavior. But common sense
arguments, however seemingly compelling, are not sufficient by themselves to draw strong
conclusions, as on many occasions science has shown common sense to have been dead wrong.
What, then, is the argument in favor of the causal efficacy of mental events? It is simple and
straightforward. First, it contends that mind and consciousness are emergent properties of living
brains, and then it goes a critical step further and asserts that these emergent properties have causal
potency, just as they do elsewhere in the universe. In other words, it applies the concepts of emergent
properties and downward causation to mind and consciousness, and to everything they seem to affect.
It is important to stress that the lower-level forces and properties of atoms, molecules, and cells all
continue to operate, and all continue to exert upward (and in most cases downward) causal influence.
None of these causal forces have been canceled or replaced, but they have been superseded by the
properties of a higher organizational structure. According to this new view, mind and consciousness
exert just as much (or even more) causal effect on the lower-level structures than the lower-level
structures exert on them. Mental events interact with other mental events at their own level, according
to their own rules, and in the process exert downward control over the lower-level structures. Sperry’s
model puts mind back into the driver’s seat, and, accordingly, perceptions, thoughts, beliefs, emotion,
judgment, and so forth are recognized as having a real, not just an imaginary, impact on the world.
The ultimate paradox of materialism is that the one feature of the universe which alone gives
meaning to all the rest is the one feature which has to be declared redundant! Nothing can
account for its emergence; nothing follows from its existence.
JOHN BELOFF
Shortly after Sperry first proposed these ideas in the mid 1960s, the philosopher Karl Popper seems
to have come to an almost identical conclusion, although from a somewhat different perspective.
Popper points out that no Darwinist should accept the one-sided action of body on mind proposed by
the materialists. In his books On the Origin of Species and Natural Selection, Darwin discussed the
mental powers of animals and men, and argued that these are products of natural selection.
Now if that is so, then mental powers must assist organisms in their struggle for survival. And it
follows from this that mental powers must exert causal influence on the behavior of animals and
people. If conscious states exist, then, according to Darwinism, we should look for their uses. If they
are useful for living, then they must have real effects on the physical world.
As mentioned earlier, Darwin’s close friend Thomas Huxley was a thoroughgoing materialist.
While he did not deny the existence of mental events, he wrote that the relationship between mind and
body was strictly one-sided, with the mental having no effect on the physical. Since mental events for
Huxley were just useless by-products of brain activity, he thought people and animals were just
automata, with useless consciousness along for the ride.
Although Darwin liked and admired Huxley, he would have none of this. Supporting Huxley’s
opinion would have contradicted his life’s work, as Popper rightly points out:
The theory of natural selection constitutes a strong argument against Huxley’s theory of the one-sided action of body on mind
and for the mutual interaction of mind and body. Not only does the body act on the mind—for example, in perception, or in
sickness—but our thoughts, our expectations, and our feelings may lead to useful actions in the physical world. If Huxley had
been right, mind would be useless. But then it could not have evolved . . . by natural selection.26
So from a strictly Darwinian standpoint, the mental powers of animals and humans should be
expected to lead to useful actions and should therefore be a causal influence in nature. According to
this account, perceptions, emotions, judgments, and thoughts all have a real effect. And the more
highly developed the mental powers, the more causal impact they should be expected to have. We
should conclude from this that the mental powers of humans exert more causal potency than that of
any other living creatures on earth, as, arguably, we are the only creatures on earth with ideas and
ideals. Sperry writes:
In the brain model proposed here the causal potency of an idea, or an ideal, becomes just as real as that of a molecule, a cell, or
a nerve impulse. Ideas cause ideas and help evolve new ideas. They interact with each other and with other mental forces in the
same brain, in neighboring brains, and thanks to global communication, in far distant, foreign brains. And they also interact
with the external surroundings to produce in toto a burstwise advance in evolution that is far beyond anything to hit the
evolutionary scene yet............

Chris Carter
« Last Edit: 16/12/2013 20:48:07 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1307 on: 16/12/2013 20:40:27 »
Cheryl :

Thanks for the PDF : you know i am interested in Stapp,simply because his approaches differ radically from those of other mainstream materialist scientists  who have been still looking at the world from the fundamentally incorrect deterministic Netwonian classical physics point of view on which sand castles 19th century outdated false and superseded materialism was built , once again .

Henry P.Stapp and other non-orthodox scientists have been indeed introducing some inspiring fascinating ,reviving and innovative fresh air into the materialist mainstream suffocating dogmatic dark and false "scientific world view " .
Our dlorde   here is 1 representative of that dogmatic hard-core materialism by the way,that's been losing the "battles" and the "war" altogether ,without even being aware of that fact  .
I am just starting to explore what Stapp has to say on the subject of consciousness via his own attempts to come up with a quantum theory of consciousness ,so.
Sperry and others have also been grabbing my attention .
They help me try to to give form to my own dualist conception of the world , ironically paradoxically enough : long story thus .

Nice holidays , girl ,have fun .
Take care
Best wishes .
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1308 on: 16/12/2013 21:32:24 »
Roger Sperry & Split Brain Research:


Roger Sperry; His Life and Works by Darden White:

 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1309 on: 16/12/2013 23:59:06 »
Roger Sperry & Split Brain Research:

As Sperry himself says, "[Each hemisphere is] indeed a conscious system in its own right... both the left and right hemisphere may be conscious simultaneouly in different, even mutually conflicting, mental experiences that run along in parallel."

You didn't address this subject when someone else brought it up, but since you've now brought it up directly yourself, you're presumably ready to discuss it.

So how does the non-physical external consciousness hypothesis account for the appearance of two separate conscious entities in place of one original when the corpus callosum is transsectioned? Can cutting the physical brain split the immaterial consciousness associated with it?

How does it account for each new consciousness having the proportional skills and abilities of the corresponding hemispheres that were integrated in the original consciousness?

What do you suppose happened to the original immaterial consciousness? Is it floating adrift of its physical vehicle? did it have to split into two less able consciousnesses?
« Last Edit: 17/12/2013 00:11:28 by dlorde »
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1310 on: 17/12/2013 00:53:11 »




However, an interesting
experiment was performed by a psychologist in the late 1980s that seems to have bearing on the
subject of free will and may imply a different conclusion.
Benjamin Libet, at the University of California at San Francisco, asked subjects to push a button at
a moment of their choosing while they noted the moment of their decision as displayed on a clock. He
found that subjects on average took about a fifth of a second to flex their fingers after they had
decided to do so. But data from an electroencephalograph monitoring their brain waves showed a
spike in electrical activity about a third of a second before they consciously decided to push the
button. Some have interpreted this result as implying that our decisions may be unconsciously
determined for us before we are aware of the decision, and thus free will is only an illusion.
Before we jump to this conclusion, however, we immediately recognize that we do not typically
make our decisions the way these subjects arbitrarily decided to flex their fingers. Decisions on
anything important are usually made by gathering information and mulling over the different
possibilities and their implications.

Well, regardless of whether it is deemed a trivial decision or an important one, the results still have to be explained. If conscious awareness is key, then it should come before.

Quote
The decision to push a button at the moment of our choosing, by
contrast, seems to involve waiting for the trivial urge to strike us, a rather random, indeterminate
process.
Libet himself believes that one implication of his work is an altered view of how we exercise free
will:
The role of conscious free will would be, then, not to initiate a voluntary act, but rather to control whether the act takes place.
We may view the unconscious initiatives for voluntary actions as “bubbling up” in the brain. The conscious-will then selects
which of these initiatives may go forward to an action or which ones to veto or abort, with no act appearing. . . . The existence
of a veto possibility is not in doubt. The subjects in our experiments at times reported that a conscious wish or urge to act
appeared but that they suppressed or vetoed that. . . . All of us, not just experimental subjects, have experienced our vetoing a
spontaneous urge to perform some act. This often occurs when the urge to act involves some socially unacceptable
consequence, like an urge to shout some obscenity at the professor.33
He also considers and rejects the possibility that the conscious veto itself may have its origin in
preceding unconscious processes, writing that
the conscious veto is a control function, different from simply becoming aware of the wish to act.
Saying that decisions somehow take time to "bubble up" would suggest that it is a brain process, not some instantaneous immaterial conscious one. And yes, even materialists say that "choice" if by free will or some other mechanism, may operate in the form of a veto power, or arise when one competing brain process outlasts or dominates another one.

Quote
There is no logical imperative
in any mind-brain theory, even identity theory, that requires specific neural activity to precede and determine the nature of a
conscious control function.

No, just  a lot of empirical evidence that says that is what happens.

Quote
And, there is no experimental evidence against the possibility that the control process may appear
without development by prior unconscious processes.

You're asking me to prove there is not a rhinoceros in my basement again, no matter how many times I check.

Quote
Popper would take this as another example of downward causation, as nonrandom selection from a
choice of random alternatives: “The selection of a kind of behavior out of a randomly offered
repertoire may be an act of choice, even an act of free will.”34 If quantum phenomena have any real
effect in the brain, then perhaps their random influences are accepted when they fit into the higherlevel
structure; otherwise they are rejected.
But there is another interpretation, due to another of Libet’s experiments. In 1973 Libet found that
electrical stimulation of the sensory cortex—that part of the brain’s surface primarily responsible for
processing tactile information from the skin—did not result in conscious sensation unless the
stimulation was prolonged for at least 500 milliseconds (0.5 second). The necessity of 500
milliseconds of cortical stimulation before the signal was felt also held for stimulation of the skin: in
both cases, if the signal as recorded in the cortex was less than half a second long, it was not
consciously experienced. This does not mean that the signal at the skin must last half a second, but
rather that the secondary signals at the surface of the brain must last at least half a second before they
can be consciously experienced.
However, Libet found that patients experienced their finger shocks almost immediately, between 10
and 20 milliseconds after the shock was applied. Typical reaction time—the time it takes to perceive a
shock and push a button—is about 100 milliseconds (0.1 second). So how can Libet’s observation that
500 milliseconds of neural activity is required before a shock can be felt be reconciled with the fact
that we can perceive and respond to such shocks in about one-fifth the time they apparently require to
become part of conscious experience?
In a series of ingenious experiments involving electrical stimulation of both skin and cortex, Libet
resolved this paradox. What appears to happen is that the tactile signal reaches the cortex in about 10
milliseconds but is not consciously perceived. However, the arrival time is unconsciously marked in
some manner. Then, if the cortical activity due to the skin response is not interrupted but allowed to
continue for at least 500 milliseconds, the shock is felt. But it is not felt half a second late: rather, it is
“backdated” to the original arrival time of the signal.

The brain does back date events. And it slows the reception of sensory data from various parts of the body to coordinate it in time. For example, if I touch your cheek and your toe at exactly the same time, your brain will perceive as happening at the same time, even though it takes slightly longer for a nerve impulse to reach your brain from the toe than from the cheek. The brain slows down impulses coming from closer parts so that they can arrive no faster than the ones from the one more distant parts. And while you would not think the difference is significant, shorter athletes have an advantage in that they perceive or feel everything happening sooner than taller athletes by .05 m/s for each inch difference in height.
Quote
These surprising results seem to refute the idea that every mental experience is directly correlated
with a physical process in the brain. Or, as neuroscientist John Eccles put it, “there can be a temporal
discrepancy between neural events and the experiences of the self conscious mind.”v
Consciousness awareness is not the only measure. The temporal discrepancy can be explained by different types of nerve processing. You remove your hand from a hot burning element before you are "consciously aware" of the pain. This happens because of a reflex arc that only goes to the spinal cord and shoots back out through a motor nerve. Another, slower message gets sent to the brain informing it that you have damaged your hand, making you say "Ow!" and probably storing that information so you are more careful next time.

Quote
Dean Radin takes this idea a step further: He notes that the equations of both classical and quantum
physics are neutral with respect to the direction of time and so do not rule out the possibility of future
events causing events in the past. In addition, he has presented some experimental evidence that
individuals can subconsciously react to future events.
Well, then he'll need to prove it.

Quote
At the University of Nevada, people were shown a series of pictures on a computer screen. Most of
the images were of an emotionally calming nature, such as images of landscapes and various nature
scenes, but some were meant to be arousing or disturbing, including pornographic photos and pictures
of corpses. At the beginning of each trial, the screen was blank. The participant would start the trial by
pressing a mouse button. After five seconds, one of these images, calm or emotional, was shown for
three seconds, and then the screen would go blank again. Ten seconds later, a message informed
participants that they could press the mouse button again whenever they felt ready for the next trial.
Five seconds after pressing the mouse button, another picture would be displayed, and the session
would continue until forty pictures had been shown. The order in which the pictures were displayed
was chosen randomly by the computer. Throughout the session the participants’ heart rate, skin
resistance, and blood volume in the fingertips were monitored.
Not surprisingly, dramatic changes in all three physiological measures were recorded when the
emotional pictures were shown. But what was remarkable was that the arousal began before the
emotional picture was displayed, even though the participants could not have known by any normal
means what sort of picture was going to be displayed next. This effect, of unconsciously preparing for
a reaction to an impending event, has been labeled “presentiment” and has been replicated
independently by a laboratory in Holland.35
As Radin notes, if we allow “for the possibility of signals traveling backward in time, then what
Libet saw [in the experiment involving deciding when to push a button] may be the brain’s response to
its own decision taking place a third of a second in the future.”36 In other words, given the apparent
temporal discrepancy between neural events and the experiences of the self-conscious mind, the
subconscious mind may generate neural activity in order to prepare the brain for the execution of an
impending decision. The second experiment described may be an example of the reverse: the mind
may experience and respond to a sensation because of a signal from the future state of the brain.
No, I can't explain the results of that experiment. I'd have to look at how it was done. You would expect some anticipatory spike in excitement before the next picture. And you'd have to make sure the participants had not figured out, consciously or subconsciously, any pattern in when a good or bad picture would be shown next.





« Last Edit: 17/12/2013 01:25:08 by cheryl j »
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1311 on: 17/12/2013 02:58:02 »
Why the Newtonian 19th Century outdated and superseded Materialism is False ? :
Cheryl : This Nobel prize Winner Neurobiologist Roger Sperry might interest you , since you are so fond of neurobiology :



I can't help but think you are now playing my Nobel prize winner can beat up your Nobel prize winner, like Godzilla vs Megalon.
« Last Edit: 17/12/2013 04:34:39 by cheryl j »
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1312 on: 17/12/2013 14:35:09 »
No, I can't explain the results of that experiment. I'd have to look at how it was done. You would expect some anticipatory spike in excitement before the next picture. And you'd have to make sure the participants had not figured out, consciously or subconsciously, any pattern in when a good or bad picture would be shown next.
Psychical researchers had been experimenting with retroactive experiments of this type for years before Bem, with no clear results. The Bem's data analysis has been criticised (see below). Problems have been found in the few experiments he claims replicate his results (he even cited an earthworm study that had 'almost significant' results!). Bem claims a meta-analysis of all studies shows significance, but as usual, when you start removing the poorly designed, documented, and/or controlled studies, the significance drops into noise. There have been many failures to replicate, for example, Failing the Future: Three Unsuccessful Attempts to Replicate Bem's ‘Retroactive Facilitation of Recall’ Effect. See the discussion section of that paper for 5 references to critical accounts of Bem's analysis.

It seems to me that much of the effort to support a dualist interpretation for free will in particular, and consciousness in general, is driven by a perceived need to see only consciousness as the 'real' you, and the non-conscious processes as simply some kind of dumb janitor behind the scenes, emptying the bins and handling the mail. However, evidence has been accumulating for some time that it is the sum of the non-conscious processes in the brain that constitute the 'real' you, and that conscious awareness is an evolutionary latecomer to the feast providing a reflective awareness of what the whole is doing. It's less an agent, more a representative or monitor, providing a unified view of the self;  The only 'illusion' of consciousness is the way things are arranged so that the conscious process feels it is the whole rather than being only an awareness of the whole, but that's the way it has to be if you want an integrated conscious sense of self. This misplaced sense of sole agency can be strong enough to produce a sense of complete independence - the concept of a non-physical consciousness that carries on after death - but taking the credit for the team is one thing, that's how it's explicitly set up, but the idea that it can function without them is like the Face of L'Oreal thinking she's the one who makes and sells the perfumes & cosmetics and can still make and sell them even if all the factories burn down and the company goes bust...

So I see the 'real you' as a team effort involving all brain processes, and consciousness is one process on the team who's kept informed, is allowed to sit in on the important meetings, and is led to believe it's all his own work ;)

Of course, this is just a hypothesis, a speculative model, but it seems to fit the data I've seen better than the other models I've seen, and it does account rather well for those disturbing moments of daily life where the illusion of conscious control is broken, such as when you 'find yourself' doing something you didn't intend to do, or when you do something but don't know why, or when you 'can't stop yourself' doing something, etc. (e.g. when you accidentally blurt out the 'wrong thing' - how can that happen if you're really in conscious control of what you say?).

The model I described above is deliberately at the extreme end of the 'thin consciousness' or 'consciousness lite' range, to emphasise the degree of role reversal over the conventional, intuitive model.

In practice, the roles are not as clear cut, as it's a tightly integrated system, and to some extent the participatory level of consciousness depends on how narrowly or how broadly you draw the (fuzzy) boundaries in the system. I think it's quite likely that areas associated with consciousness will be involved early in the gestation of some activities, and somewhere 'in the loop' for others, but for the vast majority it gets retrospective notification, with timing adjustments to maintain a consistent sense of agency.
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1313 on: 17/12/2013 15:13:20 »


Of course, this is just a hypothesis, a speculative model, but it seems to fit the data I've seen better than the other models I've seen, and it does account rather well for those disturbing moments of daily life where the illusion of conscious control is broken, such as when you 'find yourself' doing something you didn't intend to do, or when you do something but don't know why, or when you 'can't stop yourself' doing something, etc. (e.g. when you accidentally blurt out the 'wrong thing' - how can that happen if you're really in conscious control of what you say?).



It is obvious that there are details about consciousness we still have to learn about. But having said that, I really like the manner in which you've described the interaction between the conscious mind and it's co-operative agents. I haven't been following this debate very closely of late so if the following has already been discussed, I'll ask to be pardoned. Nevertheless:

If, as Don contends, the conscious mind is a sovereign agent, above and beyond any material description or control, how does he reconcile the UNCONSCIOUS state we call sleep? Because; thru experiment we have recorded brain wave activity that is separate and distinct from waking moments. Here is the evidence to show that consciousness can be measured and this measuring of it proves it's material basis. If it were completely nonmaterial, these measurements would not be possible...............................
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1314 on: 17/12/2013 15:34:26 »
Cheryl :
"Mind-Body Interaction" :



............In the brain model proposed here the causal potency of an idea, or an ideal, becomes just as real as that of a molecule, a cell, or
a nerve impulse. Ideas cause ideas and help evolve new ideas. They interact with each other and with other mental forces in the
same brain, in neighboring brains, and thanks to global communication, in far distant, foreign brains. And they also interact
with the external surroundings to produce in toto a burstwise advance in evolution that is far beyond anything to hit the
evolutionary scene yet.

Mind-Body Interaction:


Critics of mentalism and dualism often question how two fundamentally different properties, such as
mind and matter, could possibly interact. How can something nonspatial, with no mass, location, or
physical dimensions, possibly influence spatially bound matter? As K. R. Rao writes:
The main problem with such dualism is the problem of interaction. How does unextended mind interact with the extended
body? Any kind of causal interaction between them, which is presumed by most dualist theories, comes into conflict with the
physical theory that the universe is a closed system and that every physical event is linked with an antecedent physical event.
This assumption preempts any possibility that a mental act can cause a physical event.28
Of course, we know now that the universe is not a closed system and that the collapse of the wave
function—a physical event—is linked with an antecedent mental event. The objection Rao describes is
of course based on classical physics.
Furthermore, by asking “How does unextended mind interact with the extended body?” Rao is
making the implicit assumption that phenomena that exist as cause and effect must have something in
common in order to exist as cause and effect. So is this a logical necessity? Or is it rather an empirical
truth, a fact about nature? As David Hume pointed out long ago, anything in principle could be the
cause of anything else, and so only observation can establish what causes what. Parapsychologist John
Beloff considers the issue logically:
If an event A never occurred without being preceded by some other event B, we would surely want to say that the second event
was a necessary condition or cause of the first event, whether or not the two had anything else in common. As for such a
principle being an empirical truth, how could it be since there are here only two known independent substances, i.e. mind and
matter, as candidates on which to base a generalization? To argue that they cannot interact because they are independent is to
beg the question. . . . It says something about the desperation of those who want to dismiss radical dualism that such phony
arguments should repeatedly be invoked by highly reputable philosophers who should know better.29
Popper also rejects completely the idea that only like can act upon like, describing this as resting on
obsolete notions of physics. For an example of unlikes acting on one another we have interaction
between the four known and very different forces, and between forces and physical bodies. Popper
considers the issue empirically:
In the present state of physics we are faced, not with a plurality of substances, but with a plurality of different kinds of forces,
and thus with a pluralism of different interacting explanatory principles. Perhaps the clearest physical example against the thesis
that only like things can act upon each other is this: In modern physics, the action of bodies upon bodies is mediated by fields
—by gravitational and electrical fields. Thus like does not act upon like, but bodies act first upon fields, which they modify, and
then the modified field acts upon another body.30
It should be clear that the idea that only like can act upon like rests upon an obsolete, billiard-ball
notion of causation in physics.

Chris Carter

Well, ok. It seems like almost a reversal, though, of the original argument that the mental and the physical are two totally different things, but now suddenly thoughts can effect fields that can effect the physical things.  What field is he referring to?
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1315 on: 17/12/2013 15:51:01 »

[/b]Application to Neuropsychology:[/size]



The most direct evidence pertaining to the effects of conscious choices
upon brain activities comes from experiments in which consciously
controlled cognitive efforts are found to be empirically correlated to
measured physical effects in the brain. An example is the experiment of
Ochsner et al. (2001). The subjects are trained how to cognitively reevaluate
emotional scenes by consciously creating and holding in place
an alternative fictional story of what is really happening in connection
with an emotion-generating scene they are viewing.
The trial began with a 4-second presentation of a negative or
neutral photo, during which participants were instructed simply
to view the stimulus on the screen. This interval was intended to
provide time for participants to apprehend complex scenes and
allow an emotional response to be generated that participants
would then be asked to regulate. The word ‘attend’ (for negative
or neutral photos) or ‘reappraise’ (negative photos only) then
appeared beneath the photo and the participants followed this
instruction for 4 seconds.
To verify whether the participants had, in fact, reappraised in
this manner, during the post-scan rating session participants
were asked to indicate for each photo whether they had reinterpreted
the photo (as instructed) or had used some other type
of reappraisal strategy. Compliance was high: On less than 4%
of trials with highly negative photos did participants report
using another type of strategy.
Reports such as these can be taken as evidence that the streams of
consciousness of the participants do exist and contain elements identifiable
as efforts to reappraise.
Patterns of brain activity accompanying reappraisal efforts were
assessed by using functional magnetic imaging resonance (fMRI). The
fMRI results were that reappraisal was positively correlated with increased
activity in the left lateral prefrontal cortex and the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (regions thought to be connected to cognitive
control) and decreased activity in the (emotion-related) amygdala and
medial orbito-frontal cortex.
How can we explain the correlation revealed in this experiment
between the mental reality of ‘conscious effort’ and the physical reality
of measured brain behavior?


Maybe I don't understand the set up of the experiment. Any time you ask subjects to perform a contradictory task, like read the word of a color when it's printed in another color, the brain has to work a little harder, expend more energy. It also tends to slow down a bit. On the fMRI, the parts of the brain that were active were the parts I think you'd expect to be active. What am I missing here?
« Last Edit: 17/12/2013 15:55:50 by cheryl j »
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1316 on: 17/12/2013 16:09:40 »
... You may not like the article, because it is somewhat critical, but it does mention some changes Stapps made to his theory.

http://web.archive.org/web/20060623070312/http://individual.utoronto.ca/dbourget/download/QLPM.pdf
Thanks for that link Carol, it does confirm a few of my doubts. It also points out that while Stapp's view of consciousness as based in multiple patterns of neural activity (representing qualia) is broadly reasonable - pace his need to introduce quantum phenomena, which looks like a case of 'man with a hammer' syndrome - it conflicts with his seemingly dualistic interpretation of free will, which appears to be some unexplained volitional agency that delays wave function collapse until a high probability of the desired outcome is achieved (or something like that). But this apparently separates and distinguishes free will (unexplained volitional agency) from conscious intent (also volitional agency, but based in neural activity), which raises questions of precedence and redundancy.

Further, if the neural processing in the brain can give rise to consciousness and a superposition of options for action, yet is insufficient to select the appropriate action, we must ask how the judgement of suitability or desirability in this dualistic, solipsistic view, is made - it would seem that this unexplained non-physical system would also need to somehow process the same data, either to generate a sample desirable outcome to compare with the superposed options arrived at by the physical processing, or to analyse the desirability of some particular outcome on-the-fly. If the physical system is unable to make appropriate selections without an external agency, how this external agency can make its choices without also needing another parallel system to analyse the desirability of its own choices, and so-on, recursively, is unexplained. It smacks of the infinite regression of Dennett's 'Cartesian Theatre' argument.




It almost seems that Stapp and others are tip toeing around what the conscious agency actually consists of, or they don't really care, and are just interested in seeing if it is possible to work in free will in some way. Stapp is not shy about admitting that objective. And I agree he is looking for a way to re-instate personal accountability he feels is being undermined by neuroscience.

 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1317 on: 17/12/2013 16:28:48 »
It is obvious that there are details about consciousness we still have to learn about.
Sure, and if new evidence emerges that suggests a better or different model, I won't be wailing and gnashing my teeth - I just want to know how it all works.

Quote
If, as Don contends, the conscious mind is a sovereign agent, above and beyond any material description or control, how does he reconcile the UNCONSCIOUS state we call sleep? Because; thru experiment we have recorded brain wave activity that is separate and distinct from waking moments. Here is the evidence to show that consciousness can be measured and this measuring of it proves it's material basis. If it were completely nonmaterial, these measurements would not be possible...............................
It's a good question; while there seems to be partial or fragmentary consciousness for quite a lot of sleep (what I've called the 'conscious process' is the activities of a large number of sub-processes), but there are periods when too few of these are either active or synchronised enough for any coherent consciousness to be generated. Does the immaterial consciousness need to sleep too? ;)

I'm curious to know what he says about questions raised by the split-brain studies he quoted - though judging by previous responses, he'll either ignore them, dump some blather and handwaving about science and materialist ideology, or post a few chapters of someone-else's book...
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1318 on: 17/12/2013 16:38:22 »
Let's look at the statistics of an "anticipatory response" (y) to emotive pictures. Suppose I have equal numbers of neutral (X) and emotive (Y) images, displayed at random. After a few trials, my subject will have a pretty good idea that they are about equally likely, so if he sees the sequence XX, YX, or XXX he will expect the next image to be Y. Therefore the probability of an anticipatory  y response will be greater than then actual incidence of Y images. Summed over a large number of trials, this will look like "the subject correctly anticipated Y significantly more than chance" but the statistically correct inference is that time is unidirectional and people try to impose pattern on random events. Why else would anyone choose lottery numbers based on previous outcomes? And why do lotteries make a profit?   The problem with the experiment is that there is no true zero.
 

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1319 on: 17/12/2013 16:54:33 »


I'm curious to know what he says about questions raised by the split-brain studies he quoted - though judging by previous responses, he'll either ignore them, dump some blather and handwaving about science and materialist ideology, or post a few chapters of someone-else's book...
I'm exceptionally confident he'll respond with the same arrogant style he has demonstrated throughout this entire thread. He refuses to answer when challenged and dumps continuous, repetitious, and worthless reiterations.

Every time we pose an interesting challenge, he either completely ignores it or vomits up full pages of nonsense in an attempt to move the discussion past and beyond it so he can, to coin a football phrase, move the goal post in hopes that the question will be overlooked and forgotten.

There is no middle ground with Don...., this is the very reason I've limited my participation here. I firmly believe he has a secret religious agenda.

« Last Edit: 17/12/2013 16:56:08 by Ethos_ »
 

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1320 on: 17/12/2013 17:07:01 »
It almost seems that Stapp and others are tip toeing around what the conscious agency actually consists of, or they don't really care, and are just interested in seeing if it is possible to work in free will in some way. Stapp is not shy about admitting that objective.
Yes; I think they feel that explaining free will will lead to an account of conscious agency, which seems logical, but there is a notable absence of a clear and coherent definition of what they mean by free will  :-X

Don himself started a thread on free will because he "just wanted to hear [my] opinion on the subject of free will" - carelessly, he didn't tell me about it, or actually ask me for my opinion, but I eventually found it and asked him exactly what he meant by free will; so far he has failed to respond...  ::)

Quote
And I agree he is looking for a way to re-instate personal accountability he feels is being undermined by neuroscience.
I don't see much of a problem with simple personal accountability per se - if an individual can be shown to have acted [without coercion], they can be said to be responsible for that action, and can be asked to account for it (although they may not be able to account for it). For me, the problem arises when you start with an abstraction of cultural convenience, like 'moral responsibility', reify it, generate another (ill-defined, incoherent) abstraction to justify it (i.e. free will), then insist on finding neural or physical correlates for it.

By tweaking the concept of free will to make it coherent, it can quite easily be applied, and arises naturally out of even an entirely deterministic behavioural model without any need to find explanatory gaps or uncertainties in quantum mechanics to wedge it into. The question is whether making it coherent spoils the party for moral responsibility - and I rather suspect it does.
« Last Edit: 17/12/2013 17:22:51 by dlorde »
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1321 on: 17/12/2013 17:17:49 »
Let's look at the statistics of an "anticipatory response" (y) to emotive pictures. Suppose I have equal numbers of neutral (X) and emotive (Y) images, displayed at random. After a few trials, my subject will have a pretty good idea that they are about equally likely, so if he sees the sequence XX, YX, or XXX he will expect the next image to be Y. Therefore the probability of an anticipatory  y response will be greater than then actual incidence of Y images. Summed over a large number of trials, this will look like "the subject correctly anticipated Y significantly more than chance" but the statistically correct inference is that time is unidirectional and people try to impose pattern on random events. Why else would anyone choose lottery numbers based on previous outcomes? And why do lotteries make a profit?   The problem with the experiment is that there is no true zero.
True enough, although I'd expect a well designed experiment to control for this, or to account for it in the analysis (e.g. by subtracting the number of false positives). I did study the papers in some detail when they were first published, but can't remember now whether this might have been a problem or not... it's not something I'd care to repeat  [|)]
 

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1322 on: 17/12/2013 17:19:05 »
... I firmly believe he has a secret religious agenda.
You reckon? ;)
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1323 on: 17/12/2013 17:47:51 »
Guys :
Due to some unexpected beautiful amazing  special circumstances , i cannot but have to leave you and  this forum , for a while , untill  the start of next year : 2014 ,hopefully .

So, know theyself, i should say : that's THE key to understanding your own selves and this universe .

Science ,at this materialist stage at least , cannot help you much in that regard ,i am afraid .
Science will ,in the future , maybe .
I am not sure either of returning back to this forum .
It's been an enormous pleasure to have been talking to you all, guys .
I have been learning a lot from these discussions, from you all , that have been opening up whole new vistas and unimaginable unexpected new universes to me , you have no idea : thanks a lot for that indeed .
This site is in fact an unparalleled one, believe  me  i can tell  : my warm and friendly compliments to those running it ,really: great job : they should be proud of this site indeed , as you all should be  .
My sincere and genuine apologies for having been a kind of a jerk haha ,from time to time  : nothing personal : it's just that i am so passionate about human consciousness , that's all:but , the mainstream false materialist "scientific world view " has been the one preventing science from shedding some sort of light on consciousness , for so long now, to mention just that fact  :  i cannot imagine anythingelse more important than trying to understand our own human consciousness without which there would be no science , no civilization, no progress .... .
So, science should be liberated from materialism ,if science wanna be able to try to tackle THE  scientific mystery of them all : consciousness,as the end of materialism is nearer than ever  .

Trying to understand our own consciousness , and hence ourselves and this universe ,is THE key  to evolving as to try to reach the high level of human consciousness that might help us all achieve  peace , tolerance , real progress , human care , human love ......for all humanity : no cliche really : this utopia can be achieved through consciousness,then and only then, we might be becoming "gods " under God, by actively participating to the still ongoing creation of this still expanding and evolutionary maginificent beautiful fascinating wonderful universe , more than Einstein himself could have ever imagined (And ,oh , boy or girl haha , that  genius had indeed a lots of imagination,no wonder that he said :"Imagination is more important than knowledge " .) , when he said that science has been turning humans into "gods ", before deserving  to be humans  .
I do thus feel nothing but love for you all , seriously , and i wish you all the best ,in your own lives , work , in relation to your own loved ones ...
Human consciousness that's THE biggest and most important mystery of them all : consciousness as THE obstacle today ,and THE key to understanding ourselves and the universe ,so, i really cannot understand how ,on earth, could science ignore consciousness as such , for so long now, thanks to materialism , untill recently .
Thanks a lot for all your interesting replies ,i do appreciate very much indeed .
I see that you did not address the key issues raised  by my above displayed posted excerpts , especially those regarding the fact that most mind-brain  or mind -body relationships have been largely viewed  or studied , thought about ,  under the fundamentally incorrect classical physics' points of view , thanks to materialism thus, not to mention the fact that there is still no single serious falsifiable theory of consciousness out there yet : so, i do not understand why you do behave and think as if there is  .
P.S.: You did not address  the fact that materialism is false either , as talked about in those same above displayed excerpts  .
Second : scientists still do not know much,if anything at all in fact ,  about how mental processes or conscious states can relate to or can be linked to their alleged corresponding neuronal activity ....

Modern physics might indeed hold THE key to trying to relatively solve the consciousness mystery : the biggest of them all: the most important one of them all  .

Nice holidays , folks .
Merry Christmas and happy new year 2014 ,in advance : see ya next year then .
Best wishes .
"All you need is ...love " indeed , as the Beattles used to sing .

Editing :
I see that Ethos who still cannot realise the simple obvious and undeniable fact that he has been extremely bizarre and paradoxical = an understatement thus: extremely weird or odd  , as to believe both in the false materialist mainstream "scientific world view " ,and in his own faith (religion, i guess ) ,at the same time = 2 mutually exclusive world views .
I see that he repeats that silly "religious agenda " accusation of his , in relation to my own person's motivations : i did respond to that earlier :
I do have the same "agenda " and motivations as those of atheist Nagel and other atheists , as that of Sheldrake and those of other non-materialists , either the religious or the non-religious ones :
That "agenda " and real motivation of mine , once again , is the wish to liberate science from its false mainstream materialist current "scientific world view " ,that has been preventing science from shedding light on consciounsess, to mention just that fact .
If only that bizzare and paradoxical Ethos could understand what i have been saying all along (It's been obvious that he has not been able to understand a single thing of what i have been saying thus,even though i have been stating simple facts concerning the obvious falsehood of the mainstream materialist "scientific world view "  .) , if only he could , he would have been realising his own paradoxical weird odd bizarre "thinking " on the subject : a form of a split personality of his , schizophrenia, or split-brain haha , unfortunately enough for him .
His problem, not mine : one can only take people to the fountain , but one can certainly not make them drink from it indeed .
.............
Bye , guys .
All the best .

« Last Edit: 17/12/2013 18:19:52 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1324 on: 17/12/2013 18:27:30 »
... I firmly believe he has a secret religious agenda.
You reckon? ;)

Haha :  amazing : no wonder that Ethos has been a bizarre paradoxical weird odd guy ,with his own bizzare and tragic -hilarious conception of ...science , ironically enough :
Well , see above : "The human will to believe is ....inexhaustible " indeed , as T.Nagel said in his " Why is the materialist neo-darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false " book .
But , to believe in 2 mutually exclusive world views , that's a bizzare something that cannot be "achieved " but by guys like ...Ethos here . haha
 

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1324 on: 17/12/2013 18:27:30 »

 

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