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Author Topic: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?  (Read 309593 times)

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1475 on: 28/12/2013 22:50:04 »
Your materialist beliefs you take for granted as science are just acts of faith grounded in a 19th century   false  ideology,no science  .
Straw man - I already told you my view.

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You refuse to address my repeated simple question ,regarding the non-existence of any extraordinary evidence for the materialist extraordinary claims regarding the nature of reality
Because it's another straw man. As I've told you repeatedly, it's not possible to find evidence that some unspecified unknown non-physical or 'immaterial' doesn't exist. My view (again) is that we simply follow the evidence. We have plenty of evidence of the material, none whatsoever of the immaterial. Until we have some evidence, we have little choice but to deal with the material.

Yet again - if you can suggest a practical way to investigate your proposed immaterial non-stuff, we can try it. All attempts to date have failed, so I'm not holding my breath.

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You keep on believing that "the mind is in the brain, or that the mind is just brain activity ", without any sort of conclusive empirical evidence ,since science cannot so far , if ever , link conscious subjective  states or experiences to brain activity
I'm just following the evidence, which will never be 'conclusive' if you propose the involvement of something unspecified, unknown, undetectable, and unfalsifiable.  However, in most cases, we can say that a theory can explain the observations beyond reasonable doubt and that there is no need to invoke the involvement of anything unspecified, unknown, undetectable, and unfalsifiable. As Laplace (apocryphally?) responded to Napoleon's query of the absence of god from his analysis, "I had no need of that hypothesis". In the case of consciousness, the growing accumulation of empirical evidence that is inconsistent with the immaterial hypothesis and entirely consistent with the material hypothesis, suggests to me that it is now beyond reasonable doubt. Your mileage may vary.

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You just assume that the tv set or radio device do create their own received respectively images and sounds , or broadcasts : you keep on believing that Obama does live inside of the tv , as Hitler was living inside of the radio .......... when the tv set or radio are damaged ,and you cannot  find no Obama inside of the tv ,or Hitler inside of the radio , then they were created by the tv set or radio ...haha
It has already been explained to you why that is a fatally flawed analogy. You seem to have the memory (or comprehension) of a goldfish.

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I told you many times , as Nagel did , that since consciousness is irreducible to the physical or to the material , then reductionism must be false , and since materialism does require reductionism, then , materialism is also false...

I also have been repeating the fact that since there are still no serious non-materialist falsifiable theories   of consciousness out there today  , that does not mean that materialism is not false ...

What do you want more then ?
Certainly no more repetition. Constant repetition doesn't make your logic less flawed. If you start with false premises, the whole house of cards falls. You have started with an unfounded assumption to reach the conclusion you desire. It is not known whether consciousness is reducible to the physical or not - although the evidence strongly suggests that it is, and you have yet to supply a good reason why it should not be.

There are many things we haven't yet explained or understood that we have good reason to believe have a material basis. You have said yourself that materialism is unfalsifiable, so to claim that the unexplained somehow falsifies it is absurdly contradictory.

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... science should be in fact metaphysically neutral , in principle at least .
As I've said several times, I quite agree. That my expressed opinion doesn't suit your agenda is your problem, not mine. Inventing world views and beliefs to project onto others is a transparent ploy you use habitually to cover the pointlessness of your claims. Everyone else here is well aware you're attacking a fantasy adversary, just like your namesake.

Tilting at windmills.
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1476 on: 28/12/2013 23:11:55 »
... matter might turn out to be not made of matter , after all .
I think that sums up your level of argument.

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How can the mind that's allegedly a product of brain activity have causal effect on matter , brain and body , and hence on brain activity as well?

How can the mind have causal effects on brain activity that has allegedly created it : is that some sort of weird absurd backward form of causation ? haha : the mind causing brain activity that has allegedly caused it ?
That's an equivocation of 'mind', semantic games. The mind is brain activity.
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1477 on: 29/12/2013 00:32:39 »
... matter might turn out to be not made of matter , after all .
I think that sums up your level of argument.

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How can the mind that's allegedly a product of brain activity have causal effect on matter , brain and body , and hence on brain activity as well?

How can the mind have causal effects on brain activity that has allegedly created it : is that some sort of weird absurd backward form of causation ? haha : the mind causing brain activity that has allegedly caused it ?
That's an equivocation of 'mind', semantic games. The mind is brain activity.

E gads! I've missed so much. "How can the mind have causal effects on brain activity that has allegedly created it : is that some sort of weird absurd backward form of causation ? haha : the mind causing brain activity that has allegedly caused it ?"  It just gets crazier every day.
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1478 on: 29/12/2013 00:49:42 »
E gads! I've missed so much. "How can the mind have causal effects on brain activity that has allegedly created it : is that some sort of weird absurd backward form of causation ? haha : the mind causing brain activity that has allegedly caused it ?"  It just gets crazier every day.
I know; every time I think I'm bored with it, he comes up with some even loopier variation on the theme - it's like a car crash, a fascination with the tragic makes it hard to look away. [xx(]
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1479 on: 29/12/2013 01:00:23 »
Why is the mind irreducible to the material? That has never been fully (and Don is a big fan of "fully") explained. What is it - specifically - about the mind that is not explained? If it's memory, then lets talk about memory. If it's creativity, then let's talk about creativity. If it's "free will" then we can talk about free will. Or qualia. Or what ever you want.

So, Don, take your pick of the mental aspect of consciousness that can't be explained by materialism - cowboy up. Let's stop zig-zagging back and forth.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1480 on: 29/12/2013 01:14:04 »
Undeniable fact is : science has been materialist since the 19th century at least , while science should be neither materialist nor otherwise : science should be metaphysically neutral ,in principle at least = the latter is an utopia or a myth so far .

Crap. Science is a process, not a collection of philosophical mumbo jumbo, nor an entity with a manifesto.

You can't say what science should be, any more than you can say what a cow should be. A cow is a ruminant quadruped with horns and udders, science is an algorithmic process. These are definitions, not open to debate.

There's little point in discussing milk production or the human mind if you don't share the axioms of discussion.
« Last Edit: 29/12/2013 01:20:27 by alancalverd »
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1481 on: 29/12/2013 01:22:02 »


Science has been extremely suuccessful only and exclusively thanks to its own effective and unparalleled scientific method , materialism has been having absolutely nothing to do with all that , once again .
Name one scientific experiment as an example of what you mean by that. Name one scientific experiment that demonstrates that "effective and unparalleled method" of which you speak and admire so much. And explain how its findings had nothing to do with measurements or observations that were materialistic. 
« Last Edit: 29/12/2013 01:23:33 by cheryl j »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1482 on: 29/12/2013 17:21:37 »
I can't help you Don - there's too much here to read and too much repetition to make it rewarding, so I only skim through it every day to read other people's posts (not yours) so that I don't miss anything interesting that appears in them. I do think you've achieved something remarkable in tying up so much talent here. That's a win, I reckon.

Thanks anyway, appreciate indeed : i was just referring to the fact that you were/are the only person here intelligent enough to reject that absurd materialist "emergence " trick performance inexplicable magic in relation to the nature or orign of consciousness .
It's ok not to read my posts , i am not offended by that , although i have to admit i have been repeating almost the same things  over and over again : i have been having no choice but to do just that , and that's not been all i have been doing here either  .
Just try to read those relevant excerpts i have been posting then .
I do miss your valuable and unparalleled input in fact .
Anyway , if we would except Cheryl, you're almost the only interesting guy here though,even when you were /are abscent  : your spirit has been floating in or flying above  this thread all along,without ever getting burned by its inevitable flames  .
You're a creative  artist scientist , in the positive Kafkaian sense ,when Kafka defined art as being a free flying bird around and above the truth , without getting burned by its fire .
All the best , and happy non-materialist and non-mechanical haha creative  new year by the way  to you and to all your beloved ones as well  .

P.S.: It would be interesting and fascinating to try to tell us about your creative work ,from time to time , so, we can have at least some sort of a glimpse of that .
Despite its undeniable falsehood ,the mechanistic view of the world has been delivering some interesting insights , ideas , breakthroughs , inspirations ....anyway .

Final note :

"The gain is worth the loss " indeed : i have been learning a lot form this forum and people and beyond , you have no idea , despite everything .
« Last Edit: 29/12/2013 17:30:59 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1483 on: 29/12/2013 17:39:25 »


Science has been extremely suuccessful only and exclusively thanks to its own effective and unparalleled scientific method , materialism has been having absolutely nothing to do with all that , once again .
Name one scientific experiment as an example of what you mean by that. Name one scientific experiment that demonstrates that "effective and unparalleled method" of which you speak and admire so much. And explain how its findings had nothing to do with measurements or observations that were materialistic.

This is exactly what i have been talking about all along :

Materialism and science or the scientific method are 2 totally different "things " :
materialism is just a false conception of nature , a world view , a philosophy ,an outdated and superceded  19th century ideology that was built on the fundamentally incorrect classical physics : what has materialism then to do with science ,with the scientific method or with any scientific achevements for that matter then ?
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1484 on: 29/12/2013 17:56:26 »
Why is the mind irreducible to the material? That has never been fully (and Don is a big fan of "fully") explained. What is it - specifically - about the mind that is not explained? If it's memory, then lets talk about memory. If it's creativity, then let's talk about creativity. If it's "free will" then we can talk about free will. Or qualia. Or what ever you want.

Try to read in that regard Nagel's excerpts i did post on the subject then .
It's pretty undeniable that consciousness or the mind are irreducible to the physical , and hence reductionism must be false ,and since materialism requires reductionism, then materialism must also be false .

Science has never proved the materialist "fact ", or rather the materialist belief assumption to be "true " that consciousness is just a biological process , the latter is just an extension of the materialist "all is matter ,including the mind " false conception of nature -'scientific world view " .

That materialist 'emergence " inexplicable magic ,regarding the origin or nature of consciousness is just that : materialist inexplicable magic , no empirical fact , not even remotely close thus .

Since materialist science has been assuming that 'all is matter , including the mind ". then the mind is in the brain, or the mind is just brain activity, memory is stored  in the brain ................

But materialism is false , mainly because it cannot account for consciousness ,and hence the mind is not in the brain, the mind is no brain activity , memory is not stored in the brain , creativity , imagination, free will neither ...

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So, Don, take your pick of the mental aspect of consciousness that can't be explained by materialism - cowboy up. Let's stop zig-zagging back and forth.

Materialism is just a false conception of nature , once again , just a world view that assumes so wrongly that reality is just material or physical : materialism has no explanatory power whatsoever thus ,and the materialist  conception of nature cannot account for consciousness ,so, it is false .
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1485 on: 29/12/2013 18:04:49 »
... matter might turn out to be not made of matter , after all .
I think that sums up your level of argument.

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How can the mind that's allegedly a product of brain activity have causal effect on matter , brain and body , and hence on brain activity as well?

How can the mind have causal effects on brain activity that has allegedly created it : is that some sort of weird absurd backward form of causation ? haha : the mind causing brain activity that has allegedly caused it ?
That's an equivocation of 'mind', semantic games. The mind is brain activity.

E gads! I've missed so much. "How can the mind have causal effects on brain activity that has allegedly created it : is that some sort of weird absurd backward form of causation ? haha : the mind causing brain activity that has allegedly caused it ?"  It just gets crazier every day.

No, materialism gets everyday more and more untenable ,absurd , implausible ,false , outdated , superceded .
Fact is ,  a fact we all do experience as such every single day of our lives , is that the mind or consciousness do have causal effects on matter , and hence on body and brain : your own thoughts , emotions, feelings , desires . love , longins , will ,ambitions .....do have causal effects on your bodies and brains ...

P.S.: Why do you keep on ignoring what Stapp and others have been saying regarding the undeniable causal effects of the mind on matter , and the rest , while so stubbornly sticking to your own false materialism you do continue confusing with science , i wonder .
« Last Edit: 29/12/2013 18:16:41 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1486 on: 29/12/2013 19:06:16 »
Your materialist beliefs you take for granted as science are just acts of faith grounded in a 19th century   false  ideology,no science  .
Straw man - I already told you my view.

It is an undeniable fact that :
"Matter is the only reality " has been just the materialist false conception of nature that has been equated with "the scientific world view " ,so, all sciences for that matter have been materialist , have been assuming that reality is just material or physical = why has that matrialist world view been taken for granted as the 'scientific world view " then ? What makes it so "scientific " then ?

Science should be neither materialist nor otherwise ,in principle at least ,so, why has science been materialist then, since the 19th century at least , thanks to materialism ?

Try to answer that ,if you dare at least , instead of denying the undeniable  .

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You refuse to address my repeated simple question ,regarding the non-existence of any extraordinary evidence for the materialist extraordinary claims regarding the nature of reality
Because it's another straw man. As I've told you repeatedly, it's not possible to find evidence that some unspecified unknown non-physical or 'immaterial' doesn't exist. My view (again) is that we simply follow the evidence. We have plenty of evidence of the material, none whatsoever of the immaterial. Until we have some evidence, we have little choice but to deal with the material.


It's not a matter of evidence , it's just a matter of materialist belief  that science has been assuming that matter is the only reality , that's why the false materialist conception of nature or world view has been equated with "the scientific world view " = materialism as just a belief has been taken for granted as an "empirical fact " , materialism has been taken for granted as ...'scientific " : how can any belief for that matter be "scientific " = falsifiable then , including materialism ?
You tell me ...Popper must be spinning in his grave like crazy .
Science should be free in exploring all parts of reality with which which science can deal empirically , not just the material or physical part of reality which science has been taking for granted as the whole reality , thanks to materialism , don't you think ?

In other words :

Science has been materialist = science has been taking the materialist version of reality as a "scientific fact " ,as the 'scientific world view " = there is nothing but matter = absurd  .

So, it's not a matter of evidence or lack of it that has been turning science into a materialist dogmatic monopoly exclusive property , it's just a matter of materialist belief that has been making science take for granted that matter is the only reality out there as a " scientific fact " = materialism gets equated with science = the materialist belief gets equated with science = absurd = an understatement thus .

I cannot be more clearer than that .

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Yet again - if you can suggest a practical way to investigate your proposed immaterial non-stuff, we can try it. All attempts to date have failed, so I'm not holding my breath.

The bottom line is :
Science has been materialist , by taking the materialist version of reality as a "scientific fact " = materialist science has been a-priori, per se and per definition,  excluding any existence of the non-physical or non -material, period  .

In short :

Regardless of how should science deal with the non-physical or non-material side of reality , the point is : materialist science has been , per definition, excluding the existence of the latter as such , by reducing it to just physical material or biological processses , including consciousness that's irreducible to the physical or to the material .
Reality is not just material or physical , so, science must learn how to deal with that fact, by rejecting materialism first  : science has no choice but to do that .

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You keep on believing that "the mind is in the brain, or that the mind is just brain activity ", without any sort of conclusive empirical evidence ,since science cannot so far , if ever , link conscious subjective  states or experiences to brain activity
I'm just following the evidence, which will never be 'conclusive' if you propose the involvement of something unspecified, unknown, undetectable, and unfalsifiable.  However, in most cases, we can say that a theory can explain the observations beyond reasonable doubt and that there is no need to invoke the involvement of anything unspecified, unknown, undetectable, and unfalsifiable. As Laplace (apocryphally?) responded to Napoleon's query of the absence of god from his analysis, "I had no need of that hypothesis". In the case of consciousness, the growing accumulation of empirical evidence that is inconsistent with the immaterial hypothesis and entirely consistent with the material hypothesis, suggests to me that it is now beyond reasonable doubt. Your mileage may vary.

Just cut the crap : science has never proved the materialist belief assumption that consciousness is a biological process , or that the mind is in the brain, let alone that the mind is just brain activity = that's been just the materialist extension of the materialist "all is matter , including the mind " core belief assumption regarding the nature of reality = no empirical fact thus = that materialist "emergence property " trick regarding the nature or origins of consciousness has been thus just inexplicable materialist magic in science ,as David Cooper ,for example, has been intelligent enough to reject as such at least .

I do suspect that he might reject materialism altogether at some stage of his life and work : he's got what it takes to do just that ,in total contrast with you , dlorde ,  i guess, i don't know .

You do not have it in you to be capable of rejecting your false materialist beliefs you still do confuse with science   .

I hope i am wrong , for your own sake .

Good luck on that , even though i do not believe in the existence of such a "thing " such as luck .

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You just assume that the tv set or radio device do create their own received respectively images and sounds , or broadcasts : you keep on believing that Obama does live inside of the tv , as Hitler was living inside of the radio .......... when the tv set or radio are damaged ,and you cannot  find no Obama inside of the tv ,or Hitler inside of the radio , then they were created by the tv set or radio ...haha
It has already been explained to you why that is a fatally flawed analogy. You seem to have the memory (or comprehension) of a goldfish.

Yeah, right : just start insulting when you cannot do any better .
The tv and radio analogies were just relative analogies ,but they were /are very relevant to the subject of consciousness and brain : unlike the tv set and radio device which are both material physical ,together with their received signals or sound waves , consciousness is non-phyiscl or non -material non-biological, while the brain is physical + brain and consciousness are inseparable in any given living organism = 1 .

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I told you many times , as Nagel did , that since consciousness is irreducible to the physical or to the material , then reductionism must be false , and since materialism does require reductionism, then , materialism is also false...

I also have been repeating the fact that since there are still no serious non-materialist falsifiable theories   of consciousness out there today  , that does not mean that materialism is not false ...

What do you want more then ?
Certainly no more repetition. Constant repetition doesn't make your logic less flawed. If you start with false premises, the whole house of cards falls. You have started with an unfounded assumption to reach the conclusion you desire. It is not known whether consciousness is reducible to the physical or not - although the evidence strongly suggests that it is, and you have yet to supply a good reason why it should not be.

Read Nagel's excerpts on the subject i did extensively post then,instead of sticking to your own absurd materialist non-sense .
How , on earth , then can the totally different subjective qualitative conscious states ,experiences ..."rise " from or "be " just physics and chemistry then ? : science has never been able to answer just that , for obvious reasons = there is no evidence whatsoever that suggests that consciousness is just a biological process, for obvious reasons : those materialist 'emergence " bullshit ,computation ...behaviorism, functionalism ...non-sense were /are just extensions of the materialist false conception of nature , no science .

Materialism cannot be but false , mainly because it cannot account for consciousness that's irreducible to the physical or to the material = there is no way that the 'unconscious " matter can give rise to consciousness,unless through  some sort of materialist inexplicable unscientific magic  .

Only when you would try to eliminate materialism from the 'equation" , you would be able to grasp the latter .


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There are many things we haven't yet explained or understood that we have good reason to believe have a material basis. You have said yourself that materialism is unfalsifiable, so to claim that the unexplained somehow falsifies it is absurdly contradictory.

Typically  desperate bankrupt  promissory messianic materialism .
Materialism is false , not because it cannot "explain everything " , materialism is just a false world view in fact without any explanatory power whatsoever ,once again ,so, materialism is false , mainly because it cannot account for consciousness ,the latter that's irreducible to the material or to the physical, and hence even evolution itself cannot be just biological ...to mention just that .

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... science should be in fact metaphysically neutral , in principle at least .
As I've said several times, I quite agree. That my expressed opinion doesn't suit your agenda is your problem, not mine. Inventing world views and beliefs to project onto others is a transparent ploy you use habitually to cover the pointlessness of your claims. Everyone else here is well aware you're attacking a fantasy adversary, just like your namesake.

Yeah, right , i just invented that , as Nagel, Sheldrake and many others did : we are are just delusional or conspiracy theorists lunatics with hidden agendas ,regarding the science delusion under materialism indeed= religious people and non-religious ones , including some atheists ,do have the same hidden underlying delusions ,conspiracy theories and secret agendas haha   .

It is an undeniable fact that science has been materialist , not metaphysically neutral thus , while science should be neither materialist nor otherwise .
Metaphysically neutral science is just an utopia , a myth in fact , since science is just a human activity .



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Tilting at windmills.

You're the ones who have been Don Quixotian all along , by taking the materialist false conception of nature for granted as science , as the 'scientific world view " ,as a "scientific fact ".

But then again , the fictitious Don Quixote was at least an endless source of humor , an andless source of inspiration, while he did realise the falsehood ,ridicule and absurdity of his own idealistic delusions,after all , at the end  : you , materialists , are none of that : you are not even funny , let alone inspirational or capable of detecting your own materialist Don Quixotian absurd delusions inside the very heart of science .

Way to go, scientist ...pfff...

So, sweet dreams in your own delusional materialist wonderland , Alice,once again : materialist science has been just a Promethean ideological materialist Frankenstein's monster created by Frankenstein = materialism ,despite all the huge scientific achievements which hve been having nothing to do whatsoever with materialism ,they were /are and will be just the products of the effective and unparalled scientific method through materialist scientists or otherwise .

Science whose core evolutionary nature and irresistible persuasive power will be rejecting and dispelling dogmas , lies , falsehood ....such as those reincarnated by ...materialism = inevitable = just a matter of time = you , materialists ,cannot hold back science forever,cannot hold it imprisonned within those absurd materialist dogmatic key hole false walls forever....Science will break free from materialism , no doubt in my non-physical  haha mind about that ...


« Last Edit: 29/12/2013 19:31:19 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1487 on: 29/12/2013 19:12:08 »

Fact is ,  a fact we all do experience as such every single day of our lives , is that the mind or consciousness do have causal effects on matter , and hence on body and brain : your own thoughts , emotions, feelings , desires . love , longins , will ,ambitions .....do have causal effects on your bodies and brains ...
How does the immaterial or even quantum mechanics create or transmit or select or store  (I'll let you chose the correct term, since you introduced the theory) those things - thoughts , emotions, feelings , desires . love , longings , will ,ambitions. How does it work?
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P.S.: Why do you keep on ignoring what Stapp and others have been saying regarding the undeniable causal effects of the mind on matter , and the rest , while so stubbornly sticking to your own false materialism you do continue confusing with science , i wonder .

I haven't ignored it at all, infact I agree. Many neuroscientists do think there is top- down control, and that mental activity does affect not only brain states but even structure, such as increasing plasticity, and forming new neural pathways. That is the basis of learning. I posted this quote a few pages back.

“Complex information that is represented at higher stages of processing influences simpler processes occurring at antecedent stages. The role of top-down influences is then to set the cortex in a specific working mode according to behavioral requirements that are updated dynamically. In effect, these ideas reverse the central dogma of sensory processing, with a flow of information from higher- to lower-order cortical areas playing a role equal in importance to the feedforward pathways. The construction of a subjective percept involves making the best sense of sensory inputs based on a set of hypotheses or constraints derived by prior knowledge and contextual influences. Conversely, the top-down expectations and hypotheses are set by feedforward information, the sensory evidence. Under this view, there is no starting point for information flow.”

(Italics mine)


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627307003765

I would be very much interested in a more detailed explanation of how quantum mechanics might work in the brain, or any actual experimental evidence.

ps. Here's a article by Serale you might be interested in. He agrees with you on certain key points but draws a different conclusion. It's kind of interesting because he feels he has been misinterpreted by both sides - by strict materialists as well as idealists.

Here are the two passages I found most interesting:

"There is clearly a difference between consciousness and the material or physical world. We know this from our own experience, but it is also obvious from science. The material world is publicly accessible and is pretty much as described by physics, chemistry, and the other hard sciences; but the conscious, experiential, phenomenological world is not publicly accessible. It has a distinct private existence. We know it with certainty from our inner, private, subjective experiences.
We all know that the private world of consciousness exists, we know that it is part of the real world, and our question is to find out how it fits into the public material world, specifically, we need to know how it fits into the brain.
Because neither consciousness nor matter is reducible to the other, they are distinct and different phenomena in the world. Those who believe that consciousness is reducible to matter are called materialists; those who believe that matter is reducible
to consciousness are called idealists. Both are mistaken for the same reason. Both try to eliminate something that really exists in its own right and cannot be reduced to something else. Now, because both materialism and idealism are false, the only reasonable alternative is dualism. But substance dualism seems out of the question for
a number of reasons. For example it cannot explain how these spiritual substances came into existence in the first place and it cannot explain how they relate to the physical world. So property dualism seems the only reasonable view of the mind–body problem. Consciousness really exists, but it is not a separate substance on its own, rather it is a property of the brain."



"Here is where the inadequacy of the traditional terminology comes out most obviously. The property dualist wants to say that consciousness is a mental and therefore not physical feature of the brain. I want to say consciousness is a mental and therefore biological and therefore physical feature of the brain. But because the traditional vocabulary was designed to contrast the mental and the physical, I cannot say what I want to say in the traditional vocabulary without sounding like I am saying something inconsistent. Similarly when the identity theorists said that consciousness is nothing but a neurobiological process, they meant that consciousness as qualitative, subjective, irreducibly phenomenological (airy fairy,touchy feely, etc.) does not even exist, that only third-person neurobiological processes exist. I want also to say that consciousness is nothing but a neurobio-logical process, and by that I mean that precisely because consciousness is qualitative, subjective, irreducibly phenomenological (airy fairy, touchy feely, etc.) it has to be a neurobiological process; because, so far, we have not found any system that can cause and realize conscious states except brain systems. Maybe someday we will be able to create conscious artifacts, in which case subjective states of consciousness will be ‘physical’ features of those artifacts."


http://www.imprint.co.uk/pdf/searle-final.pdf
« Last Edit: 29/12/2013 19:24:15 by cheryl j »
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1488 on: 29/12/2013 19:45:20 »
... Here's a article by Serale you might be interested in. He agrees with you on certain key points but draws a different conclusion. It's kind of interesting because he feels he has been misinterpreted by both sides - by strict materialists as well as idealists.

"There is clearly a difference between consciousness and the material or physical world. We know this from our own experience, but it is also obvious from science. The material world is publicly accessible and is pretty much as described by physics, chemistry, and the other hard sciences; but the conscious, experiential, phenomenological world is not publicly accessible. It has a distinct private existence. We know it with certainty from our inner, private, subjective experiences.
We all know that the private world of consciousness exists, we know that it is part of the real world, and our question is to find out how it fits into the public material world, specifically, we need to know how it fits into the brain.
Because neither consciousness nor matter is reducible to the other, they are distinct and different phenomena in the world. Those who believe that consciousness is reducible to matter are called materialists; those who believe that matter is reducible to consciousness are called idealists. Both are mistaken for the same reason. Both try to eliminate something that really exists in its own right and cannot be reduced to something else. Now, because both materialism and idealism are false, the only reasonable alternative is dualism. But substance dualism seems out of the question for a number of reasons. For example it cannot explain how these spiritual substances came into existence in the first place and it cannot explain how they relate to the physical world. So property dualism seems the only reasonable view of the mind–body problem. Consciousness really exists, but it is not a separate substance on its own, rather it is a property of the brain."


"Here is where the inadequacy of the traditional terminology comes out most obviously. The property dualist wants to say that consciousness is a mental and therefore not physical feature of the brain. I want to say consciousness is a mental and therefore biological and therefore physical feature of the brain. But because the traditional vocabulary was designed to contrast the mental and the physical, I cannot say what I want to say in the traditional vocabulary without sounding like I am saying something inconsistent. Similarly when the identity theorists said that consciousness is nothing but a neurobiological process, they meant that consciousness as qualitative, subjective, irreducibly phenomenological (airy fairy,touchy feely, etc.) does not even exist, that only third-person neurobiological processes exist. I want also to say that consciousness is nothing but a neurobio-logical process, and by that I mean that precisely because consciousness is qualitative, subjective, irreducibly phenomenological (airy fairy, touchy feely, etc.) it has to be a neurobiological process; because, so far, we have not found any system that can cause and realize conscious states except brain systems. Maybe someday we will be able to create conscious artifacts, in which case subjective states of consciousness will be ‘physical’ features of those artifacts."

http://www.imprint.co.uk/pdf/searle-final.pdf
That isn't so far from my own view, with some minor reservations about the terminology.
« Last Edit: 29/12/2013 19:47:55 by dlorde »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1489 on: 29/12/2013 19:50:34 »

Fact is ,  a fact we all do experience as such every single day of our lives , is that the mind or consciousness do have causal effects on matter , and hence on body and brain : your own thoughts , emotions, feelings , desires . love , longins , will ,ambitions .....do have causal effects on your bodies and brains ...
How does the immaterial or even quantum mechanics create or transmit or select or store  (I'll let you chose the correct term, since you introduced the theory) those things - thoughts , emotions, feelings , desires . love , longings , will ,ambitions. How does it work?
Quote
P.S.: Why do you keep on ignoring what Stapp and others have been saying regarding the undeniable causal effects of the mind on matter , and the rest , while so stubbornly sticking to your own false materialism you do continue confusing with science , i wonder .

I haven't ignored it at all, infact I agree. Many neuroscientists do think there is top- down control, and that mental activity does affect not only brain states but even structure, such as increasing plasticity, and forming new neural pathways. That is the basis of learning. I posted this quote a few pages back.

“Complex information that is represented at higher stages of processing influences simpler processes occurring at antecedent stages. The role of top-down influences is then to set the cortex in a specific working mode according to behavioral requirements that are updated dynamically. In effect, these ideas reverse the central dogma of sensory processing, with a flow of information from higher- to lower-order cortical areas playing a role equal in importance to the feedforward pathways. The construction of a subjective percept involves making the best sense of sensory inputs based on a set of hypotheses or constraints derived by prior knowledge and contextual influences. Conversely, the top-down expectations and hypotheses are set by feedforward information, the sensory evidence. Under this view, there is no starting point for information flow.”

(Italics mine)


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627307003765

I would be very much interested in a more detailed explanation of how quantum mechanics might work in the brain, or any actual experimental evidence.

ps. Here's a article by Serale you might be interested in. He agrees with you on certain key points but draws a different conclusion. It's kind of interesting because he feels he has been misinterpreted by both sides - by strict materialists as well as idealists.

Here are the two passages I found most interesting:

"There is clearly a difference between consciousness and the material or physical world. We know this from our own experience, but it is also obvious from science. The material world is publicly accessible and is pretty much as described by physics, chemistry, and the other hard sciences; but the conscious, experiential, phenomenological world is not publicly accessible. It has a distinct private existence. We know it with certainty from our inner, private, subjective experiences.
We all know that the private world of consciousness exists, we know that it is part of the real world, and our question is to find out how it fits into the public material world, specifically, we need to know how it fits into the brain.
Because neither consciousness nor matter is reducible to the other, they are distinct and different phenomena in the world. Those who believe that consciousness is reducible to matter are called materialists; those who believe that matter is reducible
to consciousness are called idealists. Both are mistaken for the same reason. Both try to eliminate something that really exists in its own right and cannot be reduced to something else. Now, because both materialism and idealism are false, the only reasonable alternative is dualism. But substance dualism seems out of the question for
a number of reasons. For example it cannot explain how these spiritual substances came into existence in the first place and it cannot explain how they relate to the physical world. So property dualism seems the only reasonable view of the mind–body problem. Consciousness really exists, but it is not a separate substance on its own, rather it is a property of the brain."



"Here is where the inadequacy of the traditional terminology comes out most obviously. The property dualist wants to say that consciousness is a mental and therefore not physical feature of the brain. I want to say consciousness is a mental and therefore biological and therefore physical feature of the brain. But because the traditional vocabulary was designed to contrast the mental and the physical, I cannot say what I want to say in the traditional vocabulary without sounding like I am saying something inconsistent. Similarly when the identity theorists said that consciousness is nothing but a neurobiological process, they meant that consciousness as qualitative, subjective, irreducibly phenomenological (airy fairy,touchy feely, etc.) does not even exist, that only third-person neurobiological processes exist. I want also to say that consciousness is nothing but a neurobio-logical process, and by that I mean that precisely because consciousness is qualitative, subjective, irreducibly phenomenological (airy fairy, touchy feely, etc.) it has to be a neurobiological process; because, so far, we have not found any system that can cause and realize conscious states except brain systems. Maybe someday we will be able to create conscious artifacts, in which case subjective states of consciousness will be ‘physical’ features of those artifacts."


http://www.imprint.co.uk/pdf/searle-final.pdf


The ideas of Searle, Stapp ,Sheldrake,  Chalmers , Nagel .....i did post just help me  make you try to consider  the falsehood of reductionism and thus that of materialism  in a way ,that's all = they do not necessarily reflect my own views on the subject of consciousness and brain , no false pretences or false modesty = they are just stages within the evolutionary nature and power of science that will lead to other more advanced stages ,hopefully: this consciousness revolution is just starting , just in its infantile stage  .

Science is thus moving away from orthodox materialism ,step by step , but still through a shy or timid and slow way , and science will reject materialism in the end : that will be a major scientific revolution like no other before .

Popper must be delighted in his grave,after all  .

That cannot be but ...good news on the scientific evolutionary path that will be leading to advanced scientific non-materialist theories of consciousness and more ,hopefully .

Humanity and human science will be benefitting from all that in ways that are still beyond anyone's imagination or wildest dreams thus .

The human consciousness revolution or evolution might be leading to the achievement of that utopia and myth of them all,at the end of the road  = to the metaphysically neutral science ,hopefully ,at least .
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1490 on: 29/12/2013 20:06:53 »
Cheryl :

It is humanly impossible to reply to all posts here,my apologies for not having time or energy enough to reply to all your interesting posts ,and to all those of others here  as well .
I did reply to some , but having to reply to a lots of posts everyday  , that cannot but make me be way less effective or concise than i should be .
I wish i had some like-minded members helping me engage all these materialist views , i cannot do it alone thus : no time or energy enough for that indeed  .

P.S.: Ethos and  Supercryptid have been paradoxical by both believing in  the mutually exclusive following world views :

both in  the false materialist mainstream 'scientific world view " ,and in their own what they called their ...faiths ....

I do believe in both the metaphysically neutral science ,and in my own faith ,while separating the 2 from each other in the process as well = very compatible with each other , go hand in hand with each other , complete each other , they are the both sides of the same medal : no wonder that science itself did originate or was born from the very womb of my own fertile faith .
......................
Not to forget to mention the fact that the immaterial is just the other side of the same reality : there is thus nothing "supernatural " about it : the immaterial is normal thus = reality is both material physical and non-material non-physical .

The materialist version of reality has been just an act of faith,no empirical fact , an act of faith  grounded in the 19th century outdated and superceded false materialist world view, conception of nature , philosophy , ideology ...no science,even though science has been  materialist since .

And , please , do stop thinking and behaving as if i have been holding some sort of lunatic conspiracy theory or some sort of hidden agenda of some sort : i have already addressed those silly accusations : i have been just talking about the fact that materialism and science are not the same , even though science has been materialist while it should be neither materialist nor otherwise .

I just wat science to be liberated from materialism, as atheist Nagel and many other atheists as well, as Sheldrake and other religious and non-religious scientists philosophers .... do .


Thanks for all your interesting and inspiring charming posts ,appreciate indeed .
Happy non-materialist haha new year , lady , all the best .
« Last Edit: 29/12/2013 20:22:32 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1491 on: 29/12/2013 20:49:43 »
" You  cannot or should not see but what i do want to see, or tell you to see,there is nothingelse out there but what i want to see   "  ,One of the old Pharaons used to say :
That's exactly what the materialist science has been saying ,thanks to materialism .
How come ,folks, that i am the only one here who can see the undeniable and obvious  simple  fact that the emperor is naked ?

Materialist science just happens to be looking  at reality through the dogmatic narrow-minded materialist key hole version of reality ,while assuming that that's all what there is to reality .

When science will be liberated from materialism , as the latter is nearing its end , science will be able to see way much more than what it has been seeing so far under materialism : that will expand and broaden the scope ,realm and jurisdiction of science way beyond the key hole materialist version of reality , you have no idea ...

Untill then , just continue having fun  and be satisfied with what you have been seeing from reality through the materialist key hole version of reality , while assuming that that's all what there is to reality : it's up to you indeed .

So, i cannot but wish you all a happy and beyond materialism's key hole  new year .
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1492 on: 29/12/2013 21:40:01 »
It's ok not to read my posts , i am not offended by that , although i have to admit i have been repeating almost the same things  over and over again : i have been having no choice but to do just that , and that's not been all i have been doing here either  .

I am still reading chunks of your posts when they're quoted by others - pressure of work makes it impossible to find all the best bits directly, so I'm taking advantage of the work others are doing in identifying them for me. I'm doubtless missing a few gems here and there as a result, but I'm sure they'll all come round again.

Quote
All the best , and happy non-materialist and non-mechanical haha creative  new year by the way  to you and to all your beloved ones as well  .

And the same to you, and everyone else in this thread, with the "non-"s retained or removed as appropriate.

Quote
P.S.: It would be interesting and fascinating to try to tell us about your creative work ,from time to time , so, we can have at least some sort of a glimpse of that .
Despite its undeniable falsehood ,the mechanistic view of the world has been delivering some interesting insights , ideas , breakthroughs , inspirations ....anyway .

I'll get it in front of you sooner by not stopping to describe it now. If you have access to a copy of Lewis Carroll's book Symbolic Logic, starting from book XIII, chapter III there are some rather nice logic problems which I am currently trying to get a machine to solve. It turns out that the first one can be solved using just four transformations and using only premisses 6, 9 and 10, so the puzzles themselves are being ripped apart by the mechanical analysis which I'm applying to them. The process is 100% mechanistic. The only thing that's a problem to explain in us is sentience, so you're wasting your time whenever you argue that reason, thought and language are anything more than mechanistic processes.
« Last Edit: 29/12/2013 21:58:13 by David Cooper »
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1493 on: 30/12/2013 00:50:08 »
Yeah, right : just start insulting when you cannot do any better .
LOL!  that was no insult, "just hard talk = my own expression of tough love for you as a fellow human being" ;D

Like I said, such a short memory... remember this, and this?
« Last Edit: 30/12/2013 01:01:31 by dlorde »
 

Offline sastryemani

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1494 on: 30/12/2013 01:49:39 »
When you are in a deep sleep, your mind is dead (figuratively speaking). You time and space does not exist. You (I mean the mind) is not aware where you are, whether you are sleeping on the bed or you are married and your kids exist. Totally you are "brain dead".

Also when you are dreaming (not in a deep sleep), your mind is some what imagining all kinds of strange events (thoughts).

But when you get up, your mind awakes and start the process of (waking) "I", the thoughts.
 
Also when you get up, you know whether you had a deep sleep or not, although you were not aware of yourself in the deep sleep.

This tells that "I" exist all the time. That is consciousness.
 
What is happening in the deep sleep is all thoughts come to zero, except your mind is dead. If your mind is awake in your deep sleep time, then that "I" is in blissful state. It is in the state of Stillness and deep calm, unfortunately you can't perceive that as long as your mind is sleeping.

Answer is you stop all your thoughts and perceive the "True I" with your mind in that stillness of thoughtless mind.
 

Offline Grimbo1

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1495 on: 30/12/2013 13:42:43 »
If consciousness is non materialistic, how does it stay with me given that my body is hurtling
through space at thousands of MPH ?
Any connection I can think of  must be materialistic!
Maybe part of string theory? or maybe its glue-don.

There would have to be some kind of link between mind and body. This could explain
Many mental disorders, something like this
Close  link = Genius .
Medium link =average stable person.
Long link=more spiritual person=consciousness more out of body than in.
Very long link= gibbering idiot=consciousness out in space.
Broken link=dead=consciousness drifts in the cold dark void of space for ever.
Or I could just be away with the fairies lol.

« Last Edit: 30/12/2013 15:27:55 by Grimbo1 »
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1496 on: 30/12/2013 15:48:12 »


Untill then , just continue having fun  and be satisfied with what you have been seeing from reality through the materialist key hole version of reality , while assuming that that's all what there is to reality : it's up to you indeed .



Since you have been liberated from materialism and can see beyond the key hole, it seems odd to me that you can't describe very much about the wonderful new vistas it has opened up for you, and that other liberated scientists can't seem to either, other than to whine on and on about how materialism is false. When does the immaterial party actually get started?
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1497 on: 30/12/2013 17:19:30 »


Untill then , just continue having fun  and be satisfied with what you have been seeing from reality through the materialist key hole version of reality , while assuming that that's all what there is to reality : it's up to you indeed .



Since you have been liberated from materialism and can see beyond the key hole, it seems odd to me that you can't describe very much about the wonderful new vistas it has opened up for you, and that other liberated scientists can't seem to either, other than to whine on and on about how materialism is false. When does the immaterial party actually get started?
Ohhh goodie, goodie, goodie, we're going to have a party. I think I'll come dressed in my birthday suit. That shouldn't bother anyone there because my everyday set of cloths isn't material either. Should make not difference, in fact, why even go to the party? Nobody's there, just waves of  immaterial nothingness. Only waves of the indescribable, non measureable, ghostly apparitional disconnected consciousness from the unconscious realm of Doctor Don.


« Last Edit: 30/12/2013 17:28:29 by Ethos_ »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1498 on: 30/12/2013 18:21:27 »


Untill then , just continue having fun  and be satisfied with what you have been seeing from reality through the materialist key hole version of reality , while assuming that that's all what there is to reality : it's up to you indeed .



Since you have been liberated from materialism and can see beyond the key hole, it seems odd to me that you can't describe very much about the wonderful new vistas it has opened up for you, and that other liberated scientists can't seem to either, other than to whine on and on about how materialism is false. When does the immaterial party actually get started?


PHENOMENA QUANTUM MECHANICAL MODELS OF MIND CAN EXPLAIN:



Does a dualistic, non-materialistic model of mind-brain interaction account for the observed facts
better than a materialistic model? The answer is clearly yes: such a model can account for several
phenomena that remain utterly inexplicable by materialism. These would include:
The placebo effect
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Psychic abilities, also known as psi
The NDE
The placebo effect is well known in medicine. It refers to the healing effect created by a sick
person’s belief that a powerful remedy has been applied when the improvement could not have been
the physical result of the remedy. It should not be confused with the body’s natural healing process, as
it depends specifically on the patient’s mental belief that a specific remedy will work. Neuroscientist
Mario Beauregard describes the well-known effectiveness of placebos:
Since the 1970’s, a proposed new drug’s effectiveness is routinely tested in controlled studies
against placebos, not because placebos are useless but precisely because they are so useful.
Placebos usually help a percentage of patients enrolled in the control group of a study, perhaps 35
to 45 percent. Thus, in recent decades, if a drug’s effect is statistically significant, which means
that it is at least 5 percent better than a placebo, it can be licensed for use.
In 2005, New Scientist, hardly known for its support of nonmaterialist neural theory, listed “13
Things That Don’t Make Sense,” and the placebo effect was number one on the list. Of course,
the placebo effect “doesn’t make sense” if you assume that the mind either does not exist or is
powerless.31
A nonmaterialist approach to the mind has also been instrumental in developing treatments for
various psychiatric disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the assumption that directed,
willed mental effort can reorganize a disordered brain and has been used to treat obsessivecompulsive
disorder and various phobias. Jeffrey Schwartz, a nonmaterialist neuropsychiatrist at the
University of California, Los Angeles, routinely treats obsessive-compulsive disorder as a case of an
intact mind troubled by a malfunctioning brain. Schwartz has developed a treatment designed to help
patients realize that faulty brain messages cause the problem and to help the patients actually rewire
their brains to bypass the problem. PET scans of the patients’ brains before and after treatment
showed that the patients really had changed their brains.32 Schwartz writes, “The time has come for
science to confront the serious implications of the fact that directed, willed mental activity can clearly
and systematically alter brain function.”33 *27
Reports of demonstrated psychic abilities are a persistent embarrassment to materialism.
Considered as a scientific hypothesis, materialism makes a bold and admirable prediction: psychic
abilities such as telepathy simply do not exist. If they are shown to exist, then materialism is clearly
refuted. But psychic abilities—or psi as they are called—have been demonstrated again and again
under the most rigorously controlled experimental conditions.*28 However, as I have shown in my
previous book, Parapsychology and the Skeptics, the materialists have gone to extraordinary lengths
to try to dismiss, explain away, and even suppress the data.34†29 In any other field of inquiry, the
collective evidence would have been considered extremely compelling decades ago.†30 However,
parapsychology is not like any other field of inquiry. The data of parapsychology challenge deeply
held worldviews, worldviews that are concerned not only with science but also with religious and
philosophical issues. As such, the data arouse strong passions and, for many, a strong desire to dismiss
them.
Refusing to accept data that proves a scientific theory false turns the theory into an ideology, a
belief held as an article of faith; in other words, a belief that simply must be true, because it is
considered so important. Concerning this point, Beauregard writes,
Materialists have conducted a running war against psi research for decades, because any evidence
of psi’s validity, no matter how minor, is fatal to their ideological system. Recently, for example,
self-professed skeptics have attacked atheist neuroscience grad student Sam Harris for having
proposed, in his book titled The End of Faith (2004), that psi research has validity. Harris is only
following the evidence. But in doing so, he is clearly violating an important tenet of materialism:
materialist ideology trumps evidence.35
The NDE, in which people have reported clear memories of conscious experience at times when
their brains did not seem to be functioning, also strongly challenges materialism. As you read through
this book, you may come to realize that many of the arguments challenging a transcendental
interpretation of these experiences are motivated by an a priori commitment to a materialist
worldview.
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1499 on: 30/12/2013 18:23:52 »
MATERIALIST THEORIES OF MIND:

The doctrine of materialism is one of the implications of taking classical physics to be a complete
description of all of nature, including human beings.*31 It is essentially the idea that all events have a
physical cause; in other words, that all events are caused by the interaction between particles of matter
and force fields. It follows from this that mind has no causal role in nature but is at most merely a
useless by-product produced by the brain, and so in short, all that matters is matter.
There are three basic materialist approaches: the mind does not exist, the mind is identical to the
brain, or the mind is a useless by-product produced by the brain.
The eliminative materialists seriously argue that consciousness and the self do not exist, but that
children are indoctrinated by “folk psychology” into believing that they exist as conscious, thinking
beings. For instance, journalist Michael Lemonick writes, “Despite our every instinct to the contrary,
there is one thing that consciousness is not: some entity deep inside the brain that corresponds to the
‘self,’ some kernel of awareness that runs the show, as the ‘man behind the curtain’ manipulated the
illusion of a powerful magician in The Wizard of Oz. After more than a century of looking for it, brain
researchers have long since concluded that there is no conceivable place for such a self to be located
in the physical brain, and that it simply doesn’t exist.”36
This may sound bizarre, but since materialism cannot account for consciousness, some materialists
simply deny their own existence as conscious beings. They are driven to this act of desperation by
their conviction that science, which they understand as applied materialism, supports them. Note the
self-refuting nature of this position: If I believe that consciousness does not exist, then how could my
belief exist? If my consciousness does not exist, then neither does my belief. And if my professed
belief is nothing more than a machine going through its motions, then you have no reason to accept it
as correct.
The identity theory holds great attraction for many philosophers, as it seems to offer a simple and
easy solution to the problem. It says, for instance, that the subjective awareness of a red patch is
objectively the movement of particles taking place in one’s brain. Some identity theorists hope that
neuroscience will one day be able to map out the brain states that correspond to mental states, so that
we will be able to simply describe mental activity as the activity of the brain. But Beauregard points
out why this is a false hope:
Every human mind and brain moves through life differently, changing as it goes, so the
information obtained for his brain would not apply to anyone else’s—or even to his own brain at
a later time! This point bears repeating because it is so contrary to materialist hopes that it is
often ignored in public discussions. One outcome, for example, is that [Jean-Peirre] Changeux’s
view that mind states and brain states are completely identical is untestable and lacks predictive
value.37
Any theory that is untestable and lacks predictive value does not belong to science, but rather to
philosophy at best, ideology at worse. And it does get worse. How are we even to understand the
assertion that thoughts and brain states are really one and the same? If they are the same, then every
characteristic of one must be a characteristic of the other; but this leads to nonsense, as physicist and
philosopher C. D. Broad pointed out.
There are some questions which can be raised about the characteristics of being a molecular
movement, which it is nonsensical to raise about the characteristics of being an awareness of a
red patch; and conversely. About a molecular movement it is perfectly reasonable to raise the
question: Is it swift or slow, straight or circular, and so on? About the awareness of a red patch it
is nonsensical to ask whether it is a swift or slow awareness, a straight or a circular awareness,
and so on. Conversely, it is reasonable to ask about an awareness of a red patch whether it is a
clear or a confused awareness; but it is nonsense to ask of a molecular movement whether it is a
clear or a confused movement. Thus the attempt to argue that “being a sensation of so and so”
and “being a bit of bodily behavior of such and such a kind” are just two names for the same
characteristic is evidently hopeless.38
Eliminative materialism and identity theory are varieties of monism, the idea that only one kind of
substance exists in the universe. A materialist monist believes that matter is all that exists, in contrast
to a dualist, who believes that reality contains two sorts of essences: psychical and physical. The
materialist believes that the full authority of science supports his position and that dualism is an
outmoded legacy of a prescientific era, but many modern scientists disagree. Astronomer V. A. Firsoff
writes, “To assert there is only matter and no mind is the most illogical of propositions, quite apart
from the findings of modern physics, which show that there is no matter in the traditional meaning of
the term.”39 As we saw earlier, many quantum theorists were driven to the conclusion that prior to
conscious observation, matter exists only in a half-real state as possibility waves, without definite
values for dynamic attributes such as position or velocity. Hence Walker’s remark that “duality is
already a part of physics.”
Wolfgang Pauli, one of the major contributors to quantum theory, concluded, “The only acceptable
point of view appears to be the one that recognizes both sides of reality—the quantitative and the
qualitative, the physical and the psychical—as compatible with each other, and can embrace them
simultaneously.”40
Epiphenomenalism does not deny the existence of consciousness, but holds that the interaction
between the brain and mind runs strictly one way, from brain to mind. This view was popularized by
Darwin’s friend and colleague Thomas Huxley, who described the mind as a mere epiphenomena—a
useless by-product of brain activity. According to this theory, free will and intent are only illusions.
Although Darwin liked and admired Huxley, he would have none of this. Supporting Huxley’s
opinion would have contradicted his life’s work, as Karl Popper rightly pointed out.
The theory of natural selection constitutes a strong argument against Huxley’s theory of the onesided
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.41
So from a strictly Darwinian approach, the mental powers of animals and men 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.
However, Darwin’s viewpoint was thought to conflict with the physics of his time, which could
specify no mechanism by which the mental could influence the physical. Arguments based on physics,
being a more “basic” science than biology, were thought to trump arguments based on evolutionary
theory. However, as we have seen, modern physics allows nonmechanical causation and has
eliminated the causal closure of the physical.
Harold Morowitz, professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University, pointed
out that while biologists have been relentlessly moving toward the hard-core materialism that
characterized nineteenth-century physics, “at the same time, physicists, faced with compelling
experimental evidence, have been moving away from strictly mechanical models of the universe to a
view that sees the mind as playing an integral role in all physical events. It is as if the two disciplines
were on fast-moving trains, going in opposite directions and not noticing what is happening across the
tracks.”42 For Beauregard, this raises questions: “If physics fails to support biology, which discipline
should rethink its position—physics or biology? On a practical note, can we reasonably expect much
progress in neuroscience, given the problems, if we do not begin by reassessing the materialism that
has characterized our hypotheses for decades?”43
Materialist theories of mind are based on the assumption that brain activity, and hence mental
activity, is driven from below by the deterministic, observer-independent motions of elementary
particles in the brain, as described by classical physics. But we have known since the early years of the
twentieth century that classical physics fails drastically at the atomic and subatomic levels, and that
the behavior of such particles is indeterministic and observer dependent. The irony here is that while
materialists often describe themselves as promoting a scientific outlook, it is possible to be a
materialist only by ignoring the most successful scientific theory of matter the world has yet seen. The
materialist believes that consciousness is created by matter, yet the best theory we have about the
nature of matter seems to require that consciousness exists independently of matter. And materialist
models of mind utterly fail to answer the hard problem: why should consciousness exist in the first
place and then constantly deceive us as to its function?
Materialist philosopher of mind John Searle has lamented the bankruptcy of most work in the
philosophy of mind and has candidly suggested that the motivation behind acceptance of materialist
views is more emotional than rational.
Acceptance of the current views is motivated not so much by an independent conviction of their
truth as by a terror of what are apparently the only alternatives. That is, the choice we are tacitly
presented with is between a ‘scientific’ approach, as represented by one or another of the current
versions of ‘materialism,’ and an ‘anti-scientific’ approach, as represented by Cartesianism or
some other traditional religious conception of the mind.44
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1499 on: 30/12/2013 18:23:52 »

 

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