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Author Topic: Major Bombshell : Manifesto For A Post-Materialistic Science :  (Read 188211 times)

Offline DonQuichotte

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Don't behave as if you have just heard that,don't be silly  :  (This whole thread is all about a certain manifesto for a post-materialistic science ,including for a post-materialistic neuroscience , remember .) i have even posted some excerpts of some books of non-materialist neuroscientist Mario Beauregard ,an excerpt from "The brain and the mind " by Jeffrey Schwatrz and Sharon Begley : a non-materialist cognitive psychology approach , to mention just that  .


Yeah, and it's identical to dualism. They've just renamed it.

Call it whatever you wanna call it (Irrelevant )  , but fact is : materialism is false , mainly because it cannot account for consciousness, and hence the universe , including ourselves, is not exclusively physical or material = cannot be explained just by material processes only , so , all sciences for that matter , including neuroscience thus , must reject materialism and become non-materialistic by both embracing the material and the immaterial in nature ,basta , period.

« Last Edit: 01/12/2014 18:48:01 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Does Skinner's behaviourism not deny the very existence of the subjective inner experiences, emotions , will ,consciousness ,the mind ...as such ? Get real.



Uh no, he never did. At the time he did his research, there weren't MRIs, PETs, and much less was known about brain anatomy and biochemistry. Skinner just focused on what he could measure and test, which was observable behavior. But every new science has to start somewhere and his decision to start with that was a reasonable one. Even when models change, good data is still good data.
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Furthermore, you're just confusing materialism with science still : non-materialist neuroscience and non-materialist cognitive psychology , the latter that relies on the former , are  both consistent with QM ,not to mention that the non-materialist neuroscience is the best interpretation.....



"Non materialist neuroscience"?? Did I really just read that????
That's hilarious, Don.


You haven't done your homework well , Cheryl :

The following is a very short excerpt from Encyclopedia Britannica regarding behaviourism :  no need to display the whole long text thus :

Quote : " a highly influential academic school of psychology that dominated psychological theory between the two world wars. Classical behaviourism, prevalent in the first third of the 20th century, was concerned exclusively with measurable and observable data and excluded ideas, emotions, and the consideration of inner mental experience and activity in general. In behaviourism, the organism is seen as “responding” to conditions (stimuli) set by the outer environment and by inner biological processes." End quote .

Not to mention that positivism that 's all about just observable phenomena does hold no water either,as i said to dlorde , earlier on .

Try to apply positivism to QM lol

By the way , reductionist materialism does not only deny the very existence of human subjective experiences or psyche , emotions , the mind ....as such , it does worse than that : materialism reduces all that to just (neuro) physiological processes .Worst : that materialist production theory regarding brain and mind has not been supported by any empirical evidence whatsoever .

If you have paid attention to what Graziano's theory was all about , for example, you would have noticed that he basically says that consciousness ,psyche ,the mind , free will , ...are just elaborate illusions : just computed by the brain simulations : useful illusions or useful illusory pragmatic survival strategies : illusions or brain simulations that feel real though : that's what the materialist logic says in fact when pushed to its limits .

Furthermore ,Skinner's mechanistic behaviourism school of psychology was mainly influenced by the work of Pavlov ,in the sense that one can know all about animal and human behaviour through only stimuli and response , without having to pay attention , to take into consideration , or to acknowledge the existence or relevance of the human inner subjective experiences or psyche or that of the mind ...: it concerns itself only with the observable behaviour through stimuli and response  .

Behaviourism does in fact see no difference between man and the brute ,simply put : they are all allegedly just deterministic physiology interacting with the physical world  , nothingelse .

Behaviourism was already rejected and refuted by the advances of neuroscience , by its related cognitive psychology ....

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


Don't behave as if you have just heard that,don't be silly  :  (This whole thread is all about a certain manifesto for a post-materialistic science ,including for a post-materialistic neuroscience , remember .) i have even posted some excerpts of some books of non-materialist neuroscientist Mario Beauregard ,an excerpt from "The brain and the mind " by Jeffrey Schwatrz and Sharon Begley : a non-materialist cognitive psychology approach , to mention just that  .
 

Offline Ethos_

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Call it whatever you wanna call it (Irrelevant )  , but fact is : materialism is false , mainly because it cannot account for consciousness,

First define consciousness, then provide evidence why it can't be understood thru the workings of the nervous system.
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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How can you learn , practice exercises or training, meditation, mindfulness, brain training , brain exercises , biofeedback training  ...without mindful focus or  attention and action of your conscious  will ?



There's nothing about attention that makes it extra magical or incompatible with neuroscience. Is though, an interesting topic, if you'd like to discuss it more in detail.


Read that posted excerpt to you from " The mind and the brain " book by Jeffrey Schwartz and Sharon Begley on the subject, in the previous page , i guess  : the whole non-materialist cognitive psychology or therapy is based on  the mindful and active power of attention or focus through the conscious mindful power of the will and action : that therapy has been demonstrated scientifically. Scanning the brains of patients who underwent that therapy, before and after the therapy showed that it worked significantly by rewiring the brain accordingly .I have tried it myself ,once again , together with millions of other people with enormous success  .

That's a totally drug-free therapy without any side effects whatsoever thus .Only severely mentally  ill patients should combine that drug-free therapy with their medication and in combination with the help of their therapists .

David D.Burns is yet another scientist who applies that therapy successfully :

Watch the following on the subject then : 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=david+d.burns

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jeffrey+schwartz

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jeffrey+schwartz+the+mind+and+the+brain


 

Offline DonQuichotte

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author=Ethos_ link=topic=52526.msg445613#msg445613 date=1417390863]


"Non materialist neuroscience"?? Did I really just read that????
That's hilarious, Don.
LOL,.................I'd appreciate an explanation for that one myself!!!

Ironically enough , this whole thread is all about a certain manifesto for a post-materialistic science that embraces both the material and the immaterial in nature , since materialism is false ,and hence the universe , including ourselves ,cannot be just physical or material = the universe , including ourselves thus , cannot be explained by material processes only,that's why all sciences for that matter must become non-materialist in the above mentioned sense ,by rejecting materialism,  including neuroscience  .

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Come on Don!! Define "Non materialist neuroscience" without referencing the human nervous system. I double dog dare you!

See above : the non-materialist neuroscience embraces both the material or physical brain and body , together with the rest of the physical environment or reality + embraces the  non-physical and non-local consciousness ,the mind and their related anomalies and processes as well .
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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author=dlorde link=topic=52526.msg445609#msg445609 date=1417381397]
What makes you so sure of yourself then as to assert the above ? Nothing , just a -priori held materialistic thin-air beliefs, no empirical evidence  .

Way to go, scientist.
Ask NASA - they used Newtonian dynamics to direct their tours of the solar system. Are you suggesting they didn't happen?

I've already explained  to you, earlier on, that the fact that the classical deterministic mechanical Newtonian world view or classical physics,the fact that it  is approximately correct and fundamentally false does not mean that it doesn't work on the large scale .

Any idiot who would say otherwise must try to jump from a building  to "test " gravity lol

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The large-scale electronics in the device you use to post to these forums uses deterministic electronics, the microprocessor uses that and the precise predictability of quantum mechanics to function reliably. Your own body's biochemistry relies on predictable, repeatable reactions. The structure and behaviour of matter itself is determined by the interacting forces so precisely modelled by quantum field theory.

That's all about the physical universe ,who said otherwise ?

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By all means carry on believing it's all down to immaterial, non-physical magic. That's entirely your decision.

I was talking about the top-down active non-mechanical causation of the human mindful  will through the power of attention and focus only in that context , and in the context that QM can never be understood without reference to the mind , because they seem so inseparably and inescapably intertwined with each other ,and in the context that ,as science gets more advanced , it will turn out that any progress in the study of the universe will be impossible without that in the study of consciousness , as a certain prominent physicist said whose similar quote i have posted , on many occasions .


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You've been given enough information to understand should you wish to. The universe doesn't care what you believe, and science and the acquisition of knowledge will continue happily on its way without any need to invoke your redundant hypothesis.

Ironically enough , the very progress of science itself is at stake here , since the false materialism has been holding it back ,to say the least thus ,  that's mainly why i posted this thread , in the first place to begin with , a whole thread that is all about a certain manifesto for a post-materialistic science ,since materialism is false ,and hence the universe cannot be just physical or material = the universe , including ourselves, cannot be explained by material processes only ,so all sciences for that matter must reject materialism and become non-materialistic by embracing both the material and the immaterial in nature .The immaterial that's irreducible to the material ,that is .

Is that so hard to understand , Mr.scientist ? .
« Last Edit: 01/12/2014 19:33:42 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline dlorde

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I've already explained  to you, earlier on, that the fact that the classical deterministic mechanical Newtonian world view or classical physics,the fact that it  is approximately correct and fundamentally false does not mean that it doesn't work on the large scale .
Lol! I think I mentioned that too:
...at a macro scale, the world is deterministic to a high-level approximation...
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...only if we would live in a deterministic mechanical  universe that is : we don't .
Strictly speaking perhaps not, but see above.

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...QM can never be understood without reference to the mind , because they seem so inseparably and inescapably intertwined with each other, as a certain prominent physicist said...
Things are not always as they seem - and even certain prominent physicists can be mistaken (in fact, it happens a lot - particularly as they get older). Intuition is a poor guide to reality, and it's no coincidence that QM interpretations involving consciousness are now reduced to a tiny fringe minority among the experts in the field (I've told you this before).

« Last Edit: 01/12/2014 22:12:42 by dlorde »
 

Offline cheryl j

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Don't behave as if you have just heard that,don't be silly  :  (This whole thread is all about a certain manifesto for a post-materialistic science ,including for a post-materialistic neuroscience , remember .) i have even posted some excerpts of some books of non-materialist neuroscientist Mario Beauregard ,an excerpt from "The brain and the mind " by Jeffrey Schwatrz and Sharon Begley : a non-materialist cognitive psychology approach , to mention just that  .

You're skirting the issue. If immaterial consciousness is a uniform, discrete entity, then immaterial consciousness acting on the physical brain in order to produce a change in immaterial consciousness, makes absolutely no sense.

That's why your ideas about immaterial neuroscience or immaterial cognitive psychology are contradictory and substance-less.
« Last Edit: 02/12/2014 01:52:33 by cheryl j »
 

Offline alancalverd

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Ironically enough , this whole thread is all about a certain manifesto for a post-materialistic science


Apparently not. Science allows you to make predictions from explanatory hypotheses. Whatever it is that you are advocating, seems not to do so. So whatever it is, it isn't a science. 
 

Offline cheryl j

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Once again, your theory provides  no explanation given of how the immaterial interacts with the material brain, no explanation of how information is stored, sent, or received back by the non local conscious agency, other than vague references to entanglement, but of course, no explanation of what exactly is being entangled. When the brain is incapacitated by damage or disease, there's no explanation of  why the content of thought and the quality of subjective experience itself should be affected, and no explanation as to how the fractured non local consciousness processes sensory information when  his robot body/brain is having technical difficulties.

Which one of these aspects of immaterial consciousness would you like to discuss? As you pointed out above, this thread was about post materialism science, but there's been very little description from you about how any of it works, just more ranting about what you see lacking in material mechanisms.
« Last Edit: 02/12/2014 17:10:48 by cheryl j »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Volitional effort is effort of attention :

I have spoken as if our attention were wholly determined by neural conditions. I believe that the array of things we can attend to is so determined. No object can catch our attention except by the neural machinery. But the amount of the attention which an object receives after it has caught our mental eye is another question. It often takes effort to keep the mind upon it. We feel that we can make more or less of the effort as we choose. If this feeling be not deceptive, if our effort be a spiritual force, then of course it contributes coequally with the cerebral conditions to the result.

Though it introduce no new idea, it will deepen and prolong the stay in consciousness of innumerable ideas which else would fade more quickly away…. t is often a matter of but a second more or less of attention at the outset, whether one system shall gain force to occupy the field and develop itself, and exclude the other, or be excluded itself by the other…. [T]he whole drama of the voluntary life hinges on the amount of attention, slightly more or slightly less, which rival motor ideas may receive…. Effort may be an original force and not a mere effect, and it may be indeterminate in amount.

Source : Psychology : A Briefer Course by William James
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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“The function of the effort is…to keep affirming and adopting a thought which, if left to itself, would slip away.”

“To sustain a representation, to think, is, in short, the only moral act.” Here we got to the nub of it, the conviction that the act of focusing attention so that one thought, one possible action, prevails over all the other possible ones competing for dominance in consciousness—this is the true moral act, the point where volition enters into what James had just called “the cerebral conditions” and, moreover, “contributes coequally” to them in determining which of those competing thoughts and actions will be chosen. It is this power of attention—to select one possibility over all others—that invests us with an efficacious will."

 From the same above mentioned source through " The mind and the brain , Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force". By Jeffrey M.Schwartz and Sharon Begley.
« Last Edit: 02/12/2014 20:32:34 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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“It’s uncanny,” I repeated. “It’s unbelievable,” Henry said. A man of the nineteenth century had described in detail the connection between the quantum-based theory of attention and volition that we described in our “Volitional Brain” papers. The causal efficacy of will, James had intuited more than one hundred years ago, is a higher-level manifestation of the causal efficacy of attention. To focus attention on one idea, on one possible course of action among the many bubbling up inchoate in our consciousness, is precisely what we mean by an act of volition, James was saying; volition acts through attention, which magnifies, stabilizes, clarifies, and otherwise makes predominant one thought out of many. The essential achievement of the will is to attend to one object and hold it clear and strong before the mind, letting all others—its rivals for attention and subsequent action—fade away like starlight swamped by the radiance of the Sun. That was just the idea that had emerged from the quantum approach.”

  From the same above mentioned source (Henry P.Stapp and Schwartz discussing the above .)
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Given James’s strong philosophical bent, it’s hardly surprising these twin concepts, attention and will, were of such tremendous importance to him. He was well aware, especially given his goal of placing psychology squarely within natural science, that thickets of controversy awaited anyone willing to tackle the question of free will. But on the key point of the causal efficacy of attention, and its relation to will, James held fast to his belief—one he suspected could not be proved conclusively on scientific grounds, but to which he clung tenaciously on ethical grounds—that the effort to focus attention is an active, primary, and causal force, and not solely the result of properties of a stimulus that acts on a passive brain. Between his 1,300-plus-page Principles and the 443-page Briefer Course published fifteen months later, he did not budge from (indeed, he elaborated on) the statement that effortful attention “would deepen and prolong the stay in consciousness of innumerable ideas which else would fade more quickly away.” If we can but understand the effort of attention, James believed, we will have gone a very long way toward understanding the nature of will."
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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.....What particularly struck me was James’s recognition of the high stakes involved. The question of whether attention (and therefore will) follows deterministically upon the predictable response of brain cells to stimuli, or whether the amount of attention can be (at least sometimes) freely chosen and causally efficacious, “is in fact the pivotal question of metaphysics, the very hinge on which our picture of the world shall swing from materialism, fatalism, monism, towards spiritualism, freedom, pluralism,—or else the other way.” James was scrupulously fair in giving equal time to the view that attention is a fully determined result of brain function rather than a causally efficacious force. As he notes, it is entirely plausible that attention may be “fatally predetermined” by purely material laws. In this view, the amount of attention we pay a stimulus, be it one from the world outside or an internally generated thought or image, is determined solely by the properties of that stimulus and their interaction with our brain’s circuits. If the words you hear or the images you see are associated with a poignant memory, for instance, then they trigger—automatically and without any active effort by you —more attention than stimuli that lack such associations. In this case, “attention only fixes and retains what the ordinary laws of association bring ‘before the footlights’ of consciousness,” as James put it.
That is, the stimuli themselves provoke neural mechanisms that cause them to be attended to and fixed on.
 This is the attention-as-effect school of thinking.
But James did not think that attention was always and only a fully determined effect of the stimuli that are its object. On the flight back to Los Angeles, I went over in my own mind what we knew about attention, and why it mattered.
We go through our lives “seeing” countless objects that we do not pay attention to. Without attention, the image (or the sound, or the feel—attention plays a role in every sense) does not register in the mind and may not be stored even briefly in memory. I can guarantee that if you were to scan every square centimeter of a crowd scene in a photograph, visual information about every person depicted would reach your visual cortex. But if I asked you, after you had scanned the photo of the crowd, where the man in the fedora and vest was, you would doubtless be flummoxed. Our minds have a limited ability to process information about multiple objects at any given time. “Because of limited processing resources,” as the neuroscientists Sabine Kastner and Leslie Ungerleider of NIH wrote in a 2000 review of attention, “multiple objects present at the same time in the visual field compete for neural representation…. Two stimuli present at the same time within a neuron’s receptive field are not processed independently. [R]ather,…they interact with each other in a mutually suppressive way.”
They compete for neural representation. The key question for attention is, What determines the winner?"

Same source .
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Read the above displayed short quotes and comments , guys ,and then i will be talking about  many scientific experiments ,afterwards , that showed /show the causal effect of the human volition through focus or attention -effort , the causal effect of volition on the structure or anatomy and physiology of the brain :

How the mindful effort of volition through the power of focus or attention can change the brain ....

In short :

How the mind or mental force can change the brain through the dynamic effort of volition via the power of focus .

In other words :

Volitional effort is effort of attention.Effort of attention is thus the essential phenomenon of will.

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/549

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3281.The_Mind_and_the_Brain
Comment on "The mind and the brain " :

"Conventional science has long held the position that "the mind" is merely an illusion, a side effect of electrochemical activity in the physical brain. This work argues exactly the opposite: that the mind has a life of its own. The authors demonstrate that the human mind is an independent entity that can shape and control the functioning of the physical brain. Their work has its basis in our emerging understanding of adult plasticity--the brain's ability to be rewired not just in childhood, but throughout life, a trait only recently established by scientists. But in this paradigm-shifting work, the authors take neuroplasticity one critical step further. Through decades of work treating patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, J. M. Schwarts made an extraordinary finding: while following the therapy he developed, his patients were effecting significant and lasting changes in their own neural pathways. This book follows Schwartz as he investigates this newly discovered power, which he calls self-directed neural plasticity, or, more simply, mental force. The authors suggest boldly that we human beings are more than mere automatons--that with the ability to shape our brains comes the power to shape our destiny."


Another comment on amazon.com :

"A groundbreaking work of science that confirms, for the first time, the independent existence of the mind–and demonstrates the possibilities for human control over the workings of the brain.

Conventional science has long held the position that 'the mind' is merely an illusion, a side effect of electrochemical activity in the physical brain. Now in paperback, Dr Jeffrey Schwartz and Sharon Begley's groundbreaking work, The Mind and the Brain, argues exactly the opposite: that the mind has a life of its own.Dr Schwartz, a leading researcher in brain dysfunctions, and Wall Street Journal science columnist Sharon Begley demonstrate that the human mind is an independent entity that can shape and control the functioning of the physical brain. Their work has its basis in our emerging understanding of adult neuroplasticity–the brain's ability to be rewired not just in childhood, but throughout life, a trait only recently established by neuroscientists.

Through decades of work treating patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), Schwartz made an extraordinary finding: while following the therapy he developed, his patients were effecting significant and lasting changes in their own neural pathways. It was a scientific first: by actively focusing their attention away from negative behaviors and toward more positive ones, Schwartz's patients were using their minds to reshape their brains–and discovering a thrilling new dimension to the concept of neuroplasticity.

The Mind and the Brain follows Schwartz as he investigates this newly discovered power, which he calls self–directed neuroplasticity or, more simply, mental force. It describes his work with noted physicist Henry Stapp and connects the concept of 'mental force' with the ancient practice of mindfulness in Buddhist tradition. And it points to potential new applications that could transform the treatment of almost every variety of neurological dysfunction, from dyslexia to stroke–and could lead to new strategies to help us harness our mental powers. Yet as wondrous as these implications are, perhaps even more important is the philosophical dimension of Schwartz's work. For the existence of mental force offers convincing scientific evidence of human free will, and thus of man's inherent capacity for moral choice. "

http://www.amazon.com/The-Mind-Brain-Neuroplasticity-Mental/dp/0060988479

« Last Edit: 02/12/2014 21:26:57 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Final thought for today at least :

'I admit that thoughts influence the body.' - Albert Einstein
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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alancalverd :

Haven't seen your reply yet ,concerning Nassim Haramein's work : How come ? :

http://holofractal.net/the-holofractographic-universe/
 

Offline alancalverd

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Yep. Plenty of "promises to unify" but not a single testable prediction.

And so another day passes.
 

Offline dlorde

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Read the above displayed short quotes and comments , guys ,and then i will be talking about  many scientific experiments ,afterwards , that showed /show the causal effect of the human volition through focus or attention -effort , the causal effect of volition on the structure or anatomy and physiology of the brain
Even by 2007 (prompted by specific volitional deficits due to brain impairments), sufficient specific studies of volition had been done to demonstrate that the sense of volition, free-will, and agency are (to many people's surprise) retrospective and post-hoc introspective. For example: Volitional Control of Movement: The Physiology of Free Will. Since then decision pathways have been traced at a neuronal level, and the origins of decision have also been extensively modeled, for example, Neuronal correlates of decisions to speak and act, or Selection and inhibition mechanisms for human voluntary action decisions to pick a couple of relevant papers at random.

These discoveries and ideas are no longer controversial in neurophysiology. As already mentioned, the empirical evidence that brain activity alone generates these behaviours and that the sense of agency, volition, self, etc., is not what it subjectively seems, is overwhelming. Regardless of the number of incredulous articles and papers you post, the evidence speaks for itself (a little ironic joke there). There are still gaps in our knowledge, but no space for magical immaterial volitional agencies. There's no need or place for any such influence - to paraphrase Laplace, 'We have no need of that hypothesis'.
 

Offline dlorde

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Haven't seen your reply yet ,concerning Nassim Haramein's work : How come ?
Probably because it's not worth commenting on: Nassim Haramein, Holofractographic universe theory, What's so misleading about Nassim Haramein?, etc., etc.
 

Offline Ethos_

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- to paraphrase Laplace, 'We have no need of that hypothesis'.
Precisely..................

Don's persistence is the only evidence presented here, and the evidence is that Don is trying to prove the existence of the human soul. His arguments are faith based and as such will not meet the criterion for good  science.
« Last Edit: 02/12/2014 23:50:11 by Ethos_ »
 

Offline cheryl j

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Read the above displayed short quotes and comments , guys ,and then i will be talking about  many scientific experiments ,afterwards , that showed /show the causal effect of the human volition through focus or attention -effort , the causal effect of volition on the structure or anatomy and physiology of the brain :

How the mindful effort of volition through the power of focus or attention can change the brain ....

In short :

How the mind or mental force can change the brain through the dynamic effort of volition via the power of focus .

In other words :

Volitional effort is effort of attention.Effort of attention is thus the essential phenomenon of will.




As magical as will or volition might seem, there are disorders that interfere with volition and motivation (akinetic mutism, apraxia,)  as well structures in the brain associated with volition. According to Ramachandran, "Wanting, it turns out, is crucially dependent on the anterior cingulate."

And we've also discussed Libet's studies that show a choice has been made in the brain before a person becomes consciously aware of making it.

Or Beuregards studies that ironically showed the opposite of what he set out to demonstrate, as explained below:

For review:
Lets break down one of his studies, where he showed a series of erotic images to males and imaged the brain's response to these images. Unsurprisingly he found activation primarily in the limbic and paralimbic regions (amygdala, right anterior temporal pole and the hypothalamus). This region of the brain is long known to be associated with reward assessment and baser drives such as sex, hunger, thirst, fear, and anger. He then asked subjects to repress any sort of sexual thoughts or feelings in regard to the images and showed them again. This time he showed little to no activation in the paralimbic and limbic system, but saw extensive activation in prefrontal regions such as the superior frontal gyrus.[15] The prefrontal regions are associated with what many of us refer to as the normal day-to-day consciousness of ourselves. It is the executive controller and one of its primary roles is that of an inhibitor. It's the part of your brain that tells you when something is really not a good idea, and lets you control yourself; it's the part you use when you are "biting your tongue" to keep from saying what you really want to say.[17]

Working from the theory that it is the material constructs of the brain itself that alters firing patterns this is exactly what we would expect. We see an area of the brain that is activated by stimuli that are known to cause excitation in that region. When asked to inhibit that excitation subjects show brain activation in regions that have been demonstrated to be involved in inhibition. This is one area of the brain putting the brakes on another area of the brain. If we were working from the posit that it is the "psychological space" that is putting the brakes on the limbic system, why would we posit any other area of the brain needing to be activated? If Beauregard had shown that the only change when actively suppressing a response was that the previously activated regions did not show any activation it would be a lot more problematic to explain.
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Answering the chicken-and -egg question : question of what's causing what ? : Does activity in the frontal lobes cause volition , or does volition trigger activity in the frontal lobes? : Evidence I :


"...Selectively focusing attention on target images significantly enhances neuronal responses to them. This is especially true when nearby stimuli, if not for the power of attention, would distract us. In general, when two images are presented simultaneously, each suppresses the neuronal activity that the other triggers. But selective focusing of attention can override this effect and thereby filter out distractions. How do we know? When physiologists record electrical activity in the brains of monkeys doing tasks that require selective attention, they find that the firing of neurons activated by a target image becomes significantly enhanced when the monkeys selectively focus attention on it, effectively eliminating the suppressive influence of nearby images.

 Human brains act the same way, according to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) : neurons that respond to a target (the image attracting your attention) fire more strongly than neurons that respond to a distraction. The act of paying attention, then, physically counteracts the suppressive influences of nearby distractions. Robert Desimone of the National Institute of Mental Health, one of the country’s leading researchers into the physiology of attention, explains it this way: “Attention seems to work by biasing the brain circuit for the important stimuli. When you attend to a stimulus, the suppression that distracters otherwise cause is reduced.”

In other words, selective attention can strengthen or weaken neural processing in the visual cortex. This seems to happen in at least two ways. In the first, the neural response to the object of attention becomes stronger. In one fascinating series of experiments, monkeys were trained to look for the color of an object that flashed on a screen. When they did, neurons that respond to color became more active.

Similarly, when the monkeys were trained to keep an eagle eye on the direction an object was moving, or on its orientation, neurons that perform those tasks became more active. Attention to shape and color pumps up the volume of neuronal activity in the region of the visual cortex that processes information about shape and color; attention to speed turns up the activity of neurons in the region that processes information about speed. In people, paying attention to faces turns up activity in the region whose job it is to scan and analyze faces.

If this seems somewhat self-evident, it’s worth another look: the visual information reaching the brain hasn’t changed. What has changed—what is under the observer’s control—is the brain’s response to that information. Just as visual information about the color of this book’s cover reached your brain as you opened it, so every aspect of the objects on the screen (their shape, color, movements, etc.) reached the monkey’s brain. The aspect of the image that monkey pays attention to determines the way its brain responds. Hard-wired mechanisms in different brain areas get activated, or not, depending on what the monkey is interested in observing. An activity usually deemed to be a property of the mind—paying attention—determines the activity of the brain.
Attention can do more than enhance the responses of selected neurons.

 It can also turn down the volume in competing regions. Ordinarily—that is, in the absence of attention—distractions suppress the processing of a target stimulus (which is why it’s tough to concentrate on a difficult bit of prose when people are screaming on the other side of a thin wall). It’s all well and good for a bunch of neurons to take in sounds at a boisterous party, but you can’t make out a damn thing until you pay attention. Paying attention to one conversation can suppress the distracting ones. Neurons that used to vibrate with the noise of those other conversations are literally damped down and no longer suppress the response of neurons trying to hear the conversation you’re interested in.

Anyone who has ever had the bad luck to search for a dropped contact lens has also had the experience of paying attention to one object (the lens) and thus suppressing neuronal responses to other objects (bits of lint in a rug). If you are searching for a contact lens on a Persian rug, you can thank this effect for hushing the neurons that respond to those flowers and colors, and turning up the responses of neurons that respond to the glimmer of light reflecting off little clear disks. Specifically, it is the activity of neurons deep in the brain’s visual pathway, rather than in the primary visual cortex, that is damped down or turned up by attention.

It often takes real effort to maintain the appropriate focus, which is why it takes so much concentration to get into the proper exit lane at a complicated freeway interchange. But once you muster the appropriate focus, you can literally direct your brain to filter out the suppressive effects of distracting signals. Willfully directed attention can filter out unwanted information—another example of how directed mental force, generated by the effort of directed attention, can modulate neuronal function.

When it comes to determining what the brain will process, the mind (through the mechanism of selective attention) is at least as strong as the novelty or relevance of the stimulus itself. In fact, attention can even work its magic in the total absence of sensory stimuli. If an experimenter teaches a monkey to pay attention to a certain quadrant of a video screen, then single-cell recordings find that neurons responsible for that area will fire 30 to 40 percent more often than otherwise, even when there is no there there—even, that is, when that quadrant is empty. So here again we have the mental act of paying attention acting on the activity of brain circuits, in this case turning them up before the appearance of a stimulus. fMRIs find that activity spikes in human brains, too, when volunteers wait expectantly for an object to appear in a portion of a video monitor.

 Even before an object appears, attention has already stacked the neuronal deck, activating the visual cortex and, even more strongly, the frontal and parietal lobes—the regions of the brain where attention seems to originate. As a result, when the stimulus finally shows up it evokes an even greater response in the visual cortex than if attention had not primed the brain. This, says Robert Desimone (who happens to also be Leslie Ungerleider’s husband), “is the most interesting finding. In attention without a visual stimulus, you get activation in the same cells that would respond to that stimulus, as if the cells are primed. You also get activation in the prefrontal cortex and parietal lobes. That seems like strong evidence that these lobes exert top-down control on what the sensory system processes.” To summarize, then, selective attention—reflecting willful activation of one circuit over another—can nudge the brain into processing one signal and not another." Same source .
« Last Edit: 03/12/2014 16:42:54 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Evidence II : For The Causal Efficacy of Human Volition Through The Effort of focus :


" ...Much of what neuroscientists have learned about attention lately has come from brain imaging.
As in so many other areas of neurobiology, imaging beckons with the siren call of finding “the neural correlates of…”: that is, pinpointing activity in some part of the brain that corresponds to a mental activity. And although I am the last person to equate brain states, or areas of neuronal activity, with attention or any other mental act or experience, it is worth exploring the results of imaging for what they tell us about what is happening in the brain (and where it’s taking place) when we pay attention.

Briefly, these imaging studies have shown that there is no single attention center in the brain. Rather, there are multiple distributed systems, including those in the prefrontal cortex (involved in taskrelated memory and planning), parietal cortex (bodily and environmental awareness), and anterior cingulate (motivation). Also activated are the underlying cerebellum and basal ganglia (habit formation and coordination of movement). That’s all very nice, but it doesn’t really tell us much about how attention works (that’s the trouble with the neural-correlates approach). Fortunately some brain imaging studies have gone beyond this, to reveal some truly interesting things about attention.

In 1990, researchers led by Maurizio Corbetta at Washington University went beyond the monkey work to study attention in humans, showing that when you pay attention to something, the part of your brain that processes that something becomes more active. The scientists’ subjects watched a computer screen while an array of a dozen identical little boxes appeared for 400 milliseconds.

After a 200-millisecond pause, another screen, also filled with geometric shapes, appeared. Half the time, the first and second frames were identical; half the time they differed in one feature or more, such as color or shape or motion of the elements. The volunteers were sometimes told to determine whether the two succeeding images differed at all, and sometimes told to determine whether the images differed specifically in color, in shape, or in motion. Looking for any old difference is an example of “divided attention,” in that subjects have to pay attention to more than a single attribute in their visual field, searching and scanning to find a difference. Focusing on a specific attribute, on the other hand, requires “selective attention.”

As you might expect, when the volunteers focused attention on a single attribute (“Are the colors of these objects different from the ones you just saw?”), they did much better at identifying how the second screen differed from the first than when they divided their attention among several attributes (“What’s different here?”). But then the study turned up what has become a key finding in the science of attention. Active, focused attention to a specific attribute such as color, they discovered, ramps up the activity of brain regions that process color.

In other words, the parts of the brain that process color in an automatic, “hard-wired” way are significantly and specifically activated by the willful act of focusing on color. Activity in brain areas that passively process motion are amplified when volunteers focus attention on motion; areas that passively process shape get ramped up when the volunteers focus on shape. Brain activity in a circuit that is physiologically dedicated to a particular task is markedly amplified by the mental act of focusing attention on the feature that the circuit is hard-wired tprocess. In addition, during the directing of such selective attention, the prefrontal cortex is activated.
As we saw in Chapter 9, this is also the brain region implicated in volition or, as we are seeing, in directing and focusing attention’s beam."

Same source .
 

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