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Author Topic: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?  (Read 309334 times)

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1325 on: 17/12/2013 18:53:27 »

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.


The courts have always taken into account whether a person could control their actions, or if they were unable to because of insanity, mental retardation,brain tumors or brain injuries, youth, even the "heat of the moment" or panic. Neuroscience may have nudged that dividing line in finding more biological causes for behavior.  But all I think will happen, and in many respects it already has, is that justice will based less on determining responsibility, and more on whether the person has proven they are a danger to others. It may also come to rely more on the idea of modifiability.

If a child scribbles on the wall, we assume this behavior can be modified, either by positive or negative reinforcement, or simply by explaining that paper is for drawing, not walls. The behavior is modifiable. If he scribbled on the wall because he was sleep walking, nothing we say or do the next morning is likely to prevent it from happening again the next time he sleeps walks. We can say he wasn't in control of his actions, but we could also simply say it is not modifiable behavior, other than by directly intervening, placing the crayons out of reach, etc.
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1326 on: 17/12/2013 20:23:37 »
So there we have it - when the going gets interesting, cut and run.

Two posts, one long enough to answer at least some of the questions, instead used to make a theatrical lovey ('darlings, I love you all, mwaah!') exit; the other, an incoherent insult [:o)]

No surprises there, then  ::)
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1327 on: 17/12/2013 20:34:33 »

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.
I wonder if we take our innate resistance to being compelled or restricted from doing things against our will by others and turn it against ourselves or the idea of our own subconscious.
Sometimes I even wonder if people's fear of their own subconscious acting without their awareness or consent is related to a primitive fear of parasites.

Quote

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

In addition to providing a unified sense of self, the concept of free will might result simply because I can't foresee the future. Because I don't know exactly what I'll be doing tomorrow or next week or next year, and nothing appears to be constraining me, I believe I can control what happens or what I decide to do. Even if someone successfully predicts what I do or how I react, I still feel that it could have been otherwise, especially if I didn't predict it. If it's an illusion, it's an oddly inescapable one, except by rephrasing the question, as you have, and asking "free from what?" Do we really want to be free from all causation - learning, past experience, genetic abilities, automatic behavior that allows us to walk across the room without issuing specific instructions to each muscle group? The only thing I can think of that most people wish to be free of is reacting impulsively in ways they will later regret, kind of like worrying that there is a rogue or deficient player on your team. Casinos often hire pretty women because statistically, men spend more money and take greater risks in the presence of an attractive women, even if they are not aware of doing so, or consciously trying to impress her. Conversely, I once heard of a stock broker who never worked at home because he knew that environment would make him too conservative and risk averse. Does trying to stack ones own the deck, so to speak, support the idea of free will, or is ultimately a contradiction, or make no sense at all?
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1328 on: 17/12/2013 20:44:06 »
The courts have always taken into account whether a person could control their actions, or if they were unable to because of insanity, mental retardation,brain tumors or brain injuries, youth, even the "heat of the moment" or panic. Neuroscience may have nudged that dividing line in finding more biological causes for behavior.  But all I think will happen, and in many respects it already has, is that justice will based less on determining responsibility, and more on whether the person has proven they are a danger to others. It may also come to rely more on the idea of modifiability.

If a child scribbles on the wall, we assume this behavior can be modified, either by positive or negative reinforcement, or simply by explaining that paper is for drawing, not walls. The behavior is modifiable. If he scribbled on the wall because he was sleep walking, nothing we say or do the next morning is likely to prevent it from happening again the next time he sleeps walks. We can say he wasn't in control of his actions, but we could also simply say it is not modifiable behavior, other than by directly intervening, placing the crayons out of reach, etc.
I hope you're right; I'd like to see a greater emphasis on effective deterrence (punitive punishment doesn't work well), rehabilitation, and reparation. Retributive punishment may the victims feel better, but has more negative than positive consequences overall; positive reinforcement is known to be more effective than negative, and I think reparation is the future, where the offender meets the victim, apologises, and makes at least partial amends (or where the victim is non-specific, makes general reparation to society through work or fines, etc).

But I do see plenty of potential for defence solicitors to argue their client's genetic pre-disposition combined with a troubled childhood are significant mitigating factors in their offences; and there's enough evidence already to suggest that they could sometimes be right. It will take a sophisticated and enlightened legal system to deal fairly with these claims, to separate the wheat from the chaff, and it won't be easy to educate the public to acknowledge these considerations. There's potential for plenty of choppy waters ahead...
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1329 on: 17/12/2013 20:55:57 »
So there we have it - when the going gets interesting, cut and run.

Two posts, one long enough to answer at least some of the questions, instead used to make a theatrical lovey ('darlings, I love you all, mwaah!') exit; the other, an incoherent insult [:o)]

No surprises there, then  ::)

Before i go , the following :
Why do you take your own speculations  for granted  as some sort of facts ?
Where did you detect ...insults ?
Who said i am running away then ?
Try to answer the key issues of my excerpts ,and then when i will  come back , i will try to address your eventual replies .

Those posted excerpts do answer many of your questions , you just cannot but continue sticking to your own materialist crap , no offense , and that's no insult either : crap it is .

And what's wrong about saying that i feel nothing but love for you , guys ? : nothing theatrical about that : as a die-hard materialist , you cannot but dismiss love as just an illusion also ,so , you "mindless heartless insensitive soulless " (kidding ) lunatic materialist haha

"The will to believe is inexhaustible " indeed .


Take care .
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1330 on: 17/12/2013 21:08:02 »
I will be watching you , from time to time , whenever i can : let's see whether you, guys , can or not progress in this discussion without me ............
Whenever i am gone , this discussion becomes clinically dead , untill i come back and revive it again .
Let's hope , it wouldn't be the case this time .
Big brother will be  watching you thus .
And when i will come back, if i come back, i do promise that i will be delivering some challenging material that will be rocking your materialist sand castles , to the point where its sand grains will be flying in all directions ,thanks to the stormy wind that i will be triggering ...
P.S.: I hope that some "geniuses " here such as Ethos will be decent enough to leave this thread , since he cannot ,obviously , understand simple statements ....while he keeps on making wild and silly specualtions accusations ....in order to hide his paradoxical ignorance in the process ...
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1331 on: 17/12/2013 22:08:54 »
I wonder if we take our innate resistance to being compelled or restricted from doing things against our will by others and turn it against ourselves or the idea of our own subconscious.

Sometimes I even wonder if people's fear of their own subconscious acting without their awareness or consent is related to a primitive fear of parasites.

I hadn't really considered that. It does seem to me there's an instinctive wariness, fear even, of what's hidden, or unknown, and the subconscious has a reputation for being the source of primitive, dark, repressed thoughts. To then suggest that it is in control, makes consciousness look like the helpless puppet of a scary stranger... The key is the recognition that the 'you' beloved of friends and family belies that, and the recognition that it really is 'you' in control, but your consciousness only has a limited awareness of what that means [8D] 

Quote
In addition to providing a unified sense of self, the concept of free will might result simply because I can't foresee the future. Because I don't know exactly what I'll be doing tomorrow or next week or next year, and nothing appears to be constraining me, I believe I can control what happens or what I decide to do. Even if someone successfully predicts what I do or how I react, I still feel that it could have been otherwise, especially if I didn't predict it.
Yes, exactly; it's a kind of cultural fig leaf for our ignorance of all the complex detail of what goes into our (and other people's) decisions. We know they're not random, that our preferences are definitely involved - it's not always clear how, but they're our choices, so what other explanation is there but free will; and it's interesting that the more unpredictable and random looking our choice, the more we're inclined to invoke free will:
"Why'd you do that? you never do that!"
"I've got free will, haven't I?"
"Yeah, but seriously, why'd you do it?"
"Well, er, I don't know really..."
it's ironic, but even in a purely deterministic universe, we'd act as if we had free will - we'd have no choice!

Quote
If it's an illusion, it's an oddly inescapable one, except by rephrasing the question, as you have, and asking "free from what?" Do we really want to be free from all causation - learning, past experience, genetic abilities, automatic behavior that allows us to walk across the room without issuing specific instructions to each muscle group?
Quite; and if all our knowledge, memories, personality and experience aren't determining our decisions, in what sense are the decisions ours?

Quote
The only thing I can think of that most people wish to be free of is reacting impulsively in ways they will later regret, kind of like worrying that there is a rogue or deficient player on your team. Casinos often hire pretty women because statistically, men spend more money and take greater risks in the presence of an attractive women, even if they are not aware of doing so, or consciously trying to impress her. Conversely, I once heard of a stock broker who never worked at home because he knew that environment would make him too conservative and risk averse. Does trying to stack ones own the deck, so to speak, support the idea of free will, or is ultimately a contradiction, or make no sense at all?
I don't quite understand what you mean here.
« Last Edit: 17/12/2013 22:15:37 by dlorde »
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1332 on: 17/12/2013 22:17:37 »
I will be watching you , from time to time , whenever i can...
Creepy...  :o

Quote
And when i will come back, if i come back, i do promise that i will be delivering some challenging material that will be rocking your materialist sand castles , to the point where its sand grains will be flying in all directions ,thanks to the stormy wind that i will be triggering ...
Yeah, right  ::)
« Last Edit: 17/12/2013 22:20:05 by dlorde »
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1333 on: 17/12/2013 22:36:52 »
I will be watching you , from time to time , whenever i can : let's see whether you, guys , can or not progress in this discussion without me ............
I'm missing you already..............

Quote from: DonQuichotte
Whenever i am gone , this discussion becomes clinically dead , untill i come back and revive it again .
I feel the life draining away as I speak.   
Quote from: DonQuichotte
Let's hope , it wouldn't be the case this time .
We're all holding our collective breaths.

Quote from: DonQuichotte
P.S.: I hope that some "geniuses " here such as Ethos will be decent enough to leave this thread , since he cannot ,obviously , understand simple statements ....while he keeps on making wild and silly specualtions accusations ....in order to hide his paradoxical ignorance in the process ...
Now,........ is that anyway to talk about someone you LOVE?
« Last Edit: 18/12/2013 00:48:14 by Ethos_ »
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1334 on: 17/12/2013 22:45:56 »
Just a quick note:   I'll wager Don won't be gone very long, he just can't help it!
« Last Edit: 17/12/2013 22:48:40 by Ethos_ »
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1335 on: 18/12/2013 00:44:58 »
The complexity of the thought process, "consciousness" can not presently be isolated to the quantum level and possibly never will be. While it is true that Quantum mechanics works very well with the micro world, a comprehensive understanding of it's relevance to the macro world is lacking at this time in history. With this understanding in tow, we should be very careful when trying to attribute any significance to spooky quantum interactions as having measureable influence on cranial activity. And where good science is practiced, accurate measurements are absolutely necessary.

It's important to remember that when someone offers a maybe this or maybe that, interesting maybe's lead nowhere unless verifiable evidence can be presented. To suggest that one is correct only because another can not prove them wrong is worthless and dishonest.

It's entirely OK to speculate and ponder about the nature of reality. This is why I am open to religious questions that people wonder about sometime. But when it comes to inserting religion or philosophy into understanding the physical world we live in, I draw the line. 

If you want to talk science, give me evidence that fits into the world of my five senses.

If you want to talk religion, we're pretty much free to speculate about infinite possibilities.

Just don't start mixing them together, you'll end up with worthless results.

« Last Edit: 18/12/2013 00:47:12 by Ethos_ »
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1336 on: 18/12/2013 00:45:23 »

I don't quite understand what you mean here.

Well, some people, myself included, know they have a tendency to behave a certain way in certain circumstances, and instead of trying to use "will power" they simply prearrange those circumstances so that it less likely to have those effects. I know that if I go grocery shopping when I'm hungry I will spend too much money and buy crazy things that probably aren't healthy. So I have a small snack before I go.  Or someone else might say he knows every time he stops by his friend Bob's, Bob will offer him a beer and probably several more, and he won't say no, but he has to get up early the next day so he doesn't stop in. And people put money in Christmas accounts that cannot be withdrawn until November without penalty. It's the equivalent of Odysseus lashing himself to the ships mast so he could not be lured to his death by the Sirens' song.

  If I had total free will, I should not need to trick myself, but simply decide what I am going to do and do it. On the other hand, one could argue that I am using my free will or some aspect of consciousness to circumvent my subconscious programs at some point in the future. Of course a strict determinist would say that too was predetermined.

A really silly example of trying to outsmart myself is that I used to set my clocks ahead so I wouldn't be late to go places. It got a little out of hand though when I discovered other benefits. At one point I had them set a half hour ahead because it made me sleepier early, and I went to bed on time. My boyfriend at the time said it was the dumbest thing he had ever heard of. "Don't you just get used to your clocks being a half hour fast and factor that in? How can you trick yourself over and over?"

I also liked the fact that I arrived at work the same time I left home. It seemed to make the trip shorter.  And he said, "Yeah, but then the trip home is twice as long!"
"I don't care about that," I said "because I'm never in a big rush then. I only need to get some where fast in the morning."
 
« Last Edit: 18/12/2013 01:15:18 by cheryl j »
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1337 on: 18/12/2013 00:59:14 »

I also liked the fact that I arrived at work the same time I left home. It seemed to make the trip shorter.  And he said, "Yeah, but then the trip home is twice as long!"
"I don't care about that," I said "because I'm never in a big rush then. I only need to get some where fast in the morning."
This is quite amusing to me Cheryl because my wife does the same thing. And I, like most males I'm sure, responds exactly like your boy friend did. But that's a subject for an entirely different thread, or is it?
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1338 on: 18/12/2013 01:14:11 »
Here's an article from Science Daily that's kind of relevant to control or veto power.
Scientists Improve Human Self-Control Through Electrical Brain Stimulation
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131213094949.htm
 

Offline RD

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1339 on: 18/12/2013 03:18:45 »
... my five senses ...

Looks like there are more than five, e.g. thermoception , proprioception , nociception.
 

Online alancalverd

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1340 on: 18/12/2013 06:47:00 »
Quote
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

It's the very essence of faith and many other perversions. Remarkably common among congregations and psychopaths.
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1341 on: 18/12/2013 12:00:03 »
Well, some people, myself included, know they have a tendency to behave a certain way in certain circumstances, and instead of trying to use "will power" they simply prearrange those circumstances so that it less likely to have those effects.
...
Interesting point - I suppose it depends on your precise definition of free will. This is part of the definition problem - you don't have free will in some situation if there are explicit constraints on your choices or actions, or if you are coerced, but as you say, you may be free to solve the problem or make the choice another way, so you are free to exercise your will in one way but not in another...

There's a distinction to be made between being a creature that has free will, and being able to exercise free will in some context.

My everyday definition is a simple one: "the capability to act according to our preference without the perception of undue external coercion or constraint".

I say 'perception', because we may not be aware of all the choices, constraints or coercions, so it's entirely subjective, and you might change your mind with hindsight (e.g. "I thought I was making a free choice, but I was deceived").

I also mention 'external' coercion or constraint, but it's complicated by the issues of ethics, morals, and norms. One person might see the presence of a policeman as an external constraint on their freedom to take certain actions, another might not dream of taking those actions because they have internalised the moral constraints of that culture.

This is a contradiction at the heart of free will in respect of moral responsibility - we are said to be free to act against morals of the culture, but are expected to follow them; but while we may not be physically constrained from acting, are we not in some way constrained or coerced by our cultural programming, our conscience? And doesn't our cultural programming, our conscience, influence our preferences, our will?
So internalised cultural morality influences our will through our conscience, but also can be seen as a mental constraint or coercion on our freedom of action...

It's one of those abstract cultural concepts that seems to have superficial meaning, but is malleable enough to mean whatever you like, and when examined closely appears to have no substance or meaning at all.
« Last Edit: 18/12/2013 12:02:13 by dlorde »
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1342 on: 18/12/2013 12:16:51 »
Here's an article from Science Daily that's kind of relevant to control or veto power.
Scientists Improve Human Self-Control Through Electrical Brain Stimulation
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131213094949.htm
This must be the same braking circuit that was mentioned in those studies where brain activity consistent with a decision to act was detected before the subject was consciously aware of it, but apparently they were still able to veto the action before it took place.

It's unclear whether that action veto would be a feedback from conscious processes or the result of another pre-conscious decision process they subsequently became conscious of... I think the latter would be more interesting ;)
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1343 on: 18/12/2013 12:28:27 »
Quote
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

It's the very essence of faith and many other perversions. Remarkably common among congregations and psychopaths.
Yes, it's not uncommon; the mathematician & logician Charles Dodgeson (Lewis Carroll) was fascinated by it. In 'Through The Looking Glass', he has Alice and the White Queen discussing it:

"I'm just one hundred and one, five months and a day."
"I can't believe that!" said Alice.
"Can't you?" the Queen said in a pitying tone. "Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes."
Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
 

Online alancalverd

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1344 on: 18/12/2013 14:14:27 »
I think that last phrase may have influenced Eddington, who said "the student of physics must get accustomed to having his common sense violated six times before breakfast". But abandoning a defective hypothesis (science) is not the same as holding mutually exclusive views (everything else).
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1345 on: 18/12/2013 15:47:30 »
... my five senses ...

Looks like there are more than five, e.g. thermoception , proprioception , nociception.
I stand corrected.............
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1346 on: 18/12/2013 20:30:27 »


This is quite amusing to me Cheryl because my wife does the same thing. And I, like most males I'm sure, responds exactly like your boy friend did. But that's a subject for an entirely different thread, or is it?

Gender differences might not be irrelevant to the topic of consciousness, although it’s possible if I respond in much detail a moderator will split off that discussion into a new thread. (Although maybe in the “New Theories” category, anything goes.)

The other problem is I am well aware I have a huge bias concerning the biological bases of gender differences. I would like, or strongly prefer, there not to be significant differences between men and women, or between races, because of the potential for discrimination, and probably because of my own issues of self-identity. I sometimes ask myself what I would do  if  confronted with irrefutable evidence that men were superior in many ways to women. How would I react? Would I, like Don, fervently deny it because of the threat it presents to my world view, or would I simply accept it, shrug my shoulders, and say, “Sucks to be me, I guess.” I’m really not sure.
Despite my bias, I can still make my best effort to think about the question reasonably. My strongest argument against strong sexual dimorphism is that only two of the 46 chromosomes are sex chromosomes, and the X is shared by males. So any differences between men and women have to be explained by genes on the Y chromosome (which contains surprisingly little information) regulatory effects of those genes on the Y, or selective gene expression through hormones. You’d have show what genes, and how many, on the autosomes are modulated by hormones.

Even if there are different evolutionary pressures on males and females, as long as a selective trait is not a disadvantage for the opposite gender, I don’t see why it would be suppressed. For example, distance vision might be more important for male hunters, and near vision for female gatherers, but if neither is a disadvantage or somehow  incompatible (where you can’t have one without the expense of the other) why would both sexes not inherit genes for both good near and distance vision?

My other argument is that physical differences that make men and women look so different are primarily related to mate selection and reproduction, but mental differences, like intelligence, perception, problem solving, language may be more important to survival in general,  in order to live to the age to reproduce, and facilitate  the survival of the group and off-spring.

On the other hand, there are documented behavioral differences between men and women, but they are somewhat statistical. It’s been proven in multiple ways that statistically that men are more aggressive than women, but that said, there are many assertive women and many shy passive men. Aggression in men and women are probably overlapping bell shaped curves. Behavioural differences don’t seem to be absolute differences like either having ovaries, or not having ovaries.

The other problem with statistical differences, is that statistics are more important to doctors, actuaries, and in marketing research, and less important (and accurate) in our daily relationships with a small number of individuals. Even if you can show statistically that men are better at math, or there are more male math geniuses, what difference does it make to the brilliant female mathematician that she is a statistical anomaly? How would an institution benefit by screening out all females and possibly overlooking her as the best candidate among the rest?

Here’s another everyday example. Hunting is a more popular sport among men than women. Yet in the small office I once worked, all of the hunters were female. This is probably explained by the fact that most of the women grew up here, a rural area, where hunting is a popular social activity and even needed in order to have a freezer full of meat all winter. All of the men in the office were doctors imported from cities and suburbs, where hunting is not as common (as were the female doctors.) But the rule of thumb that “most hunters are men”, wasn’t reflected in that small group, and if you applied that rule, you would be wrong.

There has been a lot of bias in evolutionary psychology, in my probably biased opinion. A popular book in the 70s was Desmond Morris’s “The Naked Ape” in which every evolutionary change in homo sapiens (walking up right, tool making, language, etc.) was connected to hunting. Obtaining food is a key  evolutionary pressure, but so is anything that effects the survival of offspring, especially helpless and late developing offspring like humans, and he just seemed to ignore  any evolutionary pressures on females. And I won’t even get into the bad science in books like “Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus.”

My final argument is that I do not own numerous pairs of shoes. Therefore, any scientific evidence of gender differences must be a result of the  “false misconception of nature by main stream scientists blinded by their outdated 19th century, Eurocentric world view.” (Okay, now I know I am biased.)
« Last Edit: 18/12/2013 20:35:35 by cheryl j »
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1347 on: 18/12/2013 22:14:29 »


This is quite amusing to me Cheryl because my wife does the same thing. And I, like most males I'm sure, responds exactly like your boy friend did. But that's a subject for an entirely different thread, or is it?

Gender differences might not be irrelevant to the topic of consciousness, although it’s possible if I respond in much detail a moderator will split off that discussion into a new thread. (Although maybe in the “New Theories” category, anything goes.)

The other problem is I am well aware I have a huge bias concerning the biological bases of gender differences. I would like, or strongly prefer, there not to be significant differences between men and women, or between races, because of the potential for discrimination, and probably because of my own issues of self-identity. I sometimes ask myself what I would do  if  confronted with irrefutable evidence that men were superior in many ways to women. How would I react? Would I, like Don, fervently deny it because of the threat it presents to my world view, or would I simply accept it, shrug my shoulders, and say, “Sucks to be me, I guess.” I’m really not sure.
Despite my bias, I can still make my best effort to think about the question reasonably. My strongest argument against strong sexual dimorphism is that only two of the 46 chromosomes are sex chromosomes, and the X is shared by males. So any differences between men and women have to be explained by genes on the Y chromosome (which contains surprisingly little information) regulatory effects of those genes on the Y, or selective gene expression through hormones. You’d have show what genes, and how many, on the autosomes are modulated by hormones.

Even if there are different evolutionary pressures on males and females, as long as a selective trait is not a disadvantage for the opposite gender, I don’t see why it would be suppressed. For example, distance vision might be more important for male hunters, and near vision for female gatherers, but if neither is a disadvantage or somehow  incompatible (where you can’t have one without the expense of the other) why would both sexes not inherit genes for both good near and distance vision?

My other argument is that physical differences that make men and women look so different are primarily related to mate selection and reproduction, but mental differences, like intelligence, perception, problem solving, language may be more important to survival in general,  in order to live to the age to reproduce, and facilitate  the survival of the group and off-spring.

On the other hand, there are documented behavioral differences between men and women, but they are somewhat statistical. It’s been proven in multiple ways that statistically that men are more aggressive than women, but that said, there are many assertive women and many shy passive men. Aggression in men and women are probably overlapping bell shaped curves. Behavioural differences don’t seem to be absolute differences like either having ovaries, or not having ovaries.

The other problem with statistical differences, is that statistics are more important to doctors, actuaries, and in marketing research, and less important (and accurate) in our daily relationships with a small number of individuals. Even if you can show statistically that men are better at math, or there are more male math geniuses, what difference does it make to the brilliant female mathematician that she is a statistical anomaly? How would an institution benefit by screening out all females and possibly overlooking her as the best candidate among the rest?

Here’s another everyday example. Hunting is a more popular sport among men than women. Yet in the small office I once worked, all of the hunters were female. This is probably explained by the fact that most of the women grew up here, a rural area, where hunting is a popular social activity and even needed in order to have a freezer full of meat all winter. All of the men in the office were doctors imported from cities and suburbs, where hunting is not as common (as were the female doctors.) But the rule of thumb that “most hunters are men”, wasn’t reflected in that small group, and if you applied that rule, you would be wrong.

There has been a lot of bias in evolutionary psychology, in my probably biased opinion. A popular book in the 70s was Desmond Morris’s “The Naked Ape” in which every evolutionary change in homo sapiens (walking up right, tool making, language, etc.) was connected to hunting. Obtaining food is a key  evolutionary pressure, but so is anything that effects the survival of offspring, especially helpless and late developing offspring like humans, and he just seemed to ignore  any evolutionary pressures on females. And I won’t even get into the bad science in books like “Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus.”

My final argument is that I do not own numerous pairs of shoes. Therefore, any scientific evidence of gender differences must be a result of the  “false misconception of nature by main stream scientists blinded by their outdated 19th century, Eurocentric world view.” (Okay, now I know I am biased.)
Unlike some other contributors to this thread, I really enjoy the attention you pay to detail Cheryl. Your posts are always thoughtful and precise.

I'm confident we all have our personal biases, if that were not the case, we could all be classified as little more than robotic conformists. But yet, while bias is necessary to preserve our individuality, unreasonable biases construct walls of disagreement which can not be scaled. Case in point; Represented many times in this thread by an individual that is unwilling to view circumstances from any position but their own.

You continue to be one of my favorite personalities here at NSF and I'm not in the least bashful about spreading the word....................Ethos
« Last Edit: 19/12/2013 00:02:56 by Ethos_ »
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1348 on: 19/12/2013 01:31:24 »
..My final argument is that I do not own numerous pairs of shoes. Therefore, any scientific evidence of gender differences must be a result of the  “false misconception of nature by main stream scientists blinded by their outdated 19th century, Eurocentric world view.” (Okay, now I know I am biased.)
Lol! nice one, Don ;D

However, the evidence coming in is surprising and interesting... Brain Connectivity Study Reveals Striking Differences Between Men and Women. But it's not all bad - '"It's quite striking how complementary the brains of women and men really are," said Dr. Ruben Gur.'
« Last Edit: 19/12/2013 01:33:38 by dlorde »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1349 on: 20/12/2013 16:49:01 »
I hate to say : "I told you so .",didn't i ?   
It took only 48 hrs to declare this thread clinically dead ...
I am not Jesus though : i cannot resurrect the dead , just the almost dead  like this thread is ...

Cheryl :

I do not reject any sort of empirical evidence, just the ,oh yes, the mainstream materialist false "scientific world view " = THE biggest lie ever .

And yes, there are differences between men and women, they just cannot be accounted for  just in terms of physics and chemistry alone indeed ,not fully at least , since the mental side of man cannot be reduced to just physics and chemistry .

So, don't worry , men are not 'superior  " to women : they are bot equal , at the human level : women are even smarter in many ways , they are the ones in charge in fact , while succeeding in making us , men , believe we are haha .

Women are the most beautiful graceful intelligent subtle ...you name it ...creatures on earth in fact .

Men and women do  have both feminine and masculin sides as well .

This world would be a better place ,if women would get impowered as they deserve to be , as the equals of men .

Try to read this unique book that might change your life in many ways :
" Lifting the veil : The feminine face of science " by organic chemist and neo-feminist Linda Jean Shepherd : a neo-feminist post-modern philosophy of science , ethics ....
Very enlightening indeed .

Take care .

alancalverd :

You just called your friend Ethos ...a psychopath , without even realising that fact .

Ethos :

Why have you been remaining silent in relation to your paradoxical mutually exclusive held beliefs ,you have not been addressing ?

dlorde :

How does it feel to replace a big lie ,by yet a bigger one , by a "scientific " one ?

Oh, boy , i hate to be in your shoes : i do sympathise with you in that regard .

You have just replaced your ex-christianity by yet another irrational dogmatic orthodox  religion,a secular one  : materialism .
Sweet dreams in your owm materialist wonderland, Alice  .
Don Quixote did realise the falsehood ,the absurdity and ridicule of his own  unrealistic and imaginary  idealism , i do hope the same for you , in relation to your own absurd outdated superseded and false ..."scientific " materialism  .

See ya , guys .

« Last Edit: 20/12/2013 17:19:25 by DonQuichotte »
 

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1349 on: 20/12/2013 16:49:01 »

 

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