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Author Topic: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?  (Read 309450 times)

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1675 on: 07/01/2014 20:53:31 »


No, QT is the one that's subjective ( The founders of QT saw it as such ,remember ) : mind -dependent = a matter of interpretation , that's why there are a lots of interpretations of the Copenhagen interpretation of QT , the latter depends largely on the a -priori held beliefs or world views of the scientists thinkers in question,as we see that reflected in this very thread through Stapp's and through the materialists ' interpretations of QT  such as those of yourselves   .
The observed objective reality out there  in general , either at the microscopic or macroscopic levels , gets distorted by the mind of the observer through the a-priori held beliefs or world views of the observer which do shape his /her mind and hence his thoughts ,behaviours , ethics , actions ....

You are confusing two entirely different things. Not even Stapp would suggest that misinformation, as in believing something to be true that isn't - or wishful thinking, simply wanting it to be true, actually changes physical reality even for that individual. If it's -34 degrees in Canada, there is no superpositioned brain state connected to the macro level reality of my car starting that morning. Nature's "answer" to that question is no.

Likewise even inside the brain or mind,  if quantum mechanics allows an in road for free will or indeterminacy, or simply speeds up or fine tunes mental processing (which I think may be more likely) there is still reams of evidence for macro level, classically described,  mechanisms and environmental influences that explain abilities and behavior and even choices. You cannot wish these influences away. If you are writhing in pain from appendicitis, I can pretty much predict your "choices" in the very near future with astounding accuracy.
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1676 on: 07/01/2014 21:04:47 »


Don't disappear again , you do know that i cannot make you re-appear on demand out of the blue , my magical lamp is ...broken ..........you know ...

I some how managed to burn through my monthly data allotment in a single week (or my daughter did.) I'm posting from a Chapters bookstore in Sudbury today, a city that exists thanks to a meteor hitting the Earth here 1.8 billion years ago.
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1677 on: 07/01/2014 21:42:20 »
You should in fact try to refute Stapp's dualist world view that's been supported by the dualist nature of QT and thus by science
Already done (with Cheryl J's & Dawson's help). You must have missed it (or, more probably, misunderstood it).

I note your lack of comment on my description of a causally determined free will.
« Last Edit: 07/01/2014 21:53:36 by dlorde »
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1678 on: 07/01/2014 23:33:11 »
Quote
Consciousness does exist

So why not say what it is? Don't be shy!

And whilst you are about it, (a) which observer influences a quantum event that is observed by more than one person? (b) can a dog influence a quantum event? (c) or a bacterium?
« Last Edit: 07/01/2014 23:35:32 by alancalverd »
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1679 on: 08/01/2014 05:27:12 »
V.S. Ramachandron (soulless materialist) in “The Tell-Tale Brain”

I find it odd how some people are so ardently drawn to either-or dichotomies. “Are apes self aware or are they automata?” “Is life meaningful or meaningless?” “Are humans ‘just’ animals or are we exalted?” As a scientist, I am perfectly comfortable with settling on categorical conclusions when it makes sense. But with many of these supposedly urgent metaphysical dilemmas, I must admit I don’t see the conflict. For instance, why can’t we be a branch of the animal kingdom and a wholly unique and gloriously novel phenomenon in the universe?
I also find it odd how people so often slip words like “merely” and “nothing but” into statements about our origins. Humans are apes. So too are we mammals. We are vertebrates. We are pulpy, throbbing colonies of tens of trillions of cells. We are all of these things, but we are not “merely” these things. And we are, in addition to all these things, something unique, something unprecedented, something transcendent. We are something new under the sun, with uncharted and perhaps limitless potential. We are the first and only species whose fate has rested in its own hands, not just in the hands of chemistry and instinct. On the great Darwinian stage we call Earth, I would argue there has not been an upheaval as big as us since the origin of life itself. When I think about what we are and what we may yet achieve, I can’t see any place for snide “merelies.”


 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1680 on: 08/01/2014 10:51:12 »
JFYI - another destructive criticism of Stapp's hypothesis, this time by Danko Georgiev: Mind Efforts, Quantum Zeno Effect and Environmental Decoherence
Quote from: Georgiev
The mind in Stapp's model does not have its own wavefunction or density matrix, but nevertheless can act upon the brain using projection operators. Such usage is not compatible with standard quantum mechanics because one can attach any number of ghostly minds to any point in space that act upon physical quantum systems with any projection operators. Therefore Stapp's model does not build upon "the prevailing principles of physics", but negates them.

Stapp's claim that quantum Zeno effect is robust against environmental decoherence directly contradicts a basic theorem in quantum information theory according to which acting with projection operators upon the density matrix of a quantum system can never decrease the Von Neumann entropy of the system, but can only increase it.
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1681 on: 08/01/2014 17:24:43 »
dlorde :

I am a kind of a dualist subjectivist , in the sense that the truth is mind-dependent: all our knowledge is subjective,including the scientific one thus   .

Post-modernists do hold almost the same view , the truth is subjective .

No wonder that science has become pragmatic , in the sense that what works for us is "true " : science can tell us nothing about the essence of things thus ...

Regarding the subjective nature of QT , the following excerpt ,once again , you must have  either missed or ignored :



"Human Knowledge
as the Foundation of Science":





In the introduction to his book Quantum Theory and Reality the
philosopher of science Mario Bunge (1967, p. 4) said:
The physicist of the latest generation is operationalist all right,
but usually he does not know, and refuses to believe, that the
original Copenhagen interpretation – which he thinks he supports
– was squarely subjectivist, i.e., nonphysical.
Let there be no doubt about this point. The original form of quantum
theory is subjective , in the sense that it is forthrightly about relationships
among conscious human experiences, and it expressly recommends
to scientists that they resist the temptation to try to understand
the reality responsible for the correlations between our experiences
that the theory correctly describes. The following brief collection
of quotations by the founders gives a conspectus of the Copenhagen
philosophy:
The conception of objective reality of the elementary particles
has thus evaporated not into the cloud of some obscure new reality
concept but into the transparent clarity of a mathematics
that represents no longer the behavior of particles but rather
our knowledge of this behavior. (Heisenberg 1958a, p. 100)
[. . . ] the act of registration of the result in the mind of the
observer. The discontinuous change in the probability function
[. . . ] takes place with the act of registration, because it is the
discontinuous change in our knowledge in the instant of registration
that has its image in the discontinuous change of the
probability function. (Heisenberg 1958b, p. 55)
When the old adage “Natura non facit saltus” (Nature makes
no jumps) is used as a basis of a criticism of quantum theory,
we can reply that certainly our knowledge can change suddenly,
and that this fact justifies the use of the term ‘quantum jump’.
(Heisenberg 1958b, p. 54)
It was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics
in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.
(Wigner 1961b, p. 169)
In our description of nature the purpose is not to disclose the
real essence of phenomena but only to track down as far as possible
relations between the multifold aspects of our experience.
(Bohr 1934, p. 18)
Strictly speaking, the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics
merely offers rules of calculation for the deduction of
expectations about observations obtained under well-defined
classical concepts. (Bohr 1963, p. 60)
[. . . ] the appropriate physical interpretation of the symbolic
quantum mechanical formalism amounts only to prediction
of determinate or statistical character, pertaining to individual
phenomena appearing under conditions defined by classical
physics concepts. (Bohr 1958, p. 64)
The references to ‘classical (physics) concepts’ is explained by Bohr as
follows:
[. . . ] it is imperative to realize that in every account of physical
experience one must describe both experimental conditions and
observations by the same means of communication as the one
used in classical physics. Bohr (1958, p. 88)
[. . . ] we must recognize above all that, even when phenomena
transcend the scope of classical physical theories, the account
of the experimental arrangement and the recording of observations
must be given in plain language supplemented by technical
physical terminology. (Bohr 1958)
Bohr is saying that scientists do in fact use, and must use, the concepts
of classical physics in communicating to their colleagues the specifications
on how the experiment is to be set up, and what will constitute
a certain type of outcome. He in no way claims or admits that there
is an actual objective reality out there that conforms to the precepts
of classical physics.
In his book The Creation of Quantum Mechanics and the Bohr–
Pauli Dialogue, the historian John Hendry (1984) gives a detailed account
of the fierce struggles by such eminent thinkers as Hilbert, Jordan,
Weyl, von Neumann, Born, Einstein, Sommerfeld, Pauli, Heisenberg,
Schroedinger, Dirac, Bohr and others, to come up with a rational
way of comprehending the data from atomic experiments. Each man
had his own bias and intuitions, but in spite of intense effort no rational
comprehension was forthcoming. Finally, at the 1927 Solvay conference
a group including Bohr, Heisenberg, Pauli, Dirac, and Born come into
concordance on a solution that came to be called the Copenhagen interpretation,
due to the central role of Bohr and those working with
him at his institute in Denmark.
Hendry says: “Dirac, in discussion, insisted on the restriction of the
theory’s application to our knowledge of a system, and on its lack of
ontological content.” Hendry summarized the concordance by saying:
“On this interpretation it was agreed that, as Dirac explained, the wave
function represented our knowledge of the system, and the reduced
wave packets our more precise knowledge after measurement.”
These quotations make it clear that, in direct contrast to the ideas
of classical physical theory, orthodox Copenhagen quantum theory is
about ‘our knowledge’. We, and in particular our mental aspects, have
entered into the structure of basic physical theory.
This profound shift in physicists’ conception of the basic nature
of their endeavor, and of the meanings of their formulas, was not a
frivolous move: it was a last resort. The very idea that in order to comprehend
atomic phenomena one must abandon physical ontology, and
construe the mathematical formulas to be directly about the knowledge
of human observers, rather than about external reality itself, is
so seemingly preposterous that no group of eminent and renowned
scientists would ever embrace it except as an extreme last measure.
Consequently, it would be frivolous of us simply to ignore a conclusion
so hard won and profound, and of such apparent direct bearing on our
effort to understand the connection of our conscious thoughts to our
bodily actions.
Einstein never accepted the Copenhagen interpretation. He said:
What does not satisfy me, from the standpoint of principle, is
its attitude toward what seems to me to be the programmatic
aim of all physics: the complete description of any (individual)
real situation (as it supposedly exists irrespective of any act
of observation or substantiation). (Einstein 1951, p. 667; the
parenthetical word and phrase are part of Einstein’s statement.)
and
What I dislike in this kind of argumentation is the basic positivistic
attitude, which from my view is untenable, and which
seems to me to come to the same thing as Berkeley’s principle,
esse est percipi. [Transl: To be is to be perceived] (Einstein
1951, p. 669)
Einstein struggled until the end of his life to get the observer’s knowledge
back out of physics. He did not succeed! Rather he admitted (ibid.
p. 87) that:
It is my opinion that the contemporary quantum theory constitutes
an optimum formulation of the [statistical] connections.
He also referred (ibid, p. 81) to:
[. . . ] the most successful physical theory of our period, viz., the
statistical quantum theory which, about twenty-five years ago
took on a logically consistent form. This is the only theory at
present which permits a unitary grasp of experiences concerning
the quantum character of micro-mechanical events.
One can adopt the cavalier attitude that these profound difficulties
with the classical conception of nature are just some temporary retrograde
aberration in the forward march of science. One may imagine,
as some do, that a strange confusion has confounded our best minds
for seven decades, and that the weird conclusions of physicists can
be ignored because they do not fit a tradition that worked for two
centuries. Or one can try to claim that these problems concern only
atoms and molecules, but not the big things built out of them. In this
connection Einstein said (ibid, p. 674): “But the ‘macroscopic’ and
‘microscopic’ are so inter-related that it appears impracticable to give
up this program [of basing physics on the ‘real’] in the ‘microscopic’
domain alone.”
These quotations document the fact that Copenhagen quantum
theory brings human consciousness into physical theory in an essential
way. But how does this radical change in basic physics affect science’s
conception of the human person?
To answer this query I begin with a few remarks on the development
of quantum theory.
The original version of quantum theory, called the Copenhagen
quantum theory, or the Copenhagen interpretation, is forthrightly
pragmatic. It aims to show how the mathematical structure of the
theory can be employed to make useful, testable predictions about our
future possible experiences on the basis of our past experiences and
the forms of the actions that we choose to make. In this initial version
of the theory the brains and bodies of the experimenters, and
also their measuring devices, are described fundamentally in empirical
terms: in terms of our experiences/perceptions pertaining to these devices
and their manipulations by our physical bodies. The devices are
treated as extensions of our bodies. However, the boundary between
our empirically described selves and the physically described system
we are studying is somewhat arbitrary. The empirically described measuring
devices can become very tiny, and physically described systems
can become very large, This ambiguity was examined by von Neumann
(1932) who showed that we can consistently describe the entire physical
world, including the brains of the experimenters, as the physically described
world, with the actions instigated by an experimenter’s stream
of consciousness acting directly upon that experimenter’s brain. The
interaction between the psychologically and physically described aspects
in quantum theory thereby becomes the mind–brain interaction
of neuroscience and neuropsychology.
It is this von Neumann extension of Copenhagen quantum theory
that provides the foundation for a rationally coherent ontological interpretation
of quantum theory – for a putative description of what is
really happening. Heisenberg suggested an ontological description in
his 1958 book Physics and Philosophy and I shall adhere to that ontology,
formulated within von Neumann’s framework in which the brain,
as part of the physical world, is described in terms of the quantum
mathematics. This localizes the mind–matter problem at the interface
between the quantum mechanically described brain and the experientially
described stream of consciousness of the human agent/observer.
My aim in this book is to explain to non-physicist the interplay
between the psychologically and physically described components of
mind–brain dynamics, as it is understood within the orthodox (von
Neumann–Heisenberg) quantum framework.

Henry P.Stapp
« Last Edit: 08/01/2014 17:29:56 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1682 on: 08/01/2014 17:31:58 »

 Mind, Matter, and Pauli:
 Introduction:


Wolfgang Pauli was called by Einstein his “spiritual heir”, and his unrelenting
demand for precision and clarity earned him the title of “the conscience
of physics”. A godson of the great philosopher of science Ernst Mach, he
was philosophically astute and, with Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, a
principal architect of the orthodox Copenhagen interpretation of quantum
theory. This approach to the theory allowed physicists to avoid assigning
paradoxical properties to nature. It did so by adopting a philosophically radical
stance: regard atomic theory not as a description of atomic processes
themselves, but rather as a description of connections between human observations.
This renunciation of the traditional scientific ideal of erecting a
coherent idea of physical reality was the chief objection against the Copenhagen
view raised by Einstein. Though Einstein admitted that it was still
unexplained why science had succeeded even as far as it had in creating
a mathematical understanding of nature, he held that we must nonetheless
persist in the endeavor: otherwise even the possible would not be achieved.
In a 1948 letter to his friend Marcus Fierz, Pauli writes:
When he speaks of “reality” the layman usually means something wellknown,
whereas I think that the important and extremely difficult task of
our time is to build up a fresh idea of reality.1
This idea was meant to encompass not only the material side of nature, but
also its psychic or spiritual side:
It seems to me—however it is thought, whether we speak of “the participation
of things in ideas” or of “inherently real things”—that we must
postulate a cosmic order of nature beyond our control to which both the outward
material objects and the inward images are subject . . . The ordering
and regulating must be placed beyond the difference between “physical”
and “psychical”—as Plato’s “Ideas” have something of the concepts and
also something of the “natural forces . . .”.
In a later letter (13 October 1951) Pauli goes on to say, in regard to the
significance of the entry of a basic element of chance into physics:

Something that previously appeared closed has remained open here, and I
hope that new concepts will penetrate through this gap in the place of [psychophysical]
parallelism, and that they should be uniformly both physical
and psychological. May more fortunate offspring achieve this.2
These ideas of Pauli appear to represent a fascinating reversal of his
earlier position; the quantum element of chance is viewed no longer as a veil
that must obscure forever our complete understanding of reality, but rather
as an opening to a still deeper understanding. Yet Pauli’s view is no mere
conversion to the Einsteinian view that science should strive to represent
physical reality. Einstein accepted the traditional scientific separation of
mind from matter, whereas Pauli is suggesting that the element of chance
in quantum theory provides an opening not to a traditional physical reality
but rather to a reality lying beyond the mind–matter distinction.
My intention here is to explore this idea, which, if correct, would open
up a whole newchapter in science. But before venturing beyond the confines
of mind and matter it will be useful to review briefly the role of mind in
modern science.
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1683 on: 08/01/2014 17:34:32 »
A Quantum Theory
of the Mind–Brain Interface:

 The Origin of the Problem: Classical Mechanics:


Advances in science often unify conceptually things previously thought to
be unconnected. Thus Newtonian mechanics unified our understanding of
stellar and terrestial motions, and Maxwell’s theory unified our understanding
of electromagnetic phenomena and light. Einstein’s special theory of
relativity unified our concepts of space and time, and his general theory
unified our conceptions of spacetime and gravity. My thesis here is that
the integration of consciousness into science requires considering together
two outstanding fundamental problems in contemporary science, namely
the problem of the connection between mind and brain, and the problem of
measurement in quantum theory.
Each of these problems concerns the interface between two domains of
phenomena that are currently described by using different conceptual systems:
mind and brain are described in psychological and physical terms,
respectively, whereas the measurement problem in quantum theory is to reconcile
the concepts of classical physics that are used to describe the world of
visible objects with the concepts of quantum theory that are used to describe
theworld of atomic processes. In each case the problem of constructing a coherent
overarching conceptualization appears to be so intractable that many
scientists have judged the problem to be a pseudoproblem not suited to scientific
study. However, technological advances are now providing data that
bear increasingly on the interfaces between the domains that had heretofore
been empirically separate. Given these newdata, and the prospect of more to
come, science can now profitably take up the challenge of providing a conceptual
framework that unifies the mental, physical, classical, and quantal
aspects of nature.
William James highlighted the seemingly intractable character of the
mind–brain problem with the following two quotations:1
Suppose it to have become quite clear that a shock in consciousness and a
molecular motion are the subjective and objective faces of the same thing;

we continue utterly incapable of uniting the two so as to conceive the reality
of which they are the two faces. (Spencer)
and
The passage from the physics of the brain to the corresponding facts of
consciousness is unthinkable. Granted that a definite thought and a definite
molecular action in the brain occur simultaneously; we do not possess the
intellectual organ, nor apparently any rudiment of the organ, which would
allow us to pass, by a process of reasoning, from one to the other. (Tyndall)
In commenting on this issue James clearly recognized that the problem
was with the concepts of classical physics. Referring to the scientists who
would one day illuminate the problem he said:
The necessities of the case will make them “metaphysical”. Meanwhile the
best way in which we can facilitate their advent is to understand how great
is the darkness in which we grope, and never forget that the natural-science
assumptions with which we started are provisional and revisable things.2
James evidently foresaw, on the basis of considerations of the mind–
brain problem, the eventual dislodgement of classical mechanics from the
position it held during his day. We now know that classical mechanics fails
at the atomic level: it has been superseded by quantum mechanics.
That classical mechanics is not capable of integrating consciousness
into science is manifest. Classical physics is an expression of Descartes’s
idea that nature is divided into two logically unrelated and noninteracting
parts: mind and matter. However, the integration of consciousness into
science requires, instead, a logical framework in which these two aspects of
nature are linked in ways that can account for both the observed influence of
brain processes on mental processes, and the apparent influence of mental
processes on brain processes.
Brain process depends in a sensitive way upon atomic processes. Hence
a quantum-mechanical treatment is mandated in principle. However, the
brain has a hierarchical structure, with larger structures being built from
smaller ones, and as one moves to higher levels the concepts of classical
physics seem to work increasingly well. Since consciousness appears to be
a high-level process one might think that it should be comprehended within
the conceptual framework of classical physics. In support of this idea some
scientists have noted that, even in nonbiological systems, as one moves
to higher levels of organization new structures often emerge that exercise
effective control over lower-level processes. Thus it is argued that just as a
“vortex” can, within the conceptual framework of classical physics, emerge
as an entity that controls the motions of the molecules from which it is
built, so might there emerge, from a stratum of brain activities completely

compatible with the concepts of classical physics, a “consciousness” that
controls lower-level brain processes.
There is, however, an essential conceptual difference between consciousness
and a system such as a vortex that is compatible with the concepts of
classical physics. The essential characteristic of consciousness is that it is
felt: it is felt experience; felt awareness. Any system that is compatible with
the concepts of classical physics can be described, insofar as its physical
behavior is concerned, as composed of the physical elements provided by
classical physics, such as atoms, and electromagnetic fields. However, the
description in terms of these elements does not, by itself, specify whether
the system has an appended experiential aspect—a feel. Nature may elect
to add feel, but the classical physicists can consider the purely physical
version without any added quality of feel, and this latter version behaves,
according to the precepts of classical physics, in exactly the same way as
the one with feel. Thus within the framework of classical physics feel is,
per se, nonefficacious: it has no effect on the physical world.
This problem has been clearly understood for hundreds of years, and is
the core of the mind–brain problem.
It is only recently that the brain sciences have amassed enough data to
make feasible a serious effort to understand the dynamics of the mind–brain
connection within the framework of the basic laws of physics. An adequate
classical-physics treatment of the mind–brain problem is not possible, for
the reason discussed above. On the other hand, the application of quantum
mechanics appears to be blocked by three major technical problems.
The first problem, which has already been mentioned, is that quantum
theory is primarily a theory of atomic processes, whereas consciousness
appears to be connected with macroscopic brain activities, and macroscopic
processes are well described by classical physics.
The second problem is that, owing to a failure of an essential condition
of isolation, quantum theory, as developed for the study of atomic processes,
does not apply to biological systems, such as brains.
The third problem is that the orthodox Copenhagen interpretation of
quantum theory instructs us to regard the quantum formalism as merely
a set of rules for calculating expectations about our observations, not as
a description, or picture, of physical reality itself. However, without a
description of physical reality consciousness becomes a puzzle within an
enigma.
Any acceptable quantum-mechanical treatment of the connection between
mind and brain must resolve these three major technical problems.
In the treatment to be described here the resolution of the third problem
resolves automatically also the other two.

A Quantum Ontology:


The mathematical concepts in quantum theory are fundamentally different
from those of classical physics. This difference makes it difficult to form a
unified conception of nature. The Copenhagen strategy for circumventing
these conceptual difficulties, by settling for a set of computational rules connecting
human observations, rather than striving to comprehend the nature
of the underlying reality, was strongly opposed by Einstein, Schr¨odinger,
and many other principal contributors to the development of quantum theory.
However, those critics were unable to put forth any alternative proposals.
EventuallyWerner Heisenberg, one of the chief architects and strongest defenders
of the Copenhagen interpretation, did try to form a coherent picture
of what is actually happening.
In Heisenberg’s picture, which is the one informally adopted by most
practicing quantum physicists, the classical world of material particles,
evolving in accordance with local deterministic mathematical laws, is replaced
by the Heisenberg state of the universe. This state can be pictured as
a complicated wave, which, like its classical counterpart, evolves in accordance
with local deterministic laws of motion. However, this Heisenberg
state represents not the actual physical universe itself, in the normal sense,
but merely a set of “objective tendencies”, or “propensities”, connected to
an impending actual event. The connection is this: for each of the alternative
possible forms that this impending event might take, the Heisenberg
state specifies a propensity, or tendency, for the event to take that form. The
choice between these alternative possible forms is asserted to be governed
by “pure chance”, weighted by these propensities.
The actual event itself is simply an abrupt change in the Heisenberg state:
it is sometimes called “the collapse of the wave function”. The new state
describes the tendencies associated with the next actual event. This leads
to an alternating succession of states and events, in which the state at each
stage describes the propensities associated with the event that follows it. In
this way the universe becomes controlled in part by strictly deterministic
mathematical laws, and in part by mathematically defined “pure chance”.
The actual events become, in Heisenberg’s ontology, the fundamental
entities from which the evolving universe is built. The properties of these
actual events are determined by the quantum formalism. These properties
are remarkable: they lead to a quantum world profoundly different from the
one pictured in classical physics.
Each Heisenberg actual event has both local and global aspects. Locally,
each such event acts over a macroscopic domain in an integrative fashion: it
actualizes, as a unit, some integrated high-level action or activity, such as the

firing of a Geiger counter. This essential quality of the actual event to grasp
as a unit, and actualize as a whole, an entire high-level pattern of activity
injects into the quantum universe an integrative aspect wholly lacking in
the classical conception of nature. This fundamentally integrative action
of the Heisenberg actual event is the foundation of the quantum theory of
consciousness developed here.
Each actual event has also a global or universal aspect: its action is
not wholly confined to any local region, but extends to distant parts of
the universe. These two intertwined aspects arise from the fact that the
Heisenberg actual event is represented within the quantum formalism by
the change induced in the Heisenberg state of the universe by the action
upon it of a localized operator. This change in the state of the universe,
although induced by the action of a localized operator, produces a global
change in the tendencies for the next actual event. Thus each actual event
is a global change in the tendencies for the next actual event.
By introducing in this way a quantum ontology, and thus departing from
the purely epistemological stance of the strictly orthodox Copenhagen interpretation,
one can remove the subjective human observer from the quantum
description of the physical world and speak directly about the actual dispositions
of the measuring devices, rather than the knowledge of the observer.
Thus the moon can be said to be “really there” even when nobody is looking.
And Schr¨odinger’s cat is, actually, either dead or alive. More importantly,
the degrees of freedom of a biological system that correspond to its macroscopic
features can be considered to be highly constrained, and to specify
a classical framework, or matrix, within which one can consider the atomic
processes that are essential to its functioning.
This useful ontology has two defects. The first is its runaway ontology:
the supposedly actual things to which the tendencies refer consist only of
shifts in tendencies for future actual things, which consist, in turn, only
of shifts in tendencies for still more distantly future things, and so on ad
infinitum: each actuality is defined only in terms of possible future ones, in
a sequence that never ends.
The second defect is the omission from the description of nature of the
one thing really known to exist: human thought.
These two difficulties fit hand-in-glove: the first is that some authentic
actual things are needed to break the infinite regress; the second is that some
authentic actual things have been left out.
These considerations motivate the first basic proposal of thiswork, which
is to attach to each Heisenberg actual event an experiential aspect. The latter
is called the feel of this event, and it can be considered to be the aspect of
the actual event that gives it its status as an intrinsic actuality.

The central question then becomes: What principle determines the structure
of the feel of an actual event? More narrowly: How is the structure of
human experience connected to the structure of human brain processes?
The answer, according to the present theory, is this: Each human experience
has a compositional structure that is isomorphic to the compositional
structure of the actual brain event of which it is the feel.
To understand the nature of these two compositional structures one must
look closely at brain processes and psychological processes. We begin by
giving a general overview of the former.

Henry P.Stapp
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1684 on: 08/01/2014 17:45:44 »
JFYI - another destructive criticism of Stapp's hypothesis, this time by Danko Georgiev: Mind Efforts, Quantum Zeno Effect and Environmental Decoherence
Quote from: Georgiev
The mind in Stapp's model does not have its own wavefunction or density matrix, but nevertheless can act upon the brain using projection operators. Such usage is not compatible with standard quantum mechanics because one can attach any number of ghostly minds to any point in space that act upon physical quantum systems with any projection operators. Therefore Stapp's model does not build upon "the prevailing principles of physics", but negates them.

Stapp's claim that quantum Zeno effect is robust against environmental decoherence directly contradicts a basic theorem in quantum information theory according to which acting with projection operators upon the density matrix of a quantum system can never decrease the Von Neumann entropy of the system, but can only increase it.

That quote of yours has nothing destructive (just dependent  of the mind of its author, and of the latter 's interpretation of QT that's mind-dependent in its turn  )  in relation to Stapp's QM theory of consciousness,just mind-dependent speculation  : the founders of QT did think that QT is mind -dependent = consciousness does intevene in the physical reality in the fundamental sense .
The fact that QT is subjective (see the explicit excerpt of Stapp on the subject here above ) and thus mind -dependent or psycho-physical = the mind does intervene in the physical reality ,since reality is 2 faced : physical and mental = the separation between matter and mind is a scientific myth .

You still do not realise the revolutionary character of QT in that sense , no wonder since you are a ...materialist :
Our thoughts or mind do intervene in the physical reality: read what Stapp , Pauli , Heseinberg , Von Neumann, Einstein , Bohr ...had to say about that .

Since science has ben dominated by materialism , then , those founders of QT "must be wrong " of course : how convenient .
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1685 on: 08/01/2014 18:05:39 »


No, QT is the one that's subjective ( The founders of QT saw it as such ,remember ) : mind -dependent = a matter of interpretation , that's why there are a lots of interpretations of the Copenhagen interpretation of QT , the latter depends largely on the a -priori held beliefs or world views of the scientists thinkers in question,as we see that reflected in this very thread through Stapp's and through the materialists ' interpretations of QT  such as those of yourselves   .
The observed objective reality out there  in general , either at the microscopic or macroscopic levels , gets distorted by the mind of the observer through the a-priori held beliefs or world views of the observer which do shape his /her mind and hence his thoughts ,behaviours , ethics , actions ....

You are confusing two entirely different things. Not even Stapp would suggest that misinformation, as in believing something to be true that isn't - or wishful thinking, simply wanting it to be true, actually changes physical reality even for that individual. If it's -34 degrees in Canada, there is no superpositioned brain state connected to the macro level reality of my car starting that morning. Nature's "answer" to that question is no.

Likewise even inside the brain or mind,  if quantum mechanics allows an in road for free will or indeterminacy, or simply speeds up or fine tunes mental processing (which I think may be more likely) there is still reams of evidence for macro level, classically described,  mechanisms and environmental influences that explain abilities and behavior and even choices. You cannot wish these influences away. If you are writhing in pain from appendicitis, I can pretty much predict your "choices" in the very near future with astounding accuracy.


Our  physical micro and macroscopic components are intertwined ,and we are "determined " by both our brain activity and by our own conscious relative choices , the latter that do obey to no known physical laws ,as Stapp has been explaining .

See also the above newly posted excerpts of Stapp on the subject of the subjective nature of QT that's psycho-physical .


As long as you keep on equating or confusing your false materialism with science , you will never be able to understand the above , i am afraid , no offense , or you will just dismiss that out of hand , on the basis of your false materialist world view .

The fact that materialism has been taken for granted as science or as "the scientific world view " is THE major evidence for the fact that all our knowledge is subjective or psycho-physical , mind-dependent , including the scientific one , including QT thus .
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1686 on: 08/01/2014 18:09:13 »
Regarding the subjective nature of QT , the following excerpt ,once again , you must have  either missed or ignored :
<Stapp stuff>
Stapp equivocates subjectivity for the purpose of his discredited hypothesis. Subjectivity is not part of the quantum formalism; like classical mechanics, it deals with probability distributions. In both cases, the introduction of an observer necessitates a subjective viewpoint. For QM, this change of viewpoint involves the perception of a single outcome rather than the decohered mixed state of the system which is the QM result. How an observer perceives a single outcome of this decohered state is not part of the quantum formalism, and is open to interpretation (in fact, that's why it's open to interpretation, and why the choice of interpretation is of no material consequence).

If you read the link I previously provided, you might understand the difference - although, on second thoughts, you might not...

It is possible to treat objective quantum probabilities under a Bayesian regime, where you can assign subjective priors - see Subjective and Objective Probabilities in Quantum Mechanics, but this only serves to aid in refining initial ignorance about the probability state of a quantum system from initially subjective estimates to eventually objective certainties:
Quote
... Eventually, all but strongly biased observers (who can be identified a priori by an examination of their choice of prior probability) will be convinced of the values of the quantum probabilities. In this way, initially subjective probability assignments become more and more objective.

Note that, from the outset, the authors affirm:
Quote
... For example, given a wave function ψ(x, t) for a particle in one dimension, the rules of quantum mechanics (which are apparently laws of nature) tell us that we must assign a probability |ψ(x, t)|2dx to the statement “at time t, the particle is between x and x + dx”. Different people do not appear to have a choice about this assignment. In this sense, quantum probability appears to be objective
« Last Edit: 08/01/2014 18:32:40 by dlorde »
 

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1687 on: 08/01/2014 18:12:18 »


Don't disappear again , you do know that i cannot make you re-appear on demand out of the blue , my magical lamp is ...broken ..........you know ...

I some how managed to burn through my monthly data allotment in a single week (or my daughter did.) I'm posting from a Chapters bookstore in Sudbury today, a city that exists thanks to a meteor hitting the Earth here 1.8 billion years ago.

What an old meteor , the poor one .How did that poor old meteor build that city ? kidding .
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1688 on: 08/01/2014 18:23:49 »
Regarding the subjective nature of QT , the following excerpt ,once again , you must have  either missed or ignored :
<Stapp stuff>
Stapp equivocates subjectivity for the purpose of his discredited hypothesis. Subjectivity is not part of the quantum formalism; like classical mechanics, it deals with probability distributions. In both cases, the introduction of an observer necessitates a subjective viewpoint. For QM, this change of viewpoint involves the perception of a single outcome rather than the decohered mixed state of the system which is the QM result. How an observer perceives a single outcome of this decohered state is not part of the quantum formalism, and is open to interpretation (in fact, that's why it's open to interpretation, and why the choice of interpretation is of no material consequence).

If you read the link I provided, you might understand the difference - although, on second thoughts, you might not...

You can try to deny what Stapp has been saying all night and day long , but that won't make the fact go away that QT is psycho-physical = consciousness cannot but interevene in the physical reality ,(since consciousness is a fundamental active part of reality) ,  at the micro quantum and also at the macroscopic levels = inevitable, since reality is both physical and mental .

As a materialist , you cannot but deny that fact of course = that's an extra evidence for the fact that the "truth" is subjective , that all our knowledge ,including the scientific one , including QT thus , is subjective ,in the sense that all that is mind-dependent and hence  has not much to do with the objective reality out there or with the essence of things ,the latter which are beyond the reach of science that's just a human activity = mind-dependent = consciousness does intervene in the physical reality .

P.S.: I will not read any materialist views on the subject , since materialism is false , and since materialism has been equated and confused with science or with "the scientific world view " , for so long now ,  materialism that has been reducing the mind to just brain activity ,so, the mind has no causal effects on matter , according to the false materialist secular religion in science .

Got that ? Hope so , for your own sake , as a scientist .
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1689 on: 08/01/2014 18:31:59 »
V.S. Ramachandron (soulless materialist) in “The Tell-Tale Brain”

I find it odd how some people are so ardently drawn to either-or dichotomies. “Are apes self aware or are they automata?” “Is life meaningful or meaningless?” “Are humans ‘just’ animals or are we exalted?” As a scientist, I am perfectly comfortable with settling on categorical conclusions when it makes sense. But with many of these supposedly urgent metaphysical dilemmas, I must admit I don’t see the conflict. For instance, why can’t we be a branch of the animal kingdom and a wholly unique and gloriously novel phenomenon in the universe?
I also find it odd how people so often slip words like “merely” and “nothing but” into statements about our origins. Humans are apes. So too are we mammals. We are vertebrates. We are pulpy, throbbing colonies of tens of trillions of cells. We are all of these things, but we are not “merely” these things. And we are, in addition to all these things, something unique, something unprecedented, something transcendent. We are something new under the sun, with uncharted and perhaps limitless potential. We are the first and only species whose fate has rested in its own hands, not just in the hands of chemistry and instinct. On the great Darwinian stage we call Earth, I would argue there has not been an upheaval as big as us since the origin of life itself. When I think about what we are and what we may yet achieve, I can’t see any place for snide “merelies.”


I wonder why you , materialists , do think that your own false materialist extensions of  your false materialist world view that has been equated with science , i wonder why you do take your false materialist views for granted as science or as valid arguments ? , by quoting materialist scientists ....= what a paradox .

If you want to try to refute Stapp's dualist QT theory of consciousness that has been supported by the dualist scientific  nature of  QT , then you must try to do just that via science , not via materialism : see the difference ?
 

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1690 on: 08/01/2014 18:34:52 »
You can try to deny what Stapp has been saying all night and day long , but that won't make the fact go away that QT is psycho-physical = consciousness cannot but interevene in the physical reality ,(since consciousness is a fundamental active part of reality) ,  at the micro quantum and also at the macroscopic levels = inevitable, since reality is both physical and mental .
It is possible to treat objective quantum probabilities under a Bayesian regime, where you can assign subjective priors - see Subjective and Objective Probabilities in Quantum Mechanics, but this only serves to aid in refining initial ignorance about the probability state of a quantum system from initially subjective estimates to eventually objective certainties:
Quote
... Eventually, all but strongly biased observers (who can be identified a priori by an examination of their choice of prior probability) will be convinced of the values of the quantum probabilities. In this way, initially subjective probability assignments become more and more objective.

Note that, from the outset, the authors affirm:
Quote
... For example, given a wave function ψ(x, t) for a particle in one dimension, the rules of quantum mechanics (which are apparently laws of nature) tell us that we must assign a probability |ψ(x, t)|2dx to the statement “at time t, the particle is between x and x + dx”. Different people do not appear to have a choice about this assignment. In this sense, quantum probability appears to be objective
 

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1691 on: 08/01/2014 18:41:21 »
You should in fact try to refute Stapp's dualist world view that's been supported by the dualist nature of QT and thus by science
Already done (with Cheryl J's & Dawson's help). You must have missed it (or, more probably, misunderstood it).


You wish : those were just materialist views ,and since you have been equating and confusing materialism with science , no wonder that you do take those materialist views for granted as science thus .
You delivered  the same paradoxical approaches in relation to Sheldrake, Nagel and to the rest from whose works i have been posting extensive excerpts = just through your false materialist world view , not through science : since you cannot differentiate between materialism and science , and since you cannot but equate materialism with science , then , you cannot but deliver materialist bullshit mostly ,logically .

And the tragic and sad part of all that is that you are not even aware of the above .

Quote
I note your lack of comment on my description of a causally determined free will.

Determinist mechanical materialism and free will cannot be married by any magical materialist priest out there = mutually exclusive .

Only dualism can be married to free will ,as they are indeed ,for so long now : they have been making so many bright beautiful kids all along,such as Stapp .......... .
« Last Edit: 08/01/2014 19:01:48 by DonQuichotte »
 

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1692 on: 08/01/2014 18:48:23 »
You can try to deny what Stapp has been saying all night and day long , but that won't make the fact go away that QT is psycho-physical = consciousness cannot but interevene in the physical reality ,(since consciousness is a fundamental active part of reality) ,  at the micro quantum and also at the macroscopic levels = inevitable, since reality is both physical and mental .
It is possible to treat objective quantum probabilities under a Bayesian regime, where you can assign subjective priors - see Subjective and Objective Probabilities in Quantum Mechanics, but this only serves to aid in refining initial ignorance about the probability state of a quantum system from initially subjective estimates to eventually objective certainties:
Quote
... Eventually, all but strongly biased observers (who can be identified a priori by an examination of their choice of prior probability) will be convinced of the values of the quantum probabilities. In this way, initially subjective probability assignments become more and more objective.

Note that, from the outset, the authors affirm:
Quote
... For example, given a wave function ψ(x, t) for a particle in one dimension, the rules of quantum mechanics (which are apparently laws of nature) tell us that we must assign a probability |ψ(x, t)|2dx to the statement “at time t, the particle is between x and x + dx”. Different people do not appear to have a choice about this assignment. In this sense, quantum probability appears to be objective

You still can't get it , i see : i am talking about somethingelse here : as Stapp has been doing ,so , you do not get the most central and revolutionary core of Stapp's  work :

All our knowledge , including the scientific one , including QT thus , is subjective , in the sense that consciousness of the observer does intervene in the observed physical reality , so, the separation between matter and mind , between the mind of the observer and the observed physical reality is a scientific myth :
Major example : the materialist mainstream false 'scientific world view " = the materialist belief that has been equated with science through the minds of materialists and their followers who have been assuming that matter is the only reality , and hence the mind is in the brain , or the mind is just brain activity ,the mind has no causal effects on matter ,  life and the rest of the universe are mechanical determined ............

And since science is just a human activity , and since reality is psycho-physical  or physical and mental , then the mind of the observer scientist will always interevene in the observed physical reality ,and hence pragmatic science that's not about the truth , will never reflect the objective reality out there .

Objectivity is thus a myth , together with the metaphysically -neutral science .

The truth out there we can never reach , is mind-dependent = subjective , even in science itself .
« Last Edit: 08/01/2014 18:56:24 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1693 on: 08/01/2014 19:02:30 »
Meh - if you're not prepared to argue your position, discuss rational objections, or even listen to the arguments of those who have a different view, why are you here? is it not obvious to you that naively repeated assertion and reams of uncommented publications from fringe authors are not going to convince anyone capable of rational thought?

[Btw, those were rhetorical questions]
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1694 on: 08/01/2014 19:20:30 »
I am only referring to the mind-dependent subjective nature of almost all human conceptions of nature and reality out there thus....since  the mind that's a  fundamental  active part of reality cannot but intervene in the obseved phsyical reality out there .
Eliminating the mind from reality , as materialism has been doing , by reducing the mind to just physical brain activity , and hence the mind has no causal effects on matter , have been just materialist bullshit , no science = the separation between matter and mind , between the mind of the observer and the observed physical reality has been just a scientific myth,thanks to materialism,since materialism has been equated with science ,since the 19th century at least  (we can trace back that incorrect separation between mind and matter all the way back to Descartes by the way )  : that's mainly what Stapp has been talking about , i guess :
We can thus no longer eliminate our most important and most fundamental part of them all (consciousness ) from reality .
All our knowledge , including the scientific one, including QT ( we will never know what's really happening within or without concerning the real behaviour of atoms , sub-atoms ....we can just talk about that ,just in terms of probabilities,possibilities , events  ..)  ...can be thus only ...subjective , in the sense that the objective reality concerning what's really happening within and without will always remain out of our reach , and out of that of science ,for ever .
 

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1695 on: 08/01/2014 19:24:29 »
Meh - if you're not prepared to argue your position, discuss rational objections, or even listen to the arguments of those who have a different view, why are you here? is it not obvious to you that naively repeated assertion and reams of uncommented publications from fringe authors are not going to convince anyone capable of rational thought?

[Btw, those were rhetorical questions]

See above : since you have been equating materialism with science , how can you say the above ? Who's the irrational guy here then ...
I do reject materialism ,together with its scientific claims , so, if you wanna try to talk science , try to eliminate materialism, that's no science , from the equation first .
Trying to refute Sheldrake, Stapp and the rest just through the false materialism is no science , once again .
 

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1696 on: 08/01/2014 19:41:33 »
... you have been equating materialism with science...
This is a fallacy entirely of your own invention. Science is a process, materialism is a philosophy.
 

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1697 on: 08/01/2014 20:29:05 »
V.S. Ramachandron (soulless materialist) in “The Tell-Tale Brain”

I find it odd how some people are so ardently drawn to either-or dichotomies. “Are apes self aware or are they automata?” “Is life meaningful or meaningless?” “Are humans ‘just’ animals or are we exalted?” As a scientist, I am perfectly comfortable with settling on categorical conclusions when it makes sense. But with many of these supposedly urgent metaphysical dilemmas, I must admit I don’t see the conflict. For instance, why can’t we be a branch of the animal kingdom and a wholly unique and gloriously novel phenomenon in the universe?
I also find it odd how people so often slip words like “merely” and “nothing but” into statements about our origins. Humans are apes. So too are we mammals. We are vertebrates. We are pulpy, throbbing colonies of tens of trillions of cells. We are all of these things, but we are not “merely” these things. And we are, in addition to all these things, something unique, something unprecedented, something transcendent. We are something new under the sun, with uncharted and perhaps limitless potential. We are the first and only species whose fate has rested in its own hands, not just in the hands of chemistry and instinct. On the great Darwinian stage we call Earth, I would argue there has not been an upheaval as big as us since the origin of life itself. When I think about what we are and what we may yet achieve, I can’t see any place for snide “merelies.”

Reply 2 :

Coming from such a materialist scientist , it 's really paradoxical and tragic -hilarious ,to say the least , what he has been saying , regarding how we hold our fates in our hands , how transcendent we might be ,how precious ,how unique ,how beautiful , how superior ( The exact anti-these of the materialist version of evolution ) ...we are  ......while the determinist mechanical materialism has intrinsically no room for all that transcendent romantic idealistic talk , no room for free will , no room for transcendent values ,no room for love ,  no room for much , no room for nothing in fact : materialism is pure desperate nihillism , despite its schizophrenic paradoxical talk ...since materialism has been assuming that the universe , including ourselves , is just a determined mindless soulless heartless  blindly programmed cold machine without any  real feelings , emotions, mind , conscience , consciousness , love , values , purpose ,sense, or intrinsic value .......absurd .

Materialism that's been eliminating the very soul ,mind,heart  and  consciousness  from reality , by reducing them all  to just mindless soulless heartless purposeless blind messy jelly neurochemistry ...while even  the most physical basic science of them all has been "digging up " our most fundamental and most important active priceless treasure of them all ( consciousness ) in its quest to discover the "ultimate  physical building blocks " of this universe : by chasing a mirage , modern physics have been discovering our most valuable treasure of them all in the process ,at the heart and at the central command in relation to the physical reality , by bringing back the mind to physics ,by discovering the  fundamental  active intervention of our minds in the physical reality , by honoring man's active creativity in relation to the physical reality , by proving man to be a creator of his / her own reality and universe , by proving the mind of man to be a co-creator of this universe as the history of man ,creativity and imagination of man at all levels ,  as everyday life and science itself as a human creative evolutionary activity have been proving that fact to be true , not just correct , by reducing the  absurd  Cartesian separation of mind and matter to dust , to nothing in fact .

Descartes can  and should  be forgiven for his absurd separation of mind and matter , simply because by "leaving " the mind to the medieval church , he had no choice but to do that ,in order to avoid the church's terrible persecution or  inquisition, but materialism or materialists have  been having no excuse in reducing the universe , including man, to just physics and chemistry ,to just hardware programmed by software machine , no excuse in reducing our most valuable fundamental active creative treasure to just brain activity , in the name of science .

Materialism that has been sold to the people as science , for so long now .
Materialism that's an ideology of despair , insanity , nihillism,darkness  ...

Utterly disgusting thus is what that hypocrit paradoxical materialist scientist said here above .

pfff...
« Last Edit: 08/01/2014 20:56:52 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1698 on: 08/01/2014 20:41:49 »
... you have been equating materialism with science...
This is a fallacy entirely of your own invention. Science is a process, materialism is a philosophy.

Yeah, right : my own invention , and that of Nagel, Sheldrake , Stapp and that of the rest of all those non-reductionist scientists, philosophers  from whose works  i have been extensively quoting ...: we are all delusional indeed .

Materialism as a false 19th century outdated and superseded philosophy , an ideology , a false conception of nature, a world view, a false belief   ....has been equated with science , has been equated with "the scientific world view " since that time and counting =that's an undeniable fact =  that's been THE worst scientific delusion of them all so far= way worse than any religious delusion out there out of ignorance  .

Science has been thus materialist ,since the 19th century at least , and counting ...

Congratulations , scientist : you have been just a secular materialist false deceptive missionnary jesuit priest selling illusions, delusions , lies ,deceit,  half-truths ...to yourself and to others in the process , in the name of science,despite your scientific practical work and qualifications  .

How does it feel to replace a big medieval christian dogmatic lie , by yet a bigger one , a secular materialist one , a "scientific " one ?

Poor lad .....

 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1699 on: 08/01/2014 21:19:25 »
V.S. Ramachandron (soulless materialist) in “The Tell-Tale Brain”

..................

Reply 3 :

A Quantum Conception of Man:
 Introduction:



Science has enlarged tremendously the potential of human life. By augmenting
our powers it has lightened the weight of tedious burdens, and opened
the way to a full flowering of man’s creative capacities. Yet, ironically, it is
the shallowness of a conception of man put forth in the name of science that
is the cause today of the growing economic, ecological, and moral problems
that block that full flowering.
How could a shallow conception of ourselves, a mere idea, be the cause
of such deep troubles? The answer is this: Our beliefs about ourselves in
relation to the world around us are the roots of our values, and our values
determine not only our immediate actions, but also, over the course of time,
the form of our society. Our beliefs are increasingly determined by science.
Hence it is at least conceivable that what science has been telling us for three
hundred years about man and his place in nature could be playing by now
an important role in our lives. Let us look at what actually happened.
The seventeenth century was time of momentous change in men’s ideas
about the world. During that period thinkers like Galileo, Descartes, and
Newton transformed theworld, as seen by educated men, from a place where
spirits and magic could flourish, to a world of machines: the entire universe
came to be viewed as a giant machine, running on automatic, with each of us
a tiny cog within it. The symbols of the age that followed were the factory,
the steam engine, the railroad, and the automobile. Later on, during our own
century, this mechanical age would become transformed in turn by thinkers
such as Heisenberg, Schr¨odinger, and Bohr into the quantum age, whose
symbols would be not roaring factories but giant transistorized computers,
silently bonding all parts of the planet, with men becoming not so much
bodily cogs in a giant machine as mental hubs in a burgeoning network of
ideas.
The seventeenth-century transition from the medieval to the mechanical
age was triggered by a seemingly miniscule change in a single idea: the

orbits of the planets were found to be neither circles, nor circles moving on
circles, but ellipses. This apparently trivial and recondite detail, discovered
by the scientist Johannes Kepler, through laborious analysis of a mass of
astronomical data, was the foundation upon which Isaac Newton built modern
science, and simultaneously discredited both centuries of philosophical
dogmas and the methods of thinking that produced them. Painstaking observation
of nature, and analysis of the empirical findings, came to be seen as a
truer source of knowledge than pure philosophical reflection. That kind of
reflection had led to the notion that, because circles are perfect figures, and
everything in the heavens must be perfect, all planets must move on circles,
or at least on circles compounded. But Newton’s laws decreed that the orbits
of planets were ellipses, not epicycles, and the entire empire of medieval
thought began to crumble. In its place rose another, based on Newton’s idea
of the world as machine. Later on, when this mechanical idea gave way in
turn to the quantum one, it was again a mass of esoteric data, analyzed to
reveal a totally unexpected structure in nature, that combined to overthrow
a conception of the world that had become by then an integral part of the
fabric of human life.
The focus of our interest here is on the relationship between the mental
and material parts of nature. Human beings have an intuitive feeling that
their bodies are moved by their thoughts. Thus it is natural for them to
imagine that thoughts of some similar kind inhabit heavenly bodies, rivers
and streams, and myriads of other moving things. However, the key step in
the development of modern science was precisely to banish all thoughtlike
things from the physical universe, or at least to limit severely their domain
of influence. In particular, Descartes, in the seventeenth century, divided all
nature into two parts, a realm of thoughts and a realm of material things,
and proposed that the motions of material things were completely unaffected
by thoughts throughout most of the universe. The only excepted regions,
where thoughts were allowed to affect matter, were small parts of human
brains called pineal glands: without this exception there would be no way
for human thoughts to influence human bodies. But outside these glands the
motions of all material things were supposed to be governed by mathematical
laws.
Carrying forward the idea of Descartes, Isaac Newton devised a set of
mathematical laws that appeared to describe correctly the motions of both
the heavenly bodies and everything on earth. These laws referred only to
material things, never to thoughts, and they were complete in the sense that,
once the motions of the material parts of the universe during primordial
times were fixed, these laws determined exactly the motions of atoms, and
all other material things, for the rest of eternity. Although Newton’s laws

were expressed as rules governing the motions of atoms and other tiny bits
of matter, these laws were tested only for large objects, such as planets,
cannon balls, and billiard balls, never for atoms themselves.
According to Descartes’s original proposal the purely mechanical laws of
motion must fail to hold within our pineal glands, in order for our thoughts
to be able affect our bodily actions. However, orthodox scientists of the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, tolerating no exceptions to the laws
of physics, held that each atom in a human body, or in any other place,
must follow the path fixed by the laws of physics. This rigid enforcement
of the physical laws entailed, of course, that men’s thoughts could have
no effects upon their actions: that each human body, being composed of
preprogrammed atoms, is an automaton whose every action was predetermined,
long before he was born, by purely mechanical considerations, with
no reference at all to thoughts or ideas.
This conclusion, that human beings are preprogrammed automata, may
sound absurd. It contradicts our deepest intuition about ourselves, namely
that we are free agents. However, science, by pointing to other situations
where intuition is faulty, or dead wrong, was able to maintain, on the basis
of its demonstrated practical success and logical consistency, that its view
of man was in fact the correct one, and that our feeling of freedom is a
complete illusion.
This picture of man led, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries,
to an associated moral system. It was based on the principle that each of us,
being nothing but a mechanical device, automatically pursues his calculated
self-interests, as measured by a certain bodily physical property, which is
experienced in the realm of thought as pleasure. This principle, whichwas in
line with the commercial temper of the times, was fundamentally hedonistic,
though, from the scientific viewpoint, realistic. However, philosophers were
able to elevate it to a more socially satisfactory idea by arguing that the
“enlightened” rational man must act to advance his own “enlightened” selfinterest:
he must act to advance the general welfare in order to advance, in
the end, his own welfare. Yet there remained in the end only one basic human
value: no noble, heroic, or altruistic aim could have any value in itself; its
value must be rooted in the common currency of personal pleasure. This
kind of morality may seem to be immoral but it appears to be the rational
outcome of accepting completely the mechanical or materialistic view of
man.
This view of man and morals did not go unchallenged.
Earlier traditions lost only slowly their grip on the minds of men, and romantic and idealistic
philosophies rose to challenge the bondage of the human spirit decreed by
science. From the ensuing welter of conflicting claims, each eloquently
defended, followed a moral relativism, where every moral viewpoint was
seen as based on arbitrary assumptions. This pernicious outcome was a
direct consequence of the schism between the mental and material aspects
of nature introduced by science. That cleavage, by precluding any fully
coherent conception of man in nature, made every possible view incomplete
in some respect, and hence vulnerable. In the resulting moral vacuum the
lure of material benefits and the increasing authority of science combined to
insinuate the materialistic viewpoint ever more strongly into men’s thoughts.
This science-based creed contains, however, the seeds of its own destruction.
For behind a facade of social concern it preaches material selfaggrandizement.
We are now in the thralls of the logical denouement of
that preaching. With the accelerating disintegration of the established cultural
traditions, brought on by increased fluxes of peoples and ideas, the
demand for satisfaction of inflated material desires has spiraled out of control.
This has led to a plundering of future generations, both economically
and ecologically. We are now beginning to feel the yoke laid upon us by our
predecessors, yet are shifting still heavier burdens onto our own successors.
This materialist binge cannot be sustained. Yet the doctrine of enlightened
self-interest has no rational way to cope with the problem, as long as each
human “self” continues to be perceived as a mere bundle of flesh and bones.
For if we accept a strictly materialistic way of thinking, then our own pleasure
can be enhanced by ignoring calamities that we ourselves will never
face.
Men are not base creatures: all history shows them to be capable of
elevated deeds. But elevated deeds and aspirations spring from elevated
ideas, and today all ideas, if they are long to survive, must stand up to withering
scrutiny. They must in the end be rationally coherent, and consistent
with the empirical evidence gathered by science. The mechanical ideas of
seventeenth-century science provided no rational or intellectual foundation
for any elevated conception of man. Yet the ideas of twentieth-century science
do. Quantum theory leads naturally to a rationally coherent conception
of the whole of man in nature. It is profoundly different from the sundered
mechanical picture offered by classical physics. Like any really new idea
this quantum conception of man has many roots. It involves deep questions:
What is consciousness? What is choice? What is chance? What can science
tell us about the role of these things in nature? How does science itself allow
us to transcend Newton’s legacy? It is to these questions that we now turn.


Henry P.Stapp
« Last Edit: 08/01/2014 21:21:53 by DonQuichotte »
 

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Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
« Reply #1699 on: 08/01/2014 21:19:25 »

 

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